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01.09.17

Links 9/1/2017: Dell’s Latest XPS 13, GPD Pocket With GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 4:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Mac’s share falls to five-year low

    Net Applications pegged Linux’s user share at 2.2% in December, slightly off the 2.3% peak of November.

  • A 2016 retrospective

    In 2012, your editor predicted that LibreOffice would leave OpenOffice (which had been recently dumped into the Apache Software Foundation) in the dust. That prediction was accounted as a failure at the end of the year. Four years later, though, it has become clear that that is exactly what has happened. Your editor happily takes credit for having been a bit ahead of his time, while pointing to something shiny to distract you all from the fact that he didn’t see the issue coming to a head in 2016.

  • Desktop

    • Dell’s latest XPS 13 DE still delivers Linux in a svelte package

      Over the course of its four-year lifespan, Dell’s extremely popular XPS 13 Developer Edition line has become known for one thing—bringing a “just works” Linux experience to the company’s Ultrabooks.

      Of course, today Dell is just one of many manufacturers producing great Linux machines. System76 makes the Oryx Pro (still my top pick for anyone who needs massive power), and companies like Purism and ZaReason produce solid offerings that also work with Linux out of the box. Even hardware not explicitly made for Linux tends to work out of the box these days. I recently installed Fedora on a Sony Vaio and was shocked that the only problem I encountered was that the default trackpad configuration was terribly slow.

    • Meet the GPD Pocket, a 7-inch Ubuntu Laptop

      The GPD Pocket is a 7-inch laptop that’s small enough to fit in to a pocket — and it will apparently be available with Ubuntu!

      As reported on Liliputing, GPD (the company) is currently only showing off a few fancy renders right now, but as they have form for releasing other (similar) devices, like the GPD Win, and Android gaming portables, this is unlikely to be outright vapourware.

  • Kernel Space

    • SipHash Is Being Worked On For Further Security In The Linux Kernel

      Jason Donenfeld who has been working on the WireGuard secure network tunnel for Linux has also been working on another security enhancement: adding the SipHash PRF to the Linux kernel.

      Donenfeld is now up to his third version of patches for integrating the SipHash pseudorandom functions into the Linux kernel. For those wanting some background about SipHash, there is an explanation via Wikipedia while a lot more technical information can be found via this SipHash page.

    • Linux 4.10-rc3

      So after that very small rc2 due to the xmas break, we seem to be back
      to fairly normal. After a quiet period like that, I tend to expect a
      bigger chunk just because of pent up work, but I guess the short break
      there really was vacation for everybody, and so instead we’re just
      seeing normal rc behavior. It still feels a bit smaller than a usual
      rc3, but for the first real rc after the merge window (ie I’d compare
      it to a regular rc2), it’s fairly normal.

      The stats look textbook for the kernel: just under 2/3rds drivers,
      with almost half of the rest arch updates, and the rest being “misc”
      (mainly filesystems and networking).

      So nothing in particular stands out. You can get a flavor of the
      details from the appended shortlog, but even more importantly – you
      can go out and test.

      Thanks,

      Linus

    • Linux 4.10-rc3 Kernel Released

      Linux 4.10-rc3 is now available as the latest weekly update to the Linux 4.10 kernel.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces a Fairly Normal Third Linux 4.10 Release Candidate

      A few moments ago, Linus Torvalds made his Sunday evening announcement to inform us about the general availability of the third RC (Release Candidate) snapshot of the upcoming Linux 4.10 kernel.

      According to Linus Torvalds, things appear to be back to their normal state, and it looks like Linux kernel 4.10 RC3 is a fairly normal development release that consists of two-thirds updated drivers, and half of the remaining patch are improvements to various hardware architectures. There are also some minor networking and filesystems fixes.

    • Linux Kernel 4.9 Gets Its First Point Released, Updates Drivers and Filesystems

      We’ve been waiting for it, and it’s finally here! The first point release of the Linux 4.9 kernel was announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman this past weekend, which means that most modern GNU/Linux distribution can finally start migrating to the series.

      Yes, we’re talking about Linux kernel 4.9.1, the first of many maintenance updates to the Linux 4.9 kernel branch, which is now officially declared stable and ready for production. It’s also a major release that changes a total of 103 files, with 813 insertions and 400 deletions, according to the appended shortlog.

    • Benchmarks

      • Open-Source Nouveau Linux 4.10 + NvBoost vs. NVIDIA Proprietary Linux Driver Performance

        Earlier this week I posted some benchmarks showing the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) driver performance on Linux 4.10 with the new NvBoost capability for finally being able to hit the “boost” clock frequencies with Kepler graphics cards when using this reverse-engineered driver. While the manual re-clocking and enabling NvBoost is able to increase the Nouveau driver’s performance, how do these results compare to using the closed-source NVIDIA Linux driver? These benchmarks answer that question.

      • 26-Way Intel/AMD CPU System Comparison With Ubuntu 16.10 + Linux 4.10 Kernel

        In preparation for Intel Kaby Lake socketed CPU benchmark results soon on Phoronix, the past number of days I have been re-tested many of the systems in our benchmark server room for comparing to the performance of the new Kaby Lake hardware. For those wanting to see how existing Intel and AMD systems compare when using Ubuntu 16.10 x86_64 and the latest Linux 4.10 Git kernel, here are those benchmarks ahead of our Kaby Lake Linux CPU reviews.

      • Xeon HD Graphics P530 With OpenGL & Vulkan On Mesa 13.1-dev + Linux 4.10

        It’s been quite a number of months since last trying out the HD Graphics P530 and thus while having a Xeon E3-1245 v5 running Ubuntu 16.10 + Linux 4.10 for some fresh benchmarks after changing out the motherboard, I figured I would see how the graphics performance for this Xeon CPU compares to the Core IVB / HSW / BDW / SKL results from yesterday.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Latest Cinnamon Release Lands in Antergos, but Read This Before Updating Python
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 3.1.x Best Alternative To Photoshop for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        Krita is a KDE program for sketching and painting, although it has image processing capabilities, offering an end–to–end solution for creating digital painting files from scratch by masters. Fields of painting that Krita explicitly supports are concept art, creation of comics and textures for rendering. Modelled on existing real-world painting materials and workflows, Krita supports creative working by getting out of the way and with a snappy response.

        Krita is the full-featured free digital painting studio for artists who want to create professional work from start to end. Krita is used by comic book artists, illustrators, concept artists, matte and texture painters and in the digital VFX industry. Krita is free software, licensed under the GNU Public License, version 2 or later.

