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05.20.19

Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • South Korea Chooses Linux Over Windows 10

      Support for Windows 7 will end in January 2020. Microsoft probably hopes the moribund operating system’s users will switch to Windows 10, but the South Korean government plans to switch its machines over to a Linux distribution instead, according to a May 17 report from The Korea Herald.

      The report said testing Linux is supposed to help South Korea reduce the cost of maintaining its systems while also reducing its reliance on a particular operating system. Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 effectively forced the country to choose between updating to Windows 10, which will eventually meet the same fate, or exploring options that aren’t controlled by a single entity. South Korea’s government opted for the latter.

    • South Korea’s government will switch to Linux over cost concerns

      Some governments might have fallen out of love with Linux, but South Korea appears ready to start a torrid affair. The country’s Ministry of the Interior and Safety has outlined plans to switch government computers from Windows to Linux due to both lower costs and a reduced dependency on a single operating system

    • Korean government is moving from Windows to Linux

      Microsoft Windows is the most used operating system in the world, at least when talking about desktop and laptop computers. In addition to the usual consumer and enterprise customers, it is also used in government offices and computers. That may have been the status quo but more and more governments are looking to other solutions for one reason or another. The latest to start that journey is South Korea, whose government is planning to migrate its computers to the open source operating system Linux.

    • South Korean Government To Give Windows The Boot In Favor Of Linux

      Unfortunately for many users, Microsoft announced they will be ending support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020. Many companies and government institutions have held onto Windows 7 because of its stability, performance, and compatibility with older apps. Some businesses and organizations will be granted a slight extension, but many are moving on to other operating systems.

  • Server

    • Why the future of the cloud is in Linux

      Organisations today are investing in new technologies and practices to transform the way they deliver value to customers. This has become a critical investment area as we move into an era of disruption.

      Cloud computing plays a vital role in supporting both the technologies and processes driving the digital transformation imperative. Offering greater speed, cloud-based strategies leave more time for companies to focus on building and delivering innovation, value, and differentiation while creating financial efficiency.

      While moving to a single public cloud has many benefits, the reality is that for some workloads the public cloud simply doesn’t make sense, or meet requirements for things like control, security or regulatory compliance. As a result, a majority of today’s IT environments are inherently hybrid, comprising of applications deployed on-premises, and in both private and public clouds.

    • A ‘smoking good’ deal? Red Hat could prove a $34 billion bargain for IBM
    • Keep Red Hat independent within IBM? Please, no!
    • Red Hat Helps Lockheed Adopt Open Source, Agile to Update F-22 Aircraft; Paul Smith Quoted [Ed: Openwashing Murder, Inc.]
    • Solo.io wants to bring order to service meshes with centralized management hub

      Idit Levine, founder and CEO at Solo, says she formed the company because she saw an opportunity to develop a set of tooling for a nascent market. Since founding the company in 2017, it has developed several open-source tools to fill that service mesh tool vacuum.

    • CRI-O: An Open Source Container Runtime for Kubernetes

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voted to accept CRI-O as an incubation-level hosted project on April 8th. CRI-O, created by Red Hat, is an Open Container Initiative (OCI) container runtime for Kubernetes that provides an alternative to Docker, rkt, or Moby.

      CRI-O is designed to work specifically with Kubernetes by delivering a minimal runtime that implements the standard components of the Kubernetes Container Runtime Interface (CRI). Early versions of Kubernetes only supported containers with the Docker runtime. As the Kubernetes team began to add support for new runtimes, such as rkt, they decided to develop and release CRI in order to decouple Kubernetes from specific container runtimes.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast.__init__: Hardware Hacking Made Easy With CircuitPython

      Learning to program can be a frustrating process, because even the simplest code relies on a complex stack of other moving pieces to function. When working with a microcontroller you are in full control of everything so there are fewer concepts that need to be understood in order to build a functioning project. CircuitPython is a platform for beginner developers that provides easy to use abstractions for working with hardware devices. In this episode Scott Shawcroft explains how the project got started, how it relates to MicroPython, some of the cool ways that it is being used, and how you can get started with it today. If you are interested in playing with low cost devices without having to learn and use C then give this a listen and start tinkering!

    • Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 13, your weekly round-up podcast is here

      Grab a cup of coffee and come listen to some news you may have missed over the last week or so, as the Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 13 has arrived.

      As always, if you read GamingOnLinux every day this will all seem rather familiar. This bite-sized podcast is aimed at everyone who doesn’t have the time for that.

    • GNU World Order_13x21
    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 146 – What the @#$% happened to Microsoft? [Ed: New PR strategy, same old EEE. Some people are easily fooled.]

      Josh and Kurt talk about Microsoft. They’re probably not the bad guys anymore, which is pretty wild. They’re adding a Linux kernel to Window. Can we declare open source the unquestionable winner now?

    • Linux Action News 106

      ZombieLoad’s impact on Linux, AMP to start hiding Google from the URL, and the huge Linux switch underway.

      Plus the impact of Google suspending business with Huawei, the recent ChromeOS feature silently dropped, and more.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Many Changes & Additions To Find With The Linux 5.2 Kernel

      The Linux 5.2 kernel merge window has been open for two weeks now and is expected to close today or in the next few days (there is some uncertainty due to Linus Torvalds traveling this week due to his daughter’s graduation). But anyhow all of the major pull requests have already been sent in so here is a look at the new features to find with the Linux 5.2 kernel and the many other changes.

      The TLDR version of the Linux 5.2 kernel is that this summer 2019 update is simply going to be massive… Among the work to get excited about in Linux 5.2 is EXT4 case-insensitive feature, Intel Sound Open Firmware support, better AMD Ryzen laptop touchpad/touchscreen support, Intel Comet Lake support, production-ready Intel Icelake/Gen11 graphics support, ARM Mali graphics drivers landed with Lima and Panfrost, the legacy IDE driver was deprecated, a brand new Realtek WiFi driver to replace the existing RTLWIFI driver, and new subsystems for Fieldbus and generic counters.

    • Linux Kernel’s Perf Now Supports Zstd-Compressed Trace Recording

      Late updates to the Linux kernel’s perf subsystem introduces support for compressed recording of traces, which can yield a three to five time reduction in file-size.

      The run-time trace compression and auto-decompression is actually a very useful feature in the context of the Perf subsystem with those records easily hitting many GB in size if making a recording of the events for any real length of time.

    • Linux 5.2-rc1

      Nothing particularly odd going on this merge window. I had some travel
      in the middle of it, but to offset that I had a new faster test-build
      setup, and most of the pull requests came in early (thank you) so my
      travels didn’t actually end up affecting the merge window all that
      much.

      We did have a few late pull requests too, but since that meshed fairly
      well with my schedule as per above, and people generally made the
      proper noises (“sorry for late pull request, I had good reasons: xyz”)
      I didn’t mind this time. But let’s try to not repeat that, ok?

      Things look fairly normal. Just about two thirds of the patch is
      drivers (all over), with the bulk of the rest being arch updates,
      tooling, documentation and vfs/filesystem updates, of which there were
      more than usual (the unicode tables for ext4 case insensitivity do end
      up being a big part of the “bulk” side).

      But there’s core networking, kernel and vm changes too – it’s just
      that the other areas tend to simply be much bulkier. Drivers etc tend
      to just have a ton more lines to them, if only by virtue of there
      being so many of them (although admittedly also sometimes because some
      drivers tend to just be very verbose and have a lot of register
      definitions etc).

    • Linux 5.2-rc1 Kernel Released With Case-Insensitive EXT4, New Intel HW & RTW88 WiFi
    • Linux’s vmalloc Seeing “Large Performance Benefits” With 5.2 Kernel Changes

      On top of all the changes queued for Linux 5.2 is an interesting last-minute performance improvement for the vmalloc code.

      The Linux kernel’s vmalloc code has the potential of performing much faster on Linux 5.2, particularly with embedded devices. Vmalloc is used for allocating contiguous memory in the virtual address space and saw a nice optimization merged today on the expected final day of the Linux 5.2 merge window.

    • Linux Foundation

  • Applications

    • ‘Remotely’ is a Simple VNC Viewer For Linux Desktops

      Simple by design, Remotely is not packed full of advanced features.

      Remotely does not have VNC server capabilities built-in. While you can connect to a VNC server on a different device you cannot use the app to ‘share’ a desktop with another device.

      So if you need an expansive, fully featured remote desktop client with support for protocols other than VNC, stick with Remmina — it even comes preinstalled in Ubuntu!

      Otherwise, have at it!

      Remotely is free, open source software. It’s available to install from Flathub, the Flatpak app store:

    • LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha Was Tagged This Week, Stable Expected In August

      Tagged at the start of the week was LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha 1 as the first step towards the next major release of this cross-platform, open-source office suite.

      LibreOffice 6.3 is expected to make its stable debut by mid-August and for that to be the feature freeze and branching is approaching at the end of the month followed by the first beta and then a few release candidates over the next two months. Alpha 1 striked on time so things are looking good at this stage for LibreOffice 6.3.

    • Zettlr – Markdown Editor for Writers and Researchers

      Zettlr is an open source markdown editor with features that help writers and researchers. Read and see if Zettlr can be your next favorite application.

    • Best Command Line Language Translators for Linux

      The importance of Language translation applications cannot be overemphasized especially for those who travel a lot or communicate with people who don’t share the same language on a regular basis.

      Today, I introduce to you the best command-line based translation tools for Linux.

    • k3OS Takes Kubernetes to the Edge

      In the tradition of embedded Linux comes k3OS, an open source project for managing Kubernetes instances on embedded platforms at the edge. k3OS combines a Linux distro with a k3s Kubernetes distro in one. It simplifies the path to quickly stand up clusters and maintain them over time. Let’s explore how two paths meet taking Kubernetes to the edge, and how you can get started running it today.

    • Proprietary

      • What proprietary tool do you need open source alternative to?

        Taking the plunge from easy and familiar proprietary tools we use every day to unknown and open source tools can be a challenge. When do you find the time to do the research to choose the right option for you? How do you choose? What will be daily repercussions be? Will the positive outweigh the negative?

        To help take some of the guesswork out of it for you, we’ve been writing articles that present you with some open source alternatives and how they work. We hope this will give you some insight into what the daily cost and benefits could be for you given your unique needs and lifestyle.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • Google Stadia GPU To Be Based on 14nm AMD Vega Architecture

        The details of Google Stadia GPU have been leaked online. The streaming console from Google will use a Vega Graphics from AMD, instead of the speculated Navi.

