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01.26.19

Links 26/1/2019: Wine-Staging 4.0, MythTV 30.0 Released; Debian GNU/Linux 9.7 “Stretch”

Posted in News Roundup at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Elementary OS: How I Learned To Stop Tweaking And Love The Workflow

      During my first week using elementary OS I felt unusually confined. Shackled by things like no minimize button, no dark mode and no out-of-the-box way to add new themes. I’m always excited to learn new workflows and discover the less popular corners of a new operating system. I love being able to tweak and tweak and tweak. And then I realize I get buried in the customization, distracted by endless choice. My inability to do this immediately is elementary’s biggest drawback to some — and to others its biggest advantage.

    • New Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Goes on Sale Powered by Ubuntu

      A new version of the popular Dell XPS 13 developer edition laptop has gone on sale — and it’s powered by Ubuntu, naturally.

      The updated Dell XPS 13 developer edition is available to buy in the US, Europe, and Canada, with prices starting at $740.

      The newly refreshed notebook is the direct successor to the Dell XPS 13 developer edition (9370) launched back in January 2018 (to much praise and plenty of envy).

      “Last January the Dell XPS 13 developer edition (9370) made its debut Today we’re excited to announce that one year later its successor, the XPS 13 developer edition (9380), is now available in the US, Canada, and Europe,” Barton George, head of Project Sputnik at Dell, says in his announcement.

    • Dell launches new Ubuntu-based XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition range

      Dell has officially launched the Ubuntu-based XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition range, with four base configurations for fans of Project Sputnik to choose from. Along with the Ubuntu Linux 18.04 operating system, potential buyers can choose from an i3-8145U model with 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD and non-touch FHD screen all the way up to a variant that sports an i7-8565U CPU, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and a touch 4K Ultra HD panel.

    • Audio support for Linux on Chromebooks appears to be pushed back to Chrome OS 74

      There was some good progress on adding basic audio playback in the Linux container of a Chromebook this month and I had high hopes we’d see the feature soon. Unfortunately, it looks like this functionality has been pushed from version 73 of Chrome OS to version 74.

    • Windows 10 alternatives: Best free, open source operating systems

      So why not opt for a free, open source Windows 10 alternative?

      Switching to an open source OS could involve a learning curve, but the community, customisation and lack of cost should be enough to make up for it.

      Read on for our favourite free, open source browsers.

    • Challenge Accepted: An Adventure in Linux — Part 1

      So, I went over to Distro Chooser and answered a few questions, picked a distro I had not used before, and created a bootable USB. The problem was when I tried to get my laptop to boot from the live USB, it wouldn’t. Enter issue number one: UEFI. For those who may not know, UEFI stands for “unified extensible firmware interface” and has replaced the basic BIOS firmware I was familiar with. Due to the new laptop having UEFI, there were some compatibility issues with the distro I had chosen. My options were to configure the laptop for a legacy boot or attempt to find a new distro I could use with UEFI.

  • Server

    • Office 365 mail down in Europe for more than a day

      Users of Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft 365 in Europe have been unable to access their mailboxes for more than a day, with a borked domain controller apparently the reason.

      Surprisingly, the Microsoft Office 365 status website said there were no known issues.

    • Office 365 enjoys good old-fashioned Thursday wobble as email teeters over in Europe

      Office 365 is enjoying a Thursday wobble this morning, at least as far as users in the UK and much of Europe are concerned.

      Users began noticing that something was amiss when they encountered issues connecting to the company’s cloudy email servers, with the first reports coming in at 9:30 UTC.

    • Want a tech job that pays $100K a year? Brush up on your Linux skills

      Sysadmins skilled in managing Linux-based systems are earning six-figure salaries, according to an analysis of job postings by careers site Dice.

    • Linux Engineer and Sysadmin Jobs Can Translate into Big Money

      If you’re on the hunt for a tech job that pays quite a bit of money, consider something Linux-centric. A new analysis of the Dice database shows that Linux engineers and sysadmins earn more (on average) than the “typical” tech worker.

    • Open Outlook: Linux

      2018 proved one thing to me: Choice is everywhere. It’s evident in the workloads that organizations run, in how they run them and in where these applications ultimately live. New enterprise applications continue to emerge, highlighted by the interest being shown in blockchain, IoT and AI, with these applications running across bare metal servers, virtual machines and Linux containers hosted on private and multiple public cloud footprints. I find this constant evolution incredibly exciting and one of the reasons why I love working in IT.

      But in such a world of change, organizations need a constant, something that they can rely upon to help both consume this innovation and preserve their right to change technology directions as new options arise. The one common factor that underpins all of these options is that the majority of these next-generation applications are written on:

    • Top 5 Most Popular Open Source Web Servers

      Apache HTTP is one of the most popular web servers. According to the figures from various sources, the server is believed to be powering at least 60% of all the websites in the world.

      Although Apache is usually associated with Linux, it can be easily deployed on the Windows operating system. The web server uses a modular architecture that allows extra modules to be embedded in it for the purpose of expanding its features. For example, you can install the mod_proxy so so that the server allows a proxy gateway.

      As an open source web server, Apache HTTP is available for anyone to download and use at no cost. The server has a vibrant community and you can be sure of getting constant updates about the latest security patches and other important features.

    • Best Open Source Web Servers for Linux

      Web servers are used to host web sites, and they serve content to end-users when they are being called over the HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). Many Linux based web servers are open source, and therefore it’s not difficult to find a different types of web servers in the industry. However, not all the web servers are same, for instance some web servers are developed to cater to certain special needs, some web servers receive updates frequently, some web servers are designed for certain technologies only, and some web servers are preferred for stability over frequent updates. This article intends to list out some of the best open source web servers available out there for Linux platform, and their applications.List of Best Web Servers

    • Red Hat Survey Sees Major Spike in Container Adoption

      Although there’s a lot of interest in all things related to containers, mainstream adoption among enterprise IT organizations is still in its early days. But a recent survey of 400 customers conducted by Red Hat finds that reliance on containers is expected to increase by an astounding 89 percent over the next two years.

      That increase comes on top of a relatively modest base of current usage. Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they employ containers today, and only 13 percent say they’re using containers for half or more of their workloads. A little more than one-third (37 percent) are running 10 percent or less of their workloads in containers today.

      Margaret Dawson, vice president for portfolio product marketing at Red Hat, says the survey also makes it clear that there is much work to be done. About half of the survey respondents say they aren’t sure whether containers are secure, and only 42 percent say containers are easy to set up.

    • Red Hat OpenShift on Red Hat OpenStack Platform: Flexibility Key to BBVA’s Digital Transformation
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux kernel 5.0 RC1 is available with ARM big.LITTLE EAS support, F2FS fixes, and much more

      While we don’t typically cover what happens in the mainline Linux kernel realm, it’s important for us to keep track of what’s going on with each new kernel release since Google mandates a minimum Linux kernel version requirement with each new release of Android. The recent decision to extend LTS releases from 2 to 6 years will play a major role in reducing security patch fragmentation since device makers will have to do less work in backporting security patches. Plus, the mainline kernel does often integrate new features that are relevant to mobile devices.

    • Libinput Working On User-Space Support For High Resolution Scroll Wheels

      One of the exciting user additions to the forthcoming Linux 5.0 kernel is high resolution scroll wheel support for various Logitech and Microsoft mice. While the kernel support has landed, the user-space support is still pending.

      Red Hat’s input expert, Peter Hutterer, has been working on the libinput patches for supporting high resolution scrolling support with what’s needed by user-space. This feature is about allowing more precise scroll wheel support and should yield much smoother scrolling for devices like the Logitech Performance MX and others.

    • Intel Could Finally Be Ready To Enable Fastboot By Default For Skylake & Newer

      Going back seven years has been the Intel Linux graphics driver’s “Fastboot” support for allowing a more polished initial boot experience by allowing unnecessary mode sets to be avoided by the hardware. There have been multiple attempts over the years to enable this cleaner boot experience by default, but each time it ended up being rejected or later reverted due to running into issues with problematic hardware. This year looks like we might finally see it enabled by default for Skylake HD/Iris Graphics and newer.

      Intel Fastboot support was particularly problematic with older generations of graphics hardware and with time there have been driver improvements as well. For those using recent generations of Intel graphics like Skylake and newer, there haven’t been any major problems in recent times. Fastboot has also been gaining more interest recently thanks to Fedora polishing up their boot experience and for that it relies on Fastboot to avoid the flickers caused by unnecessary mode-setting operations.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation Fosters Unified Open Source Framework For The Edge

        The Linux Foundation has launched LF Edge, an umbrella organization to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system. LF Edge is initially comprised of five projects that will support emerging edge applications around non-traditional video and connected things that require lower latency, faster processing and mobility.

      • Linux Foundation launches LF Edge for open source framework for edge computing

        The Linux Foundation launched LF Edge, an umbrella organisation to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system. LF Edge is initially comprised of five projects that will support emerging edge applications in the area of non-traditional video and connected things that require lower latency, faster processing and mobility.

      • Bringing open-source rhyme and reason to edge computing: LF Edge

        Edge Computing is becoming increasingly important with the rise of 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Unfortunately, there’s no standardization to Edge Computing. So far. The Linux Foundation, has launched LF Edge, to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system.

        This isn’t easy. Interoperability and standards simply don’t exist in IoT or Edge Computing. This makes life miserable for anyone working in these areas. It’s the LF Edge’s founders hope that this pain will bring vendors, OEMs, and developers together to create true open standards. For the broader IoT industry to succeed, the fragmented edge technology players must work together to advance a common, constructive vision.

      • Linux Foundation Aims To Advance Edge Computing With LF Edge Effort

        Edge computing is an emerging model for IT in which resources are distributed across the edge of the network to collect and analyze data. Edge requires a different model for networking and resource management than the cloud or even traditional on-premises networking.

        The first five projects joining LF Edge include Akraino Edge Stack, EdgeX Foundry, Open Glossary of Edge Computing, Project EVE (Edge Virtualization Engine), and the Home Edge Project. While some of the LF Projects are networking-focused, the overall effort is not directly related to the Linux Foundation’s LF Networking organization.

        “LF Edge has its own governance, and the scope of it is beyond networking and telecom and includes IoT, enterprise and cloud,” Arpit Joshipura, general manager, the Linux Foundation, told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet. “It’s similar in structure – LF Edge provides a neutral structure for building a diverse open source community capable of driving better, more secure development at the edge.”

      • Why the Linux Foundation’s New Project May Prove Transformative

        The rise of containers and hardware-isolated micro-virtualisation technologies has made this more possible than ever. Shaposhnik told us: “We’re building a hardware root of trust – just like Android – and using trusted execution environments on Arm etc.

        He adds: “In a data centre you don’t need to worry quite so much about physical attacks: you’ve got a guard at the front with a gun. At the edge physical security is a paramount concern. Can we make sure devices we deploy are as difficult to crack, even if you have physical possession of them, as an iPhone? That’s what we’re doing. We’re extremely excited to be part of LF Edge.”

      • CoreDNS Joins the Ranks of CNCF Graduates

        Created just three years ago and admitted to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as an incubating project a year later, DNS server CoreDNS has come a long way. Last month, CoreDNS was named the default DNS for Kubernetes and now the CNCF has announced that the project will join the ranks of Kubernetes, Prometheus, and Envoy as a CNCF graduate — the first of 2019. CoreDNS will graduate just a year shy of its anniversary of becoming an incubating project with CNCF.

      • CoreDNS is all grown up now and ready to roll: Kubernetes network toolkit graduates at last
      • Linux Foundation Readies Hyperledger Fabric for Enterprise-Class Blockchain Apps

        The Linux Foundation is looking to spur adoption of blockchain technologies by releasing the first long-term support (LTS) version of the Hyperledger Fabric framework along with a Hyperledger Grid reference architecture designed to make it simpler to build supply chain applications.

        Christopher Ferris, an IBM CTO for open technology who contributes to the Hyperledger project, says the open source Hyperledger Fabric team is trying to strike a balance between two sometimes competing agendas. On the one hand, it’s imperative to foster innovation. On the other, enterprise IT organizations are generally not able to absorb a constant stream of updates to a core technology. The LTS version of Hyperledger Fabric provides a stable version of the blockchain framework on which to deploy enterprise applications, says Ferris.

        “The LTS version should have at least a year under it before the next update,” says Ferris.

      • Accenture Upgrades Linux Foundation Membership, Expands ONAP Work

        ONAP’s platform provides real-time policy driven automation and orchestration of both physical and virtual network functions. This allows for developers as well as software, network, IT, and cloud providers to automate new services and support lifecycle management. The project issued its third code release in December, deemed Casablanca. The release introduced two new blueprints for the platform: a cross-carrier blueprint and a 5G blueprint.

      • Accenture extends collaboration with ONAP

        The arguments around NFV orchestration continue unabated. The two main technology solutions (or “frameworks” is probably more accurate) being developed are the Linux Foundation (LFN) supported Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and ETSI’s Open Source MANO (OSM), both of which have plenty of dedicated contributors and CSP supporters.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Submits Initial AMDGPU Graphics Driver Improvements Ahead Of Linux 5.1

        The initial batch of new AMDGPU feature changes slated for the Linux 5.1 were sent out on Friday evening for staging in DRM-Next until the 5.1 kernel merge window opens at the end of February or early March.

