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06.06.18

Links 6/6/2018: darktable 2.4.4, Zeroshell 3.9.0, ZIP Bug

Posted in News Roundup at 6:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux Solutions: Snappy, Flatpak, and AppImage

      It wasn’t all that long ago the idea of binary packages were seen as salvation from having to compile software packages for one’s Linux system.

      In 2018, we’ve jumped ahead even further, with distro independent package installation solutions. In this article, we’re going to look into three rising stars in this area: Snappy, Flatpak and AppImage.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Marcel Breaks Time, Converts Documents to Ebooks and More on Cooking with Linux (without a Net)

      Today on Cooking with Linux (without a Net), I do my best to break time, see what I can do about converting some difficult documents to ebooks, and show off another distribution you’ve never heard of. Hint: it’s named after a lizard. Oh, and there’s a super secret secret embedded somewhere in the video. Oooh! Aaah! For the record, this is a prerecorded video of a live show, the Tuesday live Linux Journal show, to be exact, where I do some live Linuxy and open-source stuff, live, on camera, and without the benefit of post video editing, therefore providing a high probability of falling flat on my face.

    • Tips For Linux Newcomers- Unleaded Hangouts

      Tips For Linux Newcomers. Today the Hangout crew share some of their early lessons on what to be aware of when starting out with Linux. Follow these getting started tips, you’re going to save yourself a lot of frustration.

    • Episode 29 | This Week in Linux

      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got some big distro releases from openSUSE, Linux Lite, CRUX and Knoppix as well as some beta releases for Linux Mint and Bodhi Linux. The new Atari VCS is now available for Pre-Order on Indiegogo. LXQt released the 0.13.0 version the desktop environment. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation went into affect this week. Thunderbolt Networking is now available in NetworkManager. systemd announced a new interesting container like feature called Portable Services. Then we’ll take a look at some interesting Security News and later some rather unfortunate news from Huawei. All that and much more!

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel 4.17 Now Available for Linux Lite Users, Here’s How to Install It

      Linux kernel 4.17 was released over the weekend by Linus Torvalds after a standard development cycle consisting of seven RC (Release Candidate) snapshots. It introduces dozens of updated and new drivers for state-of-the-art hardware support, as well as other performance optimizations and cleanups.

      Highlights of the Linux 4.17 kernel series include support for Intel’s Cannon Lake processor architecture, support for AMD’s upcoming AMD Radeon Vega 12 GPUs, support for Intel’s High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) digital copy protection, and support for the Andes NDS32 hardware architecture.

    • Nine Collabora Developers Have Contributed 33 Patches to the Linux 4.17 Kernel
    • EXT4/Fscrypt Changes For Linux 4.18: Speck File-System Encryption Being Added

      Theodore Ts’o at Google submitted the feature updates today for the EXT4 file-system and FSCRYPT file-system encryption framework updates for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window.

      On the EXT4 side are many clean-ups and bug fixes, including better dealing with supported EXT4 file-systems. Those changes are mostly routine maintenance work and nothing too dramatic.

      But the FSCRYPT changes are going to be more controversial for this file-system encryption support relied upon by EXT4, F2FS, etc. The main change with the FSCRYPT support in Linux 4.18 is adding support for Speck128/Speck256 as supported algorithms.

    • USB 3.2, USB Type-C & SoundWire Updates Head Into Linux 4.18

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has begun submitting the v4.18 pull requests for the multiple subsystems he maintains within the Linux kernel.

      First up are the USB updates for Linux 4.18. With the USB updates there is continued work on bettering the Linux kernel USB Type-C support, namely around the Type-C Port Manager (TCPM) that was merged to the mainline kernel last year. Greg KH noted that the Type-C code is almost ready to leave the staging area of the Linux kernel.

    • XFS For Linux 4.18 Preps Online File-System Repair, Other Features

      The mature XFS file-system has seen yet more feature work happen in time for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Want To Learn Open Source Development, Git, and Linux? The Linux Foundation is Offering a New Course for Developers

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the availability of LFD201 – Introduction to Open Source Development, Git, and Linux, a training course focused on open source software, an introduction to Linux systems and the use of Git, the revision control system.

      • Airbiquity Joins Automotive Grade Linux

        A primary goal of AGL is to help automakers and suppliers reuse software application code, leading to rapid innovation and faster time-to-market for new products and features. AGL is working to address all software in the vehicle including functional safety, infotainment, instrument cluster, heads-up-display (HUD), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and autonomous driving. As an AGL member, Airbiquity will focus its initial participation in the over-the-air (OTA) software update and telematics security areas.

      • Automotive Grade Linux Welcomes Seven New Members

        Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open platform for the connected car, is announcing that seven new members have joined the project including Abalta Technologies, Airbiquity, Bose, EPAM Systems, HERE, Integrated Computer Solutions and Sitech Electric Automotive. Support and interest in AGL continues to grow as the project surpasses 120 members.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 390.67 Linux Driver Released WIth X.Org Server 1.20 Support, Bug Fixes

        The NVIDIA 390.67 Linux driver is now available as the latest “long-term” series driver release for those sticking to that over the newer but short-term NVIDIA 396 driver series.

      • Nvidia 390.67 Graphics Driver Released for Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris Gamers

        Nvidia released a new long-lived branch of its proprietary graphics drivers for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris operating systems to add support for the recently released X.Org Server 1.20 display server and various other improvements.

        The Nvidia GeForce 390.67 proprietary graphics driver is currently the most advanced long-lived branch, recommended to all users with a Nvidia graphics card. According to the changelog, the biggest new feature of the Nvidia GeForce 390.67 graphics driver is support for the X.Org Server 1.20 display server (ABI 24), though it also improves the script that checks for kern.log for Debian-based distributions.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Got Tricks – I like big tricks and I cannot lie

        The Plasma desktop is fun. Rich, detailed, with loads of goodies to explore and discover and play with. I haven’t really gotten bored with it even after a couple of years of rigorous daily testing. There’s always something new and exciting and useful to do, and you constantly come across fresh, handy aspects of desktop usage you haven’t really thought about. The discovery is progressive, which also helps navigate the Plasma environment, without getting a sensory overload of too many choices.

        This article showcases only a small portion of what Plasma can do. But the best part about it is: you can completely ignore all of the above and just use it like a traditional desktop. On a day you feel adventurous, it will welcome you into its fold and uncover its many cool facets. In general, the desktop should be a background thing, a canvas to let you get things done. But it does not have to be boring. In this regard, Plasma proves that practicality and functionality do not have to come at the price of fun. You do not need to sacrifice. On the contrary. It’s one giant basket of Easter eggs. Happy hunting.

      • System Settings Progress – June 2018

        These past few months have been full of work on the KCMs. Our developers have been able to tackle more and more of them for the upcoming version of System Settings.

        In the process, there have been a few changes to note. Many of them deal with work that needed to change as we went through. The overall vision of a more clear and concise settings page is still the same. However, I have learned that through compromise we can move forward. That’s what we have been doing.

      • Building a Bridge from Qt to DDS

        In our previous posts, we looked into various aspects of using Qt in a telemetry scenario. Part one focused on reducing message overhead, while part two was about serialization.

        To demonstrate a typical IoT scenario, we used MQTT as a protocol and the Qt MQTT module available in Qt for Automation. However, the landscape of protocols in the automation world is bigger and different protocols provide different advantages, usually with a cost involved.

      • Find your way to Plasma Mobile

        The Plasma Mobile project was started by the KDE community with the goal of becoming a free, user-friendly, privacy-enabling and customizable platform for mobile devices. We are always on the look out for more contributors to help push Plasma Mobile forward. However contributions to Plasma Mobile has high entry barrier due to various reasons, among which are the lack of documentation and easily available open tasks for Plasma Mobile.

        [...]

