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06.05.18

Links 5/6/2018: GNU/Linux on Samsung Chromebook Plus, GNU Linux-Libre 4.17, Github ‘Knocked Itself Out For Open Source Community’

Posted in News Roundup at 2:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Chromebooks

    • ​The Killer Chromebook: Google’s i7 Pixelbook

      Now, I’ve liked Chromebooks since the experimental Cr-48 rolled out in late 2010. And, when Google released its first high-end Chromebook, 2013′s Pixel, I was sold. I slowly but surely put away my Linux-powered Lenovo ThinkPads and started replacing them with Google’s high-end Chromebooks. Why? Because they’re better than any other laptop out there.

      What’s that? You can’t do as much with a Chromebook that you can do with, say, a MacBook Pro 13 or a Lenovo Yoga 920. Oh please!

    • Samsung Chromebook Plus is second Chromebook to support Linux apps (Project Crostini)

      Google announced last month that it was bringing the ability to run Linux apps to Chromebooks, confirming the existence of Project Crostini, which was first spotted in the Chromium code earlier this year, and which adventurous users have been testing for months.

      Up until now you’ve needed a Google Pixelbook to try Crostini. Now it looks like Google has added support for a second Chromebook.

      Several users have noted in recent days that Crostini now works on the Samsung Chromebook Plus, allowing you to run desktop Linux apps alongside Chrome apps.

    • Samsung Chromebook Plus now supports Linux apps in Dev channel

      There has been a lot of exciting stuff happening in the world of Chrome OS, but the most exciting development might be Linux apps. Chrome OS started as a simple web-based “OS,” but the addition of the Play Store, and now Linux apps, has made it a respectable operation system (no air quotes required). The Samsung Chromebook Plus now supports Linux apps on the Dev channel.

    • Linux app support arrives on the Samsung Chromebook Plus

      Google officially announced Linux app support on Chrome OS at I/O 2018, but until now, the only supported model has been the Pixelbook. The Linux VM requires a kernel version that many Chromebooks don’t have, but with Google backporting the required functionality to earlier kernels, we can only speculate which models will actually be supported.

      There was mounting evidence that the Samsung Chromebook Plus would eventually have Linux apps, and now Google has confirmed that. Users on the Chrome OS Dev channel can now enable Linux app support on the Chromebook Plus, just as they would on the Pixelbook (full instructions here).

    • Google’s Pixelbook, the world’s best Chromebook, just dropped to its lowest price ever

      When it comes to Chromebooks, there’s the Google Pixelbook and then there’s everything else. People often think of dirt-cheap laptops when they think of Google’s Chrome OS and of Chromebooks. Entry-level models are fantastic for anyone looking for a low-cost computer for basic work and streaming, and that’s why they’re so popular in the education market. But what happens when you get older and you want a Chromebook with some kick? That’s where the Pixelbook comes in, and it has more than enough kick for anything you might want to throw at it.

    • What to look for in a used Chromebook

      One of the best Chromebook features often gets overlooked: over six years of operating system support direct from Google. That means you get all the new features that come to Chrome OS (provided your hardware allows) as well as security fixes and those tiny updates that make things just work better. That means a Chromebook you buy today will still be supported in 2024, and a Chromebook that sold new in 2016 still has four years of updates ahead of it.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #38 – A Beginner’s Guide to Kubernetes

      Kubernetes community now has 10 releases (2.5yrs) of software and experience. We just finished KubeCon Copenhagen, OpenShift Commons Gathering and Red Hat Summit and we heard lots of companies talk about their deployments and journeys. But many of them took a while (12-18) months to get to where they are today. This feels like the “early adopters” and we’re beginning to get to the “crossing the chasm” part of the market. So thought we’d discuss some of the basics, lessons learned and other things people could use to “fast-track” what they need to be successful with Kubernetes.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel 4.17 released

      Headline features in this release include improved load estimation in the CPU scheduler, raw BPF tracepoints, lazytime support in the XFS filesystem, full in-kernel TLS protocol support, histogram triggers for tracing, mitigations for the latest Spectre variants, and, of course, the removal of support for eight unloved processor architectures.

    • Linus Torvalds decides world isn’t ready for Linux 5.0

      Linus Torvalds has decided the world’s not ready for version 5.0 of the Linux Kernel, so he’s given us version 4.17 instead.

      Torvalds toyed with the idea of calling this release 5.0, because it passed the six million git objects mark. But he also said version numbers are meaningless and he might not call it 5.0.

      The latter has now come to pass: in his regular Sunday afternoon (Pacific Time) state-of-the-kernel update, Torvalds announced that “I really didn’t get the feeling that another week would help the release in any way, so here we are, with 4.17 released.”

    • Linux Kernel 4.17 Release Brings Better Power Management

      Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux Kernel 4.17. Take a look at main new features in the latest kernel release.

    • Linux 3.2 & 4.1 Reach End of Life, Users Urged to Upgrade to Newer LTS Branches

      Packed with a total of 151 changed files, with 1139 insertions and 583 deletions, the Linux 3.2.102 kernel has been released at the beginning of June 2018 as the last scheduled maintenance update of the Linux 3.2 series, which means that if you’re still using this kernel, you should upgrade to a newer LTS branch soon.

      “I’m announcing the release of the 3.2.102 kernel. All users of the 3.2 kernel series should upgrade. However, this is likely to be the final stable update for 3.2. Users should plan to switch to a newer longterm stable branch such as 4.14, 4.9 or 4.4 in the near future,” said Ben Hutchings in a mailing list announcement.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu Kernel Released

      Based on yesterday’s upstream Linux 4.17 kernel release, the FSF-approved GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu kernel is now available for a fully free software kernel on capable hardware configurations.

      The GNU Linux-libre kernel continues focusing upon de-blobbing drivers or stripping out drivers where it depends upon closed-source firmware/microcode images as well as disabling support for loading closed-source kernel modules.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu: -ENOTEMPTY

      The greatest news is that the driver for Dreamcast Yamaha AICA sound
      hardware is no longer cleaned up: the firmware for it is Free Software,
      and Jason Self’s upcoming linux-libre-firmware release will have it.

      No other significant changes were made, just the usual assortment of
      adjustments.

    • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon Beta Released, GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu Kernel Now Available, NVIDIA Isaac Launches and More

      GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu kernel, which removes all non-free components from Linux, is now available. See the announcement for all the details.

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 4.17 as Linux 5.0 Is Coming Later This Year

      Linus Torvalds announced over the weekend the availability of the final release of the Linux 4.17 kernel series, opening the merge window for the next kernel branch, Linux 4.18.

      Even though Linus Torvalds promised us to release the Linux 5.0 kernel series once the Linux kernel code reaches 6 million Git objects, an achievement reached when the development cycle of the Linux 4.17 kernel kicked off last month, it looks like we have to wait a little longer for the big version change as the Linux creator announced the release of Linux 4.17 as the most advanced kernel series.

    • Version 4.17 of the Linux kernel is here… and version 5.0 isn’t far away

      In his weekly message to the Linux community on Sunday, Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 4.17. The release comes a couple of months after the first release candidate, and in his message Torvalds also talks about version 5.0 of the Linux kernel.

      Having previously said that Linux kernel v5.0 “should be meaningless”, he said that this next major numerical milestone will come around “in the not too distance future”. For now, though, it’s version 4.17 — or Merciless Moray, if you prefer — that’s of interest.

    • Loading Arbitrary Executables as Kernel Modules

      On the flip side, however, Kees acknowledged that Alexei’s patch was an “interesting idea. I think it can work, it just needs much much more careful security boundaries and to solve our autoloading exposures too.”

      However, Alexei characterized Kees’ response as “security paranoia without single concrete example of a security issue.”

      And Andy also disagreed with Kees’ assessment. He pointed out that Kees’ issue depended on an attacker finding and exploiting an additional vulnerability that would allow containers to redirect a module outside of itself—something that was not a kernel feature and that would be treated as a bug if it were ever discovered.