      • KDE neon Now Available on Docker

        Our mission statement above is what we try to do and having continuous integration of KDE development and continuous deployment of packages is great, if you have KDE neon installed. You can test our code while it’s in development and get hold of it as soon as it’s out. But wait, what if you want to do both? You would need to install it twice on a virtual machine or dual boot, quite slow and cumbersome. Maybe you don’t want to use neon but you still want to test if that bug fix really worked.

        So today I’m announcing a beta of KDE neon on Docker. Docker containers are a lightweight way to create a virtual system running on top of your normal Linux install but with its own filesystem and other rules to stop it getting in the way of your OS. They are insanely popular now for server deployment but I think they work just as well for checking out desktop and other UI setups.

      • KDE Neon Goes Docker, Lets People Test Drive the Latest KDE Software Releases

        Ex-Kubuntu maintainer and renowned KDE developer Jonathan Riddell was proud to announce the availability of the KDE Neon operating system on Docker, the open-source application container engine.

        KDE Neon is currently the only GNU/Linux distribution allowing users to enjoy the newest KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment, as well as KDE Frameworks and Applications software suite as soon as they’re out. If you’re a bleeding-edge user and love KDE, then KDE Neon is the distro you need to use in 2017.

      • More focused Planet KDE posts

        My blog has been syndicated on Planet KDE and Planet Ubuntu for a long time, but sometimes topics I want to write about are not really relevant to these aggregators, so I either refrain from writing, or write anyway and end up feeling a bit guilty for spamming.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME, Wayland, and environment variables

        Your editor, who is normally not overly worried about operating-system upgrades, approached the Fedora 25 transition on his laptop with a fair amount of trepidation. This is the release that switches to using Wayland by default, pushing aside the X.org server we have been using for decades. Such a transition is bound to bring surprises, but the biggest surprise this time around was just how little breakage there is. There is one exception, though, that brings back some old questions about how GNOME is developed.

        The problematic change is simple enough to understand. While X sessions are started by way of a login shell in Fedora (even though the user never sees that shell directly), Wayland sessions do not involve a shell at all. As a result, the user’s .bash_profile and .bashrc files (or whichever initialization files their shell uses) are not read. The place where this omission is most readily noticed is in the definition of environment variables. Many applications will change their behavior based on configuration stored in the environment; all of that configuration vanishes under Wayland. It also seems that some users (xterm holdouts, for example) still run applications that use the old X resources configuration mechanism. Resources are normally set by running xrdb at login time; once again, that doesn’t happen if no login shell is run.

  • Distributions

    • What’s the best Linux distro for you?

      When it comes to desktop operating systems, there are three main camps into which people fall: Windows, Mac and Linux. In the case of the latter camp things can be confusing because there are endless distros to choose from — but which is best?

      The beauty of Linux is that it can be tweaked and tailored in so many ways. This means that while the plethora of choice can seem overwhelming, it is also possible to find the perfect distro for just about any scenario. To help you make the right choice, here’s a helpful list of the best distros to look out for in 2017.

    • What’s New in BlankOn X Tambora

      BlankOn X operating system finally launched at January 1st 2017 as the 10th release codenamed “Tambora”. BlankOn is a GNU/Linux distribution from Indonesia, a low-resource operating system with ultimate aim for desktop end-users. In this Tambora release, BlankOn brings the latest Manokwari desktop with improvements, along with its own BlankOn system installer, and some other stuffs. This Tambora release is a continuation of the BlankOn 9 release in 2014 named Suroboyo. This article sums up what’s new for BlankOn in this Tambora version.

    • This Year In Solus (2016 Edition)

      2016 was an incredible year for Solus. We went from having our first release in December of 2015, to completely switching to a rolling release model. We had multiple Solus releases, multiple Budgie releases, several rewrites of different components of Solus, ranging from the Installer to the Software Center. We introduced our native Steam runtime and improved both our state of statelessness as well as optimizations.

      When I first started talking about Solus at the beginning of 2016, I used the analogy that what we were building was the engine for our vehicle, one to deliver us to our goals for Solus. While we’re still building that engine, we’re in a drastically better shape than we were in 2016, and we’re more confident, and bolder, than ever.

    • Reviews

      • Maui Linux 2.1 Blue Tang – Aloha!

        Maui Linux 2.1 Blue Tang is a surprisingly and yet expectedly good Plasma system, using some of that Mint-like approach to home computing. It’s what Kubuntu should have been or should be, and it delivers a practical, out-of-the-box experience with a fine blend of software, fun and stability. That’s a very sensible approach.

        Not everything was perfect. Plasma has its bugs, the printer and the web cam issues need to be looked into, and on the aesthetics side, a few things can be polished and improved. The installer can benefit from having some extra safety mechanisms. But I guess that is the sum of my complaints. On the happy side, you get all the goodies from the start, the application collection is rich, the distro did not crash, and the performance is really decent for a Plasma beastling. A fine formula, and probably the best one we’ve seen in the last eighteen months or so. Good news if you like KDE. And indeed, this is definitely one of the distros you should try. 9/10. I’m quite pleased. Have a maui day.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Linux receives update for new year.

        Manajro Linux recently released a new version of operating system but they also keep their package updated. So some time ago Manjaro team updated some packages and introduced new features to main distribution. According to official announcement new feature called Brisk-menu is introduced in MATE edition of Manajro which is actually developed by Solus team. Thunderbird received some security update, linux48 will soon upgrade to linux49. Broadcom-wl, calamares, fightgear and few Ruby packages are updated.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat releases latest version of CloudForms 4.2

        According to the vendor, the new Red Hat CloudForms will enable IT teams to increase service delivery while focusing on critical, business-impacting issues. The Red Hat CloudForms, based on the open source ManageIQ project, provides an advanced open source management platform for physical, virtual and cloud IT environments, including Linux containers. CloudForms helps IT organisations offer composable services through a self-service portal, managing the service lifecycle from provisioning to retirement. It can also define and enforce advanced compliance policies for new and existing IT environments, better enabling operators to optimise the costs of a given environment and system.

      • ​Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9 beta out now

        Yes, Red Hat’s forthcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.9 will come with stability and security improvements. That’s not the real news. The big story is it supports the next generation of cloud-native applications through an updated Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 base image.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Kernel 4.8.7 & Realtek Wireless – Fedora report

          A handful of weeks and hundreds of GB down the road, my Lenovo G50 machine is in a much better shape when spinning the kernel 4.8.7 than anything else before, but there are still situations where the network might drop down. This means I will need to reserve my previous observation, from the original report. Good but not perfect. Part of that Nirvana has gone back to Valhalla. Fedora 25 is the salvation you seek, though.

