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09.10.18

Links 10/9/2018: Nano 3.0, Nextcloud 14, Elive 3.0 and Git 2.19 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • The best Linux apps for Chrome OS

      Slowly but surely, Google is bringing support for Linux applications to Chrome OS. Even though the feature is primarily aimed at developers, like those who want to get Android Studio running on a Pixelbook, there are plenty of apps that can benefit normal users. We already have a guide about installing Linux apps on Chrome OS, but if you’re not sure what to try, this post may point you in the right direction.

      This isn’t a simple compilation of the best Linux apps, because plenty of those exist already. Instead, the goal here is to recommend apps for tasks that cannot be adequately filled by web apps or Android applications. For example, serious photo editing isn’t really possible through the web, and options on the Play Store are limited, but Gimp is perfect for it.

  • Server

    • Linux LDAP Server

      Since the development of this traditional IT realm, the world shifted to the cloud, bringing with it a variety of solutions such as AWS® and other SaaS tools (e.g. GitHub, Jira, Slack, and others). With the advent of DevOps tools, such as Docker, Kubernetes, OpenVPN, and more, LDAP remained a popular choice for authentication services. However, now the challenge was that IT admins had to manage the Linux LDAP server, rather than purchase the capability as a service, much like the rest of their cloud-based infrastructure.

      The good news is that a modern approach to directory services has emerged with an LDAP-as-a-Service offering. This cloud LDAP solution is available from JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service and enables IT organizations to simply point their IT resources to a multi-tenant cloud Linux LDAP server environment managed by a third party. In addition, IT admins get the benefit of pay as you go, with high availability, security, and scalability.

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernel Linux 4.18.7

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.18.7 kernel.

      All users of the 4.18 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.18.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.18.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Red Hat dev questions why older Linux kernels are patched quietly

      A Linux developer who works for the biggest open source vendor Red Hat has questioned why security holes in older Linux kernels — those that are listed as having long-term support — are being quietly patched by senior kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman, who is more or less deputy to Linux creator Linus Torvalds, without issuing the standard CVE advisories.

      Last week, Wade Mealing raised questions with Kroah-Hartman about a specific patch that fixed a flaw that could lead to a denial of service.

    • Linux 4.14.69
    • Linux 4.9.126
    • Linux 4.4.155
    • Linux 3.18.122
    • Linux 4.19-rc3

      Another week, another rc.

      Things look fairly normal. The diffstat shows some unusual patterns,
      but that’s partly due to some late nds32 updates and nilfs2 got the
      copyright messages converted to SPDX, and that just shows up like a
      sore thumb in the diffstat.

      But other than odd details like that, nothing really stands out.
      Drivers, networking and arch fixes, with misc random small changes all
      over (eg btrfs fixes).

      Shortlog appended, in case people want to look at the details.

    • Linux 4.19-rc3 Kernel Released With The New CPU RNG Boot-Time Trust Option
    • Linux 4.19 Is Looking Good So Far, At Least On Intel Xeons
    • ZFS On Linux 0.7.10 Released With Linux 4.18 Support, Debian DKMS

      For those making use of ZFS On Linux to utilize ZFS file-system support on Linux systems, a new ZOL 0.7.10 release along with its SPL layer have been released.

      Most notable to ZFS/SPL 0.7.10 is the latest Linux 4.18 stable kernel series now being supported, but support is retained for going back to the Linux 2.6.32 kernel.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Announces New Course and Certs for Hyperledger Fabric and Sawtooth

        On Thursday, the Linux Foundation announced yet another resource to help leaners grow more familiar with blockchain technology. The new LFD271 – Hyperledger Fabric Fundamentals is currently open for enrollment. The course is intended to onboard learners into the world of the blockchain and introduce people to current uses and practices.

        Later this year, successful students will be able to take the Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator and Certified Hyperledger Sawtooth Administrator exams to prove their merit.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s GPUOpen Vulkan Memory Allocator 2.1 Released

        AMD’s GPUOpen group has announced a new version of their open-source Vulkan Memory Allocator project that seeks to make it easier to deal with memory allocation and management when using this graphics API.

      • AMD Nearing Full OpenCL 2.0 Support With ROCm 2.0 Compute Stack

        AMD’s fully open-source GPU compute stack in the form of ROCm “Radeon Open Compute” is nearing its next milestone with OpenCL 2.0 compliance.

        While we have been looking forward to ROCm 1.9 as the next feature release for this Linux OpenCL/GPGPU stack with OpenCL 1.2 officially plus portions of OpenCL 2.0+, the ROCm 2.0 release is where they are squaring up for complete OpenCL 2.0 support.

      • AMD Officially Announces The Ryzen 3 2300X & Ryzen 5 2500X

        Following weeks of leaks about these new processors targeting OEMs and system integrators, AMD today officially announced the Ryzen 3 2300X and Ryzen 5 2500X processors.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Linux 4.19 AMDGPU + Mesa 18.3 Performance From The Radeon HD 7950 To RX Vega 64

        Here are the results from some weekend benchmarking looking at the current stage of the AMDGPU + RadeonSI/RADV open-source AMD Linux graphics card performance when using the very latest code from the Linux 4.19 development kernel and Mesa 18.3. It’s also an interesting mix of AMD Radeon graphics cards from the HD 7950 through the latest RX Vega 64.

        Ahead of the GeForce RTX 2080 series shipping later this month and other forthcoming Linux GPU benchmarks, this article is offering a fresh look at the Radeon graphics performance when using the Linux 4.19 development kernel we have begun testing though won’t be released officially until the middle of October. Mesa 18.3-devel also remains quite busy and will be officially released around the end of November. Plus making this comparison even more interesting is testing some older GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics cards while using the AMDGPU kernel driver paired with RadeonSI and RADV…

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • From code to related bug report or review in just a hover & click

        Work on those patches has been picked up again the last week, and they have now reached Merge Candidate state and are ready for final review, targeting KTextEditor of KF 5.52 (to be merged right after tagging 5.51) and KDevelop 5.4.

      • Akademy 2018

        This year I was in Vienna to attend Akademy 2018, the annual KDE world summit. It was my fourth Akademy after Berlin’2012 (in fact, Desktop Summit ), Brno’2014, and Berlin’2016 (together with QtCon). Interesting, I go to Akademy each 2 years – let’s try to improve it next year.

        After a really long travel I could meet gearheads from all parts of world, including Brazil, old and new friends working together to improve the free software computing experience, each one giving a small (and someone, giant) parts to make this dream in reality. Always I meet these people I feel me recharged to continue my work on this dream.

        I loved the talk of Volker about KDE Itinerary, a new application to manage passbook files related to travels. It think an app just to manage all kind of passbook files (like tickets for concerts, theaters, and more) like this could be a interesting addition to KDE software family, and a step behind KDE Itinerary. Anyway, waiting for news from this software.

        The talk about creating transitions in Kdenlive make me think on how interesting could be a plugin to run bash (or python, maybe) in order to automate several steps in some works performed by editors in this software. Maybe use KDE Store to share it… well, ideas.

      • Continuous Work on Konsole

        Half a month ago when I landed my patch that replaced the old Konsole tabbar with a newer QTabWidget approach, I made a lot of people unhappy, but a lot of people happy too. And I want to make more people happy by fixing the issues I created.

        Now, Whenever code is changed there’s a possibility of new bugs arriving and there’s nothing wrong with that. The wrong thing (and that happens a few times with any software) is ignoring the bugs and pretending that they don’t exist.

      • My Days in Munich Are Numbered

        A big reason for the move to Germany was because of specific experiences with German people that I personally had. People in KDE who first helped me hone my technical skills and then my social skills. People who came up to me in San Francisco – where I was at a developer conference – and said “Hey, you’re Indian right? Happy Diwali!” People who knew nothing about me whatsoever, heard that I was moving to Germany, took me aside for two whole hours and told me about life in their country, things I should be careful about, things I should do and things I should not. After all of that, the experience I had in Munich was nothing short of shocking. I often wondered, where the people who made me want to move here were. Because they definitely weren’t where I was.

      • Qt 3D Studio 2.1 Beta Released With Various Improvements
      • Qt 3D Studio 2.1 Beta 1 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt 3D Studio 2.1 Beta 1. It is available via the online installer. Here’s a quick summary of the new features and functions in 2.1.

        For detailed information about the Qt 3D Studio, visit the online documentation page.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.50.0

        KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.50.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.50 Brings Big Updates For KTextEditor, Improvements To KWayland

        Released this weekend was the monthly update to the KDE Frameworks 5 collection of libraries that complement Qt5.

        With KDE Frameworks 5.50 there are a lot of notable improvements on top of the usual smothering of fixes and various improvements to these dozens of add-on libraries.