      Kees agreed with Andy that the problem was not with Alexei’s code but instead with potential vulnerabilities elsewhere in the kernel. He said, “I just don’t want to extend that problem further.” And he added that he wasn’t opposed to Alexei’s patch, but that his concerns were not paranoia, and “there are very real security boundary violations in this model.”

    • Linus Torvalds doesn’t release Linux kernel 5.0 (yet)

      LINUX IS set to reach a major milestone soon, or if you prefer an arbitrary change of number. Point being, it’s about to reach version 5.0.

      Linux Torvalds has long maintained that version number changes shouldn’t be viewed with any special significance or fanfare, but the human mind is constantly determined to make order out of chaos, so acknowledge it, we will.

      Meanwhile, version 4.17 has arrived. As Torvalds explains: “No, I didn’t call it 5.0, even though all the git object count
      numerology was in place for that.

    • Linux 4.18′s Latest Improvements For Power Management, CPUFreq

      Rafael Wysocki has submitted the ACPI and power management updates already for the newly-opened Linux 4.18 merge window.

    • Linux 4.18 To Report CPU Temps Finally On Stoney & Bristol Ridge

      The hardware monitoring “hwmon” updates have been sent in for the just-opened Linux 4.18 kernel merge window while what’s interesting this time around are the k10temp driver updates for AMD CPU temperature reporting.

      With Linux 4.18, the k10temp kernel driver is now able to report temperatures on Stoney Ridge and Bristol Ridge processors. Stoney Ridge are the 2016 ultra-mobile APUs with Excavator v2 cores and GCN 1.2 graphics. Bristol Ridge as a refresher is the 2016 desktop/mobile APUs like the Athlon X4 970, A12-9800, A10-9700, etc. Only now with the Linux 4.18 kernel is there CPU temperature reporting under Linux for these two year old processors.

    • Linux 4.18 Scheduler Updates Benefit Schedutil, NUMA, vCPUs

      The scheduler updates submitted today for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window include a few notable changes.

      This pull does contain the previously-covered scheduler optimization for virtual CPUs. That change is about not scheduling threads on pre-empted vCPUs and in some synthetic scheduler benchmarks yielded a change by as much as 8~25%.

    • Linux 4.17 Kernel Patch Brings -march=native Support

      A Gentoo user has revised his kernel patch allowing the mainline Linux kernel to be built with the GCC “-march=native” compiler optimizations for targeting the kernel build against your particular CPU.

      While -march=native of modern compilers is popular with developers/enthusiasts for building optimized packages targeting your specific CPU micro-architecture, the mainline Linux kernel still does not support this functionality. But Gentoo user Alexey Dobriyan.

    • Linux 4.18 Continues Onboarding Centaur x86 CPUs

      As reported a few months ago, the new Chinese x86 CPU venture formed between the government of Shanghai and VIA has been working on Linux support for these new x86 CPUs and that onboarding has continued with Linux 4.18.

      Zhaoxin has been working on a new wave of x86-compatible processors based upon the VIA Centaur x86_64 Isiah design. This year is when they plan to release their quad-core CPUs manufactured on a 16nm process and supporting DDR4, PCI Express 3.0, and other modern features while in 2019 is their aggressive plans for moving to a 7nm CPU with DDR4, PCI Express 4.0, and more competitive performance.

    • Btrfs Can Now Remove Directories Much Faster In Send Mode: From 33 Hours To 2 Minutes

      For those making use of Btrfs’ incremental send/receive functionality for efficient backups or other reasons for moving data between Btrfs volumes, the directory deletion performance for Btrfs send is now much faster.

      In particular, the Btrfs send code is much faster now when dealing with large directories removed. On a directory with two million entries, the improvement yields a drop from about 2000 minutes (33 hours) to about one minute and a half. It’s quite a difference but will only be noticeable if you have a great deal of files in a directory and are using Btrfs send.

    • Linux Kernel 4.17, “Merciless Moray,” Offers Improved Performance and Security

      Linus Torvalds released version 4.17 of the Linux Kernel on Sunday, nine weeks after the prior version. Although Linus says he is running out “of fingers and toes to keep track of minor releases,” he has decided not to call this release “5.0″ because he is saving that for 4.20.

      As with the 4.16 cycle, 4.17 has been a relatively smooth, save a few hiccups due to those pesky chip issues. It turns out the shadow of the Spectre vulnerability is still long, and the last two weeks before the release were a busy ones, with patches designed to counteract the effects of Spectre v4 making up a significant portion of all the code submitted. That said, and even though Linus does not like large amounts of changes so late in the release cycle, he skipped an rc8 and released the final version of 4.17 anyway.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Stepping down as maintainer

        After long consideration I decided that I am no longer in a position to
        be a maintainer. I currently do not follow up on reviews and hardly
        contribute any code. Given that I think it’s time to pass on the torch.
        KWin is currently in a good position we have new developers working on
        various areas of KWin and my suggestion would be to split the task of
        maintainership on many shoulders, specialized for various areas.

        My lack of work lately was not just the lack of time, but to a larger
        degree a lack of motivation. I searched a lot for the reasons for the
        lack of motivation and I think I identified two core areas where KDE is
        currently heading to and where I just disagree with these directions.
        Please don’t take my explanation personal, you are doing awesome work,
        it’s just that I don’t approve these directions. Lately I had a feeling
        of doing fundamental opposition to changes the community wants to do.
        Granted I think these changes are wrong, but I don’t want to stand in
        the way, if that’s what the people doing the work want.

        What I identified as the core issues is the way the VDG currently acts
        and the usability project.

      • Martin Flöser Steps Down As Maintainer Of KDE’s KWin

        Martin Flöser (nee Gräßlin) who has been the maintainer of KDE’s KWin since 2010 is leaving his post.

        Martin Flöser has announced he is stepping down as the maintainer of KWin. He wrote he has not been following up on code reviews and hardly contributes any code recently and so is now passing on the torch. No successor has yet been named but he suggests that it be split amongst several individuals.

      • KDE Developer On Martin Flöser’s Departure: VDG Does Not Exist

        KDE developer Alessandro Longo has penned a response about the KDE “Visual Design Group” with Martin Flöser announcing earlier today he is stepping away as KWin maintainer in part due to his frustrations with the VDG.

      • VDG does not exist

        VDG (originally Visual Design Group, now just V Design Group) was created by Jens Reuterberg during the KDE4-Plasma5 transition, it included experts from different areas and they did a great work, with a solid and coherent vision about UI/UX. Since KDE4 times, developers did an awesome work both implementing visual and usability changes and improving Plasma’s performance and stability.

      • Third week of coding phase, GSoC’18

        API consumed a humongous time of both me and my mentor David. This exposes the Falkon c++ methods of TabWidget class as singleton Falkon.Tabs and methods of WebTab class as uncreatable type Falkon.Tab.

        This time I am not including the WebExtension compatibility table as the APIs developed are not similar to the WebExtension APIs. Also, I am very thankful to my mentor David Rosca for always helping me.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The June 2018 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the June 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.

      • Mageia Weekly Roundup 2018 – Week 22

        It’s been a busy week, as usual! 378 packages came into Cauldron, 15 into Mga6 testing. Work is still going on to get the Mga5 -> Mga6 upgrade happening and then the Mga6.1 ISOs ready. There are some bugs, and here (already fixed), and here connected with the tray update in the pipeline, if you’re interested…

        Heaps of updates are coming in to the wiki, and there will soon be a look-and-feel update. Keep your eyes on the wiki, it will be worth it!

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Review: openSUSE 15

        openSUSE is, in my opinion, one of the more interesting distributions to watch and use. The YaST administration tools are, in my opinion, second to none. I also like that openSUSE tends to offer modern software, but often with a slightly conservative style. Plasma 5.12 is a cutting edge desktop, but its application menu and settings panel reflect an older style. Personally, this combination of new technology with a conservative look is an approach I like a lot. This week it was nice to use an interface on my desktop computer that looks like it was designed to be run on a desktop and not on a tablet or smart phone.

