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06.27.18

Links 27/6/2018: ​Supercomputers All GNU/Linux, Kubernetes 1.11, Plasma 5.13.2

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Expandable, Apollo Lake based MintBox Mini 2 starts at $299

    The Linux Mint project has released the rugged MintBox Mini 2 mini-PC based on the Apollo Lake powered Compulab Fitlet2, with options including PoE, HDD, and CAN. The system ships with the new Linux Mint 19 “Tara” distro.

    In March, Compulab and the Linux Mint project announced a MintBox Mini 2 (MBM2) replacement for the earlier, AMD A10 based MintBox Mini Pro mini-PC. Built around the Celeron J3455 based Fitlet2 mini-PC, the MBM2 is now available starting at $299. Since the March announcement, Compulab has revealed some new features, including new FACET expansion cards for 2.5-inch HDDs, PoE, CANbus, and more.

  • MintBox Mini 2 With Linux Mint 19 Ready To Ship

    Announced back in March was the MintBox Mini 2 as a collaboration project by CompuLab and Linux Mint. That tiny Linux PC is now available for order given the imminent release of Linux Mint 19 “Tara”.

  • Amazon adds cloudy Linux desktops to encourage developers to code for EC2

    Amazon Web Services has added a Linux option to its “WorkSpaces” desktop-as-a-service and pitched the offering as a fine way to develop apps for its own EC2 infrastructure-as-a-service.

    The new desktops run Amazon Linux 2 and includes Firefox, the Evolution email and calendar app, Pidgin for chat and Libre Office for getting stuff done. It’s all based on the MATE desktop environment.

  • Linux app support is coming to at least 18 more Chromebooks

    Google announced Linux app support in Chrome OS back at I/O, but the Pixelbook was the only supported device at first. Devices from Samsung and Acer have gained support since then, but Google’s latest code addition to Chrome OS points to a raft of Chromebooks getting Linux support very soon.

    Chromium developers have just added support for Linux apps on all Apollo Lake-based Chromebooks. Intel’s Apollo Lake processors include Celeron, Atom, and Pentium parts. According to XDA, there are at least 18 Chromebooks with these CPUs, most of which are focused on education. They include the Lenovo Thinkpad 11e, Acer Chromebook 11, Dell Chromebook 11, and more. They’ll all have Linux app support when the updated Chrome OS rolls out.

  • 18 Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, Lenovo, & Dell receive Linux app support

    Eighteen Chromebooks based on Intel Apollo Lake architecture, which includes many from brands such as Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and Dell, get Linux app support in one fell swoop.

    In a change that landed Wednesday morning, the developers switched on Linux app support for all Apollo Lake Chromebooks under the baseboards Reef and Coral. See below for a list of Chromebooks under these baseboards.

  • Skylake, Apollo Lake Chromebooks Add Linux Apps Via Crostini

    On just about a daily basis, I check the Samsung Chromebook Pro to see if “Crostini” has finally been enabled to bring me the new evolution of Linux app support. Sadly, I have been disappointed at every attempt. For good reason, the Kaby Lake generation of processors from Intel has been at the center of the Crostini project if for no other reason than the Pixelbook.

    Being that the Core chips of the Skylake flavor are probably the most available “power” Chromebooks at the moment, I was beginning to think developers were having an issue getting Crostini up and running. Whatever the reason, it looks like devices like the Samsung Pro, HP Chromebook 13 G1, Acer 14 for Work and others may soon see the addition of Linux apps in Chrome OS.

  • Amazon Launches WorkSpaces Desktop for Linux 2

    Amazon Linux WorkSpaces Desktop is now available on Amazon Linux 2.

    Amazon has launched WorkSpaces on its own Linux server operating system that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

    The Amazon Linux WorkSpaces Desktop is based on the MATE desktop environment where it uses traditional metaphors for Linux and Unix-like operating systems (OS).

  • Desktop/Microsoft

    • Microsoft Women Suing Over Bias Denied Class-Action Status

      U.S. District Judge James L. Robart issued a sealed order Monday denying class certification, without elaborating. The Seattle judge said the ruling won’t be made be public until both sides tell him what needs to be redacted, or kept private.

      The denial deals a near-death blow to the lawsuit filed by three women on behalf of a proposed class of more than 8,630 high-level technical specialists.

    • Judge deals blow to women suing Microsoft over gender discrimination

      In a class certification motion unsealed in March, three Microsoft employees—Katherine Moussouris, Holly Muenchow, and Dana Piermarini—laid out their evidence that Microsoft’s corporate culture is systematically hostile to female employees.

    • Tech Employees Revolting Over Government Contracts Reminds Us That Government Needs Tech More than Tech Needs Government

      While we were still in the middle of the heat storm over Donald Trump’s decision to enact a zero tolerance border policy that resulted in children being separated from their parents at the border in far greater numbers than previous administrations, there was some interesting background coverage about the employees and customers of big tech companies like Microsoft receiving backlash for contracting with ICE. While much of that backlash came from outside those companies, there was plenty coming from within as well. Microsoft in particular saw throngs of employees outraged that the technology they had helped to develop was now being turned on the innocent children of migrants and asylum-seekers.

  • Server

    • ​Supercomputers: All Linux, all the time

      Once more, if you want to run the fastest possible computer, the June 2018 TOP500 supercomputing ranking shows that Linux is the best of all operating systems. Every last one is running Linux.

      Linux has dominated supercomputing for years. But, Linux only took over supercomputing lock, stock, and barrel in November 2017. That was the first time all of the TOP500 machines were running Linux. Before that IBM AIX, a Unix variant, was hanging on for dear life low on the list.

    • 13 must-read books to take your DevOps skills to the next level

      As many of you know, continuous learning is a critical part of DevOps. That’s why we put together this list. These are only 13 books from a vast array of resources out there, sourced from the Open Source DevOps team. What books are you reading to fine tune your DevOps practice and skills? Tell us in the comments.

    • Playing nice with a host of tech-pushers pushed OpenStack close to edge

      If one thing stood out at OpenStack’s Vancouver summit in May, it’s that the open-source project isn’t just about data centre-based cloud computing any more.

      When Rackspace and NASA founded OpenStack eight years back, they wanted it to drive more efficient computing in the data centre by delivering cloud computing resources on standard hardware.

      Since then, OpenStack has become commonplace for homegrown, on-premises cloud infrastructure. 72 per cent of the respondents to the OpenStack Foundation’s October 2017 survey used it that way, and that’s up from 62 per cent in 2015.

      Today, the OpenStack Foundation sees hardware architectures diversifying beyond commodity x86 platforms into GPUs, FPGAs and Arm-based systems. It also sees approaches to software becoming more complex as containers, microservices and serverless computing take hold, and it sees computing happening increasingly at the edge, outside the data centre.

    • ​Kubernetes keeps improving

      Why so many releases, so quickly? To make it better as fast as possible. In Kubernetes 1.11, the latest version of Kubernetes goes a long way toward addressing fundamental networking and storage requirements.

    • Kubernetes 1.11 Improves Cloud-Native Application Deployment Options

      The Kubernetes 1.11 release is set to become generally available on June 27, providing users of the container orchestration system with networking, configuration and operations improvements.

      Among the highlights of Kubernetes 1.11 is the CoreDNS domain name service reaching general availability. The IPVS load balancing feature has now also reached general availability status in Kubernetes 1.11, enabling scalability improvements. Plus, Custom Resource Definition gets a boost with new versioning capabilities that aim to ease operations. Finally, Kubernetes nodes, known as “kubelets” in 1.11, now benefit from a new dynamic configuration capability.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Cooking with Linux (without a Net): Too Many Virtual Machines, i3 and ArcoLinux Redux

      On this week’s “Cooking with Linux (without a Net)” show, Marcel learns, in as much as he can learn anything, that you can try to do too many things at once—especially when those things really don’t all want to happen at the same time. Before I continue, let me point out that this is a recording of a live show that takes place every Tuesday at 12 noon, Eastern time. We cover lots of different ways to virtualize including VirtualBox, command-line kvm, the dangers of not getting permission, AQemu, GNOME boxes, virt-manager, Xen and lots more. We also give ArcoLinux another shot and in that process, bite off a desktop environment that Marcel knows nothing about, i3.

    • Episode 30 | This Week in Linux

      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we take a look at some Distro News with Peppermint 9, Devuan 2.0, GeckoLinux which is based on openSUSE Leap 15 and then we take a closer look at Linux Mint 19 which should release soon.

      New version of KDE Plasma with 5.13 and PulseAudio 12.0 have been announced. Later in the show we take a look at Ubuntu Report’s first look at the desktop metrics and a project to run WINE applications inside of Flatpaks.

  • Kernel Space

    • linux-4.17-ck1, MuQSS version 0.172 for linux-4.17

      Announcing a new -ck release, 4.17-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.172. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

    • Linux 4.17-ck1 Kernel Patches Released With Newest MuQSS Scheduler

      Independent Linux kernel hacker Con Kolivas has published his latest kernel patch-set, Linux 4.17-ck1, which most notably includes the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler.

      The Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler (MuQSS) scheduler is his successor to his previously-developed BFS scheduler. MuQSS aims to deliver better system responsiveness and interactivity primarily for the Linux desktop. MuQSS continues to be developed out-of-tree with Kolivas having no ambitions to get his patches mainlined in the Linux kernel.

    • Portable Services with systemd v239

      systemd v239 contains a great number of new features. One of them is first class support for Portable Services. In this blog story I’d like to shed some light on what they are and why they might be interesting for your application.

    • Making Use Of Systemd Portable Services

      With last week’s release of systemd 239 one of the key new features is the introduction of Portable Services. Systemd Portable Services is a new concept that is akin to Linux containers while at this stage is considered still a preview/experimental feature.

      Systemd lead developer Lennart Poettering has written a new blog post providing an extensive look at utilizing systemd Portable Services.The Portable Services build upon existing systemd technology like the RootDirectory and RootImage features to allow for resource bundling and isolation/sandboxing.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Mercedes-Benz Vans adopts Automotive Grade Linux open platform

        Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to use the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) open onboard operating system in its upcoming commercial vehicles. This will first be seen in prototype projects later this year.

      • In open source push, Tencent joins Linux Foundation as platinum member

        Chinese internet giant Tencent has become a platinum member of the Linux Foundation.

        The move will place Tencent Mobile Internet Group general manager Liu Xin on the Linux Foundation’s board of directors. Additionally, the company plans to contribute an open source microservices project called TARS and a name service project dubbed Tseer to the foundation. It will also contribute Angel, its open source AI project, to the foundation’s deep learning division.

      • Tencent joins Linux Foundation as Platinum member

        The Linux Foundation welcomed China’s Tencent as its latest Platinum member. Tencent’s Liu Xin will join The Linux Foundation BoD. In addition to a seat on the board, as a Platinum member, Tencent will be able to take advantage of the foundation’s expertise in areas such as open source governance, legal and compliance, events, marketing and more. As a Platinum member, Tencent will be able to offer further support and resources to a wide variety of open source projects and their communities.

      • Why we believe in an open cloud

        Open clouds matter more now than ever. While most companies today use a single public cloud provider in addition to their on-premises environment, research shows that most companies will likely adopt multiple public and private clouds in the coming years. In fact, according to a 2018 Rightscale study, 81-percent of enterprises with 1,000 or more employees have a multi-cloud strategy, and if you consider SaaS, most organizations are doing multi-cloud already.