        As is standard practice, this will likely be the first of at least one or two more feature pulls of new material for Linux 5.1 when it comes to the AMDGPU DRM driver. There still is 2~3 more weeks of feature work that could land in DRM-Next before its cutoff ahead of the 5.0 release that marks the beginning of the Linux 5.1 merge window.

      • AMDVLK Driver Picks Up Several New Vulkan Extensions

        AMD developers have done their latest weekly code push comprising the open-source AMDVLK driver stack for the official open-source Vulkan API support.

      • AMD Posts 138 Linux Driver Patches, Bringing Up New SMU Block For Future GPUs

        AMD Linux graphics driver developers this morning posted a set of 138 patches introducing a new software SMU driver that is geared for “future ASICs.”

        Given how long it takes to develop working driver support for a new GPU architecture, it should be as no surprise that internally AMD would already be working on the Linux support for next-generation Navi due out later this year. Today this new SMU driver could be the first signs of that support albeit limited to the system management unit.

      • AMD releases AMD Open-Source Driver for Vulkan v-2019.Q1.2

        Last week, the AMD team released v-2019.Q1.2 version of AMD Open Source for Vulkan (AMDVLK). This release comes with fairly small updates including a DXVK fix, one new Vulkan extension, and some more updates.

      • AMD’s Radeon VII will support Linux from day one

        AMD LOVES OPEN SOURCE STUFF so we guess it’s no surprise that Team Red’s upcoming Radeon VII graphics card will support Linux out of the box.

        That’s according to an AMD representative who spilled their guts to Forbes, noting that its high-end GPU will be down with Linux from day one.

        Previous AMD cards, including the recently released Radeon RX 590, didn’t come with Linux support as standard with AMD needing to push out an update to get the aforementioned GPU to play nice with the open source OS.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows Server 2019 vs. Linux vs. FreeBSD Gigabit & 10GbE Networking Performance

        FreeBSD 12.0, Windows Server 2019, and five Linux distributions were tested for comparing the Gigabit and 10GbE networking performance as part of our latest benchmarks. Additionally, the performance was looked at for the Mellanox 10GbE adapter when also using the company’s Linux tuning script compared to the out-of-the-box performance on the enterprise Linux distribution releases.

        Recently I posted benchmarks of 9 Linux distributions against FreeBSD 12.0 for looking at the 10GbE networking performance. Comparing to Windows Server 2016/2019 was thwarted there due to the HP NC523SFP PCIe adapter with QLogic 8214 controller had poor/unavailable driver support on Windows. So I restarted the testing from scratch but for this go around was using a Mellanox MT26448 ConnectX-2 PCIe adapter. These Mellanox adapters have a single 10GbE SPF+ port and are half-height cards. These are among the low-cost 10GbE SPF+ network adapters with being able to find them from major Internet retailers for around $20~30 USD, a reasonable price for SOHO environments.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The Big GNOME Icon Revamp – Are You a Fan?

        Red Hat employee and GNOME team designer Jakub Steiner has taken to his blog to detail the “…background on why [the icon redesign] was needed, our goals with the initiative, and our exciting plans for the future.”

        We can expect to see the first fruits of this bold new icon revamp in GNOME 3.32 when it’s released in March.

        All of the new GNOME icons are proportionally designed according to a grid (more on that below), make use of a refined color palette, and use solid, geometric lines. Some icons sport a bottom lip/chin, giving them a semi-3D perspective that’s sort of like a Scrabble tile.

        Anyway, while the upcoming Ubuntu 19.04 release will be based on GNOME 3.32 it won’t feature this new icon set. Why? Because Ubuntu has its own! It will continue to use the (newly expanded) Suru/Yaru icon set.

      • GNOME 3.32 Gets Fixed Up For Buggy Zoom Mode

        In addition to Canonical’s Daniel van Vugt having been tackling various performance issues with the GNOME desktop, the Ubuntu developer has also been working on addressing various usability issues and other glaring problems.

        One of those issues with a fix now in place is in regards to the GNOME Shell’s zoom mode. When using the zoom mode there was the possibility of pop-ups/dialogs being clipped off, text and icons having sharp edges in this accessibility mode, and related issues. The new patch merged in Mutter strikes out these multiple issues, clutter: Fix offscreen-effect painting of clones.

      • Librsvg’s GObject boilerplate is in Rust now

        The other day I wrote about how most of librsvg’s library code is in Rust now.

        Today I finished porting the GObject boilerplate for the main RsvgHandle object into Rust. This means that the C code no longer calls things like g_type_register_static(), nor implements rsvg_handle_class_init() and such; all those are in Rust now. How is this done?

      • Christian Hergert: A Better Builder – Part I

        As I mentioned in my overview of the upcoming Builder release, a lot of this development cycle focused on improving machinery the user does not see. In the past four years of development, a number of patterns emerged. When I started this project, I had some ideas of how to keep things organized, but Builder quickly grew beyond my ability to keep the whole design in my head at once.

        Thankfully, I’ve worked on many large software teams during my tenure at companies like VMware and MongoDB. These company’s products have something in common, in that they’re a number of sub-systems performing specialized tasks that coordinate with each other. Not surprising, I know. But sometimes, knowing where to draw the lines between sub-systems is what differentiates products. (Interestingly, if you want to build a database engine, you better have a good reason to deviate from page 144 of Architecture of a Database System).

        Now days, Builder segments the code into a series of static libraries. We have a core library that provides the basic functionality used by all sub-systems. We have a process and threading library. One library deals with representing and manipulating source code. Yet another focuses on building, executing, testing, and packaging software. To enable Language Servers, we have one too. Even the gui and editor are somewhat compartmentalized.

  • Distributions

    • Top 5 Linux Distributions for Development in 2019

      One of the most popular tasks undertaken on Linux is development. With good reason: Businesses rely on Linux. Without Linux, technology simply wouldn’t meet the demands of today’s ever-evolving world. Because of that, developers are constantly working to improve the environments with which they work. One way to manage such improvements is to have the right platform to start with. Thankfully, this is Linux, so you always have a plethora of choices.

    • New Releases

      • v30.0 Released

        The MythTV Team is pleased to announce the release of MythTV version v30.0

        This release is the first release of the new stable branch fixes/30.

      • MythTV 30.0 Released With Front-End Support For Select Android TV Devices

        It’s been a while since last having anything major to report on MythTV, the once very common HTPC software for open-source DVR/PVR needs albeit less so these days given all the Internet streaming and on-demand video platforms. This month the project released MythTV 30.0 as their newest feature release.

      • MythTV 30.0 released

        The MythTV Team has announced the release of MythTV 30.0. The release notes contain more information.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Tumbleweed Gets New grep, Linux Kernel 4.20

        The latest snapshot, 20190121, provided updates of KDE Applications 18.12.1 and Frameworks 5.54.0. Applications 18.12.1 offers about 20 bug fixes. Sorting columns in the JuK music player has been fixed, Akregator now works with WebEngine from Qt 5.11 or newer and Konsole once again correctly renders box-drawing characters. Breeze Icons added YaST and new preference icons with the update to Frameworks 5.54.0, which also fixed a bug in KIO that made the open url in the tab feature a bit more discoverable. Kwayland also fixed XDGForeign Client header installs. Support for 12 bits decoding of AV1 was added with vlc 3.0.6. A minor update to GNU Compiler Collection 8 includes a backport of asm inline. The lightweight Integrated Development Environment geany 1.34.1 now automatically detects the GTK version to build against. A patch was made to the update of java-12-openjdk 12.0.0.0~26, which included a fix that introduces a diagnostic flag to abort Virtual Machines operating too long. A fix for Mariabackup that failed to copy encrypted InnoDB system tablespace of the log sequence numbers (LSN) was made with mariadb 10.2.21. Visual diff and merge tool meld 3.20.0 added an Enter as a Compare accelerator in folder comparisons. The update of mutt 1.11.2 fixed a compilation with the latest OpenSSL version along with various other bug fixes. Several rubygem packages were also updated in the snapshot. Two recent issues were fixed in the purple-facebook 0.9.6 package; one addressed a failed to get sync_sequence_id and the other was a failed to read fixed header. Samba 4.9.4 addressed two Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures(CVE) including a fix of a CNAME loop prevention using counter regression.

      • OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Now Rolling With Linux 4.20, KDE Updates

        If your new year’s resolution was to try out a Linux rolling-release distribution, openSUSE Tumbleweed has shipped a number of updates ahead of the weekend for those wanting to give it a try. OpenSUSE Tumbleweed is now making use of the Linux 4.20 stable kernel, KDE desktop package updates, and much more.

      • 2018-2019 openSUSE Board Elections: Meet Vinzenz Vietzke

        The Candidates were asked to give some biographical personal information, such as birthdate, age, their work, their openSUSE contributions, their hobby, and more, as they saw fit.

        My name is Vinzenz Vietzke, but sticking with the much shorter “vinz” or “vinzv” is what I prefer. I’m 34 years old, live in a small town in southern Germany.

      • SUSE expert on tapping into an open source eco-system in 2019

        There are some big things set for 2019. Customer expectations continue to evolve, new technologies are developed to push the envelope which that leads to continuous transformation of our business, our people, our processes and of course, the technology and infrastructure. So, what is to come over the next 12 months and how should IT teams be preparing for any incoming changes?

        [...]

        In 2019, we’re set to see the maturation of various technologies, from containers and hybrid cloud to AI. Open source software will continue to thrive and play a pivotal role in these predictions as open source communities have become the vanguard of innovation. What’s more, open source software will continue to play a fundamental role in all the dominant technology trends as it is increasingly being relied on by enterprise businesses around the globe.

      • 2018-2019 openSUSE Board Elections: Meet Nathan Wolf

        About 2005, I gave openSUSE my first spin due to better hardware support with dial up modems and sharing the blazing 56 kbaud speed with the other computers on the network. I shifted to openSUSE full time in 2011 after some distro hopping because the structure and layout just made sense as compared to the other available offerings.

        I began contributing to openSUSE in 2013 when I had a need to document the process to set up using the smart card system for openSUSE Linux. I compiled the works from several sources to make a repeatable process to properly set up the smart card.

        Not long after, I had to start understanding how to install Oracle Java. I updated those instructions on the Wiki and it kind of snowballed from there. I discovered at that point I really enjoy documenting processes of getting things working. Rather than just keep my instructions for myself only, I used the fantastic openSUSE Wiki to share my knowledge.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-04

        Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. Self-Contained Change proposals are due on Tuesday, 29 January.

        I’ve set up weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Fedora 30 Planning To Use Wayland-Enabled Firefox By Default

        For the past two and a half years there has been a non-default Firefox package with Wayland support available to Fedora users running Fedora Workstation with the GNOME Shell. For the Fedora 30 release due out this spring, they are planning to ship the Firefox Wayland back-end by default.

        The Wayland support for Firefox is now mature enough that Red Hat is planning to use the Firefox Wayland build by default when running on the GNOME Shell with Mutter Wayland compositor – it’s not being enabled for other Wayland compositor options on Fedora at this time.

      • Devconf.cz 2019
    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.7 “Stretch” Live & Installable ISOs Now Available to Download

        A security vulnerability that could lead to man-in-the-middle attacks allowing remote attackers to install malicious packages on users’ computers, which later could be used to execute code with administrative privileged, was discovered in APT, the command-line package manager used by Debian GNU/Linux systems.

        The Debian Project was quick to release a patched version of the APT package for their Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” users to address the vulnerability, urging everyone to update their systems as soon as possible. To further limit any unwanted problems, they also respined their installation and live images by releasing Debian GNU/Linux 9.7.

      • Reasons Why I Recommend Using Debian Linux

        It is a community distribution that does not intend to exploit distribution for commercial purposes, such as Red Hat and Ubuntu.

        This point for me is a guarantee to preserve our security and our privacy.

        ​​Who is interested in this point I invite you to read the social contract of Debian.

        Conclusion

        We do not have to be formatting our computer every 6 months since the testing and unstable branches follow a model close to the Rolling Release.

        If we install Debian Testing or Unstable we will never have to reinstall our operating system because the Debian repositories are updated daily with new Software. In this way, when we update our operating system, we will receive the relevant updates progressively and we will always be using current software versions.

        Users who choose to use the stable version will have a 5-year support and in case they want to have current software versions they can use the Debian backports repositories.
        Note: The intention of this post is not to say that Debian is superior to the rest of the distributions. I only try to describe the aspects that I like and for which I use Debian.

      • Debian 9.7 released
      • Debian 9.7 KDE Run Through

        In this video, we look at Debian 9.7, the KDE Plasma edition.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Core 18.04 goes live, Canonical hopes for IoT surge

            Canonical has announced the launch of Ubuntu Core 18.04, the IoT-version of its Ubuntu operating system that has seen a surge in popularity…

          • Canonical releases Ubuntu Core 18, the latest version of its IoT-focused Linux OS
          • Ubuntu Users Can Now Keep PPAs And Third Party Repositories Enabled When Upgrading To A Newer Ubuntu Version

            A regular Ubuntu release upgrade (to a newer Ubuntu version) disables any PPA or third party repository that may be enabled.

            Some recent changes to ubuntu-release-upgrader allow keeping PPA and third party repositories enabled when upgrading to a newer Ubuntu release, while also providing better support for cases in which the users have their own mirror of the archive. This is done by using an environment variable, RELEASE_UPGRADER_ALLOW_THIRD_PARTY.

          • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Magazine #141

            This month:
            * Command & Conquer
            * How-To : Python, Ubuntu on an Honor 5C, and Darktable for Photographers
            * Graphics : Inkscape
            * Everyday Ubuntu: Retro Games
            * Course Review: Ruby
            * UBports Devices: OTA-7
            * Ubuntu Games: Hatari
            plus: News, Linux Loopback, The Daily Waddle, Q&A, and more.

          • Upgrading releases with PPAs

            In my years working on the Ubuntu project I’ve seen quite a lot of bug reports about people encountering failures when trying to upgrade from one release of Ubuntu to another. The most common issue, in my opinion (I have no numbers), is a system having a PPA or other 3rd party provider of packages enabled and that archive having packages which cause a failure to calculate the upgrade.

            I’ve recently made some changes to ubuntu-release-upgrader which should improve this situation. The dist-upgrader has had support for an environmental variable, RELEASE_UPGRADER_ALLOW_THIRD_PARTY, for quite a while but it didn’t actually work because do-release-upgrade and check-new-release-gtk didn’t pass the variable to the dist-upgrader. This has now been resolved and actually helps with two things. One is keeping PPAs enabled during the release upgrade process, the other provides better support for users who have their own mirror of the archive. For example, I mirror some releases of Ubuntu and when upgrading have to always respond to the dialog about using an internal mirror and saying yes to rewrite my sources.list file. But now if I use ‘RELEASE_UPGRADER_ALLOW_THIRD_PARTY=1 do-release-upgrade’ I won’t see that dialog!

          • Popular Tools for easily Cropping and Resizing images in Ubuntu

            While working with images, even as an amateur, we frequently encounter the seemingly simple task of resizing and cropping our image files. Let us first see how cropping and resizing are different from each other.

          • Ubuntu Publish ‘Introduction to Snap Apps’ Video

            Everything you ever wanted to know about Snap apps in one concise video — sound good?

            If so, the latest video uploaded to the Ubuntu YouTube channel should appeal.

            The 8 minute clip whips through the architecture, packaging and management capabilities of Snap applications over traditional software distribution models, and features a healthy dose of practical examples.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • What’s New in Linux Mint 19.1 MATE Edition

              Linux Mint 19.1 MATE is latest release of Linux Mint 19.1 which use MATE desktop 1.20 as default desktop enviroment include MATE applications 1.20 and brings all the goodies from the Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (Bionic Beaver) release.

              The MATE desktop environment offers a clean and uncluttered graphical session for this Linux Mint release. It is comprised of a single panel located on the bottom edge of the screen, from where the user can access the main menu, launch applications and interact with opened windows.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Get started with Freeplane, an open source mind mapping application

    There seems to be a mad rush at the beginning of every year to find ways to be more productive. New Year’s resolutions, the itch to start the year off right, and of course, an “out with the old, in with the new” attitude all contribute to this. And the usual round of recommendations is heavily biased towards closed source and proprietary software. It doesn’t have to be that way.

    Here’s the 13th of my picks for 19 new (or new-to-you) open source tools to help you be more productive in 2019.

  • Using Antora for your open source documentation

    Are you looking for an easy way to write and publish technical documentation? Let me introduce Antora — an open source documentation site generator. Simple enough for a tiny project, but also complex enough to cover large documentation sites such as Fedora Docs.

    With sources stored in git, written in a simple yet powerful markup language AsciiDoc, and a static HTML as an output, Antora makes writing, collaborating on, and publishing your documentation a no-brainer.

  • Open Source: The Start of a New Decadefor FOSS

    Bruce Perens, one of the founders of the open source movement, told the Register that “my take on open source is that it’s a way to promote the idea of ‘free software’ to business people. It’s not fundamentally different than ‘free software.’ It’s just a way to talk about the same thing to different people.”

    Tom Petrocelli, a research fellow at technology analysis firm Amalgam Insights, told InformationWeek that “Open source at 20 is more successful than anyone imagined. This is amazing considering that the development of open source depends on companies working together, including competitors.”

  • Intel Open Sources a Kubernetes-Native Deep Learning Platform

    Intel has released a new platform dubbed Nauta that lets data scientists and developers use Kubernetes and Docker to conduct distributed deep learning (DL) at scale.

    Its client software, open sourced today under an Apache 2.0 licence, can run on Ubuntu 16.04, Red Hat 7.5, MacOS High Sierra and Windows 10.

  • Google Cloud, Sony open source OpenCue render manager for visual effects, animation
  • Google partners with Sony Pictures Imageworks to launch an open-source VFX render manager

    Google today announced that it has partnered with Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony’s visual effects and animation studio, to launch OpenCue, an open-source render manager. OpenCue doesn’t handle any of the actual rendering processes, but it provides all the tools to break down those different steps and then schedule and manage the different rendering jobs across large rendering farms, both local and in the cloud.

  • Google and Sony debut OpenCue, an open source render manager for visual effects

    Visual effects rendering is a computationally expensive undertaking. In order to bring James Cameron’s Avatar to life, for instance, Weta Digital had to process up to eight gigabytes of data per second a day for over a month in an onsite 10,000-square-foot server farm. The machines inside said farm were as beastly as they come: Collectively, they comprised 40,000 processors and 104 terabytes of memory.

    Google and Sony think there’s a better way to produce effects — one that involves the cloud. Toward that end, the companies today jointly announced OpenCue, an open source, high-performance render manager capable of scaling from thousands to millions of shots in hybrid cloud environments.

  • Kodi Is Perfectly Legal But …

    It is the extensible part that has dogged the Kodi team in recent years. Like open source projects such as WordPress, the Kodi media player can be extended using various plugins. Most plugins are quite useful and sensible. For example, the Google Drive plugin allows you the user to access the media files such as Pictures and Videos that are stored in your Google Drive cloud account. Other add-ons allow you to change the skin, download lyrics well as automatically download subtitles.

    All this is perfectly legal. In that regard, Kodi is very much like VLC on steroids. No one in their right mind would be tempted to think that VLC is illegal for it is a tool much like a hammer. These days however you will hear a lot of Kodi bashing in the media. In fact, the adjective illegal often accompanies the Kodi brand. Now that is just ignorance.

  • EdX Launches a Promotional Website About its Open Source Platform

    This website, open.edx.org, highlights the fact that the Open edX software is trusted and used by top organizations, such as edX, MIT, Harvard, IBM, Microsoft, XuetangX, and Global Knowledge, among others. Overall, there are over 20,000 courses built on the Open edX software and over 40 million learners.

  • TiDB open sources its MySQL/MariaDB compatible data migration (DM) tool

    TiDB, an open source cloud-native distributed database, made its data migration platform (DM) available as open source today.

    Data Migration (DM) by TiDB is an integrated data synchronization task management platform that provides support for full data migration as well as the incremental data migration from MySQL/MariaDB into TiDB. It helps reduce the operations cost and also make the troubleshooting process easy.

  • Tolling.Network’s open source blockchain for toll interoperability

    Milligan Partners and Ruuftop.io have launched Tolling.Network, a distributed ledger solution which uses the Hyperledger Fabric for toll interoperability. Milligan Partners and Ruuftop.io believe Tolling.Network is a next-generation network for both agency-to-agency national interoperability and cross-border interoperability.

  • Assessing the economic impact and business models of open source

    On the 28th of October 2018, IBM revealed its intent to acquire open source software leader Red Hat in what is now the biggest software acquisition in history. While perhaps not a total surprise considering IBM’s historical advocacy for open source and particularly Linux, the (USD) $34 billion buyout certainly drew mixed reactions from pundits, with some predicting disastrous outcomes and others believing the acquisition to be Big Blue’s saving grace after a mediocre period of revenue in Q3. Although while it remains to be seen how the acquisition will play out for IBM, major enterprise organisations don’t just spill out half their annual revenue every day. So, why make the purchase?

    [...]

    As well as this, Red Hat also has its own great team of open source-savvy developers that IBM will be extremely keen to join forces with on a variety of projects, including crafting Kubernetes to be a more capable platform for hybrid cloud deployments. Taking this all into account, it’s clear that IBM believe firmly in open source software and this will play a big part of their movements going forward.

  • Storj (STORJ): Promoting Transparency And System Usability

    Storj (STORJ) is a decentralized and open source solution for file storage. It uses file sharding, encryption and also a Blockchain-based hash table for the storage of files on a peer-to-peer network. The primary objective of storj is enable a faster, cheaper, and more private storage of cloud files.

    There are certain limitations to known cloud storage solutions such as Google drive or Dropbox. These limitations include the fact that while files are simply backed up redundantly, access to your files can be restricted by unexpected outages or bandwidth from a data centre. There is also the issue of privacy.

  • IBM Releases Open Liberty 18.0.0.4 with Support for MicroProfile 2.1 and Reactive Extensions

    First introduced in September 2017, Open Liberty is an open-source implementation of IBM’s WebSphere Liberty application server to build microservices and cloud-native applications. Open Liberty’s ongoing support for MicroProfile has ensured the latest version is included in its quarterly releases. This is evident with a brief look at Open Liberty’s release history:

  • Open Source Neural Network for AI Piano Duets [Video]

    Yotam Mann built this neural network that was trained on the concepts and theory of music. Based on the human input, the AI will return a corresponding sequence of notes and timings.

  • PX4 Delivers Open Source Flight Control Software for UAVs

    The open source community around the Pixhawk open autopilot hardware and the PX4 flight stack is described as the largest industry-backed development community in the drone space today. PX4 is part of Dronecode, a non-profit organization administered by Linux Foundation to foster the use of open source software on flying vehicles. Dronecode also hosts QGroundControl, MAVLink & the SDK.

  • Events

    • The 10 best cloud and infrastructure conferences happening in 2019

      With such a mix of opportunities and emerging trends, it’s going to be essential to keep a close eye on key cloud computing and software infrastructure conferences throughout the year. These are the events where we’ll hear the most important announcements, and they’ll probably also be the place where the most important conversations happen too.

      But with so many cloud computing conferences dotted throughout the year, it’s hard to know where to focus your attention. For that very reason, we’ve put together a list of some of the best cloud computing conferences taking place in 2019.

    • Interesting Linux.Conf.Au 2019 Videos Now Available

      Taking place this week in Christchurch, New Zealand was the annual Linux.Conf.Au conference, one of the best Linux/open-source events. For those that weren’t down under for the event, the videos of the various technical sessions have begun to be uploaded to YouTube.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google’s Proposed Changes to Chrome Could Weaken Ad Blockers

        THE WEB CAN be an annoying and creepy place. Big animated ads try to distract you from what you’re reading, while ads for products you’ve already bought stalk you. That’s led many people to install ad blockers or other tools to inhibit websites from tracking them. According to a survey by identity management company Janrain, 71 percent of respondents use ad blockers or some other tool to control their online experience. Google, which makes the bulk of its money from advertising, has even gone so far as to block ads on its Chrome browser on a small number of sites with particularly aggressive ads.

      • What is Chromium?

        Google has undertaken many projects over the years, building upon the success of its search engine which has held total dominance of the market share since most people can remember. The Chrome browser, in particular, is up there with some of its most well-known and widely used platforms and, just like the search engine, Google’s browser has achieved considerable market dominance, despite being unfashionably late to the party.

      • Google planning changes to Chrome that could break ad blockers

        The problem for ad blockers comes with an API called webRequest. With the current webRequest API, the browser asks the extension to examine each network request that the extension is interested in. The extension can then modify the request before it’s sent (for example, canceling requests to some domains, adding or removing cookies, or removing certain HTTP headers from the request). This provides an effective tool for ad blockers; they can examine each request that is made and choose to cancel those that are deemed to be for ads.

    • Mozilla

      • Clarifying the Future of Firefox Screenshots

        Screenshots has been a popular part of Firefox since its launch in Firefox 56 in September 2017. Last year alone it was used by more than 20 million people to take nearly 180 million screenshots! The feature grew in popularity each month as new users discovered it in Firefox.

        So it’s not surprising that any hints of changes coming to how we administer this popular feature generated interest from developers, press and everyday Firefox users. We want to take this opportunity to clarify exactly what the the future holds for Screenshots.

      • Mozilla Fosters the Next Generation of Women in Emerging Technologies

        At Mozilla, we want to empower people to create technology that reflects the diversity of the world we live in. Today we’re excited to announce the release of the Inclusive Development Space toolkit. This is a way for anyone around the world to set up their own pop-up studio to support diverse creators.

        The XR Studio was a first-of-its-kind pop-up at Mozilla’s San Francisco office in the Summer of 2018. It provided a deeply needed space for women and gender non-binary people to collaborate, learn and create projects using virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence..

        The XR Studio program was founded to offer a jump-start for women creators, providing access to mentors, equipment, ideas, and a community with others like them. Including a wide range of ages, technical abilities, and backgrounds was essential to the program experience.

      • Fast vs private? Have it all with Firefox.

        Two years ago there weren’t many options when it came to a fast vs private browser. If you wanted fast internet, you had to give up privacy. If you went with a more private option, it didn’t move as fast. That is, until Firefox Quantum came along.

