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08.29.17

Links 29/8/2017: Bodhi Linux 4.3.0, FSFE’s Digital-O-Mat for Germany

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Bugs? What bugs? Microsoft sees no evil.

      On Aug. 23, Microsoft released Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Build 16273. This late beta doesn’t introduce new features. It’s all about stabilizing the next Windows 10 update before releasing it to the public. In short, it’s a bug-fix version — with a twist. While Microsoft tells us which bugs have been fixed in this build, it doesn’t say anything about new bugs, or old bugs that haven’t been fixed.

  • Server

    • What you should know about CephFS

      Today, new storage system interfaces are created regularly to resolve emerging challenges in distributed storage. For example, Amazon Simple Storage Service [S3] (an opaque object store) and Amazon Elastic Block Storage [EBS] (a virtual machine image provider) both provide an essential, scalable storage service within a cloud ecosystem; however even with these new technologies, the conventional file system remains the most-widely used storage interface in computing.

      Virtually all programs are written to use a file system at some level. This makes the file system the lingua franca for all storage access on any computing device—from small devices such as smartphones, to large high-performance computing (HPC) clusters at CERN and national labs. Programs are still written to communicate and store data through file systems because of their convenience, familiarity, and interoperability.

    • Finding a digital transformation roadmap with containers

      But to make containers actually work, you need to use them in the right way. Creating a digital transformation roadmap with containers is not as simple as installing Docker and letting everything else fall into place on its own.

    • DH2i Adds Docker Support to App Portability Platform for Windows and Linux
    • DH2i Launches DxEnterprise v17 – Unified Smart Availability™ for Windows, Linux & Docker
    • Distributed Systems Are Hard

      A lot of the traditional mechanisms for recovering from failure may make things worse in a distributed environment. Brute force retries may flood your network, restores from backups are not straightforward. There are design patterns for addressing all of these issues but they require thought and testing.

      If there were no errors, distributed systems would be pretty easy. That can lull optimists into a false sense of security. Distributed systems must be designed to be resilient by accepting that all possible errors are just business as usual.

  • Kernel Space

    • DRM Synchronization Object Improvements Queued For Linux 4.14

      Introduced in the Linux 4.13 kernel for the Direct Rendering Manager drivers was the concept of DRM synchronization objects while for Linux 4.14 this feature will be improved upon.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Lands Vulkan External Fences Support

        Lead Intel ANV Vulkan driver developer Jason Ekstrand has landed support for the VK_KHR_external_fence extension within this open-source Linux Vulkan driver.

        The external fence work landed with Vulkan 1.0.54 and is about allowing synchronized access to external memory using fences. In Mesa 17.3-dev Git, that work is turned on for ANV.

      • AmanithVG Brings Fast OpenVG To Linux, OpenGL ES Rendering
      • Work Begins On Kernel DRM Driver For BCM7268 With VC5

        Eric Anholt of Broadcom has been working on a new VC5 Gallium3D driver for supporting a new generation of Broadcom 3D graphics hardware that goes beyond the “VC4″ 3D notably used by the current Raspberry Pi boards. So far he’s been working on this new VC5 Gallium3D driver but now he’s beginning work on the related Direct Rendering Manager kernel driver for this next-gen hardware.

    • Cairo 1.15.8 Released With Support For Colored Emoji

      It has been a few months since the last Cairo 2D graphics library update, which is used by programs ranging from Firefox to GTK and WebKit, but today the notable 1.15.8 release is now available.

    • Vulkan-CPU Is Off To A Good Start Thanks To GSoC 2017

      Google Summer of Code participant Jacob Lifshay has written his final recap about the work he did this summer on starting the “Vulkan-CPU” project for writing a soft/CPU-based implementation of the Vulkan API.

      As we’ve been covering throughout the summer, he’s hit milestones like SPIR-V to LLVM IR translation, initial graphics pipeline setup, and the start of vertex shader support.

    • Benchmarks

      • Keeping The Ryzen Threadripper Busy With An Array Of Compiler Benchmarks

        While there are an array of interesting AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X Linux benchmarks in this morning’s review, after hitting a 36 second Linux kernel compilation time with this 16 core / 32 thread processor, I spent this afternoon seeing what I was getting for some other compile times of popular programs.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 7.4 M3 Released With OpenBenchmarking Seamless/Dynamic Comparisons
      • AMD Replaces Ryzen CPUs for Users Affected By Rare Linux Bug

        AMD’s Ryzen 7 has been generally well-received by the enthusiast community, but there’s been one low-level problem that we’ve been watching but haven’t previously reported on. In early June, Ryzen users running Linux began reporting segmentation faults when running multiple concurrent compilation workloads using multiple different versions of GCC. LVVM/Clang was not affected, and the issue appears confined to Linux. Moreover, it wasn’t apparently common, even among Linux users — Michael Larabel, of Phoronix.com, reported that his own test rigs had been absolutely solid, even under heavy workloads.

        Like the Pentium FDIV bug of yesteryear, this was a real issue, but one that realistically only impacted a fraction of a fraction of buyers. AMD had previously said it was investigating the problem (which isn’t present on any Epyc or Threadripper CPUs) and it’s now announced a solution: CPU replacement.

      • Core i7 / Core i9 / Ryzen 7 / Threadripper OpenGL+Vulkan Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        For those craving to see some fresh OpenGL and Vulkan Linux gaming benchmarks with the recent high-end Intel/AMD CPUs at Phoronix, this article is for you.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDevelop 5.1.2 released

        We are pleased to announce the release of KDevelop version 5.1.2, the second bug-fix release for the 5.1 series. This update contains bug fixes only, and we highly recommend all users of KDevelop 5.1.x to switch to this version. Given that it has been a few months since the release of KDevelop 5.1.1, this version contains quite a lot of changes.

      • Last week in Kube

        “Kube is a modern communication and collaboration client built with QtQuick on top of a high performance, low resource usage core. It provides online and offline access to all your mail, contacts, calendars, notes, todo’s and more. With a strong focus on usability, the team works with designers and UX experts from the ground up, to build a product that is not only visually appealing but also a joy to use.”

      • Summing up my GSoC experience

        The best thing about this experience is that I learnt a lot of new and exciting stuff: new technologies, pattern and development methodologies. Not only I improved my skills with modern web development tools but I also got quite proficient with the Vue.js and Webpack ecosystems. At the same time I got a bit better at writing and structuring documentation, something that many developers forget about.

      • Finalizing the GSoC project for KStars

        I worked on the KStars during this summer to improve the codebase with C++11 features with Google Summer of Code. I spent the last month to write the first GUI tests for KStars and KStars Lite. KStars Lite can be built and run also on Linux host now although it was developed for Android by a previous GSoC student in 2016. Additional contributions include fixing some bugs found by Clang Sanitizers, usability improvements and templeted FITS decoding. The GSoC period was successful, the goals were reached, but if I would have still more time…

      • My experiences with Summer of Code 2017

        How quickly the summer ran away, in a wild mix of fun, frustration, development, and success! It seems like just yesterday that I received news of working with Marble in the summer, yet now September quickly approaches, and it’s time to look back on all our experiences this summer.

      • Final Blog Gsoc 2017

        Over the past three months, I’ve been working on a telemetry project for the graphic editor Krita. I achieved almost all the goals. A working prototype was created, you can help in its testing by downloading a test version of the Krita with telemetry support. link

      • GSoC – Final Period

        I implemented some scripts to the showcase and some new plugins as well. You can find my task here and see more details about my progress during GSoC.

      • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) Beta 1 testing

        Artful Aardvark (17.10) Beta 1 images are now available for testing.

        The Kubuntu team will be releasing 17.10 in October. The final Beta 1 milestone will be available on August 31st.

      • That was quick: Falkon web browser is now available as a Snap app

        The newly-named Falkon web browser is now available for testing on Ubuntu and KDE Neon.

        KDE Neon is adopting Snap packages as its containerised packaging format of choice (sorry Flatpak fans) and with Falkon now under the auspices of KDE its arrival as a Snap app was always a matter of when and not if.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • 3.26 Release Video in the Works

        3.26 is sneaking up on everyone and last week I started working on the release video which process you can follow on the wiki, I will keep it updated as I move on. I plan to be doing major work in the green screening, animation areas and video editing myself but others are contributing with soundtrack, writing the manuscript and recording videos.

      • Wrapping up GSoC 2017

        So, GSoC ends in a short while and I want to take advantage of that and show a preview of both features that we’ve worked on :).

        As I have described here and here, I worked on the gnome-shell search results and made them look different and then I added system actions to the mix. Without further ado, let’s see how they turned out.

        First up, the updated gnome-shell results. The idea was that we needed to fit as many results as possible on the screen, making it possible for lower resolutions to handle fitting those results on the screen. At the same time, we had to make sure that the screen won’t be cluttered, or it would’ve turned into a mess.

      • How Glib-rs works, part 2: Transferring lists and arrays

        In the first part, we saw how glib-rs provides the FromGlib and ToGlib traits to let Rust code convert from/to Glib’s simple types, like to convert from a Glib gboolean to a Rust bool and vice-versa. We also saw the special needs of strings; since they are passed by reference and are not copied as simple values, we can use FromGlibPtrNone and FromGlibPtrFull depending on what kind of ownership transfer we want, none for “just make it look like we are using a borrowed reference”, or full for “I’ll take over the data and free it when I’m done”. Going the other way around, we can use ToGlibPtr and its methods to pass things from Rust to Glib.

      • GSoC 2017 : wrap-up and code submission

        This post pretends to summarize what has been done during my project in the Google Summer of Code. This is also my Work Product Submission. The project has consisted on implementing a plugin manager for Pitivi and adding a plugin called the Developer Console.

      • GtkBuilder, Vala and WebKit

        To use a WebKitWebView inside a GTK+ template, one needs to workaround the fact that WebKitWebView breaks the heuristics in GtkBuilder to guess the GType from the human readable type name. That’s easy. Anybody who has used GObject is likely to have encountered some dialect of g_type_ensure, or, as the more learned will point out, GtkBuilder has a type-func attribute for cases like these.

      • Remote desktop capabilities set to make a comeback in GNOME on Wayland

        Remote desktop under Wayland seems to finally be happening; thanks to work on new APIs and a new GNOME Remote Desktop service undertaken by Jonas Ådahl!

        GNOME’s Vino remote desktop server was left behind when GNOME transitioned their desktop from the X compositor to Wayland. This meant that people who use distributions that stay close to upstream, like Fedora 25, have been left without a working VNC or even an RDP server for almost a full year.

      • Gnome Pie – A Circular Application Launcher (Menu) for Linux

        You know about Dash to Dock and Dash to Panel. But do you know about Gnome Pie? It’s a completely different concept from the app launchers typical of Windows, Mac, and Linux systems because it implements an idea known as “Fitts’ law”.

      • GNOME Tweaks 3.25.91

        The GNOME 3.26 release cycle is in its final bugfix stage before release.

        Here’s a look at what’s new in GNOME Tweaks since my last post.

        I’ve heard people say that GNOME likes to remove stuff. If that were true, how would there be anything left in GNOME? But maybe it’s partially true. And maybe it’s possible for removals to be a good thing?

      • These Pictures Show How GNOME Shell Search Is Improving

        GNOME 3.26 improves the appearance of GNOME Shell search results, making better use of screen space to show more results on screen.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Window Maker Live: Cool Retro Look, Even Cooler Performance

        Window Maker Live (WML) takes an unusual approach to desktop interface management. It has an old-fashioned look with a productive new feel.

        The latest version of Window Maker Live (0.95.7-4), released this month, is a Debian-based Linux distribution that uses the Window Maker window manager as the default graphical user interface. It integrates well-known open source components in a surprisingly satisfying interface.

        Window Maker itself has been around since 1997. It is an X11 window manager originally designed to provide integration support for the GNUstep Desktop Environment, a free adaptation of Cocoa (formerly OpenStep).

        A framework with application development tools for Unix-like operating systems and Microsoft Windows, Window Maker is part of the GNU Project.

        If you are into retro computing, you will marvel at Window Maker’s success in reproducing the cool look and feel of the Nextstep user interface. That nostalgia is reminiscent of Thinkpad T61 technology.

        If that level of computing nostalgia is not your passion, WML’s user interface can bring you a productivity boost without the excessive GUI bloat of modern-day Linux desktop environments.

    • New Releases

      • Bodhi Linux 4.3.0 Released

        Today I am pleased to announce the release of Bodhi Linux 4.3.0. This is a normal update release and it comes three months after the release of Bodhi 4.2.0. Existing Bodhi 4.x.y users do not need to reinstall as the primary goal of this update release is to simply keep the current ISO image up to date. This release image includes EFL 1.19.1, Terminology 1.1.0, Ephoto 1.5, and Linux kernel 4.11. As with every release in the 4.x.y Bodhi series it is built on top of the rock solid foundation that is Ubuntu 16.04.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Vs Funny People Wearing Red Hats

        Watching this video from SUSE, you might be excused for thinking you’re watching a trailer for a new Netflix original which looks suspiciously like “Game of Thrones.” To paraphrase an old Dodge commercial: “You can tell they’re bad guys because they all wear Red Hats.”

      • Run your Xen VMs on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        While SLES does offer a specific installation pattern to make a server a Xen host, it’s mainly a DYI configuration, where the installation is like any other Linux installation. There is, for instance, no notion of a storage pool easily connected to external storage; the administrator who uses all default choices ends up with locally stored VM images.

    • Red Hat Family

      • How a leader can move forward without consensus
      • Intermountain begins shift to open IT platform

        Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare has begun the work of replacing its proprietary platform to an open one. The goal is to create a modern IT environment across the 22-hospital systems, which also includes 180 clinics and 1,500 physicians.

        Intermountain is using Red Hat platforms to transform its existing infrastructure by replacing legacy tools and migrating services from a proprietary platform to an open source Red Hat stack.

      • Red Hat (RHT) Names Narendra Gupta as Chairman
      • Red Hat Appoints Narendra Gupta as New Chairman of the Board [Ed: as above]

        Gupta co-founded Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI) in 1980 to develop products for embedded software development. He served as ISI’s president and CEO from founding until 1994 and as chairman until 2000 when ISI merged with Wind River Systems, Inc., a provider of device software optimization solutions. Gupta served as Wind River’s vice chairman from 2000 until its acquisition by Intel in 2009. He currently serves on the board of trustees of the California Institute of Technology, the advisory board of Asia Society Northern California, and on the boards of several privately held companies.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • GSoC: Final Report

          This is the final report of my work on Google Summer of Code program. My name is David Carlos and I am a Brazilian software engineering student, at University of Brasilia. I already work as programmer, and really love what I do for a living. When I am not working I am with my family and friends, enjoying good beer and listening to the best Brazilian music style, Samba.

