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09.21.18

Links 21/9/2018: Cockpit 178, Purism ‘Dongle’

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Alternative Linux-centric App Stores to Google Play for Chrome OS

      The native Linux experience on Chrome OS is relatively new in the form of debian Linux and was limited to the extremely unstable canary and dev channel of the operating system up until recently when it made its debut in the beta channel.

      The container came in the exclusive form of an interaction via the inbuilt terminal after you might have activated the Linux functionality in the settings of your Chrome system. Before its acclaimed popularity, the sub-platform was infamously codenamed Crostini with what is a relatively active subreddit.

    • What Apps Can You Actually Run on Linux?

      Most Linux distributions include Mozilla Firefox as the default web browser. Google also offers an official version of Google Chrome for Linux, and you can even get an “unbranded” open-source version of Chrome named Chromium.

      Pretty much everything inside your web browser should “just work” in Linux. Netflix now works normally in both Firefox and Chrome on Linux thanks to added support for its DRM.

      Adobe Flash has become less common on the web but is also available for Linux. It’s included with Chrome, just like on Windows, and you can install it separately for Firefox or Chromium. Linux doesn’t support some older browser plug-ins like Silverlight, but those are no longer widely used on the web.

      As the desktop PC world has shifted more and more to online, web-based software, Linux has become easier to use. If an application you want to run has a web version, you can use it on Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • New Yorker claims credit for Torvalds’ apology on behaviour

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds’ decision to apologise for his abrasive putdowns of developers was prompted by an American news magazine asking him a series of questions about his behaviour for an article, the author claims.

    • The Linux Code of Conduct is long overdue

      It finally happened. Linus Torvalds, the intrepid creator and leader of Linux kernel development, realized that in today’s world his attitude and behavior doesn’t fly in the face of an enlightened, progressive global population. Further, locker room talk and the sometimes cruel treatment of others simply cannot and will not be tolerated anymore.

      At least, that’s the hope with the Linux Code of Conduct, which was released to foster a global community of passionate developers who want to work and build something good together.

      The code is based on the Contributor Covenant and aims to be a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.

      How important this is cannot be repeated enough.

    • Something is rotten in the Linux Foundation

      When I agreed to talk about the management problems at the Linux Foundation to Noam Cohen, the reporter who wrote this story on Linux for the New Yorker, I expected to wait at least a year to see any significant change in the Linux community.

      Instead, before the story was even published, the Linux project leader Linus Torvalds suddenly announced that he was temporarily stepping down from his leadership role. He also instituted a new code of conduct for the Linux kernel community after resisting years of requests for one.

      I was (and am) astonished. So is everyone else. Now that I’ve read the New Yorker story, I am even more surprised–everything in it is public knowledge. Here’s why I don’t think the story explains why he stepped down.

      Torvalds has been in charge of Linux for 27 years, and he’s been verbally abusive most of that time. I know, I personally spent more than 15 years struggling to change the Linux community for the better, first as a Linux kernel developer for more than 7 years, then as co-founder and executive director of a non-profit working to make things better for my fellow kernel developers. In 2016 I sent a letter to the Linux Foundation board of directors detailing pervasive mismanagement at the foundation. Nothing I or anyone else did changed the culture of Linux.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Developers Begin Reverse-Engineering NVIDIA Turing Driver Support

        The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics cards are only officially beginning to ship today, but at least one independent Nouveau developer already has his hands on the hardware and beginning to work on the clean-room, driver reverse-engineering process in order to eventually get open-source “Nouveau” driver support working.

      • NVIDIA CUDA 10 Officially Released With Turing Support, nvJPEG, CUDA-Vulkan

        Coinciding with the debut of the GeForce RTX 2080 series line-up is now the official release of CUDA 10.0.

        CUDA 10.0.130 is now official after being announced back at SIGGRAPH. This NVIDIA compute architecture update provides Turing GPU support and its Tensor Cores, NVSwitch Fabric support, nvJPEG as a new library for JPEG processing, various performance tuning for its expansive library set, a new async task-graph programming model, interoperability improvements with Vulkan and D3D12, and new developer tools.

      • NVIDIA have released the 410.57 driver as well as a 396.54.06 Vulkan beta driver to help DXVK

        Along with the release of the GeForce RTX 2080 GPU series NVIDIA have put out a new 410.57 driver to support it. Additionally, there’s a new Vulkan beta driver which should help DXVK.

      • Help Test Intel+Nvidia Hybrid Graphics GDM3 Fixes In Ubuntu 18.04

        Ubuntu 18.04 shipped with two issues for Intel+Nvidia hybrid graphics users: an increase in power consumption when the discrete GPU is off, and the inability to switch between power profiles with a simple logout (a restart is currently required).

        These issues are caused by changes in logind, Nvidia drivers packaging (which is now more granular), and the migration from LightDM to GDM3, and they were fixed in Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish.

      • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 To RTX 2080 Ti Graphics/Compute Performance

        Yesterday were the initial NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Linux benchmarks based upon my early testing of this high-end Turing graphics card paired with their new 410 Linux graphics driver. For your viewing pleasure today is a look at how the RTX 2080 Ti compares to the top-end cards going back to Kepler… Or, simply put, it’s the GeForce GTX 680 vs. GTX 780 Ti vs. 980 Ti vs. 1080 Ti vs. 2080 Ti comparison with OpenGL and Vulkan graphics tests as well as some initial OpenCL / CUDA tests but more Turing GPU compute tests are currently being conducted. For making this historical comparison more interesting are also power consumption and performance-per-Watt metrics.

        With the Linux support on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti fairing well, one of the curiosity-driven tests was this comparison featuring the “[x]x80″ series cards of Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing for an interesting benchmarking look at the NVIDIA graphics/compute speed going back to the GTX 680 debut in 2012. The GTX 680, GTX 780 Ti, GTX 980 Ti, GTX 1080 Ti, and RTX 2080 Ti were all tested using this newest Linux driver release, 410.57 beta, while running on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS box with the Linux 4.18 kernel.

  • Applications

    • 16 Useful Bandwidth Monitoring Tools to Analyze Network Usage in Linux

      Are you having problems monitoring your Linux network bandwidth usage? Do you need help? It’s important that you are able to visualize what is happening in your network in order to understand and resolve whatever is causing network slowness or simply to keep an eye on your network.

    • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 178

      Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 178.

    • Proprietary

      • WinWorld – A Large Collection Of Defunct OSs, Software And Games

        The other day, I was testing Dosbox which is used to run MS-DOS games and programs in Linux. While searching for some classic programs like Turbo C++, I stumbled upon a website named WinWorld. I went through a few links in this site and quite surprised. WinWorld has a plenty of good-old and classic OSs, software, applications, development tools, games and a lot of other miscellaneous utilities which are abandoned by the developers a long time ago. It is an online museum run by community members, volunteers and is dedicated to the preservation and sharing of vintage, abandoned, and pre-release software.

        WinWorld was started back in 2003 and its founder claims that the idea to start this site inspired by Yahoo briefcases. The primary purpose of this site is to preserve and share old software. Over the years, many people volunteered to improve this site in numerous ways and the collection of old software in WinWorld has grown exponentially. The entire WinWorld library is free, open and available to everyone.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The excellent 2D action RPG ‘CrossCode’ is now officially out

        CrossCode from Radical Fish Games is a rather great 2D action RPG and today it was officially released across multiple stores.

        It’s a fun idea, having you play as a character who is actually in an MMO set in the far future, where your avatar has a physical form. It’s 2018 after all, we have films like Ready Player One that follow a guy running around in VR…

        Inspired by some of the classic JRPGs, CrossCode has a lot of familiar RPG elements and anyone who has played an action-RPG will feel right at home. I’ve been waiting so long for this to be finished and it’s absolutely worth the wait.

      • Transhuman Design has removed the Linux version of BUTCHER due to issues in favour of Steam Play

        It seems Transhuman Design have removed the Linux version of BUTCHER after users reported issues, opting instead to ask Steam to add it as an approved Steam Play title.

        [...]

