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04.07.19

Links 7/4/2019: DeaDBeeF 1.8.0, Valve Index VR Headset on Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 2:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Reasons to Abandon Windows For Linux

    Had enough of Windows 10’s hassles? Unless you plan to install Windows 7, which is going to lose support from Microsoft on January 14, 2020, or have the cash to spare for an Apple device, there aren’t many other options for a computer operating system except some flavor of Linux.

    Although you can expect a learning curve when changing platforms, Windows users who are curious about the state of Linux for mainstream computing might come away surprisingly satisfied after finding a suitable distribution for their machine and spending time getting familiar with the new environment.

    Here are five-plus reasons why you could easily wind up preferring Linux instead of Windows as the default operating system on your desktop or laptop…

  • Server

    • Xen 4.12 Improves Open-Source Hypervisor Virtualization Security

      The open-source Xen Project announced the 4.12 release of its namesake hypervisor virtualization technology on April 2, providing organizations and cloud operators with improved performance and security features.

      The new release integrates an improved virtual machine introspection capability that can be used to detect potential zero-day vulnerabilities. The Argo hypervisor-mediated data exchange is another new capability that provides inter-domain communications across a virtualized workload domain. Xen 4.12 also provides a slimmed-down architecture that presents a smaller attack surface, which also helps to improve security.

      “On x86, depending on configuration, the upper bound for reduction of lines of code is between 5 percent and 22 percent,” Lars Kurth, chairperson of the Xen Project Advisory Board, told eWEEK. “On Arm, the reduction is 30 percent, getting us to just under 50 KSLOC [thousand lines of code].”

    • Xen vs. KVM in 2019 is a no brainer

      The Xen vs. KVM debate was a staple in the open source virtualization space for years, but the conversation has mostly come to an end.

      Back in 2014, many people were talking about whether to use Xen or KVM for virtualization. However, as of early 2019, it looks as if the battle is over and everybody is using KVM. So does that mean that Xen is dead or is there still some activity for the project?

    • Here’s What Doug Cutting Says Is Hadoop’s Biggest Contribution

      Apache Hadoop isn’t the center of attention in the IT world anymore, and much of the hype has dissipated (or at least regrouped behind AI). But the open source software project still has a place for on-premise workloads, according to Hadoop co-creator Doug Cutting, who says Hadoop will be remembered most of all for a single contribution it made to IT.

      At last week’s Strata Data Conference in San Francisco, Cutting shared some time with Datanami to discuss the open source software project that he’s best known for, the state of distributed systems development right now, and what he sees coming next down the pike.

    • How to keep edge computing open for business – let the gorillas write the script

      The diversity of devices, protocols, machines: A proprietary edge computing system does not keep up with rapid changes at the edge. An open source approach combines the insight and rapid development of hundreds of committers, moves the orchestration to the cloud and provides agility, performance, and security lacking in embedded software at the edge.

      One aspect of open source is that each project can build on others and not have to do all of the legwork to get a piece of software operation, they can concentrate on their unique approach, ideas, and requirements.

      There is nothing to stop the giants like Amazon, once they detect a viable market, from offering their own distribution and ultimately locking in their proprietary solutions. The question is can open source gather enough momentum to overcome the intrusion? (this needs some explaining)

    • Industry Watch: Crumbs for Cupcake-Native Development

      “Cloud” is a five-letter word meaning “someone else’s computer.” Someone else’s computer, however, is different than your own computers, because of the (somewhat) infinitely large pool of resources, and also because you can use microservices. Or, as I.B. prefers to think of them, crumbs. When you use crumbs, your applications become less like a light, fluffy cupcake and more like a sticky, mushy ball of random things squished together. That sounds rather unpalatable, but trust me, it can be delicious.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds On Linux Past, Present and Future

      The 1994 interview took place three and a half years after the initial release of Linux. At the time Linus was still studying for his MSc in Computer Science, at the University of Helsinki in his native country Finland, writing his thesis: Linux: A Portable Operating System. This reminds us that Linux started out as more or less a hobby project for use on a personal computer and even the Linux mascot, Tux the penguin, was personal to Linus.

    • A Power/Performance Optimization Is On The Way For POWER Linux Users

      For those currently using a Raptor Talos II or awaiting the Raptor Blackbird or are running another IBM POWER system like the recently covered cheap POWER servers, there is a CPU Idle patch-set on the way that helps improve the power/performance.

      A Phoronix reader pointed out an interesting patch series this week that is to the Linux kernel’s CPU Idle code and specifically should help out IBM POWER processors due to tweaking the auto-promotion logic for CPU idle states.

    • Linux Foundation

      • LF Networking Releases Compliance, Verification Testing

        Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) today released a compliance and testing tool that enables network operators to automate for validation requirements developed within the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).

      • Open Networking Summit gets edgy in San Jose this week

        This week’s ONS conference will feature new technology tracks, tutorials and keynotes from some of the biggest movers and shakers in the telecom industry.

      • OpenDaylight SDN Controller Marks 6 Years with 10th Release, Neon

        OpenDaylight, said to be the most pervasive open source software-defined networking controller in the industry, is out in its 10th release…

      • ELISA to Certify Safety Critical Linux-bases Systems Including Automotive Grade Linux

        Applications (ELISA) open source project to create a shared set of tools and processes to help companies build and certify Linux-based safety-critical applications and systems whose failure could result in loss of human life, significant property damage or environmental damage. Building off the work being done by SIL2LinuxMP project and Real-Time Linux project, ELISA will make it easier for companies to build safety-critical systems such as robotic devices, medical devices, smart factories, transportation systems and autonomous driving using Linux. Founding members of ELISA include Arm, BMW Car IT GmbH, KUKA, Linutronix, and Toyota.

      • CNCF Remains Focused as Cloud Native Interest Soars [Ed: Someone should research the connection between SDxCentral and the Linux Foundation -- seemingly a paid media partner, just like TheNewStack and others. LF became a little media empire serving its own ends. Silencing some.]

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) might not be the largest open source organization or even the largest group under the broader Linux Foundation umbrella, but it has been one of the fastest growing thanks to such hosted projects like Kubernetes, Prometheus, and Envoy.

      • A High-Level History of the Container Ecosystem, 2013-2019

        Here’s a look at how the interests of the communities surrounding Docker have evolved and how priorities have shifted since Docker’s release.

      • Explaining Kubernetes’ Popularity: It’s the Community, Not the Technology
      • SUSE Melds Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry Further
      • Pivotal Cloud Foundry 2.5 is Now GA
      • T-Mobile Uses Monarch for Controlled Chaos

        During a keynote demonstration of the Monarch chaos engineering tool, Ramesh Krishnaram, senior manager at T-Mobile US, said that the carrier’s work with Cloud Foundry was “easily the largest in the world.” Krishnaram noted that the carrier has more than 100 people on its Cloud Foundry engineering team overseeing more than 39,000 containers, supporting more than 3,000 mission-critical applications, and 700 million daily transactions.

      • MapR Embraces Kubernetes for Big Data
      • Cloud Native Buildpacks reach the beta stage

        Cloud Native Buildpacks, an open source technology inspired by Heroku and Cloud Foundry buildpacks and intended to unify the buildpack ecosystem, has moved to a public beta release stage. The Cloud Native Buildpacks project was begun by Heroku and Pivotal and later joined the Cloud Native Sandbox under the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

        Buildpacks provide a higher level of abstraction for building container images than a Dockerfile, Docker’s native method. Cloud Native Buildpacks were designed to provide a platform-to-buildpack API contract that takes source code and outputs Docker images to run on cloud platforms supporting OCI (Open Container Initiative) images. Cloud Native Buildpacks take advantage of standard container capabilities such as cross-repository blob mounting and image layer rebasing on Docker v2 API registries.

      • Cloud Foundry loves Kubernetes

        Cloud Foundry, the open-source platform-as-a-service project that more than half of the Fortune 500 companies use to help them build, test and deploy their applications, launched well before Kubernetes existed. Because of this, the team ended up building Diego, its own container management service. Unsurprisingly, given the popularity of Kubernetes, which has become somewhat of the de facto standard for container orchestration, a number of companies in the Cloud Foundry ecosystem starting looking into how they could use Kubernetes to replace Diego.

        [...]

        It’s worth noting that IBM today announced its own preview of Eirini in its Cloud Foundry Enterprise Environment and that the latest version of SUSE’s Cloud Foundry-based Application Platform includes a similar preview as well.

      • AT&T’s Fuetsch says AT&T now has internet white boxes in production [Ed: AT&T as keynote speaker because it gave money; it is a “bought” talk.]

        During his keynote, Fuetsch also said he was very proud of AT&T and Nokia contributing their seed code for O-RAN’s 5G RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) into the Linux Foundation’s O-RAN Open Source Community.

      • O-RAN ties the knot with the Linux Foundation

        The O-RAN Alliance cemented its collaboration with the Linux Foundation, by creating the O-RAN Software Community (O-RAN SC). As a new open source community hosted by the Linux Foundation, the O-RAN SC is sponsored by the O-RAN Alliance. Together, the two groups aim to develop an open and “smart” radio access network.

      • AT&T Aims to ‘Break the Vendor and Technology Lock-In’

        The initial seed code for the 5G RAN Intelligent Controller, which AT&T co-developed with Nokia, was contributed to the Linux Foundation in partnership with the O-RAN Alliance as open source software. “This is really the first open source project that we’re launching. There will be more down the road, but this is really the first step here in terms of opening up the radio access network,” Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and CTO at AT&T, told SDxCentral.

      • O-RAN Alliance, Linux Foundation team on software

        The O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation forged a new open-source software community they argued is essential to accelerate delivery of commercial 5G network infrastructure.

        In a joint statement, the groups said the O-RAN SC initiative “fosters collaboration with adjacent open source networking communities” and will deliver software aligned with the O-RAN Alliance’s open architecture at a time when “profound transformation” of the mobile industry “means it’s critical to make network infrastructure available as quickly as possible”.

        The target is open source software enabling modular, open, intelligent, efficient and agile disaggregated radio access networks (RAN).

        Initial software projects “may” include: near real time RAN intelligent controller; non-real time RAN intelligent controller; cloudification and virtualisation platforms; open central unit; open distributed unit; and a test and integration effort to provide a working reference implementation.

      • LVFS Could Be Hosting 10k+ Firmware Files By End Of 2019

        LVFS, the Linux Vendor Firmware Service, that pairs with Fwupd integration for offering firmware/BIOS updates to Linux users could be offering up more than ten thousand distinct firmware files before the end of the calendar year.

        Richard Hughes of Red Hat who has been leading Fwupd/LVFS development has been quite busy as of late. In addition to courting more hardware vendors, eyeing the enterprise, becoming a Linux Foundation project, and hitting a goal of serving more than 500,000 firmware files to Linux users in a single month, this year they are on a trajectory to be offering more than ten thousand different firmware files.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD enhanced open source software tools for game developers

        AMD released a number of updates to its powerful Radeon software development tools to accelerate game design and innovation.

      • Cudo Miner releases T-Rex Ravencoin Miner for NVIDIA on Windows and Linux

        Cudo Miner, the crypto mining software application, today released the latest T-Rex NVIDIA GPU miner on Windows and Linux (X16R algorithm), bringing Cudo Miner users the most up-to-date technology and enabling the most profitable mining of Ravencoin (RVN) – one of the most popular altcoins on the market currently, having seen a sharp increase in price over the last month.

        Mining influencer, Brandon Coin, says: “Cudo is bringing T-Rex, the most up to date Ravencoin miner to the platform resulting in 5-10% more hashrate over Z-Enemy miner while also having a good dev fee on the miner. Cudo has proven itself to be a mining company for the miners, listening to help its customers thrive.”

    • Benchmarks

      • Maximizing HEVC/VP9/AV1 Video Encoding On Intel Xeon Cascade Lake With SVT + Clear Linux

        Continuing on from yesterday’s Linux OS comparison/benchmarks on Intel 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable Cascade Lake CPUs, here are some follow-up tests focusing on the video encode performance for this dual Xeon Platinum 8280 server when focusing on Intel’s high-performance “Streaming Video Technology” (SVT) encoders for VP9, AV1, and H.265/HEVC.

        Since we spotted the SVT open-source projects earlier this year prior to Intel formally announcing these Linux/Windows video encoders, we’ve had a fun time benchmarking them. In the short time the SVT-VP9 and SVT-AV1 encoders in particular have been around we’ve spotted many performance improvements in their development code that now allow for video encoding to achieve 1080p @ 60 FPS AV1 encoding on powerful enough Xeon processors. As we’ve shown in past comparisons, these SVT encoders can generally far exceed the other reference/open-source encoder alternatives.

