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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 44 min ago

The European Patent Office Comes up With a Plethora of New Buzzwords by Which to Refer to Software Patents

Saturday 17th of November 2018 05:08:27 PM

European authorities play along with a “Study on the interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND” (these are not compatible)


They now proudly grant patents on computer vision (my field), which is basically mathematics

Summary: The permissive attitude towards software patents in Europe is harmful to software developers in Europe; the officials, who never wrote a computer program in their entire life, pretend this is not the case by adopting marketing techniques and surrogate terms

THE GRANTING of software patents in Europe appears to have accelerated under António Campinos as President of the European Patent Office (EPO), or at least advocacy thereof.

This is very troubling in light of the fact that the US goes in the opposite direction, with 35 U.S.C. § 101 used to routinely squash such patents, citing Alice (SCOTUS) — a subject we’ll focus on tomorrow.

“This is very troubling in light of the fact that the US goes in the opposite direction, with 35 U.S.C. § 101 used to routinely squash such patents…”As shown in [1] below (several readers have independently alerted us about it), the European politicians now actively participate in this toxic agenda and OIN seems very happy with this (it calls FRAND proponents “charities” now), being a proponent of software patents itself. We’ve seen some troubling statements in relation to [1] and various tweets on the subject have been abound (FFII, OIN, Red Hat etc.). Is violation of the EPC considered acceptable now? Not only at the EPO but also the EU/EC?

Just before the weekend we saw the EPO promoting “AIpatents” (as it does every day; it has done this for months, more so under Campinos). Here’s one example: “Key discussions and insights from our conference on patenting #AI are available here. Take a look if you are interested in #artificialintelligence: http://bit.ly/AIpatents”

Here’s another new “AIpatents” tweet: “Experts from industry, academia and the IP world discussed possible future considerations for patent laws in view of #artificialintelligence at this recent conference: http://bit.ly/AIpatents”

“Just before the weekend we saw the EPO promoting “AIpatents” (as it does every day; it has done this for months, more so under Campinos).”Then came “IoT”: “Interested in the #InternetOfThings & standard-essential patents? At this conference, you can discuss this trending topic with experts from all around the world: http://bit.ly/indoeur pic.twitter.com/XAON4cTF8F”

Many so-called ‘IoT’ patents (basically software on devices) are just software patents. Pure and simple. How about “blockchains”? It’s not just a buzzword (unlike “AI” and “IoT”), but it’s a hype wave. The EPO wrote: “What is the examination practice at the European Patent Office of #blockchain technology? Find out at this conference in the Hague: https://bit.ly/2PGRp79″

Now there’s also "SDV", the latest of many three-letter acronyms that the EPO paid to manufacture or at least spread through the media (we’ve seen about a dozen ‘reports’ about this, not just in English, and they all boil down to EPO PR, naming António Campinos personally). The EPO has just tweeted: “Europe and the US are the global leaders in self-driving vehicle innovation. See which European countries filed the most applications for this technology here: http://bit.ly/SDVstudy #SelfDriving #FutureOfCars pic.twitter.com/Jnk1Qlep3P”

“Many so-called ‘IoT’ patents (basically software on devices) are just software patents.”Then there’s “4IR”. Yesterday the EPO tweeted: “Join the discussion on patenting some of today’s most dynamic areas of innovation at this conference in Munich, co-hosted with @GoI_MeitY: http://bit.ly/indoeur pic.twitter.com/xjDm3QcWyh”

This links to a page about “emerging technologies” (warning: epo.org link) that starts as follows: “The 4th Industrial Revolution continues to gather momentum, and the digital transformation is affecting all aspects of life, as shown by the EPO’s report on “Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are converging with all traditional areas of technology.

“Notice that buzzwords ‘salad’; most if not all refer to algorithms.”“This provides opportunities for emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, capable of “Machine Learning” and optimising systems too complex for manually programmed algorithms; and Blockchain, for digital-speed processing of secure transactions.”

Notice that buzzwords ‘salad’; most if not all refer to algorithms. It’s a pretty shallow deceptive layer.

Additionally, widely promoted by patent maximalists is this Watchtroll article from Andrea Perronace (epi); here’s how he’s described by his own bio: “European Patent Attorney and has been working in the IP field for 17 years. [...] Andrea is a full member of the ICT Thematic Group of the European Patent Practice Committee (epi) and participates in EPI’s Guidelines’ and ICT subcommittees e whose aim is to submit to the EPO proposals for improvement of the Guidelines for Examination. As an epi delegate, he was a speaker at the “Patenting Artificial Intelligence” Conference at the European Patent Office in Munich, May 30, 2018.”

To quote: [via]

The new Guidelines entered into force on November 1, 2018. Like the previous edition, this year’s Guidelines include substantial and valuable improvements with regard to guidance on the eligibility of computer-implemented inventions (CII). These sections of the Guidelines have been discussed with the European Patent Institute (epi), in particular with the ICT Thematic Group of the European Patent Practice Committee within the epi. The EPO website includes a useful html index for the Guidelines, including those sections relating to computer-implemented inventions.

He even uses the term “CII” and the headline says “Computer-implemented inventions”; much of the rest is a lot of buzzwords, which surely EPO examiners have become familiar with.

“After the attack on judges from the Boards of Appeal we very much doubt any of the Boards of Appeal can confront the EPO over this gross abuse of power to grant patents, even in defiance of courts, Parliament, and the founding document of the Office/Organisation, the EPC.”We’re not sure if this disturbing trend can be stopped, but we at least hope to highlight it. Mitscherlich PartmbB’s Christian Rupp has just published this article about a decision of the Boards of Appeal (T0642/14), but it has nothing to do with the above. After the attack on judges from the Boards of Appeal we very much doubt any of the Boards of Appeal can confront the EPO over this gross abuse of power to grant patents, even in defiance of courts, Parliament, and the founding document of the Office/Organisation, the EPC.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. JRC stakeholder consultation on open source software and standardisation

    In the context of the on-going Study on the interaction between Open Source Software and FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Non-discriminatory) licensing in Standardisation we carry out a survey with interested stakeholder groups.

    [...]

    Deadline: 30 November 2018.

Patent Maximalists in Europe Keep Mentioning China Even Though It Barely Matters to European Patents

Saturday 17th of November 2018 04:31:47 PM

Summary: EPO waves a “white flag” in the face of China even though Chinese patents do not matter much to Europe (except when the goal is to encourage low patent quality, attracting humongous patent trolls)

PRESIDENT António Campinos continues the tradition of his predecessor, posing with Chinese officials as if China is strategic to Europe’s patent system. Campinos and the man who gave him the job possibly fancy China because of its notoriously low standards/quality of patents, which in turn usher software patents into Europe (‘normalising’ this illegal practice, which is only legal in China).

“As EPO insiders are well aware, China accounts for a very small proportion of European Patents (Japan is way ahead and tiny South Korea is just about on par)…”A European Patent Office (EPO) director, Peter Albrecht, speaks to patent maximalists, for one can assume that to become a director (or Director) at the EPO one must be a patent maximalist (to get promoted to that position if not just to keep that position).

As EPO insiders are well aware, China accounts for a very small proportion of European Patents (Japan is way ahead and tiny South Korea is just about on par), yet this propaganda site of patents on life/nature (Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review is exactly that) uses Albrecht as follows, citing a lobbying event/think tank called “LSPN Europe”. Here they go:

Last year, for the first time in European Patent Office (EPO) history, a Chinese company filed the most European patent applications, making an “impressive statement” on what companies in the country are doing, according to Peter Albrecht.

Albrecht, who serves as principal director of the EPO’s healthcare, biotech and chemistry sector, was speaking at LSPN Europe 2018 today.

In 2017, electronics company Huawei claimed the top filing spot with 2,398 patent applications, in a move that Albrecht said was a “surprise”. Huawei bumped Siemens (based in Germany) into second place, ahead of competitors LG, Samsung and Qualcomm.

In China those few very large companies are typically connected to the government and they have a lot of patents; this gives the false impression that China matters a lot to the EPO. But it doesn’t. Less than one in 20 European Patents/applications are Chinese in source/origin.

“IAM isn’t against trolls but against the narrative, i.e. against trolls being called “trolls”.”Meanwhile, CCIA‘s main patent person wrote that “[t]he [Chinese] media has come up with new Chinese coinages translating to ‘patent scoundrel’ ‘patent cockroach’ and ‘patent monster’.” Patent troll suddenly seems so dated and staid.”

This is also based on an old report from IAM (from a Chinese-speaking writer); IAM isn’t against trolls but against the narrative, i.e. against trolls being called “trolls”. IAM’s ‘PR’ campaign for IPEL, a patent troll looking to prey on China (see some background in [1, 2]), is hard to forget; it was recently mentioned again by Managing IP, another proponent of patent trolls.

The article cited by the above says:

A recent article titled “Why non-practicing entities are good for China” has attracted notice in the English-language IP blogosphere. Originally featured on Chinese IP news site Zhichanli, which is affiliated with litigation data provider IP House, the article puts forth the case that greater activity by foreign NPEs in China can lift the value of Chinese patents, boosting the entire innovation ecosystem. By contrast, it warns, “failing to embrace foreign NPEs would immediately tell investors around the globe that Chinese patents are a bad investment”.

The article was posted by Zhichanli’s news editor, but contains a note explaining that it was compiled based on “relevant” material and does not necessarily reflect the site’s own point of view.

Much of the article focuses on iPEL, the NPE helmed by Brian Yates and Rasheed McWilliams that announced it had raised $100 million to buy and monetise Chinese patents earlier this year and claims to own around 1,000 former Huawei and ZTE rights. iPEL is framed as a company that is entering the market to target overseas infringers that are “stealing intellectual property from Chinese companies”. The NPE could hardly come off better if the article were written by Yates himself.

We already published about a dozen articles about how China (or “CHINA!”) was exploited by patent maximalists to manipulate politicians and steer agenda/policy, based on fear, hate, jealousy, and stigma. Similar political strategies exploit “RUSSIA!” but Russia isn’t too keen on this domain, so the patent maximalists typically settle on “CHINA!”

“The EPO needs to ask itself who or what it serves; as it stands at the moment it serves neither Europe nor science and instead it serves patent trolls/lawyers, irrespective of where they come from.”One has to be careful about these thinly-veiled xenophobic tricks or pseudo-patriotism if not overt nationalism. They make China seem like a potent threat based on patents that aren’t even prevalent in the West. But such is the agenda of sites like IAM, which does this to India as well; they wrote about Dolby in relation to India some months back and days ago they issued the latest ‘PR’ for Dolby’s patent aggression (in their site and in Twitter).

The EPO needs to ask itself who or what it serves; as it stands at the moment it serves neither Europe nor science and instead it serves patent trolls/lawyers, irrespective of where they come from. Obviously that’s a problem — one that well-educated patent examiners can recognise and routinely warn about publicly.

Team UPC Has Been Reduced to Lies, Lies, and More Lies about the Unified Patent Court Agreement

Saturday 17th of November 2018 03:29:01 PM

Summary: With the Unified Patent Court Agreement pretty much dead on arrival (an arrival that is never reached, either) the UPC hopefuls — those looking to profit from lots of frivolous patent litigation in Europe — resort to bald-faced lying

THIS WEEKEND we’re still struggling with server issues and potential migration by month’s end. We’ve decided to focus on the European Patent Office (EPO) today and leave aside, at least until tomorrow, all the coverage about the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). We should also note that things have quieted down on both ‘fronts’ (or continents or countries), presumably because of the media’s decline in general, not lack of things to cover.

Just before the weekend we caught some lies about the Unitary Patent (referred to collectively as Unified Patent Court, or UPC). We have given many examples of the common lies about UPC in relation to Brexit. These lies are being repeated every week, almost always by law firms with a stake in the outcome.

Just before the weekend a ‘news’ site of a law firm encouraged businesses to ask for more business from law firms. Why? Brexit. What a bunch of self-serving manipulators. Skipping all the self-promotional nonsense, there’s this sentence towards the end: “The withdrawal agreement also confirms that the UK will be considered a member of the new Unified Patent Court regime during the Brexit transition period.”

There’s no UPC! The Unified Patent Court doesn’t exist and here they are pretending again that it’s there already and the only question is, can the UK join? (it technically and legally cannot)

Unified Patent Court lies like these are just nonchalantly thrown out there; the above shows up even in Google News (which does not seem to recognise the lack of objectivity of the source that’s trying to sell something). Shameless self-promotion and marketing.

“Unified Patent Court lies like these are just nonchalantly thrown out there; the above shows up even in Google News (which does not seem to recognise the lack of objectivity of the source that’s trying to sell something).”The Dennemeyer Group also spreads lies about the Unified Patent Court Agreement; it’s now pretending that “no legal barriers are standing in the way, just some political will.” This is a lie. There are constitutional barriers and corruption.

From Dennemeyer’s article: “The Agreement only needs ratification by Germany and Great Britain to come into effect. When it comes to the latter, no legal barriers are standing in the way, just some political will.”

Nonsense. Utter nonsense.

Then came the CIPA types, just like the above law firms. To quote the messengers’ self-promotional disclosures: “European Patent Attorney, Chartered Patent Attorney (UK) with a Ph.D. and a Master Degree in Physics, Dr. Anthony Carlick entered the IP profession in 2005. Before joining Dennemeyer & Associates, he worked for a top tier IP firm in the UK and also spent four years in the Middle East as a patent consultant. In this presentation, part of our Dennemeyer Annual Meeting 2018 blog series, Dr. Carlick discusses all the different options patent owners have and the ratification of UPC.”

They are just trying to sell something. Doing so by lying is detrimental to one’s reputation.

Speaking of poor reputation, how about Bristows? Alan Johnson (Bristows) cites an unsourced “rumour” (lie that brings up further concerns) about UPC given a go-ahead in Germany by year’s end. This is a lobbying tactic of Team UPC; it’s pretty much refuted by the court itself.

Kluwer Patent Blog published it under a real name, for a change, as many of their UPC articles were recently posted anonymously (usually those seeking to discredit truth-tellers about the UPC).

“They have been saying UPC would start “real soon now” for at least 3 years and where are we now?”People like Alan Johnson are telling these lies to politicians (like Jo Johnson and his successor), who then make misleading public statements. From Alan Johnson: “What then of the UPC and unitary patent dossier? From that perspective, the important point about this draft agreement is the expected Transition Period. Union law still applies to the UK in this period including, of course, the unitary patent and translation Regulations. These Regulations require that unitary patents are litigated in the UPC, and hence the effect of the Withdrawal Agreement is implicitly to sanction the UPC Agreement coming into force with the UK as a participant. “All” then that is required is for the Bundesverfassungsgeright to deal with the Stjerna Complaint – which rumours suggest might happen this year. Hence, if this Brexit deal goes through in some form, and if the BVerfG delivers the hoped-for rejection of the Complaint, we could actually see the UPC start in 2019 – a mere 60 years since a pan-European patent court was first seriously mooted and a mere 20 years since the Paris Intergovernmental Conference of the EPC which started the latest efforts (your author attended his first meeting with the UK IPO on this topic on 18 November 1999).”

This is an incredible lie, as usual from Bristows. They have been saying UPC would start “real soon now” for at least 3 years and where are we now? Their UPC blog is pretty much dead. No blog posts in months (they used to write several times per week).

Techrights recently turned 12 and I’ve never in those dozen years seen such chronic lying. Team UPC takes it to a whole new level.

Links 17/11/2018: Mesa 18.3 RC3, Total War: WARHAMMER II, GNOME 3.31.2

Saturday 17th of November 2018 01:33:12 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • FAIL!!! Windows 10 October Update (1809) Still Has Multiple Flaws

      Microsoft has acknowledged this issue and suggested a few workarounds, but they aren’t exactly useful. In fact, those solutions could lead to more problems for businesses that mostly rely on their mapped network drives.

      The company admitted that “mapped drives may fail to reconnect after starting and logging onto a Windows device.” Microsoft says it is working on a solution, but also made it clear that a fix won’t be arriving before 2019.

    • If at first or second you don’t succeed, you may be Microsoft: Hold off installing re-released Windows Oct Update

      The 1809 build of Windows 10 and Windows Server is fast becoming infamous. Microsoft pulled it shortly after release when it started deleting people’s files, and stumbling in other ways. Redmond reissued the software on Tuesday, and today it’s clear you shouldn’t rush into deploying it, if installing it at all, in its present state.

    • Microsoft Just Crammed Ads Into Windows 10 Mail. When Will They Stop? [Ed: With Vista 10 the users are the product. The spies from Microsoft spy on them (sometimes illegally, but these people are above the law) and their real clients are advertisers.]

      Whether it’s pre-installing Candy Crush Saga, showing full-screen ads on your lock screen, or displaying banner ads in File Explorer, Microsoft has been shoehorning ads into every inch of Windows 10. The Mail app is getting them next.

      Update: Microsoft’s head of communications, Frank Shaw, just backpedaled on Twitter. He said “this is an experimental feature that was never intended to be tested broadly and is being turned off.” As Mehedi Hassan notes over at Thurrott, this is a strange claim because Microsoft has a detailed support page explaining these advertisements.

    • Microsoft menaced with GDPR mega-fines in Europe for ‘large scale and covert’ gathering of people’s info via Office

      Microsoft broke Euro privacy rules by carrying out the “large scale and covert” gathering of private data through its Office apps.

      That’s according to a report out this month [PDF] that was commissioned by the Dutch government into how information handled by 300,000 of its workers was processed by Microsoft’s Office ProPlus suite. This software is installed on PCs and connects to Office 365 servers.

      The dossier’s authors found that the Windows goliath was collecting telemetry and other content from its Office applications, including email titles and sentences where translation or spellchecker was used, and secretly storing the data on systems in the United States. That’s a no-no.

      Those actions break Europe’s new GDPR privacy safeguards, it is claimed, and may put Microsoft on the hook for potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines. The Dutch authorities are working with the corporation to fix the situation, and are using the threat of a fine as a stick to make it happen.

    • How old were you when you first started using Linux?

      Whether you switched from another operating system, or are one of the lucky few who knew no OS before it, all of us were beginners at some point.

      How old were you when you started using Linux? Do you remember that time clearly, or is it so far in the past that it’s but a faint memory?

      Regardless of the answer, let us know when it was, and maybe, a bit about what that experience has meant to you.

    • macOS vs.Windows: Which OS Really Is the Best?

      If you’re truly gung-ho on interface customization, I recommend Linux, which offers a selection of completely different user interface shells.

      [...]

      Those looking for the ultimate in stability, though, should check out Linux.

  • Server
    • Migrating to Linux: the basis of digital transformation

      SAP is moving HANA exclusively to Linux – Sabine Soellheim explains why

    • Red Hat Ties Kubernetes Platform Closer to OpenStack

      Red Hat this week moved to tie application development and deployment environments based on Kubernetes closer to the latest version of the OpenStack cloud computing framework.

      The Red Hat OpenStack 14 release is based on the Rocky distribution of OpenStack. With this release, Red Hat is making it easier to automate the deployment of its distribution of Kubernetes on both virtual machines and bare-metal servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

      Other capabilities added include automated deployment of production-ready, high-availability Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform clusters based on Kubernetes and the ability for OpenShift container-based and OpenStack workloads based on virtual machines to share the same virtual network using the open source Kuryr container networking software developed under the auspices of the OpenStack Foundation.

    • Ruby in Containers

      Software changes environments from a development machine to a UAT (user acceptance testing) server environment or even from a test environment to production. It is required that the software runs consistently and reliably in these environments in the process.

      There was a time when deploying software was an event, a ceremony because of the difficulty that was required to keep this consistency. Teams spent a lot of time making the destination environments run the software as the source environment. They thereafter prayed that the gods kept the software running perfectly in production as in development.

      With containers, deployments are more frequent because we package our applications with their libraries as a unit making them portable thereby helping us maintain consistency and reliability when moving software between environments. For developers, this is improved productivity, portability and ease of scaling.

      Because of this portability, containers have become the universal language of the cloud allowing us to move software from one cloud to another without much trouble.

      In this article, I will discuss two major concepts to note while working with containers in Ruby. I will discuss how to create small container images and how to test them.

    • Kubernetes co-founder on the container revolution and the future of VMs

      Containers have exploded in popularity in recent years. To help with the deploying, scaling, and managing of containerized applications, Brendan Burns co-founded Kubernetes – a production-grade container orchestration system. In this episode, Brendan shares how he and his co-founders came up with the idea, how they got started, and what containers mean for the future of Virtual Machines.

    • FOSS Project Spotlight: BlueK8s

      Kubernetes (aka K8s) is now the de facto container orchestration framework. Like other popular open-source technologies, Kubernetes has amassed a considerable ecosystem of complementary tools to address everything from storage to security. And although it was first created for running stateless applications, more and more organizations are interested in using Kubernetes for stateful applications.

      However, while Kubernetes has advanced significantly in many areas during the past couple years, there still are considerable gaps when it comes to running complex stateful applications. It remains challenging to deploy and manage distributed stateful applications consisting of a multitude of co-operating services (such as for use cases with large-scale analytics and machine learning) with Kubernetes.

    • How to choose the right storage solution for your containers

      We talk to many shops that are adopting, or have adopted, DevOps practices. For many companies, staying ahead of disruption means not only delivering new applications but also optimizing (or changing!) current processes and systems. They are moving to team-based cultures, working in smaller increments, and automating their environments to try to increase the velocity for software development and deployment.

      Having a common storage underpinning that is “self-service” for developers to provision and manage storage for their applications means teams have less friction in developing and shipping applications.

    • Red Hat releases Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 beta; deprecates Btrfs filesystem
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta Offers Stratis and Yum 4 with Efficient Linux Networking
    • Red Hat Names Carahsoft 2018 Public Sector Distribution Partner of the Year; Natalie Gregory Quoted

      Red Hat has selected Carahsoft Technology as a recipient of the Public Sector Distribution Partner of the Year award for the fifth year in a row.

      Carahsoft said Thursday the award recognizes its efforts to drive net revenue and support for Red Hat’s public sector partner program.

    • Why IBM’s purchase of Red Hat makes their future mostly cloudy

      IBM’s purchase of Red Hat is getting mixed reviews and the implications for the IT world remain to be seen. I talked with James Sanders about the acquisition and reaction to the news. The following is an edited transcript of our interview.

    • First beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 now available with security updates, new features

      As the dust settles from the announcement of IBM’s pending acquisition of Red Hat, work continues undaunted in delivering new products. This week sees the first beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, Red Hat’s venerable enterprise distribution, which also serves as the basis for CentOS and Oracle Linux. For reference, RHEL is based on Fedora, which just celebrated the release of Fedora 29.

      In terms of security, the biggest changes in RHEL 8 are support for OpenSSL 1.1.1 and TLS 1.3, which a press release notes “[enable] server applications on the platform to use the latest standards for cryptographic protection of customer data.” Likewise, the new release includes “System-wide Cryptographic Policies” allowing for cryptographic configuration using a unified interface, rather than needing to work with specific applications.

  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation
      • Acumos Project’s 1st Software, Athena, Helps Ease AI Deployment

        The LF Deep Learning Foundation on Wednesday announced the availability of the first software from the Acumos AI Project. Dubbed “Athena,” it supports open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning.

        This is the first software release from the Acumos AI Project since its launch earlier this year. The goal is to make critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere.

        Acumos is part of a Linux Foundation umbrella organization, the LF Deep Learning Foundation, that supports and sustains open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. Acumos is based in Shanghai.

      • Uber is the latest firm to join The Linux Foundation

        The Linux Foundation has announced that Uber has become the newest Gold member of the non-profit organization. The announcement came during the Uber Open summit which runs for one day where developers and community leader hold talks and workshops on advancing open source collaboration and innovation at scale. Uber is just the latest big name to join the group, other members include Deutsche Telekom, Valve, and Microsoft.

        As part of the move, Uber has also joined The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group, an open group where firms can collaborate on tools and practices to successfully maintain “effective” open source projects.

    • Graphics Stack
      • The Open-Source AMD Linux Driver Stack Hitting Problems With The Radeon RX 590

        While the Radeon RX 590 that launched this week is just yet another Polaris refresh, it turns out the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack isn’t yet playing well with retail RX 590 graphics cards. This is quite a surprise considering the PCI ID was picked up months ago and the mature Polaris Linux driver support for quite a while now, but could be like the rough Raven Ridge Linux experience where the production cards with the shipping vBIOS isn’t what the developers encountered during their pre-production driver enablement.

        [...]

        Long story short, it looks like at least one initialization issue is blocking the Radeon RX 590 Linux support. Hopefully the workaround ends up being trivial enough that it can be quickly back-ported to existing stable Linux kernel series. Once the Radeon RX 590 is running well on Linux, I’ll be through with a ton of benchmarks that I have already been working on this week with other graphics cards using the newest Linux driver stacks. This situation is sadly reminiscent of the Raven Ridge launch earlier this year where the open-source driver team was working on support for months in advance, but the production hardware/BIOS ended up varying a lot from their hardware bring-up that is was very shaky support at launch. The Raven Ridge support improved a lot on Linux since launch, but even to this day some hardware still seems to be problematic both of hardware in my labs as well as reports by users. Hopefully it won’t take nearly as long for the RX 590 support to be in shape.

      • mesa 18.3.0-rc3

        The third release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.

      • Mesa 18.3-RC3 Released With RADV Fixes, Drops Zen L3 Thread Pinning

        Mesa release manager Emil Velikov has announced the latest weekly release candidate of the upcoming Mesa 18.3.

        Mesa 18.3 has a number of Meson build system updates, several RADV driver corrections, a few NIR updates, fixes video API support for Raven 2 APUs, and back-ports the change to drop the AMD Zen L3 thread pinning functionality.

      • Radeon ROCm 1.9.2 Released – Brings SDMA/RDMA Support For Vega 20, HIP/HCC Improvements

        While we know ROCm 2.0 is coming out before year’s end and that will have many improvements like complete OpenCL 2.0 support, ROCm 1.9.2 is out today as the latest stable release for this Radeon Open Compute stack.

        ROCm 1.9.2 brings some notable changes for just being a point release ahead of the big ROCm 2.0 milestone. Vega 20 remains one of the big areas for AMD’s driver/software developers for what will begin shipping next year as the Radeon Instinct MI50 / MI60 accelerators.

      • Mozilla Now Ships Firefox Nightly Builds With Wayland Enabled

        After what feels like an eternity in waiting years for Mozilla to ship their Firefox web-browser with native Wayland support enabled, their latest Firefox Nightly builds have achieved this milestone.

        There have been Wayland patches for Firefox going back years but the Wayland support hasn’t been enabled in the official Firefox binaries up until now. Starting yesterday, the Mozilla.org Firefox Nightly packages have Wayland support built-in and when launching Firefox if GDK_BACKEND=wayland is set, should now work with native Wayland rather than XWayland.

    • Benchmarks
      • Bisected: The Unfortunate Reason Linux 4.20 Is Running Slower

        After running a lot of tests and then bisecting the Linux 4.20 kernel merge window, the reason for the significant slowdowns in the Linux 4.20 kernel for many real-world workloads is now known…

        This latest Linux 4.20 testing endeavor started out with seeing the Intel Core i9 performance pulling back in many synthetic and real-world tests. This ranged from Rodinia scientific OpenMP tests taking 30% longer to Java-based DaCapo tests taking up to ~50% more time to complete to code compilation tests taking measurably longer to lower PostgreSQL database server performance to longer Blender3D rendering times. That happened with a Core i9 7960X and Core i9 7980XE test systems while the AMD Threadripper 2990WX performance was unaffected by the Linux 4.20 upgrade.

      • More Benchmarks Of The Performance Pullback In Linux 4.20

        Last night I published some benchmarks after finding Linux 4.20 is regressing in several workloads compared to Linux 4.18/4.19 and at least was affecting Intel Core i9 “HEDT” boxes. Here are more affected workloads regressing on Linux 4.20 and it’s not just limited to high-end hardware.

        This morning I decided to check in on my automated bi-daily kernel benchmarks on LinuxBenchmarking.com. It’s all automated and thus don’t necessarily have the time to look at the data too often (even though PTS’ LinuxBenchmarking.com does also provide email notifications when auto-detecting possible regressions), but in looking back at the archived data it too captured a significant performance pullback on multiple systems on Linux 4.20.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Talking about Qt and Computer Vision at QtCon Brasil 2018

        I had the opportunity to participate in QtCon Brasil 2018 as a speaker during the last weekend. It happened in São Paulo, which is a city that I haven’t visited for a long time. My talk was about the integration of Qt applications and Computer Vision, specially focused on the mobile environment with QtQuick and QML.

        During my presentation, I was focused on introducing some concepts to the people who just have heard or never had contact with Computer Vision. I talked a little bit about OpenCV, including an brief explanation about its modules and how they work, and I presented a little example of object recognition application made with QML (the code is available in the repository).

      • Qt Quick Performance Improvements with Qt 5.12 LTS

        Qt 5.9 LTS already shows a great improvement of the overall performance compared to the previous long-term supported Qt 5.6 LTS release. These are summarized in a blog post about Performance Improvements with Qt 5.9 LTS and Qt Quick Performance Improvements on 64-bit ARM. With Qt 5.12 LTS we have continued to tune these further and taken a deeper look into the areas of QML engine memory consumption and JavaScript performance.

        Qt 5.9 LTS already shows a great improvement of the overall performance compared to the previous long-term supported Qt 5.6 LTS release. These are summarized in a blog post about Performance Improvements with Qt 5.9 LTS and Qt Quick Performance Improvements on 64-bit ARM. With Qt 5.12 LTS we have continued to tune these further and taken a deeper look into the areas of QML engine memory consumption and JavaScript performance.

      • Qt 5.12 Lowering The QML Memory Consumption, Better JavaScript Performance

        As part of The Qt Company’s ongoing improvements to their tool-kit and with Qt 5.12 being an LTS release, this cycle they focused a lot on improving the performance.

        Qt 5.12 LTS will be releasing in the next few weeks and as part of their performance push they have been working to lowering the memory consumption of the QML engine. The QML data structures have been optimized to reduce their size and better handling around cached objects.

      • Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.8.0 Beta2!

        This release comes with the many fixes that we have done since our first Beta release.

        Additionally we upgraded the LLVM for the Clang code model to version 7.0, and our binary packages to the Qt 5.12 prerelease.

      • KDE Itinerary @ Paris Open Transport Meetup

        I have been invited by Kisio Digital to present the work we have been doing around KDE Itinerary at the Paris Open Transport Meetup next week. The meetup is near Gare de Lyon and starts on Thursday at 19:00. Feel free to come by, I’m looking forward to discuss ideas on how to move KDE Itinerary forward.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME 3.31.2 released

        GNOME 3.31.2 is now available. This is the second unstable development release leading to 3.32 stable series. Apologies that it’s slightly late: there were some technical snafus.

        If you want to compile GNOME 3.31.2, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot. Thanks to BuildStream’s build sandbox, it should build reliably for you regardless of the dependencies on your host system…

      • GNOME 3.31.2 Desktop Released
      • Plata Is A New Gtk Theme Based On The Latest Material Design Refresh

        Plata is a new Gtk+ theme based on the latest Material Design refresh. The theme comes in 3 variants, regular (mixed), Lumiere (light) and Noir (dark), each with regular and compact versions.

        The theme, which mixes black, indigo and grey with bits of red and purple, supports Gtk+ 3.20.x, 3.22.x and 3.24.x, as well as Gtk+ 2, and a multitude of desktop environments like Gnome Shell (and Flashback), Cinnamon, Xfce, Mate, LXDE, and Budgie Desktop.

        Patheon (elementary OS), Unity 7 and “Gnome Shell customized by Canonical” (the Ubuntu session) are not officially supported by Plata theme. I’ve used Plata in Ubuntu 18.10 with Gnome Shell and I didn’t notice any issues other than the theme GDM theme not being used, but this is only after about an hour of usage.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • Manjaro Linux 18.0 – Review and Features

        Manjaro has finally released a stable version of Manjaro 18.0 also codenamed “Illyria“. Manjaro always provided a lot of lot of emphasis on a user-friendly experience and Illyria is lived upto that to a great extent. The open source operating system is designed in such a way that it work completely out of the box straight away as it comes with a lot of pre-installed software. So once complete the installation of Manjaro 18.0, you don’t need to go installing other software that is needed for your day to day tasks. And Manjaro 18.0 has come out with fixes for a lot of issues and some improvements as well. Manjaro Linux 18.0 is certainly one of the easy-to-use and simple Arch Linux desktop version.

    • Fedora
      • Fedora lifecycle: Problems, solutions, and a proposal

        I’ve been talking with a number of Fedora leaders, principals, and team members about the issue of Fedora lifecycle. Lifecycle here means the way we manage, schedule, and populate Fedora releases. I started the Lifecycle objective and proposed it as a lead to the Fedora Council to house what I hope will be improvements to Fedora lifecycle.

        One of the most important goals is to diversify the community ownership of our releases. This involves a fairly extensive set of changes in Fedora. It will need effort from a number of teams that work on release processes and services. For that reason, I’m proposing we pause the release cycle after the release of Fedora 30.

        I posted this morning to the devel list to start gathering feedback and input from a wider group on the ideas around the ideas in the writeup. The most important feedback comes from those who are involved in those processes and services. But constructive feedback is welcome from any part of Fedora. Please take the time to read the whole document and understand the goals and benefits for Fedora.

      • FPgM report: 2018-46
      • Fedora 29 : PyQt5 with Qt5 Designer tool.
      • Bodhi 3.11.0 released
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Raspbian 2018-11-13 Brings Hardware-Accelerated VLC Media Player

          After releasing the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ yesterday, the Raspberry Pi Foundation today announced Raspbian 2018-11-13 as the latest update to their Debian-based Linux distribution for these low-cost ARM SBCs.

          Most notable with the Raspbian November 2018 update is shipping VLC as its default media player application. The VLC build in Raspbian comes with working hardware acceleration using Broadcom’s VideoCore engine for H.264 / MPEG-2 / VC-1 video formats. But the MPEG-2 and VC-1 support requires purchasing the codec licenses.

        • Raspberry Pi software update brings VLC media player (with hardware-accelerated video playback)

          The Raspberry Pi line of single-board computers can run a variety of operating systems, but there is one operating system that’s officially supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It’s called Raspbian and it’s GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian.

          This week the Raspberry Pi team released a new version with a new Python development tool called Thonny, and some under the hood tweaks to things like the Appearance menu.

          But one of the most interesting updates is the inclusion of VLC as the default media player.

        • How to upgrade the Raspberry Pi in your Kano Computer

          Upgrading the Raspberry Pi in your Kano Computer can sound a little scary, especially for folks out there who have no idea how to do so. There’s no need to worry, since it’s actually quite simple, even if you’re not sure what Raspbian or Debian even is.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 18.04 Will Get 10-Year Support (Instead of the Usual 5 Years)

            The long-term support (LTS) releases of Ubuntu used to get support for five years. This is changing now. Ubuntu 18.04 will now be supported for ten years. Other LTS releases might also get an extended support.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Extended to 10-Year Support as Shuttleworth Predicts 2019 IPO

            At the latest OpenStack Summit, the founder and CEO of Canonical Inc / Ubuntu mentioned that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) will be receiving up to 10 years of support. This is of significant news, since most LTS releases receive only 5 years of support – although Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04 also received extended supports. Shuttleworth also mentioned that while 16.04 is technically reaching the end of its lifespan in April 2021, it too will be given extended support.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support is now extended for up to 10 years
          • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish – Reasonable-ish

            We mentioned consistency, remember? Well, in this regard, Ubuntu MATE is consistent. Lots of tiny visual bugs, average battery life, an occasional crash or three, and network connectivity issues. These were my top complaints with Beaver and they remain so with Cuttlefish. Ubuntu MATE 18.10 is more or less identical to its LTS predecessor. The changes aren’t really big, with some extra hardware problems – the phone side is a big, big disappointment, but you get better overall theming and a more streamlined package manager.

            I would like to see this project succeed, but the energy investment from going hobby to pro is exponential, and it can’t be done easily. But this is exactly what Ubuntu MATE needs. A super-strong QA process, and more focus on getting things tightly integrated. Power management is another issue. In the end, you should stay with the LTS edition of course, but hopefully, the problems we see here will be resolved in the next version. This reminds me of the situation Xfce was in two years ago. Gaining momentum, becoming better, and then … we’ll see.

            Because, speaking of energy, there does seem to be a limited, finite amount of it, and the mojo pendulum seems to have swung away from Xfce to MATE. There are a lot of excellent and unique new ideas in this project, but the glue (gluons in nuclear physics, if you will) isn’t strong enough. Grade, about 7/10. I really want to see everything working like clockwork. Having a modern, majestic Gnome 2 reincarnate would be super fun. Take care, Borgians.

          • Mastering the upgrading of OpenStack

            This past week the OpenStack Summit has been in Berlin with thousands attending the last of its name, given that it will soon be renamed the Open Infrastructure Summit.

            Canonical, as a founding member of the OpenStack community, was of course in attendance, speaking with attendees, hosting talks, presenting demos, and on stage delivering a keynote.

            At this Summit, Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, spoke about a number of topics, from 10 years support for Ubuntu 18.04, to why price performance is critical when operating in a world where AWS, Microsoft and Google are all competing for the CIOs attention, and the Ubuntu AI story from the cloud to the edge with perfectly portable AI.

            One topic, which is perhaps not as buzzworthy or ‘sexy’ as AI but is fundamentally important, is that of upgrading OpenStack.

            Upgrading OpenStack for Canonical, means being able to support every single OpenStack release with upgrades. That means when Stein and Train are released, we will deploy, as part of the test process, Icehouse on 14.04, then deploy workloads on Kubernetes on Icehouse. With that running in the cloud, and without losing a workload, the version is then upgraded up to Mitaka. We then take the running cloud and upgrade to 16.04 under the hood, then upgrade to Queens, then upgrade to 18.04 and on to Rocky, Stein and beyond, as standard.

          • Ubuntu Mir’s EGMDE Desktop Getting Experimental XWayland

            Ubuntu’s little known EGMDE example Mir desktop that is mostly a proving grounds for Mir development is now receiving support for XWayland for being able to run X11 applications within this example environment.

            Lead Mir developer Alan Griffiths posted about initial XWayland support for EGMDE but that it is “highly experimental, and can crash the desktop.” This support is available via the “edge” EGMDE Snap.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Delver devs release their tech publicly under open source license

    As an added bonus, it’s always nice when developers open source their tech to share with others.

    The source release doesn’t contain or cover the game data from Delver, and the game data remains subject to original copyright and applicable law.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the source code release is licensed under the GNU General Public License v2.0, meaning the software can continue to be shared, edited, and distributed for free, and can be used for commercial use as well.

  • How open source makes lock-in worse (and better) [Ed: Troll Mac Asay at it again]

    For open source companies desperate to figure out a business model that scales with the adoption of their ostensibly free software, Amazon’s recent troubles getting off Oracle’s database could be instructive. One way to look at Amazon’s struggles is through the lens of “proprietary software creates lock-in,” but this isn’t actually helpful. Why? Because open source creates similar lock-in, and that’s something open source entrepreneurs might want to consider.

  • At Acquia Engage, CTO talks of open source WCM, Red Hat buy

    Dries Buytaert: No, [because] 18 to 19 years ago, mobile didn’t exist. Google was a private company. I remember AT&T launching text messaging a month or so before. Social media didn’t exist. I think less than 10% of the world had internet.

    I started Drupal; it was very much an experimental platform for me, just to have some fun. I was fascinated with the web, and I didn’t have any grand plans. Obviously, that changed over time. I made it open source, [and] it started growing, slowly.

    Drupal started to grow, so I started my plans for Drupal and [followed] my conviction of us being onto something. We made a bet-the-farm bet on cloud [in about 2008], and that turned out to be the right bet, because we pioneered a new business model for open source, delivering [it] in the cloud. And a lot of companies are doing that now — Elastic Path, MongoDB — and I’m very proud of that.

  • Openstack moves one step closer to the edge

    The second Openstack Summit of the year drew to a close in Berlin yesterday, and it will be the last of its name as it rebrands as the Open Infrastructure Summit in 2019, a move that seems largely in line with the evolution of the open source cloud platform as it shifts further into edge and builds out a series of related pilot projects with Openstack as the core proposition.

    Many of the keynotes this time around showed the progress that the community had made in building out the pilot projects announced at the Vancouver Summit earlier this year. One in particular, the first release of StarlingX, might well help cement the open infrastructure platform in edge.

    StarlingX is branded as an open source edge platform, with telecom and IoT use cases in mind. According to the Foundation it “leverages components of Ceph, Openstack and Kubernetes and complements them with new services including configuration and fault management”, in particular to address technology challenges around high availability and ultra-low latency compute.

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

    Companies are looking to provide better experiences with their customers, which has given rise to the popularity of chatbots. Yet assistants that use voice tend to be only associated with tech giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google. Mycroft is an open-source voice assistant that is aiming to make voice assistants more attainable for everyone.

    “We believe the future of AI should be open, not a cryptic black box only few understand and have control over. Building this new technology together, collaborating, sharing ideas and building on top of each other – that’s how we see it,” Mycroft’s website states.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • 5 Best Chrome Extensions For Productivity That You Should Use In 2019

        Google is the most popular browser around and supports a vast number of extensions as well. Since there are a lot of Chrome addons available in the Chrome Web Store, picking the best Google Chrome extension can be quite a task.

        Also, it is quite easy to get distracted on the web and lose track of time. Thankfully, several good extensions for productivity are available that can help you focus on your tasks, save time by prioritizing them and skillfully manage your to-do list. So here is a list of excellent Google Chrome extensions for productivity for the year 2019 that will assist you in your work in.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla Fights On For Net Neutrality

        Mozilla took the next step today in the fight to defend the web and consumers from the FCC’s attack on an open internet. Together with other petitioners, Mozilla filed our reply brief in our case challenging the FCC’s elimination of critical net neutrality protections that require internet providers to treat all online traffic equally.

        The fight for net neutrality, while not a new one, is an important one. We filed this case because we believe that the internet works best when people control for themselves what they see and do online.

        The FCC’s removal of net neutrality rules is not only bad for consumers, it is also unlawful. The protections in place were the product of years of deliberation and careful fact-finding that proved the need to protect consumers, who often have little or no choice of internet provider. The FCC is simply not permitted to arbitrarily change its mind about those protections based on little or no evidence. It is also not permitted to ignore its duty to promote competition and protect the public interest. And yet, the FCC’s dismantling of the net neutrality rules unlawfully removes long standing rules that have ensured the internet provides a voice for everyone.

        Meanwhile, the FCC’s defenses of its actions and the supporting arguments of large cable and telco company ISPs, who have come to the FCC’s aid, are misguided at best. They mischaracterize the internet’s technical structure as well as the FCC’s mandate to advance internet access, and they ignore clear evidence that there is little competition among ISPs. They repeatedly contradict themselves and have even introduced new justifications not outlined in the FCC’s original decision to repeal net neutrality protections.

      • Virtual meeting rooms don’t have to be boring. We challenge you to design better ones!

        Mozilla’s mission is to make the Internet a global public resource, open and accessible to all, including innovators, content creators, and builders on the web. VR is changing the very future of web interaction, so advancing it is crucial to Mozilla’s mission. That was the initial idea behind Hubs by Mozilla, a VR interaction platform launched in April 2018 that lets you meet and talk to your friends, colleagues, partners, and customers in a shared 360-environment using just a browser, on any device from head-mounted displays like HTC Vive to 2D devices like laptops and mobile phones.

        Since then, the Mozilla VR team has kept integrating new and exciting features to the Hubs experience: the ability bring videos, images, documents, and even 3D models into Hubs by simply pasting a link. In early October, two more useful features were added: drawing and photo uploads.

      • New Raspbian Update, Qt Creator 4.8 Beta2 Released, Firefox Monitor Now Available in More Than 26 Languages, Chrome OS Linux Soon Will Have Access to Downloads Folder and Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 Long-Term Support

        Firefox Monitor, the free services that tells you whether your email has been part of a security breach, is now available in more than 26 languages: “Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh.” Along with this, Mozilla also announced that it has added “a notification to our Firefox Quantum browser that alerts desktop users when they visit a site that has had a recently reported data breach”. See the Mozilla blog for details.

  • CMS
    • WordPress Update 5.0 Introduces The Gutenberg Editor, A Brand New Theme and Much More

      WordPress, an open source platform for managing content which is built up and based around MySQL and PHP. Often used for blogging purposes and publishing content on websites, WordPress happens to be one of the pioneer class in what it does. With that, building up on its current platform, the latest update for is arriving sooner than later. The 5.0 update, dubbed as the biggest update in quite a while.

      While minor updates will be followed and coupled with the main deal, WordPress developers and publishers have been keen to reiterate the two new additions brought towards it, this time around. Firstly they emphasis on the Gutenberg Editor, a new way to edit text rather than the usual classic WordPress Editor that people normally use. The second one happens to be the theme for the updates platform. Dubbed as the Twenty Nineteen theme, this will be the style suite enveloping the WordPress user interface this time around.

      Firstly, Gutenberg. This is not a new feature for those ‘Pro’ WordPress users who may have seen the update as a form of the testing phase in the update version 4.9.8. It allowed for users to try out this new form of the text editing platform. The look of the entire editor window seems ot be revamped and can be seen here below. Apart from that, interacting with it has been changed, the true depth of which would be completely known when the full version is available to the end users and is tested out.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • Free Online Java EE Development Course From Red Hat Available Now

      The Red Hat Training team is pleased to announce the release of Fundamentals of Java EE Development. This free training is hosted by our partner edX. edX is an open online course provider that now hosts three Red Hat courses, including Fundamentals of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fundamentals of Containers, Kubernetes, and Red Hat OpenShift.

      Enterprise Java (Java EE is now known as Jakarta EE) is one of the most in-demand and marketable programming platforms. With Fundamentals of Java EE Development, students learn the foundational skills needed to develop modern applications. Serving as an introduction to enterprise Java development using Red Hat Developer Studio and Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, this course builds on students’ Java SE skills to teach the basic concepts behind more advanced topics such as microservices and cloud-native applications.

    • New Rust Course – Building Reuseable Code with Rust

      This course is about the Rust programming language, but it’s not those general introductory course on basic Rust syntax. This course focus on the code reuse aspect of the Rust language. So we won’t be touch every language feature, but we’ll help you understand how a selected set of features will help you achieve code reuse.

      [...]

      snippet is not enough. What comes next naturally is to define a clear interface, or internal API between the modules (in a general sense, not the Rust mod). This is when traits comes in handy. Traits help you define and enforce interfaces. We’ll also discuss the performance impact on static dispatch vs. dynamic dispatch by using generics and trait object.

      Finally we talk about more advanced (i.e. you shouldn’t use it unless necessary) tool like macros, which will help do crazier things by tapping directly into the compiler. You can write function-like macros that can help you reuse code that needs lower level access. You can also create custom derive with macros.

    • What is the MEAN stack? JavaScript web applications

      Most anyone who has developed web applications knows the acronym LAMP, which is used to describe web stacks made with Linux, Apache (web server), MySQL (database server), and PHP, Perl, or Python (programming language).

      Another web-stack acronym has come to prominence in the last few years: MEAN—signifying a stack that uses MongoDB (database server), Express (server-side JavaScript framework), Angular (client-side JavaScript framework), and Node.js (JavaScript runtime).

    • RcppGetconf 0.0.3

      Changes are minor. We avoid an error on a long-dead operating system cherished in one particular corner of the CRAN world. In doing so some files were updated so that dynamically loaded routines are now registered too.

    • The performance impact of zeroing raw memory

      When you create a new variable (in C, C++ and other languages) or allocate a block of memory the value is undefined. That is, whatever bit pattern happened to be in the raw memory location at the time. This is faster than initialising all memory (which languages such as Java do) but it is also unsafe and can lead to bugs, such as use-after-free issues.

      There have been several attempts to change this behaviour and require that compilers would initialize all memory to a known value, usually zero. This is always rejected with a statement like “that would cause a performance degradation fo unknown size” and the issue is dropped. This is not very scientific so let’s see if we could get at least some sort of a measurement for this.

    • GitHub alternative strives to be all open source, only open source

      A new software service for hosting and managing open source projects, Sr.ht, aims to be an entirely open source alternative to existing services like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket, recreating many of their features.

      Created by Drew DeVault and written in a mixture of Python and Go, Sr.ht is now available for public alpha testing by developers. Users can create an account with the hosted version provided by DeVault, or set up the exact same code on cloud or on-prem hardware.

Leftovers
  • Death by PowerPoint: These talks break the mold

    You could even ditch Keynote, PowerPoint, or LibreOffice altogether and use your projector to display other content.

    At Linux.conf.au 2011, Florian Haas presented Roll Your Own Cloud: Enterprise Virtualization with KVM, DRBD, iSCSI and Pacemaker while Tim Serong drew the slides live in front of the audience.

    For a more “pre-prepared” style, Christopher Pitt proved you can present a talk in Minecraft in his Dutch PHP Conference talk, Zombies and Binary. He uses a simple game modification to add images to signs in the game, changing slides by moving his avatar through the game. This talk centers on teaching logic gates by showing the crafting of Minecraft’s redstone circuits.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Why Delhi is so polluted

      Delhi does not have the dirtiest air in the world. According to the 2018 ranking of 4,500 cities by the World Health Organisation, that distinction goes to Kanpur, another of the north Indian towns that occupy the top 14 spots on the list. But with 25m people Delhi is far bigger than the others, so its pollution endangers more lives. Dirty air kills some 30,000 Delhi-wallahs a year—and that is a low estimate, some doctors say, if you count for effects as varied as higher rates of lung cancer, diabetes, premature births and, according to recent research, even autism. Delhi’s daily average level of suspended PM2.5—fine dust—is six times what the WHO regards as the maximum safe concentration. In winter it is higher and in the weeks after Diwali, an autumn festival of lights (and firecrackers), it can rise above 50 times the WHO limit. Why is Delhi so polluted?

    • Researcher: Michigan’s PFAS threat went unheeded for five years

      Robert Delaney told a Grand Rapids hearing Tuesday with Sen. Gary Peters that he was “concerned and angry” in 2010 about the class of dangerous chemicals called PFAS. With the knowledge of the threat Michiganians faced, Delaney said he “felt like I was at the edge of an abyss looking into hell.”

      But his 2012 report to former DEQ Director Dan Wyant recommending ways to combat the dangerous effects of PFAS went unheeded for five years, a fact that disturbed the scientist.

    • The Democratic Republic of Congo Has Humanitarian Crises Leaving Millions of Children In Danger

      The violence that engulfed Tche is part of a constellation of conflicts affecting the DRC, a country the size of Western Europe that sits on $24 trillion in natural resources but is, nonetheless, one of the world’s poorest nations. While it has received a fraction of the media attention and aid response it needs, Congo’s many conflicts have led to a humanitarian crisis that rivals any — from Syria to Myanmar — on the planet. And DRC’s youth have borne the brunt of the hardship.

    • Rebel attacks threaten Ebola response in Congo

      Salama said many of the cases are spreading through interactions at private health-care facilities, which do not register with the local government and where basic services like running water and safe needle handling do not exist. There are several hundred such facilities in Beni alone, some of which are located in private residences.

      “The majority of transmissions, we believe, is occurring in private health facilities,” Salama said.

    • DR Congo Ebola outbreak ‘worst’ in country’s history

      A vaccination programme has so far inoculated about 25,000 people.

    • The Risk That Ebola Will Spread to Uganda Is Now ‘Very High’

      That means that the best, perhaps only, way to contain an outbreak like the one currently ravaging the Democratic Republic of Congo is by obsessively tracking infected individuals—monitoring their social circles and their movements, and limiting their exposure to other people for weeks at a time. But containment is proving so difficult in DRC that last week, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggested an alarming possibility. The current Ebola epidemic could be beyond control, he said, and may—for the first time since the deadly virus was first identified in 1976—become persistently entrenched in the population.

    • Former Flint Mayor Walling says state alone made decision to use Flint River

      But while Walling and the City Council publicly supported Flint’s partnership in the Karegnondi Water Authority, neither had the power to reverse the decision to use the river for drinking water.

      Emergency managers appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder were in charge of city business from 2011 until 2015.

    • Gov. Snyder made personal pitch to keep Flint on Detroit water, former mayor says

      Walling — as have state official since — said he did not know emergency managers in Flint would go on to make separate decisions that led to the city using the Flint River as its source of drinking water until the KWA pipeline was put into service.

    • Parents Deliver Ashes of Diabetic Children to Price-Gouging Insulin Manufacturer

      Nicole Holt-Smith arrived at pharmaceutical giant Sanofi’s research facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Friday carrying a powerful testament to the consequences of price gouging essential medicines under a for-profit health system: the ashes of her son, Alec.

      Alec Raeshawn Smith lived with Type 1 diabetes and lost health coverage under his parent’s insurance plan when he turned 26. He died last year after attempting to ration his insulin supply by cutting doses to make it last longer. Along with Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, Sanofi is one the three major insulin manufacturers accused of gouging diabetes patients worldwide who use the blood-sugar regulating hormone as a prescription drug in order to stay healthy.

      “Sanofi’s high prices are killing people like my son Alec,” Smith-Holt said in a statement before the action. “I’m sick of them listening to my story and then doing nothing. I’m not asking them to lower prices anymore, I’m demanding it.”

      Along with parents of two other young people who died rationing insulin, Holt-Smith attempted to deliver Alec’s ashes to Sanofi officials during a protest at the research facility on Friday. The parents were flanked by dozens of local diabetes patients, doctors, nurses and students affiliated with the Right Care Alliance, a grassroots group fighting for a health care system that puts people over profits. The Democratic Socialists of American and Physicians for a National Health Program also organized the action.

      Police blocked protesters from approaching the Sanofi office, but organizers negotiated with them to allow the parents to deliver the ashes of Alec and Antavia Lee-Worsham, who also died while rationing insulin last year. Security guards then turned the parents away at the front door, threatening them with arrest. All of Sanofi’s employees had been sent home for the day, according to Right Care Alliance spokesperson Aaron Toleos.

