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07.09.19

Links 9/7/2019: Goodbye Red Hat (IBM Takeover Finalised), Mesa 19.1.2, D9VK 0.13

Posted in News Roundup at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • The Saga Of 32-Bit Linux: Why Going 64-Bit Raises Concerns Over Multilib

      Of course, some decisions are easier to make than others. Back in 2012 when Linus Torvalds officially ended kernel support for legacy 386 processors, he famously closed the commit message with “Good riddance.” Maintaining support for such old hardware had been complicating things behind the scenes for years while offering very little practical benefit, so removing all that legacy code was like taking a weight off the developer’s shoulders.

      The rationale was the same a few years ago when distributions like Arch Linux decided to drop support for 32-bit hardware entirely. Maintainers had noticed the drop-off in downloads for the 32-bit versions of their distributions and decided it didn’t make sense to keep producing them. In an era where even budget smartphones are shipping with 64-bit processors, many Linux distributions have at this point decided 32-bit CPUs weren’t worth their time.

      Given this trend, you’d think Ubuntu announcing last month that they’d no longer be providing 32-bit versions of packages in their repository would hardly be newsworthy. But as it turns out, the threat of ending 32-bit packages caused the sort of uproar that we don’t traditionally see in the Linux community. But why?

    • Desktop

      • The Current State Of AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs And Radeon RX 5700 GPUs On Linux

        The cards launched on July 7, and AMD had its Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 package ready for customers. The downside? It’s only supported on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, and you’ll run into problems trying to initialize the GPUs on newer distros. Compounding the problem is that, as mentioned by Phoronix, the RADV/AMDVLK Vulkan driver hadn’t been published yet. (This is why my own benchmarks have been stalled, as I’d be limited to testing OpenGL.)

        But wait! Hours later, the RADV developer gurus at Valve and Red Hat beat AMD to the punch and squeezed Navi Vulkan support into the Mesa 19.2-devel package. Then, earlier today, a few more improvements focused on tessellation were wrapped up and are pending review.

        Here’s what all this means for us “normal people” who don’t want to cobble together random bits of open source code to get our game on with RX 5700. Your mileage may vary, but I found the “easiest” solution was to install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, install the official AMD 19.30 packaged driver, then add the Oibaf PPA. A quick apt update / upgrade later, and you should be on Mesa 19.2-git which will enable Vulkan support. (And development is moving quickly on this, so regular updates are recommended.)

        Sadly, simple “out of box” support for Navi isn’t landing until this autumn with kernel 5.2, so early adopters will need to go through some hoops and keep an eye on Mesa 19.2 development.

        Even with the bleeding edge software, I’m noticing some strange behavior (i.e. unplayable) with native games like Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III and Dirt Rally.

        Bottom line: I don’t think the RX 5700 Series is ready for prime time on Linux just yet, at least for gaming activities. I’m planning extensive coverage, however, so I’m keeping a vigilant eye on things.

    • Server

      • Linux a key player in the edge computing revolution

        In the past few years, edge computing has been revolutionizing how some very familiar services are provided to individuals like you and me, as well as how services are managed within major industries. Try to get your arms around what edge computing is today, and you might just discover that your arms aren’t nearly as long or as flexible as you’d imagined. And Linux is playing a major role in this ever-expanding edge.

        One reason why edge computing defies easy definition is that it takes many different forms. As Jaromir Coufal, principal product manager at Red Hat, recently pointed out to me, there is no single edge. Instead, there are lots of edges – depending on what compute features are needed. He suggests that we can think of the edge as something of a continuum of capabilities with the problem being resolved determining where along that particular continuum any edge solution will rest.

      • The DevOps guide to IoT projects

        Traditional development methods do not scale into the IoT sphere. Strong inter-dependencies and blurred boundaries among components in the edge device stack result in fragmentation, slow updates, security issues, increased cost, and reduced reliability of platforms.

        This reality places a major strain on IoT players who need to contend with varying cycles and priorities in the development stack, limiting their flexibility to innovate and introduce changes into their products, both on the hardware and software sides.

      • Cloud Application Platform vs Container as a Service vs VM hosted application

        In the “old days,” applications were always hosted in a traditional way on a physical server or a group of physical servers. However, physical servers are expensive, hard to maintain and hard to grow and scale. That’s when virtual machines (VM) grew in popularity. VMs provided a better way to maintain, grow and scale. That is, they were easier to backup and restore and migrate from one region to another and they were easier to replicate across multiple domains/zones/regions.

      • Sysadmin vs SRE: What’s the difference?

        In the IT world, there has always been a pull between generalist and specialist. The stereotypical sysadmin falls in the generalist category 99 times out of 100. The site reliability engineer (SRE) role is specialized, however, and grew out of the needs of one of the first companies to know real scale: Google. Ultimately, these two roles have the same goal for the applications whose infrastructure they operate: providing a good experience for the applications’ consumers. Yet, these roles have drastically different starting points.

      • IBM

        • Unlocking the true potential of hybrid cloud with Red Hat partners

          Today, we announced that IBM’s landmark acquisition of Red Hat has closed and shared our vision for how our two companies will move forward together.

          You’ve heard that IBM is committed to preserving Red Hat’s independence, neutrality, culture and industry partnerships, and that Red Hat’s unwavering commitment to open source remains unchanged.

          There is a key part of that statement I want to focus on—partnerships.

          IBM has made a significant investment to acquire Red Hat, and respects that Red Hat wouldn’t be Red Hat without our partner ecosystem. Partners open more doors for open source than we can alone and are vital to our success.

        • Red Hat and IBM: Accelerating the adoption of open source

          Today, IBM finalized its acquisition of Red Hat. Moving forward, Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM, and I couldn’t be more excited—not only for what today represents in the history of two storied technology companies, but what it means for the future of the industry, for our customers, and for open source.

          Red Hat’s acquisition by IBM represents an unparalleled milestone for open source itself. It signals validation of community-driven innovation and the value that open source brings to users.

        • IBM Closes Landmark Acquisition of Red Hat for $34 Billion; Defines Open, Hybrid Cloud Future

          IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Red Hat announced today that they have closed the transaction under which IBM acquired all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190.00 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of approximately $34 billion.

          The acquisition redefines the cloud market for business. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies are now paired with the unmatched scale and depth of IBM’s innovation and industry expertise, and sales leadership in more than 175 countries. Together, IBM and Red Hat will accelerate innovation by offering a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform. Based on open source technologies, such as Linux and Kubernetes, the platform will allow businesses to securely deploy, run and manage data and applications on-premises and on private and multiple public clouds.

        • Q&A: IBM’s Landmark Acquisition of Red Hat

          Paul: Red Hat is an enterprise software company with an open source development model. A fundamental tenet of that model is that everything we do, from new practices that we learn to new technologies that we develop, goes back to the upstream community. By joining forces with IBM, our reach into customers will dramatically increase so we’ll be in a position to drive open enterprise technology a lot further. As for IBM, we’ve been partners for quite some time, but now existing IBM customers will have even more direct access to next-generation open source-based technologies that are at the cornerstone of hybrid cloud innovation.

        • Jim Whitehurst email to Red Hatters on Red Hat + IBM acquisition closing

          Last October, we announced our intention to join forces with IBM, with the aim of becoming the world’s top hybrid cloud provider. Since then, the promise IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginni Rometty and I made has not changed. In fact, our commitment to that vision has grown – Red Hat will remain a distinct unit in IBM as we work to help customers deliver any app, anywhere, realizing the true value of the hybrid cloud. This morning, we can share that the most significant tech acquisition of 2019 has officially closed and we can now begin moving forward.

          We will be hosting an all-hands company meeting today (Tuesday, July 9) where you will hear from me, Ginni, Paul Cormier and IBM senior vice president of Cloud and Cognitive Software, Arvind Krishna. Details on logistics to follow; I hope you will join us.

          Since we announced the acquisition, I’ve been having conversations with our customers, partners, open source community members and more Red Hatters than I can count (I’ve been following memo-list as well!). What struck me most from those conversations was the passion. It’s passion not just for a company, but for what we do and how we do it—the open source way. That’s not going to change.

        • IBM Acquires Red Hat For $34 Billion

          IBM today closed the acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion, marking one of the biggest acquisition of any open source company.

        • IBM Has Just Wiped Clean Red Hat’s Position on Software Patents

          Red Hat could sell itself to Microsoft and even considered that. We’re thankful that this never happened. But Red Hat’s main casualty will be its policy on patents. Since IBM calls all the shots it’s safe to assume that Red Hat’s staff has become or will become a major booster of software patents (or at best passive). We also envision IBM putting a lot of pressure on new joiners (from Red Hat) to apply for software patents, maybe ‘spiced up’ with buzzwords such as “hey hi” (AI) so as to dodge 35 U.S.C. § 101. It’s important for IBM to show up at the top of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ladders. IBM also lobbies for software patents in Europe, so Red Hat is perhaps becoming a threat to Europe — even if only by extension.

        • Preserving the Red Hat developer experience

          In the months since the Red Hat acquisition by IBM was announced, I have been asked numerous times if this deal changes things for Red Hat’s Developer Program and Developer Tools group.

          My answer then and now is “no.”

          As has been stated elsewhere, Red Hat will remain independent because IBM appreciates our unswerving dedication to open source, our open culture, and our neutrality. Neither IBM nor Red Hat has any desire to change these foundational values.

          My group, which covers developer evangelism, the developer program and our developer tools, will remain independent from IBM’s developer group.

        • IBM Completes Its Acquisition Of Red Hat

          With this $34 billion (USD) acquisition, IBM says they will still let Red Hat retain its independence and neutrality, continue the same development model, Jim Whitehurst will continue to lead Red Hat, and IBM will maintain the existing Red Hat headquarters/facilities/brands/practices.

        • IBM Closes Landmark Acquisition of Red Hat for $34 Billion; Defines Open, Hybrid Cloud Future
        • IBM Closes Red Hat Acquisition, Kaidan 0.4.0 Released, Android Apps Can Track You Even If You Deny Permission, Debian Edu 10 “Buster” Now Available and MIT Researchers Create New AI Programming Language

          IBM closes its acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion. From the press release: “The acquisition redefines the cloud market for business. Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies are now paired with the unmatched scale and depth of IBM’s innovation and industry expertise, and sales leadership in more than 175 countries. Together, IBM and Red Hat will accelerate innovation by offering a next-generation hybrid multicloud platform. Based on open source technologies, such as Linux and Kubernetes, the platform will allow businesses to securely deploy, run and manage data and applications on-premises and on private and multiple public clouds.” In addition, the release notes that IBM will preserve Red Hat’s independence and neutrality, and also that “Red Hat’s unwavering commitment to open source remains unchanged”.

        • Miller: Red Hat, IBM, and Fedora

          Fedora project leader Matthew Miller reassures the community that IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat, which just closed, will not affect Fedora.

          [...]

          If you have questions or would like to learn more about today’s news, I encourage you to review the materials below. For any questions not answered here, please feel free to contact us. Red Hat CTO Chris Wright will host an online Q&A session in the coming days where you can ask questions you may have about what the acquisition means for Red Hat and our involvement in open source communities. Details will be announced on the Red Hat blog.

        • Fedora Magazine: Red Hat, IBM, and Fedora

          Red Hat will continue to be a champion for open source, just as it always has, and valued projects like Fedora that will continue to play a role in driving innovation in open source technology. IBM is committed to Red Hat’s independence and role in open source software communities. We will continue this work and, as always, we will continue to help upstream projects be successful and contribute to welcoming new members and maintaining the project.

        • IBM Closes Red Hat Acquisition [Ed: Swapnil writes for Zemlin, links to his own blog which sometimes acts as a media partner]

          IBM has closed the acquisition of Red Hat today for approximately $34 billion. Post-acquisition, Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM and will be reported as part of IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software segment. Maintaining its branding and independence within IBM, Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and its current management team. Whitehurst is joining IBM’s senior management team, reporting to Ginni Rometty.

        • IBM Closes Its $34 Billion Acquisition of Red Hat

          IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, the companies announced Tuesday.

        • IBM closes its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat

          IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, the companies announced Tuesday.

          Shares of IBM were down less than 1% in late-morning trading.

          The deal was originally announced in October, when the companies said IBM would buy all shares in Red Hat for $190 each in cash.

          The acquisition of Red Hat, an open-source, enterprise software maker, marks the close of IBM’s largest deal ever. It’s one of the biggest in U.S. tech history. Excluding the AOL-Time Warner merger, it follows the $67 billion deal between Dell and EMC in 2016 and JDS Uniphase’s $41 billion acquisition of optical-component supplier SDL in 2000.

          Under the deal, Red Hat will now be a unit of IBM’s hybrid cloud division, according to the original announcement. The companies said Red Hat’s CEO, Jim Whitehurst, would join IBM’s senior management team and report to CEO Ginni Rometty.

        • IBM closes $34 billion Red Hat acquisition: Now it’s time to deliver

          IBM has closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, vowed to keep its new unit independent, deliver innovative hybrid cloud stacks and grow. Now all IBM CEO Ginni Rometty has to do is execute since the Red Hat purchase will define her tenure.

          For customers of both companies, the next big milestone will be to see the roadmap for hybrid cloud integrations that can compete with VMware in enterprises. In addition, IBM has pledged to keep Red Hat neutral, open source focused and led by current management and CEO Jim Whitehurst.

          What IBM is trying to do is use its scale to turbo charge Red Hat’s growth as well as bolster its own cloud unit. Red Hat’s platform will instantly become global.

        • IBM wraps up purchase of Linux specialist in $34bn deal

          IBM said on Tuesday that it has closed its $34bn acquisition of software company Red Hat as it looks to ramp up its cloud computing business.

          Underscoring the drive into high-margin businesses, IBM in October agreed to buy Red Hat, the company’s biggest acquisition in its more than 100-year history.

          Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO since 2012, has steered the company towards faster-growing segments such as cloud, software and services and away from traditional hardware products, but not without a bumpy journey. The newer areas of focus have sometimes underwhelmed investors.

          The company, which won approval for the purchase from EU regulators in late June and US regulators in May, agreed to pay $190 a share for Red Hat, representing a 63% premium.

