10.25.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 25/10/2016: Rackspace’s Praise of FOSS, Chain Chooses the GPL(v3)

Posted in News Roundup at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Krita 3.1 Digital Painting App Now in Development, Promises Cool New Features

      The Krita development team announced this past weekend that a second Beta pre-release version of the upcoming Krita 3.1 point release is now available for public testing.

      The current stable release of the Krita 3.x branch is version 3.0.1, and the Krita 3.0.2 maintenance update was planned for this fall, but it looks like it gained so many cool new features and improvements that the development team decided to bump the version number to 3.1.

    • Using Twitter From the Command Line Is Actually Really Fun

      The command line remains so incredibly popular because it’s so incredibly versatile. You can do a lot in a terminal.

    • FFmpeg 3.1.5 “Laplace” Multimedia Framework Released for GNU/Linux Distributions

      The fifth maintenance update to the latest stable FFmpeg 3.1 “Laplace” open-source multimedia framework was announced the other day for GNU/Linux systems, bringing more bug fixes and improvements.

      FFmpeg 3.1.5 was released on October 22, and it’s now considered the latest stable and most FFmpeg release from the 3.1 release branch, dubbed “Laplace,” which was officially released at the end of June 2016 and currently used in almost all GNU/Linux distributions.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK+ 3.22.2 Deprecates APIs That Will Be Removed in GTK+ 4, Improves Win32 Theme

        Today, October 24, 2016, the GTK+ development team released the second stable maintenance update to the GTK+ 3.22 GUI (Graphical User Interface) toolkit for GNOME-based desktop environments.

        GTK+ 3.22.2 comes just two weeks after the release of GNOME 3.22.1 and in time for the upcoming GNOME 3.22.2 milestone, which will also be the last one pushed for the GNOME 3.22 series. GTK+ 3.22.2 is mostly a bugfix release, but also adds various improvements to the win32 theme and deprecates APIs (Application Programming Interface) that’ll be removed in the next major branch, GTK+ 4.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Upgrading to Yakkety

            I UPGRADED the operating system on my MacBook Air last week and I figured I ought to do the same on my Linux desktop.

            Moving from Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) to 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) on my desktop PC was nowhere as quick and easy as it was to upgrade from OS X 10.11 to macOS 10.12, but the process was nonetheless pretty straightforward and relatively trouble-free.

            While it took less than an hour to perform the upgrade on my Mac, it took several hours to download and install the latest version of Ubuntu.

            Much has already been written about how Unity 8, the new converged interface being developed for mobile and desktop devices, again failed to make it to the latest version of Ubuntu—although a rough preview of it is built into Yakkety (just log out and choose Unity 8 in the log-in screen).

            On the surface, Ubuntu 16.10 doesn’t look very different than previous releases, and its built-in Unity 7.5 interface features just minor improvements and a few bug fixes.

            To find out what’s new about Ubuntu 16.10, you have to look inside.

          • Ubuntu 17.04 “Zesty Zapus” Is Open for Development, GCC Linaro Used for ARM Port
          • Canonical Pushes First Live Kernel Patch to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Users, Update Now
          • Ubuntu 16.10 Review

            The list of major new features in Ubuntu 16.10 is impressive and interesting, but only if you are using the server product. Very little has changed on the desktop side of things other than the included packages being slightly newer. In fact, other than touting the number of applications available as Snaps, the only desktop-focused feature in the release announcement is a developer preview of Unity 8 desktop.

            To see what the desktop version of Ubuntu 16.10 has to offer compared to the previous 16.04 LTS release, I downloaded the 1.48GB ISO and gave it a try. Below, I take a look at what is new and different. I also take a look at the Unity 8 developer preview.

          • Why is Ubuntu’s Unity 8 development taking so long?

            Canonical has included a preview version of the Unity 8 desktop in Ubuntu 16.10. But that has not stopped some Linux users from wondering why Unity 8 still hasn’t been finished.

            The topic came up in a recent post on the Linux subreddit, and folks there shared their thoughts about why Unity 8 still hasn’t been released in final form.

          • Ubuntu Snappy Core 16 Up to Release Candidate State, Raspberry Pi 3 Image Is Out

            This past weekend, Ubuntu Snappy developer Michael Vogt announced the availability of the Release Candidate (RC) development milestone of the upcoming Ubuntu Snappy Core 16 operating system.

          • Tool That Lets You Install Ubuntu Touch on Your Mobile Device Now Supports Maru

            It’s been a little over a week since we told you all about Marius Quabeck’s awesome new tool that lets you easily install the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system on your device, and it looks like the developer was quite busy adding new functionality.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 Service Pack 1 Supports Rebootless Kernel Installs

              Softpedia was informed by the Black Lab Linux development team about the immediate availability of the first Service Pack (SP) of the Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 OS.

              Based on the long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now powered by Linux kernel 4.4.0-45.66, the same version used upstream, which is patched against the nasty “Dirty COW” bug that could have allowed a local attacker to gain administrative privileges.

              Now that Canonical is offering kernel live patch services for its Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release, Black Lab Linux developers also implemented the well-known Kspice tool for offering users rebootless kernel installs. Additionally, Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 SP1 adds full UEFI support and the ability to install Snap packages.

              “Service Pack 1 is jam packed full of innovations and features,” reads the announcement. “Black Lab Enterprise Linux is the fastest growing Enterprise desktop Linux offering on the market today. Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8.0 SP1 is a hybrid operating system meaning you can deploy local applications that you need as well as the cloud-based applications that you want.”

