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05.01.17

Links 1/5/2017: Krita 3.1.3, feren OS 2017.0, Android Widens Gap Over Windows

Posted in News Roundup at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Get functional! 5 open source frameworks for serverless computing

    Sometimes all you need is a single function. That’s the idea behind serverless computing, where individual functions spin up on demand, perform a minimal piece of work (serve as an API endpoint, return static content, and so on), and shut down. It’s cheap, it uses minimal resources, and it has little management overhead.

    Most of what we currently identify as serverless computing kicked off with AWS Lambda, later joined by similar services on Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Bluemix. But there’s a healthy complement of open source serverless architectures available—not only facilitators for the serverless frameworks on a particular cloud, but full-blown methods to deploy serverless frameworks on the cloud or hardware of your choosing.

  • The next big challenge for open source: rich collaboration software

    The file sync and share movement started over a decade ago, led by the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, and others, and became popular very fast. The killer feature was having all your files available on all your devices. No more forgetting to bring that important document to a meeting, emailing files, or handling multiple USB sticks. Files were always there when you needed them! That its growth happened with the start of the smartphone age made file sync and share even more useful.

    But its popularity wasn’t just about having access to your own files on all your devices: it also made sharing easier, enabling a new level of working together. No longer emailing documents, no longer being unsure whether your colleague’s feedback came on the latest version of your draft, no longer fixing errors that were already fixed.

  • Linux foundation specification for open software supply chain compliance

    The Linux Foundation has used its news chain to unveil the OpenChain Specification 1.1 and an accompanying Online Self-Certification service.

    The technology is positioned as a means for organisations to ensure consistent compliance management processes in what is being called the open source software supply chain.

  • Wrapping things up

    At the end of this month, after six-and-a-half years working there, I’ll be leaving the Dutch Association of Audiological Centres (FENAC) where I’ve been working as developer. I’ll be switching to Free Software-related projects, which I’ll write about around june 1st.

  • Women programmers face bias, say N.C. State researchers
  • Study finds gender bias in open-source programming [Ed: Gender bias exists everywhere, including programming, and it's not a FOSS phenomenon]s
  • Study suggests gender bias exists in open-source programming [Ed: not just FOSS]
  • Events

    • Join The Linux Foundation at OSCON for Booth Swag, Project Updates, and More
    • Introducing the Forum at OpenStack Summit Boston

      If you are joining the thousands of OpenStack enthusiasts as we converge on Boston for the OpenStack Summit (May 8-11), don’t be surprised if someone asks you, “Where is the Design Summit?”

      This year, nary a Design Summit sign will be found. That’s because the Design Summit is no more. True to the ever-evolving, continuously improving nature of open source projects, the OpenStack community is trying something new. The Design Summit has been reorganized and split into two separate events: the Forum and the Project Teams Gathering (PTG).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The May 2017 Month of LibreOffice begins!

      Yes, a new Month of LibreOffice begins today, crediting contributions all across the project. This time we’re giving away real printed stickers for your laptop, desktop PC or other kit! If you help the LibreOffice community in various ways, we’ll add your name to a wiki page and then, at the end of the month, you’ll be able to claim your sticker. It’ll look like this:

  • Programming/Development

    • SPIR-V Support For LLVM Is Moving Forward

      While the original SPIR intermediate representation from the Khronos Group was derived from LLVM IR, SPIR-V that’s used by OpenCL 2.1+ and Vulkan is not. But there is still work underway on being able to translate from LLVM IR into a SPIR-V back-end.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • EPA purges climate change information as part of “Website Updates”

      On Friday, the Trump administration removed all of the EPA’s climate information from the agency’s website. In its place was this announcement: “We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.”

      The official EPA announcement of the changes says they’re needed to “reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.” Removing them, according to the EPA spokesman, was needed to “prevent confusion.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New R&D Funding Model For TB, Antimicrobial Resistance

      The World Health Organization Bulletin this month has an article about the need for new models of research and development for tuberculosis and antimicrobial resistance. The article describes a new funding framework called the 3P Project.

      [...]

      The project’s funding model will ensure that a new regimen is affordable and accessible to all those in need.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Wall Street Firm Paying Obama $400,000 Faced Internal Controversy After Pocketing Huge 9/11 Settlement

      Barack Obama will deliver a speech this September at a swanky healthcare conference for investors run by Cantor Fitzgerald. As Fox Business News first reported on Monday, the firm is paying him $400,000.

      The ensuing criticism of Obama for cashing in on his presidency has been thunderous – but has overlooked exactly whose money he is taking.

      Cantor Fitzgerald, a major Wall Street brokerage house, lost 658 of its 960 employees when the World Trade Center was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. But when it settled a long-running lawsuit against American Airlines for $135 million in 2013, the proceeds didn’t go to the families of the dead.

    • Nooooooooooooooo! Iraq Asks U.S. for Marshall Plan Reconstruction Funds

      Iraq’s Foreign Minister this week asked the United States to develop a financial plan for the reconstruction of the country after ISIS, similar to a program developed for Western Europe after the Second World War.

      In discussions with Special Presidential Envoy to the Coalition Brett McGurk, Ibrahim al-Jaafari stressed the need for “collective support from the international community to contribute to the reconstruction of infrastructure after the defeat of terrorism.” Jaafari suggested “the adoption of a project similar to the Marshall Plan which contributed to rebuilding Germany after the Second World War.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How a Professional Climate Change Denier Discovered the Lies and Decided to Fight for Science

      The hardest part of reversing the warming of the planet may be convincing climate change skeptics of the need to do so. Although scientists who study the issue overwhelming agree that the earth is undergoing rapid and profound climate changes due to the burning of fossil fuels, a minority of the public remains stubbornly resistant to that fact. With temperatures rising and ice caps melting — and that small minority in control of both Congress and the White House — there seems no project more urgent than persuading climate deniers to reconsider their views. So we reached out to Jerry Taylor, whose job as director of the Niskanen Center involves turning climate skeptics into climate activists.

      It might seem like an impossible transition, except that Taylor, who used to be staff director for the energy and environment task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and vice president of the Cato Institute, made it himself.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • No, President Trump Isn’t Ditching The First Amendment, But He Is Undermining Free Speech

      Did you hear the story this weekend about how Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus went on TV and said that the administration is “looking at” changing libel laws or amending the 1st Amendment of the Constitution? You probably did. It’s dumb and wrong and it makes no sense, but that doesn’t mean that the President isn’t already doing great harm to free speech. But first, let’s cover Priebus’s nonsensical comments.

    • Social media firms must face heavy fines over extremist content – MPs

      Social media companies are putting profit before safety and should face fines of tens of millions of pounds for failing to remove extremist and hate crime material promptly from their websites, MPs have said.

      The largest and richest technology firms are “shamefully far” from taking action to tackle illegal and dangerous content, according to a report by the Commons home affairs committee.

      The inquiry, launched last year following the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-right gunman, concludes that social media multinationals are more concerned with commercial risks than public protection. Swift action is taken to remove content found to infringe copyright rules, the MPs note, but a “laissez-faire” approach is adopted when it involves hateful or illegal content.