  • Applications

    • Hugin 2019 Released! How to Install it in Ubuntu 18.04/16.04
    • Hugin-2019.0.0 Release Notes
    • Kiwi TCMS 6.7

      We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 6.7! This is a small improvement and bug-fix update.

    • Hugo Extended on CentOS 7
    • curl says bye bye to pipelining

      HTTP/1.1 Pipelining is the protocol feature where the client sends off a second HTTP/1.1 request already before the answer to the previous request has arrived (completely) from the server. It is defined in the original HTTP/1.1 spec and is a way to avoid waiting times. To reduce latency.

      HTTP/1.1 Pipelining was badly supported by curl for a long time in the sense that we had a series of known bugs and it was a fragile feature without enough tests. Also, pipelining is fairly tricky to debug due to the timing sensitivity so very often enabling debug outputs or similar completely changes the nature of the behavior and things are not reproducing anymore!

      HTTP pipelining was never enabled by default by the large desktop browsers due to all the issues with it, like broken server implementations and the likes. Both Firefox and Chrome dropped pipelining support entirely since a long time back now. curl did in fact over time become more and more lonely in supporting pipelining.

    • WireGuard Snapshot `0.0.20190406` Available
      Hello,
      
      A new snapshot, `0.0.20190406`, has been tagged in the git repository.
      
      Please note that this snapshot is, like the rest of the project at this point
      in time, experimental, and does not constitute a real release that would be
      considered secure and bug-free. WireGuard is generally thought to be fairly
      stable, and most likely will not crash your computer (though it may).
      However, as this is a pre-release snapshot, it comes with no guarantees, and
      its security is not yet to be depended on; it is not applicable for CVEs.
      
      With all that said, if you'd like to test this snapshot out, there are a
      few relevant changes.
      
      == Changes ==
      
        * allowedips: initialize list head when removing intermediate nodes
        
        Fix for an important regression in removing allowed IPs from the last
        snapshot. We have new test cases to catch these in the future as well.
        
        * wg-quick: freebsd: rebreak interface loopback, while fixing localhost
        * wg-quick: freebsd: export TMPDIR when restoring and don't make empty
        
        Two fixes for FreeBSD which have already been backported into ports.
        
        * tools: genkey: account for short reads of /dev/urandom
        * tools: add support for Haiku
        
        The tools now support Haiku! Maybe somebody is working on a WireGuard
        implementation for it?
        
        * tools: warn if an AllowedIP has a nonzero host part
        
        If you try to run `wg set wg0 peer ... allowed-ips 192.168.1.82/24`, wg(8)
        will now print a warning. Even though we mask this automatically down to
        192.168.1.0/24, usually when people specify it like this, it's a mistake.
        
        * wg-quick: add 'strip' subcommand
        
        The new strip subcommand prints the config file to stdout after stripping
        it of all wg-quick-specific options. This enables tricks such as:
        `wg addconf $DEV <(wg-quick strip $DEV)`.
        
        * tools: avoid unneccessary next_peer assignments in sort_peers()
        
        Small C optimization the compiler was probably already doing.
        
        * peerlookup: rename from hashtables
        * allowedips: do not use __always_inline
        * device: use skb accessor functions where possible
        
        Suggested tweaks from Dave Miller.
        
        * qemu: set framewarn 1280 for 64bit and 1024 for 32bit
        
        These should indicate to us more clearly when we cross the most strict stack
        thresholds expected when using recent compilers with the kernel.
        
        * blake2s: simplify
        * blake2s: remove outlen parameter from final
        
        The blake2s implementation has been simplified, since we don't use any of the
        fancy tree hashing parameters or the like. We also no longer separate the
        output length at initialization time from the output length at finalization
        time.
        
        * global: the _bh variety of rcu helpers have been unified
        * compat: nf_nat_core.h was removed upstream
        * compat: backport skb_mark_not_on_list
        
        The usual assortment of compat fixes for Linux 5.1.
      
      This snapshot contains commits from: Jason A. Donenfeld, Luis Ressel, Samuel 
      Neves, Bruno Wolff III, and Alexander von Gluck IV.
      
      As always, the source is available at https://git.zx2c4.com/WireGuard/ and
      information about the project is available at https://www.wireguard.com/ .
      
      This snapshot is available in compressed tarball form here:
      
      https://git.zx2c4.com/WireGuard/snapshot/WireGuard-0.0.20190406.tar.xz
      
        SHA2-256: 2f06f3adf70b95e74a7736a22dcf6e9ef623b311a15b7d55b5474e57c3d0415b
        BLAKE2b-256: 787a01fa3d6a800d7376a04ff57dd16d884a7d3cb99d2f91bfc59895ab759200
      
      A PGP signature of that file decompressed is available here:
      
      https://git.zx2c4.com/WireGuard/snapshot/WireGuard-0.0.20190406.tar.asc
      
        Signing key: AB9942E6D4A4CFC3412620A749FC7012A5DE03AE
      
      If you're a snapshot package maintainer, please bump your package version. If
      you're a user, the WireGuard team welcomes any and all feedback on this latest
      snapshot.
      
      Finally, WireGuard development thrives on donations. By popular demand, we
      have a webpage for this: https://www.wireguard.com/donations/
      
      Thank you,
      Jason Donenfeld
    • New WireGuard Snapshot Offers FreeBSD Fixes, Other Tweaks

      While we remain hopeful about potentially seeing WireGuard in the mainline Linux 5.2 kernel, for those using this secure network tunnel already with the out-of-tree DKMS Linux support (or running WireGuard on another supported operating system), WireGuard “0.0.20190406″ is out this weekend as the newest development snapshot.

      WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld announced this latest snapshot on Saturday, the first since late February.

    • 6 Best Free Linux Collection Managers

      For many individuals collection managers are an important type of software. Millions of people enjoy the activity of collecting. It is human nature to collect objects, in part because people derive pleasure from the simple ownership of objects. In ones formative days, collections sometimes include stamps, comics, and football cards. As we move into adolescence tastes have changed. Now, it is more likely that we will be collecting multimedia (audio and video), computer games, postcards, posters, autographs etc. Later in life our attention may turn to antiques and decorative ornaments. Not only do things that we collect change over time, technology also has a large influence. There is even a dedicated system on eBay for collectables.

      You probably have a few collections that are continuing to grow. Keeping track of your collection as it grows becomes increasingly more complicated. In this scenario a collection manager can be extremely useful. Armed with this software you can keep track of your collection. Moreover, collectors may have no accurate way of measuring the value of their collection for insurance purposes without having an accurate record.

      There is a wide range of collection manager software available for Linux. However, the majority of this software is specialized, focusing on one or two different collectable items. The purpose of this review is primarily to identify the finest collection manager software which track a diverse range of items. This type of software has the advantage that users can keep track of all of their different collection types using a single software application. However, specialized collection managers are still worthy of a mention.

    • DeaDBeeF 1.8.0 is out

      It’s been almost 3 years since the previous release, but the new one is finally here! It was a lot of effort to make it happen.

      Aside from the regular changelog post, I’d like to add that you might have noticed the major version bump. It’s not because of any compatibility loss, but simply because we decided that DeaDBeeF is mature enough to stop using version 0. Thanks everyone who have helped to ship this release, either by reporting issues, or by submitting patches! And enjoy the new features!

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK, the Vulkan-based layer for Direct3D 10/11 in Wine has a major 1.1 release out now

        DXVK, the awesome project that has helped push Linux gaming further has a new release out and it sounds pretty huge.

        Firstly, for Unreal Engine 4 titles (and several other unnamed games) DXVK 1.1 has “Queries” re-implemented which should allow for improved GPU utilization. The feature is widely used apparently, so it may help quite a number of games. DXVK also now comes with basic support for Predication based on the new query stuffs.

        Another major difference is that DXVK 1.1 uses “in-memory compression for shader code”, which should result in games with a large number of shaders seeing reduced memory utilization. However, it may increase shader compile times “slightly”. Games noted to benefit include Overwatch, Quake Champions and Dishonored 2 seeing “several hundred Megabytes of RAM” savings.

      • DXVK 1.1 Released With Vulkan Queries Work, Other Improvements

        DXVK 1.1 is out this weekend in time for some weekend Linux game testing. This library, which is used for implementing Direct3D 10/11 over Vulkan for the benefit of Windows games running on Linux under Wine/Proton (Steam Play), has new abilities and performance enhancements with today’s update.

        DXVK 1.1 has performance improvements around Unreal Engine 4 games and other titles thanks to better GPU utilization via Vulkan queries. To benefit, systems need Wine 4.5+ or Proton 4.2+ and be running the NVIDIA 418.49.4 driver or Mesa 19.1-devel Git. There is also initial and basic support for predication via VK_EXT_conditional_rendering.

      • Gaming On Linux Keeps Getting Better With Proton

        We’ve focused a fair bit on Linux gaming over the course of Techgage‘s life, but in recent years, we’ve been so distracted with other things that we haven’t dived in to see where things truly stand today. It’s also partly to blame that some games I’ve personally been playing lately still need Windows to run, so I’ve been out of luck on digging deep into Proton.

        What is Proton? It’s Valve’s Wine-based solution for gaming on Linux, and it’s worth paying attention to. I was talking to a friend a couple of months ago who told me Proton support was “really good”, and after, I rushed home to give it a try, and I can honestly say, I am beyond impressed where things stand. To give an example of how far along Proton has come, Dirt Rally 2.0 worked under Linux on the day of its release, despite not being officially available outside of Windows.

    • Games

      • SuperTuxKart 0.10 RC1 Arrives with Improved Online Multiplayer Support

        Being a big fan of the open-source racing game SuperTuxKart, I was stoked to see a new release emerge at the weekend.

        SuperTuxKart 0.10 hit beta back in January, debuting online multiplayer support. This week the team issued a new release candidate build for further testing, bringing the famed game a step closer to a new stable release.

        SuperTuxKart 0.10 RC1 features a number of minor gameplay and performance improvements, especially to the online multiplayer experience, plus a couple of notable track updates.

      • The EU Is Pissed at Steam for Region-Locking Games

        The European Commission alleges that Valve and publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax agreed to region-lock activation keys for games to prevent cross-border sales within the European Union. The Commission also alleges that the publishers prevented distributors from selling games outside of set regions.

        According to the Statements of Objections, as the Commission’s letters are known, “This may have prevented consumers from buying cheaper games available in other Member States,” or buying games at all.

      • Valve’s Index VR Headset Will Support Linux

        Valve has reaffirmed its commitment to Linux. GamingOnLinux reported Saturday that the company’s upcoming Index virtual reality headset, which hasn’t yet been officially announced, will support Linux.
        Despite the lack of an official announcement, details about Index leaked when its store page accidentally went live on Steam last week. The accidentally published page included a May 1 pre-order date, a scheduled June 15 launch date, and a system requirements section that mentioned “SteamOS + Linux.” GamingOnLinux was, unsurprisingly, particularly interested in that last tidbit.

      • Valve have confirmed Linux support for their Valve Index VR headset, pre-orders on May 1st

        As we saw from the accidental store pages going live for Valve’s new VR kit, there was a “SteamOS + Linux” system requirements section. After speaking to Valve’s PR person Doug Lombardi, they simply said “Yes on Linux support.” which is pretty exciting to know we will see same-day Linux support!

        Additionally, Lombardi told me they will be targetting May 1st for pre-orders and a full announcement, along with the “Knuckles” controllers which are now just being called “Valve Index Controllers”.

      • She Dreams Elsewhere, a surreal adventure RPG is releasing this year with Linux support

        Ready to have a game mess with your mind? She Dreams Elsewhere is a rather surreal RPG that’s coming to Linux and it has a demo available. In terms of style, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say it firmly reminds me of Undertale.

      • The adventure strategy RPG ‘Pathway’ is releasing for Linux next week

        This is a rather lovely surprise, the adventure strategy RPG ‘Pathway’ from Robotality is releasing April 11th. As I wrote about before recently, it’s going to include same-day Linux support.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Best GNOME Desktops For 2019

        Have you stumbled over here looking across the Internet, for the 2019 list of best GNOME desktops? Lucky you then, I’m glad you are at the right place and hopeful that you’ll find this article helpful in case you are considering trying out a new Linux distro. Or just reading this article for fun. Alright, below are the list of Linux distros that I think are the best of 2019′s GNOME desktops.