      • Changes to the SUMO staff team

        Rachel and Michal have been crucial to our efforts of creating and running SUMO for many years. Rachel first showed great talent with her work on FxOS support. Her drive with our social support team have been crucial to the support of Firefox releases. Michal’s drive and passion for languages have ensured SUMO KB has a fantastic coverage of languages and that support to use the free, open browser that is Firefox, is available for more people. We wish Rachel and Michal all the best on their next adventure and thank them for their contributions to Mozilla.

      • Cameras, Sensors & What’s Next for Mozilla’s Things Gateway

        We’ve been delighted with the response we’ve seen to Project Things from hacker and maker communities in 2018. Thank you so much for all the contributions you’ve made in reporting bugs, implementing new features and building your own adapter add-ons and web things. Also thanks to you, a Project Things tutorial on Mozilla Hacks was our most read blog post of 2018!

        Taking things (pun intended) to the next level in 2019, a big focus for our team will be to evolve the current Things Gateway application into a software distribution for wireless routers. By integrating all the smart home features we have built directly into your wireless router, we believe we can provide even more value in the areas of family internet safety and home network health.

      • Vox Media acquires comment moderation platform The Coral Project

        Digital news company Vox Media Inc. has acquired The Coral Project, an open-source platform with the Mozilla Foundation that helps news publishers moderate comment sections.

        Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

      • Mozilla gets a new CFO

        Wen will replace former Mozilla CFO Jim Cook, who departed almost a year ago after 14 years with the organization.

      • TenFourFox FPR12 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 12 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no additional changes except for one outstanding security update and to refresh the certificate and TLD stores. As usual it will go live Monday evening Pacific time assuming no difficulties.

        For “lucky” FPR13 I want to take a whack at solving issue 541, since my ability to work on Github from the G5 is seriously impaired at the moment (I have to resort to various workarounds or do tasks from the Talos II with regular Firefox). Since this has some substantial regression risk it will probably be the only JavaScript change I do for that release pending further feasibility tests on the whole enchilada. However, a couple people have asked again about AppleScript support and there is an old patch around that I think could be dusted off and made to work. That release is scheduled for March 19.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Leaving Scribe

      This brings us to the present day. As mentioned above we are moving to ProseMirror, an open source tool for building text editors that is under active development and has users including the New York Times. At the time of writing our main body copy editor is being driven using ProseMirror.

      [...]

      Currently we are still using Scribe in many places inside the Guardian. The number of these instance will go down as we continue to work on our new editor but we may continue to make small security fixes, if and when required, throughout this period. It’s unlikely that we will be able to transition the canonical Scribe repository to maintainers outside of the Guardian, especially as we continue to use it, but given the project is open source and under an Apache license, we hope that forking will fulfil all of the requirements of anyone looking to continue using Scribe outside the Guardian.

    • WordPress.com vs WordPress.org: Which Is Right for YOU?

      WordPress is without a doubt the biggest name in blogging.

      While there are plenty of website builders and web content management software products on the market, WordPress has cemented itself as the powerhouse of the space.

      Don’t believe me? According to CodeinWP, WordPress accounts for 50 to 60 percent of the global market for content management systems (CMS) over the past seven years. On top of that, WordPress powers 14.7 percent of the top 100 websites in the world.

    • 5 Questions IT Managers Should Ask Before Choosing Open Source Software

      “Software is eating the world,” has been repeated so often that it is practically a meme. And though we wrote about how “open source is eating software,” as far back as 2015, it is a fact that is only being widely acknowledged now. Perhaps that is because the Linux Foundation has published survey results documenting exactly that. “Almost every organization today uses open-source code and it has become table stakes for most businesses,” according to the Linux Foundation.

      Constellation Research vice president and principal analyst Holger Mueller echoed the sentiment publishing a blog post, “Why Open Source has won and will keep winning.” In addition to that, venture capitalists are suddenly deciding that open-source software companies make good investments.

  • Education

    • Finland successfully migrates university libraries to free software backend

      On January 11th, the National Library of Finland has announced the successful migration of the University of Jyväskylä to Koha library system. It’s so far the second and biggest migration to the free and open source software, which by next summer will be used by nearly all academic libraries of Finland, holding several millions of records and hundreds of thousands of patrons.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free software made it on laptops but IoT future is bleak

      The biggest problem facing people interested in free and open source software is the lack of alternative firmware for IoT devices, president of the Software Freedom Conservancy Bradley Kuhn told Linux.conf.au in Christchurch on Friday.

      “So many devices now are digital, and so many devices now run Linux, so many devices now threaten our privacy, security, our very existence,” Kuhn said.

      “And we need the source code for them to be able to solve all those problems — we don’t just need the source code, we need the ability to effectively use the source code, to recompile it, and install it.”

      According to Kuhn, having the ability to tinker and replace the OS of devices is what made free software great in the first place, and the way to get people involved in a movement that could come to be dominated by large business-focused contributors.

    • GRCon18: Open Source Radio Telescopes

      John Makous spoke at the GNU Radio Conference about how he’s worked to make a radio telescope that is practical for even younger students to build and operate.

  • Public Services/Government

    • ‘Kerala blazing a trail in Open Source Software’

      The advantage that Open Source Software allows you to do is to see what is happening to your data. It does not necessarily protect you from misuse but allows you to also spot it. I can’t look at the code of WhatsApp and I can’t see what it’s doing.

      I could not know whether every photo that I send is not sent to somewhere else also.

      But with Open Source Software at least I could see and decide whether it’s doing a good or bad thing or else I can pay someone to see that for me. It does not necessarily protect you but allows you to have a bit of confidence that the software is doing what it all says it will do.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Licensing and Compliance Lab: The most frequently asked Frequently Asked Questions

      The FSF Licensing and Compliance Lab is committed to helping free software developers around the world with their questions sent to licensing@fsf.org. Our primary goal is to support what we believe is the best legal tool we have for protecting the rights of users, copyleft. The Lab works toward that goal by offering licensing education, running certification programs like Respects Your Freedom, providing license compliance and enforcement for the GNU Project, and fielding licensing questions from the free software community.

      In the course of this work, we often refer back to questions in the comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses (FAQ). The FAQ is quite long, with over 150 questions. Looking at the Licensing and Compliance Lab’s email referrals to the FAQ can help us gauge the questions that are the most frequent, or perhaps the most confusing. We’d like to share some of the insights we’ve gathered in our work to make our licensing resources as effective as possible. I amassed all the referrals to FAQ questions made by the Compliance Lab from the past 17 years in order to get a better understanding of what types of questions we field the most. This article will provide an overview of the most frequently referenced FAQ topics, and provide clarification and additional resources for more encumbered scenarios.

    • Red Hat Drops MongoDB Over License

      MongoDB’s attempts to make some money from its NoSQL database have hit another snag as Red Hat has now dropped it from its Enterprise Linux distribution.

      This is the latest in a sequence of moves and countermoves that started when MongoDB changed its license terms to use a Server Side Public License (SSPL) that explicitly says that if a company wanted to reuse and rebadge its database, explicitly to offer MongoDB as a service, then that company either needs to buy a commercial license or to open source the service.

    • Why more may be the wrong measure of open source contributions
    • Battle Of The Document Databases

      Cloud providers can be like sharks in that they have to keep moving forward – in their case, growing the number of services they can offer enterprises – or be overtaken by competitors.

      That need to continually grow the service portfolio isn’t going to go away any time soon. Cloud adoption is accelerating, moving past the early adopter stage and into what Paul Teich, principal analyst with Liftr Cloud Insights and a contributor here at The Next Platform, calls the “early majority” phase, and enterprises are moving forward with strategies that involve leveraging more than one public cloud provider.

      At the same time, the pile of data being generated by organizations is growing rapidly – and the cloud is becoming the place to collect, store, process, and analyze much of that data – but only a portion of enterprise workloads – about 20 percent – are being run in the cloud. That means that four out of five are still run in on-premises environments, so there is still a lot of applications that need to make their way from behind the firewall and into the cloud.

    • What Does Open Source Mean in the Era of Cloud APIs?

      One of the most interesting and unsurprising characteristics of conversations with organizations that have adopted one of the emerging hybrid or “non-compete” style of licenses is that they are universally insistent on being differentiated from one another. Which is understandable on the one hand, given that there are major structural differences between the Commons Clause and the SSPL, to pick two recent examples. Whether it’s reasonable to expect a market which by and large has little appetite for the nuances of different licensing approaches to care is, of course, a separate question.

      What is perhaps more interesting, however, is a central, foundational assumption that every member of this category of licenses shares. On the surface, examples like the Business Source License, the Cockroach Community License, the Commons Clause, the Confluent Community License, the Fair Source License, the TimeScale license or the SSPL would seem to have little in common. Some have ambitions to be considered open source, some do not but invoke open source-like terminology, and some are unambiguously and unapologetically proprietary. Some merely require contributions back copyleft-style, some prohibit usage within prescribed business models (read: cloud) and others restrict business usage without distinction. And so on; while typically rolled up and discussed as a category, they are no more unified in their intent and purpose than open source licenses broadly.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Crowdsourced maps should help driverless cars navigate our cities more safely

        Our current street maps aren’t much good for helping driverless cars get around. Although we’ve mapped most roads, they get updated only every couple of years. And these maps don’t log any roadside infrastructure such as road signs, driveways, and lane markings. Without this extra layer of information, it will be much harder to get autonomous cars to navigate our cities safely. Robotic deliveries, too, will eventually require precise details of road surfaces, sidewalks, and obstacles.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Jabil Offers Complete Source for Engineered Materials for 3D Printing
      • Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 22

        Using open-source designs and off-the-shelf components, researchers have developed an automated CVD system for $30,000 in hardware costs, according to Boise State in the journal PLoS One.

      • Building A 3D Printer That Goes Where You Do

        Given the wide array of very popular low cost 3D printers out there, some will likely be surprised that [Thomas] decided to mobilize a printer which is nearly an antique at this point: the PrinterBot Play. But as he explains in the video after the break, the design of the Play really lends itself perfectly to life on the road. For one, it’s an extremely rigid printer thanks to its (arguably overkill) steel construction. Compared to most contemporary 3D printers which are often little more than a wispy collection of aluminium extrusion and zip ties, the boxy design of the Play also offers ample room inside for additional electronics and wiring

        The most obvious addition to the PrintrBot is the six Sony NP-F camera batteries that [Thomas] attaches to the back of the printer by way of 3D printed mounts, but there’s also quite a bit of hardware hidden inside to break the machine free from its alternating current shackles. The bank of batteries feed simultaneously into a DC boost converter which brings the battery voltage up to the 12 V required for the printer’s electronics and motors, and a DC regulator which brings the voltage down to the 5 V required by the Raspberry Pi running OctoPrint. There’s even a charge controller hiding in there which not only frees him from carrying around a separate charger, but lets him top up the cells while the printer is up and running.

      • Open Source Synthesizers Hack Chat

        Matt Bradshaw is a musician, maker, and programmer with a degree in physics and a love for making new musical instruments. You may remember his PolyMod modular digital synthesizer from the 2018 Hackaday Prize, where it made the semifinals of the Musical Instrument Challenge. PolyMod is a customizable, modular synthesizer that uses digital rather than analog circuitry. That seemingly simple change results in a powerful ability to create polyphonic patches, something that traditional analog modular synths have a hard time with.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The-Forge Taking Open-Source TressFX Further With Vulkan, Other Framework Improvements

      TressFX, the library backed by AMD GPUOpen for advanced hair/fur/grass rendering and used by games like Tomb Raider, is seeing some improvements with its inclusion in The-Forge rendering framework.

      The Forge as a reminder is a cross-platform rendering framework developed by think-tank / consulting firm Confetti and added Linux support last year followed by full-featured Vulkan support. This rendering framework that can be used by gaming engines and more also supports macOS/iOS, Android, Xbox, PlayStation 4, and of course Windows.

Leftovers

  • Finland’s Foreign Ministry falls for €400K email scam

    Perälä said the NBI suspects that [intruders] managed to infiltrate the UNDP’s servers abroad, allowing them to monitor email exchanges.

    “In this way they have been able to send authentic-looking messages to the right persons. Project workers began to ask why the money hadn’t arrived and the ministry immediately began to look into why the money hadn’t reached its destination.”

    “Then they found out that the account belonged to a private individual,” Perälä added.

  • As a Designer, I Refuse to Call People ‘Users’

    I’ve worked in UX for the better part of a decade. From now on, I plan to remove the word “user” and any associated terms—like “UX” and “user experience”—from my vocabulary. It’ll take time. I’ll start by trying to avoid using them in conversations at work. I’ll erase them from my LinkedIn profile. I’ll find new ways to describe my job when making small talk. I will experiment and look for something better.

    I don’t have any strong alternatives to offer right now, but I’m confident I’ll find some. I think of it as a challenge. The U-words are everywhere in tech, but they no longer reflect my values or my approach to design and technology. I can either keep using language I disagree with, or I can begin to search for what’s next. I choose to search.

  • When To Buy Your Own ISBNs

    In 2017, I bought a block of one thousand ISBNs. Other authors have been asking me why I did that and if they should do the same. I’m writing this blog post so I can point them at it. The short but glib answer is, when the missed opportunity cost of piggybacking on Amazon’s (previously CreateSpace’s) free ISBNs exceeds the expense of buying your own ISBNs.

    But let’s break this down a little more.

