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06.21.17

Links 21/6/2017: Red Hat’s Numbers Are Up, New Debian Being Studied

Posted in News Roundup at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Cloud Native Apps and Security: The Case for CoreOS Rkt and Xen

      CoreOS’s rkt started at the beginning of 2014 as a security-focused alternative to Docker. The project aimed to create a signature verification of cloud-native apps by default; the intention was to guarantee the integrity of the apps. It also stepped away from the central-daemon design of Docker, which requires root privileges for all operations. By contrast, the rkt process is short-lived, limiting the chances of being exploited, and some of rkt commands can be executed as unprivileged user.

    • U.S. Slips in New Top500 Supercomputer Ranking

      Tapwrit was the second favorite at Belmont, and Sunway TaihuLight was the clear pick for the number-one position on TOP500 list, it having enjoyed that first-place ranking since June of 2016 when it beat out another Chinese supercomputer, Tianhe-2. The TaihuLight, capable of some 93 petaflops in this year’s benchmark tests, was designed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and is located at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China. Tianhe-2, capable of almost 34 petaflops, was developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), is deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, and still enjoys the number-two position on the list.

    • Linux vs. Windows Server OS Comparison [Ed: Worst article I saw today. A few characters cannot sum up the amount of nonsense in it.]
    • The evolution of scalable microservices

      Today’s enterprise applications are deployed to everything from mobile devices to cloud-based clusters running thousands of multi-core processors. Users have come to expect millisecond response times and close to 100% uptime. And by “user” I mean both humans and machines. Traditional architectures, tools and products simply won’t cut it anymore. To paraphrase Henry Ford’s classic quote: we can’t make the horse any faster, we need cars for where we are going.

  • Kernel Space

    • Using Kdump for examining Linux Kernel crashes

      The kexec mechanism has components in the kernel as well as in user space. The kernel provides few system calls for kexec reboot functionality. A user space tool called kexec-tools uses those calls and provides an executable to load and boot the second kernel. Sometimes a distribution also adds wrappers on top of kexec-tools, which helps capture and save the dump for various dump target configurations. In this article, I will use the name distro-kexec-tools to avoid confusion between upstream kexec-tools and distro-specific kexec-tools code. My example will use the Fedora Linux distribution.

    • China Is Driving To 5G And IoT Through Global Collaboration

      OPNFV is an initiative from the Linux Foundation that is working on the interoperability and integration of these virtual components, referred to as virtual network functions (VNFs), into a platform called network function virtualization (NFV).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel KVMGT/XenGT GVT-g Updated For 2017-Q2

        Intel developers have issued their quarterly official update to their GVT-g graphics virtualization technology stack for Linux KVM and Xen virtualization.

      • Radeon Instinct Accelerators Get Ready To Ship

        Not only is AMD getting ready to take on Intel in the server space with their just-launched EPYC 7000 series, they are looking to battle NVIDIA now in the GPU server arena. Following their announcement at the end of last year, Radeon Instinct accelerators for GPU compute servers are getting ready to ship.

      • Intel Preps Another Batch Of Graphics Driver Updates For Linux 4.13

        Intel has queued up another round of feature changes slated for the Linux 4.13 kernel.

        Intel open-source developers had already queued up a fair amount of work already this cycle in DRM-Next while today’s pull request will likely be their last batch of real feature work with the DRM-Next window closing around this week.

      • OpenCL-Over-Vulkan Could Be Here Soon

        Khronos members have been working on code that could allow OpenCL code to be converted for execution by Vulkan drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KTechLab is coming back

        KTechLab, the IDE for microcontrollers and electronics has joined KDE. Below I’m summarizing its current status and plans.

      • KDE KTechLab Is Being Revived After Nearly A Decade Hiatus

        The KTechLab integrated development environment focused on micro-controller circuit design and simulation is back to being under development after not seeing a major release since 2009.

        KTechLab has been stalled for the better part of a decade: at the time of its last release, it was working to transition from Qt3 to Qt4. The good news though is development on this IDE for microcontrollers and electronics has been rebooted and is now officially a KDE project.