        The information comes from the Khronos’ Vulcan API product listings. The Google Stadia is listed as “Google Games Platform Gen 1 AMD GCN 1.5)”

      • A quick look at some fun games & expansions released with Linux support in 2019 so far

        We’re closing in on the midway point of 2019 so let’s slow down for a moment, take a step back and look at some of the top games released with Linux support so far this year.

        Note: I am not counting Early Access or in-Beta titles and only including games that support Linux, so for those looking for something new you can expect a full completable experience with any of these titles. Also, it’s in no particular order as this isn’t meant as a best to worse compilation. Also, some may have had their official Linux releases later than the other platforms.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.14pre1 released!

      Note: A lot has happened since Xfce 4.12 was released four years ago and this announcement only covers the changes that were included in the latest development releases dubbed as Xfce 4.14pre1. Also, we have noticed some confusion by people or news outlets that seem to mistake xfdesktop for the “Xfce Desktop Environment”.

      The comprehensive changelog will be provided with the Xfce 4.14 final release, but here go some select highlights that were released in the last week (chosen subjectively by the author).

    • Xfce 4.14 Sees Its Long-Awaited Pre-Release

      The GTK3-ported Xfce 4.14 might see its long-awaited official release in the near future. In preparing for a hopeful August debut, the Xfce 4.14 pre-release is now available.

      It’s been four years since the release of Xfce 4.12 and in addition to the GTK3 tool-kit re-tooling there has been a lot of UI improvements, vblank support added, colord integration, and many other feature additions.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.16 To Allow Fully Configuring Touchpads With Libinput On X11

        It was another busy week in KDE space with a lot of bug fixing and last minute work around KDE Plasma 5.16. In case you missed it, this week Plasma 5.16 reached beta.

        KDE developer Nate Graham continues doing a splendid job summarizing the KDE improvements made each week.

      • Weixuan XIAO (Inokinoki): About me

        I’m Weixuan XIAO, with the nickname: Inoki, sometimes Inokinoki is used to avoid duplicated username.

        I’m glad to be selected in Google Summer of Code 2019 to work for KDE Community to make KDE Connect work on macOS. And I’m willing to be a long-term contributor in KDE Community.

        As a Chinese student, I’m studying in France for my engineering degree. At the same time, I’m waiting for my bachelor degree at Shanghai University.

      • Okular: another improvement to annotation

        Continuing with the addition of line terminating style for the Straight Line annotation tool, I have added the ability to select the line start style also. The required code changes are committed today.

      • Jonathan Riddell: libqaccessibilityclient 0.4.1
      • KDE Craft now delivers with vlc and libvlc on macOS

        Lacking VLC and libvlc in Craft, phonon-vlc cannot be built successfully on macOS. It caused the failed building of KDE Connect in Craft.

        As a small step of my GSoC project, I managed to build KDE Connect by removing the phonon-vlc dependency. But it’s not a good solution. I should try to fix phonon-vlc building on macOS. So during the community bonding period, to know better the community and some important tools in the Community, I tried to fix phonon-vlc.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • Review: Sabayon 19.03

        Sabayon’s claim that it is a “beginner-friendly” distro that is “bleeding edge” and “stable and reliable” is a bit of a stretch. I doubt “beginners” will comprehend the instructions for what to do after installing Sabayon – and that is assuming inexperienced users will find the information in the first place. Similarly, the systemd and GNOME versions are rather old for a distro that claims to be “bleeding edge”. That said, I did find Sabayon’s GNOME edition to be stable and reliable, bar a few minor issues (such as the notification about the VirtualBox kernel service not running).

        I don’t think it is entirely fair to ask if Sabayon lives up to the bold marketing slogans on its home page. Personally, I see Sabayon as a friendly and interesting distro for tinkerers and distro-hoppers, and a very good one at that. I should also mention that, in general, Sabayon’s use of language is refreshingly informal; both the graphical Rigo package manager and the wiki put a smile on my face more than once. Even Equo has some jokes built in – the command equo moo prints an ASCII cow that says “Entromoooo!”.

        Sabayon does still has some way to go to become the sophisticated operating system it wants to be. With 19.03 the distro switched from the Anaconda to the Calamares installer which, to my mind at least, is a good decision. However, contrary to what is claimed in the release notes, the disk encryption issue has not been resolved yet and the wiki still talks about how to find your way through the Anaconda installer. Work on the new wiki announced in the release notes seems to be at a very early stage.

        I also couldn’t fail to notice that Sabayon’s forums are rather quiet. Lively forums don’t necessarily equate to a thriving community, but the overall feeling I got is that Sabayon could do with a bit more momentum. That shouldn’t discourage you from giving Sabayon a try though. On the contrary, if you are a Linux-loving tinkerer then Sabayon might be the distro for you.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Introducing SUSE Enterprise Storage 6

        SUSE Enterprise Storage 6 enables IT organizations to seamlessly adapt to changing business demands while reducing IT operational expense by transforming their enterprise storage infrastructure with our intelligent software-defined storage solution.

        Based on the Ceph Nautilus release and built on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, SUSE Enterprise Storage 6 enables IT organizations to seamlessly adapt to changing business demands while reducing IT operational expense with new features focused on containerized and cloud workload support, improved integration with public cloud, and enhanced data protection capabilities

    • Fedora

      • Introducing Fedora Summer Coding Class of Summer 2019

        Starting today, interns from the Fedora Summer Coding (F.S.C.) class of Summer 2019 start working on their projects. Three interns selected for Outreachy begin today, and another five interns selected for Google Summer of Code begin on Monday, May 27. The Fedora CommOps and Diversity and Inclusion teams worked together to interview all eight interns. This week on the Fedora Community Blog, we’ll introduce two interns each day of this week!

      • Getting set up with Fedora Project services

        In addition to providing an operating system, the Fedora Project provides numerous services for users and developers. Services such as Ask Fedora, the Fedora Project Wiki and the Fedora Project Mailing Lists provide users with valuable resources for learning how to best take advantage of Fedora. For developers of Fedora, there are many other services such as dist-git, Pagure, Bodhi, COPR and Bugzilla that are involved with the packaging and release process.

        These services are available for use with a free account from the Fedora Accounts System (FAS). This account is the passport to all things Fedora! This article covers how to get set up with an account and configure Fedora Workstation for browser single sign-on.

    • Debian Family

      • Lenovo Platinum Sponsor of DebConf19

        With this commitment as Platinum Sponsor, Lenovo is contributing to make possible our annual conference, and directly supporting the progress of Debian and Free Software, helping to strengthen the community that continues to collaborate on Debian projects throughout the rest of the year.

      • David Kalnischkies: Newbie contributor: A decade later

        Time flies. On this day, 10 years ago, a certain someone sent in his first contribution to Debian in Debbugs#433007: –dry-run can mark a package manually installed (in real life). What follows is me babbling randomly about what lead to and happened after that first patch.

        That wasn’t my first contribution to open source: I implemented (more like copy-pasted) mercurial support in the VCS plugin in the editor I was using back in 2008: Geany – I am pretty sure my code is completely replaced by now, I just remain being named in THANKS, which is very nice considering I am not a user anymore. My contributions to apt were coded in vim(-nox) already.

      • Joey Hess: 80 percent

        I added dh to debhelper a decade ago, and now Debian is considering making use of dh mandatory. Not being part of Debian anymore, I’m in the position of needing to point out something important about it anyway. So this post is less about pointing in a specific direction as giving a different angle to think about things.

        debhelper was intentionally designed as a 100% solution for simplifying building Debian packages. Any package it’s used with gets simplified and streamlined and made less a bother to maintain. The way debhelper succeeds at 100% is not by doing everything, but by being usable in little pieces, that build up to a larger, more consistent whole, but that can just as well be used sparingly.

        dh was intentionally not designed to be a 100% solution, because it is not a collection of little pieces, but a framework. I first built an 80% solution, which is the canned sequences of commands it runs plus things like dh_auto_build that guess at how to build any software. Then I iterated to get closer to 100%. The main iteration was override targets in the debian/rules file, to let commands be skipped or run out of order or with options. That closed dh’s gap by a further 80%.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint OS 10 Run Through

              In this video, we look at Peppermint OS 10. Enjoy!

            • Peppermint 10 Linux OS Released For A Fast And Lightweight Experience

              In our yearly list of the best Linux distros for older computers, Peppermint Linux OS appears prominently. This Ubuntu Linux derivative features the LXDE desktop environment which needs relatively lower hardware requirements. What really sets Peppermint OS apart is its combination of regular desktop apps and cloud-based infrastructure.

              The latest iteration, i.e., Peppermint 10, is based on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS base. For users of outdated desktops, this release brings a sigh of relief as the 32-bit images are also available for use. The trend to drop support for 32-bit hardware is becoming increasingly prevalent these days and it’s nice to see a popular distro choosing not to do so.

            • Pop!_OS 19.04 – Based on Ubuntu 19.04 and Use GNOME 3.32 as Default Desktop

              Pop!_OS 19.04 is the latest release of Pop!_OS, based on Ubuntu 19.04 and use GNOME 3.32 as default desktop environment that brings several other features like new icon theme, fractional scaling, permission control for each application, granular control on Night Light intensity among many other changes. Also, include most of the gnome applications 3.32.

              The changes that are exclusive to Pop!_OS 19.04, the new Refresh Install option allows you to reinstall the OS without losing your user account and data stored in Home.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Limor Fried, AC2SN, is Recipient of 2019 Women in Open Source Award

    Nominations for this year’s awards were accepted for two categories: “Academic” for those currently enrolled in a college or university, and “Community” for those working on or volunteering with projects related to open source. A panel of judges determined finalists based on nomination criteria, and the public voted to determine the award winners.

  • Introducing GopenPGP, an open source encryption library for native applications

    Open source is a core principle of ProtonMail. We’re excited to make even more of our code available for independent inspection and use by the developer community.
    In 2016, ProtonMail became the maintainer of OpenPGP.js, the world’s most widely used Javascript email encryption library. Since then we have updated the library with new features, such as streaming encryption; assisted developers to adopt the library in their own applications; and submitted the library to independent security audits.

    Today, we are happy to announce another open source project that will be maintained by ProtonMail: GopenPGP. This project consists of a high-level OpenPGP library, as well as a fork of the golang crypto library. We started this project to make it easier for mobile and desktop developers to use OpenPGP encryption in their apps.

