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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Links 22/7/2019: SUSE Gets CEO From SAP, MuQSS 0.193 Scheduler, VLC Bug

6 hours 15 min ago

  • GNU/Linux
    • Linux Weekly Roundup #35

      Hello and welcome to this week’s Linux Roundup and what a wonderful week we had!

      We have plenty of Linux Distro releases and LibreOffice 6.3 RC1.

      The Linux distros with releases this week are Q4OS 3.8, SparkyLinux 5.8, Mageia 7.1, ArcoLinux 19.07.11, Deepin 15.11, ArchBang 2107-beta, Bluestar 5.2.1, Slackel 7.2 “Openbox” and Endeavour OS 2019.07.15.

      I looked at most of these Linux Distros, links below, I will look at some of them in the new week and some I will unfortunately not have a look at, for download links and more, please visit

      Well, this is this week’s Linux Roundup, thank you so much for your time! Have a great week!

    • Desktop
      • What Desktop Innovation Needs to Succeed

        couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how the user revolts against GNOME 3, KDE 4, and Unity had resulted in a dislike of innovation on the Linux desktop. Nothing could have proven my point better than the comments on the article. Almost universally, innovation is considered the opposite of usability. However, I can’t help thinking that this position is a false dichotomy. In fact, I can think of at least one example of successful innovation that is already widespread.

        Many of the comments on my last article seemed full of false dichotomies. One comment asked why developers felt the need “to scramble things up and remove features people use, and move things to different parts of the system all in the name of ‘innovation.’” Another characterized innovation as “tinkering with looks, and trying to become the next iOS or Android/tablet UI.” One commenter spoke for many of the others when defining innovation as “change for change’s sake …just to get something ‘new,’ or to make things look flashier instead of actually making things better, more functional, more usable.”

      • Here’s why Windows 10 users are switching to other platforms

        People have been dealing with Windows 10 issues since the OS was first introduced in 2015. There are many die-heart Windows fans who prefer to deal with these issues rather than looking for other platforms.

        Well, Linux has been around for years but many people are still reluctant to adopt Linux.

        Recently, YouTuber Chris Titus Tech published a video to discuss the matter. The video discusses why Windows 10 keeps getting worse with each passing day.

    • Server
      • The first of many goodbyes

        I have recently made the decision to retire as the SUSE CEO and subsequently to leave SUSE. I care very deeply for the SUSE business and its employees, and this difficult decision is based entirely on personal reasons. My step down from the SUSE CEO role will be effective August 5.
        My decision comes at a positive point in time for SUSE, where the business has completed its journey to becoming standalone and has a solid foundation to continue to accelerate its success and growth as an independent company.
        For me personally this means I will have more time to devote myself to other important things in my life.
        In FY18, the SUSE business saw record-breaking revenues. This level of growth has only been realized through the whole SUSE Team showing huge commitment to working together to deliver great outcomes. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved collectively over the last eight years, and I have every confidence that SUSE will exceed all future expectations. I will naturally be following the SUSE journey closely during my retirement, and my positive wishes will always be with the company and all connected with it.
        As we look to the future I am delighted and, of course, reassured to be passing the SUSE CEO baton to such a talented and accomplished leader as Melissa Di Donato. Melissa has an outstanding track record of growth, leadership and transformation in the tech sector, having enjoyed enormous success as the chief operating officer and chief revenue officer at SAP. Prior to SAP, she held senior executive positions at Salesforce and was recognized for her contribution to growing global organizations by winning the 2018 Digital Masters Award for Excellence in Commercial Management.

      • Kernel 5.3-rc1 Released; VLC Security Flaw Discovered; Melissa Di Donato Appointed CEO of SUSE; Dropbox Brings Back Support for ZFS, XFS, Btrfs and eCryptFS; and YugaByte Is Now 100% Open Source

        Melissa Di Donato has been appointed CEO of SUSE. From the press release: “Accomplished technology executive and former SAP leader, Melissa Di Donato, has been named chief executive officer of SUSE in a move that will herald the next phase of growth and momentum for the world’s largest independent open source software company….Di Donato is highly regarded for her forward-thinking leadership style and is a passionate advocate for workplace diversity. This includes her role as Technology Group chair of the 30% Club—an organization with the goal of achieving 30 percent female directors on S&P 100 boards by 2020. She also holds prominent positions in other organizations, including Notion Capital, and is a trustee for charity Founders4Schools.”

      • SUSE names Melissa Di Donato new CEO
      • Melissa Di Donato Appointed CEO of SUSE

        Accomplished technology executive and former SAP leader, Melissa Di Donato, has been named chief executive officer of SUSE® in a move that will herald the next phase of growth and momentum for the world’s largest independent open source software company.
        Di Donato has a proven track record in sales, business operations and leadership focused on high growth and transformation. Prior to SUSE, Di Donato was chief operating officer and chief revenue officer at SAP where she was responsible for the worldwide revenue, profit and customer satisfaction of the company’s digital core solutions. She also held senior executive positions at Salesforce and was recognized for her contributions to growing global organizations by winning the 2018 Digital Masters Award for Excellence in Commercial Management.

      • Daring to be different

        It is an incredible honor to join SUSE as the new CEO and to be part of an inspiring group of innovators, challengers and disruptors. As I reflect on the proud history of this great company, I am excited and energized.
        As one of the trailblazing companies to recognize the power of open source, SUSE was first in the 90s to bring Linux to enterprise customers. With each milestone – from launching SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to forming breakthrough alliances with the world’s leading technology vendors – SUSE has remained steadfastly true to its mission of innovation and open source. This company never stopped daring to be different. As I have spoken with customers, users and partners in the community, they have talked about SUSE’s innovative products and passion for open, open source as being the core on which this company has been built. This will continue to drive our success.
        I have Nils to thank for such a strong foundation. Today, SUSE is the world’s largest independent open source software company. We’ve had eight years of continuous growth. We hit record revenues in FY18, and we are now, as an independent company, in a position to accelerate our growth and move at a speed like never before.

      • SUSE Gets Its First Female CEO – Melissa Di Donato

        Prior to SUSE, Di Donato was chief operating officer and chief revenue officer at SAP where she was responsible for the worldwide revenue, profit and customer satisfaction of the company’s digital core solutions. She also held senior executive positions at Salesforce and was recognized for her contributions to growing global organizations by winning the 2018 Digital Masters Award for Excellence in Commercial Management.

      • Gift ideas for Sysadmin Appreciation Day

        Sysadmin Appreciation Day is coming up this Friday, July 26. To help honor sysadmins everywhere, we want you to share your best gift ideas. What would be the best way a team member or customer could show their appreciation for you? As a sysadmin, what was the best gift you’ve ever received? We asked our writers the same question, and here are their answers:

        “Whilst working in the Ubuntu community on Edubuntu, I took it upon myself to develop the startup/shutdown sound scheme, which became the default in Ubuntu for, from what I can understand, the next decade. Whilst people had a love-hate relationship with my sound scheme, and rightly so, I had a love-hate relationship with my sound card during the development.

        At the time I had recorded all my sound samples using one sample rate, but my new sound card, as my motherboard had exploded a few days earlier, did not support it. I had two choices, resample all my samples (which I didn’t really want to do) or buy a new sound card.

      • IBM
        • Red Hat OpenStack Platform with Red Hat Ceph Storage: Radosbench baseline performance evaluation

          Red Hat Ceph Storage is popular storage for Red Hat OpenStack Platform. Customers around the world run their hyperscale, production workloads on Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat OpenStack Platform. This is driven by the high level of integration between Ceph storage and OpenStack private cloud platforms. With each release of both platforms, the level of integration has grown and performance and automation has increased. As the customer’s storage and compute needs for footprints have grown, we have seen more interest towards running compute and storage as one unit and providing a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) layer based on OpenStack and Ceph.


          Continuing the benchmarking series, in the next post you’ll learn performance insights of running multi-instance MySQL database on Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage across decoupled and hyperconverged architectures. We’ll also compare results from a near-equal environment backed by all-flash cluster nodes.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Kernel Space
      • linux-5.2-ck1, MuQSS version 0.193 for linux-5.2

        Announcing a new -ck release, 5.2-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.193. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

      • Linux 5.2-ck1 Released Along With MuQSS 0.193 Scheduler

        Independent Linux kernel hacker Con Kolivas has released his newest “ck1″ patch-set for the recently released Linux 5.2 kernel code-base. Complementing these kernel changes is his primary focus: the MuQSS scheduler that continues to aim for better interactivity and performance on mobile/desktop systems.

    • Benchmarks
      • 7-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks For July 2019, Including LTO’ed openSUSE Tumbleweed

        As it’s been a few weeks since last hosting any Linux distribution comparison and now with the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed enabling LTO by default, here are some fresh Linux distribution comparison results plus tossing the newly-released Debian 10.0 into the mix as well. This round of testing included Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 19.04, Fedora Workstation 30, openSUSE Leap 15.1, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Clear Linux 30450, and Debian 10.0.

        This round of benchmarking was done on an Intel Core i9 7980XE with ASUS PRIME X299-A motherboard, 16GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X graphics, and Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe solid-state drive.

        The Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, Clear Linux, and Debian releases were all tested following clean installations with all stable release updates present as of testing. Manjaro/Arch isn’t in this round of testing due to Manjaro running into issues with Nouveau on the GTX TITAN X present in this test system. Unfortunately I didn’t have any very recent openSUSE Tumbleweed benchmark results handy pre-LTO-by-default and with not being aware of any other way to roll-back/archive the Tumbleweed system state, there are just Tumbleweed tests from the latest build after they began defaulting to Link Time Optimizations on their packages. System details below in full for this default/out-of-the-box Linux performance experience comparison.

      • Radeon RX 5700 XT: A Handful Of Early Linux Gaming Benchmarks On Ubuntu 18.04

        I’ve already published my thoughts on AMD’s new 7nm Navi graphics card lineup. Both the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT punch above their weight class on Windows and are a compelling alternative to Nvidia’s new SUPER series. But how is their performance looking on Linux? Well, that’s a bit more difficult to answer since widespread Linux support is still largely absent.

        Still, I wanted to fire up the RX 5700 XT on my Ubuntu 18.04 and Ryzen 9 3900X test bench and see how things are shaping up.

        The official AMDGPU 19.30 driver package (i.e. from AMD itself) only supports Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, while solid widespread support for the RX 5700 cards won’t arrive until MESA 19.3. However, development is moving very quickly on this.

        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 sudo apt update / upgrade later, and you should have Mesa 19.2-git which will enable Vulkan support. The situation may have changed over the last several days, but this is how I got mine up and running with performance that is mostly expected.

    • Applications
      • Introducing Open Build Service, Version 2.10

        We are pleased to announce the availability of Open Build Service (OBS) version 2.10!

        After more than one year of development, this new version of OBS brings a revamped web user interface, improved support for shipping your software in containers and integrating your package builds with source code management systems like GitLab and Pagure.

      • Proprietary
        • Dropbox Brings Back Support For ZFS, XFS, Btrfs And eCryptFS On Linux
        • Spotify’s Snap App Was Outdated, But Now It Isn’t

          I’ll be honest: when Spotify arrived on the Snap store I thought: “hurrah”.

          Hurrah for an easier way to install the music streaming client (no need to futz around adding the Spotify repository like in the past) and hurrah for automatic background updates that ensure I’m always running the latest release.

          At least, that was the theory.

          Alas, the official Spotify for Linux Snap package has not been updated since April of this year.

          “Oh,” I thought, “I guess there hasn’t been an update to the Spotify Linux desktop client since then!”

          But there has — several updates, in fact!

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Company of Heroes 2 for macOS and Linux reinforced with community-driven Commanders

        Advance to the game’s official blog for more intel on the Commanders put forth by the always-on Company of Heroes community.

      • Company of Heroes 2 for macOS and Linux: Commanders update out now
      • Feral Brings Company of Heroes 2 Commander Update To Linux

        Feral Interactive has just announced they’ve brought the Commander Update DLC for Company of Heroes 2 over to Linux (and macOS) as well.

        Feral brought Company of Heroes 2 to Linux back in 2015 while now they’ve brought this newest expansion to the game over to macOS and Linux as well. The Commander Update for Windows debuted just last month.

      • Comedy adventure game “Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure” is now available on GOG

        Another game goes completely DRM-free on GOG, with developer COWCAT putting up Demetrios: The BIG Cynical Adventure along with the Linux version.

      • FOSS racing game “Yorg” has a big new update ready for testing

        Yorg, an in-development FOSS racing game is nearing the release of update 0.11, with a Release Candidate now available for testing.

        In the style of the classics like Micro Machines, while early it’s actually quite promising. The update notes for this are quite short and to the point, the developer said they will be going into some more detail when it’s out properly for everyone.

      • Point & Click Adventure game “The Hand of Glory” confirmed for Linux

        Madit Entertainment are currently crowdfunding for their new Point & Click adventure game “The Hand of Glory”, as it turns out they’ve confirmed Linux support too.

        Coming across it recently, it didn’t actually list Linux support on the campaign itself. After speaking to the developer, they pointed me to this announcement that mentions “Our community has spoken and we listened! We did our tests and we can now confirm that we will be able to support Mac and Linux in the game!”, so that’s fantastic news. The developer told me they will be updating the campaign to list it too.

      • Possession, a roguelike where you’re a ghost that needs to possess others to survive

        Certainly a fun sounding idea! Possession from developer Weirdfellows is a traditional turn-based roguelike, made on Linux and it just recently released. The whole idea reminds me of MidBoss, another excellent body-snatching roguelike.

      • Space Grunts 2 announced, fusing together fast turn-based gameplay with a card battle system

        Developer Orangepixel is working on another new game in addition to the upcoming Gunslugs:Rogue Tactics. Space Grunts 2 will be combining turn-based gameplay with a card-based battle mechanic.

        The original Space Grunts was actually quite a good game. It felt like a turn-based Nuclear Throne and after going back and playing some more today, I couldn’t be happier to see another coming.

      • Ubisoft and Epic Games are now supporting Blender development

        Two surprising bits of news recently about Blender, the free and open source 3D creation suite as they’ve managed to secure some extra funding from two big names.

        Firstly, it was announced on July 15th that Epic Games awarded them $1.2 million from Epic’s MegaGrants program. Quite an impressive number and good to see a company such as Epic support open source software in such a way. They don’t get it all at once though, it will trickle in over the next three years, to help with Blender’s “Professionalizing Blender Development Initiative”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • KDevelop 5.4 beta 1 released

          We are happy to announce the release of KDevelop 5.4 Beta 1!

          5.4 as a new feature version of KDevelop will among other things add some first support for projects using the Meson build system and have the Clang-Tidy support plugin merged as part of built-in plugins. It also brings 11 months of small improvements across the application. Full details will be given in the announcement of the KDevelop 5.4.0 release, which is currently scheduled for in 2 weeks.

        • [Krita] Interview with MangaTengu

          It’s light and runs on Linux. So I could restore some old computers nobody wanted because “Windows takes 15 minutes to start” and make them into decent working stations.

        • Couture Becomes a KDE Patron

          enioka Haute Couture is a software development house that creates complete and tailor-made solutions. enioka strives to return ownership of the software development and innovation to its customers. To that effect, it co-creates the software with its customers’ teams to allow them to retain control of their projects in complex systems or organizations.

          “We are excited to welcome enioka Haute Couture as a Patron of KDE. They truly understand what it means to empower people when creating software; something KDE cares deeply about”, said Lydia Pintscher, President of KDE e.V.

        • GSoC Milestone Update 1.1

          The second part of Milestone 1 for my Google Summer of Code 2019’s project porting KDE Connect to Windows involves enabling the SFTP plugin that ships in the linux build.

          The plugin allows you to navigate through your mobile device’s files (like you do with a file manager) ON YOUR DESKTOP! It makes use of sshfs to allow mounting the remote file system on your desktop. After that, you can use any file manager you like; heck, you can even use your terminal to have a walk through your mobile’s files. Once that is done, you can do literally anything with the mobile device’s files as you would do with the local filesystem: move files, copy them to your desktop machine, delete them, rename, anything!

        • KDE Connect sprint 2019

          From friday the 19th to sunday the 21st, we had the KDE Connect sprint. It’s always a nice opportunity to meet the others working on KDE Connect, since we usually only talk to each other online.

        • KDE Connect is Being Ported to Windows 10

          Google Summer of Code 2019 is proving to be a bumper one for KDE Connect, the open source Android-to-PC integration suite.

          Last week we reported on the progress made by a GSoC student on KDE Connect for Mac. This week we bring word on a new KDE Connect Windows port.

          “Wait, isn’t KDE Connect already available for Windows?”, you might (rightly) ask — and the answer is yes, kind of!

    • Distributions
      • Fedora Family
        • The State of Java in Flathub

          For maintainers of Java-based applications in Flathub, it’s worth noting that even if you consume the Latest OpenJDK extension in your application, users will not be broken by major updates because OpenJDK is bundled into your Flatpak. The implication of this for users is that they won’t see updates to their Java version until the application maintainer rebuilds the application in Flathub.

          If you maintain a Java-based Flatpak application on Flathub, you can consume the latest version of your chosen OpenJDK stream (either LTS or Latest) simply by rebuilding; the latest version of that OpenJDK steam will be pulled in automatically.

        • Fedora Magazine: Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for kernel 5.2

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.1. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. This version has many security fixes included. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, Jul 22, 2019 through Monday, Jul 29, 2019. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

      • Debian Family
        • Bootstrappable Debian BoF

          Greetings from DebConf 19 in Curitiba! Just a quick reminder that I will run a Bootstrappable Debian BoF on Tuesday 23rd, at 13.30 Brasilia time (which is 16.30 UTC, if I am not mistaken). If you are curious about bootstrappability in Debian, why do we want it and where we are right now, you are welcome to come in person if you are at DebCon or to follow the streaming.

        • Candy Tsai: Outreachy Week 6 – Week 7: Getting Code Merge

          You can’t overhear what others are doing or learn something about your colleagues through gossip over lunch break when working remotely. So after being stuck for quite a bit, terceiro suggested that we try pair programming.

          After our first remote pair programming session, I think there should be no difference in pair programming in person. We shared the same terminal, looked at the same code and discussed just like people standing side by side.

          Through our pair programming session, I found out that I had a bad habit. I didn’t run tests on my code that often, so when I had failing tests that didn’t fail before, I spent more time debugging than I should have. Pair programming gave insight to how others work and I think little improvements go a long way.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • about your wiki page on I/O schedulers and BFQ Hi, this is basically to report outdated statements in your wiki page on I/O schedulers [1]. The main problematic statement is that BFQ "... is not ideal for devices with slow CPUs or high throughput I/O devices" because too heavy. BFQ is definitely more sophisticated than any of the other I/O schedulers. We have designed it that way to provide an incomparably better service quality, at a very low overhead. As reported in [2], the execution time of BFQ on an old laptop CPU is 0.6 us per I/O event, against 0.2 us for mq-deadline (which is the lightest Linux I/O scheduler). To put these figures into context, BFQ proved to be so good for "devices with slow CPUs" that, e.g., Chromium OS migrated to BFQ a few months ago. In particular, Google crew got convinced by a demo [3] I made for them, on one of the cheapest and slowest Chromebook on the market. In the demo, a fast download is performed. Without BFQ, the download makes the device completely unresponsive. With BFQ, the device remains as responsive as if it was totally idle. As for the other part of the statement, "... not ideal for ... high throughput I/O devices", a few days ago I ran benchmarks (on Ubuntu) also with one of the fastest consumer-grade NVMe SSDs: a Samsung SSD 970 PRO. Results [4] can be summarized as follows. Throughput with BFQ is about the same as with the other I/O schedulers (it couldn't be higher, because this kind of drives just wants the scheduler to stay as aside as possible, when it comes to throughput). But, in the presence of writes as background workload, start-up times with BFQ are at least 16 times as low as with the other I/O schedulers. In absolute terms, gnome-terminal starts in ~1.8 seconds with BFQ, while it takes at least 28.7 (!) seconds with the other I/O schedulers. Finally, only with BFQ, no frame gets lost in video-playing benchmarks. BFQ then provides other important benefits, such as from 5x to 10X throughput boost in multi-client server workloads [5]. So, is there any chance that the outdated/wrong information on your wiki page [1] gets updated somehow? If I may, I'd be glad to update it myself, after providing you with all the results you may ask. In addition, why doesn't Ubuntu too consider switching to BFQ as default I/O scheduler, for all drives that BFQ supports (namely all drives with a maximum speed not above ~500 KIOPS)? Looking forward to your feedback, Paolo
        • Should Ubuntu Use The BFQ I/O Scheduler?

          The BFQ I/O scheduler is working out fairly well these days as shown in our benchmarks. The Budget Fair Queueing scheduler supports both throughput and low-latency modes while working particularly well for consumer-grade hardware. Should the Ubuntu desktop be using BFQ by default?


          But in addition to wanting to correct that Wiki information, Paolo pops the question of why doesn’t Ubuntu switch to BFQ as the default I/O scheduler for supported drives. Though as of yet, no Ubuntu kernel developers have yet commented on the prospect of switching to BFQ.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Events
        • Christopher Allan Webber: ActivityPub Conf 2019

          That’s right! We’re hosting the first ever ActivityPub Conf. It’s immediately following Rebooting Web of Trust in Prague.

          There’s no admission fee to attend. (Relatedly, the conference is kind of being done on the cheap, because it is being funded by organizers who are themselves barely funded.) The venue, however, is quite cool: it’s at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, which is itself exploring the ways the digital world is affecting our lives.

          If you plan on attending (and maybe also speaking), you should get in your application soon (see the flier for details). We’ve never done one of these, and we have no idea what the response will be like, so this is going to be a smaller gathering (about 40 people). In some ways, it will be somewhere between a conference and a gathering of people-who-are-interested-in-activitypub.

          As said in the flier, by attending, you are agreeing to the code of conduct, so be sure to read that.

      • BSD
        • Forget Windows, Linux or MacOS: Try these alternative operating systems

          While Linux is a recreation of UNIX, FreeBSD is more of a continuation. It was initially developed by students working from a Research Unix source license obtained by the University of California Berkeley – the ‘BSD’ bit stands for Berkeley Software Distribution. The only reason it’s not called BSD Unix is that pesky trademark and licensing gremlin.

          The OS runs on its own kernel, and all of its key components have been developed as part of a single whole. Linux, on the other hand, is just the kernel; the rest of it is supplied by third parties so it lacks BSD’s overall coherency.

          This is a highly complete and very reliable operating system, perfect both for server applications and desktop use. That said, it doesn’t come with a GUI by default – the X-window system is thankfully straightforward to install, and there are ports of Linux window managers like Gnome and KDE available.

          One final note: BSD forms the core of perhaps the most polished and stable desktop operating system out there in macOS, so you know you’re in good hands here.

      • Programming/Development
        • Calculate KS Statistic with Python

          It stands for Kolmogorov–Smirnov which is named after Andrey Kolmogorov and Nikolai Smirnov. It compares the two cumulative distributions and returns the maximum difference between them. It is a non-parametric test which means you don’t need to test any assumption related to the distribution of data. In KS Test, Null hypothesis states null both cumulative distributions are similar. Rejecting the null hypothesis means cumulative distributions are different.
          In data science, it compares the cumulative distribution of events and non-events and KS is where there is a maximum difference between the two distributions. In simple words, it helps us to understand how well our predictive model is able to discriminate between events and non-events.

        • Python binding for Kuesa

          KUESA™ is a Qt module designed to load, render and manipulate glTF 2.0 models in applications using Qt 3D.

          Kuesa provides a C++ and a QML API which makes it easy to do things like triggering animations contained in the glTF files, finding camera details defined by the designer, etc.

          It is a great tool so that designers and developers can share glTF based 3D assets.

          With the upcoming release of Kuesa 1.1, we are introducing a python binding for Kuesa. This provides a simple yet powerful way for programmers to integrate glTF content in their python applications with just a few lines of code.

        • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Cris Medina

          I was born in the Dominican Republic. I finished highschool there and went to Puerto Rico to study Computer Engineering, specializing in hardware. But I’ve been writing software in some form since I can remember. My dad introduced me to IBM System 360 Basic as my first language. Go figure!

          Most of my professional career (going on 17 years now) was spent doing test engineering, along with developing all the hardware and software tools required to execute those tests and maintain their infrastructure. The rest of the time I’ve held formal software engineering roles.

          I like to spend some of my free time with music. My mother is a music teacher and she got me into piano early on. Though I moved into string instruments as I got older. Today I mostly play classical guitar, but I own several types of guitars and dabble in other string instruments.

        • Backend support merged

          This has been a very exciting week for me, with lots of progress made on my GSoC project. For the past couple of months I’ve been working on adding the new scipy.fft module which supercedes the existing scipy.fftpack submodule and adds a range of new features and interface improvements. Chief among these planned features was a backend system, allowing users to install their own fft libraries as implementations for the scipy.fft interface.

  • Leftovers
    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)
      • Top 10 Ethical Hacking Tools

        Hacking is the art of exploitation, it should always be used an ethical process. There are certain tools which can ease you through the exploitation process. These tools help in performing repetitive actions & target enumeration. Nevertheless, tools should be the only refuge of any expert penetration tester. One should be able to write own tools & automate the processes in order to better float through any exploitation phase. We will discuss today the top 10 tools admired and mostly used by the Hacking Society.

      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (bind9, exiv2, kernel, nss, openjdk-11, openjdk-8, patch, and squid3), Fedora (gvfs, libldb, and samba), Mageia (firefox, gvfs, libreswan, rdesktop, and thunderbird), openSUSE (bzip2, clementine, dbus-1, expat, fence-agents, firefox, glib2, kernel, kernel-firmware, ledger, libqb, libu2f-host, pam_u2f, libvirt, neovim, php7, postgresql10, python-requests, python-Twisted, ruby-bundled-gems-rpmhelper, ruby2.5, samba, webkit2gtk3, zeromq, and znc), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, rh-maven35-jackson-databind, rh-nodejs8-nodejs, and rh-redis5-redis), Slackware (kernel), and SUSE (ucode-intel).

      • VLC Player hit by buffer overflow vulnerability

        A security researcher has warned of a serious vulnerability in VideoLAN’s VLC Player (VLC), a popular media playback tool, for which no patch is yet available.

      • Critical flaw in VLC Player affecs Linux, Windows and UNIX apps

        GERMAN SECURITY AGENCY CERT-Bund has uncovered a critical flaw n VLC Media Player that could enable hackers to access and modify data on devices.

      • Warning over critical security flaw in VLC Media Player

        CERT-Bund has not yet observed the vulnerability being exploited in the wild by attackers. However, exploits will almost certainly emerge in the coming days considering that the vulnerability is now in public domain. In addition, a fix has yet to be released.

    • Environment
      • Science can double the solar dividend

        A new, translucent material made of little more than silica and air can double the solar dividend, collecting solar heat and raising temperatures to 200°C, delivering new ways to heat homes or power industrial processes.

        And other researchers in the same US city believe they may be on track to deliver much more electricity from solar cells. They have found a way to make a single photon of light dislodge not one electron but two.

        A third team in Saudi Arabia has now shown that their solar arrays can not only generate electric power: they can also turn sea water into fresh drinking water at the same time.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Picturing Extinction

          For more than a decade he’s been creating a powerful series of images of endangered and extinct species from the collection of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. So far his Extinction photo project has documented more than 130 different plants and animals from around the world. The images include a drawer full of extinct passenger pigeons, a close-up of the claws of a Komodo dragon, the furry tail of a red panda, a sample of a moss species that hasn’t been seen in the wild since 1860, a curled-up pangolin, and an entire collection of shells from extinct Hawaiian tree snails.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Telecom Union Got Hoodwinked Into Supporting AT&T’s Shitty Merger

        You may be shocked to learn this, but nearly all of the promises AT&T made in the lead up to its $86 billion merger with Time Warner wound up not being true.

        The company’s promise that the deal wouldn’t result in price hikes for consumers? False. The company’s promise the deal wouldn’t result in higher prices for competitors needing access to essential AT&T content like HBO? False. AT&T’s promise they wouldn’t hide Time Warner content behind exclusivity paywalls? False. The idea that the merger would somehow create more jobs at the company? False.

        Of course the press and public aren’t the only folks AT&T misled. To glean the support of the telecom sector’s biggest union, the Communications Workers of America, AT&T apparently promised that newly acquired Time Warner (and subsidiary) workers would be able to join the union. But when the time came to actually allow those employees in, guess what?

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Equifax to Pay Up to 700 Million in 2017 Data Breach Case

        The CFPB, the FTC, and 48 State AGS today announced a settlement with Equifax arising from the 2017 data breach that compromised personal data of 143 million Americans. The company, which offers authentication services, failed to safeguard the names, addresses, dates of birth and SSNs of 147 million Americans, and then failed to act once aware of the breach.

      • FTC’s YouTube Privacy Settlement Pisses Everyone Off; Perhaps We’re Doing Privacy Wrong

        It’s becoming a tradition. A week ago, we wrote about a Friday evening news “leak” (almost certainly from Facebook) about the FTC approving a settlement with Facebook over privacy violations. And, this past Friday evening, there was a similar news dump about a similar settlement with YouTube (though at a much lower dollar amount). In both cases, the Friday evening news dump was almost certainly on purpose — in the hopes that by Monday, something bigger will have caught the news cycles’ attention. Thankfully, we don’t work that way.

        Let’s cut to the chase, though. No one (outside of, perhaps, YouTube/Google/Alphabet execs) is “happy” with this. Pretty much everyone will point out, accurately, that a “multi-million dollar” fine is effectively meaningless to YouTube. No one believes that this will magically lead to a world in which internet companies take privacy more seriously. No one believes this will lead to a world in which anyone’s privacy is better protected.

        And while I’m sure some people will complain about the amount (pocket change for Google), I’m not sure the amount really makes much of a difference. Remember, last week’s angry response to the $5 billion that the FTC is allegedly getting from Facebook. That’s a much higher amount (by a massive margin) the largest the FTC has ever gotten from a company.

Links 22/7/2019: Linux 5.3 RC1, GNU Hyperbole 7.0.3, DebConf19

14 hours 40 min ago

  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
      • 10 resources every sysadmin should know about

        Everybody knows that sysadmins are impossibly busy people. Consequently, it sometimes seems they are superhuman. The sysadmin’s dirty secret, the same one shared by many open source users, is that they don’t actually do all of the work it looks like they’ve done. One of the greatest tools in the sysadmin’s kit is their ability to reuse work someone else has already done for them.

        A good sysadmin knows where to turn when there’s a big job to be done but nobody available to do it. If you’re looking to work smarter, not harder, this is for you: a list of the top 10 resources every sysadmin should know about.

      • Kubernetes policy project takes enterprise IT by storm

        An open source compliance as code project has gained a groundswell of popularity over the last six months among enterprise IT pros, who say it simplifies and standardizes Kubernetes policy management.

        The Open Policy Agent (OPA), an open source compliance as code project founded by former VMware employees, was used at Netflix as early as 2017 and accepted into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as a sandbox project in March 2018. Netflix gave an OPA demonstration at KubeCon in December 2017, and Intuit and Capital One followed at KubeCon in December 2018. After the project advanced to the CNCF’s incubating stage in April 2019, and was demonstrated a third time at KubeCon EU in May 2019, it began to generate mainstream buzz.


        As Kubernetes environments grow to encompass Istio service mesh and Knative event-based orchestration in what Google calls the open cloud stack, the fact that OPA lends itself to Kubernetes policy enforcement but can expand to include those adjacent utilities boosts its appeal.

      • System administrator responsibilities: 9 critical tasks

        System administrators are critical to the reliable and successful operation of an organization and its network operations center and data center. A sysadmin must have expertise with the system’s underlying platform (i.e., Windows, Linux) as well as be familiar with multiple areas including networking, backup, data restoration, IT security, database operations, middleware basics, load balancing, and more. Sysadmin tasks are not limited to server management, maintenance, and repair, but also any functions that support a smoothly running production environment with minimal (or no) complaints from customers and end users.

        Although sysadmins have a seemingly endless list of responsibilities, some are more critical than others. If you work in a sysadmin role (or hope to one day), make sure you are ready to follow these best practices.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Linux Action News 115

        We’re pleasantly surprised by a new Linux distro, EvilGnome malware spies on Gnome Shell users, and more good news for MacBook Linux users.

        Plus why RetroArch coming to Steam is a bit controversial, ubuntu-wsl is a cold drink for Windows users, and gpodder needs a new maintainer.

      • Problematic Privileges | TechSNAP 407b

        Wes takes a quick look at a container escape proof-of-concept and reviews Docker security best practices.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 155 – Stealing cars and ransomware

        Josh and Kurt talk about a new way to steal cars because a service didn’t do proper background checks. We also discuss how this relates to working with criminals, such as ransomware, and what it means for the future of the ransomware industry.

      • gnu World Order 13×30
    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.2.2

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.2.2 kernel.

        All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:

        git:// linux-5.2.y

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

      • Linux 5.1.19
      • Linux 4.19.60
      • Linux 4.14.134
      • Linux 4.9.186
      • Linux 4.4.186
      • Linux 5.3-rc1 It's been two weeks, and the merge window is over, and Linux 5.3-rc1 is tagged and pushed out. This is a pretty big release, judging by the commit count. Not the biggest ever (that honor still goes to 4.9-rc1, which was exceptionally big), and we've had a couple of comparable ones (4.12, 4.15 and 4.19 were also big merge windows), but it's definitely up there. The merge window also started out pretty painfully, with me hitting a couple of bugs in the first couple of days. That's never a good sign, since I don't tend to do anything particularly odd, and if I hit bugs it means code wasn't tested well enough. In one case it was due to me using a simplified configuration that hadn't been tested, and caused an odd issue to show up - it happens. But in the other case, it really was code that was too recent and too rough and hadn't baked enough. The first got fixed, the second just got reverted. Anyway, despite the rocky start, and the big size, things mostly smoothed out towards the end of the merge window. And there's a lot to like in 5.3. Too much to do the shortlog with individual commits, of course, so appended is the usual "mergelog" of people I merged from and a one-liner very high-level "what got merged". For more detail, you should go check the git tree. As always: the people credited below are just the people I pull from, there's about 1600 individual developers (for 12500+ non-merge commits) in this merge window. Go test, Linus
      • Linux 5.3-rc1 Debuts As “A Pretty Big Release”

        Just as expected, Linus Torvalds this afternoon issued the first release candidate of the forthcoming Linux 5.3 kernel.

        It’s just not us that have been quite eager for Linux 5.3 and its changes. Torvalds acknowledged in the 5.3-rc1 announcement that this kernel is indeed a big one: “This is a pretty big release, judging by the commit count. Not the biggest ever (that honor still goes to 4.9-rc1, which was exceptionally big), and we’ve had a couple of comparable ones (4.12, 4.15 and 4.19 were also big merge windows), but it’s definitely up there.”

      • The New Features & Improvements Of The Linux 5.3 Kernel

        The Linux 5.3 kernel merge window is expected to close today so here is our usual recap of all the changes that made it into the mainline tree over the past two weeks. There is a lot of changes to be excited about from Radeon RX 5700 Navi support to various CPU improvements and ongoing performance work to supporting newer Apple MacBook laptops and Intel Speed Select Technology enablement.

      • Graphics Stack
        • The Status of Fractional Scaling (HiDPI) Between Windows & Linux

          There’s a special type of displays commonly called “HiDPI“, which means that the number of pixels in the screen is doubled (vertically and horizontally), making everything drawn on the screen look sharper and better. One of the most common examples of HiDPI are Apple’s Retina displays, which do come with their desktops and laptops.

          However, one issue with HiDPI is that the default screen resolutions are too small to be displayed on them, so we need what’s called as “scaling”; Which is simply also doubling the drawn pixels from the OS side so that they can match that of the display. Otherwise, displaying a 400×400 program window on a 3840×2160 display will give a very horrible user experience, so the OS will need to scale that window (and everything) by a factor of 2x, to make it 800×800, which would make it better.

          Fractional scaling is the process of doing the previous work, but by using fractional scaling numbers (E.g 1.25, 1.4, 1.75.. etc), so that they can be customized better according to the user’s setup and needs.

          Now where’s the issue, you may ask? Windows operating system has been supporting such kind of displays natively for a very long time, but Linux distributions do lack a lot of things in this field. There are many drawbacks, issues and other things to consider. This article will take you in a tour about that.

        • Vulkan 1.1.116 Published With Subgroup Size Control Extension

          Vulkan 1.1.116 was released today as the latest weekly update to this high performance graphics API and comes with one new extension in tow.

          Vulkan 1.1.116 includes the usual documentation corrections/fixes, but making this release notable is the introduction of a new extension for having control over the subgroup sizes.

    • Applications
      • [Old] Some Interesting Features In VLC!

        VLC is one of the best video and audio player applications that are open source. We can install this application on various existing operating systems such as Linux, MAC, Windows, and also Android.

      • Excellent Utilities: Ulauncher – Sublime application launcher for Linux

        This is a new series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We are covering a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides.

        Ulauncher is a fast application launcher for Linux. It has a minimal design, dependent on only a few resources, very fast, and works on virtually all Linux desktops. The software is written in Python, using GTK+.

        This review is carried out with the latest beta release of the software.

      • Proprietary
        • Microsoft Teams client for Linux 0.4 Released with Stability Fixes

          Teams for Linux is an unofficial Microsoft Teams client for Linux using Electron. It uses the Web App and wraps it as a standalone application using Electron.

        • Dropbox Brings Back Support For ZFS, XFS, BTFS And eCryptFS On Linux [Ed: The NSA wants to slurp in all your files, irrespective of what file system you use]

          Dropbox stopped supporting folder syncing to drives with filesystems which it deemed “uncommon”, which on Linux meant anything but Ext4, upsetting quite a few users. The reason cited for this was that “a supported file system is required as Dropbox relies on extended attributes (X-attrs) to identify files in the Dropbox folder and keep them in sync”, which doesn’t really make sense since there are many filesystems that support xattr (extended attributes) on Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • [GSoC – 4] Achieving consistency between SDDM and Plasma

          This blog post marks the landing of the initial implementation of theme syncing between SDDM and Plasma, which you may already have read about in Nate’s post.

          Those of you running master can test the feature out by going to the Advanced tab in the Login Screen (SDDM) config module.

        • Kate LSP Status – July 21

          The new LSP client by Mark Nauwelaerts keeps making nice progress.

          It will not be shipped with the KDE Applications 19.08 release, but in master it is now compiled & installed per default. You only need to activate it on the plugin configuration page in Kate’s settings dialog to be able to use it.

          For details how to build Kate master with it’s plugins, please take a look at this guide.

          If you want to start to hack on the plugin, you find it in the kate.git, addons/lspclient.

          Feel welcome to show up on and help out! All development discussions regarding this plugin happen there.

          If you are already familiar with Phabricator, post some patch directly at KDE’s Phabricator instance.

        • Second month progress

          So yes, we are gradually moving our way forward towards completely removing our dependence over KAuth. But there are some things which are yet to complete. To name one, I need to finish up QDbus communication from helper to application which sends dbus (Inter Process Communication) messages. Currently I had tried this in QDbus patch, but it is not yet fully complete. All this stuff is done by KAuth currently in master.

        • Plasma Mobile at Plasma Sprint Valencia

          In June month we gathered in Slimbook’s offices to work on Plasma. Along with Plasma developers, we were also joined by KDE Usability and Productivity team.

          During the sprint I mostly worked to create up-to-date image for Plasma Mobile, as from last few weeks Plasma Mobile image was quite out-of-date and needed update.

        • Somewhat Usable

          Adding a feature by yourself is a lot satisfying than requesting someone to add that for you, cause now you are both the producer and the consumer. But to be honest, I never thought I would be the one implementing the Magnetic Lasso for Krita when I requested it 4 years back, leave the fact that I even getting paid for doing so. So here are the first tests being done on it.

        • View and Examples

          This week I began learning about QML to try to fix the View that show the graphs and tools for manipulating graphs.

        • Month 2 in making the Titler – GSoC ’19

          From my understanding so far (forgive me for any mistakes that I might make – it’s a different codebase and different concepts – I wholeheartedly welcome corrections and suggestions) the whole producer boils down to two parts – the actual producer code (which is in C and which is the thing which does the ‘producer stuff’) and the wrapper code (which ‘wraps’, supplements and does the actual rendering part of the QML frames). The wrapper files are responsible for mainly rendering the QML templates that are passed to it and make it available for the actual producer to use. And consequently, most of the work is to be done in the wrapper files, as the producer in itself doesn’t change much as it will still do the same things like the existing XML producer (producer_kdenlivetitle.c) – such as loading a file, generating a frame, calling rendering methods from the wrapper files.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • What am I doing with Tracker?

          Some years ago I was asked to come up with some support for sandboxed apps wrt indexed data. This drummed up into Tracker 2.0 and domain ontologies, allowing those sandboxed apps to keep their own private data and collection of Tracker services to populate it.

          Fast forward to today and… this is still largely unused, Tracker-using flatpak applications still whitelist org.freedesktop.Tracker, and are thus allowed to read and change content there. Despite I’ve been told it’s been mostly lack of time… I cannot blame them, domain ontologies offer the perfect isolation at the cost of the perfect duplication. It may do the job, but is far from optimal.

          So I got asked again “we have a credible story for sandboxed tracker?”. One way or another, seems we don’t, back to the drawing board.

    • Distributions
      • Reviews
        • Review: HexagonOS 1.0

          On the whole, Hexagon worked well for me. Hardware support was solid, performance was above average, the included applications worked well, and the settings were easy to adjust. I had very few complaints – just two really: my keyboard layout had to be adjusted and Hexagon did not automatically work well with VirtualBox. However, both of these issues were easily addressed.

          With that being said, Hexagon appears to bring relatively little, technologically, to the experience over its parent. While running this distribution I sometimes forgot that I was not simply running Xubuntu with a dock installed. The custom utilities Hexagon provides (the software centre and the backup tool) both function, but are quite limited in what they can do for the user and this makes me disinclined to use them over other solutions like Deja Dup and GNOME Software.

          It’s probably too soon to judge what HexagonOS will become. Right now it’s just at its 1.0 release, and appears to be a first attempt to take Xubuntu and customize it with a few changes. Hopefully future versions will try more new things, polish the custom applications and distinguish the distribution from its parent.

      • New Releases
        • [ArchBang] Change back to Openbox

          Did quite a bit of thinking regarding using i3 with ArchBang and it was starting to be obvious that many new users would be put off by tiling. Openbox is a comfortable window manager, easy to use and familiar. Its XML configs can be a pain but nothing that can be dealt with easily…

          Have switched Alt-F3 bind for dmenu to Super+d. Feels more natural and easier to reach. Removed Super+{h,v,c} from conky bind list too, really not sure of anyone needs them or even uses them. Can of course add in other binds.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • ArcoLinux 19.07.11

          Today we are looking at the latest snapshot of ArcoLinux 19.07.11. We are looking at the main, edition, the XFCE release. It is based on Arch Linux, Linux Kernel 5.2, XFCE 4.12 and it uses about 600MB of ram when idling.

          When I look at ArcoLinux, I can see just how much the developer loves this project and how much work he is putting into it. AcroLinux is clearly one of the best looking, and working great.

        • ArcoLinux 19.07.11 Run Through

          In this video, we look at ArcoLinux 19.07.11.

      • Fedora Family
        • Changing how we work

          As those of you who read the blog know, we are looking at changing workflows and organization around in the Community Platform Engineering team (of which, I am a member). So, I thought I would share a few thoughts from my perspective and hopefully enlighten the community more on why we are changing things and what that might look like.

      • Debian Family
        • DebConf19 starts today in Curitiba

          DebConf19, the 20th annual Debian Conference, is taking place in Curitiba, Brazil from from July 21 to 28, 2019.

          Debian contributors from all over the world have come together at Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR) in Curitiba, Brazil, to participate and work in a conference exclusively run by volunteers.

          Today the main conference starts with over 350 attendants expected and 121 activities scheduled, including 45- and 20-minute talks and team meetings (“BoF”), workshops, a job fair as well as a variety of other events.

          The full schedule at is updated every day, including activities planned ad-hoc by attendees during the whole conference.

        • Holger Levsen: 20190721-piuparts-was-not-down

          …I just said so, to make you attend my talk, as my last call for help at DebConf17 was attended by 3 people only…

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • 8 Best Open Source CRM Software

        CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM software enables the companies to interact with their potential and existing customers, understand and manage their requirement. This improved the relation of the organization with customer and you know that a happy customer brings profitability to the business.

        No matter how big your team is (small business or a big firm), a CRM software always comes in handy when you want to keep things organized in your business.

        You may avoid a CRM software for a couple of employees when you start a business. However, to streamline the process and make the work efficient and fast – you will eventually need a CRM software.

        But, what about the level of control (or security) in a CRM software? Do you want a transparent CRM software which you can take control of?

        Well, that is when an open source CRM software comes into play. You can host it yourself, and you can customize it as per your requirements. You may also opt for the hosted version where you don’t have to manage it yourself.

      • Synchronize bookmarks: Syncmarx is now Open Source
      • SuperFreezZ is an open source alternative to Greenify that kills apps running in the background

        Task managers are widely viewed as unnecessary on Android smartphones. Most of us may agree with that view, but the reality is there are still a lot of misbehaving Android apps out there, most task “killers” don’t actually do anything useful besides clearing the recent apps view (which doesn’t really “kill” apps anyway), and a lot of users have yet to upgrade to newer Android versions that have implemented more restrictions on background apps. That’s why, to this very day, apps like Greenify and Brevent remain incredibly popular. Many users swear by both Greenify and Brevent, but since they’re closed source, some users are wary of them. If you’re looking for an open source alternative, check out SuperFreezZ by XDA Junior Member hcur.

      • Events
        • Takeaways from PX4 Open-Source Drone Developer Conference

          Last month at ETH Zurich, Auterion sponsored the first-ever PX4 developer conference for those interested in the open-source-based operating system for enterprise drones. The event, held June 20-21, included 200 attendees from the open-source community, including developers, researchers, and technical thought leaders in the unmanned systems space.

          Here are three takeaway messages from the conference – for those interested in learning more about PX4 and ROS (the largest open-source drone and robotics communities), you can view all of the presentations on PX4’s YouTube channel.

        • GNU Hyperbole 7.0.3 is the latest release Hyperbole is an amazing hypertextual information management system that installs quickly and easily as an Emacs package. It is part of GNU Elpa, the Emacs Lisp Package Archive. Hyperbole interlinks all your working information within Emacs for fast access and editing, not just within special modes. An hour invested exploring Hyperbole's built-in interactive DEMO file will save you hundreds of hours in your future work.
        • Sylvain Beucler: Planet clean-up

          Re-sync Debian base config, scripts and packaging, update documentation; the planet-venus package is still in bad shape though, it’s not officially orphaned but the maintainer is unreachable AFAICS

          Fetch all Savannah feeds using https

      • Programming/Development

          A good practice when writing complicated software is to put in lots of debugging code. This might be extra logging, or special modes that tweak the behavior to be more understandable, or switches to turn off some aspect of your test suite so you can focus on the part you care about at the moment.

          But how do you control that debugging code? Where are the on/off switches? You don’t want to clutter your real UI with controls. A convenient option is environment variables: you can access them simply in the code, your shell has ways to turn them on and off at a variety of scopes, and they are invisible to your users.

          Though if they are invisible to your users, they are also invisible to you! How do you remember what exotic options you’ve coded into your program, and how do you easily see what is set, and change what is set?

        • RPushbullet 0.3.2

          A new release 0.3.2 of the RPushbullet package is now on CRAN. RPushbullet is interfacing the neat Pushbullet service for inter-device messaging, communication, and more. It lets you easily send alerts like the one to the left to your browser, phone, tablet, … – or all at once.

          This is the first new release in almost 2 1/2 years, and it once again benefits greatly from contributed pull requests by Colin (twice !) and Chan-Yub – see below for details.

        • A Makefile for your Go project (2019)

          My most loathed feature of Go was the mandatory use of GOPATH: I do not want to put my own code next to its dependencies. I was not alone and people devised tools or crafted their own Makefile to avoid organizing their code around GOPATH.

        • Writing sustainable Python scripts

          Python is a great language to write a standalone script. Getting to the result can be a matter of a dozen to a few hundred lines of code and, moments later, you can forget about it and focus on your next task.

          Six months later, a co-worker asks you why the script fails and you don’t have a clue: no documentation, hard-coded parameters, nothing logged during the execution and no sensible tests to figure out what may go wrong.

          Turning a “quick-and-dirty” Python script into a sustainable version, which will be easy to use, understand and support by your co-workers and your future self, only takes some moderate effort.

        • Notes to self when using
        • How to Split a String in Python
        • The 10 Best Software Engineering Books in 2019

          I’ll probably never forget my first day as a software engineer.

          Back in 2015, I got hired as a software engineer for a consulting company, in Luxembourg.

          I did not have much experience, but I was ready to tackle every single project I was assigned to.

        • GCC 10 Lands OpenRISC Support For Floating Point Instructions

          When it comes to open-source processor ISAs, RISC-V currently captures much of the spotlight but OpenRISC continues chugging along as another open-source CPU architecture. The OpenRISC GCC compiler back-end and other software tooling also continues to move along for this architecture that’s been in the works since 2000.

          The OpenRISC back-end/target landed just at the end of 2018 for the current GCC 9 stable series. This OpenRISC “or1k” support continues maturing. It took so long for the OpenRISC support to land into GCC as the original developers of the compiler support wouldn’t agree to their copyright assignment to the Free Software Foundation for getting the code merged. As a result, a clean-room rewrite of the GCC OpenRISC code was needed before it could be accepted into GCC.

        • Matthias Clasen: Westcoast hackfest; GTK updates

          old widget. It started out as a port of the tk text widget, and it has not seen a lot of architectural updates over the years. A few years ago, we added a pixel cache to it, to improve its scrolling, but on a high resolution display, its still a lot of pixels to shovel around.

          As we’ve moved widgets to GTK4’s rendering models, everybody avoided GtkTextView, so it was using the fallback cairo rendering path, even as we ported other text rendering in GTK to a new pango renderer which produces render nodes.

          Until yesterday. We decided to just have a look at how hard it would be to switch the text view over to the new pango renderer. This went much more smoothly than we expected, and the new code is in master today.

        • GTK4 Gets Smoother GPU-Accelerated Scrolling, Modern Cursor Blinking

          GNOME developers continue to be hard at work on GTK4 and trying to ensure this major tool-kit update will be a great success.

          Happening the past few days in Portland, Oregon was the “GTK West Coast Hackfest” where Matthias Clasen, Christian Hergert, and other GNOME developers took towards figuring out effectively last minute work for GTK 4.0.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • Chandrayaan 2 Launch Live Updates: Less than 2 hours left for the launch of India’s most powerful spacecraft

        The ISRO announced on Sunday that a 20-hour countdown for the launch began at 6.43 pm on Sunday. India’s second Moon odyssey comes 11 years after ISRO’s successful first lunar mission Chandrayaan 1, which had created history by creating as many as 3,400 orbits around Moon.

      • Lunar Mysteries That Science Still Needs to Solve

        The last three Apollo missions all took samples from three major impact craters—Imbrium, Serenitatis, and Nectaris. New evidence suggests that the samples used to date the age of each of these craters, which is crucial to determining whether a period of heavy bombardment occurred, may actually just be debris from the impact that formed the largest crater—Imbrium—about 3.9 billion years ago.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)
      • Critical Flaw in VLC Media Player Discovered by German Cybersecurity Agency [Ed: Will dedicated Microsoft propagandists like Bogdan Popa also write about NSA back doors in Windows or always just focus on smearing FOSS security? There are security bugs found every day, but back doors are an actual conspiracy; yet corporate media sponsored by the conspirators likes to deflect all blame to those who find/exploit these back doors.]

        A critical security flaw in VLC Media Player has recently been discovered by German cybersecurity watchdog CERT-Bund, who warns that a successful attack would allow for remote code execution.
        The vulnerability exists in VLC Media Player version, according to the official CVE-2019-13615, which is the latest stable release of the application.

      • The Who, What, Where, When, and Why for Mainframe Security [Ed: IBM pays Ponemon for puff pieces]

        For most people, security is a bit of a nuisance. No-one likes having to keep updating their password and then needing to remember the new one. And then there’s all the different passwords that need to be remembered for different things. It all just seems like an administrative nightmare. It just makes getting a day’s work done harder. That’s what most users think right up until the moment there’s a breach. And suddenly the mood has changed. Now everyone wants to know exactly what’s happened. They want to know who has done what, where they’ve done it, when it occurred, how they got in, and a million other questions. Your phone is ringing off the hook. Your e-mail is filling up faster than usual. What can you do? Where can you access the information you need? How do you respond to the incident?

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Joe Biden: Protector of the Deep State

        Kamala Harris surged in the polls after attacking frontrunner Joe Biden during the first Democratic Party debate for opposing federal busing programs in the 1970s that were designed to desegregate public schools. Bernie Sanders in the debate also criticized Biden’s support for the Iraq War. Left overlooked, however, were some other skeleton’s in “lunch bucket” Joe’s closet, including his history of advancing the interests of the “deep state.”

        During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Biden sat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which was established upon recommendation of the 1975/1976 Pike committee to provide “vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States to assure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Biden himself admitted that the Senate Intelligence Committee failed at this latter task, telling The New York Times in 1982 that its performance was “barely adequate. There is a lack of prudent and consistent oversight…. and a willingness to accept blanket findings and to give indefinite approval for conducting operations.”

      • Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela

        Since the attempted U.S. coup against Venezuela on January 23, backed by the Lima Group of which the Justin Trudeau government is an active member, Canada’s corporate media have joined in a chorus of hate and disinformation against the Bolivarian Revolution, with the criticism focusing on Nicolás Maduro, the country’s constitutionally elected president.

        In response to the nationalization of certain companies by the previous Chávez government, a number of Canadian companies have undertaken legal battles.

        At the same time, a debate has arisen among workers, trade unionists, and social and political activists. A few months ago, the Cuban daily Trabajadores reported the response of Canadian affiliates (over 5 million workers speaking through their unions) in support of Venezuela’s right to self-determination and to be free from interference by the United States and the Lima Group in its internal affairs. New actions and statements are still emerging from the grassroots.

        Examples include a series of articles that have appeared in the alternative press and on Canadian social networks, especially those representing left-wing and progressive forces; indeed, anyone who opposes foreign interference. These pieces lead us to wonder: what is Canada up to and why?

        These authors bravely question the traditional media, which only have space for writers who make sure to use key words like “contested elections” and to call Maduro an “authoritarian” in their pieces. Such phrases afford credibility to the narrative put forward by the United States and the Lima Group to the effect that interference in Venezuela’s affairs is a putative matter of “humanitarian” necessity.

        The corporate media suppress any attempt to give a serious answer to the question: why Canada? In this way, despite Canada’s pretense of being a paragon of freedom of expression and the press, the truth is being hidden from the public.

      • Why the US Puppet President of Venezuela is Toast

        Even the corporate media are losing enthusiasm for the US government’s ploy to replace the democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela with the US-anointed security asset Juan Guaidó. Reuters reports in a July 1 article, “Disappointed Venezuelans lose patience with Guaidó as Maduro hangs on,” that the US-backed “military uprising” has “unraveled.” A critical reading of the article explains why.

        Reuters correctly notes that “the 35-year old (Guaidó) had risen to prominence three months before,” though a little more background information would have been helpful. For instance, Guaidó was unknown to 81% of Venezuelans a little more than a week before he got a telephone call from US Vice President Pence telling him to declare himself interim president of Venezuela, which Guaidó dutifully did the following morning at a street rally flanked with US and Israeli flags. A member of a marginal far-right Venezuelan political party, Guaidó was not even in the top leadership of his own grouplet.

        For background, Reuters tells the reader that President Maduro “took office in 2013 following the death of his political mentor, Hugo Chávez,” but fails to mention that Maduro took office via a democratic national election. Guaidó has never stood in a national election. He was elected to the National Assembly but became head of that body through a mechanism where the political parties in the legislature rotate which party’s representative occupies the office.

        Reuters continues that after Maduro took office, he “has overseen an economic collapse that has left swaths of the once-wealthy country without reliable access to power, water, food, and medicines.” Not mentioned by Reuters is the economic war being waged against Venezuela by the US and its allies that has employed unilateral coercive measures – sanctions – responsible for taking the lives of some 40,000 people.

      • How Corporate Media Are Fueling a New Iran Nuclear Crisis

        The U.S. news media’s coverage of the Iran nuclear issue has been woefully off-kilter for many years. Now, however, those same outlets are contributing to the serious crisis building between Washington and Tehran.