      • Google Becomes a Platinum Member of The Linux Foundation

        Demonstrating its commitment to open source software, we are thrilled to announce that Google is now a Platinum Member of The Linux Foundation. Google has been an active and committed contributor to the open source community for many years, releasing and contributing to more than 10,000 open source projects to date. Some of The Linux Foundation communities Google supports include Cloud Foundry, Node.js Foundation, Open API Initiative and Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which it helped found with its Kubernetes contribution.

        To better understand why open cloud matters more now than ever at Google check out their blog.

      • ​Google doubles down on Linux and open source

        With this jump in status, Google gets a seat on the Foundation’s board of directors. This position will be filled by Sarah Novotny, the head of open source strategy for Google Cloud Platform. Novotny is a self-confessed geek. She has a long history of bridging the gap between the business world and the tech world. Before coming to Google, where she also heads the Kubernetes community, she was head of developer relations at NGNIX and program chair for the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCon).

      • CIP: Keeping the Lights On with Linux

        Modern civil infrastructure is all around us — in power plants, radar systems, traffic lights, dams, weather systems, and so on. Many of these infrastructure projects exist for decades, if not longer, so security and longevity are paramount.

        And, many of these systems are powered by Linux, which offers technology providers more control over these issues. However, if every provider is building their own solution, this can lead to fragmentation and duplication of effort. Thus, the primary goal of Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) is to create an open source base layer for industrial use-cases in these systems, such as embedded controllers and gateway devices.

        “We have a very conservative culture in this area because once we create a system, it has to be supported for more than ten years; in some cases for over 60 years. That’s why this project was created, because every player in this industry had the same issue of being able to use Linux for a long time,” says Yoshitake Kobayashi is Technical Steering Committee Chair of CIP.

      • Take Our Survey on Open Source Programs [Ed: It’s like the Linux Foundation now works with Microsoft (GitHub) as preferred partner]

        Please take eight minutes to complete this survey. The results will be shared publicly on The New Stack, and The Linux Foundation’s GitHub page.

      • Linux Professionals Hard to Find, Say Hiring Managers

        It’s a very good time to be a Linux professional. Linux is back on top as the most in-demand open source skill and hiring these professionals has become a higher priority for 83% of hiring managers this year compared to 76% in 2017, according to the newly released 2018 Open Source Jobs Report.

      • Tencent is now a platinum member of the Linux Foundation

        Chinese tech and entertainment giant Tencent has become a platinum member of the Linux Foundation.

        Announced via a post on the latter’s website, this apparently a sign of the firm’s commitment to open source projects,. As part of this deal, Liu Xin, GM of Tencent’s Mobile Internet Group, will be joining the organisation’s board of directors.

      • Vapor IO, Packet, and the Linux Foundation Collaborate on “Open Glossary of Edge Computing”

        Vapor IO, the leading provider of edge computing infrastructure and colocation, along with Packet, the leading bare metal cloud for developers, have published the first Open Glossary of Edge Computing, and are collaborating with The Linux Foundation to create an open source project around it. Similar to Wikipedia, the Open Glossary of Edge Computing is a freely-licensed glossary, written collaboratively by the people who use it. Edge computing will play a substantial role in shaping the next-generation internet, and shared definitions will reduce confusion and accelerate innovation. By combining many viewpoints in a transparent process, the Open Glossary of Edge Computing project seeks to capture the fast-changing lexicon of edge computing, presenting it in a form usable by journalists, analysts, vendors and practitioners.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Allwinner Releases New User-Space OpenGL Mali Binary Blobs

        Last year Allwinner began making OpenGL user-space binaries more readily available for Linux systems in cooperation with Free Electrons (now Bootlin), A new set of OpenGL binaries has now been released that includes Wayland support.

      • AOMedia AV1 Codec v1.0.0 Appears Ready For Release

        The AV1 1.0.0 royalty-free video codec now appears to be firmed up and ready for its official debut.

        Back in March the AOMedia organization made up of many of the leading ISVs and IHVs announced the public release of AV1 that ended up being a draft release albeit miscommunicated in the process by their PR folks.

      • V3D & VC4 Should Have Lower CPU Overhead, More Fixes

        Eric Anholt continues leading the charge on open-source Broadcom VideoCore graphics driver support for Linux.

        Anholt has published another update to his VideoCore driver work, which these days is mostly centered around the “V3D” stack for VideoCore V and newer with the VC4 driver used by the Raspberry Pi now in great shape.

      • More Icelake Work Queued Along With Other Graphics Driver Enhancements For Linux 4.19

        Intel began submitting graphics/DRM driver updates two weeks ago to begin targeting the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window while on Monday was their second batch of changes to hit DRM-Next.

      • X server pointer acceleration analysis – part 5

        In this post I’ll describe the X server pointer acceleration for trackpoints. You will need to read Observations on trackpoint input data first to make sense of this post.

        As described in that linked post, trackpoint input data varies wildly. Combined with the options we have in the server to configure everything makes this post a bit pointless as almost every single behaviour can be changed.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.13.2

        Today KDE releases a Bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.13.2. Plasma 5.13 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

      • Clear Linux Working On AVX2-Optimized Qt Toolkit

        One of the latest package optimizations being worked on within Intel’s performance-oriented Clear Linux camp is a faster Qt5 tool-kit.

        Thiago Macieira who works for Intel and is also an upstream Qt developer is working on a change to begin supporting AVX2-optimized Qt builds within the company’s high performance Linux OS. At least this AVX2 support would help out Qt3D but likely many other areas too given the performance benefits we have seen out of Advanced Vector Extensions in many other codebases.

      • KaOS Linux Gets the KDE Plasma 5.13 Desktop Treatment, Latest Updates

        The KaOS development team released a new version of the their independent GNU/Linux distribution built around the KDE Plasma desktop environment to bring the latest software updates and technologies.

        KaOS 2018.6 comes about two months after the KaOS 2018.04 release that celebrated the distro’s 10th anniversary. Highlights of this release include the latest KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment with the first point release, version 5.13.1, along with the KDE Applications 18.04.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.47.0 software suites, all build with Qt 5.11.1.

      • Krita 4.1.0 Released

        Three months after the release of Krita 4.0, we’re releasing Krita 4.1!

      • Krita 4.1 Released With Support For Multi-Monitor Workspace Layouts

        Krita 4.1 is now the latest stable version of this open-source digital painting program.

      • Optimizing Circular Gaussian Mask, Krita:GSoC

        Previous implementation was based on a slow scalar model, calculating each mask value per coordinate. I implement a new vectorized code using Vc library to allow a robust SIMD usage, calculating the mask values in parallel. Not all operations are implemented on Vc data types, especially erf had to be implemented for Vc data types. The new implementation shows to be up to 10 times faster (on my system) on mask generation. Given that the mask generation requires the most computing on brush stroke generation, this speed improvement holds up even in the full brush stroke benchmarks. Given the way it is implemented the code can become faster as future SIMD registers grows on future CPUs.

      • What’s in a Qt 3D Studio Scene?

        Now that Qt 3D Studio 2.0 has been released, let’s look at what some of the new features enable. In particular, we will visit the so-called in-scene debug and profile views, as these handy, built-in (both to the viewer launched from the editor and, if the developer decides so, to applications) views allow answering questions like What happens between loading a scene and issuing OpenGL draw commands?, Is this 3D scene too heavy?, How much graphics resources does this scene use?, or Is there any chance this scene will perform on this or that embedded hardware?

      • This Week in KDE, Part 4 : Bug Fixes!
      • From nothing to Top 20 Contributors of Konsole in less than a Month

        The title seems to be a bit bragging but it’s actually the opposite, KDE is a team of volunteers that work for free on their spare time to create awesomeness, and there’s not a single person being paid by the KDE e.V to work on KDE. Of course there are companies that hire developers to work for kde related software, but those are third parties and unrelated to how KDE software is developed as a whole, for instance I work as a developer in a Fintech that has *nothing* to do related do KDE.

      • GSoC’18 – Phase 2(Week 1 and 2)

        I also improved the text tool, which now supports the default activity font-family with bold, italic, adjustable font sizes and a variety of colors.

      • KDAB at Meet Qt in Paris

        Thanks for joining us for this year’s edition of Meet Qt that took place in Paris on the 19th June.

        The focus this year was medical and automotive and the event was again very successful despite the train strikes.

      • KDAB at Italian C++, Milan

        KDAB was sponsor of this annual C++ event run by the C++ Community for the C++ Community in Italy, which was founded some five years ago and is growing fast.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Abierto el registro para GUADEC 2018 en Almería
      • GTK+ 3.94

        Today, we released GTK+ 3.94.0. Again, it has been a while since the last release, so it is worth summarizing whats new in this release. There is really too much here to cover it all, so this post will only highlight the most important changes.

      • GTK+ 3.94 Released As The Next Step Towards GTK4

        As the next step towards GTK4, GTK+ 3.94 is available today as the newest development release for this open-source toolkit.

      • On the way to [Shotwell] 0.30

        There is now a nightly flatpak for Shotwell available. You can use this flatpakref for installation. To protect your database, it will work on its own private database. If you really want to work with your current data, I have described a way to make it access your normal Shotwell database in this comment on issue 6. The upcoming unstable flatpak as well as any potentially stable flatpaks on flathub will have the access enabled by default, though.

      • GNOME’s Shotwell 0.30 Is Organizing Flatpak Support, Theme Changes, Facial Recognition

        Those working on GNOME’s Shotwell image/photo manager and organizer are baking a number of improvements and new features for the next release.

        Next on deck for Shotwell is v0.30. With Shotwell 0.30 there is more work on properly supporting Flatpak for distributing the app and sandboxing. There has been some out-of-tree work on supporting Shotwell in Ubuntu’s Snap form, but currently it isn’t mainlined and not even building correctly.

      • A few thoughts on GNOME usability

        I recently learned that GNOME developers have proposed moving the application menu off the “top black bar” and into the application window. The proposal is on the GNOME Wiki at App Menu Migration.

        The wiki has a few mockups of how the menus would appear. The top-level application menu would be presented as a “hamburger” icon, and any secondary menus would appear as a “three dots” icon.

        I have to say that I think this would improve usability. My previous usability testing shows that users prefer menus that are obviously part of the application (think “menu bar”). The application menu in the black top bar doesn’t stand out as part of the application experience.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • AV Linux Audio/Video Creation OS Now Offers Better Support for AMD Radeon GPUs

        The developers of the AV Linux free and open-source GNU/Linux operating system targeted at audio and video creation released a new version to celebrate his 50th anniversary and also add various improvements to the OS.

        AV Linux 2018.6.25 is the latest version of the GNU/Linux distribution, shipping with various performance improvements for systems with recent AMD Radeon graphics cards and UEFI machines. UEFI support was introduced back in April 2018 with the AV Linux 2018.4.12 release, but it also brought slow booting, which were addressed in this release.

        “I personally have no UEFI (or AMD) computers to test with and only could use VirtualBox for UEFI testing and thanks to bug reports from a few users and several fixes provided by our forum member ‘korakios’ I think many of the issues for actual hardware UEFI machines have now been addressed,” said the developer in the release notes.