        [...]

        Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux distro that is very popular among the Linux community. It’s the first distro that is usually recommended to newbies wanting to try out Linux. One greatest advantage for using Ubuntu is that soon there’ll be professional apps from big companies like Adobe, Microsoft, etc (made possible with snap) So eliminating the divide between FOSS users and prosumers.

        ​Ubuntu started featuring GNOME desktop last year but with some slight modification from the original one. The customized desktop looks similar to the abandoned Unity desktop to ease the migration for old users. Still, the desktop looks refreshing considering the developers have done a great job with themes and icons.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The April 2019 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the April 2019 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

        In the April 2019 issue:

        * Eliminating Google From Your Digital Life
        * Inkscape Tutorial: Stylized Text
        * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: oldfrt
        * The Ruby Programming Language: Writing A Ruby Program
        * Casual Python, Part 3
        * ms_meme’s Nook: I Double Dare You
        * Happy 30th Birthday, WWW
        * Google Stadia: The Good, Bad, & Ugly
        * Short Topix: Anti-Vaxxers Facing Social Media Crack Down
        * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner
        * And much more inside!

        This month’s cover was designed by Meemaw.

        Download the PDF (12.0 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=2019-04.pdf

        Download the EPUB Version (4.3 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=201904epub.epub

        Download the MOBI Version (4.7 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=201904mobi.mobi

        Visit the HTML Version

        https://pclosmag.com/html/enter.html

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Brauckmann upbeat at first SUSECON since independence

        SUSECON 2019 opens in Nashville, TN as CEO Nils Brauckmann lays out his vision for growth and the future in front of over 1000 attendees.

      • SUSE: A new mantra from edge to core to cloud

        Enterprise Linux company SUSE loves Linux, obviously.

        As Linux lives so prevalently and prolifically in the server rooms of so many cloud datacentres, the firm has worked to develop technologies designed to help those datacentres become software-defined.

        A software-defined datacentre being one that relies upon programmable elements of code that control, shape and manage many of the network actions that we might (perhaps 10-years ago, certainly 20-years ago) have relied upon dedicated highly specialised hardware for.

      • SUSE eyes wider horizons for enterprise open source

        The Computer Weekly Developer Network and Open Source Insider team is digging into four days of open source goodness at SUSECON.

        SUSE these days describes itself as a provider of enterprise-grade open source software-defined infrastructure and a set of application delivery tools.

        As SUSE regional director for EMEA West region Matt Eckersall has already told Computer Weekly, SUSECON is not just dedicated to SUSE enterprise-class Linux, the event also opens its focus to OpenStack, Ceph storage, Kubernetes, openATTIC, Cloud Foundry plus a range of other open source (and some proprietary) projects.

      • SUSE delivers first Linux image for SAP Hana large instances on Azure [Ed: SUSE proudly delivers proprietary software on an NSA surveillance platform maintained by Microsoft. SUSE refuses to evolve.]
      • Hitting Microsoft’s metal: SUSE flings Enterprise Linux at SAP HANA on Azure [Ed: SUSE is still working for Microsoft (even after the Novell sellout of 2006)]

        SUSE modestly considers itself to be the “leading Linux platform” for SAP HANA and, while neither it nor Microsoft will be drawn on how many of the Linux instances on Azure have a green chameleon tinge to them, Daniel Nelson, vice president of Products and Solutions for SUSE, told El Reg: “We see it growing for us faster than market growth.”

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Chef’s 100% open source move is smart business
  • Chef makes all its software open source under Apache 2.0 license
  • Chef Serves All of Its DevOps Platforms Into Open Source
  • Chef Plates All Software as Open Source

    The IT automation and dev ops software vendors is embracing the open source model to clarify its product line and enhance its value proposition.

  • Chef says it’s going 100% open source, forks optional…

    Chef has lifted a page from Red Hat’s recipe book, and is making all of its software 100 per cent open source, under the Apache 2 license.

    But if you’re planning to use the automation and configuration specialist’s software in production, you’re still going to be expected to cough up for a subscription.

    Chef CEO Barry Crist said in a blog post today that the company “has always believed in the power of open source”.

  • Leading DevOps program Chef goes all in with open source [Ed: CBS repeats Microsoft talking points: "Some companies are wriggling out of open-source to maximize their profits." And proprietary software companies never do?]

    Some companies are wriggling out of open-source to maximize their profits.

  • “Chef” DevOps leading program goes all-in on open source

    Chef, one of the leading DevOps companies announced from here on out it would be developing all of its software as open source under the Apache 2.0 license and revealing a new supported platform called the Enterprise Automation Stack.

  • Google Confirms Arrival of Pixel 4 via Android Open Source Project

    The phones are expected to get at least one more major Android upgrade after the Android Pie.

  • Google Pixel 4 Spotted in Android Open Source Project Commit, Tips at Ongoing Testing

    Google Pixel 4 is in the news again, ahead of its launch in the second half of the year

  • ‘Pixel 4′ referenced by Google employee in Android Open Source Project

    Google’s Pixel family of smartphones are popular among Android users for their guaranteed software updates and high-end features.

  • Google ‘Pixel 4’ makes its first appearance in Android Open Source Project

    Today, we’ve shockingly found our first reference to Google’s next phone, the “Pixel 4,” inside of the Android Open Source Project.

  • This week’s top stories: Palm Phone goes solo, Google Pixel 4 appears in AOSP, Inbox shuts down, more
  • Privacy and Hugo Themes

    After creating the privacy page (Impressum), I did take a closer look at the generated HTML code to confirm I didn’t miss to state things there.

    I thought, given Hugo generates plain static HTML pages, I would be on the safe side.

    But unfortunately, the theme I use includes some external resources, like the Google web fonts…

    I now patched that out in my fork of the theme and provide local copies on my own server.

  • The One Password Tip Everyone Needs to Know

    There’s also KeePass, a completely free, open-source password manager that requires a little more work on your part. Unlike the commercial password managers, KeePass doesn’t sync your passwords across your various devices over the internet. You have to do that yourself over your local home network.

  • Are there viable alternatives to Facebook and Twitter?

    There’s growing interest in social networks that prioritize user control. Two of the popular ones are Mastodon and Diaspora.

    [...]

    The thinking goes that the reason so many of us who hate social networks are still stuck using them is because it’s simply where everyone else is (which is certainly the case with me).

    If only everyone would make a mass migration to some other kind of service altogether, then perhaps we could finally regain some control over our data without stepping out of our social lives. But are there actual alternatives available?

    Spoiler alert: Indeed there are, so let’s take a look at them and what kind of benefits they might offer over the usual suspects. Do these alternatives protect user privacy and data, and are they user-friendly enough for everyone to use or just techy pipe dreams?

  • Confluent’s Kafka distro adds dev, management and hybrid cloud capabilities

    At today’s Kafka Summit event in New York City, Confluent, the company founded by Apache Kafka’s creators, will announce a new version of its distribution: Confluent Platform 5.2. The new release offers numerous features for developers, administrators and any customer that wants to handle streaming data processing across cloud and on-premises infrastructure.

  • Where is Confluent going?

    Like MongoDB, Redis, and others, Confluent could become a victim of its own success.

    [...]

    A couple years back, we looked at how Kafka emerged as the big data firehose. Fast forward to the present, and now, even AWS has gotten into the act, introducing its own managed Kafka service to go up against its own Kinesis. As with its recent introduction of DocumentDB and managed Kubernetes services, AWS is not sentimental about protecting its own proprietary offerings when enough customers demand open source. Likewise, Google Cloud, which offers the Dataflow service for building distributed data pipelines, also has a partnership with Confluent for hosting its managed Kafka service.

    Big on Data colleague Andrew Brust covered the latest Confluent 5.2 platform release yesterday, showing the latest release adding a number of developer goodies like making C++, Python, Go, and .NET the same first-class citizen status long enjoyed by Java.

  • Why open source is government’s ready-made pilot project

    By enabling developers to move quickly from problem to solution, open-source software gives agencies the agility they need for system modernization.

  • The ‘four commandments’ for choosing an [open] service provider

    The service should be available from more than one provider

    If a service is only available from a single provider, the market is monopolised and users are severely restricted in their freedom to choose a service based on trust. Even if a provider is deemed trustworthy today, this can change over time – the user must have other options to turn to if they feel they can no longer trust their current provider.

    Not to mention the fact that an increase in the number of providers is associated with healthy market competition, thus better innovation and opportunities for economic growth.

  • SRT Alliance Announces the Addition of the SRT Low Latency Protocol to Open Broadcaster Software’s OBS Studio

    The SRT Alliance, supporting the SRT Open Source Project, announces that the SRT streaming protocol is being added to Open Broadcaster Software’s OBS Studio – a free and open source software for video recording and live streaming widely adopted within the streaming industry.

    SRT is an open-source protocol, developed by Haivision, which allows broadcasters and streamers to deliver high-quality, low-latency streams across the public internet. SRT is fast becoming the de facto low-latency video streaming standard in the broadcast and streaming industries.

  • StrongKey Secures Certification for Open-Source FIDO2 Server
  • Open-Source Server Goes Password Free [Ed:This is not really Open Source]

    StrongKey announces that its open-source FIDO2 server has received FIDO2 interoperability certification from the FIDO Alliance…

  • Find Ethical Open-Source Alternatives To Almost Every App or Service With This List

    We love the convenience and feature-rich nature of the apps and products big corporations can offer you, but we’re also proponents of personal autonomy and control over your online experience. However, it’s one thing to just turn your back on the big corporations; it’s another to do so mindfully and ethically.

  • Elastic Introduces Elastic Common Schema (ECS) to Enable Uniform Data Modeling
  • Elastic Maps expands horizon for geospatial analytics

    Elastic is a search company — it is the creator of the Elastic Stack (Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash) — that is focused on making real time data usable at scale for search, logging, security and analytics use cases.

    The company’s Elastic Maps provides a way for end users to explore and analyse ‘diverse’ enterprise data in the context of real world location/proximity.

  • Best open source software of 2019

    Not all ‘free’ software is the same. A program’s developer might have chosen to distribute it free of charge, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can edit it, or share it yourself.

    The term ‘open source’ refers to software whose source code is freely available to download, edit, use and share, with no copyright restrictions. There are different open source licenses, which give users different degrees of freedom, but the main aim of open source is to encourage experimentation, collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

  • Belgian startup Osimis raises €2.3 million for its collaborative medical imaging software

    Liège-based Osimis uses open source software to build innovative collaboration tools for medical imaging. Its newest solution, Lify, simplifies the exchange and consultation of medical imaging studies. The startup has just completed its third round of financing of €2.3 million to further the development of the Lily platform.

  • ONF Partnership Aims SDN at Optical Transport Networks
  • ONF Releases First Reference Designs

    Today at the Open Networking Summit (San Jose Convention Center) the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced the public release of the first three Reference Designs (RD’s): SEBA, Trellis and ODTN.

  • Open Networking Forum open for business with reference designs

    Open Networking Summit North America—In a relatively short amount of time, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has pivoted from a new concept to having product categories for its service provider membership.

    At last year’s Open Networking Summit, the ONF announced a new strategic plan in order to move open source, next-generation SDN solutions into production mode at a faster clip. ONF’s efforts reached fruition today with the news that three of its reference designs—SEBA, Trellis and ODTN—are now publicly available.

  • ONF Releases Trio of Reference Designs With Buy-In From Operators, Vendors

    The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) this week released the first three reference designs to foster more open source solutions in operator network deployments. Two additional reference designs are still in development.

    The reference designs offer a peek inside the brains of operators: showing what they’re thinking, why they’re assembling architecture the way they are, and how one assembles various pieces of technology into network solutions, Timon Sloane, VP of marketing and ecosystem at ONF, explained in an interview.

    The reference designs — SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA), Trellis, and Open Disaggregated Transport Networking (ODTN) — now publicly available, were originally agreed upon by ONF’s operator members before feedback was gathered from a group of companies in the supply chain. The public specifications are intended to be used by network operators and vendors during the design and procurement of network transformation efforts.

    “To get the operators to agree on a reference design is a big, big deal,” Sloane said. “Our feeling is we have critical mass.”