      • Calamares Testing

        My project for Blue Systems is maintaining Calamares, the distro-independent installer framework. Not surprisingly, working on it means installing lots of Linux distro’s. Here’s my physical-hardware testing setup, which is two identical older HP desktop machines and a stack of physical DVDs. Very old-school. Often I use Virtual Box, but sometimes the hum of a DVD is just what I need to calm down. There’s a KDE Neon, a Manjaro and a Netrunner DVD there, but the machine labeled Ubuntu is running Kannolo and sporting an openSUSE Geeko.

      • FOSSASIA SUMMIT 2017 and KDE

        I got an opportunity to represent KDE in FOSSASIA 2017 held in mid-March at Science Center, Singapore. There were many communities showcasing their hardware, designs, graphics, and software.

      • GSoC’17 : First Blog

        I’m glad to share this opportunity to be selected 2 times for Google Summer of Code project under KDE. It’s my second consecutive year working with DigiKam team.

        DigiKam is an advanced digital photo management application which enables user to view, manage, edit, organise, tag and share photographs under Linux systems. DigiKam has a feature to search items by similarity. This require to compute image fingerprints stored in main database. These data can take space on disk especially with huge collection and bloat the main database a lots and increase complexity to backup main database which include all main information for each item registered, as tags, label, comments, etc.

      • A tale of 2 curves

        As my first subject for this animation blog series, we will be taking a look at Animation curves.

        Curves, or better, easing curves, is one of the first concepts we are exposed to when dealing with the subject of animation in the QML space.

      • Pimping KRuler

        KRuler, in case you don’t know it, is a simple software ruler to measure lengths on your desktop. It is one of the oldest KDE tools, its first commit dating from November 4th, 2000. Yes, it’s almost old enough to vote.

        I am a long time KRuler user. It gets the job done, but I have often found myself saying “one day I’ll fix this or that”. And never doing it.

        Hidpi screen really hurt the poor app, so I finally decided to do something and spend some time during my daily commute on it.

      • Adding API dox QCH files generation to KDE Frameworks builds

        Things seemed to work okay on first tests, so last September a pull request was made to add some respective macro module to Extra-CMake-Modules to get things going and a blog post “Adding API dox generation to the build by CMake macros” was written.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Internationalization, part one

        The first part of internationalizing a Greek application, is, of course, translating all the Greek text to English. I already knew how to open a user interface (.ui) file with Glade and how to translate/save it from there, and mail the result to the developers.

        If only it was that simple! I learned that the code of most open source software is kept on version control systems, which fortunately are a bit similar to Wikis, which I was familiar with, so I didn’t have a lot of trouble understanding the concepts. Thanks to a very brief git crash course from my mentors, I was able to quickly start translating, committing, and even pushing back the updated files.

      • [Old] GNOME (et al): Rotting In Threes

        In the rush for Linux to become ‘popular’ and ‘make it into the desktop market’, maybe there is an unintended consequence. Not only are Windows users moving to Linux, but Windows devs seem to be arriving as well, bringing their diseases with them – corporate ‘kill off the competition’ mentalities that don’t serve Linux, merely exploit it.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Debian-Based Univention Corporate Server 4.2 Linux OS Gets First Point Release

        Univention GmbH’s Maren Abatielos is today informing us about the release and immediate availability for download of the first point release to the Debian-based Univention Corporate Server 4.2 server-oriented operating system.

        Being the first to be rebased on the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” operating system series, Univention Corporate Server 4.2 launched in early April this year with increased binary compatibility with Debian, systemd as default init system for new installations, MBD3 support for the Univention Directory listener, and a new configurable web portal.

      • First point release of UCS 4.2 published

        With UCS 4.2-1 the first point release for Univention Corporate Server 4.2 is now available.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • A proud scion of name: OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 release

        After several months of hard work we are very proud and excited to announce OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 release today.
        We hope you will enjoy this release of OpenMandriva Lx, its range of cutting edge features, quick to boot, fast in use and which brings you all the latest software.

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 Released

        OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 is now available as the latest version of this Mandriva/Mandrake-derived Linux distribution.

        OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 comes packing the Linux 4.11 kernel, systemd 233, KDE Frameworks 5.33 + Plasma 5.9.5 + Qt 5.8, X.Org Server 1.19.3 / Wayland 1.12, and Mesa 17.1.1 as offering a range of updated packages compared to its prior release.

      • OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 Released with Updated Wayland and X.Org Infrastructures

        OpenMandriva announced today the release and immediate availability of the second point release to the stable OpenMandriva Lx 3 series of the open-source computer operating system.

        After more than six months in development, OpenMandriva Lx 3.02 is finally here to update users to the most recent GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies. The release comes with the latest KDE software, including KDE Plasma 5.9.5 desktop environment, KDE Applications 17.04 software suite, and KDE Frameworks 5.35.0.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Upgrading to Debian Stretch

        I’ve done it. Our server and all but one of our clients have been dist-upgraded to Debian Stretch. The dist-upgrade went smoothly on all clients. The server was another matter. Oh, the dist-upgrade was smooth but web-applications were ripped by the migration from PHP 5 to PHP 7. It was trivial to convert my recipe application to PHP 7, just a handful of MySQL calls needed changing. phpBB, OTOH, does not support PHP 7 and since we rarely use it, I will just remove it. It was useful when I taught in schools but I don’t need it now in the era of smartphones in every pocket. People use FB or e-mail or “messaging” and carry on. Coppermine Photo Gallery has a double whammy. It’s no longer supported by anyone and so will not be upgraded by the FLOSS community, most likely. I have invested quite a bit of work annotating photos in the database so I don’t want to abandon CPG. I can put it in a virtual machine running Jessie forever. It’s on the LAN so security is not much of an issue. My local library of Gutenberg texts is another matter. The CGI script was written in PASCAL, so that’s not a problem but the SWISH-e PHP interface does not build against PHP 7. The SWISH-e plugin is ancient, about 2012, so it’s not clear whether it will ever work with PHP 7. I just don’t want to dig that deep. SWISH-e still works so I could rewrite everything in PASCAL and carry on, but I could also move this web-application to a virtual machine running PHP 5. This library also was very valuable when I taught in northern schools with shaky Internet connections but it’s less important now. I can also use SWISH-e from the commandline if necessary. phpMyAdmin worked smoothly. It’s from Debian’s repository, of course.

      • So, Stretch happened…

        Things mostly went very well, and we’ve released Debian 9 this weekend past. Many many people worked together to make this possible, and I’d like to extend my own thanks to all of them.

        As a project, we decided to dedicate Stretch to our late founder Ian Murdock. He did much of the early work to get Debian going, and inspired many more to help him. I had the good fortune to meet up with Ian years ago at a meetup attached to a Usenix conference, and I remember clearly he was a genuinely nice guy with good ideas. We’ll miss him.

        For my part in the release process, again I was responsible for producing our official installation and live images. Release day itself went OK, but as is typical the process ran late into Saturday night / early Sunday morning. We made and tested lots of different images, although numbers were down from previous releases as we’ve stopped making the full CD sets now.

      • Why I will not write a full-feature review of Debian 9

        Its codename is Stretch, which is yet another character from the Toy Story animated film.

        It is available for download in both Install and Live versions, and Live version is available in many flavours: GNOME, KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon, LXDE and so on.

        I hope you will read the review of Debian 9 somewhere else, but I will not feature it on my blog.

      • Debian 9 “Stretch” Download Links & Release Info
      • Derivatives

        • Re: [DNG] I have a question about libsystemd0 in devuan ascii

          As I see it, GNOME/Freedesktop.org/Red Hat/etc. are moving toward an
          Android model where everything else is all but officially excluded
          except for apps written specifically for their environment.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • My Ubuntu for mobile devices post mortem analysis

            Now that Ubuntu phones and tablets are gone, I would like to offer my thoughts on why I personally think the project failed and what one may learn from it.

            To recapitulate my involvement in the project: I had been using Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus 7 on an on-and-off-basis between its announcement in 2013 and December 2014, started working on Click apps in December 2014, started writing the 15-part “Hacking Ubuntu Touch” blog post series about system internals in January 2015, became an Ubuntu Phone Insider, got a Meizu MX4 from Canonical, organized and sponsored the UbuContest app development contest, worked on bug reports and apps until about April 2016, and then sold off/converted all my remaining devices in mid-2016. So I think I can offer some thoughts about the project, its challenges and where we could have done better.

            Please note that this post does not apply to the UBPorts project, which continues to work on the phone operating system, Unity 8 and other components.