  • Gab’s New Strategy: Fork Open-Source Software And Add Bitcoin

    After Keybase announced integration of Stellar on its platform, Gab has threatened to fork the open-source chat software and swap its XLM wallet…

  • Seven Major Trends in the Cryptoasset Industry, According to ConsenSys

    Web 3.0 Development Will Mostly Be Open-Sourced, But “Not Free”

    As confirmed by ConsenSys, open-source projects like OpenSSL Software and also open-source blockchain and crypto-related initiatives are, for the most part, operating on relatively low budgets due to lack of adequate funding.

    Although the management at ConsenSys believes Web 3.0, an evolving set of protocols and standards for the new internet, will be created mainly through open-source development projects, it also noted that the world wide web of the future will not be developed “for free.”

    On May 11, 2019, Ethereum co-founders Vitalik Buterin and Joseph Lubin announced they had donated 1,000 ether (each) to Moloch DAO, an initiative aimed at acquiring funding for the ongoing development of Ethereum’s open-source ecosystem.

  • UPenn Medicine’s AI tool for data analytics is open-source, free to the public

    An automated system that uses machine learning for data analysis is completely open-source and free to use, thanks to the Institute for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

    Penn AI is designed to be used by anyone interested in AI, regardless of experience level, from high school students to trained researchers. Users can either import their own datasets for analysis within the tool or use one of the hundreds provided by UPenn.

  • Former Chef Software CTO talks IT automation, open source

    Adam Jacob: I’ll eventually start another company and do something in enterprise software, because that’s where my expertise is, and that’s what I like. But I don’t know exactly what it’ll be or when.

    We have to build the system that makes people effective at adopting new technology — whatever it is, wherever it may be in the stack — that they need to run their business more effectively, instead of just the next platform.

    Things like serverless are interesting, because they point the way to the user experience, and they’re going to get adopted and have value. Are they the future of enterprise computing? Maybe for a minute. But then, there’ll be something else. And until we get good at navigating those transitions, which we’re completely bad at right now, I don’t know that it matters.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Keeps One Eye on the Prize, One Over Its Shoulder

      The OpenStack Foundation (OSF) used its recent Open Infrastructure Show (OIS) to remind the open source community of its importance, maturity, and flexibility. But the event also showed that the group understands that the virtualized infrastructure environment is evolving rapidly.

      I must admit that heading into the OIS event I was not expecting much. Conversations I have had over the past year continued to show a strong core of OpenStack supporters, but it seemed that the platform’s innovative spirit was diminishing. And in such a rapidly evolving technology segment, any sort of diminishing momentum is the equivalent of going backwards.

    • Open Source Day 2019 focuses on the cloud, security and development

      The 12th edition of Open Source Day (OSD) will take place today at the Legia Warsaw Stadium in Poland’s capital city.

      The event will include presentations, forums and nine technical sessions spanning automation, containerization, cloud computing, virtualization, security, monitoring, CI/CD, software and app development and databases.

  • Intel

  • Databases

    • Top Open source NoSQL database programs

      NoSql, it stands for Not Only SQL, refers to the non-relational database. The next generation database mainly addresses several key points: non-relational, distributed, open source, and horizontally scalable. The non-relational database has developed very rapidly due to its own characteristics. The NoSQL database was created to solve the challenges brought by the multiple data types of large-scale data collection, especially the big data application problem. It also supports easy replication, simple APIs, final consistency (non-ACID), and large data. It is stored by us with the most key-values, and of course other document types, column stores, graph databases, XML databases, and so on. Here are some top available NoSQL database programs in Open source or free category.

    • We need a new type of open source event – here’s why

      Open source events tend to focus on developers, this needs to change says EnterpriseDB’s Jan Karremans

    • RavenDB Adds Pull Replication and Distributed Online Counters to Its Open Source NoSQL Document Database Offering
  • Telco

    • The benefits of open source networking for enterprise IT

      Open source software has proved its benefits for various aspects of the IT community in terms of costs, agility and flexibility. Open source networking software is in its early stages of deployment among enterprises. Meantime, hyperscale cloud providers and the largest service providers have made effective use of open source networking.

      It is standard in large IT organizations to consider open source software alongside packaged software and SaaS as part of their IT architecture. Enterprise IT shops frequently deploy open source software in test environments and when designing new applications, like in DevOps.

      IT organizations report a range of benefits from open source software, including innovative design, time to market and agility. While open source software helps reduce some costs, deployment in production environments is generally accompanied by a vendor-supplied support contract.

    • How “Lab as a Service” supports OPNFV and ONAP development

      The Interoperability Lab at the University of New Hampshire (UNH-IOL) is a community resource that allows developers and open source users to have access to resources that they might not have themselves. The “Lab as a Service” provides the necessary shared compute and networking resources for developers working on projects such as OPNFV. Access is remote via a VPN connection, so it acts like a remote server. Those new to OPNFV can create a virtual deployment on a single node and run small VNFs on top. It gives developers access to a bare metal system for low level checking and installs. The next step is to add better support for multi-node usage, integrating the CI work that’s being done in the OPNFV project and making the system more compatible with ONAP development.

    • The modern data center and the rise in open-source IP routing suites

      Primarily, what the operators were looking for was a level of control in managing their network which the network vendors couldn’t offer. The revolution burned the path that introduced open networking, and network disaggregation to the work of networking. Let us first learn about disaggregation followed by open networking.

    • Tracking Telco Progress in Open Networking

      I recently attended the Open Infrastructure Summit (formerly the OpenStack Summit — more on this later). While the conference has gotten smaller, I didn’t hear any complaints. Instead, people attending recognized that the developers who showed up came to work on real problems, rather than to cheerlead for the latest technology. Despite some of the dire headlines of the past year, I did not sense a crisis or panic.

    • Exclusive: Google suspends some business with Huawei after Trump blacklist
    • 5G and #Huawei – Trade wars can be prevented by using Open Source

      Consumer Choice Center Managing Director Fred Roeder stressed that more openness and transparency of telephone and radio networks could lead to more trust in the soft- and hardware of infrastructure providers: “Outright bans by country of origin should only be the last resort for policy makers. Bans risk getting the global economy deeper into costly trade wars. Consumers benefit from competition and the fast rollout of new technologies such as 5G networks. At the same time, we are worried about vulnerabilities and potential backdoors in equipment and software. Closed systems have a much higher likelihood of hiding vulnerabilities. Hence more open systems and open source approaches can really help consumers, and governments, trust the security promises of 5G providers,” said Roeder.

      “Private efforts such as the Open Radio Access Network Alliance show that open source systems are an option for telecommunication infrastructure. It would be a win-win situation for consumers and industry if more companies would embrace open standards. An open source approach in telecommunications could revolutionize market access and rollout pace of new standards in the era of 5G, in the same way as blockchain does in the financial services and payment industry. Manufacturers that commit to open source systems show that they don’t have any vulnerabilities to hide, and at the same time have a compelling case not to be excluded on the basis of their country of origin,” he added.

  • CMS

    • XJTLU brings Moodle – one of the world’s most popular open source learning platform – event to China for first time

      On May 19, Dr Dougiamas, founder and CEO of Moodle, will deliver the keynote address at China’s inaugural MoodleMoot, a conference held around the world to encourage collaboration and sharing of best practices of Moodle. China MoodleMoot, part of XJTLU’s 2019 Annual Conference on Higher Education Innovation, will see Dr Dougiamas share his experience in using technology to transform teaching and learning.

      Dr Dougiamas, who developed the Moodle software as part of his PhD in Australia and went on to release it to the world as an open source technology in 2002, says he is looking forward to discussing the future of Moodle in China. “Anecdotally, we know many people use Moodle in China – we hope to see many of them at the first China MoodleMoot to help plan the future of Moodle, and open technology in general, in China,” he says.

    • Acquia Acquires Mautic, Open-Source Marketing Automation Firm

      Hurley adds that “advancements in AI, voice, and connected devices” are raising consumer expectations, and claims that what Drupal did for the web, Elastic did for search and MongoDB did for databases, Mautic is now doing for marketing automation.

    • Acquia Delivers Open Source Framework for Contextual Commerce
    • Why Drupal matters

      After a number of complaints from the Drupal community, the Drupal Association finally removed the seemingly odd tagline “community plumbing” from its home page a few years ago (the word “plumbing” doesn’t make good SEO for a digital platform, you see).

  • Education

    • The Untapped Potential of Making and Makerspaces

      Makerspaces are physical locations with equipment that students can use to undertake do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. Arguably, they have been around for decades; we just haven’t used the name makerspace. At my institution, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, we’ve had a student-run DIY craft shop on our campus for more than 20 years.

      The difference between older forms of makerspaces like that craft shop and emerging ones is that the latter focus more heavily on digital making, such as 3-D design and printing, digital fabrication (sometimes called “FabLabs”), or the programming of open-source electronic hardware like the Arduino microcontroller. What is also new are the maker practices or principles of: 1) licensing digital designs and how-to instructions under a Creative Commons or similar copyright license and 2) openly sharing those designs through internet-enabled, cloud-based maker websites. Licenses chosen usually permit the sharing of the work with author attribution and, in some cases, permit new users to adapt and remix the work for other purposes. For example, at Thingiverse.com, 3-D modelers openly share their digital designs in this manner.

    • Global Learning Xprize splits $10M purse for best teaching app for disadvantaged kids

      These finalists were then subjected to field testing in Tanzania, where 8,000 Pixel C tablets generously donated by Google for the purpose were distributed to communities where teaching was hardest to come by and literacy rates lowest.

  • Healthcare

    • Health Port: Creates Holistic Solution for Open Source Electronic Health Records

      The medical industry has been slow to embrace modern record-keeping technology. Health Port is bringing next-generation blockchain technology to Electronic Health Records (EHR). The idea behind Health Port is simple; make EHR technology simple, safe, and open source.

      Around the time that the internet bubble was in full swing, there is a good chance that your local doctors were still writing health care records by hand. The internet has been a big force in the world of data, but the medical industry has been left out of the internet data revolution.

      [...]

      The most important reason why EHRs need to be open is patient care. A person should have easy access to their medical history. When a person changes location or healthcare providers, making sure their medical records go with them shouldn’t be a hassle.

      An EHR isn’t special from a data handling perspective. Much like other sensitive personal information, it should be easy to share with authorized agents. In an emergency care scenario, this aspect of EHRs is even more important.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Bison 3.4 released

      We are happy to announce the release of Bison 3.4.
      A particular focus was put on improving the diagnostics, which are now
      colored by default, and accurate with multibyte input. Their format was
      also changed, and is now similar to GCC 9′s diagnostics.
      Users of the default backend (yacc.c) can use the new %define variable
      api.header.include to avoid duplicating the content of the generated header
      in the generated parser. There are two new examples installed, including a
      reentrant calculator which supports recursive calls to the parser and
      Flex-generated scanner.

