Links 22/10/2018: New Kernel Release and Linus Torvalds is Back in Charge

Posted in News Roundup at 5:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Windows 10 October Update Once Again Plagued By Another File Management Bug

      Since the announcement of Windows 10 October update 2018, things have been going pretty bad for Windows users. At first, it was the file deletion which caused a lot of inconvenience to Windows users, and later the driver issues.

      Now, people have come across another Windows 1809 bug which appears to be another File Explorer issue. Several users on Reddit and Ask Woody have reported an unusual activity while extracting files.

      The primary issue revolves around the prompt which should technically appear during the process of un-zipping a file on Windows 10; however, it does not, leading to data loss.

    • GitHub Website Is Down For Everyone Due To Data Storage Issues

      GitHub’s website went down roughly 6 hours ago and it still remains broken after a data storage system failed.

      Based on location, users across the world are facing issues related to speed, on using resources, login error, etc. Some users even complained that the commits of the last of 4-5 hours are not reflected on the site.

    • Review: System76 Oryx Pro Laptop

      I should start by saying that although I’m definitely no newbie to Linux, I’m new to the world of dedicated Linux laptops. I started with Linux in 1996, when Red Hat 4.0 had just adopted the 2.0 kernel and Debian 1.3 hadn’t yet been released. I’ve run a variety of distros with varying degrees of satisfaction ever since, always looking for the Holy Grail of a desktop UNIX that just plain worked.

      About 15 years ago after becoming frustrated with the state of Linux on laptop hardware (in a phrase, “nonexistent hardware support”), I switched my laptops over to Macs and didn’t look back. It was a true-blue UNIX that just plain worked, and I was happy. But I increasingly found myself frustrated by things I expected from Linux that weren’t available on macOS, and which things like Homebrew and MacPorts and Fink could only partly address.

      My last MacBook Pro is now four years old, so it was time to shop around again. After being underwhelmed by this generation of MacBooks, I decided to take the risk on a Linux laptop again.

    • Linux Apps Coming To MediaTek-Powered Chromebooks Like The Acer R13

      Google made no mention of Linux apps on Chrome OS at last week’s hardware event in New York. I was a little surprised considering the fact that the Pixel Slate and Chrome OS saw nearly as much stage time as the Pixel phone that brought most of the media to Manhattan.


      Unfortunately, the Chromebook R13 was quickly overshadowed by new flagships from Samsung and ASUS that featured more powerful processors and various features that made them more appealing to consumers. It was a sad happenstance for the Acer Chromebook because honestly, it is still a great device two years later. Seeing Google bring Linux apps to this device could breath much-needed new life into this model.

    • Linux app support coming to MediaTek-based Chromebooks

      Linux apps have arrived in the Chrome OS stable channel, but not all Chromebooks have access to them. The Linux container requires some kernel features that won’t be backported to several models, but now Google is bringing the feature to a handful of MediaTek-based Chromebooks.

      Chrome Unboxed discovered a commit that enables Linux app support for the “oak” platform, which a number of Chromebooks were based on.

    • Linux apps on Chrome OS: An easy-to-follow guide

      The software that started out as a strictly web-centric entity — with everything revolving around the Chrome browser and apps that could operate inside it — is now one of modern computing’s most versatile operating systems. Contemporary Chromebooks still run all the standard web-based stuff, of course, but they’re also capable of connecting to Google’s entire Play Store and running almost any Android app imaginable. And if that isn’t enough, many models have recently gained the ability to run Linux apps as well.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.19

      Hi everyone!

      It’s been a long strange journey for this kernel release…

      While it was not the largest kernel release every by number of commits,
      it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to
      do. After the original -rc1 bumps, things settled down on the code side
      and it looks like stuff came nicely together to make a solid kernel for
      everyone to use for a while. And given that this is going to be one of
      the “Long Term” kernels I end up maintaining for a few years, that’s
      good news for everyone.

      A small trickle of good bugfixes came in this week, showing that waiting
      an extra week was a wise choice. However odds are that linux-next is
      just bursting so the next -rc1 merge window is going to be bigger than
      “normal”, if there is such a thing as “normal” for our rate of

      And speaking of development, there’s that other thing that happened this
      release cycle, that ended up making it such that I’m the one writing
      this instead of Linus. Allow me the guilty pleasure of taking a few
      minutes to talk about that….

      I’ve been giving my “How the kernel is developed” talk all around the
      world for over a decade now. After the first year or so, I was amazed
      that it kept needing to be given as surely everyone knew how we did this
      type of thing, right? But my wife, someone much smarter than I, then
      told me, “Every year there is a new kindergarten class.”

      And we all need to remember that, every year new people enter our
      community with the goal, or requirement, to get stuff done for their
      job, their hobby, or just because they want to help contribute to the
      tool that has taken over the world and enabled everyone to have a solid
      operating system base on which to build their dreams.

      And when they come into our community, they don’t have the built-in
      knowledge of years of experience that thousands of us already do.
      Without that experience they make mistakes and fumble and have to learn
      how this all works. Part of learning how things work is dealing with
      the interaction between people, and trying to understand the basic
      social norms and goals that we all share. By providing a document in
      the kernel source tree that shows that all people, developers and
      maintainers alike, will be treated with respect and dignity while
      working together, we help to create a more welcome community to those
      newcomers, which our very future depends on if we all wish to see this
      project succeed at its goals.

      And that goal we all share is the key here. We _ALL_ want to create the
      best kernel that we possibly can. We can disagree on lots of different
      things in other parts of our lives, but we do share this one thing. And
      we should focus on that shared goal as it has pulled us all together in
      a way that has enabled us to create something that no other company or
      group of people has ever been able to accomplish.

      We used to joke that our goal was “Total World Domination”, but it
      really wasn’t a joke. We achieved that goal, Linux really does rule the
      world. All companies use it, contribute to it, and it has ended up
      making the world a much better place because of all of us working on it.

      In these talks I give, I also say that “the only thing that can stop us
      is ourselves, it is up to us to mess this up.” And that’s truer now
      than when I first started saying that a decade ago. There is no other
      operating system out there that competes against us at this time. It
      would be nice to have something to compete against, as competition is
      good, and that drives us to do better, but we can live with this
      situation for the moment :)

      These past few months has been a tough one for our community, as it is
      our community that is fighting from within itself, with prodding from
      others outside of it. Don’t fall into the cycle of arguing about those
      “others” in the “Judean People’s Front” when we are the “We’re the
      People’s Front of Judea!” That is the trap that countless communities
      have fallen into over the centuries. We all share the same goal, let us
      never loose sight of that.

      So here is my plea to everyone out there. Let’s take a day or two off,
      rest, relax with friends by sharing a meal, recharge, and then get back
      to work, to help continue to create a system that the world has never
      seen the likes of, together.

      Personally, I’m going to take my own advice. I’ll be enjoying this week
      in Edinburgh with many other kernel developers, drinking some good
      whiskey, and taking some time off of reading email, by spending it with
      the great friends I have made in this community.

      And with that, Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you. You can
      have the joy of dealing with the merge window :)


      greg k-h

    • Linux 4.19 Improves Containers, Latency and Networking for the Long Term

      The Linux 4.19 kernel was released on Oct. 22, bringing with it a host of new features for servers large and small.

      Linux 4.19 is the fifth major Linux kernel released in 2018 and follows the 4.18 kernel which became generally available on Aug. 12. The Linux 4.19 release cycle was a bit more dramatic than the other four releases in 2018 as Linux creator Linus Torvalds stepped away from the release during the development cycle to work on his own interpersonal behavior and conduct. As such, the final release was made by Linux stable branch maintainer, Greg Kroah-Hartman.

      “While it was not the largest kernel release every by number of commits, it was larger than the last 3 releases, which is a non-trivial thing to do,” Kroah-Hartman wrote in his release message. “After the original -rc1 bumps, things settled down on the code side and it looks like stuff came nicely together to make a solid kernel for everyone to use for a while, and given that this is going to be one of the “Long Term” kernels I end up maintaining for a few years, that’s good news for everyone.”

    • Linux Kernel 4.19 Released, Plus Updates to Google Chrome, LightWorks + More

      With new Linux kernel releases, distro updates, and new software constantly being released, it’s a tough ol’ task trying to stay on top of it all.

      Which is why like to write these Linux Release Roundup posts that gather together all of the pertinent software, package and kernel releases from the past 7 days in one, easy-to-read article.

    • The 4.19 kernel is out

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has released the 4.19 kernel. Headline features in this release include the new AIO-based polling interface, L1TF vulnerability mitigations, the block I/O latency controller, time-based packet transmission, the CAKE queuing discipline, and much more.

    • Greg KH Releases Big Linux 4.19 Kernel, Codenamed “People’s Front”

      Greg Kroah-Hartman went ahead and released the Linux 4.19 kernel.

      When releasing the Linux 4.19 kernel, he quietly changed the codename to “People’s Front” — a nod to the Code of Conduct happenings and more that have shook the kernel community the past several weeks.

      Greg did note that Linux 4.19 is larger than the past three kernel releases. In terms of why it’s so big, see our Linux 4.19 feature overview.

    • ​Linus Torvalds is back in charge of Linux

      At Open Source Summit Europe in Scotland, Linus Torvalds is meeting with Linux’s top 40 or so developers at the Maintainers’ Summit. This is his first step back in taking over Linux’s reins.

      A little over a month ago, Torvalds stepped back from running the Linux development community. In a note to the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML), Torvalds said, “I need to change some of my behavior, and I want to apologize to the people that my personal behavior hurt and possibly drove away from kernel development entirely. I am going to take time off and get some assistance on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately.”

    • Linus Torvalds is back at the helm of Linux

      Linus Torvalds is back in charge of Linux, following a self-imposed break from his duties pertaining to the open source operating system.

      His temporary replacement, Greg Kroah-Hartman, announced the return of Torvalds in a post which detailed the release of Linux kernel 4.19, and the various tweaks and adjustments therein.

      As Betanews spotted, Kroah-Hartman wrote: “Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you. You can have the joy of dealing with the merge window.”

      The release notes clarify that this wasn’t the largest kernel release going by the number of commits, but that it was larger than the past three releases, and a trickle of ‘good bug fixes’ came in during the past week, which showed that waiting an extra week was a sensible choice.

    • Linus Torvalds is back in charge as Linux kernel 4.19 is released

      After taking some time out from the Linux community to “change some of [his] behavior”, Linux Torvalds is back. In a post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.19, Greg Kroah-Hartman — his temporary replacement — handed back the reins.

      After writing about the changes to be found in the latest release, Kroah-Hartman signed off by saying: “Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you. You can have the joy of dealing with the merge window :)”.

    • Great News! Linus Torvalds is Back in Charge of Linux

      Good news Linux folks. Linus Torvalds is back in charge of Linux.

      To refresh your memory a bit, a few weeks back Linus Torvalds announced that he is taking some time off from Linux Kernel development to improve his behavior.

      This announcement came right after he signed off the controversial Linux code of conduct.

      He was scheduled to speak at the Open Source Summit in Edinburgh but his talk was removed after he took the sudden temporary break.

    • Linux Kernel 4.19 “People’s Front” Released; Linus Torvalds Back For 4.20 Development

      The incidents that preceded (and accompanied) the Linux kernel 4.19 development cycle have has been one of the most critical ones faced by the Linux community. In order to bring some major changes to the community, Linus Torvalds took a break from kernel development and passed the baton to Greg Kroah-Hartman. A new Code of Conduct was also adopted.

