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Links 2/1/2018: Arcan 0.5.4, Cutelyst 1.12.0, Jolla Update

Posted in News Roundup at 5:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 Reasons Why Linux Is Better Than Windows

    ​It is often seen that people get confused over choosing Windows or Linux as host operating system in both server and desktop spaces. People will focus on aspects of cost, the functionality provided, hardware compatibility, support, reliability, security, pre-built software, cloud-readiness etc. before they finalize. In this regard, this article covers ten reasons of using Linux over Windows.

  • Private Internet Access creator, London Trust Media, acquires Linux Journal

    Over the years, with your help, we have supported many worthy projects and events in the open source space. At the beginning of December, Carlie Fairchild posted a farewell to the Linux community in a post titled “Linux Journal Ceases Publication.” We know that some of our users may have also read this message, given the strong overlap between those that care about privacy and those that care about freedom and open source software. Needless to say, upon reading the news, we immediately reached out to see how we could help.

    Many members of our team have been Linux Journal readers for years – even since before they worked with Private Internet Access. We truly believe that Linux Journal needs to be there to chronicle our journey into a more open future. Private Internet Access is proud to announce that our parent company, LTM, has acquired Linux Journal. 2018 is going to be a big year for Linux – and we will continue to play our part in facilitating this.

  • Happy New Year- Welcome to Linux Journal 2.0!
  • LinuxJournal, Which Ceased Publication Last Month Citing Poor Financial Condition, Secures Fresh Fund From Readers To Resume Operation

    LinuxJournal announced in Nov 2017 that they were going to cease publication; With some timely intervention by Private Internet Access they are going to be able to continue operation and are currently soliciting feedback for improving the magazine in the future.

  • Desktop

    • Arcan 0.5.4, Durden 0.4

      From left to right, we have a little Raspberry running the ‘prio’ WM using the broadcom binary blob drivers (so lacks some of the features needed to run durden), with arcan and terminals eating up all of 20MB of ram. The left Macbook running OSX with Arcan/Durden in fullscreen, retina resolution, of course. The Macbook on the right is running the same system on OpenBSD 6.2. The three-headed monkey behind them is a voidlinux setup with two instances, one on an intel GPU, the other on an AMD GPU. If only the android devices on the wall could be brought in on the fun as well…

    • Arcan 0.5.4 Display Server Released With Durden 0.4 Desktop

      Remember Arcan? The Linux display server built off a game engine. The project is ending 2017 with the release of the Arcan 0.5.4 display server and its associated Durden v0.4 desktop.

      With the Arcan 0.5.4 release, its X.Org-backend has been ported to OpenBSD, its VRbridge tool now has basic OpenHMD support, improvements to its Wayland protocol handling, and a lot more.

  • Server

    • Install Range of Enterprise Applications in Few Clicks with UCS App Center

      Since the rise of smartphones digital distribution platforms for computer software have multiplied and with them the use of applications as “apps”. Major players in this field are Apple and Google offering all kinds of apps that are easy to download and integrate on people’s mobiles.

      But what about server and business applications for an organization that can be used both on-premise and in the cloud? How about being able to install a whole range of enterprise applications and integrate them in your IT environment with just a few clicks?

    • 7 Tips to Help Your Company Succeed in the Cloud

      That statement is a reflection of the state of our industry: companies and investors are looking to improve the focus on delivering and developing a product and less time and investment on maintaining infrastructure. The needs of our products have not changed – but how we create and maintain them has. As Linux and open source professionals of all types, we are at the center of this revolution. Not only is Linux the “foundation” for most public cloud providers; studies show a steady dominance of Linux deployments in the cloud and the growth of container technologies such as Docker further grow the number of active Linux installs.

      The Linux and Dice Open Source Jobs Report echoes the importance of open source in companies today, with 60 percent looking for full-time professionals with open source experience. Plus, nearly half (47 percent) of hiring managers said they’ll pay for certifications just to bring employees up to speed on open source projects.

  • Kernel Space

    • Generic FBDEV Emulation Proposed For DRM Drivers

      DRM subsystem contributor Noralf Trønnes is proposing a patch-set to provide generic FBDEV emulation support in DRM drivers via exportable dumb buffers.

      Noralf is striving towards getting rid of all FBDEV-related code from the DRM drivers and a big step towards that is getting this generic FBDEV emulation code working, which at this point amounts to just over 600 lines of new code.

    • AMDGPU Gets Its Last Feature Updates For Linux 4.16

      Alex Deucher of AMD has sent in the last feature updates to DRM-Next of new AMDGPU material to be queued for the Linux 4.16 kernel cycle that will begin later in January.

