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10.31.18

Links 31/10/2018: Linux Lite 4.2 and GNOME 3.30.2 Officially Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 8 creepy commands that haunt the terminal

    It’s that time of year again: The weather gets chilly, the leaves change colors, and kids everywhere transform into tiny ghosts, goblins, and zombies. But did you know that Unix (and Linux) and its various offshoots are also chock-full of creepy crawly things? Let’s take a quick look at some of the spookier aspects of the operating system we all know and love.

  • Server

    • Container-based server platform for Linux device management goes open source

      Resin.io changed its name to balena and released an open source version of its IoT fleet management platform for Linux devices called openBalena. Targets include the Intel NUC, Jetson TX2, Raspberry Pi, and a new RPi CM3 carrier called the balenaFin.

      A lot has happened with Resin.io since we covered its Docker container focused Resin.io cloud IoT platform and open source ResinOS Linux distro two years ago. Resin.io started out with a goal to create a “git push for devices” and develop lightweight Docker containers for Linux devices to enable easy security updates and IoT device management. It has since expanded beyond that to provide a comprehensive, scalable platform for IoT fleet management. Now the company has announced a name-change to balena in conjunction with the release of an open source openBalena version of its software.

    • $34B Red Hat Acquisition Is a Bolt Out of Big Blue
    • Big Blue Puts on a Red Hat: IBM Acquires Red Hat

      When large companies with diverse product portfolios are acquired, the rationale for acquisition tends to reflect that complexity. This is particularly true when the cost of acquisition is high, as the models used to build the case for the move benefit from multiple paths to revenue, synergistic or otherwise.

      In the case of what is likely the largest acquisition in software history, IBM’s addition of Red Hat, this is so much the case that it is difficult to know where to begin taking the deal apart. The number of potential storylines to explore from the combination of one of the industry’s largest and most iconic technology brands and the standard bearer for open source is literally endless, which analyses thankfully cannot be.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 Launches with Improved Security

      A day after announcing a $34 billion deal with IBM, it’s business as usual at Linux vendor Red Hat.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 Released with Improved Security for Hybrid Clouds
    • IBM’s RTP-based cloud leader talks Red Hat opportunity
    • 3 scary sysadmin stories

      Over my many years as a system administrator, I’ve heard many horror stories about the different ghosts that have haunted new admins due to their inexperience.

      Here are three of the stories that stand out to me the most in helping build my character as a good sysadmin.

    • Unsure why you can’t log into Office 365? So is Microsoft

      Microsoft’s Office 365 has been giving some users cold sweats. No matter how hard they try to log in, they simply can’t access the service and haven’t been able to for hours – others say it has wobbled for days.

      Sporadic reports of unrest began to emerge on Down Detector on Friday (26 October) in the UK and across the pond, stopped over the weekend and started again prior to 0800 GMT today. Office 365′s web woes have still not been resolved at the time of writing.

    • Big Blue’s takeover of Red Hat could produce an über-cloud

      Red Hat is no household name, but in the IT industry the firm is considered one of the biggest success stories of the recent past. Founded in 1993 it grew rapidly and reached $2.9bn in revenue in its most recent fiscal year. And it did so with a business model that many had declared dead-on-arrival because its margins looked likely to be low. Red Hat takes free open-source software, makes some improvements, bundles it with other tools and services such as technical support and quality control, and charges a monthly subscription fee for the package.

    • Mark Shuttleworth Thinks IBM Buying Red Hat is Good News for Ubuntu

      Wondering what Mark Shuttleworth thinks about IBM buying Red Hat? Well, wonder no more.

      The Ubuntu founder has shared his thoughts on IBM’s game-changing purchase in a short but pointed blog post.

      And, few of you will be surprised to learn, the space-faring free-software fan thinks the deal marks a “significant moment in the progression of open source to the mainstream”.

  • Kernel Space

    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.19 Kernel Is Now Available for Those Seeking 100% Freedom

      Based on the recently released Linux 4.19 kernel series, the GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu kernel borrows all the new features, including the experimental EROFS (Enhanced Read-Only File System) file system, initial support for the Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wireless protocol, and mitigations for the L1FT and SpectreRSB security flaws.

      While the GNU Linux-Libre 4.19 kernel comes with all these goodies found in the upstream Linux 4.19 kernel, it doesn’t ship with proprietary code. Deblobbed drivers include Aspeed ColdFire FSI Master, MT76x0U and MT76x2U Wi-Fi, MTk Bluetooth UART, as well as Keystone and Qualcomm Hexagon Remoteproc.

    • Cedrus VPU Decoder Driver Being Mainlined With New Linux Media Request API

      The Cedrus VPU driver developed by Bootlin for supporting the Allwinner VPU open-source support via crowdfunding is set to hit the mainline kernel for Linux 4.20~5.0.

      The Cedrus VPU driver is what was developed over six months this year at Bootlin via a crowd-funded internship that raised over thirty-six thousand dollars (USD) for the effort.

    • EXT4 Getting Fixes For A Number Of Ancient Bugs — Back To The Linux 2.6 Days With EXT3

      While investigating EXT4 resize troubles on RHEL6/RHEL7 boxes with OpenVZ kernels, Vasily Averin uncovered several bugs within the EXT4 code. The oldest of which bugs date back to the Linux 2.6.19 kernel in the EXT3 code that was imported when creating the EXT4 file-system.

    • Episode 5: Linux is Personal

      Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Corbin Champion about Userland, an easy way to run Linux on your Android device, and other new projects.

    • Graphics Stack

      • VC4 & V3D Open-Source Drivers Continue Maturing At Broadcom

        Eric Anholt of Broadcom has provided a status update on his efforts around the VC4 open-source driver stack that most notably works with Raspberry Pi devices and also his efforts on the V3D driver as the next-generation Broadcom graphics driver stack for VideoCore V and later.

      • FFmpeg Re-Enables HEVC Decode For NVIDIA VDPAU

        The FFmpeg multimedia library has restored support for HEVC/H.265 video decoding accelerated on NVIDIA GPUs using VDPAU.

        FFmpeg had disabled HEVC accelerated video decoding for NVIDIA GPUs with the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) over driver issues while keeping support for other video formats enabled. As of the current NVIDIA 410 Linux driver series, the HEVC issues have been resolved.

      • Introducing Zink, an OpenGL implementation on top of Vulkan

        For the last month or so, I’ve been playing with a new project during my work at Collabora, and as I’ve already briefly talked about at XDC 2018, it’s about time to talk about it to a wider audience.

      • Zink For OpenGL-Over-Vulkan Currently Supports GL 2.1 But Making Progress

        The Zink Gallium3D driver that is implementing OpenGL over Vulkan and using Mesa’s Gallium3D driver infrastructure is beginning to run more games, work under Wayland, and more. There still is a long road ahead but at least it’s becoming usable for early testers and those wishing to experiment with this project.

        Zink holds a lot of potential for OpenGL over Vulkan by translating Gallium calls to Vulkan and the initial driver was brought up in a matter of weeks by Collabora developer Erik Faye-Lund.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i9 9900K Spectre Mitigation Benchmarks

        One of the benefits with the recently launched Core i9 9900K is hardware-based mitigations for Meltdown and L1TF/Foreshadow vulnerabilities. but mitigations are still needed for the other Spectre vulnerabilities. In this article is a look at the performance impact of still needing generic Retpolines via IBPB IBRS firmware for Spectre V2 and Speculative Store Bypass disabling (SSBD) for Spectre V4.

      • The AMD Threadripper ECC DDR4-2666 Testing That Wasn’t

        Recently in our forums there has been a lot of interest in Threadripper 2 builds using ECC DDR4 memory and the impact on performance, especially now with the Threadripper 2 family being rounded out by the 2920X and 2970WX. So I set out to do some DDR4-2666 ECC UDIMM testing with Threadripper 2, but that hasn’t turned out well.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Representing KDE at XDC 2018

        Last month the X.Org Developer?s Conference (XDC) was held in A Coru�a, Spain. I took part as a Plasma/KWin developer. My main goal was to simply get into contact with developers from other projects and companies working on open source technology in order to show them that the KDE community aims at being a reliable partner to them now and in the future.

        Instead of recounting chronologically what went down at the conference let us look at three key groups of attendees, who are relevant to KWin and Plasma: the graphics drivers and kernel developers, upstream userland and colleagues working on other compositor projects.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.30.2 RELEASED

        I’m pleased to announce the release of GNOME 3.30.2, the final planned
        release for the GNOME 3.30 series (sorry for the week delay)

        It includes numerous bugfixes, documentation improvements, and
        translation updates.
        All distributions shipping GNOME 3.30 are strongly encouraged to upgrade.

        Also, for this release I wanted to take advantage of our CI system to
        make the build process publicly available [1]

      • GNOME 3.30.2 Desktop Environment Released as the Last in the Series, Update Now
      • GNOME 3.30.2 Released As Focus Shifts To GNOME 3.32
      • Update from the PipeWire hackfest

        As the third and final day of the PipeWire hackfest draws to a close, I thought I’d summarise some of my thoughts on the goings-on and the future.

        [...]

        One key thing that PulseAudio does right (I know there are people who disagree!) is having a custom configuration that automagically works on a lot of Intel HDA-based systems. We’ve been wondering how to deal with this in PipeWire, and the path we think makes sense is to transition to ALSA UCM configuration. This is note as flexible as we need it to be, but I’d like to extend it for that purpose if possible. This would ideally also help consolidate the various methods of configuration being used by the various Linux userspaces.

        To that end, I’ve started trying to get a UCM setup on my desktop that PulseAudio can use, and be functionally equivalent to what we do with our existing configuration. There are missing bits and bobs, and I’m currently focusing on the ones related to hardware volume control. I’ll write about this in the future as the effort expands out to other hardware.

      • Pipewire Hackfest 2018

        For Pipewire, the policy decisions would be split off from the main daemon. Pipewire, as it gains PulseAudio compatibility layers, will grow a default/example policy engine that will try to replicate PulseAudio’s behaviour. At the very least, that will mean that Pipewire won’t regress compared to PulseAudio, and might even be able to take better decisions in the short term.

        For GNOME, we still wanted to take control of that part of the experience, and make our own policy decisions. It’s very possible that this engine will end up being featureful and generic enough that it will be used by more than just GNOME, or even become the default Pipewire one, but it’s far too early to make that particular decision.

        In the meanwhile, we wanted the GNOME policies to not be written in C, difficult to experiment with for power users, and for edge use cases. We could have started writing a configuration language, but it would have been too specific, and there are plenty of embeddable languages around. It was also a good opportunity for me to finally write the helper library I’ve been meaning to write for years, based on my favourite embedded language, Lua.

  • Distributions

    • Changing Up Your Linux Distro

      It’s common for Linux users to hop between distributions and survey the field, and I recently reached a point where I had to seriously rethink the one I was using most of the time.

      Between hardware compatibility issues with my old standby and some discouraging missteps with other go-to choices, I felt the time had come to reassess my pool of preferred distributions and repopulate it from scratch.

      As my journey progressed, I realized that as often as I’ve discussed the field of Linux-based systems, I had not addressed how to pick one out. To give you an idea of how to approach distribution selection, I wanted to volunteer my recent search as one template. This is certainly not the only or best way to go about it — everyone has their own criteria and priorities — but my intention is to provide some reference points for mapping out your own way.

    • Linux Lite 4.2 Officially Released with Redshift, Based on Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS

      Based on the first point release of Canonical’s latest LTS (Long Term Support) operating system series, Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Linux Lite 4.2 is powered by the Linux 4.15.0-38.41 kernel from upstream, but users can install a custom kernels from the official Linux Lite repositories, from Linux 3.13 to Linux 4.19.

