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11.01.17

Links 1/11/2017: GNOME 3.26.2, 4MLinux 23.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux command line tools for working with non-Linux users

      I spend most of my computing life in the Shell (command line, terminal or whatever you want to call it on your platform of choice). This can be a bit challenging, though, when I need to work with large groups of other people, especially in big enterprise companies that — well — use anything but the Shell.

      The problems that crop up are made worse when other people within your company use a different platform than you. I tend to use Linux. If I’m doing a lot of my daily work from a Linux terminal and the bulk of my co-workers use Windows 10 (entirely from the GUI side), things can get … problematic.

    • Yes, you can use Linux without knowing the command line

      If there’s one thing surrounding Linux usage that bothers me more than anything else, it’s when the detractors say you cannot work with Linux without knowing the command line. This is a bit of FUD — fear, uncertainty, and doubt — that keeps new users from giving the open source platform a try. I’m here, right now, to dispel that myth.

  • Server

    • Demand for Certified SysAdmins and Developers Is On the Rise

      Even with a shortage of IT workers, some employers are still discerning in their hiring requirements and are either seeking certified candidates or offering to pay for their employees to become certified.

      The Linux Foundation’s 2017 Open Source Jobs Report finds that half of hiring managers are more likely to hire a certified professional, while 47 percent of companies are willing to help pay for employees’ certifications. Meanwhile, 89% of hiring managers find it difficult to find open source talent.

      The demand for skills relating to cloud administration, DevOps, and continuous integration/continuous delivery is fueling interest in training and certifications related to open source projects and tools that power the cloud, according to the report. Workers find certification important, too. In fact, 76 percent of open source pros say certifications are useful to their careers.

    • Video: The State of Linux Containers

      Christian Kniep is a Software Evangelist at Docker. With a 10-year journey rooted in the HPC parts of the german automotive industry, Christian started to support CAE applications and VR installations. After getting bored with the small pieces, he became the InfiniBand go-to-guy while operating a 4000 node crash-test cluster and pivoted to the R&D department of Bulls BXI interconnect. When told at a conference that HPC can not learn anything from the emerging Cloud and BigData companies, he became curious and is now pushing for containerization within Sony Interactive Entertainment. Christian likes to explore new emerging trends by containerizing them first and seek application in the nebulous world of DevOps. As an organiser of three workshops at ISC HPC and ISC Cloud as well as talking frequently at HPC Advisory Council events, FOSDEM and MeetUps, Christian has a long standing commitment to share valuable information about Linux Containers in the HPC and BigData community.

    • Cloud-Native, Seven Years On…

      Back in 2010, I published a blog post defining the term cloud-native, based on discussions between I’d had with my colleagues at WSO2. At around the same time, Netflix also started using that term in presentations. Since then the interest in cloud-native has rocketed, including many blog posts, books, and of course the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

      The high-level concept of cloud-native is simple: systems that give users a better experience by virtue of operating in the cloud in a genuinely cloud-centric way. In other words, the cloud may make an existing database easier to start up, but if the database doesn’t support elasticity then it can’t take advantage of the scaling capabilities of the cloud.

    • 20 questions DevOps hiring managers should be prepared to answer
    • 7 Non-Technical Skills You Need To Succeed In A DevOps Career
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation to host Acumos AI project backed by AT&T

      The Linux Foundation introduced the new Acumos AI project which is still in formation and is expected to be launched in early 2018. The project aims to make artificial intelligence (AI) available to everyone by providing a common framework and platform for the free exchange of machine learning products. The founding organisations include AT&T and Tech Mahindra. Others are invited to participate as members in the coming weeks as the Acumos Project establishes its governance model.

      With the Acumos platform, the organisation said it’s working to create an industry standard for making AI applications and models reusable and easily accessible to any developer. The Acumos platform will be user-centric, with an initial focus on creating apps and micro-services.

    • Linux Creates New Open-Source Project for Artificial Intelligence

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has introduced the Acumos Project, which aims to make artificial intelligence (AI) available to everyone – including drone developers – by providing a common framework and platform for the free exchange of machine learning solutions.

    • The Linux Foundation Announces 20 New Silver Members

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced that 20 new organizations have joined the Foundation as Silver members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the greatest shared technology resources in history, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation.

    • Intel Graphics Driver Likely To Re-Enable Fastboot By Default

      For the past five years or so has been work on Intel DRM “Fastboot” support and it’s looking like this feature may finally be re-enabled by default.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel i965 Mesa Driver Finally Lands Its On-Disk Shader Cache

        Intel developers have finally landed their patches for supporting the i965 Mesa OpenGL on-disk shader cache.

        While RadeonSI has implemented its on-disk shader cache since earlier this year, the Intel shader cache that originally pre-dates that work was finally carried over the finish line last night and are now in Git. This work is present for the Mesa 18.0 release due out in early 2018 and not the upcoming Mesa 17.3 update due out in about two weeks.

    • Benchmarks

      • 18-Way Radeon GPU Benchmarks On Ubuntu 17.10 With Linux 4.14 + Mesa 17.4-dev

        Continuing on in our fresh Radeon Linux graphics benchmarks in commemorating 10 years of AMD’s open-source driver strategy with already showing how the driver compares to the old Catalyst/fglrx and Ubuntu 14.04 to 17.10 OpenGL tests, up next is an 18 way graphics card comparison of both old and new Radeon graphics cards while using the very latest Linux driver stack.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Mobile: Inside KDE’s Plan To Create A Full-featured Linux Smartphone Software

        The Linux smartphone scenario has never been so exciting. Recently, Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone achieved its crowdfunding goal and scored partnerships from GNOME and KDE. On the other hand, postmarketOS is also showing some good promise.

        When KDE partnered with Purism, it announced that Plasma Mobile will be ready for the real world and integrate with a commercial device for the first time. “Slowly, but surely, hardware vendors have discovered that Plasma Mobile is an entirely different software platform to build products on top of,” KDE developer Sebastian Kügler wrote in a blog post.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.26.2 released

        I’m pleased to announce the release of GNOME 3.26.2, the final planned release for the GNOME 3.26 series. It includes many bugfixes, documentation improvements, and translation updates. All distributions shipping GNOME 3.26 are strongly encouraged to upgrade.

      • GNOME 3.26.2 Released
      • GNOME 3.26.2 Released as Last Scheduled Maintenance Update for the Linux Desktop

        GNOME’s Michael Catanzaro is announcing today the availability of the second and last scheduled maintenance update for the GNOME 3.26 desktop environment carrying numerous bug fixes.

        GNOME 3.26.2 is out just in time, as initially scheduled, and it’s here three weeks after the first point release to improve the stability, security, and reliability of your GNOME 3.26 desktop environment. It will be coming soon to the stable repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distro, so make sure you update as soon as possible.

      • GNOME Bug squash month
      • GNOME.Asia summit 2017

        GNOME.Asia summit 2017 was held in Chongqing city of China. The venue was the Chongqing University approximately 90 years old with the vast beautiful Eco-friendly campus. I was invited as one of the speakers. The topic of my speech was “Why FOSS in education make sense?”. The message of my talk was to incorporate the open source in the education system. I believe that faculty members in the computer science department in various Universities around the world should be made aware and practice open source software and also if possible contribute to open source project. This way they can guide their students in the best possible way. They can act as the medium between the student and the open source project mentors as the teachers knows their students well. They can direct their students according to their capabilities and interests.

  • Distributions

    • Solus 4 Is Working On Restoring Wayland Support, NVIDIA Improvements

      The Solus Linux distribution project has shared some of the work they are currently pursuing for their Solus 4 operating system update.

      Solus developers are planning to turn back on Wayland support for the distribution. They are also planning to improve the NVIDIA driver support, including making use of the GLVND library (OpenGL Vendor Neutral Dispatch) so its OpenGL driver can co-exist happily without disturbing the Mesa drivers on the system. They are also looking at enabling EGLStreams support to allow the NVIDIA driver to work under Wayland on their operating system. As part of their GLVND push is also looking to improve NVIDIA Optimus laptop support.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 23.0 STABLE released.

        The status of the 4MLinux 23.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Create your own images with GIMP 2.8.22, edit your documents with LibreOffice 5.4.3.1 and GNOME Office (AbiWord 3.0.2 with Gnumeric 1.12.35), share your files using DropBox 37.4.29, surf the Internet with Firefox 56.0 and Chromium 61.0.3163.100, stay in touch with your friends via Skype 5.5.0.1 and Thunderbird 52.4.0, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 3.9, watch your favorite videos with MPlayer SVN-r37931 and VLC 2.2.6, play games powered by Mesa 17.0.4 and Wine 2.19. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 4.9.52, Apache 2.4.28, MariaDB 10.2.9, PHP 5.6.31 and PHP 7.0.24). Perl 5.24.1 and Python 2.7.13 are also available.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • GNOME Project Welcomes Canonical and Ubuntu to GNOME Foundation Advisory Board

            With the release of the Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, Canonical replaced their Unity user interface with the GNOME desktop environment, and now they’re looking to sponsor the project by becoming a member of the Advisory Board.

            Among some powerful members of GNOME Foundation’s Advisory Board, we can mention Google, FSF (Free Software Foundation), and Linux Foundation. And now, Canonical will also support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation.

          • Ubuntu Linux-maker Canonical joins GNOME Foundation advisory board
          • Canonical Joins The GNOME Advisory Board
          • Canonical Has Joined the GNOME Foundation Advisory Board

            It’s a timely and logical appointment what with the recent Ubuntu 17.10 release being the first version of Ubuntu to ship with the GNOME Shell desktop environment by default.

            But what is the GNOME Advisory Board?

            Well, GNOME explain it as “…a body of stakeholder organizations and companies who support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation.”

            Other members of the board include Google, The Document Foundation, Red Hat and SUSE.

          • Canonical joins GNOME Foundation Advisory Board

            As you’re no doubt aware, the default Ubuntu desktop is now running GNOME Shell following the 17.10 release and so we naturally have a great deal of interest in the plans and direction of the GNOME project. The best way for us to get more involved in the future of GNOME is to become a member of the Advisory Board, and so, I’m happy to announce that we are now fully signed up members.

          • Retiring my Ubuntu Phone after 1000 days

            With some sadness I recently replaced my Ubuntu Phone with a Nexus 5. It lasted me just over 1000 days (almost three years) as my everyday phone, and I last wrote about it at the 500 mark.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Zorin OS 12 Passes One Million Downloads Mark, 60% Are Windows and Mac Users

              Seven months after reaching half million downloads, the Zorin OS 12 GNU/Linux operating system passed today the one million downloads mark.

              Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution targeted at those who want to migrate from Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS computer operating system to an Open Source alternative that offers them a more secure, stable, and reliable computing environment. Zorin OS 12 is the latest stable version of the Linux OS, and it got its second point release in September 2017.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Happy birthday ROS: A decade of open-source robotics

    It all started ten years ago. ROS grew out of several early open-source robotic software frameworks, including switchyard by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

    The same year, legendary research lab and technology incubator Willow Garage hired its first employees: Jonathan Stark, Melonee Wise, Curt Meyers, and John Hsu. You can point to a lot of seminal moments in robotics history, but this is a top contender for the year modern robotics was born.

  • Why you should consider open source IoT solutions

    The society-wide adoption of the Internet of Things into our everyday business and cultural lives has left many company’s scrambling to find the best fit for the IoT in their businesses. Most of them have encountered serious trouble; choosing which IoT platform is right for you is no easy job, and the complexities of your decision can sometimes seem overwhelming.