      • Slimbook Pro2 + Kubuntu 18.04 – Superb match

        Overall, Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver works really well on the Slimbook Pro2. Hardware compatibility is top notch, performance and responsiveness are excellent, you get good battery life, and I was able to stock up the desktop with apps without any problems. HD scaling can be better, but that’s something I will talk about separately. Again, fully doable. There were some cosmetic niggles and issues, plus two rather naughty crashes. These are things that stand between Kubuntu and perfection, and somehow, the last few pieces always elude the creators. It’s almost like self-induced masochism, a fear of finishing one’s work, which is why artists and poets rarely ever say they’re done. That, or bad QA.

        But let’s not forget the Slimbook. This fine laptop is matching and exceeding all my expectations, hand in hand with the operating system. I did have to invest a little of energy polishing everything up, but it was a fun process, you will also gain from it a range of guides and tutorials, and in then end, I have a robust, beautiful systems that should hopefully serve me well for years to come. To sum it up: If you’re looking for a Linux-based or Linux-friendly laptop, Slimbook seems cool. If you need an OS to match, Kubuntu 18.04 Beaver is a very reasonable and modern choice. Finally, this is not the end. Our journey has only just begun, so expect a whole range of articles to follow.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.12 and GStreamer Plugin 0.3 release

        After almost 6 months, a new release of the GStreamer Rust bindings and the GStreamer plugin writing infrastructure for Rust is out. As usual this was coinciding with the release of all the gtk-rs crates to make use of all the new features they contain.

        Thanks to all the contributors of both gtk-rs and the GStreamer bindings for all the nice changes that happened over the last 6 months!

        And as usual, if you find any bugs please report them and if you have any questions let me know.

  • Distributions

    • 9 Most popular Linux distribution of 2018 for Developers

      Developers often use Linux- based operating systems to do their daily work and develop new things. The main considerations for their choice of Linux distribution for programming are compatibility, power consumption, stability, and flexibility. Distributions like Ubuntu and Debian have become the first choice. Other good options such as openSUSE, Arch Linux, etc. For users who plan to purchase Raspberry Pi, Raspbian is the best choice.

    • Reviews

      • Review: Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling edition

        Netrunner Rolling is a distribution I thoroughly enjoyed using. There we a few minor issues, but overall everything worked great. The distribution came with enough software pre-installed that I really did not need to install any additional software to perform most basic tasks. Were I to use Netrunner Rolling long term, I might want to swap a few of the included programs for ones that were my own personal preference, but the software Netrunner Rolling ships with are good defaults. The only software oddity was being stuck on LibreOffice 5.4 for a while before finally upgrading to 6.0. Most of the other packages are up-to-date, often the absolutely newest possible version, but updates to LibreOffice packages are more conservative.

        Users wanting the Arch Linux experience without the effort should give Netrunner Rolling a try. It provides a nice, polished KDE experience with a decent selection of software included by default. Netrunner’s KDE customizations create a desktop experience that is simultaneously traditional and modern, providing a nice middle ground between the classic Windows-style desktop and GNOME 3 & Unity.

    • Slackware Family

      • liveslak-1.3.0 with speed improvements

        There was no August release of a Plasma5 Live ISO as you will probably have noticed. The reason was that around the time when I released the August update of Plasma5 for Slackware, I was working on new liveslak functionality and wanted to finish that before releasing new ISOs. The testing took some more time than I anticipated due to increased work load in my day job. But I finished what I wanted to have in a new liveslak release, and today I want to write a post about the new stuff.

        To accompany the new liveslak-1.3.0 I have uploaded fresh ISO images for the Slackware Live Edition. They are based on the latest Slackware-current dated “Fri Sep 7 23:00:06 UTC 2018″.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (July and August 2018)

        The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

        William Blough (bblough)
        Shengjing Zhu (zhsj)
        Boyuan Yang (byang)
        Thomas Koch (thk)
        Xavier Guimard (yadd)
        Valentin Vidic (vvidic)
        Mo Zhou (lumin)
        Ruben Undheim (rubund)
        Damiel Baumann (daniel)

        The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

        Phil Morrell
        Raúl Benencia
        Brian T. Smith
        Iñaki Martin Malerba
        Hayashi Kentaro
        Arnaud Rebillout

        Congratulations!

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 3.0

          More than 2500 own packages with detailed customizations, tons of customizations and integrations between parts to communicate and work together, own designs, special and unique features, and the gigantic list of characteristics listed here… definitively this is not just a debian with enlightenment.

        • ELIVE 3.0 STABLE IS RELEASED!

          After 8 years of silent development, the third stable version of Elive is out, the result is simply amazing and the integration is gorgeous, it is not even possible to describe every inside feature and the new website only contains a small portion of its characteristics.

          Unfortunately not everything is rainbows and perfection, the lack of resources made the release being too much delayed, and this leaded to old packages and drivers, but even with that, the final result is really worth of it, Elive 3.0 is the most useful system ever made, perfect for the daily use, rock solid, beautiful and full of hidden features, with every simplified aspect to make it usable for any user level.

          If all this was not enough this version is the most powerful version, maintaining its lightness in resources and blazing fast responsiveness, do not hesitate to put this polished and ready to use system in every computer for any purpose.

          And even better again, the final stable version is entirely cost-free, limitless with all its features, to make it easier to more people in the world can use it, specially the ones with the lower resources.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Solving the storage dilemma: Is open source the key?

    For CIOs, storage systems that are able to provide greater flexibility and choice, as well as the capability to better identify unstructured data in order to categorise, utilise and automate the management of it throughout its lifecycle are seen as the ideal solution.

    One answer to solving the storage issue is software-defined storage (SDS) which separates the physical storage hardware (data plane) from the data storage management logic or ‘intelligence’ (control plane). Needing no proprietary hardware components, SDS is the perfect cost-effective solution for enterprises as IT can use off-the-shelf, low-cost commodity hardware which is robust and flexible.

    A research paper by SUSE entitled Managing the Data Explosion Challenge with Open Source Storage found that rising storage costs consistently ranks at the top of business concerns across the industry, but data growth is only one part of a more complex equation. The greatest ongoing cost for IT usually lies in system support and management.

  • 3 open source log aggregation tools

    How is metrics aggregation different from log aggregation? Can’t logs include metrics? Can’t log aggregation systems do the same things as metrics aggregation systems?

    These are questions I hear often. I’ve also seen vendors pitching their log aggregation system as the solution to all observability problems. Log aggregation is a valuable tool, but it isn’t normally a good tool for time-series data.

    A couple of valuable features in a time-series metrics aggregation system are the regular interval and the storage system customized specifically for time-series data. The regular interval allows a user to derive real mathematical results consistently. If a log aggregation system is collecting metrics in a regular interval, it can potentially work the same way. However, the storage system isn’t optimized for the types of queries that are typical in a metrics aggregation system. These queries will take more resources and time to process using storage systems found in log aggregation tools.

  • Haiku, the open source BeOS clone, to release in beta after 17 years of development

    The Haiku OS project initially launched in August 2001, then named as “OpenBeOS”, is nearing a beta release expected later this month. It’s been over 17 years since the project launched, and more than 18 years since the last release of the operating system- BeOS that inspired it.

    BeOs launched in 1995 by Be Inc, almost became the operating system for Apple’s hardware. However, the negotiations between Be Inc and Apple turned into nothing and the iPhone giant decided in favour of NeXT. Used primarily in the area of multimedia by software developers and users, BeOS had an impressive user interface, pre-emptive multitasking, symmetric multiprocessing and a 64-bit journaling file system. Cloning BeOS, Haiku’s boot performance is very good. The Haiku user interface is modeled entirely after BeOS, acquiring its signature variable-width title bars and spatial file management.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome Kills Off WWW In URLs — Here’s Why People Think It’s A Dumb Move

        While Google thinks www. or m. were “trivial subdomain,” people have strongly criticized Google over the Chromium blog thread. Some calling it a “dumb move,” others stating it another case of “stating opinion as a fact.”

        Apart from that, people have also pointed out several instances where two sites with similar URL scheme can cause confusion as well as open door to phishing attacks

    • Mozilla

      • What Is the Point of Mozilla?

        Few journeys in the world of open source have been as exciting as Mozilla’s. Its birth was dramatic. Netscape, the pioneering company whose Netscape Navigator browser shaped the early Web, had enjoyed the most successful IPO up until then, valuing the 18-month-year-old company at nearly $3 billion. That was in 1995. Three years later, the company was in freefall, as the browser wars took their toll, and Microsoft continued to gain market share with its Internet Explorer, launched alongside Windows 95. Netscape’s response was bold and unprecedented. On January 27, 1998, it announced that it was making the source code for the next generation of its web browser freely available under a GPL-like license.

        Although of huge symbolic importance for the still-young Free Software world—the term “open source” was coined only a month after Netscape’s announcement—the release and transformation of the code for what became the Mozilla browser suite was fraught with difficulties. The main problem was trying to re-write the often problematic legacy code of Netscape Navigator. Mozilla 1.0 was finally released in 2002, but by then, Internet Explorer dominated the sector. The failure of the Mozilla browser to make much of an impact ultimately spurred development of the completely new Firefox browser. Version 1.0 was launched in 2004, after three years of work.