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM/FPGA module runs Linux on Arria 10 SoC

      iWave’s rugged, Linux-friendly, 95 x 75mm “Arria 10 SoC Module” expands upon the dual-core, ARM/FPGA SoC from Altera with DDR4 and 24 transceivers.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • No One Is Buying Smartwatches Anymore

          Remember how smartwatches were supposed to be the next big thing? About that…

          The market intelligence firm IDC reported on Monday that smartwatch shipments are down 51.6 percent year-over-year for the third quarter of 2016. This is bad news for all smartwatch vendors (except maybe Garmin), but it’s especially bad for Apple, which saw shipments drop 71.6 percent, according to the IDC report

          Apple is still the overall smartwatch market leader, with an estimated 41.3-percent of the market, but IDC estimates it shipped only 1.1 million Apple Watches in Q3 2016, compared with 3.9 million in 2015. To a degree, that’s to be expected, since the new Apple Watch Series 2 came out at the tail-end of the quarter. But the news is still a blow, when you consider how huge the Apple Watch hype was just 18 months ago.

        • 10 must-have Android apps for Halloween

Free Software/Open Source

  • 3 open source time management tools

    For many people, one of the reasons they cite for using a Linux-based operating system is productivity. If you’re a power user who has tweaked your system just to your liking, and particularly if you adept at the command line, chances are you’ve realized significant gains in productivity.

    But do you have to be an extreme power user to make use of open source software’s ability to boost your productivity? Absolutely not!

  • The Rackspace State of Open Source

    As the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona kicks off, Rackspace has released a report entitled ‘The State of Open Source’. With every conference seemingly extolling the virtues of open source software, this report is timely. It manages to differentiate between enterprise open source and the wider open source software market.

  • Why digital transformation needs open source

    As if there wasn’t already ample reason for businesses to switch to open source, Forrester analysts Paul Miller and Lauren E Nelson released a report in April 2016, entitled Open Source Powers Enterprise Digital Transformation — CIOs Need To Embrace Open Source Software To Drive Change, which further drives the point.

  • Despite Security Fears, Open Source Is Fuelling Innovation and Cost Savings in UK Businesses
  • Security concerns fail to hold back UK open source success

    However, despite its increasingly common use, many (54%) still perceive external security threats to be a big barrier to adoption, that’s according to a report published by Rackspace.

    The State of Open Source study, which was conducted among IT decision makers in UK businesses with over 1,000 employees and revenues over £500m, and looks at the ways open source is being used, its benefits, but also what is holding back adoption and business concerns.

    According to the report open source has come of age with 85% using open source technology to migrate a closed source project to open source.

    Open source also isn’t just a tool for small businesses; the vast majority (90%) of large businesses are now deploying open source-based enterprise applications, with 25% being completely open source.

    The reason for the growing adoption is because of the money and time savings. Rackspace found that for each project that had been migrated to open source technology, six out of ten organisations saved on average £30,146 and reduced project lifecycle by six months.

    Greater innovation was reported by many (49%), and 46% were driven to open source because of the competitive opportunities. Additionally, just under half (45%) said that it enabled them to get products and services to market faster.

    John Engates, Chief Technology Officer at Rackspace, said: “While open source technologies have been around for many years, it is great to see that enterprise businesses are finally dipping their toes in and seeing the tangible benefits.

  • Visa’s Blockchain Bet Opens Up to Developers

    Banks and financial firms have been tinkering for the past few years with the code that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, with the intention of potentially overhauling their moldering infrastructure. Now they’re preparing to release their code into the wild.

    Chain, a two-year-old startup based in San Francisco, has decided to make its platform available to the public. The company is releasing an open source version of its Chain Core software to developers, any of who as of Monday can find the source code for its proprietary blockchain, or distributed ledger, on its webpage on Github, a code-sharing website.

  • As blockchain tech takes off, Visa preps a new pilot
  • Visa intros international B2B payment service built on blockchain technology
  • Chain opens up systems to ambitious blockchain developers
  • Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) Introduces International B2B Payment Solution Built on Chain’s Blockchain Technology
  • In Milestone Release, Chain Open-Sources its Blockchain Tech
  • Visa Introduces Blockchain-based Solution for Payment Services
  • Visa’s Massive Bet On B2B Blockchain Payments
  • Chain unchains open source blockchain platform
  • Blockchain hype takes hit as Chain releases code for anyone to use

    Software developers, engineers, traders and executives can now build and test any type of application they think will help improve efficiency in their business, said Adam Ludwin, Chain’s chief executive officer. Michael Nagle.

  • Chain Releases Open-Source Version of Distributed-Ledger Platform

    Chain, a fintech company focused on blockchain solutions, released Chain Core Developer Edition, an open-source version of Chain Core, its distributed-ledger platform.

  • R3 Corda Platform Is Open Sourced to the HyperLedger Effort
  • R3 blockchain code goes open source
  • R3 to Contribute Corda Code to Hyperledger Project
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • An introduction to Mozilla’s Secure Open Source Fund

        Thanks Mark. Mozilla is a unique institution—it’s both a nonprofit mission-driven organization and a technology industry corporation. We build open source software (most notably the Firefox Web browser) and we are champions for the open Internet in technical and political fora. We’ve been a global leader on well-known policy issues like privacy and net neutrality, and we’re also very active on most of today’s big topics including copyright reform, encryption, and software vulnerabilities.