        Iran has responded to Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal by resuming the stockpiling of low enriched uranium, removing the cap on the level of uranium enrichment and resuming work at the Arak nuclear reactor, while making it very clear that those steps would be immediately reversed if the United States agreed to full compliance.

        The major fact about Iranian nuclear policy before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was negotiated should shape public understanding of the current conflict: For more than three years, from 2012 to 2015, Iran could have enriched enough uranium at 20% enrichment level for one or more nuclear weapons, but it chose not to do so. Instead, it used the U.S.’s knowledge of that capability as leverage against the U.S. in negotiating what eventually became the JCPOA.

        The real nuclear crisis facing the United States is not that of an Iranian regime threatening a nuclear conflict. Rather, it’s a U.S. government policy that rejects the 2015 compromise and seeks to provoke Iran even further.

        Yet that’s not the way The New York Times and other news media have covered the story. From the start of the current phase of the conflict, corporate media coverage has overwhelmingly emphasized a presumed new Iranian threat to “break out” in order to obtain the enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.

        A July 1 Times story by Rick Gladstone about Iran’s breach of the JCPOA cap on uranium stockpile stated that Iran’s latest move “does not by itself give the country the material to produce a nuclear weapon. … But it is the strongest signal yet that Iran is moving to restore the far larger stockpile that took the United States and five other nations years to persuade Tehran to send abroad.”

      • What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain?

        What gives the UK the right to seize on July 4 an Iranian oil tanker in Spanish territorial waters, force it to Gibraltar, interrogate its four-man (non-Iranian) crew, and arrest its captain and chief officer?

        Why, the request of the U.S. of course.

        The Spanish government has stated that the British marines and Gibraltar port authority operated at the behest of Washington, after Trump threatened then called off airstrikes against the Islamic Republic. (Gibraltar authorities deny this.) The piratical act was naturally denounced by Iran, which threatens to seize a British tanker if London does not return its vessel. The Brits respond that they might return the ship if given assurances it was not headed to Syria; indeed, Foreign Minister Hunt had a “constructive” phone call with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.

        Iran for its part denies that the ship was heading to Syria, but what if it was? What is wrong with any country selling oil to Syria, whose government is recognized by many large powerful countries and needs oil to recover from its horrific civil conflict?

        The EU has slapped sanctions on Syria since the Arab Spring protests and outbreak of war in Syria in 2011, in compliance with the U.S. decision to effect regime change through aid to armed rebels, and a concerted U.S.-Israeli campaign to isolate Damascus. The premise is that the U.S. determines a government’s legitimacy; when it withdraws it, Europe must go along.

        And when Europe tells Iran it must not sell oil to Syria, Iran must go along. Despite Iran’s extraordinary patience in the face of Trump’s provocations, its determination to stick to the JCPOA, its willingness to discuss with France some changes to the deal, it remains a pariah in Washington’s eyes.

        Despite the fact that Trump himself is deplored by world leaders generally and the U.S. has lost prestige in the world since his election, Britain still does its bidding. The British ambassador to Washington has been obliged to quit his post after the leaking of diplomatic cables accusing Trump of ineptness and incompetence, but still, London marches almost lock-step with Washington in foreign policy.

        Britain might have told Washington: “We don’t have any right to seize a commercial vessel in foreign waters engaging in legal activities. And why would we want to cooperate with you in exacerbating tensions with Iran?” Instead the British Marines act as Trump’s buccaneers.

      • United Arab Emirates Tanker Goes Silent in Strait of Hormuz

        A small oil tanker from the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz entered Iranian waters and turned off its tracker two days ago, leading the U.S. to suspect Iran seized the vessel amid heightened tensions in the region, an American defense official said Tuesday.

        Iran offered no immediate comment on what happened to the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah late Saturday night, though an Emirati official acknowledged the vessel sent out no distress call. Oil tankers previously have been targeted in the wider region amid tensions between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

      • Iran Denies Trump Claim That U.S. Destroyed Iranian Drone

        Iran on Friday denied President Donald Trump’s claim that a U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone near the Persian Gulf in another escalation of tensions between the two countries less than a month after Trump nearly launched an airstrike.

        The Iranian military said all its drones had returned safely to their bases and denied there was any confrontation with a U.S. vessel the previous day.

        The country’s Revolutionary Guard said on its website it would release before-and-after images from the drone — it did not say when — to prove it was not destroyed.

      • Piddling in the Think Tank

        So let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Obama signed the JCPOA with Iran and other countries to get out of a tight spot. He was on the verge of being forced to go to war with Iran. That would have been a disaster. Signing this agreement was supposed to relax the tension. The agreement itself was a charade, for it was an agreement to control a nuclear program that didn’t exist. But by signing it Obama could dodge the pratfall of war. The agreement, signed in 2015, limited a program that all American spy agencies agreed had ended in 2003. This claim itself was a face-saving farce to give plausibility to their characterization of Iran’s villainy. In truth Iran never had a program to create nuclear weapons. By restricting this non-existent program Obama could say he got something in return for not going to war and so show that he was still tough in case anybody asked.

        The JCPOA gave a win to Hasan Rouhani whom Obama hoped was our man in Tehran because he had defeated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an American bête noire, in Iran’s Presidential election. Rouhani had won on a promise to negotiate with the Former United States to ease sanctions on Iran. Ahmadinejad insisted it was a waste of time. Of course the real fuss was over dollar hegemony, the dollar monopoly over oil sales. Iran had rebelled from dollar hegemony and Obama thought that Rouhani, so westernized, would somehow herd them back into the corral.

        Months and months of negotiations followed in a farcical hammering out of a framework to hedge a program that didn’t exist. All of Europe, Russia, and China sent diplomats to chime in. Oh those negotiators hammered away at that framework. Imagine how hard it was for the Iranians to argue their side about limiting their non-existent nuclear weapons program. After all they didn’t want to look like they gave away too much. Everyone clambered into their clown suits just to save Obama’s face. I would love to know what the non-American negotiators said to one another when they were alone during this time. But they endured this ridiculous idiocy and publicly pretended they were actually doing something all in order to make Obama look good and so allow him to escape from the mess he had stupidly stepped in. The Iranians humiliated themselves and played in this farce in order to get the deal done and so ease sanctions. When everyone thought they had gone on long enough to look like hard-nosed negotiators they signed the JCPOA and Obama didn’t have to go to war with Iran and end civilization. If human existence is a good thing then this was a win for mankind. The fig leaf was in place. It was historic. The whole world breathed a sigh of relief. The sanctions the Iranians humiliated themselves to get lifted never were, thus proving, yet again, the perfidious nature of the Former United States.

    • Environment
      • Mumbai’s water stock crosses 50%; no decision yet on 10% water cut

        According to civic officials, the useful water level was 75.46% at this time last year and 71.05% in 2017 at the same point. Currently, the seven lakes (Modak Sagar, Tansa, Vehar, Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna, Bhatsa and Middle Vaitarna) have 7.35 lakh million litres of useful water (50.78%). This year, the level had gone down to as low as 4% owing to the delayed monsoon [longest wait in a decade]. However, the rainfall in the past 25 days helped recover the shortfall.

        The city needs 14.47 lakh million litres at the end of the monsoon every year so that it lasts till next monsoon.

      • Standing Rock Tribe, Allies, Oppose Planned Dakota Pipeline Upgrade

        “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has requested a (N.D. Public Service Commission) hearing and will be demanding that it undertake a thorough review of the significant risks created by the DAPL proposal,” said Hasselman in an emailed statement.”Remember that this is a proposal from one of the worst-run companies in the field, with an abysmal safety record.”

      • The Sea Is Consuming Jakarta, and Its People Aren’t Insured

        Jakarta is sinking, and at the worst possible time. As sea levels creep higher, the coastal megalopolis continues to pump too much water from its underlying aquifers, causing the land to collapse by almost a foot a year in some places. A modern city, home to 10 million people, is in danger of dis­appearing: According to one researcher’s models, 95 per­cent of north Jakarta could be submerged by 2050.

      • Energy
        • Database Reveals How Much Pollution Big Oil’s Top Execs Are Responsible for Each Year

          Thanks to recent analysis, we now know how much of global greenhouse gas emissions big oil companies like Exxon and Shell are responsible for. But it’s easy to forget that behind these corporate behemoths are powerful individuals, making decisions about where the companies should drill next.

          And thanks to a new database, we can now pinpoint how much of the companies’ pollution each executive is accountable for.

    • Finance
      • Betsy DeVos Is Getting Sued Over Student Debt

        Davis, a 36-year-old crime analyst from Orlando, was attending Florida Metropolitan University (FMU) in 2007 when the school was renamed by parent company Corinthian Colleges, a group comprised of dozens of for-profit schools that went belly-up in 2015 and was later fined $30 million for misrepresenting their job placement rates.

        “When…they became Everest University in 2007, they kind of just ghosted me, just dropped me out of all the classes and never talked to me ever again,” Davis said. “When I tried to transfer my credits to the community college here, not a single credit transferred.”

      • How the Blockchain Stops Cheaters: Cryptocurrency and Provably Fair Gaming

        Online casinos and betting sites have proliferated since the first of their kind came on the scene in 1994. Thanks to the convenience of playing from home, the allure of winning real money, and a degree of privacy, these popular sites continue to evolve. There have been major problems, though, regarding perceived fairness and randomness of play. Blockchain technology offers a solution in provably fair gaming, taking trust out of the picture almost entirely.

      • The Numbers Are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts Are a Bust

        The most commonly heard refrain when Donald Trump and the GOP were seeking to pass some version of corporate tax reform went something like this: There are literally trillions of dollars trapped in offshore dollar deposits which, because of America’s uncompetitive tax rates, cannot be brought back home. Cut the corporate tax rate and get those dollars repatriated, thereby unleashing a flood of new job-creating investment in the process. Or so the pitch went.

        It’s not new and has never really stood up to scrutiny. Yet virtually every single figure who lobbied for corporate tax reform has made a version of this argument. In the past, Congress couldn’t or wouldn’t take up the cause, but, desperate for a political win after the loss on health care, Trump and the GOP leadership ran with a recycled version of this argument, and Congress finally passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017. The headline feature was a cut in the official corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

        So did reality correspond to the theoretical case made for the tax reform bill? We now have enough information to make a reasonably informed assessment. Unless you think that tax havens like Ireland, Bermuda or the Cayman Islands, all of which continue to feature as major foreign holders of U.S. Treasuries, have suddenly emerged as economic superpowers, the more realistic interpretation of the data shows the president’s much-vaunted claims about the tax reform to be bogus on a number of levels. Even though some dollars have been “brought home,” there remain trillions of dollars domiciled in these countries (at least in an accounting sense, which I’ll discuss in a moment). If anything, the key provisions of the new legislation have given even greater incentives for U.S. corporations to shift production abroad, engage in yet more tax avoidance activities and thereby exacerbate prevailing economic inequality. Which, knowing Donald Trump, was probably the whole point in the first place.

        This tax bill was constructed on a foundation of lies. To cite one obvious example, the real U.S. corporate tax rate has never been near the oft-cited 35 percent level. As recently as 2014, the Congressional Research Service estimated that the effective rate (the net rate paid after deductions and credits) was around 27.1 percent, which was well in line with America’s international competitors.

        But even the new and supposedly more competitive 21 percent rate has not been as advertised. As Brad Setser (a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations) has illustrated, the new tax bill also included a provision that enabled “companies that shift their profits abroad to pay tax at a rate well below the already-reduced corporate income tax…Why would any multinational corporation pay America’s 21 percent tax rate when it could pay the new ‘global minimum’ rate of 10.5 percent on profits shifted to tax havens, particularly when there are few restrictions on how money can be moved around a company and its foreign subsidiaries?” The upshot, as Setser concludes, is that “the global distribution of corporations’ offshore profits—our best measure of their tax avoidance gymnastics—hasn’t budged from the prevailing trend.”

      • Noam Chomsky: “Worship of Markets” Is Threatening Human Civilization

        We live in dangerous times — no doubt about it. How did we get to such a state of affairs where democracy itself is in a very fragile condition and the future of human civilization itself at stake? In this interview, renowned thinker, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona Noam Chomsky, sheds light on the state of the world and the condition of the only superpower left in the global arena.

      • Reparations for Millennials

        I’ve been waiting for Elizabeth Warren to collapse. When will people see she is an opportunist? Seriously. A Republican through the first Clinton term and a Clinton supporter just two years prior. Warren is running on Bernie Sanders’ coattails from two years prior. Let’s face it: there’s a large portion of the country hungry for left-wing politics. I am not normally one to get offended by identity politics but her claim to be Native American while sitting on her hands during Standing Rock fit with the larger picture: Warren is an opportunist. On her politics. On her race. On her life story.

        This was the strength of Sanders in 2016 and one of the many reasons he is losing his luster now. Sanders never brought a personal narrative with him in 2016. He was all about the country. And it was very appealing. Warren brands herself as a working class warrior with sob stories and race-baiting but really one has to ask: where has she been? She is picking up on a few progressive issues but only widely popular ones.

        She cherry picks plans on specific issues and everyone is blown away. But no one is a threat with this approach. Sanders at least says he is a socialist. He at least has the claim that he wants to turn this entire thing on its head, via a revolution, or whatever. Sanders, while measly when it counts, is out of Warren’s league, way out. The left feels betrayed by Sanders kissing Hillary’s ring but that is no reason to spite him and go to Warren—who is just another Hillary who Sanders will be chivalrous to when she hasn’t earned it.

        Elizabeth Warren—a woman of below-average intelligence, above-average enthusiasm and charisma below the Sanders line. Frankly I find the amazement with her to be a little bit offensive to any serious person’s sensibilities. A woman can walk, chew gum and say Wall St. has made mistakes at the same time. It shouldn’t be that impressive.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Spain will give Morocco €30 million to curb irregular immigration

        The funding is on top of the €140 million the EU has pledged to provide the North African country

      • Former NSA contractor sentenced to 9 years for theft of government info

        Last year, Reality Winner, a contractor for Pluribus International Corp., was sentenced to more than five years in prison after leaking a classified report on Russian spearphishing in the 2016 election cycle.

      • Britain Grovels: the Betrayal of the British Ambassador

        Here in Ukania, where I’ve been for the past week, many things are going on: Wimbledon tennis, the cricket World Cup, the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Brexit fiasco, the shitty drama that is the Tory party leadership contest, revived interest in the “friendship” between the Queen’s son Prince Andrew (“Randy Andy”) and the sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, and the resignation of the UK’s ambassador to the US at the instigation of Donald Trump.

        The UK ambassador, Kim Darroch, was thrown under the bus by the soon-to-be prime minister BoJo Johnson, who, when asked repeatedly on TV, refused to give his support to the ambassador after the latter’s unflattering memos to the Foreign Office, on Trump and his administration, were leaked anonymously.

        Darroch’s assessment of Trump was spot-on, simply because it was fully in line with numerous other such assessments, As such, it was a repetition of what is now conventional wisdom. Darroch said: “We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.”

        Darroch also asked whether the White House “will ever look competent”.

        Far more scathingly accurate accounts have been given of Trump and has administration. Nonetheless, Darroch’s commonplace memos sent Trump into a rage.

      • Ten Questions for Robert Mueller

        On page 2 of his report, Mueller makes it clear that his investigation was about “conspiracy,” not “collusion”:

        In evaluating whether evidence about collective action of multiple individuals constituted a crime, we applied the framework of conspiracy law, not the concept of “collusion.” In so doing, the Office recognized that the word “collud[e]” was used in communications with the acting attorney general to confirm certain aspects of the investigation’s scope, and that the term has frequently been invoked in public reporting about the investigation. But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined in federal law.

        Apart from anti-trust violations,“collusion” isn’t an element of any federal crime. I don’t know how, or when, the term crept into the national discourse and spread thereafter like a disinformation meme.

        A writer from the website Lawfare posted an article in June 2018 that traced the use of “collusion” to a July 2016 article published by the Washington Examiner. The term was picked up later the same day by ABC, and in short order was repeated by other media outlets, mainstream politicians and such late-night comics as Trevor Noah.

      • National Polls Don’t Mean Much. Here’s Why.

        “Here we go with the Fake Polls,” President Donald Trump tweeted on July 15. “Just like what happened with the Election against Crooked Hillary Clinton.” He’s complaining about several polls that show him losing the national popular vote to various Democratic presidential aspirants, in some cases by double digits.

        He has a point. In 2016, most polls showed Hillary Clinton winning handily and most Americans seem surprised when Trump emerged victorious.

        On the other hand, Trump’s future isn’t quite as indisputably bright as he’d have you believe.

        We’re looking at two separate problems.

        The first problem is the false perception that there’s a “national popular vote” or, concomitantly, “winning nationally.” There isn’t.

        The second problem is that in recent years polling techniques just haven’t produced very accurate results.

        First, the “national popular vote”: Hillary Clinton received more votes nationwide than Trump did in 2016, but lost the election because all of each state’s electoral votes go to the winner of the popular vote in that state (except Nebraska and Maine, which apportion their electoral votes by congressional district). A narrow win in a state gets you exactly as many electoral votes as a landslide and vice versa.

        Clinton won California, beating Trump by more than 4 million votes. Clinton received nearly 3 million more votes than Trump nationwide. But Trump racked up 304 electoral votes to her 227 with small-margin wins in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Nationally, the election turned on fewer than 80,000 individual votes in those last three states.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Pakistan tries to silence critics ahead of Imran Khan-Trump meeting

        Blank editorial spaces have been appearing in Pakistani newspapers ahead of Khan’s visit as articles critical of his military-backed regime have been culled even, as the pro-government media is drumming up enthusiasm for a visit that the Trump administration is terse and business-minded about.

      • Bangladeshi Hindu woman to be tried for sedition for telling Trump minorities being persecuted

        A Bangladeshi Hindu woman will be tried for sedition after she told US President Donald Trump in Washington that the minority communities in her country were being persecuted, according to a minister.

        Priya Saha, organising secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (HBCUC), attended a meeting at the White House on July 19 and a video of the meeting with Trump subsequently went viral on social media and sparked widespread controversy back home.

      • Tech critics on both sides have it wrong: Section 230 is not a special privilege

        But in a new Mercatus Center at George Mason University working paper, we discuss why Section 230 is about accelerating sound legal precedent and free speech protection, not special privilege. It emerged as the codification of a pro-speech legal principle that had been developing since the 1930s: Media distributors should very rarely be liable for the content they transmit.

      • Google Fined Again For Not Removing Banned Sites From Search Results

        For the second time in less than a year, Google has been fined by Russian authorities for not removing banned sites, which include pirate portals, from its search indexes. After failing to connect to the country’s national ‘blacklist’, the search giant has reportedly been selectively removing content, but not to the levels required.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Why Online Dating Can Feel Like Such an Existential Nightmare

        Online dating’s rapid success got an assist from several other demographic trends. For example, college graduates are getting married later, using the bulk of their 20s to pay down their student debt, try on different occupations, establish a career, and maybe even save a bit of money. As a result, today’s young adults likely spend more time being single. With these years of singledom taking place far away from hometown institutions, like family and school, the apps are acting in loco parentis.

      • Google Settles Privacy Case Over Street View for $13 Million

        Google agreed to pay $13 million to end long-running litigation over claims that it violated a U.S. wiretapping law when vehicles used for its Street View mapping project captured data from private Wi-Fi networks.

      • What happened when I opted out of face scanning at Hong Kong International Airport

        I was surprised at how mentally and emotionally difficult opting out was for me. Opting out of privacy-invading surveillance in an airport required that I ignored instincts developed from decades of training to “respect authority” and social pressure to not “cause problems.” Given how much effort it was, it isn’t surprising that more people don’t do it.

        In software product development, there’s a saying that the power of defaults is strong. Most people will use the default option – defaults become the status quo and the de facto standard. The power of defaults is even stronger in social and political realms.

        People come to the airport to go on a trip, not to make a political statement. They take cues from the behaviour of other people. If the default option is to have their privacy invaded, only a small minority will go through the trouble and emotional stress of opting out.

      • Israel spyware firm can [crack] data from social media: report

        The London-based newspaper wrote that NSO group had “told buyers its technology can surreptitiously scrape all of an individual’s data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, according to people familiar with its sales pitch”.

      • Israeli Spyware Firm Accused Of [Attacking] Apple, Facebook And Google Responds (Updated)

        That [attack] was first reported by the Financial Times, and the same newspaper has continued to investigate, publishing a report today (July 19) that exposes sales claims being made by NSO that “its [Pegasus] technology can surreptitiously scrape all of an individual’s data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.” According to the FT, NSO “did not specifically deny that it had developed the capability,” described in documents seen by the newspaper.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Protesters in Hong Kong incur the Communist Party’s wrath

        Some of the anti-government protesters had argued, however, that demonstrating outside central-government offices in Hong Kong would be pointless and possibly counter-productive. They fear it would anger the party and stiffen its resolve to tighten control in the territory. Better, they said, to keep up pressure on the local government to scrap the extradition law entirely and launch an independent investigation into police violence against protesters. Tactics, however, appeared to shift at the protest on July 21st—a sign, perhaps, of demonstrators’ frustration with what they see as the Hong Kong government’s failure to offer satisfactory responses to their demands.

      • Justin Bieber: I appreciate Trump helping A$AP Rocky, but ‘can you also let those kids out of cages?’ [iophk: corporate tweets in place of official communication]

        Trump has not responded to Bieber’s tweet, but said Saturday morning he had spoken with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to discuss A$AP Rocky’s case.

      • The top brass is not in your DMs

        “For content creators and official accounts, the department has a successful regiment for reporting fraud,” Smith said. “Individual military users can submit incident/cases via the platform’s help center. If the issue persists, individual members can contact their local public affairs office who may bring the issue to military branch liaisons.”

      • Alwar: Dalit man beaten to death after his bike hits a Muslim woman, family alleges mob lynching by Umar Sher and associates

        Harish’s family have alleged that after his bike hit Hakiman, Harish was brutally beaten up by a man named Umar Sher and his associates. The family has lodged an FIR under sections 323, 343 and the relevant sections of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act.

      • Polygamy in Aceh: what Indonesian women fear about law granting men more wives

        Plan being considered in Aceh province could make it legal for men to have up to four wives

      • ‘They gave you a Nobel prize for what?’ Trump asks ex-Daesh sex slave

        Murad, one of thousands of Yazidi females abducted and taken as sex slaves by Daesh during their campaign of expansion from 2014 to 2018 and who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, was part of a group of survivors of religious persecution who met Trump in the Oval Office on the sidelines of an important meeting with the State Department.

      • Trump meets 27 survivors of persecution in Oval Office, learns about their plight

        Among those who participated in the visit were American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was freed from prison in Turkey last year; Nadia Murad, a Yazidi advocate and Nobel Peace Prize winner; and Mariam Ibrahim, a Christian mother who was freed from death row in Sudan in 2014.

      • Iraqi refugee Nadia Murad to Trump: ISIS killed family. Trump responds: ‘Where are they now?’[iophk: further signs of how advanced the dementia has gotten]

        She also explained how she and 95,000 other Yazidis became refugees due to the area still being in turmoil despite ISIS being gone.

      • Media Just Can’t Stop Presenting Horrifying Stories as ‘Uplifting’ Perseverance Porn

        “THIS IS AWESOME!” That’s how Fox 5 DC described its story (5/28/19) about Logan Moore of Cedartown, GA, a disabled two-year-old whose parents were unable to afford to buy him a walker, so employees at Home Depot fashioned one together themselves for him.

        The story closely resembles another recent CNN report (4/1/19): “A Two-Year-Old Couldn’t Walk on His Own. So a High School Robotics Team Built Him a Customized Toy Car.” That piece noted how Minnesotan toddler Cillian Jackson couldn’t walk due to a genetic condition, and how his parents couldn’t afford treatment. It described the ingenuity of the school children who built him a car, and Cillian’s new found freedom, but did not explore why a baby with a disability had been abandoned by US society.

        The clear implication in these stories was that those children would have been left permanently unable to move if not for the help of underpaid employees or the kindness of other children. How many disabled American children with poor parents were not so lucky? The articles did not ask. Instead, they were presented as “uplifting” human interest pieces.

      • Bruce Dixon: A Giant Walks On

        At the 2016 Green Party Convention in Houston, he explained that during a Georgia prison strike, the Atlanta party had needed space and more phone lines to field all the calls it was getting from prisoners and their families.

      • Trump May Be a White Nationalist, but American Racism Is Bipartisan

        The wealthy, white, establishment-Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, had no choice but to outwardly defend the House’s four leftish first-term women of color against the nation’s white nationalist president. Donald Trump had just used his Twitter account to launch a vicious nativist assault on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. On the same day his administration had marked for a major round-up of undocumented immigrants, Boss Tweet weighed in on “the Squad’s” recent conflict with Pelosi over border security legislation:

        “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe … now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came? Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

        This was worse than the usual eye-rolling filth out of the president’s Twitter feed. It was the malicious rant of a frothing white nationalist.

      • I Know What It’s Like to Be Told to ‘Go Back’ to My Own Country

        Let’s set aside that Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley were born in the U.S., if only for a moment. Regardless of where you were born, if you’re a person of color in America, it’s likely that you or someone you love has been told a variation of “Go back to where you came from.” I’ve lost track of how many stories I’ve heard, but a personal experience immediately springs to mind watching the most powerful man in the country attack four women of color.

        Just after the 2016 election, I was home in the U.S. for an extended period to work and visit my family. My partner, brothers and I were driving through rural Illinois, where I was born, to Chicago, after a wedding in Wisconsin when we stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts. There, a group of young white men started making loud comments about how we should “immigrate here legally, and then you could vote for Trump” as, I assume, they just had. It’s hard to know if it was my partner’s British accent, or the color of my brothers’ and my skin that made them assume we were not from the country, let alone that very state, but it struck straight to the core of my frustrations that the U.S. had just elected an unabashed nativist as president.

        “I was born here. Not voting for Trump makes me no less of a U.S. citizen than you,” I replied through gritted teeth. The kids backed off immediately, and ultimately, they didn’t seem intent on attacking us. While I tell myself it could’ve been worse, and I have indeed heard much worse, their remarks have stayed with me. While I was no stranger to American racism, this was the first time my citizenship status had been openly questioned by a stranger who wasn’t a U.S. border patrol officer. (It should be noted that these officials have had no trouble asking me, repeatedly, why I was re-entering the U.S., unwilling to accept my answer that I was born here.)

        What became clear to me at that Illinois Dunkin’ Donuts, its surrounding roads littered with red Trump/Pence signs, was just how emboldened the most racist and xenophobic elements in the country have come to feel under Trump. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that counties that have hosted Trump rallies have been seen a 226% rise in hate crimes.

      • Scott Warren of No More Deaths Faces Retrial for Providing Humanitarian Aid to Migrants in Arizona

        Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday they will retry humanitarian aid volunteer and immigration rights activist Scott Warren on two charges related to aiding migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. This comes just a few weeks after a jury refused to convict Warren for providing water, food, clean clothes and beds to two undocumented migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona. Eight jurors found Warren not guilty; four said he was. Federal prosecutors will make their case against Warren again in an 8-day jury trial in November. They have dropped a conspiracy charge against him. If convicted on the two felony migrant harboring charges, Warren faces up to 10 years in prison.

    • Monopolies
      • Patents and Software Patents
        • Whether Enhanced Damage Judgment is Required for a “Final Decision”

          In papers recently filed with the Supreme Court, Brigham & Women’s has indicated its intent to petition for writ of certiorari on the final decision question — arguing that the Federal Circuit’s decision lacks authority and is contrary to several Supreme Court decisions, including Budinich v. Becton Dickinson & Co., 108 S. Ct. 1717 (1988) (a decision is final even without considering attorney fee motions — “A question remaining to be decided after an order ending litigation on the merits does not prevent finality if its resolution will not alter the order or moot or revise decisions embodied in the order.”); and Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. Central Pension Fund, 134 S. Ct. 2205 (2014) (The fact that attorney fees are authorized by contract does not change the usual rule that attorney’s fees “do not remedy the injury giving rise to the action” and therefore not part of a merits decision.)

          One key way that the Federal Circuit distinguished enhanced damages from attorney fees was by looking at the statutory structure and recognizing that enhanced damages are part of the regular damages statute 35 U.S.C. § 284 while attorney fees are separately codified in 35 U.S.C. § 285. “The source of authority to award damages is the same source of authority that authorizes enhanced damages.” I’ll note that this exact type of reasoning was rejected by the Supreme Court in Budinich and Ray Haluch Gravel.

      • Copyrights
        • Rome Court finds videosharing platform directly liable for content uploaded by users

          A few days ago, the Rome Court of First Instance (Tribunale di Roma) issued what might be one of the first, if not the first decision (RG 24711-2012, decision 14757/2019) in Europe, which has found a hosting provider – other than piracy-focused ones like The Pirate Bay – directly liable for content uploaded by users of the platform.


          Somehow, the Rome court overlooked to consider that it is unclear how to interpret the concept of active/passive hosting provider and it is still uncertain whether the conclusion in Ziggo, that is that the operators of The Pirate Bay would be directly liable for the doing of copyright-restricted acts, could extend to the operators of other platforms.

          Currently, there is a case (C-682//18 YouTube) pending before the CJEU concerning the direct liability of YouTube (a platform similar to Dailymotion) (see here), and a new case (C-442/19 NSE) concerning the direct liability of platforms for the doing of acts of communication to the public and the availability of the safe harbour in Article 14 of the E-commerce Directive was also referred a few days ago.

          A request was made in the Rome proceedings to refer the case to the CJEU for guidance, but the Rome court refused, finding that no interpretive doubt would subsist.

        • Guest post: YouTube shifts the burden: requires manual copyright claimants to timestamp the allegedly infringing material; simplifies the rectification process

          Readers may recall my recent post regarding one YouTuber’s difficulties with remedying automatic copyright claims against his videos uploaded to the site. User complaints were not contained to the automatic copyright claim system, however, as YouTube announced revisions to its manual copyright claim system last week.

          Until recently, YouTube users faced the possibility of defending against or rectifying copyright claims with the burden of independently identifying and removing the infringing material. Following criticism from popular users regarding manual copyright claims in which claimants had not needed to specify the allegedly infringing portion of the subsequent work nor the allegedly infringed portion of the original work, YouTube began to revise their copyright system.

          YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki told creators that the company was considering improvements to the system of manual copyright claims on the site in April 2019; on July 9, product manager, Julian Bill unveiled a timestamp requirement for claimants and a method for possible infringers to expeditiously resolve these claims.

        • Alleged KickassTorrents Founder Continues to Fight US Extradition

          Three years ago today, the popular torrent site KickassTorrents was shut down following a criminal investigation by the U.S. Government. While the site is now a distant memory to most people, alleged founder Artem Vaulin remains in limbo, fighting an extradition request from the U.S. in Poland.

Don’t Kick the Puppy That is Suing Linux Using Patents While Bribing Officials, Threatening Critics and Hijacking the Linux Foundation

16 hours 55 min ago

Jim Zemlin is kicking common sense to the curb

Summary: Jim Zemlin is protecting the “puppy” (to use his own analogy), Microsoft, while getting paid about/almost a million dollars per year (about the same amount of money Microsoft pays his PAC)

IN our full archive of Linux Foundation stories one can see we already criticised the Foundation a very long time ago (even more than a decade back). Here’s one among many reports with headlined like “Bashing Microsoft ‘like kicking a puppy,’ says Linux Foundation chief” (one can find lots more to that effect).

“Microsoft sceptics and critics are being compared to criminals…”This is the kind of thing a Microsoft apologist would say. Zemlin is a German name, so how about this for an analogy: Bashing the German army amid winter retreat on the eastern front because Stalin is winning the war is ‘like kicking a puppy’.

His argument was that Microsoft was already losing. So why, dear Jim, is Microsoft still suing Linux/Android/Chrome OS OEMs with patents in 2019? It’s doing Kamikaze flights. You, Jim, are among their targets.

Microsoft sceptics and critics are being compared to criminals by the Linux Foundation; they’re presented as the moral equivalent of people who not only abuse animals but engage in acts of violence against adorable, defenseless baby animals. How can anyone still take the Linux Foundation seriously?

EPO Gradually Becoming the World’s Most Permissive (Low Patent Quality) Patent Office by Consciously Violating the EPC

Sunday 21st of July 2019 10:22:09 PM

The EPO is overgranting monopolies in clear defiance of the laws that govern the EPO

Summary: Today’s European Patent Office is making innovation a lot harder for Europeans; it limits what people can freely do, e.g. what computer code they can implement, and only lawyers are loving it

THE Campinos/Battistelli-run European Patent Office (EPO) has become more lenient than the USPTO, which is subjected to 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice (SCOTUS) even if the new Director does not like it.

“It’s like the US administration choosing to hold meetings with white supremacy groups.”“I recently had the opportunity to speak on the record with three examiners at the European Patent Office (EPO) about their advice, pet peeves, and approaches to examining computer implemented inventions, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence (AI),” Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) wrote some hours ago, once again invoking "Hey Hi" hype and “computer implemented inventions”.

They push software patents in Europe and having just published something titled “How to Help an EPO Examiner and Improve Your Odds of Patenting a Computer-Implemented Invention” they give away their bias — that they try to to persist in encouraging violations of the EPC; they call it “help”. At the same time, over the past week or two Watchtroll repeatedly attacked the Federal Circuit and its judges (in at least 3 articles dedicated to just that). They used to do this to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and its judges because of inter partes reviews (IPRs). These judge-bashing maniacs are the people the EPO’s management has chosen to associate with; it’s a tad disturbing. It’s like the US administration choosing to hold meetings with white supremacy groups.

“Federal Circuit more balanced than Germany’s Federal Court of Justice,” Florian Müller wrote earlier this weekend. As he put it:

The good news in the early part of Dr. Uhrich’s presentation was that even the EPO doesn’t grant patents that claim a data structure per se. So the issue here is not one of patentable subject matter in the strictest sense, but of the scope given to patent claims at the enforcement stage. To share the bad news upfront, the effect of an overreaching infringement theory can be just as bad as straightforward patent claims on data formats. But, at least for now, the related case law in the United States is fundamentally better than in Germany, though this may be attributable in no small part to the historic happenstance of what cases were put before the courts in what sequence–and what questions for review the parties raised.

Just so there is no misunderstanding: Dr. Uhrich’s academic talk was nonjudgmental, so when you find words like “good news” and “bad news” here, rest assured they’re just my opinion. He may or may not agree depending on context.

The enforcement-related main part of Dr. Uhrich’s talk started with a 19th-century holding by the German Reichsgericht (Imperial Court), Methylenblau, involving a patent covering a chemical manufacturing process that was employed outside of Germany, but the resulting product entered the German market. The key doctrine there was that the scope of protection of a manufacturing patent potentially extends to the output if the substance so produced is an integral part of the patented process. On that basis, the Reichsgericht remanded the matter to the trial court.

The legal tradition that started with Methylenblau wouldn’t have had to inevitably lead to a high-court decision, more than a century later, that data sequences generated by a patented data processing operation are afforded the same degree of protection (potentially, as it’s always subject to the specific facts of a case). Not only is there a fundamental difference between physical goods and non-physical data but what makes this doubly unreasonable is the blatant inconsistency of such an outcome with the statutory exclusion of patents on “computer programs as such.” Unfortunately, it nevertheless happened.

In 2012, the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice of Germany) handed down a decision on whether data storage media manufactured outside of, but imported into, Germany might infringe a video encoding patent, EP0630157 on “systems and methods for coding alternate fields of interlaced video sequences,” a patent declared essential to the MPEG 2 video standard. While the patent holder lost the case due to a combination of other reasons, particularly patent exhaustion (the video data was generated with a licensed tool), the decision held that the case could not be dismissed on the grounds of the accused products containing data sequences as opposed to an encoder (be it a physical device or a piece of software).

I have read the MPEG-2-Videosignalcodierung (MPEG 2 video signal encoding) decision, and there is no reference in it to the statutory exclusion of patentable subject matter under the EPC…


Thankfully, Dr. Uhrich also drew a comparison between German and U.S. case law on patent enforcement against data sequences. In Bayer v. Housey Pharmaceuticals (2003), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an infringement claim because “infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(g) is limited to physical goods that were manufactured and does not include information generated by a patented process, and because the physical goods here (drug products) were not ‘manufactured’ by a process claimed in the asserted patents.” The opinion was authored by Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk, joined by then-Chief Judge Mayer and now-Chief Judge Prost.

The term “manufacture” plays a key role in U.S. patent law. As some of you may remember, it was key to the Samsung v. Apple Supreme Court appeal related to the “article of manufacture” based on which a design patent holder would be entitled to an unapportioned disgorgement of an infringer’s profits. The term “manufacture” alone, coupled with an almost-originalist interpretative standard that takes into account what lawmakers really meant way back when, enabled the Federal Circuit to decide against what would have been a similarly expansive school of thought as the one of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany.

Here comes Judge Sharon Prost again, who in most contexts (with exceptions like design patent damages proving the rule) takes very balanced positions. Meanwhile she had become Chief Judge, and she authored the Federal Circuit opinion in ClearCorrect v. ITC, a decision that Google’s Dr. Uhrich also explained yesterday. In that case, the ITC had ordered an import ban on data generated outside the U.S. but sent to the U.S. for the purpose of 3D printing. It’s not unheard of for the ITC to have an expansive view of its jurisdiction, even including digital data transfers, but the appeals court made clear that it disagreed with what the ITC had already held prior to ClearCorrect, which was that the statutory term “articles” “should be construed to include electronic transmission of digital data [...].”

The way things work, there’s no doubt that some patent-asserting plaintiffs are still going to try to push the envelope of data format patentability in the United States. But at least for now, they’ll be facing an uphill battle whenever they try.

What is clearly needed is a pushback against overreaching patent enforcement in Germany. Yesterday’s academic presentation was neither a campaign speech nor particularly alarmist. Expressing a personal–not corporate–view, Dr. Uhrich responded to a question from the audience with a reference to other forms of intellectual property protection for data, such as database rights (a big thing in the EU, by the way) and copyright law.

Judge Sharon Prost was mentioned above; we had been praising her for years and recently we saw her and her court coming under attacks from Watchtroll almost every other day. Watchtroll also did this to Michelle Lee. Unless a radical person like Iancu (mate of Trump) runs things, or trolls-connected judges like Rader run courts (committing serious misconduct in the process), the beehives of patent parasites won’t rest.

Tweets Are Not Journalism But Succinct Unverified Hearsay; Time to Treat Them Accordingly

Sunday 21st of July 2019 04:21:07 PM

‘Journalism’ has been reduced to a bunch of juvenile ‘politicians’ posting ‘tweets’ and distorting ‘tweets’ (new example below)

Summary: Childish public discourse can be attributed to SMS-sized nonsense posted in a hurry by career provocateurs, not grown-ups (becoming a waste of time for actual reporters who spend hours/days correcting the record after these go ‘viral’); this is killing responsible journalism, necessitating a rethink

More articles and less microblogging will be the goal in the remainder of this year. Microblogging has the shelf life of a pierced apple; it’s full of typos and not always polished, perhaps more like a chalkboard at times. The key thing about people in microblogging sites: 1) Often covering topics they do not specialise in. 2) No fact-checking. 3) Framing things succinctly for attention rather than accuracy.

“…with social control media becoming all about surveillance and provocation it’s rather clear that microblogging outlived its usefulness.”Here’s a good example from earlier today. It’s a very good one from Dr. Birgit Clark, one of the better former writers of IP Kat. A German tabloid was described as Germany’s leading paper and it was retweeted widely despite this falsehood. Facts don’t seem to matter, only emotions.

In less than a week from now (maybe next weekend) I will have posted my 666,666th tweet. I am going to slow down a bit and instead spend more time blogging, not microblogging; with social control media becoming all about surveillance and provocation it’s rather clear that microblogging outlived its usefulness.

The Web is Not JavaScript

Sunday 21st of July 2019 02:54:05 PM

Simpler is usually better

Summary: Simple sites respect visitors; rather than and instead of exploiting them or passing burdens to user-end browsers we should focus on text and links — the very core components of hypertext as opposed to bells and whistles

THE BLOATED Web is a massive problem. A short while ago we came to realise that the cost of proprietary fonts which Web sites impose on visitors do not affect these visitors only upon landing/rendering. As this post explains, these fonts become a yoke on browsers all the time. And that’s just fonts; not CSS, not JavaScript, not images and videos…

“We’re still quite minimalist when it comes to JavaScript and it has no effect on rendering. We keep it all locally hosted and fonts are used based on what visitors have, not what’s imposed on them.”As longtime readers are aware, Techrights still looks more or less the same as it looked in 2006. We still use the same theme, which we customised mildly. We’re still quite minimalist when it comes to JavaScript (it’s all locally hosted and Free/libre software); it has no effect on rendering. We keep it all locally hosted and fonts are used based on what visitors have, not what’s imposed on them. It keeps performance, privacy, and browser compatibility a lot better than most sites (mobile devices may be the Achilles heel because back in 2006 not to many people read sites from phones and we have no alternative layout other than printer-oriented).

Links 21/7/2019: DXVK 1.3.1, GameMode, Mutter 3.33.4

Sunday 21st of July 2019 01:49:02 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
      • IBM
        • Oracle Linux 8 released and What’s New

          Simon Coter (Director of Product Management) has pleased to tannounce the latest stable release of Oracle Linux 8 on 18th July 2019.

          Oracle Linux 8 ships with Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK) kernel-4.18 and distributed through a combination of BaseOS and Applications Streams.

          Oracle Linux (OL, formerly known as Oracle Enterprise Linux) is a Linux distribution packaged and freely distributed by Oracle. It is compiled from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source code, replacing Red Hat branding with Oracle’s.

        • IBM Announces Data Asset eXchange (DAX) To Help Developers Use Open Data Alongside AI

          Tech behemoth IBM has been progressively working in the field of AI and has made several contributions in this domain. The researchers at IBM are continuously trying to detangle the unknown knots behind artificial intelligence.

          Recently at Oscon 2019, Data Asset eXchange (DAX) was launched by IBM. DAX is basically an online centre which is built for artificial intelligence developers and data scientists and contains organised datasets under open data license.

        • IBM launches open ML dataset hub curated for the enterprise

          IBM on Tuesday launched the IBM Data Asset eXchange (DAX), a repository of free and open datasets for machine learning. While there are plenty of options online for finding open datasets, IBM says DAX is uniquely curated for the enterprise.

        • IBM Open Sources 3 Kubernetes Projects: Launches ML Dataset Hub
        • IBM Launches Trio of Kubernetes-Focused Open Source Projects

          IBM unveiled a trio of new open source projects targeted at helping developers more quickly build cloud-native applications for Kubernetes. The moves come on the heels of the company closing its $34 billion acquisition of open source powerhouse Red Hat.

          The new projects are Codewind, Appsody, and Kabanero. Appsody uses components from Codewind, while Kabanero uses components from both Codewind and Appsody.

          Codewind provides extensions to integrated development environments (IDEs) like VS Code, Eclipse, and Eclipse Che to build applications in containers. It allows developers to iterate, debug, and performance test applications inside of containers similar to how those applications run in a production environment. IBM said that this essentially allows developers to build applications in containers without knowing they are working in containers.

        • IBM Launches Data Asset eXchange (Dax) to Help Developers Use Free and Open Data and AI

          The online hub is created to meet the needs of those developers, who adopt ML models, and need open data that they can use confidently under clearly defined open data licenses

        • IBM Unveils New Open Source Projects; to Build Cloud-Native Apps Faster for Kubernetes

          To lower the barriers of entry for developers to use Kubernetes and to bring together different disciplines, IBM has created new open source projects Kabanero, Appsody, and Codewind—that make it faster and easier to develop and deploy applications for Kubernetes

        • IBM open-sources Kabanero tools for collaborating on Kubernetes apps
        • IBM unveils trio of open source Kubernetes projects, and not a Red Hat-trick in sight
        • IBM Kabanero Melds Multiple Open Source Kubernetes Projects
        • Developers: Build cloud-native apps for Kubernetes faster with these open source IBM tools
        • IBM turns up the heat on open source Kubernetes with Kabenero project
        • IBM reconfirms commitment to open source with two announcements

          Hot on the heels of acquiring Red Hat, IBM has made two announcements that reconfirm its commitment to open source.

        • AT&T and IBM Collaborate on Open Source, Edge, SDN, IoT

          AT&T and IBM forged a new multi-year alliance that will blend IBM’s expertise in the enterprise with AT&T’s networking prowess. AT&T Business will become IBM’s primary provider of SDN and IBM will help AT&T improve and migrate its business applications to IBM Cloud.

          AT&T will also use Red Hat’s open source platform to manage workloads and collaborate with IBM on multi-cloud capabilities around 5G, edge computing, and IoT. AT&T’s expanded usage of Red Hat comes just a week after IBM finalized its $34 billion acquisition of the hybrid cloud provider, making it the first major partnership in the telco space since IBM gained control of Red Hat.

          Red Hat is an “integral part of today’s announcement” because AT&T can use the technology to convert its business applications with containers, microservices, and make those applications more portable, said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “AT&T’s always been a big proponent of open source.”

        • Post-$34 billion acquisition by IBM, Red Hat bets big on India

          After the International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) completed the acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion earlier this month, a top executive from the iconic software company with an open source development model has said that it was a “match made in heaven” that will help it accelerate growth globally, including in India.

          In India, Red Hat, which specialises in Linux operating systems, has engineering facilities in Pune and Bengaluru.


          Founded in 1993, Red Hat is credited for bringing open source — including technologies like Linux, Kubernetes, Ansible, Java and Ceph, among others — into the mainstream for the enterprises.

          Today, Red Hat products and services are widely used by government agencies as well as emerging companies in technology, finance, healthcare, civil aviation and other industries.

          Armonk, New York-headquartered IBM particularly hopes that Red Hat’s open hybrid Cloud technologies would help it position itself as a leading hybrid Cloud provider.

          “At the core of what we do is turning projects in the open source communities into products because at the end of the day, our customer is an enterprise software customer,” Allessio said.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.3 Will Surprisingly Support The Newest Keyboard/Trackpads Of Apple MacBooks

        As a last minute surprise for the Linux 5.3 kernel merge window is support for the keyboard and trackpads on newer Apple MacBooks and MacBook Pro laptops.

        Linux up to now hasn’t had mainline support for the keyboard and trackpad on recent years of MacBooks: from MacBook8,1 or later or MacBookPro13 and MacBookPro14 models. These IDs roughly correlate to the MacBook systems since the end of 2015. There hasn’t been this Linux support since rather than being exposed as USB devices lke all of the other modern laptops, Apple made the strange move of making them SPI devices instead. Beyond that, Apple has never documented its protocol in use with this SPI controller for supporting these keyboards and trackpads.

      • IO_uring Gets A Huge Performance Fix – Up To 755x Improvement

        IO_uring is designed to deliver fast and efficient I/O operations thanks to a re-designed interface introduced in Linux 5.1 with various efficiency improvements compared to the kernel’s existing asynchronous I/O code. But it turns out there was a big bottleneck within the current IO_uring code up until now.

        IO_uring was a big feature of Linux 5.1 though still needs to become more widely adopted. In working on using IO_uring, a developer discovered that I/O submission time drops terribly when registering a large fixed buffer and I/O is being done on the latter pages of that buffer.

      • Linux Foundation
      • Graphics Stack
        • Lima Gallium3D Gets A Reworked Scheduler

          Landing this week in Mesa 19.2 for the Lima Gallium3D driver for Arm Mali 400/450 series hardware is a reworked GPIR regiaster scheduler.

          The change to their existing scheduler is that the scheduling is now done at value register allocation time and other improvements made in the process.

    • Applications
      • Some Of The Linux Boot Loaders
      • Best 4 Viber Alternatives Available to Download with Open-Source License

        We all know what Signal is. By using this app, you can easily talk to your friends without all the SMS fees. You can also create groups, share media and all kinds of attachments – it’s all private. The server never gets access to your messages. However, if you don’t like this app, we come with the best 5 alternatives for it.

      • New release of switchconf 0.0.16

        I have moved the development of switchconf from a private svn repo to a git repo in salsa: Created a virtual host called were I will publish the sources of the software that I take care. Updated the Makefile to the git repo and released version 0.0.16.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
      • DXVK 1.3.1 Brings Logging Improvements, GPU Load Monitoring In The HUD

        Just one week after releasing DXVK 1.3, lead developer Philip Rebohle has released DXVK 1.3.1 with a few more features plus a number of bug fixes — including performance work.

        The two principal new features of DXVK 1.3.1 are logging improvements and GPU load monitoring support in the DXVK HUD. The GPU load monitoring are estimates based on Vulkan timing information within DXVK as opposed to using driver-specific queries; Philip acknowledges that the number may be inaccurate when CPU load is very high. Those wanting to try out that GPU load monitoring in the heads-up display can do so via the DXVK_HUD=gpuload environment variable.

      • DXVK, the awesome D3D11 and D3D10 to Vulkan translation layer has a new release out

        Developer Philip Rebohle has given the gift of code this weekend, with a new release of DXVK now officially available.

        DXVK 1.3.1 comes just over a week after the last release, as DXVK 1.3 had a regression that needed sorting. Anyway, in this new release there’s various logging improvements, which includes the device capabilities supported by the driver and user by the game being logged in addition to supported Vulkan extensions. There’s also now a GPU load monitor which you can enable on the HUD with “DXVK_HUD=gpuload”, however, this can be innaccurate if CPU load is very high.

    • Games
      • Feral’s GameMode 1.4 Adds Flatpak Support, Better I/O Optimization Handling

        Feral developers released a new version of their GameMode Linux game performance optimization daemon/client this weekend in order to allow this update to land in the upcoming Fedora Workstation 31. GameMode 1.4 offers up many features including new interfaces for allowing better GNOME integration and thus the Fedora interest in seeing this version in their autumn Linux distribution update.

      • GameMode, the Linux gaming performance tool has a fresh release out

        What a lovely weekend for some open source releases. Hot on the heels of a new DXVK release, the performance optimization tool GameMode spearheaded by Feral Interactive has a new release out.

        Originally starting off as a sort of stop-gap solution due to issues with CPU governors, GameMode has gradually expanded to include a range of features aimed at the performance conscious Linux gamer. It’s integrated into some Linux game ports by Feral Interactive including DiRT 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Total War: WARHAMMER II, Total War: Three Kingdoms and Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia.

      • The six-degree-of-freedom shooter “Overload” has a new Community Level Pack offering a fresh challenge

        Overload is possibly the best six-degree-of-freedom shooter I’ve played in the past few years, sadly it has been overlooked by a lot of gamers.

        It’s limping on though, with a new Community Level Pack available for around £3.99. This includes nine single player levels, stitched together to form an entirely new mission. It includes progression, unlocks and a secret level. There’s also twelve new challenge mode levels and online leaderboard support.

      • Songs of Syx, a city-builder with empire management, tactical battles and RPG elements

        Here’s a fun recent discovery, Songs of Syx an in-development title from Swedish developer Jakob de Laval. It’s a city-builder with empire management, tactical battles and rpg-elements and it’s looking good.

        With an interesting pixel-art top-down view, Songs of Syx reminds me a little of Rise to Ruins, another great pixel-art builder. It’s been in development since 2014, with an Early Access release due sometime in March next year with support for Linux, Mac and Windows.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 80

          Somehow we’ve gone through 80 weeks of progress reports for KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative! Does that seem like a lot to you? Because it seems like a lot to me. Speaking of a lot, features are now pouring in for KDE’s Plasma 5.17 release, as well as Applications 19.08. Even more is lined up for Applications 19.12 too, which promises to be quite a release.

        • KDE Plasma 5.17 Making It Simple To Display A Network’s QR Code For Easy Sharing

          With the KDE Plasma 5.17 release, the desktop will make it easy to see a network’s QR code for in turn making it super quick and simple for sharing network information with other users and devices.

          Plasma 5.17 has merged the support for being able to pull up a QR code for the current network information so that others can quickly take a picture of it. The QR code is a maximized window on the desktop and contains all relevant WiFi information.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Mutter 3.33.4 About mutter ============ Mutter is a window and compositing manager that displays and manages your desktop via OpenGL. Mutter combines a sophisticated display engine using the Clutter toolkit with solid window-management logic inherited from the Metacity window manager. While Mutter can be used stand-alone, it is primarily intended to be used as the display core of a larger system such as GNOME Shell. For this reason, Mutter is very extensible via plugins, which are used both to add fancy visual effects and to rework the window management behaviors to meet the needs of the environment. News ==== * Discard page flip retries on hotplug [Jonas; !630] * Add xdg-output v2 support [Olivier; #645] * Restore DRM format fallbacks [Jonas; !662] * Don't emit ::size-changed when only position changed [Daniel; !568] * Expose workspace layout properties [Florian; !618] * Don't use grab modifiers when shortcuts are inhibited [Olivier; #642] * Fix stuttering due to unchanged power save mode notifications [Georges; !674] * Add API to reorder workspaces [Adam; !670] * Make picking a new focus window more reliable [Marco; !669] * Defer actor allocation till shown [Carlos; !677] * Try to use primary GPU for copy instead of glReadPixels [Pekka; !615] * Unset pointer focus when the cursor is hidden [Jonas D.; !448] * Fix modifier-drag on wayland subsurfaces [Robert; !604] * Fix background corruption on Nvidia after resuming from suspend [Daniel; !600] * Only grab the locate-pointer key when necessary [Olivier; !685, #647] * Misc. bug fixes and cleanups [Florian, Jonas, Daniel, Robert, Olivier, Georges, Marco, Carlos, Emmanuele; !648, !650, !647, !656, !658, !637, !663, !660, !659, !665, !666, !668, !667, #667, !676, !678, #672, !680, !683, !688, !689, !687] Contributors: Jonas Ådahl, Emmanuele Bassi, Adam Bieńkowski, Piotr Drąg, Jonas Dreßler, Olivier Fourdan, Carlos Garnacho, Robert Mader, Florian Müllner, Georges Basile Stavracas Neto, Pekka Paalanen, Marco Trevisan (Treviño), Daniel van Vugt Translators: Fabio Tomat [fur], Kukuh Syafaat [id]
        • GNOME Shell + Mutter 3.33.4 Released

          Florian Müllner released new development versions of GNOME Shell and Mutter today for this week’s GNOME 3.33.4 development milestone.

    • Distributions
      • Linux distributions: Can we do without hooks and triggers?

        Hooks are an extension feature provided by all package managers that are used in larger Linux distributions. For example, Debian uses apt, which has various maintainer scripts. Fedora uses rpm, which has scriptlets. Different package managers use different names for the concept, but all of them offer package maintainers the ability to run arbitrary code during package installation and upgrades. Example hook use cases include adding daemon user accounts to your system (e.g. postgres), or generating/updating cache files.

        Triggers are a kind of hook which run when other packages are installed. For example, on Debian, the man(1) package comes with a trigger which regenerates the search database index whenever any package installs a manpage. When, for example, the nginx(8) package is installed, a trigger provided by the man(1) package runs.

        Over the past few decades, Open Source software has become more and more uniform: instead of each piece of software defining its own rules, a small number of build systems are now widely adopted.

        Hence, I think it makes sense to revisit whether offering extension via hooks and triggers is a net win or net loss.

      • Sparky
        • Sparky Linux 5.8

          Today we are looking at Sparky Linux 5.8. This point release of Sparky 5 comes with LXQt 0.14.1, Debian Buster, Linux Kernel 4.19 and uses about 350MB of ram when idling.

          Sparky Linux LXQt has become one of my favorites, as it has a modern feeling, with the latest of Qt and the stability of Debian, makes it one great combination. Enjoy!

        • Sparky Linux 5.8 Run Through

          In this video, we look at Sparky Linux 5.8. Enjoy!

        • What?s next Sparky?

          As before, after releasing a new stable version of Sparky, there are a few changes to do.


          Sparky 4 “Tyche” is moved to oldstable line now.
          The latest 4.11 release is the last one of the 4 line, but it is still supported, the next 2 years about.

          Sparky 5 “Nibiru” just released, moving it from testing to stable line.
          The stable live/install media are available for i686, amd64 & armhf archs (the same as the older release).

        • SparkyLinux 5.8 released, which is Based on Debian 10 Buster

          SparkyLinux Team is pleased to announce the latest stable release of SparkyLinux 5.8 on 17th July 2019.

          This release is based on Debian 10 “Buster” and codenamed “Nibiru”.

          This is the 1st point release of the new stable line 5.8.

      • Debian Family
        • DebConf19 invites you to Debian Open Day at the Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR), in Curitiba

          DebConf, the annual conference for Debian contributors and users interested in improving the Debian operating system, will be held in Federal University of Technology – Paraná (UTFPR) in Curitiba, Brazil, from July 21 to 28, 2019. The conference is preceded by DebCamp from July 14 to 19, and the DebConf19 Open Day on July 20.