    Considering an open source IoT solution to your company’s problems can help alleviate some of the burdens brought on by this decision. A quick review of how open source IoT solutions stand to benefit you without breaking the bank shows why this route may be the go-to option for IoT practitioners in the future.

  • What Happened When One Texas County Tried To Build A Cheap, Open-Source Election System

    STAR Vote’s goal was to make voters more comfortable with the security and reliability of electronic voting, DeBeauvoir says. STAR Vote would have provided voters with a paper receipt of their ballot. Such a receipt is called a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail, or VVPAT.

    “The purpose of a VVPAT Is to make sure the voter knows for a fact that the choices they have entered on the electronic voting system are in fact the correct choices that really represent their decisions,” DeBeauvoir says.

    Besides reassuring voters, a paper trail can help election officials perform post-election audits.

    “Most people think what we’re using the paper trail for is a recount,” she says. “You can just do post-election audits because you’re double-checking the math and the statistics of an election.”

  • Open-source—‘the way the future is being built’

    Pineberry Manufacturing Inc. makes friction feeders that insert coupons, paperboard inserts, envelopes, cards, etc. The firm claims to have the only open-source feeders in the marketplace, which means proprietary electrical components have been eliminated. Pineberry Manufacturing’s HSF and SF Series friction feeders, says the firm, are characterized by an unmatched level of operational simplicity, reliability, robustness, and cost efficiency. Also, they can be easily integrated into manual or automated lines. The HSF operates at 8,000 inches/min and the SF at 3,000.

    “Our friction feeders are open-source, servo-controlled power platforms with a Schneider Electric PLC touchscreen controller, reducing the overall number of components to the machine,” says Pineberry Manufacturing President David McCharles. “Users can get information from the terminal remotely through an app on a smart phone. Open-source technology is the way the future is being built.”

  • Events

    • Watch Keynote Videos from OS Summit and ELC Europe 2017 Including a Conversation with Linus Torvalds

      Check out the on-stage conversation with Linus Torvalds and VMware’s Dirk Hohndel, opening remarks from The Linux Foundation’s Executive Director Jim Zemlin, and a special presentation from 11-year-old CyberShaolin founder Reuben Paul. You can watch these and other ELC and OS Summit keynotes below for insight into open source collaboration, community and technical expertise on containers, cloud computing, embedded Linux, Linux kernel, networking, and much more.

    • 2017 KDE Edu Sprint

      Between the 7th and 9th October the KDE Edu team met in the Endocode offices in Berlin to work on and plan KDE’s educational software.

      We split up the work into three general areas: organization, infrastructure and coding.

      The KDE Edu team is diverse in that there are different people interested in different tools. A sprint such as this one is the ideal meeting place to work on making sure that we are headed in the same direction. We discussed the website and how we present our projects to the outside world. We also covered improvements to our usage of Phabricator and our roles on the different goals we set for ourselves. We wanted to make sure all our members are aware and on board with them.

    • CppCon 2017: trip report

      During the last week of September I attended the 2017 edition of CppCon, in Bellevue, WA. Unusually late due to my presence at Qt World Summit which took place just after it, here’s my trip report.

    • Percona Live Open Source Database Conference Europe 2017 Showcases Power, Popularity and Innovation of Open Source Database-Powered Infrastructures

      Percona, the company that delivers enterprise-class MySQL®, MongoDB® and other open source database solutions and services, announced the success of Percona Live Open Source Database Conference Europe 2017, which took place September 25-27, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin, Ireland.

    • FOSDEM 2018 – SDN/NFV DevRoom Call for Content

      The SDN & NFV DevRoom is back this year for FOSDEM, and the call for content is open until November 16th. Submissions are welcome now!

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • 10 Fascinating Things We Learned When We Asked The World ‘How Connected Are You?’

        We inquired about people’s relationships with their connected devices, like smart TVs, Fitbits, and routers. Questions ranged from “What connected devices do you own?“ to “What is your biggest fear as we move toward a more connected future?”

        Nearly 190,000 people around the world responded. People from the tiny islands of Tuvalu to the huge landmass of China and everywhere in between. (Mozilla released the survey in six languages: English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, and Portuguese.)

        What we learned is fascinating. Like: People in India are more likely to own a smart appliance, whereas people in Argentina are more likely to own a smart TV. And: People everywhere are worried that a more connected future will jeopardize their privacy.

      • $275K for Creative Gigabit Projects Across the U.S.

        Mozilla is partnering with museums, universities, nonprofits, libraries, and high schools in Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, and beyond.

        “We’re focusing on projects that leverage gigabit internet speeds — up to 250x average speeds — to make a positive impact in the communities we serve and across the country,” says Lindsey Frost, who directs Mozilla’s gigabit work. “Projects use augmented reality to train first responders; raise awareness about coastal erosion through virtual reality simulations; bring robotics into high school classrooms; and much more.”

        Through the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund — a partnership with the National Science Foundation and U.S. Ignite — Mozilla invests in projects that leverage lightning-fast gigabit internet connectivity to further education and workforce development.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3.5 Security Update Addresses WPA2 KRACK Issue, Improves WebGUI

      If you haven’t upgraded your pfSense BSD-based firewall to the major 2.4.x stable series yet, we have some good news for you today as the pfSense 2.3.5 security update is now available to download.

      pfSense 2.3.5 is a maintenance and bugfix release for the pfSense 2.3 stable series of the world’s most trusted open source firewall, and it’s here to patch a few critical security vulnerabilities, including that nasty WPA2 KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack) issue.

    • OpenZFS RAID-Z Online Expansion Project Announcement

      The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce a collaborative project with Delphix to implement one of the most requested ZFS features, to allow RAID-Z pools to be expanded one disk at a time. We’ve combined our resources with iXsystems and Delphix to bring this project to fruition. The RAID-Z Expansion project will allow OpenZFS users to incrementally add storage to their RAID pools, one device at a time. The expansion will happen online, in the background, with zero downtime, and while maintaining the redundancy and reliability of RAID-Z.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • GitLab Changes its Contributor Licensing to Better Serve Open-Source Projects

      Self-hosted Git repository management tool GitLab today announced that it is abandoning its Contributor Licensing Agreement (CLA) and adopting a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) and license.

      According to the company, which claims 67% market share in the self-hosted Git market, “the DCO gives developers greater flexibility and portability for their contributions.”

    • GitLab Transitions Contributor Licensing to Developer Certificate of Origin to Better Support Open Source Projects; Empower Contributors

      GitLab, a software product used by 2/3 of all enterprises, today announced it was abandoning the industry-standard Contributor License Agreement (CLA) in favor of a Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO) and license. The DCO gives developers greater flexibility and portability for their contributions. The move has already attracted the attention of large open source projects who recognize the benefits. Debian and GNOME both plan to migrate their communities and open source projects to GitLab.

      GitLab’s move away from a CLA is meant to modernize its code hosting and collaborative development infrastructure for all open source projects. Additionally, requiring a CLA became problematic for developers who didn’t want to enter into legal terms; they weren’t reviewing the CLA contract and they effectively gave up their rights to own and contribute to open source code.

  • Programming/Development

    • NEWS: Node.js 8 Moves into Long-Term Support and Node.js 9 Becomes the New Current Release Line

      We are super excited to announce that later today Node.js 8 will be ready for production as it transfers into the de facto Long-Term Support release line opening it up to a larger user base that demands stability and security (Node.js 8.9.0 is the first official Node.js 8 release to hit LTS status). Node.js 8 is one of the biggest release lines from the Node.js community to date with features and add-ons like Async / Await and V8 JavaScript Engine 6.1. It is up to 20 percent faster than its predecessor Node.js 6 (source nearForm) in typical web applications. An early tester found that Node.js 8 cut its web response by 70 percent:

    • Open Source Sparse Tensor Computation Is Fast

      Tensors are data tables in n dimensions and when they occur they are often sparse, i.e. most of the entries are zero. In the past we have hand-crafted code to work efficiently with sparse tensors, but now we have Taco, an open source compiler that can automatically generate code that can run up to 100 times faster.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Kaspersky purged from ‘vast majority’ of US government systems

      Michael Duffy, who leads cybersecurity and communications at the DHS, explained that fewer than half of their agencies were using Kaspersky’s anti-virus software.

    • The EU’s GDPR is even more relevant to Linux systems, and here is why

      This new regulation represents a tightening of the data protection laws. The new regulation requires far faster responses to data breaches (within 72 hours), and the maximum penalty for breaching the legislation has increased by over four times to twenty million euros or four percent of a business’s annual global turnover, whichever is higher. In addition, GDPR will unify the processes by which EU countries regulate their data security. This will ensure breaches are easier to report, investigate and respond to the new supervisory authorities being introduced.

    • New Network Security Standards Will Protect Internet’s Routing

      Electronic messages traveling across the internet are under constant threat from data thieves, but new security standards created with the technical guidance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will reduce the risk of messages being intercepted or stolen. These standards address a security weakness that has been a part of the internet since its earliest days.

    • Disney-branded internet filter had Mickey Mouse security

      A Disney-branded home internet filtering device might keep bad content out, but it was an open door to bad actors until earlier this month.

      That’s what Cisco Talos’s William Largfent found when he took a look at “Circle with Disney”, a Circle Media parental control device on which the entertainment giant slapped its brand.

      Whatever its qualities in filtering an screen time management, the US$99 box is riddled with 23 vulns, as the Talos post discloses.

    • Episode 68 – Ruining the Internet: Episode 68 – Ruining the Internet
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Trump administration reportedly kills vehicle-to-vehicle safety mandate [Updated]
    • Members of Congress want you to hack the US election voting system

      This summer, DefCon’s “Voting Machine Hacking Village” turned up a host of US election vulnerabilities (PDF). Now, imagine a more mainstream national hacking event backed by the Department of Homeland Security that has the same goal: to discover weaknesses in voting machines used by states for local and national elections.

      That might just become a reality if federal legislation (PDF) unveiled Tuesday becomes law. The proposal comes with a safe harbor provision to exempt participants from federal hacking laws. Several federal exemptions for ethical hacking that paved the way for the DefCon hacking village expire next year.

      The bipartisan “Securing America’s Voting Equipment Act” also would provide election funding to the states and would designate voting systems as critical infrastructure—a designation that would open up communication channels between the federal government and the states to share classified threat information.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • CIA releases 321 gigabytes of Bin Laden’s digital library, Web cache crap

      Today, the Central Intelligence Agency posted a cache of files obtained from Osama Bin Laden’s personal computer and other devices recovered from his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan by Navy SEALs during the raid in which he was killed on May 2, 2011. The 470,000 files, 321 gigabytes in all, include documents, images, videos, and audio recordings, including Al Qaeda propaganda and planning documents, home videos of Bin Laden’s son Hazma, and “drafts” of propaganda videos. There is also a lot of digital junk among the files.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • ITC suggests Trump impose up to a 35% tariff on imported solar modules

      The International Trade Commission (ITC) issued its recommendations for solar panel component tariffs on Tuesday, a month after it decided that US manufacturers of cells and modules had been harmed by cheap equipment imports. The commissioners offered three different recommendations, but it will be up to President Trump to decide on which recommendation to follow—or to make a completely new recommendation.

  • Finance

    • Time To Get Rid Of Corporate Sovereignty? USTR Robert Lighthizer Seems To Think So

      As we noted a couple of months ago, the topic of corporate sovereignty — also known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) — has rather dropped out of the public eye. One post on the subject from earlier this year pointed out that an editorial in the Financial Times had called for ISDS to be “ditched”. That was welcome but surprising. At the time, it seemed like an outlier, but it now looks more as if it was simply ahead of the field, as many more have started to call for the same. For example 230 law and economics professors are urging President Trump to remove corporate sovereignty from NAFTA and other trade deals (pdf).

