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11.23.18

Links 23/11/2018: Qt Creator 4.8 RC and Mesa 18.3 RC4 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 12 Holiday Gifts for Your Linux Loved Ones (All Under $59)

    We rounded up 12 great gifts (all priced under $59) to make shopping for your Linux friends and loved ones a little easier this season. You may even want to hold on to some of these for yourself.

  • Desktop

    • Windows 10 October Update Reportedly Causing Issues With Windows Update Drivers, Microsoft Blames Intel For Mishap

      It’s been a while since the Windows 10 Version 1809 Update was released, but it seems like the issues associated with the update don’t cease to appear. While users faced issues such as automatic file deletion at launch, there were a number of bugs marring the release later on as well.

    • Accidentally Released Versions of Intel Display Drivers may Face Withdrawal owing to Upgrade Block in Windows 10 v1809

      Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) had to face quite a lot of issues since its re-release in November. A few features even had to be withdrawn later by Microsoft. The problems seem to be never-ending and a new show stopper has arrived. Microsoft has suddenly stopped rolling out its feature update for Windows 10 systems with certain Intel graphic chips.

    • Microsoft blocks Windows 10 October Update on more PCs after Intel driver borkage

      MICROSOFT HAS BLOCKED even more users from downloading the dreaded October 2018 Update for Windows 10.

      This time it’s the Intel Display Driver that the new code has taken objection to, in a round of incompatibility problems we’ve not seen since the bad old days of Windows Vista.

      The issue, which affects Builds 24.20.100.6344 and 24.20.100.6345 of the driver package, has been blamed on “OEMs that accidentally turned on unsupported features in Windows.”

      Well, Microsoft, thank goodness you’ve found a scapegoat.

    • Tech gadget gift guide, new Raspberry Pi, Linux on the desktop, and more news

      Stephen J. Vaughan-Nichols, writing for Computerworld, takes a fresh look at Linux’s failure as a desktop operating system. While this topic has been discussed many, many times by many, many people, Vaughan-Nichols’s provides a thorough overview of the subject. He explains how Linux is popular everywhere but the desktop, while desktop popularity remains illusive; that the diversity of Linux distributions, package formats, and desktop environments, while interesting to Linux power-users, are confusing to “regular” users; and more. Vaughan-Nichols explores the complex history of Linux on the desktop in an approachable manner. The article is well worth reading for readers of any level of familiarity with the topic.

    • System76 Announces a Line of US-Made PCs

      System76, one of the few vendors that sells Linux PCs, is launching a series of computers that the company says is “made in the US.” Although some of the elements within the system are imported, System76 says the Thelio desktop series goes beyond mere assembly and that the system is actually manufactured on American soil.

  • Server

    • “That’s the open source way!” The Red Hat Sydney Forum Keynote

      Red Hat’s driving theme for their forums this year is ‘Ideas Worth Exploring’, a much more descriptive and identifiable theme those that most vendors use for such events.

      This is fitting, as the company spent a fair amount of time explaining exactly how they can help companies leverage open source solutions to replace the expense of the current big vendors.

      Red Hat A/NZ vice president and general manager Max Mclaren took to the stage to provide some perspective on where we are and where we should be looking.

      “If we’re looking at what dominates the IT industry today, I would say the opportunity for us as customers, partners or vendors has never been so good,” McLaren says.

      “That’s because we’re the primary reason for a lot of the dynamism in organisations and the economies that we live in today. On the other hand, we are also the source of the ability to cope with, if not leverage that change.”

    • From the mag: the present, and future, of open source

      Open source: for some, the phrase doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, or calls to mind things such as Wikipedia pages that can be edited to say basically anything. According to Red Hat’s Lee Miles, general manager for Central Eastern Europe, CIS, the Middle East and Africa, that’s one reason why many businesses in the past were wary of Linux’s open source operating system.

      But times are changing, and Red Hat, which provides open-source software products to the enterprise community, is embracing that change.

      “We see an explosion of technology happening in countries that are looking to advance,” he says, pointing to Saudi Arabia and its Vision 2030 initiatives as an example. “And telcos are really at the forefront.”

    • Red Hat turns blue

      We’re contemplating life this month, not just because we’re wondering if we’re all trapped inside a giant simulation but also the fate of open source itself with the purchase of Red Hat by IBM for a huge $34 billion. The news came in just as we were going to press, so we’re still processing the ramifications, but IBM can be considered a friend of open source and Linux, so perhaps it might all work out well.
      In the next issue we’ll be diving into virtualising your world. It often feels like we’re living in a virtualised world. Containerised services and orchestrated automation have grown gloriously out of both the Linux Kernel and open source projects to rule the server world. You’ll get to grips with the all-powerful Qemu, get 3D acceleration with GPU-passthrough, discover containers and we take an in-depth look at Flatpak.

    • IBM’s Red Hat acquisition could be “disastrous”, says Puppet exec

      Nigel Kersten says claims that the deal is a cloud play are “ridiculous”
      IBM shocked the tech industry earlier this year when it snapped up open source stalwart Red Hat in a $34 billion mega-deal.

      The acquisition marks the biggest software merger in history, and the general assumption is that IBM is intending to leverage Red Hat’s experience in the cloud computing market to bolster its own efforts in this area as it seeks to pivot from old-school on-premise infrastructure to newer revenue streams.

      Not everyone agrees with this, however. Nigel Kersten is vice-president of ecosystem engineering at open source firm Puppet, and previously served as CIO, CTO and chief technical strategist. According to him, the idea that IBM is buying Red Hat for its cloud credentials is laughable.

    • IBM to increase focus on Cloud Migration Services

      IBM is focusing to keep it easier for customers to move to multi-cloud environments by adding automation tools to its cloud services. And, the tech-giant is enlarging its relationship with cloud migration specialists ServiceNow. Both the moves are taken to help customer simplify some hard tasks includes moving new and legacy applications to multi-cloud environments on IBM’s own cloud service or others such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Red Hat.

      To magnify its new services, IBM last month said it would buy open-source software pioneer Red Hat for nearly $34 billion stock acquisition. On the other hand, the deal would be bought enormous opportunities for IBM making it a large open source and enterprise software player worldwide. This will help the company make its mark into the lucrative hybrid-cloud party targeting prominent market players including Google, Amazon and Microsoft among others.

    • Damien Wong from Red Hat Asia Pacific Pte Ltd clinches Executive of the Year – Computer Software at the SBR Management Excellence Awards 2018

      To support the company’s goal of becoming the leading IT infrastructure software provider in ASEAN, Damien Wong, Vice President and General Manager of Red Hat Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, developed the Red Hat ASEAN 2.0 Strategy to guide the company’s business for fiscal years FY16-FY18 using a collaborative and inclusive approach.

      Wong is known for his dynamic leadership style where he recommended the adoption of a Balanced Scorecard approach, covering Financial, Market, Customer, and Employee goals. This strategy, which favoured an approach that did not just emphasise financial results alone, was developed to guide the Red Hat ASEAN team across the fiscal years FY16-FY18. For developing the Red Hat ASEAN 2.0 Strategy, Wong clinched the Executive of the Year for Computer Software at the SBR Management Excellence Awards 2018.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.18.126
    • Linux 4.19.4
    • Linux 4.14.83
    • Linux 4.9.139
    • Linux 4.9.140
    • Cougar 700K Gaming Keyboard Support Coming To Linux 4.21

      If you currently have a Cougar 700K gaming keyboard or possibly picking one up over the holidays, it should work better with the next Linux kernel cycle.

      Earlier this year there was the introduction of the new Cougar HID driver initially for the 500K driver. That driver was needed to support various special function keys on the keyboard with those keys using a custom vendor interface while the standard functionality of the keyboard is fine and respects HID standards in that regard. With the Linux 4.21 kernel, the Cougar driver is being extended to the 700K series.

    • Linux Stable Updates Are Dropping The Performance-Pounding STIBP

      The Linux stable trees that recently received STIBP “Single Thread Indirect Branch Predictors” after back-porting from Linux 4.20 are seeing the code reverted. This is the change that recently caused major slowdowns in Linux performance for workloads like Python, PHP, Java, code compilation, and other workloads like some games.

      After a week of benchmarks showing how STIBP is/was regressing the Linux 4.20 kernel performance big time, which also upset Linus Torvalds with the performance impact not being communicated when the patches were merged, the code is being dropped from the stable branches. This STIBP support for cross-hyperthread Spectre V2 mitigation was back-ported to the supported Linux 4.14 and 4.19 LTS series, but due to the sizable performance regressions set on by default, the code is being reverted.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Welcome Telstra as the Newest Gold Member of LFN

        Continuing the momentum of open source being adopted by leading telcos globally, we are thrilled to welcome Telstra as the newest LFN member at the Gold level. With Telstra’s participation, the LFN community is extending its global harmonization efforts across technologies and organizations, from the traditional network stack to standards bodies and beyond.

      • LF Networking Approaches Inaugural Year With Addition of New Members

        The LF Networking Fund (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today announced the addition of four new members, continuing its rapid global growth. Welcoming new members Packet, PANTHEON.tech and RIFT, Inc. extends LFN’s first year momentum, and sets the stage for accelerated development and adoption of open source and open standards-based networking technologies in next year.

        “Industry acceptance and participation this year have been tremendous and validate that businesses see an open source, open standards-based future for networking technologies,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking and Orchestration, The Linux Foundation. “In 2019, the combined efforts of our growing community will continue to accelerate harmonization of open source and open standards-based networking technologies that will define tomorrow’s networks.”

        The newest members will work with more than 100 other technology leaders to drive greater harmonization and development of LFN’s networking projects, including FD.io, ONAP, Open Daylight, OPNFV, PNDA, and Tungsten Fabric. LFN enables open source networking technologies by integrating the governance of participating projects in order to enhance operational excellence, simplify member engagement, and increase collaboration. Globo.com, Packet, PANTHEON.tech and RIFT, Inc. join as Silver members.

      • The Linux Foundation and Cloud Native Computing Foundation Announce New Training Course for Prometheus
      • Tungsten Fabric Launches Performance Lab to Drive Edge-cloud Ecosystem Growth

        The LF Networking Fund (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across networking projects, today announced the new Tungsten Fabric Performance Lab. Launched jointly by Intel, Juniper Networks, Lenovo and SDNLAB, the Performance Lab aims to forge an open source test and verification environment for Tungsten Fabric and other Software Defined Networks (SDN) projects.

        Tungsten Fabric is an open source, scalable, multi-cloud, multistack networking platform. It provides a single point of control, observability and analytics for networking and security. Tungsten Fabric is integrated with private cloud stacks including Kubernetes, VMware and OpenStack. It also supports hybrid deployments with public clouds including AWS and GCE.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The DAV1D AV1 Video Decoder Has Become Very Fast

        It was just two months ago that the VideoLAN/VLC crew announced the DAV1D AV1 video decoder and already it’s becoming quite feature complete and super fast.

        In a performance report shared today, DAV1D now covers the entire AV1 spec and all features for 8-bit and 10-bit depth.This decoder is up to 400% faster than the reference libaom decoder and usually at least 100% faster.

      • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 18.3.0-rc4

        The fourth release candidate for Mesa 18.3.0 is now available.

      • Mesa 18.3-RC4 Released With A Handful Of Fixes

        The fourth weekly release candidate of Mesa 18.3 is now available for testing while the official release could be coming in the days ahead.

        Originally Mesa 18.3.0 was due to be released before the US Thanksgiving holiday, but that didn’t quite happen as planned. However, that release doesn’t appear to be far off. The 18.3 release tracker currently indicates just one blocker bug remaining. That lone bug is about a user pointer deadlock in the Vulkan CTS (Conformance Test Suite) for the Intel ANV Vulkan driver. Once that’s fixed, we could see Mesa 18.3.0 or depending how long that takes they could divert to Mesa 18.3.0-RC5. Regardless, Mesa 18.3.0 will hopefully be out within the next two weeks or so.

