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04.03.19

Links 3/4/2019: Torvalds Interview and Microsoft Speaking for OSI

Posted in News Roundup at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • And even more keynotes at Red Hat Summit 2019

      Every year, the mainstage at Red Hat Summit overflows with stories about the powerful role enterprise open source tools can play in a company’s digital strategy. Speakers from across industries, sectors—even countries—take the floor to explain how they’re using open tools to build better solutions—for themselves and their customers.

      At Red Hat Summit 2019, that won’t change. Today we’re announcing the next round of keynote speakers to appear in Boston, May 7‒9. Join us to hear how open source is making a difference in industries ranging from telecommunications and finance to healthcare.

    • Red Hat and 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors enable 5G and Edge Services

      Through the evolution to 5G, telecommunications service providers (SPs) will be continuing the transformation of their core networks and data center assets to cloud-native network function virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) and software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities. The modernization of the core network which already started during the 4G/LTE time frame is extending to include the edge of the network.

    • The making of Creating ChRIS:Building a logo identity and designing the web experience

      Joseph Schlosser, art director, and Aaron Williamson, web designer, discuss how the distinct visual style of the video series was extended into the logo and web page. Aaron considers the use of a wider color palette and Joseph talks about working as a cross functional team.

      We’ve included a snapshot of the conversation, but you can also listen to the full conversation with our embedded player or download the MP3.

    • Registration Open for 2019 Linux Clusters Institute Workshops
  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds: People take me much too seriously, I can’t say stupid crap anymore

      The once highly-strung Linux kernel founder Linus Torvalds now says he’s become quieter, more self-aware and less forceful, but not necessarily more diplomatic. And he hates social-media companies.

      As we know, Torvalds late last year took a short break from leading Linux kernel development to take stock of his infamous outbursts and reflect on how his language and behavior affected other kernel developers.

      In an interview with Linux Journal published yesterday, the Linux kingpin offered a fresh self-assessment since vowing to tone down his language and help foster a healthier, more professional way of communication between kernel developers, in line with the new Linux Kernel Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct Interpretation.

    • 25 Years Later: Interview with Linus Torvalds

      Well, I’ll be 75 by then, and I doubt I’ll be involved day to day. But considering that I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years, maybe I’d still be following the project.

      And the good news is that we really do have a pretty solid developer base, and I’m not worried about “where will Linus be” kind of issues. Sure, people have been talking about how kernel developers are getting older for a long time now, but that’s not really because we wouldn’t be getting any new people, it’s literally because we still have a lot of people around that have been around for a long time, and still enjoy doing it.

      I used to think that some radical new and exciting OS would come around and supplant Linux some day (hey, back in 1994 I probably still thought that maybe Hurd would do it!), but it’s not just that we’ve been doing this for a long time and are still doing very well, I’ve also come to realize that making a new operating system is just way harder than I ever thought. It really takes a lot of effort by a lot of people, and the strength of Linux—and open source in general, of course—is very much that you can build on top of the effort of all those other people.

      So unless there is some absolutely enormous shift in the computing landscape, I think Linux will be doing quite well another quarter century from now. Not because of any particular detail of the code itself, but simply fundamentally, because of the development model and the problem space.

      I may not be active at that point, and a lot of the code will have been updated and replaced, but I think the project will remain.

    • The 25th Anniversary Issue

      “Linux is an independent implementation of the POSIX operating system specification (basically a public specification of much of the Unix operating system) that has been written entirely from scratch. Linux currently works on IBM PC compatibles with an ISA or EISA bus and a 386 or higher processor. The Linux kernel was written by Linus Torvalds from Finland, and by other volunteers.”

      Thus begins the very first Letter from the Editor (written by Phil Hughes), in the very first issue of Linux Journal, published in the March/April issue in 1994…25 years ago—coinciding, as fate would have it, with the 1.0.0 release of the Linux kernel itself (on March 14th).

      A quarter of a century.

      Back when that first issue was published, Microsoft hadn’t yet released Windows 95 (version 3.11 running on MS-DOS still dominated home computing). The Commodore Amiga line of computers was still being produced and sold. The music billboards were topped by the likes of Toni Braxton, Ace of Base and Boyz II Men. If you were born the day Linux Journal debuted, by now you’d be a full-grown adult, possibly with three kids, a dog and a mortgage.

      Yeah, it was a while ago. (It’s okay to take a break and feel old now.)

    • Free to All: 25th Anniversary Issue of Linux Journal, Download Now
    • Why Linux Creator Linus Torvalds Thinks Facebook Is A Disease?

      Fake News was crowned as the word of the year in 2017. In an era where we need quality journalism, social media sites are bent on destroying it. In a recent interview with Linux Journal’s first publisher, Robert Young, Linus Torvalds — Creator of Linux — revealed the true nature of social media.

      Linus pulled no punches as he brandished social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google as the enabler of bad behavior. Linus’ comments on the ‘liking and sharing’ model on Facebook hold weight as it degrades the quality of what we consume online.

    • Linux 5.0.6

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.0.6 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.0.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.0.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.19.33
    • Linux 4.14.110
    • Linux 4.9.167
    • Linux 4.4.178
    • Linux 3.18.138
    • Systemd 242 Gearing Up For Release With XBOOTLDR Support, Other New Features

      With it approaching two months since the release of systemd 241, Lennart Poettering and his gang of systemd developers are putting the finishing touches on systemd 242 with a release candidate now being available.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Xen Project Hypervisor 4.12 Offers Smaller Code Size and Improved Security

        The Xen Project, an open source hypervisor hosted at the Linux Foundation, today announced the release of Xen Project Hypervisor 4.12. This latest release adds impressive feature improvements around security and code size, x86 architectural renewal and additional updates making the technology ideal for embedded and automotive industries.

        The leaner architecture in Xen 4.12 reduces the lines of code and in turn, reducing the potential for security vulnerabilities while making Xen an attractive option for use in mixed-criticality systems. Additionally, improving de-privileged QEMU, through defense-in-depth techniques, as well as improving VMI, reduces exposure to unknown security threats. This version of Xen will be more configurable, significantly reducing integration costs for business and organizations which customize Xen heavily. Additionally, Xen 4.12 continues to build upon previous versions regarding cleaner architecture, improved user experience, and future proofing.

        “Xen Project Hypervisor 4.12 is a clear example of the project delivering on its promise for revamped architecture, a major step forward to unlock market segments such as security products as well as embedded and automotive,” said Lars Kurth, chairperson of the Xen Project Advisory Board. “As we continue to serve the hosting and cloud markets, we will also focus on streamlining the certification process for Xen while helping the security embedded automotive vendors that are invested in Xen continue to build attractive products on top of the hypervisor.”

      • LF Edge Builds Momentum with New Members, Blueprints as Community Works Toward Interoperability for Open Edge Computing

        LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced growing momentum with new blueprints from Akraino Edge Stack and four new general members including Alef Mobitech Inc., HarmonyCloud Inc., Section, and Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. The Akraino blueprints will debut at the Linux Foundation’s Open Networking Summit (ONS) on April 3-5 in San Jose.

        LF Edge is comprised of 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. Akraino, a project creating an open source software stack that supports high-availability cloud services optimized for edge computing systems and applications, is marking a technical milestone with eight blueprint families with more than 19 under development to support a variety of edge use cases. The Akraino community tests and validates the blueprints on real hardware labs supported by users and community members. The first release of Akraino is scheduled for Q2 2019 and will include several validated blueprints.

        “LF Edge hit the ground running when we launched in January,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, The Linux Foundation. “Our collaboration for edge solutions across multiple industries in IoT, Enterprise, Telecom and Cloud has been very well received by the community.”

      • How O-RAN SC Completes the Open Source Networking Telecommunications Stack

        As network traffic continues to increase with the advent of 5G, mobile networks and the equipment they run on need to evolve quickly to become more agile, flexible, intelligent, energy-efficient and software-defined.

        Broad efforts to bring agility and speed to the telecom industry started about six years ago with open source Software Defined Networking (SDN), then on to Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), then to orchestration of NFV. Open source projects like OpenDaylight, OPNFV, OpenStack, CORD, ONAP, and others have enabled more rapid innovation across telco components and the network stack.

        However, the last piece of the puzzle — Radio Access Networks (RANs), which are at the edge of the network allowing physical access to devices — has a long history in full, proprietary solutions from the hardware on up to the application layer (e.g., full cell tower solutions). That makes it incredibly difficult to innovate at the same pace as the rest of the market.

      • The O-RAN Alliance and Linux Foundation Launch Industry-Leading O-RAN Open Source Community

        Today, the O-RAN Alliance (www.o-ran.org) and the Linux Foundation (https://www.linuxfoundation.org) jointly announced the creation of the O-RAN Software Community (O-RAN SC) (www.o-ran-sc.org).

        The telecom industry is experiencing a profound transformation and 5G is expected to radically change how we live, work, and play. This means it’s critical to make network infrastructure commercially available as quickly as possible to ensure business success for operators. It’s time to turn to open source, as it is one of the most efficient ways to accelerate product development in a collaborative and cost-efficient way.

        The O-RAN SC will provide open software aligned with the O-RAN Alliance’s open architecture. As a new open source community under the Linux Foundation, the O-RAN SC is sponsored by the O-RAN Alliance, and together they will develop open source software enabling modular, open, intelligent, efficient, and agile disaggregated radio access networks. The initial set of software projects may include: near-real-time RAN intelligent controller (nRT RIC), non-real-time RAN intelligent controller (NRT RIC), cloudification and virtualization platforms, open central unit (O-CU), open distributed unit (O-DU), and a test and integration effort to provide a working reference implementation. Working with other adjacent open source networking communities, the O-RAN SC will enable collaborative development across the full operator network stack.

      • Linux 5.1 Is Offering Up Some Performance Improvements, At Least For Cascade Lake

        It’s been busy recently testing Intel’s new Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake processors as well as the in-development Linux 5.1 kernel following the recent closure of its merge window. Interestingly, at least for this combination, Linux 5.1 is running even faster for these new Cascade Lake processors in some workloads.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ADriConf Looks To Move Under The Mesa Umbrella As Linux Driver Configuration Utility

        Jean Hertel who has spent the past year developing ADriConf as as the Advanced DRI Configurator is now looking for this project to officially live within Mesa.

        ADriConf offers various DRI driver tunables with various extra features and even PRIME GPU support compared to what is available via the long-standing DriConf utility. ADriConf is actively maintained and among the promising options in an area that has been lacking for open-source Linux driver configuration GUIs.

      • “SPURV” Containerized Android Allows Running Apps From Wayland Linux Desktop

        SPURV is a new open-source initiative out of Collabora for “running Android next to Wayland” with the Android app windows being rendered alongside Wayland Linux applications and having full 3D acceleration support.

        SPURV is a containerized Android environment that provides an Android target device, a Android HAL to ALSA audio stack, SPURV HWComposer to integrate Android windows into Wayland, SPURV DHCP to allow containerized network support, and related code to connect these different components together.

      • SPURV allows Android apps to run on desktop Linux operating systems

        Once upon a time, Android apps ran on phones, and GNU/Linux apps ran on PCs. Things are a lot blurrier these days, thanks things like Chromebooks, which can run Android, Chrome OS, and Linux apps on a single device.

        If you want to run Android apps on your non-Chromebook laptop, there have been ways to do that for a while… but most involve installing some sort of virtual machine and interacting with Android apps inside a complete virtual Android environment.

        A few years ago the folks at Anbox introduced a solution that lets you run Android apps in a Linux environment as if they were native Linux apps. Now Collabora has a different solution that it calls SPURV.

      • New Project Brings Android Apps to the Linux Desktop

        SPURV’ is an experimental containerised Android environment that can run Android apps alongside regular desktop Linux apps under Wayland.

        It’s the work of Collabora, a UK-based open-source software consultancy and development outfit, who unveiled their experimental new project in a blog post.

        Now, Linux isn’t short of awesome native apps. A wide array of native software, apps and games is available.

        But wouldn’t it be great if you could also tap in to the Android app ecosystem? Run your favourite Android apps on the Ubuntu desktop in windowed mode, with native integrations?

        Well, that’s what ‘SPURV’ looks set to enable.

      • Iris Gallium3D Driver Flips On Fast Clears For Broadwell “Gen 8″ Graphics

        A few weeks back Intel’s next-gen OpenGL Linux driver, the Iris Gallium3D initiative, picked up support for fast color clears in order to boost performance. That initial support was for Skylake “Gen 9″ and newer while now Broadwell “Gen 8″ graphics have this functionality in place.

        Intel developer Rafael Antognolli landed support for fast clears now on Broadwell now that the necessary prerequisites have been addressed.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Xeon Scalable “Cascade Lake” Processors Launch – Initial Xeon Platinum 8280 Linux Benchmarks

        Intel’s 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable Cascade Lake processors are officially launching today! Last month we were briefed out at one of Intel’s campuses in Oregon and have been testing the new Xeon Platinum 8280 processors in recent days. In this article is a look at what’s new with Cascade Lake as well as our preliminary Ubuntu Linux performance figures for the Xeon Platinum 8280 processors.

        With Cascade Lake there is now a higher memory frequency (DDR4-2933 rather than DDR4-2666 amd now an overall capacity up to 4.5TB system memory processor), Intel AVX-512 VNNI / DL BOOST for helping AI workloads and related fields, support for Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory, mitigations for Spectre vulnerabilities, and increased frequency / power efficiency compared to the previous Skylake Xeon Scalable processors.

      • Additional Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake Benchmarks – See How Your Linux System Runs

        In this morning’s Intel Xeon “Cascade Lake” launch article joined by initial benchmarks of the high-end 2 x Xeon Platinum 8280 processors there are dozens of benchmarks compared to various AMD EPYC and IBM POWER9 processors. If you are wanting to compare your own system’s article to a smaller set of focused results, this article is for you with some additional reference figures under a variety of different workloads.

        See the main article for all the comparison figures while this article is just providing some additional standalone results for your easy comparison purposes with the Phoronix Test Suite. Additionally, the launch article was testing all hardware using Linux 5.0 with the GCC 9.0 compiler and CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS of “-O3 -march=native” while for these standalone numbers are a reference Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS installation with its default Linux 4.18 kernel and GCC 8 compiler.

      • The Current Windows 10 vs. Linux Browser Performance For Google Chrome + Mozilla Firefox

        Last week were tests looking at the Firefox/Chrome web browser performance on eight Linux distributions but how does the situation look if adding Microsoft Windows 10 to the equation? Well, this article addresses that question as we looking at how well Chrome and Firefox compare Windows 10 vs. Linux on the same system and using the latest releases of these web browsers.

        Normally in our Windows vs. Linux benchmarks we are used to seeing the open-source operating systems smack the Microsoft operating systems heavily, but when it comes to web browser performance, the tables have turned. Mozilla and Google are obviously much more focused on Windows given the larger market-share while time and time again we’ve seen both browser vendors stave off Linux features around GPU/video accleeration on the basis of driver woes and other issues that have hindered better Linux browsing support. But today’s article is the first time in a while looking closely at the Chrome and Firefox performance between Windows 10 Pro x64 and various Linux x86_64 distributions in a variety of popular browser benchmarks.

  • Applications

    • An Open Source Audio Editor and Recorder

      At some point, most of us need a tool to create, edit, or otherwise manipulate an audio file. If you’re looking for the right tool for the job, allow me to introduce Audacity. Audacity is a free, open source, multiplatform audio file creator and editor. Audacity is one of the first applications that I download on Linux, Windows, and macOS systems. Although developed by a team of volunteers, the interface is simple, the features are professional, and its overall quality rivals any commercial audio creator and editor that I’ve seen or used.

    • Split, Merge, Rotate and Reorder PDF Files in Linux with PDFArranger

      PDFArranger is a nifty little tool that allows you to split, merge, rotate and reorder one or multiple PDF files in Linux.

      PDFArranger is actually a fork of PDF-Shuffler project. Even the icon of both project is same. PDF-Shuffler has not see a new development in last seven years so I am glad that someone forked it to continue the development. That’s the beauty of open source where a project is never really dead as others can revive it.

      Let’s talk about PDFArranger, what it can do and how it works.

    • Sifr icon theme update

      For the next release LibreOffice Sifr icon theme get an update. Therefore 2.500 icons were drawn in inkscape so that Sifr is also available as svg theme.

    • NetworkManager 1.17.2 Kicks Off The March Towards NetworkManager 1.18

      Released a few weeks ago was NetworkManager 1.16 with WireGuard integration, WiFi Direct/P2P connection handling, and other new Linux networking features. NetworkManager 1.17.2 has now been kicked off as the first development release towards the next version.

    • Essential System Tools: Unison – Excellent Console and Graphical File Synchronization Software

      This is the latest in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For details of all tools in this series, please check the table at the summary page of this article.

