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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

More People Are Coming Out: Microsoft Tried to Get Them Fired for Standing in Microsoft’s Way (the ‘One Microsoft Way’)

Wednesday 10th of July 2019 10:20:05 PM

Summary: Microsoft’s bullying tactics aren’t “old news”; the same tactics carry on to this date and they’re the moral or corporate equivalent of doxing

Examples continue to surface which show a distinct pattern (that continues to this date); Microsoft does not appease critics but instead it tries to render them unemployed. We’re starting to see more and more examples (people ‘coming out’, so to speak) of people whose job/livelihood Microsoft attempted to destroy because they had not been friendly to Microsoft’s financial interests. Some of them send us messages. Others write about it publicly in response to our articles. Few were reluctant to tell us their story but only said, in general terms, that it had happened to them too. Microsoft apparently does this a lot. About a decade and a half ago it got caught making ‘dossiers’ on people — a form of intimidation. Wired wrote about it.

Here’s a new example of a user with a karma of 3,771 and almost 7 years in the site Hacker News. This person wrote earlier today: “Years ago, a Microsoft sales associate called my CEO to try to get a member of my team (and probably me) fired because we told Microsoft we were taking a pass on upgrading our company to Vista; too many problems. Similar things have happened to other people in my network. Not saying this is MS policy or anything, but it happens.”

“Microsoft may well bribe people at the Linux Foundation and the media, but it cannot fool the entire world all the time.”An article of ours gained momentum in several places in Reddit and Hacker News (even the front page), e.g. [1, 2, 3], all this despite the relatively old age of the article. Sadly, it’s also a very short article that does not name our 4 recent examples, including my own [1, 2, 3]. It focuses on only one; there are also examples of retributions (see our Wiki page on “Microsoft Retribution against individuals and organisations”) which we’ve been gathering for a dozen years. Some of these examples are very recent, yet Microsoft apologists (e.g. in today’s comments) pretend it’s “old news” or “old Microsoft”. Microsoft is still a very malicious company. oiaohm brought up the report “Microsoft hijacks Android’s share menu w/ ads for its apps” earlier today in IRC (the report is days old), adding that “Microsoft is still finding new underhanded ways.” Yesterday we showed how it was screwing its very own "partners". Nothing has really changed. Months ago Microsoft sued a company for refusing to pay patent royalties (tax, extortion money)... for Android. Microsoft may well bribe people at the Linux Foundation and the media, but it cannot fool the entire world all the time.

Links 10/7/2019: Sparky 4.11 and Sculpt OS 19.07

Wednesday 10th of July 2019 10:03:44 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
      • Linux features beyond server management

        With its text-based interface, Linux provides IT administrators an easy and quick way to navigate files, grant permissions, run containers and build data processing capabilities on an open source OS.

        Linux has traditionally stayed in on-premises architectures, but that’s starting to change. With the development of containers and orchestration, organizations are using it beyond bare metal.

        If you decide to use these newer Linux features and capabilities, however, you should still familiarize yourself with the kernel, as well as some useful commands and security protocols.

      • Inside the Canonical Container Strategy

        Canonical continues to pursue a somewhat bifurcated approach to containers by announcing support for Kubernetes 1.15 while continuing to advance Snaps as an application container that enables software deployment via a single click.

        For example, Canonical recently announced in collaboration with DJI that Snaps will be supported on an instance of Ubuntu embedded in Manifold 2 drones manufactured by DJI. While that approach will make it easier to deploy containerized applications on a type of embedded system, Snaps—for the moment, at least—mostly only runs on Ubuntu.

        Docker, in contrast, provides what Canonical describes as “process containers,” which typically are immutable and share some libraries across all containers in execution. Docker registries are optional and typically contain a loose collection of Docker images identifiable by hash or tags. That approach makes it possible to run containerized applications across multiple operating systems. However, within organizations that have standardized on Ubuntu, Canonical is making the case for an application container in the form of Snaps.

        Canonical is trying to drum up support for Snaps on multiple distributions of Linux with mixed success. Most recently, it made available Snapd, a service that individual developers can employ to run Snaps on other Linux distributions. Support for Snaps running on Linux distributions other than Ubuntu generally is limited to what’s provided by Canonical, which tends to limit enthusiasm. It’s also worth noting that alternative application packaging technologies in the form of AppImage and Flatpak have been around longer than Snaps.

      • IBM
        • IBM Closes Red Hat Acquisition Pledging to Keep Enterprise Software Separate

          $34B deal is now done and with it comes renewed questions about how IBM will influence and control Red Hat’s enterprise software portfolio.

          IBM announced on July 9 that it had formally closed its’ largest acquisition ever, picking up enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat in a deal valued at $34 billion.

          With the deal now done, questions about how IBM will handle Red Hat’s enterprise application software portfolio and direction moving forward can now be officially answered. In a press conference, Arvind Krishna, SVP, Cloud and Cognitive Software at IBM and Paul Cormier, President Products and Technologies at Red Hat were peppered with questions about what will happen now.

          Krishna said that Red Hat will remain neutral and will continue to work with its partners that might well be competitors to IBM.

        • IBM Acquires Linux Developer Red Hat For $34 Billion

          IBM on Tuesday closed the deal that saw it acquire open source software products leader and Linux developer Red Hat Inc. for $34 billion.

          IBM first announced its intent to acquire Red Hat in October 2018. On May 3, the U.S. Department of Justice concluded its review of IBM’s Red Hat acquisition, and by posing no objections basically approved IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat.

          Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM and will become part of IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software segment. It will maintain its independence and neutrality, insists IBM.

          Current CEO Jim Whitehurst will continue to lead Red Hat. He will join IBM’s senior management team and will report to CEO Ginni Rometty.

        • CEO Ginni Rometty: Red Hat’s open-source software ‘is a play that helps all of IBM’

          IBM on Tuesday closed on its $34 billion cash acquisition of Red Hat.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.1.17

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.17 kernel.

        All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:

        git:// linux-5.1.y

        and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:…

      • Linux 4.19.58
      • Linux 4.14.133
      • Linux 4.9.185
      • Linux 4.4.185
      • Address Space Isolation and the Linux Kernel

        Mike Rapoport from IBM launched a bid to implement address space isolation in the Linux kernel. Address space isolation emanates from the idea of virtual memory—where the system maps all its hardware devices’ memory addresses into a clean virtual space so that they all appear to be one smooth range of available RAM. A system that implements virtual memory also can create isolated address spaces that are available only to part of the system or to certain processes.

        The idea, as Mike expressed it, is that if hostile users find themselves in an isolated address space, even if they find bugs in the kernel that might be exploited to gain control of the system, the system they would gain control over would be just that tiny area of RAM to which they had access. So they might be able to mess up their own local user, but not any other users on the system, nor would they be able to gain access to root level infrastructure.

      • Active kernel releases

        Many Linux distributions provide their own “longterm maintenance” kernels that may or may not be based on those maintained by kernel developers. These kernel releases are not hosted at and kernel developers can provide no support for them.

        It is easy to tell if you are running a distribution kernel. Unless you downloaded, compiled and installed your own version of kernel from, you are running a distribution kernel. To find out the version of your kernel, run uname -r:

      • Linux 5.3 Media Driver Updates Bring New Amlogic Meson Video Decoder

        After going through 9+ rounds of revisions for the Amlogic video decode driver, it’s now been part of the media subsystem updates for the Linux 5.3 kernel.

        This Amlogic video decode driver supports the GXBB/GXL/GXM chipsets and allows currently MPEG-1/MPEG-2 decoding with future work to tackle MPEG-4, H.264, HEVC, and VP9.

      • Linux 5.3 Crypto Updates Jitter RNG, Adds xxHash

        Herbert Xu sent out the crypto subsystem updates on Monday for the in-development Linux 5.3 kernel.

        Linux 5.3 is bringing an updated Jitter RNG implementation based on the upstream Jitter 2.1.2 spec with various alterations. There is also now support for the SHA204A random number generator, 5-way interleave support for ECB/CBC/CTR for 64-bit ARM, and other fixes.

      • Raspberry Pi CPUFreq Driver & Other Power Management Work For Linux 5.3

        The power management changes for Linux 5.3 merge window don’t offer any P-State changes or other prominent Intel changes this cycle but there is some other improvements as well as new CPUFreq drivers for CPU frequency scaling.

        Arguably the biggest Linux 5.3 power management change is the mainline addition of a CPUFreq driver for Raspberry Pi. This CPUFreq driver communicates with the firmware running on the dedicated processor responsible for clock adjustments. This firmware ends up making the final call on whether to honor requests for CPU clock changes based upon thermal and power criteria.

      • Graphics Stack
        • AMD Opens Up Its Contrast Adaptive Sharpening Under FidelityFX On GPUOpen

          Following the Radeon RX 5700 series launch, AMD has now open-sourced their Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) technology under FidelityFX on GPUOpen.

          Contrast Adaptive Sharpening provides sharpening and optional scaling and is implemented as HLSL and GLSL shaders for Direct3D and Vulkan. CAS is designed to provide better sharpness with fewer artifacts and to increase the quality of temporal anti-aliasing.

          The GLSL/Vulkan shaders for CAS are obviously relevant to Linux gamers though this initial FidelityFX release appears catered to a Windows workflow. FidelityFX 1.0 / CAS is licensed under the MIT license.

        • AMDGPU & RadeonSI Linux Drivers See More Navi Optimizations + Fixes

          t’s just not the RADV Vulkan driver seeing lots of Navi activity but the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver and RadeonSI OpenGL Mesa driver are also off to the races in improving their newly-enabled Navi / Radeon RX 5700 series support.

          On the AMDGPU kernel side, AMD longtime Linux developer Alex Deucher sent out a new PR containing some additional fixes for Navi. This pull request is for the now-open Linux 5.3 merge window to polish up this initial GPU enablement for the kernel.

          The Navi 10 work that’s new for AMDGPU is GPU reset abilities in case of hangs, PowerPlay power management fixes, and graphics fixes. Outside of Navi specific work there is also XGMI fixes, HMM API changes, and other fixes.

    • Applications
      • Developer preview of Debezium Apache Kafka connectors for Change Data Capture (CDC)

        With the release of Red Hat AMQ Streams 1.2, Red Hat Integration now includes a developer preview of Change Data Capture (CDC) capabilities to enable data integration for modern cloud-native microservices-based applications. CDC features are based on the upstream project Debezium and are natively integrated with Apache Kafka and Strimzi to run on top of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the enterprise Kubernetes, as part of the AMQ Streams release.

      • Open-Source Peer-To-Peer File Synchronization Tool Syncthing 1.2.0 Released

        Syncthing, an open source continuous file synchronization tool, had a new release yesterday. The new Syncthing 1.2.0 adds QUIC with NAT traversal as a new transport protocol, fixes some bugs, and enables automatic error reporting.

        Syncthing is a free, open-source peer-to-peer file synchronization application written in Go, which implements its own open Block Exchange Protocol. The application, which is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, Solaris, Darwin and BSD, can sync files between devices on a local network, or between remote devices over the Internet.

      • Proprietary
        • Best free video editing program for Windows, Mac, Linux

          Like any other downloadable software you could use, there’s going to be a learning curve, which might be the biggest downside to DaVinci 16. You may not have experienced DaVinci’s editing software yet but they work just like Premiere and Final Cut.

          The best way to learn the program and work out the technical kinks is by downloading it and giving the editing technology a try. It’s free to download and use, so check it out and see how it works differently than the programs you might pay a lot of money for.

        • How to be an IT rock star

          And while everyone know Linus Torvalds, in general, says Momjian, “If you are a creator of an infrastructure tool, you sit in an office and maybe you’re at a conference once every other month.” He argues that no IT decision maker really plans their IT strategy around a scripting language, a compiler or a text editor, or base it around some of the virtualisation tools out there. “They are interesting, but not a core part of a business process in organisations,” he says.

          But compared to the early 1990s when Momjian was a Unix admin, proprietary Unix systems are on life support. Compare the proprietary Unix vendors to the like Microsoft and Oracle, who are still selling relational databases. Since the early 2000s, Momjian has been a database man. “There is a lot of people who find databases really interesting,” he adds.

          For Momjian, the database industry is a good industry to be in. And there are some people in the open source community who are jetted around the world to speak to thousands of delegates about their contribution to database technologies.

          For Momjian, these are the true rock stars of the software industry.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • 3D puzzle game “Flux Caves” fully released, now has Linux support again

        When trying out Flux Caves myself back in March, I was quite impressed with the demo. It recently released in full and as of today, the Linux version is live everywhere.

        Unlike some puzzle games, the aim of Flux Caves is not to make you sweat or get frustrated. It’s supposed to be a more peaceful experience with a slightly open-world for you to run around in. There’s no losing, no dying, just you and the puzzles.

      • Ready your pickaxe for “UnderMine”, releasing with Linux support on August 20th

        Confirmed to be coming to Linux at the Early Access release on August 20th, UnderMine looks like a fantastic action-adventure roguelike.

      • Tactics V: Obsidian Brigade, a retro-style tactical turn-based RPG coming next month to Linux

        Here’s another new game for you to keep an eye on, it’s called Tactics V: Obsidian Brigade and it’s arriving with Linux support on August 15th.

        In development by From Nothing Game Studios (previously made GravBlocks), it’s inspired by the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics and other console tactical RPGs from the 1990s.

      • Time-looping adventure game “Elsinore” is releasing soon with Linux support

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign back in 2015, Elsinore a time-looping adventure game set in the world of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is releasing with Linux support on July 22nd.

        This was previously mentioned on GamingOnLinux a few times, in our older crowdfunding roundup articles “The Funding Crowd”. Some of you might actually remember it, I certainly didn’t but I’m putting that right now by making sure everyone knows, as it does sound very interesting.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • KMyMoney 5.0.5 released

          The KMyMoney development team today announces the immediate availability of version 5.0.5 of its open source Personal Finance Manager.

          After three months it is now ready: KMyMoney 5.0.5 comes with some important bugfixes. As usual, problems have been reported by our users and the development team worked hard to fix them in the meantime. The result of this effort is the brand new KMyMoney 5.0.5 release.

          Despite even more testing we understand that some bugs may have slipped past our best efforts. If you find one of them, please forgive us, and be sure to report it, either to the mailing list or on

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
        • Qubes OS 4.0.2-rc1 has been released!

          A point release does not designate a separate, new version of Qubes OS. Rather, it designates its respective major or minor release (in this case, 4.0) inclusive of all updates up to a certain point. Installing Qubes 4.0 and fully updating it results in the same system as installing Qubes 4.0.2.

        • Start Hacking! Kali Linux is Now Available for Raspberry Pi 4

          We’ve already discussed how amazing the Raspberry Pi 4 is with upgraded specs. You can easily utilize it as a desktop replacement for minimal tasks like browsing activities, managing media or similar stuff acting as a desktop replacement. In either case, IoT projects and so on.

          That’s all good. But, we’re talking about something more exciting – which you might have already figured out from the headline.

          Offensive Security announced to officially support Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi 4. Well, it was quite expected because of Raspberry Pi 4’s popularity just after a few weeks of launch.

        • Ethical Hacking OS Kali Linux Is Now Available on the Raspberry Pi 4 Computer

          Announced last month, the Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer is the latest and most advanced Raspberry Pi SBC ever built. It features a powerful 1.5 GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, up to 4GB of RAM, support for up to 4K resolutions, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 2 and 2x USB 3 ports, 2x micro-HDMI ports, and a USB-C power supply.

          The Offensive Security team was quick to build an image of their popular Kali Linux operating system for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B single-board computer to give security researchers and hacking enthusiasts a more affordable way to run their favorite Linux OS for ethical hacking and penetration testing tasks.

      • Debian Family
        • Sparky 4.11

          New live/install iso/img images of Sparky 4.11 are out.

          Sparky 4.11 “Tyche” is the last release of the 4 line which moves the base system from Debian stable “Stretch” to Debian oldstable “Stretch”.

          Make sure that Sparky 4 will be supported next 2 years about, so if you keep running your machine with Sparky 4, do regular system upgrade.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Ubuntu: What does the future look like post-Unity?

          Following Canonical’s pivot away from its internally-developed Unity user interface and Mir display server, Ubuntu has enjoyed two relatively low-drama years, as the Linux Desktop market homogenized during its transition back to a customized GNOME desktop. In a review of the most recent release, TechRepublic’s Jack Wallen declared that “Ubuntu 19.04 should seriously impress anyone looking for a fast and reliable Linux desktop platform.”

          Largely, it’s been a slow-and-steady pace for Ubuntu since the pivot from Unity to GNOME, though the distribution made headlines for plans to end support for 32-bit support. This prompted Valve, operators of games marketplace Steam, to re-think its approach toward Ubuntu, which it previously characterized as “as the best-supported path for desktop users.”

          TechRepublic’s James Sanders interviewed Will Cooke, director of engineering for Ubuntu Desktop at Canonical, about the distribution’s long-term plans for legacy 32-bit support, shipping a desktop in a post-Unity-era Ubuntu, and why Linux should be the first choice for users migrating from Windows 7 prior to the end of support.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Sculpt OS release 19.07

        The most prominent user-visible feature of Sculpt OS 19.07 is the ability of copy and paste text between terminals, graphical applications, and virtual machines. Our unique take on this feature is described in a dedicated article.

      • Genode’s Sculpt OS 19.07 Brings Performance Improvements

        Genode continues advancing as an open-source operating system framework and with that their effort to develop Sculpt OS as a general purpose operating system has continued in-step. Out now is Sculpt OS 19.07 as their latest operating system release.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Testing Picture-in-Picture for videos in Firefox 69 Beta and Developer Edition

            Have you ever needed to scan a recipe while also watching a cooking video? Or perhaps you wanted to watch a recording of a lecture while also looking at the course slides. Or maybe you wanted to watch somebody stream themselves playing video games while you work.

            We’ve recently shipped a version of Firefox on our Beta and Developer Edition release channels with an experimental feature that aims to make this easier for you to do!

            Picture-in-Picture allows you to pop a video out from where it’s being played into a special kind of window that’s always on top. Then you can move that window around or resize it however you need!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
      • Programming/Development
        • AMD announces μProf 3.0, a free tool to optimise apps for AMD processors

          AMD has updated its μProf software in line with the release of Zen 2 processors. Announced its Ryzen Twitter channel via Reddit, the software encompasses four tools that AMD claims allow developers to identify ways to optimise their applications for AMD processors.

          μProf 3.0 gives detailed runtime performance information from CPU profiling to system-wide power profiling. Windows developers can also analyses which areas of an application are more resource intensive, while Linux and FreeBSD developers can monitor system performance metrics. AMD has introduced several new features with the 3.0 update, the principal of which is support for 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Desktop processors.

        • Awesome Web Scraping

          Few days ago we’ve heard from some of our friends talking about scraping. At that time me like, hey what scrap…? Then knowing somethiing about that took my attention seriously on that amazing technique. Extracting data from websites – sounds really crazy. And yeap, We did something to get started. Now, may be it’s your turn.

        • Python Comprehensions are Awesome!

          When programming, it’s quite common to want to create a collection of some kind, from another collection, usually with some modification taking place along the way. Python gives an awesome set of tools for dealing with this kind of problem: comprehensions. If you’re not using comprehensions regularly in your code, read on, and I’ll show you what you’re missing out on!

        • Python Seaborn Tutorial | Data Visualization Using Seaborn

          Python is a storehouse of numerous immensely powerful libraries and frameworks. Among them, is Seaborn, which is a dominant data visualization library. In this Python Seaborn Tutorial, you will be leaning all the knacks of data visualization using Seaborn.

          So let’s begin first by reasoning out the importance of Python Seaborn.

        • g_queue_insert_before_link() in GLib 2.61.1

          The second post in a little mini-series on new APIs in the GLib 2.62 series, this one’s about Christian Hergert’s g_queue_insert_before_link().

          This is a new helper function for inserting elements at arbitrary positions in a queue, without needing to allocate a new container element for them. Previously, using g_queue_insert_before(), a new GList container would have been allocated. The new function means that elements can be moved from one position in a queue to another, without any allocations; and statically allocated GList elements can be used in a GQueue correctly.

        • New Course: Learn the Fundamentals of Probability for Data Science

          Learning probability and statistics isn’t the first thing most aspiring data analysts and scientists tackle. But make no mistake: understanding the math is just as critical as understanding the programming!

        • Embedded System Development for IoT: Three-Part Series

          The landscape of embedded systems and computing is changing. Fast. IoT in particular is driving widespread change in technology when it comes to standards, hardware, systems, and software, with the need for all of these components to work seamlessly as a complete infrastructure. Meanwhile, the demand for increased functionality at the edge has underscored the need for faster and more formidable compute power across entire systems or networks.

        • Find the average negative values from the DataFrame
        • 4 Process Managers for Node.js Applications in Linux

          A Node.js process manager is a useful tool to ensure that a Node.js process or script runs continuously (forever) and can enable it to auto-start at system boot.

          It allows you to monitor the running services and it facilitates common system administration tasks (such as restarting on failure, stopping, reloading configurations without downtime, modify environment variables/settings, showing performance metrics and so much more). It also supports application logging, clustering, and load balancing, and so many other useful process management features.

  • Leftovers
    • Hardware
      • Quantum computing startup IQM gets €11m in seed investment

        In a statement on Tuesday, IQM said it is getting funding from US-based investor Matadero QED; Finnish state-owned investment firm Tesi; Helsinki-based venture capital firms and OpenOcean as well as German investment firms MIG Fonds and Vito Venutres.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • Sharing, Generosity and Gratitude

        Many friends from the CC and open education communities have noticed my absence from meetings and conferences in the past six months. I’m ready to share why.

        I was diagnosed with an auto-immune liver disease in 2005, and with liver cancer in September, 2018. The cancer was caused by the underlying liver disease. Once the cancer was diagnosed, my doctor quickly sent me to the Mayo Clinic. I spent the entire month of December in twice-daily radiation and round-the-clock chemotherapy. Bottom line: I needed a liver transplant to live.

        You may have heard about the organ shortage in the United States. There are simply not enough organs available to people who need them. Most countries have similar unfortunate statistics. Want to help? Sign up to be a donor (US link) and talk to your family about your decision.

    • Security
      • The Router’s Obstacle-Strewn Route to Home IoT Security

        It is newly minted conventional wisdom that not a single information security conference goes by without a presentation about the abysmal state of Internet of Things security. While this is a boon for researchers looking to make a name for themselves, this sorry state of affairs is definitely not beneficial for anyone who owns a connected device.

        IoT device owners aren’t the only ones fed up, though. Right behind them is Eldridge Alexander, manager of Duo Labs at Duo Security. Even better, he has a plan, and the experience to lend it some credibility.

        Before assuming his current role at Duo Security, Alexander held various IT posts at Google and Cloudflare. For him, the through-line that ties together his past and present IT work is the security gains that accrue from aligning all of a network’s security controls with the principle of zero-trust.

      • Zoom Will Fix the Flaw That Let Hackers Hijack Webcams

        “On the one hand it took over 100 days for them to actually take this seriously and it required public outcry,” Leitschuh says. “On the other hand it’s a really good thing to see that a company can apologize for their mistakes and be willing to work with the community and researchers. It’s now on all of us to hold them accountable.”

      • Zoom Zero Day: 4+ Million Webcams & maybe an RCE? Just get them to visit your website!

        A vulnerability in the Mac Zoom Client allows any malicious website to enable your camera without your permission. The flaw potentially exposes up to 750,000 companies around the world that use Zoom to conduct day-to-day business.

    • Environment
      • Zero Hour’s Youth Climate Summit Is Coming to Miami to Spotlight the Threat of Rising Sea Levels

        Since 1994, the sea level in South Florida has risen about four inches. In Miami, the rising sea level has meant “sunny day flooding” even when there’s no rain. Some of the most frightening predictions warn that the Monroe and Miami-Dade counties and most of Broward County in the state’s southeast could disappear because of flooding by 2100.

        In an effort to bring attention to the future and current effects of climate change, Zero Hour will host its inaugural summit in Miami. Previously, the organization has focused its largest protests, such as its historic youth climate march last July, in big cities such as Washington, DC, and New York, and they say the change in scenery is an intentional move into a different region.

      • Costly climate measures are hard to sell, but the Netherlands has a plan

        The latest round of Dutch “poldering” also concerns a sea-level-related threat. On June 28th the government released its national Climate Accord, the product of over a year of bargaining between industry, consumer groups and politicians over how to meet the Netherlands’ targets for reducing carbon emissions. Under the global climate agreement signed in Paris in 2016, the country committed to cut its CO2 emissions by 49% by 2030 and by 95% by 2050. The question was how to do it, and who would pay.

      • Von der Leyen struggles for Green light from MEPs

        The Greens will exact a high price for backing German conservative Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission president, judging by their first encounter.

        The environmentalist party’s two top MEPs, Ska Keller and Philippe Lamberts, damned the German nominee with faint praise Monday, on her first attempt to secure their votes for her surprise candidacy for the EU’s top job.

        The German defense minister came across as “a very able politician,” Keller told reporters afterward. “But from my own point of view, that’s not enough.”

        Unlike von der Leyen, who emerged from last week’s emergency EU summit as the compromise candidate to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission president, Keller was a Spitzenkandidat — one of the “lead candidates” who would supposedly compete for the job in a democratic contest.

      • ‘Abject failure’ from the Government: Caroline Lucas responds to Committee on Climate Change report

        Responding to the release of the Committee on Climate Change report released this morning that concludes (1) that of 33 key sectors, none show good progress in managing climate change risk, Green MP Caroline Lucas said: “This damning verdict from the Committee on Climate Change underlines the Government’s abject failure to deliver the policies needed to meet our climate targets.

      • Squid Management for Peace

        While many of these vessels operate legally, many others do not. As many as 300,000 tons of squid are taken illegally from the region each year — much more than the 50 to 150 tons that are allowed to be harvested legally.

        In part this massive illegal fishing operation is the result of the distant and remote nature of the fishery itself. But it’s also inspired by longstanding political angst that impedes cooperation between Argentina and the United Kingdom territory known to some as the Falkland Islands and others as the Islas Malvinas.

        The question of sovereignty over these islands has been festering for nearly two centuries. Argentina argues that the British have illegally occupied the Islas Malvinas since 1833, a matter it first raised with the United Nations and other international bodies in the 1940s. This dispute later erupted in the brief but brutal 1982 Falkland/Malvinas’ War, in which Argentina tried (but failed) to retake the islands by force.

        Decades later the sovereignty struggle continues. Currently Argentina has the backing of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice to negotiate with the UK over the Malvinas. But the UK refuses to negotiate the sensitive issue of sovereignty, stating the self-determination of the Islands’ residents — who voted in 2013 to remain a British Overseas Territory — should be respected.

        Regardless of conflicting interpretations of sovereignty, the fate of the Islands lies in the oceans around them.

        Economically 52.4 percent of the Islands’ GDP — approximately $86.3 million — depends on fisheries, with squid being the most valuable resource. In a good year, the Islands can provide nearly 10 percent of the world’s illex squid supply. By comparison Argentina is less dependent on fisheries — which only account for 3.4 percent of its GDP — but their value still amounts to approximately $20.2 billion, more than 230 times the value of the Falklands’ fisheries.

    • Finance
      • ‘There’s More Of Us Than Landlords’: Tenant Organizing In The Trump Era

        Tenants throughout the United States struggle with the high cost of living and loss of their homes, but from major cities to small towns, they are escalating a grassroots movement in the name of housing justice.

        In New York, a place where Wall Street investors feel more at home than the state’s own residents, tenants achieved what the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) called “the biggest housing justice victory for tenants in a generation” with the passage of the 2019 “Housing Stability And Tenants Protections Act.”

        The new law will enact sweeping reforms to help protect tenants, such as the preservation of over one million rent-regulated apartments, preventing building owners from raising rents on tenants or during vacancy, allow cities and townships to pass their own tenant protections (among other landmark measures).

        Around 2.4 million tenants in New York, as well as manufactured housing residents across the state, are expected to benefit.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Chinese Tech Companies Are Coming for America’s Influencers

        Tencent, owner of the all-purpose Chinese app WeChat, is trying to encourage more U.S. social-media stars to do business in the world’s No. 2 economy. The opening panel of the event is titled “How Tencent could help your influencers’ businesses in China.” They have an edge over YouTube in tapping the burgeoning market: The Google-owned video service is blocked in the country.

      • What the Measles Epidemic Really Says About America

        Our amnesia about vaccines is part of a broader forgetting. Prior generations of Americans understood the danger of zero-sum economic nationalism, for instance, because its results remained visible in their lifetimes. When Al Gore debated Ross Perot about NAFTA in 1993, he reminded the Texan businessman of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which raised tariffs on 20,000 foreign products—prompting other countries to retaliate, deepening the Great Depression, and helping to elect Adolf Hitler. But fewer and fewer people remember the last global trade war. Similarly, as memories of Nazism fade across Europe and the United States, anti-Semitism is rising. Technology may improve; science may advance. But the fading of lessons that once seemed obvious should give pause to those who believe history naturally bends toward progress.

      • That Windows 1.0 promo we though might be something to do with Stranger Things, was [iophk: see also Today in Apple history: Microsoft gets sued for ripping off Mac OS]

        The idea, a few years ago that a streaming tv show would garner enough hype to warrant this level of promotional involvement from Microsoft would have seemed like utter madness. Today, it feels fairly normal.

      • [Old] The Apple vs. Microsoft GUI Lawsuit

        When Gassée saw Windows 1.0, he dismissed the software as no threat.

        But when Sculley saw the software, he was enraged. Microsoft had been provided early prototypes of the Macintosh and some source code to help optimize Word and MultiPlan. Now Windows had a menu bar almost identical to Apple’s. Windows even had a Special menu, containing disk operations. Other elements were strikingly similar. Windows came bundled with Write and Paint, both mimicking Apple’s MacPaint and MacWrite.

      • Green Party responds to announcement of formation of Unite for Remain

        Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, said:

        “The Green Party is following with interest today’s announcement from Heidi Allen about the new grouping Unite for Remain.

        “As the Green Party is a democratic party, with direction provided by its members, we are today launching a survey of members to seek their views on the proposals in circulation about how the number of Remain MPs can be maximised in the next election, with the aim of stopping Brexit and transforming the UK to tackle our environmental and social crises.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Letter to the Editor: Censorship of mural is a problem

        Choosing to destroy a work of art that embodies a point of view is no better than Nazi book burning or any number of historically heinous attempts to whitewash or revise the historical record.

        The incredible irony of this decision is first that it involves an institution of learning and teaching, where transparency, tolerance and open discussion of all points of view are the lifeblood of education.

      • SF Protest Against Twitter Blocking of Tweets To Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

        Twitter while not banning the racist reactionary lies of Trump has blocked the tweets of activists who are fighting for the freedom of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.
        This rally will protest the banning of Free Julian Assange sites and othe sites critical of US and Israeli actions. The collusion and collaboration of the owners of Twitter with the same US intellligence agencies that
        have been involved in the very crimes that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks has exposed is not surprising. The real criminals of US war crimes in Iraq and the crimes of Hillary Clinton in overthrowing the Honduran goverment
        are unprosecuted but the whisltelbowers Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are imprisoned.

      • Politicians Queue Up To Make France’s Proposed Law Against ‘Hateful Content’ Far, Far Worse

        The intent behind “ag-gag” laws is pretty evident. The aim is to prevent the general public learning about unsatisfactory or downright cruel conditions in which animals are kept by some farmers. Techdirt has been reporting on them for a number of years. Fortunately, US courts are increasingly throwing them out as unconstitutional. So far, ag-gag laws seems to be a US specialty, but that may be about to change. A new law under discussion in France would force online companies to remove “hateful content” from their networks within 24 hours. The journalist Marc Rees spotted a proposed amendment to the law that would define the following content as “hateful”

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • UK’s surveillance powers to be considered by Europe’s highest human rights court

        On Wednesday (10 July), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights – the court’s highest body – will hear arguments from Amnesty International, Liberty, Privacy International and other human rights organisations from four continents over the unlawfulness of the UK’s bulk surveillance practices.

      • Detroit’s facial recognition surveillance system exposed

        A web page at dedicated to the Project Green Light hosts a map showing the location of nearly 600 surveillance cameras and says this infrastructure is for “improving neighborhood safety, promoting the revitalization and growth of local businesses, and strengthening DPD’s efforts to deter, identify, and solve crime.”

        After the extent of the surveillance was exposed and public anger began to rise, Detroit Police Chief James Craig hastily called a press conference on June 27 in an effort to downplay the invasive nature of the system and justify its implementation.

        Forced to admit that the artificial intelligence and biometrics system had been in place for the past two years without review, Craig became irritated. When questioned by the media about its legality, he said, “How come we never talk about the criminals?” Chief Craig also said that the department had the right to detain people based on the technology because it constitutes “reasonable suspicion” that an individual identified by the system had committed a crime.

      • More than 1,000 Android apps “deceptively” glean personal user information

        The apps circumvent Android permissions designed to keep personal data out of the hands of developers
        Researchers have discovered more than 1,000 Android apps have the power to share and receive personal information even when the user explicitly forbids the collection of data.

        The findings were presented to attendees at PrivacyCon 2019 in the US, and they don’t just focus on obscure apps. Indeed, big name firms including Disney and Samsung were cited for releasing apps that flout the privacy conventions users have come to expect.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • US silence on Khashoggi ‘not an option’, says UN rapporteur

        Speaking alongside Khashoggi’s fiancée at a conference in London on Tuesday, Ms Callamard urged the US to declassify its intelligence on the killing and said Washington was “not at the top of the co-operation chain”.

      • Spanish security company spied on Julian Assange’s meetings with lawyers

        Documents, video and audio material that EL PAÍS has had access to show that a Spanish private defense and security firm named Undercover Global S. L., which was tasked with protecting the diplomatic building between 2012 and 2018, instructed its men to collect all possible information about the cyberactivist, particularly regarding his lawyers and collaborators.

      • Assange unlikely to find refuge in Supreme Court

        Is such a parallel apt? Not exactly. People misremember the Supreme Court decision in The Pentagon Papers cases that gave The New York Times the right to publish the documents. The court did not find a sacrosanct freedom of the press.

        It merely allowed for the continued publication. Indeed, the justices’ split decision pointed in the other direction: that in matters of “mortal danger”, journalists have a legal responsibility not to publish.

        The Pentagon Papers were a top-secret account of the Vietnam War commissioned in late 1967 by Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara. The review drew on classified documents from the Defence Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

      • Widespread Obesity Makes Trump’s Military Recruitment Goals a Challenge

        A 2018 report by Mission: Readiness, a group of 750 retired military professionals that makes policy recommendations to increase the percentage of young Americans eligible to serve in the military, found that 71% of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 fail to meet all of the basic requirements for military service.

        The biggest disqualifier is obesity, with roughly 31% of American youths disqualified because they are overweight. Other factors explaining the shortage of eligible recruits are inadequate education, criminal history and drug use. According to Army Major Gen. (Ret.) Allen Youngman, a member of Mission: Readiness, almost 25% of high school graduates are unable to pass the basic military entrance exams, which not only disqualifies them from technical positions within the service but also from military service as a whole.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia festival after backlash

        It called on her to “refuse the regime’s money” and use her influence to demand the release of the detained women activists.

      • Britain: Gang convicted of running “extensive and prolific” modern slavery network

        The gang’s activities were initially exposed by the charity Hope for Justice, whose co-founder and CEO Ben Cooley said, “This was a vast criminal conspiracy profiting from the misery and manipulation of vulnerable human beings.” The charity believes there could have been up to 400 victims who were exploited by the gang between June 2012 and October 2017, in what Judge Mary Stacey, who presided over the two trials, described as the “most ambitious, extensive and prolific” modern slavery network ever uncovered in Britain.

      • Black People Don’t Need Murals To Remember Injustice

        When they were unveiled in 1937, these murals were upheld by the left as radical examples of social justice through art. Concerned parties now see Arnautoff’s work as exploitative and traumatic for the school’s minority students who have to encounter these striking scenes on a daily basis.

        This speaks to a changing dialogue about representation, one spurred on by the democratization of cultural criticism through social media. Audiences now have more platforms to express and amplify what have been long-standing concerns about portrayals of the minority experience in America that rely almost exclusively on fetishistic displays of violence and physical trauma.

      • France combats extremism with secularism — and a hotline

        In February 2018, the French government presented a new plan to combat Islamist threat in a 60-measure document entitled “Prevent to Protect,” which was reviewed by The World. The plan, presently in place, calls for a cross-disciplinary approach, including the reinforcement of secularism in schools and a “greater awareness of radicalization” in the workplace.

        The plan relies on the concept of laïcité — the French term for a strict strand of secularism that involves the complete and total separation of church and state.

    • Help Steven Leelah

      When the British government forcibly deported every single Chagossian from their islands between 1967 and 1971 to make way for a US nuclear weapons base, a few of them eventually found their way to the UK, being at the time British subjects. The small British Chagossian community is very active. Steven Leelah’s grandfather was one of the original deportees and his mother is a UK citizen. Steven had his right to remain in the UK refused by the Home Office, and when he turned up to report as required pending his appeal, he was arrested and imprisoned in “immigration detention” pending deportation. Just where they intend to deport him is an interesting question – his father is Chagossian and his mother is British – certainly not to Chagos, where the islanders are still forbidden from their own homes.

      This is yet another example of the vicious and callous brutality which was injected, deliberately, into the Home Office by Theresa May and her “hostile environment” policy, which is no more and no less than the institutionalisation of racism as government policy. It goes hand in hand with the deprofessionalisation of the “Border force” and the contracting out of most of its functions to for profit companies.

    • Immigrant Rights Activists Renew Push Against Palantir To Cancel $53 Million Contract With ICE

      Organizers with Mijente, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Tech Workers Coalition, and other groups mobilized in New York and Washington D.C. to demand Palantir Technologies, a surveillance company, cancel its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

      In New York, people stood outside the Palantir office and chanted, “Immigrants are welcome here! Time to cancel, Palantir!”

      Activists with Mijente, an immigration and Latinx-focused organization, attempted to give workers entering the New York office a flier that urged “all Palantir employees to speak to their executives and help cancel this contract.”

      As Sophie Hurwitz reported, the flier declared, “There is no need for Palantir to be in the business of abusing human rights. You have the power to stop this.”

      It outlined how hundreds of people were arrested by ICE thanks to the software designed by Palantir and how management lied about Palantir’s role in President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants and asylum seekers.

      The flier additionally noted a Privacy Law Scholars Conference at the University of California in Berkeley dropped Palantir as a sponsor in June.

      But according to Hurwitz, several individuals refused to take the flier as they entered the building that houses the company’s New York office.

    • Daily Dose of Protest: Forever Half Mast – Lucy Dacus

      Most countries have holidays and observances that celebrate aspects of their founding and heritage. For many, it is an opportunity to display patriotic pride, but for others, it is the time to somberly reflect on dark chapters of their nation’s history.

      This is the premise of “Forever Half Mast.” Indie singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus wrote the song in connection with American Independence Day. It is part of a series of songs about holidays, and it grapples with how a citizen should view the shameful parts of their history.

      “There is a daily dissonance one endures as an American wherein much of our joy is counterweighted by shame, where much of our pride lives in tandem with injustice and suffering,” Dacus said in a press statement. “‘Forever Half Mast’ is about confronting this unavoidable culpability as an American citizen and consumer. Instead of allowing this guilt to paralyze us, we should try to let it influence us in positive ways.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
  • Monopolies
    • Tech giants to testify at House antitrust hearing [iophk: omits Microsoft's ongoing misdeeds]

      Executives for Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple will testify before Congress next week as part of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust investigation into Silicon Valley.

  • Monopolies
    • Patents and Software Patents
      • Don’t bury good points “under sea of dross,” says Judge Carr

        The High Court justice says it’s irritating when people take numerous points “indiscriminately,” how it’s essential for top QCs to join the judiciary and that he won’t refer cases on the SPC Regulation any more, in an exclusive discussion with Managing IP

    • Copyrights
      • The ‘Lion King’ Secret Disney Doesn’t Want You To Know

        [...] Yet despite this Xerox-like approach to filmmaking, Disney isn’t compensating or even crediting the original writers. Screenwriters working in animation don’t have the same protections (or residuals) as their live-action counterparts in the Writers Guild of America, all thanks to some random incident back in 1938.

        While a lot of fans were understandably upset to learn this, we’d like to point out that there are possibly other creative parties being shafted here too. Namely, the folks behind Kimba The White Lion. We’ve talked before about how The Lion King is suspiciously similar to the ’60s Japanese series. [...]

      • Alleged Mastermind of Giant Pirate Manga Site Arrested in Manilla

        The alleged former operator of Mangamura, a site blamed for causing an estimated $2.9 billion in damages to the Japanese manga industry, has been detained in Manilla. According to immigration officials in the Philippines, 28-year-old Romi Hoshino was arrested Sunday when attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong.

      • Cooperative ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawyer Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

        John Steele, one of the attorneys behind the ‘copyright troll’ law firm Prenda, has been sentenced to five years in prison. The attorney was one of the masterminds behind the fraudulent scheme that extracted settlements from alleged pirates. Because of Steele’s cooperative stance, his sentence is significantly lower than that of co-conspirator Paul Hansmeier.

      • Game Developers Want You To ‘Pirate’ Games Instead Of Buying From Key Resellers

        Video game key reselling is a vast market and a major pain point for games studios. Small video game development studios are now urging users to pirate games instead of purchasing them from key resellers. Developers say that the sale of keys, which are ultimately sold for a high amount in illegal markets, cost them more than they earn.

        One such developer named Mike Rose from No More Robots, a Manchester-based gaming studio is running a petition on In his petition, he called out G2A, a popular online marketplace for key resellers, to stop selling indie titles on their platform.

Links 10/7/2019: Septor 2019.4, Tails 3.15, FreeBSD 11.3 and Microsoft ‘Morality Police’ (Censorship of FOSS) in GitHub

Wednesday 10th of July 2019 10:57:02 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • A look at Chromebooks

      In this article, we will look at Chromebooks and why it is becoming so popular in the world today and if it is worth considering as your next computer or a second computer.

      The first Chromebooks arrived in June 2011. They were basic computers that were simply a Chrome Browser on a cheap computer. The price was also quite low. Soon the market grew as many people started to experience the joy which, we Linux users, always enjoyed; fast updates, free and no viruses and let’s face it many people are merely using a computer to browse the internet, and they don’t need the rest and Google released that a Chromebook meet that need.

      After Chromebooks grew in popularity, especially in schools, but businesses and for home use also, Google realized that people are missing some apps. As people are familiar to Windows and apps galore, so they brought the Google Play Store to Chromebooks, which has been one of their best moves yet, as people are already familiar with it due to Android phones and as Chrome OS and the Play Store is part of Google, it was an obvious move.

      However, this move brought in a new stage for Chromebooks as well because no users can run many more apps, but it also means that Chromebooks needs more system resources, so different price ranges for Chromebooks appears. Cheap ones and pricey ones with powerful hardware.

      As Chromebooks become more powerful and more popular Google continues to improve it by bringing more software to it, and the next thing is Linux apps so that we can run native Linux apps like LibreOffice, Blender, etc. on a Chromebook. It is still a work in progress, and they are continuing to improve it so that it can run nearly all the Linux apps in the future flawlessly.

      Crossover also released a package to run Windows apps on Chromebooks and Wine also have a package for Android, and I will be surprised if it doesn’t work on Chromebooks as well.

    • Desktop
      • System76′s Linux-Powered Thelio Desktops Now Available with AMD Ryzen Gen 3 CPUs

        System76, the US-based maker of powerful Linux computers, announced on Twitter that its Thelio desktop line-up can now be configured with 3rd-generation AMD Ryzen processors.
        System76′s Thelio line-up offers customers out-of-this-world handcrafted desktop systems powered by the company’s in-house developed Pop!_OS Linux operating system or Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux, and ships with state-of-the-art hardware components that make your Linux computing experience more enjoyable.

        Available in three models, only two of the Thelio desktops can now be configured with AMD Ryzen CPUs, including the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen 5 with 5 core and 8 threads, 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen 5 3600X with 6 cores and 12 threads, 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen 7 3800X with 8 core and 16 threads, 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen 9 3900X with 12 Cores and 24 threads, AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.

    • Server
      • IBM
        • IBM officially acquires Red Hat for $34 billion — Linux distros are unaffected

          IBM has closed its acquisition of Red Hat following the statement of intent back in October. Following the $34 billion deal, Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM — and will be reported as part of IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software segment.

          For IBM, the deal means fully embracing open source as it looks to accelerate its business model within the enterprise. For Red Hat, it means expanding its client base and working with a big player in the enterprise cloud business.

        • Where do IBM and Red Hat go from here?

          IBM acquired Red Hat for a cool $34 billion. It’s IBM hope that Red Hat will help IBM’s annual revenue growth within the next five years. That growth will come from the continued rise of the hybrid cloud. How will they do that? The same way Red Hat has always grown: By embracing the open-source software approach.

          Specifically, as Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of products and technologies, said in a conference call, it will continue moving forward with the hybrid cloud: “Today what we start on is that journey on steroids.”

        • IBM Bets $34 Billion That Red Hat Can Help It Catch Amazon and Microsoft

          IBM has tried multiple ways to stay relevant in the technology world. But it has often been outgunned by rivals like Amazon and Microsoft.

          On Tuesday, IBM outlined its latest strategy: using its $34 billion purchase of Red Hat, the largest ever acquisition of a business software company, to get a big piece of the lucrative cloud computing market.

          The deal is a high-stakes bet for IBM and its leader, Ginni Rometty. Amazon and Microsoft dominate the cloud computing industry, with Google a distant third. (In China, Alibaba is the clear leader.) They have the internet skills and the deep pockets to spend many billions a year building the vast data centers that power the cloud, helping to protect their lead. But their grasp has raised concerns from customers about being dependent on a single provider.

        • IBM Completes The $34 Billion Red Hat Acquisition

          International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has completed its acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion, thus making it the world’s second-biggest technology acquisition ever. IBM has been struggling to adopt cloud-related technologies. With this deal, IBM will try to go after the market leaders like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • The Future is Open | LINUX Unplugged 309

        Open Source has taken over the world, as IBM’s purchase of Red Hat closes. We reflect on this historic moment.

        Plus Mozilla’s been labeled an Internet Villian, we deep dive into the tech behind all the controversy and how you can self-host secure DNS.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux Foundation
        • Microsoft To Join The Private Linux Mailing List

          Microsoft recently applied to join a private Linux kernel mailing list that’s meant for reporting and discussing security issues privately before they are made public. After a week-long discussion, it’s all but certain that Microsoft will be subscribed to the list.

        • Open Source Networking Accelerates with ONAP Dubli

          The ONAP Dublin release adds new stability and features to the platform including enhanced capabilities for 5G deployment. It also marks a major milestone for adoption and deployment of ONAP which is now being used by multiple global operations including Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, Swisscom, Telstra, TIM, AT&T and Orange. ONAP now also benefits from the consolidation of multiple open source networking projects under the LF Networking umbrella, of which it is a part.

        • LF Networking Releases ONAP Dublin

          LF Networking (LFN) has announced the availability of ONAP Dublin, the latest release of the open-source platform for real-time, policy-driven orchestration and automation of physical and virtual network functions.

      • Graphics Stack
        • NVIDIA releases the GeForce RTX 2060 and 2070 “SUPER” GPUs, along with a new Linux driver

          Today, NVIDIA’s brand new “SUPER” series has been officially released, along with a new Linux driver.

          Available now are both the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER and GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER, with the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER due to release later on July 23rd.

        • Radeon ROCm 2.6 Released – Without Navi Support But Adds BFloat16 & Other Features

          ROCm 2.6 was released overnight and when initially seeing this new Radeon Open Compute support come right after the Radeon RX 5700/5700XT launch, I was hopeful it would bring Navi support but sadly there are no signs of it in this release. But at least ROCm 2.6 is bringing other features.

          Radeon ROCm 2.6 brings various information reporting improvements, the first official release of rocThrust and hipCUB, MIGraphX 0.3 for reading models frozen from Tensorflow, MIOpen 2.0 with Bfloat16 support and other features, BFloat 16 for rocBLAS/Tensible, AMD Infinity Fabric Link support, RCCL2 support, rocFFT improvements, ROCm SMI fixes, and other enhancements.

    • Hardware
      • The state of open source GPU drivers on Arm in 2019

        I first blogged about the state of open source drivers for Arm GPUs 7 years ago, in January 2012, and then again in September 2017. I’ve had a few requests since then to provide an update but I’ve not bothered because there’s really been no real change in the last few years, that is until now!

        So the big positive change is that there’s two new open drivers om the scene with the panfrost and lima drivers. Panfrost is a reverse engineered driver for the newer Midguard and Bitfrost series of Mali GPUs designed/licensed by Arm, whereas Lima is aimed at the older Utguard series Mali 4xx series of devices. Panfrost, started by Alyssa Rosenzweig, and now has quite a large contributor base, has over the last few months has been coming along leaps and bounds and by the time Mesa 19.2 is out I suspect it should be able to run gnome-shell on an initial set of devices. I’m less certain the state of Lima. The drivers landed in the kernel in the 5.2 development cycle, which Linus just released. On the userspace side they landed in the mesa 19.1 development cycle, but they’ve greatly improving in mesa 19.2 cycle. Of course they’re all enabled in Fedora rawhide, although I don’t expect them to be really testable until later in the 19.2 cycle, but it makes it easy for early adopters who know they’re doing to be able to start to play.

      • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Linux Memory Scaling Performance

        For those wondering if upgrading your RAM to higher frequency DIMMs is worthwhile when moving to AMD X570 and a new Zen 2 processor like the Ryzen 9 3900X, here are some reference benchmarks at different frequencies while maintaining the same timings.

        In case you missed it, the new AMD processors offer native DDR4-3200 memory support while back during AMD’s press briefings they recommended DDR4-3733 as a “sweet spot” for those wanting optimal latency at a reasonable speed. But if you are after pushing high-end DDR4 to their limits, they say DDR4-5100 can be achieved on air cooling with mild overclocking.

    • Applications
      • Olivia – Elegant, Powerful Cloud Music Player For Linux

        I spend an inordinate amount of time listening to music. My favorite pastime is to see my favorite bands, solo artists, and orchestras live. It’s such a life-changing and exhilarating experience. It’s one thing to be sitting at home listening to a CD or watching music videos on TV or on YouTube, but being in the audience, packed out in a stadium or music hall, takes it to another level. But it’s an expensive pastime. And there are only so many opportunities to attend music performances live. For the rest of the time, I’m listening to music from my CD collection or over the cloud.

        I dabble with a wide range of music. Linux is blessed with a mouthwatering array of excellent open source music players. But I’m always on the lookout for fresh, eclectic, and innovative music players.

        Olivia is an online/offline cloud-based music player like iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube Music. Olivia allows you to search any music online stream it, You can set the player to save your streams while playback. Olivia lets you create and manage your music library.

        Olivia has been in development for a mere 5 months. There’s no official release yet, with the software in a beta stage of development. Olivia is written in C++ and uses Qt, a free and open-source widget toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces.

      • MAAS 2.6 – ESXi storage, multiple gateways, HTTP boot and more

        Canonical is happy to announce the availability of MAAS 2.6. This new release introduces a range of very exciting features and several improvements that enhances MAAS across various areas.

      • Cloaker: Easy File Encryption With Windows, macOS And Linux Support

        Cloaker is one of the easiest tools to encrypt and decrypt single files with cross-platform support (runs on Linux, Windows and macOS).

        The free and open source tool has a very basic Qt5 user interface on top of which you drag and drop a file you want to encrypt or decrypt, enter the password (with a minimum length of 10 characters), choose the location where to save the file, and you’re done. What’s more, Cloaker is portable / requires no installation.

      • Best Download Managers For Ubuntu Operating System

        Whenever we hear the word “download manager” or “downloader”, we remember the software Internet Download Manager & Free Download Manager. Good news is that various alternative to IDM and FDM are available for Linux based operating systems.

        In this post, we have collected the list of few amazing downloader for Ubuntu operating systems. Downloader for Ubuntu can help you to manage your downloads in a proper way.

      • Proprietary
    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Seems that the Linux version of Supraland will not be heading to GOG

        Supraland released for Linux on Steam on July 2nd and it just released on GOG today but it seems the Linux version will not be heading to GOG.

        What is Supraland? It’s a very highly rated first-person action and puzzle game, inspired by the likes of Zelda, Metroid and Portal. It’s popular, with an “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating on Steam from over two thousands user reviews and from my time spent in the demo, I can see why as it was pretty sweet.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Beware of some of the Qt 5.13 deprecation porting hints

          QComboBox::currentIndexChanged(QString) used to have (i.e. in Qt 5.13.0) a deprecation warning that said “Use currentTextChanged() instead”.

          That has recently been reverted since both are not totally equivalent, sure, you can probably “port” from one to the other, but the “use” wording to me seems like a “this is the same” and they are not.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Sprint 3: Calendar management dialog, cleanups and bugfixes

          The calendar is a fresh new take on the previous one; the individual online accounts rows were removed in favor of delegating it all to GNOME Settings’ Online Accounts panel, navigation is easier and simpler, adding new calendars is a more intuitive operation, and it’s possible to toggle calendars right from the first page.

          I’m pretty happy with the rework itself, and splitting it in pages and a controller was definitely the right choice. It allowed implementing the same functionality in a much more well organized way.

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
        • Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4 now available

          Following on from the launch of the new Raspberry Pi 4 mini PC, Offensive Security has released Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4 specifically created to take advantage of everything the pie has to offer. At the moment, Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4 is only available in a 32-bit variant, but a 64-bit version is currently under development and will be available sometime “in the near future” says Offensive Security.

          “We have a fascination with ARM hardware, and often find Kali very useful on small and portable devices. Over time, we have Built Kali Linux for a wide selection of ARM hardware and offered these images for public download. The scripts used to generate these images can be found on GitLab. These images have a default password of “toor” and may have pre-generated SSH host keys. These images are built using the “kali-rolling” repositories, and contain their respective kernel sources in case you need to compile extra drivers, or other kernel dependent code. We generate fresh Kali Linux image files every few months, which we make available for download. This page provides the links to download Kali Linux in its latest official release. For a release history, check our Kali Linux Releases page.”

        • Kali Linux ARM Images

          Kali ARM image downloads for various devices. We have Built Kali Linux for a wide selection of ARM hardware and offer these images for public download.

        • Septor 2019.4

          Tor Browser is fully installed (8.5.4)
          System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of July 9, 2019
          Update Linux kernel to 4.19.0-5
          Update apt to 1.8.2
          Update dpkg to 1.19.7
          Update Thunderbird to 60.7.2-1
          Update Hexchat to 2.13.2-4
          Update youtube-dl to 2019.07.02
          ISO Image Writer replaces Rosa Image Writer

        • Tails 3.15 is out

          This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Refreshed BL Helium ISOs with installation-time bugfix available

          After a non-security-critical installation-time bug was found due to expired repository signing keys in the old BL Helium installation ISOs, we just published a new set of Helium install ISOs that have been fixed. The ISO image files are available for direct download or via BitTorrent at the usual place.

          This issue only affected brand-new installations. If you already worked around the issue as suggested in our previous announcement, you don’t have to do anything. Existing users of BL also do not need to do anything.

          Thanks to all users who reported the issue.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Fedora Family
        • EPEL-8 Production Layout

          TL; DR:
          EPEL-8 will have a multi-phase roll-out into production.
          EPEL-8.0 will build using existing grobisplitter in order to use a ‘flattened’ build system without modules.
          EPEL-8.1 will start in staging without grobisplitter and using default modules via mock.
          The staging work will allow for continual development changes in koji, ‘ursa-prime’, and MBS functionality to work without breaking Fedora 31 or initial EPEL-8.0 builds.
          EPEL-8.1 will look to be ready by November 2019 after Fedora 31 around the time that RHEL-8.1 may release (if it uses a 6 month cadence.)

      • Debian Family
        • Debian Buster Arrives

          The Debian community has announced the release of Debian 10 “Buster.” Debian is one of the most popular GNU/Linux-based distributions. Buster will be supported for the next five years.

          Buster ships with several desktop environments including, Cinnamon 3.8, GNOME 3.30, KDE Plasma 5.14, LXDE 0.99.2, LXQt 0.14, MATE 1.20, and Xfce 4.12. In this release, GNOME will default to using the Wayland display server instead of Xorg. “The Xorg display server is still installed by default and the default display manager allows users to choose Xorg as the display server for their next session,” said Debian community in a blog post.

          The Reproducible Builds project enabled Debian developers to build bit-for-bit identical binary packages of the open-source packages available in Debian 10. “This is an important verification feature, which protects users against malicious attempts to tamper with compilers and build networks. Future Debian releases will include tools and metadata so that end-users can validate the provenance of packages within the archive,” said the blog post.

        • Upload to Debian with just ‘git tag’ and ‘git push’

          At a sprint over the weekend, Ian Jackson and I designed and implemented a system to make it possible for Debian Developers to upload new versions of packages by simply pushing a specially formatted git tag to salsa (Debian’s GitLab instance). That’s right: the only thing you will have to do to cause new source and binary packages to flow out to the mirror network is sign and push a git tag.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Machine Learning: serving models with Kubeflow on Ubuntu, Part 1

          This article is the first in a series of machine learning articles focusing on model serving. I assume you’re reading this article because you’re excited about machine learning and quite possibly Kubeflow as well. You might have done some model training and are now trying to understand how to serve those models in production. There are many ways to serve a trained model in both Kubeflow and outside of Kubeflow. This post should help the reader explore some of the alternatives and what to consider.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Write a Novel with Open Source Tools

        If you are looking for an open source tool to help you write your next novel, bibisco, ManusKript, and Plume Creator can help you get started.

        Aspiring writers have no shortage of software that is supposed to help them along the road to a finished manuscript. Whether they are writing a short story or a multi-volume series, this software promises to organize them by providing software and revisable outlines, as well as a supposedly distraction-free full-screen mode and databases for characters, settings, objects, and drafts. On Windows and Mac, the leading software is Scrivener. However, since a Linux version of Scrivener has yet to reach general release, open source alternatives have sprung up like bibisco, Manuskript, and Plume Creator, each with its own approach to writing and outlining.

      • Events
        • Android Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the Android Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! Android has a long history at Linux Plumbers and has continually made progress as a direct result of these meetings. This year’s focus will be a fairly ambitious goal to create a Generic Kernel Image (GKI) (or one kernel to rule them all!). Having a GKI will allow silicon vendors to be independent of the Linux kernel running on the device. As such, kernels could be easily upgraded without requiring any rework of the initial hardware porting efforts. This microconference will also address areas that have been discussed in the past.

        • GNR 85 – Twenty Minutes Boat Ride on a Paddle Steamer

          Dave kicks things off with a report from FOSS Talk Live 2019. Fab couldn’t make it but says he’s planning to go to this year’s OggCamp. We than discuss the news that Larian is doing Baldur’s Gate III.

          Naturally, we must also talk about Magic The Gathering, because it is the best game ever made. The new Core Set comes out this week!

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Version 68.0, first offered to Release channel users on July 9, 2019

            Today, we release two versions of Firefox 68 — a rapid release as well as an Extended Support Release (ESR).

            We’d like to extend a special thank you to all of the new Mozillians who contributed to this release of Firefox!

          • Firefox 68.0 released
          • Media stack Mid-Year review

            We recently closed the first half of 2019 and with that it is time to look back and do a quick summary of what the media team has achieved during this 6 months period.

            Looking at some stats, we merged 87 Pull Requests, we opened 56 issues, we closed 42 issues and we welcomed 13 new amazing contributors to the media stack.

          • Firefox Quantum Gets New Update For ‘Full Dark Mode’ And More

            Mozilla has released a new update to its Firefox Quantum browser, following an update that was released back in May this year.

            The latest update has brought in new features to the browser that include the ability to have the dark mode for all the sections of the website. This will be applicable to texts, sidebars, and even toolbars.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • LibreOffice 6.3 RC1 is ready for testing!

          The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 6.3 RC1 is ready for testing!

          LibreOffice 6.3 will be released as final in mid August, 2019, being LibreOffice 6.3 RC1 the forth pre-release since the development of version 6.3 started in mid November, 2018 ( See the release plan ). Since LibreOffice 6.3 Beta2 ( the previous pre-release ), 123 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 66 bugs have been fixed. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.

          LibreOffice 6.3 RC1 can be downloaded from here, it’s available for Linux, MacOS and Windows. ( Note tha it will replace your actual installation )

          In case you find any problem in this pre-release, please report it in Bugzilla ( You just need a legit email address in order to create a new account ) so it can get fixed before LibreOffice 6.3 final is released.

      • BSD
        • OPNsense 19.7 RC1 released

          For four and a half years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through
          modularising and hardening the open source firewall, with simple
          and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD
          security, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear
          and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.

          We thank all of you for helping test, shape and contribute to the project!
          We know it would not be the same without you.

          Download links, an installation guide[1] and the checksums for the images
          can be found below as well.

        • FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE Announcement

          The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE. This is the fourth release of the stable/11 branch.

        • FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE Available

          FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE is now available. Please be sure to check the Release Notes and Release Errata before installation for any late-breaking news and/or issues with 11.3. More information about FreeBSD releases can be found on the Release Information page.

        • FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE Release Notes

          This document contains the release notes for FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE. It describes recently added, changed, or deleted features of FreeBSD. It also provides some notes on upgrading from previous versions of FreeBSD.

          This distribution of FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE is a release distribution. It can be found at or any of its mirrors. More information on obtaining this (or other) release distributions of FreeBSD can be found in the “Obtaining FreeBSD” appendix to the FreeBSD Handbook.

          All users are encouraged to consult the release errata before installing FreeBSD. The errata document is updated with “late-breaking” information discovered late in the release cycle or after the release. Typically, it contains information on known bugs, security advisories, and corrections to documentation. An up-to-date copy of the errata for FreeBSD 11.3-RELEASE can be found on the FreeBSD Web site.

          This document describes the most user-visible new or changed features in FreeBSD since 11.2-RELEASE. In general, changes described here are unique to the 11.3-STABLE branch unless specifically marked as MERGED features.

          Typical release note items document recent security advisories issued after 11.2-RELEASE, new drivers or hardware support, new commands or options, major bug fixes, or contributed software upgrades. They may also list changes to major ports/packages or release engineering practices. Clearly the release notes cannot list every single change made to FreeBSD between releases; this document focuses primarily on security advisories, user-visible changes, and major architectural improvements.

        • FreeBSD 11.3 Officially Released With Random Improvements, Updated Components

          FreeBSD 11.3 brings a number of updated user-space applications, libxo support has been enabled for various applications, XZ 5.2.4 has been updated, a Lua loader has been merged, LLVM Clang 8.0 is now available along with other LLVM 8.0.0 components, various networking driver updates, a ZFS file-system fix, and other changes. And, yes, there is a random driver update for improving the performance during the expensive task of reseeding the pool.

        • GnuPG 2.2.17 released Hello! We are pleased to announce the availability of a new GnuPG release: version 2.2.17. This is maintenance release to mitigate the effects of the denial-of-service attacks on the keyserver network. See below for a list changes. About GnuPG =========== The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG, GPG) is a complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP and S/MIME standards. GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for public key directories. GnuPG itself is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications. The separate library GPGME provides a uniform API to use the GnuPG engine by software written in common programming languages. A wealth of frontend applications and libraries making use of GnuPG are available. As an universal crypto engine GnuPG provides support for S/MIME and Secure Shell in addition to OpenPGP. GnuPG is Free Software (meaning that it respects your freedom). It can be freely used, modified and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Noteworthy changes in version 2.2.17 ==================================== * gpg: Ignore all key-signatures received from keyservers. This change is required to mitigate a DoS due to keys flooded with faked key-signatures. The old behaviour can be achieved by adding keyserver-options no-self-sigs-only,no-import-clean to your gpg.conf. [#4607] * gpg: If an imported keyblocks is too large to be stored in the keybox (pubring.kbx) do not error out but fallback to an import using the options "self-sigs-only,import-clean". [#4591] * gpg: New command --locate-external-key which can be used to refresh keys from the Web Key Directory or via other methods configured with --auto-key-locate. * gpg: New import option "self-sigs-only". * gpg: In --auto-key-retrieve prefer WKD over keyservers. [#4595] * dirmngr: Support the "openpgpkey" subdomain feature from draft-koch-openpgp-webkey-service-07. [#4590]. * dirmngr: Add an exception for the "openpgpkey" subdomain to the CSRF protection. [#4603] * dirmngr: Fix endless loop due to http errors 503 and 504. [#4600] * dirmngr: Fix TLS bug during redirection of HKP requests. [#4566] * gpgconf: Fix a race condition when killing components. [#4577] Release-info: Getting the Software ==================== Please follow the instructions found at or read on: GnuPG 2.2.17 may be downloaded from one of the GnuPG mirror sites or direct from its primary FTP server. The list of mirrors can be found at Note that GnuPG is not available at The GnuPG source code compressed using BZIP2 and its OpenPGP signature are available here: (6560k) An installer for Windows without any graphical frontend except for a very minimal Pinentry tool is available here: (4185k) The source used to build the Windows installer can be found in the same directory with a ".tar.xz" suffix. A new version of Gpg4win incluing this version of GnuPG will be released in a few days.
        • Thank you for advancing free software: Read FSF spring news in the latest Bulletin

          Thirty-five volunteers joined FSF staff over the course of three days to get all the Bulletins stuffed in envelopes and mailed out. This was a great opportunity to catch up on free software issues with some of our most dedicated free software enthusiasts here in Boston. We are grateful to have such a strong core of supporters that keep the movement growing, and thanks to your generous contribution, we will be even stronger.

          Please be vocal about your support for free software. Read and share the Bulletin articles online using the #ISupportFreeSoftware hashtag, use our fundraiser support images, and talk to your community about why you support the FSF. It makes a difference.

          Throughout our spring fundraiser, we have been enjoying both the public posts from supporters using the hashtag on social media, as well as answers to the “What inspired you to join today?” question we ask new members. Here are some of our favorites.

        • June 2019: Photos from Brno

          Free Software Foundation president Richard Stallman (RMS) was in Brno, Czech Republic on June 6, 2019, to give two speeches.

          In the morning, he took part in the URBIS Smart City Fair, at the Brno Fair Grounds, giving his speech “Computing, freedom, and privacy.”1

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Hardware/Modding
          • You can tinker with this conference badge

            The SMD Challenge was born from an insight into the human condition, as its creators explain:

            “Making LEDs blink is what people think make Makers happy, but they are wrong. Makers want to be miserable. They like to make mistakes and to have to try things over and over again. That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. This project will make you strong!”

            The SMD challenge is a badge you make yourself. This project starts with a relatively easy to solder resistor and LED. It then moves into increasingly tiny resistors and LEDs. Coming in both “Regular Edition” and “Misery Edition,” the SMD challenge is designed to challenge—and break—all but the most determined solderers.

            If you do manage to make it all the way to the end (and can document your success), you can enter the prestigious 0201 Club. If you prefer to experience the misery (and success) secondhand, the club also features links showing many of the successful attempts.

      • Programming/Development
        • Top 10 Programming Languages for Engineers

          Programming languages are commands used to create a software program. These programming languages are used to code and create software that will improve work for many systems in all industries, including the engineering-dependent sectors.

          There are two types of programming languages. The first one is called the “high-level languages” and the second one is called the “low-level languages.”


          It is a high-level programming language used for general purposes. Python focuses on the readability of codes. That’s why it is fond of whitespaces.

          Python was designed to help programmers in writing readable, logical, and straightforward codes for both small and big projects.

        • Reading and Writing Files in Python

          In this course, you’ll learn about reading and writing files in Python. You’ll cover everything from what a file is made up of to which libraries can help you along that way. You’ll also take a look at some basic scenarios of file usage as well as some advanced techniques.

          One of the most common tasks that you can do with Python is reading and writing files. Whether it’s writing to a simple text file, reading a complicated server log, or even analyzing raw byte data, all of these situations require reading or writing a file.

        • The week that has been @ 2048
        • Weekly Check-in #6
        • Blog #3
        • Weekly Check-in #5
        • GSoC weekly blog
        • GSoC Weekly Check in
        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #376 (July 9, 2019)
        • Writing tests for Rust HTTP source | GSoC 2019

          My GSoC mentor, Sebastian Dröge coded the skeleton of the test with a basic unit test case for HTTP source plugin (aka reqwesthttpsrc). Here is the link to the merge request. The test was to check whether we receive the data correctly which is sent by the server. Here we make a hyper HTTP server which respond with “Hello World”. Then we use our plugin to receive the data and we compare both. Also the interesting thing here is the Custom test harness which can be used to initialize a HTTP server with required behavior and our HTTP element with required properties set. We can use this to create the desired Harness for the any test case.

        • Wing Tips: Extending Wing with Python (Part 4 of 4)

          In this issue of Wing Tips we continue to look at how to extend Wing’s functionality, by taking a closer look at at the scripting API and writing up a more complex script.

          If you haven’t read the previous installments of this series, you may want to take a look at Part 1 where we introduced Wing’s scripting framework and set up auto-completion for the scripting API, Part 2 where we used Wing to debug itself for easier extension script development, and Part 3 where we looked at how to collect arguments from the user.

        • Rust: How do we teach “Implementing traits in no_std for generics using lifetimes” without sutdents going mad?
        • A Brief Introduction To Markov Chains | Markov Chains In Python
        • How I learned Python Programming RAPIDLY!
        • Stop using indices!

          A very common things I see among my newer Python students is that often try to access values by index within loops. Part of this is down to experience in other programming languages, where this kind of pattern is common, but there are also situations where they just don’t realise there’s a better way. In this post, I want to show off some of those better ways so you can write more Pythonic loops, and ditch indices in favour of descriptive variable names.

        • This Week in Rust 294
        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 6
        • How Tara AI Is Helping Developers Build Better Software Faster
        • 32-bit life support: Cross-compiling with GCC

          If you’re a developer creating binary packages, like an RPM, DEB, Flatpak, or Snap, you have to compile code for a variety of different target platforms. Typical targets include 32-bit and 64-bit x86 and ARM. You could do your builds on different physical or virtual machines, but that means maintaining several systems. Instead, you can use the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to cross-compile, producing binaries for several different architectures from a single build machine.

          Assume you have a simple dice-rolling game that you want to cross-compile. Something written in C is relatively easy on most systems, so to add complexity for the sake of realism, I wrote this example in C++, so the program depends on something not present in C (iostream, specifically).

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • How to teach software engineering students about the enterprise

        In this opinion article, you will find a set of suggestions for the inclusion of enterprise technology into software engineering courses. This piece goes through the difficulties that students face and proposes simplifications successfully used in the past. The continual advancement of enterprise technologies leads to a simplifying of the inclusion process in education.

        In the coming years, one can expect that industry demand for experts who know the technology used in enterprise development processes and production systems will increase. Academic institutions are here to prepare experts and leaders for industry, and thus they should know the technologies being used.

        It has been ten years since I taught my first software engineering course. Since then, I have taught this course every year. Many software engineering courses put emphasis on analysis and design from the abstract perspective, involving UML models and notations, and letting students develop software projects on their own.

    • Security
      • flaw forces users onto video and audio calls

        The macOS client application for the popular audio and video conferencing service Zoom can be made to forcibly join users to calls, activating Mac microphones video cameras without users being asked for permission, a researcher has found.

      • Samba 4.11-RC1 Released With Scalability Improvements, Disables SMB1 By Default

        The first release candidate of Samba 4.11 is now available while Samba 4.12 begins development on Git master.

        With Samba 4.11 there is the notable work around making it scalable to 100,000+ users with hundreds of thousands of objects. This is making Samba of more relevance for use in very large organizations. Samba 4.11 also brings other performance optimizations, lower memory usage, search performance enhancements, and other scalability work.

      • Years late to the SMB1-killing party, Samba finally dumps the unsafe file-sharing protocol version by default

        Samba says its next release will switch off previously on-by-default support for the aging and easily subverted SMB1 protocol. It can be reenabled for those truly desperate to use the godforsaken deprecated protocol version.

        The open-source SMB toolkit’s developers say the Samba 4.11 build, currently in preview, will by default set SMB2_02 as the earliest supported version of the Windows file-sharing protocol.

        “This means clients without support for SMB2 or SMB3 are no longer able to connect to smbd (by default),” the 4.11 release notes read.

        “It also means client tools like smbclient and others, as well as applications making use of libsmbclient are no longer able to connect to servers without SMB2 or SMB3 support (by default).”

        Admins will still have the option to allow SMB1 on their servers if they so choose, but support will be turned off by default.

      • The GitHub account of Canonical who developed popular Ubuntu Linux was hacked[Ed: GitHub is Microsoft's responsibility, so speak to Microsoft. Ubuntu needs to delete GitHub.]
      • GitHub account belonging to Ubuntu Linux maker Canonical hacked [Ed: The account belongs to Microsoft actually. The site is entirely owned by it.]