      Linux Lite 4.2 ships with the Mozilla Firefox 63.0 “Quantum” web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird 60.2.1 email and news client, LibreOffice 6.0.6.2 office suite, VLC 3.0.3 media player, and GIMP 2.10.6 image editor, as well as an update Lite Welcome utility, and the Redshift tool for adjusting the color temperature of your screen.

    • Linux Lite 4.2 Final Released

      Linux Lite 4.2 Final is now available for download and installation.

      This release has a number of minor changes. Think of it as ‘refinement’ and not a ‘major upgrade’. There are some new wallpapers thanks to @whateverthing and some minor tweaks here and there.

    • Braiins OS Is The First Fully Open Source, Linux-based Bitcoin Mining System

      Braiins Systems, the company behind the Slush Pool, has announced Braiins OS. The creators of this bitcoin mining software have claimed that it’s the world’s first fully open source system for cryptocurrency embedded devices.

      The initial release of the operating system is based on OpenWrt, which is basically a Linux operating system for embedded devices. You can find its code here.

      Those who know about OpenWrt must be aware of the fact that it’s very versatile. As a result, Braiins OS can also be extended in different applications in future.

      In a Medium post, Braiins Systems has said that different weird cases of non-standard behavior of mining devices cause tons of issues. With this new mining software, the company wishes to make things easier for mining pool operators and miners.

    • Manjaro 18.0 “Illyria” Released — Get This User-friendly Arch Linux Distro Here

      After a series of release candidates pushed over the past weeks, the developers of Manjaro Linux have released the stable Manjaro 18.0 “Illyria.”

      As I’ve said on multiple occasions in the past, I love the overall near-polished desktop experience offered by Manjaro. It goes without saying that it comes with tons of fixes spread all across the system as well as many minor improvements.

      The users will now be able to take advantage of the new theme named Adapta-Maia and other minor visual changes across the system for better user experience.

      Since Manjaro Xfce is the flagship edition, it continues to get the most attention. 18.0 “Illyria” ships with the latest Xfce 4.13 desktop environment.

    • New Releases

      • Kali Linux Ethical Hacking Distro Gets 64-Bit Raspberry Pi 3 Image, WireGuard

        Since there won’t be any new snapshot released in 2018, Kali Linux 2018.4 packs several updated hacking tools, including Binwalk, Burp Suite, Faraday, Fern-Wifi-Cracker, Gobuster, Patator, RSMangler, theHarvester, WPScan, and others, as well as a new tool, namely the well-known, open-source WireGuard secure VPN tunnel.

        “We have only added one new tool to the distribution in this release cycle but it’s a great one,” reads the announcement. “Wireguard is a powerful and easy to configure VPN solution that eliminates many of the headaches one typically encounters setting up VPNs. Check out our Wireguard post for more details on this great addition.”

    • Fedora

      • LVFS Gaining More Recognition For Firmware Updates, Transitioning To A Linux Foundation Project

        LVFS works in-step with Fwupd for open-source firmware updating on Linux systems and more organizations are taking note. Richard Hughes of Red Hat who has led the LVFS/fwupd development noted today that UK’s National Cyber Security Center is now weighing purchasing decisions based upon the hardware’s LVFS compatibility from OEMs/OEDMs. This UK cyber security group is just one of a number of large government organizations and public corporations mandating LVFS firmware update support.

      • Using the LVFS to influence procurement decisions

        The National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ, the UK version of the NSA) wrote a nice article on using the LVFS to influence procurement decisions. It’s probably also worth noting that the two biggest OEMs making consumer hardware also require all their ODMs to also support firmware updates on the LVFS. More and more mega-corporations also have “supports the LVFS” as a requirement for procurement.

      • What’s New in Fedora 29 Workstation

        Fedora 29 Workstation is the latest release of our free, leading-edge operating system. You can download it from the official website here right now. There are several new and noteworthy changes in Fedora Workstation. Read more details below.

      • Upgrading Fedora 28 to Fedora 29
      • Fedora 29 Officially Released, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 Launched, New Version of Linux Lite, Google AI Tracking Humpback Whale Songs, and Resin.io Announces openBalena and a Name Change
      • Fedora 29 Linux OS Officially Released with GNOME 3.30, ZRAM for ARM Devices
      • Fedora Enables ClearType Subpixel Font Rendering Thanks To Microsoft [Ed: Misleading, disappointing headline from Phoronix. For decades Microsoft used software patents to threaten Red Hat over this, so blackmail "no more" deserves no "thanks"...]

        Fedora has finally enabled ClearType sub-pixel rendering in FreeType for providing much nicer font rendering.

        ClearType is Microsoft’s sub-pixel font rendering technology to make fonts appear crisper on LCD displays. ClearType has been around for almost two decades and while upstream FreeType has supported, it hasn’t been turned on in Fedora. Microsoft has at least nine patents covering ClearType as outlined on FreeType.org, which made it a no-go for Fedora to ship.

      • Remote desktop capabilities still missing in Fedora 29 Workstation [Ed: Hopefully IBM can sort out these regressions as things that are newer (Wayland, systemd etc.) break things/features that used to work]

        The release of Fedora 29 marks the second anniversary of the introducing of Wayland as the default display manager for Fedora Workstation. It’s also the forth biannual release of Fedora that doesn’t support remote desktop sessions out of the box.

        There have been a lot of progress towards reintroducing remote desktop capabilities to the default Fedora Workstation setup since I last wrote about it. The Fedora Project wiki lists remote desktop services as a proposed change for Fedora 29, but these plans seem to have been abandoned in July.

        The Fedora 29 repositories now include the gnome-remote-desktop package that includes a screen sharing service and adds user interface for configuring screen sharing to System Settings: Sharing. The package isn’t installed by default as it isn’t working. You can install it and enable the service, but it will crash when you try to connect to it.

      • Fedora 29 Now Generally Available

        The Fedora Project, a Red Hat, Inc. sponsored and community-driven open source collaboration, today announced the general availability of Fedora 29, the latest version of the fully open source Fedora operating system. Fedora 29 delivers three distinct editions each designed to provide a free, Linux-based system tailored to meet specific use cases – Fedora 29 Server, Fedora 29 Workstation and Fedora 29 Atomic Host.

      • Fedora 29 Linux distribution now available for download

        Two days ago, it was announced that IBM will be buying Red Hat. While we don’t know how the marriage between the two companies will work out, I am cautiously optimistic. I mean, look, Red Hat is a solid organization, and if IBM is true to its word about allowing the RHEL-maker to operate independently, it should largely be a non-issue.

        Personally, as a hardcore Fedora user, I can only pray that IBM doesn’t mess with my favorite operating system. The acquisition won’t be closing for a while, however, and today, after a short public beta period, Fedora 29 is released without any input from IBM. The best desktop Linux operating system simply gets better than ever, and it is time to celebrate by downloading it.

      • Fedora 29 has been released just one week before 15-year anniversary

        Fedora 29 is now available for all, coming almost 15 years since Fedora Core 1 was announced. Today’s release includes images for desktop, server, Atomic Host, Cloud, and ARM devices. Additionally, you can find spins with different desktop environments if GNOME isn’t your cup of tea. You can also download updated Labs releases which include software for specific tasks such as astronomy.

        The Fedora Project said the most exciting thing about this release is that it’s the first to include Fedora Modularity. This feature lets users run different versions of packages without having to upgrade other system components.

    • Debian Family

      • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in October 2018

        We intend to maintain changes to these modules under their original open source licenses and applying only free and open fixes and updates. You can find out more at goodformcode.com.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Kernel Security Update for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 8 Flaws Patched

            The new kernel security update for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) is here to address two flaws (CVE-2015-8539 and CVE-2017-15299) discovered by Dmitry Vyukov and Eric Biggers in Linux kernel’s key management subsystem, which could allow a local attacker to either execute arbitrary code or crash the system via a denial of service.

            It also patches a use-after-free vulnerability (CVE-2016-7913) in the device driver for XCeive xc2028/xc3028 tuners, as well as a race condition (CVE-2017-0794) discovered by Pengfei Ding, Chenfu Bao, and Lenx Wei in the generic SCSI driver (sg), all of which could allow a local attacker to crash the system or execute arbitrary code.

          • Disco Dingo: The development cycle has started!

            The development cycle for the Disco Dingo (which will be the codename for the 19.04 release) has started for the Lubuntu team!

            As of the time of writing, the initial building blocks have been put in place for the archive, and preparations are being made for its opening. Right now, the Ubuntu Foundations Team is working on preparing a transition to Python 3.7 as the default version, as well as some GCC changes and the usual preparation work.

            For Lubuntu, this means we can begin setting up our infrastructure for the Disco Dingo in preparation for when the archive opens. Our full 19.04 release blocker list can be found here. All of these items will be completed before the planned release date of April 18, 2019. We are also working on cleaning up some 18.10 bugs post-release, so you can expect an announcement from us, either as a post here on our official Lubuntu blog or on Twitter/Mastodon.

          • Configure a keyboard shortcut in Lubuntu 18.04 to take a screenshot of a screen region
          • Ubuntu 19.04 Is Dubbed the “Disco Dingo,” Slated for Released on April 18, 2019

            After unwrapping the Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) release, Canonical is now kicking off the development cycle of the next major release, Ubuntu 19.04, due in spring 2019.
            Even though Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth is no longer naming new Ubuntu releases, the development team already codenamed the forthcoming Ubuntu 19.04 release of the Linux-based operating system and published a draft release schedule.

            Ubuntu 19.04 is dubbed the “Disco Dingo,” and it will be released on April 18, 2019. The development cycle was kicked off officially on October 25, 2018, with the toolchain upload. Three “Ubuntu Testing Weeks” are scheduled for January 3, 31, and February 28, 2019.

          • Canonical Adds Spectre V4, SpectreRSB Fixes to New Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Azure Kernel

            After releasing new kernel security updates for the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series, Canonical published corresponding updates for the Linux kernel for Microsoft Azure cloud systems.

            The new Azure kernel is available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series and addresses the side-channel attack discovered by Jann Horn and Ken Johnson, known as Spectre Variant 4 (CVE-2018-3639), which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information.

          • FSTAB Ubuntu mount NFS Share
          • Restore Running Applications after Hibernation in Ubuntu
          • Ubuntu 19.04 is Named ‘Disco Dingo’

            The name of Ubuntu 19.04 has been revealed — and it’s definitely a distinctive decision!

            As listed on Launchpad, the home of Ubuntu development, the Ubuntu 19.04 name is logged as “Disco Dingo”.

            Ubuntu 19.04 will be the next stable Ubuntu release and come backed by 9 months of updates. It’s due for release in April 2019.

            Thus far there’s no alliteratively littered blogpost from Ubuntu’s space-faring founder Mark Shuttleworth, the sort that would cement the new name within our collective consciousness, but in many ways the name speaks for itself…

          • Ubuntu 19.04 is Named “Disco Dingo,” Arriving April 2019

            Are you ready to dance, or at least howl? Good, because Ubuntu 19.04 is named Disco Dingo. It’s just the latest in a series of animal-themed Linux distribution releases from Canonical.

            As OMG! Ubuntu spotted, Ubuntu 19.04 has now been officially dubbed “Disco Dingo.” This version of Ubuntu will be released in April, 2019. This is the next release after Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish,” which was released earlier this month.

          • How to install Rundeck local and remote services controller on Ubuntu 18.04
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish – Super green?