      There was already the first AMDGPU Linux 4.16 feature batch in early December and then more stuff got queued right before Christmas. Now Alex has sent in the last planned feature work for Linux 4.16, with DRM-Next’s feature cut-off always happening a few weeks prior to the stable release of the current kernel cycle. Linux 4.15 should be out by mid-January and thus it’s around the time for the soft DRM-Next feature freeze.

    • The Linux Kernel Gained 2.5 Million Lines Of Code, 71k Commits In 2017

      Here are some numbers on the Linux kernel development trends for 2017.

    • The mysterious case of the Linux Page Table Isolation patches

      tl;dr: there is presently an embargoed security bug impacting apparently all contemporary CPU architectures that implement virtual memory, requiring hardware changes to fully resolve. Urgent development of a software mitigation is being done in the open and recently landed in the Linux kernel, and a similar mitigation began appearing in NT kernels in November. In the worst case the software fix causes huge slowdowns in typical workloads. There are hints the attack impacts common virtualization environments including Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine, and additional hints the exact attack may involve a new variant of Rowhammer.

    • systemd Breached One Million Lines Of Code In 2017

      Systemd had a busy 2017 and its code-base is now up to over one million lines.

      Systemd in 2017 saw 3,443 commits, which is actually the lowest point since 2012. But the commits were larger with having 418,903 lines of code added and 119,975 lines removed: a net gain of nearly 300,000 lines of code.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU-PRO OpenCL Compiler Hacked Into Mesa’s Clover

        While AMD developers worked on the Radeon Gallium3D “Clover” OpenCL support for some time, that really hasn’t been the case in years with the AMD’s open-source OpenCL effort these days being focused upon their ROCm compute platform. Some within the community though still work on this OpenCL Gallium3D state tracker from time to time and this New Year’s weekend is an interesting project pairing Clover with AMD’s proprietary OpenCL compiler.

        An independent developer has developed mesa3d-comp-bridge as pairing Mesa’s Clover with the AMDOCL2 OpenCL compiler from the AMDGPU-PRO package.

      • Nouveau Persevered In 2017 For Open-Source NVIDIA But 2018 Could Be Much Better
      • NVIDIA Appears To Still Be Experimenting With The VkHLF High Level Vulkan Framework

        Released nearly one year ago was the experimental NVIDIA VkHLF project as a high-level framework for Vulkan. It’s been a while since last hearing anything about it, but some new code was just merged.

      • RADV Driver Lands Support For Binning With Vega

        As shown in recent benchmarks of the RADV Vulkan driver, while the Radeon RX Vega GPU support is now considered conformant and fully-functioning, it’s not yet as well optimized as earlier generations of GPUs with this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver. Fortunately, it looks like Bas Nieuwenhuizen is working on more performance optimizations.

      • Mesa Grew By Nearly 250,000 Lines Of Code In 2017 Across 10k Commits

        For those wondering Mesa’s rate of change last year while adding in many OpenGL 4.5~4.6 features, a lot of Vulkan driver activity, countless performance optimizations, and the plethora of other work that took place in 2017, here are some numbers.

        Yesterday I ran GitStats on the Mesa code-base for being curious about how 2017 looks from the development numbers.

        - Mesa saw 465,765 lines of code added and 216,715 lines of code removed.. or a net gain of 249,050 lines of code. That came across 10,334 commits. While there was a ton of work landing in 2017, this was actually lighter than in 2016 when seeing 10,910 commits with 559,114 lines added and 263,342 removed (+295k).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Cutelyst 1.12.0 released

        The year is about to end and so is Cutelyst v1 series, I wasn’t planning for another release this year but Matthias added some nice new features that I decided to roll 1.12 in 2017 branching 1.x.x series and master is now officially Cutelyst 2 with no stable API/ABI until 2.0.0 is tagged.

        HTTP/2 support will hopefully be part of Cutelyst 2.0.0, there aren’t any drastic changes in v2, most important thing is fixing MSVC builds and removing deprecated API.

      • Closing on 2017

        Meanwhile, KDE has just released their KDE Applications 17.12 that gets rid of KDE 4 completely. Eric Hameleers has been working on that and he has posted on his blog about his work. A new LiveSlack ISO is also available as well with all those changes. He is currently working on testing wayland on top of Slackware-Current and i think he has nailed it with his progress in November. More tweaks are still needed to makes every applications are working well, but overall it’s working already.

      • Retrospectacle

        At the beginning of 2017, I was a programmer (mostly Python, and a little bit of C++) and spent most of my day at my desk, with an IDE open and a cup of coffee at hand. At the end of 2017, I’m a programmer (mostly C++, and a little bit of Python) and spend most of my day at my desk, with an IDE open and a cup of espresso at hand.

        At some level of abstraction, not much has changed this year.