        After digging into the Steam forum, I came across this forum topic started in August, where four users mentioned trouble starting the game. That doesn’t seem like a lot of people to make such a big decision, but it’s understandable that with a tiny team and little time they’re trying to make it so Linux gamers still have a good experience. Probably a good case for Valve to allow people to have a choice between native and Steam Play’s Proton.

      • Free to play third-person shooter ‘The Misfits’ has a Linux version that’s currently hidden on Steam, works well

        The Misfits, a free to play third-person shooter from PigDogGames that’s currently in Early Access has a Linux version on Steam, although it’s currently hidden it does work well.

      • The latest Steam Client Beta has some fixes for Steam Play, Steam Link improvements and so on

        For those of you who like to live life on the edge, the Steam Client Beta was updated yesterday with some fixes for Steam Play amongst other things.

        For Steam Play, Valve fixed an issue with install scripts for Steam Play games sometimes not running correctly after you’ve used Big Picture Mode. Additionally, something a few people noticed with Steam Play was missing DLC, this should also now be fixed. Hopefully not long before those go in the stable client, since they can be quite troublesome issues.

      • Fast-paced platform racer ‘RAZED’ is now out and it’s pretty good

        Much like Sonic, the idea is to run as fast as you can while avoiding obstacles with your special running shoes. They’re not your ordinary running shoes, since one of them will explode if you run out of energy which you accumulate by running. Any special abilities you have, will also use that same energy so if you use too much—boom!

      • Lamplight City, the steampunk-ish detective adventure game is now out

        From developer Grundislav Games, who also made A Golden Wake, Lamplight City is a detective adventure set in a alternate “Victorian” setting.

      • Din’s Legacy action-RPG enters Early Access with Linux support

        Din’s Legacy, the latest action-RPG from Soldak Entertainment has entered Early Access on Steam and early reports suggest it could be good when further developed.

      • The MMO tactical shooter Mavericks has a release delay, Linux support still coming

        Mavericks [Official Site] is an incredibly promising sounding shooter with an interesting take on the Battle Royale-type games although it’s having a delay in the release.

        The Windows release for people who become “Founders” (their form of giving people Early Access) was due today, instead they’re now aiming for November 29th. Talking about the delay, they mentioned how they needed some “more advanced tools” to keep an eye on what’s going on along with needing some gameplay adjustments.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KaOS Linux Gets the KDE Applications 18.08 Treatment, Latest Calamares Installer

        KaOS 2018.08 is August 2018′s ISO snapshot for the independently developed GNU/Linux distribution inspired by Arch Linux and built around the latest KDE technologies. It ships with the most recent KDE Applications 18.08.0 open-source software suite, as well aas the KDE Plasma 5.13.4 desktop environment and KDE Frameworks 5.49.0, all built on the Qt 5.11.1 framework.

        “It is with great pleasure to present to you the August release of a new stable ISO. With almost 70 % percent of the packages updated since the last ISO and the last release being over two months old, a new ISO is more than due. No major changes this time to announce, as was with last ISO, just the usual large package movement,” said the developers in the release announcement.

      • Let’s Tally Some Votes!

        We’re about a week into the campaign, and almost 9000 euros along the path to bug fixing. So we decided to do some preliminary vote tallying! And share the results with you all, of course!

        On top is Papercuts, with 84 votes. Is that because it’s the default choice? Or because you are telling us that Krita is fine, it just needs to be that little bit smoother that makes all the difference? If the latter, we won’t disagree, and yesterday Boudewijn fixed one of the things that must have annoyed everyone who wanted to create a custom image: now the channel depths are finally shown in a logical order!

      • Almost Bionic

        Maybe it’s all the QA we added but issues kept cropping up with Bionic. All those people who had encrypted home folders in xenial soon found they had no files in bionic because support had been dropped so we had to add a quirk to keep access to the files. Even yesterday a badly applied patch to the installer broke installs on already partitioned disks which it turns out we didn’t do QA for so we had to rejig our tests as well as fix the problem. Things are turning pleasingly green now so we should be ready to launch our Bionic update early next week. Do give the ISO images one last test and help us out by upgrading any existing installs and reporting back. Hasta pronto.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Hello GNOME 3.30!

        GNOME 3.30 “Almeria” has been released at 5 September 2018 as announced in mailing list by Matthias Clasen. This version is a Stable version after 6 month development with GUADEC 2018 conference at Almeria, Spain. It brings improvements in its core apps Files, Games, Boxes, Settings, Builder, and it adds new app called Podcasts. In short, the 3.30 is a very attractive and comfortable desktop to use in mid-high computers with RAM 4GB or more. Also, Builder makes GNOME 3.30 amazingly easy for everyone to contribute back to GNOME Project. I tested GNOME 3.30 on Fedora Rawhide (as per 15 September 2018) as Ubuntu users still need to wait until 18.10 released. Thanks to all GNOME Developers and Contributors for bringing this awesome version. Here’s my review. Enjoy!

      • Speeding up AppStream: mmap’ing XML using libxmlb

        AppStream and the related AppData are XML formats that have been adopted by thousands of upstream projects and are being used in about a dozen different client programs. The AppStream metadata shipped in Fedora is currently a huge 13Mb XML file, which with gzip compresses down to a more reasonable 3.6Mb. AppStream is awesome; it provides translations of lots of useful data into basically all languages and includes screenshots for almost everything. GNOME Software is built around AppStream, and we even use a slightly extended version of the same XML format to ship firmware update metadata from the LVFS to fwupd.

      • GNOME 3.30 Released – Here’s What’s New

        GNOME 3.30 is the latest version of GNOME 3, and is the result of 6 months’ hard work by the GNOME community. It contains major new features, as well as many smaller improvements and bug fixes. In total, the release incorporates 24845 changes, made by approximately 801 contributors.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • What’s New in PeppermintOS 9

        PeppermintOS 9 is the latest release of Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a desktop environment mashup of Xfce and LXDE components. The latest release nearly completes a process begun several upgrades ago, using more Xfce elements and fewer LXDE components.

        Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Peppermint OS 9 is using the Linux 4.15 kernel and supports both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware architectures. Highlights of this release include a new default system theme based on the popular Arc GTK+ theme, support for both Snap and Flatpak universal binary packages via GNOME Software, which will now be displayed in the main menu.

    • New Releases

      • Escuelas Linux Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Major Release, Here’s What’s New

        Continuing the Edubuntu legacy of delivering Linux-based operating systems and Open Source software projects to schools and other educational institutions around the world, Escuelas Linux 6 has been released earlier this month with major improvements and new features. The biggest highlights of this release being the availability of dedicated English language ISO images for non-Spanish users.

        “Escuelas Linux 6 as a massive amount of improvements, but one of them is key around Softpedia,” said Alejandro Díaz. “And, at this point came your help, that above improvement would not be worth the effort if English language people are not aware of our existence. In fact, we recognize that most downloads from non-Spanish language countries are due to your nice articles about us.”

      • Solus 3 ISO Refresh Released

        We are proud to announce the availability of Solus 3.9999, our ISO refresh of Solus 3. This refresh enables support for a variety of new hardware released since Solus 3, introduces an updated set of default applications and theming, as well as enables users to immediately take advantage of new Solus infrastructure.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Tumbleweed Gets New Versions of KDE Plasma, Applications

        A total of four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were delivered to users of the rolling release this past week and the snapshot brought new versions of KDE Plasma and KDE Applications.

        The most recent snapshot 20180917 updated three packages. The GNOME package dconf-editor was updated to 3.30.0. Users of the ext2 filesystem will notice the utility package e2fsprogs 1.44.4 will fix the debugs ncheck command to work for files with multiple hard links; the updated package also has new debugfs commands for dumping xattr blocks and i_blocks array. Another GNOME package was updated with the iagno 3.30.0 package for the game reversi, which shows that GNOME 3.30 packages are starting to be integrated into Tumbleweed snapshots.