    • A Look At The Proposed EU IP Exception To Promote Generic, Biosimilar Industry Competitiveness

      The European Commission has proposed an exception to the extended period of patent protection that the European Union provides to original drug manufacturers for certain products, in order to boost the competitiveness of EU generic and biosimilar industries in global markets. The exception will allow EU generic and biosimilar companies to manufacture protected drugs for export during this patent extension period. Stakeholders are so far unhappy with the exception. Meanwhile, studies analyse its potential economic impacts and legal implications, and the Commission remains confident that safeguards it is putting in place will keep the lower-priced medicines from making their way back into the EU.

  • Security
    • 5 Easy Tips for Linux Web Browser Security

      If you use your Linux desktop and never open a web browser, you are a special kind of user. For most of us, however, a web browser has become one of the most-used digital tools on the planet. We work, we play, we get news, we interact, we bank… the number of things we do via a web browser far exceeds what we do in local applications. Because of that, we need to be cognizant of how we work with web browsers, and do so with a nod to security. Why? Because there will always be nefarious sites and people, attempting to steal information. Considering the sensitive nature of the information we send through our web browsers, it should be obvious why security is of utmost importance.

      So, what is a user to do? In this article, I’ll offer a few basic tips, for users of all sorts, to help decrease the chances that your data will end up in the hands of the wrong people. I will be demonstrating on the Firefox web browser, but many of these tips cross the application threshold and can be applied to any flavor of web browser.

    • A leaky database of SMS text messages exposed password resets and two-factor codes

      A security lapse has exposed a massive database containing tens of millions of text messages, including password reset links, two-factor codes, shipping notifications and more.

      The exposed server belongs to Voxox (formerly Telcentris), a San Diego, Calif.-based communications company. The server wasn’t protected with a password, allowing anyone who knew where to look to peek in and snoop on a near-real-time stream of text messages.

      For Sébastien Kaul, a Berlin-based security researcher, it didn’t take long to find.

      Although Kaul found the exposed server on Shodan, a search engine for publicly available devices and databases, it was also attached to to one of Voxox’s own subdomains. Worse, the database — running on Amazon’s Elasticsearch — was configured with a Kibana front-end, making the data within easily readable, browsable and searchable for names, cell numbers and the contents of the text messages themselves.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Google: Android Pie Updates Will Be A Lot Faster With Project Treble
    • Frustrating spammers
    • Popular AMP Plugin for WordPress Patches Critical Flaw – Update Now
    • Why aren’t chip credit cards stopping “card present” fraud in the US?

      Chip cards work by creating a unique code for each transaction, and (ideally) require a customer to enter a PIN to verify that they want to make the purchase. This doesn’t make it impossible to steal information from chip-based cards, but it does make it much harder to reuse a stolen card. By contrast, using a magnetic stripe to swipe a card simply offers all the relevant information to the merchant’s card reader, which is much easier for a bad actor to steal.

      Gemini Advisory now says that 60 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen in the US in the past 12 months, and most of those were chip-based cards.

    • Encryption bill: US academic questions what law is trying to achieve

      American cryptography fellow Riana Pfefferkorn has questioned what end the Federal Government’s encryption bill is trying to achieve, asking whether the ends of keeping crime under control could not be achieved by other means.

    • Encryption bill: ‘systemic weakness’ eludes definition

      The Federal Government is yet to properly define in its encryption bill what a systemic weakness means, and the question came up more than once for discussion during the second hearing on the bill before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Security and Intelligence.

    • Minister in Charge of Japan’s Cybersecurity Says He Has Never Used a Computer

      But one is. Japanese lawmakers were aghast on Wednesday when Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, the minister who heads the government’s cybersecurity office, said during questioning in Parliament that he had no need for the devices, and appeared confused when asked basic technology questions.

    • Former Facebook security chief: ‘I failed to prepare my employer’ on Russian disinformation

      While Stamos took some blame, in a tweet thread he also took at aim at other groups he felt were partially responsible for enabling Russian election interference and credited Facebook for going public with information about misinformation campaigning on its platform when other companies did not.

    • Companies keep losing your data because it doesn’t cost them anything

      Why does this keep happening? Because it’s affordable. In 2014, Home Depot breached more than 50,000,000 credit-cards; in 2016, they paid less than $0.34/customer in restitution.

    • Massive Data Leaks Keep Happening Because Big Companies Can Afford to Lose Your Data

      When criminal [crackers] keep breaking into big company networks to grab consumer data, the reason comes down to dollars and nonsense.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Knife-crime in Britain is rising almost everywhere

      Yet the biggest increases in knife crime have been outside London (see chart). Since 2010-11 it has risen by a tenth there, and by a third in the rest of England and Wales. During the same period, knife crime leapt more sharply than the national average in the patches around Sheffield, Leeds and Liverpool. The number of stabbings began to tick up in North Wales, Norfolk and Essex well before they did in London.

    • Sending the US Army to the Border Creates ‘a War Atmosphere’

      President Donald Trump has deployed 5,600 active-duty US troops to the border with Mexico as part of the mission formerly known as Operation Faithful Patriot. According to leaked documents received by The Nation, the Army will provide Customs and Border Protection officers with anti-riot weapons and protective equipment, further blurring the line between military and civilian law enforcement.

    • The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference

      Historians debate to what extent the Treaty of Versailles was responsible for Hitler’s march to World War II, but there can be little doubt that the treaty ending the “War to End All Wars” continues to be a major factor in our ongoing “War Without End.”

      On November, 11, 1918, Europe laid exhausted and nearly bled dry. Just months before the war ended on that date, fresh, motivated U.S. troops entered the fight and assured an Allied victory. As a result, President Woodrow Wilson played an oversized role in the fateful redrawing of borders across half the globe.

      Wilson was the primary proponent of American Exceptionalism, an idea promoted by the U.S. elite ever since. The myth that somehow America would always advance humanitarian interests attracted many, particularly the dispossessed encouraged by Wilson’s “Fourteen Points.” The president took to his messianic mission in Paris with paternalistic passion but as the record shows, imperialism infected not only European powers, it also drove Wilson. Nonetheless, millions were mesmerized by this outspoken advocate of some vague form of self-determination. He was an empty vessel into which whole nations poured their hopes for a better life.

      True, there was a stated effort at Versailles to rise above the centuries-old tradition of “to the victor goes the spoils” by introducing plebiscites and theoretically grounding decisions more frequently on justice than revenge. However, plebiscites were omitted when troublesome and justice often morphed into “just us.”

    • The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist

      The reporter on TV has just detailed his “chilling” encounter with the killer in a Pittsburgh courtroom. I was present in the courtroom as well, and I have no idea what the hell he is talking about.

      It was the initial court appearance of Robert D. Bowers, the individual who killed 11 and wounded several others at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Bowers, who received 29 federal and 36 state charges, was pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair. With his gray sweatpants, blue sweatshirt, dollar store black plastic slippers and thinning hair, he could be any problem drinker at a local Pittsburgh bar; except that his arms and legs were shackled to his wheelchair. He looked around the courtroom as he entered, but nothing appeared to register for him. It’s not that he wasn’t alert—just that he was possibly a bit of a “dull blade,” if you know what I mean; certainly, he was in over his head. When asked if he would waive his right to bail, he said, simply, “yes.” When asked if he needed a public defender, he said, “yes.” That was about the extent of the hearing, although to hear David Begnaud of CBSN relay the hearing to his TV audience, the killer’s appearance was “chilling,” something out of a horror film or an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

      Perhaps Begnaud wanted to perceive evil in the presence of Bowers, because at least that would go some way towards explaining how such a tragedy might have happened. The reality of the situation is that Bowers didn’t live in a white nationalist compound somewhere in remote Idaho wilderness—he lived in a crappy apartment in the same building as a plumbing and heating company, in a neighborhood lined with modest single-story brick houses. Sitting on the pavement outside his apartment door was a rusted out barbecue smoker with an upturned Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup on the top; an empty bottle of Bud Light was on the ground between the smoker and the front door. The building was near an old coal patch where, according to a neighbor named Terrance Holleran, “there’s been a couple homicides” in the last few years. He didn’t know Bowers; none of his neighbors seemed to. In Holleran’s words, it “is just unfortunate that this asshole chose to live here.”

    • ‘Tell Your Boss’: Recording Is Seen to Link Saudi Crown Prince More Strongly to Khashoggi Killing

      Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated last month, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss,” believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, that the operatives had carried out their mission, according to three people familiar with a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence.

      The recording, shared last month with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist whose death prompted an international outcry.

      While the prince was not mentioned by name, American intelligence officials believe “your boss” was a reference to Prince Mohammed. Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis dispatched to Istanbul to confront Mr. Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate there, made the phone call and spoke in Arabic, the people said.

    • CIA links Saudi Crown Prince to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder
    • CIA chief ‘seen all proof’ related to Khashoggi murder
    • Australian special forces combat spread of Islamic State in Philippines

      This increased number of foreign fighters in Mindanao is more than double the estimate made by Philippines intelligence in January 2018.

    • Islamic State finds safe haven in the Philippines

      The three neighboring nations share broad maritime borders in what is considered the second busiest shipping trade route in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

      “The FTFs regard Mindanao as the new land of jihad, safe haven and alternative home base,” Banlaoi said. “They join local groups to wage jihad in the Philippines on behalf of the Islamic State.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Clerical error reveals charges against Assange
    • Court filing cites charges against Assange
    • Julian Assange charged in secret, mistake on US court filing suggests
    • Filing indicates indictment prepared for Julian Assange

      A court document filed by mistake has revealed that the Justice Department is preparing to criminally charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    • The USA is ready to prosecute Assange

      The General Prosecutor’s office of the United States is ready to start a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to informed sources, the newspaper the Wall Street Journal. According to information obtained by this newspaper, the likelihood of transfer Assange to American justice increases.

      Ecuador has granted political asylum to Assange in 2012. Then assange took refuge in Ecuador’s Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was persecuted on charges of rape and since then is in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

      The growing optimism of Americans about the prospects of Assange’s extradition based on the fact that his relationship with the Ecuadorian authorities deteriorated after coming to power last year of President Lenin Moreno. The new head has called Assange a “thorn in the side of Ecuador” and has repeatedly stated that his stay in the Embassy cannot last forever.

    • WikiLeaks founder ‘may have been charged in secret’

      The US Department of Justice has inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court document that suggests the WikiLeaks founder may have been charged in secret.

      A court filing from a prosecutor in Virginia in a case unrelated to Mr Assange mentions his name twice.

      The document, which urges a judge to keep the matter sealed, states that the charges “would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition”.

    • WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

      The Justice Department inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court filing in an unrelated case that suggests prosecutors have prepared charges against the WikiLeaks founder under seal.

      Assange’s name appears twice in an August court filing from a federal prosecutor in Virginia, who was attempting to keep sealed a separate case involving a man accused of coercing a minor for sex.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange charged, court documents show
    • Court document suggests US preparing to indict WikiLeaks’ Assange

      Assange’s WikiLeaks website has leaked thousands of secret U.S. documents, and the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department was “increasingly optimistic” about the chances of prosecuting Assange in a U.S. court.

      Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for six years after being granted political asylum by the South American country.

    • Unrelated Case Suggests US Prepared Charges Against WikiLeaks’ Assange
    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could see charges, and 9 more things to know for Friday
    • Need 2 Know: Snowstorm Snarls Commutes, Assange Charged
    • Court document refers to U.S. charge against Julian Assange; source says prosecution planned

      The supposed charge was revealed by a reference to it in an unrelated case against someone named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer.

    • U.S. Prepares Charges Against Wikileaks’ Assange, Document Shows
    • WikiLeaks founder could face criminal charges
    • Julian Assange: U.S. prosecutors accidentally reveal secret charges against WikiLeaks founder

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal in the U.S., prosecutors have appeared to reveal by mistake in a court filing unrelated to his case.

      The accident was first reported on Twitter by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, and confirmed by The Washington Post.

      The text was discovered in an August 22 filing by assistant U.S. attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, as part of an ongoing case in the Eastern District of Virginia. Dwyer is also probing WikiLeaks.

      Dwyer wrote that “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” The filing added that charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.” Sources confirmed to The Washington Post that the disclosure was accurate but “unintentional.”

      It remains unclear what charges the U.S. is bringing against the WikiLeaks publisher. It was previously reported a Justice Department case into WikiLeaks dated back to at least 2010 for leaks from the government, including diplomatic cables and secret military files. Leaks during the 2016 presidential election are being probed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

    • ‘Error’ Reveals Secret Assange Charges

      Julian Assange has often claimed that the US has secretly filed charges against him—and an apparent error in a court filing for an unrelated case suggests he is right. The document, filed by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of an unrelated sex-crime case, asks for charges against somebody living overseas called Assange to be kept secret, the Guardian reports. It asks for a criminal complaint and arrest warrant “to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” A US Attorney’s office says the “court filing was made in error,” and Assange “was not the intended name for this filing.” Analysts suspect prosecutors copied and pasted parts of the documents from Assange’s case and forgot to change the name.

    • ‘Dangerous Path for Democracy’ and Dire Threat to Press Freedom: Trump DOJ’s Secret Charges Against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Revealed

      The charges, Dwyer continued, “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

      Though it is not yet clear what specific charges have been filed against Assange, press freedom advocates immediately raised alarm at the dangerous prospect of an individual being prosecuted for publishing classified information—something journalists and major newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post do all the time.

      “I hope people see how precedent the Trump administration wants to get against WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act can easily be turned around and used on mainstream reporters,” Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, wrote on Twitter. “Hard to overstate how dangerous it would be for press freedom.”

      “If Assange is charged by the U.S. government in relation to the Manning leak and WikiLeaks, the implications for U.S. journalism, and the chilling effect, would be extremely serious,” added Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in Sweden. “Dislike of Assange should not blind people in the U.S. to this fact.”

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange charged in US, court document accidentally reveals

      Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been charged under seal in the US, prosecutors have accidentally revealed.

      American prosecutors obtained a sealed indictment against Mr Assange, whose website published thousands of classified US government documents, a US federal court document showed on Thursday.

      The document, which prosecutors say was filed by mistake, asks a judge to seal documents in a criminal case unrelated to Mr Assange, and carries markings indicating it was originally filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August.

      [...]

      The error first emerged after Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who is known for scrubbing court filings, joked about the apparent error on Twitter.

    • US Is Reportedly Preparing To Indict WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange
    • Lawyers for Julian Assange hit back at US ‘charges’

      Jennifer Robinson, Mr Assange’s lawyer in the UK, added: “The US indictment of Assange is a grave violation of press freedoms. The Trump administration is seeking to extend US law worldwide, claiming it is a criminal offence for a publisher in Europe to reveal evidence of US government abuses. How long until China, Russia or Saudi Arabia follow suit, citing the US example?” Alastair Dalton: What Edinburgh’s new 100-seat monster buses say about public transport

    • US has charged Julian Assange: reactions and coverage

      Figliuzzi’s statements reflect the the US government’s intent to prosecute Assange for publishing all along, as his tenure with the FBI long pre-dates alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. The fact that the “entire intelligence community” was working on an Assange prosecution signals the amount of surveillance Assange and other members of WikiLeaks have been under. Ecuador has admitted to having spent 1 million pounds per year, most of it reportedly on the “security” inside the embassy which it has been revealed is tasked with spying on Assange’s activities.

    • If You Want The Government To Hand Over Documents, You Might Want To Retain A Lawyer

      Fifty years after the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, the letter of the law lives on but its spirit has been crushed. While it’s definitely preferable to having no opportunity to demand government agencies hand over requested documents, it’s not the significant improvement it was promised to be.
      As was noted here four years ago, the government has pretty much adopted a presumption of opacity that necessitates the filing of lawsuits. This contradicts the law’s intentions, as well as proclamations made by President Obama, who declared his administration the “most transparent.” This assertion fell flat when government agencies engaged in FOIA business as usual and Obama did nothing to hold them accountable.

    • Press freedom threat seen in prosecuting WikiLeaks’ Assange

      Many Democrats seethed when the radical transparency activist humiliated Hillary Clinton by publishing the content of her campaign chairman’s inbox. Most Republicans haven’t forgiven Assange for his publication of U.S. military and intelligence secrets. Much of the American media establishment holds him in contempt as well.

      But academics, civil rights lawyers and journalism groups worry that an attempt to put Assange behind bars could damage constitutional free speech protections, with repercussions for newsrooms covering national security across the United States.

      “This isn’t about Julian Assange, this is about the First Amendment and press freedom,” said Elizabeth Goitein, who co-directs the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center in New York. “You can’t support First Amendment freedoms and still support the government chipping away at those freedoms of people you don’t like.”

      U.S. officials clearly have been itching to get their hands on the 47-year-old ex-hacker for some time; he has been a thorn in Washington’s side for almost a decade. And Assange’s longtime claim that prosecutors secretly were preparing charges against was vindicated late Thursday when his name accidentally surfaced in an apparently unrelated legal filing.

    • If Assange Is a Villain, What About Zuckerberg?

      Now that we know, apparently thanks to an error by American prosecutors, that Julian Assange has been secretly charged with a crime in the U.S., it’s interesting to revisit an eight-year-old column by Time magazine’s managing editor, Richard Stengel, that compared the WikiLeaks founder to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

      In 2010, Time named Zuckerberg Person of the Year, though its readers had voted for Assange. To explain the magazine’s decision, Stengel draw a parallel between the two men.

      [...]

      Assange, for his part, has gone on publishing leaked documents. There’s evidence that WikiLeaks has solicited hacks to obtain the data, and it probably hasn’t been straightforward about its methods (it claims to only collect information volunteered by whistle-blowers). Nonetheless, the gadfly has remained committed to its original goal of publishing authentic documents.

      According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, both Facebook and WikiLeaks served as conduits for the Russian propaganda effort to influence the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. But while WikiLeaks published genuine, and not particularly incriminating, emails apparently stolen by Russian intelligence from leading Democrats’ computers, Facebook that allowed paid trolls and other propagandists to make that material look sinister. The social-media site facilitated the spread of lies and disseminated posts that called for fake and divisive protest rallies.

    • Prosecutors get indictment against Wikileaks’ Assange
    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Faces Criminal Charges, Prosecutors Accidentally Reveal
    • Counterterrorism expert who found Assange court filing: ‘I just thought it was a typo’
    • DOJ Accidentally Reveals Indictments Against WikiLeaks’ Assange

      The Justice Department has inadvertently revealed it has prepared an indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an unusual development, language about the charges against Assange was copied and pasted into an unrelated court filing that was recently unsealed. In the document, Kellen S. Dwyer wrote, “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” The news broke on Thursday night just hours after The Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was planning to prosecute Assange.

    • Wikileaks’ Julian Assange charged in US, court documents suggest
    • WikiLeak’s Founder Julian Assange Might Be Prosecuted By The US Justice Department, Revealed In an Unrelated Case Filing

      A lot of people think confidential information and state secrets are exclusively leaked in some dingy Deep Web websites, but Wikileaks would beg to differ. Wikileaks is an organization that leaks confidential documents, state secrets and other related information. Many of their revelations have caused waves in both global and local politics. Some of their notable works include documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afganistan War and leaking files related to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Wikileaks also leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, which according to some analysts cost her the Presidential elections.

    • How the Trump Administration Stepped Up Pursuit of WikiLeaks’s Assange

      Soon after he took over as C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo privately told lawmakers about a new target for American spies: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

      Intent on finding out more about Mr. Assange’s dealings with Russian intelligence, the C.I.A. began last year to conduct traditional espionage against the organization, according to American officials. At the same time, federal law enforcement officials were reconsidering Mr. Assange’s designation as a journalist and debating whether to charge him with a crime.

      Mr. Pompeo and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions unleashed an aggressive campaign against Mr. Assange, reversing an Obama-era view of WikiLeaks as a journalistic entity. For more than a year, the nation’s spies and investigators sought to learn about Mr. Assange and his ties to Russia as senior administration officials came to believe he was in league with Moscow.

      Their work culminated in prosecutors secretly filing charges this summer against Mr. Assange, which were inadvertently revealed in an unrelated court filing and confirmed on Friday by a person familiar with the inquiry. Taken together, the C.I.A. spying and the Justice Department’s targeting of Mr. Assange represented a remarkable shift by both the American government and President Trump, who repeatedly lauded WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign for its releases of Democratic emails, stolen by Russian agents, that damaged his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
      A prosecution of Mr. Assange could pit the interests of the administration against Mr. Trump’s. Mr. Assange could help answer the central question of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III: whether any Trump associates conspired with Russia to interfere in the presidential race. If the case against Mr. Assange includes charges that he acted as an agent of a foreign power, anyone who knowingly cooperated with him could be investigated as a co-conspirator, former senior law-enforcement officials said.

    • Court Filing Suggests Prosecutors Are Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange

      The U.S. government may be preparing criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to suggestions in a document filed in an unrelated case.

      Assange’s name appeared at least twice in papers filed in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, both times appearing to say that Assange has already been made the subject of his own case.

      Prosecutors in Virginia say the court document was an error.

      The filing alludes to the need to keep paperwork in the case under seal because “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

      It’s not clear whether any possible charges against Assange would relate to the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election or earlier materials that were released by WikiLeaks.

      It also isn’t clear whether any charges actually have been filed. The Justice Department said it had no comment about the case.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange faces charges; lawyer says he’d fight
    • Has Robert Mueller Just Revealed His Next Target?

      Exactly what charges Assange is facing remains unclear. In the past, prosecutors have considered conspiracy, violating the Espionage Act, and theft of government property. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department held back on going after Assange amid concerns that doing so was similar to prosecuting a news outlet. (Charging someone for publishing accurate information, Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack told The Guardian on Thursday, is “a dangerous path for a democracy to take.”) The recently ousted Jeff Sessions, however, took a more Draconian stance on government leaks, and prosecutors were reportedly told over the summer that they could start compiling a complaint. So far, the D.O.J. has not offered further details. “That was not the intended name for this filing,” Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, told The New York Times, explaining that “the court filing was made in error.”

    • Assange Speculation Shows Why Charges Should Be Public

      The word-processing error that unintentionally revealed the Justice Department’s sealed charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is fascinating, not least because analogous mistakes can be found in texts going all the way back to the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh.

      It also raises important legal policy questions: In a free, open society, what justifies the use of secret indictments? Are they a nefarious tool of the deep state, like secret trials? Or are they a valuable mechanism for allowing law enforcement to do its job?

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange faces charges under seal
    • Free speech for CNN, but not for Assange: The media’s double standard

      Two journalists on the bad side of Donald Trump were vindicated this week. One had his White House credentials restored. Another got proof that Uncle Sam wants him behind bars. Guess which one had all the support from the MSM.
      CNN’s Jim Acosta was kicked out of the White House because the US president didn’t like the way the journalist bombarded him with confrontational questions. Less than a week later, a Trump-appointed judge ordered his access restored, at least for the time being. A big win for the freedom of speech in America.

      WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is in a self-imposed confinement in Ecuador embassy in London because he believes that if he leaves the British will snatch him and ship to the land of the free to be prosecuted as a spy. His situation did not change much this week, except that his suspicions of a secret indictment were collaborated an Assistant US Attorney, in an apparent slip of the pen.

    • What’s Going On With This Julian Assange Indictment?

      Now that the midterms are over, the White House has reportedly shifted its focus to panicking over the Mueller investigation. We know Trump has, at least. The special counsel went quiet in the months leading up to last Tuesday’s elections, and there have been indications that indictments could be coming soon. Former Trump adviser Roger Stone, Stone ally Jerome Corsi and Donald Trump Jr. are among the figures many believe could be charged. Speculation has also surrounded Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which during the 2016 campaign released thousands of hacked Democratic emails. It’s no longer speculation. On Thursday night, it was revealed that Assange, who has been in the Justice Department’s crosshairs for years, has been indicted. The problem was that no one was supposed to find out about it Thursday night.

      Prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia revealed the indictment by mistake in an unsealed court filing unrelated to Assange. “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged,” wrote U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, who is also assigned to the WikiLeaks’ case. She continued to argue to the judge that the charge needed to remain sealed until “Assange,” whom the filing noted was a public figure who would need to be extradited, was arrested. Assange is currently living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and would indeed need to be extradited to be arrested. Because of how suddenly the filing about an unrelated pedophilia case pivoted to discussing Assange, it appears that the reveal was the result of a copy-paste error.

      The slip-up was first identified by George Washington University’s Seamus Hughes, who posted the relevant portion of the filing on Twitter Thursday night.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Has Been Charged

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged by federal prosecutors. The move suggests the U.S. government is determined to pursue his extradition (Source: Bloomberg)

    • This prosecutor’s cut-and-paste mistake revealed a case against WikiLeaks founder
    • Lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Assange says he would fight charges

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not willingly travel to the United States to face charges filed under seal against him, one of his lawyers said, foreshadowing a possible fight over extradition for a central figure in the U.S. special counsel’s Russia-Trump investigation.

      Assange, who has taken cover in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum, has speculated publicly for years that the Justice Department had brought secret criminal charges against him for revealing highly sensitive government information on his website.

      That hypothesis appeared closer to reality after prosecutors, in an errant court filing in an unrelated case, inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges. The filing, discovered Thursday night, said the charges and arrest warrant “would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”
      A person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case had not been made public, confirmed that charges had been filed under seal. The exact charges Assange faces and when they might be unsealed remained uncertain Friday.

    • Assange lawyer: US indictment would threaten press freedom

      A lawyer for anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warned on Friday (Nov 16) that an apparent US indictment against him poses a grave threat to press freedom both inside the United States and internationally.

      The possible indictment suggested that Washington will seek Assange’s extradition if he leaves Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he took refuge in 2012 over fears he could be prosecuted for WikiLeaks’s previous revelations of US national security secrets.

      “A criminal investigation into WikiLeaks sets a dangerous precedent for all the media … Everyone ought to be concerned about what this potential indictment means,” lawyer Jennifer Robinson told the Democracy Now news program.

    • WikiLeaks Helped Hackers Rifle Through Stolen Company Emails, Leaked FBI Docs Show
    • Booting Jim Acosta from the White House was bad for press rights. Charging Julian Assange might be worse.
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty

      As my wife Chelsea and I drove through Arizona on our annual pilgrimage from California to Montana, orange smoke billowed along the darkened horizon, signals of hearts shattered and landscapes scorched. Days earlier nineteen hotshot firefighters died together as they battled the intense blazes near the mountain town of Yarnell. It was the most lethal wildfire America had witnessed in 80 years.

      The Yarnell flames were so erratic and intense the team became suddenly trapped, and despite each of the men deploying their individual fire shelters, all fighting the flames that day perished.

      The lone survivor was out fetching a truck for his crew, only to return to the gruesome scene. It was the single deadliest incident for firefighters since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

      [...]

      As humans continue to spew more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the world’s climate will continue to be altered. In fact, as many scientists believe, there may already be no turning back. Warmer winters, hotter summers, drought and burning forests (and the homes built in them) may soon be the new norm for the Western United States. The signs are already all around us. If you don’t believe me just take a little road trip through the Rocky Mountains to see the travesty first hand. Just remember to take your camera, it’s all going fast.

    • Trump’s Department of Interior Prioritizes Extractive Industries, Systematically Disarming Environmental Protections

      Katherine Benedetto, a senior advisor for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under President Trump’s Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, “scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records requests have revealed,” according to Jimmy Tobias, writing for the Guardian.“Many of these meetings were followed by official decisions that benefited the private companies or trade groups in question, as in the case of Twin Metals Minnesota, a company that has long sought to build a copper and nickel mine near the famed Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota.”

      At the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, his administration did not renew Twin Metals Minnesota’s lease on land connected to the BWCA, opting instead to review the necessity of mines in that protected area. In December 2017, Twin Metals Minnesota is the mining corporation that proposed the mine, and in December of 2017, they were granted access to part of the area by the Trump administration. This directly contradicts BLM’s mission statement: “The Bureau of Land Management’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”

  • Finance
    • Rich People Pay for Private Firefighters While the Rest of Us Burn

      Trump notably halted American payment into the Green Climate Fund, a UN-organized fund designed to help economically vulnerable countries that have contributed little to climate change abide by the terms of the Paris Accord. Recently, he expressed doubt about the veracity of a United Nations report, which said that global governments would need to fundamentally restructure their economic systems in to mitigate the worse effects of climate change. This month, the EPA removed its once climate change dedicated page entirely, under the instruction of Trump and his administration.

    • Why Future Congresswoman Can’t Afford the Rent

      Like many millennials, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, cannot afford to pay the rent in Washington, D.C.

      But Ocasio-Cortez isn’t your average twenty-something. The New Yorker was just elected to the U.S. Congress, where she will earn an annual salary of $174,000. But that money won’t start coming in until she takes office in Washington this January. In the meantime, Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times she hopes her savings will tide her over for the next three months.

    • Finnish Software Company Basware Explores Sale

      Basware, the Finnish software company backed by hedge fund Arrowgrass Capital Partners, is exploring a sale after receiving a takeover approach, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Why the draft withdrawal agreement may be the only responsible option

      British politics is currently exciting, with resignations and the prospects of leadership challenges. But when the excitement passes, there are certain brute facts about Brexit and the draft withdrawal agreement which will still be there.

      First, there will still be the mandate of the referendum result. One may contest that there was a real mandate and point to the irregularities and the unlawful behaviour of certain campaigners. That, however, does not change the political reality that the government, the opposition and the majority of MPs are committed to fulfilling that mandate.

      Second, the UK is set to leave the EU by automatic operation of law on 29 March 2019. On the same day, the European Communities Act 1972 is also set to be repealed by automatic operation of law. Both of these legal facts can be averted, of course, by formal action in the 130 or so days left. But until and unless that happens, they are the defaults.

      Third, the UK is unprepared for a “No Deal” Brexit, and there is no serious prospect that the UK can become prepared properly in the time available before 29 March 2019. This is true, regardless of those who in abstract terms seem to be at ease with the prospect. The reality would be chaos in respect of customs and citizenship, supply chains of food and other necessities, atomic energy and medicine, and so on. No Brexit is not serious politics.

      [...]

      If MPs do vote against, and the EU does not renegotiate then, other things being equal, the best the UK can hope for are a series of emergency bilateral agreements before March on discrete cross-border issues to mitigate against the worst of the impact of No Deal. That would be unseemly, and there is no guarantee the agreements would work, but that would be to what a responsible, desperate government would have to resort.

      Whatever happens in the next few hours, days and weeks, the EU’s offer is likely to still be there. Of course, if there is a development which means the UK seeks an extension of the Article 50 period, or even revokes the notification, then the ultimatum of this text or No Deal becomes far less urgent. But if that does not happen, the UK will have no real option to accept, however embarrassing it will be for the MPs who attacked the deal yesterday. In this way, Brexit will become like Grexit.

    • Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute

      On November 7, Andrew Cuomo was re-elected as New York’s Governor. One week later, the people of Long Island City, Queens learned that they had been sold into civic vassalage to the world’s richest man. There’s no word yet on whether Jeff Bezos will have the first right of visitation to the gubernatorial bedchamber on Cuomo’s inauguration night, but the ritual of servitude is otherwise complete.

      The timing isn’t accidental. The people of New York, especially those in Queens who will be most affected, know that this is a lousy deal for them. Cuomo could not have run for re-election as a Resistance Progressive™️if voters had known about this deal before they voted.

      Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has effectively crushed his own attempts to be seen as a national leader of the left.

    • The STOP Walmart Act Is Rewriting the Rules of Stock Buybacks

      Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced the STOP Walmart Act, which prohibits large companies from engaging in stock buybacks unless they make serious investments in their workers. While the act takes aim at Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, it highlights the theme of my work: that excessive giveaways to shareholders across the vast majority of large corporations are a major part of why workers’ wages remain stagnant.

      The STOP Walmart Act stipulates that companies with over 500 workers cannot conduct stock buybacks unless their employees—importantly, including part-time workers, independent contractors, and franchisees—make a starting wage of $15 per hour. It also stipulates that employees must earn up to seven days of paid sick leave, and that CEO compensation does not rise above 150 times the median pay of all employees.

      This proposal matters because, in many parts of the country, Walmart still pays its employees a starting wage of $11 dollars per hour—a wage that company executives think is fair. Never mind that the Walmart family is the wealthiest family in the country, and that the six heirs of the Walton empire own more wealth than 40 percent of Americans. They also comprise the majority of the company’s shareholders, sit on the board of directors, and, in part, decide how much Walmart spends on its stock buybacks program.

      The STOP Walmart Act joins other important pieces of legislation—including the Reward Work Act, introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and the Worker Dividend Act, introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)—that aim to curb the runaway use of stock buybacks that has occurred since passage of Trump’s corporate tax cuts. Stock buybacks occur when corporations purchase their own company’s shares on the open market, automatically boosting the value of the stocks that shareholders still hold, as each share is now worth a larger slice of the corporate pie.

      While they may sound harmless, stock buybacks have been driven by relentless pressure from wealthy shareholders to move more and more corporate profits up and out of the firm for themselves. This extractive behavior is exacerbated by the fact that corporate executives are largely compensated in stock themselves. What has this “shareholder primacy” approach to running large corporations meant for workers? Shareholder primacy has, among other things, resulted in workers being understood by corporate executives as a cost to be cut, rather than being considered as an essential part of the value-creation process and as stakeholders who should be able to bargain for a living wage that is commensurate with the value they create. One important example of how this has played out in practice is the choices that Walmart’s executives have made over the last 10 years. Walmart’s starting wage is $11 dollars an hour, or $19,448 a year for a full-time worker.

    • California Already Has a Housing Crisis. The Fires Just Made It Worse.

      California is on fire. Again. The state’s 2018 wildfire season has been devastating, and it’s not over yet. The dramatic Woolsey and Hill fires scorching the hills around Los Angeles are still being brought under control, and first responders are battling the Camp Fire in Butte County, which has killed at least 56 people and torn through 140,000 acres and more than 10,000 structures.

      Recovery from wildfires can take years, and for affected communities, one aspect is especially pressing: Housing. California’s housing prices are infamously high, and in Butte County, this problem is particularly bad. With 19.5 percent of the county living below the poverty line, explains Ed Mayer, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of Butte, many households are heavily rent-burdened.

      Five of his 36 staffers from around Butte County lost their homes in the blaze and many others are housing friends and family left houseless by the fire. The Camp Fire was most devastating in Paradise, where 95 percent of the city’s residential and commercial buildings are gone, says Mayer. The county as a whole lost a staggering 10 percent of its housing stock in the Camp Fire.

    • How HUD’s Inspection System Fails Low-Income Tenants Nationwide

      The inspection system has created a culture of “score chasing” that allows landlords to make exterior repairs and cosmetic fixes, and avoid tackling the most serious health and safety problems facing tenants inside their units. In some cases, attempts to game scores have resulted in legal action. Two former housing authority directors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were sentenced to probation this year after pleading guilty to their role in cheating on HUD inspections by sending workers into units ahead of inspectors to patch up problems. In 2015, a former Chelsea, Massachusetts, public housing executive and a former public housing inspector were convicted for taking part in an inspection rigging scheme. Each was sentenced to short prison terms.

    • “Pretty Much a Failure”: HUD Inspections Pass Dangerous Apartments Filled With Rats, Roaches and Toxic Mold

      Apartment complexes subsidized by HUD collectively house more than 2 million low-income families around the country. Some are run by public housing authorities and others are owned by private for-profit or nonprofit landlords. By law, the owners of such complexes must pass inspections demonstrating they are decent, safe and sanitary in exchange for millions of dollars in federal money each year.

      But as thousands of renters across the country have discovered, passing scores on HUD inspections often don’t match the reality of renters’ living conditions. The two-decade-old inspection system — the federal housing agency’s primary oversight tool — is failing low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities and undermining the agency’s oversight of billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded rental subsidies, an investigation by The Southern Illinoisan and ProPublica has found.

      HUD has given passing inspection grades for years to dangerous buildings filled with rats and roaches, toxic mold and peeling lead-based paint, which can cause lifelong learning delays when ingested by young children. The same goes for buildings where people with disabilities have been stranded in high-rise apartments without working elevators, or where raw sewage backs up into bathtubs and utility drains. The agency has passed buildings where ceilings are caving in and the heat won’t kick on in frigid winter months as old boiler systems give out.

      The failure of HUD’s inspection system has been on display in the southern Illinois towns of Cairo and East St. Louis, which have had their public housing taken over by HUD. In both towns, complexes received passing scores as decades-old buildings deteriorated.

    • Canadian Politician Hangs Out With Racists; Issues Legal Threats To People Calling Him A Racist

      A Canadian politician is getting upset — litigiously upset — that people are characterizing him by the company he keeps. Parliament member Kerry Diotte’s legal rep (Arthur Hamilton of Cassel Brock Lawyers) has sent takedown demands to a handful of Twitter users for calling him a racist.

      Bashir Mohamed was one such user. His tweet called Diotte a racist for “openly associating” with “white supremacists like Faith Goldy.” Goldy was, until recently, a correspondent for the Breitbart-esque Rebel Media. Rebel Media is run by another pal of Diotte’s, Ezra Levant, who has shown support for white nationalist groups like the one that headed up the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that ended with a car being driven into the crowd by someone with white nationalist views.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why the Perfect Red-State Democrat Lost

      Taylor Sappington heard the call like so many other Democrats in the year after Nov. 8, 2016. He had seen Donald Trump coming, homing in on his little town of Nelsonville, Ohio, in the state’s impoverished Appalachian southeast. The town of 5,300 people had voted for Barack Obama twice by large margins.

      Trump was Nelsonville’s pick in 2016, though it was more by default than acclamation. Trump won there with less than a majority, with 30 percent fewer votes than Obama had gotten four years earlier.

      Sappington, a 27-year-old Ohio native, took this as evidence that Nelsonville was not beyond redemption, that the town where he had grown up in hard circumstances — the son of a single mother who was for a time on food stamps, living deep in the woods in a manufactured home — wasn’t really Trump country.

      Not so long ago at all, Ohio was considered the quintessential swing state — it had, after all, voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election starting with 1964. Something happened this decade, though. The 2010 national “shellacking” of Democrats left a particularly strong mark in Ohio. The Republicans who assumed control of Columbus pulled off an aggressive gerrymandering of federal and state legislative districts. In 2012, when Obama won the state for the second time, Republicans held 12 of the state’s 16 congressional seats despite winning only 52 percent of the total House vote.

    • Twitter: Fast Track to the Id

      Actually, it is difficult to forget the internet, especially because cyberspace has become our default reality. Polls show that the Millennials and Gen Z are not “besotted with television” but rather with their Smartphones.

      I will not forget the internet but first let us consider what Mr. Stephens believes has led us to the presidency of Donald Trump.

      I realize that the phrase “moral relativism” frightens an ostensibly Christian country. Actually, we do not fear relativism in regard to morality but rather in regard to economics. I mean that we cannot believe the market only rules relative to what Federal rules might be. Response to need cannot be relative to what government decides to do but rather only to the play of the market. Individual success must always be seen as relative to individual choice and competition and not to gifts you are born with or inherit or when and where you are born. We also cannot believe that profit to shareholders should be relative to the power of labor unions to bargain for wages.

      You might say that our morality is relative to our economic status, or where we are positioned in the wealth divide.

      Those living on their dividends have leisure to sponsor universal and moral absolutes, rather like the way plantation owners had more time for mint juleps than did the field hands. Those living on wages, which rise or not according to the noblesse oblige of capital, are in a good position to see that inequities exist but do not show up on the moral calculation chart.

      They are in the position to observe that in spite of always working and working hard, times do not get better, that in fact how good or how bad your life is does not merit a moral review by market rule which never looks beyond your own personal responsibility. Americans like everything personal and private, especially a moral sense, but that is hard to do when the society in which you are embedded has already embedded within you the market’s notion of moral behavior– individual choice, the assumption of individual responsibility, and the glories of not fraternitè but competition.

      What conditions and forces that economically and then politically corrupt your life because they are themselves corrupt must never be up for a moral review, especially by the Losers. Instead, the Losers much at every stage of their descent into immiseration conduct a moral review of themselves. Therapy will lead them to a discovery as to why hard work and ambition has led them to a precariat place loaded with dysphoria.

    • The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?

      Tony Maxwell, a retired African-American naval officer, was trying to get his Jacksonville, Florida neighbor to go vote with him. The young neighbor, a high-school-dropout, had no interest.

      “Voting,” the young man declared, “doesn’t change anything.”

      Can Democrats use their newly won House majority to reach that dispirited young man in Jacksonville? That all depends on their eagerness to think big and bold — and to challenge the concentrated wealth and power that keeps things from changing.

      Of course, big and bold new legislation will be next to impossible to enact with a Republican Senate and White House. But just pushing for this legislation — holding hearings, encouraging rallies, taking floor votes — could move us in a positive direction and send the message that meaningful change can happen.

      This sort of aggressive and progressive pushing would, to be sure, represent a major break with the Democratic Party’s recent past. The reforms Democrats in Congress have championed have often been overly complicated and cautious — and deeply compromised by a fear of annoying deep-pocketed donors.

      That fear may be easing. A number of leading Democrats with eyes on 2020 — and the party’s growing progressive base — have advanced proposals that could spark real change in who owns and runs America.

    • Trump’s crazy, crafty strategy: Discredit everybody until nobody believes anything anymore

      If there’s one thing you might have thought Donald Trump has learned in the past two years it’s that it was a huge mistake to go on TV with Lester Holt and admit that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he decided to fire FBI Director James Comey. Recall that Trump was just rambling, in his stream-of-consciousness mode, when he just blurted it out without prompting. That revealing statement was not only what precipitated the appointment of Robert Mueller, it was also one of the most compelling pieces of evidence that Trump was trying to obstruct justice when he fired Comey — an apparent confession of intent. Trump has said and done hundreds of stupid things during his tenure, but that one really stands out as the blunder of all blunders.

      Oops, he did it again. This week, in the midst of what observers everywhere are characterizing as a meltdown, Trump gave an interview to the Daily Caller in which he was asked if he had come up with any names for the permanent attorney general appointment, and whether Chris Christie had come up. Trump replied that his acting AG, Matt Whitaker, is highly respected in the Department of Justice and that he got a “very good decision” affirming that Whitaker’s appointment was legal.

    • 13,000 Immigrant Children Held In Detention Centers as Trump Moves to Dismantle Flores Agreement

      As reported by Michelle Chen for The Nation and by Telesur, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement has detained more than 13,000 immigrant children. This is “almost five times greater than the nearly 3,000 previously reported by the Donald Trump administration,” according to Telesur. Children from a variety of these shelters have described conditions including “extreme security monitoring, a total lack of privacy, isolation from family and threats from administrators to delay their release for the slightest infraction,” Chen reported. Detained children must also follow extreme rules to avoid punishment. They are barred from any contact with the other children, even if they are related. They are also often deprived of sleep by frequent checks made by guards with flashlights throughout the night. They are poorly fed. Any misstep by the detainees can be invoked as a reason to delay their release.

    • Dear White Women, There May be Hope for You After All

      The Democratic “blue wave” may not have made as big of a splash as some would have hoped. But momentum was felt, nonetheless, as a record number of women were elected to seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

      As the #MeToo movement continues to expand its base of women and men working to extinguish a culture of gender and sexual violence in the United States, women in particular are bringing the movement to the legislative branch of government. And there is no one more thrilled about this than me, a black woman, who had just about lost faith in many white women voters.

      I mean, seriously.

      In 2016, 53 percent of white women voted for the presidential candidate who bragged about grabbing women by their genitalia. In 2017, 63 percent of white women in Alabama voted for alleged pedophile Roy Moore in the state’s senate race. And this year, 59 percent of white women in Texas voted for Senator Ted Cruz, helping him defeat Beto O’Rourke, a proponent of women’s health.

      Let’s not forget about the white women who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, after allegations that he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — ahem, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

    • Ari Berman on the State of Voting 2018, Jackie Prange on Keystone XL Re-Review

      This week on CounterSpin: Elections highlight corporate news media’s partisan prism—the insistence on reading things preeminently in terms of what they mean for the “fortunes” of one major party or the other, and calling a good story one that lets them trade claims. But as one of the key times people visibly engage with power, there’s hardly a time more important than elections for media to stop splitting the difference and frankly describe the impact of elections—not just the outcomes, but the processes—on people and their ability to have a say in their circumstances. We’ll talk about what the 2018 midterms told us about voting in this country with Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones and author most recently of Give Us The Ballot: The Modern Struggle For Voting Rights in America, out now in paperback.

    • House Republicans, Terrible Before the Midterms, Are Now Much Worse

      great many people are eagerly anticipating the opening of the next Congress, waiting with bated breath to see what the new House sheriffs in town intend to do with their newly minted powers. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, to name but one of the serious new players, has spent the last two years looking like he wants to paint his face blue and charge the White House gates in a kilt. Reps. Maxine Waters, Emmanuel Lewis and the others, from the sound of it, are likewise champing at the bit.

      For my money, however, the real show in the House is going to be on the right side of the aisle. The Republican minority, defeated and pruned like it was 1974, is set to empower a radical faction of an already disorganized party which will commence in short order to make messes so vast and deep that all prior messes will seem quaint by comparison.

      With the departure of Speaker Paul Ryan now imminent, House Republicans elected Kevin McCarthy of California as their new leader by a vote of 159 to 43. His opponent for the position, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, is a leader of the Freedom Caucus, a genuinely dangerous collection of wreckers who will have a loud voice in the House. The Freedom Caucus played a central role in ending John Boehner’s political career because they thought he was too liberal, and later made Ryan’s life miserable enough to quit for pretty much the same reason. McCarthy would be foolish to miss the inherent lesson: Cross the Freedom Caucus at your peril. If he forgets, Jordan will surely take pains to remind him.

    • Color of Change: Facebook Retaliated Against Protests by Pushing Anti-Semitic, Anti-Black Narratives

      A New York Times investigation has revealed that Facebook fought critics and a growing number of scandals following the 2016 election by launching a PR offensive backed by a dubious Republican opposition-research firm: Definers Public Affairs. We speak with Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, one of the organizations targeted by Definers Public Affairs. We also speak with Siva Vaidhyanathan, the author of “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.” He is a professor of media studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. Vaidhyanathan’s new article for Slate is titled “Facebook Is a Normal Sleazy Company Now.”

    • Who’s Running Now? These Are the Latest 2020 Democratic Rumors

      We haven’t even finished counting all of the votes in the 2018 midterms — Florida, Georgia and a number of smaller races remain undecided – but pundits have already moved on, jockeying to give their hot takes on the power rankings for 2020 Democratic presidential nominees.

      Of course, there isn’t a lot of news yet. And that’s why the vacuum is being filled with maybes and what-ifs, mostly from Democratic retreads – many of whom have shown no inclination of running at all.

      It wouldn’t be a 2020 roundup without the inevitable “Is Hillary running again?” question — and the answer is no, she is not, as she has said repeatedly.

    • The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats

      The Republican Party lost ground in the Congressional and state elections earlier this month, but they continue to triumph in the all-important contests over words.

      Republicans have been winning the “war over words” for years. First, the hard core political right wingers symbolically claimed the Bible and the American flag, turning them upside down. To them the Bible meant anything but the Golden Rule and compassion for the “poor,” so frequently noted in the Scriptures. They brandished the flag as a patriotic symbol to gag dissent, as a bandanna for waging war crimes, and as a fig leaf to hide the shame of their cruel domestic policies in the U.S.

      During the late Forties, few Americans chose to call themselves “conservatives.” “Liberals” were ascendant, coming out of the FDR years. Under incessant associational attack on the word “liberal,” few politicians now brandish their beliefs as “liberals,” while many tout some of their views as “conservative.”

    • Brothers Whom Authorities Linked to Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Had Flyer Supporting Neo-Nazi Group, Officials Say

      When federal agents searched the Washington, D.C., house of two brothers they had linked to the suspected Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, they found a troubling scene.

      There were hollow-point bullets, “ballistic vests and helmets,” a “marijuana grow” operation and a Nazi flag. A noose dangled from a bunk bed, a small toy hung by its neck, and a flyer was found promoting the neo-Nazi organization known as Atomwaffen Division.

    • Whither the Melting Pot?

      It is practically axiomatic: Donald Trump makes everything worse.

      Is it all part of a plan? There is no easy answer to that question because, more likely than not, Trump has only attitudes and instincts, not strategies. But let’s give him more credit than he deserves and stipulate, as lawyers might say, that his machinations are calculated — even if to no purpose beyond his own glorification and enrichment.

      Then the method behind them would be the same both for his passion, campaigning, and for governing, an activity about which it seems that he could care less. It is to count on the acquiescence of the majority, while enthusing the cult-like followers in his base and flimflamming as many others as he can.

      His is a politics of division that consists essentially in appealing to what Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president, called “the darker angels of our nature.”

      This is why, if there will be life as we know it after Trump, de-Trumpification will be Job Number One.

    • Blockchain Voting: Solves None Of The Actual Problems Of Online Voting; Leverages None Of The Benefits Of Blockchain

      Just recently we wrote about why blockchain-based DRM was a terrible idea, and it could be summed up by the simple fact that a blockchain solves none of the “problems” of DRM today, and leverages none of the actual benefits of a blockchain. And… now I feel like writing basically the same exact post around blockchain voting. Like blockchain DRM, blockchain voting is one of those ideas that gets tossed around a lot. For decades, lots of people who actually understand computer security have explained why online voting is a horrifically bad idea in that it involves effectively unsolvable problems. It’s not that it’s a “hard” problem, it means that online voting is effectively impossible without massive changes to almost everything we do in ways that we can’t really comprehend right now. There are some serious researchers who are thinking about this, but to date, there is nothing even remotely close to to being acceptable, and there may never be.

      And yet, the “simplest” way that some people understand the risks of online voting is basically “it would be bad if someone could change your vote and no one would know.” That’s an easy to understand point to make, but the problems with online voting go way, way beyond that. Do a simple Google search on why online voting is a terrible idea and you’ll get dozens of on-point results, but if you want a nice, simple explanation of just the first pass of potential risks with online voting, check out this video from a couple years ago by Princeton professor Andrew Appel, who has been studying voting security for many, many years:

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Asia Bibi and the legacy of partition

      Much of this, of course, is an imperial legacy. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, British authorities maintained their haphazard control over India through a strategy of divide and rule, codifying and reinforcing India’s traditional caste system, and partitioning Indians into categories of caste, religion and language. Or as Rudyard Kipling put it in The Education of Otis Yeere, ‘Strict supervision and play them off one against the other. That is the secret of our government.’ The imperial authorities created, therefore, the divisions and mutual suspicions that the leaders of the Indian National Congress ultimately failed to overcome.

    • The Obama administration blocked or banned Fox News reporters from White House press conferences.

      President Obama attempted to delegitimize Fox News by calling their oppositional stance “destructive” for the country, took questions from Fox News correspondents less frequently than he did from those of other major networks in press briefings, and his administration expressed a willingness to exclude Fox reporters from interviews with top officials.

    • Professor sues over rebuke for calling female transgender student ‘sir’

      Meriwether, who has worked at the university since 1996, argued he didn’t discriminate and that he treated the student like “other biologically male students.” He unsuccessfully challenged his reprimand in a grievance process.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Tracking and snooping on a million kids

      With a couple of watches paired to different testing phones, I had a play with various authorisation and Insecure Direct Object Reference, IDOR, attacks.

      The only check the API appears to perform is matching the UID with the session_token, so simply changing the family_id in the get_watch_data_latest action, shown ibelow, allows an attacker to return the watch location and device_id associated with that family.

    • What Constant Surveillance Does to Your Brain

      As technology and machine learning continue to advance, we’re integrating surveillance into our daily lives at an increasing rate, and the level of surveillance is becoming more sophisticated. It’s easy to overlook all the ways we’re being tracked, but as soon as you start to quantify it, it quickly becomes unsettling. And it may make you wonder: what effect does being watched all the time have on your behavior—and your brain? Turns out, it can be just as mentally taxing as mental disorders like depression, and can even cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Police Officer Responding to Shooting Near Chicago Kills Security Guard, Authorities Say

      A black security guard at a bar in the Chicago suburbs was killed by the police as he apparently tried to detain a man he believed to be involved in a shooting, the authorities said Monday.

    • Police Fatally Shoot Black Security Guard Who Detained Suspected Shooter

      Witnesses say Roberson was wearing his uniform, including a hat emblazoned with the word “security” and was holding a firearm he was licensed to carry.

      Midlothian police confirmed that two officers responded to the scene at bar on Sunday and that one of them opened fire.

    • Get Out of Jail for a Price: The First Investigation From Our Illinois Reporting Project
    • Outside Review Faults Orlando Fire Department Policies and Mistakes in Pulse Shooting Response

      An independent review of the Orlando Fire Department’s response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting has concluded that the agency was not prepared for the disaster and did not know how to use the ballistic vests it had previously purchased.

      The report by the National Police Foundation, released Wednesday, largely corroborates a September investigation by WMFE and ProPublica that found that the Orlando Fire Department failed to prepare adequately for a mass shooting, despite calls from some supervisors to do so. Forty-nine people died and more than 50 were injured during the shooting. The foundation is a nonpartisan police research organization.

      [...]

      Frank Straub, the lead author of the report, said the Orlando Fire Department saved a lot of lives during and after the Pulse shooting. But the event provides a cautionary tale of stagnant policies at a time of increasing threats, he added.

      Several of the Fire Department’s policies were written in 2001 and hadn’t been updated since.

      “The threat is constantly evolving and changing,” Straub said. “Our method of responding has to constantly evolve and change. That was an issue in Orlando.”

      In a press release issued Wednesday, the city of Orlando said it has updated its active shooter policies since the Pulse nightclub shooting and now has bulletproof vests for all first responders. The city paid for the foundation to review its response.