      • Tracking KDE Development

        A central place to track KDE development is the kde-commits@kde.org mailing list. To this mailing list, all code changes are sent, containing the log message as well as the diff that quickly shows what really changed. In the early days of KDE development, the changes were maintained by the CVS version control system. Later, this was changed to subversion. Nowadays, KDE mostly uses git, but some svn modules are still around.

        Since KDE is developed by many contributors, the kde-commits@kde.org mailing list obviously has high traffic, ranging from ~100 mails up to 400 mails a day (see marc.info for statistics).

      • postmarketOS Update: Now Runs Plasma Mobile/Lune UI/Xfce On Real Devices

        In the last week of December, I came across a post on Reddit/r/KDE that showed a postmarketOS device with Plasma Mobile. Just recently, the team had published the latest blog update on their website, listing out the recent developments and breakthroughs achieved during the last months.

        Before going ahead and reading the developments, I’ll advise you to read this introductory post on postmarketOS if you’re not aware of the project.

      • Kubuntu 17.10[fix]: Fonts Looks Too Big After Enabling Nvidia’s Proprietary Driver?

        These days my main operating system is Kubuntu 17.10 because I’ve switched to KDE as my desktop environment. However, since my Asus laptop comes with a hybrid GPU setup, I decided to enable the more capable Nvidia GPU by installing its proprietary driver. Once I enabled it on Kubuntu 17.10, then after rebooting, I noticed that the fonts looks slightly (unnecessarily) bigger on the desktop and on the application windows. Luckily I was able to fix it quite easily. So if you’re having the same issue, this post will help you out for fixing it.

        To be honest, I rarely use the Nvidia GPU. And the only reason why I installed and enabled the proprietary driver was to see if it would break the user auto-login feature. This was purely out of my curiosity because that’s what happened in GNOME, while I reviewed Ubuntu 17.10.

      • A roadtrip through 2017 with KDE

        Happy New Year to all! The year 2017 has been a rollercoaster, to be honest. Well, it was rich and prosperous year regarding in technical terms. It was a beautiful year of great learning, splendid travel and got to network with some fantastic folks all around the globe.

        The best reason for making this 2017 incredible for me is KDE. One of the exciting community I have ever seen! It all started at the end of 2016, I got intrigued by the Tagline of KDE, “Experience freedom”. I started contributing to various projects inside KDE. My initial start was with Konsole, system settings, KIO and various educational suite programs. Moving on, I came across a student program organized by KDE named KDE-SoK and I was selected for it, yay!!!

        The project was with KStars(KDE’s amateur astronomy software which provides real-time and an accurate graphical simulation of the night sky, from any location on Earth.) to collect a new set of images from NASA/ESO catalogs along with orientation and pixel scale (arcsecs/pixel) from the whole set of Messier Catalog (which is a collection of 110 astronomy objects in the night sky). Images were processed for overlay in KStars using OpenCV, so to have transparency and to modulate according to the software.

      • With Qt 6.0 Development To Heat Up, 2018 Should Be Exciting For Qt

        Qt 6.0 planning has begun and we should be hearing more about this next major tool-kit update as the year goes on. Here’s some of what we can expect from Qt in the near future.

      • Auditing Licenses in KDE Frameworks FreeBSD Packaging

        FreeBSD is getting more serious about license metadata in the packages produced by the project — that is, the binary distribution of software produced from licensed source code. A lot of software in FreeBSD “proper” is (naturally) BSD-licensed, and a lot of Free Software packaged by FreeBSD is (also naturally) GPL licensed. But the different licenses carry different obligations, so it’s good to keep track of the exact licensing applied to each bit of software.

      • Richer Shadows

        We decided to make them larger and deeper by default, and center them horizontally so that there’s a shadow on the left edges of windows and menus as well. I was honored to produce the patch, and I’m happy to report that it’s been accepted and merged! Starting in Plasma 5.12, here’s how shadows will look…

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Have a great 2018!

        Workwise, it’s been another very busy year at Endless. I am still in charge of the App Center (our GNOME Software fork) and doing what I can to tame this beast. Endless’ mission has always been a noble one, but with the current direction of the world it’s even more significant and needed; so I will continue to give my best and hope we can keep making a difference in less fortunate regions.

      • GTK+ Custom Widgets: General Definitions

        Writing a GTK+ custom widget with is Vala easy. First all create an XML definition with a top level container widget and a set of child ones. You can use Glade to do so. This is not a tutorial for Glade, so let start at with an already designed template UI file.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 2018, kicking off with yet another new Snapshot! (Changes)

        If you’re reading this on January 1st, well, Happy New Year! Meanwhile, to kick off 2018, a new snapshot of feren OS has been released for computers with the 32 bit architecture and the 64 bit architecture, and like the previous snapshot, it comes with plenty of updates, and for this release, a seriously big change.