    • GNU Guix 1.0.1 released

      We are pleased to announce the release of GNU Guix version 1.0.1. This new version fixes bugs in the graphical installer for the standalone Guix System.

      The release comes with ISO-9660 installation images, a virtual machine image, and with tarballs to install the package manager on top of your GNU/Linux distro, either from source or from binaries. Guix users can update by running guix pull.

      It’s been just over two weeks since we announced 1.0.0—two weeks and 706 commits by 40 people already!

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Confluent says it has the first cloud-native Kafka streaming platform

      Open-source unicorn Confluent Inc. is ready to go head-to-head with cloud computing giants with the release of a cloud-native and fully managed service based upon the Apache Kafka streaming platform.

    • For open source vs. proprietary, AWS might have it both ways [Ed: Mac Asay, Adobe, proponent of calling proprietary "open". IDG has just received money from Adobe (“BrandPost Sponsored by Adobe”) and Asay is now publishing articles owing to his employer paying the media. He’s is some kind of editor at InfoWorld (IDG). So the corporations basically buy ‘journalism’ (their staff as editors) at IDG.]
    • Why Open Source Should Remain Open

      On one hand, the validation that comes along with major tech players offering open source fuels growth in the software. On the other, it also changes the platform from one that’s always been free and available to one that is only available with limitations and has red tape all around it. As some of these companies join in the open source community, they’re losing sight of the original goal and community. Instead, they are building artificial walls and shutting down many parts of what makes open source open. This isn’t a unique occurrence, it’s happening more and more frequently and is something that will completely rearrange the core of open source as we know it.

    • BREAKING: OnePlus 7 Pro root achieved on global and Indian variants, kernel source codes released

      OnePlus phones are known for their developer friendliness as well as strong aftermarket development community. The Chinese OEM prefers to mandate GPL and push kernel source codes in a timely manner, which is a godsend compared to most of their competitors.

    • OnePlus 7 / 7 Pro kernel source code is now out, expect custom ROMs soon

      OnePlus announced the most-awaited OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro last week. Both the smartphones are already on sale and can be bought in all the countries they are available. Even the OnePlus 7 Pro received its maiden update which brings April security patch and more. As usual, the kernel source for the OnePlus 7 series is now out too in a timely manner. Thus, users can expect custom ROMS sooner than later.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Tech That Makes Us Better Humans: JavaScript, Shudder, Chat Apps, Concordia, Signia

      Technology is a medium; sometimes it’s a humanizing, enchanting one. “Something about the interior life of a computer remains infinitely interesting to me; it’s not romantic, but it is a romance,” writes Paul Ford in his WIRED essay “Why I (Still) Love Tech.” “You flip a bunch of microscopic switches really fast and culture pours out.” To accompany Ford’s essay, we reached out to a bunch of people to ask them about the technology they love—the tools that make them better at being human. Here’s what we heard back.

    • Open-source RNA Analysis Tool Takes Root in Plant Biology

      An open-source RNA analysis platform has been successfully used on plant cells for the first time – a breakthrough that could herald a new era of fundamental research and bolster efforts to engineer more efficient food and biofuel crop plants.

      The technology, called Drop-seq, is a method for measuring the RNA present in individual cells, allowing scientists to see what genes are being expressed and how this relates to the specific functions of different cell types. Developed at Harvard Medical School in 2015, the freely shared protocol had previously only been used in animal cells.

      “This is really important in understanding plant biology,” said lead researcher Diane Dickel, a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab). “Like humans and mice, plants have multiple cell and tissue types within them. But learning about plants on a cellular level is a little bit harder because, unlike animals, plants have cell walls, which make it hard to open the cells up for genetic study.”

      For many of the genes in plants, we have little to no understanding of what they actually do, Dickel explained. “But by knowing exactly what cell type or developmental stage a specific gene is expressed in, we can start getting a toehold into its function. In our study, we showed that Drop-seq can help us do this.”

  • Google

    • Beginner’s guide for TensorFlow: The basics of Google’s machine-learning library

      It is an open-source, accelerated-math library designed to help developers build and train machine-learning models using a wide range of hardware — CPUs, GPUs, and even specialized chips such as TPUs (Tensor Processing Units).

      While TensorFlow was originally designed for use with more powerful machines, it has evolved to be able to create models to run in all sorts of unlikely places, from browsers to low-power IoT devices. Today, TensorFlow can be used with a wide range of programming languages, including Python, Go, C++, Java, Swift, R, Julia, C#, Haskell, Rust, and JavaScript.

    • Google extends lowRISC FOSSi partnership

      Unlike proprietary processors, the design and instruction set architecture (ISA) for which are kept behind a typically expensive licence wall, free and open source silicon (FOSSi) does what it says on the tin: Projects like RISC-V provide both the ISA and key implementations under permissive licences, allowing anyone to use, modify, distribute, and commercialise the technology without a single license or royalty payment – including, in many cases, the ability to create a proprietary implementation, should they so choose.

      Following on from the news that it was a founding member of the Linux Foundation’s CHIPS Alliance, an industry group set up to ‘host and curate high-quality open source code relevant to the design of silicon devices’, Google has now announced that it is extending its existing partnership with the lowRISC project to include additional funding, support, and the appointment of two Google staffers as board members on the project.

    • Google wants an open source silicon community for chip design

      As evidenced by Android and Chromium, Google has long been committed to open source software. The company now wants to foster a similar community for hardware and chip design, particularly open source silicon.

    • To Create Prosperity, Free Market Competition Isn’t Enough—You Need Collaboration Too

      What’s ironic is that all of this communal activity isn’t driven by beret-wearing revolutionaries plotting in coffee houses, but by many of today’s most powerful and profit-driven corporations, who act not out of altruism, but self-interest. The fact is that technology firms today who do not actively participate in open source communities are at a significant competitive disadvantage.

      For example, Chris DiBona, Director of Open Source at Google, once told me, “We released Android as an open source product because we knew that was the fastest way to grow adoption, which enabled us to preserve the relationships with customers for businesses like search, maps and Gmail.” That is the reality of today’s marketplace. You collaborate in order to compete effectively. Businesses that don’t accept that simple fact will find it difficult to survive.

      Science’s commitment to communal effort is not at all new, but is a thread running deep in America’s long history of technological dominance. And it’s not all about private companies competing with each other, either: it’s about how the market can benefit from public investment. When Vannevar Bush submitted his famous report, “Science, The Endless Frontier,” to President Truman at the end of World War II, he argued that scientific discovery should be considered a public good crucial to the competitiveness of the nation. The crux of his argument is that such efforts build capacity through creating what he called “scientific capital” and pointed out that “New products and new processes do not appear full-grown. They are founded on new principles and new conceptions, which in turn are painstakingly developed by research in the purest realms of science.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Helping Developers Succeed with Open Source Languages in 2019: Global Survey Results

      Enterprise CEOs and executives are driving digital transformation to keep pace and lead in their markets. One way to get ahead is to leverage open source, which underpins the majority of today’s software applications.

    • Cthulhu: New open source chaos engineering tool for Java

      Ready to create a little chaos? xMatters newly open sourced their internal chaos engineering tool. Cthulhu helps developers by automating cross-platform software failure testing. It detects failures automatically and self-heals back to a normal state.
      Meet the newly opened sourced chaos engineering tool: Cthulhu. It helps automate cross-platform software failure testing by simulating different scenarios. The digital service team xMatters open sourced this tool on May 14, 2019. It is now available on GitHub under the Apache License for DevOps team to implement into their workflow.

      Chaos engineering is used by teams to simulate disaster in order to test the reliability or security of a piece of software. This method of testing aims to save time and take a proactive approach to solve issues. Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of this mode of testing is Netflix’s internal tool, Chaos Monkey.

      Add some Lovecraftian horror into the mix; let’s take a look at Cthulhu and what it offers.

    • Open Source Testware for Systematic IoT Testing: Eclipse IoT-Testware

      The project Eclipse IoT-Testware is delivering free open-source test tools and programs for the industry and companies developing Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions. At TestCon Moscow 2019 Axel Rennoch, senior scientist at Fraunhofer FOKUS, spoke about quality assurance for IoT.

      Today and in the future, IoT products and solutions will be omnipresent; they do appear in most of our daily environments at home, in industry, agriculture or traffic situations, said Rennoch. IoT solutions are generally characterized by openness, distribution, dynamics, scaling, and a long service life, argued Rennoch. IoT devices and services should be tested with a focus on conformance, interoperability, robustness, and security.

    • Should IT Professionals Learn to Code?

      Do you have a non-development career in technology? Do you ever ask yourself if it would be worth the time to learn to code? If so, rest assured; the answer is absolutely YES! But what do you have to gain by learning a programming language or two?

    • Codementor: Python’s Counter – Part 1
    • New CTO Solidifies npm, Inc.’s Enterprise and Open Source Capabilities
    • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxviii) stackoverflow python report
    • RQuantLib 0.4.9: Another small updates

      A new version 0.4.9 of RQuantLib reached CRAN and Debian. It completes the change of some internals of RQuantLib to follow suit to an upstream change in QuantLib. We can now seamlessly switch between shared_ptr<> from Boost and from C++11 – Luigi wrote about the how and why in an excellent blog post that is part of a larger (and also excellent) series of posts on QuantLib internals.

    • Richard W.M. Jones: NBD’s state machine

      Eric and I are writing a Linux NBD client library. There were lots of requirements but the central one for this post is it has to be a library callable from programs written in C and other programming languages (Python, OCaml and Rust being important), and we don’t control those programs so they may be single or multithreaded, or may use non-blocking main loops like gio and glib.

      An NBD command involves sending a request over a socket to a remote server and receiving a reply. You can also have multiple requests “in flight” and the reply can be received in multiple parts. On top of this the “fixed newstyle” NBD protocol has a complex multi-step initial handshake. Complicating it further we might be using a TLS transport which has its own handshake.

      It’s complicated and we mustn’t block the caller.

      There are a few ways to deal with this in my experience — one is to ignore the problem and insist that the main program uses a thread for each NBD connection, but that pushes complexity onto someone else. Another way is to use some variation of coroutines or call/cc — if we get to a place where we would block then we save the stack, return to the caller, and have some way to restore the stack later. However this doesn’t necessarily work well with non-C programming languages. It likely won’t work with either OCaml or Ruby’s garbage collectors since they both involve stack walking to find GC roots. I’d generally want to avoid “tricksy” stuff in a library.