      Now, after eight release candidates, Greg has released the Linux kernel 4.19. Underlining the ongoing challenges, he wrote in the release post: “It’s been a long strange journey for this kernel release…”

    • [Old] With Linux’s founder stepping back, will the community change its culture? [Ed: Bill Gates-connected site really sticking it in to Torvalds. Just watch carefully who wants him out and why. LF kicked community members out of the Board, gave seats there to Microsoft. So Microsoft now has more influence over the future/direction of Linux than community members (i.e. not large corporations).]
    • Intel’s IWD Linux Wireless Daemon Out With Version 0.10

      IWD continues maintaining a very small footprint in order to be suitable for embedded/IoT use-cases with having minimal dependencies though supporting networkd/NetworkManager/ConnMan if present on the system. With the new IWD 0.10 release is support for using an external Embedded Linux Library (ELL). The ELL library is another open-source Intel project providing low-level functionality for Linux system daemons and having no dependencies in turn other than the Linux kernel and C standard library. ELL can scale up from embedded to desktop systems and more while providing a lot of features around D-Bus, signal handling, crypto, and other tasks.

    • ​Revised Linux Code of Conduct is now officially part of Linux

      Some organizations might not include their Code of Conduct in the software source code tree, but the Linux developers aren’t your ordinary group. In the Linux 4.19 announcement, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux’s leader for this release and maintainer of the stable branch, added in the Code of Conduct and some minor changes.

    • Hwmon Updates Sent To The Kernel Finally Complete AMD Excavator Temperature Readings

      Following this morning’s Linux 4.19 release announcement, one of the first pull requests sent in of feature updates for the next 4.20~5.0 feature cycle is the hardware monitoring “hwmon” updates.

      The hwmon subsystem updates as usual include the various monitoring driver improvements. Most notable though is including the patch we talked about back in September for finally reporting CPU temperatures for all AMD Excavator CPU cores. That patch didn’t end up getting sent in as a “fix” during Linux 4.19 development but is now sent in for this next kernel cycle.

    • Facebook Developing “OOMD” For Out-of-Memory User-Space Linux Daemon

      While the Linux kernel has its own out-of-memory (OOM) killer when system memory becomes over-committed, Facebook developers have been developing their own user-space based solution for handling this situation.


      Facebook’s Daniel Xu will be talking about OOMD at the Open-Source Summit Europe tomorrow in Edinburgh. But if you can’t make it there are the slides (PDF) already available. The OOMD project is hosted on GitHub under the GPLv2 license.

    • I3C Subsystem Appears Ready For Possible Inclusion Into Linux 4.20~5.0

      There is already a lot of features slated for the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel with its development cycle officially having gotten underway this morning. Adding to that lengthy list of expected work is the possible introduction of the I3C subsystem.

      Back in January 2017 MIPI announced the I3C sensor interface specification as an improvement over the widely-used I2C. With I3C the focus was on combining the best of the I2C, SPI, and UART specifications while tailoring it so it’s suitable for use by IoT devices.

      Going back to shortly after the specification’s debut, there have been an in-development I3C subsystem for enabling drivers and these devices to be supported by the mainline Linux kernel.

    • Btrfs To Ship Multiple Performance Improvements In The Next Linux Kernel

      Adding to the excitement around Linux 4.20~5.0 are now multiple performance improvements to the Btrfs file-system to be presented for this next Linux kernel release.

      Btrfs offers a lot of features not readily available by other in-tree Linux file-systems, but even with all of the features like SSD optimizations, its performance hasn’t been all that staggering (in part because, yes, it is copy-on-write by default that does hurt some workloads). But come Linux 4.20~5.0, there should be multiple speed-ups to Btrfs.

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Developers Express Interest In Helping Out libc++/libstdc++ Parallel Algorithms

        NVIDIA developers have expressed interest in helping the open-source GCC libstdc++ and LLVM Clang libc++ standard libraries in bringing up support for the standardized parallel algorithms.

        C++17 brings parallelized versions for some of the algorithms exposed by the C++ standard library, but sadly GCC’s libstdc++ and LLVM’s libc++ do not yet support these parallel algorithms while the rest of their C++17 support is in great shape. Going back over a year Intel has been interested in contributing parallel support code to these C++ standard libraries that could be shared by both projects. The Intel path builds in abstractions for supporting different underlying thread/parallelism APIs.

      • The Rust-Written Kazan Vulkan Driver Lights Up Its Shader Compiler

        This week the Kazan project (formerly known as “Vulkan-CPU”) celebrated a small but important milestone in its trek to having a CPU-based Vulkan software implementation.

        As a refresher, Kazan is the project born as Vulkan-CPU during the 2017 Google Summer of Code. The work was started by student developer Jacob Lifshay and he made good progress last summer on the foundation of the project and continued contributing past the conclusion of that Google-funded program. By the end of the summer he was able to run some simple Vulkan compute tests. He also renamed Vulkan-CPU to Kazan (Japanese for “volcano”).

      • Sway 1.0 Beta Released – Offers 100% Compatibility With i3 Window Manager

        The Sway Wayland compositor inspired by X11′s i3 window manager is now up to its beta ahead of the big 1.0 release.

        Sway 1.0 Beta offers “100%” compatibility with the i3 window manager. The Sway 1.0 release has also been working on many other changes including improved window handling, multi-GPU support, virtual keyboard protocol, real-time video capture, tablet support, and many other changes.

      • Panfrost Open-Source GPU Driver Continues Advancing For Mali GPUs

        The Panfrost open-source, community-driven, reverse-engineered graphics driver for ARM Mali graphics processors continues panning out pretty well.

        Alyssa Rosenzweig has provided an update this weekend on the state of Panfrost for open-source Mali 3D support. The developers involved have been working out some texture issues, various OpenGL / GLES issues around GLMark2, and support now for running Wayland’s Weston reference compositor.

      • Coreboot’s Flashrom Moves On To Flashing AMD GPUs Up Through Polaris

        Last week I wrote about new patches adding Coreboot Flashrom support for Radeon GPUs for being able to re-program the SPI blocks on AMD graphics processors. Initially that was for old Radeon HD 2000 through HD 6000 series hardware but now it’s moved onto the GCN world.

        That reverse engineering work for bringing Radeon support to Flashrom is being done by longtime open-source developer Luc Verhaegen who was involved with the RadeonHD driver effort a decade ago. He’s continued working on this SPI chip flashing support in his spare time and has got the code working for GCN hardware now — most Southern/Sea Islands hardware and even now Polaris. Last week I wrote about new patches adding Coreboot Flashrom support for Radeon GPUs for being able to re-program the SPI blocks on AMD graphics processors. Initially that was for old Radeon HD 2000 through HD 6000 series hardware but now it’s moved onto the GCN world.

        That reverse engineering work for bringing Radeon support to Flashrom is being done by longtime open-source developer Luc Verhaegen who was involved with the RadeonHD driver effort a decade ago. He’s continued working on this SPI chip flashing support in his spare time and has got the code working for GCN hardware now — most Southern/Sea Islands hardware and even now Polaris.

      • AMD FreeSync 2 HDR Coming To The Linux Kernel In 2019

        Next year is when all of the pieces of the open-source puzzle for fully supporting FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync/VRR displays with AMD graphics cards should be in place for allowing out-of-the-box support.

        While the Linux 4.20 kernel (possible being re-branded as Linux 5.0) will kick off its development cycle today following the Linux 4.19 stable release, these FreeSync / variable rate refresh bits aren’t found in the kernel… There is the AMDGPU DC bits within this open-source AMD kernel driver, but not yet the common Direct Rendering Manager bits for exposing the “VRR” properties to user-space.

      • Vulkan 1.1.89 Released As A Small Spec Update

        After the big Vulkan 1.1.88 update earlier this month that brought transform feedback and other new extensions, Vulkan 1.1.89 is now available.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Performance & Power Efficiency Of The Core i7 990X vs. Core i9 9900K

        With my initial Core i9 9900K benchmarks out there following Friday’s embargo expiration, for some weekend benchmarking fun I decided to pull out the old Core i7 990X to see how it compares to the new 9900K… The Gulftown and Coffeelake processors were compared not only on raw performance but also overall power consumption and performance-per-Watt.

        The Core i7 990X was the Extreme Edition processor back from 2011 codenamed “Gulftown” (Westmere microarchitecture), the 32nm generation before Sandy Bridge. Granted the announced but not yet released Core i9 9900X X-Series CPU will be more akin for comparison to the 990X, and I will at such time that it is available, but just for some extra benchmark runs over the weekend I was curious to see how the 990X and 9900K compare…

      • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        Last week following the launch of the RTX 2070 Turing graphics cards, I carried out some initial RTX 2070 compute benchmarks including of TensorFlow and more common OpenCL/CUDA workloads. The GPU compute performance for this $499+ Turing GPU was quite good and especially for INT16 test cases often beating the GTX 1080 Ti. Available now are the Linux gaming benchmarks for the GeForce RTX 2070 compared to an assortment of other NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards on Ubuntu 18.10.

        As a quick recap, the GeForce RTX 2070 has 2304 CUDA cores, 1410MHz base clock, 1620MHz boost clock, and is capable of 42T RTX-OPS and 6 Giga Rays/s for ray-tracing, granted it will likely be some time before seeing any serious Linux games with RTX/ray-tracing support. The GeForce RTX 2070 graphics cards rely upon 8GB of GDDR6 video memory yielding 448GB/s of memory bandwidth.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux and systemd updates, with Plasma 5.13.5, Applications 18.08.1 and Frameworks 5.50 by KDE now available to all Chakra users

        This time we have been a bit late, as many of our contributors were busy over the last couple of months, but we hope we can soon get back to normal delivery times.

        Better late than never though, so we are happy to inform you that on your next system upgrade you will receive newer versions of KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks, in addition to updates to important packages such as the linux kernel and systemd. The latest Plasma 5.14 2 series should follow soon.

      • MIT licensed KSyntaxHighlighting usage

        With the KDE Frameworks 5.50 release, the KSyntaxHighlighting framework was re-licensed to the MIT license.

        This re-licensing only covers the actual code in the library and the bundled themes but not all of the syntax highlighting definition data files.

        One of the main motivation points was to get QtCreator to use this, if possible, instead of their own implementation of the Kate highlighting they needed to create in the past due to the incompatible licensing of KatePart at that time (and the impossibility to do a quick split/re-licensing of the parts in question).

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 41
      • KDE Will Now Set Scale Factor For GTK Apps, Plasma Gets Other Scaling & UI Polishing Too

        KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his weekly recap of interesting development activities impacting Plasma, Frameworks, and the Applications stack.

        When the display scaling factor for KDE is set to an integer, KDE will now export that as well to the GNOME/GTK environment variables of GDK_SCALE/GDK_DPI_SCALE, for helping out GTK applications running on the KDE desktop so they should still scale appropriately. The Wayland behavior was already correct while this should help out GTK X11 applications. The GNOME/GTK scaling though only supports scaling by integer numbers.

      • Latte Dock, new painting is coming…

        In the video you can see the upcoming coloring mechanism of Latte’s next version. Even though I am using plasma 5.14 and I love it, it is also the reason I am already expecting impatiently plasma 5.15 this January!! :) This functionality can be supported only with plasma 5.15 .

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • libxmlb now a dependency of fwupd and gnome-software

        I’ve just released libxmlb 0.1.3, and merged the branches for fwupd and gnome-software so that it becomes a hard dependency on both projects. A few people have reviewed the libxmlb code, and Mario, Kalev and Robert reviewed the fwupd and gnome-software changes so I’m pretty confident I’ve not broken anything too important — but more testing very welcome.

      • Christian Hergert: Glade Support for Builder

        One of the things we’ve wanted in Builder for a while is a designer. We’ve had various prototypes in the past to see how things would have worked out, and mostly just punted on the idea because it seemed like Glade served users better than we would be able to directly.