      • feren OS Devs Kick Off 2018 with New ISO Snapshot, Plan Linux Mint 19 Rebase

        While others are still partying like it’s 1999, the developer of the Linux Mint-based feren OS GNU/Linux distribution is the first to kick off 2018 with the release of a new ISO snapshot.

        Based on Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia,” January 2018′s ISO snapshot of feren OS comes with several enhancements and updated components. Among these, we can mention a new set of wallpapers to start the new year fresh and in style, as well as Linux Mint 18.3′s brand-new Software Manager to replace GNOME Software.

        Of course, Software Manager comes with Flatpak support so you can install Flatpak apps on feren OS. The new ISO snapshot also delivers on developer’s promise to make custom Themer Theme support, allowing users to create and install Themer Themes. There’s also now a Themer Store to make installing themes easier.

      • NuTyX 10.0-rc1 is release

        The NuTyX team is proud to annonce the first release candidat of the next major version 10 of NuTyX.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The January 2018 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the January 2018 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux Kicks Off 2018 with First Snapshot Powered by Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS

        Arch Linux devs don’t have time to rest either, so they’re kicking off the new year with the first ISO snapshot for 2018, bringing up-to-date components and latest security fixes.

        Arch Linux 2018.01.01 ISO snapshot is here, and it’s the first to use the latest Linux 4.14 LTS kernel. While December’s Arch Linux ISO snapshot was still powered by a kernel from the now deprecated Linux 4.13 series, January 2018′s release is using Linux kernel 4.14.9 for all new installs, while the recently released Linux kernel 4.14.10 is still in testing.

      • Arch monthly December

        Arch Linux Trusted Users, Developers and members of the Security team have been at 34C3 and even held a small meetup. There was also an #archlinux.de assembly where people from the irc channel could meet each other. Seeing how much interest there was this year, it might be worth it to host a self organized session or assembly with more stickers \o/

      • Manjaro Linux 17.1.0 Released With Latest Packages — Get This User-friendly Distro Here

        Following the September release of Manjaro Linux 17.0.3, the developers of this Arch Linux-based distro have shipped Manjaro Linux 17.1.0. Released on December 31st, 2017, it marks the last Manjaro offering of 2017. In other words, you can kickstart 2018 with this freshly baked desktop-oriented operating system.

        “This marks the last update of Manjaro in 2017. We wish you all the best for next year. Have fun and celebrate with family and friends,” the announcement reads.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #140

        12 package reviews have been added, 23 have been updated and 45 have been removed in this week, adding to our knowledge about identified issues.

      • Debian {Developers, Maintainers} in Kerala

        We have three Debian Developers and two Debian Maintainers here in Kerala.

      • My Debian Activities in December 2017

        This month I accepted 222 packages and rejected 39 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 348.

        According to the statistic I now passed the mark of 12000 accepted packages.

      • [Older] Debian and the GDPR

        GDPR is a new EU regulation for privacy. The name is short for “General Data Protection Regulation” and it covers all organisations that handle personal data of EU citizens and EU residents. It will become enforceable May 25, 2018 (Towel Day). This will affect Debian. I think it’s time for Debian to start working on compliance, mainly because the GDPR requires sensible things.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Black Lab Software Releases Freespire 3.0 & Linspire 7.0 Linux Operating Systems

              After giving users free copies of Linspire 7.0 for Christmas, Black Lab Software’s CEO Roberto J. Dohnert is now also releasing the freely distributed Freespire 3.0 operating system, a slimmed down version of the commercial Linspire 7.0, which can now be purchased from the developer’s website.

              “While both contain common kernel and common utilities, they are targeted towards two different user bases. Freespire is a FOSS distribution geared for the general Linux community,” reads the announcement. “Linspire is a commercial release which builds on the elegant Freespire foundation.”

            • Linspire Is Back From The Dead In 2018

              Remember Linspire? The Linux distribution formerly known as “Lindows” is back from the dead…

              Linspire/Lindows was the Debian/Ubuntu-based operating system targeting the home desktop that dated back to 2001 when founded by controversial figure Michael Robertson. Back in the day it tried to offer an easier time with Linux package management and graphical utilities along with shipping Wine in its much earlier form for Windows software compatibility… Linspire 6.0 is a decade old but now Linspire and Freespire are being lifted back up.

            • smdavis.us Is Now bluesabre.org!

              So, you’ve clicked on a link or came to check for a new release at smdavis.us, and now you’re here at bluesabre.org. Fear not! Everything is working just as it should.