        “Canonical has removed the compromised account from the Canonical organization in GitHub and is still investigating the extent of the breach, but there is no indication at this point that any source code or PII was affected,” the team said.

      • Microsoft to Join Linux Mailing List That Privately Discusses Unpatched Security Issues [Ed: It is pretty revealing that it is mostly Microsoft propaganda sites which push the “Microsoft loves Linux” lie.]

        Microsoft will become a member of the sought after Linux-distros mailing list, which privately discusses non-public security issues. To qualify for the membership, a member must have been submitting fixes for at least a year, with the tech giant’s anniversary and join date on August 5.

      • Microsoft set to join private Linux security mailing list [Ed: Microsoft entryism is progressing inside Linux and Windows promotion sites are pleased.]

        As it stands right now, there are representatives from ALT Linux, Amazon Linux AMI, Arch Linux, Chrome OS, CloudLinux, CoreOS, Debian, Gentoo, Openwall, Oracle, Red Hat, Slackware, SUSE, Ubuntu, and Wind River on the list. According to the list’s information page, issues disclosed here are subject to a maximum embargo period of 14 days but seven days are preferable.

      • Matthew Garrett: Bug bounties and NDAs are an option, not the standard

        Zoom had a vulnerability that allowed users on MacOS to be connected to a video conference with their webcam active simply by visiting an appropriately crafted page. Zoom’s response has largely been to argue that:

        a) There’s a setting you can toggle to disable the webcam being on by default, so this isn’t a big deal,
        b) When Safari added a security feature requiring that users explicitly agree to launch Zoom, this created a poor user experience and so they were justified in working around this (and so introducing the vulnerability), and,
        c) The submitter asked whether Zoom would pay them for disclosing the bug, and when Zoom said they’d only do so if the submitter signed an NDA, they declined.

        (a) and (b) are clearly ludicrous arguments, but (c) is the interesting one. Zoom go on to mention that they disagreed with the severity of the issue, and in the end decided not to change how their software worked. If the submitter had agreed to the terms of the NDA, then Zoom’s decision that this was a low severity issue would have led to them being given a small amount of money and never being allowed to talk about the vulnerability. Since Zoom apparently have no intention of fixing it, we’d presumably never have heard about it. Users would have been less informed, and the world would have been a less secure place.


        If your bug bounty requires people sign an NDA, you should think about why. If it’s so you can control disclosure and delay things beyond 90 days (and potentially never disclose at all), look at whether the amount of money you’re offering for that is anywhere near commensurate with the value the submitter could otherwise gain from the information and compare that to the reputational damage you’ll take from people deciding that it’s not worth it and just disclosing unilaterally. And, seriously, never ask for an NDA before you’re committing to a specific $ amount – it’s never reasonable to ask that someone sign away their rights without knowing exactly what they’re getting in return.

      • Microsoft July 2019 Patch Tuesday fixes zero-day exploited by Russian hackers [Ed: Let’s blame Russia instead of NSA back doors put there by Microsoft. More trash from CBS tabloid ZDNet.]

        Since the Microsoft Patch Tuesday is also the day when other vendors also release security patches, it’s also worth mentioning that Adobe and SAP have also published their respective security updates earlier today.

      • William Brown: I no longer recommend FreeIPA

        The FreeIPA project focused on Kerberos and SSSD, with enough other parts glued on to look like a complete IDM project. Now that’s fine, but it means that concerns in other parts of the project are largely ignored. It creates design decisions that are not scalable or robust.

        Due to these decisions IPA has stability issues and scaling issues that other products do not.

        To be clear: security systems like IDM or LDAP can never go down. That’s not acceptable.

      • Ubuntu Source code is Safe in the Canonical GitHub account hacking!

        The canonical Security is once again under questionable notice. The forum has been hacked thrice on different occasions. In July 2013, details of 1.82 Million users were stolen by hackers followed by the second hacking where 2 million users data were stolen in July 2016 and in July 2019, the Github account of Canonical limited has been hacked.

        This company works behind the distribution of Ubuntu Linux and was hacked on July 6th, 2019. The Security team accepted that the Canonical owned account on Github was compromised on credentials and was used to create disturbance and issues among other activities. Though the company has removed the account from the organization in Github, it is still working on checking out the breach. The company believes that the source code or PII was affected in any way.

      • Azure Sphere OS Built on a Compact, Secured Linux
    • Environment
      • Nearly a month’s worth of rain in 1 hour triggers travel nightmare in DC area

        Commuters in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore area faced an extremely difficult and dangerous drive back to work on Monday morning following the long holiday weekend as heavy downpours flooded local roadways.
        Videos have surfaced on social media in which the raging floodwaters turned roads into rivers. One social media user captured a video while driving through high floodwaters in the Virginia Avenue Tunnel on Monday morning and said, “You’re going to need a boat to pass underneath the Virginia Ave. underpass on I-66 in NW D.C.”

      • Flash flood warning issued for Washington metro area

        A flash flood warning has been issued for the Washington, D.C., metro area until 1:45 p.m. Monday by the National Weather Service.

        In one hour, some spots just west of the nation’s capital saw over 3 inches of rain, especially along the Potomac River.
        Areas of concern include the Great Falls, Virginia, area and southeastern Montgomery County, Maryland.

      • AOC, Bernie Sanders to Introduce Resolution Calling ‘Existential Threat’ of the Climate Crisis an ‘Emergency’

        A cohort of progressive Democrats plan to introduce a resolution declaring a climate emergency Tuesday in Congress, a move that could open the door to decisive action on the crisis.

        The Guardian’s Emily Holden reported Monday afternoon that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) are expected to introduce a resolution calling for naming the climate crisis an “emergency” on Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, also plans to introduce the resolution in the upper chamber, according to the reporting.

        In comment to The Guardian, Blumenauer’s office said that the congressman “decided to draft the resolution after Donald Trump declared an emergency at the U.S. border with Mexico so he could pursue building a wall between the two countries.”

      • David Attenborough Calls on Voters in US and Australia to Respond to Climate Science Denial Among Leaders

        Veteran broadcaster David Attenborough has expressed his disappointment at the rise of climate science denial in the US and Australia and called on voters to respond.

        Referencing the rise of climate science denial in some countries while giving evidence to a committee of MPs in the UK, Attenborough said he was “sorry that there are people in power and internationally, notably the United States, but also in Australia” where “those voices are clearly heard”. He said he hoped the “electorate will actually respond” to public figures that promote climate science denial.

      • 24 Governors Call on Trump to Halt Rollback on Rules for Clean Cars

        The opposition to one of President Trump’s most consequential regulatory rollbacks — a plan to weaken pollution standards for automobiles nationwide — widened on Tuesday when 24 governors, including three Republicans, urged the president to abandon his plan.

        The governors’ plea adds to a chorus of criticism from an unlikely mix of voices, including not only environmentalists and labor unions but also some of the biggest automakers in the world. The two dozen governors include the leaders of four states — North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Montana — that voted for Trump in 2016, helping propel him into the White House.

      • Governors Join California Push for Auto Mileage Pact With Trump

        Governors from more than 20 states — including some won by Donald Trump in the 2016 election — joined California officials to urge his administration to implement automobile emissions rules that are consistent nationwide and require efficiency improvements each year.

      • 23 Governors Join Calif. in Opposing Trump Mileage Standards

        Citing climate-damaging tailpipe emissions, 23 governors signed a pledge Tuesday backing California leaders in their showdown with the Trump administration over its plans to relax vehicle mileage standards .

        The pledge by leaders of states and Puerto Rico, most of them Democrats, comes as the administration seeks to ease tougher mileage standards laid out by former President Barack Obama as part of his efforts against climate change. Legal challenges to Trump’s policy proposal threaten to disrupt the auto industry for years, and an influential auto industry trade group is renewing its appeal for the compromise.

        The administration says American consumers increasingly want bigger, less-efficient SUVs and pickup trucks . It argues that demanding ever-more fuel-efficient vehicles will drive up automobile costs and keep less-safe, older vehicles on the road longer; opponents challenge that claim.

      • Enormous Antarctic glacier on brink of collapse could raise sea levels by half a metre alone, scientists warn

        An enormous glacier the size of Florida may be on the brink of melting so quickly it could cause catastrophic global sea level rises, scientists have warned.

        While the climate crisis has seen temperatures soar and rapidly reduce ice levels in the Arctic, down in the Antarctic, far larger ice sheets containing much more water are now believed to be at significant risk of collapse, despite previously being considered stable.

        The Thwaites Glacier is one of five recently identified unstable Antarctic glaciers which have doubled their rate of ice loss in just six years.

        Covering 70,000 square miles, it is likely to accelerate its flow into the ocean, a new study into Antarctic ice sheet stability has suggested.

      • Marine ice sheet instability amplifies and skews uncertainty in projections of future sea-level rise

        Sea-level rise may accelerate significantly if marine ice sheets become unstable. If such instability occurs, there would be considerable uncertainty in future sea-level rise projections due to imperfectly modeled ice sheet processes and unpredictable climate variability. In this study, we use mathematical and computational approaches to identify the ice sheet processes that drive uncertainty in sea-level projections. Using stochastic perturbation theory from statistical physics as a tool, we show mathematically that the marine ice sheet instability greatly amplifies and skews uncertainty in sea-level projections with worst-case scenarios of rapid sea-level rise being more likely than best-case scenarios of slower sea-level rise. We also perform large ensemble simulations with a state-of-the-art ice sheet model of Thwaites Glacier, a marine-terminating glacier in West Antarctica that is thought to be unstable. These ensemble simulations indicate that the uncertainty solely related to internal climate variability can be a large fraction of the total ice loss expected from Thwaites Glacier. We conclude that internal climate variability alone can be responsible for significant uncertainty in projections of sea-level rise and that large ensembles are a necessary tool for quantifying the upper bounds of this uncertainty.

      • Antarctic Glacial Melt May Be Irreversible Causing Sea Rise, Research Says

        The mathematical models the researchers created make the most catastrophic scenarios of rapid melting and fast rises in sea water levels seems much more likely than the best-case scenarios of a slow sea level rise. Just how much ice the glaciers will shed in the next 50 to 800 years is impossible to predict since the climate is constantly changing and more data is needed. And yet, the researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of Washington factored the instability into 500 ice flow simulations for Thwaites with refined calculations, according to

        While the scenarios showed a wide-range of possibilities, they consistently pointed to an irreversible instability in the glacier that would keep pushing the ice out to sea at an enormously accelerated rate over the coming centuries.

      • Energy
        • Bipartisan Group of Governors Pushes Back on Big Oil, Tells Trump Admin to Halt Clean Car Rollbacks

          As the Trump administration scrambles to formalize its rollback of clean car standards, 24 governors are telling the President to pump the brakes on the proposed rule. The governors have signed a letter, as reported this morning in The New York Times, Associated Press, and Bloomberg, requesting that the administration reconsider the rollback of fuel efficiency and emissions standards, and to honor California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to write its own standards, which other states are allowed under the law to sign onto.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Once Again, Russian Internet Propaganda Efforts Shown To Be Much Bigger Than Originally Believed

        Early on, as the scope of Russia’s disinformation and hacking efforts were being revealed, there was a tendency on many fronts to downplay the width and breadth of the problem. For example, early whistleblower revelations of Russia’s troll factories–which pump bile and misinformation into the internet bloodstream 24/7–were downplayed as just a few harmless sods posting lame memes in broken English. In time, it became clear that the efforts were larger and far more sophisticated than previously believed.

        The hack of the DNC was similarly downplayed for years. Posing as a Romanian hacker, Russian intelligence sowed all manner of chaos with a carefully timed and leaked reveal of DNC data. Yet even many US journalists downplayed that possibility. Others, thanks largely to flimsy, troll-backed conspiracy theories, routinely claimed the DNC had hacked itself. And still others implied the hack was some kind of mass delusion. We now know the hack was part of a documented attack by Russian intelligence, only exposed due to some sloppy opsec by Russian intelligence agents.

        Here on planet Earth, one thing keeps being made abundantly clear: the scope of Russia’s disinformation and hacking efforts are continually being revealed as much bigger than both “conventional wisdom” and crackpot wingnut theory dictated. The latest case in point: the Seth Rich conspiracy, which proclaimed that the DNC staffer had been covertly murdered instead of being robbed, has infected brains across the internet for years now. While the theory was never true, it gained traction thanks to a wide variety of voices ranging from Wikileaks to Fox News.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • ‘Deep Fake’ Legislation Is On The Way, Threatening Free Speech Protections

        The proliferation of deep fake videos is going to start having an effect on First Amendment protections. Hint: it’s not going to make these protections any stronger.

        “Deep fake” may be easier to define than “fake news,” but that doesn’t mean there won’t be collateral damage. The issue isn’t a new one. Faking reality has been around nearly as long as reality itself. Cheap tools that make this anyone’s game is the only thing new. Before we had deep fakes, we had Photoshop and its imitators.

        Video used to be the last bulwark of truth. It couldn’t be faked easily. But this too has been abused for years. Editing video to make it show what the editor wants it to show is a tactic that has been used for years. Now, however, tools make it possible to put new words in peoples’ mouths, as was demonstrated to devastating satirical effect when a video of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was tricked out to make it appear as though Zuckerberg was promising to swallow every user’s data and privacy.

      • Court: It’s Cool If The (Federal) Government Searches A Phone The (Local) Government Seized Illegally

        The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided it’s OK if a government agency searches a phone that should never have been seized in the first place… so long as it’s not the same government agency that illegally seized it. The illegality of the original seizure — which should have provoked some discussions of poisonous trees and their harmful fruit — is pretty much discarded in favor of the good faith exception.

        The backstory is this: Charles Fulton Jr. was targeted by the Galveston (TX) Police Department — working in tandem with the FBI — for sex trafficking and prostitution of teens. He was ultimately found guilty on four sex trafficking charges, prompting this appeal of the district court’s refusal to toss out the evidence pulled from his seized phone.

      • [Microsoft] GitHub Bans Open Source DeepNude App And Other Projects Based On It

        GitHub has removed code that is based on DeepNude — an app that uses AI to digitally undress pictures of women and create fake nudes.

        While the maker of DeepNude has already shut down the project and made it illegal to use or possess copies of the app, multiple repositories based on the DeepNude algorithm have cropped up on GitHub and also on other platforms.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • UK ISPs Vilify Mozilla For Trying To Secure The Internet

        Over the years, UK ISPs have been forced by the government to censor an increasing array of “controversial” content, including copyrighted material and “terrorist content.” In fits and spurts, the UK has also increasingly tried to censor pornography, despite that being a decidedly impossible affair. Like most global censorship efforts, these information blockades often rely on Domain Name Server (DNS) level blacklists by UK ISPs.

        Historically, like much of the internet, DNS hasn’t been all that secure. That’s why Mozilla recently announced it would begin testing something called “DNS over HTTPS,” a significant security upgrade to DNS that encrypts and obscures your domain requests, making it difficult to see which websites a user is visiting. Obviously, this puts a bit of a wrinkle in the government, ISP, or other organizational efforts to use DNS records to block and filter content or track user activity.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • The International Code Council goes to court over free access to building codes

        Potential productivity benefits for architecture, engineering, and construction may depend on the outcome of copyright litigation by the International Code Council (ICC) against San Francisco-based startup UpCodes. The firm, which aims to reduce perceived bottlenecks in the implementation of the nation’s 93,000 building codes, faces charges that its public posting of codes undermines the public-private partnership that develops them.

        The nonprofit ICC, which prepares the International Building Code and other model codes adopted by multiple jurisdictions, contends that UpCodes has appropriated its property and “does not need to violate ICC’s copyrights to further its claim to innovate,” an anonymous ICC spokesperson commented for this article through its public relations firm. UpCodes regards its practice as fair use, citing precedents establishing that information “incorporated by reference” into law (the applicable legal term) enters the public domain. Other appeals courts, ICC counters, have protected copyrights in cases it considers comparable.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Monopolies
      • Copyrights
        • Indie Publishers Tell Gamers To Pirate Instead Of Buying Keys Through Reseller G2A

          This recommendation was followed up by Rose and other game developers on Twitter, suggesting that anyone thinking about buying a resold game key via G2A just pirate their games instead. This isn’t he first time we’ve seen this sort of thing specifically about G2A, which is one of the more popular Steam key resellers out there. A couple of years ago, another indie game studio went so far as to put its game up on The Pirate Bay itself just to keep money from reaching the hands of G2A.

          The big problem here is that game developers regularly give away free or cheap Steam keys to influencers and others in the hopes of promoting the game on the internet. Some of those influencers then turn around and resell those keys on the G2A market. For its part, G2A insists that it will take down fraudulent sellers and even issue refunds to devs that can prove the keys sold were obtained by nefarious means, but that’s generally a lot of window dressing, given that G2A also buys Google ads to place its own links at the top of search results for these same indie games. Meanwhile, these resold keys generate no revenue for the developer, but do increase their costs in customer service, server requirements for online games, etc.

        • Big Fair Use Win Concerning Andy Warhol’s Paintings Of Prince

          A decade ago, you may recall, there was a big copyright fight concerning the iconic “Hope” poster that artist Shepard Fairey had created for the Obama campaign. The Associated Press realized that Fairey had used one of its photos as the “model” for making the poster, and started demanding money (there was also a side issue where the actual photographer kept changing his story, first claiming he was thrilled that Fairey had used it, then arguing that the copyright on the photo was his and not the AP’s, and then getting angry at Fairey). Eventually Fairey filed for declaratory judgment of non-infringement, against the AP, arguing that his use was covered by fair use. We argued at the time that he had a very strong case. However, Fairey poisoned his own position in the lawsuit by stupidly first (falsely) claiming he had used a different photograph as the basis for his poster and then destroying evidence about which photo he had used. That’s bad. Really bad. So, it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Fairey eventually agree to just settle the lawsuit, rather than fight for the fair use ruling, since the case was so muddied by his own early actions.

EPO Further Harms Justice and Quality by Weakening Processes Associated With the EPO’s Boards of Appeal

Wednesday 10th of July 2019 08:20:28 AM

Keeping judges embattled and under the control of Office aristocracy

Summary: The priorities of EPO management reveal the sheer misunderstanding if not malice; either they do not know how to run a patent office or they intentionally try to make it fail (where it matters most)

THE patent system in Europe used to be a lot better than the system in the United States. If one does not get distracted by number of patents and instead focuses on the quality of patents…

Benoît Battistelli‘s attack on the EPO has considerably lowered patent quality — to the point where it grants patents that even the USPTO would reject, e.g. European software patents. Who benefits from this?

“Why would Campinos even want to attend a meeting of a lobby/pressure group? This has sadly become far too routine; never does he attend events of actual scientists.”The EPO is nowadays increasingly pissing off even law firms, which one might expect to love this crazed patent zeal or support for patent trolls. About a week ago Managing IP (a front for law firms) published “Lawyers urge EPO for quality as new plan branded propaganda”. On Tuesday it published “Lawyers doubtful that new EPO appeal rules will improve efficiency” (the site mostly/only speaks for lawyers; their writers admitted this bias to me). This is the latest EPO ‘reform’ and response to it:

European lawyers say that revised rules at the EPO’s Boards of Appeal could lead to cases becoming overloaded with documents due to fears of late-stage claims being impermissible

Revised rules of procedure at the EPO’s Boards of Appeal and their focus on avoiding late amendments and submissions could see parties ‘front-load’ their arguments at an earlier stage, causing a headache for first instance divisions, lawyers say.

We have meanwhile noticed that the front group IBM uses for lobbying [1, 2] (e.g. for software patents in the United States), the IP Owners’ Association, plans to have António Campinos as a speaker alongside Andrei Iancu (both EPO and USPTO are now dominated by ‘moles’ of litigation zealots). IPO says “Campos” (as in, “EPO President António Campos”). They don’t even know who’s invited? In their own words:

Keynote speakers will include USPTO Director Andrei Iancu and EPO President António Campos. As usual, the three-day Meeting will convene IP lawyers, in-house experts, academics and government representatives, as well as IP service providers, from around the world – and all for the discussion of trends, strategies, best practices and thought leadership.

Why would Campinos even want to attend a meeting of a lobby/pressure group? This has sadly become far too routine; never does he attend events of actual scientists. That serves to reveal who today’s EPO really strives to serve and we’ve taken note of similar things dozens of times before. The only time we see EPO officials together with scientists there’s some expensive festival (millions of euros wasted per hour) in which they piggyback these scientists’ accomplishments, having invited (and paid) media companies for puff pieces.

Links 9/7/2019: Goodbye Red Hat (IBM Takeover Finalised), Mesa 19.1.2, D9VK 0.13

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 07:36:19 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • The Saga Of 32-Bit Linux: Why Going 64-Bit Raises Concerns Over Multilib

      Of course, some decisions are easier to make than others. Back in 2012 when Linus Torvalds officially ended kernel support for legacy 386 processors, he famously closed the commit message with “Good riddance.” Maintaining support for such old hardware had been complicating things behind the scenes for years while offering very little practical benefit, so removing all that legacy code was like taking a weight off the developer’s shoulders.

      The rationale was the same a few years ago when distributions like Arch Linux decided to drop support for 32-bit hardware entirely. Maintainers had noticed the drop-off in downloads for the 32-bit versions of their distributions and decided it didn’t make sense to keep producing them. In an era where even budget smartphones are shipping with 64-bit processors, many Linux distributions have at this point decided 32-bit CPUs weren’t worth their time.

      Given this trend, you’d think Ubuntu announcing last month that they’d no longer be providing 32-bit versions of packages in their repository would hardly be newsworthy. But as it turns out, the threat of ending 32-bit packages caused the sort of uproar that we don’t traditionally see in the Linux community. But why?

    • Desktop
      • The Current State Of AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs And Radeon RX 5700 GPUs On Linux

        The cards launched on July 7, and AMD had its Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 package ready for customers. The downside? It’s only supported on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, and you’ll run into problems trying to initialize the GPUs on newer distros. Compounding the problem is that, as mentioned by Phoronix, the RADV/AMDVLK Vulkan driver hadn’t been published yet. (This is why my own benchmarks have been stalled, as I’d be limited to testing OpenGL.)

        But wait! Hours later, the RADV developer gurus at Valve and Red Hat beat AMD to the punch and squeezed Navi Vulkan support into the Mesa 19.2-devel package. Then, earlier today, a few more improvements focused on tessellation were wrapped up and are pending review.

        Here’s what all this means for us “normal people” who don’t want to cobble together random bits of open source code to get our game on with RX 5700. Your mileage may vary, but I found the “easiest” solution was to install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, install the official AMD 19.30 packaged driver, then add the Oibaf PPA. A quick apt update / upgrade later, and you should be on Mesa 19.2-git which will enable Vulkan support. (And development is moving quickly on this, so regular updates are recommended.)

        Sadly, simple “out of box” support for Navi isn’t landing until this autumn with kernel 5.2, so early adopters will need to go through some hoops and keep an eye on Mesa 19.2 development.

        Even with the bleeding edge software, I’m noticing some strange behavior (i.e. unplayable) with native games like Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III and Dirt Rally.

        Bottom line: I don’t think the RX 5700 Series is ready for prime time on Linux just yet, at least for gaming activities. I’m planning extensive coverage, however, so I’m keeping a vigilant eye on things.

    • Server
      • Linux a key player in the edge computing revolution

        In the past few years, edge computing has been revolutionizing how some very familiar services are provided to individuals like you and me, as well as how services are managed within major industries. Try to get your arms around what edge computing is today, and you might just discover that your arms aren’t nearly as long or as flexible as you’d imagined. And Linux is playing a major role in this ever-expanding edge.

        One reason why edge computing defies easy definition is that it takes many different forms. As Jaromir Coufal, principal product manager at Red Hat, recently pointed out to me, there is no single edge. Instead, there are lots of edges – depending on what compute features are needed. He suggests that we can think of the edge as something of a continuum of capabilities with the problem being resolved determining where along that particular continuum any edge solution will rest.

      • The DevOps guide to IoT projects

        Traditional development methods do not scale into the IoT sphere. Strong inter-dependencies and blurred boundaries among components in the edge device stack result in fragmentation, slow updates, security issues, increased cost, and reduced reliability of platforms.

        This reality places a major strain on IoT players who need to contend with varying cycles and priorities in the development stack, limiting their flexibility to innovate and introduce changes into their products, both on the hardware and software sides.

      • Cloud Application Platform vs Container as a Service vs VM hosted application

        In the “old days,” applications were always hosted in a traditional way on a physical server or a group of physical servers. However, physical servers are expensive, hard to maintain and hard to grow and scale. That’s when virtual machines (VM) grew in popularity. VMs provided a better way to maintain, grow and scale. That is, they were easier to backup and restore and migrate from one region to another and they were easier to replicate across multiple domains/zones/regions.

      • Sysadmin vs SRE: What’s the difference?

        In the IT world, there has always been a pull between generalist and specialist. The stereotypical sysadmin falls in the generalist category 99 times out of 100. The site reliability engineer (SRE) role is specialized, however, and grew out of the needs of one of the first companies to know real scale: Google. Ultimately, these two roles have the same goal for the applications whose infrastructure they operate: providing a good experience for the applications’ consumers. Yet, these roles have drastically different starting points.

      • IBM
        • Unlocking the true potential of hybrid cloud with Red Hat partners

          Today, we announced that IBM’s landmark acquisition of Red Hat has closed and shared our vision for how our two companies will move forward together.

          You’ve heard that IBM is committed to preserving Red Hat’s independence, neutrality, culture and industry partnerships, and that Red Hat’s unwavering commitment to open source remains unchanged.

          There is a key part of that statement I want to focus on—partnerships.

          IBM has made a significant investment to acquire Red Hat, and respects that Red Hat wouldn’t be Red Hat without our partner ecosystem. Partners open more doors for open source than we can alone and are vital to our success.

        • Red Hat and IBM: Accelerating the adoption of open source

          Today, IBM finalized its acquisition of Red Hat. Moving forward, Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM, and I couldn’t be more excited—not only for what today represents in the history of two storied technology companies, but what it means for the future of the industry, for our customers, and for open source.

          Red Hat’s acquisition by IBM represents an unparalleled milestone for open source itself. It signals validation of community-driven innovation and the value that open source brings to users.

        • IBM Closes Landmark Acquisition of Red Hat for $34 Billion; Defines Open, Hybrid Cloud Future

          IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Red Hat announced today that they have closed the transaction under which IBM acquired all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190.00 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of approximately $34 billion.

          The acquisition redefines the cloud market for business. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies are now paired with the unmatched scale and depth of IBM’s innovation and industry expertise, and sales leadership in more than 175 countries. Together, IBM and Red Hat will accelerate innovation by offering a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform. Based on open source technologies, such as Linux and Kubernetes, the platform will allow businesses to securely deploy, run and manage data and applications on-premises and on private and multiple public clouds.

        • Q&A: IBM’s Landmark Acquisition of Red Hat

          Paul: Red Hat is an enterprise software company with an open source development model. A fundamental tenet of that model is that everything we do, from new practices that we learn to new technologies that we develop, goes back to the upstream community. By joining forces with IBM, our reach into customers will dramatically increase so we’ll be in a position to drive open enterprise technology a lot further. As for IBM, we’ve been partners for quite some time, but now existing IBM customers will have even more direct access to next-generation open source-based technologies that are at the cornerstone of hybrid cloud innovation.

        • Jim Whitehurst email to Red Hatters on Red Hat + IBM acquisition closing

          Last October, we announced our intention to join forces with IBM, with the aim of becoming the world’s top hybrid cloud provider. Since then, the promise IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginni Rometty and I made has not changed. In fact, our commitment to that vision has grown – Red Hat will remain a distinct unit in IBM as we work to help customers deliver any app, anywhere, realizing the true value of the hybrid cloud. This morning, we can share that the most significant tech acquisition of 2019 has officially closed and we can now begin moving forward.

          We will be hosting an all-hands company meeting today (Tuesday, July 9) where you will hear from me, Ginni, Paul Cormier and IBM senior vice president of Cloud and Cognitive Software, Arvind Krishna. Details on logistics to follow; I hope you will join us.

          Since we announced the acquisition, I’ve been having conversations with our customers, partners, open source community members and more Red Hatters than I can count (I’ve been following memo-list as well!). What struck me most from those conversations was the passion. It’s passion not just for a company, but for what we do and how we do it—the open source way. That’s not going to change.

        • IBM Acquires Red Hat For $34 Billion

          IBM today closed the acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion, marking one of the biggest acquisition of any open source company.

        • IBM Has Just Wiped Clean Red Hat’s Position on Software Patents

          Red Hat could sell itself to Microsoft and even considered that. We’re thankful that this never happened. But Red Hat’s main casualty will be its policy on patents. Since IBM calls all the shots it’s safe to assume that Red Hat’s staff has become or will become a major booster of software patents (or at best passive). We also envision IBM putting a lot of pressure on new joiners (from Red Hat) to apply for software patents, maybe ‘spiced up’ with buzzwords such as “hey hi” (AI) so as to dodge 35 U.S.C. § 101. It’s important for IBM to show up at the top of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ladders. IBM also lobbies for software patents in Europe, so Red Hat is perhaps becoming a threat to Europe — even if only by extension.

        • Preserving the Red Hat developer experience

          In the months since the Red Hat acquisition by IBM was announced, I have been asked numerous times if this deal changes things for Red Hat’s Developer Program and Developer Tools group.

          My answer then and now is “no.”

          As has been stated elsewhere, Red Hat will remain independent because IBM appreciates our unswerving dedication to open source, our open culture, and our neutrality. Neither IBM nor Red Hat has any desire to change these foundational values.

          My group, which covers developer evangelism, the developer program and our developer tools, will remain independent from IBM’s developer group.

        • IBM Completes Its Acquisition Of Red Hat

          With this $34 billion (USD) acquisition, IBM says they will still let Red Hat retain its independence and neutrality, continue the same development model, Jim Whitehurst will continue to lead Red Hat, and IBM will maintain the existing Red Hat headquarters/facilities/brands/practices.

        • IBM Closes Landmark Acquisition of Red Hat for $34 Billion; Defines Open, Hybrid Cloud Future
        • IBM Closes Red Hat Acquisition, Kaidan 0.4.0 Released, Android Apps Can Track You Even If You Deny Permission, Debian Edu 10 “Buster” Now Available and MIT Researchers Create New AI Programming Language

          IBM closes its acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion. From the press release: “The acquisition redefines the cloud market for business. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies are now paired with the unmatched scale and depth of IBM’s innovation and industry expertise, and sales leadership in more than 175 countries. Together, IBM and Red Hat will accelerate innovation by offering a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform. Based on open source technologies, such as Linux and Kubernetes, the platform will allow businesses to securely deploy, run and manage data and applications on-premises and on private and multiple public clouds.” In addition, the release notes that IBM will preserve Red Hat’s independence and neutrality, and also that “Red Hat’s unwavering commitment to open source remains unchanged”.

        • Miller: Red Hat, IBM, and Fedora

          Fedora project leader Matthew Miller reassures the community that IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, which just closed, will not affect Fedora.


          If you have questions or would like to learn more about today’s news, I encourage you to review the materials below. For any questions not answered here, please feel free to contact us. Red Hat CTO Chris Wright will host an online Q&A session in the coming days where you can ask questions you may have about what the acquisition means for Red Hat and our involvement in open source communities. Details will be announced on the Red Hat blog.

        • Fedora Magazine: Red Hat, IBM, and Fedora

          Red Hat will continue to be a champion for open source, just as it always has, and valued projects like Fedora that will continue to play a role in driving innovation in open source technology. IBM is committed to Red Hat’s independence and role in open source software communities. We will continue this work and, as always, we will continue to help upstream projects be successful and contribute to welcoming new members and maintaining the project.

        • IBM Closes Red Hat Acquisition [Ed: Swapnil writes for Zemlin, links to his own blog which sometimes acts as a media partner]

          IBM has closed the acquisition of Red Hat today for approximately $34 billion. Post-acquisition, Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM and will be reported as part of IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software segment. Maintaining its branding and independence within IBM, Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and its current management team. Whitehurst is joining IBM’s senior management team, reporting to Ginni Rometty.

        • IBM Closes Its $34 Billion Acquisition of Red Hat

          IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, the companies announced Tuesday.

        • IBM closes its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat

          IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, the companies announced Tuesday.

          Shares of IBM were down less than 1% in late-morning trading.

          The deal was originally announced in October, when the companies said IBM would buy all shares in Red Hat for $190 each in cash.

          The acquisition of Red Hat, an open-source, enterprise software maker, marks the close of IBM’s largest deal ever. It’s one of the biggest in U.S. tech history. Excluding the AOL-Time Warner merger, it follows the $67 billion deal between Dell and EMC in 2016 and JDS Uniphase’s $41 billion acquisition of optical-component supplier SDL in 2000.

          Under the deal, Red Hat will now be a unit of IBM’s hybrid cloud division, according to the original announcement. The companies said Red Hat’s CEO, Jim Whitehurst, would join IBM’s senior management team and report to CEO Ginni Rometty.

        • IBM closes $34 billion Red Hat acquisition: Now it’s time to deliver

          IBM has closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, vowed to keep its new unit independent, deliver innovative hybrid cloud stacks and grow. Now all IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has to do is execute since the Red Hat purchase will define her tenure.

          For customers of both companies, the next big milestone will be to see the roadmap for hybrid cloud integrations that can compete with VMware in enterprises. In addition, IBM has pledged to keep Red Hat neutral, open source focused and led by current management and CEO Jim Whitehurst.

          What IBM is trying to do is use its scale to turbo charge Red Hat’s growth as well as bolster its own cloud unit. Red Hat’s platform will instantly become global.

        • IBM wraps up purchase of Linux specialist in $34bn deal

          IBM said on Tuesday that it has closed its $34bn acquisition of software company Red Hat as it looks to ramp up its cloud computing business.

          Underscoring the drive into high-margin businesses, IBM in October agreed to buy Red Hat, the company’s biggest acquisition in its more than 100-year history.

          Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO since 2012, has steered the company towards faster-growing segments such as cloud, software and services and away from traditional hardware products, but not without a bumpy journey. The newer areas of focus have sometimes underwhelmed investors.

          The company, which won approval for the purchase from EU regulators in late June and US regulators in May, agreed to pay $190 a share for Red Hat, representing a 63% premium.

          Founded in 1993, Red Hat specialises in Linux operating systems, the most popular type of open-source software and an alternative to proprietary software made by Microsoft. IBM has faced years of revenue declines as it transitions from its legacy computer hardware business into new technology products and services.

          Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and his management team will remain in place, and Whitehurst will join IBM’s senior management team and report to Rometty. IBM will maintain Red Hat’s headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as its facilities, brands and practices. Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • From BASIC to Ruby: Life lessons from first programming languages on Command Line Heroes

        The second episode of this Command Line Heroes season 3 drops today and it sent me back through a nostalgic look at the idea of first programming languages.

      • Episode 73 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got a LOT of big news from the Linux Kernel, Debian, GRUB, openSUSE?s Open Build Service, Mageia, Whonix, Linux Mint and more. We?ll also check out some hardware news regarding a portable monitor, some new hardware from NVidia and some new hardware from AMD. Speaking of AMD, Valve announced some exciting news for AMD gamers by improving Vulkan Shaders. We?ll also take a look at a new GNOME Shell replacement called Material Shell that has a lot of potential. We?ve got some anniversaries to celebrate for ZorinOS and GamingonLinux. T.hen we?ll round out the show with more Linux Gaming news featuring Rocket Leage. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews.

      • Thomas Lange: Talks, articles and a podcast in German

        Then I found an article in the iX Special 2019 magazine about automation in the data center which mentioned FAI. Nice. But I was very supprised and happy when I saw a whole article about FAI in the Linux Magazin 7/2019. A very good article with a some focus on network things, but also the class system and installing other distributions is described. And they will also publish another article about the service in a few months. I’m excited!

        In a few days, I going to DebConf19 in Curitiba for two weeks. I will work on Debian web stuff, check my other packages (rinse, dracut, tcsh) and hope to meet a lot of friendly people.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.3 Lands Support For Tracking AVX-512 Usage

        After being delayed from earlier kernel cycles, Linux 5.3 will allow for tracking the last time a process made use of AVX-512 in order for user-space schedulers to provide better task placement.

      • Linux 5.3 Ready To Support Linux Guests On ACRN

        Back in March 2019 when Intel announced Sound Open Firmware, they also announced ACRN as a small footprint hypervisor intended for real-time and safety-critical use-cases. Now with Linux 5.3 this IoT-focused hypervisor can handle Linux guests on the ACRN hypervisor.

      • bolt 0.8 with support for IOMMU protection

        I already wrote about the general idea when the Thunderclap paper was published. But to quickly refresh everyone’s memory: Thunderbolt, via PCIe, can directly access the main memory (DMA). This opens the door to attacks, the recent Thunderclap attack is a prominent example and demonstration of such an attack. To mitigate DMA attacks, security levels were introduced with Thunderbolt version 3. These new security levels require devices to be authorized before they can be used. On newer hardware and recent kernel versions, another mitigation scheme was introduced that facilitates the input–output memory management unit (IOMMU). The basic idea is to allow direct memory access for Thunderbolt devices only to certain safe memory regions and prevent devices accessing any memory area outside those. The availability of that feature is communicated by the kernel to userspace via the iommu_dma_protection sysfs attribute. If support is active boltd will change its behavior in a few novel ways. This is because we assume that as long as IOMMU protection as enabled, it is safe to authorize devices, even without asking the user. New devices that are not authorized are therefore automatically enrolled, but with a new iommu policy. In the case that IOMMU is turned off again, devices with this iommu policy won’t automatically be authorized by boltd and will require explicit user interaction. Additionally, devices that are new but already authorized by the firmware, are now automatically imported, so we always have a record of devices that were attached to the system. Anybody who is interested in even more (technical) details can read bolt issues #128 (iommu) and #137 (auto-import).

      • Linux’s Thunderbolt Manager Bolt 0.8 Adds IOMMU Protection

        Bolt, the Red Hat led project for managing Thunderbolt devices on Linux and their security, is out with their version 0.8 update to introduce better security for the growing number of Thunderbolt devices.

        The headline feature of Bolt 0.8 is introducing IOMMU protection. The Bolt IOMMU support is for using the IOMMU unit on newer hardware and supported by newer kernels to only permit DMA access by Thunderbolt devices to assigned/safe memory regions rather than being able to access any of the system memory. This should further help tighten the Linux security around Thunderbolt and complement the other security measures that have been in place following issues like Thunderclap.

      • Linux Kernel Community Agrees To Add Microsoft To Its Private Mailing List [Ed: A bunch of salaries from Zemlin PAC have turned Swapnil into a "true believer" in Microsoft lies]

        Microsoft recently applied to join a private Linux kernel mailing list that is meant for reporting and discussing security issues privately before they are made public.

        Why does Microsoft need to join this particular list and why does such a list exists in the first place when the kernel community runs its business publicly. Neither of the two is as complicated as it might seem.

      • Linux Foundation
        • ONAP Doubles-Down on Deployments, Drives Commercial Activity Across Open Source Networking Stack with ‘Dublin’ Release

          LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today announced the availability of ONAP Dublin and the addition of six new members. ONAP’s fourth release, Dublin, brings an uptick in commercial activity – including new deployment plans from major operators (including Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, Swisscom, Telecom Italia, and Telstra) and ONAP-based products and solutions from more than a dozen leading vendors – and has become the focal point for industry alignment around management and orchestration of the open networking stack, standards, and more.

          Combined with the availability of ONAP Dublin, the addition of new members (Aarna Networks, Loodse, the LIONS Center at Pennsylvania State University, Matrixx Software, VoerEir AB, and XCloud Networks) continues LFN’s global drumbeat of ecosystem growth for accelerated development and adoption of open source and open standards-based networking technologies.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Mesa 19.1.2 Mesa 19.1.2 is now available. In this release we have: Different fixes for the Intel and AMD Vulkan drivers, Freedreno, the Meson build system, and some other fixes for other parts and/or drivers. Worth to mention a fix for a crash in Wolfenstein II with the RADV driver, and another fix relevant for DXVK on Intel gen7 drivers. Anuj Phogat (3): Revert "i965/icl: Add WA_2204188704 to disable pixel shader panic dispatch" Revert "anv/icl: Add WA_2204188704 to disable pixel shader panic dispatch" Revert "iris/icl: Add WA_2204188704 to disable pixel shader panic dispatch" Arfrever Frehtes Taifersar Arahesis (1): meson: Improve detection of Python when using Meson >=0.50. Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2): radv: Only allocate supplied number of descriptors when variable. radv: Fix interactions between variable descriptor count and inline uniform blocks. Caio Marcelo de Oliveira Filho (1): spirv: Ignore ArrayStride in OpPtrAccessChain for Workgroup Dylan Baker (2): meson: Add support for using cmake for finding LLVM Revert "meson: Add support for using cmake for finding LLVM" Eric Anholt (2): freedreno: Fix UBO load range detection on booleans. freedreno: Fix up end range of unaligned UBO loads. Eric Engestrom (1): meson: bump required libdrm version to 2.4.81 Gert Wollny (2): gallium: Add CAP for opcode DIV vl: Use CS composite shader only if TEX_LZ and DIV are supported Ian Romanick (1): glsl: Don't increase the iteration count when there are no terminators James Clarke (1): meson: GNU/kFreeBSD has DRM/KMS and requires -D_GNU_SOURCE Jason Ekstrand (2): anv/descriptor_set: Only write texture swizzles if we have an image view iris: Use a uint16_t for key sizes Jory Pratt (2): util: Heap-allocate 256K zlib buffer meson: Search for execinfo.h Juan A. Suarez Romero (4): docs: add sha256 checksums for 19.1.1 intel: fix wrong format usage Update version to 19.1.2 docs: add release notes for 19.1.2 Kenneth Graunke (2): iris: Enable PIPE_CAP_SURFACE_REINTERPRET_BLOCKS gallium: Make util_copy_image_view handle shader_access Lionel Landwerlin (2): intel/compiler: fix derivative on y axis implementation intel/compiler: don't use byte operands for src1 on ICL Nanley Chery (2): intel: Add and use helpers for level0 extent isl: Don't align phys_level0_sa by block dimension Nataraj Deshpande (1): anv: Add HAL_PIXEL_FORMAT_IMPLEMENTATION_DEFINED in vk_format Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (2): mesa: delete framebuffer texture attachment sampler views radeon/uvd: fix calc_ctx_size_h265_main10 Rob Clark (1): freedreno/a5xx: fix batch leak in fd5 blitter path Sagar Ghuge (1): glsl: Fix round64 conversion function Samuel Pitoiset (1): radv: only enable VK_AMD_gpu_shader_{half_float,int16} on GFX9+ Sergii Romantsov (1): i965: leaking of upload-BO with push constants Ville Syrjälä (1): anv/cmd_buffer: Reuse gen8 Cmd{Set, Reset}Event on gen7 git tag: mesa-19.1.2
        • Mesa 19.1.2 Released – Led By Intel & Radeon Vulkan Driver Fixes

          For those riding the Mesa 19.1 stable release train, Mesa 19.1.2 is now available as the second point release to this quarterly update to this collection of open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers for the Linux desktop.

          On the Vulkan driver front, Mesa 19.1.2 brings a RADV fix for Wolfenstein II, an ANV Vulkan driver fix for DXVK with older Gen7 graphics, only enabling VK_AMD_gpu_shader_half_float and int16 for Vega and newer with RADV, and other Vulkan fixes.

        • NVIDIA 430.34 Linux Driver Brings SUPER Support

          NVIDIA today issued the 430.34 Linux driver as their newest update in the 430 stable series.

          The NVIDIA 430.34 driver doesn’t bring any notable bug fixes but is focused on just providing new product support. This driver also includes the initial NVIDIA GeForce RTX SUPER support.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Continues Further Refining Its Radeon RX 5700 “Navi” Support

          Back on 7 July, the open-source Mesa RADV Vulkan driver managed to deliver launch-day Navi support for these new 7nm GPUs. That first-cut support for this “community” open-source driver was working but various optimizations and features lacking. The developers at Valve, Red Hat, and Google have continued refining this Navi/GFX10 support for RADV.

          Two days later, there are already a number of RADV Navi/GFX10 support improvements merged and other work pending review. There is now merged tessellation support for Navi that was initially held up due to the code hanging on tessellation tests. There is also a number of fixes around the correct number of user SGPR registers for GFX10, among other fixes for these new Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs.

        • Radeon Graphics, Zombieload & Kernel Changes Intrigued Open-Source Fans In H1-2019
    • Applications
      • Top 15 Best Music Tag Editor Software for Linux system

        Music tag editor software implies a range of software that is used to edit metadata of multimedia files. Metadata stores all the information, for instance; artist, title, lyrics, conductor, album, length, track and embedded image in the audio file itself. There is numerous compatible best music tag editor software that is available on the Linux platform, among those some are open source and free thus; users can download and install them on their device.

      • Foliate Linux eBook Reader 1.4.0 Includes Wikipedia Lookup, Google Translate Support

        While new, having its first release back in May, Foliate is already a great EPUB eBook viewer, already incorporating most of the features you’d need in an eBook viewer.

        Besides these important to have features for an eBook viewer, the application also has various minor features that many will find useful, like viewing an eBook’s metadata, remember where you left off, fullscreen mode, and more.

        It should be noted that Foliate does not support any formats other than EPUB though – it has no support for PDF or MOBI files.

        Foliate 1.4.0 was released recently with interesting new features and other changes. Until now, the Linux eBook reader only supported looking up words on Wiktionary – with the new 1.4.0 release though, it also supports looking up words on Wikipedia, dictd, and translating text using Google Translate.

      • Proprietary
        • Who’s Behind the GandCrab Ransomware? [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The crooks behind an affiliate program that paid cybercriminals to install the destructive and wildly successful GandCrab ransomware strain announced on May 31, 2019 they were terminating the program after allegedly having earned more than $2 billion in extortion payouts from victims. What follows is a deep dive into who may be responsible for recruiting new members to help spread the contagion.

        • Microsoft has caused an uproar among its partners by canceling one of their favorite perks: software for their own use [paywall]

          Over the course of the next year, Microsoft will stop allowing its partners to use its software for their own businesses as a perk — and instead, charge them, same as anybody else.

        • Hey Microsoft, why is the Skype Snap app hopelessly outdated?

          The official Skype Snap app for Linux has not been updated in nearly six months, and Microsoft is yet to say why.

          When introducing the cross-distro build in early 2018, the company said the Skype Snap app would give it the “…ability to push the latest features straight to our users, no matter which device or distribution they happen to use.”

          Clearly, not.

          Because at the time of writing this post the Skype Snap app sits on version, which the Snapcraft store reports was ‘last updated’ in November 2018.

          However, the “regular” Linux version available to download from the Skype website is on version, released June 2019.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • How to open system monitor in Ubuntu
      • xinput-gui: Simple Graphical Tool To Configure X Input Devices
      • How To Reset Lost Admin Password For Grafana
      • How to Format an SD Card for Use with Raspberry Pi
      • How to install Elasticsearch and Kibana on Linux
      • Install Siberian CMS with LAMP on Ubuntu 18.04 – Google Cloud
      • rdesktop – A RDP Client to Connect Windows Desktop from Linux
      • Jenkins tool and it’s basic terminology
      • Real Hands-On Labs at Linux Academy
      • API-first design with OpenAPI and Red Hat Fuse
      • What Really IRCs Me: Mastodon

        When it comes to sending text between people, I’ve found IRC (in particular, a text-based IRC client) works best. I’ve been using it to chat for decades while other chat protocols and clients come and go. When my friends have picked other chat clients through the years, I’ve used the amazing IRC gateway Bitlbee to connect with them on their chat client using the same IRC interface I’ve always used. Bitlbee provides an IRC gateway to many different chat protocols, so you can connect to Bitlbee using your IRC client, and it will handle any translation necessary to connect you to the remote chat clients it supports. I’ve written about Bitlbee a number of times in the past, and I’ve used it to connect to other instant messengers, Twitter and Slack. In this article, I describe how I use it to connect to yet another service on the internet: Mastodon.

        Like Twitter, Mastodon is a social network platform, but unlike Twitter, Mastodon runs on free software and is decentralized, much like IRC or email. Being decentralized means it works similar to email, and you can create your own instance or create an account on any number of existing Mastodon networks and then follow people either on the same Mastodon network or any other instance, as long as you know the person’s user name (which behaves much like an email address).

        I’ve found Bitlbee to be a great interface for keeping track of social media on Twitter, because I treat reading Twitter like I was the operator for a specific IRC room. The people I follow are like those I’ve invited and given voice to, and I can read what they say chronologically in my IRC room. Since I keep my IRC instance running at all times, I can reconnect to it and catch up with the backlog whenever I want. Since I’m reading Twitter over a purely text-based IRC client, this does mean that instead of animated gifs, I just see URLs that point to the image, but honestly, I consider that a feature!

        Since Mastodon behaves in many ways like Twitter, using it with Bitlbee works just as well. Like with Twitter over Bitlbee, it does mean you’ll need to learn some extra commands so that you can perform Mastodon-specific functions, like boosting a post (Mastodon’s version of retweet) or replying to a post so that your comment goes into the proper thread. I’ll cover those commands in a bit.

    • Wine or Emulation
      • D9VK 0.13 “Hypnotoad” is out, further advancing the D3D9 to Vulkan layer for Wine

        Developer Joshua Ashton today announced a brand new and rather large release of D9VK, the D3D9 to Vulkan layer for use with Wine.

        New features making it into this release includes fixed function support for everything but “lighting, texcoord transforms, spheremap texcoords and constant texture arg”, noting that it should work well enough for most games “if you can deal with with them being fullbright”. Also implemented as of this release is GetGammaRamp, ColorFill, disjointed timestamp queries, Hardware Cursor support, a way to workaround resource hazards (only necessary on AMD) and more.

      • D9VK 0.13 Brings Fixed Function Support, Other Features & Better Performance

        D9VK 0.13 is now available as the newest release of this project mapping Direct3D 9 atop Vulkan for accelerated Windows gaming on Linux.

    • Games
      • Physics-based building game “Besiege” just had a pretty big update, new levels and plenty of bug fixes

        Building machines to destroy in Besiege is pretty fun and it’s progressing towards the final release with a pretty huge update now available for this physics-based building game.

        You can now actually rebind controls, two new levels were added with Mountain Barrier and Revolving Monolith, four new achievements and a new sorting system is available for those of you getting lost with tons of saved designs.

      • MineRalph is a reaction-based rolling platformer that might make you rage, demo available

        Chop Chop Games seem to have created a game that might frustrate the best of gamers with MineRalph, a rolling platformer. The idea is simple as you just need to control your momentum, with a very simple control system. However, it’s surprisingly challenging and…very weird.

        The developer said it’s designed to be difficult, with it being based on your own reaction timings. You can propel yourself around in 360 degrees with varying speeds, so it’s easy to get it wrong and spectacularly fail. Chop Chop Games claim it’s “best described as a crossover between Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Meat Boy – with the level design of Super Mario… and the control scheme of Angry Birds” and they’re not far off with that description.

      • Defend The Keep, a fast-paced Tower Defense game will be coming to Linux next week

        Vanille Games have announced their Tower Defense game Defend The Keep will be releasing this month with full Linux support.

        They said they didn’t think they would have enough time to do a Linux version, but enough people showed their interest in it so it’s coming right away on July 16th. Sometimes developers just need that little push and as a strategy game fan, I’m happy about this news.

      • SteamVR has another beta up, with plenty of Linux fixes and other improvements

        With the Valve Index now out, Valve continue to make quick improvements to SteamVR with the latest Beta now available.

        For SteamVR, they’ve changed how games are launched from SteamVR Home to avoid a possible hang, changes to hopefully avoid “error 308″ on startup, automatic firmware recovery for the Valve Index and Vive Pro and a fix for a rare spontaneous shutdown of vrserver caused by very briefly connected pipes.

        SteamVR Input had quite a few changes on this round, including new options for global rotation values and global deadzone value for thumbsticks. A new screen to test the input from any controller supported by SteamVR and more.

        Lighthouse got a change to device discovery to reduce the impact of misbehaving USB drivers and devices and the Index Controllers got updated default input bindings for legacy applications that don’t have specific configs set along with improvements for applications built for trackpads.

      • SC Controller, the UI and driver for the Steam Controller has new releases out

        SC Controller is a truly wonderful bit of software, enabling the use and customization of the Steam Controller outside of Steam.

      • 3D platformer Marble Skies has left Early Access, multiplayer is coming

        Marble Skies, a 3D platformer that’s actually pretty good has officially left Early Access and they’re continuing to improve it with big new features.

        After adding Linux support back in April, it seems it left Early Access early this month, although they don’t seem to have actually announced the full release anywhere I could find.

      • Tannenberg and Verdun both get gamepad support, plus some helpful balancing changes

        Tannenberg and Verdun, two first-person shooters that show WWI from different fronts both got updated, pulling in gamepad support. I’ve tested the gamepad support myself in Tannenberg and it does appear to work quite nicely. It’s integrated properly into all the menus as well, so it’s perfectly playable. Not sure how you will get on against players using a mouse though, since both games need good accuracy and reaction times.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Artix Linux 20190609 LXQT Run Through

          In this video, we look at Artix Linux 20190609.

        • Artix Linux 20190609

          Today we are looking at Artix Linux 20190909 snapshot. Artix Linux, formally known as the community edition of Manjaro has two isos. They have a Qt ISO, with both the Plasma and LXQt desktop environments, a person choose what one you like in the login manager, and the Gnome Classic ISO, with the MATE and LXDE desktop environments.

          Artix is Arch based and comes with the latest of Linux. So the latest Kernel, when I created the video it was 5.1 and it uses LXQt 0.14.1 and KDE Plasma 5.16.2. In the video below I looked at the LXQt edition and in my video with voice-overs on my other channel at the KDE Plasma edition. Enjoy!

        • Plasma + Usability & Productivity Sprint in Valencia, Spain

          The KDE Plasma and Usability teams recently converged on the beautiful Spanish city of Valencia for a combined development sprint. The teams admired Valencia’s medieval architecture and stayed up until midnight eating sumptuous Mediterranean food. But of course, the real purpose was work!

          We camped out in the offices of the Slimbook company, which were generously made available for the sprint. The aim was not only to hack on Plasma and the Usability & Productivity initiative, but also to benefit from the cross-pollination opportunities provided by hosting both sprints at the same time and place.

        • Plasma Sprint 2019 in Valencia

          Last month the Plasma team met in Spain for their annual developer sprint. It was kindly hosted by Slimbook in their offices on the outskirts of Valencia. This time it was co-located with the Usability sprint and it was great to meet so many new faces there.

        • Usability & Productivity Sprint 2019

          In June 2019 I went to Usability & Productivity Goal Sprint in the beautiful city of Valencia! As I’m a relatively new KDE contributor this was my very first sprint experience and it was awesome. At the same time the Plasma Sprint took place and it felt more like one big sprint than two separate events. We were kindly hosted by Slimbook which also organized a bus that took us to their office in the morning and back to the hotel in the evening. A big thank you to them!

          In the first part of the sprint I mainly worked on continuing to improve Spectacle. You don’t know Spectacle? It is our screenshotting application with many settings: for example to control what should be captured, if you want to include your mouse cursor or to simply set a delay from when you press the button until the actual screenshot is taken.

    • Distributions
      • Fedora Family
        • Call for Fedora Women’s Day 2019 proposals

          Fedora Women’s Day (FWD) is a day to celebrate and bring visibility to female contributors in open source projects, including Fedora. This event is headed by Fedora’s Diversity and Inclusion Team.

          During the month of September, in collaboration with other open source communities, women in tech groups and hacker spaces, we plan to organize community meetups and events around the world to highlight and celebrate the women in open source communities like Fedora and their invaluable contributions to their projects and community.

          These events also provide a good opportunity for women worldwide to learn about free and open source software and jump start their journey as a FOSS user and/or a contributor. They also provide a platform for women to connect, learn and be inspired by other women in open source communities and beyond.

      • Debian Family
        • Upgraded my first host to buster

          I upgrade the first of my personal machines to Debian’s new stable release, buster, yesterday. So far two minor niggles, but nothing major.

          My hosts are controlled, sometimes, by puppet. The puppet-master is running stretch and has puppet 4.8.2 installed.

        • Upgrade To Debian 10 From Debian 9 Stretch

          Debian 10 codename Buster is already has been released few days ago. It was released on July 6, 2019. Debian 10 is a LTS version and it will be supported for 5 years.

          In this post, we will show you how to upgrade to Debian 10 from Debian 9 Stretch operating system.

        • Debian 10 “Buster” Released with Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

          Debian 10 “Buster” released at 6 July 2019 with Long Term Support (LTS) lifespan of 5 years and 7 different desktop environments. Now, the Live Editions are available with Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, LXQt, and MATE user interfaces. I listed here only the DVD versions and divided them into two architectures 32-bit and 64-bit. I also listed below the Checksums and where to get the Source Code ISOs. This is a compilation of all Debian 10 official download links including several mirrors and torrents. Happy downloading!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Debian vs. Ubuntu: The Similarities, Differences and Which One You Should Use

          Ubuntu received a lot of love in its earlier releases. It made many seemingly complicated operations, easier for beginners just coming into the world of Linux-based distributions. But around the time the Unity interface was launched, it started to get some hate, too.

          Objectively speaking, the interface was not good or bad, it did its job well. But it did it differently than what most people were used to. Then, some other changes, like inserting ads in the launch menu and changing the interface once again to Gnome, made some users dislike the distro even more and people began to look for alternatives, with one of them being Debian. Since Ubuntu is created from Debian, the two are very similar at the core. However, with the changes Canonical made to Debian to create Ubuntu, there are also a lot of differences, some of them subtle.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Open education: There isn’t an app for that

        Open source software has saved my district—Penn Manor School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—more than a million dollars on its technology budget. But more importantly, making a deliberate and concerted effort to infuse open principles and practices into our learning environments has cultivated a vibrant and inclusive learning community that cuts across the school. And as a result, student success has exceeded our expectations.

        But how do schools put open ideas into practice to foster future innovators and leaders? It’s not as simple as installing Linux on 4,000 student laptops, holding hands, and singing the alma mater in the high school cafeteria.

        An open schoolhouse values all learners’ unique strengths and passions to help them reach their potential. This work does not begin and end with curricula, worksheets, and test scores. It starts with building connections, relationships, and trust with students. In this article, I’ll explain how we put these ideas into practice.

      • Software in the Public Interest board elections

        Software in the Public Interest (SPI) has announced that nominations are open until July 15 for 3 seats on the SPI board.

      • Upcoming SPI board elections for 2019 Hi everyone. This is a heads up about the upcoming SPI board elections. The primary purpose of this notice is to give some time to people to think about running for a board position. We have three seats available for a three year term: * President * General board member * General board member The formal nomination period will open on Monday, 1st July 2019 and run for a bit over two weeks. Elections, if required, will then run and results annouanced at the end of the month. * Monday July 1st 2019 00:00 UTC - Nominations open * Monday July 15th 2019 23:59 UTC - Nominations close * Wednesday July 17th 2019 00:00 UTC - Voting commences * Tuesday July 30th 2019 23:59 UTC - Voting closes * Wednesday July 31st 2019 UTC - Results announced Potential board members should be able to commit to attending the monthly board meetings, which are conducted publicly via IRC (#spi on the OFTC network). These take place at 20:00 UTC on the second Monday of every month. More details, including all past agendas and minutes, can be found at The ideal candidate will have an existing involvement in the Free and Open Source community, though this need not be with a project affiliated with SPI. Please do take the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about SPI board membership on the spi-general mailing list before the formal nomination period opens. You can also find various board members present on #spi on (OFTC). Tim Potter Secretary, Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
      • Events
        • openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019 Logo Competition Winner

          The votes are in and the openSUSE Project is happy to announce that the openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019 logo competition winner is Hervy Qurrotul from Indonesia. Congratulations Hervy! As the winner, Hervy will receive a “mystery box” from the committee.

          On this logo competition, we have 18 submissions from all over the world. All the designs are great. This logo competition is voted by openSUSE.Asia Committee and Local Team. Thank you for your vote.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Latest Firefox Release Available today for iOS and Desktop

            Since our last Firefox release, we’ve been working on features to make the Firefox Quantum browser work better for you. We added by default Enhanced Tracking Protection which blocks known “third-party tracking cookies” from following your every move. With this latest Firefox release we’ve added new features so you can browse the web the way you want — unfettered and free. We’ve also made improvements for IT managers who want more flexibility when using Firefox in the workplace.

          • Mozilla is planning a Firefox VPN, with a beta expected in three months

            The paid-for options will be optional, though, and Dave Camp, senior vice president of Firefox said that “A high-performing, free and private-by-default Firefox browser will continue to be central to our core service offerings.”

          • Firefox might get a built-in VPN later this year

            We asked Mozilla what was going on and they kindly told us: “In 2019, we are continuing to explore new product features and offerings. As part of this, small groups of browser users are invited at random to respond to surveys, provide feedback and potentially test proposed new features, products or services.

            “These explorations can easily be identified as they will always include the URL And as always, what we are not experimenting with is the cost to access Firefox itself, which is now, and always will be free.”

          • Changes in Firefox 68

            Firefox 68 is coming out today, and we wanted to highlight a few of the changes coming to add-ons. We’ve updated (AMO) and the Add-ons Manager (about:addons) in Firefox to help people find high-quality, secure extensions more easily. We’re also making it easier to manage installed add-ons and report potentially harmful extensions and themes directly from the Add-ons Manager.

          • Firefox 68: BigInts, Contrast Checks, and the QuantumBar

            Firefox 68 is available today, featuring support for big integers, whole-page contrast checks, and a completely new implementation of a core Firefox feature: the URL bar.

          • Firefox 68 Released With JavaScript BigInt Support, Good WebRender Linux Performance

            Mozilla rolled out Firefox 68.0 as the newest version of their web-browser.

            Firefox 68 brings JavaScript BigInt support for being able to store very large numbers, similar to Google’s Chrome addition last year.

            Firefox 68 also continues working on WebRender/Quantum code. Based on our early beta testing, Firefox 68 with WebRender is performing very well.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • GNU Linux-Libre 5.2 Kernel Released for Those Seeking 100% Freedom for Their PCs

          The GNU Linux-libre project has released the GNU Linux-libre 5.2 kernel, a 100% free version of the Linux kernel that doesn’t include any proprietary drivers, firmware, or code.
          Based on the recently released Linux 5.2 kernel series, which introduces the Sound Open Firmware support for DSP audio devices, the GNU Linux-libre 5.2 kernel also ships with the open-source firmware, which wasn’t included in previous versions of the GNU Linux-libre kernel because they were overlooked.

          “I had not realized the SOF files were Free Software in recent earlier releases, so the requests for these files were disabled in them,” said developer Alexandre Oliva in a mailing list announcement. “Only while cleaning up the new kernel module specifically devoted to SOF-supporting devices did I realize my mistake.”

      • Programming/Development
        • Ten Years of Erlang

          I’ve joined the Erlang community about 10 years ago, in the midst of its first major hype phase. Erlang, we were told, was the future of concurrency and parallelism. The easiest and fastest way to get it done, and you could get distribution for free too. Back then, things were just starting to get amazing. The virtual machine had recently gotten SMP support, before which you needed to run multiple VMs on the same computer to truly use all CPUs.

          I wanted to take a bit of time to reflect over most of that decade. In this post, I’ll cover a few things such as hype phases and how this related to Erlang, the ladder of ideas within the language and how that can impact adoption, what changed in my ten years here, and I’ll finish up with what I think Erlang still has to bring to the programming community at large.

        • Python list comprehension with Examples

          This tutorial covers how list comprehension works in Python. It includes many examples which would help you to familiarize the concept and you should be able to implement it in your live project at the end of this lesson.

        • Ibis: Python data analysis productivity framework

          Ibis is a library pretty useful on data analysis tasks that provides a pandas-like API that allows operations like create filter, add columns, apply math operations etc in a lazy mode so all the operations are just registered in memory but not executed and when you want to get the result of the expression you created, Ibis compiles that and makes a request to the remote server (remote storage and execution systems like Hadoop components or SQL databases). Its goal is to simplify analytical workflows and make you more productive.

        • Reasons Why Python is Good for AI and ML

          Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the new black of the IT industry. While discussions over the safety of its development keep escalating, developers expand abilities and capacity of artificial intellect. Today Artificial Intelligence went far beyond science fiction idea. It became a necessity. Being widely used for processing and analyzing huge volumes of data, AI helps to handle the work that cannot be done manually anymore because of its significantly increased volumes and intensity.

        • The Python Software Foundation is looking for bloggers!

          The Python Software Foundation (PSF) is looking to add bloggers for the PSF blog located at As a PSF blogger, you will work with the PSF Communication Officers to brainstorm blog content, communicate activities, and provide updates on content progression. Example of content includes PSF community service awardee profiles, details about global Python events and PSF grants, or recent goings-on within the PSF itself. One goal of the 2019 – 2020 PSF Board of Directors is to increase transparency around PSF activities by curating more frequent blog content.

        • Racket is an acceptable Python

          A little over a decade ago, there were some popular blogposts about whether Ruby was an acceptable Lisp or whether even Lisp was an acceptable Lisp. Peter Norvig was also writing at the time introducing Python to Lisp programmers. Lisp, those in the know knew, was the right thing to strive for, and yet seemed unattainable for anything aimed for production since the AI Winter shattered Lisp’s popularity in the 80s/early 90s. If you can’t get Lisp, what’s closest thing you can get?

          This was around the time I was starting to program; I had spent some time configuring my editor with Emacs Lisp and loved every moment I got to do it; I read some Lisp books and longed for more. And yet when I tried to “get things done” in the language, I just couldn’t make as much headway as I could with my preferred language for practical projects at the time: Python.

          Python was great… mostly. It was easy to read, it was easy to write, it was easy-ish to teach to newcomers. (Python’s intro material is better than most, but my spouse has talked before about some major pitfalls that the Python documentation has which make getting started unnecessarily hard. You can hear her talk about that at this talk we co-presented on at last year’s RacketCon. I’ll leave that to her to discuss at some point however.) I ran a large free software project on a Python codebase, and it was easy to get new contributors; the barrier to entry to becoming a programmer with Python was low. I consider that to be a feature, and it certainly helped me bootstrap my career.

          Most importantly of all though, Python was easy to pick up and run with because no matter what you wanted to do, either the tools came built in or the Python ecosystem had enough of the pieces nearby that building what you wanted was usually fairly trivial.

        • Pipx – Install And Run Python Applications In Isolated Environments

          It is always recommended to install Python applications in Virtual Environments to avoid conflicts with one another. Pip package manager helps us to install Python applications in an isolated environments, using two tools namely venv and virtualenv. There is also another Python package manager named “Pipenv”, which is recommended by, to install Python applications. Unlike Pip, Pipenv automatically creates virtual environments by default. Meaning – you don’t need to manually create virtual environments for your projects anymore. Today, I stumbled upon a similar tool named “Pipx”, a free and open source utility that allows you to install and run Python applications in an isolated virtual environments.

          Using Pipx, we can easily install thousands of Python applications hosted in PyPI without much hassle. Good thing is you can do everything with regular user permissions. You need not to be “root” user or need not to have “sudo” permissions. It is worth mentioning that Pipx can run a program from temporary environment, without having to install it. This will be handy when you test multiple versions of same program often. The packages installed with Pipx can be listed, upgrade or uninstalled at any time. Pipx is a cross-platform application, so it can run on Linux, Mac OS and Windows.

        • Check-in #7: (5 July – 11 July)
        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Seventh Week [July 1st - July 7th] [3rd PSF Blog Post]
        • Python for NLP: Creating TF-IDF Model from Scratch

          This is the 14th article in my series of articles on Python for NLP. In my previous article, I explained how to convert sentences into numeric vectors using the bag of words approach. To get a better understanding of the bag of words approach, we implemented the technique in Python.

          In this article, we will build upon the concept that we learn in the last article and will implement the TF-IDF scheme from scratch in Python. The term TF stands for “term frequency” while the term IDF stands for the “inverse document frequency”.

        • Highest used Python code in the Pentesting/Security world

          I think this is the highest used Python program in the land of Pentesting/Security, Almost every blog post or tutorial I read, they talk about the above-mentioned line to get a proper terminal after getting access to a minimal shell on a remote Linux server.

        • Gen: a general-purpose probabilistic programming system with programmable inference

          PLDI 2019 Proceedings of the 40th ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation

        • New AI programming language goes beyond deep learning

          In a paper presented at the Programming Language Design and Implementation conference this week, the researchers describe a novel probabilistic-programming system named “Gen.” Users write models and algorithms from multiple fields where AI techniques are applied — such as computer vision, robotics, and statistics — without having to deal with equations or manually write high-performance code. Gen also lets expert researchers write sophisticated models and inference algorithms — used for prediction tasks — that were previously infeasible.

          In their paper, for instance, the researchers demonstrate that a short Gen program can infer 3-D body poses, a difficult computer-vision inference task that has applications in autonomous systems, human-machine interactions, and augmented reality. Behind the scenes, this program includes components that perform graphics rendering, deep-learning, and types of probability simulations. The combination of these diverse techniques leads to better accuracy and speed on this task than earlier systems developed by some of the researchers.

        • Rodrigo Siqueira: Status Update, June 2019

          For a long time, I’m cultivating the desire of getting the habit of writing monthly status update; in some way, Drew DeVault’s Blog posts and Martin Peres advice leverage me toward this direction. So, here I’m am! I decided to embrace the challenge of composing a report per month. I hope this new habit helps me to improve my write, summary, and communication skills; but most importantly, help me to keep track of my work. I want to start this update by describing my work conditions and then focus on the technical stuff.

          The last two months, I have to face an infrastructure problem to work. I’m dealing with obstacles such as restricted Internet access and long hours in public transportation from my home to my workplace. Unfortunately, I cannot work in my house due to the lack of space, and the best place to work it is a public library at the University of Brasilia (UnB); go to UnB every day makes me wast around 3h per day in a bus. The library has a great environment, but it also has thousands of internet restrictions, for example, I cannot access websites with ‘.me’ domain and I cannot connect to my IRC bouncer. In summary: It has been hard to work these days. So, let’s stop to talk about non-technical stuff and let’s get to the heart of the matter.

          I really like to work on VKMS, I know this isn’t news to anyone, and in June most of my efforts were dedicated to VKMS. One of my paramount endeavors it was found and fixed a bug in vkms that makes kms_cursor_crc, and kms_pipe_crc_basic fails; I was chasing this bug for a long time as can be seen here [1]. After many hours of debugging I sent a patch for handling this issue [2], however, after Daniel’s review, I realize that my patch does not correctly fix the problem. Daniel decided to dig into this issue and find out the root of the problem and later sent a final fix; if you want to see the solution, take a look at [3]. One day, I want to write a post about this fix since it is an interesting subject to discuss.

          Daniel also noticed some concurrency problems in the CRC code and sent a patchset composed of 10 patches that tackle the issue. These patches focused on creating better framebuffers manipulation and avoiding race conditions; it took me around 4 days to take a look and test this series. During my review, I asked many things related to concurrency and other clarification about DRM, and Daniel always replied with a very nice and detailed explanation. If you want to learn a little bit more about locks, I recommend you to take a look at [4]; serious, it is really nice!

        • g_clear_signal_handler() in GLib 2.61.1

          It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, so I thought I’d do a quick series on new APIs in the upcoming 2.62 release series of GLib.

          Today, it’s the g_clear_signal_handler() function added by Marco Trevisan. This is a simple helper function along the same lines as g_clear_pointer(), g_clear_error() and g_clear_handle_id(). Given a GObject and a signal handler ID, it disconnects the signal handler and clears the signal handler ID variable to zero.

        • Code with Google helps more students learn to code

          Melissa Schonig is a fifth-grade English and Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Lynhaven Elementary School where 40-50 percent of students are Latino, and many don’t have access to computers at home. She didn’t know much about computer science, but wanted her students to get familiar with coding because it can help with other skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration. So she tried a CS First activity where students coded different endings to the story they read in class. Melissa says that, in a short time, “the kids were problem solving, troubleshooting, and helping one another. It was incredible to hear the conversations about coding and the other concepts we were learning in the room.”

        • ‘Code With Google’ Offers Free Programming Lessons For Kids

          Programming is a crucial skill necessary for kids who are stepping into an increasingly software-driven world. However, the training resources required to learn coding aren’t readily available to everyone.

          To bridge this gap, Google has launched ‘Code With Google‘ — an educational resource that will help school teachers to teach the basics of programming to students.

        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 6: Client side and OOP

          I worked on client side by migrating functions written in basemap and creating the instance of topview to generate plot in cartopy

        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly check in [week 6 - 01/07 - 07/07]
        • LLVM’s RISC-V Compiler Back-End Looks To Go Official For 9.0 Release

          LLVM’s RISC-V CPU back-end has made immense progress over the past few years and now for the LLVM 9.0 release due out at the end of August or early September could become official.