          Founded in 1993, Red Hat specialises in Linux operating systems, the most popular type of open-source software and an alternative to proprietary software made by Microsoft. IBM has faced years of revenue declines as it transitions from its legacy computer hardware business into new technology products and services.

          Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and his management team will remain in place, and Whitehurst will join IBM’s senior management team and report to Rometty. IBM will maintain Red Hat’s headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as its facilities, brands and practices. Red Hat will operate as a distinct unit within IBM.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • From BASIC to Ruby: Life lessons from first programming languages on Command Line Heroes

        The second episode of this Command Line Heroes season 3 drops today and it sent me back through a nostalgic look at the idea of first programming languages.

      • Episode 73 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got a LOT of big news from the Linux Kernel, Debian, GRUB, openSUSE?s Open Build Service, Mageia, Whonix, Linux Mint and more. We?ll also check out some hardware news regarding a portable monitor, some new hardware from NVidia and some new hardware from AMD. Speaking of AMD, Valve announced some exciting news for AMD gamers by improving Vulkan Shaders. We?ll also take a look at a new GNOME Shell replacement called Material Shell that has a lot of potential. We?ve got some anniversaries to celebrate for ZorinOS and GamingonLinux. T.hen we?ll round out the show with more Linux Gaming news featuring Rocket Leage. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews.

      • Thomas Lange: Talks, articles and a podcast in German

        Then I found an article in the iX Special 2019 magazine about automation in the data center which mentioned FAI. Nice. But I was very supprised and happy when I saw a whole article about FAI in the Linux Magazin 7/2019. A very good article with a some focus on network things, but also the class system and installing other distributions is described. And they will also publish another article about the FAI.me service in a few months. I’m excited!

        In a few days, I going to DebConf19 in Curitiba for two weeks. I will work on Debian web stuff, check my other packages (rinse, dracut, tcsh) and hope to meet a lot of friendly people.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3 Lands Support For Tracking AVX-512 Usage

        After being delayed from earlier kernel cycles, Linux 5.3 will allow for tracking the last time a process made use of AVX-512 in order for user-space schedulers to provide better task placement.

      • Linux 5.3 Ready To Support Linux Guests On ACRN

        Back in March 2019 when Intel announced Sound Open Firmware, they also announced ACRN as a small footprint hypervisor intended for real-time and safety-critical use-cases. Now with Linux 5.3 this IoT-focused hypervisor can handle Linux guests on the ACRN hypervisor.

      • bolt 0.8 with support for IOMMU protection

        I already wrote about the general idea when the Thunderclap paper was published. But to quickly refresh everyone’s memory: Thunderbolt, via PCIe, can directly access the main memory (DMA). This opens the door to attacks, the recent Thunderclap attack is a prominent example and demonstration of such an attack. To mitigate DMA attacks, security levels were introduced with Thunderbolt version 3. These new security levels require devices to be authorized before they can be used. On newer hardware and recent kernel versions, another mitigation scheme was introduced that facilitates the input–output memory management unit (IOMMU). The basic idea is to allow direct memory access for Thunderbolt devices only to certain safe memory regions and prevent devices accessing any memory area outside those. The availability of that feature is communicated by the kernel to userspace via the iommu_dma_protection sysfs attribute. If support is active boltd will change its behavior in a few novel ways. This is because we assume that as long as IOMMU protection as enabled, it is safe to authorize devices, even without asking the user. New devices that are not authorized are therefore automatically enrolled, but with a new iommu policy. In the case that IOMMU is turned off again, devices with this iommu policy won’t automatically be authorized by boltd and will require explicit user interaction. Additionally, devices that are new but already authorized by the firmware, are now automatically imported, so we always have a record of devices that were attached to the system. Anybody who is interested in even more (technical) details can read bolt issues #128 (iommu) and #137 (auto-import).

      • Linux’s Thunderbolt Manager Bolt 0.8 Adds IOMMU Protection

        Bolt, the Red Hat led project for managing Thunderbolt devices on Linux and their security, is out with their version 0.8 update to introduce better security for the growing number of Thunderbolt devices.

        The headline feature of Bolt 0.8 is introducing IOMMU protection. The Bolt IOMMU support is for using the IOMMU unit on newer hardware and supported by newer kernels to only permit DMA access by Thunderbolt devices to assigned/safe memory regions rather than being able to access any of the system memory. This should further help tighten the Linux security around Thunderbolt and complement the other security measures that have been in place following issues like Thunderclap.

      • Linux Kernel Community Agrees To Add Microsoft To Its Private Mailing List [Ed: A bunch of salaries from Zemlin PAC have turned Swapnil into a "true believer" in Microsoft lies]

        Microsoft recently applied to join a private Linux kernel mailing list that is meant for reporting and discussing security issues privately before they are made public.

        Why does Microsoft need to join this particular list and why does such a list exists in the first place when the kernel community runs its business publicly. Neither of the two is as complicated as it might seem.

      • Linux Foundation

        • ONAP Doubles-Down on Deployments, Drives Commercial Activity Across Open Source Networking Stack with ‘Dublin’ Release

          LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today announced the availability of ONAP Dublin and the addition of six new members. ONAP’s fourth release, Dublin, brings an uptick in commercial activity – including new deployment plans from major operators (including Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, Swisscom, Telecom Italia, and Telstra) and ONAP-based products and solutions from more than a dozen leading vendors – and has become the focal point for industry alignment around management and orchestration of the open networking stack, standards, and more.

          Combined with the availability of ONAP Dublin, the addition of new members (Aarna Networks, Loodse, the LIONS Center at Pennsylvania State University, Matrixx Software, VoerEir AB, and XCloud Networks) continues LFN’s global drumbeat of ecosystem growth for accelerated development and adoption of open source and open standards-based networking technologies.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 19.1.2
          Mesa 19.1.2 is now available.
          
          In this release we have:
          
          Different fixes for the Intel and AMD Vulkan drivers, Freedreno, the Meson build system,
          and some other fixes for other parts and/or drivers.
          
          Worth to mention a fix for a crash in Wolfenstein II with the RADV driver, and another fix
          relevant for DXVK on Intel gen7 drivers.
          
          
          Anuj Phogat (3):
                Revert "i965/icl: Add WA_2204188704 to disable pixel shader panic dispatch"
                Revert "anv/icl: Add WA_2204188704 to disable pixel shader panic dispatch"
                Revert "iris/icl: Add WA_2204188704 to disable pixel shader panic dispatch"
          
          Arfrever Frehtes Taifersar Arahesis (1):
                meson: Improve detection of Python when using Meson >=0.50.
          
          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2):
                radv: Only allocate supplied number of descriptors when variable.
                radv: Fix interactions between variable descriptor count and inline uniform blocks.
          
          Caio Marcelo de Oliveira Filho (1):
                spirv: Ignore ArrayStride in OpPtrAccessChain for Workgroup
          
          Dylan Baker (2):
                meson: Add support for using cmake for finding LLVM
                Revert "meson: Add support for using cmake for finding LLVM"
          
          Eric Anholt (2):
                freedreno: Fix UBO load range detection on booleans.
                freedreno: Fix up end range of unaligned UBO loads.
          
          Eric Engestrom (1):
                meson: bump required libdrm version to 2.4.81
          
          Gert Wollny (2):
                gallium: Add CAP for opcode DIV
                vl: Use CS composite shader only if TEX_LZ and DIV are supported
          
          Ian Romanick (1):
                glsl: Don't increase the iteration count when there are no terminators
          
          James Clarke (1):
                meson: GNU/kFreeBSD has DRM/KMS and requires -D_GNU_SOURCE
          
          Jason Ekstrand (2):
                anv/descriptor_set: Only write texture swizzles if we have an image view
                iris: Use a uint16_t for key sizes
          
          Jory Pratt (2):
                util: Heap-allocate 256K zlib buffer
                meson: Search for execinfo.h
          
          Juan A. Suarez Romero (4):
                docs: add sha256 checksums for 19.1.1
                intel: fix wrong format usage
                Update version to 19.1.2
                docs: add release notes for 19.1.2
          
          Kenneth Graunke (2):
                iris: Enable PIPE_CAP_SURFACE_REINTERPRET_BLOCKS
                gallium: Make util_copy_image_view handle shader_access
          
          Lionel Landwerlin (2):
                intel/compiler: fix derivative on y axis implementation
                intel/compiler: don't use byte operands for src1 on ICL
          
          Nanley Chery (2):
                intel: Add and use helpers for level0 extent
                isl: Don't align phys_level0_sa by block dimension
          
          Nataraj Deshpande (1):
                anv: Add HAL_PIXEL_FORMAT_IMPLEMENTATION_DEFINED in vk_format
          
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (2):
                mesa: delete framebuffer texture attachment sampler views
                radeon/uvd: fix calc_ctx_size_h265_main10
          
          Rob Clark (1):
                freedreno/a5xx: fix batch leak in fd5 blitter path
          
          Sagar Ghuge (1):
                glsl: Fix round64 conversion function
          
          Samuel Pitoiset (1):
                radv: only enable VK_AMD_gpu_shader_{half_float,int16} on GFX9+
          
          Sergii Romantsov (1):
                i965: leaking of upload-BO with push constants
          
          Ville Syrjälä (1):
                anv/cmd_buffer: Reuse gen8 Cmd{Set, Reset}Event on gen7
          
          git tag: mesa-19.1.2
          
        • Mesa 19.1.2 Released – Led By Intel & Radeon Vulkan Driver Fixes

          For those riding the Mesa 19.1 stable release train, Mesa 19.1.2 is now available as the second point release to this quarterly update to this collection of open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers for the Linux desktop.

          On the Vulkan driver front, Mesa 19.1.2 brings a RADV fix for Wolfenstein II, an ANV Vulkan driver fix for DXVK with older Gen7 graphics, only enabling VK_AMD_gpu_shader_half_float and int16 for Vega and newer with RADV, and other Vulkan fixes.

        • NVIDIA 430.34 Linux Driver Brings SUPER Support

          NVIDIA today issued the 430.34 Linux driver as their newest update in the 430 stable series.

          The NVIDIA 430.34 driver doesn’t bring any notable bug fixes but is focused on just providing new product support. This driver also includes the initial NVIDIA GeForce RTX SUPER support.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Continues Further Refining Its Radeon RX 5700 “Navi” Support

          Back on 7 July, the open-source Mesa RADV Vulkan driver managed to deliver launch-day Navi support for these new 7nm GPUs. That first-cut support for this “community” open-source driver was working but various optimizations and features lacking. The developers at Valve, Red Hat, and Google have continued refining this Navi/GFX10 support for RADV.

          Two days later, there are already a number of RADV Navi/GFX10 support improvements merged and other work pending review. There is now merged tessellation support for Navi that was initially held up due to the code hanging on tessellation tests. There is also a number of fixes around the correct number of user SGPR registers for GFX10, among other fixes for these new Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs.

        • Radeon Graphics, Zombieload & Kernel Changes Intrigued Open-Source Fans In H1-2019
    • Applications

      • Top 15 Best Music Tag Editor Software for Linux system

        Music tag editor software implies a range of software that is used to edit metadata of multimedia files. Metadata stores all the information, for instance; artist, title, lyrics, conductor, album, length, track and embedded image in the audio file itself. There is numerous compatible best music tag editor software that is available on the Linux platform, among those some are open source and free thus; users can download and install them on their device.

      • Foliate Linux eBook Reader 1.4.0 Includes Wikipedia Lookup, Google Translate Support

        While new, having its first release back in May, Foliate is already a great EPUB eBook viewer, already incorporating most of the features you’d need in an eBook viewer.

        Besides these important to have features for an eBook viewer, the application also has various minor features that many will find useful, like viewing an eBook’s metadata, remember where you left off, fullscreen mode, and more.

        It should be noted that Foliate does not support any formats other than EPUB though – it has no support for PDF or MOBI files.

        Foliate 1.4.0 was released recently with interesting new features and other changes. Until now, the Linux eBook reader only supported looking up words on Wiktionary – with the new 1.4.0 release though, it also supports looking up words on Wikipedia, dictd, and translating text using Google Translate.

      • Proprietary

        • Who’s Behind the GandCrab Ransomware? [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The crooks behind an affiliate program that paid cybercriminals to install the destructive and wildly successful GandCrab ransomware strain announced on May 31, 2019 they were terminating the program after allegedly having earned more than $2 billion in extortion payouts from victims. What follows is a deep dive into who may be responsible for recruiting new members to help spread the contagion.

        • Microsoft has caused an uproar among its partners by canceling one of their favorite perks: software for their own use [paywall]

          Over the course of the next year, Microsoft will stop allowing its partners to use its software for their own businesses as a perk — and instead, charge them, same as anybody else.

        • Hey Microsoft, why is the Skype Snap app hopelessly outdated?

          The official Skype Snap app for Linux has not been updated in nearly six months, and Microsoft is yet to say why.

          When introducing the cross-distro build in early 2018, the company said the Skype Snap app would give it the “…ability to push the latest features straight to our users, no matter which device or distribution they happen to use.”

          Clearly, not.

          Because at the time of writing this post the Skype Snap app sits on version 8.34.0.78, which the Snapcraft store reports was ‘last updated’ in November 2018.

          However, the “regular” Linux version available to download from the Skype website is on version 8.47.0.73, released June 2019.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to open system monitor in Ubuntu
      • xinput-gui: Simple Graphical Tool To Configure X Input Devices
      • How To Reset Lost Admin Password For Grafana
      • How to Format an SD Card for Use with Raspberry Pi
      • How to install Elasticsearch and Kibana on Linux
      • Install Siberian CMS with LAMP on Ubuntu 18.04 – Google Cloud
      • rdesktop – A RDP Client to Connect Windows Desktop from Linux
      • Jenkins tool and it’s basic terminology
      • Real Hands-On Labs at Linux Academy
      • API-first design with OpenAPI and Red Hat Fuse
      • What Really IRCs Me: Mastodon

        When it comes to sending text between people, I’ve found IRC (in particular, a text-based IRC client) works best. I’ve been using it to chat for decades while other chat protocols and clients come and go. When my friends have picked other chat clients through the years, I’ve used the amazing IRC gateway Bitlbee to connect with them on their chat client using the same IRC interface I’ve always used. Bitlbee provides an IRC gateway to many different chat protocols, so you can connect to Bitlbee using your IRC client, and it will handle any translation necessary to connect you to the remote chat clients it supports. I’ve written about Bitlbee a number of times in the past, and I’ve used it to connect to other instant messengers, Twitter and Slack. In this article, I describe how I use it to connect to yet another service on the internet: Mastodon.