              To kick off 2018, I’ve started tidying up my personal brand. Since my website has consistently been about FOSS updates, I’ve transitioned to a more fitting .org domain. The .org TLD is often associated with community and open source initiatives, and the content you’ll find here is always going to fit that bill. You can continue to expect a steady stream of Xfce and Xubuntu updates.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Teaching open source graphic design is a learning experience

    “Would you like to teach a class to high school sophomores?” the staff email asked.

    Well, sure I would!

    I work in St. Lawrence University’s communications department, and I had always wanted to try teaching. Now I had an opportunity to teach whatever I wanted. Of course, I chose my two favorite subjects: graphic design and open source. I submitted a proposal to teach a class called Graphic Design Using Open Source Tools for the St. Lawrence University Scholars Enrichment Program (SLUSEP) over eight Saturday mornings.

    My proposal was approved, and I was ready to begin. How to begin? The only teaching I had done was as a Boy Scout leader, and this class had nothing to do with knots (except those in my stomach). I had to create a curriculum; prepare the hardware, environment and software; and figure out how to fill 2.5 hours each week with exciting, informative projects.

  • How I teach open source to true newcomers

    Those who are new to the idea of open organizations (and open source in general) may have a difficult time envisioning how the open organization principles are incorporated as part of an existing culture. Many of these folks may not be participating in—or even have had extensive exposure to—an open organization, and therefore may not have ready access to a live community from which to observe and from which to learn.

    This exercise allows participants to create their own communities and then evaluate them with respect to the Open Organization Maturity Model. It is intended to allow participants to gain an understanding of how open organization principles could be implemented within a culture. The process of creating a community allows the participants to clearly understand how the community works, providing a solid foundation for the process of evaluating the community with respect to the Open Organization Maturity Model. The application of the model provides participants the opportunity to test their understanding of open organization principles by evaluating their inclusion in a known environment.

  • Haiku monthly activity report – 12/2017

    Who doesn’t like them? I updated the Haiku stats to keep track of the activity in our git repository. The overall number of commits is very similar to 2016 (which was our quietest year so far) with more than 1300 commits (far from the 5555 commits in 2009). Our author of the year is waddlesplash with 213 commitsi, followed by PulkoMandy, Korli, Humdinger, Kallisti5, and Skipp_OSX. 65 different commiters made changes to Haiku this year, a net increase from 48 in 2016, but not reaching as high as 2012 (83 different committers). In the week-by-week graph you can also clearly see the effect of the coding sprint, which is of course the week with most commits.

  • Haiku OS Ends 2017 On A High Note With Better USB 3.0 & UEFI Abilities

    While Haiku OS is incredibly close to delivering their long-awaited beta, it didn’t end up materializing in 2017 but they still made much headway into this open-source BeOS-inspired operating system.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Open Source Is Not A Silver Bullet

      OSS is in our everyday lives today. The chances are that you are reading this article using a web browser based on OSS (Chrome, Firefox, and Safari). Much of the Internet is operating on OSS components including Linux OS, Apache web servers, MySQL databases and hundreds of browser components used by thousands of websites around the Internet. Even Apple, known for a very user- and design-centric products is based at its core on many OSS components.

  • BSD

    • CIB: Getting The Clang Compiler To Run In A Web Browser

      CIB is a new hobby project getting the full-blown Clang C/C++ compiler to run within a web browser as a technical feat.

      Independent developer Todd Fleming has been working on “CIB” that is short for “Clang In Browser.” This comes down to Clang itself being compiled to WebAssembly (WASM) for then running in web-browsers.

    • Features To Look Forward To With LLVM / Clang 6.0

      With the LLVM Clang 6.0 code branching and feature freeze coming up on 3 January, here’s a recap of some of the most interesting new features and changes to find with the LLVM 6.0 compiler infrastructure and Clang 6.0 C/C++ front-end.

    • Even With An Intel Core i9 7980XE, LLVMpipe Is Still Slow

      During the recent holidays when running light on benchmarks to run, I was toying around with LLVMpipe in not having run this LLVM-accelerated software rasterizer in some time. I also ran some fresh tests of Intel’s OpenSWR OpenGL software rasterizer that has also been living within Mesa.

      In showing the potential best case, an Intel Core i9 7980XE was used with its 18 cores / 36 threads configuration with 2.6GHz base frequency and 4.2GHz turbo for this ~$2,000 USD CPU with a 165 Watt TDP.

    • LLVM Clang 6.0 Benchmarks On AMD’s EPYC Yield Some Performance Benefits

      With LLVM 6.0 being branched this week and that marking the end of feature development on this next compiler update before its stable debut in February, here are some benchmarks of the very latest LLVM Clang 6.0 compiler on AMD’s EPYC 7601 32-core / 64-thread processor as we see how well the AMD Zen “znver1″ tuning is working out.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Supporting Conservancy Makes a Difference

      Earlier this year, in February, I wrote a blog post encouraging people to donate to where I work, Software Freedom Conservancy. I’ve not otherwise blogged too much this year. It’s been a rough year for many reasons, and while I personally and Conservancy in general have accomplished some very important work this year, I’m reminded as always that more resources do make things easier.