      For this article, we’ll look at Unison, a cross-platform file-synchronization tool. There’s both a terminal-based interface, and a graphical interface using GTK+.

      The software offers two replicas of a collection of files and directories to be stored on different hosts (or different disks on the same host), modified separately, and then made up to date by propagating the changes in each replica to the other.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • Top Confirmed Google Stadia Games And Rumored Ones

        Google’s Stadia created quite a buzz when it was revealed at GDC last month. Formerly known as Google Project Stream, the Stadia turned out to be a streaming console with enough power to play games on any computing device, including your smartphone, tablet, and Chromebook.

        However, the internet requirement for streaming games on Google Stadia was revealed to be quite high. A stable connection of 25 Mb/s is needed for playing games at 1080P. While for 4k gaming, 30 Mb/s of internet speed is required.

      • Steam Play was updated again with Proton 4.2-2

        Things seem to be moving quite quickly with Steam Play lately, with another new version now available.

      • 2D team-based building and raiding game ‘Scrunk’ leaving Early Access and going free this month

        While it doesn’t look like much, Scrunk is actually a pretty fun game to play with others. It never really gained a following and so it’s going free.

        On April 16th, their current plan is to leave Early Access and also go free to play. To help with server upkeep, they will add a cosmetic DLC for those who wish to support it.

      • Apparatus, a physics puzzle game developed on Linux is now on Kickstarter, will be open source too

        Apparatus, a name I honestly had never heard of until recently is a physics puzzle game developed on Linux. As it turns out, this is a reboot of a game that was popular in the early days of mobile touchscreens. So popular in fact, it even had a sequel named Apparatus 2: Principia. Both the original and sequel have long since shut down, due to financial difficulties.

      • Paradox Interactive and Romero Games have teamed up for a new strategy game

        While details are ridiculously light right now as it has only just been teased, Paradox Interactive and Romero Games have teamed up.

        “This has been a project we’ve been wanting to work on for a long time, so it’s especially exciting that we’ll be partnering with Paradox Interactive to fully realize that dream,” said Brenda Romero, Co-Founder of Romero Games. “We can’t wait to tell everyone more, so make sure you watch this space!”

      • Wheelz2, a 3D moto-trials game that looks all kinds of ridiculous added Linux support

        Currently in Early Access, Wheelz2 is a 3D moto-trials game inspired by some of the 2D classics like xmoto.

        Originally released on Steam back in May of last year, Linux support arrived only a few days ago. Powered by the Unreal Engine, Wheelz2 actually does look surprisingly good and quite a bit silly on some of the tracks.

      • Civilization VI’s “Antarctic Late Summer Update” is now out

        The first major update for Civilization VI [Official Site] since the release of its second expansion, Gathering Storm, has now been made live. There’s quite a lot to unpack in its extensive patch notes but Civ’s developer, Firaxis, has put up a helpful video summing up the bigger and more noticeable changes that have made it in.

        There’s all sorts of changes, ranging from quality-of-life improvements to improved AI and, of course, balance changes. Most interestingly, if you own the latest expansion, the climate change mechanics have been tweaked so that it takes longer to trigger these calamitous effects but they’re now more severe.

        One of the things I enjoyed the most about Gathering Storm was its potential to shake up the late game. Making these changes more significant certainly adds plenty of tension and drama.

      • GTA-inspired battle royale ‘Geneshift’ went through a little overhaul to be more streamlined

        Geneshift, a top-down GTA-inspired battle royale game that also has a single-player and co-op campaign has a fresh update out with an aim to make it more streamlined to play.

        Absolutely loving the direction Nik Nak Studios have been going with the game, it’s more accessible than it ever was before and that’s great. I also think it’s brilliant how when you’re dead, you can come back as a Zombie player and if you kill a normal player you’re back in the game, clever idea to prevent people getting too frustrated. The super short round times are also a nice change, keeps the action intense.

        Firstly, with this huge update skill penalties were removed, so now bigger is actually better! The Skill Tree was also reworked, so you now only have a maximum of three active abilities making it far easier to manage and probably a lot better balanced since people can’t unleash everything they have at you.

      • Unreal Engine 4.22 released

        Unreal Engine 4.22 continues to push the boundaries of photorealism in real-time environments whether you are making immersive and engaging games, broadcasting live television, visualizing groundbreaking products, or creating the next blockbuster film. We don’t believe significant advances in technology should result in increases in development time for you to take advantage of them, so we have once again set our sights on making workflows for users from all disciplines even faster and more accessible.

        Unreal Engine delivers unbridled power to build realistic worlds with the most accurate real-time lighting and shadowing effects – including dynamic global illumination, pixel perfect reflections and physically accurate refraction – thanks to real-time ray tracing on Nvidia RTX graphics cards. Soft area shadows and ambient occlusion provide the finishing touches to ground your scenes firmly in reality.

      • Unreal Engine 4.22 Released With Refactored Rendering Code, Other Improvements

        Epic Games today released Unreal Engine 4.22 and while they continue to support Vulkan and offer native Linux support, this engine update is more exciting this time around on the Windows side.

        Unreal Engine 4.22 most notably introduces experimental real-time ray-tracing support though that’s implemented for now just using the Microsoft DirectX 12 ray-tracing capabilities and not yet the Vulkan RTX/ray-tracing support enabled by NVIDIA.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Microsssssssssssssssssssssss

        Today KDE releases a Bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.15.4. Plasma 5.15 was released in February with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

        This release adds three week’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include…

      • KDE Plasma 5.15.4 Desktop Environment Released with More Than 35 Changes
      • Kubuntu Disco Dingo (19.04) Beta Released

        The beta of Disco Dingo (to become 19.04) has now been released, and is available for download at http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/19.04/beta/

        This milestone features images for Kubuntu and other Ubuntu flavours.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

      • Jelle Van der Waa: Arch signoff

        Since some time Arch has been letting users become testers which can sign off packages in [testing] repository’s. The idea behind allowing users and not only the Arch team sign off packages as known good is that packages can be moved earlier or bugs and issues found earlier. To sign off a package you need to login into Arch Linux’s website and go to the sign off page to sign off a package. Haavard created a tool to be able to sign off packages from the command line which makes it easier to sign off by doing it interatively.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE: More than Linux

        To the strains of My Kind of Open Source, SUSE wants you to know not just a Linux distributor. While SUSE will never leave its Linux roots, it offers a wide variety of open-source based programs and services for your servers, software-defined data center, the edge and cloud computing.

        At the SUSECon keynote in Nashville, Tenn., SUSE CEO Nils Brauckmann emphasised SUSE would soon be the largest independent open-source company. He’s saying that because, as IDC open source analyst Al Gillen noted, IBM will soon complete its acquisition of Red Hat.

      • SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9 – coming soon!

        Here at SUSE, we’re very excited to let you know that the latest version of SUSE OpenStack Cloud is due to be released later this month. In fact, you might say that we’re on cloud 9.

      • SUSE Collaborates with Intel to Accelerate Data-Centric Transformation
      • Our Kind of Open: SUSECON Day 1 Recap

        The keynote opened with a new SUSE parody song “My Kind of Open Source” and immediately after President of Strategy, Alliances and Marketing, Michael Miller, took the stage to really hone in on how we are doubling down on open.

        “We are asking: Why should anyone have to be locked in to a one size fits all solution? On the contrary…we want to unlock the inherent power of your uniqueness and enable transformation on your terms. We call it Open-Open.”

    • Fedora

      • Fedora Linux 30 Enters Beta with GNOME 3.32, Deepin and Pantheon Desktops

        After being in development for the past three months, Fedora 30 Beta is here to give the Fedora Linux community a glimpse to the new features and changes implemented so far, which will be available in the final release later this spring. It comes with the latest GNOME 3.32 desktop environment, the Linux 5.0 kernel series, and performance improvements to the DNF package manager.

        “All dnf repository metadata for Fedora 30 Beta is compressed with the zchunk format in addition to xz or gzip. zchunk is a new compression format designed to allow for highly efficient deltas,” explains Ben Cotton. “When Fedora’s metadata is compressed using zchunk, dnf will download only the differences between any earlier copies of the metadata and the current version.”

      • Test Day: Fedora Silverblue
      • Fedora 30 Beta Run Through

        In this video, we look at Fedora 30 Beta.

      • Linux Desktop News: The Fedora 30 Beta Is Now Available For Testing

        If you enjoy freshly upgraded Linux distributions, the next month or two should be pretty special. Solus 4 was just released, Canonical’s Ubuntu 19.04 Beta is underway, and now it’s The Fedora Project’s turn to invite users to the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora 30 party.

        A wealth of Fedora 30 Beta images are now available for testing ahead of its final release near the end of April. The updated version introduces performance improvements to DNF (Fedora’s package manager), and continued progress toward a flicker-free boot.

      • Fedora 30 Beta Released For Bleeding-edge Linux Experience

        Developed by the community-driven Fedora Project and sponsored by the IBM-owned Red Hat, Fedora Linux distribution is known to feature cutting-edge technologies that often inspire other Linux distros to innovate; the Wayland display server is one such example. Fedora also serves as a testing ground for Red Hat’s commercial RHEL distribution.

        The Fedora Project recently announced the release of Fedora 30 Beta to test its six variants: Workstation, Server, Silverblue, Spins, Labs, and ARM. The popular Workstation desktop ships with GNOME and you also get the option to go for KDE Plasma, Xfce, Pantheon, and DeepinDE. You can get these variants from here.

      • How to rebase to Fedora 30 Beta on Silverblue

        Silverblue is an operating system for your desktop built on Fedora. It’s excellent for daily use, development, and container-based workflows. It offers numerous advantages such as being able to roll back in case of any problems. If you want to test Fedora 30 on your Silverblue system, this article tells you how. It not only shows you what to do, but also how to revert back if anything unforeseen happens.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Outs Major Linux Kernel Security Patch for All Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Available for the Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), as well as all the official derivatives like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc., the new Linux kernel security patch is here to fix more than 20 security vulnerabilities affecting the Linux 4.18, Linux 4.15, Linux 4.4, and Linux 3.13 kernel series.

            Among the fixed issues, we can mention a use-after-free vulnerability in Linux kernel’s ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) subsystem, which could allow a physically proximate attacker to crash the system, as well as an information leak discovered in the Bluetooth implementation, which could let an attacker within Bluetooth range to expose sensitive information.

          • Canonical Announces AWS IoT Greengrass as a Snap to Increase Linux App Security

            Developed by Amazon for IoT device manufactures and system integrators, the AWS IoT Greengrass software seamlessly extends the Amazon Web Services (AWS) to edge devices, allowing them to use the cloud for management while acting locally on the data they generate. AWS IoT Greengrass brings together data caching, local compute, messaging, sync, and ML inference capabilities to IoT devices.

            In an attempt to increase application security and developer productivity across Linux-based operating systems, Canonical and Amazon joined forces to make AWS IoT Greengrass available as in the Snap universal binary format, which will enable device manufactures and system integrators build IoT appliances in weeks without compromising on security, nor long-term support.

          • Graft Crosses 1,000 Supernodes on The Mainnet

            GRAFT network team recommends that their supernodes be hosted on virtual private servers using the Ubuntu 18.04 Linux OS with at least 2 GB per core, 2 GB of RAM, and 100 GB of storage space.

          • Plex Media Server (Stable) Available via Snap For Ubuntu 18.04

            The latest STABLE release of Plex media server is finally available to install in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and higher easily via Snap package.

            The official Plex media server snap is available in BETA channel for quite a long period of time. By releasing version 1.15.2.793, the snap package finally goes stable.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19.2 Will Be Codenamed “Tina,” Remains Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

              In the latest monthly newsletter, Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre revealed the codename of the next Linux Mint release in the Linux Mint 19.x series, Linux Mint 19.2.
              After Linux Mint 19 “Tara” and Linux Mint 19.1 “Tessa,” it will come Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina,” which remains based on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series. Yes, you’ve read that right, the upcoming Linux Mint 19.2 release will be codenamed “Tina.”

              Most probably, the Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” operating system will get all the updates from the Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS point release, which was released in February 2019 with the Linux 4.18 kernel stack from the Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating system series.

            • Linux Mint 19.2 ‘Tina’ is On the Way, But the Developers Seem Defeated and Depressed
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Chef becomes 100% free software

    Chef, the purveyor of a popular configuration-management system, has announced a move away from the open-core business model and the open-sourcing of all of its software.

  • Introducing the New Chef: 100% Open, Always

    Today, Chef is announcing meaningful changes to the way that we build and distribute our software. Chef has always believed in the power of open source. This philosophy is core to the way that we think about software innovation. There is no better way to build software than in the open in partnership with individuals and companies who use our stack in the real world. And for enterprises and other organizations facing complex challenges, Chef backs up our software by building and supporting distributions for our projects with the resources necessary for these organizations to succeed.

    Going forward, we are doubling down on our commitment to OSS development as we extend our support for the needs of enterprise-class transformation. Starting today, we will expand the scope of our open source licensing to include 100% of our software under the Apache 2.0 license (consistent with our existing Chef Infra, Chef InSpec, and Chef Habitat license terms) without any restrictions on the use, distribution or monetization of our source code as long as our trademark policy is respected. We welcome anyone to use and extend our software for any purpose in alignment with the four essential freedoms of Free Software.

  • Chef’s Different Recipe

    Over the course of the past three plus years, the market has seen a growing number of commercial open source organizations – with encouragement from some investors – drifting away from traditional open source licensing and norms. While there have been significant differences in the precise mechanics of their respective approaches, the common thread between the likes of Confluent, Elastic, MongoDB, Redis Labs and TimeScale has been their willingness to violate open source norms long considered sacrosanct.

    Contrary to internet opinions, however, little if any of this was done with malicious intent, or absent due consideration for the grave implications of the various moves. In the majority of cases, the difficult decisions were made reluctantly, under duress. Whether that duress was real or more theoretical in nature is a matter of some debate, but there can be no doubt that the companies involved embarked on these courses because they felt they had to, not because they particularly wanted to.

    There have been many contributing factors to this drift away from open source, including the intrinsic problems of compelling payment for assets otherwise available for free, but by far the biggest driver has been the once cold war that recently escalated into a full scale hot war between cloud vendors and commercial open source providers. The relationships between these archetypes is fraught, and has evolved from relatively benign indifference on the part of open source providers to existential, unmanageable dread.

  • Chef Opens Up DevOps Platform With Enterprise Automation Stack

    Chef has been at the forefront of the DevOps movement with its namesake open-source Chef project. Not all of Chef’s platforms, however, have been open-source, with some available under commercial proprietary licenses.

    On April 2, Chef announced a major shift in its company alignment, making all of its products available under the Apache 2.0 open-source license and revealing a new supported platform called the Enterprise Automation Stack. The move to being 100 percent open-source is an effort to provide more transparency and encourage broader collaboration. Rather than moving the projects to an independent, third-party open-source foundation and governance model, however, Chef will continue to lead and operate the projects.

    “When looking at foundations and the shape of open-source, a big issue is deciding who controls and builds the upstream asset. As soon as you put software into a foundation, the foundation controls the asset,” Adam Jacob, co-founder and CTO of Chef, told eWEEK. “One of the things that we’re doing is aligning our own commercial interests with our interest in being the upstream that provides the project.”

  • Goodbye Open Core — Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

    This morning, Chef Software announced that it will be releasing 100% of its software as Open Source, under the Apache License. Going forward, all of its product development will be done in the open, with the community, and released as Open Source Software. Chef is done with being Open Core, and is now a Free Software Product company. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    As a Co-Founder of Chef, a board member, and a community member, I couldn’t be more thrilled. For me, it eliminates the longest-running source of friction and frustration from my time at Chef. On the one hand, we have a community that cares about the software, and about each other, where we develop the software in concert with our users and customers. On the other, we produced a proprietary software stack, which we use to make money. Deciding what’s in, and what’s out, or where to focus, was the hardest part of the job at Chef. I’m stoked nobody has to do it anymore. I’m stoked we can have the entire company participating in the open source community, rather than burning out a few dedicated heroes. I’m stoked we no longer have to justify the value of what we do in terms of what we hold back from collaborating with people on.
    As an insider, I got to witness first-hand the boldness and deep thought put in to this transition by the team at Chef. Our incredible CEO, Barry Crist; Corey Scobie, the SVP of Product and Technology; Brian Goldfarb, CMO; Katie Long, our VP of Legal; and so many others. Thank you.

  • 5 useful open source log analysis tools

    Monitoring network activity can be a tedious job, but there are good reasons to do it. For one, it allows you to find and investigate suspicious logins on workstations, devices connected to networks, and servers while identifying sources of administrator abuse. You can also trace software installations and data transfers to identify potential issues in real time rather than after the damage is done.

    Those logs also go a long way towards keeping your company in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that applies to any entity operating within the European Union. If you have a website that is viewable in the EU, you qualify.