  • OpenLDAP™ for Windows®, Mac®, & Linux®

    In general, the fact that OpenLDAP works better with Linux systems does make a lot of sense. Linux systems and the users who operate them generally focus on the more technical aspects of computing. So, when it comes to OpenLDAP, an authentication protocol most popular with technical applications and servers, it stands to reason that the two go together. Some of the typical use cases we see OpenLDAP leveraged in are data centers and cloud infrastructure services like those from AWS® and GCE. While OpenLDAP does a good job of supporting Linux systems, there are still a few challenges to be aware of when it comes to using it as your directory service.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Q+A with Shaun Bierweiler: How Cloud, AI Play a Role in Modernization

      He shared those trends and insights with WashingtonExec, including use cases with the Defense Department and its adoption of an advanced data platform, thoughts on how agencies are approaching innovation and what the tech-driven government of tomorrow looks like (hint: it includes artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud).

    • Risky business: Data cloud outfit Cloudera bares all to investors with annual report

      Cloudera has an accumulated deficit of $1.1bn and warned in this year’s annual report that it expects to continue making a net loss “for the foreseeable future”, especially as it splashes extra cash on its merger with Hortonworks.

      Annual reports, or 10-K forms, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are a refreshing insight into the reality of the risks companies know they face – rather than the PR bluster typical of most other missives.

    • How open source powers nuclear fusion research at JET

      A carbon-free future is looking brighter as funding was secured this week for the nuclear fusion experimental reactor, JET, which is at the forefront of research into the low-waste alternative to fission.

      The contract extension will allow the high performance computing team at the facility to continue their work. Andrew Lahiff of the UK’s Atomic Energy Authority explained to Computerworld UK at the Open Infrastructure Day in London the nuts and bolts that have gone into improving the underlying infrastructure, largely based on open source tooling and platforms such as Openstack.

    • Unveiling the Top 10 Open Source Big Data Tools in 2019

      Today, big data has an extensive usage in almost every organization, and the big data tools have flooded the market. Big data not only brings efficiency in the cost but also conducts a better time management into the data analytical tasks. With this in mind, open source big data tools for big data processing and analysis are the most useful choices of organizations, considering the cost and other benefits.

      There are multiple aspects which are considered on the big data concern. Like we say, what size do the data sets have, what analysis is to be done on the data sets, what about the expected outcome etc. Hence, the big data open source tools list could be categorized on the following basis: data stores like development platforms, development tools, integration tools, for analytics and reporting tools.

      As we move closer to the big data open source tools list, it can be bewildering. As there is a deep requirement of having all relevant data secured at one place without any loss in the previously stored data, the organizations are rapidly developing new solutions to achieve the competitive advantage in the big data market. It would be useful to focus more on open source big data tools which are driving the big data industry. We take a look at top 10 Open Source Big Data Tools in the World

  • Finance/Blockchain

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Learning Science for All

      The collection of tools, software and content, including underlying source code, will be made open so that any postsecondary or K-12 institution may freely use it.

  • Healthcare

    • Government grant awarded to software integrator for healthcare applications

      The grant is for the development of processes for creating and delivering Open Source software to the UK healthcare sector as part of a wider open approach, aligned with the mandate of the new NHSx government department. The project includes proof of concept through the creation and validation of an app that calculates the National Early Warning Score, a key predictor of sepsis in hospital patients, which claims the lives of an estimated 46,000 people a year in the UK.

      The 19-month project will research and implement a new digital electronic observation (eObs) solution to identify deteriorating patients. Notably, not only does the solution connect through open standards to other hospital systems, the software, design, documentation and all associated components will be made available to the community to be studied, re-used and further developed.

      Its ultimate aim is to create a blueprint for clinician-led open software design that delivers the exact functionality – with future flexibility and integrated in to the NHS networks – needed to optimise NHS patient care, while reducing the NHS’s £7 billion annual software licence renewal bill.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • How does open source tech transform Government?

      Change has been slow, but cloud native technologies and modern open infrastructure is giving governments around the globe the tools they need to step into the digital era. Government agencies, much like large enterprise businesses, are transforming their culture and operations to embrace fundamental changes and foster digital transformation efforts.

      In the United States, federal agencies are under a mandate to speed up cloud deployments to improve efficiency and better serve the public. Unfortunately, due to requirements that are unique to government agencies, this process can get bogged down for more than a year while developers navigate compliance issues.

      18F, a digital consultancy formed within the U.S. government, realized that every agency was struggling with this issue and created cloud.gov. The open source cloud-based platform is a secure, fully compliant PaaS that helps federal agencies deliver services in a faster, more user-centric manner.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Copyright directive will challenge software developers
    • What the new EU copyright law means for open source

      The global open source community was able to breathe a small sigh of relief as the controversial and, at times, bitterly opposed European Union’s (EU’s) Copyright Directive was finally approved last week. Some last-minute amendments a few weeks before the vote resulted in open source software development being left relatively, but not wholly, unscathed.

      In its earlier iterations, the EU copyright proposal, specifically Article 13, made content-sharing platforms directly liable for copyrighted content that users upload. This, in effect, made it mandatory for software code sharing platforms to monitor all content that users upload for potential copyright infringement. The proposal was primarily aimed at music and video streaming platforms rather than software code but the wording was so broad that software code, and developing and sharing platforms like GitHub, Software Heritage, GitLab, GNU Savannah and SourceForge, would be caught in the net.

      With the whole premise of open source software being the free and open sharing of code, the open source community was appalled. Several campaigns were launched to push back. The Free Software Foundation Europe and OpenForumEurope joined forces on a campaign, Savecodeshare.eu, to garner support for opposition to the proposed directive.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • ChartIQ’s Finsemble Adds Support for Electron, Bringing World-Renowned Technology to its Smart Desktop Platform
    • ChartIQ’s Finsemble Adds Support for Electron Open-Source Tech

      Charlottesville, VA-based desktop analytics provider ChartIQ has integrated Electron, an open-source web container for writing cross-platform desktop applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, into its Finsemble desktop integration platform, to create a cohesive user experience that’s faster, cheaper and more secure than other terminals.

    • ChartIQ’s Finsemble Adds Support for Electron, Bringing World-Renowned Technology to its Smart Desktop Platform

      Standing by its commitment to help the finance world work smarter, ChartIQ announces that its desktop integration platform, Finsemble, now supports Electron.

      Electron is the leading, open-source web container for writing cross-platform desktop applications using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    • Collaborative specification development for the Eclipse Foundation

      The Eclipse Foundation Specification Process (EFSP), which extends the Eclipse Development Process (EDP), defines a blueprint for collaborating on specification development in open source.

      Committers are the ones who tend to develop most of the content. Committers have the ability to push their own contributions into their project’s source code repositories and decide whether or not to accept contributions from others. They are the ones that decide what goes into particular builds, and how content is distributed. Committers hold the real power in open source, and with that awesome power comes awesome responsibility. Committers serve the community as the ringmasters of collaboration.

      Committers are members of what the EFSP calls the specification team, the first community that a committer serves. Committers on the specification team need to get along and ensure that they are collectively working towards the same goals. Collaboration within the specification team and the broader communities starts with transparency.

    • JavaScript autocomplete is better with TabNine

      A few months ago, a colleague recommended an autocomplete tool to me called TabNine. It was closed source, he said, but he wasn’t at all shy about using it despite being a proponent of open-source technology. I was impressed with Parcel, another recommendation of his, so I decided to finally take TabNine for a spin.

      TabNine is an autocompleter for any programming language. It is built in Rust and driven by machine learning and language-specific semantic completion tools. You can use it with Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, Atom, Emacs, and Vim.

    • How to Save Extra Data to a Django REST Framework Serializer
    • Happy 14th anniversary Git: What do you love about Git?

      In the 14 years since Linus Torvalds developed Git, its influence on software development practices would be hard to match—in StackOverflow’s 2018 developer survey, 87% of respondents said they use Git for version control. Clearly, no other tool is anywhere close to knocking Git off its throne as the king of source control management (SCM).

      In honor of Git’s 14th anniversary on April 7, I asked some enthusiasts what they love most about it. Here’s what they told me.

    • Talk Python to Me: #206 Running Django in Production

      Let’s talk about running Django in production. On this episode, you’ll meet Michael Herman who used to work on realpython.com and today is running testdriven.io. We also cover some of the tradeoffs of a set of microservices and a monolith and a round trip journey between them.

    • Angular 8|7 CRUD Tutorial: Python|Django REST API

      Angular 8 is released! Read about its new features and how to update Angular 7 to v8.

      This tutorial is designed for developers that want to use Angular 8|7 to build front-end apps for their back-end REST APIs.

    • Django 2 Tutorial & Example: Build a CRUD REST API for A Simple CRM

      In this tutorial series, you’ll learn about Django 2 by creating a CRUD example application with database, admin access, and REST API views.We’ll be using MySQL as the database system.

      Throughout this beginner’s tutorial for Django 2.0, we are going to learn to build web applications with Python and Django. This tutorial assumes no prior experience with Django, so we’ll be covering the basic concepts and elements of the Django framework by emphasizing essential theory with practice.

    • Dropping out of usability testing for a while

      Hi everyone. I wanted to let you know that I’m dropping out of usability testing for a while. I think we did great work as part of the Outreachy internship, and I’m glad of the opportunity to mentor usability testing—but I have an update:

      I’ve started my own company! IT Mentor Group is an IT Executive Consulting company to help Chief Information Officers and other IT Leaders with strategic planning, turnaround situations, and organizational development. I also provide “IT Leadership Development” training to help grow emerging IT Leaders, and “Essential IT Management” training to help current managers hone their skills.

    • Review: Working Effectively with Legacy Code

      Suppose that you’re familiar with the principles of good software design, you understand the importance of breaking complex code apart into simpler components, you know how to write good test suites, and you can structure new code to be maintainable. However, as is so often the case, your job is not to write green-field code. It’s to add or change some behavior of an existing system, and that existing system was written with complete disregard to (or prior to the widespread development of) all of those principles. How do you start?

      That’s the core topic of this somewhat deceptively titled book. The title arguably overpromises, since there are many aspects of working with legacy code that are not covered in this book (and couldn’t be covered in any one book). Feathers further narrows the topic with a rather idiosyncratic definition of legacy: code without unit tests. The point of the techniques discussed here is to restructure the piece of code that you want to modify so that you can add tests (and, specifically, unit tests; Feathers barely mentions the existence of integration tests).

    • Parsing PHP for fun and profit

      Recently I’ve been dealing with a lot of PHP code, and coders. I’m still not a huge fan of the language, but at the same time modern PHP is a world apart from legacy PHP which I dismissed 10ish years ago.

      I’ve noticed a lot of the coders have had a good habit of documenting their code, but also consistently failing to keep class-names up to date.

    • Why should you learn Python Programming in 2019?

      Kovid Raj Panthy, The Youngest Programmer of Nepal is an algorithm-ist, programmer, artificial intelligence developer, key-note speaker, blogger, youtuber and Glocal’s 20under20. I have knowledge at languages like, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, C, C++, Python in which my expertise is on Python. I have work experiences on Android App Development and Computer Software Development too.

      Currently I am running a YouTube channel named Coder Kovid in which I provide programming knowledge on programming. I am an owner of Techsamaj which is a tech forum based on Nepal. My main motive is to contribute to society with the use of computer technology.

    • (clxxii) stackoverflow python report

Leftovers

  • Science

    • News organizations have all but abandoned their archives

      Sharon Ringel and Angela Woodall have published a comprehensive, in-depth look at the state of news archiving in the digital age, working under the auspices of the Tow Center at the Columbia Journalism Review; it’s an excellent, well-researched report and paints an alarming picture of the erosion of the institutional memories of news organizations.

      Ringel and Woodall find that news organizations are cavalier, even negligent, about archiving their news, and contrast this with the heyday of newspapers where dedicated librarians staffed a “morgue” of carefully clipped and cross-referenced print articles. By contrast, today’s news organizations rely primarily on their CMSes, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, reporters’ personal Google Docs accounts, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to store their articles, social media posts, and other materials.

    • STEMpedia Robotics Learning Platform Teaches STEM Skills to Children

      Abhishek Sharma, Co-Founder of STEMpedia, a startup that is developing technology and educational tools to make learning-by-doing accessible and and long-lasting for the young minds believes that even though STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning kits have been around on the market for a while, kids don’t devote more than a few weeks to them before they forget about them, and the once-exciting learning kits end up forgotten in a closet.

      “We wanted to create something which has the best of both worlds: An affordable open-source platform with versatile project-making capabilities comprehensive by users of all skill levels,” Abhishek Sharma tells Interesting Engineering.