        Last week, Juan Pablo, Matthias Clasen and I met up in San Francisco to see what we could do in the short term. We discussed a couple of options that we have going forward.

        Integrate glade 3 into Builder using libgladeui.
        Integrate glade 3 using the external Glade application and use D-Bus to inter-operate.
        Like all projects, we have some constraints.

      • Daniel Espinosa: Vala state: October 2018

        While I think maintainability could be improved, adding to history commits from contributions, apart from the ones coming from current Maintainer. Actually, there are some lot of commits not in history coming from authors outside current ones. Hope with new GitLab GNOME’s instance, this will reflect the correct situation.

        Behind scenes, Vala has to improve its code base to adapt to new requirements like to develop a descent Vala Language Server and more IEDs supporting Vala. At least for me, even GEdit is productive enough to produce software in Vala, because the language itself; write a Class, an Interface and implement interfaces, is 10 times faster in Vala than in C.

        Vala has received lot of improvements in last development cycles, like a new POSIX profile, ABI stability, C Warnings improvements and many other, to be reported in a different article.

        Look at Vala’s repository history, you will see more “feature” commits than “bindings” ones, contrary to the situation reported by Emmanuel, while should be a good idea to produce a graphic on this, but resent improvements could tell by them self the situation has been improved in recent release cycles.

        Lets look at repository’s chart. It reports 2000 commits in the last 3 months, 1.1 average per day, from 101 contributions as for October 19, 2018. Me at 10 commits from the last year, so I’m far to be a core contributor, but push ABI stability to be a reality. My main contributions are to communicate Vala advances and status.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Linspire 8.0 RC1 Released

        Today we are pleased to release RC1 of Linspire 8. As we approach our December release, huge strides in stability and functionality have been made with the release candidate. Even so, it should be used for testing only, not on production systems

      • Linspire 8.0 RC1 Released With Apple iMac Pro Support, Uses MATE 1.20 + Linux 4.15

        The Linspire Linux distribution that was rebooted earlier this year is preparing for its next installment, Linspire 8.0.

        Linspire 8.0 release candidate 1 was issued this weekend as the new company developing this Linux distribution that originated almost two decades ago as “Lindows” prepares for the next OS update. Linspire 8.0 is expected to be officially released in December and continues to be commercial-focused.

      • Linux Kernel 4.19 Released, Linus Torvalds Is Back, Linspire 8.0 RC1 Is Out, IPFire 2.21 Now Available and Recently Discovered Apache Vulnerability

        Linspire 8.0 RC1 was released over the weekend. The stable release is expected in December (don’t use this release in production environments), and RC2, which should be more feature-complete, is expected in November. Among other changes, in this version, iMac Pro support has been improved and Oracle Java is now in the repositories. It uses the MATE 1.20.1 desktop, kernel 4.15 and Chrome 69.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat underpins the growing importance of Linux and open source

        While you may not spend a lot of time thinking about this, the role Linux plays in the technology that we all use everyday is growing quite significantly. In an effort to more fully appreciate this, I had an opportunity to speak with the new vice resident and general manager of Red Hat’s RHEL Business Unit — Dr. Stefanie Chiras — and ask about her vision for RHEL and Linux in general. She was very enthusiastic — not just for Red Hat, but for the open source movement overall and the rising importance of Linux.

        Chiras started with Red Hat in July — not quite four months ago — and already describes herself as a “true Red Hatter.” She explained that she has had a serious focus on Linux for the last six years or more. As she points out, we all do development differently these days because of the open source movement. The changes in just the last five years have moved us to very different ways of doing things whether we’re working on public or private clouds, containers, or bare metal.

      • Open Bank Project collaborates with Red Hat to Deliver Next Generation Open Banking Solutions
      • Tech firm Red Hat bets on telecom, BFSI in India, eyes smaller cities

        Open source software provider Red Hat sees huge opportunities in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) as well as telecom sectors in India, with the government’s push for financial inclusion through providing affordable digital banking solutions. The company is also looking to expand its services to tier-II and-III cities in the country.

        Most core banking systems across the globe run on Red Hat architecture in some form or the other, including Indian platforms like Infosys’ Finacle, said Benjamin Henshall, country manager (India and South Asia) and Director (Sales and Financial Services) of APAC, at Red Hat. After opening its first office in India in 2000, Red Hat has now expanded to five offices in the country.

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift 3.11 Release Update with Scott McCarty (Red Hat)

        In this briefing, Red Hat’s Scott McCarty and numerous other members of the OpenShift Product Management team gave an in-depth look at Red Hat’s OpenShift’s latest release 3.11 and some insights in to the road ahead.

      • Awards roll call: Red Hat awards, June to October 2018

        Depending on the weather in your region, it’s safe to say that the seasons are changing so it’s a good time to look back at what was a busy few months for Red Hat, especially when it came to industry awards for our technical and product leadership. In recent months, Red Hat products and technologies took home twenty awards, highlighting the breadth and depth of our product portfolio as well as the expertise that we provide to our customers. In addition, Red Hat as a company won five awards recognizing its growth and culture as a leader in the industry.

      • More advice from a judge – what it takes to win a Red Hat Innovation Award

        Last year I penned the below post to provide insight into what the judges of the Red Hat Innovation Awards are looking for when reviewing submissions. Looking back, I would give almost the identical advice again this year…maybe with a few tweaks.

        With all the stellar nominations that we receive, the question I often get is, “how can we make our entry standout?” There’s no magic formula for winning the Red Hat Innovation Awards, but there are things that the other judges and I look for in the entries.

        Overall, we’re looking for the project that tells a compelling story. It’s not just about sharing what Red Hat products and services you used, we want to hear the full narrative. What challenges did you face; how you implemented the project; and ultimately, what was the true business impact and transformation that took place? Submissions that are able to showcase how open source culture and values were key to success, or how the project is making a difference in the lives of others, are the entries that most often rise to the top.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • RPM-OSTree Bisecting Helps Track Down Boot Timeout Issue

          Recently a user reported an issue where their system was seeing timeouts on boot. They determined that if they removed the resume=/dev/mapper/fedora-swap argument from the kernel command line then the system would boot without timing out on the swap device (i.e. an extra 90 seconds added to boot time).

          This was interesting because the behavior was actually introduced during the Fedora 28 cycle (i.e. it was not present in the first release of Fedora 28 Atomic Host, but showed up sometime over the life of Fedora 28 Atomic Host). I decided to dig in and do some investigation. Along the way I realized, admittedly later than I than I should have, that I could use rpm-ostree-bisect to help determine exactly where this problem was introduced.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Kernel 4.19 Test Day 2018-10-25
    • Debian Family

      • BGP LLGR: robust and reactive BGP sessions

        On a BGP-routed network with multiple redundant paths, we seek to achieve two goals concerning reliability:

        A failure on a path should quickly bring down the related BGP sessions. A common expectation is to recover in less than a second by diverting the traffic to the remaining paths.

        As long as a path is operational, the related BGP sessions should stay up, even under duress.

      • Measuring the speaker frequency response using the AUDMES free software GUI – nice free software

        My current home stereo is a patchwork of various pieces I got on flee markeds over the years. It is amazing what kind of equipment show up there. I’ve been wondering for a while if it was possible to measure how well this equipment is working together, and decided to see how far I could get using free software. After trawling the web I came across an article from DIY Audio and Video on Speaker Testing and Analysis describing how to test speakers, and it listing several software options, among them AUDio MEasurement System (AUDMES). It is the only free software system I could find focusing on measuring speakers and audio frequency response. In the process I also found an interesting article from NOVO on Understanding Speaker Specifications and Frequency Response and an article from ecoustics on Understanding Speaker Frequency Response, with a lot of information on what to look for and how to interpret the graphs. Armed with this knowledge, I set out to measure the state of my speakers.

        The first hurdle was that AUDMES hadn’t seen a commit for 10 years and did not build with current compilers and libraries. I got in touch with its author, who no longer was spending time on the program but gave me write access to the subversion repository on Sourceforge. The end result is that now the code build on Linux and is capable of saving and loading the collected frequency response data in CSV format. The application is quite nice and flexible, and I was able to select the input and output audio interfaces independently. This made it possible to use a USB mixer as the input source, while sending output via my laptop headphone connection. I lacked the hardware and cabling to figure out a different way to get independent cabling to speakers and microphone.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Screenshot Tour | What’s New

            Here we are going to take a screenshot tour of the latest release Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish). Let’s go through the recent changes since the earlier long term support release Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver).

            Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) introduces major user interface changes and more mature interface since Canonical decided ditching Unity desktop environment. Cosmic release ships with Gnome Shell 3.30.1 desktop environment for its main Desktop release and there are more variants of desktop environments you could choose from, check the release notes for further information.

            The default desktop and login screen “GDM” features the Cuttlefish background with the usual color scheme for Ubuntu desktop releases. It comes with multiple colorful and cheering desktop backgrounds. I will leave a link down below if you are interested to download the default Wallpapers for Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish).

          • Canonical and Ubuntu – user statistics

            Then you arrive at the story of Canonical and Ubuntu and things aren’t quite so clear anymore, lines are blurred. Ubuntu appears everywhere, sometimes accompanied by Canonical, but frequently not. Then sometimes Canonical tries to make an appearance alone and everyone is left asking ‘what is Canonical?’
            Well, no more. No more shall wondering what Canonical is be akin to a quiz question of who was the fourth Destiny’s Child. (Answer at the end)
            We all know Ubuntu, it’s the most popular open source operating system (OS) in the world, loved by developers for a multitude of reasons, it’s where innovation happens, and it’s everywhere.
            Canonical is described by Wikipedia (let’s face it that’s where your Google search takes you) as a UK-based, “privately held computer software company founded and funded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth to market commercial support and related services for Ubuntu and related projects.”
            Well, that’s pretty accurate, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. You see, Canonical is passionate about Ubuntu. We love it. We all use it and we want everyone else to use the OS because we think it’s the best around and it’ll make your lives a lot easier.
            Canonical is full of people working on improving and adding to Ubuntu, from the OS to things that rely on the OS at the core but are more related to things such as Kubernetes, yes we really do Kubernetes, or OpenStack, AI/ML, and a whole host of technologies related to the internet of things (IoT).

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is officially out. Here’s what you need to know

            It is late October and Ubuntu’s xx.10 release is here, this year; Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish. The previous release, Ubuntu 18.04 was an LTS version meaning it will get security patches and support for the next 4 years, and has since enjoyed really good reviews. 6 months later, Cosmic Cuttlefish is here, hoping to one-up that legacy. But does it have what it takes to do so? What does it bring to the table?

          • Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC And Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Are Perfect Together

            In general, Linux kernel 4.18 seems to offer vast improvements for Hades Canyon NUC and specifically AMD’s Radeon Vega M graphics hardware. I’ve seen reports of success from Arch and Fedora users who’ve upgraded, so it’s wonderful news that slick devices like the Hades Canyon NUC — and by extension future products featuring Radeon Vega M graphics — should be well supported going forward.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Review: elementary OS 5.0

              I found a lot to like about Juno. The release announcement is detailed and shows lots of examples and screen shots. The operating system is easy to install, thanks to Ubuntu’s Ubiquity installer and there is a nice collection of default software that will likely appeal to inexperienced users.

              The Pantheon desktop and icons are beautiful. I sometimes ran into sluggish moments with the desktop, but usually only when the disk was under load or I had a video playing. I was really impressed by how Pantheon was put together and I like a lot of the little convenience features. The picture-in-picture preview and the shared edge window resizing are great. I also love that tapping the meta key will show a list of desktop short-cuts. It is little details like these which give the distribution a polished, friendly feel.

