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06.27.19

Links 28/6/2019: bzip2 1.0.7, Opera 62, Krita 4.2.2, Cutelyst 2.8.0, Kodachi 6.1, Slax 9.9.1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Google Releases Chrome OS 75 to Let Linux Apps Access Android Devices over USB

      Chrome OS 75 has been promoted to the stable channel as version 75.0.3770.102 (Platform version: 12105.75.0) for most Chromebook devices. This release introduces a new parental control feature that lets parents limit the time to their kids spend on Chrome OS devices, and it also enables kid-friendly Assistant for child accounts.

      While still in beta, the support for Linux apps is improving with every release, and Chrome OS 75 introduces support for Linux apps to access Android devices over USB connections. Moreover, the Files app has been enhanced with support for third-party file provider apps, implementing the Android DocumentsProvider APIs.

    • Slimbook’s Latest Linux Laptop is Faster (and Cheaper) than a MacBook Air

      The Slimbook Pro X bills itself as the ‘best Linux Laptop in the world’ — a bold claim, but does it hold up?

      Well, on paper at least, it looks like it might.

      The latest Linux portable from Spanish computer company Slimbook certainly sports enough muscle to give many well-known laptop a run for their money.

      In fact, overall, the Slimbook Pro X looks better spec’d and costs less than the latest MacBook Air, seen by many as the ultimate on-the-go laptop.

      So what makes the Pro X seemingly exceptional? Let’s take a look…

  • Server

    • CentOS 8 To Arrive At The End Of June: All You Need To Know

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8) made its way into the market last month, which may have prompted a lot of people to expect the release of CentOS 8. according to recent reports, a major redesign is needed in the bundles; installer manufactures frameworks to make it ready to work with the more up to date working frameworks all the more proficiently. Here’s all the info we’ve managed to scraped about the upcoming CentOS.

      As indicated by the most recent reports, the fundamental form framework for the task has been finished, and at present, the group is focusing on the work of art. Additionally, the fabricate circles likewise need work to have the option to help the majority of the bundles of CentOS.

    • Hitler Refresh

      As shown with Gab and hate speech, violating Microsoft service agreements can have damning operational consequences for offending parties. But when it comes to providing the same services and more to government agencies that are actively separating refugee and immigrant families from their children at US borders while further holding them indefinitely concentration camps fit for no human (re: an act of genocide), Microsoft appears to have forgotten about their own service agreement. Despite such actions blatantly violating the same service agreement as Gab and virtually every acceptable code of ethics to boot, Microsoft is mum on the matter and continues to offer services to ICE, CBP, and their contractors to this day.

      Although Microsoft has already taken some flack on an ethical basis for empowering these agencies with services such as server hosting and email while they simultaneously treat families and their children inhumanely, it seemingly went overlooked that these agencies are violating Microsoft’s own service terms. Sure, partaking in genocide isn’t directly outlawed in Microsoft’s service agreement, but exploiting, harming, or threatening harm to children is expressly prohibited and is something that Microsoft can help fix in short order by simply holding some our own government agencies to the same standard as a disgraced social nutwork.

    • Bringing Linux containers to small-footprint industrial-edge applications [Ed: Wind River trying to sell its proprietary stuff]

      Standards-compliant, cloud-native implementations based on open-source projects are possible thanks to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which serves as the vendor-neutral home for many of the fastest-growing container-related projects. The foundation fosters collaboration between the industry’s top developers, end users and vendors.

      While initially deployed in enterprise IT environments, cloud-native architectures and containers provide benefits that are equally desirable for industrial, energy and medical embedded systems located at a factory, hospital or remote site. Code reusability, efficient maintenance, platform independence and optimized resource utilization are just as important for devices and applications developed by small teams working to meet aggressive schedules, deployed across multiple hardware architectures based on a variety of processor architectures.

    • Kubernetes Ecosystem Grows With Apple Support, New Release

      Organizations of all sizes are increasingly running their enterprise applications on top of cloud native infrastructure and more often than not, that infrastructure is Kubernetes.

      Kubernetes is an open source effort originally started by Google five years ago and now operated as a multi-stakeholder effort under the direction of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

      The CNCF gained a major new supporter in June, with the addition of Apple as a Platinum End User Member. The platinum tier come swith a $370,000 annual fee that Apple will now fork over to the CNCF.

      Apple isn’t just a consumer and user of CNCF projects including Kubernetes, it’s also an active contributor. Apple has made code contribution to the Kubernetes container orchestration project, Envoy proxy, Helm and the gRPC project as well. Apple joining the CNCF and being an active participant is a big deal not just for the brand recognition that they bring, but also because Apple was previously a very visible user of the rival Mesos orchestration system.

    • IBM: What Red Hat Brings To The Table

      I have been bearish on IBM (NYSE:IBM) for several years. As more information is being disseminated and stored over the Internet, cloud computing has become all the rage. The company has been transitioning from mainframe computing to cloud computing. That transformation has been a long, arduous process. The company has stagnant to declining revenue growth, making it difficult to recommend the stock. Its acquisition of Red Hat (RHT) for $34 billion was expensive, but it could pay dividends down the line.

    • Red Hat Reports First Quarter Results for Fiscal Year 2020
    • How Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 can help agencies accelerate innovation in the hybrid cloud

      Almost 10 years after the Office of Management and Budget first directed agencies to begin moving to the cloud, those agencies no longer need to be told. They’ve seen the benefits, and cloud-first policies and the need to reduce datacenters are no longer the primary drivers. Experts say flexibility in application development and deployment, a better place to innovate in digital services, and enhanced security rank among the most common reasons.

      But it can be a slow process, partly due to strict government requirements. Agencies need to meet requirements for security, uptime, disaster recovery, and workload portability with their hybrid cloud infrastructures..

    • Awards roll call: Red Hat awards, March 2019 – June 2019

      As we kick off summer, we wanted to share some of the latest awards and recognition that Red Hat has received over the last few months. Since our last award roundup, Red Hat has been honored with more than 17 new accolades across our organization.

      Since our founding 26 years ago, Red Hat has grown from a single product company to the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions and the first public open source company to generate more than $3 billion in revenue. Open source has revolutionized the software industry and it continues to be the driving force behind much of the technology innovation happening today. We see the following awards as a recognition of that journey.

    • An Introduction to Docker and Why It’s Useful in IoT

      But that is not the complete story. Netflix did not just seek the help of AWS because they have unlimited servers and data centers to provide. In fact, the huge costs of renting actual data centers can make it rather expensive to keep their monthly plans affordable for 150 million end users worldwide.

    • What +1′s taught us about organizational pain at Red Hat Summit

      Open tools work best in the hands of open people. At Red Hat, we understand that tackling bold challenges—like digital transformation or application modernization—requires more than technology alone. It requires new ways of thinking, working, and problem-solving. That’s why we’re committed to helping organizations understand how they can embrace open principles to reshape their organizational cultures in productive and innovative ways.

      So for Red Hat Summit in Boston, MA this year, members of the Open Organization community wanted to craft a unique experience that would help attendees understand the power of working openly. We wanted to create opportunities for visitors to share their culture- and process-focused challenges with us—not only so we could learn more about what’s keeping people from being as innovative, agile and engaged as they’d like to be, but also so we could connect them with resources they could use to begin tackling those challenges.

      This is the story of what we did, how we did it, and what we learned.

    • Cloudflare blames widespread internet borkage on Verizon and Noction

      Noction provides a service which it claims can increase BGP efficiency by 30-50 per cent by splitting IP addresses into smaller chunks (overly simplified, but that’ll get you through the explanation).

      When that went wrong, it started misdirecting traffic. A lot of it was caught by failsafes from carriers, but Verizon, it appears, didn’t have the necessary safeguards (a system called RPKI) and let the erroneous traffic go all over the internet.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Test and Code: 79: Fixing misinformation about software testing

      Some information about software testing is just wrong.
      I’m not talking about opinions. I have lots of opinions and they differ from other peoples opinions. I’m talking about misinformation and old information that is no longer applicable.

      I’ve ran across a few lateley that I want to address.

    • 2×54: Well Baffled

      [00:27:50] This past weekend has seen a bit of dancing about whether Ubuntu will drop 32-bit libraries from the archive, ending up with a statement from Canonical about it saying they aren’t going to (and Valve have responded saying that they’ll continue to support Steam on Ubuntu, although that was after we recorded the show)

    • Bad Voltage Season 2 Episode 54 Has Been Released:
    • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E12 – Nemesis

      This week we’ve been at the Snapcraft Summit in Montreal, we bring you some command line love and go over all your feedback.

      It’s Season 12 Episode 12 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • Regolith, Rosa, and Antsy Alien Attack | Choose Linux 12

      Two new hosts join Joe to talk about a nice i3 implementation and an amazing arcade game written in Bash.

      Plus a new segment called Distrohoppers, and a useful hidden feature of GNOME.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14.131

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.14.131 kernel.

      All users of the 4.14 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.14.y git tree can be found at:

      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.14.y

      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

    • Linux 4.9.184
    • Linux 4.4.184
    • FreeDOS’s Linux Roots

      discovered Linux in 1993 and instantly recognized it as a Big Deal. Linux had a command line that was much more powerful than MS-DOS, and you could view the source code to study the Linux commands, fix bugs and add new features. I installed Linux on my computer, in a dual-boot configuration with MS-DOS. Since Linux didn’t have the applications I needed as a working college student (a word processor to write class papers or a spreadsheet program to do physics lab analysis), I booted into MS-DOS to do much of my classwork and into Linux to do other things. I was moving to Linux, but I still relied on MS-DOS.

      In 1994, I read articles in technology magazines saying that Microsoft planned to do away with MS-DOS soon. The next version of Windows would not use DOS. MS-DOS was on the way out. I’d already tried Windows 3, and I wasn’t impressed. Windows was not great. And, running Windows would mean replacing the DOS applications that I used every day. I wanted to keep using DOS. I decided that the only way to keep DOS was to write my own. On June 29, 1994, I announced my plans on the Usenet discussion group comp.os.msdos.apps, and things took off from there…

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation and the GSMA Announce Partnership to Further Align NFVi Efforts

        LF Networking (LFN) and the GSMA today announced a partnership to create a common industry framework for Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi). Hosted by the GSMA and created with input from the Linux Foundation, the Common NFVi Telco Taskforce (CNTT) will operate as an open committee responsible for creating and documenting a Common NFVi Framework. An industry-aligned NFVi framework helps accelerate deployment across the entire telecommunications stack, from infrastructure to Virtual Network Functions (VNFs).

        “Operators are undergoing a period of significant digital transformation by migrating their networks from a physical to a virtualized or cloud environment. However, this is a challenging and time-consuming process involving integrating multiple different vendors into a common infrastructure,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “By following a common approach and framework, operators will vastly reduce the time and costs associated with integration and accelerate adoption and deployment.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Navi Support Makes It Into DRM-Next For Linux 5.3, AMDGPU Hits Two Million Lines

        With the Linux kernel driver support for the upcoming “Navi” graphics cards only having been sent out last week for AMDGPU/AMDKFD, given it was more than 450 patches and more than 400 thousand lines of code (granted much of that automated header files), there was some risk it could be postponed given the imminent cut-off of new material to DRM-Next for Linux 5.3 given the rigid release cycle. Fortunately, that pull request has been honored.

        So assuming Linus Torvalds has no objections to the code, this AMDGPU Navi support will be present in Linux 5.3. The Navi addition did regress earlier support, but fortunately that bug was quickly spotted and resolved. DRM co-maintainer David Airlie was content enough with pulling in the big AMDGPU code update overnight to DRM-Next.

      • Wayland’s Weston Now Supports EGL Partial Updates For Better Performance

        Thanks to longtime open-source Linux graphics developer Daniel Stone, Wayland’s Weston reference compositor now has support for the EGL_KHR_partial_update extension to provide for potentially better performance.

        The EGL_KHR_partial_update extension was led by Arm years ago to allow for efficient partial updates of surfaces ready to be displayed and for ignoring surfaces that are unchanged between frames.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Xeon Cascade Lake Compiler Performance – GCC 9/10 vs. LLVM Clang 8/9

        At least for the newest Intel Xeon “Cascade Lake” processors, the LLVM Clang compiler is running incredibly well compared to the long-standing GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Overall, LLVM clang is now nearly at performance parity to GCC 9 and the in-development GCC 10 compilers. Here are some Linux compiler benchmarks using the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 server built around the Gigabyte S3461-3R0.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 4.2.2 Released

        Within a month of Krita 4.2.1, we’re releasing Krita 4.2.2.

      • Konsole and Splits

        Some terminals like Tilix and Terminator offers the possibility to split the screen recursively, and I started to add the same thing to konsole. Konsole is usually said to be the swiss army knife of the terminal emulators, and if you didn’t try it yet, please do. We offer quite a lot of things that no other terminal emulator offer.

      • Cutelyst 2.8.0 released

        Cutelyst a Qt/C++ Web framework got a new release!

        This release took a while to be out because I wanted to fix some important stuff, but time is short, I’ve been working on polishing my UPnpQt library and on a yet to be released FirebaseQt and FirebaseQtAdmin (that’s been used on a mobile app and REST/WebApp used with Cutelyst), the latter is working quite well although it depends ATM on a Python script to get the Google token, luckly it’s a temporary waste of 25MB of RAM each 45 minutes.

      • GSoC Update

        Last post I said that I was having some problems pushing my modifications to the git repo. I discovered that the official ROCS repository was recently moved to the KDE Gitlab repo, called KDE Invent, where I am working on a fork of the original ROCS repo.

        It is a model that I have some knowledge, as I already worked with gitlab in a past internship and did some merge requests because of the Hacktoberfest (I like to win t-shirts). So I had to update my remote of the local repo and I sent my update to my remote fork branch, called improved-graph-ide-classes.

        When I was modifying the code, I noticed some problems with the creation of random trees, but I am thinking what is the better way to fix this part. This problem lies in the relation of the algorithm and the edge types available to generate the tree. When using directed edges, the code is sometimes generating directed loops of size 2 in the graph.

      • KDE Applications 19.08 Schedule finalized

        Dependency freeze is two weeks (July 11) and Feature Freeze a week after that, make sure you start finishing your stuff!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Annual Report 2018

        We are very excited to share with you some of our best moments, achievements, and great conferences/events which happened throughout the year in our annual report.

      • GNOME Foundation reports a huge increase in funding for 2018

        The non-profit, which oversees development of the GNOME desktop and related projects, saw a major increase in its income thanks to a set of substantial donations — including $400,000 from handshake.org.

        In total, the GNOME Foundation says it raised more than $1 million in income for the 2018 financial year. That’s a notable increase on the roughly $270k reported the year previous.

        The uptick in funding enabled the foundation to “increase the] budget for events, hackfests, doubling of the funding for the Outreachy program, and hiring of new people in staff.“

        Even with additional staff the foundations’ expenses were only up marginally on 2017, clocking in at just over $365,000.

        As is the case for many projects in an open-source orbit the GNOME Foundation still relies on small contributions and donations from users.

      • GNOME Foundation Issues 2018 Annual Report – Massive Increase In Funding

        The GNOME Foundation has issued their 2018 annual report that is particularly notable due to a massive rise in their income following two large donations.

        The GNOME Foundation saw more than $1,073,797 in income for their 2018 fiscal year compared to $274k the year prior. This record-breaking revenue came via two large donations and should help out GNOME for years to come with their expenses only ticking up slightly to $365k.

      • Gallium3D Panfrost Driver Can Now Handle Running The GNOME Shell Desktop

        Considering how resource intensive modern Linux desktops are particularly on OpenGL for compositing, it’s quite an achievement that the Panfrost open-source Gallium3D driver for Arm Mali Bifrost/Midgard hardware can now run the GNOME Shell.

        Alyssa Rosenzweig interning for Collabora had a summer goal, among others, of getting Panfrost working with GNOME. Well, not even to July, that goal has been realized in the latest Git development code.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Kodachi 6.1 The Secure OS

        Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Xubuntu 18.04 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure.
        Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side we do it all for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out.

      • Slax 9.9.1 released

        I am happy to let you know that new Slax version has been released.

    • Arch Family

      • mariadb 10.4.x update requires manual intervention

        The update to mariadb 10.4.6-1 and later changes configuration layout as recommended by upstream.

      • Jelle Van der Waa: Reproducing Arch [core] repository packages

        As Arch Linux we are working on reproducible builds for a while and have a continuous test framework rebuilding package updated in our repositories. This test does an asp checkout of a package and builds it twice in a schroot, we do not try to reproduce actual repository packages yet. In the end this is however what we want to achieve, giving users the ability to verify a repository package by rebuilding it on their own hardware.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE provides platform for cloud-native containerised applications

        As businesses are transforming their IT landscapes to support present and future demands, SUSE is providing the foundation for both their traditional and growing containerised workloads with the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1.
        Enterprises need the capability to design, deploy and run cloud-native, microservices-based applications as part of a DevOps approach. They must be able to deliver modern containerised applications with orchestration tools such as Kubernetes that enable secure and agile development and deployment from the edge to on-premise to hybrid to multi-cloud environments.

    • Fedora

      • Outcome of the CPE’s team’s face-to-face

        You may remember that we recently spoke about the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team and the problem it is facing — our workload is growing faster than the team can scale to meet it. From June 10th to June 14th most of the CPE team members met face to face in the Red Hat office in Waterford (Ireland)

      • RPM packages explained

        Perhaps the best known way the Fedora community pursues its mission of promoting free and open source software and content is by developing the Fedora software distribution. So it’s not a surprise at all that a very large proportion of our community resources are spent on this task. This post summarizes how this software is “packaged” and the underlying tools such as rpm that make it all possible.

        [...]

        From a quick look, dnfdragora appears to provide all of dnf‘s main functions.

        There are other tools in Fedora that also manage packages. GNOME Software, and Discover are two examples. GNOME Software is focused on graphical applications only. You can’t use the graphical front end to install command line or terminal tools such as htop or weechat. However, GNOME Software does support the installation of Flatpaks and Snap applications which dnf does not. So, they are different tools with different target audiences, and so provide different functions.

        This post only touches the tip of the iceberg that is the life cycle of software in Fedora. This article explained what RPM packages are, and the main differences between using rpm and using dnf.

    • Debian Family

      • Buster – the new version of Raspbian

        Amid all the furore about the release of a certain new piece of hardware, some people may have missed that we have also released a new version of Raspbian. While this is required for Raspberry Pi 4, we’ve always tried to maintain software backwards-compatibility with older hardware, and so the standard Raspbian image for all models of Raspberry Pi is now based on Buster, the latest version of Debian Linux.

      • Raspberry Pi 4: Raspbian ‘Buster’ interview

        The launch of Raspberry Pi 4 brings not only new hardware but new software too: Raspbian ‘Buster’, a brand-new release – compatible, as always, with every Raspberry Pi model going right back to the pre-launch Alpha design – with a revamped, flatter user interface based on the upstream Debian ‘Buster’ Linux distribution.

        Simon Long explains: “Due to the lack of obvious differences between Buster and Stretch, I wanted to do something to make it a bit more obvious that people actually had something new,” of his new interface design. When we moved from Jessie to Stretch, there was a similar lack of major differences, and people wondered whether or not they actually had the new version – I wanted to avoid that this time. Also, the overall UI design in terms of the appearance of buttons, controls, and the like really hasn’t changed significantly in the time I’ve been here – there have been some small tweaks, but it felt time for a change.”

      • Upgrade Your Raspberry Pi to Raspbian Buster, Without Losing Data

        While it was the launch of the Raspberry Pi 4 that snagged all the headlines this week, it wasn’t the only new product to come out of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The not-for-profit also released a new version of its Raspbian Linux distribution, dubbed ‘Buster.’ You need Buster to run Raspberry Pi 4, but it also works on and improves the experience for any older Raspberry Pi.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Development tips and tricks – snap try and snapcraft pack

            Over the past several months, we have shared with you several articles and tutorials showing how to accelerate application development so that a typically demanding, time-consuming process becomes an easier, faster and more fun one. Today, we’d like to introduce some additional tips and tricks. Namely, we want to talk about elegant ways you can streamline the final steps of a snap build.

            [...]

            Side by side with snap try, you can use the snapcraft pack command. It lets you create a snap from a directory holding a valid snap (the layout of the target directory must contain a meta/snap.yaml file). Going back to our previous example, you would alter the contents of your project directory, add assets (like libraries), and then pack those into a squashfs file.

          • Valve to continue Steam gaming on Ubuntu Linux

            When Canonical announced that, beginning with October’s Ubuntu 19.10 release, 32-bit -computer support would be dropped, it didn’t expect there would be much blowback. It was wrong. Developers and users, especially of Steam games, threw fits. So, Canonical, makers of Ubuntu Linux, reversed course and asserted it wouldn’t drop 32-bit software support in Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS after all.

            So, everything’s back to normal, yes? No.

            True, Valve will continue to support Ubuntu. But Ubuntu will no longer be called out as “as the best-supported path for desktop users.” Instead, Valve is re-thinking how it wants to approach distribution support going forward. There are several distributions on the market today that offer a great gaming desktop experience such as Arch Linux, Manjaro, Pop!_OS, Fedora, and many others.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Announcing our Summer Flock Party Event, and more news from June!

              Summer is here, so we’re having a Flock Party! Now until July 9th, join us on our website for discounts on laptops and desktops, and even more discounts with upgrades!
              To make our Flock Party even more colorful, we’ve enlisted the help of 17 parrots to hide out around our site. If you’re one of the first 10 to find them all and unscramble the code, we’ll have something special for you!
              Along with our parrot mania, we have info for you on hardware, Pop!_OS, firmware, and Thelio manufacturing. Read on to see what’s new in June!

            • System76 Continues Advancing Coreboot Support, Adding UI For Firmware Updates

              We’ve known that Linux PC vendor System76 has been investing engineering resources into Coreboot support and while not yet ready for end-users, they are making progress. For once it’s ready for their customers, they have also begun crafting a graphical user-interface for these firmware upgrades to Coreboot.

              In System76′s monthly news letter, they commented that their “open firmware” has entered testing on their Gazelle notebooks but remains in the early stages. As well, a UI element for managing firmware updates is being worked on and will be available through GNOME Settings. No word yet if System76 has decided to make use of Fwupd+LVFS, but in the past they’ve expressed various reasons for not doing so.

            • System76 / Pop! OS team should learn to work with their upstreams

              System76 / Pop! OS team, while you should be proud of the work you do for you users I think you are going the wrong way there. Working on fixes and including them early in your product is one thing, not upstreaming those fixes and using that for marketing you as better than your upstreams is a risky game. You might be overlooking that now, but divergence has a cost, as does not having good relationship with your upstreams.

            • Donate to Lubuntu!

              Lubuntu is a community-developed project that relies on support from the community to continue development. There are specific costs we would like to address to take the burden off of specific contributors, their employers, and the Ubuntu project as a whole. Specifically, Altispeed Technologies has graciously provided hosting support for our Phabricator instance, forum, and other pieces of critical Lubuntu infrastructure. We would like to eventually move off of Altispeed’s infrastructure, or be able to pay for the infrastructure ourselves.

              Additionally, Lubuntu Developers attend several major Linux conferences each year, specifically LinuxFest NorthWest, the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, SouthEast LinuxFest, and others. Lubuntu would like to be able to support some of these conferences and trips to these conferences without relying so much on e.g. the Ubuntu Community Donations Funding.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox UX: The 11 Secrets of Iterative and Incremental Product Development – A lightining talk

        Something I really like about the Firefox UX team is how we are all open to learning from each other.
        So, when one of my colleagues shared this specific image in our Slack channel, I knew it was OK to raise the question of why this picture is incorrect.

      • GeckoView in 2019

        Last September we wrote about using GeckoView to bring Firefox’s rendering engine to Android as a reusable library. By decoupling the Gecko engine from the Firefox application, we’ve created a newer, faster, and more maintainable way to create Android applications. This approach leverages Gecko’s excellent performance, privacy, and support for cutting-edge web standards.

        With today’s release of our GeckoView-powered Firefox Preview, we’d like to share an update on what we’ve accomplished and where GeckoView is going in 2019.

      • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: Reinventing Firefox for Android: a Preview

        At Firefox, we’re passionate about providing solutions for people who care about safety, privacy and independence. For several months, we’ve been working on a new strategy for our Android products to serve you even better. Today we’re very happy to announce a pilot of our new browser for Android devices that is available to early adopters for testing as of now. We’ll have a feature-rich, polished version of this flagship application available for this fall.

        [...]

        With Firefox Preview, we’re combining the best of what our lightweight Focus application and our current mobile browsers have to offer to create a best in class mobile experience. The new application is powered by Firefox’s own mobile browser engine — GeckoView — the same high-performance, feature enabling motor that fuels our Focus app.

        You might remember how we revamped the engine behind the Firefox desktop browser in 2017 enabling us to significantly improve the desktop user experience. As a result, today’s Firefox Quantum is much faster, more efficient, equipped with a modern user interface and clearly the next-gen Firefox. Quite similarly, implementing GeckoView paves the way for a complete makeover of the mobile Firefox experience. While all other major Android browsers today are based on Blink and therefore reflective of Google’s decisions about mobile, Firefox’s GeckoView engine ensures us and our users independence. Building Firefox for Android on GeckoView also results in greater flexibility in terms of the types of privacy and security features we can offer our mobile users. With GeckoView we have the ability to develop faster, more secure and more user friendly browsers that deliver unprecedented performance.

      • Firefox Will Help You ‘Fool’ Ad Trackers By Opening Up 100 Useless Tabs

        The moment you go online, there are uncountable ad trackers that follow your trail on the internet and later use that data to bombard you with personalized ads — which can be annoying after one point.

        So Mozilla has come up with a way to throw off the advertisers through a new feature called “Track This.” It basically opens up 100 tabs to show a fake browsing history to trackers and fool them by offering the wrong data.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • 2001: Linux is cancer, says Microsoft. 2019: Hey friends, ah, can we join the official linux-distros mailing list, plz? [Ed: Just more infiltration, entryism. They try to sell Windows and Azure. See comments on this article, e.g.: "You're assuming #Microsoft has good intentions. Instead, they've decided it's easier to suck the marrow from the bones if they can sneak inside the host under a flag of truce, like many other common parasites."]