      • Firefox Snap is the best way to run Beta Firefox

        First things first. I haven’t been a huge fan of Snaps (despite working for Canonical) or Flatpaks. Both I felt initally put convenience over security. I believe both are maturing now, but it again puts the evaluation if a package is secure on users – instead of distros which actually have teams to review items before inclusion.. Anyway, with that said: On to how I am loving the Firefox Snap

      • New API to Bring Augmented Reality to the Web
      • New API to Bring Augmented Reality to the Web

        Mozilla is excited to enter a new phase of work on JavaScript APIs that will help everyone create and share virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) projects on the open web.

        As you might know, Mozilla formally launched this work last year with the release of Firefox desktop support for the WebVR 1.1 API. Using that draft API, early adopters like WITHIN were able to distribute 3D experiences on the web and have them work well on a range of devices, from mobile phones and cardboard viewers to full-fledged, immersive VR headsets.

      • Security Bugs in Practice: SSRF via Request Splitting

        One of the most interesting (and sometimes scary!) parts of my job at Mozilla is dealing with security bugs. We don’t always ship perfect code – nobody does – but I’m privileged to work with a great team of engineers and security folks who know how to deal effectively with security issues when they arise. I’m also privileged to be able to work in the open, and I want to start taking more advantage of that to share some of my experiences.

        One of the best ways to learn how to write more secure code is to get experience watching code fail in practice. With that in mind, I’m planning to write about some of the security-bug stories that I’ve been involved in during my time at Mozilla. Let’s start with a recent one: Bug 1447452, in which some mishandling of unicode characters by the Firefox Accounts API server could have allowed an attacker to make arbitrary requests to its backend data store.

      • Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for Common Voice

        Today Common Voice — our crowdsourcing-initiative for an open and publicly available voice dataset that anyone can use to train speech-enabled applications — was honored as a Finalist in the Experimental category in Fast Company’s 2018 Innovation by Design Awards.

        Fast Company states that Innovation by Design is the only competition to honor creative work at the intersection of design, business, and innovation. 

The awards, which can be found in the October 2018 issue of Fast Company, on stands September 18th, recognize people, teams, and companies solving problems through design. After spending a year researching and reviewing applicants Fast Company is honoring an influential and diverse group of 398 leaders in fashion, architecture, graphic design and data visualization, social good, user experience, and more.

      • We’re intentionally designing open experiences, here’s why.

        At Mozilla, our Open Innovation team is driven by the guiding principle of being Open by Design. We are intentionally designing how we work with external collaborators and contributors — both at the individual and organizational level — for the greatest impact and shared value. This includes foundational strategic questions from business objectives to licensing through to overall project governance. But importantly, it also applies to how we design experiences for our communities. Including how we think about creating interactions, from onboarding to contribution.

        [...]

        What is now Common Voice, an multi-language voice collection experience, started merely as an identified need. Since early 2016 Mozilla’s Machine Learning Group has been working on an Open Source speech recognition engine and model, project “Deep Speech”. Any high quality speech-to-text engines require thousands of hours of voice data to train them, but publicly available voice data is very limited and the cost of commercial datasets is exorbitant. This prompted the question, how might we collect large quantities of voice data for Open Source machine learning?

  • BSD

    • Doing One Thing, Well: The UNIX Philosophy

      The Unix operating system has been around for decades, and it and its lookalikes (mainly Linux) are a critical part of the computing world. Apple’s operating system, macOS, is Unix-based, as are Solaris and BSD. Even if you’ve never directly used one of these operating systems, at least two-thirds of all websites are served by Unix or Unix-like software. And, if you’ve ever picked up a smart phone, chances are it was running either a Unix variant or the Linux-driven Android. The core reason that Unix has been so ubiquitous isn’t its accessibility, or cost, or user interface design, although these things helped. The root cause of its success is its design philosophy.

      Good design is crucial for success. Whether that’s good design of a piece of software, infrastructure like a railroad or power grid, or even something relatively simple like a flag, without good design your project is essentially doomed. Although you might be able to build a workable one-off electronics project that’s a rat’s nest of wires, or a prototype of something that gets the job done but isn’t user-friendly or scalable, for a large-scale project a set of good design principles from the start is key.

    • Pricing Shifts between CreateSpace, IngramSpark, and KDP Print

      Before I go all stabby, though, let’s gather all the information. For an apples-to-apples comparison, I’m setting the CreateSpace price of Spilled Mirovar to $6.99, same as KDP Print and IngramSpark. We really need to make two comparisons. CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution (CSED) is analogous to IngramSpark, and CreateSpace’s Amazon service is migrating to KDP Print.

    • FreeBSD lockless algorithm – seq

      Those days locking algorithms are critical for operating systems, especially in a multi-threaded world. With time it turns out that classical locks, like mutex, are performance costly. Even when we are using techniques like having reads and writes mutex, synchronizing the state between CPUs can be costly. To optimize some cases, the lockless algorithm started to be used.

      There are multiple places in the kernel where we need to read some variables very often, but there is a small number of cases when we write to them. For such cases, the seq interface was created. [...]

    • How does the process title works?

      Let’s start by defining what the title of a process is – in this article, we will understand the name reported by ps(1)/top(1). When we are creating a new process using fork(2) the process inherits the name from its parent. In the scenario when we call exec(2) function we also pass the list of the arguments for a process, which will be treated as a process title. What if we would like to change the title of the process when it’s running? It turns out that many operating systems do it in a different way. In this article we will discuss how open source operating systems like FreeBSD, Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, and DragonFlyBSD do it.

    • OpenBSD on disk images

      Users are able to declare disk images as ‘raw’ or ‘qcow2’ using either vmctl and vm.conf. The default disk image format is ‘raw’ if not specified.

    • LLVM 7.0 RC3 Released – The Last Release Candidate

      While only two release candidates were on the schedule for LLVM 7.0, release manager Hans Wennborg today opted for a third RC that he intends to be the final test version before officially releasing the LLVM 7.0.0 collection.

      LLVM 7.0 RC3 was released this morning as the last release candidate and incorporates the recent bug fixing that’s went on since the RC2 release at the end of August. Assuming no serious issues are uncovered, this version should be very close to LLVM 7.0.0 final.

    • A Look At The Features Coming With LLVM 7.0 & Clang 7.0

      It’s running a few days late, but the LLVM 7.0 release along with sub-projects like Clang 7.0 should be released very soon. Here is a look at some of the features coming to this six-month compiler infrastructure update.

      Below is a look at the highlights for LLVM 7.0. Overall it’s been another busy half-year with many additions to the AMDGPU back-end, the new LLVM MCA utility, continued work on the Spectre front, OpenCL C++ support is introduced, function multi-versioning (FMV) finally for Clang, OpenMP 4.5 offloading to NVIDIA NVPTX, and many other compiler infrastructure improvements.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • An FSFE Fellowship Representative’s dilemma

      The FSFE Fellowship representative role may appear trivial, but it is surprisingly complicated. What’s best for FSFE, what is best for the fellows and what is best for free software are not always the same thing.

      As outlined in my blog Who are/were the FSFE Fellowship?, fellows have generously donated over EUR 1,000,000 to FSFE and one member of the community recently bequeathed EUR 150,000. Fellows want to know that this money is spent well, even beyond their death.

      FSFE promised them an elected representative, which may have given them great reassurance about the checks and balances in the organization. In practice, I feel that FSFE hasn’t been sincere about this role and it is therefore my duty to make fellows aware of what representation means in practice right now.

      This blog has been held back for some time in the hope that things at FSFE would improve. Alas, that is not the case and with the annual general meeting in Berlin only four weeks away, now is the time for the community to take an interest. As fellowship representative, I would like to invite members of the wider free software community to attend as guests of the fellowship and try to help FSFE regain legitimacy.

      [...]

      Days later, on 25 March, FSFE management announced the extraordinary general meeting to be held in the staff office in Berlin, to confirm the constitutional change and as a bonus, try to abruptly terminate my own term as representative. I felt all these sudden changes were not happening by coincidence, rather, it came across as a nasty reprisal for February’s email about constitutional changes. I had simply been trying to fulfill my ethical obligations to fellows and suddenly I had become persona non grata.

      When I first saw this termination proposal in March, it really made me feel quite horrible. They were basically holding a gun to my head and planning a vote on whether to pull the trigger. For all purposes, it looked like gangster behavior happening right under my nose in a prominent free software organization.

      Both the absurdity and hostility of these tactics was further underlined by taking this vote on my role behind my back on 26 May, while I was on a 10 day trip to the Balkans pursuing real free software activities in Albania and Kosovo, starting with OSCAL.