    • ORG response to Home Affairs Committee report on hate speech and Internet companies

      Open Rights Group has responded to an inquiry by the Commons Home Affairs committee, which calls for Internet companies to do more to take down hate speech and illegal content.

    • Automated censorship is not the answer to extremism
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Who Has Your Back in Brazil? Second Annual Report Shows Telecom Privacy Slowly Improving

      Today InternetLab, Brazil’s leading digital rights organization, released their 2017 report on local telecommunications companies, and how they treat their customer’s private information. Brazil’s “Quem defende seus dados?” (“Who Defends Your Data?”) seeks to encourage companies to compete for users by showing who will stand up for their customer privacy and data protection. That is why InternetLab, one of the leading independent research centers on Internet policy in Brazil, has evaluated key Brazilian telecommunications companies’ policies to assess their commitment to user privacy when the government comes calling for their users’ personal data.

      This report is part of a continent-wide initiative by South America’s leading digital rights groups to shine a light on Internet privacy practices in the region, based on EFF’s annual Who Has Your Back report. (Last week both Paraguay’s TEDIC and Chile’s Derechos Digitales published reports, and digital rights groups in Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina will be releasing similar studies soon.)

    • No Gathering Social Media Handles from Chinese Visitors

      EFF has joined a coalition effort, led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), to oppose the federal government’s proposal to scrutinize the social media activities of Chinese visitors. Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seeks to ask certain visa applicants from China to disclose the existence of their social media accounts and the identifiers or handles associated with those accounts.

      Last year, EFF opposed a similar CBP proposal concerning foreign visitors from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). CBP finalized this proposal in December 2016.

    • NSA ends collection of digital communications about foreign targets
    • Privacy issues help end NSA spying programme

      This let it grab the phone calls and messages of US citizens which mentioned or otherwise involved people outside the US it was keeping an eye on.

    • The NSA’s 702 Shutdown Is Good News, But There Are A Whole Lot Of Caveats

      The surprising shutdown of the NSA’s email harvesting program — one that operated “upstream” and grabbed not just communications to and from surveillance targets, but also those “about” surveillance targets — is good news. Considering the NSA had done nothing but abuse this specific privilege, the shutdown is a welcome surprise. But it’s not great news, for a variety of reasons.

      First, the shutdown arrives on the heels of a yearlong denial of surveillance requests by the FISA court. This indicates the NSA was either still abusing its collection or the court no longer felt the program was Constitutional, at least not the way the NSA was running it. The shutdown seems to reflect the NSA’s inability or unwillingness to shift towards more targeted surveillance methods — ones that won’t sweep up lots of US persons’ communications inadvertently.

    • Facebook helped advertisers target teens who feel “worthless”

      Facebook’s secretive advertising practices became a little more public on Monday thanks to a leak out of the company’s Australian office. This 23-page document, discovered by The Australian, details in particular how Facebook executives promote advertising campaigns that exploit Facebook users’ emotional states—and how these are aimed at users as young as 14 years old.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Trump Targets Undocumented Families, Not Felons, in First 100 Days

      Jeff Sessions’s first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border as attorney general kicked off with a ride in a Black Hawk helicopter. It began just after sunrise at the Davis-Monthan airbase outside Tucson, Arizona, and ended in Nogales, where he delivered a blistering address in which he vowed to take the “fight” to the criminal elements that have turned border communities into “war zones.” The performance was repeated a week later in El Paso, Texas. This time around, Sessions was accompanied by John Kelly, the retired Marine general turned Department of Homeland Security secretary overseeing the nation’s top immigration enforcement agencies. “This is ground zero,” Sessions said. “This is the front lines and this is where we’re making our stand.”

      The display was typical of the Trump camp. From the moment he launched his campaign, Trump put a radically reimagined vision of immigration enforcement at the center of his agenda — one that emphasized a wall across the southern border and, at times, the removal of every undocumented immigrant in the country. The justification always had something to do with the tremendous, unprecedented threat emanating from the border and from immigrants. Now that Trump’s 100th day in office is nearly here, the nation has had a glimpse of the president’s response.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon’s bizarre claim that the FCC isn’t killing net neutrality rules

      No major Internet service provider has done more to prevent implementation of net neutrality rules in the US than Verizon. After years of fighting the rules in courts of law and public opinion, Verizon is about to get what it wants as the Federal Communications Commission—now led by a former Verizon lawyer—prepares to eliminate the rules and the legal authority that allows them to be enforced.

    • Comcast Under Fire For Using Bullshit Fees To Covertly Raise Rates

      For several years now cable and broadband providers have been using hidden fees to covertly jack up their advertised rates. These fees, which utilize a rotating crop of bullshit names, help these companies falsely advertise one rate, then sock the consumer with a significantly higher-rate post sale (often when locked into a long-term contract). The practice also allows the company to falsely claim they’re not raising rates on consumers. They omit that they’re talking about the above the line rate being charged, implying that anything below the line (where real fees like taxes are levied) is outside of their control.

      For example, for several years now, CenturyLink has been charging its broadband customers an “internet cost recovery fee,” which the company’s website insists “helps defray costs associated with building and maintaining CenturyLink’s High-Speed Internet broadband network” (that’s what the full bill is supposed to be for). Comcast and other cable companies have similarly begun charging users a “broadcast TV fee,” which simply takes a portion of the costs of programming, and hides it below the line. The names differ but the goal’s the same: falsely advertise one rate, then charge consumers with a higher price.

  • DRM

    • Cory Doctorow dreams of a DRM-free utopia – so he’s suing the US government to get it

      Cory Doctorow fears for the future. Rising inequality, political instability and technological surveillance are merging to create a world, he says, in which “there are disasters – and those disasters are human-made”.

      Most sci-fi writers might use this insight to create a dystopia, but Doctorow, 45, has been creating something more optimistic. His new novel Walkaway shows how catastrophes can create “the first days of a better nation”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Register of Copyrights Bill Passes the House, We’re Gearing Up to Fight it in the Senate

        The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 378 to 48 to pass a controversial bill that would make the Register of Copyrights a presidential appointee. H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017, will effectively strip the Librarian of Congress of oversight over the Register, and is likely to increase industry influence over an already highly politicized office. The bill does nothing to improve the functioning of the Copyright Office, nor to fix any of the serious problems with copyright law, including its excessive and unpredictable penalties.

      • Homeowner’s House Burns Down, He Tries To Rebuild… But Facing Copyright Threats From Original Builder

        It seems that this spring really is the time for obscure copyright disputes with odd connections to the US’s weak-kneed compliance with the Berne Convention on copyright. We’ve already written a few times about the moral rights claim by the guy who created the giant “Wall St. Bull” statue, as well as a lawsuit against a Wall St. church for moving a 9/11 memorial — both of which reference VARA, the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. VARA was passed as part of the US’s slapdash attempt to pretend it complied with the Berne Convention, a document that was created in 1886, and which the US took over 100 years to even pretend to comply with. VARA wasn’t the only such move in 1990. That very same year, Congress also passed the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act of 1990, or AWCPA.