      Sasha Levin, who describes himself as a “Linux kernel hacker” at the beast of Redmond, made the application for his employer to join the list, which if approved would allow Microsoft to tap into private behind-the-scenes chatter about vulnerabilities, patches, and ongoing security issues with the open-source kernel and related code. These discussions are crucial for getting an early heads up, and coordinating the handling and deployment of fixes before they are made public.

    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1 is now available on the Microsoft Store [Ed: To Microsoft it seems like GNU/Linux is just something you run under Windows, with Microsoft's permission]
    • Microsoft launches Windows Terminal app in Preview and it’s ruddy open source

      The change is certainly overdue. The most recent attempt to update from the original version was in 2006 with the launch of Powershell. Since then, Microsoft has attempted to patch up both, with CMD getting copy/paste support a couple of years ago (about 20 years late, in our humble opinion) and an aborted attempt to make Powershell the default for Windows 10, which nobody asked for and few wanted.

    • MongoDB’s CEO on Open Source, Taking on Oracle, and Scaling Up

      “MongoDB was built by MongoDB. There was no prior art. We didn’t open source it for help; we open sourced it as a freemium strategy”

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD on a Thinkpad 230

      From the first-ever conference I attended, I started picking up many tools and habits from other participants, speakers, and friends. It is still the same with many new conferences I go to, by meeting new people and learning about new technologies, or sometimes about technologies which are not so new.

      I use Linux as my primary operating system at home over 15 years now, getting a good Internet connection helped to make it happen. It was the same for my servers too. I do run different distributions, depending on the kind of work that needs to be done. When I go to many language-specific or general technical conferences, I do always find some discussions related to which distribution is good for what. However, whenever I met Trouble aka Philip Paeps, his lines are always amusing, but, also making questions about how FreeBSD differs from Linux in every possible way. I had FreeBSD running in few VMs at home, which is okay to have an understanding of the basics. To know more in details, I decided to move my primary site https://kushaldas.in over FreeBSD around a year ago. Till now it is running fine, and as a simple static website, there is not much to do anyway.

    • Prospering with Vulkan | BSD Now 304

      DragonflyBSD 5.6 is out, OpenBSD Vulkan Support, bad utmp implementations in glibc and FreeBSD, OpenSSH protects itself against Side Channel attacks, ZFS vs OpenZFS, and more.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • How do Spritely’s actor and storage layers tie together?

      I’ve been hacking away at Spritely (see previously). Recently I’ve been making progress on both the actor model (goblins and its rewrite goblinoid) as well as the storage layers (currently called Magenc and Crystal, but we are talking about probably renaming the both of them into a suite called “datashards”… yeah, everything is moving and changing fast right now.)

      In the #spritely channel on freenode a friend asked, what is the big picture idea here? Both the actor model layer and the storage layer describe themselves as using “capabilities” (or more precisely “object capabilities” or “ocaps”) but they seem to be implemented differently. How does it all tie together?

      A great question! I think the first point of confusion is that while both follow the ocap paradigm (which is to say, reference/possession-based authority… possessing the capability gives you access, and it does not matter what your identity is for the most part for access control), they are implemented very differently because they are solving different problems. The storage system is based on encrypted, persistent data, with its ideas drawn from Tahoe-LAFS and Freenet, and the way that capabilities work is based on possession of cryptographic keys (which are themselves embedded/referenced in the URIs). The actor model, on the other hand, is based on holding onto a reference to a unique, unguessable URL (well, that’s a bit of an intentional oversimplification for the sake of this explaination but we’ll run with it) where the actor at that URL is “live” and communicated with via message passing. (Most of the ideas from this come from E and Waterken.) Actors are connected to each other over secure channels to prevent eavesdropping or leakage of the capabilities.

    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 17 new GNU releases in June!

      apl-1.8
      artanis-0.3.2
      dr-geo-19.06a
      gawk-5.0.1
      gengetopt-2.23
      gnunet-0.11.5
      guile-2.2.5
      icecat-60.7.0-gnu1
      libmicrohttpd-0.9.64
      libredwg-0.8
      mailutils-3.7
      mit-scheme-10.1.9
      nano-4.3
      nettle-3.5
      parallel-20190622
      unifont-12.1.02
      units-2.19

  • Public Services/Government

    • Apache communities hack together with EU-FOSSA 2

      Experts from all over Europe attended this hackathon, from Croatia to Ireland, Poland, and Romania for example, but also from Russia and the US. Usually it is a great challenge to organise physical meetings since many projects are created and managed by disperse small teams of developers. Therefore, this hackathon was a valuable opportunity for community members that are normally restricted to communication via email or online chats, to meet face-to-face and produce impressive work in a short amount of time. The benefits of a physical meeting were visible even before the event, with over 90 pre-registrations applying to participate in the event or in the related trainings.

  • Programming/Development

    • Qt 3D Studio 2.4 Released

      We are happy to announce the Qt 3D Studio 2.4 release is now available via the online and offline installers. Here’s a quick summary of the new features and functions in 2.4. For detailed information about the Qt 3D Studio, visit the online documentation page or see the older blog posts.

    • Qt 3D Studio 2.4 Released With Massive Performance Boost – By Switching Away From Qt 3D
    • Top 7 Reasons Why Python Should Be Your Next Programming Language
    • OpenAssessIt Toolkit helps improve website accessibility

      Unfortunately, because of poor website design decisions, a lot of content on the web (such as PDFs) is not accessible to people with hearing, sight, mobility, neurological, and other disabilities, and as the population rapidly ages, accessibility-related problems will increase.

      Fortunately, many businesses, governments, and other organizations are taking strides to remedy inaccessible websites. There are two paths to achieving accessibility: fixing existing websites and doing the right things when sites are created. Fixing a website that has been in use for many years—with hundreds of pages, posts, images, and PDFs—can be a daunting task. Every element must be scrutinized for problems, and sometimes the fix is not obvious nor easy to accomplish.

      There are many tools available to check and fix website accessibility issues, including OpenAssessIt Toolkit, a new open source tool developed by Joel Crawford-Smith, a self-described “relentless web accessibility fanatic” and “cat aficionado.”

      OpenAssessIt converts Chrome Lighthouse files into visual, human-readable web accessibility assessments. Lighthouse audits websites for accessibility issues and reports its findings as text that can be viewed in the browser or exported as a JSON file with valuable hidden data.

      OpenAssessIt consumes Lighthouse’s data-rich JSON files and outputs them in Markdown, which is easy for people to read and edit. It also takes screenshots of each failing element and provides suggestions on how to fix each issue. Automated tools help detect accessibility issues, but a human must evaluate the validity and seriousness of each problem. “Seeing the issues visually [is] a good tool for training and development,” Joel says.

    • PyCharm 2019.2 EAP 5

      Despite the very sunny weather in Europe tempting us to go outside, we’ve succeeded in getting a build out for you this week. We’d appreciate it if you were to download it from our website.

    • Have you tried out Thonny?

      Today I have just installed a new Python IDE on my computer, it really looks simple but there are a lot of goodies. First of all, if you have not yet installed Thonny, you can download it from this link.

      As you can see from above, this IDE is super easy to use, you write the code on the editor, then after you have run the program, you can view the value and the address of the variable as well as a function under the heap panel. You can also step through each line of code of the program while debugging your program. If this is your first time learning Python then this IDE will get you started.

    • Little Trouble in Big Data – Part 2

      In the first blog in this series, I showed how we solved the original problem of how to use mmap() to load a large set of data into RAM all at once, in response to a request for help from a bioinformatics group dealing with massive data sets on a regular basis. The catch in our solution, however, was that the process still took too long. In this blog, I describe how we solve this, starting with Step 3 of the Process I introduced in Blog 1:

    • Building Standalone Python Applications with PyOxidizer

      Python application distribution is generally considered an unsolved problem. At their PyCon 2019 keynote talk, Russel Keith-Magee identified code distribution as a potential black swan – an existential threat for longevity – for Python. In their words, Python hasn’t ever had a consistent story for how I give my code to someone else, especially if that someone else isn’t a developer and just wants to use my application. I completely agree. And I want to add my opinion that unless your target user is a Python developer, they shouldn’t need to know anything about Python packaging, Python itself, or even the existence of Python in order to use your application. (And you can replace Python in the previous sentence with any programming language or software technology: most end-users don’t care about the technical implementation, they just want to get stuff done.)

      Today, I’m excited to announce the first release of PyOxidizer (project, documentation), an open source utility that aims to solve the Python application distribution problem! (The installation instructions are in the docs.)

    • PyOxidizer Can Turn Python Code Into .Exe File For Windows, MacOS, Linux

      Szorc says that an average computer user will be able to run the application without having to download the correct software libraries. This is because PyOxidizer produces binaries that embed Python. Hence users don’t need to install or know the language.

    • Stack Abuse: Text Generation with Python and TensorFlow/Keras

      Are you interested in using a neural network to generate text? TensorFlow and Keras can be used for some amazing applications of natural language processing techniques, including the generation of text.

      In this tutorial, we’ll cover the theory behind text generation using a Recurrent Neural Networks, specifically a Long Short-Term Memory Network, implement this network in Python, and use it to generate some text.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • USB inventor explains why it would have been too expensive to make it reversible

      Ajay Bhatt, who worked on Intel’s implementation of the USB standard recently spoke to US public radio (NPR) about the invention of USB, and why the flip it wasn’t reversible in the first place.

    • HTML is the Web

      It’s all about what gets consumed by the consumer. It’s the UI and UX. It’s the whole package. In descending order of importance it’s the HTML, the CSS, and the behaviour (which might be provided by the Javascript – might not be).

      My big concern is at the bottom of that technology pyramid. The lowest common denominator of the Web. The foundation. The rhythm section. The ladyfingers in the Web trifle. It’s the HTML. And it is becoming increasingly clear to me that there’s a whole swathe of Frontend Engineers who don’t know or understand the frontend-est of frontend technologies.

    • The cost of JavaScript in 2019

      On mobile, you’ll want to ship a lot less script because of network, memory consumption and execution time for slower CPUs. Balance latency with cacheability to maximize the amount of parsing and compilation work that can happen off the main thread.

Leftovers

  • 7 tips for avoiding burnout

    I have this saying: “Community doesn’t stop at 5:00pm on Friday.” It reminds me of several things, but most importantly, this saying reminds me to keep my work balanced, reserve time to take care of myself, and review for potential signs of burnout.

    I had the unpleasant experience of approaching burnout in early 2017. This case was the perfect storm of personal, home, and work stress culminating in what was medically diagnosed as severe anxiety—close enough to burnout to scare the daylights out of me. Based on my experience, I’d like to share what I learned so that you can avoid that path.

  • Science

    • 100 years of the library: The service we should value like the NHS – but don’t

      The 1919 Public Libraries Act effectively created libraries as we know them today. It removed the rates cap preventing local authorities from establishing new libraries and paved the way for a service available to all for free.

      It’s understandable that the government doesn’t want to talk about libraries, which have been one of the worst-hit casualties of austerity. Last year, there were 127 closures, one of the many consequences of central funding for local services being halved over the past decade.

    • Mobile phones to be banned in Victorian state schools from ‘first to last bell’

      Phones must be kept in school lockers from first bell to last bell unless a child needs to keep a phone for medical reasons or if there is a specific instruction from the teacher that the phones are needed for a classroom activity.

      The policy may not be universally popular, Mr Merlino said, but it was the “right thing to do”.

      Mr Merlino said teachers wanted children talking to each other in the schoolyard, not checking their phones.

    • Victoria to ban mobiles in state schools from 2020

      The Victorian Government will ban the use of mobile phones during school hours in state schools from the beginning of the school year in 2020, with the state’s Education Minister James Merlino saying the ban is aimed at stopping cyber-bullying.

  • Hardware

    • DisplayPort 2.0 launches, promising 8K video support by late 2020

      In late 2020, the first products incorporating the new DP 2.0 standard are expected to be made available, according to the Video Electronics Standards Association, or VESA. DP 2.0 can use the existing DP connector that appears on many high-end desktop PCs, or be carried over cabling that uses the standard USB-C connector—though you’ll still need a PC with DP 2.0 silicon to support it.

    • Apple reportedly owes Samsung ‘millions’ due to slow iPhone X sales

      However, “sluggish” sales of the firm’s debut OLED iPhone, the iPhone X, meant Apple wasn’t buying these displays at the agreed level – ET News estimates that the plant is currently working at less than 50 per cent capacity.

      This, in turn, caused Samsung Display to suffer a major slump in operating profits; the firm posted 2.62tn won in profits in 2018, a major tumble from 5.7tn posted the previous year.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Chinese hackers accused of ‘mass-scale attack’ on mobile operators

      The cyberespionage campaign, dubbed Operation Soft Cell, was first noticed a year ago. Since then, hackers been attacking various mobile operators to gain access to their networks and obtain call detail records (CDRs) of their targets from the database.

    • OSX/Linker: New Mac malware attempts zero-day Gatekeeper bypass

      The more technical explanation: Cavallarin noted that macOS treats apps loaded from a network share differently than apps downloaded from the Internet. By creating a symbolic link (or “symlink”—similar to an alias) to an app hosted on an attacker-controlled Network File System (NFS) server, and then creating a .zip archive containing that symlink and getting a victim to download it, the app would not be checked by Apple’s rudimentary XProtect bad-download blocker.

    • Apple macOS Gatekeeper security flaw exploited out in the wild

      Cavallarin noted that he alerted Apple to the problem in February, and Cupertino’s code wranglers were meant to have fixed it with macOS 10.14.5. But that doesn’t appear to have happened, as security company Intego has discovered an example of it being used.

    • An 14-year-old’s Internet-of-Things worm is bricking shitty devices by the thousands

      A hacker calling themself Light Leafon who claims to be a 14-year-old is responsible for a new IoT worm called Silex that targets any Unix-like system by attempting a login with default credentials; upon gaining access, the malware enumerates all mounted disks and writes to them from /dev/random until they are filled, then it deletes the devices’ firewall rules and removes its network config and triggers a restart — this effectively bricks the device, rendering it useless until someone performs the complex dance needed to download and reinstall the device’s firmware.

    • scripting sudo’s digest functions

      At my last job I wrote a couple perl scripts to build platform-specific digest-checking sudoers files for all programs in system directories. I’ve cleaned them up some and added Linux support. They’re not on github because once I do that other folks might find them, and I’m not convinced this is a good thing. But I’d like some feedback, so I’m posting here.

    • VideoLAN Patches Critical Vulnerability in VLC Media Player

      Discovered by Symeon Paraschoudis from Pen Test Partners, the issue allows a remote attacker to create a specially crafted file to trigger a double free in zlib_decompress_extra() (demux/mkv/utils.cpp).

      This could then be leveraged to execute arbitrary code on the vulnerable system, the researcher says.

    • Double-Free RCE in VLC

      I spent three months working on VLC using Honggfuzz, tweaking it to suit the target. In the process, I found five vulnerabilities, one of which was a high-risk double-free issue and merited CVE-2019-12874.

      Here’s the VLC advisory https://www.videolan.org/security/sa1901.html.

      Here’s how I found it. I hope you find the how-to useful and it inspires you to get fuzzing.

    • PoC Released for Outlook Flaw that Microsoft Patched 6 Month After Discovery

      As we reported two days ago, Microsoft this week released an updated version of its Outlook app for Android that patches a severe remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2019-1105) that impacted over 100 million users.

      However, at that time, very few details of the flaw were available in the advisory, which just revealed that the earlier versions of the email app contained a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw that could allow attackers to run scripts in the context of the current user just by sending a specially crafted email to the victims.

      Now, Bryan Appleby from F5 Networks, one of the security researchers who reported this issue independently to Microsoft, released more details and proof-of-concept for the Outlook vulnerability that he reported to the tech giant almost six months ago.

    • How I [Cracked] the Microsoft Outlook Android App and Found CVE-2019-1105

      In a web browser, it’s possible to run JavaScript code by using a URL that starts javascript:. But in a web browser, JavaScript in an iframe on a separate domain shouldn’t have access to the data in the rest of the page. In Outlook on the Android, there is no such restriction. My iframe JavaScript had full access to cookies, tokens and even some emails. Not only that, I could send them back out to a remote attacker.

      This kind of vulnerability could be exploited by an attacker sending an email with JavaScript in it. The server escapes that JavaScript and does not see it because it’s within an iframe. When delivered, the mail client automatically undoes the escaping and the JavaScript runs on the client device. Bingo – a stored XSS. This code can do whatever the attacker desires, up to and including stealing information and/or sending data back out. An attacker can send you an email and just by you reading it, they could steal the contents of your inbox. Weaponized, this can turn into a very nasty piece of malware.

    • More than 400 737 Max pilots are suing Boeing over an ‘unprecedented cover-up’ of flaws in the plane’s design

      More than 400 Boeing 737 Max pilots are suing the company over what they allege was an “unprecedented cover-up” of “known design flaws” in the plane, and over the financial losses they face as the plane remains grounded after two fatal crashes.

      A class-action lawsuit was filed against Boeing on Friday “for financial and other losses arising from the circumstances and grounding of the MAX fleet,” according to the two law firms representing the pilots, based in Chicago and Australia.

    • US Public Might Not Be Told About Foreign Efforts to Alter Next Election

      With the 2020 presidential campaign getting under way, intelligence agencies, along with the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, have set about briefing the candidates and making them aware of the resources available should their campaign come under attack.

    • US election security: still a dumpster fire

      There’s some progress on eliminating the voting-machine business altogether, with a free/open source system emerging from Los Angeles County’s election authorities — LA County is a national leader in election security and inclusiveness, with an 11-day voting window, available paper ballots for all, and a slate of accessibility features in its machines.

      But LA County is an exception, and between the poor-quality systems in place nationwide, intransigence from Senate Republicans on allocating funds for election security, and the diplomatic chaos that has failed to produce any international norms on election meddling, 2020 is looking like a potential shitshow to put 2016 to shame.

    • [Older] Securing Our Cyber Future

      This study seeks to provide a partial substitute for such a commission report. Building on the abovementioned research and investigations, our report begins by summarizing in Chapter One what the Kremlin did in 2016 and why. Chapters Two through Eight then offer concrete prescriptions for protecting the integrity and independence of U.S. elections, focusing in particular on strengthening resiliency before the 2020 presidential election. Our recommendations are practical, concrete, and achievable before 2020— but they demand action now.

    • A Likely Chinese [Attacker] Crew Targeted 10 Phone Carriers to Steal Metadata

      On Monday night, researchers at Boston-based cybersecurity firm Cybereason revealed the results of tracking a years-long cyberespionage campaign they’ve called Operation Soft Cell, which they say targeted the networks of at least 10 cellular providers around the world. And while researchers’ visibility into that [attack] campaign is incomplete, they say it appears to be a prolific but highly targeted espionage campaign likely based in China. In one of the 10 breaches that affected a Cybereason customer, the researchers say they found that the [attackers] had gained deep access to the victim’s network and stolen gigabytes of metadata related to 20 specific individuals’ phone usage and location.

    • The Bug That Crashed New York’s Wireless Network

      The simple remedy involved some necessary upgrades.

      Yet somehow, New York City’s technology managers were caught completely off guard, and did nothing to prepare for the calendar reset of the centralized Global Positioning System.

      As a result, a wireless network used by city agencies crashed in April, crippling many services that relied on it, including some Police Department license plate readers and a system to remotely control traffic lights. It took 10 days to get the network running again.`

    • Sheryl Crow: Universal Studios fire destroyed all my master tapes

      “And secondly, I can’t understand how you could make safeties [back-up copies] and have them in the same vault. I mean, what’s the point?

      “And thirdly, I can’t understand how it’s been 11 years,” she added. “I mean, I don’t understand the cover-up.”

      Crow, who had seven US top 10 albums between 1995 and 2008, is the first artist to confirm the loss of their recordings since the New York Times’ investigation was published two weeks ago.

    • Windows 10 USB-C glitch is causing sluggish shutdowns

      While a minute might not seem like a long time, despite the protestations of some, when one is working on the move and needs to quickly pack up a laptop to so they can hop off a train, for example, 60 whole full-fat seconds can seem like a drag.

      It’s also disconcerting when a computer takes a long time to shut down as well, given you don’t know if it’s suddenly going to throw up a blue screen of death.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Made in USA Librem Key

      We would never use the words “Made in USA” lightly. We had to meet very strict requirements before being allowed to use that label. It’s well-known that other firms have been fined for mislabeling their Made in China products as Made in USA, for instance because “screwdriver assembly” only (getting electronics made elsewhere and doing final case-assembly in the USA) is not enough to qualify for “Made in USA”. A company can source specific, individual electronics components from around the world (we source chips like the OpenPGP smart card from a European supplier, for example) but must actually make–as in fabricate–the product here, in the US, to be able to label it as “Made in USA.”

    • Purism’s Librem Key is Now the First and Only USB Security Token to be Made in the USA

      Purism, the social purpose corporation which designs and produces popular hardware and software that protects users’ digital lives, today announced its Librem Key product will be the first device of its category to be made in the USA.

      Librem Key, the first and only OpenPGP smart card closely integrated with the Heads-firmware offering a tamper-evident boot process, launched in September 2018. Initially manufactured in-part by partner Nitrokey, Purism is now manufacturing Librem Keys entirely from Purism’s Carlsbad, California headquarters – the same U.S. facility used to manufacture its Librem 5 smartphone devkits in 2018. Version 2 also stores up to 4096-bit RSA keys and up to 512-bit ECC keys and securely generates keys directly on the device.

      Supply chain security is a rising concern due to the lack of control hardware companies have over manufacturing links. Threats include security hacks, malware concerns, cyber-espionage, and even copyright theft. Purism sees protection of its supply chain as an existentially important issue, and has invested in supply chain improvements including the launch of Librem Key V2.

    • The Curious Case of Silexbot

      A new piece of malware that is using default credentials to log into IoT devices and then erase their file systems and shut them down is on the move, but it may not end up having the reach that it’s alleged creator intended.

    • Thousands of IoT Devices Bricked By Silex Malware
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

      I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.
      Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the US had encouraged allies to find reasons to prosecute Assange, two women made the headlines in Sweden. One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish. Mind you, each woman even submitted a condom as evidence. The first one, supposedly worn and torn by Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever — neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure. The second one, used but intact, supposedly proved ‘unprotected’ intercourse. Go figure, again. The women even texted that they never intended to report a crime but were ‘railroaded’ into doing so by zealous Swedish police. Go figure, once more. Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show-trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian Embassy.

      Alright, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his alleged unsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short: a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak.

      [...]

      But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

      In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.

      Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars in a New Ad Plugging Electric Cars

      The “Kicking Gas” ad, which debuts Tuesday, is the work of Veloz, a consortium of more than 40 automakers, utility companies, government agencies, and advocacy groups dedicated to accelerating the adoption of electric cars in California. Veloz will share the four-minute video online, pay to promote it on Facebook and Instagram, and rent 34 digital billboards across California for four weeks to point people to the video on Veloz’s website.

    • Severe water shortage afflicts Chennai, India’s fourth-largest metro area

      The routine daily activities of Chennai residents have been severely impacted by the water crisis. With the Chennai City Corporation having virtually stopped supplying water, families are forced to stand in long queues, which start forming at midnight, to fill up containers with the water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing. Those worst impacted are the working class and poor, as better off residents either have private wells or can purchase bottled water.

      The four local lakes that supply water to Chennai—Red Hills Lake, Sholavaram Lake, Chembarambakkam Lake and Poondi reservoir—have become virtual drylands.

    • ‘Fly less’ movement: Can forgoing flights help save the planet?

      Flying is responsible for at least 2% of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions, and among personal transport options, it is the least efficient. The airline industry has tried to green itself, but with sustainable options often expensive to maintain or in nascent stages of development, it still relies mostly on carbon offsets. But critics say offsets support the fossil fuel status quo.

    • New York Makes Progress Fighting Giant Weed With Toxic Sap

      Giant hogweed can grow up to 15 feet tall and has 2-foot-wide umbrella-shaped canopies of flowers. Brushing against it can release sap that causes painful, burning blisters.

    • Almost 6,000 greyhounds killed in Ireland per year, RTÉ documentary reveals

      Almost 6,000 greyhounds are killed in Ireland per year, a new RTÉ investigation has revealed

    • Those who knowingly harm greyhounds bring ‘shame’ on industry, says IGB

      The Irish Greyhound Board has accused those engaged in practices exposed by the RTÉ Investigates programme of bringing shame on the industry.

      In a special report broadcast on Wednesday night, the programme exposed that the industry is overbreeding by a factor of 10 and many greyhounds, who do not perform, are being shot illegally.
      The programme highlighted an unpublished report commissioned by the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB)and carried out by Preferred Results which revealed that of 16,000 greyhounds are born in Ireland every year.

      About 6,000 are killed because they failed to make qualification times or their performances declined.

  • Finance

    • Big Tech’s problem is its lack of competition

      According to Recode editor-at-large Kara Swisher, one of Silicon Valley’s biggest problems right now is its lack of competition. That big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have become too dominant and have thus stifled competition and creativity.

      Here is a lightly edited excerpt of Kara Swisher and Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel discussing the importance of competition and the possibilities of breaking up the tech giants that rule the land.

    • I paid off all my student loans. I still support student loan forgiveness.

      I paid off my student loans in full without assistance. Yet when editorialists decry Bernie Sanders’ student debt forgiveness plan as “unfair” to those of us who already paid off our loans (as they did with Elizabeth Warren’s), they’re certainly not speaking for me.

      It’s the kind of argument designed to tug at our most selfish impulses while ignoring the economic and political transformations that have left a generation of college graduates struggling under an unprecedented mountain of student debt.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Instagram’s head insists the app isn’t listening in on your conversations

      Instagram head Adam Mosseri promises the platform does not listen in on its users. In his first U.S. TV interview since taking the helm in October, “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King presses Mosseri on the question that’s been on her mind and many others: Why do I see ads for products I haven’t searched for?

      “Can you help me understand how I can be having a private conversation with someone about something I’m interested in seeing or buying… and an advertisement for that will pop up on my Instagram feed,” King asked. “I haven’t searched for it, I haven’t talked to anybody about it. I swear I think you guys are listening. I know you’re gonna say you’re not.”

    • Seeing Ads About Things You Talk About Is ‘Dumb Luck’: Instagram CEO

      We have for sure experienced the various social media apps showing us ads about things we were looking for at least once. What’s creepier is when we are just talking about that thing one moment and the other minute an ad about it pops up. However, Instagram claims that it doesn’t follow the drill as other apps.