        We realised that for new contributors these tasks can be hard to find and difficult to navigate through. To help with this we created another task to help potential contributors easily find the tasks they can work on. Thanks to Dimitris Kardarakos, we now have a web-page on plasma-mobile.org which provides a set of question-answer nodes and leaf nodes pointing to various phabricator tasks. This system is based on the code used by Mozilla to power similar website.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 25.0 Distro Hits Stable with Full Zstd Support, Linux Kernel 4.14.39 LTS

        With the 4MLinux 23 series reaching end of life on June 3, 2018, the 4MLinux 25.0 operating system has been promoted to the stable channel in the same day, allowing users to upgrade their installations as soon as possible. 4MLinux 25.0 has been in development for the past six months and includes numerous improvements, updated components, and new features.

        Powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.14.39 kernel, 4MLinux 25.0 is the first release of the Linux-based operating system to ship with full support for Facebook’s Zstandard (Zstd) data compression algorithm. It also improves handling of CA certificates so you won’t have to accept them manually and finally lets users disable the login screen.

      • New release Zeroshell 3.9.0

        Zeroshell 3.9.0 has been released for X86/X86_64 Platform. It cames with a new Kernel and some bug fixes. The release for ARM platforms is coming soon.

      • Linux Lite 4.0 “Diamond” Released With New Look & Apps

        Linux Lite 4.0 “Diamond” released. The new version has a lot of UI improvements + Updated applications.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • What’s new in openSUSE Leap 15 – KDE Plasma 5.12

        One of the most exiting new things about openSUSE Leap 15 is the updated KDE Plasma desktop environment. We are moving from Plasma 5.8 LTE to Plasma 5.12 LTE. Which means that there are a lot of new features to look forward to. Lets start with emphasizing that the KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop environment looks stunning. Below is a screenshot of my personal desktop, fully configured to my personal preferences. My configuration hasn’t changed much since KDE Plasma 4.3. I use 3 widgets: a folder view, an analog clock and a network monitor.

      • openSUSE Conference 2018

        Embedded below is the blog of Google Summer of Code student Matheus de Sousa Bernardo. Matheus is assisting with improving API and workflow of Trollolo, which is a cli-tool that helps teams using Trello to organize their work, as part of his Google Summer of Code project.

    • Red Hat Family

      • The German University in Cairo joins Red Hat Academy

        Red Hat Academy is an open source, web-deployed and web-managed education program that provides turnkey curriculum materials to academic institutions to start and sustain an open source and Linux curriculum program.

        Prof. Dr. Ahmed Elsayed El-Mahdy dean of information engineering and technology said, “We would like to express our happiness at the fruitful cooperation with Red Hat Academy which is considered the world’s leading provider of open source technology solutions. This cooperation is in line with our vision of training students in order to create a cadre of highly qualified personnel with a high level of skill and proficiency to meet the requirements and expectations of the labour market. The courses offered by Red Hat Academy will improve the technical skills of students and support future open source contributors and innovators.”

      • Next DevNation Live: Your Journey to a Serverless World—An Introduction to Serverless, June 7th, 12pm EDT
      • Monitoring Red Hat AMQ 7 with the jmxtrans Agent

        Red Hat AMQ 7 includes some tools for monitoring the Red Hat AMQ broker. These tools allow you to get metrics about the performance and behavior of the broker and its resources. Metrics are very important for measuring performance and for identifying issues that are causing poor performance.

      • The Open Brand Project | The end of the beginning

        Red Hat launched the Open Brand Project late in 2017, and 6 months later we ’ve reached a watershed moment. We’re wrapping up our first phase of inviting participation, openly debating opinions and ideas and creating prototypes based on our findings. Our designers have drawn hundreds of hats, and their workspace looks like a fedora-crazed hatter’s studio. From here, we’re moving on to the selection, testing and refining of final designs. But there is still much work to do.

      • A daemon-haunted (container) world no longer: Introducing Buildah 1.0

        A little over a year ago, I challenged my engineering team to create a “coreutils” of container images—essentially, a utility that could be used with existing container host tools like cp, make, yum, and more to build Open Container Initiative (OCI) and docker container images. These images could then be stored at container registries and used by a multitude of container runtimes. I told the team that OCI images were nothing more than a tarball of related container-specific files, so asked, why can’t we create a simple tool to build them without running a container daemon? The engineers asked me what to call it and I responded: “just call it builder.” The engineers heard my Boston accent and `Buildah` was born. I am thrilled to announce that we feel Buildah is developed enough to declare a 1.0 release, with the intent to continue adding innovation and features in the future.

      • Streamlio Announces Apache Pulsar 2.0, Red Hat Launches Buildah 1.0, Firefox Experimenting with Two New Projects and More

        Streamlio, “the intelligent platform for fast data”, today announces the availability of Apache Pulsar 2.0, which is an “open-source distributed pub-sub messaging system originally created at Yahoo and now part of the Apache Software Foundation”. This release “adds new capabilities to Apache Pulsar that support easy development and deployment of modern data-driven applications and demonstrate the maturity and enterprise-class capabilities of Pulsar while delivering significantly better performance, scalability and durability than older messaging platforms such as Apache Kafka, as verified in real-world OpenMessaging benchmark tests.” For more info, see the Streamlio blog post. Streamlio will be demonstrating the new functionality in Pulsar 2.0 at booth S8 at the upcoming Data Works Summit in San Jose, CA, June 17–21.

        Red Hat announced the launch of Buildah 1.0 today. Buildah is a command-line utility that “provides only the basic requirements needed to create or modify Linux container images making it easier to integrate into existing application build pipelines”. The container images Buildah builds are “OCI-compliant and can even be built using Dockerfiles. Buildah is a distillation of container development to the bare necessities, designed to help IT teams to limit complexity on critical systems and streamline ownership and security workflows.”

      • Updating Wacom Firmware In Linux

        Working with the Wacom engineers has been a pleasure, and the hardware is designed really well. The next graphics tablet you buy can now be 100% supported in Linux. More announcements soon.

      • All Things Enterprise Cloud Native at Red Hat

        At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Copenhagen in early May, we caught up with Red Hat‘s Brandon Philips, to discuss the state of CoreOS and containers as a whole. Philips was previously with CoreOS, which was acquired by Red Hat back in January, and the pairing has focused a good amount of Linux thought leadership on the Kubernetes project. In Copenhagen, he and Diane Mueller, director of community development at Red Hat, sat down to talk about what it’s been like merging the CoreOS and Red Hat teams.

        The CoreOS team, and Red Hat overall has been working closely with the CNCF to expand the capabilities of Kubernetes for enterprise users. One big part of this effort has been the Kubernetes Operators Project, said Philips.

      • Learning to be open without turning into a mesmerized chicken

        I’ve been exploring these thoughts for several months now, which means I’ve found my connection to and passion for The Open Organization waning—so much so that my first reaction when asked to revisit my three-year-old review was: “Are you sure? I’m not so starry-eyed anymore.”

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 27 Corporate Workstation Installation

          The Linux Fedora is one of the best distros and can be considered really stable to use in the production environment for end users, the first release was in 2003 with the name Fedora Core 1 and was based on Red Hat Linux who steel based nowadays.

          I chose wrote this article about Fedora because it gave a good experience and results in a real production environment, for advanced and beginners users with a lot of corporate variables, purposes, and activities.

          The environment of this article consists of joining a Fedora Workstation on a Domain Controller who can be Samba 4 or Microsoft Active Directory, set up the authentication process for domain users and domain admins on a workstation, local or remotely through ssh.

          This article so does mention about some proprietary software for Linux, we must considerate that on the real environment a lot of resources are necessary according to each business needs.

        • From a diary of AArch64 porter — parallel builds

          Imagine that you have a package to build. Sometimes it takes minutes. Other one takes hours. And then you run htop and see that your machine is idle during such build… You may ask “Why?” and the answer would be simple: multiple cpu cores.

          On x86-64 developers usually have from two to four cpu cores. Can be double of that due to HyperThreading. And that’s all. So for some weird reason they go for using make -jX where X is half of their cores. Or completely forget to enable parallel builds.