      I understand the urge, given how bad the larger political crises have gotten, to want to give to charities other than those related to software freedom. There are important causes out there that have become more urgent this year.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Standard Ebooks: Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover.

        Standard Ebooks is a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.

      • Open Access Weathers a Governmental Sea Change: 2017 in Review

        In the first few weeks of 2017, just days after President Donald Trump took office, reports emerged that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture were instructing scientists on staff not to talk to the public or the press. The reports raised serious questions among open access advocates: what does it mean to advocate for public access to publicly funded scientific research at a time when the future of public funding for science itself is in question?

        Put most simply, open access is the practice of making research and other materials freely available online, ideally under licenses that allow anyone to share and adapt them. Open access publishing has long been the center of a debate over the future of academic publishing: on one side of the debate sit citizen scientists, journalists, and other members of the public eager to access and use scientific research even though they can’t afford expensive journal subscriptions and don’t have institutional access to even-more-expensive online repositories. On the other, a handful of large publishers with a massive vested interest in preserving the status quo.

        In recent years, the U.S. government was a key player in the fight for open access. In 2013, the White House directed all agencies that fund scientific research to enact policies requiring that that research be made available to the public after a year, one of the biggest wins for open access in the past decade. More recently, the Executive Branch spearheaded strong sense policies on access to government-funded software and educational resources.

  • Programming/Development

    • How Log Analysis Can Bring Front-End Engineers on Call

      At the time series-focused Influx Days in San Francisco, presenters offered many unique views of log data. From talks on better analyzing log streams to bitter warnings against identifying what’s “normal,” the one-day event featured a range of ways enterprises can apply new techniques. The goal: get their arms around the near-infinite supply of logging and monitoring data their systems generate.

      Emily Nakashima, a front-end engineer at Honeycomb.io, gave a talk specifically targeted at bringing JavaScript front-end developers into the problem mitigation workflow. To do that, she said, you’ll need to extend your logging analysis all the way to the front-end JavaScript.


  • How Hotmail changed Microsoft (and email) forever

    But over the years that followed, Hotmail would set the course for all the Web-based email offerings that followed, launching the era of mass-consumer free email services.


    While Hotmail was important to Microsoft as a testing ground for many things—and perhaps less important as a revenue generator—it also attained a reputation in some quarters of being the root of all that was bad on the Internet. Hotmail users were the butt of jokes and general hate for years. One management consultant openly suggested that companies should never hire people who use Hotmail.

  • Smart lock maker Otto suspends operations

    Otto showed the world its digital lock in August. Four months later, the company has suspended operations. Hardware is hard. It’s a cliche for a reason.

    The company made the decision just ahead of the holidays, a fact that founder and CEO Sam Jadallah recently made public with a lengthy Medium post now pinned to the top of the startup’s site. The extended survey of the Bay Area company’s short life is punctuated with the pithy title, “So Close,” a nod to the spitting distance the startup came to actually bringing a product to market.

    In a conversation over the weekend, Jadallah told TechCrunch that the company’s lock made it as far as the manufacturing process, and is currently sitting in a warehouse, unable to be sold by a hardware startup that is effectively no longer operating. How does a company get so close to the finish line without being able to take that final step?

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Talk Of VIA Getting Back Into The x86 CPU Space With Zhaoxin

      Making the news rounds again is word of Zhaoxin Semiconductor that is jointly owned by VIA working on modern and competitive x86 processors.

      VIA still maintains an x86 license although they haven’t produced any compelling CPU in many years. Months ago was the talk of this Zhaoxin company working on a new x86 CPU design and it’s come up once again.

  • Security

    • Security updates for New Year’s day
    • The state of Linux security in 2017

      The year is closing, so it is time to review Linux security. Like last year, we look at the state of Linux security. A collection of the finest moments. Did we forget something important? Let us know in the comments. This post will remain updated in the upcoming weeks.

    • Gaps in software slowing down security professionals

      More a third of IT decision-makers estimated that their security staff spent at least three hours daily on tasks that otherwise could have been handled by better software, revealed a study commissioned by LogRhythm. Conducted by Widmeyer, the study polled 751 respondents from Asia-Pacific, the US, and UK, including 251 from four Asia-Pacific markets: Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and Malaysia.

