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08.20.17

Links 20/8/2017: KStars 2.8.1, Fedora Design Interns

Posted in News Roundup at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • New Computing Systems for Linux, BSD

    Raptor Computing Systems has announced that Talos II secure workstations, rack-mount development kits, mainboard bundles and mainboards are now available. Designed by Raptor Engineering, the Talos product line specializes in high-performance, secure and affordable computing systems for Linux or Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) platforms.

  • Apple laptops have become garbage
  • Desktop

    • Technoethical T400s review

      Over all this is a great device that just works with entirely free software. I thank the Technoethical team for offering this fantastic service. I can only recommend buying one of those T400s laptops from Technoethical.

      [...]

      Therefore I am very excited that you can actually order hardware nowadays that others have checked for best compatibility already. Since my old laptop got very unreliable recently I wanted to do better this time and I went for the Technoethical T400s, which comes pre-installed with Trisquel.

    • Home computing for $5/month

      For this, I want a portable computer that I primarily use to consume content; if I want to do any creation more complex than writing or spreadsheets, I’m happy to use it to connect to another device (ssh, vnc, etc.).

    • Portable Linux Gaming, Entroware’s Kratos

      Pedro spent a full week poking the Entroware Kratos with a stick. We eventually talked him into comparing it against his daily driver.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • [Older] The NOVA filesystem [Ed: used to be behind paywall]

      Nonvolatile memory offers the promise of fast, byte-addressable storage that persists over power cycles. Taking advantage of that promise requires the imposition of some sort of directory structure so that the persistent data can be found. There are a few approaches to the implementation of such structures, but the usual answer is to employ a filesystem, since managing access to persistent data is what filesystems were created to do. But traditional filesystems are not a perfect match to nonvolatile memory, so there is a natural interest in new filesystems that were designed for this media from the beginning. The recently posted NOVA filesystem is a new entry in this race.

      The filesystems that are currently in use were designed with a specific set of assumptions in mind. Storage is slow, so it is worth expending a considerable amount of CPU power and memory to minimize accesses to the underlying device. Rotational storage imposes a huge performance penalty on non-sequential operations, so there is great value in laying out data consecutively. Sector I/O is atomic; either an entire sector will be written, or it will be unchanged. All of these assumptions (and more) are wired deeply into most filesystems, but they are all incorrect for nonvolatile memory devices. As a result, while filesystems like XFS or ext4 can be sped up considerably on such devices, the chances are good that a filesystem designed from the beginning with nonvolatile memory in mind will perform better and be more resistant to data corruption.

      NOVA is intended to be such a filesystem. It is not just unsuited for regular block devices, it cannot use them at all, since it does not use the kernel’s block layer. Instead, it works directly with storage mapped into the kernel’s address space. A filesystem implementation gives up a lot if it avoids the block layer: request coalescing, queue management, prioritization of requests, and more. On the other hand, it saves the overhead imposed by the block layer and, when it comes to nonvolatile memory performance, cutting down on CPU overhead is a key part of performing well.

    • [Older] The kernel’s genpool subsystem

      The kernel is a huge program; among other things, that means that many problems encountered by a kernel developer have already been solved somewhere else in the tree. But those solutions are not always well known or documented. Recently, a seasoned developer confessed to having never encountered the “genpool” memory allocator. This little subsystem does not appear in the kernel documentation, and is likely to be unknown to others as well. In the interest of fixing both of those problems, here is an overview of genpool (or “genalloc”) and what it does.

      There are a number of memory-allocation subsystems in the kernel, each aimed at a specific need. Sometimes, however, a kernel developer needs to implement a new allocator for a specific range of special-purpose memory; often that memory is located on a device somewhere. The author of the driver for that device can certainly write a little allocator to get the job done, but that is the way to fill the kernel with dozens of poorly tested allocators. Back in 2005, Jes Sorensen lifted one of those allocators from the sym53c8xx_2 driver and posted it as a generic module for the creation of ad hoc memory allocators. This code was merged for the 2.6.13 release; it has been modified considerably since then.

    • Advancing Connected-Car Technology Through Linux

      Automotive Grade Linux—which just launched its UCB 4.0 platform—and GENIVI take somewhat different paths to accelerate the development and adoption of an open software stack for IVI systems.

    • Allwinner sun4i DRM Queues HDMI CEC Support For Linux 4.14

      With this weekend marking the 4.13-rc6 kernel release, David Airlie will be cutting off new material accepted into DRM-Next for then merging during the Linux 4.14 kernel merge window. As such, DRM maintainers this weekend are busy submitting the last of their new feature material they hope to see in Linux 4.14.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Vamox Icons Offers Three Color Variants for Linux Desktop

      Vamox icons were designed as a university thesis project by Emiliano Luciani and Darío Badagnani in 2008. The objective was to design a interface of a distro that the university could use for learning about design thin free software, From start these icons were developed for Ubuntu. Now these icons has three variants blue, orange and red, which are compatible with most of the Linux desktop environments such as: Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce and so on. We have added these icons to our PPA for Ubuntu/Linux Mint and other related distributions, If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint/its derivatives then download icons and install it in one of these “~/.icons” or “/usr/share/icons/” location. If you find any missing icons or problem with this icon set then report it to creator via linked page and hopefully it will get fixed soon.

    • Ashes Is A Light Theme For Your Linux Desktop

      Ashes theme is based on Adapta and Flat-Plat theme but it includes the mixture of blue and pink color scheme with gray search entity. Usually derived themes always try to make better and enhanced version by the person who forked it, to make desktop much perfect and elegant, same thing goes for this theme, it looks and feels great on almost every desktop. Mainly it is designed to work in Unity and Gnome desktop but it can also work in other desktops such as Cinnamon, Mate, and so on. For the Gnome desktop creator have added the dark title-bar/header-bar support, so you can enable Global-Dark-Theme using Gnome-Tweak-Tool, if you prefer dark title-bars. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint/its derivatives then download theme from here and install it “~/.themes” or “/usr/share/themes/” location. If you find any kind of bug or issue within this theme then report it to creator and since this theme is in active development hopefully it will be fixed soon.

    • DamaDamas Icons Looks Great And At The Same Time Give Windows Flavor

      If you have been searching for Windows icons for your Linux desktop then you are at the right place. The DamaDamas icons are from Pisi GNU/Linux and available for every Linux distribution, these icons give Windows look and feel to your desktop. There isn’t much information available for these icons but the icons are SVG format and there are almost 4000+ icons packed in very fairly sized archive. We have added these icons to our PPA and these icons are compatible with almost every desktop environment such as: Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon, Xfce, Mate, KDE Plasma and so on. If you find any missing icons or problem with this icon set then report it to creator via linked page and hopefully it will get fixed soon.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars 2.8.1 “Hipster” Release is out!

        The highlight for this release is experimental support for HiPS: Hierarchical Progressive Surveys. HiPS provides multi-resolution progressive surveys to be overlayed directly in client applications, such as KStars. It provides an immersive experience as you can explore the night sky dynamically.

        With over 200+ surveys across the whole electromagnetic spectrum from radio, infrared, visual, to even gamma rays, the user can pan and zoom progressively deeper into the data visually.

      • Distribution management – how Upstream ensures Downstream keeps the Quality

        I read Emmanuele Bassi’s very interesting blog post about software distribution this week and thought a lot about it. Emmanuele kind of answers to a presentation by Richard Brown (from OpenSUSE fame). While I haven’t seen that presentation, I saw a similar one last year at the openSUSE conference and also talked with Richard about the topic. So I dare to think that I understand Richard’s arguments and even agree with most of them.

        Nevertheless I want to share some of my thoughts on the topic from the perspective of KWin maintainership. KWin is more part of the OS stack, so distributing through means like Flatpack are not a valid option IMHO. As KWin is close to the OS, we have a very well integration with distributions. Plasma (which KWin is part of) has dedicated packager groups in most distributions, we have a direct communication channel to the distros, we know our packagers in large parts in person, etc. etc. So from the open source distribution model we are in the best category. We are better positioned than let’s say a new game which needs to be distributed.

      • Go support in KDevelop. GSoC week 11. Code completion and bug fixing.
      • Introducing QtMqtt
      • 2017 for Qt Contributors

        This is a good year to be a Qt contributor.

        There was Qt Day Italy in June. From what I hear, the event was a success. The talks were great and everything worked. This was the sixth Qt Day Italy, so there is tradition behind this event!

        Even though it is not a Qt event, KDE Akademy is worth mentioning. Akademy is the annual world summit of KDE, one of the largest Free Software communities in the world. It is a free, non-commercial event organized by the KDE Community. This year Akademy was in Almeria Spain, in late July, 22nd to 27th. KDE has over the years brought many excellent developers to Qt, and they are definitely the biggest open source project using Qt.

      • KDE Applications 17.08 Officially Out, More Apps Were Ported to KDE Frameworks 5

        The KDE Project is pleased to announce the release and general availability of the KDE Applications 17.08 software suite primarily designed for KDE Plasma 5 desktop environments, but also compatible with other desktops and window managers.

        KDE Applications 17.08 has been in development since mid-July 2017, and it received both a Beta and an RC build that users could test on their GNU/Linux distros if they had access to these pre-release packages. But the final release is now officially out and it’s coming soon to the repos of your favorite operating system.

        “We have worked to make both the applications and the underlying libraries more stable and easier to use. By ironing out wrinkles and listening to your feedback, we have made the KDE Applications suite less prone to glitches and much friendlier. Enjoy your new apps,” reads the release announcement.

      • Modest Wallpaper Tweaks
      • Sixth Blog Gsoc 2017

        Hi, this post is general information about telemetry in Krita. I want to clarify some points.

        Soon we will launch a preliminary testing of my branch. In case of successful testing, it will go into one of the closest releases of Krita (not 3.2). Krita must follow the policy of the KDE on information gathering. What information do we want to collect?

      • Plasma Mobile – Journey Towards Open Mobile Platform (slides from Akademy 2017)
      • Documents Shelf [KAMD, KAStats]

        Once upon a time, for those who remember the old days of Plasma and Lancelot, there was an experimental applet called Shelf.

        The idea behind the Shelf was that sometimes it is useful to have a small applet that just shows your recent files, favourite applications, devices, which you can place on your panel or desktop for quick access.

        Now, this post is not about a revival of Lancelot and Shelf (sadly), but it is closely related to them.

        Namely, I always disliked the “recent documents” section that is available in almost all launchers in Plasma. The reason is that only one in ten of those documents has a chance to ever be opened again.

      • Running applications and unittests without “make install”

        In our Akademy presentation, Kévin and I showed the importance for a better developer story to be able to work on a KDE module without having to install it. Running unittests and running applications without installing the module at all is possible, it turns out, it just needs a bit of effort to set things up correctly.