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Reporter Arrested, Thrown To The Ground For Cursing

      Do the police in Fairfax County, Virginia really not know about the 1st Amendment? It certainly appears that way after watching the video of them violently arresting a reporter named Mike Stark, who was trying to cover the gubernatorial campaign of Ed Gillespie. Now, because some people will want to mention this, I’ll note that the following is (a) true and (b) makes no difference at all to this story: Stark works for a highly partisan website that is strongly opposed to Gillespie. But the points here would be identical if it were a reporter at the other end of the partisan divide following the opposing candidate. The positions of the reporter (or the candidate) are meaningless to the basic question of why the fuck was Mike Stark thrown to the ground, piled on by cops and arrested.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Lobbies FCC To Block States From Protecting Broadband Privacy, Net Neutrality

      Earlier this year, the Trump administration and GOP handed a giant gift to the nation’s telecom duopolies when they dismantled FCC broadband privacy protections. While ISPs whined incessantly about the rules, the protections were relatively modest — simply requiring that large ISPs be transparent about what personal data is being collected and sold, who it’s being sold to, and that working opt out tools be provided to consumers. The FCC’s rules were only created after Verizon was caught modifying packets to covertly track users around the internet and AT&T tried to make consumer privacy a luxury add on.

      But in the wake of the GOP’s myopic dismantling of the rules, more than 30 states began considering their own disparate privacy protections for consumers. The EFF threw its support behind one such bill in California, arguing that it could provide a good template for other states to follow in order to gain some uniformity. But Google, Comcast, AT&T and Verizon collectively lobbied to scuttle that law last month, leaked documents showing how they lied to California lawmakers by claiming the rules would have emboldened extremists, boosted annoying popups, and somehow harmed consumers.

    • The Web began dying in 2014, here’s how

      What has changed over the last 4 years is market share of traffic on the Web. It looks like nothing has changed, but GOOG and FB now have direct influence over 70%+ of internet traffic. Mobile internet traffic is now the majority of traffic worldwide and in Latin America alone, GOOG and FB services have had 60% of mobile traffic in 2015, growing to 70% by the end of 2016. The remaining 30% of traffic is shared among all other mobile apps and websites. Mobile devices are primarily used for accessing GOOG and FB networks.

    • AT&T admits defeat in lawsuit it filed to stall Google Fiber

      AT&T is reportedly abandoning its attempt to stop a Louisville ordinance that helped draw Google Fiber into the city.

      In February 2016, AT&T sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky to stop an ordinance that gives Google Fiber and other ISPs faster access to utility poles. A US District Court judge dismissed AT&T’s lawsuit in August of this year, when he determined that AT&T’s claims that the ordinance is invalid are false.

    • Dead People Mysteriously Support The FCC’s Attack On Net Neutrality

      We’ve noted for months how an unknown party has been using bots to bombard the FCC website with entirely bogus support for the agency’s planned attack on net neutrality. Inquiries so far have indicated that whatever group or individual is behind the fake support used a bot that automatically pulled names — in alphabetical order — from a compromised database of some kind. Earlier this year one reporter actually managed to track down some of these folks — who say they never filed such comments or in many instances had no idea what net neutrality even is.

    • Verizon has a new strategy to undermine online privacy and net neutrality

      Verizon has asked the Federal Communications Commission to preempt any state laws that regulate network neutrality and broadband privacy.

      The FCC’s Republican majority is on course to overturn two-year-old net neutrality rules, perhaps by the end of the year. Broadband privacy rules passed by the FCC during the Obama administration were already undone by Congress and President Donald Trump early this year.

      With the two sets of rules either gone or on their way out, it’s possible that state governments might impose similar rules to protect consumers in their states. Verizon told the FCC in a filing last week that the commission should preempt laws in any state that does so.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • CBS sues man for copyright over screenshots of 59-year-old TV show

        CBS has sued a photographer for copyright infringement for doing something that’s practically ubiquitous in the news and entertainment business—publishing still images from a television show.

        The lawsuit against New York photojournalist Jon Tannen, filed on Friday, is essentially a retaliatory strike. Tannen sued CBS Interactive in February, claiming that the online division of CBS had used two of his photographs without permission. Now, CBS has sued Tannen back, claiming that he “hypocritically” used CBS’ intellectual property “while simultaneously bringing suit against Plaintiff’s sister company, CBS Interactive Inc., claiming it had violated his own copyright.”

      • ‘Pirate’ IPTV Provider Loses Case, Despite Not Offering Content Itself

        A company that sold Kodi-based software which accessed infringing TV, movie and sports streams has lost an interesting case featuring Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. MovieStreamer claimed that it only provided a referral service to third-party content through a series of links but the court found that despite the convoluted process, it still communicated copyrighted works to the public.

Large Technology Groups Explain to the Supreme Court Why the Patent Trials and Appeal Board is Important

Posted in America, Courtroom, EFF, Patents at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Patent Trials and Appeal Board (PTAB) is loathed by patent trolls and the litigation 'industry'

PTAB

Summary: The Patent Trials and Appeal Board (PTAB), which is expected to be defended by the highest US court in a number of months, receives support in the form of briefs from the EFF and CCIA

TECHRIGHTS has published well over a hundred articles about PTAB. Some were quite long. To European (or EPO) folks who don’t know what PTAB is, think of it as the US equivalent of the Boards of Appeal (these are not identical but similar). They help assure patent quality and are pretty much independent from the patent gold rush.

The world needs PTAB. Not just the US. A lot of patent litigation still takes place in the US, so it’s the US patents that currently pose a great threat to any company which is merely accused.

Early this morning we saw this new article by the EFF’s Vera Ranieri. She explains why the US Supreme Court must protect PTAB to protect the innocent and defend real innovation. She has published her article in two places [1, 2] with the same headline: “Stupid Patent of the Month: Bad Patent Goes Down Using Procedures at Patent Office Threatened by Supreme Court Case” (Oil States v Greene’s Energy).

Here’s a portion.

At the height of the first dot-com bubble, many patent applications were filed that took common ideas and put them on the Internet. This month’s stupid patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,738,155 (“the ’155 patent”), is a good example of that trend.

The patent is titled “System and method of providing publishing and printing services via a communications network.” Generally, it relates to a “printing and publishing system” that provides “workflow services…using a communication network.” The original application was filed in 1999, and the patent issued in 2004.

The ’155 patent has a significant litigation history. Starting in 2013, its owner CTP Innovations, LLC, filed over 50 lawsuits alleging infringement, and told a court it intended to file as many as 200 additional cases. CTP claimed [PDF] that infringement of its patent was “ubiquitous” by the printing and graphic communications industry.

The EFF’s site, almost at the same time (as the above), revealed that it filed an amicus brief explaining why PTAB is important for preserving/improving patent quality. They again mention the above troll:

The Patent Office doesn’t always do the best job. That’s how Personal Audio managed to get a patent on podcasting, even though other people were podcasting years before Personal Audio first applied for a patent. As we’ve detailed on many occasions, patents are often granted on things that are known and obvious, giving rights to patent owners that actually belong to the public. As a result, it’s important for the public to have the ability to challenge bad patents.

Unfortunately, challenging bad patents in court can be hard and very expensive. In court, challenges are often decided by a judge or jury with little technical knowledge. Courts also require a high level of proof (“clear and convincing”) that can be hard to come by, especially after the passage of time.

[...]

In our amicus brief, we detail the long history of patents being used as a public policy tool, and how Congress has long controlled how and when patents can be canceled. We explain how the Constitution sets limits on granting patents, and how IPR is a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to enforce those limits.

Not only the EFF did this. Joshua Landau from the CCIA, having published many long posts on the subject, also files an amicus brief on behalf of the CCIA. As expected, all his blog posts are becoming something that can make a big impact (Justices may read it). To quote yesterday’s post (meaning they filed it on Monday):

Yesterday, we filed an amicus brief (along with the Internet Association, the National Association of Realtors, the Software and Information Industry Association, the Association of Global Automakers, and SAS Institute) in the Oil States v. Greene’s Energy case in the Supreme Court. This case is a challenge to the constitutionality of the inter partes review (IPR) system, claiming that IPR is unconstitutional.

Oil States, a drilling company, patented a technique used in fracking. It then sued another drilling company, Greene’s Energy, claiming Greene’s had infringed the patent. Greene’s, faced with an expensive lawsuit, chose to file an IPR. The Patent Trials and Appeals Board decided that the Oil States patent was invalid, and the Federal Circuit affirmed.

Oil States, rather than accepting that the prior art disclosed their idea, chose to appeal their case to the Supreme Court, claiming that the same executive agency which determines whether to grant a patent cannot legally review whether that grant was erroneous. They claim that doing so violates Article III of the Constitution and the Seventh Amendment.

The Summary of Argument in the brief does a nice job of making our point, so I’ll just show you what we said.

The role of PTAB isn’t just quality assurance; it is also saving relatively small companies from unjust sanctions using legal bullying. Dermott Will & Emery’s Sunita Adluri, for example, has just recalled Arista Networks, Inc. v International Trade Commission — a case that we wrote about nearly half a dozen times. Basically, PTAB already invalidated Cisco patents which Cisco had used for embargo on Arista products (through the ITC), but outrageously enough the ITC imposed that embargo anyway. As if it didn’t care what PTAB decided…

To be fair to Cisco, even Cisco itself openly supports PTAB and it is one of the main funders of a pro-PTAB front group. The latest in this bizarre twist was explained yesterday by Adluri as follows:

he US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a limited exclusion order issued by the International Trade Commission (ITC) against infringing “network devices, related software and components thereof,” finding no requirement that the ITC make specific findings regarding components of the accused products. Arista Networks, Inc. v. International Trade Commission, Case No. 16-2539 (Fed Cir., Sept. 27, 2017) (Reyna, J).

The ITC instituted a § 337 investigation in response to a complaint by Cisco alleging that Arista’s imports of certain network devices, related software and components thereof infringed six of Cisco’s patents. The administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a final initial determination finding a violation with respect to three of the six asserted patents (one had been withdrawn). Cisco and Arista each asked for ITC review. In its final determination, the ITC determined that Arista infringed the asserted claims of three of the remaining five patents, and entered a limited exclusion order against imports by Arista of “certain network devices, related software and components thereof.” Arista appealed the ITC’s claim construction of a term in one of the patents and the scope of the limited exclusion order.

[...]

The Federal Circuit noted that the ITC has “broad discretion in selecting the form, scope, and extent of [a] remedy, and judicial review of its choice of remedy necessarily is limited,” and that it will not interfere in an ITC remedy determination unless “the remedy selected has no reasonable relation to the unlawful practices found to exist.” The Court determined that blocking imports of articles that induce patent infringement has a reasonable relationship to stopping unlawful trade acts, and therefore found no error in the ITC’s limited exclusion order.

Unlike the troll examples given by the EFF, here we have an embargo which harms public choice. It could be argued, therefore, that PTAB can help ensure fair competition, too.

Links 1/11/2017: Wine 2.20, Cutelyst 1.10.0, F1 2017 Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Migrating to Linux: An Introduction

      Computer systems running Linux are everywhere. Linux runs our Internet services, from Google search to Facebook, and more. Linux also runs in a lot of devices, including our smartphones, televisions, and even cars. Of course, Linux can also run on your desktop system. If you are new to Linux, or you would just like to try something different on your desktop computer, this series of guides will briefly cover the basics and help you in migrating to Linux from another system.