        Another three packages were updated in the 20180916 snapshot. The GNU Project debugger, gdb 8.2, added several patches and support access to new POWER8 registers. A fix was made for a GNU Compiler Collection 8.1 warning with the perl-DBD-mysql 4.047 updated, which also added options needed for public key based security. The other package that was updated in the snapshot was perl-Glib 1.327.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • New SparkyLinux 5.5 “Nibiru” ISOs Released with Latest Debian Buster Updates

          The new SparkyLinux 5.5 “Nibiru” Rolling images are now synced with the Debian Testing (soon to become Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”) software repositories as of September 17, 2018, which means that they are now shipping the Linux 4.18.6 kernel, the Calamares 3.2.1 installer, as well as the latest GCC 8 system compiler by default aas GCC 7 has been completely removed.

          “There are new live/install iso images of SparkyLinux 5.5 “Nibiru” available to download. The live system of MinimalGUI/CLI uses Debian’s Linux kernel 4.18.6 as default. The live system of LXQt, due to a problem with long loading the desktop, features Sparky’s Linux kernel 4.18.8 (32bit pae/64bit amd64) as default; and the Debian’s one as well,” reads the release announcement.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10 Hybrid Laptop Users Invited to Test Nvidia PRIME Support

            With the release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) as the first LTS (Long Term Support) Ubuntu release to ship with the GNOME desktop environment by default instead of Canonical’s in-house built Unity desktop, hybrid laptop users with Intel and Nvidia GPUs lost the way Nvidia PRIME worked in the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) series.

            But it looks like some Ubuntu developers like Alberto Milone never stopped looking for a fix, and he and his team have successfully released a patch for the bug causing increased power consumption when using the power saving profile with the Nvidia GPU turned off, as well as the inability to switch between power profiles when logging out.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Linux Mint 19

              Well, there you have it. I have covered everything that I can think of in this review.

              Installation is as straight forward as downloading an ISO image, copying it to a USB and then navigating a few installation screens.

              The Cinnamon user interface is first class. It looks incredibly stylish and is very easy to use.

              The default software with Linux Mint is perfect for most purposes although I would always go with Chrome over Firefox and Evolution over Thunderbird but they are personal preferences.

              The software manager makes it easy to find new software and you can install either flatpak packages or debian format packages.

              Steam is available for playing games and you can now play Windows games without installing WINE but it isn’t yet 100% perfect.

              If you need Citrix then I have covered the fact that it works but there are a few pitfalls. These are not unique to Linux Mint and are generally the same on every distribution.

              I have shown that it is possible to run Windows 10 in a virtual machine meaning you can use Linux Mint for most tasks and swap into a virtual machine for everything else. No need to waste disk space dual booting.

              Timeshift is a great new tool for adding system restore points and there are various tools for keeping your system up to date, changing the look and feel of your system and for setting up hardware such as graphics cards and printers.

              It is easy to see why Linux Mint is so popular. It is straight forward, easy to use and consistent.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Top 3 benefits of company open source programs

    Many organizations, from Red Hat to internet-scale giants like Google and Facebook, have established open source programs (OSPO). The TODO Group, a network of open source program managers, recently performed the first annual survey of corporate open source programs, and it revealed some interesting findings on the actual benefits of open source programs. According to the survey, the top three benefits of managing an open source program are…

  • Control your data with Syncthing: An open source synchronization tool

    These days, some of our most important possessions—from pictures and videos of family and friends to financial and medical documents—are data. And even as cloud storage services are booming, so there are concerns about privacy and lack of control over our personal data. From the PRISM surveillance program to Google letting app developers scan your personal emails, the news is full of reports that should give us all pause regarding the security of our personal information.

    Syncthing can help put your mind at ease. An open source peer-to-peer file synchronization tool that runs on Linux, Windows, Mac, Android, and others (sorry, no iOS), Syncthing uses its own protocol, called Block Exchange Protocol. In brief, Syncthing lets you synchronize your data across many devices without owning a server.

  • California’s First Open Source Election System: Maybe not!

    OSI Affiliate Member, California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), has expressed concerns that a recent announcement by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (Dean Logan) and the State of California’s Secretary of State (Alex Padilla) was not accurate in their descriptions of a newly certified elections tally system, “Voting System For All People” (VSAP), as using “open source technology.”

    Both the Los Angeles County and California Secretary of State announcements stated the elections system was, “the first publicly-owned, open-source election tally system certified under the California voting systems standards” [emphasis added].

  • Hide your real name in Open Source

    If you’re thinking about contributing to Open Source, please take a moment to think of the negative impact it could have on your career…

  • Events

    • Thermal Microconference Accepted into 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference

      As the energy density of computer systems has increased, thermal issues have become an increasingly hot topic across the spectrum from hand-held systems to internet datacenters. Because the need for thermal management is relatively new, there is a wide variety of hardware and firmware mechanisms, to say nothing of a wide variety of independently developed software to interact with these mechanisms. This in turn results in complex and almost-duplicate code to manage and control thermal excursions. This microconference will therefore look to see if it is possible to consolidate or at least to better align the Linux kernel’s thermal subsystems.

      This microconference will therefore discuss better handling of low ambient temperatures, userspace thermal control, improvements to thermal zone mode, better support for indirect (virtual) temperature measurement, sensor hierarchy, scheduler interactions with thermal management, and improvements to idle injection as a way to cool a core.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Performance-Tuning a WebVR Game

        For the past couple of weeks, I have been working on a VR version of one of my favorite puzzle games, the Nonogram, also known as Picross or Griddlers. These are puzzles where you must figure out which cells in a grid are colored in by using column and row counts. I thought this would be perfect for a nice, relaxing VR game. I call it Lava Flow.

        [...]

        There is a weird glitch where the whole scene pauses when rebuilding the game board. I need to figure out what’s going on there. To help debug the problems, I need to see the frames per second inside of VR Immersive mode. The standard stats.js module that most three.js apps use actually works by overlaying a DOM element on top of the WebGL canvas. That’s fine most of the time but won’t work when we are in immersive mode.

        To address this, I created a little class called JStats which draws stats to a small square anchored to the top of the VR view. This way you can see it all the time inside of immersive mode, no matter what direction you are looking.

      • Firefox 63 Beta 10 Testday, September 28th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, September 28th, we are organizing Firefox 63 Beta 10 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Firefox Customize, Font UI, Tracking protection.

      • So long Buildbot, and thanks for all the fish

        Last week, without a lot of fanfare, we shut off the last of the Buildbot infrastructure here at Mozilla.

      • The future of themes is here!

        Themes have always been an integral part of the add-ons ecosystem and addons.mozilla.org (AMO). The current generation of themes – also known as lightweight themes and previously known as Personas (long story) – were introduced to AMO in 2009. There are now over 400 thousand of them available on AMO. Today we’re announcing the AMO launch of the next major step in the evolution of Firefox themes.

      • 8 tips for hosting your first participatory workshop

        “Why not give it a try?” Ricky, our senior user researcher said.
        “Design with people in my parents age without any design backgrounds? In-ter-est-ing……!” I couldn’t believe that he just threw such a crazy idea in our design planning meeting.

        Before we go through the whole story, let me give you more context about it. Mozilla Taipei UX team is currently working on a new product exploration for improving the online experience of people between the age of 55~65 in Taiwan. From 2 month, 4 rounds of in-depth interviews we conducted with 34 participants, we understood our target users holistically from their internet behaviors, unmet needs, to their lifestyles. After hosting a 2-day condense version of design sprint in Taipei office for generating brilliant product concepts (more stories, stay tuned :)), we were about to reach the stage of validation.

  • Databases

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Daniel Pocock: Resigning as the FSFE Fellowship’s representative

      I’ve recently sent the following email to fellows, I’m posting it here for the benefit of the wider community and also for any fellows who don’t receive the email.

    • Parabola GNU/Linux-libre: Server loss

      However, that sponsorship has come to an end. We are alright for now; the server that 1984 Hosting is sponsoring us with is capable of covering our immediate needs. We are looking for a replacement server and are favoring a proprietor that is a “friend of freedom,” if anyone in the community has a suggestion.