    • PyDev of the Week: Adrienne Tacke

      This week we welcome Adrienne Tacke (@AdrienneTacke) as our PyDev of the Week! Adrienne is the author of Coding for Kids: Python: Learn to Code with 50 Awesome Games and Activities and her book came out earlier this year.

    • Python Programming – if, else and elif
    • Subsecond deployment and startup of Apache Camel applications

      The integration space is in constant change. Many open source projects and closed source technologies did not withstand the tests of time and have disappeared from the middleware stacks for good. After a decade, however, Apache Camel is still here and becoming even stronger for the next decade of integration. In this article, I’ll provide some history of Camel and then describe two changes coming to Apache Camel now (and later to Red Hat Fuse) and why they are important for developers. I call these changes subsecond deployment and subsecond startup of Camel applications.

    • Best Free Books to Learn about Lua

      Lua is a lightweight, small, compact, and fast programming language designed as an embeddable scripting language. This cross-platform interpreted language has a simple syntax with powerful data description constructs. It has automatic memory management and incremental garbage collection, making it ideal for configuration, scripting, and rapid prototyping. Lua tries to help you solve problems with only hundreds of lines, or even less. To achieve this aim, Lua relies on extensibility.

      In the popularity stakes, Lua lags behind say Python, Perl, or Ruby for scripting purposes. As a barometer of its popularity, Lua is currently ranked in 33rd place on the TIOBE Index.

      Lua is not designed to develop standalone software. But Lua excels as a secondary language. Witness Lua cropping up in kernels, tools, and games. Lua was designed, from the beginning, to be integrated with software written in C and other conventional languages. But it’s also used as a standalone language.

      This language is free software distributed under the terms of the MIT license. Lua’s developers consist of a team at PUC-Rio, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The language has been in development for 26 years.

      This article recommends free books to help you master programming in Lua. As the range of good free books is fairly limited, I close the article with a few carefully selected tutorials that are genuinely useful.

Leftovers

  • 86 flights cancelled at Manchester Airport due to ‘fuelling problem’

    Travel chaos hit thousands of passengers when a hitch halted all plane re-fuelling at Manchester Airport today.

    The problem first emerged at around 2pm on Sunday as passengers went onto social media to report they were stuck on stationary aircraft at all three terminals.

    Some waited for three hours on board until they learned their flight was being cancelled.

    They were disembarked and many of them were being put in hotels around the airport, hopeful of another departure in the morning.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Illegal Bt Brinjal In India

      What is the point in central government orders and carefully thought out regulatory norms if government officials and regulators act with blatant disregard? This is precisely what we now see happening in India where genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are concerned.

    • How to Shift to a More Plant-Based Diet, Without the Guilt

      Kathy Freston is a New York Times bestselling author four times over. Her books on healthy eating and conscious living include The Lean, Veganist and Quantum Wellness. She considers herself a wellness activist and has appeared frequently on national television.

      All this, and yet, she’s not strident or bossy. She wouldn’t dream of making me feel bad if I sprinkled parmesan on my pasta. She somehow understands that I can’t seem to give up my cow’s milk lattes.

      “I’m a big believer in progress, not perfection,” says Freston. She offers easy, manageable ways to ease into a more plant-based diet. Freston takes a compassionate, no-guilt and shame-free approach to omnivores who try to reduce their meat consumption but who are maybe not on board the vegan train.

      Freston’s gentler approach is exactly what I aim to do with my children’s books, Sprig the Rescue Pig and Gwen the Rescue Hen. It’s also why I found her “SuperSoul Conversations” interview with Oprah so important and reached out to her afterward to ask her some questions of my own.

    • Grassroots Funds Are Ensuring Abortion Access Despite Bans

      Nearly every day, a cohort of reproductive justice volunteers at small grassroots funds across the Southeast connect with each other via encrypted chat. They talk strategy, discuss the latest abortion news—and sometimes share a cat meme, a form of self-care.

      They also occasionally share an ask on behalf of a client: “I need $100 … Do you have it?” The money might be for transportation to help get a client to an abortion clinic across the state or across state lines.

      Or another request might be “I am overwhelmed—can I shift my calls to you today?” says Laurie Bertram Roberts, who runs the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund in Jackson, Mississippi.

      Across conservative states and in cities such as Jackson, home of the state’s only abortion clinic, or in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, grassroots organizations like Roberts’ are working nonstop to support reproductive justice. Funding cuts and increasingly restrictive legislation have transformed large swaths of the Southeast into abortion deserts. And low-income women increasingly depend on these groups to access abortions.

    • The “Auntie Network” Already Exists

      As Republicans escalate their efforts to criminalize abortion care, some social media users have called for the creation of a network that would offer assistance to pregnant people seeking abortions in states affected by the current onslaught of abortion bans and so-called heartbeat bills. Hashtags like #AuntieNetwork and #UndergroundRailroad2019 have emerged alongside a deluge of offers of lodging and other travel assistance for those in need — with most of these conversations occurring in the open, or in unsecure online environments like Facebook groups. But while the impulse behind these efforts is understandable, and even laudable, advocates who have long provided transportation assistance, lodging and financial help to people seeking abortions have expressed concerns about these unvetted attempts to create a network of assistance when a well-organized framework for this kind of organizing already exists.

      Fears of abortion prohibition have ramped up in recent weeks, but there are numerous states where pregnant people have long been navigating post-Roe-like conditions due to prohibitive regulations. For years, abortion fund organizers have worked to help people affected by those regulations overcome geographical and financial barriers to care. While some abortion funds only provide financial assistance, others have long helped in removing other barriers to care by offering transportation assistance, lodging and other help to people seeking abortion care. Even in places where only financial help is available, a vetted, time-tested framework for more expansive organizing is already in place.

      Yamani Hernandez is the executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds, a network of organizations across the United States and three other countries that are funding abortion and building power to fight for cultural and political change. Hernandez was among those who took to Twitter in recent days to point out that abortion funds provide the framework that is needed for these efforts, saying “we need folks to join not reinvent.” Hernandez expanded upon her thoughts on Sunday in a conversation with Truthout’s Kelly Hayes about what people should know about abortion funds, the existing framework for assistance and how they can get involved.

    • America’s Reproductive Slaves

      On Wednesday, the day it was announced that the U.S. birthrate fell for the fourth straight year, signaling the lowest number of births in 32 years, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most draconian anti-abortion law in the country. That the two developments came at the same time could not have been more revelatory.

      The ruling elites are acutely aware that the steadily declining American birthrate is the result of a de facto “birth strike” by women who, unable to afford adequate health insurance and exorbitant medical bills and denied access to paid parental leave, child care and job protection, find it financially punitive to have children. Not since 1971 have births in the United States been at replacement levels, considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women over their lifetimes, a ratio needed for a generation to replace itself. Current births number 1,728 per 1,000 women, a decline of 2% from 2017. Without a steady infusion of immigrants, the U.S. population would be plummeting.

      “The effort to block birth control and abortion is not about religion nor about politicians pandering to a right-wing base, nor is it a result of prudery, nor is it to punish women for having sex,” Jenny Brown writes in her book “Birth Strike: Hidden Fight Over Women’s Work.” “It is about the labor of bearing and rearing children: who will do it and who will pay for it.”

      Raising children is not a lifestyle choice. It is labor-intensive work that demands of parents, and especially women, huge physical, emotional, financial and time commitments. The wider society reaps the benefits of this work. It has a social and moral responsibility to compensate and assist those who raise children.

      The birthrate decline is an indicator of the despair and hopelessness that define the lives of tens of millions of young Americans who struggle financially and see little hope for the future. Only by addressing this financial insecurity and desperation, by integrating back into society those who have been pushed aside, can the nation’s death spiral be reversed.

      In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child; the government-funded subsidy is 80 percent of the parent’s job pay for the first 390 days and a reduced amount for the remaining 90 days. Employers in Sweden pay a tax on salaries to fund parental leave. The unemployed are granted a parental stipend. Parents can split the leave between the two of them. Men take nearly a quarter of parental leave in Sweden, which has one of the highest birthrates in Europe.

      America’s corporate state has no intention of funding programs and building institutions to ease the burden of rearing and nurturing children. Yes, the corporate state needs young bodies as fodder for the bloated military and endless foreign wars. Yes, it needs workers, especially a surplus of workers, to toil in menial, poorly compensated labor. Yes, it needs consumers to buy its products. But the corporate state, Brown argues, intends to achieve these goals “with a minimum of employer spending and a maximum of unpaid women’s work.” If women refuse to produce children at levels desired by economic planners, Brown says, then abortion and contraception will be banned or made difficult to obtain. Social Security and pensions will be abolished so the only financial protection from abject poverty for an elderly parent will be children willing to keep their mother or father fed and housed. Eight states dramatically restrict access to abortion, and legislatures in a number of other states are considering legislation to do so. Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia have only one abortion clinic.

  • Security

    • [Florida] Panhandle county that backed Trump among Russian hacking victims [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

      Washington County was one of two counties successfully hacked by Russians seeking voter information files. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in the past week have briefed Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida’s congressional delegation about the attack, but federal authorities have asked that the names of the two counties be kept confidential.

    • Hacking democracies: Cataloguing cyber-enabled attacks on elections

      Of the 97 national elections in free or partly free countries reviewed for this report during the period from 8 November 2016 to 30 April 2019, a fifth (20 countries) showed clear examples of foreign interference, and several countries had multiple examples (see the appendix to this report).17 It’s worth noting that confidence in attributions to foreign actors varied widely. In ideal circumstances, a government source made the attribution, but often the attribution was more informal. Our intention was not to provide an exhaustive list of every alleged case of foreign interference but instead to capture the spread of states experiencing the phenomenon and illustrative examples of different methods. Details on all examples identified through this research are set out in the appendix.

    • Slack patches vulnerability in Windows client that could be used to hijack files

      The potential attack used a weakness in the way the “slack://” protocol handler was implemented in the Windows application. By creating a crafted link posted in a Slack channel, the attacker could alter the default settings of the client—changing the download directory, for example, to a new location with a URL such as “slack://settings/?update={‘PrefSSBFileDownloadPath’:’’}”. That path could be directed to a Server Message Block (SMB) file-sharing location controlled by the attacker. Once clicked, all future downloads would be dropped onto the attacker’s SMB server. This link could be disguised as a Web link—in a proof-of-concept, the malicious Slack attack posed as a link to Google.