      • Tails 3.8 is out

        This release fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

      • Alpine Linux 3.8.0 Released

        We are pleased to announce the release of Alpine Linux 3.8.0, the first in the v3.8 stable series.

      • Alpine Linux 3.8 Released With ARM64 Raspberry Pi Support, Netboot On All Architectures

        Alpine Linux 3.8.0 was released today as the newest installment of this lightweight, security-oriented Linux distribution that is especially popular for containers/Docker use.

        Alpine Linux 3.8 continues its use of musl libc and BusyBox, among other changes that make it more unique than many other Linux distributions out there. With Alpine Linux 3.8 they are using the Linux 4.14 LTS kernel, PHP 7.2, Node.js 8.11, Golang 1.10, and many other key package updates.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Suse Linux Enterprise 15 Bridges Traditional, Software-Defined Systems

        The company also released enhancements to Suse Manager 3.2, an open source IT infrastructure management solution for Linux, with improvements focused on lowering costs, improving DevOps efficiency, and easily managing large, complex deployments across IoT, cloud and container infrastructures.

        Suse Manager helps users meet management challenges created by technology advancements such as software-defined infrastructure, cloud computing and containers, according to the company.

    • Slackware Family

      • New set of Live ISOs

        The new liveslak version 1.2.0 has a couple of updates, most related to changes in package lists and work to keep the XFCE ISO below 700 MB, but there is one update that I should mention. I have added – but have not yet tested myself – the possibility to create a configuration file “/liveslak/slackware_os.cfg” and in that file, define some of the variables you would otherwise have to set through boot commandline parameters. Those variables are:

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Introducing debos, a versatile images generator

        In Debian and derivative systems, there are many ways to build images. The simplest tool of choice is often debootstrap. It works by downloading the .deb files from a mirror and unpacking them into a directory which can eventually be chrooted into.

        More often than not, we want to make some customization on this image, install some extra packages, run a script, add some files, etc

        debos is a tool to make this kind of trivial tasks easier. debos works using recipe files in YAML listing the actions you want to perform in your image sequentially and finally, choosing the output formats.

      • Debos: A New Way To Spin Up Debian OS Images

        Collabora has announced their latest project as Debos, a new way for building Debian operating system images.

        Debos aims to offer more features than Debootstrap while being easy to setup and rely upon YAML-based configuration files. Debos also supports dealing with OSTree, running arbitrary commands during the Debian image generation process, etc.

      • Debian Perl Sprint 2018

        Three members of the Debian Perl team met in Hamburg between May 16 and May 20 2018 as part of the Mini-DebConf Hamburg to continue perl development work for Buster and to work on QA tasks across our 3500+ packages.

      • debian cryptsetup sprint report

        The Cryptsetup team – consisting of Guilhem and Jonas – met on June 15 to 17 in order to work on the Debian cryptsetup packages. We ended up working three days (and nights) on the packages, refactored the whole initramfs integration, the SysVinit init scripts and the package build process and discussed numerous potential improvements as well as new features. The whole sprint was great fun and we enjoyed a lot sitting next to each other, being able to discuss design questions and implementation details in person instead of using clunky internet communication means. Besides, we had very nice and interesting chats, contacted other Debian folks from the Frankfurt area and met with jfs on Friday evening.

      • Derivatives

        • Eclipse Photon Now Available, Mercedes-Benz Vans Using Automotive Grade Linux, Enso Open-Source Project for Machine Learning, Tails 3.8 Released and More

          Tails, the amnesic incognito live system, has released version 3.8. This new version fixes several security holes that affect Tails 3.7.1, so users are urged to update as soon as possible. New features include updated Enigmail 2.0.7 and a fix for importing OpenPGP keys from email attachments. See the release notes for more details and download links.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • How to install ownCloud on Ubuntu 18.04

            Of late, nextCloud has been given the majority of the spotlight for on-premises cloud servers. However, I want to take a moment to walk you through the installation of the server that started it all. ownCloud is an equally capable cloud server that can meet and exceed your company needs. But installing this platform on the latest release of Ubuntu is a bit different than previous incarnations. So, let’s see what happens when we undertake the process of installing the latest version of ownCloud onto the latest version of Ubuntu Server. The process isn’t terribly challenging, at least not when you know what dependencies to install.

          • Embracing Snaps: an Interview with Canonical and Slack

            A “snap” application package is a self-contained piece of software, and although it originally was designed to be hosted on Ubuntu, the package will work across a range of other Linux distributions. This isn’t your traditional APT or YUM manager hosting DEB and RPM (or other) package formats.

            Again, the appeal to snap packages is that they are self-contained (that is, containerized). They are designed to auto-update and are safe to run. A snap package is bundled with its dependencies, which is what allows it to run on all other major Linux distribution without any modification. It also doesn’t have any dependency to any package manager or application store. But, don’t misunderstand this—a package manager or application store still can host one or more snap packages; however, the snap package is not dependent to that manager.

            Snapcraft is the official tool for software developers to package their software programs in a Snap format.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is now certified for Intel NUC

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has announced that it is is now certified on selected Intel NUC Mini PCs and boards. This partnership between Canonical and Intel is designed to “help guide device manufacturer’s and their developers to a smoother path to the development and deployment of IoT devices.” Applicable to a range of use cases from digital signage to home entertainment, the Intel NUC certified with Ubuntu helps remove the friction often experienced in bringing IoT devices to market.

          • Making Use Of Ubuntu Graphical Snaps With Mir-Kiosk

            Delivering graphical applications that can be deployed on Ubuntu Core for IoT use-cases can be achieved in a secure and reliable manner using the Mir-Kiosk component to act as a Wayland server. Canonical’s lead Mir developer, Alan Griffiths, has published a guide about creating these graphical snaps.

          • How To Use macOS Mojave’s Dynamic Wallpaper on Linux

            The next release of macOS comes with a “dynamic desktop” background that subtly changes throughout the day — and in this post we show you how you can use it on the Linux desktop.

            In our list of macOS Mojave features already available on Linux we mentioned that time-triggered wallpapers are not new to Linux. They’ve been available for a long, long time.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Seven Lessons of Open Source Governance

    At the FOSS Backstage conference two weeks ago I talked about the spectrum of open source governance models. Watch the video for all the details.

  • Here is Why Reliance Jio is All Gung-Ho about Open Source Technologies

    We all know about Reliance Jio and the changes it brought in the Indian telecom sector. One cannot deny and stop talking about Mukesh Ambani’s outlook, but have you ever wondered what makes the Jio so agile? Well, there are no marks for guessing it right.

    If this still doesn’t ring bells in your head, then remember Akash Ambani speaking at Reliance’s India Digital Open Summit earlier this year? The junior Ambani asserted that Jio is committed to using open source technologies to improve the consumer experience.

  • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler: Open Source Enables Control of Costs, Risks in Tech Development

    Shaun Bierweiler, vice president of Hortonworks‘ (Nasdaq: HDP) U.S. public sector business, has said an open approach will help control costs and time spent on technology development operations in the big data space, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

    He said in an interview published June 19 the open source model will also enable developers to identify defects in software earlier and address them more quickly than they could when using proprietary alternatives.

    Bierweiler also noted the need to check the source of the code in free and open source software as well as the development process it went through before integrating such components into an organization’s network.

  • Open Source Directory Services

    As the identity management market continues to build up speed with 24 billion dollars of growth expected by the end of 2022 (Market Research Future: Identity and Access Management Market Research Report – Global Forecast 2022), open source availability has been a frequent concern. IT admins are surveying the options and rightfully asking, “Are there any modern open source directory services available to use?” To answer this question, let’s take a look at the scene together.

  • Indico Launches Enso Open Source Project for Machine Learning

    Enso is compatible with Python 3.4+.

  • Let’s stick together: the case for open source in adtech

    Those of you of a certain age may remember the pivotal scene in Gladiator when Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius leads the Barbarian into the Coliseum to fight to the death and tells them “whatever comes out of these gates we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together”.

    [...]

    Open source software (OSS) is fast becoming the modus operandi for industry disruptors, as well as established companies. We have seen organisations from P&G to Twitter adopting it, and in a race against Google, Amazon recently embraced open-source software to get its voice-based Alexa digital assistant into cars.

  • Events

    • Last Chance to Speak at Open Source Summit and ELC + OpenIoT Summit Europe – Submit by July 1

      Submit a proposal to speak at Open Source Summit Europe & ELC + OpenIoT Summit Europe, taking place October 22-24, 2018, in Edinburgh, UK, and share your knowledge and expertise with 2,000+ open source technologists and community leaders. Proposals are being accepted through 11:59pm PDT, Sunday, July 1.

    • The Perl Conference 2018 Session Videos Are Now Online

      Taking place last week in Salt Lake City was The Perl Conference 2018, the annual conference devoted to this popular programming language. There were around 300 Perl developers in attendance and a host of presentations by key Perl developers like Larry Wall.

      If this is your first time hearing about The Perl Conference, you can learn more about the event via their conference site.

    • Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Open Source at OSCON

      OSCON (Open Source Convention) has been the focal point of the open source movement. The inception of OSCON came from an event focused on Perl and grew to cover the other scripting languages. It has since evolved into the destination for all things free and open. The event has also provided a platform for the launch of major initiatives such as Kubernetes 1.0 and OpenStack—both announced at OSCON.

      This is a special year for OSCON, as the event will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary. OSCON will take place in Portland, Oregon, with training and tutorials happening July 16-17, and the conference happening July 18-19.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Improves Web Browser Security With Firefox 61 Update

        Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 61 on June 26, providing users of the open-source web browser with new features and patches for 18 security vulnerabilities.

        The Firefox 61 milestone comes just over a month since Firefox 60 was released on May 9 and is the fourth major update of Mozilla’s flagship browser thus far in 2018. Among the new features in Firefox 61 are improved performance capabilities that continue to build on the speed gains that the Firefox 57 Quantum release boasted in November 2017. In addition, tab management gets a boost in Firefox 61, enabling power users to manage browser tabs more effectively.

      • Cracking the Code — how Mozilla is helping university students contribute to Open Source

        After a year of research, Mozilla’s Open Source Student Network (OSSN), is launching a pilot program to tackle the challenges around how Open Source projects effectively support university students as they work towards their first code contribution.

        Despite an abundance of evidence that the most valuable contributions to a project often come from people under the age of 30, Open Source projects often struggle to onboard and maintain university students as new code contributors.

        Students who have expressed interest in contributing often feel intimidated, that they don’t have the appropriate skills or aren’t able to find a project, to begin with.

      • Firefox 62.0 Beta Brings CSS Variable Fonts, “Clear Site Data & Cookies” Option

        Following yesterday’s release of Firefox 61, Mozilla pumped Firefox 62 into the beta channel.

        Firefox 62 adds a “Clear Site Data & Cookies” button to the popup next to the address bar for making it easy to delete a site’s local data for the current web-site. Firefox 62.0 beta also adds a button to the hamburger menu for toggling tracking protection, more customization options for the new tab page sections, and now supports CSS Variable Fonts.

      • Firefox 61 Makes Switching Tabs Faster on Linux

        A new version of the venerable Mozilla Firefox web browser has been released.