      • Australian ISPs to block KickassTorrents

        TPG, Telstra, Optus and Foxtel as well as the companies’ subsidiaries, such as iiNet and Internode, will be obliged to block their customers from accessing BitTorrent site Kickass Torrents under a Federal Court injunction handed down today.

        The site-blocking injunction is the third successful application lodged by copyright holders under anti-piracy legislation passed in 2015.

        ARIA members Universal Music Australia, Warner Music Australia, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and J Albert & Son, along with APRA AMCOS, last year brought the application for injunction. The application has been coordinated with the aid of Music Rights Australia.

The Sickness of the EPO – Part VIII: Allegations That the EPO Has No Honest Doctors, Only ‘Fake’ Ones Subservient to Team Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

International institutions with their own secret services and medics who are subservient to a ‘king’

Old medical items

Summary: Growing concern about a new class of doctors whose ‘skills’ seem to be loyalty or obedience to monarchs (exploiting illness for political objectives) rather than dedication to patients

THE one of many disturbing aspects and fiascos at the EPO is exploitation of illnesses (of staff and/or their families). We’ve been running a whole series dedicated to that. Another related aspect is, there is no sense of medical/health assessment at the EPO, just as there is no justice. At all.

Various readers have over the years complained about this. There is clearly a serious issue right there. “I’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of names of these “cooperating servants” serving in the OHS and Personal department,” a reader once told us. It seems like these people have already built quite a negative reputation inside the EPO, but as usual, everyone is afraid to talk about it.

“It seems like these people have already built quite a negative reputation inside the EPO, but as usual, everyone is afraid to talk about it.”We are still waiting patiently for an opportunity to expose everything that we know without compromising sources. It’s not easy.

“This is a very sensitive topic,” one source once told us. “As far as I remember I had a list with all/some external doctors whose authority in medical matters was questionable.”

Just look at the EPO’s own management. A lot of it is not qualified to run the Office; their main skill is kinship, loyalty to Battistelli, or various forms of nepotism. It has become a hallmark of the Battistelli era.

“Just look at the EPO’s own management. A lot of it is not qualified to run the Office; their main skill is kinship, loyalty to Battistelli, or various forms of nepotism.”One person’s name keeps standing out. Albert Koopman. We might as well speak about him.

“Of course,” a source once explained to us, “there is the most famous one: Dr. Koopman, a Dutchman, previously wit the ESA, European Space Agency, in Noordwijk, NL.”

We keep seeing his name in all sorts of places (even heard of him more than a year ago). Here is one example:

Dr. Koopman

“This doctor,” someone explained to us, “was first appointed [at] about 2005 to replace independent doctors (e.g. Dr. Fleck) from the official local health services in Munich that were in charge to assess extended sick leave or invalidity. Apparently Dr. Fleck was too “staff friendly”… Even if the age of retirement at the EPO is “compulsory” 68 on “mutual agreement”, Dr. Koopman was asked to retire with 65 against his own wish. He was one of the “cooperative servants” expecting some kind of reward for the “dynamic management of health and risks”. The only reward he became was one-finger salute.”

As we pointed out before, Koopman left in 2014 and he is part of a system of people who have allegedly abused staff and mistreated vulnerable people.

Last year we published this letter that said: “On 24 March 2016 you announced on the Intranet the appointment of Ms Raffaella de Greiff as new Director Health and Safety with effect from 1 April 2016, this after serving as ad interim Director of one of the two EPO medical departments since Dr Koopman retired almost two years ago. Ms de Greiff has a degree in “industrial relations” but no medical qualification.”

“Hopefully, by the time we are done leaking new information, the world will generally understand just how cruel a place the EPO has become. It has turned perfectly healthy people into zombies.”A source explained, regarding the ridicule, that “the same will apply to all “willing servants” who expect any recognition from the Office. The most blatant and recent example is Guillaume Minnoye. Who will be next? The second Merdaci sister?” (alluding to Nadja Merdaci-Lefèvre)

Readers can expect us to dive deeper into these matters. Staff representatives habitually talk about issues pertaining to health at the Office, but rarely do they mention names or personal stories (while protecting confidentiality of subjects). Hopefully, by the time we are done leaking new information, the world will generally understand just how cruel a place the EPO has become. It has turned perfectly healthy people into zombies.

Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part X: When EPO Calls the Truth “Defamation”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lot of what Battistelli does these days mirrors Erdoğan’s political strategy

Wikipedia censored from the Internet in Turkey: Government rejects the world’s reality and substitutes its own
Reference: Wikipedia censored from the Internet in Turkey: Government rejects the world’s reality and substitutes its own

Summary: The inability to speak truth about the EPO has become a monumental impediment to justice, as true justice requires facts and the Office under Battistelli likes to call factual information “defamation”

IN the previous part we explained the degree to which the EPO‘s management scares the staff — to the point where many staff representatives feel too terrified to represent the staff’s interests. SUEPO has been quiet recently not because things are improving; the opposite is true and thus they’re scared to speak out. Battistelli 'pacifies' the Office in the same way Erdoğan 'pacifies' Turkey. It’s a regime of terror.

“SUEPO has been quiet recently not because things are improving; the opposite is true and thus they’re scared to speak out.”As explained in previous parts, Battistelli’s regime has gone as far as exploiting personal tragedies. In the words of a source, the “EPO exploited my personal situation and my mother’s cancer to harass and vexate me further…”

Can people speak out about this abuse? Well, in any ordinary institution it would make sense, but not at the EPO because — as our source put it — EPO management “could still jump to the conclusion that I “accused EPO of harassment without evidence, hence defaming them”.”

“Battistelli ‘pacifies’ the Office in the same way Erdoğan ‘pacifies’ Turkey. It’s a regime of terror.”We recently saw how two Vice-President pulled such stunts against staff representatives who had said the truth about patent quality. Truth cannot be spoken at the EPO anymore. It’s like Erdoğan’s Turkey.

The very notion or the strategy of calling truth “defamation” (the EPO used this to justify complete censorship of Techrights) makes one wonder if Wikipedia, The Register, Juve and so on are next in the “ban list”. IP Kat previously made it into this list and then it stopped covering EPO scandals.

“The Office is driving into a wall, but nobody is allowed to speak about it, except perhaps anonymously (as it makes retribution a lot harder).”“I know they will be after me for this,” a source once told us, “but they already are using any pretext to harm me, so I cannot see now how they could use this to accuse me of defamation, or of disclosing internal information without permission.”

These words serve to highlight the sort of atmosphere which spreads and prevails at the EPO. The Office is driving into a wall, but nobody is allowed to speak about it, except perhaps anonymously (as it makes retribution a lot harder).

Links 1/5/2017: Linux 4.11, Linux Mint 18.2 Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 3:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Microsoft Demise

    • Yep, it’s dead: Microsoft phone revenue fell to $5m last quarter, from $1.4bn two years ago

      Today, as Microsoft published its earnings report for Q3 FY2017, it revealed that its “Phone revenue declined $730 million”. Based on its earlier financial disclosures, that means the company’s phone hardware revenue fell to just $5 million for the entire quarter ending March 31, 2017.