          The Open Day, Saturday, 20 July, is targeted at the general public. Events of interest to a wider audience will be offered, ranging from topics specific to Debian to the greater Free Software community and maker movement.

          The event is a perfect opportunity for interested users to meet the Debian community, for Debian to broaden its community, and for the DebConf sponsors to increase their visibility.

          Less purely technical than the main conference schedule, the events on Open Day will cover a large range of topics from social and cultural issues to workshops and introductions to Debian.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Christopher Davis: The Paradox of Tolerance In Online Spaces

        In online spaces, “tolerance” refers to who you allow in the community. To be tolerant means to allow people from all walks of life into your space, regardless of race, sexual or gender identity, or other factors used to marginalize people within society. To go further, a good community should do more than tolerate them, but let them know that they are welcome and that they will not be marginalized within the community.

        A person is marginalized when they are abused for their identity, or made to feel less important because of it. In real life, this manifests as workforce discrimination, housing discrimination, police brutality, and many other forms of oppression that make it so that the value of a victim’s life and livelihood are less important than the oppressor’s. In an online space, marginalization is more subtle. It would be if a black person saw someone use the “n word” – or worse, is called one – without reprucussion. It would be if a trans woman had to deal with someone saying that they are “men trying to invade women’s spaces”. It would be if a woman in general had to deal with men making sexual remarks and unwanted advances. These things all make the victims uncomfortable, and the lack of action taken can make them feel unimportant.

        Some communities like to think of themselves as “perfectly tolerant”. This means that they would tolerate people that take actions to make marginalized people uncomfortable. When a community does this, they are actually being intolerant, and enabling abusers.

      • How open source and AI can take us to the Moon, Mars, and beyond

        Research institutions and national labs across the globe are pouring hundreds of thousands of research hours into every conceivable aspect of space science. And, overwhelmingly, the high performance computing (HPC) systems used for all research are running open source software.

        In fact, 100% of the current TOP500 supercomputers run on some form of Linux.

        Therefore, it’s likely that the future of space exploration will be built on the open source philosophy of knowledge sharing and collaboration among researchers and developers. Success will depend on the adoption of open technologies to stimulate collaboration among nations, as well as advances in the field of AI and machine learning.

        Although these are ambitious objectives that could take several years to fully implement, we are already seeing great progress: open source software is already running in space, AI and machine learning is used in spacecraft communications and navigation, and the number of commercial companies interested in the space economy is growing.

      • ElectrifAi launches AI industry’s first open source machine learning platform

        With the new platform, ElectrifAi’s data scientists – as well as those of its customers – can code and access data in any programming language. According to ElectrifAi, the incorporation of Docker Containers and Kubernetes enables the firm to build and deploy hybrid cloud enterprise solutions at scale.

      • The development of the open source platform – An industry perspective

        There has been much dialog, but not much action with regard to the evolution of retail trading platforms in recent years.

        For many brokerages, relying on the status quo which represents an unholy alliance between third party vendor MetaQuotes, thereby disabling a broker from owning its own client base or infrastructure and becoming subservient to an affiliate marketing platform rather than empowered by a multi-faceted trading platform, remains.

        FinanceFeeds has attended numerous meetings with brokerage senior executives across the globe, all of whom understand the value and importance of going down the multi-asset product expansion route, and almost all of whom understand the clear virtues of having a bespoke user interface which engenders a loyal customer base, enables brokers to own the entire intellectual property base of its business – which let’s face it is why entrepreneurs start businesses in the first place – and offer differentiating services to specific audiences.

        A simple glance at the continuity and geographic location of client bases of companies such as Hargreaves Lansdown or CMC Markets, and the absolute lack of reliance on affiliate networks is testimony to that.

        This week, Richard Goers, CEO of Australian professional trading platform development company ManagedLeverage spoke out about a continuing issue which is something that has been prominent in the viewpoint of FinanceFeeds for some years, that being the development of open source platforms.

      • Break Up Your Innovation Program, If You Want It To Survive

        With open-source software, problems are solved faster than by any other means.

      • Don’t be fooled by the [Internet]: this week in tech, 20 years ago

        One thing I wanted to say is, don’t be fooled by the internet. It’s cool to get on the computer, but don’t let the computer get on you. It’s cool to use the computer, don’t let the computer use you. Y’all saw The Matrix. There’s a war going on. The battlefield’s in the mind. And the prize is the soul. So just be careful. Be very careful. Thank you.

      • How Suse is taking open source deeper into the enterprise

        The diversity in the open source software world can be a boon and a bane to wider adoption in the enterprise.

        After all, without the right knowhow, it can be hard to figure out how they are going to work together on existing infrastructure – and if the chosen projects will eventually survive.

        That’s where open source companies such as Suse step in. While smaller than US-based rival Red Hat, Suse has found its footing in identifying and supporting open source projects that help to run mission-critical enterprise workloads, improve developer productivity and solve business problems in industries such as retail.

      • SUSE joins iRODS Consortium

        iRODS is open source storage data management software for data discovery, workflow automation, secure collaboration, and data virtualization. By creating a unified namespace and a metadata catalog of all the data and users within a storage environment, the iRODS rule engine allows users to automate data management.


        Alan Clark, SUSE CTO Office lead focused on Industry Initiatives and Emerging Standards and chairman of the OpenStack Foundation board of directors, said, “SUSE is excited to join the iRODS Consortium, lending our open source technical expertise to help advance the iRODS data management software. The integration with SUSE Enterprise Storage helps customers lower total cost of ownership, leveraging commodity hardware to support their iRODS-managed storage environments. As a leading provider of open source software, SUSE helps our customers leverage the latest open source technologies for application delivery and software-defined infrastructure. SUSE tests and hardens our solutions, ensuring they are enterprise ready and backed by our superior support experience.”

      • Cortex Command Goes Open Source, Gets LAN Support

        To help facilitate future community development, Data Realms have released the game’s source code.

      • Why Open Source Matters For Chinese Tech Firms?

        As companies plow more and more investment into AI research, China has finally woken up to the realisation of open source and how it can shape the development of a field that’s becoming increasingly attractive. Over the last few years, open-source has become the foundation of innovation — and the major contributions come from tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Uber and Amazon among others. In November 2015, Google made an unparalleled move by open-sourcing its software library — which now rivals Torch, Caffe and Theano.

        These are the open-source lessons that big Chinese companies seem to be learning fast. Traditionally, Chinese firms have trailed behind their US counterparts when it comes to the contributions from the US and Europe, but that’s changing now. Over a period of time, Chinese tech companies are trying to grow their influence in the open-source world by building a robust ecosystem. Not only that, they have learnt that open-sourcing tech can help attract great ML talent and increasingly it is also making good business sense. At a time when the AI tool stack is evolving, enterprises are rushing to grab a pie and provide a unified software and hardware technology stack. Internet and cloud Chinese tech giants have woken up to the promise of open source and AI-related datasets and models can serve the bigger business goals of the companies.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Clean out your fonts, people

            Thus, the number of fonts you have currently installed directly affects TenFourFox’s performance, and TenFourFox is definitely not the only application that needs to know what fonts are installed. If you have a large (as in several hundred) number of font files and particularly if you are not using an SSD, you should strongly consider thinning them out or using some sort of font management system. Even simply disabling the fonts in Font Book will help, because under the hood this will move the font to a disabled location, and TenFourFox and other applications will then not have to track it further.

      • SaaS/Back End
        • How Open Source Alluxio Is Democratizing Data Orchestration

          Alluxio is one of the many leading open-source projects/companies – including Spark and Mesosphere – that emerged from UC Berkeley Labs. Haoyuan (H.Y.) Li Founder, Chairman and CTO of Alluxio, sat down with Swapnil Bhartiya, Editor-in-Chief of TFIR to discuss how Alluxio is providing new ways for organizations to manage data at scale with its data orchestration platform.

          Alluxio’s data orchestration layer has increased efficiency by four times, so companies are finding that work that used to take one year now takes three months.

          For many enterprise companies, the path to the cloud starts with an intermediate step of a hybrid cloud approach, Li said. He also sees widespread enterprise adoption of a multi-cloud strategy.

        • Cloudera Moves To All-Open Source Model In Major Shift

          Amidst financial troubles and departure of chief executive Tom Reilly, company says it wants to emulate success of pure open source pioneer Red Hat.

        • Cloudera Follows Hortonworks’ Open Source Lead

          Trying to survive the carnage AWS and the like are causing in the Big Data space, Cloudera is open sourcing its entire product line. [...] Less than six months after closing its merger with Hortonworks, the Big Data company Cloudera has announced it’s going all open source.

      • Databases
        • YugaByte Becomes 100% Open Source Under Apache 2.0 License

          YugaByte, a provider of open source distributed SQL databases, announced that YugaByte DB is now 100% open source under the Apache 2.0 license, bringing previously commercial features into the open source core.

          The transition breaks the boundaries between YugaByte’s Community and Enterprise editions by bringing previously commercial-only, closed-source features such as Distributed Backups, Data Encryption, and Read Replicas into the open source core project distributed under the permissive Apache 2.0 license.

          Starting immediately, there is only one edition of YugaByte DB for developers to build their business-critical, cloud-native applications.

        • YugaByte’s Apache 2.0 License Delivers 100% Open Source Distributed SQL Database

          YugaByte, the open source distributed SQL databases comapny, announced that YugaByte DB is now 100 percent open source under the Apache 2.0 license, bringing previously commercial features into the open source core. The move, in addition to other updates available now through YugaByte DB 1.3, allows users to more openly collaborate across what is now the world’s most powerful open source distributed SQL database.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: YugaByte DB

          This week’s SD Times Open Source Project of the Week is the newly open-sourced YugaByte DB, which allows users to better collaborate on the distributed SQL database.

          The move to the open-source core project distributed under the Apache 2.0 license makes previously closed-sourced features such as distributed backups, data encryption and read replicas more accessible, according to the team. By doing this, YugaByte plans to break the boundaries between YugaByte’s Community and Enterprise editions.

          “YugaByte DB combines PostgreSQL’s language breadth with Oracle-like reliability, but on modern cloud infrastructure. With our licensing changes, we have removed every barrier that developers face in adopting a business-critical database and operations engineers face in running a fleet of database clusters, with extreme ease,” said Kannan Muthukkaruppan, co-founder and CEO of YugaByte.

      • Blockchains/BTC
        • Blockchains Done Right Are the Next Evolution in Open Source

          Open source code is more than just a way to create new technology. It’s a disruptive force that changed the way software is built, from taking individual developers and turning them into thriving communities to changing how enterprises do business–building open ecosystems versus restricted walled-gardens.

        • BTCPay Server Launches Tor Crowdfunding Campaign

          BTCPay Server hopes the Tor crowdfunding campaign will demonstrate the impact of bitcoin-based fundraising for open-source initiatives.

        • What It’s Like to Review Bitcoin’s Code

          On June 19, Chaincode developer John Newbery gathered a group of developers to examine a proposed change to bitcoin’s code.

          Taking place via Internet Relay Chat (IRC), the topic was whether the change, which would help prevent a group of rogue miners from speeding up the rate at which bitcoin’s blocks are produced, is a positive one with limited security risks or adverse impacts.

        • Crypto foundations continue to thrive in Switzerland

          Yet more overseas blockchain firms are coming to Switzerland to set up foundations. British company Atlas City will establish a non-profit entity for its Catalyst project. But what’s in it for commercial enterprises that develop cutting-edge technologies?


          Part of the reason for setting up a foundation lies in the ethos of blockchain and other distributed ledger technology (DLT) systems: to offer decentralised platforms that anyone can use to store and transmit their data – a so-called “open source” model.

      • BSD
        • OPNsense 19.7 released, which brings Prominent Changes

          OPNsense Team is pleased tannounce the latest stable release of OPNsense 19.7 on 17th July 2019.

          It’s codenamed “Jazzy Jaguar”. OPNsense is open source, FreeBSD-based firewall and routing distribution.

          This release improved statistics and visibility of rules, reliable and consistent live logging and alias utility improvements in firewalls.

          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.

      • Licensing/Legal
        • #TechWontBuildIt: Entropic maintainer calls for a ban on Palantir employees contributing to the project and asks other open source communities to take a stand on ethical grounds

          The tech industry is being plagued by moral and ethical issues as top players are increasingly becoming explicit about prioritizing profits over people or planet. Recent times are rift with cases of tech companies actively selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, helping ICE separate immigrant families, taking large contracts with the Department of Defense, accelerating the extraction of fossil fuels, deployment of surveillance technology. As the US gets alarmingly dangerous for minority groups, asylum seekers and other vulnerable communities, it has awakened the tech worker community to organize for keeping their employers in check. They have been grouping together to push back against ethically questionable decisions made by their employers using the hashtag #TechWontBuildIt since 2018. Most recently, several open source communities, activists and developers have strongly demonstrated against Palantir for their involvement with ICE.

          Palantir, a data analytics company, founded by Peter Thiel, one of President Trump’s most vocal supporters in Silicon Valley, has been called out for its association with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to emails obtained by WNYC, Palantir’s mobile app FALCON is being used by ICE to carry out raids on immigrant communities as well as enable workplace raids.

        • Open Source Licensing: Why Every Developer Should Know About It [Ed: Just like a Microsoft mouthpiece, promoting MIT-type licences. This has become typical when firms connected to Microsoft offer 'advice' (war on GPL/copyleft)]

          Over the years, the IT industry has witnessed massive growth and meaningful transformation, especially in terms of the software that the industry use. From closed-source, proprietary, off-the-shelf software solutions to embracing open-source, the industry was witnessing a dramatic shift not only in terms of the advantages of open-source over closed-source but also in terms of the developer and professional satisfaction.

          That is not all, open-source even caught the attention of investors — they started showing handsome amounts of capital on open-source software. The transformation was real and today, it has gone way too far from that. Open source is rapidly becoming the go-to for almost every organisation across the world.


          Copyleft: Many people misunderstand this concept as they think that Copyleft is just the opposite of copyright. However, that is not true. Copyright is the restriction of using any content or work without the owner’s permission. And talking about copyleft, the concept is slightly different. Under the same copyright license, the owner issues a statement that others use the work. However, there are some obligations that need to be maintained by the one using the work. Example of copyleft licenses: GPL, Affero GPL (AGPL), Lesser GPL (LGPL), Mozilla Public License (MPL), Eclipse Public License (EPL), Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL).

      • Programming/Development
  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

        I recall watching on live TV in 1969 Neil Armstrong stepping on the Moon for the first time. I still think the Apollo programme is mankind?s greatest technological achievement to date, especially taking into account the state of the art in the 1960s, albeit massive funding, around 400,000 professionals and some 5,000 companies working on the project helped immensely.
        If you have a technical background and are interested in learning a bit about the technical aspects of the equipment and the mission, I can recommend W. David Woods? book ?How Apollo Flew to the Moon?. I found the sections on guidance particularly interesting. The book even addresses eating, ablution, urinating, defecating and waste disposal on the journey.
        On the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 I wrote a short post in the Sabayon Linux forums on using Audacity to analyse the recording of Neil Armstrong?s famous ?One small step?, which I refreshed in this blog for the 42nd anniversary (see One small step for [a] man? revisited using Audacity).

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)
      • Alas, Poor PGP

        The first is an assertion that email is inherently insecure and can’t be made secure. There are some fairly convincing arguments to be made on that score; as it currently stands, there is little ability to hide metadata from prying eyes. And any format that is capable of talking on the network — as HTML is — is just begging for vulnerabilities like EFAIL.

        But PGP isn’t used just for this. In fact, one could argue that sending a binary PGP message as an attachment gets around a lot of that email clunkiness — and would be right, at the expense of potentially more clunkiness (and forgetfulness).

        What about the web-of-trust issues? I’m in agreement. I have never really used WoT to authenticate a key, only in rare instances trusting an introducer I know personally and from personal experience understand how stringent they are in signing keys. But this is hardly a problem for PGP alone. Every encryption tool mentioned has the problem of validating keys. The author suggests Signal. Signal has some very strong encryption, but you have to have a phone number and a smartphone to use it. Signal’s strength when setting up a remote contact is as strong as SMS. Let that disheartening reality sink in for a bit. (A little social engineering could probably get many contacts to accept a hijacked SIM in Signal as well.)

        How about forward secrecy? This is protection against a private key that gets compromised in the future, because an ephemeral session key (or more than one) is negotiated on each communication, and the secret key is never stored. This is a great plan, but it really requires synchronous communication (or something approaching it) between the sender and the recipient. It can’t be used if I want to, for instance, burn a backup onto a Bluray and give it to a friend for offsite storage without giving the friend access to its contents. There are many, many situations where synchronous key negotiation is impossible, so although forward secrecy is great and a nice enhancement, we should assume it to be always applicable.


        My current estimate is that there’s no magic solution right now. The Sequoia PGP folks seem to have a good thing going, as does Saltpack. Both projects are early in development, so as a privacy-concerned person, should you trust them more than GPG with appropriate options? That’s really hard to say.

      • Armadillo Is An Open-Source “USB Firewall” Device To Protect You Against USB Attacks

        Exchanging data using USB devices is something that we do on a daily basis. But how often do you think that the next USB device that you’ll plug into your PC’s port could be malicious? In the past, researchers have unveiled 29 types of USB attacks that could compromise your sensitive data by simply plugging in a USB device.

        Globotron’s Armadillo is a device that you could use to protect yourself from USB attacks.

      • Open source solutions in autonomous driving: safety is more than an afterthought [Ed: A lot less likely to contain back doors, unlike proprietary software where this has become rather 'standard' a 'feature']

        In the automotive industry, in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems were one of the early adopters of open source operating systems, namely Linux. Today’s innovation and success with IVIs can largely be attributed to this approach.

        Collaborative efforts such as the GENIVI Alliance and Automotive Grade Linux—where automakers, suppliers, and their competitors agree to share common elements of the IVI software stack—are enabling rapid development in this area.

      • New open source solution reduces the risks associated with cloud deployments [Ed: This is an inherently flawed kind of logic because if you handed over control to AWS, then the Pentagon already controls everything and thus you have zero security, you're 'pwned' by definition]

        The Galahad software will be deployed to AWS and provides a nested hypervisor on AWS instances. There, it will monitor role-based virtual machines virtually across all levels of the application stack including the docker container: the basic unit of software that packages an application to run quickly between computing environments.

      • Open-Source Exploit: Private Keys in MyDashWallet Exposed for Two Months- Users Should Move Funds Immediately [Ed: Highly misleading headline. This has nothing to do with "Open Source"; it's about some fool who uploaded private keys]

        The private keys of Dash crypto coins being held in online software “hot wallet” called MyDashWallet have been exposed to hackers for two months, and anyone using the wallet should immediately move funds out.

        A “hot wallet” is any cryptocurrency software “wallet” connected to the Internet.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • If Trump Wants to ‘Talk About Our Missiles,’ Says Iranian Foreign Minister, US Must Stop Pouring Theirs Into Middle East

        Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Monday that if President Donald Trump truly wants to engage in good-faith negotiations over Iran’s ballistic missile program, his administration must stop selling tens of billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.

        Zarif, who is in New York on United Nations business, told NBC’s Lester Holt that the influx of American weapons is “making our region ready to explode.”

      • Iran’s Not the Aggressor. The U.S. Is.

        It’s easy to be confused about what’s happening between the U.S. and Iran.

        On July 10, President Trump again accused Iran of violating the Obama-era nuclear deal, in a tweet that he concluded by promising to increase U.S. sanctions “substantially.”

        Similarly, headlines — such as a recent New York Times article that originally proclaimed, “With a New Threat, Iran Tests the Resolve of the U.S. and Its Allies” — strongly suggest that Iran is the aggressor, and taking steps that heighten tensions in the Middle East.

        That view is driven by Trump administration officials like Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, National Security Advisor and long-time proponent of invading Iran John Bolton, and other right-wing officials like Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. Cotton said in an interview on Fox News Sunday that he sees “Iran steadily marching up the escalation chain,” which he said justifies U.S. air strikes against the country.

        In June, administration officials made the serious allegation that Iran had attacked two cargo ships in the Gulf of Oman — only to see their account disputed by a captain on one of the very ships that was attacked. Then there was a week of movement toward military action — at the height of which the acting secretary of defense stepped down because stories of horrific domestic violence toward his wife came to light.

        Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, with Iran and the U.S. asserting conflicting stories about whether or not the aircraft was in Iranian airspace. And then, of course, the president ordered an airstrike on Iran — only to cancel it with U.S. planes presumably moments away from killing up to 150 Iranians, which would have dramatically escalated the conflict.

        Throughout these twists and turns, Trump, his Secretary of State, and other officials have repeated the phrase “we don’t want war.” If that’s the case — that the U.S. wants to avoid war, even as Iran is supposedly taking a hostile posture and unilaterally escalating tensions — then the Trump administration’s instability and incompetence is surely worrisome. As a result, critics in both the media and Congress, not to mention the Democratic presidential field, are warning the administration could “bumble” into a war.

        But whatever officials say, and as erratic as the sequence of events has been, one thing is clear: It’s the U.S. that is belligerently threatening Iran, not the other way around. And if a war breaks out, it won’t be because the administration “bumbled” into one.

      • Pyongyang on the Potomac

        When Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shook hands on June 30 at the line dividing the two Koreas, the pictures that appeared on front pages all over the world depicted two very different leaders. Trump is a tall, 73-year-old white man who leads the world’s most powerful democracy. Kim is a short, plump, 35-year-old Korean who heads up the world’s most notorious non-democracy. They look like the Laurel and Hardy or the Penn and Teller of geopolitics.

        Appearances can be deceptive. Beyond their superficial differences, the two leaders share a great deal in common. In fact, their underlying similarities have helped cement an unlikely friendship.

        But what is beneficial for international peace is ominous for the future of American democracy.

        Back in 2011, Polish politician Lech Kaczynski looked longingly at how the right wing had taken over Hungary. Viktor Orban was running roughshod over Hungarian democracy, rewriting constitutions, controlling the press, suppressing civil society. Kaczynski said that he couldn’t wait to remake Warsaw, the capital of Poland, as a “Budapest on the Vistula.” When his party won both the presidency and a parliamentary majority, Kaczynski set about doing just that.

      • The U.K. Ambassador’s Horrifying Conclusion About the Iran Deal

        Former British ambassador to the US Kim Darroch alleged in a diplomatic cable that Trump’s motivation in breaching the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was motivated by nothing more than spite, according to the Daily Mail , which saw the text.

      • Nukes For Peace?

        Surrounded by trigger happy Tonkinesque gunboats and drowning in debt, the Islamic Republic of Iran has made the risky decision to play the last card left in their deck; to defy the P5+1 Deal in order to save the P5+1 Deal. It’s a hell of a gambit but it already has those pussies in the EU clamoring for new talks with the embattled nation. Under the circumstances, I would argue that Iran’s decision to enrich Uranium past the amount allowed in the deal but still far short of anything potentially lethal isn’t just tactically savvy, it’s the right thing to do.

        Iran offered Europe and the US everything but a weekly colonoscopy with that deal and we’ve given them jack shit in return for their patience. While Trump shredded the agreement in a reckless Israel-friendly hissy fit, Europe has sheepishly reneged on their promises to stand up to Orange-Man-Bad and ease their own sanctions. Their indecision isn’t just an embarrassing display of geostrategic cowardice that would gag Charles de Gaulle like a gimp, it’s a brazen violation of the very deal they claim to remain committed to. In this dire situation, for Iran to continue to sit on their hands, would be a betrayal of both international diplomacy and their long suffering citizenry who these values are supposed to protect.

        But this move also begs a bigger and rather uncomfortable question for peaceniks like me. Could Nukes be good for peace? Just typing those words feels blasphemous on my fingertips, but history speaks for itself. Iraq and Libya both forfeited their own nuclear weapons programs for the sake of self-preservation and both ended up brutally mugged for their efforts by the world’s preeminent nuclear superpower. Further more, international law on this regard, is little more than a sick fucking joke. Iran has been hounded for decades by an illegally nuclear armed Israel and the only nation to ever use one of those goddamn things while even the intelligence agencies of these very rogue states admits that this program is a total fiction. Meanwhile, India and Pakistan continue their own flagrantly illegal arms race while being bathed in buckets of western aid. And evil Iran should what, be the last boy-scout while they get ransacked? It clearly doesn’t make any fucking difference whether they actually have the bombs or not, so why not arm up?

      • Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It

        JCPOA was the deal negotiated with great effort by Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the U.S.) and signed in 2015. At the time, Europe had substantially lost access to three of its main sources of energy—Russia, Libya, and Iran. Desperation for Iranian oil drove the European pressure on the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to come on board the JCPOA. The U.S. was forced, kicking and screaming, into the agreement.

        Iran signed the deal even though Iran’s government disagreed with its premise. The deal implied that Iran had a nuclear weapons program, which it did not have, and that the agreement would constrain it from building a nuclear weapons arsenal, which it has pledged never to have. Threats of war by the United States and its regional partners (namely, Saudi Arabia and Israel) and terrible sanctions had raised the threat level in West Asia. It was to prevent war and to undo the sanctions that Iran came to the table.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Juggling with the Authoritarians: Donald Trump’s Diplomatic Fake Book

        Cue the shots, take the snaps: US President Donald Trump was back entertaining his fetish with firm handshakes proclaiming the making of history in the last round of discussions with Kim Jong-un. The press were, despite periodic attacks of bafflement, ever obliging. The meeting of Trump with the leader of the DPRK was deemed historic, because everything the president does these says has to be, by definition, shatteringly historic. Respective handshaking took place across the demarcation line of North and South Korea before Trump “briefly crossed into North Korea, a symbolic milestone,” noted the BBC.

        Kim, in turn, crossed into South Korea alongside Trump, cheeks bunched and aglow: “I believe this is an expression of his willingness to eliminate all the unfortunate past and open a new future.” An hour-long discussion followed in the Freedom House. At one point, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in joined the gathering for a collegial cameo. Again “unprecedented”, came the observations.

        Trump’s diplomatic fake book is an untidy compilation of zigs and zags; amidst the lack of neatness lies a scratchy pattern. Each accommodating approach must come with its selective targets of incoherent demonization. Every hand shake on one side of the diplomatic ledger must be accompanied by the cold shoulder on the other, if not a good deal of spiked bile. There is Iran, which serves the purpose for potential military engagement and cartoon gangster pose, and China, which supplies the Trump administration with a target for hard bargaining.

        As each day goes by, military digs and pokes are being directed at Tehran by US officials now more accustomed to poking tongues than using them. This is far from a bright move, but serves the object of brinkmanship Trump has managed to cultivate in Washington.

        US policy on that front is that of the bull acting in disregard of the precious china. The china, for one, involved adherence by Iran to the restrictive nuclear agreement that saw the destruction of its plutonium reactor and an opening up to the peering eyes of inspectors for a period ranging between ten and twenty-five years. Economic losses would be made up by a more liberal trade regime with European powers. But Trump, consistently with his campaign promises on redrafting, if not tossing various agreements out altogether, was determined to find a marketable enemy. Evidence was less important than necessity, however confused.

      • Exclusive: A Group of Microsoft Employees Is Fighting the Company’s Political Action Committee

        A group of more than 30 Microsoft employees is lobbying coworkers to stop donating to the company’s political action committee in an effort to starve the PAC of funds, multiple Microsoft workers with knowledge of the efforts told OneZero.
        While Microsoft pitches itself as an inclusive and progressive company — especially during Pride Month, with tweets and donations to LGBTQ+ causes — employees who have donated to the PAC say they have no control over which candidates are being supported, meaning that they have no say when the PAC financially supports candidates whose views the employees don’t want to support. Microsoft employees who spoke to OneZero — on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals — say that the PAC doesn’t ask employees for input or supply avenues to suggest or control which candidates should be supported.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Amazon’s collaborations with local police turn its Ring doorbell cameras into unofficial community surveillance systems

        Amazon was founded almost exactly 25 years ago. Initially it sold books, and people saw it as an interesting early example of e-commerce, but probably assumed that it would remain a fairly small player in a relatively unexciting market. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amazon soon started selling goods in other sectors, and adding operations in countries outside the US. People gradually woke up to the fact that Jeff Bezos was not aiming to become one of the top online book sellers, but intended to become the e-commerce platform for everything.

        However, even that ambition now seems too small for Bezos. He has started exploring completely new markets that have little to do with the core Amazon business. One of particular interest to readers of this blog is based around surveillance, although the company obviously doesn’t frame it in those terms. For example, in 2014, the Amazon Echo “smart speaker” was launched. It listens in on conversations in the home, and then sends voice data to the cloud for analysis. Last year Privacy News Online wrote about Amazon’s cloud-based facial recognition system Rekognition.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Journalist Faces Death Threats for Exposing Brazilian Judge’s Far-Right Bias

        By his side was his embattled Justice Minister Sérgio Moro. Until recently, Moro had been the county’s top corruption crusader, the former judge overseeing the landmark investigations into Brazil’s Car Wash corruption scandal, in which billions were paid in bribes through the state oil company Petrobras, in exchange for government contracts. Moro was lifted to superhero status by fans and a benevolent press, and seen as a shoo-in for the next spot on the Supreme Court and a potential contender for the presidency in 2022 or 2026.

        Not anymore.


        The Intercept’s revelations, known on social media as #VazaJato, (a play on the title of the Car Wash corruption scandal, meaning #WashLeaks), stem from a massive trove of millions of Telegram chat app messages from federal prosecutors involved in the car wash scandal task force, which were acquired by The Intercept. The messages show that prosecutors schemed about how to block Lula’s Workers’ Party from returning to power, and questioned the trial against Lula because of a lack of evidence. They show that Moro encouraged prosecutors to let slide proof of corruption by former right-wing president Fernando Henrique Cardoso because he was an ally and a supporter of their corruption probe. The leaks also clearly show Moro illegally and consistently guided prosecutors in the car wash operation, while also presiding over the proceedings as a supposed impartial and independent judge.

        “Moro left impartiality aside and acted on the side of the accusers,” wrote the authors of a joint investigation by The Intercept and the right-wing outlet Veja, whose team reviewed 649,551 messages in the Telegram archive. “The messages examined by our team are true & our investigation shows that the case is even more serious. Moro committed irregularities.”

        Moro’s once-saintly status has crumbled. His approval rating dropped 10 points in the first poll released after the revelations. The Brazilian Lawyers Guild has called for the ex-judge to step down. He is currently taking a five-day leave of absence in the United States with his family.

        But a concerted, right-wing counter campaign has also been underway to discredit the leaks and silence The Intercept and its lead journalists. It involves intimidation, faked documents, distorted news, Twitter bots, and attacks on leading members of The Intercept and their families.

      • Most of the Google Walkout Organizers Have Left the Company

        FOUR OF THE seven Google employees who organized a 20,000-person walkout in November have resigned from the company, including two women who claimed Google retaliated against them for their internal activism. The latest to leave is Meredith Whittaker, who ran Google Open Research and has emerged in the past couple of years as a prominent voice demanding increased accountability from tech companies around uses of artificial intelligence.

        In April, Whittaker claimed Google had retaliated against her for her role in the walkout and her advocacy work on AI ethics through AI Now, a research institute she cofounded that has received funding from Google. She had already been told her AI ethics work was no longer a fit for Google’s Cloud division. “It’s clear Google isn’t a place where I can continue this work,” Whittaker wrote in a farewell note posted on Medium, which urged employees to unionize, protect whistle-blowers, and insist on transparency around the technology they are building and how it will be used.

        In the Medium post, Whittaker, who worked for the company for 13 years, said Google’s advantages in AI have propelled the company into new markets, like health care, fossil fuels, and city development. “The result is that Google, in the conventional pursuit of quarterly earnings, is gaining signi­ficant and largely unchecked power to impact our world,” Whittaker wrote. “I’m certain many in leadership—who learned what Google was and why it was great over a decade ago—don’t truly understand the direction in which Google is growing. Nor are they incentivized to.”

    • Monopolies
      • Trump’s Fixation on Intellectual Property Rights Serves the Rich

        Between making threats of actual war with North Korea and Iran, Donald Trump has also gotten us into a trade war with China. Trump’s ostensible reason for this trade war — the large US trade deficit with China — actually did have some basis in reality, but in practice the trade war is straying into turf that is likely to offer few gains for US workers and could actually lead to sizable losses.

        A major theme in Trump’s campaign was that China is a world-class currency manipulator that deliberately keeps down the value of its currency to give its products an advantage in international trade. The basic story is true; China did intervene heavily in currency markets to keep the value of its currency from rising against the dollar.

        However, it would probably be more appropriate to say that China managed its currency rather than manipulated it. There was nothing hidden or sneaky about China’s intervention; it has an official exchange rate that it acts to maintain.

        Most economists acknowledge, in retrospect, that China managed its currency in the last decade (they didn’t at the time), but now say that China has stopped buying large amounts of reserves of foreign currencies, the tool used to suppress the value of the yuan. What these economists ignore is that China continues to hold massive amounts of reserves, which lowers the value of the yuan relative to its value if China held more normal amounts in reserve.

        China’s reserve holdings have the same effect on the value of its currency as the Fed’s asset holdings do in keeping down long-term interest rates. While most economists acknowledge the impact of the Fed’s asset holdings, for some reason they ignore the impact of China’s reserve holdings. No one ever said economists were consistent.

Links 20/7/2019: Weston 7.0 Alpha, Nageru 1.9.0

Saturday 20th of July 2019 05:19:40 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
      • IBM
        • IBM helps developers use open source and machine learning

          As artificial intelligence and machine learning become more widespread, it’s essential that developers have access to the latest models and data sets.

          Today at the OSCON 2019 open source developer conference, IBM is announcing the launch of two new projects for developers.

    • Kernel Space
      • Systemd Introduces A New & Practical Service For Dealing With PStore

        Adding to the list of new features for systemd 243 is another last-minute addition to this growing init system… Systemd picked up a new service and while some may view it as bloat, should be quite practical at least for those encountering kernel crashes from time to time.

        Linux for several years now has offered a Pstore file-system that maps to persistent storage for recording kernel panics/errors and other debug logs that can be retained when a kernel crashes or system reboot happens and other behavior where normally all information is lost.

      • The Arm SoC/Platform Changes Finally Sent In For Linux 5.3: Jetson Nano, New SoCs

        The Arm SoC/platform changes arrived a bit late to the Linux 5.3 merge window ending this weekend. The Arm SoC/platform changes were only sent in on Friday night but include Librem 5 Developer Kit support in terms of the DeviceTree bits as well as improving the NVIDIA Jetson Nano support and various other SoC/platform additions.

      • NFS Changes On Linux 5.3 Will Allow Clients To Use New “nconnect” Mount Option

        Sent out on Thursday were the NFS client updates for the Linux 5.3 kernel merge window. This time around are a few interesting changes.

        A new mount option for NFS setups on Linux 5.3+ is the “nconnect=X” mount option where X specifies the number of TCP connections to the server to use. This multiple TCP connection handling to the server is done seamlessly and the queue length is used to balance load across the connections.

      • Graphics Stack
        • weston 6.0.91 This is the alpha release for weston 7.0. A lot of new features and fixes are shipped in this release, including: - New internal debug scopes and logging framework - Improved documentation - HDCP support - A new PipeWire plugin Thanks to all contributors! We've moved to Meson as our only build system, autotools support has been removed. Package maintainers: please report any issues you have with Meson before the stable release. Full commit history below.
        • Weston 7.0 Reaches Alpha With PipeWire, HDCP, EGL Partial Updates & Mores

          Wayland release manager Simon Ser announced the alpha release of the Weston 7.0 reference compositor on Friday that also marks the feature freeze for this Wayland compositor update.

          Some of the major changes to Weston 7.0 include HDCP content protection support, better documentation, new debugging and logging framework support, and the just-added PipeWire plug-in for remote streaming. There are also less prominent additions like EGL partial update support, various DRM compositor back-end restructuring, build system updates, and a variety of libweston updates.

        • RadeonSI Gallium3D Driver Adds Navi Wave32 Support

          One of the new features to the RDNA architecture with Navi is support for single cycle issue Wave32 execution on SIMD32. Up to now the RadeonSI code was using just Wave64 but now there is support in this AMD open-source Linux OpenGL driver for Wave32.

          Well known AMD open-source developer Marek Olšák landed this Wave32 support on Friday for the RadeonSI driver. The Wave32 support landed over several commits to Mesa 19.2-devel and is enabled for vertex, geometry, and tessellation shaders. Wave32 isn’t enabled for pixel shaders but rather Wave64. Additionally, Wave32 isn’t yet enabled for compute shaders due to Piglit OpenGL test case failures.

    • Applications
      • Nageru 1.9.0 released

        I’ve just released version 1.9.0 of Nageru, my live video mixer. This contains some fairly significant changes to the way themes work, and I’d like to elaborate a bit about why:

        Themes in Nageru govern what’s put on screen at any given time (this includes the actual output, of course, but also preview channels show in the UI). They were always a compromise between flexibility and implementation cost; with limited resources, I just could not create a full-fledged animation studio like VizRT has.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Dota Underlords has another update out, this one changes the game quite a lot

        Valve continue to tweak Dota Underlords in the hopes of keeping players happy, this mid-Season gameplay update flips quite a few things on their head.

        I like their sense of humour, with a note about them removing “code that caused crashes and kept code that doesn’t cause crashes”.

        There’s a few smaller changes like the addition of Loot Round tips to the Season Info tab, the ability to change equipped items from the Battle Pass and some buffs to the amount XP awarded for your placement in matches and for doing the quests. Meaning you will level up the Battle Pass faster.

      • Interested in Google’s Stadia game streaming service? We have a few more details now

        With Google’s game streaming service Stadia inching closer, we have some more information to share about it. Part of this, is thanks to a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) they did on Reddit. I’ve gone over what questions they answered, to give you a little overview.

        Firstly, a few points about the Stadia Pro subscription: The Pro subscription is not meant to be like a “Netflix for Games”, something people seem to think Stadia will end up as. Google said to think of it more like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus. They’re aiming to give Pro subscribers one free game a month “give or take”. If you cancel Stadia Pro, you will lose access to free games claimed. However, you will get the previously claimed games back when you re-subscribe but not any you missed while not subscribed.

        As for Stadia Base, as expected there will be no free games included. As already confirmed, both will let you buy games as normal.

      • Top 15 Best Linux Racing Games That You’ve Maybe Never Heard of

        Many games are available on the Linux platform. Just a few years back, it was believed that Linux platform has an inadequate number of games nevertheless; in recent years that perception has been changed. Linux racing games are significantly developed and entirely contemporary thus; thrill, amusement, and excitement can thrive in those games. Game –savvy people would find numerous games which are enough for titillation, and online game enthusiasts can have a brilliant time by playing those games. In addition, among many games, some of them are free and open source, and the rest of others need to buy albeit; you would get back a good value of money.

      • The merciless roguelike “Jupiter Hell” goes Vulkan, with another free demo weekend now up

        Jupiter Hell from ChaosForge is the successor to DoomRL (Doom the roguelike, now “DRL” after lawyers came knocking), it’s a brutal and atmospheric roguelike and you can try it out again.

        Just recently, they gave it a pretty big update which comes with Vulkan support by default. However, if that causes you issues you can add “–gl” as a launch option to get it in OpenGL mode.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Neon: A Wannabe Linux Distro For KDE Lovers

          KDE Neon is a bit of an oddball Linux thing. Linuxland has an impressive collection of oddball things.

          Neon looks and feels much like a Linux distribution, but its developers assert quite openly on their website that Neon is not a real Linux distro. It just installs and functions like one — sort of.

          That can make deciding to use it a little confusing. Neon appears to be a Linux operating system. It boots your computer. It displays a full desktop environment. It runs *some* applications so you can go about your computing tasks much like using any other — ahh — real Linux distribution.

          That last part is a clue to what makes KDE Neon different.

          Getting somewhat technical for a minute, KDE Neon is more of a specialty offering than a fully endowed operating system. Other distros support a wide range of applications from the same software format type.

          For example, Ubuntu runs .Deb formatted packages from the Debian Linux family. All .Deb packages will run on Ubuntu- and other Debian-based distros. Which desktop environment is used does not matter, be it KDE, Xfce, GNOME or whatever.

          Ditto for RPM-based Linux distributions, like Fedora and Red Hat. All you need is a package management tool or knowledge of the commands for apt, yum or pacman, depending on the distribution’s Linux family. However, that is a skill set that lots of Linux users never had to learn.

          Not so with KDE Neon. Neon runs only a specific category of KDE applications: the latest. Neon’s developers assert that their “pseudo” distro does not support most other software. In fact, non-KDE packages most likely will not even install on Neon.

        • LabPlot has got some beautifying and lots of datasets

          Hello everyone! The second part of this year’s GSoC is almost over, so I was due to let you know the progress made in the last 3 weeks. I can assure you we haven’t lazed since then. I think I managed to make quite good progress, so everything is going as planned, or I could say that even better. If you haven’t read about this year’s project or you just want to go through what has already been accomplished you can check out my previous post.

          So let’s just go through the new things step by step. I’ll try to explain the respective feature, and also give examples using videos or screenshots.

          The first step was to improve the welcome screen and make it easily usable, dynamic, clean and intuitive for users. This step was very important since the welcome screen is what the users will first get in contact with when they start using LabPlot.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
    • Distributions
      • Intel / Clear Linux Is Looking For Your Feedback On Your Linux Development Workflow

        Intel’s Clear Linux crew has launched a twelve-question survey seeking feedback on your Linux usage though the survey slightly caters towards developers. While the survey is being put out by Intel’s performance-oriented Linux distribution, users of any Linux platform are encouraged to participate.

        They are curious about the projects you’re working on, the operating system primarily being used for your Linux development work, the five main desktop applications, the five main development tools, programming language preferences, and similar questions.

      • New Releases
        • Q4OS 3.8 is released, which is Based on Debian Buster 10

          The brand new stable Q4OS 3.8 version codenamed ‘Centaurus’. It’s a lightweight desktop-oriented Linux distribution featured with Plasma 5.14, optionally Trinity 14.0.6, desktop environment.

          It’s available for 64-bit, 32-bit/i686pae and older i386 systems without PAE extension. But ARM device support is not available as of now and they are working on it, probably it will be shipped in future releases.

          Q4OS comes with their own exclusive utilities and features called Desktop profiler, Setup utility and Welcome Screen.

          Desktop profiler is allowing you to profiling your computer into different professional working tools.

        • KDE Applications, Squid, SQLite, VIM Update in Tumbleweed

          Three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots in the middle of this week brought new minor version updates to ImageMagick, Squid, SQLite, VIM and more. The new KDE Applications 19.04.3 version arrived in the first two snapshots.

          The more recent snapshot, 20190718, brought a half-dozen new packages, which include fix for the UrbanCode Deploy (UCD) script data for Unicode 10+ scripts for the OpenType text shaping engine package harfbuzz 2.5.3. A two-year old Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) was fixed with the update of libpng12 1.2.59. The tool that cleans RPM spec files, spec-cleaner 1.1.4, added a temporary patch to fix a test that fails if there is no internet connection. Caching proxy squid 4.8 fixed GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 9 build issues and added a fix to prevent parameter parsing used for a potential Denial of Service (DoS). RISC-V support was added with the virt-manager 2.2.1 update and xclock 1.0.9 was also updated in the snapshot, which is trending at a 97 rating, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • Deepin 15.11

          Today we are looking at Deepin 15.11. Deepin 15.11 is a fantastic release of Deepin, I couldn’t find any faults and it just feels so much more stable, with Debian Buster and Kwin Window Manager.

          One, of the newest features, which I noticed, I guess there will be mixed emotions is that they have now an optional built-in cloud service, currently only available in China, I don’t know how secure it will be and exactly what it’s purpose will be.

          Another thing which I noticed is, that Deepin Driver Manager comes now pre-installed and their version of Crossover is upgraded to Crossover 18, available in the Software Center.

        • Deepin 15.11 Run Through

          In this video, we look at Deepin 15.11.

      • Fedora Family
        • Network Security Toolkit (NST) 30 SVN 11210, which is Based on Fedora 30

          Network Security Toolkit (NST) is a Linux-based live operating system that provides a set of free and open-source computer security and networking tools to perform routine security and networking diagnostic and monitoring tasks.

          It is based on Fedora and NST has included comprehensive set of Open Source Network Security Tools, which is published in website.

          It is offering an advanced Web User Interface (GUI) for system/network administrator, which allows them to configure many network and security applications.

          NST Team is pleased to announce the latest NST release of “NST 30 SVN:11210” on 1th July 2019.

        • Fedora announces the first preview release of Fedora CoreOS as an automatically updating Linux OS for containerized workloads

          Three days ago, Fedora announced the first preview release of the open-source project Fedora CoreOS as a secure and reliable host for computer clusters. It is specifically designed for running containerized workloads with automatic updates to the latest OS improvements, bug fixes, and security updates. It is secure, minimal, monolithic and is optimized for working with Kubernetes.

          The main goal of Fedora CoreOS is to be a reliable container host to run containerized workloads securely and at scale. It integrates Ignition from Container Linux technology and rpm-ostree and SELinux hardening from Project Atomic Host.

          Fedora CoreOS is expected to be a successor to Container Linux eventually. The Container Linux project will continue to be supported throughout 2019, leaving users with ample time to migrate and provide feedback. Fedora has also assured Container Linux users that continued support will be provided to them without any disruption. Fedora CoreOS will also become the successor to Fedora Atomic Host. The current plan is for Fedora Atomic Host to have at least a 29 version and 6 months of lifecycle.

      • Debian Family
        • Debian-based deepin 15.11 Linux distribution now available for download

          deepin is the most beautiful desktop operating system on the planet, besting both macOS, and Windows. Hell, it is even prettier than all other Linux distributions too. And yes, that matters. While an operating system shouldn’t impede productivity or behave obnoxiously, it should inspire the user. deepin does this.

          Today, the Debian-based deepin 15.11 becomes available, and it looks like another winner. While not radically different from deepin 15.10, it has enough bug fixes and additions to make it worthwhile. For instance, even though optical discs (CD, DVD, Blu-ray, etc.) are dramatically declining in popularity (near obsolete), the deepin devs have intergrated disc-burning into the distro’s file manager. More exciting, however, is cloud sync for Control Center, which will make it easier to restore settings on a fresh installation or when logging into a shared machine.

        • Cross Architecture Linux Containers

          With more ARM based devices in the market, and with them getting more powerful every day, it is more common to see more of ARM images for your favorite Linux distribution. Of them, Debian has become the default choice for individuals and companies to base their work on. It must have to do with Debian’s long history of trying to support many more architectures than the rest of the distributions. Debian also tends to have a much wider user/developer mindshare even though it does not have a direct backing from any of the big Linux distribution companies.

          Some of my work involves doing packaging and integration work which reflects on all architectures and image types; ARM included. So having the respective environment readily available is really important to get work done quicker.

          I still recollect back in 2004, when I was much newer to Linux Enterprise while working at a big Computer Hardware Company, I had heard about the Itanium 64 architecture. Back then, trying out anything other than x86 would mean you need access to physical hardware. Or be a DD and have shell access the Debian Machines.
          With Linux Virtualization, a lot seems to have improved over time.

        • down for maintenance

          So I’ve just shut down for maintenance, the website is still up but the slaves won’t be running for the next week. I think this will block testing migration for a few packages, but probably that’s how it is.

        • Sean Whitton: Debian Policy call for participation — July 2019

          Debian Policy started off the Debian 11 “bullseye” release cycle with the release of Debian Policy Please consider helping us fix more bugs and prepare more releases (whether or not you’re at DebCamp19!).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Ubuntu Studio 18.10 Reaches End-Of-Life (EOL)

          We strongly urge all users of 18.10 to upgrade to Ubuntu Studio 19.04 for support through January 2020 and then after the release of Ubuntu Studio 19.10, codenamed Eoan Ermine, in October 2019 which will also be supported for 9 months.

          Ubuntu Studio 18.10 will no longer receive any support from this point forward. Packages will not be updated any further, and packages in the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA for 18.10 will be removed if they haven’t been already. Additionally, if you have added the backports PPA, it is highly recommended that you remove the PPA prior to upgrading using the instructions in this link.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Beta released, here are the new features

          The Linux Mint operating system is a derivative of Ubuntu. The thing that separates it from other Linux distros is it provides a modern and easy-to-use interface to its users. Accordingly, if you want to get started with Linux without that much learning, going for Linux Mint would be an excellent choice.

          Linux Mint 19.2 has been codenamed Tina which hints towards the singer Tina Turner. As it is a significant update, users should expect a lot of new features and enhancements in this version. It is also worth mentioning that Linux Mint 19.2 will receive support until 2023.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Zstd 1.4.1 Further Improves Decode Speed, Other Optimizations

        Zstd 1.4.1 is out today as a maintenance release to Facebook’s Zstandard compression algorithm but with this update comes even more performance optimizations.


        This Zstd release also has several bug fixes including for niche use-cases where it could hit a rare data corruption bug. There are also build system updates and documentation improvements.

      • Events
      • SaaS/Back End
        • Kubernetes As A Service On Bare Metal | Boris Renski

          Mirantis is one of those companies that continues to evolve with change times. Mirantis is now upping its Kubernetes game by offering Kubernetes as a service that supports bare metal. Mirantis CMO and co-founder Boris Renski explains the service in this interview.

      • Databases
        • YugaByte Commits to 100 Percent Open Source with Apache 2.0 License

          Version 2.0 Release Candidate of YugaByte Distributed SQL DB Available; First Product Available Under License Created by the Polyform Project.

        • Databases adopt open licenses, JavaScript gets faster on Android, governments use more OSS, and more news

          In the last year, a handful of major open source database vendors have tightened their grip on their code to try to remain competitive. Two vendors have bucked that trend and have gone all in on open source.

          The first of those is Cloudera, which announced that it’s making “closed license components of its products open source” under the AGPL and Apache 2.0 license. While Cloudera’s executives said they “had been mulling a modified open source license” like the one adopted by some of their competitors, they decided to go open and to adopt a “licensing/subscription approach” that closely mirrors that of Red Hat.

          Distributed database vendor YugaByte also adopted an Apache 2.0 license, making its wares fully open source. That move brings “previously commercial-only, closed-source features such as Distributed Backups, Data Encryption, and Read Replicas into the open source core project.” That code is available in the project’s GitHub repository.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Access/Content
          • Why Carl Malamud’s Latest Brilliant Project, To Mine The World’s Research Papers, Is Based In India

            Carl Malamud is one of Techdirt’s heroes. We’ve been writing about his campaign to liberate US government documents and information for over ten years now. The journal Nature has a report on a new project of his, which is in quite a different field: academic knowledge. The idea will be familiar to readers of this site: to carry out text and data mining (TDM) on millions of academic articles, in order to discover new knowledge. It’s a proven technique with huge potential to produce important discoveries. That raises the obvious question: if large-scale TDM of academic papers is so powerful, why hasn’t it been done before? The answer, as is so often the case, is that copyright gets in the way.

      • Programming/Development
        • Sustainable Python scripts

          Python is a great language to write a standalone script. Getting to the result can be a matter of a dozen to a few hundred lines of code and, moments later, you can forget about it and focus on your next task.
          Six months later, a co-worker asks you why the script fails and you don’t have a clue: no documentation, hard-coded parameters, nothing logged during the execution and no sensible tests to figure out what may go wrong.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • How Apollo 11 brought humanity together

        “For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one: one in their pride in what you have done, and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth,” he said.

        But while the speech by President Kennedy remain vivid, Richard Nixon’s words were quickly forgotten. TV audiences became bored with the Moon landings and the Apollo programme was scrapped, with the final launch in 1972.

        At the time, President Nixon was making plans to begin a Christmas mass bombing campaign of North Vietnam and his administration was involved in a break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s offices in the Watergate complex. The US was still riven with conflict and protest.

    • Hardware
      • NASA’s Apollo 11 onboard computer really was as primitive as they say

        The first thing to say is that, yes, the facts are true, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was indeed less powerful than a mobile. In fact, it has about the same compute power as an Apple II, which would go on sale in 1977 for a cool $1298, boasting just 4KB of RAM.

        That’s quite a lot less than a mobile phone.

        But let’s just think about that for a moment – Apollo advances meant that we were able to buy a home computer, as powerful as NASA’s. a mere eight years after the moon landing. That’s pretty cool, and a reminder of the positive side-effects of the Space Race.

        ACG was the first computer to use integrated circuits, which have become the norm for modern computing.

      • Why E-Scooters Are on the Rise, Along With Injuries

        It’s been less than two years since the first crop of stand-up electric scooters for rent were dumped on a city sidewalk, but they can now be found around the world. Startups including Bird, Lime, Skip and Spin allow riders to locate and unlock scooters with an app. When they reach their destination, they just walk away — or hop into a train or taxi to continue the trip. Some urban planners consider shared scooters, along with shared bike services, the future of city transport. But after several fatal accidents and many more injuries involving e-scooters some officials, drivers and pedestrians see the fledgling mode of transport as a safety hazard that must be stopped.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)
      • Researchers Build App That Kills To Highlight Insulin Pump Exploit

        By now the half-baked security in most internet of things (IOT) devices has become a bit of a running joke, leading to amusing Twitter accounts like Internet of Shit that highlight the sordid depth of this particular apathy rabbit hole. And while refrigerators leaking your gmail credentials and tea kettles that expose your home networks are entertaining in their own way, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the same half-assed security in the IOT space also exists on most home routers, your car, your pacemaker, and countless other essential devices and services your life may depend on.

        Case in point: just about two years ago, security researchers discovered some major vulnerabilities Medtronic’s popular MiniMed and MiniMed Paradigm insulin pumps. At a talk last year, they highlighted how a hacker could trigger the pumps to either withhold insulin doses, or deliver a lethal dose of insulin remotely. But while Medtronic and the FDA warned customers about the vulnerability and issued a recall over time, security researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts found that initially, nobody was doing much to actually fix or replace the existing devices.


        And of course that’s not just a problem in the medical sector, but most internet-connected tech sectors. As security researcher Bruce Schneier often points out, it’s part of a cycle of dysfunction where the consumer and the manufacturer of a flawed product have already moved on to the next big purchase, often leaving compromised products, and users, in a lurch. And more often than not, when researchers are forced to get creative to highlight the importance of a particular flaw, the companies in question enjoy shooting the messenger.

      • Desktop Operating Systems: Which is the safest? [Ed: This shallow article does not discuss NSA back doors and blames on "Linux" devices with open ports and laughable passwords -- based on narrative often pushed by corporate media to give illusion of parity. Also pushes the lie of Linux having minuscule usage.]
      • How Open Source Data Can Protect Consumer Credit Card Information
      • Open Source Hacking Tool Grows Up

        An open source white-hat hacking tool that nation-state hacking teams out of China, Iran, and Russia have at times employed to avoid detection….

    • Defence/Aggression
      • War, Memory and Gettysburg

        Over 50,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or reported missing here in July 1863, many of them dying in terrible agony on the battlefield or carted off to improvised hospitals where arms and legs were swiftly amputated and tossed into large heaps on the floor. Abysmal hygiene—surgeons would nonchalantly wipe the blood from their bone saws on their pus-stained smocks and move on to the next victim—caused infection, blood poisoning and gangrene. To buy time, regiments such as the 1st Minnesota were ordered into battle against superior forces and as a result were decimated within minutes. Hundreds of African American men, women and children, many born free in the surrounding Pennsylvania towns, were abducted by invading Confederate forces led by Gen. Robert E. Lee and shipped south to be sold in the slave markets in Richmond, Va. Confederate and at times Union forces looted homes, farms and shops. For three days in the summer of 1863, there was an orgy of destruction, death and suffering on this ground.

        An estimated 750,000 soldiers were killed by combat, accident, starvation and disease in the Civil War, more than in all other American wars combined, according to a 2012 study. Rifled muskets and rifled artillery vastly increased the range and accuracy of fire over the 18th century’s smoothbore muskets and cannons, but the advance in weaponry did nothing to perturb the generals who clung to outdated and now suicidal tactics. They sent their soldiers marching forward in parade-ground lines into murderous volleys as if they were on a Napoleonic battlefield. The inability of most generals to adapt, as Allen C. Guelzo writes in “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion,” “makes the Civil War look like an exercise in raw stupidity equivalent to the slaughters on the Western Front [of World War I].”

        I am descended from one of three brothers who fought at Gettysburg. Clark S. Edwards was a Union general. Albert M. Edwards was a colonel in the elite Iron Brigade. Congress voted in 2018 to award him a posthumous Medal of Honor. David A. Edwards is my great-great-grandfather. He was a sergeant in the 5th Maine, and his war diaries, letters, brass cartridge box plate and pocket watch are next to me as I write.