        Like Twitter, Mastodon is a social network platform, but unlike Twitter, Mastodon runs on free software and is decentralized, much like IRC or email. Being decentralized means it works similar to email, and you can create your own instance or create an account on any number of existing Mastodon networks and then follow people either on the same Mastodon network or any other instance, as long as you know the person’s user name (which behaves much like an email address).

        I’ve found Bitlbee to be a great interface for keeping track of social media on Twitter, because I treat reading Twitter like I was the operator for a specific IRC room. The people I follow are like those I’ve invited and given voice to, and I can read what they say chronologically in my IRC room. Since I keep my IRC instance running at all times, I can reconnect to it and catch up with the backlog whenever I want. Since I’m reading Twitter over a purely text-based IRC client, this does mean that instead of animated gifs, I just see URLs that point to the image, but honestly, I consider that a feature!

        Since Mastodon behaves in many ways like Twitter, using it with Bitlbee works just as well. Like with Twitter over Bitlbee, it does mean you’ll need to learn some extra commands so that you can perform Mastodon-specific functions, like boosting a post (Mastodon’s version of retweet) or replying to a post so that your comment goes into the proper thread. I’ll cover those commands in a bit.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • D9VK 0.13 “Hypnotoad” is out, further advancing the D3D9 to Vulkan layer for Wine

        Developer Joshua Ashton today announced a brand new and rather large release of D9VK, the D3D9 to Vulkan layer for use with Wine.

        New features making it into this release includes fixed function support for everything but “lighting, texcoord transforms, spheremap texcoords and constant texture arg”, noting that it should work well enough for most games “if you can deal with with them being fullbright”. Also implemented as of this release is GetGammaRamp, ColorFill, disjointed timestamp queries, Hardware Cursor support, a way to workaround resource hazards (only necessary on AMD) and more.

      • D9VK 0.13 Brings Fixed Function Support, Other Features & Better Performance

        D9VK 0.13 is now available as the newest release of this project mapping Direct3D 9 atop Vulkan for accelerated Windows gaming on Linux.

    • Games

      • Physics-based building game “Besiege” just had a pretty big update, new levels and plenty of bug fixes

        Building machines to destroy in Besiege is pretty fun and it’s progressing towards the final release with a pretty huge update now available for this physics-based building game.

        You can now actually rebind controls, two new levels were added with Mountain Barrier and Revolving Monolith, four new achievements and a new sorting system is available for those of you getting lost with tons of saved designs.

      • MineRalph is a reaction-based rolling platformer that might make you rage, demo available

        Chop Chop Games seem to have created a game that might frustrate the best of gamers with MineRalph, a rolling platformer. The idea is simple as you just need to control your momentum, with a very simple control system. However, it’s surprisingly challenging and…very weird.

        The developer said it’s designed to be difficult, with it being based on your own reaction timings. You can propel yourself around in 360 degrees with varying speeds, so it’s easy to get it wrong and spectacularly fail. Chop Chop Games claim it’s “best described as a crossover between Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Meat Boy – with the level design of Super Mario… and the control scheme of Angry Birds” and they’re not far off with that description.

      • Defend The Keep, a fast-paced Tower Defense game will be coming to Linux next week

        Vanille Games have announced their Tower Defense game Defend The Keep will be releasing this month with full Linux support.

        They said they didn’t think they would have enough time to do a Linux version, but enough people showed their interest in it so it’s coming right away on July 16th. Sometimes developers just need that little push and as a strategy game fan, I’m happy about this news.

      • SteamVR has another beta up, with plenty of Linux fixes and other improvements

        With the Valve Index now out, Valve continue to make quick improvements to SteamVR with the latest Beta now available.

        For SteamVR, they’ve changed how games are launched from SteamVR Home to avoid a possible hang, changes to hopefully avoid “error 308″ on startup, automatic firmware recovery for the Valve Index and Vive Pro and a fix for a rare spontaneous shutdown of vrserver caused by very briefly connected pipes.

        SteamVR Input had quite a few changes on this round, including new options for global rotation values and global deadzone value for thumbsticks. A new screen to test the input from any controller supported by SteamVR and more.

        Lighthouse got a change to device discovery to reduce the impact of misbehaving USB drivers and devices and the Index Controllers got updated default input bindings for legacy applications that don’t have specific configs set along with improvements for applications built for trackpads.

      • SC Controller, the UI and driver for the Steam Controller has new releases out

        SC Controller is a truly wonderful bit of software, enabling the use and customization of the Steam Controller outside of Steam.

      • 3D platformer Marble Skies has left Early Access, multiplayer is coming

        Marble Skies, a 3D platformer that’s actually pretty good has officially left Early Access and they’re continuing to improve it with big new features.

        After adding Linux support back in April, it seems it left Early Access early this month, although they don’t seem to have actually announced the full release anywhere I could find.

      • Tannenberg and Verdun both get gamepad support, plus some helpful balancing changes

        Tannenberg and Verdun, two first-person shooters that show WWI from different fronts both got updated, pulling in gamepad support. I’ve tested the gamepad support myself in Tannenberg and it does appear to work quite nicely. It’s integrated properly into all the menus as well, so it’s perfectly playable. Not sure how you will get on against players using a mouse though, since both games need good accuracy and reaction times.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Artix Linux 20190609 LXQT Run Through

          In this video, we look at Artix Linux 20190609.

        • Artix Linux 20190609

          Today we are looking at Artix Linux 20190909 snapshot. Artix Linux, formally known as the community edition of Manjaro has two isos. They have a Qt ISO, with both the Plasma and LXQt desktop environments, a person choose what one you like in the login manager, and the Gnome Classic ISO, with the MATE and LXDE desktop environments.

          Artix is Arch based and comes with the latest of Linux. So the latest Kernel, when I created the video it was 5.1 and it uses LXQt 0.14.1 and KDE Plasma 5.16.2. In the video below I looked at the LXQt edition and in my video with voice-overs on my other channel at the KDE Plasma edition. Enjoy!

        • Plasma + Usability & Productivity Sprint in Valencia, Spain

          The KDE Plasma and Usability teams recently converged on the beautiful Spanish city of Valencia for a combined development sprint. The teams admired Valencia’s medieval architecture and stayed up until midnight eating sumptuous Mediterranean food. But of course, the real purpose was work!

          We camped out in the offices of the Slimbook company, which were generously made available for the sprint. The aim was not only to hack on Plasma and the Usability & Productivity initiative, but also to benefit from the cross-pollination opportunities provided by hosting both sprints at the same time and place.

        • Plasma Sprint 2019 in Valencia

          Last month the Plasma team met in Spain for their annual developer sprint. It was kindly hosted by Slimbook in their offices on the outskirts of Valencia. This time it was co-located with the Usability sprint and it was great to meet so many new faces there.

        • Usability & Productivity Sprint 2019

          In June 2019 I went to Usability & Productivity Goal Sprint in the beautiful city of Valencia! As I’m a relatively new KDE contributor this was my very first sprint experience and it was awesome. At the same time the Plasma Sprint took place and it felt more like one big sprint than two separate events. We were kindly hosted by Slimbook which also organized a bus that took us to their office in the morning and back to the hotel in the evening. A big thank you to them!

          In the first part of the sprint I mainly worked on continuing to improve Spectacle. You don’t know Spectacle? It is our screenshotting application with many settings: for example to control what should be captured, if you want to include your mouse cursor or to simply set a delay from when you press the button until the actual screenshot is taken.

    • Distributions

      • Fedora Family

        • Call for Fedora Women’s Day 2019 proposals

          Fedora Women’s Day (FWD) is a day to celebrate and bring visibility to female contributors in open source projects, including Fedora. This event is headed by Fedora’s Diversity and Inclusion Team.

          During the month of September, in collaboration with other open source communities, women in tech groups and hacker spaces, we plan to organize community meetups and events around the world to highlight and celebrate the women in open source communities like Fedora and their invaluable contributions to their projects and community.

          These events also provide a good opportunity for women worldwide to learn about free and open source software and jump start their journey as a FOSS user and/or a contributor. They also provide a platform for women to connect, learn and be inspired by other women in open source communities and beyond.

      • Debian Family

        • Upgraded my first host to buster

          I upgrade the first of my personal machines to Debian’s new stable release, buster, yesterday. So far two minor niggles, but nothing major.

          My hosts are controlled, sometimes, by puppet. The puppet-master is running stretch and has puppet 4.8.2 installed.

        • Upgrade To Debian 10 From Debian 9 Stretch

          Debian 10 codename Buster is already has been released few days ago. It was released on July 6, 2019. Debian 10 is a LTS version and it will be supported for 5 years.

          In this post, we will show you how to upgrade to Debian 10 from Debian 9 Stretch operating system.

        • Debian 10 “Buster” Released with Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

          Debian 10 “Buster” released at 6 July 2019 with Long Term Support (LTS) lifespan of 5 years and 7 different desktop environments. Now, the Live Editions are available with Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, LXQt, and MATE user interfaces. I listed here only the DVD versions and divided them into two architectures 32-bit and 64-bit. I also listed below the Checksums and where to get the Source Code ISOs. This is a compilation of all Debian 10 official download links including several mirrors and torrents. Happy downloading!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Debian vs. Ubuntu: The Similarities, Differences and Which One You Should Use

          Ubuntu received a lot of love in its earlier releases. It made many seemingly complicated operations, easier for beginners just coming into the world of Linux-based distributions. But around the time the Unity interface was launched, it started to get some hate, too.

          Objectively speaking, the interface was not good or bad, it did its job well. But it did it differently than what most people were used to. Then, some other changes, like inserting ads in the launch menu and changing the interface once again to Gnome, made some users dislike the distro even more and people began to look for alternatives, with one of them being Debian. Since Ubuntu is created from Debian, the two are very similar at the core. However, with the changes Canonical made to Debian to create Ubuntu, there are also a lot of differences, some of them subtle.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open education: There isn’t an app for that

        Open source software has saved my district—Penn Manor School District in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—more than a million dollars on its technology budget. But more importantly, making a deliberate and concerted effort to infuse open principles and practices into our learning environments has cultivated a vibrant and inclusive learning community that cuts across the school. And as a result, student success has exceeded our expectations.

        But how do schools put open ideas into practice to foster future innovators and leaders? It’s not as simple as installing Linux on 4,000 student laptops, holding hands, and singing the alma mater in the high school cafeteria.

        An open schoolhouse values all learners’ unique strengths and passions to help them reach their potential. This work does not begin and end with curricula, worksheets, and test scores. It starts with building connections, relationships, and trust with students. In this article, I’ll explain how we put these ideas into practice.

      • Software in the Public Interest board elections

        Software in the Public Interest (SPI) has announced that nominations are open until July 15 for 3 seats on the SPI board.

      • Upcoming SPI board elections for 2019
        Hi everyone. This is a heads up about the upcoming SPI board
        elections. The primary purpose of this notice is to give some time to
        people to think about running for a board position. We have three
        seats available for a three year term:
        
        * President
        * General board member
        * General board member
        
        The formal nomination period will open on Monday, 1st July 2019 and
        run for a bit over two weeks. Elections, if required, will then run
        and results annouanced at the end of the month.
        
        * Monday July 1st 2019 00:00 UTC - Nominations open
        * Monday July 15th 2019 23:59 UTC - Nominations close
        * Wednesday July 17th 2019 00:00 UTC - Voting commences 
        * Tuesday July 30th 2019 23:59 UTC - Voting closes
        * Wednesday July 31st 2019 UTC - Results announced
        
        Potential board members should be able to commit to attending the
        monthly board meetings, which are conducted publicly via IRC (#spi on
        the OFTC network).  These take place at 20:00 UTC on the second
        Monday of every month.  More details, including all past agendas and
        minutes, can be found at http://spi-inc.org/meetings/
        
        The ideal candidate will have an existing involvement in the Free and
        Open Source community, though this need not be with a project
        affiliated with SPI.
        
        Please do take the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about
        SPI board membership on the spi-general mailing list before the formal
        nomination period opens.  You can also find various board members
        present on #spi on irc.spi-inc.org (OFTC).
        
        
        Tim Potter
        Secretary, Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
        
      • Events

        • openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019 Logo Competition Winner

          The votes are in and the openSUSE Project is happy to announce that the openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019 logo competition winner is Hervy Qurrotul from Indonesia. Congratulations Hervy! As the winner, Hervy will receive a “mystery box” from the committee.

          On this logo competition, we have 18 submissions from all over the world. All the designs are great. This logo competition is voted by openSUSE.Asia Committee and Local Team. Thank you for your vote.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Latest Firefox Release Available today for iOS and Desktop

            Since our last Firefox release, we’ve been working on features to make the Firefox Quantum browser work better for you. We added by default Enhanced Tracking Protection which blocks known “third-party tracking cookies” from following your every move. With this latest Firefox release we’ve added new features so you can browse the web the way you want — unfettered and free. We’ve also made improvements for IT managers who want more flexibility when using Firefox in the workplace.

          • Mozilla is planning a Firefox VPN, with a beta expected in three months

            The paid-for options will be optional, though, and Dave Camp, senior vice president of Firefox said that “A high-performing, free and private-by-default Firefox browser will continue to be central to our core service offerings.”

          • Firefox might get a built-in VPN later this year

            We asked Mozilla what was going on and they kindly told us: “In 2019, we are continuing to explore new product features and offerings. As part of this, small groups of browser users are invited at random to respond to surveys, provide feedback and potentially test proposed new features, products or services.

            “These explorations can easily be identified as they will always include the URL https://firstlook.firefox.com. And as always, what we are not experimenting with is the cost to access Firefox itself, which is now, and always will be free.”