        Firefox 61 is a modest update. Performance improvements and bug fixes make up the bulk of the changes on offer, along with a set of tweaks to the user experience and interface.

      • Firefox 61 Released for Windows, Mac, and Linux

        Mozilla will release Firefox 61 later today. The new browser version includes new features, bugfixes, security fixes, and modifications to the Firefox UI.

      • L10N Report: June Edition
      • Chris H-C: When, Exactly, does a Firefox User Update, Anyway?

        There’s a brand new Firefox version coming. There always is, since we adopted the Rapid Release scheme way back in 2011 for Firefox 5. Every 6-8 weeks we instantly update every Firefox user in the wild with the latest security and performance…

      • If you can’t do it in a day, you can’t do it

        I was talking with Mark Reid about some of the problems with Coding in a GUI.

      • Workshop experience at Smashing Conf

        I hope you found something interesting out of this post. It’s not my tipical programming related post. I’m very grateful to SmashingConf for having lined up such great speakers and very practical workshops and for Mozilla to support my learning.

  • Healthcare

    • Next-gen interoperability: AI, blockchain, FHIR and open source analytics

      Interoperability is the ultimate goal of healthcare information systems. Software and cloud-based services need to be able to talk to one another, to exchange clinical and administrative data to enable complete access to a patient’s record and help clinicians deliver the best possible care.

      But health IT vendors and healthcare provider organizations still have a long way to go when it comes to attaining interoperability. In the years ahead, though, progress will be made and there will be various next-generation tactics and techniques that help advance this goal.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Is FreeBSD faster than Linux?

      FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like OS that powers desktops, servers, and embedded platforms. Unlike Linux, which refers to the kernel combined with GNU to form GNU/Linux, the Operating System, FreeBSD is a complete OS with its own kernel and a focus on stability and speed, among other features.

      It is not true that FreeBSD is used on only servers and there are a variety of valid reasons why users argue that it does a better job in general than Linux so you might just give it a try. Both are stable and provide an efficient working environment.

      However, the general consensus is that nearly all applications run faster on Linux than FreeBSD, but FreeBSD’s TCP/IP stack has way less latency (faster response time) than Linux. This is reportedly the reason why Netflix streams its shows on FreeBSD and even pay some of its engineers to contribute to its kernel codebase.

    • TrueOS Doesn’t Want to Be ‘BSD for Desktop’ Anymore

      Popular BSD distribution TrueOS wants to shed its ‘desktop BSD’ image in order to become a core operating system.

    • FreeBSD 11.2 Ready For Release With Spectre Mitigation, Various Enhancements

      FreeBSD 11.2 is ready to set sail as the first significant FreeBSD update since last July’s 11.1 release.

      FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE is now available. Those wanting it right now can find it via FTP with the 11.2-RELEASE images being spun, assuming no last minute issues occur prior to the FreeBSD team officially announcing this release.

    • Workarounds To Get AMD Zen/Ryzen CPUs Running Solid On FreeBSD

      While the Linux support for AMD Ryzen/EPYC processors has been solid on Linux now largely the past number of months with just some exceptions like Raven Ridge display issues, the FreeBSD support has been a bit more choppy.

      The number of AMD Zen + FreeBSD issues has gone down in recent months when using the latest FreeBSD code, but some have still talked of stability issues that can creep up over time.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU dbm Version 1.16

      Version 1.16 has been released.

      This version improves free space management and fixes a long-standing bug discovered recently due to introduction of strict database consistency checks.

    • GnuCash 3.2

      GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

    • FSF Blogs: GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!
  • Public Services/Government

    • Cities and companies combine for open source

      An international alliance of market leaders from across the smart city, smart energy and IoT network sectors have announced plans to develop an open source, multi-transport wireless networking technology and data model with the aim of eliminating dependency on proprietary solutions.

      Smart Internet of Things (IoT) projects for managing streetlights, parking, traffic, waste collection, power grids, metering and other applications are introduced continuously by cities or utilities around the world.

      But according to the newly formed uCIFI Alliance, despite this proliferation of projects, network owners face a hurdle to either integrate multiple proprietary systems and APIs or deal with a dependence on single-source suppliers for network hardware or software layers.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • European Union Public License v. 1.2 added to license list

      The European Union Public License v. 1.2 (EUPL-1.2) joins list of free licenses.

      We recently added the EUPL-1.2 to our list of Various Licenses and Comments About Them. This list helps users to understand whether a particular license is a free software license, and whether it is compatible with the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). Like the previous version of the EUPL (EUPL-1.1), the EUPL-1.2 is included in the section for free licenses that are GNU GPL-incompatible, but with an important caveat. While the EUPL-1.2′s copyleft by itself is incompatible with the GNU GPL, the license provides a few mechanisms for re-licensing which enable combination with GNU GPL-licensed works.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why GitLab Is Moving From Azure to Google Cloud Platform

      To old timers in the open source game, it might come as a surprise that a company like GitLab that’s proud of it’s open source roots would be using Azure to begin with. After all, wasn’t distrust of Microsoft’s ownership of GitHub the reason behind the mass exodus to GitLab earlier this month? While a “new” and more open source friendly Microsoft was undoubtedly one of the reasons why GitLab would even consider the move to Redmond’s cloud — the motivating factor was money.

    • postmarketOS is #movingtogitlab

      After learning that Microsoft will buy GitHub at the end of 2018, for a lot of people trust in GitHub was shattered like the glass of @opendata26′s Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet. But independent of that, GitHub has always had a vendor lock-in with the user’s issues and pull requests hidden behind a rate limited API instead of a proper export feature. And even if you managed to export it through that API, you can not host your own GitHub instance and modify it as you like because there is not even a partially open source version of it.

      We want to be in control of our own data. While we can’t maintain a self-hosted solution at this point, at least we want to be able to create a public backup of all our > 1500 issues and pull requests once a week. After some discussion we ended up with gitlab.com as alternative, because its API allows to create a whole backups at once and we can import them into our own instance if we want to do that in the future. The workflow is similar to GitHub, so we expect a rather smooth transition compared to using something entirely different.

    • Planning Data Science is hard: EDA

      I’ve run into this problem a bunch of times when trying to set OKRs for major analyses. It’s nearly impossible to scope a project if I haven’t already done some exploratory analysis. I didn’t have this problem when I was doing engineering work. If I had a rough idea of what pieces I needed to stitch together, I could at least come up with an order-of-magnitude estimate of how long a project would take to complete. Not so with Data Science: I have a hard time differentiating between analyses that are going to take two weeks and analyses that are going to take two quarters.

    • You can’t do data science in a GUI

      I came across You can’t do data science in a GUI by Hadley Wickham a little while ago. He hits on a lot of the same problems I mentioned in Don’t make me code in your text box.

    • This Week in Rust 240
    • 4 ways Flutter makes mobile app development delightful

      I’m going to let you in on a secret: For years I hated mobile development. I wanted to like it—mobile was the future! It was cool! It was low-power! It was a way to connect with users whose first exposure to computers did not come from traditional desktop platforms! And yet… development was a slow, frustrating experience for me. Instead, I sequestered myself over in the entirely problem-free area of web development and mourned the disappearance of the HTML blink tag (kidding).

      Then, I discovered Flutter, an open source mobile app SDK developed by Google that enables developers to use the same codebase to create mobile apps for iOS and Android.

    • Pusher: treat developers ‘as customers’

      Pusher is a developer tools company that makes communication and collaboration APIs for web and mobile applications.

      The company’s core product is called Channels, developers use it to create features such as in-app notifications, activity streams, chat, real-time dashboards and multi-user collaborative apps.

    • How I finally learned what a “monad” is

      I wrote Clojure, a functional programming language where monads are (implicitly) everywhere, for 3+ years. I learned Haskell for 6+ months, enough time to put together some trivial programs. I knew Common Lisp and Scheme, Python and Ruby. I watched videos and read tutorials and books. I even worked through most of SICP in Shen.

      Despite all of this, I still could not understand what a monad was or why it would be useful. What finally made me understand monads was the frustration that came from writing the same code over and over again in Elm.

Leftovers

  • Historical inventory of collaborative editors

    As with any such list, it must start with an honorable mention to the mother of all demos during which Doug Engelbart presented what is basically an exhaustive list of all possible software written since 1968. This includes not only a collaborative editor, but graphics, programming and math editor.

  • Hardware

    • Apple aims to appease customers with free MacBook keyboard repairs

      Apple has admitted that its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop keyboards made since 2015 are susceptible to becoming stuck or breaking, and is promising to repair them for free.

      Following a litany of user complaints across support forums, specialist media, class action lawsuits and 31,000-strong online petitions, Apple said it had determined that a “small percentage of the keyboards” were affected by the issues.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WIPO Genetic Resources Expert Group Ponders Disclosure Requirement, Databases

      On the eve of this week’s meeting of a World Intellectual Property Organization committee on genetic resources, an expert group met behind closed doors to discuss some of the more difficult issues. The report of the expert group to the full committee on 25 June confirmed differences but also common views and avenues to be explored, and has been carried into the week.

    • Why college football player’s death should terrify parents

      Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski, who committed suicide in January, had early stages of CTE at age 21.

    • US Raises Economic Concerns About Proposals At WIPO On Patents And Genetic Resources

      Normally known for sanguine views of rules to strengthen intellectual property rights globally, the United States government this week submitted a paper at the World Intellectual Property Organization putting forward private sector economic concerns about proposals to strengthen international rules for patenting of genetic resources aimed largely at helping developing countries.

      [...]

      At issue are proposals by developing countries – which tend to have significant genetic resources – trying after decades to finally rein in what they see as ongoing biopiracy – the misappropriation of their genetic materials – by northern companies and others who use the materials in patented products without disclosing the origin of the genetic materials. An example of a biopiracy case surfaced this month involving genetic material of the açai berry from Brazil being used in research in California.

      The aim of the proposals is generally to ensure prior informed consent of the communities and countries where the genetic materials occur, in part so that they may be sure to have access to, and get some benefits from, any product – such as a pharmaceutical or biotech innovation – that is ultimately put on the market.

      The main concern of the US paper is the “uncertainty” new measures might inject into the system, deterring or chilling private sector innovation.

  • Security

    • WiFi’s tougher WPA3 security is ready

      WiFi security is finally getting an upgrade after 14 years. The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially launched WPA3, the next-generation standard that promises to tackle many of the vulnerabilities that have persisted in wireless networking. Most notably, it brings individualized data encryption that should protect your data against eavesdropping from within the WiFi network. You’ll also get tougher password-based sign-ins through Simultaneous Authentication of Equals, a key establishment protocol that reduces the chances of someone guessing your password — even if it’s lousy.

    • Next-Generation WPA3 WiFi Security Standard Launches

      The Wi-Fi Alliance officially announced the launch of the WiFi Certified WPA3 wireless security technology late on June 25, providing next-generation WiFi security capabilities.

    • TLBleed Can Leak Cryptographic Keys from CPUs Snooping on TLBs [Ed: A 'master key'-type of back door, and there's no patch for it]

      A new side-channel vulnerability affecting Intel processors, known as TLBleed, can leak information by snooping on Translation Look-aside Buffers (TLBs), writes VUsec security researcher Ben Gras.