          The RISC-V compiler back-end currently within the LLVM tree has been treated as “experimental” but for the in-development 9.0 release it could become an “official” back-end. Alex Bradbury who maintains this RISC-V code has requested this official status change.

        • GammaRay 2.11.0 Release

          We have released version 2.11.0 of our Qt application monitoring tool GammaRay. GammaRay allows you to observe behavior and data structures of Qt code inside your program live at runtime.

          GammaRay 2.11 comes with a new inspection tool for Qt’s event handling, providing even more insights into the inner working of your application. Besides looking at the events and their properties as they occur the event

  • Leftovers
    • Health/Nutrition
    • Security
      • British Airways faces largest ever data breach fine for 2018 [intrusion]

        The penalty comes from the Information Commissioner’s Office, which says that personal data relating to around half a million passengers was compromised during [an intrusion] incident last year.

      • Seriously, stop using RSA

        Here at Trail of Bits we review a lot of code. From major open source projects to exciting new proprietary software, we’ve seen it all. But one common denominator in all of these systems is that for some inexplicable reason people still seem to think RSA is a good cryptosystem to use. Let me save you a bit of time and money and just say outright—if you come to us with a codebase that uses RSA, you will be paying for the hour of time required for us to explain why you should stop using it.

        RSA is an intrinsically fragile cryptosystem containing countless foot-guns which the average software engineer cannot be expected to avoid. Weak parameters can be difficult, if not impossible, to check, and its poor performance compels developers to take risky shortcuts. Even worse, padding oracle attacks remain rampant 20 years after they were discovered. While it may be theoretically possible to implement RSA correctly, decades of devastating attacks have proven that such a feat may be unachievable in practice.

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (irssi, python-django, and python2-django), Debian (libspring-security-2.0-java and zeromq3), Red Hat (python27-python), SUSE (ImageMagick, postgresql10, python-Pillow, and zeromq), and Ubuntu (apport, Docker, glib2.0, gvfs, whoopsie, and zeromq3).

      • Fileless Trojan “Astaroth” That Steals Credentials Is Back, Warns Microsoft [Ed: Well, had Microsoft actually cared about security it wouldn’t have given NSA et al back doors or bug doors into everything it has]

        The team got alert when they noticed a sudden huge spike in the usage of the WMIC (Windows Management Instrumentation Command-Line) tool during the month of May and June 2019. They had deployed an algorithm designed to catch a specific form of file-less attack.

      • GitHub account of Canonical was hacked, Ubuntu source code is safe [Ed: It is a Microsoft platform, not a Canonical or Ubuntu platform]
      • GitHub account of Canonical compromised, but Ubuntu source code safe
    • Defence/Aggression
      • Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Breaks Nuclear Deal Limit. Here’s What That Means

        Similarly, military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities would probably set the program back, but only temporarily. “You just can’t bomb their program out of existence,” says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “I think what you’re left with is negotiations.”

      • In Afghanistan, We Have Three Dreams

        Some of us have wondered, “Are people today too disconnected and frantic to calm down, in order to solve global challenges together? Are we so polarized and self-absorbed that we cannot stop judging one another or insisting on our partisan ways?”

        In Kabul, our thoughts and feelings are diverse, complicated and flawed, so we centre our three dreams on relationships.

        We have felt much joy in creating this video-letter. We dedicate it to planet earth and to everyone in the human family.

        We hope that each of us can take tiny actions to free ourselves from the ravages of money and power.

      • American History for Truthdiggers: Bush 41—Struggling in Reagan’s Shadow

        His vice president was everything Ronald Reagan was not. The Hollywood actor in chief had far less political qualification “on paper” than his 1980 Republican primary opponent, George H.W. Bush. Though Reagan oozed optimism and soothed the American people with his confident, digestible rhetoric, he was certainly no policy expert or Washington insider. Bush was both. He was a man born of privilege, scion of a prestigious, wealthy family and son of a Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut, Prescott Bush. However, the mid-20th century was different from our own time; it was an era when affluence and social standing didn’t obviate a sense of duty to country and family honor. Bush, like so many thousands of the other members of the American aristocracy, volunteered for the U.S. military in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

        Not yet 19, he would become the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy at that time, eventually flying dozens of combat missions in the Pacific theater. In September 1944 he was involved in an action that won him the Distinguished Flying Cross. In the words of the citation, “Bush pressed home an attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. Although his plane was hit and set afire at the beginning of his dive, he continued his plunge toward the target and succeeded in scoring damaging bomb hits before bailing out of the craft.” He was the only member of the three-man crew to live through the incident. Afterward, survivor’s guilt bled through his letters home.

        At war’s end Bush entered Yale. After moving to Texas and finding wealth and respect in the oil industry, he followed his father into politics. He won a House seat in the 1960s, then lost a race for the U.S. Senate (he was unable to shake his Eastern establishment image with Texas voters, try as he might). In the 1970s, he was appointed ambassador to the United Nations, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and head of the Republican National Committee (RNC). After Bush’s 1980 defeat in a rather bitter presidential primary battle with Reagan—in which the Texan declared that his opponent, a “supply-side theory” advocate, was proposing “voodoo economics”—the Gipper chose Bush as his running mate. They stood together at the helm of the executive branch for eight years, though Bush tended to work behind the scenes, overshadowed by Reagan’s big personality.

      • Iran Steps Further From Nuke Deal, Adding Pressure on Europe

        Iran increased its uranium enrichment Sunday beyond the limit allowed by its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, inching its program closer toward weapons-grade levels while calling for a diplomatic solution to a crisis heightening tensions with the U.S.

        Iran’s move, coupled with its earlier abandonment of the deal’s limit on its low-enriched uranium stockpile, intensifies pressure on Europe to find any effective way around U.S. sanctions that block Tehran’s oil sales abroad.

        But the future of the accord that President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. from a year ago remains in question. While Iran’s recent measures could be easily reversed, Europe has struggled to respond, even after getting a 60-day warning that the increase was coming.

      • Media Falsely Portrays Iran’s Nuclear Deal Breach As Dash To Bomb

        The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the UN nuclear watchdog tasked with vigorously monitoring Iran’s nuclear program under the 2015 accord—confirmed this week that Iran exceeded the limit on its supply of low-enriched uranium (LEU). Unfortunately, with a few notable exceptions, reporting from many in the media on this development wasn’t great. Reporters and commentators portrayed Iran, not Donald Trump, as the primary provocateur, with many going so far as to claim, without any evidence whatsoever, that Iran is now racing to build a nuclear weapon.

        One goal of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) was to stretch the timeline to one year in terms of how long it would take Iran to enrich enough uranium for one bomb. To achieve that outcome, the United States, the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, and Iran agreed that Tehran could continue enriching uranium for civilian energy purposes but also to cap the amount of LEU it could have on hand at any one time to about 660 pounds. Before the agreement, and ostensibly under the untenable George W. Bush-era policy of “zero enrichment,” Iran had amassed around 10,000 pounds of LEU, which if further refined, could be transformed into fuel for nuclear weapons. After the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran shipped out 98 percent of its LEU stockpile and verifiably maintained, until this week, the 660-pound cap, even after Trump last year unilaterally reimposed sanctions that were lifted as part of the deal.

      • Increasing Pressure on Europe to Salvage Nuclear Deal, Iran Announces Plans to Exceed Uranium Enrichment Cap

        The landmark nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was initially signed by Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia. Since President Donald Trump violated the JCPOA and reimposed sanctions last year—eliciting global condemnation and warnings that his administration is paving a path to war—European and Iranian diplomats have been working to save the deal.

        At a news conference on Sunday, Iranian officials announced the enrichment plans and said the country would continue to reduce its commitments under the JCPOA every 60 days unless the deal’s European signatories provide relief from Trump’s sanctions.

      • Trump’s Economic War on Iran: 88% reduction in Oil Exports, 6% Shrinkage of Economy

        The United States is already at war with Iran, squeezing its economy down to nothingness. If another country tried to do this to the US just on a whim and with no UN or international-law basis, the US would certainly launch a war over it. Iran’s choices are much more limited because it is a small, weak, Third World country, with not so much as a proper air force. But countries without conventional military capabilities that are squeezed like this by an enemy reply with unconventional tactics.

        Trump did this to Iran despite Iran’s adherence to the 2015 nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as certified quarterly by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency.

      • Dogs of War Howl for Blood in Iran While Americans Cheer US Bombers on July 4th

        President Trump’s order to the Pentagon to have an aerial parade of military aircraft over Washington, DC on July 4 provided a history lesson of America’s war mongering in the past two decades, and a terrifying view of what might appear in the skies of Iran if John Bolton gets his way.

        The combat aircraft that were cheered by Trump’s supporters as they flew low over the monuments in the nation’s capital have not been cheered by people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Palestine as the same type of planes fly over their homes—terrifying and killing their children and wreaking havoc on their lives.

      • Could Trump’s tricks boost his ratings and settle the Syrian conflict?

        Recently the U.S. President Donald Trump formally launched his 2020 re-election campaign in front of a large crowd in Orlando, Florida. The campaign is gaining momentum. We have already seen the celebrities and politicians speeches, preliminary ratings and even the economic models of the New York Times predicting Trump’s victory.

        For his part, the candidate keeps on delighting the world community by posting promising Tweets to increase his popularity and to retake votes from his opponents.

        According to Gallup, 45% of U.S. adults believe Trump should be impeached over the various alleged scandals that have dogged his presidency, while 53% said he should not be.

        45% is too much for the sitting president, so it has been decided to increase his positions in the eyes of his anti-war base. In this case, we are not speaking about implementation of all his statements, but only about election promises that can snatch the next agenda from competitors.

        For instance, the situation is so with Trump’s report on the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It looks like the White House analysts are working on the same scenario.

    • Environment
      • Trump Speech on Environment Doesn’t Pass Smell Test with Activists

        Samantha Gross, a fellow with the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, is bothered by Trump’s assertion that previous administrations had to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy.

        “I just find this completely untrue,” Gross, a former director of the Energy Department’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy, told VOA. “Environmental improvement and economic growth has gone hand in hand for decades.”

      • The Meat-Allergy Tick Also Carries a Mystery Killer Virus

        Like its closest cousins, Bourbon virus seems to spend at least some of its time in ticks. The patient the virus was first isolated from—a 68-year-old man named John Seested in Bourbon County, Kansas—had a history of tick bites. The summer after its discovery there, CDC researchers found the virus in the bodies of several ticks collected elsewhere in Bourbon County. The species they found carrying the virus was the Lone Star tick, whose bite is more notorious for making people allergic to red meat. It’s also been shown to replicate inside tick cell lines in the lab.

      • Trump’s Misleading Speech on His Environmental Record Is a ‘True “1984” Moment’

        “This speech is a true ’1984′ moment,” said David G. Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, to The New York Times.

        At one point, the doublespeak prompted Fox News host Shepard Smith to interrupt the broadcast to point out that many of Trump’s policies had been “widely criticized by environmentalists and academics,” HuffPost reported.

        Smith then went on to list some of the more than 80 regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration has initiated, including the recent repeal of the Clean Power Plan that would have limited emissions from coal plants.

      • Trump Saw Opportunity in Speech on Environment. Critics Saw a ‘“1984” Moment.’

        Reviewing new polling data, consultants working for President Trump’s 2020 campaign discovered an unsurprising obstacle to winning support from two key demographic groups, millennials and suburban women. And that was his record on the environment.

        But they also saw an opportunity. While the numbers showed that Mr. Trump was “never going to get” the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change, a senior administration official who reviewed the polling said, there were moderate voters who liked the president’s economic policies and “just want to know that he’s being responsible” on environmental issues.

        So for nearly an hour in the East Room on Monday afternoon, Mr. Trump sought to recast his administration’s record by describing what he called “America’s environmental leadership” under his command.

        Flanked by several cabinet members and senior environmental officials — one a former lobbyist for the coal industry and the other a former oil lobbyist — Mr. Trump rattled off a grab bag of his administration’s accomplishments, which he said included “being good stewards of our public land,” reducing carbon emissions and promoting the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water.

      • Fox News Cuts Into Trump Speech To Deliver A Brutal Real-Time Fact Check

        President Donald Trump’s favorite news network not only cut into his speech on Monday, but it also fact-checked him on live television.

        Trump on Monday attempted to tout his administration’s environmental record, but Fox News host Shepard Smith interrupted to say those policies have been “widely criticized by environmentalists and academics.”

        The Fox News host cited a New York Times report that found that more than 80 environmental rules and regulations have been repealed and/or rolled back, including multiple regulations regarding drilling, air pollution and wildlife.

      • Trump avoids climate change in speech on environmentalism

        President Trump touted his administration’s environmental stewardship in a speech in the East Room Monday. It’s a topic the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates bring up almost daily, but not one Mr. Trump often addresses.
        But a White House fact sheet obtained by CBS News ahead of the speech did not mention climate change, nor did the president.
        In his speech, the president claimed his administration is working diligently to improve the environment, insisting the environment and economy go hand-in-hand. The environment can’t be strong without a strong economy, Mr. Trump said. The president did tout the importance of forest management to prevent fires in California, and blasted the “Green New Deal.”

      • Energy
        • Green Party deputy leader welcomes electric Mini launch

          She said: “It is clear that the future of motorised transport has to be fossil fuel-free. In the UK we’ve been left far behind countries whose governments have pushed further and farther in this age of climate emergency, but this is a step forward.

          “We need to see our infrastructure – charging points and renewable electricity generation – also catching up with the best continental standards.

        • ‘Bomb Trains,’ a New Book on the Deadly, Ongoing Threat of Oil by Rail

          On July 6, 2013, a train hauling crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, resulting in fires and explosions that killed 47 people and wiped out a large part of the small Canadian town’s center. At the time I was living in Albany, New York, which had become a major distribution point for Bakken oil delivered to the Port of Albany in mile-long trains like the one that devastated Lac-Mégantic. In the six months following the deadly disaster, several more trains of Bakken oil derailed and exploded across North America.

          As the risk of these oil trains became very apparent, I began investigating how the trains could be allowed to travel through communities like mine in Albany and started publishing my findings here at DeSmog. Now, just after the six year anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic disaster, I have compiled all of that research into the new book Bomb Trains: How Industry Greed and Regulatory Failure Put the Public at Risk.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Racing officials suspect deadly sea snail venom used as illegal drug

          A deadly venom found in sea snails which can paralyse fish within a second has emerged as the latest chemical suspected to have infiltrated horse racing, with authorities scrambling to organise testing for the powerful painkiller.

          Racing NSW and Racing Victoria integrity officials on Monday confirmed they had started screening for the mystery drug, which has subtypes known to be infinitely stronger than morphine.

    • Finance
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering. It Worked.

        After the ISIS campaign ended, Google left behind a blueprint. The blueprint shows, step by step, how you can create your own redirect ads to sway any belief or opinion — held by any Google user, anywhere in the world — of your choice.

        You don’t have to be a marketer with years of experience to do this. You just need to follow the instructions and put up a credit card (a few hundred bucks will suffice).

        Recently, I followed the blueprint and created a redirect campaign of my own.

      • Kim Darroch – the Simple Explanation

        The media is full of over-complicated theories as to who might have leaked Kim Darroch’s diplomatic telegrams giving his candid view on the Trump administration. I should start by explaining the FCO telegram system. The communications are nowadays effectively encrypted emails, though still known as “telegrams”: to the Americans “cables”. They are widely distributed. These Darroch telegrams would be addressed formally to the Foreign Secretary but have hundreds of other recipients, in the FCO, No.10, Cabinet Office, MOD, DFID, other government departments, MI6, GCHQ, and in scores of other British Embassies abroad. The field of suspects is therefore immense.


        At a time when news management was the be all and end all for the Blair administration, Darroch was in charge of the FCO’s Media Department. I remember being astonished when, down the telephone, he called me “fucking stupid” for disagreeing with him on some minor policy matter. I had simply never come across that kind of aggression in the FCO before. People who worked directly for him had to put up with this kind of thing all the time.

        Most senior ambassadors used to have interests like Chinese literature and Shostakovitch. Darroch’s are squash and sailing. He is a bull of a man. In my view, the most likely source of the leaks is a former subordinate taking revenge for years of bullying, or a present one trying to get rid of an unpleasant boss.

      • Will Corporate Democrats Team Up to Block Warren and Sanders?

        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.”

      • Marianne Williamson is Right About American Elections

        Self-help guru Marianne Williamson isn’t likely to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, despite having probably served the American public more ably than any of her opponents (among other things, her Project Angel Food delivers millions of meals to the seriously ill). Good works aside, she’s a little too “New Age,” spiritual, and individualist/voluntarist-oriented for a population increasingly viewing coercive government as its living and unquestionable God.

        That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to her, though, especially when she points out major flaws in the system. At a July 3 campaign event in New Hampshire, Williamson discussed the “illusion of choice” in American elections, comparing them to Iran’s, where “you can vote for whoever you want, among the people that they tell you it’s OK to vote for.”

        Afterward, Williamson backed off just a hair, calling her remarks “a cautionary tale, not a direct analogy.” She shouldn’t have.

        Iran’s parliament, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, includes 290 representatives. Of those seats, 216 are split between three political parties, 66 are held by independents, and five are reserved for religious minorities.

        Of the 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, 434 are split between two political parties, with a lone independent holding the 435th. The US Senate is slightly more diverse — 98 of its seats are split between the two “major” parties, with a whopping two independents.

        Yes, “separation of church and state” is preferable to theocracy, but our two “major” parties, the Democrats and Republicans, exemplify an iron grip on rule by party establishments that even Iran can’t match.

        How do they do it? Why aren’t there any current members of Congress from the Libertarian, Green, or other “third parties?” And why are independent and “third party” members of Congress a rarity since early in the 20th century? Two reasons.

        One is that unlike the world’s parliamentary democracies, which use “proportional representation” measures to accord smaller parties at least token representation, the US uses single-member districts and first-past-the-post voting. In each district there’s one winner and everyone else loses.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Deplatforming Won’t Work

        Gab is a Twitter alternative used by many neo-Nazis and alt-righters who have been (or know they would be) banned from actual Twitter. The unintended—but entirely predictable—consequence of throwing extremists off Twitter has been to create a large community of exiles on Gab. In Gabland, it is people who question Jewish conspiracy theories or the idea that the US should be a white ethnostate who are considered “trolls.” A similar community is developing on the YouTube alternative BitChute, whose Alexa ranking is rising quickly.

      • The UK’s Entire Approach To ‘Online Harms’ Is Backwards… And No One Cares

        Back in April, the UK (with Theresa May making the announcement) released a plan to fine internet companies if they allowed “online harms” in the form of “abhorrent content.” This included “legal” content. As we noted at the time, this seemed to create all sorts of problems. Since then, the UK has been seeking “comments” on this proposal, and many are coming in. However, the most incredible thing is that the UK seems to assume so many things in its plan that the comments it’s asking for are basically, “how do we tweak this proposal around the edges,” rather than, “should we do this at all?”

        Various organizations have been engaging, as they should. However, reading the Center for Democracy & Technology’s set of comments to the UK in response to its questions is a really frustrating experience. CDT knows how dumb this plan is. However, the specific questions that the UK government is asking don’t even let commenters really lay out the many, many problems with this approach.

        And, of course, we just wrote about some new research that suggests a focus on “removing” terrorist content has actually harmed the efforts against terrorism, in large part by hiding from law enforcement and intelligence agencies what’s going on. In short, in this moral panic about “online harms”, we’re effectively sweeping useful evidence under the rug to pretend that if we hide it, nothing bad happens. Instead, the reality is that letting clueless people post information about their dastardly plans online seems to make it much easier to stop those plans from ever being brought to fruition.

      • Kali Linux Released For Raspberry Pi

        Last month, June Raspberry Pi foundation released RPi 4 with more memory options and useful features. Recently Kali Linux announced the release of its Kali Linux images for Raspberry Pi.

        Recently, Kali Linux tweeted the news of releasing the pentesting distro for RPi and got a good response from its followers.

      • Kali Linux For Raspberry Pi 4 Now Officially Released

        Kali Linux claims that the Raspberry Pi 4 will also benefit from the new Kali Linux distro because they have designed it to leverage the new Raspberry Pi 4 features.

        Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4 is only available in a 32-bit variant right now. But a 64-bit version is expected to be released shortly.

        The new Raspberry Pi is available in 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM. Apart from that, the Raspberry Pi 4 will house a more powerful CPU along with a quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SOC clocking at 1.5GHz.

        On the connectivity front, it has two USB 3.0 ports along with two USB 2.0 ports and a USB-C power supply for charging.

        The new forum of Kali Linux ARM architecture is already alive. You can download the new distro here.

      • Raspberry Pi 4 gets Kali Linux, a distro aimed at ethical hackers

        Kali features on our list of the best Linux distros for privacy and security. It’s the most popular penetration testing distro out there (the process whereby attacks are simulated on systems, by ethical hackers, with the aim of strengthening those systems against real hackers), with hundreds of built-in tools for those who want to get more serious about their security.

        As for the Raspberry Pi 4, the latest version makes some big promises, including entry-level desktop PC performance at an extremely cheap price – and it delivers on that front, more or less, although as we observed in our review, there are some heat issues.

      • Instagram Now Asks You To Rethink Hate Comments With New Feature [Ed: Facebook reads and analyses messages before you even send them. Thought police or censorship?]

        Aiming to control the bullying practices people often entrap themselves into, Facebook-owned Instagram has introduced two new features to solve the issue in a subtle way.

      • Facebook’s Priority Is To Fight Fake News About Facebook

        Facebook has become a breeding ground for spreading fake news. The company’s efforts have not amounted to anything significant when it comes to curbing fake news on the platform. However, a Bloomberg report suggests that the company cares deeply about fake news related to Facebook and has dedicated tools to fight it.

        During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a hoax spread on Facebook — copy, paste and share this message with your friends, otherwise, Facebook will share your private information. The rumor was particularly effective in the U.S. and the Philippines.

      • How Facebook Fought Fake News About Facebook

        A month before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a rumor spread on Facebook. People were sharing a viral gimmick familiar to email spammers: Copy and paste this message to all your friends, or Facebook will share your private information. The hoax took off, particularly in pockets of the U.S. and the Philippines.

        Inside Facebook Inc.’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters, a small group of staffers watched this rumor gain traction using a special software program they called Stormchaser. The tool was designed to track hoaxes and “memes” – silly, often untrue internet missives – about Facebook on the social network and other company-owned services including WhatsApp.

        Since 2016, Facebook employees have used Stormchaser to track many viral posts, including a popular conspiracy that the company listens to users through their phone’s microphone, according to three former employees. Other topics ranged from bitter protests (the #deleteFB movement) to ludicrous jokes (that Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is an alien), according to one former employee. In some cases, like the copy-and-paste hoax, the social network took active steps to snuff them out. Staff prepared messages debunking assertions about Facebook, then ran them in front of users who shared the content, according to documents viewed by Bloomberg News and four people familiar with the matter. They asked not to be identified discussing private initiatives.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • The writing is on the wall for ads based on real-time bidding in the EU – and maybe everywhere

        Privacy News Online noted back in February a growing disquiet at the huge amounts of personal information that sites like Facebook and Google routinely gather about us, and how it is used for personalized advertising. Of particular concern is real-time bidding (RTB), which sees often extremely private information sent out to hundreds of potential advertisers, with no control over what they do with it. A formal complaint has been submitted to the data protection authorities in the UK and in Ireland, asking them to investigate the use of real-time bidding systems by Google and other adtech companies.

      • Thousands of Android apps can track your phone — even if you deny permissions

        Even if you say “no” to one app when it asks for permission to see those personally identifying bits of data, it might not be enough: a second app with permissions you have approved can share those bits with the other one or leave them in shared storage where another app — potentially even a malicious one — can read it. The two apps might not seem related, but researchers say that because they’re built using the same software development kits (SDK), they can access that data, and there’s evidence that the SDK owners are receiving it. It’s like a kid asking for dessert who gets told “no” by one parent, so they ask the other parent.


        The study also singles out photo app Shutterfly for sending actual GPS coordinates back to its servers without getting permission to track locations — by harvesting that data from your photos’ EXIF metadata — though the company denied that it gathers that data without permission in a statement to CNET.

        There are fixes coming for some of these issues in Android Q, according to the researchers, who say they notified Google about the vulnerabilities last September. (They point to this official Google page.) Yet, that may not help the many current-generation Android phones that won’t get the Android Q update. (As of May, only 10.4 percent of Android devices had the latest Android P installed, and over 60 percent were still running on the nearly three-year-old Android N.)

      • Android Apps Can Access Your Data Even If You Refuse Permission: Study

        The study suggests that Android apps get unauthorized access to user data with the help of covert and side channels.

        For the uninitiated, covert channels allow apps to get permission to access user data from another app, and this process becomes easy as most of the apps are based on the same SDK (software development kit).

        Additionally, various side channel vulnerabilities that exist in the Android system could be used to extract crucial information such as the MAC address of a user’s device with the use of C++ native code.

        It is further suggested that many apps that use SDKs built by Baidu and Salmonads use the covert channel communication path to access the user’s IMEI number without his or her permission.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • Steve Wozniak warns people away from Facebook

        Given Wozniak deleted his Facebook account over a year ago, this perhaps shouldn’t be a huge surprise, but nonetheless it’s all that reporters from TMZ wanted to talk to him about when they accosted him at the airport. He’d probably have been equally keen to rail against legroom and a poor selection of in-flight movies if they’d given him the opportunity.

      • Facebook’s Libra Must Be Under Central Bank Oversight, PBOC Says

        Mu said the central bank’s research team tested Libra’s code and found it’s “still in an initial stage and the quality of the code isn’t stable.” He also said it’s questionable whether Libra would indeed use blockchain technology, because it can’t meet the high concurrent transaction requirements necessary for retail sales scenarios.

        The PBOC has been working on developing its own digital legal tender, but hasn’t announced a time table for issuing any such currency.

      • Christian Family Details Crackdown on Church in China

        Ren told The Associated Press that she had to report her whereabouts to police using social media whenever she went out. She was told her safety couldn’t be guaranteed if she disobeyed.

      • Facebook and Twitter have not been invited to White House social media summit, sources say

        Such hearings have often strayed far from being fact-based conversations. At one hearing last year, Republicans invited the pro-Trump social media duo “Diamond & Silk” to testify. The duo spent the hearing spreading misinformation about social media companies. At other hearings, Republican lawmakers have cited information from right-wing sites like The Gateway Pundit to make their points.

      • British Airways faces $230 million fine. It would be a record under Europe’s tough data privacy law

        Attackers were able to harvest customer details including log ins, payment cards, and travel booking details, according to the regulator. The airline disclosed the incident in September 2018.

        The £183.4 million ($230 million) fine is roughly 1.5% of British Airways’ annual revenue. The carrier, which is owned by IAG (ICAGY), said it would fight the penalty.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press
      • Ukraine’s public broadcasters want a free press. Can they survive the politics?

        Adding to the distrust is a perpetual problem that has long plagued Ukrainian journalism: jeansa. The term refers to unmarked, integrated political advertising paid for by a politician. The word originates from the notion of a cash bribe supposedly slipped into the pocket of a denim-sporting journalist.

      • Peace Petition Signatories Face Continued Prosecutions

        It was a petition more or less like any other that an antiwar academic might sign. But for the act of signing it, more than 700 scholars have been criminally charged with making propaganda for a terrorist organization, according to data published on the website of the signatories, who call themselves Academics for Peace.

      • ‘Mad’ Magazine Told the Truth About War, Advertising, and the Media

        Born in the troubled era of McCarthyism, Mad is dying in another squalid political epoch. Mad was arguably America’s greatest and most influential satirical magazine, a strange claim to make of a publication that was mostly read throughout its existence by children and teenagers, but still justifiable.

        Mad was often rude, tasteless, and childish—which made it all the more potent as a tributary of youth culture. The kids who read Mad learned from it to distrust authority, whether in the form of politicians, advertisers or media figures. That was a lesson that successive generations took to heart. Without Mad, it’s impossible to imagine underground comics, National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, The Daily Show, or Stephen Colbert. In the historical sweep of American culture, Mad is the crucial link between the anarchic humor of the Marx Brothers and the counterculture that emerged in the 1960s.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • The Hate-Crime Epidemic That Never Was: A Seattle Case Study

        A look through the data that has been made available from Seattle’s office of the City Auditor reveals that there is little basis for panic. First, most of the situations contained in the 500-plus documented incidents for 2018 turned out not to be hate crimes at all. Out of 521 confrontations or other incidents reported to the police at some point during the year, 181 (35 percent) were deemed insufficiently serious to qualify as crimes of any kind. Another 215 (41 percent) turned out to involve some minor element of bias (i.e., an ethnic slur used during a fight), but did not rise to the definition of hate crime. Only 125, or 24 percent, qualified as potential hate crimes—i.e., alleged “criminal incidents directly motivated by bias.” For purposes of comparison: There are 745,000 people living in Seattle, and 3.5-million in the metro area.

        Even that 125 figure represents an overestimate, at least as compared to what most of us imagine to be the stereotypical hate crime (of, say, a gang of white racists beating up someone of a different skin color). Seattle’s remarkably broad municipal hate-crime policies cover not only attacks motivated by racial or sexual animus, but also those related to “homelessness, marital status, political ideology, age and parental status.”

      • How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours

        What is the point of sending someone to prison – retribution or rehabilitation? Twenty years ago, Norway moved away from a punitive “lock-up” approach and sharply cut reoffending rates. The BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby went to see the system in action, and to meet prison officers trained to serve as mentors and role models for prisoners.


        “Not ‘guards’,” admonishes Hoidal gently, when I use the term. “We are prison ‘officers’ and of course we make sure an inmate serves his sentence but we also help that person become a better person. We are role models, coaches and mentors. And since our big reforms, recidivism in Norway has fallen to only 20% after two years and about 25% after five years. So this works!”

      • Donald Trump Keen to Cover for Mohammed Bin Salman No Matter What He Does As Executions Double in Saudi Arabia, Activists Say

        The number of executions in the first six months of the year is the highest recorded in the past five years, and more than double the 55 from the same period in 2018, according to a new report by the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights.

        From January until the end of June, 122 people were executed in the ultra-conservative kingdom. Among them are six minors and 58 foreign nationals, from nations including Pakistan, Yemen and Syria. Three women were among those killed, one each from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Yemen.

      • Jeffrey Epstein, friend of presidents and princes, charged with sex trafficking

        In a development that shows that the #MeToo movement is chipping away at the wall of protection that powerful men have constructed around themselves, financier Jeffrey Epstein, who has ties to influential people such as Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew, has been charged with new counts of sex trafficking, accused of luring dozens of girls as young as 14 to his homes and paying them for sex acts.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)
    • Monopolies
      • Why cannabis patent enforcement is in the weeds [Ed: Weed becoming legal only so that a bunch of parasitic lawyers will start suing for millions, over patents that have nothing to do with novelty (lots of prior art) but prohibition that cause lack of patents ]

        Until the US government legalises the sale and distribution of cannabis, enforcing patents in this field and obtaining the traditional benefits of these rights will be challenging, says Daniel Pereira of Oblon

        Marijuana, for medical and recreational purposes, is an area of great political, social and legal interest. By some accounts, the industry is rapidly growing leaps and bounds with large inflows of cash to state’s coffers.

      • Patents and Software Patents
        • New CRISPR Interference: The Details

          The declaration also contains the scheduling statement that there will be a telephone conference between APJ Katz and the parties on August 5th, and that four business days prior, the parties will submit a list of motions it proposes to file. (Except in instances where this list is vanishingly small, it is unlikely that the Board will grant the parties’ motions to file all these proposed motions.) In the last interference, the Broad filed a motion that there was no interference-in-fact (unlikely in this interference); several motions that the Broad’s dozen patents involved in the interference should be accorded the benefit of priority to 16 provisional applications; a motion that the University’s claims corresponding to the count are unpatentable for lack of written description (granted); a motion that the University’s claims corresponding to the count are unpatentable for lack of enablement (deferred); motions that the University claims are not patentable over “certain prior art” (deferred); and motions for access to pending Berkeley applications (which was denied). Berkeley’s motions were in some ways more compelling, to the extent they suggested grounds for invalidating the Broad patents that were foreclosed by the PTAB’s determination that there was no interference-in-fact. These motions included: a motion that all of the claims of all of the Broad’s patents are invalid over the publication of the University’s application in interference, based on an error in how the Broad’s application was filed involving changes resulting from the America Invents Act (deferred); five motions to change the count (one was granted but mooted by the Board’s decision); a motion for priority benefit to an earlier provisional application (granted); a motion that the Broad’s involved claims are anticipated by certain prior art (deferred); a motion that each of the Broad’s patents are unpatentable under the doctrine of obviousness-type double patenting (deferred); a motion that each of the Broad’s patents are unpatentable for improper inventorship (deferred); and a motion that each of the Broad’s patents were obtained by inequitable conduct (denied).

        • Qualcomm files motion with Ninth Circuit for partial stay of FTC antitrust remedies

          What Qualcomm’s attorneys, now led by Goldstein & Russel’s Tom Goldstein, put front and center is that the FTC brought the lawsuit with only two commissioners voting in favor (at the time, there were only three commissioners), and that former Qualcomm attorney (in terms of his positions, forget the “former”) and now-Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim and FTC commissioner Christine Wilson disagree. So they’re trying to discredit the case and the ruling, and I have my doubts that this will impress the Ninth Circuit, especially given Judge Koh’s stellar reputation throughout and beyond that circuit as well as the fact that her judgment is simply in the global antitrust mainstream in light of other decisions in the EU and in Asia (with a second EU antitrust hammer having been unofficially announced by DG COMP to come down in the months ahead, possibly just at a time when the Ninth Circuit will be working on a decision on this motion).

      • Trademarks
        • Celebrity misadventures in trade mark land

          In recent years, intellectual property rights have played a significant role in the growth of highly competitive global industries, like fashion and music. This is not to say the least in the United States, where both social media influencers and artists in the music industry have sought to register trade marks also to create a bridge with contemporary trends within the pop and culture scenes.

          One might wonder whether this trend might pose difficulties for relevant authorities in the assessment of trade mark applications. This may be particularly problematic when it comes to registering common pop phrases as trade marks, or when the chosen trade mark might raise cultural appropriation concerns.

          The latter difficulties presented themselves earlier this year when both Cardi B and Kim Kardashian attempted to register their brands with the US Patent and Trade Marks Office (USPTO).

      • Copyrights
        • Jacob Victor: Should Royalty Rates in Compulsory Licensing of Music Be Set Below the Market Price?

          Jacob Victor has a remarkable new article on copyright compulsory licenses, forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review. The article boldly wades into the notoriously convoluted history of the compulsory license option for obtaining rights to copyrighted music, and makes what I think is a very interesting and important normative argument about how compulsory license rates should be set. Other scholars who have written on compulsory licensing, whose work Victor addresses, include, to name only a few: Kristelia Garcia, Jane C. Ginsburg, Wendy Gordon, Lydia Pallas Loren, Robert P. Merges, Pam Samuelson, Tim Wu, and more herein.


          This is where the conundrum of rate setting arises. If a rate setting entity is suddenly responsible for determining how much users, and thereby consumers, must pay to obtain access to music, instead of negotiating directly with rights owners, what policy should the rate-setting entity use to set rates?

          We might think the rate should simply be set at what it would have been, had a direct negotiation taken place. After all, the compulsory license is not a statement of non-infringement, like fair use. It is, rather, an alternative to direct negotiation.

          Scholars like Robert Merges have long viewed transaction costs as the main hurdle to ensuring fair and efficient access to IP-protected works, and have frequently applied the classic Calabresi/Melamed model to IP licensing. Viewing compulsory licensing as a mechanism in which government’s role is limited to facilitating efficient licensing in the face of high transaction costs, in particular the multiplicity of dispersed music copyright owners, would therefore seem logical. (That said, Merges does not see a compulsory license as the best way; he prefers collective rights organizations that operate in the private sector without government involved at all).

          Wendy Gordon has gone further, arguing that even fair use, which is a statement of non-infringement, should be seen as a response to high transaction costs. Victor tactfully notes that “Gordon’s early work in this field is frequently contested, including by Gordon herself” (13). It seems circular to argue that whether an act of copying constitutes copyright infringement should itself be determined by whether the user could have gotten a license.

        • The relationship between musicians, master recordings and record labels

          The gist of Ms Swift’s complaint, which she posted on social media on June 30th, is that someone she does not like or trust is taking ownership of her master recordings—the tapes or digital files from which albums are pressed and released—and they are free to do with them as they please. Ms Swift was 15 when she signed to Big Machine, an independent label set up by Scott Borchetta in 2005. Her contract ceded ownership of her masters to the label.

        • BT Sport Subscribers Test Pirate Sites After UFC PPV Decision

          BT Sport is the current home for UFC events in the UK. However, a recent surprise decision to charge subscribers additional fees to watch big events saw many turn to piracy this weekend. It’s a move that has the potential to not only affect UFC and BT Sport, but all premium broadcasters.

IBM Has Just Wiped Clean Red Hat’s Position on Software Patents

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 02:20:41 PM

Summary: Proprietary software/hardware giant buying Red Hat is not good news; but now it is confirmed and damage limitation may be in order

IT IS no longer surprising that Red Hat becomes IBM (or part of IBM). Now it’s official. I got the initial headsup (link to IBM’s own openwashing hogwash) and then saw some blog posts like this one that says “IBM today closed the acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion, marking one of the biggest acquisition of any open source company.”

“IBM will probably wait for a while (a “goodwill gesture”) before it announces what parts of the business it is going to shut down (or whose job will be axed).”Red Hat could sell itself to Microsoft and even considered that. We’re thankful that this never happened. But Red Hat’s main casualty will be its policy on patents. Since IBM calls all the shots it’s safe to assume that Red Hat’s staff has become or will become a major booster of software patents (or at best passive). We also envision IBM putting a lot of pressure on new joiners (from Red Hat) to apply for software patents, maybe ‘spiced up’ with buzzwords such as "hey hi" (AI) so as to dodge 35 U.S.C. § 101. It’s important for IBM to show up at the top of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ladders. IBM also lobbies for software patents in Europe, so Red Hat is perhaps becoming a threat to Europe — even if only by extension.

IBM will probably wait for a while (a “goodwill gesture”) before it announces what parts of the business it is going to shut down (or whose job will be axed). Layoffs are very common at IBM nowadays; it fired over 1,000 employees as recently as a month ago. For the time being we wish Red Hat staff a happy and enjoyable honeymoon. Try to change IBM for the better, from the inside…

EPO ‘Tackles’ Patent Quality Concerns by Issuing New Report With “Quality” in the Title

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 01:48:15 PM

Extrajudicial agenda, intelligence mocked

Summary: The EPO strives to grant as many patents as possible while constantly lying to the public about the effect on patent quality (or validity, as determined by the underlying laws and judged by courts peripheral to the EPO)

35 U.S.C. § 101 went a long way in improving US patent quality — to the point where even USPTO examiners started to deny many software patent applications. We mostly covered this in past years because this year we focus on the sordid mess at the European Patent Office (EPO), led by Battistelli‘s double who openly supports software patents in Europe.

“All this while lowering patent validity and quality even further (great for blackmail, not so good for litigation).”Patent quality hasn’t only collapsed; it’s continuing to collapse all the time due to rising targets and brain drain (assuring decline in quality of training, too). Law firms, desperate for clients who rely on false promises, are cross-posting their self-promotional pieces which pretend everything is alright (“Revised Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal”). One went as far as promoting the further speed-up or acceleration of examination (as if it wasn’t already bad enough). Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick’s Dr Jon Wright wrote this today:

Following a successful three-year trial, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Australian Patent Office (IP Australia) have agreed to extend… [PPH]

All this while lowering patent validity and quality even further (great for blackmail, not so good for litigation). Cohausz & Florack’s Arwed Burrichter and Natalie Kirchhofer have meanwhile published “EPO Administrative Council adopts new Rules of Procedure for the Boards of Appeal,” neglecting (as usual) to mention the chaotic state and abrupt departure from the EPC. Today’s EPO is not even trying to pretend (not anymore) that it adheres to the EPC or that cares about the autonomy of judges; these judges are unable to enforce the EPC, i.e. the law, without risking severe punishment (like Patrick Corcoran’s).

“Today’s EPO is not even trying to pretend (not anymore) that it adheres to the EPC or that cares about the autonomy of judges…”The EPO has meanwhile tweeted: “The EPO’s 2018 Quality Report is out! For insights into the checks & safeguards of the patenting process, as well as feedback from users & future initiatives, have a look here: …”

In order to ‘googlebomb’ the word “quality” the EPO has just published a “report” (warning: link) with the word “quality” in the headline/title, prefaced by:

The EPO today published its third Quality Report since 2016. The 2018 edition delves deeper into the patent grant process, describing the checks and safeguards that are in place at each phase of the procedure at the Office. It offers extensive data analyses at EPO sectors’ level, looks at quality improvement measures taken by the Office, cites feedback provided by users and discusses the initiatives that are planned for the future.

While confirming users’ growing appreciation of the quality of the products and services provided by the EPO, the report also acknowledges scope for improvement in certain areas.

“This report provides our users with a full picture of the way quality is evolving at the EPO and a common basis on which we can continue to move forwards”, said President António Campinos. “Quality is at the heart of our new Strategic Plan and by working with our users and cooperating with all our stakeholders, we now have an opportunity to raise our quality to another level altogether.”

What a liar. What lawyers…

They keep denying the problem, potentially only infuriating stakeholders by insulting them. Where’s the Council amid these lies?

“It’s hogwash and everybody knows it, including those involved in manufacturing such propaganda.”Well, as we explained last week, the EPO (Office) is is buying and securing votes to ensure that nothing changes or that nothing actually improves. It keeps bribing those who vote. Earlier today Schmitt & Orlov wrote that “Gabriel Pecquet, the European Patent Office (EPO) expert, visited the Moldovan State Agency on Intellectual Property (AGEPI)…”

The Moldovan vote is worth as much as Germany’s and Moldova is a lot easier (and cheaper) to ‘buy’. Team Campinos carries on with Battistelli’s tactics and there’s no stopping it. They make up all sorts of groups or panels called “Quality” something. Now there’s a “Quality” report. It’s hogwash and everybody knows it, including those involved in manufacturing such propaganda. They’re being paid to lie; what a waste of money…

If Microsoft is Still Attacking Even Its Very Own Partners, Why Believe It Will Treat GNU/Linux Any Better?

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 11:31:03 AM

Recent: The Corporate Media Deliberately Distorts the Public’s Opinion on Microsoft and Its ‘Love’ for Linux

When scorpions meet tortoises it rarely ends well

Summary: Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) debacles serve to show that Microsoft is as untrustworthy as ever; those who invite Microsoft to join Linux aren’t helping anyone but Microsoft

AN article mentioned in passing and added to our daily links over the weekend merits special attention. A reader has just sent us one more report on this subject [1] and it’s worth taking it into account now that we’re told “Microsoft loves Linux” (which Microsoft considers to be the biggest competition and called for a "Jihad" against). Yes, the word “Jihad” was used by Bill Gates.

“Little by little, Microsoft seizes greater control/power over its competition. This way Microsoft also controls the narrative.”The short story is, Microsoft is squeezing some of its closest partners and it recently did the same to CERN (hiking costs tenfold!); if this is what Microsoft does to friends, then just imagine what it’s planning to do to actual rivals.

Hours ago (just earlier today) we mentioned a couple more reports (in our daily links) [2,3] from Microsoft apologists — both connected to the Linux Foundation — who eagerly open the door to Microsoft's control over Linux. Little by little, Microsoft seizes greater control/power over its competition. This way Microsoft also controls the narrative. “The “Linux” links these days are all Microsoft spam,” one reader told us, “with only a few exceptions. With the help of Google and its search engine, Microsoft is doing to Linux and GNU/Linux what it did to VistA.” (VA’s FOSS, not Windows)

Before destroying Novell Ron Hovsepian said “Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux…”

GNU/Linux is the “most potent operating system competitor,” according to Bill Gates, who now shifts his attention to Android (lots of puff pieces about it earlier this month). ZDNet, a prime promoter of the “Microsoft loves Linux” lie (they’re big Microsoft advertisers with Microsoft staff among them), published an article entitled “What if Microsoft had invented Android?” only 2 days ago.

Microsoft hates Android. Watch what it’s doing to Android/inside Android [4] (other than patent blackmail which carries on) and see older coverage (last week) about Microsoft Partner Network (MPN): “Microsoft’s worst move in 30 years” [5]. Microsoft has not changed; only the PR strategy has changed somewhat. They pretend to be friends or in love with whatever they attack, usually from the inside.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft has caused an uproar among its partners by canceling one of their favorite perks: software for their own use [paywall]

    Over the course of the next year, Microsoft will stop allowing its partners to use its software for their own businesses as a perk — and instead, charge them, same as anybody else.

  2. Microsoft admitted to private Linux developer security list

    Most open-source development work, like the name says, is done in the open. The exception is the first stages of security work. Unpatched security holes, however, are discussed and fixed behind closed doors. Now, Microsoft has been admitted to the closed linux-distro list.

    Microsoft wanted in because, while Windows sure isn’t Linux, the company is, in fact, a Linux distributor. Sasha Levin, a Microsoft Linux kernel developer, pointed out Microsoft has several distro-like builds — which are not derivative of an existing distribution — that are based on open-source components.

  3. Confirmed: Microsoft Will Join The Private Linux Kernel Mailing List

    However, it wasn’t all praise. Levin had to prove to the community whether it qualifies to join the list or not. After a long and quite intensive discussion, it all but certain that Microsoft will be accepted into the mailing list, possibly, by the end of this week.

  4. Microsoft is slipping app ads into Android menus

    If you use a Microsoft app on your Android phone, Microsoft might be quietly advertising its other apps in your “Share” and “Open” menus. Android Police has pointed out that some Microsoft mobile apps add extra options to your menus when you interact with a file. These icons show Microsoft apps that aren’t on your phone, taking up real estate that’s usually reserved for programs you chose to install.

    Android Police tested this with multiple Microsoft apps, and The Verge confirmed that it’s definitely happening with Your Phone Companion, an app for syncing Android and Windows devices. When I shared a photo from my phone with Your Phone Companion installed, my sharing menu included an extra icon labeled “Microsoft OneDrive (Install).” Tapping the icon would open Your Phone Companion, then quickly redirect me to the Google Play Store. Android Police found similar results when, say, opening a PowerPoint presentation file with Microsoft Word installed.

  5. ‘Microsoft’s worst move in 30 years’ – MPN changes spark uproar

    Microsoft partners have been left “flabbergasted” at the vendor’s decision to withdraw what are seen in some quarters as two key benefits to Gold and Silver reseller partners.

    The vendor revealed in an online document that it intends to withdraw the internal use rights it grants to those who are part of its Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

Anonymous Comments Are the Only Thing of Value Left at IP Kat

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 10:09:54 AM

What’s left of them anyway because they censor some 'inconvenient' (to EPO management) comments

Summary: Control of the narrative surrounding the EPO goes far and wide; it’s still possible, however, to occasionally see what people really think

THE European Patent Office (EPO) of Campinos and Battistelli is a master of media manipulation, if not by bribery (as we've just noted) then by threats. They’ve send several English law firms after me. They’re bullies. They’re thugs. They not only abuse their staff but also the media.

The media is nowadays toothless to say the least when it comes to EPO coverage. The Register quit covering the subject for unknown reasons, the BBC apparently spiked a story about it, and this morning we’ve seen several puff pieces from the Financial Times of London, one of the biggest English papers (high circulation). When it comes to blogs (or less organised news media), things aren’t any better. The EPO found allies with some of the very worst blogs. There were two attacks on Monday on 35 U.S.C. § 101. By Watchtroll of course (“Athena v. Mayo: A Splintered Federal Circuit Invites Supreme Court or Congress to Step Up On 101 Chaos” and “Beyond 101: An Inventor’s Plea for Comprehensive Reform of the U.S. Patent System”). They’re basically attacking judges and courts again; the law firms lie about what technical people want and need. The patent zealots know no bounds. Now they bribe politicians, too… this judge-bashing site, Watchtroll, is the favourite “blog partner” of the EPO nowadays; they share their disdain for judges. They both promote software patents in Europe and Watchtroll repeatedly attacked the USPTO‘s Director when she wasn’t its ‘cup of tea’ (she spoke about the problems associated with patent trolls).

“…the EPO decided not to change its behaviour but to change how the media covers it (if at all!).”Readers of ours are likely to see more and more articles bemoaning the media; I’ve sent some E-mails around and it seems growingly evident that there’s an operation of ‘cover up’; the EPO decided not to change its behaviour but to change how the media covers it (if at all!).

After the EPO temporarily banned IP Kat (in all sites) the blog chose to quit covering what people evidently cared about (the EPO’s corruption), censoring comments on the matter too (in bulk even, in one fell swoop, not for violating any terms/conditions). Some of the key people, who used the pseudonym “Merpel” (it’s not a single person, as one insider clarified to us), gradually left and yesterday the blog advertised “Openings for GuestKats and InternKats!”

“One needs to look at comments to actually catch a glimpse of what remotely looks like honest opinions from insiders.”They’re looking for writers as the blog collapsed (sharp decline in relevance) after refusing to cover EPO corruption — the subject that attracted over 90% of comments if not visits. Earlier this summer one of their best writers left too; she had been there for years. So who’s left there? People like Bristows staff/Team UPC (recall Bristows/IP Kat Still Promoting UPC and Patent Trolls, Also Accused of Deleting Comments and “Brown-nosing” Judges to Help Patent Trolls) and various novices who may contribute one article per month. Team UPC totally controls the narrative around UPC; those inside the blog who criticised the UPC have already left.

As we’ve been arguing for a number of years, blog posts at IP Kat are usually less informative than comments (of which there aren’t many anymore). Since Friday we’ve seen a number of comments being posted in IP Kat in reply to Justice Arnold throwing out European Patents. After millions of euros were wasted (passed to law firms) an actual court reached the conclusion that the underlying patents lacked merit. We generally trust independent judges a lot more than officials because, as we explained before, judges are to be judged based on the accuracy of their decisions (e.g. how many decisions get overturned), so it’s more about laws than about money. Concepts like ‘production’ are rather meaningless to them. We still wonder, why are some judges mingling with think tanks of patent zealots, trolls, Battistelli, Team UPC etc.? The latest one to speak to Managing IP is Henry Carr and “[t]his is the second in our series of judge interviews. You can read the first, with Mr Justice Arnold, here.”

Justice Arnold is generally OK and his court has, over the past few months, thrown out quite a few European Patents. His latest decision has gotten much attention and attracted much discussion in the comments section; these comments are as close as one can get to ‘proper’ coverage of EPO issues at IP Kat.

“Anonymous” wrote:

I see examination reports from the EPO on a weekly basis that both find a claim contains added subject-matter and then assess the novelty and inventive step of that self-same claim. It is good procedural examination practice that reduces the number of examination reports required. This is because if you successfully overcome the Art 123(2) objection you can have already dealt with the inventive step objection in the same response, rather than requiring the Examiner to then issue an additional report on inventive step.

The English court approach follows the same logic. They assess added subject-matter and inventive step separately so that if the Patentee successfully appeals on one issue the other issue is also dealt with at the appeal stage, rather than requiring a remittance back to the first instance.

In contrast, there is a real procedural issue with EPO Oppositions when a borderline decisions on added subject-matter are regularly issued without any subsequent assessment of novelty and inventive step. This means the Patentee has to appeal and, if successful, the opposition is simply remitted back to the Opposition Division for a further (appealable) decision on novelty and inventive step. As appeals can take 5 years or more, this piecemeal approach can mean the opposition process takes significantly longer than the remaining lifespan of a patent.

There is nothing legally incorrect in what you are saying about the assessment of novelty and inventive step on a claim with added subject-matter. But there is also nothing procedurally wrong in carrying out an assessment of novelty and inventive step of a claim on a conditional basis (i.e. on the basis that the decision on added subject-matter might subsequently be found to be wrong).

Another person said:

I may be being overly simplistic. Is it not just a matter of which rules apply?

In the event that an application is amended during prosecution it is Art 123(2), or I suppose Art 76(1) that apply.

This is of itself a ground of revocation or opposition as the case may be. If there is added matter, the patent or application is invalid. Loss of priority need not be decided (until the matter is rectified should that be necessary). If on the other hand there is no added matter, even if there were to be some link to priority entitlement (which I personally fail to see), then there is nothing to decide.

Loss of priority is a different question, which applies when a priority claiming application introduces new matter as compared to the priority founding case, or when there is a defect in the priority claim. This is not, of itself, a ground of revocation, but depends on the prior art which will become relevant if priority is lost. It is against that prior art which validity or otherwise must be judged.

I don’t see that much is to be gained by muddying the waters.

MaxDrei said: “They know that justice (the over-riding objective of civil litigation in the UK) demands swift revocation of bad patents and equally swift enforcement of patents not found bad.”

Full comment:

I’m both amused and shocked by the postings of “Explanation Please”.

Courts (at least in England) perceive their role as a last resort in a dispute between A, a patent owner arguing infringement and B, a party seeking revocation of the patent and/or a declaration of non-infringement. They know that justice (the over-riding objective of civil litigation in the UK) demands swift revocation of bad patents and equally swift enforcement of patents not found bad. A and B demand nothing less. In the courts, in a real world dispute, with parties going out of business, there is no time for endless ping-pong betwewen the courts of the first instance and those of the second instance. Hence the decisions of the first instance take the issues in sequence, like at the EPO but, unlike at the EPO, they work their way through the issues, using wording equivalent to “But if I am wrong on Art 123(2) then I will go on to consider patentability over the art.” That this could somehow be ultra vires is news to me.

The question arises, in a world where industry, stuck in a costly and time-wasting patent dispute, asks for “early certainty” why don’t all first instance jurisdictions do it this way?

And as for the EPO, the best way I can think of, for Examiners to lose the sympathy of the outside world, is to reveal their ignorance of how business is done, and how patent disputes are resolved, in the real world outside the Ivory Towers in Munich and Den Haag.

Come now, Explanation Please. Explain yourself further please.

This is part of an ongoing discussion about blame being put on examiners rather than the people who bully them or bully the judges (whose decisions are followed by examiners). To quote:

“A claim has for effective date either the priority or the filing date, or in other words the date of the youngest feature in the claim, see Art 54 and Art 89. This is the only point on which I can agree with you.”

We do not agree at all on your “in other words …” insertion. The effective date for a claim is either the filing date of the application or the priority date, whether it complies with Article 123(2) EPC or not. This is clear from Articles 54 and 89.

“due to plain logic a claim infringing Art 123(2) cannot be at the same time new and inventive.”

The EPC does not agree with you. According to Article 56 EPC, a claimed invention involves an inventive step if it is not obvious over the state of the art according to Article 54(2) EPC (read in combination with Article 89 EPC).

The requirement of Article 123(2) EPC is a separate one.

Your position seems to be that a claim that infringes Article 123(2) EPC cannot involve an inventive step. That would mean that a claim that infringes Article 123(2) EPC automatically infringes Article 56 EPC. That is a strange position to take.

“Please give one decision of the Boards of Appeal in which the Board has decided to discuss novelty or inventive step after having considered that the claim infringes Art 123(2).”

One example is T 488/02: claim 1 infringes Article 123(2), is new and is not inventive. Another example is T 1537/07.

I note that you were not able to cite any passage from the Guidelines or Case Law book that supports your position.

Please do not suggest that I am complaining about “all examiners”. I complain about the very few examiners that share your very peculiar view, unsupported by Guidelines or case law. I don’t know how many there are, but they tend to pop up in blog comments.

“The applicant/proprietor will always have an arguable case, but should then divisions refrain from raising objections at all, with the risk of being considered arrogant?”

That is not what I wrote.

My point is that the following is perfectly reasonable in a judgment by an English court as well as in a decision by an opposition division:
(1) decide that claim 1 contains added subject-matter
(2) (since the appeal court/board might disagree with the added-matter objection,) decide that claim 1 is not inventive. Or even that claim 1 is inventive, in which case the request clearly still has to be rejected because it infringes 123(2).

For an English court or for an opposition division of the EPO, there is no shame in acknowledging that reasonable minds may differ. That should not stop the court or the division from taking the decision it considers correct. It just means that it is neither shameful nor illogical to also take a decision on inventive step where that makes sense (= where the extra effort is outweighed by the advantage of possibly avoiding a remittal).

I suppose you have no problem with parallel clarity and added-matter objections. All I am saying is that a parallel objection on inventive step is no different. They are all separate objections. One objection is enough to reject the request, but it is fine to raise two or more objections against the same request or even decide that a request infringes one requirement but complies with certain other requirements. There is no obligation to do more than the minimum, but a division is free to use common sense.

“If a patent is dead as dead can be, for any another reason, it looks at least pointless to me to decide whether the subject-matter claimed was new and inventive.”

Why would it be pointless? If there is an appeal and the board of appeal disagrees with that “another reason”, a remittal has been avoided.

On it goes:

“By the way, there is another case in which it is not possible to compare an invention with the prior art, that is in case the invention is not enabled.”

Also here I do not agree. The claim “1. A composition that help against headaches” is too broad to be sufficiently disclosed and lacks novelty over aspirin.

It is also possible for a claim to a specific embodiment to be insufficiently disclosed (because the application and common general knowledge do not allow the skilled person to carry it out) and to lack novelty or inventive step over a document that does contain all the missing information.

So be careful with general statements about how substantive requirements of the EPC relate to each other.

The sad thing is, such assessments aren’t posted anywhere anymore; not in corporate media, not even in patent-centric blogs. One needs to look at comments to actually catch a glimpse of what remotely looks like honest opinions from insiders. Remember that comments sections are nowadays being ‘sanitised’ (censored) by Team UPC-friendly people, e.g. in Kluwer Patent Blog and other blogs. They even say so upfront, thereby discouraging some efforts to bother commenting (at risk of being muzzled and wasting one’s time).

EPO-Bribed Media Speaks to Team UPC, Produces UPC Puff Pieces With Plenty of Falsehoods and (Forbidden) Software Patents Advocacy

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 08:35:25 AM

The European Patent Office (EPO) is so profoundly corrupt that it is corrupting the European media. It still gets its money’s worth.

Summary: The EPO’s grip on the media is worrying; it’s like the largest publishers have become mere parrots of high EPO officials, not inquisitive journalists who check underlying facts and strive to inform the public

THIS morning we have a fantastic new example of how the EPO corrupts and manipulates the media, getting it to print the EPO’s lies while never mentioning crimes of the EPO. We last complained about the media coverage about 12 hours ago. European public money is being wasted corrupting the media which would otherwise inform the European public just how badly it is being abused. European examiners too are the victims (and Battistelli probably belongs in prison, but António Campinos keeps shielding him).

When we use words like “crimes” (as above) we allude to things far worse than scandals such as software patents being granted in Europe and lesser issues that can be described as corruption more so than crimes. Where’s the media? Why does it ignore all this? Why are EPO examiners feeling so lonely or ‘orphaned’ in the media?

“European public money is being wasted corrupting the media which would otherwise inform the European public just how badly it is being abused.”At 5AM this morning (Google says 5:02AM) the large publisher from London started its latest bombardment with lies. Clive Cookson of the Financial Times (FT), bribed by the EPO (we’ve covered this before), spreads the lie of UPC being “cost-cutting” (massive lie!!) as early as the headline. Whose costs are being cut?

Benjamin Henrion (FFII) told me about an hour ago that “”cost-cutting” is propaganda. EU-wide damages means costs will increase.”

Looking into the structure of it all and who’s quoted, it’s like this piece was done in collaboration with Team UPC, with preparation taking at least several days and the EPO involved in some form as well (see the final paragraphs). “The preparatory committee is trying to give the impression of continuing momentum,” says Bristows. But this is exactly what Bristows has been doing, to the point of making stuff up and lying for years.

Here are some portions of text:

“The preparatory committee is trying to give the impression of continuing momentum,” says Alan Johnson, IP partner at Bristows, the London-based international law firm.


“This is where political will remains vital,” says Mr Johnson. “With the possible exception of Italy . . . all UPC participating countries appear still to wish the UK to remain a part of the system. So, too, does European and British industry.”


The EPO expects inventors who want Europe-wide protection to opt for the new system because costs will be much lower. It estimates that renewal fees for a 20-year unitary patent will amount to €36,000, compared with €170,000 for 26 individual national patents.

Then, at the very same time (5:02AM apparently, based on Google) Jane Croft was pushing the "hey hi" nonsense (software patents by another name/gown) in another FT article, this one entitled “China plays catch-up with Europe and US in patents filing race”. It’s like parts of it could be ghostwritten by the EPO’s PR department:

Chinese companies are rushing to obtain patents protecting advances in everything from artificial intelligence to blockchain. They accounted for 473 of the 608 AI patents filed with WIPO in 2017, compared with 65 from the US and two from the UK.

Chinese internet company Baidu, seen as China’s answer to Google, filed 183 AI patents at WIPO in 2017 — more than any other company according to a recent report by UHY, the accounting and consulting firm.

The striking jump in Chinese patent filings might make it appear that Europe and the US are starting to lag behind in innovation. But lawyers say the underlying picture is far more complex.

China remains behind its main trading competitors in numbers of foreign-country Patent Office filings — seen as an important indicator showing the technologies that companies want to protect across borders.


Nor is there any indication that Europe is being left behind. The European Patent Office says nearly half of the more than 174,000 European patent applications last year came from its 38 member states.


Mr Finnie agrees Europe is not lagging behind but makes the point that small businesses are often slow to take up patent protection. “It can be a low priority for some companies,” he says. “There is the potential for small businesses to make more of their IP and there is a drive by the EPO to explain to small businesses in each economy how to back up their innovation.”

They’re drowning out negative articles about the EPO while pushing the agenda of EPO management.

Benjamin Henrion has just quoted ‘Pirate’ politicians as saying: “Small and medium IT companies throughout Europe prove that patents on software are no prerequisite to economic success.”

“Patent industry will say EPO give them software patents,” he noted. The EPO has just bragged about its patent data, but what if the data is not good/valid? Today’s EPO has granted too many fake patents and plans yet more degradations (intended/geared towards faking 'production').

The only language the EPO now understands is ‘production’ and by that term, production, it means abolishing quality and just granting lots of junk.

“The media (big corporate publishers) doesn’t really care about truth or justice. It’s just busy pushing corporate interests; that’s its business model.”We’ve also just noticed the EPO's latest Argentinian PR stunt mentioned in Mondaq by José Santacroce (Moeller IP Advisors). Campinos does exactly what Battistelli did 2 years ago and Santacroce writes: “The European Patent Office and the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) of Argentina are stepping up their cooperation. EPO President Antonio Campino and INPI President Damaso Pardo signed on 2 July 2019 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Reinforced Partnership programme between both offices. This comprehensive cooperation agreement is the first of its kind to be set up by the EPO with an IP office in Latin America. The meeting of the Heads of Office took place on the margins of the IP Executive Week in Alicante.”

The MoU actually goes back to May 2017. But Campinos is doing a photo ops tour and regenerating old puff pieces. The failures of today’s media is so profound that I’m sometimes at a loss for words. EPO examiners hopefully are as cynical as they ought to be. The media (big corporate publishers) doesn’t really care about truth or justice. It’s just busy pushing corporate interests; that’s its business model.

Why Social Control Media is a Threat to (Software) Freedom

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 06:44:37 AM

Either you are in control of the platform or the platform is in control of you

Reference: Social control

Summary: Techrights explains platform autonomy and the perils of the ‘new’ form of media, wherein public officials rely on a government-connected (often foreign government) and third party with shareholders to disseminate and not discriminate against (or censor) their public communications


ocial Control Media” is a term I’ve long used to describe so-called ‘social’ ‘media’ (especially centralised, proprietary, censored one; e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube). Some people including Wikileaks have adopted this term, which I coined several years ago (along with others like “openwashing”). Another noteworthy term is “fake news”; and no, it wasn’t Trump’s invention, he just popularised a term that had been used against him by Democrats and actually goes years back to what China called posts in “Social Control Media” which needed to be removed (the Communist Party deemed those posts “fake news”). This predates Trump’s presidential campaign.

We’ve rarely commented on these issues, but they’re worth entertaining because groups like the OSI and FSF never bring them up (not anymore). I asked Richard Stallman about these things several years back and published it in video form. The Linux Foundation took “Social Control Media” to new lows when it started selling “sponsored” tweets. We covered that earlier this year and presented strong evidence.

“Freedom is not free and sometimes it takes some additional effort. But at least one remains in control in one’s platform, not having to fear bogus DMCA takedown requests and deplatforming, which evokes self-censorship.”“Social Control Media” does not involve fact-checking and a lot of the time it’s gamed by AstroTurfing operatives — a subject explored more and more since Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

Jim Zemlin barely tweets anymore; his wife took all of her tweets private. They seem to have grasped the harms of “Social Control Media”. Thugs and oppressors such as Campinos and Battistelli never even bothered with “Social Control Media,” perhaps viewing it with distrust. They rarely allow people to talk back to them — a subject we covered here before.

Techrights has some old accounts in “Social Control Media,” but they have not been used in nearly a decade. I have an account in Twitter (personal account), but I only post there what I also post in Pleroma/Mastodon and Diaspora, which are decentralised and based on Free software. Whether they’re centralised or not, that does not affect the ability to silence and/or censor instances/pods across one another (at the linkage level). The actions taken to suppress/block Gab are a recent reminder of that. MINDS, one might add, is barely decentralised and its commitment to Free software is mostly a token. This is why, all in all, there’s no real substitute to running one’s site/blog and using that for all official communications. Starting soon, having made many changes at the back end, we intend to increase the frequency and volume of posts in Techrights.

The bottom line is, what was put forth with the promise of facilitating greater speech has over time become selector or filter of speech, not only broadcasts but also private dialogues. Those who value freedom will appreciate the importance of domain diversity and decentralisation of the Web. We don’t use “cloud” anything and we even object to things like CDNs (e.g. Cloudflare), which are a lazy person’s ‘fix’. Freedom is not free and sometimes it takes some additional effort. But at least one remains in control in one’s platform, not having to fear bogus DMCA takedown requests and deplatforming, the latter of which evokes self-censorship.

Links 9/7/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.2, Kaidan 0.4.0

Tuesday 9th of July 2019 05:31:41 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Desktop
      • How User Revolts Shaped the Linux Desktop

        The user revolts against KDE 4, Gnome 3, and Unity have left desktop Linux developers with a fear of innovation, exactly when that’s what’s needed.

        Between 2008 and 2011, KDE, Ubuntu, and Gnome all released radically new interfaces. The mediocre reception received by all three has left developers so cautious that innovation on Linux desktop environments has been curtailed, except for minor changes. Yet innovation on the desktop is long overdue.

        Before this brief era, Linux DEs were focused on equaling the functionality of their proprietary equivalents. However, by 2005 this goal had been realized and developers had begun discussing what should come next. Particularly among KDE developers, the feeling was that Linux DEs had the chance to become pacesetters in interface design.

      • Test 200+ Linux And Unix Operating Systems Online For Free

        A while ago we have covered about OSBoxes, a website that offers a collection of free, ready-to-use Linux and Unix VMs. You can download and try them on your Linux system using VirtualBox or VMWare workstation. Today, I stumbled upon a similar service named “DistroTest”. Unlike OSBoxes, DistroTest allows you to try the live Linux and Unix operating systems for free. You can test 200+ Linux and Unix operating systems online without having to install them locally. Just visit the website, choose the Linux/Unix distro of your choice and fire it up!

        Two good Samaritans named Klemann Andy and Forster Tobias have hosted this web service on Debian using Qemu. There is no restrictions to use the public distros listed here. You can use all functions of the system as the way you do in your local system. You can install and uninstall software.

      • Linux Vs Windows: Which Is The Best OS For Data Scientists? [Ed: Technically weak article with glaring factual errors]

        Linux has many software choices when it comes to doing a specific task compared to Windows. One could search for a text editor on Freshmeat and get a number of results. Software on Linux comes with more features and greater usability than software on Windows.

    • Server
      • Happy 20th Birthday SAP Linux Lab!

        1999 marks the year SAP solutions were deployed on Linux for the first time. To ensure joint support between SAP, server vendors and Linux distributors like SUSE, SAP established the Linux Lab. Over the years many, many projects were successfully concluded, starting with porting SAP R/3 to IBM zSeries or IBM pSeries, to supporting SAP’s Next-Generation in-memory database HANA, to delivering Data Hub and HANA via Containers to customers.

      • IBM
        • Deliver open hybrid cloud’s value with simple, customer-centric strategies

          More and more enterprises are evaluating hybrid cloud architectures to support their operations, but they have questions about integrating public clouds with their existing private clouds. Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager of storage and hyperconverged infrastructure at Red Hat, spoke with SiliconANGLE’s show theCUBE at the recent Google Cloud Next ‘19 event to dig into what hybrid cloud means for customers, Red Hat, and the broader ecosystem. The interview covered open hybrid cloud adoption, today’s customer priorities, and the power of the ecosystem to solve customer problems today and into the future.

        • 10 tips for reviewing code you don’t like

          As a frequent contributor to open source projects (both within and beyond Red Hat), I find one of the most common time-wasters is dealing with code reviews of my submitted code that are negative or obstructive and yet essentially subjective or argumentative in nature. I see this most often when submitting to projects where the maintainer doesn’t like the change, for whatever reason. In the best case, this kind of code review strategy can lead to time wasted in pointless debates; at worst, it actively discourages contribution and diversity in a project and creates an environment that is hostile and elitist.

          A code review should be objective and concise and should deal in certainties whenever possible. It’s not a political or emotional argument; it’s a technical one, and the goal should always be to move forward and elevate the project and its participants. A change submission should always be evaluated on the merits of the submission, not on one’s opinion of the submitter.

        • The case for making the transition from sysadmin to DevOps engineer

          The year is 2019, and DevOps is the hot topic. The day of the system administrator (sysadmin) has gone the way of mainframes if you will—but really, has it? The landscape has shifted as it so often does in technology. There is now this thing called DevOps, which can’t exist without Ops.

          I considered myself on the Ops side of the aisle prior to the evolution of DevOps as we know today. As a system administrator or engineer, it feels like you are stuck in a time warp, with a small tinge of fear because what you knew and must learn varies greatly, and is now much more time-sensitive than you might have anticipated.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Kernel Space
      • [Sparky] Linux kernel 5.2

        The first release of Linux kernel of the new 5.2 line just landed in Sparky “unstable” repository.

      • Linux 5.2 Released : Update Linux Kernel In Ubuntu

        There are multiple ways to update Linux Kernel in Ubuntu and Ubuntu based operating systems.

      • Linux 5.2 And Debian 10 “buster” Released For Linux Enthusiasts

        Kernel 5.2 also continues to add more speculative execution bug fixes for Intel CPUs. There are new GPU drivers as well for ARM Mali devices.

        Apart from these changes, kernel 5.2 comes with the usual bug fixes for different drivers, better hardware support for new and older hardware, and better display performance.

      • Kernel 5.2 Is Out, Tutanota Launches a Fully Encrypted Calendar, ISPA UK Announces Internet Hero and Villain Nominations, Tesla to Start Providing a Free Self-Driving Chip, and System76′s Thelio Desktop Now Available with Third-Gen AMD Rizen Processors

        Kernel 5.2 has been released. Linus Torvalds writes, “…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. Part of it may be due to the July 4th week, of course, but whatever – I’ll take the quiet week as a good sign.”

      • Linux Kernel 5.2 Released, This is What’s New

        Arriving pretty much bang on schedule, the Linux kernel 5.2 release was announced to the world with little of Linus Torvalds’ usual fanfare.

        Instead, the Linux founder opted for a quiet introduction when announcing the update on the Linux Kernel Mailing List.

        He writes: “…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”.

        Each and every update to the Linux kernel, be it big or small, brings a stack of welcome improvements, drivers, hardware support, graphics compatibility and more. Linux Kernel 5.2, dubbed the “Bobtail Squid” (blame Linus’ scuba diving hobby the moniker), is no exception.

      • Double delight for Linux lovers as kernel 5.2 and Debian 10 debut

        The weekend has given Linux users two big new releases to contemplate!

        Those who like new cuts of the kernel have version 5.2 to consider. Linus Torvalds signed it off on Monday, Australian time.

        The biggest feature in 5.2 is probably support for Intel’s forthcoming Comet Lake architecture, which will power the tenth generation of its Core desktop and mobile CPUs due. The new silicon is due to ship late in 2019 and appear in products early the next year. Linux 5.2 also includes many tweaks that improve its performance on laptops.

        The kernel also now supports a handful of extra ARM-powered single-board computers.

        The other big new release is Debian 10 “Buster”, which officially debuted on Sunday 7 July, Australian time. But this cut of Debian had actually already been available since 25 June as part of the new version of Raspbian OS, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s preferred OS for its single board computers.