          • Changes in Firefox 68

            Firefox 68 is coming out today, and we wanted to highlight a few of the changes coming to add-ons. We’ve updated addons.mozilla.org (AMO) and the Add-ons Manager (about:addons) in Firefox to help people find high-quality, secure extensions more easily. We’re also making it easier to manage installed add-ons and report potentially harmful extensions and themes directly from the Add-ons Manager.

          • Firefox 68: BigInts, Contrast Checks, and the QuantumBar

            Firefox 68 is available today, featuring support for big integers, whole-page contrast checks, and a completely new implementation of a core Firefox feature: the URL bar.

          • Firefox 68 Released With JavaScript BigInt Support, Good WebRender Linux Performance

            Mozilla rolled out Firefox 68.0 as the newest version of their web-browser.

            Firefox 68 brings JavaScript BigInt support for being able to store very large numbers, similar to Google’s Chrome addition last year.

            Firefox 68 also continues working on WebRender/Quantum code. Based on our early beta testing, Firefox 68 with WebRender is performing very well.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GNU Linux-Libre 5.2 Kernel Released for Those Seeking 100% Freedom for Their PCs

          The GNU Linux-libre project has released the GNU Linux-libre 5.2 kernel, a 100% free version of the Linux kernel that doesn’t include any proprietary drivers, firmware, or code.
          Based on the recently released Linux 5.2 kernel series, which introduces the Sound Open Firmware support for DSP audio devices, the GNU Linux-libre 5.2 kernel also ships with the open-source firmware, which wasn’t included in previous versions of the GNU Linux-libre kernel because they were overlooked.

          “I had not realized the SOF files were Free Software in recent earlier releases, so the requests for these files were disabled in them,” said developer Alexandre Oliva in a mailing list announcement. “Only while cleaning up the new kernel module specifically devoted to SOF-supporting devices did I realize my mistake.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Ten Years of Erlang

          I’ve joined the Erlang community about 10 years ago, in the midst of its first major hype phase. Erlang, we were told, was the future of concurrency and parallelism. The easiest and fastest way to get it done, and you could get distribution for free too. Back then, things were just starting to get amazing. The virtual machine had recently gotten SMP support, before which you needed to run multiple VMs on the same computer to truly use all CPUs.

          I wanted to take a bit of time to reflect over most of that decade. In this post, I’ll cover a few things such as hype phases and how this related to Erlang, the ladder of ideas within the language and how that can impact adoption, what changed in my ten years here, and I’ll finish up with what I think Erlang still has to bring to the programming community at large.

        • Python list comprehension with Examples

          This tutorial covers how list comprehension works in Python. It includes many examples which would help you to familiarize the concept and you should be able to implement it in your live project at the end of this lesson.

        • Ibis: Python data analysis productivity framework

          Ibis is a library pretty useful on data analysis tasks that provides a pandas-like API that allows operations like create filter, add columns, apply math operations etc in a lazy mode so all the operations are just registered in memory but not executed and when you want to get the result of the expression you created, Ibis compiles that and makes a request to the remote server (remote storage and execution systems like Hadoop components or SQL databases). Its goal is to simplify analytical workflows and make you more productive.

        • Reasons Why Python is Good for AI and ML

          Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the new black of the IT industry. While discussions over the safety of its development keep escalating, developers expand abilities and capacity of artificial intellect. Today Artificial Intelligence went far beyond science fiction idea. It became a necessity. Being widely used for processing and analyzing huge volumes of data, AI helps to handle the work that cannot be done manually anymore because of its significantly increased volumes and intensity.

        • The Python Software Foundation is looking for bloggers!

          The Python Software Foundation (PSF) is looking to add bloggers for the PSF blog located at http://pyfound.blogspot.com/. As a PSF blogger, you will work with the PSF Communication Officers to brainstorm blog content, communicate activities, and provide updates on content progression. Example of content includes PSF community service awardee profiles, details about global Python events and PSF grants, or recent goings-on within the PSF itself. One goal of the 2019 – 2020 PSF Board of Directors is to increase transparency around PSF activities by curating more frequent blog content.

        • Racket is an acceptable Python

          A little over a decade ago, there were some popular blogposts about whether Ruby was an acceptable Lisp or whether even Lisp was an acceptable Lisp. Peter Norvig was also writing at the time introducing Python to Lisp programmers. Lisp, those in the know knew, was the right thing to strive for, and yet seemed unattainable for anything aimed for production since the AI Winter shattered Lisp’s popularity in the 80s/early 90s. If you can’t get Lisp, what’s closest thing you can get?

          This was around the time I was starting to program; I had spent some time configuring my editor with Emacs Lisp and loved every moment I got to do it; I read some Lisp books and longed for more. And yet when I tried to “get things done” in the language, I just couldn’t make as much headway as I could with my preferred language for practical projects at the time: Python.

          Python was great… mostly. It was easy to read, it was easy to write, it was easy-ish to teach to newcomers. (Python’s intro material is better than most, but my spouse has talked before about some major pitfalls that the Python documentation has which make getting started unnecessarily hard. You can hear her talk about that at this talk we co-presented on at last year’s RacketCon. I’ll leave that to her to discuss at some point however.) I ran a large free software project on a Python codebase, and it was easy to get new contributors; the barrier to entry to becoming a programmer with Python was low. I consider that to be a feature, and it certainly helped me bootstrap my career.

          Most importantly of all though, Python was easy to pick up and run with because no matter what you wanted to do, either the tools came built in or the Python ecosystem had enough of the pieces nearby that building what you wanted was usually fairly trivial.

        • Pipx – Install And Run Python Applications In Isolated Environments

          It is always recommended to install Python applications in Virtual Environments to avoid conflicts with one another. Pip package manager helps us to install Python applications in an isolated environments, using two tools namely venv and virtualenv. There is also another Python package manager named “Pipenv”, which is recommended by Python.org, to install Python applications. Unlike Pip, Pipenv automatically creates virtual environments by default. Meaning – you don’t need to manually create virtual environments for your projects anymore. Today, I stumbled upon a similar tool named “Pipx”, a free and open source utility that allows you to install and run Python applications in an isolated virtual environments.

          Using Pipx, we can easily install thousands of Python applications hosted in PyPI without much hassle. Good thing is you can do everything with regular user permissions. You need not to be “root” user or need not to have “sudo” permissions. It is worth mentioning that Pipx can run a program from temporary environment, without having to install it. This will be handy when you test multiple versions of same program often. The packages installed with Pipx can be listed, upgrade or uninstalled at any time. Pipx is a cross-platform application, so it can run on Linux, Mac OS and Windows.

        • Check-in #7: (5 July – 11 July)
        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Seventh Week [July 1st - July 7th] [3rd PSF Blog Post]
        • Python for NLP: Creating TF-IDF Model from Scratch

          This is the 14th article in my series of articles on Python for NLP. In my previous article, I explained how to convert sentences into numeric vectors using the bag of words approach. To get a better understanding of the bag of words approach, we implemented the technique in Python.

          In this article, we will build upon the concept that we learn in the last article and will implement the TF-IDF scheme from scratch in Python. The term TF stands for “term frequency” while the term IDF stands for the “inverse document frequency”.

        • Highest used Python code in the Pentesting/Security world

          I think this is the highest used Python program in the land of Pentesting/Security, Almost every blog post or tutorial I read, they talk about the above-mentioned line to get a proper terminal after getting access to a minimal shell on a remote Linux server.

        • Gen: a general-purpose probabilistic programming system with programmable inference

          PLDI 2019 Proceedings of the 40th ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation

        • New AI programming language goes beyond deep learning

          In a paper presented at the Programming Language Design and Implementation conference this week, the researchers describe a novel probabilistic-programming system named “Gen.” Users write models and algorithms from multiple fields where AI techniques are applied — such as computer vision, robotics, and statistics — without having to deal with equations or manually write high-performance code. Gen also lets expert researchers write sophisticated models and inference algorithms — used for prediction tasks — that were previously infeasible.

          In their paper, for instance, the researchers demonstrate that a short Gen program can infer 3-D body poses, a difficult computer-vision inference task that has applications in autonomous systems, human-machine interactions, and augmented reality. Behind the scenes, this program includes components that perform graphics rendering, deep-learning, and types of probability simulations. The combination of these diverse techniques leads to better accuracy and speed on this task than earlier systems developed by some of the researchers.

        • Rodrigo Siqueira: Status Update, June 2019

          For a long time, I’m cultivating the desire of getting the habit of writing monthly status update; in some way, Drew DeVault’s Blog posts and Martin Peres advice leverage me toward this direction. So, here I’m am! I decided to embrace the challenge of composing a report per month. I hope this new habit helps me to improve my write, summary, and communication skills; but most importantly, help me to keep track of my work. I want to start this update by describing my work conditions and then focus on the technical stuff.

          The last two months, I have to face an infrastructure problem to work. I’m dealing with obstacles such as restricted Internet access and long hours in public transportation from my home to my workplace. Unfortunately, I cannot work in my house due to the lack of space, and the best place to work it is a public library at the University of Brasilia (UnB); go to UnB every day makes me wast around 3h per day in a bus. The library has a great environment, but it also has thousands of internet restrictions, for example, I cannot access websites with ‘.me’ domain and I cannot connect to my IRC bouncer. In summary: It has been hard to work these days. So, let’s stop to talk about non-technical stuff and let’s get to the heart of the matter.

          I really like to work on VKMS, I know this isn’t news to anyone, and in June most of my efforts were dedicated to VKMS. One of my paramount endeavors it was found and fixed a bug in vkms that makes kms_cursor_crc, and kms_pipe_crc_basic fails; I was chasing this bug for a long time as can be seen here [1]. After many hours of debugging I sent a patch for handling this issue [2], however, after Daniel’s review, I realize that my patch does not correctly fix the problem. Daniel decided to dig into this issue and find out the root of the problem and later sent a final fix; if you want to see the solution, take a look at [3]. One day, I want to write a post about this fix since it is an interesting subject to discuss.

          Daniel also noticed some concurrency problems in the CRC code and sent a patchset composed of 10 patches that tackle the issue. These patches focused on creating better framebuffers manipulation and avoiding race conditions; it took me around 4 days to take a look and test this series. During my review, I asked many things related to concurrency and other clarification about DRM, and Daniel always replied with a very nice and detailed explanation. If you want to learn a little bit more about locks, I recommend you to take a look at [4]; serious, it is really nice!

        • g_clear_signal_handler() in GLib 2.61.1

          It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, so I thought I’d do a quick series on new APIs in the upcoming 2.62 release series of GLib.

          Today, it’s the g_clear_signal_handler() function added by Marco Trevisan. This is a simple helper function along the same lines as g_clear_pointer(), g_clear_error() and g_clear_handle_id(). Given a GObject and a signal handler ID, it disconnects the signal handler and clears the signal handler ID variable to zero.

        • Code with Google helps more students learn to code

          Melissa Schonig is a fifth-grade English and Language Arts (ELA) teacher at Lynhaven Elementary School where 40-50 percent of students are Latino, and many don’t have access to computers at home. She didn’t know much about computer science, but wanted her students to get familiar with coding because it can help with other skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration. So she tried a CS First activity where students coded different endings to the story they read in class. Melissa says that, in a short time, “the kids were problem solving, troubleshooting, and helping one another. It was incredible to hear the conversations about coding and the other concepts we were learning in the room.”

        • ‘Code With Google’ Offers Free Programming Lessons For Kids

          Programming is a crucial skill necessary for kids who are stepping into an increasingly software-driven world. However, the training resources required to learn coding aren’t readily available to everyone.

          To bridge this gap, Google has launched ‘Code With Google‘ — an educational resource that will help school teachers to teach the basics of programming to students.

        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 6: Client side and OOP

          I worked on client side by migrating functions written in basemap and creating the instance of topview to generate plot in cartopy

        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly check in [week 6 - 01/07 - 07/07]
        • LLVM’s RISC-V Compiler Back-End Looks To Go Official For 9.0 Release

          LLVM’s RISC-V CPU back-end has made immense progress over the past few years and now for the LLVM 9.0 release due out at the end of August or early September could become official.

          The RISC-V compiler back-end currently within the LLVM tree has been treated as “experimental” but for the in-development 9.0 release it could become an “official” back-end. Alex Bradbury who maintains this RISC-V code has requested this official status change.

        • GammaRay 2.11.0 Release

          We have released version 2.11.0 of our Qt application monitoring tool GammaRay. GammaRay allows you to observe behavior and data structures of Qt code inside your program live at runtime.

          GammaRay 2.11 comes with a new inspection tool for Qt’s event handling, providing even more insights into the inner working of your application. Besides looking at the events and their properties as they occur the event

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security

      • British Airways faces largest ever data breach fine for 2018 [intrusion]

        The penalty comes from the Information Commissioner’s Office, which says that personal data relating to around half a million passengers was compromised during [an intrusion] incident last year.

      • Seriously, stop using RSA

        Here at Trail of Bits we review a lot of code. From major open source projects to exciting new proprietary software, we’ve seen it all. But one common denominator in all of these systems is that for some inexplicable reason people still seem to think RSA is a good cryptosystem to use. Let me save you a bit of time and money and just say outright—if you come to us with a codebase that uses RSA, you will be paying for the hour of time required for us to explain why you should stop using it.

        RSA is an intrinsically fragile cryptosystem containing countless foot-guns which the average software engineer cannot be expected to avoid. Weak parameters can be difficult, if not impossible, to check, and its poor performance compels developers to take risky shortcuts. Even worse, padding oracle attacks remain rampant 20 years after they were discovered. While it may be theoretically possible to implement RSA correctly, decades of devastating attacks have proven that such a feat may be unachievable in practice.

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (irssi, python-django, and python2-django), Debian (libspring-security-2.0-java and zeromq3), Red Hat (python27-python), SUSE (ImageMagick, postgresql10, python-Pillow, and zeromq), and Ubuntu (apport, Docker, glib2.0, gvfs, whoopsie, and zeromq3).

      • Fileless Trojan “Astaroth” That Steals Credentials Is Back, Warns Microsoft [Ed: Well, had Microsoft actually cared about security it wouldn’t have given NSA et al back doors or bug doors into everything it has]

        The team got alert when they noticed a sudden huge spike in the usage of the WMIC (Windows Management Instrumentation Command-Line) tool during the month of May and June 2019. They had deployed an algorithm designed to catch a specific form of file-less attack.