      • Intel Sends In A Second Batch Of DRM-Next Updates Ahead Of Linux 4.21

        Following their first DRM-Next feature pull request submitted at the start of November, Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center developers have mailed out their second batch of feature changes ahead of the Linux 4.21 kernel cycle.

      • Patches Surface In 2018 For Upstream Adreno 200 Series Support In MSM DRM Driver

        A set of patches posted today enable support in the upstream open-source Freedreno-aligned MSM DRM driver to support the original Qualcomm Adreno 200 series. That was the first Adreno series offering a programmable function pipeline and clock speeds up to 133MHz.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA & AMD Linux Gaming Performance For Total War: Warhammer II At 1080p / 1440p / 4K

        Now with having more time to test this week’s release of Total War: Warhammer II on Linux, here is a large 14-way graphics card comparison of various AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. With more time plus an updated version of the pts/tww2 test profile to address a resolution scaling issue, tests are done at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions as well as providing performance-per-dollar metrics for this latest Vulkan-powered high profile Linux game port.

        Feral Interactive who ported this game to Linux and macOS lists the requirements on the Vulkan-powered Linux port as a GeForce GTX 680 / Radeon R9 285 as a minimum, which makes sense considering its necessary to use Vulkan and those are the oldest top-tier cards with Vulkan support. It may be possible running this game with GCN 1.0/1.1 era hardware on the AMD side when switching from the Radeon DRM driver to AMDGPU in order to have RADV Vulkan driver support. For the best Linux gaming experience, Feral recommends at least a GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon RX 480 graphics card. The game needs at least Mesa 18.1.5 or NVIDIA 396.54, which is quite modest and easily achieved by most Linux distribution distribution repository packages.

      • Benchmarking The $25 Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ Performance

        Released last week was the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ as their latest ARM SBC coming in at the $25 USD price point and their last board release before doing a redesign. I was able to snag a Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ for $25 with availability appearing to be better than some of the past Raspberry Pi releases. Here are some initial benchmarks of the RPi 3 Model A Plus compared to a few other ARM boards.

        The Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ uses a Broadcom BCM2837B0 SoC just like the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ at $35. That SoC allows for four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.4GHz, so in CPU tests the performance is quite close between the boards. But the $25 Model A 3+ board only has 512MB of RAM (which is shared with the GPU, like the other Raspberry Pis) compared to 1GB on the more common Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • A Speed-Up for Charting on Embedded

        I’d like to talk about a common problem that we have seen come up in several projects, namely how to plot large datasets over time in an efficient manner using Qt. This seems to be a general issue, especially in embedded situations and is affecting many people. Because of this, I thought we’d share one approach that we have found to work well in some situations, maybe it helps you out in your project.

      • Qt Quick WebGL release in Qt 5.12

        One of the Qt 5.12 new features is Qt Quick WebGL platform plugin (also known as WebGL streaming). It was actually available as a technology preview from Qt 5.10 already, but starting with Qt 5.12 it is a released feature.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Desktop Icons Gnome Shell Extension 1.0 Release Candidate Available

        Nautilus lots its desktop icons feature with version 3.28. This functionality was brought back in Gnome via a new Desktop Icons extension, which had a first beta release back in August.

        The Desktop Icons extension is getting closer to its 1.0 stable version, with a release candidate being published on the Gnome Shell Extensions website yesterday.

      • GNOME On Wayland Will Now Work Correctly For Non-60Hz Refresh Rates

        It’s been a busy week in GNOME’s Mutter space as in addition to the GPU hot-plugging and DisplayLink improvements, Mutter when running as a Wayland compositor will now behave correctly when setup for non-60Hz display refresh rates.

        Up to now when GNOME was running on Wayland it has basically been stuck to a 60Hz fake vsync refresh rate, but now it’s able to query hardware presentation times and support swap throttling for working better in the growing world outside of 60Hz refresh rate displays. Of course, GNOME on the X.Org Server hasn’t had such issues.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • Gentoo Family

      • Elivepatch Progressing For Live Kernel Patching On Gentoo, Rolling To Other Distros

        Elivepatch is a distributed live kernel patching mechanism developed by the Gentoo crowd during GSoC 2017 and has continued to be developed. While it is still centered around Gentoo, there are ambitions to bring this open-source live kernel patching tech to other distributions.

        Alice Ferrazzi as the Gentoo Kernel Project Leader has been central to the development of Elivepatch going back to its start almost two years ago and she presented on it last week at Linux Plumbers Conference 2018. Elivepatch builds upon the live-patching code in the mainline kernel but was motivated due to the different vendor solutions being quite limited. For example, Oracle with Ksplice only works with Oracle Linux kernels, some of the vendor solutions being closed-source, requiring other custom kernel bits, or lack long-term support.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Gimp Goes Vertical, OSTree Preps for Changes with systemd

        The release of openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots have been steadily coming out this month and some of the more recent packages in the snapshots are bringing about significant changes.

        Three Tumbleweed snapshots have been released the past two weeks, which brought KDE users a newer version of Applications 18.08.3, Frameworks 5.52.0 and all users could update to the 4.19.2 Linux Kernel.

        Yet another Setup Tool (YaST) had a fair amount of changes in the 20181118 snapshot and a recent YaST sprint blog post describes new features with configuring openSUSE Kubic, configuring SSH access during installation and how YaST has provided improved textmode support for Chinese, Japanese or Korean and other languages. The YaST changes will be worked into the future release of openSUSE Leap 15 Service Pack 1 (15.1), which is schedule to have its beta release in February. An update for flatpak 1.0.5 fixed a regression in flatpak run that caused problems running user-installed apps when the system installation was broken. The updated package of gnome-shell 3.30.2 fixed regression in the handling new input sources. The 4.19.2 Linux Kernel package allows the handling of undefined instructions from EL1, according to the changelog. OSTree, with its libostree 2018.9 package, is preparing for systemd related change in a future release that has a timeout effect. Apache Tomcat, which is an open source implementation of the Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages, Java Expression Language and Java WebSocket technologies, added the ability for a UserDatabase to monitor the backing XML file for changes and reload the source file if a change in the last modified time is detected in its 9.0.13 version.

      • Excited About Application Modernization? Contain Yourself…

        For those of us who work with technologies every day, it’s important to remember one key thing: every topic is new to someone somewhere every day.

        With that in mind, we are starting a series of posts here that will start from basics to help you build your knowledge of modern application delivery. Think of it as Containers 101.
        To understand what containers are and how they benefit application developers, devops, and operations teams, let’s look at an essential change in the architecture of applications: the use of microservices.

      • The Brains Behind the Books – Part VI : Markus Feilner

        Despite its more than 25 years, SUSE felt like a mature start-up, and as a boss and “personal firewall” (as the team would call me), I was allowed to nearly triple the team size, 40% of which are female writers (and technology experts!!) today. I learnt what it means to “lead a world-wide remote team”, including budget and staff responsibility.

    • Fedora

      • Flatpak Linux App Sandboxing Format Now Lets You Kill Running Flatpak Instances

        Flatpak’s Alex Larsson released a new version of the popular Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework that promises to be the future of application distribution across Linux OSes.

        Flatpak 1.1.0 is now available as the first snapshot to kick off the development of the Flatpak 1.2 series, which is expected to arrive by the end of the year, promising new features and improvements to make your Flatpak experience better from all angles when you want to deploy apps across multiple Linux-based operating systems.

        In this development release, the development team implemented a new “flatpak kill” command to finally let users kill running Flatpak instances, and made the –remote argument optional in the “flatpak install” command for interactive installs, prompting users to choose a remote location to install the app.

      • Fedora 29 Bangalore Release Party

        The Fedora community of Bangalore assembled at the Red Hat Bangalore office. The event was scheduled to start at 1300, but the lunch at the office postponed the event by 45 mins.

        Sumantro kicked off the event with a small introduction, following which Vipul gave a introduction of the open source with a short choco chip story.

        Sumantro back on stage after that talking about the “What’s coming next?”, from discussing about GNOME/Pantheon, to Python 2 deprecation, to Ansible, to IoT, to Modularity.

      • PHP version 7.1.25RC1 and 7.2.13RC1
    • Debian Family

      • Fun Desktop Computing with Debian KDE Part 2: Your Data

        Continuing first part, in this part you will learn how to organize your data, this involves displaying your files & folders, finding programs, sorting and arranging, and accessing disk partitions & external storages. Yes, this means you can also place shortcuts on desktop area & panel. On Debian KDE, this is very easy. Once again, you can get Debian KDE in the website. Enjoy!

      • Derivatives

        • A Linux Noob Reviews: The Deepin 15.8 Installer

          As someone relatively new to Linux land, I may not seem like the ideal candidate to critically evaluate a Linux desktop OS installer. Then again, since beginning my regular Linux coverage I’ve been focused on relating to fellow beginners or people interested in making the jump from either Windows or macOS. And the first point of contact with any Linux distribution (beyond the website) is normally the installer. It’s where you start to fall in love or begin to pull your hair out in frustration.

          Linux installers can be many things. Streamlined, elegant affairs taking mere minutes until you’re up and running. They can be satisfying challenges. In some cases they can be complete deal breakers based on your skill level. They are the doorway to what could be your next daily driver, or the on-ramp to a continuing search.

          So in these reviews I’ll show you every single step the installer guides you through, and point out the thoughtful touches that make the experience better than most. Or the potential barriers that could stop you in your tracks.

          Alright, let’s talk about Deepin 15.8 and begin by getting in front of a ridiculous rumor that practically turned into a witch hunt. Yes, it’s from China. No, that doesn’t mean it’s spyware. From what I’ve gathered, the developers had installed a traffic analytics tracking service into their Deepin Install app store (you can see that source code here). While the presence of traffics analytics in Deepin software can be debated, there was never anything malicious happening. And as of Deepin 15.8, it has been removed anyway.

        • Deepin 15.8 Run Through

          In this video, we look at Deepin 15.8, the latest release of the Rolling Deepin, as normal I use VirtualBox for all my videos and Deepin is a bit stucky in it.

        • Deepin 15.8 overview | Attractive and Efficient, Excellent User Experience

          Hiweed GNU/Linux) is a Debian-based distribution (it was Ubuntu-based until version 15 released in late 2015) that aims to provide an elegant, user-friendly and reliable operating system. It does not only include the best the open source world has to offer, but it has also created its own desktop environment called DDE or Deepin Desktop Environment which is based on the Qt 5 toolkit. Deepin focuses much of its attention on intuitive design. Its home-grown applications, like Deepin Software Centre, DMusic and DPlayer are tailored to the average user.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E37 – Thirty Seven: Essays On Life, Wisdom, And Masculinity

            This week we’ve been building a new home server using SnapRAID and upgrading a Thinkpad to Ubuntu 16.04. Samsung debut the beta of Linux on DeX, Wireframe Magazine is out, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is available, Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported for 10 years and we round up community news.

          • MusicBrainz Picard 2.0.4 Available to Install via Snap

            MusicBrainz Picard music tagger now is available as Snap package for Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and higher.

            Snap is containerised software package designed to work within most Linux desktop. It bundles all its required dependencies, so the latest Picard 2.0.4 works in Ubuntu 16.04 while the official PPA updates only for Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

          • 23 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver shows promise being the latest LTS offering from Canonical after its initial release this year. So now, after installing the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic beaver version on your system, it’s time to set things up. Here is our top list of the important things that you should do after installing this open source OS.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pearl Linux OS 7.1 Run Through

              In this video, we are looking at the first point release of Pearl Linux OS 7. It is based on Ubuntu 18.04 and a real Mac feeling.

            • Kubuntu 18.10 overview | Making your PC friendly

              Kubuntu is a free, user-friendly Linux distribution based on KDE’s desktop software and on the Ubuntu operating system. It has a biannual release cycle. Besides providing an up-to-date version of the KDE desktop at the time of the release, the project also releases updated KDE packages throughout the lifetime of each release.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 overview | For a retrospective future.