      “Something you could make projects with when you are a beginner and maybe have zero experience with electronics and programming. Something you could continue learning with, even when you have gained some expertise and crave projects which can solve complex problems. This eventually led to the birth if STEMpedia,” he says.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Alabama Could Make It Illegal to ‘Aid’ Someone Seeking an Abortion

      For much of the last three months, I have been traveling the United States — mostly in the South — and discussing my new book about how to prepare for when Roe v. Wade is overturned. In mid-March, I toured Alabama, where I spoke to a group of abortion rights supporters in Montgomery about how to best support organizations who would help pregnant patients travel to states where abortion would be legal in order to get care.

      “But what if helping them becomes illegal?” one activist asked.

      “Well, we could see a time where maybe helping a minor get across a state line to access an abortion without parental permission could be illegal,” I answered, referring to CIANA — the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, a failed federal bill that could someday maybe become law. “But just helping an adult get an abortion? I don’t see that ever happening.”

  • Security

    • Waves of DNS hijacking attempts target mostly D-Link routers

      Waves of DNS hijackings over the past three months, aimed at consumer-grade routers mostly from D-Link, have been diverting traffic from a number of well-known domains and directing them elsewhere.

    • Ongoing DNS hijackings target unpatched consumer routers

      A wave of DNS hijacking attacks that abuse Google’s cloud computing service is causing consumer routers to connect to fraudulent and potentially malicious websites and addresses, a security researcher has warned.

    • Hiding in Plain Sight

      Cisco Talos is continually working to ensure that our threat intelligence not only accounts for the latest threats but also new versions of old threats, such as spam. This often means pursuing cybercriminals wherever they congregate. However, instead of wheeling-and-dealing using hidden servers on some mysterious dark web address, a surprisingly large number of cyber scofflaws prefer to operate right out in the open using social media. For example, Facebook is host to dozens of groups that serve as online marketplaces and exchanges for cybercriminals. Talos saw spam from services advertised in these Facebook groups show up in our own telemetry data, indicating a potential impact to Cisco customers from these groups.

      Over the past several months, Cisco Talos has tracked several groups on Facebook where shady (at best) and illegal (at worst) activities frequently take place. The majority of these groups use fairly obvious group names, including “Spam Professional,” “Spammer & Hacker Professional,” “Buy Cvv On THIS SHOP PAYMENT BY BTC,” and “Facebook hack (Phishing).” Despite the fairly obvious names, some of these groups have managed to remain on Facebook for up to eight years, and in the process acquire tens of thousands of group members.

    • Cybercrime On Facebook Is Of Least Concern To Its Executives

      There is no better time for committing Cybercrime on Facebook than right now. At least that’s the intent the platform is displaying with its least bothered attitude.

      Cisco Talos — an online security research group, has released a report showcasing in detail the fearless existence of cybercrime on Facebook.

    • Protect yourself against a pure CSS data stealing attack called Exfil

      CSS Exfil Protection is a browser extension for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome that protects data against CSS Exfil attacks.

    • Intel may never make a CPU we can trust, but others might [Ed: We already know, based on hard evidence, that Intel puts NSA back doors in every chip that it makes (for a decade now)]
    • Google Fixes Two Critical Android Code Execution Vulnerabilities
    • Crunchy Data Collaborates with Center for Internet Security to Continue Advancing PostgreSQL Security for Enterprise
    • NEC Deploys Open Source-Based SD-WAN, Security Platform at Malaysian University

      The Japanese IT services provider NEC completed a trial of its open source-based SD-WAN Security Common Platform at the University of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. This was the company’s first proof of concept (PoC) using the platform.

      The university required a service that could connect its several campuses and enforce security policy at each site. It also wanted to decrease costs and provide centralized, automated network management and control.

      NEC deployed 15 hardware pieces, including laptop clients, to connect the school’s four campuses. Nine devices were ultimately connected to the SD-WAN controller, according to NEC.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • What Have We Learned From the Rwandan Genocide?

      The world of the Rwandan genocide may to most people seem far removed from the United States. It does not to me. I am a law professor who grew up an Army brat, often abroad. I graduated high school in Nuremberg in the former West Germany—the site of the famous Nuremberg Tribunal held in the wake of the Holocaust. I know that words matter. Always mindful of the horrors of the Holocaust and the ways that democratic majorities can scapegoat and dehumanize minorities, my professional focus has been in constitutional and international law.

      The law, and particularly international criminal trials, should teach us about past mistakes. The legacy of Rwanda’s genocide has some compelling messages for American people about the power of our words, and the danger of hate speech. Few of us are immune to the polarizing media coverage. Our leaders and media pundits use generalizations about cultures and fear-mongering to drive home support for policy in a very profound and impactful way. Creating hate as opposed to understanding will lead to repeat mistakes. This week in particular, we should heed the legacy of Rwanda’s genocide, reminding our nation of what can happen when we don’t identify and speak about the impact that fear has on our united psyche.

      We Americans know words matter. We famously have strong free-speech protections. We are outliers in the international community for refusing to penalize hate speech. However, even those of us with the strongest commitments to free speech understand that speech can be dangerous and even constitute incitement.

      Indeed, many terrorist prosecutions turn on speech acts. The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda recognized the power of speech to lead to violence when it upheld the convictions of key figures in the genocide: Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the Kangura newspaper; Ferdinand Nahimana, an historian and founder of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM); and Jean-Bosco Baryagwiza, a Rwandan diplomat and executive committee chairman of RTLM. The print and broadcast media fomented and disseminated statements of broad hatred of the Tutsi ethnic group through aggressive and demeaning rhetoric, even labeling the opposition as “inyenzi” (cockroaches) and calling for their extermination.

    • Libya Crisis: Rival Forces Say They Control Tripoli Airport

      Forces loyal to rival Libyan army commander Khalifa Hifter said Saturday they seized control of the main airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli, two days after Hifter ordered his forces to seize the seat of Libya’s U.N.-backed government.

      Hifter’s media office said in a post online that they took full control of the Tripoli international airport and were working to secure the facility. They posted photos of troops apparently inside the airport, saying “we are standing at the heart of the Tripoli international airport.”

      Hifter’s offensive on Tripoli could plunge the oil-rich country into another spasm of violence, possibly the worst since the 2011 civil war that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country is governed by rival authorities: The internationally backed government in Tripoli and the government in the east, which Hifter is aligned with. Each are backed by an array of militias.

    • US Takes Illegal, Dangerous Actions Toward Regime Change in Venezuela

      The United States is taking illegal and dangerous actions to execute regime change in Venezuela. In January, Juan Guaidó declared himself “interim president,” in a strategy orchestrated by the United States to seize power from President Nicolás Maduro.

      In March, Guaidó announced that “Operation Freedom,” an organization established to overthrow the Maduro government, would take certain “tactical actions” beginning on April 6. Part of the plan anticipates that the Venezuelan military will turn against Maduro.

      This strategy is detailed in a 75-page regime change manual prepared by the U.S. Global Development Lab, a branch of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The manual advocates the creation of rapid expeditionary development teams to partner with the CIA and U.S. Special Forces to conduct “a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations [in] in extremis conditions.”

      Some of these actions will, in all likelihood, involve combat operations. A USAID official said, “Anybody who doesn’t think we need to be working in combat elements or working with SF [special forces] groups is just naïve.”

      The manual was written by members of Frontier Design Group (FDG), a national security contractor whose “work has focused on the wicked and sometimes overlapping problem sets of fragility, violent extremism, terrorism, civil war, and insurgency,” according to its mission statement. FDG was the “sole contractor” that USAID hired to write a “new counterinsurgency doctrine for the Trump administration,” Tim Shorrock wrote at Washington Babylon.

    • Amid Blackouts and Food Shortages, Pence Unveils New Sanctions Targeting Venzuelan Oil Exports to Cuba

      Despite Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian crisis fueled by political unrest and economic sanctions, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced new sanctions targeting the government and companies that transport oil to Cuba as part of the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

      Recognizing that “oil is the lifeblood” of the Venezuelan government, Pence said in Houston on Friday that the United States is sanctioning 34 vessels owned or operated by Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)—the state-run oil company—and two international businesses and a vessel that have recently shipped crude oil to Cuba, a key ally of Maduro.

      “Cuba is a major importer of crude oil from Venezuela,” the U.S. Treasury Department noted in a statement Friday, “and in return, sends assistance to Venezuela in the form of political advisers, intelligence and military officials, and medical professionals, all of whom are used to ensure Maduro’s hold on power.”

      Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez immediately spoke out against the sanctions. “I strongly reject new measures of economic piracy adopted by Washington to damage #Venezuela and steal its resources,” he tweeted in Spanish on Friday. “They will fail.”

    • American History for Truthdiggers: JFK’s Cold War Chains

      Among the American people—if not historians—John F. Kennedy regularly ranks as one of the best presidents in various opinion polls. There is, undoubtedly, something magnetic about the Kennedy administration, dubbed “Camelot” by the president’s wife, Jacqueline, soon after his assassination. However, one wonders if sentiments like this are little more than post-mortem nostalgia for a young, handsome president. JFK memorialization and mythology are such that it seems the memories contain something for everyone. Today, mainstream liberals tout his efforts on civil rights; defense hawks laud the toughness of his Cuban Missile Crisis stand; conversely, antiwar types insist that Kennedy was about to pull the U.S. troops out of Vietnam when his presidency was ended by an assassin’s bullets. To the scholar, however, much of the passionate praise for JFK seems unwarranted for a short administration that boasted so few tangible accomplishments.

      A detached, probing view of the Kennedy years elucidates a generally popular president who was nevertheless a conventional Cold Warrior, a tool of the military-industrial complex, forever stalled on domestic legislation and reactive rather than proactive on black civil rights. This Kennedy—the human president—was also a highly political creature, motivated as often by partisan rancor and opinion polls as by the national interest. It is this Kennedy who fell into the Cold War-era trap that ensnared all Democratic presidents since and including Harry Truman; ever since Truman was accused of having “lost China,” a string of Democratic executives (that by no means ended with JFK) became obsessed with conveying “toughness,” avoiding the well-worn “Munich analogy” of appeasement, and out-hawking the Republicans in foreign affairs. It was a highly insecure Kennedy who escalated the doomed American war in Vietnam and terrorized Cuba’s popular government throughout his 34-month administration.

      Perhaps forever Americans will remember these words from Kennedy’s sunlit inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. … Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” It is the final, less famous, clause in this passage that rings as problematic and, ultimately, hollow. From the perspective of a working-class Cuban, a Vietnamese peasant or an unemployed, disenfranchised black American, JFK was no champion of man’s “freedom.” Rather, he hedged on African American civil rights, accelerated warfare in Southeast Asia, cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans and obsessed himself with overthrowing the Castro administration in Cuba.

      Our story, though, must not center only on the singular figure of Kennedy. “Camelot” went far beyond a compelling, photogenic politician, and far beyond his attractive wife and children. JFK assembled a team of youthful, energetic, elite advisers—many of them academics—forever christened the “best and the brightest.” Kennedy made a show of crafting this highly educated team, which included Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, national security adviser McGeorge Bundy, Secretary of State (and Rhodes scholar) Dean Rusk, informal adviser and Harvard professor Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and his brother Robert “Bobby” Kennedy as attorney general. Two of Kennedy’s choices might seem peculiar for a supposedly liberal administration—McNamara and Bundy were Republicans. The oddness did not stop at politics: The appointment of Bobby was unashamedly nepotistic, and the vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, was a rough-hewn—some would say crude—Southerner. Despite the odd mix, the glossy aura of the team seemed to stick, especially in Americans’ collective memory.

    • Why Designating the Iranian Rev. Guards Terrorists would paint a big Red Target On US Troops in Iraq

      The Trump administration is considering designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization. This is an old Joe Lieberman idea from 2007, and it is a very bad idea. It keeps being done rhetorically (2007, 2017), and then announced again out of amnesia. It is illogical, but it is also practically speaking a potential disaster if it were actually thoroughly implemented.

      The notion is illogical because the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is a state actor, not a non-state actor. Terrorists are civilians who commit violence against other civilians to achieve some political goal.

      The IRGC is sort of like the US national guard. It isn’t the formal army, but it is an adjunct to it.

    • President Moon’s Unenviable Task

      Moon has staked his presidency on advancing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, and Trump has staked his bloated ego on the interconnected goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Moon’s task in upcoming and future talks with Trump can be adequately simplified as painting a glamorous picture of the promised land, wherein Trump can claim his largely undeserved credit for a peaceful, denuclearized Korea—but only, Moon may suggest, if Trump embraces the more incremental, reciprocal negotiating posture that diplomacy needs to succeed.