    • What Metrics Should Enterprises Focus On to Improve Cybersecurity?
    • TLBleed is latest Intel CPU flaw to surface: But don’t expect it to be fixed
    • Researchers warn of new Hyper-Threading-based Intel CPU vulnerability [Ed: Intel isn't "refusing" the latest flaw but is unable to patch it. Intel needs to recall and replace billions of chips. Needs class action to compel the executives (CEO has just left) to do it.]
    • How can a hardcoded password vulnerability affect Cisco PCP?
    • What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

      Set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the United States Commerce Department, the Cybersecurity Framework is a set of guidelines for private sector companies to follow to be better prepared in identifying, detecting, and responding to cyber-attacks. It also includes guidelines on how to prevent and recover from an attack.

    • Cambridge Dictionary urged to change ‘negative’ definition of ‘hacker’

      Campaigners are demanding The Cambridge Dictionary change its definition of hackers, claiming the world’s oldest publishing house is allowing a "negative" stereotype of the title.

    • Rising concerns over hackers [sic] using satellites to target US

      Thrip used malware to infect computers linked to the satellites in an attempt to seize control of them — efforts that suggest the group’s motivations could extend beyond spying and include “disruption,” according to Symantec.

    • The Next Generation of Wi-Fi Security Will Save You From Yourself

      It’ll take time before you can enjoy the full benefits of WPA3; the Wi-Fi Alliance, a trade group that oversees the standard, is releasing full details today but doesn’t expect broad implementation until late 2019 at the earliest. In the course that WPA3 charts for Wi-Fi, though, security experts see critical, long-overdue improvements to a technology you use more than almost any other.

    • Intel says new TLBleed flaw unrelated to Spectre or Meltdown

      In a statement on Tuesday, an Intel spokesperson said the company had been notified of research from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which outlined a potential side-channel analysis vulnerability.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Efail: HTML Mails have no Security Concept and are to blame

      I recently wrote down my thoughts about why I think deprecated cryptographic standards are to blame for the Efail vulnerability in OpenPGP and S/MIME. However I promised that I’ll also cover the other huge part that made a bug like Efail possible: HTML mails.

      Just a quick recap of the major idea of Efail: It’s a combination of ways to manipulate encrypted messages and use active content in mails to exfiltrate the encrypted content. Though while the part about manipulated encrypted messages certainly deserves attention, the easiest of the Efail scenarios – the so-called direct exfiltration attack – doesn’t need any weak cryptography at all.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #165
    • two security holes and a new library

      For the past week and a half, I’ve been working on embargoed security holes. The embargo is over, and git-annex 6.20180626 has been released, fixing those holes. I’m also announcing a new Haskell library, http-client-restricted, which could be used to avoid similar problems in other programs.

      Working in secret under a security embargo is mostly new to me, and I mostly don’t like it, but it seems to have been the right call in this case. The first security hole I found in git-annex turned out to have a wider impact, affecting code in git-annex plugins (aka external special remotes) that uses HTTP. And quite likely beyond git-annex to unrelated programs, but I’ll let their developers talk about that. So quite a lot of people were involved in this behind the scenes.

    • What Is WPA3, and When Will I Get It On My Wi-Fi?

      The Wi-Fi Alliance just announced WPA3, a Wi-Fi security standard that will replace WPA2. In a few years, when the laundry folding robots and smart fridges are forgotten, WPA3 will be everywhere making it harder for people to hack your Wi-Fi.

      As of today, the Wi-Fi Alliance has started to certify new products that support WPA3, and a bunch of manufacturers are already on board. Qualcomm has started making chips for phones and tablets, Cisco announced upcoming support that might even include updating existing devices to support it, and virtually every other company has announced their support.

    • Firefox Will Soon Tell You When You’ve Been Pwned

      An upcoming Firefox feature will alert you when your information leaks, and 1Password users have access to a similar feature right now.

      Have I Been Pwned is a site by Troy Hunt, a security expert, where you can enter your email address and find out if any of your accounts are compromised. The problem: you have to actively go to the site in order to use it, meaning it’s only really effective if you check back regularly.

    • TLBleed Vulnerability Affects Intel Processors Following Meltdown
    • New Details Leak on Security Flaw That Led OpenBSD to Disable Hyper-Threading

      Last week, the head of OpenBSD development, Theo de Raadt, told the press that the OS project he leads would no longer enable Hyper-Threading on Intel processors because of security issues. A full paper is due to be released in August at the Black Hat security conference. All de Raadt has said is that the issue is related to simultaneous multi-threading and that it impacted Intel CPUs.

    • TLBleed attack can extract signing keys, but exploit is difficult

      An interesting, new side-channel attack abuses the Hyper-Threading feature of Intel chips and can extract signing keys with near-perfect accuracy. But both the researchers and Intel downplayed the danger of the exploit.

      Ben Gras, Kaveh Razavi, Herbert Bos and Cristiano Giuffrida, researchers at Vrije Universiteit’s systems and network security group in Amsterdam, said their attack, called TLBleed, takes advantage of the translation lookaside buffer cache of Intel chips. If exploited, TLBleed can allow an attacker to extract the secret 256-bit key used to sign programs, with a success rate of 99.8% on Intel Skylake and Coffee Lake processors and 98.2% accuracy on Broadwell Xeon chips.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s Spaced-Out Space Force

      At a recent meeting of the newly-revived National Space Council, President Donald Trump announced the Space Policy Directive: National Space Traffic Management (STM) Policy and ordered the Department of Defense to establish a Space Force as a sixth branch of the US military.

      Creating a “separate but equal” Space Corps would need Congressional authorization, however, which could abort Trump’s lift off.

      Members of Trump’s own cabinet, including the secretary of defense, are opposed to creating a new military branch, meaning the president’s plans could be left on the launching pad.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Senate Democrats Urge Pence to Discuss Assange With Ecuador

      Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday urged Vice President Mike Pence to press Ecuador’s government over asylum it grants to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and nine other Democratic senators said in a letter to Pence that they were extremely concerned over Ecuador’s protection of Assange at its embassy in London.

      Pence was beginning his stop in Ecuador on Wednesday as part of a three-nation tour of Latin America, where he will meet with President Lenin Moreno to discuss trade and the crisis in Venezuela.

    • Top human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson on censorship, WikiLeaks & Brazil’s Lula (E628)

      In this episode, we talk to one of the world’s greatest human rights lawyers, Geoffrey Robertson, about speaking out against legal-aid cuts as well as censorship, General Pinochet and defending the likes of WikiLeaks, Brazil’s Lula, and the IRA.

  • Finance

    • For WaPo, Subsidizing Bus Fare Is a Lot Like Giving the Rich $5 Trillion

      According to the Washington Post (6/17/18), Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the frontrunner in Mexico’s July 1 election, “bears more than a passing political resemblance” to US President Donald Trump.

      Indeed, they are practically the same person: In the late 1970s, AMLO—as López Obrador is sometimes called—was “taking on Mexico’s state-run oil company, Pemex, setting up protest camps outside its offices to force it to pay compensation to indigenous communities and campesinos whose lands it had polluted.”

      Around the same time, in 1975, Donald Trump was busy settling a lawsuit with the US Justice Department that accused the company he owned with his father of refusing to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color,” “requir[ing] different rental terms and conditions because of race” and “misrepresent[ing] to blacks that apartments were not available.”

    • A Slartibartfast Brexit
    • Largest US nail manufacturer ‘on the brink of extinction’ because of the steel tariffs

      The Mid-Continent Nail plant in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, laid off 60 of its 500 workers last week because of increased steel costs. The company blames the 25% tariff on imported steel. Orders for nails plunged 50% after the company raised its prices to deal with higher steel costs.

      The company is in danger of shutting production by Labor Day unless the Commerce Department grants it an exclusion from paying the tariffs, company spokesman James Glassman told CNN’s Poppy Harlow.

    • The Belgian Government unveils its plan for the Brussels International Business Court (BIBC)

      In October 2017, in the wake of Brexit, Belgium was one of the first European jurisdictions to announce its intention to set up a specialised English-speaking court with jurisdiction over international commercial disputes, the Brussels International Business Court (“BIBC”).

      The stated aim of this new court is to position Brussels as a new hub for international commercial disputes, in line with its international status as de facto capital of the EU and seat of many international companies and institutions (NATO, World Customs Organisation, Benelux, etc.). As discussed in previous posts on this blog, similar projects are ongoing in several jurisdictions throughout the EU, including France, the Netherlands and Germany.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Huawei named as top corporate sponsor for MPs’ paid travel

      The institute analysed the period from July 2010 to May 2018 using MPs’ and senators’ declaration of interests to discover the largest sponsors of trips that consisted of just flights, or of flights and accommodation (the “vast majority”).

    • UK election watchdog calls for ‘urgent’ regulation for digital political ads

      Online political campaigning is largely unregulated which has lead to the spread of misinformation and the illegitimate use of personal data as seen in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

    • ‘AT&T Only Buys Time Warner Once in a Lifetime’

      When News Corp wanted an FCC waiver to allow it to take over another TV station owner here in New York years ago, the story was that a merged company would be stronger, and even serve news market diversity by keeping alive News Corp’s daily paper, the New York Post. The merger’s actual effect was better reflected in a bus ad I saw some time later, advertising, “Ricki Lake: Now on 2 Stations.”

      The thing is, most people don’t take corporations’ promises about the benefits of mergers at face value. Perhaps especially in media, concerns about the concentration of power in a few hands are keen and, one would think, almost automatic.

      But US District Court Richard Leon is not most people. Leon has just ruled that the merger of AT&T and Time Warner may proceed, rejecting antitrust concerns presented by the Department of Justice and, indeed, Leon says the giant telcomm carrier and the giant media company can merge with no conditions whatsoever.

    • I Helped Design The Election Simulation ‘Parlor Game’ Rebekah Mercer Got, And It’s Not What You Think

      How was your Monday? Mine was odd. Have you ever seen a news story where you know the reports are getting things wrong? This is like that, but on steroids. In fact, this was a story in which not only were the basic points wrong, but the wrongness started to go viral.

      Jane Mayer, the New Yorker’s famed reporter, published a short piece talking about how Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of billionaire Robert Mercer, who helped fund Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica and helped get Donald Trump elected President, had “played” a new parlor game, called “Machine Learning President,” in which characters could role play the election…

    • Did Sen. Warner and Comey ‘Collude’ on Russia-gate?

      An explosive report by investigative journalist John Solomon on the opinion page of Monday’s edition of The Hill sheds a bright light on how Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and then-FBI Director James Comey collaborated to prevent WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from discussing “technical evidence ruling out certain parties [read Russia]” in the controversial leak of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.

      A deal that was being discussed last year between Assange and U.S. government officials would have given Assange “limited immunity” to allow him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been exiled for six years. In exchange, Assange would agree to limit through redactions “some classified CIA information he might release in the future,” according to Solomon, who cited “interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators.” Solomon even provided a copy of the draft immunity deal with Assange.

    • Why Venezuela Reporting Is So Bad

      MacLeod notes that US government funding to the Venezuelan opposition spiked just before the 2002 coup, and then increased again afterwards. What would happen to a foreign government that conceded (as the US State Department’s Office of the Inspector General did regarding Venezuela) that it funded and trained groups involved with violently ousting the US government?