              I already mentioned the icons look good and it bears repeating. Minimal icon design drives me mildly mad. I don’t like functions represented by vague dots or arrows, I want a detailed icon and (preferably) text to let me know what a button does. elementary does a good job of making icons distinct, clear in purpose and typically accompanied by a text label or tooltip.

              There were a few problems. Some of them were fairly minor, like Epiphany using high CPU load, especially in the virtual machine, or X11 gobbling CPU cycles on my workstation. There were other little touches like the release notes link in the installer not working, that are perhaps only worth mentioning because the rest of the experience was generally so polished and showed a lot of attention to detail.

              My few serious complaints were with user accounts. Specifically, there appears to be a guest account enabled, but I could not find any way to sign into it. It is not a big deal to set up another account for guests, but it makes me wonder if the enabled (and hidden) account could be exploited. I also found it disappointing the parental controls did not work to block application access or forbidden websites.

              On the other hand, I think Pantheon includes some great features and I like that it is fairly flexible in its look and behaviour. The flexible notification area and the quick switching between application menu styles were welcome features.

              Generally speaking, I think elementary OS looks and feels professional. I hope it gets picked up by more hardware sellers, like System76, as I think Juno feels polished and looks good. I think it will especially appeal to less experienced users, but many of the features and the Code tool will likely be useful to more advanced users and developers too.

            • elementary os 5 Juno – For The Record

              elementary os 5 Juno first look. What’s working, what’s not and what happens to be brand new with elementary os. This first look at elementary os 5 Juno includes some things to make upgrading a little easier, suggestions for the next release and list of features I think are simply fantastic.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to be an effective and professional member of the Samba user and development Community

    For many years we have run these lists dedicated to developing and promoting Samba, without any set of clear guidelines for people to know what to expect when participating. What do we require? What kind of behavior is encouraged?

  • Blockcerts Updates Open Source Blockchain Architecture

    Learning Machine is making changes to its Blockcerts Credential Issuer, Verifier and Wallet to enable native support for records issuance and verification using any blockchain. Blockcerts was launched by Learning Machine and MIT Media Lab in 2016 as new way to allow students to receive digital diplomas through an app, complementing a traditional paper degree.

    Blockcerts was originally designed to be blockchain-agnostic, which means that open standards can be used to anchor records in any blockchain. The Blockcerts Universal Identifier recognizes which blockchain is being used and verifies accordingly. Currently, the open source project has added support for bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, but anyone can add support through the project’s GitHub page.

  • First full featured open-source Ethereum block explorer BlockScout launched by POA Network
  • Amsterdam-based ING Bank Introduces Open-Source Zero Knowledge Technology
  • ING Bank Launches Open Source Privacy Improvement Add-On for Blockchains
  • Imec tool accelerates DNA sequencing 10x

    As a result, in a typical run, elPrep is up to ten times faster than other software tools using the same resources.
    It is designed as a seamless replacement that delivers the exact same results as GATK4.0 developed by the Broad Institute. elPrep has been written in the Go programming language and is available through the open-source GNU Affero General Public License v3 (AGPL-3.0).

  • On the low adoption of automated testing in FOSS

    A few times in the recent past I’ve been in the unfortunate position of using a prominent Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) program or library, and running into issues of such fundamental nature that made me wonder how those issues even made it into a release.

    In all cases, the answer came quickly when I realized that, invariably, the project involved either didn’t have a test suite, or, if it did have one, it was not adequately comprehensive.

    I am using the term comprehensive in a very practical, non extreme way. I understand that it’s often not feasible to test every possible scenario and interaction, but, at the very least, a decent test suite should ensure that under typical circumstances the code delivers all the functionality it promises to.


    Most FOSS projects, at least those not supported by some commercial entity, don’t come with any warranty; it’s even stated in the various licenses! The lack of any formal obligations makes it relatively inexpensive, both in terms of time and money, to have the occasional bug in the codebase. This means that there are fewer incentives for the developer to spend extra resources to try to safeguard against bugs. When bugs come up, the developers can decide at their own leisure if and when to fix them and when to release the fixed version. Easy!

    At first sight, this may seem like a reasonably pragmatic attitude to have. After all, if fixing bugs is so cheap, is it worth spending extra resources trying to prevent them?

  • Web Browsers

    • Colibri – A Browser Without Tabs

      Almost all browsers are competing with each other in terms of functionality, speed, and performance. Though I did recently settle for Firefox as my default browser, I am still looking for better options. And this quest of mine took me to Colibri – A Browser without Tabs. And I was really interested in finding out what this meant. How could a browser be without tabs? It’s like a car without wheels. So here is a review of Colibri.

    • Chrome

      • Chrome for Linux, Mac, and Windows Now Features Picture-in-Picture by Default

        Chromium evanghelist at Google François Beaufort announced today that Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support is now enabled by defualt in the Google Chrome web browser for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms.
        Google’s engineers have been working for months to add Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support to the Google Chrome web browser, but the long-anticipated feature is finally here, enabled by default in the latest version for Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems. The feature lets you detach a video in a floating window so you can watch it while doing something else on your computer.

    • Mozilla

      • WebAssembly’s post-MVP future: A cartoon skill tree

        People have a misconception about WebAssembly. They think that the WebAssembly that landed in browsers back in 2017—which we called the minimum viable product (or MVP) of WebAssembly—is the final version of WebAssembly.

        I can understand where that misconception comes from. The WebAssembly community group is really committed to backwards compatibility. This means that the WebAssembly that you create today will continue working on browsers into the future.

        But that doesn’t mean that WebAssembly is feature complete. In fact, that’s far from the case. There are many features that are coming to WebAssembly which will fundamentally alter what you can do with WebAssembly.

        I think of these future features kind of like the skill tree in a videogame. We’ve fully filled in the top few of these skills, but there is still this whole skill tree below that we need to fill-in to unlock all of the applications.

      • Firefox 63.0 Available With WebExtensions On Linux Now Run In Their Own Process

        Ahead of the expected official release announcement tomorrow, Firefox 63.0 is now available from the Mozilla servers.

        Firefox 63.0 is notable for Linux desktop users in that WebExtensions now run in their own processes. There are a number of other changes though that benefit exclusively macOS and Windows users.

      • Mozilla Firefox Starts Testing 3rd-Party VPN Service

        It seems like Mozilla is following the footsteps of Opera. A German website reports that Mozilla will start testing commercial VPN for a few users in the USA, starting from today.

        Unlike Opera that offers its own VPN service, Mozilla is partnering with Swiss VPN provider ProtonVPN to use their networking resources for a more, advanced level of security.

      • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: Testing new ways to keep you safe online

        Mozilla has long played an important role in the online world, and we’re proud of the impact we’ve had. But we want to do even more, and that means exploring ways to keep you safe beyond the browser’s reach. Across numerous studies we’ve consistently heard from our users that they want Firefox to protect their privacy on public networks like cafes and airports. With that in mind, over the next few months we will be running an experiment in which we’ll offer a virtual private network (VPN) service to a small group of Firefox users.

        This experiment is also important to Mozilla’s future. We believe that an innovative, vibrant, and sustainable Mozilla is critical to the future of the open Internet, and we plan to be here over the long haul. To do that with confidence we also need to have diverse sources of revenue. For some time now Mozilla has largely been funded by our search partnerships. With this VPN experiment which kicks off Wednesday, October 24th, we’re starting the process of exploring new, additional sources of revenue that align with our mission.

  • Servers and Databases

    • 5 tips for choosing the right open source database

      So, your company has a directive to adopt more open source database technologies, and they’ve recruited you to select the right direction. Whether you are an open source technology veteran or a newcomer, this is a daunting and overwhelming task.

      Over the past several years, open source technology adoption has steadily increased in the enterprise space. With its popularity comes a crowded marketplace with open source software companies promising that their solution will solve every problem and fit every workload. Be wary of these promises. Choosing the right open source technology—especially a database—is an important and difficult decision you can’t make lightly.

    • PASE Versus ILE: Which Is Best For Open Source?

      Open source has emerged as a driver of innovation in the past 20 years, and has greatly accelerated technological innovation. The proprietary IBM i platform has also benefited from this trend, thanks in large part to the capability to run Linux applications in the PASE runtime. But some members of the IBM i community are concerned that the fruits of the open source innovation have not tasted quite as sweet as they do on other platforms.

      Linux was the original breakout star in open source software, and so it should be no surprise that the vast majority of software developed with the open source method is designed to run on the Linux operating system and associated open source componentry, including the Apache Web Server, MySQL database, and PHP, the so-called LAMP stack (although you can substitute other pieces, like the Postgres and MariaDB databases and languages like Perl, Python, and Node.js to create other clever acronyms).

      The IBM i operating system can run Linux applications through PASE, the AIX runtime that IBM brought to OS/400 so many years ago. Getting Linux applications to run on PASE requires that they’re first ported to AIX, which is often not too much work, since Linux is a variant of Unix, just like AIX.

    • How Instagram is scaling its infrastructure across the ocean

      To prevent quorum requests from going across the ocean, we’re thinking about partitioning our dataset into two parts: Cassandra_EU and Cassandra_US. If European users’ data stores are in the Cassandra_EU partition, and U.S. users’ data stores are in the Cassandra_US partition, users’ requests won’t need to travel long distances to fetch data.

      For example, imagine there are five data centers in the United States and three data centers in the European Union. If we deploy Cassandra in Europe by duplicating the current clusters, the replication factor will be eight and quorum requests must talk to five out of eight replicas.

      If, however, we can find a way to partition the data into two sets, we will have a Cassandra_US partition with a replication factor of five and a Cassandra_EU partition with a replication factor of three—and each can operate independently without affecting the others. In the meantime, a quorum request for each partition will be able to stay in the same continent, solving the round-trip latency issue.

    • Two software companies, fed up with Amazon, Alibaba and other big cloud players, have a controversial new plan to fight back

      Every year, large cloud companies like Amazon rake in billions of dollars— but some of their most popular cloud services comes from repackaging software projects created by other, smaller companies.

      Amazon is repackaging what’s known as “open source” software, which is software that is given away for free, meaning Amazon has every legal right to use it in this way. For instance, since 2013, Amazon had been offering the open-source database Redis as part of a popular cloud service called ElastiCache.

    • Running Your Own Database-as-a-Service with the Crunchy PostgreSQL Operator

      One reason why enterprises adopt open source software is to help free themselves from vendor lock-in. Cloud providers can offer open source “as-a-service” solutions that allow organizations to take advantage of open source solutions, but this in turn has can create a new type of trap: infrastructure lock-in.

      Many organizations have adopted Kubernetes to give themselves flexibility in where they can deploy their services in the cloud, without being locked into one provider. Some people express concerns that this instead creates “Kubernetes lock-in,” but because Kubernetes is open source and has both widespread support and active development, it should be no different than adopting Linux as your operating system.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • Announcing the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines

      Announcing the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines

      The GNU Kind Communication Guidelines, initial version, have been
      published in https://gnu.org/philosophy/kind-communication.html. On
      behalf of the GNU Project, I ask all GNU contributors to make their
      best efforts to follow these guidelines in GNU Project discuaaions.

      In August, a discussion started among GNU package maintainers about
      the problem that GNU development often pushes women away.1 Clearly this is
      not a good thing.2

      Some maintainers advocated adopting a “code of conduct” with strict
      rules. Some other free software projects have done this, generating
      some resistance.3 Several GNU package maintainers responded that they
      would quit immediately. I myself did not like the punitive spirit of
      that approach, and decided against it.