      After reminding Trump of all he has to gain from a comprehensive nuclear agreement with North Korea, a relatively easy task, Moon could try to convince Trump that the administration’s current maximalist approach is doomed to fail. It is doomed because North Korea knows the storied past of U.S. regime change, in particular the story of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who negotiated away his country’s nuclear program only to be brutally murdered by rebels in the wake of a U.S.-backed NATO bombing campaign designed to remove him from power. It is doomed because North Korea’s leaders know that if they don’t secure irreversible security guarantees, they could meet a similar fate. It is doomed because North Korea will not disarm without those security guarantees and without sanctions relief that its people desperately need, all of which will require incremental diplomacy to secure.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Nuclear Power Is Not a Viable Solution for Green New Deal

      With just a decade left to stop the worst effects of climate change, we must dramatically transform how we produce, use and pay for energy. And as momentum around the Green New Deal turns into concrete proposals, we must recognize why nuclear power is a discredited and dishonest distraction, not a solution.

      To reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 60 percent by 2030, and down to zero by 2050, we need cost-effective, proven energy generation technology that can be scaled up to meet these benchmarks. Nuclear power does not and will not ever meet these criteria.

      After 60 years, despite massive subsidies, the nuclear industry is dying of its own accord. Why? Because it’s too expensive, too dangerous and dirty, and takes too long to deploy. Reactors are closing across the country, and major corporations have declared bankruptcy.

      Nuclear power simply cannot compete against safer, cleaner, and cheaper renewable energy. Nuclear power is also expensive. Nuclear’s subsidies have been buried in hundreds of spending bills, it’s costs externalized to the environment and future generations, and its bills literally unpaid, defaulted on or passed to taxpayers. Conservative estimates suggest that the nuclear industry has received more than $85 billion in subsidies. A centrist estimate might double that.

    • Union Locals Build Support for the Green New Deal’s “Just Transition”

      Undeterred by the Senate’s recent dismissal of the Green New Deal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) recently accepted Congressional Coal Caucus member Rep. Andy Barr’s (R-Kentucky) invitation to tour a coal mine in his district and meet with mine workers and voters in Appalachia to talk about how they could benefit from the resolution’s “just transition.”

      That transition, as laid out in Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s plan, would include a federal jobs guarantee for U.S. workers. This includes former fossil fuel sector workers as they transition to build the infrastructure needed to shift the country to 100 percent renewable energy within 10 years.

      Even as many of the resolution’s proponents are now turning their focus away from passing the Green New Deal on the heels of March’s procedural vote in the Senate, climate change legislation remains a priority for the Democratic Party. The resolution’s supporters are now looking at multiple bills in hopes of advancing standalone elements of the broader initiative as grassroots groups like the Sunrise Movement continue efforts to build support for the plan.

      But what exactly would a Green New Deal or another piece of climate chance legislation focused on transitioning to renewables mean for the Kentucky coal workers Ocasio-Cortez is set to meet?

      The plan backs union jobs and outlines commitments to “wage and benefit parity for workers” affected by the energy transition. The resolution also supports collective bargaining rights for workers while calling for “trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments” with strong labor protections.

    • Free Market Solutions to Climate Change Aren’t ‘Realistic’

      Last month’s vote in the Senate on a Green New Deal resolution was a waste of time, an attempt by the Republican leadership to jockey Democrats into a supposedly embarrassing vote that nearly all of them in the end sidestepped by voting “present.” But the exercise did show how some politicians intend to signal support for addressing climate change without embracing the systemic changes the Green New Deal demands.

      Welcome to the world of realistic solutions.

      They were touted during Senate debate on the Green New Deal by people like Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who usually caucuses with the Democrats. He voted no on the resolution, sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and in the House by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), because, he said, the policy focus should be to “increase investments in green energy—including research and development—to create price parity with carbon.” Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona issued a statement after the vote saying we should “address a changing climate with realistic, achievable solutions.” Republicans who wanted to rhetorically distance themselves from the climate-change deniers to their right made similar statements.

      If Senate Democrats that day weren’t preoccupied with denouncing Republican political gamesmanship, you would have likely heard even more evidence of a strong Democratic “realistic solutions” caucus. It would sound like the New Democrat Coalition call for “market-driven climate initiatives that carry political weight,” such as a cap-and-trade system that allows corporations to buy the right to pollute, or the viral confrontation Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had with a group of children from the Sunrise Movement, during which she indicated support for “real, meaningful climate change legislation” but declared the Green New Deal “will not pass the Senate, and you can take that back to whoever sent you here and tell them.”

    • Logging Is the Leading Driver of Carbon Emissions From US Forests

      Climate change is having a growing impact on Americans and, as the crisis escalates, communities face growing challenges. The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underscores that we have eleven short years to make “rapid transformation across all industrial sectors.

      Protecting forest ecosystems is critical in the fight to limit global warming — when forests are disturbed they release carbon, but when left to grow they actively pull carbon out of the air and store it. When left standing, forests also provide optimal natural protection against extreme weather events, like flooding and droughts.

      As the Trump Administration and industry allies push for increased commercial logging of America’s forests, we feel compelled to call attention to the elephant in the room: the profound ways in which industrial logging not only decimates ecosystems but also exacerbates climate change.

      Many people are aware of the importance of protecting rainforests in Brazil to help mitigate climate change, but few realize that more logging occurs in the US, and more wood is consumed here, than in any other nation globally. The rate and scale of logging in the Southeastern US alone is four times that in South American rainforests.

    • Miami Real Estate Market Show How Denial Is A Luxury of Wealth

      Two great pieces of journalism were published this week we’d like to draw attention to today. While neither were particularly focused on climate change denial, taken together, they provide some helpful insight into denial not only as a state of mind, but as a function of luxury and privilege.

      That’s the underlying message of Sarah Miller’s recent piece in Popula. Miller poses as a wealthy married woman interested in purchasing pricy Miami real estate, feigning interest before springing her key question: is it smart to buy something with a 30-year mortgage in Miami, given the fact that sea level rise is already regularly flooding the city?

      One after another, high-end real estate agents assure Miller that sea level rise is “something the city is trying to combat” by “raising everything” and installing pumps. One, who couldn’t think of the word “studies,” mentioned that she knew someone who paid for a study that said “we shouldn’t be concerned. Unless you have a family, and you’re planning on staying here.”

      Miami: a thriving city with new construction that’s perfect for you, as long as you don’t intend to stay for your full 30-year mortgage. One agent tells Miller that the raised sidewalks and new pumps mean all that excess water just goes “into the drain,” and therefore the problem is “fixed.”

    • Shirish Agarwal: Saving the Ganga

      A younger cousin of mine remarked that the Government of the day is so serious about cleaning the Ganga.

      [...]

      And this is just list of the woes. The real story is that one Clean Ganga activist died and one is missing and the Government prefers to look the other way . The Clean Ganga Panel has met only twice and spent only 18% of the funds have been utilized according to another media report. There are more than dozen or more litigations pending in the Supreme Court about Clean Ganga where the responder is the Govt. of India and the Government has not even given them a single hearing over the last 5 years.
      I just came from Uttarakhand, near Nainital . While going, I saw that the National Highway was an off-roader’s delight. Upon asking the locals and the driver it became clear the road doesn’t have any grip, it is landslide prone because of beserk construction. This has been shared and told clearly in an International Journal Science Direct, June 2014 as well as a CNN report which says the same. The same is also said in Jagran Josh , a local newspaper as well.

    • The Insect Apocalypse Is Coming: Here Are Five Lessons We Must Learn

      In a new report, scientists warn of a precipitous drop in the world’s insect population. We need to pay close attention, as over time, this could be just as catastrophic to humans as it is to insects. Special attention must be paid to the principal drivers of this insect decline, because while climate change is adding to the problem, food production is a much larger contributor.

      The report, released by researchers at the Universities of Sydney and Queensland and the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, concluded that 40 percent of insect species are now threatened with extinction, and the world’s insect biomass is declining at 2.5 percent a year. In 50 years, the current biomass of insects could be cut in half. Such a sharp decline could trigger a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems.”

      We have, it appears, a lot to learn to avert the looming insect apocalypse. Here are five critical lessons.

    • Climate Research Needs to Change to Help Communities Plan for the Future

      Climate change is a chronic challenge — it is here now, and will be with us throughout this century and beyond. As the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment report made clear, it’s already affecting people throughout the United States and around the world.

  • Finance

    • The Bezos divorce settlement is the biggest in history

      Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has reached a divorce settlement with his wife, MacKenzie. Mr Bezos will keep all the shares in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, a space-exploration firm, as well as 75% of the couple’s Amazon stock. Mrs Bezos will retain a 4% stake in the tech giant, worth nearly $36bn, which is likely to make her the third-richest woman alive when the divorce is finalised.

    • Scandals suggest standards have slipped in corporate America

      America is no stranger to corporate scandals. In the 19th century abattoirs sold rotten meat. In the 1960s Detroit made cars that were “unsafe at any speed”, in the words of Ralph Nader, a consumer-rights crusader. In the 1990s tobacco and asbestos claims led to legal settlements that have cost shareholders over $150bn. Accounting scandals erupted at WorldCom, Enron and Tyco in the early 2000s, and by the mid-2000s mortgage fraud was endemic.

      Today’s crises are diverse but have common elements. The firms tend to be established, with dominant market positions. Outrage infuses social media and Congress. And yet the financial cost has been limited. [...]

    • Standardized Testing is a Tool of White Supremacy

      Let’s say you punched me in the face.

      I wouldn’t like it. I’d protest. I’d complain.

      And then you might apologize and say it was just an accident.

      Maybe I’d believe you.

      Until the next time when we met and you punched me again.

      That’s the problem we, as a society, have with standardized tests.

      We keep using them to justify treating students of color as inferior and/or subordinate to white children. And we never stop or even bothered to say, “I’m sorry.”

      Fact: black kids don’t score as high on standardized tests as white kids.

      It’s called the racial achievement gap and it’s been going on for nearly a century.

      Today we’re told that it means our public schools are deficient. There’s something more they need to be doing.

      But if this phenomenon has been happening for nearly 100 years, is it really a product of today’s public schools or a product of the testing that identifies it in the first place?

    • Monopoly power is growing across the developed world — and it’s hurting workers, IMF finds

      Growing monopoly power is seen across the developed world, which could be a contributor to ills ranging from lackluster investment growth to growing income inequality, a new International Monetary Fund report finds.

      The IMF paper, released ahead of its World Economic Outlook, finds that firms’ price markups over marginal costs rose by close to 8% since 2000 in advanced countries. The study looked at nearly 1 million firms across 27 countries. It didn’t find the same markups in the emerging markets it studied.

      What’s also consistent is that these markups have been concentrated among a small fraction of what it calls dynamic and innovative firms. These firms perform better than others in terms of productivity, they invest more in intangible assets like patents and software, and they’ve gained market share.

    • International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns that tech giants stifle innovation and threaten stability
    • The slow death of global stock markets

      Over the last two decades, the amount of listed companies has declined sharply on both sides of the Atlantic. Does this decline merely mirror the evolving nature of the world economy, or is it something more concerning?

    • How Trump is Killing Capitalism

      Why didn’t Boeing do it right? Why isn’t Facebook protecting user passwords? Why is Phillip Morris allowed to promote vaping? Why hasn’t Wells Fargo reformed itself? Why hasn’t Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) recalled its Roundup weed killer?

      Answer: corporate greed coupled with inept and corrupt regulators.

      These are just a few of the examples in the news these days of corporate harms inflicted on innocent people.

      To be sure, some began before the Trump administration. But Trump and his appointees have unambiguously signaled to corporations that they can now do as they please.

    • The Myth of Meritocracy

      Most Americans still cling to the meritocratic notion that people are rewarded according to their efforts and abilities. But meritocracy is becoming a cruel joke.

      The Justice Department recently announced indictments of dozens of wealthy parents for using bribery and fraud to get their children into prestigious colleges.

      But the real scandal isn’t how far a few wealthy parents will go to get their kids admitted (apparently $1.2 million in illegal payoffs), but how commonplace it has become for them to go almost as far without breaking any laws – shelling out big bucks for essay tutors, testing tutors, admissions counselors, and “enrichment” courses (not to mention sky-high tuition at private schools feeding into the Ivy League).