    • Microsoft hires former FTC commissioner [Ed: it helps to have connections to shield you from the law when you break it...]

      Former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Julie Brill is joining Microsoft to head its privacy lobbying department, the company announced Friday.

  • Server

    • Containers running Containers

      Some genuinely exciting news piqued my interest at this year’s DockerCon, that being the new Operating System (OS), LinuxKit, which was announced and is immediately on offer from the undisputed heavyweight container company, Docker.

      The behemoth has announced a flexible, extensible Operating System where system services run inside containers for portability. You might be surprised to hear that even includes the Docker runtime daemon itself.

      [...]

      As the powerhouse that is Docker continues to grow arms and legs there’s no doubt whatsoever that these giant-sized leaps in the direction of solid progress will benefit users and other software projects alike.

    • Bare-metal Kubernetes

      A few years ago, I attended my first Linux conference, DevConf 2014. Many of the speakers talked about containers and how wonderful they were, and my interest was piqued, but I’ve never really had an opportunity to use them.

      As the sysadmin for a school, there just isn’t much need for the scalability provided for by containers. Our internal web site runs on a single VM, and the short downtimes required for system updates and upgrades are not a problem, especially if I plan them for the weekends. On the flip side, having something that we can use to spin up web services quickly isn’t a bad idea, so, over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with Kubernetes.

    • Docker loves AtCore

      Today I’m going to talk about Docker. I may have been laying around a draft about my start on Docker world, but probably will be below some web dust by now in my drafts…

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Wants the Future of Automotive Software to Be Open Source

      Automotive companies are increasing the connectivity of their cars. In the process, they’re all developing their own automotive software. Linux thinks that its open source software, AGL, will unify the industry. Will the cars of the future speak Linux?

    • Linux Kernel 4.11 Officially Released, Adds Support for Intel Gemini Lake SoCs

      As expected, Linus Torvalds proudly announced today, April 30, 2017, the general availability of the final release of the Linux 4.11 kernel, a major update that adds numerous improvements and new features.

      Linux kernel 4.11 has been in development for the past two months, since very early March, when the first Release Candidate arrived for public testing. Eight RCs later, we’re now able to download and compile the final release of Linux 4.11 on our favorite GNU/Linux distributions and enjoy its new features.

    • Linux 4.11

      So after that extra week with an rc8, things were pretty calm, and I’m much happier releasing a final 4.11 now.

      We still had various smaller fixes the last week, but nothing that made me go “hmm..”. Shortlog appended for people who want to peruse the details, but it’s a mix all over, with about half being drivers (networking dominates, but some sound fixlets too), with the rest being soem arch updates, generic networking, and filesystem (nfs[d]) fixes. But it’s all really small, which is what I like to see the last week of the release cycle.

    • Linux 4.11 Kernel Officially Released

      Linus Torvalds has announced the Linux 4.11 stable kernel release as anticipated.

    • Rejoice, for Linux 4.11 has been delivered!

      Linus Torvalds has given the world version 4.11 of the Linux kernel.

      “So after that extra week with an rc8, things were pretty calm,” Torvalds posted to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, adding “I’m much happier releasing a final 4.11 now.

      So what do we get this time around? Among other things, Linux is now better at hot-swapping solid state disks and can now do journaling on RAID 4/5/6 volumes. While we’re talking storage, there’s also support for the OPAL self-encrypting disk drive standard.

    • The 4.11 kernel has been released
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE PIM update now available for Zesty Zapus 17.04

        As explained in our call for testing post, we missed by a whisker getting updated PIM 16.12.3 (kontact, kmail, akregator, kgpg etc..) into Zesty for release day, and we believe it is important that our users have access to this significant update.

        Therefore packages for PIM 16.12.3 release are now available in the Kubuntu backports PPAs.

  • Distributions

    • [Video] Manjaro 17.0 KDE Edition – See What’s New

      Manjaro 17.0 KDE is the latest release of Manjaro Linux. This release brings new KDE Plasma 5.9.x as desktop environment include the most of KDE applications 16.12 and KDE Frameworks 5.32.

    • Make your own NES Classic Edition with Lakka 2.0 LibreELEC Linux distro and Raspberry Pi

      The NES Classic Edition is a very fun nostalgia-based gaming console. As someone who grew up with Nintendo, I knew I wanted the mini system as soon as it was announced. A family member was able to score me one on launch day, and I’ve been very happy with it. Unfortunately, other people have not been so lucky. Supply was very limited and it has since been discontinued. If you do not already have it, you are sort of out of luck without paying high prices on eBay or Craigslist.

      If you are only looking to replay the NES games of your youth, and you are OK with doing it in an unofficial way, emulation is another route. In fact, if you’d rather not play these games on your PC, you can instead use a Linux-based operating system and a Raspberry Pi (or other devices) hooked to a television. One such distro is Lakka, which just reached version 2.0. It is arguably better than an NES Classic Edition as it can also play games from other systems, such as SNES, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1, and many more.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Crazy Awesome KDE Plasma Desktop Bluetooth Audio on openSUSE

        I often hear complains of Bluetooth on Linux and how it just doesn’t work well. I scratch my head as I just don’t understand the problem because I just cannot relate at all. Bluetooth in Linux has been a breeze! I don’t know if it is universally this easy with KDE Plasma or the way openSUSE packages it all together but of any Bluetooth enabled device I have ever used, KDE Plasma on openSUSE does it right.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu founder retakes the CEO throne, many employees gone

            Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonincal has once again returned to his positition of CEO, as Jane Silber, the previous CEO now heads to the Board of Directors; and big changes happen to the staff lineup as a result.

            In a blog bost by Sibler, she says, “I originally agreed to be CEO for 5 years and we’ve extended my tenure as CEO by a couple of years already. We’ve been preparing for a transition for some time by strengthening the executive leadership team and maturing every aspect of the company, and earlier this year Mark and I decided that now is the time to effect this transition.”

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Some Of The Features Coming To Linux Mint’s Cinnamon 3.4 Desktop

              In the latest monthly progress report on Linux Mint, some of the upcoming changes for the GNOME3-forked Cinnamon Desktop Environment were shared.

            • Monthly News – April 2017

              Many thanks to all the people who donated to us and who help to fund our project. Donations are down to about 60% of what they were last year, but they’re still quite high. In the first trimesters of 2015, 2016 and 2017 we respectively received $23k, $40k and $25k. Our development team has gotten bigger and our budget is being extended to include some administrators and designers. Other figures and metrics indicate we’re growing so this probably just reflects an exceptional year for donations in 2016.

            • Linux Mint Is Adopting LightDM as its Login Manager

              Linux Mint is adopting the LightDM display manager to handle and authenticate user sessions.

              Revealing plans in its latest monthly update, Mint says it will formally drop the MDM Display Manager (MDM) in favour of LightDM with Mint 18.2, release date for which is as-yet unknown.