          Under ordinary circumstances, most people will probably not hit the issue, unless they have hundreds of idle HTTP connections that are slowly being closed, causing the driver to get a little confused. This could happen if you download like mad from the Web and then go calm. That’s why I said ordinary users, then again, Fedora and Manjaro folks aren’t really the Riders of the Gaussian. Still, something to look forward to being fixed eventually. Now that we have this 99% fix, the rest should be easy. More to come.

        • Fedora/EPEL Mirrormanager problems in Asia Pacific countries.

          We have been getting a lot of reports of people unable to get updates for EPEL or Fedora at various times. What people are seeing is that they will do a ‘yum update’ and it will give a long list of failures and quit. At this moment we seem to have pinpointed that most of the people having this problem are in various Asia Pacific nations (primarily Australia and Japan). The problem for both of these seems to be a lack of cross connects between networks.

          In the US, if you are on Comcast in say New Mexico and going to a server on Time Warner in North Carolina, your route is usually pretty direct. You will go from one network to various third party providers who will then send the packets the quickest path to the eventual server. If you use a visual grapher of locations, you even find that the path usually follows a linear path. [You might end up going to say California or Seattle first but that is only when Texas and Colorado cross connects are full.] Similarly in most European countries you also see a similar routing algorithm.

    • Debian Family

      • My Debian Activities in December 2016

        This month I marked 367 packages for accept and rejected 45 packages. This time I only sent 10 emails to maintainers asking questions.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The move to snap
          • TedPage: Snapping Unity8

            For the last little while we’ve been working to snap up Unity8. This is all part of the conversion from a system image based device to one that is entirely based on snaps. For the Ubuntu Phones we basically had a package layout with a system image and then Click packages on top of it.

          • We Never Said Ubuntu Phone Is Dead. Here’s What We Actually Wrote Line-by-Line

            I didn’t want to write this post but a lot of people are raging at us for writing an article we didn’t. So, join me as I go through we actually wrote, line-by-line.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Cinnamon 3.2.8 Desktop Out Now for Linux Mint 18.1 with Menu Applet Improvements

              Clement Lefebvre has published a new update of the beautiful, modern and responsive Cinnamon desktop environment, for the latest 3.2 stable series, of course, versioned 3.2.8.

              It’s been a little over two weeks since the Cinnamon 3.2 desktop environment received an update, and Cinnamon 3.2.8 is here to add many improvements to the Menu applet, which have all been contributed by Michael Webster. Among these, we can notice that the Menu applet is now capable of constructing only one context menu for recent files.

              Of course, this context menu can be re-used for other files as required, and we can’t help but notice that the Menu applet will no longer reconstruct recent files, just re-order, remove, or add them, if necessary. When refreshing the installed applications, the Menu applet won’t be very destructive.

            • Redesigning Bluetooth Settings

              At elementary, redesigns don’t necessarily happen purely as sketches or mockups and they may not even happen all at one time. Many times, we design iteratively in code, solving a single problem at a time. Recently we built out a new, native bluetooth settings pane to replace the one we inherited from GNOME. We took this time to review some of the problems we had with the design of this pane and see how we could do better. Pictured below is the bluetooth settings pane as available today in elementary OS Loki…

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Transpile And Run Python Code Into Go Program With Google’s Open Source ‘Grumpy’
  • Yelp Open-Sources Latest in Data Pipeline Project, Data Pipeline Client Library

    Services consume from the pipeline via the client library, and at Yelp feed into targets like Salesforce, RedShift and Marketo. The library reportedly handles Kafka topic names, encryption, and consumer partitioning. Centralizing service communications through a message broker while enforcing immutable schema versioning helps protect downstream consumers and is also a primary motivation behind the broader data pipeline initiative.

  • The importance of the press kit

    I’d like to share a few lessons I’ve learned about creating a press kit. This helped us spread the word about our recent FreeDOS 1.2 release, and it can help your open source software project to get more attention.

  • Events

    • Vault CFP deadline approaching

      The Vault Storage and Filesystems conference will be held March 22 and 23 in Cambridge, MA, USA, immediately after the Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit. The call for presentations expires on January 14, and the conference organizers would really like to get a few more proposals in before then. Developers interested in speaking at a technical Linux event are encourage to sign up.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox “Reader Mode” and NoScript

        A couple of days ago I blogged about using Firefox’s “Delete Node” to make web pages more readable. In a subsequent Twitter discussion someone pointed out that if the goal is to make a web page’s content clearer, Firefox’s relatively new “Reader Mode” might be a better way.

  • BSD

    • Get your name in the relayd book

      There’s a long tradition amongst science fiction writers of selling bit parts in books in exchange for charity donations. It’s called tuckerization.

      I see no reason why science fiction writers should have all the fun.

      I need a sample user for the forthcoming book on OpenBSD’s httpd and relayd. This user gets referred to in the user authentication sections as well as on having users manage web sites. They will also get randomly called out whenever it makes sense to me.

      That sample user could be you.

      All it would cost is a donation to the OpenBSD Foundation.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Rcpp now used by 900 CRAN packages

      Today, Rcpp passed another milestone as 900 packages on CRAN now depend on it (as measured by Depends, Imports and LinkingTo declarations). The graph is on the left depicts the growth of Rcpp usage over time.

Leftovers

  • This Wand Remote makes couch surfing magical again

    I’ve seen the Kymera Magic Wand selling for as low as $60.00 on ebay and as much as $100.00 Amazon and I have to say it’s a treat every time I can avoid picking up my old remotes.

  • Science

    • The Death Of Expertise

      I am (or at least think I am) an expert. Not on everything, but in a particular area of human knowledge, specifically social science and public policy. When I say something on those subjects, I expect that my opinion holds more weight than that of most other people.

      I never thought those were particularly controversial statements. As it turns out, they’re plenty controversial. Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.

      [...]

      Universities, without doubt, have to own some of this mess. The idea of telling students that professors run the show and know better than they do strikes many students as something like uppity lip from the help, and so many profs don’t do it. (One of the greatest teachers I ever had, James Schall, once wrote many years ago that “students have obligations to teachers,” including “trust, docility, effort, and thinking,” an assertion that would produce howls of outrage from the entitled generations roaming campuses today.) As a result, many academic departments are boutiques, in which the professors are expected to be something like intellectual valets. This produces nothing but a delusion of intellectual adequacy in children who should be instructed, not catered to.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Almost No One Likes the GOP’s ‘Repeal and Delay’ Plan for Obamacare

      Since June 2009—before the Affordable Care Act even became law—congressional Republicans have promised to be weeks away from proposing their own blueprint for health-care reform. More than seven years later, House Speaker Paul Ryan still seems confused about whether his party does or does not have a plan ready to replace the ACA. “We already know what we’re replacing with. We’ve been extremely clear with what replace looks like,” Ryan insisted in an interview on Wednesday. The following day found him pleading with a reporter for more time. “We’re just beginning to put this together,” Ryan admitted.