      Switching to a different operating system can be a challenge because every operating system provides a different way of doing things. What is second nature on one system can take frustrating time on another as we need to look up how to do things online or in books.

  • Server

    • Operating a Kubernetes network

      I’ve been working on Kubernetes networking a lot recently. One thing I’ve noticed is, while there’s a reasonable amount written about how to set up your Kubernetes network, I haven’t seen much about how to operate your network and be confident that it won’t create a lot of production incidents for you down the line.

    • How to make the case for Kubernetes

      Kubernetes isn’t even easy to pronounce, much less explain. So we recently illuminated how to demystify Kubernetes in plain English, so that a wide audience can understand it. (We also noted that the pronunciation may vary a bit, and that’s OK.)

    • Heptio Debuts Contour Project to Enable Kubernetes Envoy Load Balancing

      The Envoy open-source project was originally developed by ride-sharing service Lyft and officially became a Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project on Sept. 13. The CNCF is the home multiple open-source efforts, including the Kubernetes container orchestration platform.

  • Kernel Space

    • SCO, the Not-Walking Dead, Returns

      SCO. There’s a name I’ll bet you thought you’d never hear again. Guess what? It’s back.

      Wasn’t there a Bond film called “Live to Die Another Day.” Even if there wasn’t, that applies here.

      When last we talked about SCO, in March, 2016, we told you this might happen, although Judge David Nuffer had all but put a bullet through the already dead and bankrupt company’s brain (there’s an oxymoron if ever I wrote one) on February 29, 2016. But exactly a month after the judge’s ruling, the company had somehow managed to scrape together enough spare change to pay the filing fee for an appeal. Today, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that that the appeal could go on, on a claim of misappropriation, but upheld Judge Nuffer’s other two orders.

    • AT&T announces Acumos, an open-source platform for sharing and reusing AI apps
    • AT&T is working on an open-sourced AI project with Linux Foundation

      The nonprofit Linux Foundation has announced that is working on an open source AI project, and AT&T is one of the founding organizations. Called the Acumos Project, its goal, like many open source platforms, is to enable a free exchange of ideas and machine learning solutions using an artificial intelligence framework — and eventually become a marketplace for AI apps and services.

      The Acumos Project aims to provide tools for casual users, not data scientists, and will focus first on making apps and microservices. While The Linux Foundation’s announcement was light on details, it noted that it will sustain the Acumos Project for some time and AT&T and other founder Tech Mahindra will contribute code.

    • Acumos: The Linux Foundation’s New Open Source Project Brings AI’s Power To Any Developer
    • AT&T Tackles Artificial Intelligence with Open Source Acumos Project

      AT&T and Tech Mahindra are developing an open source artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platform that will be hosted within the Linux Foundation. The Acumos Project is expected to be launched early next year.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 387.22 Linux Driver Released With GTX 1070 Ti Support

        NVIDIA has shipped the 387.22 Linux driver today as their first stable release in the 387.xx series.

        The NVIDIA 387.22 Linux driver builds off their recent 387.12 beta driver. That earlier beta release introduced a number of Vulkan updates, including full-screen flipping using X11 swapchains for possible performance improvements. That beta had the Vulkan updates and mostly an assortment of bug fixes.

      • NVIDIA 387.22 driver released, adds support for the GTX 1070Ti and more

        The latest NVIDIA driver release 387.22 is now out. This is a stable driver release which builds upon the 387.12 beta driver that was released earlier this month.

      • AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 Linux Hybrid Driver Promoted To Stable

        Two weeks ago AMD released an AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 driver intended for cryptocurrency mining systems while now that v17.40 series driver has been promoted to being their general purpose stable Linux hybrid driver.

        The headline feature of the AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 beta was introducing large page support intended to help blockchain compute workloads with OpenCL. Sure enough, AMDGPU-PRO 17.40 is much faster for cryptocurrency mining like Ethereum though we haven’t found many performance improvements in other OpenCL compute workloads.

      • Broadcom’s VC5 Gallium3D Now Supports MSAA, More OpenGL Functionality

        Eric Anholt of Broadcom has continued bringing up the VC5 Gallium3D driver for supporting the company’s next-generation graphics hardware that is much improved over the VC4 hardware found in the Raspberry Pi SBCs to date.

        Since earlier this month VC5 Gallium3D merged into Mesa but it does not yet work with any actual hardware due to the VC5 DRM driver yet to be completed kernel-side and merged, nor is that happening for Linux 4.15. But Eric has been making good progress on quickly getting the VC5 Gallium3D OpenGL driver up to par as he’s also been working towards a VC5 Vulkan driver too thanks to the new hardware’s capabilities.

      • Etnaviv Driver Sends Out Patches For Vivante GC7000 Support

        The developers behind the open-source, reverse-engineered Etnaviv KMS+Gallium3D driver stack for Vivante graphics support have been very busy recently.

        Etnaviv just recently reached OpenGL 2.0 support and then this week cleared OpenGL 2.1 support and now patches have emerged bringing up Vivante GC7000 series hardware support within their Gallium3D OpenGL driver.

      • NVIDIA Previews Open-source Processor Core for Deep Neural Network Inference

        With the proliferation of deep learning, NVIDIA has realized its longstanding aspirations to make general-purpose graphics processing units (GPGPUs) a mainstream technology. The company’s GPUs are commonly used to accelerate neural network training, and are also being adopted for neural network inference acceleration in self-driving cars, robots and other high-end autonomous platforms. NVIDIA also sees plenty of opportunities for inference acceleration in IoT and other “edge” platforms, although it doesn’t intend to supply them with chips. Instead, it’s decided to open-source the NVDLA deep learning processor core found in its “Xavier” SoC introduced last fall.

      • Nvidia 387.22 Linux Graphics Driver Adds Support for the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti GPU

        Nvidia released a new short-lived proprietary graphics driver for UNIX systems, Nvidia 387.22, which introduces support for the recently unveiled GeForce GTX 1070Ti graphics card.

        Support for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti was added only to the 64-bit and 32-bit Linux and FreeBSD drivers, as the Solaris build of the Nvidia 387.22 graphics driver doesn’t offer support for this cheaper video card designed for gamers. A comparison between GeForce GTX 1070 Ti and GeForce GTX 1070 is available here.

      • Mesa 17.2.4 Graphics Stack Arrives with More Bug Fixes, Mesa 17.3 Gets Second RC

        Mesa developers Andres Gomez and Emil Velikov announced the availability of the fourth maintenance update of Mesa 17.2 stable series, and the second Release Candidate (RC) of Mesa 17.3.

        We reported last week on the upcoming availability of the Mesa 17.2.4 update to the open-source graphics stack for GNU/Linux distributions, and it arrived on October 30, 2017, bringing us another layer of fixes for the AMD Radeon RADV Vulkan, Broadcom’s VC4, as well as both the Intel i965 OpenGL and Intel ANV Vulkan drivers.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars 2.8.7 Released!

        Another minor KStars release is now available for Linux, MacOS, & Windows. KStars 2.8.7 brings several bug fixes and new improvements!

      • Plasma Mobile Roadmap

        In the past weeks, we have noticed an increased interest in Plasma Mobile from different sides. Slowly, but surely, hardware vendors have discovered that Plasma Mobile is an entirely different software platform to build products on top of. For people or companies who want to work or invest into Plasma Mobile, it’s always useful to know where upstream is heading, so let me give an overview of what our plans are, what areas of work we’re planning to tackle in the coming months and years, where our focus will be and how it will shift. Let’s talk about Plasma Mobile’s roadmap.

        Our development strategy is to build a basic system and platform around our core values first and then extend this. Having a stable base of essentials allows us to focus on an achievable subset first and then extend functionality for more and more possible target groups. It avoids pie-in-the-sky system engineering something that will never be useful and designed for a unicorn market that never existed. Get the basics right first, then take it to the next levels.

      • Plasma/Wayland and NVIDIA – 2017 edition

        More than a year ago I elaborated whether KWin should or should not add support for NVIDIA’s proprietary Wayland solution. I think it is time to look at the situation of Plasma/Wayland and NVIDIA again. In case you haven’t read my previous blog post on that topic I recommend to read it as I use it as the base for this blog post.

        Compared to a year ago not much has changed: NVIDIA still does not support the standard Linux solution gbm, which is supported by all vendors and nowadays even going to enter the mobile space. E.g. the purism phone is going to have a standard graphics stack with gbm. So no additional code required. But NVIDIA doesn’t support gbm. Instead it has a proprietary implementation called EGLStreams, which no other vendor implements. Due to that Plasma/Wayland cannot support OpenGL for NVIDIA users.

      • KWin Maintainer On KDE Wayland Remains Uninterested In NVIDIA’s Driver

        KDE KWin maintainer Martin Flöser remains less than interested in supporting NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux graphics driver as long as they continue pursuing the EGLStreams approach until the long talked about new memory allocation API is ready.

      • KDE’s Plasma Mobile Roadmap From A Feature Phone To A Full-Featured Smartphone

        Longtime KDE developer Sebastian Kügler has posted a Plasma Mobile roadmap of sorts for those interested in the direction of this mobile KDE stack.

        His roadmap basically covers they are done with their initial “prototype” and currently pursuing the requirements for Plasma Mobile to be fitting for a feature phone. Following that, they will pursue basic smartphone capabilities while their further out goal is for Plasma Mobile to be ready as a featured smartphone.

      • Cutelyst 1.10.0 released!

        Cutelyst the Qt Web Framework got a new release, another round of bug fixes and this time increased unit testing coverage.

        RoleACL plugin is a very useful one, it was written due the need for controlling what users could access, sadly the system I wrote that needed this got unused (although I got my money for this) so this plugin didn’t get much attention, partially because it was basically complete.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • AVR32 devices in fwupd

        Over 10 years ago the dfu-programmer project was forked into dfu-utils as the former didn’t actually work at all well with generic devices supporting vanilla 1.0 and 1.1 specification-compliant DFU. It was then adapted to also support the STM variant of DFU (standards FTW). One feature that dfu-programmer did have, which dfu-util never seemed to acquire was support for the AVR variant of DFU (very different from STM DFU, but doing basically the same things). This meant if you wanted to program AVR parts you had to use the long-obsolete tool rather than the slightly less-unmaintained newer tool.

  • Distributions

    • Solus 4 Linux OS to Bring Back Wayland Support, MATE Edition Will Get Some Love

      First off, it looks like the Solus devs plan to re-implement support for the next-generation Wayland display server in their GNU/Linux distribution, though the ISO images will come with the 2D X.Org graphics driver enabled by default and use open source drivers for Nvidia GPUs as they want to further improve Nvidia Optimus.

      “We’re working to improve the NVIDIA situation and investigating a switch to libglvnd, enabling of wayland-egl/eglstreams, etc.,” reads today’s announcement. “We’ve moved back to open drivers to allow Ikey to further research NVIDIA Optimus. [...] We have no timeline on this but we’re actively looking into it!”

    • Manjaro vs Antergos | For The Record

      Both Manjaro vs Antergos are rolling release Linux distributions that are derived from Arch Linux. On the surface, they might appear to share a number of similarities. But it’s also important to realize that these two distros have some stark differences.

      Before we get too deep into the Manjaro vs Antergos similarities, let’s first look at the roots of these two distributions – Arch Linux.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Web services for writing academic LaTeX papers as a team

        I was surprised today to learn that a friend in academia did not know there are easily available web services available for writing LaTeX documents as a team. I thought it was common knowledge, but to make sure at least my readers are aware of it, I would like to mention these useful services for writing LaTeX documents. Some of them even provide a WYSIWYG editor to ease writing even further.