  • ClearlyDefined Update [Ed: OSI Web site now composed by Microsoft staff, salaried by Microsoft. Not good. In Microsoft-composed blog posts OSI now links to Microsoft GiHhub and a project Microsoft is connected to. Had OSI not received money from Microsoft, maybe it would not happen.]

    Having clear license data about open source increases everyone’s confidence. Projects want more adoption of their software, and this is built on confidence in knowing how to use it responsibly. Users of open source projects want to feel confident they know how a project is licensed to properly comply with the terms of that license. Organizations and companies building on open source want to feel confident they understand the compliance obligations of all the open source they use.

    Enter ClearlyDefined. ClearlyDefined is focused on clarifying data about open source components. Specifically, the initial focus is on three key pieces of data about open source: license, source location, and attribution parties. Clarity on these pieces of data helps everyone know what their obligations are and feel more confident in meeting them.

    We have spent the last year as an OSI project building the software to facilitate the project as well as the community around the project.

  • Events

    • Tristan Van Berkom: FOSSASIA 2019 Report

      This was my first visit to Singapore, and I think it is a very nice and interesting place. The city is very clean (sometimes disturbingly so), the food I encountered was mostly Chinese and Indian, and while selling food out of carts on the street has been outlawed some time ago, there is thankfully still a strong culture of street food available in the various “Hawker Centres” (food courts) where the previous street vendors have taken up shop instead.

      From my very limited experience there, I would have to recommend roaming around China Town food street and enjoying beer and food (be warned, beer in Singapore is astoundingly expensive !)… Here is a picture of what it looks like.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Crossing the Rust FFI frontier with Protocol Buffers

        My team, the application services team at Mozilla, works on Firefox Sync, Firefox Accounts and WebPush.

        These features are currently shipped on Firefox Desktop, Android and iOS browsers. They will soon be available in our new products such as our upcoming Android browser, our password manager Lockbox, and Firefox for Fire TV.

      • Mike Hoye: Fixer (Mozilla)

        My name is Mike Hoye; I go by “mhoye” out here on the intertubes, and I have the good fortune to work for Mozilla. I should mention that what follows aren’t company opinions, but I suppose that’ll be very, very obvious in a moment.

        I started at Mozilla years ago as their first engineering community manager. My early work focused on codebase and organizational accessibility, the ergonomics of Mozilla’s commitment to open development. Since then I’ve been fortunate to work under some excellent managers who’ve given me the freedom to run towards fires and the support to carry some challenging, sometimes unpleasant tasks over the line. As a result my role has grown in a bunch of interesting directions, to the point where it’s now hard to define; on top of the community work and organizational accessibility, I’m involved in training, licensing, communications mentoring, incident response coordination and a number of other org-crosscutting efforts. I’ve even ended up in charge of the venerable Planet Mozilla in the process somehow.

        Presently my title is “Senior Staff Project Manager” because, as my boss puts it, it’s the closest thing on the list to “fixer”. I mostly help people talk to each other; I seem to have found my niche solving problems that are supposedly about the tech but really about the people around it. My boss describes these as “mhoye-shaped problems”, to my ongoing delight. It makes me think of the outline Wile E. Coyote leaves in the cliff face.

        Between all that I write about software, history, team-building, the industry in general or random nonsense, sometimes because I have something to say but often just to sharpen the tools.

        I should caution you: a few years ago a research paper was published that described a class of people whose technology choices were a reliable predictor those products would fail in the market. For a while now some colleagues have enjoyed keeping track of my tech choices so that they can short the companies that make them, so that paper quickly made the rounds attached to alarmed emails that basically said “there are more like him, we must warn the village”. So on the one hand, if you’re asking me for technology recommendations, you should know that I’m the angel of death. On the other hand, all my favorite Uses This interviews call to mind the Matsuo Bashō line that the footprints of the wise lead nowhere, a bar I’d like to clear as well. And it goes without saying that any sufficiently advanced aesthetic is indistinguishable from cosplay, that if your aesthetic is easily distinguished from cosplay it’s insufficiently advanced. So calibrate your expectations accordingly and let’s get into it.

      • Stop videos from automatically playing with new autoplay controls from Firefox

        The web is 30 years old. Over its lifetime we’ve had developments that have brought us to peaks of delight and others to the pits of frustration. The blink tag, pop-up ads, click bait and trolls are all things that diminish our web experience. Perhaps the greatest offender of internet etiquette today is video autoplay. Be it an ad, a YouTube video or a site that just can’t wait to tell you all about itself, autoplay video is an annoyance. In our own study 90% of the users polled wanted Firefox to stop videos from automatically playing. We’re here for you, so we’ve added a new feature called Block Autoplay to stop all that noise from starting in the first place.

      • Firefox UX: An exception to our ‘No Guerrilla Research’ practice: A tale of user research at MozFest

        Sometimes, when you’re doing user research, things just don’t quite go as planned. MozFest was one of those times for us.

        MozFest, the Mozilla Festival, is a vibrant conference and week-long “celebration for, by, and about people who love the internet.” Held at a Ravensbourne university in London, the festival features nine floors of simultaneous sessions. The Add-ons UX team had the opportunity to host a workshop at MozFest about co-designing a new submission flow for browser extensions and themes. The workshop was a version of the Add-ons community workshop we held the previous day.

        On the morning of our workshop, we showed up bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and fully caffeinated. Materials in place, slides loaded…we were ready. And then, no one showed up.

        Perhaps because 1) there was too much awesome stuff going on at the same time as our workshop, 2) we were in a back corner, and 3) we didn’t proactively advertise our talk enough.

        After processing our initial heartache and disappointment, Emanuela, a designer on the team, suggested we try something we don’t do often at Mozilla, if at all: guerrilla research. Guerrilla user research usually means getting research participants from “the street.” For example, a researcher could stand in front of a grocery store with a tablet computer and ask people to use a new app. This type of research method is different than “normal” user research methods (e.g. field research in a person’s home, interviewing someone remotely over video call, conducting a usability study in a conference room at an office) because there is much less control in screening participants, and all the research is conducted in the public eye [1].

      • Stay and Compile a While | LINUX Unplugged 295

        Is there really any advantage to building your software vs installing the package? We discuss when and why you might want to consider building it yourself.

        Plus some useful things Mozilla is working on and Cassidy joins us to tell us about elementary OS’ big choice.

      • DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) Update – Recent Testing Results and Next Steps

        Back in November 2018, we rolled out a test of DoH in the United States to look at possible impacts to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). Our goal was to closely examine performance again, specifically the case when users get less localized DNS responses that could slow the browsing experience, even if the DNS resolver itself is accurate and fast. We worked with Akamai to help us understand more about the possible impact.

        The results were strong! Like our previous studies, DoH had minimal impact or clearly improved the total time it takes to get a response from the resolver and fetch a web page.

  • LibreOffice

    • Announcing the First Latin America LibreOffice Conference

      The Document Foundation announces the LibreOffice Latin America Conference 2019, held at the Facultad Politécnica de Universidad Nactional de Assunción (FPUNA) in Asunción, Paraguay on July 19th (Friday) and 20th (Sat).

      LibreOffice Latin America Conference will be the first event gathering LibreOffice users, advocates and contributors (not only development, but also localization, PR/marketing, documentation, quality assurance, … etc.) from different countries in Latin America, to exchange and share experiences and knowledge.

      An exclusive translation sprint to Guarani will be held in parallel during the event with supervision of LibreOffice volunteer developers.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Linux developer abandons VMware lawsuit

      In August 2006, well-known Linux developer Christopher Helwig spotted Linux source code being used illegally in the VMware ESX bare-metal virtual machine (VM) hypervisor. Helwig, with the aid of the Software Freedom Conservancy, eventually sued VMware, Now, after the German Hamburg Higher Regional Court dismissed Helwig’s appeal, he has decided that it would be pointless to appeal the decision.

      The heart of the lawsuit had been that Hypervisor vSphere VMware ESXi 5.5.0 violated Linux’s copyright. That’s because VMware had not licensed a derivative work from Linux under the GNU General Public License (GPL). True, VMware had disclosed the vmklinux component under the GPL, but not the associated hypervisor components.

    • VMware Suit Concludes in Germany

      Today, Christoph Hellwig announced the conclusion of his case against VMware in Germany. The Hamburg Higher Regional Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, which dismissed the case on purely procedural grounds; they did not address the main question of the case. Hellwig has decided with his legal counsel, Till Jaeger, and after conferring with Conservancy, to not appeal the case further in German courts.

      “The subject of the complaint I filed was the question of whether the distribution of the software Hypervisor vSphere VMware ESXi 5.5.0 software is copyright infringement because VMware has no permission to create a derivative work from Linux under the GNU General Public License (GPL)” says Hellwig. Both courts declined to consider that essential question.

      VMware, in their news item about the decision by the Court, announced that they will finally remove vmklinux from vSphere. Both Hellwig and Conservancy had asked VMware to remove the Linux code from VMware’s proprietary kernel many times. While the preferred form of GPL compliance is release of the entire work under the terms of the GPL, a common alternative is to merely remove the GPL’d code from the product. VMware chose the latter method to comply.

    • Linux developer ends licence violation case against VMware

      Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig has ended his legal fight against cloud computing and platform virtualisation software and services company VMware, over alleged violation of the GNU General Public Licence version 2 under which the kernel is distributed.
      Hellwig, the maintainer of the kernel’s SCSI sub-system, said in a statement that his appeal against the decision issued by the Hamburg District Court on 7 August 2016 had been dismissed by the Hamburg Higher Regional Court.

      He added that, after conferring with his lawyer, Till Jaeger, and the Software Freedom Conservancy, which bankrolled the litigation, that no further appeal would be lodged.

      [...]

      Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig has ended his legal fight against cloud computing and platform virtualisation software and services company VMware, over alleged violation of the GNU General Public Licence version 2 under which the kernel is distributed.
      Hellwig, the maintainer of the kernel’s SCSI sub-system, said in a statement that his appeal against the decision issued by the Hamburg District Court on 7 August 2016 had been dismissed by the Hamburg Higher Regional Court.

      He added that, after conferring with his lawyer, Till Jaeger, and the Software Freedom Conservancy, which bankrolled the litigation, that no further appeal would be lodged.

      [...]

      Software Freedom Conservancy executive director Karen Sandler said: “VMware knew what they were doing was wrong, but continued to generate revenue by infringing copyrights in Linux, while only slowly working toward non-infringement.

      “As we have always said, we simply want companies to follow the rules and do the right thing when they incorporate GPL’d code into their products.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing Red Hat CodeReady Studio, the latest evolution of Red Hat Developer Studio

      Red Hat has been shipping a distribution of Eclipse IDE for years now, including all of the great features of Eclipse along with the add-ons, plugins, and tooling that make working with our products easy and enjoyable. These distributions have gone by different names over the years to indicate how they fit into the Red Hat ecosystem, and to tap into the trust that developers have when they think about Red Hat and what a Red Hat product means for them: it’ll be reliable; it’ll have a published lifecycle; it’s built from source; and if you submit a bug, we’ll fix it (and give the fix to the community). This change is no different.

    • Announcing Red Hat CodeReadyStudio 12.11.0.GA and JBoss Tools 4.11.0.Final for Eclipse 2019-03

      JBoss Tools 4.11.0 and Red Hat CodeReady Studio 12.11 for Eclipse 2019-03 are here and are waiting for you. In this article, I’ll cover the highlights of the new releases and show how to get started.

    • IBM Adds New “Arch13″ Processor Support To GCC 9

      GCC 9 is just weeks away from being officially released while today IBM engineers added support for new “arch13″ processors to this next compiler update.

      Arch13 is a new generation of IBM processors that have yet to be officially announced and building upon the existing s/390 architecture support within the GNU Compiler Collection. Arch13 is serving as a placeholder name similar to previous “archXX” s/390 terminology. The Arch13 support in the IBM S/390 compiler code include supporting new bit operations, new conditional register behavior, new vector instructions for byte and vector element reversal, and other new instructions/built-ins.

    • Cog 3.0

      Cog is a small tool I wrote years ago. It finds snippets of Python in text files, executes them, and inserts the result back into the text. It’s good for adding a little bit of computational support into an otherwise static file. Originally I wrote it to generate boilerplate C code, but now I use it for making all my presentations.

      It has sat dormant for a long time. Recently someone asked me if it was maintained, and I huffily answered, “it’s maintained as much as it needs to be.” But they were right to ask: it certainly had the look of an abandoned property.

    • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #362 (April 2, 2019)
    • Idiomatic Pandas: Tricks & Features You May Not Know
    • Getting Started with Selenium and Python
    • Making the most of the PyCon sprints
    • sphinxcontrib.datatemplates 0.2.0
    • Talk Python to Me: #205 Beginners and Experts Panel

      Welcome to part 2 of our beginners and experts series. This one is a panel format with 7 different guests. Each of them a beginner in their own way. We dig deeper into some follow up conversations for part 1 with our panelists.

    • Loops In BASH – Learn BASH | Part 6

      Welcome to the sixth chapter on BASH scripting series. And today we will dive into a very cool topic called looping constructs in computer programming. Loops are important if we have a task that needs repetition. In the previous chapter where we discussed about decisions, we made the computer think logically. Combine that with loops and we have an almost humanoid program that can think, work, and repeat the steps throughout the day.

    • Top 5 Python Frameworks For Test Automation In 2019
    • Coding in Python 25 – Classes
    • Coding in Python 26 – Inheritance
    • How to Execute Mars in a Distributed Manner

      Mars provides a library for distributed execution of tensors. The library is written using the actor model implemented by mars.actors and includes schedulers, workers and web services.

      The graph submitted by the client to Mars Web Service consists of tensors. The web service receives the graphs and submits them to a scheduler. Before submitting the job to each worker, a Mars scheduler compiles the tensor graph into a graph composed of chunks and operands, and then analyzes and splits the graph. Then, the scheduler creates a series of OperandActors that control the execution of a single operand in all schedulers based on the consistent hash. Operands are scheduled in a topological order. Once all operands have been executed, the entire figure is marked as completed, and the client can pull the results from the Web. The entire execution process is shown in the following figure.

    • 8 principles to achieve DevOps at scale

      Since you clicked on this article, you may be wondering why you aren’t achieving the level of quality, efficiency, and satisfaction you expect from your DevOps processes. Maybe you think other organizations are achieving more than you are. If so, you might be trying to do what everyone else is doing, rather than thinking independently and building a DevOps initiative that fits your organization.

    • Speed up SystemTap script monitoring of system calls

      SystemTap has extensive libraries called tapsets that allow developers to instrument various aspects of the kernel’s operation. SystemTap allows the use of wildcards to instrument multiple locations in particular subsystems. SystemTap has to perform a significant amount of work to create instrumentation for each of the places being probed. This overhead is particularly apparent when using the wildcards for the system call tapset that contains hundreds of entries (syscall.* and syscall.*.return). For some subsets of data collection, replacing the wildcard-matched syscall probes in SystemTap scripts with the kernel.trace(“sys_enter”) and the kernel.trace(“sys_exit”) probe will produce smaller instrumentation modules that compile and start up more quickly. In this article, I’ll show a few examples of how this works.

    • GDB autoloads for 389 DS

      I’ve been writing a set of extensions to help debug 389-ds a bit easier. Thanks to the magic of python, writing GDB extensions is really easy.

      On OpenSUSE, when you start your DS instance under GDB, all of the extensions are automatically loaded. This will help make debugging a breeze.

Leftovers

  • Microsoft has closed its e-bookstore, and everything you purchased will vanish in July

    The answer, simply put, is that they’ll disappear entirely sometime around July 2019, and you’ll be given a full refund. If you ordered or rented an ebook before today, your order will be cancelled and refunded. Free ebooks downloaded via the Microsoft Store app will also disappear, and they won’t be available after July, either.

  • Microsoft announces it will shut down ebook program and confiscate its customers’ libraries

    Microsoft has a DRM-locked ebook store that isn’t making enough money, so they’re shutting it down and taking away every book that every one of its customers acquired effective July 1.

  • Microsoft removes the Books category from the Microsoft Store

    Previously purchased books and rentals will be accessible until early July, but after this, books will no longer be accessible, officials said in a customer-support article today. The company is promising full refunds for all content purchased from the Books category; anyone who bought books via the Store will receive further details on how to get refunds via email from Microsoft.

  • Microsoft stops selling ebooks, offers refunds to customers

    If you have been using the Microsoft Store as your point of purchase for ebooks, you’re going to have to start shopping elsewhere. Microsoft has ditched the Books category from the store, and this means that not only will it not be possible to buy books from the Microsoft Store, but also that previous purchases will not be accessible after July.