          • Ubuntu Is Finally Looking At Shipping Accelerated Video Playback Support

            It’s 2017 and Ubuntu is finally looking at shipping GPU-accelerated video playback support out-of-the-box on the Ubuntu desktop.

            Various forms of video acceleration have been available if installing them from the archive on Ubuntu, but nothing has been available by default… But it’s looking like that may change, though their direction is a bit peculiar.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 To Fully Use Netplan By Default For Network Configuration

            One year after Ubuntu developers announced their Netplan project for consolidated networking configuration across platforms, they are now planning to use Netplan by default in Ubuntu 17.10 across all editions.

            Netplan has picked up many features in the year it’s been under development as a replacement to ifupdown. Netplan aims to handle all network configuration use-cases and can in turn generate configuration files for use by NetworkManager and systemd-networkd.

          • Netplan by default in 17.10

            Friday, I uploaded an updated nplan package (version 0.24) to change its Priority: field to important, as well as an update of ubuntu-meta (following a seeds update), to replace ifupdown with nplan in the minimal seed.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Continues Aiming For The Linux 4.13 Kernel

            Mentioned in the weekly Ubuntu Kernel Newsletter are the developers reiterating their plans to ship Ubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” with the Linux 4.13 kernel.

            They’ve previously expressed plans for shipping Ubuntu 17.10 Artful with Linux 4.13 and this week’s newsletter repeats those claims.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Is Finally Unifying and Cleaning Up the Networking Configuration

            Last year in August, Canonical’s Martin Pitt, the systemd maintainer for the Ubuntu Linux operating system at that time, announced the company’s plans to unify and clean up the networking configuration in Ubuntu Linux.

            They introduced netplan, a project that promised to centralize the network configuration for all Ubuntu Linux operating system versions, including Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core (Snappy) under a single file (e.g. /etc/netplan/*.yaml) instead of using /etc/network/interfaces files.

          • Former Ubuntu Phone Insider Shares His Thoughts on Why the Project Failed

            Former Ubuntu Phone developer, Simon Raffeiner, which many of you know as sturmflut, has written a detailed article on his blog to share his thoughts on why he thinks the Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Touch projects failed.

            Simon Raffeiner worked on the Ubuntu Touch operating system since its official announcement back in 2013, believing in the project’s goals and objectives. He worked for about three years, up until mid-2016, on various Ubuntu Phone-related things, including but not limited to Click apps, bug reports, and tutorials for others to start hacking on Ubuntu Touch.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • [Older] What was it like to be at Xerox PARC when Steve Jobs visited?

    A second important fact about the 1979 demo to Steve, was that he missed most of what we showed him. More than 15 years later he admits this in this interview:How Steve Jobs got the ideas of GUI from XEROX where he says that we showed him three things but he was so blinded by the first one (the GUI) that he missed both networking and real object-oriented systems programming.

  • Productivity or Efficiency: What Really Matters?

    “There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive,” warns Stephen Dubner in Freakonomics.

    Companies may be zeroing in on the wrong thing. Instead of looking at efficiency, corporate workers should be looking at productivity, writes Michael Mankin in the Harvard Business Review. The best companies are more than 40 percent more productive than the rest, which results in higher profits — operating margins 30–50 percent higher than industry peers — and faster growth.

    “Efficiency is about doing the same with less,” Mankin writes. “Companies most often improve labor efficiency by finding ways to reduce the number of labor hours required to produce the same level of output. This translates into savings because the company spends less on wages and other labor-related costs. Efficiency, then, is about shrinking the denominator — inputs (headcount, labor hours) — in an effort to improve profitability.”

  • Colorado dad gives sons smartphones, regrets it, now wants to ban preteen use

    Last year, Colorado father-of-five Tim Farnum gave his two youngest sons smartphones—and immediately regretted it. But he didn’t just take the phones away; he took the extra steps of forming a nonprofit called “Parents Against Underage Smartphones,” or PAUS, and drafting the nation’s first proposed measure that would ban smartphone use among preteens.