  • Farming Simulator is getting its own e-sports league with more than $280,000 in prizes

    It will consist of 10 tournaments across Europe, including big events like Gamescom and Paris Games Week, culminating in a grand final at FarmCon 2020. The developer is putting up €250,000 in prize money (around $280,000), and it has lured big-name sponsors like Logitech and Intel. The new league will pit players against each other in the most recent entry in the series, Farming Simulator 19, which sold a million copies in its first 10 days of availability last year.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • “On Sale” Means What It Says: Helsinn v. Teva

      The idea that you can’t sell an invention and then, after you’ve started selling it, try to patent it has a long history in patent law. In fact, it goes all the way back to the 1836 Patent Act.

      That’s because allowing someone to sell their invention and patent it later would allow, for example, a drug manufacturer to start selling their drug and only file for a patent when a competitor was getting close to figuring out how to make the drug. That, in turn, would allow the drug company to extend their period of exclusivity beyond the Congressionally-determined patent term.

      Beyond that, the patent system uses the on-sale bar to prevent patent owners from taking inventions out of public availability, to incentivize them to promptly disclose inventions once they’re made, and to avoid giving exclusivity beyond the statutorily authorized period.

      Throughout the history of U.S. patent law, the courts have applied that limit to implement these principles, ensuring that patentees can’t hide sales and later patent their inventions. So why did we need a Supreme Court case to tell us that “on sale” means “on sale”?

    • WHO Cancer Report Stirs Debate On Eve Of Board Meeting

      As the World Health Organization Executive Board gathers tomorrow for its annual January meeting, health industry and advocacy groups have seized on a WHO report to be presented to the Board that finds high prices for cancer medicines are “impairing” governments’ ability to provide affordable treatments. One issue they may have in common is a desire for more transparency in analyses of prices.

  • Security

    • GandCrab ransomware and Ursnif virus spreading via MS Word macros

      Security researchers have discovered two separate malware campaigns, one of which is distributing the Ursnif data-stealing trojan and the GandCrab ransomware in the wild, whereas the second one is only infecting victims with Ursnif malware.

      Though both malware campaigns appear to be a work of two separate cybercriminal groups, we find many similarities in them. Both attacks start from phishing emails containing an attached Microsoft Word document embedded with malicious macros and then uses Powershell to deliver fileless malware.

    • WA mother’s warning after FIFO smart baby monitor logs into stranger’s nursery

      The device allows a user to view their child on their smart phone from anywhere in the world using a QR scan code and generic password.

      However Ms Day said she was concerned about the security around the product, after it logged her into another stranger’s nursery.

      “I logged in through what the instructions told me to and it wasn’t my daughters bedroom, it was somebody else’s bedroom,” she said.

    • DHS issues security alert about recent DNS hijacking attacks
    • Heads up: Debian’s package manager is APT for root-level malware injection… Fix out now to thwart MITM hijacks
    • If you installed PEAR PHP in the last 6 months, you may be infected

      The officials didn’t say when the [compromise] of their Web server occurred or precisely what the malicious version of go-pear.phar did to infected systems. Initial indications, however, look serious. For starters, the advice applies to anyone who has downloaded the package manager in the past six months. That suggests the [compromise] may have occurred in the timeframe of last July, and no one noticed either it or the tainted download until this week.

    • Debian and PHP PEAR Projects Update for Application Vulnerabilities

      Time and again, security experts and vendors alike will recommend to organizations and end users to keep software and systems updated with the latest patches.

      But what happens when the application infrastructure that is supposed to deliver those patches itself is at risk? That’s what open-source and Linux users were faced with this past week with a pair of projects reporting vulnerabilities.

      On Jan. 22, the Debian Linux distribution reported a vulnerability in its APT package manager that is used by end users and organizations to get application updates. That disclosure was followed a day later, on Jan. 23, with the PHP PEAR (PHP Extension and Application Repository) shutting down its primary website, warning that it was the victim of a data breach. PHP PEAR is a package manager that is included with many Linux distributions as part of the open-source PHP programming language binaries.

    • Staying Safe with Open Source [Ed: FOSS is not immune to social engineering, but such incidents get detected quickly. Unlike with proprietary software where these are covered up, back doors often intentional...]

      The dependency was an added in a minor version, and a new version was immediately released. This meant that most projects, which pin to minor, would get the updates, while it stayed invisible on the main GitHub landing page, or the main npm landing page.

      The malicious code was only in the minified version of the library that was uploaded to npm.org. The non-minified source code on both GitHub and npm.org, as well as the minified code on GitHub, did not contain the malicious code.

      The malicious code was encrypted with a key that used the description of other packages in the dependency tree. That made it impossible to understand the attack without guessing which package decrypts it.

    • You’re an admin! You’re an admin! You’re all admins, thanks to this Microsoft Exchange zero-day and exploit

      Microsoft Exchange appears to be currently vulnerable to a privilege escalation attack that allows any user with a mailbox to become a Domain Admin.

      On Thursday, Dirk-jan Mollema, a security researcher with Fox-IT in the Netherlands, published proof-of-concept code and an explanation of the attack, which involves the interplay of three separate issues.

      According to Mollema, the primary problem is that Exchange has high privileges by default in the Active Directory domain.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Internet experiment goes wrong, takes down a bunch of Linux routers [Ed: Drama queen Cimpanu, hired by CBS for his provocative nonsense, frames as "Linux" something that isn't about Linux]
    • BGP experiment knocks Linux routers offline [Ed: No, this isn't about Linux but BGP. The troll has spread further. Tech tabloids looking to badmouth GNU/Linux at all cost...]

      An experiment into new Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) standards accidentally knocked internet users offline twice this month, researchers have admitted.

      A group of researchers from universities across the world teamed up this month to try and discover “evaluated alternatives for speeding up adoption of BGP route origin validation”.

      Similar experiments, such as one in 2010 by Duke University, caused disruption due to a bug in some routers, which caused denial of service attacks.

    • Get informed of the risks associated with docker.sock

      While admins can gain deployment flexibility when they run the Docker Unix socket inside a container, that model carries some risk.

      A socket is an endpoint in a network that passes data between software. Docker.sock is a Unix socket that enables the Docker server-side daemon, dockerd, to communicate with its command-line interface via a REST API.

      The socket appears as the /var/run/docker.sock file. Because it is a file, admins can share and run docker.sock within a container and then use it to communicate with that container. A container that runs docker.sock can start or stop other containers, create images on the host or write to the host file system.

    • Top 5 Vulnerability Scanning Tools

      The process of recognition, categorization and mitigation of vulnerabilities present in a network or application is called vulnerability scanning or assessment. A vulnerability refers to as a threat that can result into system compromise or data loss. Vulnerability scanning tools automate the process of vulnerability scanning. They maintain a database of vulnerabilities to scan for potential exploits in a system or application. These are used by companies that have large corporate networks and web applications which normally can’t be tested manually.

    • Open-source tool scans for hackable robots on the net [Ed: How to make FOSS sound dangerous and malicious rather than the back doors it helps uncover]

      The tool dubbed aztarna (“footprint” in Basque language) allows security researchers to audit robots connected to the web, locating and identifying robots and their components, not only in the open internet, but also upon industrial environments where robots operate.

    • World’s favourite open-source PDF interpreter needs patching (again)

      Google Project Zero bug-hunter Tavis Ormandy took a “random look at the new release” of Ghostscript, and found a partly addressed vulnerability present in all versions up to 9.26.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why I went to Venezuela: PT President Gleisi Hoffmann speaks

      Gleisi Hoffmann grew up in a Catholic household in Curitiba where, after giving up plans to become a nun, she entered the student movement, affiliated with the Brazilian Communist Party (PC do B) and was elected President of the Curitiba, Parana State and National High School Student’s Unions. Afterwards, she became a lawyer, affiliated with the Workers Party (Partido de Trabalhadores/PT) and began a political trajectory which culminated with her serving as Dilma Rousseff’s Chief of Staff (2011-2014), Senator, and her current position of National President of the PT.

      In 2015 she was accused of corruption as part of the US Department of Justice/Brazilian Public Prosecutors Office’s Lava Jato investigation, headed by Jair Bolsonaro’s current Justice Minister Sergio Moro. According to a plea bargain testimony made by a convicted criminal in exchange for sentence reduction, she was accused of receiving bribes from Petrobras state petroleum company. The case came up to the Supreme Court in 2017, where it was thrown out by unanimous decision due to lack of material evidence.

      On January 10th, Hoffmann traveled to Venezuela to participate in the inauguration ceremony for President Nicolas Maduro. That week, she was broadly attacked in the media. I managed to catch up to her on January 19th to give her a chance to explain to an English speaking audience why she felt it so important to go to the inauguration.

    • “A Coup Is Not a Democratic Transition!” US Peace Activist Interrupts Pompeo Speech on Venezuela

      U.S. peace activist Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, called on her government to end its meddling in the affairs in Venezuela on Thursday—and called on other nations in the region to respect Venezuela’s sovereignty—as she interrupted remarks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting of the Organization for American States (OAS) in Washington, DC.

      “Don’t support the coup!” Benjamin declared, holding up a sign at the end of the council room. “A coup is not a democratic transition! Do not listen to Secretary Pompeo!”

      As security guards forcibly removed her, she continued, “Do not support the coup! Do no support the coup in Venezuela!”

    • Venezuela’s Maduro Faces Major Test After US-Backed Coup Attempt

      The latest US-backed effort at regime change in Latin America took shape Wednesday when a nearly unknown Venezuelan opposition politician named Juan Guaido declared himself the interim president of the country at a rally in the capital city of Caracas.

      In quick succession, the United States — along with a number of right-wing governments in the region including Colombia, Brazil and Chile — declared that it would recognize Guaido as president. Meanwhile, global mainstream media coverage depicted the event as the restoration of democracy in the South American country, with outlets making only a passing mention of the large pro-government demonstration that also took place.

      Addressing a large crowd of supporters who had gathered at the presidential palace in the Venezuelan capital, President Nicolás Maduro condemned the attempted coup and announced that his government would break diplomatic relations with the United States in response.

      According to Jorge Martin, a spokesman for the Hands Off Venezuela campaign based in the United Kingdom, which works to build public support for the political revolution in Venezuela, Wednesday’s coup attempt was but the latest in a long series of efforts by successive US administrations to oust the government in Venezuela.

    • Vast Majority Of Democrats In Congress Remain Silent Or Support Coup In Venezuela

      As President Donald Trump’s administration backed the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Democratic senators and representatives in Congress were largely silent.

      Some influential Democrats sided with Trump and expressed support for Juan Guaido, the right-wing opposition figure who declared himself interim president of Venezuela on January 23. But only two Democrats—Representative Ro Khanna and Representative Tulsi Gabbard—spoke out against the decision by the U.S. government to give a green light to Guaido and the opposition to oust Maduro.

      Representative Julian Castro, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Kamala Harris, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who have each announced they will run for president in 2020, apparently had nothing to say about the right-wing coup attempt supported by the Trump administration.

      Potential 2020 presidential candidates, like Senator Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joseph Biden, made no statements either.

    • Trump Calls on Maduro to Resign as Foe Claims Venezuela Presidency

      Venezuela’s crisis quickly escalated Wednesday as an opposition leader backed by the Trump administration declared himself interim president in a direct challenge to embattled socialist Nicolas Maduro, who retaliated by breaking off relations with the United States, his biggest trade partner.

      For the past two weeks, ever since Maduro took the oath for a second six-year term in the face of widespread international condemnation, the newly invigorated opposition had been preparing for nationwide demonstrations Wednesday coinciding with the anniversary marking the end of Venezuela’s last military dictatorship in 1958.

    • The Illegal CIA Operation That Brought Us 9/11

      Was it conspiracy or idiocy that led to the failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to detect and prevent the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon headquarters? That’s one of the questions at the heart of “The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror,” by John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski. In their careful and thorough investigation of the events leading up to the attacks, the authors uncover a story about the Central Intelligence Agency’s neglect, possible criminal activities and a cover-up that may have allowed al-Qaida to carry out its plans uninhibited by government officials.

      In the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” the journalists tell Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer how an interview with Richard Clarke, the counterterror adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, led them to a jaw-dropping revelation regarding two hijackers involved in the infamous attacks. As it turns out, Khalid Muhammad Abdallah al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, two men linked to al-Qaida, were staying at an FBI informant’s home in San Diego in 2000, and they were being tracked by the National Security Agency. Despite knowledge of the men’s ties to the terrorist organization responsible for 9/11, neither was investigated by the FBI. Clarke and others believe that this may have had to do with a CIA attempt to turn the two men into agency informants.

      “When we sat down with Clarke … he told us he couldn’t see any other explanation but that there was an op [and] that it never made it to the White House because it would have had to go through him,” says Nowosielski. “And his friend [then CIA Director] George Tenet was responsible for malfeasance and misfeasance in the runup to 9/11.”

    • Following apartment explosion in Magnitogorsk that definitely wasn’t terrorism, local police are rounding up and maybe torturing Central Asian migrant workers

      Police officers in Magnitogorsk reportedly arrested a Kyrgyzstani citizen earlier this month and tortured him in jail, according to Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyz service. Khusnidin Zainabidinov’s wife says her husband is suspected of involvement in an explosion that destroyed a local apartment building and killed dozens of people. Russian officials have insisted that they believe the blast was caused by a gas leak, repeatedly denying rumors that it was an act of terrorism, but Zainabidinov apparently told his wife that police showed him photographs of several bearded men and asked him what he knows about them.