        • Working with modules in Fedora 28

          The recent Fedora Magazine article entitled Modularity in Fedora 28 Server Edition did a great job of explaining Modularity in Fedora 28. It also pointed out a few example modules and explained the problems they solve. This article puts one of those modules to practical use, covering installation and setup of Review Board 3.0 using modules.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian vs Ubuntu

        Ubuntu and Debian are two of the most popular Linux distributions in history. Aside from that, they’re very closely related, making it hard for new Linux users to sort out the differences between the two.

        While, many things may appear to be similar, or even the same, with these powerhouse distributions, there are some sizable differences between them.

      • Debian Linux 7 Long Term Support reached end-of-life

        The Debian Linux version 7 (codenamed “Wheezy”) support ended on 31st May 2018. It was initial release on May 4, 2013. Each LTS ( initial release on May 4, 2013) support lasts for five years. It means Debian project will not provide any security updates for Debian 7. As Debian Linux 7 Long Term support ends, hence you must upgrade your system to keep it secure. This page list all essentials steps to update your system from Debian 7 to Debian 8.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 3 macOS Mojave Features Already Available on Linux

            Apple has revealed details about the next version of its desktop operating system, macOS Mojave.

            As expected, macOS 10.14 is a major software upgrade. It brings a flurry new features to the fore, like better desktop organisation, auto-changing backgrounds, and a sleek new dark mode.

            All very swish.

            But do any of those features sound familiar to you?

            They might do; many of macOS Mojave’s new features are old news to Linux users.

            We’ve written about how easy it is to make Ubuntu look like a Mac before (an article we will update soon) and it’s just as easy to add familiar macOS features to the desktop too, from quick look and global menu, to launchpad and dashboard widgets.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 05 June 2018

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team.

          • Ubuntu to host containers in Amazon’s (EKS) for container portability

            he benefits of Ubuntu optimisation by Amazon and Canonical now extend to Amazon’s Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) with Ubuntu worker nodes hosting high performance Docker containers in AWS. This creates perfect portability for enterprise container workloads developed on Ubuntu workstations and operated on private infrastructure with Canonical’s distribution of upstream Kubernetes.

            Amazon EKS is a fully automated Kubernetes cluster service on AWS. CDK is Canonical’s distribution of upstream Kubernetes that automates K8s deployment and operations for multiple infrastructure environments such as bare metal, VMware and OpenStack.

            Ubuntu EKS worker nodes are built with the new ‘minimal Ubuntu’ base image, which dramatically shrinks the image size and security cross-section for Ubuntu in AWS.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • budgie-remix 16.04 – end of support date

              With a heavy heart the Ubuntu Budgie team today announce the end-of-support for our 16.04 budgie-remix edition from the beginning of August 2018.

              We would like to thank the almost quarter of a million downloaders since we first launched budgie-remix back in April 2016 for at least having a look at our fledgling distro.

              We didnt really expect to support 16.04 for this length of time – we were not an official distro back then but enough people contacted us to convince us to continue rather than the usual 9 months Ubuntu distro support cadence.

              With a rolling release mechanism for all thing budgie-desktop – the GUI, applets, budgie-welcome, themes etc, the latest 16.04.4 is very much different from the initial 16.04 release.

            • Ubuntu Budgie Remix 16.04 Operating System Will Reach End of Life in August 2018

              The Ubuntu Budgie development team announced their plans to end security and software updates support for the Budgie Remix 16.04 operating system beginning in August 2018.

              Budgie Remix was the initial name as the Ubuntu Budgie operating system before becoming an official flavor, and its first release was based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), announced in April 2014. Now, four years later, the Budgie Remix 16.04 is reaching end of life and will no longer receive security and software updates starting August 2018.

              “With a heavy heart, the Ubuntu Budgie team today announce the end-of-support for our 16.04 budgie-remix edition from the beginning of August 2018. We would like to thank the almost quarter of a million downloaders since we first launched budgie-remix back in April 2016 for at least having a look at our fledgling distro,” reads the announcement.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Databricks goes well beyond Spark into complex, multicloud AI pipelines

    Apache Spark was the pinnacle of advanced analytics just a few years ago. As the primary developer of this technology, Databricks Inc. has played a key role both in its commercial adoption, in the evolution of the community’s underlying open-source codebase, and in pushing Spark-based machine learning and streaming into the mainstream of enterprise computing.

  • Spark Summit 2018 Preview: Putting AI up front, and giving R and Python programmers more respect

    It shouldn’t be surprising given the media spotlight on artificial intelligence, but AI will be all over the keynote and session schedule for this year’s Spark + AI Summit.

  • Databricks Open Sources MLflow to Simplify Machine Learning Lifecycle

    Databricks today unveiled MLflow, a new open source project that aims to provide some standardization to the complex processes that data scientists oversee during the course of building, testing, and deploying machine learning models.

  • Open Source Platform Aims to Democratise “Machine Learning Zoo”

    Machine learning (ML) is hard and it’s messy. It’s hard to move models to production, due to a diversity of deployment environments; it’s hard to track which parameters, code, and data went into each experiment to produce a model and it’s generally something Talked About more than Done in most businesses.

    As a result, Big TechTM has been building internal machine learning platforms to manage the ML lifecycle. Facebook, Google and Uber, for example, have built FBLearner Flow, TFX, and Michelangelo respectively to manage data preparation, model training and deployment in contained environments.

  • Summer of Code: PGPainless 2.0

    In previous posts, I mentioned that I forked Bouncy-GPG to create PGPainless, which will be my simple to use OX/OpenPGP API. I have some news regarding that, since I made a radical decision.

    I’m not going to fork Bouncy-GPG anymore, but instead write my own OpenPGP library based on BouncyCastle. The new PGPainless will be more suitable for the OX use case. The main reason I did this, was because Bouncy-GPG followed a pattern, where the user would have to know, whether an incoming message was encrypted or signed or both. This pattern does not apply to OX very well, since you don’t know, what content an incoming message has. This was a deliberate decision made by the OX authors to circumvent certain attacks.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • How To Enable Firefox’s New Side View And Custom Themes Experiments?

        The features eventually make it to the public release of the web browser. For instance, the built-in Screenshot tool in Firefox was also a part of the test pilot. Recently, Mozilla has made two new additions to Test Pilot: Colors And Side View.

      • Mission Control 1.0

        In general, my hope is that this tool will provide a more scientific and accurate idea of release stability over time. There’s lots more to do, but I think this is a promising start. Much gratitude to kairo, calixte, chutten and others who helped build my understanding of this area.

      • Mozilla: Facebook Must Do Better

        The recent New York Times report alleging expansive data sharing between Facebook and device makers shows that Facebook has a lot of work to do to come clean with its users and to provide transparency into who has their data. We raised these transparency issues with Facebook in March and those concerns drove our decision to pause our advertising on the platform. Despite congressional testimony and major PR campaigns to the contrary, Facebook apparently has yet to fundamentally address these issues.

      • My 15th Bugzilla account anniversary

        Exactly 15 years ago at “2003-06-05 09:51:47 PDT” my journey in Bugzilla started. At that time when I created my account I would never have imagined where all these endless hours of community work ended-up. And even now I cannot predict how it will look like in another 15 years…

      • Launch of Phabricator and Lando for mozilla-central

        The Engineering Workflow team is happy to announce the release of Phabricator and Lando for general use. Going forward, Phabricator will be the primary code-review tool for modifications to the mozilla-central repository, replacing both MozReview and Splinter. Lando is an all-new automatic-landing system that works with Phabricator. This represents about a year of work integrating Phabricator with our systems and building out Lando. Phabricator has been in use by a few teams since last year, and Lando has been used by the Engineering Workflow team for several weeks and lately has successfully landed a few changesets to mozilla-central.

      • A Socially Responsible Way to Internet

        We champion openness because no one should be able to restrict anyone’s access to the Web for their own gain and competition leads to innovation and more meaningful choices for users. As Solana Larson said in Mozilla’s Internet Health Report, “a few big companies are closing in, closing doors, and creating walled gardens that concentrate their ownership and control of the Web. Together, we can fight to make sure no one limits our Internet access, experience, or creation.”