      I did not, however, wish to make that an excuse to ignore the problem.
      So I decided to try a different approach: to guide participants to
      encourage and help each other to avoid harsh patterns of
      communication. I identified various patterns of our conversation
      (which is almost entirely textual, not vocal) that seem likely to
      chase women away — and some men, too. Some patterns came from events
      that happened in the discussion itself. Then I wrote suggestions for
      how to avoid them and how to help others avoid them. I received
      feedback from many of the participants, including some women. I
      practiced some of these suggestions personally and found that they had
      a good effect. That list is now the GNU Kind Communication

      The current version not set in stone; I welcome comments and
      suggestions for future revision.

      The difference between kind communication guidelines and a code of
      conduct is a matter of the basic overall approach.

      A code of conduct states rules, with punishments for anyone that
      violates them. It is the heavy-handed way of teaching people to
      behave differently, and since it only comes into action when people do
      something against the rules, it doesn’t try to teach people to do
      better than what the rules require. To be sure, the appointed
      maintainer(s) of a GNU package can, if necessary, tell a contributor
      to go away; but we do not want to need to have recourse to that.

      The idea of the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines is to start guiding
      people towards kinder communication at a point well before one would
      even think of saying, “You are breaking the rules.” The way we do
      this, rather than ordering people to be kind or else, is try to help
      people learn to make their communication more kind.

      I hope that kind communication guidelines will provide a kinder
      and less strict way of leading a project’s discussions to be calmer,
      more welcoming to all participants of good will, and more effective.

      1. I read that the fraction of women in the free software community
      overall is around 3%, whereas in the software field overall it is over

      2. I disagree with making “diversity” a goal. If the developers in a
      specific free software project do not include demographic D, I don’t
      think that the lack of them as a problem that requires action; there
      is no need to scramble desperately to recruit some Ds. Rather, the
      problem is that if we make demographic D feel unwelcome, we lose out
      on possible contributors. And very likely also others that are not in
      demographic D.

      There is a kind of diversity that would benefit many free software
      projects: diversity of users in regard to skill levels and kinds of
      usage. However, that is not what people usually mean by “diversity”.

      3. I’m not involved in those projects, even if in some cases I use the
      software they release, so I am not directly concerned about whatever
      internal arrangements they make. They are pertinent here only as
      more-or-less comparable situations.

    • Richard Stallman Announces GNU Kind Communication Guidelines

      Richard Stallman has announced the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines. The GNU founder hopes these guidelines will encourage women to get involved in free software development and be more kind in project discussions.

      The GNU Kind Communication Guidelines is an effort to “to start guiding people towards kinder communication.”

      The GNU Kind Communication Guidelines differ from a Code of Conduct in that it’s trying to be proactive about kindness around free software development over being rules with possible actions when breaking them.

    • Linus Torvalds is back at Linux while GNU’s Stallman unveils a “kindness” policy

      Linus Torvalds is apparently back at the helm of the Linux operating system he created in the early 1990s, after taking roughly a month off after complaints about his brusque, often vulgar communications style.

      “The fact that I then misread people and don’t realize (for years) how badly I’ve judged a situation and contributed to an unprofessional environment is not good,” he wrote in a public September 16 email to a Linux kernel developer list, just days before a New Yorker article highlighted how his style turned away women from contributing to the popular operating system.

      In announcing version 4.19 of the software on Monday, Linux temporary leader Greg Kroah-Hartman wrote “Linus, I’m handing the kernel tree back to you” and called for the Linux community to be both more welcoming and more united. He codenamed the version “People’s Front” in a reference to ineffectively divided activist groups in the satirical Monty Python movie Life of Brian.

    • Richard Stallman suggests GNU Kind as Code of Conduct alternative

      In September, elements of the Linux kernel community managed to introduce a Code of Conduct into the project and the new document was formally adopted with the release of Linux 4.19 which occurred today. The text attracted criticism from some quarters and praise from others, now Richard Stallman has put forward the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines for the GNU Project after he announced he didn’t like aspects of a code of conduct proposal.

      Writing in the announcement on the GNU mailing list, Stallman said that some maintainers had suggested a code of conduct which would introduce strict rules. Stallman wrote that he “did not like the punitive spirit of that approach, and decided against it.” Other GNU package maintainers said that they would quit from their positions immediately if a code of conduct was enacted.

    • Decentralized Authentication for Self-Sovereign Identities using Name Systems

      The GNU Name System (GNS) is a fully decentralized public key infrastructure and name system with private information retrieval semantics. It serves a holistic approach to interact seamlessly with IoT ecosystems and enables people and their smart objects to prove their identity, membership and privileges – compatible with existing technologies.

      In this report we demonstrate how a wide range of private authentication and identity management scenarios are addressed by GNS in a cost-efficient, usable and secure manner. This simple, secure and privacy-friendly authentication method is a significant breakthrough when cyber peace, privacy and liability are the priorities for the benefit of a wide range of the population.

      After an introduction to GNS itself, we show how GNS can be used to authenticate servers, replacing the Domain Name System (DNS) and X.509 certificate authorities (CAs) with a more privacy-friendly but equally usable protocol which is trustworthy, human-centric and includes group authentication. We also built a demonstrator to highlight how GNS can be used in medical computing to simplify privacy-sensitive data processing in the Swiss health-care system. Combining GNS with attribute-based encryption, we created ReclaimID, a robust and reliable OpenID Connect-compatible authorization system. It includes simple, secure and privacy-friendly single sign-on to seamlessly share selected attributes with Web services, cloud ecosystems. Further, we demonstrate how ReclaimID can be used to solve the problem of addressing, authentication and data sharing for IoT devices.

      These applications are just the beginning for GNS; the versatility and extensibility of the protocol will lend itself to an even broader range of use-cases.

      GNS is an open standard with a complete free software reference implementation created by the GNU project. It can therefore be easily audited, adapted, enhanced, tailored, developed and/or integrated, as anyone is allowed to use the core protocols and implementations free of charge, and to adopt them to their needs under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License, a free software license approved by the Free Software Foundation.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • MongoDB Changes License

      MongoDB has revamped its open source license type in an attempt to prevent commercial organizations in Asia using the database commercially without sticking to the open source rules.

      The problem MongoDB has had is that some cloud service providers have been offering the Community Edition of its database as a service to clients. In a bid to prevent this happening, the database company has issued a new software license called the Server Side Public License (SSPL). This will apply to all new releases of its MongoDB Community Server, as well as all patch fixes for prior versions. Until now, MongoDB has been using the GNU AGPLv3 license.

      In practical terms, this doesn’t make a lot of difference to most users as the changes to the license terms don’t apply to them. The changes are only designed to apply to companies who want to run MongoDB as a publicly available service.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Can You Build An Open Source Pocket Operator?

        Toys are now musical instruments. Or we’ll just say musical instruments are now toys. You can probably ascribe this recent phenomenon to Frooty Loops or whatever software the kids are using these days, but the truth is that it’s never been easier to lay down a beat. Just press the buttons on a pocket-sized computer.

        One of the best examples of the playification of musical instruments is Pocket Operators from Teenage Engineering. They’re remarkable pieces of hardware, and really just a custom segment LCD and a few buttons. They also sound great and you can play real music with them. It’s a game changer when it comes to enabling musicianship.

        Of course, with any popular platform, there’s a need for an Open Source copy. That’s where [Chris]’ Teensy Beats Shield comes in. It’s a ‘shield’ of sorts for a Teensy microcontroller that adds buttons, knobs, and a display, turning this into a platform that uses the Teensy’s incredible audio system designer.

      • Open Source 3D Printing: Exploring Scientific and Medical Solutions

        3D Printing is not a new thing to hear about. It is a very popular industry right now that began in the early 80s. But how different is Open Source 3D Printing from proprietary designs? How does this affect its applications in Science and Medicine? Let’s read on.

      • Finally, An Open Source MIDI Foot Controller

        MIDI has been around for longer than most of the readers of Hackaday, and you can get off my lawn. In spite of this, MIDI is still commonly used in nearly every single aspect of musical performance, and there are a host of tools and applications to give MIDI control to a live performance. That said, if you want a MIDI foot controller, your best bet is probably something used from the late 90s, although Behringer makes an acceptable foot controller that doesn’t have a whole bunch of features. There is obviously a need for a feature packed, Open Source MIDI foot controller. That’s where the Pedalino comes in. It’s a winner of the Musical Instrument Challenge in this year’s Hackaday Prize, and if you want a MIDI foot controller, this is the first place you should look.

      • Make: an open source hardware, Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine

        How To Mechatronics has pulled together detailed instructions and a great video explaining how to make an Arduino-powered, 3D-printed wire-bending machine whose gears can create arbitrary vector images out of precision-bent continuous lengths of wire.

  • Programming/Development

    • RApiDatetime 0.0.4: Updates and Extensions

      The first update in a little while brings us release 0.0.4 of RApiDatetime which got onto CRAN this morning via the lovely automated sequence of submission, pretest-recheck and pretest-publish.

      RApiDatetime provides seven entry points for C-level functions of the R API for Date and Datetime calculations. The functions asPOSIXlt and asPOSIXct convert between long and compact datetime representation, formatPOSIXlt and Rstrptime convert to and from character strings, and POSIXlt2D and D2POSIXlt convert between Date and POSIXlt datetime. This releases brings asDatePOSIXct as a seventh courtesy of Josh Ulrich. All these functions are all fairly useful, but not one of them was previously exported by R for C-level use by other packages. Which is silly as this is generally extremely carefully written and tested code.

    • 6 JavaScript books you should know

      If there was ever the potential for a giant book list it’s one based on our favorite Javascript books. But, this list is short and easy to digest. Maybe it will help you get started, gently. Plus, check out three of our top Javascript articles with even more books, resources, and tips.


  • Science

    • First thing we do, let’s kill all the experts

      Climate scientists may suffer from an extreme example of this sort of vilification, but they’re hardly alone. The US has had a long history of mistrust in highly educated professionals, but we seem to have shifted to a situation in which expertise has become both a disqualification and a reason for attack.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How an NHS Trust adopted ‘virtual workers’ to process GP referrals

      Working with UK vendor Thoughtonomy, the initial trial is a piece of automation software which reads and routes incoming referrals from the national GP Electronic Referral Service (eRS) 24 hours a day. It has been running since July, and is the first of its kind within the NHS.

    • One Key Congressman’s Bold Plan to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Next Year

      Last week, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) unveiled a plan for a Democratically-led House to push through federal marijuana legalization by the end of 2019. In aneight-page memo to the House Democratic leadership laid out his roadmap to ending Reefer Madness.

      Blumenauer isn’t just any old congressman. The longtime stalwart marijuana reformer is the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and a leading voice in the fight to bring marijuana out of the shadows. And he’s ready to do it once Congress gets back to work in January.

      “Congress is out of step with the American people and the states on cannabis,” Blumenauer wrote in the memo, citingpolling showing 69% of registered voters support legalizing marijuana. “We have an opportunity to correct course if Democrats win big in November. There’s no question: cannabis prohibition will end.”

    • Don’t Fall for the GOP’s Cheap Tricks on Preexisting Health Conditions

      The Republicans, who are famous for telling us that tax cuts for the rich pay for themselves, are tossing us another one from their cheap trick bag this election season. They tell us that they want to guarantee that people with preexisting conditions can get health care.

      This is exactly the opposite of the policies they are pursuing. The Republicans are doing everything they can to make it so that people with serious health problems pay more for their health insurance.

      The basic point is very simple. There is an enormous skewing of health care costs based on people’s health. Most of us are lucky enough to be in reasonably good health most of our lives. That means we can generally count on facing low health costs in any given year.

      Insurers love healthy people for the simple reason that they don’t cost them any money. A person in generally good health is essentially just sending the insurer a check every month for nothing.

      On the other hand, they really hate the people who have health problems like heart conditions, epilepsy, cancer, etc. These people cost them lots of money.