      In an interview with CBS News‘ Gayle King, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has ‘promised’ that the photo-sharing app doesn’t listen to users’ conversations to show ads accordingly.

    • Jonathan Riddell: New Facebook Account

      Facebook is a business selling very targeted advertising channels. This is not new, Royal Mail Advertising Mail service offers ‘precision targeting’. But Facebook does it with many more precision options, with emotive impact because it uses video and feels like it comes from your friends and the option of anonymity. This turns out to be most effective in political advertising. There are laws banning political advertising on television because politics should be about reasoned arguments not emotive simplistic soundbites but the law has yet to be changed to include this ban on video on the internet. The result has undermined the democracy of the UK during the EU referendum and elsewhere.

      To do this Facebook collects data and information on you. Normally this isn’t a problem but you never know when journalists will come sniffing around for gossip in your past life, or an ex-partner will want to take something out of context to prove a point in diverse proceedings. The commonly used example of data collection going wrong was the Dutch government keeping a list of who was Jewish, with terrible consequences when the Nazis invaded. We do not have a fascist government here but you can never assume it will never happen. Facebook has been shown to care little for data protection and allowed companies such as Cambridge Analytica to steal data illegally and without oversight. Again this was used to undermine democracy using the 2016 EU referendum.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Photos of migrant father and daughter spark global anguish

      From the Vatican to the U.S. Congress and campaign trail, expressions of anguish, empathy and outrage poured out Wednesday over the photos of a migrant father and young daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico to enter the United States without legal permission.

      The photos show the bodies of the man and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down near the river bank. Her arm was draped around his neck, suggesting she clung to her father in their final moments. The photos published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada were distributed worldwide by The Associated Press.

      Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and daughter Valeria were fleeing from El Salvador, which is wracked by violent crime. The mother, Tania Vanessa Avalos, was still on the Mexican side of the river and survived.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Schools and Phone Companies Face Off Over Wireless Spectrum

      Carriers complain that the parts of the spectrum reserved for smartphone use are increasingly crowded, at least in urban areas. To keep up with the growing demand for mobile video and other smartphone applications, and deliver the faster speeds promised by 5G, carriers want access to more of the spectrum.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Apple decision forces Intel to auction its smartphone modem patents

      Intel confirmed plans to exit the smartphone business a few months ago, but news about the auction of its smartphone modem assets emerged only today. The announcement follows Apple’s decision to buy 5G smartphone modems from Qualcomm rather than Intel.

      Although the US company said it will continue to produce 4G smartphone modems and honor all orders, it will no longer invest in 5G modem product line following the announcement. Instead, Intel will shift focus on its 5G network business, which is expected to grow in the coming years.

      According to a new report from IAM, Intel has decided to auction all its IP relating to cellular wireless connectivity. There are no less than 8,500 patents that Intel is now looking to sell in order to recover some of the resources it invested. The report also mentions that Intel is launching this auction separate to its efforts to sell the smartphone modem division, hoping that a potential buyer for both will appear.

    • Cars, sarapes and green beans, all southern style

      Argentina-The National Congress has passed the “Regime for the Promotion of the Knowledge Economy” Law 27.506 (here), replacing the “Regime for the Promotion of the Software Industry” Law 25.922. The new regime, like the previous one, seeks to stimulate national production in certain industries by granting fiscal benefits through the use of tax credit bonds as well as providing tax stability, so that the beneficiaries of the regime shall not increase their total tax burden, as determined at the time of their application and throughout the duration of the regime as defined in the article 7 of the law.

      This means that once they are registered as beneficiaries, their taxes (including direct taxes as well as duties on imports and exports) will not be increased. However, the new law seeks to broaden the scope of covered goods and services so as to include software as a service (Saas), audiovisual productions, biotechnology, nanotechnology, the aerospace industry, and various types of industry 4.0- related technologies. The new law will enter into force on January 1, 2020, and remain in effect until December 31, 2029.

    • Patent case: Accord Healthcare Ltd. vs. Shire-NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., Netherlands

      The Court held that a selection invention is inventive if the compound of the selection offers surprisingly advantageous or improved properties over the prior art compounds. These properties should already be plausible from the patent application as filed. Further, a selection invention would be obvious to the skilled person if they would assume a neutral ‘try and see’ approach on the basis of the prior art information, and no explicit chance of success needs to be present.

    • April shows fewer (but still high) abstract idea (Alice-based) reversals [Ed: Anticipat quit tracking IPRs, latching instead onto mere applications (Iancu ignoring the law and caselaw) and even then the numbers are moving in the opposite direction (of what lawyers and trolls hope)]

      April showed a continued high number (204) of abstract idea decisions decided at the Board. Of the 204 total decisions deciding abstract idea rejections for this month, the Board completely reversed the rejection 54 times. This shows a reversal rate of 26.5%, which is lower than the last several months, but higher than many previous months.

      [...]

      Despite chatter on Capital Hill about amending Section 101 for greater predictability, many believe that passage of such a bill will be difficult in this year with competing priorities. And even with such amendments, it appears unlikely that the problem of patent-eligibility will go away—it will simply change. Thus, abstract idea rejections do not appear to be going away any time soon. Expect the reversal rate to continue to be higher than historical reversal rates, but not necessarily record-breaking unless new more favorable case law is made.

    • Senators Tillis and Coons Release Statement on Recent Patent Reform Hearings [Ed: Michael Borella perpetuates lies of bribed politicians and their stacked, staged, biased, imbalanced ‘panels’]

      The Senators introduced a draft bill that eliminates the current two-part Supreme Court § 101 test, removes judicial exceptions to eligibility, draws a strict line between the inquiries of §§ 101, 102, 103, and 112, and would result in virtually any invention that “provides specific and practical utility in any field of technology through human intervention” being eligible. The draft bill also changes § 112(f) in a fashion that narrows the interpretation of functional claim language.

    • Biotech Prospects for Patent Reform [Ed: Michael Borella's colleague Kevin E. Noonan also pretends that bribed politicians and their stacked, staged, biased, imbalanced ‘panels’ are supported by the public. He wants patents on life itself (he does litigation)]

      Their missive begins with the almost requisite encomiums to innovation and entrepreneurship, and the contributions of the patent system to U.S. success in these endeavors.

    • Forum US, Inc. v. Flow Valve, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

      Here, there was really no question that the broader reissue claims were not clearly and unequivocally disclosed in the original patent. The original patent did not disclose an embodiment of the invention without an arbor. Similarly, the abstract and summary of the invention described the invention as having a plurality of arbors. For that reason, Flow Valve had relied on an expert declaration regarding what “a worker of ordinary skill would understand.” But while such a declaration might be sufficient to satisfy the written description requirement, it does not help illuminate the text of the original patent. Simply put, the specification did not “clearly and unequivocally disclose the newly claimed invention as a separate invention,” and the reissue claims failed the original patent requirement.

      The Forum US case is yet another reminder of the value of expert patent prosecution counsel. Flow Valve might have been able to pursue its claims in a continuation application, if it had one pending (which experienced counsel would likely have suggested). In doing so, it would not have had to meet the additional requirements of a broadening reissue. But not knowing the quirky rules of reissue, including the original patent requirement, can prove fatal to the same claims if they do not appear clearly to be part of the invention in the original patent.

    • Eligibility: Pleadings are Enough, but they must Tie the Claims to an Inventive Concept

      The district court dismissed Cellspin’s infringement lawsuit on the pleadings — finding the asserted claims unenforceable as a matter of law under 35 U.S.C. § 101 (ineligible abstract idea). On appeal, the Federal Circuit has vacated — holding instead that the early-stage dismissal was inappropriate because the patentee’s amended complaint included “specific factual allegations” that, when accepted as true, showed a plausible inventive concept sufficient to satisfy Alice Step 2.

      The court explains here that under Aatrix, “plausible and specific factual allegations that aspects of the claims are inventive” are sufficient to overcome a pleadings-stage motion to dismiss. “[T]he specification need not expressly list all the reasons why this claimed structure is unconventional” so long as the arguably inventive elements are “recited by the claims.”

    • NPEs at the ITC Illustrate Flaws in U.S. Trade Court

      This week, an Irish non-practicing entity (NPE)’s lawsuit against multiple U.S. companies got the go-ahead from a U.S. trade court designed to protect U.S. companies from unfair foreign competition. No, that sentence isn’t backwards. That’s exactly what the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has done in the Neodrón investigation.

      Should the NPE win, the ITC could ban importation of 80% of Android tablets, 86% of Windows tablets, more than 50% of Android smartphones, and 97% of premium Android smartphones. All for the benefit of an Irish NPE.

      [...]

      In its own words, Neodrón admits that it didn’t invent anything. According to its filing, the “patented improvements at issue in this action were made by highly regarded engineers from two U.S. companies: Atmel Corporation (‘Atmel’) and Microchip.”

      The patents are all focused on touchscreen technology. One appears to cover sensing movement of a finger along a linear or circular touch-sensitive strip—in fact, it looks a lot like the iPod Mini capacitive click-wheel which predates Neodrón’s patent by several years. Another describes a capacitive sensing technique in a keypad with separate capacitive areas. And a third covers a system for distinguishing between multiple keys, where a key might be a surface such as a touchscreen.

      [...]

      So we have an Irish company that makes nothing and admits it never invented a thing, run by a patent lawyer and backed by money from a hedge fund, suing U.S. companies. All in a trade court that’s designed to protect U.S. companies from unfair foreign competition, but is being used to help a foreign company take all the profit away on a product it contributed nothing to.

      That’s not what the ITC was designed for, and it’s not good for the U.S. economy. It’s time to fix the ITC.

    • Trademarks

      • Scandalous trademarks: why SCOTUS ruling may lack bite

        Despite the US Supreme Court’s finding that scandalous or immoral trademarks cannot be banned, lawyers say that the judgment’s impact may be limited in practice

      • Guest Post by Prof. Farley: SCOTUS’s Second Take on Trademark Registration as Speech

        The Supreme Court has now struck down as unconstitutional a second trademark registration bar. The court ruled yesterday in Iancu v. Brunetti that the government may no longer deny trademark registration to marks that are “scandalous” or “immoral.” In 2017, the court struck down a provision that denied trademark registration to marks that are “disparaging” in Matal v. Tam. Both registration bars appear in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act.

        Many commentators had seen the cases as so similar that they wondered why the court had even granted certiorari. Perhaps as a result, the case provoked less interest from amicus brief authors. The conventional wisdom was that the court’s opinion in Tam left no room to uphold this provision.

        In Tam, the court ruled that denying trademark registration to marks that disparage constitutes viewpoint discrimination because the government was sorting out “ideas that offend.” The court reconfirmed that viewpoint discrimination is presumptively unconstitutional. In his concurrence, Justice Kennedy described viewpoint discrimination as “a form of speech suppression so potent that it must be subject to rigorous constitutional scrutiny.”

        For the Brunetti majority, this was a simple case. Indeed, Justice Kagan, who wrote the majority opinion joined by Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, dispensed with the case in ten and a half tight pages even as she devoted a full page to examples of marks that were refused registration (comparing them to similar marks that were approved for registration). The opinion is short and sweet: this is the same case as Tam.

      • First the Slants, Now FUCT – Supremes Say Potty-Mouth Okay

        The Lanham Act, which deals with patent and trademark issues, bans the registration of “immoral or scandalous” trademarks. Well, it did until Monday. Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority and was joined by Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh in striking it down.

        The majority discussed the benefits of PTO registration. Registration is not required to enforce a trade or service mark, but it does grant the registrant several rights and privileges that aid in enforcing the mark, which is why people go through the trouble.

        [...]

        That’s the end of the analysis for the majority, as viewpoint-based restrictions on speech are the classic hallmark of laws that violate the First Amendment. Kagan quoted Justice Anthony Kennedy’s explanation about The Slants, where the PTO “allowed a trademark owner to register a mark if it was ‘positive’ about a person, but not if it was ‘derogatory.’” The case is the same here with respect to messages the office favors or disfavors, therein enforcing impermissible discrimination.

      • EU Intellectual Property Office Produces Dumbest Propaganda Film Ever, Pretending Without IP There Is No Creativity

        The tweet actually just shows a 16 second clip from what appears to be a nearly 10 minute “film” that the EU IPO actually released back in April. You can view the whole thing here, though I warn you that it is 10 minutes of your life that you will not get back, and it is so dumb that you’ll really wish you could get them back (I, at least, watched it on double speed). The film, called “IPIDENTICAL: Imagine a world without creativity” is supposed to be an example of what the world would look like without intellectual property. In this world, everything is the same. There is one song in the world, called “The Song” and that’s it. There is one movie, “The Movie.” There is one car in one color. Everyone wears the same clothes. All products on store shelves are identical. See? How dystopian.

        [...]

        First off, anyone with even the slightest familiarity with history knows it’s bullshit. I mean, there was pretty widespread creativity prior to there being intellectual property laws. William Shakespeare wrote everything he wrote without copyright. He didn’t just write “The Play” and be done with it. Indeed, evidence suggests that the lack of copyright was partly responsible for him writing so much since he had to keep producing new works to satiate his audience. And you don’t even need to look at history. There have been lots of studies of creative arenas today that don’t rely on intellectual property, from fashion to comedy to magic to cooking — and they’ve pretty much all found that categories without intellectual property protections actually generate more output and more creativity because you have to keep creating, rather than rest on your laurels. We’ve written about some of that in the past, but if you’re looking for sources, The Knockoff Economy book by Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman is a good start, as is Creativity Without Law, which is a collection of case studies about creativity outside of intellectual property.

        And, look, I get it: it’s the EU Intellectual Property Office. Of course, they’re going to think the world revolves around copyright, patents and trademarks. But is it really that big a deal to expect that government bureaucrats should at least be partially reality based? And is it too much to expect that a government agency shouldn’t be spending taxpayer dollars on blatantly false propaganda that is so laughable as to only serve to lead more people to lose respect for intellectual property?

        But, perhaps the most damning of all: copyright wasn’t necessary to make this bit of insane propaganda. Notice that the EU IPO posted the film for free to YouTube, and they’re tweeting out clips of it. The reason they made this film is for propaganda (which some might refer to as “educational”) purposes, and they want as many people as possible to see it. There is no need for copyright on the film. They’re not selling it or licensing it to anyone. The incentive to create it was wholly separate from copyright — as is true of nearly all content created today. It was created not because they had an exclusive right, but because they wanted people to see it.

      • BEAUTY & THE BAY not an infringement of BEAUTY BAY, says High Court

        Beauty Bay (the claimant, acting together with its licensor) is the registered owner of a number of UK and EU marks. In particular, it is the proprietor of the word marks BEAUTY BAY and BEAUTYBAY for goods and services in Classes 3 and 35 of the Nice Classification. The claimant also acts as an online retailer of cosmetics, beauty products and accessories, trading under the said marks.

        The defendant, Benefit, is a global manufacturer and retailer of cosmetics owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH and based in San Francisco, USA (the action was targeted against its UK subsidiary).

        The dispute arose when the defendant sold a Christmas set that consisted of items contained in a globe-shaped gift box. This product formed part of a larger set, intended to celebrate its San Francisco heritage and mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. In this regard, the products in the globe-shaped box were a collection of the defendant’s best-selling beauty products:

    • Copyrights

      • Retired Police Officer and ‘Copyright Troll’ Square Off in Court

        Copyright-trolling outfit Strike 3 has its hands full with a retired police officer. The man, who denies pirating anything, is pursuing a counterclaim for abuse of process and wants to see the tracking software’s source code. Strike 3, meanwhile, suspects that the man’s son is the infringer and says it may have a “smoking gun.”

      • Operators of ‘Linking’ Sites Walk Free in Criminal Piracy Case

        A Spanish Criminal court has acquitted four men who were accused of facilitating copyright infringement through the defunct linking sites SeriesYonkis, PeliculasYonkis and VideosYonkis. The judge notes that, at the time, sites that linked to pirated content stored elsewhere were not criminally liable. The verdict is good news for the defendants but will be appealed.

      • UFC: Online Platforms Should Proactively Prevent Streaming Piracy

        Mixed Martial Arts fights, including the popular UFC events, are among the most pirated live-streams on the Internet. Responding to questions from US senators, the UFC’s General Counsel says that the company is working hard to address this issue, adding that Congress should help to incentivize online platforms to become more proactive.

      • The Pirate Bay Faces Massive ISP Blocks in Spain

        Back in 2015, Vodafone admitted that following an order from the Spanish government, it had begun blocking The Pirate Bay, the world’s most famous torrent site. Fast forward four years and the Ministry of Culture and Sports is attempting to finish the job, with an order for ISPs to block more than 60 TPB-related domains.

The EPO’s “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI), Formerly Known as “Team Collaboration Project,” Shows the EPO Grossly Violating the Law, Granting Patents in Clear Violation of the EPC

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In April: The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Warns About the Granting of Tens of Thousands of Invalid European Patents Every Year

A horse race

Summary: “The European Patent Office helps your company to invent,” joke EPO insiders in relation to the dubious CQI programme; “We informed some of the major European patent applicants about a new project,” they said, “which is a diversionary tactic of the EPO management and now possibly a hobby horse of President António Campinos.”

Seeing how Battistelli ‘normalised’ Brimelow’s software patents “as such” (the predecessor’s mistake, which we criticised the most), and seeing how his successor calls everything "hey hi" (AI) or similar buzzwords, we were curious to see how such patent applications would be handled by examiners. Some told us that they loathed granting such patents but were under enormous pressure to allow them. We published several articles to that effect. What would happen if the applicants participated in examination? Or contrariwise, if examiners took the applicants’ side and helped them ‘trick’ the system (or violate the EPC)? One begins to wonder if the EPO is even a patent office any longer…

“Did you know? The European Patent Office helps companies to invent,” said examiners at the EPO, who circulated the following text among EPO stakeholders. We reproduce the text below.

The European Patent Office helps your company to invent

24.06.2019

Dear Sirs,

Is your company’s business model based on innovation but your employees (unfortunately) don’t have any inventive skills? Don’t worry. The European Patent Office (EPO) will help you out.

The latest creative “business idea” of the EPO’s top management can indeed turn (almost) any company into a high tech forge: EPO examiners are currently being trained to invent – for you!

You possibly belong to the large group of (old-fashioned) patent applicants who think that a patent examiner’s job is to assess whether somebody has made an invention or not. If so, you may expect a patent examiner to do an in-depth prior art search for a patent application, and then, after thorough examination of the technical matter, to either deliver a patent for an invention or refuse the application for the lack of it. But these days nothing could be further from the truth.

The EPO President and top managers enjoy immunity from jurisdiction and execution. These people are above the law, including national law and … patent law. Being one of these people – and knowing that you are above the law – you are free to do a lot of illegal and unethical things without taking any risk.

A current EPO pilot project is called “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI). While users of the European patent system have become used to well sounding buzzwords whose true meaning is almost the exact opposite of what they appear to mean, they nevertheless seem to be buying the EPO’s we continue improving patent quality story. The CQI pilot was originally called “Team Collaboration Project” but later renamed. Its original aim was to boost productivity by at least 20%.

Several groups of examiners are currently working under the CQI umbrella, many against their will. The alleged objective of CQI is the improvement of patent quality by teamwork and knowledge sharing. This shall be achieved by more discussions within the three member examining divisions and regular CQI team meetings. But the unspoken objective of CQI is to increase the patent grant output. Examiners shall stop investing precious time in doing in-depth prior art searches. Instead, their managers expect them to base examination on the first potentially relevant document they come across. It is sufficient if that document, mainly its figures and some keywords, resembles a bit (just a little bit will be good enough these days) the patent application on the examiner’s desk. Ideally the examiner simply picks a document from a list generated by the EPO’s fully automated prior art search algorithm. That takes only a few minutes. The chosen document is then called the “closest prior art”.

In particular the COOs are pushing this new way of working. The first results of the CQI pilot were so promising that the EPO President mentioned them in an announcement to the staff earlier this year. VP1 presented the pilot to the Administrative Council in March 2019. The project is also mentioned in the (Draft) Strategic Plan 2023 (goal 3, key initiative 4) and shall be expanded to all EPO patent grant units.

Depending on the complexity of the technical field, a highly qualified, trained and specialized examiner needs in average 1 ½ to 2 ½ days to study a patent application and draft a search report and a detailed first reasoned assessment of the invention. But much of this effort shall in future be avoided. Prior art searching skills will no longer be required. Future EPO search reports may only contain some automatically retrieved documents. While the EPO’s automatic search algorithms are surely better than random number generators, the results they produce come rarely close to the truly relevant subject-matter, the genuine “closest prior art”.

Search reports will continue being published as usual, without any hint that the search process has been “streamlined”. The EPO’s obligation towards the other stakeholders, including your competitors and the public, are then formally met. The EPO will nevertheless charge you the full search fee.

But you will get something in return: instead of examining the patent application in the light of the prior art indicated in the search report (which can be rather irrelevant prior art, as explained above), the examiner will, during the examination phase, quickly read through the patent application and create your invention. This is sometimes achieved through collaborative brainstorming in pairs consisting of the examiner and the chairman of the examining division (that’s where the term “Team Collaboration Project” comes from). The aim of the exercise is to reach a horse deal for an “EPO invention”. When agreement is reached, you will receive a phone call from the examiner with a text proposal for a patent. The examiner will try to talk you into his proposal. All you need to do is to accept it. The proposal will then turn into your horse deal. But you won’t be aware of it since the examiner is not supposed to tell you that your patent application is being treated under the new work scheme. Of course, your competitors won’t know either.

When an automatically retrieved and rather irrelevant document is used as the “closest prior art”, the result of the consecutive patent examination will of course be arbitrary. The patents granted on such insecure basis will not provide legal certainty. But the EPO’s new business model is based on output (and bonuses for top managers) instead of honest work for the public. And why should you bother about carefully examining patent applications if you run a patent office being free to ignore the patent law?

We wish you a fruitful future cooperation with your business partner, the European Patent Office.

Yours faithfully,

Patent Examiners at the European Patent Office

Contact: https://www.epo.org/service-support/contact-us.html

So there you have it. The EPO is in gross violation of the EPC. Who’s going to hold anyone accountable here?

EPO CQI: Raw Leak of the Latest EPO ‘Ingenuity’

Posted in Europe at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Older pilot: Leaked: EPO Prioritises Work for Large Foreign Corporations, Discrimination Not Accidental But Centrally Planned

Summary: The European Patent Office’s (EPO) CQI pilot, which raises serious concerns among staff for reasons to follow (or be mentioned separately)

The EPO Has Successfully Muzzled the Media

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It has also blocked Techrights for nearly half a decade now and only because it’s one avenue for staff’s speech (IP Kat was temporarily blocked until it stopped writing critically about the EPO).

Traffic calming device

Summary: Workers of the European Patent Office (EPO) are not being listened to by the European/mainstream media, which is more interested in covering things that the EPO pays it to cover (managers wasting EPO budget) than in actual news which concerns the lives of thousands of well-meaning people and the European economy

EARLIER this week we complained about lack of media coverage about EPO scandals. We are certain that all EPO staff is aware of that; the media sort of stopped covering the matter as if António Campinos just magically fixed the legacy/policies of Battistelli by virtue of appointment/start of service. Never mind if software patents are still being granted, quality of patents is in general declining and staff comes under constant, never-ending attacks (with a Campinos smile accompanying those attacks). All we find in the media this week is a bunch of puff pieces like “Erema executives win European Inventor Award 2019″ (Plastics News). The EPO wants these puff pieces everywhere/dominant ahead of the meeting of the Administrative Council’s heads. The timings aren’t likely to be a coincidence. It is strategic. Piggybacking the accomplishments of scientists to associate the EPO with progress.

Comments about the EPO are pretty explosive this week, but only the comments. To quote the latest from Kluwer Patent Blog, we presume posted by EPO insiders past and/or present:

Perhaps the answer behind EPO’s chaotic management is to be found here: http://techrights.org/2019/06/05/drunk-on-power/

Apparently, what is reported in this article seems to be confirmed by several internal sources. It would even be a recurrent pattern e.g. dinner with EPI representatives, or dinner with high producers, also in Delft (NL)

The current EPO president is de facto relying on Battistelli’s minions to run the EPO for him who has no time to work since life has so many facets to enjoy.

Then the Administrative Council (AC) is brought up:

It will be interesting to see what decisions are taken at the upcoming meeting of the AC.

If the AC were intent on fulfilling its supervisory role, one might expect it to be alarmed by the truly terrifying results of the staff survey, and to instruct the President to take corrective action.

Also, one might expect the AC to dig into the details of the financial study, to chide the President for making unreasonable assumptions (in an apparent attempt to create the misleading impression that the EPO is in financial crisis), and to consign the study to the waste bin.

These two points are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many other issues to which a fully functional AC would turn its attention (such as important ILO judgements still not yet implemented, to name just one).

Judging from their recent track record, it seems that the AC is unlikely to be motivated to do much other than take actions that either preserve or increase the flow of funds from the EPO to the national offices. Provided that a proposal from the President satisfies that objective, then it seems that pretty much anything goes for the current AC. Thus, whilst I would very much like to be disproven on this point, I suspect that we will see the AC rubber-stamping yet further proposals that reap financial benefits for those in the club but that do nothing to help make the EPO fit for purpose.

Applicants and the public deserve better. But there is no way that they will ever get what they deserve unless and until the EPC member states remove the conflicts of interest that make AC members so motivated by money. In this regard, it is perhaps no coincidence that the era of serious troubles at the EPO began not so long after the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

And finally (for the time being):

To those who wonder what an “agile culture” is, please have a look at how France Telecom was driven to folly due to a HR management similar to that of the EPO (under Battistelli the EPO had a suicide rate similar to that of France Telecom. None of the cases reported by the central staff committee was investigated since Battistelli refused independent enquiries by competent local authorities).

In concrete terms, an “agile culture” means getting rid of elderly staff under permanent employment (too expensive) at all costs to replace them by far cheaper younger ones (lacking experience and badly trained), who will work under time-limited contracts. New recruits at EPO will not have the luxury to enjoy a pension since the undeclared aim of HR is to getting rid of them at the end of their 2nd and last time-limited contract, precisely before they qualify to pension rights.

But my friends do not worry: of course, HR top management will always make sure that favourites, friends and family members get a permanent position and a decent pension

Almost nobody in the media covers any of these concerns. As we explained earlier this week, those who did cover such matters more or less vanished. We can imagine the publisher/employer did not like that. People whom we contacted about this have not replied.