      • This Week in Rust 237
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNUnet 0.11.0pre66

      This is a pre-release to assist developers and downstream packagers to test the
      package before the final release after four years of development.

      In terms of usability, users should be aware that there are still a very
      large number of known open issues in particular with respect to ease of
      use, but also some critical privacy issues especially for mobile users.
      Also, the nascent network is tiny (~200 peers) and thus unlikely to
      provide good anonymity or extensive amounts of interesting information.
      As a result, the 0.11.0 release and especially this pre-release are only
      suitable for early adopters with some reasonable pain tolerance.

    • Public Money Public Code: a good policy for FSFE and other non-profits?

      FSFE has been running the Public Money Public Code (PMPC) campaign for some time now, requesting that software produced with public money be licensed for public use under a free software license. You can request a free box of stickers and posters here (donation optional).

      Many non-profits and charitable organizations receive public money directly from public grants and indirectly from the tax deductions given to their supporters. If the PMPC argument is valid for other forms of government expenditure, should it also apply to the expenditures of these organizations too?

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open source’s existential dilemma: the meaning of ‘free’

      Years ago, Donnie Berkholz documented the rise of permissive licensing: a shift from restrictive, GPL-style licensing to laissez-faire, Apache-style licensing. Ever the canny observer, Glyn Moody reviewed the data and lamented, “The logical conclusion of the move to more ‘permissive’ licenses [is] one that permits everything.”

    • How Tech’s In-House Lawyers Balance IP and Open Source

      “Patents and open source are not mutually exclusive,” Moore said. “You can do both and do both correctly, but it takes education, especially for people who are newer in the industry.”

      Moore said engineers often join Pure Storage from companies that were not engaged in open source projects, and expect a similar policy. Others are pro-open source, but may not know the benefits of patents.

      That’s one reason why Gideon Myles, lead IP counsel at San Francisco-based Dropbox Inc., said his company educates new employees on both processes.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Ridgewater Instructors Publish “Open Source” Textbook

        Four Ridgewater College Communication Instructors have published an open source textbook for the Introduction to Communication classes.

        Open source textbooks are textbooks that students can access for free.

        The instructors received a grant from Minnesota State to create, publish and market the book to other Minnesota State colleges and universities communication faculty.

        College and university faculty are responding to students concerns for the increasing cost of attending college by creating textbooks that faculty can choose to use for their classes, saving students money by not having to purchase textbooks.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Leap Motion open-sources North Star AR headset design and guide

        The open source North Star materials are available through the Leap Motion website now, including links to a GitHub repository. Leap Motion says that it will continue to update the core release package and release additional AR UX designs, including Virtual Wearables and Desk UI.

  • Programming/Development

    • A Bright Future with GitHub? Microsoft muscles in

      GitLab reported that 13,000 projects moved from GitHub to GitLab on the day of Microsoft’s acquisition announcement. That’s, of course, a small drop in the ocean compared to the 80 million projects currently hosted on GitHub.

    • Blockchain Developers Abandon Github Following Microsoft Acquisition

      Microsoft’s acquisition of open source code repository Github has provoked protest from members of the crypto community. Developers of bitcoin core and other blockchains have expressed disquiet at the corporate takeover, with several stating their intent to migrate to an alternative platform at the earliest possible convenience.

    • Peer Mountain Joins the Largest Open-Source Blockchain Initiative, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

      Peer Mountain has announced that it has joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open-source blockchain initiative. The move introduces Peer Mountain to collaborate with thought leaders across several industries, as well as providing access to a number of resources. Working with other members of the EEA will allow Peer Mountain to reinforce its capability to address enterprise use cases.

    • Announcing Rust 1.26.2

      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.26.2. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • De Icaza links make Friedman wrong choice to head GitHub [Ed: De Icaza played a very major role in the Microsoft-Novell patent deal that eventually killed Novell]

      If Microsoft thought that selecting Nat Friedman to head its new acquisition, GitHub, would help burnish its open-source credentials, then it has made a big mistake.

      Members of the free and open source software community have very long memories and the contribution made by Friedman and his great friend and business partner, Miguel de Icaza, now also an employee of Microsoft, to numerous incidents many years ago that split the community have not been forgotten.

      For those who have been hiding under a rock, Microsoft on Monday (US time) announced that it was buying GitHub for for US$7.5 billion (A$9.79 billion) in Microsoft stock.

    • GitLab Ultimate and Gold now free for education and open source

      It has been a crazy 24 hours for GitLab. More than 2,000 people tweeted about #movingtogitlab. We imported over 100,000 repositories, and we’ve seen a 7x increase in orders. We went live on Bloomberg TV. And on top of that, Apple announced an Xcode integration with GitLab.

    • GitLab premium services now free for educational and open-source projects

      Following a major boost in activity this past weekend spurred on by Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub and Apple’s announcement of XCode integration for GitLab, GitLab has announced that its two most robust project management offerings, GitLab Ultimate and GitLab Gold, are now free for educational institutions and open source projects.

      Though GitLab was asked about educational and student discounts during a live-stream event Sunday evening, the company held its announcement back until today.

    • ​Where does Java in the enterprise go from here?

      Containers, microservices, and serverless may be all the rage in new-style enterprise software development circles. Gartner may have declared Jakarta Enterprise Edition (JEE), formerly J2EE, to be a legacy platform, but more than 10 percent of the most popular websites are still powered by JEE.

      If the Eclipse Foundation, the group now directing JEE’s future, has its way though, JEE may live on in the cloud. You can teach an old programmer new tricks.

      Shifting JEE from Oracle to Eclipse hasn’t been easy. Mike Milinkovich, the Eclipse Foundation’s executive director, wrote, “The Eclipse Enterprise for Java (EE4J) top-level project has been created, and thirty-nine projects established. We don’t yet have all of the source code moved over, but you can follow the steady progress on the project status page.”

    • Best GitHub alternative: us

      Why try to choose the host that sucks less, when hosting a single-file (S)CGI gets you decentralized git-like + tracker + wiki?

    • libinput is now on gitlab.freedesktop.org

      Thanks to Daniel Stone’s efforts, libinput is now on gitlab. For a longer explanation on the move from the old freedesktop infrastructure (cgit, bugzilla, etc.) to the gitlab instance hosted by freedesktop.org, see this email.

    • Programming owes its strength to our long legacy of knitting

      Well, the knitting world is doing just that, using code (i.e., knitting patterns) written hundreds of years ago that can still be executed today.

      This year’s Southeast LinuxFest will include a fiber arts track in addition to all the other events and goings-on. The knitting community is an interesting one to compare to the open source software community, and this is the subject of a talk, “K2P1, or “How Your Programming Language Evolved from Knitting.”

    • GitLab’s high-end plans are now free for open source projects and schools

      The fact that Microsoft is buying GitHub has left a lot of developers with a deep feeling of unease and a lot of them are now looking for alternatives. One of those is GitLab and that company has decided to strike the iron while it’s hot. To attract even more developers to its platform, GitLab today announced that its premium self-hosted GitLab Ultimate plan and its hosted Gold plan are now available for free to open source projects and educational institutions.

    • GitLab’s Ultimate And Gold Plans Are Now FREE For Open Source Projects, Schools
    • GitLab Ultimate and GitLab Gold now free for open source projects and education
    • GitLab makes premium plans free for educational establishments and open source projects

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Use of drone warfare likely to escalate
    • Big Tech firms march to the beat of Pentagon, CIA despite dissension

      A funny thing has happened to Google and Amazon on their path toward high-tech success: They have become crucial cogs in the US national security establishment.

      Both companies are expanding teams of employees with security clearances to work on projects that include deploying artificial intelligence and building digital “clouds” to offering law enforcement facial recognition tools that can even read the mood of people caught on camera.

      The security establishment’s embrace of Big Tech has ruffled the feathers of traditional defence contractors and roiled employee ranks, in Google’s case, over whether the company is being drawn into what disgruntled employees called “the business of war”.