  • US agriculture department closes ‘kitten slaughterhouse’

    The US Department of Agriculture on Tuesday announced it would no longer use cats in research that, according to a watchdog group, involved forced “cannibalism” and resulted in over 3,000 of the animals being put down since 1982.
    Over more than three decades, in a laboratory in Beltsville, near the capital Washington, scientists fed cats and kittens meat possibly contaminated with the parasite toxoplasma gondii, according to the White Coat Waste Project (WCW).
    The researchers then tested the cats’ stools to confirm the presence of toxoplasma — which can only complete entire life cycles in cats — in the meat. After three weeks, they went on to euthanize the cats even though they were healthy.

  • Science

    • India ASAT test debris poses danger to International Space Station, NASA says

      The “Mission Shakti” ASAT shot hit the Microsat-R Earth observation satellite at an altitude of about 300 kilometers—an altitude Indian officials said would pose little risk to other spacecraft. But Bridenstine said that some of the debris created by the test had been thrown into orbits with a much higher apogee. In some cases, he said, those orbits could cross the track of the ISS, which orbits at an altitude of 410 kilometers.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why We’re Seeing More Realistic Depictions of Abortion in TV and Film

      Over 8 million viewers last year watched while Scandal’s Olivia Pope, played by actor Kerri Washington, lay on a clinic table as she had an abortion. There was no dialogue about Pope’s pregnancy or the procedure, before or after. Simultaneously, Republican Sen. (and former first lady) Mellie Grant, played by Bellamy Young, filibusters to protect funding for Planned Parenthood.

      The episode was reflective of a partnership between the entertainment industry and the nonprofit health care provider Planned Parenthood to combat bad data on reproductive health.

      Misleading information about women’s health has long informed harmful policy decisions throughout American history. From the colonial belief that women are too delicate to govern to misinformation about abortion and the restrictions placed on reproductive health, these notions have been challenged by advocates for women’s rights and reproductive rights.

    • New 5G Network Spurs Health Concerns

      5G technologies are far less studied for human effects. The addition of this 5G radiation to an already complex mix of lower frequencies, will likely contribute to negative public health outcomes—both physically and mentally. The new 5G technology utilizes high-frequency millimeter waves (MMW), which give off the same dose of radiation as airport scanners. Continuous exposure in close proximity to people’s homes and workplaces may pose serious risks.

    • ‘Making Money Off Dysfunction’: Bolstering Medicare for All Case, Survey Shows Americans Accrued $88 Billion in Healthcare Debt in 2018

      Americans borrowed $88 billion in 2018 to cover their healthcare, putting yet another number to the argument against the private insurance system as the best provider of care and making the case for universal healthcare even stronger.

      That’s not all. 45% of U.S. adults fear a health issue could push them into bankruptcy—and 15 million Americans delayed purchasing medication to save money last year.

      “Someone is making money off dysfunction,” said New York Times editor Patrick LaForge.

    • Big Pharma Spends Millions to Avoid Congressional Scrutiny

      In April 2018, Congress called Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Wells Fargo’s CEO Tim Sloan, Amtrak’s CEO Richard Anderson, and Richard Smith, former CEO of Equifax, to testify on their companies’ conduct. Notably absent, Jacqueline Havelka reported for Citizen Truth, have been the leaders of Big Pharma, despite widespread public concern over drug price gouging. As Havelka reported, “We’d expect more pharmaceutical companies to be under scrutiny,” especially because, while on the campaign trail, President Trump pledged to bring drug prices down and accused pharmaceutical companies of “getting away with murder.” Her report details how pharmaceutical companies—often working through its trade association, called PhRMA—have so frequently been successful in avoiding congressional scrutiny.

    • Dramatic Rise Self-Poisonings in Children and Young Adults in Australia

      New research by the University of Sydney and the NSW Poisons Information Centre reported that self-poisoning among Australian children and young adults is increasing rapidly and also starting at younger ages. The number of self-poisonings in Australia has doubled in the last ten years. Among the types of self-harm prevalent in Australia, self-poisonings are most common. Children and adolescents that suffer from drug addiction and mental illnesses such as depression are more likely to poison themselves, which often leads to suicide.

    • Major Nurses Union Calls Medicare X Plan ‘Sub-Par and Wholly Inadequate to Address the Healthcare Crisis’

      Instead of embracing incremental measures, Cortez argued, Senate Democrats should line up behind Medicare for All, which would provide comprehensive health insurance to everyone at a lower overall cost to the nation.

      “The solution to fix our healthcare is clear: the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (H.R. 1384), which offers real patient choice, without devastating out of pocket costs,” said Cortez. “The Medicare for All Act is backed by over 100 members of Congress and will guarantee quality healthcare for everyone.”

      Kaine readily admitted that his legislation would not fundamentally alter the current for-profit healthcare system, which has left 30 million Americans uninsured and over 80 million more underinsured.

      “We preserve everything about the existing system,” the Democrat from Virginia told The Hill. “And we just put one additional element into it.”

      According to Kaine’s office, Medicare X would “build on the Medicare framework to establish a public insurance option.”

      Medicare X would allow Americans of all ages to buy a public insurance plan, which distinguishes it from other incrementalist plans Democrats have introduced in recent weeks—such as Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D-Mich.) proposal to let Americans buy-in to Medicare at age 50.

      But, Cortez argued, Kaine and Bennet’s plan would not do nearly enough to remedy the systemic problems and immense costs of the U.S. healthcare system.

  • Security

    • Supplying the supply chain

      A long time ago Marc Andreessen said “software is eating the world”. This statement ended up being quite profound in hindsight, as most profound statements are. At the time nobody really understood what he meant and it probably wasn’t until the public cloud caught on that it became something nobody could ignore. The future of technology was less about selling hardware as it is about building software.

      We’re at a point now where it’s time to rethink software. Well, the rethinking happened quite some time ago, now everyone has to catch up. Today it’s a pretty safe statement to declare open source is eating the world. Open source won, it’s everywhere, you can’t not use it. It’s not always well understood. And it’s powering your supply chain, even if you don’t know it.

      In a previous post I talk about what open source dependencies are. This post is meant to explain how all these dependencies interact with each other and what you need to know about it. The topic of supply chains is coming up more and more and then and it’s usually not great news. When open source comes up in the context of the supply chain it’s very common for the story to center around how dangerous open source is. Of course if you just use this one tool, or this one vendor, or this one something, you’ll be able to sleep at night. Buying solutions for problems you don’t understand is usually slightly less useful than just throwing your money directly into the fire.

      Any application depends on other software. Without getting overly detailed it’s safe to say that most of us develop software using libraries, interpreters, compilers, and operating systems from somewhere else. In most cases these are open source projects. Purely proprietary software is an endangered species. It’s probably already extinct but there are a few deniers who won’t let it go quietly into the night.

    • Office Depot And Partner Ordered To Pay $35 Million For Tricking Consumers Into Thinking They Had Malware

      I have worked in the B2B IT services industry for well over a decade. Much of that time was spent on the sales side of the business. As such, I have become very familiar with the tools and tactics used to convince someone that they are in need of the type of IT support you can provide. One common tactic is to use software to do an assessment of a machine to determine whether it’s being properly maintained and secured. If it is not, a simple report showing the risks tends to be quite persuasive in convincing a prospective client to sign up for additional support.

      Done the right way, these reports are factual and convincing. Done the Office Depot way, it seems only the latter is a requirement. The FTC announced on its site that Office Depot and its support partner, Support.com, Inc., has agreed to pay $35 million to settle a complaint in which the FTC alleged that consumers were tricked using a computer health application into thinking their machines were infected with malware when they often times were not.

    • Automation Could Help Organizations Manage Risk: Cybersecurity Research
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Chinese Woman Carrying Malware Allegedly Got Into Mar-a-Lago

      A woman carrying two Chinese passports and a device containing computer malware lied to Secret Service agents and briefly gained admission to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club over the weekend during his Florida visit, federal prosecutors allege in court documents.Yujing Zhang, 32, approached a Secret Service agent at a checkpoint outside the Palm Beach club early Saturday afternoon and said she was a member who wanted to use the pool, court documents said. She showed the passports as identification.
      Agents say she wasn’t on the membership list, but a club manager thought Zhang was the daughter of a member. Agents say that when they asked Zhang if the member was her father, she did not answer definitively but they thought it might be a language barrier and admitted her.

      Zhang’s story changed when she got inside, agents say, telling a front desk receptionist she was there to attend the United Nations Chinese American Association event scheduled for that evening. No such event was scheduled and agents were summoned.

      Agent Samuel Ivanovich wrote in court documents that Zhang told him that she was there for the Chinese American event and had come early to familiarize herself with the club and take photos, again contradicting what she had said at the checkpoint. She showed him an invitation in Chinese that he could not read.

    • Woman from China, with malware in tow, illegally entered Trump’s Mar-a-Lago
    • Govt allocates funds to boost election security

      The Federal Government has allocated an unspecified amount in Tuesday’s Federal Budget to improve cyber security arrangements for the forthcoming election.

    • Former Mozilla CTO files complaint against border patrol over warrantless phone search

      According to the ACLU’s complaint, Customs and Border Protection agents in San Francisco International Airport stopped and interrogated Gal — a Hungarian-born US citizen — as he returned from a business trip in Sweden. The agents allegedly demanded that he hand over the passcodes to his Apple-issued phone and computer. When Gal asked to speak to an attorney, they allegedly threatened him with criminal prosecution for resisting a federal officer, “interrogated him about every aspect of his travel and his possessions,” and revoked his expedited Global Entry status for “refusal to comply with a search.”

      [...]

      Gal and the ACLU speculate that the search was motivated by suspicion over Gal’s previous privacy advocacy and his political opinions, stating that the agents asked detailed questions about his work with the privacy-conscious Mozilla — which Gal left back in 2015 to help found Silk Labs, an AI startup that was later acquired by Apple. The Department of Homeland Security didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the complaint or its allegations.

    • Apache web server bug grants root access on shared hosting environments
    • Arizona Beverages knocked offline by ransomware attack

      The ransomware also infected the company’s Windows-powered Exchange server, knocking out email across the entire company. Although its Unix systems were unaffected, the ransomware outbreak left the company without any computers able to process customer orders for almost a week. Staff began processing orders manually several days into the outage.

    • Cyber criminals using tactic to spread to other connected networks, research finds

      Researchers for the security firm Carbon Black said in a new report that 50 percent of cyberattacks experienced by its clients during the first quarter of 2019 included the technique, in which [attackrs] will access one network and then spread out by infiltrating other connected networks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Collusion Hiding in Plain Sight

      Since taking office, Trump has openly colluded with Netanyahu’s Israel. Early in his term, Trump made a unilateral decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a holy site of both Jews and Muslims.

      [...]

      Trump also turns a blind eye to the murderous crimes against humanity that continue to be perpetrated by Israel against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Instead he provides the money for Israel’s weapons, at $3.3 billion in foreign military financing, more than the United States provides to the rest of the world combined.

    • Hamas Tightens Grip on Gaza, Fails to Break Israel Blockade”

      Over the weekend, Gaza’s Hamas rulers marked a year of bloody, weekly protests that have failed to break the Israeli blockade. Rocket attacks brought a wave of Israeli airstrikes and unprecedented protests broke out against the Islamic militants’ increasingly unpopular rule.

      And yet Hamas’ control over Gaza is tighter than ever.

      The militants’ rule has been strengthened by an unlikely overlap of interests with Israel’s right-wing government. Neither wants to see an independent state established in all the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, as the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And Hamas’ refusal to give up power — the asking price of its West Bank-based Palestinian rival for reconciliation — aligns with Israel’s long-standing policy of maintaining a separation between the West Bank and Gaza.

    • ‘Weak Journalism’: NYT Fails to Disclose Op-Ed Writer’s Close Family Ties to Venezuelan Opposition Leader

      A recent video opinion piece published by The New York Times intended to drum up support for U.S. involvement in Venezuela failed to disclose the author’s ties to the opposition government, leading to criticism from progressives of the paper’s coverage.

      Joanna Hausmann, a comedian who posts highly viewed articles on Venezuela on YouTube, delivered a five minute, thirteen second opinion piece at the Times Monday in which she claims that the country’s leader, President Nicolas Maduro, is a dictator and that the American left are his patsies.

      “This movement is dangerously glorifying a brutal dictator and promoting inaction,” Hausmann says in the video as quirky music plays behind her. “That is the worst combination for ordinary Venezuelans.”

      Hausmann also claims that the country’s economic problems are the fault of decades of socialist rule and that the path forward is a future without Maduro—it’s implied, though never outright stated, that the answer is for opposition leader Juan Guaidó to take power.

      What the video and the Times did not reveal is that Hausmann’s father, Harvard University economics professor Ricardo Hausmann, currently serves as Guaidó’s envoy to the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). It’s a position that, if Guaidó became president, would wield immense political and economic power.

    • US Government’s Refusal to Confirm or Deny It Put American Journalist on Drone Kill List Called ‘Chilling’

      Lawyers for an American journalist who believes he was placed on the government’s infamous “kill list” warned Tuesday that the rights of all U.S. citizens are at stake if the country’s drone assassination program is allowed to continue.
      The organization’s comments came as part of a response to the U.S. government’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit regarding its use of the list. Reprieve is representing Bilal Abdul Kareem, a journalist and U.S. citizen who claims he was repeatedly targeted —and nearly killed on five separate occasions—by drone and missile attacks in 2016 when he was reporting on the ongoing conflict in Syria.

      Kareem joined an Al Jazeera journalist in 2017 in a lawsuit against the government, demanding that the Trump administration remove their names from the “kill list” of potential targets for the U.S. drone program.

      If the government manages to have the lawsuit dismissed, legal experts warn it would allow the Trump administration and future presidents to secretly place any American on a kill list without telling them why, therefore stripping them of their constitutional right to due process.

    • Unnecessary Expansions: the Australian War Memorial

      War is not merely a matter of sowing death, much of it needless; it entails preserving a rationale to perpetuate it. The mistake often made about reading, consulting and listening to the harrowing tales of those who have perished in battle or those who survived them is to presume that these should not happen again. Politicians, generals and strategists are all in the game: the dead are merely a reminder that more blood must be shed. Weak, imprecise terms are thrown about by way of justification: they died so that we could be free. Forget the bungling, the bad faith, the expediency.

      One ample manifestation of this distasteful indulgence is the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This particular entity can hardly be said to be short of cash but was promised $498 million that would have gone to other starved national institutions. Half a billion is hardly a pittance, and the war memorial complex has been preparing since the announcement was made last year.

      The proposal is meant to address a few points, some structural, others specific to narrative. (Wars are about stories, often distorted ones, especially when massaged by the State.) Spatial issues have become significant; Australia remains busy fighting the wars of others, and so finds itself running out of commemorative room. Officials feel that more should be made for a modern generation of fighters.

      There is also push towards trendy digitisation, a pneumatic substitute that does wonders to hide rather than illuminate conflict; every site where Australians have fallen will have a display, termed Places of Pride. A focus on Australia’s more recent involvements will also be a priority. In the words of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, “It means the Australian War Memorial will be able to display more of their collection and proudly tell the stories from recent years in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Solomon Islands and East Timor.”

      For Australian War Memorial director, Brendan Nelson, Australian military deployments from the Boer War, the First and Second World Wars, the Korean conflict and Vietnam were “largely told” in crowded confines. “Yet the service of 70,000 young Australians in the Middle East Area of operations of the past two decades currently covers only two percent of available space.”

    • Irritating Facts About Korea that Many in the West Would Rather Not Know

      A huge amount of work in the US as well as in Korea, north and south, went into laying the groundwork for a successful summit in Hanoi, Vietnam at the end of February, but Trump recklessly threw it all away, apparently following the advice of the unelected Chief Advisor and Peace-Wrecking-Ball John Bolton. Possible reasons for the collapse of the summit that have been suggested include that Trump did not prep because he is lazy, that there wasn’t enough time for Korean or American officials to prepare, that the aDemocrats got in the way, and that the meaning of the phrase “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” was not clear. In The Economist we read, “Mr Trump and his aides seem to have concluded that walking away will do less harm to America’s security than showering North Korea with concessions without gaining much in return.” Well, what they call “showering North Korea with concessions” is what peace-loving Americans would call “ending the War and laying the groundwork for reconciliation.”

      There were various factors that contributed to the failure of the Summit, but there is one more major factor that deserves attention. That is that our country suffers from a certain kind of denialism—denialism in which people avoid the facts about our history on the Korean Peninsula. As schoolchildren and even as adults in the US we have been fed the “Disney version” of our nation’s history. (Paul Atwood explains this version of history and how it conflicts with reality in his War and Empire: The American Way of Life, 2010). In this version, there is a “collective hallucination that the US is the primary source of human progress.” We are taught about democracy and the ideal of self-determination but not about how whites and the US government systematically deprived Native Americans of their way of life. (Noam Chomsky gives shocking examples of how misinformed we are about the Native American genocide in his “Genocide Denial with a Vengeance: Old and New Imperial Norms,” 2010). The fact that freedom is treasured by Americans is emphasized, but we hear little about whites robbing freedom from people of African descent through slavery. We are told that people have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor, but millions of wealth-generating American workers continue to live in dire poverty. Only by hiding gross injustices such as these, can the Disney version of US history maintain any credibility.