      • US moves forward on operation to counter Iran, begins sending troops to Saudi Arabia

        The Pentagon did not specify the number of troops it was sending, but reports surfaced this week that 500 troops would be sent to the kingdom.

      • Trump’s Threats towards Iran Aren’t Working. Here’s Why.

        The Trump Administration has imposed sanctions against more than 1,000 Iranian entities, including Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, targeting almost every significant sector of that nation’s economy. But recently it reversed course, backing off its threat to sanction a top Iranian diplomat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in response to concerns that it would foreclose any diplomatic recourse.

      • Iran Acknowledges Missing Tanker Was Seized in Persian Gulf

        Iran said Thursday its Revolutionary Guard seized a foreign oil tanker and its crew of 12 for smuggling fuel out of the country, and hours later released video showing the vessel to be a United Arab Emirates-based ship that had vanished in Iranian waters over the weekend.

        The announcement solved one mystery — the fate of the missing ship — but raised a host of other questions and heightened worries about the free flow of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most critical petroleum shipping routes. One-fifth of global crude exports passes through the strait.

      • The Three-Letter Word at the Root of the Iran Crisis

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

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

      • The Slide to War with Iran: An Interview with Nader Hashemi

        Nader Hashemi is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and teaches Middle East and Islamic politics at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is the author of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy and co-editor of The People Reloaded, The Syria Dilemma and Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • Spying on Julian Assange

        History’s scope for the absurd and tragic is infinite. Like Sisyphus engaged in permanent labours pushing a boulder up a slope, the effort of making sense of such scope is likewise, absurdly infinite. To see images of an exhausted and world-weary Julian Assange attempting to dodge the all-eye surveillance operation that he would complain about is to wade in the insensibility of it all. But it could hardly have surprised those who have watched WikiLeaks’ battles with the Security Establishment over the years.

        Assange is not merely an exceptional figure but a figure of the exception. Despite being granted asylum status by an Ecuadorean regime that would subsequently change heart with a change of brooms, he was never permitted to exercise all his freedoms associated with such a grant. There was always a sense of contingency and qualification, the impending cul-de-sac in London’s Ecuadorean embassy.

        Between December 2017 and March 2018, dozens of meetings between Assange, his legal representatives, and visitors, were recorded in daily confidential reports written by an assigned security team and submitted to David Morales, formerly of special ops of the marine corps of the Spanish Navy. The very idea of legal professional privilege, a fetish in the Anglo-American legal system, was not so much deemed non-existent as ignored altogether.

        The security firm tasked with this smeared-in-the-gutter mission was Spanish outfit UC Global SL, whose task became all the more urgent once Ecuador’s Lenín Moreno came to power in May 2017. The mood had changed from the days when Rafael Correa had been accommodating, one at the crest of what was termed the Latin American Pink Tide. Under Moreno, Assange was no longer the wunderkind poking the eye of the US imperium with cheery backing. He had become, instead, a tenant of immense irritation and inconvenience, a threat to the shift in politics taking place in Ecuador. According to El País, “The security employees at the embassy had a daily job to do: to monitor Assange’s every move, record his conversations, and take note of his moods.”

      • In Crisis of Democracy, We All Must Become Julian Assange

        The US government’s indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange marked the worst attack on press freedom in history. Assange has been charged on 18 counts, including 17 violations of the Espionage Act. James Goodale, former general counsel of The New York Times, who urged the paper to publish the Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration noted, “If the government succeeds with the trial against Assange, if any, that will mean that it’s criminalized the news gathering process.”

        On June 12, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has signed the extradition papers. Assange’s hearing is now set to begin next February. He is now being held in London’s Belmarsh prison for what amounts to a politically motivated, 50-week sentence given by the judge for him violating bail conditions in 2012 in order to seek and obtain political asylum in Ecuador against the threat of extradition to the US.

        Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who visited Assange in a notorious UK prison previously referred to as “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay”, assessed that Assange has been subjected to prolong psychological torture by the US government and its allies for nearly a decade. While this multi-award winning journalist, who has revealed the governments’ war crimes, suffers in jail, the British government that has been a key player of this political persecution recently held a Global Conference for Media Freedom.

      • History Is Happening: WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate

        Nozomi Hayase dedicated WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate: History Is Happening to “the youth who grew up on the Internet,” then added, “The future of civilization depends on great acts of courage inspired by the heart.” Hayase is a psychologist, essayist, and activist, and her book is a chronological collection of her essays about WikiLeaks, written from 2010 to 2017. It’s a thought- provoking look back at how WikiLeaks made history during these years by publishing leaked documents that exposed the malfeasance of governments from Russia to Australia and most famously that of the US State Department, Pentagon, and Democratic National Committee. Since 2018, I have joined Hayase in a number of actions to defend WikiLeaks and call for the freedom of Julian Assange.

    • Environment
      • AOC’s Green New Deal Is Just the Start. Next Let’s Make It Global.

        The resolution for a Green New Deal (GND) made a splash in Washington earlier this year. It was an ecological moonshot—calling for a wholesale decarbonization of the economy by 2030 and total transformation of the U.S. energy grid. But the resolution also attests to a greater ambition: bringing the U.S. back to the frontlines of a global struggle against climate crisis. And now it is becoming the opening salvo in an international campaign for climate justice.

        A decade before the GND resolution was proposed by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) in Congress, the United Nations Environmental Programme issued a plan for a Global Green New Deal based on similar principles—ending dependency on fossil fuels, creating a green workforce and reducing poverty. Like the U.S. GND, the global version did not detail how it would be financed. U.S. lawmakers are reviving the GND concept in Washington, with a hugely ambitious goal of zeroing out emissions by 2030 nationwide. It’s increasingly clear from the size, scope and urgency of the climate threat worldwide that the U.S. needs to play a chief role in spurring a global GND alongside a domestic one.

        The People’s Policy Project (PPP) has mapped out a financial plan for a global Green New Deal, which centers the U.S. as a primary financial supporter of the energy transition and decarbonization process in poorer countries. The premise is that the U.S. carries a huge global ethical and economic responsibility to the current worldwide carbon crisis — not just because the U.S. is one of the largest emitters, but also because the poorest countries are extremely geographically and economically vulnerable to the extreme weather and mass displacement that climate change is rapidly intensifying.

      • On Climate, ‘Looking at the Structural Barriers to Progress Is Important’ – CounterSpin interview with Zoë Carpenter on GOP’s Oregon power grab

        The bizarre experience in Oregon last month, in which Republican lawmakers fled the senate—and the state—to prevent the quorum necessary for a vote on climate legislation, might have looked, as our guest writes, like a bit of “Wild West political theater.” But in truth, it’s a deeply unfunny story about the power of corporate interests and a small group of ideologues to squash legislation more than a decade in the making.

      • Arctic Summer Melt Shows Ice Is Disappearing Faster Than Normal

        The rate of ice loss in the region is a crucial indicator for the world’s climate and a closely-watched metric by bordering nations jostling for resources and trade routes. This month’s melt is tracking close to the record set in July 2012, the Colorado-based National Snow & Ice Data Center said in a statement.

      • I Traveled to the Arctic to Witness Climate Disaster Firsthand

        I went there myself to report this story for Teen Vogue, to meet those fighting to save these lands and see the impacts of climate change firsthand. My journey lasted two weeks, traveling first by way of a 10-seater bush plane to the first Arctic Indigenous Climate Summit in Gwich’yaa Zhee, or Fort Yukon, Alaska. Hosted by Gwich’yaa Zhee, Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments and the Gwich’in Steering Committee, the summit provided an unprecedented opportunity for community members and Indigenous leadership to explain what is at stake in the Coastal Plain region of the Refuge.

      • These maps show record high temperatures in June, as scientists predict July could be the hottest month ever recorded on Earth

        On Thursday, the US National Weather Service issued a national advisory warning that dangerous heat and humidity was to be expected across the country.

      • Do We Need a Dictatorship to Respond to Climate Change?

        Globally, June 2019 was the hottest June on record. Though it is tricky to attribute any particular event to anthropogenic climate change, scientists estimate that the likelihood of the month’s extreme heat was made five times more likely by human contributions.

        This heat is no anomaly. The top ten hottest years on record globally have all occurred since 1998. This list includes every year since 2013, which is to say, 2012 was the last year that was not one of the ten hottest recorded. (See “The 10 Hottest Global Years on Record.”) Because 2019 is an El Niño year, when temperatures tend to be higher, some are already predicting that it will end up being the hottest year on record.

        In India, people are running out of water. In the US Midwest, farmers are having difficulty planting crops. Greenland ice is melting at unprecedented levels. Drastic events continue to happen “sooner than predicted.”

      • Climate Crisis Disasters Now Occur Weekly, UN Warns

        Mizutori said that improving the systems that warn the public of severe weather and expanding awareness of which places and people are most vulnerable could help prevent lower impact disasters. She noted that while urgent work is needed to prepare the developing world, richer countries are also experiencing the consequences of global heating — including devastating wildfires and dangerous heatwaves.

        The adaption measures Mizutori called for include raising — and enforcing — infrastructure standards to make houses and businesses, roads and railways, and energy and water systems more capable of withstanding the impacts of the warming world, which scientists warn will increasing mean more frequent and intense extreme weather events. She also highlighted the potential of “nature-based solutions.”

        Peter Strachan — a professor and expert on energy policy, environmental management, and energy transitions at the U.K.’s Robert Gordon University — called the report “staggering” and alerted several environmental and climate advocacy groups on Twitter.

      • Energy
    • Finance
      • Best online payment alternatives to PayPal

        However, despite its continued popularity, PayPal’s monopoly is somewhat diminished, with a number of other online payment sites now looking vying for its users’ business by offering cheaper rates, better customer service or just a more up-to-date look.

        Here, we outline six of these alternatives to PayPal.

      • Why Does WaPo See Black as an ‘Identity’—but Not Multi-Millionaire?

        Reporter Eugene Scott acknowledges—and quotes people who affirm—that Johnson’s political views are completely out of step with most African-American voters, but apparently that’s not enough to convince Scott or his editors to change the framing (or existence) of the piece, which clearly illustrates a fundamental problem with the way the Post understands “identity politics.”


        For instance, he says he thinks the economy is “doing great,” and that he gives “the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans.” Meanwhile, polling shows that 90 percent of African-American voters think that economic conditions have not changed or have gotten worse, and that 85 percent of black people believe that “low wages that are not enough to sustain a family” are a “major problem,” with more respondents identifying it as the single-most pressing problem facing black communities than any other issue.

        But it gets worse. In fact, Johnson himself doesn’t claim to speak for all black Americans—it’s the Post that reads his words that way. In the CNBC interview (7/9/19) the Post column is based on, Johnson makes it clear both that he is a “centrist” and that he’s speaking for himself: “The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far left.” A few lines later in the interview, he talks about the Democratic candidates’ programs as “not resonating with the majority of the American people”—note the lack of a particular race attributed to those people. At no point does he reference the political opinions of African Americans as a group.

        Though the Post includes the first quote above, it takes as its premise that Johnson is speaking for his race, soliciting responses to this premise that point out his outlier status in the African-American community. F

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • How Corporate Welfare Hurts You

        You often hear Trump and Republicans in Congress railing against so-called “welfare programs” – by which they mean programs that provide health care or safety nets to ordinary Americans.

        But you almost never hear them complaining about another form of welfare that lines the pockets of wealthy corporations. We must end corporate welfare. Now.

      • What We Learned From The House Votes On Trump’s Tweets And Impeachment

        The House of Representatives held two high-profile votes this week in the wake of President Trump’s tweets that suggested that four congresswomen of color — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York , Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The House voted on Tuesday to condemn Trump’s tweets, but on Wednesday blocked a proposal to impeach Trump. The votes put the 435 members on the spot — would more conservative House Democrats join with their liberal colleagues in taking on the president, and would any Republicans break with Trump? Here’s what we learned from the two votes…

      • Post-Bouteflika Algeria: For a Democratic Transition

        In Algeria, the slogan Yatnahaw ga’, “that they all blow off”, sums up the widely shared popular will to put an end to the “Bouteflika system”. It is a question of setting in motion a process of transition to a Second Republic.

        In homage to Ramzi Yettou, a victim of repression who died at the age of 23, on Friday 19 April, of internal hemorrhage and head injuries after being beaten by the police during the big march on Friday 12 April. He is the second martyr since the beginning of the movement on 22 February after Hassan Benkhadda, son of Youcef Benkhedda, a great figure of nationalism and the anti-colonial Algerian revolution, who died on 1 March during a demonstration in Algiers in circumstances that have not yet been clarified. The online news media TSA (Tout sur l’Algérie) reminds us that “Hassan Benkhedda was also the nephew of the martyr Mohamed Al Ghazali Al Hafaf, the first to wave the Algerian flag on May 1, 1945, before being brutally killed by the French army”.

        The words of the singer, musician, singer-songwriter and poet Kabyle Lounès Matoub, assassinated on 25 June 1998, have resonated, in consonance, in a different light since the insurrection of consciences in Algeria: “I do not expect anything from a corrupt power. And I expect nothing from the fundamentalist alternative. I do not expect anything from a power discredited by the entire population. The popular maturity exceeds the governmental maturity in our country. These murderers must appear before the courts. I am only a poet who has witnessed my time.”

      • ‘Journalism Is Helping to Normalize the Concentration Camps’ – CounterSpin interview with Arun Gupta on immigrationabuses

        The horrific treatment inflicted intentionally by the state on people legally seeking asylum at the US southern border is not happening under cover of darkness. There has been powerful, brave journalism, bringing harrowing stories and images of the cruel conditions inside the concentration camps to light, some even detailing how hard the Trump administration is working to keep us from seeing what’s happening, or caring about it.

        But connecting outrage and heartsickness to transformative action is an unfamiliar exercise for many Americans, in part because of elite media’s deliberate and invidious distinction between citizens (good) and activists (bad)—and, even more, their constant reassurance that ultimately, the system works.

        As conversations devolve into rhetoric about whether this is really what America stands for, maybe it isn’t only the country’s history of atrocities that media could usefully remind us of, but its history of response to atrocities.

      • Brenda Choresi Carter on the Electability Myth, Lawrence Glickman on Racism & Euphemism

        There’s a vigorous public argument right now—mainly among Democrats, along with some IRBF’s, the Inexplicable Republican Best Friends to whom elite media offer op-ed space to offer assuredly good-faith counsel to Democrats — about “electability.” The upshot for many seems to be that to beat Trump, Democrats should run someone as much like him as possible, and must on no account run a “nontraditional” candidate, no matter how excited people are about them. It’s very “Fears Not Hopes” — and is it even true? A new data-driven study says no, actually; white men are not inherently more “electable” than women or people of color. We’ll talk about the Electability Myth with Brenda Choresi Carter, director of the Reflective Democracy Campaign.

      • ACTION ALERT: CNN Should Treat Left and Right Alike in Presidential Debates

        CNN is hosting the next Democratic primary debates on July 30 and 31. Three people have been selected to ask questions: CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Don Lemon, and CNN correspondent Dana Bash.

        In the last presidential elections, the first Republican primary debate CNN hosted likewise featured three questioners: Tapper, Bash—and right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt, of the conservative Christian Salem Radio Network.

        Hewitt’s presence wasn’t a one-time thing, either. He asked questions alongside CNN journalists for each of the four GOP debates CNN hosted; Salem was its official media partner, as part of a deal brokered with the RNC. The conservative Washington Times‘ Stephen Dinan also made an appearance in the March 2016 CNN debate.

        But—funny thing—when CNN hosted Democratic primary debates, it didn’t partner with any left-wing media. Its partner for the first debate was tech giant Facebook—a current target of the Warren and Sanders campaigns—while NY1 joined for the third debate. (The second featured no media partner.) The Facebook partnership brought no additional moderator into the debate; instead, CNN read aloud some questions viewers had submitted via Facebook. For the third debate, held in New York City, local NY1 journalist Errol Louis participated.

      • ‘This Is Designed to Shape the Electorate to Retain Political Power’ – CounterSpin interview with Steven Rosenfeld on gerrymandering

        Partisan gerrymandering, in which one party manipulates voting district maps to increase its power, is “incompatible with democratic principles.” So declared Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts—but he and the Court’s conservative majority nevertheless ruled it’s a “political” matter, and not one for federal courts to consider.

        Elena Kagan, in dissent from the ruling, Rucho v. Common Cause, wrote, “Of all times to abandon the Court’s duty to declare the law, this was not the one.”

        Our guest says this ruling is just a part of a “power play,” employed overwhelmingly by Republicans, that seeks to narrow the metrics that determine how political power is allocated in the US political system. In other words, to suppress not just the political participation of, overwhelmingly, people of color, but the connection between participation and power.

      • For NYT, Inconvenient Facts Equal ‘Russian-Style Disinformation’

        School’s out for summer, and corporate media are eager to enter their junior year of the Russiagate conspiracy, despite its utter obliteration by Robert Mueller in April. Perhaps some journalists have taken to heart the tips several Russiagate skeptics offered to the media via FAIR on how to avoid further erosion of their credibility, but the New York Times’ June 29 exclusive is a sign that not all in the media are ready to let go of Russophobic concern-trolling about Putin “sowing discord” amongst the left with “disinformation.”

        This time, however, the sneaky culprit isn’t Russian. His tactics are merely “Russian-style.”

        In “Trump Consultant Is Trolling Democrats With Biden Site That Isn’t Biden’s,” the Times revealed that Patrick Mauldin, a Trump re-election media consultant and founder of the Republican consulting firm Vici Media Group, was the independent creator of the parody Joe Biden 2020 campaign website, which appeared as one of the first results on various iterations of Google searches for the presidential hopeful—though sometimes below a paid ad for Biden’s legitimate site. Prior to the Times story, the owner of the website, which states at the bottom that it is “political commentary and parody of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign website,” was anonymous.

      • EPIC Files Closing Arguments for Release of Complete Mueller Report

        EPIC has filed its closing brief in EPIC v. Department of Justice, EPIC’s case for the release of the complete and unredacted Mueller Report. EPIC warned the Court that “details about ongoing vulnerabilities in the US election system remain hidden from public view. The roles of well-known public officials and public figures in an effort by a foreign government to change the outcome of a US Presidential election are still kept behind a shroud of secrecy.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Tech Reporter’s Breaking Stories May Have Cost Him His Job

        Three years after tech reporter Christopher Calnan was terminated from the Austin Business Journal, he received threats from its parent company for the same reason he was hired and praised for in the first place: his ability to cover breaking news about the powerful Austin-based Dell Technologies Inc.

        “They recruited me because they were having a hard time getting any real, breaking news at all,” Calnan said. “Even in the interview, they asked me if I could break anything on the company, because Dell was the big company in Austin.”

        Calnan had worked for the American City Business Journals (ACBJ)—a company that runs 43 local business news outlets across the country—for 11 years, and was recruited to the Austin Business Journal (ABJ) after three years of covering technology at ACBJ’s Boston-based Mass High-Tech.

      • To Media, No Democrat Can Possibly Be Right-Wing

        The 2020 presidential candidacy race is in full (absurdly early) swing, and there is a clear and obvious internal battle currently raging for the soul of the Democratic Party. One faction is attempting to pull the party in a more populist, social-democratic direction, while another favors maintaining a neoliberal, pro-business course.

        We all know the most prominent members of the first group: The likes of presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and freshmen representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley are constantly referred to (accurately) as representing the left of the party (e.g., New York Post, 7/9/19; New York Times, 4/10/19; New Yorker, 6/18/19), but also as a cabal of “extremist” (Atlantic, 4/3/19; The Hill, 6/17/19), “far-left” revolutionaries (CNN, 7/7/19; CNBC, 7/5/19) who have “contempt” for Americans (Fox News, 7/11/19). Given the broad overlap of their political positions with those of the public at large (, 1/23/19), those labels, popular as they are in the media, are pretty dubious.

      • Social Media, Crafters, Gamers and the Online Censorship Debate

        Much of the debate revolves around Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, the common name for Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. As part of a landmark piece of Internet legislation in the United States, it provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an “interactive computer service” that publishes information provided by third-party users.

        The law basically says that those who host or republish speech are not legally responsible for what others say and do. That includes not only Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast or Verizon, but also any services that publish third-party content, which would include the likes of Facebook and Ravelry.

        One of Section 230′s authors, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has countered that the law was intended to make sure that companies could moderate their respective websites without fear of lawsuits.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • FaceApp Might Have Your Picture. Facebook and Google Have a Lot More

        I’m sure some privacy-minded people will object to this sort of defeatism. Yes, people can take some responsibility for their privacy. As in, maybe do some background googling before downloading an app from a company that you’ve never heard of? But more likely, people will just embrace the post-privacy dystopia. If regulators won’t police the most obvious targets, Apple, Google and Facebook (which has even called for regulations!), I guess the Russians can enjoy looking at our smiling, naïve faces.

      • This App Lets Your Instagram Followers Track Your Location

        Once installed, Who’s in Town pulls post data for the people you follow dating back to the creation of each user’s account, and the geotags from stories posted that day. Since Instagram stories (and any geotags contained within them) disappear after 24 hours, older stories won’t be displayed on the map; however, the longer you have the app installed, the more detailed the map gets, as it slurps up data from every subsequent geotagged Instagram story shared by your friends.

      • Think FaceApp Is Scary? Wait Till You Hear About Facebook

        All for the better, or at least on those last two points. You should ask questions about FaceApp. You should be extremely cautious about what data you choose to share with it, especially something as personal as a photo of your face. But the idea that FaceApp is somehow exceptionally dangerous threatens to obscure the real point: All apps deserve this level of scrutiny—including, and especially, the ones you use the most.

      • Public Records Request Nets User’s Manual For Palantir’s Souped-Up Surveillance Software

        Palantir is the 800-pound gorilla of data analytics. It has created a massive surveillance apparatus that pulls info from multiple sources to give law enforcement convenient places to dip into the data stream. Law enforcement databases may focus on criminals, but Palantir’s efforts focus on everyone. Whatever can be collected is collected. Palantir provides both the data and the front end, making it easy for government agencies to not only track criminal suspects, but everyone they’ve ever associated with.

        Palantir is big. But being the biggest player in the market doesn’t exactly encourage quality work or accountability. Multiple problems have already been noticed by the company’s numerous law enforcement customers — including the company’s apparent inability to responsibly handle data — but complaints from agencies tied into multi-year contracts are pretty easy to ignore. Palantir says it provides “actionable data.” Sounds pretty cool, but in practice this means things like cops firing guns at innocent people because the software spat out faulty suspect/vehicle descriptions.

        Agencies must see the value in Palantir’s products because few seem willing to ditch these data analytics packages. The company does a fairly good job dropping a usable interface on top of its data haystacks. It sells well. And it’s proprietary, which means Palantir can get into the policing business without actually having to engage in the accountability and openness expected of government agencies.

        Fortunately for the public, government agencies still have to respond to public records requests — even if the documents sought detail private vendors’ offerings. Vice has obtained part of a user’s manual for Palantir Gotham, which is used by a number of state and federal agencies. This software appears to be used by “fusion centers,” the DHS-created abominations that do serious damage to civil liberties but produce very little usable intelligence.

      • Don’t Let Encrypted Messaging Become a Hollow Promise

        Why do we care about encryption? Why was it a big deal, at least in theory, when Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this year that Facebook would move to end-to-end encryption on all three of its messaging platforms? We don’t just support encryption for its own sake. We fight for it because encryption is one of the most powerful tools individuals have for maintaining their digital privacy and security in an increasingly insecure world.

        And although encryption may be the backbone, it’s important to recognize that protecting digital security and privacy encompasses much more; it’s also about additional technical features and policy choices that support the privacy and security goals that encryption enables.

        But as we careen from one attack on encryption after another by governments from Australia to India to Singapore to Kazakhstan, we risk losing sight of this bigger picture. Even if encryption advocates could “win” this seemingly forever crypto war, it would be a hollow victory if it came at the expense of broader security. Some efforts—a recent proposal from Germany comes to mind—are as hamfisted as ever, attempting to give government the power to demand the plaintext of any encrypted message. But others, like the GCHQ’s “Ghost” proposal, purport to give governments the ability to listen in on end-to-end encrypted communications without “weakening encryption or defeating the end-to-end nature of the service.” And, relevant to Facebook’s announcement, we’ve seen suggestions that providers could still find ways of filtering or blocking certain content, even when it is encrypted with a key the provider doesn’t hold.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • Scottish National Party supports the witch-hunting of Julian Assange

        The few comments made by Scottish National Party (SNP) representatives on the hounding and torture of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange make clear the party supports his arrest, jailing and extradition.
        So hostile is the SNP to Assange that on the day he was illegally seized from the Ecuadoran Embassy—in defiance of the right of asylum and after years of incarceration—SNP chief whip in Westminster, Patrick Grady, was praised by the Conservative government Home Secretary Sajid Javid for his helpful comments.
        During the April 11 Westminster debate Grady, the MP for Glasgow North, welcomed Assange’s arrest.
        “It is right that nobody is above the law, and in many ways today’s actions mean that at least one kind of deadlock has been broken,” he said, before cynically adding, “[W]hich is perhaps important, at least from a health and wellbeing point of view.”

      • WikiLeaks Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, Michael Isikoff, Pepe Escobar, As’ad AbuKhalil on CN Live!

        Hrafnsson joined CNLive! to speak on the latest about imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, including CNN’s recent hit piece; Isikoff discussed his Yahoo! News series on Seth Rich; Escobar gave keen insights into the major scandal engulfing Brazil as well as his observations of Italy after his recent trip there; AbuKhalil dissected Middle East politics and war and Szamuely commented on the lot with hosts Elizabeth Vos and Joe Lauria on CN Live!

      • Assange drops appeal of 50-week sentence for jumping bail

        Court officials said Thursday that a hearing on the appeal set for next week had been cancelled.

        Assange is jailed in London’s Belmarsh Prison at the same time as he fights extradition to the United States on serious espionage charges.

      • Leaks Are Changing How Diplomats Talk

        “Every one is agreed that he is a man of his word,” the British diplomatic telegram reads, referring to the American president, “and the only man who counts in the Administration,” before going on to outline how the White House has “by its own mistakes, got itself into a difficult position” and that if London could “do any thing to help the President, he will be most appreciative.”

        The message is not, however, one sent by Kim Darroch, the outgoing British ambassador to Washington, D.C., nor any recent predecessor. It was dispatched by William Tyrrell, a senior official in Britain’s Foreign Office, on November 14, 1913, shortly after meeting with President Woodrow Wilson. The cable, now held at Britain’s National Archives, symbolizes a markedly different moment in Anglo-American relations, which in the century since has seen the United States supplant Britain as the preeminent world power.

        Yet the message also carries a different symbolism—one housed in the mode of communication being used, not dissimilar to that which led to Darroch’s eventual resignation. The Tyrrell message hearkens back to an era in which diplomats the world over trusted the diplomatic telegram, and used it to convey all manner of messages, from reporting of local events to more mundane considerations (in one letter to Tyrrell, sent in March 1913, the author remarks on how he was writing from the Indian city of Dehra Dun where he had decamped “for a month’s peace and quiet.”)

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Danish Crime Round-Up: Violence on the rise, thefts in decline

        Three officers last night pulled out their guns last night in the Copenhagen suburb of Tingbjerg where Stram Kurs leader Rasmus Paludan was making a video. The officers were responding to the appearance of three men running towards the Koran-burning politician, who narrowly missed out on getting elected to Parliament in June. The armed officers urged the men to stop whilst evacuating Paludan from the scene. Paludan told media the men were masked.

      • Yazidi woman who won Nobel Prize pleads with Trump to help her people

        “And today we have 3,000 Yazidi women and children in captivity. So although they said ISIS is defeated, but where is those 3,000 Yazidi?” she said. “And our home is destroyed.”

      • Why Half a Million Puerto Ricans Are Protesting in the Streets

        The demonstrations have, as is typical, been almost entirely peaceful, with throngs of people singing and dancing to impromptu invocations of pleneros (the folkloric, storytelling genre of plena has been an ineluctable presence for years at Puerto Rico protests) and generally hanging out on streets. But the ugly specter of aggressive police violence, featuring the long-loathed fuerza de choque (riot squad), became visible on both Monday and Wednesday nights.

      • Books at private Islamic school promoted extremism

        The report says that inspectors found books with extremist content in the school library, with one book setting out a series of aims that included “To help the Taliban government in the accomplishment of enforcement of Shari’ah in Afghanistan” and “To struggle for the creation of Islamic states in which the Islamic canons will enforced practically [sic].”

        On the front page of this book were the words “Don’t make the Jews and the Christians your friends.”

      • Mozambique Passes Law to End Child Marriage

        Mozambique’s national assembly took an important step toward ending the country’s sky-high rate of child marriage by unanimously adopting a law banning the practice. The new law prohibits marriage of children younger than 18 years old, without exception, and awaits the president’s signature to go into effect.

        Mozambique has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with almost half of girls marrying before 18, and 1 in 10 before their fifteenth birthday. Child marriage often pushes girls out of school and condemns them to a life of poverty. It leaves them vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse and early pregnancies, which can cause lasting harm and even death.

      • Thousands of U.S. Citizens Have Been Mistakenly Detained or Deported

        We are law professors who have studied civil litigation involving citizenship disputes and thousands of cases involving citizens caught up in immigration cases.

        That includes the U.S. citizens who have been accidentally swept up in the government’s immigration enforcement efforts since the mid-19th century. In many cases, they have been detained and even deported.

      • Reports emerge of charges against father in widely watched Khachaturyan case; lawyers of abused daughters say otherwise

        Maria, Angelina, and Krestina Khachaturyan were arrested in July of 2018 for killing their father, Mikhail Khachaturyan, who they said had tortured and sexually abused them for years. The murder case against the two eldest Khachaturan sisters has since become a matter of very public importance in Russia, with the young women’s attorneys demanding the right to a self-defense case and a separate, posthumous criminal case against the women’s father.

      • Life Among the Rubble: Mosul 18 Months after “Liberation”

        Mosul is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan with a population of 1.3 million; 60% of whom are Sunni Arabs, around 25% of whom are Kurds. Ongoing drought has brought Mosul to the attention of Western media, as receding water levels at Kemune reservoir reveals the ruin of a 3,400 year-old palace. Researchers from the University of Tübingen and the Kurdistan Archaeology Organization reckon that the palace was part of the Mittani Empire (circa 1450-1350 BCE). According to one archaeological history, “[Mittani’s] end as independent realm can be dated to the time of Hittite king Šuppiluliuma I in the middle of the 14th century BC.”

        Echoes of the conquests and rivalry of the ancient past haunt both recent history and the present. The so-called Mosul Question was a territorial dispute in the early-20th century between the British and Ottoman empires, with both parties wanting a share of the region’s oil. In the latter-part of the 20th century, Iraq’s one-time US-British-backed dictator Saddam Hussein launched the Anfal genocide against Kurds who have historic and ongoing links to the region. A couple of years ago, the US-approved leaders of the central Iraqi government and the regional Kurdish authorities squabbled over control of Mosul, anticipating that Daesh would be defeated.

      • History Holds the Antidote to Trump’s Fascist Politics

        America is in a state of crisis that touches every aspect of public life, extending from a crisis of economics produced by massive inequality to a crisis of ideas, agency, memory and politics, aided and abetted by controlling apparatuses that induce ubiquitous forms of historical amnesia. We are in a new historical period, one in which everything is transformed and corrupted by the neoliberal tools of financialization, deregulation and austerity. Within this new nexus of power, anti-democratic principles have become normalized, weakening society’s democratic defenses. Egregious degrees of exploitation and unchecked militarism are now matched by a politics of disposability and terminal exclusion, in which human beings are viewed as the embodiment of human waste, reinforced, if not propelled, by an ethos of white nationalism and white supremacy. As historian Paul Gilroy has noted, the motion of history and the production of politics are now being read “through racialized categories.”

        Fascist principles, or one version of what journalist Natasha Lennard calls microfascism, now operate at so many levels of everyday society that it is difficult to recognize them, especially as they have the imprimatur of the president of the United States. Fascist practices and desires work through diverse social media platforms and mainstream and right-wing cultural apparatuses in multiple ways. They largely function ideologically and politically to objectify people, promote spectacles of violence, endorse consumerism as the only viable way of life, legitimate a murderous nationalism, construct psychological borders in people’s minds in order to privilege certain groups, promote mindlessness through the ubiquity of celebrity culture, normalize the discourse of hate in everyday exchanges, and produce endless “practices of authoritarianism and domination and exploitation that form us.” In the fog of social and historical amnesia, moral boundaries disappear, people become more accepting of extreme acts of cruelty and the propaganda machines that create alternative thoughts, and view any viable critique of power as fake news, all the while disconnecting toxic language and policies from their social costs.

      • Arun Gupta on No More Camps!, Zoe Carpenter on Oregon Power Grab

        When a government is holding people who have committed no crime in camps that Holocaust survivors describe as “concentration camps,” do you, as a media outlet, host dialog about how to put a stop to it—or about how there’s a debate about immigration policy in which there are many legitimate positions, one of which, maybe, is the concentration camp position?

        We’ll talk about that with journalist Arun Gupta, one of the organizers behind the NoMoreCamps! campaign.

      • Digital Jail: How Electronic Monitoring Drives Defendants Into Debt

        On Oct. 12, 2018, Daehaun White walked free, or so he thought. A guard handed him shoelaces and the $19 that had been in his pocket at the time of his booking, along with a letter from his public defender. The lanky 19-year-old had been sitting for almost a month in St. Louis’ Medium Security Institution, a city jail known as the Workhouse, after being pulled over for driving some friends around in a stolen Chevy Cavalier. When the police charged him with tampering with a motor vehicle — driving a car without its owner’s consent — and held him overnight, he assumed he would be released by morning. He told the police that he hadn’t known that the Chevy, which a friend had lent him a few hours earlier, was stolen. He had no previous convictions. But the $1,500 he needed for the bond was far beyond what he or his family could afford. It wasn’t until his public defender, Erika Wurst, persuaded the judge to lower the amount to $500 cash, and a nonprofit fund, the Bail Project, paid it for him, that he was able to leave the notoriously grim jail. “Once they said I was getting released, I was so excited I stopped listening,” he told me recently. He would no longer have to drink water blackened with mold or share a cell with rats, mice and cockroaches. He did a round of victory pushups and gave away all of the snack cakes he had been saving from the cafeteria.When he finally read Wurst’s letter, however, he realized there was a catch. Even though Wurst had argued against it, the judge, Nicole Colbert-Botchway, had ordered him to wear an ankle monitor that would track his location at every moment using GPS. For as long as he would wear it, he would be required to pay $10 a day to a private company, Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services, or EMASS. Just to get the monitor attached, he would have to report to EMASS and pay $300 up front — enough to cover the first 25 days, plus a $50 installation fee.

        White didn’t know how to find that kind of money. Before his arrest, he was earning minimum wage as a temp, wrapping up boxes of shampoo. His father was largely absent, and his mother, Lakisha Thompson, had recently lost her job as the housekeeping manager at a Holiday Inn. Raising Daehaun and his four siblings, she had struggled to keep up with the bills. The family bounced between houses and apartments in northern St. Louis County, where, as a result of Jim Crow redlining, most of the area’s black population lives. In 2014, they were living on Canfield Drive in Ferguson when Michael Brown was shot and killed there by a police officer. During the ensuing turmoil, Thompson moved the family to Green Bay, Wisconsin. White felt out of place. He was looked down on for his sagging pants, called the N-word when riding his bike. After six months, he moved back to St. Louis County on his own to live with three of his siblings and stepsiblings in a gray house with vinyl siding.

      • America First and Diverse

        A solution to the border crisis is impossible without a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system. Thomas Friedman suggested what one might look like after his onsite inspection of the San Ysidro border with Tijuana recently. Arguing against the random and chaotic system we have now, he pledged support for a “high wall” but also a “big gate,” insisting we must find a way to efficiently absorb those who will bring the skills and knowhow to strengthen our nation. Perhaps realizing this will constitute a sizable pool, he endorses aid to the countries where the bulk of migrants are coming from to stabilize their societies, as well as a revamped court system that can fairly process deserving asylum seekers (Thomas Friedman, New York Times, 4/23/19).

        Getting tough on entry, like most other nations, while continuing the legacy of welcoming immigrants began soon after the country’s inception, is a kinder and gentler approach to exclusion than Trump’s “America First” vision, which translates to a quite brutal practice, and a rebuke to the America Diverse vision from many Democrats that invites virtually all comers, whether applicants for citizenship or escapees from unstable environments. Given Trump’s views on abortion he would perhaps be best served by going along with these Democrats and let large families of pro-life billboards spread through the hinterlands.

        Friedman offers a passable general outline of a “solution.” Unfortunately, there’s no political will in Congress to act. The last major piece of legislation was passed in the Reagan administration. President Obama urged Congress to act early in his first term but was forced to settle for DACA, his 2012 executive action. Trump’s efforts to cancel this initiative through executive actions have spearheaded his aggressive campaign which is ironically not all that different than Obama’s in terms of the numbers of people deported, but the issue of treatment and family separation is another matter.

      • This Land Was Your Land

        For the past 10 years I’ve been documenting the fate of the least protected and most at-risk portion of the national commons: the roughly 450 million acres across 12 Western states overseen on our behalf by the United States Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service.

        It’s an astonishingly diverse landscape of grasslands, steppe, mountains, deserts, forests, rivers and watersheds — places of beauty and wildness that Woody Guthrie once sang about, where no one person, or institution or corporation, is supposed to be privileged above the other.

        Both the B.L.M. and the Forest Service operate with a congressional mandate for what’s called “multiple use” management. On paper, multiple use means exploiting the land for its resources in a way that maintains ecosystem health.

        In practice, it long amounted to what William O. Douglas, a backpacker, outdoorsman and the longest-serving Supreme Court justice, described in 1961 as “semantics for making cattlemen, sheepmen, lumbermen, miners the main beneficiaries.”

      • UK rules out judicial inquiry into country’s involvement in torture post-9/11

        British parliamentarians and NGOs reacted with outrage on Thursday when the government ruled out a judge-led inquiry into the country’s involvement in the torture and rendition of terrorism suspects in the years after 9/11.

        The announcement was made a year after a limited parliamentary inquiry found that UK government ministers and intelligence agencies had been involved in serious human rights abuses on more than 500 occasions between 2001 and 2010.

      • Media outlets silence Assange torture report – the end of free journalism?

        In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed.

        Melzer says the purposefulness and scale of the campaign against Assange elevated it from mere slander or even state persecution to full-fledged psychological torture in his eyes.

    • Monopolies
      • Tinder is now bypassing the Play Store on Android to avoid Google’s 30 percent cut

        The move is similar to one made by popular video game developer Epic Games, which last year released the Android version of battle royale hit Fortnite via its own downloadable launcher to avoid the 30 percent cut. Notably, Tinder is Match Group’s most profitable entity, and between its subscription services and other in-app purchase options like paying for the ability to know when someone has read your message, the software is often one of the highest grossing free apps on both iOS and Android.

      • Tinder Bypasses Google Play Joining Revolt Against App Store Fee

        The online dating site launched a new default payment process that skips Google Play and forces users to enter their credit card details straight into Tinder’s app, according to new research by Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter. Once a user has entered their payment information, the app not only remembers it, but also removes the choice to swap back to Google Play for future purchases, he wrote.

      • Unlawful Use of Flavor

        The legal claims in this case are interesting and could form a Mountain Dew commercial — unlawful use of flavor. To be clear, the case is not about actual flavors, but instead enhancing the “perceived taste” of orange juice and other beverages by adding an aroma in scratch-n-sniff form to a bottle-lid closure. A “fresh aroma that replicates or evokes memory of the expected flavor” is released by the abrasive force of twisting off the bottle-cap.


        A controversial aspect of the decision was the notion that ScentSational’s failure to prove particular damages should result in dismissal of the entire case (since damages are not an element of the trade secret or breach claims). The appellate panel held that ScentSational’s claim to nominal damages had been waived and “In any event, we have held that we will ordinarily not remand a case merely to determine whether nominal damages would have been appropriate.”

        Following the May 2019 decision, ScentSational petitioned for rehearing arguing that the court misunderstood a number of facts in dispute and also “that while a plaintiff must prove the existence of damages with certainty in order to recover, plaintiff need not prove the amount of loss with certainty.” In a recent order, however, the Federal Circuit has denied rehearing — effectively ending ScentSational’s case.

      • EU Competition Authorities Fine Qualcomm While DoJ Says “No Problem”

        Yesterday, EU Commissioner for Competition Margarete Vestager announced the Commission’s decision to fine Qualcomm for using pricing and contract terms to force a rival out of the market. This fine follows another EU fine issued last year for Qualcomm’s use of exclusivity payments to avoid competition.

        If that sounds familiar, it’s because earlier this year, Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California found that Qualcomm had violated U.S. antitrust laws—in part, because of its use of exclusivity payments and contract terms to harm rivals.

        There is one competition regulator who’s out of step with the global consensus on Qualcomm’s anti-competitive conduct. That’s the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division—led by Makan Delrahim, who formerly lobbied for Qualcomm. As a result, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee, Rep. David Cicilline, has raised questions about Delrahim’s participation in Qualcomm matters and the ‘neat mapping’ of Delrahim’s publicly stated views to the DOJ’s position in the Qualcomm case.

        In a completely unprecedented move, DOJ has filed statements in the FTC’s case arguing against the FTC’s claims that Qualcomm has violated antitrust law. (DOJ’s attempts to interfere with the FTC’s case are not only unprecedented, but also ignore prevailing case law.)

      • Trademarks
        • Gibson Guitar Formalizes Its Hands-Off IP Enforcement Approach With Authorized Partnership Program

          As I mentioned when we recently discussed Dean Guitars’ pushback and counter-suit against Gibson Guitar’s trademark lawsuit, Gibson CEO James Curleigh’s vague declaration of a relaxed position on IP enforcement has calcified into something of an official corporate program. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good either.

          We’ll start with the good. Gibson has decided to recognize that there are fans inspired by its designs who want to create their own guitars and even sell them on occasion. In recognition of this, Gibson is starting an “authorized partnership” program to allow those creators to build guitars without fear of legal threat.


          These types of subtle changes can indeed have outsized effects, but it’s all in the follow through. Again, this is for sure a step in a positive direction for Gibson, which has traditionally been very protective of its perceived IP. What remains to be seen is if this is really the cultural change Curleigh promised.

      • Copyrights
        • Very Confused Judge Allows Bizarre Copyright Lawsuit Against Cloudflare To Continue

          In the past, law professor Eric Goldman has suggested that when it comes to infringing content, courts have an uncanny ability to ignore the actual law, and make up their own rules in response to the belief that “infringement bad!” An ongoing lawsuit against Cloudflare seems to be a case in point. As covered by TorrentFreak, a judge has allowed a case against Cloudflare to move forward. However, in doing so, it seems clear that the judge is literally ignoring what the law says.

          The case itself is… odd. In the complaint, two makers of bridal dresses are upset about the sale of counterfeits. Now, if we’re talking about counterfeits, you’ll probably think that this is a trademark lawsuit. But, no, Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero Designs are trying to make a copyright case out of this, because they’re arguing that sites selling counterfeits are using their copyright-protected photos to do so. And Cloudflare is, apparently, providing CDN services to these sites that are selling counterfeit dresses using allegedly infringing photographs. It is odd to go after Cloudflare. It is not the company selling counterfeit dresses. It is not the company hosting the websites of those selling counterfeit dresses. It is providing CDN services to them. This is like suing AT&T for providing phone service to a counterfeit mail order operation. But that’s what’s happening.

        • UK ISPs Stop Sending Copyright Infringement Notices

          For more than two years, major UK ISPs have been sending out copyright infringement notices to subscribers caught sharing content using BitTorrent. The voluntary scheme, run by rightsholders, had ambitions to educate ‘pirates’ to buy from legitimate sources. TorrentFreak can today confirm that ISPs have stopped forwarding notices after the program was terminated by the movie and music companies.

Companies That Collapse Because the European Patent Office (EPO) Gave Them Fake Patents in a Hurry

Saturday 20th of July 2019 12:28:08 PM

When you’re being granted a monopoly that later turns out to have been invalid all along

Summary: False hopes and false promises won’t do any favours to European Patents, whose legal certainty suffers because Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but ‘production’ (quantity) rather than quality of patents

THE European Patent Office (EPO) cannot carry on pretending that it values patent quality. On Friday night we wrote about decline in patent quality and around the same time came out this report entitled “Here’s Why Pacific Biosciences Is Tumbling Today” from Microsoft’s network (Motley Fool). In short, it happened because the EPO had granted a fake patent; we saw similar stories before (see last year’s A Danish Company Has Just Collapsed Due to Patent Quality Issues at the EPO). As long as the EPO keeps granting software patents and patents on life/nature oppositions will come and courts will shoot down European Patents, discrediting the very concept of such patents.

The latest:

Shares of Pacific Biosciences (NASDAQ:PACB) fell over 14% today as investors grappled with more bad news for long-read DNA sequencing power. The latest twist comes courtesy of the European Patent Office (EPO), which revoked a second patent for the company pertaining to its ability to read long, uninterrupted strands of DNA with its machines. More specifically, the EPO found that the patent in question made too broad a claim to “single molecule sequencing,” which is central to the company’s entire technology platform.

A shrinking patent portfolio isn’t ideal, but it’s compounded by recent news from the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The trade body has referred the company’s pending acquisition by Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) for an in-depth investigation after the parties failed to address the CMA’s concerns raised from an initial inquiry that began in April, as first reported by The Motley Fool. Turns out both the patent dispute and the antitrust investigation have a similar root cause: Oxford Nanopore, a start-up based in the United Kingdom.

We’re going to see more and more stories like that. If not for the oppositions and appeal boards, it will be actual courts (outside EPOnia and Haar, which is technically outside of EPOnia in overt violation of the EPC) deeming such patents invalid. Over the past few months, more so than the past few years, we’ve seen examples of this every week. We shall cover such examples (that become known to us) and repeatedly stress the need for quality.

“It’s like there’s a very deliberate ‘blackout’ and key platforms that used to criticise the EPO are nowadays very much complicit.”Last month we covered the EPO’s “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI), formerly known as “Team Collaboration Project” (it’s the opposite of the name). Notice how no European media, not even so-called ‘IP’ blogs, touched the subject. It’s like there’s a very deliberate ‘blackout’ and key platforms that used to criticise the EPO are nowadays very much complicit.

Slack Committed a Very Major Crime That Can Cost Many Billions If Not Trillions in Damages for Years to Come

Saturday 20th of July 2019 10:32:18 AM

Bankruptcy must follow, maybe arrests as well (the company’s logo gives away the company’s real worth and values)

Summary: The inevitable has happened to Slack, which no longer deserves to exist as a company; moreover, the people who ran the company must be held criminally accountable

TO say that Slack got merely “compromised” would be the understatement of the decade. Yes, it did in fact get compromised, but it’s a lot worse. It’s far worse than a compromise per se. We’re going to explain, starting with the basics.

Slack is malware. Not just the ‘app’. Their Web site hardly works with any Web browser – they want the very worst and privacy-hostile browsers to be used for extraction of data. It’s a resource hog because it’s malware disguised as an IRC ‘clone’.

“It’s a resource hog because it’s malware disguised as an IRC ‘clone’.”Slack the ‘app’ is literal malware. It follows you around if you install it on a phone. The browser side is also malicious, but it’s less capable of geographical/location tracking. They use it for data-mining. See the source code (page source at least). It’s malware. GDPR should be applicable here and we suspect that EU authorities have not assessed that aspect just yet.

Slack is not a communications platform but a data harvester with an interface that looks like a communications platform. What it is to users isn’t what it is to Slack, the company. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) issued strongly-worded warnings about Slack and even Microsoft, the NSA back doors giant that kick-started PRISM, outright banned Slack for security reasons! Yes, Slack is really that bad. We won’t even call this ‘anticompetitive’ on Microsoft’s behalf; Microsoft does have a few engineers and they very well understand what Slack is and why it must be avoided. Even unqualified Microsoft hacks can understand that. Slack was always a ticking time bomb, which I warned about before, e.g. here in Tux Machines. I very much foresaw the latest disaster. I did all that I could to spread information about it, at the very least to ensure people are forewarned. Now I feel vindicated, but how much damage will be done for years if not decades to come? It’s difficult to assess or measure because it’s almost impossible to track the sources of rogue actors’ data.

“It’s the complete doomsday scenario, an equivalent of having one’s own Jabber server completely and totally hijacked, and all communications in it (names, passwords) stolen.”Slack did not have a mere ‘incident’. It was a CATASTROPHE! They knew about it for quite some time (at higher levels, too). It’s the complete doomsday scenario, an equivalent of having one’s own Jabber server completely and totally hijacked, and all communications in it (names, passwords) stolen. But in the case of Slack millions of businesses are affected. In one fell swoop. Just like that. Even the public sector. Military, hospitals, you name it…

Slack got totally ‘PWNED’, but they won’t admit that. They will lie about the extent of the damage, just like Yahoo and Equifax did (each time waiting months before revealing it was orders of magnitude worse). They game the news cycle that way. People must assume that all data is compromised. Everything! Slack sold everyone out and gave everything away. Even those who paid Slack (a small minority) were betrayed.

This is a major, major, MAJOR catastrophe. Businesses and their clients’ data is on Slack. Even HR stuff, which gets passed around in internal communications. Super-sensitive things like passwords, passports and so on.

Who was Slack data copied by? Mirrored or ‘stolen’, to put it another way? Possibly by rogue military actors that can leverage it for espionage and blackmail, as many do. Covertly. You rarely hear about blackmail because that’s just the nature of the blackmail. It happens silently. It’s like ‘hush money’.

Some would say Slack got “hacked” (they typically mean cracked). But it’s actually a lot worse than getting cracked! We’ll explain further…

About a month ago Slack got to its IPO milestone, the legendary capitalist pigs’ initial public offering (which one can reach even while making massive losses like Uber does). Big day for Slack! These people can pretend to be billionaires ‘on top of the world’. But they’re not. Especially as they’re not profitable at all and there’s no business model other than spying…

So for years these people consciously covered up this massive incident. Slack is therefore a criminal organisation. It must be shut down as a matter of law. These operations are illegal.

“Slack didn’t just “mess up”. It broke the law; yes, it committed an actual crime by not informing the customers.”To prevent the company from totally collapsing Slack lied to millions of people and businesses. That’s a fact. To save face…

So the only justice now would be federal and private lawsuits, forcing this company to shut down. Will anyone be arrested? Unlikely. White-collar crimes are ‘special’. No jail time (or rarely any, except as a symbolic token to the public, e.g. Madoff after the financial collapse more than a decade ago).

Slack didn’t just “mess up”. It broke the law; yes, it committed an actual crime by not informing the customers. They would change passwords etc. had they known. But Slack did not obey the law. It did not inform customers. It announced all this after the IPO, in order to make shareholders liable, and it did so late on a Friday (to minimise press coverage about this likely crime). The shareholders too should sue for concealment of critical information.

This is a very, very major scandal for Slack and if the company survives at the end, then it only means one thing: crime pays! Crime pays off. Just that. Because they committed a very major crime. Consciously. Now they need to hire PR people and lawyers. Maybe they can also bribe some journalists for puff pieces that belittle the severity of this mere ‘incident’.

As we said at the start, Slack is technically malware. Slack is surveillance. This is their business model, which isn’t even successful (so they will likely get more aggressive at spying or holding corporate data hostage in exchange for payments). For example, scrolling limits. This is like ransomware. It preys on businesses desperate to access their own data. They try to ‘monetise’ separating businesses from their data/infrastructure. It’s inherently unethical. It’s like a drug dealer’s business model/mindset.

“Companies may never know if past system breaches, identity thefts etc. were the fault of Slack.”Slack basically bet on being a ‘spy agency’ (without all the associated paperwork). And later they got cracked, passing all their surveillance ‘mine’ (trove) to even more rogue actors than the company itself. The Slack ‘incident’ doesn’t affect just Slack. Companies everywhere can now be held legally liable for having put their information on Slack servers. It’s an espionage chain. Centralisation’s doomsday in action…

Companies may never know if past system breaches, identity thefts etc. were the fault of Slack. It’s hard to prove that. But it’s guaranteed to have happened. Moreover, there are future legal ramifications.

Slack knew what had happened and why it waited all this time. This waiting makes the crime worse. This scandal can unfold for quite some time to come. The ramifications are immense! And we might not even know the full extent of these (ever). Privacy-centric competitors of Slack already capitalise on this very major scandal and use that to promote themselves; Keybase for instance…

It would be wise to move to locally-hosted FOSS. However, that would not in any way undo the damage of having uploaded piles of corporate data to Slack and their compromised servers.

Are managers at Slack criminally-liable? Probably. Just announcing this scandal after an IPO and late on a Friday when many people are on holiday won’t save Slack. They need to go bankrupt faster than the time period since their IPO. Anyone who still uses Slack must be masochistic.

“Just announcing this scandal after an IPO and late on a Friday when many people are on holiday won’t save Slack.”In the coming days many companies will come to realise that for years they tactlessly and irresponsibly gave piles of personal/corporate data to Slack and now a bunch of crackers around the world have this data.

“Trusting our data with one company isn’t feasible,” one person told me this morning. “The data lasts forever & we must expect that our worst enemies will have it or get it with small time delay. Otherwise encrypt everything which slows everything down & complicates everything making those “safe” uncompetitive.” That’s now how Slack works.

“These troves of Slack data are invaluable to those looking to use them to blackmail people, take over servers, discredit people, and generally cause complete chaos, even deaths.”We expect Slack to stonewall for a while, saying that it’s the weekend anyway. Slack lied to everyone for years. They’re a bunch of frauds. Anyone who now believes a single word that comes out of their mouths is a fool. They also committed a crime (punishable by law) with these lies. When it comes to Slack, expect what happened with Yahoo; First they say it’s a small incident; Months pass; Then they toss out a note to say it was actually big; A year later (when it’s “old news”): 3 BILLION accounts affected. Anyone who now believes the lies told by Slack’s PR people deserves a Darwin Award. These scammers lost millions/billions for years just pursuing an IPO (others bearing the losses); They lied, like frauds (like Donald Trump), just to get there (the IPO). Now, like Yahoo, they will downplay scope of impact. A lot of companies can suffer for years to come (e.g. data breaches, identity theft). These troves of Slack data are invaluable to those looking to use them to blackmail people, take over servers, discredit people, and generally cause complete chaos, even deaths. We’ll soon do a series of articles showing how Microsoft caused deaths at hospitals.

Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

Friday 19th of July 2019 08:39:24 PM

“No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

Summary: The EPO’s abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called ‘production’ targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world

Patent quality has been severely compromised by the EPO — to the point of being totally detached from the EPC and several other things. The Battistelli-appointed (de facto) António Campinos actively promotes software patents in Europe (using some buzzwords) and there’s now this pilot (CQI) to further lower patent quality while the EPO publicly lies about its concerns on the matter.

“We know whose side the law is on, but the EPO quit obeying the law several years ago.”The EPO cannot eternally rely on terrorising its judges and then covering it up. Sooner or later more and more European Patents will come under scrutiny outside EPOnia (or Haar, which is obviously outside EPOnia and thus unsuitable a venue, according to the EPC). What happens then? Can the EPO continue until eternity (or its end of life) to disregard judges’ precedents (except internal judgments which are constitutionally invalid) and carry on granting fake patents? Applications will decrease in number as soon as applicants spot these trends. This is already happening.

Earlier on this week, or yesterday, Bart van Wezenbeek wrote about a District Court of The Hague case (this case’s date is exactly one month ago, June 19th) in which dubious patents were assessed in European courts. To quote:

In the present case, it appeared from the prosecution file that the limitation had been introduced with a purpose, and the patentee had accepted the limiting examiner’s amendments. Taken together with the fact that the patentee could be considered a professional party with sufficient knowledge in the field of patents, this means that the scope of the claim was determined more by the literal interpretation of the claim than by the concept of the invention behind it.

In this particular case it’s an American ‘pharma vulture’ doing the litigation against a Dutch company. Annsley Merelle Ward from a firm that boosts patent predators (Bristows LLP) wrote about it last month, whereupon we also wrote about it, noting that “European Patents are already being leveraged by foreign (US) giants, which claim to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars based on exploitative monopolies, to bully generics out of the market. Courts decide the lawsuits are baseless, frivolous.”