      In the end, while the motion to abolish elections was passed and fellows may never get to vote again, only four of the official members of the association backed the abusive motion to knife me and that motion failed. Nonetheless, it left me feeling I would be reluctant to trust FSFE again. An organization that relies so heavily on the contributions of volunteers shouldn’t even contemplate treating them, or their representatives, with such contempt. The motion should never have been on the agenda in the first place.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Tragedy of the Commons Clause

      For those who would develop software and sell it, open source is something of a conundrum. On the one hand, as Mike Olson has noted, you can’t win with a closed platform. On the other, it substantially complicates the sales process.

      Before open source software entered the mainstream for enterprise technology usage, the commercialization of software was a straightforward affair. As the gatekeeper between proprietary code and an enterprise that wanted it to solve one problem or another, vendors were able to dictate terms to would be buyers. When that source code is made available publicly under an open source license, however, vendors must either persuade enterprises to pay a license for something they have free and unrestricted access to or find a different model to monetize their software development efforts.

      This fundamental disruption of the traditional sales model has led the commercial open source community to experiment with a variety of business models, from support and service to dual licensing to open core. It has also, more recently, led to the release of the Commons Clause.

      The Commons Clause, in the event that you are extremely fortunate and missed the eruption that followed the news that Redis Labs had applied it to several of its previously proprietary modules – although not, as was initially believed, core Redis itself – is essentially a license rider. For something that has generated this much controversy, the language itself is actually simple.

      In short, as the documentation acknowledges, the Commons Clause turns open source software into non-open source software, according to the industry’s accepted definition of that term. Specifically it says that the terms of the original open source license notwithstanding, you may not sell software “whose value derives, entirely or substantially, from the functionality of the Software.” Lawyers and others with long term exposure to license issues will note the problem with the word “substantially” – what does that word mean in this context, precisely, and who gets to define it? It’s a bit odd, frankly, to see such a lack of precision in a document produced by Heather Meeker, a respected lawyer with long experience in licensing generally and the open source world specifically. It seems safe to assume that that language didn’t make the final draft without a fair amount of internal debate.

      [...]

      In the abstract sense, it’s reasonable to hope that those who are responsible for a given software asset are the ones who profit from its sale. The problem is that the mechanism leveraged by the Commons Clause poses several major issues for open source broadly.

      First, it’s necessary to understand why open source works at all. For developers, it’s simple: open source works because it imposes less friction than the alternative. But the reason open source works within the enterprise is an acquired acceptance of the model and an understanding of both the macro license types and micro-license implications.

      What this means in practice is that the ability of the developers within a given enterprise to use and rely on open source at scale is dependent on its acceptance by that enterprise’s legal department. Which in turn implies that the legal department has had to learn, in many cases slowly and painfully, what open source is broadly and what the differences are between, as one example, permissive and reciprocal licenses. The end result is the policies which countless developers operate under today which specify which licenses are approved and which are not.

    • Why politicizing open source is a terrible idea

      In our increasingly politicized world, it has become popular to chant “all software is political.” Software builds the systems that free or constrain us, the thinking goes, and so we should withhold it from bad people. This is the thinking that has led Microsoft employees and others to decry contracts tech companies have with ICE (US Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement), insisting that their software only be sold to people they like.

      This has some precedence, with enterprise software contracts regularly prohibiting the sale of software within certain countries, to abide by US (or other countries’) laws. It has no precedence within open source, nor should it, as the recent conflagration over the Lerna project has exposed.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • BYD launches open-source platform, ‘developer version’ of AV model

      BYD has launched an open-source platform it calls ‘D++’ and a ‘developer version’ of its Qin Pro, claimed to be the world’s first autonomous car open to third-party developers. It announced these at its worldwide developer conference in Shenzhen, China, attended by representatives from companies including Baidu, Horizon and Roadstar.ai.

      Wang Chuanfu, BYD president and chairman, said at the conference: “Like the development of smartphones, which shifted from closed to open systems, this is also the only way for the car to become ‘smarter’. As we are embracing this new wave of intelligence, I’m proud to announce BYD’s strategy is now ‘open’.

      “In the future, travel will only comprise 1pc of smart cars, and the remaining 99pc is open to the human imagination,” Wang added. “BYD will fully open 341 sensors and 66 controls on the car for developers, providing a much broader creative platform, which is bound to produce an immeasurable application ecology. We are doing for the car what Android did for the mobile phone.”

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Sci-Hub Effect? Prominent Research Councils Push Open Access

        This week several prestigious European research councils announced a major push for Open Access publishing. This will limit the influence of major copyright holders and could eventually help to ‘tear down academia’s paywalls.’ The latter is exactly what Sci-Hub, the “Pirate Bay of Science,” has been advocating for years.

  • Programming/Development

    • The compiler as a shared library

      Since times immemorial, compilers have been run as standalone batch processes. If you have 50 files to compile, then you invoke the compiler 50 times, once on each file. Since each compilation is independent of all others, the work can be parallelised perfectly. This seems like a simple and optimal solution.
      But, as is commonly the case, this is not the whole truth. When compiling code, there are many subtasks that are common to each individual compilation and this causes a lot of duplication of effort. Perhaps the best known case of this are C++ templates. They are parsed and codegenerated for each file that uses them yielding in the same code in dozens of files. Then the linker comes along and throws all but one of them away. There are a bunch of other issues which are discussed in this video from LLVM developer’s conference:

    • The Elephant in the Room

      I recently had my attention drawn towards a blog article about the trials of Free Software development by senior Python core developer, Brett Cannon. Now, I agree with the article’s emphasis on being nice to other people, and I sympathise with those who feel that their community-related activities are wearing them down. However, I would like to point out some aspects of his article that fall rather short of my own expectations about what Free Software, or “open source” as he calls it, should be about.

      I should perhaps back up a little and mention where this article was found, which was via the “Planet Python” blog aggregator site. I do not read Planet Python, either in my browser or using a feed reader, any more. Those who would create some kind of buzz or energy around Python have somehow managed to cultivate a channel where it seems that almost every post is promoting something. I might quickly and crudely categorise the posts as follows:

    • 18 Python programming books for beginners and veterans
    • Git v2.19.0

      The latest feature release Git v2.19.0 is now available at the usual places. It is comprised of 769 non-merge commits since v2.18.0, contributed by 72 people, 16 of which are new faces.

    • Git 2.19 Released With Range-Diff, Performance Work, Fixes

      Git 2.19 was released today as the latest stable feature release to this widely-used distributed version control system.

    • The Revel framework with golang.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • ACM’s Code of Ethics Offers Updated Guidelines for Computing Professionals

      The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) has released an update to its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct geared at computing professionals. The update was done “to address the significant advances in computing technology and the degree [to which] these technologies are integrated into our daily lives,” explained ACM members Catherine Flick and Michael Kirkpatrick, writing in Reddit.

      This marks the first update to the Code, which the ACM maintains “expresses the conscience of the profession,” since 1992. The goal is to ensure it “reflects the experiences, values and aspirations of computing professionals around the world,’’ Flick and Kirkpatrick said.

      The Code was written to guide computing professionals’ ethical conduct and includes anyone using computing technology “in an impactful way.” It also serves as a basis for remediation when violations occur. The Code contains principles developed as statements of responsibility in the belief that “the public good is always the primary consideration.”

    • Printing paper: matte vs. glossy revisited

      Just a condensed summary that makes some large simplifications, skip if you already know this.

      Photographic printing paper is normally of three main types: matte, glossy, and canvas. Glossy is the type one usually finds for normal small prints out of a printing shop/booth, matte is, well, like the normal document print paper, and canvas is really stretchable “fabric”. In the matte camp, there is the smooth vs. textured vs. rag-type (alternatively, smooth, light texture, textured), and in the glossy land, there’s luster (semi-gloss) and glossy (with the very glossy ones being unpleasant to the touch, even). Making some simplifications here, of course. In canvas land, I have no idea

  • Hardware

    • Intel Outsourcing 14nm Chip Production To Apple’s Chip-maker

      Intel is experiencing an inadequacy in producing 14nm chips due to the continuous “yield issues”. To support the incoming demand for the 14nm chips, Intel is planning to outsource its production to TSMC — Apple’s chipmaker.

    • Intel to outsource 14nm chip production due to tight supply

      Intel is encountering tight 14nm process production capacity in-house, and is looking to outsource part of its 14nm chip production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), according to industry sources.

      Intel intends to give priority to its high-margin products mainly server-use processors and chipsets amid its tight 14nm process capacity, and therefore plans to outsource the production of its entry-level H310 and several other 300 series desktop processors to TSMC, the sources indicated.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Orders Staff to “Do a Better Job” of Disclosing Industry Ties

      The chief executive of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center sent an email to all staff members on Sunday saying that the institution and its faculty “need to do a better job” of disclosing their relationships with the drug and health care industries.

      “The matter of disclosure is serious,” wrote the executive, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, along with Kathryn Martin, the chief operating officer.

      The email, which was labeled an “important message,” referred directly to an article published this weekend by ProPublica and The New York Times about the failure of Dr. José Baselga, the cancer center’s chief medical officer, to disclose his extensive industry relationships in dozens of research articles since 2013.