        There are two commercial services available, ShareLaTeX and Overleaf. They are very easy to use. Just start a new document, select which publisher to write for (ie which LaTeX style to use), and start writing. Note, these two have announced their intention to join forces, so soon it will only be one joint service. I’ve used both for different documents, and they work just fine. While ShareLaTeX is free software, while the latter is not. According to a announcement from Overleaf, they plan to keep the ShareLaTeX code base maintained as free software.

      • Debian/TeX Live 2017.20171031-1

        Halloween is here, time to upload a new set of scary packages of TeX Live. About a month has passed, so there is the usual big stream up updates. There was actually an intermediate release to get out some urgent fixes, but I never reported the news here. So here are the accumulated changes and updates.

      • Monthly FLOSS activity – 2017/10 edition
      • FLOSS Activities October 2017
      • Free software activities in October 2017
      • Derivatives

        • DebEX Barebone Linux Returns to LXDE, Now Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          Powered by the Linux 4.13 kernel series and based on the Debian Testing (upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”) and Debian Sid repositories, DebEX Barebone LXDE Build 171030 replaces the LXQt desktop environment that was used in previous versions with LXDE, probably to make the ISO smaller and the OS a bit faster.

          “The ISO has decreased from 1860 MB to 1330 MB, which makes it easier to run the system live from RAM,” said Arne Exton in the release announcement. “That ability allows DebEX LXDE to be very fast, since reading and writing data from/to RAM is much faster than on a hard disk drive.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 14.04 To Ubuntu 17.10 RadeonSI OpenGL Performance

            As part of the multi-year comparisons for marking AMD’s open-source strategy being 10 years old, here’s a look back with fresh OpenGL Linux gaming benchmarks from Ubuntu 14.04 through Ubuntu 17.10 using a Radeon HD 7950 graphics card with the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver. There’s also a similar comparison with a Radeon R9 Fury.

          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 31 Oct 2017

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.

          • Juju GUI: get your users started with getstarted.md
          • MAAS 2.3.0 beta 3 released!

            I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.3.0 Beta 3 has now been released and it is currently available in PPA and as a snap.

          • Online course about LXD containers
          • LXD Weekly Status #21: Console Attach, Distribution Work, & More

            Last week @brauner and @stgraber were traveling to Prague for the Open Source Summit Europe.
            We got the opportunity to talk about LXD, system containers and various bits of ongoing kernel work as well as meet with a number of our users and contributors!

            All this travel and conference time reduced our ability to do feature work this week, so we’ve mostly been reviewing contributions and pushing a number of bugfixes with things going back to normal this week.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 quick screenshot tour

            Ubuntu 17.10 is the newest version of this world famous Linux distribution, and this one is especially interesting because Canonical decided to dump its controversial Unity baby and use GNOME desktop environment instead.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Desktops Compared

              The Ubuntu desktop has evolved a lot over the years. Ubuntu started off with GNOME 2, then moved onto Unity. From there, it came home to its roots with the GNOME 3 desktop. In this article, we’ll look at the Ubuntu desktops and compare them.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ensuring Openness Through and In Open Source Licensing

    Some of the largest forces in business today—consumer-facing companies like Google and Facebook, business-facing companies like SUSE, companies outside the tech industry such as BMW, Capital One, and Zalando, even first-gen tech corporations like Microsoft and IBM—all increasingly depend on open source software. Governments too, including the European Union, France, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and many others have discovered the benefits of open source software and development models. Successful collaborative development of software and infrastructure used by these organizations is enabled by the “safe space” created when they use their IP in a new ways… to ensure an environment for co-creation where the four essential freedoms of software are guaranteed.

  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released with Latest X.Org Server, MATE 1.18 Desktop

    The latest release, OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 arrived today with numerous changes and up-to-date components, including the latest X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server and corresponding libraries and drivers, ABI compatibility for using Solaris 10u10 binaries, as well as updated cluster suite and text installer.

    “Text installer now can perform basic OpenIndiana installation to existing ZFS pool,” reads today’s announcement. “The option is considered advanced and should be used with care, but allows you to install minimal OI system to existing pool. To use it, press F5 on ‘Welcome’ screen.”

  • OpenIndiana Hipster 2017.10 Released With MATE 1.18 Desktop

    OpenIndiana “Hipster” 2017.10 is now available as the OpenSolaris-derived operating system using the Illumos kernel build.

    OpenIndiana 2017.10 pulls in the MATE 1.18 desktop environment, upgrades to the X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server, their text-based installer can now support installing to an existing ZFS pool, the cluster suite was updated, there is ABI compatibility with Solaris 10 Update 10 binaries, and they have begun removing GNOME 2 packages in favor of MATE.

  • The Origin Story of ROS, the Linux of Robotics

    Ten years ago, while struggling to bring the vision of the “Linux of Robotics” to reality, I was inspired by the origin stories of other transformative endeavors. In this post I want to share some untold parts of the early story of the Robot Operating System, or ROS, to hopefully inspire those of you currently pursuing your “crazy” ideas.

  • Open-source software for data from high-energy physics

    Most of the universe is dark, with dark matter and dark energy comprising more than 95 percent of its mass-energy. Yet we know little about dark matter and energy. To find answers, scientists run huge high-energy physics experiments. Analyzing the results demands high-performance computing – sometimes balanced with industrial trends.

  • Why you need more than just open-source

    More IT decision-makers are turning to open source to drive better efficiency and digital innovation, as its flexibility enables organisations to build new customer experiences, services and products more quickly.

    As more enterprises tap open source there are some misconceptions about what open-source means. Open source technology allows for incredible collaboration between people, communities and projects. Yet many inadvertently associate the words “free” and “easy” with open source which is not always true. Open source makes tech easily accessible and collaborative, which drives incredibly fast innovation. But open source is much more than easily accessible tech. Enterprise needs must be considered and that is why the business of open source tech is about more than just accessibility.

  • GoPro’s Old But Efficient CineForm Codec Goes Open Source

    In the age of the unstoppable rise in resolution and thus in video data rate, GoPro has unleashed CineForm – its most efficient codec yet – to the public.

    [...]

    CineForm was one of the first codecs to offer significant compression that balanced quality, speed and performance, even more than Avid DNxHD and Apple ProRes which arrived later. From a technological point of view, its better performance over ProRes and DNxHD is due to its better compression methods (Full frame wavelet comparing to DCT). Without getting too geeky here, it means one can compress more with fewer artifacts.

  • How to get involved with open source if you’re a cat

    These days, it’s not hard to find a good open source project whether you’re looking for one or not. A casual glance at GitLab or GitHub renders quick results. Something a little more curated, however, is sometimes nice.

    OpenHatch is a site dedicated to connecting open source contributors like you to open source communities, tools, and education. It’s not just a list of open source projects in need of help, it’s a training resource with actual training missions that you can do to learn the basics of software development.

  • Events

    • OSS/Ksummit 2017

      Last week was kernel summit in Prague. Based on feedback from Linus and other people, kernel summit was a 2 day open technical forum along with a half-day “maintainer summit”. Open Source Summit Europe was also happening at the same time and I attended somethings there as well.

      Darren Hart gave a talk about x86 platform drivers. Darren is the current maintainer of the x86 platform drivers. He gave a nice overview of what a platform driver actually is (a bunch of glue) and some history about how big or small drivers can be. One of the sticking points about drivers in general is that most hardware vendors only really focus on Windows and the driver philosophy there is different from Linux. This results in Linux needing to play catch-up and work around firmware that was only tested on Windows (see also the example of vendor “To be filled by O.E.M.”). Hardware vendors can make this easier by using standard interfaces and also open sourcing firmware, something the Fedora community cares deeply about.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Apache Software Foundation is bringing open source ML to the masses with PredictionIO

      The Apache Software Foundation has announced a brand-new machine learning project, PredictionIO. Built on top of a state-of-the-art open source stack, this machine learning serve is designed for developers and data scientists to create predictive engines for any machine learning task.

      PredictionIO is designed to democratize machine learning. How? By providing a full stack for developers, they can create deployable applications “without having to cobble together underlying technologies”. Making it easier to use should widen the appeal and keep the machine learning bottleneck from getting any worse.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • NHS Digital announces API Lab with INTEROPen

      NHS Digital has announced plans for an new API Lab to be run in conjunction with the INTEROPen community. INTEROPen is a community formed to develop open standards for the health and social care sectors. By creating the API Lab, NHS Digital hopes to get a set of open source APIs. These can then be used by developers to create new apps and speed up integration between systems in both health and social care.

    • NHS to get open source API lab

      NHS Digital plans on launching an API lab before the end of the year, with the goal accelerating development of interoperability in health and social care

      [...]

      “By partnering with INTEROPen we will be able to create APIs even faster, delivering real benefits for the health and care system,” he said.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Wireline Launching ICO For Open Source Developers

      “Currently open source projects are underfunded and developers aren’t motivated to build new applications because maintaining them is a thankless task,” says Wireline CEO Lucas Geiger. “We want to change that by creating an ecosystem that rewards developers, and helps enterprises gain leverage from the extended open source community. We’re excited to open the application process, see the ideas and support the talented people building the next generation of cloud apps.”

    • FundRequest introduces a blockchain incentive platform for open source projects

      After over a year of development, FundRequest has released a new blockchain platform built specifically for the funding, claiming, and rewarding of open source contributions. The company aims to introduce a new approach towards open source development that benefits both the developers who are creating the code and the organizations that use it with the overall goal of further driving the applications of open source technology.

  • Radio

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Federal employees can now support the FSF through the Combined Federal Campaign

      The Free Software Foundation today announced its participation as a beneficiary charity in the 2017 Combined Federal Campaign, the workplace giving campaign for United States federal government employees.

      The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is the world’s largest annual workplace giving campaign, allowing US federal civilian, postal, and military employees to pledge donations to nonprofit charities such as the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Last year, federal employees voluntarily participating in the CFC contributed more than $167 million to charitable causes.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Compliance Is Not Just For Copyleft

      Just because the “compliance-industrial complex” wants you to fear reciprocity, that doesn’t mean you should. Each case needs understanding on its own merits. Who knows — in your case, embracing the GPL may well be the least-cost option.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Metsä Wood: Maarten van der Breggen Receives First Open Source Wood Award

      …call to action to architects, designers and engineers to join forces, share innovation and contribute knowledge about large-scale, modular wood construction.

    • Georgia Tech Researchers Offer Open-Source Cancer Treatment Algorithm

      “Despite the documented advantages of the open sharing of code, to date, the practice has been extremely limited within the field of cancer drug prediction,” a group of Georgia Tech researchers write in a new PLOS ONE article. But they’re trying to change that.

      Calling its project “a gauntlet,” the team wants other researchers to take, use, modify, and expand upon a machine learning platform it built to judge cancer treatment effectiveness using genetic data.

      “We feed in genomic data. We use RNA expression data. Basically, we’re just looking for correlations,” John McDonald, PhD, told Healthcare Analytics News™. McDonald is the director of Georgia Tech’s Integrated Cancer Research Center and one of the study’s lead authors. “We put expression data in and we match that to responses to chemotherapeutic drugs.”

  • Programming/Development

    • pinp 0.0.3: More docs, more features

      Our pinp package for snazzier one or two column vignette received it second update. Now at version 0.0.3, it arrived on CRAN on Saturday with minimal fuzz as an ‘CRAN-pretest-publish’ transition.

    • Google lets Android devs see nanosecond-level GNSS data

      Created for phone designers, The Chocolate Factory has decided the raw GNSS data is also valuable to researchers, writing that the data “allows you to see the behavior of the GNSS receiver in great detail, including receiver clock offset and drift to the order of 1 nanosecond and 1 ppb [part per billion – El Reg] and measurement errors on a satellite-by-satellite basis.