        The move to line openSUSE up with SUSE Linux Enterprise is an interesting one. I assume this was mostly done to make maintaining the two distributions easier. It also has a nice effect of making it possible migrate from openSUSE to the commercially supported SLE. This makes openSUSE’s relationship to SLE an even closer parallel to CentOS’s relationship to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. I suspect businesses will like this as it gives them a chance to test drive openSUSE before investing in SLE support.

        I like the work that has gone into the system installer. It is getting better and more streamlined. openSUSE’s installer has always been powerful, but now it is also simplified for less experienced users. I think this version is more accessible to new users than past releases have been.

        I think it is worth mentioning openSUSE has a rolling release edition, called Tumbleweed. I was using openSUSE’s main edition (Leap) this week, but for people who want to stay on the bleeding edge, there is a rolling release option.

        I had two main complaints with openSUSE 15. The first was the lack of media support. This is not a new issue, openSUSE has always shied away from providing media codecs that may be restricted by patents or licensing. What I found frustrating was the default media player does not tell the user why it cannot play a file, it simply does nothing. Also, once I had found and enabled the community repository with media support, I still had to manually track down codec packages. Now, to be fair, there are guides and options out there which will simplify adding codecs to openSUSE. Which is great, if the user knows about them. My complaint is not that codecs cannot be easily added to openSUSE, but that the user needs to know why their media player is not working before they can find the available solutions. Right now, the reason for media files failing to play is not clear unless the user is already familiar with openSUSE’s policies.

        My second issue was with performance. The Plasma desktop was usually responsive, but every once in a while (a couple of times per day), something would go wrong (snapperd would take up too much CPU, files would be indexed, or Kwin would get bogged down) and it would have a big impact on the desktop experience. openSUSE was also oddly slow to boot and shutdown compared to most other distributions.

        Something I noticed when reading the project’s release announcement is openSUSE claims to be one of the world’s most tested distributions: “openSUSE Leap has become the best and most tested Linux distribution.” To the project’s credit, most of openSUSE does come across as being well tested and stable. I say “most” because there seems to be a divide in quality between the core openSUSE technology and third-party items. For example, the YaST package manager was fast, flexible and stable. The Discover software manager was slower, failed to find an available package and crashed a couple of times. The YaST printer manager worked with no problems while the printer tool in KDE System Settings refused to give me access to add a printer. There are other minor examples, but my point is openSUSE’s in-house development seems to be producing excellent software. But, stepping outside that bubble, things are not always as rock solid.

        What I think makes openSUSE stand out, and makes it more appealing than most distributions, is the excellent Btrfs support which makes use of snapshots. Being able to snapshot the file system and recover the system (or a specific configuration file) with a few clicks is a fantastic feature. Snapshots make openSUSE nearly bullet proof and, if Btrfs is used properly, they can also make it possible for users to recover files. These features alone make me inclined to recommend openSUSE to most users. There are plenty of other reasons I would recommend openSUSE: three years of support, great administration tools and a friendly installer. As a whole, I think openSUSE 15 is turning out to be one of my favourite releases of 2018.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in May 2018

        Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

      • My Free Software Activities in May 2018

        My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donors (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 530

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 530 for the week of May 27 – June 2, 2018. The full version of this issue is available here.

          • Design and web team summary – 4 June 2018

            Welcome to the latest work and updates from the design and web team.

            We manage all web projects across Canonical – from www.ubuntu.com to the Juju GUI we help to bring beauty and consistency to all the web projects.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon – BETA Release

              This is the BETA release for Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon Edition.

              Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Beta Released with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce Editions
            • Linux Mint 19 Beta Released
            • Ubuntu 18.04-based Linux Mint 19 ‘Tara’ Beta is here with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce
            • A look at Linux Mint 19 Beta

              Beta versions of Linux Mint 19 “Tara” are out; the Linux Mint development team released Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE beta versions of the upcoming new version of Linux Mint today.

              Note: Beta versions are not necessarily ready for use in production environments. They are designed for testing and if you run Linux Mint in production environments, you may want to install Linux Mint 19 Beta in a virtual machine or a spare-machine to test new functionality and see what has changed.

              It will be possible to update from Linux Mint 19 Beta to Stable once the stable version is released; systems with Linux Mint 18.3 can also be upgrade to the new version directly.

              The release notes linked at the bottom of the article link to downloads. Just follow the links and download the desired edition of Linux Mint 19 Beta to your system.

            • Linux Mint 19 betas arrive promising upgrade path from Mint 18.3

              Last week, the Linux Mint team announced that the betas for the Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce editions of Linux Mint 19 would be made available today. Sticking to that promise, all three versions are available today and also come with a full log of the new features as well as an interesting tidbit regarding the upgrade path from Mint 18.3.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The open-source, private cloud alternatives to Dropbox and Slack

    This was highlighted recently in Germany when government officials said they are moving away from third-party platforms for its 300,000 workers who collaborate over multiple devices. Instead, the federal IT agency will be using Nextcloud, an open-source, internally hosted tool produced by a German company of the same name.

  • Meet the Dapp Market: A Twist On Open Source Is Winning Developers

    “[For the] entirety of the history of technology, open-source software developers have had to live like paupers.”

    While this is a bit of an exaggeration, Kevin Owocki has a point: making a living can be rough for developers of open-source software, that is, software for which the code is made freely available to use, modify and redistribute under licenses that mostly preclude hallmarks of ownership such as patent rights.

    As the founder of Gitcoin, a decentralized bug bounty marketplace, Owocki is trying to fix that.

  • Solving one of the biggest problems facing digital music production

    Bela’s architecture is open source under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license and the schematics and board designs are available on GitHub.

    Giulio says, “Bela runs a 4.4 Linux kernel with the Xenomai real-time extensions to provide ultra-low-latency performance. Xenomai Cobalt is a co-kernel for Linux that allows [running] selected threads at hard real-time priority, bypassing the Linux kernel to achieve performance comparable to running bare metal without an operating system. We are using an onboard 200MHz microcontroller (Programmable Realtime Unit) available on the Texas Instrument AM3358 system-on-chip (SoC) to act as a sophisticated DMA [direct memory access] controller, performing the low-level input/output operations for the audio channels (over I2S), analog channels (over SPI), and digital channels (the SoC’s GPIOs).”

  • Is the lack of IIoT standards holding back industrial progress?

    Every new or emerging technology has to be able to communicate and work with the world in which it is to function, and this is especially true for a technology that is intended to be a component of an existing ecosystem and not a separate entity in itself. A new home sound system component, such as a CD player, for example, must be plug-and-play-compatible with existing amplifiers, tuners and speaker systems.

    [...]

    And that is the crux of the matter. Some companies are making a choice, running the risk of implementing systems and devices that will eventually end up in a technical dead end, but others are delaying their move to more widespread use of IIoT until there is more clarity on the future direction of standards and market share.

  • Events

    • Free software, GSoC and ham radio in Kosovo

      After the excitement of OSCAL in Tirana, I travelled up to Prishtina, Kosovo, with some of Debian’s new GSoC students. We don’t always have so many students participating in the same location. Being able to meet with all of them for a coffee each morning gave some interesting insights into the challenges people face in these projects and things that communities can do to help new contributors.

      On the evening of 23 May, I attended a meeting at the Prishtina hackerspace where a wide range of topics, including future events, were discussed. There are many people who would like to repeat the successful Mini DebConf and Fedora Women’s Day events from 2017. A wiki page has been created for planning but no date has been confirmed yet.

      On the following evening, 24 May, we had a joint meeting with SHRAK, the ham radio society of Kosovo, at the hackerspace. Acting director Vjollca Caka gave an introduction to the state of ham radio in the country and then we set up a joint demonstration using the equipment I brought for OSCAL.

    • Xen Project Developer and Design Summit

      The Xen Developer and Design Summit brings together the Xen Project’s community of developers and power users for their annual conference. The conference is about sharing ideas and the latest developments, sharing experience, planning, collaboration and above all to have fun and to meet the community that defines the Xen Project.