              The project began its life as an Ubuntu “remix”, but starting with version 15.04, it was formally accepted as an official member of the Ubuntu family of Linux distributions.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS, the Open Source Windows Clone, Can Now Boot from Btrfs Drives

    Colin Finck of ReactOS project announced the release of ReactOS 0.4.10, a version that packs several enhancements to the open-source Windows clone.

    Like every other new ReactOS release, version 0.4.10 introduces something new for users to try out on their personal computers and keep them busy until the next release lands. Without any further ado, the biggest new feature in ReactOS 0.4.10 is the ability of the operating system to boot from Btrfs formatted drives.

    This major change allowing users to install and boot ReactOS from a disk drive formatted with the Btrfs file system was possible thanks to an implementation of the WinBtrfs Windows driver for the next-generation file system for Linux-based operating systems based on the copy-on-write (COW) principle.

  • Drone.io buzzes open source projects with free CI service

    Some mark Thanksgiving by helping out at a shelter or pardoning a Turkey, but Drone.IO and Packet have decided to donate a free Continuous Integration service to open source projects.

    Packet is providing “a substantial multi-year donation to support Drone Cloud and therefore help any open source project with a GitHub repository,” Drone founder Brad Rydzewski explained in a blog post.

    The Drone Cloud will support Continuous Delivery Pipelines on bare metal x86 and 32-bit and 64-bit ARM servers, Rydzewski explained.

  • Pioneers in Open Source–Eren Niazi, Part II: the Untold Story

    It was 2014, and everything seemed fine with Eren Niazi and the company he founded, Open Source Storage or OSS, although at the time, both the industry and the market were changing. Not only were open-source technologies used in every form and fashion to enable what has become the cloud, its users also were connecting in droves to take advantages of the many services it offered. We matured into an always connected society.

    As markets evolved and consumer needs evolved, OSS needed to do something to continue to be relevant. Eren and his team came up with a solution to enable more involvement within the Open Source community by building a never-done-before social platform that closed the gap between file sharing and social networking. It also added a gamification component to help encourage participation on top of quality.

  • How I uncovered my inner geek

    I’m beginning to feel old. A few months ago, somebody called me a “gray beard” in a comment in an IRC channel. You might have thought my lack of actual beard and the fact that they used the US spelling, rather than the correct “grey,” would have meant that I was unaffected, but no, I was. I’ve been around for a long time, and I’ve played with more protocols than are probably good for me, so when I briefly told how I’d started out, and a friend replied, “that story is so good,” I realised that maybe my experience differs enough from that of many who’ve joined the profession more recently than me1 that it might be of interest.

    So, here goes. I should preface this account by saying that I was quite a geek at school—and by school, I mean “school,” not “university”2—doing basic stick-figure animation, writing Mandelbrot set generators, learning PASCAL and Assembly language, trying to hack the very basic school network, that sort of thing. By the time I went to university in 1990, I’d decided to do something a bit different,5 so I spent two years studying English literature (mainly pre-1840) and another two years studying theology (mainly pre-1640). But I kept up some geekery and had a laptop or PC throughout my time at university. Well, I say laptop, but my first PC-compatible was an 8088 Hitachi luggable with an orange screen. Now, that was a computer.

    And I had email. This may not seem like a surprise, but as a humanities6 student in a UK university in the early ’90s, it took some doing. In order to get access to email at all, you needed a signed form (it was on yellow paper, I think) from your director of studies and your college computing officer to say you had need of it—and even then you were allowed to send emails only to other people on the UK academic network. And my email address used the standard UK academic addressing scheme: uk.ac.cam.phx@mhb11. Yes, I know this looks backwards. You youngsters: I don’t know.

  • Events

    • More than 46k people participate in Hacktoberfest 2018

      The fifth-annual Hacktoberfest, the month-long event that encourages people around the world to contribute to open source projects during October, was a tremendous success.

      During October 2018, 46,088 participants completed the Hacktoberfest challenge: making at least five pull requests (PR) to any public repository on GitHub. This is a 44% increase over 2017 participation levels, even though this year’s event required five pull requests instead of the previous four. Everyone who completes the challenge is rewarded with a free, limited-edition Hacktoberfest t-shirt.

      Hacktoberfest showed its global reach—participants hailed from 143 countries (based on their shipping address). Additionally, 267 community-organized Hacktoberfest events (a 124% increase over 2017) were held in 50 different countries.

    • Fedora 29 Release Party at Linux Autumn: Event Report

      During this year’s Linux Autumn we organized Fedora 29 Release Party. These kind of events are organized around the world after the new version of Fedora is released. It’s likely that it was the world’s first Fedora 29 Release Party (for this version) because the official poster design was not yet ready and nobody had asked for it before.

      Again, being an organizer, I must warn you that my perception of the event may be different than the one of an attendee. But on the other hand I saw more behind the scene events.

      The party was attended by the Linux Autumn attendees. Its organizers included two Fedora ambassadors: Julita Inca Chiroque from Peru and Dominik “Rathann” Mierzejewski from Poland. Julita, as always, brought lots of balloons with Fedora and GNOME logos, and Matej Marušák from Red Hat Brno brought Fedora stickers and other swag.

    • Linux Autumn 2018: Event Report

      Linux Autumn, the 16th annual conference of Linux and free software enthusiasts, organized by PLUG, was held from 9 to 11 November. This year, same as last year, we met in Ustroń, southern Poland, but we changed the venue: this time it was Hotel Gwarek.

      I must say that my report may be little biased because I was included into the organizing team and I took it seriously. 🙂

      But honestly speaking I think that this year Linux Autumn was very successful. We had as many as three foreign guests including some from outside Europe, plus of course many great people from Poland. Slowly our conference becomes more international. If you have not been there – you have good reasons to regret.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • How to effortlessly modernise your cloud

      Companies across all industries have now adopted the cloud computing paradigm, with many leveraging OpenStack to manage private clouds. But what happens when first generation environments become obsolete, non-upgradeable and exposed to security vulnerabilities? The first option that you choose may not the the one that your businesses will always operate.

      Because these migration projects are driven by business demand, they must be completed quickly and with minimal interruptions. Businesses often fear the worst and prepare doomsday scenarios when migrating clouds with the worry of substantial downtime front of mind. Such concerns often lead to businesses annexing themselves from the significant benefits of cloud computing.

    • The Opportunity in OpenStack Cloud for Service Providers

      Digital transformation is affecting every industry, from manufacturing to hospitality and government to finance. As a service provider, you’ve probably seen how this period of rapid change is disrupting your customers—causing both stress and growth. Luckily, your customers’ digital transformation can be an opportunity for your organization too.
      Digital transformation is driving increased cloud adoption. According to a new research report from 451 Research, multicloud scenarios are the norm, and that means organizations increasingly need Cloud Management Platforms (CMPs). This is where service providers can step in. One compelling option for CMPs is open source software, including the industry-leading OpenStack cloud.

    • My Top 5 Takeaways from OpenStack Summit Berlin

      Another outstanding OpenStack Summit is done and dusted. As expected, Berlin was a magnificent venue and it was truly a delight to reconnect with old friends and spend valuable time with colleagues and customers across the community.

    • OpenStack Summit Berlin – thoughts and thanksgivings

      This isn’t such a big occasion though – no public holidays, no parade, and no massive discounts offered by shops. It dates back to when the United Kingdom was a mainly agrarian society, when all economy revolved around the growth of various crops and livestock, and is traditionally linked to the Harvest Moon – the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. The picture to the right is a corn dolly that my son made a few years ago – one of the traditional crafts made during, or to celebrate Harvest Festival. Once the corn has been harvested, the stalks are used to weave “dollies” – some actually human-shaped, others in different shapes of varying complexity.

    • OpenStack Foundation Changes Name of the OpenStack Summit

      The OpenStack Foundation has decided to change the name of the OpenStack Summit to Open Infrastructure Summit at the last OpenStack Summit in Berlin.

      The name change was expected as the OpenStack Foundation was trying to position itself outside of the OpenStack world and as an organization to help manage their massive infrastructure.

      During a press conference in Berlin, Mark Collier, COO of the OpenStack Foundation said, “The OpenStack Foundation brand is not a big deal, while Open Infrastructure Summit is to bring people together who may not be involved with OpenStack.”

    • Why Service Providers Have Embraced OpenStack

      OpenStack isn’t just about enabling cloud compute utility computing it has also become a preferred platform for enabling and deploying Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). In a session at the OpenStack Summit Berlin, Henrik Blixt, product line manager at VMware outlined some of the key attributed that have attracted service providers to OpenStack. Blixt also provided guidance on some of the key challenges of OpenStack as well.

      So why are operators choosing OpenStack?

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Albania’s Capital, Tirana, Moves to Open Source Software by Adopting LibreOffice

      Being the capital city, Tirana is the most populous city in Albania, known for its colorful, post-Communist buildings and Soviet-era architecture. In an attempt to adopt the Open Source way to save more money, Tirana has recently attempted to implement various free and open source solutions for their public IT infrastructure, by migrating to projects like Nextcloud and LibreOffice.

      “Ermir Puka, the head of the ICT Department, believes that despite the resistance to change and the other big challenges facing the migration, using free and open source software and platforms like LibreOffice – supporting open standards – will guide the IT infrastructure of the municipality in the best interest of the citizens of Tirana,” writes The Document Foundation’s Italo Vignoli.

    • First Look at LibreOffice 6.2 Beta

      In this video, we look at LibreOffice 6.2 Beta.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 5.5 Development Opens Up

      With DragonFlyBSD 5.4 releasing in the days ahead, its code has been branched while now open on Git master is the DragonFlyBSD 5.5 development tree.

      DragonFlyBSD 5.4.0 is coming soon with all of its great improvements that were developed under the DragonFlyBSD “5.3″ development series while now DragonFlyBSD 5.5 is in development for what should be released as DragonFlyBSD 5.6 in about six months time. The DragonFlyBSD 5.4 release is coming out just days before the big release of FreeBSD 12.0.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Intel Developer’s New Proposal For Shipping Optimized Glibc Subset (libcpu-rt-c)

      While the Intel Open-Source Technology Center invests heavily into the GNU/Linux toolchain in ensuring their future processors will have their full feature set and performance potential exploited, when it comes to the GNU C Library “glibc” in particular it can be quite a while before Linux distributions pull in a new release that contains various Intel performance optimizations. As a result, Intel Linux veteran toolchain developer H.J. Lu has laid out a new proposal.

      Intel does a lot of tuning to Glibc’s math and string functions, among others, for ensuring they are optimized for today’s processors with AVX-2/AVX-512 and other features. But as Linux distributions don’t liberally pull in new Glibc releases, it can sometimes be years before users get to enjoy those optimizations.

    • Bradley M. Kuhn: My Views on GNU Kind Communication Guidelines and Related Material

      I have until now avoided making a public statement about my views on the various interrelated issues regarding the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines that came up over the last month. However, given increasing interest in our community on these issues, and the repeated inquiries that I received privately from major contributors in our community, I now must state my views publicly. I don’t have much desire to debate these topics in public, nor do I think such is particularly useful, but I’ve been asked frequently about these GNU policy statements.

    • GNU Parallel 20181122 (‘Kilogram’) released
    • FSFE Newsletter – November 2018

      For 17 years, the FSFE has been empowering people to have control over their technology, and we get better at it every year.

  • Programming/Development

    • PHP 5.x Security Support Ends In December 2018 Puts 60%+ Websites On Risk

      Basically, in 10 weeks we will have more than half of the websites exposed to potential security problems if after the new year there is a vulnerability in PHP 5.x.

    • Qt 5.12 Release Candidate Available, Final Coming In Early December

      As likely the last development milestone before officially releasing Qt 5.12 LTS, the release candidate was issued this morning.