        The Foundation described Buster as offering “no huge differences” compared to its predecessor. “In a sad reflection of the way the world is nowadays, most of the differences are security changes designed to make Buster harder to hack,” wrote Simon Long, a senior principal software engineer at the Pi Foundation.

      • Microsoft admitted to private Linux developer security list [Ed: Little by little, Microsoft seizes greater control over its competition]

        Most open-source development work, like the name says, is done in the open. The exception is the first stages of security work. Unpatched security holes, however, are discussed and fixed behind closed doors. Now, Microsoft has been admitted to the closed linux-distro list.

        Microsoft wanted in because, while Windows sure isn’t Linux, the company is, in fact, a Linux distributor. Sasha Levin, a Microsoft Linux kernel developer, pointed out Microsoft has several distro-like builds — which are not derivative of an existing distribution — that are based on open-source components.

      • Confirmed: Microsoft Will Join The Private Linux Kernel Mailing List [Ed: Swapnil became a Microsoft propagandist. A few paragraphs down he repeats marketing points of the company.]

        However, it wasn’t all praise. Levin had to prove to the community whether it qualifies to join the list or not. After a long and quite intensive discussion, it all but certain that Microsoft will be accepted into the mailing list, possibly, by the end of this week.

      • 64-Bit ARM Changes Already Sent In For The Linux 5.3 Kernel

        Due to summer holidays, the 64-bit ARM (AArch64/ARM64) architecture changes were already sent in days ago for the Linux 5.3 kernel merge window.

      • There’s A Kernel Subsystem Being Dropped In Linux 5.3 As Easier To Start Over Than Fix

        The GPIO updates for the newly-opened Linux 5.3 kernel merge window is dropping the FMC subsystem as they deem it easier to re-start from scratch writing that code than to try to repair it, or “start over using the proper kernel subsystems than try to polish the rust shiny.” Funny enough, this code is being used by the CERN’s well known Large Hadron Collider.

        After talking about it for months on the kernel mailing list, the Linux 5.3 kernel is set to delete the FMC bus subsystem that was developed by CERN and others for the past roughly seven years. FMC is for supporting the FPGA Mezzanine Card specification for modules connecting FPGAs and other devices with I/O. The FMC subsystem code works and is even used by CERN’s LHC particle accelerator, but continued work on the FMC kernel code has revealed architectural faults.

      • Jailhouse 0.11 released Long time, no release: Version 0.11 is finally available. Several last-minute issues delayed this, though that's not a real excuse for having so many months since the last one. Time-wise, this should have been two releases. Changeset-wise, we are in the same dimension as usual: 140 commits, 185 files changed, 4057 insertions, 1437 deletions.
      • Jailhouse 0.11 Hypervisor Brings New CPU Support, Spectre V2 Mitigation For ARM

        The past several years Siemens and others have been working on Jailhouse as a Linux-based partitioning hypervisor for bare metal appliances. Their previous release was all the way back during last year’s Oktoberfest and now with construction for this year’s fest kicking off at the wiesn, the developers happen to be releasing their next version of Jailhouse.

        New CPU/target support with Jailhouse0 .11 include the Marvell MACCHIATObin, Xilinx Ultra96, Microsys miriac SBC-LS1046A, and Texas Instruments AM654 IDK.

      • GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at It didn't require any deblobbing changes since -rc7-gnu. Binaries are on the way. The most relevant change in this release is Sound Open Firmware support: I had not realized the SOF files were Free Software in recent earlier releases, so the requests for these files were disabled in them. Only while cleaning up the new kernel module specifically devoted to SOF-supporting devices did I realize my mistake. I look forward to the day when assuming a firmware name is a blob is no longer a safe bet. Several new drivers required cleaning up due to blob loading: mt7615, rtw88, rtw8822b, rtw8822c, btmtksdio, iqs5xx, ishtp, and ucsi\_ccg. Cleaning up needed adjustments for microcode docs, ixp4xx, imx-sdma, amdgpu, nouveau, and goya. The r8822be driver was removed upstream, in favor of rtw8822[bc], so its cleaning code is also gone. I'm still undecided as to whether to backport the SOF changes to 5.1 and to the already EOLed 5.0 series. If there is interest, please let us know, or, if you feel adventurous, just use the 5.2 deblob-check, and, in deblob-5.[01], change: reject_firmware sound/soc/intel/common/sst-acpi.c to maybe_reject_firmware sound/soc/intel/common/sst-acpi.c and run it with --force, so that it ignores a potential complaint about sound/soc/intel/common/soc-acpi-intel-hda-match.c not changing. I have not tested this myself with the earlier releases, but I wouldn't be at all supriprised if this is all it takes. With failure or success, please let us know how it goes. For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister, Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at, Diaspora* at or at Check my web page (link in the signature) for direct links. Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre. What is GNU Linux-libre? ------------------------ GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below), suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions. It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as source code or distributed in separate files. It also disables run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software. Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution. It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008 it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America. In 2012, it became part of the GNU Project. The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones. Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so. Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out of the shower. Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more promotion. See our web page for their images. What is Linux? -------------- Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...] (snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst) -- Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter he/him Be the change, be Free! FSF Latin America board member GNU Toolchain Engineer Free Software Evangelist Hay que enGNUrecerse, pero sin perder la terGNUra jamás - Che GNUevara
      • GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu Blesses Sound Open Firmware, Cleans Other Drivers

        Following last night’s Linux 5.2 kernel release, the GNU folks maintaining their GNU Linux-libre off-shoot that de-blobs the kernel of being able to load binary-only firmware/microcode files or the ability to load binary-only kernel modules is out with their re-based kernel.

        GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu was another busy release for them with having to keep up in cleaning the new/extended drivers that get added and working around or disabling any binary blobs they may optionally support or require. In the case of Linux 5.2, they’ve had to do some cleaning around Realtek’s new RTW88 WiFi driver that is replacing the RTLWIFI driver. They’ve also had to make changes to a number of other Realtek and Mediatek drivers among others along with adjustments for AMDGPU and Nouveau GPU binary firmware along with the Goya accelerator.

      • Ryabitsev: Patches carved into developer sigchains

        Konstantin Ryabitsev has posted a lengthy blog entry describing his vision for moving away from email for kernel development.

      • Patches carved into developer sigchains

        The “decent” tool is fiction, but the SSB framework I’m describing is not. SSB stands for “Secure Scuttlebutt” (it’s nautical slang for “gossip,” so please stop guffawing). SSB is a distributed gossip protocol that is built on the concept of replicating individual “sigchains,” which are very similar in concept to git. Each record references the hash of the previous record, plus SSB uses an ECC key to cryptographically sign every new entry, such that the entire chain is fully verifiable and attestable. Unless someone has access to the ECC secret key created at the beginning of the SSB chain, they would not be able to add new entries — and unless the chain has never been replicated anywhere, all entries are immutable (or the replication simply breaks if any of the existing records in it are modified).

        The sigchains are only part of the story — SSB also offers a decentralized replication protocol that works hard to make sure that there is no single point of trust and no single point of failure. It is able to replicate using “pub” servers that merely work as convenient mediators, but are unnecessary for the overall health of the SSB fabric. SSB replication can be done peer-to-peer via local network, over the Internet, via Tor, sneakernet, or anything at all that is able to send and receive bits.

        The end-tool on the client uses these individual feeds to assemble a narrative, using message-id cross-references to construct threads of conversations. SSB is envisioned as a fully-private and fully-decentralized social network where each participating individual shares an immutable activity record choosing how much to share publicly, how much to share with specific individuals, and how much to keep fully private.

        I suggest we co-opt SSB for free software development to make it truly decentralized, self-archiving, and fully attestable in all developer interactions.

      • Why Linux Is Developed In Public: Linus Torvalds

        When we asked if Torvalds would prefer a private mailing list where the community can discuss things candidly without worrying about bloggers sensationalizing things, he said no.

      • Linux 5.3 Adds Support For Intel Multi-Die CPU Topology

        Intel’s patches for supporting the multi-die topology of Cascadelake-AP processors is now going into the Linux 5.3 kernel.

        These patches have been sitting on the mailing list the past number of months for dealing with the multi-chip package of Cascadelake “Advanced Performance” processors where their dies are connected via UPI links.

      • x86 CPU Changes For Linux 5.3 Bring Intel UMWAIT, Zhaoxin, Engineering Train Wreck

        Thomas Gleixner sent in his various x86 code updates early this morning for the just kicked off Linux 5.3 kernel cycle.

        Some of the notable x86 CPU changes for Linux 5.3 include:

        - Official x86 Zhaoxin CPU support for these Chinese desktop CPU processors based on VIA Centaur IP. There were some kernel patches last year for Zhaoxin while with this next kernel release the support appears in order.

      • The Ryzen 3000 Boot Problem With Newer Linux Distros Might Be Due To RdRand Issue

        As outlined yesterday, AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors are very fast but having issues booting newer Linux distributions. The exact issue causing that boot issue on 2019 Linux distribution releases doesn’t appear to be firmly resolved yet but some are believing it is an RdRand instruction issue on these newer processors manifested by systemd.

        For those that missed my launch day article, check it out for more details and then all the benchmarks for when running very performant on the likes of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS where the issue does not occur. What people are jumping on today are the old reports of AMD RdRand problems for using this hardware RNG instruction causing issues on older pre-Zen2 processors. It is possible though the RdRand support regressed even further and thus in worse shape with Zen 2, but I haven’t seen that officially acknowledged by AMD nor if it firmly addresses the issue.

      • Linux Foundation
        • Automotive Grade Linux reveals new members

          Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) says Wuhan Bluestar Technology has joined as a Silver member, while Candera, IDW Technologies, Reutlingen University and T-Systems have joined in the Bronze category.

          AGL is a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open source platform for connected car technologies,

          “We are excited to expand our growing, global community with five new members,” said AGL executive director at the Linux Foundation, Dan Cauchy.

          “We look forward to working with them as we continue to expand the AGL platform including instrument cluster, telematics and vehicle-to-cloud connectivity.”

          AGL is an open source project at the Linux Foundation bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of a fully open, shared software platform for all technology in the vehicle, from infotainment to autonomous driving.

      • Graphics Stack
        • LLVMpipe Software OpenGL Implementation Picks Up More GL4 Extensions

          It’s 2019 and OpenGL 4.6 remains the latest version of this once predominant graphics API yet Mesa’s Gallium3D LLVMpipe software rasterizer is still only exposing OpenGL 3.3.

          LLVMpipe while the default fallback on many Linux desktops in the case of no hardware OpenGL support doesn’t receive too much attention these days. At least this weekend Red Hat’s David Airlie did contribute a handful of improvements to LLVMpipe for Mesa 19.2.

        • Vulkan 1.1.114 Released With Image-Less Framebuffer Support

          Vulkan 1.1.114 is another weekly update to the Vulkan graphics API specification… With this update does come a new extension of some interest.

    • Benchmarks
      • Benchmarking Valve’s RADV+ACO Yields Fastest Open-Source Radeon Vulkan Driver

        Last week Valve formally announced their new Radeon shader compiler for AMD’s open-source Linux graphics drivers. At this stage it’s an out-of-tree solution providing generally faster performance to the Mesa RADV Vulkan driver over the current AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler but they also have ambitions of wiring it up to the RadeonSI OpenGL driver once mature too, assuming AMD’s developers are willing to make use of this new compiler code. For those wondering about the Vulkan performance, here are our independent benchmarks of the current Mesa 19.2 RADV performance with the LLVM shader compiler compared to Valve’s new “ACO” compiler back-end and then also using AMD’s official AMDVLK reference driver that is also leveraging LLVM.

    • Applications
      • 9 Best Free Linux Astronomy Apps (Updated 2019)

        Astronomy is a branch of science that deals with the study of celestial objects (including stars, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, meteor showers, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies) and other phenomena.

        Like many others, I was introduced to the world of astronomy by the venerable Sir Patrick Moore. For anyone who does not know, Sir Patrick was an amateur astronomer who presented The Sky at Night, the longest-running television programme, for over 54 years, and made an outstanding contribution to astronomy.

        Astronomy is particularly well suited to the layperson. It’s a wonderful hobby which has almost no age limits, it is open to individuals of all financial means, and there is always the potential for an amateur to discover something that has eluded professional astronomers, or to help monitor stars and track asteroids. Even with the unaided eye, there is much to study in the night sky including constellations, shooting stars, planets, and of course the moon, the Earth’s only natural satellite.

        There is a wide variety of free astronomy software available for Linux that offer real benefits to astronomy enthusiasts. This category of software lets you map the night sky, plan detailed observations, control telescopes, present star charts, offer observing logs, and much more.

        This article focuses on selecting the best free astronomy software available for Linux. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to study the sky. Here’s our recommendations.

    • Instructionals/Technical
      • How to Check the Kernel Version in Linux
      • How to fix the KDE Plasma panel crash problem
      • Fedora 30 : Using the python-wikitcms.
      • Running your own mail server

        Not too long ago there was some hubub around In brief, if you use google mail, it tracks your purchases through receipts received in email. Now, some people see this as no big deal or even a feature. Others see it as a privacy invasion, and are reminded that all their data can be mined by the email provider and possibly third parties. Of those, some advoate getting a paid email provider. Agreed, that provides less incentive to monetize your data… but only a bit. Eventually, any company, however good its initial intentions, goes through leadership changes, is bought out, or goes bankrupt. At that point, your data is one of the assets being bargained with.

        The other alternative, of course, is to run your own mail server. I won’t lie – this is not for everyone. But it’s not as bad as some make out. I recently reinstalled mine, so I wrote down the steps I took, and will leave them here. I’ve been holding onto this for at least 6 months hoping to eventually run through them again to work out some of the finer details. That hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll just post what I have now as a start.

        Running your own mail server is not free. In particular, you’ll need to pay for a domain name ($10-15/year), and some place to run the mail server. If you have an always-on machine at home, and stable IP address, then you can run it there. You can pay for a tiny cloud instance on amazon/rackspace/digitalocean/etc. There are cheaper options (including “one year free” amazon micro instances), but a small digitalocean instance will be $5/month. Personally, I keep a large server online for running many VMs and containers, and run the mail server there.

      • How to Use User Mode Linux

        User Mode Linux is a port of the Linux kernel to itself. This allows you to run a full blown Linux kernel as a normal userspace process. This is used by kernel developers for testing drivers, but is also useful as a generic isolation layer similar to virtual machines. It provides slightly more isolation than Docker, but slightly less isolation than a full-blown virtual machine like KVM or VirtualBox.

        In general, this may sound like a weird and hard to integrate tool, but it does have its uses. It is an entire Linux kernel running as a normal user. This allows you to run potentially untrusted code without affecting the host machine. It also allows you to test experimental system configuration changes without having to reboot or take its services down.

      • How to use multiplexing to speed up the SSH
      • How to Encrypt Messages With PGP When Using Darknet Markets
      • How To Find Virtualbox Version From Commandline In Linux
      • How to install Nvidia drivers in Fedora 30 guide
      • How to search for YouTube videos on Ubuntu Desktop
      • How to Install Node.js in RHEL 8
      • How to install R on Ubuntu (16.04/18.04)
      • Command line quick tips: Permissions
      • Analyze ACPI Tables in a Text File with FWTS
    • Games
      • SkateBIRD entering the final day of funding, getting a little Them’s Fightin’ Herds crossover

        SkateBIRD, a game about birds on skateboards (that’s actually pretty sweet) is closing in on the last day of funding. They’ve also announced some more fun stuff coming to it and the demo will vanish after the Kickstarter, so be quick.

      • GOG are having a big sale for French developers, plus recent releases of Eternam and Leo the Lion

        Three bits of GOG news in one for you DRM-free shopping fans today, as not only are they doing a big sale they also recently revived two more classic games.

        First up, the classic 1992 comedy adventure Eternam was released on GOG earlier this month. Little late on picking it up since the Linux build wasn’t actually available right away but now it is. Next up is Leo the Lion (original Polish name: Lew Leon), another retro classic action-platformer from 1996. GOG just released it today!

      • Some early thoughts on A.N.N.E, the platformer and space shooter hybrid

        Now that A.N.N.E is finally available to play in Early Access, I have played it and I have some thoughts to share on what to expect from this stylish platformer and space shooter hybrid. Article may contain spoilers.

      • Key reseller G2A is back in the spotlight again, as a petition is up to ask them to stop selling indie games

        G2A, the key reseller that isn’t particularly liked by most game developers is having some time in the spotlight and as usual, it’s not for good reasons.

        They have a bit of a history with developers, something I’ve written about before and even the first comment on that article was about keys being revoked that were purchased from G2A. They’re a very shady company and I shall continue to urge people to support developers and shop elsewhere. You would think after Gearbox pulled the plug on their deal with G2A, that lessons would have been learned but it appears not.

      • Business sim city-builder “Summer Islands” recently added Linux support

        Inspired by the classic game Holiday Island, Summer Islands recently entered Early Access and the developer has now added Linux support to it on Steam.

        Summer Islands is a game about building the perfect resort, so it’s a business sim city-builder. You will need to manage your finances, as you attempt to attract more tourists.

      • BittBoy Review: A Tiny Gaming Handheld To Slide In Your Backpocket

        Back in my childhood days, I didn’t own a Gameboy or even a Real Nintendo Console; however, I did have a console that worked on cassettes, labeled as “10,000 games in 1.” Obviously, I couldn’t find the hidden 999 games on the console.

        However, the handheld gaming console that I am going to talk about supports nearly all ’90s games and consoles [emulators]. BittBoy comes pre-loaded with emulators such as NES, SNES, Atari, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance and more.

      • Single-player roguelike deck-builder “Roguebook” from the developer of Faeria is fully funded

        That’s a tick in the box for another game confirmed to be coming to Linux, as Abrakam’s single-player roguelike deck-builder “Roguebook” has been fully funded. The campaign on Kickstarter ended today with €66,810 from 2,706 backers and the Linux Alpha they provided does work well, so hopefully there will be no issues through development.

      • The Lion King, Aladdin and The Jungle Book no longer available on Steam, some about to leave GOG too

        Three classics are no longer available for sale on Steam, with nothing announced to say why. However, GOG at least have given a bit of warning that they’re about to go.

      • More Xen content is coming to Black Mesa on August 1st

        Crowbar Collective announced on the weekend, that the Black Mesa Xen beta is due to expand on August 1st.

        After releasing the Technical Beta for Windows on June 25th, they said on August 1st they’re going to add in the complete Xen and Gonarch’s Lair chapters to public beta. A few weeks after that, they’re planning to add in the concluding chapters: Interloper, Nihilanth, and Endgame.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • OpenExpo 2019 After Dark

          OpenExpo is an event aimed a businesses and the public sector. Top topics usually revolve around cloud computing, big and open data, IoT, and as of late, blockchain technologies. 2019 was its sixth edition, held on the 20th of June in “La Nave” on the outskirts of Madrid.

          Organisers tell us that 2800 visitors attended this year’s event. There were about 120 speakers and 70 exhibitors with booths. From what we could garner, most visitors were representatives of public institutions, consulting companies, and software development companies, especially from the field of cloud computing.

        • Updates on Krita on android

          It has been a long time since I posted a blog (1 month+). In fact it might even seem the Krita ran on Android and now GSoC is done. Well, not quite. There’s still a lot to be done.

        • Kaidan 0.4.0 released!

          After more than one and a half years there finally is a new release. Kaidan 0.4.0 is the biggest update until now and apart from some bug-fixes and many minor and major features increasing the usability, Kaidan now has multiplatform-support for all common operating systems like Linux, Windows, Android and macOS.

        • Interview with Enrique Gan

          Sycra Yasin posted a video showcasing Krita back in 2013 and I ended up trying it out some time in the summer of 2015. I think I got my first and current drawing tablet a month after and started churning out digital art with Krita since.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • GNOME Settings: new Search panel

          I haven’t been working on GNOME Settings for quite some time now. Currently, I am focusing mostly on GNOME Boxes, Usage, and Fedora Silverblue. To be fair I still have some love for Settings and I enjoy context-switching once in a while to hack on code bases which I don’t face daily. Unfortunately I can’t do this more often.

          A few years ago I pushed a WIP version of the Settings “Search” panel that never got merged because we were in a moment of transition in the project and at the time we thought that introducing Drag & Drop capabilities to GtkListBox would make sense still in gtk3. Fast forward, we are far from even starting to port Settings to gtk4, but people got to use the panels! For this reason, I rebased and iterated a bit over the Search panel in order to make it identical to the mockups. The final result is previewed below and will be available in our next stable release, 3.34.

        • Bolt 0.8 update

          Christian recently released bolt 0.8, which includes IOMMU support. The Ubuntu security team seemed eager to see that new feature available so I took some time this week to do the update.

        • Gtk-rs tutorial

          Leonora Tindall has written a very nice tutorial on Speedy Desktop Apps With GTK and Rust. It covers prototyping a dice roller app with Glade, writing the code with Rust and the gtk-rs bindings, and integrating the app into the desktop with a .desktop file.

        • Battle of the Bilerps: Image Scaling on the CPU

          I’ve been on a quest for better bilerps lately. “Bilerp” is, of course, a contraction of “bilinear interpolation“, and it’s how you scale pictures when you’re in a hurry. The GNOME Image Viewer (née Eye of GNOME) and ImageMagick have both offered somewhat disappointing experiences in that regard; the former often pauses noticeably between the initial nearest-neighbor and eventual non-awful scaled images, but way more importantly, the latter is too slow to scale animation frames in Chafa.

          So, how fast can CPU image scaling be? I went looking, and managed to produce some benchmarks — and! — code. Keep reading.

    • Distributions
      • Linux Lite Users Are the First to Try Linux Kernel 5.2, Here’s How to Install It

        Announced by Linus Torvalds on June 7th, 2019, Linux kernel 5.2 is now the most advanced kernel series featuring a new open-source firmware for DSP audio devices, a new mount API for mounting file systems, new open-source GPU drivers for ARM Mali devices, and a new CPU bug infrastructure to protect devices against the Intel MDS hardware flaws.

        Linux kernel 5.2 also improves resource monitoring for Android devices, adds some notable performance improvements to the BFQ I/O scheduler, allows case-insensitive names in the EXT4 file system, and introduces a new, Arch-independent “mitigations=” boot option to make it easier to enable and disable mitigations for CPU vulnerabilities.

      • Kali Linux arrives on Raspberry Pi 4

        The Kali Linux team says that in addition to the impressive hardware of the new model, the Pi 4 now also benefits from Kali Linux support complete with on-board Wi-Fi monitor mode. At the moment, Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4 is only available in a 32-bit variant, but a 64-bit version is promised “in the near future”. Offensive Security says that because of the popularity of Kali on previous versions of Raspberry Pi, it moved quickly to support the latest version.

        Getting up and running is no different to installing Kali Linux on previous versions of Raspberry Pi, and you’ll find full instructions here.

        If you’re happy to stick with the 32-bit version of Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4, you can grab it from the Kali ARM download page. If not, you’ll just have to wait a bit longer for 64-bit support.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
        • Mageia 7 Pushes Linux Desktop Boundaries

          Linux dispels the notion that one universal computing platform must define the features and functionality for all users. That is why so many distributions exist.

          The Mageia distro is a prime example of how freedom and choice are the hallmarks of open source operating systems. Mageia 7 pushes the limits of personal choice and usability definitions.

          What gives Mageia Linux its edge is its independence. Mageia 7 is not based on a predefined Linux family of distributions.

      • Debian Family
        • Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Linux arrives

          Debian, the most important, truly independent Linux distribution, has just released Debian 10 “Buster”.

          Apart from Debian, there are many important community Linux distros such as Fedora, which is the foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and CentOS and openSUSE, which is SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)’s bedrock. Debian, however, stands alone. Its support comes purely from its community of users, not a company. At the same time, it is the core operating system for other important Linux distributions such as Canonical’s Ubuntu. This means any Debian release is a big deal.

          That’s not to say Debian is a cutting-edge Linux. It’s not. If you want the bleeding edge, you want Fedora. But if stability is what you value, Debian is for you. For example, while the Linux 5.2 kernel has just been released, Debian 10 comes with October 2018′s Linux kernel 4.19.

          Debian also supports no fewer than 10 different hardware architectures. These are: 64-bit Intel; 32-bit Intel; Motorola/IBM PowerPC; 64-bit IBM S/390 mainframe; both 32-bit ARM, and 64-bit ARM; and the almost obsolete 32-bit MIPS and 64-bit MIPS architectures.

          Buster also comes with better Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) support for the x86 32 and 64-bit architectures and ARM 64-bit. With this, Debian should work out of the box on most Secure Boot-enabled machines.

        • Debian 10 “Buster” Released

          It is a stable version and is based on Linux Kernel 4.19. It will use Wayland display server instead of Xorg.

          The UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) support which was first introduced in Debian 7 has been improved in the latest version of Debian. Users should no longer need to disable Secure Boot support in the firmware configuration as Secure Boot support is included in this release for amd64, i386 and arm64 architectures which will work out of the box on most Secure Boot-enabled machines. It will feature more than 59,000 other ready-to-use software packages, built from nearly 29,000 source packages. Debian can be installed in 76 languages.

        • Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Linux released

          Debian, one of the longest-running Linux distributions around, has officially launched its tenth stable version: Debian 10 ‘Buster,’ continuing the naming theme of characters from the Toy Story series of films.

          First released in 1993 by founder Ian Murdoch, and named for him and his wife Deb, Debian has grown to become one of the most popular Linux distributions around – in no small part thanks to acting as the upstream distribution for Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux and its multifarious derivatives, as well as the Raspbian Linux distribution created for the Raspberry Pi family of single-board computers.

          Debian 10 ‘Buster,’ the latest stable release, comes just over two years after Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ – both continuing a naming convention going back to Debian 1.1 ‘Buzz,’ taking character names from the Toy Story film series. It also comes with a major shift from the norm: When installed with the popular GNOME desktop, Debian 10 defaults to using the next-generation Wayland display server in place of the venerable Xorg – thanks to what the team describes as ‘a simpler and more modern design, which has advantages for security.’ Other desktop environments are also available, including KDE Plasma, Cinnamon, MATE, LXDE, LXQt, and Xfce.

        • Too close?

          At times of stress I’m prone to topical nightmares, but they are usually fairly mundane – last night, for example, I dreamed that I’d mixed up bullseye and bookworm in one of the announcements of future code names.

        • Andy Simpkins: Buster Release Party – Cambridge, UK

          With the release of Debian GNU/Linux 10.0.0 “Buster” completing in the small hours of yesterday morning (0200hrs UTC or thereabouts) most of the ‘release parties’ had already been and gone…. Not so for the Cambridge contingent who had scheduled a get together for the Sunday [0], knowing that various attendees would have been working on the release until the end.

          The Sunday afternoon saw a gathering in the Haymakers pub to celebrate a successful release. We would publicly like to thank the Raspberry Pi foundation [1], and Mythic Beasts [2] who between them picked up the tab for our bar bill – Cheers and thank you!

        • Debian 10 is here with updated software and enhancements

          The Debian Project announces the release of Debian 10, codenamed buster, with five years of support.

          Let’s learn more about Debian before discussing its new features and changes. Debian is a free-to-use operating system that comes with a variety of other software packages that are free as well. Many popular operating systems, including Kali Linux and Ubuntu, are based on Debian.

          The highly anticipated Debian 10 release took two years in the making. Accordingly, it has a lot of new stuff to offer, which we will discuss later. Also, the makers have termed this release as ‘stable,’ so you can start downloading it on its supported architectures or using it in production environments.

        • Linux Weekly Roundup #33

          We also know that Debian 11 will have the codename Bullseye.

        • The Perfect Server – Debian 10 (Buster) with Apache, BIND, Dovecot, PureFTPD and ISPConfig 3.1

          This tutorial shows how to prepare a Debian 10 server (with Apache2, BIND, Dovecot) for the installation of ISPConfig 3.1. The web hosting control panel ISPConfig 3 allows you to configure the following services through a web browser: Apache web server, Postfix mail server, Dovecot IMAP/POP3 server, MySQL, BIND nameserver, PureFTPd, SpamAssassin, ClamAV, and many more.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Canonical’s GitHub Account ‘Hacked’ But Ubuntu Repos Are Safe [Ed: GitHub accounts are Microsoft's, not Canonical's, but whatever... Canonical's GitHub account compromised, so corporate media funded by Microsoft (CBS paid for ads etc.) says Ubuntu hacked; never mind if GitHub is actually a Microsoft platform... Blaming Canonical or Ubuntu, not GitHub or Microsoft. Remember, dear corporate media 'journalist' wannabes: When there's some system compromise due to weak/default passwords it's because of "Linux". If due to Microsoft/NSA back doors, blame "HACKERS!"]

          While the extent of the breach is still being investigated, the security team said that there is no indication that the source code or PII was affected.

          Moreover, the Launchpad infrastructure where the Ubuntu distribution is built and maintained has been disconnected from GitHub. There is also no sign that it has been affected.

          The mirror of the hacked Canonical GitHub account shows that the attacker created 11 new GitHub repositories sequentially named CAN_GOT_HAXXD_1. Surprisingly, those repositories were empty.

          So it seems that the hacking incident was limited to defacement only as there is no proof of existing data being changed or deleted.

          Meanwhile, a cyber-security firm called Bad Packets, tweeted that it detected internet-wide scans for Git configuration files just two days before the incident.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 586

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 586 for the week of June 30 – July 6, 2019.

        • Design and Web team summary – 8 July 2019

          This was a fairly busy two weeks for the Web & design team at Canonical. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work.

        • GCC 9 Is Now The Default System Compiler Of Ubuntu 19.10

          As a change we had been expecting this cycle, Ubuntu 19.10 has upgraded to GCC 9 as the default system compiler over GCC 8.

          Ubuntu 19.10 (and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) will be using GCC 9 stable as the default system compiler. The transition happened on Sunday with GCC 9 becoming the default compiler for Eoan. It’s customary for Ubuntu to pull in new GCC releases with their xx.10 releases and to then carry forward that same version for their next xx.04 release, due to the GCC release timing generally coming too late for meeting their April release, and as such GCC 9 will be used for the Ubuntu 20.04 Long Term Support release.

        • GCC 9 now the default in eoan Hi, as previously announced in GCC 9 is now the default in eoan. Using the Sunday to not disturb development during working hours with needed promotions and demotions. Matthias
    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Open source in 2019, Part 2/3: The relative victory of open source

        All the benefits detailed in part 1 really explain why open source became so popular in the last 15 years. Open source is everywhere today. It has become the default way to build and publish software. You can find open source on every server, you can find open source on every phone… Even Microsoft, the company which basically invented proprietary software, is heavily adopting open source today, with great success. By all accounts, open source won.

        But… has it, really ?

        The server, and by extension the computing, networking, and storage infrastructure, are unquestionably dominated by open source. But the growing share of code running operations for this infrastructure software is almost always kept private. The glue code used to provide users access to this infrastructure (what is commonly described as “cloud computing”) is more often than not a trade secret. And if you look to the other side, the desktop (or the user-side applications in general) are still overwhelmingly driven by proprietary software.

        Even contemplating what are generally considered open source success stories, winning can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. For example, looking at two key tech successes of the last 10 years, Amazon Web Services and Android, they both are heavily relying on open source software. They are arguably a part of this success of open source picture I just painted. But if you go back to part 1 and look at all the user benefits I listed, the users of AWS and Android don’t really enjoy them all. As an AWS user, you don’t have transparency: you can’t really look under the hood and understand how AWS runs things, or why the service behaves the way it does. As an Android user, you can’t really engage with Android upstream, contribute to the creation of the software and make sure it serves your needs better tomorrow.

        So open source won and is ubiquitous… however in most cases, users are denied some of the key benefits of open source. And looking at what is called “open source” today, one can find lots of twisted production models. By “twisted”, I mean models where some open source benefits go missing, like the ability to efficiently engage in the community.

      • Secure email provider Tutanota launches free encrypted calendar.

        Our encrypted calendar – Tutanota Calendar – has just been added to your secure emails. This new feature brings amazing privacy improvements. With our encryption expertise, we have not only made sure that all data you enter is encrypted, we are also encrypting notifications for upcoming events. In contrast to other calendar services, we do not know when you have an appointment, where you have an appointment, or with whom you have an appointment. Basically, we remain completely blind to your daily habits.

      • Women in code series: Joan Touzet

        Joan Touzet is an Apache Software Foundation (ASF) Member, Apache CouchDB PMC member and committer, with over 30 years of experience in commercial and open source software development. Based in Toronto, Canada, she currently works with Neighbourhoodie Software, running the CouchDB Development/Production Support team. In her spare time, Joan composes and records music, rides motorcycles, designs and builds electronic musical instruments, and pets cats. Gnomes over ponies.

      • Kiwi TCMS: Contributor profile: Aneta Petkova

        Aneta is a software engineer navigating the complex field of QA since her first “grownup” job. She’s been working in the area of test automation for web applications using different programming languages and tools. Her mission is to inspire people to think about quality from the very inception of ideas and to blur the line between developers and QA specialists.

      • Events
        • 1st batch of talks approved!

          Since May we have been receiving speaker applications from all over the world, with lots of super interesting topics. We are very excited about what’s being prepared to make Ubucon Europe in Sintra one of the best!

        • [Ubucon's older] Call For Volunteers

          We are 4 months away from the Ubucon Europe 2019 meeting. It is very important to announce this event that will be held in Sintra on 10, 11, 12 and 13 October. From now on, you can contribute to the dissemination of the meeting and as such, share this information with the people you know in order to get further.

        • Arrival at CommCon 2019

          Last night I arrived at CommCon 2019 in Latimer, Buckinghamshire, a stone’s throw from where I used to live in St Albans, UK. For many of you it is just a mouseclick away thanks to online streaming.

          It is a residential conference with many of the leaders in the free and open source real-time communications and telephony ecosystem, together with many users and other people interested in promoting free, private and secure communications.

          On Wednesday I’ll be giving a talk about packaging and how it relates to RTC projects, given my experience in this domain as a Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian Developer.

        • CFP and Registration Open For Linux Piter Conference

          The conference gathers many key Linux people from all around the world. In the past we had Lennart Pottering (Red Hat), Christoph Hellwig, Stephen Hemminger (Microsoft), Monty Widenius (MariaDB Corporation AB), Bero Rosenkränzer (OpenMandriva), Rafael J. Wysocki (Intel) and many others joining the event.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: VFIO/IOMMU/PCI Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the VFIO/IOMMU/PCI Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference!

          The PCI interconnect specification and the devices implementing it are incorporating more and more features aimed at high performance systems. This requires the kernel to coordinate the PCI devices, the IOMMUs they are connected to and the VFIO layer used to manage them (for user space access and device pass-through) so that users (and virtual machines) can use them effectively. The kernel interfaces to control PCI devices have to be designed in-sync for all three subsystems, which implies that there are lots of intersections in the design of kernel control paths for VFIO/IOMMU/PCI requiring kernel code design discussions involving the three subsystems at once.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Update on LPC 2019 registration waiting list

          Here is an update regarding the registration situation for LPC2019.

          The considerable interest for participation this year meant that the conference sold out earlier than ever before.

          Instead of a small release of late-registration spots, the LPC planning committee has decided to run a waiting list, which will be used as the exclusive method for additional registrations. The planning committee will reach out to individuals on the waiting list and inviting them to register at the regular rate of $550, as spots become available.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Mozilla Firefox 68 Is Now Available to Download for Linux, Mac, and Windows

            The Mozilla Firefox 68 open-source and cross-platform web browser is now available to download for GNU/Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms ahead of tomorrow’s official release.
            Scheduled to be released on July 9th, 2019, the Firefox 68 web browser can be downloaded and installed right now from Mozilla’s official download servers. So if you can’t wait until tomorrow’s official release, you can go ahead and download Firefox 68 for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems.

            Mozilla Firefox 68 isn’t an impress release as it only brings some minor improvements and not so exciting features. For example, it introduces a new reporting feature in about:addons to make it easier for users to report security and performance issues for add-ons and themes.

            It also adds support for accessing the Firefox Account settings directly from the hamburger menu, implements a full page color contrast audit capable of identifying all the elements on a web page that fail the color contrast checks, and brings WebRender support for Windows 10 users with AMD graphics cards.

      • SaaS/Back End
        • Data as a Service in a Hybrid, Multicloud World

          As it was emerging, cloud computing was seen as a fairly straight-up proposition for enterprises of finding a cloud, putting applications and data into it and running and storing it all on someone else’s infrastructure.

          But over the past few years, it’s become a complex mix of hybrid clouds and multiclouds, with some workloads and data staying on premises while others were pushed into the public cloud, and organizations using several public clouds at the same time. In the new world where data is at the center of everything and yet housed and used in multiple sites, having access to data wherever it resides and being able to move it quickly and easily between different clouds and between the cloud and core datacenter is crucial to an enterprise’s business success.

          Containers like Docker and the Kubernetes container orchestration platform have come onto the scene in part to help ease the portability of applications across the expanded distributed landscape. Over the past couple of quarters, startup Hammerspace has begun selling its data-as-a-service platform, a product designed to make the data as agile and easy to orchestrate across hybrid and multicloud environments as containers.

        • Ambedded’s ARM-based, Ceph Storage Appliance Goes Green

          With deep knowledge in open source software, distributed storage, embedded Linux and ARM-based architecture, Ambedded burst on the scene in 2013 as an innovator of software-defined storage.

          Today, with an ARM micro-server that leverages Ceph Unified Virtual Storage Manager (UVM), Ambedded has teamed up with SUSE Embedded to introduce SUSE Enterprise Storage 6 (also based on Ceph) to its line of storage appliances. The result is unified software-defined storage that provides object storage, block storage and file system in a single cluster.
          The Ambedded appliance delivers a high performing, low power storage option that can scale with ease, while helping mid-and large-scale enterprises avoid a single-point of failure by pairing a single-server node with a single-storage device.

        • OpenStack Networking

          If you’re familiar with OpenStack at all, you’ll know that it’s a collection of different components, or projects and not a single packaged piece of software. More than 30 different pieces of software make up OpenStack in its entirety ranging from networking to compute, to storage, to bare metal, to key management, orchestration, clustering and more. While OpenStack is widely recognized as being the leading open source cloud management platform, it’s not without its complexities. This can make it difficult to build if you don’t have the right skilled resources in-house, or if you need it up and running quickly so that you can use it for your business-critical systems and data.

      • Databases
        • Introducing Octo

          Octo is a YottaDB plugin for using SQL to query data that is persisted in YottaDB’s key-value tuples (global variables).

          Conforming to YottaDB’s standard for plugins, Octo is installed in the $ydb_dist/plugin sub-directory with no impact on YottaDB or existing applications. In addition to YottaDB itself, Octo requires the YottaDB POSIX plugin. The popularity of SQL has produced a vast ecosystem of tools for reporting, visualization, analysis, and more. Octo opens the door to using these tools with the databases of transactional applications that use YottaDB.


          At present (early July, 2019), following an Alpha test with an intrepid user, Beta test releases of Octo are available, and YottaDB is working with a core set of Beta testers. Based on their feedback and on additional automated testing we will follow up with a production release of Octo, which we anticipate in late 2019.
          Octo currently supports read-only access from SQL, and is therefore useful in conjunction with imperatively programmed applications which update database state. As SQL supports all “CRUD” (Create, Read, Update, Delete) database operations, following the release of a production grade version of Octo for reporting (i.e., read-only access), we intend to work towards versions that support read-write access as well.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Jun Nogata

          So, I live in Himeji, Japan where UNESCO World Heritage site Himeji Castle is. I work a part-time lecturer at a local university.

          I am a big fan of free and open source software (FOSS). I started to use Linux from Slackware 95, and I’m using Debian Sid at the moment. I am active in the Debian community in Japan and I’m also an OpenStreetMap mapper.

          I like listening to indie rock music, playing guitar and DJing sometimes. Also, I’m learning Korean – I want to talk to my friend DaeHyun Sung from the Korean LibreOffice community!

      • BSD
        • OpenBSD Community goes Platinum for 2019!

          The OpenBSD Foundation is happy to announce that individual contributions from the OpenBSD community have again exceeded CDN$50,000, making the community the 1st Platinum level donor for 2019!

      • Programming/Development
  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • A Complete History of Computers: From the 1800s to Now

        Can you imagine your life without a computer?

        Think about all of the things you wouldn’t be able to do. Send an email, online shop, find an answer to a question instantly.

        And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve come a long way from the very first computer, and even the first smartphone. But how much do you really know about their history and evolution? From floppy discs to cloud security, the Acorn to the Macintosh, let’s explore how far we’ve come.

    • Hardware
      • Professor faces 219-year prison sentence for sending missile chip tech to China

        Yi-Chi Shih, an electrical engineer and adjunct professor at UCLA, was found guilty last month by a Los Angeles jury, officials said in a statement this week. He was convicted on 18 counts, including making an illegal export and multiple fraud charges.

        Shih and another defendant, Kiet Ahn Mai, were found to have worked together to defraud an American semiconductor chip manufacturer. According to prosecutors, Mai posed as a potential customer to obtain chip designs from the unnamed company, then illegally sent the products to China.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • 500 Sydney Outdoor Workers Hold Walkout Over RoundUp Health Concerns

        The outdoor staff in Blacktown, a western suburb of Sydney, refused to continue spraying glyphosate and urged management to follow the lead of the several other city councils that have phased out Roundup and started to use other herbicides.

        The strike started last Wednesday after management ordered six staff members to either use Roundup or find other work, according to the United Services Union, which represents the striking workers, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

        “Outdoor staff responded by halting work and returning to their depots, leaving more than 10,000 bins uncollected,” a union statement said, as reported by Channel 7 News in Australia.

        The workers decided to continue their protest on Thursday.

      • Blacktown council to trial new weedkiller after workers strike over Roundup

        A Sydney council will trial a new weed killer after more than 500 workers walked off the job due to concerns over the use of Roundup, which has been linked to cancer.

        Blacktown City Council sought an urgent hearing in the Industrial Relations Commissions on Thursday morning after thousands of garbage bins weren’t collected.

      • Sydney council workers fight orders to use Roundup, go on strike

        A Sydney council will trial a new weed killer in a move being hailed as a “win” for more than 500 workers who walked off the job because of concerns over the use of the glyphosate-based Roundup, which has been linked to cancer.

        Outdoor staff at Blacktown City Council last month refused to continue using glyphosate sprays, urging management to follow the lead of other local councils which have banned the product and begun trialling safer alternatives.

    • Security
      • Various RememBear security issues

        AutoFill functionality of password managers is another typical area where security issues are found. RememBear requires a user action to activate AutoFill which is an important preventive measure. Also, AutoFill user interface will be displayed by the native RememBear application, so websites won’t have any way of messing with it. I found multiple other aspects of this functionality to be exploitable however.

        Most importantly, RememBear would not verify that it filled in credentials on the right website (a recent regression according to the developers). Given that considerable time can pass between the user clicking the bear icon to display AutoFill user interface and the user actually selecting a password to be filled in, one cannot really expect that the browser tab is still displaying the same website. RememBear will happily continue filling in the password however, not recognizing that it doesn’t belong to the current website.

        Worse yet, RememBear will try to fill out passwords in all frames of a tab. So if embeds a frame from and the user triggers AutoFill on the latter, will potentially receive the password as well (e.g. via a hidden form). Or even less obvious: if you go to and that site has third-party frames e.g. for advertising, these frames will be able to intercept any of your filled in passwords.

      • Microsoft Confirms This Windows 10 Bug Could Crash VPN Services

        Microsoft has disclosed that a new bug in its Windows 10 OS could mess up with the VPN services running on your machine and show the error code “0xc000005.”

        As per the support page, it’s present in the Remote Access Connection Manager (RASMAN) service that’s required by the VPN services to function properly.

      • Microsoft Issues Warning For 50M Windows 10 Users

        The big one is VPNs. RASMAN handles how Windows 10 connects to the internet and it is a core background task for VPN services to function normally. Given the astonishing growth in VPN usage for everything from online privacy and important work tasks to unlocking Netflix and YouTube libraries, this has the potential to impact heavily on how you use your computer.


        Why conservative? Because Microsoft states Windows 10 has been installed on 800M computers worldwide, but that figure is four months old. Meanwhile, the ever-reliable AdDuplex reports Windows 10 1903 accounted for 6.3% of all Windows 10 computers in June (50.4M), but that percentage was achieved in just over a month and their report is 10 days old. Microsoft has listed a complex workaround, but no timeframe has been announced for an actual fix.

      • Google Researcher Finds Nasty iMessage Bug That ‘Bricks’ iPhone

        This specific set of characters, when received on iMessage, can brick the phone — locking you out of everything on it. Once you receive this message, there is no way out of it, other than doing a factory reset. Also, any data that wasn’t backed up would be lost.

        The researcher, Natalie Silvanovich, is part of Google’s Project Zero team that hunts down zero-day vulnerabilities. She discovered the bug in April and explained how it affects iOS devices:

        “On a Mac, this causes soagent to crash and respawn, but on an iPhone, this code is in Springboard. Receiving this message will case Springboard to crash and respawn repeatedly, causing the UI not to be displayed and the phone to stop responding to input.”

      • New Cryptojacking Malware is Targeting Linux Servers [Ed: Attributing to "Linux" everything that can be maliciously installed on it]

        In the last few weeks, multiple cybersecurity research groups reported about the malware and, according to the researchers at Trend Micro, the malware not only targets a vulnerable server but also try to propagate in the entire network.

      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (dosbox, python-django, squid3, and unzip), Fedora (filezilla, libfilezilla, and samba), openSUSE (gvfs), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (firefox and redhat-virtualization-host), SUSE (bash and libpng16), and Ubuntu (libvirt).

      • Can You Hear Me Now? Staying Connected During a Cybersecurity Incident

        We all know that communication is important. Anyone who’s ever been married, had a friend, or held a job knows that’s true. While good communication is pretty much universally beneficial, there are times when it’s more so than others. One such time? During a cybersecurity incident.

        Incident responders know that communication is paramount. Even a few minutes might mean the difference between closing an issue (thereby minimizing damage) vs. allowing a risky situation to persist longer than it needs to. In fact, communication — both within the team and externally with different groups — is one of the most important tools at the disposal of the response team.

        This is obvious within the response team itself. After all, there is a diversity of knowledge, perspective and background on the team, so the more eyes on the data and information you have, the more likely someone will find and highlight pivotal information. It’s also true with external groups.

        For example, outside teams can help gather important data to assist in resolution: either technical information about the issue or information about business impacts. Likewise, a clear communication path with decision makers can help “clear the road” when additional budget, access to

      • IoT Developer Orvibo Suffers Major Database Leak

        Recently, we saw a different kind of database leak. This leak did contain usernames and passwords as normal, but instead of them being for online services, they were for IoT devices. This makes it one of the first breaches where people’s physical devices were under threat due to a database leak.

      • Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, was hacked; Ubuntu source code unaffected [Ed: No. Microsoft GitHub got cracked. Not Canonical.]

        The unknown attacker(s) used a Canonical owned GitHub account whose credentials were compromised to unauthorizedly access Canonical’s Github account. According to a mirror of the hacked Canonical GitHub account, the hacker created 11 new GitHub repositories in the official Canonical account. The repositories were empty and sequentially named CAN_GOT_HAXXD_1, `with no existing data being changed or deleted.

      • Canonical’s GitHub account was briefly compromised [Ed: No, that was Microsoft GitHub]
      • Ubuntu-maker Canonical’s GitHub account hacked
      • Canonical’s GitHub Account Gets Hacked, and Its Page Gets Defaced [Ed: That's a Microsoft site, not a Canonical site]
      • Backdoor found in Ruby library for checking for strong passwords [Ed: FOSS catches security mischief fast, but this drama queen from ZDNet won’t frame it like that and mostly ignores proprietary software back doors (this one was only downloaded a few hundreds of times, then caught). For instance, Microsoft steals the decryption keys from millions of people who set up disk encryption, but that doesn’t seem to bother ZDNet (part of CBS, an advertiser to Microsoft)]
      • D-Link Settles With FTC, Agrees To Fix Its Shoddy Router Security

        While the shoddy Internet of Things sector gets ample heat for being a security and privacy dumpster fire, the traditional network gear sector has frequently been just as bad. A few years ago, for example, hardware vendor Asus was dinged by the FTC for offering paper-mache grade security on the company’s residential network routers. The devices were frequently being shipped with easily guessable default usernames and passwords, and contained numerous, often obvious, security vulnerabilities.

        In 2017, the FTC also filed suit against D-Link, alleging many of the same things. According to the FTC, the company’s routers and video cameras, which the company claimed were “easy to secure” and delivered “advanced network security,” were about as secure as a kitten-guarded pillow fort. Just like the Asus complaint, the FTC stated that D-Link hardware was routinely shipped with easily-guessable default usernames and passwords, making it fairly trivial to compromise the devices and incorporate them into DDoS botnets (or worse).

      • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: The Case Of YouTube And ‘Hacking’ Videos

        Last week there was a bit of an uproar about YouTube supposedly implementing a “new” policy that banned “hacking” videos on its platform.


        Eventually, YouTube responded to all of this and noted a few things: First, and most importantly, the removal of Kozie’s videos was a mistake and the videos have been restored. Second, that this wasn’t a “new” policy, but rather just the company adding some “examples” to existing policy.

        This raises a few different points. While some will say that since this was just another moderation mistake and therefore it’s a non-story, it actually is still an important point in highlighting the impossibility of content moderation at scale. You can certainly understand why someone might decide that videos that explain how to “bypass secure computer systems or steal user credentials and personal data” would be bad and potentially dangerous — and you can understand the thinking that says “ban it.” And, on top of that, you can see how a less sophisticated reviewer might not be able to carefully distinguish the difference between “bypassing secure computer systems” and some sort of fun hacking project like “launching fireworks over WiFi.”

        But it also demonstrates that there are different needs for different users — and having a single, centralized organization making all the decisions about what’s “good” and what’s “bad,” is inherently a problem. Going back to Hutchins’ and Halderman’s points above, even if the Kinzie video was taken down by mistake, and even if the policy is really supposed to be focused on nefarious hacking techniques, there is still value for security researchers and security professionals to be able to keep on top of what more nefarious hackers are up to.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • The reporter on the NYT’s Bernie Sanders beat consistently fails to identify her sources as corporate lobbyists

        Ember’s negative reporting on Sanders might be the result of her deep connections to the finance world: she came to the Times after a career as an analyst at the coal-boosting hedge fund Blackrock and she’s married to Mike Bechek, son of the former CEO of Bain Capital, where he also worked.

        FAIR’s Katie Halper has dug deep into Ember’s network of go-to sources for quotes on why no one should vote for Sanders, showing that they are drawn from the ranks of the finance and corporate lobbyist world. [...]

    • Environment
      • Summer reading: Environment books that changed the world

        From Rachel Carsen’s seminal literary depiction of a poisoned world in the early 1960s, Silent Spring, to David Wallace-Wells’ profound climate crisis treatise, The Uninhabitable Planet (2019), here are six essential cautionary eco tales and nonfiction environmental books to be enjoyed in the shade of what is shaping up to be another scorching European summer.

      • Let Rivers Flood: Communities Adopt New Strategies for Resilience

        In 2016 California’s rainy season kicked off right on schedule, at the beginning of October. The rains came — and then just kept on coming. By February there was so much water filling Northern California’s rivers that Oroville Dam, the tallest in the country, threatened to break after its spillway and emergency spillways both failed.

        Water managers averted a crisis at the dam, but not before 180,000 people living downstream were evacuated.

        It was a wake-up call. In just a few months California had gone from five-year-drought to deluge, ending up with the second wettest year on record for the state. It served as a warning of things to come. With rising temperatures from climate change and an increase in the number of extreme storms predicted, scientists have warned of “climate whiplash” — more pronounced swings between wet and dry that could make floods even more dangerous and costly.

        It’s an issue that’s top of mind not just in California, but across the country. The United States just endured the wettest 12 months on record, and flooding this spring resulted in federal disaster declarations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Dozens of other states and counties declared emergencies, and at the time of this writing, floods had already claimed 67 lives nationwide. They’ve also caused billions of dollars in property damage and swamped farmers have experienced billions more in economic losses.

        In all of these cases, we see a common thread: It’s not just the direct blows from nature that are the problem. We’ve made things worse by paving over floodplains, channelizing rivers, and draining wetlands.

        But change could be on the horizon. Today more and more communities are beginning to realize that 20th century development practices are harmful. It’s ushering in a new era of thinking about floodplain management — one that involves letting rivers behave like rivers.

      • ‘Staggering’ UN Warning That Climate Crisis Disasters Now Occur Weekly Provokes Calls for Action

        A “staggering” new warning from a top United Nations official that climate crisis-related disasters are now occurring at the rate of one per week, with developing nations disproportionately at risk, provoked calls for immediate global action to combat the human-caused climate emergency.

      • Energy
        • Here Are Some of the Climate-Linked Disasters and Rollbacks Trump’s ‘Environmental Leadership’ Speech Didn’t Cover

          President Donald Trump spoke to “America’s environmental leadership” in an address today, where he lived up to predictions and described the country’s air and water as clean (“crystal clean” even).

          The speech started late, and with a reference to the heavy rains that have flooded Washington, D.C., which today’s Washington Post noted were unusual and consistent with the changes predicted by climate scientists.

          The rest of the world may be forgiven some skepticism about America’s environmental leadership — particularly under Trump. Within six months of taking office, Donald Trump had announced that he planned to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, the world’s framework for coordinating the international response to climate change, which scientists and world leaders have described as the most consequential environmental issue of our time.

        • Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Residents Take the Fight for Environmental Justice on the Road

          Last month, four residents from Louisiana neighborhoods impacted by air pollution traveled far from their Mississippi River parishes to Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, Japan, seeking help in their struggle for clean air.

          St. James Parish’s Sharon Lavigne and Barbara Washington, both fighting to prevent additional petrochemical plant construction near their homes, attended the Congressional Convening on Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C., on June 26.*

        • Climate Activists Respond to OPEC Official Calling Them ‘Greatest Threat’ to Big Oil

          Climate campaigners were undaunted when the secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) called their movement “perhaps the greatest threat” to the oil industry.

          “Thank you!” 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in response Thursday. “Our biggest compliment yet!”

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Trump’s USDA Suspends Honeybee Survey

          The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual honeybee count has fallen victim to budget cuts, CNN reported Saturday.

          The suspension of the Honey Bee Colonies report is at least the third bee-related data set to be halted or reduced under the Trump administration, and comes three weeks after Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the emergency use of bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres. It also comes as the population of bees, which help pollinate a third of edible crops, has been declining since 2006.

        • Honeybees hit by Trump budget cuts

          The US Department of Agriculture has suspended data collection for its annual Honey Bee Colonies report, citing cost cuts — a move that robs researchers and the honeybee industry of a critical tool for understanding honeybee population declines, and comes as the USDA is curtailing other research programs.

          It’s also another step toward undoing President Barack Obama’s government-wide focus on protecting pollinators, including bees and butterflies, whose populations have plummeted in recent years.
          The annual survey, which started in 2015, gathers data on the number of honeybees per state by quarter, including those being lost with symptoms of colony collapse disorder, an issue that’s made honeybees a darling of environmentalists and climate activists.
          It is at least the third bee-related dataset to be suspended under the current administration.
          “The decision to suspend data collection was not made lightly, but was necessary given available fiscal and program resources,” according to a notice posted by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Survey. The USDA would not provide a figure for how much the agency was saving by discontinuing the survey.

        • This Dutch City Has Transformed Its Bus Stops Into Bee Stops

          In the Dutch city Utrecht 316 bus stops now have a green roof. They do not only look great, they also help capture fine dust, storage of rainwater and provide cooling in the summertime.

          It is one of many measures that could improve Utrecht’s air quality. Did you know that after smoking, an unhealthy environment (including bad air quality) is the second cause of diseases in the Netherlands?

        • All 21 of Mississippi’s beaches are closed because of toxic algae

          Summer’s the perfect time to hit the beach — unless you live in Mississippi.

          Along the state’s Gulf Coast, all 21 of the state’s beaches have been shut down for swimming due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom (HAB), according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
          HABs occur when “colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people” or wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says.
          The toxic algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned.
          Though the state says people can still use the sand portion of the beaches, they should avoid water contact or consumption of anything from the waters “until further notice.”

        • Every Mississippi Beach Is Closed Due to Toxic Algae

          A toxic algal bloom has made the waters dangerous to humans and their pets. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has shut down swimming at all of its beaches due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom, according to CNN.

          Toxic algae are dangerous to touch and poisonous when swallowed. It can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned.

        • All Mississippi beaches closed as toxic algae bloom blankets state’s coast

          All of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast beaches have been closed for swimming as the expanding bloom of toxic blue-green algae blankets the state’s waters.

          On Sunday the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced the closures of Pascagoula Beach West and Pascagoula Beach East, the final two state beaches that were open for swimming.

        • Officials close all Mississippi beaches due to blue-green harmful algal bloom

          All 21 of Mississippi’s beaches have been shuttered for swimming due to the presence of toxic algae.

          The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced two additional closures on Sunday due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom, after previous closures were issued for the 19 other beaches along the state’s Gulf Coast.

          The two beaches that were shut down on Sunday are in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on the Alabama border.

        • Pascagoula the last coastal town to join algae-related water advisory

          Pascagoula’s beach is the latest to be placed under a water contact advisory tied to the ongoing blue-green algae bloom. Sunday’s advisory means the entire Mississippi coastline is now off-limits to swimming and fishing in the near-shore waters.
          Residents like Bill Kenan believe it is becoming a major problem for the entire area.
          “I had a feeling it was going this way. Water always flows west to east,” Kenan explained. “It just keeps going and going and going. I don’t know if it’s ever going to get better. I hope it does.”
          Some people spent their Sunday lounging on the sand, which MDEQ said is safe and still open for public use. Others chose to cool down in a nearby splash pad at Pascagoula Beach Park.
          Moss Point resident Clyde Sims said, “It just don’t look right to me. I like the clean pretty water, that’s why we go to Pensacola and places like that to get in the water.”

        • Toxic algae bloom forces Mississippi to close all the state’s beaches

          The blooms can be triggered by many things, including changes in water temperature and fertilizer run-off, and once the colonies of algae — which are actually cyanobacteria — start growing rapidly, they produce toxins that can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and rashes. People and their pets are being told to stay out the water and avoid any seafood caught in the affected areas, but they can still be on the sand.

        • Did Life on Earth Begin in the Deep Sea?

          When it comes to being otherworldly, alien and bizarre, the ocean has plenty to fuel the imagination and make your jaw drop: giant scuttling bugs, jelly-like blobfish, slimy mucus-drenched hagfish, hairy armed lobsters and almost anything else you could imagine.

          It’s no big surprise that Hollywood science fiction films so often look to the deep for their monsters, landscapes and mystery. After all, the deep ocean is more alien to us than the surface of the moon.

          But bizarrely, some scientists think the ocean floor might well be the very place where life on our planet first evolved.

    • Finance
      • Deutsche calls time on global banking ambitions by cutting 18,000 jobs and setting up €74bn ‘bad bank’

        Deutsche Bank has effectively called time on its global banking ambitions after it unveiled a much more radical than expected overhaul on Sunday.

        This will include setting up a “bad bank” stuffed with €74bn of toxic assets, closing down large units in its investment banking arm – including equities trading – and laying off about a fifth of its workforce.

        Following a supervisory board meeting in Germany at the weekend, the troubled bank said the drastic measures were needed to battle falling revenues and rising costs. The overhaul is expected to cost around €8bn.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • If You Want To Kill Google And Facebook, Leaving Section 230 Alone Is Your Best Hope

        We recently released our Don’t Shoot The Message Board report, which details, with actual numbers, evidence of how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has encouraged and enabled a tremendous amount of investment in thousands of internet companies, building up real competition. At the event in Washington, DC, where we announced the paper, one of the questions from the audience focused on whether or not we should remove Section 230 protections from large companies as a way to deal with allegedly anti-competitive actions. The premise, put forth by the questioner, was that Google/Facebook/Amazon have benefited so much from Section 230 that that’s why they’re now so dominant — and somehow removing the protections of 230 will somehow create competition.

        That’s a very strange take, and one that doesn’t seem supported by the evidence. Again, as our report showed, having CDA 230 created lots of investment in startups and new internet platform companies. Taking away Section 230 would create a massive liability and regulatory burden, which I’m sure the big internet companies wouldn’t like, but which they could obviously handle. Smaller companies? Not so much. Removing CDA 230 would only serve to lock in Google, Facebook and Amazon.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Encryption law making life harder for journalists: claim

        The passage of the Australian encryption law has made it harder for journalists to communicate with their sources without jeopardising their confidentiality, American cryptography fellow Dr Riana Pfefferkorn has claimed in a submission to an inquiry into the law.

      • Encryption law: ‘Misunderstanding leading to IT industry concerns’

        The Department of Home Affairs says it is creating documentation to clarify the intended operation of the encryption law which was passed in December 2018, claiming that companies are concerned about it because they do not have a clear idea of their obligations under the law.

      • Twitter’s Disinformation Data Dumps Are Helpful—to a Point

        A year later, Twitter released an archive of more than 10 million tweets, from 3,841 accounts it said were affiliated with the IRA, hoping to encourage “open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics.” The company has followed with additional data dumps, most recently last month when it released details of accounts linked to Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and the Catalan independence movement in Spain. All told, Twitter has shared more than 30 million tweets from accounts it says were “actively working to undermine” healthy discourse.

      • One in Ten UK Adults Are Now Cashless

        Meanwhile, the number of cash payments in the UK last year was just 11 billion, down 16% from 2017. Cash payments made up just 28% of all transactions last year, which is a huge decline from a decade ago when in 2008 cash payments accounted for 60% of transactions. And UK finance has predicted that in ten years’ time cash payments will make up just 9% of all transactions.

      • Only a third of us use cash every day so can you get around Nottingham without it? We tried it for a week

        We decided to see exactly what we could and couldn’t do over a week in Nottingham without using banknotes and coins.

      • UK’s newspaper launches pro-cash campaign, ‘Keep Our Cash Manifesto’

        On June 9th, 2019, the daily mail’s financial arm shared the story of a British baker who regrets adopting a cashless system after pressure from a bank to rent a card reader. Within this article, This is Money introduced a 5-point pro-cash campaign called, the ‘Keep our Cash Manifesto’.

      • [Old] Which? leads new pro-cash campaign: Freedom to pay. Our way.

        The UK’s top consumer affairs body, Which?, has recently launched a campaign in defence of the public’s number one payment choice. Sign their petition and help protect public access to cash.

        Since 1956, Which? has been guiding tea-crazed Brits towards the nation’s holy grail of kitchen appliances – the kettle. Now, they are using their platform and research insight to steer the country away from the dangers of an enforced cashless society.

      • Google still keeps a list of everything you ever bought using Gmail, even if you delete all your emails

        At the time of my original story, Google said users can delete everything by tapping into a purchase and removing the Gmail. It seemed to work if you did this for each purchase, one by one. This isn’t easy — for years worth of purchases, this would take hours or even days of time.

        So, since Google doesn’t let you bulk-delete this purchases list, I decided to delete everything in my Gmail inbox. That meant removing every last message I’ve sent or received since I opened my Gmail account more than a decade ago.

        Despite Google’s assurances, it didn’t work.

      • Google’s creepy Gmail purchase history can’t be deleted

        Additionally, since Google’s recommendation of deleting purchase receipts from your Gmail inbox doesn’t appear to work, these other recommendations may also do little to prevent purchase data from being collected.

        This report on Google’s purchase history is the latest in a series of stories that show how just how much data Google mines from Gmail and how difficult it often is to disable or opt-out of this data collection.

      • Is your Aadhaar data about to be monetised?

        The fourth chapter of the Economic Survey 2018-19 is entitled Data “Of the People, By the People, For the People”. It perhaps would be appropriate to quote relevant excerpts from that chapter to put the government’s thinking on commercial exploitation of data that it seems to be contemplating in a context.

        “The private sector may be granted access to select databases for commercial use. Consistent with the notion of data as a public good, there is no reason to preclude commercial use of this data for profit. [...]

      • Unnamed Nokia smartphone leaks with 3 rear cameras, could be new Nokia 8 series phone

        How do we know this could be a phone part of Nokia 8 series? We know because the Nokia 9, which is a flagship phone, has five cameras. So a phone with 3 rear cameras is likely to be placed one notch below it in the product line-up. Also, the Nokia 8 series is due for an upgrade.

      • EPIC to Appear Before Top European Court on US Surveillance

        This week EPIC Senior Counsel Alan Butler will appear before the Court of Justice for the European Union in the case Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook. The case, known as “Schrems 2.0.” follows the European Court’s landmark decision in Schrems v. DPC striking down the “Safe Harbor” arrangement and leading to the creation of the “Privacy Shield.”

      • The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Signals It Will investigate NSA Surveillance, Facial Recognition, and Terror Watchlists

        After a long dormant stretch, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) has signaled it’s ready to tackle another big review of government surveillance and overreach. The PCLOB, an independent agency in the executive branch, last published a 2014 report on warrantless surveillance of the Internet by the U.S. intelligence community. While EFF welcomes the PCLOB’s efforts to bring oversight and transparency to the most controversial surveillance programs, we’ve disagreed with some of the Board’s findings, particularly on surveillance under FISA Section 702. So while it’s a good sign that the board is turning its attention to other major issues, its mixed history means it may be a little too soon to get your hopes up.

        This week, the board, which was created after a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission to look into the violation of civil liberties, released a strategic plan [PDF] that does not shy away from investigating some of the biggest threats to privacy in the U.S. According to the document, they will be looking into the NSA’s collection of phone records, facial recognition and other biometric technologies being used in airport security, the processes that govern terrorist watchlist, what they call “deep dive” investigations into NSA’s XKEYSCORE tool and the CIA’s counterterrorism activity, as well as many other government programs and procedures.

      • Announcing “Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Understanding How IMSI-Catchers Exploit Cell Networks”

        Our phones hold a plethora of important, private information about our personal lives, and it’s not just their contents that matter: the data that our phones exchange with cell towers during basic connection procedures can reveal critical, and private, information. Perhaps you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge; maybe you received a call from the local NRA office while it was having a campaign against gun legislation, and then called your senators and congressional representatives immediately after. The contents of those calls aren’t as secret as you might hope to someone who knows that the calls were made, and when. And just knowing the location a phone was in at a certain time, regardless of whether a call was made, could place someone at a protest—or at the scene of a crime.

        While the field of cell network security has been rapidly advancing, there’s also been a significant rise in the exploitation of cell network security bugs by criminals and law enforcement, who are using them to gain access to that private data. Devices known as Cell-Site Simulators (CSSs, a.k.a. Stingrays or IMSI-catchers) are increasingly being used by law enforcement for both dragnet and targeted surveillance; and several years ago we saw the first crackdowns against criminals using cell site simulators on a mass scale to deliver spam.

        Rightly, there’s been a lot of interest in—and confusion about—what CSSs are capable of. From activists worried about being targeted and tracked, to policy makers concerned about the privacy of their constituents, to technologists interested in learning about the security flaws so that they can deliver fixes, there’s a range in knowledge, though all of these groups have a stake in learning more. But the barrier to entry to the field of cell network security has historically been quite high, even if you already have a technical background. While there’s increasingly more highly technical research into the cell network attack techniques that CSSs rely on, very little exists for the average reader.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • Two journalists arrested, internet shut down amid disputed election in Mauritania

        The journalists are among more than 100 people who have been detained in the wake of Mauritania’s disputed presidential elections on June 22, according to reports. According to the independent internet monitoring group Netblocks, the country has also faced a widespread [Internet] shutdown beginning shortly after the elections.

      • An hour with Noam Chomsky on fascism, nuclear weapons, climate change, Julian Assange & more

        Well, Assange is a similar case: We’ve got to silence this voice. You go back to history. Some of you may recall when Mussolini’s fascist government put Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said, “We have to silence this voice for 20 years. Can’t let it speak.” That’s Assange. That’s Lula. There are other cases. That’s one scandal.

        The other scandal is just the extraterritorial reach of the United States, which is shocking. I mean, why should the United States—why should any—no other state could possibly do it. But why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time. We never even notice it. At least there’s no comment on it.

        You can ask yourself: Why is this accepted? So, in this case, why is it acceptable for the United States to have the power to even begin to give even a proposal to extradite somebody whose crime is to expose to the public materials that people in power don’t want them to see? That’s basically what’s happening.

      • Months After The Law’s Enactment, California Law Enforcement Agencies Are Still Blowing Off Public Records Requests

        This is no longer a question of law. Courts have repeatedly held the new law is retroactive, making records generated prior to the beginning of this year responsive to requests. The state’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, has apparently decided to see how much of this year he can spend with his head up his ass. He’s appealing a decision by a judge granting access to records involving the state’s DOJ… which still has yet to release the records it was ordered to release.

        Other agencies have been a bit more compliant. The San Francisco PD has released a handful of records on four shootings by officers and the LAPD is continuing to release files on a rolling basis. In both cases, these agencies have upped their staffing to handle the influx of requests — all without complaining publicly about their obligations.

        Other agencies have chosen to go the route of antagonistic compliance — following the letter of the law while making it very clear they hate everything about the law and every requester taking advantage of it.

      • Local sheriff misconduct records still secret 6 months after transparency law took effect

        Months after law enforcement unions in Riverside and San Bernardino counties dropped their lawsuits arguing that some police misconduct records should remain secret, the sheriff’s departments in the two counties have yet to release records in accordance with a police misconduct transparency law that took effect in January.

        The two local sheriff’s departments aren’t the only agencies that still have yet to comply with the new law, the California Reporting Project has found. The project — a collaboration among 40 newsrooms across California including The Desert Sun — has found some departments are charging high fees, destroying the documents or ignoring court orders to produce the records.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Incarceration Helped Fuel America’s Opioid Crisis, Study Suggests

        Researchers also found that on average, counties with the highest incarceration rates saw a drug mortality rate 54% higher than the rate among counties with the lowest incarceration rates.

        “You have similar communities that are poor, and one has a much higher rate of drug use than the other,” King says. “Half of that seems to be explained by the incarceration rate.”

        Across the U.S., more than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017, and most deaths were opioid-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drug epidemic has hit the country so hard that it’s contributed to a falling life expectancy for Americans in recent years.

      • Economic decline, incarceration, and mortality from drug use disorders in the USA between 1983 and 2014: an observational analysis

        Reduced household income and high incarceration rates are associated with poor health. The rapid expansion of the prison and jail population in the USA over the past four decades might have contributed to the increasing number of deaths from drug use disorders.

      • Hong Kong Protesters Take Their Message to Chinese Tourists

        Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory, has a separate political and judicial system and is governed based on a principle known as “one country, two systems.” But in recent years, as Beijing has grown more autocratic and increased efforts to integrate Hong Kong with the mainland, many here have become alarmed about the erosion of the city’s once-robust protections for civic freedoms and rule of law.

        While previous marches have been held in the downtown financial and business districts of Hong Kong Island, the march on Sunday is the first to take place in Kowloon, an area of Hong Kong that is attached to the Chinese mainland. It is being billed as an opportunity to engage with mainland Chinese in the hope that they will back the protesters.

        The Hong Kong protests have been heavily censored in the mainland, where they are portrayed by government officials and the state news media as being organized by “foreign forces” and spearheaded by violent “extreme radicals.”

      • Hundreds protest in Paris against deadly domestic violence

        Yelling “Enough” and carrying signs reading “Stop femicides” or “The planet needs women alive”, the crowd took to the Place de la Republique square as part of the demonstration organised by various women’s rights NGOs to protest the rate of femicides, the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender.

      • Christians in Africa: “You have three days to go or you will be killed!”

        Distressingly, these Christians have been finding themselves in the blind spot of the West: they are “too Christian” to get the Left’s attention, but too far away for the Right. Africa’s Christians are orphans. They have no “allies”, John O’Sullivan writes.

      • CBP Agents Flocked To Closed Facebook Groups To Post Bigoted Memes And Insult Detainees

        According to this Politico report, not a single agent was ever punished or reprimanded for their comments and posts in this closed group. Sure, they’re being denounced now by top Homeland Security officials, but it’s years too late. CBP supervisors had an opportunity to pass this up the ladder three years ago but did nothing. Springing into action when there are no options left is no one’s idea of heroic. There’s no excusing the CBP’s refusal to act when it was first notified. There’s finally an Inspector General’s investigation underway, but it will be months or years before we see results from this, if ever.

        The CBP continues to stand by its personnel, saying most of its staff are good people not prone to posting bigoted content to closed Facebook groups. This is a pretty safe stance to take when no one’s outing the members of the 10-15 Group. But that stance has already passed its expiration date. The Intercept infiltrated the group and managed to make off with tons of screenshots before posts were deleted by members and moderators following the ProPublica article.

        Not only is The Intercept publishing the screenshots it grabbed, it’s publishing them with the names of CBP agents on full display. Good. Speech has consequences and DC politicians have been promising retribution. With names out in the open, the Congressional bluff has been called. Put up or shut up, reps. And I’m sure the CBP Inspector General appreciates any input it can get, even if it has to come from outside sources.