    • A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism

      According to the FBI, 1,679 religious hate crimes were reported last year. 58.1% were anti-Jewish and 18.6% were anti-Muslim. I don’t like to turn to the FBI for statistics, but I don’t know where else to turn for evidence of crimes of this sort. The statistics might dampen my “holiday spirit” this time of year when I have often celebrated Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and Tết, the Vietnamese New Year, which I enjoyed in Hanoi for the first time twenty-years ago. I feel like I belong to the world and to all its religions, though I know that religions have brought violence and calamity, and though I was born into a secular Jewish family and grew up when Jews were excluded from country clubs and fraternities.

      When I was eleven-years-old, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, two American-born Jews, were sent to the electric chair after they were found guilty of stealing the secret of the atomic bomb and then handing it to the Soviets. That event seared my childhood more than any other; my parents were also Jewish and had belonged to the American Communist Party from 1938 to 1948.

      The American Nazi Party was alive and well when I was a boy. Members of the organization wore swastikas and paraded in largely Jewish neighborhoods. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they had a right to do so under the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Jew Boy” was a term of derision and so was “New York Jew,” which might be taken to mean a Wall Street banker or a Communist agitator. Now, New York Jew it might mean the former mayor of the city, Michael Bloomberg, the eleventh richest person in the world, or the orthodox Jews who are anti-Zionist.

    • Sen. Hyde-Smith’s Public Hanging Quip Is an Affront to Black Americans Who Were Lynched

      Dismissing comments about public hangings as a joke is not okay, especially in Mississippi, a state that lynched more Black people than any other.
      When Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is in a run-off election with Democrat Mike Espy for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, attempted to show her loyalty to one of her supporters during a recent campaign stop, she quipped: “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

      The comment would be wildly inappropriate anywhere, but in Mississippi, which has the distinction of being the state that lynched more African-Americans than any other, it is particularly repugnant.

      Rather than apologizing for the offensive remark, Hyde-Smith issued a statement the following day saying: “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”

      Reducing the history of lynching designed to inflict terror on Black communities to a joke, or “an exaggerated expression of regard,” serves as a reminder of the continuing failure to address and acknowledge the country’s past and the continuing need to face the many ways in which Black people remain subject to racially based violence.

      Recently, a group of current and former staff members of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, on a kind of pilgrimage to visit the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and it’s Legacy Museum, which traces the path from enslavement to mass incarceration. Although each of us is well-versed in the nation’s shameful history of racial discrimination and violence and has worked to combat the persistent vestiges of that history, there is little that could have prepared us for the emotional impact of the two EJI sites.

    • What the Latest Bipartisan Prison Reform Gets Wrong and Why It Matters

      specter is haunting the United States — the specter of “bipartisan prison reform.” Although the last effort at bipartisan prison reform stalled out in 2014-15, the US now seems poised to pass the “First Step Act,” after Donald Trump signaled his support for the measure in a statement at the White House on Wednesday.

      Passage of the bill would be a major victory for Trump. A number of liberal and progressive commentators have gone all in on the legislation, which has been heavily shaped by Jared Kushner and Koch Industries attorney Mark Holden. CNN commentator and Cut50 cofounder Van Jones praised Trump. “Give the man his due,” Jones tweeted, saying the president is “on his way to becoming the uniter-in-Chief on an issue that has divided America for generations.”

      Yet, regardless of who is “uniting” around its passage, the bill itself is both weak and dangerous. While it offers a few token reforms — some of them, like the end of shackling for pregnant and post-partum women in federal custody, necessary and long overdue — it leaves many of the most pressing issues off the table. It barely makes a dent in terms of reducing the length of prison sentences or reducing the number of people in prison. Meanwhile, it heightens the use of racist and classist assessment mechanisms and expands the net of surveillance.

      The proposed bill includes a few minor reductions in sentence length for federal prisoners, by expanding potential access to good time credits and lowering the age of consideration for compassionate release However, it will not make any sentence reductions retroactive (except for the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which minimized — but did not erase — the disparity between crack and cocaine sentences). This means that people who are currently serving, for example, life sentences for drug offenses will not get any relief from this bill. A press release from the National Fraternal Order of Police, which endorsed the First Step Act, indicates that the organization “engaged” with lawmakers to ensure that most sentencing changes would not be applied retroactively. Despite Trump taking a deserved pot shot at Bill Clinton’s support for punitive crime policy of the 1990s, the bill would leave intact the lengthy sentences and limited legal access that Clinton enacted in a trifecta of laws (the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibility Reform Act, the Prison Litigation Reform Act).

    • Dream Defenders Claim Victories against Privatized Prison Industry

      In August 2018, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reported that communities and human rights groups had organized a national day of protest against the for-profit prison company GEO Group after it threatened to sue the human rights group Dream Defenders for planning a national day of action to protest the private prison company. As Democracy Now! reported, GEO Group is Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s single biggest contractor, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to run private immigrant prisons. In an interview, Rachel Gilmer, the co-director of Dream Defenders explained, “We’ve organized a national day of action where we’re targeting GEO prisons, we’re targeting GEO detention facilities, and we’re targeting elected officials’ offices who are actually making money from the very people who profit off of these systems, and then going on and making policies that lead to building more prisons, that lead to tough-on-immigration crimes.”

    • Appeals Court: No Immunity For Shooting A Man Who Had His Hands Up And Twice Said He Surrendered

      By the time some qualified immunity cases hit the appellate level, there’s an air of “why are we even discussing this” about them. But if there’s even a 1% chance the next level of review might overturn a lower court ruling, the cases will addressed, no matter how obvious their conclusions.

      This is one of those cases. In this one, it’s a police officer needing to hear one more time that the shit they pulled just isn’t legal. It started with a parking ticket and ended with the ticketee being shot by a police officer. In between, there was a misunderstanding and an altercation. And, after this review, the odds are even lower that the officer is going to be able to talk a judge or jury into excusing his actions. Here’s the backstory:

      Craig Strand, a truck driver, needed to take a mandatory drug screening. Since he was unable to fit his truck in the testing facility’s parking lot, he obtained permission to park it at a nearby Planned Parenthood office. Officer Curtis Minchuk, who was providing security for Planned Parenthood while in uniform and with the blessing of his department, saw Strand’s truck and left two parking tickets on its windshield.

      Strand returned to his truck and saw the tickets. He returned to the Planned Parenthood office to inquire about them and was directed to meet Officer Minchuk in the parking lot. Strand explained he had received permission to park there. This is where things went downhill for Strand, his rights, and his as-of-yet unwounded body.

    • Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels

      We went to a very moving commemoration in London this week marking the 80th anniversary of Krystallnacht– when thousands of German Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The opening salvo, as it were, of the Holocaust. But what I found most appalling–because of its relevance to today’s headlines –was not the description of those horrific events, but the motivation of a top Nazi official responsible for carrying out Hitler’s genocidal commands.

      One of the speakers at the commemoration was Anita Lasker-Walfisch, whose prodigious musical talent as a a cello player in the Woman’s Orchestra at Auschwitz saved her from the Nazi gas chambers. The other speaker was Niklas Frank, son of one of Hitler’s top henchmen, hung at Nuremberg in October 1946 for the role he played in the Final Solution.

      Anita’s description of the horrors she and her family faced was moving—particularly their incredulity that their Jewish family, so steeped in German culture and tradition, would be packed off to extermination by the leader of a country they felt so much a part of.

      But to me most chilling was what Niklas Frank had to say about his father. Hans Frank was a German lawyer , an early supporter of Hitler, who rose through Nazi ranks to become Governor-General of occupied Poland during World War II. He would be directly involved in the deaths of millions of Polish Jews.

    • Illinois Police Killed a Black Security Guard While Doing His Job

      Jemel Robinson saved lives — but because of racially biased policing, he paid for it with his own.
      In an alternate reality, Tuesday’s national news headlines would have read: “Active Shooter Heroically Subdued by Brave Security Guard.” Instead, we woke up to news stories announcing that police in Midlothian, Illinois, responded to a bar shooting by killing the security guard who had bravely detained the shooting suspect.

      Jemel Roberson should be alive today. But he’s not, and it seems quite clear that race played a critical role in his death.

      If Roberson had been white, would the officer who shot him have seen that he was dressed as a security guard, as witnesses to the shooting asserted? Would they have heard the bystanders shouting that Roberson was a security guard and a hero? And would they have paused instead of gunning him down?

      Experience — and statistics — suggest that Roberson would probably have lived to be called a hero if he were white. According to a 2018 study, Black men are 3.16 times as likely as white men to be killed by a police officer. A separate 2018 study found similar disparities.

      These statistics helped shape the reality that ended Roberson’s life. But it’s important to remember what was lost. Roberson was not only a 26-year-old security guard at Manny’s Blue Room Bar outside of Chicago. He was an active member of community churches who had aspirations. In fact, he dreamt of being a police officer and joining the community that ultimately took his life. Most importantly, however, he was a father to a 9-month-old son, and his partner is pregnant with their second anticipated child.

    • ICE Is Targeting Activists in Vermont. And the State’s DMV Has Been Helping Them.

      ICE partnered with the Vermont DMV to target farmworker rights’ activists for political repression.
      In October 2017, Vermont-based Migrant Justice scored a major victory in the organization’s campaign to extend labor protections to undocumented farmworkers in the state. After years of public action and lobbying, they reached an agreement with Ben & Jerry’s that established basic labor standards at the farms supplying dairy products to the company. Those standards included one day off a week, a minimum wage of $10 per hour, and accommodations that included electricity and running water — a milestone for farmworkers’ rights in Vermont. For many Migrant Justice organizers, who were themselves undocumented and had worked long hours in those dairy farms, the victory was personal.

      But while Migrant Justice’s organizers were celebrating their victory, according to a lawsuit filed this week by a coalition that includes the ACLU of Vermont, Immigration and Customs Enforcement was carrying out a targeted operation to arrest and deport them. Using tactics that law enforcement agencies typically employ to disrupt organized crime, the lawsuit alleges that ICE agents planted at least one informant in Migrant Justice to hack into the email accounts of the group’s members and compiled detailed dossiers on their movements and social circles. And ICE had an eager partner in those efforts — the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

      In 2013, Migrant Justice played a critical role in the passage of Vermont’s Driver Privilege Card law, which allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain legal driving permits. But a public-records request filed by the ACLU revealed that DMV officials systematically passed the private information of applicants for those permits directly to ICE, even in cases where ICE agents hadn’t asked for it. Email correspondence obtained in the request show DMV workers using racist language to describe those applicants, referring to “South of the Border” names and in one case lamenting that the state was being “over run by immigrants.”

    • Progressives, Please Don’t Defend Broken Promises on Immigration

      In recent weeks, many on the left and right of the US political spectrum have been riveted by the spectacle of thousands of families from Central America trekking across Mexico with the migrant caravans. On the right, President Trump has used these images to gin up racism and fear, curtailing migrants’ opportunities to seek asylum. On the left, activists and academics have attempted to counter his lies by insisting that it is legal to seek asylum under US and international law. These assertions, while correct, worry me: I fear we are throwing Central Americans under a bus driven by our own limited imagination.

      In part, it’s easy to ignore Central American realities because historically, their numbers have been relatively small compared to Mexicans apprehended at the US border. But since 2014, the Border Patrol has apprehended almost as many Central Americans as Mexicans, a startling figure when you take into account that the entire combined population of the Northern Triangle countries — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — is roughly a quarter of Mexico’s.

    • Helicopters Take to Sky, Door-to-Door Search Conducted after Video of Child Abduction Released. But…

      So our job is to try to push the re-set button.

    • Betsy DeVos Wants to Roll Back Civil Rights Protections For Students Filing Complaints of Sexual Harassment or Assault

      Our analysis of how DeVos’ proposed rule would change how colleges and universities deal with allegations of sexual assault under Title IX.
      The Department of Education headed by Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday released a proposed rule that, if implemented, would dramatically limit schools’ obligations to students who experience sexual violence and would not further the stated goal of fair process. The ACLU is equally committed to ensuring students can learn in environments free from sexual harassment and violence and to guaranteeing fair process for both respondents and complainants.

      The new rule preserves some important protections for respondents from the Department of Education’s 2001 guidance, such as a guarantee of an impartial investigator and the opportunity to present rebuttal evidence. It also ensures both parties equal rights to appeal and access to evidence.

      But the overwhelming effect of the new rule is to limit schools’ obligations to students who file complaints of sexual harassment and violence under Title IX, a federal civil rights statute that prohibits sex discrimination in education, without increasing the fairness of disciplinary proceedings. Under the new policy, schools will likely investigate far fewer complaints, and the Department of Education will hold fewer schools accountable for ensuring campuses are free of sexual harassment and assault.

    • ACLU of Illinois Demands Removal of Children in DCFS Care From Troubled Chicago Hospital

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on Friday took the state’s child welfare agency to federal court to attempt to force the removal of all children in its care from a troubled Chicago psychiatric hospital after additional claims of sexual abuse there.

      A sexual assault allegation involving a 19-year-old patient, cited in the ACLU’s emergency court filing, comes as Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital faces intense scrutiny following a string of disturbing accusations of sexual and physical abuse. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services sends hundreds of children to the hospital each year, relying on Lakeshore to treat those with severe mental illness who are sometimes turned away by other hospitals.

      DCFS acknowledged Friday that it is also investigating a separate sexual abuse allegation, called into the state’s hotline Wednesday, involving two patients, a 14-year-old male and a 16-year-old transgender female, fondling each other at the hospital, according to a source with knowledge of the report. The girl, who is the subject of a previous abuse allegation at Lakeshore, came to the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor from Honduras and is in the custody of the federal government, records show.

      That brings the number of DCFS investigations into accusations of abuse or neglect at the hospital to 18 since January. The agency has found evidence to support four of those allegations, while seven were found to be unsubstantiated. Seven cases, including the two most recent reports, remain under investigation.

    • CIA considered potential truth serum for terror suspects after 9/11

      The existence of the drug research program — dubbed “Project Medication” — is disclosed in a once-classified report that was provided to the American Civil Liberties Union under a judge’s order and was released by the organization Tuesday.

    • Truth serum? New CIA ‘torture program’ docs shed light on post-9/11 ‘Project Medication’

      A CIA report obtained by the ACLU lays bare the details of the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program, including tactics so disturbing even CIA agents were reluctant to implement them.
      The ACLU fought in court for two years to obtain the report, which constitutes a history of the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” detention program from 2002 to 2007. It was drawn up in response to the Abu Ghraib scandal to counteract the “distorted picture” taking shape in the media and, according to the agency’s lawyers, does not represent a “final official history, or assessment, of the program.”

      Beginning with a description of US intelligence services post-9/11 – chaos, panic, disorder, the willingness to do anything to prevent another terrorist attack – the report quickly moves from the seemingly rational goal of “rounding up al-Qaeda operatives worldwide” into surreal excuse-making (“no one ever was medicated rectally” despite “an occasional charge” that this was common practice during the rendition process) – within a single page.

    • CIA considered potential truth serum to force terror suspects to talk
    • CIA doctors considered using ‘truth serum’ on terror suspects
    • CIA considered potential truth serum to force terror suspects to talk
    • CIA explored potential truth serum drug for post-9/11 interrogations
    • CIA considered potential truth serum on terror suspects
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • AT&T CEO Continues His Fake Calls For Real Privacy, Net Neutrality Laws

      Notice for a moment that the linked outlet in question doesn’t bother to clarify to readers that we had meaningful net neutrality and broadband privacy rules at the FCC (passed after years of painstaking debate), and AT&T lobbyists worked tirelessly to kill both of them. AT&T also routinely battles any efforts to mandate more competition or broadband availability, to the point where they prevent efforts to even improve broadband availability maps. These are not problems AT&T wants fixed; rather important context when judging the merits of Stephenson’s statements.

      To be clear, AT&T doesn’t want meaningful privacy or net neutrality legislation. It wants loophole filled placeholder laws on these subjects in name only; laws that pretend to address the problems on both of these fronts, but serve one key purpose: pre-empt tougher state or federal laws that might actually accomplish something. AT&T wants laws its lawyers write that don’t actually fix the problems we all largely agree need fixing, especially the lack of broadband competition that helped create privacy and net neutrality violations in the first place.

      That tech and policy reporters don’t understand this (or understand it but for whatever reason don’t share this fact with readers) is consistently frustrating.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • European Commission creates IoT SEP licensing group

      According to the commission, the group will “deepen the expertise on evolving industry practices related to the licensing of SEPs in the context of the digitalisation of the economy, the sound valuation of intellectual property and the determination of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms”.

      The group will facilitate an exchange of experience and good practice in the field of licensing and valuation of SEPs, provide the commission with the necessary economic, legal and technical expertise surrounding evolving industry practices related to SEPs, as well as assist the commission in monitoring SEP licensing markets and obtaining information on licensing and valuation practices.

    • LSPN Europe 2018: SPCs—important but ‘phenomenally complicated’, say lawyers

      Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) are hugely important to MSD’s business, according to Elena Böhles, assistant counsel at the pharmaceutical company, based in Hertfordshire, UK.

      However, Böhles, who was speaking on a panel at the LSPN Europe 2018 in London yesterday, November 15, added that the SPC system can also be a source of frustration.

    • Copyrights
      • Protecting your Flavor

        As you might imagine, the court said no — taste cannot be protected under European copyright. “The taste of a food product cannot be likened to any ‘works’ protected by that treaty and, to my knowledge, no other provision of international law provides for the copyright protection of the taste of a food product. . . . I consider that the taste of a food product does not constitute a ‘work’ within the meaning of Directive 2001/29.”

      • EU High Court Rejection Of Copyrights For Food Tastes Worries Rights Holders

        A food’s taste cannot be pinned down with enough precision and objectivity to make it copyrightable under EU law, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said on 13 November. The decision creates a new standard that could be applied to all European copyright works, but would likely be the same under US law, intellectual property lawyers said.

      • Nintendo Gets Huge Settlement Against ROM Site Probably Just To Scare Other ROM Sites

        A couple of years ago, we first discussed how Nintendo, long-time maximalists on intellectual property concerns, decided to open up a new front against ROM sites. What at first looked like it might be something of a surgical strike mission-creeped this past summer into a full war on ROM sites generally, with Nintendo using a buckshot lawsuit approach. Many sites simply voluntarily shut down, sweeping away decades of video game history to be once again locked up by Nintendo, while others stared down the company’s legal guns. All this, of course, as Nintendo was showing how silly this all is given the insane performance of its Nintendo retro consoles.

        Well, it looks like the output of this effort is going to be Nintendo playing games with at least one of these suits, getting a settlement that nobody thinks it’s actually going to pursue in full just to have a multi-million dollar number to threaten other sites with. The husband and wife operators of LoveROMS.com have agreed to a $12 million settlement they can’t pay, and likely won’t have to, to have Nintendo call off its dogs.

      • Conan O’Brien’s Defense Hits Snag in Tom Brady Joke Theft Claim

        Conan O’Brien can’t defend a claim alleging he stole a joke about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady by arguing the person accusing him of the theft tricked the government into granting his copyright.

        Alex Kaseberg in July 2015 sued O’Brien over a series of jokes he says the late-night host used on his show. At the center of the current decision is a joke about Brady handing his 2015 Super Bowl MVP trophy over to the guy who won the game for the Patriots — the opposing team’s coach. Kaseberg tweeted his version on Feb. 3, 2015, and later that night the host delivered a similar joke on his show.

        Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino denied a motion for summary judgment with regard to three of the jokes, including the one about Brady, and moved the matter toward trial — also finding that Kaseberg’s quips were entitled to only “thin” protection and he would need to show that O’Brien’s jokes were virtually identical, instead of substantially similar, in order to prevail on his claims.

      • Not Funny: The Conan O’Brien Joke-Stealing Lawsuit Is Still Going On

        We’ve obviously talked about the great deal of harm that a protectionist view of copyright can cause, both in terms of its ability to deny the public useful innovations and its use by the powerful to bully the weak. But one of the harms in protectionism and the ever-expanding culture of ownership that pervades modern life that is less talked about, possibly because it’s somewhat obvious, is its sheer ability to bog down individuals in an absurdly lengthy legal process that seems to move at a pace purposefully calibrated to be as frustrating as possible.

        A great example of this is the copyright case Conan O’Brien is embroiled in still, all over accusations that he and his writing staff “stole” a handful of jokes from a freelance comedian, who has claimed copyright over them. We first wrote about this case in the first half of 2017, where a judge had greenlit all of this for a jury trial, but the lawsuit itself was actually filed back in 2015. And, incredibly, it’s still going on. The clock is still running at three years, with the most recent news being that the court has refused to allow O’Brien’s team two affirmative defenses based on the actions of the plaintiff.

      • Leaks Show Europe’s Attempts to Fix the Copyright Directive Are Failing

        The EU’s “Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive” is closer than ever to becoming law in 28 European countries, and the deep structural flaws in its most controversial clauses have never been more evident.

        Some background: the European Union had long planned on introducing a new copyright directive in 2018, updating the previous directive from 2001. The EU’s experts weighed a number of proposals, producing official recommendations on what should (and shouldn’t) be included in the new directive, and meeting with stakeholders to draft language suitable for adoption into the EU member states’ national laws.

        Two proposals were firmly rejected by the EU’s experts: Article 11, which would limit who could link to news articles and under which circumstances; and Article 13, which would force online platforms to censor their users’ text, video, audio, code, still images, etc., based on a crowdsourced database of allegedly copyrighted works.

        But despite the EU’s expert advice, these clauses were re-introduced at the last minute, at a stage in the directive’s progress where they would be unlikely to receive scrutiny or debate. Thankfully, after news of the articles spread across the Internet, Europe’s own voters took action and one million Europeans wrote to their MEPs to demand additional debate. When that debate took place in September, a divided opposition to the proposals allowed them to continue on to the next phase.

      • Not Even Hiding It Any More: EU Council Explicitly Pushing For Mandatory Upload Filters

        One of the key talking points for supporters of Article 13 in the EU Copyright Directive is to absolutely deny that it requires mandatory upload filters. Of course, as soon as you ask them how an internet platform could possibly abide by the rules of Article 13 without implementing mandatory upload filters, they suddenly change the conversation. Usually to something about how YouTube is ripping off all musicians. This is… weird. First of all, YouTube already has its giant upload filter in the form of ContentID. Second, if they can’t tell you how it doesn’t require upload filters, then… it requires upload filters.

        As the trilogue negotiations continue between the EU Council, the EU Commission and the EU Parliament, the Council has apparently decided to drop the pretense and is now explicitly demanding mandatory upload filters. The newly proposed language says that any site is liable for all infringement committed by their users unless they block any infringing works they’ve been informed about from ever appearing on their sites again. It’s a “notice and stay down” requirement — which has all sorts of problems. First of all, this assumes that every use of the same work is equally infringing. It does not take into account that one use may be infringing, while another may be fair use or fair dealing. Second, it requires incredibly expensive technology. ContentID already cost Google over $100 million… and it’s not very good. Tons of stuff still gets through. So now, basically, any successful smaller platform would have to spend ridiculous sums of money to implement a useless filter that won’t work… and when things slip through, they’re still liable for massive damages.

        And, notice what’s missing? What happens if these filters take down content they should not? This happens all the time. But here, of course, there is no punishment for false notifications or for mistakes. While the Council tries to get around this by saying the rules “shall not affect legitimate uses, such as uses under exceptions and limitations,” that’s entirely meaningless. How the hell do you train a filter to understand parody? Or fair use? Or any other limitation or exception? Google has spent $100 million on its system and it has no clue how to determine fair use.

      • Article 13: YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

        In a week which began with warnings from YouTube about the potential negative effects of the EU’s Article 13 proposals, an interesting development is being reported by Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party. The vice chair of the Greens/EFA group reports that YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has visited Strasbourg and now appears to be lobbying in favor of upload filters.

      • The EU can #fixcopyright, but they’re not

        The Don’t Wreck the Net coalition of online platforms and civil society groups has published a laundry-list of the minimum set of technical fixes that Articles 11 and 13 need to actually be fit for purpose, including some really basic things like defining what a “news story” and “link” are in Article 11′s ban on linking to news stories without payment.

      • New “Warsaw Declaration” Promises International Anti-Piracy Cooperation

        A group of 34 organizations and institutions have signed the ‘Warsaw Declaration’, hoping to increase international cooperation in the fight against online piracy. The signees, including prominent names such as the BBC, HBO, and NBCUniversal, believe that effective global collaboration is key to address the ongoing problem.

      • Lost Disney ‘Oswald’ film found in Japan

        In response, Disney began work on a new lead character: one that would eventually be known as Mickey Mouse. As for Oswald, it was left in animation purgatory until Disney CEO Bob Iger bought back the rights in 2006.

Links 16/11/2018: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, Mesa 18.2.5, VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 2

Friday 16th of November 2018 10:04:42 AM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Windows 10 1809′s new rollout: Mapped drives broken, AMD issues, Trend Micro clash

      Within days of Microsoft’s first release of Windows 10 1809 at the beginning of October, IT pros noticed that Windows File Explorer indicated that mapped network drives appeared to be broken.

      “Testing the new 1809 update, and everything seems to be fine except all mapped drives to Windows 2012 file servers show disconnected (red x) after reboots or logoff/on,” wrote one IT pro on October 5, with many others confirming the same issue on company networks.

    • Windows 10’s October 2018 Update Breaks Mapped Network Drives

      Microsoft’s October 2018 Update drama is largely over, but there are still a few lingering bugs. Microsoft has confirmed an issue where mapped network drives are broken after a PC restarts. This will not be fixed until 2019.

    • Chrome OS Linux apps will soon be able to access your entire Downloads folder and Google Drive

      Google is working hard to turn Chrome OS into more than just a browser, but a real, functional operating system for consumers of all kinds. Most recently, they’ve invited developers to the platform with Linux app support that enables all of their tools, including Android Studio, to work as expected. Soon, your Chrome OS and Google Drive files will be even more accessible to your Linux apps.

      [...]

      According to a new commit on the Chromium Gerrit, that’s all about to change. The commit primarily pertains to a new dialog that will be shown when sharing ‘root’ folders like My Drive or Downloads with your Chrome OS Linux apps (internally known as Crostini) container. The dialog is intended to forewarn you that sharing a root folder is a bit more serious than just sharing a sub-folder, and to be sure you know what you’re doing.

    • Samsung Note 9 and Tab S4 owners can run a full Ubuntu Desktop – Linux on Dex

      We have come a long way as an industry and if this is not one of the biggest milestones in personal computing, I don’t know what else qualifies. Over the past decade of smartphones being around, we have seen an exponential increase in the power that our smartphones pack. I mean, flagships from the past few years spot more RAM and processing power than most laptops out there, but the small form factor has always been a hindrance to the utilization of this power. I mean you can only do so much on a 5.5-inch display.

      Samsung has launched its “Linux on Dex” app in beta and is inviting geeks and tinkerers to register and help test and develop it. The app lets owners of specific Samsung devices “run” a full Ubuntu desktop on their device alongside Android.

  • Server
    • Don’t cross the Application Streams! Actually, maybe you can now in RHEL 8 beta

      Hot on the heels of its OpenStack Platform 14, Red Hat has announced the beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

      It has been four years since Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 emerged. Things in the Linux world have changed considerably since then.

      Naturally, there are hundreds of minor (and not so minor) tweaks and modifications in the release, but one stands out.

      Application Streams allows user space packages to be delivered more simply and with greater flexibility. The user space components can be updated without having to wait for a new version of the operating system. The thinking goes that things can be made a bit more agile and custom without breaking the stability of the platform. Nice.

      While chatting about the OpenStack Platform (OSP) 14, Red Hat’s Nick Barcet got a bit excited about the impending RHEL 8 release and what it would mean for the next version of OSP. “Red Hat OpenStack 15, if all goes well, will fully support RHEL 8. That means that the host on which we will deploy OpenStack will be RHEL 8. That means RHEL 8 guests will be fully supported.”

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta is here!

      And it’s been built with production stability and development agility in mind.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 makes its debut

      Four years on from the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, open source software company Red Hat Inc. finally announced today that version 8 of its computer server operating system is now in beta.

      A lot has changed in the world of Linux during that time, with vastly more workloads running in public clouds and more agile software development practices increasingly becoming the norm. The new RHEL reflects those differences.

      Whereas the RHEL 7 release was all about better support for virtual machines and improved Windows interoperability, today’s version gives a nod to the fact that most information technology operations are increasingly all about the cloud and software containers.

    • Red Hat releases Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 beta

      Four years ago Red Hat released its last major flagship operating system update: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7. A lot has changed since then. In 2014, the big changes were about improved Windows interoperability, better Virtual Machine (VM) support, making XFS the default file system, and, oh yes, making Docker available as a beta feature. Now, RHEL 8 is in beta, and it’s clear RHEL 8 is for today’s cloud and container-based IT world and not the server and datacenter-driven infrastructure of four years ago.

    • Powering IT’s future while preserving the present: Introducing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta

      Linux containers, Kubernetes, artificial intelligence, blockchain and too many other technical breakthroughs to list all share a common component – Linux, the same workhorse that has driven mission-critical, production systems for nearly two decades. Today, we’re offering a vision of a Linux foundation to power the innovations that can extend and transform business IT well into the future: Meet Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta.

      Enterprise IT is evolving at a pace faster today than at any other point in history. This reality necessitates a common foundation that can span every footprint, from the datacenter to multiple public clouds, enabling organizations to meet every workload requirement and deliver any app, everywhere.

      With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, we worked to deliver a shared foundation for both the emerging and current worlds of enterprise IT. The next generation of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform helps fuel digital transformation strategies across the hybrid cloud, where organizations use innovations like Linux containers and Kubernetes to deliver differentiated products and services. At the same time, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta enables IT teams to optimize and extract added value from existing technology investments, helping to bridge demands for innovation with stability and productivity.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta Released With Stratis, Yum 4, Application Streams

      The long-awaited public beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 is finally available!

      Red Hat surprised us with the beta roll-out this morning of RHEL8 ahead of the official Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 in 2019. Highlights of RHEL8 include:

      - Application Streams (AppStreams) for better separating user-space packages from the core kernel operations. This allows for shipping newer versions of applications prior to major/minor RHEL updates, utilizing multiple versions of the same package concurrently, etc.

    • Introducing Application Streams in RHEL 8

      With the introduction of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8) we have tried to greatly simplify the layout of the content available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The main repository, BaseOS, provides the parts of the distribution that give you a running userspace on physical hardware, a virtual machine, a cloud instance or a container. The Application Stream (AppStream) repository provides all the applications you might want to run in a given userspace. The Supplemental repository provides other software that has special licensing. The CodeReady Linux Builder provides mostly build time components for developers (see Introducing CodeReady Linux Builder).

      As a result, most RHEL 8 systems will only need two repositories enabled. However, this may lead to the the question, where do I find alternate versions of software if there is only 1 application repository? In prior versions, you would look to the RHSCL or Extras repositories. However, in RHEL 8, through a new technology called Modularity, we can offer those alternate versions in the same physical repository.

    • Introducing CodeReady Linux Builder

      The RHEL8 Beta introduces a new repository, the CodeReady Linux Builder (or “Builder” for short) that developers may need while developing applications for RHEL. As you all know “developer” is not a one size fits all term. As a result, I am taking this opportunity to try to explain when you might need Builder enabled for your development activities.

      First off, if you are a typical web developer, dealing with PHP, Ruby, or Perl you are unlikely to need the content delivered through Builder. The PHP packages, Ruby gems, and Perl modules provided in the AppStream repository will, in most cases, provide sufficient functionality to develop and run applications you create yourself and to run frameworks like Drupal, WordPress, Rails, or Twiki. Please see the appropriate HowTos for getting these things up and running.

      Ruby and Perl both have additional libraries made available in the Builder repository. However, they are less commonly used or used at build time only.

    • RHEL 8 Beta arrives with application streams and more

      Much of the impetus for RHEL 8 has been the growing need for a common foundation that can span every IT stronghold from the data center to multiple public clouds and make application delivery a lot more manageable. Four years have passed since RHEL 7 came our way, and so much has changed in the world of IT since then, with continued virtualization and containerization along with a growing need for rapid deployment.

      [...]

      Red Hat is interested in having existing customers and subscribers experience RHEL 8 Beta. Go to Red Hat’s RHEL Beta site to get a feel for the flexibility and control this new release can provide to you. RHEL 8 Beta is built on the 4.18 Linux kernel as a baseline and provides many features that you are likely to appreciate.

    • Red Hat talks upgrades and bare metal with its new OpenStack Platform

      Red Hat used this week’s OpenStack Summit to announce the impending arrival of its OpenStack Platform 14. We had a chat with Red Hat’s Nick Barcet about cadence, Kubernetes, and most definitely not IBM.

      It’s been a while coming, but Red Hat has taken the latest OpenStack release, Rocky, and folded it into its OpenStack Platform, with version 14 due to hit a waiting world in the next few weeks.

      The goal of Red Hat’s take is, as ever, to make life easier for admins tasked with setting up the occasionally challenging OpenStack platform. Simplifying cloud-native application adoption and getting containers on bare metal is the name of the game here.

      OpenShift, of course, gets a look-in as well as Red Hat continues to tightly integrate the container platform with OpenStack to bring more Kubernetes-based goodness to the party. Red Hat has pointed to Gartner research which claimed that 75 per cent of organisations will have either a multi-cloud or hybrid environment by 2020, meaning that OpenStack’s private cloud infrastructure is likely to play a part. And Red Hat would be very happy to help set that up for you, for a fee.

    • Carahsoft Receives the Red Hat Public Sector Distribution Partner of the Year Award
    • Red Hat launches mobile app to enable partners to save time and build connections
    • Supporting support: How TAMs bring stronger value to customers by collaborating with support delivery

      Red Hat Technical Account Managers (TAMs) have many responsibilities, all of which center around meeting customers’ needs and ultimately working to help customers succeed. One major responsibility for a TAM is providing support for the products that customers have purchased through subscriptions.

      Each of Red Hat’s products has a skilled and specialized support engineering team, dedicated to provide assistance for Red Hat’s customers. TAM customers receive the added benefit of having someone they know personally standing by, ready to assist them to get issues resolved as quickly as possible. Through close relationships, Technical Account Managers play a key role in providing that necessary support.

    • What’s New in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14

      Red Hat announced its OpenStack Platform 14 update on Nov. 15, providing users of the open-source cloud platform with an incremental set of new features.

      Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 is based on the upstream OpenStack Rocky milestone, which became publicly available on Aug. 30. Among the new features in OSP 14 are improved networking capabilities, including enhanced load balancing capabilities for container workloads. Red Hat is also continuing to push forward on the integration of its OpenShift Kubernetes container orchestration platform with OpenStack.

      In a video interview with eWEEK, Mark McLoughlin, senior director of engineering of OpenStack at Red Hat, outlined some of the new features in OSP 14 and the direction for the road ahead.

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 delivers unified foundation for Kubernetes and virtual machines

      Red Hat Inc. announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, its latest version of Red Hat’s massively-scalable, cloud-native apps-ready Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution.

      Based on the OpenStack “Rocky” community release, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 integrates with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, a comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform, bringing even more support for Kubernetes to enterprise-grade OpenStack.

      Paired with capabilities to improve bare-metal resource consumption and enhance deployment automation, Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 aims to deliver a single infrastructure offering that can lay the foundation for traditional, virtualized and cloud-native workloads.

    • OpenStack: We’ve seen the future, and it’s metal (and infrastructure, natch)

      The OpenStack Foundation took to the stage in Berlin this week to talk infrastructure because, heck, everyone loves infrastructure, right? Especially open infrastructure.

      With its roots in a joint project set up by NASA and Rackspace back in 2010, the open-source OpenStack platform comprises a suite of components aimed at managing pools of compute, storage and networking resources for those wary of throwing their lot in with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.

      Over two days of keynote speeches in which the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) wheeled out a succession of customers to insist the framework was a breeze to set up and not just for telcos, there was a tacit admission that perhaps it was time for the group to focus a bit more on the whole infrastructure thing. And China.

    • How AT&T Is Using OpenStack to Deploy 5G Networks

      The next generation of wireless networks known as 5G is being enabled at AT&T through a series of open source efforts, including the OpenStack cloud platform.

      At the OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Germany, executives from AT&T discussed how they are building out 5G networks and also demonstrated a live 5G phone call running on top of an OpenStack deployment.

      “5G is a revolution. The capabilities that 5G will enable are things that will be a step function increase in latency, in reliability and resiliency with ultra-low latency and at very high speeds.” Amy Wheelus, vice president, Network Cloud at AT&T, said. “5G Is really more than just another generation; it’s more than just another G, because 5G is going to enable new services, new products, and even new industries that you and I haven’t even thought about that today.”

      She noted that among the 5G application use cases are smart factories and autonomous vehicles. AT&T also expects that 5G will be used for augmented reality, not just for entertainment, but also for critical functions, such as search and rescue or troubleshooting at the top of a tower.

    • OpenStack Expands Focus to Enable Open Infrastructure

      The OpenStack Foundation is no longer exclusively focused on its namesake cloud platform as the open-source effort is now expanding to enable the broader realm of open infrastructure.

      In a video interview at the OpenStack Summit here, Mark Collier, chief operating officer, and Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, detailed the group’s new approach. It’s an approach that now includes four pilot projects outside of the core OpenStack cloud platform—the Airship code deployment, Kata containers, StarlingX edge compute and Zuul continuous integration projects.

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #55 – Kubernetes as the new Application Server
    • Video: The Beginning, Present, and Future of Sysadmins
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux Foundation
      • Uber Demonstrates its Dedication to Open Source With Linux Foundation Gold Membership

        Uber Open Summit — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announces Uber has become the newest Gold member of the foundation.

      • Uber joins Linux Foundation, cementing commitment to open-source tools

        What’s surprising is not that they joined, but that it took so long. Uber has been long known for making use of open source in its core tools, working on over 320 open-source projects and repositories from 1,500 contributors involving over 70,000 commits, according to data provided by the company.

        “Uber has made significant investments in shared software development and community collaboration through open source over the years, including contributing the popular open-source project Jaeger, a distributed tracing system, to the Linux Foundation’s Cloud Native Computing Foundation in 2017,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch.

      • Uber Joins the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member

        Uber has been an active and committed member of the open source community, leveraging, contributing, and developing open source solutions across our tech stack since launching our platform nearly 10 years ago. Announced today during Uber Open Summit 2018, we extend our commitment by joining the Linux Foundation as a Gold Member, continuing to support the open source community through the Linux Foundation.

        [...]

        “Open source technology is the backbone of many of Uber’s core services and as we continue to mature, these solutions will become ever more important,” said Thuan Pham, Uber CTO. “The Linux Foundation not only provides homes to many significant open source projects, but also creates an open environment for companies like Uber to work together on developing these technologies. We are honored to join the Linux Foundation to foster greater collaboration with the open source community.”

      • CNCF Survey: Cloud Usage in Asia Has Grown 135% Since March 2018 [Ed: They just call every server "cloud" because they call themselves "cloud"]

        The bi-annual CNCF survey takes a pulse of the community to better understand the adoption of cloud native technologies. This is the second time CNCF has conducted its cloud native survey in Mandarin to better gauge how Asian companies are adopting open source and cloud native technologies. The previous Mandarin survey was conducted in March 2018. This post also makes comparisons to the most recent North American / European version of this survey from August 2018.

      • AI in the Real World

        We are living in the future – it is just unevenly distributed with “an outstanding amount of hype and this anthropomorphization of what [AI] technology can actually provide for us,” observed Hilary Mason, general manager for machine learning at Cloudera, who led a keynote on “AI in the Real World: Today and Tomorrow,” at the recent Open FinTech Forum.

        [...]

        As progress is made in the development of AI, machine learning and deep learning, there are still things we need to keep in mind, Mason said. “One of the biggest topics in our field right now is how we incorporate ethics, how we comply with expectations of privacy in the practice of data science.”
        She gave a plug to a short, free ebook called “Data Driven: Creating a Data Culture,” that she co-authored with DJ Patil, who worked as chief data scientist for President Barack Obama. Their goal, she said, is “to try and get folks who are practicing out in the world of machine learning and data science to think about their tools [and] for them to practice ethics in the context of their work.”
        Mason ended her presentation on an optimistic note, observing that “AI will find its way into many fundamental processes of the businesses that we all run. So when I say, ‘Let’s make it boring,’ I actually think that’s what makes it more exciting.’”

    • Graphics Stack
      • RADV Vulkan Driver To Enable Vega Primitive Binning By Default – Helps Performance

        The RadeonSI OpenGL driver offered Vega primitive binning support the past year followed by the RADV Vulkan driver, but it hadn’t been enabled by default. Those working on the RADV driver are now planning on unconditionally enabling this Vega performance optimization for up to a few percent performance boost.

        It seems the primitive binning driver support for RADV is mature enough that it can be flipped on by default and at least doesn’t appear to be hurting any prominent Vulkan-powered Linux games. Samuel Pitoiset of Valve’s Linux driver team sent out the patch today for flipping it on by default. On that patch message he describes this Vega feature as helping out some games by a few percent, “After doing a bunch of benchmarks, primitive binning helps some games like The Talos Principle (+5%) or Serious Sam 2017 (+3%). For other titles, either it doesn’t change anything or it hurts very few (less than 1%).”

      • NVIDIA 410.78 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Corruption, Adds Quadro RTX 4000 Support

        For those using the NVIDIA long-lived 410 Linux driver series over the in-beta 415.xx driver series, the 410.78 driver release is out today as the newest stable binary driver build.

        The NVIDIA 410.78 rolls out with official support for the Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card and a handful of bug fixes. The bug fixes include addressing a possible X Server hang when using legacy VGA mode, mode-setting failure with SDI output, and Vulkan rendering corruption.

      • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 18.2.5

        A patch for nine state tracker that fixes several crashes using nine’s thread_submit feature. There are other patches to other state trackers.

        A couple of patches for Meson build system, as well as for autotools.

        In the drivers side, there are a couple of fixes for RADV, one regarding subgroups and another regarding conditional rendering. There are also fixes for virgl, r600, and i965.

      • Mesa 18.2.5 Brings Fixes For Direct3D 9 State Tracker, RADV Vulkan Driver

        For those sticking to the Mesa stable release train, Mesa 18.2.5 is now available ahead of the Mesa 18.3 quarterly feature release due out in the weeks ahead.

        As is the case for Mesa point releases, Mesa 18.2.5 is geared to deliver the latest bug/regression fixes. this 18.2.5 release has around three dozen changes, including fixes for the Gallium “Nine” D3D9 state tracker when using its thread-submit functionality, Meson build system updates, RADV Vulkan driver fixes, and also some basic fixes/tweaks to the common NIR, Mesa, and Intel code. There is no particular standout prominent fixes unless you were personally affected by one of the bugs.

      • Firefox Nightly now with experimental Wayland support

        As of last nightly (20181115100051), Firefox now supports Wayland on Linux, thanks to the work from Martin Stransky and Jan Horak, mostly.

        Before that, it was possible to build your own Firefox with Wayland support (and Fedora does it), but now the downloads from mozilla.org come with Wayland support out of the box for the first time.

        However, being experimental and all, the Wayland support is not enabled by default, meaning by default, you’ll still be using XWayland. To enable wayland support, first set the GDK_BACKEND environment variable to wayland.

      • AMD Radeon RX 590 Launches, Linux Support Presumably Okay

        While it comes as no surprise given all the leaks in recent weeks, today AMD officially announced the Radeon RX 590 graphics card as another update to Polaris.

        The new Polaris PCI ID addition we spotted back in September indeed turned out to be for a new high-end Polaris refresh. The Radeon RX 590 is this new high-end Polaris graphics card that is manufactured on a 12nm FinFET process.

    • Benchmarks
      • Benchmarking Packet.com’s Bare Metal Intel Xeon / AMD EPYC Cloud

        With the tests earlier this week of the 16-way AMD EPYC cloud comparison the real standout of those tests across Amazon EC2, Packet, and SkySilk was Packet’s bare metal cloud. For just $1.00 USD per hour it’s possible to have bare metal access to an AMD EPYC 7401P 24-core / 48-thread server that offers incredible value compared to the other public cloud options for on-demand pricing. That led me to running some more benchmarks of Packet.com’s other bare metal cloud options to see how the Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC options compare.

        Packet’s on-demand server options for their “bare metal cloud” offerings range from an Intel Atom C2550 quad-core server with 8GB of RAM at just 7 cents per hour up to a dual Xeon Gold 6120 server with 28 cores at two dollars per hour with 384GB of RAM and 3.2TB of NVMe storage. There are also higher-end instances including NVIDIA GPUs but those are on a dynamic spot pricing basis.

      • Linux 4.20 Showing Some Performance Slowdowns

        Bseing well past the Linux 4.20 merge window I have moved onto benchmarking more of this development version of the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, there are some clear performance regressions.

        This week I got to firing off some Linux 4.20 kernel benchmarks… I started with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and Intel Core i9 7980XE for being the interesting HEDT CPUs in my possession at the moment. On the 7980XE I spotted several performance regressions with this Linux 4.20 development kernel compared to Linux 4.19 and 4.18, so then I fired up the completely separate Intel Core i9 7960X box to carry out the same tests. Sure enough, with that different hardware, there is further confirmation of slowdowns with Linux 4.20.

        The common trait of these systems was Ubuntu 18.10 x86_64 and using the Linux 4.18.18, 4.19.1, and 4.20 Git kernel packages provided by the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. With the differing hardware the intention is not to compare the performance between the systems but in looking at the direction of the Linux kernel performance.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Python and Qt: 3,000 hours of developer insight

        With Qt for Python released, it’s time to look at the powerful capabilities of these two technologies. This article details one solopreneur’s experiences.

        [...]

        The big problem with Electron is performance. In particular, the startup time was too high for a file manager: On an admittedly old machine from 2010, simply launching Electron took five seconds.

        I admit that my personal distaste for JavaScript also made it easier to discount Electron. Before I go off on a rant, let me give you just one detail that I find symptomatic: Do you know how JavaScript sorts numbers? Alphabetically. ’nuff said.

        After considering a few technologies, I settled on Qt. It’s cross-platform, has great performance and supports custom styles. What’s more, you can use it from Python. This makes at least me orders of magnitude more productive than the default C++.

      • Inkscape Dark Theme on KDE Plasma

        On KDE Plasma, it’s very easy to setup Inkscape Dark Theme. To do so, go to System Settings > Application Style > GNOME/GTK+ Style > under GTK+ Style: switch all themes to Dark ones and give check mark to Prefer Dark Theme > Apply. Now your Inkscape should turned into dark mode. To revert back, just revert the theme selections. This trick works on Kubuntu or any other GNU/Linux system as long as it uses Plasma as its desktop environment.

      • Atelier at Maker Faire and QtCon 2018!

        On the weekend of November 3 and 4, it happened on Rio de Janeiro the first Maker Faire of Latin America. And I was able to do a talk about Atelier and the current status of our project. The event hold more than 1.500 people on the first day, that saw a lot of talks and the exposition of makers of all over the country that came to Rio to participate in this edition of the Maker Faire.

  • Distributions
    • Fedora
      • Introducing rpm-macros-virtualenv 0.0.1

        This is a small set of RPM macros, which can be used by the spec files to build and package any Python application along with a virtualenv. Thus, removing the need of installing all dependencies via dnf/rpm repository. One of the biggest usecase will be to help to install latest application code and all the latest dependencies into a virtualenv and also package the whole virtualenv into the RPM package.

        This will be useful for any third part vendor/ISV, who would want to package their Python application for Fedora/RHEL/CentOS along with the dependencies. But, remember not to use this for any package inside of Fedora land as this does not follow the Fedora packaging guidelines.

      • Akash Angle: How do you Fedora?

        Akash is a fan of the GNOME 3 desktop environment. He loves most of the goodies and bells and whistles the OS can throw in for getting basic tasks done.

        For practical reasons he prefers a fresh installation as a way of upgrading to the latest Fedora version. He thinks Fedora 29 is arguably the the best workstation out there. Akash says this has been backed up by reviews of various tech evangelists and open source news sites.

    • Debian Family
      • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, October 2018

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Derivatives
        • Linux Deepin 15.8 Released with Various Neat Improvements

          Deepin 15.8, the latest version of the Deepin Linux distribution, is now available to download.

          Building on its previous (well received) release, Deepin 15.8 adds some polish and refinement, boasts a smaller download size, and makes a number of design tweaks to improve the form and function of the distro.

          “[Deepin 15.8 offers] an attractive and efficient, excellent user experience”, the team say in a blog post announcing the new release.

        • deepin 15.8 Linux distribution available for download — replace Windows 10 now!

          As more and more people wake up to the fact that Windows 10 is a giant turd lately, computer users are exploring alternatives, such as Linux-based operating systems. First impressions can be everything, so when searching for a distribution, it is important that beginners aren’t scared off by bewildering installers or ugly and confusing interfaces.

          Linux “n00bs” often opt for Ubuntu, and while that is a good choice, there are far more pretty and intuitive options these days. One such operating system that I recommend often is deepin. Why? It is drop-dead gorgeous and easy to use. It is guaranteed to delight the user, and its intuitive interface will certainly impress. Today, the newest version of the excellent Linux distro, deepin 15.8, becomes available for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Canonical Extends Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Linux Support to 10 Years

            In a keynote at the OpenStack Summit here, Mark Shuttleworth, founder and CEO of Canonical Inc and Ubuntu, detailed the progress made by his Linux distribution in the cloud and announced new extended support.

            The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Long Term Support) debuted back on April 26, providing new server and cloud capabilities. An LTS release comes with five year of support, but during his keynote Shuttleworth announced that 18.04 would have support that is available for up to 10 years.

            “I’m delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years,” Shuttleworth said. “In part because of the very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IOT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade .”

          • ​Mark Shuttleworth reveals Ubuntu 18.04 will get a 10-year support lifespan

            At OpenStack Summit in Berlin, Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth said in a keynote that Ubuntu 18.04 Long Term Support (LTS) support lifespan would be extended from five years to 10 years.

            “I’m delighted to announce that Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for a full 10 years,” said Shuttleworth, “In part because of the very long time horizons in some of industries like financial services and telecommunications but also from IoT where manufacturing lines for example are being deployed that will be in production for at least a decade.”

          • Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth wishes Red Hat and IBM a happy marriage

            Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote at the second of this year’s Openstack Summits was considerably less controversial than the last, where he explicitly compared the price between Red Hat and Ubuntu’s services in Vancouver. However he still had plenty to say when Computerworld UK caught up with the hobby astronaut and entrepreneur on the show floor.

            When asked to expand on his thoughts about IBM’s recent acquisition bid for Red Hat, Shuttleworth wished them “every happiness in their marriage”, with some caveats.

            “It depends how forcefully they can steer RedHat Enterprise Linux (REL) on-prem users to the IBM cloud,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s the only way for them to get a premium on REL itself. They’ve paid a very high premium, so they have to generate a premium, and the only way to do that, would be to use on-prem REL as a forcing function to get workloads onto the IBM cloud,” he said.

          • OpenStack Summit Berlin 2018, Mark Shuttleworth keynote

            The OpenStack community has, and attracts, amazing people and amazing technology, however, that won’t be meaningful if it doesn’t deliver for everyday businesses. “I say that representing the company which doesn’t just publish Ubuntu and the reference OpenStack distribution on Ubuntu, we actually manage more OpenStack clouds for more different industries, more different architectures than any other company,” said Shuttleworth.

            There are things that have to be right – we have to support every single OpenStack release with upgrades. That means when Stein and Train are released, we will deploy, as part of the test process, Icehouse on 14.04, then deploy workloads on Kubernetes on Icehouse. With that running in the cloud, and without losing a workload, the version is then upgraded up to Mitaka. We then take the running cloud and upgrade to 16.04 under the hood, then upgrade to Queens, then upgrade to 18.04 and on to Rocky, Stein and beyond, as standard.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six HoursUbuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E36 – Thirty-Six Hours

            This week we’ve been resizing partitions. We interview Andrew Katz and discuss open souce and the law, bring you a command line love and go over all your feedback.

            It’s Season 11 Episode 36 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • A reliance on open source in enterprise: Necessary for digital transformation

    Enterprises have embraced the cloud; and now they’re focusing on open source.

    Open source lends itself to innovation, something competing enterprises need to seriously tap into, by allowing different developers from across the world to create and modify software to solve current challenges and open new avenues.

    To find out more about how open source is venturing into the enterprise community and spurring digital innovation, Information Age spoke to Stephan Fabel, director of product at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu.

  • What blockchain can learn from open source

    Over the 10+ years I’ve been involved with open source, I’ve been part of small projects with innovative ideas that grew into large projects with solid communities. I’ve also witnessed the way dysfunctional communities can suck the energy from projects.

    I’ve also recently become active in blockchain by writing and contributing to projects. I’ve noticed that blockchain projects are like startups with open development and open business models. Therefore, to be successful, blockchain startups must learn how to build communities the open source way.

  • OpenStack regroups

    Only a few years ago, OpenStack was the hottest open-source project around, with a bustling startup ecosystem to boot. The project, which gives enterprises the tools to run the equivalent of AWS in their own private data centers, ran into trouble as it tried to tackle too many individual projects at the same time and enterprises took longer than expected to adopt it. That meant many a startup floundered or was acquired before it was able to gain traction while the nonprofit foundation that manages the project started to scale back its big tent approach and refocused on its core services.

  • SD Times news digest: Docker and MuleSoft’s partnership, ActiveState’s open-source language automation category, and Instana’s automatic Python instrumentation

    Docker and MuleSoft have announced a new partnership to modernize applications and accelerate digital transformation. As part of the partnership, the companies will work together to deliver new capabilities for legacy apps with APIs, legacy apps without APIs and new apps created in Docker. In addition, MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform will be combined with Docker Enterprise.