IPPro Magazine’s Ben Wodecki, who used to write mostly EPO puff pieces, is gradually becoming more like his colleague, Barney, having just mentioned the latest from the Central Staff Committee:

Proposed ‘quick fixes’ at the European Patent Office (EPO) would aid the “alarmingly slow” social dialogue, according to a letter to the office’s Central Staff Committee (CSC).
Changes proposed by the CSC including alterations to the time budget, general provision definitions, and exemptions for staff committee members.

In a letter to EPO president António Campinos, the CSC wrote that while the group were “optimistic” regarding making positive changes, the pace of progress by the office “has been alarmingly slow” in the Working Groups “Resources and Communication” and “Adjustment to the performance management system and procedure for incompetence”.

The CSC urged the office to “pick up the pace” in relation to these Working Groups.

The tenure of former EPO president Benoît Battistelli was dogged with criticism over staff measures. Campinos had pledged to alter the measures, but his administration has been accused of being slow at making the necessary changes.

Slow? They barely make any changes at all, except changes for the worse. In the next post we shall show leaks to that effect.

Links 27/6/2019: Valve-Ubuntu Reconciliation, GNOME Usage Gets More Useful at Reporting Disk Space

Posted in News Roundup at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux

  • Concurrent Real-Time Introduces RedHawk Linux for NVIDIA’s Jetson AGX Xavier

    In supporting the AGX Xavier, RedHawk Linux is well positioned for embedded applications in aerospace, defense, automotive, industrial and medical markets that require high-performance, low-power consumption and deterministic response. RedHawk provides a guaranteed response time of less than 50 microseconds on the AGX Xavier.

  • IGEL Drives the Rapid Growth of Linux OS-Based Devices at the Edge

    …in 2018 Linux, for the first time, surpassed Windows shipments for thin clients, growing 6% per annum from 2015 to 2018 while Windows OS shrank 5% per annum during the same period.

  • LinuxQuestions.org Turns Nineteen

    I’m proud to announce that LQ turned 19 yesterday! I’d like to once again thank each and every LQ member for their participation and feedback. While there is always room for improvement, that LQ has remained a friendly and welcoming place for new Linux members despite its constantly growing member-base and geographic distribution is a testament to the community.

    To say that feedback has been absolutely critical to our success is an understatement. As has become tradition, I’d like to use this thread to collect as much feedback as possible about LQ. What are we doing well and where can we improve? Where are we failing? What can we do to ensure long time members remain engaged and willing to help? What can we do to ensure new members feel welcome? What should we be doing differently?

    As part of our 19 year anniversary, we’ll be randomly selecting 19 posts from this thread and upgrading that member to “Contributing Member” status for one year. Stay tuned, and thanks again for being a member. Together, I think we can make LQ even better.

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS 75 rolling out with Linux improvements, playing DRM video on external displays

      After rolling out to Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, version 75 of Chrome OS is now available. Notable features include Linux improvements and more parental control options with Family Link.

      Linux on Chrome OS pick up support for Android devices over USB and VPN connections. Linux apps can access Android devices connected over USB, with this particularly useful for Android developers debugging and pushing APKs.

      Meanwhile, Linux applications can utilize existing Android or Chrome OS VPNs. All traffic from the Linux VM will automatically be routed through an established connection.

    • New laptop: ThinkPad X390

      The 13” 1920×1080 screen at ~160 dpi is a bit uncomfortable to use with my poor eyesight, so first I tried to use GNOME Tweaks to scale fonts to 120%. This worked okay-ish (a shame that Firefox ignores this and I had to tweak it separately) until I plugged in an external monitor (~80 dpi) where the large fonts were cartoonishly too large. Next, I enabled GNOME’s experimental fractional scaling support (I use a Ubuntu on Wayland session instead of the default one) and (after a reboot) set the zoom level on the internal screen to 125% (after resetting font scaling back to 100%, of course). Wayland apps look nice and crisp, X11 apps (Firefox) look fuzzy, but shrug at least I can read the text without squinting.

  • Server

    • A Native Kubernetes Operator Tailored for Cloud Foundry

      At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit in Philadephia, Troy Topnik of SUSE and Enrique Encalada of IBM discussed the progress being made on cf-operator, a project that’s part of the CF Containerization proposal. They show what the operator can do and how Cloud Foundry deployments can be managed with it. They also delve deeper, and talk about implementation techniques, Kubernetes Controllers and Custom Resources. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Cloud Foundry can work flawlessly on top of Kubernetes.

      Cloud Foundry Foundation has posted all recorded talks form CF Summit on YouTube. Check them out if you want to learn more about what is happening in the Cloud Foundry world! I’ll be posting more SUSE Cloud Application Platform talks here over the coming days. Watch Troy and Enrique’s talk below:

    • Ubuntu Server development summary – 26 June 2019

      The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list or visit the Ubuntu Server discourse hub for more discussion.

    • Redefining RHEL: Introduction to Red Hat Insights

      At Red Hat Summit we redefined what is included in a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscription, and part of that is announcing that every RHEL subscription will include Red Hat Insights. The Insights team is very excited about this, and we wanted to take an opportunity to expand on what this means to you, and to share some of the basics of Red Hat Insights.

      We wanted to make RHEL easier than ever to adopt, and give our customers the control, confidence and freedom to help scale their environments through intelligent management. Insights is an important component in giving organizations the ability to predict, prevent, and remediate problems before they occur.

    • Red Hat Shares ― Special edition: Red Hat Summit recap
    • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OKD4 Release and Road Map Update with Clayton Coleman (Red Hat)

      In this briefing, Red Hat’s Clayton Coleman, Lead Architect, Containerized Application Infrastructure (OpenShift, Atomic, and Kubernetes) leads a discussion about the current development efforts for OKD4, Fedora CoreOS and Kubernetes in general as well as the philosophy guiding OKD 4 develpoment efforts. The briefing includes discussion of shared community goals for OKD4 and beyond and Q/A with some of the engineers currently working on OKD.
      The proposed goal/vision for OKD 4 is to be the perfect Kubernetes distribution for those who want to continuously be on the latest Kubernetes and ecosystem components combining an up-to-date OS, the Kubernetes control plane, and a large number of ecosystem operators to provide an easy-to-extend distribution of Kubernetes that is always on the latest released version of ecosystem tools.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • LHS Episode #290: Where the Wild Things Are

      Welcome to Episode 290 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short format show, the hosts discuss the recent ARRL Field Day, LIDs getting theirs, vandalism in Oregon, a Canonical flip-flop, satellite reception with SDR and much more. Thank you for tuning in and we hope you have a wonderful week.

    • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 815
    • FLOSS Weekly 535: OPSI

      OPSI is an open source client management system to manage heterogeneous environments. It enables the deployment and configuration from OS’s and software on Windows and Linux computers. OPSI is a powerful tool that will allow you to manage from a dozen clients, up to several thousand. Through the integrated inventory, you get an overview of the hardware and software.

    • What’s your NextCloud? | LINUX Unplugged 307

      Go full self-hosted with our team’s tips, and we share our setups from simple to complex.

      Plus what really happens on a 64-bit Linux box when you run 32-bit software, some very handy picks, our reaction to the new Raspberry Pi 4 and more.

  • Kernel Space

    • The TCP SACK panic

      Selective acknowledgment (SACK) is a technique used by TCP to help alleviate congestion that can arise due to the retransmission of dropped packets. It allows the endpoints to describe which pieces of the data they have received, so that only the missing pieces need to be retransmitted. However, a bug was recently found in the Linux implementation of SACK that allows remote attackers to panic the system by sending crafted SACK information.

      Data sent via TCP is broken up into multiple segments based on the maximum segment size (MSS) specified by the other endpoint—or some other network hardware in the path it traversed. Those segments are transmitted to that endpoint, which acknowledges that it has received them. Originally, those acknowledgments (ACKs) could only indicate that it had received segments up to the first gap; so if one early segment was lost (e.g. dropped due to congestion), the endpoint could only ACK those up to the lost one. The originating endpoint would have to retransmit many segments that had actually been received in order to ensure the data gets there; the status of the later segments is unknown, so they have to be resent.

      In simplified form, sender A might send segments 20-50, with segments 23 and 37 getting dropped along the way. Receiver B can only ACK segments 20-22, so A must send 23-50 again. As might be guessed, if the link is congested such that segments are being dropped, sending a bunch of potentially redundant traffic is not going to help things.

    • Short waits with umwait

      If a user-space process needs to wait for some event to happen, there is a whole range of mechanisms provided by the kernel to make that easy. But calling into the kernel tends not to work well for the shortest of waits — those measured in small numbers of microseconds. For delays of this magnitude, developers often resort to busy loops, which have a much smaller potential for turning a small delay into a larger one. Needless to say, busy waiting has its own disadvantages, so Intel has come up with a set of instructions to support short delays. A patch set from Fenghua Yu to support these instructions is currently working its way through the review process.

      The problem with busy waiting, of course, is that it occupies the processor with work that is even more useless than cryptocoin mining. It generates heat and uses power to no useful end. On hyperthreaded CPUs, a busy-waiting process could prevent the sibling thread from running and doing something of actual value. For all of these reasons, it would be a lot nicer to ask the CPU to simply wait for a brief period until something interesting happens.

      To that end, Intel is providing three new instructions. umonitor provides an address and a size to the CPU, informing it that the currently running application is interested in any writes to that range of memory. A umwait instruction tells the processor to stop executing until such a write occurs; the CPU is free to go into a low-power state or switch to a hyperthreaded sibling during that time. This instruction provides a timeout value in a pair of registers; the CPU will only wait until the timestamp counter (TSC) value exceeds the given timeout value. For code that is only interested in the timeout aspect, the tpause instruction will stop execution without monitoring any addresses.

    • Dueling memory-management performance regressions

      The 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit included a detailed discussion about a memory-management fix that addressed one performance regression while causing another. That fix, which was promptly reverted, is still believed by most memory-management developers to implement the correct behavior, so a patch posted by Andrea Arcangeli in early May has relatively broad support. That patch remains unapplied as of this writing, but the discussion surrounding it has continued at a slow pace over the last month. Memory-management subsystem maintainer Andrew Morton is faced with a choice: which performance regression is more important?

      The behavior in question relates to the intersection of transparent huge pages and NUMA policy. Ever since this commit from Aneesh Kumar in 2015, the kernel will, for memory areas where madvise(MADV_HUGEPAGE) has been called, attempt to allocate huge pages exclusively on the current NUMA node. It turns out that the kernel will try so hard that it will go into aggressive reclaim and compaction on that node, forcing out other pages, even if free memory exists on other nodes in the system. In essence, enabling transparent huge pages for a range of memory has become an equivalent to binding that memory to a single NUMA node. The result, as observed by many, can be severe swap storms and a dramatic loss of performance.

      In an attempt to fix this problem, Arcangeli applied a patch in November 2018 that loosened the tight binding to the current node. But, it turned out, some workloads want that binding behavior. Local huge pages will perform better than huge pages on a remote node; even local small pages tend to be better than remote huge pages. For some tasks, the performance penalty for using remote pages is high enough that it is worth going to great lengths — even enduring a swap storm at application startup — to avoid it. No such workload has been publicly posted, but the patch was reverted by David Rientjes in December after a huge discussion.

    • Rebasing and merging in kernel repositories

      What follows is a kernel document I have been working on for the last month in the hope of reducing the number of subsystem maintainers who run into trouble during the merge window. If all goes according to plan, this text will show up in 5.3 as Documentation/maintainer/rebasing-and-merging.txt. On the off chance that some potentially interested readers might not be monitoring additions to the nascent kernel maintainer’s handbook, I’m publishing the text here as well.
      Maintaining a subsystem, as a general rule, requires a familiarity with the Git source-code management system. Git is a powerful tool with a lot of features; as is often the case with such tools, there are right and wrong ways to use those features. This document looks in particular at the use of rebasing and merging. Maintainers often get in trouble when they use those tools incorrectly, but avoiding problems is not actually all that hard.

      One thing to be aware of in general is that, unlike many other projects, the kernel community is not scared by seeing merge commits in its development history. Indeed, given the scale of the project, avoiding merges would be nearly impossible. Some problems encountered by maintainers result from a desire to avoid merges, while others come from merging a little too often.

    • Years Late But Saitek R440 Force Racing Wheel Support Is On The Way For Linux

      If you happen to have a Saitek R440 Force Wheel or looking to purchase a cheap and used racing wheel for enjoying the various Linux racing game ports or even the number of games working under Steam Play like F1 2018 and DiRT Rally 2.0, Linux support is on the way.

      The Saitek R440 Force Wheel can still be found from the likes of eBay for those wanting a cheap/used PC game racing wheel. Now coming soon to the Linux kernel is support for this once popular gaming wheel — which was originally released back in 2004. The Linux kernel patch originally adding the Saitek R440 was sent last year only to be resent out recently in an attempt for mainline acceptance.

    • The TCP SACK panic

      Selective acknowledgment (SACK) is a technique used by TCP to help alleviate congestion that can arise due to the retransmission of dropped packets. It allows the endpoints to describe which pieces of the data they have received, so that only the missing pieces need to be retransmitted. However, a bug was recently found in the Linux implementation of SACK that allows remote attackers to panic the system by sending crafted SACK information.

      Data sent via TCP is broken up into multiple segments based on the maximum segment size (MSS) specified by the other endpoint—or some other network hardware in the path it traversed. Those segments are transmitted to that endpoint, which acknowledges that it has received them. Originally, those acknowledgments (ACKs) could only indicate that it had received segments up to the first gap; so if one early segment was lost (e.g. dropped due to congestion), the endpoint could only ACK those up to the lost one. The originating endpoint would have to retransmit many segments that had actually been received in order to ensure the data gets there; the status of the later segments is unknown, so they have to be resent.

      In simplified form, sender A might send segments 20-50, with segments 23 and 37 getting dropped along the way. Receiver B can only ACK segments 20-22, so A must send 23-50 again. As might be guessed, if the link is congested such that segments are being dropped, sending a bunch of potentially redundant traffic is not going to help things.

    • Short waits with umwait

      If a user-space process needs to wait for some event to happen, there is a whole range of mechanisms provided by the kernel to make that easy. But calling into the kernel tends not to work well for the shortest of waits — those measured in small numbers of microseconds. For delays of this magnitude, developers often resort to busy loops, which have a much smaller potential for turning a small delay into a larger one. Needless to say, busy waiting has its own disadvantages, so Intel has come up with a set of instructions to support short delays. A patch set from Fenghua Yu to support these instructions is currently working its way through the review process.

      The problem with busy waiting, of course, is that it occupies the processor with work that is even more useless than cryptocoin mining. It generates heat and uses power to no useful end. On hyperthreaded CPUs, a busy-waiting process could prevent the sibling thread from running and doing something of actual value. For all of these reasons, it would be a lot nicer to ask the CPU to simply wait for a brief period until something interesting happens.

      To that end, Intel is providing three new instructions. umonitor provides an address and a size to the CPU, informing it that the currently running application is interested in any writes to that range of memory. A umwait instruction tells the processor to stop executing until such a write occurs; the CPU is free to go into a low-power state or switch to a hyperthreaded sibling during that time. This instruction provides a timeout value in a pair of registers; the CPU will only wait until the timestamp counter (TSC) value exceeds the given timeout value. For code that is only interested in the timeout aspect, the tpause instruction will stop execution without monitoring any addresses.

    • Dueling memory-management performance regressions

      The 2019 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit included a detailed discussion about a memory-management fix that addressed one performance regression while causing another. That fix, which was promptly reverted, is still believed by most memory-management developers to implement the correct behavior, so a patch posted by Andrea Arcangeli in early May has relatively broad support. That patch remains unapplied as of this writing, but the discussion surrounding it has continued at a slow pace over the last month. Memory-management subsystem maintainer Andrew Morton is faced with a choice: which performance regression is more important?

      The behavior in question relates to the intersection of transparent huge pages and NUMA policy. Ever since this commit from Aneesh Kumar in 2015, the kernel will, for memory areas where madvise(MADV_HUGEPAGE) has been called, attempt to allocate huge pages exclusively on the current NUMA node. It turns out that the kernel will try so hard that it will go into aggressive reclaim and compaction on that node, forcing out other pages, even if free memory exists on other nodes in the system. In essence, enabling transparent huge pages for a range of memory has become an equivalent to binding that memory to a single NUMA node. The result, as observed by many, can be severe swap storms and a dramatic loss of performance.

      In an attempt to fix this problem, Arcangeli applied a patch in November 2018 that loosened the tight binding to the current node. But, it turned out, some workloads want that binding behavior. Local huge pages will perform better than huge pages on a remote node; even local small pages tend to be better than remote huge pages. For some tasks, the performance penalty for using remote pages is high enough that it is worth going to great lengths — even enduring a swap storm at application startup — to avoid it. No such workload has been publicly posted, but the patch was reverted by David Rientjes in December after a huge discussion.

    • Rebasing and merging in kernel repositories

      What follows is a kernel document I have been working on for the last month in the hope of reducing the number of subsystem maintainers who run into trouble during the merge window. If all goes according to plan, this text will show up in 5.3 as Documentation/maintainer/rebasing-and-merging.txt. On the off chance that some potentially interested readers might not be monitoring additions to the nascent kernel maintainer’s handbook, I’m publishing the text here as well.

      Maintaining a subsystem, as a general rule, requires a familiarity with the Git source-code management system. Git is a powerful tool with a lot of features; as is often the case with such tools, there are right and wrong ways to use those features. This document looks in particular at the use of rebasing and merging. Maintainers often get in trouble when they use those tools incorrectly, but avoiding problems is not actually all that hard.

      One thing to be aware of in general is that, unlike many other projects, the kernel community is not scared by seeing merge commits in its development history. Indeed, given the scale of the project, avoiding merges would be nearly impossible. Some problems encountered by maintainers result from a desire to avoid merges, while others come from merging a little too often.

    • Years Late But Saitek R440 Force Racing Wheel Support Is On The Way For Linux

      If you happen to have a Saitek R440 Force Wheel or looking to purchase a cheap and used racing wheel for enjoying the various Linux racing game ports or even the number of games working under Steam Play like F1 2018 and DiRT Rally 2.0, Linux support is on the way.

      The Saitek R440 Force Wheel can still be found from the likes of eBay for those wanting a cheap/used PC game racing wheel. Now coming soon to the Linux kernel is support for this once popular gaming wheel — which was originally released back in 2004. The Linux kernel patch originally adding the Saitek R440 was sent last year only to be resent out recently in an attempt for mainline acceptance.

    • Linux Foundation

      • CNCF outlines its technical oversight goals

        At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 there was a public meeting of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee (TOC); its members outlined the current state of the CNCF and where things are headed. What emerged was a picture of how the CNCF’s governance is evolving as it brings in more projects, launches a new special interest group mechanism, and contemplates what to do with projects that go dormant.

        The CNCF has several levels in its organizational structure with the Governing Board handling the overall operation, budget, and finances, while the TOC handles the technical vision and direction, as well as approving new project additions. Though the TOC currently acts as a sort of gatekeeper for admitting projects into the CNCF, there is more that TOC member Joe Beda, the developer who made the first commit to Kubernetes, said can be done. “The TOC helps to decide which projects come in, but I think we could do an expanded role to actually make sure that we’re serving those projects better and that we’re creating a great value proposition for projects, so that it’s a really great two-way street between the CNCF and the projects to really build some sustainability,” he said.

        Jeff Brewer had a different perspective on how the TOC can help projects, based on his role, which is as an end user of CNCF projects. He is excited about the fact that end users of Kubernetes are talking with one another and helping to bring a customer focus to the TOC. By having that focus, the TOC can help to ensure that the projects it takes in aren’t just cool projects that nobody actually uses, but rather are efforts that have practical utility. “We have over 80 end-user organization members and we look for them to really help us lead the way with the technical direction of the CNCF,” he said.

    • Graphics Stack

      • MSM DRM Adding Snapdragon 835 / Adreno 540 Support In Linux 5.3

        Freedreno founder Rob Clark, who is now employed by Google to work on open-source graphics, has sent in the batch of MSM Direct Rendering Manager driver changes to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 5.3 kernel cycle.

        Notable to this feature update is Adreno 540 / Snapdragon 835 support. The Snapdragon 835 has been out since 2016 and has also been found in some of the Snapdragon laptops. The Adreno 540 supports Vulkan 1.1, OpenGL ES 3.2, and its quad-core GPU runs at 710/670MHz with 512 ALUs, 16 TMUs, and 12 ROPs.

      • Radeon Navi Support Pending For RadeonSI OpenGL Driver With 47k Line Worth Of Changes

        Last week AMD posted more than 400 patches providing the AMD Navi support within their AMDGPU DRM kernel driver while this week has brought dozens of patches amounting to 4,293 lines as a patch for their RadeonSI Gallium3D driver in order to provide OpenGL support on these next-gen GPUs being introduced next month as the Radeon RX 5700 series.

        Well known AMD open-source developer Marek Olšák posted the Mesa patches yesterday for providing this initial Navi (10) support to Mesa. As is the case, AMD’s Navi enablement is focused on the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver and not the unofficial/community driven RADV Radeon Vulkan driver also within Mesa. The RADV Navi support will be left up to those “community” contributors from the likes of Red Hat, Google, and yes the independent community members.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 5.2 + Mesa 19.2 Performance With Polaris/Vega/Vega20 vs. NVIDIA On Ubuntu 19.04

        With last week having delivered fresh benchmarks of the mid-range NVIDIA/AMD graphics cards using the very latest drivers, particularly the in-development Linux 5.2 and Mesa 19.2 components with the Radeon graphics cards tested, here is a similar comparison when moving up the spectrum and focusing on the higher-end graphics cards. Here’s a look at how the RX 590, RX Vega 56, RX Vega 64, and Radeon VII are performing with the newest open-source AMD driver code compared to the NVIDIA Turing line-up backed by their latest binary driver.

        While next month will be Radeon RX 5700 series Linux benchmarking using the newest code (DRM-Next / Linux 5.3), this article is offering a fresh look at how the Linux 5.2 kernel performance is shaping up on the higher-end graphics cards as complementary to last week’s numbers. The four Radeon cards tested were using the Linux 5.2 Git kernel and Mesa 19.2-devel using the Oibaf PPA. The NVIDIA Pascal and Turing cards benchmarked were using their latest driver available, version 430.26.

      • Andy Wingo: fibs, lies, and benchmarks

        I collected these numbers on my i7-7500U CPU @ 2.70GHz 2-core laptop, with no particular performance tuning, running each benchmark 10 times, waiting 2 seconds between measurements. The bar value indicates the median elapsed time, and above each bar is an overlayed histogram of all results for that scenario. Note that the y axis is on a log scale. The 2.9.3* version corresponds to unreleased Guile from git.

        Good news: Guile has been getting significantly faster over time! Over decades, true, but I’m pleased.

        where are we? static edition

        How good are Guile’s numbers on an absolute level? It’s hard to say because there’s no absolute performance oracle out there. However there are relative performance oracles, so we can try out perhaps some other language implementations.

        First up would be the industrial C compilers, GCC and LLVM. We can throw in a few more “static” language implementations as well: compilers that completely translate to machine code ahead-of-time, with no type feedback, and a minimal run-time.

  • Applications

    • 5 Open Source 2D Animation Software to Use

      An animation software is a special program that’s used to design a moving animation out of the objects required. Traditional painting/drawing software (Like Inkscape) do not support creating animation, as they are used just to make the objects or paint them, but they do not have some necessary capabilities to create a moving animation out of those objects/images/photos, such as tweeing, rotoscoping, motion capture, VFX & simulation support.

      If you are someone who’s interested in creating 2D animation, whether as a hobby or part of your job, then you would be glad to know that there are many open source 2D animation software to use.

      In this article we’ll see 5 of them.

    • Music and video at the Linux terminal

      As a system administrator, you probably spend a lot of time at your terminal. We all have a tool that we begrudge having to leave the command line to use, whether it’s for a web browser or a desktop GUI application.

      If you poke around GitHub for long enough, you can find a command line utility to replace the graphical front end of just about every service out there, at least those with an accessible API. Some of these tools work better than others, of course, but a lot of them are worth poking around to see if they work for you.

      Today we’re going to look at three tools for enjoying sound and video at your Linux terminal: youtube-dl, mplayer, and cava. I originally profiled these tools as a part of my 24 Days of Linux Toys series on Opensource.com; a user there suggested that you might choose mpv as a suitable mplayer replacement, but I’ll leave that up to the reader to explore and decide.

    • Top 20 Best Computer Algebra Systems for Linux in 2019

      Solving computational problems was the first inspiration behind the invention of computers. Although modern computers have come a long way since its inception, it continues to play the de-facto role in solving complex computations. A Computer Algebra System (CAS) is a software environment that allows tackling modern-day, complex computational problems without having to manipulate complicated equations or computational systems manually. These computer algebra systems can manipulate mathematical formulae in a manner similar to traditional mathematicians and thwarts away potential errors effectively. There are a wide variety of computer algebra systems for Linux, both general-purpose and specialized.

    • 21 Best Free Linux Financial Software (Updated 2019)

      We have all read stories about people who have experimented living without spending any money whatsoever. By growing their own food, washing in the river, using a solar panel to provide electricity, and bartering for certain goods and services, these adventures have met with limited success. However, for us mere mortals the simple fact is that we need money. Money to buy food, to purchase clothes, to pay our bills, as well as indulging in our other infinite wants and desires.

      While it can be a struggle to make ends meet, it is possible to make life easier through better money management. Financial management is about planning income and expenditure and making informed decisions that enable you to survive financially. With austerity still with us, it’s even more important to look after your finances, if only to make sure there are no nasty surprises when you receive your next bank statement.

      Linux offers a number of really good financial applications that are more than capable of handling both personal and small-business accounting operations. We feature the finest personal finance software.

      We also recommend software that helps individuals keep track of stock market movements, analyze the markets, and identify stock worth buying.

      There’s software for organizations with excellent open source business software, a couple of Bitcoin clients, and a calculator.

    • 2 Tools For Monitoring Nvidia GPUs On Linux (GUI And Command Line)

      This article presents 2 tools for monitoring Nvidia graphics cards on Linux: one that comes with a terminal user interface (TUI), so it runs in a console, and another one that uses a graphical user interface.