      Regardless, Republicans are moving quickly to gut the ACA. Repeal will be the “first order of business” for the new administration, vice president–elect Mike Pence said on Wednesday after speaking to GOP lawmakers on the hill. That same day Senate Republicans began laying the groundwork for a budget maneuver that would allow them to roll back parts of the law with a simple 51-vote majority, thus skirting a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. Despite the fast pace, the plan is remarkably shaky—not just in detail but also for the lack of political support behind it. Almost no one outside Congress thinks the GOP’s current strategy is a good idea, and even a few Republican lawmakers are getting skittish.

    • The Three Big Reasons Republicans Can’t Replace Obamacare

      Republicans are preparing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and have promised to replace it with something that doesn’t leave more than 20 million Americans stranded without health insurance.

      But they still haven’t come up with a replacement. “We haven’t coalesced around a solution for six years,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton admitted last week. “Kicking the can down the road for a year or two years isn’t going to make it any easier to solve.“

      They won’t solve it. They can’t and won’t replace Obamacare, for three big reasons.

    • True British Values and the #NHScrisis

      The total amount thrown at the banks by the taxpayer to enable their casino banking scams and cocaine fuelled lifestyles to continue, was £1.16 trillion, courtesy of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. By one of life’s more meaningful coincidences, that is precisely ten times the annual budget of the NHS for the whole UK. Equally neatly, the latest contingency for quantitative easing announced by Mark Carney – money given directly to financial institutions by the central bank in exchange for junk – is £250 billion, which is precisely ten times the total hamstringing debts of the NHS.

    • A learning experience

      openDemocracy is a political discussion site so how could I end this contribution without some discussion of politics. Very shortly after I returned home I became involved in an interchange of emails with some American friends about the election of Trump and what has become known as Obama Care. Here is my response:

      When I discuss American politics and get to Obama care I often end up kind of dumbfounded like someone who has just been told that the moon is actually made of green cheese. I get the same feeling when watching Fox news on the same topic. Where do obviously intelligent people get such crazy ideas? And what do you say to them in reply? Well this is my reply now.

    • As more Southerners benefit from it, Medicaid expansion faces congressional death threats

      Date on which North Carolina’s newly sworn-in Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced he’d take executive action to expand Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor, under the Affordable Care Act: 1/4/2017

      Year in which North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a law barring the executive branch from expanding Medicaid under ACA, complicating Cooper’s efforts: 2013

      Number of North Carolinians who could benefit from expansion of Medicaid, which in that state is currently available only to children, people with small children, or those who are pregnant, disabled, or in a nursing home: up to 600,000

      Amount of investment Medicaid expansion would bring to North Carolina: $2 billion to $4 billion

    • NY Nuke Plant to be Shuttered, But Will Cuomo Turn to Dirty Gas Instead?

      New York’s “dangerously decrepit” Indian Point nuclear power plant will officially shut down by April 2021, according to an agreement reached this week between the state and Entergy utility company.

      A source “with direct knowledge of the deal” told the New York Times that one reactor will “cease operations by April 2020, while the other must be closed by April 2021,” the paper reported on Friday.

      In recent years, radioactive tritium-contaminated water had been leaking from the aging Westchester County facility, which sits on the bank of the Hudson River, just 25 miles north of New York City, spurring calls for its closure from activists and concerned residents.

      Recognizing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s history of supporting New York’s upstate nuclear facilities, including a $7.6 billion bailout this August for four other plants, anti-nuclear campaigners reacted to the news with caution.

  • Security

    • 6 ways to secure air-gapped computers from data breaches

      How do you avoid this? Depending upon the nature of the data contained within the air-gapped system, you should only allow certain staff members access to the machine. This might require the machine to be locked away in your data center or in a secured room on the premises. If you don’t have a data center or a dedicated room that can be locked, house the computer in the office of a high-ranking employee.

    • Possibly Smart, Possibly Stupid, Idea Regarding Tor & Linux Distributions

      I will admit that I have not fully thought this through yet, so I am
      writing this in the hope that other folk will follow up, share their
      experiences and thoughts.

      So: I have installed a bunch of Tor systems in the past few months -
      CentOS, Ubuntu, Raspbian, Debian, OSX-via-Homebrew – and my abiding
      impression of the process is one of “friction”.

      Before getting down to details, I hate to have to cite this but I have been
      a coder and paid Unix sysadmin on/off since 1988, and I have worked on
      machines with “five nines” SLAs, and occasionally on boxes with uptimes of
      more than three years; have also built datacentres for Telcos, ISPs and
      built/setup dynamic provisioning solutions for huge cluster computing. The
      reason I mention this is not to brag, but to forestall

    • [Older] Introducing rkt’s ability to automatically detect privilege escalation attacks on containers

      Intel’s Clear Containers technology allows admins to benefit from the ease of container-based deployment without giving up the security of virtualization. For more than a year, rkt’s KVM stage1 has supported VM-based container isolation, but we can build more advanced security features atop it. Using introspection technology, we can automatically detect a wide range of privilege escalation attacks on containers and provide appropriate remediation, making it significantly more difficult for attackers to make a single compromised container the beachhead for an infrastructure-wide assault.

    • Diving back into coreboot development

      Let me first introduce myself: I’m Youness Alaoui, mostly known as KaKaRoTo, and I’m a Free/Libre Software enthusiast and developer. I’ve been hired by Purism to work on porting coreboot to the Librem laptops, as well as to try and tackle the Intel ME issue afterwards.

      I know many of you are very excited about the prospect of having coreboot running on your Librem and finally dropping the proprietary AMI BIOS that came with it. That’s why I’ll be posting reports here about progress I’m making—what I’ve done so far, and what is left to be done.

    • Web databases hit in ransom attacks

      Gigabytes of medical, payroll and other data held in MongoDB databases have been taken by attackers, say security researchers.

    • Why HTTPS for Everything?