      • GitHub account of Canonical was hacked, Ubuntu source code is safe [Ed: It is a Microsoft platform, not a Canonical or Ubuntu platform]
      • GitHub account of Canonical compromised, but Ubuntu source code safe
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Breaks Nuclear Deal Limit. Here’s What That Means

        Similarly, military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities would probably set the program back, but only temporarily. “You just can’t bomb their program out of existence,” says David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security. “I think what you’re left with is negotiations.”

      • In Afghanistan, We Have Three Dreams

        Some of us have wondered, “Are people today too disconnected and frantic to calm down, in order to solve global challenges together? Are we so polarized and self-absorbed that we cannot stop judging one another or insisting on our partisan ways?”

        In Kabul, our thoughts and feelings are diverse, complicated and flawed, so we centre our three dreams on relationships.

        We have felt much joy in creating this video-letter. We dedicate it to planet earth and to everyone in the human family.

        We hope that each of us can take tiny actions to free ourselves from the ravages of money and power.

      • American History for Truthdiggers: Bush 41—Struggling in Reagan’s Shadow

        His vice president was everything Ronald Reagan was not. The Hollywood actor in chief had far less political qualification “on paper” than his 1980 Republican primary opponent, George H.W. Bush. Though Reagan oozed optimism and soothed the American people with his confident, digestible rhetoric, he was certainly no policy expert or Washington insider. Bush was both. He was a man born of privilege, scion of a prestigious, wealthy family and son of a Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut, Prescott Bush. However, the mid-20th century was different from our own time; it was an era when affluence and social standing didn’t obviate a sense of duty to country and family honor. Bush, like so many thousands of the other members of the American aristocracy, volunteered for the U.S. military in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

        Not yet 19, he would become the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy at that time, eventually flying dozens of combat missions in the Pacific theater. In September 1944 he was involved in an action that won him the Distinguished Flying Cross. In the words of the citation, “Bush pressed home an attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. Although his plane was hit and set afire at the beginning of his dive, he continued his plunge toward the target and succeeded in scoring damaging bomb hits before bailing out of the craft.” He was the only member of the three-man crew to live through the incident. Afterward, survivor’s guilt bled through his letters home.

        At war’s end Bush entered Yale. After moving to Texas and finding wealth and respect in the oil industry, he followed his father into politics. He won a House seat in the 1960s, then lost a race for the U.S. Senate (he was unable to shake his Eastern establishment image with Texas voters, try as he might). In the 1970s, he was appointed ambassador to the United Nations, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and head of the Republican National Committee (RNC). After Bush’s 1980 defeat in a rather bitter presidential primary battle with Reagan—in which the Texan declared that his opponent, a “supply-side theory” advocate, was proposing “voodoo economics”—the Gipper chose Bush as his running mate. They stood together at the helm of the executive branch for eight years, though Bush tended to work behind the scenes, overshadowed by Reagan’s big personality.

      • Iran Steps Further From Nuke Deal, Adding Pressure on Europe

        Iran increased its uranium enrichment Sunday beyond the limit allowed by its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, inching its program closer toward weapons-grade levels while calling for a diplomatic solution to a crisis heightening tensions with the U.S.

        Iran’s move, coupled with its earlier abandonment of the deal’s limit on its low-enriched uranium stockpile, intensifies pressure on Europe to find any effective way around U.S. sanctions that block Tehran’s oil sales abroad.

        But the future of the accord that President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. from a year ago remains in question. While Iran’s recent measures could be easily reversed, Europe has struggled to respond, even after getting a 60-day warning that the increase was coming.

      • Media Falsely Portrays Iran’s Nuclear Deal Breach As Dash To Bomb

        The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the UN nuclear watchdog tasked with vigorously monitoring Iran’s nuclear program under the 2015 accord—confirmed this week that Iran exceeded the limit on its supply of low-enriched uranium (LEU). Unfortunately, with a few notable exceptions, reporting from many in the media on this development wasn’t great. Reporters and commentators portrayed Iran, not Donald Trump, as the primary provocateur, with many going so far as to claim, without any evidence whatsoever, that Iran is now racing to build a nuclear weapon.

        One goal of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) was to stretch the timeline to one year in terms of how long it would take Iran to enrich enough uranium for one bomb. To achieve that outcome, the United States, the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, and Iran agreed that Tehran could continue enriching uranium for civilian energy purposes but also to cap the amount of LEU it could have on hand at any one time to about 660 pounds. Before the agreement, and ostensibly under the untenable George W. Bush-era policy of “zero enrichment,” Iran had amassed around 10,000 pounds of LEU, which if further refined, could be transformed into fuel for nuclear weapons. After the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran shipped out 98 percent of its LEU stockpile and verifiably maintained, until this week, the 660-pound cap, even after Trump last year unilaterally reimposed sanctions that were lifted as part of the deal.

      • Increasing Pressure on Europe to Salvage Nuclear Deal, Iran Announces Plans to Exceed Uranium Enrichment Cap

        The landmark nuclear agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was initially signed by Iran, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia. Since President Donald Trump violated the JCPOA and reimposed sanctions last year—eliciting global condemnation and warnings that his administration is paving a path to war—European and Iranian diplomats have been working to save the deal.

        At a news conference on Sunday, Iranian officials announced the enrichment plans and said the country would continue to reduce its commitments under the JCPOA every 60 days unless the deal’s European signatories provide relief from Trump’s sanctions.

      • Trump’s Economic War on Iran: 88% reduction in Oil Exports, 6% Shrinkage of Economy

        The United States is already at war with Iran, squeezing its economy down to nothingness. If another country tried to do this to the US just on a whim and with no UN or international-law basis, the US would certainly launch a war over it. Iran’s choices are much more limited because it is a small, weak, Third World country, with not so much as a proper air force. But countries without conventional military capabilities that are squeezed like this by an enemy reply with unconventional tactics.

        Trump did this to Iran despite Iran’s adherence to the 2015 nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as certified quarterly by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency.

      • Dogs of War Howl for Blood in Iran While Americans Cheer US Bombers on July 4th

        President Trump’s order to the Pentagon to have an aerial parade of military aircraft over Washington, DC on July 4 provided a history lesson of America’s war mongering in the past two decades, and a terrifying view of what might appear in the skies of Iran if John Bolton gets his way.

        The combat aircraft that were cheered by Trump’s supporters as they flew low over the monuments in the nation’s capital have not been cheered by people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Palestine as the same type of planes fly over their homes—terrifying and killing their children and wreaking havoc on their lives.

      • Could Trump’s tricks boost his ratings and settle the Syrian conflict?

        Recently the U.S. President Donald Trump formally launched his 2020 re-election campaign in front of a large crowd in Orlando, Florida. The campaign is gaining momentum. We have already seen the celebrities and politicians speeches, preliminary ratings and even the economic models of the New York Times predicting Trump’s victory.

        For his part, the candidate keeps on delighting the world community by posting promising Tweets to increase his popularity and to retake votes from his opponents.

        According to Gallup, 45% of U.S. adults believe Trump should be impeached over the various alleged scandals that have dogged his presidency, while 53% said he should not be.

        45% is too much for the sitting president, so it has been decided to increase his positions in the eyes of his anti-war base. In this case, we are not speaking about implementation of all his statements, but only about election promises that can snatch the next agenda from competitors.

        For instance, the situation is so with Trump’s report on the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It looks like the White House analysts are working on the same scenario.

    • Environment

      • Trump Speech on Environment Doesn’t Pass Smell Test with Activists

        Samantha Gross, a fellow with the Cross-Brookings Initiative on Energy and Climate, is bothered by Trump’s assertion that previous administrations had to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy.

        “I just find this completely untrue,” Gross, a former director of the Energy Department’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy, told VOA. “Environmental improvement and economic growth has gone hand in hand for decades.”

      • The Meat-Allergy Tick Also Carries a Mystery Killer Virus

        Like its closest cousins, Bourbon virus seems to spend at least some of its time in ticks. The patient the virus was first isolated from—a 68-year-old man named John Seested in Bourbon County, Kansas—had a history of tick bites. The summer after its discovery there, CDC researchers found the virus in the bodies of several ticks collected elsewhere in Bourbon County. The species they found carrying the virus was the Lone Star tick, whose bite is more notorious for making people allergic to red meat. It’s also been shown to replicate inside tick cell lines in the lab.

      • Trump’s Misleading Speech on His Environmental Record Is a ‘True “1984” Moment’

        “This speech is a true ’1984′ moment,” said David G. Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, to The New York Times.

        At one point, the doublespeak prompted Fox News host Shepard Smith to interrupt the broadcast to point out that many of Trump’s policies had been “widely criticized by environmentalists and academics,” HuffPost reported.

        Smith then went on to list some of the more than 80 regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration has initiated, including the recent repeal of the Clean Power Plan that would have limited emissions from coal plants.

      • Trump Saw Opportunity in Speech on Environment. Critics Saw a ‘“1984” Moment.’

        Reviewing new polling data, consultants working for President Trump’s 2020 campaign discovered an unsurprising obstacle to winning support from two key demographic groups, millennials and suburban women. And that was his record on the environment.

        But they also saw an opportunity. While the numbers showed that Mr. Trump was “never going to get” the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change, a senior administration official who reviewed the polling said, there were moderate voters who liked the president’s economic policies and “just want to know that he’s being responsible” on environmental issues.

        So for nearly an hour in the East Room on Monday afternoon, Mr. Trump sought to recast his administration’s record by describing what he called “America’s environmental leadership” under his command.

        Flanked by several cabinet members and senior environmental officials — one a former lobbyist for the coal industry and the other a former oil lobbyist — Mr. Trump rattled off a grab bag of his administration’s accomplishments, which he said included “being good stewards of our public land,” reducing carbon emissions and promoting the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water.

      • Fox News Cuts Into Trump Speech To Deliver A Brutal Real-Time Fact Check

        President Donald Trump’s favorite news network not only cut into his speech on Monday, but it also fact-checked him on live television.

        Trump on Monday attempted to tout his administration’s environmental record, but Fox News host Shepard Smith interrupted to say those policies have been “widely criticized by environmentalists and academics.”

        The Fox News host cited a New York Times report that found that more than 80 environmental rules and regulations have been repealed and/or rolled back, including multiple regulations regarding drilling, air pollution and wildlife.

      • Trump avoids climate change in speech on environmentalism

        President Trump touted his administration’s environmental stewardship in a speech in the East Room Monday. It’s a topic the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates bring up almost daily, but not one Mr. Trump often addresses.
        But a White House fact sheet obtained by CBS News ahead of the speech did not mention climate change, nor did the president.
        In his speech, the president claimed his administration is working diligently to improve the environment, insisting the environment and economy go hand-in-hand. The environment can’t be strong without a strong economy, Mr. Trump said. The president did tout the importance of forest management to prevent fires in California, and blasted the “Green New Deal.”

      • Energy

        • Green Party deputy leader welcomes electric Mini launch

          She said: “It is clear that the future of motorised transport has to be fossil fuel-free. In the UK we’ve been left far behind countries whose governments have pushed further and farther in this age of climate emergency, but this is a step forward.

          “We need to see our infrastructure – charging points and renewable electricity generation – also catching up with the best continental standards.

        • ‘Bomb Trains,’ a New Book on the Deadly, Ongoing Threat of Oil by Rail

          On July 6, 2013, a train hauling crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, resulting in fires and explosions that killed 47 people and wiped out a large part of the small Canadian town’s center. At the time I was living in Albany, New York, which had become a major distribution point for Bakken oil delivered to the Port of Albany in mile-long trains like the one that devastated Lac-Mégantic. In the six months following the deadly disaster, several more trains of Bakken oil derailed and exploded across North America.

          As the risk of these oil trains became very apparent, I began investigating how the trains could be allowed to travel through communities like mine in Albany and started publishing my findings here at DeSmog. Now, just after the six year anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic disaster, I have compiled all of that research into the new book Bomb Trains: How Industry Greed and Regulatory Failure Put the Public at Risk.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Racing officials suspect deadly sea snail venom used as illegal drug

          A deadly venom found in sea snails which can paralyse fish within a second has emerged as the latest chemical suspected to have infiltrated horse racing, with authorities scrambling to organise testing for the powerful painkiller.

          Racing NSW and Racing Victoria integrity officials on Monday confirmed they had started screening for the mystery drug, which has subtypes known to be infinitely stronger than morphine.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering. It Worked.

        After the ISIS campaign ended, Google left behind a blueprint. The blueprint shows, step by step, how you can create your own redirect ads to sway any belief or opinion — held by any Google user, anywhere in the world — of your choice.

        You don’t have to be a marketer with years of experience to do this. You just need to follow the instructions and put up a credit card (a few hundred bucks will suffice).

        Recently, I followed the blueprint and created a redirect campaign of my own.

      • Kim Darroch – the Simple Explanation

        The media is full of over-complicated theories as to who might have leaked Kim Darroch’s diplomatic telegrams giving his candid view on the Trump administration. I should start by explaining the FCO telegram system. The communications are nowadays effectively encrypted emails, though still known as “telegrams”: to the Americans “cables”. They are widely distributed. These Darroch telegrams would be addressed formally to the Foreign Secretary but have hundreds of other recipients, in the FCO, No.10, Cabinet Office, MOD, DFID, other government departments, MI6, GCHQ, and in scores of other British Embassies abroad. The field of suspects is therefore immense.

        [...]

        At a time when news management was the be all and end all for the Blair administration, Darroch was in charge of the FCO’s Media Department. I remember being astonished when, down the telephone, he called me “fucking stupid” for disagreeing with him on some minor policy matter. I had simply never come across that kind of aggression in the FCO before. People who worked directly for him had to put up with this kind of thing all the time.

        Most senior ambassadors used to have interests like Chinese literature and Shostakovitch. Darroch’s are squash and sailing. He is a bull of a man. In my view, the most likely source of the leaks is a former subordinate taking revenge for years of bullying, or a present one trying to get rid of an unpleasant boss.