    • Multiple-guess quiz will make Brit fliers safer, hopes drone-maker DJI

      Meanwhile, security researcher Jon Sawyer has published a root exploit for DJI drones called DUMLRacer. It would appear to allow the technically competent dronie to completely ignore DJI’s height and location restrictions, which form a large part of its please-don’t-regulate-us-out-of-existence offering to governments around the world.

      In his tweet announcing the release, Sawyer said: “Dear DJI, next time I ask for some GPL source code, maybe don’t tell me no.”

      At the heart of DJI’s software is GNU General Public Licensed (open source) code. While the firm does publish some of its source code, as previously reported, the company is not exactly clear about what elements of its drones’ firmware are based on GPL-licensed code. The GPL contains a provision stating that anyone can modify GPL-licensed code provided that the source of any publicly available modded version is also made public, as the GPL FAQ makes clear.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Six Cyber Threats to Really Worry About in 2018

      The cyberattack on the Equifax credit reporting agency in 2017, which led to the theft of Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other data on almost half the U.S. population, was a stark reminder that hackers are thinking big when it comes to targets. Other companies that hold lots of sensitive information will be in their sights in 2018. Marc Goodman, a security expert and the author of Future Crimes, thinks data brokers who hold information about things such as people’s personal Web browsing habits will be especially popular targets. “These companies are unregulated, and when one leaks, all hell will break loose,” he says.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Insane Homeland Security Spending Doesn’t Make Us Safer

      After the 9/11 attacks, Congress and the Bush administration pretended that unlimited federal spending was one of the best ways to thwart terrorist threats. In 2002, Congress created the Homeland Security Department (DHS), sweeping some of the most inept federal agencies, such as the Secret Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), into the new mega-department. Congress also created numerous programs — some run directly by FEMA — to shovel out more than $30 billion in anti-terrorism funding to local and state governments.

  • Finance

    • Fintan O’Toole: Brexit was only supposed to blow the bloody doors off

      Ask most English people for their favourite line from a movie, and they’ll do Michael Caine’s Cockney bark from The Italian Job when his sidekick has just accidentally blown a security van to smithereens by remote control: “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”
      It was the line that Michael Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine, thought of when she woke him on the morning after the Brexit referendum to inform him that Leave had won: “‘You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off,’ I said, in my best (ie not very good) Michael Caine Italian Job accent. In other words, you’ve really torn it now.”
      It helped, of course, that Caine himself is an enthusiastic Brexiteer, a multimillionaire who declares that it would be better for Britons to be poor and free than rich and enslaved. As Gove told the Sun: “I love Michael Caine. He’s the kind of expert I like.”

    • Tax on medical devices to resume after 2-year suspension

      While much of corporate America will enjoy a tax cut in the new year, one industry is getting a tax increase it has fought hard but so far unsuccessfully to avoid.

      A 2.3-percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers is set for reinstatement Monday after a two-year hiatus. It was originally imposed in 2013 as one of several taxes and fees in the Affordable Care Act that pay for expanded health insurance under the law.

    • Intel’s CEO Just Sold a Lot of Stock

      Most of the transactions involved Krzanich exercising employee stock options (these options allowed Krzanich to purchase Intel shares at prices significantly below where they are currently trading) and then immediately selling those shares that he bought at a discount on the open market.

    • The Criminal Underworld Is Dropping Bitcoin for Another Currency
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Forecast 2018 — What Could Go Wrong?

      Donald Trump survived in office a whole year. Imagine that! After the 2016 election, I figured that the top military brass would give him the bum’s rush inside of three months, in short a coup d’état. Their action actually has been much more subtle: they just ring-fenced him with generals. Since he seems to regard them as his generals (“my generals”), then he’s apparently okay with that, like a boy in the nursery with his toy soldiers. And apart from the fact that the constitution calls for civilian control of the military and not vice-versa, I’m okay with that… for now. He’s got chaperones, at least. This is admittedly not the ideal disposition of American political power.

      I did not vote for the Golden Golem, and I don’t esteem his abilities, but the incessant and rather hysterical attacks on his legitimacy, especially by members of Consensus Trance Central, display a mendacity out of George Orwell’s direst dreams. I never believed in the ludicrous Russian collusion fantasy, and find it difficult to believe that the editors of The New York Times do. So far, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted two high-profile grifters (Manafort and Gates) on financial shenanigans involving business dealings in Russia dating from years before the 2016 election, plus one National Security Advisor (Michael Flynn) for speaking with the Russian Ambassador (who, exactly, are foreign ambassadors supposed to speak to if not government officials? And otherwise what are they here for?), and one entry-level foreign policy wonk (George Papadopoulos) who never even met Trump. I believe the grave and solemn Mueller is on a fishing expedition. Aficionados of DOJ tactics know that prosecutors can always fetch up the proverbial ham sandwich to indict, if there’s nothing else at hand.