      The Qt 5.12 Release Candidate is now available for last-minute testing. The Qt 5.12 RC release has many documentation updates, several bug/regression fixes, and other maintenance items taken care of. Details on today’s release candidate can be found via the mailing list.

    • Indian developers contribute actively to open source projects: Report

      Developers in India are more likely to contribute to open source than developers from other countries, with more than two-thirds (68 percent) actively participating. This is one of the key findings of the DigitalOcean Currents report, which in its fifth edition is focused entirely on open source to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the movement .DigitalOcean is an American cloud infrastructure provider firm.

    • My first FOSS love was Perl

      Set the wayback machine to 1993. I was working at a small company as a programmer and product deployment specialist. The product was COBOL-based and the OS was SCO Xenix. Both were based on open standards, but not open source. I was hired because I knew the medical software business and I had experience in several flavors of what was then called Micro-Unix. I didn’t know a thing about COBOL, but that was the job opening. (PS, if you get any calls from the past: COBOL is not hard to learn.)

      After a stint as a maintenance and enhancement programmer on the product line, I was tasked with managing the integration process, builds, version control, and releases as well as endpoint installation. I had been struggling with some cool but, by then, very complex C shell (CSH) scripts. I needed a better tool.

    • Qt Creator 4.8 RC released

      We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.8 RC!

      Find out about what is new in our blog post about the Beta. Please prefer using the bugtracker for reporting remaining issues.

Leftovers

  • NIPS conference forced to change acronym after realising it has boobed

    The Neural Information Systems Processing conference takes place next month in Montreal, Canada, and after 31 conferences, is still one of the most important in the world on the subject.

    For the past three decades, it has used the acronym “NIPS” for the conference, but in these PC times, that no longer passes muster.

  • UK has ‘head in the sand’ on digital transformation, says Dell EMC UK SVP

    Conducted over the summer by research company Vanson Bourne, 150 business leaders from a cross section of mid- to enterprise-sized companies in the UK were asked for their thoughts on the buzzword of the day: digital transformation.

  • Digital secretary Jeremy Wright announces board of Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation

    Fertility and genetics expert Robert Winston, former Ofcom Chair Dame Patricia Hodgson and Sage Group VP of AI Kriti Sharma are among the expert advisers that will shape the centre’s work under chairman Roger Taylor, the founder of healthcare data firm Dr Foster.

  • Science

    • Ion drive meets drone, as small plane flies with no moving parts

      The resulting hardware included a five-meter wing with a thin body containing the battery and electronics suspended below it before trailing off to a tail. On either side of the body, hanging off the wing, was a series of the wire/airfoil ionizers (two rows from front to back, both in a column of four for a total of eight). The whole thing weighed just under 2.5kg.

      Given a bungee-cord-based launch catapult, the craft could fly about 10 meters when powered off. Fire up the ionic wind, and it could cover 60 meters and would frequently gain altitude while powered on. Measurements showed the thrusters collectively generated five newtons for each kilowatt of power, which is actually similar to the output of jet engines. But because of many inefficiencies in the system, the overall efficiency was only about 2.5 percent—well below that of conventional aircraft.

  • Hardware

    • Slow Software

      You spend lots of time waiting on your computer. You pause while apps start and web pages load. Spinner icons are everywhere. Hardware gets faster, but software still feels slow. What gives?

      If you use your computer to do important work, you deserve fast software. Too much of today’s software falls short. At the Ink & Switch research lab we’ve researched why that is, so that we can do better. This article shares we’ve learned.

    • Apple Users In China Are The ‘Invisible Poors’: Report

      Owning an Apple iPhone has been synonymous with great class. However, a new research report has something contradicting to say about Apple’s ownership status in China.

      According to a report by the research agency MobData, Apple iPhone users in China are the ones with low income, less education, and fewer valuable assets.

    • Never trust the Apple army of iPhone reviewers

      The reason you will not get a fair unbiased honest review of an iPhone or any other Apple product by mainstream reviewers is because nearly all of the reviewers get their review products from Apple. They are on Apple’s Christmas list – otherwise no review product. Understand?

      Thus, in order to get an honest review you need to be able to find an independent reviewer who purchased his own iPhone. Even in that rare case, however, you are still not likely to get an honest review. The reviewer just paid through the nose to buy a new iPhone! Do you really think he is going to rubbish his own hard earned acquisition?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • A Hog Waste Agreement Lacked Teeth, and Some North Carolinians Say They’re Left to Suffer

      The lagoons were supposed to be gone by now.

      Nearly 20 years ago, North Carolina faced a reckoning. Hurricane Floyd inundated the state, flooding the open pits where farmers store hog waste. The nation looked on in horror as pink sludge from the lagoons mingled with rising floodwaters to force stranded animals atop hog houses and drowned thousands of pigs.

      State officials vowed change and in 2000 delivered a plan. The centerpiece was an agreement with Smithfield Foods, the world’s leading pork producer and one of North Carolina’s biggest businesses. Smithfield agreed to finance research into alternatives to the lagoons and to install within three years whatever system emerged as environmentally effective and economically viable. In place of open-air lagoons would be a newer, safer system that put North Carolina on the cutting edge of commercial agriculture.

      Today, many North Carolina hog farmers continue to store hog waste in open pits despite the millions of dollars in private investment spent and years of research and political promises. Little has changed, storms are intensifying and the clock is ticking on the Smithfield agreement, which expires in 2025.

      The state has yet to come up a viable replacement system, and the momentum — and money — behind the research ran out years ago, leaving in place a crude practice that grows more hazardous with each hurricane that pounds North Carolina.

      In September, it was Florence, which dumped record-breaking rains on the state — 8 trillion gallons over four days — and swelled the Cape Fear River, which winds through this region. Thirty-three lagoons overflowed, the pink slurry again mixing with floodwaters.

    • Playing On Fear And Fun, Hospitals Follow Pharma In Direct-To-Consumer Advertising

      The scene is shadowy, and the background music foreboding. On the TV screen, a stream of beleaguered humans stand in an unending line.

      “If you’re waiting patiently for a liver transplant, it could cost you your life,” warns the narrator.

      One man pulls another out of the queue, signaling an escape. Both smile.

      Is this a dystopian video game? Gritty drama? Neither. It is a commercial for the living-donor liver transplant center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, an academic hospital embroiled in a high-profile battle with the region’s dominant health plan and now making a play to a national audience.

  • Security

    • Security updates for (US) Thanksgiving Day
    • E-commerce site is infected not by one, but two card skimmers

      Payment card skimming that steals consumers’ personal information from e-commerce sites has become a booming industry over the past six months, with high-profile attacks against Ticketmaster, British Airways, Newegg, and Alex Jones’ InfoWars, to name just a few. In a sign of the times, security researcher Jérôme Segura found two competing groups going head to head with each other for control of a single vulnerable site.

      The site belongs to sportswear seller Umbro Brasil, which as of Tuesday morning was infected by two rival skimmer groups. The first gang planted plaintext JavaScript on the site that caused it to send payment card information to the attackers as customers were completing a sale. The malicious JavaScript looked like this: [...]

    • PageUp blames poor post-breach media management on PR outfit

      Human resources firm PageUp People has blamed its PR agency for its failure in media management following a massive data breach that it reported in June, but has not revealed any technical details of the investigation into the breach that the company instituted.

    • Mirai ‘botmasters’ now exploiting Hadoop flaw to target Linux servers

      Cyber criminals who used a botnet malware that took large parts of the internet offline in 2016 are now abusing Linux servers at scale.

      Mirai, an open source malware, was conventionally used to target Internet of Things (IoT) devices like wireless cameras and routers. Malicious actors infamously used Mirai to construct a botnet that led to a devastating distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against major online platforms.

      But researchers have found evidence that certain strains are now targeting Linux servers, with a handful of attackers using custom tools to exploit a Hadoop YARN vulnerability and deliver malware instead of relying on bots to spread.

    • Mirai is exploiting Hadoop flaw to target Linux servers

      SECURITY EXPERTS have discovered what they believe are the first non-IoT versions of the Mirai malware in the wild.

      Mirai, which is Japanese for “the future”, is malware that turns networked devices running Linux into remotely controlled “bots” that can be used as part of a botnet in large-scale network attacks.

      The researchers behind the discovery are from Netscout, an application and network performance management firm. They said that they observed at least one dozen Mirai variants attempting to exploit a recently disclosed flaw in Hadoop YARN on Intel servers.

    • Linux servers running Hadoop targeted by variation of Mirai malware
    • Mirai DDoS baddies take enterprise Linux servers over consumer routers

      Two years after the chaotic Mirai botnet blocked access to major websites using hacked consumer routers and other IoT devices, a new variant is taking aim at x86 Linux servers in the enterprise.
      Arbor Networks says it’s seen rise in exploit attempts against Linux servers running Hadoop YARN (Yet Another Resource Negotiator), a resource manager used in Hadoop-based big data platforms in the enterprise.

    • Mirai: Not Just For IoT Anymore
    • Potentially disastrous Rowhammer bitflips can bypass ECC protections

      Dubbed ECCploit, the new Rowhammer attack bypasses ECC protections built into several widely used models of DDR3 chips. The exploit is the product of more than a year of painstaking research that used syringe needles to inject faults into chips and supercooled chips to observe how they responded when bits flipped. The resulting insights, along with some advanced math, allowed researchers in Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s VUSec group to demonstrate that one of the key defenses against Rowhammer isn’t sufficient.

    • 21-Year-Old Hacker Steals $1 Million In Cryptocurrency By Targeting Silicon Valley Execs’ Phones

      As per a report from The New York Post, a 21-year-old con man from Manhattan was able to steal about $1 million in cryptocurrency with his SIM-swapping scheme.

      The young man, named Nicholas Truglia, performed these activities from his apartment. He targeted and robbed Robert Ross, a Silicon Valley executive, according to the officials.

    • Man hacked into Silicon Valley execs’ phones to steal cryptocurrency: cops

      Twenty-one-year-old Manhattan con man Nicholas Truglia hacked into the phones of Silicon Valley bigwigs to try to steal their cryptocurrency — and in one instance, pulled it off, authorities said Tuesday.

      Truglia, who claims on Facebook to be a Harvard University student, targeted the Who’s Who of the Bay Area from his cushy West 42nd Street high-rise apartment, officials said.

      “It’s a new way of doing an old crime,” said deputy DA Erin West of Santa Clara Superior Court to The Post. “It’s a pervasive problem, and it involves millions of dollars.”

      Truglia stole $1 million from San Francisco father of two Robert Ross in the SIM-swapping scheme, according to officials and court records.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump thanks Saudis after defying calls to punish prince

      President Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices amid criticism over his decision not to further punish the kingdom for the killing of United States (US)-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

    • Khashoggi murder: Calls to remove Saudi crown prince ‘a red line’

      Speaking to the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet in Riyadh, Mr al-Jubeir said: “In Saudi Arabia our leadership is a red line. The custodian of the two holy mosques [King Salman] and the Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman) are a red line.

    • Finland suspends arms export licences to Saudi Arabia, UAE over conflict in Yemen

      Earlier on Thursday, Denmark joined Germany in blocking future arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

      The Danish foreign ministry said that its decision came in response to the Middle Eastern country’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and its role in the conflict in Yemen.

    • US urging allies to drop China’s Huawei: report

      Huawei is the world’s No. 2 smartphone manufacturer after South Korea’s Samsung.

    • US lobbying allies to stop using Huawei equipment

      The American Government has ramped up its campaign against Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies, briefing officials in so-called “friendly countries” to try and get them to stop using equipment from the Chinese vendor.

    • The NYT’s David Sanger, the Boy Who Cried “Nukes”!

