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Cell phones are 'Stalin's dream,' says free software movement founder

Nearly three decades into his quest to rid the world of proprietary software, Richard Stallman sees a new threat to user freedom: smartphones.

"I don't have a cell phone. I won't carry a cell phone," says Stallman, founder of the free software movement and creator of the GNU operating system. "It's Stalin's dream. Cell phones are tools of Big Brother. I'm not going to carry a tracking device that records where I go all the time, and I'm not going to carry a surveillance device that can be turned on to eavesdrop."

Stallman firmly believes that only free software can save us from our technology, whether it be in cell phones, PCs, tablets or any other device. And when he talks about "free," he's not talking about the price of the software -- he's talking about the ability to use, modify and distribute software however you wish.

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Programming: Swift, Brilliant Jerks in Engineering, and Career Path for Software Developers

  • Swift code will run on Google's Fuchsia OS
    A few days ago, there was a flash-in-the-pan controversy over Google "forking" Apple's open-source programming language Swift. After a few minutes of speculation over whether Google was going to make its own special flavor of the language for its own purposes, Swift's creator Chris Lattner (who now works at Google) helpfully clarified the situation:
  • Brilliant Jerks in Engineering
    This are numerous articles and opinions on the topic, including Brilliant Jerks Cost More Than They Are Worth, and It's Better to Avoid a Toxic Employee than Hire a Superstar. My colleague Justin Becker is also giving a talk at QConSF 2017 on the topic: Am I a Brilliant Jerk?. It may help to clarify that "brilliant jerk" can mean different things to different people. To illustrate, I'll describe two types of brilliant jerks: the selfless and the selfish, and their behavior in detail. I'll then describe the damage caused by these jerks, and ways to deal with them. The following are fictional characters. These are not two actual engineers, but are collections of related traits to help examine this behavior beyond the simple "no asshole rule." These are engineers who by default act like jerks, not engineers who sometimes act that way.
  • [Older] The missing career path for software developers
    You started hacking on technology thrilled with every stroke of the key, making discoveries with every commit. You went about solving problems, finding new challenges. You were happy for a while, until you hit a plateau. There was a choice to be made. Continue solving the same problems or start managing others. You tried it out, and hated it. Longing to focus on technology, not people, you turned to your open source project. When it became successful, you became an open source maintainer but ended up overwhelmed and burned out. Hoping to get back to doing work that fascinates you, you went work for yourself. Lacking experience running a business, you're crushed with all the decisions you need to make. You’re nearing burnout — again. It feels like you’re on a hamster wheel.

Mastodon is Free Software, But It Does Not Respect Free Speech

Mastodon was always known to be tough on Nazis; it was known that they were strict on free speech only to a degree. After the treatment that I received yesterday, however, I can no longer recommend Mastodon. It may be Free software, but it’s very weak on free speech. Read more

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Mesa 17.3 RC5 and Early Stages of Linux 4.15

  • mesa 17.3.0-rc5
    The fifth release candidate for Mesa 17.3.0 is now available. This is the last planned release candidate before the final release. We still have a couple of regressions in our tracker [1] although I'm anticipating for those to be resolved by EOW.
  • Mesa 17.3-RC5 Released, Official Mesa 3D Update Expected By Next Week
    The Mesa 17.3 release game is in overtime but it should be wrapping up in the days ahead. Emil Velikov of Collabora announced the Mesa 17.3-RC5 release candidate this morning. He anticipates it being the last release candidate, but there still are a few blocker bugs open. As of writing there still are 4 bugs open with one pertaining to Gallium3D Softpipe and the others being Intel driver issues.
  • Extra KVM Changes For Linux 4.15 Bring UMIP Support, AMD SEV Changes Delayed
    As some additional work past the KVM changes for Linux 4.15 submitted last week, a few more feature items have been queued. The second batch of Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) updates sent in today for Linux 4.15 include ARM GICv4 support, x86 bug fixes, the AMD VFIO NFT performance fix, and x86 guest UMIP support. Landing already with Linux 4.15 is Intel UMIP capabilities for User-Mode Instruction Prevention to prevent certain instructions from being executed if the ring level is greater than zero. This latest KVM pull update adds this UMIP support to its space for both real and emulated guests.
  • AMD EPYC Is Running Well On Linux 4.15
    Of the many changes coming for Linux 4.15, as detailed this weekend Radeon GPU and AMD CPU customers have a lot to be thankful for with this new kernel update currently in development. Here are some initial benchmarks of the Linux 4.15 development kernel using an AMD EPYC 7601 32-core / 64-thread setup. When it comes to EPYC in Linux 4.15, the kernel side-bits have landed for Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV), CPU temperature monitoring support now working, and improved NUMA node balancing.