  • Programming/Development

    • What’s wrong with Git? A conceptual design analysis

      We finished up last week talking about the how to find good concepts / abstractions in a software design and what good modularization looks like. Today’s paper jumps 40+ years to look at some of those issues in a modern context and a tool that many readers of this blog will be very familiar with: Git. With many thanks to Glyn Normington for the recommendation.

      [...]

      The results of the reworking are made available in a tool called gitless, which I’ve installed on my system to try out for a few days. (Note: if you use oh-my-zsh with the git plugin then this defines an alias for gl which you’ll need to unalias). As of this paper (2013), Gitless was only just beginning as a project, but it continues to this day and tomorrow we’ll look at the 2016 paper that brings the story up to date.

      The kinds of concepts the authors are interested in are those which are essential to the design, to an understanding of the workings of the system, and hence will be apparent in the external interface of the system, as well as in the implementation.

Leftovers

  • ‘Nobody calls it Czechia’: Czech Republic’s new name fails to catch on

    With its imposing statue of the Czech patron saint and wide avenues leading toward historic Prague, Wenceslas Square should be the ideal place for defining a country’s national identity – or at least its name.

    So when the authorities decided to tamper with Czech Republic’s official branding they may have done well to road test the idea here, where national aspirations have often been asserted, and occasionally crushed, in dramatic fashion.

    Yet, six months after the shorter and supposedly punchier name of Czechia was officially adopted by the country’s leaders, citizens of the central European country of 10 million people seem in little doubt over what it should be called.

  • IT departments are the first line of defence for businesses

    “With hackers on the loose we need to secure our online defences” (Editorial, 22 October). Whilst I applaud and wholeheartedly support your point on why we must all secure our devices and agree with you that the hubris from entities in handling these issues has a large part to play, I must correct you on the picture you paint about IT departments.

    They don’t all shrug and they don’t all just say “switch it off and on again”. They are currently a lone voice in many organisations on this topic, often discounted as being alarmist (usually because the fix requires investment and no one really likes to invest in compliance type activity).

    The perception that digital is cool but technologists are boring is one of the most dangerous cultural vulnerabilities we have in many organisations. The rift between the two needs mending and the need for speed to market needs to be balanced by ensuring we are selling goods that are delivered wisely and safely.

  • MYOB demands users upgrade Microsoft software

    In a notice that has been described as unconscionable, Australian accounting software provider MYOB has sent out a notice to its users, asking them to upgrade their Microsoft Windows 7 operating systems and SQL Server database software before the end of the year.

    The company provides tax, accounting and other services to small and medium-sized businesses.

    Windows 7 has extended support from Microsoft until 14 January 2020.

    In a notice sent to users, which is also on its website, MYOB said:

    “Microsoft is making changes to the technologies that are covered under mainstream support. This will impact our ability to provide support if you are using MYOB software on those technologies.

  • Science

    • Seventy Years Ago, Humans Saw Earth from Space for the First Time

      The view of Earth from outer space has utterly transformed perspectives on our civilization, our planet, and our relationship to the universe beyond our skies. This Monday marks the 70th anniversary of the day we first saw the planet from this extraordinary, quasi-alien vantagepoint; a pivotal event that occurred on October 24, 1946, at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

      Snapped from an altitude of 65 miles by a Devry 35-millimeter motion picture camera, the black-and-white image captures the Earth’s curvature and the sweep of cloud cover over the American Southwest.

      The camera was mounted on a V-2 rocket, a Nazi-developed series of long-range ballistic missiles that Hitler had deployed against Allied targets in London, Antwerp, and Liège during World War II, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians.

      In the final months of the war, American forces accepted the surrender of key German rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun, who later became the architect of the Saturn V Apollo Program rockets. These spaceflight experts immigrated to the United States in secret under Operation Paperclip, and they brought dozens of their V-2 rockets with them to help kickstart the American space program.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Horrific flesh-eating bacteria that killed man in four days expected to rise

      “It’s like something out of a horror movie,” Marcia Funk told the Daily Times of Salisbury, Maryland last week. In September, Funk watched helplessly as her husband of 46 years succumbed to an infection of flesh-eating bacteria in a mere four days.

      Michael Funk, her husband, became infected on September 11 while cleaning crab traps in the Assawoman Bay outside their Ocean City, Maryland condominium. The deadly bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, had slipped into a small cut on his leg as he waded into the bay’s still, warm, and brackish waters—ideal breeding grounds for the bacteria. Within hours, Funk fell ill and went to a nearby hospital where a surgeon removed infected, rotting skin from his leg. But with the flesh-eating bacteria circulating in his bloodstream, his condition quickly worsened. He was flown to a trauma hospital in Baltimore where surgeons amputated his leg. Still, the lesions spread and, on September 15, he died.

      Funk’s case is among the more severe examples of V. vulnificus infections—but it still could have been worse. In July, scientists reported that a 59-year-old man showed up at a hospital with a painful ankle lesion that expanded before their eyes (see photo above). His V. vulnificus infection, caught from warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, turned deadly even faster. Within hours, his whole body was covered in lesions. A little more than 48 hours later, he was dead.