      • Court Upholds Conviction Of Cop Who Threatened, Beat, Tased, And Arrested A Man For Complaining About Being Beaten By Him Earlier

        And it is a string of horrors. It’s an undeniable story of just how much havoc a man with a badge and bunch of power can wreak on a “civilian.” When it comes to police/citizen relationships, only one side holds all the cards. And unless someone has the wherewithal to lawyer up — and continue to litigate through multiple court levels for multiple years — the badge and the abused power go unchecked.

        Jeffrey Littlepage stuck it out. Good thing he did. Otherwise, Officer William Dukes might have skated on this string of horrors. Without Littlepage’s tenacity, Dukes might be out of prison, free to roam around with a badge in hand and subject others to the same treatment he gave Littlepage.

        Littlepage’s story starts with a traffic stop. It doesn’t end until Officer Dukes is behind bars. In between, there’s a hell of a lot of abusive activity by a man who never should have been allowed to carry a badge.

        Officer Dukes was presumably killing time waiting to fuck someone up when a call came in that someone had tried to run another driver off the road. For whatever reason, Dukes decided it was Littlepage. He didn’t know who he was pulling over, so Littlepage won the SHIT COP lottery.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • Killing Net Neutrality Rules Did Far More Harm Than You Probably Realize

        We’ve noted repeatedly that the repeal of net neutrality did far more than just kill popular net neutrality rules. It effectively neutered the FCC’s ability to do its job and oversee lumbering natural telecom monopolies. And, contrary to the claims of the telecom lobby, it threw any remaining authority to an FTC that lacks the resources or authority to do the job either. In short the repeal gave loathed telecom giants like Comcast and AT&T carte blanche to do pretty much anything they’d like to their captive customer bases, provided they’re marginally clever about it.

        Here’s one case in point: the previous FCC had passed some fairly basic rules requiring that ISPs be transparent about the kind of connection you’re buying. As in, ISPs were required to not only inform you what kind of throttling or restrictions were on your line, but they were supposed to make it clear how many hidden fees you’d pay post sale. With those rules dead, the FCC’s process now basically involves you complaining to the Ajit Pai FCC, and the agency doing jack shit about it. Under Pai’s model, ISPs are allowed to bullshit you all they’d like in terms of caps, throttling, and other limits, as long as their bullshit is hidden somewhere in their website.

    • Monopolies
      • Copyrights

Another Day of Misleading Media Coverage About the EPO and More Squashed European Patents

Monday 8th of July 2019 07:05:26 PM

Summary: Monday is another depressing day to be seeing EPO media coverage and tweets; truth has been inverted and the narrative hijacked by patent maximalists like Team UPC, who profit more when lots of patents are granted (irrespective of their underlying illegality)

TODAY’s patent system here in Europe isn’t “working for the many” (but “for the few,” as one British politician used to put it). Those “many” are ordinary European people and the “few” aren’t even necessarily European. Some of them, seeing the power of 35 U.S.C. § 101 in American courts (there are new relevant case outcomes in our daily links), don’t even bother suing in the US anymore; some won’t pursue low-quality patents at the USPTO either; arguably, as some law firms say so publicly and explicitly, in several areas patent quality in Europe fell below its American counterparts. It’s sometimes modeled after China’s (the EPO’s Web site has ample evidence of that). I’ve no issues with China in general (human rights issues notwithstanding), but it’s flooding the global system with low-quality patents (not PCT); WIPO couldn’t care any less because it measures its performance and relevance solely by the number of granted patents, trademarks etc. (worldwide, based on mindless aggregation and no quality yardsticks).

“The EPO is aiming very, very low. It is also being dishonest about that. The PR people don’t seem to care about the truth.”“Our colleagues from Patent Information have put together this update on Asia,” the EPO wrote earlier today, having linked to this new/latest newsletter (warning: link) that includes: “This section focuses on European patent law, including the case law of the EPO boards of appeals. It also covers legislative initiatives such as the unitary patent.”

The EPO is aiming very, very low. It is also being dishonest about that. The PR people don’t seem to care about the truth. “Our fortnightly email newsletter brings you all the latest news and information from the EPO,” they said half a day ago. They then wrote another tweet (among nearly a thousand about “SMEs”). “IP strategy and management skills can help overcome the challenges presented by business model changes. That’s one conclusion of our SME case studies,” they said.

This is complete nonsense, but the EPO is still trying to come across or at least be perceived as SME-friendly. The very opposite is true. The lawyers also know that the opposite is true, but in order to push schemes like the UPC (named above, oddly enough) they hijack the voice of SMEs and pretend to be speaking ‘for’ them. The Irish Independent, for instance, has just published this self-promotional spam for “Joe Doyle [who is] is Enterprise Ireland’s intellectual property manager” (patent microcosm). So the media is run or at least composed by people who tell lies to make sales (in their law firms), citing the EPO (which routinely lies and breaks the law).

On the same day (Monday) as the above EPO tweet about SMEs they published “Patents and trademarks key to high growth” and said this about their own (sponsored by them) event:

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also create and use IP to fuel their growth strategies. A new joint study from the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) found that SMEs that applied for patents, trademarks or designs early on were more likely to experience high growth compared with those that did not.

The study showed that SMEs with at least one IP right are 21pc more likely to experience a growth period and 10pc more likely to become a high-growth firm (HGF), compared to those without IP rights.

Furthermore, firms with EU-level IP rights, as opposed to national level, are even more likely (17pc) to become an HGF.

EPO and EUIPO chief economists will discuss the study findings at the Dublin IP and R&D Summit on July 11.

The summit, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, will highlight that, in every sector, firms taking steps to identify, protect and manage IP stand a better chance of growing in global markets.

The European media is not covering EPO scandals; doesn’t fit its business model…

It does, however, hand over the platform to law firms and the EPO. What a sordid state of journalism…

The FFII’s President has just recalled that “Alcatel-Lucent claims a patent on the dual-queue algorithm. The company has generously offered to licence it on FRAND; such terms are highly discriminatory against free software implementations, impossible to merge the affected code into a GPL kernel…”

“They would not mind causing the destruction of all FOSS/Free software using software patents or limiting it to “Open Source”, exercised only by large corporations like IBM/OIN,” I responded.

Remember that OIN is a frequent guest of the EPO, claiming to be speaking for “Open Source” when its core members are actually proprietary giants.

This new article from JUVE was cited (again) by SUEPO earlier today. JUVE has been very disappointing lately. It’s mostly repeating what EPO management has to say and rarely listens to actual staff, which outnumbers that management by three orders of magnitude. The latest headline is “EPO customers [sic] want Michelin-star service” (wait, what? Did you say customers?!?!) and that’s why our Wiki page (days old) says “Juve (or JUVE) is a German publisher that covers patent law, especially in Europe.” Sadly, the authors who have been more active recently aren’t those who covered EPO scandals, notably C.S.). From the summary:

There is a new strategy at the European Patent Office. Last week António Campinos delivered what many had expected in his ambitious plan for the future. But the discontented at the EPO and in the wider European patent world are not so easily placated. A new vision would require the new president to take specific measures – and the speedy resolution of internal conflicts is a good place to start.

They’re not covering any of the latest leaks and scandals. Nothing! In a sense they’re also stonewalling, on and off the scene, but they’re far from the sole culprit in that regard.

Another new article has just been published by Bastian Best (Bardehle Pagenberg). He is relentlessly pushing their software patents agenda. They promote what’s against the law, the EPC. They boast about examiners put in a position where they have to grant patents in clear defiance of the EPC:

The field of computer simulations continues to be an exciting area in terms of patentability, last but not least because of the pending referral G1/19 in which the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal will have to make a stance concerning the patentability of computer-implemented simulation methods.

In the meantime, the European Patent Office granted a software patent on a method for designing an optical system that satisfies a certain algebraic condition. The board took the view that the criteria for technical character presupposes that the claimed subject-matter relates to a physical entity or a physical activity.

By the way, if you are interested in a deeper look into how the European Patent Office examines software-related inventions, this 30-minute video gives a concise overview of the “two hurdle” approach with lots of examples.

A fellow German has just caught up with the latest news about a Microsoft-armed patent troll called Conversant (MOSAID). Its European Patents turn out to be invalid. To quote:

Justice Richard Arnold of the England & Wales High Court (EWHC)–see this post on a panel speech he gave in Munich a few months ago–has ruled that EP1797659 on a “slow Mac-E for autonomous transmission in High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) along with service[-]specific transmission time control” is invalid due to added matter. HSUPA is a 3G protocol. Huawei’s primary invalidity contention was that the claims of the ’659 patent were amended pre-grant so as to read onto a particular technology in HSUPA called Uplink DRX (DRX = discontinuous reception) by adding matter into the claim beyond the content of the application as filed. Under Art. 123(2) of the European Patent Convention, such additions are not allowed, and patent claims containing such added matter are invalid.

According to the judgment, Huawei “dispute[d] essentiality, and hence infringement, and counterclaim[ed] for revocation on the grounds of added matter, obviousness and insufficiency.” With the added-matter allegation having been found to be meritorious, it’s game over for this Conversant patent in this UK court.

In an attempt to piggyback on that terrible Unwired Planet precedent (which Justice Birss, not the far more balanced Justice Arnold, is responsible for), which the Supreme Court of the UK agreed to hear, Conversant is seeking a global FRAND rate determination against Huawei in the UK. But apart from whether the related appeal (which Justice Arnold was well aware of, but which did not prevent him from holding a purely technical trial last month anyway) will succeed (I hope and believe it will), Conversant needs to prevail on the merits of at least one patent claim in order to have a basis for claiming anything, be the regional scope global, multinational, national, regional, or local.

According to the following comment, European Patent Office (EPO) “examiners are simply following the case law of the Enlarged Board and of the Technical Boards of Appeal which is very clear to them, but apparently not to you.” Boards such as these are not autonomous though. The Campinos/Battistelli regime is pressuring judges to support a nutty agenda and also, accordingly, examiners are pushed/compelled to grant software patents in Europe in defiance of courts, the EPC and so on.

Here’s a new comment about the above outcome:

Dear “Explanation given”,

That I disagree with you will not be a surprise, as due to plain logic a claim infringing Art 123(2) cannot be at the same time new and inventive. A claim has for effective date either the priority or the filing date, or in other words the date of the youngest feature in the claim, see Art 54 and Art 89. This is the only point on which I can agree with you.

An offence under Art 123(2) occurs during prosecution, that is after filing, so that such a feature has as effective date the date at which the offence occurs, which is thus way beyond the priority and/or the filing date.

A claim which comprises matter infringing Art 123(2), i.e. which comprises features not directly and unambiguously derivable from the original disclosure can thus not have the priority or the filing date as effective date.

There is thus everything, rather than “nothing, in those provisions that prevents the EPO from establishing the relevant state of the art if a claim happens to infringe Article 123(2)”.

There is no “myth that unfortunately has taken root in the minds of a few EPO examiners”. The examiners are simply following the case law of the Enlarged Board and of the Technical Boards of Appeal which is very clear to them, but apparently not to you.

If there is an arrogance it stems from your side, not on the side of the examiners. By consider examiners as being arrogant, you merely project you own arrogance towards them. There is no doubt that examiners can take a wrong decision, and that is why there are the Boards of Appeal, to correct any wrong decision. But stating that all examiners arrogantly assume that their decision is correct is simply untrue and incorrect.

Talking about arrogance, I would like to remind you that people in glass houses should not throw stones. When pointing the finger at examiners you seem to forget that three fingers are pointing towards you!

The second part of this comment noted that “[t]he Enlarged Board has said a long time ago, cf. G 1/93, that the solutions provided in national courts are not applicable to the EPO. And it is therefore a disgrace to claim that examiners are arrogant…”

Here’s the full comment:

There could be one big exception that is when the added subject-matter consists of an intermediate generalisation. In such a situation, with the intermediate generalisation removed, a division could well decide upon novelty and inventive step. On the other hand the EPO only decides upon requests which have been positively filed, cf. Art 113(2). Why should then a division take position a hypothetical request. There are also decisions of the Boards in which they took the stance that a division is under no obligation to do so.

Avoiding remittals is an aim worth to be pursued, but not at the price you claim. The applicant/proprietor will always have an arguable case, but should then divisions refrain from raising objections at all, with the risk of being considered arrogant?

The role of a division is to verify whether the claims it has to examine fulfil the requirements of the EPC, no more, no less. In doing this their role is to protect society from undue monopolies, and it is in this respect irrelevant whether the proprietor thinks or not that it has an arguable case.

I understand the position taken by UK courts, but this is, with due respect to the courts, no less than a fiction which is not supported by the EPC, whether you like it or not. This does however not mean that the way UK courts deal with such topics should be shared by other jurisdictions.

In this respect, the position of the German Federal Court is much more logical. In order to assess novelty and inventive step, they simply ignore the parts offending Art 123(2). The remaining part has then a well-established effective date. As very often added subject-matter is introduced in order to get away objections of novelty or inventive step, the end is easy to foresee.

The Enlarged Board has said a long time ago, cf. G 1/93, that the solutions provided in national courts are not applicable to the EPO. And it is therefore a disgrace to claim that examiners are arrogant when they apply Art 123(2). They might wrong, but this is something different.

If a patent is dead as dead can be, for any another reason, it looks at least pointless to me to decide whether the subject-matter claimed was new and inventive.

By the way, there is another case in which it is not possible to compare an invention with the prior art, that is in case the invention is not enabled. For the same token, it is useless in such a situation to decide upon novelty and inventive step. There might be prior art, but it cannot be compared with the invention as the invention cannot be enabled. Are examiners then also arrogant when they apply Art 83 in this way?

It might be a long reply, but the violence of the statement justifies a detailed response.

We have sadly come to the point where in Europe judges are bullied, examiners are treated as “spoiled” and/or “overrated” and patents of any kind are treated like gold even when courts and the law (e.g. EPC) rule them out. This state of lawlessness is a considerable threat not only to every SME but to Europe’s population in general. We’re an “SME economy…”

Links 8/7/2019: Linux 5.2 and Much AMD/Radeon News

Monday 8th of July 2019 08:16:48 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • 10 ways to get started with Linux

      The article What is a Linux user? by Anderson Silva made it clear that these days people are as likely to use Linux (in some way) as they are to use Windows, as long as your definition of “using Linux” is sufficiently broad. Still, if you don’t have enough Linux in your life, now is a great time to try Linux in a way you’ve never tried before.

      Here are 10 ways to get started with Linux. Try one or try them all.

    • Desktop
      • System76′s USA-made and Ubuntu Linux-powered Thelio desktop now available with 3rd gen AMD Ryzen processors

        Fans of Linux have long coveted System76 computers, as they come with Ubuntu pre-installed rather than Windows. After all, buying one of these computers is a great way to support the Linux community. Nowadays, in addition to Ubuntu, the company also offers its own Ubuntu-based operating system called Pop!_OS.

        With the System76 “Thelio” desktop PC, even more people became interested in the company — beyond Linux enthusiasts. Why? Because it is made right here in the good ol’ USA. People that take pride in being an American often look for USA-made products (something that is getting increasingly harder to find), and System76 began filling that need.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.2 So I was somewhat pre-disposed towards making an rc8, simply because of my travels and being entirely off the internet for a few days last week, and with spotty internet for a few days before that [*]. But 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. Part of it may be due to the July 4th week, of course, but whatever - I'll take the quiet week as a good sign. 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. There's no particular area that stands out there - the changes are so small that the sppended shortlog really is the best description of last week. A few small random changes all over: drivers, architectures, filesystem, mm, ... So with this, the merge window for 5.2 is open. Linus
      • Linux Kernel 5.2 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        Linus Torvalds has announced today the release and general availability of the Linux 5.2 kernel series, a major release that adds several new features, updated drivers, and many improvements.

        After seven RCs (Release Candidates), the Linux 5.2 kernel series is now available and it comes with some very interesting features and enhancements. However, before we dive into what’s new, you should know that this release is not a long-term supported (LTS) branch, which means that you stick with your current LTS kernel instead.

        “I was somewhat pre-disposed towards making an rc8, simply because of my travels and being entirely off the internet for a few days last week,” said Linus Torvalds in a mailing list announcement. “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 Kernel Released As The “Bobtail Squid”

        Adding to the excitement of 7 July is the release of the Linux 5.2 stable kernel, which also means the opening of the Linux 5.3 merge window.

        Linux 5.2.0 made it out today on time without having any extra release candidates for this summer 2019 kernel release. This kicks off the Linux 5.3 merge window and its series of release candidates that then should debut as stable in September.

        See our Linux 5.2 feature overview for those wondering about all of the exciting features of this new kernel.

      • The 5.2 kernel has been released

        Linus Torvalds has released the 5.2 kernel. He originally planned for an rc8 this week, rather than 5.2, due to his travel schedule, but was pleasantly surprised at how calm things have been.

      • The Best Features Of Linux 5.2: Intel Bits, RTW88, Sound Open Firmware, EXT4 Insensitive

        While back in May we provided a Linux 5.2 feature overview following the closure of its merge window, given Sunday’s release of the Linux 5.2 Bobtail Squid kernel, if you’ve lost track of what there is to get excited about in this new kernel, this article is for you.

    • AMD
      • Radeon Software For Linux 19.30 Brings Radeon RX 5700 Support

        As a follow-up to this morning’s Radeon RX 5700 / RX 5700 XT Linux benchmarks, AMD has now published a packaged launch-day Linux driver for those wanting to use these new RDNA/Navi graphics cards on Linux without building your own kernel/Mesa/libdrm/LLVM… Well, assuming you are on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

        AMD posted this “AMDGPU Navi Unified Linux driver” just minutes ago for these RX 5700 (XT) GPUs now shipping. The only change listed with this Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 version is support for the Radeon RX 5700 series.

      • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X + Ryzen 9 3900X Offer Incredible Linux Performance But With A Big Caveat

        After weeks of anticipation, we can now share how the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X performance is under Linux. These first Zen 2 processors do indeed deliver a significant improvement over Zen/Zen+ processors and also battle Intel’s latest 14nm CPUs but for Linux users there is one big, unfortunate issue right now.

      • AMD Radeon RX 5700 / RX 5700XT Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        While last month we could talk all about the specifications for the Radeon RX 5700 series, today the embargo has lifted concerning the Radeon RX 5700/5700XT graphics cards so we can finally talk about the actual (Linux) performance. The road is a bit rougher than we had hoped, but it’s possible to drive these new Navi graphics cards today using their open-source graphics driver stack at least for OpenGL games/applications. Over the weeks ahead, the Linux driver support for Navi will continue to improve.

      • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU Review & Benchmarks: Strong Recommendation from GN

        For a video maker with a stricter budget, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is superior to its immediately price-matched competition from Intel, although you may be better served by purchasing an R7 2700 on steep sale and overclocking it. That’d land you at our overclocked 2700X result of 4.3 minutes for the 1080p Premiere render and would cost about $200 today, but that inventory will stop being made at some point, if not already. Even in the $200-$250 range, there’s no point in buying a 9600K if Premiere will be part of your regular activities, or any rendering software that can make use of more than six cores. We’ll be doing streaming benchmarks later as part of our ongoing Ryzen 3000 coverage, but for now we can at least say that the 3600 is the better choice for streamers that plan to edit and render footage.

        If AMD is its own biggest competition, then they’ve done a great job on the gaming side of differentiating the 3600 from the 2600 and 1600, X SKUs or otherwise. There are significant generational improvements over the other 6C/12T parts with clocks being pushed closer to the max out of the box–there’s still freedom to overclock, but there’s less and less point to pushing an all-core OC on AMD parts at room temperature. We’re hoping for better results from Precision Boost Overdrive, so stay tuned for that testing. The i5-9600K outperforms the 3600 in most of our game benchmarks as games have been slow to adapt to CPUs with more than 8 threads, and the 5GHz+ overclocking potential of the 9600K makes it an even clearer winner for exclusively gaming, but the R5 3600 is the more versatile and potentially cheaper option at $200 MSRP. The big question is whether the $250 R5 3600X that AMD (not us) bills as their 9600K competitor will be worth the extra money, or whether it’s a repeat of first generation Ryzen where R7 1700s could be clocked to the same speeds as 1800Xs.

        Our content is made possible by your support, especially via the GN Store products and Patreon. If you would like to support these colossal efforts, please consider buying one of our new GN Toolkits (custom-made for video card disassembly and system building, using high-quality CRV metals and our own molds) or one of our system building modmats. We also sell t-shirts, mousepads, video card anatomy posters, and more.

      • Linux Support For AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 Series Graphics Cards Has Landed, Sort Of

        Official support for the newly launched Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics cards have arrived on Linux as promised. Sort of. If you want to experience 7nm Navi on Linux, AMD just published its Radeon Software for Linux 17.30 package here. The critical gotcha, of course, is that you’ll need to be running Ubuntu 18.04.2.

        AMD’s Linux driver offers all-open + PRO components, and it’s currently the only simple way to get the new Navi GPUs running. As Phoronix points out, if you’re using any other distribution besides Ubuntu 18.04.2 you “will need to resort to building your own open-source driver stack or otherwise wrangling together a working packaged driver setup with some maneuvering.” Not the ideal solution for most of us. Phoronix did manage to scrape together all the pieces for some early benchmarking as the review embargo lifted, but was limited to strictly OpenGL games.

      • AMD have today released the Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs and the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs

        The world of 7nm is here, as AMD have today released their new GPU and CPU series with the Radeon RX 5700 and Ryzen 3000.

        “We are proud to deliver our newest AMD Radeon graphics cards and AMD Ryzen processor products to create the ultimate PC gaming platform with leadership performance at every price point,” said Dr. Lisa Su, President and CEO, AMD. “AMD is committed to driving innovation and competition across the computing and graphics markets to give PC enthusiasts, gamers and creators incredible experiences and unmatched value.”

        AMD’s new Radeon RX 5700 series is the first to use their new “RDNA” architecture, which AMD claim will provide up to “1.25x” higher performance per clock and up to “1.5x” higher performance per watt versus the older Graphic Core Next (GCN) architecture. For the new GPU it comes in three editions….

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Manages Launch-Day Support For AMD Navi 10/12/14 GPUs

        Leading up to today’s Radeon RX 5700 “Navi” series launch it was looking like there wouldn’t be any support within Mesa’s Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver for this community-maintained open-source implementation. But the open-source developers at Valve managed to not only deliver Navi 10 support but also Navi 12 and Navi 14 are also supported with this new Mesa 19.2 code.

        Various folks at AMD didn’t believe the “community” RADV developers at the likes of Valve and Red Hat were provided with samples or documentation in advance, but however it turned out, Valve developer Samuel Pitoiset along with Google developer Bas Nieuwenhuizen managed to land the Navi/GFX10 enablement code just minutes ago into Mesa 19.2 Git.

      • AMD Ryzen 7 3700X & Ryzen 9 3900X Performance In Linux

        AMD’s third-gen Ryzen processors have just landed, and to kick-start our coverage, we’re going to dive into a look at performance under Linux. Our initial experiences are a little hit-or-miss in some cases, but overall, AMD seems to have brought along some great improvement with these latest chips.
        It’s funny that it has been only a little over two years since Ryzen’s first-gen chips were introduced, yet it’s still felt like Zen 2 has been a long time coming. Part of that might owe itself to the fact that Ryzen surprised many, and when everyone saw how good things were out-of-the-gate with the new architecture, who wouldn’t be eager to see what the second-generation could do?

        Well, we have our answer today, as AMD has just launched its Ryzen 3000-series CPUs. For desktop, these are codenamed Matisse, and succeed the last-gen Pinnacle Ridge. In addition to a die-shrink to 7nm, these new processors include numerous enhancements to improve IPC performance, more cache, and higher clocks. Best of all, they even feature more cores in some cases.

    • Applications
      • Geany text editor – a sort of genie

        I have to say I’m very pleased with Geany, and I’m sort of surprised – with myself – that I never gave it a more thorough examination in the past. But we shall rectify that, as I do intend, as a consequence of this little test, to try using Geany in a more serious manner, in my production environment. At the moment, on my Slimbook, I am using Notepad++, so maybe this could be a solid alternative.

        Geany is a really interesting product – rich, extensible, robust, intelligent. It also looks the part, with a spacious, airy, friendly UI, and none of that modern flatness that ruins usability. You get a wealth of options and features, and while I do feel some small things are missing, I don’t think there’s any massive, glaring weakness in this text editor. Quite worth testing. Lastly, many thanks for those of you who recommended this program. May the code lint be with you.

      • Proprietary
        • WPS Office Linux Update Adds PDF Support, Drops 32-bit Support

          An all-new update to the free WPS Office productivity suite is available for Linux.

          WPS Office features a stack of iterative improvements, but no major new features to speak of, besides the ability to open and display PDF documents natively.

          This is the first update to the office suite since April but it does not contain all the ‘new’ features available in the latest WPS Office 2019 release for Windows. The Linux version is community maintained.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Aether Skies: A visual novel game

        Aether skies is a visual novel game available for all major desktop platforms on itch. The story revolves around a prince and princess journey. The game is still in demo but has rich story content and also may quite intrigue you with its story plot too.

    • Hardware
      • The Most Retro Way to Run Terminal Commands on Linux, Period

        The Lorzenz Lo15 is a 1930s teleprinter (also known teletype, teletypewriter, and TTY [TeleTYpe], the the latter being how the Unix TTY available in Linux distros got its name).

        These machines supported an early form of electronic communication that allowed typed messages to be sent and received over a network using Baudot, an early precursor to ASCII (which is the current character encoding standard for electronic communication).

        The machine features an early serial interface that, with the right know-how, can be mapped to USB (Lind explains more in a follow-up tweet), something a troupe of talented tech bods have taken advantage of over the years.

      • Matthew Garrett: Creating hardware where no hardware exists

        The laptop industry was still in its infancy back in 1990, but it still faced a core problem that we do today – power and thermal management are hard, but also critical to a good user experience (and potentially to the lifespan of the hardware). This is in the days where DOS and Windows had no memory protection, so handling these problems at the OS level would have been an invitation for someone to overwrite your management code and potentially kill your laptop. The safe option was pushing all of this out to an external management controller of some sort, but vendors in the 90s were the same as vendors now and would do basically anything to avoid having to drop an extra chip on the board. Thankfully(?), Intel had a solution.

        The 386SL was released in October 1990 as a low-powered mobile-optimised version of the 386. Critically, it included a feature that let vendors ensure that their power management code could run without OS interference. A small window of RAM was hidden behind the VGA memory[1] and the CPU configured so that various events would cause the CPU to stop executing the OS and jump to this protected region. It could then do whatever power or thermal management tasks were necessary and return control to the OS, which would be none the wiser. Intel called this System Management Mode, and we’ve never really recovered.

        Step forward to the late 90s. USB is now a thing, but even the operating systems that support USB usually don’t in their installers (and plenty of operating systems still didn’t have USB drivers). The industry needed a transition path, and System Management Mode was there for them. By configuring the chipset to generate a System Management Interrupt (or SMI) whenever the OS tried to access the PS/2 keyboard controller, the CPU could then trap into some SMM code that knew how to talk to USB, figure out what was going on with the USB keyboard, fake up the results and pass them back to the OS. As far as the OS was concerned, it was talking to a normal keyboard controller – but in reality, the “hardware” it was talking to was entirely implemented in software on the CPU.

        Since then we’ve seen even more stuff get crammed into SMM, which is annoying because in general it’s much harder for an OS to do interesting things with hardware if the CPU occasionally stops in order to run invisible code to touch hardware resources you were planning on using, and that’s even ignoring the fact that operating systems in general don’t really appreciate the entire world stopping and then restarting some time later without any notification. So, overall, SMM is a pain for OS vendors.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Christoph Cullmann: Kate LSP Client Restart

          Since my last post about the LSP client progress in May I didn’t work on that project at all I think.

          But the good news is, somebody else did scratch that itch on his own ;=)

          We have now a prototype plugin in kate.git master, see lspclient in the addons directory.

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
        • Whonix 15 with extensive changes and new features officially released

          Apart from the features mentioned above, Whonix 15 will also allow you to easily install VM kernel with the help of Qubes-Whonix, and work with Raspberry Pi/ARM64 and UsrMerge. Not only that, but it takes care of the latest security vulnerabilities as well. Moreover, the update will also include new utilities, including a P2P exchange network, known as Bisq, and a keystroke anonymization tool, called kloak. You can check out the complete list of new enhancements and features from here.

          With this release, the creators have also announced that Whonix 14 will reach its end of life in about a month. Therefore, if users want to receive support and regular updates, they would have to update to the latest version.

          The official Whonix forum also talks over the upcoming Whonix 16 release and the features it will bring. For now, we only know that the Whonix team is working on a Whonix host operating system, policy for inclusion of compiled software, and live mode.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • Debian 10 Buster

          Today we are celebrating the release of Debian Buster, aka 10.0. It is released on the 7th of July 2019 and in this review, we will mainly look at the Gnome Release, even though it is also available in KDE, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and XFCE. I chose the Gnome edition as it is the default Desktop Environment for Debian 10.0 but I will have a look at some of the others in the future as well.

          The Gnome edition comes with Gnome 3.30, which also means no desktop icons, but you can enable it with a Gnome Extensions, look here. It comes by default with Wayland, however, a person can choose a Xorg session or a Gnome Classic session in the login manager. It uses about 1.1GB of ram when idling and Linux Kernel 4.19. Enjoy!

        • Debian 10.0 Buster Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Debian 10.0 Buster, the Gnome edition.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
        • The July 2019 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

          The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the July 2019 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

          In the July 2019 issue:

          * De-Googling Yourself, Part 3
          * GIMP Tutorial: Pressed Text
          * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: Aragorn
          * The Ruby Programming Language: More Ruby Concepts For Data Handling
          * Casual Python, Part 6
          * ms_meme’s Nook: Linux Boogie
          * Google To Block Modern Ad Blocking On Chrome
          * Short Topix: S. Korea Gov’t Switching To Linux
          * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner: Queso Taco Pockets
          * And much more inside!

          This month’s cover was designed by parnote.

          Download the PDF (6.5 MB)

          Download the EPUB Version (7.2 MB)

          Download the MOBI Version (6.6 MB)

          Visit the HTML Version

        • Review: Mageia 7

          Mageia is a user friendly, desktop-oriented Linux distribution. The project originally grew out of the Mandriva family of distributions and is independently developed. The project’s latest release is Mageia 7 which, according to the project’s release notes, offers 18 months of support. Mageia 7 drops support for the ARMv5 architecture while adding support for 64-bit ARM (Aarch64) and improving support for ARMv7. While ARM packages are being built, ARM installation media is not yet featured on the project’s download page. The new release includes the DNF command line package manager and features the ability to play MP3 files – MP3 support was not included by default in previous releases due to patent restrictions.

          The release notes mention that GNOME users can enjoy their desktop running on a Wayland session by default with X.Org available as an alternative. KDE Plasma users will have the opposite experience with their desktop running on X.Org and a Wayland session available through a package in the distribution’s repositories. The documentation also mentions that when running a GNOME on Wayland session some graphical administrator tools will not work when run through su or sudo. The user can run these tools with their regular user privileges and the system will prompt for an admin password when necessary.

          Mageia is available for the 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) architectures. We can either download an install DVD with multiple desktop packages bundled or we can download live media with the Plasma, GNOME, or Xfce desktops. There are smaller net-install disc images available too. I decided to try the KDE Plasma live disc which is a 2.8GB download.

          Booting from the live media brings up a menu which gives us the option of immediately loading the project’s system installer or launching a live desktop environment. Choosing the live desktop brings up a series of graphical screens asking us to select our language from a list, confirm the distribution’s license agreement, and we are offered a chance to read the release notes. We are then asked to select our time zone from a list and confirm our keyboard’s layout.

      • Debian Family
        • Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Linux-based operating system finally available for download

          Debian is one of the most important operating systems, as so many other Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu) are based on it. In other words, it is part of the foundation that holds up many distros. With that said, it is a great operating system in its own right — many folks depend on it daily.

          Today, Debian reaches a significant milestone — version 10. Yes, Debian is finally in the double digits. Believe it or not, development of Debian 10 (code-named “Buster”) took more than two years! In fact, more than 60 percent of all packages have been updated since its predecessor. Probably the most significant update, however, is Wayland finally being the new default display server for the GNOME desktop environment.

        • Debian 10 Buster is here (GNU/Linux OS with 5 years of support)

          Now the Debian team has released Debian 10, code-named Buster.

          The free and open source operating system includes thousands of new software packages, a new display manager enabled by default, support for UEFI Secure Boot, and many other changes. And Debian 10 will be officially supported for 5 years.

          Among other things, Debian 10 uses the Wayland display server by default instead of Xorg, although Xorg is still installed and users can switch to it if they want/need to.

          AppArmor is also now enabled by default, providing tighter security.

        • Andy Simpkins: Debian Buster Release

          I spent all day smoke testing the install images for yesterday’s (this mornings – gee just after midnight local so we still had 11 hours to spare) Debian GNU/Linux 10.0.0 “Buster” release.

          This year we had our “Biglyest test matrix ever”[0], 111 tests were completed at the point the release images were signed and the ftp team pushed the button. Although more tests were reported to have taken place in IRC we had a total of 9 people completing tests called for in the wiki test matrix.

          We also had a large number of people in irc during the image test phase of the release – peeking at 117…

          Steve kindly hosted his front room a few of us – using a local mirror[1] of the images so our VM tests have the image available as an NFS share really speeds things up! Between the 4 of us here in Cambridge we were testing on a total of 14 different machines, mainly AMD64, a couple of “only i386 capable laptops” and 3 entirely different ARM64 machines! (Mustang, Synquacer, & MacchiatoBin).

        • Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Released After 2 Years Development

          Debian is one of the most important Linux distributions for the Linux community. Most popular Linux distros are based on Debian including Ubuntu that most of us use.

          Debian team has released the most awaited release — Debian 10 “Buster”. It came up after 25 months of development. Because of such a long time development, over 62% of packages have received updated versions and includes over 13370 new packages in the repositories.


          So these were some big highlights from newly released Debian 10 “Buster”. You can read the release note for the complete list of changes in Debian 10.

          The best way to know all the features is by trying it yourself. Download Debian 10 live USB image. You can install it using the Calamares installer or standard Debian installer.

        • Debian 10 (Buster) Installation Steps with Screenshots

          Debian Project has released its latest and stable operating system as Debian 10, code name for Debian 10 is “Buster“, this release will get 5 years of support. Debian 10 is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. This release comes with lot of new features,

        • Debian Edu / Skolelinux Buster — a complete Linux solution for your school

          Do you have to administrate a computer lab or a whole school network? Would you like to install servers, workstations and laptops which will then work together? Do you want the stability of Debian with network services already preconfigured? Do you wish to have a web-based tool to manage systems and several hundred or even more user accounts? Have you asked yourself if and how older computers could be used?

          Then Debian Edu is for you. The teachers themselves or their technical support can roll out a complete multi-user multi-machine study environment within a few days. Debian Edu comes with hundreds of applications pre-installed, but you can always add more packages from Debian.

          The Debian Edu developer team is happy to announce Debian Edu 10 Buster, the Debian Edu / Skolelinux release based on the Debian 10 Buster release. Please consider testing it and reporting back to help us to improve it further.

        • Debian GSoC Kotlin project blog: Week 4 & 5 Update

          Finihsed downgrading the project to be buildable by gradle 4.4.1

          I have finished downgrading the project to be buildable using gradle 4.4.1. The project still needed a part of gradle 4.8 that I have successfully patched into sid gradle. here is the link to the changes that I have made.

          Now we are officially done with making the project buidl with our gradle; so we can now go on ahead and finally start mapping out and packaging the dependencies.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) reaches End of Life on July 18 2019

          Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) reaches End of Life on July 18 2019. It released almost 9 months ago, on October 18, 2018.

          Ubuntu regular releases are supported for 9 months. As a non-LTS release, 18.10 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end of life.

          After that users won’t be get any package updates for 18.10 including security updates as well.

          Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) users are urged to upgrade Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo).

        • Testing Ubuntu 18.04 on XIDU PhilPad 2-in-1 Hybrid with Touchscreen

          So I’ve recently completed the review of XIDU Philpad 2-in-1 hybrid with Windows 10. The laptop features a 13.3″ touchscreen and support stylus, and I was intrigued whether those would work in Ubuntu 18.04. So I flash the Ubuntu 18.04.2 Desktop ISO to a flash drive and installed Ubuntu to another USB flash drive to give it a try with persistent storage. Note that while it’s OK for testing, running Ubuntu 18.04 from a USB flash drive is very slow, so it’s not recommended.


          Some are clearly the mouse pointer and touchpad, while the “Goodix” one is for the capacitive touchscreen. So I tried SINO WEALTH USB Composite Device which shows support for Pressure, and selected “Screen” mode, before clicking Save. But using the drawing tools in Gimp, only allows me to draw points with the stylus, not continuous lines, and the size of the points is fixed no matter how lightly or strongly I press on the display. Playing with “Dynamics Pressure Opacity” in the Airbrush settings did not yield any results.

          In summary, most features work, except the cameras that fail completely out of the box, and the touchscreen may need some fiddling with the settings depending on the program you are using. I’m unclear whether it’s possible to use the stylus at this stage.

        • Canonical’s Ubuntu repos on Github hacked

          Canonical Ltd, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, has had its software repositories on Github hacked by unknown attackers.

          The hack appears to be limited to a defacement, with 11 new repos sequentially named CAN_GOT_HAXXD_1, `with no existing data being changed or deleted.

        • Ubuntu maker’s GitHub account hacked — but the source code is safe

          The GitHub account of Canonical Ltd., the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, was hacked over the weekend on July 6.

          While the hacker’s identity remains unknown, they managed to compromise the account’s credentials to create 11 new empty repositories. The repositories were named “CAN_GOT_HAXXD.”

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Prioritization of bug reports and feature requests in Free and Open Source software projects

        A few months ago I wrote an essay on software development planning in FOSS projects.

      • Events
        • Kushal Das: Two new federated services for dgplug

          Having our own instance was in the plan for time in my head. I had personal Mastodon account before, but, that instance went down and never tried to find a new home. This time, I think if a few of us (the sys-admins from the group) use this as a regular thing for ourselves, it will be much easier to maintain than depending on someone else.

          Any regular dgplug member can get an invite link for the instance by joining the IRC channel and asking for the same.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Scheduler Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the Scheduler Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! The scheduler determines what runs on the CPU at any given time. The lag of your desktop is affected by the scheduler, for example. There are a few different scheduling classes for a user to choose from, such as the default class (SCHED_OTHER) or a real-time class (SCHED_FIFO, SCHED_RT and SCHED_DEADLINE). The deadline scheduler is the newest and allows the user to control the amount of bandwidth received by a task or group of tasks. With cloud computing becoming popular these days, controlling bandwidth of containers or virtual machines is becoming more important. The Real-Time patch is also destined to become mainline, which will add more strain on the scheduling of tasks to make sure that real-time tasks make their deadlines (although, this Microconference will focus on non real-time aspects of the scheduler. Please defer real-time topics to the Real-time Microconference). This requires verification techniques to ensure the scheduler is properly designed.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Internet group brands Mozilla ‘internet villain’ for supporting DNS privacy feature

            An industry group of internet service providers has branded Firefox browser maker Mozilla an “internet villain” for supporting a DNS security standard.

            The U.K.’s Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA), the trade group for U.K. internet service providers, nominated the browser maker for its proposed effort to roll out the security feature, which they say will allow users to “bypass UK filtering obligations and parental controls, undermining internet safety standards in the UK.”

            Mozilla said late last year it was planning to test DNS-over-HTTPS to a small number of users.

            Whenever you visit a website — even if it’s HTTPS enabled — the DNS query that converts the web address into an IP address that computers can read is usually unencrypted. The security standard is implemented at the app level, making Mozilla the first browser to use DNS-over-HTTPS. By encrypting the DNS query it also protects the DNS request against man-in-the-middle attacks, which allow attackers to hijack the request and point victims to a malicious page instead.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
      • Programming/Development
        • Python list comprehension with Examples

          This tutorial covers how list comprehension works in Python. It includes many examples which would help you to familiarize the concept and you should be able to implement it in your live project at the end of this lesson.

        • Fork System Call in C

          fork() system call is used to create child processes in a C program. fork() is used where parallel processing is required in your application. The fork() system function is defined in the headers sys/types.h and unistd.h. In a program where you use fork, you also have to use wait() system call. wait() system call is used to wait in the parent process for the child process to finish. To finish a child process, the exit() system call is used in the child process. The wait() function is defined in the header sys/wait.h and the exit() function is defined in the header stdlib.h.

        • Exec System Call in C

          The exec family has many functions in C. These C functions are basically used to run a system command in a separate process that the main program and print the output.
          In this article, I am going talk about the exec family of functions and show you how to use each one of these exec family function in C. So, let’s get started.

        • Why Use Python for Startups?

          When I was just starting out learning Django to break into the local startup scene.

          I was wondering what are the types of startups, who are looking for python developers?

          There is demand for Django developer which Shopee was trying to search for them.

          Sadly there wasn’t much information about it till I was searching consistently for these startups on AngelList, Tech in Asia or e27.

        • Full Stack Python: Developer-led Sales for Startups

          This blog post contains the slides along with a loose transcript from my talk on the promises and perils of developer-led sales as an early-stage company method to acquire customers.

          I gave this talk remotely to Ubiquity.VC portfolio company startup founders and the Extended Team on June 26, 2019.

        • Create integer list from a number with python

          In this chapter, we are given a number and we need to return a list of integer based on that number, for example, number 3 will return a list of [1,2,3].

          We will first create an empty array, then we will loop through that number and push the new number (count + 1) into that empty list.

        • sRGB↔XYZ conversion

          In an earlier post, I’ve shown how to calculate an sRGB↔XYZ conversion matrix. It’s only natural to follow up with a code for converting between sRGB and XYZ colour spaces. While the matrix is a significant portion of the algorithm, there is one more step necessary: gamma correction.

        • Domain Driven Design For Python

          When your software projects start to scale it becomes a greater challenge to understand and maintain all of the pieces. In this episode Henry Percival shares his experiences working with domain driven design in large Python projects. He explains how it is helpful, and how you can start using it for your own applications. This was an informative conversation about software architecture patterns for large organizations and how they can be used by Python developers.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • Embattled Russian higher education commission refuses to hear report on falsified dissertations

        The Commission to Combat the Falsification of Scholarly Research, which operates within the Russian Academy of Science (RAN), spent six months preparing a report on academic integrity violations in academic dissertations only to have the Higher Attestation Commission (VAK) refuse to hear the results. RAN representatives had planned to present their findings on June 28, the same day the VAK was scheduled to review a dissertation some academics said had been plagiarized. VAK Presidium member Anna Dybo said that Vladimir Filippov, the head of the VAK, refused to let the RAN academics into the hearing room on the grounds that “we are scholars, not investigators.” However, it is one of the VAK’s primary duties to review completed dissertations for academic integrity violations.


        The VAK became a subject of intense controversy in Russian academia after it upheld a dissertation by Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky in October 2017 despite many scholars’ assertions that the dissertation contained unacceptable errors.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • After Trump’s Former FDA Chief Quietly Joins Pfizer Board, Warren Calls for Resignation ‘Immediately’

        Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts who is also running for her party’s nomination for president in 2020, released a letter (pdf) Tuesday morning calling on Gottleib to step down from the board in the name of government ethics.

        “You will be on the board of a company that has billions of dollars at stake in the decisions made by the agency you used to head and the employees you used to lead,” states Warren’s letter.

        It’s a profitable venture for Gottleib.

        “According to Pfizer,” Warren notes, “board members in 2018 were paid $142,500 in cash retainers, plus received $192,500 worth of Pfizer stock.”

        Appointed by Trump, Gottleib was the head of the FDA from 2017 until he resigned on April 5 of this year. After leaving the government, he took a job with right-wing think tank The American Enterprise Institute. The move to Pfizer, however, came later and was only announced on June 27.

        In Warren’s letter, which Common Dreams obtained exclusively and is reproduced below, the senator refers favorably to Gottleib’s work with the FDA before hitting him on joining Pfizer and tying that move to the behavior of other officials in President Donald Trump’s White House who have left the administration for big money payouts.

      • ‘If Grandma Is on the Table, No One Will Blink at the Price’: A Former Drug Company Manager Explains Industry Price-Setting

        Frances Leath no longer works in management for pharmaceutical industry giant Eli Lilly and Company, but she keeps tabs on the company where she spent the first 15 years of her career. She still lives in Indianapolis, home of the company headquarters. She has watched as Lilly’s dramatic increases in the price of insulin have triggered regular protests by angry patients, class-action lawsuits, and Congressional criticism.

        Yet the company has continued to ratchet up the price. The same vial of Lilly’s Humalog insulin that was priced at $21 in 1996 can cost as much as $275 today. Especially when research shows that the same vial is manufactured for about $5, and that Americans are suffering and even dying because they can’t afford their insulin, this approach can seem shocking.

        Not to Frances Leath. “I’m not surprised a bit,” she says.

        It was not always this way at Lilly. When she started her career, there was an internal company slogan Leath would hear a lot: “We make drugs as if people’s lives depend on it.”

        That was in 1987, when Leath was fresh out of DePauw University and working in Lilly’s finance division. The company’s portfolio focused on medicines for acute illnesses, including several antibiotics. “One of the things I liked about working there was that the conversation was very much about patients,” Leath said. “You could see that our products like Ceclor were treating infections and saving lives.”

      • ‘No, No I Do Not’: Kamala Harris Clarifies She Does Not Support Abolishing Private Insurance

        For the second time in a period of five months, Sen. Kamala Harris was forced to clarify Friday morning that she does not support eliminating private health insurance just hours after making it seem to many that she did.

        “No, no I do not,” Harris said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when asked if she supports abolishing private insurance. “I am a proponent of Medicare for All. Private insurance will exist for supplemental coverage.”

        Harris’s remarks came after she raised her hand in response to an “awkwardly phrased” question from NBC’s Lester Holt during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate.

        “Many people watching at home have health insurance through their employer,” Holt said. “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?”

      • ‘Medicare For All’ Emerges As Early Divide In First Democratic Debate

        During Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate — the first in a two-night event viewed as the de facto launch of the primary season — health policies, ranging from “Medicare for All” to efforts to curb skyrocketing drug prices, were among the key issues the 10 hopeful candidates onstage used to help differentiate themselves from the pack.

        Health care dominated early, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.) using questions about the economy to take aim at pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) emphasized the difficulties many Americans face in paying premiums.

        But the candidates broke ranks on the details and not all of their claims stayed strictly within the lines.

      • The US War on Immigrants Is a Public Health Crisis

        This week, Americans will celebrate the 4th of July with barbecues and fireworks while drinking beers and listening to speeches extolling liberty and freedom. Others, however, will be more active in working to make sure the idea of freedom extends to more than just U.S. citizens. On Tuesday, protests and demonstrations are being held across the country to resist Trump’s increasingly violent nativism, with folks heading to their local Congressperson’s office or picketing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in their neighborhood.

        The U.S.’s Independence Day holiday is taking place this year against a backdrop of venomous anti-immigrant actions being carried out by uniformed officers of the American state. Trump, who will be presiding over a particularly grotesque militarized “Salute to America” in Washington, D.C., that day, has declared that he will order his enforcement agents to begin mass deportation sweeps shortly after the holiday.

        Since the demagogue-in-chief has promised the same thing previously, only to then announce a postponement, his words should be taken with a pinch of salt. But regardless of their reality, they are deliberately intended to ratchet up the fear levels and stress experienced by millions in the United States.

        It is all in keeping with a long history — and recent intensification — of a slew of brutal policies and practices toward immigrants. We — and I say “we,” since all of this is being done by an elected government, ostensibly in the name of “we, the people” — have criminalized and dehumanized and pushed internment on some of the most vulnerable among us, and we have done so with no thought or care for the long-term impacts on the lives of those so heartlessly treated.

        We have forcibly separated immigrant parents from their children. We have put children into cage-like “detention centers,” some of which deny them such basic amenities as diapers, toothpaste and soap. We have bottled up asylum seekers in fetid encampments on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump and his henchmen didn’t create these atrocious practices out of thin air; in fact, some of the horrific conditions in migrant jails were described as early as 2015. But those currently in charge of immigration policy have turbo-charged the brutality. It is, now, a terrifying central facet of U.S. immigration policy.

      • “Modified” – A Film About GMOs & Corruption of the Food Supply for Profit

        Parts of the documentary Modified are spent at the kitchen table. But it’s not really a tale about wonderful recipes or the preparation of food.

        Ultimately, it’s a story of capitalism, money and power and how our most basic rights are being eroded by unscrupulous commercial interests.

        The film centres on its maker, Aube Giroux, who resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. Her interest in food and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was inspired by her mother, Jali, who also appears throughout.

        Aube says that when her parents bought their first house her mother immediately got rid of the lawn and planted a huge garden where she grew all kinds of heirloom vegetables, berries, flowers, legumes and garlic.

        “She wanted me and my sister to grow up knowing the story behind the food that we ate, so our backyard was basically our grocery store,” says Aube.

        During the film, we are treated not only to various outdoor scenes of the Giroux’s food garden (their ‘grocery store’) but also to Aube and her mother’s passion for preparing homemade culinary delights.

        The ‘backyard’ is the grocery store and much of Giroux family life revolves around the kitchen and the joy of healthy, nutritious food.

        When GMOs first began appearing in food, Aube says that what bothered her mother was that some of the world’s largest chemical companies were patenting these new genetically engineered seeds and controlling the seed market.

      • Unfair Food Pricing Is Killing Family Farms and Regenerative Farming

        In February, a dairy farmer friend sent me a note confiding that a few farmers she knows are living on cereal until their milk checks arrive. Yet, the recently released census of agriculture shows that the number of young farmers is growing even as the average age of farmers also increases, and there are uplifting articles about young Black farmers connecting with the land and enjoying the self-empowerment that comes with being an independent farmer.

        Meanwhile, voices are rising about the central role that regenerative and organic farming can play in a Green New Deal, a program to mobilize all possible forces to prevent climate disaster.

        How can we make sense of these conflicting currents? What policies and programs will create a just transition for family-scale farmers? What changes will enable farmers to maximize the potential of photosynthesis for putting carbon in the soil to supplement reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in mitigating climate disaster?

      • Sanders Says US Leaders Need to Have the Guts to Take on Powerful Corporations

        In a fiery closing speech at the 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Florida Thursday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders said compelling campaign rhetoric and detailed policy proposals will do nothing to alter America’s deeply unequal status quo if U.S. leaders are not willing to take on Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, and other powerful corporate forces standing in the way of progressive change.

        “I suspect people all over the country who are watching this debate are saying, these are good people, they have great ideas,” said Sanders. “But how come nothing really changes? How come for the last 45 years wages have been stagnant for the middle class? How come we have the highest rate of childhood poverty? How come 45 million people still have student debt? How come three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?”

        The answer, Sanders said, is that “nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry.”

      • Grow Your Own Iced Tea This Summer

        Where I come from — the Deep South — iced tea is a religion. Traditionally, most Southern families make it with Lipton tea bags, a little lemon and a lot of sugar. The sole ingredient in those Lipton bags is black tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The species was once grown on a limited commercial scale in the South, but today it’s produced primarily in Asia. Gardeners in mild-winter areas can grow the traditional “tea” plant (warning: it’s finicky), but green thumbs everywhere can easily grow perfectly suitable substitutes that combine into a delicious, caffeine-free iced tea.

        Use these herbs fresh or dried. Simply steep them in boiling water and refrigerate. Add sweeteners to taste.

      • American caravan arrives in Canadian ‘birthplace of insulin’ for cheaper medicine

        A self-declared “caravan” of Americans bused across the Canada-U.S. border on Saturday, seeking affordable prices for insulin and raising awareness of “the insulin price crisis” in the United States.

        The group called Caravan to Canada started the journey from Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday, and stopped at London, Ontario on Saturday, to purchase life-saving type 1 diabetes medication at a pharmacy.

        The caravan numbers at approximately 20 people, according to Nicole Smith-Holt, a member of the group. Smith-Holt said her 26-year-old son died in June 2017 because he was forced to ration insulin due to the high cost. This is Smith-Holt’s second time on the caravan.

        Caravan to Canada trekked the border in May for the same reasons, which Holt-Smith said was smaller than the group this week. She said Americans have gone to countries like Mexico and Canada for more affordable medications in the past and continue to do so.

      • Li Ka-Shing’s Canadian Bet Aims to Halt Doctors’ Paper Trails

        It’s an unexpected bet by Hong Kong’s richest man: a penny stock seeking to modernize clinics for Canada’s overstretched family doctors, many of whom are stuck in the age of paper charts.

        Billionaire Li Ka-shing is the biggest outside investor in Well Health Technologies Corp., a Vancouver-based startup that’s acquiring clinics and electronic medical records providers to bring Canada’s highly fragmented primary care market into the digital era. Its shares have more than doubled this year, making it one of the top-performing health-care stocks on the TSX Venture Exchange.

    • Security
      • Urgent warning to upgrade Windows as flaw lets hackers take control remotely

        Microsoft users have been urged to update their operating systems, with engineers showing how a flaw identified by the tech giant could be exploited by hackers to break into systems and execute code remotely.

        The so-called BlueKeep vulnerability was identified earlier this year.

        It’s regarded as so serious that government agencies such as the US National Security Agency as well as the Australian Cyber Security Centre urged users to install the Microsoft security patch as soon as possible.

        Now engineers at British cybersecurity company Sophos have shown how it can be used by cybercriminals to get “full control of a remote system without having to deploy any malware”.

        The engineers showed that the exploit is also “wormable” which means once hackers get into one system they can then use it to spread malware to other systems.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Peace With North Korea Should Be a Priority for US Progressives

        In his signature braggadocio way, President Trump made history over the weekend when he met North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un at the military demarcation line dividing North and South Korea and stepped over the cement border and onto North Korean soil, the first standing U.S. president to ever do so. After walking 20 steps, Trump returned back over the line with Kim by his side where they met South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

        As he departed the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Trump announced that working-level meetings would be established over the next few weeks led by Special Representative Stephen Biegun. While we don’t yet know what was agreed to, it was likely some combination of offering North Korea relief of sanctions or security assurances. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that a deal was offered which amounted to “a nuclear freeze, one that essentially enshrines the status quo, and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power.”

        Democrats — including North Korea watchers, media pundits and politicians — have issued an overwhelmingly negative response to the meeting. Yet as progressives, must we not recognize the importance of taking steps to end the 69-year-old Korean War? That war, which claimed more than 4 million lives, was temporarily halted by a ceasefire, not with a peace agreement. As I wrote last year, “A peace treaty would end the state of war between the United States and North Korea, taking the threat of a military conflict off the table.”

      • ‘We Need Real Diplomacy,’ Not Just Photo-Ops, Says Bernie Sanders as Trump Restarts Nuclear Talks With North Korea

        “I have no problem with [Trump] sitting down with Kim Jong-un in North Korea or anyplace else. But I don’t want it simply to be a photo opportunity. The whole world’s media was attracted there,” Sanders said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the moment when Trump became the first sitting U.S. president set foot in North Korea.

        “What’s going to happen tomorrow and the next day?” Sanders asked. “He has weakened the State Department…. We need to move forward diplomatically, not just do photo opportunities.”

        Sanders—a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate—went on to note that Trump has not committed to diplomatic solutions to other conflicts, such as the U.S.-backed Saudi-led assault on Yemen and growing military tensions with Iran, which were sparked by the president’s violation of the Iran nuclear accord last year.

        “Right now, while he is meeting with Kim Jong-un, he is still provocative in terms of almost moving toward a war with Iran,” Sanders said. “He vetoed legislation that I supported and that we won in the Senate and won in the House which would get the United States out of the horrific war in Yemen, which is led by the brutal dictator Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.”

      • NBC News Whitewashes Colombia’s Right-Wing President

        Colombian President Iván Duque gave a talk on June 21 at the “Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity” on his book Orange Economy: An Infinite Opportunity. Duque wasn’t alone—Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, singer John Legend and former NBA star Dwyane Wade also made appearances at the French Riviera event.

        Claire Atkinson, the senior media editor at NBC News (6/27/19), interviewed Duque after his talk—but instead of asking hard questions and doing deep political analysis, she turned to easy questioning, opting not to follow up on his answers, while omitting the realities on the ground in Colombia. It seems as if his stance on climate change and his ideas on creativity were good enough to erase his record.


        In Duque’s talk, he said he wants Colombia to be the “Silicon Valley” of Latin America. To do this, he put in place a “zero income tax for seven years for creative and tech industries in Colombia.” Colombia Reports (1/7/15) writes that “inequality is a widely cited cause of Colombia’s armed conflict.” And so in Colombia, one of the most unequal countries in the world, the consequences of yet another policy favoring the wealthy isn’t investigated by NBC News.

        The sub-headline of the NBC News interview is this quote from Duque: “We only produce 0.4 percent of CO2 global emissions, but we are one of the most vulnerable countries on climate change effects.” Accepting his self-portrayal as an environmental advocate, Atkinson didn’t ask Duque about his plans to expand aerial fumigation of coca farms, a tactic cheered on by the United States.

      • Born on the 5th of July

        The unifying factor behind environmental decline, an extractive health care system, mind-numbing work for poverty wages, perpetual wars and increasingly intrusive and assertive commercial relations, is capitalism. Of course, the term is an abstraction, shorthand for a belief system used to explain and organize social relations. Its history is of brutality, pillage and genocide explained by its perpetrators as laying the ground for some imagined future civility.

        The motivating factor behind its endurance and spread is the perpetual promise of a better tomorrow. If economic growth can only reach a certain level goes the logic, the social isolation, fractured relations, ruined landscape and brutality that is its product will all be proven worth it. In the half century since its newest incarnation, neoliberalism, was launched this certainty remains despite mounting evidence that it represents the greatest wrong turn in human history.

        The political question in the present is: what to do about it? As with other turning points in history, embedded relations and social stasis form an anchor which must be raised to prevent them from determining the future. And in contrast with the manifestos of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the future is more about foregoing and not doing than doing. It is the doing, acting on a misplaced arrogance of certainty, that has brought us to the precipice.

        Imagined civility was the backdrop for the exchange that momentarily levelled presidential hopeful Joe Biden— made between people who each had long careers perpetrating ‘acceptable’ social violence, one as a segregationist and the other putting poor people in prison. Together they are vying to represent the rich under a façade of inclusion. How much better for a woman (Kamala Harris) to lead the banking sector, the U.S. military and the oil and gas industry into the abyss. We do have our distractions.

      • We Move Under Cover to Terminal One: When the Revolutionary Army Triumphed Though They Ran Out of Hardtack and Covfefe

        Behold the glory of our great revolutionary heroes, proclaimed General Bonespurs at his tank-bedecked sham of a July 4 spectacle, where he babbled and chittered and dutifully read his lines with all the substance and gravitas “of a mid-tier wedding dj.” Mostly, weirdly, he narrated the grand bloody history of a Continental Army that “suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware, and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown,” inexplicably drifting into the War of 1812 before triumphantly declaring, “Under the rockets’ red glare, (it) had nothing but victory. When dawn came, the star-spangled banner waved defiant.” En route, however, he went entirely off the rails detailing the arduous journey: “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do.” Say what? responded Twitter, which had at it. #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories took off faster than most planes out of Atlanta, with tragic tales of the battle of Jet Blue, the hardships of Paul Revere’s red-eye flight, the shortage of pretzels and hardtack on layover in New York, the high price for parking horses at Dulles, and Washington’s historic delay due to long lines at Continental.

      • From Japan to Houston During the G20 Circus

        I left Japan for Houston last week, going from a country where gun violence is virtually unknown to one that is a free-fire zone.

        In 2017, just 3 people were killed in shooting incidents in Japan, where there is strict gun control.

        By contrast, and let’s focus on children alone, data from the Center for Disease Control shows that 6.63 children, 18 and under, died each day from violence-related firearm deaths in 2017, the last year those statistics are available (2,420 total deaths divided by 365 days = 6.63).

        As I was leaving Kyoto for Tokyo airport by bullet train, the annual circus that is the G20 summit was about to begin in nearby Osaka.

        Nothing worthwhile or lasting has ever been achieved at these G20 events, which are for PR consumption and little else.

      • 14 Russian sailors die in submarine fire

        14 submarine sailors serving in the Russian Navy have died after a fire broke out on their research vessel, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported. The sailors died due to toxic fumes emitted by burning materials on the vessel. The victims of the fire have not yet been named.

    • Environment
      • With 2019 Predicted to Be Among Planet’s Hottest Years, France’s 114º Heat Is ‘Absolutely Consistent’ With Warnings of Climate Crisis

        United Nations climate experts on Friday expressed alarm—but not surprise—over the extreme heatwave engulfing Europe, as temperatures in parts of France reached a record-breaking 114 degrees Fahrenheit.

        The heatwave, which has hit the continent earlier than in past years and has contributed to wildfires in Spain, is “absolutely consistent” with the climate crisis which is linked to the continued burning of fossil fuels by many of the world’s wealthy countries, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told Reuters.

      • As Heat Wave Boils Europe, Lackluster Bonn Talks Marred by US and Saudi-Led Obstruction of Climate Science

        While cities across Europe faced public safety alerts amid record-breaking heatwaves, two weeks of climate talks by nearly 200 delegations in Bonn, Germany wrapped up on Thursday with the negotiations marked by obstruction and climate denial by the United States and other oil-friendly countries rather than a sense of urgency.

        The U.S. and Saudi Arabia led the effort to water down an official concluding statement to the Bonn Climate Change Conference as they objected to mentioning the risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions and were instrumental among the group of oil-producing countries in calling into question the U.N.’s findings about the need to limit the temperature rise to 1.5º Celsius.

        The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said last October that failing to curb rising temperatures would lead to irreversible ecological damage.


        However, Meyer said, “while they may have succeeded in short-circuiting formal discussion of the report, the Saudis can’t prevent scientific fact from continuing to drive the heightened awareness among governments, the business community and the public of the need for an urgent response to the climate crisis.”

        The conference was also unable to reach an agreement on how to implement the Sustainable Development Mechanism, the program required under the Paris climate agreement of 2015 to support developing countries, many of which are on the frontlines of the climate crisis.

        Debate over the program was pushed to next December, when delegates will meet for the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) in Santiago, Chile.

      • After Data Shows Last Month Was Hottest June on Record, Sanders Says Maybe Now Is ‘Time to Start Treating This Like a Crisis and Not a Hoax’

        In response to news on Tuesday that a European Union satellite agency declared last month the hottest June ever recorded, 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said, “Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start treating this like a crisis and not a hoax.”

        With campaigners across the world demanding leaders respond to the crisis of the rapidly heating planet as the “climate emergency” it is, Sanders was responding to a tweet by co-founder Bill McKibben noting new data released by the UN-supported Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) that showed global temperatures last month were the highest ever recorded for June since records began in the late 19th century.

      • ‘We Are in a Climate Emergency, America’: Anchorage Hits 90 Degrees for First Time in Recorded History

        With Alaska in the midst of an unprecedented heat wave that experts say is driven by the climate crisis, Anchorage—the state’s largest city—reached an all-time high temperature of 90 degrees on Thursday.

        “At 5 pm [Thursday] afternoon, Anchorage International Airport officially hit 90 degrees for the first time on record,” the Anchorage National Weather Service announced in a tweet early Friday.

      • Photo: Amid global extreme weather events, Russia’s Irkutsk region faces deadly floods

        Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, has published satellite images of areas in the Irkutsk region where a state of emergency has been declared due to mass flooding. This photograph was taken on June 29, 2019. Since June 25, more than 6,600 homes have flooded in the region, displacing more than 32,000 people. As of July 2, 18 deaths have been reported in the flooding, and more than 200 people have been hospitalized due primarily to hypothermia.

      • Is Gavin Newsom Just a Slicker Version of Jerry Brown on the Environment?

        Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday reappointed three of Governor Jerry Brown’s most controversial, least popular and most environmentally questionable appointees – Karla Nemeth, Cindy Messer and Chuck Bonham – after in February refusing to reappoint Brown’s best appointee, Felicia Marcus, as Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

        He reappointed these three officials in spite of growing opposition to their reappointment by fishermen, conservationists and environmental justice advocates. He reappointed Nemeth as Department of Water Resources (DWR) Director, Messer as DWR Chief Deputy Director and Bonham as California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director.

        The Governor’s Office stated, “Governor Gavin Newsom today announced several appointments, including the reappointment of several of the state’s top water policy officials at the California Department of Water Resources and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which are critical to build the Administration’s water resilience portfolio in the coming months, as directed by the Governor’s executive order, and to advance Voluntary Agreements regarding water management for the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems.”

        Fishermen, Tribal leaders, conservationists and environmental justice advocates must wake up and see what Newsom is really doing. I have been a voice in the wilderness on Newsom’s questionable appointments and actions to date – and other people must pull the blinders off their eyes and understand that Newsom is just a slicker version of Governor Jerry Brown.

        Under Newson, Nemeth, Messer and Bonham, the environmentally destructive Delta Tunnel is still on the table as part of Newsom’s “water portfolio.” It is only the twin tunnels that the Governor has abandoned.

      • Is Bottled Water Safe to Drink, Everyday?

        The next time you put your lips to a plastic bottle of “crystal-clear mountain spring water” think about Trump’s herculean efforts to dismantle federal agencies that protect health.

        More to the point, Trump’s innate distrust of science is already starting to impact health risks, e.g., according to Consumer Reports (“CR”) excessive levels of arsenic are found in some bottled water that should have been spotted by federal regulators, and not by Consumer Reports.

        As it happens: “The federal government’s safety inspections of water bottling facilities hit a 15-year low in 2017, according to documents CR obtained through a public records request.”

        The referenced CR headline: “Arsenic in Some Bottled Water Brands at Unsafe Levels, Consumer Reports Says,” June 28, 2019. More on that travesty, later.

      • Uprising on Rainbow Ridge

        There is a great forest, that stands on the ridges to the north of Petrolia, California. These mountains are the source of the Mattole River’s largest and formerly most bountiful tributaries, the North Forks. Their branches are so steep, their weather so wild that not even the rapacious MAXXAM corporation, which owned it from 1986 to 2008, could destroy this forest completely. And so, it has survived into the modern era.

        These forests are now the property of Humboldt Redwood Company, which plans to log them. HRC brings with it a new paradigm for timber harvest: certified sustainable logging. This system, which contains appealing features for the public, such as protection for old growth trees, ban on clearcuts, and consultation with the wishes of neighboring communities, was initially greeted with enthusiasm by elements who fought MAXXAM tooth and nail. However, certification is gradually defining itself as just another mechanism, adjusted to dwindling resources, to continue what former Cal Fire director Richard Wilson has called liquidation logging.

        Where MAXXAM was the lion, ravaging the virgin redwood forest, HRC is the jackal, gnawing the last scraps off the bones.


        Goons lit truck tires under the trees of young climbers. Others were wrapped in duct tape and lowered hundreds of feet headfirst. Many young people, earnestly desiring a better world for themselves and their children, were severely traumatized in these Mattole timber wars. Some of them cannot forget the blood spilled here, and are continuing to defend these same forests twenty years later.

        Resistance was not confined to direct action. Beginning in 1990, Mattole residents challenged every single MAXXAM timber harvest plan in court. Issues concerning the public trust were brought before the Board of Forestry. However, when in 2007 MAXXAM declared bankruptcy as they had planned all along, only the 3500-acre Headwaters Forest, of MAXXAM’s 210,000 acres, was offered any permanent protection.

        Looking back, it is curious that the Mattole was so passionately defended during the timber wars. It is not glamorous, like Headwaters Forest. But, unlike redwood lands, which are rather sterile, mixed fir and hardwood forests can support a marvelous variety of life, including many species which are on the decline and need places to live. For the original indigenous inhabitants of the Mattole, these mountains must have been spiritually associated with salmon, so prodigious were their salmon runs. Early colonists used to say that you couldn’t get a horse to cross the lower North Fork because of the flashing tails.

      • Who Can Afford a Green New Deal? We Can!

        Despite ridicule by Republican leaders, calls for a Green New Deal resonate with 80 percent of Americans. Building on the vision laid out by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ed Markey, now Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have weighed in with their versions.

        Americans love the idea of taking on the climate crisis, but three-fourths of us also worry about paying the bill. So, we started looking for answers and have some heartening news to share. But first, a stark reality.

        Doing little or nothing could cost hundreds of billions annually by the end of the century, experts warn; and even that feels optimistic to us, given the multitude of climate-related variables likely to harm our health, infrastructure, agriculture, and so much more.

        Bottom line: To avoid immeasurable catastrophe, we now know we cannot heat the planet above 1.5 ℃ over preindustrial levels, says the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And that means getting serious fast: Slashing global, human-caused CO2 emissions 45 percent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels, and reaching net-zero by 2050.

      • Energy
        • U.N. Chief Warns Paris Climate Goals Still Not Enough

          U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took his global message urging immediate climate action to officials gathered in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, where production of hydrocarbons remains a key driver of the economy.

          Guterres is calling on governments to stop building new coal plants by 2020, cut greenhouse emissions by 45% over the next decade and overhauling fossil fuel-driven economies with new technologies like solar and wind. The world, he said, “is facing a grave climate emergency.”

          In remarks at a summit in Abu Dhabi, he painted a grim picture of how rapidly climate change is advancing, saying it is outpacing efforts to address it.

          He lauded the Paris climate accord, but said even if its promises are fully met, the world still faces what he described as a catastrophic three-degree temperature rise by the end of the century.

          Arctic permafrost is melting decades earlier than even worst-case scenarios, he said, threatening to unlock vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.

        • Virginia Legislators Promoting Atlantic Coast Pipeline Have Personal Investments

          Virginia State Senator Bill DeSteph is a staunch advocate for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. He hasn’t just endorsed the project – he’s actively campaigned for it. DeSteph is listed on the pipeline’s website as a supporter. He co-chairs a caucus that in March 2016 sent Virginia’s two U.S. Senators a letter backing the pipeline. In September 2016, he even co-authored an op-ed in the pages of the Virginian-Pilot that promoted the project.

          But DeSteph has another important tie to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: he owns more than $250,000 worth of Dominion Energy stock. Dominion is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s top owner. It is building the pipeline and will operate it.

          DeSteph’s decision to use his public platform to advance a controversial pipeline project that he stands to personally profit from reflects a larger trend in Virginia. According to financial disclosures filed with Virginia’s Ethics Council, several other members of the Virginia General Assembly who have strongly advocated for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline also own significant amounts of company stock in the pipeline’s owners.

        • Chernobyl Has Blown Up Twice

          They have gone into Mega Propaganda Overdrive because the drama was so popular they are terrified that millions of people will now realize that nuclear power is Actually Dangerous.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Recreational Bulldozing

          I recently got a survey from a mountain biking advocate asking me if I agreed with the premise that bikes belong in designated wilderness.

          This person justified mountain bike access to wilderness and recommended wilderness areas because they maintain trails and create new trails that are open to hikers and horse riders. And oh, by the way, shouldn’t they have the “right” to use all public lands because they are part of the public too.

          I once had an acquaintance (wouldn’t call him a friend) who played around with bulldozers to be exact. A D-9 cat which he used to uncover gold-bearing gravels in Alaskan rivers. He was what he called a “recreational” bulldozer. He felt, like some mountain bikers, that because he paid taxes, that gave him the right to run his D-9 cat anyplace on public lands.

          He used the same logic about improving access as the mountain bikers as well. He claimed he was “improving” the land by making it more accessible by making trails. He used to tell me that his trails were open to everyone else. Hikers, dirt bikers, horses, and I suppose even mountain bikers.

          This acquaintance is quite the mechanic and recently told me he had been able to create a prototype electric bulldozer so his machine was very quiet. I.e. he would soon be an example of “quiet” recreation.

          He argues that has just as much right to create new trails and use his bulldozer on all public lands as any mountain bike. After all, he is older and “needs” a machine to carry him up the mountain.

          Of course, he can walk, just like most mountain bikers can walk, but he loves his “yellow metal” about as much as most mountain bikers love their machines.

          If mountain bikes are allowed on all public lands or just about all public lands, why not recreational bulldozing? Given the cost of bulldozers, I don’t think we have to worry too much about the widespread impact of recreational bulldozing, though certainly new roads are created by bulldozers for logging, mining and so on every year.

        • Vegans Begin to Stir the Pot in France

          France has been slow in recognizing the vegan movement, which is not surprising given a renowned culinary tradition notable for fois gras and rich cream sauces. Are we not the country where the gastronomy is classified by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage? Our star chefs are our best ambassadors abroad, our monuments. Who does not know the reputation of Pierre Gagnaire or the late Joël Robuchon?

          Until recent years, only a small group of French activists have promoted veganism—a way of life that aims to prohibit killing or abusing animals for use as food, for clothes, in cosmetics testing or for other purposes. Some activists take part in high-profile actions, from attacking butcheries with fake blood to releasing animals from farms and slaughterhouses.