      • QtWebEngine on FreeBSD

        Tobias and Raphael pushed the button today to push QtWebEngine into FreeBSD ports. This has been a monumental effort, because the codebase is just .. ugh. Not meant for third-party consumption, let’s say. There are 76 patches needed to get it to compile at all. Lots of annoying changes to make, like explaining that pkg-config is not a Linux-only technology. Nor is NSS, or Mesa, while #include linux/rtnetlink.h is, in fact, Linux-only. Lots of patches can be shared with the Chromium browser, but it’s a terrible time-sink nonetheless.

      • KDE PIM in Randa 2017

        Randa Meetings is an annual meeting of KDE developers in a small village in Swiss Alps. The Randa Meetings is the most productive event I ever attended (since there’s nothing much else to do but hack from morning until night and eat Mario’s chocolate :-)) and it’s very focused – this year main topic is making KDE more accessible.

        Several KDE PIM developers will be present as well – and while we will certainly want to hear other’s input regarding accessibility of Kontact, our main goal in Randa will be to port away from KDateTime (the KDE4 way of handling date and time in software) to QDateTime (the Qt way of handling date and time). This does not sound very interesting, but it’s a very important step for us, as afterward, we will finally be free of all legacy KDE4 code. It is no simple task, but we are confident we can finish the port during the hackfest. If everything goes smoothly, we might even have time for some more cool improvements and fixes in Kontact ;-)

      • Services Collaborating Openly at Akademy 2017

        At the recently concluded Akademy 2017 in the incredibly hot but lovely Almería, yours truly went and did something a little silly: Submitted both a talk (which got accepted) and hosted a BoF, both about Open Collaboration Services, and the software stack which KDE builds to support that API in the software we produce. The whole thing was amazing. A great deal of work, very tiring, but all ’round amazing. I even managed to find time to hack a little bit on Calligra Gemini, which was really nice.

        This blog entry collects the results from the presentation and the BoF. I realise this is quite long, but i hope that you stick with it. In the BoF rundown, i have highlighted the specific results, so hopefully you’ll be able to skim-and-detail-read your specific interest areas ;)

      • Akademy 2017 – A wonderful experience

        Akademy 2017 was such a great experience, that I would love to share with you all in this post.

      • Akademy 2017 – Recap

        Last month I had opportunity to visit the Almería, Spain for Akademy 2017. Akademy 2017 is KDE’s annual world summit. Akademy makes it possible to meet the felow KDE contributors, some of whom you only know with their IRC nicknames (Yes, I am not old enough to know every contributors yet :p). Here is few things I did at the Akademy 2017.

      • My Adventures on Crafting part III – Craft Atelier

        Once upon a time, I start o use Craft, an amazing tool inside KDE that does almost all the hard work to compile KDE Applications on Windows and MacOS.

        Thanks to the great work of Hannah since last year Randa Meetings, Craft is becoming a great tool. Using all the power of Python, I started to be able to work on the deploy of AtCore for Windows.

      • Why YOU care about accessibility, and can help!

        Accessibility (a11y for short) seems like a niche area of concern for many people. I was thinking about this recently on a hot morning in Spain, walking to the bus station with my wheeled luggage. The sidewalks are thoughtfully cut out for wheelchairs — and those with luggage! and the kids riding skateboards, and…… the rest of us.

      • Writing a comics manager for Krita

        Those who know me, or at the least know my history with Krita is that one of the prime things I personally want to use Krita for is making comics. So back in the day one of the things I did was make a big forum post discussing the different parts of making a comic and how different software solves it.

        One of the things about making a comic is that is a project. Meaning, it is big and unwieldy, with multiple files and multiple disciplines. You need to be able to write, to draw, to ink, to color. And you need to be able to do this consistently.

      • Progress on Kube

        We’ve been mostly focusing on ironing out UX problems all over the place. It turns out, when writing desktop applications using QtQuick you’ll be ending up with a lot of details to figure out for yourself.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • [Video] GUADEC 2017 – Richard Brown – Resurrecting dinosaurs, what could possibly go wrong

        GUADEC is GNOME’s annual user and developer European conference. This year GUADEC took place in the city of Manchester, UK with 45 talks and more than 200 attendees. Thanks this year’s GUADEC sponsors for making the conference happen. For more information see: http://2017.guadec.org

      • Post-GUADEC distractions

        We finally picked it up this year. I produced a better cairo patch, which we reviewed, fixed and merged during the unconference days at GUADEC. Behdad also wrote and merged the necessary changes for fontconfig, so we can have an “emoji” font family, and made pango automatically choose that font when it finds Emoji.

        After guadec, I worked on the input side in GTK+. As a first result, it is now possible to use Control-Shift-e to select Emoji by name or code.

      • My first (and definitely not the last) GUADEC!

        I recently attended GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC) 2017 held in Manchester, UK. It was my first time in the UK and my first time at a conference and needless to say, I had a wonderful time.

        [...]

        Lots of social events and fun activities were organised. The GNOME 20th Anniversary party was one of the best parties I’ve been to yet.

      • Report for COSCUP 2017

        As a GNOME Foundation member, together with Bin Li, we have a task to promote GNOME and collaborate with Local Free Desktop community in this COSCUP.

      • Shipping PKCS7 signed metadata and firmware
      • Plano Another Flat Theme For Gnome And Xfce Desktop

        There are many flat themes available for Linux desktops, you may have favorite one also. Plano another flat theme specially designed for Gnome and Xfce desktops. It is compatible with Gtk 3.24/3.22/3.20 versions, if you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint then download zip file directly from theme page and install it in this location “~/.themes” or “/usr/share/themes”. There is also theme for Gnome Shell which can go along with its Gtk version. If you find any kind of bug or issue within this theme then report it to creator and hopefully he will fix it soon.

      • Vimix Gtk Themes Available in Dark and Light Variants for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        There isn’t much theme development going on for latest Ubuntu release since it requires theme creator to build their theme from scratch for new GTK versions, it seems development almost went away but there are still people who are giving their free time just to make your desktop elegant, make sure to support them as well. Vimix GTK themes available in dark and light version and for GTK 3.20/3.22 there are more variants which means you get more themes on latest 16.10 desktop. It is a flat Material Design theme designed for GTK 3, GTK 2 and Gnome Shell based on Flat-Plat theme, and these themes are compatible with most of the desktop environments such as Unity, Gnome, Mate, Cinnamon, Xfce, Budgie and so on. If you find any kind of bug or issue within this theme then report it to creator via linked page. Shadow and Papirus icons used in the following screenshots. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool.

      • The coming WebKitGTK+ 2.4 apocalypse

        It is well understood that old and unmaintained software tends to be a breeding ground for security problems. These problems are never welcome, but they are particularly worrying when the software in question is a net-facing tool like a web browser. Standalone browsers are (hopefully) reasonably well maintained, but those are not the only web browsers out there; they can also be embedded into applications. The effort to do away with one unmaintained embedded browser is finally approaching its conclusion, but the change appears to have caught some projects unaware.

        In early 2016, Michael Catanzaro sounded the alarm about security issues with the widely used WebKitGTK+ browser engine. At the time, security issues were turning up in WebKitGTK+ with great regularity, but nobody was calling them out as such; as a result, they were not getting CVE numbers and distributors were not bothering to ship updates. That created a situation where Linux desktop systems were routinely running software that was known to have security issues that, in many cases, could be exploited via a hostile web page or HTML email attachment.

      • [Videos] GUADEC 2017
  • Distributions

    • Linux Distributions by category

      As many of the computer geeks many know, Linux is NOT the complete OS, but only the kernel. Linux distributions take the Linux kernel and combine it with other free software to create a complete operating system for people to download and put in use to their needs.

    • Solus 3 Released Here Is What’s New in Solus 3

      The newest Solus releases are ready for download from here for installation on most modern Intel and AMD based personal computers. Remember that you can choose between Budgie, GNOME, and MATE desktop options. Thanks for reading and share your thoughts and comments with us.

    • Choosing Linux distribution, which one and why, tips
    • Reviews

      • A Short Review on deepin 15.4.1, with New System Monitor & More

        This review introduces briefly what’s new on deepin 15.4.1. It got new UI features such as classic menu and 2D-3D mode switcher, new System Monitor with unique & nice interface, many new mirrors kindly provided by third-parties (big thanks to them!), and so on. Also, I expect you to beware the CPU consumption of deepin-wm on 3D mode (at least until it’s fixed by the developers). Finally, enjoy this review!

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Gentoo Family

      • Hardened Linux kernel sources removal

        As you may know the core of sys-kernel/hardened-sources has been the grsecurity patches. Recently the grsecurity developers have decided to limit access to these patches. As a result, the Gentoo Hardened team is unable to ensure a regular patching schedule and therefore the security of the users of these kernel sources. Thus, we will be masking hardened-sources on the 27th of August and will proceed to remove them from the package repository by the end of September. We recommend to use sys-kernel/gentoo-sources instead. Userspace hardening and support for SELinux will of course remain in the Gentoo package tree. Please see the full news item for additional information and links.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora + Plasma + Unity = Nice looks?

          Hybrid things aren’t usually the best option around. Like hybrid cars, for example. Technically, when you marry concepts, you change the energy state, and while this could make sense in that you blend the best of several worlds, when this is done in a forced manner over a short period of time rather than eons of evolution, you end with the worst bits as the product of your mutation.

          I read about the United theme for Plasma a few months ago, and given that I’ve spent a fair deal of time fiddling with themes and icons and fonts and making different desktop environments look prettier than their defaults, I was intrigued. So I decided to see whether the notion of having Plasma look like Unity is a sane option. Let us. Fedora + Plasma + Unity = Nice looks?

          [...]

          What is thy point, Vanessa, the astute among you may ask? Well, I have nothing against United or its creators, but I did come to the conclusion that too much tweaking is worse than no tweaking, if this statement makes sense. I like the notion of trying to overcome the inherent problems in each desktop through the use of themes and extensions. After all, I’ve been doing that profusely for the past few months.

          But it gets undone when you cross the desktop environment space. Making Gnome better yes. Making Plasma better, absolutely. Unity as an overlay for Plasma, well tricky. There’s too much disparity for you to be able to hide the underlying workflow mechanisms and UI philosophies. Then, every little inconsistency glares. You notice things you do not expect, and you get angry because there are certain things you do expect. Some transformations work quite well because they build on the foundations, e.g. various Gnome panels or Macbuntu. But Plasma has its own special charm and flow and making it into a weird version of Unity, which itself is a weird version of Gnome misses the bigger picture.