    • Hyperledger Hackfest

      Hyperledger ​Hackfests ​are ​regular ​gatherings ​for ​developers ​working ​on ​the ​different ​projects ​hosted ​at ​Hyperledger. ​ ​The ​primary ​goal ​for ​a ​Hackfest ​is ​to ​facilitate ​software ​development ​collaboration ​and ​knowledge ​sharing ​between ​participants, ​with ​an ​eye ​towards ​reflecting ​all ​ideas ​and ​conclusions ​back ​outward ​to ​the ​public ​open ​source ​community ​afterwards.

    • CHAOSSCON

      Meet the CHAOSS community and the tools used by several open source projects, communities, and engineering teams to track and analyze their development activities, communities health, diversity, risk, and value.

    • deconstruct conf 2018

      I was at Deconstruct, a little conference. It has no sponsors, a single track, no lunch, no public schedule, and no particular focus except computering. It was quite nice. Some notes from the talks.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 4 Firefox extensions worth checking out

        I’ve been a Firefox user since v2.0 came out about 12 years ago. There were times when it wasn’t the best web browser out there, but still, I kept going back to it for one reason: My favorite extensions wouldn’t work with anything else.

        Today, I like the current state of Firefox itself for being fast, customizable, and open source, but I also appreciate extensions for manifesting ideas the original developers never thought of: What if you want to browse without a mouse? What if you don’t like staring at bright light coming out of the monitor at night? What about using a dedicated media player for YouTube and other video hosting websites for better performance and extended playback controls? And what if you need a more sophisticated way to disable trackers and speed up loading pages?

      • Some webdev knowledge gained

        Easlier this year I had to split a Koa/SPA app into two separate apps. As part of that I switched from webpack to Neutrino.

        Through this work I learned a lot about full stack development (frontend, backend and deployments for both). I could write a blog post per item, however, listing it all in here is better than never getting to write a post for any of them.

        Note, I’m pointing to commits that I believe have enough information to understand what I learned.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • An Inside Look at OpenStack Security Efforts

      The open source OpenStack cloud platform is used by major corporations such as Walmart, the world’s largest carriers, such as AT&T, and even the world’s largest science experiment at CERN. While there are security elements that are directly integrated into OpenStack, security is not necessarily always the default configuration.

    • Kubernetes and OpenStack solving AI complexities at scale

      Stu Miniman and John Boyer of theCUBE interviewed Stephan Fabel, Director of Ubuntu Product and Development at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. Read on for the full interview, and to hear more on Kubernetes, Kubeflow and MicroK8s.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Mozilla Announces $225,000 for Art and Advocacy Exploring Artificial Intelligence

      At Mozilla, one way we support a healthy internet is by fueling the people and projects on the front lines — from grants for community technologists in Detroit, to fellowships for online privacy activists in Rio.

      Today, we are opening applications for a new round of Mozilla awards. We’re awarding $225,000 to technologists and media makers who help the public understand how threats to a healthy internet affect their everyday lives.

    • Two sides to open source software funding

      However, open source has also made its mark outside the business environment, in locations as diverse as under the bonnets of our cars to devices used by conservation scientists to monitor animals such as birds and bats in their environment.

      Because of its low/no cost attributes, open source has long been regarded as a boon to academics and research institutes. Now, however, the free, open source model may be under pressure in the non-profit research sector.

  • BSD

    • TrueOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD & DragonFlyBSD Against Linux + Windows 10 Benchmarks

      Last week I posted benchmarks of a big Linux distribution and Windows 10 / WSL benchmark comparison while in this article for kicking off the Phoronix birthday benchmarking week are results when seeing how the various BSDs are comparing against the Linux distributions and Windows 10 Pro itself. The BSDs for this comparison were TrueOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and DragonFlyBSD.

      The BSDs that were benchmarked for this comparison included FreeBSD 11.1, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 3, FreeBSD 12.0-CURRENT, DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1, DragonFlyBSD 5.3 development (given their recent performance optimizations), and OpenBSD 5.3. Notably left out was NetBSD as it was yielding a segmentation fault when booting on the system used for testing.

    • OpenBSD on APU4

      Today I got an APU.4B4

      This is how I got OpenBSD installed on it.

    • libcsi – Crypto Simplified Interface
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Gnuastro 0.6 released

      I am happy to announce the sixth release of GNU Astronomy Utilities
      (Gnuastro 0.6).

      Gnuastro is an official GNU package consisting of various command-line
      programs and library functions for the manipulation and analysis of
      (astronomical) data. All the programs share the same basic
      command-line user interface (modeled on GNU Coreutils). For the full
      list of Gnuastro’s library, programs, and a comprehensive general
      tutorial (recommended place to start using Gnuastro), respectively,
      please see the links below:

      https://www.gnu.org/s/gnuastro/manual/html_node/Gnuastro-library.html

      https://www.gnu.org/s/gnuastro/manual/html_node/Gnuastro-programs-list.html

    • LibreDWG: Enabled r2018 support

      DXF support is coming. Writing DXF is done, but AutoCAD cannot import it yet, as I write all known fields, handles and references, unlike libdxfrw which only writes a limited set. You cannot map parametric constraints or advanced classes with that.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: June 8th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC
  • Public Services/Government

    • Uncle Sam wants you to join the United States Digital Service

      Over chips and salsa at a hotel bar, the Google alumnus (“Xoogler”) explains in a friendly, hopeful manner that, with the vast majority of the work that he and his team are doing, they are making non-partisan, non-controversial attempts to improve government online services. Their innovations include crazy-modern improvements like cloud backups, multi-factor authentication, and single logins across multiple government websites.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • It’s UNIX. On A Microcontroller.

        It’s difficult to convey in an era when a UNIX-like operating system sits in your pocket, how there was once a time when the mere word was enough to convey an aura of immense computing power. If you ran UNIX, your computer probably filled a room, and you used it for Serious Stuff rather than just checking your Twitter feed. UNIX machines may still perform high-end tasks, but Moore’s Law has in the intervening years delivered upon its promise, and your phone with its UNIX-like OS is far more powerful than that room-sized minicomputer of the 1970s. A single chip for a few cents can do that job, which begs the question: just how little do we need to run UNIX today? It’s something [Joerg Wolfram] could advise you upon, because he’s got a functional UNIX running on a microcontroller.

  • Programming/Development

    • Almost 80 pct of open source codes contain at least one vulnerability, report says [Ed: Microsoft’s anti-FOSS proxy (founded by Microsoft man, still tactically connected to Microsoft) Black Duck has managed to interject itself into the media again, attacking FOSS as usual (Microsoft must be happy!). OSI recently kicked out Black Duck, rejecting its membership and its payments too.]
    • OSS security requires DIY scrutiny, not trusting ‘many eyes’ [Ed: Microsoft ‘proxy’ Black Buck continues attacking FOSS in the media.]
    • The open secret in open source: Security isn’t built in [Ed: Microsoft ‘proxy’ Black Buck would have us believe that with secret, proprietary code the security is 'automatic' and we should ignore all the intentional back doors, bugs etc.]
    • GitHub users are already fuming about the company’s sale to Microsoft

      “GitHub doesn’t compete with most companies, but Microsoft is a potential competitor or acquirer for a huge percentage of smaller companies in the tech industry,” says Salibra. “Giving your competitor access to your company’s most valuable secrets understandably makes people uneasy.”

    • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: Let’s migrate away from GitHub

      Some people might be fine with Microsoft’s takeover, but to me it’s the straw that brakes the camel’s back. For a few years now, MS has been running a large marketing campaign on how they love Linux and suddenly decided to embrace Free Software in all of its forms. More like MS BS to me.

    • Top GitHub Alternatives to Host Your Open Source Project

      If you are looking to migrate from GitHub, here are some of the best alternatives to GitHub for hosting the source code of your open source project.

    • Has Github Knocked Itself Out For Open Source Community?