    The proposed measure, ballot initiative No. 29, would make it illegal in Colorado for mobile-phone retailers to sell smartphones to children under the age of 13 or to any person who intends to provide the phone (wholly or partially) to someone under the age of 13. Phone retailers would have to submit monthly reports to the Colorado Department of Revenue showing compliance. Those who fail to adhere would face a warning, then a $500 fine, if the proposal passes.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Never Trust Yellow Fruit

      You’ve probably heard about the WiFi Pineapple from Hak5. It’s a fascinating device that allows you to do some creepy pen testing. It’s the sort of tool that could be used for evil, but it’s also incredibly useful for securing networks.

      The hardware is fairly basic and resembles an off-the-shelf router. The multiple network interfaces really shine, however, when paired with the operating system. The WiFi Pineapple software creates a rogue, hidden access point that purposefully tricks clients into connecting to it instead of the AP they’re usually connected to.

    • Time to Patch: ‘Stack Clash’ Vulnerability Affects Wide Range of Unix-like OSes
    • Stack Clash Vulnerability Exploits Linux Stack Guard
    • What capabilities do I really need in my container?

      A few years ago the SELinux team realized that more and more applications were getting EPERM returns when a syscall requested some access. Most operators understood EPERM (Permission Denied) inside of a log file to mean something was wrong with the Ownership of a process of the contents it was trying to access or the permission flags on the object were wrong. This type of Access Control is called DAC (Discretionary Access Control) and under certain conditions SELinux also caused the kernel to return EPERM. This caused Operators to get confused and is one of the reasons that Operators did not like SELinux. They would ask, why didn’t httpd report that Permission denied because of SELinux? We realized that there was a growing list of other tools besides regular DAC and SELinux which could cause EPERM. Things like SECCOMP, Dropped Capabilities, other LSM … The problem was that the processes getting the EPERM had no way to know why they got EPERM. The only one that knew was the kernel and in a lot of cases the kernel was not even logging the fact that it denied access. At least SELinux denials usually show up in the audit log (AVCs). The goal of Friendly EPERM was to allow the processes to figure out why they got EPERM and make it easier for admin to diagnose.

    • Erebus Resurfaces as Linux Ransomware
    • Stack Clash vulnerability tears a hole in Linux and Unix OSes
    • Stack clash and OpenBSD

      On a related note; Does anyone know where can I order my Stack Clash t-shirts and mugs? I’m also really disappointed there is no clever flashy logo :-(.

    • 5.5 Million Devices Operating with WannaCry Port Open

      With all of the press the WannaCry ransomware exploit received last month, you might be excused for thinking that by now everyone would have battened down the hatches and locked down potentially dangerous ports — at least those that are vulnerable to this exploit. According to two separate reports, that’s not the case. And while it’s true that many of the vulnerable devices are in the hands of consumers who don’t know any better, it’s a good bet that the majority are servers running in data centers, under the care of sysadmins who should know better.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Secret Government Report: Chelsea Manning Leaks Caused No Real Harm

      In the seven years since WikiLeaks published the largest leak of classified documents in history, the federal government has said they caused enormous damage to national security.

      But a secret, 107-page report, prepared by a Department of Defense task force and newly obtained by BuzzFeed News, tells a starkly different story: It says the disclosures were largely insignificant and did not cause any real harm to US interests.

      Regarding the hundreds of thousands of Iraq-related military documents and State Department cables provided by the Army private Chelsea Manning, the report assessed “with high confidence that disclosure of the Iraq data set will have no direct personal impact on current and former U.S. leadership in Iraq.”

    • From WikiLeaks, a Glimpse Into Ram Nath Kovind’s Views on Discrimination Against Dalits

      Where does Ram Nath Kovind stand on issues related to prevalent caste discrimination against Dalits? This is a question that many have asked since the Dalit leader, a former parliamentarian and the current governor of Bihar, was nominated by the BJP as its presidential candidate.

      A report by US embassy interlocutors titled Socioeconomic future of Indian dalits remains bleak, published by WikiLeaks, which analyses the issues of discrimination on the basis of various theories, makes Kovind’s positions clear.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 6 Places Around The World Where All Your Old Crap Ends Up
    • Rick Perry says carbon dioxide is not a primary driver of climate change

      In an interview with CNBC on Monday, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities aren’t the primary driver of climate change. Instead, the former Texas governor responded that “most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

      It’s unclear how Perry envisions this “control knob” and how it works; a generous analysis of his answer would be that he misunderstood the question. Ocean waters absorb carbon dioxide and are changing, much like climate, because of it. And the oceans have short-term cycles that influence equally short-term temperature trends. But those cycles can’t drive the ever-upward trend in temperature.