              The popular Ubuntu-based Linux distribution mooted a possible switch earlier this year, noting that it had a key feature MDM lacks (guest sessions), and has become something of a standard across distributions.

            • Linux Mint 13 support ends, LMDE to get MATE 1.18 soon, big changes heading to Cinnamon

              The news from the Linux Mint team was quite interesting this week. First up, Linux Mint 13 has officially hit EOL (end of life), so you really do need to upgrade.

              LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) is set to get the MATE desktop version 1.18 “this week” and they have ported mintMenu over to GTK3, since the rest of MATE is now using GTK3 too it makes sense.

            • Linux Mint 18.2 to Be Dubbed “Sonya,” Will Come with Cinnamon 3.4, LightDM

              Today being the last day of April, Linux Mint leader Clement Lefebvre published the monthly newsletter of the project to inform the community about what’s coming for the popular, Ubuntu-based distribution in May.

              The developer starts by warning those who still use the Linux Mint 13 “Maya” release that it reached end of life as it was based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin), which also reached end of life on April 28, 2017. Therefore, Linux Mint 13 will no longer receive security updates so you must upgrade to a newer release.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • FLOSS Activities April 2017
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Now Supported By Coreboot

    For those with a first-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptop, it’s now supported by mainline Coreboot.

  • Haiku OS Is Stepping Closer To Its Beta

    The open-source Haiku operating system still maintaining compatibility with BeOS is nearing its first beta milestone.

    Haiku OS developers have been working on network improvements, a variety of driver fixes, user-interface modifications, and more.

  • Events

    • Flisol Panama 2017

      Flisol this year was organized by Jose Reyes and Luis Manuel part of the new organization force in Panama, it was great to see all new generation of Fedora Panama members organizing events. While those are the faces at the events there are others working with them which make the team work.

      For a while my activity has been watching new people organizing, and doing the events, which is a really good thing, we need to refresh and recharge, plus we need to see new people in charge, it has been fun looking at Abdel playing the role of the elderly of the group couching and advising the young new generation of Fedora and Free Software fellows.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Nightly marks Legacy Add-ons

        The most recent version of Firefox Nightly, the browser’s cutting edge version, highlights the add-ons that are not WebExtensions with the Legacy tag.

        One of the concerns that Firefox users who run one or multiple add-ons in the browser have currently is whether their add-ons will make the cut when Firefox 57 comes along.

  • BSD

    • TrueOS 2017-02-22

      TrueOS, which was formerly named PC-BSD, is a FreeBSD-based operating system. TrueOS is a rolling release platform which is based on FreeBSD’s “CURRENT” branch, providing TrueOS with the latest drivers and features from FreeBSD. Apart from the name change, TrueOS has deviated from the old PC-BSD project in a number of ways. The system installer is now more streamlined (and I will touch on that later) and TrueOS is a rolling release platform while PC-BSD defaulted to point releases. Another change is PC-BSD used to allow the user to customize which software was installed at boot time, including the desktop environment. The TrueOS project now selects a minimal amount of software for the user and defaults to using the Lumina desktop environment.

      Not everything has changed. TrueOS still features many of the same utilities PC-BSD offered, including encrypted removable media, like USB thumb drives, as well as ZFS boot environments. The project, under the new name, still supplies two editions we can download: a Desktop edition and a Server edition. Both editions run on 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. I will be focusing on TrueOS’s Desktop offering in this review. The Desktop edition is available through a 2.3GB download. Unlike most Linux distributions, TrueOS offers different downloads depending on whether we intend to copy the installation image to USB or DVD media.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • IU should use open-source textbooks

        The end of the semester brings a lot of reminders to students: Grades are coming, everyone has to pack for home and students have to sell back overpriced textbooks for a fraction of what they paid.

        The last one always feels like a kick in the gut.

        In this generation, the cost of college is astronomical. There are plenty of ways that the government and your high school can help you get aid, but sometimes this doesn’t cover the cost of textbooks.

  • Programming/Development

    • Easiest package registration
    • git-pbuilder 1.48

      Not clear that anyone gets this from my web site instead of just using the version included in git-buildpackage, but just in case, this release syncs up the version with patches already applied to git-buildpackage (thank you, Guido!).

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Water Protectors from Polluted Communities Lead People’s Climate March

      Thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C., Saturday for a march to demand action on climate change and rejecting the Trump administration’s promise to overturn or scale back the federal efforts on climate. The People’s Climate March comes one day after President Donald Trump announced yet another executive giveaway to the fossil fuel industry, an order that will begin a legally contentious attempt to cancel President Barack Obama’s bans on offshore drilling in the Arctic and off the Atlantic coast. The order could eventually open for drilling additional new waters in the Gulf of Mexico, or even in the Pacific, where hardly any new drilling has taken place since a massive spill coated beaches in the 1960s and helped launch the environmental movement.

    • On 3-year anniversary, change is slow for Flint [iophk: "emergency manager == unelected, political appointee"]

      Ananich said one of his top priorities on the policy front would be to get rid of the emergency-manager law.

    • 3 Years After Lead Crisis, Flint Residents Still Need Water Filters

      Flint, Mich., switched drinking water sources 3 years ago. It’ll be 3 more years before the city can replace 18,000 underground water pipes. Residents must use filters to reduce lead exposure.

    • Treating river water would not have prevented Flint crisis, DEQ official says

      He argued that raw Flint River water is not actually as corrosive a source as has been portrayed, but that in-system factors like the main breaks and fluctuations of plant operation as Flint workers grappled with early indications of water quality issues elevated the corrosivity in treated water, thus compounding a “complicated puzzle” of factors affecting the water in Flint’s system.

  • Security

    • Security fail is people

      The other day I ran across someone trying to keep their locker secured by using a combination lock. As you can see in the picture, the lock is on the handle of the locker, not on the loop that actually locks the door. When I saw this I had a good chuckle, took a picture, and put out a snarky tweet. I then started to think about this quite a bit. Is this the user’s fault or is this bad design? I’m going to blame bad design on this one. It’s easy to blame users, we do it often, but I think in most instances, the problem is the design, not the user. If nothing is ever our fault, we will never improve anything. I suspect this is part of the problem we see across the cybersecurity universe.

    • Free software activities in April 2017

      Whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws, most software is distributed pre-compiled to end users.

      The motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to permit verification that no flaws have been introduced — either maliciously or accidentally — during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

    • Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) End of Life reached on April 28, 2017

      This is a follow-up to the End of Life warning sent last month to confirm that as of today (April 28, 2017), Ubuntu 12.04 is no longer generally supported. No more package updates will be accepted to the 12.04 primary archive, and it will be copied for archival to old-releases.ubuntu.com in the coming weeks.

    • OpenSSH Removes SSHv1 Support

      Dropping support for SSHv1 and associated ciphers that were either suspected to or known to be broken has been planned for several releases, and has been eagerly anticipated by many in the OpenBSD camp.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The March to Save the Planet

      Saturday’s Peoples Climate March brought together activists from indigenous resistance groups to Black Lives Matter to the Boy Scouts, all demanding: Act now.