      MacLeod shows that, in bold defiance of the facts, the US media usually treated US involvement in the coup as a conspiracy theory, on those rare occasions when US involvement was discussed at all. Only 10 percent of the articles MacLeod sampled in US media even mentioned potential US involvement in the coup. Thirty-nine percent did in UK media, but, according to MacLeod, “only the Guardian presented US involvement as a strong possibility.”

    • Paying the President

      Since Watergate, presidents have actively sought to avoid conflicts between their public responsibilities and their private interests. Almost all presidents starting with Jimmy Carter have sold their companies or moved assets into blind trusts.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Watch the John Oliver segment that got Oliver’s name banned in China

      China has begun censoring mentions of HBO comedian John Oliver on social media and restricting access to the HBO website. The crackdown began late last week after Oliver ran a scathing 20-minute segment on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, mocking Chinese president Xi Jinping.

    • Woman founder of South Korea’s largest porn site arrested

      Distributing pornography is illegal in South Korea, although many such videos are widely consumed on servers based in foreign countries, or secretly shared on file-sharing sites.

    • Venezuelan gov blocks access to Tor to censor the news

      Why would they do this? Well, it’s pretty simple – news. The censorship in the country has been subject to intensive tightening recently following continuing protests over the government, austerity, and poverty and the likes of CNN are not part of the government’s plan.

      Criticism of the open [I]nternet has been an issue in the country for some time.

    • Venezuela is blocking access to the Tor network

      Venezuela has blocked all access to the Tor network, according to an Access Now report citing activists within the country. Coming just months after a new round of web blocks within the country, the latest block includes both direct connections to the network and connections over bridge relays, which had escaped many previous Tor blocks.

    • Venezuela’s largest ISP blocks Tor

      Venezuelans have been relying on tools like Tor to access news sources, including local outlets like El Nacional and international ones like CNN en Español, after the government banned them in the country. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to work a little bit harder to circumvent government censorship — according to a report by human rights non-profit group Access Now, the largest ISP in the country, which just happened to be owned by the government, has blocked the software. Previously, people could simply change their DNS to access censored information online, but using Tor or VPN has become a necessity to get around the most recent bans.

    • Australian Parliament Sends Ethics Committee After A Citizen For Mocking Gov’t Official On Twitter

      It’s 2018 and governments we assume to be enlightened guardians of civil liberties are still doing authoritarian things like turning journalists over to “ethics” committees for illegal tweets. Unbelievably, the Queensland (AU) Parliament restricts use of footage of its assemblies, forbidding anyone from using recordings for “satire, ridicule, or commercial sponsorship.” Certainly we can see some reasons to potentially restrict promotional use of government footage for commercial sponsorship, but is anything more worthy of satire and ridicule than politicians? I submit to you that there is not. And this move by the Parliament is only going to encourage further satire and ridicule.

      [...]

      You idiots. Embedding the mocking tweet wouldn’t make ABC complicit in the forbidden act of mocking Parliament with its own recordings. The republication of the tweet would clearly fall under the “fair and accurate report” protection. ABC’s assertion isn’t just inaccurate, it’s cowardly. If anything was to come of ABC’s republication, it would only increase the amount of scorn aimed at MP Bleijie, Parliament’s ethics committee, and the asinine restrictions Parliament places on the publication of footage. It would not harm ABC in the least and yet here we are watching a journalistic agency become an unofficial partner in the government’s outreach overreach program.

    • China Censors John Oliver Because President Xi Looks A Bit Like Winnie The Pooh

      Whatever you do, don’t point out that some people think China’s President Xi Jinping vaguely resembles Winnie the Pooh.

      HBO Comedian John Oliver recently learned this the hard way when Chinese users of popular social networking website Weibo found they weren’t able to mention Oliver by name without receiving an error message stating such comments violated “rules and regulations.” After that, censorship monitor GreatFire.org indicated that HBO’s website was blocked entirely for the lion’s share of the country since last weekend.

      The cause of China’s efforts to remove Oliver from the internet? This recent twenty minute segment took a semi-deep dive into China’s political leadership, noting their abolition of term limits, ongoing censorhip, the routine murder and/or imprisonment of political dissidents, the country’s rather terrifying implementation of “citizen scores,” and oh — the fact that some people think that Chinese President Xi has a semi-decent resemblance to a rotund, honey-adoring cartoon…

    • UN Report Sets Forth Strong Recommendations for Companies to Protect Free Expression

      “YouTube keeps deleting evidence of Syrian chemical weapon attacks”

      “Azerbaijani faces terrorist propaganda charge in Georgia for anti-Armenian Facebook post”

      “Medium Just Took Down A Post It Says Doxed ICE Employees”

      These are just a sampling of recent headlines relating to the regulation of user-generated online content, an increasingly controversial subject that has civil society and Silicon Valley at loggerheads. Through Onlinecensorship.org and various other projects—including this year’s censorship edition of our annual Who Has Your Back? report—we’ve highlighted the challenges and pitfalls that companies face as they seek to moderate content on their platforms. Over the past year, we’ve seen this issue come into the spotlight through advocacy initiatives like the Santa Clara Principles, media such as the documentary The Cleaners, and now, featured in the latest report by Professor David Kaye, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

    • Swedish court considers new blocking injunction against The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites

      The Swedish Patents and Market Court (the specialist IP court in this country since 2016) has been recently requested to issue an injunction against Swedish internet access provider Telia to block access to torrent sites The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, Nyafilmer, Fmovies, and several other related proxies and mirror sites.

      Not completely unfamiliar to readers, The Pirate Bay and several of the sites at issue give access to works protected by copyright through links to Torrent sites (eg, The Pirate Bay) or allow users to upload and make available those works, without the rightholders’ consent.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Lobbyists Descend On California To Shape A Rushed New Privacy Law

      Last year, the GOP and Trump administration used the Congressional Review Act to dismantle FCC consumer broadband privacy protections before they could take effect last March. While AT&T and Comcast whined incessantly about the rules, the FCC’s guidelines were relatively modest; they required that ISPs and mobile carriers be transparent about what data is being collected and sold, and get express consumer opt-in consent before ISPs can share more private financial or location data. Such rules could have gone a long way in protecting consumers in the wake of the recent Securus and Locationsmart location data scandals.

      Following the ISP-funded attack on FCC authority and consumer protections, states have begun exploring their own privacy protections (mirroring what we’re also seeing on the net neutrality front). For example, California last year considered passing a state-level copy of the FCC’s gutted privacy rules. But those efforts hit a political brick wall thanks to the collective lobbying muscle of Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Google and Facebook, which killed that effort by lying repeatedly about what the proposal actually did, including claims the proposal would “aid extremism.”

      While Verizon and Facebook both pretended to back away from those attacks once their efforts gained press exposure, the effort continue all the same.

    • Investigation Shows AT&T Really Likes Being In The Surveillance Business

      The Intercept has dug up more details on AT&T’s groundbreaking efforts in worldwide surveillance. Last year, it identified a 550-foot, windowless tower in lower Manhattan as an AT&T hub where the NSA taps into phone calls, faxes, and internet communications.

      According to The Intercept’s investigation, there are eight of these datacenters/hubs scattered around the United States. And the NSA is utilizing these to grab data and communications from all over the world. Like the one in Manhattan, the other AT&T/NSA structures are structurally hardened, largely devoid of windows, and bristling with communications equipment… not all of it belonging to AT&T.

    • The ISPs sharing your DNS query data

      This means that downstream customers’ data is sent away to 3rd party sources, who often charge to have researchers access the data.

      So what ISP’s are doing this? How can we find that out?

    • Facebook accidentally sends dev reports to software testers

      Apparently, three per cent of apps using Facebook Analytics have had their weekly summary sent to app testers rather than the apps’ makers. Such testers are normally third-parties contracted by developers to carry out testing, so in theory, they could pass that data on to rival developers if they so wished or were incentivised to do so.

      The testers were only allowed to see the weekly summary and couldn’t click on through to historical app analytics, which at least mean that they wouldn’t be able to get the full picture of an app’s overall performance.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ICE Modified Its ‘Risk Assessment’ Software So It Automatically Recommends Detention

      According to a new investigative report from Reuters, however, last year ICE changed the risk assessment software so that it always recommends detention for apprehended immigrants to conform to Trump’s “zero tolerance” stance on illegal immigration. This change led to an almost immediate increase in the detention of immigrants with little to no criminal history, who would’ve normally been released on bond until their court date. In 2017, ICE booked more than 43,000 immigrants into its detention centers—more than three times the number of detainees in the year prior.

    • America Doesn’t Need More Border Patrol Agents

      Senators advance a DHS budget that adds more Border Patrol agents who’ve been tearing children away from their parents.

      Agonized screams of immigrant children begging for their forcibly separated parents are now our most direct experience of horrors perpetrated by the Trump-Sessions-Nielsen family separations policy. Amidst the kids’ unforgettably sad, piercing cries on the recording, something else stands out: a Border Patrol agent’s Spanish commentary. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

      Agents are also verbally abusive. Parents are“called filthy and stinky and … mocked for crying,” according to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who visited detained mothers. “One woman said ‘I want to be with my children’ and the Border Patrol agent said: ‘You will never see your children again. Families don’t exist here. You won’t have a family anymore.’”

      A lawsuit filed this week by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid argues that some Border Patrol agents “sadistically tease and taunt parents and children with the prospect of separation, and do so using words and tones indicating that Defendants’ employees and agents enjoy the pain and suffering that the very idea of separation causes to parents and children.” While many agents strive to live up to their motto, Honor First, that is an aspiration badly corroded by family separations.

    • The Supreme Court Ignores the Reality of President Trump’s Discriminatory Muslim Ban

      The 5-4 decision today was devastating, but the fight against the Muslim ban will continue beyond the courts.

      The Supreme Court today rejected the challenge to President Trump’s Muslim Ban. In its 5-to-4 decision, the court failed to make good on principles at the heart of our constitutional system — including the absolute prohibition on official disfavor of a particular religion. The fight against the ban will continue, but the court’s decision is devastating. History will not be kind to the court’s approval of an unfounded and blatantly anti-Muslim order.

      By now the story of this shameful policy is familiar. During his campaign, Trump issued a statement calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — which remained on his website until well into his term in office. That was hardly a stray comment. Rather, over and over, both before and after the election, Trump expressed his animus for Islam and Muslims and tied that animus to his proposed immigration ban.

      Just one week into office, Trump attempted to make good on the campaign promise, issuing a sweeping ban on over a hundred million Muslims without even consulting the government’s national security experts. Courts rejected that first version as well as the order the administration crafted to replace it. Finally, those temporary measures were replaced by the current proclamation, which likewise bans over 150 million people — approximately 95 percent of them Muslim. As Justice Sotomayor explained in her dissenting opinion, Trump’s consistent messages and actions paint a “harrowing picture, from which a reasonable observer would readily conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.”

    • The Supreme Court Cares About Religious Animus — Except When It Doesn’t

      Just weeks ago, the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of religious neutrality. If only it applied that standard today.

      In a pair of religious freedom rulings this month, the Supreme Court took dramatically different approaches to a basic constitutional question: When does anti-religious hostility by government officials violate the religious liberty guarantees of the First Amendment?

      The wildly divergent results in those two high-profile cases — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and Trump v. Hawaii, the Muslim ban case — send troubling mixed messages, which threaten to undermine religious freedom, fairness, and equality for all.