    • Protecting your computer against Intel’s latest security flaw is easy, unless it isn’t

      The new vulnerabilities are built into Intel hardware and go by various names. ZombieLoad, Fallout, or RIDL are the catchy ones; the more technical name is Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS). Before we get into it more, you probably want to know what to do about it.

    • Sites infected as open source Alpaca Forms & analytics service Picreel compromised [Ed: JavaScript is a security threat and this isn't the fault of FOSS but of poor stewardship]

      Hackers have breached two services and modified the JavaScript code to infect more than 4,600 websites with malware, according to security researchers.

    • The 10 Best Free and Open Source Identity Management Tools

      Identity and access management must form the core of your cybersecurity policies and platforms. Securing credentials and verifying users can help deflect and prevent an overwhelming majority of data breaches. Indeed, IAM forms the modern enterprise’s digital perimeter; strong authentication protocols alone can help keep digital assets secure and keeps external and internal threat actors out.

    • Top 3 Open Source Tools for SAST

      Static Application Security Testing, or SAST, is a type of security testing which analyzes the source code of an application to determine security flaws. It can also be termed as Source Code Analysis. SAST examines the source code before it’s compiled without executing anything. Due to this feature, it can be employed early in the development cycle to reap maximum benefits. This ensures that secure source code is written. Also, making early detection of security vulnerabilities lowers cost of fixing bugs post development.

    • Open Source Innovation in Cybersecurity

      There is a convergence of growth in the number of protection vulnerabilities. The rise in hacker capabilities and tools are being enacted in the European Union, and businesses are expanding their investments in cybersecurity significantly. According to Global Market Insights, between 2019 and 2024, the demand for cybersecurity goods and assistance is assumed to grow from $120 billion to more than $300 billion annually. Estimation of Gartner affirms that by 2020 more than 60 percent of companies will have invested in multiple data security tools.

      [...]

      In smart cars, IoT platforms and cybersecurity software projects like Kali Linux, open source is a leading technology. While it has undergone exponential growth, the thriving proliferation of convenient source by banking networks, was not invariably a foregone conclusion.

    • Open Source Versioning: The Race to Stay Up-to-Date [Ed: The same is true for proprietary software, but companies like Microsoft bankrolled an industry of FUD that never speaks of back doors in blobs, only high-profile FOSS bugs]

      Open source libraries, once shunned as risky and not ready for prime time, are now used extensively across major corporations, including insurers. The reason is simple: In time- and resource-constrained companies trying to stay technologically competitive, it doesn’t make sense anymore to try to reinvent a wheel that’s already been battle-tested. However, having made the commitment to open source code and solution sets, it’s imperative to keep up-to-date with open source library maintenance and updates.

    • Don’t let security fall apart at the SIEMs. How open source search can upgrade SIEM to fight modern threats
    • WhatsApp hack: Is any app or computer truly secure?
    • Linux kernel RDS flaw affects Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian and SUSE

      If you’re not in the habit of keeping up to date with the latest version of the Linux kernel, now might be a good time to think about doing so. Systems based on versions of the kernel older than 5.0.8 suffer from a severe flaw in the implementation of RDS over TCP.

      Left unpatched, the flaw could enable an attacker to compromise a system. The National Vulnerability Database entry says: “There is a race condition leading to a use-after-free, related to net namespace cleanup”.

      Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian and SUSE are all affected by the flaw, and security advisories have been issued for each Linux distro. It is worth noting that the “attack complexity” is rated as being “high”, so while the impact of the security hole could be serious, the changes of a successful attack are relatively slim.

    • Ted Tso: Switching to Hugo

      With the demise of Google+, I’ve decided to try to resurrect my blog. Previously, I was using WordPress, but I’ve decided that it’s just too risky from a security perspective. So I’ve decided my blog over to Hugo.

      A consequence of this switch is that all of the WordPress comments have been dropped, at least for now.

    • Security researchers discover Linux version of Winnti malware [Ed: This targets already-vulnerable servers and GNU/Linux has little to do with that. It can be proprietary software on top of it.]

      Chronicle says it discovered this Linux variant after news broke last month that Bayer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, had been hit by Chinese hackers, and the Winnti malware was discovered on its systems.

    • Microsoft’s Attack Surface Analyzer now works on Macs and Linux, too [Ed: Microsoft is now pushing .NET in the name of "security"]
    • Intel Loses 5X More Average Performance Than AMD From Mitigations: Report

      Intel has published its own set of benchmark results for the mitigations to the latest round of vulnerabilities, but Phoronix, a publication that focuses on Linux-related news and reviews, has conducted its own testing and found a significant impact. Phoronix’s recent testing of all mitigations in Linux found the fixes reduce Intel’s performance by 16% (on average) with Hyper-Threading enabled, while AMD only suffers a 3% average loss. Phoronix derived these percentages from the geometric mean of test results from its entire test suite.

      From a performance perspective, the overhead of the mitigations narrow the gap between Intel and AMD’s processors. Intel’s chips can suffer even more with Hyper-Threading (HT) disabled, a measure that some companies (such as Apple and Google) say is the only way to make Intel processors completely safe from the latest vulnerabilities. In some of Phoronix’s testing, disabling HT reduced performance almost 50%. The difference was not that great in many cases, but the gap did widen in almost every test by at least a few points.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Columbine survivor Austin Eubanks found dead at 37

      Austin Eubanks, one of the survivors of the 1999 Columbine shooting in Colorado, was found dead at his home early Saturday, according to Routt County, Colorado, Coroner Robert Ryg.

      Eubanks was found dead during a welfare check after he didn’t answer his phone, Ryg said. Eubanks was 37.

      No foul play is suspected, and an autopsy is scheduled for Monday, Ryg said.

      Eubanks struggled with opioid addiction after the shooting and later became a public speaker discussing the issues of substance abuse in the country, according to his website. From his Twitter account, it appears he last spoke at the 2019 Connecticut Opioid and Prescription Drug Prevention Conference on May 2.

    • How Do We Teach 9/11 to Those Who Don’t Remember It?

      In his condemnations of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s remarks about 9/11, President Trump offered his followers the taken-for-granted aphorism: “We will never forget.”

      Yet, for those of us engaged in scholarship on national security, U.S. racism or U.S. foreign policy, we have for years encountered college-aged students who cannot actually remember September 11. This fall, students coming straight from high school will have been born after the attacks. “Never forget,” for them, is a wholesale abstraction. It calls for a generation to memorialize that which they cannot recall.

      For now, let us leave aside the allegations from Trump or the New York Post that Omar’s words were disrespectful — that she minimized the hallowed and horrific memory of 9/11. Enough critical content has been written about that.

      Instead, I would like to think about the pedagogical currency of 9/11, an event that is, in fact, steeped in a deep forgetfulness.

    • Masters of Myths – From Homer to Hollywood

      JFK may have done the word “myth” a dis-service: Joseph Campbell asserts that all mythologies give insights into the Human Condition, thus contain essential truths. But why do we have myths? It is impossible to follow the Homeric epics without some knowledge of Greek Mythology: heroes’ successes, failures and special powers were depended on the fickle intervention of various gods i.e. mortal men attempted to explain the complexities of events and factors (seemingly) beyond their mortal control.

      Temporal Power has always enlisted Divine Power e.g. Pharaohs, Roman Emperors, Stewart Kings and Japanese Emperors. The Athenians gathered their treasure at the Parthenon (Temple of Athena) – for safekeeping (hence the classical façade of Banks).

      Jesus of Nazareth threw the money-changers and other racketeers out of the House of God in Jerusalem, thus incurring the enmity of the religious authorities. The Knights Templar acquired wealth from pilgrim protection making them bankers for kings, until their destruction by Philip IV of France. The Medici Bankers actually became Popes – such was the marriage of financial and religious power.

      G.K Chesterton wrote that when a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything. More worrying in this nuclear age is Pompeo’s zealous belief – widely shared by the US Military Industrial Complex – in the cult of “The Rapture” focussed on a catastrophic war in Israel (according to a 1988 paper by Larry Jones, Columbia University).

    • Media Setting Up Iran as New ‘Threat’ That Must Be Confronted

      The Washington Post editorial’s headline (5/14/19) had the US “drifting” toward war with Iran—another example, as analyst Nima Shirazi quipped, of the “world’s superpower somehow having no agency over its own imperialism.”

      If we can still call things “surreal,” that would describe watching corporate media do the same things they did in the run-up to the Iraq War, things they later disavowed: the credulous repetition of administration claims about the supposed threat; the reliance, for interpretation of “intelligence,” on officials with well known records for manipulating intelligence; the stenographic reporting of ‘troubling’ actions by the enemy state, that later have to be walked back.

      A May 13 New York Times piece led with the statement that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had “presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.” As researcher Derek Davison reminds, in a piece for LobeLog (5/14/19), there is, as the Times has acknowledged on other occasions, no evidence that Iran is working on nuclear weapons, at whatever pace.

    • [Reposted] Why Mike Pompeo Smirked When Asked If North Korea Executed Negotiators

      The smirk made its appearance when Mr. Pompeo was being interviewed on a Sunday news show, and was asked for his reaction to reports that life had not gone well for four of the people he had gotten to know during the two sessions North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump had conducted over the preceding 12 months.

      The first session had been a phenomenal success and the second, although cut short, did not extinguish the flame of love that warmed Mr. Trumps’ heart whenever he thought of Mr. Kim.

      After the first meeting in Singapore in June 2018, Mr. Trump said at a news conference that he and Mr. Kim had “developed a very special bond. People are going to be very impressed. People are going to be very happy… I think our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean Peninsula is going to be a very much different situation than it has in the past.” Describing Mr. Kim, Mr. Trump said he was “a very talented man.”

      Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 and making reference to the historic meeting, Mr. Trump said in the manner of a child explaining the child’s affection for a person of whom the child’s parents disapprove: “He likes me, I like him. We get along. He wrote me two of the most beautiful letters. When I showed one of the letters—just one—to [Japanese] Prime Minister Abe, he said: ‘This is actually a groundbreaking letter.’”

    • China to Iran’s Rescue? Trump might successfully anger Beijing or Tehran, but not Both

      Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said at a news conference on Saturday that China opposes US unilateral sanctions on Iran and appreciates Iran’s continued commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, despite the breach of it by the Trump administration.

      This, amid evidence that China has resumed importing oil from Iran despite the Trump administration’s opposition.

      Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is in Beijing on a diplomatic mission to shore up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or nuclear deal, as a result of which Iran had been promised sanctions relief that it never received. Indeed, US sanctions on Iran are so harsh today that they far outstrip those imposed before 2015, despite Iran’s adherence to the terms of the deal.