    • ES8, the Javascript standard of 2017

      Surely you will know that since 2015 it was agreed to update the Javascript standard every year in order to keep JS up to date in a smooth way. The changes of last year were very decaffeinated, but this year we have some juicier news.

Leftovers

  • Last Friday Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev finally decreed that the language would shed its heavy Cyrillic coat and don what he hopes to be a more fashionable attire: the Latin alphabet.
  • 500 Years Since 95 Theses, Martin Luther’s Legacy Divides Some Of His Descendants

    [...] according to legend, is where Luther posted the theses on October 31, 1517.

  • Science

    • Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin: Breaking Through the Political Barriers to Free Education

      The educational system was a highly predictable victim of the neoliberal reaction, guided by the maxim of “private affluence and public squalor.” Funding for public education has sharply declined. Tuition has exploded, leading to a plague of unpayable student debt. As higher education is driven to a business model in accord with neoliberal doctrine, administrative bureaucracy has sharply increased at the expense of faculty and students, developments reviewed well by sociologist Benjamin Ginsburg. Cost-cutting dictated by the revered market principles naturally leads to hyper-exploitation of the more vulnerable, creating a new precariat of graduate students and adjuncts surviving on a bare pittance, replacing tenured faculty. All of this happens to be a good disciplinary technique, for obvious reasons.

      For those with eyes open, much of what has happened was anticipated by the early ’70s, at the point of transition from regulated capitalism to incipient neoliberalism. At the time, there was mounting elite concern about the dangers posed by the democratizing and civilizing effects of 1960s activism, and particularly the role of young people during “the time of troubles.” The concerns were forcefully expressed at both ends of the political spectrum.

    • Move By Top Chinese University Could Mean Journal Impact Factors Begin To Lose Their Influence

      One of the advantages of this idea is that it recognizes that publishing in non-academic titles can be just as valid as appearing in conventional peer-reviewed journals. It also has the big benefit of encouraging academics to communicate with the public — something that happens too rarely at the moment. That, in its turn, might help experts learn how to explain their often complex work in simple terms. At the same time, it would allow non-experts to hear about exciting new ideas straight from the top people in the field, rather than mediated through journalists, who may misunderstand or distort various aspects.

      However, there are clear risks, too. For example, there is a danger that newspapers and magazines will be unwilling to accept articles about difficult work, or from controversial academics. Equally, mediocre researchers that hew to the government line may benefit from increased exposure, even resulting in them being promoted ahead of other, more independent-minded academics. Those are certainly issues. But what’s interesting here is not just the details of the policy itself, but the fact that it was devised and is being tried in China. That’s another sign that the country is increasingly a leader in many areas, and no longer a follower.

    • Mobile Disruption Case Study: Camera Industry. Lessons for all inside mobile disruption from advertising to banking to AR Augmented Realitydown

      We just have news from Nikon the Japanese camera giant, sadly, shutting down a giant factory of 2,500 employees in China. That reminded me, that I could do an update to the first-ever case study of what happens to an industry when it is hit by the mobile revolution. It is a severe case of the ‘digital’ revolution which powers the internet and before it, the PC-related disruption. Mobile also combines obviously the effects of the parallel ‘social media’ revolution which only gained true power after social media discovered mobile (as chronicled on this ‘Communities Dominate’ blogsite).

      But the camera industry is the first case study of an ‘outside’ industry being hit by the mobile revolution. [...]

  • Hardware

    • Apple’s spat with Qualcomm may reportedly escalate to the hardware level

      Apple and Qualcomm’s feud appears to be escalating further heading into the fourth quarter, as a new report by The Wall Street Journal this evening indicates Apple is designing iPhones and iPads that would not include Qualcomm’s components.

    • Apple reportedly building iPhones, iPads without Qualcomm chips

      The latest news in the Apple-Qualcomm saga suggests that Apple may be trying to leave the chipmaker behind as soon as next year. A report by The Wall Street Journal states that Apple is designing iPhones and iPads that do not use Qualcomm components. Instead, the tech giant may source modem chips from Intel or MediaTek.

      Apple began stepping away from Qualcomm chips with the introduction of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, both of which use a combination of Qualcomm and Intel chips. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which came out in September, also use a combination of Qualcomm and Intel chips.

    • Apple reportedly looking to ditch Qualcomm components

      Apple, which is locked in a fierce battle with Qualcomm over patents and licensing fees, is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that would ditch the chipmaker’s components, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The company is instead looking to get its modem chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek, sources told the newspaper.

    • [Old] New Toys – 200G DWDM in Juniper QFX10000

      Sunet got the opportunity to test Junipers new DWDM card for the QFX switching platform. It was on beta testing run in Europe and we got to steal it for a week before it was going back to the US.

    • Hewlett-Packard historical archives destroyed in Santa Rosa fires
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Welcome to Sheffield – where the council takes you to court for defending trees

      It would surely have been a first. A councillor sent to prison because the council they sit on didn’t just bring its own legal action against them, it called for a custodial sentence.

      Alison Teal, a Green councillor in Sheffield, has long opposed the council’s plan to fell thousands of roadside trees. On this occasion, she was accused of breaching an earlier court injunction, which forbade people from entering “safety zones” the council has set up around trees it wants to fell. Teal said she had been “fastidious” in respecting the terms of the injunction.

      On Friday, a judge threw out Sheffield council’s case against her. But the authoritarian and heavy-handed approach of the Labour majority council is symptomatic of a problem that is widespread across England.

    • MSF Secures Deals For Key Hepatitis C Medicines, Price A Fraction Of Branded Drug

      Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) announced today that it has secured deals for two key generic hepatitis C medicines, dropping prices dramatically.

      In a statement, MSF said it secured generic medicines for sofosbuvir and daclatasvir for as low as US$1.40 per day, or US$120 per 12-week treatment course.

      The two medicines were launched in 2013 by Gilead (sofosbuvir) and in 2015 by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) (dacatasvir) for respectively US$1,000, and US$750 per pill, leading to a combination treatment course of US$147,000 per person for a 12-week treatment course, the statement said.

    • Man Gets $37,500 Payout After Field Drug Test Says Donut Crumbs Are Methamphetamines

      Law enforcement agencies aren’t going to stop using cheap, faulty field drug tests. But they might soon be spending a lot more of the public’s cash settling lawsuits springing from false arrests. NPR has rounded up a few stories of field drug tests declaring normal, legal “substances” to be illegal contraband, starting with a man whose Krispy Kreme donut residue led to an arrest… and a $37,500 payout.

    • Florida Man Awarded $37,500 After Cops Mistake Glazed Doughnut Crumbs For Meth

      But Riggs-Hopkins had noticed some crystals on the floorboard of the car, and when officers used a field testing kit, the white substance tested positive for methamphetamine.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump Admin Continues Threats & Provocations Against North Korea, Laying Groundwork for Nuclear War

      Tensions continue to mount between the United States and North Korea, after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s week-long visit to Asia and ahead of Trump’s 12-day visit later this week. Mattis emphasized a diplomatic resolution to the standoff between the two countries, but warned that the U.S. would not accept a nuclear North Korea. Congressional Democrats are pushing legislation that would prevent President Trump from launching a preemptive strike against North Korea. We speak with Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War.

    • Congress Could Accidentally Unleash Trump’s War Powers

      Sixteen years after voting for a war on terrorism that turned the world into a global battlefield, the Senate is taking a tentative step at reconsidering the law that authorized that conflict, the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force. Yet the leading replacement for the AUMF might, in the guise of reasserting congressional power over the war, be even more of a blank check.

      Late on Monday afternoon, the secretaries of State and Defense, Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis, are scheduled to tell the Senate’s foreign relations committee how Donald Trump’s administration views its war powers and their limits under the AUMF.

    • Danish amateur submariner admits to dismembering reporter

      The case involving the alleged murder of a Swedish reporter by Peter Madsen—engineer, inventor, and the man behind one of two Danish efforts to create a sub-orbital rocket to put a person into space—has taken yet another twist. About the only fact that Madsen had previously admitted to was that Kim Wall, who was writing a feature story about Madsen’s mission to put himself into space, had died on the evening of August 10 aboard UC3 Nautilus—the submersible craft he designed, built, and maintained with crowdsourced funding and the assistance of members of Copenhagen Suborbitals (another group of space enthusiasts).

      [...]

      While Madsen previously confessed to dismembering Wall’s body, he still asserted that her death was an accident, claiming she was overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning from a leak in the exhaust of the submarine’s diesel engine. Steen Hansen, a press officer for the Copenhagen Police, said Madsen is “claiming that there wasn’t enough oxygen in the submarine and that she suffocated, and that he was upstairs and didn’t notice and found her when he came back.”

      Madsen’s latest claim, Hansen told reporters, will be followed up with further forensic investigation. “Now we have to talk to people who know the submarine to see if it’s a possibility,” he said. Also today, officials announced that Madsen’s trial date has been set for a block of eight days in March and April of next year.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Declassified Docs Show NSA Trying To Prosecute A Journalist For His Successful FOIA Requests

      MuckRock has been digging into a large pile of declassified CIA documents for the past several months and has come up with some surprising finds. It recently liberated nearly 13 million pages of CIA documents — known as the CREST archive — via a FOIA lawsuit. Since this monumental release, MuckRock has covered everything from a CIA report on an Italian pasta shortage to deeper, darker topics like a CIA asset in Mexico being linked to a long list of atrocities.

      Digging through the CIA’s archives has dug up dirt on other agencies as well. Emma Best details another MuckRock/CIA gem — one that shows the NSA attempting to prosecute a journalist for obtaining documents via FOIA requests.

    • Man finds USB stick with Heathrow security plans, Queen’s travel details

      An unemployed London man discovered a USB flash storage device lying on the street as he was headed to the library to check the Internet for job listings. When he got to the library, he plugged it in and found it was filled with security details for London’s Heathrow International Airport—including security measures and travel details for Queen Elizabeth II. The man turned over the drive to a reporter at the Sunday Mirror.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Sandy Five Years Later. What Have We Learned?

      Five years ago, Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy struck at high tide, driving catastrophic storm surge into coastal New Jersey and New York unlike anything seen before. Thirty-four New Jersey residents lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed, causing over $62 billion in damage.

      Five years later some areas have recovered. Some have not.

      “Nature is ferocious, and a major coastal storm can devastate a community in a matter of hours. Severely impacted communities need both patience and inspiration to recover: patience with the time it takes to repair the economic and social fabric that sustains communities, and inspiration to envision and plan for a future that is less vulnerable to coastal storms,” says Darlene Finch, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

    • Energy Group Labels Creators Of Video Game As ‘Eco-Terrorists’

      The fever-pitch from those that claim that violent video games lead to real-life malicious activity is such that it produces some truly dumb diatribes and soundbites. Despite vast evidence that human beings are at least intelligent enough to separate digital violence from real-world violence, and given how rife with error and purposeful obfuscation the opposing research has been, we still get the silliness. Dr. Oz spouts off about the harm video games do to teenagers, forgetting to back it up with anything resembling evidence for his position. Dan Brown was sure video games lead to real-life violence, forgetting apparently that his own novels are stuffed with violent episodes. And Pat Robertson told his addled audiences that killing in a game is no different at all than killing someone in real life, indicating that we are a nation chock full of mass murderers that will be judged harshly by the Lord his god.