    • MuseScore 3.2 Released with Dozens of Bug Fixes

      Free scorewriter MuseScore 3.2 was released a day ago with dozens of bug-fixes as well as some improvements to user interface.

    • Cockpit 197

      Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 197.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Steam Play updated as Proton 4.2-8 is out, DXVK also sees a new release with 1.2.3

        Steam Play has been updated today reaching 4.2-8 along with DXVK also seeing an update to 1.2.3, let’s take a look.

        As a quick refresher: Steam Play is the system built into the Steam Client on Linux, that allows you to play games meant for Windows. As for DXVK, it translates D3D11 and D3D10 into Vulkan for use with Wine and it’s part of Steam Play (but it can of course be used with Wine directly).

    • Games

      • Flea Madness sound like a ridiculously fun multiplayer game where you eat your enemies

        Flea Madness, currently in development by Priple is a fast-paced multiplayer action game that looks good and the idea sounds pretty amusing too.

        Each player assumes the role of an alien flea, a biological weapon with a singular purpose—eat everything. As you hunt and eat others, you evolve into a more dangerous creature too. Spread across the maps, you will find insects to eat, which will also give you various abilities although not all of them good for you. Some might speed you up, turn you invisible or reverse your controls.

      • Steam’s Summer Sale 2019 Is Live With A New Way To Earn Free Games

        Steam’s annual event, which PC gamers eagerly await each year, has finally started. The Steam Summer Sale 2019 is now live and will run through July 9, offering gamers a seemingly endless list of games to choose from.

        “Start your engines, everybody… the Steam Summer Sale has begun! For the next 14 days, enjoy great savings on a huge selection of games and join in the Steam Grand Prix 2019 event until July 7th 10AM PDT,” Steam says in a blog post.

        Thousands of games across various genres are now available on discount, so if you don’t have a Steam wishlist, it could prove difficult to choose the games you want. However, to help you make a choice, we have listed some of the best deals from the Steam Summer Sale 2019.

      • Valve To Work With More Distros To Improve Linux Gaming

        As a part of the ongoing Ubuntu-Steam spectacle, Valve has published a new update on their website. The Steam-maker company has reaffirmed its plans to continue to support Linux gamers and work with leading Linux distributions that are known to be popular among gamers.

        Starting with Ubuntu, Valve has confirmed that it will continue to support Steam officially on Ubuntu. “It seems likely that we will be able to continue to officially support Steam on Ubuntu,” Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais wrote in the update. This statement comes after Ubuntu decided to ditch its plans to retire the 32-bit packages starting with the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 release.

      • Update on Steam, Ubuntu, and 32-bit support

        There has been a lot of news and discussion over the weekend on the topic of Steam on Linux and officially supported and recommended distributions. For those not in the loop, last week the Ubuntu project announced their intent to change how they’re approaching 32-bit library support for future Ubuntu versions[discourse.ubuntu.com]. Following that announcement, we made a statement that Ubuntu 19.10 wouldn’t be officially supported or recommended to our users going forward. As the Ubuntu project indicated, they let us know of their intent and walked us through the details earlier this month, which was much appreciated. We don’t think it is unreasonable that they would want to take steps that are in the best interests of the project. That being said, we don’t think it’s an especially positive move for Steam and gaming-oriented customers who rely on this support.

        To provide some background, support for 32-bit libraries is required in order to run not only the Steam client, but also the thousands of games available on Steam that only support 32-bit environments. Enabling the Steam client to run in pure 64-bit environments, while feasible, would leave the vast majority of the current Steam library inaccessible to such users without an additional compatibility layer. Ensuring that all games a user owns remain fully playable wherever possible is a core principle of Steam, and we don’t believe any solution that arbitrarily splits a user’s library would be acceptable.

      • Valve Now Says Steam Will “Likely” Support Ubuntu 19.10

        While Valve isn’t thrilled about Ubuntu’s likely plan to drop compatibility with legacy 32-bit software after Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, there are no immediate changes to announce. Linux gamers can keep using the next few releases of Ubuntu to run Steam’s library of games. The community has been heard.

      • Valve Say Steam WILL Support Ubuntu 19.10

        Ubuntu gamers can breathe a sigh of relief as Valve has confirmed that Steam for Linux WILL support Ubuntu 19.10.

        Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais says Ubuntu’s recent rethink over plans to axe its i386/32-bit archive means it is “…likely that we will be able to continue to officially support Steam on Ubuntu.”

        Hurrah!

        The confirmation follows several days of high drama in the Linux Community, all resulting from Ubuntu’s initials plan to retire its 32-bit archive in the upcoming October release.

        It was that decision — which had been discussed by Ubuntu developers for some time — that stunned many. It resulted in a jaw-dropping tweet from a Valve developer, who announced that “Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users”.

      • Valve Reaffirms Commitment To Linux While Also Releasing Updated Proton

        Following all the drama caused by Canonical announcing last week they’d stop their 32-bit archive with Ubuntu 19.10 and that leading to a mess of concerns including Valve saying they would not be officially supporting Ubuntu 19.10 and later, today they issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to Linux.

        Pierre-Loup Griffais, the longtime Valve Linux developer who last week said they would not be officially supporting Ubuntu 19.10 and later, penned a post on the Steam Community board today providing more insight and praising more distribution choices compared to when Steam on Linux first started.

      • Valve release an official statement about the future of Linux support, they “remain committed” to Linux gaming

        After the recent upset caused by Canonical’s plan to drop 32bit support in Ubuntu, then to turn around and change their plan due to the uproar caused by it, Valve now have a full statement out about their future support of Linux gaming.

        Firstly, to get it out of the way, there’s nothing to worry about here. Valve said they “remain committed to supporting Linux as a gaming platform”, they’re also “continuing to drive numerous driver and feature development efforts that we expect will help improve the gaming and desktop experience across all distributions” which they plan to talk more about later.

        On the subject of Canonical’s newer plan for Ubuntu 19.10 and onwards in regards to 32bit support, Valve said they’re “not particularly excited about the removal of any existing functionality, but such a change to the plan is extremely welcome” and that it “seems likely that we will be able to continue to officially support Steam on Ubuntu”.

      • Move or Die, one of the funniest party games around has added the previously exclusive PS4 content onto PC

        Move or Die, a 4-player local and online multiplayer party game that’s absolutely hilarious just got that little bit better, with new content for the PC version.

        As the name suggests, if you don’t keep moving, you will die. That alone makes it quite interesting, however it’s the varied game modes and mutators that truly make it hilarious. Bomb tag being a favourite of mine, with one player starting off with a bomb that’s about to blow-up and you need to tag a player to swap it, lots of amusing modes like that make it worth playing.

      • ZED from Eagre Games and Cyan Ventures is out for Linux now, it’s quite an experience (plus an interview)

        ZED, a game that might make your own head spin a bit, as you assume the role of an aging artist whose mind isn’t quite all there. Taken over by a haze of dementia, you will be tasked with piecing together his mind.

      • LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity looks like an intense fast-paced space action game coming to Linux

        LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity from PixelNAUTS Games popped up on Steam recently and after reading up on it and checking out their trailer, I’m sold, it looks awesome.

        In Lost Orbit, you take control of a lone astronaut who sets off on a dangerous journey to rejoin his civilization after getting stranded in deep space. Without a ship, you will be bouncing off the gravity surrounding planet to propel yourself through space.

      • After initially being rejected by Valve, The Expression Amrilato is now live on Steam

        Valve continues to confuse, after initially rejecting the Steam release of The Expression Amrilato it’s now live with nothing about it actually changed.

        Originally release with same-day Linux support on GOG, due to Valve’s rejection, the publisher MangaGamer noted on their official blog that once news spread of the rejection Valve then reached out about it. Thanks to the support it received, it’s now live and they’ve not had to adjust any of the content too.

      • The action-platformer space-shooter hybrid A.N.N.E has now entered Early Access, Six years after Kickstarter

        Better late than never right? The action-platformer and space shooter hybrid A.N.N.E is now available on Steam in Early Access. This is six years after the Kickstarter finished, giving Gamesbymo over $100K.

      • Dota Underlords continues seeing polish as it passes 200K players online

        Seems like Valve really are onto something here, as Dota Underlords recently managed to pass 200K players online at the same time and another update is out now.

        On June 23rd, Underlords hit a new all-time peak of 202,334 players which is pretty great. Although, from what we know this does include mobile players too but it’s still a good sign that Valve are actually making a good game here. It makes sense to include mobile players, since they’re still using Steam services and you’re all matchmaking together. Even during the usual quieter hours, Underlords still constantly remains in the top 10 most played games on Steam.

      • Black Mesa now has a “Technical Beta” for Xen, but Linux support is missing for now

        Black Mesa, the fan created Half-Life recreation finally has some Xen to show off but the downside is it’s not ready for Linux yet.

      • A Story About My Uncle | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 18.04 | Native

        A Story About My Uncle running native on Linux.

      • people.kernel.org Has Launched, GitLab 12.0 Released, TheoTown Now on Steam for Linux, Pulseway Introduces New File Transfer Feature, and SUSE Manager 4 and SUSE Manager for Retail 4 Are Now Available

        TheoTown, the retro-themed city-building game, is now available on Steam for Linux. GamingOnLinux reports that “On Android at least, the game is very highly rated and I imagine a number of readers have played it there so now you can pick it up again on your Linux PC and continue building the city of your dreams. So far, the Steam user reviews are also giving it a good overall picture.” You can find TheoTown on Steam.

      • Steam Summer Sale 2019 is live, here’s what to look out for Linux fans

        Another year, another massive sale is now live on Steam. Let’s take a look at what Valve are doing this year and what you should be looking out for.

        This time around, Valve aren’t doing any special trading cards. They’re trying something a little different! You will be entering the “Steam Grand Prix” by joining a team (go team Hare!), earning points for rewards and having a shot at winning some free games in the process. Sounds like a good bit of fun, the specific-game challenges are a nice touch.

      • Last Moon, a 2D action-RPG with a gorgeous vibrant style will be coming to Linux next year

        Sköll Studio managed to capture my attention recently, with some early footage of their action-RPG ‘Last Moon’ popping up in my feed and it looks gorgeous.

        Taking inspiration from classics like Legend of Zelda: A link to the past, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger and a ton more you can see it quite clearly. Last Moon takes in place in a once peaceful kingdom, where an ancient and powerful mage put a curse on the moon, as Lunar Knight you need to stop all this insanity and bring back peace.

      • Ubuntu Takes A U-Turn with 32-Bit Support

        Canonical will continue to support legacy applications and libraries.

        Canonical, the maker of the world’s most popular Linux-based distribution Ubuntu, has revived support for 32-bit libraries after feedback from WINE, Ubuntu Studio and Steam communities.

        Last week Canonical announced that its engineering teams decided that Ubuntu should not continue to carry i386 forward as an architecture. “Consequently, i386 will not be included as an architecture for the 19.10 release, and we will shortly begin the process of disabling it for the eoan series across Ubuntu infrastructure,” wrote Will Cooke, Director of Ubuntu Desktop at Canonical.

      • Steam and Ubuntu clash over 32-bit libs

        It has been a tumultuous week for gaming on Linux. Last Tuesday afternoon, Canonical’s Steve Langasek announced that 32-bit libs would be frozen (kept as-is, with no new builds or updates) as of this October’s interim 19.10 release, codenamed “Eoan Ermine.” Langasek was pretty clear that this did not mean abandoning support for running 32-bit applications, however.

      • Linux gamers take note: Steam won’t support the next version of Ubuntu

        Valve has announced that from the next version of Ubuntu (19.10), it will no longer support Steam on Ubuntu, the most popular flavor of Linux, due to the distro dropping support for 32-bit packages,

        This all kicked off when Canonical, developer of Ubuntu, announced that it was seemingly completely dropping support for 32-bit in Ubuntu 19.10.

        However, following a major outcry, a further clarification (or indeed, change of heart) came from the firm stating that there will actually be limited support for 32-bit going forward (although updates for 32-bit libraries will no longer be delivered, effectively leaving them in a frozen state).

      • Valve killing Steam Support for some Ubuntu users

        A few years ago the announcement that Steam would begin supporting Linux was a big deal: it meant that anyone who preferred to rock an open-source operating system over Mac OS or Windows 10 would have instant buy-it-and-play-it access to a large catalog of game titles that would have otherwise taken a whole lot of tweaking to get up and running or wouldn’t have worked for them at all. For some, at least, the party may be coming to an end.

      • Steam is dropping support for Ubuntu, but not Linux entirely

        The availability of Steam on Linux has been a boom for gaming on the platform, especially with the recent addition of the Steam Play compatibility layer for running Windows-only games. Valve has always recommended that gamers run Ubuntu Linux, the most popular desktop Linux distribution, but that’s now changing.

      • Canonical rolls back decision on 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu

        Ubuntu 19.04 and 20.04 will continue to have 32-bit i386 packages, contrary to the previous announcement by Canonical.

        The past week, Canonical announced the latest version of Ubuntu, which caused quite some buzz (unfortunately, in a wrong way). According to the statement, the company had plans to discontinue 32-bit support starting from Ubuntu 19.10. This news wasn’t received quite well by Ubuntu-enthusiasts as they showed their disapproval of this decision on various online forums so much that even Canonical couldn’t ignore it.

        However, the company demonstrated its genius and made the right decision by listening to the positive criticism of their community (including gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and WINE users) and announcing that this significant change can wait if the users aren’t fully prepared for it. Accordingly, Ubuntu users will get selected 32-bit i386 packages when they update to Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS.

      • Canonical Gives Ubuntu Users What They Want

        Canonical shows that they’re willing to walk the talk and show their humanity towards others by listening to their user-base. In a move to appease the community, Canonical has chosen to rescind their earlier comments regarding their plans to ditch 32bit support in the upcoming 19.10 release of Ubuntu as well as the 20.04 release.

        In response to Canonical’s announcement to drop 32bit package support, Valve followed with dropping support for Ubuntu’s future releases that do not contain 32bit packages. This might seem like an incendiary retort, but it’s simply due to the lack of necessary dependencies to enable the porting of Steam and Valve’s Proton. The same would apply to any Linux distribution foregoing the mentioned requirements.

      • Canonical (sort of) backtracks: Ubuntu will continue to support (some) 32-bit software

        A few days after announcing it would effectively drop support for 32-bit software in future versions of the Ubuntu operating system, Canonical has decided to “change our plan and build selected 32-bit i386 packages.”

        The company’s original decision sparked some backlash when it became clear that some existing apps and games would no longer run on Ubuntu 19.10 if the change were to proceed as planned.

        Valve, for example, announced it would continue to support older versions of Ubuntu, allowing users to continue running its popular Steam game client. But moving forward, the company said it would be focusing its Steam for Linux efforts on a different GNU/Linux distribution.

      • Just kidding? Ubuntu 32-bit moving forward, no word yet from Valve

        Due in part to the feedback given to the group over the weekend and because of their connections with Valve, Canonical did an about-face today. They’ve suggested that feedback from gamers, Ubuntu Studio, and the WINE community led them to change their plan and will “build selected 32-bit i386 packages for Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS. Whether this will change Valve’s future with Ubuntu Steam, we’ll see.

      • Canonical backtracks on 32-bit Ubuntu cull, but warns that on your head be it

        CANONICAL HAS CONFIRMED a U-Turn on the controversial decision to drop 32-bit support for Ubuntu users later this year.

        The company has faced criticism from users who aren’t happy with the plan to make Ubuntu purely 64-bit, which culminated at the weekend with Steam announcing it would pull support for Ubuntu. Many Steam games were never made in 64-bit and it would, therefore, devalue the offer.

        However, Canonical confirmed on Monday that following feedback from the community, it was clear that there is still a demand, and indeed a need for 32-bit binaries, and as such, it will provide “selected” builds for both Ubuntu 19.10 and the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04.

        Canonical’s announcement spoke of the highly passionate arguments from those who are in favour of maintaining both versions, thus forcing the team to take notice. However, it has made it clear that it’s doing so under the weight of expectation, not because it agrees.

        “There is a real risk to anybody who is running a body of software that gets little testing. The facts are that most 32-bit x86 packages are hardly used at all,” the firm said.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.16 review – A tidal wave of goodness

        Plasma 5.16 is almost a boring release, in that it is predictable, stable, robust, a continuation of an excellent line of desktops that are fun, elegant and smart to run and use. But this is exactly what you want from a tool you use everyday. Excitement is only good in small doses. You want something solid for real work, and Plasma definitely nails it in general, and with its 5.16 guise in particular.

        The volume of changes and new features isn’t massive, but it is still delivered with flair, plus stability, plus improvements. There were a few small issues here and there, and some things warrant visual polish while others require philosophical introspection vis-a-vis taste and appeal, but these are relatively small, innocent niggles. The Plasma desktop is definitely making great strides, and if you want to explore the latest and greatest, grab yourself KDE neon, and start enjoying.

      • My first month on GSoC

        This first month of GSoC was a great learning experience for me, when speaking to my colleagues of how Summer of Code is being important to my professional life, I always respond that I’m finally learning to code and the basic of C++.

        Yes, maybe this is strange, I’m a second year undergraduate Computer Science student, have two year experience with C++. I should have learn to code by now right? Well, at least on my Campus you don’t learn to code applications or how to build stable, clean code. You learn to solve problems, and that’s something I got pretty good at, but when it came to code, well, I’m learning that now and I’m liking it a lot.

      • Snapshot Docker

        The idea of snapshots is to make copies of the current document and allow users to return to them at a later time. This is a part of my whole Google Summer of Code project, which aims to bring Krita a better undo/redo system. When fully implemented, it will fully replace the current mechanism that stores actions with one that stores different states. That is to say, Krita will create a snapshot of the document for every undoable step.

        [...]

        Another interesting thing is the palettes. Krita 4.2.0 allows documents to store their own, local palettes. The palette list is but a QList, meaning that only creating a new QList of the same pointers will not work. This is because, the palettes are controlled by canvas resource manager, which takes the responsibility to delete them. Therefore, when taking snapshots, we had better take deep copies of the KoColorSets. And then another problem comes: the snapshots own their KoColorSets because they are not controlled by the resource manager in any way; but the KisDocument in the view does not. So we have to set up another flag, ownsPaletteList, to tell the document whether it should delete the palettes in the destructor.

        And now the work has shifted to the refactoring of kritaflake, the library that mainly handles vector layers and shapes. I converted the whole KoShape hierarchy to implicit sharing where possible, but some tests are broken. I am now on Windows, where unit tests do not run. I will continue the development of flake as soon as I get access to my Linux laptop.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Introducing GNOME Usage’s Storage panel

        GNOME Usage is a new GNOME application to visualize system resources such as memory consumption and disk space. It has been developed by Petr Stetka, a high school intern in our Red Hat office in Brno. Petr is an outstanding coder for such a young fellow and has done a great job with Usage!

        Usage is powered by libgtop, the same library used by GNOME System Monitor. One is not a replacement for the other, they complement our user experience by offering two different use cases: Usage is for the everyday user that wants to check which application is eating their resources, and System Monitor is for the expert that knows a bit of operating system internals and wants more technical information being displayed. Besides, Usage has a bit of Baobab too. It contains a Storage panel that allows for a quick analysis of disk space.

      • GNOME meets Panfrost
      • GNOME Meets Panfrost

        Bring-up of GNOME required improving the driver’s robustness and performance, focused on Mali’s tiled architecture. Typically found in mobile devices, tiling GPU architectures divide the screen into many small tiles, like a kitchen floor, rendering each tile separately. This allows for unique optimizations but also poses unique challenges.

        One natural question is: how big should tiles be? If the tiles are too big, there’s no point to tiling, but if the tiles are too small, the GPU will repeat unnecessary work. Mali offers a hybrid answer: allow lots of different sizes! Mali’s technique of “hierarchical tiling” allows the GPU to use tiles as small as 16×16 pixels all the way up to 2048×2048 pixels. This “sliding scale” allows different types of content to be optimized in different ways. The tiling needs of a 3D game like SuperTuxKart are different from those of a user interface like GNOME Shell, so this technique gets us the best of both worlds!

        Although primarily handled in hardware, hierarchical tiling is configured by the driver; I researched this configuration mechanism in order to understand it and improve our configuration with respect to performance and memory usage.

        Tiled architectures additionally present an optimization opportunity: if the driver can figure out a priori which 16×16 tiles will definitely not change, those tiles can be culled from rendering entirely, saving both read and write bandwidth. As a conceptual example, if the GPU composites your entire desktop while you’re writing an email, there’s no need to re-render your web browser in the other window, since that hasn’t changed. I implemented an initial version of this optimization in Panfrost, accumulating the scissor state across draws within a frame, rendering only to the largest bounding box of the scissors. This optimization is particularly helpful for desktop composition, ideally improving performance on workloads like GNOME, Sway, and Weston.

      • GNOME Usage Gets More Useful at Reporting Disk Space

        I was super excited when GNOME Usage debuted in GNOME 3.28 as a ‘preview’ app.

        So I’m also super excited to hear that the user-focused apps is about to get even more useful — all courtesy of a high-school coder interning at Red Hat, no less!

        Usage was, initially, intended to be a revamped version of the standard System Monitor tool that ships as part of the GNOME desktop, albeit with a few extra bells and whistles.

        These days it’s more of its own thing, with its own direction, and is pitched as a user-friendly alternative to System Monitor, not a direct replacement for it.

  • Distributions

    • How a trip to China inspired Endless OS and teaching kids to hack

      Last year, I decided to try out Endless OS, a lightweight, Linux-based operating system developed to power inexpensive computers for developing markets. I wrote about installing and setting it up. Endless OS is unique because it uses a read-only root file system managed by OSTree and Flatpak, but the Endless company is unique for its approach to education.

      Late last year, Endless announced the Hack, a $299 laptop manufactured by Asus that encourages kids to code, and most recently the company revealed The Third Terminal, a group of video games designed to get kids coding while they’re having fun. Since I’m so involved in teaching kids to code, I wanted to learn more about Endless Studios, the company behind Endless OS, The Third Terminal, The Endless Mission, a sandbox-style game created in partnership with E-Line Media, and other ventures targeted at expanding digital literacy and agency among children around the world.

      I reached out to Matt Dalio, Endless’ founder, CEO, and chief of product and founder of the China Care Foundation, to ask about Endless and his charitable work supporting orphaned children with special needs in China.

    • 5 of the Best Linux Distros for Beginners

      If you’re considering giving Linux a try, you might be put off by the risk of a steep learning curve. Not every Linux distro is as hard to get your head around as Arch, however. A number of Linux distros are perfectly well-suited to beginners.

      Let’s take a closer look at five ideal Linux distros for beginners taking their first steps into the Linux world.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Enterprise Storage: A Best Practice Guide

        First things first. What exactly is SUSE Enterprise Storage? Very simply, it is an intelligent software-defined storage solution, powered by Ceph technology, which enables you to transform your enterprise storage infrastructure.
        You can take any server, install the software and consume the storage behind it. And because it is based on Ceph technology,you get all the functionality Ceph provides, such as unified block, object and file storage, thin provisioning, erasure coding and cache tiering. It is self-healing and self-managing so when a problem occurs, it will take care itself.

      • SUSE Linux bridges the gap between the server and the cloud

        Business IT is heading for the cloud. But, as the saying goes, “The cloud is just other people’s computers.” It’s more complicated than that. SUSE knows that, and with its recent release of its flagship operating system, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Server (SLES) Service Pack 1, it’s created an operating system that bridges the distance between server and clouds.

        SUSE calls this Multimodal IT. What’s that, you ask? It means SLES 15 SP1 integrates cloud-based platforms with your enterprise systems; it merges containerized development with traditional development, and combining legacy applications with microservices. One operating system, many roles.

        “SUSE Linux Enterprise is a modern and modular OS that helps simplify multimodal IT, making traditional IT infrastructure efficient and providing an engaging platform for developers,” said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of engineering, product, and innovation, in a statement “As a result, organizations can easily deploy and transition business-critical workloads across their core on-premise and public cloud environments. SUSE’s open, open-source approach means we work with our customers’ preferred partners and vendors, minimizing customer disruption as they innovate and evolve their systems to meet business needs.”

      • SUSE Manager 4: Traditional server management marries DevOps

        Managing Linux servers has never been easy. Programs like Cockpit, cPanel, and Webmin use a GUI to make it simpler to handle common sysadmin tasks. But, with servers moving from the racks in your server room to the cloud and the edge and the Internet of Things (IoT), we need more. That’s where DevOps comes in. And now programs like the new SUSE Manager 4 combine the best of both sysadmin approaches.

        Daniel Nelson, SUSE VP of products and solutions, explained in a statement: “SUSE Manager manages physical, virtual, and containerized systems across edge, core, and cloud environments, all from a single centralized console. It’s part of the IT transformation that lowers costs, reduces complexity, and boosts business agility.”

      • From the store to the core to the cloud: Introducing SUSE Manager for Retail 4

        We are very pleased to announce the availability of SUSE Manager for Retail 4!
        Built on SUSE Manager 4, SUSE Manager for Retail 4 delivers best-in-class open source infrastructure management, optimized and tailored specifically for the Retail industry. This latest release of SUSE Manager for Retail delivers new enhancements focused on improving operational efficiency, increasing scalability, reducing complexity and simplifying management of Retail environments:

      • Much more with 4! Keeping your infrastructure Healthy, Secure and Compliant with SUSE Manager 4

        Simplify management and reduce operational expenditure with enhanced package staging through a new Content Lifecycle Management (CLM) user interface and improved APIs for managing packages, patches and configurations. Moving packages across multiple stages, like development, QA and production is now a simple UI-based task.
        Ease virtual machine management complexity with new Salt based virtual machine management that allows the near real-time management hundreds of servers. This allows managing virtual machines through a UI, with start/stop buttons, and by defining Salt states: For example, you can create a Salt state that always ensures that the same three virtual machines are created and running on all your retail branch servers!

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 latest update brings cloud-native, containerized apps support

        ith the latest Linux Enterprise 15 come support for cloud-native, containerized applications, which will allow companies to head to the next level.

        At this year’s Open Source Summit held in Shanghai, China, SUSE made a huge announcement regarding the release of Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1. They mentioned that their product would support both traditional and trending containerized workloads. Accordingly, the enterprises using this OS will be able to benefit both presently and in the long run.