              Let the distro testing season begin! It’s that time of the year again, and me first volunteer is Xubuntu 18.10, the Xfce flavor of the family. My journey with Xubuntu has been a colorful one. I wasn’t pleased with it for a long time, but then it suddenly soared, becoming really good around 2014-2017. This past year though, there’s been less enthusiasm and innovation in the distro. I don’t know why.

              The previous edition, Bionic Beaver, was sort of average, which isn’t a good result for an LTS, offering the familiar, understated Xfce look and feel but without the extra zest and fun that we had only a year prior. So it shall be most interesting to see how Cosmic behaveth today. The test box will be the eight-boot UEFI/GPT Lenovo G50, with Intel graphics. Let us merrily proceed.

            • Linux Mint 19.1 has been slated for Christmas release

              Clement Lefebvre, has announced that the upcoming Linux Mint 19.1 ‘Tessa’ will be available in time for Christmas this year. In the past, the project has had trouble releasing all of its variants at the same time, however, Clem confirmed that the Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce editions will all be released at the same time. Additionally, upgrade paths will be opened on the same day without the usual delay.

            • Linux Mint 19.1 Will Feature a ‘Modern’ Desktop Layout

              We’re expecting the release of Linux Mint 19.1 to arrive just before the Christmas holidays and, like your nearest and dearest, it’ll be bringing a few surprises with it.

              The Linux 19.1 release will include the Cinnamon 4.0 desktop environment by default and this, Mint’s devs say, will “look more modern” than it does not.

              How? By using a new panel layout.

            • Linux Mint 19.1 ‘Tessa’ coming this Christmas

              December is coming, which means one of my favorite holidays, Christmas, is fairly imminent. While I enjoy spending time with family to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I’d be lying if I said I don’t like getting presents. Heck, I really enjoy giving gifts too.

              Not all Christmas gifts need to be physical — sometimes a Linux distribution can be equally rewarding! Case in point, today, we learn Linux Mint 19.1 — which is named “Tessa” — will be released around Christmastime. In addition, the Mint developers have launched an official Patreon account as a new way to get funding from users. More importantly, there are some significant upcoming improvements to the Cinnamon desktop environment.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Red Hat Satellite 6.3.5 is now generally available

    Red Hat Satellite 6.3.5 is now generally available. The main driver for the 6.3.5 release is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 compatibility updates and ongoing performance and stability improvements.

    There are four bugs squashed in this release – the complete list is below. The most notable issue is compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6.

  • Samsung Comments On Open-Source Restructuring

    Over the weekend we reported on the Samsung Open-Source Group reportedly shutting down with many of the former OSG staffers in the US no longer employed by Samsung. We’ve now received comments both from Samsung in the US and Korea on the matter.

  • Apache Subversion 1.11.0 released

    Version 1.11.0 of the Subversion source-code management system is out. Changes include improvements to the shelving feature, better resolution of merge conflicts, an experimental checkpointing feature, and more; see the release notes for details.

  • 8×8 buys Jitsi open source video conferencing from Atlassian

    8×8 has acquired the open source video conferencing company Jitsi from Atlassian in the cloud telephony vendor’s latest move to expand its business communications portfolio.

    Jitsi hosts an open source video conferencing server that developers can use to build WebRTC-based video products. It also runs a free platform for online meetings that developers can embed into their websites or mobile apps using Jitsi’s APIs and SDKs.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome OS 70 Brings Better Tablet Mode to Chromebooks, Here’s What’s New

        2-in-1 Chromebooks have existed for a few years now, and have become more and more popular as Chromebooks gained support for touch-based Android apps. But, using a convertible Chromebook just wasn’t as smooth as using a tablet. Part of this was the fact that you’re still holding a laptop, but the bigger part was the user interface.

        Now, both of those problems are effectively solved. Chrome tablets and detachables are available and with Chrome OS 70, there’s a much more touch-friendly user interface.

    • Mozilla

      • This Week in Rust 258
      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
      • New Laptop Setup: Stickers

        As I mentioned before, I underwent a hardware refresh and set up a laptop. However, I failed to mention the most important consideration: laptops come with blank canvases waiting for stickers. So let’s dive into what it means to have an empty laptop lid and a drawer full of stickers.

        On :bwinton’s recommendation I acquired a blank Gelaskin. This will in the future allow me to remove and retain all of the stickers when I retire the laptop, or when I just decide to start afresh.

        I was surprised twice by the ‘skin. Firstly, I was expecting it to be clear. Luckily, a white top on the black laptop makes a strong statement that I like so I’m a little glad. Also a surprise: the curved edges. There is a very clear type of laptop this is for (macbooks) and mine is not of that type. These were just minor things. A little trimming of the long edge later, and I was in business.

        With the canvas thus prepared the question became how to fill it. I imagine there are as many schools of thought in this as there are people with laptops, but this is my approach when I have a blank laptop and quite a few stickers stockpiled:

  • Education

    • Open Source as a Model for Global Education

      While education leaders may be appalled by the closed-border policies coming out of Washington, they often indulge in similar protectionist rhetoric, as highlighted by a recent Wilson Center report.
      The language of “national competitiveness” is common in higher education, especially in discussions of China and the U.S. You hear it in contradictory concerns about too many international students (they will take scarce places at elite institutions! They will steal intellectual property!) and too few (our institutions won’t keep up if they stop sending students! We need their tuition to stay afloat!).
      What these worries have in common is the false premise that education is a race and if we don’t hurry others will beat us.
      Whereas education competition borrows from the language of economics, an earlier model of educational transfer drew on culture and politics. Transfer was based on importing and exporting from one education system to another. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, American missionaries established colleges across the Middle East and Asia. Philanthropists established international academic exchanges like the Rhodes Scholarship.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • It’s not okay to pretend your software is open source

      One of my largest complaints with the Commons Clause is that it hijacks language used by open source projects to proliferate nonfree software, and encourages software using it to do the same. Instead of being a new software license, it tries to stick itself onto other respected licences – often the Apache 2.0 license. The name, “Commons Clause”, is also disingenuous, hijacking language used by respected entities like Creative Commons. In truth, the Commons Clause serves to remove software from the commons1. Combining these problems gives you language like “Apache+Commons Clause”, which is easily confused with Apache Commons.

    • No Free Lunches In Software: Understanding Open Source Code Use In Your Business [Ed: We're back to the 1990s? Far too much FUD like this from Forbes about FOSS, now without the paywall/spywall.]
  • BSD

    • Book Review: Absolute FreeBSD (3rd Edition)

      FreeBSD is a free and open source operating system for many different kinds of computers. FreeBSD’s based upon BSD, the version of UNIX developed at the University of California, Berkeley. FreeBSD is an alternative to Linux or Windows-based system. You can run almost all apps written in Perl, Python, PHP and other programming languages. FreeBSD heavily used by Netflix, EMC, IBM, Juniper, NetApp, Apple, Sony, and others. Absolute FreeBSD (3rd ed) book aims to be the complete guide to FreeBSD. Let us see why Michael W. Lucas’ FreeBSD system administration books so favorite among Unix lovers.

    • Introducing the OpenBSD Virtualization FAQ

      Now getting started with OpenBSD virtualization has become even easier: The OpenBSD FAQ has a new Virtualization section, written mainly by Solene Rapenne (solene@) and added to the site in this commit, that offers an introduction to the concepts as well as instructions on how to get started with vmm(4).

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • “Every non-free program is an injustice”: Richard Stallman on the Free Software Movement

      In the September–October 2018 issue of the New Left Review, Rob Lucas interviews software engineer and free-software advocate Richard Stallman, who is best known for spearheading the development of the GNU/Linux operating system in the 1980s. Stallman began his career at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab in the 1970s, which at the time was animated by a spirit of open collaboration and creative exploration. But when the lab began to develop proprietary software and partner with telecommunications companies, Stallman saw the “injustice” of non-free software and struck out on his own.

    • RICHARD STALLMAN TALKING TO THE MAILMAN: Interview by Rob Lucas

      I grew up in Manhattan, born in 1953. I was a behavioural problem—I couldn’t go to a public school without getting in trouble—and started working with computers at an early age. In 1969, during my last year of high school, an IBM lab let me come and use their computers. In 1970 I had a summer job there. They gave me a project to do, implementing a certain algorithm to see how well it would work. I finished that in a few weeks, so they let me spend the rest of the summer being paid to write whatever I felt like. I went to Harvard to study physics, and carried on programming there. Towards the end of my first year I started visiting computer labs to look at their manuals, to see how the computers differed. When I visited the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, they didn’t have much by way of a manual, because they had developed their own time-sharing system. The administrator there decided to hire me more or less straight away. So although I graduated from Harvard in 1974, I had actually been an employee at MIT for three years. Harvard’s computer was a lot better to play with than IBM’s, but it didn’t have a lot of memory, whereas MIT’s computer at the AI Lab had plenty. Not only that, they let me change the time-sharing system; in fact, that was my job—they hired me to work on that system. I added lots of features to lots of different programs—whatever I thought of, or people suggested to me, that seemed like a good idea, I would implement and then people would use it. And this was absolutely delightful—and gratifying to make things that people used and appreciated—so I kept working there. From that point on, I did programming using the machine at MIT.

    • Innovative biography of RMS returns to GNU Press Shop

      In 2002, Sam Williams wrote Free as in Freedom, a biography of Richard M. Stallman. In its epilogue, Williams expressed hope that choosing to distribute his book under the GNU Free Documentation License would enable and encourage others to share corrections and their own perspectives through modifications to his work.

      Free as in Freedom (2.0) is Stallman’s revision of the original biography. While preserving Williams’s viewpoint, it includes factual corrections and extensive new commentary by Stallman, as well as new prefaces by both authors written for the occasion. It is a rare kind of biography, where the reader has the benefit of both the biographer’s original words and the subject’s response.

    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 8 new GNU releases!

      gama-2.01
      gcc-6.5.0
      gvpe-3.1
      help2man-1.47.8
      mes-0.18
      mtools-4.0.19
      parallel-20181022
      units-2.18

      For announcements of most new GNU releases, subscribe to the info-gnu mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/info-gnu.

      To download: nearly all GNU software is available from https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/, or preferably one of its mirrors from https://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. You can use the URL https://ftpmirror.gnu.org/ to be automatically redirected to a (hopefully) nearby and up-to-date mirror.

    • Normalizing Filenames and Data with [GNU] Bash

      Yeah, that many years. Almost 13 years of writing about shell scripts and lightweight programming within the Linux environment. I’ve covered a lot of ground, but I want to go back to something that’s fairly basic and talk about filenames and the web.

      It used to be that if you had filenames that had spaces in them, bad things would happen: “my mom’s cookies.html” was a recipe for disaster, not good cookies—um, and not those sorts of web cookies either!

      As the web evolved, however, encoding of special characters became the norm, and every Web browser had to be able to manage it, for better or worse. So spaces became either “+” or %20 sequences, and everything else that wasn’t a regular alphanumeric character was replaced by its hex ASCII equivalent.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How open source hardware increases security

        Hardware hacks are particularly scary because they trump any software security safeguards—for example, they can render all accounts on a server password-less.

        Fortunately, we can benefit from what the software industry has learned from decades of fighting prolific software hackers: Using open source techniques can, perhaps counterintuitively, make a system more secure. Open source hardware and distributed manufacturing can provide protection from future attacks.

      • Nybble open source robotic kitten

        Those of you looking to learn a little more about robotics and electronics in general may be interested in a new open source robotic kit called Nybble. Which allows you to build the “world’s cutest open source robotic kitten”. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the robotic kit which can be easily programmed and is now available to back via Indiegogo with early bird pledges available from $200.