          And so, if you’re asking me, Plasma and Unity are two separate worlds, best enjoyed in isolation. United is an interesting notion, but it also signifies the upper limit for my own wild ideas and tweaking. Yes, you can make it work, then again, it means taking away from the beauty and style of what these two desktops do, and that’s not the purpose of my pimping guides. So we shall stop here, and explore other colors and shapes. Have fun, little penguins.

        • Fedora Design Interns 2017

          Here’s an update on internships. Older post linked to here. Quick recap: there’s been 2 long-term interns for Fedora design team since February, and one short-term guy, who came for 2 weeks at the beginning of June. Guys have been doing an amazing job, I can’t stress enough how happy I am to have them around.

        • F26-20170815 Updated ISOs released
        • Flock 2017 – I’m waiting for you, Cape Cod!
    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tor “can’t build free and open source tools” and stop racists from using them

    The Tor Project has reiterated its absolutist commitment to free speech, saying that even though Daily Stormer recently moved to a Tor onion service, the organization won’t do anything to stop the “hate-spewing website.”

  • Substituting software imports with local and open-source products

    It is gratifying to read Dhaka Tribune news reports that Bangladesh’s export of software has finally reached $191 million in the last financial year.

    However, before getting complacent, we should recall that the indicator of international competitiveness in any industry is net exports, which is the value of exports minus imports. Positive net exports in any sector implies that the country sells more to the world than it buys, and is thus truly independent in that sector.

    When we try to calculate net exports of software from Bangladesh, however, we run into a major problem. We know that the vast majority of computers in the country run pirated versions of MS Windows and MS Office.

    These have not been paid for, but by law, they must be paid for as software piracy is illegal (however, the laws of intellectual property are poorly enforced and so pirated DVDs of Microsoft software are widely available). However, we can calculate the economic value of pirated Microsoft software from published statistics and market prices.

  • People Should Really Be Thankful For Free Software Developers

    Users don’t usually realize the value of free software they get for free. Things like Linux, LibreOffice, Inkscape, GIMP and a lot of other free software may be essential in the daily life of each of us. However, we may not actually feel “pleasure” for those software developers who provided us with all of this. They may not feel the value of what they have.

    If you ask an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a teacher or a farmer to give you one of the products they do for free, probably they will just refuse. You won’t find a professor working full time in a university for free. You won’t find a civil engineer working on building houses for free. You won’t find a farmer giving you vegetables for free. However, you do find software developers giving it for you for free.

    Software are not developed by magic. Developing good software requires investing hundreds of hours in it. And although of all of that, we find a huge number of software developers who are ready to create free software for us.

    Investing just 100 hours in developing a small tool should worth $1500 (with a minimum wage of $15 per hour). So imagine how much it really costs to invest thousands of hours in such processes.

    Let’s make a small comparison.

  • Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable

    It’s hard to say how fast Mastodon is growing, because it’s hard to say how big Mastodon is. The Mastodon Network Monitoring Project does its best to keep up, but servers come online and go down all the time. If you’re running a Mastodon server and don’t register or federate it (perfectly reasonable if you want a community just for people you invite) it won’t register on the project’s dashboard. So we might think of the 1.5 million registered users on ~2400 servers as the network’s minimum size.

    [...]

    Our team at the MIT Media Lab – Chelsea Barabas, Neha Narula and myself – are releasing a new report today on distributed publishing, titled “Back to the Future: the Decentralized Web” We end up speculating that the main barriers to adoption of decentralized platforms aren’t technical, but around usability. Most distributed publishing tools are simply too complex for most users to adopt. Mastodon may have overcome that problem, borrowing design ideas from a successful commercial product. But the example of lolicon may challenge our theories in two directions. One, if you’re unable to share content on the sites you’re used to using – Twitter, in this case – you may be more willing to adopt a new tool, even if its interface is initially unfamiliar. Second, an additional barrier to adoption for decentralized publishing may be that its first large userbase is a population that cannot use centralized social networks. Any stigma associated with this community may make it harder for users with other interests to adopt these new tools.

  • Events

    • foss-gbg gets going again

      foss-gbg is a local group sharing ideas and knowledge around Free and Open Source Software in the Gothenburg area.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome/Chromium Seems To Perform Better And Here Are Some Useful Extensions

        Since its launch in 2008, Google Chrome has now become the most popular web browser, leaving the competition way behind. Google Chrome is available for various operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Linux is the most popular open source operating system, used by millions worldwide. Aside from being open source software, Linux is also customizable, which means users can fit it for specific purposes.

        Installing Chrome on Linux is not a direct process, but it is worth it. For one thing, Chrome is a very fast browser as compare to other browsers. It is also easy to access. Unlike in other operating systems, a straightforward installation of Google Chrome is not possible in Linux because it is not available via Software Manager in any Linux distribution, in order to install it you must download it from its official website. For example, if you wish to install Google Chrome in Ubuntu/Linux Mint, which are both most popular Linux distributions, you would have to open the terminal and run some specific commands one by one, or alternatively you can download deb file and double click to open it via installer.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 54: Speed, customization and future

        Ever since Mozilla embarked on the Chrome-me-up journey a few years ago, my enthusiasm took on a six-weekly decline cadence, with each new release of the Firefox browser bringing in more of what Firefox shouldn’t be and less of what made it such a cool program in the hands of its loyal users. But the best is yet to come. The true rite of passage. Only the most righteous will survive. WebExtensions.

        While trying to salvage some of what it still has left while actively scuppering its fanbase and killing off its powerful extension mechanism, Mozilla is working on giving its browser a breath of fresh air. More speed, it seems, as though it is the critical factor that made people abandon ship. But assuming it is, does it make a difference? Let’s test.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Surpassed the 40,000 closed bugs milestone

      As Tommy kindly mentioned on the QA mailing list, this week the LibreOffice project has surpassed the 40,000 resolved bugs milestone – a huge achievement demonstrating the enormous amount of effort the community puts into software quality. If we take a look at the numbers from August 2016 (the month we started to collect data from Bugzilla) up to now, 7,143 bugs have been closed during this year, with an average of 133 bugs closed each week.

    • LibreOffice 5.4 works better with Microsoft Office files

      If you like your productivity software to come as a big, sprawling, all-encompassing suite, you can buy an annual Microsoft Office subscription.

      Or, you could get the power of Office without paying a penny. LibreOffice is free and open source. When I tested LibreOffice 5.2 a year ago I found it was a solid alternative, but lacks polish.

      There’s still no polish. The Document Foundation has stuck with a retro user interface. It says this will be the last LibreOffice 5 version. The next will be LibreOffice 6. That may see the software get a make-over.

      While LibreOffice 5.4 make look dated to some, the comments in the earlier post show some users are comfortable with the older way of working. The fancy Microsoft Office ribbon interface doesn’t help you get things done any faster. It’s just cosmetic.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Streamlio Launches with $7.5M in Funding to Advance Real Time Applications

      New startup unifies open-source technologies including Apache Pulsar and Heron into an enterprise-grade platform.

      Building a full platform for real-time data analytics often involved cobbling together multiple open-source projects to get all the requirement components. Typically enterprise don’t want to build their own platform, but tend to prefer integrated solution that have already done the heavy lifting of putting all the pieces together.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.4 Enters Beta, Release Slated For October

      For those riding the FreeBSD 10 train and not yet prepared to jump on over to FreeBSD 11 with its recent v11.1 release, there is FreeBSD 10.4 being worked on.

      Available this weekend is the first beta for FreeBSD 10.4. This is the first beta snapshot of 10.4 while at least two more betas are coming before at least three release candidates and then in early October we should be seeing the official FreeBSD 10.4-RELEASE, per the schedule.

    • Smartisan Makes Another Iridium Donation to the OpenBSD Foundation

      For the second consecutive year, Smartisan (http://www.smartisan.com) has has made a donation of over CDN$100,000 to support OpenBSD and related projects.

    • RETGUARD

      This year I went to BSDCAN in Ottawa. I spent much of it in the ‘hallway track’, and had an extended conversation with various people regarding our existing security mitigations and hopes for new ones in the future. I spoke a lot with Todd Mortimer. Apparently I told him that I felt return-address protection was impossible, so a few weeks later he sent a clang diff to address that issue…

      The first diff is for amd64 and i386 only — in theory RISC architectures can follow this approach soon.

    • t2k17 Hackathon Report: Ted Unangst OpenBSD with more ptys

      I did a bit of this and that, but the project that probably has the most interesting explanation has to do with pseudo terminals.

    • Interview with Andrew Tanenbaum

      Andrew Stuart Tanenbaum is an American computer scientist and professor emeritus of computer science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is best known as the author of MINIX, a free Unix-like operating system for teaching purposes, and for his computer science textbooks, regarded as standard texts in the field. He regards his teaching job as his most important work. Since 2004 he has operated Electoral-vote.com, a website dedicated to analysis of polling data in federal elections in the United States.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Intel Adds AVX2/FMA Optimized Math Functions To Glibc 2.27

      Intel engineers have introduced AVX2/FMA-optimized math functions for glibc and will appear in the project’s next stable release.

      There is now optimized asin, atan2, exp, expf, log, pow, atan, sin, and tan functions in glibc Git for benefiting from x86-64 for fused multiply-add, as acknowledged by this commit.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU-Funded Open Source Service Helps You Sell Data And Protect Privacy

      OPERANDO consortium allows users to have more power over what data of theirs gets shared with online service providers. For instance, when you use the Login with Facebook or Google button on various websites.

      The control is offered through an open source service called PlusPrivacy which helps users with a one-stop solution, a dashboard where they can manage all their privacy settings from Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. For those who want simple solutions, there is a “single-click privacy” button which sets the settings for all the social networks to their most privacy-friendly values.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • In Defense of Electron

      Electron, a popular framework that allows developers to write code once and deploy on multiple platforms like Mac, Windows, and Linux, has been under a state of steady attack over the past year.

    • Oracle caves, promises to crack open Java EE as v8 crawls ever closer

      Oracle has revealed plans to shift Java Enterprise Edition to an open-source foundation as it promises delivery of version 8 is “approaching”.

      Java EE is already open source, with support led by Oracle, but in recent years there have been concerns that the firm was funnelling engineers onto other projects.

      Although Oracle restated its commitment to Java EE last year, there have been continued calls for the firm to fully open it up. Some in the community are likely to be wary of being overly dependent on Oracle, and the threat of lock-in that comes with a big vendor.

    • Opening Java EE, Tectonic on Azure, Free Tools & More…

      The long and short of it: Oracle is “considering” finding a new place for Java EE developers to hang their proverbial hats.

      “We believe that moving Java EE technologies including reference implementations and test compatibility kit to an open source foundation may be the right next step,” Delabassee continued, “in order to adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing, and change the governance process. We plan on exploring this possibility with the community, our licensees and several candidate foundations to see if we can move Java EE forward in this direction.”