      • Will Corporate Democrats Team Up to Block Warren and Sanders?

        The odds are now very strong that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic presidential nominee. New polling averages say they account for almost 70 percent of support nationwide, while no other candidate is anywhere near. For progressives who want to affect the news instead of just consume it, active engagement will be essential.

        Biden is the most regressive Democrat with a real chance to head the ticket. After amassing a five-decade record littered with odious actions and statements, he now insists that the 2020 campaign “shouldn’t be about the past” — an evasive and ridiculous plea, coming from someone who proclaims himself to be “an Obama-Biden Democrat” and goes to absurd lengths to fasten himself onto Obama’s coattails, while also boasting of his past ability to get legislation through Congress.

        As he campaigns, Biden persists with disingenuous denials. During the June 27 debate, he flatly — and falsely — declared: “I did not oppose busing in America.” On July 6, speaking to a mostly black audience in South Carolina, he said: “I didn’t support more money to build state prisons. I was against it.” But under the headline “Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims He Opposed Spending More Money to Build State Prisons,” CNN reported that “he was misrepresenting his own record.”

        Biden used the Fourth of July weekend to dig himself deeper into a centrist, status quo trench for his war on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. During a repeatedly cringeworthy interview, Biden told CNN that what can’t be done includes Medicare for All, tuition-free public college and student debt cancelation. Bernie Sanders quickly responded with a tweet calling Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal “the agenda American needs — and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump.”

      • Marianne Williamson is Right About American Elections

        Self-help guru Marianne Williamson isn’t likely to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, despite having probably served the American public more ably than any of her opponents (among other things, her Project Angel Food delivers millions of meals to the seriously ill). Good works aside, she’s a little too “New Age,” spiritual, and individualist/voluntarist-oriented for a population increasingly viewing coercive government as its living and unquestionable God.

        That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to her, though, especially when she points out major flaws in the system. At a July 3 campaign event in New Hampshire, Williamson discussed the “illusion of choice” in American elections, comparing them to Iran’s, where “you can vote for whoever you want, among the people that they tell you it’s OK to vote for.”

        Afterward, Williamson backed off just a hair, calling her remarks “a cautionary tale, not a direct analogy.” She shouldn’t have.

        Iran’s parliament, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, includes 290 representatives. Of those seats, 216 are split between three political parties, 66 are held by independents, and five are reserved for religious minorities.

        Of the 435 seats in the US House of Representatives, 434 are split between two political parties, with a lone independent holding the 435th. The US Senate is slightly more diverse — 98 of its seats are split between the two “major” parties, with a whopping two independents.

        Yes, “separation of church and state” is preferable to theocracy, but our two “major” parties, the Democrats and Republicans, exemplify an iron grip on rule by party establishments that even Iran can’t match.

        How do they do it? Why aren’t there any current members of Congress from the Libertarian, Green, or other “third parties?” And why are independent and “third party” members of Congress a rarity since early in the 20th century? Two reasons.

        One is that unlike the world’s parliamentary democracies, which use “proportional representation” measures to accord smaller parties at least token representation, the US uses single-member districts and first-past-the-post voting. In each district there’s one winner and everyone else loses.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Deplatforming Won’t Work

        Gab is a Twitter alternative used by many neo-Nazis and alt-righters who have been (or know they would be) banned from actual Twitter. The unintended—but entirely predictable—consequence of throwing extremists off Twitter has been to create a large community of exiles on Gab. In Gabland, it is people who question Jewish conspiracy theories or the idea that the US should be a white ethnostate who are considered “trolls.” A similar community is developing on the YouTube alternative BitChute, whose Alexa ranking is rising quickly.

      • The UK’s Entire Approach To ‘Online Harms’ Is Backwards… And No One Cares

        Back in April, the UK (with Theresa May making the announcement) released a plan to fine internet companies if they allowed “online harms” in the form of “abhorrent content.” This included “legal” content. As we noted at the time, this seemed to create all sorts of problems. Since then, the UK has been seeking “comments” on this proposal, and many are coming in. However, the most incredible thing is that the UK seems to assume so many things in its plan that the comments it’s asking for are basically, “how do we tweak this proposal around the edges,” rather than, “should we do this at all?”

        Various organizations have been engaging, as they should. However, reading the Center for Democracy & Technology’s set of comments to the UK in response to its questions is a really frustrating experience. CDT knows how dumb this plan is. However, the specific questions that the UK government is asking don’t even let commenters really lay out the many, many problems with this approach.

        And, of course, we just wrote about some new research that suggests a focus on “removing” terrorist content has actually harmed the efforts against terrorism, in large part by hiding from law enforcement and intelligence agencies what’s going on. In short, in this moral panic about “online harms”, we’re effectively sweeping useful evidence under the rug to pretend that if we hide it, nothing bad happens. Instead, the reality is that letting clueless people post information about their dastardly plans online seems to make it much easier to stop those plans from ever being brought to fruition.

      • Kali Linux Released For Raspberry Pi

        Last month, June Raspberry Pi foundation released RPi 4 with more memory options and useful features. Recently Kali Linux announced the release of its Kali Linux images for Raspberry Pi.

        Recently, Kali Linux tweeted the news of releasing the pentesting distro for RPi and got a good response from its followers.

      • Kali Linux For Raspberry Pi 4 Now Officially Released

        Kali Linux claims that the Raspberry Pi 4 will also benefit from the new Kali Linux distro because they have designed it to leverage the new Raspberry Pi 4 features.

        Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4 is only available in a 32-bit variant right now. But a 64-bit version is expected to be released shortly.

        The new Raspberry Pi is available in 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM. Apart from that, the Raspberry Pi 4 will house a more powerful CPU along with a quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SOC clocking at 1.5GHz.

        On the connectivity front, it has two USB 3.0 ports along with two USB 2.0 ports and a USB-C power supply for charging.

        The new forum of Kali Linux ARM architecture is already alive. You can download the new distro here.

      • Raspberry Pi 4 gets Kali Linux, a distro aimed at ethical hackers

        Kali features on our list of the best Linux distros for privacy and security. It’s the most popular penetration testing distro out there (the process whereby attacks are simulated on systems, by ethical hackers, with the aim of strengthening those systems against real hackers), with hundreds of built-in tools for those who want to get more serious about their security.

        As for the Raspberry Pi 4, the latest version makes some big promises, including entry-level desktop PC performance at an extremely cheap price – and it delivers on that front, more or less, although as we observed in our review, there are some heat issues.

      • Instagram Now Asks You To Rethink Hate Comments With New Feature [Ed: Facebook reads and analyses messages before you even send them. Thought police or censorship?]

        Aiming to control the bullying practices people often entrap themselves into, Facebook-owned Instagram has introduced two new features to solve the issue in a subtle way.

      • Facebook’s Priority Is To Fight Fake News About Facebook

        Facebook has become a breeding ground for spreading fake news. The company’s efforts have not amounted to anything significant when it comes to curbing fake news on the platform. However, a Bloomberg report suggests that the company cares deeply about fake news related to Facebook and has dedicated tools to fight it.

        During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a hoax spread on Facebook — copy, paste and share this message with your friends, otherwise, Facebook will share your private information. The rumor was particularly effective in the U.S. and the Philippines.

      • How Facebook Fought Fake News About Facebook

        A month before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a rumor spread on Facebook. People were sharing a viral gimmick familiar to email spammers: Copy and paste this message to all your friends, or Facebook will share your private information. The hoax took off, particularly in pockets of the U.S. and the Philippines.

        Inside Facebook Inc.’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters, a small group of staffers watched this rumor gain traction using a special software program they called Stormchaser. The tool was designed to track hoaxes and “memes” – silly, often untrue internet missives – about Facebook on the social network and other company-owned services including WhatsApp.

        Since 2016, Facebook employees have used Stormchaser to track many viral posts, including a popular conspiracy that the company listens to users through their phone’s microphone, according to three former employees. Other topics ranged from bitter protests (the #deleteFB movement) to ludicrous jokes (that Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is an alien), according to one former employee. In some cases, like the copy-and-paste hoax, the social network took active steps to snuff them out. Staff prepared messages debunking assertions about Facebook, then ran them in front of users who shared the content, according to documents viewed by Bloomberg News and four people familiar with the matter. They asked not to be identified discussing private initiatives.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • The writing is on the wall for ads based on real-time bidding in the EU – and maybe everywhere

        Privacy News Online noted back in February a growing disquiet at the huge amounts of personal information that sites like Facebook and Google routinely gather about us, and how it is used for personalized advertising. Of particular concern is real-time bidding (RTB), which sees often extremely private information sent out to hundreds of potential advertisers, with no control over what they do with it. A formal complaint has been submitted to the data protection authorities in the UK and in Ireland, asking them to investigate the use of real-time bidding systems by Google and other adtech companies.

      • Thousands of Android apps can track your phone — even if you deny permissions

        Even if you say “no” to one app when it asks for permission to see those personally identifying bits of data, it might not be enough: a second app with permissions you have approved can share those bits with the other one or leave them in shared storage where another app — potentially even a malicious one — can read it. The two apps might not seem related, but researchers say that because they’re built using the same software development kits (SDK), they can access that data, and there’s evidence that the SDK owners are receiving it. It’s like a kid asking for dessert who gets told “no” by one parent, so they ask the other parent.

        [...]

        The study also singles out photo app Shutterfly for sending actual GPS coordinates back to its servers without getting permission to track locations — by harvesting that data from your photos’ EXIF metadata — though the company denied that it gathers that data without permission in a statement to CNET.

        There are fixes coming for some of these issues in Android Q, according to the researchers, who say they notified Google about the vulnerabilities last September. (They point to this official Google page.) Yet, that may not help the many current-generation Android phones that won’t get the Android Q update. (As of May, only 10.4 percent of Android devices had the latest Android P installed, and over 60 percent were still running on the nearly three-year-old Android N.)

      • Android Apps Can Access Your Data Even If You Refuse Permission: Study

        The study suggests that Android apps get unauthorized access to user data with the help of covert and side channels.

        For the uninitiated, covert channels allow apps to get permission to access user data from another app, and this process becomes easy as most of the apps are based on the same SDK (software development kit).

        Additionally, various side channel vulnerabilities that exist in the Android system could be used to extract crucial information such as the MAC address of a user’s device with the use of C++ native code.

        It is further suggested that many apps that use SDKs built by Baidu and Salmonads use the covert channel communication path to access the user’s IMEI number without his or her permission.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Steve Wozniak warns people away from Facebook

        Given Wozniak deleted his Facebook account over a year ago, this perhaps shouldn’t be a huge surprise, but nonetheless it’s all that reporters from TMZ wanted to talk to him about when they accosted him at the airport. He’d probably have been equally keen to rail against legroom and a poor selection of in-flight movies if they’d given him the opportunity.

      • Facebook’s Libra Must Be Under Central Bank Oversight, PBOC Says

        Mu said the central bank’s research team tested Libra’s code and found it’s “still in an initial stage and the quality of the code isn’t stable.” He also said it’s questionable whether Libra would indeed use blockchain technology, because it can’t meet the high concurrent transaction requirements necessary for retail sales scenarios.

        The PBOC has been working on developing its own digital legal tender, but hasn’t announced a time table for issuing any such currency.

      • Christian Family Details Crackdown on Church in China

        Ren told The Associated Press that she had to report her whereabouts to police using social media whenever she went out. She was told her safety couldn’t be guaranteed if she disobeyed.

      • Facebook and Twitter have not been invited to White House social media summit, sources say

        Such hearings have often strayed far from being fact-based conversations. At one hearing last year, Republicans invited the pro-Trump social media duo “Diamond & Silk” to testify. The duo spent the hearing spreading misinformation about social media companies. At other hearings, Republican lawmakers have cited information from right-wing sites like The Gateway Pundit to make their points.

      • British Airways faces $230 million fine. It would be a record under Europe’s tough data privacy law

        Attackers were able to harvest customer details including log ins, payment cards, and travel booking details, according to the regulator. The airline disclosed the incident in September 2018.

        The £183.4 million ($230 million) fine is roughly 1.5% of British Airways’ annual revenue. The carrier, which is owned by IAG (ICAGY), said it would fight the penalty.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Ukraine’s public broadcasters want a free press. Can they survive the politics?

        Adding to the distrust is a perpetual problem that has long plagued Ukrainian journalism: jeansa. The term refers to unmarked, integrated political advertising paid for by a politician. The word originates from the notion of a cash bribe supposedly slipped into the pocket of a denim-sporting journalist.

      • Peace Petition Signatories Face Continued Prosecutions

        It was a petition more or less like any other that an antiwar academic might sign. But for the act of signing it, more than 700 scholars have been criminally charged with making propaganda for a terrorist organization, according to data published on the website of the signatories, who call themselves Academics for Peace.

      • ‘Mad’ Magazine Told the Truth About War, Advertising, and the Media

        Born in the troubled era of McCarthyism, Mad is dying in another squalid political epoch. Mad was arguably America’s greatest and most influential satirical magazine, a strange claim to make of a publication that was mostly read throughout its existence by children and teenagers, but still justifiable.

        Mad was often rude, tasteless, and childish—which made it all the more potent as a tributary of youth culture. The kids who read Mad learned from it to distrust authority, whether in the form of politicians, advertisers or media figures. That was a lesson that successive generations took to heart. Without Mad, it’s impossible to imagine underground comics, National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, The Daily Show, or Stephen Colbert. In the historical sweep of American culture, Mad is the crucial link between the anarchic humor of the Marx Brothers and the counterculture that emerged in the 1960s.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Hate-Crime Epidemic That Never Was: A Seattle Case Study

        A look through the data that has been made available from Seattle’s office of the City Auditor reveals that there is little basis for panic. First, most of the situations contained in the 500-plus documented incidents for 2018 turned out not to be hate crimes at all. Out of 521 confrontations or other incidents reported to the police at some point during the year, 181 (35 percent) were deemed insufficiently serious to qualify as crimes of any kind. Another 215 (41 percent) turned out to involve some minor element of bias (i.e., an ethnic slur used during a fight), but did not rise to the definition of hate crime. Only 125, or 24 percent, qualified as potential hate crimes—i.e., alleged “criminal incidents directly motivated by bias.” For purposes of comparison: There are 745,000 people living in Seattle, and 3.5-million in the metro area.