      Inequality is lurking behind all this, and not just because the wealthy can afford it. Researchers Daniel Schneider, Orestes Hastings, and Joe LaBriola found that in states with the biggest gaps between rich and poor, well-to-do parents spend the most trying to get their children into elite colleges.

    • Rare overtime protest by China tech workers goes viral

      Chinese technology workers are protesting online against grueling overtime hours at some companies, a rare push back against the work culture in the country’s tech industry.

      The posts on Microsoft’s GitHub, which calls itself the world’s largest code host, and other programming tools have gone viral amid large-scale layoffs in the sector.

      The protest is aimed at the industry’s “996” work culture, which refers to the 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. workday, six days a week.

    • Chinese developers use GitHub to protest long work hours
    • How GitHub Is Helping Overworked Chinese Programmers
    • Chinese Workers Are Trying to Bake Fair Labor Practices Into Software
    • Education Privatizers Have Gone Global. So Must We If We Want to Stop Them.

      In February 2018, West Virginia teachers launched a strike that reawakened a movement. Tens of thousands of teachers from around the country have taken part in what is now the largest strike wave in decades, demanding better public education in the face of years of austerity.

      On February 11, 2019, as the U.S. wave continued, teachers union leaders from across Africa gathered in Addis Ababa for a meeting of African Union heads of state with their own demands: to halt the continent’s moves toward privatized education and provide “inclusive and equitable quality free public education for all.”

      Though an ocean apart, West Virginia and Addis Ababa are two fronts in the same war. The fight for public education reminds us that working-class struggles around the world are linked—and that international solidarity is the key to victory.

      In many U.S. districts, school funding still hasn’t recovered from cuts made during the Great Recession. Teachers are underpaid, classrooms are overcrowded and textbooks are out of date. Rather than increase funding, conservative public figures like Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education, have turned to private and charter schools that deepen inequality and further drain resources from the public system.

      At the same time, foreign-owned, for-profit schools like Bridge International Academies and GEMS Education have swept Africa. There is no doubt that the status quo of public education in much of the region is dire: Education systems are largely underfunded, illiteracy remains high and a large gender gaps prevail. But an unaccountable, profit-driven system funded largely by American and European investors is not the solution. Private schools crowd out the public sector, base education on ability to pay, and exacerbate economic and social stratification.

      Investors like Bridge’s digital Taylorist curricula, which are identical across all schools, planned down to the minute, and require specialized tablets that track the finger movements of their teachers. However, there’s little evidence that such lessons adequately serve poor and working-class students. School privatization in Africa is part of the same neoliberal project that inspired teachers to walk out in West Virginia.

      Milton Friedman—free market ideologue, advisor to both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and mentor of the “Chicago Boys”—is considered the founding father of the school choice movement in the United States. It was his brand of market fundamentalism that was then foisted on the Global South in the 1980s, leading to Africa’s “lost decade” of growth and the continent’s current state of education. International Monetary Fund austerity demands inevitably forced public funding cuts while the World Bank pushed school fees and privatization. The World Bank, along with international aid agencies like the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, continue to promote for-profit models even today.

      In some cases, privatization efforts in the United States and Africa are led by the very same billionaires and corporations. Philanthrocapitalist Bill Gates has given roughly $10 million to a fund attempting to push Oakland to the “New Orleans” model: full privatization. It is no coincidence that Gates is also one of the top funders behind Bridge. Pearson, the controversial education giant of Common Core fame, holds stakes in both Bridge and the comparable Omega Schools in Ghana.

    • 3 Questions That ‘Created Havoc’ in Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education

      U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is famous for giving a nonresponse to fairly straightforward questions. More than one commentator has had fun with her contorted evasions, but her inability to explain the rationale for current education policies isn’t confined to her own personality and ideology.

      It’s actually been endemic in the education policy world for years, particularly in how the federal government continues to hide its agenda to further privatize the nation’s public school system by creating and expanding charter schools.

      Arne Duncan, who served as secretary for the longest period of time before DeVos, was famous for being the consummate non-listener, often talking over people with his prepared remarks and ignoring the advice of teachers and education experts.

      This is not a partisan issue. Teachers demanded Duncan’s resignation, and Republican members of Congress have complained that DeVos’ department isn’t responsive to requests for information.

      Of course, any comparison between DeVos and Duncan can find some very big differences, but a constant throughout both administrations has been to ignore, wall-off, or obfuscate when confronted with any inquiry aimed at the federal government’s efforts to create and expand charter schools.

    • Scapegoating Unions for the Postal Service’s Phony Crisis

      Blame it on the unions. When corporations, governments, or public agencies are facing financial challenges, this is often the default explanation.

      We saw this knee jerk response at a recent Senate hearing on the U.S. Postal Service. The Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs called the March 12 hearing to discuss recommendations from a task force appointed by President Trump that include cutting or privatizing various postal services, increasing delivery prices, and — you guessed it — eliminating employees’ rights to collective bargaining.

      Committee Chair Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, seized on the anti-union proposals. He repeatedly inquired about the wages and benefits that USPS employees enjoy compared to private sector employees and questioned whether postal workers should be allowed to continue to collectively bargain over wages.

      This hardly comes as a surprise. Johnson was an ardent supporter of Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to undercut public sector unions back in his own state. Why wouldn’t he be just as eager to cut union rights for postal employees?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sanders’ ‘Berners’ Still Smoldering Over 2016 [Ed: "Sanders’ ‘Berners’ Still Smoldering Over 2016," says AP -- the very same villainous network that helped rig the nomination against him using classic fake news (before it was called that)]

      It was hard to miss Cheri Pichone’s excitement about Bernie Sanders’ second presidential run. She showed up to a recent Iowa rally decked out in Sanders gear, complete with a figurine of the Vermont senator and progressive icon.

      But underneath her exuberance, the 36-year-old was still mad about the last Democratic primary, when Sanders’ bid for the presidency fell short to Hillary Clinton.

    • The Sheer Weirdness of an Illegal Inaugural

      Presidential inaugurations are at the very edge of campaign finance regulations. That means most of the typical campaign finance restrictions during an election, including on the size and sources of donations, simply don’t apply to an inaugural committee.

      For example, during an election, a U.S. citizen can give $2,800 to a candidate running for president. But once that candidate wins, a U.S. citizen can give an unlimited amount to an inaugural committee to celebrate their candidate’s assumption of power. Here’s another example: Corporations cannot give directly to a federal candidate during an election, but they can give an unlimited amount to an inaugural committee.

      Plenty of wealthy people and corporations took advantage of this increased ability to spend in 2017. NBC News found that 14 individual donors to the inaugural, who gave around $350,000 on average, were nominated to be ambassadors by President Trump. Many companies gave at the $1 million mark to the Trump 2017 inaugural. Many of the same companies also gave to Obama’s inaugural. Corporations with regulatory matters pending before the federal government often use such donations to butter up the new guy in charge. It’s a little unnerving from the outside since it looks like currying favor, but generally it’s perfectly legal.

    • Why Many 2020 Swing States Will Produce Recount Headaches

      That’s because the laws and timetables governing recounts in many swing states differ widely and aren’t necessarily geared toward transparent granular counting—and that’s apart from President Trump’s habit of attacking election outcomes he doesn’t like by claiming they were stolen.

      “I see what the states have put out there. They have not proven realistic,” said Matthew Weil, senior associate director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, speaking of the policies and legal landscape that unfold after election night. The BPC is soon expected to issue a report on the topic. “It would be very helpful to really look at what a realistic and rational policy would be, and we can work toward that goal.”

      Should presidential recounts occur, it appears that history will not repeat what happened in 2016—when courts shut down two of the three recounts filed by the Green Party: in Michigan and Pennsylvania but not Wisconsin. But the chances of voters seeing a convincing process may prove as frustrating as 2016.

    • Israel’s Netanyahu Vows to Annex West Bank Settlements

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Saturday to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected, a dramatic policy shift apparently aimed at rallying his nationalist base in the final stretch of the tight race.

      Netanyahu has promoted Jewish settlement expansion in his four terms as prime minister, but until now refrained from presenting a detailed vision for the West Bank, seen by the Palestinians as the heartland of a future state.

    • ‘A Model of Hope for the World’: 25 Years After Rwandan Genocide, New Film Shows Journey Toward Justice and Healing

      As the world marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide on Sunday, a forthcoming documentary sheds light on the survivors and perpetrators’ long journey toward justice and healing.

      On April 7, 1994, members of Rwanda’s dominant Hutu ethnic group launched a 100-day killing spree targeting Tutsis, an ethnic minority in the landlocked East African country. The international community stood by while an estimated 800,000 people or more were slaughtered—leaving 95,000 children without parents.

      Gadi Habumugisha, Bizimana Jean, and Mussa Uwitonze were orphaned by the massacre. They are now professional photographers and fellows at The GroundTruth Project, the Boston-based nonprofit media organization behind the new film, entitled Camera Kids.

    • For American Jews, Trump Is Key Figure in Israeli Election

      Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot for Israel’s national election, yet he’s a dominant factor for many American Jews as they assess the high stakes of Tuesday’s balloting.

      At its core, the election is a judgment on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has won the post four times but now faces corruption charges. In his battle for political survival, Netanyahu has aligned closely with Trump — a troubling tactic for the roughly 75% of American Jewish voters who lean Democratic.

      “The world has come to understand that Netanyahu is essentially the political twin of Donald Trump,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the liberal pro-Israel group J Street. “Unlike his previous elections, there is a much deeper antagonism toward Netanyahu because of that close affiliation between him and Trump and the Republican Party.”

      Netanyahu featured Trump in a recent campaign video, while Trump has made a series of policy moves viewed as strengthening Netanyahu in the eyes of Israeli voters, including relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

    • Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, under scrutiny for role in opioid crisis, are big political spenders

      As the opioid crisis continues to ravage the country killing more than 130 people per day in the U.S., the makers of the addictive opioid OxyContin face tightening legal challenges. The company, Purdue Pharma, has been run by the wealthy and influential Sackler family for generations. In 2016, the Sacklers were listed by Forbes as the 19th richest family in America with a $13 billion net worth. Both Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler clan have been active in the political realm.

      The company and family have a widespread philanthropic influence as donors to high-profile locales like the Louvre, the Guggenheim, Columbia University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Now they are faced with numerous lawsuits, including two from the Massachusetts and New York attorney generals that allege the family contributed to the opioid epidemic through deceitful advertising techniques regarding the powerful OxyContin painkiller.

      With the company increasingly in the crosshairs of the courts and 2020 presidential contenders like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Purdue Pharma stepped up its Congressional lobbying efforts the past two years. In 2017, the company spent $940,000 and increased it to $1.12 million in 2018, its highest level ever. Nine of the 10 lobbyists Purdue Pharma employed in 2018 are members of the “revolving door” with close Capitol Hill connections like lobbyist Dora Hughes, a former health policy advisor to then-Sen. Barack Obama.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Trump Administration Wants to Use Social Media to Monitor Disabilities

      The Social Security Administration once again is floating an extremely ableist proposal: using social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook, to monitor people with disabilities who receive disability benefits from the government. The agency is arguing this is necessary to fight fraud, ensuring that people who “aren’t really disabled” won’t be able to collect benefits. For the disability community, the implications of this proposal are significant — and very scary.

      The government provides many forms of disability benefits. But most people think of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income when they hear “disability.”

      Social Security Disability Insurance is paid to people who worked at some point during their lives. It’s linked to their earnings, with people generally making less than $1,200 in benefits every month.

    • WhatsApp ‘Tip Line’ For Fake News Is Actually A ‘Data Collection’ Proje

      few days back, WhatsApp launched a tip line in India to tackle the spread of fake news and misinformation in the country during election season.

      But as it turns out, the hotline is not exactly a portal to debunk fake news. Instead, it is a data collection tool to help WhatsApp gather misleading information shared on its platform.

    • Govt extends deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar to September 30

      This is the sixth time the government has extended the deadline for individuals to link their Permanent Account Number (PAN) to Aadhaar.

    • Quoting Aadhaar made mandatory for filing income tax returns (ITR) from this month. 5 things to know

      For all income tax returns filed from this month, it is now mandatory to quote your Aadhaar number without which the ITR will not be processed by the Income Tax department. According to a new order issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the rules came into effect from April 1.

      The order concerns all taxpayers who want to file income tax returns for the last financial year 2018-19, the last date for which is July 31. It is also mandatory to link PAN with Aadhaar card but the deadline has been extended by another six months to September 30.