      Microsoft buying Github has been the talk of the town. I have never written any article on the story because I was not sure about it. Today when Microsft has confirmed that they’re buying Github for $7.5 Billion, I think we should face it. Yes, people have started talking about Github alternatives and we’ll soon cover that as well. Don’t worry! There are plenty.

    • ​What Microsoft buying GitHub means to open-source software development

      Roy Schestowitz, editor of the anti-Microsoft and software patent site, TechRights tweeted, “Microsoft is a saboteur whose sabotage relies on lies about ‘love.’” He also claims “Git hosts other than #github getting 10 times the usual load (surge) as people migrate away from GitHub.”

      Indeed, Gitlab, a leading GitHub competitor, reports: “We’re seeing 10x the normal daily amount of repositories.” This is being driven not just because of old grudges against Microsoft, but because, as one Reddit writer put it, under Microsoft GitHub’s “real future is a buggy and monetized site.”

      Nadella may say, “We recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement. We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently, and remain an open platform.”

      But, some very vocal developers don’t buy that for a New York minute. They are certain that Microsoft will “Embrace, extend, and extinguish” the programs of potential rivals. As one put it on a Google+ thread, “What does M$ have to gain from this, other than by either shutting it down in the long term, monetizing it further or by data mining folks? In just a matter of hours, they made GitHub a completely toxic entity.”

    • Colour me untrusting

      … but a leopard doesn’t change its spots. My GitHub account – opened eight years ago and not used now deleted. amacater@github.com should not be associated with me in any way shape or form from here on in.

    • Why Open Source Software is Moving to GitLab After Microsoft-GitHub Deal
    • Microsoft’s GitHub Acquisition Provides a Stable Home for Developers

      Based on the open-source Git tool that Linux creator Linus Torvalds originally created to help developers be free from proprietary tools lock-in, some fear that GitHub is now doing the opposite of what Git was originally intended to do.

    • How to speed up the Rust compiler some more in 2018

      Since my last post, rustc-perf — the benchmark suite, harness and visualizer — has seen some improvements. First, some new benchmarks were added: cargo, ripgrep, sentry-cli, and webrender. Also, the parser benchmark has been removed because it was a toy program and thus not a good benchmark.

      Second, I added support for several new profilers: Callgrind, Massif, rustc’s own -Ztime-passes, and the use of ad hoc eprintln! statements added to rustc. (This latter case is more useful than it might sound; in combination with post-processing it can be very helpful, as we will see below.)

      Finally, the graphs shown on the website now have better y-axis scaling, which makes many of them easier to read. Also, there is a new dashboard view that shows performance across rustc releases.

    • This Week in Numbers: The Node.js User’s Tech Stack

      The Node.js Foundation published its third annual user survey based on 1,626 members of the Node community. In the future, we will look at the package managers and languages these developers are using. For now, readers will be interested to see the types of infrastructure that are most often used by with Node.js.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Young Immigrant Women Have the Right to Access Abortion. Monday’s Supreme Court Decision Doesn’t Change That.

      There has been a lot of confusion about Monday’s Supreme Court decision in the Jane Doe case, Azar v. Garza, but here are two big takeaways to clear things up.

      First, the ruling was limited to the case of one young woman, who already had her abortion. There is still a court order in place that prohibits the government from obstructing or interfering with unaccompanied minors’ access to abortion, and today’s decision does not change that. Second, the Supreme Court rejected the government’s baseless request to find that my colleagues and I acted unethically.

      As to the first point, it is critically important to understand what the order does and does not do. It does vacate Jane Doe’s individual victory in the court of appeals that paved the way for her to obtain an abortion. But Jane Doe has already obtained her abortion. The court, therefore, ruled that Jane Doe’s individual claim related to abortion access is now moot.

      The court’s ruling does not affect the ongoing case in any way. It doesn’t diminish the district court’s order that initially blocked the government’s cruel policy for a class of pregnant minors in the government’s custody. It also does not say anything about the constitutional question presented in the underlying case, namely whether the government can violate decades of Supreme Court precedent by banning abortion for unaccompanied minors.

    • An entire generation at risk of going deaf from listening to loud music on phones

      The number of people under 30 having permanent hearing damage has been increasing for the past decade in the UK. Hearing loss is irreversible and many of those facing these problems are suffering due to noise exposure.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Targeted Killing, Donald Trump Style

      The administration is bombing people all over the planet, under looser rules and in the shadows.

      [...]

      In short, there’s a lot of kinetic action going on that the American public doesn’t know about. And they probably won’t know about it—at least until something awful happens or officials are forced to show their cards. And even then, the government will still be holding most of the deck under the table.

    • Saudi Arabia warns of military action if Qatar gets Russian missiles

      Riyadh asks Macron to intervene to prevent deal going ahead to “preserve regional stability”: French daily

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Appeals Court Rolls Its Eyes At Goverment’s Attempt To Dodge FOIA Litigation By Pretending It Didn’t Know Who Was Seeking Documents

      Government agencies, for the most part, treat public records requesters as weeds in the garden of governance: a pest that can never be fully eradicated, but rather tolerated with as much annoyance as possible. Whatever can’t be made to disappear with hefty fee demands or months of stonewalling will be given as little attention and compliance as possible. This attitude has turned FOIA requesters into frequent litigators seeking to hold one branch of the government accountable by using another.

      When Cheryl Brantley, a member of activist group A Better Way for BPA, requested records from the Bonneville Power Administration (run by the Department of Energy), she filled out the agency’s online FOIA form and waited. And waited. And waited some more before finally suing.

      BPA responded by declaring A Better Way had no standing to file a lawsuit. It decided to get hypertechnical about Brantley’s FOIA submission, claiming no one but Brantley herself should be allowed to sue.

  • Finance

    • IT Ministry asks NPCI to check compliance of WhatsApp payments, data safety: Sources

      The Reserve Bank of India on April 5, 2018 had said that all payment system operators will have to ensure that data related to payments is stored only in India and firms would have six months to comply with it.

    • IT Ministry asks NPCI to check if WhatsApp payments secure for Indian users before next week’s roll out

      WhatsApp is all set to roll out its payments feature to 200 million Indians next week. Before the official rollout, the ministry of electronics and information technology, MeitY has asked the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) to check whether WhatsApp’s Payments service meets the Reserve Bank of India’s rules and regulations. [...]

    • Why Basic Income Is a Mental Health Issue

      Across the Western world, there is a rising epidemic of depression and anxiety—one that disfigured my life for over a decade. For years now, the United Nations has been trying to warn us that these problems are continuing to spike up in part because we have, as a culture, been responding in the wrong way. In its official statement for World Health Day last year, the UN explained that we need move from “focusing on ‘chemical imbalances’ to focusing on ‘power imbalances.’” At first glance, this sounds puzzling. What could they mean?

    • Private equity bosses took $200m out of Toys R Us and crashed the company, lifetime employees got $0 in severance

      Private equity’s favorite shell game is to take over profitable businesses, sell off their assets, con banks into loaning them hundreds of millions of dollars, cash out in the form of bonuses and dividends, then let the businesses fail and default on their debts.

      The result is the retail apocalypse, where predatory giants like Walmart and Amazon are able to topple their vulture-capitalist-weakened prey, creating a feedback loop that enriches the shareholder class and destroys American businesses, leaving workers high and dry.

    • America is the world’s first poor rich country

      Americans’ median income is $60,000 — but the average American couldn’t stump up $500 to bail themselves out of an emergency, and a third of Americans can’t afford food, shelter and healthcare.

      It’s a paradox: Americans have a relatively high level of income, and consumer goods are cheaper in the USA than they are almost anywhere else in the world, but Americans are poorer and more indebted than people in any other wealthy country.

      It’s because the US has deregulated the basics for human survival: housing, education, transport, finance, and health-care, and turned them over to unfettered rent-seeking and profit-taking by the private sector, allowing them to grow to consume all the money Americans take home and more, leaving them indebted and precarious.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Federal employees sue Trump over executive order restricting union activity

      The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) alleges in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, that Trump’s order violates the First Amendment and is an overreach of Trump’s authority laid out in the Constitution.