          [...]

          Static analyzers are computer programs that analyze other computer programs. This is generally done by checking source code through static analysis methods. This is a good means to support software assurance, since static analysis can in theory enumerate all possible interactions in a program, having the potential to find rare occurrences that would be harder to find with automated testing.

          kiskadee is a system designed to support continuous static analysis in software repositories using different static analyzers and to store this information in a database. Based on such database information, kiskadee will rank warnings reported by the different static analyzers, where warnings with the highest rank are more likely to indicate real and more critical software flaws, while warnings with the lowest rank are more likely to be false positives. In this context, a warning is a single issue produced by a static analyzer. Finally, kiskadee maps software flaws inserted in specific software versions, providing developers with a relatively small list of warnings to be investigated in a suggested order.

        • Fedora 26 – the MuseScore software.
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Must Have Linux Mint Software

              must admit that I’m still shocked at how popular Linux Mint has become. The reasons why are covered in my “Why Linux Mint won” article. But there’s more to Linux Mint than the distro itself. There are also what I’d call “must have” applications. This article will share my own must have applications that I think every Linux Mint user should check out.

            • [elementaryOS] AppCenter & The Future of The Universe

              About 3 months ago, we launched a new version of elementary OS and a new service that we call AppCenter Dashboard. In that time, we’ve helped developers publish nearly 40 new apps.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Do the Most Successful Open Source Projects Have In Common?

    Thriving open source projects have many users, and the most active have thousands of authors contributing. There are now more than 60 million open source repositories, but the vast majority are just a public workspace for a single individual. What differentiates the most successful open source projects? One commonality is that most of them are backed by either one company or a group of companies collaborating together

  • IBM in Blockchain Collaboration for Food Safety

    Another new use has been found for blockchain. Last week, IBM announced that it’s collaborating with a group of 10 major food suppliers “to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.” It appears that initially the focus will be on tracking food products as they move their way from farm to processing facilities to grocery store shelves. The deal includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart.

  • Eurovision, Matrox, Telvue join open source alliance

    The SRT Alliance, an open-source initiative dedicated to overcoming the challenges of low-latency video streaming, announces that 14 new members have joined the initiative including Eurovision Media Services, Matrox and Telvue.

    Now with more than 35 members, the SRT Alliance’s rapid growth supports continued adoption and development of the low latency SRT open source video transport protocol across a variety of industries. Founded by Haivision and Wowza, the SRT Alliance is focused on developing SRT to be an alternative to proprietary and expensive transmission protocols by offering an open source solution that can deliver low-latency video with greater reliability and performance in sub-optimal networks.

  • Rocket.Chat Extends Support to Open Source Initiative and Community

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the founding organization of the open source software movement, announced Rocket.Chat has joined the global non-profit as a Premium Corporate Sponsor. Rocket.Chat joins Craigslist Foundation, Facebook, Github, Google, Heptio, HPE, IBM, USB Direct, and many more sponsors, supporters and members committed to increasing awareness of open source software, and participation within the innovative communities that enable its continued advancement.

  • The next release of OpenStack, Pike leaps up

    Whatever else has ever been said about OpenStack, no one has ever said the open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud was easy to deploy or update. With the release of Pike, the 16th version of OpenStack, that’s changing.

    Pike, and the two updates, Queens and Rocky, to follow it, won’t bring major new features or changes. Instead, each will build on the Ocata release. Ocata, too, was focused on improving stability, scalability, and performance of the core services.

  • What Do the Most Successful Open Source Projects Have In Common?

    Thriving open source projects have many users, and the most active have thousands of authors contributing. There are now more than 60 million open source repositories, but the vast majority are just a public workspace for a single individual. What differentiates the most successful open source projects? One commonality is that most of them are backed by either one company or a group of companies collaborating together

  • Leadership lessons from open source software

    As chief information officer, I leverage many of the lessons I learned from maintaining or contributing to open source software. While I find insights from other areas, experience drives learning, and my twenty years of personal experience in open source software has taught me much about accepting feedback, listening to others, and sharing the burden. This applies directly to my professional career.

  • The Importance of Choosing the Correct Mastodon Instance

    Remember, Mastodon is a new decentralized social network, based on a free software which is rapidly gaining users (already there is more than 1.5 million accounts). As I’ve created my account in June, I was a fast addict and I’ve already created several tools for this network, Feed2toot, Remindr and Boost (mostly written in Python).

    Now, with all this experience I have to stress out the importance of choosing the correct Mastodon instance.

    [...]

    As a social network, Mastodon is truly decentralized, with more than 1.5 million users on more than 2350 existing instances. As such, the most common usage is to create an account on an open instance. To create its own instance is way too difficult for the average user. Yet, using an open instance creates a strong dependence on the technical administrator of the chosen instance.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Using Client Side Decoration (Video)

        If you’ve been longing to see some progress on Firefox GTK header bar support you’re going to want to feast your eyes on this.

        Alex of WOGUE fame has posted a new video to showcase Firefox CSD as it looks and works right now.

        Now, he had to build (painfully, I hear) >from Git to try this out, but his video shows “all upstream work from Mozillians [and] no patches!”.

      • AdNauseam extension blocked

        Since proponents of this extension will likely be unhappy or have questions as to why, and likely want to be vocal about this addition:

        After investigating the AdNauseam extension’s behavior and the results for web publishers, the extension has been added to the Pale Moon blocklist with a severity level of 2 (meaning you won’t be able to enable it unless you increase the blocking level in about:config to 3). For those unfamiliar with this extension: it generates false ad “clicks” to ad servers in an attempt to generate “noise” for the ad networks in a protest against the advertising network system as a whole.
        While the premise behind this is similar to poisoning trackers with false fingerprints (which we are proponents of, ourselves), and we normally let users decide for themselves what they want to do with their browser, we are strictly against allowing extensions that cause direct damage (including damage to third parties). There is a subtle but important difference between blocking content and generating fake user interaction.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • How open source analytics can boost your cybersecurity arsenal

      Data growth never stops and the sheer volume and variety of this data has challenged organizations to makes sense of it all. Over the last few years, these groups have been turning to big data solutions to extract valuable insights and actionable intelligence from these massive new sets of data. Now organizations are beginning to leverage this same technology to modernize and reinforce their cybersecurity posture.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • HAMMER2 File-System Continues To Stabilize For DragonFlyBSD

      For those interested in the work being done to the HAMMER2 file-system that’s being developed by Matthew Dillon for DragonFlyBSD, it is indeed getting closer to being a working reality.

      We recently heard how the next DragonFlyBSD release will offer it as an experimental option following recent advancements to it. That next DragonFly release should be coming in September.

    • OpenBSD Community Goes Platinum [iophk: "paypal is not an option, I'll have to send some bitcoin their way"]

      Paypal and bitcoin donations from the OpenBSD community have made the community the OpenBSD Foundation’s first Platinum level contributor for 2017!

    • openbsd changes of note 627
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman – the freedom defender whom we may not deserve but definitely need

      Stallman was always interested in Physics as much as in Maths. For him, the decision to opt for Physics in college was simply a matter of academic requirements. He explains, “To get an honours degree in Mathematics, one had to write a thesis whereas for Physics it didn’t require a thesis. I had an experience in my last year in high school where I had a class which required writing long papers and it was really hard for me.” In practice it didn’t make any big difference because he took classes in both and was happy to do so. But he didn’t take classes of things related to computers because he found another way to work on that.