      The Times and ProPublica found that Baselga had received millions of dollars in consulting fees and in ownership interests in health care companies, but had often failed to disclose those ties in appearances at scientific conferences and in journal articles. His reporting failures included articles in prestigious publications like the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet as well as in Cancer Discovery, a journal for which he serves as one of two editors in chief.

    • Extended Monopolies On Biologic Drugs – A Warning To Developing Countries

      It was recently announced that the US government would be seeking to table at least 10 years of market exclusivity for biologic drugs in the renegotiated NAFTA. There are several reasons for this. Biologic drugs have become an important economic commodity: nine of the top ten bestselling pharmaceuticals are biologic, including drugs for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. It is estimated that the global market potential of biologics will reach $250 billion globally by 2020 (Rickwood and Di Biase 2013: 3).

      [...]

      Developing countries would be wise at this point to remind themselves of TRIPS and the evergreened patents and exclusivities that bind their medications today. They would be wise to remind themselves that as they develop and their citizens become richer, they will increasingly deal with more ‘developed country diseases’, such as cancer – and that these drugs are biologic. They would be wise to remember that biologic treatments can go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient per year. They would be wise to remember that IP is not negotiated in a silo, but rather it is negotiated in the context of other factors – promises of FDI or perceived technology transfer gains (Pugatch 2004: 57), and that they would be wise to train their negotiators to be adept to developed country demands, and to insulate their economies from needing to accept biologics exclusivity in future trade agreements.

      History has taught us of how in recessionary periods, developing countries have become beholden to developed countries, and it is during these times that developing countries are particularly vulnerable to accepting demands on pharmaceutical IP. (Sell 1998: 32)

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 113 – Actual real security advice

      Josh and Kurt talk about actual real world advice. Based on a story about trying to secure political campaigns, if we had to give some security help what should it look like, who should we give it to?

    • Firefox 60, Yubikey, U2F vs my Google Account

      Yes, you can use Firefox 60 in Debian/stretch with your U2F device to authenticate your Google account, but you’ve to use Chrome for the registration.

    • You Can Now Tell Linux At Boot-Time If You Don’t Trust Your CPU Random Number Generator

      Covered on Phoronix back during the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window was the new option for distribution vendors or those compiling their own Linux kernel to decide whether you trust the CPU’s random number generator. That compile-time functionality has now been re-worked to allow for a boot-time option so users can more easily indicate whether they trust their own processor’s RNG.

      The Linux 4.19 merge window brought the RANDOM_TRUST_CPU Kconfig option for indicating at the kernel’s compilation time if you should trust the CPU’s built-in hardware random number generator on the likes of AMD, IBM s390/POWER, Intel, and other CPU RNG implementations. The trust worthiness of modern hardware random number generators is hotly debated whether they may be back-doored for use by spy agencies or other rogue actors given past influence by the NSA and other organizations.

    • Apple Removed Sketchy Mac Apps From the App Store, But Only After Researchers Went Public

      Popular applications from the Mac App Store were routinely downloading users’ web history, but Apple only took them down when security researchers went public.

      Last week Adware Doctor was revealed to be grabbing users’ web history. Apple took that app down. Shortly after Thomas Reed, a longtime Mac security blogger who now works for Malwarebytes,, pointed out several more applications doing the same thing: Open Any Files, Dr. Antivirus and Dr. Cleaner. Malwarebytes reported Open Any Files to Apple in December of 2017, and nothing happened.

    • User Impersonation Vulnerability found in ownCloud v0.1.2
    • Android Vulnerability Leaks Sensitive Data through WiFi Broadcast

      A vulnerability has been found in the Android operating system which broadcasts sensitive system data through WiFi broadcasting signals. This vulnerability is found to send out this data to all applications on the device to use as desired. This means that your WiFi network name, BSSID, local IP addresses, DNS server information, and MAC address are all revealed to applications on the device to use, information which would other wise require the penetration of a few layers of security before coming out plain.

    • Microsoft Regenerates Store App after Users Reported Receiving Signature Error
    • Linux Kernel 4.20 to drop NSA-developed Speck Algorithm

      Linux kernel is one of the most common kernels found underlying operating systems. Its latest released version is 4.18.5 and its most recent preview is of the 4.19-rc2 version. With those two versions shining under the spotlight, news has emerged that in the kernel’s version 4.20, the developers are going to remove the Speck security algorithm designed by NSA which was employed in the kernel previously. This comes after news of the International Organization for Standardization rejecting the algorithm at a meeting

      When it comes to building bigger and better devices, especially ones designed to cater to all needs under a single hood, device security and encryption become of the utmost essence. In the context of operating systems, this means that the kernel cores need to be made impenetrable and unable to be compromised so that the everything built atop the kernel is kept safe and steady.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • CIA drone mission in Africa expanded

      The CIA is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against al-Qaida and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Donald Trump.

      Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

      But now the CIA is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

    • CIA reportedly expanding its drone program in Africa

      Under President Trump, the CIA is set to broaden its drone operations in Africa to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS insurgents, reports the New York Times.

    • CIA Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump
    • CIA Drone Flights on the Rise in Africa, Strikes Expected to Come Soon

      Early in President Obama’s time in office, CIA drone strikes became hugely common and extremely controversial. The large-scale killing, done publicly but with the CIA refusing even basic transparency, was ultimately scaled back shortly before Obama left office, with a transfer of much of the drone campaign from the CIA to the Pentagon.

      With growing focus on Africa, and the Pentagon not having a substantial existing infrastructure there, however, the CIA is making a comeback. After former CIA Director Mike Pompeo started pushing the matter with Trump, limits on CIA drone flights were scaled back.

      Across Africa, but especially in Niger and Libya, CIA flights are soaring. Officials say that so far, they have mostly been surveillance flights, but lethal attacks are a virtual certainty, and very soon, because of growing CIA interest in attacks in southern Libya.

    • Report: Trump administration met with Venezuelan coup plotters

      Military officials from Venezuela — one of whom who has been sanctioned by the U.S. for corruption — have been in talks with Trump administration officials about overthrowing President Nicolás Maduro, the New York Times reports.

    • Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans With Rebel Venezuelan Officers

      The Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, according to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks.

      Establishing a clandestine channel with coup plotters in Venezuela was a big gamble for Washington, given its long history of covert intervention across Latin America. Many in the region still deeply resent the United States for backing previous rebellions, coups and plots in countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and Chile, and for turning a blind eye to the abuses military regimes committed during the Cold War.

      The White House, which declined to answer detailed questions about the talks, said in a statement that it was important to engage in “dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy” in order to “bring positive change to a country that has suffered so much under Maduro.”

      But one of the Venezuelan military commanders involved in the secret talks was hardly an ideal figure to help restore democracy: He is on the American government’s own sanctions list of corrupt officials in Venezuela.

    • Former CIA Contractor on Fox News Said He Wanted To ‘Choke’ Former President Obama
    • CIA Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump
    • CIA drone mission in Africa expands under Trump
    • CIA to expand its armed drone programme in Africa: NYT
    • CIA expands drone mission at base in North Africa
    • CIA drone mission in Africa expanded
    • NYT: CIA Expanding Drone Operations in Africa

      The New York Times reports the CIA is expanding its drone operations in Africa, including expanding an air base deep in the Sahara. The widening CIA drone war in Africa comes after President Trump restored the CIA’s powers to conduct covert drone operations, which had been curtailed under President Obama following widespread outrage about civilian casualties.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Petition to offer Assange asylum in New Zealand to be presented to parliament

      A petition with thousands of signatures supporting Julian Assange’s political asylum is set to be presented to New Zealand’s parliament.

      Labour Party politician Greg O’Connor said that, while he personally does not support Assange obtaining asylum in New Zealand, he will present the petition to parliament after more than 2,000 people signed their names in support of the WikiLeaks founder, reports Newstalk ZB.

      The parliamentary petition, launched in July 2018, will now be delivered to the clerk of the house for allocation to a select committee for formal consideration.

    • Could Julian Assange be offered asylum in New Zealand? Government to consider allowing the Wikileaks founder to stay in the country

      Julian Assange could be offered asylum in New Zealand after thousands of people rallied to have him moved to the country.

      Politicians will now formally discuss the idea in parliament after a petition was signed by more than 2,000 New Zealanders.

      The ‘Free Assange NZ’ group launched the petition in July and has been rallying to bring the Australian to their country.

    • Search for missing Dutch WikiLeaks associate intensifies in Norway

      The Norwegian police on Monday said Dutch investigators were helping them search for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s associate Arjen Kamphuis, who mysteriously disappeared in northern Norway three weeks ago.

      The 47-year-old Dutch cyber security expert has been missing since August 20 when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo, triggering numerous conspiracy theories on social media.

      Two Dutch investigators have arrived in Bodo to help the investigation, the Norwegian police said in a statement on Monday, adding they would stay there for the rest of the week.

      “Kamphuis has still not been found and the case is open for different outcomes, but we still haven’t found anything that indicates that a crime has been committed,” they added.