        For companies having the aim to work with a DevOps approach, it is necessary to design, deploy, and run microservices-based, cloud-native applications. Besides, they would also have to produce the latest containerized applications alongside Kubernetes or other orchestration software. Not only that but the same companies must also maintain traditional systems for several different, essential workloads, such as databases and ERP systems.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora Workstation 31 to come with Wayland support, improved core features of PipeWire, and more

        On Monday, Christian F.K. Schaller, Senior Manager for Desktop at Red Hat, shared a blog post that outlined the various improvements and features coming in Fedora Workstation 31. These include Wayland improvements, more PipeWire functionality, continued improvements around Flatpak, Fleet Commander, and more.

      • Fedora’s AAC Support Finally Seeing Audio Quality Improvements

        Fedora’s version of the FDK-AAC library that they began shipping in 2017 to finally provide AAC audio support strips out what was patented encumbered functionality. But that gutting of the code did cause some problems like audio playback glitches that are now being addressed.

        Fortunately, better AAC support is on the way to Fedora. There is this F30 update pending to provide an updated AAC implementation with quality enhancements.

    • Debian Family

      • Jonathan Carter: PeerTube and LBRY

        I have many problems with YouTube, who doesn’t these days, right? I’m not going to go into all the nitty gritty of it in this post, but here’s a video from a LBRY advocate that does a good job of summarizing some of the issues by using clips from YouTube creators:

        I have a channel on YouTube for which I have lots of plans for. I started making videos last year and created 59 episodes for Debian Package of the Day. I’m proud that I got so far because I tend to lose interest in things after I figure out how it works or how to do it. I suppose some people have assumed that my video channel is dead because I haven’t uploaded recently, but I’ve just been really busy and in recent weeks, also a bit tired as a result. Things should pick up again soon.

      • Debian Installer Buster RC2 Released

        With Debian 10 “Buster” aiming to be released in early July, a second release candidate of the Debian Installer has been made available.

      • Debian Installer Buster RC 2 release

        The Debian Installer team[1] is pleased to announce the second release candidate of the installer for Debian 10 “Buster”.

      • June 2019 Matrix on Debian update

        Unfortunately, the recently published Synapse 1.0 didn’t make it into Debian Buster, which is due to be released next week, so if you install 0.99.2 from Buster, you need to update to a newer version which will be available from backports shortly after the release.

        Originally, 0.99 was meant to be the last version before 1.0, but due to a bunch of issues discovered since then, some of them security-related, new incompatible room format was introduced in 0.99.5. This means 0.99.2 currently in Debian Buster is going to only see limited usefulness, since rooms are being upgraded to the new format as 1.0 is being deployed across the network.

        For those of you running forever unstable Sid, good news: Synapse 1.0 is now available in unstable! ACME support has not yet been enabled, since it requires a few packages not yet in Debian (they’re currently in the NEW queue). We hope it will be available soon after Buster is released.

      • Support your local Hackerspace

        My first Hackerspace was Noisebridge. It was full of smart and interesting people and I never felt like I belonged, but I had just moved to San Francisco and it had interesting events, like 5MoF, and provided access to basic stuff I hadn’t moved with me, like a soldering iron. While I was never a heavy user of the space I very much appreciated its presence, and availability even to non-members. People were generally welcoming, it was a well stocked space and there was always something going on.

        These days my local hackerspace is Farset Labs. I don’t have a need for tooling in the same way, being lucky enough to have space at home and access to all the things I didn’t move to the US, but it’s still a space full of smart and interesting people that has interesting events. And mostly that’s how I make use of the space – I attend events there. It’s one of many venues in Belfast that are part of the regular Meetup scene, and for a while I was just another meetup attendee. A couple of things changed the way I looked at. Firstly, for whatever reason, I have more of a sense of belonging. It could be because the tech scene in Belfast is small enough that you’ll bump into the same people at wildly different events, but I think that’s true of the tech scene in most places. Secondly, I had the realisation (and this is obvious once you say it, but still) that Farset was the only non-commercial venue that was hosting these events. It’s predominantly funded by members fees; it’s not getting Invest NI or government subsidies (though I believe Weavers Court is a pretty supportive landlord).

      • Sam Hartman: AH/DAM/DPL Meet Up

        All the members of the Antiharassment team met with the Debian Account Managers and the DPL in that other Cambridge— the one with proper behaviour, not the one where pounds are weight and not money.

        I was nervous. I was not part of decision making earlier this year around code of conduct issues. I was worried that my concerns would be taken as insensitive judgment applied by someone who wasn’t there.

        I was worried about whether I would find my values aligned with the others. I care about treating people with respect. I also care about freedom of expression. I value a lot of feminist principles and fighting oppression. Yet I’m happy with my masculinity. I acknowledge my privilege and have some understanding of the inequities in the world. Yet I find some arguments based on privilege problematic and find almost all uses of the phrase “check your privilege” to be dismissive and to deny any attempt at building empathy and understanding.

        And Joerg was there. He can be amazingly compassionate and helpful. He can also be gruff at times. He values brevity, which I’m not good at. I was bracing myself for a sharp, brief, gruff rebuke delivered in response to my feedback. I know there would be something compassionate under such a rebuke, but it might take work to find.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • New Oracle Java 11 Installer For Ubuntu Or Linux Mint (Using Local Oracle Java .tar.gz)

            As many of you already know, Oracle Java requires logging in to an Oracle account to download most versions (all except Oracle Java 12). A while back I created Oracle Java 11 and 12 installer packages (based on the package by Web Upd8), and a PPA for Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

            Since Oracle Java 11 can’t be directly downloaded from Oracle any more, the installer no longer works, so I created a new installer that requires the user to create an Oracle account, download the Oracle Java 11 .tar.gz archive (the same version as the installer), and place the archive in /var/cache/oracle-jdk11-installer-local/. After this, you can install the oracle-java11-installer-local package, and it will set up Oracle Java 11 for you.

            Everything else works as before. You can install the oracle-java11-set-default-local package to set Oracle Java 11 as default for example (not only set it as default using a .jinfo file and update-alternatives, but also export the JAVA_HOME environment variable, etc.).

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio: Regarding Ubuntu’s Statement on 32-bit i386 Packages

              One of the biggest features of Carla being in the repositories is that it allows a WINE Bridge for Windows-based VST plugins, the vast majority of which are still compiled in 32-bit. Without 32-bit support, this feature is dead. This makes converting to Ubuntu Studio from Windows especially hard on those who rely on Windows VST plugins, the vast majority for which there is no Linux alternative. If this WINE bridge were to disappear, so would a large part of our user base. This would be a large part of professional recording studios and artists that would rather not be running Windows.

              Additionally, any native Linux audio plugins compiled in 32-bit and brought-in from 3rd party sources would also no longer work (Carla provides a bridge for these, too). Audio plugins included in Ubuntu Studio and the repositories would not be affected.

              However, the eventuality is that 32-bit software will eventually have to disappear. So, we urge you to contact the publisher/developer of whatever 32-bit plugin you rely on and urge the publisher/developer of that plugin to begin to compile their plugins in 64-bit.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenStack Foundation Joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), steward of the Open Source Definition and internationally recognized body for approving Open Source Software licenses, today announces the affiliate membership of The OpenStack Foundation (OSF).

    Since 2012, the OSF has been the home for the OpenStack cloud software project, working to promote the global development, distribution and adoption of open infrastructure. Today, with five active projects and more than 100,000 community members from 187 countries, the OSF is recognized across industries as both a leader in open source development and an exemplar in open source practices.

    The affiliate membership provides both organizations a unique opportunity to work together to identify and share resources that foster community and facilitate collaboration to support the awareness and integration of open source technologies. While Open Source Software is now embraced and often touted by organizations large and small, for many just engaging with the community—and even some longtime participants—challenges remain. Community-based support and resources remain vital, ensuring those new to the ecosystem understand the norms and expectations, while those seeking to differentiate themselves remain authentically engaged. The combined efforts of the OSI and the OSF will compliment one another and contribute to these efforts.

  • Events

    • Dirk Hohndel | VP & Chief Open Source Officer – VMware

      Guest: Dirk Hohndel, VP and Chief Open Source Officer at VMware
      Location: KubeCon+CloudNativeCon, Barcelona
      Travel & Lodging was sponsored by CNCF

    • Databases Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce that the Databases Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! Linux plumbing is heavily important to those who implement databases and their users who expect fast and durable data handling.

      Durability is a promise never to lose data after advising a user of a successful update, even in the face of power loss. It requires a full-stack solution from the application to the database, then to Linux (filesystem, VFS, block interface, driver), and on to the hardware.

      Fast means getting a database user a response in less that tens of milliseconds, which requires that Linux filesystems, memory and CPU management, and the networking stack do everything with the utmost effectiveness and efficiency.

    • Ten Years of “Linux in the GNU/South”: an Overview of SELF 2019

      The tenth annual SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) was held on the weekend of June 14–16 at the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Still running strong, SELF serves partially as a replacement for the Atlanta Linux Showcase, a former conference for all things Linux in the southeastern United States. Since 2009, the conference has provided a venue for those living in the southeastern United States to come and listen to talks by speakers who all share a passion for using Linux-based operating systems and free and open-source software (FOSS). Although some of my praises of the conference are not exclusive to SELF, the presence of such a conference in the “GNU/South” has the long-term potential to have a significant effect on the Linux and FOSS community.

      Despite facing several challenges along the way, SELF’s current success is the result of what is now ten years of hard work by the conference organizers, who currently are led by Jeremy Sands, one of the founding members of the conference. Scanning through the materials for SELF 2019, however, there is no mention that this year’s conference marked a decade of “Linux in the GNU/South”. It actually wasn’t until the conference already was over that I realized this marked SELF’s decennial anniversary. I initially asked myself why this wasn’t front and center on event advertisements, but looking back on SELF, neglecting questions such as “how long have we been going?” and instead focusing on “what is going on now?” and “where do we go from here?” speaks to the admirable spirit and focus of the conference and its attendees. This focus on the content of SELF rather than SELF itself shows the true passion for the Linux community rather than any particular organization or institution that benefits off the community.

      Another element worthy of praise is SELF’s “all are welcome” atmosphere. Whether attendees were met with feelings of excitement to return to an event they waited 362 days for or a sense of apprehension as they stepped down the L-shaped hall of conference rooms for the first time, it took little time for the contagious, positive energy to take its effect. People of all ages and all skill levels could be seen intermingling and enthusiastically inviting anybody who was willing into their conversations and activities. The conference talks, which took all kinds of approaches to thinking about and using Linux, proved that everybody is welcome to attend and participate at the event.

    • Linux Security Summit North America 2019: Schedule Published

      This year, there are some changes to the format of LSS-NA. The summit runs for three days instead of two, which allows us to relax the schedule somewhat while also adding new session types. In addition to refereed talks, short topics, BoF sessions, and subsystem updates, there are now also tutorials (one each day), unconference sessions, and lightning talks.

    • EuroPython 2019: Mobile Conference App available
    • Invitation to the EuroPython Society General Assembly 2019

      We would like to invite all EuroPython attendees and EuroPython Society (EPS) members to attend this year’s EPS General Assembly (GA), which we will run as in-person meeting at the upcoming EuroPython 2019, held in Basel, Switzerland from July 8 – 14.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Hey advertisers, track THIS

        If it feels like the ads chasing you across the internet know you a little too well, it’s because they do (unless you’re an avid user of ad blockers, in which case this is not for you). Earlier this month we announced Enhanced Tracking Protection on by default for new users in our flagship Firefox Quantum browser as a way to stop third-party cookies in their tracks. If you’re still not sure why you’d want to block cookies, today we’re launching a project called Track THIS to help you recognize what they do.

        You’re being followed across the web through cookies—small data files stored by your browser—that remember things like language preferences, sites you’ve visited, or what’s in your shopping cart. That might sound generally fine, but it gets shady when data brokers and advertising networks also use cookies to collect information about your internet habits without your consent. You should still have control over what advertisers know about you—if they know anything about you at all—which can be tough when web trackers operate out of sight.

      • Chris Pearce: Firefox’s Gecko Media Plugin & EME Architecture

        For rendering audio and video Firefox typically uses either the operating system’s audio/video codecs or bundled software codec libraries, but for DRM video playback (like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and the like) and WebRTC video calls using baseline H.264 video, Firefox relies on Gecko Media Plugins, or GMPs for short.

        This blog post describes the architecture of the Gecko Media Plugin system in Firefox, and the major class/objects involved, as it looked in June 2019.

        For DRM video Firefox relies upon Google’s Widevine Content Decryption Module, a dynamic shared library downloaded at runtime. Although this plugin doesn’t conform to the GMP ABI, we provide an adapter to allow it to be run through the GMP system. We use the same Widevine CDM plugin that Chrome uses.

        For decode and encode of H.264 streams for WebRTC, Firefox uses OpenH264, which is provided by Cisco. This plugin implements the GMP ABI.

      • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: How accessibility trees inform assistive tech

        The web is accessible by default. It was designed with features to make accessibility possible, and these have been part of the platform pretty much from the beginning. In recent times, inspectable accessibility trees have made it easier to see how things work in practice. In this post we’ll look at how “good” client-side code (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) improves the experience of users of assistive technologies, and how we can use accessibility trees to help verify our work on the user experience.

      • QMO: Firefox 68 Beta 10 Testday Results

        As you may already know, Friday June 14th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox 68 Beta 10.

  • LibreOffice

    • Easyhacking: How to create a new “Tip-Of-The-Day” dialog

      LibreOffice is an application with a large number of expert features, and though aimed to be easy to use there are always surprising shortcuts to achieve a goal. We post every day a tip on Twitter, and with the upcoming release 6.3 there will be also a tip-of-the-day messagebox when you start the program. This post aims to show how such a simple messagebox can be implemented (the complete patch is here).

    • bibisect-win64-6.4 is available for cloning!

      The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce the bisect repository from libreoffice-6-3-branch-point to latest master for Windows is available for cloning at Gerrit. As a novelty, it’s the first time the bisect repository for Windows is built for 64 bits instead of 32 as in previous repositories. Future repositories will be built for 64 bits as well.

    • LibreOffice Appliances project (GSoC 2019)

      So I finally managed to build LibreOffice for armv7 and I have LibreOfficeDev on my TV screen right now. There’s a link to build instructions above and I’ll update it with the autogen flags I used. They’re somewhat arbitrary but yeah.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman: Drop the journalism charges against Julian Assange

      The US government has persecuted Julian Assange for a decade for Wikileaks’ journalism, and now seeks to use his case to label the publishing of leaked secret information as spying.

      The Free Software Foundation stands for freedom of publication and due process, because they are necessary to exercise and uphold the software freedom we campaign for. The attack on journalism threatens freedom of publication; the twisting of laws to achieve an unstated aim threatens due process of law. The FSF therefore calls on the United States to drop all present and future charges against Julian Assange relating to Wikileaks activities.

      Accusations against Assange that are unrelated to journalism should be pursued or not pursued based on their merits, giving him neither better nor worse treatment on account of his journalism.

    • GCC 10 Lands Support For Intel Tiger Lake’s AVX-512 VP2INTERSECT

      Similar to the recent LLVM compiler work, the in-development GCC 10 compiler also now has support for the AVX-512 VP2INTERSECT instructions being introduced on Intel Tiger Lake CPUs.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • GitLab 12.0

      GitLab gives users the ability to automatically create review apps for each merge request. This allows anyone to see how the design or UX has been changed. In GitLab 12.0, we are expanding the ability to discuss those changes by bringing the ability to insert visual review tools directly into the Review App itself. With a small code snippet, users can enable designers, product managers, and other stakeholders to quickly provide feedback on a merge request without leaving the app.

    • 0 bytes left

      Around 2003–2004, a friend and I wrote a softsynth that was used in a 64 kB intro. Now, 14 years later, cTrix and Pselodux picked it up and made a really cool 32 kB tune with it! Who would have thought.

    • A month full of learning with Gnome-GSoC

      In this month I was able to work with Libgit2-glib where Albfan mentored me on how to port functions from Libgit2 to Libgit2-glib.

      Libgit2-glib now has functionality to compare two-buffers.

      This feature I think can now benefit other projects also which requires diff from buffers, for example Builder for it’s diff-view and gedit.

    • Google Developers Are Looking At Creating A New libc For LLVM

      As part of Google’s consolidating their different toolchains around LLVM, they are exploring the possibility of writing a new C library “libc” implementation.

      Google is looking to develop a new C standard library within LLVM that will better suit their use-cases and likely others within the community too.

    • How We Made Conda Faster in 4.7

      We’ve witnessed a lot of community grumbling about Conda’s speed, and we’ve experienced it ourselves. Thanks to a contract from NASA via the SBIR program, we’ve been able to dedicate a lot of time recently to optimizing Conda. We’d like to take this opportunity to discuss what we did, and what we think is left to do.

    • TensorFlow CPU optimizations in Anaconda

      By Stan Seibert, Anaconda, Inc. & Nathan Greeneltch, Intel Corporation TensorFlow is one of the most commonly used frameworks for large-scale machine learning, especially deep learning (we’ll call it “DL” for short). This popular framework has been increasingly used to solve a variety of complex research, business and social problems. Since 2016, Intel and Google have worked together to optimize TensorFlow for DL training and inference speed performance on CPUs. The Anaconda Distribution has included this CPU-optimized TensorFlow as the default for the past several TensorFlow releases. Performance optimizations for CPUs are provided by both software-layer graph optimizations and hardware-specific code paths. In particular, the software-layer graph optimizations use the Intel Math Kernel Library for Deep Neural Networks (Intel MKL-DNN), an open source performance library for DL applications on Intel architecture. Hardware specific code paths are further accelerated with advanced x86 processor instruction set, specifically, Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512) and new instructions found in the Intel Deep Learning Boost (Intel DL Boost) feature on 2nd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Let’s take a closer look at both optimization approaches and how to get these accelerations from Anaconda.

    • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #374 (June 25, 2019)
    • PHP 7.4.0 alpha 2 Released

      PHP team is glad to announce the release of the second PHP 7.4.0 version, PHP 7.4.0 Alpha 2. This continues the PHP 7.4 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.

    • PHP 7.4 Alpha 2 Adds Support For Reading TGA Files, SQLite3 Online Backup API Support

      The second alpha release for this year’s PHP 7.4 release is now available for testing.

      On top of the many features and additions already present in PHP 7.4 Alpha, the second alpha release brings two additional changes worth noting in particular. One of them is support for reading TGA (Truevision TGA) image files within the GD extension. Another notable one is making the SQLite3 Online Backup API available from PHP.

    • The Effort To Parallelize GCC With Threads Is Starting To Take Shape

      Back in April we wrote about a proposal for providing better parallelization within GCC itself to address use-cases such as very large source files. That effort was accepted as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code and the student developer pursing this parallelization with threads has issued his first progress report.

      Giuliano Belinassi is the student developer working on parallelizing GCC with threads for GSoC 2019. He has been refactoring code needed to make this effort work out and so far is on track with his planned objectives for the period.

    • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 292

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

    • Developer-led Sales for Startups

      This blog post contains the slides along with a loose transcript from my talk on the promises and perils of developer-led sales as an early-stage company strategy for acquiring customers.

      I gave this talk remotely to Ubiquity.VC portfolio company founders and the Extended Team on June 26, 2019.

    • Logistic Regression In Python | Python For Data Science

      Logistic regression in Python is a predictive analysis technique. It is also used in Machine Learning for binary classification problems. In this blog we will go through the following topics to understand logistic regression in Python…

    • Programming language Python’s ‘existential threat’ is app distribution: Is this the answer?

      Python might soon be the most popular programming language in the world, but it does have a weakness: there’s no easy way to distribute Python apps as a simple executable or a program that people can run on their computers without knowing anything about Python.

      Szorc, who’s been improving Firefox and Mozilla tools for the past decade, may have solved this distribution problem, which Australian programmer Russell Keith-Magee recently described as Python’s potential “black swan” – a theory built around the idea that the realization of completely unexpected and extreme events can have an outsized impact on the future, yet seem obvious in hindsight.

      Besides the actual black swan discovered in Western Australia in the 17th century, the PC’s popularity supposedly was not predicted by IBM’s CEO in the 1940s, making it one too.

    • Episode #136: A Python kernel rather than cleaning the batteries?
    • Python is still not there yet

      I have been blogging about Python programming language for a while since 2017, the reason which I continue to write about this programing language is due to the popularity of this language in the programming languages world! At the moment Python is ranked mostly in the top three positions beginning at 2019 at both TIOBE Index and The PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index. Those impressive statistic figures from the above sites certainly suggest that Python is already the world number 1, and indeed there are a few reasons that will further solidify that claim. 1) The uncertainty of Java, which now requires the Java developer to pay for using the Java programming language. My Java knowledge has been stopped at Java 7 and goes no further than that because I simply can?t afford to pay such an expensive amount of fees just to use Java to create a free application or game for the computer users. Recently I have started to pick up Kotlin which is based on Java just in case I can?t use Java to develop Android application anymore without paying a fee in the future, but will Java ask for the fee from the Kotlin developer in the future as well? I have a feeling that the Android OS will see more issues in the near future. 2) The future of the C series languages depends on the windows application developer as well as the game developer. Just like Java, C type of programming language can run in all OS, ranging from Linux to Mac to Windows. But I have spotted 2 problems for series C, 1) for a game developer who uses the famous game engines such as Unity or Unreal, it will usually take a very long time to compile his c# or c++ programming code even with just a small changes, for those of you who have used C# to develop your Unity game before, how long will it takes for the Unity engine to recompile the C# code even just for a very small changes in your game code before you can see your game in action? After a few times using Unity to develop the game, I have now switched to Godot where the compile time is indeed very fast as compared to Unity. 2) pointer is not a good idea in c++, even the experienced programmer will make a silly mistake by pointing a variable to one of the rubbish address, c++ is the world most difficult to debug programming language, it is really hard for me to spot the bug within the c++ program because sometime the bug will not appear during the compilation time. So there you have it, with Java and the series C out of the path, Python is now ready to become the world number 1. All the Python supporters certainly will be very happy about that after they have spent thousands of hour learning and creating an application for Python and now it is time to harvest their Soya Bean! But not too fast, because I think there are a few areas Python still needs to improve before Python can rule the world! Here are those parts that I think Python.org needs to work on if it really has the ambition to become world number 1!

    • Real Python: Python Community Interview With Katrina Durance

      With PyCon US 2019 over, I decided to catch up with a PyCon first-timer, Katrina Durance. I was curious to see how she found the experience and what her highlights were. I also wanted to understand how attending a conference like PyCon influenced her programming chops.

    • Book review – Python for Programmers, by Paul Deitel and Harvey Deitel
    • PyCon: PyCon 2019 Code of Conduct Transparency Report [Ed: “Transparency Report” that does not mention PyCon was 'sold' to Microsoft? What have these events become? The Code of Conduct places emphasis on social justice, but not justice itself (or corruption), for example bribery and crimes of corporations, which is perhaps why they like it so much.]

      The PyCon Code of Conduct sets standards for how our community interacts with others during the conference. A Code of Conduct without appropriate reporting and response procedures is difficult to enforce transparently, and furthermore a lack of transparency in the outcomes of Code of Conduct incidents leaves the community without knowledge of how or if the organizers worked to resolve incidents.

      In our efforts to continue to improve how PyCon handles CoC incidents, staff, volunteers and community members participated in a CoC training prior to PyCon 2019. In having more people trained we provided a more thorough process for reporting and responses.
      With that in mind, we have prepared the following to help the community understand what kind of incidents we received reports about and how the PyCon staff responded.

    • More frequent Python releases?

      Python has followed an 18-month release cycle for many years now; each new 3.x release comes at that frequency. It has worked well, overall, but there is interest in having a shorter cycle, which would mean that new features get into users’ hands more quickly. But changing that longstanding cycle has implications in many different places, some of which have come up as part of a discussion on switching to a cycle of a different length.

      Łukasz Langa, who is the release manager for the upcoming 3.8 release, as well as the manager for the date-to-be-determined release of 3.9, has proposed PEP 596 (“Python 3.9 Release Schedule (doubling the release cadence)”). As its name would imply, the PEP proposes halving the current release cycle to nine months, which would make the 3.9 release happen in June 2020. As described in PEP 569 (“Python 3.8 Release Schedule”), the Python 3.8 release is slated for October of this year; it is in beta at this point, so no new features can be added. The beta release also marks the start of development for the next release, so work on 3.9 has already begun. With that overlap, a nine-month cycle would actually allow seven or eight months for feature development and four or five months for shaking out the bugs from the first beta release on.

    • 7 Python Function Examples with Parameters, Return and Data Types
  • Standards/Consortia

    • DisplayPort 2.0 Published For 3x Increase In Data Bandwidth Performance

      VESA announced their first major update to the DisplayPort interface in three years.

      DisplayPort 2.0 provides for a three fold increase in data bandwidth performance compared to DP 1.4a, support beyond 8K resolutions, higher refresh rates and HDR at higher resolutions, and other enhancements. DisplayPort 2.0 will work both on DisplayPort connectors and USB Type-C with backwards compatibility.

Leftovers

  • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Angola Anthem’ By Dr. John

    Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., known in the world of music as Dr. John, died on June 6. His hometown of New Orleans bid farewell to the musician last Saturday and paraded through the streets with brass bands playing in his honor as his casket was taken by a horse carriage to a cemetery.

    Dr. John launched his career in the late 1960s with the moniker of “The Night Tripper.” His personality fused blues, psychedelia, rock and roll, funk, jazz, and the sounds of Mardi Gras. He brought a mystique to the stage that was defined by New Orleans.

    He did not produce a lot of protest music, however, in the 2000s, when President George W. Bush was in office, he recorded the Grammy Award-winning album “City That Care Forgot” with the band, the Lower 911. It was in response to the government’s total neglect of people impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

    When the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, he spoke out along with residents against BP and demanded accountability.

    Dr. John went on to find an audience with a new generation of music fans when he recorded the acclaimed album “Locked Down” with the help of the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach in 2012.

    Various songs dealt with his outrage over the impacts of the hurricane and BP oil disaster still being felt throughout local communities. He also spoke in general against war and poverty, as well as the propaganda leading folks into confusion and delusion. “KKK, CIA, all playing in the same cage,” he mused.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WaPo Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Medicare for All Will Cut Their Health Costs

      Healthcare consistently ranks as one of the top issues for Democratic voters, so helping those voters understand Democratic presidential candidates’ positions on healthcare ought to be a key job for journalists. Right? A recent survey of those voters shows that they are woefully confused and misinformed, and a recent Washington Post story on the issue perfectly illustrated why that’s the case.