    • Digital-O-Mat: Compare your views on Internet policies with the parties for the German federal election 2017

      CDU/CSU (conservatives) and FDP (liberals) marked their position as “neutral” and answered in a very similar fashion. Unfortunately, these parties avoid making a clear stance and ultimately confirm the status quo. On one hand, they do consider the use of Free Software, on the other hand, so they say, there are multiple other aspects to consider weigh in. However, they list functionality and usability for example, even though they have no relation to the licence in use. When asked about the migration of existing IT systems, CDU/CSU prefer decision making on a case-by-case basis, while FDP dodged our question.

      Although the SPD (labour) also marked their answer as “neutral”, they support the deployment and development of Free Software in public administrations and educational institutions, “to foster the creation of innovative businesses in the local market”. Die Linke (lefts) and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (greens) position themselves as supporters of deployment and public funding of Free Software. The greens consider Free Software to be a “cornerstone for secure and future-proof IT systems”, and the lefts also fully support it, as long as there are no concerns regarding security or operation.

    • Putting German Politicians On The Record

      In Canada, there seems to be only one party on the record as favouring FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software), but the other parties don’t even have a position… Too bad. Now that I’m determined to use renewable energy and drive an electric car, I may be in the mood to change my vote next election over one last issue.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Why Not to Overreact to Facebook’s React Patents License

      The reaction to this news is surprising, given the parallel patent licensing model is nothing new. Facebook released its “BSD+Patents” grant in 2013 (with a revision in 2015). But a similar model was used with some fanfare by Google with its WebM codec in 2010. This licensing model involves two parallel and simultaneous grants of rights: a BSD license to the copyright in the software, and a separate grant to practice patents that read on the software. Putting the two together means there are two independent and parallel grants of rights. In this respect, it is quite similar to the Apache 2.0 license which, like BSD, is a permissive license, and which also contains a defensive termination provision that exists alongside the copyright license grant.

      Much of the reaction to Apache Foundation’s announcement has just created confusion, such as this article misleadingly calling it “booby-trapped.” In fact, many open source licenses have defensive termination provisions — which are mostly considered a reasonable mechanism to discourage patent lawsuits, rather than a booby trap. They are also the rule rather than the exception; all major open source licenses with patent grants also have defensive termination provisions — each with slightly different terms. The difference between the Facebook grant, which Apache has rejected, and the Apache 2.0 license, which Apache requires for its projects, is more subtle than the controversy suggests.

      [...]

      Defensive termination provisions of the scope in the Facebook grant are very common in patent licensing, outside of the open source landscape. Most patent licenses terminate if the licensee bring patent claims against the licensor. The reason is that a licensor does not want to be unilaterally “disarmed” in a patent battle. Most patents are only used defensively — asserted when a competitor sues the patent owner. A sues B and then B sues A, resulting in mutually assured destruction. If B has released its software under an open source license without a broad defensive termination provision, B is potentially without recourse, and has paid a high price for its open source code release. A gets to simultaneously free ride on B’s software development and sue B for patent infringement.

      Finally, the Facebook grant itself is not new. The grant was released in 2013, and ReactJS’ popularity has been growing since then. As with many open source licenses, the industry’s willingness to absorb a new license depends on the tastiness of the code released under it. In the case of ReactJS, the code was great, and the patent license terms were new, but reasonable.

    • The Faces of Open Source: Till Jaeger

      Dr. Till Jaeger features in the fifth episode of Shane Martin Coughlan’s, “The Faces of Open Source Law.” The series was shot during breaks at the FSFE Legal Network ‘Legal and Licensing Workshop’ in Barcelona during April 2017, and is provided here to promote greater understanding of how the law and open source projects and communities are interacting and evolving.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • TinyCircuits Portfolio of Tiny Open Source Electronics Available Globally from Digi-Key

        TinyCircuits’ selection of small-size open source electronics, including the TinyDuino, is available for immediate shipment worldwide through Digi-Key Electronics, a global electronic components distributor, thanks to a new distribution agreement between the two companies.

      • Numworks graphing calculator is made for students raised on tech

        Now, an open-source calculator called Numworks is taking them on with a clean, simple look, an intuitive interface and open source programming and design.

      • Retrocomputing With Open Source FPGAs

        A few years ago, we saw the reverse engineering of the Lattice iCE40 bitstream, opening the door to a completely Open Source development tool chain for FPGAs. This was an astonishing amount of work from [Clifford Wolf], [Mathias Lasser], and [Cotton Seed], but since then we haven’t seen a whole lot from Project IceStorm. Now, that’s about to change, and in the coolest way possible. [hoglet] is retrocomputing on an ICE40 development board.

        This is an implementation of the Acorn Atom on a myStorm BlackIce board. This board is basically just a Lattice iCE40 FPGA, a few support components, and a bunch of pin headers, some of which are in the not-so-handy Arduino pinout footprint. By porting some Acorn Atom implementations and a 6502 core to verilog, [hoglet] was able to stuff a cool old retrocomputer onto an Open Source FPGA development board. Video output is through a resistor DAC driving a VGA cable, and keyboard input is through PS/2.

  • Programming/Development

    • My use-case for Go

      After using a few very good applications written in Go (Syncthing, Docker and Hugo are some examples) I wanted to get to learn a bit more about the language.

      I’m very interested in programming languages theory and how it could give developers the tools they need to write software in the best possible way and with as many guarantees as possible on the correctness of the resulting applications.

      To get an idea of where programming languages theory is headed have a look at the post Graydon Hoare (the creator of Rust and now one of Swift’s developers) published discussing possible new research directions for programming languages.

    • What was your first programming language?

      Whether you first learned to program in a classroom setting, on the job, or by teaching yourself, everyone who has contributed code to an open source project has a story of how they first picked up programming. And no matter if you still use it today, your first language played an important role in shaping your understanding of computer systems.

    • NVIDIA & Co Continue Working On LLVM Fortran “Flang” Compiler

      Since earlier this year NVIDIA posted their work on “Flang”, an LLVM-based Fortran compiler, to GitHub while now they have done a formal announcement and update about its status.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • PKI is needed for micro-services

      Someone would say: but we can trust the source IP!
      The short answer to this is: no.

      The long answer is: no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no! no!

      An IP address is not secure by design, the network can be manipulated quite easily with an L2 access (like one server compromised).

      Also, the IP layer is not encrypted by default, so if you have to use some kind of encryption on top in your application, what’s the point of encrypting everything with a pre shared key when you can use an asymmetric layout?

    • Google opens up on Titan security: Here’s how chip combats hardware backdoors

      Google has detailed how its custom Titan security chip will prevent threats that use firmware-based attacks.

      When it unveiled its tiny Titan chip, Google said it planned to use the processor to give each server in its cloud its own identity.

    • Disabling Intel ME 11 via undocumented mode

      Our team of Positive Technologies researchers has delved deep into the internal architecture of Intel Management Engine (ME) 11, revealing a mechanism that can disable Intel ME after hardware is initialized and the main processor starts. In this article, we describe how we discovered this undocumented mode and how it is connected with the U.S. government’s High Assurance Platform (HAP) program.