    • Mideast Tensions Escalate, Rocket Explodes in Baghdad Green Zone

      Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday after the kingdom’s energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf.

      President Donald Trump, meanwhile, warned Iran that it will face destruction if it seeks a fight, while Iranian officials said their country isn’t looking for war. Trump spoke after a rocket hit near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

      Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers— two of them Saudi — were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • US – Trump administration prosecutes third whistleblower under Espionage Act

      Daniel Hale, a former government intelligence analyst who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, was arrested on May 9 and charged in a federal court under the Espionage Act with five crimes related to the disclosure of classified information. This is the third whistleblower the Trump administration has prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

    • Maybe stop leaking classified info to the Intercept?

      The Intercept’s most famous burn was that of hapless National Security Agency leaker Reality Winner. While attempting to verify the authenticity of Winner’s leak, the Intercept checked in with the NSA and revealed the postmark of the leak — where Winner so happened to live. They also sent over a copy of the leak, giving the NSA seven days to figure out the source. It’s also possible that the Intercept didn’t even provide the NSA a retyped version of the leak but the original copy, which would have included tracking dots identifying exactly when and where the leak was printed. Not coincidentally, two of the reporters behind the Winner story, Richard Esposito and Matthew Cole, were partially responsible for the prosecution of CIA leaker John Kiriakou.

    • Ecuador to hand over Assange’s entire legal defense to the United States

      Three weeks before the U.S. deadline to file its final extradition request for Assange, Ecuadorian officials are travelling to London to allow U.S. prosecutors to help themselves to Assange’s belongings.

      Neither Julian Assange nor U.N. officials have been permitted to be present when Ecuadorian officials arrive to Ecuador’s embassy in London on Monday morning.

      The chain of custody has already been broken. Assange’s lawyers will not be present at the illegal seizure of his property, which has been “requested by the authorities of the United States of America”.

      The material includes two of his manuscripts, as well as his legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment. The seizure of his belongings violates laws that protect medical and legal confidentiality and press protections.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Real Climate Change Culprits Have Never Been Punished

      Years ago, tobacco companies discovered the link between their products and lung cancer. Did they warn their customers? No — they denied the link entirely, misleading the public for decades while killing their customers.

      Similarly, ExxonMobil scientists made startlingly accurate predictions about climate change as early as 1982 — and then spent millions of dollars on a misinformation campaign to sow public doubt about climate change.

      They didn’t need to convince the public that the climate crisis wasn’t happening. They just had to muddy the waters enough to prevent us from doing anything.

      They provoked uncertainty: Maybe the climate crisis isn’t happening. And even if it is, maybe it’s not caused by humans burning fossil fuels. (Of course, it is happening and it is caused by humans.)

    • Is Climate Fiction a Subset of Science Fiction—or Something Else Entirely?

      First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn’t really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga—although its interconnected characters aren’t necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.

      But by the end of the story, which jumps through time from the 1800s to the discomfitingly near future, climate change has appeared as a character unto itself—a chaotic agent that transforms the city and its inhabitants’ lives entirely. In this flooded megalopolis, renamed New Krungthep, whole neighborhoods are underwater. Streets have become rushing rivers with currents that, “sped by wash-offs from the mountains, gain enough strength to carry fallen houses far out into the gulf, where the wreckage will join other debris tumbling toward the seafloor.” Humans share their new aquatic environment with venomous snakes and crocodiles. To the extent that tourists still visit, they do so mainly to experience the “snorkel-through ruins.” And they know not to come during monsoon season, when mosquito swarms are so thick that they appear as “black clouds low in the mangroves.”

    • Fossil fuel companies lobby Congress on their own solutions to curb climate change

      The planet’s concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has reached its highest levels in 3 million years, rekindling the heated political debate over man-made climate change and what to do about it.

      Outspoken Democrats have been vocal about their plans, hyping up their Green New Deal resolution, and 2020 presidential candidates like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have unveiled their own unique climate change plans.

      But fossil fuel companies have their own solutions in mind. And with federal funding and generous tax credits potentially available to fund emission-reducing technology, they’re eager to tell lawmakers about them.

      A new coalition of 13 Fortune 500 companies and four environmental groups, named the CEO Climate Dialogue, launched this week to call for action on climate change. Some of the prominent industry names include BP, Ford and BASF, along with environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund. The involved companies and groups have significant influence in Washington, spending a combined $55.8 million on lobbying last year.

    • Are ExxonMobil Executives the most evil people in the 200K-yr-long History of Humanity?

      They understood that the full effect of this vast increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere would cause enormous changes, though much of the damage would occur centuries down the line.

      The company covered up these memos and staged a multi-million-dollar disinformation campaign to throw doubt on the reality of human-made climate change, to ensure that ExxonMobil could go on making billions in profits each year from selling gasoline.

      The scientists nailed it. ExxonMobil nailed it. They can be proud of their scientific prowess and predictive abilities, right?

      Wrong. They are evil.

      They are the most evil human beings to walk the earth since Homo Sapiens emerged in southern Africa around 200,000 years ago.

    • Pete Buttigieg Calls for Carbon Capture and Tax—Climate Proposals Backed by the Fossil Fuel Industry

      On his website Thursday, Buttigieg—who is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana—released 27 policies sorted into three categories: freedom, security, and democracy. The first item under the security section is climate change.

      Mayor Pete, as his fellow Hoosiers call him, says on the site that “security means protecting our environment and treating climate change and climate disruption like the national emergency it is.” His proposed response is to “implement a Green New Deal with all available tools including a carbon tax-and-dividend for Americans, and major direct investment to build a 100 percent clean energy society.”

  • Finance

    • Bernie Sanders rolls out comprehensive education plan

      Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his education policy plan on Saturday — a comprehensive 10-point agenda that calls for the end of for-profit charter schools, creates a salary floor for public school teachers, guarantees free school meals for all students and expands after school and summer school programs.

    • The Federal Government Has Poured Millions into Failing Charter Schools in Louisiana

      But if he had looked more closely before making his remark (he eventually apologized for his poor word choice), he would have noticed some of the new charter schools being created in New Orleans were already failing.

      The very first charter school created in the post-Katrina era to close was Free Academy, which shuttered in early 2009—well before Duncan made his remarks—due to financial problems, lack of academic progress, and disputes with the school’s for-profit management company.

      After Free Academy closed, many of the students scrambling to find new schools likely ended up in the Crocker Arts & Technology School, another charter school, which opened in the fall in the same building. But that school proved to be a false promise too when, on a Thursday evening in early December, parents learned Crocker had to close, literally overnight, due to its unsafe building.

      The century-old structure was close to collapse, a condition that existed no doubt when the school was Free Academy and when Crocker decided to occupy the building. Officials at both schools either didn’t know or knew but didn’t bother to warn parents their children were in an unsafe building.

    • Exposing the Dirty Business Behind the Designer Label

      Even before it gets worn once, that new T-shirt you bought is already dirtier than you can imagine. It’s soaked through with toxic waste, factory smog and plastic debris—all of which is likely just a few spin cycles away from an incinerator, or maybe a landfill halfway around the world. Our obsession with style rivals our hunger for oil, making fashion the world’s second-most polluting industry after the oil industry.

      According to the think tank Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), the majority of fast-fashion products —the hyperactive production and marketing cycle fueled by high-volume, high-speed supply chains, which often bludgeon the environment while driving ultra-cheap retail market —are incinerated or trashed within a year. In the U.S., wasted leather, cloth, rubber and other scraps constitute over 8 percent of the total volume of solid waste. Global clothing consumption averages about 22 pounds annually per person, though the U.S. and Europe each average roughly triple that amount.

      While local pollution piles up, a more chronic hazard looms on the horizon. At the current rate of pollution, the apparel sector’s carbon emissions will balloon by 60 percent by 2030, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, amounting to about a quarter of the global carbon budget. The total share of carbon emissions from the sector by 2050 would actually be equivalent to roughly 300 million tons of oil—more than tripling within a generation.

    • End of an Era: Bethlehem Steel’s World HQ Demolished

      Sixteen thousand tons of Bethlehem Steel collapsed in a matter of seconds Sunday as a demolition crew imploded Martin Tower, the defunct steelmaker’s former world headquarters.

      Crowds gathered to watch the demolition of the area’s tallest building, a 21-story monolith that opened at the height of Bethlehem Steel’s power and profitability but had stood vacant for a dozen years after America’s second-largest steelmaker went out of business.

    • Farewell to Labor?

      Mention the labor movement today, and activists might ask, “What movement?” Indeed, the vibrant labor movement of yesteryear, when workers in industrializing countries organized their factories, has ebbed with the onslaught of neoliberal globalization. This retreat can make Marx’s call of “Workers of the world, unite!” seem quaint, and the international labor congress that launched the First International in 1864 a quixotic dream. The internationalist optimism of the fin-de-siècle Second International and the early twentieth-century Third International—the belief that victory was in reach for the worker—contrasts with the pessimism of labor today and the hollow shell that is the contemporary Socialist International. The “labor” parties that once promised to empower the average worker now are often the agents of austerity and the allies of global capital.

      By the mid-twentieth century, while international idealism had largely evaporated, labor did strengthen at the national level. The three decades following World War II were known as a “golden era” for the upper strata of labor in the US and Europe, when workers secured more rights and social protections. Social democratic parties and even conservative parties built robust welfare states, and across the North Atlantic, labor held a cherished and comfortable spot along with business and the state in setting economic policy.
      Through labor’s struggle to establish itself, build solidarity, and protect its members, various types of trade unionism have emerged. In labor’s origins, “economic unionism” prevailed. This model, with which today’s activists would be most familiar, has been oriented towards securing a better price for the commodity Marxist economists call “labor-power.” Market-oriented and eschewing politics, it has posed limited challenge to the status quo. Alternatively, through “political unionism,” trade unions have turned to the state for satisfaction of demands. Finally, “social unionism” has sought solidarity across geographic divisions and between the workplace, per se, and the wider community.

    • ‘A Burning Indictment of Our Higher Ed System’: Commencement Speaker Pays Off $40 Million in Student Debt [Ed: This does not solve the issue but merely perpetuates the illusions or the lies, like "job creators", "heroic" "free market" "champions" and "philanthropists"]

      “Two things are simultaneously true about this story: 1. This is a very cool thing to do,” tweeted Current Affairs editor Sparky Abraham. “2. That this is so cool and necessary and has such a huge impact on the students’ lives is a burning indictment of our higher ed system.”