      The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy think tank, polled people on their knowledge and opinions about Medicare for All and other healthcare reform ideas, and found all sorts of mistaken beliefs—most notably, that under Medicare for All, people would still pay deductibles, co-pays and premiums, and that they would be able to keep private insurance plans they currently have.

      On the other hand, Democratic voters are clear in the Kaiser survey that they want to hear from the candidates about decreasing healthcare costs, increasing access, protecting the ACA and implementing Medicare for All.

  • Security

    • AMD Releases Firmware Update To Address SEV Vulnerability

      A new security vulnerability has been made public over AMD’s Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) having insecure cryptographic implementations. Fortunately, this AMD SEV issue is addressed by a firmware update.

      CVE-2019-9836 has been made pulic as the AMD Secure Processor / Secure Encrypted Virtualization having an insecure cryptographic implementation.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Regulatory Compliance and Red Hat Security

      In today’s interconnected world, data security has never been more important. Virtually every industry, from healthcare to banking and everything in between, has rules for how businesses handle data. Failure to meet regulatory compliance spells serious trouble for your business. Depending on the severity of the infraction, you could end up with fines, loss of reputation/revenue, or jail time.

      Fortunately, these consequences are avoidable with a few proactive steps. By training your IT staff to keep your systems secure, you can prevent harmful or costly data breaches.

    • Using Quay.io to find vulnerabilities in your container images

      You’ve created a container image that has all the packages that you and your team need to do something useful, or maybe you’ve built a public image that anybody can use. But, what if that image contains packages with known security vulnerabilities? Regardless of the severity of those vulnerabilities, you’ll want to learn more and take steps to mitigate them as soon as possible.

      Fortunately, your team uses Quay.io* as your registry. When you push an image to Quay.io, it automatically runs a security scan against that image.

    • This Malware Created By A 14-Yr-Old Is Bricking Thousands Of Devices [Ed: "It's targeting any Unix-like system with default login credentials," the original source says.]

      A new malware called Silex is on its way to brick thousands of IoT devices. The malware has been developed by a 14-year old teenager known by the pseudonym Light Leafon. The malware strain is inspired by the infamous malware called BrickerBot, which is notorious for bricking millions of IoT devices way back in 2017.

    • New Silex malware is bricking IoT devices, has scary plans
    • xxxxxxxxxx

    • New Linux Worm Attacks IoT Devices [Ed: How to blame "Linux" for default passwords in devices (and some now also blame "Iran", citing a CIA 'proxy' Recorded Future in relation to this because they want war)]

      Silex has ‘bricked’ more than 2000 Linux-based IoT devices so far.

    • Your server remote login isn’t root:password, right? Cool. You can keep your data. Oh sh… your IoT gear, though? [Ed: All this "Silex" 'news' tries to blame Iran for cracking by guessing default passwords; but this is attempted every day by dozens of nations, every minute in a lot of cases. Any political motivation behind this Iran angle?]

      Earlier this week, infosec outfit Recorded Future claimed a Tehran-backed group known as Elfin, or APT33, has been increasingly active in recent months, largely targeting industrial facilities and companies within Saudi Arabia that do business with the US and other Western countries.

    • ‘Silex’ Malware Renders Internet-of-Things Devices Useless. Here’s How to Prevent It [Ed: War lovers’ media, e.g. Fortune (see parent) and CBS (through ZDNet) push this whole “Iran” angle, manufactured in part by Recorded Future, which works with the CIA. This is the source of all these “Iran is cracking your gear” stories (every large nation does it all the time, so why the focus on Iran all of a sudden?)]
    • Silex malware targeting IoT devices spotted by security researchers
    • Daily News Roundup: Hackers Broke into Ten Telecom Networks [Ed: Definitely sounds like they used Windows, which executes malware without obstructing the users (who might just open an E-mail or click on a link)]

      Security researchers have revealed hackers spent years burrowing into ten different telecoms. Using a common method of an email with a link leading to malware, the hackers then used sophisticated techniques to target specific individuals.

      Security researchers at Cybereason revealed details of years-long attempts to break into telecom services (cell phone carriers). Starting in 2017, and possibly before, hackers sent emails to unsuspecting telecom employees with malicious links. The initial payload gave the hackers access to the telecom networks.

      Once in, the hackers ultimately compromised the network, gaining administrative privileges, and even creating a VPN on the system that let hackers access large amounts of data and empowered them even to shut down the telecom network entirely. The hackers had so much power that Amit Serper, Principal Security Researcher at Cybereason, described them as essentially a “de facto shadow IT department of the company.”

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russia’s latest military drone is disguised as an owl choking on a light bulb

      Move over Hedwig, because Russian military developers have designed a new aerial reconnaissance drone that’s disguised as a snowy owl. The bird of prey turned heads at Russia’s “Army-2019” forum this week, when the “Era” military technology center set up video screens to show footage demonstrating the drone’s capability of guiding aviation and artillery.

    • Iranian President Says White House ‘Afflicted by Mental Retardation’

      Iran warned Tuesday that new U.S. sanctions targeting its supreme leader and other top officials meant “closing the doors of diplomacy” between Tehran and Washington amid heightened tensions, even as the country’s president derided the White House as being “afflicted by mental retardation.”

      President Hassan Rouhani went on to call the sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “outrageous and idiotic,” especially since the 80-year-old Shiite cleric has no plans to travel to the United States.

      Yet the sharp response from Tehran shows the pressure that the nation’s Shiite theocracy and its 80 million people feel over the maximalist campaign of sanctions by the Trump administration. From Israel, President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton said Iran could walk through an “open door” to talks with America, though he also warned that “all options remain on the table” if Tehran makes good on its promise to begin breaking one limit from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

    • The Hybrid War Against Iran

      U.S. President Donald Trump sat in the White House and contemplated a war against Iran. His army had been sending surveillance aircraft along the Iranian coastline, teasing Iranian radar, which tracked these manned and unmanned planes as they skirted the 12 nautical mile limit of Iranian sovereignty. Last week, the United States had two planes alongside Iran’s coast—an unmanned Global Hawk drone and a manned P-8 spy plane.

      Iranian air command radioed the U.S. forces to say that both the drone and the spy plane had come inside Iranian territory. The P-8 shifted course to leave Iranian airspace, while the Global Hawk continued. Iranian officials say that it was because the Global Hawk remained in Iranian airspace that it was shot down last Thursday morning at 4 a.m.

      Trump and his team threatened to retaliate. They wanted to shoot at Iranian radar and anti-aircraft facilities. At the 11th hour, Trump said, he decided not to fire at Iranian targets. The Pentagon had warned him that this would threaten U.S. troops in the area. It was to protect these troops that Trump did not launch a strike.

    • Polish citizen accused of trying to smuggle missile components out of Russia sentenced to 14 years for espionage

      On June 25, the Moscow City Court convicted Polish citizen Marian Radzaevski of espionage and sentenced him to 14 years in a high-security prison colony. The trial was closed to the public because it involved confidential case materials.

      According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Radzaevski attempted to organize an arms export shipment to Poland that included state secrets related to the S-300 guided missile system. The suspect was caught red-handed during an attempt to negotiate a deal for the equipment, the FSB asserted. While the agency did not publicly reveal any details of the planned exchange, its representatives argued that Radzaevski “acted in the interests of a Polish organization that is a leading supplier for that country’s military and intelligence services.” The agency did not specify the name of the organization in question.

    • When NPR Is More Dangerous Than Fox News

      When military conflict between the United States and Iran seems to be approaching, and you’re trying to get a clear picture of the situation, I’m only half-kidding when I say there’s a case to be made for staying glued to Fox News. Sure, you’ll hear a lot of pro-war propaganda. But at least you’ll know that’s what it is. If you instead tune in to “mainstream” media, you may think you’re getting an objective account when in fact you’re getting an account that’s biased in favor of war—just biased in subtler, harder-to-detect ways than the accounts on Fox News.

      Disclaimer: I’m not saying that mainstream journalists and commentators who evince these biases are consciously anti-Iran or pro-war. Usually the problem is just that they’re Americans, viewing the world through American lenses, relying on America’s ecosystem of expertise. And, of course, they’re human—which means they have cognitive biases that distort reality in accordance with their group affiliations (such as, say, being American).

      Consider a report that ran on NPR Thursday, hours after Iran downed a U.S. surveillance drone that, according to Iran, had violated Iranian airspace and, according to the United States, hadn’t. Rachel Martin, host of Morning Edition, began the segment by providing some context: “Since the Trump administration announced a maximum-pressure campaign against Iran, Iran has responded by attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.”

    • The Ongoing Restructuring of the Greater Middle East

      So, according to the corporate media, and to President Literally Hitler, himself, while America was sleeping last Friday morning, the U.S. Air Force was just minutes away from bombing the bejesus out of some desolate outposts somewhere in the Iranian desert and launching another catastrophic military blunder in the Middle East.

      At approximately 0400 Zulu time, President Hitler and his top advisors (among them, John “the Walrus of Death” Bolton) were gathered in the Pentagon’s War Room, flight paths arcing across the big board. The hotline to Vladimir Putin’s office in St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow had been activated. The full force of the U.S. military was about to be brought to bear upon a package of top-level Iranian targets with no strategic value whatsoever.

      [...]

      Also, they don’t like homosexuals (i.e., the Iranians, not NATO, of course), and they burn big American flags on television, and are generally Hitlerian in every other way. On top of which, they’re allies of Russia, the fount of all democracy-hating, fascist evil in the world today.

      Which, I don’t know, makes it kind of weird that President Hitler would want to attack them, and destroy their economy with those crippling sanctions.

      I mean, why would Putin allow him to do that? What was the point of brainwashing all those African Americans with those Facebook ads if his Manchurian President Hitler Puppet was just going to let The Walrus of Death and his deep state cronies bomb his allies?

      [...]

      For example, that destabilization and restructuring of the Greater Middle East I just mentioned above, which has been in progress since the early 1990s, regardless of who was sleeping in the White House.

    • An interview with the Russian video game developer who bought F-16 manuals on eBay and went to jail in Utah for it

      On June 19, 42-year-old flight simulation developer Oleg Tishchenko was sentenced in the United States. In 2011, he had purchased instruction manuals for the American F-16 fighter jet model on eBay. Five years later, the U.S. government brought criminal charges, and in early 2019, Tishchenko was extradited after he flew to Georgia for a dance festival. The game developer, who was tried in Utah, could have faced more than 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, violating the Arms Export Control Act, and smuggling. However, some of the charges against him were dropped, and the court counted the year he had spent in jail since his capture in Georgia toward his one-year sentence. Following Tishchenko’s immediate release, he was deported to Russia, where we asked him about the charges he faced and his life behind bars in the U.S. and Georgia.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • To Prevent ‘Climate Apartheid Scenario’ Where Rich Escape and Poor Suffer, UN Report Issues Urgent Call for Global Economic Justice

      “Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” U.N. special rapporteur Philip Alston, author of the new report, said in a statement.

      Even if warming is held to 1.5°C by the end of the century, Alston said, “tens of millions will be impoverished, leading to widespread displacement and hunger.”

      Alston’s 21-page report (pdf), which will be presented to the U.N. human rights council on Friday, predicts that millions of people across the planet could “face malnutrition due to devastating drought” over the next few decades due to the climate crisis, “and many more will have to choose between starvation and migration.”

      To prevent this nightmare scenario, the report calls for “a fundamental shift in the global economy” aimed at protecting vulnerable populations from climate impacts while dramatically slashing carbon emissions.

      “Maintaining the current course is a recipe for economic catastrophe,” Alston said in a statement. “Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are fully compatible but require decoupling economic well-being and poverty reduction from fossil fuel emissions.”

    • Oregon Republicans Backed by Right-Wing Militias Flee State to Stall Vote on Historic Climate Bill

      The Oregon state Legislature has been in a standoff for nearly one week, after 11 Republican lawmakers fled the Capitol Thursday to avoid voting on a landmark climate change bill. Some are believed to be hiding out in Idaho. Right-wing militias supporting the rogue GOP legislators have threatened violence, which led the remaining lawmakers to shut down the state Capitol in Salem. The climate crisis bill aims to decrease emissions by implementing a statewide cap-and-trade model. Without at least two of the rogue Republican senators present, Oregon Democrats, who control the state Senate and House of Representatives, don’t have the necessary quorum to vote on the legislation. We speak with Oregon Democratic state Representative Karin Power. She is co-chair of the state’s Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction and co-sponsor of the cap-and-trade bill.

    • Amid Demand for Climate Focus, Burning Everglades Offer Fiery Backdrop to First Democratic Primary Debate

      The Sunrise Movement, meanwhile, which has been leading the charge for the Democrats to host a climate debate, announced Tuesday that while the push has already increased pressure on candidates to address the crisis, so much more is needed.

      As part of its ongoing strategy to force the issue, the group will hold debate watching parties nationwide on Thursday alongside plans to flood social media with climate questions for the candidates.

      “We will come together in living rooms, classrooms and halls around the country by the thousands to unleash a social media storm and relentlessly demand the solutions we need,” the group said.

      Find a watch party near you here, or register to create your own here.

      In a strategy message to Sunrise members sent on Monday, executive director Varshini Prakash said that the scale of the climate crisis demands an unprecedented response.

      “We need massive mobilization,” Prakash wrote, “and disruption in every corner of the country unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes: millions of people walking out of school, shutting down government offices, and taking to the streets to tell our leaders: this is a crisis, our lives are on the line, it’s time you start acting like it.”

    • Emulating the CIA, New Rule Would Let Trump’s EPA Disregard FOIA Requests With Near Impunity

      The Trump administration is set to introduce a new rule, without giving the public a chance to weigh in, which will allow officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to deny information requests—similar to how the CIA does so—by falsely claiming requested records are unavailable.

      A rule, signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will expand agency officials’ authority to reject a FOIA request by labeling it as “non-responsive,” meaning the agency has decided to withhold the requested records or has claimed certain exemptions from FOIA.

      President Donald Trump’s Interior Department has previously expanded officials’ authority over FOIA requests, setting up an “awareness review” under which they have 72 hours to review any request which pertains to them.

      The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that agencies have “no authority in the statute for the government” to redact certain information from a FOIA response “on the basis that the information is nonresponsive.”

    • ‘We’re Not Settling for Soundbites’: Citing Democrats’ Own Platform, Open Letter Demands DNC Host at Least One 2020 Debate on Climate Emergency

      Arguing that DNC chair Tom Perez’s refusal to allow a presidential debate focused solely on the climate crisis runs counter to the Democratic Party’s own 2016 policy platform, a coalition of progressive advocacy groups and leading environmentalists on Tuesday published an open letter urging Perez to reverse his decision and devote at least one night to the planetary emergency.

      “The last Democratic platform made clear that we desperately needed emergency action on climate—and since it was adopted we’ve had the hottest year in human history,” Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and signatory of the open letter, said in a statement. “So it doesn’t seem too much to ask that the candidates, who have months and months of campaigning, devote a single evening to coming to grips with this crisis.”

    • ‘Business as Usual Is a Death Sentence’: Hundreds of Youth Activists Sit In at DNC Headquarters to Demand 2020 Debate on Climate Crisis

      Hundreds of youth activists held a sit-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday to demand a climate-specific presidential debate that treats the planetary crisis with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.

      “People everywhere are hurting from pollution and climate disasters, yet our political and media establishment routinely ignores these crises,” Destiney Lee, a 22-year-old Sunrise Movement activist who took part in the protest, said in a statement.

      Agreeing to host a debate centered around the climate emergency, Lee said, is “the absolute least” DNC chair Tom Perez can do.

      “At a climate debate,” Lee added, “we can press candidates on their plan to prevent the collapse of civilization as we know it and ensure my generation has a stable climate, clean air and water, and good jobs.”

    • Florida Is Burning. The Midwest Is Flooding. Why Aren’t Democrats Debating Climate?

      Which is why you’d think it’s a no-brainer for Democrats to spend one of their presidential primary debates having a national conversation about the climate crisis. After all, every major Democrat vying for the presidential nomination — including frontrunner Joe Biden — thinks we should have a debate focused on climate change. So do an overwhelming majority of Democratic primary voters, according to new data, as do the country’s leading environmental and activist groups, like the Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace USA, Credo Action, Friends of the Earth, and 350.org.

      Miami, the host city for the first debate, is staring down the barrel of 3 feet of sea level rise resulting from global warming. Yet our political and media establishment has failed spectacularly to give the climate crisis its due airtime: Only 1.5% of questions asked during the 2016 presidential primary debates were about climate change. The United Nations has told us, in no uncertain terms, that we have 10 years left to act to prevent worldwide ecological collapse, so a televised conversation among those vying to lead our country on the topic seems worthy of at least as much airtime as the birth of the royal baby.

      It’s a conversation worth having, because there are real differences among Democrats on how to approach the issue. Sure, nearly every candidate says they support the Green New Deal, but what that support actually means differs wildly from one candidate to the next. And big questions remain, like how quickly each wants to move the economy off fossil fuels, what role each envisions for nuclear energy in the decades to come, and how heavily we should lean on mythical tech magic like ‘carbon capture’ to pull emissions out of the air.

      My favorite unanswered question comes courtesy of my brilliant friend Kate Aronoff: Would you, as president, consider nationalizing and taking over the fossil fuel industry, given the unprecedented harm their business model is inflicting on the world?

    • Giant Floating Solar Farms Could Make Fuel and Help Solve the Climate Crisis, Says Study

      Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

      The paper argues that the technology exists to build the floating methanol islands on a large scale in areas of the ocean free from large waves and extreme weather. Areas of the ocean off the coasts of South America, North Australia, the Arabian Gulf and Southeast Asia are particularly suitable for mooring these islands.

    • How floating solar farms could make fuel and help solve the climate crisis

      Huge solar farms floating in the ocean could be used to convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, a fuel that can power airplanes, trucks and other long-haul vehicles. That’s the takeaway from provocative new research suggesting that such “solar methanol islands” could curb our reliance on fossil fuels that belch harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

      “This is just one of the many things we should be doing to control climate change, along with having better insulation in our homes, having higher efficiency in car engines and driving electric vehicles,” said Bruce Patterson, a physicist at the University of Zurich and co-author of a paper about the research published June 3 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “This is just one piece of a mosaic.”

    • Trump EPA OKs ‘Emergency’ Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide on 13.9 Million Acres

      More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week ok the ‘emergency’ use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

      EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, “that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to spray.”

    • UCSF Adds Fossil Fuels To Industry Documents Library

      Today, UCSF Library launched a new Fossil Fuel Industry Documents Archive featuring over 1,000 internal documents from the fossil fuel industry illustrating strategies to cast doubt on climate science and delay policy action. The documents were collected over two decades by the Climate Investigations Center.

      UC San Francisco’s Industry Documents Library (IDL) is a unique resource. It gathers and organizes internal documents from companies that privatize profits and socialize costs, risks or damage to health or environment.

      Real science is often inconvenient for profits, so such companies spend money on politics, disinformation, doubt-creation and attacks on science and scientists, sometimes via “independent” think tanks or front groups often covered here on DeSmog.

      UCSF has gotten tobacco documents for decades, but over the last few years has added Drug, Chemical and Food sections to the archive as well. Internal documents from lawsuits, whistleblowers and other sources can be quite valuable for exposing malfeasance, helping community action, backing legislation and supporting lawsuits. It is incredibly helpful to have one database of well-curated documents from multiple industries, as they use similar tactics often employed by some of the same people and organizations, as illustrated by personal experience below.

    • Democrats Set to Square off in a City Under Siege by the Climate Crisis

      The Democratic candidates for president descended upon Miami for a two-night debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Any candidate hoping to carry the state will have to make the climate crisis central to their campaign, as The New York Times reported.

      The evidence of the climate crisis is everywhere around the candidates. It’s a daily reality for the city’s rich and poor residents alike. Not far from Miami, a wildfire consumed 17,000 acres of the Everglades in less than 24 hours and was zero-percent contained by Monday afternoon, according to Vice News.

    • Miami, Drowning and Scorching, Awaits Democrats for Debate

      New water pumps and tidal valves worth millions of dollars are needed to keep the streets from flooding even on sunny days. Septic tanks compromised by rising groundwater leak unfiltered waste that threatens the water supply. Developers are often buying out residents of established communities, hoping to acquire buildable property on higher ground.

      Climate change became a daily reality long ago in Miami, where both rich and poor have been forced to grapple with the compounding effects of warmer temperatures and higher sea levels. The evidence is everywhere of a city under siege by the rising sea.

      “Climate change is really the issue that sits on all other issues,” said Rachel Silverstein, executive director of Miami Waterkeeper, an environmental research and activist group. “It affects security. It affects drinking water. It affects tourism. It affects public health. Property values. It’s a part of the discussion of almost any topic that might come up.”

    • The Everglades Is on Fire

      A massive wildfire has consumed more than 17,000 acres of the Everglades in less than 24 hours.

  • Finance

    • CEOs Got an $800k Raise Last Year. Did You?

      Congratulations on that nice pay raise you got last year. A 7 percent hike — wow!

      After 40 years of stagnant wages, that uptick should help you pay off some of old credit card bills or get an upgrade on your 10-year-old pickup.

      Oh, wait… you say you didn’t get such a raise?

      Oops, my mistake. It was the CEOs of corporate giants who reported to the Associated Press that they enjoyed a median jump of 7 percent last year. And, since their paychecks were already king-size, that amounted to an extra $800,000 in their take-home, jacking up their total yearly income to $12 million each.

    • The Government Is Working — for Corporations

      In light of a violent past, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn himself from consideration as President Trump’s official pick to lead the Pentagon, leaving Mark Esper, a former vice president of government relations at Raytheon, to succeed him.

      At first glance, Trump’s half-empty administration might appear understaffed and ineffectual, and in terms of the public interest, that’s probably true. But the Trump administration is very openly working for private interests, not public interests, and in that regard, either Shanahan or Esper will work just fine.

      If you can imagine an obviously inappropriate appointment for any given regulatory body, Trump has probably already filled it. The Daily Beast found that more than half of his 2017 nominations had conflicts of interest, ProPublica confirmed the trend in 2018, and tracking by the Sunlight Foundation suggests little has changed in 2019.

      After all, it wasn’t Shanahan’s history with Boeing, where he oversaw the development of both missiles and 787s, that disqualified him, but rather allegations of domestic abuse. It’s the latest in a series of high-profile turnovers, each one introducing a new industry player just as unfit for government as the last one.

      Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was just confirmed in April after Ryan Zinke resigned amid a staggering 17 ethics investigations. Bernhardt — an anti-science oil lobbyist with so many conflicts of interest that he carries a card around to keep track of them — has a clear record of pursuing regulatory rollbacks at the expense of the environment.

    • The Corporatization of Public Education and The Rise of Fascism

      Suzanne talks with internationally reknowned writer and cultural critic Henry A. Giroux about how corporate values have changed the nature of higher education and the connections between the dismantling of public education and the rise of facism in the U.S. Henry A Giroux is well known for his groundbreaking work in critical pedgagogy and has just published The Terror of The Unforseen, a searing takedown of the populist authoritarian vision of America. The book examines the resurgence of fascism in the age of Donald Trump’s presidency. the language of hatred, state-sanctioned racism, casino capitalism, and fear-mongering at federal and local levels. For more about his work, visit HenryAGiroux.com

    • Russian government to compensate airlines for losses due to Georgia passenger flight ban

      Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov announced that the government would develop a mechanism to compensate Russian airlines for losses sustained during a ban on commercial flights from Russia to Georgia. President Vladimir Putin ordered the ban in response to anti-Russian unrest and clashes with police in Tbilisi.

    • NYT Presents Social Security Cuts as ‘Solution’ to Problem of Social Security Cuts

      It’s hard to improve on economist and FAIR contributor Dean Baker’s observation that corporate media’s calls for cuts to programs for the elderly under the neutral-sounding guise of “reform” are about as predictable as the sunrise. As illustrated by the New York Times’ alarmist 1,581 word report (6/12/19) by Jeff Sommer, headlined “Social Security Is Facing Its First Real Shortfall in Decades,” another favorite media euphemism for cuts to Social Security is “solution.”

      And not just any “solution”; it has to be “bipartisan,” too, in order to beat back the caricature of crazy leftists intent on bankrupting the country with their fiscal irresponsibility, even though there is no evidence that bipartisanship in itself produces better legislation (FAIR.org, 2/3/09).

      Sounding the alarm of a “slow-moving crisis,” the Times warned readers that the most successful anti-poverty program in the United States is going to start drawing on its $2.9 trillion trust fund next year—for the first time since 1982—in order to keep paying out full benefits until 2034 or 2035. If nothing is done, the Times projects that benefits after that point would be cut by an average of 20 percent, and up to 25 percent in later years, because of the “long-known basic math problem” of insufficient numbers of younger people to replace the thousands of Baby Boomers retiring each day. (Actually, Social Security’s long-term problems have relatively little to do with the Baby Boom, most of whom will be dead by 2040.)

      The Times declared the need for a “political solution,” and suggested that the “bipartisan effort” by Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill in the 1980s—which it framed it as something that was “needed” to overcome a similar “crisis” in their time, after Reagan’s budget director’s proposal for immediate cuts to retiree benefits backfired—“gives some clues for a possible solution today.”

      In case readers don’t get the hint that bipartisan cuts to Social Security are necessary, the report ended with quotes from John Cogan—described as “a professor of public policy at Stanford,” not as a senior fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institute—talking about how impending benefit cuts will make a bipartisan compromise “possible,” and a former Social Security trustee claiming that we “undoubtedly” need a “combination of increased taxes and reduced benefits,” because otherwise the “eventual solution will be much more painful.”

    • Banning Private Prisons—and Prisoner Exploitation

      Last Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren vowed as president to terminate all federal private prison contracts, and to pressure local and state governments to do the same. “The government has a basic responsibility to keep the people in its care safe—not to use their punishment as an opportunity for profit,” she wrote in a Medium post.

      Warren’s plan also promises to regulate private companies’ services in prisons and eliminate service fees for prisoners using basic services like phone calls, bank transfers, and health care. This goes beyond what has become an increasingly common call for abolishing private prison management, and attacks the routine exploitation of disproportionately poor inmates and their families.

      Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the Justice Is Not for Sale Act back in 2015. In a plan not too divergent from Warren’s, the Sanders bill would have banned private prisons and increased oversight of private services operating in prisons. Other Democratic candidates, including Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris, have also previously called for an end to private prisons. One day after the release of Warren’s plan, even the moderate Joe Biden punctuated a speech at the South Carolina Democratic Convention with this line: “No more mandatory minimums, period. End private prisons.”

    • Grenfell – Two Years On

      The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower blaze affects every person in the country, not just those living in tower blocks. Many of the safety issues potentially reach into every home, not just high-rise dwellers.

      This is not just about fire-safety. The Grenfell tragedy revealed defects at every level of government, from top to bottom. When action was needed urgently, instead we have witnessed astonishing paralysis. Government has been unable to acknowledge let alone remedy the problems it created. It became obvious the entire system of government is dysfuntional.

      No lessons have been learned, nothing has changed. New buildings are still being covered with plastic cladding and flammable Celotex insulation – “solid petrol” that burns to produce cyanide.

      Even the scale of the potential problem has yet to be properly assessed. The government has set arbitrary limits about the type of buildings and cladding that could be considered – limits that fire would not respect. A dramatic recent blaze at Barking illustrated that the same problems also affect low-rise buildings and types of flammable non-plastic cladding that the government claimed were not at risk.

    • Facebook May Pose a Greater Danger Than Wall Street

      Payments can happen cheaply and easily without banks or credit card companies, as has already been demonstrated—not in the United States but in China. Unlike in the U.S., where numerous firms feast on fees from handling and processing payments, in China most money flows through mobile phones nearly for free. In 2018 these cashless payments totaled a whopping $41.5 trillion; and 90% were through Alipay and WeChat Pay, a pair of digital ecosystems that blend social media, commerce and banking. According to a 2018 article in Bloomberg titled “Why China’s Payment Apps Give U.S. Bankers Nightmares”:

      The nightmare for the U.S. financial industry is that a technology company—whether from China or a homegrown juggernaut such as Amazon.com Inc. or Facebook Inc.—replicates the success of Alipay and WeChat in America. The stakes are enormous, potentially carving away billions of dollars in annual revenue from major banks and other firms.

      That threat may now be materializing. On June 18, Facebook unveiled a white paper outlining ambitious plans to create a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, to be launched in 2020. Facebook reportedly has high hopes that Libra will become the foundation for a new financial system free of control by Wall Street power brokers and central banks.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sanders’s Speech Presents a Conundrum for New Left’s Socialist Strategy

      In the U.S., the failures of capitalism are being refracted in the race for the White House, just as they were in 2016. On one side, President Trump is rallying his predominantly middle-class voters to re-elect him based on his program of economic nationalism and bigotry that has wreaked havoc at home and abroad.

      On the other side, Democrats are in a battle for their party’s presidential nomination to challenge the bigot billionaire in 2020. Predictably, the party has banded together, at least for now, around the establishment’s favored candidate, Joe Biden, who defends the existing capitalist order, albeit with minor reforms.

      His challengers, however, have moved to the left, adopting (however honestly or dishonestly) much of the program Sen. Bernie Sanders put forward in 2016, while at the same time, rejecting Sanders’s self-proclaimed democratic socialism. They all know, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, that to win the party’s support if Biden stumbles, they must toe its pro-capitalist line.

    • Big bucks ready to flow into Maine as Susan Collins aims to keep her seat

      The Democratic nominee to challenge Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in 2020 will start with millions of dollars in the bank. And the picture of who that candidate might be is getting a little clearer.
      Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon announced her entry to the Democratic primary Monday, joining progressive lobbyist Betsy Sweet and lawyer Bre Kidman as candidates hoping to challenge Collins in the general election. Of the three, Gideon is the only contender who has previously held public office, and is widely considered to be the frontrunner.
      Maine’s 2020 Senate race is already shaping up to be an expensive one as Democrats hope to flip a key seat in a swing state and Republicans seek to hang on to their narrow Senate majority. Adding to the spending spree is the fundraising that both sides racked up related to Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court last fall.
      Collins, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, has long been considered one of its most moderate Republicans. Her record on abortion rights got her $10,000 from NARAL and $5,000 from Planned Parenthood during the 2002 election cycle, though neither group has given to her since. She was one of the first members of her party to support outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, and she was one of three Republicans who sunk the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act in 2017.

    • Nancy Pelosi’s Anti-Impeachment Stance Makes Increasingly Less Sense With Each Passing Day

      Speaker Pelosi’s continued refusal to allow the House to open impeachment proceedings against President Trump is becoming increasingly incoherent. And her continued assertion that her decision is not about politics is becoming downright unbelievable.

      How is it credible to claim, as Pelosi has, that Trump has committed crimes serious enough to put him in jail, but not serious enough to commence the Constitution’s main remedy for addressing Presidential wrongdoing: impeachment?

      Pelosi’s stance is transparently political. The only coherent reason for this is that she fears the politics of impeachment, not the process – and therein lies the rub.

    • Kellyanne Conway will not appear before Congress to discuss alleged violations of the Hatch Act

      White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will not appear before the House Oversight Committee to discuss her alleged multiple violations of the Hatch Act.

      According to CNN, White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., that “the precedent for members of the White House staff to decline invitations to testify before congressional committees has been consistently adhered to by administrations of both political parties and is based on clearly established constitutional doctrines.”

      Cummings did not respond positively to Cipollone’s letter.

      “We cannot have people disobeying the law. The president is not above the law, and neither is Ms. Conway above the law,” Cummings said in response to Cipollone’s letter.

      Asked if Conway would be held in contempt for not appearing before Congress, Cummings replied, “Of course.”

      This is not the first time that a high-ranking member of the Trump administration has flat-out refused to appear before Congress. Attorney General William Barr incurred controversy for his own decision to disregard a congressional subpoena.

    • 15 House Democrats Who Can’t Be Primaried Soon Enough

      The following report is by no means exhaustive — only illustrative. There may well be a Democratic member of Congress near you not included here who serves corporate interests more than majority interests, or has simply grown tired or complacent in the never-ending struggles for social, racial and economic justice as well as environmental sanity and peace. Perhaps you live in a district where voters are ready to be inspired by a progressive primary candidate because the Democrat in Congress is not up to the job.

      It isn’t easy to defeat a Democratic incumbent in a primary. Typically, the worse the Congress member, the more (corporate) funding they get. While most insurgent primary campaigns will not win, they’re often very worthwhile — helping progressive constituencies to get better organized and to win elections later. And a grassroots primary campaign can put a scare into the Democratic incumbent to pay more attention to voters and less to big donors.

    • Jockpocalypse

      A half-century ago, the sporting Cassandras predicted that the worst values and sensibilities of our increasingly corrupted civic society would eventually affect our sacred games: football would become a gladiatorial meat market, basketball a model of racism, college sports a paradigm of commercialization, and Olympic sports like swimming and gymnastics a hotbed of sexual predators.

      Mission accomplished!

      The Cassandras then forecast an even more perverse reversal: our games, now profaned, would further corrupt our civic life; winning would not be enough without domination; cheating would be justified as gamesmanship; extreme fandom would become violent tribalism; team loyalty would displace moral courage; and obedience to the coach would supplant democracy.

      Okay, I think it’s time for a round of applause for those seers. Let’s hear it for Team Trump!

      Even as those predictions were coming true over the past two years, as a longtime sports reporter, columnist, TV commentator, and jock culture correspondent for TomDispatch, I waited with a certain dread and expectation for the arrival of the true Jockpocalypse, the prophetic revelation that Jock Culture had indeed become The Culture. There would be three clear signs, I thought, of this American sports version of a biblical Armageddon.

      The first arrived last February, when a leading NFL owner was arrested, allegedly in flagrante delicto, in a Florida massage parlor before an important game. The second hit the news in March, when several dozen parents were caught spending millions of dollars to get their distinctly unathletic children admitted to elite colleges by masquerading as promising varsity sports prospects.

      The third and most convincing sign came in April when the world’s greatest golfer tacitly endorsed the world’s greatest golf cheater. Admittedly, none of those signs was as blatant as ongoing outrages like the growing roster of young women athletes who had been sexually abused by their team coaches and doctors; the continuing corruption at the highest levels of European soccer (where anything goes financially speaking and, as the New Yorker’s Sam Knight put it, “The best leagues are awash in Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern sovereign-wealth funds, and Chinese conglomerates”); or the sexism of the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport in refusing to allow Caster Semenya, a South African runner with naturally elevated testosterone, to compete against other women unless she doped down her hormone levels.

      [...]

      And since integrity is marketed as the soul of golf, how can that sport — and its greatest player — ignore the barefaced dishonesty of the world’s most famous golf club owner on the course? As sportswriter Rick Reilly, who has golfed with Trump, describes the president in a hilariously depressing new book, Commander in Cheat, he routinely lies about how many tournaments he’s won, whom he’s beaten, and what his score was. He regularly sneaks his own balls off the rough and kicks his opponent’s onto it. “Somebody should point out,” writes Reilly, “that the way Trump does golf is sort of the way he does a presidency, which is to operate as though the rules are for other people.”

    • Jonathan Kozol: Joe Biden Didn’t Just Praise Segregationists. He Also Spent Years Fighting Busing

      Former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines last week when he fondly reminisced about his “civil” relationship in the 1970s and 1980s with segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. While Biden’s recent comments made the news, far less attention has been paid to the former vice president’s actual record. In the 1970s, then-Senator Biden was a fierce critic of Delaware’s attempts to bus students in an effort to integrate its schools. We speak with National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol about Biden’s track record.

    • Land title for Moscow FSB head’s mansion shifts from his name to ‘Russian Federation’ after investigations by Ivan Golunov and other journalists

      The Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) unexpectedly altered its listing for a mansion known to belong to Alexey Dorofeyev, the head of the FSB’s division for Moscow and the Moscow region. The change followed a report from three investigative outlets and anti-corruption nonprofits that used the federal registry to track high-ranking FSB officials’ real estate ownership.

    • Federal Judges Send 2020 Census Lawsuit Back to Lower Court

      A lawsuit that alleges a 2020 census question pushed by the Trump administration violates minorities’ rights will be sent back to a federal court in Maryland so new evidence can be considered, U.S. appeals judges ruled Tuesday.

      The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision comes a day after U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland suggested in an opinion that racial discrimination and partisan power plays could be the underlying motives in asking everyone in the country about citizenship status. The 4th Circuit’s order sending the case back to Hazel could be pivotal.

      “The decision today opens up a potentially new legal front in the fight against the citizenship question,” said Thomas Wolf, counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and an expert on census matters.

    • Warren Tops MoveOn Straw Poll for First Time With Double-Digit Lead Over Both Sanders and Biden

      Results from a straw poll by progressive group MoveOn of its members released Tuesday show Sen. Elizabeth Warren trouncing the rest of the Democratic field in the presidential primary, 21 points ahead of her closest rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

      Warren, of Massachusetts, claims 37.8 percent of the poll’s voters, while Sanders, of Vermont, came in second with 16.5 percent. Former vice president Joe Biden, who is seen as a more conservative candidate, came in third at 14.9 percent with MoveOn’s progressive supporters; Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounded out the top four with 11.9 percent. The rest of the field were in the single digits. Warren, California’s Sen. Kamala Harris, Buttigieg, and Sanders were the top four candidates for the poll’s “second choice” option.

      The MoveOn poll targets the left-leaning progressives that make up its supporters. Nonetheless, the group’s federal endorsement manager Allison Pulliam said in a statement, the poll’s findings indicate the Democratic Party faithful are beginning to coalesce around a small number of top-tier candidates.

    • So Much for Middle-Class Joe: Biden Raked in Millions After Leaving the White House

      As a senator, former Vice President Joe Biden earned the nickname Amtrak Joe, for the frequent train trips he took between Washington, D.C., and his home state of Delaware. According to CNN, by 2008 he had logged 8,200 miles, and the ritual added to the everyman aura of the man who called himself Middle-Class Joe. Today, however, that nickname may more of a memory than an accurate reflection of Biden’s current wealth.

      He now commands up to $200,000 for a single speech and pays an estimated $20,000 per month in rent on his Washington, D.C., home. There’s also a primary residence in Wilmington, Del., and a $2.7 million vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., according to The Washington Post.

      Biden, as Post reporter Matt Viser explains, may recall being “the poorest member of the U.S. Senate” on the campaign trail, “But since leaving office he has enjoyed an explosion of wealth, making millions of dollars largely from book deals and speaking fees that ranged to as much as $200,000 per speech, public documents show.”

      The Post also found, via additional public documents requests, that “As Biden traveled the country before announcing his presidential campaign this spring, his sponsors provided VIP hotel suites, town cars and professional drivers, chartered flights and travel expense reimbursements that for some of his appearances reached at least $10,000 per event.”

      There were also at least 10 events for which Biden was not paid (although in some situations he was reimbursed for expenses). His campaign told the Post that he’s given fewer than 50 paid speeches—but did not provide more specifics and declined to speak on the record for the Post story.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Self-Made Millionaire Loses Lawsuit Over Facebook’s Removal Of Videos Of People Urinating

      Facebook promised to clean up its platform to make it more family-friendly. And it has done so, with varying degrees of success. If anything, it’s tried too hard and caused a lot of collateral damage to content that should never have been found objectionable in the first place.

      For that effort, it has been vilified by everyone from the President of the United States to angry individuals who can’t seem to find a better outlet for their ignorance. Like other social media companies attempting to do the impossible, it’s getting sued for running its business the way it wants to.

      Jason Fyk is one of several plaintiffs who have sued social media companies for removing their posts or banning their accounts. Fyk is a little different than the others we’ve covered recently. Fyk is a self-made millionaire whose business model relies almost entirely on Facebook.

      [...]

      But switch out “Google” for “Facebook” and the lawsuit could have been written by any SEO huckster in response to the company’s numerous algorithm changes. Or leave the wording the same and any major publication that bought into Facebook’s promise to deliver monetized news from behind the walls of its garden could raise the same complaints. Platforms operating in opaque and inconsistent ways sucks for everyone, not just those who’ve hitched their financial wagon to someone else’s platform. But while it sucks the most for a self-made millionaire who rode Facebook as far as it was willing to carry him, it doesn’t mean the solution is litigating yourself back to financial health.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Once Again: It’s Not Clear The Internet Needs Creepy Targeted Ads

      There seems to be a general argument, perhaps believed by folks at Google and Facebook in particular, that they need to suck up all this data about us to provide more and more targeted advertising. I’m still not at all convinced that’s true. Earlier this year, I suggested that Google and Facebook might be better off if they just admitted that targeted advertising didn’t work as well as people like to pretend it works. The fact is that it doesn’t work all that well, and comes with massive costs in terms of everyone thinking that all these companies want to do is suck up more and more data. And the “advantage” over other forms of advertising (contextual, brand, etc.) are really not that great. Earlier this month we highlighted a study that showed that, for publishers, targeted advertising didn’t show any real benefit, and that it was mainly being used to prop up the fees middlemen got, in being able to claim some magic sauce to better target ads.

      [...]

      I’d argue that Weinberg leaves out general brand advertising as well, which can work well. Part of the problem, though, is that behavioral and programmatic advertising gives the illusion of being “scientific” because you can show data (even if that data is meaningless or misleading). As soon as you can insist that you’ll be able to show data, then people get wowed by it, and think that they’ve magically solved the “I know that half of my ad spending is wasted, I just don’t know which half” problem. But the real problem is that even with all this behavioral targeting, most advertisers are still wasting way more than half their ad spend. It’s just that they can show pretty charts and spreadsheets to pretend they have data to back up that they’re doing the right thing.

      This is a point we’ve raised before. We’ve been talking to companies for a few years now, trying to convince them to advertise on Techdirt in a non-creepy way with no tracking. And what has happened, multiple times, is that a marketing person gets excited and talks about how “this is great” and how they know that they can get a lot of people interested in what they’re offering if they were to support Techdirt just knowing that our audience would appreciate them being cool enough not to track them. And then it gets handed off to an ad team or a digital agency or an ad firm that they outsource this stuff to, and eventually someone has a spreadsheet. And doing a branding campaign without creepy tracking doesn’t fit into a spreadsheet. So they pass. And waste a bunch of money on someone who will give them data, no matter how meaningless.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Disinformation Campaigns Against London, Part I: 11 Identified Lines of Attack

      Those of us who live and work in London like the place, or at least tolerate it. Many of us love it. Certainly, like with any large city, there are people who dislike it. Over the last few years, however, there have been a number of fake, misleading, and/or downright hateful things spread on Twitter about London. Is this just random nonsense on the internet, or is it part of some overall campaign to accomplish some nefarious objective?

    • Man accused of poisoning and robbing pedestrians in central Moscow arrested

      A man suspected in a series of Moscow poisonings has been brought into police custody, the news agency Moskva reported.

      The Russian outlet The Village had previously discovered that at least 24 people fell victim to the man’s actions in May and June. He would introduce himself to passersby in the center of Russia’s capital, treat them to a fizzy drink that was poisoned, and then beat and rob them. Some victims fell into a coma. The attacks took place near Chistye Prudy as well as on Khokhlovskaya Square, Gorka (not Gorky) Park, and the Zinziver bar.

    • Critics Not Buying Trump’s “She’s Not My Type” Dismissal of Latest Sexual Assault Accuser

      Trump, asked about the assault on Monday by The Hill, denied the allegations.

      “I’ll say it with great respect,” said Trump. “Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, okay?”

      Carroll’s accusations, while serious, did not merit much coverage on the nation’s weekend political shows or even The New York Times.

      As HuffPost reporter Hayley Miller wrote Sunday night, “the allegation went largely undiscussed by major TV networks on Sunday morning, clearing the path for yet another sexual assault allegation against the president to slip into the void.”

    • Actors at major Moscow theater record plea to Putin asking for their old artistic director back

      Cast members at the Maxim Gorky Moscow Art Academic Theater recorded a video message to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to “bring back” Tatiana Doronina, who served as the theater’s artistic director from 1987 to December 2018. Doronina then became the theater’s president as Edward Boyakov took over her role.

    • Trump Thinks Migrants Should Have No Rights

      A legal battle for the basic human rights of migrants has been unfolding in a courtroom in San Francisco. Last week, a deeply incredulous panel of federal appeals court judges heard argument from a Trump administration attorney regarding the treatment of migrants currently in detention.

      During the hearing, the administration claimed that as long as the facilities were “safe and sanitary,” the U.S. government “is not legally required to provide all of them with such items as soap, toothbrushes and sleeping accommodations,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

      On Monday, NBC News reported that some 300 children have been removed from a concentration camp in Clint, Texas after advocates and media reports raised alarms about the wretched conditions these children were housed in. “Some were wearing dirty clothes covered in mucus or even urine,” reported NBC. “Teenage mothers wore clothing stained with breast milk. None of the children had access to soap or toothpaste.”

      “Virtually no one is taking care of these children directly, that they are locked up in these cells 24 hours a day,” reports Democracy NOW! on the Clint facility. “There are open toilets in many of these cells. There’s no soap, no way to wash their hands. And many of them are being forced to sleep on concrete because of a shortage of beds and mats and sleeping space. Children described sleeping on concrete floors.”

      Clearly, the Trump administration was unwilling to wait for a judicial ruling on whether migrant children detained in concentration camps deserve soap, toothpaste and cots. The facility in Clint is but one of many currently housing migrants and asylum seekers.

    • Melania’s Be Best Campaign Is Delightedly Expanding To Help Kids Everywhere Except, You Know, the Ones In the Concentration Camps

      Jesus. The First Escort, mistress of cognitive dissonance, has announced she’s expanding her elusive, grammatically challenged Be Best campaign to “better the lives of children everywhere,” though evidently exceptions may apply. A White House statement issued from some other planet trumpeted the campaign “reaches new heights” with the appointment of “21 BE BEST Ambassadors,” noting without irony that Trump has “collaborated” with many agencies to help children and parents face “today’s challenges.” Among those challenges, you’d think, would be the current concentration camp system set up by her loathsome partner in crime that is detaining thousands of poor, brown, terrified, traumatized, snot-and-lice-covered children in dirty, freezing, crowded, windowless, illegal warehouses you wouldn’t keep your dog in – including the Texas facility found to have conditions so abominable, also in violation of Geneva Conventions, that administration racists and incompetents were compelled by public outrage to remove 300 kids from them. Because evil never sleeps, over 100 were just inexplicably returned to them less than 24 hours later, definitely not long enough to make any of these places less concentration campy. And yes, that’s what they are.

    • Immigrant Kids Keep Dying in CBP Detention Centers, DHS Won’t Take Accountability

      The death toll continues to climb as the government argues against following legal guidelines.
      In recent months, at least seven children have either died in custody or after being detained by federal immigration agencies at the border. These children came to the United States desperate for shelter and safety, but found inhumanity and suffering, under our government’s care, instead.

      Their deaths reveal just how dire the conditions are under which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are holding hundreds of children. Detention facilities are dangerously overcrowded, where migrants are forced to wear soiled clothes for days at a time. To make matters worse, CBP also appears to be holding children for extended periods of time in direct conflict with the Flores agreement, a set of legal guidelines that provide humane conditions for immigrant children in detention — guidelines the Trump administration is now attempting to dismantle, arguing in court that it doesn’t require CBP to provide basic toiletries to keep children clean.

      The government may argue that their hands are tied by a lack of resources, but the truth is that these horrors are simply the latest attempt to dehumanize asylum-seekers and migrants, including children, and deny them basic care and dignity.

      U.S. Border Patrol, the law enforcement arm of CBP, has more than doubled in staff and funding since 2003. CBP has dealt with even higher levels of border crossers in the past and has 17 times the budget it did in 1990.

      And yet, the department continues to have a heinous track record of rampant reported abuses in detention facilities, with adults dying on their watch as well as children, all with almost no accountability standards. There have been 97 fatalities at the hands of CBP agents since 2004, including the murder of Claudia Gómez González, an unarmed, indigenous 20-year-old woman who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent in May 2018.

      The department has had ample time and resources to figure out their processes and be more forthcoming with a plan to address influxes of asylum seekers, particularly families, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet, they continue to be opaque in their answers to members of Congress and push misleading data about border crossings.

    • ‘This Is What Solidarity Looks Like,’ Says Ocasio-Cortez, as Wayfair Workers Vow Walkout to Protest Company for Working With Child Detention Centers

      The action, which will take place at the company’s Boston Back Bay offices, is scheduled for 1:30pm ET Wednesday.

      Wayfair employees found out last week that the company was providing bedroom furniture to government contractor BCFS for its new facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Common Dreams reported on the facility’s construction on June 20, citing WFAA reporter Jason Whitley, who said on Twitter that the camp would “house more than 1,000 captured children.”

      Once the employees discovered their complicity in the border detention of children, 547 of them wrote a letter to the company’s executives on June 21 demanding that the company cease cooperating with the federal government.

      “We believe that the current actions of the United States and their contractors at the southern border do not represent an ethical partnership Wayfair should choose to be a part of,” the employees wrote.

    • U.S. Border Chief Abruptly Resigns Amid Public Outrage

      The acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection resigned Tuesday amid an uproar over the discovery of migrant children being held in filthy conditions at one of the agency’s stations in Texas.

      Commissioner John Sanders’ departure deepened the sense of crisis and added to the rapid turnover inside the agencies responsible for enforcing President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration priorities.

      The Trump administration is dealing with unprecedented numbers of migrant families coming across the border, a surge that has left detention centers severely overcrowded and taxed the government’s ability to provide medical care and other attention.

    • As Border Chief John Sanders Resigns, Demands for Trump Officials to Be Held to Account for ‘Government-Sanctioned Child Abuse’

      A top immigration official in the Trump administration announced his resignation Tuesday amid public outcry over the treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody, prompting accusations that he and others are attempting to avoid responsibility for what critics call “government-sanctioned child abuse.”

      Shortly after as it was reported that more than 100 children were transferred back to a detention facility in Texas where rampant abuse was found, news broke that Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) John Sanders is stepping down on July 5.

      Sanders did not make a public statement about his resignation or the hundreds of children in U.S. custody who have been living in unsanitary, unsafe conditions for weeks at government-run facilities around the country, instead sending a letter to his colleagues in which he praised the agency’s “determination and can-do attitude” and its ability to “accomplish what others thought wasn’t possible” under the Trump administration.

      Critics, however, were unequivocal in their view that Sanders and the rest of the administration should be held accountable for the treatment of the thousands of children in the detention centers.

      “They will spin the horrendous treatment of children as a ‘mismanagement’ problem,” tweeted the legal aid organization Raices. “That’s a complete dodge. This is an intentionally racist and violent regime who’ve targeted immigrants since they took office. They need to be held accountable.”

    • House Looks Set to Pass Emergency Funding Bill for Migrants

      Democratic leaders in the House proposed tighter requirements for the care of unaccompanied refugee children as they sought to pass a $4.5 billion emergency funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis involving the thousands of migrant families detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

      Lawmakers and aides said they expected the changes, which were concessions to Hispanic and liberal Democrats, to produce a winning tally when the measure comes to a vote later Tuesday. A full court press by leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was also helping nail down support, though some Democrats had lingering reservations.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Supreme Court Now Says That The Trademark Office Can’t Reject ‘Immoral Or Scandalous’ Trademarks

        This should have been pretty much a foregone conclusion after the Supreme Court’s ruling two years ago in Simon Tam’s case about The Slants trademark. In that case, the Supreme court ruled that part of the Lanham Act that said the government could deny trademarks on “disparaging” marks was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. However, that ruling was a bit messy. The court agreed that the law was unconstitutional under the 1st Amendment, but had two different theories as to why, neither of which got a majority. So the specific law that said the PTO could reject “disparaging” marks was tossed, but technically other content-based restrictions, such as those for “immoral and scandalous” remarks remained on the books. So, pretty quickly that got challenged as well, and now the Supreme Court instead has said that’s unconstitutional too.

        The basic reasoning should be obvious: under the First Amendment, the government cannot be in the business of judging the appropriateness of content (for what it’s worth, this is also why Senator Josh Hawley’s silly bill is unconstitutional). Here, the majority decision, written by Justice Kagan, made pretty quick work of the ruling, basically just saying that the same thing that they said in the Tam case applies here as well.

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