    • Dutch investigators search for missing WikiLeaks associate in Norway

      The Norwegian police on Monday said Dutch investigators were helping them search for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s associate Arjen Kamphuis, who mysteriously disappeared in northern Norway three weeks ago.

      The 47-year-old Dutch cyber security expert has been missing since August 20 when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo, triggering numerous conspiracy theories on social media.

      Two Dutch investigators have arrived in Bodo to help the investigation, the Norwegian police said in a statement on Monday, adding they would stay there for the rest of the week.

      “Kamphuis has still not been found and the case is open for different outcomes, but we still haven’t found anything that indicates that a crime has been committed,” they added.

      WikiLeaks, which publishes secret information, tweeted on September 2 that his disappearance was “strange”.

  • Finance

    • Flattr quietly launches podcast and YouTube micro-subscriptions

      Flattr have introduced new tools for recurring micro-subscriptions to support podcast and YouTube creators.

      Flattr is a service where people can support their favorite creators on the web with a single subscription. Starting at 3 USD/month, Flattr lets people pay a fixed monthly sum that is divided out among the creators they want to support; rather than having to manage many individual small subscriptions.

      [...]

      Podcasters and YouTube creators need only linked their podcasts or YouTube channel to a Flattr account to claim contributions from their audiences. Specifically, YouTube creators must login to their YouTube account through Flattr to claim their channels. Podcasters must add a link to a dedicated page for their podcast on Flattr to their podcast feed’s description to claim a podcast.

      There is no word yet as to whether Flattr will launch similar schemes for subscribing to bloggers, open source developers, and other types of content creators.

      If you’re familiar with Flattr, you may recognize this as a more focused relaunch of the recurring Flattr subscription system that was first introduced in November 2010.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Joseph Mifsud, professor who discussed Clinton ‘dirt’ with George Papadopoulos, may be dead: DNC

      Joseph Mifsud, an elusive professor considered a missing link between President Trump’s election campaign and Russia, may have died during the course of being sought in connection with Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 race, attorneys for the Democratic National Committee claimed Friday.

    • Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig On His Fight To End “Winner-Take-All” Electoral College Rules

      Is the Electoral College broken? So argues Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig.

    • The contours of a new NAFTA are emerging

      It is worse than the old one but better than no deal at all

    • Russia: Google removes Putin critic’s ads from YouTube

      Google has taken down YouTube ads by Alexei Navalny, a critic of President Vladimir Putin, ahead of elections for regional governors in Russia.
      The videos showed Mr Navalny calling for Russians to take part in protests on 9 September against raising the retirement age.
      One of Mr Navalny’s aides said the removal of the ads amounted to “political censorship”.
      Google said it required all advertisers to act in accordance with local laws.
      Russian officials asked the technology giant to remove the videos last month, arguing that they were illegal in the context of rules around Russian elections.

    • ‘Steady state’ or ‘deep state,’ it’s all the same: bureaucracy as usual

      Who rules? Behind the shiny façade of a monarchy or a presidency — behind all the pomp and ceremony — who really pulls the levers of power?

      The idea is an ancient one that there are two layers of power, one brightly visible, the other in the shadows. A standard figure in the royal courts of the early modern era was the éminence grise.

      The advance of democracy was supposed to do away with grey eminences by requiring that governments be elected by the people. And yet history played one of its usual, ironic tricks on humanity. No amount of voting could rid our minds of the suspicion that real power was still being wielded behind the scenes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship Throughout History

      Following Milton’s gendered rendering, the story, therefore, went something like this: the censor was the bad guy (Milton’s “temporising and extemporising licencer” with his “cursory eyes”). The writer was the good guy (Milton’s “learned” champion of “free writing and free speaking”). And the plot involved the struggle of the latter against the former not just in his own interests, as a member of the “Republic of Letters”, but in the interests of creating a freer and more grown-up commonwealth for all.

      True, the odds were stacked in favour of the all-powerful, infantilising state. Yet no matter how often the struggle played out, the outcome was assured: the seemingly puny champions of freedom and truth would prevail in the end.

    • Former CIA analyst on Australia’s relationship with China

      Former CIA analyst Peter Mattis stopped by Mornings with Gareth Parker while in Perth this week, on a speaking tour focusing on China’s growing influence around the globe.

    • UN Human Rights Council Begins; Freedom Of Expression Issues Highlighted By Article 19 Group

      Today, the UN Human Rights Council begins its 39th Session (HRC 39) in Geneva – over the next three weeks the UN’s top human rights body will come together to discuss and act on some of the world’s most pressing human rights violations and abuses, writes civil society group Article 19.

      There is a lot on the HRC’s agenda for September, with a number of issues important to the right to freedom of expression to be considered, and it is essential that the Council acts on improving protections. In addition to important reports from OHCHR and from special procedures up for discussion, several thematic and country-specific resolutions will also be negotiated, to be considered for adoption on 20 and 21 September.

    • Erase-her: Deconstructing Censorship, an interview with Caroline Wayne

      On a Friday evening in March, a crowd had gathered at the all-female artist-run not-for-profit gallery A.I.R. in Brooklyn to celebrate the opening of the multi-media artist Caroline Wayne’s solo-show “Pretty Real.” A hush fell over the crowd as the Canadian artist Alli Melanson read a bristling passage concerning the feminist artist Hannah Wilke, from the American author and artist Chris Kraus’ cult novel “I Love Dick” (Semiotext(e), 1997).

      In “I Love Dick,” Kraus merges the formats of fiction and memoir to investigate the limitations put on intelligent and ambitious woman historically and today. Throughout Wilke’s career, the artist had those closest to her photograph her in seemingly sexualized or objectified poses. Many critics misunderstood this as a form of defilement. In the passage chosen by Melanson, Kraus points out that Wilke’s work, and other female artists including herself, are not debasing themselves. Instead, they are exposing the conditions of their own degradation. By reading Kraus and Wilke’s feminist works as objectification instead of explorations of degradation, critics attempt to remove their agency – this removal of power is an act of censorship.

    • Backlash to Online Censorship

      While the escalating social-media censorship against conservatives has been shocking, with the organized Big Tech takedown of Infowars sparking alarm worldwide, the backlash has been fierce, too. On both the Left and the Right, among hardcore liberals and conservatives, outrage over the censorship is exploding. Even completely apolitical voices joined the outcry. Perhaps the most influential man in news, Matt Drudge, has helped give Alex Jones a megaphone by putting his material online. And a recent Pew survey revealed that about three-fourths of American adults realize that the major social-media and technology companies are censoring views they do not like — especially conservative views. Ironically, though, the efforts to silence prominent voices appear to be backfiring in spectacular fashion.

    • Calling out censorship for Banned Books Week

      We’re looking ahead to a week to celebrate the books that push the envelope. Banned Books Week in La Crosse is set for September 23-29, but organizers are already stirring the pot.

    • DOJ And State Attorneys General Threatening Social Media Companies Over Moderation Practices Is A First Amendment Issue

      The competition question is one that the DOJ’s antitrust division clearly has authority over, but alarms should be raised about the DOJ or state AGs arguing that these platforms are “stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.” Because while — on its face — that might sound like it’s supporting free speech, it’s actually an almost certain First Amendment violation by the DOJ and whatever state AGs are involved.

      There are lots and lots of cases on the books about this, but government entities aren’t supposed to be in the business of telling private businesses what content they can or cannot host. Cases such as Near v. Minnesota and Bantam Books v. Sullivan have long made it clear that governments can’t be in the business of regulating the speech of private organizations — though those are both about regulations to suppress speech.

      [...]

      In other words, if a private speech hosting platform is too one-sided, that is for the market to decide, not the government.

      So, yeah, there are concerns raised here about freedom of expression… but it’s by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and whichever State Attorneys General decide to participate in this clown show. Oh, and just to put a little more emphasis on why this is clearly a political move designed to suppress free speech rights? So far only Republican Attorneys General have been invited — a point I’m sure any court would take note of.

    • Sri Lankan prime minister threatens increased internet and social media censorship

      Addressing last month’s “Colombo Defence Seminar–2018,” Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that “global disruptive forces” were using the internet and social media to destabilise countries and were a threat to “national interests.”

      The annual Colombo Defence Seminar has been held since 2011 and is organised by the Sri Lankan army. Its declared objective is to share the experiences of global defence establishments in fighting the “threats from terrorism and other activities.” The event was attended by military leaders, security and defence chiefs and diplomatic officials from 38 countries, including the US and other imperialist powers.

      Wickremesinghe, who delivered the seminar’s keynote address, warned that an “array of traditional and non-traditional security threats” confronted governments in the 21st century.

      While the prime minister referenced the social and political impact of what he glibly characterised as “natural calamities, climate change, human exodus and displacement,” his principal concern was what he said was the use of the Internet and social media by extremists and “violent non-state actors.”

    • Sri Lankan president goes nuts over airline cashews

      ri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has launched a scathing attack on the state of the cashews offered by his country’s national airline.