    • Engineered algae puts half of its carbon into fats for biofuels

      There’s an inherent tension in convincing organisms to produce fuel for us. To grow and thrive, the organism has to direct its energy into a variety of chemicals—proteins, fats, DNA, and more. But for biofuels, we’re mostly interested in fats, which are long-chain hydrocarbons that already look a lot like our liquid fuels. Fat is easy to convert into biodiesel, for example.

      So how do we convince an organism to do what we want, rather than what it needs? There have been two approaches to this so far. One is to take an organism that we understand well and engage in genetic engineering to direct its metabolism toward fuel production. The second approach is to search for organisms that naturally produce lots of the chemicals we’re interested in.

    • Sweden commits to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 with new law

      Sweden has committed to cutting its net carbon emissions to zero by 2045, becoming the first country to significantly upgrade its carbon ambitions since the Paris accord in 2015.

      The law was drawn up by a cross-party committee and passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament by 254 votes to 41.

      The legislation establishes an independent Climate Policy Council and requires an action plan to be updated every four years.

      Sweden had previously committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. It already gets 83 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy and hydropower, having met its 2020 target of 50 per cent renewable energy eight years ahead of schedule.

  • Finance

    • Zuckerberg or Gates? Billionaires Try Opposites Paths for Online Education in India

      Dozens of companies have rushed in.

    • Allen AI Joins Microsoft, Baidu to Help Empower Academic Searches

      Paul Allen’s artificial intelligence institute is putting together a coalition including Microsoft Corp., Google, Baidu Inc. and the Gates Foundation to share technology and ideas to help {sic} scientific researchers and academics find and take advantage of the latest discoveries and information.

    • Broadband ISP CenturyLink Accused Of Wells-Fargo-Esque Scam That Bilked Millions From Customers

      If there’s any real creativity in the broadband sector, it often has little to do with the actual products and services offered. More often than not, the real creativity in the sector involves finding ingenious new ways to bilk consumers out of additional money, or charge them significantly more money for the exact-same service. Whether talking about hidden below the line fees or arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps, the lack of real broadband competition has resulted in a gold rush — at least when it comes to creatively-misleading charges.

    • How to keep Amazon from eating your business, too

      It has become a truism that software is eating the world. Perhaps that now extends to Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. This purchase is surely funded in part by the astronomical growth of Amazon Web Services, which is estimated to have made $14 billion in revenue last year — just slightly more than the purchase price for the grocer.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Is Playing Into the Hands of the Saudi Regime

      Trump, who clearly knew nothing about the subject, accepted the Saudi move with alacrity and at face value. In his normal fashion, he even tried to take credit for it [...]

    • Are Millennials losing faith in democracy?

      This spring surveys suggested that young people are ambivalent towards freedom of speech. [...] Now, similar signals are reaching us when it comes to democracy as such.

    • Brazil: police claim to have evidence president Michel Temer received bribes

      The attorney general, Rodrigo Janot, said last month there were enough preliminary indications of wrongdoing for Temer to be investigated for corruption and obstruction of justice.

      The president is being investigated for three alleged crimes: corruption, obstruction of justice and being member of a criminal organization.

    • This Is How the Trump Administration Will Privatize Our Infrastructure

      Privatization backers, who use the more politically palatable phrase “public-private partnerships” (or P3s), counter that these arrangements operate more efficiently, saving taxpayers money. But even if that were true, privatization contracts can lock cities and states into inflexible long-term deals, straining local budgets and eating away at democratic control.

    • Donald Trump calls for ‘sweeping transformation’ of gov IT in meeting with tech CEOs

      Among the attendees was the leaders of Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, Adobe, Qualcomm, VMware, Accenture and Akamai, as well as leading investors from Silicon Valley at the White House.