          These tactics repel much of French society, but at the same time that society is beginning to embrace the notions of vegan diets and protection of animals. In fact, some of the French media hailed the rise of veganism as the movement of the year 2018—evidence that a campaign pursued most notoriously by militants is well on the way to becoming a social phenomenon.

      • Overpopulation
        • Over One-Tenth of Global Population Could Lack Drinking Water by 2030

          Outside on my front porch, alder chip smoke billows out of my small smoker. The racks inside the tin smoker are filled with wild-caught Alaskan Coho salmon, provided to me by my friend Jonathan. He and his wife take their three daughters in their fishing boat and head north from our town on the north coast of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula for the late summer salmon runs in Southeastern Alaska. They return with a hull full of frozen fish, for those of us here lucky enough to have placed our orders for it.

          Several friends here attached to the land where I live are also outside, busy doing their own things: one is preparing his sailboat to launch in a week, another is working in the garden, two others are pitching a tent, another is out working his summer job with the Washington Conservation Association, and still another is reading and contemplating what she might write in the next column we co-author for Truthout.

          It is truly idyllic. A dream I’ve had for decades is finally coming true: I’m living in a way that is close to the Earth, which enables me to minimize my carbon footprint. I’m growing much of my own food and living in community with like-minded people.

          Yet all is taking place against the backdrop of a global climate crisis. Runaway human-caused climate disruption is already making life unlivable for millions around the globe, and is an integral reason why we are already in the Sixth Mass Extinction Event.

          Each of us in this small community of ours is fully aware of the crisis that is upon us. We understand we are living in a bubble, in that we are able to grow much of our food, smoke this fish, go for hikes, share healthy meals, and have enough water to do all of this. Our conversations tend to run the gamut: ranging from discussing the latest breakdowns of portions of our global life support system, to when are we going to hang the bat house, to where to put the clothesline, to what happens when the cities run out of food, to when am I leaving for my next climbing trip.

        • There Is No Such Thing as a Green War [Ed: Overpopulation is real (a real problem) and war will be inevitable if it carries on. Then, the only "green" thing about it will be elimination of populations. Better not reach war. Ever.]

          In June, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs released a report titled “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War.” Echoing previous reports on the link between the US military and climate change, the paper outlines the various ways in which the Pentagon is “the world’s largest institutional user of petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world.”

          While this is not necessarily news, it never hurts to have a reminder, and the paper’s detailed data on issues such as fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions make for a shocking read and eye-catching headlines. In 2017 alone, for example, “the Pentagon’s greenhouse gas emissions were greater than the greenhouse gas emissions of entire industrialized countries such as Sweden or Denmark.”

          Still, although the paper clearly links the US military to climate chaos, the soft conclusion and the handling of the military industrial complex with kid gloves leaves some gaping holes in what could otherwise be a powerful commentary on intersectionality and the need for systemic change.

          It is not enough to academically trace a red thread between issues. Recognizing the connections that tie climate chaos to war to imperialism to the growing refugee crisis demand solutions founded on that real-world intersectionality. We need an active solidarity that erases the demarcations of single-issue movements and builds a power that reflects the reality of our place and time. Likewise, we must be wary of soft reforms, greenwashing and capitalism’s unending affinity for shaming people.

    • Finance
      • Community Land Trusts Are a Model for Reparations

        This year has already seen more Democrats talking about reparations than ever, including several running for the presidency. Now, rather than writing checks to individuals, more and more people are talking about collective strategies for repair and reparation. Community land trusts, cooperatives and mutual housing associations, for example, might offer a way to transfer some long-promised land and rights to Black communities while making today’s housing economy less speculative.

        Joining us to discuss those possibilities are Katherine Franke, author of a new book, Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition; Cathy Albisa, co-founder and executive director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative; and Jaritza Geigel, senior organizer for Picture the Homeless, a grassroots organization founded and led by homeless people which advocates for social justice on issues like housing and what they call the shelter-industrial complex. The interview that follows has been edited for clarity and length.

      • Reparations Are One Step in a Long Fight to End Racial Capitalism

        Recently, the discourse around reparations, a movement well over a century old, has intensified. As the 2020 election approaches, (mostly white) candidates are weighing in on an issue they have no personal relation to, but all the opinions one could ever hope for. And even those who are not white speak carefully from their positions of state authority. Yet reparations for slavery shouldn’t actually be up for debate, because there’s nothing to debate; the U.S. owes Black people. As a matter of fact, the entire Western world does. These empires have built themselves up and maintained their power through the enslavement, colonization and exploitation of not only the African continent, but African people as well. Still, how we talk about reparations does matter, and we have to be careful when speaking about them with regard to the United States. One of the last things that we should want is a movement that gives legitimacy to the state.

        When the subject of reparations comes up, the term “conversation” is tossed around and repeated ad nauseum. It’s often there to neutralize what’s evergreen: white fears of Black demands. This is one of the ways progress dies; matters of oppression and power are reduced to mere disagreements that need to be talked over. Unfortunately, mere discussion is not the solution, and neither is simply hearing “the stories” of oppressed people, although both of those practices can be a beginning. Without further action, this emphasis on “conversation” can contribute to oppression — not take away from it.

        Moreover, throughout mainstream conversations about reparations, much of the language disturbingly relies on concepts like worthiness, innocence and goodness. The word “deserve” is doled out through countless commentaries in a way true compensation for slavery never has been. This dangerous rationale of who deserves and who doesn’t is based in white supremacist logic that cages, kills and brutalizes Black people based on our proximity to what a white society deems worthy. These categories associated with being deserving and others like them are almost always injected with anti-Blackness. There’s a difference between what’s deserved and what’s owed, or even more, what’s liberating.

        Being “undeserving,” “guilty” and “bad” are very racialized categories. There’s a reason that every time the police extrajudicially kill a Black person it’s always justified in the eyes of white supremacy and the state: It’s because we are always deserving of violence in the eyes of the state and a white supremacist society. If we make appeals that rely on the idea that some people are “deserving” and some are not, we direct the discussion into a realm of scarcity, in which only certain people are eligible for justice. It is this sort of austerity reasoning that is already destroying us.

      • Senate Democrats Demand Trump Administration Answer for ‘Unconscionable’ Delay of Puerto Rico Food Aid

        In a letter to White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday, a group of senators demanded to know why Puerto Rico still hasn’t received the $600 million in emergency food stamp aid that Congress approved three weeks ago.

        “In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, it is unconscionable that the Trump administration is allowing the most vulnerable Puerto Ricans to struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the letter’s signatories, said in a statement.

      • ‘The Bold Solution We Need’: Over 100 Academics Endorse Sanders Student Debt Cancellation and Tuition-Free College Plan

        More than 100 academics endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tuition-free college and debt cancellation proposal on Wednesday, hailing the plan as the kind of ambitious solution that is needed to tackle soaring higher education costs and provide relief to the millions of Americans drowning in student loans.

        In a letter (pdf) to Congress first obtained by The American Prospect, a mix of education, economic, and legal experts said Sanders’s College for All Act “would benefit the entire economy, improving life not only for those who will feel immediate relief as borrowers, current students, and their loved ones.”

      • Trump Invites Debates Over Omnivorous Crony Capitalism

        Donald J. Trump’s 2020 election strategy is to connect his potential Democratic opponents with “socialism.” Trump plans to use this attack on the Democrats even if Senator Bernie Sanders, who proudly calls himself a “democratic socialist,” doesn’t become the presidential nominee (Sanders has been decisively re-elected in Vermont).

        Senator Elizabeth Warren is distancing herself from the socialist “label.” She went so far as to tell the New England Council “I am a capitalist to my bones.”

        Sanders and Warren are not what they claim to be. They are both updating Roosevelt’s New Deal and more closely resemble the Social Democrats that have governed western European democracies for years, delivering higher standards of living than that experienced by Americans.

        The original doctrine of socialism meant government ownership of the means of production – heavy industries, railroads, banks, and the like. Nobody in national politics today is suggesting such a takeover. As one quipster put it, “How can Washington take ownership of the banks when the banks own Washington?”

      • ‘People Don’t Like Insurance Companies, They Like Their Doctors’: Poll Shows Majority of Voters Support Abolishing Private Insurers If They Can Keep Providers

        Conducted by Morning Consult and Politico after the first Democratic presidential debates, the poll (pdf) found 55 percent of voters back a Medicare for All system that “diminishes the role of private insurers but allows you to keep your doctor and hospital.”

        According to the survey, 78 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents, and 26 percent of Republicans—averaging 55 percent overall—support a Medicare for All plan that phases out private insurance and allows them to keep their doctors and hospitals.

        In a statement to Morning Consult, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign said “[t]hese numbers only affirm what the senator has said many times: people don’t like insurance companies, they like their doctors and their hospitals.”

        “Despite what the pharmaceutical and insurance industries will tell you,” the campaign said, “Medicare for All is the only proposal that gives Americans the freedom to control their own futures—change jobs, start a family, start a business—and keep their doctor.”

      • Rich Father-in-Law Has Helped, Complicated O’Rourke’s Career

        Beto O’Rourke was running for the El Paso City Council in 2005 when he asked to meet with the illustrious real estate investor William Sanders.

        Sanders had earned a fortune and a reputation as a brilliant businessman in Chicago before returning to his remote hometown on the West Texas-Mexico border. He thought the aspiring politician was there to solicit a donation. But O’Rourke was seeking permission to marry Sanders’ daughter Amy, whom he’d met less than three months before.

      • Rich Will Keep Getting Richer and ‘Nothing Will Change,’ Says Bernie Sanders, Unless US Leaders Have Guts to Take on Powerful Corporations

        “I suspect people all over the country who are watching this debate are saying, these are good people, they have great ideas,” said Sanders. “But how come nothing really changes? How come for the last 45 years wages have been stagnant for the middle class? How come we have the highest rate of childhood poverty? How come 45 million people still have student debt? How come three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?”

        The answer, Sanders said, is that “nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry.”

        “If we don’t have the guts to take them on, we’ll continue to have plans, we’ll continue to have talk, and the rich will get richer, and everybody else will be struggling,” the Vermont senator concluded.

      • The Real College Inequality Democrats Have Yet to Address

        Just in time for the 2020 presidential election, the Democrats have discovered that there is real economic inequality in the United States. But they have not yet fully addressed the role that the Democratic party and its leaders have played in creating this vast inequality that led to the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

        The presidential candidates have been slow to fully recognize the role that former President Bill Clinton’s globalization policies (NAFTA and WTO) played in the outsourcing of American jobs or the lowering of wages for workers.

        As the Democratic presidential debates have shown, Vice President Biden is having a hard time defending his long public record, especially as an opponent of federally mandated “forced” busing to integrate our public schools decades after the Supreme Court’s overturning of racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). As a Senator Joe Biden was a free trade advocate as well.

        But Senator Biden played a large role in creating inequality in two additional realms. He was a strong backer of a 2005 bankruptcy “reform” law that made it harder for people to file personal bankruptcy and to wipe out all of their debts. Given that perhaps as many as fifty percent of all personal bankruptcies in America are caused by debt incurred from health care not covered by insurance, this was an especially cruel blow to those seeking relief from their heavy debt loads. Senator Warren has already criticized Biden for his support of this bill (“The Twenty Year Argument Between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren Over Bankruptcy, Explained”)

      • ‘The Bernie Grassroots Machine Chugs Along’: Sanders Raises $18 Million From Individual Donations Averaging $18

        Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $18 million for his Democratic presidential campaign in the second quarter, his campaign reported Tuesday, a number that, while shy of the high water mark set by rival South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, nonetheless showed the Vermont senator’s staying power in a crowded field.

        The $18 million came from “nearly 1 million donations,” the Sanders campaign said in a statement announcing the numbers—at an average of around $18. Sanders transferred into his coffers an additional $6 million from other committees, the campaign said, bringing the total they reported for the second quarter to $24 million.

        “The Bernie grassroots machine chugs along,” tweeted BBC reporter Anthony Zurcher.

        The campaign stressed the Sanders approach to raising money from grassroots, small-dollar donors and the campaign’s aversion to big money power players.

        “This is a movement built by working people all across this country,” campaign manager Faiz Shakir said. “While other candidates court big money at fancy fundraisers, this campaign is supported by teachers, retail workers, and nurses who are putting what little money they have behind the one candidate who can bring about the transformative change this country needs.”

      • How the Two-Tiered System in Higher Education Gets Reproduced (and Hopefully Abolished)

        To understand how the two-tiered system in higher education reproduces itself, I think it is useful to analyze how those in positions of relative power often serve to legitimate the system rhetorically, culturally and via political discussion. This is especially true when the purported aim of those driving the discussion is a progressive one, as I hope to show below with analyses of a tenure-track professor’s commentary on healthcare disparities in academia and of the higher education plans recently put forward by high-profile politicians seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. In addition, I spell out below the kind of educational aims and strategy those of us most severely impacted by the two-tiered system need to adopt if we are to abolish the disparate treatment incisively described as “faculty apartheid.”

        The two-tiered system refers to the class structure in academia that bestows a modicum of prestige and influence upon a dwindling portion of the professoriate while ensuring the privileges that shrinking strata of faculty enjoy are made possible by the disempowering of the rest of us who teach at community colleges, state universities and sometimes even Ivy League institutions. The two-tiered system reflects the separation of faculty into haves and have-nots. The system is responsible for the conditions facing ‘contingent faculty’ and ‘adjuncts’ – designations used more or less interchangeably to refer to us have-nots, although ‘adjunct’ tends to imply part-time, per-semester contract status while ‘contingent’ is more of a catch-all for professorial precarity. The two-tiered system is responsible for the new faculty majority of precariously employed professors who rarely know if they will have jobs from one semester to the next. It produces and indicates the existence of déclassé faculty who – despite holding master’s degrees and often enough PhDs – are paid appreciably less than their counterparts on the tenure-track, subsist in poverty or near-poverty and frequently lack basic job benefits. Unlike our tenure-track and tenured colleagues, we adjuncts are subject to the whims of department chairs and upper level administration. We might not get offered classes the next term if lecturer money dries up or if we annoy our chairs, fellow faculty with the power to hire or to deny us work. We are part of the gig economy. The two-tiered system created and continually reproduces a situation in which a significant number of faculty are routine “freeway fliers,” reduced to cobbling together several “part-time” gigs at a couple different schools in order to teach enough classes and earn (just) enough to squeak by, for a while. Maybe. Oh, and sometimes, especially during summers, we work plenty of other jobs too.

      • ‘This Is the Agenda America Needs’: Sanders Fires Back After Biden Attacks Medicare for All and Other Progressive Solutions

        After former Vice President Joe Biden attacked Medicare for All, decriminalization of border crossings, and other major progressive agenda items during an interview that aired Friday morning, fellow 2020 White House contender Bernie Sanders responded that bold ideas will be necessary to “energize voters” and defeat President Donald Trump.

        “I’m proud to be working with AOC and so many other Democrats to pass Medicare for All, debt-free college, and a Green New Deal,” Sanders tweeted, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “This is the agenda America needs.”


        On the topic of immigration, Biden said he doesn’t agree with calls to decriminalize entering the U.S. without documentation, a proposal put forth by Julián Castro and backed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

        “No, I don’t,” Biden said when asked if he supports the proposal. “I think people should have to get in line, but if people are coming because they’re actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case.”

        The former vice president also downplayed Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over Rep. Joe Crowley last year and suggested her ideas don’t have broad appeal.

        “I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary,” Biden said. “In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education and healthcare.”

      • After Sanders Points Out Poorest Have Zero or Negative Wealth, WaPo Fact Checker Slammed for Calling That Fact ‘Not Especially Meaningful’

        Critics of massive wealth inequality in the United States defended a statistic frequently cited by 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday after Glenn Kessler, author of the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” column, claimed the fact that the bottom half of the country has zero or negative wealth was “not especially meaningful.”

        The statistic in question was brought up most recently by Sanders during the Democratic primary debate last week:

        “We have three people in this country owning more wealth than the bottom half of America,” Sanders said.

        The statement, Kessler said, is factually true—but he rejected Sanders’s suggestion that the inequality evidenced by the fact means that a major correction to the U.S. economy is required.

        “This snappy talking point is based on numbers that add up, but it’s also a question of comparing apples to oranges,” Kessler wrote. “But people in the bottom half have essentially no wealth, as debts cancel out whatever assets they might have. So the comparison is not especially meaningful.”

      • The Watchmakers Revolution

        Besancon is a town in eastern France. It is also the original site of the Lip Watch Company, a watchmaker famous for its top-quality high-end timepieces. In the 1970s, the company was the site of a worker-managed undertaking instituted in response to attempts by the ownership to sell the company to outside financial interests. After a series of dismissals and layoffs from 1970 1972, workers formed an Action Committee. The worker takeover of the plant where the company was housed took place in 1973 after the committee discovered management documents detailing more dismissals. Hundreds of workers occupied the plant and took a couple members of management hostage. The building where the hostages were being held was raided by security forces and the hostages were released. In response, the occupying workers took tens of thousands of watches “hostage,” hiding them in secret caches around the region.

        The occupation of the factory continued, as did the production of watches. Inspired by the factory takeovers in France during the rebellion of 1968 and informed by New Left concepts of worker management and autonomy, the workers at LIP organized themselves along non-hierarchical lines to run the factories, educate themselves about managing the company and cooperation across traditional gender, ethnic and occupational segmentation, and keep the police out. Their efforts were supported by individuals and groups formed and inspired by the aforementioned rebellion. Support from the traditional union leadership was tendentious at best, especially among those who feared a loss of power and control should the LIP self-management exercise prove successful in the long run. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, the striking/occupying workers of LIP received tremendous support from the residents of Besancon.

        In 2018, Verso published the most complete English language history of what is known as “The Lip Affair.” Written by University of North Carolina history professor Donald Reid, the text, titled Opening the Gates: The LIP Affair, 1968-1981, is a lengthy and detailed report on the struggle. Reid has written an in-depth examination of the financial decisions of management that led to the “affair,” simultaneously describing the owner’s paternalism and assumption of his employees’ ignorance. As he continues his reporting of the machinations and manipulations of management and ownership, Reid reveals the growing empowerment of the workers. It becomes clear that this empowerment is related both to the fact of the workers’ success in keeping the plant open and in their growing knowledge of the industry’s financial workings.

      • Wall Street Beware: The Public Banking Movement Is Coming for You

        It may not come as a surprise to hear that the majority of Americans don’t trust the banking system in this country. Only 27 percent of those surveyed in a 2016 Gallup poll said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution — less than half of the record high set in 1979. And the lack of trust is spread relatively evenly across the political spectrum — it’s not just liberals or those on the left: Almost everyone is fed up with the banks.

        And if banking institutions don’t exactly spark joy, their lead characters — morally bankrupt investment bankers whose greed and arrogance almost singlehandedly collapsed the entire country’s economy — certainly don’t spark joy either. It’s an old story: Bankers made obscene amounts of money destroying the economy, we bailed them out, they walked away from it all without a shred of accountability and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. But that’s not where the story has to end. Spurred by the need for an alternative to the for-profit, extractive model of finance exemplified by Wall Street, there is a budding movement in the United States that is working to reimagine banking as an institution that truly serves the public.

        Public banking is an old idea, but it has never been very common in the United States. The first and only public bank in the country was founded exactly 100 years ago in North Dakota, and it wasn’t until relatively recently that the idea has begun to find new life in cities and states across the country. Growing largely out of the need for more democratic ownership over capital, the aim of this budding movement is to create a robust public banking infrastructure across the nation that is rooted in the principles of economic, environmental, racial and social justice.

        The renewed interest in public banking really took off right after the financial collapse in 2008 as people began exploring the option of moving their money into alternative banking institutions, such as local credit unions and community banks. But despite being useful for small-scale, personal banking, these institutions do not operate on a scale where they are able to handle a city or state’s financial assets — they’re just too small. What was needed was a much larger institution with a clearly defined charter that could take in the municipal deposits of a state — or even a city like San Francisco, whose budget topped $10 billion in 2018.

      • We Must Fight to Preserve Social Security for Millennials

        If you’re a millennial, you may have been led to believe that you have a better chance of seeing a UFO or Bigfoot than receiving a Social Security check. In a recent survey, some 80 percent of millennials are concerned that they won’t be able to receive any Social Security benefits upon retirement.

        With the steady drumbeat of dystopian disinformation flowing from Social Security’s opponents and many in the media, who could blame them? No wonder the young adults I talk to at town hall meetings across the country tell me the same thing: “Social Security will not be there for me when I need it.” Let me assure the U.S.’s young people that Social Security will be there for you in the future, if you fight for it now.

        Don’t listen to so-called “entitlement reformers” who try to divide the generations by telling you it’s unfair that millennials “support” today’s retirees through Social Security payroll contributions. This ignores the fact that the program has always been a compact between the generations — and has provided Americans with basic income in retirement for more than 80 years. Social Security is the bedrock of the U.S.’s working and middle classes. We can’t allow conservative ideologues to erode it.

        These “reformers” count on people forgetting that Social Security is much more than a retirement income program. It also provides disability, spousal and survivor’s benefits to Americans of all ages. The average worker with a spouse and two children would have to purchase more than $600,000 in life and disability insurance to replace the protections Social Security provides. In fact, some 1.2 million millennials already receive Social Security benefits.

        Social Security is as much a millennials’ program as anyone else’s. Current trends indicate that millennials will rely on Social Security retirement benefits significantly more than their parents’ or grandparents’ generations. Increasing income inequality, wage stagnation, student loan debt, declining home ownership, the gig economy and the scarcity of employer-provided pensions have put young peoples’ retirement security at risk.

        The National Institute on Retirement Security reports that two-thirds of millennials haven’t saved any money for retirement. At the same time, future seniors face rapidly escalating living costs. Basic expenses — from housing to health care to groceries — will become even pricier in decades to come. What’s more, millennials will live longer on average than today’s retirees, meaning they’ll have to spread out their financial resources over a greater number of years.

        Don’t let them fool you into believing that slashing benefits is the only way to keep the system solvent for the future.

      • Bought Politicians

        The blatant corruption of the UK’s political system is part of the reason for popular alienation from the ruling classes. It was Blair who elevated British politics to US levels of shamelessness in the matter of politicians’ self enrichment, and Johnson looks set to follow the Blair example. While some may pretend to do so, I do not accept that there is anybody who is naive enough genuinely to believe that such donations do not influence politicians’ policy decisions.

        Straight donations aside, the slightly disguised corruption of our political system should also be taken into account. The banks put politicians in their pockets not through direct payments, but through massive, often six figure, fees they pay them for “speaking at dinners”. That is how Hillary Clinton garnered much of her Wall Street funding. In the case of Boris Johnson, it is interesting that in the House of Commons Register of Members’ Interests, he frequently lists the name of the speaking agency who paid him, but not who the client was.

        Another way to pay less obvious bribes – and one particularly pursued by New Labour – was the book deal, where publishers pay massive six figure advances to politicians which are, routinely, up to ten times the actual royalties earned for which they are an “advance”. This only makes sense when you realise that every single one of the major publishers is owned by a much bigger multinational – for example until recently Murdoch owned HarperCollins.

        James Reuben, who gave two donations totaling £50,000 to Johnson, is the scion of the UK’s second wealthiest family, worth £18 billion. The Reubens made their money, like Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, in the pillaging of Russia’s massive metal producing assets, which were physically seized by gangsters, in the chaotic US organised Yeltsin privatisation process. The entire basis of their vast fortune was the exploitation of assets effectively stolen from the Russian state and people.

        There is a fascinating link here to New Labour corruption that shows how entirely rotten Westminster is. Many will recall Peter Mandelson’s famous meeting with Oleg Deripaska and Nat Rothschild on the yacht in Corfu, at a house party where George Osborne was also around. The full story has never appeared in mainstream media, so far as I can judge.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • How To Spot A Twitter Troll

        It is a matter of simple fact that the British government employs a very large number of people whose full time job is to influence the political narrative on social media. The 77th Brigade of the British Army, the Integrity Initiative, MI5 and MI6 and GCHQ all run major programmes of covert online propaganda. These information warriors operate on twitter, facebook, and in comments sections across the internet.

        I have long been fascinated by the disconnect by which people, who do know and understand that the security services employ tens of thousands of people and have budgets of billions, nevertheless find it hard to accept that they may come personally into contact with their operations. Therefore when I state that the security services infiltrate groups including environmentalists and the SNP, and were involved in the Skripal story in ways not public, there is a peculiar desire among people to reject it as it is uncomfortable. Equally while people do know the security services are committing huge sums to social media influencing, to point out any of its instances brings derisive shouts of “conspiracy theory”.

        It was when I was pointing out the many omissions and inconsistencies in the official version of events surrounding the Skripals, that I first came under sustained attack from accounts on twitter, often making short and very sarcastic comments. I confess for a while this did actually get me down. I have no difficulty with people disagreeing with me, but I find it depressing to encounter unreasonably closed minds.

        But in quite short order I started to note a few defining characteristics of the scores of accounts from which I was being attacked. These are false accounts, but they are trolls not bots. There are people from the 77th Brigade, GCHQ or other agencies sitting behind a desk and running scores of fake accounts each. As there is a real human being behind them, unlike bots, these trolls can reply if challenged and attempt to promote a real identity. But there are a number of key giveaways:

      • Why Are Democrats Afraid to End Private Health Insurance?

        Voters from both sides of the aisle are starting to support the idea of national health insurance, or Medicare for all, but just two of the ten candidates on stage for the first Democratic debate—Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren—were willing to say they’d abolish private insurance. Another candidate, Beto O’Rourke, had previously expressed support for national health insurance, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., had been a co-sponsor of a Medicare for all bill. The rest were firmly against it.

        According to a June Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 56% of Americans support a national health care plan, i.e., Medicare for all. Two 2018 polls, from Hill-HarrisX and Reuters-Ipsos found that nearly 80% of respondents supported the concept, although as the Kaiser poll indicates, many Americans are confused about the details, such as whether premiums, deductibles and co-pays would still exist, and if so, whether employers or individuals would pay for them.

        Perhaps it’s that confusion that made eight candidates so timid. As Dylan Scott explains in Vox, “employer-sponsored insurance is one of the biggest challenges for single-payer health care.” As many as 150 million people get their insurance from their employers, Scott continues, and under the bill put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., they’d be moved to a government-sponsored plan within a few years of the bill’s passage.

      • Why Calling Bernie Sanders a ‘Radical’ Is Nonsense

        As the Democratic candidates for president continue to roll out policy positions, many pundits are classifying them as centrists (such as former Vice President Joe Biden) and radicals (such as Senator Bernie Sanders and a few others). But let’s not confuse semantics and substance. Voters want and need a different standard: Which candidates have the most pragmatic solutions to America’s woes?

        It is clear to most Americans that our country faces several challenges. According to a Gallup poll from May 2019, 63% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country. Trust in the government is also at a low, with only 17% saying that Washington will do what is right “just about always” or “most of the time.”

      • ‘Government-Run Healthcare’ Is a Product of Health Industry–Run Media

        At the first of two Democratic debates (6/26/19), MSNBC host and moderator Lester Holt asked the presidential hopefuls, “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” He asked the same question the next night (6/27/19), and prefaced another question to Sen. Bernie Sanders: “You basically want to scrap the private health insurance system as we know it and replace it with a government-run plan.”–

        At a glance, this seems entirely unremarkable. The terms “private health insurance” and “government-run plan” are everywhere in US media.

        The question at the first debate, however, was asked just a day after a new report came out from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). The report, “Parroting the Right: How the Media, Pollsters Adoption of Insurance Industry Spin Warps Democracy,” demonstrates how power brokers in the for-profit health industry have worked to make this exact language (“government-run healthcare”) the boilerplate description for a national health system in major media outlets.

        “In framing a national health system as ‘government-run,’ the press is helping the insurance industry systematically frame the debate in their own interests,” lead author Ben Palmquist told FAIR.

      • Democrat Debates: Who won and who lost?

        There are two very different types of measures of this, one being polling that was done both immediately before and immediately after the debates, and the other being Google searches of the names both immediately before and immediately after the debates. This report will cover both measures, as of June 30th.

        Regarding the polling-data, there is, as of this moment, only one poll that was taken both immediately before and immediately after the debates, and it was issued at 11:18 AM on June 28th, the morning after the second of the two debates. It’s from 538 dot com and Morning Consult.


        Presumably the big winner from the debates, who is unquestionably Kamala Harris, will now be collecting enormous infusions of money, and not only from the voters who will donate small amounts to her campaign, but especially from the billionaires whom she has especially been seeking to flood her campaign with money.

      • Buttigieg Goes for Big Bucks as NYT Oversells His Small-Donor Support

        The thread running through these takes is that money, not public support, is what defines a candidate’s “momentum” or “surge,” and determines who is in “eclipse.” Voters are great, seems to be the thinking—but what really counts are donors.

        Of course, from a voter’s point of view, what really matters is not how much financial support a candidate is getting, but who they’re getting it from—because those supporters may not have the same interests as the voter. In the case of Buttigieg, the two main sources of funds seem to be the tech industry—in part because of personal ties between the tech world and Buttigieg, who was one of the first 300 users of Facebook (American Prospect, 6/25/19)—and the financial industry, that traditional source of funds for corporate-oriented Democrats.

        A New York Times headline (6/16/19) told the story: “Wall Street Donors Are Swooning for Mayor Pete. (They Like Biden and Harris, Too.)” “A Harvard graduate and veteran of the McKinsey consultancy, Mr. Buttigieg is fluent in the language of elite New York circles,” the story noted.

      • Pete Buttigieg Claims He Raised $24 Million in Second Quarter

        Democrat Pete Buttigieg said Monday that he took in $24.8 million during the second fundraising quarter, more than triple what the South Bend, Indiana, mayor raised during the first three months of the year for his surprise hit presidential campaign.

        Buttigieg was the first White House contender to announce his fundraising numbers for the quarter, which ended at midnight. His haul amounts to a show of force at a critical early juncture in the race where fundraising figures, and the number of people giving to a campaign, aren’t just indicators of viability but criteria for qualifying for the debate stage in September.

      • Progressive Candidates Are Rising. Establishment Media Are Terrified.

        Some things in life are inevitable, it seems. When the sun rises, it does so in the east. When it rains, things get wet. When you drop your smartphone, it lands in such a way as to crack the screen with an audible tink.

        When progressive ideas are cogently aired before millions of viewers, the “centrist” establishment and their “moderate” mainstream media allies will rally furiously to try and convince everyone how terrifying those ideas are. Inevitable.

        The run of days since the first twin-bill Democratic debate has been a study in public political pushback. Certainly, both the first and second nights were deliberately chaotic affairs salted liberally (pardon the pun) with unrefined gobbledygook from moderator Chuck Todd. That being said, the policy initiatives were clearly outlined despite the format. Many of those policy initiatives were dramatically progressive and are, according to a variety of polls, deeply popular with a majority of voters.

        A hell of a lot of people tuned in, especially to the Thursday night debate which featured several frontrunners, including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. According to Nielsen, some 18.1 million viewers tuned in to watch Harris snap Biden over her knee on the second night, making it the most-watched Democratic primary debate in history.

        For the establishment press, which flees progressive ideas the way vampires flee garlic, this simply will not do. Like swallows returning to Capistrano, they swooped in after the debate and started pooping all over the roof. This led to the publication of some hilariously fraught news stories and editorials in the bigger papers, none more so than The New York Times, with The Washington Post riding sidecar on this road to progressive perdition.

        “With moderate Democrats repeatedly drowned out or on the defensive in the debates,” wrote the Times in its opening “Fear the Libs!” salvo, “the sprint to the left has deeply unnerved establishment Democrats, who have largely picked the party nominees in recent decades.” Can’t have the establishment stripped of its power to pick sure-fire winners like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, now can we?

      • It’s Time to Redefine Left, Right, and Especially “Center” in US Politics

        One of the most persistent—and destructive—myths in politics is that America is a center right country politically. It is reinforced by both parties, the press, and pundits and it has become generally accepted by much of the public. This myth explains why folks warn against going too far to the left; about the dangers of embracing—gasp—”socialism,” and why most attempts to divine the “electability” of the multitude of candidates in the Democratic race are misguided at best.


        It’s not just the centrists and the center-right who are mischaracterizing the center of American politics, it includes nominally liberal folks as well as corporate-funded liberal organizations like The Third Way and the Center for American Progress. And the debate about whether the Democratic Party is drifting too far to the left was evident in both Democratic debates.

        But here’s the thing. This chorus of people warning against the dangers of drifting to the left are being duped by a well-funded, Madison Avenue-style campaign that has been decades in the making. If you look behind the labels, you’ll find that the majority of Americans have been polling liberal on an issue by issue basis for some time now, and recent surveys show that trend is only strengthening.

      • ‘Hell No’: Ocasio-Cortez Denounces Pelosi-Approved Vote on McConnell’s Border Bill Without New Protections for Children

        “Senate Dems put us in a terrible position,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Senate version of the funding bill, she said, “does absolutely nothing to hold a rogue administration accountable for cruelty. It has no provisions to ensure $$ goes to the children or that for-profit agencies are held accountable. I am a giant no vote on that bill.”


        Ezra Levin, co-director of the progressive advocacy group Indivisible, suggested it was ridiculous of Pelosi to agree to the vote even as she gives President Donald Trump a free pass on impeachment proceedings and McConnell has shown no inkling of caving to Democrats on any of their key legislative items.

        “Pelosi, who is blocking Judiciary impeachment proceedings,” said Levin in a tweet, “now unilaterally caves to McConnell’s demands on the bad immigration bill. Not clear why she was so eager to become Speaker – seems happy acting like a Minority Leader.”

      • Democratic Candidates Are Sounding a Lot Like Teddy Roosevelt

        There was a Republican on the Democratic Party debate stage — a Progressive Republican who sometimes liked to “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” Did you notice him?

        “When I say that I am for the square deal,” said the politician, “I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity.”

        You would be forgiven if you confused President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech for something said by one of the candidates running in the Democratic Party presidential primary in 2019.

        Ours is the New Gilded Age of ostentatious, unaccountable wealth and growing inequality, and current politicians sound a lot like their predecessors. The Gilded Age — the name given to the period after the Civil War to about 1900 — was characterized by massive industrialization and wealth accumulation in the hands of the few and at the expense of the many. “Robber barons” like J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Mellon and John D. Rockefeller controlled entire segments of the economy and were answerable to no one. Roosevelt sought to rein them in.

        There are generational and policy differences between today’s Democratic candidates, but all 20 who made it onto the debate stage over two nights in Miami professed a Rooseveltian understanding of the ills facing the nation.

        And — though no one used the term exactly — all promised Americans what Roosevelt promised the country: a new “square deal.”

      • Peace Is Revolution! Revolution Is Peace!

        I would really, over the long run, hope America would find some way to provide all of our citizens with extended families—a large group of people they could call on for help. Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

        From what I have read, Indian culture, such as that of the Iroquois confederacy which preceded the invasion of white people in the Mohawk Valley where I live, was naturally anarchist. This is due, I venture, to their reliance on shamanic wisdom and oral, face-to-face teaching and storytelling for their cultural underpinnings, rather than on hierarchical systems of top-down authority and order. They truly were/are a bottom-up society, and at least among the “traditionalists,” purposefully maintain themselves as such. For that reason our indigenous neighbors provide the needed model as we move into the era of “adaptation” to climate collapse, (not to mention the era of divisiveness, mass immigrations, and increasing social chaos we have entered) a model we always needed but didn’t know it.

        The many-headed crisis we collectively face was avoidable had we been capable of seeing the Indians not as “other” and inferior, but as “others” having helpfully corrective information to give us! The fact that we could turn down their helpful corrective information had everything to do with keeping them, in our collective mind, as “others -” inferior, savage, superstitious, lazy, no-good drunks, etc. which in turn, avoided a crisis for the collective European settler ego. It would be helpful now for white people to enter our long-postponed crisis, a postponement that has brought us so much material good, and visited so much evil on “others,” that is, upon everyone who, for whatever our purposes – grabbing land, building railroads, factory production, or just maintaining the bourgeois reality – could be classified as inferior, not covered under the Golden Rule.

      • Meet St. Petersburg Acting Governor Alexander Beglov, who just might be the Kremlin’s worst candidate in this fall’s elections

        In the fall of 2019, 16 Russian regions will hold gubernatorial elections. The strangest and most widely discussed campaign among them is taking place in St. Petersburg, where voters will select new municipal legislators and the city’s governor. In dozens of precincts, local elections are being organized in secret, and groups of muscular men have stood in line at registration offices to make sure opposition candidates can’t turn in their paperwork. Russia’s Central Election Commission has threatened to cancel St. Petersburg’s local legislative races, and even the Kremlin doesn’t seem to believe in Alexander Beglov, the regime’s candidate for governor. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev has done his best to explain what’s going on in Russia’s cultural capital.

      • Over Two Nights, Democrats Start Building the Wall Against Trump

        You somehow know that when Donald Trump, our nation’s juvenile lead, sent out his one word tweet—“BORING!”—during the first of the two Democratic presidential debates this week, he probably really was bored. That’s because the candidates were talking about some real policy ideas, for which we know he has the attention span of an intellectually challenged mayfly, the insect who got left behind in third grade.

        But his ego also could have led him to believe that NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo would interrupt their coverage of the proceedings and breathlessly report his latest two-syllable typing exercise – you know, the way that back in the 16th century Britain’s official Groom of the King’s Close Stool would closely monitor and assist Henry VIII with his trips to the royal loo.

        No such luck, Mr. President. During the live telecast no one mentioned it until after the first debate was over—along with yet another childish tweet from you, this time mindlessly making fun of an audio glitch during the event.

      • Twitter Users Ridicule First Daughter With #UnwantedIvanka Hashtag After Ivanka Caught on Video ‘Boxing Way Above Her Weight’

        Social media users inserted images of Ivanka Trump into pictures of historical events to show how nepotism doesn’t always translate into acceptance after a viral video of the First Daughter and senior White House advisor awkwardly interrupting a group of world leaders at the G20 summit went viral over the weekend.

        The video, which was posted to Instagram by the office of French President Emmanuel Macron, shows Ivanka jumping into a conversation between Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde. Ivanka was at the conference with her father, President Donald Trump.

      • Rex Tillerson to Congress: Jared Kushner Went Behind My Back on Foreign Policy

        Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly told Congress last month that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser, repeatedly went behind top cabinet officials’ backs on foreign policy.

        Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month that he was left “angry” after Kushner kept him in the dark while conducting his own meetings with foreign officials, according to a transcript of Tillerson’s seven-hour testimony published by the Washington Post.

        Tillerson told the committee that one of the “challenges” that “everyone had” in the Trump administration was “to learn to deal with … the unique situation with the president’s son-in-law [Kushner] and daughter [Ivanka] being part of the White House advisory team.”

      • #NeverAgainIsNow: 36 Arrested As Hundreds of Jewish Protesters Block Road to Migrant Detention Center

        Rejecting the notion that denouncing the Trump administration’s immigrant detention centers as “concentration camps” does harm to the memory of the Holocaust, 200 Jewish people demonstrated at a facility in New Jersey Sunday evening and demanded the release of the thousands of immigrants in U.S. custody.

        Grassroots group Never Again Action called for all detention centers to be closed and for the U.S. government to protect asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants—instead of sending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) into communities where the agency has arrested hundreds so far this year in raids.

        The group reported that 36 participants were arrested for blocking the road to the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

        “I have to do whatever is in my power to disrupt ICE, to close these camps, to provide permanent protection, and to ensure that ‘never again’ means never again,” said Rebecca Oliver, a demonstrator who was arrested.

      • Maxim Trudolyubov explains why Russia’s ‘state-family’ business elites are living dangerously

        On July 1, Meduza published a new investigative report by Ivan Golunov about Moscow’s funeral industry. Golunov’s first report about this business, released in August 2018, addressed the national market. Russia’s funeral industry has fundamentally transformed over the past 30 years, and the changes across the country have reinforced a single trend: individuals with connections to the state have replaced men with ties to organized crime. Meduza asked International New York Times contributing opinion writer and Kennan Institute The Russia File editor-in-chief Maxim Trudolyubov to explain the problems with this unruly industry and those who control it.

        Consider this family portrait. The man of the house, a respected industry manager since the late Soviet times, is now deceased. His wife is an enterprising woman who seizes the new era and creates a private company that quickly becomes the market leader. Their son has returned home to take up his inheritance, after graduating from a university in London. He’s now an elected lawmaker, serving in Russia’s ruling political party, and he even supervises the party’s “Strong Family” project.

      • Russian prosecutors: still no suspects in drug case previously used to arrest Ivan Golunov

        The criminal drug distribution case under which Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov was charged and later released for lack of evidence remains open: after Golunov was cleared, law enforcement officials were left to find the true source of the drugs that the journalist said police had planted in his possessions. However, no suspects in the case have yet been found, said Alexander Kurennoy, a representative of Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

      • The Sheriff Lost Reelection. Then the Spending Spree Began.

        A jumble of electrical cables dangles from a hole punched through the ceiling in Sheriff Blake Turman’s brightly lit office in rural Covington County, Alabama, near the Florida Panhandle.

        A year ago, Turman’s predecessor, Dennis Meeks, used sheriff’s office funds to buy and install a security camera system, financial records show. But the equipment is no longer there.

        “You see them wires hanging right there?” Turman asked during an interview in the office, which he took over in January, several months after beating Meeks in a runoff.

        “That’s where the closed-circuit camera system used to be. He spent $2,800 putting that in there — $2,800 out of discretionary funds, and it’s gone now.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • France has turned into one of the worldwide threats to free speech

        Just over one year ago, French President Emmanuel Macron came to the United States to import two potentially invasive species to Washington. One was a tree and the other was a crackdown on free speech. Ironically, soon after the tree was planted, officials dug it up to send it to quarantine. However, the more dangerous species was his acorn of speech controls, a proposal that resulted in rapturous applause from our clueless politicians.

        While our politicians in the United States may applaud Macron like village idiots, most Americans are hardcore believers in free speech. It runs in our blood. Undeterred, however, Macron and others in Europe are moving to unilaterally impose speech controls on the internet with new legislation in France and Germany. If you believe this is a European issue, think again.

        Macron and his government are attempting to unilaterally scrub out the internet of hateful thoughts. The French Parliament has moved toward a new law that would give internet companies like Facebook and Google just 24 hours to remove hateful speech from their sites or face fines of $1.4 million per violation. A final vote is expected next week. Germany passed a similar measure last year and imposed fines of $56 million.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Hong Kong Protests Show Dangers of a Cashless Society

        It can be easy to take cash for granted, especially in a wealthy, developed economy. Those fortunate enough to live in a stable society usually suffer no lack of payment options. They are getting more advanced all the time, with financial technology (fintech) companies constantly developing new ways to quickly and cheaply make purchases and send money. It sometimes seems the days of old-fashioned cash, with its dormant physicality, are numbered.

        Allowing cash to die would be a grave mistake. A cashless society is a surveillance society. The recent round of protests in Hong Kong highlights exactly what we have to lose.

        The current unrest concerns a proposed change to Hong Kong’s extradition laws that would allow island fugitives to be transferred to Taiwan, Macau, and mainland China. The proposal sparked mass outrage, as many Hongkongers saw it as little more but a new way for the People’s Republic of China to erode the legal sovereignty of Hong Kong.

        This week, anti-extradition protests reached another crescendo, as Hongkongers took to the streets again to commemorate the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handoff to China, highlighting the deep political dynamics at play.

        Specifically, protestors fear that the Chinese judicial system, with all its attendant human rights baggage, would come to supplant Hong Kong’s. This would be no small problem. China isn’t shy about cracking down on political dissidents, even those from other states under their control. For example, in 2017, a Taiwanese pro-democracy activist was detained in China and sentenced to five years in prison for “subverting [Chinese] state power” in his home country.

      • Demanding Users Fight for Data and Privacy Protections, Wikipedia Co-Founder Calls for #SocialMediaStrike

        The declaration also accuses big tech companies of requiring “agreement to terms of service that are impossible for ordinary users to understand, and which are objectionably vague in ways that permit them to legally defend their exploitative practices.”

        Corporations have “marketed private data to advertisers in ways that no one would specifically assent to,” wrote Sanger, and have “data-mined user content and behavior in sophisticated and disturbing ways.”

        “The vast power wielded by social networks of the early 21st century, putting our digital rights in serious jeopardy,” Sanger wrote, “demonstrates that we must engineer new—but old-fashioned—decentralized networks that make such clearly dangerous concentrations of power impossible.”

        Sanger left Wikipedia in 2002, and has gone on to criticize the site of being a “broken system” that “never solved the problem of how to organize itself in a way that didn’t lead to mob rule.”

      • British Airways faces record £183m fine for data breach

        British Airways is facing a record fine of £183m for last year’s breach of its security systems.

        The airline, owned by IAG, says it was “surprised and disappointed” by the penalty from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

        At the time, BA said hackers had carried out a “sophisticated, malicious criminal attack” on its website.

        The ICO said it was the biggest penalty it had ever handed out and the first to be made public under new rules.

        The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force last year and was the biggest shake-up to data privacy in 20 years.

        The penalty imposed on BA is the first one to be made public since those rules were introduced and amounts to 1.5% of its worldwide turnover in 2017, less than the possible maximum of 4%.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • St. Petersburg investigators open criminal case to investigate police torture of local teenager

        The St. Petersburg Investigative Committee has opened a police overreach case that could carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison after local officers circulated a photograph of a 17-year-old’s battered face. The human rights center Zona Prava, which is representing the young man who was beaten, told Meduza that investigators believe unnamed police officers beat the victim using their batons.

        Olesya Koval, the teenager’s mother, had previously explained that her son was arrested on May 28 during a suspected shoplifting incident, after which police officers both used their batons to beat him and threatened to rape him with the batons. Koval said police then circulated a photograph of her son to their coworkers.

      • Protesters Take Over Hong Kong’s Legislature

        A group of protesters in Hong Kong has taken over the legislative chamber, spray painting slogans on the wall and over the territory’s emblem.

        Some stood on the desks of lawmakers Friday night while others climbed up to leave their messages on the soaring wooden wall.

        Police appear to have retreated to avoid a confrontation, giving the protesters the run of the building.

        They smashed and tore down portraits of legislative leaders after prying open metal gates to gain access.

        Meanwhile, tens of thousands of others marched through the city to demand expanded democracy on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China.

      • ‘Monstrous’: Trump Blames Migrants for Appalling Conditions at Border Patrol Detention Centers

        In response to photos, news reports, and first-hand accounts of the horrific conditions inside Border Patrol detention centers in Texas, President Donald Trump on Wednesday fired off a tweet blaming migrants themselves for the abuse they are now enduring at the hands of his administration.

        “If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come,” Trump wrote. “All problems solved!”

      • ‘Slap in the Face to the People of Flint’ as Former Mich. Gov. Snyder Appointed to Harvard Fellowship

        The appointment to the school of Snyder, a Republican, which begins today, was first announced Friday. By Sunday, as news of the fellowship spread, Flint advocates and environmental activists expressed outrage over the appointment, especially given Snyder’s role in the Flint crisis.

        In a statement, Food and Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said Snyder’s appointment was “a slap in the face to the people of Flint by one of the most elite institutions in America.”

        “Snyder is a leader, alright,” said Hauter, “he led Flint straight into one of the nation’s most notorious disasters in recent memory. His appointment of an emergency manager set the stage for the lead and bacterial contamination that resulted in unnecessary deaths and the lead poisoning of children. The timeline of events shows that his administration knew more about the events early on than what they disclosed to the public. This is criminal, and he must be held accountable.”

        Activist Mariame Kaba told Common Dreams that she was “appalled” to learn about the appointment given that “Snyder oversaw the poisoning of thousands of people in Flint.”

      • Revolution in the Red States

        Donald Trump was elected to the US presidency by sheeplike flocks of Red State “deplorables” brainwashed by an army of Russian trolls spreading lies on social media and hacking Saint Hillary’s email, you’d better take a peak through the pages of Charlie LeDuff’s new book, Sh*tshow!: The Country’s Collapsing … and the Ratings Are Great.

        LeDuff spent three years travelling the US with a two-man film crew, chronicling the desperation of workers, frustrated by the insincerities of sharp-suited, slack-mouthed career politicians, who were too occupied with nosing their way through the troughs of corporate America to offer hope to their weary constituents.

      • Amazon’s first job listing show’s Jeff Bezos’ gruelling standards

        The tough working conditions allegedly facing Amazon employees have made headlines for years now — and it seems it’s been the case from day one.
        Amazon’s first ever job ad — listed by founder Jeff Bezos in 1994 — was unearthed last year by BNN Bloomberg host Jon Erlichman, and shared on Twitter.
        And 12 words buried within the ad could be the secret to the company’s phenomenal success — although it also paints a grim picture about the tech giant’s stringent standards.

      • Border agency knew of troubling Facebook posts in 2016: acting secretary

        U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials knew in 2016 about a private Facebook group where border agents posted racist and misogynistic comments, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan said on Sunday.

        McAleenan said on ABC’s “This Week” that he had been told about an allegation in 2016 “that was investigated, followed up on, and that discipline was meted out on an agent that made an offensive post on that website.”

        The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service came under fire over the issue last Monday, when the nonprofit news site ProPublica reported that offensive content had been posted on a private Facebook group for current and former CPB officers.

        Posts included jokes about the deaths of migrants and sexually explicit comments referring to U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the news outlet said.

        McAleenan said the Facebook page was a private site run by a group of individuals in their off-duty hours and not under CBP control. He said DHS did put out a social media policy encouraging border agents to maintain standards and a code of conduct on social media.

      • U.S. Policy on Immigrant Children Violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child?

        A Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned while attempting to seek asylum in the United States are the latest victims of a policy that has cost the lives and seriously affected the health of hundreds of people, most of them children. Children have been separated from their parents and kept in steel cages, a brutal aggression against those most vulnerable.

        The mistreatment of children and the separation from their parents violates basic tenets of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an internationally recognized agreement that establishes a comprehensive set of goals for individual nations to improve children’s lives.

        Although the convention has worldwide recognition and support, the U.S. is the only country in the world that hasn’t yet ratified the CRC yet. Both the Ronald Reagan and the George H.W. Bush administrations played an important role in drafting the treaty, which was signed by the US government in 1995, indicating the nation’s intent to consider ratification.

        The next step, so far unfulfilled by the US, is for the President and his advisors to draft a Statement of Reservations, Understandings, and Declarations to be presented to the Senate for its “advice and consent.” Upon Senate approval by a two-thirds majority, the treaty goes back to the President for ratification.

        The Convention calls for children to be free from violence and abuse, and compels governments to provide them adequate nutrition and health care. It also demands that children receive equal treatment regardless of gender, race or cultural background, and have the right to express their opinions and have freedom of thought in matters affecting them. Further, it addresses the rights of children with disabilities.

        In addition, the CRC emphasizes the primacy and importance of the role, authority, and responsibility of parents and family and is consistent with the principles contained in the U.S. Bill of Rights. Ratification of the convention has been endorsed by about a hundred organizations in the US, among them the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Baptist Churches, the American Bar Association, the National Education Association, and the Child Welfare League of America.

      • ‘That Little Girl Was Me’: Watch Kamala Harris Confront Joe Biden Over Opposition to School Busing and Praise for Segregationists

        Sen. Kamala Harris directly confronted Joe Biden over his civil rights record during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate, highlighting the former vice president’s opposition to school busing as a senator in the 1970s and his fond recollection of the “civility” of notorious segregationists.

        After saying it was “hurtful” to hear Biden offer kind words earlier this month about two senators who “built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country”—James O. Eastland and Herman Talmadge—Harris invoked “a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day.”

        “And that little girl was me,” Harris said.

        “So I will tell you that, on this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats,” added the senator from California. “We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.”

      • Nuclear IQ, Presidential Debates, and Our Future

        The formal debates for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President have begun this week. While there are many substantive topics that need to be covered, there are two existential threats that demand to be addressed. The threat of climate change has been discussed nominally though hardly with the urgency that it requires to stop our steady drift to ever greater catastrophic climate events. The other threat is that of nuclear war which increases as environmental degradation, resource depletion and its associated conflict follows. Yet the threat of nuclear weapons and the concept of nuclear deterrence has not and is not likely to be discussed. Despite growing scientific evidence of the increasing vulnerability and threat posed by these weapons, we seem incapable of having a national dialogue on why they should even exist. Ultimately, they threaten every single thing we care about every moment of every day.

        At a time when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists calculates that we are closer to nuclear war either by intent, cyberattack or accident than at any time since the height of the cold war, we would be well advised to take note so as to take appropriate action and educate our citizenry to eliminate these risks. In keeping their 2019 Doomsday Clock at 2 Minutes to Midnight, the Bulletin’s advisory board noted the close interplay of climate crises with growing international conflict, and the risk of nuclear war.

      • With ‘Devastating’ Consequences in the Balance for Hundreds of Thousands, Supreme Court Agrees to Weigh Trump’s Move to End DACA

        The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday that it would take up challenges to President Donald Trump’s bid to terminate DACA, the Obama-era program that protects roughly 800,000 youth from deportation.

        Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), said on Twitter that the decision—issued just before the high court takes its three-month recess—”is a reminder of what’s at stake with 2020 elections.”

        “In total,” CBS News explained, “the court will hear three cases on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA which will be consolidated into one ruling when the justices return in October.”

        “The legal question before the Supreme Court,” Reuters reported, “is whether the administration properly followed a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act in Trump’s plan to rescind DACA.”

        Three federal judges have already said the administration did not follow that law.

        NILC, Make the Road NY, and the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School are representing DACA recipients groups in the challenge.

      • How Sergey Petrov went from anti-Soviet officer to market kingpin to person of interest

        “Rolf” founder Sergey Petrov, whom police charged on June 27 with illegally withdrawing money to an offshore company, has spent his whole life fighting against “the regime” in Russia and dreaming about liberalism’s ultimate victory. After becoming a leader of the country’s auto market, he joined the parliamentary opposition and started working to develop civil society. Meduza looks back at the career of one of Russia’s most successful entrepreneurs, who has no plans to return home, while threatened with felony criminal prosecution.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Live Tweets ‘Horrifying’ and ‘Dehumanizing’ Treatment of Migrants as She Tours US Detention Facilities

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the “horrifying” conditions she witnessed on Monday in a series of live tweets as she and other congressional Democrats visited migrant detention facilities in Texas.

        The New York congresswoman was part of a delegation of 21 lawmakers organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and co-led by Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas.

        The group is slated to make stops at three separate facilities, one of which is the Clint site, where a team of laywers recently visited and detailed dangerous and inhumane conditions faced by imprisoned migrant children.

        The lawmakers’ visits took place the same day as A.C. Thompson reported at ProPublica on a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents—boasting roughly 9,500 members—in which participants depicted lewd images of Ocasio-Cortez, joked about the death of a migrant in custody, and, referencing the planned congressional visits, referred to Ocasio-Cortez and women in the group as “hoes” and bitches.”

    • Monopolies
      • Replace Patent Monopolies With Direct Public Funding for Drug Research

        The benefits go beyond just the savings. Patent monopolies give drug companies an enormous incentive to push their drugs as widely as possible, even when they may not be the most effective drug or have harmful side effects. Purdue Pharma would not have been pushing OxyContin so vigorously if it were selling at generic prices. While the opioid crisis is an extreme case, drug companies exaggerate the benefits of their drugs and conceal negative side effects all the time.

        If we went the route of direct public funding, the savings would go beyond prescription drugs. Medical equipment and tests are also made expensive because of government-granted patent monopolies.

        NPR recently did a piece about a woman who had a surprise bill of $94,000 for neuromonitoring services during a surgery on her spine. The reason this process could be billed for $94,000, as opposed to perhaps 1/20th of this amount, is that the process is patented. If the neuromonitoring system had been developed with public funds, there would be no huge bill with which to surprise patients.

        Given the many bold progressive proposals that Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and some of the other candidates have put forward, it is surprising that they have not proposed to reform the financing of drug and other medical research. This failure is especially peculiar, since both Sanders and Warren (along with Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar) were sponsors of a bill that would provide some public funding for research that would lead to new drugs being introduced as generics.

        The patent monopoly system of financing the development of new drugs and medical equipment is a disaster in just about every way. Many of the leading Democratic contenders know how to do better, they need to add this to their agenda.

      • Patents and Software Patents
        • Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          Cellspin Soft Inc. (Cellspin) filed an infringement suit against Fitbit Inc. (Fitbit) and ten other defendants in the Northern District of California, asserting U.S. Patent Nos. 8,738,794, 8,892,752, 9,258,698, and 9,749,847. These patents have a common specification and their claims are directed to a data capture device being connected to a mobile device so that captured data can be published to a web site. The defendants moved the District Court to dismiss all counts under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), alleging that the patents did not meet the eligibility requirements of 35 U.S.C.§ 101. Ultimately, the District Court not only granted this motion, but also awarded the defendants attorney fees under § 285. Cellspin appealed.


          The Court also made it clear that Aatrix “expressly stated that patentees who adequately allege their claims contain inventive concepts survive a § 101 eligibility analysis under Rule 12(b)(6).” Thus, the District Court’s reliance on Berkheimer to discount Cellspin’s allegations was misplaced.

          Putting this all together, the Court stated “accepting the allegations stated above as true, we cannot conclude that the asserted claims lack an inventive concept . . . we have no basis, at the pleadings stage, to say that these claimed techniques, among others, were well-known or conventional as a matter of law.” A major factor that led the Court toward this conclusion was that “Cellspin did more than simply label [the claimed] techniques as inventive . . . [i]t pointed to evidence suggesting that these techniques had not been implemented in a similar way.” Thus, based on the allegations, the claims “recite a specific, plausibly inventive way of arranging devices and using protocols rather than the general idea of capturing, transferring, and publishing data,” and cannot be found ineligible at this point in the case.


          The Court also found that the District Court erred when admonishing Cellspin for amending its complaints so close to the hearing thereon. Looking to the record, the Court observed that “Cellspin’s amendment was timely based on a scheduling order entered by the district court just three days before Cellspin’s amendment,” and that “Cellspin’s decision to amend was also justified in light of Berkheimer and Aatrix, decided just a few weeks earlier.”

        • Jony Ive has his name on some weird patents

          Ive has been prolific during his time at Apple. His name can be found on 1,628 patents in the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) database. The first one he was part of, filed in 1994 when Apple was still called Apple Computer, was for the design of a product now seen as being far too ahead of its time, the Apple Newton handheld digital assistant.

          Ive went on to have a hand in just about every major piece of hardware Apple has released since the turn of the century, including the seminal designs of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. His designs have sold billions of units, helping turn Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world.

          But not everything Ive has done at Apple has been as momentously important as kicking off the mobile computing revolution.

        • [Older] Congress Is Debating—Again—Whether Genes Can Be Patented

          IN 2013, THE Supreme Court unanimously struck down patents on two human genes—BRCA1 and BRCA2—associated with breast and ovarian cancers. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court at the time that isolated DNA “is a product of nature and not patent eligible.” The historic decision invalidated patents held by Myriad Genetics, the defendant in a 2009 lawsuit brought by dozens of patients and researchers represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, breaking the company’s virtual monopoly on predictive cancer testing and unleashing a torrent of competition. Today, more than a dozen companies, including mail-order spit-kit operations like 23andMe and Color, can tell you what your BRCA genes say about your risk of getting cancer.

          Now lawmakers in Washington, DC, are weighing a new proposal that would upend that landmark decision and other recent rulings that created judicial exceptions to federal patent law. Under debate are the notions that natural phenomena, observations of laws of nature, and abstract ideas are unpatentable. That legal precedent includes a major victory for the software industry against a plague of patent trolls. If successful, some worry this bill could carve up the world’s genetic resources into commercial fiefdoms, forcing scientists to perform basic research under constant threat of legal action.

          The bipartisan draft bill, released last month by Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), makes changes to several sections of the statutes covering patent law and adds a provision that would nullify the Supreme Court’s exceptions to it. Critics of those decisions say they’ve left the US with incoherent and overly stringent patent eligibility rules that are hurting innovation, at a time when technological rivals, in particular China, are speeding ahead. Proponents of the current legal doctrine fear reform will send the US back to a time when you could slap intellectual property rights on almost anything—from a DNA sequence to the act of scanning and sending a file with a single click.

        • On the Economics of Injunctions in Patent Cases

          Courts in many countries continue to follow the traditional practice of awarding the prevailing patent owner a permanent injunction, absent exceptional circumstances. First-generation law-and-economics scholarship, building on Calabresi and Melamed’s work on property and liability rules, largely supported this practice, based upon the perceived advantages of injunctions (as opposed to damages awards) in inducing bargaining and reducing valuation errors. More recent scholarship, however, has questioned the wisdom of automatic injunctions, particularly in cases in which the conditions conducive to patent holdup are present — among them, cases involving standard essential patents, patents incorporated into complex, multipatent devices, and actions brought by patent assertion entities.

          Building upon this more recent work, I argue that the social benefits and costs of injunctions vary depending on the circumstances. To assist policymakers in rendering decisions in the real world, I propose two simplifying assumptions that would enable courts to compare the expected cost of holdup with the expected cost of valuation error. A simple set of recommendations follows, namely that courts generally should (1) grant injunctions when the probability of holdup is low, and (2) deny them when the probability of holdup is great and the expected harm from valuation error low to moderate. For indeterminate cases — for example, when the probability of holdup and the expected harm from valuation error are both high — courts can mitigate both risks to some degree by granting injunctions subject to stays pending design-around.

      • Trademarks
        • An Emerging Trend – ADR Mechanism in IPR Conflicts

          India is country habitants having many religion and cultures, since centuries habitants of India has evolved with several forms of dispute resolution mechanisms and over period of time, they have customized, varied according to needs. Even though Britisher’s rulers had left Indian shores almost half a century ago, still several of these laws exist till date without any major changes. Wide Internet usage has rendered boundaries of the states meaningless. The people across the globe have realized its potentiality as an effective tool for communication, dissemination of information and e-commerce and enjoying to unrestricted access to multifarious interactions, transactions inevitably thereby raising many new issues in the nature of e-disputes to virtual sale/purchase of products through e-auctions or otherwise, domain disputes, trademark infringement, patents, software infringement, copyright, defamatory writings, fraud, privacy, etc.

          In this scenario the Intellectual Property Rights are becoming fundamentally exigent to get in to research collaborations and thereby making Intellectual property rights tool as valuable business assets for technological entities. The people across world over frequently involve in cross-border transactions having different backgrounds and different national laws or within different states of India. Some time disputable transactions create multi-jurisdictional disputes between the nationalities of different countries having different social backgrounds, mindsets. Usually those business entities having familiarity with alternative dispute resolution (ADR) are able to resolve such conflicts efficiently. As the determination of commercial or non commercial disputes before different national courts can result in to high legal and other costs as well as conflicting awards. Therefore, the ADR has a potential to provide business entities belonging to distinct nationalities a single unified forum of arbitration thereby having a final and enforceable award binding across multiple jurisdictions. Hence, increasingly, IP owners and users are approaching to many of known alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures like arbitration and mediation to resolve their IP disputes.

          In this scenario the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been playing pivotal role since i ts inception in strengthening ADR procedures for IP conflicts and forefront in resolving IP conflicts through their specialized ADR procedures. The Intellectual Property conflicts are not that conflicts which cannot be adjudicated or resolved through ADR. As Intellectual Property conflicts being a specialised in its nature and it require specialised services of ADR experts in resolving IP conflicts, mainly due to non availability of IP experts in India is the main obstacle in resolving IP conflict through arbitration or through ADR.

          Thus, like any other emerging field of law, IP conflict resolution also has a plenty of debatable issues before it. In this research paper, It will be my endeavor to delve deep into these issues like amongst mainly i) Whether ADR: arbitration and mediation can be real alternative to IP disputes litigation, ii ) whether IP right disputes like any other commercial disputes can be brought under ADR procedure or not If so, to what extent?. iii) When is ADR to be preferred, when is it to be avoided; and, if ADR is preferred, what form of ADR should be pursued? iv) Whether, an alternative dispute resolution procedure can play effective role in resolving IP conflicts if so to what extent? v) Whether the parties to IP conflicts can reap overall benefits by invoking ADR procedures in comparison to traditional litigation, if so, to what extent? vi) Whether the use of a private consensual mechanism like arbitration or mediation procedures pose any threat to the resolution of such specialised disputes, if so, to what extent?

      • Copyrights
        • ‘We’re Not Being Paid’: Musicians Struggle Against Orchestra Management, Streaming Services

          At the end of May, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra management informed their musicians that the summer season would be canceled and musicians would be locked out beginning June 17, the first work stoppage for the orchestra in 31 years.

          “We’re not being paid. They told us our health insurance will end July 1. They canceled our long term disability insurance retroactive to June 17,” said Greg Mulligan, co-chairman of the Baltimore Symphony Musicians’ Players Committee.

          Mulligan noted the lockout comes in the wake of pressure from management to reduce musicians’ wages by 20 percent after years of keeping pay stagnant.

          In new contract negotiations, the Players’ Committee is asking for a two percent wage cost of-living increase. They also want the orchestra to abide by the required minimum of 83 full-time musicians as set out in the most recent contract. (Currently, there are only 76 full-time musicians.)

          “Because we are the single biggest expense in the budget, I think they find it the easiest to try to lower our wages,” he said. “It’s very disappointing.”

The Corporate Media Deliberately Distorts the Public’s Opinion on Microsoft and Its ‘Love’ for Linux

Sunday 7th of July 2019 04:39:56 PM

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

Rewriting history while Microsoft’s book-burning (DRM) is completed

Summary: The media not only fails to explain how the public feels about Microsoft; it is actually lecturing people how to think and demonising those who have the ‘audacity’ to question Microsoft (while conveniently turning a blind eye to Linux Foundation scandals)

When one has the likes of Waggener Edstrom (bribes, Ballmer’s wife etc.) working as PR agencies it’s already a red warning; when one sees it employed as an official media front of Microsoft (there are many more, especially in different countries where languages vary) one has to be super-cautious and highly sceptical when it comes to media. Some of these people aren’t just dodgy but criminal and they keep pasting this “Microsoft loves Linux” lie everywhere (pretty much every week). Waggener Edstrom is even ‘guarding’ Wikipedia for Microsoft; they edit and ‘correct’ pages (we covered this before and gave examples). It’s against Wikipedia’s rules, but are these rules properly enforced?

“Having studied Microsoft for a decade and a half if not more (properly, in an in-depth fashion), there’s no doubt in my mind they’re lying. They don’t love Linux.”It’s a fine time to revisit George Carlin’s deep cynicism about media companies, which he knew too well (his family). The so-called mainstream media or corporate media or professional press coverage does not profit from truth but from agenda-setting. We know whose narratives it’s trying to push and ‘monetise’.

“Where Microsoft is concerned, I am always doubtful of their motives,” Ridcully wrote. To which “penguinist” replied with “I predicted they would try their EEE strategy with Linux via patents and other manipulative behavior. But, I never thought the Linux Foundation would become their partner in achieving this.”

“Two words that should never be used together in the same sentence: “Microsoft” and “trust”…”

So said “gus3″.

Scott Ruecker, the former editor of LXer, replied: “Unless they’re also paired with a form of “bankrupt” in the same clause: “The Microsoft Trust filed for bankruptcy yesterday…””

“I trust Microsoft as far as I can throw them..wait I take that back, I can throw them farther than I trust them,” the next person said.

This is pretty typical. At Reddit we see links to our articles being censored by moderators, even when they’re rated quite highly.

On went the conversation:

- Minix –> Linux –> Minux : I guess it’ll be the pet name of Microsoft Linux; We’ll be so nostalgic : Ah, in the good old days, there was Linux, but… money rules !

- I wonder if they still have any rights to Xenix…

- And anytime you might feel the need to give Microsoft the benefit of a doubt, they pull something like this:… [it's about Microsoft's book-burning]

This is a very typical conversation. This is how GNU/Linux users generally feel. The media does not persuade them otherwise.

Having studied Microsoft for a decade and a half if not more (properly, in an in-depth fashion), there’s no doubt in my mind they’re lying. They don’t love Linux. They cannot. They just have a strategy predicated upon people believing so and this is why (for the most part) Microsoft boosters keep repeating this lie. Be careful and correct the media when it tells those lies. The worst one can do it parrot these lies (passing on falsehood for Microsoft, pro bono).

Links 7/7/2019: 4MLinux 29.1 and Debian 10 Buster Released

Sunday 7th of July 2019 01:14:46 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • A list of names from “Cold Blood”

      I watched this fairly cheesy hitman / action movie today and there was a scene in it where a police detective was looking at a list of phone numbers. When I saw it I had to freeze the screen… and look at all of the fine names that were on the list. I’m guessing that none of the phone numbers attributed to the individuals are real, or ARE they?

    • Server
      • IBM
        • IBM CTO: ‘Open Tech Is Our Cloud Strategy’

          IBM may not be as splashy as some of the other tech giants that make big code contributions to open source. But as Chris Ferris, CTO for open technology at IBM says, “we’ve been involved in open source before open source was cool.”

          By Ferris’ estimation, IBM ranks among the top three contributors in terms of code commits to open source project and contributors to the various open source communities. “It’s really significant,” he said. “We don’t run around with the vanity metrics the way some others do, but it’s really important to us.”

          Ferris can’t quantify IBM’s open source investments. But think about all the different foundations of which IBM is a sponsor, he says. These include the Linux Foundation, Apache Software Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, Open Compute Project, OpenStack Foundation, and Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), among others.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Going Linux #372 · Ubuntu Derivatives

        Bill has a new computer he got for free. It’s 5 years old, modern hardware, can’t run Windows 10 (according to Microsoft), and is perfect for Bill to use to test Linux distros! In the main portion of the episode, we discuss 6 Linux distributions that are official Ubuntu derivatives you can use.

    • Kernel Space
      • EROFS Looking To Be Promoted Out Of Linux’s Staging Area

        Huawei’s EROFS file-system has been part of the mainline Linux kernel for about one year albeit as part of the “staging” area until it’s been proven stable and mature. Now with this file-system reportedly in use on “10+ millions of Huawei Android mobile phones”, they are looking to have this file-system promoted out of staging.

        EROFS as a reminder is a read-only Linux file-system developed by Huawei and optimized for delivering solid performance. EROFS supports in-place I/O and in-place decompression among other features designed to deliver a fast read-only file-system and Huawei engineers continue to work to improve its performance as well as tack on other features. Iomap and direct I/O support are among the other features being worked on along with support for more compression schemes.

      • Linux AEST Driver Sent Out For ARM Error Source Table

        ARM Error Source Table is an extension of ACPI that provides a table for RAS errors. Support for this new error table is being worked on with the new “AEST” Linux kernel driver.

      • Linux Foundation
        • Open Source Messaging Software NATS Releases 2.0

          Open source messaging software NATS 2.0 has been released and offers advanced security management, global disaster recovery, and improved performance at scale. NATS is a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) incubating project that provides messaging services for cloud native systems, IoT messaging, and microservices. According to Synadia, the company that leads the development of NATS, the latest release aims to “meet the market need for an advanced communications system tailored for modern distributed systems”.

        • Linux Releases New Open Source Framework Boreas To Help Integrate & Develop AI Models

          Recently, the Linux Foundation’s Artificial Intelligence team released Boreas, an open source framework which is also the second software release for its Acumos project. With this release, the framework will enable developers to create, train as well as make license verification of AI, machine learning, and deep learning models and applications.

          Acumos is an open source platform and framework which supports training, integration and deployment of AI models. Integration, adoption, and deployment of Acumos around the world serve as a common, open framework for the accelerating innovations in AI, ML, and deep learning space.

      • Graphics Stack
        • More RadeonSI Navi Improvements Are Pending

          A few days ago the Navi 10 support landed in AMD’s open-source RadeonSI OpenGL driver within Mesa 19.2. It looks like landing in the next few days will be some follow-up work to address some features and performance for the soon-to-ship Radeon RX 5700 series.

    • Applications
      • Top 20 Best Astronomy Software For Linux To Explore Space With

        There are far-ranges of astronomy software on the Linux platform that pave the way to observe the sky for the astronomy enthusiasts. In naked eyes, this fascinating universe stays immensely apart although there are many things to watch, for instance, nebulae, asteroids, star cluster, galaxies, meteor showers, comets, planets, stars, moons and so on. Astronomy software truly offers the professional astronomers and even the amateur sky explorer to go through the deep insight of the universe. This software facilitates controlling telescope, mapping night sky, making stars charts, having a close observation, creating details observation logs, and much more.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
      • Wine Announcement The Wine development release 4.12.1 is now available. What's new in this release (see below for details): - Fixes for broken 64-bit prefix initialization. The source is available from the following locations: Binary packages for various distributions will be available from: You will find documentation on You can also get the current source directly from the git repository. Check for details. Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
      • Wine 4.12.1 Released To Fix Broken 64-Bit Support

        Wine’s bi-weekly development snapshots do not normally see point releases, but this time around there’s an immediate bug fix release to Friday’s Wine 4.12.