        Even that 125 figure represents an overestimate, at least as compared to what most of us imagine to be the stereotypical hate crime (of, say, a gang of white racists beating up someone of a different skin color). Seattle’s remarkably broad municipal hate-crime policies cover not only attacks motivated by racial or sexual animus, but also those related to “homelessness, marital status, political ideology, age and parental status.”

      • How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours

        What is the point of sending someone to prison – retribution or rehabilitation? Twenty years ago, Norway moved away from a punitive “lock-up” approach and sharply cut reoffending rates. The BBC’s Emma Jane Kirby went to see the system in action, and to meet prison officers trained to serve as mentors and role models for prisoners.

        [...]

        “Not ‘guards’,” admonishes Hoidal gently, when I use the term. “We are prison ‘officers’ and of course we make sure an inmate serves his sentence but we also help that person become a better person. We are role models, coaches and mentors. And since our big reforms, recidivism in Norway has fallen to only 20% after two years and about 25% after five years. So this works!”

      • Donald Trump Keen to Cover for Mohammed Bin Salman No Matter What He Does As Executions Double in Saudi Arabia, Activists Say

        The number of executions in the first six months of the year is the highest recorded in the past five years, and more than double the 55 from the same period in 2018, according to a new report by the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights.

        From January until the end of June, 122 people were executed in the ultra-conservative kingdom. Among them are six minors and 58 foreign nationals, from nations including Pakistan, Yemen and Syria. Three women were among those killed, one each from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Yemen.

      • Jeffrey Epstein, friend of presidents and princes, charged with sex trafficking

        In a development that shows that the #MeToo movement is chipping away at the wall of protection that powerful men have constructed around themselves, financier Jeffrey Epstein, who has ties to influential people such as Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew, has been charged with new counts of sex trafficking, accused of luring dozens of girls as young as 14 to his homes and paying them for sex acts.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • Why cannabis patent enforcement is in the weeds [Ed: Weed becoming legal only so that a bunch of parasitic lawyers will start suing for millions, over patents that have nothing to do with novelty (lots of prior art) but prohibition that cause lack of patents ]

        Until the US government legalises the sale and distribution of cannabis, enforcing patents in this field and obtaining the traditional benefits of these rights will be challenging, says Daniel Pereira of Oblon

        Marijuana, for medical and recreational purposes, is an area of great political, social and legal interest. By some accounts, the industry is rapidly growing leaps and bounds with large inflows of cash to state’s coffers.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • New CRISPR Interference: The Details

          The declaration also contains the scheduling statement that there will be a telephone conference between APJ Katz and the parties on August 5th, and that four business days prior, the parties will submit a list of motions it proposes to file. (Except in instances where this list is vanishingly small, it is unlikely that the Board will grant the parties’ motions to file all these proposed motions.) In the last interference, the Broad filed a motion that there was no interference-in-fact (unlikely in this interference); several motions that the Broad’s dozen patents involved in the interference should be accorded the benefit of priority to 16 provisional applications; a motion that the University’s claims corresponding to the count are unpatentable for lack of written description (granted); a motion that the University’s claims corresponding to the count are unpatentable for lack of enablement (deferred); motions that the University claims are not patentable over “certain prior art” (deferred); and motions for access to pending Berkeley applications (which was denied). Berkeley’s motions were in some ways more compelling, to the extent they suggested grounds for invalidating the Broad patents that were foreclosed by the PTAB’s determination that there was no interference-in-fact. These motions included: a motion that all of the claims of all of the Broad’s patents are invalid over the publication of the University’s application in interference, based on an error in how the Broad’s application was filed involving changes resulting from the America Invents Act (deferred); five motions to change the count (one was granted but mooted by the Board’s decision); a motion for priority benefit to an earlier provisional application (granted); a motion that the Broad’s involved claims are anticipated by certain prior art (deferred); a motion that each of the Broad’s patents are unpatentable under the doctrine of obviousness-type double patenting (deferred); a motion that each of the Broad’s patents are unpatentable for improper inventorship (deferred); and a motion that each of the Broad’s patents were obtained by inequitable conduct (denied).

        • Qualcomm files motion with Ninth Circuit for partial stay of FTC antitrust remedies

          What Qualcomm’s attorneys, now led by Goldstein & Russel’s Tom Goldstein, put front and center is that the FTC brought the lawsuit with only two commissioners voting in favor (at the time, there were only three commissioners), and that former Qualcomm attorney (in terms of his positions, forget the “former”) and now-Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim and FTC commissioner Christine Wilson disagree. So they’re trying to discredit the case and the ruling, and I have my doubts that this will impress the Ninth Circuit, especially given Judge Koh’s stellar reputation throughout and beyond that circuit as well as the fact that her judgment is simply in the global antitrust mainstream in light of other decisions in the EU and in Asia (with a second EU antitrust hammer having been unofficially announced by DG COMP to come down in the months ahead, possibly just at a time when the Ninth Circuit will be working on a decision on this motion).

      • Trademarks

        • Celebrity misadventures in trade mark land

          In recent years, intellectual property rights have played a significant role in the growth of highly competitive global industries, like fashion and music. This is not to say the least in the United States, where both social media influencers and artists in the music industry have sought to register trade marks also to create a bridge with contemporary trends within the pop and culture scenes.

          One might wonder whether this trend might pose difficulties for relevant authorities in the assessment of trade mark applications. This may be particularly problematic when it comes to registering common pop phrases as trade marks, or when the chosen trade mark might raise cultural appropriation concerns.

          The latter difficulties presented themselves earlier this year when both Cardi B and Kim Kardashian attempted to register their brands with the US Patent and Trade Marks Office (USPTO).

      • Copyrights

        • Jacob Victor: Should Royalty Rates in Compulsory Licensing of Music Be Set Below the Market Price?

          Jacob Victor has a remarkable new article on copyright compulsory licenses, forthcoming in the Stanford Law Review. The article boldly wades into the notoriously convoluted history of the compulsory license option for obtaining rights to copyrighted music, and makes what I think is a very interesting and important normative argument about how compulsory license rates should be set. Other scholars who have written on compulsory licensing, whose work Victor addresses, include, to name only a few: Kristelia Garcia, Jane C. Ginsburg, Wendy Gordon, Lydia Pallas Loren, Robert P. Merges, Pam Samuelson, Tim Wu, and more herein.

          [...]

          This is where the conundrum of rate setting arises. If a rate setting entity is suddenly responsible for determining how much users, and thereby consumers, must pay to obtain access to music, instead of negotiating directly with rights owners, what policy should the rate-setting entity use to set rates?

          We might think the rate should simply be set at what it would have been, had a direct negotiation taken place. After all, the compulsory license is not a statement of non-infringement, like fair use. It is, rather, an alternative to direct negotiation.

          Scholars like Robert Merges have long viewed transaction costs as the main hurdle to ensuring fair and efficient access to IP-protected works, and have frequently applied the classic Calabresi/Melamed model to IP licensing. Viewing compulsory licensing as a mechanism in which government’s role is limited to facilitating efficient licensing in the face of high transaction costs, in particular the multiplicity of dispersed music copyright owners, would therefore seem logical. (That said, Merges does not see a compulsory license as the best way; he prefers collective rights organizations that operate in the private sector without government involved at all).

          Wendy Gordon has gone further, arguing that even fair use, which is a statement of non-infringement, should be seen as a response to high transaction costs. Victor tactfully notes that “Gordon’s early work in this field is frequently contested, including by Gordon herself” (13). It seems circular to argue that whether an act of copying constitutes copyright infringement should itself be determined by whether the user could have gotten a license.

        • The relationship between musicians, master recordings and record labels

          The gist of Ms Swift’s complaint, which she posted on social media on June 30th, is that someone she does not like or trust is taking ownership of her master recordings—the tapes or digital files from which albums are pressed and released—and they are free to do with them as they please. Ms Swift was 15 when she signed to Big Machine, an independent label set up by Scott Borchetta in 2005. Her contract ceded ownership of her masters to the label.

        • BT Sport Subscribers Test Pirate Sites After UFC PPV Decision

          BT Sport is the current home for UFC events in the UK. However, a recent surprise decision to charge subscribers additional fees to watch big events saw many turn to piracy this weekend. It’s a move that has the potential to not only affect UFC and BT Sport, but all premium broadcasters.

IBM Has Just Wiped Clean Red Hat’s Position on Software Patents

Posted in Deals, IBM, Law, Patents, Red Hat at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat pukeSummary: Proprietary software/hardware giant buying Red Hat is not good news; but now it is confirmed and damage limitation may be in order

IT IS no longer surprising that Red Hat becomes IBM (or part of IBM). Now it’s official. I got the initial headsup (link to IBM’s own openwashing hogwash) and then saw some blog posts like this one that says “IBM today closed the acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion, marking one of the biggest acquisition of any open source company.”

“IBM will probably wait for a while (a “goodwill gesture”) before it announces what parts of the business it is going to shut down (or whose job will be axed).”Red Hat could sell itself to Microsoft and even considered that. We’re thankful that this never happened. But Red Hat’s main casualty will be its policy on patents. Since IBM calls all the shots it’s safe to assume that Red Hat’s staff has become or will become a major booster of software patents (or at best passive). We also envision IBM putting a lot of pressure on new joiners (from Red Hat) to apply for software patents, maybe ‘spiced up’ with buzzwords such as "hey hi" (AI) so as to dodge 35 U.S.C. § 101. It’s important for IBM to show up at the top of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ladders. IBM also lobbies for software patents in Europe, so Red Hat is perhaps becoming a threat to Europe — even if only by extension.

IBM will probably wait for a while (a “goodwill gesture”) before it announces what parts of the business it is going to shut down (or whose job will be axed). Layoffs are very common at IBM nowadays; it fired over 1,000 employees as recently as a month ago. For the time being we wish Red Hat staff a happy and enjoyable honeymoon. Try to change IBM for the better, from the inside…

EPO ‘Tackles’ Patent Quality Concerns by Issuing New Report With “Quality” in the Title

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Extrajudicial agenda, intelligence mocked

Person mocked

Summary: The EPO strives to grant as many patents as possible while constantly lying to the public about the effect on patent quality (or validity, as determined by the underlying laws and judged by courts peripheral to the EPO)

35 U.S.C. § 101 went a long way in improving US patent quality — to the point where even USPTO examiners started to deny many software patent applications. We mostly covered this in past years because this year we focus on the sordid mess at the European Patent Office (EPO), led by Battistelli‘s double who openly supports software patents in Europe.

“All this while lowering patent validity and quality even further (great for blackmail, not so good for litigation).”Patent quality hasn’t only collapsed; it’s continuing to collapse all the time due to rising targets and brain drain (assuring decline in quality of training, too). Law firms, desperate for clients who rely on false promises, are cross-posting their self-promotional pieces which pretend everything is alright (“Revised Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal”). One went as far as promoting the further speed-up or acceleration of examination (as if it wasn’t already bad enough). Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick’s Dr Jon Wright wrote this today:

Following a successful three-year trial, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Australian Patent Office (IP Australia) have agreed to extend… [PPH]

All this while lowering patent validity and quality even further (great for blackmail, not so good for litigation). Cohausz & Florack’s Arwed Burrichter and Natalie Kirchhofer have meanwhile published “EPO Administrative Council adopts new Rules of Procedure for the Boards of Appeal,” neglecting (as usual) to mention the chaotic state and abrupt departure from the EPC. Today’s EPO is not even trying to pretend (not anymore) that it adheres to the EPC or that cares about the autonomy of judges; these judges are unable to enforce the EPC, i.e. the law, without risking severe punishment (like Patrick Corcoran’s).

“Today’s EPO is not even trying to pretend (not anymore) that it adheres to the EPC or that cares about the autonomy of judges…”The EPO has meanwhile tweeted: “The EPO’s 2018 Quality Report is out! For insights into the checks & safeguards of the patenting process, as well as feedback from users & future initiatives, have a look here: http://bit.ly/EPOqualityreport …”

In order to ‘googlebomb’ the word “quality” the EPO has just published a “report” (warning: epo.org link) with the word “quality” in the headline/title, prefaced by:

The EPO today published its third Quality Report since 2016. The 2018 edition delves deeper into the patent grant process, describing the checks and safeguards that are in place at each phase of the procedure at the Office. It offers extensive data analyses at EPO sectors’ level, looks at quality improvement measures taken by the Office, cites feedback provided by users and discusses the initiatives that are planned for the future.

While confirming users’ growing appreciation of the quality of the products and services provided by the EPO, the report also acknowledges scope for improvement in certain areas.

“This report provides our users with a full picture of the way quality is evolving at the EPO and a common basis on which we can continue to move forwards”, said President António Campinos. “Quality is at the heart of our new Strategic Plan and by working with our users and cooperating with all our stakeholders, we now have an opportunity to raise our quality to another level altogether.”

What a liar. What lawyers…

They keep denying the problem, potentially only infuriating stakeholders by insulting them. Where’s the Council amid these lies?

“It’s hogwash and everybody knows it, including those involved in manufacturing such propaganda.”Well, as we explained last week, the EPO (Office) is is buying and securing votes to ensure that nothing changes or that nothing actually improves. It keeps bribing those who vote. Earlier today Schmitt & Orlov wrote that “Gabriel Pecquet, the European Patent Office (EPO) expert, visited the Moldovan State Agency on Intellectual Property (AGEPI)…”

The Moldovan vote is worth as much as Germany’s and Moldova is a lot easier (and cheaper) to ‘buy’. Team Campinos carries on with Battistelli’s tactics and there’s no stopping it. They make up all sorts of groups or panels called “Quality” something. Now there’s a “Quality” report. It’s hogwash and everybody knows it, including those involved in manufacturing such propaganda. They’re being paid to lie; what a waste of money…

If Microsoft is Still Attacking Even Its Very Own Partners, Why Believe It Will Treat GNU/Linux Any Better?