  • Programming/Development

    • Qt 5.11.2 Released

      Qt 5.11.2 is released today. As a patch release it does not add any new functionality, but provides important bug fixes, security updates and other improvements.

      Compared to Qt 5.11.1, the Qt 5.11.2 release provides fixes for more than 250 bugs and it contains around 800 changes in total. For details of the most important changes, please check the Change files of Qt 5.11.2.

      The recommended way for getting Qt 5.11.2 is using the maintenance tool of the online installer. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal (commercial license holders) or from qt.io Download page (open source).

    • Qt 5.11.2 Released With ~800 Changes, 250+ Bug Fixes

      Since the June release of Qt 5.11.1 on the 5.11 branch there has been more than 800 changes and 250 bug fixes that made it into Qt 5.11.2 as the next point release.

      Qt 5.11.2 is out today as the newest bug/security fix release. The release has many bug fixes, various code improvements, a number of QtWayland QPA plug-in fixes, support for building QtWayland on macOS (why?), some QtCore regression fixes, updating SQLite against v3.24, build system work, and other mostly minor changes.

    • Python 3.7 beginner’s cheat sheet

      The Python programming language is known for its large community and diverse extension menu, but much is packed into the language itself. This cheat sheet rounds up a few built-in pieces to get new Python programmers started.

    • 8 Python packages that will simplify your life with Django

      Django developers, we’re devoting this month’s Python column to packages that will help you. These are our favorite Django libraries for saving time, cutting down on boilerplate code, and generally simplifying our lives. We’ve got six packages for Django apps and two for Django’s REST Framework, and we’re not kidding when we say these packages show up in almost every project we work on.

      But first, see our tips for making the Django Admin more secure and an article on 5 favorite open source Django packages.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • EU investigating German automakers, alleging collusion on emissions tech

      The European Commission said on Tuesday that it is opening an investigation into possible collusion among Volkswagen Group, BMW, and Daimler to avoid competition on developing state-of-the-art emissions control technology.

    • VW, BMW, Daimler Face EU Probe Over Clean-Car Collusion

      Germany’s beleaguered car industry faces another regulatory tangle, as the European Union opened a probe into Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG over suspected collusion that could have delayed clean-emissions technology for cars.

      The investigation, which could lead to heavy fines, focuses on joint technical talks to develop selective catalytic reduction systems to reduce nitrogen-oxides emissions from diesel cars and “Otto” particulate filters for gasoline engines.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sloan Kettering’s Cozy Deal With Start-Up Ignites a New Uproar

      A for-profit venture with exclusive rights to use the cancer center’s vast archive of tissue slides has generated concerns among pathologists at the hospital, as well as experts in nonprofit law and corporate governance.

      [...]

      The arrangement has sparked considerable turmoil among doctors and scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering, which has intensified in the wake of an investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times into the failures of its chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga, to disclose some of his financial ties to industry in dozens of research articles. He resigned last week, and Memorial Sloan Kettering’s chief executive, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, announced a new task force on Monday to review the center’s conflict-of-interest policies.

      At a staff meeting Thursday morning, Thompson and others, including Dr. Lisa DeAngelis, the acting physician-in-chief who replaced Baselga, described the recent events as a disruption and acknowledged that the hospital was under a microscope, according to several people who attended. Doctors said they were concerned about a lack of communication from hospital leadership, and one said patients were nervous that their health data was being commercialized by the institution.

      Hospital pathologists have strongly objected to the Paige.AI deal, saying it is unfair that the founders received equity stakes in a company that relies on the pathologists’ expertise and work amassed over 60 years. They also questioned the use of patients’ data — even if it is anonymous — without their knowledge in a profit-driven venture.

    • US, EU Consumer Group Releases Resolution Calling To Delink R&D From Monopoly Incentives

      The resolution notes that in “many countries, policy interventions designed to control costs are based upon withholding coverage for products that are too expensive … and/or imposing costly co-payments on patients. In such cases, the patient rather than the monopoly is put at risk when there are price disputes.”

      The TACD resolution addresses this asymmetry by calling for new incentive mechanisms that position R&D as a public good to facilitate affordable access to health technology. To this end, the resolution presents a set of recommendations to policymakers, included below.

    • WHO Releases Draft Roadmap For Access To Medicines; Comments Show Polarised Views

      WHO member states were consulted on the draft roadmap on 10-11 September. On 10 September, the WHO organised an informal discussion with stakeholders, who provided a range of comments to the draft.

      The Roadmap for access 2019-2023 “Zero draft” [pdf] was developed after member state consultations starting in July for the purposes of consulting with member states on its development, according to the WHO. An online survey was carried out from 9 July to 31 August. Some 56 countries answered the survey. Their contribution can be found here [pdf].

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • NewEgg cracked in breach, hosted card-stealing code within its own checkout

      The popular computer and electronics Web retailer NewEgg has apparently been hit by the same payment-data-stealing attackers who targeted TicketMaster UK and British Airways. The attackers, referred to by researchers as Magecart, managed to inject 15 lines of JavaScript into NewEgg’s webstore checkout that forwarded credit card and other data to a server with a domain name that made it look like part of NewEgg’s Web infrastructure. It appears that all Web transactions over the past month were affected by the breach.

    • “Master Password” Is A Password Manager Alternative That Doesn’t Store Passwords

      Master Password is a different way of using passwords. Instead of the “know one password, save all others somewhere” way of managing passwords used by regular password managers, Master Password’s approach is “know one password, generate all the others”.

    • French cyber-security agency open-sources CLIP OS, a security hardened OS

      The National Cybersecurity Agency of France, also known as ANSSI (Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information), has open-sourced CLIP OS, an in-house operating system its engineers had developed to address the needs of the French government administration.

      In a press release, ANSSI described CLIP OS as a “Linux-based operating system [that] incorporates a set of security mechanisms that give it a very high level of resistance to malicious code and allow it to protect sensitive information.”

    • Ubuntu 14.04 Will Get Extended Security Maintenance Support

      Canonical has confirmed that Ubuntu 14.04 Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) support will be available from next year. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ‘Trusty Tahr’ will reach end of life (EOL) in April 2019, but Canonical is aware that not everyone running or relying on the release is in a position to upgrade right away.

    • Ubuntu flings 14.04 LTS users a security lifeline, chats some more about Hyper-V

      14.04 LTS users looking down the same end-of-life barrel, on 30 April 2019, are to be offered the same lifeline. Without wishing to alarm customers still clinging to the veteran operating system, Ubuntu pointed to some of the notable security issues of the last year – such as Spectre and Meltdown – while trumpeting that lucky 12.04 LTS users saw 120 updates, including fixes for over 60 high and critical vulnerabilities during the ESM period.

      As before, ESM is aimed fairly and squarely at enterprises that have purchased Canonical’s commercial support package, Ubuntu Advantage (UA) (although it can be bought by itself if needs be). UA currently costs $150 per desktop per year (and you’ll need at least 50 of the things). A server, which is the most likely candidate for something that admins don’t want to upgrade, will cost $750 a year.

    • Debian: DSA-4298-1: hylafax security update
  • Defence/Aggression

    • HOLD THE FRONT PAGE. THE REPORTERS ARE MISSING

      The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.

      Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.

      Driven from the “mainstream”, Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “approved opinions” while “unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality.”

      Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new “groupthink”, as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador pledged to not kick out Assange, but threat of US prosecution still serious – lawyer to RT

      Despite widespread speculation a few months ago that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy by the country’s new leadership, his asylum seems to be safe for now, his lawyer told RT.

      In July, there were numerous reports that Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, may revoke the political asylum given to Assange by his predecessor, Rafael Correa, as part of an effort to establish closer ties with the US. The threat never materialized, but his long-time lawyer said “anything could happen at any time.”

      [...]

      Assange believes that publishing classified materials, however embarrassing they are to a government, is protected by the fundamental right to freedom of speech. Many US officials depict WikiLeaks as traitorous spies, especially after the website published stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee amid the 2016 presidential election. The publication, they claim, was part of a Russian effort to damage the US, an allegation that both WikiLeaks and Moscow have denied.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean

      Plastic is everywhere: In your home, your office, your school — and your ocean. Among the top 10 kinds of trash picked up during the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup were food wrappers, beverage bottles, grocery bags, straws, and take out containers, all made of plastic. How did it all get there? Why is it a problem? What can we do?