  • Programming/Development

    • SDL 2.0.9 Released As The Latest Version For This Cross-Platform Game Library

      SDL 2.0.9 is now available as the latest feature update to this cross-platform, widely-used library to help with abstracting operating system specific bits across operating systems and hardware from mobile devices to gaming PCs. SDL2 continues to be critically important for most Linux games.

    • AMD Publishes Zen 2 Compiler Patch “znver2″ Exposing Some New Instructions

      With GCC 9 feature development ending in November, AMD today sent out their first patch enabling Zen 2 support in the GNU Compiler Collection via the new “znver2″ target.

    • Help test Rust 2018

      Back in July, we talked about “Rust 2018”. In short, we are launching a cycle of long-term milestones called “Editions”. Editions are a way to capture the progress delivered incrementally by our ordinary six-week release cycle – and focus Rust libraries, tooling, and documentation cohesively around it. Editions will be selected roughly every three years: Rust 1.0 was “Rust 2015” and Rust 1.31 will be “Rust 2018”. Each edition has a theme; Rust 2015’s was “stability”, and Rust 2018’s is “productivity.”

      We’ve been testing Rust 2018 for a while already, and things are looking pretty good! We have just under six weeks until Rust 1.31 ships, and so we’d appreciate it if you could give the beta a try.

    • Textile – simple lightweight markup language

      Textile is a lightweight and simple markup language that makes it easy to structure content for articles, blogs, wikis, and documentation. It’s origin traces back to the blogging software Textpattern.

      Textile converts its marked-up text input to valid, well-formed XHTML and also inserts character entity references for apostrophes, opening and closing single and double quotation marks, ellipses and em dashes. This lets users create documents, blogs and web pages without needing to write HTML.

    • 39 No Frills Keyboard Shortcuts every Developer Should Follow

      What used to be 27 is now 39 – Due to all the great comments, I’ve amended the list to add a few more suggestions, thanks to all that contributed.

      Shortcuts are the most productive thing that a developer can add to their repertoire that will aid them through their entire career. Learning how to use your system and tools will improve your productivity and in general make traversing all your windows and apps a breeze. The mouse is a great, tool, but if you can do it quicker, more effectively without your hands leaving your keyboard then you should!

    • What a Coding Dojo taught me about agile

      Of course, we often associate “agile” with specific practices. Let’s take the example of two agile practices that were used together during a Coding Dojo event. A Coding Dojo is a great way of uncovering better ways of developing… I’ll stop there; you know the rest of the sentence by now. A Coding Dojo is a great way to get better at something by practicing with others in a safe and controlled environment.

    • ActiveState Developer Survey Examines Open Source Challenges
    • Report: Developers are not clear on how to get involved in the open-source community

      After 20 years, the open-source community is stronger than ever. However, a recent report found developers while they had more time and know-how to contribute to open-source projects. According the report, respondents don’t quite know where to begin and start to question their skills and time.

      Additionally, developers say they are either too intimidated to contribute, lack the resources, or do not get enough time to contribute from their company.

      DigitalOcean’s CURRENTS A Seasonal Report on Developer Trends in the Cloud: Open Source Edition is based off of more than 4,300 international developers, and focuses specifically on how companies are using open source and why they support the community.

    • Developers: Want fulfilling work? Here are the 10 most satisfying coding languages

      Developers choose a programming language for a project based on a number of factors, including what components that project needs, and what languages they are most comfortable with. However, developers are much more satisfied working in some languages than others, according to a Tuesday report from ActiveState.

      Adding a new programming language to the workplace was ranked as the largest challenge for developers, with 56% ranking this difficult or very difficult, the report found. This was followed by dependencies (24%), environmental configuration (20%), and reproducible builds (18%).

    • The 10 most popular platforms developers use to code projects

      On a typical day, the largest portion of developers (37%) spend only 2-4 hours programming, according to a Tuesday report from ActiveState. Of the 1,400 developers and IT professionals surveyed, 14% said they spend one hour per day programming, 31% spend 5-7 hours, and 19% spend 8+ hours doing coding work daily.

      When starting new software projects, 26% of developers surveyed said they start a new project quarterly, the report found. Another 23% start new projects monthly, while 17% said rarely. Fewer in the field said they begin a new software project twice a year (14%), weekly (12%), annually (7%), or daily (1%), according to the report.

Leftovers

  • Small-town Canada mourns the loss of Greyhound bus service in the West

    Approximately 400 communities will lose service completely. The only western route remaining connects Vancouver with Seattle.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Federal Inspectors Cite St. Luke’s in Houston for Problems in a Heart Transplant

      The federal government has cited Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston for not having working defibrillator paddles in the operating room during a January heart transplant. The transplant ultimately failed, and the patient died two months later.

      During a review this month, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that “there were not sufficient quantities of emergency equipment (internal defibrillator paddles) immediately available during cardiac (open chest) surgery,” according to a copy of the report provided by the agency at the request of ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle.

    • This is how anti-abortion propaganda gets into US cinemas

      A police officer approaches a cupboard in a dark room and opens it, shining a light inside. His face contorts at what he sees. Another officer asks: “Is this normal?” The first answers: “I don’t know, I’ve never been in an abortion clinic before”. This is the opening scene of the trailer for a new film out in cinemas across the US, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.

      At first glance, it looks like many other cop and courtroom dramas. But this film is different. It was made by a pair of conservative pundits, commentators for right-wing outlets like Breitbart and Townhall.com, with a track record of making films attacking “global warming hysteria” and critics of fracking and mining. With their new film, they’ve inserted anti-abortion propaganda into a formula proven to attract moviegoers: the suspenseful, true crime genre.

      This is no accident; Gosnell is aiming at wide audiences, with big ambitions. “This movie will change hearts and minds about abortion”, claims Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List anti-abortion lobby group. It shows “the brutality and inhumanity of abortion”, she said, “and it achieves this in a movie that looks as good as any Hollywood film”.

    • A Fraction of the GOP Tax Cut Could End US’s Water Affordability Crisis

      As a lead organizer with the Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, a nonprofit focused on housing in New Orleans, Yasin Frank Southall hears about families having their tap water shut off by the local water utility on a daily basis.

      “The cost of housing has skyrocketed with the cost of water, and you need both to live, so when they collide and become more expensive, people have to choose between one and the other,” Southall told Truthout.

      New Orleans is not alone. Despite a low unemployment rate and the rosy picture some politicians paint about the economy, the US is facing a water affordability crisis, according to a new study by the watchdog group Food and Water Watch. The problem is particularly widespread in Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma and other Southern states, as well as in cities with large populations of low-income people of color.

      After requesting shutoff data from public utilities in cities across the country (private providers refused to share their data), researchers found that the average water utility shut off water service for 1 in 20 households due to unpaid bills in 2016. In 15 cities, shutoff rates reached 10 percent, which means that one in 10 households lost access to tap water for at least part of 2016.

    • Meet the Health Care Industry’s Favorite Democrats

      The private health care industry is hard at work currying favor with key Democrats, especially in the House of Representatives. And with good reason: Its members are increasingly embracing single-payer health care, or Medicare for All.

      This system of health care would cover all Americans using a government-financed, centralized insurance system. It would be more cost-efficient, universal and simple. But it is not good for the for-profit health industry, especially insurance companies, who would face near-extinction under some Medicare proposals.

      This had not been a serious threat to the industry for decades. For years, Democrats largely stayed away from Medicare for All. At the peak of Democratic Party control of the House in 2009, there were 255 Democrats in the House, 87 of whom co-sponsored single-payer (H.R.676) legislation. After Democrats lost in the 2010 midterms, only 77 of the remaining members supported single-payer. The number hit a low of 62 sponsors in the 114th Congress.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Synagogue Shooter Shares His HIAS Obsession With Far-Right Media

      As the facts of the fatal antisemitic attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue unfold, one of shooter Robert Bowers’ motives has come to the forefront: his obsession with his target’s association with HIAS, formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

      Originally founded in the late 1800s to assist Jewish refugees, HIAS today works to resettle refugees of many backgrounds, operating with offices around the globe. Bowers may have acted alone on his fear that the group was helping an “invasion” of non-white newcomers to the United States, but the rhetoric around HIAS that motivated his butchery comes straight from the pages of Breitbart, the Pravda of the alt-right.

      [...]

      HIAS’s ample finances are a recurring theme in Breitbart’s coverage, as if it’s a scandal that an international advocacy group would engage in fundraising to support its operations. Another story, “Soros-Funded Group Schemes to Stop Trump’s Latest Temporary Visa Ban” (3/28/17), ties HIAS to immigrant rights groups funded by George Soros, the Jewish philanthropist, who has become a sort of a bogeyman for the far right, portrayed as a lone Jewish financier whose largesse is responsible for left-wing challenges to traditional power.

      Another constant drumbeat in Breitbart headlines and coverage is that HIAS was also enriched by the liberal Obama administration, as in, “Anti-Trump ‘Jewish Rally for Refugees’ Organizer Funded by Obama Government to Resettle Refugees” (2/13/17). (The force of this critique is somewhat weakened by the fact that HIAS’s founding dates back more than a century.) In a particularly smarmy piece, Breitbart (3/2/18) mocked agencies like HIAS for “whining” that refugee resettlement declined in the first months of the Trump administration. Clearly, the editorial agenda of the website was to tighten borders, and it got what it wanted, but it needed to land another f-u on its political foes in the process.

      [...]

      This is compounded with Breitbart’s and other alt-right outlets’ obsession with Soros, tying the pieces together in an ideologically digestible conspiracy: a foreign Jewish man uses his foreign Jewish money to help other foreign Jews bring in more foreigners, against the will of “regular” Americans.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador throws out Assange lawsuit

      Ecuador on Monday threw out the lawsuit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange filed charging that Quito violated his “fundamental rights” and limited his access to the outside world while in asylum at its London embassy. Magistrate Karen Martinez ruled that the suit could not move forward, as filed by WikiLeaks’ attorney.

    • Ecuadorian Embassy’s Rules for Assange Designed to Flush Him Out for US DOJ

      A judge in Ecuador found Monday that the rights of journalist Julian Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than six years, are not being violated by the embassy requiring a certain code of conduct of him. An activist told Sputnik the ruling is part of an effort to force Assange out so the US can arrest him.

      Assange sued in an Ecuadorian court earlier this month, saying that increasing restrictions on his conduct, such as requirements that he clean up after his cat and that he pay for internet access, constitute violations of his “fundamental rights and freedoms” as an asylum seeker, Sputnik reported. He testified to the court in Ecuador’s capital of Quito via Skype that the restrictions make it harder for him to receive guests and to receive medical attention.

    • Ecuadorian Embassy tires of Julian Assange’s kickabouts and skateboarding

      Hinting to a guest that they’ve outstayed their welcome is always tough, so spare a thought for staff at the Ecuadorian embassy who have to put up with Julian Assange skateboarding and playing football in their London flat.

      [...]

      The 32 rules include paying his own medical and phone bills and cleaning up after his cat. The court was also told that staff had complained about Mr Assange skateboarding, playing football and “behaving aggressively with security personnel”.

    • Judge rejects Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s push back against stricter rules in Ecuadorian embassy hideaway

      A judge has ruled against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, rejecting his request to loosen new requirements that he says are meant to push him into leaving his asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      Judge Karina Martinez decided that stricter rules recently imposed by the South American nation’s embassy – such as requiring Assange to pay for his internet and clean up after his cat – do not violate his asylum rights because authorities have the right to decide what is allowed inside the building.