  • ActiveState Creates Open Source Language Automation Category
  • New open source cloud discovery tool arrives from Twistlock

    Cloud Discovery connects to cloud providers’ native platform APIs to discover services such as container registries, managed Kubernetes platforms, and serverless services, and requires only read permissions. Other key features include:

  • Google Open-Sources “Amber” Multi-API Shader Test Framework

    The newest open-source graphics project out of Google is called Amber and it’s a multi-API shader testing framework focused on capturing and communicating of shader bugs.

    Google’s Amber tries to make it easier to capture/communicate shader bugs with a scripting-based workflow. The captured shaders can be in binary form, SPIR-V assembly, or a higher-level shading language. Amber is currently focused on supporting the Vulkan and Dawn graphics APIs.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Thunderbird version 60.3.1 now Available, Includes Fixes for Cookie Removal and Encoding Issues

        Thunderbird happens to be one of the most famous Email client. It is free and an open source one which was developed by the Mozilla Foundation back in 2003, fifteen years ago. From a very basic interface, it has come a long way to be what it is today in 2018. With these updates, a recent one into the 60.x series from the 52.x series was a significant one.

        While the 60.x (60.3.0) update started rolling out, Mozilla was keen to push out 60.3.1. This new version of Thunderbird had a few bugs and kinks here and there which needed to be addressed which Mozilla did, most of them at least.

      • Ian Bicking: Thoughts on the Firefox Email Tabs experiment

        We recently released Email Tabs in Firefox Test Pilot. This was a project I championed, and I wanted to offer some context on it.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Programming/Development
    • Program Synthesis is Possible in Rust

      Program synthesis is the act of automatically constructing a program that fulfills a given specification. Perhaps you are interested in sketching a program, leaving parts of it incomplete, and then having a tool fill in those missing bits for you? Or perhaps you are a compiler, and you have some instruction sequence, but you want to find an equivalent-but-better instruction sequence? Program synthesizers promise to help you out in these situations!

      I recently stumbled across Adrian Sampson’s Program Synthesis is Possible blog post. Adrian describes and implements minisynth, a toy program synthesizer that generates constants for holes in a template program when given a specification. What fun! As a way to learn more about program synthesis myself, I ported minisynth to Rust.

    • The devil makes work for idle processes

      TLDR: in Endless OS, we switched the IO scheduler from CFQ to BFQ, and set the IO priority of the threads doing Flatpak downloads, installs and upgrades to “idle”; this makes the interactive performance of the system while doing Flatpak operations indistinguishable from when the system is idle.

      At Endless, we’ve been vaguely aware for a while that trying to use your computer while installing or updating apps is a bit painful, particularly on spinning-disk systems, because of the sheer volume of IO performed by the installation/update process. This was never particularly high priority, since app installations are user-initiated, and until recently, so were app updates.

    • Rcpp now used by 1500 CRAN packages

      Right now Rcpp stands at 1500 reverse-dependencies on CRAN. The graph is on the left depicts the growth of Rcpp usage (as measured by Depends, Imports and LinkingTo, but excluding Suggests) over time. What an amazing few days this has been as we also just marked the tenth anniversary and the big one dot oh release.

    • Python in RHEL 8

      Ten years ago, the developers of the Python programming language decided to clean things up and release a backwards-incompatible version, Python 3. They initially underestimated the impact of the changes, and the popularity of the language. Still, in the last decade, the vast majority of community projects has migrated to the new version, and major projects are now dropping support for Python 2.

      In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Python 3.6 is the default. But Python 2 remains available in RHEL 8.

    • How to stand out, and get hired, at Grace Hopper Celebration

      During the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), attendees flooded the George Brown Convention Center in Houston Texas to network, learn and share information in celebration of women technologists. For students at GHC, the expo hall also doubled as a career fair. Here’s how to stand out when you’re trying to leave GHC with opportunities to chart your own path in technology.

      Recruiters, engineers, scientists and technologists were stationed at company booths to talk about their workplaces. They screened resumes, interviewed candidates and shared their experiences.

      This year I was able to attend GHC for the first time, not as a student seeking a position but as an employee of Red Hat. At Red Hat we do many things differently, interviewing at GHC is one of those things. Red Hat is seeking associates who possess both a strong technical aptitude as well as a passion for our products and services.

    • Vim in the Future

      I have learned Vim as a programming-centric tool, but I use it for other tasks, too. This post assumes a reader isn’t necessarily a programmer but is curious about how tech things get done.

    • The Huge Security Problem With C/C++ And Why You Shouldn’t Use It

      Alex Gaynor gives an example of a program that has a list of 10 numbers. Theoretically, in an event where someone asks for the 11th element, the program is expected to show an error of some sort, or at least that’s what a “memory safe” programming language (like Python or Java) would do.

      However, in case of a memory unsafe language like C/C++, the program looks for the 11th element wherever it is supposed to be (if it existed) and accesses its content. This is called a “buffer-overflow” vulnerability that is exploited by bugs like HeartBleed to access up to 60 KB data past the end of a list — that often includes passwords and other sensitive data.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Being bionic: how technology transformed my life

      Prosthetics have been around for more than 3,000 years: wooden toes, which strapped on and were specifically designed to work with sandals, were found on the feet of Ancient Egyptian mummies. For most of history, prosthetics have been designed to make life more comfortable for adults, to afford the wearer some limited movement, and to avoid drawing attention to their disability (by filling an empty jacket sleeve, or concealing a stump). It is only recently, as advances in robotics and computing power have been incorporated into artificial limbs, that function has become paramount, and the needs of active disabled people, especially children, have begun to influence design.

    • Researchers develop optical fibre capable of over 1 petabit per second

      A coupler created by Macquarie University in Australia, combined with a fibre fabricated by Hokkaido University and equipment maker Fujikura, and a transmission system developed by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan, has led to transmission speeds in excess of 1 petabit.

      The new four-core, three-mode fibre was touted as being the same width as existing standard fibre, but was capable of 12 times the data speed. Macquarie University said the fibre was less prone to damage due to its narrower diameter, and could be used with existing equipment.

    • Optical Fiber Capable of 1 Petabit/Second Transfer Speed Developed

      A number of research teams came together and have successfully developed a Fibre Cable which can generate Internet speed up to one Petabit per second. Hokkaido University developed the fiber with the help of tools from the equipment maker Fujikura.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Medical cannabis: Death sentence prompts Malaysia to re-think harsh laws

      A death sentence given to a young man selling cannabis oil to the ill has stirred debate in Muslim-majority Malaysia about its ultra-tough drug laws. The case has prompted calls for the country to become the first in Asia to legalise medical marijuana – but long-held stigma and a mostly conservative population means change could come slowly.

    • In Echo of Flint, Mich., Water Crisis Now Hits Newark

      Officials were finally compelled to act after an engineering study commissioned by the city found that measures to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water were failing at one of Newark’s two treatment plants.

    • Baltimore Becomes First Major City to Ban Water Privatization

      Now that privatization is out of the picture, Baltimoreans can work with our elected officials to improve the accountability and affordability of our water system and ensure every person in our city has access to safe water at a price they can afford to pay. Food & Water Watch looks forward to working with other cities to protect their water systems from corporate control and using Baltimore as a model for water justice for the nation.”

    • Without Action, Drug-Resistant “Superbugs” Will Kill Millions in Europe

      Antibiotic-resistant infections could kill 2.4 million people in Europe, North America, and Australia by 2050 without further action to combat the infections, according to a report released yesterday (November 7) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But the report also says that short-term investments by governments could push back against diseases and save money in the long run.

    • The Other Victims of California’s Fires: Workers Inhaling Toxic Fumes

      With the death toll now standing at 42 and with some 7,200 structures destroyed, officials are now calling the wildfire in Paradise, CA (dubbed the “Camp Fire”) the deadliest and most destructive in California’s recent history. Two other massive fires—dubbed the Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire are simultaneously scorching Southern California.

      As frontline firefighters—including many prison laborers—continue to battle the blaze while healthcare providers work around the clock treating fire victims, millions of other workers far away from the inferno are feeling a secondary impact: toxic smoke.

      In the San Francisco Bay Area, over 160 miles away from the Camp Fire, air quality dramatically declined almost immediately after the fires broke out. Over the past week, AirNow, a government website reporting real-time air quality data has shown the Bay Area hovering between 150-200 on the federal Air Quality Index (AQI), surpassing 200 (or “very unhealthy” levels) in parts of the Bay. The higher the AQI value, the more polluted the skies are and the more concern there is for public health.

    • Trump Administration Plots Costly Private-Care Expansion for Veterans

      Last June, President Donald Trump signed a landmark law on veterans’ health care after months of tense negotiations. At the ceremony in the Rose Garden, Trump said the bill would deliver on his campaign promise to let veterans see private doctors instead of using the Department of Veterans Affairs’ government-run health service: “I’m going to sign legislation that will make veterans’ choice permanent,” he said.

      Standing behind him, the leaders of major veterans groups looked around uncomfortably. What Trump called “choice” these veterans groups called “privatization,” and they’d been warning for years that it would cost taxpayers more money and deliver worse care for veterans. The veterans groups had endorsed the bill, but Trump’s description of it was not what they thought they were there to support.

      The moment left no doubt that the Trump administration is determined to use the new law to expand the private sector’s role in veterans’ health care. The administration is working on a plan to shift millions more veterans to private doctors and is aiming to unveil the proposal during Trump’s State of Union address in January, according to four people briefed on the proposal. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose information about the administration’s plans.

    • Trumpeted New Medicare Advantage Benefits Will Be Hard For Seniors To Find

      For some older adults, private Medicare Advantage plans next year will offer a host of new benefits, such as transportation to medical appointments, home-delivered meals, wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars or air conditioners for asthma sufferers.

      But the new benefits will not be widely available, and they won’t be easy to find.

      Of the 3,700 plans across the country next year, only 273 in 21 states will offer at least one. About 7 percent of Advantage members — 1.5 million people — will have access, Medicare officials estimate.

    • So done with the NFL

      I’ve been an NFL for fan for a long time. It started before university when I rebelled against any sport that was vaguely popular at school (and seemed absolutely terrible). For no other reason than they did well at the time, I became a Washington Redskins fan (yes I’m old).

      I started a football team at university, I was involved in it. I even heard Chuck Noll speak once. If there was a Redskins game on TV, I would go up to the local pub in my jersey and watch the game.

      Over the last few years I’ve become pretty upset with what the NFL has become. Well the NFL has always been this way – but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the game, the drama, the strategy, the rivalies, and I ignored or excused away all the problems for my own enjoyment.

      [...]

      The treatment of players and the problems with concussions has been terrible. The NFL has swept it under the rug for so long. Yes they’ve introduced changes, but tried to balance the fundamental problems that constant head contact is part of the game.

    • From Plate to Plough: Less crop per drop

      In sum, public irrigation needs major overhauling in the country, especially in states like Maharashtra. Also, there is the question of who uses how much of irrigation water. In Maharashtra, although about 19 per cent of gross cropped area is irrigated, in case of sugarcane, it is 100 per cent and, in case of cotton, just 3 per cent. So there is massive inequity in the distribution of irrigation water in the state. Can the Fadnavis government take up this challenge and distribute irrigation water from public canals more equitably amongst farmers, on per ha basis?

  • Security
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • A Systematic Evaluation of Transient Execution Attacks and Defenses

      [...] we present a sound and extensible systematization of transient execution attacks. Our systematization uncovers 7 (new) transient execution attacks that have been overlooked and not been investigated so far. This includes 2 new Meltdown variants: Meltdown-PK on Intel, and Meltdown-BR on Intel and AMD. It also includes 5 new Spectre mistraining strategies. We evaluate all 7 attacks in proof-of-concept implementations on 3 major processor vendors (Intel, AMD, ARM). Our systematization does not only yield a complete picture of the attack surface, but also allows a systematic evaluation of defenses. Through this systematic evaluation, we discover that we can still mount transient execution attacks that are supposed to be mitigated by rolled out patches.

    • New IoT Security Regulations

      Due to ever-evolving technological advances, manufacturers are connecting consumer goods­ — from toys to light bulbs to major appliances­ — to the Internet at breakneck speeds. This is the Internet of Things, and it’s a security nightmare.

      The Internet of Things fuses products with communications technology to make daily life more effortless. Think Amazon’s Alexa, which not only answers questions and plays music but allows you to control your home’s lights and thermostat. Or the current generation of implanted pacemakers, which can both receive commands and send information to doctors over the Internet.

      But like nearly all innovation, there are risks involved. And for products born out of the Internet of Things, this means the risk of having personal information stolen or devices being overtaken and controlled remotely. For devices that affect the world in a direct physical manner — ­cars, pacemakers, thermostats­ — the risks include loss of life and property.

    • University Researchers Publish Paper On GPU Side-Channel Attacks

      University researchers out of University of California Riverside have published a paper this week detailing vulnerabilities in current GPU architectures making them vulnerable to side-channel attacks akin to Spectre and Meltdown.

      With their focus on NVIDIA GPUs, UCLA Riverside researchers demonstrated attacks both for graphics and compute by exploiting the GPU’s performance counters. Demonstrated attacks included a browser-based attack, extracting passwords / keystroke logging, and even the possibility of exposing a CUDA neural network algorithm.

    • Firefox Will Now Show You Data Breach Alert If You Visit Hacked Sites

      Mozilla has announced a new security feature in its Firefox Quantum web browser to alert users when they visit a website that was recently reported in a data breach.

      So if you happen to stumble upon a website that was breached in the past 12 months, Firefox will send you a handy little notification.

      But Mozilla knows better than to throw too many notifications at you, so they have promised that the alerts will “appear at most once per site.”

      After sending you the first notification, Firefox will repeat such an alert only if you visit a site that was breached within the past two months and added to the database of breached sites.

    • Russian hackers are accused of infecting three Eastern European companies with malware
    • Hackers with Russian Ties Hit 3 E. European Companies: Cyber Security Firm
    • Japan’s cyber security minister admits he has never used a computer
  • Defence/Aggression
    • Malmö sees four shooting incidents in 24 hours

      But judged by the Malmö police’s press releases, the rate of shootings has since picked up, with seven this month, two in October and five in September.

      [...]

      Eleven young men have been killed in shootings in Malmö so far this year, [...]

    • Parents, Students Fear Mass Shootings Now the New Normal in US
    • Rep. Ro Khanna: By Blocking Yemen Resolution, House GOP Is Abdicating Its Duty to Decide War & Peace

      House Republicans have quashed debate on a resolution that aims to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, by sneaking a single line into an unrelated resolution about wolves. The House voted 201 to 187 on the bill Wednesday, approving a provision that blocks the Democrats from forcing a vote on the U.S. role in Yemen under the War Powers Act. For nearly four years the United States has played a key role supporting the Saudi-led invasion, which has devastated Yemen, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The U.N. is warning 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine. One new study has estimated the war has killed at least 57,000 people since the beginning of 2016. We speak with Congressmember Ro Khanna, who introduced the resolution in the House.

    • George W. Bush Accepts Prestigious Liberty Award With Bloody Hands

      Like a ghastly echo that is old enough to vote, the news is once again thrumming with stories of an election recount in Broward County. Eighteen years ago, a similar recount was disrupted by one of the most indefensible Supreme Court decisions ever made, and the world began its inexorable slide toward the abyss that now confronts us. Because gallows humor is how doom is endured, there is (of course) an internet meme to mark the moment: A photo of an older, grayer Al Gore above a caption that reads, “Florida Recount Wraps Up, Al Gore Declared President.”

      Good one, internet. It only hurts when I laugh.

      Compounding the existential misery that is always present when anything related to George W. Bush comes up, George W. Bush himself has come up once again. Last weekend, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a nonpartisan institution dedicated to educating people about the country’s founding documents, awarded Bush its prized Liberty Medal. The medal is given “to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom,” and has also been awarded to Nelson Mandela, Rep. John Lewis, Malala Yousafzai, Muhammad Ali and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

    • Witness shot after testifying in Gothenburg murder trial

      A man who had testified in a murder case was treated in hospital after being shot multiple times just hours after the trial.

    • Saudi Arabia executes Indonesian maid for killing employer who tried to rape her

      According to reports Tuti Tursilawati was killed on Monday in the city of Ta’if. The maid’s execution marked the fourth such case of Saudi Arabia killing an Indonesian migrant worker without telling diplomats or the family of those on death row before carrying out the death sentence, reports the Telegraph.

    • Authorities believe Saudi sisters found by Hudson River were alive when they entered water, source says
    • Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America

      What transforms American elections from participatory politics into farce is the exclusion of crucial issues. Environmental crisis, the threat of nuclear annihilation and the wildly skewed distribution of political and economic power will affect how people live in coming years, regardless of how effectively they are excluded from electoral consideration.

      Each of these are historical accumulations— they exist in different time-space than the binary oppositions of political marketing. Environmental crisis has been accumulating since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The threat of nuclear annihilation emerged from WWII as the lunatic id of technological innovation. Class relations have determined the realm of official power since the birth of capitalism.

      This history grants presence to each, regardless of how hidden they are in any given political moment. If a bomb is dropped on a city in the forest, it destroys the lives of those it is dropped on regardless of whether you and I hear it. The subtexts of modernity are automatically written to preclude reflection.

      Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would unilaterally end the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) treaty with Russia. The calculated irrelevance of American electoral politics to the side, this didn’t happen in an historical vacuum. It ties back to Bill Clinton’s unilateral placement of NATO troops on Russia’s border following George H.W. Bush’s promise not to do so.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Justice Department reportedly looking to prosecute Julian Assange amid increased prospects of bringing him to the US for trial

      The Justice Department is getting ready to prosecute Julian Assange as the WikiLeaks founder’s relationship with Ecuador deteriorates, The Wall Street Journal reported citing people in Washington familiar with the matter.

    • U.S. Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute Assange

      The Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

      Over the past year, U.S. prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange, the people said. Mr. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since receiving political asylum from the South American country in 2012.

    • Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filing
    • Justice Department Preparing To Prosecute WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: WSJ

      The U.S. Justice Department said it is planning to prosecute controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      Sources told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the department is also hopeful it will get Assange ― who has been holed up in an Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012 ― into a U.S. courtroom.

      Assange fled Sweden in 2012 over allegations of sexual assault and rape. Though prosecutors dropped the case last year, he still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions should he leave the embassy.

    • WaPo: Wikileaks Boss Julian Assange Charged According To Court Documents | The 11th Hour | MSNBC
    • Assange’s Lawyer: Ecuador May Be Planning Extradition Under Deal With UK, US

      Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when he fled there to avoid prosecution by the Swedish authorities in a sex assault case. The sex offence charges against Assange have eventually been dropped but the whistleblower has not left the diplomatic mission, where he was granted asylum, over fears that he might be seized by the UK authorities and extradited to the United States where he is wanted for leaking classified documents.

      In October, media revealed that the embassy introduced home rules that Assange should follow, that included restrictions on the whistleblower’s communications and visits. Assange’s defence team subsequently sued Ecuador over the conditions of his stay in the embassy, which, according to them, violate the WikiLeaks founder’s rights.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange facing possible prosecution by DOJ: report

      Assange has been seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but WikiLeaks supporters have claimed that Assange fears being extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy.

    • US Prosecutors Reportedly Optimistic About Bringing Julian Assange to Court

      Barry Pollack, Assange’s lawyer, told the Journal he had “heard nothing from authorities suggesting that a criminal case against Mr. Assange is imminent.”

    • Justice Department is preparing to prosecute Julian Assange

      Ecuadorean officials have long since grown tired of hosting Assange, with that country’s new president Lenin Moreno calling the white-haired leaker a “stone in our shoe.”

      The Journal speculated that Justice officials could pursue charges related to the Espionage Act, which bars the disclosure of national defense-related information.

    • Julian Assange ‘WILL be prosecuted for ESPIONAGE’: US officials ‘increasingly hopeful of getting WikiLeaks founder extradited from his London embassy bolthole to face charges in an American courtroom’
    • New filing from U.S. government inadvertently reveals Julian Assange is facing sealed charges

      The United States government has charged — under seal — Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, The Washington Post reported late Thursday evening.

      The disclosure came in an unrelated case.

      While urging a judge to keep a matter sealed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer, wrote “due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

      The prosecutor added that the charges would “need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested.”

    • Ex-FBI counter-intel chief: Newly revealed Assange charges may be part of Mueller’s plan to target Trump

      MSNBC “11th Hour” anchor Brian Williams broke in with breaking news on Thursday after the Department of Justice inadvertently revealed the existence of sealed charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      Williams was fortunate to have as a guest Frank Figliuzzi, the former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

      “So, Frank, what’s the significance of this development to you?” Williams asked.

      “Well, this has deep meaning also for me personally, because I was in Washington at headquarters when the entire intelligence community was wrestling with what to do with Julian Assange and Wikileaks,” he noted. “And that the great debate about whether we should even treat him as a foreign power — they were doing that much damage to us.”

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange charged under seal in the US: reports
    • Justice Department reportedly preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      After a year of discussions, Justice Department officials are optimistic they will be able to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange into a U.S. courtroom, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

      In 2012, Assange received political asylum from Ecuador, and he has been living in the country’s London embassy ever since. Prosecutors do not yet know what charges they might file, but it could involve the Espionage Act, the Journal reports. Prosecutors are also reportedly considering publicly indicting Assange so the Ecuadorian government could see evidence against him and would have a reason to remove him from the embassy.

    • US optimistic it will prosecute Julian Assange

      The US Justice Department is preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom, according to people in Washington familiar with the matter.

    • U.S. optimistic it will soon prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      The people familiar with the case wouldn’t describe whether discussions were under way with the U.K. or Ecuador about Assange, but said they were encouraged by recent developments. Ecuador’s relationship with Assange has deteriorated sharply since last year’s election of President Lenin Moreno, who has described him as a “stone in our shoe” and said his continued presence at the embassy is unsustainable.

      An indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller that portrayed WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence for releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign has made it more difficult for Assange to mount a defense as a journalist. Public opinion of Assange in the U.S. has dropped since the campaign. Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy, the people said, because a detailed explanation of the evidence against Assange could give Ecuadorean authorities a reason to turn him over.

    • US preparing to prosecute Assange: report

      The Department of Justice is reportedly preparing to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and hopes to try him in a U.S. courtroom.

      The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that prosecutors have been discussing different charges to level against Assange and how to bring him back to the U.S.

      Ecuador granted Assange asylum in 2012 and he has been living in that country’s embassy in London ever since.

      However, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who was elected last year, has reportedly soured on Assange.

      “On that, I’ll just say, ‘we’ll see,’” John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division, told the Journal on the possibility of the DOJ prosecuting Assange.

    • US prosecutors get Assange indictment
    • Q&A: what’s it like handling PR for Julian Assange?

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange became a polarising figure when he broke through on the global stage thanks to his organisations’ storing and publishing of secret documents. In recent years he has sought political refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, avoiding an arrest warrant, which he denies and claims to be part of a political conspiracy as a result of his work with Wikileaks.

      Representing Assange is PR man Richard Hillgrove who spoke to The Drum about what the role has been like, having also worked with other politically charged clients such as legendary fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and activist, author and actress Rose McGowan over the years.

    • U.S. prosecutors get indictment against Wikileaks’ Assange: court document

      American prosecutors have obtained a sealed indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose website published thousands of classified U.S. government documents, a U.S. federal court document showed on Thursday.

      [...]

      On social network Twitter, Wikileaks said it was an “apparent cut-and-paste error.”

      U.S. officials had no comment on the disclosure in the document about a sealed indictment of Assange. It is unclear what charges Assange faces.

      But Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office which filed the document that was unsealed, told Reuters, “The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing.”

      Reuters was unable to immediately reach Assange or his lawyers to seek comment.

    • Julian Assange charged in US: WikiLeaks

      The exact nature of the charges against Assange was not immediately known.

    • Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has been charged in US, prosecutors accidentally reveal

      The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal with unspecified offences in the US, prosecutors have accidentally revealed in an unintentional court filing.

      Federal prosecutors had hoped to keep the indictment against Mr Assange a secret “due to the sophistication of the defendant, and the publicity surrounding the case”, and so that Mr Assange would “no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter”.

      Wikileaks said on social media that the US Justice Department had “accidentally revealed existence of sealed charges (or draft of them) against [Mr Assange] in apparent cut-and-paste error”.

      The document that reveals the charges, which prosecutors say was filed by mistake, asks a judge to seal documents in a criminal case unrelated to Mr Assange, and carries markings indicating it was originally filed in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia in August.

    • The DOJ is reportedly preparing to indict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to bring charges against Julian Assange, the founder of the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

      Over the past year, prosecutors are said to have discussed a variety of charges they could bring against Assange and are reportedly optimistic that they could get Assange, who is currently seeking asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, into a US court.
      The US’ push comes as Assange’s relationship with Ecuador is in decline, and as the South American country is looking to bolster its relationship with the US.

      The DOJ has been investigating Assange since 2010, and according to The Journal, while the exact charges prosecutors want to bring against him are unclear, they may involve the Espionage Act.

      Assange and WikiLeaks are at the center of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

    • Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals

      The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, marking a drastic escalation of the government’s yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group.

      It was not clear if prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Assange. The indictment came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him.

      “The court filing was made in error,” said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. “That was not the intended name for this filing.”

      Mr. Assange has lived for years in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and would have to be arrested and extradited if he were to face charges in federal court, altogether a multistep diplomatic and legal process.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Pipeline Vandals Are Reinventing Climate Activism

      Getting arrested was part of the plan. Across the country, the Valve Turners and their support teams had closed the valves in the hope of getting into court to present to a jury what is called a “necessity defense,” arguing that their crime was an act of civil disobedience meant to prevent a greater harm—in this case, death by climate catastrophe. If the plan worked they would create a legal precedent that would put a powerful new tool in the hands of eco-warriors.

    • Iceland’s Christmas ad was brave and necessary. It shouldn’t be banned

      Concern about our planet has never been greater, thanks to last month’s UN report warning that we have 12 years to stop irreversible damage to the Earth. Yet, one month on, a supermarket’s Christmas advert showing the damage palm oil is doing to the natural world has been deemed too political to put on TV. If that doesn’t make you weep, I’m not sure what will.

      Iceland repackaged a short film by Greenpeace showing the destruction of an orangutan’s rainforest habitat due to palm oil growers. Palm oil is about as unsustainable as it gets, and contributes to habitat loss and the endangerment of species, including elephants, rhinos, tigers and orangutans.

    • The World’s Wilderness Is Nearly Gone

      Nearly every day’s news cycle seems to bring another harbinger of environmental doom: from soaring global temperatures, to new statistics showing vast declines in wildlife populations along with constant stories of coral bleaching, chemical spills, and accelerating climate disasters. Now scientists have zoomed out to examine the world’s endangered landscapes on a macro scale, revealing that human society is not only exterminating flora and fauna—it’s literally ripping up the ground beneath them. Just a small fraction of the world’s wilderness lands can be considered relatively free of human interference. And without dramatic policy measures, the remaining wild places will soon be paved, farmed, mined, and polluted into oblivion.

      Using geospatial mapping data, a research team based at the University of Queensland has depicted the massive hemorrhaging of wilderness over time. Their new study, published ahead of a United Nations biodiversity summit, shows that the remaining vestiges of marine and land habitats relatively untouched by human intervention are facing extinction.

    • Mining the deep ocean will soon begin

      The licensees include Belgium, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore and South Korea, as well as several small Pacific island states. America, which is not party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that established the ISA, is not involved directly, but at least one American firm, Lockheed Martin, has an interest in the matter through a British subsidiary, UK Seabed Resources. And people are getting busy. Surveying expeditions have already visited the concessions. On land, the required mining machines are being built and tested. What worries biologists is that if all this busyness does lead to mining, it will wreck habitats before they can be properly catalogued, let alone understood.

    • “The Last Animals”: a journey to the frontlines of extinction

      Indeed, despite official estimates that elephants and rhinos may become extinct in the next ten to 20 years, Ms Brooks says “the reality is that localised extinction is happening now”. At the start of filming, there were seven northern white rhinos left in the world but this figure quickly decreased to five. In zoos in San Diego and the Czech Republic, and in Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya, the animals are named individuals, making it all the more shocking when they die—Nola, Nabire, then Sudan, the last male, until there are only two. They die of various natural causes while in captivity; interventions to make them breed have failed. According to Ms Brooks, it is a cautionary tale of what happens when humans try too little too late. There is nothing left to do but watch an extinction taking place.

    • Avni was tagged ‘man-eater’ without proper evidence; authorities behind her ‘ruthless killing’ must be brought to book

      Considerable substantiation based on field evidence is required to declare a tiger a “man-eater”. Avni is believed to have been given the tag without any precise establishment of her predatory habits and also without any conclusive evidence of her role in 13 human deaths over two years, which authorities have maintained was the reason she had to be killed.

      The damning “man-eater” label also contradicted the “Guidelines of Declaration of Big Cats as Man-eaters”, which state that a tiger can only be deemed a danger to humans if he or she ventures into human territory and kills someone. However, the deaths that the Maharashtra Forest Department attributed to Avni were results of humans entering tiger territory, possibly to allow cattle to graze in the forest reserve.

    • Climate should be an election issue

      There is no longer any doubt that this extreme situation will almost certainly occur. But governments, corporations, and international agencies have thus far not done enough to mitigate the problem, and appear increasingly incapable of implementing effective adaptation strategies either. Perhaps it is time for a people’s revolution to jolt the powerful out of their lethargy. The need of the hour is to make climate and the environment an election issue; and only vote to power those who grasp the gravity of the situation, and the need for urgency in climate adaptation policies.

    • Fracking halted again as biggest earthquake yet is recorded at Cuadrilla’s new site in Lancashire

      Anti-fracking campaigners have voiced their alarm at the earthquakes, with 27 now noted since fracking started on Monday, October 15.

    • Climate change: Oceans ‘soaking up more heat than estimated’

      Researchers say that the world has seriously underestimated the amount of heat soaked up by our oceans over the past 25 years.

      Their study suggests that the seas have absorbed 60% more than previously thought.

      They say it means the Earth is more sensitive to fossil fuel emissions than estimated.

    • Why India’s air pollution is so horrendous

      When you look at the database’s ranking of particulate pollution in cities, 11 of the 12 cities with the highest levels are located in India. Kanpur, India, population 3 million, tops the list with a yearly average of 319 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5, the most hazardous particle commonly measured. (Bamenda, Cameroon, is the one city outside of India in the top 12.)

    • The Global Extinction Rebellion Begins

      Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

      A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

      Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.Dr. Gail Bradbrook, a mother of two boys, has seen enough of her government’s complicity in pumping increasing amounts of CO2 and methane into an already overburdened atmosphere.

      A professor of molecular biophysics, her deep understanding of science has led her to confront the existential crisis facing humans. Acting on her love for her children and the disrupted world that is being left to them, she has channeled her horror about this crisis into action.

      Dr. Bradbrook co-founded the group Rising Up!, which is now helping to organize the Extinction Rebellion, a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK that is using nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience to demand action on our climate emergency.

    • Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site

      The Woolsey fire in California began Nov. 8 near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), site of a partial reactor meltdown, the consequences of which have never been cleaned up. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control released a statement early Nov. 9 saying its scientists “don’t believe that the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.”

      The fire’s progress through to Oak Park indicates that much of the toxic site burned, according to the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility which has investigated SSFL radiation risks for 30 years.

      Use of the phrase “don’t believe” [the fire caused risk] by the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) had to stand in for a clear denial of radiation risk because none of the site’s air monitors had yet been seen by the department. The following words of DTSC’s Nov. 9 announcement were: “There is an air monitoring network around the perimeter of the SSFL site. As soon as access is open we will evaluate the air monitoring stations.” The department seemed to be reading from a script identified by the oceanographer Jacque Cousteau who said, “…before specialists even know what has happened, they rush to the media saying, ‘There’s no danger to the public.’”

  • Finance
    • Industrial Union chair slams gov’t “ignorance” of working life

      Aalto said his criticism comes from the recognition that the government is the head of Finland’s representative democracy.

    • Trump May Soon Deal Yet Another Blow to Union Rights

      At stake is the joint-employer standard, the arcane labor rule that governs an increasingly common labor arrangement today: the “fissured” workplace, where workers are technically employed by a subcontractor, but their working conditions are essentially controlled by the parent company to which they are assigned (in many cases today, so-called “permatemps” do virtually the same job as regular workers, with less pay and job security).

      [...]

      By making it easier for companies to outsource their labor while casting off their responsibilities to protect their workers, the NLRB’s proposed joint-employer reforms wouldn’t just threaten to further stratify a fissured labor force; it would separate workers from the labor movement.

    • Danish chef fined for money laundering after taking cash payment [iophk: "if nothing is done, soon cash payment will be illegal completely"]

      The chef received the fine after being paid 53,000 kroner in cash for preparing the meal at a silver wedding celebration in central Jutland.

      Herning’s district court found that, by accepting cash in payment for the service, he was in breach of laws designed to prevent money laundering.

      According to the law, businesses are prevented in principle for accepting payments of over 50,000 kroner in cash.

    • Entercom: Don’t Overlook This 5% Yield Concern

      ntercom Communication (ETM) is Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania based radio broadcasting company. Exiting 2016, the company owned the fourth largest portfolio of radio stations – 127 – in the United States covering 28 top markets. The company derived over 50% of its revenue from 8 markets: Boston, Buffalo, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle. The company was controlled (through class B voting shares) by the Field family.

      [...]

      For those unfamiliar, a Reverse Morris Trust transaction is a tax-optimization strategy for the parent company – in this case CBS Corporation – that wishes to spin off unwanted assets. To actuate this transaction, CBS Corporation spun off its CBS Radio subsidiary into a separate company and merged it with a third-party company: Entercom. This merged entity then issued shares to shareholders of the original parent company. Even though CBS owns more than 50% of the company, Entercom management controls the day-to-day operations and have five board seats to CBS’s four. Another example of this type of transaction was the 2007 Verizon Communications (VZ) spinoff and subsequent merger of its Northeast landline subsidiary with FairPoint (FRP). The tax structure was not likely the only motivation for this type of transaction: CBS Radio’s declining revenues over the past couple of years make bad optics for a standard IPO. Currently the company has a market capitalization of just over $1 billion and sells for just north of $7.00 a share.

    • Amazon HQ Move Criticized by New York City Council, U.S. Senator

      The gathering in Queens included dozens of elected officials, including City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the district that includes Long Island City and who said he’d been shut out of any negotiations and only learned the deal had been consummated by reading about it in the newspaper. Part of the deal involves a state takeover of land involved so that the City Council would have no zoning oversight.

    • Why Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters Backfired

      Amazon announced Tuesday that the 14-month public bidding war for its so-called second headquarters was coming to an end. After reviewing 238 proposals from cities across North America, the company says it will build two large regional offices in Queens, New York and Arlington, Virginia as well as a smaller campus in Nashville, Tennessee. The search was largely a success for CEO Jeff Bezos, who can use valuable data from the losing cities to inform Amazon’s business and future expansion. But in at least one respect, Amazon’s Hunger Games-style civic competition backfired: It’s shined a spotlight on how Amazon and companies like it have benefitted enormously from taxpayer funds.

    • What cities offered Amazon: helipads, zoo tickets, and a street named Alexa

      Philadelphia was promising to add its own $1.1bn to the pot, promising that local taxes collected from Amazon for 20 years would be returned to the company as well. Pittsburgh’s mayor has not yet revealed what his city was promising.

      Atlanta and Dallas have now revealed their losing hands as well: $2bn and $1.1bn in incentives, respectively.

    • Amazon Signs Deal With Horror King Jason Blum for Eight Movies
    • Amazon HQ2 Won’t Improve Quality of Life for New York and Virginia Residents

      Now that the deal for Amazon’s second headquarters has been struck, it’s worth asking if this is a package that its recipients should never have ordered.

      Amazon announced that its “HQ2” will be split between two locations, Long Island City in Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Northern Virginia. Amazon says it intends to employ more than 25,000 workers at each site. But that does not mean that Amazon will be employing many residents from either the Washington, DC, metropolitan area or the boroughs of New York City. Rather, it will be attracting people from elsewhere to work on its new campus for more than $150,000 a year. Indeed, this is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s stated reason for siting the headquarters in two of the US’s richest and most rapidly gentrifying cities, according to its news release: “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come.”

      In exchange for a subsidy of over $1.5 billion, New York has been promised a donation of land for a single new school, a “tech startup incubator” and “new green spaces.” In exchange for a subsidy of almost $800 million, Arlington, Virginia, of which Crystal City is a part, will apparently not receive anything.

      What the politicians who negotiated these deals will receive is a richer population. Not for their current population to become more financially stable, more secure or more fulfilled – but for a new population, which will push out many of the previous residents. They will govern a richer community, and the old community will be forced to move somewhere else.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Why Elissa Slotkin took heat from angry Democrats during her campaign

      “Flint was an apocalyptic poisoning of an American city but not the only story, unfortunately,” she said. “As a CIA analyst, I am trained to look at patterns and data. Data tells us there’s a problem with our drinking water — with lead, PFAS, toxic chemicals and other things.

      “In my district, in the Huron River, we can no longer eat the fish. We cannot eat the deer that forage around the Huron River. We have a problem. We need to accept that problem. We need a once-in-a-generation investment in our water infrastructure. Our state has the greatest concentration of fresh water and we cannot cannot provide clean drinking water to our citizens.”

    • Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

      But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view. At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.

    • Mark Zuckerberg to the governments of Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland and Argentina: “Go fuck yourselves”

      Mark Zuckerberg has told the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Argentina, Australia and Ireland that he is “not available” for a planned hearing on political disinformation and Facebook.

    • Zuckerberg: I didn’t know of Facebook ties to firm attacking George Soros

      Mark Zuckerberg defended his leadership of Facebook on Thursday, claiming ignorance of the company’s relationship with a political consultancy that used an antisemitic narrative to undermine critics.

    • Mark Zuckerberg ‘not able’ to attend international disinformation hearing

      Damian Collins, chair of the committee, is leading the charge and noted that the social network’s response is “hugely disappointing.”

      “The fact that he has continually declined to give evidence, not just to my committee, but now to an unprecedented international grand committee, makes him look like he’s got something to hide,” he said in an emailed statement.”

    • How Facebook Wrestled With Scandal: 6 Key Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation

      An investigation by The New York Times revealed how Facebook fought back against its critics: with delays, denials and a full-bore campaign in Washington. Here are six takeaways.

    • Facebook Cuts Ties With Washington Firm That Sought to Discredit Social Network’s Critics
    • No one at Facebook seems to know who hired a DC opposition research firm

      Definers was hired as part of a lobbying effort intended to counter mounting criticisms of Facebook over the past year. The firm’s role, among other things, included circulating a document tying a prominent anti-Facebook group to financing from billionaire George Soros. Efforts to link liberal causes to Soros are a tactic often used by the alt-right and other conservatives as a dog whistle for anti-Semitism.

    • Facebook hired GOP oppo firm to smear protesters by linking them to George Soros, an anti-Semitic trope: NYT

      We are watching Facebook unravel in real time. I hope.

    • Florida’s Recount Isn’t Really a Recount

      But even as the state’s 67 counties scramble to finish the machine recount of more than 8 million ballots, it’s not clear the results will give a true picture of the race’s winner. That’s because the method Florida uses to conduct election recounts is not a true recount of voter ballots, but simply a rescan of ballots through the same machines that initially counted them. If problems with the software — either through glitches or [cracking] — produced faulty results the first time, they will reproduce the same faulty results during a rescan.

      “To call it a recount is false,” says Ion Sancho, who for 27 years was supervisor of elections for Leon County, Florida, and who led the manual recount in Miami-Dade County for the 2000 presidential recount. “It’s a failure in the state of Florida that the manual recount is not a recount; it’s a scan of ballots.”

    • The battle over a citizenship question on the 2020 census heats up

      It has been 70 years since a query regarding citizenship appeared on the census. Now Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, faces six consolidated lawsuits—two each in California, Maryland and New York—over his announcement in March this year that he intends to type it back in. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia—together with 15 cities, several counties and immigrant-aid groups including the New York Immigration Coalition—are suing Mr Ross and the Commerce Department for flouting proper rule-changing procedures, discriminating against immigrants and attempting to scare them away from participating in the census. [...]

    • Trump DOJ Argues “No Journalist Has First Amendment Right to Enter White House”

      The ACLU fired off a reminder Wednesday that the “White House belongs to the people, not the president” after the Trump administration asserted in a legal filing that the president has “broad discretion” to bar reporters from press briefings.

      “No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,” Justice Department lawyers argued in a 28-page filing in response to CNN’s lawsuit against the administration for revoking the “hard pass” of the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, last week.

      CNN said in a statement announcing the legal action on Tuesday that the suspension violated Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights and that it is seeking to have the credentials reinstated.

      “While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials,” CNN stated.

      The president himself suggested that it was not only Acosta, with whom he’s sparred frequently, or his frequent target CNN, but that “it could be others” who face the same retaliation.

    • Goodbye, and Thanks for all the Fish

      It is rather disconcerting to be watching the UK continue its disintegration in such spectacular fashion, from as far away as Ghana. I wonder whether events appear quite so ridiculous close up.

      It surprises me that, in all the discussion and analysis of the withdrawal agreement, there has been so little analysis of the much more important conjoined Political Declaration, which is about the UK’s prospective relationships once the divorce is over. It particularly surprises me that so very little has been said about fish.

      It is very unfortunate for British, and especially Scottish, fishermen that their political leaders are strange right wing bigots of a particularly repellent stamp. This blinds decent people to the truth that the fishing communities of the UK did suffer a dreadful historic injustice, on the same scale as Thatcher’s assault on the miners.

      It is seldom remembered now that the UK’s initial entry to the European Communities was achieved against a background of traditional hostility from European states, especially France. Ted Heath’s government decided that the economic benefits of joining the Common Market were so huge, it was for the greater good to sacrifice the fishing community.

    • Who, Us? Corporate Media Ignore Their Role in Trump’s Refugee ‘Invasion’ Panic

      Joshua Holland (The Nation, 10/26/18): “Trump floods the zone with bullshit, they dutifully convey it, and we end up swimming in it.”If the establishment media’s coverage in the home stretch of the 2018 midterm elections is any kind of prologue to 2020, be prepared for an avalanche of right-wing xenophobic propaganda during our next presidential election. That’s because, once again, the political press dutifully chased Trump’s rhetorical tail as Election Day neared, and repeatedly ceded its editorial judgment and newshole to the nativist fearmongering he used to stoke the Republican Party’s base. And nowhere was this fecklessness more apparent than media’s breathless “migrant caravan” coverage.

      Left-wing media critics documented these failures almost in real time. Joshua Holland at The Nation (10/25/18) noted in late October how Trump was all but acting as the de facto segment producer for all those ubiquitous cable news panel shows that were spending all their time discussing a few thousand asylum seekers that were more than a thousand miles from the US southern border.

      Likewise, a study by the liberal media research site Media Matters (11/2/18) found that Trump might as well have been the front-page assignment editor for elite newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times, which simply couldn’t resist the siren song of his manufactured crisis. In all, those two papers published nearly 30 different stories about the migrant caravan on their respective A1 pages in the two weeks before Election Day. And on three different days, the Times devoted two front-page stories to what Trump had not-so-subtly began calling an “invasion.”

    • For Once, Theresa May is Very Accurate

      Theresa May today chose to compare herself with Geoffrey Boycott. For once, she was being very accurate, especially when it comes to relationships with her own team. Boycott’s players hated him so much during his captaincy they actually ran him out on purpose during a test match.

    • Facebook’s Use Of Smear Merchants Is The Norm, Not The Exception

      In a conference call this afternoon, Zuckerberg then tried to claim that neither he nor Sandberg knew anything about Definers being hired, while insisting that Facebook would be taking a much closer look at their DC policy and lobbying partners moving forward. But companies routinely hire firms like Definers knowing full well the kind of tactics they employ, and the idea that neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg knew anything about the work Definers was doing is generally being seen as either a falsehood or incompetence.

      While Facebook’s decision to smear critics instead of owning their own obvious dysfunction is clearly idiotic, much of the backlash has operated under the odd belief that Facebook’s behavior is some kind of exception, not the norm. Countless companies employ think tanks, consultants, bogus news ops, PR firms, academics, and countless other organizations to spread falsehoods, pollute the public discourse, and smear their critics on a daily basis. It’s a massive industry. Just ask the telecom sector.

      In the last decade alone broadband providers and firms far worse than Definers have been caught paying minority groups to generate bunk support for bad policy, hijacking consumer identities to support bad policy, creating bogus consumer groups to generate fake support for bad policy, flooding the news wires endlessly with misleading op/eds without disclosing financial conflicts of interest, stocking public meetings with cardboard cutouts (so real people can’t attend), or filling news comments sections and social media with bullshit criticism of corporate critics.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Pakistan blasphemy case: Asia Bibi’s husband fears for wife’s safety

      But on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that there was not enough evidence against her and ordered her release, though not until after the court makes a final review of its verdict. The decision prompted angry protests by the Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik party, which only ended after the government under Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to bar Bibi from leaving the country and to release a number of arrested protesters.

    • Blasphemy in Pakistan: calls are multiplying to ask for the reception of Asia Bibi in France

      The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and the president of the Republicans, Laurent Wauquiez, asked Monday, November 5 in separate messages to the French authorities to intervene to “save the life” of the Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi. More than 40 personalities, including Elisabeth and Robert Badinter, Luc Ferry and Daniel Salvatore Schiffer, also put the same message in a forum published in Le Figaro , Wednesday, November 7. Denounced by neighbors for drinking the water of a well reserved in principle for Muslims, this Christian had been sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010, before being found innocent of this crime [sic] at the end of October. She remains, however, for the time imprisoned.

    • Protesters Delay Release Of Pakistani Woman Acquitted For Blasphemy

      Asia Bibi’s sentence was reversed on Wednesday in Islamabad. Almost simultaneously, followers of a hard-line Pakistani religious group rushed onto major highways across the country to paralyze traffic in protest of the decision.

      They called for Bibi to be killed, along with the three Supreme Court judges who issued the verdict. They also called on Pakistani military forces to disobey the army chief of staffs, accusing him of not being a Muslim.

    • An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg: The World’s Freedom of Expression is in Your Hands

      Today, we the undersigned civil society organizations, call on Facebook to provide a mechanism for all of its users to appeal content restrictions, and, in every case, to have the appealed decision re-reviewed by a human moderator.

    • ARTICLE 19 and 70+ civil society groups write to Mark Zuckerberg over content removal

      A series of well-publicised cases, such as the banning of the Little Mermaid for nudity, have highlighted how arbitrary the moderation of Facebook’s content can be. In many of these high profile cases, content has been restored after negative publicity. But for ordinary users, Facebook only allows appeals in a limited set of circumstances. In many cases, they have absolutely no option to appeal and may have their accounts removed.

    • Turkish Case Against Former Wall Street Journal Reporter Is Thrown Out

      A Turkish court threw out the conviction against a former Wall Street Journal reporter on Tuesday, annulling a widely criticized verdict at a time when Turkey is looking to improve relations with the West.

    • A Note From Matt Murray About Ayla Albayrak

      I’m very happy to share the news that the unjust criminal conviction in Turkey against our friend and former colleague, Ayla Albayrak, was today thrown out by an appeals court.

      This was overdue. Ayla should never have been put in this position. Her original conviction in October 2017 for a straight and factual story was totally unfounded and wholly unjust. Her work was balanced and it was fair. It included comment from all relevant parties. In essence, she was convicted for honest, objective and irrefutable reporting. In other words, the kind of work that all of us strive to produce every day.

      While welcome, the decision is not completely satisfying. The Turkish appeals court dismissed the case on procedural grounds, ruling that the prosecution violated the statute of limitations, rather than addressing the merits.

      Legal action in Turkey against Ayla began after the August 2015 publication of an article under the headline “Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast.” It was accompanied by a video. The work focused on the conflict between Turkey’s armed forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, called PKK. PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the European Union and Turkey.

    • Rights Groups Demand Facebook Set Up Real Due Process Around Content Moderation

      For quite some time now, when discussing how the various giant platforms should manage the nearly impossible challenges of content moderation, one argument I’ve fallen back on again and again is that they need to provide real due process. This is because, while there are all sorts of concerns about content moderation, the number of false positives that lead to “good” content being taken down is staggering. Lots of people like to point and laugh at these, but any serious understanding of content moderation at scale has to recognize that when you need to process many many thousands of requests per day, often involving complex or nuanced issues, many, many mistakes are going to be made. And thus, you need a clear and transparent process that enables review.

      [...]

      While the reasons that Google and Facebook have not yet created this kind of due process are obvious (it would be kinda costly, for one), it does seem like such a system will be increasingly important, and it’s good to see these groups pushing Facebook on this in particular.

      Of course, earlier this year, Zuckerberg had floated an idea of an independent (i.e. outside of Facebook) third party board that could handle these kinds of content moderation appeals, and… a bunch of people freaked out, falsely claiming that Zuckerberg wanted to create a special Facebook Supreme Court (even as he was actually advocating for having a body outside of Facebook reviewing Facebook’s decisions).

      No matter what, it would be good for the large platforms to start taking these issues seriously, not only for reasons of basic fairness and transparency, but because it would also serve to better make the public comfortable with how this process works. When it is, as currently construed, a giant black box, that leads to a lot more anger and conspiracy thinking over how content moderation actually works.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facebook Might Use Your Photos To Find Who You Live With & Ad-Targeting

      Facebook, one of the biggest social media platform, has taken targeted advertising to new heights. I am often taken aback by the creepiness of ads displayed on my Facebook profile.

      Now, a patent filed by Facebook suggests that targeted ads would be much pervasive and relevant in the near future. The application describes a technology that can predict who your family and other household members are, based on images and captions that were posted on the social media platform.

    • Sheriff’s Dept.: The 1,079 Privileged Jailhouse Calls We Intercepted Was Actually 34,000 Calls

      A few months back, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department admitted it had been listening in on privileged conversations. Calls from inmates to lawyers were being swept up along with everything else by service provider Global Tel Link. This violation of state law (among other things) jeopardized dozens of prosecutions. In all, GTL’s so-called “technical error” resulted in the interception of more than 1,000 privileged calls.

      The Sheriff’s Department claimed it told GTL to fix the problem, but didn’t appear to have been terribly bothered by this evidentiary windfall… some of which made its way into the hands of prosecutors. It made several disappointed noises about its provider when confronted in court, but its quasi-proactive “knock it off” — directed towards GTL — didn’t explain its lack of proactivity when it came to informing criminal defendants and their legal reps their cases may have been compromised by attorney-client privilege violations.

      This was only the tip of the iceberg. The OC Register reports there’s been an exponential increase in the number of privileged calls trapped by this “technical error.”

    • EFF and MuckRock Release Records and Data from 200 Law Enforcement Agencies’ Automated License Plate Reader Programs

      EFF and MuckRock have filed hundreds of public records requests with law enforcement agencies around the country to reveal how data collected from automated license plate readers (ALPR) is used to track the travel patterns of drivers. We focused exclusively on departments that contract with surveillance vendor Vigilant Solutions to share data between their ALPR systems.

      Today we are releasing records obtained from 200 agencies, accounting for more than 2.5-billion license plate scans in 2016 and 2017. This data is collected regardless of whether the vehicle or its owner or driver are suspected of being involved in a crime. In fact, the information shows that 99.5% of the license plates scanned were not under suspicion at the time the vehicles’ plates were collected.

      On average, agencies are sharing data with a minimum of 160 other agencies through Vigilant Solutions’ LEARN system, though many agencies are sharing data with over 800 separate entities.

    • Impact assessment shows privacy risks Microsoft Office ProPlus Enterprise
    • Google gives the Pixel camera superhuman night vision

      Night Sight is momentous because it’s a software change that delivers a leap in performance that previously only new hardware could bring.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Christian converts from Islam arrested and tortured in Darfur, Sudan

      The agents released two believers with Christian backgrounds from the Nuba mountains, the oldest Christian region in Sudan, but detained eleven converts from Islam including the pastor, Tajdeen Yousif.

      A Barnabas Fund contact reported, “They tortured them beating them a whole day and night and telling them you face death because you changed your religion.”

    • Sheikh Hasina: Whoever insults Islam will be punished according to the law

      The religion of Bangladesh “is Islam. Anyone who pronounces offensive comments against it or against the Prophet Muhammad, will be prosecuted according to the law” stated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday. She was speaking at a gathering of madrassas [Koranic schools] in Dhaka. “I know that on social media – she added – there is a lot of propaganda. Pay them no attention “.

    • Muslim lesbian couple caned in public punishment

      “Sharia criminal procedure allows the court to determine where the sentence will be carried out, and requires that it must be witnessed by a number of other Muslims,” he said.

    • Man Pleads Guilty to ‘Swatting’ Hoax That Resulted in a Fatal Shooting

      Mr. Barriss called the police in Wichita, telling them that he had killed his father, was holding two family members at gunpoint, had doused his house in gasoline and was contemplating suicide. Police officers arrived at the address they were given, and one fatally shot a fourth man, Andrew Finch, 28, in his doorway after he stepped outside to investigate the commotion and dropped his hands. Mr. Finch, though, had done nothing wrong and did not know about the swatting call.

    • Bar Refaeli Slammed For Removing Muslim Face Covering In Ad
    • 6 People Who Broke (Stupid) Laws In The Best Way Possible

      Anyone who’s tried to look up a scientific paper online (most likely to win a bar argument, though we guess there are other uses) knows that publishers have a pretty good racket going. It typically costs around $30 to see a full paper, which builds up to over $24 billion in yearly profits. That’s right between the music and film industries, but with a much bigger profit margin, since scientific publishers don’t have to pay Brad Pitt’s salary or put up with Kanye West. They don’t even pay the scientists themselves, since the studies are usually funded by universities or, uh … you.

      As a result, researchers and institutions end up having to buy back their own work in the form of academic journals, and if they can’t afford the increasingly expensive subscriptions? There’s nothing they can do. Well, not legally. Enter Sci-Hub, which is to science what the Pirate Bay is to The Walking Dead.

    • Could Your Police Department Be Inflating Rape Clearance Rates?