    • New study looks at the health effects of Wi-Fi

      The answer to this question is, unfortunately, ‘we don’t know’…yet. This is because most studies on people need to be longitudinal. Studying the long-term effect of radiation can only be achieved after significant time has elapsed. It should be pointed out that the general scientific consensus is that Wi-Fi is safe. Although Wi-Fi has been anecdotally linked to electromagnetic hypersensitivity, no study has proven this.
      In addition, most governments have studies on-going looking at the thermal (and sometimes non-thermal) effects of electric magnetic fields.
      Trying a different data gathering approach to those set-up by most government backed laboratories, a research group have used bacteria to assess what might be happening in the context of the modern, urbanized environment. Wherever people go there is exposure to a similar range of unlicensed radio signals from baby alarms, radio-controlled cars, cordless (DECT) phones, Bluetooth headsets, security alarms and many other things. Wi-Fi (wireless local area network) at 2.45GHz falls in the microwave band along with baby monitors and mobile phones, although the radiation level is 100,000 times less than a microwave oven.
      With the new research, scientists from the Swansea University led National Research Network (NRN) in Advanced Engineering and Materials have looked at the effects occurring at the molecular level in relation to Wi-Fi.
      In a research brief, the person leading up the review, Dr. Catrin F Williams explains: “We are adopting a ‘bottom-up’ approach. In the first instance, we want to understand what interactions are occurring at the sub-cellular or molecular level.”

  • Security

    • The internet apocalypse map hides the major vulnerability that created it

      During Friday’s massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on DNS service provider Dyn, one might be forgiven for mistaking the maps of network outages for images of some post-apocalyptic nuclear fallout. Screenshots from sites like downdetector.com showed menacingly red, fuzzy heat maps of, well, effectively just population centers of the United States experiencing serious difficulty accessing Twitter, Github, Etsy, or any of Dyn’s other high-profile clients. Aside from offering little detail and making a DDoS literally into a glowing red menace, they also obscured the reality of just how centralized a lot of internet infrastructure really is. DNS is ground zero for the uneasy tension of the internet’s presumed decentralized resilience and the reality that as of now, translating IP addresses into domain names requires some kind of centralized, hierarchical platform, and that’s probably not going to radically change anytime soon.

      Other maps provided by various business to business network infrastructure companies weren’t much more helpful. These maps seem to exist mostly to signal that the companies in question have lots of cool data and that it can be made into a flashy map — which might impress potential customers, but that doesn’t offer a ton of insights for the layperson. For example, threat intelligence company Norse’s map appears to be mostly a homage to the Matthew Broderick movie War Games: a constant barrage of DDoS attacks beaming like space invader rockets across a world map. Akamai has an impressive 3D visualization that renders traffic as points beaming into the atmosphere. And website monitoring service Pingdom offers a dot map at such a far-out zoom level that it’s essentially useless for seeking out more meaningful patterns than “outages happen in population centers, also there are a lot of outages.”

    • CoreOS Patched Against the “Dirty COW” Linux Kernel Vulnerability, Update Now
    • World’s first hack-proof router launched

      Turris Omnia router, tagged the world’s first hack-proof router, was launched yesterday at the CES Unveiled Show in Prague, Czech Republic.

      As an essential part of any home internet network, routers are rather poorly secured and protected against cyber attack. More often than not, the only security feature is the default password. With easily required internet knowledge and some skills, these routers can be hacked, providing unauthorized access to a complete internet network. From there on, anything is possible.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis

      Löfven met representatives of the royal family – King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayif and Vice Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman – on Sunday.

      “We have brought up issues such as women’s rights, the death penalty, even corporal punishment. We’re doing it in the way that we believe will have the greatest effect,” Löfven told Swedish media after the meeting.

      The absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Stockholm in March 2015 after what it called “flagrant interference in internal affairs” by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

      The foreign minister had criticized the kingdom’s treatment of blogger Raef Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison for insulting Islam. “One must protest against what are nearly medieval methods” of punishment, Wallström said.

    • Sweden and Saudi Arabia — a Treacherous Romance

      Today, on October 23, a Swedish delegation consisting of key government officials, led by PM Stefan Löfvén will meet their Saudi counterparts. The delegation also includes Marcus Wallenberg and Maria Rankka, chair and vice chair of «Saudi-Swedish joint Business Council». More importantly, Marcus Wallenberg is chairman of the board of SAAB, Sweden’s most important arms manufacturer and exporter. In essence, Sweden’s top political leadership and among the most important representatives of the arms export lobby of Sweden will meet the most heinous war criminals of our time to discuss issues of common interest, such as Sweden’s role as new member of the UN Security Council, as well as (arms) business opportunities.

      To understand the current situation, a recap of the main events in the Saudi/Swedish entanglement is necessary. It dates back to at least 2005 when Sweden and Saudi Arabia concluded an agreement of «extended» defence cooperation, including the secret building of an advanced missile factory in Saudi Arabia with the assistance of Swedish expertise. The agreement was so sensitive that it was kept as a state secret, and an obscure front company was set up to hide the affair, which was nevertheless leaked to the public in 2012. The ensuing scandal killed the weapon’s factory project and lead to the resignation of the Swedish minister of defence. However, the abundant arms export from Sweden to Saudi Arabia remained «business as usual», as well as the extended defence agreement. This concludes phase one of the scandal, in Sweden denoted as the «Saudi Affair».

    • At least 58 killed as Pakistan militants storm police training centre in Quetta

      At least 58 people were killed when militants attacked a police training college near Pakistan’s south-western city of Quetta late on Monday, officials said.

      More than 100 people were also injured as commandos conducted a five-hour operation to rescue cadets who being held hostage inside the complex.

      Major General Sher Afgan, Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC), said after the operation had ended that six terrorists carried out the attack, three of whom were wearing suicide vests.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate change could spark the world’s next financial crisis, former Bank of England executive warns

      ‘You don’t need to believe in climate change, you don’t need to believe that it is man-made. You just need to believe that governments are going to do stuff and that is going to affect your business. And then it is a material risk’

    • CO2 levels mark ‘new era’ in the world’s changing climate

      Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have surged past an important threshold and may not dip below it for “many generations”.