    • Oracle Wants to Give Java EE to the Open-Source Community

      Oracle said this week it plans to transfer management of the Java EE project to an open-source foundation, such as Apache or Eclipse.

      The announcement came ahead of Java EE 8′s release this fall when Oracle seems poised to announce to whom Java EE development will be transferred.

      The Java EE (Enterprise Edition) project is a collection of APIs for the Java platform that were specifically built to help developers create enterprise-scale applications.

    • Oracle Plans To Move Java EE To Open Source Community

      The release of Java EE 8 is expected to take place in the upcoming months. With this release, Oracle is also seeking to shift Java EE to some open source foundation. Oracle is thinking about this move to benefit Java EE’s development and bring changes as per industry needs. Red Hat has released a statement and welcomed Oracle’s initiative.

    • YAGNI, Cargo Cult and Overengineering – the Planes Won’t Land Just Because You Built a Runway in Your Backyard

      People know complexity is bad. No one likes to see bugs filed on JIRA or get PagerDuty alerts at 3 a.m. that something is wrong with Cassandra cluster. But why do software developers still do it? Why do they choose to build complex systems without proper investigation?

    • Build system change GTK’s master branch

      executive summary: the master branch of GTK+ now builds with Meson, and the Autotools build system files have been dropped.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Do Laptops Help Learning? A Look At The Only Statewide School Laptop Program

      Yet, after a decade and a half, and at a cost of about $12 million annually (around one percent of the state’s education budget), Maine has yet to see any measurable increases on statewide standardized test scores. That’s part of why Maine’s current governor, Paul LePage, has called the program a “massive failure.”

  • Hardware

    • How Hardware Drives The Shape Of Databases To Come

      One of the reasons that the University of California at Berkeley was been a hotbed of software technology back in the 1970s and 1980s is Michael Stonebraker, who was one of the pioneers in relational database technology and one of the industry’s biggest – and most vocal – shakers and movers and one of its most prolific serial entrepreneurs.

      Like other database pioneers, Stonebraker read the early relational data model papers by IBMer Edgar Codd, and in 1973 started work on the Ingres database along IBM’s own System R database, which eventually became DB2, and Oracle’s eponymous database, which entered the field a few years later.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Now NHS cuts are stripping basic medicines from the poor

      The retreat of the health service is stealthy and haphazard, as a creeping postcode lottery of cuts gradually erodes the “national” in NHS. IVF, hip and knee operations are being cut back randomly in some regions. In some places patients can only get one cataract fixed: seeing with one eye is enough.

    • The NHS saved me. As a scientist, I must help to save it

      Like many people, I have personal experience of the NHS. In my case, medical care, personal life and scientific life are all intertwined. I have received a large amount of high-quality NHS treatment and would not be here today if it were not for the service.

      The care I have received since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease as a student in 1962 has enabled me to live my life as I want, and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe. In July I celebrated my 75th birthday with an international science conference in Cambridge. I still have a full-time job as director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and, with two colleagues, am soon to publish another scientific paper on quantum black holes.

    • Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

      Stephen Hawking has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support.

      The renowned 75-year-old physicist was speaking to promote an address he will give on Saturday outlining how he owes his long life and achievements to the NHS care he received, and setting out his fears for a service he believes is being turned into “a US-style insurance system”.

    • EPA Welcomed Industry Feedback Before Reversing Pesticide Ban, Ignoring Health Concerns

      Before the Environmental Protection Agency issued its March 29 decision to reverse a proposed ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, the agency considered information from industry groups that wanted to keep it on the market, according to internal agency documents. But the heavily redacted documents may be most notable for what they do not include.

      The Intercept obtained internal emails, reports, and memos via a Freedom of Information Act request for materials used to brief EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on chlorpyrifos.

      Although the documents reflect several direct communications between the EPA, big agricultural groups, and, in one instance, Donald Trump, they included no evidence that the agency met with environmental or public health groups or weighed concerns about the pesticide’s damaging effects. There was also no substantive discussion of the many studies detailing health effects. The story that emerges from the documents is a simple one of agricultural industry lobbying and, after its success, celebration.

    • “Blood on our hands” – the sorry state of UK mental health services

      But this should not be read as a criticism of NHS staff, some of whom have empathetically explained why support services for survivors of abuse within the NHS are inadequate. Charities are often being left to pick up the slack, but with increasing demand and diminishing funds they cannot be expected to bridge such a huge gap.

  • Security

    • Hiding malware in boobytrapped replacement screens would undetectably compromise your mobile device

      On the one hand, if you let an untrusted stranger install hardware in your electronic device, you’re opening yourself up to all kinds of potential mischief; on the other hand, an estimated one in five smartphones has a cracked screen and the easiest, most efficient and cheapest way to get that fixed is to go to your corner repair-shop.

    • How hackers {sic} are targeting the shipping industry [iophk: "Microsoft TCO"]

      Whenever one of the firm’s fuel suppliers would send an email asking for payment, the virus simply changed the text of the message before it was read, adding a different bank account number.

    • Locky ransomware is back from the dead with two new strains [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

      What hasn’t changed, though, is the method of distribution.Rather than rifling through the trove of spilt US National Security Agency exploits, as the groups behind WannaCry and NotPetya did, Locky is distributed via phishing emails containing malicious Microsoft Office files or zipped attachments containing a malicious script.

    • Connected cars could have an airbag problem

      “It’s not the car manufacturers’ fault, and it’s not a problem introduced by them. The security issue that we leveraged in our research lies in the standard that specifies how the car device network (i.e., CAN) works,” added Trend.

      [...] To eliminate the risk entirely, an updated CAN standard should be proposed, adopted, and implemented. This whole process would likely require another generation of vehicles.”

    • Code chunk in Kronos malware used long before MalwareTech published it

      A chunk of code found in the Kronos bank-fraud malware originated more than six years before security researcher Marcus Hutchins is accused of developing the underlying code, a fellow security researcher said Friday.

      The conclusion, reached in an analysis of Kronos published by security firm Malwarebytes, by no means proves or disproves federal prosecutors’ allegations that Hutchins wrote Kronos code and played a role in the sale of the malware. It does, however, clarify speculation over a Tweet from January 2015, in which MalwareTech—the online handle Hutchins used—complained that a complex piece of code he had published a month earlier had been added to an unnamed malware sample without his permission.

    • Secret chips in replacement parts can completely hijack your phone’s security

      People with cracked touch screens or similar smartphone maladies have a new headache to consider: the possibility the replacement parts installed by repair shops contain secret hardware that completely hijacks the security of the device.

      The concern arises from research that shows how replacement screens—one put into a Huawei Nexus 6P and the other into an LG G Pad 7.0—can be used to surreptitiously log keyboard input and patterns, install malicious apps, and take pictures and e-mail them to the attacker. The booby-trapped screens also exploited operating system vulnerabilities that bypassed key security protections built into the phones. The malicious parts cost less than $10 and could easily be mass-produced. Most chilling of all, to most people, the booby-trapped parts could be indistinguishable from legitimate ones, a trait that could leave many service technicians unaware of the maliciousness. There would be no sign of tampering unless someone with a background in hardware disassembled the repaired phone and inspected it.

    • One mistake people make using public Wi-Fi

      But if you’re sharing files on public Wi-Fi, your folders may be accessible to anyone connected to the same public network. In other words, file sharing automatically exposes your computer and everything you intend to share. Your vacation photos may end up in the wrong hands, and so could your contracts, spreadsheets, and tax information.

    • Officials: State Department suffers worldwide email outage

      The U.S. State Department’s email system underwent a worldwide outage Friday, affecting all its unclassified communications within and outside of the department.

    • Marcus Hutchins’ code written long after Kronos: researcher

      The security researcher, who claimed recently to have found code written by Briton Marcus Hutchins that was used in the Kronos banking trojan by a third party, now says this code predates both Hutchins and the unknown third party that used it in Kronos.

    • Linux security myths
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Barcelona I know will rise stronger after this day of horror

      Until fairly recently, walking down Las Ramblas – the scene of yesterday’s devastating attack – was something Barcelonians used to do quite regularly, enjoying a relaxed stroll down to the port. Before the great urban transformation brought about by the Olympic Games 25 years ago, it was one of the few spots where ordinary citizens could come in contact with the sea. This pedestrian boulevard is one of the city’s landmarks, once famous for its unique mixture of cosmopolitan diversity and Mediterranean parochialism, a place where the uptown Catalan bourgeois rushing to the opera house would encounter everyday folk going about their business, as well as the seedier elements of the night-time economy. In other words, Las Ramblas represented the democratic spirit of an open-minded city in southern Europe.

    • NYT Claims US Opposed Honduran Coup It Actually Supported

      Now, the US is supposed to cut off aid to a country that has a military coup—and “there is no doubt” that Zelaya’s ouster “constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup,” according to a secret report sent by the US ambassador to Honduras on July 24, 2009, and later exposed by WikiLeaks. But the US continued most aid to Honduras, carefully avoiding the magic words “military coup” that would have necessitated withdrawing support from the coup regime.

      [...]

      So is it really that we in the US have forgotten what happened in Honduras? Or is that many of us believe falsehoods about that history brought to us by media like the New York Times? The paper may run a correction or a letter to the editor; we’re providing contact information below for readers to contact the Times to encourage them to set the record straight.

      But really, how can you see such an outright inversion of reality as a slip-up? “Oops, did we say the US opposed the coup? What we meant to say is that the US, virtually alone in the world, supported it.” The real lesson is, when the US government declares a country an enemy, keep in mind that for corporate press, that basically means—anything goes.

    • The Goal of ‘Not Losing’ in Afghanistan

      “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense!” – Donald Trump, January 11, 2013

      Taking a break from his defense of the “very fine people” who marched with Nazis in Charlottesville, President Trump will reportedly meet with his national security team today (Friday, August 18) at Camp David to discuss a far deadlier but ironically less controversial issue: the war in Afghanistan.

    • To the victors, the ruins: the challenges of Russia’s reconstruction in Syria

      The next day, video emerged of a Russian checkpoint operating in East Ghouta, establishing a Russian ground presence in the second of four de-escalation zones in the country. On 26 July, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed a major development, stating that Russia presently had four military police battalions operating in Syria, eclipsing the previous total of two to three such units. Shoigu also stated that these battalions were from Russia’s Southern Military District, a region which includes the North Caucasus, thus indicating the Sunni Muslim composition of most or all of the units. This marked growth shows Moscow’s seriousness in implementing its painstakingly-negotiated ceasefire regimes in western Syria.