    • Gazans send fire-starting kites into Israel; minister threatens lethal response

      Palestinians are sending kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to farmland and forests, in a new tactic that an Israeli minister said should be countered with “targeted assassinations”.

    • Ex-CIA Officer Denies Aiding Montenegro ‘Coup Plot’

      The high-profile coup plot trial in Podgorica on Tuesday heard testimony from US security company executive Brian Scott, an ex-CIA operative who the prosecution claims offered to evacuate opposition politicians and protesters from parliament during a violent overthrow of the government that was allegedly planned for October 2016.

      According to the Montenegrin prosecution, Scott, an executive at the US-based private security company Strategic Risk Management, was approached in 2016 through a chain of individuals connected to the pro-Russian opposition Democratic Front party.

      He was allegedly asked to provide services including “counter-surveillance and evacuation” during what the Montenegrin prosecution claims was an attempt to kill then Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange still to wait for internet access

      No date has been set for Australian-born WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to regain access to the internet at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has been in asylum since 2012, Ecuador’s foreign minister said.

      Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Assange has not complied with his agreement to avoid intervening in the politics of other countries.

    • Assange Net ban called indefinite

      Ecuador’s foreign minister said Monday that there is no set date for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to regain access to the Internet at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has taken shelter since 2012.

      Ecuador’s government cut off Assange’s Internet connection in March after he made social media posts decrying the arrest of a separatist politician from Spain’s Catalonia region.

    • Pamela Anderson Defends Julian Assange to Tucker Carlson: He Wasn’t Trying to ‘Get Trump Elected’
    • WATCH: Tucker Talks to Pamela Anderson About Her Friendship with Assange, Putin
    • Pam Anderson jokes with Alec Baldwin about Julian Assange pardon
    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange still cut off from Internet

      In March, Ecuador’s government cut off Assange’s internet connection following his activity on social media decrying the arrest of a Catalan separatist politician.

    • Ecuador: No set date for Assange to have access to internet

      Ecuador’s foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said on Monday that there is no set date for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to regain access to the internet in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has taken shelter since 2012.

      Ecuador’s government cut off Assange’s internet connection in March after he made social media posts decrying the arrest of a Catalan separatist politician.

    • Ecuadorean official defends booting Julian Assange offline, says ‘not a matter of censorship’

      Ecuador’s foreign minister on Monday defended suspending Julian Assange’s internet access more than two months since stripping the WikiLeaks publisher and longtime guest of the Ecuadorean Embassy of his online privileges.

      Maria Espinosa discussed the situation surrounding Mr. Assange in an interview conducted ahead of Tuesday’s session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, The Associated Press reported.

      “On several occasions he has agreed on not intervening in internal politics of third-party countries and unfortunately he has not complied with his commitment, so for the time being he is not allowed to have access to the internet,” Ms. Espinosa told the AP.

    • ‘Not a matter of censorship’: Ecuador FM defends restrictions on Assange

      Ecuador’s foreign minister is denying her government is trying to censor WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by restricting his internet access and denying him visitors at the embassy in London.

      Maria Fernanda Espinosa defended the move to cut Assange’s internet access in March, saying that he disregarded a vow to cease all “political activity” when he spoke out about the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. He also made repeated statements about Spain’s bid to stifle the independence movement in Catalonia.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • B2Gold Celebrates the Opening of the Solar Power Plant at its Otjikoto Mine in Namibia

      The opening of the new solar plant is in-keeping with B2Gold’s ongoing commitment to responsible mining and promoting green energy solutions at its five operating gold mines worldwide. The Otjikoto Solar Plant is one of the first fully-autonomous hybrid plants in the world and will allow the Company to significantly reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the site’s current 24-megawatt (“MW”) heavy fuel oil (“HFO”) power plant. Changing the power plant to an HFO solar hybrid plant is expected to reduce Otjikoto’s HFO consumption by approximately 2.3 million litres and reduce associated power generation fuel costs by approximately 10% in 2018.

  • Finance

    • ‘Wealthy People Saw Puerto Rico Could Be Attacked’

      Puerto Ricans who want to stay in their homes forced to flee because life and work are not tenable, while wealthy investors and hedge funds push for more cuts to the island’s services to maximize their own profits.

      It’s a distressing scenario, even more so when you realize the situation I’m describing predates hurricanes Irma and Maria that so devastated Puerto Rico last year. Puerto Rico has slipped from the nightly news, but behind that shroud of relative inattention, things are happening that compound the impact of what might be called natural and unnatural disasters.

      What can be done? What would a humane way forward for Puerto Rico look like? Julio López Varona is the founding organizer, now the outgoing director of Make the Road Connecticut and an activist with the group Hedge Clippers. He joins us now by phone. Welcome to CounterSpin, Julio López Varona.

    • Amazon Disconnects From Australia After Government Hits It With 10% Tax On All Imported Items

      Having tried and mostly failed to regulate Wild West internet commerce, legislators have now decided to take a more “hands off” approach to the intersection of communications and commerce. That’s what I would be writing if we lived in a world where people learned from their mistakes. But they don’t. Whatever has failed a half-dozen times in previous iterations can be rebooted, doubled-down on, and otherwise presented as a legislative solution for a “problem.” And this “problem” is always the same. Incumbents who have somehow managed to parlay their fortunes into a “disadvantaged” position want tech companies to give them (or their government) money.

      Link taxes — otherwise known as “Google taxes” — supposedly would allow publishers to recoup their “losses” from having Google send traffic their way. These haven’t worked, and in the worst case scenario, Google has simply shut down its Google News service rather than pay for the privilege of referring traffic. Other attempts to make things “fair” for brick-and-mortar businesses competing with Amazon have led to similar outcomes. In one case, the French government decided Amazon could no longer offer free shipping on books to France. Amazon obliged, raising shipping to $0.01 Euros.

    • The pros and cons of a second EU referendum

      This week’s hearing in the European parliament on the impact of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal reinforced the shocking ways in which British democracy has been subverted (Political advertising online to be reformed, says UK data regulator, 4 June). Whistleblower Christopher Wylie said the Cambridge Analytica scandal was the canary in the coalmine of a new cold war emerging online. The information commissioner Elizabeth Denham told MEPs her organisation’s investigation into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns was the largest ever undertaken anywhere in the world. Wylie, a leave supporter, believes that Brexit would not be happening were it not for data targeting technology. He concluded the Brexit result was neither fair or legitimate and that if this had happened in Nigeria or Zimbabwe, the EU would demand a rerun of the vote.

    • Louisiana Lawmakers Are Pushing Bills That Benefit Their Own Businesses. And It’s Perfectly Legal.

      Louisiana state Rep. Lance Harris, one of the Legislature’s most powerful Republicans, has cast himself as a purist when it comes to conflicts of interest among state leaders.

      In April, he introduced a bill that would have prohibited the heads of state agencies from taking side jobs that overlap with their government roles — arrangements he said could put them in a precarious situation.

      “The conflict that you get in is, let’s say you’re over the industry itself,” Harris said that month when presenting the bill in a House committee, “you may promulgate some rules or make some decisions that would be advantageous to that particular company or to that particular industry. That’s what it gets at. It’s just a good-government bill.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ex-CIA chief explains how Mueller’s new Manafort allegations are a “major signal”

      MSNBC analyst Jeremy Bash explained the message sent by special counsel Robert Mueller in his allegations of witness tampering against Paul Manafort — and he said President Donald Trump should be worried.

      Mueller asked a federal judge to jail Manafort or alter the terms of his pretrial release after witnesses told prosecutors the former Trump campaign chairman tried to influence their testimony in his federal tax and money laundering case.

    • The Empire’s Media and the Quest for Veto Authority in the Americas

      In April, the Summit of the Americas in Peru predictably led to articles fretting about declining US influence in the Western Hemisphere. Analysts were quoted (Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/18) worrying that Trump’s belligerent and racist outbursts would weaken Washington’s power in the region.