      Disclaimer: The methods described here are risky and may damage or destroy your computer. We take no responsibility for any attempts inspired by our work and do not guarantee the operability of anything. For those who are aware of the risks and decide to experiment anyway, we recommend using an SPI programmer.

      [...]

      Some users of x86 computers have asked the question: how can one disable Intel ME? The issue has been raised by many, including Positive Technologies experts. [, ]. And with the recently discovered critical (9.8/10) vulnerability in Intel Active Management Technology (AMT), which is based on Intel ME, the question has taken on new urgency.

      The disappointing fact is that on modern computers, it is impossible to completely disable ME. This is primarily due to the fact that this technology is responsible for initialization, power management, and launch of the main processor. Another complication lies in the fact that some data is hard-coded inside the PCH chip functioning as the southbridge on modern motherboards. The main method used by enthusiasts trying to disable ME is to remove everything “redundant” from the image while maintaining the computer’s operability. But this is not so easy, because if built-in PCH code does not find ME modules in the flash memory or detects that they are damaged, the system will not start.

      Intel representatives have been informed about the details of our research. Their response has confirmed our hypothesis about the connection of the undocumented mode with the High Assurance Platform program.

      [...]

      We believe that this mechanism is designed to meet a typical requirement of government agencies, which want to reduce the possibility of side-channel leaks. But the main question remains: how does HAP affect Boot Guard? Due to the closed nature of this technology, it is not possible to answer this question yet, but we hope to do so soon.

    • Researchers Find a Way to Disable Much-Hated Intel ME Component Courtesy of the NSA

      Researchers from Positive Technologies — a provider of enterprise security solutions — have found a way to disable the Intel Management Engine (ME), a much-hated component of Intel CPUs.

      Intel ME is a separate processor embedded with Intel CPUs that runs its own operating system complete with processes, threads, memory manager, hardware bus driver, file system, and many other components.

      Intel has always advertised Intel ME as a way for companies to manage computers running on their internal networks. Intel ME includes tools that allow system administrators to monitor, maintain, update, upgrade, and repair computers from a remote, central location.

    • Now you, too, can disable Intel ME ‘backdoor’ thanks to the NSA

      A team of researchers from Positive Technologies discovered an undocumented configuration setting, designed for use by government agencies, to disable Intel Management Engine 11. Now you too can partake in this government privilege to inactivate Intel’s proprietary CPU master controller.

    • Researchers say Intel’s Management Engine feature can be switched off

      That’s not an option for the general public, but researchers at Russian security firm Positive Technologies have found a way to use these government-only privileges to disable ME.

      ME is a core component of modern Intel chips that if compromised can provide an attacker with a powerful backdoor. As the researchers note, ME can’t be completely disabled because of its role in initializing hardware, power management, and launching the main processor.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #122
    • Security Concerns Engulfing IoT Applications, and What Vendors Are Doing About It

      If one device is compromised, it’s next to impossible for a vendor to issue an OTA and update millions of devices. An insecure device in a network is enough to put the whole network and the devices connected to it in jeopardy: servers, smartphones, and desktops in addition to IoT devices, letting a single device to compromise confidential data from bank and health information.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Get Trump’s Finger Off the Nuke Trigger

      President Trump’s ability to trigger a nuclear war is ‘pretty damn scary’ said former US intelligence director James Clapper this week. Remember when Trump vowed to ‘bomb the shit’ out of his enemies?

      I don’t have much respect for Clapper, who brazenly lied to Congress and is a ringleader of the deep government’s efforts to overthrow Trump. But this time, Clapper is 100% right. He’s scared and I am too.

    • Should South Korea Worry About Donald Trump?

      More recently, Trump is upset by the fact that he lost the popular vote in last fall’s election. The presidency is determined by winning the Electoral College, which depends on winning states. It doesn’t matter whether a state is carried by a huge margin or single vote. Since Hillary Clinton in effect wasted large numbers of votes in winning large states with large margins, she managed to lose in the Electoral College even though she beat Trump by more than two million votes.

    • How History Explains the Korean Crisis

      Many Americans simply view North Korea and its leaders as “crazy,” but the history behind today’s crisis reveals of a more complex reality that could change those simplistic impressions, as historian William R. Polk explains.

    • Finnish President refutes Trump’s claim on fighter jets

      Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has refuted President Trump’s claim that Finland would be “purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircrafts from Boeing.” At their joint Monday press conference, Trump said that Finland, which is gearing up to spend $8–10 billion on new fighter jets, will spend those dollars on Boeing-made planes. But Finland is not expected to make a final decision until the early 2020s, Reuters reports.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Is Wikileaks A “Non-state Hostile Intelligence Service” As Some Claim?

      Just before the annual rush to get out of town for the August District Work Period, the Senate Intelligence Committee passed its annual Intelligence Authorization bill by a 14-1 vote. The lone dissenter was Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, a recent guest at Cato and arguably the most articulate and well-informed member of Congress on Intelligence Community oversight issues. Almost a month after the vote, Wyden explained to The Hill why he elected to oppose the bill, which includes language aimed at Wikileaks and its founder and leader, Julian Assange:

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • When the Rains Came to Houston

      When this storm finally stops, upwards of 50 inches of rain will have fallen.

    • Harvey Didn’t Come Out of the Blue. Now Is The Time to Talk About Climate Change.

      Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change, and all the other systemic injustices — from racial profiling to economic austerity — that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes.

      Turn on the coverage of the Hurricane Harvey and the Houston flooding and you’ll hear lots of talk about how unprecedented this kind of rainfall is. How no one saw it coming so no one could adequately prepare.

      What you will hear very little about is why these kind of unprecedented, record-breaking weather events are happening with such regularity that “record-breaking” has become a meteorological cliché. In other words, you won’t hear much, if any, talk about climate change.

      This, we are told, is out of a desire not to “politicize” a still unfolding human tragedy, which is an understandable impulse. But here’s the thing: every time we act as if an unprecedented weather event is hitting us out of the blue, as some sort of Act of God that no one foresaw, reporters are making a highly political decision. It’s a decision to spare feelings and avoid controversy at the expense of telling the truth, however difficult. Because the truth is that these events have long been predicted by climate scientists. Warmer oceans throw up more powerful storms. Higher sea levels mean those storms surge into places they never reached before. Hotter weather leads to extremes of precipitation: long dry periods interrupted by massive snow or rain dumps, rather than the steadier predictable patterns most of us grew up with.

    • As Harvey Batters Houston, Donald Trump Is Focused Like a Laser Beam on His Twitter Feed

      As Hurricane Harvey battered the Gulf Coast, and floodwaters inundated Houston, pushing emergency responders to the brink, the nation’s president was clearly, as the New York Times reported, “riveted by the drama unfolding in Texas,” sending out two dozen Twitter updates on the storm over the weekend.

    • FLASHBACK: Trump took $17 million payout for hurricane damage that reportedly only cost $3,000

      As Hurricane Harvey bears down on Texas, some are recalling that Donald Trump claimed that a hurricane damaged his private Mar-a-Lago club in 2005, but investigators found little evidence to back up the assertions.

      LawNewz flashed back to the 2005 revelation in a Monday report about Trump’s $17 million insurance claim.

      According to an investigation by the Associated Press in 2016, there was “little evidence of such large-scale damage” at Mar-a-Lago.