      Ecuadorian officials praised the ruling in the latest row between the Australian hacker and the government which has provided him with refuge for six years.

      Relations between Assange and Ecuador have grown increasingly prickly as the years have dragged on with no solution in sight.

    • Assange loses rights case against Ecuador

      WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has lost a case against Ecuador, in which he had accused the government of violating his fundamental rights and freedoms by imposing conditions that he would have to satisfy if he wished to have his communications with the outside world restored.
      During the hearing, Assange had claimed that Ecuador was moving to end the asylum it has granted him since 2012, telling the court in Quito on Monday that the intention was to hand him over to the United States.

      He told the court that the new rules were a sign that Ecuador had decided to push him out of the London embassy where he has been taking refuge since June 2012.

    • Ecuador throws out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s mistreatment claim
    • WikiLeaks’ Assange Says Ecuador Seeking to End His Asylum
    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange loses case over embassy rules
    • Julian Assange: The house guest who overstayed his welcome?
    • Ecuador tells Julian Assange that cleaning the cat box is not “violating his fundamental rights”
    • Wikileaks Co-Founder Assange Loses Suit Against Ecuador

      The judge said a requirement to pay for Internet use and clean up after his cat did not violate his right to asylum.

      Assange had argued that the conditions violated his fundamental rights and freedoms”, and were intended to force him to leave.

      His lawyers have appealed against the ruling.

    • Protection Action: Ecuadorian Hearing

      Ecuador’s President told AP: “if Mr Assange promises to stop emitting opinions on the politics of friendly nations like Spain or the United States then we have no problem with him going online.”

      On 12 October 2018, the embassy delivered a “protocol” with explicit threats to revoke Mr. Assange’s asylum if Mr. Assange, or any of his guests, breached or were perceived to have breached, any of the 28 “rules” in the protocol. The rules provide that the embassy can seize Mr. Assange’s property or his visitors’ property and hand these to UK police, and report Mr. Assange’s visitors to UK authorities. The protocol requires the IMEI codes and serial numbers of electronic devices used inside the embassy. The private information required of visitors and Mr. Assange’s lawyers by the embassy is shared with undisclosed agencies.

      The “protocol” also forbids Assange from doing journalism and expressing his opinions, under threat of losing his asylum.

      The protocol appears in the context of a strong, supportive ruling by the Interamerican Court on Human Rights, setting out Ecuador’s obligations in relation to Mr. Assange (paras 178 onwards), which was announced amidst reports in the Sunday Times that the UK and Ecuador were reaching a “high level” agreement to breach Assange’s asylum by handing him over to UK police to be arrested.

    • WikiLeaks Assange’s lawsuit over asylum conditions denied by Ecuador

      The judge made the decision following a lengthy hearing held by teleconference. Ecuador will maintain Assange’s asylum as long as he wants to keep it, but he must follow the rules laid out for him by the government, an unnamed government official told Reuters on Monday.

      The , which were leaked earlier this month by an opposition politician, involve a list of restrictions Assange has argued violate his “fundamental rights and freedoms” as well as Ecuadorian and international law. Among them are restrictions on discussing politics and receiving visitors, and demands of Assange to pay for his own food, medical care, laundry and related expenses of living at the embassy starting December 1.

    • Is Ecuador giving up on keeping Wikileaks founder Assange at its embassy?

      Julian Assange, who has recently been rebuked by the Ecuadorian government, might have no other option than to leave the premises of the Ecuador embassy where he has been holed up for the last six years.

      [...]

      Assange has been staying at the embassy since 2012, in order to avoid a possible extradition to Sweden where he has been accused of molestation.

      Sweden later dropped its charges against him, but Britain has indicated that it will still go after Assange because he has violated his bail over the currently-dropped Swedish case.

      Along with leaking a vast amount of classified information concerning US national security, Assange has also been accused of being used by Russians as a pawn against US interests.

    • Wikileaks Co-Founder Assange Loses Suit Against Ecuador
    • Harvard Opens Up Its Massive Caselaw Access Project

      Almost exactly three years ago, we wrote about the launch of an ambitious project by Harvard Law School to scan all federal and state court cases and get them online (for free) in a machine readable format (not just PDFs!), with open APIs for anyone to use. And, earlier this week, case.law officially launched, with 6.4 million cases, some going back as far as 1658. There are still some limitations — some placed on the project by its funding partner, Ravel, which was acquired by LexisNexis last year (though, the structure of the deal will mean some of these restrictions will likely decrease over time).

      Also, the focus right now is really on providing this setup as a tool for others to build on, rather than as a straight up interface for anyone to use. As it stands, you can either access data via the site’s API, or by doing bulk downloads. Of course, the bulk downloads are, unfortunately, part of what’s limited by the Ravel/LexisNexis data. Bulk downloads are available for cases in Illinois and Arkansas, but that’s only because both of those states already make cases available online. Still, even with the Ravel/LexisNexis limitation, individual users can download up to 500 cases per day.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 60 percent of animals massacred by humanity, study says

      Humanity has wiped out 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilization.

      The new estimate of the massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by WWF and involving 59 scientists from across the globe, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.

      According to the “Living Planet” report, the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life, billions of years in the making, upon which human society ultimately depends for clean air, water and everything else.

      “We are sleepwalking toward the edge of a cliff,” said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF.

      “If there was a 60-percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done,” Barrett explained.

    • The Climate Crisis is Back in the News

      The prospect of drastic climate change is back in the news. But, for all too many people it is just that, a news item. It is like other eye-grabbing stories: a bit scary, but also happening somewhere else and at some other time. Of course, if you happen to be at that other place or approximate to that time (the latest examples would be the Florida Panhandle in mid-October and Mexico’s southwestern coast in late October), things get more immediate, more real. But otherwise it is theory. Examine your own sense of urgency as you read on.

      Back in 2015, when most of the world’s nations were debating a treaty on climate change in Paris, this time-and-place factor played a part in the negotiations. Specifically, it played into defining how to best read the “doomsday thermometer.” According to climatologists, a relatively small upward shift in the world’s average temperature—caused largely by a steady increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2)—over the next few decades could play havoc with civilization worldwide. But, how much of a shift?

      Industrialized societies whose standard of living would take a politically rattling hit from any sizable cut in CO2 wanted to set the target for allowable temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. They thought that sufficient to their time and place. However, this was considered a starkly insufficient goal by those who live in the Maldives, Seychelles, Micronesia, Bangladesh, Marshall Islands, and other such countries. It would also of course be bad news for any number of other low-lying coastal areas (think lower Manhattan). The representatives of these nations insisted on 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. It was believed that that half a degree difference could significantly ameliorate the rise of ocean levels that would inundate much of the island nations of the Pacific. The Paris treaty compromise was more one of rhetoric than of substance. The treaty signatories would seek to hold warming to 2 degrees while “pursuing efforts” to keep within the 1.5 degree limit.

    • How the precariat – and UBI – can stop neoliberalism from destroying the planet

      Historically, every progressive surge has been propelled by the demands of the emerging mass class. Today’s progressive transformation must, therefore, be oriented to the precariat, driven by a strategy that appeals to enough of all its factions to garner adequate strength.

      Unlike the proletariat, which sought labor security, the progressives among the precariat want a future based on existential security, with a high priority placed on ecology – environmental protection, the “landscape,” and the commons. By contrast, when confronted by a policy choice between environmental degradation and “jobs,” the proletariat, labor unions, and their political representatives have given “jobs” priority.

      The precariat is a transformative class partly because, as it is not habituated to stable labor, it is less likely than the proletariat to suffer from false consciousness, a belief that the answer to insecurity is more labor, more jobs. In the twentieth century, mainstream commentators believed that putting more people into jobs and for longer was a progressive strategy—that doing so offered people the best route out of poverty. It was a trap into which many on the left fell.

  • Finance

    • Now There Are Plans for ‘e-Krona’ in Cash-Shy Sweden

      Sweden may “in a few years’ time be in a position where cash is no longer generally accepted by households and retailers,” according to the report.

    • Hospitals keep ER fees secret. We’re uncovering them.

      Facility fees can be big: Reporter Sarah Kliff has seen charges that range from $533 to more than $3,000. But because these fees are kept secret until you receive your bill, we can’t know how high they get — or how much they vary.

    • Here’s why not everyone in fishing is excited about Brexit

      I’m from Cornwall, a county where over 56 per cent of voters in the 2016 referendum opted to leave the European Union. When I’ve asked people why, one of their top reasons is fishing – taking back control of our waters and becoming free of the unfair rules set by bureaucrats in Brussels.

      The pro Leave fishing community has been very visible in the Brexit debate. The dominant narrative says that Brexit presents a “sea of opportunity” for the fishing industry and hope for struggling coastal communities. A poll conducted by the University of Aberdeen just before the referendum found that over 90% of fishers were planning to vote Leave.

      But not everyone in fishing thinks the same. There is an alternative perspective about who is to blame for the difficulties faced by small scale fishers in the under 10 metre fleet, also known as the small scale fleet. In this version, corporate power and some of the UK’s richest individuals have a bigger role to play, as does the neglect of successive UK governments.

    • As Minnesota City Rushes To Approve Amazon Warehouse, Residents Rally Opposition

      Brooklyn Park in Minnesota is set to be one of the newest locations of an Amazon Fulfillment Center. But the proposed four-story, 2.6 million square foot warehouse has incited anger and concern from city residents and neighbors over how the center will transform the environment and atmosphere of the community.

      Across the United States, Amazon warehouses (what the company labels ‘fulfillment centers’) have steadily popped up in rural and suburban areas as the company has grown into the online retail commerce giant it is today. According to data compiled by the supply chain consulting firm MWPVL International, Amazon currently operates at least 128 fulfillment centers in the United States, with 43 new warehouses in development.

      The city of Brooklyn Park consists of around 80,000 people located just 15 minutes upstream from Minneapolis on the Mississippi River. The Brooklyn Park City Planning Commission voted against the proposed warehouse, dubbed Project Hotdish by its developer, Scannell Properties in September 2018, just a few weeks after the project plan was first unveiled.

      At the vote, 31 residents gave testimony over concerns they had with the project. The city council will have final say on whether the project moves forward with a vote planned for November 26. Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeffrey Lunder noted City Council members aren’t legally permitted to reveal their stances on the proposal prior to the vote.

      At the moment, the proposed site is an empty field currently used to harvest pumpkins and a corn maze.

    • Chicago Alderman Proposes Reining in Ticket Penalties That Drove Thousands of Black Motorists Into Debt

      A Chicago alderman has proposed a sweeping overhaul of the way the city punishes drivers who can’t afford to pay tickets, calling for an end to late penalties that double the underlying fines and contribute to thousands of bankruptcies filed here each year.

      The proposed changes would give motorists more time to pay tickets, allow some to perform community service in place of some fines and penalties, and make it easier to get on city payment plans.

      “Our intent shouldn’t be to bankrupt a family that’s trying to live within the city of Chicago,” Alderman Gilbert Villegas, of the Northwest Side’s 36th Ward, said in an interview after filing the legislation in the Chicago City Council on Wednesday. “There has to be a common sense approach and compassion. I mean, this is some people’s modes of transportation for the family, for work, groceries, taking kids to school.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A Blitzkrieg Strategy Of Lies and Distractions

      Trump counts on reporters to chase his lies and distractions like dogs chase balls. Too often, they meet his expectations

      [...]

      It’s a numbers game. The more he can get his key terms and images repeated in the media — even as “fact checks” — the more he wins. That’s just how our brains work. The more we hear about something, the more it sticks. Even if it’s not true. When I say “don’t think of an elephant,” it forces you to think of an elephant. Repeating lies, even to debunk them, helps spread and strengthen them. The scientific evidence is clear.