      Since the early 1990s the US mass media has consistently portrayed the government of North Korea as a “desperate rogue regime run by a paranoid dictator now threatening the world with nuclear attack,” in the words of the American historian Bruce Cumings (North Korea: Another Country, 2003). Threatening. The world. The US has a population 13 times the size of North Korea’s; a 156-times-larger defense budget (in 2016); hundreds of military bases in East Asia; portable military bases called “aircraft carriers” (North Korea has zero); one hundred times more nuclear missiles; tens of thousands of US troops in South Korea as well as in Japan, and submarines equipped with thermonuclear warheads that can hide off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Yet journalists like David Sanger of the “liberal” New York Times are able to convince well-educated, middle-class Americans that the country threatens us, instead of the other way around.

      This privileged class has bought into the narrative that the US has a liberal-to-slightly-Left media that provides a counterbalance to the Right. As President Trump rants about “fake news” and pompously proclaims that the North Korea problem has been solved because he sat down with Kim Jong-un once, liberalssmugly conclude that the “liberal” media are right and that Trump is the problem, whereas in fact, they both are. Both lie.

      In fact, the whole spectrum of mainstreammediahas effectively colluded with Trump to sustain the mythology of imminent destruction by a dangerous and deadly North Korea ruled by a mad dog. A notable recent example isSanger’s article “In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception” (12 November 2018) in the New York Times. The English edition of The Hankyoreh, a progressive newspaper in South Korea, ran an article critical of Sanger’s entitled, “NYT Report on N. Korea’s ‘Great Deception’ Riddled with Holes and Errors,” but considering how many times he has printed disinformation about North Korea, it is clearly time to call these “errors” “outright lies.” New York Timesreaders should note that both the South Korean government and the Korea expert Tim Shorrock have already demonstrated that there are no significant revelations in either Sanger’s article or in the original speculative study that he exaggerated and amplified. (See Shorrock’s “How the New York Times Deceived the Public on North Korea,” The Nation, 16 November 2018).

    • Is Korea’s Cold War About to End?

      Remarkable changes are taking place on the Korean peninsula.

      The two Koreas are actually starting to demilitarize the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Just in the last couple weeks, they have taken down 22 guard posts, demined the Joint Security Area, and established a no-fly-zone about the peninsula’s dividing line. They’ve pulled back from confrontation along their maritime boundary. North Korea has shut down its coastal artillery units and the two sides have discussed a plan to reduce the large number of artillery positions near the border.

      One key indicator of the seriousness of these changes: speculators are driving up the price of land near the border on the South Korean side. Even in a slow-motion reunification scenario, this farmland will become increasingly valuable.

      The two Koreas have also revived plans to reunify economically, step by step. At the third inter-Korean summit, the leaders of the two countries agreed to relink, finally, the railroad as well as roads and to restart the shuttered Kaesong industrial complex, which married North Korean labor with South Korean capital and managerial skills. Also on tap is the resumption of tourism projects that have brought large numbers of South Koreans to select locations in the north.

    • Drones are deadlier than you think

      All that most people seem to know about drones is that the United States of America has used them to kill some terrorists. The reality is infinitely more menacing. The subject of drones — UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) or UAS (unmanned aircraft system) — merits further exploration.

      During 2009-2016, officially, the US armed drones struck 500 times, killing 2,500 combatants. This ‘targeted killing’ was mostly aimed at Taliban and al Qaida operatives in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. It resulted reportedly in the collateral death of 60-120 non-combatants. This does not include the extensive US military use of drones in the war areas of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Clearly, the impression that a handful of terrorists were identified and killed is not correct. Drone use is massive. General Atomics, the California company that produces the notorious Reaper drones, says it has produced 700 drones on government order: the basic MQ-1 Predators and the larger MQ-9 Reapers, besides the US army’s special MQ-1C Gray Eagles. Each carries a camera, a radar and munitions and can be operated for 12 hours by a propeller-driven robot through a satellite link from a US base.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Roger Waters Urges Ecuador Not to Give Assange Up to US ‘Evil Empire’ (VIDEO)

      This week, President Trump said he didn’t “know anything about” Assange amid US media reports that the Justice Department was preparing to indict him. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly praised Assange and WikiLeaks for its release of Democratic National Committee emails confirming a party conspiracy to ensure Hillary Clinton’s election as the Democratic Party’s candidate in the primaries.

      Last week, Assange lawyer Carlos Poveda confirmed to Sputnik that Ecuador might extradite his client, and said that Quito may have reached an agreement on the issue with London and Washington.

    • Charging Assange is a Terrible Idea, and Here’s Why

      The federal government has inadvertently named WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a court filing in an unrelated case. The naming of Assange appears to have been by accident, as the charges came up on the file for a man charged with sex crimes. But, this shows that the Justice Department has his name on file and has likely charged him in a secret case. A spokesman for the attorney’s office simply stated that the filing was an error, while the FBI has declined the comment at all. The whole affair seems very secretive and mysterious, and for good reason. Assange has been a Justice Department target for some time now. Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since August of 2012. Without a doubt, his extradition and trial in the U.S. are important to many people of both major parties.

      WikiLeaks and those associated with it are often accused of violating the Espionage Act of 1917. It is a wordy document, but it basically makes it illegal to leak classified documents or anything else to the detriment of the United States, specifically in wartime. WikiLeaks has been in the news quite a bit over the past decade for releasing many notable pieces. These include documents about CIA spying, war crimes, and U.S. atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. More recently, however, they have made international news for the involvement in the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC’s emails in the 2016 presidential election.

    • Prosecution of Julian Assange, America’s Betrayal of Its Own Ideals

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. As he is in a critical situation under a special protocol imposing prison-like surveillance, news emerged that shed light on the grave danger he has been facing. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the US Justice Department, in what appeared to be an error of cut and paste in their court filing, inadvertently disclosed criminal charges against Assange exist under seal.

      Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson responded to the revelation of a secret US government’s prosecution against the publisher, by noting that it confirms what Assange and his legal team have been suspecting. She pointed out how a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks started in 2010 in relation to disclosures made by WikiLeaks in partnership with other major newspapers revealing the evidence of US war crimes. She made it clear that this risk of his extradition to the US has been the reason why Assange sought and was granted asylum by Ecuador in 2012.

      This public confirmation of a US indictment sent a huge alarm to civil liberty groups in the US. The ACLU issued a statement, noting how this sealed indictment violates the Constitution and prosecuting journalists for publishing classified documents would set a dangerous precedent for press freedom. Now that this sealed indictment is out in the open, validating Assange’s fear of leaving the embassy, the public is given an opportunity to see the true nature of his plight for freedom. What is now being revealed is the war on the First Amendment waged by the US government, targeting the Western journalist who has published materials in the public interest at a scale that has never been seen before.

    • Ecuador’s President Decides To Change Ambassador In London Where Assange Lives – Reports
    • Ecuador Reshuffles Its Envoy to UK Amid Possible Assange Extradition – Reports

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno decided to change the country’s ambassador in London where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian diplomatic mission, media reported.

      [...]

      Earlier in November, WikiLeaks said that the US authorities might have brought sealed charges against Assange, citing a filing in an unrelated case that used Assange’s name in an “apparent cut-and-paste error.”

      Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, has told Sputnik that Ecuador might extradite his client, suggesting Quito might have reached an agreement on this with London and Washington.

    • ‘Last diplomat he knew’: Ecuador ousts London envoy, fuels rumors of Assange’s imminent eviction

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has terminated the credentials of his UK ambassador, who has been at the center of negotiating the fate of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, as concerns mount over the whistleblower’s safety.

      The decree, with which Moreno effectively sacked Ecuador’s London ambassador Abad Ortiz, was published by WikiLeaks on Wednesday. The document does not offer any explanation as to why Ortiz, who had been his country’s ambassador to the UK since 2015, is now being permanently recalled. Nor does it name a successor for the outgoing diplomat. The decree is effective immediately.

    • Ecuador Envoy Reshuffling Could Be Aimed at Revoking Assange Asylum – Lawyer

      Sources in the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik that Francisco Javier Llorca will work as the acting ambassador in the United Kingdom until the new head of the diplomatic mission is appointed.
      Last week, Poveda suggested that Ecuador might have reached a deal with the United Kingdom and the United States under which Quito might extradite Assange.

      The whistleblower has been remaining in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK capital despite Sweden dropped charges against him. Assange has repeatedly suggested he might be apprehended outside the embassy and extradited to the United States.

    • Is Ecuador preparing to hand over Julian Assange to British police? Country removes UK ambassador who had been negotiating Wikileaks founder’s fate from London embassy

      Ecuador has removed a UK ambassador who had been negotiating Julian Assange’s fate at the London embassy, sparking speculation the country is preparing to hand the WikiLeaks founder over to British police.

      Assange has been holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when he was accused of sexual assault by two women in Sweden.

      The Australian denied their claims but refused to travel to Sweden to face them, saying it was part of a ruse to extradite him to the US.

      But Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno is now said to have terminated the credentials of his British ambassador, Carlos Abad Ortiz, according to a decree published by WikiLeaks on Wednesday.

    • Julian Assange’s indictment may cause trouble for Democrats

      The Justice Department is about to indict Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks. That’s according to various reports.

      The Democrats are cheering because surely Assange will reveal some deep secrets about Russians and the last presidential election.

      In the first place, the media of the world should be coming to Assange’s defense. He was, after all, breaking news just like the press does.

      But there’s something else. Assange hinted prior to the election that the Russians weren’t the source of all the Democratic Party e-mails he published. What if the leak was from inside the Democratic Party itself?

      What if Assange’s testimony, when it is forced, shows that the leaker was a disgruntled anti-Hillary Clinton Democrat who happened to be mysteriously murdered in a case that hasn’t yet been solved?

      That, my friends, is one of the shockers that could hit the press and the financial markets in the months ahead. The Democrats should be careful what they wish for when it comes to Assange.

    • Julian Assange: Ecuador to IMMINENTLY hand over Wikileaks founder?

      It comes as the South American nation reportedly removed a UK ambassador who had been negotiating his release from its London Embassy.

      This has sparked speculation authorities will hand over the Wikileaks founder imminently.

      Assange has been holed up in the embassy building since going into hiding six years ago over fears he would be extradited to the US on espionage charges.

    • Prosecuting Assange for WikiLeaks would set a bad precedent

      Federal prosecutors accidentally revealed the existence of secretly filed criminal charges against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has been living for years in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

      Assange has been a target of the United States Justice Department since 2010, when WikiLeaks began publishing thousands of classified military and State Department documents obtained by Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

      During the 2016 presidential campaign, WikiLeaks published thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and from the Gmail account of Clinton adviser John Podesta.

      It’s unknown what criminal charges have been filed against Assange. Their existence came to light in a three-page document filed by prosecutors in an unrelated case, apparently the result of a copy-and-paste error.

    • Jim Acosta, Julian Assange and the real US war on the free press

      For the past few weeks, mainstream American television news networks, led by CNN, have been criticizing the current U.S. President in regards to his obvious disdain for anyone in the press who questions him. While the dispute has gone on since the 2016 campaign, with the President often making the dangerous statement that media that cover him critically are, “an enemy of the people”, the conflict intensified on live TV after Trump held a press conference the day after the November 6th Midterm elections.

      In what was likely intended as a victory lap after early returns suggested that, despite losing the lower house of Congress, Republicans had done better than expected, the President went on to list those Republican candidates who’d lost and blamed their defeats on their failure to “embrace” him. Soon after this rambling monologue, he began to take questions from the assembled journalists.

    • Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the Ecuador Embassy after Sweden’s director of public prosecutions.

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since the summer of 2012, is back in the news. Last week, word of a sealed federal indictment involving him leaked out.

      The news came out in a strange way, via an unrelated case in Virginia. In arguing to seal a federal child endangerment charge (against someone with no connection to Wikileaks), the government, ironically, mentioned Assange as an example of why sealing is the only surefire way to keep an indictment under wraps.

      “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case,” prosecutors wrote, “no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.”

      Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack told Rolling Stone he had “not been informed that Mr. Assange has been charged, or the nature of any charges.”

      Pollock and other sources could not be sure, but within the Wikileaks camp it’s believed that this charge, if it exists, is not connected to the last election.

    • Will shake-up at London embassy leave Assange out in the cold?

      The Ecuadorian government has removed its ambassador to the UK, sparking speculation over Julian Assange’s future at the diplomatic mission there.

      The 47-year-old founder of WikiLeaks moved into the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London in 2012 while wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations in Sweden. Assange maintained his innocence and claimed the charges were nothing more than an attempt to extradite him to the United States.
      Ambassador Carlos Abad Ortiz was forced to leave his post, according to an executive decree signed by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and published Wednesday. The envoy had been in charge of the diplomatic mission since 2015 and had been an influential figure regarding Assange’s future.
      After the announcement, WikiLeaks said Thursday on Twitter, “All diplomats known to Assange have now been terminated to transferred away from the embassy.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • It’s Getting Hot Up in Here

      It doesn’t matter that the odds aren’t in our favor. We’ve all seen the numbers. 2016 was the warmest year on record. 2017 the third warmest. In fact, seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record, ever, have occurred since 2001. NASA predicts that by 2020 global temperatures will have risen more than 1 degree Celsius over the past 140 years. Of course, this is directly correlated to CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide levels are higher today than at any point in the past 800,000 years, and the rate is going up.

      Many climate scientists, including James Hansen, believe the CO2 tipping point is 350ppm. As of April 2018, NASA measured a ratio of 407ppm. Methane isn’t helping matters either. Levels of atmospheric methane have also been rising exponentially. While methane dosn’t stick around as long as carbon dioxide, it’s far better at absorbing heat and is considered 84 times more potent than its carbon brother.

    • ‘Absolute Disgrace’: When No One Looking, White House Plans to Dump Major Climate Report on Black Friday

      Environmental groups, journalists, and climate scientists are reacting to the Trump administration’s decision to release a major climate report the day after Thanksgiving—a move some are describing as an effort to bury an assessment packed with an “astonishing amount of science,” and they are hoping to see that effort backfire “bigly.”

      “It’s an absolute disgrace to bury the truth about climate impacts in a year that saw hundreds of Americans die during devastating climate-fueled megafires, hurricanes, floods, and algal blooms,” said National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Collin O’Mara.

      “Releasing the National Climate Assessment on Black Friday,” he continued, “won’t obscure the fact that authorities are still identifying bodies in California’s unprecedented megafires, Florida is still dealing with toxic algae outbreaks fueled by warmer water, and Americans are still picking up the pieces from Hurricanes Florence and Michael and Typhoon Yutu that were worsened by climate change.”

      The report is the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment or NCA4, which NOAA says is designed to be “an authoritative assessment of the impacts of climate change on the U.S. and its territories, and was written to help decision-makers, utility and resource managers, public health officials, emergency planners, and other stakeholders better understand the effects of climate change on the United States.” Volume one of the assessment was released last year.

    • Lessons From the California Wildfires

      The recent wildfires in California make me feel even more worried about the fate of anyone whose homes are built in the woods. California has experienced the 9 of the largest fires in its history in the past two decades, but large fires have occurred in many other western states during the same period.

      What is going on? Are there too many dense forests due to fire “suppression” as some like President Trump suggest or is something else going on? Keep in mind more than half of all the acreage burned in the West has occurred in non-forest vegetation like chaparral, sagebrush, and grasslands.

      Therefore, it’s questionable to suggest if we only thinned the forest we would see fewer large fires.

      Furthermore, under extreme fire in weather, you cannot stop a wildfire. There is much anecdotal and scientific evidence for this. The most severe fires occur in previously logged forests.

      For instance, the Camp Fire which destroyed the town of Paradise began in an area which had burned a mere ten years before, and was salvage logged.

      What drives massive wildfire is drought (California is in the midst of a thousand-year drought), high temperatures (CA had the warmest summer in 127 years which of course dries out all vegetation), low humidity (at the time of ignition there was extremely low humidity of less than 5 percent), and finally the most significant factor in all large fires is wind.

  • Finance

    • UMich Confidence Drops As Rate-Hike Expectations Hit Historic Threshold

      However, perhaps the most critical element of the survey is that expectations for rates to increase (relative to expectations that rates will fall going forward), have reached a historical threshold that has typically preceded a contrarian recessionary impulse.

    • Felicia Kornbluh on Welfare Reform

      This week on CounterSpin: We recently marked 22 years since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which Bill Clinton proudly declared would fulfill his campaign promise to “end welfare as we have come to know it.” Corporate media did little to undercut the idea that poor single mothers were bleeding the country dry, and making it harder for them and their children to access benefits was somehow healthy for them and the economy.

      What you might not remember is that not everyone was on board this particular train; many people questioned the racist, anti-woman and anti-poor mythologizing at its core. And those folks had—and have—their eye on a different world, in which welfare policy actually is anti-poverty policy, and is part of a humane social and economic policy that connects health care and housing and income and well-being. If we want it, we have to talk about it, and that’s what our guest is doing.

    • Black Friday Isn’t the Only Time Workers Face Unfair Schedules

      Some of the biggest retailers in the U.S., including Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target, will be opening their doors to shoppers directly on Thanksgiving this year, getting Black Friday — one of the year’s biggest shopping days — started early. That means employees at those stores will have to leave their families and turkey dinners aside in order to come to work.

      In a 2016 survey, nearly half of retail workers reported having to work on Thanksgiving, and big employers are far more likely to have their workers on duty than are smaller ones. Those who refuse or complain can face retaliation, leaving many to decide that putting up a fight isn’t worth seeing their hours cut or losing their jobs entirely.

      Every year there are a flurry of stories that question whether that practice is worth denying workers a holiday at home. However, long holiday hours are just one of the myriad abuses employees face when it comes to their work schedules.

    • #BlackFridays walkouts turn rage into action and community

      As people around the country prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the manic day of discount shopping that follows, one network of activists has already been celebrating a different kind of Black Friday for the past two months. This initiative, connected by the Twitter hashtag #BlackFridays, has resulted in a number of symbolic walkouts across the country led by a network of women of color.

      Spurred into action by the Kavanaugh hearings, #BlackFridays began when a group of “womxn” – acknowledging the historic exclusion of gender expressions – signed a public letter urging people to wear black and disrupt “business as usual.” Their aim was to express rage and resistance against the “places that gave us the Kavanaughs, the Trumps and the CEOs who harm us.”

      In practice, this meant groups across the country took weekly actions each Friday, starting on October 5, in which they would “walk out” in a variety of ways. Whether walking out of school or work, or walking out to the polls to vote, these actions were tied together by a weekly theme across the country.

    • Accessible Housing Should Be Affordable, Too

      When Anne Johansen imagined the difficulties of living in a nursing home, she was mostly nervous about the food and potential privacy issues. Those ended up being the least of her worries. Johansen went through four separate nursing homes over seven years — moving due to mistreatment and safety concerns.

      Over the course of her time in nursing homes, Johansen witnessed lots of psychological abuse and neglect. She advocated for change in the numerous places where she lived in, but became frustrated with the nursing home system as a whole. A friend and former social worker recommended the Boston Center for Independent Living to Johansen, who then began the long journey of transitioning to her own accessible apartment.

      Johansen, who was diagnosed when she was 6 years-old with CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth Disease), is one of the many people with disabilities in Massachusetts who’ve faced housing discrimination. She’s become an advocate for housing issues, working to ensure that people with disabilities can find a home that’s both accessible and affordable.

      Johansen lobbies for better housing policies alongside Lenny Somervell, a community organizer at the Disability Policy Consortium. Somervell has worked on housing, healthcare and civil rights issues for people with disabilities for years, both at the federal and Massachusetts state level, and says there’s a strong systemic link between inequality and disability across the country.

      “Disability and poverty are indelibly linked in the United States, and poverty is the largest driver of housing insecurity,” says Somervell. “People with disabilities are more than twice as likely to experience homelessness and housing insecurity than non-disabled people.”

    • Bake Sales Can’t Fix This: Corporate Tax Cuts Leave Public Schools Desperate

      Once upon a time, not very long ago, the promise of a free, public education meant that US families and teachers could count on a mixture of local and federal funding to fully cover the costs of kindergarten through 12th grade schooling. But no more.

      Since 2007, public investment in public schools has sharply tanked, leaving teachers and parents scrambling to organize against austerity, and simultaneously coordinate grassroots fundraisers and secure grants from private foundations in order to maintain basic school programs.

      Although cities and states across the US began to decrease funding for public schools in the 1980s by lowering corporate tax rates, local funding for schools — which get 92 percent of their money from their city and state and 8 percent from the federal government — has taken a deep nosedive since the 2007 recession. Over the last decade, plummeting property values and reduced corporate taxation in all 50 states have resulted in reduced tax revenue, causing public investment in public schools to dip. The upshot is that by the 2015-16 academic year, 29 states were providing less funding for K-12 programs than they’d provided in 2008.

    • The Rich Will Be OK

      A spate of “Help out this family!” crowdfunding campaigns have been cropping up in my facebook feed this week as refugees from the California fires resurface to find their homes reduced to ashes. One gofundme in particular stood out. Created by the brother of a young couple in their thirties, it featured a picture of their 1.25 million dollar home on the Malibu coast, purchased three months previously, now reduced to ashes. The gofundme was asking for $50,000 to help this couple “get back on their feet”. It’s entirely feasible that this young couple – who clearly have enough disposable / family income to buy a 1.25 million dollar home in Malibu – have shitty homeowner’s insurance – but at the very least, we know that a homeowner in Malibu will be insured in the event of the loss of their home. Their home will be rebuilt by insurance money.

      What comes into question is exactly what’s covered while their home is being rebuilt. The key provision in a homeowner’s policy is the additional ‘loss of use’ or ‘Coverage D’. This is what provides a family whose home has been deemed uninhabitable with living expenses to cover temporary residences, moving costs and transportation. This provision is entirely dependent on what kind of coverage the homeowner purchased. Those who have more money probably purchased more effective and more thorough coverage than the poorer family getting the cheapest insurance possible.

      America, of course, loves tragedy, and loves to throw their spare change at anything newsworthy, emotive, tragic or cute. Only this week while Malibu burned an emotive story of a homeless veteran and a photogenic New Jersey couple was revealed to be completely fabricated in order to defraud the public of the $400,000 raised on gofundme. It is slightly harder to fabricate burning one’s house down nor am I suggesting anyone who has suffered loss in the fires has done this, but it is worth questioning the affluent family with the expensive real estate appealing for financial help: what exactly does your loss of use cover? What exactly are you asking us to cover? What makes your needs a priority over and above the thousands affected by these fires?

    • Asean: Trade Wars and Zopfan

      At the close of the 13th ASEAN Summit in Singapore on the 15th of November 2018, the Prime Minister of the island Republic, Lee Hsien Loong, warned that the trade war between the United States of America and China may create circumstances “where ASEAN will have to choose one or the other.” He added, “I hope it does not happen soon.”

      The current trade war between the two economic powers was triggered by President Donald Trump raising tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods and the Chinese government retaliating with its own counter-measures. In spite of this, US companies based in China are not leaving the country in any significant way. Analysts are of the view that many of them are waiting for the outcome of the meeting between Trump and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, scheduled to take place during the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires on the 30th of November and 1st December 2018.

      Even if the trade war is not resolved, it may not have an immediate, adverse impact upon the present trade pattern where ASEAN states trade with both China and the US. A major disruption of the supply chain which will force countries in the region to choose between the two is unlikely. What is more likely is that some US companies in China may transfer their operations to places like Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia which have the infrastructure and are well-positioned to manufacture low-end IT products.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Google crackdown on secret ‘dark adverts’ in EU elections

      To combat the rise of “dark ads”, which allow campaigners to target specific groups of people with adverts, Google will:

      • Require adverts that mention “a political party, candidate or current officeholder” to include a disclosure to make clear to voters who is paying for the advertising.
      • Verify EU election advertisers “to make sure they are who they say they are”.
      • Create an EU-specific library of election adverts “to provide more information about who is purchasing election ads, whom they’re targeted to, and how much money is being spent”.
    • Ranked-choice voting worked in Maine. Now we should use it in presidential races.