      “The Morehouse graduating class has $40 million in student debt,” he continued. “That is an enormous tragedy.”

      Smith’s announcement Sunday at the all-male, historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia provoked impassioned calls for both making higher education free across the country and canceling student debt.

      Abraham, in a piece for Current Affairs last month, argued: “Free college is the efficient, non-stigmatizing way to open up college access for everyone without the burdens of means-testing. It doesn’t have to be regressive and, with any luck, it will follow the path of free high school: In short order it will be nearly universally accepted as a public good and a huge boon to everyone, especially those from poorer and working class backgrounds.”

      Responding to Smith’s donation on Sunday, Waleed Shahid of Justice Democrats tweeted, “Taxing billionaires and Wall Street would allow every American to go to college for free while also canceling almost all student debt.”

    • The Shocking Exploitation of America’s Caregivers

      She alights from a black Ferrari convertible, her Christian Louboutin stilettos glinting in the sunlight. The lid of her black lacquer grand piano is propped open in the living room of her plush Beverly Hills home on the aptly named Clear View Drive, overlooking a stunning panorama.

      “I own a chain of elderly care facilities,” she says into the camera on Bravo’s reality television show “The Millionaire Matchmaker.”

      “My net worth is $3 to $4 million, probably.”

      Stephanie Costa was 30 and rich by most standards yet believed it was time to fetch a man of means.

      “You don’t want to date down,” the show’s host says to her. “You want to date 200 grand and above who treats you like a princess.”

      Costa nods. “Before I know it, I’m alone in the nursing home … in my own nursing home.”

      Costa’s lifestyle was supported in part by six board-and-care homes she owned in California’s Central Valley that now operate under the names Clear View Retirement Group and Copper River Retirement Group.

      About half of Costa’s net worth was threatened when she and her company initially were cited for about $1.6 million for labor violations, including wage theft – not paying 11 employees for working much of 24 hours a day, six days a week. They later would settle for pennies on the dollar.

    • 98.3% of Ghana’s Gold Remains in the Hands of Multinational Corporations

      The dominant discourse propagated by institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that control the levers of global finance blames the bad governance of local officials for the consequences of this plunder, citing corruption scandals as the main reason for a lack of resources. However, the discourse around bad governance—the idea that corrupt local officials are to blame for endemic poverty, low health indicators, education, and other measures of national well-being—focuses on what happens with the 1.7 percent of the returns that Ghana receives. Sarah Bracking points out that “the company would argue that the market value of output is not synonymous with their surplus, or profits, as working capital, wages, depreciation of machines and so forth must be paid from this. However, the figures do act as a good illustration of the low returns to the sovereign owners of sub-soil resources, as a proportion of their final market value, which, in Africa, can be estimated as typically in the region of between three and five percent, but which in this case is lower (about 1.7 percent).” Holding officials accountable for their use of public funds should be a given, but what about the remaining 98.3 percent of the returns generated by Ghana’s gold exports?

      Individuals are blamed, fingers angrily pointed at corrupt governments, while the nations they govern are robbed blind by transnational corporations. It is these corporations, working with institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, that define the terms of this conversation. These international lenders bury borrowing countries with steep interest rates and terms that grant lending institutions the power to determine and approve national policies.

      National leaders of countries that fall into the debt trap are forced to forfeit the right to create their own policies for access to loans. These leaders are then blamed for the consequences of policies and terms crafted by lending institutions (a key form of neocolonialism). They are also blamed for the vestiges of hundreds of years of colonialism that came before.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • PTV will begin airing Chinese folk opera cartoon series today

      Besides shedding light on the strong ties between Pakistan and China, Mr Shah lauded the cultural exchange between the two countries which he said had been of high calibre and value.

      Appreciating the continuity of expression in China and the level of investment in art and culture by the Chinese government, he said: “Art and culture engages people in an intimate manner, thereby transpiring several other levels of engagement. Art and culture inform individuals about themselves intimately. Intimate knowledge becomes strength making people informed decision makers.”

    • Are We in a Constitutional Crisis?

      Clear the docket at the District of Columbia federal courthouse. The House of Representatives versus Trump administration oversight subpoena war has landed at its doorstep, and the next year promises legal skirmishes galore.

      But is it a constitutional crisis? House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said it was last week after the committee voted to cite Attorney General William Barr for contempt of Congress. “There can be no higher stakes than this attempt to abrogate all power to the executive branch away from Congress and, more importantly, the American people,” Nadler told reporters Wednesday. “We talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis — we’re now in it.”

      There is no Merriam-Webster definition of constitutional crisis — no simple checklist to determine whether it’s happening. Not surprisingly, then, many people are pushing back on Nadler’s assertion. They argue that tension between the executive and legislative branch is common. It’s not unusual for the Department of Justice to push back on and negotiate over what documents it will supply to Congress. More particularly, we have not reached a complete impasse yet. These conflicts are likely headed to court. It won’t be a constitutional crisis unless and until the administration refuses to comply with a court order.

      Yet three elements of the current showdown — its breadth, tenuous legal foundation, and tone — all point to crisis, if not now then soon.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens
    • Apple removed a teen’s award-winning anti-Trump game “Bad Hombre” because they can’t tell the difference between apps that criticize racism and racist apps

      Bad Hombre is an award-winning satirical game created by 16-year-old Jackie George. Two days after it won the Shortly Award and was recognized in her school newsletter, Bad Hombre was removed from both Apple’s App Store and Google Play (George notes that her town of Naples, FL is very conservative with a lot of Trump supporters and is suspicious that one of her neighbors reported the app).

      George appealed the removal and Google quickly reinstated the app, but Apple refused to do so. Instead, she and her father — and eventually Phillip Shoemaker, former head of the App Store for Apple — got embroiled in a long, kafkaesque process with Apple’s support reps who seem to have mistaken an app that makes fun of Donald Trump’s use of racist epithets for an endorsement of racism. Despite the fact that the satire is obvious to anyone who pays even cursory attention, none of them have been able to get any kind of reconsideration from Apple.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Why 5G is a huge future threat to privacy

      The next-generation of mobile communications, 5G, is currently a hot topic in two very different domains: technology – and politics. The latter is because of President Trump’s attempts to shut the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei out of Western procurement projects. That might work in the US, but the move is meeting a lot of resistance in Europe.

      There seem to be two primary concerns about allowing Chinese companies to build the new 5G infrastructure. One is a fear that it will help China consolidate its position as the leading nation in 5G technologies, and that it could come to be the dominant supplier of 5G hardware and software around the world. The other is more directly relevant to this blog: a worry that if Chinese companies install key elements of 5G systems, they will be able to spy on all the traffic passing through them. As the South China Morning Post reports, in an attempt to soothe those fears, Huawei has even promised to sign “no-spy agreements with governments“. That’s a rather ridiculous suggestion – as if signing an agreement would prevent Chinese intelligence agencies from using Huawei equipment for surveillance if they could.

    • Alphabet’s Wing expands drone deliveries to Helsinki, Finland starting in June

      Alphabet’s Wing drone delivery service is slowly spreading. Following its debut in Australia recently and approval for service in Virginia, Wing has just announced that it’ll be making deliveries in Helsinki, Finland starting next month.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Experts Warn China’s Technology Could Spread Authoritarianism Around the World

      “[The Chinese Communist Party] aims to re-shape global governance, it intends to control international discourse on China and the channels through which individuals, governments, and businesses can engage with China. The smart cities are the embodiment of these strategies, allowing the CCP to blur the line between cooperative and coercive forms of control,” Hoffman added.

    • Man kicked off Southwest flight after making joke about vodka

      “And people started yelling then,” Uzelac told the station. “In fact, people stood up. I stood up. People were saying this man didn’t do anything.”

      The man was not charged with any crime, and Uzelac said he’s filed a complaint against the attendant with Southwest.

    • How Bolivian Indigenous Peoples Mobilized History for Social Change

      After centuries of colonial domination and a 20th century riddled with dictatorships, Indigenous peoples in Bolivia embarked upon a social and political struggle that would change the country forever. As part of that project, activists took control of their own history, starting in the 1960s, by reaching back to oral traditions and then forward to new forms of print and broadcast media. The Five Hundred Year Rebellion: Indigenous Movements and the Decolonization of History in Bolivia (AK Press, 2019) tells the fascinating story of how Indigenous Bolivians recovered and popularized histories of past rebellions, political models and leaders, using them to build movements for rights, land, autonomy and political power. Drawing from rich archival sources and the author’s lively interviews with Indigenous leaders and activist-historians, The Five Hundred Year Rebellion describes how movements tapped into centuries-old veins of oral history and memory to produce manifestos, booklets and radio programs on histories of resistance, wielding them as tools to expand their struggles and radically transform society.

    • A Crack Appears in the Republican Wall Protecting Trump

      A Republican congressman from Michigan on Saturday became the first member of President Donald Trump’s party on Capitol Hill to accuse him of engaging in “impeachable conduct” stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

      But Rep. Justin Amash stopped short of calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, which many Democrats have been agitating for.

      Often a lone GOP voice in Congress, Amash sent a series of tweets Saturday faulting both Trump and Attorney General William Barr over Mueller’s report. Mueller wrapped the investigation and submitted his report to Barr in late March. Barr then released a summary of Mueller’s “principal conclusions” and released a redacted version of the report in April.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Error in the Italian translation of Article 17 of the DSM Directive … but is Italian the only instance?

        As reported by this blog, the DSM Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/790 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC) has now been published on the Official Journal of the EU.

        The various language versions of this new piece of EU legislation are available here.

        The IPKat has learned from friends Valentina Borgese, Carmine Di Benedetto, Daniele Cerulla and Daniele Fabris (all PhD students at the University of Pavia) that not all language versions of the directive say the same thing.

      • DSM Directive is now Directive 2019/790 and Member States will need to transpose it by 7 June 2021

        The Enforcement Directive (or IPRED) is in fact longer (42 pages) than the DSM Directive (34 pages). However, it seems fair to say that the DSM Directive is the longest piece of EU legislation ever adopted relating exclusively to copyright.

        Here’s a table I have made which lists the various lengths of the directives and regulations that compose the EU copyright acquis, ordered from the shortest to the longest one:

      • The Pirate Bay’s Oldest Torrents Survived 15 Years of Turmoil

        The Pirate Bay has been around since 2003 and is still going strong. The longest surviving torrents on the site recently turned 15 years old. While these torrent files are still being seeded after many turbulent years, the file-sharing world and the web itself have completely changed.

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