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06.27.19

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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