      Many law enforcement agencies across the U.S. may be pumping up their reported rape clearance rates using a little-known category called “exceptional clearance,” according to an analysis by Newsy, Reveal and ProPublica. The designation allows police to clear cases when they have enough evidence to make an arrest and know who and where the suspect is, but can’t make an arrest for reasons outside their control.

    • How We Analyzed Rape Clearance Rates

      As part of the FBI’s standardized Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country regularly tell the FBI how many serious crimes were reported in their jurisdictions and how many of them they “cleared.” Police agencies often point to the annual clearance rate — the number of cases cleared divided by the number of total crimes (excluding unfounded cases) — as a measure of their effectiveness. Clearance rates are often presented to the public as “solve” rates.

      While clearance rates have been described as “cleared by arrest” rates in FBI documents, FBI rules actually allow the police to clear a case without making an arrest.

      [...]

      A review of the NIBRS data indicated that rape offenses are frequently cleared by exceptional means, yet neither the FBI nor the public has any way to know how many rape crimes are being cleared without arrest in the majority of cities across the United States. We hoped to uncover the arrest and exceptional clearance rates previously hidden from the public by requesting data from police internal case management systems in those places.

    • When It Comes to Rape, Just Because a Case Is Cleared Doesn’t Mean It’s Solved

      Andy Leisher didn’t like what he was seeing on the security cameras from his post at the front desk of the Ramada Inn in Janesville, Wisconsin. On the closed-circuit television in front of him, Leisher watched as a man in his 30s kissed what appeared to be a teenager in the motel hot tub.

      It put him on alert. “It just felt awkward,” Leisher said of the scene. “She just seemed really young, and he seemed really old. Or too old to be with her.”

      When Leisher, a part-time pastor, confirmed that the girl was 16, he called the police. A few hours later, police arrested 31-year-old Bryan Kind, and he was charged with having sex with a child and possession of child pornography. He’s pleaded not guilty.

      After collecting Kind’s cellphones, Janesville police also found naked photos of a girl from Maryland, and they sent the information to authorities there.

      It wasn’t news to the Baltimore County Police Department. About a month before the May 2017 arrest, the department closed its investigation into Kind on allegations that he had sex with a 13-year-old girl.

      It went on Baltimore County’s books as a success, another rape case cleared.

      But Kind had walked free. He wasn’t charged with any crime. The Police Department hadn’t arrested him, even though it had a thick investigative file on him.

    • Prisoners Are Getting Paid $1.45 a Day to Fight the California Wildfires

      Incarcerated workers fighting wildfires deserve the same wages and protections that civilian workers receive.
      As firefighters in California battle the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history, they are joined by unlikely allies against the blaze. About 200 prisoners in California’s Conservation Camp program are fighting the fires alongside civilian employees, earning just $1.45 a day for their work. Their pay as workers is a fraction of minimum wage. The hazard to their lives is real, as evidenced by a death toll that has climbed steadily.

      The prisoners battling the fires in California deserve real wages. And their rights as workers lead us to larger issues of prison labor, fires or not.

      I’m often asked what the ACLU thinks about this and other prison work programs. The answer isn’t black or white. Most prisoners want to work, and jobs for prisoners can be a very positive thing. A job can provide an escape from the crushing monotony of prison life – a chance to do something productive, earn a little money, and maybe even learn some skills that are useful in and of themselves and useful when reentering society. And as we know, 97 percent of people in prison will return to their communities.

      That said, given the vast power inequality between prisoners and their employers, there is also a persistent and real potential for exploitation and abuse.

      Prisoners are excluded from the legal protections enjoyed by all other workers. They’re not allowed to unionize. They’re not covered by minimum wage laws, and the paltry wages they do earn can be seized by the prison. If they’re injured or killed on the job, they’re not covered by workers’ compensation, and their ability to recover damages in court is severely limited. All of these factors combine to make prisoners a uniquely vulnerable workforce.

    • “He Was a Protector”: Remembering Jemel Roberson, 26-Year-Old Chicago Security Guard Slain by Police

      Community members are demanding answers for the police killing of a black security guard in the Chicago suburbs, after 26 year-old Jemel Roberson was shot and killed by a white policeman Sunday. Roberson jumped into action early Sunday morning when a shooting broke out at a bar where he was working as a security guard. He was restraining a shooting suspect when several police officers arrived on the scene, and a white police officer from the Midlothian Police Department shot and killed Roberson. Witnesses said the police officer opened fire even though people at the bar were screaming that Roberson was a security guard. Roberson was armed and held a valid gun owner’s license. We speak with Avontea Boose, the partner of Jemel Roberson and mother of his 9-month-old son Tristan. She is currently expecting their second child. We also speak with Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing the children of Jemel Roberson.

    • Why “Countering Violent Extremism” programs won’t stop white supremacists

      As the daughter of Muslim Egyptian immigrants, I’m used to getting surprised looks when I tell people I grew up in a small Appalachian town in Western Maryland. A town where teens dared each other to drive up to the old church where local KKK members would supposedly meet. Boys I knew and rode the school bus with would go on to become Neo-Nazis.

      I had just started high school in 2001, making me – the only Muslim girl in high school in our county – a walking target after Sept. 11.

      I know the violence of white supremacy intimately. But I disagree with those who are currently criticizing the Trump administration for defunding Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs that supposedly target white supremacists. CVE is not simply racist because it disproportionately impacts Muslims – it was always intended to target Muslims using disproven methods under the guise of fighting “all types of violent extremism.”

      CVE was started under the Obama administration in 2011, by the Department of Justice and expanded through the Department of Homeland Security in 2017. The program purports to prevent violent extremism in the United States. In reality, CVE recruits trusted community members such as Muslim organizations, teachers, and mental health professionals, to become part of the surveillance state by identifying people who might be “vulnerable to radicalization.”

      In practice, CVE is based on junk science. In most of the pro-CVE literature, you’ll find a disclaimer that states “there is no profile for who will commit violence.” Instead, CVE relies on religious, racial, and political indicators, such as mosque attendance, feeling religious discrimination, and frustration with U.S. politics and uses Muslim-invoking dog whistles like terrorism, radicalization, and extremism to make it clear, but not explicit, who this is really about.

      Expanding CVE to groups that claim to address white supremacy only provides further cover for CVE to profile and criminalize Muslims and other marginalized communities.

    • Secret CIA Document Describes Abu Zubaydah’s Waterboarding As ‘Amateurish Experiment’

      A 2007 report from the CIA’s Office Of Medical Services (OMS) was released after a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It reveals news details on the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program, which included torture techniques used against detainees.

      The top secret document [PDF] was drafted by the CIA’s top medical official to combat press coverage that OMS viewed as “caricature.” Coverage was seen as a “distorted picture” that warranted a “more informed internal account of how OMS understood and experienced this program.”

      In the “secret history” written to defend the reputation of doctors involved in the torture program, the author melodramatically refers to “crippling leaks” as inevitable and suggests “human rights activists” will continue to target “approved techniques.” The author argues publicity will allow terrorists to develop “resistance measures.” Weapons of mass destruction will be used, and then, this report will be valuable as a “re-evaluation of what interrogation measures are acceptable” unfolds.

    • Who Runs This Police Department? Lots of Officers Who’ve Been Reprimanded or Even Suspended.

      Windbigler declined comment. Elkhart’s mayor, Tim Neese, said police work, by its nature, can lead to complaints because officers deal with people in stressful circumstances. Garvey said he has learned from his mistakes, and that he’s a better officer now than when his career started.

    • Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them

      When Ed Windbigler became Elkhart’s police chief in January 2016, one of his first tasks was selecting his top command staff.

      For assistant chief, his second in command, Windbigler named Todd Thayer. Less than three years before, Thayer had been demoted two ranks for making flippant comments about a fatal shooting. Witnesses reported he said a fellow officer could now check shooting a person off his “bucket list.”

      For patrol captain, Windbigler named Brent Long. Less than two years before, Long had received a four-day suspension for sending inappropriate emails to fellow officers. One email included gruesome photos of a man in another city who, while running from police, jumped or fell from an overpass and was decapitated on a wrought-iron fence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Sprint Throttled Skype Without Telling Anyone… And Nobody Seems To Care Much

      Last month we pointed to research out of Northeastern University that showed U.S. wireless video performance was thoroughly mediocre thanks in large part to arbitrary carrier throttling. The study, spearheaded by researcher David Choffnes, found that this carrier throttling usually had absolutely nothing to do with congestion. Instead, much of it was driven by carriers trying to impose arbitrary limits on your connection, then charge you more money to avoid it. For example, Verizon now throttles all video on its “unlimited” wireless data connections to 480p (around 1.5 Mbps), unless you pay Verizon for a more expensive plan.

      Choffnes is tracking ISP network management by using crowdsourced data from his Wehe app. More recently Choffnes released an updated report that continues to show that carriers arbitrarily throttle video and select apps. But his report and data also found that Sprint (and its prepaid subsidiary Boost Mobile) routinely throttles Skype performance on its networks… without telling consumers about it.

    • Telstra BGP routing error hits other Australian ISPs

      Australia’s biggest telco Telstra took down part of the Internet in the country on Thursday morning due to a stuff-up with the routes it advertised through the border gateway protocol.

    • Donald Trump Suddenly Pretends To Care About Comcast Antitrust Violations

      For years, smaller cable companies have complained that giants like Comcast do everything in their power to make life miserable (and expensive) for them. These smaller providers have complained that Comcast often mandates they buy and include NBC channels and regional sports networks in their lineups, driving up costs. Many of these companies have considered getting out of the TV business entirely as their margins get tighter and they find themselves increasingly out-maneuvered by ever-growing, vertically-integrated media, telecom, and broadcast giants like Comcast and AT&T.

      [...]

      Normally these cries would simply be ignored in M&A manic America. Much like the TV market, smaller cable companies can’t compete with the immense political power Comcast’s wealth and size buys on Capitol Hill, so their concerns are pretty consistently ignored. As a result, whether we’re in the throes of Obama or Trump administrations, blindly letting the biggest media and telecom companies merge, then standing around with a dumb look on our collective faces as these titans do what they always do (raise rates and use their newfound power to hamper competitors) is kind of our thing.

    • The Power of Web Components

      As a group, the standards are known as Web Components. In the year 2018 it’s easy to think of Web Components as old news. Indeed, early versions of the standards have been around in one form or another in Chrome since 2014, and polyfills have been clumsily filling the gaps in other browsers.

      After some quality time in the standards committees, the Web Components standards were refined from their early form, now called version 0, to a more mature version 1 that is seeing implementation across all the major browsers. Firefox 63 added support for two of the tent pole standards, Custom Elements and Shadow DOM, so I figured it’s time to take a closer look at how you can play HTML inventor!

      Given that Web Components have been around for a while, there are lots of other resources available. This article is meant as a primer, introducing a range of new capabilities and resources. If you’d like to go deeper (and you definitely should), you’d do well to read more about Web Components on MDN Web Docs and the Google Developers site.

      Defining your own working HTML elements requires new powers the browser didn’t previously give developers. I’ll be calling out these previously-impossible bits in each section, as well as what other newer web technologies they draw upon.

  • DRM
    • Hitman 2′s Denuvo Protection Busted 3 Days Before The Game’s Launch

      So, we were just talking about how Denuvo’s new ownership, Irdeto, was busily making the case via the example of some unnamed AAA sports game that even when Denuvo DRM is cracked in a few days it’s still worth it to protect a game’s initial release window. The comments from Irdeto got so ridiculous that it claimed that even if Denuvo kept titles safe for a few hours, that was still worth it. As specious as this claim might be, it’s also formulated to be hard to argue with. After all, with this low of a bar, all Irdeto’s Denuvo has to do is barely work for any measurable amount of time before the release of game in order for Irdeto to claim victory. So how can it possibly fail?

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • The Wonky Donkey: How Infringement Helped Create A Best Seller… Which Would Be Impossible Under Article 13

        But this is also an excellent example of the massive harm that the EU is about to do with Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive. Under Article 13, platforms like YouTube and Facebook would be required to block this kind of video or face massive liability. Of course, how these platforms might detect such a video is unclear. There is no form of ContentID that would see that video and know that it was infringing, but it pretty clearly is. But, once the video got so popular, with over a million views and news stories about it, sooner or later the companies would recognize that it was infringing and would be forced to take it down or face crippling liability.

        All weekend long, various supporters of Article 13 have been screaming at me on Twitter about how Article 13 won’t harm the internet or creators at all, and that’s it’s really just about “making YouTube pay its fair share.” I’m curious how they could possibly explain what to do in this particular case. Under the law they want, a content creator (and tons of happy parents) would be at a loss. This book likely wouldn’t be such a massive success. The companies would be forced to take that content down and to block anyone else from ever uploading it.

        And what do you do if you’re a smaller platform? The risk of letting just one such video through would almost certainly bankrupt you. But how is a smaller platform going to police for this kind of video that none of the copyright holders want policed? But, as a platform, Article 13 leaves them no choice.

      • EU Council poised to insist on mandatory upload filters

        The closed-door trilogue efforts to finalise the EU Copyright Directive continue. The Presidency of the Council, currently held by Austria, has now circulated among the EU member state governments a new proposal for a compromise between the differing drafts currently on the table for the controversial Articles 11 and 13.

Berkheimer or No Berkheimer, Software Patents Remain Mostly Unenforceable in the United States and the Supreme Court is Fine With That

Thursday 15th of November 2018 05:38:06 PM

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101, which is based on cases like Alice and Mayo, offers the ‘perfect storm’ against software patents; it doesn’t look like any of that will change any time soon (if ever)

THE NEW management of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is rather hostile towards 35 U.S.C. § 101, which it is hoping to change in complete defiance of caselaw or by cherry-picking Federal Circuit decisions (only those which suit the Director’s bias). The USPTO must raise patent quality, not lower it.

“They try to overturn or at least override Alice. 4.5 years later they’re still not successful.”A few days ago Watchtroll’s Steve Brachmann said that the “Supreme Court Refuses Another 101 Patent Eligibility Appeal” (this was the headline. Yes, Alice is here to stay. SCOTUS gives the middle finger to software patents, even after Trump added a couple of new Justices. “On Monday, November 5th,” Brachmann noted, “the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition asking the Court to take up Real Estate Alliance Ltd. v. Move, Inc., et. al. on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). The case becomes just another example in a long line of patent appeals involving questions of patent eligibility the Supreme Court has decided to sidestep instead of offering clarity for what some believe has become an unintelligible test for patent eligibility.”

They will carry on trying; each time there’s a petition like this sites like Watchtroll, IAM, Patently-O and so on try hard to solicit briefs. They try to overturn or at least override Alice. 4.5 years later they’re still not successful. Chasing shadows.

Then there’s the Berkheimer case, which the above sites boosted for almost half a year before they finally gave up. As we noted several times before, citing relevant/supporting data, Berkheimer has not really changed invalidation rates of abstract software patents; it could, in theory, but it did not (or barely did, if at all, for reasons we explained before). Weaker patents aren’t even being enforced anymore because confidence associated with their validity is very low.

The “EFF, together with the R Street Institute,” the EFF said yesterday, “has filed an amicus brief [PDF] urging the Supreme Court to grant certiorari, and fix yet another flawed Federal Circuit decision.” To quote:

This year, we celebrated the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank. Alice made clear that generic computers do not make abstract ideas eligible for patent protection. Following the decision, district courts across the country started rejecting ineligible abstract patents at early stages of litigation. That has enabled independent software developers and small businesses to fight meritless infringement allegations without taking on the staggering costs and risks of patent litigation. In other words, Alice has made the patent system better at doing what it is supposed to do: promote technological innovation and economic growth.

Unfortunately, Alice’s pro-innovation effects are already in danger. As we’ve explained before, the Federal Circuit’s decision in Berkheimer v. HP Inc. turns Alice upside-down by treating the legal question of patent eligibility as a factual question based on the patent owner’s uncorroborated assertions. That will just make patent litigation take longer and cost more because factual questions generally require expensive discovery and trial before they can be resolved.

Even worse, Berkheimer gives patent owners free rein to actually create factual questions because of its emphasis on a patent’s specification. The specification is the part of the patent that describes the invention and the background state of the art. The Patent Office generally does not have the time or resources to verify whether every statement in the specification is accurate. This means that, in effect, the Berkheimer ruling will allow patent owners to create factual disputes and defeat summary judgment by inserting convenient “facts” into their patent applications.

[...]

Our brief explains that Berkheimer is wrong on the law and bad for innovation. First, it exempts patent owners from the rules of federal court litigation by permitting them to rely on uncorroborated statements in a patent specification to avoid speedy judgment under Alice. Second, it conflicts with Supreme Court precedent, which has never required factfinding deciding the legal question of patent eligibility. Third, it threatens to undo the innovation, creativity, and economic growth that Alice has made possible, especially in the software industry, because Alice empowers courts to decide patent eligibility without factfinding or trial.

So the EFF wants to overturn Berkheimer, we get it, but at what cost/risk? If Berkheimer was to be upheld at this level (with two new Justices), that might jeopardise the status quo. Berkheimer can be mostly ignored because as we last noted about a fortnight ago, it’s barely even mentioned anymore (only about once a week, despite being the same year).

Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 has actually been a very positive development; as per Professor Chien's (and Jiun Ying Wu's) paper, the litigation 'industry' very habitually spreads lies and sensationalises 35 U.S.C. § 101 (to make it seem as though all patents are suddenly void and the sky is falling). Professor Michael Risch, citing Colleen Chien (Santa Clara) and her student Jiun Ying Wu, has just written about “Measuring Alice’s Effect on Patent Prosecution,” citing a paper by the wrong URL. His outline of it:

The essay is a short, easy read, and the graphs really tell you all you need to know from a differences-in-differences point of view – there was a huge spike in medical diagnostics rejections following Mayo and software & business patent rejections following Alice. We already knew this from the Bilski Blog, but this is comprehensive. Interesting to me from a legal history/political economy standpoint is the fact that software rejections were actually trending downward after Mayo but before Alice. I’ve always thought that was odd. The Mayo test, much as I dislike it, easily fits with abstract ideas in the same way it fits with natural phenomena. Why courts and the PTO simply did not make that leap until Alice has always been a great mystery to me.

Another important finding is that 101 apparently hasn’t destroyed any other tech areas the way it has software and diagnostics. Even so, 10% to 15% rejections in other areas is a whole lot more than there used to be. Using WIPO technical classifications shows that most areas have been touched somehow.

In a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) just noted by James Korenchan, the notorious Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED) rejected a 35 U.S.C. § 101 challenge; time to escalate this to CAFC then?

Plaintiff CyWee Group Ltd. (“CyWee”) sued Defendants Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (collectively, “Samsung”), asserting various claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,441,438 (the ’438 patent) and U.S. Patent No. 8,552,978 (the ’978 patent) (a child of the ’438 patent). Samsung responded with a motion for summary judgment of invalidity of all asserted claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Last week, Circuit Judge William C. Bryson (sitting by designation in the Eastern District of Texas) denied the motion.

The claims of the asserted patents generally involve using a particular combination of sensors of a “3D pointing device” to gather raw data points representative of a position of the device, and then inputting those data points into a mathematical formula to determine an orientation of the device in a spatial reference frame. As an example, a 3D pointing device can be a mouse or other controller used to play video games such that, when a user moves the device, a pointer on the screen moves along with the orientation of the device.

As we noted in our previous post, it is nowadays fashionable to bash the courts, including CAFC. Dennis Crouch continues to belittle the Federal Circuit (the court) and SCOTUS (TC Heartland) because he supports patent trolls and harassers; he fails to even hide that…

His latest rant is titled “Get that Case Out of Here! Federal Circuit Continues to Allow Mandamus Actions to Cure Improper Venue” and the tone resembles his many rants about decisions with no written opinions/decisions. To quote this latest one:

The outcome of this case is simple: Oath doesn’t have to defend a patent infringement lawsuit in E.D.N.Y. because that location is an “improper venue.”

Under TC Heartland (2017), patent owners in patent cases now have a fairly limited set of options for filing infringement actions.

[..].

TC Heartland falls directly in line with the prior supreme court decision in Fourco Glass (1957). However, during the interim, the Federal Circuit had expanded its definition of proper venue to include any court that has personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Thus, for someone who studies only Supreme Court law, TC Heartland was a continuation of an unchanged law. On the other hand, the case was a major shift for those of us whose gaze is directed to the Federal Circuit (and practical district court litigation). The Federal Circuit has identified the latter frame of reference as appropriate — holding that TC Heartland was a change in the law. In re Micron Technology, Inc., 875 F.3d 1091 (Fed. Cir. 2017). The Micron decision was important because it prompted district courts to revisit the venue question even if the issue was seemingly waived.

What’s the alternative? CAFC ignoring the higher court? The highest court, too? Perhaps Dennis Crouch would like to join his friends at Watchtroll and routinely attack the Supreme Court, too. Wouldn’t that be classy?

Ignoring and Bashing Courts: Is This the Future of Patent Offices in the West?

Thursday 15th of November 2018 04:03:16 PM

President Battistelli went as far as publicly attacking and threatening judges — the hallmark of President Donald Trump

Summary: Andrei Iancu, who is trying to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101 while Trump ‘waters down’ SCOTUS (which delivered Alice), isn’t alone; António Campinos, the new President of the EPO, is constantly promoting software patents (which European courts reject, citing the EPC) and even Australia’s litigation ‘industry’ is dissenting against Australian courts that stubbornly reject software patents

BOTH the European Patent Office (EPO) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have been granting software patents in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and in spite of software patents in Europe being de facto banned (bar loopholes that António Campinos is happy to exploit and even expand).

“This merely lowers confidence in US patents and, accordingly, lowers their collective worth.”Mr. Iancu, the ‘American Battistelli’, will soon be a speaker at the IP Awareness Summit (IPAS), which is an indoctrination/lobbying campaign set up by parasites who cause as much litigation as possible, making themselves ‘necessary’. IPAS is promoted by various sites of patent lawyers this week. Here’s one that takes note of Iancu’s participation:

US Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Andrei Iancu, will speak at the event.

Looking at the past week’s news regarding software patents, we can’t help but notice that the Andrei Iancu-led Office is again issuing fake patents or software patents that courts would almost certainly reject. They just never learn, do they? This merely lowers confidence in US patents and, accordingly, lowers their collective worth. Here’s a new press release about a new patent grant on how to “correlate across static analysis so that development teams can fix one bug, push this fix down the line, and seamlessly remediate multiple vulnerabilities within the code.”

“Looking at the past week’s news regarding software patents, we can’t help but notice that the Andrei Iancu-led Office is again issuing fake patents or software patents that courts would almost certainly reject.”How is that not a software patent? IBM, we should probably add, is still patenting software. Red Hat’s takeover is not looking good in light of IBM’s software patents policy, which remains unchanged. IBM’s software patents (or filings thereof) on management of patents have gotten a ton of press coverage; earlier this week there were over a dozen articles like [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], probably because of the “Blockchain” factor alone. The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) thinks that IBM will use/adopt Red Hat patents in the usual ways (IBM is a longtime patent bully). “The open source business’s portfolio is not big,” IAM wrote about Red Hat’s patents, “but should bolster Big Blue’s attempts to bridge the gap with Amazon, Google and Microsoft in a space that is rapidly growing in importance.”

Red Hat should never have pursued software patents in the first place; now all these patents are at the hands of the corporation that lobbies the most for software patents. We warned about it. Some Red Hat employees even sympathised with our warnings.

“Red Hat should never have pursued software patents in the first place; now all these patents are at the hands of the corporation that lobbies the most for software patents.”Over at the EPO the situation isn’t so promising either because earlier today the EPO once again promoted (as usual) software patents using hype waves (like “Blockchain”). “This conference will explore the IP protection & patenting of #blockchain technology and of its applications in different technical fields,” it said. It’s about software patents. It also did the usual “SDV” thing, writing: “European patent applications related to autonomous driving have grown 20 times faster than those across all technologies.”

Many of those are software patents pertaining to algorithms running on a computer inside a car. The EPO hopes that by emphasising “cars” it’ll successfully make such algorithms look/sound “physical” or “technical” or whatever.

We should probably mention, at least as a side-/sub-note, that SUEPO has removed yesterday’s post about USF (covered in this post of ours). Did the EPO under António Campinos once again threaten them? It happened before. If someone with contacts/connections to SUEPO can ask them why they removed that page and then tell us, we’ll appreciate it. If SUEPO was forced to remove links about unions, there would be something poetic about it (like censorship of information about censorship).

“It is noteworthy that in some of the largest “Western” economies (we recognise that Australia isn’t in the West, but it’s heavily influenced by the Western ‘bloc’) the courts say “no!” to software patents, yet the only ones complaining about that are those who profit from litigation.”Last but not least, posted behind paywall today was this piece titled “Computer Software Inventions Patentability Case Has Got IPTA’s Patents in a Bunch” (slang). It says: “A high profile appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia about the patentability of computer inventions could reset the IPTA’s bar on the…”

As a reminder, the Australian legal system nowadays rejects software patents (see our wiki under Australia), so Macpherson Kelley’s Mark Metzeling and Mitchell Willocks (i.e. the patent litigation ‘industry’) keep bashing courts etc. to promote bogus patents and IPTA's clients. It is noteworthy that in some of the largest “Western” economies (we recognise that Australia isn’t in the West, but it’s heavily influenced by the Western ‘bloc’) the courts say “no!” to software patents, yet the only ones complaining about that are those who profit from litigation. They occasionally smear judges and courts (we find new examples every week).

Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Figure Out How to Stop PTAB or Prevent US Patent Quality From Ever Improving

Thursday 15th of November 2018 02:28:56 PM

Older: Trump’s USPTO Nominee is a Supporter of Software Patents

Summary: Improvements are being made to US patents because of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which amends/culls/pro-actively rejects (at application phases) bad patents; but the likes of Andrei Iancu cannot stand that because they’re patent maximalists, who personally gain from an over-saturation of patents

Photo credit: The American Lawyer

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is grappling if not struggling with the fact that many of the patents it grants are worthless, useless, toothless in courts. It’s like they’re just a pile of papers, claiming some idea to be ‘owned’ by someone when in reality it’s as good as a pupil’s note from mommy, saying something along the lines of “the dog ate my homework!”

“The coordinated (albeit at times sporadic and disorganised) attack on PTAB almost always comes from litigation ‘industry’ insiders.”Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) are upsetting Iancu, a patent litigation insider — if not ‘mole’ — whom Donald Trump made Director of the Office (they had worked together before Trump became President). We warned about him from the very start (early nomination stages [1, 2, 3, 4]).

The coordinated (albeit at times sporadic and disorganised) attack on PTAB almost always comes from litigation ‘industry’ insiders. IAM, Watchtroll etc. come to mind. PTAB stands in their way and they cannot stand it.

Michael Loney, who writes for a site that derives its income from the litigation ‘industry’ (the business model of Managing IP is pretty revealing), takes note of the PTAB-crushing ‘reform’ and its effect on IPRs:

November is already 2018’s record month for Patent Trial and Appeal Board filing, with 178 petitions in the month ahead of November 13’s shift to the Phillips claim construction standard

Petitioners rushed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ahead of November 13’s change to using the Phillips claim construction standard and ditching the broadest reasonable interpretation standard.

That was two days ago. What will be the impact on filing numbers? Will 35 U.S.C. § 101 still squash hundreds of software patents per month owing to PTAB?

Unified Patents has meanwhile brought up Unified Patents v Collision Avoidance Techs (a patent troll), taking note of a development from the same date as above:

On November 13, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Collision Avoidance Techs., LLC, IPR2017-01355 invalidating claims 21, 22, 24, 25 and 28 of U.S. Patent 6,268,803 owned and asserted by Collision Avoidance Technologies, a subsidiary of well-known NPE Quarterhill Inc. (f/k/a Wi-LAN Inc.). The ’803 Patent, directed to a system and method to help drivers of vehicles avoid collisions, was previously asserted in district court litigation against Ford and Toyota.

Quarterhill, the ‘puppetmaster’ of this troll, was mentioned here before, e.g. [1, 2, 3].

Unified Patents is a strong proponent of PTAB because of its business model, but at least Unified Patents actually serves science and technology (or companies that produce something). Contrariwise, PTAB foes are proponents of trolls, parasites, bullies, charlatans and lawyers. Scholars almost always side with the former (industry), not the ‘industry’ which is litigation. But law professors less so. Case of point? Dennis Crouch.

“No Costs to Government when it Intervenes in IPR Proceedings,” Crouch wrote earlier this week, taking note of a case against AMD. Crouch has long attempted to crush PTAB in all sorts of ways (we wrote a lot about it). Here’s the latest situation:

In a R.36 Affirmance, the Federal Circuit upheld the PTAB obviousness judgment. The USPTO promptly filed a request for a bill of costs for $387.60. The Federal Circuit has now rejected that request since the PTO was an intervenor, not a party.

LG Electronics (LG) sued Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) for infringement back in 2014 and AMD responded with the filing of this inter partes review (IPR) petition. U.S. Patent 7,664,971. The PTAB found all the challenged claims obvious and LGE appealed, but AMD did not defend the case on appeal since the parties settled the underlying infringement dispute. At that point, the PTO “exercised its right to intervene” under 35 U.S.C. 143.

Crouch then mentioned “inventor-professor-billionaire David Cheriton [who] was formerly employed as Cisco’s chief product architect” and now wants his own patent invalidated (PTAB is the only option). To quote:

The traditional rule of assignor estoppel prevents prior owners of a patent from later challenging the validity of the patent. The doctrine stems from old property law cases and is based upon the idea is that the assignor “should not be permitted to sell something and later to assert that what was sold is worthless, all to the detriment of the assignee.” Diamond Scientific Co. v. Ambico, Inc., 848 F.2d 1220 (Fed. Cir. 1988); see Westinghouse Elec. & Mfg. Co. v. Formica Ins. Co., 266 U.S. 342 (1924). Of course, most ‘assignors’ are inventor-employees who assign away rights well before even conceiving of their inventions.

[...]

In this case, the inventor-professor-billionaire David Cheriton was formerly employed as Cisco’s chief product architect. After inventing an improved “logging module,” Cheriton assigned rights to Cisco who patented the invention. The assignment included several promises , including a promise to “do everything possible to aid said assignee, their successors, assigns and nominees, at their request and expense, in obtaining and enforcing patents for said invention in all countries.” Cheriton later left Cisco and founded Arista. At that point, Cisco turned around and sued Arista for infringement. Arista responded with the IPR challenge.

This whole situation is noteworthy because here we have people actually regretting their own patents. We wrote a great deal about the appalling case against Arista, which yielded partial embargoes through the ITC. Had PTAB had more clout and capacity, ITC would have thrown out the complaint filed by Cisco, a company which itself (oddly enough) supports PTAB, albeit only when it suits Cisco.

Links 15/11/2018: Zentyal 6.0, Deepin 15.8, Thunderbird Project Hiring

Thursday 15th of November 2018 01:01:37 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
  • Server
    • Getting Clarity on the Private vs. Public Cloud Decision

      News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures.

      Private (or on-premises) cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to “Busting the Myths of Private Cloud Economics,” a report 451 Research and Canonical released Wednesday. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures.

      Half of the enterprise IT decision-makers who participated in the study identified cost as the No. 1 pain point associated with the public cloud. Forty percent mentioned cost-savings as a key driver of cloud migration.

      “We understand that people are looking for more cost-effective infrastructure. This was not necessarily news to us,” said Mark Baker, program director at Canonical.

    • ​OpenStack: Beyond the cloud

      Kata “Containers” is something of a misnomer. Rather than true containers, such as LXC, Kara Containers are lightweight VMs designed to feel and perform like containers. Why bother? Eric Ernst, an Kata Containers Architecture Committee member, explained, they “provide the workload isolation and security advantages of VMs.”

    • 6 Best Practices for High-Performance Serverless Engineering

      When you write your first few lambdas, performance is the last thing on your mind. Permissions, security, identity and access management (IAM) roles and triggers all conspire to make the first couple of lambdas, even after a “hello world” trial just to get your first serverless deployments up and working. But once your users begin to rely on services your lambdas provide, it’s time to focus on high-performance serverless.

    • The IBM-Red Hat Deal Cuts Both Ways for Canonical

      Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, made some negative comments about his competitors’ licensing fees during his speech at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver in May. People in the audience were looking at each other with raised eyebrows, and a few people even laughed out loud at the audacity. Still, Shuttleworth was invited to keynote the OpenStack Summit in Berlin this week. But this time, he says he was asked “not to name names.”

      Shuttleworth said for his keynote this week he planned to continue the discussion about the long-term operability of OpenStack and the economics of operating it. “We’re very conscious that organizations will only do private cloud if it makes common sense,” he said. “And they can also work in public cloud. We’re very focused on deploying the cloud cost effectively.”

    • Scalyr Rolls Out New Troubleshooting Features to Advance Engineering Productivity and Collaboration Across Modern Architectures
    • Red Hat expands PHL operations, opens new office in Makati
    • 7 open source platforms to get started with serverless computing

      The term serverless has been coming up in more conversations recently. Let’s clarify the concept, and those related to it, such as serverless computing and serverless platform.

      Serverless is often used interchangeably with the term FaaS (Functions-as-a-Service). But serverless doesn’t mean that there is no server. In fact, there are many servers—serverful—because a public cloud provider provides the servers that deploy, run, and manage your application.

      Serverless computing is an emerging category that represents a shift in the way developers build and deliver software systems. Abstracting application infrastructure away from the code can greatly simplify the development process while introducing new cost and efficiency benefits. I believe serverless computing and FaaS will play an important role in helping to define the next era of enterprise IT, along with cloud-native services and the hybrid cloud.

    • DLT Named Red Hat Public Sector Partner for 2019; Brian Strosser Quoted

      Red Hat has selected DLT Solutions as its Public Sector Partner of the Year in recognition of the Herndon, Va.-based tech firm’s contributions to the former’s business efforts.

      DLT said Tuesday it provides government agencies with resale access to open-source technologies such as Red Hat’s cloud, middleware and Linux software offerings.

      The company has provided services in support of Red Hat’s products through contracts under the General Services Administration‘s GSA Schedule, NASA‘s SEWP V, the Defense Department‘s Enterprise Software Initiative and the National Institutes of Health‘s Chief Information Officer – Commodities and Solutions vehicles.

  • Kernel Space
    • AMD Is Hiring Another Mesa/RadeonSI Driver Developer

      AMD is hiring another open-source Linux graphics driver developer with a focus on the Mesa/RadeonSI driver stack.

      There is a new job posting for a Senior Software Development Engineer with a focus on open-source graphics. This job role will be working on their open-source graphics driver, work on driver bring-up, debug issues, improve driver performance, coordinate with Linux distributions, and engage with the open-source graphics development community. I’ve been able to confirm with AMD that this is focused on their Mesa/RadeonSI driver as opposed to say just their AMDGPU kernel driver.

    • AMD Stages Latest Radeon/AMDGPU Changes For Linux 4.21 Kernel

      AMD has posted their initial set of AMDGPU driver changes slated to go into the future Linux 4.21 kernel by way of DRM-Next.

      This is the first of likely two or three feature pull requests to DRM-Next for staging until the Linux 4.21 kernel cycle kicks off in the final days of 2018 or early 2019.

    • Zinc: a new kernel cryptography API

      We looked at the WireGuard virtual private network (VPN) back in August and noted that it is built on top of a new cryptographic API being developed for the kernel, which is called Zinc. There has been some controversy about Zinc and why a brand new API was needed when the kernel already has an extensive crypto API. A recent talk by lead WireGuard developer Jason Donenfeld at Kernel Recipes 2018 would appear to be a serious attempt to reach out, engage with that question, and explain the what, how, and why of Zinc.

      WireGuard itself is small and, according to Linus Torvalds, a work of art. Two of its stated objectives are maximal simplicity and high auditability. Donenfeld initially did try to implement WireGuard using the existing kernel cryptography API, but after trying to do so, he found it impossible to do in any sane way. That led him to question whether it was even possible to meet those objectives using the existing API.

      By way of a case study, he considered big_key.c. This is kernel code that is designed to take a key, store it encrypted on disk, and then return the key to someone asking for it if they are allowed to have access to it. Donenfeld had taken a look at it, and found that the crypto was totally broken. For a start, it used ciphers in Electronic Codebook (ECB) mode, which is known to leave gross structure in ciphertext — the encrypted image of Tux on the left may still contain data perceptible to your eye — and so is not recommended for any serious cryptographic use. Furthermore, according to Donenfeld, it was missing authentication tags (allowing ciphertext to be undetectably modified), it didn’t zero keys out of memory after use, and it didn’t use its sources of randomness correctly; there were many CVEs associated with it. So he set out to rewrite it using the crypto API, hoping to better learn the API with a view to using it for WireGuard.

      The first step with the existing API is to allocate an instance of a cipher “object”. The syntax for so doing is arguably confusing — for example, you pass the argument CRYPTO_ALG_ASYNC to indicate that you don’t want the instance to be asynchronous. When you’ve got it set up and want to encrypt something, you can’t simply pass data by address. You must use scatter/gather to pass it, which in turn means that data in the vmalloc() area or on the stack can’t just be encrypted with this API. The key you’re using ends up attached not to the object you just allocated, but to the global instance of the algorithm in question, so if you want to set the key you must take a mutex lock before doing so, in order to be sure that someone else isn’t changing the key underneath you at the same time. This complexity has an associated resource cost: the memory requirements for a single key can approach a megabyte, and some platforms just can’t spare that much. Normally one would use kvalloc() to get around this, but the crypto API doesn’t permit it. Although this was eventually addressed, the fix was not trivial.

    • 4.20 Merge window part 2

      At the end of the 4.20 merge window, 12,125 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline kernel repository; 6,390 came in since last week’s summary was written. As is often the case, the latter part of the merge window contained a larger portion of cleanups and fixes, but there were a number of new features in the mix as well.

    • Linux Foundation
      • Results: Linux Foundation Technical Board Election 2018

        The results of the 2018 election for members of the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board have been posted; the members elected this time around are Chris Mason, Laura Abbott, Olof Johansson, Dan Williams, and Kees Cook. Abbott and Cook are new members to the board this time around. (The other TAB members are Ted Ts’o, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jonathan Corbet, Tim Bird, and Steve Rostedt).

      • LF Deep Learning Delivers First Acumos AI Release Making it Easier to Deploy and Share Artificial Intelligence Models

        The LF Deep Learning Foundation, a project of The Linux Foundation that supports open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL), today announced the availability of its first software release of the Acumos AI Project – Athena.

        Acumos AI is a platform and open source framework that makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications. Acumos AI standardizes the infrastructure stack and components required to run an out-of-the-box general AI environment. This frees data scientists and model trainers to focus on their core competencies and accelerate innovation.

      • Linux Foundation’s Acumos Wants To Make It Easier Deploying AI Apps

        The latest software initiative out of the Linux Foundation — and in particular their Deep Learning Foundation — is the Acumos AI “Athena” release that tries to make it easier dealing with artificial intelligence apps.

        Acumos Athena is an effort to make it easier to deploy AI applications across private/public clouds and other environments. Acumos is a framework for building, sharing, and deploying AI applications and provides a standardized stack for these components.

      • Linux Foundation launches Acumos platform for quick AI deployment

        LF Deep Learning Foundation today announced the first publicly available release of Acumos AI, an open source framework and platform for the training and deployment of AI models.

        Created in March, the LF Deep Learning Foundation is part of the Linux Foundation project and supports open source projects for machine learning, deep learning, and AI.

        Founding members include Tencent, Baidu, Huawei, ZTE, AT&T, and Nokia.

        Acumos AI, whose release version is codenamed Athena, also began in March and includes the participation of about 75 developers, a foundation spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. An updated version is due out in mid-2019, according to a statement provided to VentureBeat.

      • Observatory joins Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage

        Yesterday in Berlin SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and artificial intelligence applications.

        The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced that over 30 global technology leaders are forming a new foundation to support the Ceph open source project community. The Ceph project develops a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces.

        “Ceph has a long track record of success when it comes to helping organisations effectively manage high growth and expanding data storage demands,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. “This partnership will assist us to store and retrieve the huge volumes of data that will be collected by the MeerKAT radio telescope,” says Dr. Rob Adam, Managing Director of SARAO.

        The MeerKAT is a 64-antenna array radio telescope that has been built on the SKA site in the Karoo, and which will be integrated into the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array. MeerKAT has the capacity to process 275 gigabytes per second in real time – that equates to approximately 58 DVDs per second. SARAO currently uses Ceph to synthesise a ~20 petabyte object-based storage system, for the data generated by the MeerKAT radio telescope array.

      • SARAO joins the Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage
      • SA astronomers go open source for massive MeerKAT data

        MeerKAT has the capacity to process 275GBps in real-time, equating to approximately 58 DVDs per second.
        The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) has joined the Ceph Foundation to advance open source storage.

        SARAO manages SA’s activities in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope in engineering, science and construction.

        It is a national facility managed by the National Research Foundation. It incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT and KAT-7 telescopes in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry programme in nine African countries, as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours.

        This week, in Berlin, Germany, SARAO joined 30 other members in the establishment of the Ceph Foundation, to manage the massive growth in data and information generated from cloud, container and artificial intelligence applications.

    • Graphics Stack
      • The Newest Mesa NIR/SPIR-V Code For Handling OpenCL Kernels

        It’s now been nearly one year since longtime Nouveau contributor Karol Herbst joined Red Hat where one of his big projects has been working on OpenCL support for this open-source NVIDIA driver by bringing up NIR/SPIR-V support and making the necessary improvements for allowing OpenCL kernels to be represented in that IR commonly used by the Mesa drivers. The work still isn’t yet in Mesa Git, but Karol this week sent out his newest patches.

        Karol Herbst sent out 22 patches this week in regards to adding support for OpenCL kernels within Mesa’s NIR and SPIR-V common code. The patches are mostly adding the necessary OpenCL bits to the common NIR/SPIR-V compiler code for handling the intricacies of OpenCL kernels with features like physical pointer support, cl_size/cl_alignment, and other bits.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • Carlos Garnacho: On the track for 3.32

        It happens sneakily, but there’s more things going on in the Tracker front than the occasional fallout. Yesterday 2.2.0-alpha1 was released, containing some notable changes.

        On and off during the last year, I’ve been working on a massive rework of the SPARQL parser. The current parser was fairly solid, but hard to extend for some of the syntax in the SPARQL 1.1 spec. After multiple attempts and failures at implementing property paths, I convinced myself this was the way forward.

      • Robert Ancell: Counting Code in GNOME Settings

        I’ve been spending a bit of time recently working on GNOME Settings. One part of this has been bringing some of the older panel code up to modern standards, one of which is making use of GtkBuilder templates.

        I wondered if any of these changes would show in the stats, so I wrote a program to analyse each branch in the git repository and break down the code between C and GtkBuilder.

  • Distributions
    • Reviews
      • A Linux Noob Reviews: The Pop!_OS Installer From System76

        Welcome to a new series here at Forbes that zeroes in on your very first experience with a new desktop Linux operating system: the installer. In this debut review I’m going to explain why the heck I’m doing this, and give you a closer look at the relatively new Pop!_OS installer from boutique PC manufacturer System76 — the same installer that actually inspired these articles. (Spoiler: yes it’s that good.)

        [...]

        That tagline, present in the default wallpaper for Pop!_OS, also says a little something about the installer itself. This is, in my experience, sets a benchmark for other installers in the desktop Linux world. Even the most complex aspect of installing a Linux OS — partitioning — is explained in detail. Granted, the simplest partitioning tasks will take rookies a few tries to comprehend and master (myself included), but System76 did an exemplary job with the included help pages, and the interface is the most intuitive I’ve used. So far anyway!

        Seriously folks, I never thought I’d walk away from an installer and feel excited. Nor did I imagine it would inspire an entire series of articles. But here we are! System76 has crafted an intuitive, fast and streamlined installation process that improves the incoming perception of desktop Linux for newcomers, and may perhaps feel like a breath of fresh air for Linux veterans. Overall, it looks fantastic and made me eager to dig into the daily Pop!_OS experience.

    • New Releases
    • Fedora
      • Fedora Perfecting Their Flicker-Free Boot Experience With A New Plymouth Theme

        The recent release of Fedora 29 the long-desired goal of a flicker-free boot experience to the Linux desktop was finally achieved… Well, assuming you are for now using Intel graphics and set a couple extra settings and don’t have any quirky hardware. While all of the key components are in place, for Fedora 30 and beyond they will likely be taking care of the “rough edges” and already there is work on a new Plymouth boot theme for pairing with this flicker-free boot process.

      • New plymouth theme for flickerfree boot

        Since the transition to plymouth is not entirely smooth plymouth by default will wait 5 seconds (counted from starting the kernel) before showing itself so that on systems which boot under 5 seconds it never shows. As can be seen in this video, this leads to a very non-smooth experience when the boot takes say 7 seconds as plymouth then only shows briefly, leading to a kinda “flash” effect while it briefly shows.

        Another problem with the 5 second wait, is now that we do not show GRUB the user is looking at the firmware’s bootsplash for not only the often long firmware initialization time, but also for the 5 seconds plymouth waits on top, making it look as if nothing is happening.

        To fix this I’ve been working on a new plymouth theme which draws a spinner over the firmware boot splash, eliminating the ugly transition from the firmware boot splash to plymouth. This also allows removing the show-delay, so that we provide feedback that something is happening as soon as plymouth starts.

      • Fedora Community Blog: Elections nominations now open
      • Linux Day 2018 – Italy

        Every year, on the last Saturday of October, in Italy there is a national event called “Linux Day”. This year was the 18th edition and it was held on October 27.

        The event is promoted by the Italian Linux Society, and it is independently organized in many cities all around the country by groups of volunteers, LUGs and various associations. Even if it is highly fragmented (many little events in many cities), it is probably the biggest Italian event related to Linux and FLOSS, that is directly organized by people involved in the communities and by ordinary users.

        The aim of such event is to to promote Linux and FLOSS in general: in each city there are many talks, presentations and installation parties. The target audience is not limited to computer enthusiasts, hackers or IT professionals, but newbies, students and curious citizens are welcome as well.

    • Debian Family
      • Limiting the power of package installation in Debian

        There is always at least a small risk when installing a package for a distribution. By its very nature, package installation is an invasive process; some packages require the ability to make radical changes to the system—changes that users surely would not want other packages to take advantage of. Packages that are made available by distributions are vetted for problems of this sort, though, of course, mistakes can be made. Third-party packages are an even bigger potential problem because they lack this vetting, as was discussed in early October on the debian-devel mailing list. Solutions in this area are not particularly easy, however.

        Lars Wirzenius brought up the problem: “when a .deb package is installed, upgraded, or removed, the maintainer scripts are run as root and can thus do anything.” Maintainer scripts are included in a .deb file to be run before and after installation or removal. As he noted, maintainer scripts for third-party packages (e.g. Skype, Chrome) sometimes add entries to the lists of package sources and signing keys; they do so in order to get security updates to their packages safely, but it may still be surprising or unwanted. Even simple mistakes made in Debian-released packages might contain unwelcome surprises of various sorts.

        He suggested that there could be a set of “profiles” that describe the kinds of changes that might be made by a package installation. He gave a few different examples, such as a “default” profile that only allowed file installation in /usr, a “kernel” profile that can install in /boot and trigger rebuilds of the initramfs, or “core” that can do anything. Packages would then declare which profile they required. The dpkg command could arrange that package’s install scripts could only make the kinds of changes allowed by its profile.

      • Derivatives
        • Deepin 15.8 – Attractive and Efficient, Excellent User Experience

          Deepin is an open source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel and desktop applications, supporting laptops, desktops and all-in-ones. deepin 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 of applications are offered in Deepin Store to meet your more needs. deepin, developed by a professional operating system R&D team and deepin technical community (www.deepin.org), is from the name of deepin technical community – “deepin”, which means deep pursuit and exploration of the life and the future.

          Compared with deepin 15.7, the ISO size of deepin 15.8 has been reduced by 200MB. The new release is featured with newly designed control center, dock tray and boot theme, as well as improved deepin native applications, hoping to bring users a more beautiful and efficient experience.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Snaps are the new Linux Apps that work on every Distro

            See, when using Linux, you couldn’t exactly Google the name of a program you want, then download the .exe file, double click it and it is installed like you would on Windows (although technically you can do that now with .deb files). You had to know your way around the Terminal. Once in the Terminal, like for the case of Ubuntu, you needed to add the software source to your Repository with sudo apt commands, then now update the cache, then finally install the app you want with sudo apt-get install. In most cases, the dependencies would be all messed up and you’d have to scroll through endless forums trying to figure out how to fix that one pesky dependency that just won’t allow your app to run well.

            You’d jump through all these hoops and then finally the app would run, but then it would look all weird because maybe it wasn’t made for your distro. Bottom line, it takes patience and resilience to install Linux Apps.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Finos launches open source programme

    Finos (the Fintech Open Source Foundation), a nonprofit foundation promoting open innovation in financial services, today announced the launch of a new Program focused on Decentralized Ecosystem Growth (DEG).

    Amber Baldet, CEO of Clovyr and former Blockchain Program Lead for J.P. Morgan Chase, revealed the Program in London during her keynote at FINOS’ annual flagship Open Source Strategy Forum – the only conference dedicated to open source in financial services. IHS Markit, FINOS Gold Member, will sponsor the program with Baldet serving as the first Program Management Committee (PMC) lead.

  • Open Source Identity and Access Management

    Looking back on the year as we enter the homestretch of 2018, one thing is apparent. With 2018 on track to be one of the worst years for security breaches ever, strong identity and access management (IAM) needs to be at the top of any IT organization’s checklist. Those that are cost conscious are asking, are there any viable open source identity and access management solutions on the market?

  • Free Open Source Techologies Are Big Business. Wait, What?
  • SpamAssassin is back

    The SpamAssassin 3.4.2 release was the first from that project in well over three years. At the 2018 Open Source Summit Europe, Giovanni Bechis talked about that release and those that will be coming in the near future. It would seem that, after an extended period of quiet, the SpamAssassin project is back and has rededicated itself to the task of keeping junk out of our inboxes.
    Bechis started by noting that spam filtering is hard because everybody’s spam is different. It varies depending on which languages you speak, what your personal interests are, which social networks you use, and so on. People vary, so results vary; he knows a lot of Gmail users who say that its spam filtering works well, but his Gmail account is full of spam. Since Google knows little about him, it is unable to train itself to properly filter his mail.

    Just like Gmail, SpamAssassin isn’t the perfect filter for everybody right out of the box; it’s really a framework that can be used to create that filter. Getting the best out of it can involve spending some time to write rules, for example.

  • Web Browsers
    • WebP images won’t load in Microsoft Edge with Application Guard

      This issue affects a lot of prominent websites who’ve opted to take advantage of the higher compression gains they get with a modern image format like WebP. You can also see it here on Ctrl blog where most images will just not work in Microsoft Edge.

      There isn’t really anything web developers can do to work around this issue other than strip out unsupported photo formats when encountering the Microsoft Edge User-Agent. The images won’t fire an error even when it fails to display, and you can’t detect that Microsoft Edge is running in Application Guard mode from the web platform.

    • Chrome
    • Mozilla
      • The Thunderbird project is hiring: Software Engineers

        We need your help to improve and maintain Thunderbird. Moving Thunderbird forward includes replacing/rewriting components to be based primarily on web technologies, reducing the reliance on Mozilla-internal interfaces. It also includes boosting the user experience of the product.

        Maintenance involves fixing bugs and regressions, as well as addressing technical debt and enhancing performance. Most tasks have a component of both maintenance and improvement, and any new component needs careful integration with the existing system.

        We have compiled a high level list of tasks here; the work assigned to you will include a subset of these items. Let us know in your cover letter where you believe you can make most impact and how.

      • Firefox 64 Beta 12 Testday, November 23th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, November 23th, we are organizing Firefox 64 Beta 12 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Multi-Select Tabs and Widevine CDM.

      • New & Experimental Web Design Tools: Feedback Requested

        A year ago, the Firefox DevTools team formed a subgroup to focus on new tools for working in web design, CSS, and HTML. Motivated by the success of the Grid Inspector, and with help from the Developer Outreach, Gecko Platform, and Accessibility teams, we launched the Variable Fonts Editor and the Shape Path Editor, added an Accessibility Inspector, and revamped our Responsive Design Mode.

        [...]

        We’re just getting started, and now we want to learn more about you. Tell us about your biggest CSS and web design issues in the first-ever Design Tools survey!

      • Firefox Monitor Launches in 26 Languages and Adds New Desktop Browser Feature

        Since the launch of Firefox Monitor, a free service that notifies you when your email has been part of a breach, hundreds of thousands of people have signed up.

        In response to the excitement from our global audience, Firefox Monitor is now being made available in more than 26 languages. We’re excited to bring Firefox Monitor to users in their native languages and make it easier for people to learn about data breaches and take action to protect themselves.

        When your personal information is possibly at risk in a data breach, reading news and information in the language you understand best helps you to feel more in control. Now, Firefox Monitor will be available in Albanian, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English (Canadian), French, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Ukranian and Welsh.

        We couldn’t have accomplished this feat without our awesome Mozilla community of volunteers who worked together to make this happen. We’re so grateful for their support in making Firefox Monitor available to more than 2.5 billion non-English speakers.

      • When does Firefox alert for breached sites?

        Data breaches are common for online services. Humans make mistakes, and humans make the Internet. Some online services discover, mitigate, and disclose breaches quickly. Others go undetected for years. Recent breaches include “fresh” data, which means victims have less time to change their credentials before they are in the hands of attackers. While old breaches have had more time to make their way into scripted credential stuffing attacks. All breaches are dangerous to users.

        As stated in the Mozilla Manifesto: “Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.” Most people simply don’t know that a data breach has affected them. Which makes it difficult to take the first step to secure their online accounts because they don’t know they’re insecure in the first place. This is why we launched Firefox Monitor.