    • President Trump has made 1,950 false or misleading claims over 347 days

      With just 18 days before President Trump completes his first year as president, he is now on track to exceed 2,000 false or misleading claims, according to our database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.

      As of Monday, the total stood at 1,950 claims in 347 days, or an average of 5.6 claims a day. (Our full interactive graphic can be found here.)

      As regular readers know, the president has a tendency to repeat himself — often. There are now more than 60 claims that he has repeated three or more times. The president’s impromptu 30-minute interview with the New York Times over the holidays, in which he made at least 24 false or misleading claims, included many statements that we have previously fact-checked.

      We currently have a tie for Trump’s most repeated claims, both made 61 times. Both of these claims date from the start of Trump’s presidency and to a large extent have faded as talking points.

    • 2017 was Trumpism’s last gasp

      As the year comes to a close, the job of making sense of it begins.
      This year, I heard so many people ask, “Is this really happening?” It felt at times as if we were living in an alternate reality. There’s no denying that 2017 was both bizarre and a rallying of all sorts. The question is, who will be left standing when the rally is over?
      Will it be the participants in the Women’s Marches all over the world or the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville? Will political polarization worsen or will bipartisanship return? Will the mass shooting in Vegas stand as the worst in modern US history, or be tragically outdone next year? Will America continue to be punked and manipulated by Russia, or will we start to protect our elections like we do our borders?

    • Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Is Completely Busted

      Facebook serves many useful functions. It helps you set up events, send messages to friends and family, and even organize groups. These are all side benefits, though. The main feature—the real thing Facebook wants to sell you—is the News Feed. Too bad it’s so broken that it’s almost useless.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Broadband Privacy: 2017 Year in Review

      It seems like a no-brainer that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) should have to get your permission to snoop on and use the private information you generate as you browse the Internet. In 2017, pressure from the telecom industry led to Congress and the president rolling back protections for broadband privacy, but there are many ways EFF was and is still fighting this battle.

      Late in 2016, the FCC passed rules to protect your privacy from invasions by your ISP. The rules—which prohibited things like selling your personal information to marketers, inserting undetectable tracking headers into your traffic, or recording your browsing history to build up a behavioral advertising profile on you without your consent—were a clear victory for privacy. Unsurprisingly, ISPs wishing to profit even more off of their customers were not happy about the restrictions and began lobbying hard to overturn the rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Will US Make Indiscriminate Patent Litigation Attack against S. Korean Chipmakers?

      US-based memory chip maker Bit Micro has included major information technology (IT) companies at home and abroad, such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, Taiwan’s ASUS and Acer, China’s Lenovo and Japan’s VAIO as well as U.S.’ HP and Dell, in the list of target litigation. It seems that the company is targeting solid state drive (SSD) producers, like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, and PC and server makers using SSD. The industry believes that SSD manufacturer Bit Micro brought up comprehensive patent issues related to not only SSD but also software using SSD.

      Bit Micro filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against IT major firms in large numbers regardless of national origin. However, the company is actually targeting South Korean memory chip makers, like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, according to industry sources. Samsung Electronics leads the global SSD market that is rapidly growing with a 30 percent market share, while SK Hynix is the seventh largest firm in the world with a 3 percent market share. Bit Micro excluded Intel, Western Digital, Toshiba, Seagate and Micron, which ranked second to sixth, from such litigations. This is why the company’s move is considered a commercial issue that put pressure on South Korean companies, which practically lead the global memory chip market, with the Section 337 of the Tariff Act, though it seems to be a patent dispute on the surface of it. An official from the industry said, “We can’t confirm what specific SSD technologies Bit Micro is filing a suit for at the moment but SSD manufacturers, including Samsung and SK Hynix, and server and PC firms that use SSD produced by them are within gunshot. So, South Korean companies can be adversely affected at the worst.”

    • Copyrights

      • Northern District of California Enjoins LinkedIn from Preventing Scraping of Public User Profiles

        In a decision that may have profound implications for social media companies, the big data industry and website terms of use everywhere, Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California granted hiQ Labs’ motion for preliminary injunction on August 14, 2017, enjoining LinkedIn from “preventing hiQ’s access, copying, or use of public profiles on LinkedIn’s website.” hiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corporation (N.D. Cal. No. 3:17-cv-03301-EMC). The case is on appeal and will be heard by the Ninth Circuit in 2018.

      • Is Your Kodi Setup Being Spied On?

        Large numbers of people are running Kodi with a poorly-protected remote access interface, which enables third-parties to view their addons and other sensitive information. In some cases, people’s private videos are also vulnerable to being viewed remotely by anyone with a browser. Worst still, attackers can change Kodi users’ settings, which can cause chaos to the unexpecting.

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