      Under Maine’s system, voters can rank their choices among the candidates on the ballot —  first, second, third, etc. First choices are then tallied. If no candidate gets 50 percent or more, the bottom candidate is dropped, and the second choice of those voters gets added to the tallies of the remaining candidates. If there is still no candidate with 50 percent or more, then the procedure is repeated, until there is a candidate who has the support of at least 50 percent of the voters. The results at each stage are reported, so early leads are known. But in the end, the ultimate winner has the support of at least half of voters  —  not a terribly radical idea in a democracy.

    • Most Of American Users Don’t Think Social Media Is A Good Thing

      There was a time when social media was ‘the craze’ and no one wanted to be left behind on catching up with updates from the virtual world.

      But things have changed now, and the proof comes from Axios that asked SurveyMonkey to conduct a poll to find out whether people still believe that social media is a good thing.

    • Exclusive poll: America sours on social media giants

      Silicon Valley has a big and growing problem: Americans have rising concerns with its most popular products and a growing majority wants big social media companies regulated, according to new poll conducted by Survey Monkey for “Axios on HBO.”

      Why it matters: The public is more aware than ever of some of the negative consequences of the technologies that have changed their lives, which makes Silicon Valley and social media ripe political and regulatory targets.

    • Silicon Valley Is Undermining Democracy With Its Dangerous Ideology

      Silicon Valley has a dark side, and it doesn’t want you to know about it.

      So far, it’s done a pretty decent job of keeping it from you. In fact, if you were to believe its side of the story, you’d truly think that Silicon Valley was the pinnacle of human civilization. But the sun doesn’t shine evenly into this valley, and a very different picture begins to emerge once you venture out into the shadows.

      In A People’s History of Silicon Valley: How the Tech Industry Exploits Workers, Erodes Privacy and Undermines Democracy, tech writer and cultural critic Keith A. Spencer guides readers on a journey through the shadows. He lays out an argument for why Silicon Valley is, at its core, a highly exploitative and problematic industry that is hell-bent on spreading not only its technology, but its incredibly dangerous ideology as well.

    • Trump and His Loyalists are “Animal Farm’s” Pigs

      They are the Pigs in Animal Farm, preaching righteousness, peddling preposterousness and hoarding all the “milk and apples” for themselves.

      If the demogagic President Donald Trump and his greedy loyalist Republican abettors had their way, the American citizenry would be consigned to a life of Farm-like drudgery.

      “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” becomes the leader pigs’ contorted “Commandment” to the rest of the farm animals by the end of Animal Farm.

      As Trump, in a grand Christmas tree ceremony outside the White House yesterday, bestowed more reverence to a harvested tree than he has recently to our fallen war heroes, American lives lost in California’s wildfires or our democratic rule of law, it’s more evident than ever that Trump and his loyalist enablers consider themselves “more equal” than the rest of us.

      No brazen lie is too ludicrous. No insensitive criticism is too ugly. No bigoted, alarmist incite is too inflammatory. No obstructive meddling with our justice system is out of bounds.

      In the face of Trump’s grotesque persistent disregard for truth, justice and human decency, Republican head hogs led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan offer nary a snort nor a squeal of objection.

    • Trump Supporters and Wrestling Mania

      Taking a break from the usual television news broadcasts on CNN and BBC, I happened upon an emission of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) called WrestleMania. While the modern-day gladiators were performing in the ring, I started following the crowd, which was thoroughly energized. Hooting and yelling for one of their heroes or vilifying the obvious villains, they held up signs of love and hate. It was a binary moment of raw emotions.

      In one of those gottcha epiphanies, I realized that the wrestling supporters I was watching were the same people whom I had just seen hooting, yelling and vilifying at Trump midterm rallies. Same type of dress, same visceral reactions to the performance they were witnessing. While one group was screaming “Lock her up,” the other was raising posters that read “Die Rocky Die” or “Unleash the Fury.” The screams at Trump rallies – where posters are carefully screened – are similar to the violent signs at WWE events. Only the scrupulous mis-en-scene of Trump events stopped the followers from expressing themselves with angry slogans.

      Not being an avid fan of wrestling and not having listened to all of Trump’s speeches during the midterm campaign, I had lost focus on the key to Trump’s success – his supporters. By focusing on the President himself, I had lost touch with his base. Rather than thinking about the “deplorables,” I had chosen to ignore them. Rather than concentrating on swing voters, like suburban white women, I had forgotten about Trump’s loyal followers.

      Now you may think my gottcha moment was ill conceived. You may think Trump and the WWE are like apples and oranges. But there is some history to back me up. Pre-politician Trump and the creator of WWE, Vince McMahon, went through several performances about which of their favorite fighters could beat the other. Trump and McMahon played the crowds, just as President Trump plays the same crowds at his rallies. In the end, Trump’s fighter won, and Trump physically attacked McMahon. In that infamous 2007 Battle of the Billionaires, McMahon’s head was shaven by Trump before 80,000 spectators in the culmination of a successful crowd-pleasing campaign.

      The relationship between Trump and the wrestling impresario has continued. Trump named Linda Marie McMahon, Vince’s wife, to be the Administrator of the Small Business Administration in the Trump Administration. There is obviously some complementarity here.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter permanently suspends far-right activist from platform

      “Isn’t it ironic how the twitter moment used to celebrate ‘women, LGBTQ, and minorities’ is a picture of Ilhan Omar? Ilhan is pro Sharia Ilhan is pro-FGM Under Sharia, homosexuals are oppressed & killed. Women are abused & forced to wear the hijab. Ilhan is anti Jewish,” she claimed in a tweet.

      Loomer, like any other user, has the ability to appeal permanent suspensions.

    • Censorship on the Web Is Winning

      Earlier this year, I argued in my column that the best way to handle the widespread circulation of misleading and apocryphal news content on the internet was to arm the public with basic secondary research skills. I reasoned that the ideal purpose of the internet was to empower the public—and thereby strengthen democracy—by serving as a universally accessible global communications platform that enabled unfettered access to information. Any attempts to limit the public’s access to information would undermine that purpose. Unfortunately, following several months of pervasive news stories regarding alleged Russian influence campaigns during the 2016 elections, major internet companies opted for censorship.

      Google led the way with its Global News Initiative (GNI). This initiative includes favoring certain news outlets in the Google search algorithm as well as helping certain news organizations to monetize their content more effectively. Later in the year, Google extended GNI to YouTube.

      Twitter was the first social media platform to announce it would be omitting content that constitutes disruptive behavior on its platform. In the search feature, certain results are now filtered out unless the user selects to see all search results.

    • Thanksgiving Turkey May Have Spent More Time with Press Inside White House Than Press Secretary

      The White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders became the butt of all jokes on Friday after it was observed that a turkey that was about to be pardoned by President Donald Trump had spent more time with the press this month than her.

    • Free press isn’t free under White House’s onerous rules (Editorial)

      President Donald Trump’s war with the media reached a new low last week when the White House revoked the credential of CNN reporter Jim Acosta after a testy exchange at a news conference. CNN sued and won a temporary reprieve.

      Late Monday, before the court could rule on the First Amendment implications of the Acosta ban, the White House backed down, saying it would restore the CNN reporter’s credential. But it also will impose rules on how reporters can ask questions to the president: one question per reporter, no follow-ups unless at the discretion of the president or the press secretary, and the reporter must “yield the floor” by giving up the microphone. Breaking these rules “may result in suspension or revocation of a journalist’s hard pass.”

      That as much as guarantees we’ll be right back here someday. It is a perilous road.

    • Sony’s Censorship Sets a Worrying Precedent

      The world of video games is no stranger to censorship and it’s highly unlikely that it will ever be completely eradicated as certain demographics will always be catered to. For example, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, Fire Emblem Fates, and Bravely Second are all recent games that have all been changed beyond their creator’s original intent. All three of these games also share another common thread: they’re exclusive to Nintendo platforms. However, Sony has recently been actively pushing for censorship with some erotic anime games. And this recent policy change sets a worrying precedent.

      In the past, any minor censorship was confined to localizations. Dungeon Travelers 2’s Western localization censored four images; three of which were slightly altered because they depicted female characters that looked suspiciously young. While none of the pictures contained nudity, the impetus behind this decision is understandable. Japan and North America have completely different cultural views regarding sexuality. It’s not ideal, but it makes sense.

    • China’s censorship of Kingdom Hearts 3’s Winnie the Pooh is both insane and hilarious

      Kingdom Hearts 3 is a game that many of us have been looking forward to for over a decade. Chinese fans may be losing out with the censorship of at least one of the game’s worlds: The One Hundred Acre Woods.

      A Chinese website sharing images of the upcoming game revealed the game’s interesting form of censorship. The iconic Winnie the Pooh is covered with a gigantic white light.

    • Ubisoft Reverses Rainbow Six Siege Censorship Decision
    • Rainbow Six Siege Removing Censorship
    • Rainbow Six Siege developers will roll back controversial ‘censorship’ update, Ubisoft announces

      The company announced earlier this month that it would be making substantial changes to the game’s look to allow it to be played in China. Those included getting rid of symbols and decoration that used skulls, blood that was cleaned up and the disappearance of gambling machines.

    • First Amendment Expert: Facebook Censors ‘Voices We Need To Hear’

      Even liberal voices agree that Facebook is censoring people for their political views.

      In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher, Knight First Amendment Institute’s Director Jameel Jaffer talked about protecting the First Amendment in the online world. While he argued that Facebook wants to protect free speech, Jaffer told Swisher that Facebook censors people “all the time.” He said, “Facebook is so big and Facebook arguable controls the public square, or a large segment of the public square.”

    • Facebook accused of censorship by Russian ‘news agency’

      Federal Agency of News files lawsuit as social network seeks to tackle disinformation

    • Facebook’s Fake News War Has Russian Site Crying Censorship
    • Deplatformed Russian ‘News’ Site Sues Facebook, Days After Its Accountant Is Charged by Special Council
    • Tumblr is missing from Apple’s App Store
    • Tumblr’s censorship update hits Android, Safe Mode turn off not working
    • Online censorship in Saudi Arabia soared after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder
    • Fighting Fake News: Can Technology Help The Middle East Throw Off The Shackles Of Censorship?
    • Attempted censorship

      PHILIPPINE National Police chief Oscar Albayalde and Local Government secretary Eduardo Año should resign their posts and apply as TV scriptwriters for ”Ang Probinsyano” or any other television program they wish to write scripts for.

      But while Albayalde and Año occupy positions of power, they should know their proper place and obligation: To defend the constitutional right to free expression, even when it is deemed inconvenient or critical.

      [...]

      In the remote instance that they choose to resign, Albayalde and Ano would surely flunk the application process for scriptwriters. Head writers and producers nationwide cannot easily forget the laughable “Red October” fiction they foisted on the nation just recently. This is the same PNP chief and the same DILG chief who shamelessly explained that Imelda Marcos cannot be arrested and detained after she was convicted for seven counts of graft. Elsewhere, they order the immediate arrest of poor and sick senior citizens tagged either as drug addicts or communist leaders.

      Albayalde should understand that “to serve and protect” doesn’t refer to himself or to the president. It refers to the Filipino people, including their artists and journalists.