      Trump claimed in a 2007 deposition that the damage was widespread: “Landscaping, roofing, walls, painting, leaks, artwork in the — you know, the great tapestries, tiles, Spanish tiles, the beach, the erosion.”

    • Extreme Storms Like Harvey and Climate Change: ‘This Is the New Reality’

      As Hurricane Harvey continues to batter Texas—and as the death toll from monsoon flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh surpasses 1,200—experts are putting a spotlight on how climate change is linked to the “unprecedented” storm’s devastation.

      Trying to attribute Harvey to climate change “is an ill-posed question,” argues Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. “While we cannot say climate change ’caused’ Hurricane Harvey,” writes Mann at the Guardian, “we can say is that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life.”

    • Scientists fear censorship in new climate report

      It could be the biggest climate showdown of the entire Trump administration. On one side: dozens of America’s leading scientists. On the other: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and other top Trump officials promoting dangerous denial of climate science.

      Recently, scientists working on a legally mandated federal assessment of global warming’s threats to America expressed grave concerns that Trump officials may try to alter or suppress the report, which is currently awaiting “final clearance” by the EPA and other agencies.

    • Thousands of Katrina evacuees who moved to Houston are reliving a nightmare

      Among those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey’s unprecedented flooding of Houston are likely thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina’s 2005 strike on Louisiana, who in some cases are once again seeing their homes destroyed by rising floodwaters.

      Katrina hit New Orleans 12 years ago today. After the levees failed, inundating the city, as many as 250,000 evacuees temporarily relocated to Houston, and about 40,000 stayed permanently, according to a 2015 report in the Houston Chronicle. They and other Louisianans who came later generally praised Houston for its growing economy, with better jobs and salaries than in the New Orleans area. Parents also saw Houston as having a stronger school system, though many evacuees lamented the region’s sprawl and other cultural differences.

  • Finance

    • I Helped Low-Income Americans Save for Retirement—Until Trump Ended the Program

      The argument against myRA’s expense is hard to swallow, since the next item on President Donald Trump’s agenda is a tax reform plan that could cost as much as $7 trillion over the next decade. The myRA program would be 0.001 percent of the cost. The claim that enrollment has been unenthusiastic isn’t much easier to stomach, since the program was so new. Publicity efforts, such as partnerships with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs and promotions through government websites and TurboTax, have not yet been executed.

    • Spain: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

      When the Catalans goes to the polls Oct. 1, much more than independence for Spain’s restive province will be at stake. In many ways the vote will be a sounding board for Spain’s future, but it is also a test of whether the European Union—divided between north and south, east and west—can long endure.

      In some ways, the referendum on Catalan independence is a very Spanish affair, with grievances that run all the way back to Catalonia’s loss of independence in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). But the Catalans lost more than their political freedom when the combined French and Spanish army took Barcelona, they lost much of their language and culture, particularly during the long and brutal dictatorship of Francisco Franco from 1939 to 1975.

      The current independence crisis dates back to 2010, when, at the urging of the rightwing Popular Party, the Spanish Constitutional Court overturned an autonomy agreement that had been endorsed by the Spanish and Catalan parliaments. Since then, the Catalans have elected a pro-independence government and narrowly defeated an initiative in 2014 calling for the creation of a free republic. The Oct. 1 vote will re-visit that vote.

      [...]

      The European Union is in a crisis of its own making. By blocking its members from pursuing different strategies for confronting economic trouble and, instead, insisting on one-size-fits-all strictures, the trade group has set loose centrifugal forces that now threaten to tear the organization apart.

      The eastern members of the EU have charted a course that throttles democracy in the name of stability. The southern members of the bloc are struggling to emerge from austerity regimes that have inflicted widespread, possibly permanent, damage to their economies. Even members with powerful economies, like Germany and France, are trying to keep the lid on the desire of their people for a better standard of living.

    • Trump’s tough new sanctions will harm the people of Venezuela

      The Trump administration announced new, unprecedented sanctions against Venezuela on Friday that are designed to cut off financing to Venezuela. The Trump team pretends that the sanctions are only directed at the government. But as any economist knows, this is clearly false. By starving the economy of foreign exchange, this action will harm the private sector, most Venezuelans, the poor and the vulnerable.

      These sanctions will deepen the severe depression that Venezuela’s economy has been in for more than three and a half years, which has already shrunk income per person by more than a third. They will worsen the shortages of food and essential medicines. They will exacerbate the country’s balance of payments crisis, and therefore feed the spiral of inflation (600 percent over the past year) and depreciation of the currency (on the black market) that has been accelerating since late 2012.

    • Trump’s Labor Day

      This will be the first Labor Day of the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who came to office riding a wave of anti-establishment anger from average working people. No one can say they didn’t see it coming.

      By the time Trump was elected, the typical American household had a net worth 14 percent lower than the typical household in 1984. The richest 1 percent owned more than the bottom 90 percent.

      Last year’s annual Wall Street bonus pool alone was larger than the annual year-round earnings of all 3.3 million Americans working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

    • 54 Years After the March on Washington, We’re Far From Racial Pay Equity

      Fifty-four years ago this week, on Aug. 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event marked a turning point in our society in recognizing the need for civil rights and equality for African Americans. But it’s painfully clear we have yet to achieve the dream set forth that day by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Why 85% of Houston homeowners have no flood insurance

      Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Houston, Texas alone by Hurricane Harvey. The long-term damage from the catastrophic flooding engulfing the US’s Gulf Coast is expected to cost companies, small businesses, and homeowners as much as $100 billion, according to Imperial Capital. The insurance industry alone may pay out $10-$20 billion, JP Morgan estimates.

      While big corporations will probably survive the hit, many individual homeowners in Houston could be forced into debt or bankruptcy because they don’t have flood insurance. That’s despite the fact that scientists have been warning for years that unchecked development and climate change could cause severe flooding in Houston.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts

      Andrei Iancu of California, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property {sic} and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce.

      [...]

      Adam I. Klein of the District of Columbia to be a Member and Chairman of the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Mr. Klein is the Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, where [...]

    • Arpaio Pardon May Be Opening Act of a Constitutional Crisis

      Donald Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio marks the real beginning of the coming constitutional crisis in America.

      Trump started tweeting trial balloons about this a month ago — “all agree the US president has the complete power to pardon” — and he has even asserted the unlitigated idea that he can pardon himself. But what he did yesterday puts his presidency on a whole new plane: a Category 5 political hurricane. By pardoning a man convicted of criminal contempt for direct violation of a federal order, Trump is now flaunting his eagerness to overturn the rule of law in America.

    • When a President is Unfit

      A recently revealed memo by Rich Higgins, a top official of the National Security Council, was very interesting on this count and was responsible for his firing. Penned in May under the title, Potus & Political Warfare, he offers a full array of Trump’s opposing forces, his intention seeming to be to leave nobody out.

      His dominant theme is that cultural Marxism erodes the nation’s Judeo-Christian culture. He restricts cultural Marxism to relate to “programs and activities that arise out of Gramsci Marxism, Fabian Socialism and most directly from the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt strategy deconstructs societies through attacks on culture by imposing a dialectic that forces unresolvable contradictions under the rubric of critical theory. The result is induced nihilism, a belief in everything that is actually the belief in nothing.”

    • Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president

      While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.

      As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.

    • Trump Trumped

      In the grand scheme, this doesn’t amount to much to irk citizens who love Trump, but, for the rest of us, this is a nice wrapping and a big fluffy bow to finish off the case against Trump. Now that all the smoke and fire comes together sensibly, there’s no reason not to impeach Trump and even lock him up.