    • Poisoning the River of Grass

      Construction of a new natural gas project in Florida, the Sabal Trail pipeline, is nearing completion as the Trump administration threatens to eliminate federal Everglades restoration and water protection programs. The pipeline will transfer natural gas from a pipeline hub in Alabama to a hub in Central Florida. From there another pipeline, the Southeast Connection, scheduled to finish construction in 2019, will bring the gas to new power plants in South Florida. The Everglades region will become the end of the line for gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing as far north as Pennsylvania.

      “In our time of need she hid us, she provided us shelter, she provided us food, and she protected us,” said Betty Osceola, a member of the Miccosukee tribe, referring to the Everglades. “Now it’s our turn to protect her. That’s why our tribe does what we do.”

    • Trump’s Next Most Dangerous Possibility

      With the wide path of destruction that Donald Trump has been cutting — in which the damage is affecting matters ranging from principles of nondiscrimination to ethical integrity of government officials to reliable health care for Americans — it is easy to lose sight of what ultimately would be the most consequential destruction of all: the damage to a habitable planet.

  • Finance

    • Cities Seek Deliverance From the E-Commerce Boom

      Pick any other major city or metropolitan area in the U.S., and the situation’s probably the same: a massive surge in deliveries to residential dwellings, one that’s outstripping deliveries to commercial establishments and creating a traffic nightmare.

      [...]

      While truck traffic currently represents about 7 percent of urban traffic in American cities, it bears a disproportionate congestion cost of $28 billion, or about 17 percent of the total U.S. congestion costs, in wasted hours and gas. Cities, struggling to keep up with the deluge of delivery drivers, are seeing their curb space and streets overtaken by double-parked vehicles, to say nothing of the bonus pollution and roadwear produced thanks to a surfeit of Amazon Prime orders.

    • The examples that show May is not “getting on with the job” on Brexit

      The UK prime minister Theresa May often uses the phrase “getting on with the job” in respect of her government’s approach to Brexit.

      This in turn is part of her supposed “strong and stable” leadership.

      Rhetoric, of course, is one thing.

      But there are at least three ways in which May’s government has not got on with the job with Brexit and wasted precious time instead.

    • The Gospel According To May

      I have seen nobody make the obvious rejoinder. Under the Tories the wealthiest 1% have the greatest percentage of national income in modern political history. That is why they pay more tax. But due to tax avoidance, it remains the case that the wealthiest pay a lower percentage of their income in tax than any other group. There is no chance that this obvious reply will be given to Theresa May by an interviewer, or that Adam Boulton will start proclaiming it on the airwaves.

    • ‘Quiet No More’: Hundreds of Thousands Ready to Strike on May Day

      Hundreds of thousands of immigrants and allies are expected to strike and protest on Monday, taking part in what organizers are hoping will be the largest national strike since the May Day demonstrations of 2006.

      “I definitely think this is going to be one of the biggest May Day marches,” Kent Wong, executive director of the UCLA Labor Center, told The Nation, which noted that “[t]he turbulent Trump era and draconian attacks on immigrant communities all but guarantee a bigger and more passionate turnout than usual this year.”

    • Brazil Paralyzed by Nationwide Strike, Driven by a Familiar Global Dynamic of Elite Corruption and Impunity

      Just over one year ago, Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached — ostensibly due to budgetary lawbreaking — and replaced with her centrist vice president, Michel Temer. Since then, virtually every aspect of the nation’s political and economic crisis — especially corruption — has worsened.

      Temer’s approval ratings have collapsed to single digits. His closest political allies — the same officials who engineered Dilma’s impeachment and installed him in the presidency — recently became the official targets of a sprawling criminal investigation. The president himself has been implicated by new revelations, saved only by the legal immunity he enjoys. It’s almost impossible to imagine a presidency imploding more completely and rapidly than the unelected one imposed by elites on the Brazilian population in the wake of Dilma’s impeachment.

    • Marissa Mayer won’t be running Yahoo once Verizon deal closes

      But if Mayer is officially done with Yahoo, she won’t be leaving empty handed. Mayer will walk away with $186 million.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Mark Zuckerberg surprises Ohio family with impromptu dinner visit

      The Facebook founder has made it his mission to visit all 50 states this year, a statesmanlike-tour that some have interpreted as evidence he is planning a presidential run.

    • Donald Trump slams ‘archaic’ US constitution that is ‘really bad’ for the country

      Donald Trump has blamed the US constitution for the problems he has encountered during his first 100 days in office.

      In an interview with Fox News to mark the milestone, the Republican called the system of checks and balances on power “archaic”.

      “It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.”

    • Donald Trump invites controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to White House

      Mr Duterte’s spokesman says the US President called and expressed Washington’s commitment to their treaty alliance and his interest in developing “a warm, working relationship” with Mr Duterte.

    • Trump did not clear Duterte invitation with State Department: report

      “By essentially endorsing Duterte’s murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings,” John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told the Times.

    • Trump’s ‘Very Friendly’ Talk With Duterte Stuns Aides and Critics Alike

      Now, the administration is bracing for an avalanche of criticism from human rights groups. Two senior officials said they expected the State Department and the National Security Council, both of which were caught off guard by the invitation, to raise objections internally.

    • 100 Days of Media Hoping for a New, Improved Trump

      Nearly 100 days into the Trump presidency, corporate media are still struggling to reckon with the man that occupies the White House. An administration so proudly reckless in its actions and so brazenly detached from the truth has routinely overwhelmed political reporters whose accountability muscles have atrophied. And from cable news panels to newspaper op-ed pages, Trump’s aberrant behavior has so traumatized the media establishment that it often seems to operate in a state of collective shock.

      This disconnect with the White House, however, presents a fundamental problem for elite pundits. Their “serious” stature and editorial relevance—their livelihoods, in other words—rest upon their proximity to and influence on power. Normalizing and currying favor with power—no matter how abnormal or extreme—is an occupational hazard.

    • Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit

      I imagine I’m not the only political and media observer sickened by the dominant (“mainstream”) corporate media’s habitual reference to xenophobic, right-wing, white-nationalist, and neo-fascist politicians like Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage, and Marine Le Pen as “populists.” Populism properly understood is about popular and democratic opposition to the rule of the money power – to the reign of concentrated wealth. It emerged from radical farmers’ fight for social and economic justice and democracy against the plutocracy of the nation’s Robber Baron capitalists during the late 19th century.

    • The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?

      Between two evils, which one should the Left choose? The answer seems deceivingly straightforward: how could a left-leaning voter choose the Front National? But Emmanuel Macron’s arrogance and incompetence are not helpful. On Tuesday, he went on television to request no less than a “vote of adhesion” against Le Pen.

      Despite being the candidate of the political and economic establishment, the former banker is not surfing a wave of popular support. An Opinionway poll carried out after Sunday’s vote shows that 54% of people who cast their vote for Macron, voted tactically. The truth is that the former economy minister has no solid constituency backing him, and no real popularity.