        Wine 4.12.1 has been warranted due to 64-bit prefix initialization breaking for this release. This regression in Wine 4.12 comes after they began building Wineboot as a PE file.

      • Prepare your Command-Wine Interface for an upgrade to version 4.12 (update – and 4.12.1)

        Update: 4.12.1 was released soon after, to fix “broken 64-bit prefix initialization”.

    • Games
      • GameMode Seeing Improvement Work For Better Integration With GNOME

        Feral’s GameMode as the Linux gaming mode daemon to try to put the system in an optimized state automatically when running Linux games is seeing another possible addition thanks to GNOME developer Christian Kellner of Red Hat.

        Kellner has sent out a patch to allow GameMode to expose registered games with this daemon. This would allow the GameMode GNOME Shell extension or even integration within GNOME Usage to easily see what games are currently registered with this performance-minded Linux gaming daemon.

      • Clockwork’s GameShell is an Open Source Retro Handheld Console

        Raising $290,000 USD on Kickstarter last year, Clockwork‘s latest release is a DIY retro handheld gaming console for the serious gamers out there. Called the GameShell, the device comes in a boxed kit similar to Gunpla or car models, giving you the chance to assemble the modular gadget yourself. It comes in three colors — white, red, and yellow — and all the necessary components to get started including a ClockworkPi mainboard v3.1, an Arduino-compatible keyboard, a two-channel stereo speaker, a 2.7-inch RGB screen at 60fps, a 1200 mAh rechargeable battery, and five independent IO extended keys.

        Moving beyond the components, the GameShell is a truly hackable open source device. The machine itself is capable of playing retro games from Atari, GameBoy (Advance as well), the NES, or even the PlayStation 1, with support for programming languages including Preset C, Python, Lua, JS and LISP, allowing you to not only create your own games but also hack and modify existing ones. If the 2.7-inch screen isn’t big enough for you, fret not — a micro HDMI port allows you to connect the GameShell to your TV or monitor, bringing your favorite childhood games to the big screen. The console also doubles as a pocket Linux Computer if you connect a keyboard and mouse through OTG or Bluetooth.

      • Arduboy Mini is a tiny, open open source game console (for people with good eyesight)

        The Arduboy is a small handheld game console that uses open source code and which has a strong community of developers who have created 100+ games for the platform.

        But the upcoming Arduboy Mini is smaller, more fragile, harder to use, and… kind of cool anyway. Arduboy creator Kevin Bates has shared an early look at the Arduboy Mini and says he plans to produce “a limited edition batch of these in 4 different color PCBs” for folks that want to buy one.


        This is obviously a niche device that isn’t going to appeal to everyone. But Bates says the Arduboy Mini was partially built as a “design study to a smaller form factor,” and that he could eventually use what he’s learned to produce a similarly-sized Arduboy with an LCD display that could sell for as little as $5.

      • tinyBuild’s CEO reiterates company’s devotion to DRM-free releases on GOG

        It is always good when bad things settle down peacefully.

        Recently, one of the tinyBuild’s community managers said in a Discord chat some rather dumb things regarding the company’s stance on DRM-free, piracy and their corporate policy on the matter, trying to justify the lack of updates on GOG (for “Punch Club” and “Party Hard” for example, which were neglected for years, both being Linux releases) as an anti-pirate measures, after which some of the community have become riled-up.

      • Linux Games Get A Performance Boost for AMD GPUs Thanks to Valve’s New Compiler

        It has been a few days since Steam asked for the public feedback in order to test ACO (a new Mesa shader compiler) for AMD GPUs.

        Currently, the AMD drivers use a shader compiler utilizing LLVM. However, Mesa is an open source alternative to LLVM.

        So, in this case, Valve wants to support AMD graphics to improve the performance of Linux games on various Linux distros.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 78

          It’s time for week 78 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative! This week I think people have been taking a breather following a super intense sprint, and some are even on vacation–myself included. So this week’s report is going to ba a bit light, but it’s still got a few cool goodies!

        • KDE: Konsole Improves Its Tiled Split Mode, Global Shortcuts Can Turn Off Screens

          KDE developer Nate Graham published his usual weekly summary this morning of the KDE development happenings and it’s one of the shortest we’ve seen in many months. Accomplishments this week though include the ability to assign a global keyboard shortcut to turn off the screen/display, Konsole’s tiled split code can now re-arrange views via drag-and-drop, the energy saving settings now allow for hibernation after a defined period of time, and various other small improvements.

        • I am going to Akademy 2019!

          This year I will be going to my second Akademy to meet my KDE friends again, discuss about future plans for the community during BoF sessions, participate in workshops, code and learn more about free software, KDE projects and Qt! One more interesting thing is that this time I am going to present a talk about our new features in kpmcore library because of the release of KDE Partition Manager 4.0.

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
        • 4MLinux 29.1 released.

          This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.19.49. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.39, MariaDB 10.3.15, and PHP 7.3.6 (see this post for more details).

          You can update your 4MLinux by executing the “zk update” command in your terminal (fully automatic process).

      • Debian Family
        • Debian 10 buster released

          After 25 months of development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 10 (code name buster), which will be supported for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team.

        • Debian 10.0 “Buster” Now Available – Powered By Linux 4.19, GNOME + Wayland

          After a long day of preparations, Debian 10.0 “Buster” is now available as planned with the CD/DVD images having just hit the mirrors.

          Debian 10 is making use of the Linux 4.19 kernel, UEFI Secure Boot is finally supported by the distribution, on the desktop side GNOME Shell with Wayland is the default experience, AppArmor is enabled by default, and there are a plethora of updated packages compared to Debian 9 Stretch. Simply the newer/added packages alone in Debian 10 Buster make it a worthwhile upgrade from servers to desktops and workstations.

        • Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” Operating System Officially Released, Download Now

          The Debian Project has officially announce today the release and general availability of the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series as the new stable version of Debian.
          More than two years in development, Debian Buster or Debian 10 has now been declared stable, available for download for all supported architectures, and ready for deployment in production environments. It’s a major release that brings numerous updated components and lots of new features and improvements.

          “After 25 months of development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 10 (code name buster), which will be supported for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team,” reads the release announcement.

        • Debian 10 (“Buster”) has been released

          Debian version 10, code named “Buster”, has been released.

        • Debian 10 Buster Released! Here are the New Features

          The GNOME desktop which was 1.3.22 in Debian Stretch is updated to 1.3.30 in Buster. Some of the new packages included in this GNOME desktop release are gnome-todo, tracker instead of tracker-gui, dependency against gstreamer1.0-packagekit so there is automatic codec installation for playing movies etc. The big move has been all packages being moved from libgtk2+ to libgtk3+ .

        • Debian 10 “buster” has been released!

          You’ve always dreamt of a faithful pet? He is here, and his name is Buster! We’re happy to announce the release of Debian 10, codenamed buster.

          Want to install it? Choose your favourite installation media and read the installation manual. You can also use an official cloud image directly on your cloud provider, or try Debian prior to installing it using our “live” images.

        • Jonathan Wiltshire: Testing in Teams

          The Debian CD images are subjected to a battery of tests before release, even more so when the release is a major new version. Debian has volunteers all over the world testing images as they come off the production line, but it can be a lonely task.

        • Daisy and George Help Debian
        • After 25 Months, Debian 10 ‘buster’ Released

          “After 25 months of development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 10 (code name ‘buster’), which will be supported for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team.”

        • Debian 10 “buster” Released, After 2 Years of Continuous Development

          As promised by Debian project in the last month mailing list, the new stable version of Debina 10 “Buster” has been released on July 06th 2019, after 25 months of development.

          It’s Long Term Support (LTS) release and will be supported for the next 5 years.

          This new release contains totally over 57703 packages, over 35532 software packages has been updated to latest version (It is 62% of all packages in stretch), it includes over 13370 new packages.

          Also, removed over 7278 packages for various reasons from the distribution (It is 13% of the packages in stretch).

        • Debian: repository changed its ‘Suite’ value from ‘testing’ to ‘stable’

          Debian 10 (Buster) was released two hours ago.

        • Debian releases version 10, Buster, with full secure boot support

          The Debian GNU/Linux Project has released version 10 of its community Linux distribution, with Buster, as the release is named, having hit the download servers after 25 months of development.

          A statement from the project said secure boot was now fully supported for amd64, i386 and arm64 architectures and should work out of the box on most secure boot-enabled machines.

          More than 91% of the source packages included will build bit-for-bit identical binary packages.

          “This is an important verification feature which protects users against malicious attempts to tamper with compilers and build networks,” the statement, put out by Debian press team member Donald Norwood, said.

          “Future Debian releases will include tools and metadata so that end-users can validate the provenance of packages within the archive.”

        • Debian 10 “Buster” has finally been released

          Like other distributions, you don’t need to install Debian right away. It has a “live” image you can stick on a USB, to test it without making any changes on your computer.

          For those unaware, Debian is what both Ubuntu (so also Mint, elementary OS, KDE neon and many more) and SteamOS base themselves upon, so the work that goes into Debian affects a great many other distributions.

          If you’re not upgrading right away, rest assured that Debian 9 “Stretch” is still supported and will continue to be for 12 months with the Debian Security Team, after which it will be handed over to the Debian LTS team.

        • Debian 11 “Bullseye” Cycle Prepares To Begin Long Journey

          Now that Debian 10 “Buster” shipped, Debian developers are preparing already to kickoff the Debian 11 “Bullseye” development and begin with uploading new packages for this next major release of Debian GNU/Linux.

          Assuming their release cycle remains roughly similar, Debian 11.0 won’t be released until around summer 2021. It will certainly be interesting to see what this cycle holds besides the usual gathering of a slew of updated and new packages. It will be interesting to see if RISC-V or any other alternative architectures get promoted this cycle. It will also be interesting if Debian 11 sticks to GNOME Shell + Wayland as the default desktop experience.

        • Bits from the Release Team: ride like the wind, Bullseye! Hi, Shortly before the end of the 6th July, we released Debian 10, "buster". There are too many people who should be thanked for their work on getting us to this point to list them all individually, and we would be sure to miss some. Nevertheless, we would like to particularly thank the installer team, the buildd and ftp teams, the CD team, the publicity team, the webmasters, the Release Notes editors, porters and all the bug squashers, NMUers, package maintainers and translators who have contributed to making buster a great release of which we should all be proud. First point release =================== As for stretch, we anticipate that the first point release for buster will occur in approximately one month's time. Please co-ordinate fixes which you would like to see included in the point release with the Stable Release Managers (SRMs) via a "pu" bug against the pseudopackage, including a debdiff of the current and proposed source packages. Remember to use reportbug unless you enjoy crafting the metadata by hand. No binary maintainer uploads for bullseye ========================================= The release of buster also means the bullseye release cycle is about to begin. From now on, we will no longer allow binaries uploaded by maintainers to migrate to testing. This means that you will need to do source-only uploads if you want them to reach bullseye. Q: I already did a binary upload, do I need to do a new (source-only) upload? A: Yes (preferably with other changes, not just a version bump). Q: I needed to do a binary upload because my upload went to the NEW queue, do I need to do a new (source-only) upload for it to reach bullseye? A: Yes. We also suggest going through NEW in experimental instead of unstable where possible, to avoid disruption in unstable. Q: Does this also apply to contrib and non-free? A: No. Not all packages in contrib and non-free can be built on the buildds, so maintainer uploads will still be allowed to migrate for packages outside main. All autopkgtest failures considered RC for bullseye =================================================== From now on, all autopkgtest failures will be considered release-critical for bullseye. So if your package has failing autopkgtests, now is a good time to start looking for a fix. Start working on bullseye ========================= With the start of the bullseye release cycle, you can now upload to unstable those changes you've been holding off during the freeze. Please do not rush to upload everything all at once, in order to manage load on the buildds etc. Automatic testing migration is not yet re-enabled, but that will happen during the next few days. As with buster, we would ask that you co-ordinate particularly large transitions or changes; if your plans involve major toolchain changes or otherwise have the potential to cause problems in unstable for a long time (e.g. due to FTBFS issues), please talk to us. We know that there are a large number of changes which have been waiting for the release to happen and we're keen not to stand in the way of those but would also like to avoid a number of larger transitions becoming entangled. That's it for now; it is time for the celebrations to begin, whether at a Release Party[1] or otherwise. :-) 1: For the release team: -- Jonathan Wiltshire Debian Developer 4096R: 0xD3524C51 / 0A55 B7C5 1223 3942 86EC 74C3 5394 479D D352 4C51
        • Debian GNU Hurd 2019 Released With An ACPI Translator, Support For LLVM

          In addition to the release of Debian 10.0 “Buster” this weekend, the team maintaining the Debian port to the GNU Hurd micro-kernel did their unofficial “2019″ release.

          Debian GNU/Hurd 2019 isn’t an official Debian project release but remains an unofficial port. The Debian GNU/Hurd 2019 release is based on Debian Sid sources at the time of Buster’s release, meaning the packages are largely the same. Debian GNU Hurd 2019 is just available for the i386 architecture and roughly 80% of Debian’s massive package archive can be built for Hurd.

        • Debian GNU/Hurd 2019 released! It is with huge pleasure that the Debian GNU/Hurd team announces the release of Debian GNU/Hurd 2019. This is a snapshot of Debian "sid" at the time of the stable Debian "stretch" release (July 2019), so it is mostly based on the same sources. It is not an official Debian release, but it is an official Debian GNU/Hurd port release. The installation ISO images can be downloaded from cdimage ( in the usual three Debian flavors: NETINST, CD, or DVD. Besides the friendly Debian installer, a pre-installed disk image is also available, making it even easier to try Debian GNU/Hurd. The easiest way to run it is inside a VM such as qemu ( Debian GNU/Hurd is currently available for the i386 architecture with about 80% of the Debian archive, and more to come! * An ACPI translator is available, it is currently only used to shut down the system. * The LwIP TCP/IP stack is now available as an option. * A PCI arbiter has been introduced, and will be useful to properly manage PCI access, as well as provide fine-grain hardware access. * Support for LLVM was introduced. * The LwIP TCP/IP stack is now available as an option. * New optimisations include protected payloads, better paging management and message dispatch, and gsync synchronization. Please make sure to read the configuration information (, the FAQ ( (or its latest version (), and the translator primer ( to get a grasp of the great features of GNU/Hurd. We would like to thank all the people who have worked on GNU/Hurd ( in the past. There were not many people at any given time (and still not many people today, please join (!), but in the end a lot of people have contributed one way or the other. Thanks everybody!
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Canonical GitHub account hacked, Ubuntu source code safe

          The GitHub account of Canonical Ltd., the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, was hacked on Saturday, July 6.

          “We can confirm that on 2019-07-06 there was a Canonical owned account on GitHub whose credentials were compromised and used to create repositories and issues among other activities,” the Ubuntu security team said in a statement.

          “Canonical has removed the compromised account from the Canonical organisation in GitHub and is still investigating the extent of the breach, but there is no indication at this point that any source code or PII was affected,” it said.

          “Furthermore, the Launchpad infrastructure where the Ubuntu distribution is built and maintained is disconnected from GitHub and there is also no indication that it has been affected.”

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Loopring opens route to AI blockchain trading

        Ethereum is also open-source. It is a public distributed blockchain platform with smart contract (scripting) functionality for online contractual agreements.

        Loopring allows for multiple exchanges to mix and match orders. It also allows ‘off-chain’ order-matching. It also allows ‘on-chain’ transaction clearing and payment.

      • Ethereum Classic Unveils Open-Source Substitute To Infura, Ethercluster – Product Release & Updates
      • Ethereum Classic Unveils Ethercluster, An Open-Source Alternative To Infura

        Ethereum Classic announced the release of its latest project titled Ethercluster on 1st July 2019 through its official Twitter handle. The project will be an open-source alternative to Infura for not only Ethereum Classic but also other ETH-based networks, read the tweet. A detailed Medium blog post followed later in the day to divulge thorough details on ETC Cooperative’s newest endeavor.

      • First public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain for the energy sector

        The Energy Web Foundation (EWF) has launched the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector: the Energy Web Chain (EW Chain).

      • BT Leverages Open Source for Fifth Generation of Network Monitoring

        In a world where telcos increasingly compete with public cloud providers rather than each other, they need to revamp their market propositions and adopt new technologies and processes to remain relevant. To that end, network operators need to modernize the systems that monitor their services and networks in order to deliver a more cloud-like experience to their customers.

        But commercial solutions are still coming up short, which is why BT is developing its own monitoring system, based largely on open source, according to José Domingos, OSS assurance architect at the UK incumbent.

        Domingos, who took part in a panel on Telemetry and Analytics at last year’s Software-Driven Operations conference in London, says better network monitoring is key to delivering this cloud-like experience, and is a critical component of BT’s next-generation, agile OSS.

      • What does open source SD-WAN look like, and do we need it?

        Today’s software-defined WAN, or SD-WAN, offerings already use open source building blocks in their underlying architectures. The adoption of open source in SD-WAN occurred primarily because the SD-WAN market already accepted many underlying open source components, and vendors were focused on time to market — or the amount of time between developing and selling a product — for this surging product category.

        However, when users visualize a full open source SD-WAN product, they envision a top-to-bottom open source stack that enables a business to fulfill all its WAN management and orchestration needs in a single, open product. The holy grail of any open source SD-WAN vision is heterogeneous WAN endpoints: In this idealized situation, any endpoint could seamlessly communicate with any other endpoint regardless of the vendor or version. Yet, in practicality, this is not what most customers need from their SD-WAN.

      • CableLabs Seizes On Smarter WiFi

        Following a partnership established last year, CableLabs and the Wi-Fi Alliance have come forth with a standard way to collect and analyze data on WiFi networks that can be used to troubleshoot and correct problems.

        That standard, called Wi-Fi Certified Data Elements, will provide service providers with deeper visibility into WiFi networks, pinpointing data related to WiFi performance and reducing an increasing reliance on customers to report home network issues.


        The code for Wi-Fi Certified Data Elements has been released to the open source community, so anyone can use it without requiring proprietary equipment or other restrictions. With respect to deployment, MSOs can work with their suppliers to get the code implemented in modems and routers that have been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, CableLabs said. However, the operators will still need to set up servers to collect and analyze the incoming data.

      • Should you be banking on open source analytics?

        Do the rewards outweigh the risks? Open source software used to be treated almost as a joke in the financial services sector. If you wanted to build a new system, you bought tried and tested, enterprise-grade software from a large, reputable vendor. You didn’t gamble with your customers’ trust by adopting tools written by small groups of independent programmers. Especially with no formal support contracts and no guarantees that they would continue to be maintained in the future.


        Enthusiasm for open source software is especially prevalent in business domains where innovation is the top priority. Data science is probably the most notable example. In recent years, open source languages such as R and Python have built an increasingly dominant position in the spheres of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

      • Why Styra Open Sourced OPA

        As founders and maintainers of the Open Policy Agent project (OPA), Teemu Koponen, Torin Sandall and I are pleased to be looking back at the project’s first three years and recognizing a significant milestone. At KubeCon in Barcelona, we were overwhelmed by support—many people and companies that we have had no interaction with were extolling the virtues of OPA Policy and claiming that OPA “was everywhere.” This followed the announcement on April 2, when OPA moved from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)’s sandbox to the incubating stage. This benchmark signals OPA’s progress and the contributions of others: proof of concepts and integrations, successes of production users and new participants joining the project. It also provides an exciting opportunity to reflect on OPA’s journey—from how we first envisioned it to how it now solves practical and critical security and policy challenges every day in the cloud-native ecosystem.

      • Distrelec to distribute SparkFun Electronics’ open-source products

        Dedicated to manufacturing open-source products, tools and associated accessories, the company has built its community with the necessary curriculum, training and online tutorials designed to make embedded electronics accessible to all skill-levels. “SparkFun Electronics provides a wealth of resources, components and widgets that enable the next generation of makers from all technological backgrounds to achieve electronic literacy. Our collaboration with Distrelec will further strengthen our online community, and continue to harbour a platform where innovators of all skill levels can learn from one another”, said Glenn Samala, CEO at SparkFun Electronics in a statement. Starting with selected products from SparkFun Electronics impressive range of robotics technology, including sensors, development kits and boards and break out boards, Distrelec will continue to expand its product assortment throughout 2019.

      • With Artemis, SparkFun Brings Makers an Open-Source Platform for Embedded Machine Learning

        The Artemis Engineering Version from SparkFun is an open-source embedded system module designed to run TensorFlow…

      • Open source machine learning accelerates winemaking

        Palmaz said he believes he has the world’s first fully algorithmic fermentation control system. Powered by open source machine learning, FILCS monitors the environment of the fermentation tanks and uses its associations and historical data to calculate the chance that current conditions will lead to a bad result. It then notifies the winemakers when it is confident something needs to be adjusted. FILCS is not yet sophisticated enough to make changes on its own.

        Using off-the-shelf, open source machine learning protocols such as TensorFlow to build data sets, create associations, then train new associations, Palmaz spent the next four years hacking FILCS together. After buying about $70,000 of Promise Technology hardware and hardening it to work in high-moisture environments, Palmaz officially launched FILCS in 2014.

      • Gab becomes the largest Mastodon node, bringing the largest user contribution to the fediverse

        Gab, a social network that seeks to differentiate itself with a focus on individual liberties and free speech, has emerged as Mastodon’s largest node making a massive contribution to the decentralized social world, coming in with whoping double the number of users of its closes competitor.

        Gab is a fork of Mastodon, itself an open-source self-hosted, federated social media networking service. It works by enabling anyone to host their server node while participating in the Fediverse – that includes other platforms supporting the same protocols.

        According to the tweet, Gab is now the largest Mastodon node, with one million users since starting to take part in the Fediverse network based on Mastodon.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • TenFourFox FPR15 available

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 15 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no changes from the beta other than outstanding security fixes. Assuming all goes well, it will go live Monday evening Pacific as usual.
            Also, we now have Korean and Turkish language packs available for testing. If you want to give these a spin, download them here; the plan is to have them go-live at the same time as FPR15. Thanks again to new contributor Tae-Woong Se and, of course, to Chris Trusch as always for organizing localizations and doing the grunt work of turning them into installers.

          • DoH! Secure DNS doesn’t make us a villain Mozilla tells UK ISP’s

            Mozilla says its baffled by the UK Internet Services Providers’ Association following the trade group’s decision to nominate of the public benefit browser maker as the internet’s 2019 villain of the year.

            The UK ISPA earlier this week proposed Mozilla, self-styled defender of internet freedom, as a black hat for its “proposed approach to introduce DNS-over-HTTPS in such a way as to bypass UK filtering obligations and parental controls, undermining internet safety standards in the UK.”

            The filtering obligation comes from the UK’s Digital Economy Act 2017, which includes a requirement that websites serving adult content in the UK verify the ages of website visitors. The previously delayed policy was to have taken effect on July 15 but was delayed again last month in a bureaucratic snafu. The rules are currently expected to take effect in maybe six months, maybe.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • LibreOffice 6.2.5 is here with a lot of bug fixes, download now

          The fifth maintenance update of the latest LibreOffice 6.2 has just been released and it solves a number of issues the users have previously reported.

          As most of you would already know, LibreOffice is a free and open-source office suite that comes with various tools, such as Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math. It is also worth mentioning that The Document Foundation is the brains behind this project.

      • CMS
      • Healthcare
      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
      • Funding
        • Autoware open source self-driving startup Tier IV secures over $100 million in Series A round

          Tier IV, an open source self-driving startup based in Japan, has raised over $100 million in total in a Series A funding round to commercialize self-driving technology in private areas, depopulated areas, and urban areas. The fresh funding will also enable Tier IV to become a global platform company and scale out its self-driving business. The round was led by Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., the Japanese major P&C insurance company, with participation from existing investors, Yamaha Motor Co., and other investors.

        • Tier IV raises over $100 million to develop open source software for driverless cars

          Tier IV, a Japan-based driverless car software maintainer and provider, this week announced the closure of a round north of $100 million led by Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, with participation from Yamaha Motor, KDDI, JAFCO, and Aisan Technology. The fresh capital brings the company’s total raised to nearly $130 million following seed rounds totaling $28 million, and founder Shinpei Kato said it’ll fuel the global commercialization and expansion of Tier IV’s self-driving technology platform.

          “Tier IV has a mission to embody disruptive creation and creative disruption with self-driving technology. We have derived a solid software platform and successfully integrated it with real vehicles,” said Kato. “It is time to step forward to real services, embracing functional safety and risk management.”

        • How Not To Get Paid For Open Source Work

          [Avi Press] recently made a Medium post sharing his thoughts on a failed effort to allow for paid users of an open source project. [Avi] is the author of Toodles, a tool to help organize and manage TODO items in software development. Toodles enjoyed unexpected popularity, and some of its users were large organizations. It seemed that Toodles was of value to people who could afford to pay, and they might even be willing to do so if [Avi] provided a way for them to do it. It turned out that the monetizing process was far from simple, and he ultimately wasn’t successful.


          Regardless of whether “difficulty in shoehorning a paid license system into an open source project” should be filed under “Feature, not Bug” [Avi] does thoughtfully present the issues he encountered. Open source and getting paid are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Octoprint is one example of an open source project that eventually navigated these waters, but that doesn’t mean it was easy, nor does it mean there are established tools and processes.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Data
          • US DoD’s Joint AI Center to open-source natural disaster satellite imagery data set

            In order to motivate machine studying,Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute and CrowdAI, U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center (JAIC) and Defense Innovation Unit have open-sourced a labelled knowledge set of a large number of disasters in the past decade. The preliminary report called Creating xBD: A Dataset for Assessing Building Damage from Satellite Imagery covers theaffects of disasters globally.

            Detailing the creation of xBD, “Although large-scale disasters bring catastrophic damage, they are relatively infrequent, so the availability of relevant satellite imagery is low. Furthermore, building design differs depending on where a structure is located in the world. As a result, damage of the same severity can look different from place to place, and data must exist to reflect this phenomenon.

        • Open Hardware/Modding
          • Shakti Processors: India’s first open-source indigenous processor

            The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras launched a government-funded software development kit (SDK) for its open-source Shakti processor last month, in a move to help India build its first indigenous processor.
            An open-source processor is a software of which the original source code is available freely. It can be redistributed and modified.
            The open-source, since it is a part of the source code, will be a part of the software. It will be a chip installed in the CPU of the computer, similar to the tech major Intel’s processor chips which are widely used in India.
            The project was funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The project was set up with the aim of India building its own processors, just like China and the European Union, instead of depending on US processors.

          • VIDEO: Maker Norbert Heinz’s open source granule extruder for desktop 3D printers

            Heinz who describes himself as a ‘tinkerer’ uses only open-source software and hardware for his projects. In addition to inventing things, Heinz also promotes science education, especially ‘Physical Computing’, a combination of physics and computing. On his webpage, Heinz has a substantial amount of educational material and quite a few open-source projects ready to build such as a 2D dot matrix printer and a plotter made by converting a 3D printer.

          • 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.

          • Make: a machine-learning toy on open-source hardware

            In the latest Adafruit video (previously) the proprietors, Limor “ladyada” Friend and Phil Torrone, explain the basics of machine learning, with particular emphasis on the difference between computing a model (hard) and implementing the model (easy and simple enough to run on relatively low-powered hardware), and then they install and run Tensorflow Light on a small, open-source handheld and teach it to distinguish between someone saying “No” and someone saying “Yes,” in just a few minutes. It’s an interesting demonstration of the theory that machine learning may be most useful in tiny, embedded, offline processors.

      • Programming/Development
        • GCC 10 Lands The Zstd LTO Bytecode Compression Support

          As a follow-up to the story about GCC eyeing Zstd compression for its LTO data, that support has now been merged into the GCC 10 code compiler.

          GCC has been making use of Zlib for the massive amount of data generated during link-time optimizations (LTO) by the compiler while now Zstd is supported by the newest mainline compiler code. Using Zstd in the tests by the GCC developers there were a little bit smaller LTO ELF files while being four to eight times faster than Zlib at compression. The decompression speed of Zstd in this use-case was comparable to Zlib.

        • Announcing syntreenet: A library to build scalable production rule systems

          Perhaps some of you might be interested in this library I’ve released, that can be used to build production rule systems, with the peculiarity that the cost of matching a fact to the knowledge base is logarithmic in the size of said knowledge base, measured as the number of rules plus the number of facts in working memory. As far as I know, the current state of the art is polynomial.

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxxv) stackoverflow python report
        • Your first GUI app with Python and PyQt

          Many people struggle with learning how to build a GUI app. The most common reason is, they don’t even know where to start. Most tutorials are purely text based, and it’s hard to learn GUI development using text, since GUIs are mainly a visual medium.

          We will get around that by building a simple GUI app, and show you how easy it is to get started. Once you understand the basics, it’s easy to add advanced stuff.

        • Stephen Michael Kellat: Early July Quick Bits

          I have been moving repositories off Github to Launchpad and deleting the old repositories on Github. It probably is not the best practice to outright delete repositories on Github but I would rather concentrate things on Launchpad.

        • When The Times First Says It, This Twitter Bot Tracks It

          There is, however, a person behind the account: Max Bittker, a 24-year-old Google software engineer who built the program. “I’m most interested in uses of programming that are weird or interesting or artistic,” Mr. Bittker said in a recent telephone interview. “One of them is Twitter bots, but also data visualization for journalism, text analysis and that kind of thing.”

          Mr. Bittker built the first version of the program in a weekend or two, he said, helped substantially by open-source code for a project called NewsDiffs, which records changes to online news articles. It was built by three coders, including the former New York Times journalist Jennifer 8. Lee, who made the source code available to other engineers. That allowed Mr. Bittker to create a “fork,” or new project, off the same framework.

          The initial draft was followed by a long period of refinement, to “filter out things that were not interesting,” Mr. Bittker said. “It would tweet every URL and proper nouns and things like that.” These days, a number of heuristics limit what the bot will tweet: no capital letters, dashes, underscores or @ symbols.

  • Leftovers
    • Security
    • Defence/Aggression
      • The Man Behind the Scenes in Saudi Arabia

        The Saudi kingdom can only really continue to feel safe as long as the world’s largest military power goes on backing the regime. The glue holding this unequal relationship together is co-dependence: the trade of cheap oil in exchange for weapons and military protection. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is the main reason cars are able to drive, machines can be operated and apartments kept warm in the winter in the West. In return, Riyadh enjoys the security alliance with the U.S.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • This Reporter Asks a Lot of Questions. In Japan, That Makes Her Unusual.

        While her industry colleagues often act more as stenographers than inquisitors, she refuses to take no for an answer, repeatedly getting under the skin of the politicians and bureaucrats she interrogates.

        She says she views her mission as “really watching how people in power are behaving.” The government is “always trying to hide information from people,” she said in an interview. “That’s what we have to dig out.”

        Asking questions, seeking facts: that might just sound like the basic job description of any reporter. “In our context, that’s like, ‘so what?’” said David Kaye, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression and a clinical professor of law at the University of California at Irvine, who has raised concerns about the independence of Japanese news media.

        But in Japan, Mr. Kaye said, Ms. Mochizuki’s persistent questioning “seems pretty meaningful” — if nothing else, by showing that a reporter can refuse to submit to the compliant media culture.

      • Pesticide exposure linked to teen depression: Study

        Adolescents exposed to elevated levels of pesticides are at an increased risk of depression, a study has found.

        Researchers at the University of California in the US have been tracking the development of children living near agricultural fields in the Ecuadorian Andes since 2008.

      • FAKE ALERT: No, UNESCO has not declared Islam as the world’s most peaceful religion

        The fake certificate has been doing the rounds for three years now. It started in July 2016 with official Twitter handle of Radio Pakistan tweeting about it.

    • Environment
      • Indonesian fires robbed kids of height and future income

        The findings, which appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that prenatal exposure to the forest fire haze led to a statistically significant 1.3 inches decrease in children’s expected height at age 17.

      • Malaysia to take action against school over ‘anti-palm oil propaganda’

        Malaysia, the second-largest palm oil producer after Indonesia, has been increasingly vocal against criticism from Europe that the cultivation of the crop has resulted in deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction.

        Authorities said they would take action against an international school under education laws after a video, which was circulated widely this week on social media, showed students talking on stage about the decrease in the number of orangutan due to the production of palm oil.

      • A Day’s Work On Delhi’s Mountain Of Trash

        Atop the mountain, Rahim uses a rod to rifle through the mound. The garbage is mostly gray and decaying, bleached by the sun. Vultures circle above him and dive, plucking bits of plastic in their beaks.

        Before dusk, Rahim descends with a sack full of recyclables. In an open lot between his slum and the mountain, he and his neighbors sort opaque plastic from clear plastic, and aluminum foil from paper. They pack the segregated trash into giant yellow bags discarded from a cement factory.

        Most of India’s recycling happens like this. Even if you sort your trash at home, municipal garbage collectors — if they even service your neighborhood — often toss it into the truck all together. It gets sorted again at a landfill — not by the municipality but by the poorest of the poor.

      • Jakarta police find terror group doing oil palm business

        The arrest last weekend of an experienced leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) has unearthed a new tactic used by the South-east Asia terrorist group.

        While militant groups, including JI, often relied on donations from members and sympathisers, and even robberies, to grow and fund their murderous activities, JI under its so-called “emir” (top leader) Para Wijayanto has been building economic strength by, among other things, running an oil palm plantation business in Sumatra and Kalimantan, police said.

        Indonesian police are calling this group “Neo-JI”, or new JI, as it conducts business while recruiting members and planning to set up a caliphate in the country.

      • What Lies Ahead for Europe’s Climate

        After a cool May, it finally warmed up in June in Germany. A lot. Last Wednesday, the thermometer near Guben in the northern German state of Brandenburg reached 38.6 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). That marked the first time since measurements began in 1881 that a temperature that high was reached in Germany in June.

        The record lasted for three days. On Sunday, thermometers in Bernburg, just northwest of Leipzig, hit 39.6 degrees. The average temperature for June is 20 degrees Celsius.

      • [Older] Chennai’s Water Crisis Largely A Man-Made Disaster

        The natural instinct is to blame the situation on climate change and, indeed, the last monsoon’s rains were especially weak. While that’s certainly played a role, however, Chennai’s is largely a man-made disaster – one that more Indian metropolises are soon to suffer no matter the weather.

        According to a study by the federal government think tank NITI Aayog, 21 Indian cities will run out of groundwater by next year, including the capital New Delhi and the information technology hub of Bengaluru. Two hundred thousand Indians already die every year because they don’t have a safe water supply, the report said. A shocking 600 million people face “high to extreme” water stress.

        That Chennai should have run dry first is instructive. Less than four years ago, the now drought-ridden city was inundated by devastating floods. Though located on a flood plain, the city had paved over the lakes and wetlands that might have helped the process of recharging the water table. As a result, heavy rains couldn’t percolate into aquifers under the city. Water pooled and surged aboveground. That reduced the resources available to deal with a crisis like this year’s.

      • Six Himalayan glaciers receding in the range of 13 to 33 mm per year: Govt

        Six Himalayan glaciers monitored by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) have been retreating in the range of 13 to 33 millimetres per year, the government said on Tuesday. Minister for Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan said this in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

        Which Himalayan glaciers are being monitored?

        A total of six glaciers — Sutri Dhaka, Batal, Bara Shigri, Samudra Tapu, Gepang Gath and Kunzum — are monitored for mass, energy and hydrological balance.

      • Could This Be the End of Frankincense?

        Frankincense, or olibanum, is an aromatic resin used in incense, perfumes and natural medicines. It comes from boswellia, a genus of trees and shrubs endemic to the Horn of Africa, Arabian Peninsula and parts of India.

        When frankincense tappers make gashes into some species of mature boswellia’s woody skin, sap seeps out like blood from a wound. It dries into a scab of resin, which is harvested and sold raw, or turned into oil or incense.

        Frankincense is exported by the thousands of tons each year. But as demand increases, over-exploitation and ecosystem degradation are bringing populations to the brink of collapse. The study’s authors estimate that without new trees to replace the old, half the intact forests — and half the frankincense they produce — will be gone within 20 years.

      • Energy
        • New-Vehicle Sales Fall to 1999 Levels: How to Grow Revenues After 20 Years of Stagnation (Yup, You Guessed It)

          But Ford’s cheapest vehicle – a car! – had a huge gain in sales: Fiesta deliveries jumped 70% in the quarter to 22,173 vehicles, and are up 50% so far this year. This is now Ford’s second-bestselling car, after the Fusion (+11% year-to-date). All other car models are dying, with the Mustang (-9% year-to-date) dying more slowly than the Focus (-83%) and the Taurus (-47%).

          The fact that Fiesta sales are hot shows that there is demand for decent entry-level cars, despite Carmageddon. But with a base sticker price of $14,200, there is very little profit margin for Ford, and it has no incentive to market them other than meeting Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards.

        • Norway Invites You to Explore Its Electric Vehicle Paradise

          In the land of the Norwegians, battery-powered rides are so ubiquitous, it is as if you’ve traveled 10 or 20 years into our transportation future. Jaguar I-Paces, Audi E-tron SUVs, VW E-Golfs, Hyundai Konas, and other vehicles rarely spotted in the States stream down highways and side streets en masse, like Ford F-150s and Toyota RAV4s do here.

          The Land of the Midnight Sun, though, isn’t content to just have its citizens zip about in emission-free silence. It hopes visitors will do the same—and partake in the country’s burgeoning category of EV tourism.

        • How ‘Chernobyl,’ the Stonewall riots, and more resonated on the RuNet in May and June

          Meduza in English publishes stories about Russia, but much of what circulates in the Russian language — big names, TV shows, political news — isn’t Russian at all. This list is the second in our new series highlighting how viral phenomena that seem fundamentally Anglophone take on new and unexpected meanings in the Russian-speaking world.

        • Big Oil’s ‘Natural Climate Solutions’ Feasibility Overblown, Critics Say

          A recently published report has called into question the efficacy of land-based solutions being pushed by NGOs and major oil companies alike to mitigate climate change.

          Natural climate solutions (NCS) — including programs referred to as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) — represent a body of land-based approaches for capturing carbon from the atmosphere and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NCS proposals range from enhanced forest management to conservation agriculture and ecosystem restoration.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • LA’s earthquake warning system worked — just not how people expected

          Researchers can detect and record both kinds of waves using specialized equipment stations, which are placed all over the West Coast. When an earthquake happens, the ShakeAlert system, which covers California, Oregon, and Washington state, picks up the primary waves and can send out alerts before strong shaking starts. Currently, most of the groups that get alerts are industries, hospitals, and emergency and transit systems — not the general public. Even a few seconds’ warning can let people take cover or stop what they’re doing before the shaking arrives.

        • McDonald’s Can’t Fool Its Shareholders: Big Chicken Is Bad Business

          Golden arches tainted with blood. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the “Headquarters of Cruelty.” Dozens of protesters. Horrified passersby.

          These spectacles are what McDonald’s employees saw outside their office windows during the company’s annual shareholder meeting at its Chicago headquarters in May 2018. As part of a massive coalition campaign, animal advocates staged stunts and protests on the street to raise concerns about animal cruelty in the McDonald’s supply chain, drawing the public’s attention and troubling the company’s executives.

          This year, McDonald’s broke with its longstanding tradition of holding its annual shareholder meeting in Chicago, instead electing to meet in the security of a hotel at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport — perhaps because it couldn’t handle the pressure from protesters advocating for animals and other ethical issues. By moving its shareholder meeting to a more exclusive location, McDonald’s made one thing clear: It wants to keep its shareholders far away from its loudest critics.

          Unfortunately for McDonald’s, simply moving its meeting isn’t enough to hide the truth from its investors. McDonald’s shareholders are paying attention to animal welfare issues — and they are eager to hold the company accountable to higher standards.

          For example, last August, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which at the time held more than $300 million in McDonald’s stock, sent McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook a warning about the company’s treatment of chickens. DiNapoli called on McDonald’s to “establish and maintain responsible animal welfare practices,” as recommended by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Global Animal Partnership, by 2024.

    • Finance
      • Central Bank vetting three Islamic banking applicants

        During their annual general meeting early last month, bishops under their umbrella organisation Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), which brings together Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox churches, resolved to lobby government to stay the implementation of Islamic Banking system, arguing that they do not understand its motive and how it works.

      • 7-Eleven Japan shut down its mobile payment app after [attackers] stole $500,000 from users

        On Thursday, 7-Eleven Japan suspended a recently-launched mobile payments feature on its 7Pay app after a flaw allowed a third party to make bogus charges on hundreds of customer accounts.

      • Russia’s largest car dealership faces searches nationwide as founder stays abroad to avoid financial charges

        On the morning of June 27, investigators began searching a number of car dealerships belonging to the company Rolf in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other regions of Russia, Fontanka reported. Rolf, founded in 1991, is Russia’s largest car dealership franchise: its revenue in 2018 was 229.7 billion rubles ($3.6 billion). In addition to the searches at Rolf dealerships, law enforcement officers also searched the company’s headquarters on Altufyevskoye Highway in Moscow. According to Interfax, the office closed as a result. Kommersant discovered that the searches involved both employees of Russia’s Investigative Committee and operatives for Division “K” of the FSB, which is responsible for financial investigations. The St. Petersburg branch of the FSB confirmed that its agents were involved in searching a large car dealership company but did not name the firm.

      • Ralph Nader: Who Will Go After Trump’s Corporate Socialism?

        Donald J. Trump’s 2020 election strategy is to connect his potential Democratic opponents with “socialism.” Trump plans to use this attack on the Democrats even if Senator Bernie Sanders, who proudly calls himself a “democratic socialist,” doesn’t become the presidential nominee (Sanders has been decisively re-elected in Vermont).

        Senator Elizabeth Warren is distancing herself from the socialist “label.” She went so far as to tell the New England Council “I am a capitalist to my bones.”

        Sanders and Warren are not what they claim to be. They are both updating Roosevelt’s New Deal and more closely resemble the Social Democrats that have governed western European democracies for years, delivering higher standards of living than that experienced by Americans.

        “The gigantic corporations have been built with the thralldom of deep debt—corporate debt to fund stock buybacks (while reporting record profits), consumer debt, student loan debt, and, of course, government debt caused by drastic corporate and super-rich tax cuts. Many trillions of dollars have been stolen from future generations.”

        The original doctrine of socialism meant government ownership of the means of production—heavy industries, railroads, banks, and the like. Nobody in national politics today is suggesting such a takeover. As one quipster put it, “How can Washington take ownership of the banks when the banks own Washington?”

      • Trump’s Secret Tax on Ordinary Americans

        Trump’s Secret Tax on Ordinary Americans

        It’s bad enough that the Trump administration has now imposed tariffs on America’s closest trading partners – because those tariffs will raise prices on everything from clothing to cars.

        Even worse — and this will come as no surprise — Trump and his enablers are lying about the consequences of these trade wars.

        First, a bit about tariffs: Tariffs operate exactly like taxes – on you.

        Trump claims that “tariffs are… being paid to the United States by China…“ That’s baloney. Average Americans end up bearing the financial burden.

      • Bridging the Gap Between Bitcoin and Global Regulators

        Since 2015, when bitcoin became an issue for regulators like the state of New York, the regulation of cryptocurrency (the G20 now calls it as a crypto asset) has been discussed in many places, mainly at bodies like the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

        However, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency has changed the landscape, ensuring a massive number of debates on regulation are likely ahead. To be sure, these debates will be about the size of companies specializing in internet technologies more than they are about technology architecture.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Time to out lobbyists who fly under the radar

        A few themes are likely to emerge. One is that the definition of lobbyist is too narrow. There is a good case that people who work in other professions in which government decision-making is vital – I’m thinking property development – should be better captured by lobbying regulations, even if they do not class themselves as “lobbyists”.

      • The First Democratic Debate Was a Circus

        But when 10 people are “debating” multiple large policy topics, as we saw with the first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday night in Miami, you get about what you might expect: a mess.

        The first half of the debate focused on economic policy. There were numerous instances of candidates pandering with some poorly-accented Spanish, flagrantly dodging questions, butting in to attack each other, but at least it stayed sort of on track.

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dominated this section. She laid out a clear Brandeisian perspective, attacking monopolies and defending her plans to break up big tech companies and jack up taxes on the rich without apology. Savannah Guthrie repeatedly attempted to bait Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) into attacking Warren’s ideas as they had done previously, but both largely agreed with her instead. The old neoliberal Clinton-Obama tradition of celebrating entrepreneurs and markets could barely be heard at all.

        One notable policy moment came when Lester Holt asked which candidates would get rid of private insurance in favor of Medicare-for-all, and only Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio raised their hands. On previous occasions, Warren has waffled somewhat on whether she really agrees with Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare-for-all plan. It appears she has decided to stick with him, even if that means promising to obliterate private insurance.

      • Warning to Progressive Dems: You’re Leaving Corporate Media’s Comfort Zone

        Never mind that the party’s greatest losses came in the Senate, where three centrist Democratic incumbents lost their seats by significant margins, while progressive Sen. Sherrod Brown held on easily to his seat in increasingly red Ohio—outcomes that seriously complicate Scherer’s analysis (, 11/9/18). The analysis also seems to forget the 2016 elections, in which the centrist Democratic candidate failed to turn out the party’s base in the way Obama did (, 11/27/16).

        But given Scherer’s sources, it’s an unsurprising bias: The article’s first “expert” quote was from a Trump reelection campaign pollster, and the next from former DCCC head Dan Sena (who is also, unmentioned by the Post, current advisor to centrist candidate Michael Bennet). A few candidates and their spokespeople on both sides of the left/center divide were quoted, but without exception, all of Scherer’s sources outside of the Democratic campaigns themselves leaned to the center or right. A conservative Republican strategist was given the last word, to suggest that the path the party is taking isn’t likely to beat Trump.

      • If Trump’s Steampunk History of Revolutionary War Airbases Isn’t Grounds for Impeachment, What Is?

        Trump’s steampunk daydreams, broadcast as part of his white-nationalist Fascist Fourth of July campaign rally, signal more clearly than ever before the danger he poses to the Republic.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Fears of censorship, vendetta grip Pakistan

        Senior analyst Raza Rumi said the problem in Pakistan is twofold. First is the continued self-censorship which many media outlets are undertaking even if there is no advisory or direct order to censor content. “They do this because owners of TV channels and newspapers are reluctant to take risks. In a way, this is the classic corporatisation of media that is taking place, which has already reached its zenith in the U.S. and India and other bigger countries.”

        The second problem, Mr. Rumi said, pertains to the political polarisation. “The journalists and media houses are divided along political lines and it is not a healthy sign for the growth of independent media and even the consolidation of journalism. What is required is that the editors and the news managers of media houses should take stock of the situation and try to make their programming and reporting less polarised and less partisan. This might help the overall impression of some kind of censorship in place.”

      • For Hong Kong Celebrities, Supporting Protests Comes With a Cost

        The Chinese government barred her from performing and scrubbed her music from the playlists of streaming websites. The blacklisting cut around $120,000 from her annual income, her manager said.

        The ban only emboldened Ms. Ho, reminding her of the need to protect the freedom of speech and other civil liberties that set Hong Kong apart from the rest of China.

      • [Old] UN Human Rights Council resolution on protection of human rights on the Internet a milestone for free speech, says OSCE Representative

        The UN Human Rights Council had previously affirmed by consensus that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online” in resolutions adopted in 2012 and 2014. This is the third such declaration by the UN body.

      • Cricket Intolerance Is The New Alarming Phenomenon In India

        An entirely different type of fanaticism is rearing its ugly head in India — cricket intolerance. It is increasingly becoming impossible for anyone to question, leave alone criticise, top stars of the national team for any on- or off-field transgressions. The moment you raise the slightest of voice on twitter or facebook, or at other social media platforms, either about underperformance (which is rare these days), or not living up to the expectations, you get bombarded with abuse and are called names. The huge army of fans of stalwarts like Kohli or Dhoni comes down heavily on you without caution.

        In the absence of any central government guidelines for social media, it is a free for all out there – unhindered and unlimited. Anyone can just get up, open a twitter account, and start lashing at whoever he/she wants. The promoters of social media platforms also seem to be not taking the transgressions too seriously and that has given a free hand for the abusers to run riot.

      • In Germany it is forbidden to criticize the Islamic veil

        While in France, like every summer, the battle between the veiled and the liberals rages over the presence of the burkini in public swimming pools, in Germany criticizing the Islamic veil is becoming increasingly difficult, at the limit of the forbidden.

        The University of Frankfurt has just been at the center of a heated controversy for a conference on the Islamic veil. The students accused the university of promoting “Islamophobia”, asking for the dismissal of the anthropologist Susanne Schröter, head of the University’s Islamic research center and conference’s organizer.

        Speakers included Alice Schwarzer, one of Germany’s most famous feminists, and Necla Kelek, an important critic of Islam of Turkish origin. Of the ten speakers, four of them now move escorted by bodyguards. “Because they are on the list of all the radicals,” revealed Schröter to the Faz.

      • Peter Gabriel And Boots Riley Signed A Petition Over Open Source Festival Disinviting Talib Kweli

        Today, The Guardian published an open letter signed by 103 notable individuals including musicians Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel, director Boots Riley, and actor Mark Ruffalo denouncing the organizers of the Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf, Germany for disinviting Talib Kweli, leading to the cancellation of his German tour. The festival allegedly withdrew its invitation for Kweli to perform after he refused to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

      • Brian Eno, Ben UFO sign letter criticising Germany’s Open Source Festival for cancelling rapper Talib Kweli over BDS support

        Brian Eno, Ben UFO, The Black Madonna and LCD Soundsystem’s Gavin Rayna Russom are among dozens of public figures from across politics and the arts to sign the letter. On June 1st, Open Source posted a statement on Facebook confirming the cancellation of Kweli, who is a fierce supporter of BDS, AKA Boycott, Divestment And Sanctions. Speaking last month to German regional newspaper Rheinische Post, the festival’s artistic director, Philipp Maiburg, described BDS as antisemitic.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • A brief history—and future—of credit scores

        Credit scoring is spreading fast through developing countries. In just a few years China’s Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group, has built up an extensive scoring system, called Zhima Credit (or Sesame Credit), covering 325m people. The benefits of a good score go beyond borrowing, in part because it is embedded within Alipay, Alibaba’s payment app: they include easier visa applications, lower rental deposits and even better placement on dating sites. Yet it is best thought of as a rewards scheme for Alipay users, in that the best way to get a good rating appears to be to use Alipay a lot. The Chinese government is now in the process of building, through its national bank, a system to extend financial credit scores to all its citizens—one aspect of a broader “social credit” system.

      • Real Time Bidding: The auction for your attention

        Every time you visit a website that uses RTB, your personal data is publicly broadcasted to possibly thousands of companies ready to target their ads. Whenever this happens, you have no control over who has access to your personal data. Whenever this happens, you have no way of objecting to being traded. Whenever this happens, you cannot oppose to being targeted as Jew hater, incest or abuse victim, impotent, or right wing extremist. Whenever this happens, you have no idea whether you are being discriminated.

      • EPIC, Coalition Oppose Facebook Libra Plan

        Earlier this year, an EPIC Freedom of Information Act request uncovered more than 26,000 complaints against Facebook pending at the Commission. EPIC has repeatedly urged the FTC to #EnforceTheOrder against Facebook.

      • Selling Your Private Information Is a Terrible Idea

        Legally vesting ownership in data isn’t a new idea. It’s often been kicked around as a way to strengthen privacy. But the entire analogy of owning data, like owning a house or a car, falls apart with a little scrutiny.

        A property right is alienable — once you sell your house, it’s gone. But the most fundamental human rights are inalienable, often because the rights become meaningless once they are alienable. What’s the point of life and liberty if you can sell them?

        Other forms of property rights are restricted by law because society has recognized the potential of exploitation. For example, it’s illegal to sell your organs in the United States.

        Data doesn’t feel as personal as a kidney. But the potential for economic exploitation is just as rife. Data ownership could lead privacy to become more of a luxury good than it already is.

      • Instead of being tracked, get paid to see online ads

        I downloaded the alternative Brave browser Friday, which is aimed at those of us who aren’t cool with having our privacy invaded. In just three hours of using it, Brave told me that 10 trackers had been blocked, along with 887 ads.

        Now that’s service!

      • Is Facebook listening to me? Why those ads appear after you talk about things

        The truth is, Facebook tracks us in ways many of us don’t even realize and is so good at it, we think it’s monitoring our conversations. Instead, it uses sophisticated demographic and location data to serve up ads.

        “It’s like they’re stalking you,” says Court. “They put all sorts of circumstantial evidence together, and you’re marketed to as if they’re listening to your conversations.”

      • Now Some Families Are Hiring Coaches to Help Them Raise Phone-Free Children

        “She just said things like, ‘Are you telling your kids, ‘No screens at the table — but your phone is on your lap?’” Ms. Wasserstrom said. “When we were growing up, we didn’t have these, so our parents couldn’t role model appropriate behaviors to us, and we have to learn what is appropriate so we can role model that for them.”

        Ms. Wasserstrom compared screens to a knife or a hot stove.

        “You won’t send your kid into the kitchen with a hot stove without giving them instructions or just hand them a knife,” Ms. Wasserstrom said. “You have to be a role model on safe ways to use a knife.”

      • Why Facebook’s new Libra cryptocurrency will be a privacy disaster

        Although the idea of a very low-cost remittance system is welcome, the more complex applications of the Libra cryptocurrency are unlikely to be so readily accepted. Already, a host of regulatory issues have been raised in the US and in the EU. Many people are naturally alarmed by the prospect of Facebook extending its power even further by becoming one of the world’s main e-commerce platforms – perhaps as dominant in the West as the ubiquitous WeChat is in China. Now would be a good time to worry seriously about the harms that Libra is likely to cause to online privacy, and to try to minimize them before it is too late.

      • [Old] The real risk of Facebook’s Libra coin is crooked developers

        With privacy fears and centralized control issues at least somewhat addressed, there’s always the issue of security. Facebook naturally has a huge target on its back for [attackers]. Not just because Libra could hold so much value to steal, but because plenty of trolls would get off on screwing up Facebook’s currency. That’s why Facebook open-sourced the Libra Blockchain and is offering a prototype in a pre-launch testnet. This developer beta plus a bug bounty program run in partnership with HackerOne is meant to surface all the flaws and vulnerabilities before Libra goes live with real money connected.

        Yet that leaves one giant vector for abuse of Libra: the developer platform.

      • Budget 2019 proposes quick Aadhaar card for NRIs with Indian passports

        This means that it does not matter whether you are an NRI or foreign national, if you have stayed in India for more than 182 days, you will be eligible to apply for Aadhaar.

        However, the Act does not mention whether the date of arrival or departure is taken into consideration and/or a half day is taken into consideration while calculating minimum number of days required to stay in India.

      • Aadhaar Bill seeking its use as ID to open bank accounts passes in Lok Sabha

        The bill proposes to allow Aadhaar cardholders to use it as an identity proof to open bank accounts and procure mobile phone connections.

        The bill seeks to amend the Aadhaar Act 2016.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press
      • Mauritania still violating press freedom after restoring Internet

        The Mauritanian authorities have finally restored the Internet access they disconnected one day after the 22 June presidential election, but Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges them to stop intimidating the most critical journalists and, in particular, to free an outspoken TV presenter held since 3 July.

      • Does citizen journalism feed mainstream media? [iophk: social control media is not journalism and not actually helpful to it in any way]

        Unfortunately, citizen journalism has not necessarily led to well-informed citizens, it has often misinformed or half-informed citizens. This is because the flip side of citizen journalism is that it is produced without checks and balances, is often emotional, one-sided, many times exaggerated, and unattributed. It is also difficult to separate fake news from real news, and difficult to tell whether it is recycled or new information.

      • China’s contentious stake in Zambia’s broadcast media

        The venture is bankrolled by a $232 million (€205 million) loan taken by TopStar from China’s state-owned Exim Bank.

        When ZNBC lacked the $40,000 start capital it needed to establish TopStar, StarTimes lent ZNBC the money.

        Fast forward to 2019, and media watchdogs and local media owners are now gravely concerned about China’s perceived influence in Zambia’s media landscape.

      • ‘They’re too controlling’: Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger slams Facebook, Twitter

        Joining the chorus against social media giants and their growing power, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger has slammed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and micro-blogging platform Twitter.

        In an interview with CNBC, Sanger who co-founded Wikipedia in 2001 said Internet is “appalling frankly”.

        “The Internet wouldn’t have been created by people like Zuckerberg, or any of the sort of corporate executives in Silicon Valley today,” he was quoted as saying.

        “They wouldn’t be capable, they don’t have the temperament, they’re too controlling. They don’t understand the whole idea of bottom up,” Sanger added.

      • Exclusive: Britons abandon Facebook as usage plummets by more than a third

        The amount Brits are using Facebook has plunged by more than a third over the past 12 months, new research indicates, in sharp contrast to the company’s official statistics.

        The number of online interactions made on Facebook’s mobile app in the UK plummeted by 38pc between June 2018 and June 2019, according to the analytics firm Mixpanel.

        Interactions, which occur when users click on a web link or advert inside the Facebook app, declined in seven of the last 12 months, with an average monthly fall of 2.6pc. That paints a very different picture from Facebook’s own numbers, which report a slow but steady rise in monthly active users across Europe.

        User numbers have traditionally been considered…

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • As You Celebrate Your Freedom, Remember Julian Assange


        Indeed, throughout history, dissidents have brought about lasting political change, liberation from oppression, and the empowerment of the people. By ‘dissident’, I do not mean the opposition in parliament, I mean political activists challenging established power from the outside. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela were dissidents whose names are now cherished worldwide. Yet, all of them radically challenged the political, social and economic order of their time, which got two of them murdered and the third incarcerated for 27 years.

        What is it, then, that makes dissidents such a threat? Contrary to common criminals they serve a higher cause. Contrary to terrorists, they inform, empower and mobilize the people. And contrary to parliamentary oppositions, they have no stakes in corrupt institutions and practices that often feed both sides of the political aisle. Governments fear dissidents, because they cannot be owned and controlled. Some imprison, torture and execute them routinely, based on classified evidence and summary trials. Others conceal their oppression behind a veil of due process, crushing them through judicial harassment and defamation.

        Whether we like it or not, Julian Assange is a dissident. He despises secrecy and cannot be tamed, bought or otherwise controlled. He has flooded the world with compromising disclosures, including evidence for war crimes, aggression and abuse, without ever resorting to violence or fake news. He has initiated a paradigm shift in public awareness and dried up safe havens of governmental impunity. And like everyone who endangers the perks of the powerful, he has been made to pay the price.

        But how do you break a political dissident, a promoter of truth and transparency? Well, first you attack his reputation and credibility, and destroy his human dignity. You maintain a constant trickle of poisonous rumors, first half-truths and then increasingly bold lies. You keep him suspected of rape without trial, of hacking and spying, and of smearing feces on Embassy walls. You portray him as an ungrateful narcissist with a cat and a skateboard, whose only aim is self-glorifying exceptionalism.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Oneida Nation Boarding School Students Return Home a Century Later

        More than 10,000 Native children from tribes across the country were sent to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, regarded at the time as the “crown jewel” of the Indian boarding school system. But after arriving there, nearly 200 students died, most of them victims of infectious diseases that could have been prevented by better nutrition and sanitation.

      • Outrage over ‘femicides’ draws hundreds to the streets of Paris [iophk: social control media instead of open communicatino channels]

        France has registered more than 70 alleged “femicides” so far this year, according to a Facebook group tracking them, up from official numbers in previous years. A growing number of voices are demanding action, including closing judicial loopholes that have allowed authorities to ignore warnings.

      • Girl power: Vatican ‘hid art that showed female priests’

        There is “overwhelming evidence” that women served as clergy in the early years of Christianity – and some of the evidence was deliberately hidden by the Vatican, according to ground-breaking new research.

      • ‘Modern Slavery’ Ring in U.K. Ensnared up to 400 Polish People, Authorities Say

        Law enforcement officials said that 88 victims had come forward, and investigators identified more than 300 other people the ring might have exploited.

        Forced labor is a persistent problem around the world, but the scale of the practice shocked many after a government-commissioned report in 2017 said that tens of thousands of people across the country, many of them British citizens, were ensnared in what it called “modern slavery” in nail salons, carwashes, farms and other low-wage businesses.

      • Boko Haram crisis worsens, more people affected since October 2018- UN

        The UN Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) says the humanitarian crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states needs renewed support in the face of the recent upsurge in violence and growing humanitarian needs.

        IASC, made up of senior officials from UN agencies and NGOs, said this in a statement in Abuja at the end of a five-day visit of the mission to Nigeria.

        The statement said the mission also raised the alarm on the development as the number of people facing food insecurity had recently increased to three million, up more than 10 per cent from October 2018.

      • Indonesia’s top court jails woman who reported sexual harassment

        She recorded some of the phone calls without the knowledge of the headmaster and gave a recording to a third person, as well as distributed it on an electronic device, which resulted in the principal losing his job, the documents showed.

        In 2015, the principal reported Baiq to the police, which resulted in her being prosecuted under the anti-pornography law.

        Baiq’s sentence was condemned by rights groups. “We are concerned about the impact of this decision because it opens a door for perpetrators of sexual violence to criminalise victims,” said Mr Ade Wahyudin, executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation for the Press.

      • Maharashtra: Hindu Woman Raped, Given Death Threats For Not Converting To Islam In Ahmednagar

        Recently, the accused Muzaffar Latif is said to have stopped the victim and her father on a public road before giving this threat. He later allegedly dragged her to Gulshan Seikh’s house and made her a captive. There she was allegedly pressurised by the duo to convert to Islam. She somehow managed to escape and filed a complaint with the police.

        As per a statement given to the police, the victim also claimed that the accused were employing similar pressure tactics on her for the past two years to get her to convert to Islam and marry Muzaffar Latif.

      • Anger over plan to turn former Blackburn pub into mosque

        But 23 people who live nearby the proposed mosque have signed the petition, claiming it is not needed because there are five others in close proximity to the former pub.

      • Mass grave containing 200 bodies uncovered in Raqqa

        “This grave is part of a series of graves located in the area of the Vanguard camp where more than 3,500 bodies have been recovered over the past months,” an unnamed official told the DPA news agency.

        The grave, uncovered in February and the largest known to date, is at a site where ISIL is believed to have trained children to fight.

      • On Child Concentration Camps, What’s Needed Is Not an Argument, but Action and Resistance

        CNN recently reaired interviews with some people who had no time for stories about children separated from their parents at the US border, held in concentration camps or in cages without basic sanitation or healthcare, or dying in their search for asylum. “Quit trying to make us feel teary-eyed for the children,” says one woman. Another man says, “These people that we have coming across the border illegally are breaking the rules. I have no feelings for them at all.”

        There may be some value in hearing such voices, but airing their—factually groundless besides heinous—views might suggest that what’s needed now is an argument, when it’s really action and resistance.

      • As Immigrant Deaths Pile Up, We Need to Find Our Moral Compass

        Nearly four years ago, the devastating photos of a Syrian toddler named Alan Kurdi, whose little body had washed ashore in Turkey, shocked the world. Kurdi’s story was tragically typical—his family had fled the Syrian war and attempted to cross the Mediterranean to seek refuge in Greece. All of Kurdi’s siblings and his mother died while crossing. Only his father survived.

        Today, the photo of the bodies of Oscar Alberto Martínez and his two-year-old daughter, Angie Valeria, who drowned on the U.S.-Mexico border while crossing the Rio Grande, offers a heartbreaking analogy to Kurdi’s story. The two Salvadorans were forced to wait in Mexico, as per President Donald Trump’s demand, after they escaped their home country to try to seek asylum in the U.S.


        Central American refugees are also facing abuse in Mexico, where the Trump administration has insisted that they be detained. An Associated Press report about Mexico’s largest detention center just north of its border with Guatemala found the facility to be “sorely overcrowded and filthy,” with “alleged repeated abusive treatment by agents tasked with running it.” Trump has threatened Mexico with harsh tariffs over the border crossings of Central Americans into the U.S. through Mexico.

      • American Concentration Camps, Then and Now

        In our history textbooks, “Japanese internment,” as it’s carelessly called, features as a mistake, blunder, or brief departure from constitutional piety following the trauma of Pearl Harbor.

        The summary detention of 120,000 people of Japanese descent — around 80,000 of whom were American citizens — can be more accurately described as one of the worst officially-sanctioned crimes in the country’s history. But it was a crime with many authors, and many ugly subplots that even civil libertarians have buried.

        Above all, this dark episode, for all its distinctiveness, exposes the deeper weaknesses of our much-vaunted democratic checks and balances — weaknesses that are now being exploited in remarkably similar ways.


        Of course, one of several major differences between 1942 and today is war. Although the U.S. government has not been shy about terrorizing the home countries of people now mired in immigration detention, there is no ongoing, formal state of belligerency like there was with Japan.

        Nevertheless, the idea of a foreign horde destabilizing the country from within is as popular now as it was then. After Pearl Harbor, everyone from California Governor Earl Warren (later the liberal darling of the Supreme Court) and General John DeWitt of Western Defense Command, to the esteemed journalist Walter Lippmann warned of the “Fifth Column” on the Pacific Coast, ready to fight for its true fatherland at any moment.

        The evidence for this was very thin, as FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover — decidedly not a civil liberties man — publicly stated. But the absence of any concrete plots was only taken as more proof of Japanese cunning. Ultimately, General DeWitt, who authored the infamous “Final Report” recommending internment, concluded, “There is no way to determine their loyalty” because “the Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on U.S. soil, possessed of U.S. citizenship have become ‘Americanized,’ the racial strains are undiluted.”

        You won’t hear Trump administration officials put things quite so baldly, but we do — now on a regular basis — hear spectacular tales of “Terror Travel” across the Southern border, possibly funded by rich liberal Jews in cahoots with lecherous Mexicans aiming to simultaneously steal jobs and leech off the welfare state.

      • “Dire” Law Enforcement Crisis in Rural Alaska Prompts Emergency Declaration, New Federal Funding

        U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr declared an emergency for public safety in rural Alaska on Friday and announced more than $10 million in funds as part of a sweeping plan to support law enforcement in Alaska Native villages.

        The U.S. Department of Justice will immediately provide $6 million to the state to hire, equip and train rural police, and for mobile holding cells. An additional $4.5 million will support 20 officer positions and be provided to Alaska Native organizations by the end of July.

        The announcement follows an investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica, which found that one in three communities in Alaska, about 70 altogether and nearly all of them Alaska Native, had no local law enforcement at some point this year. Many are in regions with the highest rates of poverty, sexual assault and suicide in the United States.

      • Tweets of Praise: Donald Trump, Australia and Refugees

        By 2016, the Sydney Morning Herald noted that some “20 per cent of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s senior executive ranks are now uniformed, with the majority working within the Australian Border Force.” And such thuggish authority will come with its host of ironies: those figures of sound authoritarian reassurance had donned uniforms made “almost entirely in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.”

        While the likes of former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott might have been brimming with excitement and pride at the creation of one of the world’s most ruthless gulag-enforced systems to counter “illegals” (this concept is, as with much in the refugee world, anathema and arbitrary), the model remains hard to export. For one, it involes exorbitant, costly measures – the Australian program costs billions, an imposition of cruelty at cost. In another sense, it also furnishes the public with an illusion that borders are secure. The problem is merely deferred and deflected to other states (very neighbourly is Australia on that score). Nor does this halt those seeking aerial routes.

        Trump, as he tends to, mines vaults of images for effect. He wanted a particular quarry after the discovery of the bodies of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, found drowned in the Rio Grande on Monday. “The image,” the New York Times suggested, “represents a poignant distillation of the perilous journey migrants face on their passage north to the United States, and the tragic consequences that often go unseen in the loud and caustic debate over border policy.”


        Trump’s tweet serves as a statement of endorsement to add to a now vast compendium of admiration from Budapest to Washington; the Australians, we are told, got it right. The Refugee Council of Australia offers a different interpretation. In the assessment of its communications director Kelly Nicholls, “Australia’s harsh policies have come at a terrible cost: 12 people have died; women, men, and children have endured enormous mental and physical harm; Australia’s reputation has been tarnished and all this has cost us more than $5 billion.”

        Another assessment, however, is in order. The displaced person enrages rather than encourages empathy. They are, to use that expression Hannah Arendt made famous, the heimatlosen, stateless, deracinated souls plunged into legal purgatory. It was Arendt who urged, in response to the post-Nazi era peppered by death factories and human displacement, the need for “a new guarantee which can be found only in a new political principle, in a new law on earth, whose validity at this time must comprehend the whole of humanity while its power must remain strictly limited, rooted in and controlled by newly defined territorial entities.”

      • Let’s Not Rewrite History To Defend Joe Biden’s Record Of Racist Dog-Whistle Politics

        In the aftermath of the first Democratic presidential debate for the 2020 primary, Joe Biden has received much attention for making common cause with segregationists and opposing busing, especially because of how Kamala Harris confronted him on stage.

        It has led “moderates” to acknowledge his weakness as candidate while also asking, why should the past be re-litigated? The New York Times’ Bret Stephen put it succinctly, “Making white Americans feel racially on trial for views they may have held in the past on crime, busing, and similar subjects is not going to help the Democrats.”

        The following was published in May and deals with this issue of Biden’s past views, which is now appropriately a subject of widespread conversation.

      • ‘Terrifying’ and ‘Unacceptable’: Outrage Mounts Over Manslaughter Charge for Alabama Woman Who Miscarried After Being Shot in the Stomach

        In a case that has outraged and alarmed reproductive rights advocates nationwide, Marshae Jones—a 27-year-old black woman from Alabama—was charged with manslaughter Wednesday for experiencing a miscarriage last December after she was shot in the stomach.

        “This is the toxic collision of the everyday racism, sexism, and violence experienced by black women and the terrifying end point of the dangerous anti-choice laws spreading across the country, including in Alabama, that devalue, dehumanize, and criminalize women,” Shaunna Thomas of the national women’s group UltraViolet said in a statement. “This is part of a larger pattern of how our criminal justice system permits and furthers violence and abuse against black women, and it is unacceptable.”

        Amid mounting calls for authorities to drop the manslaughter charge against Jones—who was five months pregnant when she was shot outside a Dollar General store—pro-choice activists warned that the case threatens reproductive rights nationwide by advancing the anti-choice movement’s fight for legal recognition of “fetal personhood.”

      • Alabama Woman Charged in Fetal Death as Shooter Goes Free

        An Alabama woman whose fetus died after she was shot in a fight has been charged with manslaughter, while the woman accused of shooting her has been freed.

        AL.Com reports that 28-year-old Marshae Jones was indicted by the Jefferson County grand jury Wednesday. She was five months pregnant when 23-year-old Ebony Jemison shot her in the stomach during a December altercation regarding the fetus’s father.

        Jemison was initially charged with manslaughter, but the same grand jury declined to indict her after police said an investigation determined Jones started the fight, and Jemison ultimately fired the fatal shot in self-defense.

      • ‘We Owe These Vulnerable Populations More’: California Lawmakers Call on Gov. Newsom to Divest State From Child Detention Profiteers

        A pair of California state lawmakers are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to divest the state’s pension fund from businesses that work with federal immigration detentions facilities.

        State Assemblymember Cristina Garcia and state Senator Lena Gonzalez, both Democrats, made the request of Newsom in an open letter Wednesday that cited that day’s walkout of employees of online retailer Wayfair in protest of the company’s profiting off of child detentions.

        “I am asking that we, as a State follow the example of these brave workers and cease vesting in publicly held companies that contract with, or provide services to companies that operate detention centers,” the letter reads.

        The letter cites conditions at the child prisons. As Common Dreams reported on Thursday, recent reports are showing those conditions are even worse than was previously thought. Customs and Border Protection child prisons were referred to by one expert as “torture facilities” in testimony for a lawsuit seeking an emergency restraining order against the conditions.

      • 400+ Scholars Rebuke US Holocaust Museum for ‘Fundamentally Ahistorical’ Position on ‘Concentration Camp’ Comparisons

        More than 400 scholars of last century’s Holocaust in Europe and the issue of genocide are calling on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to rescind its statement rejecting comparisons between the Trump administration’s treatment of migrants and that of Jews and other marginalized people by the German Nazi party in the 1940s.

        By suggesting that calling the administration’s detention centers “concentration camps” is disrespectful to the millions who were killed by Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, the scholars wrote, the the museum is undermining its very mission of remembering the Holocaust.

      • What Should We Do About Concentration Camps in Trump’s America?

        In the past few weeks, about 300 African migrants traveled through Central America and Mexico to seek asylum in the United States, boarded buses in San Antonio, Texas, and rode for three days past corn fields, strip malls, and city skylines to what many hope will be their final destination—Portland, Maine, my hometown.

        The city manager called it a “very critical emergency,” but Portland’s mayor reframed it as an opportunity.

        “I don’t consider it a crisis, in the sense that it is going to be detrimental to our city,” said Mayor Ethan Strimling. “We’re not building walls. We’re not trying to stop people. In Maine, and Portland in particular, we’ve been built on the backs of immigrants for 200 years, and this is just the current wave that’s arriving.”