It’s not a sole example. According to this new report, “European Patent Office Revokes Second Pacific Biosciences Patent” (from GenomeWeb), the EPO has once again admitted that it granted a fake patent and it’s only being ‘actioned’ because someone invested in correcting it:

NEW YORK – The European Patent Office this week revoked another patent held by Pacific Biosciences, according to Oxford Nanopore, the firm’s main competitor.

Not even the first time!

Awful patent quality is the direct result of unprecedented pressure being put on examiners, who probably do the best they can under the unreasonable conditions/circumstances. But if this carries on, why would companies still apply for European Patents? Fewer of them would. Juve very recently took note of the decline in demand for European Patents. It’s not hypothetical; it’s already happening.

We’ve just spotted this new comment in IP Kat, published about a day ago after some IP Kat puff piece about EQEs (separate thread). To quote:

No-body serious considers the EQEs to be a gold-standard of practice. Since they are time-limited exams they will necessarily not award points in Paper C for novelty/inventive step arguments against claims that are already dealt with as added matter, but this is not real life.

In real life, added matter is included as an objection in probably the majority of oppositions, but the sensible attorney will also make arguments on novelty/inventive step and other grounds if these are viable. In real life only deciding that there is added matter, and not even considering novelty/inventive step in case your decision on added matter is incorrect, will simply waste time in the long run in the majority of cases.

One of the criticisms regularly levelled at both the PEB exams and the EQEs is that they ignore commercial realities. Typcially this is because they require you to do things that the client doesn’t normally want. P6/FD4 is criticised for requiring integer-by-integer claim construction analysis that no sane client wants you to do, whilst Paper B requires you to cover-off points that no-one writing a response in real life would think worth the cost of responding to.

However, here we have an example of the exams requiring that you do not do something that the client actually typically wants – to make novelty/inventive step argument just in case your cleverly-drafted added matter arguments fail. Attorneys know that commercial reality demands this – it is only good when courts also realise this in making their decisions.

Courts should disregard this “commercial reality” and instead focus on what underlying laws (e.g. EPC, caselaw) say. The EPO likes to pretend that it is business-friendly, but the only business it’s friendly to is the litigation ‘industry’. To ordinary European SMEs the EPO became nothing but a liability and a menace. We know whose side the law is on, but the EPO quit obeying the law several years ago.

35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

Friday 19th of July 2019 07:43:37 PM

It is meanwhile being reported that in Japan’s JPO — like in the EPO — patent applications decrease in number

Summary: The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded

OUR LATEST daily links sum up some new patent cases/outcomes, including some that involve 35 U.S.C. § 101. USPTO-granted patents on software and life still aren’t likely to be tolerated by actual courts and in recent days we’ve seen many attacks on courts coming from Watchtroll. Do these ‘geniuses’ at Watchtroll really think that constantly attacking Federal Circuit judges (not just the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) anymore) will lead to more favourable outcomes?

“Nowadays we focus on other topics that are deemed more relevant and strategic.”After summer recess expect nobody to mention the latest nonsense from Coons (this is his third time and third year trying). Expect courts to change nothing in their handling of 35 U.S.C. § 101. We feel somewhat vindicated for we predicted these things all along, just like the UPC’s demise.

We’re glad to know we no longer closely cover US patent cases and matters; seeing the way things are going there (and relegating articles on these matters to news clippings and picks), it doesn’t look like we’re missing much ‘action’. Nowadays we focus on other topics that are deemed more relevant and strategic.

Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

Friday 19th of July 2019 06:55:49 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Indian politicians are missing a huge edutech leap by ignoring Raspberry Pi and Linux

      Around a decade ago, an India-based company called Datawind got a nod from the Central government to make and market a low-cost tablet PC called Aakash for students in the country. About half a decade before that — 2004, to be exact — the country launched GSAT-3 aka EDUSAT, its first satellite to be used entirely for the education sector.

      Cut to the present, and it is more than two months since Datawind shut down permanently. Meanwhile, EDUSAT was deactivated in 2010, and has since been moved to a part of space that the world refers to as “graveyard orbit.”

      They were both examples of a political class thinking a little too ahead of time when it came to the technology needed for education. Something similar is now happening at the other end of the spectrum: While the world is agog about the latest iteration of the Raspberry Pi and an increasing number of people is adopting one or the other distro of Linux, most of India seems to be oblivious to both.

    • Desktop
      • Installing five flavours of Linux on my new laptop

        I let the Windows setup procedure run on first boot, until I got to the point where it became clear to me that it is now impossible to install Windows without a Microsoft account. Absolutely impossible. Windows 10 has always asked for a Microsoft account during setup, but there was a tiny (nearly invisible) option to use only a local account, which I always did. Well, now that option is gone, and if you dig around long enough you can eventually find an explanation that says if you don’t want to use a Microsoft account, well, you have to anyway, but after the installation is complete you can go back into the configuration and change it to use a local account.

        So, that was the end of Windows on this new system. I have never had a Microsoft account, and I never will. I booted a Linux Live USB stick, deleted the Windows partition, and set about the task of installing a few of my favorite Linux distributions.

        The first thing I had to do was get into the BIOS Setup Utility to disable UEFI Secure Boot. That turns out to be a bit more tricky than you might think, because there is a “POST hotkey delay (sec)” parameter in the BIOS which is initially set to 0, so there is very little time after power-on to press F10 before it starts to boot Windows (or at least tries to). Once into the BIOS Setup, I went to System Configuration / Boot Options / Secure Boot, and changed that to Disabled. While I was in there, I also changed the POST hotkey delay to 5 seconds. Save that (F10) and exit.


        Installation was easy and uneventful; I noticed that Mint has improved their installer on UEFI systems so that it now allows you to choose the EFI Boot Partition, that’s nice. Unfortunately it still installed the bootloader to a directory called “ubuntu”, which can be inconvenient if you also have Ubuntu installed on the system.

        Booting after the installation completed still brought up openSUSE by default, which is actually what I wanted – but if you wanted to boot Mint by default, it would simply require a trip through the BIOS Configuration again. In my case, I just generated a new grub configuration file on openSUSE (grub2-mkconfig), and it added Mint to the Grub boot menu.

      • Buying a Linux-ready laptop

        Recently, I bought and started using a Tuxedo Book BC1507, a Linux laptop computer. Ten years ago, if someone had told me that, by the end of the decade, I could buy top-quality, “penguin-ready” laptops from companies such as System76, Slimbook, and Tuxedo, I probably would have laughed. Well, now I’m laughing, but with joy!

        Going beyond designing computers for free/libre open source software (FLOSS), all three companies recently announced they are trying to eliminate proprietary BIOS software by switching to Coreboot.

      • Linux Foundation ? where do thou go? ? Stay out of the Desktop and you shalt be paid
    • Server
      • IBM
        • Oracle Linux hits 8.0, with a hint of deja vu…

          Big Red has unleashed Oracle Linux version 8, which could the OS of choice for those using the database giant’s cloud or appliances – or who just can’t bear to see the words Red Hat (or IBM).

          The database giant took the wraps of its Linux flavour yesterday, with director of product management Simon Coter flagging up a raft of new features, including the introduction of the concept of Application Streams which allow “multiple versions of user space components [to] be delivered and updated more frequently than the core operating system packages.”

          He also flagged up improved systems management with the inclusion of the Dandified Yum package manager, which “installs, updates, and removes packages on RPM-based Linux distributions” and Cockpit, “an interactive server administration interface that offers a live Linux session via a web browser.”

        • Oracle Linux 8 Released, Microsoft Offering Free Open-Source Software to Help Secure Voting Machines, Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Cinnamon Beta Is Out, First Beta of Latte Dock for v0.9 Now Available and Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish Reaches End of Life

          Oracle yesterday announced the release of Oracle Linux 8. New features include Application Streams, a “Dandified Yum”, RPM improvements and much more. From the announcement: “With Oracle Linux 8, the core operating environment and associated packages for a typical Oracle Linux 8 server are distributed through a combination of BaseOS and Applications Streams. BaseOS gives you a running user space for the operating environment. Application Streams provides a range of applications that were previously distributed in Software Collections, as well as other products and programs, that can run within the user space.”

        • Big Blue’s Red Hat Brings A Big Change Of Heart

          Perhaps, many years hence, we will call the company that, more than any other, created the enterprise computing environment Big Purple now that it has acquired the company that made open source software in the enterprise safe, sane, and affordable.

          Twenty years ago next month, Red Hat went public and everything about enterprise software changed. A company with some tens of millions of dollars in revenues, providing subscription support for a commercial Linux distribution for systems within a few months had a ridiculous market capitalization in excess of $20 billion and the mad dash for open source projects to be commercialized was on.

          Fast forward two decades, and Red Hat is the touchstone for how to work with upstream open source software projects related to datacenter infrastructure and to bring them downstream to harden them to be enterprise grade, package them up, and then sell support for them. Red Hat is by far and away the most successful provider of commercial support for open source code, and has moved well beyond its foundational Enterprise Linux distribution, mostly through key acquisitions including the companies behind the GNU compilers, JBoss application server, the KVM hypervisor, the Gluster parallel file system, the Ceph object storage, the innovative CoreOS Linux distribution, and the Ansible software provisioning tools as well as the OpenShift container controller (a mix of in-house and Kubernetes code these days), the OpenStack cloud controller, and the CloudForms hybrid cloud management system (also largely done in-house). Red Hat, we think, still needs to have a heavy duty open source database management system distribution – perhaps several different ones with different architectural tenets – but it was also perhaps prescient in that it stayed out of the Hadoop storage and data analytics racket, which has not panned out as planned.

        • Splunk Connect for OpenShift: All About Objects

          This is the second post of our blog series on Red Hat OpenShift and Splunk Integration. In the first post, we showed how to send application and system logs to Splunk. The second part is focused on how to use Splunk Kubernetes Objects.

        • Command Line Heroes season 3 episode 2: Learning the BASICs

          Command Line Heroes explores how beginner languages bring people into the world of programming. BASIC lowered the barrier to entry. Now, the next generation is getting their start modifying games, like Minecraft. Listen to the episode.

        • Introducing Red Hat Smart Management for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          How do you want to manage your systems? That probably depends a lot on the type of environment you have — whether your systems are primarily on-prem, or if they reside in the cloud. Or a mixture of both. Either way, Red Hat is looking to meet you where you’re at and provide management tools to suit your needs with Red Hat Smart Management.

          We introduced Red Hat Smart Management at Red Hat Summit earlier this year in Boston as a layered add on for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), as well as including Red Hat Insights with RHEL subscriptions.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Ubuntu Podcast: S12E15 – Diablo

        This week we’ve been buying a new phone and playing with QEMU. We discuss the release fo Debian 10, Ubuntu users saying “Thank you”, Nvidia drivers, WSL and Ubuntu MATE for the GPD MicroPC. We also round up some events and tech news.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 15 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Mark Johnson, Martin Wimpress and Stuart Langridge are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • Episode #139: f”Yes!” for the f-strings
      • Episode #221: Empowering developers by embedding Python

        How do we get kids excited about programming? Make programming tangible with embedded devices. Did you know that after kids learned to code with the BBC micro:bit, 90% of kids “thought coding was for everyone” and 86% said it made CS topics more interesting?

      • Old and Insecure | User Error 70

        Whether Linux is inherently secure, the next phase of online interaction, and wasting our free time.

        Plus where to focus your contributions, and a tricky hypothetical question.

    • Kernel Space
      • F2FS Is The Latest Linux File-System With Patches For Case-Insensitive Support

        Following EXT4 getting initial (and opt-in) support for case-insensitive directories/files, the Flash-Friendly File-System has a set of patches pending that extend the case-folding support to this F2FS file-system that is becoming increasingly used by Android smartphones and other devices.

        Sent out today were a revised set of two patches and just 300+ lines of code that implement case-folding support inside the F2FS file-system. This case-folding support for case-insensitive file-name look-ups is based upon the support found within EXT4 on the latest kernels.

      • AMDGPU/AMDKFD Queue Up Early Linux 5.3 Fixes For Navi & More

        While the Linux 5.3 kernel merge window isn’t even over until this weekend when it will kick off with 5.3-rc1 and headlining new features like Radeon RX 5700 series support, AMD has already sent in a batch of AMDGPU/AMDKFD fixes. Making these fixes notable are some early fixes around the new open-source Radeon RX “Navi” support.

      • RISC-V’s Kernel Support Continues Maturing With Linux 5.3

        With the RISC-V support in Linux 5.3 there is now support for huge-pages, image header support (based on the ARM64 kernel image header), initial page table setup is split into two stages, CONFIG_SOC support has been started with initially catering to the SiFive SoCs, high resolution timers and dynamic ticks have now made it into the default RISC-V 64-bit default configuration, and other low-level work.

      • Graphics Stack
        • The Open-Source NVIDIA “Nouveau” Driver Gets A Batch Of Fixes For Linux 5.3

          Originally on Thursday was finally the Nouveau-next 5.3 pull request that offered improvements to the display color management, fixes to Secure Boot on newer hardware, and Turing TU116 mode-setting support. But that was rejected by the DRM maintainers for being way too late as usually the cut-off for new feature material is when hitting RC6 on the previous cycle, just not days before the end of the current merge window. Not that those changes were all too exciting or notable, but this pushes back the color management and other work to Linux 5.4.

          Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs of Red Hat as a result today sent in Nouveau-fixes 5.3. This pull request has support still for the TU116 GPU since that shouldn’t regress any existing support as well as having fixes around KMS, a memory leak, and a few other basic fixes.

        • Wayland’s Weston Lands A Pipewire Plug-In As New Remote Desktop Streaming Option

          Wayland’s Weston compositor for the past year has provided a remoting plug-in for virtual output streaming that was built atop RTP/GStreamer. Now though a new plug-in has landed in the Weston code-base making use of Red Hat’s promising PipeWire project.

          The PipeWire plug-in was merged into Weston today and is similar to the GStreamer-powered remoting plug-in but instead leverages PipeWire. The compositor’s frames are exported to PipeWire and the same virtual output API is shared between these plug-ins. The virtual outputs can be configured using the weston.ini configuration file. Any PipeWire client in turn can read these frames.

        • Network transparency with Wayland

          Three large changes have been completed this week. The first is a change to the wire format used for waypipe. The previous protocol, dating back almost to the start of this project, sent a single large message containing a series of subblocks, each of which either contained Wayland protocol data, indicated that a new file descriptor was sent by the connected Wayland program, or provided all the information needed to update a given file descriptor. These file descriptor update messages used a 16-byte header containing the object id, size, type, and a very overloaded metadata field. Furthermore, the content following the header was sometimes context-dependent. For example, the first data transfer to replicate a shared memory buffer sent its initial data, while all successive messages sent a diff relative to the previous state. Because so much in the update messages was implicit, the code acquired a few unusual workarounds; for example, size extensions to a shared memory buffer were only supported by assuming the newly extended region to have contained all zeros and then sending a diff relative to that state.

          The replacement wire format protocol operates with much smaller transfer units, with distinct types for the various file operations that used to be combined into a single generic header. To keep individual message sizes small, file data update operations can be split into distinct messages corresponding to different shards of a buffer. While having distinct messages for each operation does very slightly increase the bandwidth needed for a connection, it ensures that operations can be performed as soon as the corresponding message block arrives; a remote pipe or video-type DMABUF can be created before the data for its contents has fully arrived.

        • Libinput 1.14 RC Arrives With Better Thumb Detection & Dell Canvas Totem Support

          Linux input expert Peter Hutterer of Red Hat shipped the much anticipated release candidate today for libinput 1.14, the open-source input handling library used by both X.Org and Wayland systems.

        • libinput 1.13.901 The first RC for libinput 1.14 is now available. We have new and improved thumb detection for touchpads, thanks to Matt Mayfield. On Clickpad devices this should make interactions where a thumb is resting on the touchpad or dropped during an interaction more reliable. A summary of the changes can be found here: The Dell Canvas Totem is now supported by libinput. It is exposed as a new tool type through the tablet interface along with two new axes. Note that this is only low-level support, the actual integration of the totem needs Wayland protocol changes and significant changes in all applications that want to make use of it. A summary of the changes can be found here: Touch-capable tablets now tie both devices together for rotation. If you set the tablet to left-handed, the touchpad will be rotated along with the tablet. Note that this does not affect the left-handed-ness of the touchpad, merely the rotation. Tablet proximity out handling for tablets that are unreliably sending proximity out events is now always timeout-based. It is no longer necessary to add per-device quirks to enable this feature and it is completely transparent on devices that work correctly anyway. A summar of the changes can be found here: Tablets that send duplicate tools (BTN_TOOL_PEN and BTN_TOOL_ERASER) now ignore the latter. This is an intermediate fix only but at least makes those tablets more usable than they are now. Issue #259 is the tracker for this particular behaviour if you are affected by it. The handling of kernel fuzz has been slightly improved. Where our udev rule fails to reset the fuzz on the kernel device, we disable the hysteresis and rely on the kernel now to handle it. Previously our hysteresis would take effect on top of the kernel's, causing nonresponsive behaviour. Note to distribitors: the python-evdev dependency has been dropped, the tools that used it are now using python-libevdev instead. And of course a random assortment of fixes, improvements, etc. Many thanks to all contributors and testers. As usual, the git shortlog is below.
    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • The dark strategy RPG “Vagrus – The Riven Realms” is doing well, quite an experience to play

        Currently in “Open Access” on Fig, a hybrid Early Access/Crowdfunding model, Vagrus – The Riven Realms seems to be doing well.

        It’s only been going for a couple of months but they’ve already managed to raise $23,071. It’s an interesting system, where you back the campaign with your pledge and get immediate access. At various funding points, it unlocks the next part of their development roadmap with the very next milestone very close to being hit.

      • The strange real time strategy adventure “Hive Quest” is now on Kickstarter

        Love insects and other creepy crawlies? Hive Quest might be a game you will enjoy, one that’s coming to Linux and it’s now crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

        Inspired partially by the classic Black & White from Lionhead Studios, it’s not meant to be graphically impressive. In fact, the developer opted to go for a more retro 3D look with it. Gameplay involves you managing a tribe, along with gathering resources like food to keep them going. It’s a bit of an odd one, due to the mix of gameplay involved. It blends a strategy game with puzzles, exploration and a little mystery wrapped in an ancient magical theme with insects and spirits.

      • Strategy game “ATRIUM” released recently, it’s pretty much the game Carcassonne

        Carcassonne is that you? Well if you want to play something almost the same, ATRIUM just recently released from Black Potion.

        ATRIUM is a tile-based digital board game, where the board gets built as you go. On each turn, a player can place down a tile which you’re given two at random each time and a person, with different tiles giving different benefits. Some might turn your people into a powerful character, some might give you extra points and so on. You basically play each turn, until you run out of tiles and the person who has the most territory wins.

      • GameMode – A Tool To Improve Gaming Performance On Linux

        Ask some Linux users why they still sticks with Windows dual boot, probably the answer would be – “Games!”. It was true! Luckily, open source gaming platforms like Steam and Lutris have brought many games to Linux platforms and improved the Linux gaming experience significantly over the years. Today, I stumbled upon yet another Linux gaming-related, open source tool named GameMode, which allows the users to improve gaming performance on Linux.

        GameMode is basically a daemon/lib combo that lets the games optimise Linux system performance on demand. I thought GameMode is a kind of tool that would kill some resource-hungry tools running in the background. But it is different. What it does actually is just instruct the CPU to automatically run in Performance mode when playing games and helps the Linux users to get best possible performance out of their games.

        GameMode improves the gaming performance significantly by requesting a set of optimisations be temporarily applied to the host OS while playing the games.

      • Tower Defense game “Elemental War” leaves Early Access today

        Leaving Early Access today after nine months with a fresh update is Elemental War, a Tower Defense game from Clockwork Origins.

        This one is a little unusual, in the way that unlike a lot of Tower Defense games there’s no story campaign to play through. Instead it offers multiple game modes for single-player including a standard 60 wave defence mode, a survival mode to go as long as you can and a hero mode where your enemies are given random abilities. On top of that, there’s also a level editor and a versus online mode to send waves against other players.

      • Open-world sandbox adventure game “TerraTech” now has a co-op campaign for up to 4 players

        This is awesome. TerraTech is actually a really fun game for those who like to build vehicles and then go exploring and it just got a big update.

        Version 1.3 was released yesterday, building on the work they did in a previous update to give a co-op creative mode it now has a fully online co-op campaign mode. You will be sharing everything from the blocks available to the mission log, so it will require working together.

      • Chapter 7 of Higurashi When They Cry Hou is now out with Linux support

        After waiting a whole year, the seventh chapter of the Higurashi When They Cry Hou is now available with Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.7 Minagoroshi.

        Continuing to support Linux just like all the other chapters, this highly rated series is worth a look for anyone who enjoys a good mystery. This is a kinetic/sound novel, not one if you like to pick lots of options and change the story. It’s a linear experience but still worth going through if you like your novels.

      • Looks like Valve are developing another new game, something to do with “Citadel”

        Warm up that cup of speculation, as it appears Valve are working on another game that seems to be going by the name of Citadel.

        Linking into Half-Life, since the Citadel is the HQ from where the Combine govern Earth. Apparently though, this is entirely separate to the unannounced Half-Life VR game with Citadel being a completely different Source 2 project. As always though, do not take this as any form of confirmation.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Powered by Plasma: ALBA Synchrotron in Barcelona, Spain

          As you go about your daily tasks, you’re probably unaware that Plasma runs on the computers in one of Europe’s largest research facilities. We were also oblivious – until we met Sergi Blanch-Torné at FOSDEM 2019.

          We’re always looking for interesting stories from people who use KDE software at their workplace, in school, or in government institutions. You can imagine our delight, then, when we met Sergi Blanch-Torné at this year’s FOSDEM.

          Sergi is a Controls Software Engineer at ALBA, a KDE user, and a Free software advocate and contributor. Not only was he willing to tell us about his favorite KDE apps, but he also works at one of the most amazing places on Earth! In this interview, he tells us what it’s like to work at ALBA, and answers the burning question: “what even is a synchrotron?”.

          ALBA is a third-generation synchrotron radiation facility in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park, in Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain. Managed by the Consortium for the Construction, Equipping and Exploitation of the Synchrotron Light Source (CELLS), it is jointly funded by the Spanish and the Catalonian Administration.

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta

          Today we are looking at Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta. Feren OS Next is Feren’s distro in development, a work in progress, but it is improving a lot and this is a major release for this distro, as it is now called Beta.

          It is based on Ubuntu 18.04.2, uses Linux Kernel 4.18 and KDE Plasma 5.16.3. It uses about 700MB of ram when idling.

          Since the last point release, its highly customized features have been stabilized, not perfect yet as expected, and new features and graphical art has been added. It is truly becoming a beautiful and unique KDE Plasma distro.

        • Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we look at Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta.

      • Debian Family
        • Daniel Pocock: Codes of Conduct and Hypocrisy

          In 2016, when serious accusations of sexual misconduct were made against a volunteer who participates in multiple online communities, the Debian Account Managers sent him a threat of expulsion and gave him two days to respond.

          Yet in 2018, when Chris Lamb decided to indulge in removing members from the Debian keyring, he simply did it spontaneously, using the Debian Account Managers as puppets to do his bidding. Members targetted by these politically-motivated assassinations weren’t given the same two day notice period as the person facing allegations of sexual assault.

          Two days hardly seems like sufficient time to respond to such allegations, especially for the member who was ambushed the week before Christmas. What if such a message was sent when he was already on vacation and didn’t even receive the message until January? Nonetheless, however crude, a two day response period is a process. Chris Lamb threw that process out the window. There is something incredibly arrogant about that, a leader who doesn’t need to listen to people before making such a serious decision, it is as if he thinks being Debian Project Leader is equivalent to being God.

          The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 tells us that Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations. They were probably thinking about more than a two day response period when they wrote that.

          Any organization seeking to have a credible code of conduct seeks to have a clause equivalent to article 10. Yet the recent scandals in Debian and Wikimedia demonstrate what happens in the absence of such clauses. As Lord Denning put it, without any process or hearing, members are faced with the arbitrary authority of the despot.

        • deepin 15.11 – Better Never Stops

          deepin is a Linux distribution devoted to providing a beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users.
          deepin is an open source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel and mainly on desktop applications, supporting laptops, desktops, and all-in-ones. It preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. In addition, about a thousand applications are offered in Deepin Store to meet users’ various requirements.
          Welcome to deepin 15.11 release. Compared with deepin 15.10, deepin 15.11 comes with new features – Cloud Sync in Control Center and disc burning function in Deepin File Manager. Besides, kwin window manager was fixed and optimized for better stability and compatibility, and a number of bugs were fixed. In deepin 15.11, you will enjoy smooth and better user experiences!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Kubuntu 18.10 reaches end of life

          Kubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish was released on October 18th 2018 with 9 months support. As of 18th July 2019, 18.10 reaches ?end of life?. No more package updates will be accepted to 18.10, and it will be archived to in the coming weeks.

          The official end of life announcement for Ubuntu as a whole can be found here [1].

          Kubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo continues to be supported, receiving security and high-impact bugfix updates until January 2020.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 Reaches End of Life! Existing Users Must Upgrade Now

          End of life is the term used for the date after which an operating system release won’t get updates. Ubuntu provides security and maintenance upgrades in order to keep your systems safe from cyber attacks.

          After Ubuntu 18.10 reaches end of life, you won’t get the security updates, you won’t get maintenance updates on your installed software and soon you won’t even be able to install programs from Ubuntu repositories.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server Planning A New Means For Automated Installations

          Canonical’s server team is working on a new means of carrying out automated installations of Ubuntu Server in time for their 20.04 LTS release.

          Traditionally Ubuntu Server has supported automated installations in the same manner of Debian as they had been relying upon the text-based Debian Installer and thus allowed using pre-seeds. But since Ubuntu 18.04 LTS when they rolled out their new text-based installer for Ubuntu Server that isn’t based on the long-standing Debian Installer, they lost the pre-seed support.

          Rather than trying to support pre-seeds as in the same format as the Debian Installer, they are working on a new approach they hope to have ready by Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS. Their proposed approach is using YAML as the format for specifying the server installation data and makes different assumptions about what to do in the case of missing data and other behavior.

        • Robot lifecycle management with Ubuntu

          Lifecycle management entails fulfilling changing requirements over time. However, there is a gap that the existing robot development frameworks do not address, making it challenging to tackle system-level requirements (fault tolerance, system safety, maintainability, interoperability or reusability etc…). Ubuntu Core aims at closing this gap by complementing existing frameworks with a set of tools that enable the long term viability of robotic projects. Referring to system life cycle standard ISO/IEC 15288, we will describe how Ubuntu Core enables success in each specified stage.

        • Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Alpha Arrives, But Only for the GPD MicroPC

          Did you know that Ubuntu MATE is besties with the GPD Pocket & Pocket 2?

          Well it is; the pair of pocket-sized PCs, which were made possible through various crowdfunding efforts, got their own, customised, and 100% official Ubuntu MATE 18.10 install image last year, and a follow-up with the 19.04 release this year.

          I guess making a custom-spun ISO is the distro equivalent of weaving a friendship bracelet!

          Accordingly, it’s no major surprise to learn Ubuntu MATE 19.10 will also come tailored for use on China-based GPD’s latest mini-marvel, the GPD MicroPC.

          Interestingly, the device is sold with Ubuntu MATE 18.10 pre-loaded.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Kubernetes: The retro-style, Wild West video game

        The Kubernetes API is amazing, and not only are we going to break it down and show you how to wield this mighty weapon, but we will do it while building a video game, live, on stage. As a matter of fact, you get to play along.

      • Celebrating Kubernetes and 5 Years of Open Source

        5 years ago, Kubernetes was born and quickly became one of the most important open-source platform innovations. Today, its Github repository boasts 55,384 stars and 2,205 contributors! We?re not just celebrating Kubernetes and how much easier it makes our lives, but we?re also celebrating the open-source community that added to the container management tool; making it what it is today. When you have an entire community working together to innovate and improve, the possibilities are endless.

      • Public Statement on Neutrality of Free Software

        F-Droid won’t tolerate oppression or harassment against marginalized groups. Because of this, it won’t package nor distribute apps that promote any of these things. This includes that it won’t distribute an app that promotes the usage of previously mentioned website, by either its branding, its pre-filled instance domain or any other direct promotion. This also means F-Droid won’t allow oppression or harassment to happen at its communication channels, including its forum. In the past week, we failed to fulfill this goal on the forum, and we want to apologize for that.

      • What open-source culture can teach tech titans and their critics

        Yet Mozilla turns out to be much more consequential than its mixed record and middling numbers would have you believe. There are three reasons for this.

      • Events
        • Request Travel Support for the openSUSE.Asia Summit

          The Travel Support Program (TSP) provides travel sponsorships to openSUSE community who want to attend the openSUSE.Asia Summit and need financial assistance. openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019 will be in Bali, Indonesia, at Information Technology Department, Faculty of Engineering, Udayana University on October 5 and 6.

          The goal of the TSP is to help everybody in and around openSUSE to be able to attend the openSUSE.Asia Summit!

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Access/Content
          • An Indian research university has assembled 73 million journal articles (without permission) and is offering the archive for unfettered scientific text-mining

            The JNU Data Depot is a joint project between rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously), bioinformatician Andrew Lynn, and a research team from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University: together, they have assembled 73 million journal articles from 1847 to the present day and put them into an airgapped respository that they’re offering to noncommercial third parties who want to perform textual analysis on them to “pull out insights without actually reading the text.”

            This text-mining process is already well-developed and has produced startling scientific insights, including “databases of genes and chemicals, map[s of] associations between proteins and diseases, and [automatically] generate[d] useful scientific hypotheses.” But the hard limit of this kind of text mining is the paywalls that academic and scholarly publishers put around their archives, which both limit who can access the collections and what kinds of queries they can run against them.

          • The plan to mine the world’s research papers [iophk: this is the kind of collection that Aaron Swartz died over, effectively killed]
      • Programming/Development
        • Use HackMD to collaborate on open source projects

 is an open source, collaborative Markdown editor. It allows people to share, comment, and collaborate on documents. As open source software, users can choose between using the online platform or installing it as a local service using the upstream project CodiMD.

          HackMD’s primary feature is obviously the text editor; it leverages the Markdown language, provides handy tools like inserting checkboxes and horizontal separator lines, and allows users to visualize the Markdown rendering while they’re working on a document. But HackMD’s real power is in enabling collaboration. Let’s have a closer look at those features.

        • Python List Sorting with sorted() and sort()

          In this article, we’ll examine multiple ways to sort lists in Python.

          Python ships with two built-in methods for sorting lists and other iterable objects. The method chosen for a particular use-case often depends on whether we want to sort a list in-place or return a new version of the sorted list.

        • ExpressPython: Lightweight, portable Python editor for small scripts

          There are many IDEs for Python, and it’s time for one more. ExpressPython is a lightweight, small code editor for Python 3. Originally built to help teach students how to code, it can be used in programming competitions, or just when you need a fast, small, clean code editor.
          There are a wide variety of Python IDEs and code editors available for programmers. Between PyCharm, VS Code, IDLE, Spyder, just to name a few, programmers have many to choose from depending on their needs and preferences. Add one more editor to the fray.

          ExpressPython is a small, lightweight Python 3 editor that can help with learning and competitive programming, such as coding challenges. Its creator started work on it in 2014 in order to fulfill a few needs, such as the ability to work offline.

          It is not made with the intent of becoming a fully-featured IDE, and does not include debugging features. However, it does have a few noteworthy features, so let’s take a look.

        • Google’s Go team decides not to give it a try

          The Go language will not be adding a “try” keyword in the next major version, despite this being a major part of what was proposed for version 1.14.

          Go, an open source language developed by Google, features static typing and native code compilation. It is around the 15th most popular language according to the Redmonk rankings.

          Error handling in Go is currently based on using if statements to compare a returned error value to nil. If it is nil, no error occurred. This requires developers to write a lot of if statements.

          “In general Go programs have too much code-checking errors and not enough code handling them,” wrote Google principal engineer Russ Cox in an overview of the error-handling problem in Go.

        • LLVM 9.0 Feature Work Is Over While LLVM 10.0 Enters Development

          Feature work is over on LLVM 9.0 as the next release for this widely-used compiler stack ranging from the AMDGPU shader compiler back-end to the many CPU targets and other innovative use-cases for this open-source compiler infrastructure.

          Ongoing LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg branched the LLVM 9.0 code-base this morning while in turn opening LLVM 10.0 development on trunk/master. This also marks the 9.0 branching for all LLVM sub-projects.

        • Mu at EuroPython

          Mu made a number of appearances at last week’s wonderful EuroPython 2019 conference in Basel, Switzerland.

        • PyCharm 2019.2 Release Candidate

          PyCharm 2019.2 is almost ready to be released, and we’re happy to announce that a release candidate is available for download now.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • NASA’s daunting to-do list for sending people back to the Moon

        NASA’s plan to return to the Moon is called Artemis, and like Apollo, the program requires a giant rocket as well as landers to take people to the lunar surface. Perhaps the biggest thing that sets Artemis apart from the Apollo program is that this time, the emphasis is on sustainability. Rather than just send people to walk around the Moon for a few hours, NASA wants to build some kind of sustainable outpost near the lunar surface for the foreseeable future. That’s why Artemis includes a separate component dubbed the Gateway — a space station meant to be built in orbit around the Moon. Instead of people traveling directly to the lunar surface from Earth, they’d travel to the Gateway first and then travel in landers to the Moon.

      • A new age of space exploration is beginning

        The development of space thus far has been focused on facilitating activity down below—mainly satellite communications for broadcasting and navigation. Now two things are changing. First, geopolitics is stoking a new push to send humans beyond the shallows of low-Earth orbit. China plans to land people on the Moon by 2035. President Donald Trump’s administration wants Americans to be back there by 2024. Falling costs make this showing off more affordable than before. Apollo cost hundreds of billions of dollars (in today’s money). Now tens of billions are the ticket price.

      • Anti-vaxxer escalates from wishing children dead to threatening to kill adult lawmakers

        The feds charged Darryl Varnum in late June after he told the Congresswoman he was ‘gonna kill your ass if you do that bill,’ report The Beast’s Jackie Kucinich and Lachlan Markay.

      • Pentagon Contractor Allegedly Threatened to Kill Congresswoman Over Vaccine Bill

        “I’m gonna kill your ass if you do that bill. I swear,” Varnum’s voicemail began. “I will fucking come down and kill your fucking ass. And you’re a Congressperson, that’s fine. I hope the fucking FBI, CIA and everybody else hears this shit.”

    • Hardware
      • Acer Chromebook R 11 C738T
      • Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K02US
      • Acer Chromebook 14
      • HP Chromebook 11 G5 – X9U02UT
      • Acer Chromebook Spin 15
      • HP Chromebook x2
      • ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA
      • Samsung Chromebook Plus – XE513C24-K01US
      • Samsung Chromebook Pro – XE510C25-K01US
      • ASUS Chromebit CS10
      • ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 – C434TA-DSM4T
      • Lenovo Chromebook S330 – 81JW0001US
      • Data in a Flash, Part IV: the Future of Memory Technologies

        As it relates to memory technologies, the future looks very promising and very exciting. Will the SSD completely replace the traditional spinning HDD? I doubt it. Look at tape technology. It’s still around and continues to find a place in the archival storage space. The HDD most likely will have a similar fate. Although until then, the HDD will continue to compete with the SSD in both price and capacity.

      • Jonathan McDowell: Upgrading my home server

        At the end of last year I decided it was time to upgrade my home server. I built it back in 2013 as an all-in-one device to be my only always-on machine, with some attempt towards low power consumption. It was starting to creak a bit – the motherboard is limited to 16G RAM and the i3-3220T is somewhat ancient (though has served me well). So it was time to think about something more up to date. Additionally since then my needs have changed; my internet connection is VDSL2 (BT Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) so I have an BT HomeHub 5 running OpenWRT to drive that and provide core routing/firewalling. My wifi is provided by a pair of UniFi APs at opposite ends of the house. I also decided I could use something low power to run Kodi and access my ripped DVD collection, rather than having the main machine in the living room. That meant what I wanted was much closer to just a standard server rather than having any special needs.

        The first thing to consider was a case. My ADSL terminates in what I call the “comms room” – it has the electricity meter / distribution board and gas boiler, as well as being where one of the UniFi’s lives and where the downstairs ethernet terminates. In short it’s the right room for a server to live in. I don’t want a full rack, however, and ideally wanted something that could sit alongside the meter cabinet without protruding from the wall any further. A tower case would have worked, but only if turned sideways, which would have made it a bit awkward to access. I tried in vain to find a wall mount case with side access that was shallow enough, but failed. However in the process I discovered a 4U vertical wall mount. This was about the same depth as the meter cabinet, so an ideal choice. I paired it with a basic 2U case from X-Case, giving me a couple of spare U should I decide I want another rack-mount machine or two.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • WHO declares Congo’s Ebola outbreak an international emergency

        WHO defines a global emergency as an “extraordinary event” that requires a co-ordinated international response.

        “This is still a regional emergency and by no means a global threat,” Robert Steffen, head of the emergency committee on Ebola in Congo, told reporters.

      • Qui Tam Action Filed under False Claims Act over Certain Prescription Drug Prices

        According to the complaint, the two “fraudulent” acts alleged to have been performed by defendants were 1) failing to disclose that “one of its competitors had not obtained FDA approval [for its competing drug] during the time period for which Defendants were making critical market share comparisons between Zytiga and its biggest competitor, Xtandi®” and “withheld material information from the Patent Office that the claimed commercial success of Zytiga lacked any nexus” to the invention claimed in the ’438 patent. Their allegation is “but for” — by engaging in inequitable conduct, Defendants were able to exclude generic competition and thus their reimbursement by the Federal government amounted to filing false claims with the government. The complaint lays out the course of patent prosecution for the ’438 patent, whose claims were repeatedly rejected on obviousness grounds under 35 U.S.C. § 103. Defendant patent owner Janssen asserted so-called “secondary considerations” or objective indicia of non-obviousness in response to these rejections, specifically that the commercial success of Zytiga rebutted the prima facie obviousness case established by the Office. The course of prosecution of the application (U.S. Application No. 13/034,340) was not excessively lengthy, the application having been filed in February 2011 and granted on September 2, 2014. The defect in applicants’ assertion of commercial success is purportedly due to a failure to properly establish commercial sales with the benefits of the putatively obvious invention to be patented, which the complaint further states must show “increasing market share and the maintenance of such shares in the face of competitors and other adverse market forces,” citing Gaderma Labs L.P. v. Tolmar Inc. and Ashland Oil v. Delta Resins & Refractories. (The complaint includes the further caveat that the success cannot be due to blocking patents or other “reasons other than the merits of the claimed invention.”)

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)
      • Web server security – Part 0: How to start

        Many server hardening or server security guides directly start with installing software packages and changing some configuration files. This is fine for experienced server administrators. However, people who try to set up their first server hit on problems and most importantly they very likely forget things that aren’t covered by such guides.

        So, please do not start to set up your first server by blindly following any guide on the internet (including our guides!).

      • “Sudo Mastery, 2nd Edition” open for tech review

        I need all reviews back by 5 August. This gives me time (if everything goes well) to have the book in print for vBSDCon. Assuming they accept my proposal, that is.

      • Re: [DNG] EvilGnome

        Basically, this doesn’t strike me as even a tiny bit interesting. The template of ‘$EVILCODE does $STUFF to your system if you run it’ raises the obvious question of ‘What about _not_ running it?’ By and large, code doesn’t run itself, so failure to answer that ‘one interesting question’ means the interesting bit got omitted.

      • EvilGnome Is A Linux Spyware That Records Audio And Steals Your Files [Ed: FOSSBytes has moved on from pushing non-FOSS misinformation to actually doing anti-FOSS FUD. Painting malware one needs to actually install as a real threat.]
      • CPU vulnerability mitigations keeping Linux devs busy: SUSE’s Pavlík [Ed: Intel defects now waste software developers' time. They should just replace/recall those billions of defective chips]

        A veteran Linux kernel developer at Germany-based SUSE says the one thing that keeps him and his team busy these days is CPU vulnerability mitigations…

      • Security updates for Friday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (bzip2), Fedora (freetds, kernel, kernel-headers, and knot-resolver), openSUSE (bubblewrap, fence-agents, kernel, libqb, libu2f-host, pam_u2f, and tomcat), Oracle (vim), SUSE (kernel, LibreOffice, libxml2, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (libmspack and squid, squid3).

      • The Desktop Security Nightmare

        Many of us have extremely sensitive data on our systems. Emails to family, medical or bank records, Bitcoin wallets, browsing history, the list goes on. Although we have isolation between our user account and root, we have no isolation between applications that run as our user account. We still, in effect, have to be careful about what attachments we open in email.

        Only now it’s worse. You might “npm install hello-world”, and audit hello-world itself, but get some totally malicious code as well. How many times do we see instructions to gem install this, pip install that, go get the other, and even curl | sh? Nowadays our risky click isn’t an email attachment. It’s hosted on Github with a

        Not only that, but my /usr/bin has over 4000 binaries. Have every one been carefully audited? Certainly not, and this is from a distro with some of the highest quality control around. What about the PPAs that people add? The debs or rpms that are installed from the Internet? Are you sure that the postinst scripts — which run as root — aren’t doing anything malicious when you install Oracle Virtualbox?


        One thing a person could do would be to keep the sensitive data on a separate, ideally encrypted, filesystem. (Maybe even a fuse one such as gocryptfs.) Then, at least, it could be unavailable for most of the time the system is on.

        Of course, the downside here is that it’s still going to be available to everything when it is mounted, and there’s the hassle of mounting, remembering to unmount, password typing, etc. Not exactly transparent.

        I wondered if mount namespaces might be an answer here. A filesystem could be mounted but left pretty much unavailable to processes unless a proper mount namespace is joined. Indeed that might be a solution. It is somewhat complicated, though, since nsenter requires root to work. Enter sudo, and dropping privileges back to a particular user — a not particularly ideal situation, and complex as well.

        Still, it might well have some promise for some of these things.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • National strike against Ecuadorian government demands Assange’s freedom

        Workers, peasants and youth in Ecuador began a five-day strike Monday against the draconian policies of the Lenín Moreno administration, which is seeking to strengthen its ties to Washington and its military-intelligence apparatus.

        The strike constitutes the first major industrial action in the world demanding the freedom of Julian Assange. The demand is presented in the framework of growing opposition to the attacks against social and democratic rights associated with the Moreno administration’s totally servile policy toward US imperialism.


        The organizers of the strike include the Peasants National Movement (FECAOL), the main Workers Union Federation (FUT), dozens of activist organizations grouped in the National Citizens’ Assembly (ANC), and Social Compromise, the new party of ex-president Rafael Correa. They claim this is the broadest strike in 14 years.

        On Tuesday, the main day of planned demonstrations, protesters set up dozens of roadblocks—from the coastal highways of Manabí, Guayas and El Oro, surrounding the port city of Guayaquil, to the capital of Quito, east on the PanAmerican Highway to Colombia and south to the Morona Santiago province and Perú along the Andean range—that brought the country to a virtual standstill.

        Most of the signs of protesters were hand-made and focused on firings, social cuts and the role of the “International Misery Fund,” as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is labelled, in the cities, and on land, water rights and mining concessions in the rural areas. Ecuadorian migrants in Bolivia, Spain, the United States and other countries carried out rallies in support of the strike.

        About 11,800 public employees, mostly in the health care sector, were fired during Moreno’s first year in office as part of the austerity conditions of a $4.2 billion loan approved by the IMF in March.

        Another issue raised in the strike call is “the rejection of the handing over of the Galapagos for the interests of North American imperialism,” referring to a recent agreement with the Pentagon to use the Ecuadorian archipelago, designated by the UN as a biosphere reserve and World Heritage Site, as an air base.

    • Environment
      • Think it’s hot now? Michigan’s 90° days could quadruple in 20 years

        All 83 counties in Michigan are getting hotter, and a report released Tuesday predicts it will only get worse, as the number of days with heat indexes over 90 degrees will quadruple in the next 20 years.

        The report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit science advocacy group, predicts extreme temperatures will soar nationwide if nothing is done to curb climate change.

      • 6 Ways Selfie-Addicted Tourists Are Destroying The World

        Van Tilburg says all those vacationers are causing damage to the island’s delicate ecosystem, on top of “disrespecting the statues by climbing on them, sitting on graves, and trampling preserved spaces.” There are signs reminding people to act like adults and stay the heck off the statues, but noses that large are just begging someone to step right up and pick a winner.

        And though the Moai may be huge and heavy, the volcanic rock from which they were carved is actually quite porous and easily damaged … as rock goes, anyway. Now, in addition to being slowly destroyed by wind, rain, and lichen, their demise is being accelerated by a bunch of outsiders climbing all over them and shoving fingers up their snot boxes. Such is the price of progress, and by “progress” we mean “a Facebook profile picture you’ll change in two weeks.”

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Who Eats Lemurs — and Why?

          For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar’s iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates’ meat.

          Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren’t exactly what we might expect.

          One 2016 study found — perhaps not surprisingly — that Madagascar’s extreme poverty drives the poorest families to hunt and eat lemurs and other wildlife. The study was conducted in Masoala National Park, home to ten of Madagascar’s 110-plus lemur species, including several critically endangered species.

          Local hunters know that killing lemurs is against the law, but there’s a reason that doesn’t stop them. The study, published in Biological Conservation, found that “almost all children in lemur-hunting households were malnourished.” Wild-caught meat, tragically, is the only readily available solution for hungry families. The authors concluded that “unless lemur conservation efforts on the Masoala [peninsula] prioritize child health, they are unlikely to reduce lemur hunting or improve lemur conservation.”

          Although poverty is endemic in Madagascar, it’s not the only factor driving lemur consumption. Two additional studies published that year in PLOS One and in Environmental Conservation revealed that Madagascar’s wealthier and middle-class citizens are equal participants. The studies uncovered a massive supply chain that transports meat from lemurs and other endangered species into urban and semi-urban areas, where it is sold in restaurants, open-air markets and even supermarkets.

    • Finance
      • A debate is under way about the cost of higher education

        Ironically, such values-based arguments, however one feels about them, are undercut by rising inequality. As the rich pull away from the rest, their increased political power may stymie tax rises needed to fund universal public services. Meanwhile for progressive politicians the need to target available funds at the worst-off in society grows more urgent; in America, the argument that the children of billionaires should not receive a government-funded education takes on greater moral as well as practical weight. It is probably no coincidence that tuition fees are lowest in places with the most equal income distributions (see chart). Strong safety-nets compress the income distribution. But inequality may also make the sorts of comprehensive public services that underpin egalitarian societies ever harder to sustain.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • joining social media at DebConf19

        To quote a friend: “If you upload your address book to ‘the cloud’, I don’t want to be in it.” (And while I think so, I’m not angry for past actions. But if would like you to be considerate in the future.)

        As an SMS user from 1997 until today it’s very interesting to taste some of the same survailance as the rest of the the whole planet. And I have to admit, it’s tasty, but consciously I know it’s tasty in a bitter-sweet way. What also puzzled me that Telegram chats are unecrypted by default. In 2019.

        And now let’s do something about it. Or sing this karaoke version of the yellow submarine: we all live in global world surveillance, global world surveillance. Cheers!

      • EC opens anti-trust probe into Amazon’s use of retailers’ data

        The European Commission has announced a formal anti-trust investigation into Amazon to find out whether the firm’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers, who use its marketplace, breaches competition rules within the political bloc.

      • The NHS Is Sitting on a $12 Billion Data Goldmine

        Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies are enabling detailed studies of patient information that weren’t dreamed of until a few years ago. Now, researchers, drugmakers and tech companies are clamoring for access to data to help streamline patient care, develop better products — and even prevent serious disease.

      • FaceApp gets federal attention as Sen. Schumer raises alarm on data use

        In order to operate the application, users must provide the company full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data. According to its privacy policy, users grant FaceApp license to use or publish content shared with the application, including their username or even their real name, without notifying them or providing compensation.

        Furthermore, it is unclear how long FaceApp retains a user’s data or how a user may ensure their data is deleted after usage. These forms of “dark patterns,” which manifest in opaque disclosures and broader user authorizations, can be misleading to consumers and may even constitute a deceptive trade practices. Thus, I have serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it.

      • Facebook’s regulation dodge: Let us, or China will

        Indeed, China does not share the United States’ values on individual freedoms and privacy. And yes, breaking up Facebook could weaken its products like WhatsApp, providing more opportunities for apps like Chinese tech giant Tencent’s WeChat to proliferate.

        But letting Facebook off the hook won’t solve the problems China’s influence poses to an open and just internet. Framing the issue as “strong regulation lets China win” creates a false dichotomy. There are more constructive approaches if Zuckerberg seriously wants to work with the government on exporting freedom via the web. And the distrust Facebook has accrued through the mistakes it’s made in the absence of proper regulation arguably do plenty to hurt the perception of how American ideals are spread through its tech companies.

      • Ugandan commentator arrested over Facebook post critical of president

        The Ugandan police statement cited a July 8 Facebook post by Kabuleta criticizing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni as the reason for his arrest, and said police will “continue using the acquired capabilities to monitor comments on social media.”

        The police statement alleged that the post was a criminal violation of Section 25 of Uganda’s 2011 Computer Misuse Act, which pertains to “[a]ny person who willfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication.”

      • The Florida DMV sells your personal information and there’s no way to opt out

        To reiterate the madness at hand: Your name, exact age, address, vehicle make, vehicle model, vehicle year, vehicle registration status, weight, height, eye color, hair color, and more is all for sale at the right price and used to target you in direct mailer advertisements – and there is nothing you can do about it because it is essentially compulsive to get an identification card to be a productive member of society. When the government can’t be trusted, it’s necessary to take privacy into your own hands.

      • I-Team: Florida DMV sells your personal information to private companies, marketing firms

        I-Team Investigator Adam Walser obtained records showing the state sold information on Florida drivers and ID cardholders to more than 30 private companies, including marketing firms, bill collectors, insurance companies and data brokers in the business of reselling information.

      • DWeb Camp Q & A with the EFF’s Danny O’Brien

        DWeb Camp is going on from July 18-21 in Pescadero, CA.

        Q: What excites you most about the decentralized web?

        A: The Internet for me has always been a vision of autonomy among equals — being able to create, share and communicate with your peers as quickly and easily as possible.

        Somehow, so much of that communication now goes through a handful of chokepoints: silos where the data of our lives goes in, but never escapes.

        Decentralizing — or re-decentralizing — the Web, is about continuing the project, after a brief diversion into the Google/Amazon/Facebook world.

      • Tencent to Team Up with BMW on Self-Driving Cars in China

        The pair began collaborating on what they called BMW Group China High Performance D3 Platform, which is scheduled to begin operations by the end of the year, according to a statement on Friday. Tencent operates one of the largest cloud platforms in China, providing services from data storage to online computing.

      • Victory: Oakland City Council Votes to Ban Government Use of Face Surveillance
      • Court report: Privacy row as Ordnance Survey case kicks off

        Managing IP reports from the England & Wales High Court as discussions on database rights and copyright, plus a debate over the inadvertent revealing of trade secrets, formed the opening of a dispute pitting mapping agency Ordnance Survey against an SME

        A court case pitting Ordnance Survey (OS) against a geospatial data specialist may have to be heard largely in private after a disagreement between counsel and the judge over whether a public hearing could reveal trade secrets inadvertently.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Morocco court sentences three to death for killing Scandinavian hikers

        A Moroccan court on Thursday sentenced three suspected jihadists to death for the murders of two Scandinavian women beheaded while on a hiking trip in Morocco.

      • Islamic State Militants Sentenced to Death for Morocco Tourist Killings

        Another defendant received a life sentence, while 20 others were sentenced to terms ranging from five to 30 years on charges of being accessories to the crime, abetting or propagating material that condoned the attack, the Medias24 news website reported. The verdicts can be appealed.

      • Extremists who murdered Scandinavian hikers sentenced to death by firing squad

        Morocco has had a freeze on executions since 1993.

      • Jailed for recording her boss’s alleged sexual harassment, this mother wants to inspire women to say no to abuse

        It got so bad that Nuril recorded one of the explicit phone calls as evidence of the sexual harassment she said she endured on more than 50 occasions, starting in 2012.

        The recording, she says, was forwarded by a colleague to the local Department of Education. Shortly after, Nuril was fired from her job and her boss sued her for defamation.

        Nuril — who says she put up with the sexual harassment for more than a year — spent two months in jail during the initial investigation in 2017.

      • London Metropolitan Police’s Facial Recognition System Is Now Only Misidentifying People 81% Of The Time

        Needless to say, this has raised “significant concerns” by the sort of people most likely to be concerned about false positives. Needless to say, this does not include the London Metropolitan Police, which continues to deploy this tech despite its only marginally-improved failure rate.

        In 2018, it was reported the Metropolitan Police’s tech was misidentifying people at an astounding 100% rate. False positives were apparently the only thing the system was capable of. Things had improved by May 2019, bringing the Met’s false positive rate down to 96%. The sample size was still pretty small, meaning this had a negligible effect on the possibility of the Metropolitan Police rounding up the unusual suspects the system claimed were the usual suspects.

        Perhaps this should be viewed as a positive development, but when a system has only managed to work its way up to being wrong 81% of the time, we should probably hold our applause until the end of the presentation.

        As it stands now, the tech is better at being wrong than identifying criminals. But what’s just as concerning is the Met’s unshaken faith in its failing tech. It defends its facial recognition software with stats that are literally unbelievable.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)
      • Netflix Sees First Subscriber Losses Ever

        Netflix has certainly enjoyed its flight to the top of the heap of the streaming space, now streaming video to 60.1 million US subscribers. That’s more than pay TV giants like AT&T or even Comcast, who’ve done their best (via usage caps and lobbying shenanigans) to unsuccessfully hamper Netflix’s meteoric rise.

        But there’s some indication that the company may have started to reach its high water mark. Netflix this week revealed it lost 130,000 subscribers last quarter, the company’s first quarterly subscriber loss in history. The losses come despite Netflix having spent $3 billion on programming last quarter, and another $600 million to market its its wares.

    • Monopolies
      • EC hits Qualcomm with $385m fine for abusing market dominance

        The European Commission has hit American processor maker Qualcomm with a €242 million ($385.6 million) fine for abusing its market dominance in 3G baseband chipsets.

      • This Bill Could Destroy Uber’s Unsustainable Business Model

        Uber has never made a profit and has actually lost over $14 billion in the last four years alone. In the prospectus, Uber insists that these five major metropolitan markets are essential to its path to profitability. In reality, what Uber actually relies on is the $20 billion in funding raised over the past decade and the $8 billion in new investments after going public in May. This investor welfare covers the cost of low prices that render each rideshare trip unprofitable, of driver incentives to combat the high turnover rate of drivers, and of promotions used to drive up demand.

        The investors have continued piling that money onto Uber because they believe Khosrowshahi when he talks about becoming the “Amazon of transportation” or the platform on which all transportation happens. In other words, a monopoly. After achieving a monopoly, some commentators warn that Uber will then charge whatever price it wants and use its dominant position to both pay back investors and kill potential competitors. As an added bonus, Uber promises it will turn its labor costs to zero by deploying a fleet to autonomous vehicles (which may prove to be difficult to widely adopt). That is Uber’s path to profitability.

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

          On July 3, the Federal Circuit issued a per curiam Order in Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC, denying a petition for rehearing en banc filed by Plaintiffs-Appellants Athena Diagnostics, Inc., Oxford University Innovation Ltd., and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften E.V. The Court also denied Plaintiffs-Appellants a panel rehearing.

          The four page per curiam Order was accompanied by eight opinions, four concurring in the denial of the petition and four dissenting in the denial of the petition, adding an additional 82 pages to the Order. The four concurring opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Lourie, Hughes, Dyk, and Chen, with Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Reyna, Taranto, and Hughes joining in one of the concurrences and Circuit Judge Chen joining in one concurrence and several parts of another. The four dissenting opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Moore, Newman, Stoll, and O’Malley, with Circuit Judges O’Malley and Stoll joining in one of the dissents and Circuit Judge Wallach joining in three of the dissents. Thus, a total of seven members of the Court (Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Lourie, Dyk, Reyna, Taranto, Chen, and Hughes) authored or joined opinions concurring in the denial, and a total of five members (Circuit Judges Newman, Moore, O’Malley, Wallach, and Stoll) authored or joined opinions dissenting in the denial.

          Judge O’Malley begins her opinion by providing some “historical perspective” on “the ‘invention requirement’—itself ‘invented’ by the Supreme Court rather than Congress or the Constitution,” noting that “[i]f the invention requirement and its criticisms sound familiar, that is because they are.” And Judge O’Malley suggests that even though, in 1952, “Congress attempted to address these criticisms by amending the Patent Act to replace the ill-defined and judicially-created invention requirement with the more workable anticipation and obviousness tests codified in Sections 102 and 103,” “the search for an inventive concept—now enshrined in the § 101 inquiry via Mayo—calls back to the invention requirement that Congress quite deliberately abrogated through the Patent Act of 1952.”