    • Facebook has started banning accounts affiliated with far-right group the Proud Boys

      The removals come in response to an act of violence in New York City earlier this month, in which members of the Proud Boys assaulted anti-fascist protestors outside a Republican club in Manhattan where Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, also an original co-founder of Vice Media, was speaking. Facebook confirmed to The Verge that it was banning Proud Boys members and affiliated groups and pages from both its main social network and from Instagram. McInnes’ personal page is still active, but a number of high-profile groups, pages, and accounts have begun to disappear today.

    • Facebook is banning far-right militia Proud Boys after a violent attack in New York

      Facebook is banning accounts and pages associated with the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group whose members assaulted protesters in New York City earlier in October.

    • Facebook Sketches a Future With a Diminished News Feed
    • Rudy Giuliani’s Mystery Trips to Russia, Armenia and Ukraine — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      Rudy Giuliani has had many identities in his time on the public stage. A crusading federal prosecutor who struck terror in mobsters and Wall Street titans alike. A sometimes-cantankerous New York City mayor who became a national hero for his stirring leadership after the 9/11 attacks. And, currently, President Donald Trump’s unpaid attorney in the Russia collusion investigation being led by Robert Mueller.

      In this week’s episode of “Trump, Inc.,” we’re digging into a part of Giuliani’s work that has occurred largely outside of the spotlight: He has often traveled to Russia or other former Soviet states as guests of powerful players there. And since Trump was elected, he appears to have stepped up the frequency of those trips.

      Just last week, for example, Giuliani appeared in the former Soviet republic of Armenia, which has close trade ties with Russia. He was invited, according to local press accounts, by Ara Abramyan, an Armenian businessman who lives in Russia. Abramyan once helped reconstruct the Kremlin and also received a medal for “merit to the fatherland” from President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Giuliani said he was in Armenia as a private citizen, but on a local TV news show, Abramyan implied that he expected Giuliani to carry a message for him to Trump. (The conversation was in Armenian, so it’s not clear whether Giuliani understood what Abramyan was saying.)

    • Blaming ‘Both Sides’ for Hate Plays Into Hands of Right-Wing Media

      Media coverage of tragedies like shootings and bombings is frequently politicized, particularly when jihadism is a factor in perpetrators’ motives. In its coverage of the recent outbreak of conspiracy-fueled far-right wing terrorism, however, many media outlets have rushed to depoliticize such acts, absolving those that stoke the flames of far-right extremism in favor of castigating “both sides” of the political divide.

      A mass shooting by an antisemitic conspiracy theorist on Saturday at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, October 27, left 11 dead. Last Wednesday, October 24, a man in Kentucky shot and killed two elderly African-Americans in an apparent hate crime, after attempting to break into a black church. Beginning last Monday, October 22, a Florida man mailed pipe-bombs to 13 targets around the country, all frequent targets of Trump attacks, including former president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, senators Kamala Harris and Corey Booker, billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer, and the CNN offices in New York.

      The common thread in all of these tragedies is that their perpetrators were all influenced in one way or another by racist conspiracy theories that have been stoked by the likes of Fox News, Breitbart and other far-right media and internet sources, along with the continued racist and conspiratorial rhetoric of President Trump and other Republican politicians.

    • The Foxconn Wisconsin Deal Has Devolved Into A Pile Of Shifting Promises, Buzzwords, And Hype

      Last year, you’ll recall that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed what at the time was treated as a revolutionary deal: the state promised Taiwan-based Foxconn a $3 billion state subsidy if the company invested $10 billion in a Wisconsin plant that created 13,000 jobs. Walker hoped that the deal would finally help cement job growth that he had promised his supporters for years, and the press was quick to hype the plan without really giving it too much thought. Quietly, Wisconsin’s non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau was busy pointing out that it would take until 2043 for taxpayers to recoup the subsidy, though that obviously took second fiddle to the hype of bringing American jobs back from overseas to focus on cool new tech.

    • Voters complain of intimidation at Dallas, Mesquite polling places

      Conservatives have built a divisive wall — one made of political placards at the Lakeside Activity Center in Mesquite.

      And at the Lochwood Branch Library in Dallas, Democrats and Republicans are waging war over patches of grass.

      As Dallas County early voting turnout in the 2018 midterms surpasses that of the 2016 presidential election, the two polling places have taken on a circus-like atmosphere.

    • ‘President Hate, Not Welcome in Our State’: Thousands Counter Trump With March for Love and Solidarity in Pittsburgh

      As President Donald Trump arrived in Pittsburgh on Tuesday amid opposition from local officials and activists who argued the man responsible for stirring so much racist hatred should not visit the site of a deadly mass shooting motivated by anti-Semitism, thousands of peaceful demonstrators flooded the streets near the Tree of Life synagogue to condemn Trump’s embrace of white nationalism and demand that he end his assault on immigrants, refugees, and other minority communities.

    • The Pittsburgh Shooting Was an Attack on a Minority, not a Sign of ‘Anti-Religiosity’

      The Trump administration sought to reframe the anti-Semitic tragedy in Pittsburgh to bolster the administration’s policy goals.
      This past weekend’s mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh was unspeakable, but unfortunately not unimaginable. Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States by some counts increased by 57 percent last year, the largest surge in nearly four decades of tracking. The FBI’s most recent reports show that the number of overall hate crimes increased for a second straight year — the first time that has happened in a decade. During this period, hate crimes targeting Muslims doubled.

      Yet, when asked for comment, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway sought to reframe the anti-Semitic tragedy to bolster the administration’s policy goals, claiming that the attack, along with one in a South Carolina church three years earlier, could be attributed to a broader pattern of “anti-religiosity in this country.”

    • Trump’s Love Affair With Violence in the Age of Fascist Nihilism

      Fascism first begins with linguistic violence and then gains momentum as an organizing force for shaping a culture that legitimates indiscriminate violence against entire groups — Black people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims and others considered “disposable.” In this vein, Trump portrays his critics as “villains” and “enemies,” describes immigrants as “losers” and “criminals,” and has become a national mouthpiece for violent nationalists and a myriad of extremists who trade in hate and violence. Using a rhetoric of hate as a performance strategy to whip up his base, Trump employs endless rhetorical tropes of hate and demonization that set the tone for real violence.

      Trump appears utterly unconcerned by the accusation that his highly charged rhetoric of racial hatred, xenophobia and virulent nationalism both legitimates and fuels acts of violence. He proceeds without concern about the consequences of lending his voice to conspiracy theorists claiming that George Soros is funding the caravan of migrant workers, calling Maxine Waters a “low IQ person,” or referring to former CIA director John Brennan as a “total lowlife” and a “very bad guy.” Meanwhile, this inflammatory invective promotes violence from the numerous fascist groups that support him.

    • John Oliver Exposes The Sketchiness Of Political Grandstanding State Attorneys General

      Oliver’s piece focuses on state AGs (of both parties) filing partisan lawsuits against the federal government (of the opposing party). But the real “scandal” is in how various corporations have recognized the power of state AGs to effectively create policy (mainly by causing trouble for competitors). We’ve discussed this aspect multiple times in the past, mainly around Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood going after Google at the request of the MPAA. And, of course, it wasn’t just “at their behest,” it was literally Hood more or less rubber stamping a demand letter written by the MPAA’s lawyers and sending it on as his own. The emails from the Sony hack revealed that the plan was literally to have the MPAA lawyers do all the investigative work and prepare many of the documents, and hand them off to “friendly” state AGs to shake down and threaten companies such as Google.

    • Missouri Counties Face Uphill Climb to Prepare for High-Stakes Midterm

      Missouri is rushing to retrain thousands of poll workers just days ahead of the midterm election because of a new court ruling that forced changes to the state’s voter ID law.

      The law, enacted in June 2017, said that voters could provide a non-photo ID at the polls, such as a utility bill or voter registration card, and sign an affidavit in order to vote. But on Oct. 23, just two weeks before Election Day, a decision by Missouri Circuit Judge Richard Callahan prohibited local election authorities from requiring voters to sign an affidavit, effectively making a non-photo ID adequate for voting on a regular ballot.

      Now, election offices statewide are scrambling to retrain poll workers in the new procedures, and officials expressed uncertainty about whether poll workers will grasp the legal changes.

    • 15M’s social and political effects in Spain

      It has been almost a decade since, following a large demonstration organized by the Youth Without a Future collective (Juventud Sin Futuro), on May 15, 2011, a small group of people decided to camp at the Puerta del Sol in Madrid.

      The lack of political alternatives to the impending municipal elections, which would sweep the Popular Party (Partido Popular) to power; the first major social cuts initiated by Zapatero’s socialist government and the devastating effects of an economic crisis that had lasted for 4 years and which painted a grim prospect; were the fundamental reasons for the articulation of a series of mobilizations that would change the Spanish political and social panorama. The facts are well known: almost a month of camping, demonstrations in more than 60 Spanish cities, more than a million people in the streets, more than 500 assemblies around the world and a series of parallel and sister mobilizations, such as the different occupy movements. Traditional policy did not fulfil the aspirations, needs and demands of an important part of the general public and thus 15M was born, internationally known as the Indignados Movement (anti-austerity movement).

    • As Voter Registration Soars, So Does Voter Suppression

      Highly charged midterm elections are just around the corner, and experts are predicting record-highmidterm voter turnout. But millions of U.S. citizens are being systematically inhibited — either blatantly or covertly — from casting votes this November.

      Voter suppression is real, and it’s very likely happening in your state. Your fellow Americans — and maybe you — are being denied the most fundamental right citizens of a democratic republic have: the right to elect those who govern. If that doesn’t have you up in arms, it should.

      One state with a particularly expansive history of voter suppression is Florida, where one out of five African-American adults can’t vote due to disenfranchisement.

      This November, Floridians will vote on whether to restore the right to vote to 1.5 million people affected by permanent felony disenfranchisement. Doing so would send a powerful message to the rest of the country, as Florida accounts for nearly half of the U.S.’s permanently disenfranchised population.

      Meanwhile, a different mechanism of voter suppression threatens the legitimacy of the governor’s race in Georgia, where candidate for governor — and current secretary of state — Brian Kemp is reportedly behind the stalling of 53,000 voter applications. Among those, 70 percent belong to black voters.

      Kemp is being sued by civil rights lawyers for allegedly violating voter protection laws with his “exact match” voter verification method, an excessively strict voter ID requirement that seems to disproportionately disqualify nonwhite voters. And while Kemp claims to be “protecting the integrity of elections,” he’s heard in leaked audio from one of his recent campaign events — obtained by Rolling Stone — fretting that Georgians “exercising their right to vote” could hurt his campaign.

    • Civil rights and voter suppression in the US

      On 27 September 2018, Crystal Mason waved farewell to her three children and surrendered to authorities in Fort Worth, Texas. She entered a federal prison, where she would begin a five-year sentence. Her crime? Attempting to vote in the 2016 US presidential election.

      Mason is one of two people –­ both women of colour – convicted of voting illegally in the city of Fort Worth within the past year. Her case has become a symbol of escalating voter suppression efforts enacted by local and state governments since 2013. Mason’s lawyer, Alison Grinter, emphasized that her client’s case was not unique: “Make no mistake: this is a clarion call to our over-policed and over-prosecuted communities of colour. You are not welcome in the voting booth, and any step out of line will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

    • Financial Press Cheers Election of Fascist in Brazil

      Brazil’s controversial elections pitted far-right Jair Bolsonaro against the center-left Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad. But it was clear which candidate international markets—and therefore the financial press—wanted.