    • Mélenchon, Hero to France’s Far-Left, Will Not Vote for Le Pen, But Won’t Endorse Macron

      The leader of a far-left movement who won nearly 20 percent of the vote in the first round of France’s presidential election, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, told his seven million voters in a YouTube address on Friday that he would not tell them how to vote in the final-round run-off next weekend.

      As for himself, Mélenchon said that he would cast a ballot, and that it would not be for Marine Le Pen, the candidate of the far-right National Front, who courted his voters in a video of her own on Friday. But Mélenchon also refused to say, like the leaders of other parties across the political spectrum — and celebrities including the French soccer legend Zinedine Zidane — that he would vote for Le Pen’s centrist rival, the former banker Emmanuel Macron, to stop the far-right from gaining power.

    • Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day

      Long before Hillary Clinton was parachuted into New York State to become its Senator, I was certain that she was a disaster waiting to happen. Nothing that has happened in the years since has disabused me of that belief. Now that the Democratic Party has taken up her reckless anti-Russia campaign with a degree of enthusiasm that only sore losers in denial can muster, I am more convinced than ever that I was right.

      For a variety of reasons that I have discussed many times on this site and elsewhere and that I will not go back over now, I opposed lesser evil voting in the 2016 presidential contest. I am as confident now as I ever was that this was the right thing to do. In elections for President, it almost always is.

      Nevertheless, I had no doubt that of the two god-awful choices voters faced, Trump was worse. I never gave this much thought, however, because it seemed inconceivable that any Democrat, even one with a proven record of failing at everything she does, could lose to such a buffoon.

      The conventional wisdom has it that Hillary is a “pragmatist,” who has been around the block a dozen times and who knows how to get things done. I, along with many others who had been paying attention, knew better. I knew that as a First Lady she was no prize, that she had done a lackluster job as a Senator, and that, as Barack Obama’s first term Secretary of State, she brought chaos, destruction, misery and death to every geopolitically significant project the two of them undertook.

    • Comparing Tweeting Trump and Silent Cal

      No wonder Trump admires Vladimir Putin so much: They are the Midas and Ali Baba of autocracy. But conservatives they are not, unless to conservatives greed has become the coin of the realm.

      One more thing: President Trump doesn’t sleep much at night, reportedly getting about five hours of shut-eye (obviously, the cause is not a guilty conscience). President Coolidge loved to sleep, as much as twelve hours at a time. When he awoke from a White House nap he often would ask his butler, “Is the country still there?”

      He meant it as a joke. Today, the question isn’t funny.

    • Government Has Allowed Corporations to Be More Powerful Than the State

      The corporation has become more powerful than the state because the state has allowed it to happen. Over decades, by both Democrats and Republicans, unaccountability has become normalised, barely opposed by politicians or the media class. In Disaster Capitalism, I investigate the role of Western and indigenous private contractors in Afghanistan since 2001. They have left a trail of destruction and killed countless civilians. Barely anybody has been held to account, fuelling the insurgency still engulfing the country. President Trump may widen the war there but his chances of success are negligible.

    • British PM May sees lead over Labour fall by 10 points in a week: YouGov

      Britain’s governing Conservative party has seen its lead narrow considerably over the last week, a poll by YouGov showed on Sunday, the third poll of the weekend to show the party’s advantage over the opposition shrink.

      British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party was set to garner 44 percent of the vote, the poll for the Sunday Times showed, still a commanding 13 point lead over Labour, who polled at 31 percent.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The NSA Says It Is Ending One of Its Most Controversial Spying Practices, But It Could Be Resurrected if Congress Doesn’t Act Now

      The NSA indicated today that it will halt one of its most controversial spying practices, related to its surveillance of virtually all text-based communications entering or exiting the United States. If true, this is a significant step forward in the fight to restrict the NSA’s wildly expansive spying powers. But, unless Congress codifies this restriction, there is a risk that this practice will be resumed. Moreover, the NSA’s change still leaves in place a warrantless surveillance regime that sweeps up countless Americans and must be reformed.

    • No, the NSA Has NOT Stopped Spying On Americans’ Emails

      Binney responded:

      Short answer, NO.

      This is a farce given the bulk continuous domestic data collection and storage from the Upstream programs: Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney. [Here’s background on Fairview/Stormbrew/Blarney.]

      This FAA 702 [Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] has been a charade from the beginning. [Specifically, the NSA is spying on all Americans under Executive Order 12333, and only talking about Section 702 to confuse people as to what they’re doing.]

      It was a way to make people/congress/judiciary think that they were trying to conform to the law.

      And, by spreading false information, which our useless MSM fail to challenge, it’s a way of subverting our republic – all done in secret with only a few people in the know of what really is going on.

      Meanwhile in the background, NSA through program “Muscular” was unilaterally tapping the fiber lines between Google and Yahoo and others data centers; so that when they backed up their data between centers, NSA got it all and the companies did not even know that was happening.

      Absolutely nothing has changed.

    • Henrietta Lacks’ Story Is a Powerful Lesson That Patients Deserve Full Control of Their Genetic Data

      In 1951, doctors harvested cells from Henrietta Lacks while she was receiving treatment for cervical cancer and discovered that her cells had an amazing capacity to reproduce. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which aired last weekend on HBO and is based on the book of the same name, tells the dramatic story of how scientists used the “HeLa” cells in research for decades without the knowledge of her family.

      Because of the book and film, the story of the Lacks family’s fight to understand and influence how Henrietta’s cells are used is finally getting the attention it deserves. But echoes of what she went through exist to this day, as I learned when navigating my own family history of cancer.

    • Access Now and EFF Condemn the Arrest of Tor Node Operator Dmitry Bogatov in Russia

      On April 6, Russian math instructor Dmitry Bogatov was arrested in Moscow and charged with “preparing to organize mass disorder” and making “public calls for terrorist activity” due to a gross misunderstanding about the operation of the Tor internet anonymization service. Bogatov is accused of authoring a series of online posts published to the sysadmins.ru discussion platform on March 29 under the username “Ayrat Bashirov.” One post called for protesters to attend an unsanctioned, anonymously organized demonstration on April 2 with “rags, bottles, gas, turpentine, styrofoam, and acetone.” Another post linked to the music video for Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” described by investigators as “a video recording with insubordination to the legal demands of the police, and mass disorder.”

    • Adobe Puts an End to Indefinite Gag Order

      This is important work by Adobe. Gag orders almost always violate the First Amendment; they prevent service providers from notifying users that the government is requesting their sensitive data and from being transparent about surveillance in general. And yet, providers receive indefinite gags with frustrating frequency. In most contexts, the government must do little to justify these gags and instead relies on rote invocations of national security and the sanctity of investigations.

    • How to get Google Assistant on your Windows, Mac, or Linux Machine [Ed: Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft now compete over whose bugging devices will harvest the most data, cross-platform too]

      Google Assistant is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa smart home assistant. Initially only available with limited functionality in the Google Allo application, Google Assistant later rolled out with the Google Home and Pixel smartphones to bring the full power of Google’s assistant to consumers.