    • Arms bazaar: needs wars, eats lives

      A fourth point is that this sheer wealth enables huge operations. These are often aided by the “revolving door” whereby senior civil servants and military chiefs who are concerned in any way with weapons development and procurement can secure very good post-retirement consultancies or even board memberships.

      A fifth factor is that these companies, where their activity in relation to international arms sales is concerned, can rely on a favourable attitude from the states where their production is based. This positive outlook may extend to direct government encouragement and aid. A clear indication is a ruling which found against the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). The group had challenged the legality of the UK government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, where weaponry exported to Riyadh were being used in repeated bombing of targets in Yemen that had caused substantial loss of life among civilians.

    • Permanent War, Permanent Failure

      The Trump administration’s current tussle with North Korea is a long-time in coming. Six decades ago, in July 1953, an armistice was signed that ended formal hostilities, but not the Korean War. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded the South, leading to a growing conflict between the U.S. and China. In this UN-sanctioned conflict, 54,000 Americans were killed. Six decades later, a permanent peace treaty has yet to be agreed upon and the U.S. is upping the ante by installing its latest THAAD anti-ballistic missile system.

    • 150,000 AMERICANS KILLED BY GUNS SINCE SANDY HOOK

      In the less than five years since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 150,000 more Americans have been killed by guns – a number that is more than 30 times the number of Americans killed in the Iraq War.

    • Imperial Death Spiral

      In 2016, the last full year of Barack Obama’s administration, a Black person was slain by the police every 1.2 days in America. These killings were uncorrelated with crime rates, making them political. Three times as many Blacks were killed as Whites (relative to population sizes), making them targeted. These were racially targeted killings of Black citizens by agents of the state who received near absolute immunity for carrying them out. And with three centuries of precedent behind them, they were business as usual in America.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Feds to sell 14 million barrels from oil reserve

      The 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law last year, requires the Energy Department to sell a total of 25 million barrels of crude oil from the SPR starting this year. Revenues from the sale will help fund the National Institutes of Health.

    • Norway close to becoming planet’s first ‘fully electrified society’

      Norway has the renewable resources and political will to become the world’s first country to use entirely clean electricity for its power demands, according to a new report by Energi Norge, a non-profit industry group representing Norwegian electricity companies.

      “Our target is for Norway, based on hydro power and better collaboration between businesses and the authorities, to become the world’s first fully electric society by 2050,” Energi Norge head Oluf Ulseth told the Norwegian News Agency NTB.

      Norway’s government ministers recently announced that the sale of combustion engine cars will be phased out by 2025, a move that has been copied to some degree in other European countries like France and the United Kingdom.

    • Environmentalists worried as UK sells off Green Investment Bank

      Britain’s green credentials were called into question on Friday (18 August) after the government announced it had completed the sale of the state-owned Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Australian investors Macquarie Group Limited.

      The Edinburgh-based GIB, which will now change its name to the Green Investment Group, fetched £2.3bn (€2.5bn), returning the full public investment and set-up costs plus around £186m (€204m).

      But critics were not convinced that this amounts to a good deal for British taxpayers, or that the bank will be able to continue its mission under the new ownership.

    • Leading elephant conservationist shot dead in Tanzania

      The head of an animal conservation NGO who had received numerous death threats has been shot and killed by an unknown gunman in Tanzania.

      Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot on Wednesday evening in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam. The wildlife conservationist was being driven from the airport to his hotel when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle. Two men, one armed with a gun opened his car door and shot him.

      Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa. Since starting the organisation in Tanzania in 2009, he had received numerous death threats relating to his work.

    • Three wildlife rangers killed in attack by violent militia in DRC

      Three rangers have been killed and another is missing after an attack by violent militia in Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bringing the number of fatalities in the park this year to eight.

      The park rangers, Charles Paluku Syaira, Jonas Paluku Malyani and Pacifique Musubao Fikirini were murdered on the morning of Monday 14 August during a routine patrol around the park, which is home to critically endangered mountain gorilla.

    • Anti-Fracking Activists Celebrate Ruling Against Major Pipeline

      “This project would have been bad news for New York waters and communities, and the court’s decision will help ensure that important waterways in the state, including the Hudson River and Schoharie Creek, will be protected,” said Riverkeeper president Paul Gallay.

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) had the authority to deny a Clean Water Act permit to four companies planning to construct the Constitution Pipeline, which would have carried fracked gas from Pennsylvania to Eastern New York State.

      The pipeline—which would have crossed waterways 251 times and run through more than 80 acres of wetlands—received initial approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency that regulates interstates pipeline projects. However, it was blocked by NYSDEC last year, when the state agency determined the gas companies had not provided enough information to ensure that the pipeline would comply with state water quality standards.

  • Finance

    • Infosys approves up to $2 billion buyback of shares [iophk: "bleeding the company by shunting money into the board's pockets rather than reinvesting"]

      India’s second-biggest IT firm Infosys said on Saturday it will buy back shares worth up to 130 billion rupees ($2 billion), a day after Vishal Sikka resigned as chief executive after a long-running feud with the company’s founders. The board of Bengaluru-headquartered Infosys approved the repurchase of 113 million shares at 1,150 rupees apiece, the company said in a stock exchange filing, returning cash to investors at a substantial premium to Friday’s closing price of 923.25 rupees.

    • Microsoft only paid $30 million income tax last year, lowest since 2003 [iophk: "thus the distracting noise about pocketing a large sum in his own foundation"]

      [...] If Microsoft were to bring its overseas income to the US, Microsoft would owe approximately $45 billion in taxes.

    • Brexit: A view from the other end of the telescope

      Underpinning all this has been the dominant narrative in Britain of World War II. This is not of a Europe rescued (including with the sacrifice of 20 million Soviet citizens) from the fascist Sword of Damocles but is a story of how ‘Britain stood alone’ against its main national enemy: historically this was France but since World War I had been Germany. Fascism, and the political alternatives to it, only entered this story in the superficial demonising features of helmets, swastikas and the pidgin German (‘Achtung’, ‘Jawohl’) found in countless children’s comic books.

      Elsewhere in Europe, the political lesson bitterly learned through the Holocaust was of the need to subordinate particularistic identity claims and their aggressive prosecution against the ‘other’ to a regime guaranteeing universal norms of democracy, human rights and the rule of law — the fundamental shift which turned western Europe from the most violent region on the planet in the first half of the 20th century into a haven of peace in the second. What Britain ‘learned’ however was merely a reinforcement of its supposed national mission in the world, embodied in beliefs in its inherent stoicism at home and acceptance of the White Man’s Burden abroad.

      Brexit is thus not just a misunderstanding between the British ruling class and the rest of Europe. It is the incomprehension of a former imperial power, wistfully hoping to recreate a long-gone global sphere of influence, for what remains—despite all its manifest shortfalls—a modern, cosmopolitan political project.

    • Wisconsin lawmakers vote to pay Foxconn $3 billion to get new factory

      The Wisconsin Assembly voted 59-30 on Thursday to approve a bill to give incentives worth $3 billion to Taiwan-based Foxconn so that the company would open its first US plant in the state.

      Foxconn, best known for supplying parts of Apple’s iPhones, will open the $10 billion liquid-crystal display plant in 2020, according to Reuters. The bill still has to be approved by a joint finance committee and the state Senate.

      Both houses of Wisconsin’s legislature are controlled by Republicans, and the deal is supported by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a Republican who negotiated the deal.

    • The Dangerous Rise Of Unproductive Entrepreneurship

      But part of the point of Allworth’s article is that it feels like too many people are just focusing on “profit” as the end goal, and thus either unwilling or unconcerned with determining if the entrepreneurship that drives the profit is “productive” or “unproductive.” And, now the Economist has weighed in on this issue as well, noting that we’re seeing more and more unproductive entrepreneurship in America, and that’s a problem. The article focuses on the work of two economists, Robert Litan and Ian Hathaway, who are building on Baumol’s concepts and are concerned about where things are heading.

    • More Banking Follies

      It was a sad coincidence. It occurred within a couple days after the public was apprised of Wells Fargo’s new foray into discovering ways to make more money by bilking its customers.

      It was not, of course, a first for that venerable institution. Last year it was learned that millions of customers of the bank had bank accounts and credit cards opened for them by employees of the bank, without being authorized to do so by the customer. If the employee had not only opened the account, but had caused the bank to deposit, for example, $1000 into the account in order to give it life, the practice would not have upset the unsuspecting customers. Instead, the employees simply opened the accounts and, instead of depositing money into them, charged the account holders fees for creating the accounts and associated fees for services that accompanied the new accounts.

    • More than Half of All Enterprises are Eyeing Blockchain

      By now, it’s been firmly established that blockchain is much bigger than Bitcoin. Like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and today’s other trendsetting technologies, blockchain promises to radically alter how business is conducted over the next several years.

      And executives are taking notice.

      Fifty-seven percent of large enterprises are at least seriously considering deploying blockchain technology, if they’re not already in the midst of their own deployment projects, according to a survey of 400 business executives, founders, managers and IT professionals conducted by analyst firm Juniper Research. Two-thirds (66 percent) of the organizations that are testing proof-of-concepts expect to integrate blockchain into their IT systems by the end of 2018.

      Awareness is high. A majority (76 percent) of respondents said blockchain could be very or quite useful for their organizations. Only 15 percent admitted to knowing very little about the technology.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • [Older] A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

      It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

      The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

    • Steve Bannon’s Apocalyptic ‘Unravelling’ [Ed: just republished]
    • Remove Him Now

      We have endured Donald Trump for 7 months. Although he has had few legislative victories, he has almost single-handedly destroyed the moral authority of the presidency of the United States at home and abroad, brought us to the brink of a nuclear war without consulting anyone, and sown division and hatred.

      He has given encouragement and legitimacy to the ugliest in America.

      How can this nation endure another 41 months of this man?

    • ‘Swamp’s Doing Fine’: Amid White House Turmoil, Trump Cozies Up to Right-Wing Donors

      His party is publicly rebuking him, corporate executives are rushing to distance themselves from his administration to safeguard their own reputations, and rumors of more White House departures are swirling after Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s ouster. But it appears that President Donald Trump can still count on one bedrock of stability: major right-wing donors.

    • Why Trump Isn’t a Populist

      To be sure, the current President, America’s first CEO Commander- in- Chief, has often walked and talked like an economic populist. Admittedly, he has made some putatively populist gestures: Promoting protectionism, retaining/ reshoring jobs, and challenging current immigration policies come immediately to mind in this regard. But on the biggest economic-policy questions—tax reform, regulation/deregulation, and health care – his positions have been anything but populist. In fact, his positions here are vigorously anti-populist, tilting strongly, as they do, toward capital and upper-income/wealth groups, including the bête noire of populists, the infamous 1 percent.