      Closer ties to the United States, concerned “experts” suggest, would be the logical and inevitable choice of democracies in the region, if only US policy makers used enough finesse. Alfonso Serrano’s New York Times op-ed (4/16/18) suggested the US should counter Chinese influence with “friendly gestures” such as “re-enter[ing] the Trans-Pacific Partnership”—a trade agreement designed to give foreign corporations veto power over regulatory policies voters might want their governments to enact.

    • New in the Congress API: Lobbying Registrations and More

      Lobbying is a daily event in Washington. It’s a complex stream of activity involving lawmakers, interest groups and individuals who want to influence federal policy. Today we’re releasing a way for developers to tap into that stream to build software applications.

      We’re adding new responses to the ProPublica Congress API that allow developers to programmatically access the lobbying data we started publishing last year, including the individuals and organizations who are registered to lobby the federal government, who they’re seeking to influence, and how much they’re being paid.

      The data comes from the Clerk of the House of Representatives, which, along with the Secretary of the Senate, collects forms filed by lobbyists. Although both chambers have filings, the data from the House covers both Congress and the executive branch.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • A Critic Uses the DMCA to Avoid Criticism

      Critics, perhaps more than anyone, should know fair use. It’s impossible to review a book, movie, or a video game without using text or images from that same copyrighted work—that’s why fair use is so critical to free speech.

      So a professional critic is the last person you’d expect to use copyright to try to squelch someone else’s fair use rights. But that’s exactly what happened last month, when James Grubb, a journalist from VentureBeat, used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to censor a critic just for highlighting a few paragraphs of his work on Twitter.

      On May 2, VentureBeat’s gaming section published Grubb’s review of a forthcoming video game, Red Dead Redemption II. His opinions on the game weren’t shared by everyone, which is no surprise. Another video game critic, Jake Magee, took a shot at Grubb on Twitter, suggesting he only liked games that contained “progressive political posturing.” Alongside that criticism, Magee posted screenshots from Grubb’s review—his goal was to show his followers the text that, as he saw it, supported his point.

      That was apparently too much for Grubb, who promptly sent a DMCA notice to Twitter over the matter. Twitter soon slapped black boxes over the images that Magee had posted. It wasn’t until several days later that the boxes were removed and the post was restored.

    • The Latest Attack in the Campaign to Silence Criticism of Israel

      Congress is considering a new bill that will likely be used to silence constitutionally protected criticism of Israel.

      Members of Congress last month introduced the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.” The bill purports to address a real problem: According to the FBI, incidents of hate crimes motivated by anti-Jewish bias have significantly increased in recent years.

      But anti-Semitic harassment is already illegal under federal law. The new bill does not change that fact, but its overbreadth makes it likely that it will instead silence criticism of Israel that is protected by the First Amendment.

      The proposed legislation, for example, defines speech that applies a “double standard for Israel,” or denies “the Jewish people their right to self-determination,” as evidence of anti-Semitism. It also directs the Department of Education to consider such speech in its investigations, which could result in a loss of federal funding for schools. On Monday, the ACLU sent a letter to Congress opposing the bill.

      [...]

      On college campuses, a growing number of students and teachers have been disciplined or threatened with discipline for engaging in actions in support of Palestinian rights or in opposition to Israeli policies. Student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine have been sanctioned for legitimate protests and even banned. Such attacks on free speech are likely to escalate now that the Trump administration has nominated Kenneth Marcus, who has led numerous campaigns to suppress student speech critical of Israel, to lead the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Marcus has urged people to file complaints of anti-Semitism with the Department of Education in response to criticism of Israel, arguing that the mere filing of such complaints, regardless of their outcome or merit, will pressure schools to suppress anti-Israeli criticism.

    • Meet the Pakistani Journalist in Exile Documenting Censorship Across South Asia

      While Pakistan continues to cement its reputation as one of the world’s most unsafe countries for journalists, there has been a strong pushback from young media professionals like Taha Siddiqui who refuse to bow down to the diktats of the country’s powerful military and intelligence agencies.

      Siddiqui, 34, who was based out of Islamabad until earlier this year, and has now moved to Paris, is an example of dogged resistance. He is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, France24, Christian Science Monitor and various other international news organisations. He has also served as the Pakistan Bureau Chief of the television channel World Is One News (WION).

      The knowledge that he could become just another number in the roster of journalists and activists who have been killed in Pakistan for raising their voice against the establishment has not softened his critique. Even a failed abduction attempt that brought him very close to losing his life could not shut him up. Siddiqui was emboldened to carry on his work but made the pragmatic choice of seeking safety in Paris.

    • Facebook and Twitter replacement sought by Kim Dotcom

      Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has announced that he would like to build a new social network.

      He described Facebook and Twitter as “deep state conspirators” and said it was “time for something better”.

      Writing on Twitter, he also invited CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the German hacker association Chaos Computer Club (CCC) to join him.

      Mr Dotcom is currently fighting extradition to the US from New Zealand.

    • Kim Dotcom Seeks Alternative To “Deep State” Social Media

      Taking to his official Twitter account on earlier this week, MEGA creator Kim Dotcom has now called on Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and the Chaos Computer Club to create a new alternative social media service. The Chaos Computer Club, commonly referred to as the CCC, is a Germany-based hacktivism group. Referring to Twitter and Facebook as “deep state conspirators” and their actions as “betrayal,” Dotcom says it’s time for something better and more secure. The outcry is hardly surprising, especially in the case of Facebook’s services. Given the number of controversies the company has found itself in the middle of recently, in addition to legal proceedings, it’s not necessarily a unique sentiment. The new tweet follows an earlier Twitter poll run by Dotcom, which questioned whether Twitter was actively aiding “the deep state.” Around 89-percent of the Internet entrepreneur’s responding voters affirmed that belief.

    • Kim Dotcom asks Snowden, Assange to help create secure social media platform

      Kim Dotcom has invited Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and members of Europe’s largest association of hackers to create a secure social media platform to replace “deep state conspirators” Twitter and Facebook.

      On Monday the internet entrepreneur put the concept to the WikiLeaks founder and famous whistleblower on Twitter, writing: “After years of betrayal it’s time for something better”.

    • Othello school official says no censorship of graduation speech

      Officials with the Othello School District are emphatic that they were not censoring Othello High School valedictorian Andrew Chen’s speech at last Saturday.

      “We’ve actually been working with the student (on the speech) for more than a month,” said Chris Hurst, superintendent of the Othello School District. “He rewrote the entire speech this weekend, on fear, and we approved it.”

      Hurst said Chen finished the approved speech, an intense and sometimes dark reflection on fear and its power to both paralyze and inspire, and began launching into a second speech that had not been approved.

      [...]

      “We spoke with the student about the content of the speech,” Hurst added. “We do not want to censor students’ speech.”

    • Progressive Google Internet Censorship

      You remember? “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” also applies to a cosmos other than Star Wars. The degrading of free speech inevitably leads to censorship and a societal purge of ideas that conflict with the latest evolution of political correctness. The 21st Century version of book burning has gone digital and automated using Artificial Intelligence that applies algorithm filters to exclude the free exchange of different views and accounts of historic analysis. The most partisan progressive cannot maintain that the liberal bias which has now become the hallmark of Google’s search results and news is based upon any objective standards of empirical information or fair and balanced reporting.

    • Music Streaming, Hateful Conduct and Censorship

      An immediate consequence of this policy was the removal from featured playlists of R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, two American R&B artists. Whilst the 20 year old XXXTentacion has had moderate success in the US, R. Kelly is one of the biggest R&B artists in the world. As a result, the decision not to playlist R. Kelly attracted significant attention, including accusations of censorship and racism. Subsequently, Spotify backtracked on their decision, rescinding the section of their policy on hateful conduct and announcing regret for the “vague” language of the policy which “left too many elements open to interpretation.” Consequently, XXXTentacion’s music has reappeared on playlists such as Rap Caviar, although R. Kelly has not (yet) been reinstated. The controversy surrounding R. Kelly and Spotify raises questions about the extent to which commercial organisations, such as music streaming services, should make clear moral expressions.