  • Security

    • Hack [sic] on 8 adult websites exposes oodles of intimate user data

      A recent [crack] of eight poorly secured adult websites has exposed megabytes of personal data that could be damaging to the people who shared pictures and other highly intimate information on the online message boards. Included in the leaked file are (1) IP addresses that connected to the sites, (2) user passwords protected by a four-decade-old cryptographic scheme, (3) names, and (4) 1.2 million unique email addresses, although it’s not clear how many of the addresses legitimately belonged to actual users.

    • Professors discuss election security, voting systems at panel

      Amid questions of election security and potential system hacking in the upcoming midterm elections, Engineering prof. J. Alex Halderman spoke at the University of Michigan Alumni Center Thursday night about vulnerabilities in U.S. voting systems. Last June, Halderman appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to testify about such.


      “If an attack takes place, we won’t necessarily see the physical evidence,” Halderman said. “The physical evidence that it took place is a discrepancy between what’s written on a piece of paper and what a computer total of that paper says. Because elections are so complicated, they’re so noisy, because the [crackers] can hide their traces in various ways, we won’t necessarily see when something like this happen for the first time. We’ve got to be ready.”

    • Apache Access Vulnerability Could Affect Thousands of Applications

      A recently discovered issue with a common file access method could be a major new attack surface for malware authors.
      Vulnerabilities in Apache functions have been at the root of significant breaches, including the one suffered by Equifax. Now new research indicates that another such vulnerability may be putting thousands of applications at risk.

      Lawrence Cashdollar, a vulnerability researcher and member of Akamai’s Security Incident Response Team, found an issue with the way that thousands of code projects are using Apache .htaccess, leaving them vulnerable to unauthorized access and a subsequent file upload attack in which auto-executing code is uploaded to an application.

    • ACMA probe of triple zero failure finds Telstra in breach

      An ACMA investigation into the lack of provision of a triple-zero service by Telstra after an outage in May has found the telco in breach of a rule that requires it to ensure that such calls go to the emergency call service operator.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 119 – The Google+ and Facebook incidents, it’s not your data anymore
    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Death from above? How we’re preparing for a future filled with weaponized drones

      It’s a capacity crowd at the 2019 Super Bowl, and 80,000 football fans have gathered inside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to watch the game. The weather is crystal-clear, so naturally the retractable roof is open. As the halftime show gets underway, a wave of excited chatter rolls through the crowd — a flock of a dozen drones has just dramatically dropped into the stadium, immediately above the headline musical act. Even though none of the early rumors about the halftime show included mentions of a drone element, no one is concerned. After that crazy drone display at the last Olympics, aerial shows like this one seem par for the course.

    • Khashoggi’s Murder and Saudi War Crimes in Yemen Were Facilitated by US

      The alleged torture, dismemberment and killing of Saudi citizen and US permanent resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul has triggered justifiable outrage throughout the United States and around the world. But amid the outcry over Khashoggi’s death, many media and public figures still fail to acknowledge the war crimes Saudi Arabia is committing in Yemen with US assistance.

      Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had written critically about the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Post reported that Mohammed had recently attempted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia in an operation resembling an extrajudicial “rendition,” where a person is forcibly removed from one country and taken to another for interrogation. Bloomberg reported that the United States knew the Saudis planned to seize Khashoggi because US intelligence services had intercepted communications between Saudi officials discussing the plan. According to Turkish sources, participants in Khashoggi’s killing and dismemberment were Saudi operatives.

    • Feigning moral outrage, the Times’ Thomas Friedman comes to the defense of the Saudi killer regime
    • Anniversary of Afghan Invasion Passes With Little Attention

      We’re already two years past the crystal anniversary and eight years short of the silver one, or at least we would be, had it been a wedding — and, after a fashion, perhaps it was. On October 7, 2001, George W. Bush launched the invasion — “liberation” was the word often used then — of Afghanistan. It was the start of the second Afghan War of the era, one that, all these years later, still shows no signs of ending. Though few realized it at the time, the American people married war. Permanent, generational, infinite war is now embedded in the American way of life, while just about the only part of the government guaranteed ever more soaring dollars, no matter what it does with them, is the U.S. military.

      This October 7th marked the 17th anniversary of that first of so many still-spreading conflicts. In league with various Afghan warlords, the U.S. military began moving into that country, while its Air Force launched a fierce campaign, dropping large numbers of precision munitions and hundreds of cluster bombs. Those were meant not just for al-Qaeda, the terror outfit that, the previous month, had dispatched its own precision air force — hijacked American commercial jets — to take out iconic buildings in New York and Washington, but the Taliban, a fundamentalist sect that then controlled most of the country. By early 2002, that movement had been ejected from its last provincial capital, while Osama bin Laden had fled into hiding in Pakistan. And so it began.

    • An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis

      Honduran and other Central American immigrants are refugees and therefore should be treated as such by U.S. immigration law, border patrol and ICE as well as the Mexican government. Many are escaping weak neoliberal and militaristic governments, such as the one in Honduras, where narcotrafficking and narcomenudeo have thrived under the U.S.-backed Juan Orlando Hernandez’ regime and his military police.

      Juan Orlando Hernandez and the Nationalist party have stolen millions from public service agencies, such as Social Security Administration, to run their campaigns against the opposition and now people are suffering. His presidency cannot provide jobs, healthcare, safety in their neighborhoods, and food. Eating in Honduras is a luxury. For instance, minimum wage is under $400 dollars a month, but electricity, water and food, costs well over $500 a month for a household. Maquiladoras, agro-export companies are benefiting from free trade laws which maintain the minimum wage below the governments minimum wage laws and do not allow unions to organize and protect workers.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange presses Ecuador to grant basic rights under asylum
    • Human rights violation: Assange files legal action against Ecuador
    • Wikileaks founder Assange launches legal action against Ecuador
    • Human rights violation: Assange files legal action against Ecuador
    • Assange presses Ecuador to grant basic rights under asylum
    • WikiLeaks founder sues Ecuador for violating ‘fundamental rights’
    • Key GOP Operative with Ties to Trump Campaign May Have Had ‘Advance Knowledge’ of WikiLeaks’ Email Dumps: Report

      Smith, who died shortly before the Journal first began reporting on his actions in 2017, was conducting a wide-ranging effort in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election to track down Hillary Clinton’s emails. Along the way, he developed a relationship with disgraced Trump campaign aide and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

      And now, the Journal says there is evidence that could tie Smith to WikiLeaks’ dispersal of stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Chair John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

    • Report: Mueller Investigates WikiLeaks’ Ties to Conservative Activists
    • Mueller Probes WikiLeaks’ Contacts With Conservative Activists

      Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Julian Assange should be thanked – not smeared – for Wikileaks’ service to journalism

      Twelve years ago this month, WikiLeaks began publishing government secrets that the world public might otherwise never have known. What it has revealed about state duplicity, human rights abuses and corruption goes beyond anything published in the world’s “mainstream” media.

      After over six months of being cut off from outside world, on 14 October Ecuador has partly restored Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy where the founder has been living for over six years.

      The treatment – real and threatened – meted out to Assange by the US and UK governments contrasts sharply with the service Wikileaks has done their publics in revealing the nature of elite power, as shown in the following snapshot of Wikileaks’ revelations about British foreign policy in the Middle East.

    • WikiLeaks & the Espionage Act

      The charges were dismissed against Ellsberg five months after they were levied in 1973. He has since become an outspoken advocate for whistleblowers and the practice of whistleblowing and has supported Assange as well as Edward Snowden and Chelsea (Bradley) Manning.

    • Judge Says FOIA Isn’t Battleship; Requesters Don’t Need To Score Direct Hits To Obtain Documents

      Government agencies will eventually follow the letter of FOIA law. It usually takes a lawsuit to push things forward, but even losing in court seldom prompts above-and-beyond service from the government. The spirit of the law is ignored in favor of obfuscation, foot-dragging, and blatant antipathy.

      Certainly the government shouldn’t be expected to compose FOIA requesters requests for them if they send vaguely-worded requests. On the other hand, the government shouldn’t demand specificity from requesters who don’t know what documents an agency has on hand or how the search will be conducted.

      The CIA once told a requester he needed to know exactly which parties were involved in communications about the agency’s FOIA portal outage — information that could only be gleaned from the emails the CIA was refusing to look for until it had more information. This is the normal level of being dicked around that requesters can expect when dealing with our more reticent public agencies.

      “Vagueness” was the CIA’s excuse to not perform its FOIA duties. The DHS, on the other hand, has decided specificity in requests can also be used against requesters. A FOIA lawsuit filed by the Government Accountability Project contends the agency did a deliberately lousy job searching for records related to border phone searches and ideological assessments performed by border security personnel.

    • The Guardian’s petty war on Julian Assange continues

      Though many of the most decadent features of the Alan Rusbridger-era Guardian have gone – not least Rusbridger himself – one obsession remains: their petty war against Julian Assange. The latest manifestation of this is a giggling, peekaboo report around a memo of understanding between the Ecuadorian government and Assange, still currently seeking asylum in the country’s embassy. The guts of the report suggests that Ecuador’s government has simply set out the conditions under which Assange lives there, including medical visits and the care of his cat. But the construction of it is in the form The Guardian loves: Assange as a naughty teenager.

      Honestly, haven’t they had enough of this by now? The Rusbridger regime never got over the fact that WikiLeaks hadn’t simply handed over the Cablegate files, and let them get on with it, and instead wanted an ongoing role in their distribution. The Guardian’s pique was, at root, an awareness that they needed WikiLeaks to innovate mass exposes, in a manner that they hadn’t been able to develop themselves. Since then, mass releases that have dropped into The Guardian’s lap, such as the Panama Papers, have been because the WikiLeaks flood of material established the paper as a place for that sort of journalism.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Red tide movements mysterious and troublesome

      Except when one lives where there is red tide.

      Over the past three weeks, the Treasure Coast, Space Coast and Palm Beaches have been experiencing a sampling of what Florida’s Gulf Coast has now been living with for just over a year.

      Call me thin-skinned, but I hate it. As far as I’m concerned, the Gulf Coast can keep its red tide.

      Somehow, the fish-killing phenomenon has swept around the horn of Florida and found its way onto the beaches of the Atlantic Coast. And it could not have come at a worse time.

      Sure, we were already slogging through another dirty water summer complete with toxic blue green algae — in actuality, a brain-eating form of cyanobacteria — and another tedious and contentious election year that seems like it will never actually end. But fall is here, kind of, and it’s supposed to be a time of transition in nature.

      It’s time for the mullet run. It’s time for the fall migration of dolphin and blackfin tuna offshore, and bluefish, pompano, tarpon and Spanish mackerel along the beaches.

    • We need an ecological civilization before it’s too late

      Meanwhile, the world’s current policies have us on track for a more than 3° increase by the end of this century, and climate scientists publish dire warnings that amplifying feedbacks could make things far worse than even these projections, and thus place at risk the very continuation of our civilization. We need, according to the IPCC, “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” But what exactly does that mean?

      Last month, at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, luminaries such as Governor Jerry Brown, Michael Bloomberg, and Al Gore gave their version of what’s needed with an ambitious report entitled “Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century by the New Climate Economy.” It trumpets a New Growth Agenda: through enlightened strategic initiatives, they claim, it’s possible to transition to a low-carbon economy that could generate millions more jobs, raise trillions of dollars for green investment, and lead to higher global GDP growth.

    • Action Alert: USA Today Says Climate Apocalypse Promises a Balmy Winter

      The federal Climate Prediction Center foresees an El Niño system, a band of warm water that periodically appears in the Pacific Ocean, developing in time for this upcoming winter. This in turn means that 2019 will likely be the hottest year for the planet in recorded history, since we’re already at near-record temperatures (2018 is on track to be the fourth-hottest year) and El Niño gives a predictable boost to global temperatures.