      HTTPS enables privacy and integrity by default. It is going to be next big thing. The internet’s standards bodies, web browsers, major tech companies, and the internet community of practice have all come to understand that HTTPS should be the baseline for all web traffic. Ultimately, the goal of the internet community is to establish encryption as the norm, and to phase out unencrypted connections. Investing in HTTPS makes it faster, cheaper, and easier for everyone.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Those Times the NSA Hacked America’s Allies

      The hysteria about Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee servers and the phishing scam run on Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, is short on evidence and high in self-righteousness. Much of the report issued Friday was old boilerplate about the Russia Today cable channel, which proves nothing.

      My complaint is that American television news reports all this as if it is The First Time in History Anyone has Acted like This. But the head of the Republican Party in the early 1970s hired burglars to do the same thing– break into the Watergate building and get access to DNC documents in hopes of throwing an election. Dick Nixon even ordered a second break-in. And it took a long time for Republican members of Congress to come around to the idea that a crime had been committed; if it hadn’t been for the Supreme Court, Nixon might have served out his term.

    • Former CIA & NSA Officials Team Up To Debunk “Russian Hacking” Conspiracy Theory

      Two former high-ranking intelligence officers teamed in an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun that ripped apart the Obama administration’s unproven claim that The Russians interfered with the U.S. election by way of hacking systems of the Democratic establishment to lock in Donald Trump’s win.

    • ‘US intel community lost professional discipline’: Ex-NSA tech director on ‘Russia hacking’ report

      The undisguised and clearly politically motivated report on the alleged 2016 US “election hack” displays a severe lack of “professional discipline” in the intelligence community, former NSA technical director and whistleblower William Edward Binney told RT.

    • The Same Officials Who Pushed the Iraq War Are Now Stirring Up Anti-Russia Hysteria

      The main U.S. intelligence official pushing claims that Russia hacked the Democratic party is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence.

    • Senate Hearing on Russian Election Mischief Again Fails to Prove Anything

      The Russian hacking hysteria in the US media, and among parts of the public — especially liberal Democrats — is becoming increasingly embarrassing.

      Over and over we have been told that the government, whether in the form of the departing President Obama or unidentified “intelligence sources” cited in news reports, or statements by private security contractors with their vested interest in trying to show how vulnerable America’s (and the Democratic Party’s!) servers are, that they have solid evidence that the Russians hacked DNC emails and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails, only for it to turn out to be more of the same innuendos, circumstantial “evidence,” suspicions, and inevitably ridiculous and embarrassing errors (like the Washington Post’s breathless and false story that the Russians had hacked the Vermont power grid and could shut off the heat during a cold snap).

    • Truck ramming kills 4 in Jerusalem

      A truck rammed into a group of Israeli soldiers who were disembarking from a bus in Jerusalem Sunday, killing four people and wounding 15 others, Israeli police and rescue services said.

      Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the truck veered off course and rammed into the group. She said the attacker was shot dead.

      The attack comes amid a more than yearlong wave of Palestinian shooting, stabbing and vehicular attacks against Israelis that has slowed of late. Sunday’s incident marks the first Israeli casualties in three months.

    • The Declassified Report on Russia’s Election Hacking Says Nothing New

      If you were on the edge of your seat, waiting for the US government to drop its much-anticipated report on Russian hacking operations against American targets and particularly targeting the 2016 presidential election, I’m really sorry to say, you’ll be truly disappointed.

    • It’s official: US election systems designated as critical

      The designation came the same day that US intelligence officials published an unclassified version of a report concluding that Russian Federation president Vladimir Putin directly ordered intelligence agencies to collect data from the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and other organizations. The agencies then oversaw an effort to discredit Clinton, the Democratic party, and the US democratic political process through “information operations,” according to the report, which was jointly written by the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the FBI.

    • Fear and Misunderstanding of Russia

      Much of America’s recent demonization of Russia relates to deep cultural and even religious differences between the two countries, requiring a deeper understanding of the other’s strengths and weaknesses, writes Paul Grenier.

    • Pushing for a Lucrative New Cold War

      The New Cold War promises untold riches for the Military-Industrial Complex, causing hawks inside the Obama administration to push for more hostilities with Russia, as in a Syrian case study dissected by Gareth Porter for Truthdig.

      [...]

      When Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, spoke to reporters at a press briefing outside a U.N. Security Council emergency meeting on the U.S. attack on Syrian troops, he asked rhetorically, “Who is in charge in Washington? The White House or the Pentagon?”

    • Hillary Clinton and the Installation of Authoritarian Right-Wing Regimes in the Americas

      Seven years after the Hillary-backed Honduran coup, Mrs. Clinton and the capitalist-imperial U.S. Deep State she has long served helped place the thin-skinned megalomaniac and right-wing quasi-fascist Donald Trump atop the executive branch of the world’s most powerful state.

      [...]

      But what pre-existing “democracy” is Trump “taki[ng] control” of, exactly? It is well known and established that the United States’ political order is an abject corporate and financial plutocracy – an oligarchy of and for Wealthy Few. You don’t have to be a supposedly wild-eyed leftist radical to know this. Just ask the establishment liberal political scientists Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin Page (Northwestern). Over the past three plus decades, these leading academic researchers have determined, the U.S. political system has functioned as “an oligarchy,” where wealthy elites and their corporations “rule.” Examining data from more than 1,800 different policy initiatives in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Gilens and Page found that wealthy and well-connected elites consistently steer the direction of the country, regardless of and against the will of the U.S. majority and irrespective of which major party holds the White House and/or Congress. “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” Gilens and Page write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” As Gilens explained to the liberal online journal Talking Points Memo two years ago, “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.” Such is the harsh reality of “really existing capitalist democracy” in the U.S., what Noam Chomsky has called “RECD, pronounced as ‘wrecked.’”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • UK at risk of Brexit ‘catastrophe’ warns Canadian trade expert

      Britain risks a “catastrophic” Brexit because the government is so dismissive of the concerns of trade experts, according to one of the figures behind the EU-Canada trade deal which took a decade to negotiate.

    • Koch Astroturf Army Cheers Union Busting in Kentucky

      On the first day that the Kentucky legislature got underway with a newly elected Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican governor, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity group blew the whistle and legislators jumped to do their bidding.

      This week, the Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover rammed through the legislature three bills to break the back of unions and lower wages for highly-skilled construction workers.

      It was bare-knuckled partisan politics. “We can pretty much do whatever we want now!” crowed GOP Kentucky Rep. Jim DeCesare behind closed doors.

      You have only to look at Trump’s narrow victory in Rust Belt states to understand why the GOP is desperate to get rid of the Democratic Party’s boots on the ground.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • WikiLeaks, D.N.C. Hacks and Julian Assange’s Years-Old Vision

      At first blush, there’s a baffling, inside-out quality to Julian Assange’s latest star turn in our shambolic national story.