    • The bogus expert and social media chicanery of DC’s top cyber think tank
    • How Venezuela Re-elected Maduro, Defying the U.S.

      The Venezuelan people reelected Nicolás Maduro for a second presidential term on May 20, bucking a U.S.-backed political tide of reaction that had swept away previously left-leaning Latin American governments – often by extra-parliamentary means – in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Honduras, and even Ecuador.

      The United States and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela had demanded an election boycott and Maduro’s resignation. Instead, a majority of Venezuelans defiantly voted for Maduro, affirming the legacy of Hugo Chávez.

      Chávez was first elected in 1998 and died in office on March 5, 2013. He had spearheaded a movement that turned Venezuela from an epigone of Washington into an independent force opposing U.S. hegemony. The Bolivarian Revolution reclaimed Venezuela’s history and forged a new national identity that no longer looked to Miami for affirmation. Even some of the most anti-chavismo now take pride in being Venezuelan. Such has been the depth of the sea change in national consciousness.

    • Distorting the Life of Bobby Kennedy

      TV commentator Chris Matthews’ book, Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, has been a best seller since it was released last October, but there’s much important material that he left out about Kennedy, whose assassination on June 5, 1968 is being remembered on Tuesday,

      In recapping his early life, Matthews tells the story of Kennedy graduating from Harvard and going on to pursue a law degree at the University of Virginia, where he was chair of the Student Legal Forum. In that role, he invited some high profile guests to speak in Charlottesville.

      One guest, Nobel Prize winner Ralph Bunche, would augur Kennedy’s later support for civil rights. Bunche, both a diplomat and professor at Howard University, was African American, and the invitation was to a state where most of everyday life was still segregated. When Bunche told Kennedy he would not speak before a segregated audience, RFK appealed the issue through four levels of the college administration—saying he would not back down for moral reasons—and won. Bunche ultimately addressed an overflowing, integrated audience that was about one third African-American. As Matthews correctly notes, Bunche stayed at Bobby’s house that night, which was pelted with stones.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Unpublished Chinese censorship document reveals sweeping effort to eradicate online political content

      Chinese authorities have tightened their grip on the country’s online broadcasting platforms, banning a long list of content – everything from tattoos to religious proselytizing, violations of “mainstream values,” flirtatious dancing, images of leaders and Western political critiques – as the government seeks to stamp out any venue that could be used for dissent or behaviour it considers obscene, according to an unpublished censorship directive obtained by The Globe and Mail.

      The meteoric growth of online video services in China has offered a vibrant venue for creativity and, occasionally, obscenity and political protest – unleashing a daily riptide of user-made cat videos, pranks and glimpses of everyday life. Hundreds of millions of people in China watch short video clips and live-stream video every month.

      Chinese authorities have responded with strict new rules, ordering online broadcasters to eradicate a wide range of content, according to the document obtained by The Globe, which is entitled “Management requirements for live service information and content.“

    • Censorship in Vietnam As Mai Khoi Is Cut Off TV Is Echoed In UN’s Eviction of Critics In Favor of State Media

      In Vietnam, activist Do Nguyen Mai Khoi was being shown on television receiving a Creative Dissent award when the government abruptly cut it off. Video here. “This confirms that it is official government policy to ban me from appearing in media. The aim of this policy is to erase me from public consciousness and isolate me,” Mai Khoi told HRF. This ham-handed censorship is echoed at the UN, where for example the UN Department of Public Information had critical Inner City Press evicted for pursuing the story of the UN bribery by Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng and has ever since confined it to minders. Meanwhile Viet Nam News Agency which rarely if ever asks the UN any questions continues in its office, with full access to the building it doesn’t use, like the Egyptian state media Akbhar al Yom to which the UN has purported to assign Inner City Press’ work space. Following the “election” of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as Egypt’s president with 97% of the vote amid fining of media like Al-Masry Al-Youm and the expulsion of journalists, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on April 2 said, “We were not involved in the holding of the election, whether in observing or offering technical assistance as far as I know. So, I will leave it at that.” This is the same UN – and spokesman – which evicted independent Inner City Press and put in its work place Sissi’s state media Akhbar al-Youm, in the form of Sanaa Youssef a former (1984) president of the UN Correspondents Association who hasn’t asked a single question of the UN in more than ten years. Now the government behind that media has grabbed up Hazem Abdel-Azim, a critic since the government since he left Sissi’s campaign in the 2014 elections. Hazem Abdel-Azim was taken from his home in a Cairo suburb late Saturday on charges of disseminating fake news (!) and belonging to an outlawed group. This follows the detention of noted blogger Wael Abbas. Abbas was seized on accusations including disseminating false news and joining an outlawed group. He was taken blindfolded from his home to an unknown location and not allowed to contact his lawyer.

    • How Feng Xiaogang’s “Youth” Navigated Censorship and Delays to Find a Global Audience

      Feng Xiaogang’s film Youth 《芳华》 was one of China’s top 10 highest grossing films of 2017. Yet just days before its planned release, the film was pulled from cinema schedules. Some commentators cried censorship, others suspected a hype-inducing PR move. But what really happened? Following the film’s release on DVD and Blu-Ray last month, this is the story of Youth’s perplexing removal and its eventual release, which led to unexpected box office success internationally.

      Youth is a coming-of-age story of new recruits in Cultural Troupes of the People’s Liberation Army set against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution. When the Sino-Vietnamese War hits, adolescent in-fighting is replaced with bloody violence and the traumatic effects of emotional and physical warfare haunt the film’s young protagonists.

    • Nearly 40% of court order blocks are in error, ORG finds

      A new tool added to its blocked.org.uk project examines over 1,000 domains blocked under the UK’s 30 injunctions against over 150 services,

      ORG found 37% of those domains are blocked in error, or without any legal basis. The majority of the domains blocked are parked domains, or no longer used by infringing services. One Sci-Hub domain is blocked without an injunction, and a likely trademark infringing site, is also blocked without an injunction.

      However, the list of blocked domains is believed to be around 2,500 domains, and is not made public, so ORG are unable to check for all possible mistakes.

      [....]

      “We want ISPs to immediately release lists of previously blocked domains, so we can check blocks are being removed by everyone.

      “Rights holders must make public exactly what is being blocked, so we can be ascertain how else these extremely wide legal powers are being applied.”

    • Niall Ferguson wanted opposition research on a student

      As The Stanford Daily reported on Thursday, newly public emails show that Ferguson’s eagerness to fight off what he saw as encroaching political correctness led the historian to some bizarre extracurricular activity. Ferguson teamed up with a group of student Republicans, led by John Rice-Cameron, to wage a covert political battle against Michael Ocon, a student they viewed as excessively left-wing. In the e-mails they refer to Ocon as “Mr. O” and talk about ways to discredit him. “Some opposition research on Mr. O might also be worthwhile,” Ferguson wrote. Ferguson’s research assistant Max Minshull was tasked with the job of collecting the dirt on Ocon.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Federal Appeals Court Errs a Second Time on Device Privacy at the Border

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit got it wrong—again—ruling last week in U.S. v. Touset that border agents may forensically search, without any suspicion of wrongdoing, travelers’ electronic devices.

      The Eleventh Circuit ruled in March in U.S. v. Vergara that neither a warrant nor probable cause is ever required for a border search, including of an electronic device. Because the defendant in that case did not press the issue of whether a lesser standard—reasonable suspicion—should at least be required for a forensic device search, that court didn’t address the issue.

      The rulings in the two cases came from two different three-judge panels. The silver lining is that one judge in Vergara took the position that a probable cause warrant should be required for forensic device searches at the border.

      [...]

      The one redeeming aspect of the Touset decision is that the court called on Congress to act, reminding legislators and the public at large that “nothing prevents Congress from enacting laws that provide greater protection than the Fourth Amendment requires.” While we argue that the Fourth Amendment requires the highest level of constitutional protection available—a probable cause warrant—for device searches at the border, we agree that as long as the courts fail to uniformly protect traveler privacy, Congress has an opportunity to do so. That’s why we’ve endorsed the Protecting Data at the Border Act (S. 823 and H.R. 1899).

    • Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends

      But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

    • Facebook Gave Deep Data Access To Apple And Other Device Makers: Report
    • Facebook gave firms broad access to data on users, friends: report

      “It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a former FTC chief technologist, according to the Times.

    • Facebook made deals with device makers that gave them access to user’s information: NYT
    • It’s OK to leave Facebook

      The slow-motion privacy train wreck that is Facebook has many users, perhaps you, thinking about leaving or at least changing the way you use the social network. Fortunately for everyone but Mark Zuckerberg, it’s not nearly has hard to leave as it once was. The main thing to remember is that social media is for you to use, and not vice versa.

    • Teens prefer watching videos on YouTube than chatting with friends on Facebook: Survey

      A Pew Research Center survey shows that 85 per cent of U.S. teens, ages 13 to 17, use YouTube, compared with 72 per cent for the Facebook-owned Instagram and 69 per cent for Snapchat. Use of the main Facebook service is at 51 per cent among teens, down from 71 per cent in a 2014-2015 Pew survey. Pew didnt speculate on a reason for the drop, though historically, teens often shun services once they become mainstream and used by their parents.

    • ‘Can’t share information on social media,’ Madhya Pradesh DEO to teachers

      Teachers and other employees of the department have been found sharing information regarding the department, officials, meetings, etc. on social media. This is a violation under the Information Technology Act, 2000 as well as of service rules.

    • Leak suspect Winner reaches year in custody
    • Accused NSA leaker speaks one year later

      Exactly one year ago, accused NSA leaker, Reality Winner was arrested. Friends and family held a candlelight vigil to show their support.

      Reality was arrested for allegedly leaking classified documents to an online news outlet. She still sits behind bars in Lincolnton. This is a story that has gained international attention. Some people are calling reality winner a hero, others say she’s a traitor. Her mom tell News 12, Reality may be losing her battles in court, but outside those walls of her cell she has all the support.

      “It broke my heart to see her in the uniform in the orange and and behind a glass pane,” said Billie Winner-Davis, Reality’s mother.

    • Reality Winner Has Been in Jail for a Year. Her Prosecution Is Unfair and Unprecedented.

      Christmas was coming, and Paul Manafort wanted to spend the holiday with his extended family in the Hamptons, where he owns a four-acre estate that has 10 bedrooms, a pool, a tennis court, a basketball court, a putting green, and a guest cottage. But Manafort was under house arrest in northern Virginia. Suspected of colluding with the Russian government, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump had been indicted on a dozen charges involving conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud, and lying to federal investigators.

    • Zuckerberg blows off Facebook shareholders’ demand for transparency, says he’s committed to transparency
    • ‘Corporate dictatorship’? Facebook shareholders get their turn to grill Mark Zuckerberg

      Minutes earlier, the company announced that shareholder proposals for more transparency and oversight had failed, surprising no one. Zuckerberg controls the company through special stock that gives him more votes than other shareholders. Facebook said that just because the proposals were blocked, that didn’t mean the company doesn’t care about these issues. Zuckerberg and the board may just have different ideas about how to solve them.

    • UK homes vulnerable to ‘staggering’ level of corporate surveillance

      Researchers found that a range of connected appliances – increasingly popular features of the so-called smart home – send data to their manufacturers and third-party companies, in some cases failing to keep the information secure. One Samsung smart TV connected to more than 700 distinct [I]nternet addresses in 15 minutes.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Morocco: Another Crackdown on Protests
    • Ethiopia begins issuing online visas for all tourists and international visitors starting June 1

      Ethiopia has started issuing visas online for all tourists and other visitors across the world effective today (June 1). The Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Fitsum Arega revealed the development on Twitter and said “A relaxed visa regime will enhance both #Ethiopia’s openness and will allow the country to harness the significant stopover transit traffic of @flyethiopian”.

    • Hell on Wheels

      Fatal accidents, off-the-books workers, a union once run by a mobster. The rogue world of one of New York’s major trash haulers.

      [...]

      The headquarters of Sanitation Salvage, one of the largest private trash haulers in New York City, is a squat brick building that sits unremarkably amid the garbage dumps and razor wire of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx.

      The Squitieri brothers, owners for decades, can be found on the top floor of the house-like structure on Manida Street. The three brothers are men of considerable wealth and fixtures in Bronx politics, and one of them, Steven, has been seen riding to special events in a white chauffeured Rolls Royce. They are also, according to employees, unforgiving bosses, profane taskmasters who push a small army of drivers and off-the-books workers through grueling shifts of 18 hours or longer.

    • Sheriffs Are Raking In Millions In Prison Phone Fees And Some Really Don’t Want To Talk About It

      MuckRock is currently conducting a public records survey of prison telephone contracts. What it has secured so far will shock you, but only if you haven’t been paying attention. There’s nothing like a captive audience, and prisoners are the most captive of all. There’s one way out via telephone and its routed through mercenary companies and the law enforcement agencies that love them.

      [...]

      And it’s not 77% of some small amount. In this agreement, phones calls are $0.16/minute and billing for calls involves fees of $3-6 for payment processing. The contract is so profitable for both ICS and the sheriff’s department that ICS installs the system for free and provides the county with $225,000 in grants in exchange for an auto-renewing contract that helps lock out competitors. In addition, the county collects 50% of video visitation and “inmate tablet usage” fees.

    • Georgia county receives 77% commission from inmate phone usage

      The materials were released as part of MuckRock’s nationwide survey of county corrections and communications commissions. Most local jails and detention facilities in the United States receive some cut of costs that inmates pay for phone usage; these agreements also contain provisions for advances on that commission and generally require the phone company to cover maintenance and other costs.

    • School Can’t Take A Joke; Turns Student Over To Cops For Listing The School For Sale On Craigslist

      Recent school shootings have led to heightened reactions from school officials and law enforcement. An over-correction of sorts — thanks to the shooter in Florida having been brought to law enforcement’s attention several times prior to the shooting — has resulted in the arrest of hundreds of students across the nation.

      The problem isn’t so much treating potential threats as credible until proven otherwise. The problem is there’s so very little subtlety applied. Things that should not be perceived as threats are, and even when they’re determined to be either unfounded or not actually a threat, some schools decide their misperceptions are more important than the reality of the situation. (h/t Reason)

      The graduating class of Truman High School in Independence, Missouri brainstormed senior pranks. Kylan Scheele came up with a pretty decent idea. He posted his school for sale on Craigslist.

    • Court Says Gov’t Can’t Claim Testimony That Undermines Its Criminal Case Is ‘Privileged’ When It’s Used It In Other Cases

      The government rarely likes to play fair in court. This is why we have the (repeatedly-violated) Brady rule (which forces the production of exonerative evidence) and other precedential decisions to guide the government towards treating defendants the way the Constitution wants them to be treated, rather than the way the government would prefer to treat them.

      In a case involving drug charges predicated on the distribution of synthetic marijuana, the government tried to keep testimony of a DEA chemist out of the hands of two charged defendants. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals says this isn’t OK in a decision [PDF] that gets very weedy (why yes, pun intended) pretty quickly. That’s the nature of synthetics — and the nature of DEA determinations on controlled substances analogues.

      The two proprietors of Zencense — Charles Ritchie and Benjamin Galecki — decided to manufacture and distribute their own blend of spice, using XLR-11 and UR-144 as active ingredients. The DEA raided Zencense’s Las Vegas production facility, charging the pair with conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues.

    • Highlights From Former Rep. Chris Cox’s Amicus Brief Explaining The History And Policy Behind Section 230

      The Copia Institute was not the only party to file an amicus brief in support of Airbnb and Homeaway’s Ninth Circuit appeal of a district court decision denying them Section 230 protection. For instance, a number of Internet platforms, including those like Glassdoor, which hosts specialized user expression, and those like eBay, which hosts transactional user expression, filed one pointing out how a ruling denying Airbnb and Homeaway would effectively deny it to far more platforms hosting far more kinds of user speech than just those platforms behind the instant appeal.