    • New Finnish government survives first confidence vote

      The reconstituted coalition government led by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä survived its first confidence vote in Parliament Tuesday afternoon. The coalition — which now comprises Sipilä’s Centre Party, the National Coalition Party led by Finance Minister Petteri Orpo and the breakaway Finns Party faction Blue Reform — won the support of 104 MPs, while 85 opposed it.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • SLAPP Threats And The Grenfell Fire: Why We Must Stop Attacks On Free Speech

      You’ve probably heard about the horrific tragedy in the UK of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed many people. There are all sorts of awful stories related to the tragedy, but there is one that hits close to home: the use of SLAPP threats to silence residents who warned about fire dangers in the building.

      [...]

      Yikes. There are many more similar blog posts as well. And apparently, the building management — the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) — decided years ago that the best way to deal with the blogging tenants… was to threaten them with a lawsuit if they kept blogging. In a letter posted to Twitter by a bunch of people (not sure who posted it first), back in 2013, the KCTMO threatened the bloggers with defamation lawsuits if they kept it up:

    • Coal CEO Threatens John Oliver With A SLAPP Suit

      This past weekend on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, he took on the issue of “coal” and some politicians’ obsession with coal jobs as the only true “American” jobs. The whole segment is interesting, but obviously not the kind of thing we’d normally write up. What we do frequently write about, however, is censorious threats, often from wealthy execs, designed to try to silence people from commenting on issues regarding those doing the threatening. And, it appears that’s exactly what happened with coal exec Bob Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, when he found out that John Oliver was doing a segment that included some bits about Murray.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oversight Report Shows NSA Failed To Secure Its Systems Following The Snowden Leaks

      It appears the NSA hasn’t learned much since Ed Snowden left with several thousands of its super-secret documents. Agency officials were quick to claim the leaks would cause untold amounts of damage, but behind the scenes, not much was being done to make sure it didn’t happen again.

    • Leading European politicians call for “state-of-the-art” end-to-end encryption – and no backdoors

      It is not yet certain that the LIBE committee’s amendments will be accepted. Indeed, there is likely to be fierce lobbying against them by European governments, who will want exceptions for the usual things like national security and tackling serious crimes. But it is nonetheless significant that at least some politicians understand that it is not possible to undermine an encrypted communication channel without undermining the security and privacy of its users. That’s progress. It’s up to us to support these moves in an attempt to get across to governments around the world that weakening crypto is not the answer, and not an option.

    • Euro MPs back end-to-end encryption for all citizens

      A European Parliament committee is proposing that end-to-end encryption be enforced on all forms of digital communications to protect citizens.

      The draft legislation seeks to protect sensitive personal data from hacking and government surveillance.

      EU citizens are entitled to personal privacy and this extends to online communications, the proposal argues.

    • Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families

      Mexico’s most prominent human rights lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists have been targeted by advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists.

      The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students, a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexico’s most influential journalists and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by the police. The spying even swept up family members, including a teenage boy.

    • Before You Hit ‘Submit,’ This Company Has Already Logged Your Personal Data

      During a recent investigation into how a drug-trial recruitment company called Acurian Health tracks down people who look online for information about their medical conditions, we discovered NaviStone’s code on sites run by Acurian, Quicken Loans, a continuing education center, a clothing store for plus-sized women, and a host of other retailers. Using Javascript, those sites were transmitting information from people as soon as they typed or auto-filled it into an online form. That way, the company would have it even if those people immediately changed their minds and closed the page. (It’s yet another way auto-fill can compromise your privacy.)

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Ten years in jail and 1,000 lashes: why we must defend Saudi blogger Raif Badawi

      It is, of course, the Saudi regime that is chiefly responsible for his suffering, and that has the power to release him, but the case also suggests how hollow are western commitments to so-called western values. Badawi believes in democracy, rationalism and freedom of speech. These are all ideas we are supposed to promote and applaud, but in places where their exercise is costly we are mostly silent.

    • [Older] Saudi Arabia: Release blogger Raif Badawi, still behind bars after five years

      “Blogging is not a crime. The harsh punishment of Raif Badawi shows the Saudi Arabian authorities’ blatant contempt for freedom of expression and the extent to which they are willing to go to crush all forms of dissent.”

    • Putin Accuses Russia’s Foes Of ‘Excessive Demonization’ Of Stalin

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the “excessive demonization” of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin “is one means of attacking the Soviet Union and Russia.”

      Putin made the comments in the last of four installments of a series of interviews that he gave to U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, which was aired on June 15.