      He belongs in jail for “waging his war” against the United States by exposing its secrets, the conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity has said of him. An “anti-American operative with blood on his hands,” Sarah Palin once called him.

      Yet last week brought the sight of Mr. Hannity speaking with Mr. Assange in glowing terms about “what drives him to expose government and media corruption” through Clinton campaign hacks that American intelligence has attributed to Russia. And Ms. Palin hailed him as a great truth teller, even apologizing for previous unpleasantries. (Cue sound of needle sliding across record album.)

    • Federal Judge Doesn’t Let Debate Commission Off Easy

      The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. heard oral arguments today in the lawsuit filed by Level the Playing Field (LPF) challenging the nonprofit status of the Commission on Presidential Debates, just under two weeks before President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn into office.

      LPF’s lead attorney, Alexandra Shapiro, provided extensive evidence, analysis, and historical background to support the plaintiffs’ claim that the Commission on Presidential Debates uses unfair criteria to keep competitive voices outside the two major parties out of presidential debates.

      Specifically, LPF takes issue with the 15% rule that requires candidates outside the Republican and Democratic Parties to poll at 15% in 5 national polls selected by the debate commission to gain entry into the debates.

      “The two parties have rigged the system… CPD board members are big funders to candidates and campaigns… and the 15% is an impossible threshold,” Shapiro said.

    • Trump mentioned Wikileaks 164 times in last month of election, now claims it didn’t impact one voter

      President-elect Trump says that information published by Wikileaks, which the U.S. intelligence community says was hacked by Russia, had “absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.” This was not the view of candidate Trump, who talked about Wikileaks and the content of the emails it released at least 164 times in last month of the campaign.

      ThinkProgress calculated the number by reviewing transcripts of Trump’s speeches, media appearances and debates over the last 30 days of the campaign.

      Trump talked extensively about Wikileaks in the final days of a campaign that was ultimately decided by just 100,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania combined.

    • How RT became the star of CIA, FBI & NSA’s anticlimactic ‘big reveal’

      The eagerly awaited Director Of National Intelligence’s (DNI) report “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” didn’t need such a long winded title. They could have just called it: “We Really Don’t Like RT.”

      Almost every major western news outlet splashed this story. But it was probably the New York Times’ report which was the most amusing. America’s “paper of record” hailed the DNI’s homework as “damning and surprisingly detailed.” Then a few paragraphs later admitted the analysis contained no actual evidence.

    • CIA and NSA Veterans on Russia, Trump and Obama

      ABC reports: “Showdown at Trump Tower as President-Elect Set to Receive Intel Briefing.” Politico reports: “Pompeo’s confirmation hearing for CIA director set for Jan. 11.”

      [...]

      Binney worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA. McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years; he briefed the president’s daily brief one-on-one to President Reagan’s most senior national security officials from 1981-85.

    • Algorithm and Blues: Why Hillary’s Moneyball Strategy Failed

      When I wrote on election night that the Clinton campaign had forsaken class politics for “politics by algorithm,” I had no idea that they really had such an “app” or that they had named it after Lord Byron’s daughter, the brilliant Ada Lovelace, the real brains behind the first computer. (Ada would have run a better campaign.) Apparently, Clinton campaign gameboy Robbie Mook ran 500,000 simulations of the election on his Xbox. How many of them had 90,000 Michigan voters leaving their choice for president blank? How many results showed her losing the white women vote by 10 percent? How many showed the vote in union households split nearly 50-50?

      As we know from the Wikileaks dumps, Clintonian paranoia extended far beyond her decision to set up a private email server and began to infect the campaign itself. Nargiza Gafurova was an analytics specialist for one of the database companies doing contract work for the Clinton campaign. “Our company worked with her campaign on their data needs – they’ve been extremely secretive about the data and algorithms they use,” Gafurova told me. “Secrecy was so deep that we couldn’t help them effectively as they didn’t even tell us who they want to target.”

    • Barack Obama’s Neoliberal Legacy: Rightward Drift and Donald Trump

      In a parting shot near the end of his depressing, center-right presidency, Barack Obama wants the world to know that he would have defeated Donald Trump if the U.S. Constitution didn’t prevent him from running for a third term. It was a stab at Hillary Clinton as well as the president-elect.

      I suspect Obama is right. Like Bill Clinton, Obama is a much better fake-progressive, populism-manipulating campaigner than Hillary. Also like Bill, he has more outward charm, wit, charisma, and common touch than Mrs. Clinton. Plus, he’s a male in a still-sexist nation, and he would have had some very sharp election strategists on his side.

    • Resisting the Congressional Watchdog

      Not that political corruption doesn’t happen with divided government, but with Republicans controlling all three branches, the prospects for more Abramoff-type scandals rise, warn Bill Moyers and Michael Winship.

    • The Dubious Case on Russian ‘Hacking’

      Mr. Trump’s skepticism is warranted not only by technical realities, but also by human ones, including the dramatis personae involved. Mr. Clapper has admitted giving Congress on March 12, 2013, false testimony regarding the extent of the National Security Agency’s collection of data on Americans. Four months later, after the Edward Snowden revelations, Mr. Clapper apologized to the Senate for testimony he admitted was “clearly erroneous.” That he is a survivor was already apparent by the way he landed on his feet after the intelligence debacle on Iraq.

      Mr. Clapper was a key player in facilitating the fraudulent intelligence. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put Mr. Clapper in charge of the analysis of satellite imagery, the best source for pinpointing the location of weapons of mass destruction — if any.

      [...]

      Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or other cyber-protection systems and then extracts data. Our own considerable experience, plus the rich detail revealed by Edward Snowden, persuades us that, with NSA’s formidable trace capability, it can identify both sender and recipient of any and all data crossing the network.

      Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization — on a thumb drive, for example — and gives it to someone else, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did. Leaking is the only way such data can be copied and removed with no electronic trace.

      Because NSA can trace exactly where and how any “hacked” emails from the Democratic National Committee or other servers were routed through the network, it is puzzling why NSA cannot produce hard evidence implicating the Russian government and WikiLeaks. Unless we are dealing with a leak from an insider, not a hack, as other reporting suggests. From a technical perspective alone, we are convinced that this is what happened.

      Lastly, the CIA is almost totally dependent on NSA for ground truth in this electronic arena. Given Mr. Clapper’s checkered record for accuracy in describing NSA activities, it is to be hoped that the director of NSA will join him for the briefing with Mr. Trump.