      [...]

      Censorship?

      So, should the actions of Spotify and other music streaming services have been considered censorship of R. Kelly, as a number of fans and free speech advocates asserted? Classically, artistic censorship is focused on the supposedly offensive or corrupting nature of the art itself. This would include, for instance, material that falls within the first part of Spotify’s ‘hate content and hateful conduct’ policy. Indeed, Spotify has removed a number of bands whose songs promote white supremecist ideology. This seems like a good candidate for censorship.

    • T.I. Applauds TDE & Kendrick Lamar For Pressuring Spotify Over Censorship Policy

      Grammy-winning rapper T.I. is more than just proud of Top Dawg Entertainment essentially forcing streaming giant Spotify to change up its censorship policy.

      Tip went to Instagram Tuesday (June 5) with a huge salute to TDE.

    • Russian lawmakers approve fines against those who circumvent Internet censorship

      Lawmakers in the State Duma have adopted a final draft of legislation that imposes administrative fines on violations of Russia’s ban on Internet anonymizers that grant access to online content blocked by the federal censor.

      According to the bill, individuals who break the law will face fines as high as 5,000 rubles ($80), officials will face fines as high as 50,000 rubles ($800), and legal entities could be fined as much as 700,000 rubles ($11,230). Internet search engines will also be required to connect to the Federal State Information System, which will list the websites banned in Russia. Failure to connect to this system can result in fines as high as 300,000 rubles ($4,800).

    • Facebook Censorship vs. the First Amendment
    • Anti-Trump Cartoons Stopped by Censor at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

      The work of Rob Rogers, longtime political cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has been notably absent from his paper’s opinion page during this past week. Aside from a cartoon criticizing the trade war posted on Tuesday, June 5, the most recent of Rogers’ drawings appeared last Thursday, May 24.

      So where was Rogers all of last week? He did not simply “have the day off,” as printed in last Tuesday’s issue of the Post-Gazette.

      Keith Burris, the Post-Gazette’s editorial director since March, when it merged its editorial board with the co-owned Toledo Blade, refused to publish six of Rogers’ cartoons in a row. Four were directly critical of President Donald Trump, and two alluded to racism.

      Despite not being published in the Post-Gazette, Rogers continued posting these cartoons on Twitter, as he does with all of his work.

    • Court Not At All Impressed By Chuck Johnson’s Silly Lawsuit Against Twitter, Plans To Grant Anti-SLAPP Win To Twitter

      Back in January we wrote about infamous internet troll Chuck Johnson’s absolutely ridiculous lawsuit against Twitter for kicking him off the service. As we noted at the time, the lawsuit appeared to be nearly a carbon copy of Dennis Prager’s silly lawsuit against YouTube. And, if you recall, a court tossed that lawsuit earlier this year. And now it’s clear that a court is about to toss Johnson’s lawsuit as well on anti-SLAPP grounds.

      On Tuesday, the court released a tentative ruling and lays out the many, many reasons why Johnson has no case at all, both under CDA 230 and the First Amendment.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New Gear: The NSA Collection

      Recently, the folks at Government Attic filed a FOIA request that garnered a very cool response: a collection of posters made by the NSA in the 1950s and 60s to remind its employees about security. It wasn’t long before we got some requests to put them on t-shirts in the Techdirt Gear store and so… that’s exactly what we’ve done!

    • Can 30,000 Cameras Help Solve Chicago’s Crime Problem?

      Switching from one high-definition camera to the next, the officer tracked the gunman as he fled. Unlike the grainy security videos of old, the picture quality from the cameras, which are equipped with night vision technology, was so pristine that the officer was able to watch the man wipe sweat off his face.

      The tiny rooms have a large-sounding name, Strategic Decision Support Centers, and provide a peek into what could be the future of urban American policing — if they do not run afoul of American notions of privacy. They can deliver the license plate of every passing vehicle, a photo of every area resident with an arrest record, gang boundaries, 911 reports and more, right to a patrol officer’s cellphone.

    • 30,000 Cameras Can’t Be Wrong: Chicago Banks On Surveillance To Solve Violence Problem

      Chicago’s gun violence rate — now in the midst of a long period of decline, never mind what the Attorney General and President say in public statements/tweet — has been a concern for a few years now. The DOJ, before being chased away from policing the police by Jeff Sessions, noted the PD had destroyed its relationship with city residents with unconstitutional policing and an antagonistic attitude. A couple of high-profile shootings of Chicago residents by police officers did nothing to help.

      Chicago is the poster child for violent crime, despite its rate of crime being lower than under-the-radar cities like Ft. Worth, Memphis, and Houston. This had led to all sorts of solutions being suggested, including the return of unconstitutional policing (Attorney General), sending in the troops (President Trump), and a sharp uptick in surveillance (the Chicago PD).

      The New York Times covers the city’s surveillance expansion under the headline “Can 30,000 Cameras Help Solve Chicago’s Crime Problem?” The answer is unclear, despite the many glowing reviews of the city’s camera network delivered by law enforcement officers and officials. The subhed — “But what does it mean for residents’ privacy?” — is barely discussed.

    • Has Facebook Merely Been Exploited By Our Enemies? Or Is Facebook Itself The Real Enemy?

      Imagine that you’re a new-media entrepreneur in Europe a few centuries back, and you come up with the idea of using moveable type in your printing press to make it easier and cheaper to produce more copies of books. If there are any would-be media critics in Europe taking note of your technological innovation, some will be optimists. The optimists will predict that cheap books will hasten the spread of knowledge and maybe even fuel a Renaissance of intellectual inquiry. They’ll predict the rise of newspapers, perhaps, and anticipate increased solidarity of the citizenry thanks to shared information and shared culture.

      Others will be pessimists—they’ll foresee that the cheap spread of printed information will undermine institutions, will lead to doubts about the expertise of secular and religious leaders (who are, after all, better educated and better trained to handle the information that’s now finding its way into ordinary people’s hands). The pessimists will guess, quite reasonably, that cheap printing will lead to more publication of false information, heretical theories, and disruptive doctrines, which in turn may lead, ultimately, to destructive revolutions and religious schisms. The gloomiest pessimists will see, in cheap printing and later in the cheapness of paper itself—making it possible for all sorts of “fake news” to be spread–the sources of centuries of strife and division. And because the pain of the bad outcomes of cheap books is sharper and more attention-grabbing than contemplation of the long-term benefits of having most of the population know how to read, the gloomiest pessimists will seem to many to possess the more clear-eyed vision of the present and of the future. (Spoiler alert: both the optimists and the pessimists were right.)

    • Edward Snowden: Five years on

      Today marks five years since the Guardian published Verizon’s FISA court order, the first story based on documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. At the time this story appeared, the whistleblower’s name was not known. It was three days and several enormous stories later that Snowden finally stepped out of the shadows, the source of the biggest public archive of top secret documents in history.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Woman Called the Police on My Native American Sons While They Were on a College Tour

      The mother of two teens detained by police during a tour of Colorado State University demands an end to racial profiling.

      It’s not easy to accept that two of my sons are now nationally known, not for their sharp humor, musical talent, or academic achievements, but rather for the humiliation they recently endured on a campus tour. Moms are supposed to have all the answers, but it’s hard to explain why they, as Native Americans, were treated at a public university like they “don’t belong.”

      So when Starbucks closed 8,000 stores last week to conduct a racial bias training, the news gave me hope, which is something that I’ve struggled with lately. I’m under no illusion that a four-hour session can fix racism. But I hope that more institutions, including colleges and universities, will take important steps to protect people of color from the consequences of white suspicion.

      It’s been a month since the incident, but April 30, 2018, is a day that will live with me forever. I was worried from the start. My two sons, 17 and 19, were adamant about taking the seven-hour drive in our road-worn family car from our home in New Mexico all the way to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where they were scheduled to attend a campus tour. I didn’t like that they’d be navigating miles of unfamiliar roads and unbearable Denver traffic alone. But they had worked hard to raise the travel money and CSU was their dream school, so I didn’t stand in their way.