    • The Failing Trump Presidency
    • The Moral Voice of Corporate America
    • After Charlottesville Violence, Alt-Right Plans Another Weekend of Hate
    • Citing ‘Hateful Rhetoric’ of Trump, Arts & Humanities Council Resigns En Masse

      In a strong rebuke of President Donald Trump equating white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend with counter-protesters who demonstrated against bigotry, all members of the president’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities announced their resignations Friday—and urged Trump to do the same.

      “The false equivalencies you push cannot stand. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” wrote the group of 17 visual artists, writers, musicians, and other influential figures in the arts.

    • Is There a Nazi in the White House?

      Donald Trump is trying hard to put a pretty face on racism. But the racists, openly embracing the label, won’t let him.

      Referring to the violent gathering of self-professed fascists in Charlottesville, Va., during his press conference Tuesday, Trump said, “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.” But those who showed up for the “Unite the Right” rally Saturday defined themselves so clearly that Trump can’t whitewash their hatred away.

      The Nazi website The Daily Stormer even declared this season the “Summer of Hate.” (The website has recently been dropped by its hosting company, GoDaddy). On Saturday, protesters gathered, wearing swastikas and chanting the Nazi slogan “Blood and Soil,” and marched KKK-style with lit torches. One attendee literally emulated those who pledge allegiance to Islamic State by plowing down people in the street with his car, killing a young woman named Heather Heyer.

    • Al Franken Not Impressed By Bannon Firing: ‘The Problem With This Administration Is Trump’

      Back in May, Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) grilled a Justice Department official during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about whether the West Wing presence of Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart executive turned chief strategist to President Trump, sends a bad message when it comes to religious discrimination in America.

      “I’m curious the message you think it sends to individuals that may engage in that kind of reprehensible behavior when the president selects Steve Bannon as his chief strategist?” asked Franken. “Steve Bannon, after all, is the former chairman of Breitbart News and trafficked ideology of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, anti-Muslim propaganda and anti-Semitism.”

      The Justice Department official brushed it off.

    • Heather Heyer’s Mother Won’t Speak with Trump: ‘Not After What He Said About My Child’

      Susan Bro, the mother of slain anti-Nazi protester Heather Heyer, told ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday morning that she does not want to talk with President Donald Trump.

      Bro acknowledged that the Trump White House called her on three separate occasions, including once during her daughter’s memorial service. While Bro says that she initially simply missed the White House’s calls, she now says that she does not want to speak with the president.

      “I’m not talking to the president now, I’m sorry,” Bro said on GMA. “After what he said about my child… it’s not that I’ve seen someone else’s tweets about him, I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters, like Ms. Heyer, with the KKK and the white supremacists.”

    • What Did Dr. King Mean by Love?

      Toward the end of his life, he called for a revolution of values that would utterly transform the United States and its commitment to materialism, racism, and militarism at institutional levels. The fight against white supremacy must be tied to issues of poverty, jobs, reducing our military and nuclear weapons, curbing police brutality, and providing decent health care and education for everyone. These were all issues of concern for King; this is what he meant by love.

    • The Magazine Covers Trump Earned This Week By Defending White Supremacy

      Well, in the aftermath of his disastrous, “embarrassing,” and infuriating defense of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia this week, covers from prominent weekly magazines—The Economist, The New Yorker, and TIME—hitting the shelves this weekend are probably ones the president won’t ever think to brag about.

      The New Yorker cover, illustrated by artist David Plunkert and titled “Blowhard,” shows Trump providing the wind for a sail shaped like a Klu Klux Klan hood.

    • Despite Harsh Rebuke for Charlottesville Stance, Trump’s Base Remains Loyal

      While many in the news media, in Washington, across social media, and in the streets have swiftly condemned President Donald Trump for his comments asserting that both the white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia and the counter-protesters who demonstrated against the so-called “Unite the Right” rally were to blame for the ensuing violence, a new poll shows that many Republicans agree with him.

      In a SurveyMonkey poll, 2,181 respondents were presented with a direct quote from Trump’s unruly Tuesday press conference: “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”

    • Charlottesville and the Confederate Legacy

      As Americans struggle to make sense of the bloodshed resulting from the white supremacist “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville this past weekend, we must remember the movement’s historical predecessors.

      In their vicious quest to “Make America White Again,” this motley conglomeration of different hate groups did more than simply protest the removal of Confederate monuments. Armed for war, these incendiary racists employ several of the same aggressive tactics that the slaveholding leaders of the Confederate rebellion once relied on to achieve secession.

      Having spent months using the ominous threat of violence to gain attention in Charlottesville, these modern-day homegrown terrorists attacked their fellow countrymen in a spectacle-like setting. The death of heroic activist Heather Heyer and the injuries of 19 other brave men and women are, quite horribly, only the most recent casualties in a long string of murders by white supremacists.

    • What Trump Can Learn From Ants

      If there was any doubt that President Donald Trump’s words and actions foster division and violence in the country, the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, should put that notion to rest. Whatever efforts President Barak Obama did to promote a climate of peace and understanding (which were, in different ways, undermined by the Republican legislators) is now being rapidly undone.

      The big question now is: where do we go from here? Is it still possible to create a climate of peace and understanding or are we doomed to an even darker future? Given the circumstances and the actors at play we have reason not to be optimistic. Change is only possible if there is an acknowledgment of wrong and the need to modify behaviors which increase violence and promote confrontation.

      I received today a phone call from a friend in Tel-Aviv. She was very upset and she asked me, “What is wrong with you people in America? Are you crazy? How can you stand a President like that?” I felt at a loss for words to answer her, except to tell her that many people here in the U.S. share her level of frustration and fear.

    • Al Gore Has Just One Small Bit of Advice for Trump: ‘Resign’

      Echoing those sentiments in the LADbible interview, Gore encouraged Americans to “use your vote, and as a citizen you have the ability—even if you’re not yet old enough to vote—to influence the political leaders that are supposed to be representing you and not representing the lobbyists and polluters.”

    • Donald Trump Kicked a Hornet’s Nest When He Fired Steve Bannon
    • Breitbart, the Alt-Right and Charlottesville

      Breitbart has tried to paint itself in a constant battle against mainstream media. Just a quick read over its comments sections will show how far-right the site has become. Commenters will try to say that Breitbart is constantly being attacked and that the left are the ones who are bigoted. During the election, former head of Breitbart Stephen Bannon, boasted the side had become the major “platform of the alt-right.” Even though this statement is true to a limited extent, the views of the alt-right and other white supremacists have not fully been legitimized by the site. Instead, small undertones within its reporting seem to be legitimized. When the controversial Milo Yiannopoulos contributed as head of Breitbart Tech, he claimed many on the left didn’t understand its nuances and even went as far to argue that only a small minority of the movement holds white supremacist beliefs. With the tragic and violent events in Charlottesville, the site still tries to paint itself as being attacked by the mainstream media. Within a recent article the site ran, they feature several alt-right members who “condemn the violence” and disagree with the mainstream media’s account of the rally. Writers Ian Mason and Amanda House interview members who even try to argue that there were no Neo-Nazi members at the rally. The site seems keen on calling out Black Lives Matter for violence and defended Trump’s early comments calling out violence on both sides without even mentioning white supremacy. The failure to even recognize the Neo-Nazi groups at the event are telling of Breitbart’s disregard for fair and balanced reporting. The Detroit Red Wings even released a statement condemning the event because a white supremacist group used a modified version of the team’s logo by replacing the spokes of the tire with lightning bolts resembling Hitler’s SS force. By running these preposterous headlines and misleading information, Breitbart is slowly legitimizing and giving a voice this movement. This is very problematic, and conservatives and progressives need to work together in order to tamp down on this vile element and convince those susceptible to its views to leave.

    • The White House is Now Run Entirely by Hucksters, Democrats, and Generals

      There is no one left in the White House who has any idea what they’re doing. At least nobody conservative.

      President Donald Trump never tires of reminding audiences that he is not a politician, and he proves it on an hourly basis. He is by turns a nationalist, a populist, and a demagogue — but rarely acts as a traditional conservative.

      As the previous occupant of the White House once said, a president’s “success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics.” With the far-right White House strategist Steve Bannon gone, the team left behind appears to be ill-equipped to maneuver the political challenges needed to turn the administration’s ambitious policy goals into successes. The chasm between Trump’s approach and that of his nominal allies in the Republican-controlled Congress is about to be sharpened in relief — and the resumes of his remaining staffers are ill-suited to overcome the gulf.

    • More Trump Populism: DOJ Shuts Down an Operation That Was Successfully Combating Consumer Fraud

      The Justice Department plans to terminate Operation Choke Point, an Obama-era law enforcement crackdown on scam consumer transactions that conservatives characterized as an attack on gun sellers and legal businesses. It concludes one of the more brazen misinformation efforts in recent political history — with misinformation triumphing.

      The idea behind Operation Choke Point, initiated in 2013, was to prevent consumer fraud by limiting access to the financial system. Any transaction that requires a deduction from a bank account has to go through what’s called the Automatic Clearing House. Only banks with access to the payment system can facilitate those transactions.

    • A Mark Zuckerberg Presidency Isn’t Ridiculous—It’s Terrifying

      But there are deeper problems with Zuckerberg than his status as a corporate shill. His potential presidential candidacy should make us uneasy not because he’s a CEO, but because he’s the CEO of Facebook, the company responsible for the largest and most brazen data-collection project in human history.

    • Erdogan urges German Turks to vote against major parties

      Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in the aftermath of last year’s failed coup as Turkish authorities have sacked or suspended 150,000 people and detained more than 50,000 people, including German nationals.

    • Carl Icahn Steps Down as Trump Special Adviser

      Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is stepping down as a special adviser to President Donald Trump on regulatory reform, he announced Friday.

      In a letter posted on his website addressed to POTUS, Icahn responded to criticism on the Democratic side that his role might create a conflict of interest. “I never sought any special benefit for any company with which I have been involved, and have only expressed views that I believed would benefit the refining industry as a whole,” he wrote.

      According to the letter, Icahn is stepping down to avoid the distraction of “partisan bickering.” The investor’s announcement comes on the same day that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon exited the White House — whether Bannon resigned or was fired is currently unclear.

    • An Open Letter to Steve Mnuchin

      We, some of your fellow members of the Yale College Class of 1985, write to you today in response to President Trump’s comments on the recent events in Charlottesville. We believe it is your moral obligation to resign your post as Secretary of the Treasury, effective immediately. We understand that graduates of Yale College have served the United States proudly as presidents, members of the cabinet, and in many other capacities since its founding, and that rarely, if ever, have any of us made such a request of a classmate, whatever our differences in political opinion have been.