      Local prosecutors are currently considering a Kyrgyzstani extradition request for Zainabidinov, who is wanted back home for his alleged involvement in June 2010 ethnic clashes that killed nearly 420 people (mostly Uzbeks) and displaced upwards of 80,000 people.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Welcome to ‘The New Abnormal’: Apocalypse Still Looms as Doomsday Clock Stays at 2 Minutes to Midnight

      Founded in 1945 by developers of the atomic bomb, the Bulletin’s mission is to “equip the public, policymakers, and scientists with the information needed to demand, recognize, and support public policies that reduce manmade existential threats.”

      Last year, citing inaction on the climate and nukes, the group moved the hands of its infamous Doomsday Clock forward a half-minute, signaling to the global community that it was at greater risk of experiencing utter catastrophe. In a statement on Thursday, Bulletin president and CEO Rachel Bronson welcomed the world to “the new abnormal.”

    • With Corporate Interests at the Helm, EPA Polluter Fines Down 85%, Hitting Lowest Level in 25 Years

      The decline represents an alarming 85 percent drop, suggesting that Trump’s EPA is no longer in the business of protecting Americans from dangerous water and air pollution, according to former EPA enforcement official Cynthia Giles.

      “The public expects EPA to protect them from the worst polluters,” Giles, who worked at the agency during the Obama administration, told the Post. “The Trump EPA is not doing that. What worries me is how industry will respond to EPA’s abandonment of tough enforcement.”

      The agency’s fines have fallen to their lowest level in 25 years, Giles found in an analysis of EPA data.

      The decline came as no surprise to groups including government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which has called for an investigation into EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, who officially took office this month after serving as acting administrator following Scott Pruitt’s resignation last summer.

    • Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction Amid High Waters, Permit Violations

      Since October 2018, the Mississippi River has been running high, thanks in part to heavier-than-usual rainfall across its northern and central stretches.

    • Oregon Again a Battlefield for Fracked Gas Pipeline and Jordan Cove LNG Terminal

      When the incumbent Democratic Governor Kate Brown defeated Republican Knute Buehler in a contentious race for Oregon’s governorship, many in the state’s climate movement let out a momentary sigh of relief. Brown had promised to “lead on climate” while Buehler had pledged his support for new fossil fuel infrastructure.

      Now, residents are working to hold Governor Brown to task over what they see as the most pressing climate issue facing the state: the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal and its Pacific Connector Gas pipeline. Backed by the Canadian company Pembina Pipeline Corporation, the project would transport natural gas extracted via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from Colorado to Oregon’s coast, where it would be super-cooled into liquid form and loaded on ships to international markets.

  • Finance

    • Stellar Prospects – The Decentralized Open-Source Future of Banking?

      Founded in 2014 by Jed McCaleb and operated by the non-profit organization Stellar.org, Stellar is a blockchain based network that aims to connect banks, people and payment systems in order to create a low-cost, high-speed environment for the transfer of value.

      Similar to Ripple, Stellar acts as a cross-border payments system with the goal of reducing transaction fees and allowing the underbanked access to loans, microsavings and cost-cutting. To use their own words: “Move Money Across Borders Quickly, Reliably, And For Fractions Of A Penny”. If all this sounds familiar, that’s because Stellar’s founder, Jed McCaleb, is also the co-founder of Ripple, which is another cryptocurrency focused on the same low-fee, fast transactions across borders model.

    • Groups Call on Democrats to Stop Stalling and ‘Immediately’ Request Trump’s Tax Returns

      “Democrats pledged to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns as part of their oversight agenda, and we will hold them accountable for that promise,” said Maura Quint, executive director of Tax March, one of the groups leading the pressure campaign. “There is no need to slow-walk this. We have played this game for years, and Donald Trump will not willingly release his tax returns. The only solution is for Chairman Neal to request his tax returns immediately.”

      Also organized by Indivisible and Stand Up for America, the grassroots push comes as Neal is facing backlash for hesitating to take the first step of obtaining the president’s personal and business tax returns: sending a request to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

      To help expedite this process, the progressive coalition sent Neal a pre-formatted request that is ready to deliver to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

      As the groups launched their pressure campaign on Thursday, Neal signaled to reporters that he has no plans to heed grassroots demands to speed up the process.

    • Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang backs blockchain

      Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang said that while the hype behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has reduced, blockchain technology still has important….

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump’s Shutdown Impacts Information Access

      Government shutdown causing information access problems by James A. Jacobs and James R. Jacobs is important. It documents the effect of the Trump government shutdown on access to globally important information: [...]

    • Facebook cracks down on fake news publishers with harsher punishments for bad pages

      Facebook says this is specifically to prevent users from using an adjacent or other existing page or group as a replacement once another has been flagged and taken down. Prior to this change, the page or group must have been made after the initial removal to be potentially affected simply for affiliation reasons. Now, Facebook says it can use this policy to pull down an affiliated page or group even if it was made before the takedown.

    • Trump comments may help Huawei CFO fight extradition: envoy

      Comments made by US President Donald Trump after the arrest by Canada of Chinese telecommunications equipment provider Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou may help prevent her extradition to the US, a Canadian diplomat has said.

    • Threats to Airline Safety ‘Growing by the Day’ as Shutdown Drags On

      Air travel, with its cramped seats, delays and long security lines, was already stressful before the government shutdown. It has only become worse for airline workers and travelers alike, as the Transportation Security Administration is hit by the partial government shutdown, now entering its second month. Employees are about to miss their second paycheck, and as one TSA officer told CNBC on Wednesday, “The rent is not going to happen.”

      TSA workers and even executives at major airlines have sounded the alarm on the need for a resolution. “The longer this goes on, the longer it will take for the nation’s air travel infrastructure to rebound,” Robin Hayes, the chief executive officer of Jet Blue, said on a conference call with analysts and investors, according to Bloomberg.

      According to the New York Times, “as many as one of every 10 transportation security officers is not showing up for work and reserve workers are being flown in to bolster depleted ranks at some airports.”

    • The Fierce Urgency of Now

      Oh, the gobsmackingly tone-deaf claptrap issuing from the mouths of court clowns and grifters. Following in the tawdry tracks of Lara Trump’s “little bit of pain” came corrupt billionaire and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross saying he can’t understand why federal workers are going to food banks to feed their kids when they’re just going through a mere “liquidity crisis” – from one prol: “Rich people have liquidity crises. The rest of us be broke” – so why don’t they get a loan at 9% interest by using their 2008 pick-up as collateral, or maybe dip into their portfolio or sell some of their art or rent out one of their flippable properties, and anyway there’s only a few hundred thousand of them which won’t make a dent in the all-important-when-they’re-turning-off-your-water gross domestic product, “so it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall.”

      Next up was Larry Kudlow, head of the White House National Economic Council, who bested his former dismissal of the widely devastating shutdown as a “glitch” by boasting that federal workers were “volunteering” because of “their love for the country” and “presumably their allegiance to President Trump.” Then he got all prickly when a reporter pointed out that coerced working without pay is not in fact volunteering, sneering about “semantics” and maintaining he had made himself perfectly clear, which, alas, he had. Best commentary on the subject, initially about Ross but equally, abominably applicable to Kudlow and all the other corrupt miscreants of this regime: “When these government workers run out of food, I hope they start to eat the rich.”

    • Billionaire Wilbur Ross Says Unpaid Federal Workers Don’t Have “Good Excuse” for Running Out of Money During Shutdown

      Displaying what one critic described as “malignant indifference” to the suffering the ongoing government shutdown has caused for hundreds of thousands of federal workers, President Donald Trump’s billionaire Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday said he doesn’t “understand” why public employees who haven’t been paid in over a month are resorting to food banks and homeless shelters to survive.

    • Our Dangerous Impulse to Demonize the Other Side

      I felt it, too. Millions of people experienced a thrill of outrage watching the viral video of protesters outside the Lincoln Memorial last week. The smug, smiling white boy in a “Make America Great Again” cap, who came on a school trip to attend an anti-abortion march, was blocking a Native American elder who had come for the Indigenous Peoples March. Other boys danced, mockingly, as the older man sang and played his drum. The whole scene seemed to sum up the overt racism and triumphant arrogance of white Trump supporters.

      Except that, in a longer video you see that the boys were not blocking Nathan Phillips, the Native American man. Instead, Phillips approached the boys. And the entire scene, as various marchers converged on the National Mall, was more circus than standoff.

      Now that circus has metastasized into a war over the reactions to videos of the incident. Nick Sandmann, one of the boys, is on national TV to defend himself, and Donald Trump is blaming the “fake news” for victimizing the boys. First there was the messy, ambiguous encounter, then the rush to judgment, and now both sides scolding each other and retrenching. It’s a microcosm of everything that is wrong with our national politics.

    • Senate Rejects Rival Dem, GOP Plans for Reopening Government

      A splintered Senate swatted down competing Democratic and Republican plans for ending the 34-day partial government shutdown on Thursday, leaving President Donald Trump and Congress with no obvious formula for halting the longest-ever closure of federal agencies and the damage it is inflicting around the country.

      In an embarrassment to Trump that could weaken his position whenever negotiations get serious, the Democratic proposal got one more vote than the GOP plan. There were six Republican defectors, including freshman Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who’s clashed periodically with the president.

      There were faint signs that lawmakers on both sides were looking for ways to resolve their vitriolic stalemate. But Thursday was mostly a day for both parties, in conflicting ways, to show sympathy for unpaid federal workers while yielding no ground in their fight over Trump’s demand to build a border wall with Mexico.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Thinks You Don’t Trust Facebook Because You Don’t ‘Understand’ It

      Annual surveys from the Ponemon Institute show that user trust in the social media giant toppled significantly in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica, when it was learned that Facebook previously knew that the research firm had obtained the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users and mostly did nothing. Reporting on the survey in April, the Financial Times said that user trust in Facebook had actually been on the rise before the scandal, but that user confidence in the company to protect their information fell from nearly 80 percent in 2017 to 27 percent last year. That was toward the beginning of the year—then the rest of it happened.

      In 2018, we learned that Facebook was data-sharing with other companies like Microsoft’s Bing, Spotify, Netflix, and others in exchange for more information about its users. There were also the revelations that Cambridge Analytica data-scraping was worse than we thought; that Facebook was sharing shadow contact information with advertisers; and that turning off Facebook location-sharing doesn’t stop it from tracking you. That’s obviously totally aside from the George Soros conspiracy theory fiasco; its mishandling of Myanmar genocide; and its standing as a hotbed for rampant misinformation.

    • Can South Africa help Zimbabwe?

      South Africa is our powerful neighbour and is one of the most powerful nations in Africa and can easily influence political changes for the better in Zimbabwe. So far they have not been able to work on a successful plan with the Zimbabweans. They have tried though on several occasions to put things right for us to no avail. The New version of displaying results outside each polling station soon after counting the ballots, introduced by the former president Thabo Mbeki. His help went on and resulted in the formation of a GNU which stabilised Zimbabwe significantly. He had prior to that sent in a team of experts, including army generals, to investigate the army killings of civilians towards the run off elections in 2008, results of which former president Jacob Zuma was not comfortable releasing. Now they are back again talking, trying to help us.

    • How Voting-Machine Lobbyists Undermine the Democratic Process

      In the past decade, Election Systems & Software (E.S. & S.), the largest manufacturer of voting machines in the country, has routinely wined and dined a select group of state-election brass, which the company called an “advisory board,” offering them airfare on trips to places like Las Vegas and New York, upscale-hotel accommodations, and tickets to live events. Among the recipients of this largesse, according to an investigation by McClatchy published last year, was David Dove, the chief of staff to Georgia’s then secretary of state, Brian Kemp. Kemp, the new governor of Georgia, made news in the midterm elections for his efforts to keep people of color from voting and for overseeing his own election. In March of 2017, when Dove attended an E.S. & S. junket in Las Vegas, Kemp’s office was in the market to replace the state’s entire inventory of voting machines. “It’s highly inappropriate for any election official to be accepting anything of value from a primary contractor,” Virginia Canter, the chief ethics officer at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told McClatchy. “It shocks the conscience.” (Kathy Rogers, E.S. & S.’s senior vice-president for governmental affairs, told McClatchy that there was nothing untoward about the advisory board, which she said has been “immensely valuable in providing customer feedback.”)

    • FBI Agents Arrest Longtime Trump Confidant Roger Stone

      Longtime Republican operative Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested Friday morning by FBI agents wearing “tactical vests” and carrying “large weapons” at his home in Florida after being indicted by a federal grand jury on seven criminal charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

    • After 35 Days Trump Agrees to End Shutdown by Signing Deal Made Before Christmas

      Speaking outside the White House, Trump said the bipartisan deal to fund the government through Feb. 15 would be immediately put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). If approved by Congress, though it will contain no funding for the wall, Trump said he would sign it.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Iranian TV Anchor Says U.S. Jailed Her as a Warning

      A prominent American-born anchorwoman for Iran’s state television says she believes the U.S. government jailed her because of her work as a journalist and her beliefs, and as a warning to her to “watch your step.”

      Marzieh Hashemi spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, a day after being released from custody. She was not charged with a crime but was detained for 10 days as a material witness in a grand jury investigation in Washington. Details of the investigation are under seal, and Hashemi said she could not provide details. But she said it is not related to terrorism and has to do with her job and the fact that she lives in Iran.