      They checked in with me every few hours as they went from Taos to Raton to Pueblo and beyond. When they finally reported in a text that they were on the tour, I was relieved: My boys were safe on campus. I would soon discover that I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    • ‘An Employer Can Unilaterally Force Employees Into Secret Arbitration Systems’

      Just as the #MeToo movement demonstrates the power of solidarity in fighting workplace harassment, a Supreme Court ruling aims to force individuals with workplace complaints back into isolation. In Epic Systems v. Lewis, the Court’s conservative majority ruled that lower courts have to enforce individual arbitration clauses in employment contracts, which means that workers have to address complaints not through the courts, but in closed-door, one-on-one proceedings.

      The ruling affects millions of people on the most fundamental level, but it didn’t get a great deal of explanatory press coverage. Joining us now to discuss what the ruling could mean, and how we can resist its impact, is Joanne Doroshow, founder and executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, and cofounder of Americans for Insurance Reform. She’s also adjunct professor at New York Law School. She joins us now by phone from here in town.

    • Boys In Blew: Australian Cops Caught Faking 258,000 Breathalyzer Tests

      Reason number a billion why quotas for law enforcement are a bad idea: they encourage the worst behavior. The Victoria (AUS) Police recently performed an internal investigation into breathalyzer tests deployed 17.7 million times over the last 5-½ years. Prompted by an “anomaly” in the data, investigators uncovered something horrific and ridiculous all at the same time: Victorian cops blow… thousands of times a year.

    • Police faked 258,000 breath tests in shocking ‘breach of trust’

      Victorian police faked more than a quarter of a million roadside breath tests in what appears to be a deliberate ruse to dupe the system.

      An internal investigation has found 258,000 alcohol breath tests were falsified over 5½ years, The Age has learned.

      [...]

      Police believe officers may have been blowing into the breathalysers themselves, most likely due to laziness and the need to meet targets.

    • Census Citizenship Question Illegally Discriminates Against Immigrants

      For the first time since 1950, the census will ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens. It may seem innocuous, but the addition of the question — in essence, a door-to-door government inquiry as to the citizenship status of every member of every household in the United States — will have far reaching consequences. It will dramatically reduce participation by immigrant communities, stunting their growing political influence and depriving them of economic benefits.

      This is not an unintended side effect. It’s the reason the Trump administration sought to add the question, rejecting the advice of Census Bureau’s professional staff, its scientific advisory committee, and five previous census directors from both Republican and Democratic administrations.

      Manipulating the census to discriminate against and disadvantage certain groups violates both the Fifth Amendment right to equal protection and the constitutional obligation that the census counts every living person in the United States, not just every citizen. The Trump administration must not be permitted to use the census as a tool to carry out its discriminatory designs — which is why the ACLU and partners have filed a federal lawsuit to block the question’s inclusion before it’s too late.

    • Cops Perform Guns-Drawn Raid Of Chelsea Manning’s Home Because Someone Reported Her Suicidal Tweets

      We’ve discussed the divide between police and the policed, but perhaps none is more pronounced than law enforcement’s handling of those with mental health issues. Dozens of times a year, someone in need of intervention or caretaking is killed by police officers who have responded to relatives, friends, or family calling for help.

      911 is a dumb pipe. It will route the info to all, but it’s usually police who end up acting as first responders, even when the crisis is health-related. Any combativeness is viewed as a threat, rather than a rational response to loud, violent stimuli. If the person needing help has a criminal record (and many people with mental health issues do), the “threat” is perceived before officers even make contact. In rare cases, these “wellness checks” end peacefully and with a resolution in line with the terminology used by law enforcement.

      In most cases, an arrest is involved. In many cases, the “wellness check” ends in someone’s death. Nearly 250 people suffering mental health crises were killed by officers in 2017. The story here is unique in that it didn’t end in death, a violent arrest, or something else not even roughly aligned with the idea of community caretaking. But that’s possibly due to the fact no one was home.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • E-Mails Show FCC Made Up DDOS Attack To Downplay The ‘John Oliver Effect’

      You might remember that when HBO comedian John Oliver originally tackled net neutrality on his show in 2014, the FCC website crashed under the load of concerned consumers eager to support the creation of net neutrality rules. When Oliver revisited the topic last May to discuss Trump FCC boss Ajit Pai’s myopic plan to kill those same rules, the FCC website crashed under the load a second time. That’s not a particular shock; the FCC’s website has long been seen as an outdated relic from the wayback times of Netscape, hit counters, and awful MIDI music.

      [...]

      The story isn’t going to get much mainstream traction thanks to numerous other instances of cultural idiocy we’re all currently soaking in, but it’s fairly amazing all the same. In short, the FCC appears to have completely concocted a fake DDOS attack in a ham-fisted effort to try and downplay the massive public opposition to its extremely-unpopular policies.

    • FCC Emails Show Agency Spread Lies to Bolster Dubious DDoS Attack Claims

      As it wrestled with accusations about a fake cyberattack last spring, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) purposely misled several news organizations, choosing to feed journalists false information, while at the same time discouraging them from challenging the agency’s official story.

      Internal emails reviewed by Gizmodo lay bare the agency’s efforts to counter rife speculation that senior officials manufactured a cyberattack, allegedly to explain away technical problems plaguing the FCC’s comment system amid its high-profile collection of public comments on a controversial and since-passed proposal to overturn federal net neutrality rules.

    • AT&T Ends Quest To Erode FTC Authority Over Broadband Providers

      As we’ve noted for a while, the ISP attack on net neutrality is only one small part of a broader gambit to eliminate all federal and state oversight of telecom monopolies. Not only did the “Restoring Internet Freedom” net neutrality repeal kill net neutrality, it neutered the FCC’s ability to adequately police some of the most anti-competitive companies in America. At the same time, language embedded in the repeal also attempts to neuter state authority over ISPs, something some cable companies are already using to try and wiggle out of lawsuits over substandard service and slow speeds.

      All the while, ISPs and their policy BFFs have tried to argue that this massive neutering of state and FCC authority over ISPs was no big deal because the FTC would rush in and save the day, ignoring the fact that the FTC’s authority over broadband providers is already shaky. The agency can’t make rules as conditions warrant (like the FCC), and can only act against ISPs if a behavior is clearly shown to be “unfair and deceptive,” something not easy to do in the net neutrality realm where anti-competitive behavior is often dressed up as “reasonable network management.”

  • DRM

    • FlightSimLabs Installs More Questionable Stuff On Users’ Machines, Then Threatens Reddit

      Hopefully you will recall FlightSimLabs, the company that makes custom add-ons for computer flight simulation software. FSL made it onto our pages after a Reddit user noticed that every installation of FSL software, including that of a legitimate purchase, installed a file named “test.exe” which was not just a form of DRM, but which also serves as a Chrome password dumping tool, extracting user names and passwords from people’s web browsers. Whatever the fuzzy line between DRM software and malware, FLS’s installation of its text.exe file clearly leapt over that line with a flourish. The backlash in the Reddit communities and elsewhere was swift and severe, leading Lefteris Kalamaras, who runs FSL, to release the following statement.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Techdirt Podcast Episode 169: MEP Julia Reda On EU’s Dangerous Copyright Proposal

        This week, we’re joined by European Parliament member Julia Reda to talk about the details of the regulatory process and the problems with the current proposal.

      • Tails of a Cybersquat Claiming Grumpy Cat and an IP Licence

        Turns out our Merpel is not the only internet sensation with feline features; there’s another described as “one of the most famous cats in the world.” This celebrity cat in question is named Tardar Sauce, but is better known to the world as Grumpy Cat – the fury face of many viral memes.

        This case rests on two key issues – the scope of the licence and alleged cybersquatting. The annual WIPO Cybersquatting Report continually shows an increase in cybersquatting cases. in 2017, most of the WIPO UDRP cases originated from the US with 920 cases filed, followed by France (462), the U.K. (276), Germany (222), and Switzerland (143).

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