      Without a full accounting of our past violence and an awareness of the reality that Our Country is addicted to war, it will be very difficult to build the kind of strong grassroots political will that would pressure Our Government to allow the ending of the Korean War.

    • Trump’s Dirty Tricks Are Reshaping the Globe

      Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ security team has alleged in The Daily Beast that Saudi Arabian intelligence hacked his phone and passed to the National Enquirer intimate photos that the married Bezos had sent to his lover, Lauren Sanchez. Although the Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, has alleged that it received the material from Sanchez’s brother, this allegation may be be a cover story intended to deflect attention from the Saudi role (of which AMI may or may not have been aware. AMI reiterated its denials after the Daily Beast story appeared.

      Bezos owns the Washington Post, which has often been critical of Trump, who in turn has viciously attacked the newspaper and its owner.

      Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman established a strong relationship with Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in 2017, which had been prepared for by the de facto head of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammad Bin Zayed, who secretly flew into the US after the November election to meet with Trump officials.

      It has been alleged that the crown prince targeted expatriate Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in part because he had written critically about Trump at the Washington Post, where he was given a column after he fled Bin Salman’s increasingly dictatorial government.

    • Population Bomb or Bomb the Population?

      Eugenics was an American specialty. It inspired Hitler, and it was much studied and admired in the UK as well with support from H.G. Wells, GB Shaw, and Churchill. White supremacism is what drove colonial logic and practice and its still with us in the capitalist societies of the West, and things like mass incarceration are evidence of that. But it has also bled into other areas of study, and into the culture at large really. And one of the most pronounced expressions of the new eugenics (that claims not to be) are in the so called Population Bombers (named after Paul Erlich’s book).

      But before getting to the *new* scientific racism of the Population Bombers, lets take a stroll down memory lane and visit the old scientific racism.

      Since this is going to be a very truncated version of a complex and sadly extensive history, a good place to start might be Charles Benedict Davenport, the head of the American Breeders Association (ABA) which was started in Boston in 1903. And originally concerned with sweet peas, and not people. But they expanded to include a eugenics division in 1906 to, as Davenport put it…“emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” Membership was very prestigious. Alexander Graham Bell, and dozen presidents of major Universities, as well as scientists like Frederick Adams Woods, and Roswell H. Johnson. The legacy of Puritanism looms large here. As it does it most histories of the U.S.

      Eugenics was immensely popular straight away. And while many literary types and faddists glommed onto the idea, the primary force behind Eugenics were outright racists like Woods, Davenport and Johnson. And the almost immediate trend for this discipline was toward birth control, and in particular sterilization. Now, the history of eugenics is fascinating and terrifying and I suggest reading Allan Chase’s seminal book The Legacy of Malthus, The Social Cost of New Scientific Racism. But I can only skim over some of this to lay the foundation for looking at the current Population Bombers. One item stuck me, and that was the very perfunctory training of young ladies from wealthy backgrounds who became ‘field workers’ for the new eugenics programs. In other words these young ladies after a few weeks study at Cold Spring Harbor, and Vineland, New Jersey, Training School for Feeble-minded Girls and Boys, venture forth into the cities and towns of America looking to identify signs of “criminalism, fecklessness, and those of bad blood. I mean what could go wrong, right?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • 10 ‘most urgent’ global press freedom cases, April 2019

      Formed in March 2019, the One Free Press Coalition is a collection of media publishers from around the world that have committed to use their collective audiences to stand up for journalists under attack for pursuing the truth. Members include The Associated Press, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Reuters and the Financial Times.

      [...]

      The mission of the coalition is to use the global reach of its members – which now numbers over a billion people worldwide – to draw public attention to journalists who are often isolated and do not have access to the international spotlight.

    • ‘Solitary Confinement Is Torture’: Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Chelsea Manning’s Release

      Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday demanded the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and called for a ban on extended solitary confinement.

      “Chelsea Manning has been trapped in solitary confinement for refusing to answer questions before a Grand Jury,” tweeted the congresswoman from New York. “Solitary confinement is torture. Chelsea is being tortured for whistleblowing, she should be released on bail, and we should ban extended solitary in the U.S.”

    • Chelsea Manning’s Attorneys Challenge Prolonged Solitary Confinement, Demand Her Release From Jail

      Chelsea Manning remains in conditions of prolonged solitary confinement, and her attorneys argue she should be released from jail pending her appeal.

      “Ms. Manning’s conditions of confinement must either be modified so as not to constitute punishment or she must be released,” Manning’s attorneys declared. “Since the jail cannot turn back the clock on punishment that has already occurred, her confinement in adseg in excess of 15 days already constitutes an incurable due process violation. She must therefore be released.”

      On March 8, Manning was detained at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia. She was held in civil contempt by a district court because she refuses to answer questions before a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

      The facility has kept Manning in “administrative segregation,” which authorities claim is standard for “high-profile” individuals. It means Manning is confined to a cell for about 22 hours every day.

      Manning’s attorneys filed a motion [PDF] on April 1, where they raised “urgent” concerns about what they referred to as the “instant use of prolonged solitary confinement.”

      “Ms. Manning was kept in solitary confinement for nearly a year during her confinement at Quantico. As a result of studying her case, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez issued reports defining solitary confinement as tantamount to torture after it becomes ‘prolonged,’” they recall. “On the basis of scientific research about irreversible changes in brain chemistry, he defined ‘prolonged’ as more than 15 days.”

      Manning’s attorneys add, “While Manning objects on humanitarian grounds to anyone enduring such treatment, she recognizes that it is likely lawful for the jail to segregate people who are being subject to punishment.”

      However, they maintain the law for “recalcitrant witnesses” does not allow for “punishment” of Manning.

    • Ecuador president blames WikiLeaks for leak of private data

      Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno is blaming WikiLeaks for recent allegations of corruption in local outlets and the publication of family photos to social media.

    • Ecuador President Threatens to Decide Assange’s Fate Over Scandal

      Those conditions, or protocol, were imposed by Ecuador on Assange in March 2018 and bar him from commenting publicly on political matters in exchange for being allowed to remain a refugee in the embassy.

      “Ecuador”s President Lenin Moreno stated today that Assange has ‘violated the ‘conditions’ of his asylum’ and that he will ‘take a decision’ ‘in the short term” after @WikiLeaks reported on the existence of the #INAPapers offshore corruption scandal wracking his government,” WikiLeaks tweeted Tuesday.

      WikiLeaks had reported about the scandal allegedly involving Moreno and his family with INA Investments Corp, though WikiLeaks has not published any documents related to the case. Moreno’s spokesman, however, has implied that WikiLeaks has. A search of Wikileaks’ website shows no such files.

      According to Telesur English the scandal came to light in February when Ecuadorian legislator Ronny Aleaga told reporters he had “received a dossier anonymously filled with documents that will implicate Lenin Moreno and his family in alleged crimes of corruption, perjury and money laundering.” The dossier has come to be known as the INA Papers.

    • Ecuador: Assange ‘Violated’ Asylum Terms, Final Decision Looming

      Ecuador’s head of state, interviewed by the local Radio Broadcasters’ Association, said Assange does not have the right to “hack private accounts or phones” and cannot intervene in the politics of other countries, especially those that have friendly relations with Ecuador.

      An allegation that comes as private photographs of Moreno and his family from when they were living in Europe circulated on social media, showing a lavish lifestyle related to the Ina Papers corruption case. The Ecuadorean government, its president, vice president, foreign minister, and state media quickly accused Assange of been the culprit behind the leaked information.

    • Julian Assange: Socialists and Liberals Must Now Choose Their Side.

      The Ecuadorean Embassy claim not to have received my email with the application, which is peculiar as I received no undeliverable message and bcc copyees received it. I therefore re-sent it with a new email advising they may change the date and time if the original is not now achievable. I have heard nothing so far in response.

      Chelsea Manning is currently entering her fourth week of solitary confinement for refusing to testify against Assange before a grand jury. The United States wishes to extradite Julian Assange to face charges, not of collusion with the non-existent “Russiagate”, not with a sexual offence stitch-up. They wish to charge him with publishing the evidence of extensive US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with publishing the US diplomatic cables including the one I drew on last week which prove that the US and UK conspired to establish a marine reserve around the Chagos Islands as an environmental fraud to maintain the deportation of the islanders from what is now the US nuclear and torture base.

      Many tens of billions of dollars are spent every year on western security services, and they are not stupid. The use of contrived sexual allegations to detach progressive figures from their support base is well established practice. But the allegations against Assange in Sweden are long gone, never reached the stage of a charge, and fell away immediately once Assange was finally interviewed by Swedish police and prosecutors in the Embassy. The whole Russiagate fabrication has been exploded as the media confection it always was.

      The false left and liberals have until now been delighted to hide behind Russiagate or Sweden to avoid asking themselves the fundamental question. Julian Assange is merely a journalist and publisher. The fundamental question is, should a journalist or publisher be locked up for life for publishing leaked documents showing war crimes? If the answer is yes, where is press freedom?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Second Houston-Area Chemical Plant Fire in Weeks Kills One, Injures Two

      One person has died and two have been critically injured in the second fire to break out at a Houston-area chemical plant in little more than two weeks.

      The fire started Tuesday at the KMCO plant in Crosby, Texas when a transfer line ignited near a tank of the flammable gas isobutylene, the Associated Press reported. Workers rushed to escape the blaze by climbing over a fence, and a cloud of black smoke billowed into the air.

      “It shook everybody’s house around here,” Samantha Galle, who lives about a mile away from the plant, told the Associated Press.

    • Why All the Uproar Over the Green New Deal?

      On August 21, 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported that “…many scientists say deep emissions cuts are necessary … to prevent … dangerous consequences of global warming,” and also reported that, “Getting from here to there would require a massive economic shift.”

      There’s likely been no better summary of the Green New Deal’s basic rationale.

      In just a few words, the Journal succinctly stated a dangerous trend of rising emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels, identified the scale of action necessary to putting a lid on the danger, and did that 10 years before the Sunrise Movement caught the attention of newly elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

      The details on either the science or economic side of the responses to the Green New Deal can be dazzling, and we’ve seen a virtual explosion of debate across topics that will be discussed in the following pages.

    • A Rare Win for Water Quality

      Montana’s environment isn’t getting much help from the legislature, but thanks to a lawsuit filed by the Upper Missouri Waterkeeper group, the state is going to have to re-do its 20 year variance on acceptable discharge levels for the nutrients/pollutants nitrogen and phosphorus. Make no mistake, this is a definite win for Montana’s water quality at a time when our rivers and lakes are showing clear signs of stress from too many nutrients.

      The lawsuit stems from a 2015 decision by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set “base” levels for nitrogen and phosphorus to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. The primary point source for the nutrients is from wastewater treatment plants that discharge to state waters.

      The problem, according to DEQ, is that it will require significant investment to upgrade treatment technologies to meet the new standards. Consequently, citing the economic impact required to achieve sufficient pollutant reductions, DEQ decided to let dischargers have up to 20 years to meet the more stringent base levels.

      The problem, according to Waterkeepers, is that equates to potentially no progress on controlling the pollutants until the deadline is reached. Moreover, as we have seen far too many times in a number of other pollution issues, the deadline would likely be extended.

    • ‘Findings Should Inspire Naked Fear’: Canada Warming at Twice the Global Rate

      Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, according to a new government report that provoked impassioned calls to urgently address human activities that produce planet-heating emissions.

      Canada’s Changing Climate Report (CCCR) was commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), a federal government department. It was scheduled for release on Tuesday but leaked to CBC News columnist Neil Macdonald on Monday.

      Macdonald called the report’s findings “beyond grim,” and said they “trigger thoughts of hoarding and maybe selling the house and moving to higher ground. To a millennial, the findings should inspire naked fear.”

      “We are living through a climate crisis,” the environmental group 350 Canada tweeted in response to CBC’s Monday coverage. “We don’t have any other choice but to take bold action on climate change, now.”

    • America’s Missed Climate Targets Cost Global Economy $1 Trillion, Dublin-based Think Tank Finds

      Since 1992, the United States consistently has missed its targets for reducing globe-warming emissions, and a Dublin-based think tank estimates the resulting damage to the global economy has been $1 trillion.

      The U.S. polluted far more — 20 billion tons of CO2 worth — than American negotiators said it would during repeated rounds of global climate deals, including Rio in 1992, Kyoto in 1997, Copenhagen in 2009, and Paris in 2015, a report published by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) today concludes.

    • Always Making Too Much Food? This New Tool Helps You Cut Food Waste

      When it comes to meal preparation, I thought I was a pro: I make shopping lists, eat leftovers and bake overripe produce into breads or simmer them into jams. My husband, Jerry, and I even have a compost bin — but we still end up tossing plenty of food into the trash can. And every time we dump another spoiled yogurt or fuzzy zucchini, we tell ourselves, “We need to do better.”

      Jerry and I agreed to test Meal Prep Mate, a new tool from NRDC’s Save the Food initiative, to see if the planning tools, recipes and storage tips could reduce our food waste. Entering information into the site’s calculator on what proteins, produce and grains we planned to cook, plus how many people we were feeding and how many meals each person needed, helped us create a smarter shopping list, gave us suggestions for supplemental recipes using some of the same ingredients, and offered new ideas for spicing up our leftovers.

    • As Industrial Farming Exploded Over the Past Century, the Netherlands’ Butterfly Population Plummeted 84%

      Bolstering global concerns about declining biodiversity, a new study shows that as industrial farming has expanded in the Netherlands over the past century, the nation’s butterfly population has plummeted by at least 84 percent, and 15 native species are now extinct.

      The analysis of 71 butterfly species native to the northwestern European country was conducted by Statistics Netherlands and the Dutch Butterfly Conservation, and published Friday in the journal Biological Conservation.

      The results of the study are “more evidence of the catastrophic declines insects [and] other invertebrates are suffering globally,” Chris Cathrine, director of U.K.-based ecological consulting firm Caledonian Conservation Ltd, said on Twitter.

    • Marine Heat Waves Could Threaten Dolphin Survival, Study Suggests

      That’s the saddening implication of a study published in Current Biology Monday. Researchers looked at what happened when a marine heat wave scorched waters off the coast of Western Australia in 2011. What they found was that the survival rate of dolphins in the area declined by 12 percent and that female dolphins gave birth to a smaller number of calves. The effects lasted up until 2017.

    • Questioning the Effectiveness of Fuel Breaks for Preventing Wildfire

      In winter 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began reviewing the environmental consequences of creating a region-wide series of fuel breaks to control wildfire in sagebrush land. Fuel breaks are strips of land that has been altered to slow or control the spread of fire. The fuel breaks under consideration by the BLM would create thousands of new, linear, non-sagebrush habitat across the Great Basin portions of Utah, Oregon, Idaho, and Nevada. As George Wuerthner reported for Earth Island Journal in February 2019, fuel breaks not only harm natural ecosystems, they also divert attention from the underlying causes of wildfire, including global warming and livestock grazing.

    • US Oil and Gas Industry Set to Unleash 120 Billion Tons of New Carbon Emissions

      The US oil and gas industry has the potential to “unleash the largest burst of new carbon emissions in the world” through 2050, according to a January 2019 report from Oil Change International, an organization that and exposes the true costs of fossil fuels and advocates for clean energy. Oil Change International’s coverage is based on a study, “Drilling Toward Disaster,” produced in collaboration with 350.org, Amazon Watch, Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, and other organizations. According to the report, new US oil and gas development could enable 120 billion tons of new carbon pollution, the equivalent to “the lifetime emissions of nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants.”

      Between now and 2030, the US is likely to account for sixty percent of the world’s projected growth in oil and gas production.

      According to Kelly Trout, one of the report’s coauthors, the findings present “an urgent and existential emergency for lawmakers in the United States at all levels of government.”

    • Arctic Permafrost No Longer Freezes … Even in Winter

      Global warming is starting to hit hard like there’s no tomorrow, and at current rates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, there may not be a tomorrow, as emissions continue setting new records year-by-year, expected to hit a 62-year record in 2019. So much for the Paris 2015 climate agreement!

      The most sensitive areas to global warming, (1) the Arctic (almost all of its multi-year ice, or old ice, is gone- already melted), and (2) East Antarctica, the coldest spot in the planet… strangely melting, and (3) Siberian ground that “no longer freezes in winter” are three occurrences that should keep world leaders up late into the night, blankly staring at the ceiling.

      In fact, over the past couple of decades global warming has groomed ultra-dangerous climate upheavals that could destroy sizeable swaths of civilization. But how soon remains an open question?