        • Inventorship Challenges vs Invalidity Challenge — and Certifying Questions for Appeal

          Back in 2018, Heat Tech sued Koehler Paper in N.D. Georgia federal court requesting correction of inventorship under 35 U.S.C. § 256 as well as damages for unjust enrichment and conversion under Georgia state law. U.S. Patent No. 9,851,146. The basic background of the lawsuit was that Heat Tech’s president (Plavnik) invented the paper-drying mechanism that was then disclosed to Koehler as part of a collaboration evaluation. In addition, Heat Tech argued that almost all of the information disclosed in Koehler’s patent was included in a prior Heat Tech patent application.

          At the district court, Koehler filed a motion to dismiss the case — arguing that Heat Tech’s actual claim is for invalidity and that an inventorship-correction lawsuit is not appropriate when the same alleged facts would invalidate the patent for lack of novelty or obviousness. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, but agreed to certify the question for appeal to the Federal Circuit — noting some disagreement among the courts on the state of the law.


          On appeal now, the Federal Circuit HeatTechDecisionhas denied the 1292(b) petition and effectively indicated that the district court’s decision was correct. In particular, the appellate panel found no “substantial ground for disagreement” because Section 256 jurisdiction “does not depend on whether the patent may be shown to be invalid.” Slip op. The appellate panel noted its lack of prior precedent directly and expressly on-point, but concluded that prior cases compel the answer. For example, in Frank’s Casing Crew & Rental Tools, Inc. v. PMR Techs., Ltd., 292 F.3d 1363, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2002), the court wrote that an inventorship action could be maintained for an unenforceable patent.

        • UCB, Inc. v. Watson Laboratories Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The doctrine of equivalents, a Supreme Court-created patent doctrine of vintage similar to inequitable conduct, arose in Graver Tank & Mfg. Co. v. Linde Air Products Co., 339 U.S. 605 (1950) (an uncharacteristically pro-patent decision by the Court, the doctrine recognized that an “unscrupulous copyist” could practice a claimed invention without literal infringement in some circumstances, and as a consequence the patent right could be turned into a “hollow and useless thing”)…


          The District Court arrived at this conclusion despite evidence of differences in polarity, the presence of different functional groups, and the capacity to interact with crosslinking groups between polyisobutylene and acrylate-based and silicone-based adhesives, which the Court held were not substantial based on comparisons between Neupro and Defendants’ generic alternatives.

          Regarding Defendants’ invalidity arguments, the panel affirmed the District Court’s decision that failed prior art efforts to develop rotigotine transdermal patches neither anticipated nor rendered obvious the claims of the ’434 patent. That art did not disclose a water-free patch having rotigotine in free base rather than salt form and thus comprised significant amounts of water (10-15% w/w) to solubilize the salt form of the drug. And none of the other art asserted by Defendants “fill[ed] the gap” in this disclosure, because they did not disclose rotigotine or other anti-Parkinson’s disease drugs, and in particular did not disclose the free base form of the drug in the absence of water in the formulation. The Federal Circuit also affirmed the District Court’s finding that other art, disclosing transdermal rotigotine administration by direct application to skin and transdermal patches not comprising water, did not render the claims of the ’434 patent obvious because there was no “adequate rationale for combining the references’ teachings” nor reasonable expectation of success at treating Parkinson’s disease using a transdermal patch. The opinion finds the cited art as being “a list of thousands of possibilities out of which a skilled artisan would have to select the claimed combination as one to try” and thus would not have provided the skilled worker with a reasonable expectation of successfully achieving the claimed patch.

          Turning to the ’414 patent, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court’s determination that the claimed rotigotine polymorph was used in the art prior to the earliest claimed priority date based on the presence of the polymorph in patches produced prior to that date, which constituted prior public use of the polymorph. Because (as with all factual determinations) appellate review of questions of fact before the district court is reviewed for clear error, the Federal Circuit found no clear error that Defendants had shown anticipation by clear and convincing error, and thus affirmed.

        • Court of Appeal cancels RAND trial in ZyXEL v TQ Delta

          The English Court of Appeal yesterday handed down judgment in ZyXEL v TQ Delta [2019] EWCA Civ 1277. Guest blogger, Tristan Sherliker, reports:

          This appeal judgment tells a tale of tactics and legal agility. After completely waiving any right to rely on RAND undertakings, ZyXEL have tested the bounds of the developing English law.

          When a defendant has lost a patent trial, when would they decide that submitting to an injunction is better than taking a licence?

          This claim was about enforcement of a number of TQ Delta’s patents relating to the ITU-T’s DSL telecoms standards.

          Since the patents in suit had been declared essential to the ITU-T standards, they were encumbered by a RAND undertaking — that is, an undertaking made by TQ Delta that it would grant a licence to the patents on Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory terms.


          Potentially of wider significance is the question of how this ruling might interplay with the pending cases of Unwired Planet v Huawei and Conversant v Huawei and ZTE. At the time of writing, the Court of Appeal’s decisions are under appeal and to be heard before the Supreme Court in October 2019. The defendants (appellants) in both cases have criticised the currently-developing law before the High Court and Court of Appeal as being a case of jurisdictional expansionism, which they ask the Supreme Court to overturn.

          It seems likely that the Supreme Court in those cases will be assisted by Floyd LJ’s judgment and analysis here. Specifically, his statement of the principles extracted from Unwired Planet makes clear what the limits of the prevailing law are, and that the effect of the test will always depend on the facts of the case. What is more, he makes clear the Court of Appeal’s view that FRAND does not only operate on a global scale, but that a national licence can be FRAND in the appropriate circumstances. He made this emphatic and disagreed with the judge at first instance in that regard. Equally however, he emphasised that in some cases, a global licence is an appropriate solution to the FRAND question.

          But perhaps most profoundly, the decision in ZyXEL v TQ Delta illustrates by example the bounds of the developing case law under Unwired Planet. It may be taken to indicate that this is not an out-of-control expansionism, but that the tests operate within limits. Here, the Court of Appeal has applied the same law that previously benefited the patent holders in their cases — and it has shown that the right facts may well turn the tide in favour of the implementer.

        • Recent IP activities of Japanese companies

          Japan Patent Office (JPO) published an annual report on July 12 2019. According to the report, 313,567 patent applications were filed in Japan in 2018. And, 253,000 patent applications among them were filed by domestic applicants. It slightly decreased than last year.


          This report also shows the utilization of Japanese patents. The utilization ratio in 2017 is 48.4%. This includes licensing to other parties. So, more than half of Japanese patents are not utilized. Also, it states that 37.0% of patents are maintained only for defensive purpose, and they are not used by themselves or other parties. As a result, the remaining 14.5% of patents are maintained for nothing. IP department must be asked for an explanation on that by their higher management sooner or later. Then, such patents may be withdrawn or put in the market.

        • Vestager serves Qualcomm a double whammy for dessert: second EU antitrust fine in as many years

          The term of the Juncker Commission is nearing its end, and while I’m far from enthusiastic about his successor, I’m relieved that neither that conservative-in-name-only Weber nor “Poor Man’s Bernie” (Timmermans, who’s less reasonable than the real Senator Sanders) got the top job. However, my preference among reasonably likely candidates would have been Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, as I made clear on social media, despite disagreeing with some parts of her regulatory activism, such as the “state aid” case against Ireland and certain aspects of the Android case.

          Last year I wrote that Qualcomm “won” the “Antitrust Grand Slam” when the European Commission joined the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a couple of Asian regulators in fining Qualcomm. The Commission imposed a fine of €997 million ($1.2 billion) over exclusionary conduct in the years 2011-2016 when Apple was precluded from sourcing baseband chipsets from Qualcomm’s competitors such as Intel. That exclusive dealing is one of the four counts on which the U.S. FTC defeated Qualcomm in court this year (my previous post discussed some support Qualcomm got for its motion for an enforcement stay).

          Yesterday’s fine, based on a supplemental Statement of Objections that came down in July 2018, amounts to “only” 242 million euros (272 million U.S. dollars), so it now got a “double whammy” from the EU. The latest one is about predatory pricing. At first sight, that’s counterintuitive. We all know that the allegations usually brought against Qualcomm, besides exclusive dealing, are all about maximizing revenues even in the very short term, not just for the long haul. However, we have to keep in mind that Qualcomm is not just “a monopoly” (in the sense of U.S. antitrust law; over in the EU, this is called “market dominance”), but a dual monopoly: its SEP portfolio bestows monopolistic rights (not only on Qualcomm but also on any other patent holder, provided at least one patent in a portfolio is truly standard-essential), as does its position in certain segments of the chip market, and those monopolies are mutually-reinforcing as a result of Qualcomm’s practices.

        • “Simply irreplaceable”: tributes pour in for Judge Carr

          In a statement today, the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary announced his death with “great sadness.”

          “On behalf of the entire judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice wishes to record his admiration for Sir Henry’s outstanding contribution to the administration of justice, which has been so tragically cut short.”

          After studying jurisprudence at Hertford College, Oxford and obtaining an LLM from the University of British Columbia in Canada, Mr Carr begun his career as a barrister in 1982. He took silk 16 years later, in 1998, specialising in all areas of IP law.


          Just over three weeks ago, on June 27, Managing IP interviewed Mr Carr at the Rolls Building in London. We found him to be warm, accommodating and eloquent. It goes without saying that as a judge at the England & Wales High Court who had previously been a successful IP barrister, he was one of the finest IP minds in the country.

          During conversations before the interview, every lawyer we spoke to made it clear how highly regarded Mr Carr was. They said they enjoyed appearing in front of the judge and that he was a very nice man. This was obvious from our interview, in which Mr Carr spoke passionately and thoughtfully on a range of topics.

        • In-house: decision makers not convinced of IP worth

          In-house counsel consider whether a new IP right for software inventions could help the UK compete after Brexit and discuss whether IP is enough of a priority for decision makers

          In-house lawyers in the insurance and sustainable transport arenas say that developing new areas of business focus – including through full scale rebrands – prompts them to consider their approach to IP enforcement and administration.

      • Trademarks
        • Red Bull sues rival F1 sponsor Rich Energy for trade mark infringement

          Avid followers of Formula 1 racing are likely to be familiar with the energy drink brand “Rich Energy”, and its colourful co-founder William Storey. In March 2018 it was reported that the company was in talks to buy the Force India team out of administration (the purchase did not ultimately proceed). Then, in October 2018, Rich Energy became the title sponsor of the Haas team, and quickly grabbed attention through its bold claims and marketing style.

          But there seem to have been a few bumps in the road [sorry]. In recent weeks, relations between Haas and Rich Energy have broken down, and the sponsorship has been terminated. In parallel, a boardroom battle between Storey and his investors has resulted in Storey being forced out as a director of Rich Energy Limited (REL). It also seems that Rich Energy will now instead be “Lighting Volt” (despite the fact that a UK trade mark for RICH ENERGY was filed but two weeks ago). Goodbye, Rich Energy – we hardly knew ye.

          Unfortunately, REL still faces a ghost of social media posts past. Along with Mr Storey, it is a defendant in a claim [IP-2019-000064] recently issued in the English High Court by Red Bull GmbH (RBG), owner of Haas’ rival F1 team Red Bull Racing. RBG accuses REL and Mr Storey of trade mark infringement.

      • Copyrights
        • The CASE Act: The Road To Copyright Trolling Is Paved With Good Intentions

          Sometimes ideas based in good intentions are so poorly thought out that they would actually make things worse. This seems to be especially prevalent in the copyright world of late (I’m looking at you, Articles 15 and 17 of the EU Copyright Directive), but the most recent example is the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (CASE Act). This bill intends to give photographers and small businesses a more streamlined way to enforce their rights with respect to online infringements by reducing the costs and formalities associated with bringing infringement claims in federal court. Pursuing infringement claims can be expensive and time-consuming, so this may sound like a good thing, especially for rightsholders with limited resources. It is not.

          The CASE Act would establish a quasi-judicial body within the Copyright Office (part of the legislative branch) empowered to hear a limited set of claims, make “determinations” about whether those claims are valid, and assign “limited” damages. The bill structures the process so that it is “voluntary” and lowers the barriers to filing claims so that plaintiffs can more easily defend their rights. Without the “quotes”, this description might sound like a reasonable approach, but that’s because we haven’t talked about the details. Let’s start at the top.

          The bill would establish a Copyright Claims Board (CCB) in the Copyright Office. This would not be a court and would be entirely separated from the court system. The only option to appeal any of the CCB’s determinations, based on the CCB’s legal interpretation, would be to ask the Register of Copyrights to review the decision. It would be theoretically possible to ask a federal court to review the determination, but only on the grounds that the CCB’s determination was “issued as a result of fraud, corruption, misrepresentation, or other misconduct” or if the CCB exceeded its authority. So if you disagree with the CCB’s legal interpretation, or even its competence to make a decision, you are out of luck. This raises red flags about potential due process and separation of powers problems under the Constitution.

        • Has the Cat Got Your Copyright? The dilemma of animal-created works

          Creative works made by animals and discussions on their copyright ownership have frequently featured on the IPKat, be it Ella, the extensively covered selfie-taking black macaque [here, here] or the animal orchestra and its related questions of copyright ownership [here]. Noting the increasing attention paid to animal-created works, we consider whether such creations can and should be folded within the copyright system. We argue that, in some circumstances, animal-created works can be protected by a form of sui generis protection, which does not involve the strict standards of the conventional copyright regime.

          We suggest that animal-created works have a spectrum of their own, on which independent creativity of the animal lies on one end while a degree of human agency interaction lies on the other. For the purposes of further discussion, we divide animal-created works into two categories: works created by animals acting independently, and works created by an animal under some form of human intervention. We propose a different framework of protection for each type of animal-made works. The welfare of the animal is a concern at the centre of each framework.

        • Why The Appearance Of A One Terabyte microSD Card Means The War On Unauthorized Music Downloads Is (Almost) Over

          Perhaps the most interesting one there is the music. Spotify says it has over 50 million tracks on its service. That means a 256 terabyte microSD could probably hold every track on Spotify, and thus most of the recorded music that is generally available in a digital form. Even with today’s one terabyte card, you can probably store the complete catalog of songs in a particular style or genre, which is what many people will be most interested in.

          In any case, assuming Moore’s Law continues to hold, it will soon be possible to buy a 256 terabyte microSD card. Yes, it will be pricey to begin with, but progressively cheaper. At that point, moves to stop unauthorized sharing of music online will be even more pointless than they are now. People won’t need to download lots of stuff from dodgy sites any more; they’ll just find a friend who has a 256 terabyte microSD card loaded up with all recorded music, and make a copy. After that, they just need to update the parts that interest them — or find someone with a more recent complete collection.

        • The EFF vs. DMCA Section 1201

          As the EFF’s Parker Higgins wrote:

          Simply put, Section 1201 means that you can be sued or even jailed if you bypass digital locks on copyrighted works—from DVDs to software in your car—even if you are doing so for an otherwise lawful reason, like security testing.;

          Section 1201 is obviously a big problem for software preservation, especially when it comes to games.

Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

Friday 19th of July 2019 09:01:51 AM

“I think the idea of art kills creativity.”

–Douglas Adams

“I’m going to kill you” isn’t creative expression (and some intentionally misinterpret obvious jokes as ‘threats’)

Summary: Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats (unlike the above) and calls for genocide in the mix

“F-Droid abandons neutrality to censor Gab oriented apps,” LXer said this morning (there’s more to that effect in recent LXer comments). It pointed to this week’s statement from F-Droid, which said: “F-Droid won’t tolerate oppression or harassment against marginalized groups. Because of this, it won’t package nor distribute apps that promote any of these things. This includes that it won’t distribute an app that promotes the usage of previously mentioned website, by either its branding, its pre-filled instance domain or any other direct promotion. This also means F-Droid won’t allow oppression or harassment to happen at its communication channels, including its forum. In the past week, we failed to fulfill this goal on the forum, and we want to apologize for that.”

One person said things along the lines of [1, 2], “if you are at war against free software, f-droid has just handed you a new weapon” and “then there were three freedoms– no more freedom 0.”

“Death threats aren’t to be respected or tolerated.”I spent nearly a year cross-posting in Gab before realising that the site had truly become toxic. Some time last year or the year before that there was little left in the site other than extremists, who issued even death threats to me. Then they started banning people who opposed the extremists as though the “trolls” were in fact decent people. I wrote about it last year in my personal blog and similar conversations could be found online. Here in Techrights we’ve long been free speech absolutists who don’t regard physical threats and/or violence to be “speech”; that’s crossing a line, based on underlying laws that forbid it explicitly. There’s also a news story to that effect right now [1,2]. Death threats aren’t to be respected or tolerated. Only sick people would defend such public discourse.

“The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.”

–Dale Carnegie

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Anti-vaxxer escalates from wishing children dead to threatening to kill adult lawmakers

    The feds charged Darryl Varnum in late June after he told the Congresswoman he was ‘gonna kill your ass if you do that bill,’ report The Beast’s Jackie Kucinich and Lachlan Markay.

  2. Pentagon Contractor Allegedly Threatened to Kill Congresswoman Over Vaccine Bill

    “I’m gonna kill your ass if you do that bill. I swear,” Varnum’s voicemail began. “I will fucking come down and kill your fucking ass. And you’re a Congressperson, that’s fine. I hope the fucking FBI, CIA and everybody else hears this shit.”

Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

Friday 19th of July 2019 06:26:52 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • How the Open Source Operating System Has Silently Won Over the World

      The current and future potential for Linux based systems is limitless. The system’s flexibility allows for the hardware that uses it to be endlessly updated. Functionality can, therefore, be maintained even as the technology around the devices change. This flexibility also means that the function of the hardware can be modified to suit an ever-changing workplace.

      For example, because the INSYS icom OS has been specifically designed for use in routers, this has allowed it to be optimised to be lightweight and hardened to increase its security.

      Multipurpose OS have large libraries of applications for a diverse range of purposes. Great for designing new uses, but these libraries can also be exploited by actors with malicious intent. Stripping down these libraries to just what is necessary through a hardening process can drastically improve security by reducing the attackable surfaces.

      Overall, Windows may have won the desktop OS battle with only a minority of them using Linux OS. However, desktops are only a minute part of the computing world. Servers, mobile systems and embedded technology that make up the majority are predominately running Linux. Linux has gained this position by being more adaptable, lightweight and portable than its competitors.

    • Desktop
      • Acer Chromebook R 13

        It has Android Apps (Google Play) and Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until September 2021.

      • HP Chromebook x360 14

        It has Android Apps (Google Play) and Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until June 2024.

      • Linux disk resizing on Chromebooks pushed back to Chrome OS 78

        Back in March, I reported on an effort that would enable resizing of the Linux partition for Crostini-supported Chromebooks. At that time, I expected the feature to land in Chrome OS 75. I’ve checked for the feature now that Chrome OS 75 is available (again) and it’s nowhere to be seen. That’s because it was recently pushed back to Chrome OS 78.


        However, other aspects need to be considered: Storage of large media files, for example, or enabling Google Drive synchronization with the Chrome OS Files app for offline file access. And then there are Android apps, so of which – particularly games – can require one or two gigabytes of space.

        So far, I haven’t run into any storage issues on my Pixel Slate with 128 GB of data capacity. But it’s easy to see that the Linux container is using up the bulk of my tablet’s storage: As I understand it, /dev/vdb is the Crostini container with Linux, which is 88 GB in size with 58 GB free.

    • Server
      • Linux Based Operating Systems Beat Their Windows Counterparts On Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Platform

        In what sounds surprising, a Linux Kernel Developer who has been working with Microsoft has revealed that Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform has more number of Linux-based operating systems than the Windows-based operating systems. The details came up on an Openwall Open-source Security List which had an application urging Microsoft developers to join the list. The Security list left open an argument that Microsoft plays a key role in Linux development.

      • skuba Dives into Open Source Waters

        SUSE CaaS Platform 4, our next major release is now in beta. It has major architectural improvements for our customers. In the process of planning and developing it, we took a close look at bootstrapping clusters and managing node membership, and we listened to our customers. One of the things we heard from many of them was that they wanted a way to deploy multiple clusters efficiently, by scripting the bootstrap process or by integrating it into other management tools they use.
        To address this, we committed even more strongly to our upstream participation in Kubernetes development. Instead of building SUSE-specific tools as we had in earlier versions, we contributed the efforts of SUSE engineers to the upstream kubeadm component, helping it bridge the gap between its current state and the abilities we had previously implemented in the Velum web interface. Our bootstrap and node management strategy in version 4 is built on kubeadm.

      • Deprecated APIs Removed In 1.16: Here’s What You Need To Know

        As the Kubernetes API evolves, APIs are periodically reorganized or upgraded. When APIs evolve, the old API is deprecated and eventually removed.

      • IBM
        • Red Hat Learning Community fosters open source tech education and reaches 10k members

          We are pleased to announce that the Red Hat Learning Community has reached more than 10,000 members! Since its launch in September 2018, the community has shown itself to be a valuable hub for those seeking to share knowledge and build their open source skill set.

          When we first started out, this was just an idea. We set out to support, enable, and motivate new and experienced open source learners as they learn how to work with Red Hat technologies, validate their technical skill sets, build careers and pursue Red Hat Certifications. We soft launched the community in July 2018 and invited 400 Red Hat Training instructors, students, curriculum developers and certifications team members to jump-start community discussion boards and earn a founding member badge.

        • Announcing the Release of Oracle Linux 8
        • Oracle Linux 8.0 Released

          In early May right before the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 we saw the public beta of Oracle Linux 8 while today Oracle Linux 8.0 has been promoted to stable and production ready.

          Oracle Linux 8.0 is available today as Oracle’s re-build of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 and the features it brings while adding in some extras like the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel option along with D-Trace integration and other bits.

          The default kernel shipped by Oracle Linux 8.0 is a Linux 4.18 derived kernel that remains compatible with Red Hat’s official RHEL8 kernel package.

        • An introduction to cloud-native CI/CD with Red Hat OpenShift Pipelines

          Red Hat OpenShift 4.1 offers a developer preview of OpenShift Pipelines, which enable the creation of cloud-native, Kubernetes-style continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines based on the Tekton project. In a recent article on the Red Hat OpenShift blog, I provided an introduction to Tekton and pipeline concepts and described the benefits and features of OpenShift Pipelines.
          OpenShift Pipelines builds upon the Tekton project to enable teams to build Kubernetes-style delivery pipelines that they can fully control and own the complete lifecycle of their microservices without having to rely on central teams to maintain and manage a CI server, plugins, and its configurations.

        • IBM’s New Open Source Kabanero Promises to Simplify Kubernetes for DevOps

          At OSCON, IBM unveiled a new open source platform that promises to make Kubernetes easier to manage for DevOps teams.

        • MySQL for developers in Red Hat OpenShift

          As a software developer, it’s often necessary to access a relational database—or any type of database, for that matter. If you’ve been held back by that situation where you need to have someone in operations provision a database for you, then this article will set you free. I’ll show you how to spin up (and wipe out) a MySQL database in seconds using Red Hat OpenShift.

          Truth be told, there are several databases that can be hosted in OpenShift, including Microsoft SQL Server, Couchbase, MongoDB, and more. For this article, we’ll use MySQL. The concepts, however, will be the same for other databases. So, let’s get some knowledge and leverage it.

        • What you need to know to be a sysadmin

          The system administrator of yesteryear jockeyed users and wrangled servers all day, in between mornings and evenings spent running hundreds of meters of hundreds of cables. This is still true today, with the added complexity of cloud computing, containers, and virtual machines.

          Looking in from the outside, it can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly a sysadmin does, because they play at least a small role in so many places. Nobody goes into a career already knowing everything they need for a job, but everyone needs a strong foundation. If you’re looking to start down the path of system administration, here’s what you should be concentrating on in your personal or formal training.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
    • Kernel Space
      • Shrinking Linux Attack Surfaces

        Often, a kernel developer will try to reduce the size of an attack surface against Linux, even if it can’t be closed entirely. It’s generally a toss-up whether such a patch makes it into the kernel. Linus Torvalds always prefers security patches that really close a hole, rather than just give attackers a slightly harder time of it.

        Matthew Garrett recognized that userspace applications might have secret data that might be sitting in RAM at any given time, and that those applications might want to wipe that data clean so no one could look at it.

        There were various ways to do this already in the kernel, as Matthew pointed out. An application could use mlock() to prevent its memory contents from being pushed into swap, where it might be read more easily by attackers. An application also could use atexit() to cause its memory to be thoroughly overwritten when the application exited, thus leaving no secret data in the general pool of available RAM.

        The problem, Matthew pointed out, came if an attacker was able to reboot the system at a critical moment—say, before the user’s data could be safely overwritten. If attackers then booted into a different OS, they might be able to examine the data still stored in RAM, left over from the previously running Linux system.

        As Matthew also noted, the existing way to prevent even that was to tell the UEFI firmware to wipe system memory before booting to another OS, but this would dramatically increase the amount of time it took to reboot. And if the good guys had won out over the attackers, forcing them to wait a long time for a reboot could be considered a denial of service attack—or at least downright annoying.

      • Ceph updates for 5.3-rc1 Hi Linus, The following changes since commit 0ecfebd2b52404ae0c54a878c872bb93363ada36: Linux 5.2 (2019-07-07 15:41:56 -0700) are available in the Git repository at: tags/ceph-for-5.3-rc1 for you to fetch changes up to d31d07b97a5e76f41e00eb81dcca740e84aa7782: ceph: fix end offset in truncate_inode_pages_range call (2019-07-08 14:01:45 +0200) There is a trivial conflict caused by commit 9ffbe8ac05db ("locking/lockdep: Rename lockdep_assert_held_exclusive() -> lockdep_assert_held_write()"). I included the resolution in for-linus-merged.
      • Ceph Sees “Lots Of Exciting Things” For Linux 5.3 Kernel

        Ceph for Linux 5.3 is bringing an addition to speed-up reads/discards/snap-diffs on sparse images, snapshot creation time is now exposed to support features like “restore previous versions”, support for security xattrs (currently limited to SELinux), addressing a missing feature bit so the kernel client’s Ceph features are now “luminous”, better consistency with Ceph FUSE, and changing the time granularity from 1us to 1ns. There are also bug fixes and other work as part of the Ceph code for Linux 5.3. As maintainer Ilya Dryomov put it, “Lots of exciting things this time!”

      • The NVMe Patches To Support Linux On Newer Apple Macs Are Under Review

        At the start of the month we reported on out-of-tree kernel work to support Linux on the newer Macs. Those patches were focused on supporting Apple’s NVMe drive behavior by the Linux kernel driver. That work has been evolving nicely and is now under review on the kernel mailing list.

        Volleyed on Tuesday were a set of three patches to the Linux kernel’s NVMe code for dealing with the Apple hardware of the past few years in order for Linux to deal with these drives.

        On Apple 2018 systems and newer, their I/O queue sizing/handling is odd and in other areas not properly following NVMe specifications. These patches take care of that while hopefully not regressing existing NVMe controller support.

      • Destaging ION

        The Android system has shipped a couple of allocators for DMA buffers over the years; first came PMEM, then its replacement ION. The ION allocator has been in use since around 2012, but it remains stuck in the kernel’s staging tree. The work to add ION to the mainline started in 2013; at that time, the allocator had multiple issues that made inclusion impossible. Recently, John Stultz posted a patch set introducing DMA-BUF heaps, an evolution of ION, that is designed to do exactly that — get the Android DMA-buffer allocator to the mainline Linux kernel.

        Applications interacting with devices often require a memory buffer that is shared with the device driver. Ideally, it would be memory mapped and physically contiguous, allowing direct DMA access and minimal overhead when accessing the data from both sides at the same time. ION’s main goal is to support that use case; it implements a unified way of defining and sharing such memory buffers, while taking into account the constraints imposed by the devices and the platform.

      • clone3(), fchmodat4(), and fsinfo()

        The kernel development community continues to propose new system calls at a high rate. Three ideas that are currently in circulation on the mailing lists are clone3(), fchmodat4(), and fsinfo(). In some cases, developers are just trying to make more flag bits available, but there is also some significant new functionality being discussed.

        The clone() system call creates a new process or thread; it is the actual machinery behind fork(). Unlike fork(), clone() accepts a flags argument to modify how it operates. Over time, quite a few flags have been added; most of these control what resources and namespaces are to be shared with the new child process. In fact, so many flags have been added that, when CLONE_PIDFD was merged for 5.2, the last available flag bit was taken. That puts an end to the extensibility of clone().

      • Soft CPU affinity

        On NUMA systems with a lot of CPUs, it is common to assign parts of the workload to different subsets of the available processors. This partitioning can improve performance while reducing the ability of jobs to interfere with each other. The partitioning mechanisms available on current kernels might just do too good a job in some situations, though, leaving some CPUs idle while others are overutilized. The soft affinity patch set from Subhra Mazumdar is an attempt to improve performance by making that partitioning more porous.
        In current kernels, a process can be restricted to a specific set of CPUs with either the sched_setaffinity() system call or the cpuset mechanism. Either way, any process so restricted will only be able to run on the specified CPUs regardless of the state of the system as a whole. Even if the other CPUs in the system are idle, they will be unavailable to any process that has been restricted not to run on them. That is normally the behavior that is wanted; a system administrator who has partitioned a system in this way probably has some other use in mind for those CPUs.

        But what if the administrator would rather relax the partitioning in cases where the fenced-off CPUs are idle and going to waste? The only alternative currently is to not partition the system at all and let processes roam across all CPUs. One problem with that approach, beyond losing the isolation between jobs, is that NUMA locality can be lost, resulting in reduced performance even with more CPUs available. In theory the AutoNUMA balancing code in the kernel should address that problem by migrating processes and their memory to the same node, but Mazumdar notes that it doesn’t seem to work properly when memory is spread out across the system. Its reaction time is also said to be too slow, and the cost of the page scanning required is high.

      • NVMe Patches to Allow macOS-Linux Dual Boot Under Review

        NVMe is a protocol used by Apple for PCIe solid state drives. It replaces the older Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI). On Tuesday, three NVMe patches were submitted to the Linux kernel to deal with Mac SSDs that use this protocol.

      • VirtIO-PMEM Driver Added To Linux 5.3 For Paravirtualized Persistent Memory

        In addition to Linux 5.3 bringing a VirtIO-IOMMU driver, this next kernel version is bringing another new VirtIO virtual device implementation: PMEM for para-virtualized persistent memory support for the likes of Intel Optane DC persistent memory.

    • Benchmarks
      • Corsair Force MP600 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Benchmarks On Linux

        One of the first PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs to market has been the Corsair Force MP600. AMD included the Corsair MP600 2TB NVMe PCIe4 SSD with their Ryzen 3000 reviewer’s kit and for those interested in this speedy solid-state storage here are some benchmarks compared to various other storage devices on Ubuntu Linux.

        The 2TB Force Series Gen 4 MP600 SSD is rated for sequential reads up to 4950MB/s and sequential writes up to 4250MB/s and 600k IOPS random writes and 680k IOPS random reads. The MP600 relies upon 3D TLC NAND and relies upon a Phison PS5016-E16 controller. This 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD will set you back $450 USD while a 1TB version is a modest $250 USD.

    • Applications
      • Linux File Manager: Top 20 Reviewed for Linux Users

        A file manager is the most used software in any digital platform. With the help of this software, you can access, manage, and decorate the files on your device. For the Linux system, this is also an important factor to have an effective and simple file manager. In this curated article, we are going to discuss a set of best Linux file manager tools which definitely help you to operate the system effectively.

      • Maestral Is A New Open Source Dropbox Client For Linux And macOS

        Maestral is a new open source Dropbox client for macOS and Linux, that’s currently in beta. It can be used both with and without a GUI, and it was created with the purpose of having a Dropbox client that supports folder syncing to drives which use filesystems like Btrfs, Ext3, ZFS, XFS or encrypted filesystems, which are no longer supported by Dropbox.

      • GLava – OpenGL audio spectrum visualizer for desktop windows or backgrounds

        Over the past few months, I’ve written lots of reviews of open source audio software, focusing mainly on music players. Linux has a mouthwatering array of open source multimedia tools, so I’m going to turn my attention wider afield from music players. Let’s start with some multimedia candy.

        GLava is an OpenGL audio spectrum visualizer for Linux. An audio visualizer works by extracting waveform and/or frequency information from the audio and feeds this information through some display rules, which produces what you see on the screen. The imagery is usually generated and rendered in real time and in a way synchronized with the music as it is played.

        GLava makes a real-time audio visualizer appear as if it’s embedded in your desktop background, or in a window. When displayed as the background, it’ll display on top of your wallpaper, giving the appearance of a live, animated wallpaper.

        GLava is a simple C program that sets up the necessary OpenGL and Xlib code for sets of 2D fragment shaders. The software uses PulseAudio to sync the desktop visualizer with any music source.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Latte Dock, first beta for v0.9 (v0.8.97)

          I know you waited for this so long but believe me there were really good reasons. Check out the past articles concerning Latte git version and you can get a picture what major new features are introduced for v0.9. Of course this is an article for a beta release and as such I will not provide any fancy videos or screenshots; this is a goal for official stable release article.

        • Latte Dock 0.9 Beta Brings Wayland Improvements, Smoother Experience

          It’s been over one year since the release of Latte Dock 0.8 as this KDE-aligned desktop dock while now the v0.9 release isn’t too far away.

          Latte Dock 0.9 continues maturing its Wayland support though is still deemed a technology preview for the v0.9 series but should be in much better standing all-around.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Millan Castro: GSoC: First month working in Pitivi

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

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

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

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

    • Distributions
      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • Endeavour OS 2019.07.15

          Today we are looking at the first stable release of Endeavour OS. It is a project that started to continue the spirit of the recently discontinued Antergos. The developing team exists out of Antergos developers and community members.

          As you can see in this first stable release, it is far from just a continuing of Antergos as we know it. The stable release is an offline Calamres installer and it just came with a customized XFCE desktop environment. They are planning to have an online installer again in the future, which will give a person an option to choose between 10 desktop environments, similar to Antergos.

          It is based on Arch, Linux Kernel 5.2, XFCE 4.14 pre2 and it uses about 500mb of ram.

        • Endeavour OS 2019.07.15 Run Through

          In this video, we look at Endeavour OS 2019.07.15.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
      • Fedora Family
        • Building blocks of syslog-ng

          Recently I gave a syslog-ng introductory workshop at Pass the SALT conference in Lille, France. I got a lot of positive feedback, so I decided to turn all that feedback into a blog post. Naturally, I shortened and simplified it, but still managed to get enough material for multiple blog posts.

        • PHP version 7.2.21RC1 and 7.3.8RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests (for x86_64 only), and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.387RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 30 or remi-php73-test repository for Fedora 28-29 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 7.2.20RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 28-29 or remi-php72-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • QElectroTech version 0.70

          RPM of QElectroTech version 0.70, an application to design electric diagrams, are available in remi for Fedora and Enterprise Linux 7.

          A bit more than 1 year after the version 0.60 release, the project have just released a new major version of their electric diagrams editor.

        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for kernel 5.2

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.2. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. This version has many security fixes included. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, July 22, 2019 through Monday, July 29, 2019. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

      • Debian Family
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Linux Mint 19.2 beta releases with Update Manager, improved menu and much more!

          This week the team behind Linux Mint announced the release of Linux Mint 19.2 beta, a desktop Linux distribution used for producing a modern operating system. This release is codenamed as Tina.

          This release comes with updated software and refinements and new features for making the desktop more comfortable to use.

        • Comparison of Memory Usages of Ubuntu 19.04 and Flavors in 2019

          Continuing my previous Mem. Comparison 2018, here’s my 2019 comparison with all editions of Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo”. The operating system editions I use here are the eight: Ubuntu Desktop, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Budgie. I installed every one of them on my laptop and (immediately at first login) took screenshot of the System Monitor (or Task Manager) without doing anything else. I present here the screenshots along with each variant’s list of processes at the time I took them. And, you can download the ODS file I used to create the chart below. Finally, I hope this comparison helps all of you and next time somebody can make better comparisons.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) End of Life reached on July 18 2019 This is a follow-up to the End of Life warning sent earlier this month to confirm that as of today (July 18, 2019), Ubuntu 18.10 is no longer supported. No more package updates will be accepted to 18.10, and it will be archived to in the coming weeks. The original End of Life warning follows, with upgrade instructions: Ubuntu announced its 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) release almost 9 months ago, on October 18, 2018. As a non-LTS release, 18.10 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 18.10 will reach end of life on Thursday, July 18th. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 18.10. The supported upgrade path from Ubuntu 18.10 is via Ubuntu 19.04. Instructions and caveats for the upgrade may be found at: Ubuntu 19.04 continues to be actively supported with security updates and select high-impact bug fixes. Announcements of security updates for Ubuntu releases are sent to the ubuntu-security-announce mailing list, information about which may be found at: Since its launch in October 2004 Ubuntu has become one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users in homes, schools, businesses and governments around the world. Ubuntu is Open Source software, costs nothing to download, and users are free to customise or alter their software in order to meet their needs. On behalf of the Ubuntu Release Team, Adam Conrad
        • CMake leverages the Snapcraft Summit with Travis CI to build snaps

          CMake is an open-source, cross-platform family of tools designed to build, test and package software. It is used to control the software compilation process and generate native makefiles and workspaces that can be used in any compiler environment.

          While some users of CMake want to stay up to date with the latest release, others want to be able to stay with a known version and choose when to move forward to newer releases, picking up just the minor bug fixes for the feature release they are tracking. Users may also occasionally need to roll back to an earlier feature release, such as when a bug or a change introduced in a newer CMake version exposes problems within their project.

          Craig Scott, one of the co-maintainers of CMake, sees snaps as an excellent solution to these needs. Snaps’ ability to support separate tracks for each feature release in addition to giving users the choice of following official releases, release candidates or bleeding edge builds are an ideal fit. When he received an invitation to the 2019 Snapcraft Summit, he was keen to work directly with those at the pointy end of developing and supporting the snap system.

        • Ubuntu’s Zsys Client/Daemon For ZFS On Linux Continues Maturing For Eoan

          Looking ahead to Ubuntu 19.10 as the cycle before Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, one of the areas exciting us with the work being done by Canonical is (besides the great upstream GNOME performance work) easily comes down to the work they are pursuing on better ZFS On Linux integration with even aiming to offer ZFS as a file-system option from their desktop installer. A big role in their ZoL play is also the new “Zsys” component they have been developing.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Events
        • The third Operating-System-Directed Power-Management summit

          he third edition of the Operating-System-Directed Power-Management (OSPM) summit was held May 20-22 at the ReTiS Lab of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy. The summit is organized to collaborate on ways to reduce the energy consumption of Linux systems, while still meeting performance and other goals. It is attended by scheduler, power-management, and other kernel developers, as well as academics, industry representatives, and others interested in the topics.

        • The future of SCHED_DEADLINE and SCHED_RT for capacity-constrained and asymmetric-capacity systems

          The kernel’s deadline scheduling class (SCHED_DEADLINE) enables realtime scheduling where every task is guaranteed to meet its deadlines. Unfortunately SCHED_DEADLINE’s current view on CPU capacity is far too simple. It doesn’t take dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS), simultaneous multithreading (SMT), asymmetric CPU capacity, or any kind of performance capping (e.g. due to thermal constraints) into consideration.

          In particular, if we consider running deadline tasks in a system with performance capping, the question is “what level of guarantee should SCHED_DEADLINE provide?”. An interesting discussion about the pro and cons of different approaches (weak, hard, or mixed guarantees) developed during this presentation. There were many different views but the discussion didn’t really conclude and will have to be continued at the Linux Plumbers Conference later this year.

          The topic of guaranteed performance will become more important for mobile systems in the future as performance capping is likely to become more common. Defining hard guarantees is almost impossible on real systems since silicon behavior very much depends on environmental conditions. The main pushback on the existing scheme is that the guaranteed bandwidth budget might be too conservative. Hence SCHED_DEADLINE might not allow enough bandwidth to be reserved for use cases with higher bandwidth requirements that can tolerate bandwidth reservations not being honored.

        • Scheduler behavioral testing

          Validating scheduler behavior is a tricky affair, as multiple subsystems both compete and cooperate with each other to produce the task placement we observe. Valentin Schneider from Arm described the approach taken by his team (the folks behind energy-aware scheduling — EAS) to tackle this problem.

        • CFS wakeup path and Arm big.LITTLE/DynamIQ

          “One task per CPU” workloads, as emulated by multi-core Geekbench, can suffer on traditional two-cluster big.LITTLE systems due to the fact that tasks finish earlier on the big CPUs. Arm has introduced a more flexible DynamIQ architecture that can combine big and LITTLE CPUs into a single cluster; in this case, early products apply what’s known as phantom scheduler domains (PDs). The concept of PDs is needed for DynamIQ so that the task scheduler can use the existing big.LITTLE extensions in the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) scheduler class.

          Multi-core Geekbench consists of several tests during which N CFS tasks perform an equal amount of work. The synchronization mechanism pthread_barrier_wait() (i.e. a futex) is used to wait for all tasks to finish their work in test T before starting the tasks again for test T+1.

          The problem for Geekbench on big.LITTLE is related to the grouping of big and LITTLE CPUs in separate scheduler (or CPU) groups of the so-called die-level scheduler domain. The two groups exists because the big CPUs share a last-level cache (LLC) and so do the LITTLE CPUs. This isn’t true any more for DynamIQ, hence the use of the “phantom” notion here.

          The tasks of test T finish earlier on big CPUs and go to sleep at the barrier B. Load balancing then makes sure that the tasks on the LITTLE CPUs migrate to the big CPUs where they continue to run the rest of their work in T before they also go to sleep at B. At this moment, all the tasks in the wake queue have a big CPU as their previous CPU (p->prev_cpu). After the last task has entered pthread_barrier_wait() on a big CPU, all tasks on the wake queue are woken up.

        • I-MECH: realtime virtualization for industrial automation

          The typical systems used in industrial automation (e.g. for axis control) consist of a “black box” executing a commercial realtime operating system (RTOS) plus a set of control design tools meant to be run on a different desktop machine. This approach, besides imposing expensive royalties on the system integrator, often does not offer the desired degree of flexibility for testing/implementing novel solutions (e.g., running both control code and design tools on the same platform).

        • Virtual-machine scheduling and scheduling in virtual machines

          As is probably well known, a scheduler is the component of an operating system that decides which CPU the various tasks should run on and for how long they are allowed to do so. This happens when an OS runs on the bare hardware of a physical host and it is also the case when the OS runs inside a virtual machine. The only difference being that, in the latter case, the OS scheduler marshals tasks among virtual CPUs.

          And what are virtual CPUs? Well, in most platforms they are also a kind of special task and they want to run on some CPUs … therefore we need a scheduler for that! This is usually called the “double-scheduling” property of systems employing virtualization because, well, there literally are two schedulers: one — let us call it the host scheduler, or the hypervisor scheduler — that schedules the virtual CPUs on the host physical CPUs; and another one — let us call it the guest scheduler — that schedules the guest OS’s tasks on the guest’s virtual CPUs.

          Now what are these two schedulers? That depends on the virtualization platform. They are always different, in the sense that it will never happen that, at runtime, a scheduler has to deal with scheduling virtual CPUs and also scheduling tasks that want to run on those same virtual CPUs (well, it can happen, but then you are not doing virtualization). They can be the same, in terms of code, or they can be completely different from that respect as well.

        • Rock and a hard place: How hard it is to be a CPU idle-time governor

          In the opening session of OSPM 2019, Rafael Wysocki from Intel gave a talk about potential problems faced by the designers of CPU idle-time-management governors, which was inspired by his own experience from the timer-events oriented (TEO) governor work done last year.

          In the first place, he said, it should be noted that “CPU idleness” is defined at the level of logical CPUs, which may be CPU cores or simultaneous multithreading (SMT) threads, depending on the hardware configuration of the processor. In Linux, a logical CPU is idle when there are no runnable tasks in its queue, so it falls back to executing the idle task associated with it (there is one idle task for each logical CPU in the system, but they all share the same code, which is the idle loop). Therefore “CPU idleness” is an OS (not hardware) concept and if the idle loop is entered by a CPU, there is an opportunity to save some energy with a relatively small impact on performance (or even without any impact on performance at all) — if the hardware supports that.

          The idle loop runs on each idle CPU and it only takes this particular CPU into consideration. As a rule, two code modules are invoked in every iteration of it. The first one, referred to as the CPU idle-time-management governor, is responsible for deciding whether or not to stop the scheduler tick and what to tell the hardware to do; the second one, called the CPU idle-time-management driver, passes the governor’s decisions down to the hardware, usually in an architecture- or platform-specific way. Then, presumably, the processor enters a special state in which the CPU in question stops fetching instructions (that is, it does literally nothing at all); that may allow the processor’s power draw to be reduced and some energy to be saved as a result. If that happens, the processor needs to be woken up from that state by a hardware event after spending some time, referred to as the idle duration, in it. At that point, the governor is called again so it can save the idle-duration value for future use.

        • ApacheCon Europe 2019 Schedule Revealed by The Apache Software Foundation

          If you’ve been following Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announcements for ApacheCon 2019, you must be aware of the conference in Las Vegas (ApacheCon North America) from September 9 to September 12.

          And, recently, they announced their plans for ApacheCon Europe 2019 to be held on 22-24 October 2019 at the iconic Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, Germany. It is going to be one of the major events by ASF this year. In this article, we shall take a look at the details revealed as of yet.

        • GStreamer in Oslo

          Aaron discussed various ways to record RTSP streams when used with playbin and brought up some of his pending merge requests around the closed captioning renderer and Active Format Description (AFD) support, with a discussion about redoing the renderer properly, and in Rust.

          George discussed a major re-work of the gst-omx bufferpool code that he has been doing and then moved his focus on Qt/Android support. He mostly focused on the missing bits, discussing builds and infrastructure issues with Nirbheek and myself, and going through his old patches.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
      • BSD
        • DragonFlyBSD Pulls In The Radeon Driver Code From Linux 4.4

          While the Linux 4.4 kernel is quite old (January 2016), DragonFlyBSD has now re-based its AMD Radeon kernel graphics driver against that release. It is at least a big improvement compared to its Radeon code having been derived previously from Linux 3.19.

          DragonFlyBSD developer François Tigeot continues doing a good job herding the open-source Linux graphics driver support to this BSD. With the code that landed on Monday, DragonFlyBSD’s Radeon DRM is based upon the state found in the Linux 4.4.180 LTS tree.

      • Programming/Development
        • Start a new Cryptocurrency project with Python
        • [Mozilla] Celery without a Results Backend
        • Mucking about with microframeworks

          Python does not lack for web frameworks, from all-encompassing frameworks like Django to “nanoframeworks” such as WebCore. A recent “spare time” project caused me to look into options in the middle of this range of choices, which is where the Python “microframeworks” live. In particular, I tried out the Bottle and Flask microframeworks—and learned a lot in the process.

          I have some experience working with Python for the web, starting with the Quixote framework that we use here at LWN. I have also done some playing with Django along the way. Neither of those seemed quite right for this latest toy web application. Plus I had heard some good things about Bottle and Flask at various PyCons over the last few years, so it seemed worth an investigation.

          Web applications have lots of different parts: form handling, HTML template processing, session management, database access, authentication, internationalization, and so on. Frameworks provide solutions for some or all of those parts. The nano-to-micro-to-full-blown spectrum is defined (loosely, at least) based on how much of this functionality a given framework provides or has opinions about. Most frameworks at any level will allow plugging in different parts, based on the needs of the application and its developers, but nanoframeworks provide little beyond request and response handling, while full-blown frameworks provide an entire stack by default. That stack handles most or all of what a web application requires.

          The list of web frameworks on the Python wiki is rather eye-opening. It gives a good idea of the diversity of frameworks, what they provide, what other packages they connect to or use, as well as some idea of how full-blown (or “full-stack” on the wiki page) they are. It seems clear that there is something for everyone out there—and that’s just for Python. Other languages undoubtedly have their own sets of frameworks (e.g. Ruby on Rails).

      • Standards/Consortia
        • SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial Interoperability is Judo for Network Effects

          Before there was Big Tech, there was “adversarial interoperability”: when someone decides to compete with a dominant company by creating a product or service that “interoperates” (works with) its offerings.

          In tech, “network effects” can be a powerful force to maintain market dominance: if everyone is using Facebook, then your Facebook replacement doesn’t just have to be better than Facebook, it has to be so much better than Facebook that it’s worth using, even though all the people you want to talk to are still on Facebook. That’s a tall order.

          Adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects, using incumbents’ dominance against them. To see how that works, let’s look at a historical example of adversarial interoperability role in helping to unseat a monopolist’s dominance.

          The first skirmishes of the PC wars were fought with incompatible file formats and even data-storage formats: Apple users couldn’t open files made by Microsoft users, and vice-versa. Even when file formats were (more or less) harmonized, there was still the problems of storage media: the SCSI drive you plugged into your Mac needed a special add-on and flaky driver software to work on your Windows machine; the ZIP cartridge you formatted for your PC wouldn’t play nice with Macs.

          But as office networking spread, the battle moved to a new front: networking compatibility. AppleTalk, Apple’s proprietary protocol for connecting up Macs and networked devices like printers, pretty much Just Worked, providing you were using a Mac. If you were using a Windows PC, you had to install special, buggy, unreliable software.

          And for Apple users hoping to fit in at Windows shops, the problems were even worse: Windows machines used the SMB protocol for file-sharing and printers, and Microsoft’s support for MacOS was patchy at best, nonexistent at worst, and costly besides. Businesses sorted themselves into Mac-only and PC-only silos, and if a Mac shop needed a PC (for the accounting software, say), it was often cheaper and easier just to get the accountant their own printer and backup tape-drive, rather than try to get that PC to talk to the network. Likewise, all PC-shops with a single graphic designer on a Mac—that person would often live offline, disconnected from the office network, tethered to their own printer, with their own stack of Mac-formatted ZIP cartridges or CD-ROMs.


          Someone attempting to replicate the SAMBA creation feat in 2019 would likely come up against an access control that needed to be bypassed in order to peer inside the protocol’s encrypted outer layer in order to create a feature-compatible tool to use in competing products.

          Another thing that’s changed (for the worse) since 1993 is the proliferation of software patents. Software patenting went into high gear around 1994 and consistently gained speed until 2014, when Alice v. CLS Bank put the brakes on (today, Alice is under threat). After decades of low-quality patents issuing from the US Patent and Trademark Office, there are so many trivial, obvious and overlapping software patents in play that anyone trying to make a SAMBA-like product would run a real risk of being threatened with expensive litigation for patent infringement.

  • Leftovers
    • Health/Nutrition
      • Drug Prices Are So Insane That The NY Times Is Recommending The US Gov’t Just ‘Seize The Patents’

        Drug prices are sky high. This is not news. A bunch of incredibly dumb policy decisions have been stacked up for decades and brought us to this place where drug prices — especially for life-saving drugs — would bankrupt most people. A huge part of the problem is our patent system and how we literally grant monopolies to companies over these drugs. Combine “life saving” with “monopoly” and, uh, you don’t have to have a PhD in economics to know what happens to the price. Add into that our fucked up and convoluted hospital and insurance healthcare system, in which prices are hidden from patients, and you have a recipe for the most insanely exploitative “marketplace” ever.


        Furthermore, while the Times is correct that this could be “done now,” it seems like yet another way of treating the symptoms not the disease. Fix the fucking patent system. Fix our broken healthcare system. Do those two things and you don’t have insane drug pricing any more. And, to be fair, at least the NY Times piece does acknowledge the idea that maybe we need to “blow up the patent system and start over” when it comes to pharmaceuticals. But it labels this idea as “fantastical.” It may be “fantastical” to those with limited imaginations and focused on living under today’s crappy, broken system. But if we want to deal with the real problems, that’s one area to start.

      • Sound, Fury and Prescription Drugs

        As the 2020 election draws near, presidential candidates are putting forth numerous other solutions to the drug cost crisis. Those solutions range from the practical (tax drug companies on their price hikes) to the ambitious (let the federal government make its own drugs) to the fantastical (blow up the patent system and start over). If the plans get serious consideration, they would advance a long overdue dialogue about how the country wants to evaluate medications and what it is and isn’t willing to spend on them — a question that sits at the heart of America’s deeply flawed prescription drug system.

      • Claims Of 5G Health Risks Are Frequently Based On A Single, 20 Year Old Flawed Graph

        Having reported on this subject a few times, I will say that this is a seedier, deeper rabbit hole than you might think. While Russian news outlets do seem to be enjoying amplifying fear on this subject, there’s plenty of home grown folks pushing 5G health risk claims as well. I’ve found a long line of academics happy to go on the record claiming 5G could pose a health risk. I’ve also found plenty of others proclaiming any health concerns are fluff and nonsense. But pretty uniformly you’ll find one consensus buried under the mess: far, far more study is necessary before anybody engages in absolutism one way or the other.

    • Security
      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, firefox, and squid), CentOS (thunderbird and vim), Debian (libonig), SUSE (firefox, glibc, kernel, libxslt, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (libreoffice and thunderbird).

      • EvilGnomes Linux malware record activities & spy on users [Ed: This is something the user actually installs, harming his/her machine. Original post here.]]

        Dubbed EvilGnomes by researchers; the malware was found masquerading as a Gnome shell extension targeting Linux’s desktop users.

      • Mike Driscoll: New Malicious Python Libraries Found Targeting Linux

        They were written by a user named ruri12. These packages were removed by the PyPI team on July 9, 2019. However they were available since November 2017 and had been downloaded fairly regularly.

        See the original article for more details.

        As always, when using a package that you aren’t familiar with, be sure to do your own thorough vetting to be sure you are not installing malware accidentally.

      • Latest Huawei ‘Smoking Gun’ Still Doesn’t Prove Global Blackball Effort’s Primary Justification

        We’ve noted a few times now how the protectionist assault against Huawei hasn’t been supported by much in the way of public evidence. As in, despite widespread allegations that Huawei helps China spy on Americans wholesale, nobody has actually been able to provide any hard public evidence proving that claim. That’s a bit of a problem when you’re talking about a global blackballing effort. Especially when previous investigations as long as 18 months couldn’t find evidence of said spying, and many US companies have a history of ginning up security fears simply because they don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese kit.

        That said, a new report (you can find the full thing here) dug through the CVs of many Huawei executives and employees, and found that a small number of “key mid-level technical personnel employed by Huawei have strong backgrounds in work closely associated with intelligence gathering and military activities.”

      • No love lost between security specialists and developers

        Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve noticed hardly a day goes by without another serious security foul-up. While there’s plenty of blame to go around for these endless security problems, some of it goes to developers who write bad code.

        That makes sense. But when GitLab, a DevOps company, surveyed over 4,000 developers and operators, they found 68% of the security professionals surveyed believe it’s a programmer’s job to write secure code, but they also think less than half of developers can spot security holes.

      • GitLab Survey Surfaces Major DevSecOps Challenges Ahead

        A report based on a survey of 4,071 software professionals published this week by GitLab, a provider of a continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) platform, found that while appreciation of the potential value of DevSecOps best practices is high, the ability to implement those practices is uneven at best.

      • GitLab Survey Reveals Disconnect Between Developer And Security Teams

        In a survey conducted by GitLab, software professionals recognize the need for security to be baked into the development lifecycle, but the survey showed long-standing friction between security and development teams remain. While 69% of developers say they’re expected to write secure code, nearly half of security pros surveyed (49%) said they struggle to get developers to make remediation of vulnerabilities a priority. And 68% of security professionals feel fewer than half of developers are able to spot security vulnerabilities later in the lifecycle.

      • Cook: security things in Linux v5.2

        Over on his blog, Kees Cook runs through the security changes that came in Linux 5.2.

    • Environment
      • Latest Gulf Storm Brings Tough Choices for Residents of Disappearing Isle de Jean Charles

        While most of Louisiana was spared Barry’s wrath last week, Isle de Jean Charles, a quickly eroding strip of land among coastal wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico, was not. A storm surge swept over the island, about 80 miles southwest of New Orleans, early in the morning on July 13 before Barry was upgraded from a tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane.

        On July 15, I met with Albert Naquin, Chief of the Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe (IDJC) and Wenceslaus Billiot Jr., the Tribe’s deputy chief, to travel to the island and assess the damages. That afternoon, we made our way through the receding waters that still covered Island Road, the only route connecting the island to the mainland. Days after the storm, some parts of the road on the island were still submerged in three feet of water.