      The 400 parts per million benchmark was broken globally for the first time in recorded history in 2015.

      But according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 2016 will likely be the first full year to exceed the mark.

      The high levels can be partly attributed to a strong El Niño event.

    • Testing the climate-drought-conflict connection

      Academics do not agree on the relationship between climate change and armed conflicts. Weather events driven by climate change, like droughts and extreme precipitation, might be societally destabilizing. But attempts to determine whether this connection is happening in the real world have produced ambiguous and sometimes contradictory results.

      A new study published in PNAS looks at up-to-date conflict data from 1989-2014 in Asia and Africa, examining the relationship between these events and droughts. The study finds that droughts affect the level of conflict, but only in poor societies that are dependent on agriculture.

      Drought can incite conflict because it can cause food scarcity, but is that actually happening today? To probe this relationship, the authors used geo-referenced data on armed conflict events between ethnic groups. The procedure used to link the ethnic groups to conflict behavior included consideration of how localized drought affected groups’ behavior regardless of the physical location of the fighting relative to the drought. In other words, if the group suffered a drought but ended up fighting in a region that received sufficient rain, that still counted. For this analysis, “ethnic group” was defined as discrete groups of humans with a shared culture and language living in the same geographic space.

  • Finance

    • Microsoft Hikes U.K. Prices of Enterprise Products Amid Brexit

      Microsoft Corp. will increase the price of its enterprise software and cloud offerings in the U.K. by as much as 22 percent to adjust to the falling pound in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

      From Jan. 1, prices of on-premises enterprise software will be hiked 13 percent, while those of cloud services will increase 22 percent, all to realign with euro-based contracts, the company said in a blog post. Consumer software or cloud products won’t be affected, Microsoft said.

      The slump of the pound since the Brexit vote has translated into a series of price hikes for consumers in the U.K. In the technology space, British consumers found out last month they’d pay as much as 16 percent more for the latest iPhone models compared to previous versions, a bigger inflation than for buyers in the U.S. or Germany.

    • Brexit: Microsoft jacks up prices, SAP sees UK growth, and Adobe doesn’t blink

      The precipitous drop in the value of the pound caused by Brexit has led to rocketing prices for Microsoft’s cloud and on-premise business services in the UK.

      From the start of next year, Microsoft’s enterprise software will be 13 percent more expensive, while enterprise cloud services will be hiked by 22 percent, the company has warned.

    • Corporate Sovereignty Helps To Bring EU-Canada Trade Deal To Brink Of Collapse

      The trade deal between the EU and Canada, known as CETA — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement — is remarkable for the fact that it has still not been signed and ratified, even though its completion was “celebrated” over two years ago. That’s partly because of growing resistance to the inclusion of a corporate sovereignty chapter — also known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). In an attempt to head that off, the European Commission persuaded Canada to swap out vanilla ISDS for a new, “improved” version called the Investor Court System (ICS). As Techdirt noted before, this is really just putting lipstick on the pig, and doesn’t change the fact that companies are being given unique privileges to sue a country for alleged harm to their investments using special tribunals, as well as in national courts.

      CETA has faced other problems, notably from Bulgaria, Romania and Belgium. The first two said they wouldn’t sign because of Canada’s refusal to lift visa requirements for their citizens. That blackmail seems to have paid off. The Sofia Globe reports that Canada has agreed to remove the visa requirements from December 2017, and Bulgaria and Romania now say that they will sign CETA.

    • Belgium given EU ultimatum to secure Canada trade deal, but Wallonia defiant

      The European Union has given Belgium’s federal government until late on Monday to secure backing for an EU-Canada trade deal from the region of Wallonia or a planned summit to sign the pact will be cancelled.

      European Council president Donald Tusk, who chairs the collective body of the EU’s 28 national leaders, will speak to Belgian prime minister Charles Michel by late on Monday, an EU source told Reuters, so that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau can decide whether to fly to Brussels for the signing on Thursday.

      If Michel cannot assure Tusk that Belgium will be able to let the EU sign the Ceta agreement, then Thursday’s EU-Canada summit will be postponed.

    • The truth about trade

      To keep a scorecard on TPP, TTIP, and other related trade policy measures, it’s important to keep track of four components of international economics. The first is trade in goods and services, when the US exports or imports merchandise (like coffee) or services (like shipping). The second is the movement of foreign capital, such as when General Motors opens a subsidiary to manufacture parts in Mexico. The third is offshoring of jobs, such as when Apple contracts with the Taiwanese company Foxconn to assemble iPhones in China. And the fourth are global regulatory policies such as the terms of patents and copyrights. Modern trade agreements are not just about trade; they include all four parts of the international economic system.

    • Trans-Pacific Partnership makes Australia vulnerable to court challenges, report claims

      Australia could face a growing number of expensive legal claims from foreign corporations if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes into force, a new report has warned.

      Dr Kyla Tienhaara, from the Australian National University, said Australia ought to learn from Canada’s experience after it signed the North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which came into force in 1994 and led to dozens of legal cases against Canada by US corporations.