      Moreover, there are several ecosystem flashpoints with enough potential to massively destroy large segments of life right now, which, in fact, is already happening in real time, and scientifically documented, with nearly total loss of arthropods in the tropical rain forests of Mexico and Puerto Rico as a result of excessive global warming, which can destroy populations of arthropods by inhibiting reproduction and disorienting internal organ functionality (Climate-Driven Declines in Arthropod Abundance Restructure a Rainforest Food Web, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

      According to the scientists that conducted the 40-year rainforests studies in Mexico and Puerto Rico, rainforests temperatures exceeded the dreaded 2° C post-industrial guardrail (Maybe the IPCC is on to something by insisting the world must not allow temps to exceed 2° C, post-industrial).

    • Rapidly rising heat will cut maize harvests

      European scientists have bad news for the world’s farmers: within a decade, maize harvests will suffer as global temperatures will have reached a level that will turn the once-in-a-decade extremes of heat and drought into the new normal.

      That will mean that the worst production losses ever felt by the maize farmers will happen with increasing frequency, if global planetary temperatures reach 1.5°C above the long-term average for almost all human history.

      The world is already 1°C hotter on average than it was before the Industrial Revolution and its increasing dependence on fossil fuels to power the global economies.

  • Finance

    • Money Talks, Big Time

      Despair about the state of our politics pervades the political spectrum, from left to right. One source of it, the narrative of fairness offered in basic civics textbooks — we all have an equal opportunity to succeed if we work hard and play by the rules; citizens can truly shape our politics — no longer rings true to most Americans. Recent surveys indicate that substantial numbers of them believe that the economy and political system are both rigged. They also think that money has an outsized influence on politics. Ninety percent of Democrats hold this view, but so do 80% of Republicans. And careful studies confirm what the public believes.

      None of this should be surprising given the stark economic inequality that now marks our society. The richest 1% of American households currently account for 40% of the country’s wealth, more than the bottom 90% of families possess. Worse yet, the top 0.1% has cornered about 20% of it, up from 7% in the mid-1970s. By contrast, the share of the bottom 90% has since then fallen from 35% to 25%. To put such figures in a personal light, in 2017, three men — Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates — possessed more wealth ($248.5 billion) than the bottom 50% of Americans.

      Over the last four decades, economic disparities in the U.S. increased substantially and are now greater than those in other wealthy democracies. The political consequence has been that a tiny minority of extremely wealthy Americans wields disproportionate influence, leaving so many others feeling disempowered.

    • Congress and Trump discover bipartisanship on immigration—but only to increase H-2B visas for captive and underpaid migrant workers

      Instead of taking action together to enact legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for the unauthorized immigrants who are in danger of losing their immigration protections and work authorization as a result of President Trump’s efforts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status, Congress and the Trump administration have collaborated to increase in the size of the main temporary work visa program that U.S. employers use to fill low-wage non-agricultural jobs: the H-2B visa.

      This year, employers and corporate lobbyists claimed—as they do every year—that 66,000 low-wage work visas were not enough to fulfill their demand for cheap, captive labor in the landscaping, construction, forestry, seafood, meat processing, traveling carnival, and hospitality industries. Members of Congress acquiesced to their demands by inserting language into the appropriations legislation that is now funding the government during fiscal year 2019, that gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to temporarily increase the annual limit of 66,000 visas by up to 69,000 additional visas. DHS ultimately decided last week to increase the H-2B annual limit by 30,000 visas, taking the total H-2B “cap” for 2019 to 96,000.

    • “This President Is Cruel”: Congresswoman Slams Trump for Fighting Against Puerto Rico Disaster Aid

      We look at the fight in Congress over disaster aid for Puerto Rico since it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history. On Monday, two competing disaster relief bills stalled in the Senate. A companion to a January package passed in the House failed after Republicans objected to the lack of relief funding for recent flooding in the Midwest. Another Senate bill supported by Republicans fell short of the 60 votes needed. It contained just $600 million for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program, a number Democrats say is far too low as many Puerto Ricans are still recovering from the devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Democrats also say aid should cover rebuilding and other forms of disaster relief. Trump responded Monday night on Twitter that “Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right, the place is a mess–nothing works.” We get response from New York Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. She is the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress and is the former the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

    • “The System Is Rigged”: Democrats Drop Corporate and PAC Money Amid Pressure from Progressives

      We look at the growing push for lawmakers to refuse money from corporate political action committees, as more than half of the Democrats newly elected to Congress have vowed not to accept such donations. We speak with Congressmember Nydia Velázquez of New York, a long-term legislator who has stopped taking corporate PAC donations. “In order to return trust [to] our democratic institutions, we need to … allow for the voters to feel that their voices are heard and that they don’t have to write a big check in order to gain access into our congressional offices,” she says.

    • Establishment Media “Whitewash” Working Class in Midterm Election Coverage

      News coverage that equates white men in industrial jobs with the working class, in turn, perpetuates the Trump administration’s preferred narrative of a white working class as the president’s “core” supporters. FAIR reports how this frame has led representatives of the Democratic Party to shift to right “on social issues in order to gain support from the working class”

    • Everything You Need to Know About the New Economy

      The biggest economic story of our times isn’t about supply and demand. It’s about institutions and politics. It’s about power.

      The median annual earnings of full-time wage and salaried workers in 1979, in today’s dollars, was $43,680. The median earnings in 2018 was $45,708. If between 1979 and 2018, the American economy almost tripled in size, so where did the gains go? Most went to the top.

      Now this is broadly known, but there is less certainty about why.

    • Soccer Dreams and the Family-Complicit African Immigration Scam Lead to Destitution

      Africa’s best young soccer players often rely on their sports skills to get them a ticket to Europe, where football clubs offer the best players a way out of poverty. African boys who dream of the bright lights of the top European soccer clubs are enticed by “agents,” who travel to Africa and promise that their dreams will come true for a fee.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Nancy Pelosi Believes in Nothing

      Last month, Nancy Pelosi gave an interview to the Washington Post that incensed an increasingly socialist flank of the Democratic Party. “I don’t think we should go down that path,” she said of President Trump’s possible impeachment, before adding the president of the United States is “just not worth it.”

      It was unclear, in this context, what “worth it” meant to Pelosi. In the same interview, she claimed that Trump was unfit for office “ethically,” “intellectually” and “curiosity-wise.” So “worth it,” it seems, translated to “politically advantageous.” From this, one might draw the conclusion that the Speaker of the House thinks it better to keep this guy around—a far cry from newly elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s pledge several months before to “impeach the motherfucker.”

      Pelosi regretted the negativity of her tone in describing the president. “I don’t usually talk about him this much,” she offered. “This is the most I’ve probably talked about him. I hardly ever talk about him. You know, it’s not about him.” Rather it’s about “lower health-care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government.” What exactly that “it” is remains unclear.

    • Pelosi Says Biden Should Stop Being Touchy-Feely With Women
    • Navalny’s labor union demands higher pay for civil servants, in accordance with Putin’s May 2012 executive order. Here’s why that’s impossible.
    • Trump, All About Winning, Sees Losses in Court Pile Up

      A federal judge struck down the Donald Trump administration’s plan to require some people to work for their Medicaid benefits. Another judge halted Trump’s plan to open Arctic waters to drilling. Yet another ordered an end to what critics said was the administration’s efforts to encourage an end run around the Affordable Care Act. All in the span of about a week.

      I spent some time exploring whether I could create a more formal list only to discover that The Washington Post had basically done that.

    • Those Boeing Crashes and Donald Trump

      If you are a casual follower of the story of the crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX airliners, you are probably aware that a sensor malfunction caused an automatic software program to mistakenly point the plane’s nose downward to prevent a stall, overriding the pilot, and sometimes putting the plane on a crash trajectory. If you read a little deeper, you know that pilots often had less than a minute to take back control from the flawed automatic system, and were not adequately trained in how it worked.

      So the sensors, the software, and Boeing’s provision of crucial information to pilots were all badly flawed. If that were the full story, it would be bad enough.

      But there are two deeper stories, which are even more damning both of Boeing and of the federal government. And they connect to an even more fundamental story that takes us back to how Trump managed to get elected in the first place.

      Why did Boeing need to add those sensors and that software? Because the design of the plane itself was badly flawed, and the software was intended as a patch in the event that the plane began flying erratically.

      In 2011, executives at Boeing were losing orders to rival Airbus, which was rapidly gaining market share with its new, fuel-efficient 320neo planes. In 2006, Boeing had announced a plan to replace the already aging 737s with a wholly new plane. But in 2011, executives panicked and decided to embark on a crash program, so to speak, to fit the 737 with new, heavier, more fuel-efficient engines to compete with Airbus. This was dubbed the 737 MAX.

      The trouble was that the 737 had not been designed for heavier engines, and the substitution of engines made the plane less stable. Thus the need for the sensors and software, which themselves turned out to have bugs.

      Meanwhile, under the Bush administration in 2005, the Federal Aviation Administration began delegating more power to aircraft manufacturers to certify the safety of an aircraft instead of leaving the job to outside FAA engineers. This program was continued by the incoming Obama administration in 2009.

    • The Tech Culture Driving Social Media and Its Manipulative Design

      In the earliest days of the internet, many in the tech world thought social networks would usher in a new era of dialogue and a more informed, civilized society. This is the reverse of what happened says Jaron Lanier, one of the forefathers of the digital age. While social media seems important in our lives, we should all question: is it really serving us or is it serving commercial interests?

      Some argue that social media helps link people together and support activism. However, Lanier believes that dominant social media services, mostly owned by Google and Facebook (including YouTube and WhatsApp) are driven by an algorithmic, manipulative design where money is made by third parties trying to manipulate their users—while offering some sense of social connection as part of a reward-based, addictive system. This system is dysfunctional at its core; it warps our sense of reality and greatly limits the social good.

      We have been here before. People used to smoke everywhere and many were addicted. Then, enough people who weren’t addicted began an honest conversation about what to do and realized, “Hey, this is stupid; we should at least not have cigarettes in public places.” Now, we have a healthier, limited relationship to smoking cigarettes. This time, we’re talking about social media, where the side effect is disconnecting humanity from shared reality.

    • The Other Reason Biden Shouldn’t Run

      Anyone wondering about former Vice-President Joe Biden’s fitness for the presidency ought to be concerned about the recent allegations of inappropriate touching. But there is another issue that deserves consideration: his key role in making possible an inappropriate and utterly disastrous war.

      As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002, Biden stated that Saddam Hussein had a sizable arsenal of chemical weapons as well as biological weapons, including anthrax, and that “he may have a strain” of smallpox, despite UN inspectors reporting that Iraq no longer appeared to have any weaponized chemical or biological agents. And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency had reported as far back as 1997 that there was no evidence whatsoever that Iraq had any ongoing nuclear program, Biden insisted that Saddam was “seeking nuclear weapons.”

      At the start of hearings before his committee on July 31, 2002, Biden stated, “One thing is clear: These weapons must be dislodged from Saddam, or Saddam must be dislodged from power. If we wait for the danger from Saddam to become clear, it could be too late.”

    • The Case for Using Ranked Choice Voting in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries

      Yet, there is a growing possibility that a Sanders primary victory may be undemocratic. As Sanders supporters know so well, the Democratic National Committee sets rules that, whether intentionally or not, can disempower segments of the primary electorate. And the way convention delegate allocation rules are currently set, tens of thousands of primary voters will likely have no influence in the selection of the 2020 presidential nominee, which, strangely enough, might actually benefit Sanders.

      The Democrats allocate delegates proportionally for all candidates that garner at least 15 percent of the vote in a given state. In a highly competitive primary, though, few candidates can meet this threshold as voters are spread thin. As such, voters who support these candidates will have their votes effectively wasted. Early polls suggest upwards of 50 percent of the vote could fall into this category, as only Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden consistently poll above 15 percent.

    • Socialist Principles Have Always Been Part of Black American Tradition

      Socialism is hitting headlines in a big way these days. The word is no longer off-limits like it was for so many decades here in the United States, and the ideas behind it are becoming more and more popular — especially among young people.

      But despite a relatively rapid growth in interest, there are still many misunderstandings and myths about the idea, including a false image of the broader socialist community as a collection of white professors and “Bernie Bros.”

      Socialism has never been a movement mostly for and by white men. It has a long and rich tradition within Black communities and other communities of color in the U.S., and within feminist organizing. And globally speaking, the majority of socialists are not white.

    • Wagging the Dog in Rhode Island

      Ever since Gina Raimondo, (a republican in any other state), became governor of Rhode Island, she has unabashedly launched a political coup on our lone community college. She continues to exclude faculty from her pie-in-the-sky Rhode Island Promise free tuition escapade while simultaneously allowing hand-picked business types on her “higher education” board to use CCRI as some kind of educational experiment.

    • A Neoliberal “Wall of Values”

      The far right’s strong performance in elections was for decades an insurance policy for left- and right-wing neoliberals: any moderate, no matter how bland, could easily get elected provided he stood against a political party widely perceived as unacceptable and offensive. Jean-Marie Le Pen’s share of the vote in the 2002 French presidential election did not grow significantly between the first and second rounds (16.8% to 17.8%), but Jacques Chirac’s surged from 19.8% to 82.2%. Emmanuel Macron won in a similar, though less spectacular, fashion in 2017.

      Neoliberals hope that what worked with the far right will work with the left. To block any progress it might make, they are trying to build a ‘wall of values’ that will make the left suspect. They hope this will force people who can no longer bear the government’s policies to put up with them, because they will deem those of its most powerful adversaries even worse.

      As if by chance, the left has been accused of antisemitism simultaneously in France, the UK and the US. Once a target is selected, all one need do is find a clumsy, outrageous or contemptible opinion expressed, say on Facebook or Twitter, by a member of the political movement one intends to discredit (the UK Labour party has more than 500,000 members). Then the media take over. One can also destroy an opponent by pretending they have expressed antisemitic prejudices they do not hold — such as ‘democracy/journalism/the financial sector is controlled by Jews’ — as soon as they criticise the oligarchy, the media or a bank.

    • Stealing Democracy in an Age of Kleptocrats

      There’s something in me that revolts against injustice and wrong. Like the genes that transmit our genetic inheritance, there are intellectual forces – call them Metis assets from the Greek goddess of intelligence Metis — that define us as human beings no less than the biological markers of skin color, height, etc.

      Metis inheritance

      I received my Metis inheritance from my parents and Greek culture in both Greece and the United States. I cannot say how this transmission took place. But I can say immersing oneself in Greek thought, as I did for decades, helps to see the world with the eyes of justice, the beautiful and the good.

      That is the reason I did not become a “team player” at the US Environmental Protection Agency, a prospect of higher salary and advancement. I saw the wrong embedded in the laws, regulations, and the sleazy behavior of industry lobbyists and senior EPA officials.

    • Flood of Comments Shows Public ‘Utterly Repulsed’ By Trump Plan to Take Food Stamps From 750,000 People

      “The comments make it clear that most Americans not only oppose but are utterly repulsed by this plan to punish the poorest among us by denying them help to feed themselves,” Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said in a statement Tuesday.

      “Instead of making already struggling Americans suffer even more,” Faber added, “we urge President Trump to cut off the farm subsidy spigot of taxpayer money flowing into the brimming bank accounts of millionaires.”

      The public comment period for the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ended Tuesday night. President Donald Trump announced the rule change last year, on the same day he signed into law a farm bill that left out the GOP push for work requirements for food stamp recipients. The new rule could go into effect later this year.

      Under the proposed rule, NPR reports, “the administration would stop food stamps after three months for [able-bodied adults without dependents] who don’t work, volunteer, or get job training for at least 20 hours a week.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Welcome To The Prude Internet: No More Sex Talk Allowed

      While we talk about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, we almost never talk about any other section of the law. And there’s a good reason for that, a few years after it was put into law, every other part of the CDA was ruled unconstitutional. The original part of the CDA that is no longer law included criminalizing the knowing transmission of “obscene or indecent” messages to anyone under 18 or anything “that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs.” The Supreme Court, rightly, judged that this was a clear 1st Amendment violation.

      However, with last year’s passing of FOSTA beginning to eat away at CDA 230, we’re actually moving back to a world described in the original CDA — where plenty of “sexual” content is being barred, in part out of a fear of getting sued under FOSTA. Take for example, the writer Violet Blue, who we’ve linked to many times in the past. Last week, she revealed that Amazon has now cut off her Associates’ account, which she had been using to support herself for years.

    • Report: French government’s EU campaign blocked on Twitter
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The 5 Best Managed WordPress Hosts that Prioritize Privacy

      WordPress is now ancient in Internet years. It first came out in 2003: just 5 years after Google went online, and 2 years before MySpace got sold for $580 million. Despite this, it’s the world’s most popular publishing platform, with millions of posts published on WordPress installations each month. Virtually anyone who’s ever blogged knows about the platform. A large number of corporations, from HTC to MTV, use WordPress to host some or all of their online content. As a result, managed WordPress hosting options are growing in popularity.