    • Energy Company Accuses Anti-Pipeline Video Game of Eco-Terrorism

      The game sends an obvious message in support of political activism, offering advice on its website for users who want to take action against fossil fuel extraction. That’s not pipeline-advocate Energy Builders’ apparent problem, though. Its issue it has is with users blowing up pipelines, according to a press release. Energy Builders considers this signature move “an act of domestic terrorism.”

  • Finance

    • The Dilbert ICO: analysing Scott Adams’ crypto offering, WhenHub SAFT

      The token business model isn’t convincing because there’s little reason for the end service providers to accept these tokens over actual money or even bitcoins, but Adams seems to have tried to get his legal ducks in a row concerning the ICO itself.

    • Bitcoin mining uses more energy than Ecuador – but there’s a fix

      All that processing guzzles a lot of electricity: one of the latest estimates put the annual electricity consumption of bitcoin mining at 23.07 terawatt hours, roughly the amount of electricity used by Ecuador each year.

    • Center For American Progress Makes a Failed Case for Charters

      President Donald Trump swept into office on a platform that included support for charter schools and other alternatives to public schools, and his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, an ardent supporter of “school choice” in all its forms, recently announced her department would provide over a quarter-billion dollars to help expand charters.

      So it’s surprising to see the Center for American Progress, originators of the #Resist campaign, issue a “Progressive Case for Charter Schools” that decries the “waning” support for charters among Democrats and scolds charter school skeptics for being against progressive institutions.

    • Government refuses to release details of studies into economic impact of Brexit

      The Brexit department has refused to release key details about the 58 secret studies into how leaving the EU will impact the economy, saying officials need to make policy in a “safe space”.

      Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP on the Brexit committee, had asked to know the scope, terms of reference and state of completion of the work on 58 sectors of the economy, but the department refused to release the details under freedom of information laws.

      “There is a strong public interest in policy-making associated with our exit from the EU being of the highest quality and conducted in a safe space to allow for design and deliberation to be done in private,” the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump’s “Chickens” Come Home To Roost

      I think anyone who voted for Trump should be asking themselves why Trump surrounded himself with so many liars and cheaters with close contacts with Russia. Trump always said he was going to put USA first in everything he did, but it hasn’t been so.

    • Upstairs at home, with the TV on, Trump fumes over Russia indictments
    • Head of Puerto Rico Electrical Workers’ Union Demands Corruption Probe of Whitefish Energy Contract

      Democracy Now! has just returned from Puerto Rico, where we interviewed Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, head of the Puerto Rico electrical workers’ union, just as the island’s governor announced he was instructing the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as PREPA, to cancel its controversial $300 million contract with the tiny Montana-based company Whitefish Energy. The move came after enormous pressure and scrutiny of the contract to reconstruct Puerto Rico’s electrical power grid devastated by Hurricane Maria. Whitefish Energy is based in the tiny hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The head of the private equity company that backs Whitefish, Joe Colonnetta, was a Trump campaign donor. All of this comes as a leaked copy of the contract sparked even further outrage last week, when it revealed that the terms barred penalties for work delays and prohibited the project from being audited.

    • Catalonia crisis hits home in Belgium

      Jan Jambon, the interior minister and deputy prime minister from the N-VA, was not aware Puigdemont was coming to Brussels, his spokesman Olivier Van Raemdonck said. “Everyone knows Jan Jambon and the N-VA are sympathetic towards the Catalans. But that’s something completely different than sitting down with the man as a member of the federal government,” he added.

      Still, Francken’s original suggestion to harbor the Catalan leader — echoed on Twitter by the minister later as well — is read as a frank endorsement of Catalonia’s separatist agenda.

      That’s a problem for Michel, because the unity of his government rests on a deal between liberals and nationalists, under which the nationalists have put their separatist agenda on ice.

    • Trump pollster: Sanders would have won general election

      The pollster for President Trump’s campaign says that he believes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would have defeated Trump in the general election had he secured the Democratic nomination.

      Tony Fabrizio said at a Harvard University Institute of Politics event Monday that Sanders could have prevailed where Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did not.

    • Facebook, YouTube admit to wider-ranging campaigns by Russian “state actors”

      Reports from The Washington Post and Recode separately claim that Facebook’s Tuesday testimony will state that up to 126 million people were exposed to Russian operations on its site during the 2016 presidential election season. Facebook’s official statements have previously focused solely on the reach of paid advertisements. This new, larger number is due to Facebook now counting non-ad operations conducted by the Internet Research Agency, a disinformation organization with Russian ties. Reports have pointed to the IRA creating seemingly legitimate American accounts with aims of indirect political disruption.

    • Twitter will tell Congress that Russia’s election meddling was worse than we first thought
    • Twitter’s multi-million dollar US election pitch to RT revealed in FULL

      RT was thereby forced to reveal some details of the 2016 negotiations during which Twitter representatives made an exclusive multi-million dollar advertising proposal to spend big during the US presidential election, which was turned down.

      Having since been banned, and in order to set the record straight, we are publishing Twitter’s presentation and details of the offer in full.

    • Live updates: Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before Congress today

      Facebook, Google and Twitter are in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for the first of three public hearings with congressional committees to discuss Russia’s attempt to influence last year’s U.S. presidential election by spreading misinformation online.

      The three companies have already admitted that, unknown to them, Russian-backed accounts used their respective sites to share and promote content aimed at stirring political unrest. On Facebook, as many as 126 million people may have seen content from accounts tied to Russian sources.

    • Trump adviser Roger Stone has been booted off Twitter

      Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, has been suspended from Twitter following a rant against two CNN reporters.

      It is one of the highest-profile account suspensions since Twitter has said it will take stronger action against bullying and threats of violence on its service.

    • 126 Million People, 60 Protests, 1,100 Videos: How Russia Used Facebook And Google To Influence 2016 US Elections
    • Your Guide to Mueller’s Russia Investigation

      By now, few American elected leaders dispute that elements of the Russian state meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — though President Donald Trump has continued to say it “could have been a lot of different groups.” What remains unknown, or at least unproven, is whether anybody from Trump’s winning campaign assisted in that meddling. As Trump dismisses talk of collusion as “a total hoax,” a wide-ranging criminal investigation continues. It’s produced one guilty plea and two indictments so far, but no proof yet of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

    • REVEALED: Trump’s Incredibly Stupid, and Brilliantly Effective, Media Strategy
    • White House Says 16 Women Accusing Trump of Sex Crimes are Liars

      Meanwhile, the White House confirmed Friday that its official position is that all 16 women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct are lying. This is White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, being questioned by CBS’s Jacqueline Alemany.

    • Spinoff: Whatever The Reports About Russian Trolls Buying Ads Is Initially, It’s Way, Way Worse

      With several reports about data breaches occurring over the past few years, we’ve developed something of a mantra around here: it’s always, always worse than first reported. Yahoo just went through this having finally admitted that literally every email account was compromised way back in 2013 after having first said it was only a few hundred thousand accounts that were impacted. Deloitte and Equifax followed this same playbook with their own breaches, trickling out little by little just how wide an impact those hacks had achieved.

    • Facebook, Google, Twitter tell Congress their platforms spread Russian-backed propaganda

      Top officials from Facebook, Google, and Twitter told a congressional panel Tuesday that their platforms hosted a disinformation campaign carried out over their networks by Russian state actors. The propaganda centered on the presidential election, immigration, gun rights, gay rights, and racial issues, the companies said. None of the three organizations said they supported proposed legislation requiring them to disclose who is buying political advertisements on their platforms, although these Web companies promised more public transparency about who is buying ads on their networks.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook, Social Media, Aiding Jihad; Censoring Those Who Counter Jihad

      That major technology companies are openly stifling the free speech of people trying to counter jihad is bad enough; what is beyond unconscionable is that they simultaneously enable Islamic supremacists to spread the very content that the counter-jihadists have been exposing.

    • Craig Brittain’s Senate Race Page Reports Craig Brittain’s Personal Account As An ‘Imposter’

      Former revenge porn site owner Craig Brittain is now a Senate candidate in Arizona. He’s not a viable candidate, mind you, not even with Arizona senator Jeff Flake recently announcing his retirement. But he has filed the proper paperwork and is now engaged in a charm offensive offensive offensive to win the hearts and minds of whatever demographic feels the public would be best served by someone who reacts to every perceptible slight with unhinged personal attacks.

      As a former revenge porn entrepreneur, Brittain has a bit more pre-run reputation management to engage in than most candidates. Just shortly after his candidacy was announced, Brittain issued two bogus “privacy” takedown requests targeting videos criticizing his ridesharing vaporware and his voluntary interview with journalists about his revenge porn site operations.

      Brittain followed this up with more reputation mismanagement, raining down insults on a Twitter user who dared to unfollow him. He’s continued to poll the electorate in similar ways on Facebook, telling people they’re wrong about everything if they don’t agree with him, but especially about free speech and the concept of consent.

    • Finally, RIAA Front Group Admits That Forcing YouTube To Police Site Doesn’t Work Well

      Here’s one I certainly didn’t expect. A group known for spreading a bunch of bogus RIAA talking points about the evils of YouTube seems to be admitting two odd things: (1) that it’s impossible to expect YouTube to accurately police all the content on its site and (2) that sharing entire published news articles is clearly not copyright infringement. The group in question is the “Content Creators Coalition” — last seen around these parts whining about the DMCA’s safe harbors on a site that only exists because of them. And it seems that bizarre and self-contradictory publicity stunts are basically the norm for this group. They’ve specifically been whining about how one of their videos got taken down on YouTube over an apparent terms of service violation. They complained, and YouTube reviewed it, and put the video back up. But, the Content Creators Coalition is using this to argue… something about how YouTube is trying to censor criticism?

    • China Censors Block Hunger Games-Style PUBG Video Game Because It ‘Deviates’ From Socialist Values

      The record-breaking video game did not pass the censors’ test as it “severely deviates from our socialist core values and traditional Chinese culture,” the China Audio-Video Digital Publishing Association, a division of the censorship body State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, ruled in a statement released on its website Monday, quoted by Reuters.

      The South Korean–made game became a huge hit, counting more than two million concurrent players at a time and selling more than 15 million copies since its release in March, according to the database of online gaming platform Steam.

    • China’s New, Severe Curbs on the Internet Leave Little Left to Censor
    • Xi Jinping Thought: Combining Mao’s Totalitarianism And Deng’s Crony Capitalism
    • Leading global publisher Springer Nature bows to China censors
    • THE REICH DECISION? Wolfenstein II: The New Collosus bypasses German censorship laws by removing Hitler’s moustache
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Who Speaks for The Billions of Victims of Mass Surveillance? Tech Companies Could

      Two clocks are ticking for US tech companies in the power centers of the modern world. In Washington, lawmakers are working to reform FISA Section 702 before it expires on December 31st, 2017. Section 702 is the main legal basis for US mass surveillance, including the programs and techniques that scoop up the data transferred by non-US individuals to US servers. Upstream surveillance collects communications as they travel over the Internet backbone, and downstream surveillance (better known as PRISM) collects communications from companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo.

      Both programs have used Section 702’s vague definitions to justify the wholesale seizure of Internet and telephony traffic: any foreign person located outside the United States could be subjected to surveillance if the government thinks that surveillance would acquire “foreign intelligence information”—which here means information about a foreign power or territory that “relates to [] the national defense or the security [or] the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.”

    • The Chilling Surveillance and Wrongful Arrest of a Chinese-American Physics Professor

      Most of the innocent people whose emails and phone calls the government spies on never find out. Not so for Professor Xiaoxing Xi, a Chinese-American physics professor at Temple University.