    • Socially Online — Vodafone partners with SaveLIFE Foundation; Google’s travel app ‘Trips’ gets new features [Ed: Bugging devices are "features focused on safety and help during driving"]
    • Google Assistant Latest Update: AI Chatbot SDK Helps Anyone Discover Creativity From Within [Ed: Google bugs that listen to us 24/7 is "Discover Creativity From Within"]
    • EFA calls for ‘universal’ metadata warrants

      EFA noted AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin’s assertion that “the police officers investigating the leak did not realise they were required to obtain a warrant to access the journalist’s metadata” but described the officers’ lack of awareness of that requirement as “inexcusable.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Jihadists were going to burn it all’: the amazing story of Timbuktu’s book smugglers

      In 2012, tens of thousands of artefacts from the golden age of Timbuktu were at risk in Mali’s civil war. This exclusive extract describes the race to save them from the flames – and how lethal attacks could still threaten the town’s treasures.

    • Sean Mercer: Rhys Jones killer ‘turned to Islam for easier life’ [iophk: "prisons as incubators"]

      “So he did what most other people do in the tough jails, he converted to Islam.

      “Then the trouble went away because it’s the Muslims who run the big Category A jails.”

    • Taser Will Use Police Body Camera Videos “to Anticipate Criminal Activity”
    • Western democracy needs a new narrative

      Those of us who have worked with scenarios know that one of the reasons why they can create such a powerful platform for dialogue and transformation is that they are stories. We experience stories through our imaginations, not just through our logical minds, so we partly help create them as we listen to them. We are in them. We watch the imaginary movie and supply details that may not have been in the original. We respond emotionally to a fiction just as we do to a fact-based story. And our ideals of a better future are embedded in stories that embody our values.

      The idea of democracy is in crisis. Western democracies themselves are not appreciably weaker or poorer, but their voters are discontent and express that anger by leaning towards candidates whose style, at least, seems to challenge the Enlightenment ideals on which democracy was founded. “Come let us reason together” seems a very weak prologue to action these days.

    • David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime

      Last week, in “A Young Prince Is Reimagining Saudi Arabia. Can He Make His Vision Come True?,” Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius (4/20/17) wrote what read like a press release for the Saudi regime. What’s more, he’s written the same article several times before. For almost 15 years, Ignatius has been breathlessly updating US readers on the token, meaningless public relations gestures that the Saudi regime—and, by extension, Ignatius—refer to as “reforms.”

      Ignatius columns on Saudi Arabia break down roughly into two groups: straight reporting mixed with spin and concern trolling, and outright press releases documenting the dictatorship’s spectacular reforms.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Craig Aaron and Malkia Cyril on Net Neutrality, Kyle Wiens on Copyright Overreaching

      This week on CounterSpin: FCC chair Ajit Pai has announced his plans to gut net neutrality; the former Verizon lawyer and Jeff Sessions staffer declared his intentions at a private event in DC. So the victory activists fought for—having broadband recognized as a public utility like the telephone, and not some sort of corporate gift—is in jeopardy. What does this mean for all of us who rely on an open internet, and in particular for communities of color, for whom the web’s relatively even playing field is crucial for communication and organizing? We’ve addressed this issue many times on the show. We’ll do a backgrounder on how we got here and what’s at stake with two of the leaders of the fight, Craig Aaron president of Free Press and Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice.

    • Tell FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: Startups Depend on Net Neutrality

      Startups, entrepreneurs, investors, accelerators, and incubators are signing onto a letter urging Trump’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai not to undermine the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

    • EFF and Allies Write to Congress: FCC Chairman Pai’s Network Neutrality Plan Unworkable

      So far, media outlets have reported that Chairman Pai intends to surrender the legal authority the FCC holds over cable and telephone companies. All the FCC apparently wants in exchange is empty promises from the industry to not end Internet freedom while relying on the Federal Trade Commission to protect users. Our letter to Congress details why that plan, as reported, will fail to protect an open Internet and how placing all of their eggs in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) basket invites the industry to game the system and avoiding any meaningful accountability.

    • The FCC Wants to Eliminate Net Neutrality Protections. We Can’t Let That Happen.

      But Pai can’t reverse the will of millions of Internet users without giving us a chance to weigh in – directly and through our representatives. The FCC’s net neutrality rules are crucial for the Internet – they help make sure that ISPs run their networks in ways that are fair to users and innovators alike. Without those protections, ISPs can abuse their position as gatekeepers to the broader Internet to further cement their monopolies, hurting Internet users, content providers, nonprofits and small businesses in the process. We don’t need to look back very far to see the kind of harmful practices ISPs can get up to without effective oversight. We can’t let the FCC trade the desperately-needed rules of road we fought so hard to put in place for empty promises. It’s time to tell Congress: Don’t let the FCC surrender the Internet!

    • FCC Announces Plan to Abandon Net Neutrality and ISP Privacy

      Rolling back the FCC’s Open Internet Order would mean losing the only rules that meaningfully prevent ISPs from taking advantage of their control over your Internet connection to shape your Internet experience and the market for services and devices that rely on that Internet connection. Since most Americans have only one option for broadband service, ISPs would have unchecked power to extract tolls from you and from businesses that wish to reach you. While the big incumbents like Facebook and Netflix might be able to pay those tolls, the next Facebook or Netflix would have a very hard time competing. Investors hesitate to fund startups that can be held for ransom by someone like an ISP. And the situation is even more dire for nonprofits like schools, libraries, educational sites, and political groups.

  • DRM

    • Real books are back. E-book sales plunge nearly 20%

      “E-readers, which was once a promising category, saw its sales peak in 2011. Its success was short-lived, as it spiraled downwards within a year with the entry of tablets,” Euromonitor said in a research note.

      According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans reported reading a printed book in the past year, compared to only 28% who read an e-book.

      A quarter of the population hadn’t read a book of any kind, whether in print, electronic or audio form.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Helsinki City Museum opens photo archives to the public [iophk: "plagued with JS but a big step in the right direction, in principle"]

        Helsinki City Museum has made over 45,000 photos from the city dating back to the 1840s available for browsing and free credited use via a new online service.

      • Another Lawsuit Tries To Force An ISP Into Being A Copyright Cop

        The issue in both cases is whether and when a home broadband provider should cut off a customer’s Internet service when someone using that service is accused of copyright infringement. The legal hook for this controversy is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 512, which protects ISPs and other Internet intermediaries against the risk of massive copyright penalties stemming from a customer’s copyright infringement. But to get the protection of Section 512, an ISP has to terminate “subscribers and account holders … who are repeat infringers” in “appropriate circumstances.”

      • EFF Asks Appeals Court to Break Through Five-Year Logjam in Megaupload Case

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), on behalf of its client Kyle Goodwin, is asking a federal appeals court to break through the five-year logjam in the Megaupload.com case, and help lawful users who are still waiting for the return of their photos, videos, and other personal files after the government seized Megaupload’s servers.

        Megaupload was a popular cloud-storage site when the FBI shut it down in January of 2012 looking for evidence of copyright infringement. Agents seized all of Megaupload’s assets during their search, locking out customers from their accounts. Goodwin, a sports videographer, lost access to video files containing months of his professional work.

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