      • The Heat is On: Local residents bracing for stifling heat

        Chester County officials Wednesday afternoon issued a Code Red health alert for extreme heat that is expected to continue into Monday.

      • Energy
        • New Library of Fossil Fuel Industry Documents Provide Key Ingredient Against Climate Denial and Inaction

          On every front, academics, journalists and policymakers compare the fossil fuel industry to the tobacco industry. The two industries share the same playbook: strategies of delay, exculpating blame by making the consumer responsible, denying scientific consensus, publishing industry-funded science and fostering public confusion over the real impacts of their products.

          A major difference between the two industries, however, is the timescale and scope of the harms caused. While public health professionals are executing coordinated efforts for a “tobacco endgame” to reduce smoking and tobacco prevalence to five percent of the population or less, with the possibility of ending the tobacco epidemic in certain areas within a couple decades — we’re far from making similar progress when it comes to climate change.

          Even if all fossil fuel production and consumption ended today, the fallout from 50 years of delay caused by industry obfuscation will have ramifications for humans and other species for centuries or even millennia. If disruptive climate change continues unabated, the impacts on the planet may be essentially irreversible, at least as far as any humanly relevant scale.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • WIPO Now Gets Into The Extrajudicial, Zero Due Process, Censorship Act Over Sites It Declares ‘Infringing’

        Every few years this kind of thing pops up. Some ignorant organization or policymaker thinks “oh, hey, the easy way to ‘solve’ piracy is just to create a giant blacklist.” This sounds like a simple solution… if you have no idea how any of this works. Remember, advertising giant GroupM tried just such an approach a decade ago, working with Universal Music to put together a list of “pirate sites” for which it would block all advertising. Of course, who ended up on that list? A bunch of hip hop news sites and blogs. And even the personal site of one of Universal Music’s own stars was suddenly deemed an “infringing site.”

        These kinds of mistakes highlight just how fraught such a process is — especially when it’s done behind the scenes by organizations that face no penalty for overblocking. In such cases you always get widespread overblocking based on innuendo, speculation, and rumor, rather than any legitimate due process or court adjudication concerning infringement. Even worse, if there was actual infringement going on, one possible legal remedy would involve getting a site to take down that content. Under a “list” approach, it’s just basically a death penalty for the entire site.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • FBI, ICE Are Running Facial Recognition Searches Against State Drivers’ Databases

        Biometric databases have a hunger for data. And they’re getting fed. Government agencies are shoving every face they can find into facial recognition databases. Expanding the dataset means adding people who’ve never committed a crime and, importantly, who’ve never given their explicit consent to have their personal details handed over to federal agencies.

        Thanks to unprecedented levels of cooperation across all levels of government, FBI and ICE are matching faces using data collected from millions of non-criminals. The agencies are apparently hoping this will all work out OK, rather than create a new national nightmare of shattered privacy and violated rights. Or maybe they just don’t care.

      • New Linux Malware Called EvilGnome Discovered; First Preview of Fedora CoreOS Now Available; Germany Bans Schools from Using Microsoft, Google and Apple; VirtualBox 6.0.10 Released; and Sparky 5.8 Has New Live/Install Media for Download

        Germany has banned its schools from using cloud-based productivity suites from Microsoft, Google, and Apple, because the companies weren’t meeting the country’s privacy requirements. Naked Security reports, that the statement from the Hessische Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit (Hesse Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, or HBDI) said, “The digital sovereignty of state data processing must be guaranteed. With the use of the Windows 10 operating system, a wealth of telemetry data is transmitted to Microsoft, whose content has not been finally clarified despite repeated inquiries to Microsoft. Such data is also transmitted when using Office 365.” The HBDI also stressed that “What is true for Microsoft is also true for the Google and Apple cloud solutions. The cloud solutions of these providers have so far not been transparent and comprehensible set out. Therefore, it is also true that for schools, privacy-compliant use is currently not possible.”

      • Microsoft, Google and Apple clouds banned in Germany’s schools

        Germany just banned its schools from using cloud-based productivity suites from Microsoft, Google, and Apple. The tech giants aren’t satisfying its privacy requirements with their cloud offerings, it warned.

        The Hessische Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit (Hesse Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, or HBDI) made the statement following a review of Microsoft Office 365’s suitability for schools.

      • Microsoft, Google and Apple clouds banned in Germanys schools

        Did you know that Germany just banned its schools from using cloud-based productivity suites from Microsoft, Google, and Apple? The tech giants aren’t satisfying its privacy requirements with their cloud offerings, it warned. What are your thoughts?

        The Hessische Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit (Hesse Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, or HBDI) made the statement following a review of Microsoft Office 365’s suitability for schools.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • CBP, DHS Using Quasi-Scientific Guesswork To Turn Adult Immigrants Into Minors

        Our nation’s immigration agencies wield a considerable amount of power. So much power, in fact, that they’re free to dump incoming immigrants off the space-time continuum at will. If a CBP officer decides a person isn’t the age they say they are, they can alter the person’s age so it matches the officer’s beliefs.

        How does the CBP accomplish this neat little trick? Well, oddly, it involves X-rays. A recent episode of This American Life details the surreal nature of this CBP-induced time warp — one it inflicted (repeatedly!) on a 19-year-old Hmong woman coming to the United States to reunite with her fiance.

        Yong Xiong was questioned by Customs officers at the Chicago airport. The CBP officer thought she was being trafficked and didn’t believe the birth date on her passport. After a round of questioning meant to determine whether or not Yong was being trafficked, the CBP officer arrived at the conclusion she was, despite the officer marking “No” on ten of the eleven trafficking indicators.

        So, how does the CBP try to determine someone’s age when officers don’t believe the person or the documents in front of them? They call in a dentist. Yong’s teeth were x-rayed to determine her age. This may involve science on the front end, but the back end is mainly educated guesswork.

      • Appeals Court Shoots Down The Unconstitutional ‘Non-Disparagement’ Clauses Baltimore Attaches To Lawsuit Settlements

        When the City of Baltimore agreed to settle with a victim of police brutality, it inserted the usual clauses that come with every settlement. There was the standard non-admission of wrongdoing, along with a “non-disparagement” clause the city’s attorney told courts was used “in 95% of settlements” to prevent those being settled with from badmouthing the entity they sued.

        Ashley Overbey received a $63,000 settlement from the city for allegations she was beaten, tased, verbally abused, and arrested after calling officers to her home to report a burglary. When a local newspaper published a story about the settlement, the City Solicitor chose to disparage Overbey by saying she was “hostile” when the police arrived at her home. As the comments filled up with invective against Overbey, she showed up in person to fire back at her detractors, claiming the police had been in the wrong and detailing some of the injuries she suffered.

        The City — which had chosen to skew public perception against Overbey by commenting on the settlement — decided Overbey’s defense of herself violated the non-disparagement clause. So, it clawed back half of her settlement — $31,500 — for violating its STFU clause.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • The Failure Of Courts/Regulators To Understand The Difference Between Infrastructure Providers And Edge Providers Is Going To Be A Problem

        To some extent we’ve had this discussion before, as parts of other discussions about the regulation of content online, but it’s worth calling it out explicitly: regulating internet infrastructure services the same as internet edge service providers is a really bad idea. And yet, here we are. So few people seem to even care enough to make a distinction. So, let’s start with the basics: “edge providers” are the companies who provide internet services that you, as a end user, interact with. Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, Reddit, Wikipedia, Amazon’s e-commerce site. These are all edge providers as currently built. Infrastructure providers, however, sit a layer (or more) down from those edge providers. They’re the services that make the edge services possible. This can include domain registrars and registers, CDNs, internet security companies and more. So, companies like Cloudflare, GoDaddy, Amazon’s AWS, among others are examples there.

        While tons of people interact with infrastructure players all the time, your average person will never even realize they’re doing so — as the interactions tend to be mediated entirely by the edge providers. For a few years now we’ve been seeing attempts to move the liability questions up (or, depending on your viewpoint, down) the stack from edge providers to infrastructure players. This raises a lot of significant concerns.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)
      • Doctorow’s novella “Unauthorized Bread” explains why we have to fight DRM today to avoid a grim future

        Salima has a problem: her Boulangism toaster is locked down with software that ensures that it will only toast bread sold to her by the Boulangism company… and as Boulangism has gone out of business, there’s no way to buy authorized bread. Thus, Salima can no longer have toast.

        This sneakily familiar scenario sends our resourceful heroine down a rabbit hole into the world of hacking appliances, but it also puts her in danger of losing her home — and prosecution under the draconian terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Her story, told in the novella “Unauthorized Bread,” which opens Cory Doctorow’s recent book Radicalized, guides readers through a process of discovering what Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is, and how the future can look mightily grim if we don’t join forces to stop DRM now.

        “Unauthorized Bread” takes place in the near future, maybe five or ten years at most, and the steady creep of technology that takes away more than it gives has simply advanced a few degrees. Salima and her friends and neighbors are refugees, and they live precariously in low-income housing equipped with high-tech, networked appliances. These gizmos and gadgets may seem nifty on the surface, but immediately begin to exact an unacceptable price, since they require residents to purchase the expensive approved bread for the toaster, the expensive approved dishes for the dishwasher, and so on. And just as Microsoft can whisk away ebooks that people “own” by closing down its ebook service, the vagaries of the business world cause Boulangism to whisk away Salima’s ability to use her own toaster.

    • Monopolies
      • Tacit Knowledge and University-Industry Technology Transfer

        Traditional conceptions of university-industry technology transfer typically focus on patenting and licensing of academic inventions. However, effective technology transfer often requires significant knowledge exchange between academic and commercial entities in parallel to patent licensing. Although patents on university technologies nominally disclose those inventions, a significant amount of knowledge related to practicing and commercializing them remains tacit or uncodified, residing in the mind of the faculty inventor. This chapter explores the nature of tacit knowledge and mechanisms for transferring it. It notes that the “tacit dimension” of university inventions can be quite high given the embryonic nature of such technologies. It further reveals that human and institutional connections play a critical role in transferring tacit knowledge between universities and commercial firms. In particular, networks, consulting engagements, sponsored research, proof of concept centers and incubators, and university spinoffs facilitate direct interactions between academic and commercial entities, thus promoting tacit knowledge exchange.

      • Industrializing Nigeria and Sudan as Developing Economies through Patent Protection: Reverse Engineering to the Rescue

        Industrializing emerging economies like Nigeria and Sudan through the protection of patent right holders is not an easy process; as it is possible with a strong political will on the part of government discharge its responsibilities. In this regard, one modern type of technology which can catalyze massive industrialization in these countries is reverse engineering. Success stories of most advanced nations in the world today are partly attributed to this modern type of technology. This paper explores the state of industrialization in countries like Nigeria and Sudan to assess their current status with a dire need for change in both nations. It also briefly highlights extant patent regimes in both countries, the importance of such regimes and challenges faced in their everyday implementation process. Emphasis is also on the correlation existing between industrialization and protection of patents in both countries with a view acknowledging the fact that one can hardly exist without the other. The tripartite relationship existing among reverse engineering, patent protection, and trade secrets is cursorily discussed. Further, the paper discusses the importance of employing reverse engineering as a contemporary technology for national development and industrialization. Its advantages to National Development are also discussed in the paper. It is concluded that it is necessary for Nigeria and Sudan to reconsider their policies on patent protection so as to foster economic development.

      • Vestas and GE Renewable Energy settle multi-patent dispute [Ed: GE being aggressive with patents -- to the point of attacking companies that do "green" energy -- makes perfect sense considering that the company, GE, came from a famous patent troll; patents and patent lawsuits that deny access to technology that can fight back against global warming...]

        Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Vestas) and General Electric Company (GE), acting through its Renewable Energy Business, have reached an amicable settlement of all disputes related to multiple patent infringement claims in the U.S., resulting in the discontinuation of the case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California as well as all other pending proceedings related to the patents-in-suit.


        Today’s announcement resolves the initial lawsuit GE filed against Vestas and Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc. on 31 July 2017, claiming infringement of its U.S. Patents No. 7,629,705 and No. 6,921,985; Vestas’ two counterclaims against GE claiming infringement of its U.S. Patents No. 7,102,247 and No. 7,859,125 on 15 December 2017; and all pending inter-partes review proceedings with respect to the patents-in-suit.

      • Patents and Software Patents
        • Pushback on Decreasing Patent Quality Narrative [Ed: It is not a "narrative," Michael Risch, it is a HARD reality. Abstract patents and number of US patents doubling in a decade DOES mean decrease in quality.]

          It’s been a while since I’ve posted, as I’ve taken on Vice Dean duties at my law school that have kept me busy. I hope to blog more regularly as I get my legs under me. But I did see a paper worth posting mid-summer.

          Wasserman & Frakes have published several papers showing that as examiners gain more seniority, their time spent examining patents decreases and their allowances come more quickly. They (and many others) have taken this to mean a decrease in patent quality.

        • DOJ, DOE, Pentagon, Ericsson support Qualcomm’s Ninth Circuit motion for stay of FTC’s antitrust remedies

          As the longest-standing and staunchest Donald Trump supporter among IP bloggers, I must admit I’m more than a little bit disappointed at three very recent events, two of which are related to the mobile industry.


          Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim’s subordinates made a bizarre filing in early May when they asked Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to hold a special remedies hearing. I said “bizarre” because of the substance of the brief, the timing (more than three months after the San Jose bench trial), and the way the DOJ antagonized the FTC. That was the first time they were in the tank for Qualcomm (not counting public comments by Mr. Delrahim, a former Qualcomm outside counsel). The second time, in connection with Qualcomm’s appeal of Judge Koh’s certification of a consumer class, their intervention was infinitely more reasonable. But yesterday’s Statement of Interest (of the United States, as the DOJ is authorized to speak on behalf of the federal government regardless of whether an independent government agency like the FTC agrees) is closer in (un)reasonableness to the DOJ’s first pro-Qualcomm filing than to the second.

          The district court’s well-reasoned ruling is the FTC’s biggest success in a long time. The DOJ should have more respect for the independent Federal Trade Commission and for the independent judiciary. Instead, the brief, filed yesterday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, arrogantly asserts that the FTC and Judge Koh failed to figure out the law.

          The DOJ attacks Judge Koh’s decision from three angles: merits (liability), remedies, and the public interest. As for the public-interest part, the DOJ mostly relies on the aforementioned declarations by two other departments, and Reuters’ Stephen Nellis accurately described the gist of those statements as follows…

      • Trademarks
        • Dean Guitar Counter-Sues Against Gibson Guitars, Attempts To Invalidate Several Trademarks

          Earlier this month, we discussed how Gibson Guitar CEO James Curleigh had recently announced a shift in its IP enforcement strategy to try to be more permissive. That has since calcified into an actual formal plan, but we’ll get into that more in a separate post because there is enough good and bad in it to be worth discussing. What kicked Curleigh’s reveal, however, was backlash from a recent lawsuit filed by Gibson against Armadillo Distribution Enterprises, the parent owner of Dean Guitars. Dean sells several guitars that Gibson claims are trademark violations of its famed “flying v” and “explorer” body shapes. There are differences in the designs, to be clear, but there are also similarities. Even as Curleigh’s plans for a more permissive IP attitude for Gibson go into effect, this lawsuit continues.

          But not without Armadillo punching back, it seems. In response to the suit, Armadillo has decided to counter-sue with claims that Gibson’s designs are not only too generic to be worthy of trademark protection, but also that Gibson’s actions constitute interference with its legitimate business. We’ll start with the trademarks.

      • Copyrights
        • A Bad Copyright Bill Moves Forward With No Serious Understanding of Its Dangers

          The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act, aka the CASE Act. This was without any hearings for experts to explain the huge flaws in the bill as it’s currently written. And flaws there are.

          We’ve seen some version of the CASE Act pop up for years now, and the problems with the bill have never been addressed satisfactorily. This is still a bill that puts people in danger of huge, unappealable money judgments from a quasi-judicial system—not an actual court—for the kind of Internet behavior that most people engage in without thinking.

          During the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was once again stressed that the CASE Act—which would turn the Copyright Office into a copyright traffic court—created a “voluntary” system.

          “Voluntary” does not accurately describe the regime of the CASE Act. The CASE Act does allow people who receive notices from the Copyright Office to “opt-out” of the system. The average person is not really going to understand what is going on, other than that they’ve received what looks like a legal summons.

        • Ubisoft Once Again Crowdsourcing Content For Video Game, Once Again Gets Unwarranted Backlash

          Between crowdsourcing and the explosion of indie video game developers, many of which are far more permissive in IP realms and far better at actually connecting with their fans, we are perhaps entering a golden age for fan involvement in the video games they love. And it’s not just the indie developers getting into this game either; the AAA publishers are, too. One example of this came up last year, when Ubisoft worked with HitRECord to allow fans of the Beyond Good and Evil franchise to submit potential in-game music creations. On HitRECord, other fans would be able to vote and even remix those works. At the end of it all, any music Ubisoft used for Beyond Good and Evil 2 would be paid for out of a pool of money the company had set aside. Cool, right?

          Not for some in the gaming industry itself. Many who work in the industry decried Ubisoft’s program as denying those who make music professionally income for the creation of the game music. Others called Ubisoft’s potential payment to fans for their creations “on-spec” solicitations, in which companies only pay for work that actually makes it into the game, a practice that is seen as generally unethical in the industry. Except neither of those criticisms were accurate. Ubisoft specifically carved out a few places for fans to put music into the game, not the entire game. And the “on-spec” accusation would only make sense if these fans were in the gaming music industry, which they weren’t. Instead, Ubisoft was actually just trying to connect with its own fans and create a cool program in which those fans could contribute artistically to the game they love, and even make a little money doing so.

Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

Friday 19th of July 2019 05:42:44 AM

A “spectacular move” by Microsoft and former Microsoft manager promoted to deputy at the Linux Foundation

Summary: The signs aren’t particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft

LINUX.COM has just stopped hiding its sole author’s name (previously it was only visible through the username in the RSS feeds). Story selection is still rather awful. It boils down to openwashing of proprietary software from SAP (Salesforce did a very similar publicity stunt some weeks back), some links to the Linux Foundation’s press releases and other fluff. Nothing about desktop obviously. Never! Very few people in this Foundation actually use GNU/Linux (we’re guessing maybe a handful among 2-3 dozen).

“The “Linux” Foundation works a lot more for Microsoft’s interests than it does for GNU/Linux, especially as a desktop platform.” also links to this new example of openwashing by the Foundation in a sector that usually relies on greenwashing to ‘seem’ or ‘feel’ “ethical”. Jim Zemlin is very much a part of it; watch this other tweet of his about openwashing surveillance capitalism at the Foundation.

The “Linux” Foundation works a lot more for Microsoft's interests than it does for GNU/Linux, especially as a desktop platform. That’s a verifiable fact. There are those who might tell Torvalds inane things like, “trust the plan!” (whose?)

We’re really unhappy about what we’ve seen so far this year. Not looking good. Worse than ever before! And it seems like Microsoft is already in third E (as in “extinguish”). The Foundation is now cheering for Microsoft’s GitHub, which is the first and second E (“embrace” and “extend”). See the tweets at the top.

2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

Friday 19th of July 2019 04:41:17 AM

Shades of something like controversial D notices

Summary: The very legitimacy of years’ worth of rulings and the EPO’s abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn’t paying any attention, perhaps deliberately

THE Campinos/Battistelli-led European Patent Office (EPO) is interfering with justice and grossly violating the EPC every single day. What’s more, those who can point out such violations are not capable of speaking out; notice how there’s still not a single article in the media or so-called ‘IP’ blogs about G 2/19. Surely a lot of bloggers (e.g. Kluwer Patent Blog) are well aware, not to mention JUVE.

“…those who can point out such violations are not capable of speaking out; notice how there’s still not a single article in the media or so-called ‘IP’ blogs about G 2/19.”“Patent law cannot exist in isolation from the technical subject matter to which patents are concerned,” Rose Hughes wrote yesterday in IP Kat, which is not the blog it used to be. These ads/puff pieces (EQEs) merely highlight the gross apathy is not complicity. They don’t seem to care that the EPO defies the very rules that govern its existence. Back in the days they did care, but then the EPO sanctioned them, whereupon some key bloggers left (“Merpel” virtually vanished) and comments about EPO abuses started to be deleted if not impeded.

The ‘Linux’ Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

Thursday 18th of July 2019 06:15:02 PM

Lust for money can also be a nonprofit’s Achilles heel

Summary: The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that’s pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)

THE Linux Foundation makes us increasingly cynical about its use of the brand “Linux”, hence the scare quotes in the headline. Its adherence or commitment to Free software was never a big thing, but at least it was more or less loyal to GNU/Linux about a decade ago.

“Does the Linux Foundation want Linux to actually succeed? Or does it just want the Linux Foundation to succeed (in financial terms)?”Things have changed.

Earlier this year we began examining pertinent bits of evidence, based on pointers sent to us from people with connections (not necessarily insiders). The more we started digging, the more worried we became. Does the Linux Foundation want Linux to actually succeed? Or does it just want the Linux Foundation to succeed (in financial terms)? It certainly seems as though, over time, it’s more and more of the latter. Microsoft couldn’t be happier!

By paying companies like Novell and Canonical (through Azure for example) Microsoft has created the financial conditions that cultivate abandonment of GNU/Linux as a desktop platform. “Stay out of our turf,” they implicitly suggest or signal, “and you shalt be paid…”

“By paying companies like Novell and Canonical (through Azure for example) Microsoft has created the financial conditions that cultivate abandonment of GNU/Linux as a desktop platform.”Look at’s front page. It’s full of Microsoft propaganda and anti-Linux FUD. I posted lots of complaints about it yesterday, as did some readers. For instance, they’re painting the company that actively attacks FOSS in election platforms as “Open Source” (in the elections context). By doing so the Foundation becomes an active participant in what PR agencies of Microsoft hope to spread. I’ve put remarks in daily links’ latest or here in Tux Machines (down the middle). I am disgusted, disappointed but not surprised (anymore) by the Linux Foundation becoming a Microsoft front (more and more over time). “They hijacked the Web site,” one reader said to me this morning. This reader hates the site now. After 6 years reading it daily. “Eventually they are just going to promote Microsoft,” the reader said, “but we just noticed it first…”

So what’s the latest worrisome example? Well, the Foundation published this page entitled “Project Maintainers: Reduce Your CLA Administrative Headaches Today” (sounds benign, right?).

This is proprietary software for CLA (no friend of real FOSS). The Foundation is actively attacking, on Microsoft’s payroll, a key tenet of Free software, suggesting that people should assign copyrights (on their code) to large corporations like those which fund the Foundation. As a reminder, the Foundation actually recommended a site for job applicants (for leadership of this) which is linked to Microsoft's LinkedIn.

Is it the Linux Foundation or the Microsoft Foundation?

“Is it the Linux Foundation or the Microsoft Foundation?”But here’s the even more troubling point: The Foundation has basically just promoted proprietary software funded by Microsoft. Yes, the above is funded by Microsoft through GitHub. “Any project hosted by the Linux Foundation and using either GitHub or Gerrit can use EasyCLA,” says the Linux Foundation, embedding just a GitHub logo in the diagram/schematics. Microsoft GitHub is funding this thing for the ‘Linux’ Foundation to be acting like a Microsoft marketing/recruitment front. ISV? Channel partner? Call it whatever, but we know who’s being served.

We’ve meanwhile noticed today’s article from in which an employee of IBM (not Red Hat) promotes GitHub. What’s going on here? Is IBM on the same boat as Microsoft? “Now, I am living in Munich, Germany and working as a Software Developer at IBM,” the author said. It’s all about GitHub. We’ve begun worrying that a proprietary software giant that lobbies for software patents now completely owns and controls the domain IBM and Microsoft cross-license their patents, so why worry? Remember when Microsoft apologists denied the argument about Mono being a ruinous Trojan horse until Microsoft took de Icaza ‘in-house’ (paying him millions of dollars for attacking FOSS)? Microsoft is still suing OEMs over patents. It’s nowadays trying to put more patent traps inside the Linux kernel itself (exFAT). Will Linux users be safe only on Microsoft platforms such as Azure? Is Linus Torvalds paying attention? Can he still comment on it without being blasted? In many people’s minds his younger baby, Git, is just Microsoft proprietary software with surveillance (a site/API called GitHub). Nowadays Microsoft goes after his firstborn, Linux, with WSL and Azure. Does he mind? EEE works if they throw money at it. At what point, if any, might Canonical decide that Ubuntu is used more in WSL form than standalone (‘secure boot’ makes installation hard) and then decide to just become a Windows ‘app’ developer (Ubuntu as an ‘app’)? Even if Microsoft doesn’t buy Canonical..

“GNU/Linux users everywhere will gradually come to the realisation that this thing called the “Linux Foundation” doesn’t work for them but against them.”Earlier today we saw a new article about Ceph in Linux 5.3. Notice how with Ceph development people are now throwing Microsoft GitHub links at Torvalds.

Since I was about 20 I’ve studied Microsoft’s tactics and crimes against its competition. It’s very crystal clear to me what plans they have for Linux. Did Microsoft change? No. It changed perceptions. A PR campaign such as “Microsoft loves Linux” facilitates infiltration and it seems to be working. We don’t expect the Foundation to put an end to it, but will Torvalds do something? Can he still? GNU/Linux users everywhere will gradually come to the realisation that this thing called the “Linux Foundation” doesn’t work for them but against them. It is very successfully ‘monetising’ a sellout or a passage of Linux from what remotely still resembles a community… to few large corporations.

Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

Thursday 18th of July 2019 11:48:34 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • When Choosing Your Commercial Linux, Choose Wisely!

      “Linux is Linux is Linux,” is a direct quote I heard in a meeting I had recently with a major multi-national, critical-infrastructure company. Surprisingly and correctly, there was one intelligent and brave engineering executive who replied to this statement, made by one of his team members, with a resounding, “That’s not true.” Let’s be clear, selecting a commercial Linux is not like selecting corn flakes. This is especially true when you are targeting embedded systems. You must be considering key questions regarding the supplier of the distribution, the criticality of the target application, security and life-cycle support for your product.

    • Windows vs Ubuntu

      Kubuntu is my favorite derivative of all the Ubuntu-based operating systems. I can not point out any features as favorite because I like all of them. Everything mentioned above is part of my daily workflow.

      Now when you know all of this it is worth trying them out. I was skeptical at first but later when I built my flow and learned how to utilize these features I can do everything faster, with fewer keystrokes and the most important thing is that I have a nicely organized desktop that helps me to minimize brain fatigue while doing my job.

      Kubuntu is a great distro to switch to if you’re coming from Windows. They have a quite similar UI, and Kubuntu has all the features Windows has, plus more.

    • New Pinebook Pro Video Demos 4K Video, External Monitor, and WebGL

      The PineBook Pro pre-orders go live next week, July 25, meaning now would be an apt time to get a closer look at how the hotly anticipated Linux laptop is shaping up.

      And what do you know, Pine64’s Lukasz Erecinski has duly obliged! He shot and uploaded a short showcase of how some of the ARM laptop’s prowess is looking.

      He demos the (smooth) 1080p and 4K video playback, WebGL demo, connecting to an external monitor through the USB Type-C port, plus offers some info about screen tearing and smoothness.

    • Desktop
      • OpenSUSE Enables LTO By Default For Tumbleweed – Smaller & Faster Binaries

        The past few months openSUSE developers have been working on enabling LTO by default for its packages while now finally with the newest release of the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed this goal has been accomplished.

        As of today, the latest openSUSE Tumbleweed release is using Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) by default. For end-users this should mean faster — and smaller — binaries thanks to the additional optimizations performed at link-time. Link-time optimizations allow for different optimizations to be performed at link-time for the different bits comprising a single module/binary for the entire program. Sadly not many Linux distributions are yet LTO’ing their entire package set besides the aggressive ones like Clear Linux.

      • Investigating why my 7-year old Windows 10 laptop became unbearably slow

        The laptop had also begun to run into blue screens of death (BSoD) whenever I used the built-in camera and when I opened Spotify or Netflix in a web browser. The slowdown and crashes were actually related, but I didn’t realize this at first. The camera-induced BSoD error message blamed the camera vendor’s driver without any further details. This sounds believable enough for a 7-year old laptop so I didn’t think any more of it.

    • Server
      • Pivotal Brings the Magic of CF Push to Kubernetes

        Today, Pivotal released an alpha version of its flagship product, Pivotal Application Service, powered by Kubernetes. Access to the bits are invite-only; contact your account team or sign up via the form at the end of this post for access. The documentation is publicly available here.

        Kubernetes is the new IaaS. And that means we’re embedding it into more parts of Pivotal technology. It also means that we’re here to help you achieve terrific business outcomes on top of this foundation.

      • Build cloud-native apps faster for Kubernetes with Kabanero, a new open source project from IBM

        As companies modernize their infrastructure and adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, they’re increasingly turning to Kubernetes and containers. Choosing the right technology for building cloud-native apps and gaining the knowledge you need to effectively adopt Kubernetes is difficult. On top of that, enabling architects, developers, and operations to work together easily, while having their individual requirements met, is an additional challenge when moving to cloud.
        To lower the barrier of entry for developers to use Kubernetes and to bring together different disciplines, IBM created new open source projects that make it faster and easier for you to develop and deploy applications for Kubernetes.

      • Kubernetes VS PaaS

        If you asked me 3 years ago, I would probably define the professional part of myself as a “Rails developer”. Back then, most of my new projects started with a proof of concept deployed on a free Heroku account. The reason is simple, that was the fastest way to get my Ruby application live. At the same time it was the cheapest (free right?) so that was a no-brainer.
        The last 2.5 years, my work has been mostly on CloudFoundry and Kubernetes. CloudFoundry is an Open Source PaaS solution and Kubernetes is a Container orchestration platform. I work on a project that combines these two (SUSE CloudFoundry runs CloudFoundry on top of Kubernetes). There is an argument I’ve heard more than once regarding running a PaaS on top of Kubernetes and that is: “Why deploy CloudFoundry on top of Kubernetes and not use Kubernetes directly?”. Maybe it’s my science studies, maybe it’s Myth Busters, but I had to test this theory. Thankfully, 2 times a year we get a week to hack on anything we want at SUSE (Check it out) so I got the time I needed a couple of weeks ago.

      • Issue #2019.07.22 – Kubeflow and Conferences, 2019

        Kubeflow at OSCON 2019 – Over 10 sessions! Covering security, pipelines, productivity, ML ops and more. Some of the sessions are led by end-users, which means you’ll get the real deal about using Kubeflow in your production solution

      • How to earn a promotion as a sysadmin

        There’s plenty of general advice when it comes to career advancement, such as, “Work hard and you’ll get ahead.”

        General advice can start to feel a little pat—too simplistic to put into action, or too difficult to measure. Surely, it’s not as simple as, “Work hard and watch the promotions roll in.” Not to mention, how would you know if it’s the right promotion. Is it one that matches your goals?

        This question becomes particularly important in IT. What if you’re a sysadmin who’s not particularly interested in managing a team of people? Do you grin and bear it while others move up the food chain?

      • IBM
        • From Linux to cloud, why Red Hat matters for every enterprise

          In 1994, if you wanted to make money from Linux, you were selling Linux CDs for $39.95. By 2016, Red Hat became the first $2 billion Linux company. But, in the same year, Red Hat was shifting its long-term focus from Linux to the cloud.

          Here’s how Red Hat got from mail-order CDs to the top Linux company and a major cloud player. And, now that Red Hat is owned by IBM, where it will go from here.

        • OpenShift 4: Image Builds

          One of the key differentiators of Red Hat OpenShift as a Kubernetes distribution is the ability to build container images using the platform via first class APIs. This means there is no separate infrastructure or manual build processes required to create images that will be run on the platform. Instead, the same infrastructure can be used to produce the images and run them. For developers, this means one less barrier to getting their code deployed.

          With OpenShift 4, we have significantly redesigned how this build infrastructure works. Before that sets off alarm bells, I should emphasize that for a consumer of the build APIs and resulting images, the experience is nearly identical. What has changed is what happens under the covers when a build is executed and source code is turned into a runnable image.

        • libinput’s new thumb detection code

          The average user has approximately one thumb per hand. That thumb comes in handy for a number of touchpad interactions. For example, moving the cursor with the index finger and clicking a button with the thumb. On so-called Clickpads we don’t have separate buttons though. The touchpad itself acts as a button and software decides whether it’s a left, right, or middle click by counting fingers and/or finger locations. Hence the need for thumb detection, because you may have two fingers on the touchpad (usually right click) but if those are the index and thumb, then really, it’s just a single finger click.

          libinput has had some thumb detection since the early days when we were still hand-carving bits with stone tools. But it was quite simplistic, as the old documentation illustrates: two zones on the touchpad, a touch started in the lower zone was always a thumb. Where a touch started in the upper thumb area, a timeout and movement thresholds would decide whether it was a thumb. Internally, the thumb states were, Schrödinger-esque, “NO”, “YES”, and “MAYBE”. On top of that, we also had speed-based thumb detection – where a finger was moving fast enough, a new touch would always default to being a thumb. On the grounds that you have no business dropping fingers in the middle of a fast interaction. Such a simplistic approach worked well enough for a bunch of use-cases but failed gloriously in other cases.

        • 21 to 1: How Red Hat amplifies partner revenue

          At Red Hat Summit, we announced new research from IDC looking at the contributions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to the global economy. The study, sponsored by Red Hat, found that the workloads running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux are expected to “touch” more than $10 trillion worth of global business revenues in 2019 – powering roughly 5% of the worldwide economy. While that statistic alone is eye popping, these numbers, according to the report, are only expected to grow in the coming years, fueled by more organizations embracing hybrid cloud infrastructures. As a result, there is immense opportunity for Red Hat partners and potential partners to capitalize on the growth and power of RHEL.

        • Executing .NET Core functions in a separate process [Ed: IBM/Red Hat is pushing Microsoft patent traps again (and yes, Microsoft still suing]
        • DevNation Live: 17-million downloads of Visual Studio Code Java extension [Ed: Also celebrating for Microsoft again (as if helping the proprietary MSVS 'ecosystem' is their goal now)]
        • Red Hat CTO Chris Wright to host online Q&A

          On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, Red Hat senior vice president and CTO Chris Wright will host an online forum to answer questions about what IBM’s landmark acquisition of Red Hat means for the company and its work in open source projects.

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • LHS Episode #292: Digital Operation Deep Dive

        Welcome to Episode 292 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts are joined by Rob, KA2PBT, in a deep disucussion of digital mode operation on the amateur radio bands including what modes are available, the technology behind the creation and operation of those modes and even dive into current controversy behind FCC rules regarding encryption, PACTOR-4 and much more. Thank you for tuning in and we hope you have a wonderful week.

      • FLOSS Weekly 538: Leo Laporte

        Randal Schwartz and Jonathan Bennett talk to Leo Laporte about FLOSS’s history and the TWiT Network.

      • Test and Code: 81: TDD with flit

        In the last episode, we talked about going from script to supported package.
        I worked on a project called subark and did the packaging with flit.

        Today’s episode is a continuation where we add new features to a supported package and how to develop and test a flit based package.

    • Kernel Space
      • Systemd 243 Is Getting Buttoned Up For Release With New Features & Fixes

        While it would have been nice seeing this next systemd release sooner due to the Zen 2 + RdRand issue with systemd yielding an unbootable system (that is now also being worked around with a BIOS upgrade), the systemd 243 release looks like it will take place in the near future.

      • VIRTIO-IOMMU Driver Merged For Linux 5.3 Kernel

        With the VirtIO standard for cross-hypervisor compatibility of different virtualized components there is a virtual IOMMU device that is now backed by a working driver in the Linux 5.3 kernel.

        The VirtIO specification provides for a virtual IOMMU device as of the v0.8 specification that is platform agnostic and manages direct memory accesses from emulated or physical devices in an efficient manner.

      • Linux Kernel Looks To Remove 32-bit Xen PV Guest Support

        Coming soon to a kernel near you could be the removal of 32-bit Xen PV guest support as better jiving with Xen’s architectural improvements and more of the Linux/open-source community continuing to shift focus to 64-bit x86 with trying to finally sunset 32-bit x86.

      • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.2

        Gustavo A. R. Silva is nearly done with marking (and fixing) all the implicit fall-through cases in the kernel. Based on the pull request from Gustavo, it looks very much like v5.3 will see -Wimplicit-fallthrough added to the global build flags and then this class of bug should stay extinct in the kernel.

        That’s it for now; let me know if you think I should add anything here. We’re almost to -rc1 for v5.3!

      • Intel’s Linux Driver To Load HuC Firmware By Default For Icelake+

        For several generations now of Intel graphics there have been the GuC/HuC firmware binaries while beginning with Icelake “Gen 11″ graphics those binary blobs will be loaded by default.

        Intel’s GuC has been used for graphics workload scheduling while the HuC firmware provides some “media functions from the CPU to GPU” for different video codec functions and CPU-GPU synchronization among other abilities.

      • ZFS On Linux Has Figured Out A Way To Restore SIMD Support On Linux 5.0+

        Those running ZFS On Linux (ZoL) on post-5.0 (and pre-5.0 supported LTS releases) have seen big performance hits to the ZFS encryption performance in particular. That came due to upstream breaking an interface used by ZFS On Linux and admittedly not caring about ZoL due to it being an out-of-tree user. But now several kernel releases later, a workaround has been devised.

        Some Linux distributions have resorted to reverting the kernel patch that stopped exporting the kernel FPU begin/restore functions used by ZoL for tapping vector-based (SSE/AVX) algorithms. But now ZFS On Linux itself has figured out a solution to restore said SIMD support on these recent kernel releases.

      • Linux Foundation
        • New EvilGnome Backdoor Spies on Linux Users, Steals Their Files [Ed: “swapnilbhartiya” keeps pushing this Linux FUD and Microsoft promotion into the front page of LINUX dot com (byline “The source for Linux information”). You can write malware for just about any platform, but the hard part is actually getting users to install it, or to find open ports with ridiculous passwords. This is not a “Linux” issue, but FUD sites like Bleeping Computer are worse than tabloids. What you nowadays find in the front page of LINUX dot com: no negative stories about Microsoft, just Microsoft marketing and overt openwashing. But you find negative FUD about Linux and nothing about GNU/Linux desktop. How revealing? The Linux Foundation serves not Linux. LINUX dot com, a ‘Linux’ Foundation site, now acts exactly how you’d expect a site to behave when its sponsors are proprietary software companies looking to advertise themselves and push their lies (e.g. Microsoft as “open”) while ‘hiding’ GNU/Linux as potent anywhere outside servers. The way things are going this past week, LINUX dot com can be deemed almost an anti-Linux site, run by people who don’t even use Linux and instead serve sponsors who engage in entryism. The Linux Foundation is fast becoming a propaganda department of anti-Linux interests…]
        • Fujitsu and GE Research Join LF Edge as Premier Members to Propel Open Source Innovation at the Edge

          LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced Fujitsu, a leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, and GE Research, GE’s innovation powerhouse where research meets reality, have joined LF Edge as Premier members.

          “We are pleased to welcome Fujitsu and GE Research as the newest Premier members of LF Edge,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Automation, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation. “Their expertise across technology sectors and experience in delivering leading products, solutions, and research at the forefront of the industry will be instrumental in helping the LF Edge community establish a common platform for edge computing.”

          Launched in January of this year, LF Edge is initially comprised of five projects – including Akraino Edge Stack, EdgeX Foundry, Home Edge, Open Glossary of Edge Computing, and Project EVE – that will support emerging edge applications across areas such as non-traditional video and connected things that require lower latency, and faster processing and mobility. By forming a software stack that brings the best of cloud, enterprise and telecom, LF Edge is helping to unify a fragmented edge market around a common, open vision for the future of the industry.

        • Fujitsu and GE Research Join LF Edge as Premier Members to Propel Open Source Innovation at the Edge
      • Graphics Stack
        • Many Vintage X.Org Modules Could Use Some Help If Wanting New Releases

          Longtime X.Org developer Alan Coopersmith who also maintains the X.Org stack for Oracle’s Solaris has been trying to get out some updated X.Org modules with different code-bases having collected enough changes over the years to warrant new versions.

          While he has been releasing a number of X.Org module updates recently, he’s left out many for varying reasons. Even for these modules accumulating enough changes, among those he has left out for releasing new versions include TWM, XKBCOMP, XKBUTILS, XRandR, Xrestop, XScope, xf86-input-keyboard, and xf86-video-dummy.

        • Mesa 19.2 Is Just Six Patches Away From Seeing OpenGL 4.6 Support

          Later this month marks two years since the release of OpenGL 4.6 and just ahead of that date it looks like Mesa could finally land its complete GL 4.6 implementation, at least as far as the Intel open-source graphics driver support is concerned.

          Mesa is now just six patches away from OpenGL 4.6! Following recent SPIR-V patches being merged, there are just five patches left plus the sixth that updates the documentation and flips on OpenGL 4.6 for the i915 Mesa driver. The remaining patches are in regards to base vertex work.

    • Benchmarks
      • These Windows 10 Vs Pop OS Benchmarks Reveal A Surprising Truth About Linux Gaming Performance

        Having a game run on Linux that isn’t built for Linux? That’s certainly a cool thing. Performance is another thing entirely. It’s not a compelling enough argument for Linux enthusiasts to tell their Windows-using friends that “hey, but the games you play run on Linux!” They have to run well. Maybe the notion of switching to Linux is an enticing one for the stability and increased privacy control, but you can’t show me an enthusiast gamer who’ll willingly trade that for a 20% drop in the framerates they’re used to on their hardware, right?

        That 20% is an important number, albeit not a scientific one. When I got into Linux last year, that’s the figure I kept seeing thrown around. “Sure, it runs on Linux but about 15% to 20% lower FPS.” With constant improvements to the kernel, Vulkan drivers and Steam Proton, however, I think the situation has changed.

        Enough of my rambling. Here’s what we’re looking at today…

    • Applications
      • Best Free Web Based Genome Browsers

        In the fields of molecular biology and genetics, a genome is the genetic material of an organism. It consists of DNA (or RNA in RNA viruses). Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. In humans, a copy of the entire genome—more than 3 billion DNA base pairs—is contained in all cells that have a nucleus. The study of the genome is called genomics.

        In bioinformatics, a genome browser is a graphical interface for display of information from a biological database for genomic data. They are important tools for studying genomes given the vast amounts of data available. They typically load very large files, such as whole genome FASTA files and display them in a way that users can make sense of the information there. They can be used to visualize a variety of different data types.

        Genome browsers enable researchers to visualize and browse entire genomes with annotated data including gene prediction and structure, proteins, expression, regulation, variation, comparative analysis, etc. They use a visual, high-level overview of complex data in a form that can be grasped at a glance and provide the means to explore the data in increasing resolution from megabase scales down to the level of individual elements of the DNA sequence.

        There’s a wide range of web based genome browsers. We’re going to restrict our selection to the top 4.

      • Get going with EtherCalc, a web-based alternative to Google Sheets

        EtherCalc is an open source spreadsheet that makes it easy to work remotely and collaborate with others.

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl 7.65.2 fixes even more

        Six weeks after our previous bug-fix release, we ship a second release in a row with nothing but bug-fixes. We call it 7.65.2. We decided to go through this full release cycle with a focus on fixing bugs (and not merge any new features) since even after 7.65.1 shipped as a bug-fix only release we still seemed to get reports indicating problems we wanted fixed once and for all.

        Download curl from as always!

        Also, I personally had a vacation already planned to happen during this period (and I did) so it worked out pretty good to take this cycle as a slightly calmer one.

        Of the numbers below, we can especially celebrate that we’ve now received code commits by more than 700 persons!

      • OnlyOffice, an Open Source Office Suite for Windows, MacOS & Linux, Gets Updated

        A veritable surfeit of office suites have seen updates this past month, including WPS Office, SoftMaker Office 2018 and FreeOffice. Clearly not wanting to be left out, OnlyOffice has issued a new update too.

        OnlyOffice – which is supposed to be styled ONLYOFFICE, but I find that a bit too shouty – is a free, open-source office suite for Windows, macOS and (of course) Linux.

      • Linux super-duper admin tools: health-check

        Health-check is a very useful, practical tool. It does not replace strace or netstat or perf, but it can sure help you get a very accurate multi-dimensional snapshot of whatever you’re profiling. This is a very good first step that can point you in the right direction. You can then select a utility that specifically examines the relevant facet of the software run (maybe Wireshark for network or Valgrind for memory). In a way, this makes health-check into a Jack o’ All Trades.

        You do need some understanding of how Linux systems work – and the application you’re running. But even if you don’t have that knowledge, health-check can be used for comparative studies and troubleshooting of performance bottlenecks. If you know something isn’t running quite as well as it should, you can trace it once on a good system, once on a bad (affected) system, and then compare the two. The many types of data that health-check provides will greatly assist in solving the issue. And that brings us to the end of this tutorial. With some luck, you have learned something new, and it was an enjoyable ride, too. Take care.

      • Xsnow – Snow on Your Desktop in Ubuntu 18.04 / Higher

        Xsnow, let it snow on your desktop, now is working on Gnome, KDE, FVWM desktop in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

        Xsnow is a handy command tool that brings Christmas to your desktop. However, it does not work properly in Ubuntu since Ubuntu 12.04 Precise.

        Now a brand new Xsnow based on the original xsnow-1.42 is available to work on many desktop environments, along with a simple graphical interface.

      • Proprietary
    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • Valve releases a new update to the Steam Client, nice Linux fixes made it in again

        Valve have released a new stable version of the Steam Client today to add new features, improve existing features and catch some pesky bugs flying around.

        There’s some better “client logic” to choose and connect to download servers, which should hopefully give better download speeds, better connection login in initializing the friends list, screenshots in SteamVR Home should be sorted, a fix for certain web page elements continuing to render in the Steam client when it is minimized or closed to the system tray, some “improved reliability of registry saving on Linux and macOS” and the SteamVR dashboard should no longer obscure transition overlays when launching a game.

      • Fast-paced atmospheric arcade title “LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity” is out with Linux support

        You’re going to need some quick reflexes for LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity, a game about being stranded in deep space. Note: Key provided by the developer.

        This is actually a revamp of the 2015 title LOST ORBIT. This new definitive edition includes a brand new 12 level epilogue and story, new abilities and ways to die, 15 new challenge levels, a reworking of the original levels with new cinematics and so on. If you owned the original, you should see this new edition in your Steam library free.

      • The lovely rogue-lite platformer “Eagle Island” can now be picked up on GOG, Linux build soon

        Heads up GOG fans, Eagle Island from Pixelnicks is now available to pick up from GOG with the Linux build expected soon.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS new “Eight Princes” DLC is set 100 years after the main game

        Releasing soon, Total War: THREE KINGDOMS is to get an “Eight Princes” DLC set 100 years after the Three Kingdoms period began.

        Announced yesterday, Creative Assembly are moving quickly to add in a whole lot more content to THREE KINGDOMS and it does sound pretty sweet.

        It will feature: an entirely new campaign; eight new playable princes with “substantially different” play-styles with unique buildings, assignments and court options; along with new elite units like cataphracts; four new alignments Wealth, Spirit, Might, and Mind and more.

      • Guide a robot with simple programming in “Robo Instructus”, out now

        Robo Instructus from Big AB Games, which is mainly a solo-operation, is a puzzle game where you need to guide a robot using a simple programming language.

        Is it odd to think programming can be relaxing? If so, I guess I’m pretty strange in that way. Even if you don’t know any programming, Robo Instructus walks you through things quite easily and getting started with it is pretty quick.

      • Grab Ion Fury (previously Ion Maiden) before the price shoots up tomorrow

        Interested in slick retro first-person shooters? You may want to act fast as the price of Ion Fury (previously Ion Maiden) goes up tomorrow.

        Currently in Early Access, Ion Fury offers a very good preview campaign to play through while you wait for the full release on August 15th. The price is currently around $19.99 but from tomorrow they will bump it up to $24.99.

      • TRI: Of Friendship and Madness returns to GOG with Linux support

        After being previously removed from the DRM-free store GOG, TRI: Of Friendship and Madness has now made a return with full Linux support included.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Krita 4.2.3 Released

          Today we’re releasing Krita 4.2.3. This is mostly a bug fix release, but has one new feature: it is now possible to rotate the canvas with a two-finger touch gesture. This feature was implemented by Sharaf Zaman for his 2019 Google Summer of Code work of porting Krita to Android. The feature also works on other platforms, of course.

          The most important bug fix is a workaround for Windows installations with broken, outdated or insufficient graphics drivers. The core of the issue is that our development platform, Qt, in its current version needs a working OpenGL or Direct3D installation as soon as there is a single component in the application that uses QML, a technology for creating user interfaces. We have managed to work around this issue and especially users of Windows 7 systems that have become a bit messy should be able to run Krita again.

        • KDevelop 5.3.3 released

          We today provide a stabilization and bugfix release with version 5.3.3. This is a bugfix-only release, which introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using a previous version of KDevelop 5.3.

          You can find a Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page. Windows installers are no longer offered, we are looking for someone interested to take care of that.

        • Latte, Documentation and Reports…

          First Latte beta release for v0.9.0 is getting ready and I am really happy about it . But today instead of talking for the beta release I am going to focus at two last minute “arrivals” for v0.9; that is Layouts Reports and Documentation. If you want to read first the previous article you can do so at Latte and “Flexible” settings…

        • Kaidan 0.4.1 released!

          After some problems were encountered in Kaidan 0.4.1, we tried to fix the most urgent bugs.

        • KDE Connect is Now Available for macOS

          I often write about apps that make the leap from Windows or Mac to Linux, but it’s much rarer than I get to write about things the other way around.

          But today I do as KDE Connect, the open-source smartphone-to-desktop bridge that enables a crop of handy integrations, is now available on macOS.

          Sure, macOS sports “continuity” integrations with iOS devices, letting iPhone owners benefit from some nifty sync smarts. But there’s precious little out there for Mac users who use Android smartphones.

          And that something that this port of the KDE Connect app and indicator , strange though it may seem, goes some way to addressing.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Molly de Blanc: Meet Sriram Ramkrishna

          Sriram Ramkrishna, frequently known as Sri, is perhaps GNOME’s oldest contributor. He’s been around the community for almost as long as it’s been around!


          But more than that, GNOME was a project that if you think about it was audacious in its purpose. Building a desktop in 1997 around an operating system that was primitive in terms of user experience, tooling, and experience. I wanted to be part of that.

        • Welcome to the July 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!

          Members of the GNOME Foundation voted in the annual elections for this year’s board of directors. The current board consists of:

          Allan Day
          Carlos Soriano
          Federico Mena Quintero
          Robert McQueen
          Philip Chimento
          Britt Yazel
          Tristan Van Berkom
          Congratulation to the new board! You can learn more about the board and what it does online.

    • Distributions
      • Clear Linux Could Soon Be Faster Within Containers On AVX2 Systems

        While Clear Linux as part of its standard bare metal installations has long defaulted to having an AVX2-optimized GNU C Library installed by default, it turns out that it wasn’t part of the default os-core bundle as used by containers. That though is changing and should yield even better out-of-the-box performance when running Clear Linux within containers.

        Intel’s William Douglas sent out the proposal for adding the AVX2 version of the Glibc libraries into the os-core bundle in order to get picked up by containers and other bare/lightweight Clear configurations.

      • New Arch Linux-Based Endeavour OS Launches To Keep Spirit Of Antergos Alive

        Endeavour OS uses the familiar Calamares installer to automate the normally complex and command line-based Arch installation process. I gave it a quick spin inside a Virtual Machine and it couldn’t be simpler, although the team does warn of some early issues with manual partitioning. Give that a read before you proceed!

      • New Releases
        • OPNsense 19.7 “Jazzy Jaguar” 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. 19.7, nicknamed "Jazzy Jaguar", embodies an iteration of what should be considered enjoyable user experience for firewalls in general: improved statistics and visibility of rules, reliable and consistent live logging and alias utility improvements. Apart from the usual upgrades of third party software to up-to-date releases, OPNsense now also offers built-in remote system logging through Syslog-ng, route-based IPsec, updated translations with Spanish as a brand new and already fully translated language and newer Netmap code with VirtIO, VLAN child and vmxnet support. Last but not least we would like to thank m.a.x. it for their sponsorship of the default gateway priority switching feature and their continued work of writing and maintaining plenty of community plugins. This time around, Maltrail, Netdata and WireGuard VPN have been freshly added to the mix.
        • OPNsense 19.7 Released With Remote Logging, Firewall Rule Improvements, Route-Based IPsec

          OPNsense, the FreeBSD-based pfSense-forked firewall offering that has continued experiencing increased adoption following the closure of m0n0wall, is out with version 19.7 as its newest feature update.

      • Fedora Family
        • The NeuroFedora Blog: NEURON in NeuroFedora needs testing

          We have been working on including the NEURON simulator in NeuroFedora for a while now. The build process that NEURON uses has certain peculiarities that make it a little harder to build.

          For those that are interested in the technical details, while the main NEURON core is built using the standard ./configure; make ; make install process that cleanly differentiates the “build” and “install” phases, the Python bits are built as a “post-install hook”. That is to say, they are built after the other bits in the “install” step instead of the “build” step. This implies that the build is not quite straightforward and must be slightly tweaked to ensure that the Fedora packaging guidelines are met.

        • Fedora, GNOME Software, and snap

          A question about the future of package distribution is at the heart of a disagreement about the snap plugin for the GNOME Software application in Fedora. In a Fedora devel mailing list thread, Richard Hughes raised multiple issues about the plugin and the direction that he sees Canonical taking with snaps for Ubuntu. He plans to remove support for the plugin for GNOME Software in Fedora 31.

          There are currently two major players for cross-distribution application bundles these days: snaps, which were developed by Canonical for Ubuntu and the Snap Store, and Flatpak, which was developed by Alexander Larsson of Red Hat as part of Both systems are available for multiple Linux distributions. They are meant to give an “app-like” experience, where users simply install an application, which comes with any dependencies it has that are not provided by the snap or Flatpak runtime.

          The GNOME Software application has a snap plugin that, when enabled, supports the distribution, installation, and management of snaps. The Fedora project currently provides the snap plugin as a package in Fedora 30, though it is not installed by default. Hughes is the Fedora maintainer for the plugin; he announced his intention to disable the plugin since, he says, he was told that Canonical was not going to be installing GNOME Software in the next Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) release.

        • Announcing Fedora CoreOS preview

          On behalf of the Fedora CoreOS Working Group, I’m thrilled to announce the first preview release of Fedora CoreOS. Fedora CoreOS is built to be the secure and reliable host for your compute clusters. It’s designed specifically for running containerized workloads without regular maintenance, automatically updating itself with the latest OS improvements, bug fixes, and security updates. The initial preview release of Fedora CoreOS runs on bare metal, QEMU, VMware, and AWS, on x86_64 only. It supports provisioning via Ignition spec 3.0.0 and the Fedora CoreOS Config Transpiler, automatic updates with Zincati and rpm-ostree, and running containers with Podman and Moby. In the coming months, we’ll be adding more platforms, building out functionality, and creating documentation to get Fedora CoreOS ready for production use. For now, the Fedora CoreOS preview should not be used for production workloads, and it might change in incompatible ways before the stable release.

      • Debian Family
        • Sparky 5.8 “Nibiru”

          There are new live/install media of SparkyLinux 5.8 “Nibiru” available to download.
          This is the 1st release of the new stable line, which is based on the Debian 10 “Buster”.

          – based on Debian 10 stable “Buster” now, repositories changed from ‘testing’ to ‘stable’
          – system upgraded from Debian stable “Buster” repos as of July 14, 2019
          – Linux kernel 4.19.37-5 (i686 & amd64)
          – Linux kernel 4.19.57-v7+ (ARMHF)
          – the Calamares installer updated up to version 3.2.11
          – apt-daily.service disabled
          – sparky-tube installed as dafault
          – removed old 3rd party repositories
          – added obconf-qt (LXQt edition)
          – nm-tray installed instead of network-manager-gnome (LXQt edition)
          – network-manager added to CLI ARMHF image
          – small fixes

        • John Goerzen: Tips for Upgrading to, And Securing, Debian Buster

          Wow. Once again, a Debian release impresses me — a guy that’s been using Debian for more than 20 years. For the first time I can ever recall, buster not only supported suspend-to-disk out of the box on my laptop, but it did so on an encrypted volume atop LVM. Very impressive!

          For those upgrading from previous releases, I have a few tips to enhance the experience with buster.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Linux Mint 19.2 beta is now out with a streamlined Cinnamon spin

          And if you hit boot configuration problems – maybe you’re running Mint alongside Windows in a dual-boot setup – a new Boot Repair feature is able to fix the most frequent problems encountered, which could be pretty nifty.