      So how did USA Today (10/18/18) report this latest harbinger of the climate apocalypse? In the print edition (10/19/19), the headline was, “Forecasters Say El Niño Will Keep Cold Under Control.”

      The online headline (10/18/18) wasn’t much better: “Winter Forecast: Warmer-Than-Average Temps Expected for Most of USA, Thanks to Developing El Niño.” Actually, mostly “thanks” to the hundreds of gigatons of carbon dioxide humans have released into the atmosphere since 1850–but they say don’t mention it.

      The story, by Doyle Rice, twice mentions that El Niño is a “natural climate pattern” or a “natural climate cycle”–but never mentions that it’s occurring in the context of highly unnatural human-caused climate change.

  • Finance

    • Six arguments against a #PeoplesVote

      Let’s get it over with, stay close to the EU or rejoin – and let us never – ever – have a UK-wide referendum again.

    • The forward march of Remain? It still hasn’t got out of the starting blocks

      I voted ‘Remain’. But sheer bloody uselessness of both the original campaign and now the doomed ‘People’s Vote’ / second referendum, needs accounting for, and then some. Forward march? Remain never even got out of the starting blocks – not for the Referendum, and despite their big march, not now either.

      Back in 2016 “Labour says R-E-M-A-I-N” said it all. The campaign started off bad, got worse and has never recovered. It is not the job of Labour to ever be in the business of remain, don’t change, everything’s fine as it is. Leave that to the Tories, that’s their niche appeal (the clue is in the name; Conservative).

      Corbyn’s “remain but reform” stance during the referendum campaign was quite right. It could have chimed with millions, most of whom wouldn’t drape themselves in an EU flag in a million years. But – besieged by opposition from his own MPs and the party bureaucracy – Corbyn left the Labour Remain campaign in the clutches of Alan Johnson. Alan writes half-decent memoirs but in the crucial capacity of leading Labour’s Referendum campaign he was a spectacular flop (even his own constituency voted Leave by a large majority). Corbyn should have grabbed control of the campaign and steered it in the direction he was following himself, but he wasn’t in a powerful enough position to do so. The caution killed dead Labour’s chance of swinging a large part of its working class Eurosceptic vote. The PLP ‘chicken coup’ of the summer of 2016 then justified itself mainly by the make-believe idea that Remain losing was all down to Jeremy. Seeing off ultra-Remainer Owen Smith in the second leadership challenge and doing better than expected in the 2017 General Election strengthened Corbyn – but too late to save that vote for Europe.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Saudis’ Image Makers: A [Astroturfer] Army and a Twitter Insider Image

      This portrait of the kingdom’s image management crusade is based on interviews with seven people involved in those efforts or briefed on them; activists and experts who have studied them; and American and Saudi officials, along with messages seen by The New York Times that described the inner workings of the troll farm.

      Saudi operatives have mobilized to harass critics on Twitter, a wildly popular platform for news in the kingdom since the Arab Spring uprisings began in 2010. Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed who was fired on Saturday in the fallout from Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, was the strategist behind the operation, according to United States and Saudi officials, as well as activist organizations.

    • NYTimes report shows how Twitter, McKinsey were complicit in helping Saudi Arabia silence critics

      The Saudi Arabian government enlisted a Twitter army to silence its critics online. It groomed a Twitter employee in the United States to try to get him to spy on certain accounts. And an American-based consultancy company helped the government identify and target dissidents on Twitter who were later punished and silenced.

      Katie Benner, Mark Mazzetti, Ben Hubbard, and Mike Isaac at the New York Times on Saturday detailed the efforts of the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to quiet dissenters in the country and around the world. The report lands amid increased scrutiny on the Saudis and MBS over the disappearance and murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    • Fox News Host Dismantles Trump’s ‘Preposterous’ Claim That Democrats Are Behind Migrant Caravan

      Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Friday dismantled Donald Trump’s theory that Democratic operatives are behind a migrant caravan headed for the United States, calling the idea “preposterous.”

      “Let me say first of all the idea that the Democrats were somehow behind this caravan coming from Honduras of these women and children is preposterous and there’s been no evidence offered on that any more than there was evidence that the protestors on Capitol Hill during the Kavanaugh hearings were paid protestors,” Wallace said. 

    • After all, Iraq’s ethno-sectarian quota remains

      So long as the ethno-sectarian quota exists, a political class that serves foreign interests will continue to determine Iraq’s political and economic destiny.

    • Inside a Trump Project that Failed. Spoiler: The Trumps Still Won.

      In November 2007, The Wall Street Journal infuriated Donald Trump with an article that dissected his recent real estate setbacks. Headlined “Stalled Condo Projects Tarnish Trump’s Name,” the report raised doubt about what the mogul treasured — and banked on — most in business: the value of his personal brand.

      Trump responded with a 512-word letter to the editor. Calling the story “one of the most ridiculous I have read in many years,” he complained that it ignored his “tremendous successes with massive projects” and instead focused on “small jobs” in the Florida cities of Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. He dismissed both as licensing deals “for which I am not responsible for development.”

      Trump’s reaction offers another capsule of his habit of twisting the truth regarding his real estate deals — one of the patterns explored in detail in “Pump and Trump,” which focused on a deal in Panama. That article concluded that, contrary to the Trumps’ longtime claims that they merely licensed their name, they were deeply involved in their deals.

    • Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?

      The Saudi “investigation” into the Khashoggi murder, conducted on the demand of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is not yet complete. But preliminary conclusions have been announced in the Saudi media. Turns out (surprise, surprise!) Khashoggi died while in a choke-hold following a fist-fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in a botched effort to detain him.

      Asked Saturday in Arizona if he found the Saudi account credible, Donald Trump said that he did, praising the investigation as “a very important first step and it happened sooner that people thought it would happen”—as though its timing had not been determined by Pompeo’s pressure.

      “I think it’s a good first step, it’s a big step,” the president repeated (as the world sighed). “Saudi Arabia has been a great ally,” he added, like that was relevant. Then in an interview with the Washington Post he indicated that he felt Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman may have learned of the murder only after the fact. He went out of his way to praise the prince—his son-in-law Jared’s good buddy. He actually said he’d “love it” if the prince was not responsible.

      This raises the real prospect of the administration—which according to the Post demands a “mutually agreeable explanation” from Riyadh—signing on to a narrative radically different from that provided by Turkish police. According to the latter, the Saudi court ordered the gruesome murder in the consulate on Oct. 2. It dispatched 15 assassins including members of MbS’s personal security detail and the kingdom’s top forensic doctor equipped with a bone-saw to execute the deed. Turkish sources provide a detailed account of a seven-minute process of apprehending Kashoggi, cutting off his fingers (to punish him for his writing), followed by more torture, murder, dismemberment, and the transport of the body-parts to the nearby Saudi consul’s home where they were dissolved in acid.

      Turkish sources say the bone-saw was used before Khashoggi died and that the supervisor of the effort urged the team to listen to music on their earphones during their work (because that’s how he always does it). They report how the Saudi ambassador to Washington stated implausibly that there was no video of his exit from the consulate because the consulate’s CCTV is only live feed and not recorded.

    • Auschwitz and anti-racism: the past (and racism) is another country

      It is in the here and now that racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, far-right and mainstream, are situated, embedded, and do harm. It should be tackled, not displaced and denied.

      On 11 October 2018, it was reported that Chelsea Football Club has proposed sending supporters accused of anti-Semitism and racism to Auschwitz-Birkenau as an alternative to banning orders. That action was being taken by the club came as good news for those concerned about the issue in football and particularly at Chelsea, where some of their supporters are known for anti-Semitic chanting and making the ‘hissing’ sound of gas chambers when playing the traditionally Jewish supported Tottenham Hotspur and other teams.

    • Rick Scott’s Administration Lied About State Officials’ Role In Deadly Bridge Collapse: Report

      After March’s tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University that killed six people and injured nine others, and subsequent federal fines of contractors over “serious” safety violations, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was quick to absolve itself of blame.

      According to the governor’s office, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) played no role in approving the bridge other than issuing traffic permits, and furthermore the engineer who could have inspected the bridge was out of the office at the time the contractors left him a message about the giant cracks that were forming in the structure.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Walmart Files Patent For Carts That Track Your Heart Rate

      Does that 20 percent discount on Pringles give you heart palpitations? Do you fume when presented with a long bottleneck at the checkout counter? Walmart’s shopping carts might one day sense those bodily sensations and alert staff.The grocery chain filed a patent in August for a shopping cart that monitors various biometric signals, like a customer’s body temperature, heart rate and tightness of grip on the handle. According to the patent titled System And Method For Biometric Feedback Cart Handle, the data would be transmitted to a server and used to alert staff when shoppers might need help or medical assistance. Or when Black Friday stampedes give way to a holiday fracas.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • DHS Seized Aftermarket Apple Laptop Batteries From Independent Repair Expert Louis Rossman

      Last month, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized a package containing 20 Apple laptop batteries en route to Rossman’s store in New York City. The laptop batteries were en route from China to Rossmann Repair Group—a NYC based repair store that specializes in Apple products. “Apple and customs seized batteries to a computer that, at [the Apple Store], they no longer service because they claim it’s vintage,” Rossmann, the owner and operator of Rossmann Repair Group, said in a YouTube video. “They will not allow me to replace batteries, because when I import batteries that are original they’ll tell me the they’re counterfeit and have them stolen from by [CBP].”

    • Saudis groomed Twitter employee to spy on accounts of dissidents: report

      Saudi Arabia is suspected of having groomed a Saudi employee at Twitter to help the country’s leadership by spying on the accounts of dissidents, according to a new report.

      The New York Times reported Saturday that Western officials told Twitter in 2015 that one of their employees, Ali Alzabarah, was being groomed to spy on the accounts.

    • Tech giant faces crucial decision over Saudi ties

      The company has been relying heavily on Saudi money to help finance its $100 billion investment fund for U.S. tech startups.

      The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), directed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with its $45 billion commitment, is the single largest contributor toward SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

    • Here’s Why the Blue Wave Runs Through Texas — And White Evangelical Women

      Eyes are locked on Texas. And deep in its heart are white evangelicals who could be part of a blue wave many hope will wash over that red state to carry Ted Cruz far out to sea. In tight race between Cruz and his energetic Democratic Party opponent Beto O’Rourke, New York Times reporter Elizabeth Dias suggests that white evangelical women could be open to Democratic candidates. Her interviews with long-time Republican voters point to an increasing disenchantment that could temper the unwavering evangelical support that Republican incumbents and candidates view as their inalienable birthright.

      White evangelical women from Texas, Dias explains, are not poised en masse to bolt from the Republican Party. But Trump’s leadership has down-ticket implications even for Cruz, his bitter opponent in 2016. In this competitive U.S. Senate race, even a slightly depressed turnout among the Republican base combined with a healthy number of party-switching voters could make a decisive difference. The evangelical women whom Diaz interviewed see a “stark moral contrast” between Trump and O’Rourke. They view Trump’s policies and behavior, including banning Muslim refugees, separating children from their parents at the border, and Trump’s disrespect of women, as “fundamentally anti-Christian. ”. When an older white evangelical man said to one of Diaz’s interviewees, Tess Clarke, that she couldn’t be a Christian and vote for O’Rourke, Clarke responded: “I keep going back to who Jesus was when he walked on earth. This is about proximity to people in pain.”