      Hashemi said her arrest was unnecessary because she would have voluntarily appeared for questioning and would have complied with a federal subpoena.

      “I’m not sure what the meaning of ‘Make America Great Again’ is, but if it means just basically taking away human rights more and more every day, that doesn’t seem to be a very great America to me,” she said, in a reference to President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

    • The Russian Duma is set to outlaw ‘fake news’ and insulting the government. How is this going to work?

      On January 24, the State Duma voted to approve the first reading of two bills that place certain limits on freedom of speech in Russia. One essentially prohibits citizens from publishing unreliable news stories on the Internet while applying the same prohibition to news outlets both online and in other media. The other penalizes using the Internet to express disrespect to society, the government, the Russian state’s official symbols, the Constitution, and other sources of legal authority in a particularly obscene or irreverent way. Both bills were introduced in mid-December and will likely be modified to some degree in the amendment process that will precede their second reading. However, there is little doubt that both bills will pass in some form.

    • Court Dismisses RICO SLAPP Suit Against Greenpeace By Logging Company

      Back in the fall of 2017, we wrote about a somewhat crazy situation in which one of President Trump’s favorite law firms, Kasowitz Benson Torres, seemed to be building up a new kind of SLAPP practice: helping various developers file not just bogus lawsuits against environmental groups, but specifically filing RICO SLAPP suits, in which they also claimed that any protests against these developments were violations of RICO (racketeering laws). As you probably already know — and as Ken “Popehat” White has made clear for years — when plaintiffs claim “RICO” in civil suits, it is almost always utterly ridiculous. He’s pointed out, multiple times, that many plaintiffs use “RICO” as a sort of exclamation along the lines of “and this is really bad!” rather than actually matching the (very difficult) standards of an actual RICO claim.

      Historically SLAPP suits — or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation — came about as developers went after protesters using bogus defamation lawsuits. So adding RICO claims on top of defamation appeared to be quite an escalation, as it potentially made the defense of these bogus suits that much more expensive and troubling. In October of 2017, a court threw out one of these lawsuits filed by Resolute Forest Products (RFP), which was represented by Kasowitz partner Michael Bowe. But that didn’t stop RFP from almost immediately refiling an amended lawsuit.

    • Microsoft Edge for Android updated, brings NewsGuard feature to fight fake news

      Microsoft has announced a new feature for its Edge browser for Android to combat the menace of fake news. The company has launched a feature called NewsGuard that will help users by informing them about the credibility of any news source inside the browser. The interesting thing to note here is that this approach will make users aware of what news sources they are frequenting and if the news that they are reading is credible or not. Direct results about the source without the need to manually check and verify the sources.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Victory! Illinois Supreme Court Protects Biometric Privacy

      Today the Illinois Supreme Court ruled unanimously that when companies collect biometric data like fingerprints or face prints without informed opt-in consent, they can be sued. Users don’t need to prove an injury like identity fraud or physical harm—just losing control of one’s biometric privacy is injury enough.

      In Rosenbach v. Six Flags, a 14 year old brought a challenge against an amusement park for collecting his thumbprint without his informed consent, in violation of Illinois law. The law in question, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), prohibits companies from gathering, using, or sharing biometric information without informed opt-in consent. EFF, along with ACLU, CDT, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, PIRG, and Lucy Parsons Labs, filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt a robust interpretation of BIPA.

      The Illinois Supreme Court agreed with us and soundly rejected the defendants’ argument that BIPA required a person to show an injury beyond loss of statutory privacy rights. The Court rejected the company’s argument that violation of a privacy statute is a mere “technical violation of the law.” In fact, the Court ruled, it inflicts a serious harm that supports a lawsuit.

      The court recognized that, through BIPA, the legislature had codified an individual’s “right to privacy in and control over their biometric identifiers and biometric information.” The need to codify this right was supported by the legislature’s findings that biometrics may be used to access sensitive information, but unlike other identifiers like social security numbers, biometrics are unique to each individual and can’t be changed. As a result, the Court ruled, quoting the legislature: “once compromised, the individual has no recourse, is at heightened risk for identity theft, and is likely to withdraw from biometric-facilitated transactions.”

    • What Is Komodo?

      As a fork of Zcash, Komodo is a strong privacy blockchain with robust security features. They use a dPOW algorithm and their DEX uses atomic swaps.

    • Data Privacy Improves Business Outcomes, Cisco Finds

      Properly curated data for privacy isn’t just about compliance, it’s also a strategic imperative that can drive businesses forward.

    • Did Australia Poke a Hole in Your Phone’s Security?

      The law, the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, applies only to tech products used or sold in Australia. But its impact could be global: If Apple were to build a so-called back door for iPhones sold in Australia, the authorities in other countries, including the United States, could force the company to use that same tool to assist their investigations.

      The Australian law went into effect last month. It is one of the most assertive efforts by lawmakers to rein in tech companies, which have argued for decades that unbreakable encryption is an imperative part of protecting the private communications of their customers.

    • Russia tries to force Facebook and Twitter to relocate servers to Russia

      Roskomnadzor said it sent letters to Facebook and Twitter on December 17, giving them 30 days to provide “a legally valid response.”

      With the 30 days having passed, the agency said that “Today, Roskomnadzor begins administrative proceedings against both companies.”

    • A Guided Tour of the Data Facebook Uses to Target Ads

      Last week, Pew released the results of a survey investigating how users understand Facebook’s data collection practices and how they react when shown what the platform thinks it knows about them. The upshot is that 74% of users weren’t aware that Facebook assembles lists of their interests and traits. 88% of respondents were assigned “categories” for advertising, which could include racial or ethnic “affinities” and political leanings. 58% of those users were “not comfortable” with the company compiling that information.

      Essentially, this means that more than half of Facebook’s users are unhappy with the major thrust of the company’s business model—surveillance-based advertising—even after they’ve learned more about the info that the company has gotten from surveilling them. This is unsurprising: just knowing how you’re being tracked doesn’t necessarily make the tracking or the targeted ads less creepy. And while Facebook gives you some control over what data it uses to show you ads, it does not give you any way to stop the data from being collected in the first place.

      We don’t know what goes into determining your “categories,” but it is likely grounded in the more concrete data the company knows about you: what you “like,” what third-party websites and apps you use, and the physical location of your smartphone and your computer. Facebook allows advertisers to target you based on any one of these categories of data, as well as by more nebulous metrics like “similarity” to other users. Though you might not know it, much of this data is visible to average users in the Ad Preferences page. In this post, we’ll go through each category of data to explain where it comes from and what it means.

    • The French fine against Google is the start of a war

      The privacy wars have begun in earnest. On January 21st France’s data-protection regulator, which is known by its French acronym, CNIL, announced that it had found Google’s data-collection practices to be in breach of the European Union’s new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). CNIL hit Google with a €50m ($57m) fine, the biggest yet levied under GDPR.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • China Arrests Democracy Advocate Yang Hengjun Following Flight From New York

      It wasn’t until Wednesday that China confirmed Yang’s detention, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on its website. The department said it is “seeking to clarify the nature of this detention and to obtain consular access to him, in accordance with the bilateral consular agreement.”

      Yang’s friends in Australia say they’re worried for the safety of the man whose push for change earned him the nickname “the democracy peddler.” Yang, 53, spent 20 years with the Chinese Foreign Ministry before he began writing about politics online, where he has gained a large following.

    • Chinese-Australian Writer Yang Hengjun Disappears in China

      A well-known writer and former Chinese official with Australian citizenship flew from New York to China on Friday despite warnings from friends who told him it was too dangerous.

    • Australia asks about dual citizen reported missing in China

      Novelist and influential online commentator Yang Hengjun was a Chinese diplomat before he became an Australian citizen. Friends say he had been living in the United States with his wife and stepdaughter and had returned to China late last week.

    • Last Days of the Gulag

      Even for those of us who lived before and during the collapse of the Soviet Union with memories of other dissidents who wrote about those times, Levan Berdzenishvili’s Sacred Darkness: Last Days of the Gulag comes as a bit of a jolt. I remember reading Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) in an English translation the year after its release in Russian, in a publication intended for external distribution during a brief Soviet cultural thaw. That was 1963 when I was in Nigeria, and the story of one man’s ultimate humanity in prison in what we then learned was a vast Gulag of forced labor camps could not have been more revealing. We certainly didn’t believe that the Soviet Union was going to collapse. Glasnost and Perestroika would come several decades later. Hence the surprise of Berdzenishvili’s Sacred Darkness, with its subtitle The Last Days of the Gulag.

      [...]

      That “publication,” or samizdat of one copy, became the organ of “the underground Georgian Republican Party,” regarded as anti-Soviet because the Communist Party was a single-party system, so any “non-Communist Party was illegal.” Essentially the other dissidents in prison with him were agitating for the same cause: cultural, ethnic, geographical identity, which the Soviet Union feared would lead to independence. Along with Dato, who was only seventeen, their supposed political party consisted of four members. Big threat, or so the KBG regarded them, resulting in their incarceration four years later for a period of three years. Fortunately, the winds were changing and incarceration along with the other dissidents in the Barashevo prison became part of a game: they were “sentenced to waiting.”

    • Supreme Court Has The Chance To Extend Fourth Amendment Protections To Apartment Residents

      If all goes well, we may end up with a little more Fourth Amendment here in the USA. The Supreme Court is currently considering reviewing a case that will more clearly define what Fourth Amendment implications cops’ four-legged friends bring to the (search) party.

      A Minnesota state supreme court case (Edstrom v. Minnesota [PDF]) dealing with a K-9′s door sniff in an apartment hallway is up for review by the nation’s highest court. The state court found in favor of the government, stating that a K-9 sniff only needs reasonable suspicion to comply with the Fourth Amendment and state’s own Constitution.

      Should we expect a higher standard for dog sniffs? One would think so, considering cops already refer to K-9s as “probable cause on four legs.” The Supreme Court recognized in the Rodriguez decision that artificially prolonging pretextual traffic stops solely for the purpose of developing probable cause — in many cases waiting for a drug dog to arrive at the stop — violated the Fourth Amendment.

      More captive audiences — residents in their own homes — shouldn’t be treated to a lower standard just because they’re never technically “free to go.” An apartment resident can’t demand officers leave publicly-accessible areas and they certainly can’t just pack up their place and leave just because law enforcement doesn’t have probable cause to perform a search. But officers can troll hallways with drug dogs based on only the hunch that something illegal may be occurring out of sight.

    • Google Urged the U.S. to Limit Protection For Activist Workers

      Google, whose employees have captured international attention in recent months through high-profile protests of workplace policies, has been quietly urging the U.S. government to narrow legal protection for workers organizing online.

      During the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board broadened employees’ rights to use their workplace email system to organize around issues on the job. In a 2014 case, Purple Communications, the agency restricted companies from punishing employees for using their workplace email systems for activities like circulating petitions or fomenting walkouts, as well as trying to form a union. In filings in May 2017 and November 2018, obtained via Freedom of Information Act request, Alphabet Inc.’s Google urged the National Labor Relations Board to undo that precedent.

      Citing dissents authored by Republican appointees, Google’s attorneys wrote that the 2014 standard “should be overruled” and a George W. Bush-era precedent—allowing companies to ban organizing on their employee email systems—should be reinstated.

      In an emailed statement, a Google spokeswoman said, “We’re not lobbying for changes to any rules.” Rather, she said, Google’s claim that the Obama-era protections should be overturned was “a legal defense that we included as one of many possible defenses” against meritless claims at the NLRB.

    • Russian truckers stage mass protests against fee limits on grain shipments that force them to break the law

      Russian truckers are staging mass demonstrations in the country’s southern regions, protesting against the low fees they are allowed to charge clients for transporting grain. According to the newspaper Kommersant, the maximum “tariffs” truckers are permitted to charge for grain shipments aren’t enough to cover fuel and maintenance costs, forcing drivers to overload their vehicles to earn reasonable income, which incurs fines and creates safety hazards.

      “Several hundred” truckers (mostly transporting grain shipment) are blocking highway transfer terminals in the Rostov, Krasnodar, and Stavropol regions. Spokespeople for a truckers’ association told Kommersant that roughly 70 percent of drivers say the industry’s pricing needs reform.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • After Net Neutrality repeal, Comcast, Charter and Verizon cut investment in their networks

      But after a full year of neutracide, Comcast has made a liar out of Ajit Pai, reducing infrastructure spending by 3% in 2018, according to the company’s latest earnings report.

      Charter and Verizon are also expected to announce lowered capital expenditures for 2018.

    • Sorry, Ajit: Comcast lowered cable investment despite net neutrality repeal [iophk: "or maybe because of the repeal"]

      Comcast’s network spending should have risen in 2018 if predictions from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Comcast had been correct. Pai’s net neutrality repeal took effect in June 2018. But the vote to repeal net neutrality rules was in December 2017, and Pai claimed in February 2018 that the repeal was already causing increased broadband investment.

    • EU to agree new ‘tech tax’ by the end of March

      The UK levy is aimed at online companies trading in the UK with a turnover of more than £500m per year. The tax, levied at two per cent of UK-derived revenues is intended to eventually raise around £400m from companies operating as search engines, social media platforms, and/or online marketplaces.