      The BBC reports that Sirisena claimed the snack given to him wasn’t even suitable for dogs.

      The offending cashews were served on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight from Nepal to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

    • ‘Bharat’ actor Salman Khan feels social networks need censorship; read why

      Salman Khan might just be one of the biggest stars today. With his in-film looks becoming a fashion trend, Salman fans across the world quite literally hang on to every word the actor says. In fact, Salman’s social following too is something that any actor would wish for; filled with ardent fans the actor always makes it a point to keep in touch with them. Speaking about social media, recently Salman Khan voiced his opinion on why he thinks censorship is needed for such networks.

      Speaking about censorship for social networking sites, Salman Khan stated that, like films which have a censor board, social media too requires one to weed out the objectionable content. According to the actor, given the fact that social networking sites offer users a curtain of anonymity, certain users abuse this curtain to lash out and make derogatory remarks against others while relieving their frustration. In his view, it is such people who misuse the medium to abuse others that makes it rather unsavoury.

    • Misguided Appeal in Grindr Case Is Latest Threat to Online Free Speech

      Online harassment is a serious problem, and one that defies easy solutions. As the digital world grapples with potential strategies to make online life safer, we have to also fight back against misguided approaches that would undercut what makes the Internet an essential tool for modern life. That’s why EFF filed an amicus brief in Herrick v. Grindr, asking an appeals court to affirm a lower court’s dismissal of the case.

      The plaintiff, Matthew Herrick, alleges that he has been mercilessly harassed online by an ex-boyfriend, who appears to have created a series of fake profiles of Herrick on the gay-dating app Grindr. Herrick says that more than 1000 men have arrived at his home and his work, thinking that they were invited for sex. In his lawsuit, Herrick is asking that Grindr be held responsible for the fake profiles and the damage his ex-boyfriend has done. But this strategy risks both free speech on the Internet, as well as the future of online innovation.

      A provision of the Communication Decency Act called Section 230—short for 47 U.S.C. § 230—protects intermediaries like ISPs, social media sites, and dating sites like Grindr from liability for what their users say or do. But this is not for the platforms’ sake: it’s for the users. When Congress passed Section 230, it recognized that if our legal system failed to robustly protect intermediaries, it would fail to protect free speech online. Intermediary platforms are the essential architecture of today’s Internet. They are often the primary way in which the majority of people engage with one another online. Platforms from giants like Facebook and Twitter to small community forums and local news sites allow users to connect with family and friends and people all over the world—all without learning to code or expending significant financial resources. Protecting intermediaries protects users.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Florida Appeals Court Tells Law Enforcement It Needs Warrants To Deploy Stingrays

      The Florida Court of Appeals has upheld a suppression order for evidence obtained through the use of a Stingray device. This decision draws the line between third-party info and info gathered directly by the government, even if the info collected was roughly the same. (h/t Cyrus Farivar)

      In the course of investigating an armed robbery that led to the killing of one of the robbery victims, law enforcement sought assistance from the suspect’s cell service provider, asking for cell site location info and the placement of a trap-and-trace on the cellphone itself.

    • Facial Recognition Surveillance at the Library?

      A new book by Christopher Andrews called The Secret World is set to be released in the U.S. next week. It’s about the history of intelligence and surveillance. I’m reading an advanced copy as part of my ALA member benefit with NetGalley and as a way to continue learning about privacy. I’m a few chapters in and so far have learned that, historically, surveillance was used by political states on those who wished to subvert the political system and by armies during times of war. The author has not yet provided an example of a past society surveilling for the purpose of deterring potential criminals. That seems to be a concept only modern day societies have invented. We live in a day and age when camera surveillance has become ubiquitous as a way to deter crime (other purposes include prosecution of criminals and to make people feel safe).

      [...]

      Moreover, there’s an “absence of evidence” regarding the effectiveness of security cameras to deter criminality as detailed in Aaron Doyle’s Eyes Everywhere: The Global Growth of Camera Surveillance (pg. 3). There have been no property thefts at Van Houten Library since the system was installed, which is great news, but was it truly because of cameras installed seven months ago? According to Panasonic, they run silently so it’s not as if a potential criminal would know he was being surveilled in that location. I wonder how many alarms got triggered based on accurate matches the system made. I’d also want to know if there’s a process for removing an image from the public safety database used to match faces. The presence of cameras operates on, what Eyes Everywhere describes as “the myth of the rational offender.” Deterrence doesn’t work, Aaron Doyle explains, because criminological research has shown that “in practice offenders do not often approach the decision to offend in a rational calculation” (pg. 7).

      I’d also be curious to know how the NJIT community would respond if asked whether or not the presence of face recognition cameras would deter them from using the library in general. If the majority said ‘yes,’ then perhaps the surveillance tactic needs to get revisited with the priority centered on intellectual freedom. If the majority said ‘no,’ then it seems appropriate to proceed, but with effectiveness and good policies in mind.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Lithuanian PM calls on law-enforcement to use all possibilities in CIA prison probe

      Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that law-enforcement officials must use all possibilities to investigate the circumstances surrounding allegations that the country hosted a secret CIA detention site more than a decade ago.

      “What I want from the pre-trial investigation conducted by prosecutors is that they use all possibilities (…), all means of evidence here, within the country,” he told reporters on Thursday.

      Skvernelis said that actions by law-enforcement bodies cannot be limited to formal request for legal assistance.

      The state needs answer to questions on whether responsible officials had their decisions approved by the country’s top political leaders and where funds allegedly received were spent, he said.

      The government several days ago appealed the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that a Saudi Arabia-born Palestinian was unlawfully interrogated at a secret CIA detention site in Lithuania more than a decade ago.

    • Here’s What Happened to the 99 Immigrant Children Separated From Their Parents and Sent to Chicago

      About one-third of the children who ended up in Chicago came from Guatemala. Others had fled Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Romania and India. All had at least one parent locked up, often hundreds of miles away.

      Months after the plight of children separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration crackdown sparked outrage, prompting a reversal of the policy, those children’s identities and experiences in detention remain largely unknown.

      But ProPublica Illinois has obtained confidential records about the 99 children sent to Illinois shelters run by the nonprofit Heartland Human Care Services, which has a federal contract to house immigrant children at nine facilities in the Chicago area.

      The records are part of a larger set of documents that shed light on the inner workings of the country’s secretive detention system for children, revealed in a ProPublica Illinois investigation last week.

    • Documents Show IBM Pitched The NYPD Facial Recognition Software With Built-In Racial Profiling Options

      Documents obtained by The Intercept show the NYPD and IBM engaged in a long-running facial recognition tech partnership from 2008 to 2016. While some of this deployment was discussed publicly, details about the extent of the program — as well as it’s more problematic elements — haven’t been.

      As the article’s title informs the reader, camera footage could be scanned for face matches using skin tone as a search constraint. Considering this was pushed by IBM as a tool to prevent the next 9/11, it’s easy to see why the NYPD — given its history of surveilling Muslim New Yorkers — might be willing to utilize a tool like this to pare down lists of suspects to just the people it suspected all along (Muslims).

      There are a number of surprises contained in the long, detailed article, but the first thing that jumps out is IBM’s efforts and statements, rather than the NYPD’s. We all know the government capitalizes on tragedies to expand its power, but here we see a private corporation appealing to this base nature to make a sale.

    • IBM Used NYPD Surveillance Footage to Develop Technology That Lets Police Search by Skin Color

      In the decade after the 9/11 attacks, the New York City Police Department moved to put millions of New Yorkers under constant watch. Warning of terrorism threats, the department created a plan to carpet Manhattan’s downtown streets with thousands of cameras and had, by 2008, centralized its video surveillance operations to a single command center. Two years later, the NYPD announced that the command center, known as the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, had integrated cutting-edge video analytics software into select cameras across the city.

      The video analytics software captured stills of individuals caught on closed-circuit TV footage and automatically labeled the images with physical tags, such as clothing color, allowing police to quickly search through hours of video for images of individuals matching a description of interest. At the time, the software was also starting to generate alerts for unattended packages, cars speeding up a street in the wrong direction, or people entering restricted areas.

    • Brett Kavanaugh Appears to Have Lied Repeatedly Under Oath and the GOP Doesn’t Care

      One would think that honesty and integrity would be the most basic requirements for a nominee to the country’s highest court. By those standards, however, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh wouldn’t even be in the running. Yet, here we are.

      Honesty, it seems, isn’t something Republican lawmakers are even remotely interested in when selecting the person to fill a lifetime appointment to the court.

    • Brett Kavanaugh’s Internet

      When the Supreme Court first encountered the internet, the justices expressed wonder at its potential. “It is ‘no exaggeration to conclude that the content on the Internet is as diverse as human thought,’” marveled Justice John Paul Stevens, then the court’s oldest member. The court decided that, unlike the more regulated television and broadcast media, this “‘unique and wholly new medium of worldwide human communication” was entitled to full First Amendment protection.