        Maine residents have donated more than $500,000 to support the asylum seekers—primarily refugees fleeing violence in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—and just across the bridge over Casco Bay, the South Portland city council passed a vote to contribute $40,000 to Maine’s Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project. Jason Owens, Maine’s chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who’s spent most of his career on the southern border, said, “It’s very heartwarming to come up here and see this side of it and what American people are willing to do for their fellow man. The outreach is amazing.”

      • New York Is Investigating Whether Facebook Lets Advertisers Discriminate

        New York state’s Department of Financial Services has launched an investigation into reports that advertisers can use Facebook’s targeted advertising tools to discriminate against protected groups of people.

        The investigation, announced Monday, is the latest action against the social media company’s advertising system. In March, Facebook reached a settlement with civil rights groups and agreed to make sweeping changes to the ways landlords, employers and lenders buy housing, employment or credit ads. A week later, the Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Facebook with violating the Fair Housing Act, claiming that the ad system discriminates against certain types of users even when advertisers did not choose to exclude them from seeing ads.

        In a press release July 1, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state’s investigation will explore both the tools available to advertisers and allegations that Facebook “uses machine learning and predictive analytics to categorize users to project each user’s likely response to a given ad, which may recreate groupings defined by their protected class.”

        ProPublica first reported that Facebook allowed housing advertisers to exclude users by race in 2016. Then, in 2017, ProPublica returned to the issue and found that — despite Facebook’s promised changes — the company was still letting landlords exclude users by race, gender, ethnicity, family status, ability and other characteristics protected by federal anti-discrimination law.

      • More Than Me Shuts Down

        More Than Me, an American charity running 19 schools in Liberia, has announced it is closing its operations. The move comes eight months after a ProPublica investigation revealed the organization missed opportunities to prevent the rapes of girls in its care by senior staff member Macintosh Johnson, was not transparent about the extent of his abuse and failed to make sure that all of his potential victims were tested after it came to light that he had AIDS when he died.

        The decision to shutter the charity follows the release this year of two highly critical independent reports on the conduct of its leaders, one by an American law firm commissioned by the charity’s U.S. board and one by a Liberian investigative panel nominated by the charity’s Liberian advisory board. In response to these reports, and following the resignation of founder Katie Meyler, the charity’s leadership initially said it planned to continue the organization’s work while restructuring under new Liberian leadership.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • The Americanization of Popular Culture Should Terrify Us All [iophk: s/Americanization/Hollywoodization/]

        Part of the problem with the homogenization of Hollywood’s output is that conglomerates such as Comcast, Viacom and AT&T have taken over the entertainment industry. And while it may seem like movies make companies a lot of money, the profits are a pittance to these companies. The emergence of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon raised the possibility of greater variety, but they ultimately come with their own issues related to data collection. None of these companies, be it Netflix or Comcast, seems to truly care about film and television as artwork, however.

        “The time of the great artist may be over in the world of entertainment that shapes the world’s culture,” Scheer tells Roussel. “The American entertainment industry that shapes the world’s culture—at least you could count on, somehow, the maverick director, the maverick artist, the person who could open a movie and yet had an idea, the great scriptwriter—and you can’t count on that anymore.”

    • Monopolies
      • Patents and Software Patents
        • JPO’s SEP advisory opinion service updated

          JPO’s SEP advisory opinion service has been updated for cases received on or after July 1 2019. This service started from April 2018, to provide a JPO’s non-binding opinion on whether a particular patent is a standard essential patent (SEP).


          By the way, I could not find any decisions on the SEP opinion service in the JPO’s database. If not used, it was introduced for nothing. Now, I’m also curious about the utilization situation of IACT (International Arbitration Center in Tokyo), which was established in September 2018. For IACT, we covered in the previous article here, if you’re interested.

      • Copyrights
        • MPAA Wants U.S. Govt. to Prosecute Streaming Piracy Operations

          The MPAA has a three-pronged approach to combating piracy. It pursues voluntary agreements with third-party intermediaries, engages in civil action against key pirate players, and encourages the feds to criminally prosecute copyright infringers. According to a recent testimony, the MPAA has recently asked U.S. law enforcement to go after several pirate streaming operations.

        • Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway To Heaven’ copyright case to go back to court

          Crucially, however, they were not given the chance to hear both songs during the legal proceedings.

          Last September, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the errors by the trial judge meant that a new trial was required – a decision directly contested by Led Zeppelin.

          On Monday, a panel of 11 judges from the appeals court agreed to hear Led Zeppelin’s appeal over the decision.

        • Court to Hear Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Appeal

          Led Zeppelin’s lawyers moved to the next level of appeal, asking for the larger group of judges to rehear the case, and the request was granted. The 11-judge panel will hear the case in late September in San Francisco.

        • Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’: Appeals Court to Review Lawsuit Decision

          Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page were accused of copyright infringement over their iconic 1971 epic. But in June 2016, a Los Angeles jury ruled that “Stairway to Heaven” were not guilty of infringing on “Taurus,” an instrumental written by Spirit guitarist Randy California (Randy Wolfe) for that band’s self-titled debut LP.

        • Ed Sheeran Copyright Trial Delayed Until Decision In ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Case Is Reached

          In 2016, Townshend claimed that Sheeran’s 2014 hit single “Thinking Out Loud” plagiarized portions of his and Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On.”

Higher Patent Quality and More Patent Justice Rather Than Buzzwords and Litigation

Sunday 7th of July 2019 11:09:42 AM

Summary: The system entrusted to deal with the advancement of science and betterment of society has been more or less hijacked and exploited by a new industry, whose sole interest is making a lot of money through litigation or threats of litigation (muted settlements outside the court system, i.e. extrajudicial)

THE WORLD has many perils and profound issues. There are deepening crises. Putting aside the political chaos that sweeps across the planet and not even mentioning environmental aspects, let’s look at what happens in science and various technological disciplines. Many people are nowadays treated poorly and valued by the amount of data collected from them (so-called ‘surveillance capitalism’); a lot of so-called ‘innovation’ — surely an exaggerated buzzword rather than real substance — is centered around social control, i.e. autocratic tendencies. Patent offices often resort to greenwashing, pretending to themselves (and sometimes to the public) that they seek to protect the planet and guard us from pollution, death etc. In reality, however, just granting more and more patents (in effect monopolies) won’t help the proliferation of “green tech” (another buzzword/phrase they love). I myself am not against patents (I personally know some people who are, absolutely, even though they have loads of patents themselves), I’m only against patent maximalism, seeing what it tends to lead to. I’ve been writing on the subject since I was about 20. It’s not new to me.

“I’m only against patent maximalism, seeing what it tends to lead to. I’ve been writing on the subject since I was about 20. It’s not new to me.”As we mentioned last week, nowadays there are patents on life and genetics (or genome, DNA, you name it). For life? On life? Whose monopoly? Who even ‘invented’ life? Religious people might say something different from and less scientific than evolutionists, but that’s not the point; the question of patenting such things is one both groups can agree on. Watch what the EPO is doing:

Ares Genetics GmbH – a subsidiary of molecular diagnostic developer Curetis N.V. has reportedly been granted a patent from the European Patent Office (EPO) dubbed ‘Genetic Resistance Testing’.

How far does it go? We very recently revisited the ethical issues associated with patents on cancer treatment. Good luck explaining to patients that patents are more important than them!

“Good luck explaining to patients that patents are more important than them!”A site called “Mighty Gadget” (never seen it before!) has just published this pure spam for Withers (with a link even!), a law firm that’s promoting illegal patents on algorithms. It’s promoting the "hey hi" (AI) nonsense, citing “the WIPO Technology Trends report, which also reveals that IBM currently has the largest portfolio of AI patent applications with 8,290.” Fake software patents in Europe disguised as “hey hi”/”HEY HI” (we need to ridicule these buzzwords) by the Campinos/Battistelli regime (the European Patent Office and US Patent and Trademark Office both use this buzzword these days, but the former seemingly influenced the latter before WIPO did the same). To quote:

Since the emergence of rudimentary artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the 1950s, nearly 340,000 related inventions have been filed for patent.

This is according to the WIPO Technology Trends report, which also reveals that IBM currently has the largest portfolio of AI patent applications with 8,290.

But just how patentable are AI inventions and machine learning, and how does the process work in Europe?

What are the Guidelines for Examination with the EPO?

As we’ve already said, the number of AI-based patent applications is continuing to rise, with the European Patent Office (EPO) also revealing an increase in the amount of applications pertaining to programmed computer inventions.

Given this slew of AI and machine learning patent applications, it should come as no surprise that the EPO has recently updated its Guidelines for Examination. Many would argue that this update was long overdue, with attorneys suggesting that some patents have been unnecessarily delayed due to outdated and analogue guidelines.

The new body of legislation makes it clear that the EPO intends to treat AI and machine technologies as forms of mathematical method. Mathematical methods currently appear on the list of non-inventions defined by art, which are technically unpatentable due to their nature.

However, a mathematical method may also be tied to the control of a specific working system or process, and in this respect it can gain technical character.

In this instance, a mathematical method moves out of the exclusion zone and into the realm of being a patentable invention, and this provides formal clarification of the position that the EPO has always adopted.

They basically went back and scanned all sorts of old patents, re-classifying them as “AI” to make it sound as though it’s OK to grant a patent on software provided it uses the ‘right’ terms (lexical trickery). It’s an incredible and incredulous propaganda campaign of patent maximalists. What would court say if these patents were to reach actual courts? We’ve already seen many of these axed.

“If patent law exists to advance science, then at the moment it does a truly terrible job.”The problem we have at the moment is that large patent offices, especially IP5, grant a lot of patents that courts insist should not be granted (but continue to be granted anyway). This vastly reduces legal certainty that’s associated with patents, so now the patent maximalists try to manipulate politicians, wrestling the laws and bribing people like Coons. In Europe we can see that in UPC. “Explanation given” wrote the following comment last night on the breaking news of a very high British court squashing a key European Patent, noting that patent troll “Conversant’s case is dead if the patent is invalid for added matter, but he still decided on obviousness and sufficiency (and infringement) so that the case can be dealt with in full on appeal.”

Here’s the full comment:

There is nothing in the EPC that prevents a claim from being new and inventive while at the same time infringing Art. 123(2). Just apply the law as it is written. The “effective date” for determining the state of the art for the claimed subject-matter is determined by Articles 54 and 89 EPC. There is nothing in those provisions that prevents the EPO from establishing the relevant state of the art if a claim happens to infringe Article 123(2).

“The part of the claim relating to added subject-matter should however not be there and no effective date can be attributed to it.”

This is pure myth that unfortunately has taken root in the minds of a few EPO examiners. Please cite one passage in the Guidelines or in the Case Law book that supports your position. Again, it is Articles 54 and 89 that determine the relevant state of the art, and those provisions do not require the claim to comply with Article 123(2).

“At the EPO, a claim comprising added subject-matter leads to a refusal in examination or to a revocation in opposition, cf. G 1/93. Such a claim is never compared to any prior art, as it does not have a raison d’être.”

This arrogantly assumes that an opposition division’s decision on 123(2) is always correct and will survive appeal, which has no basis in reality.

If the patent proprietor has an at least arguable case on 123(2) (that did not convince the OD but still might convince the BoA), there is nothing to stop the OD from continuing with inventive step (even though it is not obliged to do so). Then if the BoA on appeal agrees with the patent proprietor on 123(2), a remittal for examining inventive step has been avoided.

This is how the English courts deal with cases. Justice Arnold was well aware that Conversant’s case is dead if the patent is invalid for added matter, but he still decided on obviousness and sufficiency (and infringement) so that the case can be dealt with in full on appeal. There is no legal reason why EPO divisions could not do the same.

We’re in a sad state right now because patent offices grant patents which they know they should not grant; they do so anyway because of greed and trolls like Conversant (above) exploit that for blackmail purposes. If patent law exists to advance science, then at the moment it does a truly terrible job.

Techrights is Thriving

Sunday 7th of July 2019 09:44:10 AM

On the left: Last week’s Tux Machines 15th birthday party

Summary: Later this year this site turns thirteen; with nearly 5 million hits in a week we’re still seeing evidence of this site’s importance

HAVING been organising the site over the past couple of months, we now have 5 new wiki pages for:

  1. Andrei Iancu from the USPTO
  2. PTAB, which Iancu suppresses
  3. Christoph Ernst from the EPO
  4. UKIPO, which has gotten closer to the EPO and has just been added to this list of entities that pose a threat to software freedom
  5. Juve, which used to cover EPO scandals and nowadays does borderline puff pieces

A reader who wrote code to generate the above pages has suggested that we also improve archiving of the site (we’re looking into it) as we approach 26,000 blog posts (incidentally, it was yesterday that we published photos from Tux Machines‘ 15th birthday party, its first-ever party).

“We have meanwhile noticed a significant increase in traffic.”Another reader and longtime contributor suggested that instead of covering so much political news items in our daily links we should return to covering Microsoft and GNU/Linux matters, such as Jim Zemlin‘s Linux Foundation affairs. We have meanwhile noticed a significant increase in traffic. We delete all logs (permanently) after 4 weeks, but looking at the past 6.5 days’ traffic, it’s not far from 5 million hits.

[root@techrights httpd]# cat | wc 4298542 83995834 826134102

This suggests that what we write is interesting and important to readers, so we shall carry on with more of the same.

Microsoft’s Brand Dilution Tactics: When ‘Linux’ Means Windows

Sunday 7th of July 2019 09:02:57 AM

“Coca-Cola was named back in 1885 for its two “medicinal” ingredients: extract of coca leaves and kola nuts. Just how much cocaine was originally in the Cocaine molecule formulation is hard to determine, but the drink undeniably contained some cocaine in its early days.”


Summary: The power of brands and some ‘Kool-Aid’ is well understood by Microsoft, which is actively working to undermine the identity of “Linux” (associating it with itself, with Microsoft)

MICROSOFT may be technically weak, but it makes up for lack of technical merit in other ‘departments’. You know something is wrong when you search for “Linux” news (for example in Google News) and about half the search results are actually Microsoft news, along with feature images like “Microsoft loves Linux” (and those come from Microsoft and Windows sites, not GNU/Linux sites). There’s a longstanding PR campaign; one of the tactics is known as “googlebombing” and is designed for revisionism and brand dilution, two of Microsoft’s most dangerous weapons, which both target the minds. As we explained before and as recently as yesterday, a lot of people will ultimately struggle to understand the difference between “Windows” and “Linux”.

Here’s another new example from the weekend’s news. A reader of ours sent it it over, dubbing it revisionism. “GEM was the only GUI ever seen back then, aside from Mac, mostly GUIs were super rare and it was plain MS-DOS or CP/M which was used instead in the x86 PC category of machine, or Apple DOS on the Apple II was a common combination,” he explained.

“There’s a longstanding PR campaign; one of the tactics is known as “googlebombing” and is designed for revisionism and brand dilution, two of Microsoft’s most dangerous weapons, which both target the minds.”Microsoft used to promote the false idea of Word being the ‘first’ word processor and Windows the ‘first’ operating system with windows in it (hence all other word processors and windowed interfaces are presumably just ‘copies’ or ‘ripoffs’ or ‘knockoffs’ of what Microsoft did). Last week it was reported that Microsoft hasd’t abandoned such vain rhetorics (see ReactOS ‘a ripoff of the Windows Research Kernel’ claims Microsoft kernel engineer). “Reitschin does add he is no lawyer,” said a commentator, “but these claims do raise a number of serious concerns and questions about the ReactOS project. These claims alone will probably ensure no serious commercial entity will ever want to associate itself with ReactOS, and it will be interesting to see if these claims will ever lead to something more serious than mere words.”

The cited article comes from Microsoft Tim, a longtime booster of the company and its lies.

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Links 6/7/2019: Wine 4.12, Wine-Staging 4.12, Debian Buster

Saturday 6th of July 2019 03:12:38 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Desktop
      • The $199 PineBook Pro Linux Laptop Gets An Awesome Privacy Feature And July Pre-Order Date

        Frankly, this is a fantastic move especially for a $199 device. The addition of these privacy switches — and the way they’re implemented — compliments the Linux and FOSS ecosystem, and also bolsters Pine64′s commitment to the community.

        When can we pre-order this little marvel? July 25, 2019. Stay tuned to Pine64′s blog page or social media accounts for updates. And I encourage you to read the entire PineBook Pro update, as it also contains info on the custom Debian build for PineBook Pro and its strong media playback capabilities, plus a wealth of other tidbits.

        Pine64′s latest is a huge departure from the original PineBook in many ways. Let’s recap the key specs for this $199 laptop now that the last feature has been unveiled.

      • Mark Shuttleworth sold a tech startup he built in his garage for $575 million and used the money to visit space
      • Lubuntu Eoan Ermine Wallpaper Contest

        The Lubuntu Team is pleased to announce we are running an Eoan Ermine wallpaper competition, giving you, our community, the chance to submit, and get your favorite wallpapers included in the Lubuntu 19.10 release.

      • Linux Kodachi 6.1 Released, which is based on Xbuntu 18.04 LTS

        Warith Al Maawali has announced the release of Linux Kodachi 6.1 on July 27, 2019, which is based on Xbuntu 18.04 LTS.

        It will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure.

    • Server
      • Linux Taking Over Everything! Surpasses Windows Usage on Azure
      • How Linux took over everything, including Microsoft Azure [Ed: CBS promotes lots of Microsoft marketing lies]
      • IBM
        • Red Hat: The thriving state of enterprise open source

          Enterprises across the globe are looking to transform their innovation models and create new value by taking advantage of major technological developments in big data, automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

          However, the pace at which these innovations are emerging, and the scale of the implementation and integration requirements can be overwhelming for enterprise executives, especially when companies need to balance their desire to innovate with their need for stability and consistency.

          To modernise their IT approach, innovate and successfully facilitate digital transformation within the enterprise, a growing number of organisations are turning to open source tools and solutions.

          This was a key revelation in Red Hat’s recent annual “The State of Enterprise Open Source” report, which details how and why open source solutions are making their way into enterprises with such remarkable momentum.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
    • Games
      • You can try the awesome demo of Jupiter Hell again this weekend

        Jupiter Hell, the atmospheric and quite brutal roguelike from ChaosForge is opening the doors for another weekend, so you can try out the demo before it goes public.

        It’s absolutely worth doing so too, I’ve covered it numerous times here because I adore the style and the feel of the gameplay.

      • The next Humble Monthly is out, with two more interesting early unlock games

        Even with the Steam Summer Sale right now, Surviving Mars by itself is just under $11 so to get those two games, plus a bunch more when the rest unlock on August 2nd is a sweet deal. Surviving Mars is brilliant by itself, spent tons of hours in it!

        Additionally, it does also give access to the Humble Trove as always, which allows you to download a ton (47 Linux supported at last count) of DRM-free games.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • The Ultimate Adwaita Theme For Mozilla Firefox

          A new Firefox theme helps the browser integrated more clearlnyl with the desktop environment’s default theme.

          The suitably titled ‘Firefox GNOME Theme‘ for Firefox 60 (and up) adheres strictly to the look laid out by the ‘new’ Adwaita theme found in GNOME 3.32 and up.

          We’re talking the same gradients, colours, and button shapes. It supports Adwaita’s standard beige look and the optional (and soon to be more accessible) dark mode.

        • Richard Hughes: Fun with the ODRS, part 2

          For the last few days I’ve been working on the ODRS, the review server used by GNOME Software and other open source software centers. I had to do a lot of work initially to get the codebase up to modern standards, but now it has unit tests (86% coverage!), full CI and is using the latest versions of everything. All this refactoring allowed me to add some extra new features we’ve needed for a while.


          For the last few years it’s been mostly me deciding on the ~3k marked-for-moderatation reviews with the help of Google Translate. Let me tell you, after all that my threshold for dealing with internet trolls is super low. There are already over 60 blocked users on the ODRS, although they’ll never really know they are shouting into /dev/null…

          One change I’ve made here is that it now takes two “reports” of a review before it needs moderation; the logic being that a lot of reports seem accidental and a really bad review is already normally reported by multiple people in the few days after it’s been posted. The other change is that we now have a locale-specific “bad word list” that submitted reports are checked against at submission time. If they are flagged, the moderator has to decide on the action before it’s ever shown to other users. This has already correctly flagged 5 reviews in the couple of days since it was deployed. If you contributed to the spreadsheet with “bad words” for your country I’m very grateful. That bad word list will be available as a JSON dump on the ODRS on Monday in case it’s useful to other people. I fully expect it’ll grow and change over time.

    • Distributions
      • OpenWrt 18.06.4 released with updated Linux kernel, security fixes Curl and the Linux kernel and much more!

        This month, the OpenWrt Community announced the release of OpenWrt 18.06.4, the fourth service release of the stable OpenWrt 18.06 series. This release comes with a number of bug fixes in the network and system and brings updates to the kernel and base packages.

        The official page reads, “Note that the OpenWrt 18.06.3 release was skipped in favor to 18.06.4 due to a last-minute 4.14 kernel update fixing TCP connectivity problems which were introduced with the first iteration of the Linux SACK (Selective Acknowledgement)vulnerability patches.”

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • Deepin 15.10.2

          Today we are looking at Deepin 15.10.2. It is a great point release for Deepin 15.10 and it should be the last point release before their next major release, which should be either Deepin 15.11 or 16 as it will be based on Debian 10 which will be stable by then. Which will be very exciting, as we can already see the extra amount of stability which Debian Buster is already bringing to the distro and Kwin.

          It uses about 1.3GB of ram when idling and Linux Kernel 4.15, as for some technical specs.

          Currently, the latest download link is for 15.10.1, so until then they update it please download 15.10.1 and just run your normal system updates and you will have the latest version.

        • Deepin 15.10.2 Run Through
      • Slackware Family
        • LibreOffice 6.2.5 packages available

          Earlier this week, the Document Foundation released version 6.2.5 of their office suite LibreOffice. I have built and uploaded sets of packages for Slackware 14.2 and also for -current, 32bits and 64bits.

          The Document Foundation themselves finally think that 6.2.x is production ready: “… Users in production environments can start evaluating LibreOffice 6.2.5…“. I was already happy with 6.2.4 and I find the capability to open and work with MS Office documents improving all the time.

      • Fedora Family
        • FPgM report: 2019-27

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meetnig-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Debian Family
        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in June 2019

          As you might have noticed as well, this month has been a month with the highest average temperature of all June so far. So I spent more time in the lake than in NEW. I only accepted 12 packages and rejected 1 upload. The rest of the team probably did the same because the overall number of packages that got accepted was only 22. Let’s see whether July will be the same …

        • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS/ELTS (June 2019)

          In June 2019, I did not at all reach my goal of LTS/ELTS hours, unfortunately. (At this point, I could come up with a long story about our dog’ish family member and the infection diseases he got, the vet visits we did and the daily care and attention he needed, but I won’t…).

          I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 9,75 hours (of 17 hours planned) and on the Debian ELTS project just for 1 hour (of 12 hours planned) as a paid contributor.

        • Jonathan Wiltshire: What to expect on buster release day

          The ‘buster’ release day is today! This is mostly a re-hash of previous checklists, since we’ve done this a few times now and we have a pretty good rhythm.

        • Niels Thykier: A decline in the use of hints in the release team

          When I surfaced from “stats-land”, I confirmed that we have a clear decline in hints in the past two releases[1].

          wheezy: 3301
          jessie: 3699 (+398)
          stretch: 2408 (-1291)
          buster: 1478 (-930)
          While it is certainly interesting, the number of hints on its own is not really an indicator of how much work we put into the release. Notably, it says very little about the time spent on evaluating unblock requests before adding the hint.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Atomic Lab Going Open Source after Dumping Microsoft over High Fees

        DumCan open source software cope with petabytes of data? We’re about to find out.

        Administrators at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), after moving in lockstep with Microsoft longer than their researchers have been smashing atoms with the Large Hadron Collider, appear to have reached the breaking point with the giant technology company.

        Rather than pay their vendor of long standing – Microsoft – a 10x increase to license mission-critical software, they’re developing their own.

        In a blog posted last week, Emmanuel Ormancy, a systems architect at the Geneva-based laboratory, said CERN’s Microsoft Alternatives project will take an open-source approach to wresting control of core functionalities and data from the software company. The project, known internally as MAlt, has run since 2018 and will trot out a pair of pilot platforms later this year.

        The reason: vendor lock-in, which occurs when users become over-reliant on providers of the proprietary products and support services needed to run their operations.

      • FreeDOS turns 25 (open source, DOS-compatible operating system)

        It’s been decades since Microsoft stopped developing MS-DOS, but there are thousands of old DOS applications that aren’t designed to run on newer operating systems like Windows 10. Enter FreeDOS, a free and open source operating system designed to be compatible with DOS applications.

        The FreeDOS project was officially announced on June 29th, 1994, which means that the project celebrated its 25th birthday over the weekend.

      • [Old] FreeDOS e-books

        Celebrate FreeDOS with this 24th anniversary e-book. This book includes how-tos on installing FreeDOS, essays about running DOS applications, and quick reference guides to FreeDOS commands and batch programming.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Tor Project Is Finally Fixing A DDoS Vulnerability In Onion Sites After Years

            While launching a DDoS attack on the targeted site, the attacker initiates thousands of connections to the website and leaves those connections hanging.

            But for each connection, the Onion service routes through a complex circuit in the Tor network to keep the connection secure between the server and remote user.

            Each process is CPU intensive, so whenever the site is bombarded with a huge number of connections, the server’s processor reaches its limit and cannot accept new connections.

          • Old known issue in Firefox allows HTML files to steal other files from victim’s system

            Opening an HTML file on Firefox could allow attackers to steal files stored on a victim’s computer due to a weakness in the popular web browser.

          • Say WHAAAT? Mozilla has Been Nominated for the “Internet Villain” Award in the UK

            Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular browsers available out there. A lot of users prefer it over Chrome just because it encourages privacy protection and features options to keep your Internet activity as private as possible.

            But, one of the recently proposed features – DoH (DNS-over-HTTPS) which is still in the testing phase didn’t receive a good response from the UK’s ISPs trade association.

            So, the ISPA (Internet Services Providers Association) of UK decided to nominate Mozilla as one of the “Internet Villains” among the nominees for 2019. This is for an award ceremony to be held on 11th July in London by the ISP trade association of the UK.

          • Firefox 68 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 68, we are pleased to welcome the 55 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 49 of whom were brand new volunteers! Please join us in thanking each of these diligent and enthusiastic individuals, and take a look at their contributions…

          • Mozilla’s Latest Research Grants: Prioritizing Research for the Internet

            We are very happy to announce the results of our Mozilla Research Grants for the first half of 2019. This was an extremely competitive process, and we selected proposals which address twelve strategic priorities for the internet and for Mozilla. This includes researching better support for integrating Tor in the browser, improving scientific notebooks, using speech on mobile phones in India, and alternatives to advertising for funding the internet. The Mozilla Research Grants program is part of our commitment to being a world-class example of using inclusive innovation to impact culture, and reflects Mozilla’s commitment to open innovation.

            We will open a new round of grants in Fall of 2019. See our Research Grant webpage for more details and to sign up to be notified when applications open.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
      • BSD
        • Project Trident 19.06 is Released, which added a lot of changes from upstream FreeBSD and TrueOS

          Trident Project have announced the release of Project Trident 19.06 on July 28, 2019, which added a lot of changes from upstream FreeBSD and TrueOS.

          Project Trident is a desktop-focused rolling release operating system based on TrueOS. It uses the Lumina desktop as well as a number of self-developed utilities to provide an easy-to-use system that both BSD beginners and advanced system administrators.

          This release brings a lot of new packages and updated most of the existing packages to latest available version.

          Not only package updates also, they made few of changes in the base package.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Data
          • Introducing Qwant Maps: an open source and privacy-preserving maps, with exclusive control over geolocated data

            Last week, Betterweb announced the release of Qwant Maps, an open source and privacy-preserving map. In the current scenario where services like Google Maps are always tracking user data, Qwant Maps respects user privacy and proposes to give users exclusive control over their geolocated data. All components developed by Qwant Maps are open source, enabling users to improve their experience by contributing directly with the Qwant map. Qwant map uses OpenStreetMap as their main data source.

            OpenStreetMap is a free and collaborative geographical database supported today by more than a million contributors around the world. Any voluntary user can freely contribute to enrich their database with new places. Qwant Maps also uses OpenStreetMap data to generate its own vector tiles, base map, and web APIs.

      • Programming/Development
        • Fuzzing and tests

          For the last week, I’ve mostly been writing tests and fixing bugs. One or two bugs were new, caused by the switch to using the protocol unmarshaling code generator that I wrote a week ago, but most are older bugs that occur when waypipe is exposed to malformed protocol messages. For example, there used to be a use-after-free when a Wayland request to a given object was crafted to create a new object that would overwrite the existing object, but not replace all the references to the old object. Several such bugs were found by fuzzing, using AFL.

          AFL is a file-format fuzzer, so it’s not immediately obvious how to make it fuzz a pair of programs which use Unix socket connections as input. Furthermore, the Wayland protocol requires file descriptor transfers via sendmsg, and almost no fuzzers are set up to do that. The solution I chose for waypipe is to write an alternative frontend, which runs two linked copies of waypipe as distinct threads, and has a third thread which reads from a given input file and sends messages to the other two threads. The input files are structured with a simple header based format which the third thread can use to decide to which copy of waypipe it should send the next block of data. The headers also include a field indicating how large of a shared memory buffer, if any, to sendmsg to the next selected waypipe thread. To provide the initial test cases for AFL, I wrote a script which proxies a Wayland application and dumps its (formatted) protocol messages to a file.

        • EuroPython Society: List of EPS Board Candidates for 2019/2020

          At this year’s EuroPython Society General Assembly we will vote in a new board of the EuroPython Society for the term 2019/2020.

        • Episode #219: Take a Python tour of duty at the United States Digital Service

          In the US, we have a very interesting civil option that is quite new: The United States Digital Service. This service was created by President Obama to fix broken government software systems such as the rocky start of the healthcare system.

          Developers and designers can serve in this service for as little as 3 months or as long as 4 years and they pay roughly market rates.

        • Python: Sleep Function Explained

          In Python, or any other programming language, sometimes you want to add a time delay in your code before you proceed to the next section of the code.

          If this is what you want to do, then you should use the sleep function from the time module.

          First, I will start by discussing how to use Python’s sleep function. After that I will talk more about some frequently asked questions and how the sleep function is actually implemented under the hood.

        • The Python Help System

          When writing and running your Python programs, you may get stuck and need to get help. You may need to know the meaning of certain modules, classes, functions, keywords, etc. The good news is that Python comes with an built-in help system. This means that you don’t have to seek help outside of Python itself.

          In this article, you will learn how to use the built-in Python help system.

        • Andaluh-rs, a lib to transcript Spanish to Andaluh

          And there’s a group of developers that are working in some tools to provide direct translation from Spanish and other tools to ease the Andalusian writing.

          I like to write code and I’m always happy to find new problems to solve, to learn new languages, tools and to spend some time trying to code something that I’ve not done before. So I decided to write a translator from Spanish to Andaluh using rust, and I’ve created the andaluh-rs lib.

          The translator is more or less easy, there’re some rules that should be applied from top to bottom that basically replaces some group of letters. There’s a implementation in python that uses regular expressions for that. There’re a lot of regular expressions, so I thougth that it could be easy to use a parser, so I used the pest parser.

        • Leaving

          A couple of folks will care about why I’ve retired. Everyone else can hop off the train now.

          Exit Interview

          Before we go any further, I want to make one thing clear. None of what follows is up for discussion. This post is not an attempt to start a conversation or facilitiate change. I’m going to lay things down as I see/saw them. This is my truth and these are my reasons.

  • Leftovers
    • Health/Nutrition
      • London’s knife crime victims are sewing themselves up, mayor says

        Khan continued: “The two main reasons given by people who are experts is: one, concern they themselves could be arrested, charged, prosecuted; but secondly, they are worried about somebody turning up at the A&E (emergency room) or the trauma center from gang B.”

      • Sisters Thought They Took Their Brother Off Life Support — Until He Walked Through The Front Door

        “I can’t conceive of how a budgetary issue would drive whether or not a person who was a John Doe would be fingerprinted before they’re taken off of life support,” said family attorney Cannon Lambert Sr. “If that’s the situation, something’s got to be done.”

      • Wrong Chicago family takes ‘brother’ off life support amid mistaken identity

        Both families are now suing the hospital and the city of Chicago for negligence and inflicting intentional emotional distress.

      • A raging TB epidemic in Papua New Guinea threatens to destabilize the entire Asia Pacific

        In Papua New Guinea, a TB epidemic threatens to turn into a disaster that could destabilize the Asia Pacific region. Situated about 90 miles from Australia in the Pacific Ocean, the island nation sees more than 100 cases of TB every day.

        Of these cases, five are drug-resistant strains, and 10 people will die, according to World Health Organization figures. Yet, in a nation where more than one-third of the population is illiterate, these figures grossly underestimate the actual number of TB cases due to underreporting. Additionally, 86% of the country’s 8 million citizens live in rural areas with little or no access to health care, further obscuring the numbers.

      • From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Toxic Agriculture Is the Problem Not the Solution

        Why did the European Food Safety Authority claim that glyphosate was not ecotoxic? This is the question environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason poses in her new 23-page report which can be accessed in full here.

        In places, the report reads like a compilation of peer-reviewed studies and official reports that have documented the adverse impacts of chemicals used in modern agriculture.

        Only a brief outline of Mason’s report is possible here. Readers are urged to consult the document to grasp more detailed insight into the issues she discusses as well as the evidence cited in support of her arguments and claims.

        Mason argues that the European Commission has consistently bowed to the demands of the pesticide lobby. In turn, she notes the fraudulent nature of the assessment of glyphosate which led to its relicensing in Europe and thus the continued use of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup.

        This ongoing support for the pesticide lobby flies in the face of so much evidence pointing to the detrimental effects of Roundup and other agrochemicals on the environment, living organisms, soil, water and human health.

    • Security
      • The Week in Tech: What Should Your City Do if It’s Hit by Ransomware? [iophk: No. Cities are seen as low-hanging fruit because many still run MS-Windows]

        Cities are now seen as low-hanging fruit by [attackers], because of “legacy systems and lack of budget” to upgrade, said Jennifer Daffron, a risk researcher at the University of Cambridge. They’re also great places to cause chaos, and [attackers], especially nation-state ones, “love to cause chaos to get street cred,” Mr. Falco said.

      • 4 chilling lessons from a tech hotline scam

        He had a few questions, did a Google search for Yahoo’s small business helpline and called. Little did he know the listed number wasn’t for Yahoo tech support at all. Scammers found a way to push their fake number to the top of his Google search, and Bob was tricked into calling a convincing-sounding technician. When the person on the other end asked for his login information, including password and home address, he didn’t question the request. [...]

      • [Old] Why [attackers] ignore most security flaws

        The reasons they wouldn’t can vary. Most [intrusion] is criminal, not espionage, and criminal [attackers] tend to make decisions based on hacking the most computers with the least amount of effort. Not all vulnerabilities are easy to use and not all of the easy to use vulnerabilities are in products that are widely deployed.

      • [Old] What’s the best approach to patching vulnerabilities?

        New research shows that most vulnerabilities aren’t exploited and those that are tend to have a high CVSS score (awarded on the basis of how dangerous and easy to exploit the vulnerability is). So, not surprisingly, the most easily exploited flaws are the ones exploited most frequently.

        What’s more surprising is that there’s apparently no relationship between the proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code being published publicly online and the start of real-world attacks.

      • RDP Exposure To The Internet

        The Remote Desktop Protocol, commonly referred to as RDP, is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft that is used to provide a graphical means of connecting to a network-connected computer. RDP client and server support has been present in varying capacities in most every Windows version since NT. Outside of Microsoft’s offerings, there are RDP clients available for most other operating systems. If the nitty gritty of protocols is your thing, Wikipedia’s Remote Desktop Protocol article is a good start on your way to a trove of TechNet articles.

        RDP is essentially a protocol for dangling your keyboard, mouse and a display for others to use. As you might expect, a juicy protocol like this has a variety of knobs used to control its security capabilities, including controlling user authentication, what encryption is used, and more. The default RDP configuration on older versions of Windows left it vulnerable to several attacks when enabled; however, newer versions have upped the game considerably by requiring Network Level Authentication (NLA) by default. If you are interested in reading more about securing RDP, UC Berkeley has put together a helpful guide, and Tom Sellers, prior to joining Rapid7, wrote about specific risks related to RDP and how to address them.

      • Golang Malware Targets Linux-Based Servers [Ed: Better headline would say something like, "malware written in some programming language (Go) wants people to foolishly install it on a server and it's compiled for or made compatible with GNU/Linux"]

        A cryptominer campaign has been targeting Linux-based servers using a new Golang malware, according to research published by F5 Labs.

        Though not often seen in the threat landscape, the Golang malware was first identified in mid-2018 and has sustained throughout 2019. Researchers noted the latest operation, which has infected an estimated several thousand machines, began around June 10. The first exploit requests were identified around June 16.

      • Microsoft wants to join private Linux security developer board [Ed: If Linux values security, then it will reject the company that started PRISM with the NSA]

        Microsoft has applied to join a private group of Linux developers responsible for reporting and discussing security issues before they go public.

      • Microsoft bids for behind-the-scenes access to Linux flaws [Ed: They have already taken over parts of the Linux Foundation, so why not this?]

        Request to join security lists come as the firm reveals Linux usage on Azure VMs outweighs Windows usage.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Are America’s Billionaires Turning Against Forever War?

        A new think tank is coming to Washington, D.C., this September, a development that might not elicit more than a shrug (or a groan) if not for the unlikely duo behind it. Two billionaires, George Soros, a liberal, and Charles Koch, a conservative, have teamed up to create the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which will advocate for ending the United States’ forever wars. Stephen Kinzer of The Boston Globe, which first broke the story, calls the think tank “one of the most remarkable partnerships in modern American political history.”

        A statement on the institute’s website says, “The foreign policy of the United States has become detached from any defensible conception of U.S. interests and from a decent respect for the rights and dignity of humankind.”

        Aside from both being billionaires, at first glance Koch and Soros seem to have little in common politically. As Kelsey Piper explains in Vox, “Soros is, of course, widely hated on the right for his support of liberalized immigration and is frequently the target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Koch, meanwhile, has come under fire for his contributions to the Republican Party and his opposition to climate policies.”

        The institute, which will open in September before an official inauguration later in the fall, is named for former U.S. President John Quincy Adams who, Piper points out, “said in an 1821 speech that America ‘goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.’ ” Koch and Soros contributed half a million dollars each to the institute, which has received an additional $800,000 in contributions from individual donors.

        “This is big,” Trita Parsi, former president of the National Iranian American Council and a co-founder of the new think tank, told the Globe. The institute will advocate for restraint and diplomacy instead of military intervention, which Kinzer calls “a radical notion in Washington, where every major think tank promotes some variant of neocon militarism or liberal interventionism.”

      • After British Commandos Seize Oil Tanker, Iran Accuses UK of Committing ‘Maritime Piracy’ on Behalf of US

        Iran on Friday accused the United Kingdom of committing an act of “maritime piracy” on behalf of the U.S. after British commandos seized an Iranian supertanker they said was carrying oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

        In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry called the U.K.’s move an “illegal” and “destructive” act of aggression and demanded “the immediate release of the oil tanker, given that it has been seized at the request of the U.S., based on the information currently available.”

        Mohsen Rezai, a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, said Friday that Iran should retaliate by seizing a British tanker if the U.K. does not release the Iranian vessel.

        “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, it is the authorities’ duty to seize a British oil tanker,” Rezai tweeted. “Islamic Iran in its 40-year history has never initiated hostilities in any battles but has also never hesitated in responding to bullies.”

        The U.K.’s seizure of the Iranian tanker in waters east of Gibraltar on Thursday came amid heightened military tensions between Iran and the United States, sparked by President Donald Trump’s violation of the nuclear accord last year and continued belligerent threats.

      • Can Trump Be Beaten, Regardless?

        He stands before tanks, alongside military leaders, under a sky filled with jets performing at his command. He’s been on his way to autocratic rule and the Congress has been pitiable in its efforts to stop him.

      • Bomb Iran? Pass.

        Other than for show, there is no reason to attack Iran. It is not the most dangerous regime in the Middle East. Not by any calculation. That title goes to Saudi Arabia, the country that’s been pounding Yemen back to the stone age, with American weaponry, threatening its neighbors, including Bahrain and Qatar, and financing the Taliban and ISIS—not directly of course, but the laundromats of Saudi sheikh’s finances are as oily as their bank accounts.
        Remember that Clinton memo from 2009, when she was Secretary of State? “More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups,” she wrote that December. Ten years later, Saudi Arabia’s hands are no less bloody.
        Saudi Arabia, not Iran, sends out goons to other countries to assassinate and dismember journalists, or kidnap dissidents who manage to flee the country, beat them, drug them and and imprison them. Saudi Arabia, not Iran, remains the title holder in originating terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East. But Saudi Arabia is supposedly an American ally. It has a lot of oil, so much of it needed to ensure that we keep cooking the planet, and it’s been deceiving American presidents since FDR. Now it’s pushing this country toward war with Iran, and too many people in Trump’s administration are eager to be Saudi Arabia’s lackeys. Trump and his son in law are too, but those two want to make money. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton just want to do what John McCain once stupidly laughed off: Bomb.

      • China Winning’s Hand: Huawei, Trade and North Korea

        There had been earlier skirmishes, threats, talk of retaliation and warnings of dire consequences, but the trade war between the United States and China started in earnest on July 6, 2018 when Washington implemented its first China-specific tariffs. It ended just short of a year later, and though Chinese officials are too polite to publically proclaim victory, from their point of view, the outcome can be viewed in a favorable light.

        At first glance, it hardly seemed a telling blow. No trumpets sounded, no flags were lowered, no treaties signed. But a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to resume trade talks that had broken down in May. So? Hardly a surrender. Just a brief lull, a pause before hostilities re-commence? No. This is a moment of far more significance and one that many in the West do not fully appreciate. If the deal had been just to postpone tariffs Trump had threatened to impose on an additional $300 billion annually in Chinese imports then it could be considered a strategic retreat. After all, Trump will not overhaul the relationship with the world’s second-biggest economy as the 2020 election looms.

        But lifting certain commercial restrictions in the US on Huawei, a computer firm seen as a Trojan Horse for the Chinese military, and reports that the Trump administration will allow North Korea to keep its nuclear weapons suggest a more defining moment has arrived. The Chinese have always denied that Huawei has links to its military. But then they would say that, wouldn’t they? But from the Chinese perspective, they believe many US companies operating in China have links to the US military. After all, did not Ike Eisenhower warn in his 1961 farewell presidential address of the threat posed by the industrial military complex. It hasn’t lessened since then.

      • Cocked & Loaded: Iranians are Not Our Enemies

        “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night,” Donald Trump tweeted about Iran on June 21, showing us just how close we are to yet another war.

        In light of the shooting down of a U.S spy drone, the tanker incidents just a few days prior, and a trajectory of other escalatory moves, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton aren’t waging a maximum pressure campaign to change the behavior of their enemy, but are paving a path toward war.

        Regardless of the clear facts about the incidents, one thing is clear — military escalation must not be the response.

        The consequences would be disastrous in terms of casualties on all sides, further destabilization of the Middle East, the increased risk of nuclear proliferation and war, and the waste of trillions of dollars. Now more than ever, diplomatic efforts need to be pursued at all costs.

        In addition to the tangible checklist for preventing war, I suggest that it is overdue to change the narrative around Iran and its people.

        First, however, the context in which these events are occurring needs to be understood.

      • US is a Classic Empire and Is Becoming a Repressive Police State at Home

        As I set out to fly home from the UK on Monday following a short film project in Cambridge, I found my boarding pass, which I had been blocked from obtaining online the night before, carrying a bold-faced SSSS stamp in the lower right corner. Asking about it I was told by the British employee at the United check-in counter, “That is because you are on a US Department of Homeland Security list, sir.”

        Later, after my son and I got the boarding gate, my name was called and I was ushered through a door in the wall behind the gate desk where two British security agents pawed through my bag and ran a cloth over computer, phone and all the zippers on my suitcase and computer bag looking for traces of explosives. After that I was politely told that I and my son (whose luggage was left uninspected) could board the plane. When I asked why I, a journalist with no criminal record, was being treated like a suspected terrorist, they laughed and said I would have to inquire of the DHS.

        It’s not the first time this has happened to me. The same thing happened when my wife and I flew to Vienna in March where she was playing a concert on Vienna State Radio. That time at a checkpoint between Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and Terminal 2, my boarding pass was rejected, and when I got it reprinted a red stamp saying “ICE Security” was added. As on Monday, I was subjected to a special search in a separate location near the gate by an apologetic British security officer.

        Today is July 4, and many American citizens will be bringing blankets and lawn chairs to local fireworks displays to celebrate American independence. Of course, those fireworks really hark back to the “rockets’ red glare” referred to in Francis Scott Key’s racist national anthem, which was largely a condemnation of the freed black slaves that the British employed in their effort to conquer Baltimore harbor during the War of 1812.

      • Provoking World War III with Iran and a U.S. History of Provocation

        In the history of the United States and its history of interventionism, the recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seem to be foreboding and ominous signs of what may come—an inevitable war with the Islamic Republic of Iran? To many who are watching the region closely, it is still unclear if Iran is behind such attacks. Moreover, and, thankfully, President Donald J. Trump backed away from bombing Iran after the Iranians allegedly and recently shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

        Even so, the bellicose rhetoric between President Trump (threatening Iran’s “obliteration”) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (calling Trump “mentally retarded”) have continued. Watching from the sidelines, everyone hopes diplomacy will prevail.

        Let us examine U.S. interventionism past more closely. I know of four clear international instances where the United States intervened under dubious circumstances, initiating war.

        The first happened just before the beginning of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). President James K. Polk sent American troops to the Rio Grande River under the command of Zachary Taylor. The Mexicans had believed that the border had been at the Nueces River, not the Rio Grande, the Nueces being significantly north of the Rio Grande. This move was provocative and incited Mexican forces to attack the U.S. Army at its fortifications on the Rio Grande in 1846. As the attacks on U.S. soldiers were reported by Taylor to Polk, the U.S. Congress promptly declared war on Mexico.

      • Open Letter to President Donald Trump

        We see with increasing concern your efforts to start a military confrontation with Iran based on false premises. Such a move would only benefit the arms makers and would leave a trail of destruction the world has seen few times before. Although you are the most powerful man in the world, Sir, you don’t have the right to threaten world peace for reasons that are difficult to understand.

      • Trump-Kim III: Making History Without Making Progress?

        Taking a few steps onto North Korean soil, and posing for pictures with a friendly dictator, seem to fit Trump-era diplomacy better than a carefully laid out process. But unless the US changes its bargaining position—in fact, starts to bargain—nothing will be come of this sudden trip, and Trump will have given North Korea another PR victory: the US president accepting it as a nuclear state.

        The media’s focus on Trump making history is strange, and a distraction from the main issue: peace and security on the Korean peninsula. Whereas Trump took a few steps inside North Korea, Jimmy Carter (in 1994) and Bill Clinton (in 2009) made peace missions to Pyongyang that had substantive results. The only real history Trump is making is his consistent adoration of dictators and substitution of nice personal exchanges for problem solving.

        More noteworthy than Trump’s gambit is the NY Times report that Trump is considering a different tack with the North Koreans this time around, namely, a proposal for a freeze on the North’s nuclear weapon production (presumably meaning production of the materials for the weapon as well as the weapon itself). Critics are already jumping on that idea too, pointing out the obvious: North Korea would retain its nuclear weapon stockpile while continuing missile testing. The US is said to weigh proposing that in return, North Korea will agree to abandon perhaps two weapon production and testing sites under international inspection.

      • A Mostly Serious Response to the Semi-Satirical Ken Silverstein on Trump’s Second Term

        Clearly the essay is an exercising in trolling (looking for views and reactions) and a kind of gaslighting, where the author messes with his readers’ sense of reality. It’s not full-on satire ala The Onion, where the trick is to make an openly and unashamedly absurd premise seem almost plausible but in ways that leave no doubt that the whole thing is a put-on. In Silverstein’s piece, the line between what he believes and what he doesn’t is never quite clear.

        Online sources have reported different things on this. One informant, a Facebook commenter and French Revolution student named Shawn Parkhurst, told Street that Silverstein claimed to believe “eighty to ninety percent of what he wrote.” A different source, fellow Counterpuncher Andrew Stewart, reports Silverstein writing the following: “It seems like a perfectly practical, logical argument to me — and also one that was meant to be partly satirical and provocative and not meant in any way to suggest I support Trump for reelection. I don’t like him and have spent a great deal of the last year, when not working on Washington Babylon, covering his administration’s horrible immigration policies.”

        It’s nice to know that Silverstein “do[es]n’t like [Donald] Trump.” We certainly didn’t think he did. Still, in what follows, we respond to his essay (somewhat semi-satirically) as if Silverstein really does believe much if not most of his eight-point argument. This is perhaps somewhat unfair, but we think it is useful for a depressing reason. Whatever percentage of the “perfectly practical, logical argument” Silverstein would seriously defend, his presentation of that argument channels some very real pathologies on the nominal Left, part of which can strangely enough be called (despite its outraged protests and denials, frequently combined with statements of dislike and even hatred for Trump) a TrumpenLeft.

      • Absolute Proof that Trump Is Stupid

        However – even if his planned surgical missile-strikes against Iran’s (non-existent) facilities for manufacturing nuclear warheads ‘succeeded’ – how is it possible for anyone to be able to rule-out blowback that would require placing U.S. boots-on-the-ground?

        Or that none of the blowback would entail Iranian-and-allied retaliatory missile-strikes against, for example, water-purification facilities in the extremely arid lands of Trump’s friends, Israel and Saudi Arabia? And maybe even against U.S. air bases and other military facilities in the region?

        Of course, the answer is: There is no way for anyone to know that, and anyone who would trust Trump’s words to the contrary would be taking them on pure faith, just as religious believers believe the Bible, the Quran, or any other allegedly sacred Scripture.

        Maybe Trump knew that this is so and was merely talking to his base, the people who do still trust him, but a recent event excludes such mere lying, and can be explained only by his being, actually, stupid:

        One of the most important and highest quality news-reports to have appeared in the New York Times was by Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Thomas Gibbons-Neff on June 21st, and was titled “Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake”.

      • We’re Not the Good Guys

        Note that “Iranian aggression.” The rest of the piece, fairly typical of the tone of American media coverage of the ongoing Iran crisis, included sentences like this: “The C.I.A. has longstanding secret plans for responding to Iranian provocations.” I’m sure I’ve read such things hundreds of times without ever really stopping to think much about them, but this time I did. And what struck me was this: rare is the moment in such mainstream news reports when Americans are the “provocative” ones (though the Iranians immediately accused the U.S. military of just that, a provocation, when it came to the U.S. drone its Revolutionary Guard recently shot down either over Iranian air space or the Strait of Hormuz). When it comes to Washington’s never-ending war on terror, I think I can say with reasonable confidence that, in the past, the present, and the future, the one phrase you’re not likely to find in such media coverage will be “American aggression.”

        I mean, forget the history of the second half of the last century and all of this one so far. Forget that back in the Neolithic age of the 1980s, before Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein turned out to be the new Adolf Hitler and needed to be taken down by us (no aggression there), the administration of President Ronald Reagan actively backed his unprovoked invasion of, and war against, Iran. (That included his use of chemical weapons against Iranian troop concentrations that American military intelligence helped him target.) Forget that, in 2003, the administration of George W. Bush launched an unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, based on false intelligence about Saddam’s supposed weapons of mass destruction and his supposed links to al-Qaeda. Forget that the Trump administration tore up a nuclear agreement with Iran to which that country was adhering and which would indeed have effectively prevented it from producing nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future. Forget that its supreme leader (in fatwas he issued) prohibited the creation or stockpiling of such weaponry in any case.

        Forget that the Trump administration, in a completely unprovoked manner, imposed crippling sanctions on that country and its oil trade, causing genuine suffering, in hopes of toppling that regime economically as Saddam Hussein’s had been toppled militarily in neighboring Iraq in 2003, all in the name of preventing the atomic weapons that the Obama-negotiated pact had taken care of. Forget the fact that an American president, who, at the last moment, halted air strikes against Iranian missile bases (after one of their missiles shot down that American drone) is now promising that an attack on “anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force… In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”

      • Trump Is Forcing Iran to Follow North Korea’s Dangerous Example

        “Axis of Evil” first appeared in former President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in January 2002, describing Iraq, Iran and North Korea months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Fourteen months after the speech, the United States invaded Iraq. The U.S. remains at war there 16 years later.

        Now, President Donald Trump is threatening Iran with “obliteration” while he visits and showers praise on North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Why the different treatment of these two remaining countries in the “Axis of Evil”? It’s simple: North Korea has an estimated 20 to 60 nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them, and Iran lacks nuclear weapons. The lesson is painfully clear: To avoid a devastating war with the United States, develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent.

      • Seoul dissolves Japan fund for WWII sex slaves

        Japan insists this package permanently settled the past, but parts of South Korean society have repeatedly returned to the issue of compensation.

        While Tokyo has formally apologised for its actions, right-wing politicians have frequently equivocated, irritating Seoul and sparking demands for a more complete reckoning.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • Fact Check: Picture of handcuffed woman in burqa goes viral with wrong claim

        Facebook user Riyaz Shaikh posted the picture along with a caption in Hindi that claims the woman was arrested in Australia for wearing a burqa. He appreciated the woman for showing courage in front of police and asked people to share the post as much as possible.

        The archived version of the post can be seen here.

        India Today’s Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found the claim to be false. One, this photo is not from Australia but Spain. And more importantly, the woman was not arrested for wearing a burqa. A Spanish counter-terror police team arrested her in 2015 for allegedly recruiting women into Islamic State.

      • Doubling Down: The Military, Big Bankers and Big Oil Are Not In Climate Denial, They Are in Control and Plan to Keep It That Way.

        The ruling class may be an utter failure but that is not stopping them taking aggressive action on climate change. Their chief concern: maintaining power, control and profits at all costs.

        The plan is well underway and it sure ain’t the Green New Deal. Just imagine a more extreme version of the world that already exists: where healthcare is rationed; where wealth inequality strangles democracy; where austerity is a weapon of class warfare; where millions die prematurely from toxins in air and water; where war and incarceration is the solution of choice; where people are rounded up in concentration camps; where corporations rule unchallenged; where extreme weather wrecks havoc in an expanding circle of misery. The only new thing about their solution is the stench of fascism that grows ever stronger and more odious.

        The Bosses Want More of the Same

        When Trump and the Republicans deny climate change, when Pelosi, Pallone, Perez, Biden and Obama join with Trump in sabotaging the Green New Deal or dismissing climate action as too expensive, too dreamy, not practical or too pure — they are all bold-faced liars and frauds.

        The Republicans know full well that their partners in crime — oil companies, bankers and the military brass have known about climate change for decades. And, the corporate Democrats know that these same powerful players they too represent already have a risky plan to deal with climate change. From their shared perspective, even the Democrat’s Green New Deal, despite its weaknesses, must be marginalized since it competes with the establishment’s plans for our future.

      • U.S. Militarism and the One-Sided Class War

        Despite capitalism’s internal contradictions, it can sustain itself in various forms – even fascism is a capitalist construct – as long as the bourgeois class is a “class for itself” and the working class is subjectively reduced to non-existence as a political force because of its lack of class consciousness. The various methods with which the rulers are able to leverage ideological consent from the oppressed don’t necessarily require extensive study of Gramsci, although it would help. Rather, it is only necessary to remind ourselves of the very simple but accurate observation provided by Marx that the dominant ideas of any society reflect the ideas of its dominant class.

        While the modalities of how an increasingly small ruling element can sustain its rule in the midst of an ongoing capitalist crisis are an interesting and, indeed, critical subject, it is not the subject of this short essay. I will instead just focus on one issue unfolding in the public domain that I believe serves as an example of how this ideological feat is pulled off – the debate, or more actually, non-debate on militarism and the military budget.

        Last week, as the public was being prepped for the first Democrat party debates in that ESPN style of reporting that now dominates at CNN and other cable stations which frame such political events as the debates as entertainment spectacles, the Senate passed (with the support of 36 Democrats), the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a vote of 86 to 8 that gave the Trump administration $750 billion for the war machine – an increase that makes this military budget the largest in U.S. history. Only five Democrats voted against the bill; six others including Senator Sanders and Warren failed to vote because they were on the campaign trail running for President.


        The NSS under Trump does not depart from the goals of previous administrations during the post-Cold War period. However, it does represent a more intense commitment to the use of coercive force to offset the gains being made by their capitalist rivals, mainly China and Russia. Though not directly referenced in the NSS, the Trump forces are now concerned with competition from the European Union, as it is being seen as an instrument and expression of the interests of German capital and the growing calls in Europe for an independent military force.

        But all of this still begs the question: if the Republicans are supposed to be the party of war and the Democrats the sophisticated global cosmopolitans committed to peace, multilateralism and international law, why wouldn’t the Democrat party’s popular base react more vigorously to oppose the obscene squandering of public resources for the military?

        There are two elements to this as an explanation. One I alluded to already, the diversionary impact of Russiagate, with the other element being the dramatic shift to the right in the consciousness of the Democrat party base as a result of the ideological influence of the Obama administration and Obama himself.

      • White Supremacist in Charlottesville Case Gets Life Sentence

        An avowed white supremacist who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a white nationalist rally in Virginia was sentenced to life in prison Friday on hate crime charges.

        James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, had pleaded guilty in March to the 2017 attack that killed one person and injured more than two dozen others. In exchange, prosecutors dropped their request for the death penalty. His attorneys asked for a sentence less than life. He will be sentenced next month on separate state charges.

        Before the judge handed down his sentence, Fields, accompanied by one of his lawyers, walked to a podium in the courtroom and spoke.

        “I apologize for the hurt and loss I’ve caused,” he said, later adding, “Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions. I’m sorry.”

      • Creating a Climate for War With Iran

        Media outlets are creating a climate for a US military attack on Iran by hyping the idea that Iran is an imminent threat to peace, by failing to offer evidence that calls the US’s accusations against Iran into question, by amplifying warmongers’ voices and by naturalizing America’s supposed right to spy on every country on earth.

        Headlines are breathlessly suggesting to readers that Iranians are going to kill Americans if Americans don’t kill Iranians first.

        A Hill article (6/7/19) told readers “Why Congress Needs Accurate Intelligence on the Iran Threat”; Fox (6/14/19) explained “The Trump Administration’s Strategy to Meet Threat from Iran.” A New York Times article (6/17/19) by David E. Sanger called Iran one of the “nuclear crises” facing the US, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency has said that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and hasn’t been close to having one since at least 2003, and there is reason to believe that it never has been close.

        Presenting Iran as a threat, nuclear or otherwise, over and over again carries the clear message that it must be confronted. Yet it’s much more accurate to say that the US is a threat to Iran than the opposite (, 6/6/19); after all, it’s the US government that is destroying Iran’s economy through sanctions that limit Iranians’ access to food and medicine, while surrounding Iran with military bases and land, sea and air forces. Iran has done nothing remotely comparable to the US.

    • Environment
      • Study Finds Holding Governments and Corporations Legally Accountable for Climate Crisis ‘Has Become a Global Phenomenon’

        The new report from the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science—entitled Global Trends in Climate Change Litigation: 2019 Snapshot (pdf)—focuses on the 1,328 legal actions related to the climate crisis filed between 1990 and May of this year, with cases launched in more than two dozen countries.

        The suits have been brought by citizens, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and local governments.

        Summarizing the study’s findings, report co-author Joana Setzer said in a statement that “holding government and businesses to account for failing to combat climate change has become a global phenomenon.”

        “People and environmental groups are forcing governments and companies into court for failing to act on climate change, and not just in the United States,” said Setzer. “Now the number of countries in which people are taking climate change court action is likely to continue to rise.”

        Though the United States accounts for the large majority of the cases—1,023, according to the report—multiple lawsuits also have been filed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Researchers also noted cases brought to the European Union, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, and the U.N. Human Rights Committee.

      • [Older] 83 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump

        President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses.

        A New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and other sources, counts more than 80 environmental rules and regulations on the way out under Mr. Trump.

        Our list represents two types of policy changes: rules that were officially reversed and rollbacks still in progress. The Trump administration has released an aggressive schedule to try to finalize many of these rollbacks this year.

      • Trump to Tout America as Environmental Leader in a Speech on Monday

        Despite cutting more than 80 environmental regulations, appointing a climate change denier to the National Security Council and giving senior administration roles to people who worked for the fossil fuel industry, President Donald Trump will deliver a speech Monday that a White House spokesman said will “recognize his administration’s environmental leadership and America’s role in leading the world,” as the Guardian was the first to report.

        Trump intends to tout the country’s clean air and water. Although, he often boasts that the U.S. has the cleanest air in the world, statistics show otherwise. The nonprofit Health Effects Institute’s State of Global Air 2019 report ranked the United States 37th dirtiest out of 195 countries for ozone, also known as smog.

      • US air quality is slipping after years of improvement

        There were 15% more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016, the four years when America had its fewest number of those days since at least 1980.

        President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed just the opposite, saying earlier this month in Ireland: “We have the cleanest air in the world, in the United States, and it’s gotten better since I’m president.”

      • The Crunch Question on Climate: How Can I Help?

        Working in climate and environment, you hear this question a lot. On one hand, environmental groups — including Greenpeace — will tell you that every action you take can make a difference. Every action counts! On the other, editorials and experts will tell you that it doesn’t matter what you do in your everyday life, because the problem can’t be solved by individual action. They may claim that its a cop out and lets corporations off the hook, because the problem lies with the broken but deeply entrenched system we’re caught in. After all, 70 percent of emissions are created by 100 companies, right?

        As this Vox piece laid out so well, as a climate campaigner, my friends also used to proudly tell me how much they recycle, or about their efforts to eat less meat or buy green products whenever they could afford them. It always broke my heart to tell them: sure… but to have a real impact you need to refuse and reduce first, join a climate strike, or become a politically active citizen who demands the mayor in your city launches an ambitious mobility plan or the government in your country starts holding corporations accountable.

      • Amid plastic deluge, Southeast Asia refuses Western waste

        The Philippines sent 69 containers of waste back to Canada at the end of June, after a five-year spat that symbolizes rising anger in Southeast Asia about imports of dirty waste. The shipment arrived weeks after Indonesia and Malaysia sent waste they say was contaminated back to Europe and the US. In all three cases, the country returning the trash said it had been labelled as recyclable — despite containing other rubbish such as used diapers and household waste.

      • ‘Unprecedented’ Wildfires Burned Across the Arctic Circle In June

        The fires have been burning across the Arctic Circle in Siberia and Alaska for weeks. Though fire is a natural part of some Arctic ecosystems, scientists are calling the wildfires “unprecedented” for the month of June based on their size and carbon dioxide emissions.

        “These are some of the biggest fires on the planet, with a few appearing to be larger than 100,000 hectares,” Thomas Smith, professor of geography at the London School of Economics, said in an email. “The amount of CO2 emitted from Arctic Circle fires in June 2019 is larger than all of the CO2 released from Arctic Circle fires in the same month from 2010 through to 2018 put together.”

      • Kwekwe city loses 55pc treated water to leaks

        Illegal gold panners have been singled out for breaking water pipes in search of water for their gold purification process.

      • Rick Snyder, Ex-Michigan Governor, Withdraws From Harvard Post Over Flint Uproar

        “The people of Flint, Michigan — and especially low-income black residents — have suffered acutely because of their poisonous water supply, and I have been deeply moved by the personal and thoughtful messages I have received from people in Flint,” Douglas Elmendorf, the Harvard Kennedy School dean, wrote in an email on Wednesday to students, faculty and staff members.

        “We appreciate Governor Snyder’s interest in participating in such discussions in our community,” he continued, “but we and he now believe that having him on campus would not enhance education here in the ways we intended.”

        Mr. Snyder, through a spokesman, declined to comment further.

      • Are parts of India becoming too hot for humans?

        Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that even if the world succeeds in cutting carbon emissions, limiting the predicted rise in average global temperatures, parts of India will become so hot they will test the limits of human survivability.

      • Energy
        • More Signs That Natural Gas Can’t Compete With Renewables on Cost

          From a natural gas industry conference to a major metropolitan area, more signs are emerging that natural gas is in a losing economic battle with renewables and battery storage. And considering recent news that existing fossil fuel projects are already enough to push the world past international climate goals, this emerging economic reality couldn’t come soon enough.

        • ‘Trump Is Not Above the Law’: New Lawsuit Aims to Defeat Keystone XL

          The lawsuit (pdf) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, the same court that halted construction on the dirty energy project last year, ruling that the administration hadn’t adequately considered the consequences of the pipeline when approving it. In response, President Donald Trump revoked the initial permit and issued a new one in March.

          “After we won in court, Trump tried to skirt the law,” Jackie Prange, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said in a statement Monday. “But as this new lawsuit shows, no president can, on a whim, unilaterally exempt the government from complying with our nation’s bedrock environmental laws.”

          Jared Margolis, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), vowed that opponents of the pipeline “won’t stop fighting Trump’s underhanded attempt to dodge the courts and ram this dirty fossil fuel project down America’s throat.”

        • Plotting Against Venezuela: Another Coup for Oil?

          After the publication of Dan Kovalik’s four books since 2017 (The Plot to Scapegoat Russia, The Plot to Attack Iran, The Plot to Control the World and now The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela), I am finally honouring my promise to him to write a review, made at the time his first book was published two years ago. However, the review is of this fourth text, which just arrived last week. Although one could say “better late than never,” in this case, being “late” is actually a great advantage, as what is happening in Venezuela is, at this time, perhaps the single most important international issue.

          It is no accident that commentators from Venezuela, Cuba, the rest of Latin America, the US itself and elsewhere are evaluating the Venezuelan experience as currently (and to differing degrees) occupying the epicentre of anti-imperialism or even the epicentre of the anti-imperialist left. The latter assessment is of great significance. Unlike Russia and Iran as the subjects of two of the three previous publications, the component of a new ideology – and the Venezuelan example with which we can identify – highlights the enormous international significance of this Latin American country for this entire hemisphere and beyond. A better world is indeed possible. This is not to underestimate or denigrate in any manner Iran, whose revolution I fully support, or Russia as a key player in support of a multi-polar world, one of whose key ingredients today is undoubtedly proud support for the Bolivarian Revolution and President Maduro. Irrespective of what one may think of these evaluations of Venezuela as the new epicentre, this country remains the focus of debate and discussion regarding international relations and, in particular, US policy toward the entire world.

        • Brazilians reject Bolsonaro’s nuclear plan

          President Jair Bolsonaro’s nuclear plan is leaving many of his fellow Brazilians distinctly unenthusiastic at the prospect not of pollution alone but also of perceptible risk.

          A few days ago a procession of men, women and children carrying banners and placards wound its way through the dry parched fields in the country’s semi-arid region in the north-east. It was a Sunday, and the crowd was led by the local bishop. But this was not one of the customary religious processions appealing for rain.

          This time, the inhabitants of the small dusty town of Itacuruba were protesting against plans to install a nuclear plant on the banks of the river where they fish and draw their water.

          The São Francisco river, which rises in the centre of Brazil and meanders its way 1,800 miles north and east to the Atlantic, is Brazil’s largest river flowing entirely within the country.

          Over the years five dams and a scheme to divert and channel water to irrigate the region have severely reduced its volume.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • The Battle for the Grand Canyon

          Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt said he has “no reason” to support lifting the Obama-era ban, but even if the administration denies the pending petition, experts say the topic of uranium mining around the Grand Canyon won’t go away anytime soon.

          The federal land around the Grand Canyon could hold roughly 12% of Northern Arizona’s untapped uranium, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

        • Critics Question Cost of Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ Production

          While the final price tag for Independence Day event is not known, The Washington Post reported Tuesday the National Park Service was diverting $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees to cover costs. Trump tweeted the cost “will be very little compared to what it is worth.” The National Park Service falls under the purview of the Department of the Interior.

          Two groups — the non-profit Democracy Forward and the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association — are urging the department’s Office of the Inspector General to investigate what they say may be a “potentially unlawful decision to divert” national parks funds for the July 4 event. In a recent statement, the groups said the move “potentially violates a federal law that allows these visitor fees to be used only for specific purposes related to enhancing visitor experiences…”

        • Hundreds of Sharks and Rays Entangled in Plastic Debris, Study Finds

          The research, published in Endangered Species Research by scientists at the University of Exeter, sought to bring light to a problem that is a major animal welfare concern, but has slipped under the radar compared to larger threats like commercial fishing, as a press release published by Science Daily reported. The entanglement causes tremendous suffering in animals that survive it.

          “One example in the study is a shortfin mako shark with fishing rope wrapped tightly around it,” said Kristian Parton, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, as Science Daily reported.

        • Sharks and rays ‘starved and suffocated’ by plastic debris and ‘ghost’ fishing gear

          More than a thousand sharks and rays have become entangled in discarded fishing gear and plastic debris, potentially leading to starvation and suffocation, scientists have warned.

          Academics at the University of Exeter feared the issue was going “under the radar” compared to other threats such as over-fishing, and set out to assess the scale of the problem.

          Their study has become the first to use Twitter to gather such data, in addition to existing research.

        • Hundreds of sharks and rays tangled in plastic

          University of Exeter scientists scoured existing published studies and Twitter for shark and ray entanglements, and found reports of more than 1,000 entangled individuals.

          And they say the true number is likely to be far higher, as few studies have focussed on plastic entanglement among shark and rays.

          The study says such entanglement — mostly involving lost or discarded fishing gear — is a “far lesser threat” to sharks and rays than commercial fishing, but the suffering it causes is a major animal welfare concern.

          “One example in the study is a shortfin mako shark with fishing rope wrapped tightly around it,” said Kristian Parton, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

          “The shark had clearly continued growing after becoming entangled, so the rope — which was covered in barnacles — had dug into its skin and damaged its spine.

        • Global review of shark and ray entanglement in anthropogenic marine debris

          Numerous marine taxa become entangled in anthropogenic marine debris, including cartilaginous fishes (class: Chondrichthyes, e.g. elasmobranchs [sharks, skates and rays], holocephalans [chimaeras]). Here we review research that has been conducted on the susceptibility of these taxa to entanglement in marine debris by conducting a systematic literature review complemented by novel data collection from the social media site Twitter. Our literature review yielded 47 published elasmobranch entanglement events (N = 557 animals) in 26 scientific papers, with 16 different families and 34 species in all 3 major ocean basins affected. The most common entangling objects were ghost fishing gear (74% of animals) followed by polypropylene strapping bands (11% of animals), with other entangling materials such as circular plastic debris, polythene bags and rubber tyres comprising 1% of total entangled animals. Most cases were from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans (49 and 46%, respectively), with a bias towards the USA (44% of animals), the UK (30% of animals) and South Africa (10% of animals). While investigating Twitter, we found 74 cases of elasmobranch entanglement, representing 14 families and 26 species. On Twitter, ghost fishing gear was again the most common entangling material (94.9% of animals), with the majority of entanglement records originating from the Atlantic Ocean (89.4% of total entangled animals). Entanglement in marine debris is symptomatic of a degraded marine environment and is a clear animal welfare issue. Our evidence suggests, however, that this issue is likely a far lesser threat to this taxon than direct or indirect take in marine fisheries. We highlight a relative paucity of scientific data on this subject and recommend a standardisation of reporting in an attempt to accurately quantify elasmobranch entanglement risks and locate interaction hotspots.

    • Finance
      • Sanctions: Failure of U.S. Foreign Policy

        President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, on June 30th may turn out to be more than just another publicity stunt similar to the failed “summit” held in Vietnam in February – a political fiasco.

        The New York Times and other media report that Trump is planning to revise the terms of U.S. policy toward N. Korea’s nuclear weapons arsenal. He is apparently planning to shift from insisting on total denuclearization to a freeze-in-place policy, thus permitting N. Korea to maintain its current nuclear arsenal. Such a revision would lead to a significant change in the sanctions the U.S. imposes on N. Korea to enforce its demand for complete denuclearization, one embraced by the previous three presidents – and that has not worked.

        In response to Trump’s meeting with Kim and a possible revision of the N. Korea policy, John Bolton, the National Security Advisor (NSA), freaked out. “I read this NYT story with curiosity. Neither the NSC staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to ‘settle for a nuclear freeze by NK,’” he tweeted. He added, its “a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the President.” In April 2018, shortly after assuming the role of NSA, Bolton called for a preemptive war with N. Korea.

      • US vs. China: From Tariff War to Economic War

        This past weekend, June 29, 2019 Trump and China president, Xi, met again at the G20 in Japan in the midst of a potential further escalating trade war. But the outcome looks eerily similar to that of the prior G20 meeti