    • Climate Change Made Florence a Monster—but Media Failed to Tell That Story

      That Hurricane Florence broke rainfall records for tropical storms in both North and South Carolina shouldn’t be surprising, as global climate change has increased extreme precipitation in all areas of the continental United States. One analysis released before the massive storm hit, by researchers at Stony Brook, Berkeley National Lab and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, projected that warming would cause Florence to bring twice as much rain compared to a similar storm with normal temperatures.

      But news audiences were rarely informed about the contribution of human-caused climate disruption to the devastating storm, according to a study of hurricane coverage by Public Citizen. Less than 8 percent of Florence stories in the 50 top-circulation US newspapers (9/9–16/18) mentioned climate change—and only 4 percent of segments on major TV outlets.

      [...]

      “When outlets fail to connect these events to global warming, audiences are left uninformed about some of the most critical decisions we face,” David Arkush, who directs Public Citizen’s climate program, said in a statement. “We need a serious national discussion about the urgent, existential threat from climate change and how we are going to fix it—and it’s very difficult to have that conversation when media won’t talk about the topic.”

  • Finance

    • EU taking ‘close look’ at Amazon’s business practices

      The European Union has started taking a close look at the business practices of American retail giant Amazon, the bloc’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, told a news conference in Luxembourg on Wednesday.

    • Facebook could face EU sanctions if it doesn’t tweak terms of service

      Facebook updated its own TOS policies to get more in line with the new EU laws back in February, but the changes didn’t go far enough to tow the line Brussels had extended.

      The EU called Facebook out on this, but it doesn’t look like Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has done much publicly to appease the EU’s bigwigs, unlike Airbnb, which fell into line to comply with new regulations some three months after being told to.

    • EU warns Facebook it faces sanctions over ‘misleading’ T&Cs

      The EU commissioner in charge of consumer protection, Věra Jourová, said she had run out of patience with the social network after nearly two years of discussions aimed at giving Facebook’s European users more information about how their data is used.

    • Facebook yet to comply with EU consumer rules, Airbnb in line: EU sources

      Online platforms are under pressure in Europe because of their dominance and anti-competitive business practices, which have resulted in hefty fines handed down to some companies. Privacy and consumer concerns have also aggravated the situation.

    • EU drops ‘sweetheart deal’ lawsuit as Apple pays €14.3bn in taxes to Ireland

      The Irish government, however, still disagrees with the EC’s ruling. Finance minister Paschal Donohoe emphasised this a statement, saying: “While the government fundamentally disagrees with the Commission’s analysis in the Apple State Aid decision and is seeking an annulment of that decision in the European Courts, as committed members of the European Union, we have always confirmed that we would recover the alleged State aid.”

      The matter will likely take several years to be settled by the European courts, the statement added.

    • Danske bank chief resigns over €200bn money-laundering scandal

      The boss of Denmark’s biggest bank has resigned after admitting that the vast majority of €200bn (£178bn) flowing through its Estonian branch was money-laundered cash flowing illegally out of Russia, the UK and the British Virgin Islands.

    • Communist China Moves To Control Billions Through “Social Credit”

      The data is combined with information collected from individuals’ government records, which include medical and educational, along with their financial and internet browsing histories. Overall scores can go up and down in “real time” dependent on the person’s behavior but they can also be affected by people they associate with.

    • Parliament watchdog probes Rees-Mogg’s hard Brexit lobby group over “other sources of funding”
    • ‘Second’ bank account: MPs demand probe into Rees-Mogg’s Brexit group

      Senior MPs are calling for a deep investigation of the ‘second’ bank account and undisclosed funding held by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s group of hard-line anti-EU Conservatives.

      They want full public scrutiny of the financial operations and shrouded membership list of the European Research Group (ERG). Their demands follow the latest disclosure in openDemocracy’s ongoing investigation into the ERG’s affairs, which revealed an undisclosed second bank account with unknown “sources of funding”.

    • The Great Brexit Disorder

      The burning issue in the UK, where immigration is concerned, consists in the subsequent denial of the right of residence to those who entered the country entirely legally.

      The recent scandal concerning the so-called “Windrush generation” is a central instance of this official duplicity.

      The British Nationality Act was passed in 1948 to allow British Commonwealth citizens legal entry into the UK, as a way of dealing with the country’s acute postwar labour shortage. Only proof of residency in a Commonwealth country was needed for entry.

      The steamship Windrush brought the first of several thousands of immigrants from the British Caribbean to the UK.

      In a government “paper reduction” exercise decades later, the entry papers of these immigrants were shredded (other euphemisms were used, but this is basically what happened).

      When the Tories introduced their policy of a “hostile environment” for immigrants after they returned to power in 2010, proof of legal residence in the UK was suddenly required for all medical treatment, applications for government jobs, all kinds of licenses, and so forth.

      (Incidentally, the current prime minister, Theresa May, was the architect of this vicious “hostile environment” policy when she was home secretary/interior minister prior to becoming PM. This policy was a cynical ploy to prevent hard-right Tory voters from absconding to the xenophobic and anti-immigration UKIP.)

      The Windrush generation, entering the UK legally, had assumed for decades that they were legal UK residents (and were treated as such by officialdom until this policy change), and therefore saw no need to apply for UK documents such as passports, etc.

    • The Brexit “Who Dunnit?”

      As soon as the Brexit result was announced two summers ago, I immediately saw reverberations within academia as many colleagues had grants in the air which depended on EU money. Most didn’t go forward. Many other colleagues chose to return to their homelands of France, Germany, and Austria seeing the writing on the wall. In recent months U.K. scientists have expressed extreme concern as to how Brexit has already begun to affect the country’s ability to draw in the best talent through research fellowships. There has already been a 5% decrease by scientists outside the UK noted from 2015-2016 to 2016-2017. Since it was launched last month, leading British scientists to include two Nobel prize winners are among the 687,000 who have signed the “Final Say” petition launched by the Independent asking for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

    • The High Court case which could reveal the DUP’s secret Brexit donors

      Someone gave the Democratic Union Party £435,000 before the Brexit referendum in 2016. But we don’t know who. Now a campaigning barrister is taking the Electoral Commission to court to force out the truth.

      Last week in the High Court, senior barrister Jolyon Maugham won a case against the Electoral Commission and Vote Leave – one of the two official campaigns in the referendum. The court ruled that a donation from Vote Leave to Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes should have been counted as expenditure for Vote Leave and not Grimes’ independent campaign. This is because the money was paid directly to AggregateIQ, a political data marketing company that was supposed to be working for Grimes’ campaign. The extra expenditure means that Vote Leave broke the laws relating to how much the campaigns were allowed to spend.

      Now Maugham’s non-profit organisation, the Good Law Project, is arguing that the same logic must also apply to the Constitutional Research Council, the body that gave the £435,000 donation to the Democratic Unionist Party, as revealed here on openDemocracy. More than half the money went on a DUP advert in the Metro newspaper, which ran in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland – and earlier this year, an investigation by BBC Northern Ireland revealed that Richard Cook, the chairman of the CRC, had personally placed that advert.

    • Labour won’t support Brexit, their critics are ignoring all the clues

      .

      Not much is clear in the fog created by Brexit, except for two cold calculations: The Tory party is far more split over Europe than Labour. And, therefore, Theresa May will likely need Labour votes to get approval for her Brexit deal.

      If May is able to satisfy all her MPs with a deal of some sort, it would be a miracle. But, to be frank, she has never looked like a miracle worker.

      So I can see why strong Remainers are constantly critical of the Labour leadership. They want Labour to take a strong stance against Brexit, yet all they get from Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell is ambivalence. They don’t see the Labour leadership articulate the rage and anger they feel, which leaves them feeling ignored. I know that feeling too.

      But this criticism is misplaced.