      • Mozilla GFX: WebRender newsletter #30

        Hi! This is the 30th issue of WebRender’s most famous newsletter. At the top of each newsletter I try to dedicate a few paragraphs to some historical/technical details of the project. Today I’ll write about blob images.

        WebRender currently doesn’t support the full set of graphics primitives required to render all web pages. The focus so far has been on doing a good job of rendering the most common elements and providing a fall-back for the rest. We call this fall-back mechanism “blob images”.

        The general idea is that when we encounter unsupported primitives during displaylist building we create an image object and instead of backing it with pixel data or a texture handle, we assign it a serialized list of drawing commands (the blob). For WebRender, blobs are just opaque buffers of bytes and a handler object is provided by the embedder (Gecko in our case) to turn this opaque buffer into actual pixels that can be used as regular images by the rest of the rendering pipeline.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • The Houdini Project: Fundraising Software for Non-Profits Joins Conservancy

      First we were excited find out that a project like the Houdini Project even existed and now we can proudly say that they are also a Conservancy member! Services and applications for non-profits — that are also free software — are very close to our fiscal umbrella heart here at Conservancy. Houdini is our second incoming project this year that specifically caters to the needs of non-profits. Back in May, we welcomed Backdrop CMS a lightweight content management system that is great for non-profits, to the Conservancy fold. As long-time readers of the Conservancy blog know, the offerings for non-profits that care about software freedom are pretty slim, which is why we’ve also been working on our own non-profit accounting solution.

      The Houdini Project’s (‘Houdini’s) software is used by many worthy and hard-working organizations, but perhaps the most notable is the Panzi Foundation. The foundation focuses on ending sexual violence in wars and supporting survivors at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they rebuild their lives. Panzi Foundation’s co-founder, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a surgeon and activist who has devoted his life to this work received a Nobel Peace Prize this year. Other major users include Public Radio Exchange,WeMove.eu and Charter for Compassion.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • A “joke” in the glibc manual

      A “joke” in the glibc manual—targeting a topic that is, at best, sensitive—has come up for discussion on the glibc-alpha mailing list again. When we looked at the controversy in May, Richard Stallman had put his foot down and a patch removing the joke—though opinions of its amusement value vary—was reverted. Shortly after that article was published, a “cool down period” was requested (and honored), but that time has expired. Other developments in the GNU project have given some reason to believe that the time is ripe to finally purge the joke, but that may not work out any better than the last attempt.

      The joke in question refers to a US government “censorship rule” from over two decades ago regarding sharing of information about abortion. It is attached to documentation of the abort() call in glibc and the text of it can be seen in the patch to remove it. One might think that an age-old US-centric joke would be a good candidate for removal regardless of its subject matter. That it touches on a topic that is emotionally fraught for many might also make it unwelcoming—thus unwelcome in documentation. But, according to Stallman, that’s not so clear cut.

      [...]

      When pressed for more information about what these larger issues are, as O’Donell did, Stallman counseled patience. He did not offer any more information than that; perhaps the discussion has moved to a private mailing list or the like.

      For many, including me, it is a little hard to understand why there is any opposition to removing the joke at all. It is clearly out of place, not particularly funny, and doesn’t really push the GNU anti-censorship philosophy forward in any real way even if you grant that anti-censorship is a goal of the project (which some do not). There are, of course, those who oppose removing it because they are opposed to “political correctness” and do not see how it could be “unwelcoming”, but even they might concede that it is an oddity that is poked into a back corner of a entirely unrelated document. And it is not hard for many to see that tying the topic of abortion to a C function might be upsetting to some; why waste a bunch of project time defending it when it has effectively no impact in the direction that Stallman wants, while putting off some (possibly small) percentage of glibc manual readers?

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Protecting the open-source license commons

      Enforcement, especially involving version 2 of the GPL, has always been a part of the open-source landscape. It only reached the point of actual litigation in the early 2000s, where we saw enforcement efforts showing up in three broad classes. Community enforcement came directly from the developers, either individually or through organizations like the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC). Commercial entities have done some enforcement, usually in support of an associated proprietary licensing model. And “non-community developers”, such as Patrick McHardy, have been pursuing extortionate actions in search of commercial gain. These are the so-called copyright trolls, though he does not like that term. There has been an increase in all three types of enforcement in the last few years; one outcome has been the SFC enforcement principles that try to distinguish the first two types of enforcement from the last, he said.

      A lot of thought has gone into enforcement at his employer Red Hat; Fontana said that enforcement activities should be judged by whether they promote collaboration or not. Enforcement that promotes certainty, predictability, and a level playing field will do that, while commercially motivated enforcement will reduce the incentive to collaborate. So he believes, like many others, that enforcement should not be done for commercial gain. Beyond that, there needs to be transparency around the funding of litigation and the selection of targets. Proceedings should be open; the secrecy built into the German legal system (where much enforcement activity to date has taken place) has not helped here. And, overall, litigation is a poor way to achieve license compliance.

  • Programming/Development
    • Amazon Web Services promises to support OpenJDK through 2023 with release of internal tool as new open source project

      Developers using the popular OpenJDK (Java Development Kit) software tool can breathe a little easier Wednesday after Amazon Web Services announced it would support the tool with bug fixes and enhancements for the next several years with the release of an internally developed implementation of OpenJDK known as Amazon Coretto.

      Announced at Devoxx in Europe Wednesday, Coretto is an open-source distribution of OpenJDK developed for internal use at Amazon to manage Java applications. While Java is widely used to build enterprise applications, the future of OpenJDK has been in doubt thanks to Oracle’s decision to end support for the free version of OpenJDK as of this coming January.

    • One More Reaction to IBM’s Acquisition of Red Hat

      Now that the dust has settled around the explosive announcement that IBM will be acquiring open source software provider and longtime Java Community Process (JCP) leader Red Hat, I wanted to share the reaction to the deal of one of the keenest (and most fearless) observers of the Java universe.

    • New Open Source Java SDK Helps Devs with Active Directory Projects [Ed: When this Microsoft propaganda site mentions Java it’s actually promoting Microsoft’s lock-in, proprietary AD]

      Information security provider Imperva has been in the headlines recently, thanks to news that tech investment firm Thoma Bravo LLC plans to acquire it. But the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company caught my eye again last week when it announced that it has open sourced a new Java SDK designed to simplify interaction with Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD) for small, medium and large development projects using LDAP.

    • PHP Lands Preload Feature, Boosting Performance In Some Cases 30~50%

      PHP developers unanimously approved and already merged support for the new “preloading” concept for this web server language. PHP preloading basically allows loading PHP code that persists as long as the web server is running and that code will always be ready for each subsequent web request, which in some cases will dramatically speed-up the PHP performance on web servers.

      While PHP has long supported caching to avoid PHP code recompilation on each new web request, with each request PHP has still had to check to see if any of the source file(s) were modified, re-link class dependencies, and similar work. PHP preloading allows for given functions/classes to be “preloaded” that will survive as long as the web server is active. It effectively allows loading of functions or entire/partial frameworks that will then be present for each new web request just as if it were a built-in function.

    • Google Announces a Managed Cron Service: Google Cloud Scheduler

      Google announced a new Service on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – Cloud Scheduler, a fully managed cron job service that allows any application to invoke batch, big data and cloud infrastructure operations. The service is currently available in beta.

      With Google Cloud Scheduler customers can use the cron service with no need to manage the underlying infrastructure. There is also no need to manually intervene in the event of transient failure, as the services retries failed jobs. Furthermore, customers will only pay for the operations they run — GCP takes care of all resource provisioning, replication and scaling required to operate Cloud Scheduler. Also, customers can, according to Vinod Ramachandran, product manager at Google, benefit from:

Leftovers
  • Science
    • US travel ban blocking students from presenting their research

      At an academic conference, the question “where are you from?” can have many meanings. “For anybody who’s in science, that’s a complicated question,” says paleontologist P. David Polly. “Where are we now, where did we get our degree, where did we grow up, where did we get the other degree?” For many people in science, the list of answers will span multiple countries.

    • Real-world IT vs. computer science: 4 ways colleges are morphing

      While cloud computing is IT’s present, artificial intelligence (AI) in many ways is its future. The practical application of AI in the enterprise has not typically been taught at the undergraduate level. But that’s beginning to change. Earlier this year, Carnegie Mellon University launched its bachelor of science degree in Artificial Intelligence to address the growing demand addresses for AI specialists in the marketplace.

      Offering the first undergraduate AI degree in the U.S., the program will focus on providing students with in-depth knowledge of how to transform large amounts of data into actionable decisions.

      CMU’s bachelor’s degree program in computer science “teaches students to think broadly about methods that can accomplish a wide variety of tasks across many disciplines”, research professor of robotics and computer science and director of the new AI degree program Reid Simmons said in a statement. However, the bachelor’s degree in AI “will focus more on how complex inputs, such as vision, language, and huge databases, are used to make decisions or enhance human capabilities.”

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Chicago City Council Members Seek Hearing on Psychiatric Hospital

      Two Chicago City Council members Wednesday called for a hearing to look into reports that children at a psychiatric hospital were physically and sexually abused, including those in state care.

      Alderman Ed Burke, the powerful chairman of the council’s Finance Committee, and Alderman Margaret Laurino, from the Northwest Side’s 39th Ward, introduced the resolution calling for a hearing on Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital. The request, which cited ProPublica Illinois investigations, asks for details on the hospital’s business license and a review of the allegations.

      ProPublica Illinois found 16 allegations of abuse or neglect at the hospital in Uptown involving children since January. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which is charged with investigating those allegations, found sufficient evidence to support four. Seven were not substantiated, and five continue to be investigated.

      Some of those children had already been cleared for discharge but remained at the hospital because DCFS failed to find them a more appropriate placement.

    • A ProPublica and Malheur Enterprise Forum Asks: What Happens When People Found “Guilty Except for Insanity” Attack Again?

      This year, the Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica have examined how Oregon allows people charged with serious crimes, who were found “guilty except for insanity,” to be released from the state psychiatric hospital or supervised community programs. After reviewing the records of people set free by the state’s Psychiatric Security Review Board from Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2015, Malheur Enterprise reporter Jayme Fraser found that in almost 35 percent of those cases, people were charged with new crimes within three years.

      [...]

      What changes might better protect the public without sacrificing the rights of people with mental illness

    • Pricey Precision Medicine Often Financially Toxic For Cancer Patients

      when Kristen Kilmer was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer at age 38, her first thought was of her 8-year-old daughter. Kilmer lost her own mother as a teenager and was determined to get more time with her only child.

      Kilmer searched for experimental treatments, opting for an unproven approach in which researchers select drugs based on the genes in patients’ tumors. Doctors have selected her treatments for the past three years based on the unique, ever-changing DNA of her cancer cells. Now 41, Kilmer has responded better than anyone dared to hope. Her cancer has gone into hiding; her tumors are no longer visible on medical scans.

      Kilmer’s insurance company calls it experimental. As a consequence, her insurer has covered only a fraction of her care, forcing Kilmer to make an agonizing choice: stop taking a drug that costs nearly $17,000 a month or pay out-of-pocket, burdening her family with tremendous debt.

    • Spraying Poisons, Chasing Ghosts

      The twentieth first century continues the toxic business as usual of the twentieth century. Agribusiness, part of the military-industrial-complex, is king. The new weapon is spraying the world with mostly badly tested chemical poisons. And the strategy is the control of the natural world and societies.

      Few people know exactly what these chemical poisons do. Occasionally, they do kill insects and weeds. But they do much more, mostly harm. Scientists have revealed certain facts about those invisible effects. But agribusiness nullifies the significance of that knowledge. It does that by buying agricultural universities, the media and influencing politicians. Agribusiness guards its secrets, including how it has been controlling the politics of the world.

      [...]

      We see and hear a person in Miami Beach saying: “Well… they’re spraying again so I am just trying to shut it down and we’re going to the federal courts to try to do that. In August 2016, neurotoxic chemicals banned in Europe were first sprayed over Miami residents to kill Zika mosquitoes… many people were upset, including myself and have addressed the city of Miami Beach previously regarding the spaying of Naled onto our community.”

      Another Miami resident says: “I’m growing herbs that I’m thinking are organic, and they just sprayed Naled all over them.”

      Naled is a nerve poison related to chemical warfare agents.

      Spray planes “bombed” Miami Beach residents with the neurotoxic insecticide naled 2 to 3 times a day: “We only walked at night… I could see a thick layer of dust, smoke everywhere.” The helicopters flew about 100 feet over homes. The spraying lasted for five hours in the morning. The chemical coming down felt “like a little light rain.” The immediate effect was a “pounding headache you could not get rid of.”

  • Security
    • That Domain You Forgot to Renew? Yeah, it’s Now Stealing Credit Cards

      If you own a domain name that gets decent traffic and you fail to pay its annual renewal fee, chances are this mistake will be costly for you and for others. Lately, neglected domains have been getting scooped up by crooks who use them to set up fake e-commerce sites that steal credit card details from unwary shoppers.

      [...]

      If you’re on the fence about whether to renew a domain and it’s one of several you own, it may make sense to hold onto it and simply forward any incoming traffic to a domain you do want people to visit. In the event you decide to relinquish a domain, make sure you take stock of any online accounts you created with email addresses tied to that domain and move those to another email address, as those accounts will likely come under someone else’s control when the domain expires.

    • Stolen credit card details of nearly 250,000 British Airways customers on sale for up to £9.4m
    • Watch a real hacker hack into Hollywood’s hacky hacking scenes

      As with bad sex, most bad hacking scenes in movies and television involve someone needing to announce, “I’m in!” Since not long after people started connecting computers to other computers, Hollywood has been depicting fictional people attempting to use those connections for nefarious means. Naturally, Hollywood has also spent a lot of its time getting those depictions wrong. In the above clip from Wired, security researcher Samy Kamkar assesses a number of famous hacking scenes from TV and film to see just how off they are.

    • Red Team 101: Understanding Kali Linux

      Your security environment is complicated. You’re invested in multiple security tools – antivirus, firewalls, IDS, IPS, SIEM, DLP, and more. If you haven’t invested in a red team, however, you’re doing security wrong. How could you know that your expensive defenses are working unless you’ve tested them out?

      A red team is a great way to test your defenses. In brief, a red team is a small group of employees whose job is to try to hack into your organization, understand its vulnerabilities, and then help you patch them up.

    • Adobe Flash Player Update Version 31.0.0.148 Addresses a Significant Vulnerability Issue
    • It’s November 2018, and Microsoft’s super-secure Edge browser can be pwned eight different ways by a web page

      Microsoft and Adobe have delivered the November edition of Patch Tuesday with another sizable bundle of security fixes to install as soon as you’re able to.

      The trick is to test and deploy the fixes before exploits are developed to leverage the vulnerabilities.

    • A Research Paper Proposes Seven New Types of Spectre Attacks

      A group of nine scholastics has uncovered today seven new CPU attacks. The seven effect AMD, ARM, and Intel CPUs to different degrees. Two of the seven new attacks are varieties of the Meltdown attack, while the other five are a minor departure from the first Specter attacks – two surely understood attacks that have been uncovered toward the beginning of the year and found to affect CPUs models returning to 1995.

      Scientists say they’ve found the seven new CPU attacks while playing out “a sound and extensible systematization of transient execution attacks” – a catch-all term the examination group used to depict attacks on the different inner instruments that a CPU uses to process information, for example, the theoretical execution process, the CPU’s interior reserves, and other inward execution stages.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Brothers Who Were Online Friends With Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect Had Ties to Violent Neo-Nazis

      Ever since, the authorities have been piecing together a disturbing portrait of Clark and his older brother, Jeffrey Clark, 30, who had been online friends with the suspect in the Pittsburgh attack. Online, Jeffrey Clark had called the massacre a “dry run for things to come.”

      Now, there are new indications that the lives of the Clark brothers in Washington intersected with some of the most violent white supremacist groups in the country — including Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi organization that calls for racially motivated, lone-wolf terror attacks like Pittsburgh and whose members or associates have been charged in five murders in the last two years.

    • Paktia protestors say drone killed 7 civilians

      Residents of the Zazai Aryub district in southeastern Paktia province on Monday protested against what they claimed the killing of seven civilians in an American drone strike.

      The protesting residents said the seven innocent civilians were killed in Alikhel area on Saturday.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Has Time Run Out For Julian Assange? Signs Point to Imminent Extradition

      It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put the government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put the government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.

      [...]

      Moral and racial superiority entitles the U.S. to occupy the world with military bases, ringing any nation that challenges its hegemony with military aircraft, battleships, assault vehicles, and military surveillance. Moral and racial superiority entitles its spy state agencies to shut down access to information deviating from its narratives and therefore to arrest and extradite Julian Assange.

      The Republican Party shares the same supremely intolerant nature as the Democrats, but differentiates itself by insisting that, although Russia is the enemy, Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.

      The Republicans also want to silence the founder of Wikileaks and find a way to shut the organization down. Trump’s former CIA director, and now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has called Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” and vowed to hunt Assange down.

    • Christine Assange Issues Call For All Journalists, Politicians, Medical Professionals and Activists To Stand Up For Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder and former editor Julian Assange is in dire need of health assistance, according to his mother in an emergency plea to the world uploaded to the Unity4J YouTube channel.

      Christine Assange urged officials to allow access to medical attention for her son, and for the UK and Ecuador to end Assange’s illegal 8-year detainment (2 years of virtual house arrest, 6 years confined inside the Ecuadorian embassy) without charge as determined by the UN.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • We’re Going to Keep Paying Price If We Ignore Climate Change
    • Forty-Eight Dead and Counting From California’s Deadliest Wildfire

      When it began, the Camp Fire in Northern California was growing at a rate of 80 football fields every minute.

      It has now killed at least 48 people, scorched 130,000 acres of land, and torched thousands of houses and commercial buildings.

      And that isn’t the only fire raging across the now chronically parched Golden State.
      Near Los Angeles the Woolsey Fire, which ignited last Thursday and doubled in size overnight, has torched 100,000 acres and killed at least two people.

      More than 200,000 people have been evacuated because of those two fires alone.

      The Hill Fire in Ventura County burned 4,500 acres.

    • 2018 Pacific Expeditions: Corals and Clean-Up

      The second expedition, aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette, focused on cleaning up marine debris from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. During this voyage, the team removed more than 160,000 pounds of lost or abandoned fishing nets and plastics from this ecologically and culturally significant area, part of Papahānaumokuāea Marine National Monument.

    • Landowners Fight the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Court

      New Orleans – Under the United States Constitution, can private fossil fuel companies legally seize private property to build oil pipelines? Do private oil pipelines that threaten sensitive ecosystems provide a real service to the public, or do they simply pad the profit margins of fossil fuel companies and their wealthy investors?

      On Friday, a state judge in rural Louisiana will consider these questions and more in a preliminary hearing on the most significant legal challenge to date against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a 162-mile oil pipeline that bisects much of southern Louisiana and the sensitive Atchafalaya Basin, the nation’s largest river swamp.

      Most of the pipeline has already been built, and it’s expected to connect Louisiana refineries and export facilities to the Dakota Access Pipeline that faced sustained Indigenous-led resistance at Standing Rock in 2016.

      Across the country, states allow for-profit pipeline companies to seize private land under laws governing eminent domain, which is the government’s right to expropriate private property for public use in exchange for compensation. Many rural landowners lack the resources necessary to challenge wealthy oil and gas firms. A sweeping ruling against the Bayou Bridge’s attempt to expropriate private property in Louisiana could curb the fossil fuel industry’s ability to ram infrastructure projects through local communities nationwide. The Iowa Supreme Court recently heard a similar legal challenge to the Dakota Access Pipeline that also threatens the industry’s power.

  • Finance
    • 15 Months In Prison In Chicago’s First Cryptocurrency Conviction
    • Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

      Chicago’s most powerful alderman on Tuesday joined the growing chorus of leaders calling for reforms to the city’s ticketing and debt collection, introducing a measure to substantially limit the decades-old practice of seeking driver’s license suspensions over unpaid tickets.

      The proposal from Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke would require the city to take into account motorists’ income before taking away their driving privileges and create more affordable payment plans for them.

      Burke’s proposal was the latest in a series of reforms that aim to respond to growing public pressure over the way Chicago punishes motorists who can’t afford to pay tickets.

      “The impact of license suspensions truly hurts lower-income residents the hardest because of an inability they have to pay these steep ticket fines,” Burke, who represents the 14th Ward on the city’s Southwest Side, told the Finance Committee. “For many motorists, the loss of the privilege to drive equates to higher unemployment, and in worst-case scenarios, Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings become necessary in order to protect licenses and vehicles required to get to work.”

      ProPublica Illinois has been reporting all year — including more recently in collaboration with WBEZ — on how unpaid tickets send thousands of mostly black Chicagoans into bankruptcy, a phenomenon seen nowhere else in the country. Bankruptcy gives motorists whose licenses have been suspended because of ticket debt the ability to get them back, in addition to other legal protections.

    • Chicago City Council Approves Modest First Reforms on Ticketing and Debt

      The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved the first reforms aimed at helping the city’s low-income motorists cope with ticket debt, with more significant changes potentially on the way.

      The approved measures, tucked into Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s final city budget, chip away at a massive problem that has exploded during his tenure: debt and bankruptcies concentrated in black neighborhoods.

      In a way, the new policies come full circle, as they seek to undo some of the damage done by a hike in the price of tickets for mandatory vehicle stickers introduced in the mayor’s first budget, in 2011.

    • Today It’s Treasure Island, Tomorrow Your Neighborhood Store: Could Local Currencies Help?

      Amazon has reached the far corners of the earth… and the highest elevations. Delivery men venture 11,562 feet up in the Himalayas to leave a package. While the company may serve a useful purpose in remote regions, its phenomenal growth also reveals that no town is immune from its less desirable consequences. The online retailer’s omnipresence has been all too apparent in Chicago, New York, and London in recent months, where stores have been closing in droves.

      Treasure Island Foods of Chicago, a family-owned business started by Christ Kamberos in 1963, announced at the end of September that after 55 years it was closing all remaining stores in just two weeks. Now, the lights are out and the shadows empty shelves are all that remain, with the scent of fresh sourdough and gyros cooking on the spit only in shoppers’ reminiscences as they walk by the darkened windows.

      Julia Child once described Treasure Island as “America’s Most European Supermarket.” In my memory, it was unforgettable. The stores always had treasure troves for every season, from delicious green picholine olives from France, to liver pâté and English Blue Stilton at Christmas, and of course, Marmite. Not to mention exotic cookies and chocolates from all over the world: marzipan and chocolate from Switzerland and Austria, shortbread from Scotland, and crisp butter wafers from the Netherlands are a few examples. It was a haven for special gifts during the holidays.

    • Former CIA Cryptographer Says Bitcoin Is Perfect Vehicle for ‘Entire Shadow Banking System’

      Bill Barhydt, a former cryptographer at the Central Intelligence Agency and the founder of cryptocurrency investment platform Abra, is mapping out how cryptocurrency can operate outside of the current regulatory environment to power a crypto bank.

      In a new Off the Chain interview with host Anthony Pompliano of Morgan Creek Digital, Barhydt notes that his collective experience in various industries – from intelligence to the internet to finance – has all come together, allowing him and his team to lay the groundwork for a radically different banking model for everyday people.

      In addition to the CIA, Barhydt worked as a quantitative analyst in fixed income research at Goldman Sachs and as the former technical director at Netscape where he focused on e-commerce and banking projects.

    • Ukania: the Land Where the Queen’s Son Has His Shoelaces Ironed by His Valet

      I’ve just left Ukania, where I attended the Historical Materialism conference in London. After some much needed psychological decompression, I’m now back in the Land of Caged Toddlers.

      In the UK at the same time was the UN Special Rapporteur on poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, travelling to some of the UK’s poorest areas to investigate the impact Tory austerity has had on the UK’s indigents.

      Ukania has been misruled for decades, indeed for centuries (if the truth be told). The sole possible exception to this was the immediate postwar Labour government, which created the welfare state.

      The all-party consensus around the NHS lasted for three decades, but every government after that, Tory and Labour alike, acquiesced in the slow whittling-down or outright gutting of the welfare state. Only Corbyn’s “old” Labour seems to be an exception to this trend.

      So what will Professor Alston find?

      The UK’s highest paid executive got the boot while I was there, but will keep his £75million/US$99 million bonus. Such is the state of corruption in Ukania that he might well have received a knighthood if he lasted another year or two, and would probably have been able to keep that as well.

    • As Jeff Bezos Earns $191K Per Minute, Why Are NY & VA Giving Amazon $3 Billion in Corporate Welfare?

      Amazon has selected a pair of cities to host its new, expanded headquarters: Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, and Long Island City in Queens, New York. Amazon’s decision came after a 14-month search that saw cities around the U.S. promise tax breaks, taxpayer-funded infrastructure and business-friendly ordinances in an effort to win what Amazon says will be $5 billion in new investment and thousands of jobs. Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam called the Amazon headquarter “a big win for Virginia,” and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has similarly applauded Amazon’s decision. But many local politicians have openly criticized authorities in New York and Virginia for backing the deals, which will create a total of 50,000 jobs. We host a roundtable discussion about Amazon and corporate welfare. In New York, we speak with Ron Kim, member of the New York State Assembly. He recently co-wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times headlined “New York Should Say No to Amazon.” In Washington, D.C., we speak with Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a watchdog group on economic development incentives. And in Portland, Maine, we speak with Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. She is the author of “Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • CNN sues White House for using doctored video to bar Jim Acosta

      The lawsuit also cites White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s incoherent comments on Fox News on Sunday during which she acknowledged the video was “sped up,” but argued there’s a difference between that and doctoring footage.

    • Google Will Reveal Advertisers Behind Political Ads In India’s Next Election

      Google is planning to make the information of advertisers who will pay for political ads in the upcoming lower-house (Lok Sabha) elections in India freely available to the public.

      The company did the same with recent the U.S. Mid-term elections, where it took the initiative of publicly making information about who is spending on political advertisements. Also keeping a close eye on people who are paying for political adverts.

      Sunita Mohanty, Google India’s Director of Trust and Safety, said to Indian Express that the company is also establishing tools to fight misinformation and fake news, which often gets active in any elections.

    • House To Investigate Whether DOJ’s AT&T Antitrust Lawsuit Was Political

      When the Trump DOJ sued to stop AT&T’s $89 billion merger with Time Warner last year, more than a few eyebrows were raised. After all, the DOJ’s antitrust suit, allegedly a bid to protect consumers, came as other arms of the Trump administration were busy utterly dismantling a wide variety of popular consumer protections (like net neutrality) at the direct request of industry. It raised the question: why suddenly care about consumer protection and antitrust power when you’ve shown absolutely no general concern for those concepts previously?

      As a result, there’s always been a lingering question as to whether Trump’s obvious disdain for Time Warner owned CNN was driving a petty bid for vengeance. Others wondered if the DOJ’s lawsuit was a personal favor to Trump ally Rupert Murdoch, who had tried unsuccessfully to buy CNN from AT&T at least twice, and had spent much of 2017 lobbying Trump to scuttle the deal as a competitive favor to his Fox empire.

    • Con man exposed: Trump’s acting so erratic because midterms made him look like a loser

      President Donald Trump is not himself. And by “not himself” I mean he seems to have lost his swagger. Ever since the midterm elections, he’s been churlish and petulant. His brazen braggadocio is suddenly dull and off-key. The question is what exactly has him brooding and upset.

      Sure, he held a press conference the morning after the election at which he ludicrously asserted, “I’ll be honest: I think it was a great victory. And actually, some of the news this morning was that it was, in fact, a great victory.” The news that morning was nothing of the kind, of course. And even he couldn’t pull it off. He rapidly devolved into his patented media-bashing to change the subject and ended up looking like the worst sore loser in presidential history.

      That same day he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with someone he believed would protect him from the Mueller investigation — a man described by George Conway — Kellyanne Conway’s husband — as a “constitutional nobody.” And that wasn’t his worst day last week.

      On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a big scoop revealing that the feds have unearthed plenty of evidence that Trump had personally broken campaign finance laws. More troubling for him is that the three people given immunity — lawyer Michael Cohen, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — know where a lot of other metaphorical bodies are buried. (We hope there are no real bodies involved.)

    • Trump’s Attorney General Pick Is a Menace to More Than Mueller

      On the surface, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has a fairly respectable resume. He earned masters and law degrees at the University of Iowa, and even caught a touchdown pass for the Hawkeyes during the 1991 Rose Bowl. He was the US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009, when he resigned after the election of Barack Obama. Whitaker ran against Joni Ernst in the 2014 Republican Senate primary but was beaten like a gong. He rejoined the DoJ in August of 2017 and became Sessions’s chief of staff.

      It is this last bit that serves to dent the boilerplate legal-beagle credentials Whitaker has amassed during his career, because his posting at the right hand of Jeff Sessions was almost certainly not an accident. According to The New York Times, “People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.”

      How did Matt Whitaker manage to land a gig as Trump’s secret squirrel within the Justice Department? Like as not, his many television appearances and opinion articles lambasting the Mueller investigation lifted his profile like a feather in an updraft. Trump loves his loyalists (until he doesn’t), and Whitaker carried Trump’s anti-Mueller water with enthusiasm. “It is time for [Rod] Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel,” wrote Whitaker in an August 2017 CNN editorial.

    • The 2018 Midterm Elections Demonstrate Criminal Justice Reform Is a Winner at the Ballot Box

      The criminal justice reform movement is thriving and building for continued success in dismantling decades’ worth of tough on crime policies.
      Criminal justice reform was on the ballot from coast to coast in the 2018 midterm elections. There were over 1,000 prosecutor elections. Pro-reform candidates ascended to powerful roles in cities like Birmingham, St. Louis, and Boston, including a historic number of first-ever Black and female district attorneys. Voters overturned Jim Crow laws in Florida and Louisiana. Judges that have tried to grind publicly supported reforms to a halt were swept out en masse by black women in Houston.

      These results alone are truly historic. But like any election, the outcomes are a result of a variety of factors, many that have little to do with the public’s actual demand for criminal justice reform. Digging deeper, and looking not just at what was won but how these races were run, reveals a movement that is thriving and building the long-term momentum and political infrastructure needed to undo decades’ worth of tough-on-crime policies that have decimated communities.

      It’s important to start with some perspective. At least since the 1980s, criminal justice reform has been an untouchable third rail in electoral politics. The 2018 midterms show that the landscape has shifted. This year, politicians across the country, led by Black candidates, took principled and passionate positions on criminal justice reform, including in high stakes gubernatorial races in Florida, Georgia, and Maryland, where they had everything to lose.

      To be sure, in these places and elsewhere, their opponents continued the age-old tradition of stoking fear and racism to defend harsh and punitive approaches — with some success. But while such positions were mostly met with silence in the past, the 2018 elections show how years of sustained grassroots activism has now begun to open up the political space for candidates to run on unabashedly pro-reform platforms, often for the first time in generations.

    • An Anarchist Uprising Against the Liberal Ego

      The liberal ego poses an interesting contradiction. It insists not upon being“egotistical” in the way we think of it, of thinking “too much” of oneself, being self-centered, selfish, etc., but upon being servile, second-rate, low worth, “co-dependent” in relation to the existing power structures. The liberal, while accepting the rewards of bourgeois attainment and thus living comparatively well, in failing to challenge her ego’s supremacy, is automatically obedient to the illegitimate authority of the existing capitalist structures. She cannot do otherwise; she is profoundly disoriented in the metaphysical sense meant by Huston Smith. The drastically ungrounded liberal soul is oriented, not to its “noble origins” but to the reduced view of human life issuing from scientism, unalleviated by imagination, that says we ascend from lesser beings (thus we emphasize “progress”) rather than having descended from gods (i.e., having been born with perfection or wholeness in us). This is not an argument for creationism, but against the negation of imagination that has us training ourselves and our children to become cogs in a machine, rather than to love – and serve – “the Great” and “the Whole.”

      The dilemma we face is real: without orientation to the vertical, modern post-religious people have three ways to stay above the terrifying abyss of non-being, the task once performed by religion: 1) turn the clock back to rigid authoritarian tradition, to toxic masculinity, nationalism, militarism, fascism, 2) neoliberal vapid verticality, with its flattened masculinity, normalized neurosis and addictions, and covert barbarism, or 3) to in some non-authoritarian way, restore the relation to verticality (I include those who maintain that relation within traditional religion).

      For the secular liberal, following choice #2, the ego is practically unchallenged in the context of mediated reality and social fragmentation that supports neoliberal totality. We add to the debasement demanded by our imperial egos in countless ways. Our stories of childhood origins are narratives of defect and weakness (i.e., I’m ADHD, family dysfunctional, Dad a drunk, I was abused, neglected, etc.), rather than how once we saw that everything, magically, had meaning. Unquestionably childhood wounds must be brought to light, but they are part of the story not the whole. We slander our higher nature as we fixate on fitness and nutrition, and in other ways corroborate the conviction of low self worth (machine-hood) that is by now second nature. Always polite, sometimes witty and clever, we liberals never express authentic opinion for fear of exposure. Our positive will is atrophied; if it were possible to film the liberal will it would be seen to slink, flinch, evade, excuse itself, look sheepish. This is so even if we have all outward signs of material grace. We can pass a lie detector test only if we are not asked: why do you live?

    • Sixteen Midterm Races Are Still Up for Grabs by Democrats

      It’s been nearly a week since Election Day, but a number of races still lack an official winner. Massive voter turnout, archaic voting machines, outdated state regulations and Republicans determined to undermine the process all created a perfect storm, in which votes haven’t been finalized — and, in some cases, were never counted in the first place.

      [...]

      Sure, the GOP may have expanded its majority in the Senate, but it may not be nearly as big of a win as Republicans thought. They flipped seats in Missouri, North Dakota and Indiana as they hoped, but they didn’t nab West Virginia, Ohio or Montana – and they lost their seat in Nevada to the Democrats.

      On election night, the Republicans were certain that they would be keeping Arizona red and flipping the Senate seat in Florida, making their gains more significant. But now neither are a sure thing.

      As the final votes are being tallied, it turns out that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is actually the final winner, turning Republican Jeff Flake’s seat blue. Meanwhile, Florida’s Senate race is turning into a recount situation — one that will hopefully resolve the massive undervote in Broward County due to a faulty ballot design. Democrat Bill Nelson could keep his seat.

      If all goes well, the GOP may one gain one seat in the end, despite Democrats being forced to defend 26 seats this cycle.

    • Climate of Rage

      My former teaching colleague at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Warren Goldstein, who now teaches U.S. history and chairs the History Department at the University of Hartford, hit the nail exactly on the head in regard to the main source of hate in the United States in an article in The Villager, a New York City newspaper.

      “Enough squeamishness from the MSM. The violent, hateful rhetoric comes overwhelmingly from one side only and from its padron, Donald Trump. Period,” wrote Goldstein, who has a doctorate in American Studies from Yale University. He knows the U.S. well.

      “Who have their rhetorical targets been? Immigrants, Democrats, black people and George Soros. And who were actual targets last week? Democrats, blacks and immigrant- and refugee-supporting Jews,” he wrote in the piece published on November 1.

      As to what he relates is the reluctance by Mainstream Media to focus squarely on the main cause of the vitriol in U.S. society today, Goldstein wrote that “in order to make peace, we need first to talk truth, and say who provided the soil, the nourishment, the encouragement and the spark to these homegrown terrorists and killers: the would-be pipe bomber of Democrats; the racist Kentucky Kroger murderer; the Pittsburgh killer. Not, alas, according to Sunday’s New York Times: ‘The anguish of Saturday’s massacre heightened a sense of national unease over increasingly hostile political rhetoric.’”

      “Really? I don’t feel unease—I feel rage at the Trumpian big lies,” declared Goldstein.

      [...]

      Many of the “Trumpsters”—the angry people who populate Trump’s non-stop rallies—also seem to have found a father in Trump with his violent rhetoric, rhetoric not only full of vitriol but also of lies, thousands and thousands of lies.

      We’ve had some beauts as U.S. presidents. But Trump, according to a determination of nearly 200 top U.S. political scientists, is the worst. The social science researchers voted in recent months in a 2018 Presidents and Executive Policy Greatness Survey. Trump bumped James Buchanan out of the bottom spot of the survey done every four years. Other analyses confirm this determination as, surely, will history. Trump is the leading personification of hate, of malice, of ill will and of malevolence in the United States. We, indeed, all know who is fueling the hate—and we must say it.

    • In the Wake of the Blue Wave: the Midterms, Recounts, and the Future of Progressive Politics

      In the wake of the 2018 midterms, President Trump and his foot soldiers on the right have continued to repeat paranoid and fact-free claims about “electoral fraud” via the recounts in Florida and Arizona. Trump is seeking to save face by weighing in on the Florida gubernatorial race (Nelson v. Scott) and the Florida (Gillum v. DeSantis) and Arizona (Sinema v. McSally) Senate races. These are political battles, plain and simple, and Trump is trying to preserve as many Senate seats as possible for Republicans moving toward 2020.

      For progressively-minded Americans, the discussion now should focus on what the 2018 election tells us about the state of American politics and prospects for democratic change. For those who want an analysis of my thoughts on the election and how it relates to protest movements, take a look at my recent talk at the Open University of the Left (Chicago), which explores this issue in detail. For a shorter analysis of the election, I provide a brief review here of the exit polling data and what it tells us about the “pulse” of American voters following the large gains for Democrats in the House.

    • The Midterms Did Not Stop the March of Fascism, But We Can

      Twenty-two months into the Trump administration, the United States is a country in denial. Even amid the Democrats’ recent electoral gains, Trump’s would-be opposition is not poised to halt the rise of fascism. Nancy Pelosi announced plans to pursue “bipartisanship” and “common ground,” even before her own electoral victory was complete. Trump himself endorsed Pelosi as Speaker of the House — making clear that there is no leadership in the legislative branch that is equipped to confront the steady rise of Trumpian fascism. Meanwhile, as Pelosi flaunted her establishment takes, some on the left smugly mocked leftists who had joined Democratic electoral efforts, backing candidates and working to get out the vote. Was this what they had been fighting for, the critics asked? For a Pelosi-Trump partnership that would aid in Trump’s expansion of the military-industrial complex?

      Even as those divisions simmered, another moment of left-of-center conflict broke out when news emerged that protesters had paid a visit to Tucker Carlson’s home in Washington, DC. Protesters, who apparently knocked on Carlson’s door a few times, chanted and shook a tambourine, before one of them spray-painted an “A” on Carlson’s driveway, were characterized as “monstrous” by Stephen Colbert and condemned as “disastrous for any republic” by television producer David Simon. Colbert and Simon had apparently made no inquiry about the protests before commenting, instead basing their analysis on Carlson’s now-debunked version of events, thereby accepting the account of a white supremacist propagandist (who was not home at the time of the protest).

    • How Two Demagogues Inspired Their Followers

      The parallels between the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and that of Donald J. Trump have been widely noted. A new book by James M. Longo, Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Führer’s Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals (Diversion Books, 2018) brings out similarities as well as differences. As in 21stcentury America, economic and political troubles clouded the judgment of many Germans and other peoples in the 1920s and 1930s. Across the Continent, as Longo says, people “searched for a leader, a savior, a dictator to rescue them from their economic and political woes. Hitler believed he was that man.” The aspiring Führer spoke only German but proved himself “a chameleon able to articulate the unspoken emotional language of his listeners.”

      Wealthy industrialists secretly financed Hitler’s rise to power after 1924. For unemployed workers he promised full employment; for the forgotten German, he pledged respect. Hitler won financial support and many followers, but he craved legitimacy and political power to make his vision a reality. In public Hitler met with enthusiastic crowds. Behind closed doors he beguiled wealthy monarchists. One-third of German’s ancient nobility joined his Nazi Party, while many others supported him through their silence. President Trump also craves symbols of legitimacy and seeks to destroy any sign that he was not duly and freely elected.

      The insightful American journalist Dorothy Thompson interviewed Hitler and described him as an “agitator of genius….the most golden tongued of demagogues.” She advised her readers: “Don’t bother about the fact that what he says, read the next day in cold news print, is usually plain nonsense.” To understand what was happening, “You must imagine the crowds he addresses: Little people. Weighted with a feeling of inferiority.” Appeals to their racial pride were “the cheapest form of self-exaltation.” If one was debt, if one had not made a success in life, there was still the consolation that one belonged to the master race.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Macron wants to rein in Silicon Valley, from Brussels

      But Macron wants to go further, by upending the legal framework that currently underpins platforms in Europe and grants them limited liability over hosted content.

    • France to ‘embed’ regulators at Facebook to combat hate speech

      From January, Macron’s administration will send a small team of senior civil servants to the company for six months to verify Facebook’s goodwill and determine whether its checks on racist, sexist or hate-fuelled speech could be improved.

    • UCLA Flails Amid Pro-Palestine Group’s Planned Conference, While L.A.’s City Council Goes Full Stupid

      Those of you who geek out over trademark law like me may have seen the recent dust-up between UCLA and a group called National Students for Justice in Palestine this past week. I had intended on writing something up about the whole thing because of how blatantly stupid it was. The pro-Palestinian group has a chapter at UCLA and it is hosting a conference in the future, for which it put out some promotional materials that feature a bear flying a kite with the colors of the Palestinian flag and dared to mention that the conference was being held at UCLA. For this, UCLA lawyers sent a cease and desist to SJP, claiming that the way the promo material displayed the UCLA name and its use of bear imagery created confusion in the public suggesting that the school was affiliated with the conference.

      [...]

      None of that is hate speech, no matter what some silly State Department missive might suggest. Words matter, after all, and we can no more accept that the kind of political speech above, even if you disagree with it, is hate speech any more than we can condone the government crying terrorism anytime it’s convenient. It also seems obvious to me that if you replaced this pro-Palestinian group with a pro-Israel group, we never would have heard this story at all. Argue with that if you like, but you’re wrong.

      And, yet, the L.A. City Council is now getting involved in the stupidest way possible, passing a resolution that first acknowledges UCLA’s need to adhere to free speech rights and then somehow calling for the cancellation of this conference entirely.

    • Judge Lets NRA’s 1st Amendment Lawsuit Against Andrew Cuomo Move Forward

      Let’s put some cards on the table to start off this post: I think Andrew Cuomo is a terrible governor of NY (and he was a terrible Attorney General before that), and doesn’t deserve to be in office. I also think the NRA is a joke of an organization, that stirs up bullshit fear and racial divisions, and frequently shits on the 1st Amendment plenty of times when people try to challenge the 2nd Amendment. I recognize that some percentage of you probably feel differently about Cuomo and (chances are…) a non-overlapping venn diagram of you probably feel differently about the NRA. I think they’re both terrible and should disappear from public life. And I say that upfront because my position on this particular lawsuit has nothing to do with which side I “like.” I don’t like either one.

      But on the law in this particular case, clearly the NRA is in the right, while Cuomo is wrong. And thankfully, so far a judge agrees.

      Let’s take a step back, though, to look at what’s happening. Cuomo is no fan of the NRA. And he decided to use his position as governor to punish the NRA for its advocacy. Back in April, he put pressure on banks and other financial institutions to cut all ties with the NRA. It’s kind of incredible that he would think this would fly. Indeed, the situation is pretty damn close to that time that Cook County (Illinois) Sheriff Thomas Dart pressured credit card companies to stop doing business with Backpage, leading to a pretty massive judicial smackdown from Judge Richard Posner.

    • PayPal’s corporate censorship

      Since the populist revolts of 2016, much of the liberal establishment has turned on Silicon Valley. The tech giants were once held in great esteem, talked of as enablers of data-driven democracy or as the providers of invaluable tools for progressive campaigning. Today they are accused of promoting and profiting from the far right.

      Pressure has been piled on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to ban a number of right-wing activists and channels from their platforms. Most infamously, Alex Jones and his conspiratorial website Infowars were summarily banned by Apple, Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and payments processor PayPal in August this year.

      Last week, PayPal froze the account of Tommy Robinson after receiving a 60,000-strong petition from campaign group SumOfUs calling for him to be struck off its books. The group’s executive director, Hannah Lownsbrough, wrote in the Guardian that PayPal’s decision ‘will send an earthshaking message to the global far right: huge corporations will not enable your hatred’. The ban was ‘proof that people can take on big corporations and win’, she said.

      But while politicians, the Twitterati and much of the old media see themselves as ‘taking on’ the internet giants, the pressure piled on them to purge their platforms of ‘extreme’ political views is actually handing them vast amounts of unchecked power. Where tech companies were once keen to present themselves as neutral platforms, Silicon Valley is now expected to decide which political views it considers acceptable or beyond the pale.

    • PayPal Is Banning Accounts Employed By Gavin Mcinnes, The Proud Boys, And Antifa Groups

      PayPal claimed this week that it will cancel accounts employed by Proud Boys (the far-right group) as well as anti-fascist groups’ multiple accounts. The decision will make it much complicated for the groups to raise online money. The move is the newest act of “de-platforming” by the tech sector, which has been struggling with how to efficiently handle consumers that promote violent or hateful ideologies.

      The ban will comprise the Proud Boys account in addition to an account employed by Gavin Mcinnes (its founder), PayPal claimed to the media in an interview. The firm is also banning accounts for Antifa Sacramento, Atlanta Antifa, and the Anti-Fascist Network. PayPal had earlier banned accounts for Antifa Arkansas, Antifa Philadelphia, Rose City Antifa, and Belfast Antifa. The firm also banned an account employed by ex-leader of the English Defence League (the far-right group), Tommy Robinson.

    • Watch: PM insists on no information censorship

      Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that there needs to be assurance that information will not be censored, meanwhile action must be taken for people not to fall victim to misinformation.

      Muscat was speaking about censorship and fake news during an international conference in Paris about technology. In a statement, the Office of the Prime Minister said that Muscat spoke about how technology can be used to help in the fight against the spreading of fake news which is harming democracy around the world. The Prime Minister was speaking in a meeting in which the French President invited a small number of European leaders and international organisations to discuss the future of democracy in light of modern technological advances.

      [...]

      The Prime Minister also took part in a debate during the GovTech Summit about ‘Digital Identity: The Next Frontier for Smart Governments’ where he said that every individual should be given the liberty to use personal data however they please.

    • Online censorship enforced by governments is curbing people’s power to criticise

      Recently two leading Pakistani activists alleged the increased governmental censorship against critical voices on social media. The two activists, as per this report, received warnings from Twitter against tweets which, as per Twitter, violated Pakistani laws. The actual tweets of the activists, however, were against a cleric who had posted tweets threatening the government and inciting violence. The tweets of the activists themselves did not have such content. One of the tweets, as per the activists, was, in fact, a call for the government to take action against the cleric.

      The absurdity of the warnings, given that the tweets themselves (as per the report) were not incendiary, raised questions that Twitter’s warnings may have come from a governmental drive to censor critical voices, as opposed to being an actual violation of Twitter policy or Pakistani law.

      Closer home, instances of governmental censorship in India are on the rise, such as in the form of the increasingly frequent internet shutdowns, the blocking of websites or defamation suits.

    • Facebook Allowing French Censors To Embed With The Company, And Maybe That’s A Good Thing?

      While many people may have the instinctual reaction that having government regulators coming in to see how to “better” censor speech on your platform is inherently a problem, one hopes that the end result of this is influencing things in the other direction. A bad outcome would be French regulators deciding that this experience gives them enough info to craft impossible regulations to wave digital magic wands and “make the bad stuff disappear.” But a more optimistic argument would be that it gives these French regulators a chance to get some first hand knowledge of (1) how seriously Facebook takes this issue (don’t laugh, because the company absolutely does take this issue seriously now, even if it didn’t in the past) and (2) just how impossible it is to do a particularly good job at it (even as Facebook has gotten much better in the past year).

      So while I’m always a little concerned about the idea of having government regulators come into a company when the upfront stated objective is about more content moderation demands, it certainly would be beneficial for French officials not to be so incredibly ignorant about how content moderation at scale truly works, and why the easy solutions they always seem to propose won’t help (and could make problems significantly worse).

    • Exiled Chinese author attends Tai Kwun events

      Tai Kwun, an arts center managed by Jockey Club CPS, reversed its earlier decision to cancel two literary events arranged for exiled Chinese author Ma Jian amid criticisms that it was engaging in political censorship.

      Ma Jian, a Hong Kong permanent resident who now lives in London, showed up at the events held on Saturday as scheduled at Tai Kwun, the former Central Police Station compound on Hollywood Road that has been transformed into a center for heritage and the arts.

    • Hong Kong Lawmakers Protest Over Reported Loss of Border Land to China

      Reports that a garrison of Chinese border guards has taken over land on Hong Kong’s side of the internal border, which its personnel also cross at will, have sparked protests in the former British colony over promises that the city would remain a separate jurisdiction after the 1997 handover.

      The investigative journalism group FactWire found that some 21,000 square feet of privately owned land within a high-security area along the Hong Kong side of the border with mainland China has been used by the 6th Detachment of the Guangdong provincial border defense corps of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) for the past six years.

    • The death knell for freedom of speech in Hong Kong
    • CE denies gov’t link to self censorship and Ma Jian furore
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Tor anonymity gateway-maker InvizBox chases VPN subscriptions down rabbit hole

      The InvizBox Tor-gateway router stopped receiving firmware and secuirty updates two years after release. Ten months later, InvizBox decided to try and reinvent their product with an alternative firmware that focused on selling virtual private network (VPN) services from InvizBox instead of relying on the free Tor onion network.

      InvizBox was a specialized Wi-Fi router that acted as a gateway to the Tor onion network. That is no longer what the product does, but you can read my 2016 review of InvizBox for the historical perspective.

      The economy of maintaining device firmware have shifted from using the free Tor anonymizing network to selling ubscription services. InvizBox sent out an email to existing customers offering “90 days free VPN service” to incentivize existing customers to upgrade from their now unsupported Tor firmware to the newer VPN firmware.

      90 days of free VPN sounded interesting and I thought I could get a little more life out of my InvizBox. I was sold and proceeded to upgrade my device’s firmware. This experience would end up completely changing my impressions about the InvizBox.

    • Judge Says Amazon Needs To Hand Over Recordings Created By Murder Victim’s Echo Speaker

      New Hampshire investigators will be deposing Alexa in the near future, according to a recent court ruling. The advent of in-home digital, voice-activated assistants has created a wealth of personal recordings law enforcement may now have access to. It’s only been a couple of years since we first saw law enforcement attempt to obtain Alexa recordings from Amazon, but as Mike pointed out then, this was going to be the new normal. So the onus is on companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon to give customers more direct control of stored data and recordings.

      In this case, prosecutors are seeking recordings made by a murder victim’s Amazon Echo speaker. They hope the victim’s device captured the attack and the removal of her body. Amazon has issued some boilerplate about “valid legal demands” in response, but it’s likely the company won’t interject itself into this case.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • The Outgoing Congress Shouldn’t Reward Trump With More Homeland Security Funding

      Before Dec. 7, Congress will have to make a decision: Will they reward the department responsible for family separation, jailing immigrants, raids on communities of color, and abuses at the border by increasing their budget? Or will they stand up and rein in Trump’s detention and deportation force?

      The Department of Homeland Security is currently funded by a continuing resolution, a short-term bill that extends its budget from last year. It was passed in late September so that Congress could avoid a messy budget fight before the midterm elections. On Dec. 7, it will expire at midnight.

      By that time, Congress has to decide how it will fund the government next year — a negotiation that really comes down to how it will fund DHS, as The Washington Post reported. Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is treating funding for a border wall as a foregone conclusion, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), his counterpart on the House of Representatives side, said on Tuesday she isn’t interested in negotiating. Republicans, therefore, are going to try to jam through their anti-immigrant agenda in the last gasp of their majority in the House of Representatives, including increased funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection as well as billions of dollars for a border wall.

    • Inside the #MeToo Revolt at Google

      The November 1 walkout by 20,000 Google employees at some 50 offices around the world may be the largest international action of its kind in modern labor history — and it shined a spotlight on the potential for tech workers to stand up for justice for themselves and their co-workers.

      The immediate cause of the walkout — which involved more than 20 percent of Google’s nearly 95,000 workers worldwide — was the revelation of Google’s cover-up of sexual misconduct by Andy Rubin, a former top executive and the creator of the Android operating system.

      Google protected Rubin, giving him a $90 million exit package, while keeping silent about his history of sexual harassment and abuse. But Rubin is clearly one of many sexual harassers that Google has shielded, contributing to a hostile internal climate.

      The walkout gave voice to workers’ grievances about that work environment. At a rally at Google’s YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, one worker stated: “Where did they get that $90 million? They got it from every day you worked late. From every promotion you didn’t get. From every [temporary contract worker] who was never converted to full time.”

      The walkout was organized in less than a week, and workers harnessed Google’s tools — Drive and Gmail, Docs and Calendar — to make it a success.

    • Radical Idealism: Jesus and the Radical Tradition

      My education began where the school and church curriculum would not go.

      The tradition of radical thinking, writing, organizing, and fighting for a better world – the foundation of radical idealism – is a fringe tradition. I recognized this early on, and made a connection to things I read in the Bible, namely the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

      Jesus was a threat to the power structures during His time and was exiled immediately after birth. He taught his followers a lifestyle incompatible with greed, individualism, authoritarianism, militarism, and nationalism. He healed, preached, and educated without a place to lay His head because He knew what awaited Him if He was captured by the authorities. His Sermon on the Mount wasn’t meant to comfort the listener in turbulent times, but rather establish an ideal: an impossible standard to guide and provide hope for humanity. Like so many radical idealists before and after Him, Jesus was executed by the State.

    • Advocates: Trump Creating Border Crisis by Pitting Troops Against Women & Children Fleeing Violence

      Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is traveling to McAllen, Texas, today to visit some of the thousands of troops deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border by President Donald Trump. Nearly 6,000 active-duty troops are currently stationed in Texas, California and Arizona, following Trump’s escalating attacks against the Central American caravan heading toward the border. Trump has warned that that number could swell to 15,000—more than the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and almost triple the number of troops in Iraq. According to some reports, the border deployments could cost $220 million, despite the fact the Pentagon does not see the caravan as a risk. Mattis’s visit comes just days after the Trump administration announced new immigration rules to deny asylum to anyone who enters the country outside of a port of entry, a move the American Civil Liberties Union has called “illegal.” We speak with Fernando Garcia, the founding director of the Border Network for Human Rights, an advocacy organization based in El Paso. We also speak with Liz Castillo, immigration reporter and managing editor with Neta, a community news outlet in the Rio Grande Valley.