    • Social Media Regulation: Speak of the Devil and in Walks Zuck

      In a recent column on the mating dance between Big Government and Big Tech, I noted that “Big Tech wants to be regulated by Big Governments because regulation makes it more difficult and expensive for new competitors to enter the market.”

      Two days after I hit “publish” on that column, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for government regulation of social media in a Washington Post op-ed.

      Zuckerberg offers expansive arguments for regulating four areas of social media content, but those arguments are specious. My own claim as to his real reasons leers visibly over the shoulder of each argument he makes.

      Zuckerberg’s first proposed regulatory area is “harmful content.” “Regulation,” he writes, “could set baselines for what’s prohibited and require companies to build systems for keeping harmful content to a bare minimum.”

      Who’s best equipped to build such systems? Facebook, with assets of nearly $100 billion and annual revenues of $56 billion? Or a new site started by some middle class guy (or even an affluent Harvard student like Mark Zuckerberg 15 years ago) with a great idea and some spare time?

      The second regulatory area is “protecting elections.” Zuckerberg: “Our systems would be more effective if regulation created common standards for verifying political actors. … We believe legislation should be updated to reflect the reality of the threats and set standards for the whole industry.”

    • ‘Beyond Sketchy’: Facebook Demanding Some New Users’ Email Passwords

      A form below the message asked for the users’ “email password.”

      “That’s beyond sketchy,” security consultant Jake Williams told the Daily Beast. “They should not be taking your password or handling your password in the background. If that’s what’s required to sign up with Facebook, you’re better off not being on Facebook.”

      In a statement emailed to The Daily Beast after this story published, Facebook reiterated its claim it doesn’t store the email passwords. But the company also announced it will end the practice altogether.

      “We understand the password verification option isn’t the best way to go about this, so we are going to stop offering it,” Facebook wrote.

      It’s not clear how widely the new measure was deployed, but in its statement Facebook said users retain the option of bypassing the password demand and activating their account through more conventional means, such as “a code sent to their phone or a link sent to their email.” Those options are presented to users who click on the words “Need help?” in one corner of the page.

    • Facebook Caught Asking Email Account Passwords From Some Users

      It hasn’t even been a month since Facebook admitted that it stored millions of user passwords in plaintext on its servers. Now, Facebook wants some users to hand over their email account passwords if they want to use the social media platform.

      This sketchy behavior by Facebook was first spotted by e-Sushi, an anonymous security researcher, and reported by the Daily Beast. Apparently, new users detected as suspicious by Facebook’s systems were directed to a dialogue box asking them for their email password in order to verify their accounts.

    • Your Fourth Amendment Rights Should Not be Limited by Terms of Service

      Last week, we filed an amicus brief in U.S. v. Wilson, a federal appellate case, in which we argued that email providers’ terms of service can’t limit your Fourth Amendment rights. This is the second brief we’ve filed in less than a year addressing this important point.

      Email and other electronic communications can contain highly personal, intimate details of our lives. As one court noted, through emails, “[l]overs exchange sweet nothings, and businessmen swap ambitious plans, all with the click of a mouse button.” In an age where almost all of us now communicate via email, text, or some other messaging service, electronic communications are effectively no different from letters, which the Supreme Court held were protected by the Fourth Amendment way back in 1878.

    • FamilyTreeDNA Deputizes Itself, Starts Pitching DNA Matching Services To Law Enforcement

      There’s no informed consent happening here. Customers are being treated as data points law enforcement can peruse at its leisure. A customer who agrees to be a good citizen (by clicking OK on a submission box on a private company’s website) may learn later their sample was used to lock up a close relative. Some people will be fine with this outcome. Others may regret being the critical piece of evidence used to incarcerate one of their relatives.

      Whatever the case is, very few companies are being upfront about the effects of opening up database access to law enforcement. FamilyTreeDNA is using a crime victim’s parent and the founder’s Team Blue sympathies to hustle its customers towards compliance. Users who don’t like this turn of events will likely find it far more difficult to remove their DNA from FamilyTreeDNA’s database than simply hold their nose and become an willing part of this partnership.

    • Lawsuit claims women secretly recorded in San Diego hospital

      Sharp Grossmont Hospital secretly video recorded 1,800 patients using hidden cameras at the women’s health center in El Cajon, according to a lawsuit filed late Friday afternoon.

      The recordings took place between July 17, 2012 and June 30, 2013 inside three Labor and Delivery operating rooms at the facility located at 5555 Grossmont Center Dr. in El Cajon, the plaintiffs claim.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Chinese Dissidents Feel Heat of Beijing’s Wrath. Even in Canada

      For more than six years, the Chinese-Canadian activist has been the victim of a relentless campaign to discredit her by blog, Listserv, e-book and social media, which experts say bears the markings of a coordinated attack by the Chinese Communist Party.

    • America’s Pretrial System Is Broken. Here’s Our Vision to Fix It.

      Every year, millions of people are arrested, required to pay money bail they cannot afford, separated from their families and loved ones, or subjected to long periods of incarceration based on the mere accusation of a crime. This all occurs while people are presumed innocent under the law. Black and brown people, their loved ones, and those without the economic resources to thrive suffer the worst harms.

      Yet while there is broad consensus that our money bail system is in dire need of an overhaul, difficult questions remain about how to best shape that reform. For instance, if we abolish money bail, will judges and prosecutors seek increased authority to jail people outright pending trial? This preventive detention could result in as many people — or more — languishing in jail without their day in court.

      Further, what factors should judges consider when deciding to release or detain a person who hasn’t been convicted? How much evidence must the government show before someone is put in jail awaiting further process? Can — and should — predictive algorithms based on criminal justice data play a role in these determinations?

    • Legal Experts Aghast as ‘Bloodythirsty’ Right-Wing Supreme Court Sanctions Torturous Executions

      Critics on Tuesday said the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in a case brought by a Missouri death row inmate fundamentally erodes protections against torture enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

      Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the court’s right-wing majority in the 5-4 decision, ruling that Russell Bucklew can be executed by lethal injection despite his medical condition, cavernous hemangioma. The disease, warn his legal team and medical experts, will cause Bucklew to choke for several minutes on his own blood before dying as the tumors growing in his throat and elsewhere in his body rupture.

      “The Eighth Amendment does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death,” wrote Gorsuch.

      The decision was denounced as “atrocious,” “blood-thirsty” and “barbaric” by death penalty abolitionists and other critics, with some saying the high court’s approval of Bucklew’s execution is tantamount to nullifying the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment—the law banning cruel and unusual punishment.

    • Mother of 5 Dead After Correctional Facility Denies Medical Assistance

      In July 2018, Elkheart County Community Corrections Facility’s disregard for human rights led to the death of a mother of five. After she was arrested for shoplifting at Walmart, Lamekia Dockery died in custody, after guards ignored her desperate pleas for medical attention. In her report for the American Friends Service Committee, Bonnie Kernees connects Dockery’s death to a larger pattern. “Not a day goes by,” Kernees writes, “that AFSC doesn’t receive complaints from people in prison and their families describing conditions, including cold, filth, rats, roaches, mold, callous medical care, extended isolation often lasting years, use of devices of torture, harassment, brutality, and racism.” Kernees calls for community oversight for “every federal, state and county facility, including juvenile and immigrant detention facilities” in order to protect the well-being of vulnerable imprisoned people.

      Dockery was arrested for violating her parole after shoplifting at Walmart and sentenced to one year at the Elkheart County Community Corrections Facility in Goshen, Indiana. Immediately after arriving, Dockery began experiencing sharp stomach pains and began complaining to staff. Instead of arranging an examination with medical staff, Dockery was told by guards, “Stop talking to me.” Over the course of six days, Dockery was refused medical assistance even though her vomiting, inability to eat, and continuous screaming were all documented by the facility’s staff. When medical assistance was finally called to her cell in solitary confinement, she was found on the floor unconscious, and was eventually pronounced dead due to sepsis caused by a ruptured ulcer.

    • Arizona Students’ Free Speech Rights Challenged in Border Agent Visit Protest

      Two students at the University of Arizona will face misdemeanor charges after a video showing them protesting an appearance by Customs and Border Protection officials on their campus went viral, Rachel Leingang reports in the Arizona Republic.

      As Border Patrol agents gave a presentation on March 19 to the Criminal Justice Association, a student club, some outside the event recorded the presentation and shouted “Murder Patrol,” “murderers,” and “an extension of the KKK,” it was reported. When the agents left, some dissenters followed them off campus, continuing chants of “Murder Patrol.”

      Multiple student leaders called into question the charges, members of the university’s Associated Students wrote to the administration that it was “unacceptable” that CPB officers are allowed to make unannounced visits to campus.

      Conservative media jumped on the incident, calling it another case of liberal students going “berserk.” The Daily Wire claimed protesters were “harassing” the agents, but it’s the student protesters, and not the agents nor members of the club who invited them, who are being charged with a crime.

      The right has frequently accused colleges of stifling conservative speech on campus, especially during the Trump administration. When the University of California at Berkeley canceled an appearance from far-right writer Milo Yiannopoulos after extensive student protests, the Berkeley College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation filed a lawsuit, claiming the university attempted to “restrict and stifle the speech of conservative students whose voices fall beyond the campus political orthodoxy.”

    • New Programs Aim to Make School, Hospital, and Prison Food Systems More Equitable

      School lunches are big business. As Korsha Wilson reported for YES! Magazine in November 2018, school districts nationwide spend a total of approximately $3 billion annually on food contracts, most of it with large farms. As Beth Hopping, co-founder of the Food Insight Group told YES! Magazine, “Wealth in the food system is concentrated in the hands of a few and has been extracted at the expense of the earth and people.” Now, however, organizations such as the Farm to School Network and Wholesome Wave, are working to make the food systems that supply schools, hospitals, and prisons more equitable.

      New programs not only connect school children with local farms, they also create jobs in the community, and keep money in the community to support on-campus gardens and farm-fresh meals. A study in Georgia found that for every dollar the program spent, two dollars stayed in the state, instead of leaving to be invested in a large food company.

      To succeed, however, organizations must adhere to local, state, and federal policies that often serve to benefit large, private food companies. “There’s a lot of underground scaffolding that keeps our food systems the way that they are,” Hopping told YES! Magazine. The goal is to rebuild that system “in a way that works for communities.”

    • To Be Truly Righteous: Commemorating the Prince of Soul

      This week Marvin Gaye, the “truest artist,” divided soul, Motown legend and troubled “seeker who sought salvation through music” is back among us, both ethereal and palpable. Born April 2, 1939, died April 1, 1984: Tuesday marked what would have been his 80th birthday; Monday marked the 35th anniversary of his murder by his own father, a final act of violence after decades of abuse that was “truly one of music’s most senseless tragedies” among so many. In his too-brief life – he was killed the night before he would have turned 45 – Gaye reached uncommon heights and depths. He achieved super stardom as the Prince of Soul; he long struggled with substance abuse, depression and loss, including the early death of his best friend and singing partner Tammi Terrell. To those who loved and admired him, Gaye “gave us heaven and hell…Marvin suffered for his art – and you could hear it. He was not ashamed. He knew no other way…The microphone was his confessional, the vocal booth his confession box: This is how I feel, right here, right now.”

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Try It, You’ll Like It’ By Marvin Gaye

      Marvin Gaye’s followup to his signature masterpiece, “What’s Going On,” was finally released by Motown and UMe on March 29, which would have been his 80th birthday.

      For 47 years, “You’re The Man” (1972) was shelved. It contained socially conscious and empowering music similar to what Gaye recorded for his previous album, but Motown executive Berry Gordy was apparently worried the lyrics would “spark a backlash from Motown’s conservative fan base.”

      Each of the songs were eventually released in one form or another, however, the “lost” album was never available to listen to in its entirety, as Gaye intended—until now.

      It was very much a product of the early 1970s. In particular, Gaye grappled with the harsh reality that the civil rights movement of the 1960s had dwindled yet pervasive racial, economic, environmental, and social injustices remained.

    • San Francisco Housing Authority Evictions Disproportionately Affect Black Residents

      San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) is in the process of evicting a disabled grandmother, Tamal Griffin, and her four grandchildren from the Sunnydale Projects, which is a predominately-Black neighborhood in San Francisco, according to Sulaiman Hyatt and Maria Zamudio’s report for the San Francisco Bay View. If evicted the family will most likely become homeless, they reported. The Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco (HRCSF) plans to host a rally to stop the eviction. Hyatt and Zamudio link this case to the broader pattern of displacement of Black and Brown residents in San Francisco.

    • Toronto Children’s Hospital Mulls Merits of Assisted Suicide for Kids

      Since 2016, euthanasia has been legal in Canada. Now, a hospital in Toronto is exploring whether “capable” minors can give consent on their own to being euthanized.

    • Prosecutors Dropping Child Porn Charges After Software Tools Are Questioned

      Using specialized software, investigators traced explicit child pornography to Todd Hartman’s internet address. A dozen police officers raided his Los Angeles-area apartment, seized his computer and arrested him for files including a video of a man ejaculating on a 7-year-old girl. But after his lawyer contended that the software tool inappropriately accessed Hartman’s private files, and asked to examine how it worked, prosecutors dismissed the case.

      Near Phoenix, police with a similar detection program tracked underage porn photos, including a 4-year-old with her legs spread, to Tom Tolworthy’s home computer. He was indicted in state court on 10 counts of committing a “dangerous crime against children,” each of which carried a decade in prison if convicted. Yet when investigators checked Tolworthy’s hard drive, the images weren’t there. Even though investigators said different offensive files surfaced on another computer that he owned, the case was tossed.

      At a time when at least half a million laptops, tablets, phones and other devices are viewing or sharing child pornography on the internet every month, software that tracks images to specific internet connections has become a vital tool for prosecutors. Increasingly, though, it’s backfiring.

    • The U.S.’ Refusal of Entry to Arnold August Is a Dangerous Precedent for All Activists

      On March 16, 2019, more than 1000 activists from across the U.S. gathered in Washington, DC for the “U.S Hands Off Venezuela!” demonstration. However, Canadian journalist Arnold August was not one of them – earlier in the day he was unjustly denied entry into the United States at U.S. Customs and Immigration in the Montreal Airport.

      As August explained in a video posted on social media, after asking the U.S. border officials multiple times the reason for his denial of entry, he was told that he was denied entry due to previous arrests in Canada. This was in reference to his arrests at antiwar and labour protests in the 1970’s.

      However, as August also stated, the U.S. border control authorities had been aware of these arrests during his other entries into the U.S.: “Previously they have delayed my departure into the U.S., where I missed a plane but finally left, and on other occasions let me go through, but never have they stopped me.”

      So, the question is – why deny him entry now? What message is the U.S. government sending to independent journalists and activists by denying Arnold August’s democratic right to express his political views in support of the sovereignty of Venezuela at a peaceful demonstration?

      Since the U.S./NATO invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the government of the U.S. has carried out continuous wars and occupations in parts of the Middle East and North Africa. In tandem with these wars abroad there has also been a concerning increase in the political targeting of journalists and activists in order to quell opposition to war and suppress voices of dissent. Subsequently, the U.S. border, where people crossing are already stripped of many fundamental human and democratic rights, has become an increasingly threatening and brutal place.

      Today, the U.S. government is at war with Venezuela. In the last two months, they have escalated their illegal efforts to overthrow the democratically elected government of President Nicolás Maduro. This has included an attempted coup d’état led by U.S. sponsored Venezuelan legislator, Juan Guaidó. This coup attempt has been defeated in Venezuela by a committed network of community-based organizations, the armed forces, and hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have been demonstrating in the streets against any illegal foreign intervention. Also, the dangerous provocations and news manipulations at Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil in the name of so-called humanitarian aid has not been successful. Together with the European Union, Canada, Switzerland, and Panama, the U.S. government has imposed crippling economic sanctions against the people of Venezuela.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Daniel Stenberg: The HTTP Workshop 2019 begins

      35 persons from all over the world walked in the room and sat down around the O-shaped table setup. Lots of known faces and representatives from a large variety of HTTP implementations, client-side or server-side – but happily enough also a few new friends that attend their first HTTP Workshop here. The companies with the most employees present in the room include Apple, Facebook, Mozilla, Fastly, Cloudflare and Google – all with three each I believe.

      Patrick Mcmanus started off the morning with his presentation on HTTP conventional wisdoms trying to identify what have turned out as successes or not in HTTP land in recent times. It triggered a few discussions on the specific points and how to judge them. I believe the general consensus ended up mostly agreeing with the slides. The topic of unshipping HTTP/0.9 support came up but is said to not be possible due to its existing use. As a bonus, Anne van Kesteren posted a new bug on Firefox to remove it.

    • Playing Whack-a-Mole With Broadband Industry Shills

      Defending Net Neutrality in the media is like an endless game of Whack-a-Mole.

      So many Op-Eds and letters to the editor that oppose the Save the Internet Act are written by people with financial ties to the broadband industry. And far too few of these ties are disclosed in the media.