          There are various other minor changes, as you would expect, including a load of new wallpapers. Another interesting thing to note is that the Cinnamon version of the OS uses significantly less system memory than before – something in the order of two-thirds of the RAM with the move from Cinnamon 4.0 to 4.2, the developers note.

          If you want to see the full list of what’s different with Mint 19.2, you can check the release notes here. As ever, remember this is still in beta, so there will likely be some teething issues.

          You can grab Linux Mint 19.2 from the following links each of which point to the version which carries the mentioned desktop: Cinnamon, Mate, or Xfce.

          Mint is a popular distro and is a good option for those who are new to the world of Linux, and those switching from Windows or Mac, as we explain in our best Linux distros roundup.

        • Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 19.2 ‘Tina’ BETA is here with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce

          Linux Mint is an operating system based on the wildly popular Ubuntu. It comes with some interesting tweaks that many users appreciate, making it a popular choice in the Linux community for both beginners and experts alike. It is stable, easy to use, and has a well-designed Update Manager that puts many other distros to shame.

          Today, Linux Mint 19.2 BETA is finally released. Codenamed “Tina,” it will be supported until 2023 — long after Windows 7 support ends in January of 2020. In other words, when it achieves stable status, Linux Mint 19.2 should make a great replacement for Windows 7.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish reaches end of life on Thursday, upgrade now

          Canonical, earlier this month, announced that Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish will be reaching end-of-life status this Thursday, making now the ideal time to upgrade to a later version. As with all non-Long Term Support (LTS) releases, 18.10 had nine months of support following its release last October.

          When distributions reach their end-of-life stage, they no longer receive security updates. While you may be relatively safe at first, the longer you keep running an unpatched system, the more likely it is that your system will become compromised putting your data at risk. If you’d like to move on from Ubuntu 18.10, you’ve got two options; you can either perform a clean install of a more up-to-date version of Ubuntu or you can do an in-place upgrade.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ reaches end of life

          CANONICAL HAS confirmed that Ubuntu 18.10 (aka Cosmic Cuttlefish) has reached end of life (EoL).

          Just as with Windows, each build of Ubuntu, one of the biggest Linux distros on the market, has a finite level of support. In this case, as it isn’t an LTS release, 18.10 had nine months of support, but all good things must come to an end.

          From this point, users of 18.10 will no longer receive security updates to their operating system, which could leave it open to attacks from external nasties.

          In a statement, the company confirmed: “Ubuntu announced its 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) release almost 9 months ago, on October 18, 2018. As a non-LTS release, 18.10 has a nine-month support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 18.10 will reach end of life on Thursday, July 18th.”

        • 8 Top Ubuntu server Web GUI Management Panels

          Ubuntu Server with command-line interface might sound little bit wired to newbies because of no previous familiarization. Thus, if you are new to Ubuntu Linux server running on your local hardware or some Cloud hosting and planning to install some Linux Desktop Graphical environment (GUI) over it; I would like to recommend don’t, until and unless you don’t have supported hardware. Instead, think about free and open-source Ubuntu server Web GUI Management panels.

          Moreover, for a moment, you can think about Desktop Graphical environment for your local server but if you have some Linux cloud hosting server, never do it. I am saying this because Ubuntu or any other Linux server operating systems are built to run on low hardware resources, thus even old computer/server hardware can easily handle it. GUI means more RAM and hard disk storage space.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta XFCE Run Through
        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta XFCE

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the XFCE edition. The XFCE edition of Linux Mint is one of my favorites as it comes with the stable lightweight XFCE, version 4.12 and the latest of Linux Mint, which is a great combination.

          This release of XFCE comes with Linux Kernel 4.15, based on Ubuntu 18.04 (supported until April 2023). It uses between 400-800MB of ram.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta MATE Run Through
        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta MATE

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the MATE edition. It comes with Linux Kernel 4.15, based on Ubuntu 18.04 (supported until April 2023) and MATE 1.22. It uses about 700B of Ram when idling.

          Linux Mint 19.2 feels for me more, like a maintenance update, to make it even more stable, but it has improvements in the automatic updates as well as a whole heap of new beautiful backgrounds.

        • mintCast 313 – A New Leaf

          Then, in our news, Linux Mint is beta testing the 19.2 updates, Ubuntu considers ZFS, some Raspberry Pi successes and flaws, and more.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Brandeis University and Open Source Initiative to Launch New Educational Partnership.

        Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) will partner with The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) to provide new educational offerings for the open source community, the university announced at OSCON 2019.

        As more companies start leveraging Open Source Software to reduce costs, decrease time to deployment and foster innovation, the organizations that have realized success as open source consumers are now extending their participation within open source communities as collaborators and contributors. This shift can create new challenges to traditional business processes and models, requiring dedicated policies, programs and personnel to ensure that the investments in open source projects produce the desired benefits while still aligning with the values of the open source communities. The Brandeis GPS-OSI partnership will help address the growing demand for expertise within organizations seeking to authentically collaborate with, and productively manage, open source resources.

        “Understanding how to assess, engage, and contribute to open source communities while also delivering value to your company is the next generation skill set employers are looking for,” said Patrick Masson, general manager of the Open Source Initiative. “We’re thrilled to work with Brandeis to help continue the incredible growth of open source software and projects.”

      • 3 ways to benefit from open source infrastructure

        Using open source infrastructure can reduce operating costs and streamline upgrades, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before you jump on the bandwagon.

      • Events
        • System Boot and Security Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the System Boot and Security Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! Computer-system security is a topic that has gotten a lot of serious attention over the years, but there has not been anywhere near as much attention paid to the system firmware. But the firmware is also a target for those looking to wreak havoc on our systems. Firmware is now being developed with security in mind, but provides incomplete solutions. This microconference will focus on the security of the system especially from the time the system is powered on.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Recent fixes to reduce backlog on Android phones

            Last week it seemed that all our limited resource machines were perpetually backlogged. I wrote yesterday to provide insight into what we run and some of our limitations. This post will be discussing the Android phones backlog last week specifically.

            The Android phones are hosted at Bitbar and we split them into pools (battery testing, unit testing, perf testing) with perf testing being the majority of the devices.

          • Q&A: Igniting imaginations and putting VR in the hands of students with Kai Frazier

            When you were in school, you may have taken a trip to a museum or a local park, but you probably never got to see an active volcano or watch great whites hunt. As Virtual Reality grows, this could be the way your kids will learn — using headsets the way we use computers.

            When you were in school, you may have gone on a trip to the museum, but you probably never stood next to an erupting volcano, watching molten lava pouring down its sides. As Virtual Reality (VR) grows, learning by going into the educational experience could be the way children will learn — using VR headsets the way we use computers.

            This kind of technology holds huge potential in shaping young minds, but like with most technology, not all public schools get the same access. For those who come from underserved communities, the high costs to technology could widen an already existing gap in learning, and future incomes.

          • This Week in Rust 295 [Ed: Just delete GitHub , Mozila, And why you're at it, stop using proprietary software and imposing it on Rust contributors.]

            This Week in Rust is openly developed on GitHub.

          • How to speed up the Rust compiler in 2019

            libsyntax has three tables in a global data structure, called Globals, storing information about spans (code locations), symbols, and hygiene data (which relates to macro expansion). Accessing these tables is moderately expensive, so I found various ways to improve things.

      • Databases
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • My todo list for LibreOffice 6.4

          LibreOffice 6.3 isn’t release but I have already plans for the 6.4 winter release.

        • LibreWaterloo: Building the LibreOffice community in Canada

          If you’ve seen our LibreOffice contributor map, you’ll note that we have a few community members in north America. (Of course, the map doesn’t show absolutely everyone in the LibreOffice project – just people we’ve interviewed recently.) So we want to grow this community!

      • Funding
        • Epic Games Backs Blender Foundation with $1.2m Epic MegaGrants

          Epic MegaGrants is a program by Epic Games to support game developers, enterprise professionals, content creators and tool developers doing amazing things with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

          As part of that, Epic Games granted Blender Foundation $1.2 million to help improve their development. If you didn’t know already, Blender is one of the best open source video editors and specifically famous for creating professional 3D computer graphics.

        • Free accounting software South Africa

          GnuCash is one of the best open source accounting software that is 100% free. It offers simplicity, flexibility, and amazing features such as handling multiple currencies and some payroll features. The application is available on Android, Linux, OpenBSD, Windows, GNU, and macOS devices. Some of the other features are managing accounts payable and receivable and managing employee expenses.

      • Programming/Development
        • Generate a List of Random Integers in Python

          This tutorial explains several ways to generate random numbers list in Python. Here, we’ll mainly use three Python random number generation functions. These are random.randint(), random.randrange(), and random.sample().

          You can find full details of these methods here: Generate random numbers in Python. All these functions are part of the Random module. It employs a fast pseudorandom number generator which uses the Mersenne Twister algorithm.

          However today, we’ll focus on producing a list of non-repeating integers only. Go through the below bullets to continue.

        • 5.0a6: context reporting

          I’ve released another alpha of 5.0: 5.0a6. There are some design decisions ahead that I could use feedback on.


          I know this is a lot, and the 5.0 alpha series has been going on for a while. The features are shaping up to be powerful and useful. All of your feedback has been very helpful, keep it coming.

        • Gradient Boosting Classifiers in Python with Scikit-Learn

          Gradient boosting classifiers are a group of machine learning algorithms that combine many weak learning models together to create a strong predictive model. Decision trees are usually used when doing gradient boosting. Gradient boosting models are becoming popular because of their effectiveness at classifying complex datasets, and have recently been used to win many Kaggle data science competitions.

          The Python machine learning library, Scikit-Learn, supports different implementations of gradient boosting classifiers, including XGBoost.

        • What are *args and **kwargs and How to use them
        • Create a Flask Application With Google Login

          You’ve probably seen the option for Google Login on various websites. Some sites also have more options like Facebook Login or GitHub Login. All these options allow users to utilize existing accounts to use a new service.

          In this article, you’ll work through the creation of a Flask web application. Your application will allow a user to log in using their Google identity instead of creating a new account. There are tons of benefits with this method of user management. It’s going to be safer and simpler than managing the traditional username and password combinations.

          This article will be more straightforward if you already understand the basics of Python. It would also help to know a bit about web frameworks and HTTP requests, but that’s not strictly necessary.

        • Start tinkering with the Circuit Playground Express

          I’ve been a gadget person as long as I can remember, so I was delighted when I discovered an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express (CPX) in the swag bag I got at PyConUS in May. I became fascinated with these little devices last year, when Nina Zakharenko highlighted them in her All Things Open presentation, Five Things You Didn’t Know Python Could Do, with Python-powered earrings.

          After finding one in my PyCon bag, I set out to learn more about these mesmerizing little devices. First, I attended a “how-to” session at one of the Open Spaces meetups at PyCon. But learning always requires hands-on practice, and that’s what I did when I got home. I connected the CPX device to my Linux laptop with a USB-to-MicroUSB cable. The unit mounts just like any standard USB drive, listed as CIRCUITPY.

        • Getting Started with Map

          While certainly less common, it’s perfectly possible to write Python code in a functional style, and there are plenty of tools in the Python standard library to faciliate functional programming. One such tool is called map, and in this post we’re look at what map is for, and how you might use it in your own code.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • Space law is inadequate for the boom in human activity there

        Amazon would never have existed, he said, without pre-existing infrastructure: postal services to deliver packages; home computers to order goods; credit cards to make payments. The job of the current generation would be to build an equivalent “infrastructure” for space. Mr Bezos identified two elements of this: much lower launch costs and the exploitation of resources in space. But he might have mentioned another, more basic requirement for enterprise: a proper legal environment.

        What rules there are largely date from the cold-war era. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is the foundational space-law text. It sets out some basic principles, among them that space is free for exploration and use by all states, and that no claims of sovereignty can be made. Later agreements assign liability for damage caused by space objects and require states to help rescue astronauts in distress.

        A common thread runs through these texts. They all assume that space is a realm dominated by states, not by companies, let alone individual billionaires. As space industrialises, the gaps in the law are becoming clearer. Two areas of concern stand out: debris and resource extraction.

      • The US Air Force is warning people to stay away from Area 51 after a viral Facebook joke to storm the base and ‘see them aliens’

        A joke Facebook event encouraging people to band together and storm the highly secretive Area 51 site in Nevada has gone viral, inspiring alien memes on Facebook and Instagram.

      • Why ‘Moon Shot’ Has No Place in the 21st Century

        Like the original moon shot, these are big, hard problems that demand significant investments of time and money, along with innovative technology and thinking. But these projects differ in two critical ways. First, they demand nowhere near the resources the United States used to reach the Sea of Tranquility. To make good on John F. Kennedy’s pledge to land a man on the moon and bring him home by the end of the 1960s, NASA spent $25.4 billion on the Apollo program—more than $150 billion in today’s dollars. At its peak, Apollo accounted for nearly 4 percent of the federal budget. More than 400,000 Americans worked on it in some capacity, nearly all of them in private industry.

      • Fernando Corbató, scientist who fostered digital revolution and computer password, dies at 93

        Fernando Corbató, a scientist who fostered the digital revolution by developing shared computer operating systems and put his stamp on daily life by introducing the computer password, died July 12 at a nursing home in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was 93.

    • Hardware
      • Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K04US
      • Samsung Chromebook 3

        Today we are looking at the Samsung Chromebook 3 (XE501C13-K01US). It is an affordable computer for all your basic everyday needs for a great price and good quality from Samsung.

        It comes with a fanless Dual-Core Intel Celeron Processor N3060 CPU, an 11.6 inch, 1366×768, LED display, and non-touch screen. It has 2GB of RAM and a 16GB eMMC SSD.

        It has Android Apps (Google Play) but it does not have Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until June 2021.

      • Acer Chromebook 11 7th Gen

        Today we are looking at the Acer Chromebook 11 7th Gen (CB3-132-C4VV / NX.G4XAA.002). It is a budget Chromebook, perfect for daily tasks like browsing the web, watching movies and writing documents.

        It comes with a fanless Dual-Core Intel Celeron Processor N3060 CPU, an 11.6 inch, 1366×768, IPS display, and non-touch screen. It has 4gb of RAM and a 16GB eMMC SSD.

      • ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

        Today we are looking at the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 – C434TA-DS384T. It is a 2 in 1 Chromebook, familiar laptop and tablet, and it comes with a sleek all-metal look and diamond-cut edges, makes it a perfect Chromebook for anyone who wants a stylish modern Chromebook!

      • Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K06US

        Today we are looking at the Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K06US. It is an affordable, yet powerful, small and thin computer for all your basic everyday needs for a great price and good quality from Samsung.

      • Samsung Chromebook Pro
    • Health/Nutrition
      • House passes amendment ordering Pentagon to review whether U.S. experimented with weaponizing ticks

        Those books, however, have been questioned by some experts who dismiss long-held conspiracy theories that the federal government aided the spread of tick-borne diseases, and federal agencies, including the CDC, may have participated in a cover-up of sorts to conceal findings about the spread of Lyme disease.

        Smith has been a fierce advocate of raising awareness about Lyme disease and increasing prevention efforts. Smith, the co-chair of the House Lyme Disease Caucus, earlier this year introduced the “Ticks: Identify, Control, and Knockout Act” (TICK Act), a bill to come up with a national strategy to fight Lyme disease. If passed, the measure would authorize an additional $180 million to boost funding for Lyme disease research, prevention and treatment programs.

        The CDC currently spends about $11 million on Lyme disease research.

    • Security
      • Was DNS intentionally designed to be insecure?

        but noone considered that now-controversial near-truism at all when the core internet protocols were first designed and implemented. the idea of abuse was considered novel in the 1990′s when commercialization and privatization brought abuse into the internet world and burst the academic bubble. a lot of old timers blamed AOL and MSN and even Usenet for the problems, but in actuality, it’s what humans _always_ do at scale. putting the full spectrum of human culture atop a technology platform designed for academic and professional culture should have been understood to be a recipe for disaster.

      • Smart meters in England are mysteriously switching to Welsh

        Bulb says that the problem has occurred in around 200 cases and that it takes five steps to fix it, though if you don’t know Welsh, you’ll need to get Bulb to talk you through it by way of numbers of button pushes.

        “While we think Welsh is a great language, we understand that in many cases people will want their display to be in English.” it jibbered in a statement.

      • ‘Defnydd heddiw’: Smart meter displays in England turn Welsh in bizarre language glitch

        One customer, James Tombs, who lives well over 100 miles from the Welsh border, in West Sussex, told us: “I don’t live in Wales and don’t know Welsh. One day I saw my meter was in Welsh but ignored it as I was busy. I then came back to it later and realised that the screen was locked, the buttons didn’t do anything and the unit wasn’t updating. The clock was stuck at 15.47.

      • iOS 13 beta exposes iCloud Keychain passwords and usernames

        This allows for access to iCloud Keychain passwords, which pretty much means access to a whole suite of usernames and passwords stored by Apple’s cloud service. We can envision the potential for another iCloud hack, only with leaked nudes of early adopter Apple fanatics rather than celebs indulging their promiscuous sides.

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (libreoffice), Red Hat (thunderbird), SUSE (ardana and crowbar, firefox, libgcrypt, and xrdp), and Ubuntu (nss, squid3, and wavpack).

      • Malicious Python libraries targeting Linux servers removed from PyPI [Ed: Python does not run only on Linux, but Microsoft-funded sites like ZDNet (CBS) look for ways to blame everything on "Linux", even malicious software that gets caught in the supply chain]
      • Malicious Python Libraries Discovered on PyPI, Offensive Security Launches the Kali NetHunter App Store, IBM Livestreaming a Panel with Original Apollo 11 Technicians Today, Azul Systems Announces OpenJSSE and Krita 4.2.3 Released

        Offensive Security, the creators of open-source Kali Linux, has launched the Kali NetHunter App Store, “a new one stop shop for security relevant Android applications. Designed as an alternative to the Google Play store for Android devices, the NetHunter store is an installable catalogue of Android apps for pentesting and forensics”. The press release also notes that the NetHunter store is a slightly modified version of F-Droid: “While F-Droid installs its clients with telemetry disabled and asks for consent before submitting crash reports, the NetHunter store goes a step further by removing the entire code to ensure that privacy cannot be accidentally compromised”. See the blog post for more details.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • US nuclear weapon locations in Europe accidentally exposed in NATO committee report

        The Washington Post reports that the document by a Canadian senator for the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly detailed the future of the organization’s nuclear deterrence policy but accidentally exposed the open secret.

        The report stated that U.S. nuclear weapons are being stored in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

      • ‘The most intimidating minute I have ever spent’: The first nuclear weapon test was 74 years ago — here’s what it was like to watch the ‘shocking’ explosion

        Nicknamed Gadget, the bomb had been three years in the making. At 10 p.m. local time on July 15 it was winched to the top of a metal tower 800 meters from the ground zero site Oppenheimer had named Trinity, after a poem by the 17th-century English writer John Donne.

        The team originally planned to detonate the bomb at 4 a.m., but a passing storm caused delays, and it wasn’t until just before 5:29 a.m. that the countdown began.

      • Puerto Rico’s Vieques island ousted the US Navy. Now the fight’s against Airbnb.

        The Navy phased out of Vieques at the turn of the millennium, pushed by decades of intense local activism and international outcry after David Sanes Rodríguez, a Puerto Rican security guard, was killed in a bombing run — one of thousands conducted by the military over more than 60 years. During that period, the Navy staged training exercises on the beaches of Vieques and dropped thousands of bombs on the land and its surrounding waters — not to mention depleted uranium shells, napalm and Agent Orange.

        Almost 20 years after their departure, island leaders are still demanding the Navy clean up buried munitions and toxic pollution, and craft a sustainable development plan meant to bolster the local economy and revitalize long-fallow land.

        Many Viequenses fear the island is still not their own. Instead of military occupation, they now face “an invasion of ‘foreign’ capital,” as Guadalupe Ortiz describes it — people from the US mainland buying up property for vacation homes and Airbnbs at prices exponentially higher than what most locals can afford.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • Western Elites Spruik Media Freedom While Torturing Julian Assange In Belmarsh Supermax. But What’s Stanley Milgram Got To Do With It?

        While politicians, media and commentators strut the world stage crying ‘press freedom’ an actual journalist from Australia rots in a British prison for doing his job. Clinical psychologist Dr Lissa Johnson weighs in with the science behind why we stay silent.

        On Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th July, the UK Foreign Office and Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a Global Conference for Media Freedom. Politicians and opinion-shapers from around the world gathered in London to discuss how best to promote a “free and independent media”, and ensure the “safety and protection of journalists”, who are “under threat” around the world.

        Meanwhile, publisher and journalist Julian Assange languished in Belmarsh supermax prison a short train ride away. His plight failed to rate a mention on the conference agenda, despite the event’s professed concern for journalists in jail.

      • The CIA Wants To Make It Easier To Jail Journalists And No One In Congress Is Stopping It From Happening

        The CIA is pushing for an expansion of a 37-year-old law that would deter journalists from covering national security issues or reporting on leaked documents. Thanks to a disillusioned CIA case officer’s actions in 1975, there are currently a few limits to what can or can’t be reported about covert operatives working overseas.

        In 1975, Philip Agee published a memoir about his years with the CIA. Attached to his memoir — which detailed his growing discontentment with the CIA’s clandestine support of overseas dictators — was a list of 250 CIA agents or informants. In response to this disclosure, Congress passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), which criminalized disclosing the identity of covert intelligence agents.

        The IIPA did what it could to protect journalists by limiting the definition of “covert agent” to agents serving overseas and then only those who were currently working overseas when the disclosure occurred. It also required the government to show proof the person making the disclosure was “engaged in a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose” covert agents. The law was amended in 1999 to expand the coverage to include covert agents working overseas within five years of the disclosure.

    • Environment
      • Coral Deaths Spurred by Pollutants From Land: Runoff and waste may be more harmful to the animals than climate change.

        A30-year study suggests that pollution may pose a more imminent threat to struggling coral reefs than waters warmed by climate change. The research points to excess nitrogen from topsoil runoff and inadequately treated sewage as the main driver of coral death in Florida’s Looe Key reef, researchers reported July 15 in Marine Biology.

      • Nitrogen from sewage and farms is starving Florida corals to death, study says

        The study led by Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Looe Key, in the Florida Keys, showed that higher nutrient levels in Florida waters is a key cause of coral bleaching and death. As nutrient runoff from farming and from a growing population increases the amount of nitrogen levels in the water, corals are actually dying before being affected by warmer water temperatures, said Brian Lapointe, one of the authors of the study and a professor at FAU’s Harbor Branch.

      • Solar-powered barge gobbles up trash in Finland’s waterways

        Garbage tends to especially accumulate in waters near highly-populated areas. Despite the use of water purification systems as well as other anti-pollution techniques, small items such as cotton swabs often end up in waterways.

        Though Roska-Roope isn’t able to collect all of the unwanted elements in the water, part of its role is to educate the public about the effects of litter.

      • ‘Breaking’ the heat index: US heat waves to skyrocket as globe warms, study suggests

        By 2050, hundreds of U.S. cities could see an entire month each year with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees if nothing is done to rein in global warming.

        The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. This is the first study to take the heat index – instead of just temperature – into account when determining the impacts of global warming, Dahl said.

        The number of days per year when the heat index exceeds 100 degrees will more than double nationally, according to the study, which was published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Communications.

      • July 2019: Hurricane Barry

        On July 16, 2019, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) began collecting aerial damage assessment images in the aftermath of Hurricane Barry. Imagery is being collected in specific areas identified by NOAA in coordination with FEMA and other state and federal partners. Collected images are available to view online via the NGS aerial imagery viewer. View tips on how to use the imagery viewer.

        NOAA’s aerial imagery aids safe navigation and captures damage to coastal areas caused by a storm. Aerial imagery is a crucial tool to determine the extent of the damage inflicted by flooding, and to compare baseline coastal areas to assess the damage to major ports and waterways, coastlines, critical infrastructure, and coastal communities. This imagery provides a cost-effective way to better understand the damage sustained to both property and the environment.

    • Finance
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime

        But most election-related legislation has stalled in the Senate, including a mammoth ethics and election reform, known as H.R. 1, that was passed by House Democrats.

      • Microsoft Data Shows [Attackers] Still Targeting U.S. Elections

        State-backed [attackers] have attempted to infiltrate targets related to U.S. elections more than 700 times in the past year, furthering concerns about potential meddling in upcoming races, according to a blog posted Wednesday by Microsoft Corp.

      • Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at 99

        He was commissioned as an officer in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He spent most of his Navy service, which lasted until 1945, stationed at Pearl Harbor working on breaking Japanese codes, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.


        With two older brothers who were lawyers, John was encouraged after his discharge from the Navy to attend law school himself. He used the G.I. Bill to attend Northwestern University Law School, where he completed his degree in two years. He was editor in chief of the law review and graduated first in the class of 1947 with the highest grade-point average in the school’s history.

      • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Gives Talk at Apple Headquarters

        Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., is one of several speakers talking to select Apple employees as part of an ongoing series, people familiar with the matter said. The billionaire spoke with staff from the marketing department, they said, asking not to be identified discussing internal matters.

      • Von der Leyen confirmed as first female European Commission president

        Von der Leyen promised to defend the rule of law, took aim at U.S. tech giants’ low tax bill in Europe and said she would update EU-wide norms for tackling the migrant issue.

      • Ursula von der Leyen is elected European Commission president

        But it was not. The centre-right EPP group and the liberals were, it is true, broadly supportive. Under a deal done by national leaders in a marathon European Council summit culminating on July 2nd, Mrs von der Leyen would be nominated for the commission, Charles Michel, a liberal, to the European Council’s own presidency and Josep Borrell, a socialist, to the role of high representative for foreign policy—with Christine Lagarde, the French head of the IMF, taking charge at the European Central Bank. But plenty of greens and socialists (led by contingents from Germany itself) objected that this was a stitch-up, that it was unfair on the left and that it contravened a post-2014 convention whereby a party-political “lead candidate” should win a mandate at the European election to become commission president. That raised the spectre of Mrs von der Leyen owing her majority to right-wing populists from outside the mainstream, some of whom backed her to avoid getting Frans Timmermans, the socialists’ preferred choice.

        Clearly Mrs von der Leyen wanted to avoid that outcome. Her speech this morning was her last effort to do so. The vote was secret. But its narrowness suggests that without the votes of, say, Poland’s right-populist Law and Justice (PiS) MPs or those of Hungary’s authoritarian Fidesz, she would not have won. One rumour, encouraged by sources in Warsaw, has it that Angela Merkel called PiS leaders to secure their support for her compatriot and ally (perhaps in exchange for German support to keep EU regional funds flowing to poor Polish regions). By contrast none of Germany’s 16 Social Democrat MEPs claims to have voted for her and almost no members of the parliament’s Green fraction did. So the incoming commission president will take office with her authority already dented. Far from commanding a centrist majority in the parliament, she faces charges of being in hock to some of the more unpleasant and unpredictable elements of the European right.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • GOP demands that Pelosi remarks be removed from record [iophk: tweets in place of official communications ]

        Action on the floor froze at that point, as lawmakers and the parliamentarian debated next steps.

      • (Can’t) Picture This 2: An Analysis of WeChat’s Realtime Image Filtering in Chats

        WeChat implements realtime, automatic censorship of chat images based on text contained in images and on an image’s visual similarity to those on a blacklist

        WeChat facilitates realtime filtering by maintaining a hash index populated by MD5 hashes of images sent by users of the chat platform

      • How WeChat censors private conversations, automatically in real time

        WeChat’s censors face two types of challenges. Big public posts on WeChat Moments, a public feature similar to Facebook’s Timeline, are scrutinized and filtered by algorithms that can sometimes take over 10 seconds to run—a glacial pace on social media. But one-on-one and group messages are a different problem entirely, because they are often intimate and instant conversations. That requires real-time censorship.

        Text is relatively easy to search and censor. Image filtering is harder, especially when you’re trying to examine and censor the images almost instantly. To accomplish this task, WeChat keeps a massive and always growing index of MD5 hashes, small cryptographic data signatures that are unique to every file. When a censored image is sent, it will be caught by the hash index and deleted. Neither the sender nor the recipient is ever likely to know anything was censored.

        If the image isn’t instantly censored, it’s sent for automatic analysis. Using optical character recognition, [...]

      • EU Looking To Regulate Everything Online, And To Make Sites Proactively Remove Material

        A core aim is to replace the e-Commerce Directive, passed in 2000. This is presented as “outdated”, but the suggestions in the paper are clearly a continuation of attacks on the fundamental principles underlying the open Internet that began with the Copyright Directive.

        One of the problems for the EU when pushing through the upload filters of Article 13/17 in the Copyright Directive is that Article 15 of the e-Commerce Directive explicitly states that there is “No general obligation to monitor”. Constant surveillance is the only way that upload filters can work — if you don’t monitor all the time, you can’t be sure you block everything that the law requires. Furthermore, Article 14 of the e-Commerce Directive emphasizes that “the service provider is not liable for the information stored at the request of a recipient of the service”. That’s subject to certain conditions, such as being required to remove material that infringes on copyright, but only after being informed of its presence on their servers.

      • Google, Money and Censorship in Free Software communities

        Alexander Wirt (formorer) has tried to justify censoring the mailing list in various ways. Wirt is also one of Debian’s GSoC administrators and mentors, it appears he has a massive conflict of interest when censoring posts about Google.

        Wirt has also made public threats to censor other discussions, for example, the DebConf Israel debate. The challenges of holding a successful event in that particular region require a far more mature approach.

        Why are these donations and conflicts of interest hidden from the free software community who rely on, interact with contribute to Debian in so many ways? Why doesn’t Debian provide a level playing field, why does money from Google get this veil of secrecy?


        Google also operates a mailing list for mentors in Google Summer of Code. It looks a lot like any other free software community mailing list except for one thing: censorship.

        Look through the “Received” headers of messages on the mailing list and you can find examples of messages that were delayed for some hours waiting for approval. It is not clear how many messages were silently censored, never appearing at all.

        Recent attempts to discuss the issue on Google’s own mailing list produced an unsurprising result: more censorship.

      • Former Content Moderator Explains How Josh Hawley’s Bill Would Grant Government Control Over Online Speech

        Daisy Soderberg-Rivkin, who used to work at Google as an in-house content moderator, has written a fascinating piece for the Washington Times, explaining just what a disaster Josh Hawley’s anti-Section 230 bill would be for the internet. As we’ve discussed, Hawley’s bill would require large internet companies to beg the FTC every two years to get a “certificate” granting them Section 230 protections — and they’d only get it if they could convince 4 out of 5 of the FTC Commissioners that their content moderation efforts were “politically neutral.”

        Soderberg-Rivkin points out how that will stifle the kind of “clean up” efforts that most everyone — especially folks like Senator Josh Hawley — often claim they want when they complain about all the “bad stuff” on social media. Remember, just before introducing this bill, Hawley was whining about all the bad and dangerous content on social media.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Bulgaria tax agency [attack] exposes personal data of ‘almost all’ citizens

        However, the attack appears to have come courtesy of a [criminal] with a Russian email address who offered local media to the pilfered data. It remains unclear what motivated the attack, but the person claiming to be behind the [attack] said the Bulgarian government was corrupt, which would suggest this was a politically motivated attack.

      • In systemic breach, [intruders] [copy] millions of Bulgarians’ financial data

        The reason for the attack was not immediately clear.

        But the email’s author, who described the government as corrupt, said hackers had compromised more than 110 databases, including “critically confidential” information from key administrations, some of which was being offered to journalists.

      • Brexit Party MEP admits working in secret for Cambridge Analytica

        Phillips’s involvement came during Kenya’s controversial 2017 election campaign, when president Uhuru Kenyatta deployed a secret team to help him retain power.

        Phillips initially strenuously denying any involvement with the data firm, which has been accused of influencing the Brexit result in the UK and the American election result.

        The MEP is said to have only backtracked after the programme obtained a recording of an interview from 2017 in which she confirms she had been “employed by Cambridge Analytica”.

        The firm was exposed by an undercover Channel 4 News investigation last year in which company bosses were filmed boasting of dirty tricks, and impacting election results around the world.

      • Oakland Becomes Third U.S. City to Ban Facial Recognition

        A city ordinance passed Tuesday night which prohibits the city of Oakland from “acquiring, obtaining, retaining, requesting, or accessing” facial recognition technology, which it defines as “an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual based on an individual’s face.”

      • Why the U.S. Must Follow Our Lead in San Francisco or Risk Becoming a Surveillance State

        Technology should work for the public good, not against it. Yet recent revelations that the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are pillaging state driver’s license records to conduct facial recognition surveillance recall the controversy beginning in 2013 over secret mass surveillance by the National Security Agency.

        Under the pretense of preventing crime, these tools are once again being trained on the innocent American public.

        The news came on the heels of a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that showed federal authorities now have access to over 641 million photos of people’s faces in searchable databases. Since 2011, federal agents have submitted requests for over 390,000 searches. The FBI currently conducts about 4,000 searches per month through its “next generation” photo ID system.

      • How Pornhub Enables Doxing and Harassment

        The agreements they signed with Girls Do Porn are multi-page contracts full of fine legal print, and make no mention of the videos being posted online or even the name “Girls Do Porn,” according to O’Brien. “So they do sign something, but they never get a copy of it. The first time they ever see it is in this litigation,” he said.

      • Amazon Is Using Prime Day to Lock People into a Giant Surveillance Network

        However, Ring and Neighbors market themselves as a crime-fighting tools only by actively encouraging people to fear their neighbors. And by extension, Amazon positions itself as a company that can uniquely address these safety concerns stoked by Ring and Neighbors. Amazon uses Prime Day as a means of getting people to buy heavily discounted Amazon products that lock customers into their broader ecosystem. In this case, that includes Ring. But there are many reasons not to buy a ring. Here’s a summary of Motherboard’s reporting on Ring and Neighbors: [...]

      • Windows 10 will soon allow third-party voice assistants to take precedence over Cortana

        Watch out for the change is 19H2 – which will be the first bi-annual update to the operating system to be a patch rollup, similar to the old Service Packs, instead of a full new build.

      • Senators aren’t sold on Facebook’s Libra project

        “Like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over, and called every arson a learning experience,” Brown said. “We would be crazy to give them a chance to experiment with people’s bank accounts, and to use powerful tools they don’t understand, like monetary policy, to jeopardize hardworking Americans’ ability to provide for their families.”

      • [Older] Facebook, privacy activist Schrems face off in July 9 court hearing

        At issue is standard contractual clauses used by Facebook and other companies to transfer personal data to the United States and other parts of the world and whether these violate Europeans’ fundamental right to privacy.

        Cross-border data transfers worth billions of dollars are a fact of life for businesses ranging from banks to carmakers to industrial giants.

        Schrems, an Austrian law student, successfully fought against the EU’s previous privacy rules called Safe Harbour in 2015. He is now challenging Facebook’s use of such standard clauses on the grounds that they do not offer sufficient data protection safeguards.

      • The PGP Problem

        There are, as you’re about to see, lots of problems with PGP. Fortunately, if you’re not morbidly curious, there’s a simple meta-problem with it: it was designed in the 1990s, before serious modern cryptography. No competent crypto engineer would design a system that looked like PGP today, nor tolerate most of its defects in any other design. Serious cryptographers have largely given up on PGP and don’t spend much time publishing on it anymore (with a notable exception). Well-understood problems in PGP have gone unaddressed for over a decade because of this.

        Two quick notes: first, we wrote this for engineers, not lawyers and activists. Second: “PGP” can mean a bunch of things, from the OpenPGP standard to its reference implementation in GnuPG. We use the term “PGP” to cover all of these things.

      • ICO sheds light onto cookie requirements

        At the beginning of this month, UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published much awaited new guidance on the use of cookies and similar technologies for storing information, and accessing information stored, on a user’s equipment, such as a computer or mobile device. It is primarily addressed to the providers/operators of online services, such as a website or a mobile app, and provides more clarity and certainty about how cookies can be used as part of such services.


        ICO has developed an online tool that may prove useful when determining where consent applies for the use of cookies.

        New guidance also tightens the requirements for obtaining the consent by pointing to the valid consent standards under the GDPR– freely given, specific, informed, unambiguous and expressly given. Consent requests must be ‘clearly distinguishable from other matters’, be presented in an intelligible and easily accessible form, and the consent mechanism must allow the data subjects to withdraw their consent at any time. Accordingly, the continued use of the website does not constitute a valid consent.

        Before the consent is given, users must be clearly informed about what cookies are in use (including any third party cookies) and what function they perform. Further, before making a choice, users must also be prevented from accessing the website. For non-essential cookies, pre-ticked boxes or equivalent default fixtures are not allowed, and user access should not be denied if they do not consent to such cookies. ICO is very specific about placement, formatting and wording of cookie information and consent request.

        Notably, the cookie rules do not apply in the same way to the intranet, which is unlikely to be a public electronic communications service.

      • Idaho Magistrate Judge Shoots Down Another Government Request For Compelled Fingerprint Production

        In May, federal magistrate judge Ronald E. Bush said compelled production of fingerprints violates both the Fourth and Fifth Amendment. He declared the fingerprint application itself to be a search, one performed with the assistance of the suspect. There’s the Fourth Amendment issue.

        And since the government hadn’t provided evidence tying the suspect to the phone, producing fingerprints would provide the government with testimonial evidence it didn’t have. The government wanted to search the phone for “indica of ownership” — something it hoped to perform after it had already compelled production of fingerprints. The government had no “foregone conclusion” to work with, so forcing a suspect to give up information only they know (namely, possibly verifying ownership by unlocking the phone) implicated his Fifth Amendment protections against being forced to testify against himself.

        In this case, Judge Bush has handed down another denial [PDF]. Once again, the government wants to compel the unlocking of a device but doesn’t have everything it needs. What the government does have isn’t much. The evidence tying the suspect to child porn possession is mostly ephemeral: IP addresses, email addresses, and online accounts. Using this as probable cause, the government is asking to search electronics seized from a searched residence. (The government also wants to search the suspect’s car, presumably in case any electronics are stashed there.)

      • Sharpening Our Claws: Teaching Privacy Badger to Fight More Third-Party Trackers

        The latest release of Privacy Badger gives it the power to detect and block a new class of evasive, pervasive third-party trackers, including Google Analytics.

        Most blocking tools, like uBlock Origin, Ghostery, and Firefox’s native blocking mode (using Disconect’s block lists), use human-curated lists to decide whether to block or allow third-party resources. But Privacy Badger is different. Rather than rely on a list of known trackers, it discovers and learns to block new trackers in the wild. It works using heuristics, or patterns of behavior, to identify trackers.

        Last week, we updated Privacy Badger with a new heuristic to help it identify trackers that have flown under its radar in the past. Here’s how it works.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Marine vet denied entry to US for scheduled citizenship interview

        Sabal lived in the US for more than a decade and joined the Marines in 1987, eager to serve the US. In 2008, he returned to Belize for a visit and while he was gone, a judge ordered him to be deported at a court hearing he was not aware of because he was not in the US.

        Sabal has been stuck outside the US since that 2008 trip.

      • We Talked to People Who Are Boycotting Amazon Prime Day

        Mateo Ramirez, age 20 from Florida, said via Instagram DM that he’s boycotting Prime Day in order to show opposition to Amazon’s union-busting and low minimum wages. Amazon recently raised its company minimum wage to $15/hour, but only while cutting stock benefits and incentive pay.

        “I work in marketing and economics so I know about the logistics of Amazon and I know that in order to provide the services that they provide, employees needs to be working diligently Around the Clock, but I also believe that a company with as much money and assets as Amazon can afford to give its employees sufficient breaks,” Ramirez said. “As a consumer, I would be more than willing to sacrifice one day shipping to ensure that employees are working in a healthy environment.”

      • “Sweden is at War”

        Under the heading, “Personal safety – tips and advice on how to avoid getting into unwanted situations”, the municipality advises its employees to “Plan your itinerary – know your area…try to minimize the time from when you park your bike / car until you enter [the destination]“. Also, “Before leaving a building, look out first and make an assessment of the surroundings to avoid getting into an unwanted situation… keep away from people who are considered potentially threatening or dangerous and increase the distance if there are no other people nearby”.

        One city employee, who received the guidelines, accused the municipality of hypocrisy: “To the media, the municipality says that everything is fine, even though it is not. Then they send this type of mail to their employees”.

      • An Epidemic of Disbelief

        “These are not the Napoleons of crime,” Tim McGinty told me. He paused, reflecting on those 7,000 rape kits sitting in storage in Cleveland while the perpetrators were free on the streets. “They’re morons. We were letting morons beat us.”

        Liz Garcia considers herself fortunate. At least the Cleveland police submitted her rape kit for testing, even if they weren’t able to identify her assailant until they retested it 12 years later. But what about the other victims, the ones who endured an invasive forensic exam, expecting the police to marshal that evidence to catch their assailants? “How can somebody just let them sit there?” Garcia asks. “You know, the women calling and calling, trying to find answers. You’re giving them some story, and all along this rape kit is sitting there, not even being tested. ‘No, we don’t have anything further.’ But you could have if you would have tested that kit! You could have avoided other rapes if you would have tested that kit.”

        This is the question that haunts every advocate, researcher, and enlightened detective or prosecutor I spoke with: How many rapes could have been prevented if the police had believed the first victim, launched a thorough investigation, and caught the rapist? How many women would have been spared a brutal assault?

      • No Federal Charges for NYC Police Officer in Eric Garner Case

        New York police officers were attempting to arrest Garner, then 43, for selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When Garner resisted, asking officers not to touch him and batting their hands away, they restrained him. Garner, who was heard saying he couldn’t breathe, died in the altercation that followed.

        The DOJ concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Daniel Pantaleo, the officer accused of killing Garner, had violated the federal Civil Rights Act. To do so, Donahue said, the government would have had to prove Pantaleo willfully used more force than he could have believed was necessary.

      • Eric Garner’s killer will not be charged

        It’s been five years. The only punishment Pantaleo received is being demoted to desk duty.

        The person who captured video of the NYPD killing Eric Garner, Ramsey Orta, may face over 50 years in prison for filming a murder.

      • Can Ilhan Omar Overcome Her Prejudice?

        I once opened a speech by confessing to a crowd of Jews that I used to hate them. It was 2006 and I was a young native of Somalia who’d been elected to the Dutch Parliament. The American Jewish Committee was giving me its Moral Courage Award. I felt honored and humbled, but a little dishonest if I didn’t own up to my anti-Semitic past. So I told them how I’d learned to blame the Jews for everything.


        Fast-forward to 2019. [...]

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • 5G’s Latest Problem: Summer Temps Are Causing 5G Phones To Overheat

        Buried underneath the blistering hype surrounding fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a quiet but growing consensus: the technology is being over-hyped, and early incarnations were rushed to market in a way that prioritized marketing over substance. That’s not to say that 5G won’t be a good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now, but early offerings have been almost comical in their shortcomings. AT&T has repeatedly lied about 5G availability by pretending its 4G network is 5G. Verizon’s falsely telling everyone 5G will help cure cancer, but its actual deployments have been spotty and expensive.

        5G device support barely exists. Apple is in no rush to get its first phones to market. The promise of 5G as a competitive and rural coverage panacea has been vastly overstated. And most surveys suggest US consumers (who already pay some of the highest data prices in the developed world) are more interested in lower bills than faster speeds. All of which is to say that 5G isn’t quite the Earth-shattering revolution it has been heralded as by carriers and network vendors eager to sell more cell phones and network hardware.

      • House Judiciary Committee Continues Its Antitrust Inquiry Into the Internet Marketplace

        Chairman David Cicilline laid out the facts as to why his Subcommittee is engaging in this antitrust inquiry: a small handful of companies wield enormous influence over Internet activity and investors that are important in funding startups noted the “kill-zone” that exists when challenging the dominant tech companies. Rather than try to launch startups that were meant to displace the Internet giants, the market seems to have trended towards building companies that the tech giants will seek to acquire through vertical mergers. Professor Fiona Scott Morton testified that what may be needed is a rethinking of mergers and acquisitions. EFF agrees that this area of antitrust law is sorely in need of a reboot. Other witnesses noted that small businesses now see companies like Amazon as potentially hostile to their ability to use the Internet to grow, Stacey Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This represents a dramatic shift in how Internet industries have worked historically, where the garage startup became the next billion-dollar corporation only to be replaced by the next garage startup, and no company could gatekeep others.

        It’s a powerful indication that the Internet markets have changed when the giant corporations under scrutiny could only list each other as competitors, in response to requests from Congressman Hank Johnson. In a follow-up inquiry, Congressman Joe Neguse noted 4 of the 6 largest global social media companies are all owned by Facebook, which highlights how its series of mergers appeared to have gotten ahead of users who switched away from Facebook but were brought back into the fold in the end.

    • Monopolies
      • Amazon Is Celebrating Its Monopoly Power With Prime Day

        Prime Day, then, is the ultimate loss leader for the company. In exchange for spending billions of dollars on services and losing billions of dollars on deep discounts, Amazon is making the bet that you will join Prime and then spend more money on more things offered on the platform and by the company itself. Last year, most commentators paid attention to the fact that Amazon sold $3.5 billion worth of products on Prime Day, its biggest haul ever for the event. The real move here, however, is Amazon uses Prime Day to increase Prime memberships and, as analysts at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company explained, “lock consumers more tightly into its growing ecosystem of products, services, and media.”

        Amazon continues to lose money on shipping, but its long game is to lock people into its ecosystem.

      • EC launches ‘full-blown’ antitrust probe into Amazon

        If Amazon is found to have breached antitrust rules, it could be fined up to 10 per cent of its annual global turnover – which given Amazon’s complicated financial affairs might not prove as easy to calculate as you’d hope.

      • Patents and Software Patents
        • How anyone can win an argument through analogy using PTAB big data

          A distinguishing feature of a good patent practitioner is his or her ability to analogize. But the usefulness of such analogizing is not limited to patent prosecutors. In fact, patent litigators are increasingly using ex parte appeals data in court with the same approach.

          First some context. Patent practitioners have long used a technique analogizing to rules and case law to bolster their position. For example, a patent lawyer can use the universe of MPEP, case law or other USPTO guidance to point out that an examiner’s rejection is improper. A problem with this is that with only finite hours to spend to sift through the thousands of pages of such resources for such analogizing information. This is where help from big data comes in.

          Ex parte PTAB appeals data can help patent practitioners analogize to overcome a particular rejection. With Anticipat Research, a savvy practitioner can simply input an examiner name, art unit or technology class of interest, along with the rejection type, filter for all reversals, and then quickly distill which argumentation and case law the Board found persuasive in overturning an application’s current rejection.

      • Copyrights
        • Organized Crime Unit Orders Pirate IPTV Sellers to Cease & Desist

          The Covert Development and Disruption Team of the UK’s North West Regional Organised Crime Unit says it has issued cease and desist notices in England and Wales to people involved in the sale of ‘pirate’ IPTV subscriptions. The sweep took place Tuesday and also targeted sellers of modified set-top boxes.

        • ‘Repeat Copyright Infringer’ Case Against Cloudflare Can Continue, Court Rules

          In a case filed in California, Cloudflare stands accused of failing to terminate customers that have been repeatedly called out as copyright infringers. The case wasn’t filed by Hollywood or the major record labels, but by two manufacturers of wedding dresses. The CDN provider tried to have the case dismissed recently but in a new order, the court refuses to do so.

Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

Thursday 18th of July 2019 11:19:01 AM

PART 3 AND PART 4 (links below) of this series concern the case which previous parts, namely 1 and 2, explained in some more detail (Wikipedia has an article about it as well). Today we concluded this series, at least for now, and we’ve decided that we shall post a more complete series-like index at the end, hopefully before a decision is reached (the outcome seems predictable). This index will be updated as additional posts on the subject are published. This page is thus a dynamic (to be updated) index.

Part 1: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 1: Is D-Day Approaching for Battistelli’s “Difficult Legacy”?
Part 2: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 2: The “Difficult Legacy” and Its Dark Historical Shadow
Part 3: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19
Part 4: EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 – Faites Vos Jeux…

Also of relevance:

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Linux Weekly Roundup #35

    Hello and welcome to this week's Linux Roundup and what a wonderful week we had! We have plenty of Linux Distro releases and LibreOffice 6.3 RC1. The Linux distros with releases this week are Q4OS 3.8, SparkyLinux 5.8, Mageia 7.1, ArcoLinux 19.07.11, Deepin 15.11, ArchBang 2107-beta, Bluestar 5.2.1, Slackel 7.2 "Openbox" and Endeavour OS 2019.07.15. I looked at most of these Linux Distros, links below, I will look at some of them in the new week and some I will unfortunately not have a look at, for download links and more, please visit Well, this is this week's Linux Roundup, thank you so much for your time! Have a great week!

  • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #140
  • Christopher Allan Webber: ActivityPub Conf 2019

    That's right! We're hosting the first ever ActivityPub Conf. It's immediately following Rebooting Web of Trust in Prague. There's no admission fee to attend. (Relatedly, the conference is kind of being done on the cheap, because it is being funded by organizers who are themselves barely funded.) The venue, however, is quite cool: it's at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, which is itself exploring the ways the digital world is affecting our lives. If you plan on attending (and maybe also speaking), you should get in your application soon (see the flier for details). We've never done one of these, and we have no idea what the response will be like, so this is going to be a smaller gathering (about 40 people). In some ways, it will be somewhere between a conference and a gathering of people-who-are-interested-in-activitypub. As said in the flier, by attending, you are agreeing to the code of conduct, so be sure to read that.

Sysadmin Appreciation Day, IBM and Fedora

  • Gift ideas for Sysadmin Appreciation Day

    Sysadmin Appreciation Day is coming up this Friday, July 26. To help honor sysadmins everywhere, we want you to share your best gift ideas. What would be the best way a team member or customer could show their appreciation for you? As a sysadmin, what was the best gift you've ever received? We asked our writers the same question, and here are their answers: "Whilst working in the Ubuntu community on Edubuntu, I took it upon myself to develop the startup/shutdown sound scheme, which became the default in Ubuntu for, from what I can understand, the next decade. Whilst people had a love-hate relationship with my sound scheme, and rightly so, I had a love-hate relationship with my sound card during the development. At the time I had recorded all my sound samples using one sample rate, but my new sound card, as my motherboard had exploded a few days earlier, did not support it. I had two choices, resample all my samples (which I didn't really want to do) or buy a new sound card.

  • Red Hat OpenStack Platform with Red Hat Ceph Storage: Radosbench baseline performance evaluation

    Red Hat Ceph Storage is popular storage for Red Hat OpenStack Platform. Customers around the world run their hyperscale, production workloads on Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat OpenStack Platform. This is driven by the high level of integration between Ceph storage and OpenStack private cloud platforms. With each release of both platforms, the level of integration has grown and performance and automation has increased. As the customer's storage and compute needs for footprints have grown, we have seen more interest towards running compute and storage as one unit and providing a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) layer based on OpenStack and Ceph. [...] Continuing the benchmarking series, in the next post you’ll learn performance insights of running multi-instance MySQL database on Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage across decoupled and hyperconverged architectures. We’ll also compare results from a near-equal environment backed by all-flash cluster nodes.

  • The State of Java in Flathub

    For maintainers of Java-based applications in Flathub, it's worth noting that even if you consume the Latest OpenJDK extension in your application, users will not be broken by major updates because OpenJDK is bundled into your Flatpak. The implication of this for users is that they won't see updates to their Java version until the application maintainer rebuilds the application in Flathub. If you maintain a Java-based Flatpak application on Flathub, you can consume the latest version of your chosen OpenJDK stream (either LTS or Latest) simply by rebuilding; the latest version of that OpenJDK steam will be pulled in automatically.

  • Fedora Magazine: Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for kernel 5.2

    The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.1. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. This version has many security fixes included. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, Jul 22, 2019 through Monday, Jul 29, 2019. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

Debian and Ubuntu Leftovers

  • Bootstrappable Debian BoF

    Greetings from DebConf 19 in Curitiba! Just a quick reminder that I will run a Bootstrappable Debian BoF on Tuesday 23rd, at 13.30 Brasilia time (which is 16.30 UTC, if I am not mistaken). If you are curious about bootstrappability in Debian, why do we want it and where we are right now, you are welcome to come in person if you are at DebCon or to follow the streaming.

  • Candy Tsai: Outreachy Week 6 – Week 7: Getting Code Merge

    You can’t overhear what others are doing or learn something about your colleagues through gossip over lunch break when working remotely. So after being stuck for quite a bit, terceiro suggested that we try pair programming. After our first remote pair programming session, I think there should be no difference in pair programming in person. We shared the same terminal, looked at the same code and discussed just like people standing side by side. Through our pair programming session, I found out that I had a bad habit. I didn’t run tests on my code that often, so when I had failing tests that didn’t fail before, I spent more time debugging than I should have. Pair programming gave insight to how others work and I think little improvements go a long way.

  • about your wiki page on I/O schedulers and BFQ
    this is basically to report outdated statements in your wiki page on
    I/O schedulers [1].
    The main problematic statement is that BFQ "...  is not ideal for
    devices with slow CPUs or high throughput I/O devices" because too
    heavy.  BFQ is definitely more sophisticated than any of the other I/O
    schedulers.  We have designed it that way to provide an incomparably
    better service quality, at a very low overhead.  As reported in [2],
    the execution time of BFQ on an old laptop CPU is 0.6 us per I/O
    event, against 0.2 us for mq-deadline (which is the lightest Linux I/O
    To put these figures into context, BFQ proved to be so good for
    "devices with slow CPUs" that, e.g., Chromium OS migrated to BFQ a few
    months ago.  In particular, Google crew got convinced by a demo [3] I
    made for them, on one of the cheapest and slowest Chromebook on the
    market.  In the demo, a fast download is performed.  Without BFQ, the
    download makes the device completely unresponsive.  With BFQ, the
    device remains as responsive as if it was totally idle.
    As for the other part of the statement, "...  not ideal for ...  high
    throughput I/O devices", a few days ago I ran benchmarks (on Ubuntu)
    also with one of the fastest consumer-grade NVMe SSDs: a Samsung SSD
    970 PRO.  Results [4] can be summarized as follows.  Throughput with
    BFQ is about the same as with the other I/O schedulers (it couldn't be
    higher, because this kind of drives just wants the scheduler to stay
    as aside as possible, when it comes to throughput).  But, in the
    presence of writes as background workload, start-up times with BFQ are
    at least 16 times as low as with the other I/O schedulers.  In
    absolute terms, gnome-terminal starts in ~1.8 seconds with BFQ, while
    it takes at least 28.7 (!) seconds with the other I/O schedulers.
    Finally, only with BFQ, no frame gets lost in video-playing
    BFQ then provides other important benefits, such as from 5x to 10X
    throughput boost in multi-client server workloads [5].
    So, is there any chance that the outdated/wrong information on your
    wiki page [1] gets updated somehow?  If I may, I'd be glad to update
    it myself, after providing you with all the results you may ask.
    In addition, why doesn't Ubuntu too consider switching to BFQ as
    default I/O scheduler, for all drives that BFQ supports (namely all
    drives with a maximum speed not above ~500 KIOPS)?
    Looking forward to your feedback,
  • Should Ubuntu Use The BFQ I/O Scheduler?

    The BFQ I/O scheduler is working out fairly well these days as shown in our benchmarks. The Budget Fair Queueing scheduler supports both throughput and low-latency modes while working particularly well for consumer-grade hardware. Should the Ubuntu desktop be using BFQ by default? [...] But in addition to wanting to correct that Wiki information, Paolo pops the question of why doesn't Ubuntu switch to BFQ as the default I/O scheduler for supported drives. Though as of yet, no Ubuntu kernel developers have yet commented on the prospect of switching to BFQ.

Devices With Linux Support

  • Quest Releases KACE SDA & SMA Updates

    The update to 7.0 for KACE Systems Deployment Appliance is primarily about bringing a scope of endpoint management capabilities with new support for Linux devices to the table.

  • Rugged, Kaby Lake transport computer has a 10-port LAN switch with PoE

    Axiomtek’s Linux-ready “tBOX400-510-FL” transportation system has a 7th Gen Intel CPU and a 10-port managed switch with 8x M12-style 10/100Mbps PoE and 2x GbE ports. The rugged system also has 3x mini-PCIe slots and dual swappable SATA drives. Axiomtek has launched a fanless, Kaby Lake-U based transportation computer with a choice of power supplies designed for in-vehicle, marine, or railway applications. The rugged tBOX400-510-FL features a Qualcomm-driven, Layer 2 managed PoE switch with support for IP surveillance and video management applications. “Customers can connect IP cameras directly without installing an extra PoE switch, minimizing overall deployment costs and installation space onboard,” stated Axiomtek product manager Sharon Huang.