    • US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’

      Repeating an accusation over and over again is not evidence that the accused is guilty, no matter how much “confidence” the accuser asserts about the conclusion. Nor is it evidence just to suggest that someone has a motive for doing something. Many conspiracy theories are built on the notion of “cui bono” – who benefits – without following up the supposed motive with facts.

    • The Trump Bubble

      Donald Trump has a plan for dealing with the stock market bubble. Make it bigger.

      Before the election candidate Trump blasted Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen for keeping interest rates too low for too long to keep the economy humming along while Obama was still in office. The president elect accused Yellen of being politically motivated suggesting that the Fed’s policies had put the country at risk of another stock market Crash like 2008.

      “If rates go up, you’re going to see something that’s not pretty,” Trump told Fox News in an interview in September. “It’s all a big bubble.”

      Yellen of course denied Trump’s claims saying, “We do not discuss politics at our meetings, and we do not take politics into account in our decisions.”

      As we shall see later in this article, Yellen was lying about the political role the Fed plays in setting policy, in fact, last week’s FOMC statement clearly establishes the Fed as basically a political institution that implements an agenda that serves a very small group of powerful constituents, the 1 percent. If serving the interests of one group over all of the others is not politics, than what is it?

      [...]

      First of all, slashing taxes for the wealthy does not boost growth. We know that. It doesn’t work. Period.

      [...]

      Trump’s tax plan will increase inequality by making the rich richer. He wants to reduce the top tax rate from 39.6% to 33% which means that people “making $3.7 million or more in a year, would receive $1 million in annual tax savings.” (USA Today) The plan is bad for the economy, bad for the deficits and bad for working people who will see more aggressive attacks on Social Security to make up for the losses in revenue.

    • Beyond ‘post-truth’: confronting the new reality

      We are told we are living in a “post truth” world in which fake news proliferates and the established news media, once a bastion of civil society and a pillar of democracy, has lost its influence. As we should expect, alarmist statements such as these, have one foot in fact and the other resting on a shifting foundation of clicks, likes and shares. Alarming headlines work better on social media but they also reduce complex ideas to a series of half understood slogans.

      Much is changing in the way in which we find and share news stories but these changes are a product of many factors. Some rest in national media systems, others are a product of technical changes and all are influenced by, or have an influence upon, the shifting geopolitical situation. Fake news is not responsible for the rise of right wing populism in Europe and America but it has certainly fed the fire.

      The decline of trust in the mainstream media is genuine but it is not global. In the Northern European countries, where commercialisation has been tempered by firm statutory intervention and clear professional conventions, trust is still relatively high. In the rampantly commercial systems of the UK and the USA trust has plummeted. The UK press has the lowest level of public trust of any European country (with higher levels for TV) while the US media has low levels of trust for both TV news and the press (Aarts, Fladmoe, & Strömbäck 2012).

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Snowden: “Right and Wrong is a very different standard from Legal and Illegal”

      There are times when you have tons of historical research lined up for a column about legal structures making bad assumptions based on facts that are no longer true, and then something just comes along that makes you wipe your desk and say “no. scrap all of this work. This. I need to post this, and I need to post this now.”

      Right now is such a time. The topic of cost structures of publishing in the 1800s will wait for another day (it’s already waited for over 200 years, after all).

      In this interview (cut courtesy of Fight for the Future), Edward Snowden does one of the things he excels at – he summarizes very complex topics in such an accessible way that he practically turns long legal debates into one soundbite.

    • Interview 1240 – Rick Falkvinge on Rule 41 and the New Online Order

      Rick Falkvinge, founder of the original pirate party and head of privacy at PrivateInternetAccess.com, joins us to discuss his recent article, “Today, the FBI becomes the enemy of every computer user and every IT security professional worldwide.” We dissect the new “Rule 41” that gives American law enforcement unprecedented leeway to break into any computer in the world, the implications this has for a world in which privacy is increasingly a thing of the past, and what people can do to protect themselves from the New Online Order of global FBI operations.

    • FBI Releases Documents Related to San Bernardino iPhone

      The FBI on Friday released 100 pages of heavily censored documents related to its agreement with an unidentified vendor to hack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters, but it did not identify whom it paid to perform the work or how much it cost.

      The records were provided in response to a federal lawsuit filed against the FBI by The Associated Press, Vice Media and Gannett, the parent company of USA Today.

      The media organizations sued in September to learn how much the FBI paid and who it hired to break into the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his wife killed 14 people at a holiday gathering of county workers in December 2015. The FBI for weeks had maintained that only Apple Inc. could access the information on its phone, which was protected by encryption, but ultimately broke or bypassed Apple’s digital locks with the help of an unnamed third party.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Alleged Crackas With Attitude associate Justin Liverman signs plea deal

      Computer science student Justin Liverman, who was arrested by the FBI in September on suspicion of involvement with Crackas with Attitude (CWA), has signed a plea agreement. CWA claimed to have accessed emails from the AOL account of CIA Director John Brennan in late 2015, which were later published by WikiLeaks as the Brennan emails.

    • Malek Fahd: Islamic Council refuses to hand over land to school

      Australia’s peak administrative Islamic body is refusing to relinquish land being used by one of the state’s largest schools despite the potential for it to save the school from being shut down.

      The Administrative Appeals Tribunal upheld the federal Department of Education’s decision to strip funding from the 2400 student school on Thursday after it found the school was operating for a profit through millions of dollars in inflated rent payments and loans made to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

    • Indigenous children at risk of forced religious conversion

      There is an alarming presence of forced religious conversion of indigenous children at the hands of radicals in Bandarban.

      Muslim fanatics seduce underprivileged families with scopes of a better education and lifestyle for their children, and forcefully convert the children in madrasas in Dhaka without their parents’ knowledge.

      Over the past seven years, police have rescued 72 children from this crime ring.

    • Trump and Sessions: Great for the Private Prison Industry, Terrible for Civil Rights

      Donald Trump’s victory has been nothing but good news for the private prison industry.

      The day after the election, shares of the two biggest private prison corporations — Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group — jumped 43 and 21 percent, respectively.

    • In Statehouses Won By Republicans, the First Move Is to Consolidate Power By Weakening Unions

      Republicans stormed to power in state elections across the country in November on a promise to take on the establishment and return government to the average citizen.

      But in state capitals where they gained control, they moved quickly to do something else entirely: They’ve consolidated their newfound power — and rewarded their corporate donors — by delivering death blows to a longtime enemy: organized labor.