      Time to get the hammer!

      The latest mole to emerge takes the form of a misleading letter to the editor in the New York Times. Its author is Ev Ehrlich, who’s affiliated with the ESC Company and the so-called Progressive Policy Institute. But you wouldn’t know that from reading his letter in the Times, as neither he nor the newspaper acknowledges these ties.

      It’s a concerning oversight because both of these organizations have financial relationships with the phone and cable lobby, which is doing whatever it can to torpedo the Save the Internet Act.

      In Ehrlich’s 2015 letter to the editor, the Times partially disclosed as much, noting in his bio that he “is president of ESC Company, an economics consulting firm that has telecom clients.”

      But it doesn’t disclose his affiliation with the Progressive Policy Institute, which as part of the nonprofit Third Way Foundation has received five- and six-figure contributions from the major trade associations representing AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other large firms.

      And the misinformation doesn’t end at nondisclosure. In his new letter, Ehrlich claims that the Save the Internet Act isn’t bipartisan.

      That all depends on your viewpoint.

  • DRM

    • A Cell Phone Carrier Breaks With Big Telecom, Announces Support for Right to Repair Legislation

      But one cell phone provider has broken ranks with the rest of the industry. Ting Mobile not only doesn’t oppose right to repair legislation—it has decided to actively support it.

      Right to repair legislation proposed in 20 states would make it easier to fix the things you own—whether that’s a tractor, cell phone, computer, or home appliance—by requiring manufacturers to sell replacement parts and repair tools to customers. It would also require them to make diagnostic software and repair guides available to the public.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why do I blog?

      I started Written Description in February 2011 when I was a 3L at Yale and was winding down my work as a Yale Law Journal Articles Editor, which had been a great opportunity to read a lot of IP scholarship. I noted that there were already many blogs reporting on the latest patent news (like Patently-O and Patent Docs), but that it was “much harder to find information about recent academic scholarship about patent law or broader IP theory.” The only similar blog I knew of was Jotwell, but it had only two patent-related posts in 2010. (In 2015, I was invited to join Jotwell as a contributing editor, for which I write one post every spring.) Written Description has grown to include guest posts and other blog authors—currently Camilla Hrdy (since 2013) and Michael Risch (since 2015).

      Most of my posts have featured scholarship related to IP and innovation. Some posts simply summarize an article’s core argument, but my favorite posts have attempted to situate an article (or articles) in the literature and discuss its implications and limitations. I also love using my blog to highlight the work of young scholars, particularly those not yet in faculty positions. And I enjoyed putting together my Classic Patent Scholarship project; inspired by Mike Madison’s work on “lost classics” of IP scholarship, I invited scholars to share pre-2000 words that they thought young IP scholars should be aware of.

      [...]

      I still have a lot of questions about the role of law-related blogs today, and I hope we’ll discuss some of them on Thursday. For example: Has the role of blogs shifted with the rise of Twitter? Should blog authors have any obligation to study or follow journalism ethics and standards? How do blog authors think about concerns of bias? For many patent policy issues, the empirical evidence base isn’t strong enough to support strong policy recommendations—do blog authors have any obligation to raise counterarguments and conflicting evidence for any decisions or academic papers they are highlighting? What are the different financial models for blogs, and how might they conflict with other blogging goals? (This may be similar to the conflicts traditional media sources face: e.g. clickbait to drive readership can come at the cost of more responsible reporting.) Do the ethical norms of blog authorship differ from those of scholars? How should blogs consider issues of diversity and inclusion when making choices about people to spotlight or to invite for guest authorship?

    • The Role of Profit Disgorgement in IP Law

      In its new petition to the Supreme Court, Romag asks “whether willful infringement is a prerequisite for an award of an infringer’s profits.” In utility patent law, courts have held that disgorgement of the infringer’s profits is never available as a remedy. That option was eliminated from the Patent Act in 1946. In design patents, however, disgorgement is the ordinary remedy.

    • Copyrights

      • EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger Admits: Sites Need Filters To Comply With Article 13

        EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger — well known for being a bit of a bigoted Luddite — basically crafted the plan that became the EU Copyright Directive when he was the Commissioner for the “Digital Economy” (despite not knowing anything about it). As you may recall, for many months now, supporters of Article 13 (now Article 17) have insisted that it doesn’t require filters. They would shout down anyone who pointed out that it clearly does require filters.

      • German government parties stall parliamentary process relating to EU copyright reform: democracy delayed is democracy denied

        The infamous democratic deficit of the European Union is not just an issue relating to the EU institutions and their interinstitutional dealings, such as “trilogues” and similar negotiations. In democratic terms, the EU is a banana republic where votes are repeated until the result pleases the elites or decisions come into being by accident, such as the decision not to allow the European Parliament to vote on individual amendments to the copyright bill. But there’s just as big a problem with the way the governments of most EU Member States sideline their national parliaments. Sweden is an exception because its parliament’s EU affairs committee actually decides how its government votes in the EU Council (and there’s a decent chance that Sweden will have to change its vote on the EU copyright reform bill from Yes to No soon).

        What’s happening in the same context–the EU Copyright Directive–in Germany is, however, another case of a government’s contempt for the directly elected representatives of the people.

        As per the current plan, the EU Council will try to adopt the copyright bill on April 15 at a Luxembourg meeting of the ministers for agriculture and fisheries. It wouldn’t be a problem to adopt an uncontroversial bill without debate, and in that case it doesn’t even matter what the ministers and state secretaries attending the meeting are primarily in charge of. But in the case of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (which will be less digital as a result), it’s just an attempt to avoid public scrutiny by minimizing attention and making it impossible to have any substantive debate (which would require a different type of minister to attend).

      • European Commission adopts CC BY and CC0 for sharing information

        Last week the European Commission announced it has adopted CC BY 4.0 and CC0 to share published documents, including photos, videos, reports, peer-reviewed studies, and data. The Commission joins other public institutions around the world that use standard, legally interoperable tools like Creative Commons licenses and public domain tools to share a wide range of content they produce. The decision to use CC aims to increase the legal interoperability and ease of reuse of its own materials.

        In addition to the use of CC BY, the Commission will also adopt the CC0 Public Domain Dedication to publish works directly in the global public domain, particularly for “raw data resulting from instrument readings, bibliographic data and other metadata.”

        The European Commission joins governments such as New Zealand and the Netherlands in using CC licenses and CC0 to share digital resources it creates. Intergovernmental organisations, philanthropic charities, and funding policies already require CC licenses to be applied to the digital outputs of grant funds — to promote reuse of materials in the public good with minimal restrictions.

      • Ariana Grande Demands All Photographers At Her Concerts Transfer Copyright To Her, NPPA Revolts

        We’ve seen plenty of ridiculous demands from performing artists over the years as to what photographers can and cannot do while attending their performances. This sort of thing typically amounts to a desire for some kind of control over which images get released and which don’t. That kind of attempt at control is silly, of course, and runs counter to the journalistic principles that many of these photographers employ.

The EPO Continues Granting Bogus Patents on Mathematics and Nature, But There’s Hope Over the Horizon

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Pressure is growing for the EPO to actually comply with the law and obey the European Patent Convention (EPC); the judges who look into these matters, however, lack the independence which the EPC sought to guarantee

THE European Patent Office (EPO) may hopefully invalidate European software patents some time soon. This will have to come from a court rather than the Office itself. As Jan Wildeboer (Red Hat, soon IBM) put it in this tweet yesterday: “The EUCJ never pulled an ALICE AFAICS. I hope they do soon.”

We remain concerned that António Campinos is friends with Iancu, whose attitude towards the law has just come under scrutiny from a high court. Will Campinos even allow judges to deal with the relevant issues? Judges that exercise true independence? We think not.

“Will Campinos even allow judges to deal with the relevant issues? Judges that exercise true independence? We think not.”On Tuesday the EPO wrote about opposition procedures as follows: “Patent administrators in Helsinki are invited to this event to learn about fee payment, opposition procedures and other related matters…”

But the EPO is still a very unjust place where people responsible for oppositions can be arbitrarily ‘disciplined’ and dismissed under false pretexts/fabricated circumstances. This apparently happens also under Campinos, not just Battistelli. SUEPO wrote about it.

“Our hope is that the Boards will rediscover or recover their independence; then and only then do we expect them to rule out software patents and patents on life, in lieu (shall we say “harmonisation”?) with Alice and Mayo, respectively, in the US.”What if the EPO’s staff says “no!” to a big “client”/”customer” (what EPO management calls applicants)? Or to a partner of the EPO (like Judge Corcoran did Baxter)? Can the examiners in Oppositions be fired? Demoted? Reprimanded? We have mentioned this the other day, maybe before the press release even came out.

Here is the official press release and Globes coverage from yesterday:

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) today announced that a three-member panel of the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Opposition Division upheld patent EP 2 949 335 covering Teva’s COPAXONE® 40mg product in Europe. The Opposition Division will issue its written underlying rationale on the decision within a few months.

And the financial media in Teva’s home country:

While in the US, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) original multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone is already battling it out with generic competitors with its main dosage (40mg), in Europe there is still no generic competition, and a decision by the European Patent Office (EPO) should delay it further. Teva announce today that a three-member panel of the EPO Opposition Division upheld the patent (EP 2 949 335) covering its Copaxone 40mg product in Europe. The Opposition Division will issue its written underlying rationale on the decision within a few months.

Should this take months? Longer than the decision took to be reached perhaps?

An advocacy site of patents on life, Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, has meanwhile written about the EPO merely considering obeying a law — another subject we last touched yesterday. To quote:

European Patent Office (EPO) president António Campinos will refer a recent decision on the patentability of plants exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes to the office’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA).

The news follows long-running legal confusion over whether plant products produced by essential biological processes are patentable.

Last December, the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.04 issued decision T 1063/18, which ruled that rule 28(2) of the European Patent Convention (EPC) is incompatible with Article 53(b) of the same convention.

This neglects to take account of the European authorities’ position and the fact that in defiance of the European Patent Convention (EPC) these Boards no longer enjoy freedom and independence to rule as they see fit.

As European Patents now exceed 3 million in number we’re seeing yet more press releases about them, such as this one from yesterday:

Also, SANUWAVE received European Patent EP 3,117,784 on December 26, 2018 entitled “Usage of Intracorporeal Pressure Shock Waves in Medicine”, which has an expiration date in July 2030 from the European Patent Office (EPO). This patent is validated in designated countries including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. The European patent includes fifteen (15) claims related to the special construction of the intracorporeal shockwave devices/systems comprising of a catheter size fit within at least one of a blood vessel, graft, or artificial blood vessel, with at least one balloon, and at least one or multiple shockwave generation sources coupled to the catheter. The intracorporeal shockwave device/system can be used to treat plaques and obstructions together with distal protection devices, to protect the flowing of dislodged plaque particles to the heart or brain. The shockwave generation sources can be electrohydraulic, laser-based, electromagnetic, or piezoelectric.

This isn’t my field and the above is a promotional press release, but this one too seemingly relates to health. The EPO used the term “medtech” yesterday — a term it nowadays uses to refer to algorithms (i.e. software) in a medical context.

We continue to worry that nobody seems to care — let alone intervene — in EPO affairs. Commenting on the patent troll Unwired Planet as recently as yesterday (it operates in Europe, even in London), Florian Müller wrote that “[s]tatistics show that most patents are invalid as granted, and even those that are valid rarely involve an inventive step of the impressive kind…”

Here’s the part about EPO and then some more about FRAND/SEP:

The patent system is prone to abuse because, contrary to widespread misconception, the commercial value of patents lies in legal uncertainty, and patent offices around the globe prioritize quantity over quality (institutionalized excess and race to the bottom, especially with leaders such as USPTO Director Andrew Iancu or the current president of the EPO and his predecessor). Statistics show that most patents are invalid as granted, and even those that are valid rarely involve an inventive step of the impressive kind–and reasonable people can disagree on claim construction, which is why a fairly high percentage of all claim constructions are reversed on appeal.

Patent judges are increasingly aware of the issues, and it depends on each judge’s style how they try to address the problem (such as by being ever more inclined to stay cases when the validity of a patent-in-suit is doubtful)–but the root cause (the aforementioned institutionalized excess) can’t be addressed by them, so it all comes down to purely symptomatic treatment.

One form of abuse that constitutes a systemic threat is privateering: the practice of transferring patents to patent assertion entities whose business is to bring extortionate litigation. A few years ago I made a public call to “name and shame companies that feed patent trolls,” and I’d like to refer you to such previous statements (you can find far better explanations of the privateering problem from others to be honest) rather than elaborate on this again.

[...]

To give you an idea of how novel and unorthodox that approach is, it may help to remind you of the fact that Germany is a jurisdiction that doesn’t even enable third-party beneficiaries (such as companies that are entitled to a FRAND license because of a FRAND promise made by a participant in a standard-setting process to a standard-setting organization) to enforce their rights like a direct contract. So even if Ericsson had never sold those patents to anyone, Huawei couldn’t simply enforce third-party beneficiary rights to a FRAND license from Ericsson. But Judge Dr. Kuehnen’s decision comes down to restricting Unwired Planet’s rights vis-à-vis Huawei. So we’re not talking about a third-party, but partically fourth-party, beneficiary rights.

It’s not just about the FRAND commitment at an abstract level. It’s that specific licensing terms could be deemed discriminatory based on what the previous patent holder did. (It would, of course, make sense to consider a previous patent holder’s licensing terms in a FRAND analysis, but just an indication of what terms might have been agreed upon by parties.)

Our hope is that the Boards will rediscover or recover their independence; then and only then do we expect them to rule out software patents and patents on life, in lieu (shall we say “harmonisation”?) with Alice and Mayo, respectively, in the US.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) ‘Disses’ Iancu’s Guidance on 35 U.S.C. § 101, Sides With the Supreme Court (Alice) and Caselaw

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 2:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Andrei Iancu dissed
35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice (SCOTUS) as seen by CAFC is, as expected, a ‘scary monster story’ to Donald Trump's man

Summary: The high court that decides on patents (CAFC) has just let it be known that it won’t bother with Andrei Iancu’s little stunt whose sole purpose is to facilitate granting of more fake patents, such as software patents (by circumventing § 101)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under deplorable Andrei Iancu arrogantly chooses not to obey the Federal Circuit. Yes, it’s similar to Battistelli at the EPO, but that’s a separate matter (for our next post). Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) are besieged, but they carry on. Unified Patent has just announced the hiring of several more people, who certainly will deal with IPRs. IPRs are the law, they’re protected by SCOTUS, and are an integral part of AIA.

“Kalis and others in the patent extremists’ ‘community’ nowadays have a new strategy: claiming CAFC is ‘fed up’ with § 101.”What’s noteworthy is that, as Professor Lemley has just noted, ‘Fed Cir makes clear that PTO guidelines on patent eligibility don’t get any deference in court: “While we greatly respect the PTO’s expertise on all matters relating to patentability, including patent eligibility, we are not bound by its guidance.”‘

This is the source document [PDF] and the screenshot is included at the top.

This is especially worth noting because Janal Kalis, a vocal patent maximalist, has cherry-picked another bit to frame it differently. He’s trying to claim that CAFC is dissenting against 35 U.S.C. § 101, based on almost nothing (maybe a sentence from one judge). Kalis and others in the patent extremists’ ‘community’ nowadays have a new strategy: claiming CAFC is ‘fed up’ with § 101. This is hardly supported by any evidence, however, but rather an incident or two, maybe a few words in some text. Like Judge Moore’s statement last year (about intervention at another, unspecified level, as we covered at the time).

“They cherry-picked a decision or two.”What CAFC actually did say is rather damning; they tacitly note that Iancu is defying caselaw for the sake of software patents and patent trolls who use these for blackmail. We don’t expect Iancu’s stunt to really change anything; consider the fact that the vast majority comments the Office has received oppose his proposal. Meanwhile, Bill Abrams at Watchtroll says § 101 is wrong because he doesn’t like it (“Request for Amici: Tell the Supreme Court to Clarify Section 101″). There’s nothing to clarify, Alice already did just that. Mayo did too. But the patent microcosm is losing its mind and looking for reprieve. Another new Watchtroll blurb is not supported by evidence (“Recent Cases Show Federal Circuit Is Concerned About ‘Over Abstracting’ Rejections of Method/ Process Patents”). No, not really. They cherry-picked a decision or two. We still watch this stuff closely, we’ve put some recent case outcomes in our daily links, and what Watchtroll says isn’t supported by evidence. They cherry-pick what suits them. Speaking of cherry-pickers, in our last daily links we included a short rebuttal to Anticipat, which shifted attention from IPRs to mere patent applications so as to frame things misleadingly — the same thing Kalis does a lot. We’re not really supposed to be covering US patent cases this year, but this one was particularly worth noting and there was a lot to debunk.

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