    • Israeli Human Rights Group Slams Country’s New Zero Tolerance Policy at UN

      Shortly after Israel announced a new “zero tolerance” policy toward demonstrations in Gaza, some 130 Palestinians were injured Friday while protesting ongoing Israeli occupation and demanding the right of return. Four paramedics and 25 children were among the injured. Ten thousand protesters gathered along Israel’s heavily militarized separation barrier with Gaza as part of the weekly Great March of Return protests that began March 30. Since then, Israeli forces have killed at least 170 Palestinians, including more than 30 children, and injured thousands more. We speak with Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. He was in New York last week testifying before the UN Security Council officially for the first time.

    • Arkansas Police Department Has Been Engaging In Illegal Drug Raids For Years

      The War on Drugs seems to bring out the worst in law enforcement. Wiretap abuse, asset forfeiture, flashbang grenades tossed into toddlers’ cribs, internal corruption… these are all aspects of law enforcement’s drug-related police work.

      Radley Balko has uncovered more abuse and Constitutional violations, this time stemming from the Little Rock PD’s anti-drug efforts. The wrongs detailed in Balko’s investigation include false statements on warrant requests, abuse of no-knock warrants, “reliable” confidential informants who are anything but reliable, and a handful of destroyed lives left in its wake.

      It opens with the story of Roderick Talley, whose apartment was raided by a Little Rock (AR) SWAT team. The team used explosives to remove his door, sending it flying onto the couch where Talley was sleeping. The raid was predicated on an informant’s supposed controlled buy. But Talley’s own security cameras — which also captured the raid itself — showed the informant didn’t do what police said he did.

    • How Billionaires Bought Kavanaugh’s Seat on the Supreme Court

      In the 1970s, a revolution began. It was a deliberately hidden revolution, concealed so well that it is unknown to most Americans, even though it has profoundly and forever changed the nation. This ongoing revolution has brought us a Grand Canyon of inequality, Donald Trump — and now, Brett Kavanaugh. To understand what happened, we must go to the beginning.

      It was 1971, and US corporations had a problem. The economies of Europe and Asia, previously devastated by WWII, had recovered and were knocking on our door with their cars, consumer electronics, appliances and other goods. US corporate profits fell like wet laundry.

      Not only were US companies under pressure from abroad — they were also under pressure domestically. According to corporate attorney Lewis Powell, the politics of the ’60s had emboldened “Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries,” who were now joined by “the college campus, the pulpit, the media … the arts and sciences, and … politicians” in critiquing corporate power. US business, accustomed to doing well without having to do much political work, seemed to have neither the stomach nor the muscle to fight back.

    • Mississippi Sentences Man to Eight Years in Prison for Medical Marijuana He Purchased Legally in Another State

      Patrick Beadle, a 46-year-old father and musician, received an eight-year prison sentence in Mississippi for possessing 2.89 pounds of marijuana. If his sentence stands, he would spend nearly a decade behind bars for possessing a substance that is legal in nine states and now all of Canada. Such a severe, inhumane sentence speaks volumes about the inanity and heartlessness of our criminal justice system. But this story gets worse.

      Mr. Beadle says he bought the marijuana legally in Oregon, where he is a resident and a medical marijuana patient. Oregon is one of 30 states that have legalized medical marijuana and one of the nine states in which recreational use is also legal.

      Mr. Beadle said that the marijuana in his possession was solely for his personal use. Prosecutors in Mississippi, where he was charged for violating the state’s drug trafficking law, have admitted that they had no evidence to prove that Mr. Beadle was involved trafficking. But Mississippi doesn’t have the third highest incarceration rate in the world for no reason.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Broadband Industry Sues Vermont For Daring To Protect Consumers, Net Neutrality

      As we’ve made pretty clear, the broadband industry is successfully obliterating most meaningful federal and state oversight of their broken, largely uncompetitive broadband monopolies. They’ve had great success in convincing the Trump administration to effectively neuter the FCC, driving any piddly, remaining enforcement authority to an FTC that’s ill-equipped for the job. At the same time, the federal government and ISPs like Comcast are also waging a not-so-subtle and completely coordinated war on state authority to step in and fill the consumer protection void.

      Earlier this month, the entire broadband industry, hand in hand with the Trump DOJ, filed lawsuits against the state of California for passing a net neutrality law the majority of the public supports. This week broadband industry lobbying organizations like US Telecom (primarily funded and directed by AT&T) filed suit against the state of Vermont (pdf), again claiming that the state’s new net neutrality law is prohibited by the legally dubious “pre-emption” language embedded in the FCC’s net neutrality repeal at direct telecom lobbyist request.

    • Consumer Groups Say FCC Deregulatory Fever Harming Hurricane Michael Recovery

      By now Techdirt readers should be fairly keyed into FCC head Ajit Pai’s schtick: kill most meaningful oversight over the telecom sector at the industry’s direct behest (including net neutrality and modest privacy rules), then proudly proclaim you’ve unleashed a tidal wave of innovation, investment, and competition. When you look a little closer however, you’ll generally find that the justifications for such moves not only ignore the will of the public and engineering expertise, but are often based entirely on evidence free lobbying claims from the industry itself. You’ll also find the promised competition and innovation never materializes.

      Consumer groups say this same, evidence-optional, industry-cozy approach has fueled the FCC’s attempts to hold telecom operators accountable for lagging post-hurricane repairs.

      You might recall that Verizon used Hurricane Sandy as cover to effectively stop upgrading huge swaths of its fixed-line networks. Countless customers on traditional copper voice and DSL lines were suddenly left without service or repairs, with Verizon claiming that capped, expensive, frequently unavailable and oft-congested wireless service was a “good enough” replacement for them (those users disagreed). That, in turn, resulted in the previous FCC passing some rules saying that if you’re going to kill off landline service, you need to replace it with something at least equal in quality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Grading Patent Remedies: Dependent Claims and Relative Infringement

      Patents define an inventor’s exclusive rights by reciting essential aspects of the invention in sentences called claims. The claims are drafted in varying degrees of technical specificity, such that each claim is legally distinct—some may be valid or infringed while others are not. Most commonly, this variation is accomplished by using a combination of “independent” and “dependent” claims. Independent claims stand alone, while dependent claims incorporate by reference all the features recited in the independent claims but go on to add further features or details. The result is a range of potential infringing activity that triggers liability, from the broadest, most conceptual claims to the narrowest, most concrete claims.

      Yet when it comes time to remedy infringement, this range of infringement is treated as essentially meaningless. Parties rarely bother to distinguish between claims when assessing damages or injunctive relief. And courts hold, for example, that damages owed for infringing one claim is no different than the damages for infringement of any other claim in the patent. This is not consistent with the law or common sense. Not every claim is of equal technological or societal value, nor is infringement of every claim equally harmful to the patent owner. Parties and courts should start paying more attention to the relative significance of the patent claims involved.

      This article focuses on dependent claims as a particularly useful vehicle for evaluating relative patent remedies between claims. Any two patent claims can be compared, though their relative scopes can be debatable when, for example, two claims are directed to alternative embodiments. But dependent claims are, by definition, narrower in scope than their base independent claims. Dependent claims also are commonly employed to expressly cover commercial products or preferred embodiments of inventions. As a result, dependent claims often encompass the core and most detailed disclosures of the patent specification, which is also often occupying the most important competitive space to the patent owner. The relative value of those claims to patent owners, infringers, and the public, should be evaluated as part of any sound patent remedies assessment.

    • Abusive Filing of IP Rights

      Today, there are many situations for which the possibility of applying competition law to intellectual property rights (IPRs) is recognized. However, there is considerable dispute when it comes to the originary acquisition of IPRs. Are IP registration procedures a topic for competition law, or should they be left to the correction mechanisms provided for in IP law itself? The strongest argument in favor of the parallel application of competition law is the fact that already the existence of IPRs has an impact on competition, and not only the later exercise of these rights. If the IPR has been granted due to misleading representations before the patent office, the economic effects are not compatible with the ideal of competition on the merits. Even in the absence of misleading information, the filing of blocking patents may, in exceptional circumstances, enter into conflict with competition law. If there is no perspective whatsoever to use or commercialize the patent in question, to support other innovations or to pursue further legitimate interests, and if the purpose of the patent is solely to block the development of other firms, the acquisition of that patent is abusive.

    • Monopolistic Pricing Power for Transgenic Crops When Technology Adopters Face Irreversible Benefits and Costs

      Pricing of biotechnology innovation under a patent grant is reconsidered in a model with uncertain returns and irreversible costs and benefits. Past results on restricted monopoly pricing in the presence of competing technologies showed that pricing power is reduced. The timing of adoption of an innovation is delayed and the pricing power of the restricted monopolist is further reduced when uncertainty and irreversibility is considered. The presence of irreversible benefits results in increased willingness-to-pay for the innovation, accelerating adoption, and increasing the innovator’s restricted monopolist pricing power. Using Monte-Carlo simulation, the quantitative effects were approximated by a linear function through the hyper-plane.

    • Trademarks

      • Canada: Court decision reflects effort to streamline trade mark disputes

        A recent decision of Canada’s Federal Court reflects a trend towards streamlining the resolution of trade mark disputes in Canada, helping to minimise delays in enforcing trade mark rights in the country. In C.C. Jentsch Cellars Inc. v O’Rourke Family Vineyards Ltd. et al, (2018 FC 875), the court dismissed the respondent’s motions for production of documents, the late introduction of an expert survey, and a request to convert the proceeding into an action. The decision demonstrates the court’s commitment to ensuring court proceedings are “expeditious and proportionate” (C.C. Jentsch, para 29).

        Trade mark rights traditionally had to be enforced in Canada through a claim advanced by an action. In an action, both parties must produce all their relevant documents, make a representative available for an oral examination for discovery, and proceed to a trial that might take one to four weeks, depending on the number of witnesses. The process routinely takes more than two years.

    • Copyrights

      • Court Tells Georgia It Can’t Charge People to Read the Law

        In a victory for the people of Georgia, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the state can no longer charge individuals hundreds of dollars to see the laws that govern them.

        To get there, the court relied on a central tenet of American democracy: The government works on behalf of the public.

        Quoting the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit wrote, “The concept of popular sovereignty is deeply rooted in our politics, our law, and our history. The seminal statement of America’s political creed boldly proclaims that ‘[g]overnments … deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed.’”

      • Rapidvideo Responds to MPAA’s Piracy Claims: “We’re Totally Legal”

        Every year the major Hollywood studios report a list of the most notorious pirate sites to the US Government. While the listed targets usually don’t respond, there is some serious pushback recently. After CDA.pl dismissed the piracy claims against it earlier this week, RapidVideo follows suit today, stressing that it has already taken several voluntary measures, including an upload filter to prevent pirated content from being reuploaded.

      • OpenVPN CEO: “Choose a VPN That Doesn’t Allow BitTorrent”

        OpenVPN is one of the biggest names in the VPN industry. Many providers use the trusted protocol and open source software which have been around for nearly two decades. Despite the good reputation, OpenVPN Inc’s CEO came out with a rather surprising statement this week, stressing that it’s “essential to choose a VPN that doesn’t allow the use of BitTorrent.”

      • Steam Bans All Links to TorrentFreak News as “Potentially Malicious”

        Steam users who want to keep up with the latest news in the file-sharing, copyright, and game cheating lawsuit arenas are not currently free to do so via Steam. For reasons best known to the gaming platform, all links to TorrentFreak.com news articles posted by users are banned by the platform and wrongfully labeled as “potentially malicious”.

      • Operator of YouTube Rippers Should Stand Trial in the US, Major Labels Say

        Several major labels including Universal, Warner Bros, and Sony, are squaring off with the Russian operator of YouTube-ripping sites FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com. The latter has filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming he lacks sufficient ties to the US, but the RIAA labels clearly disagree.

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