      In a deeply divided 5-4 decision handed down on Tuesday, the court upheld President Trump’s Muslim ban, allowing the federal government to target Muslims worldwide based on unfounded fears and bare religious animus. In the face of Trump’s repeated, unambiguous statements condemning Islam and Muslims, the Supreme Court essentially gave the president a free pass to vilify an entire faith and enshrine that bigotry into national immigration policy.

    • Trump’s catch-and-detain policy snares many who have long called U.S. home

      To conform to Trump’s policies, Reuters has learned, ICE modified a tool officers have been using since 2013 when deciding whether an immigrant should be detained or released on bond. The computer-based Risk Classification Assessment uses statistics to determine an immigrant’s flight risk and danger to society.

      Previously, the tool automatically recommended either “detain” or “release.” Last year, ICE spokesman Bourke said, the agency removed the “release” recommendation, but he noted that ICE personnel can override it.

    • Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold Trump’s Travel Ban is a Disappointment

      We are deeply disappointed by today’s Supreme Court 5-4 ruling which provides a legal basis for the Trump Administration to prohibit individuals from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela from entering the United States. We agree with the four dissenting Justices that the majority ignored key facts that overwhelmingly showed that this is a religious ban that “masquerades behind a facade of national-security con­cerns.”

      At issue is the Trump Administration’s third Executive Order on immigration, which differed from the original January 2017 and March 2017 orders by the removal of Iraq and Sudan, and the addition of three non-muslim majority countries. Five Justices held that the President has broad discretion to protect national security, and irrespective of Trump’s personal beliefs or statements, his action was justified because he consulted with other agencies and officials on whether people from certain countries posed security risks.

    • ‘Media Coverage of This Case Has Been Sloppy When Present at All’

      Listeners know that Washington, DC, police mass-arrested more than 200 people, including journalists, during protests at Donald Trump’s inauguration, in which a few windows were broken and a limousine set on fire. Federal prosecutors have surprised some by vigorously pursuing felony riot charges against some of the so-called “J20 protesters,” resulting in decades of prison time, even those they acknowledge engaged in no damage or violence but were simply present, and in some cases reporting.

      Perhaps the only hopeful part of what seems a clear effort to criminalize dissent is that the wheels seem to be coming off it. Joining us now to bring us up-to-date is Sam Menefee-Libey, an organizer and member of the Dead City Legal Posse, a community group that’s come together to support J20 protesters. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC.

    • We’ve Found $16.1 Million in Political and Taxpayer Spending at Trump Properties

      Since Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president in late 2015, at least $16.1 million has poured into Trump Organization-managed and branded hotels, golf courses and restaurants from his campaign, Republican organizations, and government agencies. Because Trump’s business empire is overseen by a trust of which he is the sole beneficiary, he profits from these hotel stays, banquet hall rentals and meals.

      To arrive at the total, we compiled campaign finance reports from the Federal Election Commission; state government spending gleaned from dozens of state websites and portals; and federal agency expenditure records obtained by the Washington-based transparency organization Property of the People. For this project, Property of the People filed Freedom of Information Act requests with 15 federal agencies and sued four of them to obtain records. (The organization is also attempting to procure comparable records for the Obama era.)

    • Three City Sticker Tickets on the Same Car in 90 Minutes?

      In less than 90 minutes on an October afternoon in 2014, Chicago police officers slapped three $200 tickets on a South Side woman’s 1999 Ford Expedition because she didn’t have a city vehicle sticker.

      On at least three separate occasions in the past three years, a 27-year-old man from the Austin neighborhood received multiple tickets on the same day because his car didn’t have a city sticker.

      And one spring afternoon last year, city records show, authorities gave a West Side couple a sticker ticket when their car was parked near a recreation center in the Fuller Park neighborhood, then again later that day outside their home in Austin.

    • Supreme Court Agrees To Take Petition Asking Whether Eighth Amendment Protections Apply To Asset Forfeiture

      The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that may alter how states run their asset forfeiture programs. As it stands now, there’s nothing unifying forfeiture policies across the nation and, under Jeff Sessions, the DOJ has reopened the federal forfeiture pressure valve, allowing state agencies to bypass recently-passed reforms.

      But there’s still something at the federal level that possibly affects state-level forfeitures. The question for the Supreme Court is whether or not a Constitutional protection overrides state laws. The case centers on the seizure of an Indiana resident’s Land Rover after a drug bust. Tyson Timbs had purchased the $42,000 vehicle with funds from his father’s life insurance. So, the vehicle was legally obtained with funds not even remotely linked to Timbs’ drug dealing.

      The state took it because Timbs used it to transport drugs on one of the controlled buys cops performed. It processed it as a civil asset forfeiture (rather than a criminal asset forfeiture) to get around the fact the fines and sentence didn’t justify the criminal seizure of a $42,000 vehicle. A drug sale of $225 netted Timbs a year of house arrest and $1200 in legal fees. Then the state decided to take his car because why not.

      That’s what Timbs is challenging. The Eighth Amendment contains an Excessive Fines Clause. Timbs is hoping to have the court find the seizure of a $42,000 vehicle over $225 worth of drugs a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Considering the state levies a maximum $10,000 fine for the offense Timbs was charged with, a $40,000 seizure would appear to be excessive. But Timbs only batted .500 in Indiana courts.

    • Federal judge orders reunification of parents and children, end to most family separations at border

      A federal judge in California late Tuesday ordered a halt to most family separations at the US border and the reunification of all families that have been separated in the first major rebuke to the Trump administration during ongoing furor over family separations at the border.
      The court order specifically requires federal officials to stop detaining parents apart from their minor children, absent a determination the parent is unfit or the parent declines reunification; reunify all parents with their minor children who are under the age of 5 within 14 days and reunify all parents with their minor children age 5 and older within 30 days.
      The order also mandates that officials provide parents contact with their children by phone within 10 days, if the parent is not already in contact with his or her child.

    • Illinois Prosecutor Brings Felony Eavesdropping Charges Against 13-Year-Old Who Recorded His Conversation With School Administrators

      One of Illinois’ most-abused laws continues to be abused. For years, cops used the state’s eavesdropping laws to arrest citizens who attempted to record them. This practice finally stopped when three consecutive courts — including a federal appeals court — ruled the law was unconstitutional when applied to target citizens recording public servants.

      This may have led to the end of bullshit arrests from cops who didn’t like being observed while they worked, but it’s still being used by government officials to punish people they don’t like. Illinois Policy reports a 13-year-old student is facing felony charges for recording a meeting between him and two school administrators.

    • About the Immigrant Children Shelter Map

      ProPublica found and mapped 97 facilities holding immigrant children, including shelters and foster care centers. As of June 26, 2,047 children remain separated from the parents who crossed the border with them. In addition to these children, these shelters were already home to an additional 8,886 children who crossed the border unaccompanied by older relatives before the “zero tolerance” policy was announced.

      The facilities include Casa Padre, a shelter based in a large former Walmart building in Brownsville, Texas, that is housing 1,450 children; a newly constructed tent city near the border in Tornillo, Texas, where temperatures are currently reaching a high of 104 degrees; rural Tudor-style cottages in upstate New York, and a shelter in a former YWCA in downtown Portland, Oregon. There are shelters in the centers of major cities like Houston, Phoenix, Tucson and El Paso. Others are in residential areas. Chances are good that there is one near you. Plug in your ZIP code and check here.

    • Here’s What It’s Like to Work at a Shelter for Immigrant Kids

      The employees were in the ninth hour of another 12-hour shift Saturday afternoon at a converted Walmart now housing immigrant boys when a teenage resident took off.

      Staff members at the Casa Padre shelter had been trying for weeks to connect the 15-year-old with family. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere. As a soccer game began, staffers watched as the boy dashed from the dirt field, clambered over the chain-link fence, jumped into a lake next to the building, then disappeared from view.

    • The Immigrant Children’s Shelters Near You

      Under President Trump’s new “zero tolerance” immigration policy 2,047 children remain separated from their parents, as of June 26.

    • The Supreme Court Failed Us

      The Supreme Court is on the wrong side of Trump’s travel ban.

      Tuesday is a dark day for American jurisprudence and the values we hold dear as a nation. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Under the false guise of protecting national security, the justices sanctioned a policy that targets people because of their religion.

      The ruling is an example of what happens when the government bases a policy on prejudice and bigotry and the court fails to stop it.

      As children, Americans are taught that the role of the Supreme Court is to check the power of the president and Congress. It is supposed to defend the Constitution and stay above politics and bitter partisanship. This duty is especially important at a time when an autocratic president is attacking our basic norms and institutions.

      Sadly, in issuing this decision, the court abdicated that responsibility. The five justices ruling in the majority performed a routine of judicial acrobatics to construct a legal argument sanctioning religious discrimination.

      During his campaign, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslimsentering the United States.” He made good on that promise during his first days in office with an executive order that banned people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. He then adjusted the list of nations subject to his ban as several courts repudiated his order as unconstitutional. The current ban — applying to five Muslim-majority nations and North Korea and Venezuela — is no less the result of anti-religious animus than the previous bans.

    • Antwon Rose Jr. Is Another Unarmed Young Black Man Who Should Be Alive Today

      The East Pittsburgh Police Department was negligent in hiring the officer who shot Rose in the back three times.

      Antwon Rose Jr. was a Black 17-year-old honors student at Woodland Hills High School near Pittsburgh. He died last week because an East Pittsburgh police officer shot him three times from behind. Rose’s story is at once terrifying and all too familiar, in a nation where hundreds of people of color die from police violence every year and where even 10-year old Black children are so afraid of police that their first reaction is to run even if they have done nothing wrong.

      On the day he died, Rose was one of two passengers in a “jitney”— a sort of unofficial taxi — in East Pittsburgh, a suburb just outside of Pittsburgh. An East Pittsburgh police officer pulled over the car because it matched the description of a car that drove away from the scene of a shooting 13 minutes earlier.

      According to an official police statement, the officer ordered the driver out and directed him to the ground. A cell phone video taken by a bystander shows what happened next. As a second police cruiser parked behind the first cruiser, Rose and the other passenger got out of the right-hand side of the jitney and started running away from the officers. While the other passenger was eventually charged with a crime, the district attorney has stated, “Antwon Rose didn’t do anything in North Braddock other than be in that vehicle.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • California’s Quest For Tough Net Neutrality Not Dead Yet

      Last week, AT&T won another major victory for itself by scuttling California’s attempt to pass tough new net neutrality rules. The proposed law, pushed by State Senator Scott Wiener, was heralded by the EFF as a good state-level proposal that eliminated a lot of the loopholes in the FCC’s now-discarded 2015 rules. But AT&T and Comcast lobbyists convinced California Assemblyman Miguel Santiago to introduce a series of last-minute secretive Tuesday night amendments gutting numerous, essential components of the bill. Those amendments were then quickly rushed through a vote without any debate.

    • Facebook abandons its Project Aquila flying internet plan

      On Tuesday the company said it would instead partner with firms such as Airbus to continue its efforts to connect more people to the [I]nternet.

    • Oldest domains in the .com, .net, and .org TLDs

      Using the DDN NIC domain summaries, it shouldn’t be too difficult to extract a list of domains, perform whois queries to get registration dates, and sort the results. Let’s find out.