    • Honoring the 2018 Pioneer Award Winners and John Perry Barlow

      EFF’s annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony recognizes extraordinary individuals for their commitment and leadership in extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. At this year’s event held on September 27 in San Francisco, EFF rededicated the Pioneer Awards to EFF co-founder and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow. Barlow’s commitment to online freedom was commemorated by dubbing the Pioneer Awards statuette the “Barlow.” EFF welcomed keynote speaker Daniel Ellsberg, known for his work in releasing the Pentagon papers, to help award the very first Barlows. This year’s honorees were fair use champion Stephanie Lenz, European Digital Rights leader Joe McNamee, and groundbreaking content moderation researcher Sarah T. Roberts.

    • CIA WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS HE WAS TARGETED BY BRENNAN, MUELLER, STRZOK

      When the FBI asked John Kiriakou to meet at the Washington field office in January 2012, the former CIA officer says he gladly agreed to the request.

      “Anything for the FBI,” Kiriakou told the FBI agent who contacted him.

      Months earlier, as a senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kiriakou had helped the FBI investigate a Japanese diplomat who had approached him offering a bribe.

      Or so he thought.

      Instead, Kiriakou says the FBI was running a sting operation against him for what he claims is payback for revealing secrets about the CIA’s waterboarding program.

      The government officials behind that investigation have resurfaced in the probe of the Trump campaign, which officially began as an FBI matter on July 31, 2016 and is now overseen by the special counsel’s office.

      As the Obama White House’s number 2 official on the National Security Council at the time, John Brennan ordered the Justice Department to charge Kiriakou with espionage, Kiriakou says. As FBI director, Robert Mueller formed a 12-person task force to investigate the 15-year CIA veteran. And as a top counterintelligence official at the FBI’s Washington office, Peter Strzok oversaw the investigation and arrested Kiriakou on Jan. 15, 2012.

    • New Documents Reveal CIA Spied on Congress, Whistleblowers

      Newly declassified documents reveal the CIA—which is supposed to be strictly limited in the types of surveillance and other secret operations it conducts on U.S. soil—routinely monitors U.S. government computer systems.

      That information is contained in two formerly secret letters of “congressional notification” written in 2014 by the Intelligence Community inspector general at the time, Charles McCullough. In the letters, McCullough reveals the CIA secretly intercepted and collected emails between congressional staff and the CIA’s head of whistleblowing and source protection. The collection was said to occur as part of the CIA’s “routine counterintelligence monitoring of government computer systems.”

    • Alabama Voters Say At Least One Sheriff Won’t Be Enriching Himself With Federal Inmate Food Funds

      Things will get a little less crooked in part of Alabama in the near future. Sheriffs will no longer be able be able to personally benefit from federal funds meant to feed the state’s prisoners.

      More than one sheriff in the state had been caught starving prisoners while picking up nice things for themselves with the leftover money. Weirdly, this is all legal under state law, which allows personal use of unused food funds by sheriffs running the state’s jails.

      [...]

      A sheriff in Etowah County also brought down the heat on himself by taking home $250,000 a year in federal food funds that were supposed to be used to feed inmates. The $750,000 that managed to be accounted for is likely only a small part of the sheriff’s total take. According to public records, Sheriff Todd Entrekin managed to acquire $1.7 million in property while officially taking home a $93,000 salary.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Colorado Voters Continue To Opt Out Of State’s Protectionist, ISP-Written Broadband Law

      For years we’ve discussed how ISPs like Comcast have spent millions of dollars quite literally buying shitty, protectionist laws in 21 states. Said laws either ban or significantly hamstring towns and cities from building their own broadband networks, or in some cases from even engaging in public/private partnerships. It’s a scenario where ISPs get to have their cake and eat it too; they often refuse to upgrade their networks in under-served areas (particularly true among telcos offering DSL), but also get to write shitty laws preventing these under-served towns from doing anything about it.

      This dance of dysfunction has been particularly interesting in Colorado, however. While lobbyists for Comcast and CenturyLink managed to convince state leaders to pass such a law (SB 152) in 2005, the legislation contains a provision that lets individual Colorado towns and cities ignore the measure with a simple referendum, something telecom lobbyists have certainly come to regret. Not surprisingly, with frustration mounting over sub-standard broadband and awful customer service, more than a hundred Colorado cities have voted to exempt themselves from the state law over the last few years.

      That happened again during the recent midterm elections, when eighteen additional communities voted to opt out of the restrictive, protectionist law. According to the Institute For Local Self Reliance (which helps communities help themselves to improve local connectivity) the votes weren’t even close in most of these towns and cities, with voter approval rates like 73%, 80%, and 90%. With this week’s votes, the group notes that more than 60% of Colorado communities have taken back their rights to make their own decisions on infrastructure for themselves…

    • Google Internet Traffic Wasn’t Hijacked, But It Was Out of Control

      Google noted that almost all traffic to its services is encrypted, and wasn’t exposed during the incident no matter what. As traffic pinballed across ISPs, though, some observers, including the monitoring firm ThousandEyes, saw signs of malicious BGP hijacking—a technique that manipulates the web’s Border Gateway Protocol, which helps ISPs automatically collaborate to route traffic seamlessly across the web.

      ThousandEyes saw Google traffic rerouting over the Russian ISP TransTelecom, to China Telecom, toward the Nigerian ISP Main One. “Russia, China, and Nigeria ISPs and 150-plus [IP address] prefixes—this is obviously very suspicious,” says Alex Henthorne-Iwane, vice-president of product marketing at ThousandEyes. “It doesn’t look like a mistake.”

    • Domain Registrars and Registries Don’t Want to ‘Police’ Piracy

      Copyright holders would like domain name registrars and registries to take a more active anti-piracy approach. There was some serious movement in this direction last year when a new copyright arbitration process was proposed that put domains including that of The Pirate Bay at risk. However, the plan has since been canned, as various parties believe that it went a step too far.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • http://www.ippropatents.com/ippropatentsnews/europenewsarticle.php?article_id=6184

      The UK Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from Warner-Lambert in the Pregabalin second medical use case.

      The Supreme Court dismissed Warner-Lambert’s appeal with Lord Jonathan Mance and Lord Patrick Hodge questioning whether there was sufficient disclosure in the specification for certain claims.

      The court unanimously affirmed a lower court decision and rejected Warner-Lambert’s application to amend its patent in order to narrow it. The Supreme Court’s ruling could make patents for biotech pharma companies easier to avoid and make it them more vulnerable to invalidation.

    • UK Supreme Court affirms Warner-Lambert’s pregabalin patent is invalid

      Warner-Lambert patent was insufficiently disclosed and would not have been infringed by generics even if the claims were valid, in a ruling that raises the bar for plausibility of Swiss form claims

    • Pregabalin – The Ruling of the UK Supreme Court

      Today, after nine months of waiting, the decision of the UK Supreme Court in the pregabalin litigation was handed down. Like Brexit and the nation, it is clear that the Supreme Court Judges were divided on several crucial issues.

      In this post, we will not attempt to give a detailed analysis of the decision but rather to give a short summary of the principal points. A more detailed analysis will follow in the coming days.

      The background to the case is well known. Warner-Lambert had a patent with Swiss-type claims to the use of pregabalin in the treatment of pain (the “Patent”). The Patent had subsidiary claims to the use of pregabalin in inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. Following the expiry of the compound patent for pregabalin in spring 2013, various generics companies wanted to sell pregabalin for non-patented indications including epilepsy and general anxiety disorder. However, the law was unclear as to what additional steps the generics companies should take, besides carving out pain from their label, to try and ensure that their pregabalin medicines were not used for the treatment of pain whilst Warner-Lambert’s patent was in force. In addition to taking such steps, the generics companies also sought to revoke the Patent and thus clear the way ahead of sales of their medicines for the treatment of pain. Warner-Lambert denied that the Patent was invalid and alleged that the Patent was infringed.

    • Copyrights
      • Dear EU Politicians: You Really Don’t Have To Wreck The Internet

        As you’ll recall, back in September, the EU Parliament voted to approve a draft of the EU Copyright Directive, despite it including a bunch of very problematic pieces — mainly Article 13′s mandatory filters and Article 11′s snippet tax. What the EU Parliament approved was not the same as what the EU Council of member states had approved, nor what the EU Commission had approved, so now those three bodies have been working on a “trilogue” process to sync up the various versions and come up with a master version that will have to be approved again by all three institutions. There has been a lot of activity in the past few weeks — and Italy’s change of government has made things a bit interesting.

      • Piracy Debt Collectors Back Off After Massive Backlash in Finland

        Opponents of copyright trolling efforts in Finland scored a major victory last week. A local debt collection company, which came under fire after going after individuals with unpaid settlement letters, has announced that it has withdrawn from the piracy debt collection business.

A Question of Debt: António Campinos, Lexology, Law Gazette, and Sam Gyimah

Thursday 15th of November 2018 09:28:47 AM

Indebted to sponsors and the likes of them (to sell lawsuits and patent wars)

Summary: Ineptitude in the media which dominates if not monopolises UPC coverage means that laws detrimental to everyone but patent lawyers are nowadays being pushed even by ministers (not just those whose clandestine vote is used/bought to steal democracy overnight)

LAST NIGHT we finally saw the EPO Patent Information Conference (EPOPIC) summary (warning: epo.org link), focusing as usual on António Campinos (that old Battistelli tradition of promoting his own brand and sticking his name in every page in the Web site). Prior to that we had written about the third day (yesterday), second day and the first day of the event.

“…courts would reject these patents. Unless… the EPO can replace the courts themselves. They hope to accomplish this with the UPC.”The event’s summary is a tad revealing. It starts by obsessing about the place/venue and the Belgian officials there. Is the Office and/or the President paying back for votes/support (the example of Belgian favours was mentioned yesterday)? It would be one heck of a way for the European Patent Office (EPO) to return favours to Brussels (lots of money flowing this way, with politicians in attendance). Battistelli was sending millions of the EPO's euros (Office money) to his other employer only months ago (European Inventor Award held in Battistelli’s own theatre in Saint-Germain-en-Laye after several years elsewhere in France), so why not keep up this old tradition? The summary then mentions software patents in Europe, for example: “The training sessions gave delegates practical advice on a number of subjects including search strategies, understanding patent families, and protection beyond the expiry of a patent after 20 years. The presentations and discussions enabled participants to track key trends and debate the issues that may impact the future. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, software-related inventions, patent analytics, and linked open data were among the topics covered.”

“Artificial intelligence, blockchain, software-related inventions,” it says. Never mind if these are all software patents, marketed a little differently. But worry not; courts would reject these patents. Unless… the EPO can replace the courts themselves. They hope to accomplish this with the UPC.

“Watching/reading their coverage regarding UPC is like watching CNN for Trump coverage or watching Fox News for Obama coverage.”Yesterday we saw Osborne Clarke’s Arty Rajendra (mentioned here over a week ago and back in September) persisting with the two UPC lies. She did so in corporate media quite recently and now there’s Lexology coverage (we presume paid for, by the writer’s employer, not by the publisher). Lexology is like a marketing hub of law firms and pertinent lawyers. It’s disguised as a news site and it’s syndicated as such, accordingly (albeit not suitably).

Yesterday we also saw Max Walters amplifying Team UPC (yet again). Law Gazette’s coverage has lately been boosting talking points from the litigation giants. Weeks ago we took note of Walters’ misleading article, which preceded by a few days a parliamentary session stacked by Team UPC. They’re all in this together, pushing the UPC lies, pretending this thing is actually desirable, maybe because of the name/marketing (“unitary” and “unified”). This latest article is based on misguided (or worse — intentionally dishonest) word from the minister who ratified UPCA as a bizarre self-serving stunt on a day of propaganda (“IP Day”). Gyimah is quoted as follows:

Sam Gyimah said the government was ‘determined to make sure it works’ and that it recognises both the value that the UK would offer the UPC and vice versa.

Gyimah was appearing before the House of Lords’ EU Justice Sub-Committee which has been taking evidence over the past few weeks on intellectual property rights after Brexit.

The committee questioned Gyimah on whether the government is sufficiently committed to ensuring the UK remained in the UPC. Peers referenced quotes from IP barrister Daniel Alexander who had earlier told the committee that despite political uncertainty on whether the UK can remain in the system one view is to say ‘where there’s a will there’s a way.’

So they’re taking advice from the litigation ‘industry’ itself without even asking the real industry, i.e. science and technology? What a coup! It would be worth noting that the Law Society Gazette (aka “Law Gazette”) is owned by the “Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales,” according to their Web site. So it’s a lawyers’ lobby, not really a news site. They never ask the ‘opposition’ for its views; they totally ignore it. In that respect, they’re no better than the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) and professional promoters of the UPC, e.g. Managing IP. Maybe Walters wants to do the right thing (journalism), but he knows who the boss is and what the boss wants. Sadly, virtually all the media which covers UPC is directly owned by Team UPC or steered by its affiliates. Watching/reading their coverage regarding UPC is like watching CNN for Trump coverage or watching Fox News for Obama coverage.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah and the EPO Are Eager to Attack Science by Bringing Patent Trolls to Europe/European Union and the United Kingdom

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 07:39:33 PM

Summary: Team UPC has managed to indoctrinate or hijack key positions, causing those whose job is to promote science to actually promote patent trolls and litigation (suppressing science rather than advancing it)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has just ended EPOPIC. We wrote about the second and first day (more on the latter) because of the EPO’s promotion of software patents in Europe.

“It’s no secret that UPC is for patent trolls; its most vocal proponents and most aggressive pushers are technically serving patent trolls from the US.”The event was finished around midday today and no controversial talks were scheduled (we can agree with most of what was said there, focusing on patents as information sources that need to be linked, searched, and made accessible though open data).

The EPO wants this event to be more of an echo chamber next time and the only time it mentioned “AI” (earlier today) it was in relation to search, not patent scope. The EPO rewteeted this: “Honored to have the chance to contribute our thoughts about the future of #ArtificialIntelligence for #patent search at the #EPOPIC alongside three great speakers. https://twitter.com/epoorg/status/1062387433348710402 …”

It’s worth noting that at no point did the EPO mention the UPC, at least not in tweets. It’s almost as though it’s presumed dead.

One person remarked on the EPO’s promotion of software patents in Europe by saying: “1) On June, 2015 the Paris High Court, said: “Article 52 of the EPC is perfectly clear and does not require any interpretation: computer programs as such are excluded from patentability, and the reason for this is that they are covered by copyright”. https://www.april.org/en/paris-high-court-reaffirms-ban-software-patents …” (there’s more there)

I replied by stating that “today’s EPO is an enemy of judges and courts, yet it wants to dominate the courts themselves…” (UPC)

A few days ago Jean-Baptiste Thiénot (CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats), i.e. litigation ‘industry’, was spreading typical lies about the UPC right from the first sentence when he said: “Awaiting the decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court, we are only one step away from the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court…”

No, there are more barriers and regarding the UK (one among several additional barriers), these people keep pretending it’s about to ‘stay’ in the UPC/A (which does not even exist). It cannot and it will not. But guess who creeps in? Sam Gyimah. He changed his job again, just as his predecessor did (he currently dissents against Brexit, but that’s outside the scope of this site). Gyimah is being either dishonest or foolish, having already shocked people with what he did [1, 2].

“Impossible is nothing,” one UPC sceptic wrote regarding this tweet: “Science minister @SamGyimah has insisted it is possible for the UK to remain part of the forthcoming unitary patent system after #Brexit, despite this only being open to European Union member states. rsrch.co/2K6Lq6J pic.twitter.com/W12LiOfTpH”

Again, Gyimah is being either dishonest or foolish (or both). Maybe he listened too hard or paid too much attention to last month’s stacked debates, which were stacked by Team UPC. Sam Gyimah continues to perpetuate UPC lies like Team UPC’s taking points and to make matters worse, what he does here is clearly and truly detrimental to science (of which he is minister!). Similarly, the EPO is supposed to help science, but nowadays it does the exact opposite.

It’s no secret that UPC is for patent trolls; its most vocal proponents and most aggressive pushers are technically serving patent trolls from the US. Now that patent trolls from the US struggle in the US they explore the possibility of preying on Europe, just as they do China. Some patent trolls now try to call themselves “ethical” [1, 2] and Managing IP, which attended EPOPIC, helps them, just as it helped UPC advocacy. These patent trolls are looking to prey on China next (they should know that China sometimes arrests trolls) and Managing IP has just trolled its readers with a loaded question as a headline: “Are NPEs good for China’s patent system?”

Of course not; it’s behind a paywall, but we can guess who’s behind it, at the very least based on the amount of money. “Brian Yates, CEO of iPEL, came out all guns blazing when he spoke with IAM about the NPE, which launched at the end of June with $100 million of money raised from what he described as “a hedge fund comprised of sophisticated investors”,” IAM wrote some months ago, noting the focus on China. Managing IP wrote:

A US company backed with $100m is making a big push to monetise Chinese patents, against a backdrop of rising IP tensions between the two countries

“At a time when US tensions with China are rising, one US company is confident big money can be made from buying Chinese patents and enforcing them,” Michael Loney added, then using the paywall to hide the identity of the troll.

Notice how all the major proponents of patent trolls are also proponents of the UPC. This is pretty much the same agenda that Battistelli had in mind and António Campinos continues down the same trajectory.

USF Revisits EPO Abuses, Highlighting an Urgent Need for Action

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 06:51:01 PM

Recent: EPO Insider: Under António Campinos “the Union Busting Done by the Administration Continues Even Worse Than Before”


Can Union Syndicale Fédérale (USF) stop the Mafia-like culture of EPO management?

Summary: “Staff Representation Disciplinary Cases” — a message circulated at the end of last week — reveals the persistence of union-busting agenda and injustice at the EPO

Some time this afternoon SUEPO published “Two press communications from USF – Union Syndicale Fédérale”. “Translations in German and French will follow soon,” it said. SUEPO is recalling the time Battistelli was brought up by USF again — perhaps one last time (way back in summer) — and one post published earlier today [1, 2]. USF links to this piece about the corrupt management; the curators use screenshots/images as a PDF with the one conspicuously missing name. They’ve rubbed off Elodie Bergot’s name. Why? She’s a big part of the problem at the European Patent Office (EPO); why would they be redacting her name as though she deserves protection from scrutiny? Were threats issued?

Here is the letter alluded to in some very recent articles (USF has uploaded it):

Munich 09.11.2018
sc18151cp – 0.2.1/5.2

Staff Representation Disciplinary Cases – Urgent action needed

Dear colleagues,

In June 2018, the ILO Administrative Tribunal, with a series of judgments, set aside disciplinary measures inflicted on EPO staff representatives / SUEPO officials, and on one former staff member now employed by SUEPO. It is clear to even the inattentive observer that the cases resulted from a political campaign launched by the previous President and his Administration, aimed at weakening any opposition to their plans.

In the meantime the new President, Mr. Campinos, has concluded the two cases concerning Malika Weaver and Ion Brumme. However, this does not clean the slate.

Amnesty

In Judgment 4047, the matter was remitted to the EPO to enable the charges against Elizabeth Hardon “to be considered afresh”. In Judgment 4052, the case was sent back to the EPO for the President of the Office “to undertake a new examination”. In this latter case, the Tribunal ordered that the examination “shall take into account the instruction to the President contained in Administrative Council Resolution CA/26/16 dated 16 March 2016.”

In that Resolution, the Council requested the President to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer for arbitration or mediation.

We do not see this happening. Quite on the contrary – Elizabeth Hardon will soon face a new disciplinary committee instigated by the same old Administration, and apparently with the same old charges – even though the Administration’s behavior has already been castigated by the Tribunal. In June 2019, the Tribunal will rule in the case concerning Laurent Prunier, the last of the staff representatives / SUEPO official dismissed by the previous President. He was disciplined despite CA 26/16, and for extraneous motives, similarly to Elizabeth, Malika and Ion. We cannot see that the Office has learnt from the other cases.

The Judgments have preserved the President’s dispositive powers. We, for our part, consider that amnesty would be a fair execution of the Judgments. In all cases, it would also serve social peace and justice.

Reparation and protection

A second pillar of the justice system, namely the functioning of the internal Appeals Committee, also needs to be repaired.

Staff representatives face difficulties accommodating their workload in the Appeals Committee with the workload in their other duties, mostly patent examination. Judgments 3971 and 4050 made public these difficulties, resulting in disciplinary measures against Aurélien Pétiaud and Michael Lund, which the Tribunal considered “within the range of acceptability” or “not to be disproportionate”. It is now absolutely clear that those disciplinary measures were politically motivated as part of an intimidation campaign against staff representatives.

We consider that reparation of the torts inflicted on Aurélien Pétiaud and Michael Lund would also serve social peace and justice.

This would draw a final line under an inglorious chapter in the Office’s history.

Against that historical backdrop, special attention must now be paid to ensure that members of the new Appeals Committee have both a minimum level of independence and peace of mind. As staff representatives, they are increasingly facing the same quandary as their predecessors: trying to reduce the backlog when workload is being increased on all fronts. This is why we expect that management will refrain from undue pressure, vexations or threats of retribution against them in their day-to-day business.

The Central Staff Committee

As we shall show in our next post, all the same EPO issues persist, aside from union-busting zeal, censorship (we’re still blocked by António Campinos and our site has been under sporadic DDOS attacks since Monday), corruption and nepotism. There are purely technical problems, the ‘politics’ aside…

Links 14/11/2018: KDevelop 5.3, Omarine 5.3, Canonical Not for Sale

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 05:37:59 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Meet TASBot, a Linux-Powered Robot Playing Video Games for Charity

    Can a Linux-powered robot play video games faster than you? Only if he takes a hint from piano rolls…and doesn’t desync.

    Let me begin with a brief history of tool-assisted speedruns. It was 2003. Less than half the developed world had internet access of any kind, and YouTube hadn’t been created yet. Smartphones were rare and nascent. Pentium III processors still were commonplace, and memory was measured in megabytes. It was out of this primordial ooze that an interesting video file circulated around the web—an 18MB .wmv labeled only as a “super mario bross3 time attack video” [sic]. What followed was an absolutely insane 11-minute completion of the game by someone named Morimoto replete with close calls, no deaths and Mario destroying Bowser after apparently effortlessly obtaining 99 lives. The only other context was a link to a page written in Japanese, and the rough encoding that Windows Media Video format was known for in that era made it difficult for casual viewers to observe that it was an emulator recording rather than the output of a real Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console.

  • Desktop
    • Windows 10’s October Update Returns, Promises Not to Delete Your Files

      Microsoft has finally re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update—in mid-November. All those file deletion bugs should be fixed, and Windows Update will soon automatically install it on your PC.

    • Windows Isn’t a Service; It’s an Operating System [Ed: No, it is neither. It is malware (keylogger and more) bundled/strapped onto a kernel that can boot the malware and get preinstalled -- by pressure and bribes -- by OEMs]

      “Windows as a Service” is failing. It’s obvious: Windows is not a service, and never was. It’s a desktop operating system, and it doesn’t need updates every six months. Even iOS and Android only get significant updates once per year.

    • Microsoft Is Talking About Windows 10’s Quality, But Changing Nothing

      Microsoft today re-released Windows 10’s October 2018 Update. Rather than explaining what went wrong, Microsoft publicly patted itself on the back for its great quality assurance process. Microsoft promises increased transparency and better communication, but talk is cheap.

    • Microsoft lobs Windows 10, Server Oct 2018 update at world (minus file-nuking ‘feature’) after actually doing some testing

      In early October, Microsoft made Windows 10, Windows Server, and Windows Server 2019 build 1809 available for download, and within days pulled them after all kinds of terrible shenanigans started happening, primarily people’s files going AWOL.

    • Microsoft Responds to Criticism, Adds Snapdragon 850 to the List of Supported Processors for Windows 10

      Meanwhile, it remains a good omen for Windows 10 users that the October update is temporarily being provided in an error-corrected version, possibly to be re-released tonight with other updates for various systems.

    • Microsoft Finally Re-Releases Windows 10 October Update

      Apart from recurring sound issues that always seem to find its way in every Windows 10 update, the 1809 update also brought a file deletion bug that brought havoc on users by deleting their personal files. And there’s the recent Windows Activation Bug, not to mention.

    • UserLAnd Review: a little Linux in your pocket
    • Hands-on: Linux on DeX finally gives the Samsung mobile desktop system a purpose [Video]

      Whilst I’m not a developer or even a user of any Linux distro, I do think that having a proper desktop environment might open up a huge number of use-cases for those that want to have access to a real Linux experience on a device. Remember the failed IndieGoGo from Canonical way back in 2013? They tried — and failed — to convince enough people that the Ubuntu Edge was a viable product.

      Now, Samsung is trying to do something similar, to convince us that DeX can bridge that mobile-to-desktop gap, but (at present) solely with the help of Canonical. That means that at the minute you’ll only be able to install a tailored version of Ubuntu (Ubuntu 16.04 LTS provided by Canonical) for your Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or Samsung Galaxy Tab S4. There is no word on if or when older devices might get the functionality.

    • Samsung’s Linux on DeX turns your phone into a Linux PC

      I remain convinced that this is eventually what all our phones will be able to do – adapt to whatever input method and/or display you hook up to it. We’re in the early stages today, with lots of rough edges, performance hiccups, and other issues, but eventually, we won’t bat an eye at walking into our homes and without us doing anything, our phone wirelessly hooks up to all displays in our house. Want to work on that presentation for tomorrow? Walk into your office, sit down, and your phone automatically wirelessly connects to the mouse, keyboard, and display on your desk. Want to watch Netflix? Just yell a command at your TV, and your phone plays season 7 of Game of Thrones: The Next Generation on your TV. And so on.

    • Samsung Linux on DeX beta APK ready to download

      Before last week ended, Samsung made it known to us the Linux on DeX beta program would be ready soon for the Galaxy Tab S4 and the Galaxy Note 9. This was almost exactly a year since we learned the South Korean tech giant would bundle Linux on Samsung DeX. We’ve only been waiting for it to happen and looks like it’s finally happening although still in beta. Just shared on XDA Developers form is the Linux on Dex Beta APK you can now download.

      Samsung launched the DeX station last year and it’s getting an important update with Linux in the picture. Initially, it’s out for the Galaxy Tab S4 and the latest Galaxy S9 duo.

      The DeX functionality is better than ever now with Linux support, it will be more advanced yet simpler because it will only need a video cable. No need for the DeX docking station.

  • Server
    • OpenStack Now Powers 75 Public Clouds Worldwide

      While there is a lot of talk about large public cloud providers and other open-source cloud efforts in the media and elsewhere, the OpenStack Foundation continues to move forward, albeit with less hype than it once was able to muster.

      On Nov. 13, the OpenStack Foundation announced that it is rebranding its OpenStack Summit event, which is running here Nov. 13-15, to the Open Infrastructure Summit, as part of the open-source organization’s continued movement to look beyond just its own core open-source cloud effort.

      On the other hand, even as the OpenStack Foundation looks beyond its namesake project for the future, the present reality is that OpenStack is quietly powering a lot of cloud infrastructure. Although OpenStack is not thought of among the big three public cloud providers—Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure—it does power more than 75 other public cloud providers worldwide. At the OpenStack Summit, multiple operators and vendors including Huawei, Deutsche Telekom and OVH detailed how they are scaling increasingly larger cloud platforms, all powered by OpenStack.

    • PHP 7.2, Node.js 10, NGINX 1.14 and others now GA for RHEL

      These versions are available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (Devtools or RHSCL channel) for x86_64, s390x, aarch64, and ppc64le. Read more details about each component in the “New Components details” section.

    • GCC 8.2 now GA for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

      We are pleased to announce general availability of Red Hat Developer Toolset 8 beta for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7.

      [...]

      Like other tools, these are installable via yum from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or 7 Devtools or RHSCL channel. For more details, see the “New Features” section below.

    • Clang/LLVM 6.0, Go 1.10, and Rust 1.29 NOW GA for RHEL

      These toolsets can be installed from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Devtools channel. See the “New compiler details” below to learn about the new features.

    • HelpSystems Gets Into JAMS for Scheduling

      HelpSystems yesterday announced the acquisition of MVP Systems Software, the Connecticut-based developer of the JAMS workload management and scheduling software. While JAMS supported IBM i, HelpSystems will count on the product to deliver capabilities primarily in the open systems realm, with cloud possibilities looming in the future.

      The acquisition came together as the result of mutual respect that HelpSystems and MVP Systems Software had for each other, says Kate Bolseth, general manager of cross platform products at HelpSystems.

    • What’s the reality of OpenStack and public cloud?

      My colleague, Margaret Dawson, spends a lot of time talking with customers. And in those conversations, questions about cloud and OpenStack invariably come up. She shared this message a while back, during her keynote at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, and it still resonates. While public cloud looms large in many companies’ plans, OpenStack’s future looks bright in the hybrid cloud reality we see today — and tomorrow.

      “Most of you, especially if you’ve been working on OpenStack for a while, hear ‘Game’s over. Why are we even still doing this? AWS has won, so let’s just put everything in the public cloud and call it a day.”

    • Impact of IBM-Red Hat Merger

      Recently, there have been numerous machine learning, and AI algorithms developed to achieve the desired output in a dynamic, efficient, and effective manner. However, in a real-time scenario, an individual algorithm has its own advantages and is restricted to certain limitations. These limitations can be minimized by integrating different algorithms to achieve the desired task. By capturing the insights into the integral approach, IBM has announced its acquisition of Red Hat technologies to enhance its cloud-based business services to its clients.

      In the past year, nearly a quarter of IBM overall revenue was achieved through the cloud service platform. But with an increase in competitors, the company was overshadowed by other cloud rivals such as Microsoft and Amazon. Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, stated that at present, only 20 percent of the companies are renting cloud services to cut costs; over 80 percent are still unlocking their business values and can shift their business applications to the hybrid cloud in the near future for data extraction and optimization.

    • OpenStack Expands With New Projects, Canonical’s CEO Is Not Thrilled About It

      For those who have been paying attention (and SDxCentral has been), the OpenStack Foundation has been expanding its scope beyond the basic compute, storage, and networking sub-projects of its cloud infrastructure software. Today at the OpenStack Summit in Berlin the group made it official, announcing that it will host new open source projects with a new governance framework.

      The OpenStack Foundation board approved the governance framework to incubate new pilot projects that are relevant to the open infrastructure community. As part of this new framework, the first four pilot projects are Kata Containers, Airship, Zuul, and StarlingX. All of these projects have been previously announced.

    • Open source is growing up – and here’s how

      If you’re among those who still think that open source is just for hobbyists and academics, think again. Open source is mature now, both as a concept and as tools for building enterprise IT, and we have two major shifts in understanding to thank for that.

      The first key change is that there’s a much more mature understanding now of how the layers of IT architecture relate to each other – of what fits where, in other words. Instead of trying to do too much, adding in every feature or capability that might be related, open source projects have become more focused.

      For example, instead of misunderstanding them as rivals, we can now see OpenStack and Kubernetes for what they are. The former is an infrastructure layer, upon which you can run platform layers such as the latter.

    • Open-source and cloud-native, Kubernetes paves the way for new companies to bring DevOps to data

      With less than two months left, 2018 is poised to go down in tech history as the coming of age for open-source software.

      Need evidence? Over the past 10 months, notable open-source enterprises MuleSoft Inc., Magento Inc., GitHub Inc. and Red Hat Inc. have been purchased for a combined $50 billion.

      Yet before jumping on the open-source bandwagon, observers would be wise to keep in mind that these technologies still depend on a sizable community of contributors to keep innovation fresh, and monetization of many open-source projects remains a struggle. So what is all the fuss about?

    • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14 coming soon with tighter Kubernetes integration

      Today, Red Hat has announced Red Hat OpenStack Platform 14, saying it will become available in the coming weeks. The firm says that the latest version, which is built on the OpenStack “Rocky” community release, more tightly integrates with the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform which gives admins full control over their Kubernetes environments.

    • Red Hat commits to Openstack for ‘at least’ 10 years

      While Red Hat understandably wouldn’t discuss anything to do with the IBM mega-acquisition – for regulatory reasons – director of product management James Labocki and senior director for product management at Openstack Nick Barcet confirmed Red Hat’s commitment to Openstack for at least the next “10 years”.

      The open source giant today announced Openstack Platform 14, which Barcet said aimed to make Openstack a better platform to run container orchestration system Kubernetes on, while also helping to better manage the deployment of Red Hat’s container platform OpenShift on bare metal, as well as easing the integration of OpenShift and Openstack at the networking and storage layer. This, says Barcet, is a landmark move for Red Hat because it is part of a new strategy to focus on its whole portfolio as a single entity rather than individual products.

    • Kaloom Collaborates with Red Hat to Deliver a Virtual Central Office Solution for Multivendor NFV Deployments
  • Audiocasts/Shows
  • Kernel Space
    • Linux 4.19.2
    • Linux 4.18.19
    • Linux 4.14.81
    • Linux 4.9.137
    • linux-4.19-ck1, MuQSS version 0.180 for linux-4.19

      Announcing a new -ck release, 4.19-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.180. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

    • MuQSS Scheduler Updated, Linux 4.19-ck1 Drops BFQ I/O Scheduler

      Con Kolivas is out with an updated version of his MuQSS scheduler (based on his former Brain BFS Scheduler work) as well as his “-ck” patch-set against the mainline kernel.

      MuQSS 0.180 is the latest version of the scheduler designed for working particularly well on desktop and mobile systems for maximum responsiveness and interactivity. This code has been re-based against the upstream Linux 4.19 stable series along with his 4.19-ck1 patch-set that has accounting fixes.

    • Linux Foundation
      • The Ceph Foundation has been launched by the Linux Foundation to support the open source storage project

        At Ceph Day Berlin, yesterday (November 12) the Linux Foundation announced the launch of the Ceph Foundation. A total of 31 organizations have come together to launch the Ceph Foundation including industries like ARM, Intel, Harvard and many more. The foundation aims to bring industry members together to support the Ceph open source community.

        [...]

        The Ceph Foundation will provide an open, collaborative, and neutral home for project stakeholders to coordinate their development and community investments in the Ceph ecosystem.

      • Linux Foundation Launches Open Source Ceph Storage Group

        Open source storage gets a boost today as the Linux Foundation launches the Ceph Foundation with more than 30 members including China Mobile, DigitalOcean, Intel, OVH, and Red Hat.

        The Ceph project is a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, and file system interfaces. It was co-founded more than a decade ago by Sage Weil, who is now chief architect at Red Hat for Ceph, and University of California, Santa Cruz professor Carlos Maltzahn. A whole team of storage engineers now manage and maintain the open source code.

      • ZTE Joins Ceph Foundation as One of First Platinum Members

        ZTE Corporation (0763.HK / 000063.SZ), a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, joined the Ceph Foundation as the founder member and one of the first Platinum members at the Ceph Day in Berlin, Germany.

      • OPNFV Gambia — Doing what we do best while advancing cloud native

        Today, the OPNFV community is pleased to announce the availability of Gambia, our seventh platform release! I am extremely proud of the way the community rallied together to make this happen and provide the industry with another integrated reference platform for accelerating their NFV deployments.

        At a high level, Gambia represents our first step towards continuous delivery (CD) and deepens our work in cloud native, while also advancing our core capabilities in testing and integration, and the development of carrier-grade features by working upstream. As an open source pioneer in NFV, it’s amazing to see the evolution of the project to meet the needs of a quickly changing technology landscape.

    • Graphics Stack
      • What Is Screen Tearing and How to Get Rid of It on Linux

        Unfortunately for Linux fans, screen tearing is, and has been, a persistent annoyance that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. There are a couple of factors enabling the longevity of the screen tearing issue.

        First, and probably most obviously, is the dated, broken, and bloated X server. Even with the progress of Wayland, X is here to stay for the immediate future. Next is the strange and inconsistent graphics driver picture. One of the biggest offenders in causing screen tearing is also the most popular GPU manufacturer on Linux, NVIDIA. Throw in different desktop environments with their own display settings and compositors, and you have a real mess.

        These methods will hopefully eliminate screen tearing in most situations, but it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all solution, thanks to the amount of variables involved. Try what applies to your system, and keep in mind that there might be new factors involved.

      • Collabora Revives Work On Alpha Compositing Protocol For Wayland

        Collabora’s Scott Anderson has revived work on the alpha compositing protocol for Wayland, which is based upon the work done by Google on this functionality for Chromium on Wayland.

        The Wayland Alpha Compositing Protocol is intended to control the alpha compositing and blending of surface contents within a Wayland environment. This experimental protocol allows for advanced blending and alpha operations on Wayland surfaces (wl_surface) and Google’s work on it dates back at least two years.

      • Radeon Linux Driver Preparing Adaptive Backlight Management (ABM)

        The “AMDGPU” Radeon Linux kernel graphics driver is preparing support for “Adaptive Backlight Management” as a backlight power-savings feature for laptops.

        Adaptive Backlight Management reduces the backlight level in an effort to save power but increases the pixel contrast and luminance to improve image quality and readability under the lower light condition.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • A Journey on Budgie Desktop #2: Raven

      Raven, the Super+A menu, is the special right panel on Budgie Desktop Environment. It’s represented by a white door icon with a left arrow on it beside the power icon on the top panel. It’s interesting as it’s fun to show/hide in end-user’s perspective. It’s unique, compared to same right-side panel concepts on BlankOn and deepin, it has own name Raven while being very minimal yet usable. See more below. This is the continuation after the first part talked about the Top Panel. Enjoy and please wait the next part about Applets!

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • KDevelop 5.3 released

        A little less than a year after the release of KDevelop 5.2 and a little more than 20 years after KDevelop’s first official release, we are happy to announce the availability of KDevelop 5.3 today. Below is a summary of the significant changes.

        We plan to do a 5.3.1 stabilization release soon, should any major issues show up.

      • KDevelop 5.3 Released With Better C++, Python & PHP Support

        KDevelop 5.3 brings the Clazy analyzer that makes use of Clang, many improvements to C++ support, a whole lot of PHP language support improvements, and the Python language support has seen some fixes as well as the ability to inject environment profile variables into the debug process environment. KDevelop 5.3 has also seen improvements for its support on BSD, Haiku, and other operating systems.

      • NVIDIA Working On An EGLStreams Back-End For KDE On Wayland

        With no recent activity on the NVIDIA-led Unix device memory allocation work that all developer communities could get behind to supersede GBM and EGLStreams for use by Wayland compositors, NVIDIA is working on an EGLStreams back-end for KDE’s KWin compositor.

        Similar to the work done on an EGLStreams back-end for GNOME and other EGLStreams work by the smaller Wayland compositors, a NVIDIA engineer is now officially working on an EGLStreams back-end for KWin so that the NVIDIA proprietary driver would play well with KDE on Wayland. Up to now KWin has only supported the Mesa GBM interfaces. KDE developers have said they wouldn’t invest in developing an EGLStreams back-end, but that they wouldn’t be opposed if say NVIDIA would contribute and maintain the code — that’s what is happening now.

      • Shop update! Digital Atelier and a new USB-Card

        And we’ve also created a new USB-card, with the newest stable version of Krita for all OSes. Includes Comics with Krita, Muses, Secrets of Krita and Animate with Krita tutorial packs.

      • KDE Bugsquad – Okular Bug Day on November 17th, 2018

        Thank you to everyone who participated last Bug Day! We had a turnout of about six people, who worked through about half of the existing REPORTED (unconfirmed) Konsole bugs. Lots of good discussion occurred on #kde-bugs as well, thank you for joining the channel and being part of the team!

        We will be holding a Bug Day on November 17th, 2018, focusing on Okular. Join at any time, the event will be occurring all day long!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GNOME Mutter Brings More Fixes, Shell 3.31.2 Has Some Performance Work

        New development releases of GNOME Shell and Mutter are out today in the 3.31 development series along with new 3.30 stable point releases that back-port more fixes for these important pieces to the GNOME desktop.

        Mutter 3.31.2 brings a number of fixes including better handling for non-UTF8 encodings, memory leak fixes from the 3.30 series, a possible crash when restarting the window manager, initial Meson build system support, a crash fix for monitor hot-plugging, and other fixes rounding this out as a practical update.

      • GSoC Mentors Summit 2018

        I represented GNOME, sadly alone because the other selected mentor didn’t get the US visa in time. This was my first trip out of India and I couldn’t plan it properly1, so I went there for just the two conference days.

  • Distributions
    • The Best Linux Distros For Beginners

      Everyone needs to start somewhere, and Linux is no different. Even though it became a meme, telling newcomers to install Gentoo isn’t very productive, and it harms the community as a whole.

      There are distributions that work to make themselves accessible to people of every skill level and technical aptitude. They’re often called “Beginner distributions”, but they aren’t just for beginners. Actually, any one of these choices would be great for everyone, but they’re also the best places for newbies to start.

    • Reviews
      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Elementary OS 5.0 Juno

        Elementary OS is currently riding high in the Distrowatch rankings and it has been a while since my last review so I thought it was high time I took another look.

        The tag line at the top of the Elementary OS website reads as “The fast, open and privacy respecting replacement for Windows and macOS”.

        In this review I am going to examine this claim in depth as well as other claims such as “Apps you need, without the ones you don’t”. The website states that the applications have been carefully considered to cater for your everyday needs so you can spend more time using your computer and less time cleaning up bloatware.

        Without further ado lets separate the fact from the fiction and explore Elementary OS with a virtual magnifying glass befitting a well known sleuth. After all it is “Elementary” my dear Watson. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

    • New Releases
      • LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.007 ALPHA

        The LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha cycle has continued and releases for Amlogic and Slice hardware have been added additionally to the test cycle. We official support now Khadas VIM (AML S905X) and the LePotato (AML S905X) too. Since the 8.90.006 release we support a wide range of Rockchip devices. There are no plans to release LibreELEC 9.0 images for NXP/iMX6 hardware as support was removed from Kodi some months ago. Support will be reinstated in a future LibreELEC, we wrote an dedicated article about the future of LibreELEC.

        Alpha releases are important to the team because we cannot test every scenario and sometimes sidestep issues without realising. The project needs a body of regular testers to go find the problems we miss. Testing will be particularly important for LibreELEC 9.0 as Kodi v18 includes substantial internal changes to VideoPlayer and introduces new retro-gaming capabilities.

      • Omarine 5.3 released! (Nov 14 2018)

        This release updates dbus and glib together with all dependencies and related packages. Some of them are rebuilt, the rest are upgraded. Glib 2.58.1 can be considered a development threshold because many dependent packages must be caught it up. Below is a list of some typically upgraded packages:

    • Debian Family
      • Debian Packages To Eliminate Vendor-Specific Patches, Affecting Downstreams Like Ubuntu

        Debian packages have supported the concept of vendor-specific patches whereby when DPKG unpacks a source package on different operating systems / distributions (such as Debian vs. Ubuntu), different patches could be selectively applied. Ubuntu is one of the main benefactors of this feature while effective immediately these vendor-specific patches to source packages will be treated as a bug and will be unpermitted following the Debian 10 “Buster” release.

        This vendor-specific patch behavior for DPKG is mainly to help downstreams of Debian such as Ubuntu (not to be confused with vendor-specific hardware patches, etc). This vendor-specific patching has been used where say Ubuntu wishes to make some customizations to a Debian package that are minor in nature or basic alterations, they could land the changes in upstream Debian as a vendor-specific patch that would then be applied to the source package when building on Ubuntu… But keeping the package unpatched on Debian, or vice-versa. It reduces the maintenance burden for those wanting to selectively make basic changes to a package without having to maintain multiple largely redundant packages.

      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 19.04 Development Starts Off With Python 3.7, Merged Usr Directories

            Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” development is now officially underway.

            Following the initial sync from Debian unstable, Ubuntu developer Matthias Klose announced this morning that “Disco Dingo is now open for development.”

            The initial prominent changes in the archive include landing Python 3.7 as the default Python3 version after Ubuntu 18.10 shipped with Python 3.6, removal of OpenSSL 1.0 with intending to only ship OpenSSL 1.1.1 LTS, and upgrading to Perl 5.28.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 13 November 2018

            As announced, Cosmic Cuttlefish was released Oct 18. Check out the release notes for more information on changes, download the latest server ISO, or try out our live-server ISO. As of Friday last week, the Ubuntu archive is now officially open for development on Disco Dingo. See the Disco Dingo release schedule for important milestones of this upcoming release. Let’s continue to make Ubuntu excellent!

          • Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth Has No Plans Of Selling Canonical

            A couple of weeks ago IBM announced its plan to buy Red Hat for $34 billion. Following that, experts started speculating that rival companies like Canonical and Suse would sell as well.

            However, Canonical’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, doesn’t seem to have any plans of selling the company — at least not in the near future. In an encounter with TechCrunch, he said, “I value my independence.”

            One of the reasons behind this decision is that he doesn’t really need the money. But another big reason for not selling is his vision for Canonical and Ubuntu, which he would like to see through personally.

          • Mark Shuttleworth is not selling Canonical or Ubuntu — yet

            Actually, the question most of us wanted him to answer is: “After IBM paid a cool $43-billion would he consider selling Canonical?” After all, Canonical is also a top Linux company with a arguably a much stronger cloud and container presence than Red Hat. By The Cloud Market’s latest count of Amazon Web Services (AWS) instances, Ubuntu dominates with 307,217 instances to Red Hat’s 20,311. Even so, in a show floor conversation, Shuttleworth said, “No, I value my independence.”

            That’s not to say he’s not willing to listen to proposals. But he has his own vision for Canonical and Ubuntu Linux. If someone were to make him an offer, which would leave him in charge of both and help him further his plans, then he might go for it. Maybe.

            It would have to be a heck of an offer though, even by post-Red Hat acquisition terms. Shuttleworth doesn’t need the money. What he wants is to make his mark in technology history.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Is your startup built on open source? 9 tips for getting started

    When I started Gluu in 2009, I had no idea how difficult it would be to start an open source software company. Using the open source development methodology seemed like a good idea, especially for infrastructure software based on protocols defined by open standards. By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic—we underestimate the difficulty of starting a business. However, Gluu was my fourth business, so I thought I knew what I was in for. But I was in for a surprise!

    Every business is unique. One of the challenges of serial entrepreneurship is that a truth that was core to the success of a previous business may be incorrect in your next business. Building a business around open source forced me to change my plan. How to find the right team members, how to price our offering, how to market our product—all of these aspects of starting a business (and more) were impacted by the open source mission and required an adjustment from my previous experience.

    A few years ago, we started to question whether Gluu was pursuing the right business model. The business was growing, but not as fast as we would have liked.

  • Cisco partners using open source gain 10% sales advantage over rivals

    Cisco channel partners deploying open source software on top of network delivery are seeing higher sales than those who don’t, the vendor has revealed.
    Susie Wee, the president and CTO of Cisco’s developer program DevNet, claimed partners who had a staff member using the platform’s code and ecosystem exchanges, were seeing 10 per cent more sales revenue than their channel competitors.

    Speaking to ARN, Wee said that while the partners’ growth was not necessarily caused by DevNet, the numbers represented a strong correlation.

  • Events
    • Achievement unlocked! I spoke at PythonBrasil[14]

      PythonBrasil is the national Python community conference that happens every year, usually in October, in Brazil.

      I attended PythonBrasil for the first time in 2016, the year we had started PyLadies Porto Alegre. Back then, we were a very small group and I was the only one to go. It was definitely one of the best experiences I ever had, which, of course, set a very high standard for every single tech event I attended afterwards.

      Because of the great time I had there, I wanted to bring more and more women from PyLadies Porto Alegre to experience PythonBrasil in the next editions. So, during the PyLadies Porto Alegre 1st birthday party, I encouraged the other women to submit activities to try and to go to the conference that would happen in Belo Horizonte.

  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Browser Based Open Source Image Optimization Tool Squoosh Comes To Google Lab’s Latest Release

        Open source, browser-based image optimization tool Squoosh is Google’s new Chrome Lab release. This new web tool is meant to make web developers work a lot simpler to optimize web pages. Images loading in a website is usually the reason for them to take so long to load and Squoosh helps web developers shrink the image so that it consumes lesser data. Squoosh can downsize, compress, and reformat images. Its purpose is to make web developers’ work less tedious and hence quicker. Google chrome labs made this tool available offline and said it would be handy to have this tool work offline. Squoosh also supports editing image codecs that are not normally available in the browser.

    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla shares how AV1, the new the open source royalty-free video codec, works

        Last month, Nathan Egge, a Senior Research Engineer at Mozilla explained technical details behind AV1 in depth at the Mile High Video Workshop in Denver. AV1 is a new open source royalty-free video codec that promises to help companies and individuals transmit high-quality video over the internet efficiently.

        AV1 is developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), an association of firms from the semiconductor industry, video on demand providers, and web browser developers, founded in 2015. Mozilla joined AOMedia as a founding member.

        AV1 was created for a broad set of industry use cases such as video on demand/streaming, video conferencing, screen sharing, video game streaming, and broadcast. It is widely supported and adopted and gives at least 30% better than current generation video codecs.

      • Private by Design: How we built Firefox Sync

        Firefox Sync lets you share your bookmarks, browsing history, passwords and other browser data between different devices, and send tabs from one device to another. It’s a feature that millions of our users take advantage of to streamline their lives and how they interact with the web.

        But on an Internet where sharing your data with a provider is the norm, we think it’s important to highlight the privacy aspects of Firefox Sync.

        Firefox Sync by default protects all your synced data so Mozilla can’t read it. We built Sync this way because we put user privacy first. In this post, we take a closer look at some of the technical design choices we made and why.

      • This Week in Rust 260

        This week’s crate is cargo-nono, a cargo subcommand to check a crate’s dependencies for no-std compatibility. Thanks to Hobofan for the suggestion!

      • Your Privacy Focused Holiday Shopping Guide

        The lyrics to “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” detail an omniscient Saint Nicholas. But in 2018 — in an era of always-listening products and apps — the lyrics might as well be detailing the latest connected device.

        This holiday season, Mozilla is helping consumers identify which connected products are secure and trustworthy — and which aren’t. The goal: help consumers shop for gifts based on how well they protect the privacy and security of their friends and family, in addition to traditional factors like a product’s price and performance.

  • Databases
    • Meet TiDB: An open source NewSQL database

      As businesses adopt cloud-native architectures, conversations will naturally lead to what we can do to make the database horizontally scalable. The answer will likely be to take a closer look at TiDB.

      TiDB is an open source NewSQL database released under the Apache 2.0 License. Because it speaks the MySQL protocol, your existing applications will be able to connect to it using any MySQL connector, and most SQL functionality remains identical (joins, subqueries, transactions, etc.).

      Step under the covers, however, and there are differences. If your architecture is based on MySQL with Read Replicas, you’ll see things work a little bit differently with TiDB. In this post, I’ll go through the top five key differences I’ve found between TiDB and MySQL.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Trying DragonFlyBSD & FreeBSD On The Intel Core i9 9900K With ASUS PRIME Z390-A

      Since last month’s Intel Core i9 9900K launch for this eight core / sixteen thread processor we have explored its performance for Linux gaming, how the performance and power efficiency go from the Intel 990X to 9900K, the Spectre mitigation costs, and the Intel Coffeelake Refresh performance across various Linux distributions. For those curious about using the new Intel CPUs and Z390 motherboards with one of the BSD operating systems, I spent a few days over the weekend trying out FreeBSD and DragonFlyBSD releases with the i9-9900K and ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard combination.

    • Upgrading OpenBSD 6.3 to 6.4 on Vultr
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • It Looks Like The Raptor Blackbird Open-Source Motherboard Will Sell For Just Under $900

        Many have been curious to learn more about the Blackbird from Raptor Computing Systems as a lower-cost POWER9, open-source hardware alternative to their higher-end Talos II hardware that we’ve been recently benchmarking. The possible price has been revealed.

        Overnight, Raptor Computing Systems tweeted a straw poll looking to gauge the interest level in “Would you pre-order a Raptor Computing Systems Blackbird system or board this year at a mainboard cost of $875?”

  • Programming/Development
    • C++20 Making Progress On Modules, Memory Model Updates

      This past week was an ISO C++ committee meeting in San Diego, which happened to be their largest meeting ever, and they managed to accomplish a lot in drafting more planned changes around the C++20 language update.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • Intel and Rolls-Royce Team Up for Autonomous Shipping

      One business making a big push toward this future is Rolls-Royce’s commercial marine division, which is now part of Norwegian shipping company Kongsberg (NASDAQOTH:NSKFF). That division just inked a deal with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) to deploy Intel’s technology for autonomous shipping fleets, which could be roaming the seas by the time we welcome the 2030s.

      This is not the Rolls-Royce motorcar brand that you’re familiar with, which is now owned by BMW. Rather, this is the Rolls-Royce division involved in making engines for commercial shipping. That division was sold by the larger Rolls-Royce British parent company, which makes aerospace engines, to Kongsberg in June.

    • US Losing Its Luster for Foreign Students

      The U.S. remains the top destination in the world for more than 1 million visiting students — hosting more than double the next country, the United Kingdom. But while 1.5 percent more students studied in the U.S. last year, the rate of new enrollments — specifically, undergraduate students — declined by 6.6 percent, a trend first seen the preceding year, according to the Institute for International Education’s (IIE) annual Open Doors report.

  • Hardware
    • Apple’s T2 Security Chip Will Block Certain Third-Party Repairs, Users Might Have To Shell Significantly More For Repairs

      If you are a fan of Apple and a Gadget geek, you must be familiar with the T2 chip, which goes about as a co-processor in Apple’s devices and, is the key to a considerable lot of Apple’s freshest and most advanced features.