      She said the frequency of trade-based legal cases against Canada had increased significantly since 2006, in line with the global trend of such disputes, and warned a similar thing might happen to Australia under the TPP, because it has an investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision similar to Nafta’s.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • [Old] ‘FOBs’: How Hillary’s State Dept. Gave Special Attention to ‘Friends of Bill’ After Haiti Quake

      In a series of candid email exchanges with top Clinton Foundation officials during the hours after the massive 2010 Haiti earthquake, a senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly gave special attention to those identified by the abbreviations “FOB” (friends of Bill Clinton) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs).

      “Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC,” wrote Caitlin Klevorick, then a senior State Department official who was juggling incoming offers of assistance being funneled to the State Department by the Clinton Foundation. “Most I can probably ID but not all.”

    • State IT official repeatedly takes Fifth Amendment in Clinton email lawsuit

      A retired State Department information technology official asserted his Fifth Amendment rights more than 90 times during a deposition Monday in a civil lawsuit related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, according to the conservative group that brought the litigation.

      In August, a federal judge ordered John Bentel — former director of the Information Resources Management staff in Secretary of State Clinton’s office — to submit to a sworn deposition in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch.

    • Reddit Exposes Hillary Clinton Staff Trying To Frame Assange As ‘Pedo’

      A Reddit investigation has directly linked a pro-Democrat Super PAC and a tech company with employees with close ties to Hillary Clinton with a smear campaign plot to falsely accuse Julian Assange of pedophilia.

      The investigation was sparked after WikiLeaks released a series of tweets on Wednesday outlining an elaborate plot by a dating website currently attempting to frame and smear Assange.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook Needs to Fix Its Censorship Double Standards

      Facebook has finally accepted that its algorithms that decide whether or not a post is “acceptable” may not be that good, and has announced that over the next few weeks it will start allowing more items that people find newsworthy and significant onto Facebook, even if they violate its community standards.

      The about turn comes as the social network has in recent months come under fire for deleting posts such as the iconic Vietnam War image of anapalm-burnt Kim Phúc and a Le Monde news feature that showed an image of a cancer victim’s mammogram.

      It’s understandable that dealing with the subjective nature of historically and culturally significant images or news stories is a complex task, but it’s so far been clear that the task should not be left to computer algorithms at their current stage of intelligence. Facebook also has to deal with differing cultural norms and laws in countries around the world—another problem that is not yet best left to algorithms. On top of this, as I explained in September, Facebook must not overstep its role of a news aggregator to become a gatekeeper.

    • PINAC Director Sues Miami Beach Mayor Over Refusal To Release Social Media Blocklists

      Executive director of Photography is Not a Crime (PINAC) Grant Stern is taking Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine to court over public records request denials. As Fusion’s Ethan Chiel reports, the mayor has been busy blocking critics on both Twitter and Facebook, and Stern aims to find out just how many constituents the mayor is tuning out.

    • YouTube vs. Conservative Speech
    • THE 1ST AMENDMENT
    • Petition of 65000 Demand YouTube Remove Video Restrictions on PragerU’s Videos
    • Google/YouTube Censorship Alive and Well in Prager U Case
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • China wants to give all of its citizens a score – and their rating could affect every area of their lives

      Imagine a world where an authoritarian government monitors everything you do, amasses huge amounts of data on almost every interaction you make, and awards you a single score that measures how “trustworthy” you are.

      In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticising the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points. And in this world, your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are – determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy hotel, a seat in a top restaurant – or even just get a date.

      This is not the dystopian superstate of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, in which all-knowing police stop crime before it happens. But it could be China by 2020. It is the scenario contained in China’s ambitious plans to develop a far-reaching social credit system, a plan that the Communist Party hopes will build a culture of “sincerity” and a “harmonious socialist society” where “keeping trust is glorious.”

    • From Personality To Property: Data Protection Needs Competition, Consumer Protection Law, Conference Says

      for the public sector, will go some way to protect users’ autonomy in deciding over his personal data. Provisions on data portability and transparency, coupled with considerable sanctions in case of violations, all would try to hand back some control to the users, Manon Ootvees. from the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam, said before 40 international young researchers from fields as diversified as IP, competition and antitrust law, economy and consumer protection.

      Still data protection could not do it alone. “It might not work in the context of big data, or at least be less strong than we expect,” Ootvees said. Will people exercise the rights, will they be lured by the benefits platforms offer and how difficult will it be to proove, for example, that their personally identifiable data, spilled in aggregated versions to third party providers all over and used to construct profiles again for personalised adds or personalized pricing? “I see a lot of scepticism here,” said Ootvees.

    • Alibaba’s Jack Ma Urges China to Use Data to Combat Crime

      Chinese billionaire Jack Ma proposed that the nation’s top security bureau use big data to prevent crime, endorsing the country’s nascent effort to build unparalleled online surveillance of its billion-plus people.

    • PayPal payments and notifications are coming to Facebook Messenger [Ed: Facebook Messenger is malware on people’s phones (spying every few seconds), will soon spy on payments too]

      PayPal has been pushing to expand its reach into the consumer realm, having struck partnerships with MasterCard, Visa, Vodafone, and Alibaba, among other companies in the past few months alone. With Facebook Messenger on board, this opens PayPal up to a potential one billion users.

      Facebook first unveiled plans to expand Messenger beyond a messaging app and into a platform last year, letting retailers connect with customers on one of the world’s most popular messaging services. Retailers including Everlane and Zulily were among the first partners announced, while big-name brands such as KLM have since signed up to embrace Messenger as a platform.

    • U.S. courts: Electronic surveillance up 500 percent in D.C.-area since 2011, almost all sealed cases

      Secret law enforcement requests to conduct electronic surveillance in domestic criminal cases have surged in federal courts for Northern Virginia and the District, but only one in a thousand of the applications ever becomes public, newly released data show.