    • Time for Truth and Reconciliation

      Unfortunately as a nation, we have not genuinely come to terms with our past. And it haunts us. It haunts us through our fears and our guilt and our insecurity. It haunts us whenever there are times of national challenges and uncertainty. Our fears are activated and the most primitive forces among us are empowered and unleashed. Our denial of the pain and exploitation in our history feeds the distorted and toxic myths of exceptionalism and white supremacy.

    • National parks put a ban on bottled water to ease pollution. Trump just sided with the lobby that fought it.

      The Trump administration has ended a six-year-old ban on selling bottled water at some national parks that was aimed at easing plastic pollution and the huge amount of waste being recycled.

      In a statement that closely tracked the arguments of a campaign by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) in opposition to the ban, the National Park Service said the 2011 action under the Obama administration “removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing sales of bottled sweetened drinks.”

      The move follows a review of the policy “in close consultation with Department of Interior leadership,” according to the statement Wednesday. The department declined to elaborate.

    • The Trump administration’s most prominent Jews disgrace themselves

      What Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin and Jared Kushner did this week — or, rather, what they didn’t do — is a shanda.

      They’ll know what that means, but, for the uninitiated, shanda is Yiddish for shame, disgrace. The three men, the most prominent Jews in President Trump’s administration, could have spoken out to say that those who march with neo-Nazis are not “very fine people,” as their boss claims. Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Cohn, the chief economic adviser, were actually standing with Trump when he said it. They said nothing.

    • Jeff Flake: We Need Immigrants With Skills. But Working Hard Is a Skill.
    • Bannon out as White House chief strategist

      Steve Bannon is out as White House chief strategist, according to a senior administration official, amid growing displeasure in the West Wing with his tactics and behavior.

      His departure marks the latest high-level staff shake-up that has rocked Trump’s administration.

      The official said Bannon had resigned on August 7, but other officials noted that President Donald Trump had grown tired of his chief strategist’s approach and had been plotting ways to oust him.

      Bannon, known as a populist firebrand who pushed Trump toward strongly nationalist views, often clashed with other White House aides and had a rocky relationship with the president for months.

    • Steve Bannon Is Gone, But His Bigotry Stays in the White House

      The writing was on the wall for Steve Bannon on Tuesday afternoon. Speaking in the gilded lobby of the Trump Tower in New York, the president of the United States took a short break from defending neo-Nazis and attacking “fake news” to comment on the future of his chief strategist — who he pointedly refused to call “Steve.”

      “Look, I like Mr. Bannon,” Trump told reporters. “He is a friend of mine, but Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that, and I like him.” Trump added: “We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”

    • U.S. Lawmakers Seek Kushner Company Records on Maryland Apartments

      Maryland’s two U.S. senators and four of its U.S. House representatives, all Democrats, sent a letter today to the large real-estate company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, demanding information about the company’s management of 17 apartment complexes it owns in the state.

      The letter to Kushner Companies came in response to a May 23 article co-published by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine investigating management practices at the rental complexes, most of which are in the suburbs of Baltimore, as well as an article this week in The Baltimore Sun that revealed additional details.

      The original story described the highly aggressive legal tactics that Kushner Companies has used to pursue tenants who owed back rent or had left their leases early — even tenants who left the complexes well before the company bought them in 2012 and the years following. In many of the hundreds of cases brought by the company, it pursued tenants in court for years, with late fees and court fees expanding the claims to amounts far above what was initially owed.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Pine Gap plays crucial role in America’s wars, leaked documents reveal

      Intelligence from Australia’s Pine Gap base is being used on US battlefields, leaked documents from the US National Security Agency have revealed for the first time.

      The documents reveal that the base outside Alice Springs, officially titled Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, provides detailed geolocation intelligence to the US military that can be used to locate targets, including for special forces and drone strikes.

      The use of lethal unmanned drones by the US military has been blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths across countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

    • The Base: Pine Gap’s role in US Warfighting

      National Security Agency documents exclusively obtained by Background Briefing reveal the extent to which Australia is assisting the United States military to fight its wars.

      These documents, together with the stories of people intimately involved in those wars, uncover the crucial role the US-Australian satellite surveillance base at Pine Gap in Central Australia has in battlefield operations around the world. Peter Cronau reports.

    • Contractor Exposes Personal Information Of 1.8 Million Chicago Voters On AWS

      At some point, it seems clear that if Chris Vickery comes a-callin’, you’ve screwed up when it comes to keeping the private information of customers/voters secure. Vickery works for Upguard, a cyber-security consulting firm that regularly seeks out insecure sites and works with their owners to secure them. Vickery’s fingerprints have been on discoveries such as Verizon’s exposure of the personal information of 6 million of its customers and a firm contracted by the GOP exposing the personal data of roughly every American voter everywhere.

    • [Video] Breaking Free: 6 Alt-Tech Services You Should Use
    • Trump boosts US Cyber Command
    • Trump lifts Cyber Command status to boost cyber defence
    • Trump elevates U.S. Cyber Command, exploring split from NSA
    • Trump’s DOJ Demands Personal Info on 1.3M Visitors to “DisruptJ20″ Inauguration Protest Website

      The Justice Department is demanding web hosting provider DreamHost turn over 1.3 million IP addresses of people who visited the website DisruptJ20.org, which was used to organize the protests against President Trump’s inauguration. The Justice Department is also seeking names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information about the owners and subscribers of the website. More than 200 protesters were arrested during the Inauguration Day protests and are now facing decades in prison on trumped-up charges. We are joined by Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. His group is assisting DreamHost in its opposition to the government’s search warrant.

    • Metro Tests a New Security Screening System Designed to Detect Threats in Seconds

      Starting with the Metro Red Line at Union Station, the new, portable screening system can scan 600 people per hour with each scan taking just a fraction of a second to detect a variety of mass casualty threats.

    • China Disrupts WhatsApp Service in Online Clampdown

      The product, WhatsApp, a messaging app used across the globe, was partly blocked by Chinese filters, leaving many unable to send videos and photos and some also unable to send text-based messages.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Palantir’s Law Enforcement Data Stranglehold Isn’t Good For Police Or The Policed

      Palantir has made government surveillance big business. It’s a multi-billion dollar company built mainly on government contracts. Its tech prowess and computing power have made it the go-to company for data harvesting and many of its most loyal customers are local law enforcement agencies.

      Mark Harris of Wired has put together a fascinating expose of the company’s work with US law enforcement based on documents obtained via FOIA requests. What’s uncovered does little to alter Palantir’s reputation as an enemy of personal privacy. What’s added to this rep isn’t any more flattering: the documents show Palantir handles data carelessly, ties customers into overpriced support/upgrades, and otherwise acts as though it has to answer to no one.

    • Can Police Prevent the Next Charlottesville?

      Even before the demonstration in Virginia began last weekend, the police there knew they weren’t going to be able to handle what was coming.

      Charlottesville police officers, including Sgt. Jake Via of the investigations bureau, had been contacting organizers and scanning social media to figure out how many demonstrators were headed their way and whether they would be armed.

      “The number each group was saying was just building and building,” Via said. “We saw it coming. … Looking at this, I said, ‘This is going to be bad.’”

      The protesters’ numbers were too large and the downtown park too small. City officials tried to get the demonstration moved to another, more spacious location, but lost in court after the rally’s organizer, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleged his freedom of speech was being infringed.

      The protests, of course, ended tragically. Local law enforcement was widely blamed for losing control of the event and standing back even as people were attacked.

    • Plantations Were Prisons: Mobilizing for the Aug. 19 Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington DC –Part one of an interview with Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

      Robert H. King and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 are issuing a call to everybody concerned about the human rights of US prisoners: “We know the economic situation for African Americans, other minority communities, and poor whites is very difficult. However, if there is any way possible for you to get to the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington DC on August 19, so that your voice can be heard, so that we can speak in one voice, please join us. Enough is Enough!”

    • Drop the Charges: Organizing to Protect the Durham Freedom Fighters

      In the wake of the white supremacist attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, protests have sprung up around the country. In North Carolina, a place laden with its own history of white supremacist violence, protesters pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier outside of the Durham County Courthouse. Arrests and raids on activists’ homes followed; so have further protests in solidarity with those who took down the statue, including, on Thursday morning, an attempt by hundreds to march on the jail and turn themselves in to protest the arrests and call for charges to be dropped.

    • Welcome to the Breitbart era: Steve Bannon’s former site is the new monarch of right-wing media

      If Bannon had been able to persuade his boss to tackle infrastructure right out of the gate when the Democrats were still reeling in disbelief, and if he had distanced himself from the worst elements of the right once he took office, that might even have worked. But that also would have required the boss to be someone other than who he is.

    • Welcome To The Technological Incarceration Project, Where Prison Walls Are Replaced By Sensors, Algorithms, And AI

      Leaving aside the obvious and important issue of how reliable the algorithms would be in judging when a violation was about to take place, there are a couple of other aspects of this approach worth noting. One is that it shifts the costs of incarceration from the state to the offender, who ends up paying for his or her upkeep in the virtual prison. That would obviously appeal to those who are concerned about the mounting cost to taxpayers of running expensive prisons. The virtual prison would also allow offenders to remain with their family, and thus offers the hope that they might be re-integrated into society more easily than when isolated in an unnatural prison setting. Irrespective of any possible financial benefits, that has to be a good reason to explore the option further.

    • The Fourth Branch

      In my judgment the jury is the 4th branch of government. The Founders knew power corrupts, and that sooner or later, the Congress, the President and the judges would abandon the Constitution for power and that only fully informed juries could stem the tide of corruption.

    • As Alt-Right Gathers in Boston, Thousands Counter With Rally to ‘Fight Supremacy’

      It appears that the alt-right “rally” ended hours ahead of schedule, thanks at least in part to the remarkable size of the counter-demonstration.

    • ‘Blatant Smear’: Trump Attacks Boston Anti-Racism Demonstrators as ‘Anti-Police Agitators’

      After declaring during a press conference on Tuesday that there were many “very fine people” in attendance at the white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to launch an attack on the thousands of anti-racist demonstrators in Boston, labeling them “anti-police agitators.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Reduced to Mogul vs. Mogul in Corporate Media’s Shallow Coverage

      A common refrain in popular news media is that net neutrality is just too boring and esoteric for ordinary people to be interested in. “Oh my god that is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen,” John Oliver (HBO, 6/1/14) once exclaimed after showing his audience a short clip from a government hearing on the subject. “That is even boring by C-SPAN standards.”

      Net neutrality is the principle that internet data should be transmitted without discrimination. Absent net neutrality rules, internet service providers (ISPs) are free to act as gatekeepers, controlling which data users have access to and at what speed.