    • Lurid Trump allegations made by Louise Mensch and co-writer came from hoaxer

      Explosive allegations about Donald Trump made by online writers with large followings among Trump critics were based on bogus information from a hoaxer who falsely claimed to work in law enforcement.

      Claude Taylor tweeted fake details of criminal inquiries into Trump that were invented by a source whose claim to work for the New York attorney general was not checked, according to emails seen by the Guardian. The allegations were endorsed as authentic and retweeted by his co-writer Louise Mensch.

    • Trump associate boasts Russia deal ‘will get Donald elected’: report

      “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Sater wrote on Nov. 3, 2015, almost exactly a year before Election Day. “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

    • Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal ‘Will Get Donald Elected’

      A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.

    • Trump Is A 19th-Century President Facing 21st-Century Problems

      Since President Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, commentators have asked whether he really understands the office. Over the last few tumultuous months, some have concluded that he does not.

    • Why Trump’s Lawyer Was Sued Over $350,000 He Says He Doesn’t Remember Cashing

      Long before he became Donald Trump’s feared attack dog, or began to visit the White House as the president’s personal attorney, or took a position with the Republican National Committee, or partnered with powerhouse lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs, Michael Cohen ran a small legal practice in Hell’s Kitchen.

      He was a one-man show and handled a little bit of everything, from personal injury cases to a Ukrainian investment fund to a fleet of taxis to a trust account he managed for clients.

      One day in 1999, a check for $350,000 was deposited into that trust account, to be disbursed to a woman living in South Florida. As the lawyer in charge of the account, Cohen was supposed to ensure that she got the money.

      But he didn’t.

      Why not? And what ultimately happened to all that money?

    • How Donald Trump and Elaine Chao Sold Off Flood-Control Policy to the Highest Bidders

      Even before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, with devastating impact on the infrastructure of a flooded Houston and other communities, the Trump administration was thinking about and acting on flood-control policies.

      Unfortunately, the president’s team was thinking about what corporate interests wanted, and acting on their behalf—even as specialists on flooding issues pleaded with the administration to do otherwise. On August 15, Trump and his team overturned an Obama-administration rule requiring that infrastructure projects, including roads and bridges, be designed to withstand the consequences of climate change—such as rising sea levels.

      Experts in climate change, coastal management, and environmental policy begged the administration to maintain the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard for “climate resilience.” The concern crossed traditional lines of ideology and partisanship, as free-market economic groups and Republican members of the House praised the standard.

    • DONALD TRUMP IS BEING WARNED BY ADVISERS ABOUT IMPEACHMENT

      Donald Trump’s presidency already has been one of the most controversial in U.S. history, and its ending could be just as action-packed and unpredictable as his first seven months in office.

      As the 45th president deals with his stalled agenda, his sinking approval ratings and the investigations into his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia, White House advisers have reportedly been warning Trump about his potential political doom: the exhaustive impeachment process that could result in his removal from the Oval Office. And he isn’t doing himself many favors.

    • We Are Taking Trump to Court to Stop His Illegal and Cruel Ban on Transgender Service Members

      Military personnel who are transgender deserve better from their Commander-in-Chief.

      When President Trump took to Twitter on the morning of July 26 to issue a series of lies about transgender individuals serving in the United States armed forces and announce a ban on open transgender service, he disrupted the lives and careers of thousands of transgender troops.

      His announcement came as a shock to almost everyone, including members of Congress, military experts, and the Secretary of Defense.

      While he claimed to have consulted with his “Generals and military experts,” that was not the case. Instead, he allied himself with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who dismissed the service of transgender individuals as the “social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nation’s military.”

      We hoped that the ill-advised ban would languish on the president’s Twitter feed, but unfortunately, he turned the tweets into a directive banning open transgender service on August 25.

      The new directive bars enlistment by transgender individuals, prohibits coverage for certain critical medical procedures, and bans those currently in the military from serving, with the Secretary of Defense given discretion to determine how to carry out that ban.

      Today, we and the ACLU of Maryland filed a lawsuit to challenge President Trump’s cruel policy on behalf of Petty Officer First Class Brock Stone, Staff Sergeant Kate Cole, Senior Airmen John Doe, Technical Sergeant Tommie Parker, Airman First Class Seven Ero George, and Petty Officer First Class Teagan Gilbert.

    • 45 After Dark: Trump’s Deluge edition
    • Trump’s long history of seeking a politically inconvenient business deal in Russia
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • CCTV + Lip-Reading Software = Even Less Privacy, Even More Surveillance

      That story from the Sunday Herald in Scotland focuses on the commercial “opportunities” this technology offers. It’s easy to imagine the future scenarios as shop assistants are primed to descend upon people who speak favorably about goods on sale, or who express a wish for something that is not immediately visible to them. But even more troubling are the non-commercial uses, for example when applied to CCTV feeds supposedly for “security” purposes.
      How companies and law enforcement use CCTV+lip-reading software will presumably be subject to legislation, either existing or introduced specially. But given the lax standards for digital surveillance, and the apparent presumption by many state agencies that they can listen to anything they are able to grab, it would be na&iumlve to think they won’t deploy this technology as much as they can. In fact, they probably already have.

    • Finding Aid to NSA History Collection Declassified

      The National Security Agency has declassified the finding aid for a collection of thousands of historically valuable NSA scientific and technical records that were transferred to the National Archives (NARA) last year.

      Up to now the contents of the collection had been opaque to the public. As David Langbart of NARA described the collection to the State Department Historical Advisory Committee last year:

      “These records mostly consist of technical, analytical, historical, operational, and translation reports and related materials. Most of the records date from the period from the 1940s to the 1960s, but there are also documents from the 1920s and 1930s and even earlier. The NSA reviewed the records for declassification before accessioning and most documents and folder titles remain classified. [. . .] The finding aid prepared by NSA was the only practical way to locate documents of interest for researchers, but it is 557 pages long and is classified.”

    • How the NSA identified Satoshi Nakamoto

      The ‘creator’ of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is the world’s most elusive billionaire. Very few people outside of the Department of Homeland Security know Satoshi’s real name. In fact, DHS will not publicly confirm that even THEY know the billionaire’s identity. Satoshi has taken great care to keep his identity secret employing the latest encryption and obfuscation methods in his communications. Despite these efforts (according to my source at the DHS) Satoshi Nakamoto gave investigators the only tool they needed to find him — his own words.

    • India’s Supreme Court Upholds Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right—and It’s About Time

      Last week’s unanimous judgment by the Supreme Court of India (SCI) in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union of India is a resounding victory for privacy. The ruling is the outcome of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Indian biometric identity scheme Aadhaar. The judgment’s ringing endorsement of the right to privacy as a fundamental right marks a watershed moment in the constitutional history of India.

      [...]

      The decision is especially timely given the rapid roll-out of Aahaar. In fact, the privacy ruling arose from a pending challenge to India’s biometric identity scheme. We have previously covered the privacy and surveillance risks associated with that scheme. Ambiguity on the nature and scope of privacy as a right in India allowed the government to collect and compile both demographic and biometric data of residents. The original justification for introducing Aadhaar was to ensure government benefits reached the intended recipients. Following a rapid roll-out and expansion, it is the largest biometric database in the world, with over 1.25 billion Indians registered. The government’s push for Aadhaar has led to its wide acceptance as proof of identity, and as an instrument for restructuring and facilitating government services.