    • Privacy Progress and Protections for California

      People in California are in midst of an important discussion around improving privacy protections. This comes in the wake of Cambridge Analytica and the European GDPR going into effect – but it’s a discussion that has been a long time in the making. We are excited to see the potential for progress.

      Californians are considering two competing approaches; a narrow ballot initiative on privacy and a broader privacy bill, the California Consumer Privacy Act or CalCPA, currently moving quickly through the legislature. Today, Mozilla is weighing in to endorse the broader bill. While we are also supportive of the ballot initiative, we believe the bill is the better option for Californians.

  • DRM

    • DRM, the World Cup, and what happens when a red team plays a green team

      Less than a year later, the World Cup has demonstrated how DRM thwarts accessibility: the Saudi-Russia match featured green jerseys on red jerseys — which, for millions of people, is just “grey jerseys versus grey jerseys.”

    • Disabilities vs DRM: the World Cup Edition

      When the Russian and Saudi teams squared off in a World Cup match on June 14, many fans were treated to an enthralling football match; but for a minority of fans with a visual disability, the match was more confusing than exciting.

      You see, the Russian team wears red jerseys and the Saudi team wears green jerseys, and red/green color-blindness (“achromatic vision”) is the most common form of color-blindness, a hereditary condition that affects millions. For these people, the Saudi-Russia match was the red/green team versus the red/green team in a fight to the finish.

      The good news is that color-blindness is no match for digital video analysis. Simple apps like DanKam can shift the colors in any video on your device, replacing the colors you can’t see with the colors you can. For people with color-blindness, it’s a profound and moving experience.

      The bad news is that technologies designed to prevent you from making unauthorized uses of videos can’t discriminate between uses that break the law (like copyright infringement) and ones that accomplish socially beneficial and legitimate ends like compensating for color-blindness.

      Less than a year ago, the World Wide Web Consortium published its controversial “Encrypted Media Extensions” (EME) for video, which indiscriminately block any unauthorized alterations to videos, including color-shifting. During the long and often acrimonious fight over EME, EFF proposed a covenant for W3C members that would make them promise not to pursue legal action against people who bypassed EME to adapt videos for people with disabilities, a proposal that was rejected by the major rightsholder and technology companies, who said that they and they alone should be the arbiters of how people with disabilities could use their products.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • [Older] EU Commission proposes softening of SPC law to assist EU-based manufacturers

      The European Commission has proposed a “targeted adjustment” to intellectual property law with a view to reducing the restrictions on EU-based manufacturers of pharmaceuticals seeking to compete in global markets.

      The Commission’s proposal would create an ‘export manufacturing waiver’ to supplementary protection certificates.

      A ‘Supplementary Protection Certificate’ (SPC) is a form of intellectual property right that extends patent protection in respect of pharmaceutical or plant protection products in qualifying circumstances. An SPC extends the term of its ‘basic patent’ by up to five years, the exact term of any particular SPC being determined by reference to the time taken for the grant of first marketing authorisation in the European Economic Area. SPC law is a complex mix of patent law, which derives from international treaty and national laws, and EU regulatory law.

      [...]

      Another is that patent infringement is an area of law that remains a matter of national law, not EU law – indeed, the proposed Unitary patent regime would not alter this.

    • A closer look at Pfizer v Orifarm, SPCs and the specific mechanism

      The CJEU set several precedents for the specific mechanism’s scope over supplementary protection certificates, in a decision IP attorneys say cements the connection between SPCs and basic patents

      IP lawyers say the connection between SPCs and basic patents has been strengthened by the CJEU last week confirming the scope of the specific mechanism regarding parallel importation of supplementary protection certificate-protected products.

    • Car giants and China’s IP leaders among notable gainers in latest IPO US patent ranking

      The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) released its annual ranking yesterday of the 300 companies that received the most US patents in 2017. There was no change at number one as IBM held onto its customary position at the top of the pile, with Big Blue receiving 8,996 grants last year – up by 10.8% year-on-year. In fact, the top five overall has a very familiar look to it.

    • Celebrating American ingenuity to the 7th power [Ed: More of this dumb obsession over the mere number of patents rather than their quality/value]

      From mainframe computers to mobile devices, from vaccines to cures, American ingenuity underwritten by the U.S. patent system has compounded over time to make our lives longer, more productive and more fulfilling.

    • From 1 to 10,000,000 – A History of Patents
    • The USPTO passed up a “golden opportunity” with its Raytheon 10 millionth patent award, expert claims

      The USPTO missed out on a significant chance to have a major impact with its choice for the 10 millionth patent, according to Matt Troyer, director of patent analytics at IP services provider Anaqua. “The news definitely made some noise,” he told IAM, “but this was a missed, one-of-a-kind opportunity to pay tribute to the acceleration of technology, celebrate 228 years of US innovation and pave the way for the next generation of inventors.” Last Tuesday the office issued patent number 10 million to Raytheon’s Joseph Marron for a method of getting real-time readings from LADAR.

    • Trademarks

      • Former France.com domain owner loses sign battle at General Court [Ed: EUIPO is run by a Frenchman, António Campinos]

        A man who claimed his domain name was “illegally seized” by the French government has also had his France.com sign rejected by the EUIPO after the French government opposed it. Can he defend his other EUIPO-registered marks?

      • Voodoo brewery unveils new can for “H2P” IPA

        Pennsylvania-based brewery Voodoo released a new design for its Pitt-themed IPA “H2P” after a legal dispute with Pitt caused the brewery to change the beer’s popular original can design that included the letters “H2P” in Pitt script and an image of the Cathedral of Learning.

        The new cans still feature Pitt’s trademark blue and gold color scheme, but that’s where any allusions to Pitt end. The cans now read “NON-TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT ALMA MATER IPA” with no other Pitt-related images.

      • Voodoo Brewery Changes Beer Name By Dipping It In Snark In Response To Pitt Trademark C&D

        Snark is a wholly underrated tool for dealing with trademark bullies. While we’ve seen it employed in the past, the victim of trademark bullying turning the tables on the bully with humor is something that still is far too rare. One brewery recently showed exactly how this is done.

        Voodoo Brewery has been selling its H2P IPA since 2014, with a can label that nods towards the University of Pittsburgh, where the brother of the brewery’s founder went to school. It was only in late 2017 that the school sent out a cease and desist letter, claiming trademark infringement.

    • Copyrights

      • ‘Free’ Game Making $300 Million Per Month? But I Thought You Can’t Make Money On Free…

        For most of the first decade of the millennium, we would post over and over again about content business models and how “free” content makes a ton of sense as a component of a business model. And yet, people in the legacy entertainment industry would laugh and laugh, and talk about how “you can’t make money on free.” You even had folks who claimed that if you gave away anything for free it proved you had “no fucking clue” about how to run a business. My favorite may have been Doug Morris, who was boss of Universal Music and then Sony Music, insisting that there was no way anyone in the recording business could make money on “free.”

        These days, that’s all looking pretty silly, but just to drive home the point: the insanely popular free video game Fortnite made $318 million last month. Not last year. Last month. And it’s free. Of course, as we’ve always said, the whole point of free is not that free is the business model, but that free is a part of the business model. And that’s exactly how Fortnight works.

      • Stephanie Lenz and Universal Music Publishing Group Settle ‘Dancing Baby’ Case

        Stephanie Lenz and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) today announced they have amicably resolved Lenz v. Universal, the widely followed litigation sometimes referred to as the “Dancing Baby” case. Lenz filed her complaint in 2007, after UMPG requested the removal of a video in which Lenz’s then-toddler aged son dances to music playing in the background.

        David Kokakis, UMPG’s Chief Counsel, said, “UMPG takes great pride in protecting the rights of our songwriters. Inherent in that objective is our desire to take a thoughtful approach to enforcement matters. The Lenz case helped us to develop a fair and tempered process for evaluation of potential takedowns.”

      • After More Than a Decade of Litigation, the Dancing Baby Has Done His Part to Strengthen Fair Use for Everyone

        Litigation can always take twists and turns, but when EFF filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group in 2007 on behalf of Stephanie Lenz, few would have anticipated it would be ten years until the case was finally resolved. But today, at last, it is. Along the way, Lenz v. Universal contributed to strengthening fair use law, bringing nationwide attention to the issues of copyright and fair use in new digital movie-making and sharing technologies.

        It all started when Lenz posted a YouTube video of her then-toddler-aged son dancing while Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” played in the background, and Universal used copyright claims to get the link disabled. We brought the case hoping to get some clarity from the courts on a simple but important issue: can a rightsholder use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down an obvious fair use, without consequence?

      • Kim Dotcom Files Complaint With Human Rights Tribunal Over “Lost Data”

        Kim Dotcom has revealed that a judgment requiring authorities to hand over information to him hasn’t been complied with due to apparent IT system issues. According to the Megaupload founder, data generated before December 2013 is no longer available to be handed over. In response, Dotcom’s lawyers have filed an urgent submission with the Human Rights Tribunal demanding immediate action.

      • Roku Claims Success in ‘War’ Against Piracy

        After Mexican courts put a ban on Roku sales in the country, the popular media player ramped up its anti-piracy efforts. According to new data released by Roku today, this response has paid off. Globally, approximately 99.5% of all “streaming hours” come from channels with no links to ‘pirate organizations.’

      • No more memes? The EU’s latest threat to the net

        This threat to the net comes from the EU’s new copyright directive, which was passed narrowly by its Legal Affairs Committee, with 13 votes in favour and 11 against in a secret ballot. (A great deal of EU law-making occurs in secret.) The law is intended to crack down on the streaming of pirated films and music. But the actual scope is so large that it covers all and any copyrightable material.

      • Take action! Tell US Congress not to pass the CLASSICS Act

        Creative Commons founder and former Free Software Foundation (FSF) board member Lawrence Lessig recently explained the ugly consequences of the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, which was passed by the US House earlier this year and is now before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the omnibus Music Modernization Act. Lessig has a long history in the realm of copyright law — he was the lead counsel on an unsuccessful challenge to the previous extension of US copyright law, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

        The CLASSICS Act aims to fence in another arena in which users enjoy published works, Lessig writes, creating “a new digital performance right — basically the right to control copies of recordings on any digital platform (ever hear of the Internet?) — for musical recordings made before 1972″ (hence the “cute” acronym, CLASSICS). The bill would grant such recordings a new “protection” through 2067, which actually means being copyright restricted for up to 144 years, compared to 95 years for print works from the same period.

      • CBS will stream its NFL games on smartphones starting this season

        CBS has extended its streaming deal with the NFL to 2022 and expanded the terms to include access on mobile devices through its CBS All Access subscription service. Now, users who pay for All Access, which starts at $5.99 a month, or have an existing cable login supported by CBS will have access to NFL season games plus the Super Bowl on iOS and Android via the CBS app. The games will also be available on the web via CBS.com and a number of set-top boxes, smart TVs, and game consoles.

      • FIFA Fails to Remove Pirate Streaming Sites From Google Search

        Google recently received a takedown notice, sent on behalf of FIFA, asking the search engine to remove several allegedly infringing sites. FIFA hoped to limit the availability of pirated World Cup streams but Google decided not to take any action. In part, perhaps, because not all reported sites were offering pirated content.

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