      Oliver proved himself wrong. His 2014 segment, which explained net neutrality and successfully implored the public to support the FCC’s proposed reclassification of ISPs as “common carriers” under the Telecommunications Act, so that they could be regulated as public utilities, has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube. 3.7 million people sent comments to the FCC that year.

    • FCC Pledges Openness – Just Don’t Ask To See Complaints

      But the notice failed to mention that the agency has received more than 47,000 informal complaints about alleged net-neutrality violations since the rules took effect in 2015. Formal complaints cost $225 to file, and work a bit like court proceedings, with lawyers, procedural rules, and written pleadings. Informal complaints, on the other hand, can be filed online for free through a simple online form.

    • Trump’s DOJ not trying to stop AT&T/Time Warner merger

      Despite President Trump’s promise to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner Inc., the government’s review of the merger has “reached an advanced stage” The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

      “The deal’s regulatory review has hit a late-stage point where AT&T lawyers are discussing merger conditions with the Justice Department,” the report said, quoting people close to the situation. If the Justice Department concludes that any potential harms from the merger can be offset by conditions, then it would not sue to block the deal.

      “Among the topics raised in the government’s review is ensuring that AT&T doesn’t discriminate or treat channels that compete with Time Warner’s content less favorably, the people close to the situation said,” the Journal wrote. “For example, the government could prevent AT&T from favoring HBO over other premium-TV brands in its marketing and pricing, the people said.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Because Of Course There Are Copyright Implications With Confederacy Monuments

        There’s no issue of public interest that copyright law cannot make worse. So let me ruin your day by pointing out there’s a copyright angle to the monument controversy: the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), a 1990 addition to the copyright statute that allows certain artists to control what happens to their art long after they’ve created it and no longer own it. Techdirt has written about it a few times, and it was thrust into the spotlight this year during the controversy over the Fearless Girl statue.

        Now, VARA may not be specifically applicable to the current controversy. For instance, it’s possible that at least some of the Confederacy monuments in question are too old to be subject to VARA’s reach, or, if not, that all the i’s were dotted on the paperwork necessary to avoid it. (It’s also possible that neither is the case — VARA may still apply, and artists behind some of the monuments might try to block their removal.) But it would be naïve to believe that we’ll never ever have monument controversies again. The one thing VARA gets right is an acknowledgement of the power of public art to be reflective and provocative. But how things are reflective and provocative to a society can change over time as the society evolves. As we see now, figuring out how to handle these changes can be difficult, but at least people in the community can make the choice, hard though it may sometimes be, about what art they want in their midst. VARA, however, takes away that discretion by giving it to someone else who can trump it (so to speak).

      • As HBO Screams About GoT Episodes Leaking From A Hack, HBO Leaks Next GoT Episode Early

        I love HBO’s Game Of Thrones. I hate everything we have to write about it, however, because the stories are typically dumb in the usual ways that stories are dumb here at Techdirt. From HBO happily playing the evil villain in protecting the show’s IP in the most overly-protectionist manner possible, to HBO screaming about the show being heavily pirated while everyone else comments about how good a thing that actually is, all the way up to the occasional overt hacking that occurs, where episodes from the show leak early, everybody freaks out, and then HBO and GoT go on to rake in tons of eyeballs and money anyway. One of these hacks just occurred, as you may know, resulting in a ransom not being paid to the hackers, who were then eventually arrested. While episode four of the current season did indeed get leaked, it wasn’t the hackers who leaked it, but someone at an HBO distribution partner. So HBO screams about hacks while someone with in its own house is leaking episodes.

      • Porn Producer Says He’ll Prove That AMC TV Exec is a BitTorrent Pirate

        Porn producer Flava Works is going toe to toe with Marc Juris, President & General Manager of AMC-owned WE tv. Unusually in such cases, Juris sued Flava Works first, after the company approached him with an offer to settle, which would have kept his identity a secret. With that no longer an option, the battle lines are being drawn.

      • Court Orders Aussie ISPs to Block Dozens of Pirate Sites

        Following two new court orders issued today, Australian Internet providers must block dozens of additional pirate sites. The new blockades were requested by Foxtel and Village Roadshow, and cover many of the most used pirate sources, including Gomovies, RARBG, 1337x and EZTV. Creative Content Australia warns that people who bypass the blocks could easily run into malware, viruses and other nastiness.

      • As First NAFTA Round Opens in Secrecy, Digital Rights Groups Fear Another TPP

        Already it is clear that the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has ignored our specific recommendations (to say nothing of USTR Robert Lighthizer’s personal promises) about making the negotiations more open and transparent.

      • Streaming Service iflix Buys Shows Based on Piracy Data

        With five million subscribers throughout Asia and Africa, iflix is one of the leading video streaming services in emerging markets. The company is battling with other services to offer the best content and as part of this quest, it uses piracy data to see what is popular among potential viewers.

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    There are several indications that Microsoft-connected shells, which produce no products and are threatening a large number of companies, are inadvertently if not intentionally helping Microsoft sell "indemnification" ("Azure IP Advantage," which echoes the Microsoft/Novell strategy for collecting what they called "patent royalties" one decade ago)



  7. Yes, RPost is Definitely a Patent Troll and Its Software Patents Are at Risk Thanks to Alice

    The latest whitewashing (or reputation-laundering) pieces from Watchtroll, which tries to justify patent-trolling activities with software patents, typically in the Eastern District of Texas



  8. The Latest Scams in the Patent World

    Examples of 'dirty laundry' of the patent microcosm, which it understandably does not like covering (as it harms confidence in their services/advice)



  9. Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

    A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger



  10. Unlike the Mobile Domain, When it Comes to Cars Patent Lawsuits Remain Rare

    An optimistic note regarding the relatively low-temperature legal landscape surrounding advanced automobiles, even though patents are being amassed on software in that domain



  11. The Federal Circuit Rules (Again) in Favour of Section 101/Alice, Koch-Funded CPIP Tries to Overturn Alice at the Supreme Court

    The US Supreme Court's decision on Alice continues to have a profoundly positive impact (except for trolls) and Koch-funded academics try hard to compel the US Supreme Court to reverse/override Alice (so far to no avail)



  12. Next Director of the USPTO Parrots Talking Points of Patent Extremists and Their Lobbyists

    The next USPTO boss (still subject to official confirmation) may be little more than a power grab by the litigation and patenting 'industry', which prioritises not science and technology but its own bottom line



  13. Raw: Three Years for 'Justice' (to be Disregarded by Benoît Battistelli) at ILO and Over a Decade at the EPO

    The delays associated with ‘justice’ at the EPO (usually neither justice nor compliance with rulings) have become so extraordinary that immunity should long ago have been stripped off and Battistelli et al been held accountable



  14. Raw: Scuttling of the General Advisory Committee and Battistelli Stacking the Deck to Have 'Yes Men' as Representatives

    How the EPO broke down resistance to Battistelli’s oppressive policies not only at the Council, disciplinary committees and auditory divisions but also staff representation (symptomatic of Battistelli’s notion of justice)



  15. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Will Endure Supreme Court Test and Overcome the Tribal Immunity “Scam”

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), based on the latest news, is still winning the argument and justifying its existence/importance



  16. Phones/Mobility (Trillion-Dollar Market) May Have Become Infested and Encumbered by Aggressive, Dying Companies

    The tough reality that new entrants/entrepreneurs are facing now that a few dying giants look to "monetise" their patents rather than create anything



  17. Links 9/12/2017: Mesa 17.3, Wine 3.0 RC1, New Debian Builds

    Links for the day



  18. Like the EPO, Taiwan/China (SIPO) Harm SMEs With a Policy of Patent Maximalism Which Fosters Litigation, Not Innovation

    A culture of patent maximalism breeds plenty of lawsuits in China (good for the legal ‘industry’), but small companies that are innovative lose focus and resources, just like in Europe where SMEs are discriminated against



  19. Bristows Continues to Lie About Unitary Patent (UPC) in Britain Only to Get Rebutted in Comments, As Usual (Criticism Not Deleted Yet)

    The latest wave of posts (typically from Bristows) which herald an arrival of UPC in Britain are not just delusional but also constitute terrible legal advice



  20. The European Union Now Repeats Paid Propaganda From the EPO (Regarding the Unitary Patent)

    The EPO's push for UPC, which has already involved payments to media and academia, is spreading to the EU, which unfortunately fails to uphold the Rule of Law and the spirit of the EPC



  21. European Media Covers the Latest EPO Scandal and the EPO's Refusal to Obey Orders of a Court

    European media is starting to catch up with the latest from ILO and the great importance not only of the rulings but also the EPO's response to these



  22. Antonius Tangena From the European Patent Institute (EPI) 'Aids' Željko Topić's Appointment at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An E-mail from Antonius (Tony) Tangena reveals a degree of coordination between the EPI and the EPO -- a potentially inappropriate action that can be seen as a cover-up attempt



  23. SUEPO Announces Protest, EPO Distracts From the Scandal, and Readers Spill the Beans

    Readers have sent some additional details regarding the EPO "backstory" that we wrote about this morning



  24. EPO Scandal Spills Over to Irish Media, So It's Time for the Backstory

    A lot more is being revealed by the media this week (regarding the EPO's "war on judges") and now that it's a more 'mainstream' subject we can shed light on the background to it



  25. Battistelli's EPO is Once Again Caught in Very Gross Violation of the European Patent Convention (EPC)

    The tyranny of the EPO is made abundantly clear for all to see -- ILO included -- but will there be consequences for repeated violations by Team Battistelli?



  26. Links 7/12/2017: Qt 5.10, ReactOS 0.4.7, Guix and GuixSD 0.14.0

    Links for the day



  27. Less Than 24 Hours Later the EPO Already Refuses to Obey Court Orders From ILO (Updated)

    As expected by realists (or pessimists), the EPO continues to act as though it's above the law and even judges suffer miscarriage of justice against them



  28. ILO Said Give the Judge His Job Back, But Christoph Ernst's Administrative Council Will Likely Let Him Go (Unemployed)

    Another potential EPO scandal in the making, as after waiting for 3 years the illegally-suspended judge might get his job back for only 3 weeks



  29. Watchtroll, AIPPI, Bristows and Others Keep Pushing Software Patents Agenda (in Spite of the Ban)

    Pressure groups and front groups of the patent microcosm (e.g. AIPPI) -- sometimes even the patent microcosm acting directly -- are still trying to make software patents legitimate, usually behind closed doors, e.g. in private events where only the patent microcosm can debate the subject (no software developers allowed)



  30. Meanwhile in Eponia, Tyrant Battistelli Must be Seeking Advice on How to Refuse to Obey Court's Orders (Again)

    People already speculate about how Battistelli will attempt to come up with excuses for noncompliance (and ongoing violation of the EPC as well as ILO code)


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