    • IDF censor to public: Don’t help Hamas decipher botched Gaza operation

      In a highly irregular public statement, the IDF’s Spokesperson Unit and the Military Censor asked the public on Thursday to refrain from posting pictures or information on last week’s botched intelligence gathering operation east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, lest they be of service to Hamas.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook Refuses To Pay The Paltry Fine Imposed For Cambridge Analytica Scandal

      Facebook has appealed against the meager £500,000 fine imposed by the UK authorities for the social media company’s involvement in the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.

      According to Facebook, the authorities have found no evidence in the leakage of users’ data, and the £500,000 fine is uncalled for. Facebook was given a period of 30 days to challenge the Information Commissioner’s verdict, and the company appealed on the last day.

    • Microsoft and Google are playing happy families to make Chrome for Windows ARM

      In fact, Chrome was available in the store during the Windows 8 era, but was removed, mostly because Google had too much control over it. It’s much the same with Apple and iOS, with Chrome being significantly altered to use the Safari engine before it was permitted.

    • Google, Microsoft & Qualcomm working together on Chrome for Windows 10 on ARM computers

      With Microsoft’s new Windows 10 on ARM initiative, the company is seeking to bring devices with ARM processors into the fold without punishing them as Windows RT did by being entirely incompatible with all existing Windows applications. This is possible by letting the ARM devices emulate the x86 processor necessary for the overwhelming majority of Windows applications.

    • Assessing Snowden’s legacy, five years on

      A couple things are clear from the piece: the Snowden revelations changed the debate, making the issue of mass internet surveillance into something that has infused every other online policy discussion since; another is that the Snowden’s critics are still insistent that even though the surveillance Snowden revealed was unequivocally illegal, and even though the spy agencies had been illegally concealing their illegal surveillance, and even though Snowden had exhausted every conceivable avenue for getting the NSA to confront its own illegality, despite all that, Snowden’s critics are still sure that he didn’t have to go public, and that he could have done it all differently (none of them seem to have a coherent theory of why Snowden would risk so much and sacrifice so much if there was something else he could have done).

      But beyond that, it’s still a mixed bag. The Snowden docs did prompt significant — but complex and wonky — changes to the legal framework for mass surveillance. They accelerated the pace at which the world has adopted end-to-end encryption (and spurred Google and other tech giants to start encrypting their data-center links). They provided the material support that EFF needed to keep its mass surveillance lawsuits — launched more than a decade ago — alive in the face of US governmental claims of official secrecy.

      But they haven’t ended mass surveillance. Arguably, they haven’t even slowed it down.

      The story’s not over though. [...]

    • The Internet of Things is Surveillance

      The IOT is back in the news again this week. A judge has ordered Amazon to turn over audio data from an Alexa device related to a murder investigation.

      There’s a few interesting things raised by this warrant. The investigators believe that Alexa may have captured audio of the attack itself and uploaded it to Amazon servers, which means that Alexa would have been listening despite the “wake word” not being spoken. This would go against how Amazon tells us the device functions. The investigators may be hoping that Alexa may have incidentally heard something that sounds like the wake word, and recorded audio based off of that. This has happened before.

      They are also asking for a list of all devices that connected to the speaker during the time period in question. This means that Amazon is collecting information on everyone that visits your home and when based on their mobile devices that they bring along with them.

    • Facebook Fall Guy Admits Doing the Bad Things in Conveniently Timed Memo

      In a conveniently timed pre-Thanksgiving news dump on Wednesday, Facebook shared a previously leaked internal memo from the company’s ousted Head of Communications and Policy Elliot Schrage and an accompanying note from Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg addressing a recent damning report from the New York Times.

    • Half of India’s ATMs may close down by March 2019, warns industry body
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • DR Congo: Pre-Election Crackdown on Activists

      In November, police arrested without basis the journalist Peter Tiani and 17 pro-democracy youth activists in the capital, Kinshasa. Many were beaten during arrest and detention. In the eastern city of Goma, unidentified assailants abducted and tortured a youth activist, Tresor Kambere, for three days before releasing him. Goma police arrested four other youth activists during a small peaceful demonstration demanding Kambere’s release. The activists arrested in November have been released, but Tiani remains detained.

    • A Teenage Girl in South Sudan Was Auctioned off on Facebook

      Despite the media attention, Facebook says it only became aware of the issue on November 9, three days after the girl was married and more than two weeks after the day the family first announced its auction on the platform, on Oct. 25.

    • Zuckerberg at center of new Facebook firestorm

      The past year has given ammunition to the growing number of critics worried about Facebook’s size, business model and implications for democracy. But a recent report characterizing Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandburg as slow or reluctant to respond to recent challenges is also raising questions about the judgment of the people running the network connected to more than 2 billion people.

    • My nasty encounter with Tanzanian repression

      It soon became clear that we had underestimated the scale of attacks on the Tanzanian press and government repression. Journalists spoke of anti-press laws, including the Media Services Act, the Cybercrimes Act– under which many were being prosecuted for “insulting” the president– as well as onerous content regulations aimed at bloggers that require hefty and unaffordable registration fees. We were told about the suspension of newspapers, journalists charged with sedition, spies in newsrooms, and much, much more. Many spoke about last year’s 21 November disappearance of freelance journalist Azory Gwanda, who was investigating extrajudicial killings in Kibiti. Gwanda has not been heard from since. Many journalists were frightened that they would suffer the same fate. Fear and self-censorship became a constant refrain.

    • British spying trial: Matthew Hedges sentenced to life in jail by Abu Dhabi court

      British citizen Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life in prison, for spying on the UAE, by a federal court in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

      Mr Hedges, 31, a PhD student at Durham University in the UK, was convicted by the Federal Court of Appeal for attempting to procure sensitive information during a trip to the Emirates this year.

      He appeared in court, accompanied by his wife, Daniele Tejada, and officials from the British Embassy to hear his sentence.

      A life sentence includes a maximum of 25 years in jail and is followed by deportations for non-Emiratis. Mr Hedges will be deported upon completion of his sentence and was also ordered to pay all legal fees.

    • ‘Our Government Added This Question to Chill Immigrants’ Participation’ – CounterSpin interview with Liz OuYang on 2020 Census

      Well, we’re not accustomed to thinking of the 10-year survey as crucial in shaping our day-to-day lives. But if it weren’t, it’s unlikely that it would be being debated in federal court, as it is right now. So what’s going on?

      Liz OuYang is a longtime civil rights attorney and advocate, and a consultant to the New York Immigration Coalition. She’s also adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights and New York University’s College of Arts and Science. She joins us now by phone from here in town. Welcome to CounterSpin, Liz OuYang.

    • Noam Chomsky Turns 90: How a U.S. Anarchist Has More Than Survived

      On December 7, 2018, Noam Chomsky turns 90 years old. In a 2013 Reader’s Digest poll of “The 100 Most Trusted People in America” (topped by Hollywood celebrities), Noam Chomsky, a self-described anarchist, ranked #20 (behind #19 Michelle Obama but in front of #24 Jimmy Carter). Given that anti-authoritarians throughout U.S. history have been routinely shunned, financially punished, psychopathologized, criminalized, and assassinated, Chomsky’s surviving and thriving are remarkable.

      In the early 1960s, when few Americans were criticizing the U.S. government’s war in Vietnam, Chomsky was among the first to challenge and resist it. He risked prison time and the loss of an academic career in linguistics in which he had become highly esteemed for his groundbreaking contributions. For more than a half century, Chomsky has used his platform to challenge all illegitimate authorities, including the U.S. government and oppressive regimes around the world. He has voiced a consistent contempt for elite rule—for its atrocities as well as for its subversion of working-class autonomy.

      While Chomsky abhors any hero worship—especially of himself—he does value what can be learned from human experiments in living. In this spirit, examining Chomsky’s life has value for anti-authoritarians seeking an understanding of how to survive.

      Chomsky knows full well that luck has been a major factor in his beating the odds, but even great luck is not enough for a U.S. anarchist to survive and have a profound impact. Chomsky also possesses extraordinary intelligence, Spinoza-like rationality, and great wisdom about survival.

    • Disobey and Defeat the Citizenship Question

      The White House’s move to interrogate our citizenship in the coming census could have far-reaching consequences. Likely, it would diminish the accuracy of the census itself and make it more expensive for taxpayers to fund. Worse still, information regarding citizenship could be used to terrorize those in our communities who already live precarious and vulnerable lives under the present administration.

      For many, Trump’s Hitlerian games that now encroach on the census could not be more unwelcome. Yet, the government won’t get out of its own way on this one precisely because it is steered by a racist executive. And because filling out the census is a legal requirement for us all, the president thinks we’re simply going to participate in this latest xenophobic attack on our collective administrative state.

      It is no secret that Trump and his administration have actively considered sharing census information with law enforcement officials. Yet, legally, the census is to be confidential. The Patriot Act doesn’t alter this, and laws dating back to the late 19th and mid-20th centuries secure and protect confidentiality as a vital part of the census itself. Moreover, the Department of Justice has no say as to whether census data gets shared or not. Only Congress can make changes to the law that prohibits the sharing of census data with agencies outside the Commerce Department, which facilitates the census.

      By now, lawsuits have been filed to challenge the implementation of the “citizenship question.” But we needn’t hope for an outcome that upholds the laws already on the books. And we don’t need to worry about Trump potentially scoring another racist political victory here. We ourselves have the power to exact a referendum. How? If the citizenship question is on the census, we shouldn’t fill it out. Instead, let history inspire us to refuse cooperation now.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Story of Lenny, the Internet’s Favorite Telemarketing Troll

      The final result was a chatbot that consists of 16 stock phrases played in order. The first four phrases are scripted so as to encourage the telemarketers to begin their sales pitch and the last 12 phrases are played in a loop until the telemarketer hangs up. Lenny is powered by an interactive voice script, a software program that listens for one-and-a-half second pauses in the conversation so that it knows when to say the next phrase in the loop.

    • US Wireless Data Prices Are Among the Most Expensive on Earth

      While competition from T-Mobile recently helped drive carriers like AT&T and Verizon back to “unlimited” data plans and away from more tightly metered options, genuine price competition in the US market tends to sometimes be theatrical in nature.

      [...]

      Pai’s recent repeal of net neutrality—if it survives next February’s court battle—is likely to open the door to entirely new, creative surcharges and penalties on what’s already some of the most expensive mobile data plans in the world.

    • HTTP/3

      I’ve started on a “HTTP/3 explained” document [2] with the aim of explaining
      these new protocols (HTTP/3 and QUIC). The fundamentals are there and you can
      read it already and it should give you a decent first grasp, but it certainly
      isn’t complete yet. I will gracefully appreciate comments, bug reports and
      improvements!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Updates of discussion on possible revision of Japan’s IP dispute resolution system

      The discussion on possible revision of Japan’s intellectual property dispute resolution system, reported in the previous article, has started from last October, and the second meeting was held on November 21 2018 at the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), on which I had a chance to sit in. The objective of the meeting was to hear opinions from users of the litigation system, i.e. a lawyer, Masakazu IWAKURA (Partner at TMI Associates), Keidanren for the voice of big business in Japan, and The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) for the voice of SMEs. In their presentations, large companies seemed to want the continuation of the status, while SMEs want the reinforcement. Interestingly, large companies are worried about the case when they become a suspect, and SMEs make statements as a patent holder. It looks like SMEs versus large companies. So, the revision would be made to save SMEs in a disadvantaged position, due to resource shortage.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Amps Up Article 13 Protest With Pop-Ups

        The controversy surrounding Article 13 of the EU’s proposed copyright legislation continues. This week YouTube raised the bar by running pop-up messages to warn users about unintended consequences. While the video platform is getting more involved, its compromise solution is yet to convince major players in both the pro- and anti-Article 13 camps.

      • Mexico Piracy is Rampant But Spotify Uptake is Huge

        According to data from a local anti-piracy outfit, 97% of the population in Mexico admits to having consumed music illegally, with 50% doing so via stream-ripping. Spotify, however, reports that Mexico City is the legal “streaming music capital” of the world, outdoing New York, London, and every other city for that matter.

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