      And then there was this brief, submitted on behalf of former Congressman Chris Cox, who, with then-Representative Ron Wyden, had been instrumental in getting Section 230 on the books in the first place. With this brief the Court does not need to guess whether Congress intended for Section 230 to apply to platforms like Airbnb and Homeaway; the statute’s author confirms that it did, and why.

      In giving insight into the statutory history of Section 230 the brief addresses the two main issues raised by the Airbnb appeal – issues that are continuing to come up over and over again in Section 230-related litigation in state and federal courts all over the country: does Section 230 apply to platforms intermediating transactional user expression, and does Section 230′s pre-emption language preclude efforts by state and local authorities to hold these platforms liable for intermediating the consummation of the transactional speech. Cox’s brief describes how Congress intended both these questions to be answered in the affirmative and thus may be relevant to these other cases. With that in mind, we are archiving – and summarizing – the brief here.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Thanks To No Competition, Broadband Satisfaction Scores Plummet

      For years now we’ve documented the shitshow that is broadband industry customer satisfaction. That shitshow is generally thanks to a continued lack of real competition in the space, which lets these companies not only mindlessly raise rates like it’s going out of style, but it gives companies like Comcast the leeway to experiment with terrible, anti-competitive practices like arbitrary and punitive usage caps and overage fees. And that’s of course before you get to the clown car that passes for customer service at many of these companies, which routinely makes headlines for all the wrong reasons.

      Year after year we witness a rotating crop of bizarre stories highlighting how terribly these entrenched monopolies treat their subscribers. And each year industry executives insist that they’ve learned the error of their ways and have dedicated themselves and their budgets to fixing the “consumer experience.”

    • California’s Tough New Net Neutrality Law Takes Another Step Forward

      In the wake of the Trump FCC’s attack on net neutrality last December (which formally takes effect on June 11), more than half the states in the country are now exploring their own net neutrality rules. Some states (like Oregon and Washington) have passed state laws, while others (like New York and Montana) have embraced new executive orders that limit ISP ability to strike state contracts if they violate net neutrality. All told, it’s not exactly the outcome AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast lobbyists were hoping for, and it’s a pretty solid indication they really didn’t think this entire thing through particularly well.

      But at the moment, most eyes rest on California, where one of the tougher new state-level replacement laws just took a major step forward.

      Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 822 would prevent ISPs in California from engaging in blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. The EFF has called the bill the “gold standard” for state-level net neutrality law. The proposal actually goes a bit further than the FCC rules it’s intended to replace, in part because it more tightly polices things like zero rating and usage caps, which have long been used anti-competitively by incumbent ISPs as a way to make life more difficult for companies trying to elbow in on traditional TV revenues.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Comparing the doctrine of equivalents across Asia

      Singapore rejected the doctrine of equivalents in a recent patent case. Karry Lai analyses the decision and asks how other Asian jurisdictions view the doctrine

      Singapore’s Court of Appeal in its Lee Tat Cheng v Maka GPS Technologies decision on April 6 rejected the doctrine of equivalents (DoE).

    • Corporate Duty to Disclose?

      Query: Now that patent applications are being filed by “applicants” rather than the inventors themselves, will those applicants (i.e., corporate owners) now be bound by the duty of disclosure?

    • Despite explosive growth, the Ericsson patent portfolio has maintained a high-quality edge

      Ericsson consistently scores well above the average in patent quality, despite the rapid expansion of its patent portfolio, new research commissioned by IAM has found. Using data and insights provided by leading IP intelligence services PatentSight, TechInsights and ktMINE, we examined the performance and current patent position of the Swedish telecom giant in an analysis published exclusively for subscribers last week. A breakdown of the top patent classifications in Ericsson’s portfolio reveals that the company has been a dominant leader in classifications H04W and H04L – wireless communication networks and transmission of digital information respectively – over the last 20 years.

    • Trademarks

      • San Diego Comic-Con: ‘Comic Convention’ Is Ours

        San Diego Comic-Con asked a federal judge Thursday to bar the use of its trademark by the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, which has already changed its name since losing a years-long trademark spat in court last year.

        A six-person jury this past December found San Diego Comic-Con’s trademarks are valid and enforceable and that the owners and operators of the convention formerly known as Salt Lake Comic Con caused confusion by using the trademark in the event’s moniker.

      • San Diego Comic-Con Petitions Judge To Have Salt Lake Comic Con Pay Its Attorney’s Fees, Bar It From Calling Itself A ‘Comic Convention’

        Perhaps you thought that the legal drama between the famous San Diego Comic-Con and the Salt Lake Comic Con was over. Our ongoing coverage of this trademark dispute stemming from SDCC somehow having a valid trademark on “comic-con”, a shortened descriptor phrase for a comic convention, largely concluded when SDCC “won” in court, being awarded $20,000 after initially asking for $12 million in damages. With the focus now turning to the roughly gazillion other comic conventions that exist using the “comic-con” phrase in their names and marketing materials, this particular dispute seemed to have come to a close.

        But not so much, actually. In post-trial motions, SDCC petitioned Judge Battaglia to consider the case “exceptional” so that SDCC can recover attorney’s fees from SLCC. The arguement for SDCC appears to mostly be that they spent a shit-ton of money on attorneys for the case.

    • Copyrights

      • When Joe Public Becomes a Commercial Pirate, a Little Knowledge is Dangerous

        In a piracy landscape that’s becoming increasingly monetized, some piracy-focused business schemes claim to exist in a “gray area”, treading the fine line of legality. But mainly they are potential disasters waiting to happen, something which is recognized by everyone except those actually involved in them.

      • UK Pirate Site Blocks are “Opaque and Poorly Administered”

        The Open Rights Group has published a thorough overview of which sites are blocked by court orders in the UK. The group aims to provide more insight into the scope of the blockades and has discovered that they are poorly administered. ORG calls upon ISPs to clean up their lists and hopes the courts will enable more transparency.

      • In Defense Of Fair Use

        Copyright law, to be sustainable, calls for a balance. Under copyright law, creators receive exclusive rights to allow or prevent others from making copies of their works for a limited time as an incentive to create. Users receive benefits from the results of the creator’s labor, perhaps through watching, reading or listening to those results. Users may also benefit pursuant to a license to use the works in other ways. Eventually the works fall into the public domain, allowing further reuse by everyone.

      • Dutch court rules that for-profit provision of links to unlicensed content is an infringement

        Can the making available – following payment of an IPTV subscription fee – of streams to unlicensed content amount to an infringement of copyright/related rights?

        This is the issue that the District Court of Limburg (in Maastricht, The Netherlands) had to address in a recent case that anti-piracy foundation Brein brought against Leaper (also acting as ‘Flickstore’, ‘Dump Die Deal’ and ‘Live TV Store’).

        Unsurprisingly, the court answered in the affirmative. The judgment (in Dutch) is available here.

        What is interesting is the reasoning of the court, which also reviewed the interpretation of Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive as provided by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in its fairly rich case law.

      • 20 Best Free Image Download Sites | Get Stock Photos For Blogs In 2018

        It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so pairing up your articles, blogs, newsletter, ad-campaigns or presentations with the right image is crucial to make them stand out on or off the internet. But many people struggle to find the perfect image for their blog post or design projects that would express the essence of the content in it.

        While there are many sites to download photos for free but not all of them bring out the emotions of your words or design. Sometimes they lack the required quality, sharpness or even originality. Many of them are even illegal. I have personally come across many photographs that are iterations of the same concept. Even if you find a good picture, chances are that they are probably paid and at times, expensive.

      • WIPO Edges Toward High-Level Meeting To Finish Treaty On IP Rights For Broadcasters

        The World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee last week stepped back from a lunge toward a long-debated treaty to protect intellectual property rights of broadcasters, but still concluded with a recommendation for the full WIPO membership to consider taking the negotiation to the final political level later this year.

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