      Putin said Russia’s critics use Stalin’s legacy “to show that today’s Russia carries on itself some kind of birthmarks of Stalinism.”

      The Russian president did not elaborate on what he considered to be “excessive” criticism of Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953 and who was responsible for the deaths of 15 million to 30 million Soviet citizens through executions, labor camps, and avoidable famines.

    • Supreme Court Makes It Even More Difficult To Sue Federal Officials Over Rights Violations

      If you wanted even more leeway for government officials to bypass accountability, you’ve got it. Courtesy of the US Supreme Court, the immunity for federal officials has just been expanded. On a day when the court handed down two significant First Amendment victories, the court has dialed back an avenue of redress for people whose rights have been violated by federal employees.

      This case has its origins in the 2001 Twin Towers attack. In the wake of the attack, the government engaged in some questionable behavior (not unlike some of its World War II actions), rounding up undocumented Arab immigrants and detaining them under harsh conditions.

    • Supreme Court Says You Can’t Ban People From The Internet, No Matter What They’ve Done

      Going all the way back to 2002 (and many times after that), we’ve talked about courts struggling with whether or not it’s okay to ban people from the internet after they’ve committed a crime. The question comes up in many different cases, but most prevalently in cases involving child predators. While courts have struggled with this issue for so long, it’s only now that the Supreme Court has weighed in and said you cannot ban someone from the internet, even if they’re convicted of horrific crimes — in this case, sex crimes against a minor. The case is Packingham v. North Carolina, and the Supreme Court had to determine if it violated the First Amendment’s free speech clause and the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause, to make it a felony for convicted sex offenders to visit social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as was the case under a North Carolina law.

    • Case file in Philando Castile shooting released, dashcam video shows shooting [iophk: "ones so constantly in fear oughtn't be cops"]
    • Dashcam video shows killing of Philando Castile

      Yanez shot him seven times in front of his wife and child, later claiming that the smell of marijuana, and his inability to see what Castile was reaching for, justified the killing.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Amazon granted patent to restrict the open internet at in-store public WiFi hotspots

      Jeff Bezos’s Amazon has been granted a patent for a tool called “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” which helps brick and mortar locations control users’ online shopping experience when they are at the store and on the store’s WiFi network. If a customer searches for a product or competitor, Amazon would be able to “control” that online experience by redirecting, blocking, or otherwise tampering with your internet traffic.

    • Apple Alleges ‘Mounting Evidence’ Against Qualcomm

      Apple found “continuing — and mounting — evidence of Qualcomm’s perpetuation of an illegal business model that burdens innovation,” according to the filing. It claims some of the patents that Qualcomm wants to get paid for are invalid and that Qualcomm hasn’t fulfilled its obligation to charge fair and reasonable rates on patents related to industry standards.

    • What Patents Reveal About Who’s Behind Clean-Technology Innovation [Ed: No, these patents reveal who spends money blocking the competition, not who leads the market (necessarily)]

      Mark Muro (@markmuro1) is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Everybody knows the auto industry is a huge source of U.S. manufacturing employment. Now here’s a less-known fact: The auto sector is today also a prime driver of U.S. clean-tech development. Research my group at Brookings recently released shows that the focus of clean-energy innovation […]

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Law Shouldn’t Pick Winners

        When looking at a proposed policy regulating Internet businesses, here’s a good question to ask yourself: would this bar new companies from competing with the current big players? Google will probably be fine, but what about the next Google? In the past few years, some large movie studios and record labels have been promoting a proposal that would effectively require user-generated media platforms to use copyright bots similar to YouTube’s infamous Content ID system. Today’s YouTube will have no trouble complying, but imagine if such requirements had been in place when YouTube was a three-person company. If copyright bots become the law, the barrier to entry for new social media companies will get a lot higher.

      • Internet Provider Refutes RIAA’s Piracy Allegations

        Grande says that if they acted on these notices without additional proof, its subscribers could lose their Internet access even though they are using it for legal purposes.

      • US Embassy Threatens to Close Domain Registry Over ‘Pirate Bay’ Domain

        The US Embassy in Costa Rica has threatened to have the country’s domain registry shut down unless it suspends ThePirateBay.cr. The registry says it won’t comply without a court order and has written to the ICANN organization to complain about harassment and personal insults.

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