    • Brexit: Stop the Sabotage

      Few of our fishermen could survive this transition period. The government admits it will bankrupt 60 per cent of our fishing fleet. So why accept it? We didn’t vote to destroy our fishing fleet, we voted to save it.

      This transition traps us in a legal minefield. The European Commission said, “Union law shall be binding upon and applicable in the United Kingdom during the transition period.” It went on, “For the purposes of the Treaties, during the transition period, the parliament of the United Kingdom shall not be considered to be a national parliament.” It is for us, not the EU, to judge whether parliament is a national parliament.

      EU leaders like Guy Verhofstadt want us never to leave. He said in June that the EU would not ratify Brexit until 2038. We didn’t vote to stay in for another 20 years, we voted to leave now.

      And Michel Barnier said, “It will be crystal clear at the end of this negotiation that the best situation will be to remain a member of the EU.” What kind of organisation forbids you to leave? A mafia.

      The Sunday Telegraph editorial of 8 July, appearing immediately following the publication of the disastrous Chequers proposal, said, “Millions of people have indeed been betrayed, let down by a political class that had promised to implement the referendum…Last Friday felt like a political coup by the establishment.”

    • If the Troubles Return After Brexit, It Won’t Just be Because of the Irish Border Issue

      As with any topic relating to Brexit, useful analysis is blurred by discussing political issues in economic terms. Certainly, any attempt to restore an economic frontier along the 310-mile border with its estimated 200 crossing points would face resistance and could only be implemented – and even then ineffectually – by police and army in fortified positions. Inability to close the border and control border areas was a persistent British military weakness during the whole course of the Troubles.

      The British government is removing essential building blocks of the Good Friday Agreement of which the nature of the border is only one element. It has most crucially abandoned its own neutrality between unionists and nationalists and is threatening the legal guarantees to civil rights and equality given authority by the role of the EU. Without anybody paying much attention, the toxic ingredients that were the original cause of the Troubles 50 years ago are being reconstituted.

    • On Brexit, there’s no doubt that UK negotiators have adopted a hard bargaining strategy

      All eyes in British politics are on the negotiations between the UK and the EU over the terms of the forthcoming British withdrawal from the Union, or Brexit. Surprisingly, questions of bargaining strategy – once the preserve of diplomats and niche academic journals – have become some of the most defining issues in contemporary British politics.

      [...]

      Assumptions about Britain’s status as a global power, the myriad alternatives in the wider world, and the unity of the public mandate for Brexit, have contributed to the overstatement of the UK’s bargaining power and the (false) belief that hard bargaining will prove a winning strategy.

      Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK’s bargaining power. This is not ‘treasonous’, as ardent Brexiteers have labelled similar nods to reality, but is rather the only way to ensure that strategies designed to protect the national interest actually serve this purpose. Power is a finite resource that cannot be talked into existence. Like a deflating puffer fish, the UK’s weakness will eventually become plain to see. The risk is that before this occurs, all bridges will be burned, all avenues exhausted, and all feathers ruffled.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why conservatives should just give up on Kavanaugh
    • Voting in America Is NUTS. Here’s How to Plan Ahead.

      Are you registered to vote?
      Do you know where your polling place is?
      Do you know what you need to bring with you?

      [...]

      Electionland, a coalition of hundreds of newsrooms around the country, is working to change this. Its reporters monitor problems that can stop voters from casting their ballots, like changed voting locations, flyers with false information, voter purges, broken machines and hacking. Led by ProPublica, Electionland uses data and technology to track problems, in real time, at every stage of the voting process.

      We’ll talk more about what those problems look like and what they might mean for your community. In the meantime, let’s make sure you’re set for November.

    • Russell Coker: Words Have Meanings

      As a follow-up to my post with Suggestions for Trump Supporters [1] I notice that many people seem to have private definitions of words that they like to use.

      There are some situations where the use of a word is contentious and different groups of people have different meanings. One example that is known to most people involved with computers is “hacker”. That means “criminal” according to mainstream media and often “someone who experiments with computers” to those of us who like experimenting with computers. There is ongoing discussion about whether we should try and reclaim the word for it’s original use or whether we should just accept that’s a lost cause. But generally based on context it’s clear which meaning is intended. There is also some overlap between the definitions, some people who like to experiment with computers conduct experiments with computers they aren’t permitted to use. Some people who are career computer criminals started out experimenting with computers for fun.

      [...]

      Another example is the word “communist” which according to many Americans seems to mean “any person or country I don’t like”. It’s often invoked as a magical incantation that’s supposed to automatically win an argument. One recent example I saw was someone claiming that “Russia has always been communist” and rejecting any evidence to the contrary. If someone was to say “Russia has always been a shit country” then there’s plenty of evidence to support that claim (Tsarist, communist, and fascist Russia have all been shit in various ways). But no definition of “communism” seems to have any correlation with modern Russia. I never discovered what that person meant by claiming that Russia is communist, they refused to make any comment about Russian politics and just kept repeating that it’s communist. If they said “Russia has always been shit” then it would be a clear statement, people can agree or disagree with that but everyone knows what is meant.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Elon Musk May Have Talked His Way Into A Pretty Serious Defamation Lawsuit

      So many defamation lawsuits that we see are so obviously bogus on their face that often it feels like we should reconsider the rules for defamation in the first place. Over and over again we see defamation lawsuits that are obviously SLAPP suits, in which the powerful seek to silence those who criticize them. This lawsuit is one of the rare cases where it does not appear to be a SLAPP suit at all — and, Elon Musk almost seemed to force the hand of Vern Unsworth into suing him for defamation. Musk, who is a visionary innovator, but who has been involved in increasingly bizarre behavior of late, kicked a bunch of this off with a tweet back in July calling Vern Unsworth a “pedo guy” after Unsworth criticized his submarine plan.

      If you somehow missed all of this, there were 12 children trapped in a cave in Thailand, and Musk got intrigued by the rescue attempts and very quickly worked with his own engineers to design and prototype a small submarine that might be used to help rescue the kids. There were a lot of mixed reports on all of this, from some thanking and appreciating Musk making such an effort (he even flew to Thailand with the sub) to others mocking him for shoving himself into the rescue efforts. Wherever you stand on that debate, it really makes no difference for what came next. While some of those involved in the rescue thanked Musk for trying (even though his sub wasn’t needed), Unsworth, who had spent years mapping the caves and was widely credited for both bringing in the more experienced divers and for helping the rescuers find the kids in the first place, was unimpressed by Musk’s sub and said so. Specifically, he called it a PR stunt, said it had no chance of working, and said “he can stick his submarine where it hurts.”

    • The First Amendment Bars Officials From Targeting Nike Because They Don’t Like Colin Kaepernick

      From Louisiana to Mississippi to Rhode Island, governments are trying to use the power of their offices to impose their views of Nike on others.

      In response to the Nike ad campaign featuring NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick, some state and local government officials in Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Louisiana have sought to discourage or prohibit the purchase of Nike products in various ways.

      While everyone is entitled to have their own opinion about the ads — including public officials — government efforts to boycott a company based on hostility to its political expression violate the First Amendment. That’s because one of the most fundamental precepts of the First Amendment is that the government can’t act to suppress one side of a public debate.

      In 2016, Kaepernick famously kneeled during the national anthem to protest police violence against minority communities, provoking vigorous debate about the relationship between protest and patriotism, the place of politics in sports, and free speech in the workplace. In the ads, Nike asks people to “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

      Kaepernick has indeed sacrificed enormously for his beliefs, as his protests effectively brought an end to his NFL career. Although Kaepernick and his allies have repeatedly made it clear that their grievances are directed at systemic racism, some politicians — including President Trump — have insisted that the protest is disrespectful to police and military personnel.