    • Netflix Becomes a Member of the MPAA

      In the wake of reports during 2018 that the MPAA was open to accepting new members, Netflix has now officially joined Hollywood’s industry group. It’s the first time that a dedicated streaming service has been welcomed as a member of the movie and TV show trade association.

    • It’s Now Clear None of the Supposed Benefits of Killing Net Neutrality Are Real

      In the months leading up to the FCC assault on net neutrality, big telecom and FCC boss Ajit Pai told anybody who’d listen that killing net neutrality would boost broadband industry investment, spark job creation, and drive broadband into underserved areas at an unprecedented rate.

      As it turns out, none of those promises were actually true.

      Despite the FCC voting to kill the popular consumer protections late last year, Comcast’s latest earnings report indicates that the cable giant’s capital expenditures (CAPEX) for 2018 actually decreased 3 percent. The revelation comes on the heels by similar statements by Verizon and Charter Spectrum that they’d also be seeing lower network investment numbers in 2018.

      It’s not expected to get any better in 2019.

      According to analysis this week by Wall Street research firm MoffettNathanson, capital spending among the nation’s four biggest cable providers (Altice, Comcast, Charter Spectrum, CableONE) is expected to decline upwards of 5.8 percent this year.

    • The Web is Made of Edge Cases

      If you set Can I Use to hide browsers with less than 1% usage, you hide 11.86% of the world.

      If we extrapolate that to the world population, that comes out to ≈900 million people, or 3 times the population of the United States. (If roughly half the earth has internet access as of 2018, then one-and-a-half USAs.)

    • Net Neutrality Repeal, Evidence Shows, Is Doing None of the Good Stuff Ajit Pai and Telecom Industry Promised

      However, according to recent reports, in the year after the repeal—which officially took effect last June—cable companies’ investments actually fell, just as net neutrality supporters had warned they would.

      Those fighting the rollback pointed to the declines in spending as just one piece of evidence that the deregulation push by Pai—a former Verizon lawyer appointed by President Donald Trump—was always designed to benefit industry at the public’s expense.

      “The repeal of net neutrality is nothing but a massive government handout to some of the most unscrupulous, and least popular, corporations in the United States,” Fight for the Future’s Evan Greer told Motherboard. “It’s not helping workers at these companies. It’s not helping people in rural communities. It’s not closing the digital divide.”

    • Comcast Network Investment Drops Despite Repeated Claims Killing Net Neutrality Would Trigger Investment Wave

      Why it’s almost as if the Ajit Pai FCC and broadband industry haven’t been entirely honest with us.

      This week we noted how Wall Street is predicting that the telco and cable industries will see notable declines in network investment next year, despite the FCC and industry’s repeated, breathless claims that killing net neutrality would somehow spur network investment. This, as we’ve long noted, was based on the bogus industry claim that net neutrality somehow stifled such investment, a claim repeatedly disproven by public SEC filings, earnings reports, and even statements by more than a dozen major ISP CEOs.

  • DRM

    • Netflix in late-stage talks to join Hollywood lobby

      Netflix is in advanced talks to join the Motion Picture Association of America, the group that has long advocated for the biggest Hollywood movies studios, according to 2 sources familiar with the matter. The talks were first reported by Politico Pro.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Average Number of Inventors per Patent Continues Steady Rise [Ed: Gaming the #patent system and faking the number of 'inventors' by throwing in more names into the pool. Same in the academic publishing cartel, gaining/gaming publication scores]
    • The FTC has defeated Qualcomm with respect to industry as well as expert testimony: checkmate

      Before today’s trial session (Day 9), it was already clear (based on what had happened on the first eight days and Qualcomm’s witness list for today) that there was no way Qualcomm could even come close to equalizing the score with respect to industry testimony. But Qualcomm’s only meaningful partial victory had been how Cravath’s Gary Bornstein impeached one of the FTC’s three expert witnesses, Michael Lasinski, and different experts will always have different methodologies with strengths and weaknesses even the most reasonable people can normally disagree on. My thinking before today’s bench trial session was that the FTC was going to win based on the combination of three factors: Qualcomm’s royalty rates being totally out of line (so no one can possibly rationalize them); Judge Koh’s pretrial rulings, which already resolved or expressed an opinion on some central issues; and a huge advantage with respect to industry testimony–which, if given significant weight, could outweigh other considerations and, along with the Donaldson Report based on 31 years of active licensing expertise, could provide a solid basis for Professor Carl Shapiro’s theory of anticompetitive harm in the form of supra-FRAND royalties being passed on, in part, to consumers.

      I thought Qualcomm would save the best for last, calling Professor Aviv Nevo (Pennsylvania) on the final day of its case-in-chief. And I expected him to be a worthy adversary for Professor Shapiro. He might have been on an equal footing with him under different circumstances, but to my surprise, the FTC’s lead counsel, Jennifer Milici, has already impeached him beyond recognition before Professor Shapiro will rebut on Monday.

    • Plano as the Venue Center for E.D.Texas

      The Eastern District of Texas winds its way from the gulf coast along the Louisiana and Arkansas border and up to Oklahoma. The district does not include of the largest Texas cities, but it does include the Dallas suburb of Plano (we can debate whether it is a suburb, but it is). Plano is important because it is Corporate HQ for a number of large companies and also serves as regional HQ for many others.

      Plano is also supporting E.D.Tex. as an ongoing venue for patent infringement cases.

    • USPTO Update: Funds Last Till 2nd Week of February

      The USPTO has released additional information regarding its current operations and the ongoing Federal Government funding crisis. Bottom line is that the PTO expects to continue its patent operations “until at least the second week in February.” Things on DC appear to be thawing enough to provide hope that an appropriations bill will see some light before then.

      Although the USPTO is user-fee funded, it may only spend money that has been appropriated by Congress. This limit comes directly from the US Constitution, which says “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Article I, Section 9.

    • Patent Term Adjustment at 10 year low.

      Following-up on Yesterday’s PTA post, I wanted to run some numbers on Patent Term Adjustment. The chart below shows the average patent term adjustment for patents issued issued since 2005. The bump in early 2010 is due to a change in interpretation of the law in the Wyeth decision. If the PTA had been calculated consistently during this entire period, we would now be seeing the lowest values during the entire 13 year reporting period.

    • Check your Patent Term Adjustment for Applicant Delays due to Late IDS Filings

      This case involves calculation of patent term adjustment (PTA) that extends the 20-year patent term due any delays in obtaining the patent. The statute attributes most delays to the USPTO (extending PTA), but some are attributed to the patent applicant (reducing PTA). With regard to PTA reduction, the statute particularly calls-out late office action responses as “failure of an applicant to engage in reasonable efforts to conclude processing or examination of an application.” 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(2)(C). In addition, the statute particularly gives the PTO Director authority to “prescribe regulations” that spell-out the times where PTA should be reduced due to an applicant’s failure to engage in such reasonable efforts.

    • Google’s petition for Supreme Court review of Android-Java copyright decisions should be granted–but Oracle should still win

      As I suspected, Google is seeking a review of both the Federal Circuit’s 2014 copyrightability finding and the same appeals court’s 2018 holding that the way Google incorporated many thousands of lines of Java API declaring code does not constitute fair use.

      My positions on the issues have not changed. However, I do keep my fingers crossed for Google’s petition, and here’s why:

      At the cert stage, it’s not about whether a petitioner’s theories have merit. It’s about whether the issues raised are important enough to warrant review because clarification is needed.

      I want Google to win at the cert stage, even on both counts (copyrightability and fair use), but then I hope (and think it’s very likely) that the Supreme Court of the United States will affirm the Federal Circuit’s well-reasoned opinions, which are good for innovation.

      No one can blame Oracle for preferring that the Supreme Court deny the petition: then the case, filed in 2010, could finally proceed to the remedies stage, where it would have been a long time ago if not for totally outrageous decisions by Judge William H. Alsup in San Francisco.

    • Google Urges Supreme Court To Put An End To Oracle Copyright Case

      Google has appealed to the Supreme Court to review the long-running legal trial with Oracle, where the latter is suing Google for copying Oracle’s Java language to create the Android operating system.

      The case dates back to 2010 when Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java. After the acquisition, the new owners of the language sued Google for $8.8 billion for the use of Java in Android and another $475 million for losing potential licensing revenue.

    • Comments on Kerrisdale Capital’s analysis of Qualcomm’s antitrust-related risks

      Yesterday I became aware of a 19-page document (PDF) explaining why research-centric investment group Kerrisdale Capital has decided to shortsell Qualcomm’s (QCOM) shares, with a particular emphasis on the fallout from the ongoing FTC v. Qualcomm antitrust trial in the Northern District of California. Unlike a lot of fake analysis on the Internet that looks like having been funded and more or less dictated by Qualcomm, Kerrisdale has done some very thorough work (they appear to have obtained all trial transcripts; I must admit that, since I attended eveything, I haven’t even done so yet), and most importantly, they put their money where their mouth is. Even more than that, the risk of shortselling is substantial (theoretically infinite, though one can limit the risk with call options, which they may or may not have purchased). All I can say is that I’m extremely risk-averse and don’t short as a matter of principle.

    • Fed Circuit opens door for additional pharma revenues in Supernus decision

      The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has overturned a reduction in the patent term adjustment (PTA) owned by Supernus Pharmaceuticals.

      The Federal Circuit ruled that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had exceeded its statutory authority and miscalculated the appropriate patent term adjustment.

      Matt Gibson, partner at Reed Smith in Houston, said that the ruling could lead to “millions of dollars for branded pharmaceutical companies in additional patent exclusivity as a result of the adjustment of patent terms that may arise from this decision”.

      Supernus registered its patent for an “osmotic drug delivery system” (US number 8,747,897) in 2014.

    • Can you sell a quotation…of dance? Another perspective on the ‘Fortnite’ lawsuits

      With the fate of dance in copyright law catching interest in the press world-wide, this Kat decided to play some more with this improbable duet. Pairing two recent headlines of the IPKat (on the Fortnite litigation and Szpunar’s opinion on quotation), she brought this question to Katfriend Charlotte Waelde (IP expert based at the Centre for Dance Research – C-DaRE):

      “Could Fortnite’s dance ‘emotes’ be considered a type of fair dealing such as ‘quotations’ of works of dance? And, what does quotation look like in dance?” Charlotte then countered with another, equally important, question: can you sell quotations of dance?

    • Is it time to rethink the patent drawing requirements?

      The function of patent drawings is to aid understanding of an invention, but are they fit for purpose? Embodiments of a mechanical invention may be easier to explain and understand as a drawing compared to a lengthy description. The European Patent Office (EPO) considers good quality drawings as very important for the correct disclosure of an invention (Guide for applicants, Drawings). Scientific data necessary to support biotech and pharmaceutical inventions are also provided as “drawings”. However, these data do not serve the same purpose as mechanical drawings and do not naturally conform to the formal drawing requirements for technical illustrations of mechanical objects. However, this difference is not reflected in the formal drawing requirements of the EPC or PCT. This Kat asks therefore, whether the formal drawings requirements deserve a re-think.

    • Trademarks

      • YM Inc. Beats Roots Inc. In Trademark Suit Over Two Logos That Don’t Look Anything Alike

        In far too many of the trademark disputes we cover here, those disputes center around two competing logos or trade dress that look nothing alike, save for one very generic component. To get a sense of what I mean, you can refer back to the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals bullying a financial services company because its logo used a capital “W.” Or the time one sausage company sued another because both logos had, sigh, a pig in them.

        Or, now, when clothier Roots Corp. tried to nullify a trademark held by YM, Inc. because both had clothing lines with logos that included log cabins.

    • Copyrights

      • Open Access Advocates See End Of US Copyright Term Extension Act As Win For Commons

        Open access advocates in the United States are celebrating the expiration, and non-renewal, of the Copyright Term Extension Act, which introduces into the public domain all works from 1923, and signals an end of the practice by US lawmakers to continually extend the terms of copyright protection.

        Leading figures from groups such as Creative Commons and Wikimedia Foundation gathered to discuss why this shift in policy took place, and what it means for the public domain. They asserted that this change is the result of a general acceptance of the value of “the commons,” brought on in part by the era of the internet.

      • The fight over Europe’s internet just got even messier

        The European Union’s Copyright Directive has led a tortured life, even by the standards of EU law. This bundle of legislation, intended to comprehensively update copyright for the internet age, was hotly debated in Parliament and public all last year. But as of the beginning of this month, it seemed to be edging its way toward a final vote.

        That is until last Friday, when six countries switched sides during negotiations, booting the proposed directive back into legislative limbo yet again.

        Strangely, the points being debated haven’t changed substantially since last year. While most of the Copyright Directive contains commonsense updates to laws written in 2001, there are two regulations that are causing trouble: Articles 11 and 13, which critics have dubbed the “link tax” and “upload filter.”

      • Facebook sold out the internet, secretly lobbied IN FAVOUR of upload filters

        Though Facebook’s lobbying associations spent the whole debate over the EU Copyright Directive arguing (correctly) that algorithmic filters to catch copyright infringement would end up blocking mountains of legitimate speech (while still letting through mountains of infringement), Facebook secretly told the EU Commission that it used filters all the time, had utmost confidence in them, and couldn’t see any problems with their use.

      • Inside Facebook’s fight against European regulation

        While lobbying is a normal part of the legislative process, the documents underscore a disconnect between Facebook’s arguments and the EU’s philosophical approach to lawmaking.

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