    • Sweden doubles down on data retention surveillance, includes VPN surveillance in new leaked proposal

      The Swedish government is doubling down on the court-banned and hated data retention surveillance. As a Western first, they’re also planning to introduce VPN surveillance, taking a page out of Russia’s and China’s oppression playbooks, and are mandating that the Internet be built not to optimize speed and throughput, but to optimize governmental surveillance. This is according to a leaked law proposal, which has been obtained by the Swedish internet provider Bahnhof.

    • Sarahah: Viral app surreptitiously collecting phone contacts data without notifying users

      Sarahah, the anonymous feedback app that recently went viral, has reportedly been silently collecting users’ phone contacts data, without the knowledge of its users. Once launched, the app reportedly harvests all phone numbers and email addresses stored on users’ phone contacts, without making any disclosure on the data collection.

    • Your broadband provider can use your smart devices to spy on you

      In March 2017, the US legislature voted to repeal Obama-era rules that would have prevented ISPs from selling personal information to third parties and given users more power over what information they shared with ISPs.

    • Aadhaar to be made compulsory for open learning examination

      Aadhaar will now be mandatory for those appearing for open school exams to ensure there are no proxy candidates appearing on others’ behalf.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How I Survived the Title IX Star Chamber

      Public scrutiny has finally arrived, most prominently in the work of Northwestern University scholar Laura Kipnis. Her April 2017 book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, is a sweeping indictment of how Title IX, originally intended to remedy campus sexism, has become a blight on American higher education.

    • Think innocent people are never wrongly convicted? Think again — then ask Marcellus Williams

      Last week, on the day he was scheduled to die, Marcellus Williams didn’t.

      Just hours before he was to be strapped down and pumped full of poison, Williams, the convicted killer of Felicia “Lisha” Gayle, a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, received a reprieve. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens stayed the execution and announced formation of a panel to review the case.

    • Letters threatening acid attacks sent to Muslims in Bradford
    • White Supremacists Joked About Using Cars to Run Over Opponents Before Charlottesville

      Nearly a month before a car driven by an alleged neo-Nazi plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12, white supremacists planning the “Unite the Right” rally joked about using vehicles to run over their opponents.

      That message and thousands of other conversations among white supremacists were leaked from a chat app called Discord and posted on the website of a left-wing media collective called Unicorn Riot. Many users’ participation could not be verified, but ProPublica was able to confirm that two people whose statements were included in the leaked trove made the comments attributed to them.

      The pre-Charlottesville chats include discussions of potential violence, the use of weapons, and excitement at the prospect of “fighting for the white race.”

    • ICE Plans to Start Destroying Records of Immigrant Abuse, Including Sexual Assault and Deaths in Custody

      Without a paper trail, it will become extremely hard for people who have been abused in immigration custody to seek justice.

      Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently asked the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), which instructs federal agencies on how to maintain records, to approve its timetable for retaining or destroying records related to its detention operations. This may seem like a run-of-the-mill government request for record-keeping efficiency. It isn’t. An entire paper trail for a system rife with human rights and constitutional abuses is at stake.

      ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody. Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs; regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities and communications from the public reporting detention abuses. ICE proposed various timelines for the destruction of these records ranging from 20 years for sexual assault and death records to three years for reports about solitary confinement.

    • Trump Just Gave Thousands of Bayonets And Hundreds of Grenade Launchers Back To Police

      Americans don’t want weapons of war in their towns, but President Trump is sending them anyway.

      President Trump continues to be a man of his word in all the wrong ways.

      Today the president made good on his campaign promise to the Fraternal Order of Police to rescind Executive Order 13688 and put thousands of bayonets and hundreds of grenade launchers from the U.S. military back in the hands of police. It also leaves law enforcement’s federally provided drones, explosives, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles without oversight.

      The result? Weapons of war will again be used to police our communities, no questions asked. Your town could be the next Ferguson or Fallujah.

    • Gov. Jerry Brown’s Draft “Sanctuary” Bill Creates New Routes for ICE in California

      After Donald Trump’s election, California Gov. Jerry Brown pledged to lead the resistance to the president’s anti-immigrant policies. “You don’t want to mess with California,” he said in March, when Trump threatened to withhold federal funding if California became the first “sanctuary state.” “I’m not going to just turn over our police department to become agents of the federal government as they deport women and children and people who are contributing to the economic well-being of our state, which they are.”

      Now, California is moving toward “sanctuary state” status. Senate Bill 54 — designed to bar local law enforcement from using resources to aid federal immigration agents — is moving through the legislature. But a draft of amendments to the bill authored by Brown’s office and obtained by The Intercept indicate that the hope of defending California’s immigrant population, the largest in the nation, from Trump’s long reach may be in danger.

    • Report: ‘Anti-protester’ bills gain traction in state legislatures

      Republican legislators in 20 U.S. statehouses have proposed — and six legislatures approved — new restrictions on the right to assemble and protest so far this year, according to a new report by the Democrat-aligned State Innovation Exchange.

      “These bills would create a new set of crimes, significantly harsher penalties, and costly fines that could apply broadly to anyone — whether they are supporters of the president, members of the Tea Party, or just concerned parents speaking out at a school board meeting,” according to an advance copy of the report. SiX works to advance progressive policies at the state level and calls the wave of bills a “new and disturbing trend.”

      “Given this passage rate, there is every reason to think we will see more of these efforts in 2018,” said the report.

    • Appeals Court Says Gov’t Can’t Seize Untainted Assets Ahead Of Trial

      Using nothing more than one of the easiest things the government can obtain — a grand jury indictment — accused criminals can be locked out of their choice of representation. In essence, the government, right up until the Supreme Court’s 2016 Luis decision, was allowed to take everything a defendant had, whether or not the property could be linked to criminal activity.

      What this did was make a mockery of the Sixth Amendment. Prior to even taking the case to court, much less securing a conviction, the government could leave defendants with no funds to hire a lawyer. The Supreme Court rolled this back, limiting the government to taking tainted assets. It wasn’t a complete win. A complete win would have required the government to secure a conviction before taking any assets, or at least not until it was proven certain assets were tied to criminal activity.

    • Trump Rolls Back Ban On Transfer Of Military Equipment To Law Enforcement Agencies

      Attorney General Sessions loves rolling things back. This will give police departments access to mine-resistant vehicles, grenade launchers, and firearms, which should “assist” them in fighting the Drug War 1980s-style and/or pitching in with ICE’s efforts to pitch migrants back over the wall Trump can’t seem to get built.

      This is prime law-and-order stuff. Trump has made it clear law enforcement is on the right side of history. Everyone who doubts or criticizes cops is simply wrong. A ban put in place as a reaction to militarized police responses is being reversed because no one up top cares how police are perceived. AG Sessions has already killed off federal civil rights investigations of local law enforcement agencies. Now, police will find it easier than ever to dude up as war-fighters, rather than easily-identifiable public servants.

    • Bucking FDA, Peter Thiel funds “patently unethical” herpes vaccine trial

      Heavyweight tech investor and FDA-critic Peter Thiel is among conservative funders and American researchers backing an offshore herpes vaccine trial that blatantly flouts US safety regulations, according to a Monday report by Kaiser Health News.

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  • Intellectual Monopolies

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