      The bare-bones release by the courts leaves unanswered how long, in what ways and for what crimes federal investigators tracked individuals’ data and whether long-running investigations result in charges.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Douglas Murray: “First They Came for Asia Bibi”

      The same week that (Humza) Yousaf was extolling the idea that Britain is a proto-Nazi state and Pakistan a potential safe-haven, the Pakistani authorities saw the latest round of the interminable and unforgivable saga of Asia Bibi. This is the woman who has been on death-row in Pakistan for no crime other than the crime of being a Christian. Bibi has been awaiting execution for five years, purely because a neighbour claimed that Bibi had insulted Mohammed during an argument.

      …While the Conservative party in Westminster is portrayed by these supposed defenders of human rights as some kind of Nazi offshoot, life is, in fact, unequalled in Britain for being good for people of any faith or background. It would be hard to find a society anywhere that has been more tolerant of mass immigration or tried to make life good for the immigrants who arrive, whatever background they are from. Pakistan, on the other hand, is a country which could hardly have a worse record on all of these matters. It is a country where racism and ethnic and religious hatred are rife. People of the “wrong” background, caste, or ethnicity experience infinitely more racism in Pakistan than in any country in Europe. Even people who are the “wrong” type of Muslim, such as Ahmadiyya Muslims, are the subject of constant and routine persecution and bigotry. The persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslims is so rife in Pakistan that this July, it even spilled out onto the streets of Glasgow in the murder of an Ahmadiyyan shopkeeper, Asad Shah.

    • Pakistani policeman slaps female journalist and assaults cameraman in public (VIDEO)

      A shocking video has emerged of a policeman violently slapping a female journalist during a scuffle at a government office in Karachi.

      The officer from the Frontier Constabulary was seen arguing with Saima Kanwal from channel K-21 as she was doing a live program.

      The journalist was doing a report on the issues people face at Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) when she got into a rift with the guard after he grabbed hold of the camera man.

    • Leaked Audio: Austin Police Chief Threatens to Fire Commanders who don’t keep Officers from Abusing Citizens

      “If your heart isn’t in this job, either step down or step out,” Austin Police Chief Hubert “Art” Acevedo said to his top brass during a private meeting on August 10 where he expressed his anger over the way his cops treat minorities, urging his commanders to push new community-friendly styles of policing to their officers – or lose their jobs.

      The recording from the meeting, leaked this week by an unknown commander, reveals tension between Acevedo and a number of his 18 commanders and their subordinates as he apparently attempts to cross the thin blue line for the first time during his 9-year tenure as the Austin Police Chief.

      Acevedo can be heard in the recording calling some of his commanders out for not supporting his decision to take disciplinary action against one of his cops for shooting an unarmed black kid, which is something he hasn’t done much since landing the job as chief in 2007.

      It’s not clear which specific officers Acevedo is referring to, but he indicates details may be forthcoming.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T’s Time Warner Deal Is For Shareholders, Not You

      This weekend brought about the biggest media merger of the year: AT&T will buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. So Batman, Tony Soprano and CNN may end up under the ownership of the largest pay-TV operator in the country.

      The news is notable for many reasons, starting with the hefty price tag. AT&T will pay a 35% premium above Time Warner’s value before reports of the merger surfaced last week. But the deal could also affect consumers who subscribe to DirecTV, surf online via AT&T’s U-verse or pay for content from Warner Brothers’ media empire.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Shadow Warrior 2 Developers: We’d Rather Spend Our Time Making A Great Game Than Worrying About Piracy

        With the time we spend discussing the scourge of DRM that has invaded the video game industry for some time, it can at times be easy to lose sight of those in the industry who understand just how pointless the whole enterprise is. There are indeed those who understand that DRM has only a minimal impact on piracy numbers, yet stands to have a profound impact on legitimate customers, making the whole thing not only pointless, but actively detrimental to the gaming business. Studios like CD Projekt Red, makers of the Witcher series, and Lab Zero Games, makers of the SkullGirls franchise, have come to the realization that focusing on DRM rather than focusing on making great games and connecting with their fans doesn’t make any sense.

        And now we can add Polish game studio Flying Wild Hog to the list of developers that get it. The makers of the recently released Shadow Warrior 2 game have indicated that it basically has zero time for DRM for its new game because it’s entirely too busy making great games and engaging with its fans. On the Steam forum, one gamer noticed that SW2 did not come with any embedded DRM, such as Denudo, and asked the studio why it wasn’t worried about piracy.

      • Police Confiscate Hundreds of Computers Over Movie Piracy Allegations

        Copyright trolling is usually handled in the civil courts but over in Poland, things are getting out of control. Police have reportedly visited hundreds of homes and seized hundreds of computers, each alleged to have shared a movie without permission. There are fears that up to 40,000 people could eventually be affected.

        During the summer, Poland became entangled in what is likely to be one of the world’s most important copyright battles. Alleged KickassTorrents founder Artem Vaulin was arrested in the country, where he continues to fight extradition to the United States.

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DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Proprietary Software is Pollution

    "My daughter asked me about why are we throwing away some bits of technology," Dr. Andy Farnell says. "This is my attempt to put into words for "ordinary" people what I tried to explain to a 6 year old."