      One morning in May 2015, FBI agents showed up at Professor Xi’s house before dawn. They arrested him at gunpoint while his wife and daughters looked on, and went through the family’s home from top to bottom. The government charged Professor Xi with wire fraud, but in its court filings, it cast him as a spy for China who shared sensitive technology.

    • Wyden’s Reform Bill Would Also Deter Misuse Of NSA Powers To Compel Tech Company Assistance

      Sen. Ron Wyden is again raising concerns about NSA tactics, this time through his recently-submitted Section 702 reform bill. The USA RIGHTS Act contains a number of improvements, including addressing backdoor searches of NSA data by federal agencies and increasing the reporting requirements for access of US persons communications and data. It also permabans the NSA’s “about” collection — one it shut down voluntarily after years of misuse but recently expressed an interest in restarting.

    • Ex-NSA, FBI Officials Call for Cyber Cooperation Between Public and Private Sectors

      The U.S. government and the private sector need to work together much more in order to prevent cyber attacks, said the former directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency at a cybersecurity event Monday. Keith Alexander, former director of the NSA, said at the Rethink Cyber conference…

    • Calgary police cellphone surveillance device must remain top secret, judge rules

      The MDI (Mobile Device Identifier) technology — which mimics cell towers and intercepts data from nearby phones — is controversial in part because in at least one Canadian case, prosecutors have taken watered down plea deals rather than disclose information related to the device.

    • Microsoft joins IIT Kharagpur to create ‘deeper’ search engine

      Microsoft’s Senior Applied Researcher Manish Gupta partnered with professors from IIT Kharagpur to conduct a study on extracting meaningful information from social conversations to help search engines answer social list queries better by deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning.

    • Internet security 101: Six ways hackers can attack you and how to stay safe
    • Is Facebook secretly listening to your private conversations?

      Kelli Burns, a professor at the University of South Florida, last year used a Facebook microphone feature available to US users to test whether discussion translated into ads.

      It seemingly did. In one experiment, Burns read “I’m really interested in going on an African safari” directly into the smartphone. Within minutes, safari trip and Jeep ads had popped up.

    • Facebook denies eavesdropping on conversations to target ads, again

      Another fact that has bolstered suspicions is that, since almost every Facebook user will have shot video or photos with it or Instagram at some point, or used Messenger to carry out a video or audio conversation, the app already has the permissions it would need to – hypothetically – carry out the eavesdropping.

    • SC To Set Up Constitution Bench To Hear Petitions Challenging Centre’s Decision To Make Aadhaar Mandatory To Avail Services

      Earlier today, the apex court questioned the West Bengal government for filing a plea challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes while asking how a state can challenge the mandate of Parliament.

    • Will obey Supreme Court directive: Mamata Banerjee on Aadhaar

      The apex court today questioned the West Bengal government’s petition challenging the Centre’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of government welfare schemes, saying it was against the federal structure.

    • DHS expanding national biometrics database to hold details on over 500 million people, including many US citizens

      We’ve just written about China’s ambitious plans to add voiceprints to its existing national biometrics databases. Given the country’s long record of keeping a close watch on its citizens, it’s easy to see this as part of China’s surveillance exceptionalism – the common belief that it is “different”, and that its experiences don’t have much relevance for Western nations. But that would be a mistake.

      In many ways, China is not different, just in the vanguard. Ideas that are tried out first in China, where there is little hope of organizing resistance to them, have a habit of turning up later in Western countries, despite local and vocal protests. The main difference is that China is generally not shy about announcing ever-more surveillance of its people, on the grounds that it will supposedly make society safer, whereas Western governments do it surreptitiously, for example by gradually extending the reach of systems that they initially present as mainly aimed at foreigners. That’s been the case for the mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, where local laws were sidestepped on the grounds that the spying took place abroad, or only targeted those in other countries.

    • How to delete or disable your Facebook account

      Deleting your Facebook account, on the other hand, kills it completely. You won’t be able to log back in to retrieve or view anything you’ve posted to Facebook, and if you want to use Facebook again, you’ll have to start from scratch. You can find all the details if you hit the help icon at the top right of your Facebook account page (it looks like a question mark) and type deactivate account into the search bar that appears. Hit the let us know link in this description to start the deletion process.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Chicago Detective Accused Of Framing 51 People Defiantly Takes The Stand

      A retired Chicago detective accused of framing at least 51 people for murder testified today for only the second time in eight years, expanding on a brief appearance two weeks ago for the appeal of a grisly double homicide case he oversaw in 2000. Accused of beating the two defendants into confessing, he told the court that he had no recollection of the incident and declined to review the evidence he was presented with.

      A Cook County State’s Attorney asked the detective, Reynaldo Guevara, 74, to review police reports and testimony he’d previously given in the case. Guevara refused, quickly flipping the pages and then handing them back.

      “Are you refusing to even look at” the report, Assistant State’s Attorney James Papa asked.

      “I don’t remember,” the detective answered.

    • ICE Is Trying to Deport Families Who Fear Religious Persecution Without Due Process

      We joined a lawsuit to halt the deportation of more than 50 Indonesians who fear religious persecution.

      In 2009, the Boston Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office initiated a program called “Operation Indonesian Surrender,” which it characterized as “a humanitarian effort” meant to “bring folks out of the shadows” and send the message to Indonesian Christian community members that “we will work with you.” Eight years later, ICE is trying to deport all the participants.

    • U.K. Anti-Terror Censorship Law Stupidly Used Against Guy Who Fights Terrorism

      Prosecutors in the United Kingdom didn’t think Josh Walker was an actual terrorist. But they treated him as if he were one anyway, because of a book they found in his bedroom.

      Fortunately, they failed. But the case, highlighted at The Intercept, details some of the terrible consequences of trying to criminalize dangerous thoughts or ideas rather than actions.

      Walker was prosecuted for downloading and having in his possession a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, an infamous guide to homemade explosives (and other tools for lawbreaking) that was first published in 1971.

    • Protest of class amounted to censorship

      “I think the demonstration is unfortunate,” Weigel said. “The question of slavery is a very serious issue and the people out there make some interesting points and valid points about the horrors of slavery. But I believe to have a protest just about the idea that Robert E. Lee can be seen positively is a mistake because we have the right to have differing opinions about historical figures.

      “We shouldn’t demonize historical figures … because of the fact they were slave owners. There were 12 presidents who owned slaves. Washington, Jefferson and Madison stand out.”

    • On Being a Rebel

      The Francoist ultras of the Spanish government have gone the whole hog, and are charging Puigdemont and his colleagues with sedition and rebellion. And before anyone can interject with any nonsense about prosecutorial independence, let me assure you that in no country, ever, in the history of the world, has anybody been tried for sedition or rebellion without the explicit approval of the political rulers.

      Puigdemont is in excellent company. Gandhi was jailed for ten years for sedition in 1922 for seeking Indian independence from Britain.

    • We’re Suing the Government for Its Detention and Abuse of Rosa Maria, a 10-Year-Old Child With Cerebral Palsy

      At this very moment, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is detaining Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who recently underwent gallbladder surgery, and is refusing to release her into the care of her family, despite her doctor’s advice. How exactly did this child with developmental delays become the Trump administration’s target for deportation? It’s an egregious case of government overreach, and now the subject of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.

    • Judge Smacks Down Another Anonymous Cop’s Lawsuit Against Black Lives Matter

      For the second time in less than a month, a judge — the same judge — has tossed out lawsuits from anonymous law enforcement officers filed against the social movement known as Black Lives Matter. Much like the no-name cop in the other idiotic lawsuit, this anonymous cop swore up and down (as one tends to do in legal filings) Black Lives Matter was responsible for injuries he sustained during an ambush.

      Judge Brian Jackson warned the unnamed plaintiff his suit was on its way to the dustbin of history shortly after tossing the first officer’s suit — one that included a hilarious attempt to hold a Twitter hashtag responsible for injuries sustained during a protest. Finding this suit to be more of the same, the judge warned the officer to start making some actual actionable claims or face dismissal. No such claims have been stated apparently, as Courthouse News Service reports.

    • Researchers warn state system to catch voter fraud has 99% false positive rate

      A database system that will now be used by Indiana to automatically purge voter registrations that have duplicates in other states is 99 percent more likely to purge legitimate voters, according to a paper published last week by researchers from Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, and Microsoft Research. Using the probability of matching birth dates for people with common first, middle, and last names and an audit of poll books from the 2012 US presidential election, the researchers concluded that the system would de-register “about 300 registrations used to cast a seemingly legitimate vote for every one registration used to cast a double vote.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality: Why Artists and Activists Can’t Afford to Lose It
    • Another broadband merger: CenturyLink gets FCC approval to buy Level 3

      “The FCC’s approval of CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3 is great news and means we now have all the regulatory approvals we need to close the transaction,” CenturyLink Senior VP John Jones said in an announcement today. The merger, valued at $34 billion, previously received approvals from the US Department of Justice and regulatory bodies in more than 20 US states including California and New York.

    • Portugal Shows The Internet Why Net Neutrality Is Important

      And while these mock ups were tongue in cheek, large ISPs have given every indication that this idea of freedom costing extra isn’t too far from their ideal. And abusing a lack of broadband competition to force users to shell out additional funds to access to the content and services of their choice isn’t too far off of what has already happened, whether we’re talking about AT&T’s decision to block Facetime from working unless users shelled out for more expensive plans, or Verizon’s recent decision to charge users $10 more just to avoid arbitrary video throttling.

    • Seven into seven.

      I don’t pretend that these are easy questions to answer. But if we need technology that’s not simply fast or pretty, but just, it’s worth putting AMP under a critical lens. (As well as, yes, Facebook Instant Articles, and Apple News, and, and, and.) If we fail to do that, we can’t be sure how well it measures up to our needs, much less the needs of the web as an open medium. And we definitely won’t know how well it serves entities other than Google.

    • The meaning of AMP

      I don’t think those statements are even truthy, much less true. In fact, if I were looking for the right term to semantically describe any one of those statements, the closest in meaning would be this:

      A statement used intentionally for the purpose of deception.

      That is the dictionary definition of a lie.

  • DRM

    • Assassins Creed Origin DRM Hammers Gamers’ CPUs

      Assassin’s Creed Origins gamers are reporting massive CPU utilization. While the game is said to be quite resource-hungry already, game cracker Voksi informs TorrentFreak that anti-piracy efforts are to blame. With Denuvo in trouble, Ubisoft has called in reinforcements which are reportedly dragging down all but the most powerful machines. “It’s anti-consumer and a disgusting move,” he says.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Marketing Guy: Google Image Search Is A Honeypot Set Up By Aggressive Copyright Litigants

        There are a lot of people out there that don’t understand intellectual property issues. But perhaps no one misunderstands them quite as badly as internet marketing guru Dan Dasilva. And Dasilva has no excuse. He’s been on the losing end of a copyright infringement lawsuit. Despite this, Dasilva continues to express his ignorance — and proclaim his victimhood — publicly on his YouTube channel. (h/t Techdirt reader Andy Gural)

        Dasilva snagged an image from Google’s image search and used it on a website he set up for one of his clients. The photographer who took the picture — Michael Grecco — sued Dasilva for infringement, ultimately ending up with $27,000 settlement and $10,000 in legal fees.

      • CBS Sues Man for Posting Image of a 59-Year TV-Show on Social Media

        CBS Broadcasting has launched one of the most unusual copyright infringement cases in recent history. The media giant is suing a New York man who posted a screenshot of a 1958 episode of the TV-series ‘Gunsmoke’ on social media. The man now faces $150,000 in potential damages, but since he sued CBS first, it’s likely that the case will not come to that.

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