      In the decades since, the threats to internet freedom in the United States have come not from outright censorship or from traditional government regulation, but from mass surveillance and from corporate control. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, has not only ruled in favor of both—he has gone out of his way to express these views in alarmingly activist fashion.

    • CIA-Backed Firm Touted Social Media Surveillance Of Students To Sell Services To Evanston Police

      Emails obtained by Lucy Parsons Labs reveal that Geofeedia touted social media surveillance of middle and high school students by its suburban Chicago police customers in an effort to sell their services to Evanston police.

      Geofeedia provides law enforcement with tools to monitor social media use by mapping location and other data. It has received funding from the investment arm of the CIA, In-Q-Tel.

      The company became infamous after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report in 2016 on the use of their products by police to monitor demonstrations against police violence.

      Geofeedia’s courting of the Evanston Police Department (EPD) goes back to 2013, and as emails show, the company developed a relationship with police at a time when the sale of surveillance technology to law enforcement became ubiquitous.

    • Is a Florida Chief Judge Taking Cues From a Prosecutor?

      Prosecutors are some of the most powerful elected officials in our country. They decide what charges to file or dismiss, how severe the charges will be whether to seek cash bail, and what plea offers are made. Through their lobbying associations, they also shape criminal statutes to their benefit, often blocking reforms that the community supports.

      But while prosecutors wield immense control over the direction of our criminal justice system, they certainly can’t handpick the judges who hear their criminal cases.

      Or can they?

      In Marion County, Florida, Brad King — the elected state attorney and the county’s top prosecutor — believed he was losing too often in the criminal cases his office was prosecuting. Instead of upping his game, he managed to shift it in his favor, with the help of a judge whose job it is to guard the integrity of the judicial process.

      On July 12, King sent a scathing letter to the administrative judge of Marion County, Judge James McCune, complaining about two of McCune’s colleagues, before whom King and his staff regularly appeared: Judge Robert Landt and Judge Thomas Thompson III. That letter was obtained by the ACLU of Florida through a public records request, and is being publicly released in full here for the first time.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon’s Pivot From Stodgy Old Telco To Sexy Millennial Ad Brand Isn’t Going So Well

      We’ve noted for some time now how Verizon desperately wants to pivot from dull old broadband provider to sexy, Millennial-focused video advertising juggernaut. To accomplish this task, Verizon acquired both Yahoo and AOL, smushed them together, then hoped this would be enough to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The effort distracted the company from upgrading or repairing much of its fixed-line broadband footprint, since investing in networks isn’t profitable enough, quickly enough, for many on Wall Street.

      But Verizon’s pivot hasn’t been going so well. The company’s Go90 video platform, which was supposed to be the cornerstone of the company’s effort, recently fell flat on its face after Verizon spent $1.2 billion on the effort. And the company’s Oath ad network, the combination of AOL and Yahoo, hasn’t been doing much better, with Tim Armstrong (formerly of AOL) now heading for the exit…

    • ISPs Push Employees To Urge Governor Brown Veto New California Net Neutrality Bill

      Last week we noted how California managed to shake off ISP lobbyists and pass meaningful net neutrality rules. The rules largely mirror the FCC’s discarded 2015 rules, in that they prohibit throttling or blocking of services that compete with ISP monopolies. But the rules also go a bit further in that they prohibit all of the sneaky bullshit ISPs have creatively-shifted to as their anti-competitive impulses evolved, including restrictions on zero rating and interconnection shenanigans out toward the edge of the network (the cause of those Netflix slowdowns a few years back).

      While the California Senate has passed the new law, it still hasn’t been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. Given Brown’s tendency to occasionally veto efforts that have broad public support, net neutrality activists are a little worried he may shut the entire effort down. Potentially via the argument that the bill would somehow harm ISPs ability to make a living (which has never been true, since you only run afoul of the rules when you behave badly).

    • Decentralisation: the next big step for the world wide web

      It is supposed to be like the web you know but without relying on centralised operators. In the early days of the world wide web, which came into existence in 1989, you connected directly with your friends through desktop computers that talked to each other. But from the early 2000s, with the advent of Web 2.0, we began to communicate with each other and share information through centralised services provided by big companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon. It is now on Facebook’s platform, in its so called “walled garden”, that you talk to your friends. “Our laptops have become just screens. They cannot do anything useful without the cloud,” says Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack, a platform for building decentralised apps. The DWeb is about re-decentralising things – so we aren’t reliant on these intermediaries to connect us. Instead users keep control of their data and connect and interact and exchange messages directly with others in their network.

    • ‘The Open Internet Is In Imminent Danger!’

      Today’s web is dominated by a dozen or so major platforms where people lead most of their Internet lives. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Reddit, these platforms are not entirely open. They are controlled by corporations which are free to dictate their own rules.

      And they do.

  • DRM

    • Boston supporters! Join us against DRM

      International Day Against DRM (IDAD) is coming up on Tuesday, September 18th. This is our twelfth year gathering together to say in one voice that we oppose Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). If you live in the Boston area, we hope you’ll join us for some in-person events! We’re excited to spread the word about the injustice of DRM face-to-face, and we hope to see you there.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • German court rejects pharma compulsory licence request

      The German Federal Patent Court has rejected the application for a preliminary court order for a licence to use the European patent of a US pharmaceutical company

      The German Federal Patent Court announced today that it has dismissed an application for a preliminary court order for licence to use the European patent of a US pharmaceutical company.

    • WIPO Looks To Diversify Its Revenue Sources From High Dependence On PCT

      The World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee (PBC), a key member-state body at the UN agency, today opened a week of work on a range of issues. Opening the meeting, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry highlighted the positive financial status of the organisation but cautioned that external factors could make it risky to continue its heavy dependence on the popular Patent Cooperation Treaty.

    • WIPO Sale Of Madrid Union Real Estate In Geneva Comes Under Scrutiny

      The UN World Intellectual Property Organization has been in the process of selling off real estate properties it owned under direction of member states, and its 7 million Swiss franc sale early this year of a building providing revenue to the Madrid Union on trademarks is being looked at more carefully this week after the WIPO external auditor flagged it. Meanwhile, WIPO members are considering a recommendation to raise fees on international trademark registration for the first time in 20 years.

    • Trademarks

      • More Comic Conventions Change Their Names After Crazy SDCC Attorney’s Fees And Injunction Ruling

        We were just talking about the odd ruling that came down in which the court overseeing the trademark dispute between the San Diego Comic-Con and the former Salt Lake Comic Con somehow awarded $4 million in attorney’s fees, despite the jury award for trademark infringement amounting only to $20k. In addition to the award of attorney’s fees, Judge Battaglia also issued an injunction barring the Salt Lake show from calling itself any variation of the term “comic con” but, oddly, refused to issue a similar injunction barring it from calling itself a “comic convention.” As we noted at the time, it’s plainly absurd that the “vention” difference there is doing that much heavy lifting in the court’s mind.

      • Sky appeal plea kicked out by UK Court of Appeal

        In the latest development in the Sky v Skykick case, the UK Court of Appeal has refused Sky’s application for permission to appeal its case and to stay the related CJEU references but left open the possibility for rights holders to appeal against EU court references in the future

    • Copyrights

      • Not In Our Name: Why European Creators Should Oppose the EU’s Proposal To Limit Linking and Censor The Internet

        The European Copyright Directive vote is in three days and it will be a doozy: what was once a largely uncontroversial grab bag of fixes to copyright is now a political firestorm, thanks to the actions of Axel Voss, the German MEP who changed the Directive at the last minute, sneaking in two widely rejected proposals on the same day the GDPR came into effect, forming a perfect distraction (you can contact your MEP about these at Save Your Internet).

        These two proposals are:

        1. “Censorship Machines”: Article 13, which forces online providers to create databases of text, images, videos, code, games, mods, etc that anyone can add anything to — if a user tries to post something that may match a “copyrighted work,” in the database, the system has to censor them.

        2. “Link Tax”: Article 11, which will only allow internet users to post links to news sites if the service they’re using has bought a “linking license” from the news-source they’re linking to; under a current proposal, links that repeat more than two consecutive words from an article’s headline could be made illegal without a license.

        We’re all busy and we all rely on trusted experts to give us guidance on what side of an issue to take, and creators often take their cues from professional societies and from the entertainment industry, but in this case, both have proven to be unreliable.

        In a recent tweetstorm, Niall from the UK’s Society of Authors sets out his group’s case for backing these proposals. As a UK author, I was alarmed to see an organisation that nominally represents me taking such misguided positions and I tried to rebut them, albeit within Twitter’s limitations.

      • Quick Letter to MEPs about Article 13 of Copyright Directive

        Yesterday, I wrote a post asking people to write to their MEPs about the imminent vote in the European Parliament on the Copyright Directive. Here’s what I’ve just sent to me MEPs. As you can see, I decided to concentrate on the worst aspect of the Directive, Article 13, in order to make as much impact as possible.

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