      Bolsonaro was elected with 55.5 percent of the vote in an election that saw former leftist President Lula da Silva, by far the most popular candidate, jailed and barred from running on highly questionable charges. Bolsonaro was an army officer during Brazil’s fascist military dictatorship (1964–85), which he defends, maintaining that its only error was not killing enough people.

    • Last-Minute Tips for Figuring Out Your Ballot and Making Sure You Can Vote

      You might be surprised on Election Day when you see just how much is on your ballot. In addition to federal candidates for the House and Senate, some states have local judicial elections, municipal races, lengthy ballot measures and more. (Some ballots in Florida counties run up to five pages long, double-sided!) Here’s how to get a game plan ready for when you enter the voting booth.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Blasphemy bans are struck out in Ireland and reinforced in Austria

      A couple of days earlier, however, Austria’s remarkably restrictive blasphemy law was reinforced by a verdict from the ECHR. It upheld the 2011 conviction of an Austrian woman who had been fined €480 ($546) because, in a seminar on Islam, she had drawn attention to the marriage of the Prophet Muhammad to the six-year-old Aisha and said that such a thing would be regarded by today’s standards as child molestation.

    • The ECtHR has not created a European blasphemy law but it has produced a lamentable judgment

      By endorsing what is in all but name an Austrian blasphemy law, at a time when such laws have been repealed in most European countries – the Irish one is being swept away by a referendum currently being counted – the Court has given encouragement to religious intolerance, undermined moderates and handed a useful argument to Islamists. “You complain about our blasphemy laws,” say the bloodthirsty bigots in Pakistan, “but even your own top human rights court says blasphemy laws are necessary in a democratic society. Clearly we’re right and you’re wrong.”

    • Khashoggi affair: We call on Saudi Arabia to end its violence against journalists

      We call on you to immediately and unconditionally release the 28 journalists and bloggers held for exercising their right to freedom of information and opinion, including Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, Alaa Brinji, who was sentenced to seven years in prison, and Iman al Nafjan, a female blogger. It is time to end the despicable practices that make you imprison journalists on absurd grounds.

    • While the world focuses on Khashoggi, dozens of journalists and activists in Saudi Arabia are still behind bars

      But while global attention is focused on Khashoggi’s fate, there are dozens of other dissidents, bloggers, and activists languishing behind bars in Saudi Arabia whose plights have been largely forgotten — and some whose whereabouts are unknown.

    • Steam, Proud Adopters Of Hands Off Games Policy, Very Hands On When Banning All Of TorrentFreak

      The calls for internet platforms to actively censor content one group or another doesn’t like has slowly risen to a cacaphony as of late. Even the most well-meaning arguments calling for internet platforms to be more heavy-handed in moderating the sources of content are invariably stupid, showing little understanding of just how hard it is to do this without creating all kinds of collateral damage, how hard it is to properly define for a large subset of humanity what sources are acceptable and what sources aren’t, and a near complete misunderstanding of just how much human error goes into this overall. We have helpfully cited several exmaples of platforms sticking their feet in crap as they try to attempt this.

      But the case studies in how badly this always goes keep rolling in. You may recall that we recently discussed how Comcast’s protected browsing options managed to disallow access to TorrentFreak, a news site. Well, Comcast doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being hands-off when it comes to managing its network. Unlike, say, Valve’s Steam platform, which just made a bunch of news with a new games policy championing its hands-off approach. How Steam handles links shared on its platform are obviously in a different timezone compared with the games its allows, but it’s still a bit odd to see that Steam is apparently very much hands on when it comes to blocking TorrentFreak as well

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • UK sets up yet another costly spy agency

      The UK Min­istry of Defence announced on 21 Septem­ber the estab­lish­ment of yet anoth­er Brit­ish spy agency, an amal­gam of mil­it­ary and secur­ity ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als designed to wage cyber war against ter­ror­ists, Rus­sia and organ­ised crime. The new agency will have upwards of 2000 staff (the size MI5 was when I worked there in the 1990s, so not incon­sid­er­able). I have been asked for a num­ber of inter­views about this and here are my thoughts in long form.

    • Criptext Is A New Encrypted Email Service That Doesn’t Store Your Emails

      Criptext is a fairly new encrypted email service that claims it “doesn’t store any emails in its servers” and instead, “all your emails are stored on your device alone”. The service uses the open source Signal Protocol to encrypt emails from end to end.

      Started in 2014 as an encryption solution for Gmail, Criptext email was launched as a beta service back in August, 2018, and it has a rather interesting origin story, which you can read here if you’re interested.

    • E-evidence – cross-border access to electronic evidence

      To make it easier and faster for law enforcement and judicial authorities to obtain the electronic evidence they need to investigate and eventually prosecute criminals and terrorists, the Commission proposed on 17 April 2018 new rules in the form of a Regulation and a Directive, which will: [...]

    • European Commission rolls out its proposal for a so-called eEvidence law

      Tech companies around the globe will be forced to hand over data to European authorities under the European Union version of the U.S. Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, unveiled April 17.

      After many months of discussion and a public consultation, the European Commission presented its proposal for a “Regulation on cross-border access to and preservation of electronic data held by service providers,” along with a law requiring all service providers to appoint a legal representative within the EU.

      The law would give European police the power to force companies to turn over emails, text messages, photos, videos, etcetera, within 10 days — or as little as six hours when there is “imminent threat to life or physical integrity of a person or to a critical infrastructure” — for investigation of crimes carrying a minimum jail sentence of three years.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Asia Bibi: Pakistan acquits Christian woman on death row

      Chief Justice Saqib Nisarm, who read out the ruling, said Asia Bibi could walk free from jail in Sheikupura, near Lahore, immediately if not wanted in connection with any other case.

    • Why are Pakistan’s Christians targeted?

      But accusations of blasphemy have also often led to mob violence against Christians, while militant Islamists have also targeted the community.

    • No Mr. President, You Can’t Change the Constitution by Executive Order

      The 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is one of the bedrocks of America.
      President Trump said this week that he is preparing an executive order to try to take away the citizenship guarantee in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says that people born in the United States are United States citizens. On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham announced that he would introduce legislation with the same aim.

      But the president cannot repeal part of the Constitution by executive order. And Congress cannot repeal it by simply passing a new bill. Amending the Constitution would require a two-thirds vote in both House and Senate, and also ratification by three-quarters of the states. The effort to erase the citizenship guarantee will never clear those hurdles — for very good reasons.

      Birthright citizenship is one of the bedrocks of this country. More than 150 years ago, the 14th Amendment guaranteed to all those born within the United States citizenship, without regard to parentage, skin color or ethnicity. And the Supreme Court ruled, more than 100 years ago, that the citizenship guarantee applies fully to U.S.-born children whose parents have no right to citizenship.

    • Meet Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Trump

      Two years before Donald Trump rode the Tea Party wave into the White House, Larry Hogan captured the Maryland governor’s mansion with the help of this same energy.

      As the Tea Party was gaining strength – born of a distrust of government and media, and white backlash against the first black president – so was Change Maryland, the group Hogan created three years before his improbable 2014 run for governor. Change Maryland is “almost a Tea Party movement in [a] state that really doesn’t seem to be Tea Party friendly,” political scientist Todd Eberly said in 2011. They’re “tapping into the same force.”

    • Memphis Police Department Body Cam Program Being Undercut By Its Body Cam Policies

      The Memphis PD is facing quite a bit of scrutiny right now. In addition to just having lost a lawsuit over unconstitutional surveillance of protesters and activists, and being told to stop creating fake Facebook accounts (by Facebook itself), it’s dealing with the heat of a recent shooting of a Memphis resident by police officers — one that left the victim in critical condition. Body cameras were available but not in use by all officers on the scene. In addition, it appears at least two officers deliberately deactivated their cameras during the pursuit of the suspect, Martavious Banks.

      [...]

      It can be both. There can be a small subset of officers who’ve been caught violating policies or covering up misconduct and larger overall compliance by the rest of the MPD’s staff. But assuming the ones who have been caught violating policy are the only ones violating policy is a mistake.

      Even if it’s exactly what it looks like, the MPD’s refusal to release footage until forced to doesn’t allow anyone outside the department to double-check this math. Director Rallings says the policy on withholding footage relevant to ongoing investigations will remain in place. This will continue to ensure no footage is released when it is of greatest public interest, as internal investigations can be extended to fit the timeframe needed for outrage to die down.

    • Morton County Sheriff, TigerSwan Face Lawsuit For Blocking Water Protectors’ Travel And Assembly During DAPL Construction

      A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock and others, who resided in the area when police shut down Highway 1806 during protests against the Dakota Access pipeline’s construction.

      On October 24, 2016, Highway 1806 from Fort Rice to Fort Yates was closed. A concrete and concertina wire barricade blocked travel from October 28 to March.

      The lawsuit [PDF] argues the sheriff of Morton County and other local authorities, as well as the private security firm, TigerSwan, were involved in acts that infringed upon the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights of water protectors.

      The right of water protectors to “interstate and intrastate travel” was allegedly violated, and as a result, individuals were “substantially burdened” in “seeking medical care, in purchasing supplies (and in other ways engaging in commerce), in meeting, speaking and being interviewed by media, in gathering and reporting the news, and in in visiting family members.”

      It further contends the “travel limitations” stopped plaintiffs from being able to assemble, speak, and pray in the area that was in question—a “nearly nine-mile stretch of a public road abutting numerous sacred and ceremonial sites, as well as protions of the public road near the pipeline’s parth.” Journalists were “unnecessarily burdened” as the closure obstructed press access to camps and to the Standing Rock reservation.

      The lawsuit seeks to have a class of individuals, which could be as many as 10,000 people, certified so they can challenge how their constitutional rights were allegedly violated.

    • Experts Explore the Consequences of Bad Science on the Justice System

      A panel co-hosted by ProPublica, The New York Times Magazine, Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and Harvard Law’s Criminal Justice Policy Program looked at the use of unreliable forensic science practices and models for reform.

      This year, ProPublica senior reporter Pamela Colloff, also a writer-at-large for The New York Times Magazine, has been investigating the case of Joe Bryan, a former high school principal in Clifton, Texas. Bryan has been in prison for 32 years over the murder of his wife, Mickey, a crime he says he didn’t commit. Colloff found that Bryan’s conviction rested largely on the testimony of a local police officer who took the stand as an expert in bloodstain-pattern analysis, even though he had only taken a 40-hour class in the technique.

      Colloff’s reporting focused on the questionable use of blood-spatter analysis in the nation’s courtrooms, but it raised broader concerns about other forensic disciplines (including the analysis of hair, bite marks and tire impressions; dog-scent examinations; and handwriting analysis), how they’re being used in the justice system and the devastating consequences they can have for the wrongfully convicted.

    • Foreign Policy in Brazil: a sharp turn to the right

      The scale of the former army captain’s victory caught most pollsters off-guard. He won 55 percent of the popular vote compared to just 45 percent registered by Fernando Haddad, of the Workers’ Party. Bolsonaro’s little known Social Liberal Party, PSL, ballooned to 52 members in Congress while the Workers’ Party managed to hold on to 54 Congressional seats. The election transformed Brazil’s political landscape: several of the traditional parties that have dominated successive governments for the past three decades suffered catastrophic losses.

      With that, Brazil is taking a hard turn to the right after almost a decade and a half of leftist government. Not surprisingly, the focus of the country’s most bitterly contested presidential campaign in history was on domestic priorities. The Bolsonaro team’s scorched earth tactics made global headlines.