    • Wherein Jean Luc Picard Learns How Not To Moderate Twitter

      For those not familiar with the Star Trek: the Next Generation cannon, in the episode “Hero Worship” the Enterprise receives a distress call from somewhere deep in space, and in responding discovers a heavily-damaged ship with just one survivor. While the Enterprise crew is investigating what happened to the ship, they soon realize that they are being pounded by energy waves, and eventually it dawns on them that these waves could eventually destroy their ship like they apparently did the other. As the Enterprise tries to channel more and more power to its shields to protect itself from the battering, the waves hitting the ship become more and more violent. Until finally – spoiler alert! (although let’s be honest: the episode basically telegraphs that this will be the solution) – Commander Data realizes that the waves are reflecting back the energy the Enterprise is expending, and that the solution is to cut the power or else be destroyed by the slapback.

      This is a sci fi story illustrating a phenomenon with which we’re all familiar. It’s that basic principle: to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And that’s what’s happening as people demand more censorship from platforms like Twitter, and then get more outraged when platforms have inevitably censored things they like. Of course increased calls to remove content will inevitably result in increased calls not to. And of course platforms’ efforts to comply with all these competing demands will just make the platform more unusable until, like the wrecked ship, it will have torn itself apart to the point that it’s hardly recognizable.

      As the Enterprise crew learned, solutions don’t always require figuring out ways to expend more energy. Sometimes they involve disengaging from a struggle that can never be won and finding new ways to view the problem. And when it comes to platform moderation, that same lesson seems relevant here.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Find ways to trace origin of messages: Government to WhatsApp

      Unhappy with the steps taken so far by WhatsApp, the government plans to reiterate its demand to the messaging app to work out a technical solution to trace the origins of incendiary messages spread on its platform.

      The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) is drafting a letter — its third since July to the Facebook-owned platform — asking it to design a technology-led solution to the issue that in the past has led to mob lynching or riots in the country.

    • Xiaomi Launches A New Smart Alarm Clock With Xiao AI And Bluetooth 4.0 – Comes with Internet Radio And News Functionality

      While it looks like most digital alarm clocks since only the time is displayed on the screen, it is truely aesthetic and minimalist. But what makes this device unique is it’s digital assistant Xiao AI, the smart assistant launched some time ago and present by default on some of the brand’s smartphones, think Bixby(China version).

    • Cloudflare Solves The Problem of CAPTCHAs For Tor Users with Cloudflare Onion Service

      In a recent development reported by ZDNet, Cloudflare has launched its new service known as the ‘Cloudflare Onion Service’. The announcement was made in Cloudflare’s blog published today where the idea of ‘Onions’ has been elaborated upon. This service is unique in its ability to distinguish between legitimate Tor traffic and bots. The basic benefit of this service is especially meant for Tor users who will now view much less or even zero CAPTCHAs while accessing a website protected by Cloudflare in Tor Browser.

      The introduction of this new service by Cloudflare required small tweaking in Tor binary by the Tor team. Therefore, it would only function with Tor Browser’s recent versions Tor Browser 8.0 and Tor Browser for Android, both of which were launched last month.

      [...]

      Cloudflare’s blog highlighted the functioning of this new service, “Just as with Opportunistic Encryption, we can point users to the Cloudflare Onion Service using HTTP Alternative Services, a mechanism that allows servers to tell clients that the service they are accessing is available at another network location or over another protocol…If the certificate is signed by a trusted certificate authority, for any subsequent requests to “cloudflare.com” the browser will connect using HTTP/2 via the onion service, sidestepping the need for going through an exit node.”

    • The DOJ’s Rules For Spying On Journalists Get A Bit Flimsy When It Reaches The FISA Court

      Back in the spring of 2013, just a month or so before Ed Snowden started revealing all sorts of surveillance shenanigans, there was another important revelation: the Obama DOJ had gone way overboard in spying on journalists, including grabbing the phone records of some AP reporters (without letting them know) and, even worse, telling a court that a Fox News reporter was a “co-conspirator” with a leaker in order to get his phone and email records.

      The Obama administration’s war on the press has been well documented on this site, with many in the press highlighting how he was the most secretive — not to mention the most aggressive in abusing the Espionage Act to target leakers and journalists more times than every other President combined prior to him. Once those two stories above came out, the DOJ initially promised to create new guidelines, though, when those guidelines came out, they seemed pretty limited and left a lot of avenues open for the government to spy on journalists, including using National Security Letters — the meaningless “letters” the FBI/DOJ often hands out like post-it notes, demanding all sorts of info with zero due process, and frequently with an indefinite gag order.

      Back in 2015, we noted that the Freedom of the Press Foundation was suing the DOJ demanding the details of the rules used around those national security letters, given that the DOJ didn’t want to release them. Earlier this week, the Freedom of the Press Foundation stated that (thanks to the lawsuit), the DOJ has now revealed its rules for seeking FISA Court orders spying on journalists, which are different than its rules for collecting general information from journalists (and different than the rules for the FBI to use NSLs, which is still secret).

    • Facebook ‘Dating’ Is Finally Rolling Out: The First Look From Testing

      Facebook has begun public testing its online-dating service called ‘Dating’ in Colombia. The company announced the service back at the annual F8 conference in May this year. If all goes well, this service will soon be rolled out to other countries in the future.

    • Machine learning and the right to explanation in GDPR

      This blogpost is a small section of a much larger research report Debates, awareness, and projects about GDPR and data protection. The report complements the launch of the Digital Rights Finder tool delivered by Projects by IF and Open Rights Group. We highlight some of the most interesting and important debates around GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

      There is some concern about the practical feasibility of implementing the right to explanation in GDPR in the context of complex data processing such as big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. (See this section of the report for more on debates about the existence of the right to explanation.)

      Lilian Edwards and Michael Veale argue that a right to an explanation is not the remedy to harms caused to people by algorithmic decisions. They also argue that the narrowly-defined right to explanation in GDPR of “meaningful information about the logic of processing” is not compatible with how modern machine learning technologies are being developed.

    • GDPR use in urls – Discuss – HTTP Archive

      It appears that more and more sites are adding gdpr compliance to their sites, and the term is appearing in the urls of requests that are gdpr compliant. in 4 months, we’ve seen a jump from near 0 to 2.4% of all urls containing the term GDPR.

    • Cloudflare Ordered to Expose YTS, Showbox, and Popcorn Time Site ‘Operators’

      A recent DMCA subpoena has ordered Cloudflare to expose the people linked to various popular pirate sites and tools. The request, quietly submitted out of public sight, comes from a group of movie studios attempting to hold site owners responsible for piracy damages.

    • Nest customer is locked out after his doorbell mistakes him for Batman
    • UIDAI’s rollout of face recognition for Aadhaar authentication expected today
    • John Hancock To Only Sell “Interactive” Life Insurance, Will Heavily Push Health Tracking

      John Hancock plans to only sell life insurance packages that offer incentives to customers who wear a smart watch and track their health data.

      The company started offering an “interactive” life insurance policy called “Vitality” back in 2015. Soon all John Hancock life insurance policyholders will be switched to that program, which offers discounts and gift cards to anyone willing to track their health information. Wearing a smart device is not mandatory to keep your insurance.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Facebook is letting job advertisers target only men

      A ProPublica review of Facebook ads found that many purchased by Drive with Uber, the company’s recruiting arm, targeted only men in more than a dozen cities across the US. Our survey of 91 Uber ads found just one targeting only women; three did not target a specific sex.

    • How Bail Reform Trapped Marijuana Activist NJ Weedman In Jail

      Through the metal detectors, past the indoor basketball court dotted with men in orange, and into a small whitewashed room with six telephones, New Jersey’s resident marijuana activist sat behind a window. He sat at the fourth phone, his face framed by a thick border of blue paint around the polycarbonate glass, chipped in some areas. His dreadlocks were tied back and his calm gray-colored eyes were underlined by dark bags. He was tired.

      Edward Forchion, known ubiquitously as “NJ Weedman,” has been locked up at the Mercer County Correctional Center for more than a year with no conviction. His incarceration is the result of the state’s new bail reform act, which allows for the detainment of a defendant with no option of bail and extra time to be added to a trial date through the use of excludable time.