  3. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

    Defamation of one’s victims might be another offence to add to the long list of offences committed by Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley; attempting to discredit the police report is a new low and can get Mr. Graveley even deeper in trouble (Microsoft protecting him only makes matters worse)



  4. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

    The EPO‘s law-breaking leadership (Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their corrupt cronies), helped by liars who don't enjoy diplomatic immunity, are cooperating to undermine courts across the EU, in effect replacing them with EPO puppets who are patent maximalists (Europe’s equivalents of James Rodney Gilstrap and Alan D Albright, a Donald Trump appointee, in the Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, respectively)



  5. Has the Administrative Council Belatedly Realised What Its Job in the European Patent Organisation Really Is?

    The "Mafia" which took over the EPO (the EPO's own workers call it "Mafia") isn't getting its way with a proposal, so it's preventing the states from even voting on it!



  6. [Meme] Team UPC is Celebrating a Pyrrhic Victory

    Pyrrhic victory best describes what's happening at the moment (it’s a lobbying tactic, faking/staging things to help false prophecies be fulfilled, based on hopes and wishes alone), for faking something without bothering to explain the legal basis is going to lead to further escalations and complaints (already impending)



  7. Links 24/1/2022: Scribus 1.5.8 and LXLE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 23, 2022



  9. [Meme] Team UPC Congratulating Itself

    The barrage of fake news and misinformation about the UPC deliberately leaves out all the obvious and very important facts; even the EPO‘s António Campinos and Breton (Benoît Battistelli‘s buddy) participated in the lying



  10. Links 24/1/2022: pgBadger 11.7 Released, Catch-up With Patents

    Links for the day



  11. The Demonisation and Stereotyping of Coders Not Working for Big Corporations (or 'The System')

    The war on encrypted communication (or secure communications) carries on despite a lack of evidence that encryption stands in the way of crime investigations (most criminals use none of it)



  12. On the 'Peak Hacker' Series

    Hacker culture, unlike Ludditism, is ultimately a movement for justice, for equality, and for human rights through personal and collective emancipation; Dr. Farnell has done a good job explaining where we stand and his splendid series has come to a close



  13. Links 23/1/2022: First RC of Linux 5.17 and Sway 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  14. Peak Code — Part III: After Code

    "Surveillance perimeters, smart TVs (Telescreens built to Orwell's original blueprint) watched over our living rooms. Mandatory smart everything kept us 'trustless'. Safe search, safe thoughts. We withdrew. Inside, we went quietly mad."



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    IRC logs for Saturday, January 22, 2022



  16. Links 23/1/2022: MongoDB 5.2, BuddyPress 10.0.0, and GNU Parallel 20220122

    Links for the day



  17. A Parade of Fake News About the UPC Does Not Change the General Consensus or the Simple Facts

    European Patents (EPs) from the EPO are granted in violation of the EPC; Courts are now targeted by António Campinos and the minions he associates with (mostly parasitic litigation firms and monopolists), for they want puppets for “judges” and for invalid patents to be magically rendered “valid” and “enforceable”



  18. Welcome to 2022: Intentional Lies Are 'Benefits' and 'Alternative Facts'

    A crooks-run EPO, together with the patent litigation cabal that we’ve dubbed ‘Team UPC’ (it has nothing to do with science or with innovation), is spreading tons of misinformation; the lies are designed to make the law-breaking seem OK, knowing that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are practically above the law, so perjury as well as gross violations of the EPC and constitutions won’t scare them (prosecution as deterrence just isn’t there, which is another inherent problem with the UPC)



  19. From Software Eating the World to the Pentagon Eating All the Software

    “Software is eating the world,” according to Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape), but the Empire Strikes Back (not the movie, the actual empire) by hijacking all code by proxy, via Microsoft, just as it grabbed a lot of the world’s communications via Skype, bypassing the world's many national telecoms; coders need to fight back rather than participate in racist (imperial) shams such as GitHub



  20. Links 22/1/2022: Skrooge 2.27.0 and Ray-Tracing Stuff

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 21, 2022



  22. Peak Code — Part II: Lost Source

    "Debian and Mozilla played along. They were made “Yeoman Freeholders” in return for rewriting their charters to “work closely with the new Ministry in the interests of all stakeholders” – or some-such vacuous spout… because no one remembers… after that it started."



  23. Links 22/1/2022: Ubuntu MATE 21.10 for GPD Pocket 3, MINISFORUM Preloads GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  24. Computer Users Should be Operators, But Instead They're Being Operated by Vendors and Governments

    Computers have been turned into hostile black boxes (unlike Blackbox) that distrust the person who purchased them; moreover, from a legislative point of view, encryption (i.e. computer security) is perceived and treated by governments like a threat instead of something imperative — a necessity for society’s empowerment (privacy is about control and people in positions of unjust power want total and complete control)



  25. Peak Code — Part I: Before the Wars

    Article/series by Dr. Andy Farnell: "in the period between 1960 and 2060 people had mistaken what they called "The Internet" for a communications system, when it had in fact been an Ideal and a Battleground all along - the site of the 100 years info-war."



  26. Links 21/1/2022: RISC-V Development Board and Rust 1.58.1

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 20, 2022



  28. Gemini Lets You Control the Presentation Layer to Suit Your Own Needs

    In Gemini (or the Web as seen through Gemini clients such as Kristall) the user comes first; it's not sites/capsules that tell the user how pages are presented/rendered, as they decide only on structural/semantic aspects



  29. The Future of Techrights

    Futures are difficult to predict, but our general vision for the years ahead revolves around more community involvement and less (none or decreased) reliance on third parties, especially monopolistic corporations, mostly because they oppress the population via the network and via electronic devices



  30. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU


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