      He has said that his political foes should flee overseas or go to jail, that Brazil’s landless workers movement were “terrorists,” and that he would not respect an outcome were he not declared the winner. Along the way, he was compared to US President Donald Trump, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Hungarian president Viktor Orban, and even Joseph Goebbels. While many commentators are concerned that Bolsonaro constitutes an existential threat to democracy, others say the risks are vastly exaggerated.

    • As Bolsonaro Threatens to Criminalize Protests, a New Resistance Movement Is Emerging in Brazil

      Brazil is continuing to reel from the election of far-right leader and President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, the former Army captain who won 55 percent of the vote Sunday, easily defeating Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ Party. As Bolsonaro prepares to take office in January, many fear Brazil’s young democracy is now at risk. Bolsonaro, who has often praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship that ended just 33 years ago, has promised to appoint many military officers to his Cabinet. We speak with Bruno Torturra, founder and editor of Studio Fluxo, an independent media outlet based in São Paulo, and James Green, professor of Brazilian history and culture at Brown University, about how the election will affect social movements, the environment and democracy across Latin America.

    • Chicago Psychiatric Hospital Is Under Fire Over Reports Alleging Abuse of Children

      Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital is under federal and state investigation over reports that detail sexual assaults and physical abuse of children, including some who were cleared for release but remained hospitalized because child welfare officials couldn’t find more appropriate homes.

    • U.S. Government-Run TV Service Actually Ran a Segment Attacking George Soros as a ‘Multimillionaire Jew’

      The source material for the segment was Judicial Watch, a right-wing oversight group that is best known for filing Freedom of Information Act requests to try to find misconduct by Democratic politicians. Judicial Watch has recently gotten into trouble over its conspiracy theories about Soros; on Sunday, Fox News blacklisted JW research director Chris Farrell after he claimed on Lou Dobbs’ show that the State Department is “Soros-occupied” and that Soros is indirectly paying the Honduran migrant caravan to travel to the U.S.

    • Seventh Circuit Appeals Court Hands Fifth ‘Good Faith’ Win To FBI’s Invalid Playpen Warrant

      It doesn’t appear the Supreme Court will have to resolve a circuit split on the FBI’s malware warrant used in its Playpen child porn investigation. The same day the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court found in favor of the FBI, the Seventh Circuit reached the same conclusion [PDF], bringing the FBI’s “good faith” total to five appellate wins versus zero losses.

      The Seventh’s reasoning echoes that of the other circuits: the warrant may have been invalid (seeing as its jurisdiction limits were immediately violated by the FBI’s malware deployment), but the FBI was correct to rely on the magistrate’s screwup.

      [...]

      The problem with these decisions is they tacitly encourage law enforcement to ask judicial permission for illegal searches because if it’s granted, it’s the magistrate’s fault, not the officers’, and evidence obtained illegally won’t be suppressed. When the FBI asked for permission to engage in extraterritorial searches, the DOJ was pushing for removal of Rule 41 jurisdiction limits. It’s impossible the agent swearing out the warrant was unaware of this fact. It was a bad faith request converted to “good faith” by the magistrate’s approval, whitewashing the FBI’s actions and making the evidence unassailable in court.

    • Mimetic power: how Russia pretends to be a normal member of the international community

      Addressing Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives in July 2012, President Vladimir Putin complained that while Russian diplomats were “well versed in the traditional and familiar methods of international relations”, there was “still much to reflect on” using “‘soft power’ methods”. “Soft power,” as Putin interpreted it, was “about promoting one’s interests and policies through persuasion and creating a positive perception of one’s country, based not just on its material achievements, but also its spiritual and intellectual heritage.”

      For Putin, the problem with using soft power methods was that it was not the Russian authorities who were forming the country’s image abroad, but foreign actors who failed to assess “the real situation” in Russia or appreciate the country’s “contribution to global civilisation, science and culture”. The fault of the Russian authorities (and particularly, as it seemed, the country’s diplomats) was that they failed “to adequately explain” Russia’s position to other nations, implying, as it is often the case, the West.

      Oddly enough, it is this very interpretation of soft power by Putin that, among other things, makes its use so problematic for Russia.

    • Court Tells Cops Playing Hunch Roulette Is No Way To Run An Investigation

      There are many routes law enforcement can take to end up in the promised land of Probable Cause. But the point of departure matters. While a routine (read: pretextual) stop can develop into a situation where a search is justified, the same can’t be said about the search at the center of this recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision. While it’s true probable cause may take time to develop, it needs to be an organic process starting with reasonable suspicion, not a series of guesses being explored until one of them pays off.

      No arrest was effected during this extended/distended process, but officers still keep appellant Fausto Lopez quasi-detained until they could find something to arrest him for. It all started with a questionable tip.

    • Employees Who Have Babies Are Still Getting the Axe

      Forty years ago, working women in the United States won the legal protection to become working mothers. On October 31, 1978, Congress enacted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, making it illegal for employers to deny a woman a job — or promotion, or higher pay, or any other opportunity — because she is pregnant.

      The statute had an immediate, dramatic impact on women’s ability to fully participate in the workforce. Although on-the-job sex discrimination had been outlawed more than a decade earlier, pregnancy wasn’t legally recognized as a type of sex discrimination. As a result, a pregnancy often resulted in a pink slip. Some employers even imposed formal policies prohibiting pregnancy outright because their female employees were expected to project a certain image — for example, flight attendants, who were expected by airlines to convey sexual availability to their businessman customers, and teachers, who were expected by school districts to project chasteness to their young pupils.

    • Birthright Citizenship Expert: This Is Not a Diversion, Trump Has Pushed Radical Plan for Years

      President Trump claimed that he can rewrite the Constitution and end birthright citizenship in the United States in an interview released Tuesday, sparking widespread outrage. Trump told the news outlet Axios that he planned to sign an executive order ending citizenship for children of noncitizens born on U.S. soil. Civil rights groups, legal experts and politicians on both sides of the aisle are blasting Trump for his comments, including the false claim that the U.S. is the only country with birthright laws. In fact, at least 30 other countries have similar laws, including Canada, Mexico and Cuba. We speak with Martha Jones, author of “Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America,” about the history of the 14th Amendment. Martha Jones is the Society of Black Alumni presidential professor and professor of history at Johns Hopkins University.

    • Teachers Promise a Show of Power at the Polls

      When teachers in Oklahoma went on strike for nine days this spring, the state’s politicians may not have realized that the movement for justice in the classroom was just beginning. Oklahoma’s teachers joined the national wave of walkouts and protests to demand better pay and more funding for public education. The teachers won pay bumps and the first tax increases passed by the state legislature in 28 years.

      Oklahoma’s teachers, like their fellow educators around the country, had spent years watching their state legislature slash taxes as schools suffered. For Alicia Priest, head of the Oklahoma Education Association, the raises they won this spring were to be celebrated. But they weren’t enough. A Republican-dominated legislature, Priest said, wouldn’t consider additional revenue sources to fully fund the teachers’ demands.

      “We got here by electing the wrong people to office,” Priest told the New York Times earlier this year. “We have the opportunity to make our voices heard at the ballot box.”

      The rest of the state seems to agree. This summer, Republican primary voters severely punished a dozen incumbent politicians that went up against the teachers during the legislative battle, ending their chances at reelection. That amount of turnover is “unprecedented,” the Tulsa World said, and could signal major changes for the state legislature.

      The wave in Oklahoma is just part of a greater movement propelling teachers and their allies towards more political power. And they’re not just pushing politicians to adopt their proposed policies — they’re becoming the politicians themselves. Nearly 1,500 current or former educators are running for state office, according to the National Education Association, and thousands more are galvanized as part of a grassroots movement pushing for drastic priority shifts in state politics.

    • San Francisco Grants Non-Citizens Voting Rights in Local Election

      Something special is happening in San Francisco’s school board race — and no, it’s not the two trans candidates on the ballot. It’s who’s allowed to cast a ballot in the first place.

      San Francisco just became the largest U.S. city to allow non-citizens to vote in local races, giving people who live, work, and raise their children in San Francisco an opportunity to weigh in on the school board without requiring citizenship.

      This is a big step, and it’s a long time coming. There’s no real reason non-citizens who are also residents of the United States shouldn’t vote, contrary to all the claims from Republicans screaming about how “illegals” are using voter fraud in vast numbers to participate in elections. Spoiler: They are not.

    • Few Belgian mosques publish their financial accounts

      Of the twenty or so Brussels mosques and religious organizations, 13 have accounts records. The others have produced none, in particular the mosques Al Moutaquine, Attadamoun and Badr de Molenbeek. In respect of the 13 “model pupils”, in many cases, they have no annual accounts on public record.

    • Former CIA Employee Accused Of Leaking To WikiLeaks Describes Inhumane Treatment In Detention

      Josh Schulte, a former CIA employee accused of leaking “Vault 7” files to WikiLeaks, claims the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York has put him in solitary confinement. He says officials will not allow him to contact his attorney or work on his defense.

      He was charged on June 18 with thirteen offenses that included allegedly violating the Espionage Act by stealing classified information from the CIA. It also included a prior charge involving child pornography.

      A handwritten letter [PDF] from Schulte to Judge Paul Crotty was publicly filed on October 29 and then removed.

      “I am writing to you because I have been unable to contact my attorney, review my discovery, or even assist on my case in any capacity for the entire month of October,” Schulte complains. “This is outrageous and clearly unconstitutional so I write to you for relief.”

      According to Schulte, who is in pretrial detention, guards called him down on October 1 for a “legal visit.” He arrived and was informed he would be put in the “box” while officials investigated him for something. They refused to provide details. He was taken in shackles to MCC’s 9-South wing.

      Requests were made to access legal work, discovery materials, or to speak with his attorney. Each were denied.

      He describes how his days consist of “nothing but attempted meditation. My fellow slaves constantly scream, pound, and claw at the cages attempting to get attention for basic needs to be fulfilled. I count myself lucky to be able to eat.”

    • Cop Sued For Bogus Arrest Of Man Who Broke Up The PD’s Distracted Driving Sting

      A cop couldn’t handle someone diverting his revenue stream. So he decided to do something about it. That “something” was getting sued for civil rights violations. How this will improve revenue generation remains to be seen, but for now one officer of the Stamford, Connecticut police department will need to lawyer up. (via Courthouse News Service)

      The plaintiff, Michael Friend, happened to notice a bunch of police officers issuing tickets to drivers for distracted driving. One officer, Richard Gasparino, was hiding behind a telephone pole on the other side of the street looking for drivers using their cellphones and relaying his suspicions to officers further down the road.

      Friend moved south of the Stamford PD sting operation and held up a handwritten sign reading “Cops Ahead.” This didn’t sit well with Officer Gasparino, who swiftly decided he’d like to be sued by Friend and his representation. He began his tour of culpability with the following hilarious assertion.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • You Can’t Mention Pirate Bay & Demonoid in Red Dead Redemption 2

        Multiplayer games like Red Dead Redemption 2 bring out the best in gamers all around the world. They also bring out the worst. That appears to be why developer Rockstar has implemented a word filter in its latest masterpiece, which censors a wide range of insulting vocabulary. Weirdly, The Pirate Bay has also made that list, along with Demonoid and several other long-dead file-sharing sites.

      • Canada Introduces Bill to Ban Piracy Settlement Notices

        A new bill introduced by the Canadian Government proposes to ban the inclusion of settlement demands in the piracy notices ISPs are required to forward to subscribers. This practice is seen as an abuse of the country’s “notice-and-notice” scheme and has been criticized by copyright experts, activists, as well as Internet providers.

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