      His lock-up in the New Jersey jail has an ironic timing. With the election of Governor Phil Murphy, who campaigned on legalizing marijuana, the state is closer than it has ever been to seeing the drug become regulated. But at a time when activists are rejoicing in the plant’s acceptance in the Garden State, New Jersey’s most ardent pot advocate is behind bars.

      The man who spent most of his adult life advocating marijuana reform is now fighting bail reform.

    • Ninth Circuit Says No, You Fucking May Not Arrest A Bunch Of Middle School Students To ‘Prove A Point’

      The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has upheld the stripping of immunity from a school resource officer who clearly violated the rights of multiple students, but still felt the need to be told twice by consecutive federal courts.

      School is school and kids will get in fights. Some accusations about bullying brought several seventh grade students to the school’s office, along with Deputy Luis Ortiz. Ortiz reached the limits of his training and experience extremely quickly when he was unable to determine who was bullying who or why these seventh grade students wouldn’t give him the respect he so clearly felt he was owed. So, here’s how he made the most (constitutional violations) of a bad situation.

      [...]

      There’s no ducking the lawsuit. On top of that, Ortiz (and another officer named in the lawsuit) will be facing state claims in addition to the federal civil rights violation allegations. Without a doubt, officers sometimes arrest people simply to “prove a point.” But usually they’ll do it with a bit more subtlety and try to eliminate any recordings that might undermined their official narrative. Ortiz was so determined to teach a bunch of uncooperative seventh graders a lesson, he completely forgot to make the arrest minimally plausible.

    • 2 Native American Teens Were Reported to Police for Joining a Campus Tour. Now We’re Stepping In.
    • Jeff Sessions Says If You Want More Shootings And Death, Listen To The ACLU And Black Lives Matter

      Jeff Sessions is still quoting a bad study to score points with law enforcement officials. Earlier this year — while speaking to the National Association of Police Organizations — he cited a study by two Chicago lawprofs that supposedly drew a connection between violent crime spikes in Chicago and a settlement with the ACLU, reached after years of police misconduct and abuse.

      The Attorney General’s point was clear: misconduct and abuse are what’s keeping criminal activity at bay. Constitutionally-sound police work lets the criminals win. The problem with Sessions’ assertions — and the law profs’ conclusions — is several cities with consent decrees or settlements in place have seen violent crime rates continue to go down, indicating there’s really no provable connection between violent crime rates and so-called “limitations” on police activity.

    • New Jersey Judicial Commission Says State’s Courts Are Maximizing Revenue, Minimizing Justice

      If there’s something our nation’s courts do well, it’s make life as difficult as possible for anyone caught in its gears. The premise of “innocent until proven guilty” has been made a mockery by prosecutors who stack charges until defendants give up and give in. Plea deals end more than 90% of criminal cases before they ever go to trial.

      Criminal infractions subject only to tickets and fines become jailable offenses as well, once the courts are finished piling on. A $50 parking ticket can balloon into hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees and the routine issuance of bench warrants assures some who have committed moving violations spend a few hours or days in jail as part of the process.

      The New Jersey Judicial Commission recognizes the problem. It’s having trouble working towards a solution, but at least it’s trying. Much like anywhere else in the country, depriving drivers of their licenses in lieu of collected fees doesn’t do anything to help the state collect fines. People with suspended licenses either can’t get to work or take a calculated risk to ensure their income flow doesn’t come to a halt. With automatic license plate readers flagging drivers with suspended licenses, cops are finding it easier to turn small driving infractions into life-crippling situations.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Court Orders FCC To Hand Over Data On Bogus Net Neutrality Comments

      You might recall that when the Trump FCC killed net neutrality, the public comment period (the only chance consumers had to actually offer their opinion) was plagued with all manner of identity theft and bogus comments. Oddly, the FCC didn’t seem too concerned that dead people were filing comments to the FCC website supporting their extremely unpopular decision, and even actively blocked law enforcement investigations into what happened. It’s worth noting that similar campaigns to generate bogus support for unpopular policies have plagued other government agencies in the post-truth era.

      Annoyed by the FCC’s lack of transparency and its refusal to respond to FOIA requests for additional data, journalist Jason Prechtel sued the FCC in late 2017. This week, a ruling (pdf) by Christopher Cooper of US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the FCC to hand over at least some of the data. The ruling requires that the FCC hand over email addresses that were used to submit .CSV files, which in turn contained the bulk comments. The order did not, however, grant Prechtel’s request for server logs, which could help detail who used specific APIs.

    • You Can Make the House of Representatives Restore Net Neutrality

      For all intents and purposes, the fate of net neutrality this year sits completely within the hands of a majority of members of the House of Representatives. For one thing, the Senate has already voted to reverse the FCC. For another, 218 members of the House can agree to sign a discharge petition and force a vote to the floor, and nothing could stop it procedurally. This represents the last, best chance for a 2018 end to the FCC’s misguided journey into abandoning consumer protection authority over ISPs such as Comcast and AT&T.

      But we need you to take the time to contact your elected officials and make your voice heard. Do not underestimate your power to protect the Internet. You’ve done it before when we stopped Congress from passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) as it barreled forward towards passage. We’ve even done it on net neutrality just this year. Every time it seemed the ISP lobby had control over the state legislative process and was going to ruin progress on net neutrality laws, we collectively overcame their influence. In fact, every state that has passed net neutrality legislation so far as interim protections have done so on a bipartisan basis.

  • DRM

    • John Deere Just Swindled Farmers Out of Their Right to Repair

      Just after the California bill was introduced, the farm equipment manufacturers started circulating a flyer titled “Manufacturers and Dealers Support Commonsense Repair Solutions.” In that document, they promised to provide manuals, guides, and other information by model year 2021. But the flyer insisted upon a distinction between a right to repair a vehicle and a right to modify software, a distinction that gets murky when software controls all of a tractor’s operations.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Germany: Tongeber (Sound Generator), Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 56/16, 17 April 2018

      The patent relates to a sound generator, in particular for parking assistance systems for vehicles. The sound generator is equipped with a housing comprising a base part and a top part. The base part has a receiving space, which can be covered by the top part, for receiving a diaphragm.

    • Trademarks

      • How the EU Copyright Directive could affect trade marks

        Speakers at MARQUES annual conference analysed how the European copyright legislation could raise challenges for brand owners and benefit the furniture industry. They delved into amendments made to the directive draft voted through last week

    • Copyrights

      • Sony Decides That It Too Can Compete With Free With Its Own Retro Console

        Remember that quaint mantra from a few years back, “You can’t compete with free!” The misguided idea behind the quip was that if the public could get your product for free, typically in digital form via the internet, then you were sunk. Dunzo. Kaput. The problem with this thinking is that selling a product has always had to be about more than an infinitely reproducable digital file, making any claim that “you can’t compete with free” exactly two words too long. And, of course, we’ve seen so many counterexamples in which people and companies very much compete with free, and in fact make a killing at it, so as to make this theory essentially dead. We recently touted the fact that Nintendo is barely able to keep its Nintendo NES Mini in stock as perhaps the ultimate example of this, given how pretty much every computer and smartphone can get all those same games and functions via emulators.

      • Canada’s Supreme Court Offers Hope to Falsely Accused File-Sharers

        In recent years hundreds of thousands of IP-addresses have been implicated in piracy lawsuits. But does that mean that the account holder is always liable? According to a recent comment by Canada’s Supreme Court, merely being associated with a ‘pirating’ IP address “is not conclusive of guilt.”

      • PIPCU Wins Piracy Enforcement Award From US Chamber of Commerce

        The City of London Police Intellectual Property [sic] Crime Unit has been presented with the Intellectual Property [sic] Champions Award for Excellence in Enforcement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center. The award, handed for the first time this year to an international player, is in recognition for the unit’s work in anti-piracy enforcement.

      • Senate passes copyright bill to end 140-year protection for old songs

        The Senate must now negotiate with the House, which passed its own version of the legislation earlier this year. Public Knowledge was not a fan of that legislation because it keeps pre-1972 sound recordings out of the public domain for much longer. The big question now is whether the final version of the bill will look more like the consumer-friendly Senate version or the more industry-friendly House legislation.

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