      Apple affirmed this is the situation for fixes including certain parts on more up to date Macs, similar to the rationale load up and Touch ID sensor, which is the first run through the organization has freely recognized the new fix necessities for T2 prepared Macs. In any case, Apple couldn’t give a rundown of fixes that required this or what gadgets were influenced. It additionally couldn’t state whether it started this convention with the iMac Pro’s presentation a year ago or if it’s another strategy organized as of late.

      The T2 is a customized component that performs different complex and essential functions such as preparing for Touch ID. It additionally stores the cryptographic keys important to boot the machines it keeps running on safely. According to Apple, the chip has new features, as well, for example, empowering the MacBook Pro to react to “Hello Siri” queries without expecting you to press a catch. It additionally keeps its workstation from being remotely worked on by programmers when the cover of the gadget is shut. Furthermore, the T2 chip is equipped for speaking with different segments with the end goal, to play out the simple most essential and advanced errands present day Macs are prepared to do.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • How a Bad Environment Impacts Children’s Health

      Millions of children die every year as a result of environment-related diseases. Their deaths could be prevented by using low-cost and sustainable tools and strategies for improving the environment. In some countries, more than one-third of the disease burden could be prevented by environmental changes. According to a WHO study carried out in 23 countries, more than 10 percent of deaths are due to unsafe water and indoor air pollution, particularly from solid fuel used for cooking.

      Children make up almost half the population of developing countries. Most of the deaths are among children under five and are attributable mainly to intestinal and respiratory infections. People living in industrialized countries are also affected by environmental factors such as pollution, occupational factors, ultraviolet radiation, and climate and ecosystem changes.

      The integrity of the global environment is being increasingly compromised by the deterioration of the atmospheric ozone layer and an ever-higher concentration of gases responsible for the greenhouse effect. To the degree that these factors intensify, the health of populations will be seriously affected.

      Environmental factors affect children’s health from the time of conception and intra-uterine development through infancy and adolescence. These factors can even exert an influence prior to conception since both ovules and sperm can be damaged by radiation and chemical contaminants.

      It has been widely demonstrated that children are more susceptible than adults to environmental factors because, among other reasons, they are still growing and their immune systems and detoxification mechanisms are not yet fully developed.

      Interventions both at the community and the national level can significantly improve the environment, including the promotion of safe-water treatment and storage, and the reduction of air pollution. The last measure by itself could save almost a million lives a year.

    • Allowing Asbestos to Continue Killing

      The town of Libby is a striking and tragic example of corporate irresponsibility, weak regulation and the deadly effects of asbestos exposure. And it’s not just Libby. Nationally, the epidemic of deaths from asbestos exposure shows no sign of slowing down — it’s estimated that nearly 40,000 people die from asbestos exposure each year in the USA alone.

      Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and experts agree that no amount of use of the toxin is safe. The European Union already prohibits its use, and despite this ominous classification, the United States is woefully lagging behind in the banning of asbestos.

      Asbestos-related deaths in the United States demonstrate how our regulatory system for managing chemicals in the U.S. — known as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — has failed to protect the public. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tried to ban asbestos in 1980s, but despite the overwhelming evidence of its deadliness, a court ruled in 1991 that the EPA failed to clear all the hurdles under this law.

      When Congress passed bipartisan legislation in 2016 strengthening TSCA, many thought it would pave the way to banning asbestos use in the U.S. In fact, that was the intention under the newly strengthened TSCA and the accompanying regulations written by the Obama administration.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Protecting the Digital Supply Chain

      You first learn about the importance of the supply chain as a child. You discover a shiny object on the ground and as you reach down to pick it up your parent says “Don’t touch that! You don’t know where it’s been!” But why does it matter whether you know where it’s been? When your parents know where something came from, they can trust that it’s clean and safe for you to play with. When they don’t, their imagination runs wild with all of the disgusting bacteria and viruses that might taint it.

      The food supply chain is important. Food is sealed not just so that it will keep longer, but also so that you can trust that no one has tampered with it between the time it left the supplier to the time it goes in your grocery bag. Some food goes even further and provides a tamper-evident seal that makes it obvious if someone else opened it before you. Again, the concern isn’t just about food freshness, or even someone stealing food from a package, it’s about the supplier protecting you from a malicious person who might go as far as poisoning the food.

      The supply chain ultimately comes down to trust and your ability to audit that trust. You trust the grocery and the supplier to protect the food you buy, but you still check the expiry date and whether it’s been opened before you buy it. The grocery then trusts and audits their suppliers and so on down the line until you get to a farm that produces the raw materials that go into your food. Of course it doesn’t stop there. In the case of organic farming, the farmer is also audited for the processes they use to fertilize and remove pests in their crops, and in the case of livestock this even extends to the supply chain behind the food the livestock eats.

    • I found a security hole in Steam that gave me every game’s license keys and all I got was this… oh nice: $20,000

      A bloke has told how he discovered a bug in Valve’s Steam marketplace that could have been exploited by thieves to steal game license keys and play pirated titles.

      Researcher Artem Moskowsky told The Register earlier this week that he stumbled across the vulnerability – which earned him a $20,000 bug bounty for reporting it – by accident while looking over the Steam partner portal. That’s the site developers use to manage the games they make available for download from Steam.

    • Hacker Receives $20,000 From Valve For Discovering Steam Bug That Generates Free Steam Keys
    • Cryptojackers Come to Linux with a Brand-New Stealth-Like Crypto Mining Malware [Ed: This only impacts already-cracked machines -- an important distinction to be made -- and they blame "Linux" while calling Windows "PC"]

      Linux users are not immune from stealth cryptocurrency mining, also called cryptojacking, anymore. Japanese cryptosecurity company Trend Micro discovered that a cryptocurrency miner known as KORKERDS behaves in a strange way, with the potential to hide its activity from Linux users.

      Trend Micro posted information on its website that the route of infection is yet to be investigated. However, the mining malware might get installed onto the victim’s computer through a compromised plugin or software download.

    • Vulnerability In Android Exposes Sensitive Data From RSSI Broadcasts, Can Be Used To Locate Users In Local Wifi Networks [Ed: So-called 'phones' always broadcast that data widely, the question is just, how widely?]
    • Security updates for Wednesday

      Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (powerdns and powerdns-recursor), Debian (ceph and spamassassin), Fedora (feh, flatpak, and xen), Red Hat (kernel, kernel-rt, openstack-cinder, python-cryptography, and Red Hat Single Sign-On 7.2.5), and Ubuntu (python2.7, python3.4, python3.5).

    • iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9, Xiaomi Mi 6 Hacked At Pwn2Own Tokyo [Ed: All so-called 'phones' nowadays have a back door at the baseband OS, so cracking them and remotely controlling them is trivial, securing them a non-starter.]
    • It’s Amateur Hour in the World of Spyware and Victims Will Pay the Price

      We’re living in the golden age of spyware and government hacking, with companies rushing to join a blossoming billion dollar market. The weakest among us—activists or journalists—will suffer the consequences if we don’t regulate it appropriately.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • For What?

      Europe is now commemorating the 100 year anniversary of World War I, with all of the pageantry that accompanies it. I just can’t help but wonder, “Do they get it yet? Do they really understand what it was all about?” Do they realize yet that 20 million soldiers, people, killed and died for nothing?

      It was a stupid colonialist war that accomplished absolutely nothing of importance, just power changing hands. At least Lenin was smart enough to see that and immediately got Russia out of it. On the other hand, the Americans were particularly stupid since this war was strictly a European affair, in actuality, a European family feud. But Americans didn’t understand that. They thought that since it was a war between the Big Powers, they should be included and recognized. The Americans said, “Hey, we’re a big power too, you know. Take notice of us, Europe. We recently acquired some colonies of our own! We have every much of a right to send our boys overseas to proudly die in your colonialist war!” Of course, Europe welcomed them, but behind their backs, they snickered to each other in private, “These dumb Americans. They don’t realize that this is a family feud.” However, the futility of war was quite lost not only on the Americans but on the Europeans as well. Europe should instead hold a ceremony to mourn those who died for nothing. Ironically, at least then it would have some meaning. I could support that.

      Curiously, even after one century, no one seems absolutely sure why the war started in the first place. What was it all about? It was so crazy, demented, when you think of it, wasn’t it? Here was this huge, unprecedented world war that began after a century of relative peace in Europe, and for what? This is something people should think about before they revel in the pageantry. Some 20 million people died, which means that 20 million people killed others, which also means that so many, many millions more lost a father, a husband, a grandfather, a friend, a lover – and for what?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • US Intel Will Bring Assange to US in Chains

      It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

      It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

      WikiLeaks put government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.

      It created a trove of primary source material that serious journalists and researchers will mine for years to come. Its publications are accessible to readers who prefer primary sources to mostly mediated news.

      Wikileaks so infuriates the USA’s most violent, corrupt, and criminal institutions that Hillary Clinton half-jokingly suggested drone-bombing Assange. Other U.S. politicians called for his execution by other means.

      California’s 28th District Congressman Adam Schiff, who became the chair of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats reclaimed the House, said he would speak to Assange “when he is in U.S. custody, not before.”

      Schiff is a vociferous and supremely self-righteous leader of the Democratic Party’s “Resistance,” which sullies the name of the underground movement formed in France during World War II to fight Nazi Germany’s occupying forces and the collaborationist Vichy government.

    • Twitter Mystery: Fox News, Jill Stein, WikiLeaks, Prominent Right Wingers Abruptly Stop Posting At Same Time

      In the days that followed, a stream of other right-wing and Trump-connected individuals and organizations have also fallen silent on the site, widening the mystery of why they have so suddenly stopped posting. Speculation reigns as to whether there is any connection or co-ordination between these conservative outlets.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Century-Old West Virginia Leases Yield Paltry Gas Royalties. A Suit Could Cut Others’ Payouts to a Trickle, Too.

      Linda Stimmell gets upset every time EQT Corp.’s checks arrive in the mail. The energy giant extracts natural gas from beneath the Stimmell family’s old farm in Doddridge County, West Virginia, under the terms of a lease signed when Teddy Roosevelt was president.

      The royalty checks Stimmell receives from two “Bates Wells,” named for her great-great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Bates, amount to just $9 and $3 each quarter.

      The lease Bates signed more than a century ago with Carnegie Natural Gas Co. of Pittsburgh allowed legendary industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s company to drill for, produce and sell as much natural gas as Carnegie wanted. In exchange, Bates got a flat fee of $300 a year per well.

      [...]

      The lawsuit, filed in April, challenges a 1982 law that aimed to give gas owners a bigger share of the profits. That law applied to situations where the gas lease was an old flat-fee arrangement and the well was drilled after the law took effect. In order to get a state permit for such wells, gas companies would have to pay the gas owners at least 12.5 percent of the revenue from the gas.

      EQT lawyers argue that the company invested time and money on leases, betting financially that, eventually, more modern drilling techniques would fuel skyrocketing production in West Virginia’s Marcellus Shale gas fields.

      “It was entirely foreseeable that, over time and with investment, mineral extraction technology and related infrastructure would continue to improve, new technologies would develop, and the market for natural gas would grow,” the company maintained in its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg.

      EQT wants a federal judge to throw out the entire 1982 statute. The company declined to comment on the lawsuit beyond its court filings.

      A victory for the company could shift millions of dollars in gas royalties from West Virginia residents and businesses to out-of-state gas producers like EQT, a politically connected company with a board member, Bray Cary, who is a top adviser to Gov. Jim Justice.

    • Alternatives to Wilderness?

      In recent years it has become fashionable for conservationists to substitute and promote other land classification in place of wilderness designation. Wilderness is “passé” so we are told, even though it is the “gold standard” for land protection.

      In a recent white paper, The Wilderness Society outlined some of these alternatives such as National Recreation Area, Conservation Management Area, Special Management Area (Newberry Crater), National Scenic Area, Wildlife Management Area, and other titles.

      While such designations may confer greater flexibility than wilderness designation, and often more protection than no special label, since there is no “organic act” for such classifications, there is no consistent policy protection for such designations. The degree of protection provided can vary and depends entirely on the original language that created such areas. By contrast, with Wilderness designation, we know what we are getting.

    • Saving Romania’s Brown Bears, Sharing Lessons About Coxistence, Conservation

      David and I recently spent a couple weeks in the company of a group of Romanians who had come to the U.S. to learn what we had to offer about coexisting with grizzly bears, which are of the same species, Ursus arctos, as their local “brown bears.” They had come to Seeley Lake, Montana, for a week-long workshop sponsored by Humane Society International (HSI), because, in the words of Gabriel “Gaby” Paun of Agent Green, a Romanian environmental group: “we are losing our bears, not learning.” Afterwards, Gaby, Laszlo Gal, Levante (“Levi”) Peter and Lajos Berde (see their photos below) spent another week based at our place where they covered an astonishing amount of Yellowstone by car and foot, and where we continued our fascinating conversations about people and bears.

      We Americans alternate between bragging and complaining about the roughly 700 grizzlies that live, isolated, in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. But Romania’s Carpathian Mountains support 10-times more bears, an astonishing 7,000 or so, in an area of roughly the same size – more than in all other European countries combined, and, of them all, the most genetically robust. I came into the workshop believing that we have as much or more to learn from Romanians as they do from us, and I believe that even more strongly now. (For more, listen to this delightful interview with Manon Dene, Paris-based advocate for HSI, Episode 31– and here is my can’t-miss interview with Gaby, Episodes 32 and 33).

  • Finance
    • Five ways Amazon HQ2 could impact the DC area

      Amazon has spent more than $44 million lobbying Congress over the last four years, and doubled the number of lobbyists it employs.

    • Amazon Splits Coveted ‘HQ2’ Between New York and Washington

      The search was also a not-so-subtle message to the city of Seattle, where some political leaders have blamed Amazon for skyrocketing property values, gridlocked highways and a growing homeless crisis. Tension between Amazon and the city spilled into the public spotlight earlier this year, when the city council approved and then overturned a payroll tax on big employers to pay for affordable housing and programs to fight homelessness. Amazon, the city’s dominant employer, threatened to push growth elsewhere if it was approved.

    • ‘It’s obscene and wrong’: Amazon HQ2 gets typically warm New York welcome

      “To provide a billion dollars in taxpayer money at a time of scarce resources to one of the richest corporations in the world, that’s run by literally the richest man in the world – it’s obscene and it’s wrong,” Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Long Island City on the city council, told the Guardian.

    • After the Vote: An Essay of the Man from the North

      Change happens on many levels: cultural, economic, industrial, social, artistic, personal, psychological, spiritual, and more. We must work in all of them if we hope for lasting, systemic shifts. Don’t be fooled by the annual circus of voting. Go vote, sure, but don’t sit back down on the couch when you’ve cast your ballot. Go out into your community, businesses, churches, colleges, and so on, and work for the changes we wish to see in the world. In truth, no legislation has the power to enact the full scope of change without the cooperation of all those other institutions and the popular support in ordinary citizens.

      Want living wages, for example? Change the sickening culture of greed and the hero worship of the criminals at the top of capitalism’s cannibalistic food chain. Challenge the moral “right” our culture places upon exploitation and survival of the fittest. We will never see justice for workers while we salivate over billionaires and laud their “brilliance” (read: ruthless willingness to shove others under the bus) with which they “made their fortunes” (read: stolen from others by means of low wages, high prices, global exploitation, insider deals, destruction of the earth, corruption of democracy, self-serving laws and legislation.)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • 11,000 Votes May Be Missing in Florida Congressional Race

      Counties across Florida are currently under intense pressure and scrutiny as they race to complete the unprecedented task of three simultaneous statewide recounts. According to a schedule provided to Truthout by the Florida Fair Elections Coalition (FFEC), the deadline for finishing machine recounts and submitting those second unofficial results is Thursday, November 15, at 3 pm. Races that are close enough to require what is being described as a “manual” recount — where a limited number of ballots are counted by hand — must submit official returns Friday, November 16, by noon. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher has already stated that her county will be unable to meet the deadline, calling it “impossible.” The statewide races where recounts are required are for governor, agricultural commissioner and Senate, where current Gov. Rick Scott maintains a razor-thin lead of 12,562 votes in his attempt to take a Senate seat away from his rival Democrat incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. That lead is now less than the mysterious 25,000 undervote that was reported previously in the race.

      According to The New York Times, if any county cannot complete the recount by the deadline, then Saturday’s results will stand in that county. Another county that is likely to find the recounts challenging is Broward County, a behemoth Democratic stronghold with over 700,000 total ballots cast. The supervisor of elections there, Brenda Snipes, received a summary judgment against her in May 2018 for illegally destroying ballots in the 2016 Democratic congressional primary race between incumbent Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova, a professor of law and public finance at Nova Southeastern University.

    • An Emoluments Suit Against Trump Is Moving Ahead. We Spoke to a Plaintiff About What’s Next. — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra
    • Talkin’ Jim Acosta Hard Pass Blues: Is White House Press Access a Constitutional Right?

      That, however, is not what CNN contends. They’re not upset that you and I can’t plop ourselves down in White House press room chairs and start firing off questions at the president any time the spirit moves. Their lawsuit argues, rather, that because CNN is a popular cable channel and its White House correspondent is very special and important, Jim Acosta is entitled to a chair, a desk, and face time with Donald Trump.

      I suspect a lawsuit on similar supposed First Amendment claims from, say, Caitlin Johnstone, Alex Jones, Chris Hedges, or the “White House Correspondent” of a small-town Kentucky newspaper would get laughed right out of court (and out of the “mainstream press”), even if they all agreed to hand the microphones back over when their time ran out.

    • CNN Lawsuit Seeks To Show That Trump Can’t Kick Reporters Out For Asking Tough Questions

      As you’ve probably heard by now, last week there was a bit of a scuff up in which the President in his standard manner got irritable and annoyed when CNN’s Jim Acosta kept asking questions the President didn’t feel like answering. This has resulted in a bunch of nonsense involving everyone trying to justify their own side’s talking points — but the simple fact of the matter is that it’s a journalist’s job to ask tough questions of politicians. There was a made up controversy involving claims that Acosta “assaulted” an intern who sought to take away his microphone, and the White House supported it with video evidence that some have claimed was doctored, while others have noted just happened (coincidentally) to have been re-encoded in a way that made Acosta’s hand motions look more menacing than they really were. Either way, the end result was that the White House removed Acosta’s press pass, claiming it was because of what happened with the intern, when literally everyone knows it was because of his questioning (if you want to honestly argue that it was because of the intern, go away).

      On Tuesday, CNN announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the White House over the removal of the press pass, arguing that it violated both 1st Amendment and 5th Amendment rights. CNN and Acosta are represented by Ted Boutrous and Ted Olson (along with some other Gibson, Dunn lawyers) which is some serious firepower as they’re two of the most high profile lawyers out there. Olson, a former Solicitor General during the George W. Bush administration, was rumored earlier this year to be considering joining Trump’s legal team, before declining. And now he’s suing Trump’s White House.

    • The Government is Our Teacher

      At his death sentencing in 1997 Timothy McVeigh, the infamous Oklahoma City bomber, spoke words that every American should take to heart when confronted with violence perpetrated by US veterans. Quoting Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, McVeigh stated, “Our government is the potent, omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example.” In 1995, McVeigh, a decorated Gulf War veteran, who a comrade referred to as “the best soldier I met when I was in the Army”, carried out the largest terrorist act on US soil pre-9/11.

      Unfortunately, many US veterans like McVeigh have used skills and training acquired in the military to kill fellow Americans. The latest is Ian David Long, a former Marine allegedly responsible for a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California that left 12 people dead. Although authorities will search for motives, it is likely they will dismiss Long’s own words, as McVeigh’s have been ignored. Reportedly, in a Facebook post before the attack, Long wrote: “I hope people call me insane… (laughing emojis).. wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…”

      If Long’s and McVeigh’s indictments fall on deaf ears, perhaps the words of a Marine Corps Pastor who served with Long in Afghanistan will carry more weight. The pastor, Thomas Burke, stated, “We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK. It’s not mental illness. It’s that we’re doing something to a generation, and we’re not responding to the needs they have.”

      [...]

      Johnson, like McVeigh, was a psychopath. But McVeigh’s pathology did not stop him from rationally spelling out the reasons he took his actions. For example, he claimed that he was awarded medals for killing enemy Iraqis but was a villain at home for fighting against a Clinton government he perceived as a threat to the Republic. McVeigh was a Christian from Upstate New York radicalized by the destruction wrought by the US military in Iraq in 1991, especially on the “highway of death”. The Waco Raid in 1993 that saw the FBI firebomb David Koresh’s compound, killing the radical preacher but also innocent women and children, pushed him over the edge. McVeigh stated, “[his] bombing was a retaliatory strike; a counter attack, for the cumulative raids (and subsequent violence and damage) that federal agents had participated in over the preceding years (including, but not limited to, Waco).”

    • The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend

      As per usual in my ongoing failure to “speak to the day” as a journalist should, this piece will come out after the “most important election of our lifetimes”-midterms. Part of the delay was having to deal with friends who were worried that I would say the sorts of things I say here—because, you know, as a philosopher and retired professor the influence I have is enormous! I’ll return to the all-important midterms at the end, now that they are (safely?) behind us.

      I imagine the “lifetimes” in question are those of the well-trained liberals, progressives, and “leftists” who are now in their twenties, thirties, and forties; “educated people.” For anyone older, I find it hard to understand how they think the stakes of things within the existing social system are so different than in any other election. Even for those in their forties, we have lived as adults in a time when the Supreme Court stopped an election and installed a president and vice-president in what looked like a right-wing coup. This unfolded into real elements of fascism, such as the abrogation of the U.S. constitution by the Patriot Act, the starting of wars on the basis of outright lies (lies that were easily seen through, but that were supported by Democrats in Congress such as Hillary Clinton); these wars continue today. But my liberal friends say, “never mind that, because … Trump.”

    • What Tester’s Win Means

      Montanans should be proud of their fellow citizens for sending Jon Tester back to the Senate on Election Day. Faced with the ugliest display of crude and degrading campaigning against him by the president, his son, the vice president and other out-of-state politicians, Tester — a true Montanan born and raised under our big sky — managed to prevail without once resorting to the lowlife tactics of his opponents.

      Not in recent memory has any sitting president come to Montana four times to campaign against an incumbent Montana senator. As President Trump made widely known, he considered it his revenge mission to unseat Tester, claiming that it was “personal” because Tester torpedoed Trump’s nominee to head the Veterans Administration.

      But in truth, Trump’s nominee, Ronnie Jackson, withdrew voluntarily after Tester released details provided to him concerning Jackson’s proclivity to pass out prescription drugs like candy and drink on the job. That Jackson bailed prior to his Senate confirmation hearing says a great deal about the validity of the concerns raised by Tester who, as a senator, has a constitutionally mandated duty to “advise and consent” on high-level administration nominees.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • The US Refusing To Sign ‘The Paris Call’ Is Not As Big A Deal As Everyone Is Making It Out To Be

      On Monday, a bunch of countries and companies officially announced and signed “The Paris Call,” or more officially, “the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace.” It’s getting a fair bit of press coverage, with a lot of that coverage playing up the decision of the US not to sign the agreement, even as all of the EU countries and most of the major tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Cisco and many many more signed on.

      But, most of those news stories don’t actually explain what’s in the agreement, beyond vague hand-waving around “creating international norms” concerning “cyberspace.” And the reports have been all over the place. Some talk about preventing election hacking while others talk about fighting both “online censorship and hate speech.” Of course, that’s fascinating, because most of the ways that countries (especially in the EU) have gone about fighting “hate speech” is through outright censorship. So I’m not quite sure how they propose to fight both of those at the same time…

    • Nice Work EU: You’ve Given Google An Excuse To Offer A Censored Search Engine In China

      I both agree and disagree with this statement. What China is doing is to a different degree. But the mechanisms and the concepts behind them are the same. Indeed, we’ve pointed out for years that any move towards internet censorship in the Western World is almost immediately seized upon by China to justify that country’s much more aggressive and egregious political censorship. Remember, back when the US was considering SOPA/PIPA, which would have censored whole websites on the basis of claims of copyright infringement, the Chinese government gleefully pointed out that the US was copying China’s approach to the internet, and pushing for a “Great Firewall” for “harmful” information. It’s just that, in the US’s case, that “harmful information” was infringing information that hurt the bottom line of a few entertainment companies, while in China, they saw it as anything that might lead to political unrest. But, as they made clear, it was the same thing: you guys want to keep “harmful” information offline, and so do we.

      That push for SOPA/PIPA gave the Chinese cover to continue to censor the internet — and now the EU and its silly Right to be Forgotten is doing the same thing. So, yes, the style and degree of the censorship is not the same — but the nature of what it is and how it’s done continues to give massive cover to China in dismissing any complaints about its widespread censorship regime.

    • Pennsylvania Attorney General Sends Broad, Unconstitutional Gag Order To Gab’s New DNS Provider

      The subpoena wasn’t sent to Gab, but rather Epik, the domain provider Gab picked up after being dropped by GoDaddy in the days after the shooting. The whole subpoena — rescued from deleted tweets — can be found at Unicorn Riot. The subpoena demands Epik turn over pretty much any document the domain provider might have on Gab, including names and addresses of “any and all persons or entities employed by, representing, or otherwise acting on behalf of Gab.”

      Shapiro’s fishing expedition — which decided to bypass Gab (most likely in hopes of finding its DNS provider more cooperative) — comes complete with a very half-assed gag order request.

    • Enforcing copyright in government documents? Not as uncommon as one might think

      It was just a few days ago that Advocate General Szpunar issued his Opinion[discussed here]in the important Afghanistan Papers case, ie Funke Medien, C-469/17. This is a referral from Germany asking about the interplay between copyright protection and fundamental rights, notably freedom of information and freedom of the press.

      Pending all this, some interesting news comes from Germany. The IPKat is happy to host the ‘alert’ below, as provided by Katfriend Mathias Schindler (as of September 2018, an assistant to Anke Domscheit-Berg).

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • ProtectedText – A Free Encrypted Notepad To Save Your Notes Online

      Note taking is an important skill to have for all of us. It will help us to remember and maintain permanent record of what we have read, learned and listened to. There are so many apps, tools and utilities available out there for note taking purpose. Today I am going to talk about one such application. Say hello to ProtectedText, a free, encrypted notepad to save the notes online. It is a free web service where you can write down your texts, encrypt them and access them from anywhere from any device. It is that simple. All you need is a web browser in an Internet-enabled device.

      ProtectedText site doesn’t require any personal information and doesn’t store the passwords. There is no ads, no cookies, no user tracking and no registration. No one can view the notes except those who have the password to decrypt the text. Since there is no user registration required, you don’t need to create any accounts on this site. Once you done typing the notes, just close the web browser and you’re good to go!

    • [Old] Jaron Lanier: How we need to remake the internet

      I don’t believe our species can survive unless we fix this. We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.

      In the meantime, if the companies won’t change, delete your accounts, OK?

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ By Lee Reed

      The phrase “thoughts and prayers” is reflexively uttered by elites, who desperately hope acknowledging tragedy will be enough to avoid doing anything to meaningfully address carnage and destruction.

      And for every tragedy that demands “thoughts and prayers,” there are many more examples in the United States and throughout the world that do not receive attention from politicians.

      On Canadian hip-hop artist Lee Reed’s latest album, “Before and Aftermath,” he deconstructs the common political expression, exposing how it reinforces a status quo that benefits Western capitalism and empire.

    • How Georgia’s Probation System Squeezes the Poor and Feeds Mass Incarceration

      Poor Georgians are falling victim to probation policies that enrich private companies and contribute to recidivism rates.

      Charles “Skip” Eckartz, a 63-year-old disabled veteran, and his wife, Virginia “Ginny” Eckartz, were arrested in their Georgia home for manufacturing marijuana. They were incarcerated for five days until Ginny was able to use the small inheritance she’d received after her mother’s death as collateral for their bond.

      Although all of the charges were dropped against his wife, Skip accepted a plea agreement that allowed him to avoid a felony conviction and up to 10 years in prison. Skip, who had no criminal history, was sentenced to five years of felony probation under the First Offender Act in Georgia.

      Unfortunately, Skip didn’t realize that probation, which is promoted as a way to keep people out of jail and prison, is actually one of Georgia’s main feeder systems of incarceration. In 2016, Georgia had more people on felony probation — close to 206,000 people on felony probation — than any other state in the nation.

      In addition to his sentence, Skip was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine plus court costs and fees. The Eckartzes survive on a fixed income of $965.89 a month. They net just under $12,000 a year, and owe the state almost $10,000 in fees and fines that Skip is required to pay as a condition of probation. The result: Skip is forced to decide between paying the lease on his home, or fines and fees. He lives with the constant threat that if he continues to miss payments, he could be thrown into prison and given a criminal record for the first time in his life.

    • Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

      Chicago’s most powerful alderman on Tuesday joined the growing chorus of leaders calling for reforms to the city’s ticketing and debt collection, introducing a measure to substantially limit the decades-old practice of seeking driver’s license suspensions over unpaid tickets.

      The proposal from Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke would require the city to take into account motorists’ income before taking away their driving privileges and create more affordable payment plans for them.

      Burke’s proposal was the latest in a series of reforms that aim to respond to growing public pressure over the way Chicago punishes motorists who can’t afford to pay tickets.

      “The impact of license suspensions truly hurts lower-income residents the hardest because of an inability they have to pay these steep ticket fines,” Burke, who represents the 14th Ward on the city’s Southwest Side, told the Finance Committee. “For many motorists, the loss of the privilege to drive equates to higher unemployment, and in worst-case scenarios, Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings become necessary in order to protect licenses and vehicles required to get to work.”

    • Oregon Board Says Those Found Criminally Insane Rarely Commit New Crimes. The Numbers Say Otherwise.

      About 35 percent of people found criminally insane in Oregon and then let out of supervised psychiatric treatment were charged with new crimes within three years of being freed by state officials, according to a comprehensive new analysis by ProPublica and the Malheur Enterprise.

      The analysis and interviews show that Oregon releases people found not guilty by reason of insanity from supervision and treatment more quickly than nearly every other state in the nation. The speed at which the state releases the criminally insane from custody is driven by both Oregon’s unique-in-the-nation law and state officials’ expansive interpretation of applicable federal court rulings.

    • What Oregon Officials Knew and When They Knew It

      Members of the Psychiatric Security Review Board have said it is not their duty to track what happens to people they set free. But in private, board members and staff pushed to study recidivism and found high rates among people the board frees.

    • How We Analyzed the Outcomes of Those Freed by Oregon’s Psychiatric Security Review Board

      Studies of the criminal justice system rarely consider what happens after insanity defendants are freed. In Oregon, that has meant state leaders have had no objective measure of the state’s approach, which places more people into community treatment and frees them from state supervision more quickly than other states.

      The Malheur Enterprise and ProPublica calculated outcomes by reviewing public records collected from the Psychiatric Security Review Board, courts and state agencies. The analysis is among a handful of recidivism studies of insanity defendants, experts said.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Medium is a poor choice for blogging

      Many people choose Medium lately as their go-to platform to blog. Kind of like Blogger a while back, it just seems what everybody has been doing (unless you are really nit-picky and care enough to host your own thing).
      And kind of like Blogger, Medium is a terrible thing for publishing. If you think about publishing an article, starting a blog or even just sharing a short rant on Medium, please consider what you’ll be putting your readers through.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court unanimously dismisses Warner-Lambert’s painful Lyrica appeal

      In his pre-dinner speech at the CIPA life Sciences conference last week, Lord Neuberger wistfully commented that, if there was one case that he would like to have come back to the Supreme Court bench for, it was Warner-Lambert vs Actavis. Following the Supreme Court hearing of this case in February, IPKat has spent the summer on tenterhooks waiting for the decision to be handed down.

      The decision was handed down this morning, and can be read here. In summary, the Supreme Court dismissed Warner-Lambert’s appeal that the patent was sufficiently disclosed, and upheld Actavis and Mylan’s appeal that the disputed claims were not even partially sufficient. The Supreme Court also unanimously held that, if the claims had been found valid, they would not have infringed. The Supreme Court was also unanimous on construction and found that the post-trial amendment sought by Warner-Lambert was an abuse of process.

    • USA: Arista Networks, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2017-1525, 09 November 2018

      The assignor of a patented network security logging device that “broadcast” network security threats was not estopped from initiating an inter partes review of the patent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has determined.

    • Trademarks
      • The Girl Scouts Sues The Boy Scouts Over Trademark

        What happened here is pretty simple. And, frankly, pretty stupid on the part of the BSA. And we should acknowledge that Techdirt generally, and myself specifically, tend to advocate a more permissive attitude when it comes to trademark concerns. In this case, what BSA did was to rebrand itself without the “Boy”, instead recruiting girls into its ranks using the “Scouts BSA” branding and term. To be somewhat critical of the Girl Scouts, having that “BSA” in its name certainly does some work to differentiate it and call back to its original Boy Scouts of America name, but I’m not sure one could argue that “BSA” alleviates any concern. The Girl Scouts, of course, are still a thing. And this appears to have led to very real confusion in the marketplace.

      • Girl Scouts sue Boy Scouts for trademark infringement

        The Girl Scouts are suing the Boy Scouts, saying the organization’s inclusive rebranding effort has caused all sorts of consumer confusion from mistaken enrollment in the Boy Scouts to misinformation about a merge of the two groups.

        Tuesday’s trademark infringement lawsuit is an attempt to clear up the uncertainty, said the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

        The Manhattan federal case noted the two separate youth organizations have long coexisted.

    • Copyrights
      • Nintendo ‘Wins’ $12 Million From Pirate ROM Site Operators

        This summer, Nintendo made it totally clear that websites offering access to its retro-games and ROMs will not be tolerated.

        The Japanese game developer filed a complaint at a federal court in Arizona, accusing LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co of massive copyright and trademark infringement.

        Faced with millions of dollars in potential damages, the operator of the sites, Jacob Mathias, swiftly took the platforms offline. The legal action also led to the shutdown several other ROM sites, who feared they could be next.

      • Nintendo ‘Wins’ $12.2 Million From A Couple Who Ran ROM Sites [Ed: Nintendo destroys people who sought to preserve memories, nostalgia and culture without actually harming anyone's bottom line (these games aren't for sale anymore)]

        A husband and wife from Arizona have been ordered to pay Nintendo a sum of $12.23 million in damages for running a couple of sites that offered pirated ROMs.

        Jacob and Cristian Mathias have admitted guilt of copyright and trademark infringement by operating LoveROMS.com and LoveRetro.co. These sites were up until July this year when Nintendo finally intervened and slapped a lawsuit against the duo.

Second Day of EPOPIC: Yet More Promotion of Software Patents in Europe in Defiance of Courts, EPC, Parliament and Common Sense

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 07:15:01 AM

From the EPO Gazette:

Summary: Using bogus interpretations of the EPC — ones that courts have repeatedly rejected — the EPO continues to grant bogus/fake/bunk patents on abstract ideas, then justifies that practice (when the audience comes from the litigation ‘industry’)

YESTERDAY we covered day one of EPOPIC, taking note of overt promotion of software patents in Europe by the António Campinos-led European Patent Office (EPO).

Day two of this event had yet more of the same, namely promotion of software patents in Europe. As people who are programmers probably know already, "AI" just means software; it’s a particular kind of software, but it’s still software. I myself have written algorithms in this domain under more than one employer and more than one university. Despite the fact that we’re talking about algorithms here, the EPO is blatantly working around the law again. Yesterday it wrote: “AI and the patent system: The fundamental concepts of patent law will adapt – from the protection of hardware innovation, to the protection of software innovation.”

When they say “patent law will adapt” they mean to say “will be worked around” (or violated) and by “software innovation” they mean programming. The EPO mentioned “AI” in another context (management of patents themselves), e.g. “Patent information professionals will be able to leverage AI’s ability to quickly process massive amounts of data to surface important information. Samuel Davis shares great insights on this topic at #EPOPIC [] What are the areas where the EPO uses AI? Automatic pre-classification of applications Automatic CPC classification of patent documents Automatic searches on patent applications Automatic annotation of patent literature Patent Translate…”

It’s important to stress that this isn’t about software patents but about software being used to manage patents (we suppose that the EPO will deem such software patent-eligible too).

Methods of violating the EPC (and then ignoring courts that say EPO is violating the EPC) are then specified by the EPO: “The EPO has developed a methodology in order to determine if computer implemented inventions are patentable: (1) Technical character, (2) Inventive step based on technical features only.”

This is nonsense; the nonsensical interpretation above has already been rejected by courts. But on they go: “EPO expert Argyrios Bailas presents how the EPO is incorporating AI tools in its work and how it examines applications related to artificial intelligence.” (combining the two aspects above).

“Patent offices need to provide a predictable, stable & timely approach to the patenting of computer implemented inventions,” the EPO then added.

Examiners should say “NO!” immediately (to such patent applications), as per the law — a concept that the corrupt EPO fails to grasp. This would be “predictable, stable & timely,” to borrow the EPO’s own words.

We suppose that the remainder of EPOPIC will have more of these same lies. We shall watch these closely today.

Allegations That António Campinos ‘Bought’ His Presidency and is Still Paying for it

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 06:47:45 AM

When the politician met the banker

Summary: Rumours persist that after Battistelli had rigged the election in favour of his compatriot nefarious things related to that were still visible

THERE have been several rumours swirling about António Campinos, but evidence is at times lacking or relatively weak. The European Patent Office (EPO) is corrupt, no doubt, and there’s plenty evidence to show it. Demonstrating that Campinos plays an active role in it, however, isn’t easy. Days ago we mentioned EPO ‘outsourcing’ rumours; we asked for input and got some input a couple of days later.

“We already saw Battistelli doing this many times in the past. It’s a form of corruption.”As readers may recall, Battistelli clearly meddled/intervened to have Campinos ‘set up’ as his successor. Take Belgium for example (we wrote about half a dozen articles about it, since more than a year ago, as this relates the UPC and EUIPO). Inside sources said that its vote was more or less ‘bought’.

Based on LinkedIn job postings, sources tell us, other countries may have had their vote ‘bought’ (rewards given after the vote, not before or throughout). We already saw Battistelli doing this many times in the past. It’s a form of corruption. We’ve been giving examples since 2014.

We’re told that the job postings have nothing to do with outsourcing but more to do with national patent offices and Council delegates (as was the case in Belgium). As one source framed it: “Is António Campinos paying for the votes which made him the seventh president of the EPO, or for future support?

“His election was a rigged process (we wrote about it countless times before) and the effect of this rigged election may be more profound and long-lasting than people care to realise.”A curious aspect of this is that the job advertisements on the EPO’s LinkedIn page aren’t always on the EPO’s site. Some may have already disappeared (maybe due to public scrutiny). We leave it as an exercise for the reader, e.g. which jobs these are and the possible motivations. One thing we do know is that there are internal conversations about it and Campinos has much to worry about. His election was a rigged process (we wrote about it countless times before) and the effect of this rigged election may be more profound and long-lasting than people care to realise. Certain people are indebted or are owed “favours”. There are many ways to pass money around, e.g. jobs, EU budget, and EPO budget (see how Battistelli looted the EPO itself a few weeks before he left).

WIPO Corruption and Coverup Mirror EPO Tactics

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 05:58:15 AM

Older: The Dark Side of WIPO and Attempts to Suppress Information Mirror the EPO’s Tactics

Summary: Suppression of staff representatives and whistleblowers carries on at WIPO and the EPO; people who speak out about abuses are themselves being treated like abusers

THE suppressions at the European Patent Office (EPO) are profound. These involve a total lack of transparency (worse than before), including gagging of staff representatives. The EPO’s management keeps pretending that this isn’t happening, but only based on a bunch of nonsense (doublespeak). It remains true that the EPO lies to staff and to journalists (the public).

“It remains true that the EPO lies to staff and to journalists (the public).”Barney Dixon’s article which was cited by SUEPO on the same day (as publication) is the latest SUEPO-related coverage from IPPro Patents. Misleading article headline is followed by the part at the end which balances it somewhat, if not outright refutes it (EPO doubles down on “staff rep email ban,” unlike what’s being suggested in the headline and start/middle). To quote IPPro Patents:

The European Patent Office has partially ended a ban on mass emails to EPO staff from staff representatives.

Under immediate EPO past-president, Benoît Battistelli, a blocking system was introduced to occlude all mass emails to staff from staff representatives, including the Central Staff Committee (CSC), local staff committees, and the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO).

In a communiqué to staff on 5 November, Campinos revealed that staff representatives would now be able to send mass emails for “certain purposes”.

He explained: “In the scope of our regular discussions, staff representatives have requested authorisation to send mass emails to all staff.”

[...]

According to SUEPO sources, under all previous EPO presidents the CSC, local staff committees and SUEPO were all about to send messages without limitation.

The sources said it was not in any staff representatives culture to abuse this power with too much or aggressive content.

The sources explained that since SUEPO could issue “reasoned and substantiated critics about his wrongdoings, Battistelli decided to go for an office-wide ban of all emails from the staff representatives”.

The sources added that Campinos wanted to “give staff and the public the feeling that he is re-establishing the censored channels of communication, whereas in facts, this is not the case”.

“Mass emails are limited to two calls for general assemblies per year and not allowed for other day-to-day topics, which are precisely those of great concerns for the entire workforce since they impact on them.”

As we explained before, António Campinos blatantly blocks any meaningful communication because the quotas correspond to annual or biannual meetings.

“What we see from Campinos right now reaffirms what we saw before; people who observe corruption aren’t able to speak, not safely anyway. This merely perpetuates the corruption.”There’s now a new example of similar suppressions at WIPO.

“WIPO,” one reader told us, is in many ways “same as EPO,” citing the following letter from the 3 staff federations regarding the case of Mr. Wei Lei.

“Any resemblance to EPO, is purely coincidental,” our reader joked. The old pattern ensues: gag the messenger, discredit the messenger, intimidate the messenger. Here is the letter, dated yesterday:

13 November 2018

Dear Mr. Gurry,

We are writing to you on behalf of the three staff federations of the UN common system, CCISUA, FICSA and UNISERV, representing 120,000 international civil servants worldwide, regarding what would appear to be a serious act of reprisal against Mr. Wei Lei, who holds a D2 Chief Information Officer position at WIPO and who is also the Vice-President of the WIPO Staff Association. We have been informed that the WIPO Administration has suspended Mr. Lei (an Australian national) from duty and given him seven days to respond to a charge letter, following what seems to be a tainted investigation conducted by WIPO into an alleged ATM bank card fraud.

Mr. Lei has been accused by WIPO of having used a colleague’s ATM bank card to withdraw CHF 300 from that person’s bank account at the UBS bank ATM on the WIPO premises. Mr. Lei denies the accusation and neither UBS nor the Swiss authorities have provided WIPO with any evidence or record that would substantiate the accusations.

The staff federations find all of this rather strange given the context. Mr. Lei was a key witness in the investigation carried out by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Service (OIOS) into the alleged misconduct (procurement corruption) by you as WIPO Director General. A violation of the standards of conduct was substantiated by the OIOS; however, Member States decided not to take any action against you. Following the investigation, you apparently received an unredacted copy of the OIOS report, thereby exposing the witnesses to retaliation – this is contrary to standard investigative practice at WIPO.

We have been informed that Mr. Lei has already been investigated twice over the last two years and cleared of any wrongdoing during both investigations.

Furthermore, he is not the only staff representative at WIPO being subjected to such type of investigation or undergoing alleged harassment. We understand that Mr. Christopher Mason, President of the WIPO Staff Association (WSA), would seem to be the subject of yet another such investigation and Mr. Olivier Steele, another Vice-President of the WSA, has allegedly been informed that his fixed- term contract will not be renewed after 31 January 2019, because of a negative performance evaluation and his supervisor’s explicit disapproval of his activities as a staff representative, despite the fact that he has provided twenty years of loyal service to the Organization. Additionally, the case of Ms. Miranda Brown, former D2-level Strategic Adviser to the WIPO Director General and a prominent, blacklisted whistleblower who was forced out of WIPO, has still not been settled by the WIPO Administration, despite renewed legal action.

Mr. Lei, having been refused whistleblower protection by the WIPO Ethics Office appealed, in accordance with the WIPO whistleblower protection policy, to the UNOPS Ethics Office which subsequently granted him the status of whistleblower and the protection which is supposed to be accorded thereto. Moreover, the UNOPS Ethics Office concluded that an independent investigation must be conducted at WIPO to investigate the reported retaliation against Mr. Lei for having been a key witness against you in the above-mentioned OIOS investigation. We have been informed that this long- awaited investigation has finally been initiated but that the Terms of Reference may have been manipulated in breach of WIPO policy.

It has now come to our attention that WIPO’s current investigation of Mr. Lei may be flawed and that the so-called evidence may possibly have been manipulated or otherwise clearly does not prove his culpability beyond a reasonable doubt.

We understand that, for all of the above reasons, Mr. Lei has filed a complaint with the Geneva Prosecutor General and has expressly requested and volunteered to have his privileges and immunities lifted so as to allow the competent Swiss authorities to conduct a proper and independent investigation. It seems, however, that WIPO has repeatedly refused to lift Mr. Lei’s privileges and immunities preventing the Swiss authorities to proceed with the investigation. Despite its inability to obtain cooperation from the UBS bank, WIPO has apparently concluded the investigation and initiated disciplinary processes against Mr. Lei for serious misconduct that is likely to result in his summary dismissal.

Against the backdrop of allegations, OIOS investigations, WIPO investigations focused on staff representatives, reported retaliation and the decision of the UNOPS Ethics Office that Mr. Lei must be protected from retaliation; it makes it increasingly difficult to give credibility to any investigation conducted by WIPO.

In line with an organization’s duty of care to its staff and to ensure that Mr. Lei is provided a fair and independent investigation conducted by the Swiss authorities which can interact with the bank concerned, the staff federations strongly encourage you to lift Mr. Lei’s privileges and immunities in order to allow the Swiss authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged ATM bank card fraud. We urge you, in our capacities as Presidents of the three UN common system staff federations, to immediately suspend the disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Lei until the UNOPS evaluation in regards to retaliation is completed, an investigation by the Swiss authorities has taken place and the matter is finalized. We also urge you to suspend all actions against other elected WSA officials until WSA’s complaint against the WIPO Administration has been settled by ILOAT.

Failing to do so can only lead the three staff federations to conclude that this and other investigations against staff representatives at WIPO are contrived in order to silence any voice of criticism or respectful dissident opinion. We would therefore insist that all ongoing forms of retaliation against the WIPO Staff Association, whistleblowers and staff at WIPO who raise allegations of misconduct by WIPO Administration be stopped immediately.

Lastly, we are alarmed that the policies in place at WIPO to protect staff from retaliation are still not functioning.

We shall continue to monitor this issue closely.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Richards
President
Coordinating Committee for
International Staff Unions and
Associations (CCISUA)

Brett Fitzgerald
President
Federation of International Civil
Servants’ Associations
(FICSA)

Steve Towler
President
United Nations International
Civil Servants’ Federation
(UNISERV)

cc. Ambassador Esmael Baghhai of Iran, Chairman, WIPO Coordination Committee
WIPO Member States
Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Executive heads of FICSA, CCISUA and UNISERV member organizations
Member staff associations/unions of FICSA, CCISUA and UNISERV

Gurry — like Battistelli — is a thug who (mis)uses immunity to avoid accountability if not arrest for corruption. What we see from Campinos right now reaffirms what we saw before; people who observe corruption aren’t able to speak, not safely anyway. This merely perpetuates the corruption.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Director v1.6.0 is available
    Icinga Director v1.6.0 has been released with Multi-Instance Support, Configuration Baskets and improved Health Checks. We’re excited to announce new features that will help you to work more efficiently.
  • Fedora Looks To Build Firefox With Clang For Better Performance & Compilation Speed
    Following the move by upstream Mozilla in switching their Linux builds of Firefox from being compiled by GCC to LLVM Clang, Fedora is planning the same transition of compilers in the name of compilation speed and resulting performance. FESCo Ticket 2020 laid out the case, "Mozilla upstream switches from gcc to clang and we're going to follow upstream here due to clang performance, maintenance costs and compilation speed. Tom Stellard (clang maintainer) has asked me to file this ticket to comply with Fedora processes."
  • Work in progress: PHP stack for EL-8
  • Sandwich-style SBC offers four 10GbE SFP+ ports
    SolidRun’s “ClearFog CX 8K” SBC is built around a “CEx7 A8040” COM Express Type 7 module that runs Linux on a quad -A72 Armada A8040. Features include 4x 10GbE SFP+ ports and mini-PCIe, M.2, and SATA expansion. In August, SolidRun updated its ClearFog line of Linux-driven router boards with a high-end ClearFog GT 8K SBC with the same 2GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A72 Marvell Armada A8040 SoC found on its MacchiatoBIN Double Shot Mini-ITX board. Now, the company has returned to the headless (no graphics) Armada A8040 with the ClearFog CX 8K. [..] It’s rare to see an Arm-based Type 7 module.
  • Watch Out: Clicking “Check for Updates” Still Installs Unstable Updates on Windows 10
    Microsoft hasn’t learned its lesson. If you click the “Check for Updates” button in the Settings app, Microsoft still considers you a “seeker” and will give you “preview” updates that haven’t gone through the normal testing process. This problem came to everyone’s attention with the release of the October 2018 Update. It was pulled for deleting people’s files, but anyone who clicked “Check for Updates” in the first few days effectively signed up as a tester and got the buggy update. The “Check for Updates” button apparently means “Please install potentially updates that haven’t gone through a normal testing process.”

OSS Leftovers

  • DAV1D v0.1 AV1 Video Decoder Released
    Out today is DAV1D as the first official (v0.1) release of this leading open-source AV1 video decoder. This release was decided since its quality is good enough for use, covers all AV1 specs and features, and is quite fast on desktop class hardware and improving for mobile SoCs.
  • PikcioChain plans for open-source MainNet in roadmap update
    France-based PikcioChain, a platform designed to handle and monetize personal data, has announced changes to its development roadmap as it looks towards the launch of its standalone MainNet and block explorer in the first quarter of 2019.
  • New Blockstream Bitcoin Block Explorer Announces The Release Of Its Open Source Code Esplora
    Blockstream has just announced a release of Esplora, its open source software. This is the software that keeps the website and network running. This new release follows on the heels of its block explorer that was released in November to the public. The company released the block explorer, and after making sure it was successful, released the code behind that block explorer. This way, developers can easily create their block explorers, build add-ons and extensions as well as contribute to Blockstream.info.
  • Will Concerns Break Open Source Containers?
    Open source containers, which isolate applications from the host system, appear to be gaining traction with IT professionals in the U.S. defense community. But for all their benefits, security remains a notable Achilles’ heel for a couple of reasons. First, containers are still fairly nascent, and many administrators are not yet completely familiar with their capabilities. It’s difficult to secure something you don’t completely understand. Second, containers are designed in a way that hampers visibility. This lack of visibility can make securing containers extremely taxing.
  • Huawei, RoboSense join group pushing open-source autonomous driving technology
    Telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies, its semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon and RoboSense, a maker of lidar sensors used in driverless cars, have become the first Chinese companies to help establish an international non-profit group that supports open-source autonomous driving projects. The three firms are among the more than 20 founding members of the Autoware Foundation, which aims to promote collaboration between corporate and academic research efforts in autonomous driving technology, according to a statement from the group on Monday. The foundation is an outgrowth of Autoware.AI, an open-source autonomous driving platform that was started by Nagoya University associate professor Shinpei Kato in 2015.
  • 40 top Linux and open source conferences in 2019
    Every year Opensource.com editors, writers, and readers attend open source-related conference and events hosted around the world. As we started planning our 2019 schedules, we rounded up a few top picks for the year. Which conferences do you plan to attend in 2019? If you don't see your conference on this list, be sure to tell us about it in the comments and add it to our community conference calendar. (And for more events to attend, check out The Enterprisers Project list of business leadership conferences worth exploring in 2019.)
  • Adding graphics to the Windows System for Linux [Ed: CBS is still employing loads of Microsoft boosters like Simon Bisson, to whom "Linux" is just something for Microsoft to swallow]/
  • Kong launches its fully managed API platform [Ed: Typical openwashing of APIs, even using the term "open source" where it clearly does not belong]g
  • How Shared, Open Data Can Help Us Better Overcome Disasters
    WHEN A MASSIVE earthquake and tsunami hit the eastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant failed, leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere and water. People around the country as well as others with family and friends in Japan were, understandably, concerned about radiation levels—but there was no easy way for them to get that information. I was part of a small group of volunteers who came together to start a nonprofit organization, Safecast, to design, build, and deploy Geiger counters and a website that would eventually make more than 100 million measurements of radiation levels available to the public. We started in Japan, of course, but eventually people around the world joined the movement, creating an open global data set. The key to success was the mobile, easy to operate, high-quality but lower-cost kit that the Safecast team developed, which people could buy and build to collect data that they might then share on the Safecast website.

Security: Updates, Ransomware, and DNS Blame Misplaced

  • Security updates for Tuesday
  • Ransomware still dominates the global threat landscape
     

    Ransomware attacks continues as the main world’s main security threat and the most profitable form of malware, but a new global report indicates that despite “copious” numbers of infections daily there’s emerging signs the threat is no longer growing.  

  • Someone messed with Linux.org's DNS to deface the website's homepage [Ed: That's not "deface"' but more like redirect and it's not the site's DNS system but something upstream, another company that's at fault]
    SO IMAGINE YOU REALLY LOVE OPEN SOURCE; you've poured yourself a glass of claret from a wine box and have settled into a night of perusing Linux.org. You feel a tingle of excitement as you type in the URL - you're old skool - but that sours to despair as you see a defaced website greet your eyes. Yep, it looks like someone managed to get into the Linux.org website's domain name service (DNS) settings and point the domain to another server that served up a defaced webpage, which depending on when you may have accessed it, greeted visitors with racial slurs, an obscene picture and a protest against the revised Linux kernel developer code of conduct.

Tails 3.11 and Tor Transparency (Financials)