    • How to contribute to the Tor Project

      And I don’t think much has to change, I just think there needs to exist more clear paths to contribute. Like we messure how long it takes to load a page, that is a important factor, open source projects should be aware or maybe even track how long it takes for a newcomer to make their first contribution.

    • Safari link tracking can no longer be disabled

      Prior to Safari 12.1, you could disable hyperlink auditing with a hidden preference:

      [...]

      Unfortunately, this no longer works in Safari 12.1. I actually discovered the issue in Safari Technology Preview 72, and I filed a Radar on January 2, 2019 as rdar://problem/47000341. Despite several months notice from me, Apple shipped Safari 12.1 last week to the public with no way to disable hyperlink auditing. I hope to raise awareness about this issue, with the ultimate goal of getting hyperlink auditing disabled by default in Safari. Apple claims that Safari is supposed to protect your privacy and prevent cross-site tracking, but hyperlink auditing is a wide open door to cross-site tracking that still exists. To end this article, I’ll quote the full text of the Radar that I filed:

      [...]

      I’ve been informed that chrome://flags#disable-hyperlink-auditing is now missing from the Google Chrome betas, even though it still exists in the current non-beta version. The flag was removed from the source code a little over a month ago.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Facebook’s Ad System Might Be Hard-Coded for Discrimination

      The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, indicates that Facebook’s automated advertising system—which earns the company tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year—may be breaking civil rights laws that protect against advertising discrimination for things like jobs and housing. The issue is with Facebook itself, not with the way businesses use its platform. Facebook did not return a request for comment, but the company has not disputed the researchers’ findings in statements to other publications.

    • Reformist Kuwaiti Journalist ‘Abdallah Al-Hadlaq, Who is Critical Of Iran and Hamas And Has Expressed Positive Views Of Israel, Is Sentenced To Three Years In Prison – For Two 2018 Tweets That, According To Kuwaiti Officials, Offended Shi’ites

      This report presents excerpts from articles and statements by ‘Abdallah Al-Hadlaq that were published by MEMRI over the years.

    • This Castle in the Desert Provides Respite to Asylum-Seekers

      In the Sonoran Desert not far from a beauty school and a car wash, stands a rose-colored castle. Sun bakes the tiered terra-cotta roofs. And the long colonnades and date palms at its front entrance evoke a dream.

      On certain days of the week, a white U.S. Department of Homeland Security bus pulls up out front and 80 or so children and adults step off and disappear into a turquoise-domed sanctuary.

      This former 40-bedroom Benedictine monastery in Tucson, Arizona, is where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have been bringing hundreds of asylum-seekers directly from detention every week since January. Casa Alitas, a Catholic nonprofit program, hosts them here for up to four days—providing meals, free clothing, toiletry kits, and medical care—preparing them for the next leg of their journeys.

    • Trump Administration Revokes ICC Prosecutor’s Visa Over War Crimes Probe

      In a move human rights defenders decried as “shameful,” the Trump administration revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor this week for trying to investigate alleged war crimes committed by American forces in Afghanistan.

      “What we can confirm is that the U.S. authorities have revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry into the U.S.,” Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office said in a statement. The decision, per her office, shouldn’t interfere with her travel to the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

      “Washington’s attempt to intimidate the ICC by canceling the ICC prosecutor’s visa over a possible Afghanistan investigation is the Trump administration’s latest shameful attack on the rule of law,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch.

      Katherine Gallagher, an international human rights attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, condemned the move as “interference with judicial proceedings” that violates international law.

      While the decision was widely criticized in the international community, it was not a surprise.

    • U.S. Wants 2 Years to Find Migrant Kids Separated From Families

      The Trump administration wants up to two years to find potentially thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border before a judge halted the practice last year, a task that it says is more laborious than previous efforts because the children are no longer in government custody.

      The Justice Department said in a court filing late Friday that it will take at least a year to review about 47,000 cases of unaccompanied children taken into government custody between July 1, 2017 and June 25, 2018 — the day before U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw halted the general practice of splitting families. The administration would begin by sifting through names for traits most likely to signal separation — for example, children under 5.

      The administration would provide information on separated families on a rolling basis to the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued to reunite families and criticized the proposed timeline on Saturday.

      “We strongly oppose a plan that could take up to two years to locate these families,” said Lee Gelernt, the ACLU’s lead attorney. “The government needs to make this a priority.”

    • Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy: Cracking Down On VC Sexual Harassment

      Speaking to Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy, tech entrepreneur and chief marketing officer of ‘blockchain engine’ project Tendermint…

    • “I Had Nothing”: How Parole Perpetuates a Cycle of Incarceration and Instability

      Richard Cannon was born into a large family in Harlem. He was the third-eldest of five children. When his stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, Cannon felt pressure to start providing for his family. His stepfather was the sole provider of the household, but now couldn’t work. Just a teenager, Cannon tried to get help, or a job, but came up empty-handed. Desperate, he attempted to take money from a sleeping passenger on the train. He was arrested, pleaded guilty to a robbery charge, and was incarcerated for seven years.

      That wouldn’t be Cannon’s last run-in with the criminal legal system. Less than a year after he was released, Cannon was stopped by police on his way home from a party. He later found out he was accused of committing multiple robberies. Cannon, who maintains his innocence, refused to take a plea deal and went to trial. He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

      In 2016, after Cannon had spent nearly 20 years behind bars, he was released on parole, one of the state’s supervision programs, for five years. While on parole, Cannon has to meet with his parole officer weekly and must be in his residence from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. Despite following his parole conditions consistently, Cannon soon found himself back in jail, accused of violating parole after he called the police during an altercation in his apartment and was arrested. Even though the charges against him were dismissed both in criminal court and in his parole case, returning to jail changed the course of his life.

      Cannon’s story shows how the strict conditions of parole can do more harm than good and lead people back into incarceration for minor reasons. New York’s parole system is widely considered in need of reform. As of November 2017, 16 percent of New York City’s jail population comprised people who were there on state parole violations, according to a report by Columbia University’s Justice Lab, which noted that the total number of people being held on parole violations—1,460—was larger than every jail population in the state besides Rikers Island. The report found that as New York had reduced the number of people detained pretrial by double digits over the last four years, “only one population in the jail has increased, also by double digits: persons held in city jails for state parole violations.”

    • Supreme Court Says Discrimination Is OK — If You’re a Muslim

      At the end of March, the Supreme Court allowed the stay of Patrick Murphy’s execution on the basis that his Buddhist spiritual adviser was not permitted to be present during the execution — a right granted to prisoners of other faiths. Only a month before, the Supreme Court effectively denied the same rights to stay Domineque Ray, a Muslim on death row.

      Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in his concurring opinion granting Murphy’s stay, wrote, “As this Court has repeatedly held, governmental discrimination against religion — in particular, discrimination against religious persons, religious organizations, and religious speech — violates the Constitution.” Hypocritically, Kavanaugh voted to vacate the Eleventh Circuit’s stay on Ray’s execution, in a nearly identical case, ostensibly rendering judgment on the case based on a procedural technicality rather than the substantive constitutional issue.

      In fact, Justice Elena Kagan’s scathing defense in Ray’s case illustrates that the substantive constitutional issue in both cases was identical: “A Christian prisoner may have a minister of his own faith accompany him into the execution chamber to say his last rites. But if an inmate practices a different religion — whether Islam, Judaism, or any other — he may not die with a minister of his faith by his side. That treatment goes against the Establishment Clause’s core principle of denominational neutrality.”

    • Are Historic Mosques In Xinjiang Being Destroyed?

      Activists on Twitter have recently claimed that China has been destroying historic mosques across Xinjiang province, which is home to a large population of Uighurs, a primarily Muslim minority in China.

      By using open sources and satellite imagery we can locate these mosques and check such claims. We can also potentially narrow down when the alleged destruction took place.

    • One year after Chinese pastor was first detained, Christianity still growing

      Nearly one year has passed since Wang Yi, the outspoken pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, was first detained by government authorities. This marked the beginning of a campaign to Sinicize Christianity, or make it more Chinese, by removing crosses from church rooftops, hanging portraits of Xi Jinping on church walls, re-translating the Bible to align with Communist Party political goals and closing three unregistered “house” churches with hundreds of members. Pastor Wang was arrested again Dec. 9 and has been under secret detention.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • No Widevine DRM for you! Developer left with two years of work stymied by Google snub

      In theory, the open source nature of web technology should allow anyone with the appropriate skills to innovate and implement an alternative browser.

      In practice, however, the path is gated where high value media is involved, because the major browser makers incorporate Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology and the firms that license DRM keys don’t have to be responsive or support new ideas.

      Developer Samuel Maddock found this out to his cost. He’s been working on an open source Electron-based (Chromium) browser called Metastream that allows users to stream videos in sync with one another. It’s designed to be a way for friends to watch shows together even when they’re apart.

      But Google’s Widevine DRM business doesn’t want to work with him. After four months of waiting, the firm responded to his request to license their proprietary DRM code, in conjunction with the castLabs API, with a denial.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ‘Pirate Sites and Copyright Holders Can Both Profit From Advertising’

        Anti-piracy company DMCAForce is trying to unite copyright holders with torrent and streaming sites. Instead of asking for content to be removed, it’s experimenting with an advertising revenue share model. Today, the company’s CEO Mark Bauman explains why it prefers this approach.

      • Wrongfully Accused ‘Pirate’ Wants Copyright Holder to Pay Her Bills

        After being wrongfully accused of pirating eight ‘adult’ movies, a woman from Illinois is now seeking justice. In a relatively rare order the court allowed her request for a declaration of non-infringement. This is crucial, as it opens the door to request an award for costs and fees, to be paid by the copyright holder.

      • Senators Aim to Help Students, Might Even Reduce Textbook Piracy Too

        In 2018, several prestigious European research councils announced a major push for Open Access publishing, with a plan to limit the power of major copyright holders and ‘tear down academia’s paywalls.’

        And, just this week, there was more news for academics and students to become cautiously excited about – the reintroduction of the Affordable College Textbook Act.

        On Thursday, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Angus King (I-ME), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), along with U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-02), introduced bicameral legislation with the aim of making high-quality textbooks available to students, professors, and the public, for free.

The Linux Foundation is Selling Tweets, Access, ‘Thank Yous’ and SPAM Services

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Marketing at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Imagine that they have the audacity to register as a non-profit/foundation


Here is the collection of these screenshots magnified (can alternatively zoom in over the above image, using the Web browser; this is the whole brochure)

Summary: Zemlin’s PAC has become a PR agency or worse — a lobbying apparatus that monetises the corporate takeover of Free/Open Source software (a quarter million dollars for a few paid “tweets”, speaking slots, “diversity” lip service and much more)

THE FREE software community is under attack. It’s a conquest, an invasion. Few people who enrich themselves are taking into private hands projects that are otherwise the Commons and they pretend it’s all just “love” (as in “Microsoft loves Linux”), “sharing” (to themselves), and “diversity”. Microsoft is already writing blog posts on behalf of the OSI, only a year or so after Microsoft gave a lot of money to the OSI. What next?

“Several years ago when their staff contacted me (using Microsoft products, obviously) it was made rather apparent that PR people got contracted, including bulk mailers. Is this what the Linux Foundation boils down to? Maybe.”In this series we rely on disgruntled insiders who are aware of what’s wrong and understand the immorality. In the above image we tried to keep it concise as there’s lots more (not even in the finer prints but in standard fonts, in plain sight). Notice the use of the term pertaining to E-mail; it says “blasts” (the term “blast” is used dozens of times for a lot of events and “products”; what are you, a Linux front group or a marketing SPAM operation?).

Several years ago when their staff contacted me (using Microsoft products, obviously) it was made rather apparent that PR people got contracted, including bulk mailers. Is this what the Linux Foundation boils down to? Maybe.

Here is what we recently wrote about the subject.

This early Sunday post is actually more like an interlude. We’re saving the best for later. We’re still patiently checking the pertinent facts. Our sources have named some of the culprits and we need to check with them in order to avoid making false accusations (about them specifically). To avert accusations of “inaccuracy” and in the interests of right to respond, we wished to find out who was paid to tweet what (no disclosures) at the Linux Foundation with its wingmen and flunkies (the Linux Foundation is contracting from the outside). If we hear something back (or won’t, even after a long wait), we will post the next part. “No comment” means no comment, but readers can reach their own conclusions about refusal to comment or defend oneself.

“I want to write an article called “Putting the CON in Conference!”,” one reader told us last month. If we get all the facts verified, we might publish something as soon as this evening or tomorrow.

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