      In Kentucky, Missouri, and New Hampshire, three states that flipped to unified Republican control, legislators have prioritized passing Right to Work, a law that quickly diminishes union power by allowing workers in unionized workplaces to withhold fees used to organize and advocate on their behalf.

      That might seem odd to voters who heard promises to “drain the swamp,” but its what Republican partisans and business lobbyists have been demanding for years.

    • Donald Trump’s Pick for Spy Chief Took Hard Line on Snowden, Guantanamo, and Torture

      In 2013, just one week after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden came forward as the source of documents revealing the global extent of the NSA’s mammoth surveillance regime, Coats penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal lambasting the disclosures and the ensuing media coverage.

      “Unfortunately, the Obama administration — especially of late — has fueled people’s distrust of government, which has made the reaction to Mr. Snowden’s leak far worse,” he wrote, pleading with his colleagues in Congress to stop “mischaracterizing” the surveillance programs Snowden exposed.

      Coats said the NSA’s programs, including its bulk collection of American telephone records, were “legal, constitutional and used under the strict oversight of all three branches of government” — though courts later disagreed, and Congress amended the law to end the American records collection program, as Snowden pointed out on Twitter on Thursday.

    • Pain and torture: state violence in Egypt

      After the coup of 2013, the practice of torture in Egypt has taken a qualitative shift to the worse.

      The use of torture and violence by the police is nothing new to Egypt; to the contrary, Mubarak was regularly condemned by various international human rights organizations for the use of torture and violence against political opponents and regular citizens who were unlucky enough to be arrested for petty crimes.

      However, after the coup of 2013 and the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, this practice has taken new forms. There has been a proliferation of sexual violence against detainees including children, as well as an alarming increase in forced disappearances and torture.

      Some of the kidnapped reappear after a few months, others meet an unknown fate. The most prominent, and international example was the murder of Giulio Regeni, the Cambridge PhD student who was tortured to death and subjected to “animal like” violence for conducting research on the Egyptian labor movement. It is believed that the Egyptian security services were behind this heinous crime.

    • Alabama NAACP Not Backing Down After Jeff Sessions’ Office Lashes Out

      “We are trying to stop Jeff Sessions from becoming the Attorney General of the United States,” Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, told AlterNet over the phone. “We are not backing down at all.”

      Just days ago, Simelton was one of dozens who staged a sit-in at Sessions’ Mobile, Alabama office, an action timed to coincide with the onset of the 115th Congress. Media attention and support from across the country poured in.

      [...]

      Sessions was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1986 as a federal judge, but rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee—some of them Republicans—on the grounds that he was too racist to serve.

    • Some initial thoughts before a Trump presidency

      The youth in the United States don’t support Trump; people of color in in the US don’t support Trump; the majority of women don’t support Trump. Those, like Tom Friedman and Nicholas Kristof, who now hail Trump as “their” President whom they do not want to see fail, are normalizing a stolen election. They are abdicating their responsibility as stewards of representative democracy.

    • Faux Real: What’s in Your Worldview?

      We had to know this was coming. It was always here, but now it can be seen more clearly through the unvarnished lens of protofascism. Retrenchment and revanchism arrive with a new pitchman, selling rollbacks disguised as opportunities and promising to reclaim that which has been lost after decades of social progress and cultural liberalization. This isn’t a “new normal” but rather an old one reemerging, and the only sort of normality it represents is that which is perversely defined by a type of mass insanity.

      Things have been heading in this direction for a long time now, but the pace obviously has accelerated in the digital age. The lamentations about the demise of truth and the advent of bogus “news” are legion, as are the observations about the omnipresence of technology and the implications thereof. But all this hasn’t happened to us — it has veritably been demanded. Obscured by the handwringing and finger-pointing is the deeper reality of a culture obsessed with on-demand indulgences, no matter the cost.

      This is a manifestation of convenient compartmentalization, as if what happens in one realm has no bearing on another. Mass consumption of artificial foods, infotainment tidbits, contrived “reality” fare, and “brain candy” is seen as innocuous or just a guilty pleasure if it’s even thought about at all. Yet when politics are shown to be dominated by artifice, and when sensationalism trumps responsible journalism, suddenly there are waves of consternation and disbelief. How could this happen? Well, how could it not.

    • Obama’s Propaganda Gift to Trump

      On December 23, 2016 Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a federal law that is passed every year. NDAA authorizes defense appropriations but it is also used as a Trojan horse to hide attacks on civil liberties. In 2011 the NDAA authorized indefinite detention of anyone deemed a terrorism suspect. Tucked inside this year’s NDAA was the passage of the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act which establishes the little known or discussed Global Engagement Center.

      The title seems benign enough until one reads its mission. “The purpose of the Center shall be to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.”

      In plain English, this act establishes an official propaganda arm of the United States government. Of course there has always been governmental coordination used to spread lies about American foreign policy. The government doesn’t even have to work very hard because the corporate media usually march in lock step and repeat their every claim uncritically. But these are dangerous times for the American hegemon. Its ability to continue exercising imperial control has been damaged by foreign governments successfully resisting its efforts and by the election of Donald Trump.

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  21. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  22. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  23. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  24. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  25. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  26. Bristows-Run IP Kat Continues to Spread Lies to Promote the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Advance the EPO Management's Agenda

    An eclectic response to some of the misleading if not villainous responses to the UPC's death knell in the UK, as well as other noteworthy observations about think tanks and misinformation whose purpose is to warp the patent system so that it serves law firms, for the most part at the expense of science and technology



  27. Links 20/4/2017: Tor Browser 6.5.2, PacketFence 7.0, New Firefox and Chrome

    Links for the day



  28. Patents on Business Methods and Software Are Collapsing, But the Patent Microcosm is Working Hard to Change That

    The never-ending battle over patent law, where those who are in the business of patents push for endless patenting, is still ongoing and resistance/opposition is needed from those who actually produce things (other than litigation) or else they will be perpetually taxed by parasites



  29. IAM, the Patent Trolls' Voice, is Trying to Deny There is a Growing Trolling Problem in Europe

    IAM Media (the EPO's and trolls' mouthpiece) continues a rather disturbing pattern of propaganda dressed up as "news", promoting the agenda of parasites who drain the economy by extortion of legitimate (producing) companies



  30. The Patent Microcosm Keeps Attacking Every Patent Office/System That is Doing the Right Thing

    Patent 'radicals' and 'extremists' -- those to whom patents are needed solely for the purpose of profit from bureaucracy -- fight hard against patent quality and in the process they harm everyone, including individual customers


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