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: The Corporate Media Deliberately Distorts the Public’s Opinion on Microsoft and Its ‘Love’ for Linux

A tortoise
When scorpions meet tortoises it rarely ends well

Summary: Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) debacles serve to show that Microsoft is as untrustworthy as ever; those who invite Microsoft to join Linux aren’t helping anyone but Microsoft

AN article mentioned in passing and added to our daily links over the weekend merits special attention. A reader has just sent us one more report on this subject [1] and it’s worth taking it into account now that we’re told “Microsoft loves Linux” (which Microsoft considers to be the biggest competition and called for a "Jihad" against). Yes, the word “Jihad” was used by Bill Gates.

“Little by little, Microsoft seizes greater control/power over its competition. This way Microsoft also controls the narrative.”The short story is, Microsoft is squeezing some of its closest partners and it recently did the same to CERN (hiking costs tenfold!); if this is what Microsoft does to friends, then just imagine what it’s planning to do to actual rivals.

RacketHours ago (just earlier today) we mentioned a couple more reports (in our daily links) [2,3] from Microsoft apologists — both connected to the Linux Foundation — who eagerly open the door to Microsoft's control over Linux. Little by little, Microsoft seizes greater control/power over its competition. This way Microsoft also controls the narrative. “The “Linux” links these days are all Microsoft spam,” one reader told us, “with only a few exceptions. With the help of Google and its search engine, Microsoft is doing to Linux and GNU/Linux what it did to VistA.” (VA’s FOSS, not Windows)

Before destroying Novell Ron Hovsepian said “Microsoft Corp is using scare tactics to exert pressure on PC vendors not to explore the potential of desktop Linux…”

GNU/Linux is the “most potent operating system competitor,” according to Bill Gates, who now shifts his attention to Android (lots of puff pieces about it earlier this month). ZDNet, a prime promoter of the “Microsoft loves Linux” lie (they’re big Microsoft advertisers with Microsoft staff among them), published an article entitled “What if Microsoft had invented Android?” only 2 days ago.

Microsoft hates Android. Watch what it’s doing to Android/inside Android [4] (other than patent blackmail which carries on) and see older coverage (last week) about Microsoft Partner Network (MPN): “Microsoft’s worst move in 30 years” [5]. Microsoft has not changed; only the PR strategy has changed somewhat. They pretend to be friends or in love with whatever they attack, usually from the inside.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft has caused an uproar among its partners by canceling one of their favorite perks: software for their own use [paywall]

    Over the course of the next year, Microsoft will stop allowing its partners to use its software for their own businesses as a perk — and instead, charge them, same as anybody else.

  2. Microsoft admitted to private Linux developer security list

    Most open-source development work, like the name says, is done in the open. The exception is the first stages of security work. Unpatched security holes, however, are discussed and fixed behind closed doors. Now, Microsoft has been admitted to the closed linux-distro list.

    Microsoft wanted in because, while Windows sure isn’t Linux, the company is, in fact, a Linux distributor. Sasha Levin, a Microsoft Linux kernel developer, pointed out Microsoft has several distro-like builds — which are not derivative of an existing distribution — that are based on open-source components.

  3. Confirmed: Microsoft Will Join The Private Linux Kernel Mailing List

    However, it wasn’t all praise. Levin had to prove to the community whether it qualifies to join the list or not. After a long and quite intensive discussion, it all but certain that Microsoft will be accepted into the mailing list, possibly, by the end of this week.

  4. Microsoft is slipping app ads into Android menus

    If you use a Microsoft app on your Android phone, Microsoft might be quietly advertising its other apps in your “Share” and “Open” menus. Android Police has pointed out that some Microsoft mobile apps add extra options to your menus when you interact with a file. These icons show Microsoft apps that aren’t on your phone, taking up real estate that’s usually reserved for programs you chose to install.

    Android Police tested this with multiple Microsoft apps, and The Verge confirmed that it’s definitely happening with Your Phone Companion, an app for syncing Android and Windows devices. When I shared a photo from my phone with Your Phone Companion installed, my sharing menu included an extra icon labeled “Microsoft OneDrive (Install).” Tapping the icon would open Your Phone Companion, then quickly redirect me to the Google Play Store. Android Police found similar results when, say, opening a PowerPoint presentation file with Microsoft Word installed.

  5. ‘Microsoft’s worst move in 30 years’ – MPN changes spark uproar

    Microsoft partners have been left “flabbergasted” at the vendor’s decision to withdraw what are seen in some quarters as two key benefits to Gold and Silver reseller partners.

    The vendor revealed in an online document that it intends to withdraw the internal use rights it grants to those who are part of its Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

Anonymous Comments Are the Only Thing of Value Left at IP Kat

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What’s left of them anyway because they censor some 'inconvenient' (to EPO management) comments

IP Kat gags

Summary: Control of the narrative surrounding the EPO goes far and wide; it’s still possible, however, to occasionally see what people really think

THE European Patent Office (EPO) of Campinos and Battistelli is a master of media manipulation, if not by bribery (as we've just noted) then by threats. They’ve send several English law firms after me. They’re bullies. They’re thugs. They not only abuse their staff but also the media.

The media is nowadays toothless to say the least when it comes to EPO coverage. The Register quit covering the subject for unknown reasons, the BBC apparently spiked a story about it, and this morning we’ve seen several puff pieces from the Financial Times of London, one of the biggest English papers (high circulation). When it comes to blogs (or less organised news media), things aren’t any better. The EPO found allies with some of the very worst blogs. There were two attacks on Monday on 35 U.S.C. § 101. By Watchtroll of course (“Athena v. Mayo: A Splintered Federal Circuit Invites Supreme Court or Congress to Step Up On 101 Chaos” and “Beyond 101: An Inventor’s Plea for Comprehensive Reform of the U.S. Patent System”). They’re basically attacking judges and courts again; the law firms lie about what technical people want and need. The patent zealots know no bounds. Now they bribe politicians, too… this judge-bashing site, Watchtroll, is the favourite “blog partner” of the EPO nowadays; they share their disdain for judges. They both promote software patents in Europe and Watchtroll repeatedly attacked the USPTO‘s Director when she wasn’t its ‘cup of tea’ (she spoke about the problems associated with patent trolls).

“…the EPO decided not to change its behaviour but to change how the media covers it (if at all!).”Readers of ours are likely to see more and more articles bemoaning the media; I’ve sent some E-mails around and it seems growingly evident that there’s an operation of ‘cover up’; the EPO decided not to change its behaviour but to change how the media covers it (if at all!).

After the EPO temporarily banned IP Kat (in all sites) the blog chose to quit covering what people evidently cared about (the EPO’s corruption), censoring comments on the matter too (in bulk even, in one fell swoop, not for violating any terms/conditions). Some of the key people, who used the pseudonym “Merpel” (it’s not a single person, as one insider clarified to us), gradually left and yesterday the blog advertised “Openings for GuestKats and InternKats!”

“One needs to look at comments to actually catch a glimpse of what remotely looks like honest opinions from insiders.”They’re looking for writers as the blog collapsed (sharp decline in relevance) after refusing to cover EPO corruption — the subject that attracted over 90% of comments if not visits. Earlier this summer one of their best writers left too; she had been there for years. So who’s left there? People like Bristows staff/Team UPC (recall Bristows/IP Kat Still Promoting UPC and Patent Trolls, Also Accused of Deleting Comments and “Brown-nosing” Judges to Help Patent Trolls) and various novices who may contribute one article per month. Team UPC totally controls the narrative around UPC; those inside the blog who criticised the UPC have already left.

As we’ve been arguing for a number of years, blog posts at IP Kat are usually less informative than comments (of which there aren’t many anymore). Since Friday we’ve seen a number of comments being posted in IP Kat in reply to Justice Arnold throwing out European Patents. After millions of euros were wasted (passed to law firms) an actual court reached the conclusion that the underlying patents lacked merit. We generally trust independent judges a lot more than officials because, as we explained before, judges are to be judged based on the accuracy of their decisions (e.g. how many decisions get overturned), so it’s more about laws than about money. Concepts like ‘production’ are rather meaningless to them. We still wonder, why are some judges mingling with think tanks of patent zealots, trolls, Battistelli, Team UPC etc.? The latest one to speak to Managing IP is Henry Carr and “[t]his is the second in our series of judge interviews. You can read the first, with Mr Justice Arnold, here.”

Justice Arnold is generally OK and his court has, over the past few months, thrown out quite a few European Patents. His latest decision has gotten much attention and attracted much discussion in the comments section; these comments are as close as one can get to ‘proper’ coverage of EPO issues at IP Kat.

“Anonymous” wrote:

I see examination reports from the EPO on a weekly basis that both find a claim contains added subject-matter and then assess the novelty and inventive step of that self-same claim. It is good procedural examination practice that reduces the number of examination reports required. This is because if you successfully overcome the Art 123(2) objection you can have already dealt with the inventive step objection in the same response, rather than requiring the Examiner to then issue an additional report on inventive step.

The English court approach follows the same logic. They assess added subject-matter and inventive step separately so that if the Patentee successfully appeals on one issue the other issue is also dealt with at the appeal stage, rather than requiring a remittance back to the first instance.

In contrast, there is a real procedural issue with EPO Oppositions when a borderline decisions on added subject-matter are regularly issued without any subsequent assessment of novelty and inventive step. This means the Patentee has to appeal and, if successful, the opposition is simply remitted back to the Opposition Division for a further (appealable) decision on novelty and inventive step. As appeals can take 5 years or more, this piecemeal approach can mean the opposition process takes significantly longer than the remaining lifespan of a patent.

There is nothing legally incorrect in what you are saying about the assessment of novelty and inventive step on a claim with added subject-matter. But there is also nothing procedurally wrong in carrying out an assessment of novelty and inventive step of a claim on a conditional basis (i.e. on the basis that the decision on added subject-matter might subsequently be found to be wrong).

Another person said:

I may be being overly simplistic. Is it not just a matter of which rules apply?

In the event that an application is amended during prosecution it is Art 123(2), or I suppose Art 76(1) that apply.

This is of itself a ground of revocation or opposition as the case may be. If there is added matter, the patent or application is invalid. Loss of priority need not be decided (until the matter is rectified should that be necessary). If on the other hand there is no added matter, even if there were to be some link to priority entitlement (which I personally fail to see), then there is nothing to decide.

Loss of priority is a different question, which applies when a priority claiming application introduces new matter as compared to the priority founding case, or when there is a defect in the priority claim. This is not, of itself, a ground of revocation, but depends on the prior art which will become relevant if priority is lost. It is against that prior art which validity or otherwise must be judged.

I don’t see that much is to be gained by muddying the waters.

MaxDrei said: “They know that justice (the over-riding objective of civil litigation in the UK) demands swift revocation of bad patents and equally swift enforcement of patents not found bad.”

Full comment:

I’m both amused and shocked by the postings of “Explanation Please”.

Courts (at least in England) perceive their role as a last resort in a dispute between A, a patent owner arguing infringement and B, a party seeking revocation of the patent and/or a declaration of non-infringement. They know that justice (the over-riding objective of civil litigation in the UK) demands swift revocation of bad patents and equally swift enforcement of patents not found bad. A and B demand nothing less. In the courts, in a real world dispute, with parties going out of business, there is no time for endless ping-pong betwewen the courts of the first instance and those of the second instance. Hence the decisions of the first instance take the issues in sequence, like at the EPO but, unlike at the EPO, they work their way through the issues, using wording equivalent to “But if I am wrong on Art 123(2) then I will go on to consider patentability over the art.” That this could somehow be ultra vires is news to me.

The question arises, in a world where industry, stuck in a costly and time-wasting patent dispute, asks for “early certainty” why don’t all first instance jurisdictions do it this way?

And as for the EPO, the best way I can think of, for Examiners to lose the sympathy of the outside world, is to reveal their ignorance of how business is done, and how patent disputes are resolved, in the real world outside the Ivory Towers in Munich and Den Haag.

Come now, Explanation Please. Explain yourself further please.

This is part of an ongoing discussion about blame being put on examiners rather than the people who bully them or bully the judges (whose decisions are followed by examiners). To quote:

“A claim has for effective date either the priority or the filing date, or in other words the date of the youngest feature in the claim, see Art 54 and Art 89. This is the only point on which I can agree with you.”

We do not agree at all on your “in other words …” insertion. The effective date for a claim is either the filing date of the application or the priority date, whether it complies with Article 123(2) EPC or not. This is clear from Articles 54 and 89.

“due to plain logic a claim infringing Art 123(2) cannot be at the same time new and inventive.”

The EPC does not agree with you. According to Article 56 EPC, a claimed invention involves an inventive step if it is not obvious over the state of the art according to Article 54(2) EPC (read in combination with Article 89 EPC).

The requirement of Article 123(2) EPC is a separate one.

Your position seems to be that a claim that infringes Article 123(2) EPC cannot involve an inventive step. That would mean that a claim that infringes Article 123(2) EPC automatically infringes Article 56 EPC. That is a strange position to take.

“Please give one decision of the Boards of Appeal in which the Board has decided to discuss novelty or inventive step after having considered that the claim infringes Art 123(2).”

One example is T 488/02: claim 1 infringes Article 123(2), is new and is not inventive. Another example is T 1537/07.

I note that you were not able to cite any passage from the Guidelines or Case Law book that supports your position.

Please do not suggest that I am complaining about “all examiners”. I complain about the very few examiners that share your very peculiar view, unsupported by Guidelines or case law. I don’t know how many there are, but they tend to pop up in blog comments.

“The applicant/proprietor will always have an arguable case, but should then divisions refrain from raising objections at all, with the risk of being considered arrogant?”

That is not what I wrote.

My point is that the following is perfectly reasonable in a judgment by an English court as well as in a decision by an opposition division:
(1) decide that claim 1 contains added subject-matter
(2) (since the appeal court/board might disagree with the added-matter objection,) decide that claim 1 is not inventive. Or even that claim 1 is inventive, in which case the request clearly still has to be rejected because it infringes 123(2).

For an English court or for an opposition division of the EPO, there is no shame in acknowledging that reasonable minds may differ. That should not stop the court or the division from taking the decision it considers correct. It just means that it is neither shameful nor illogical to also take a decision on inventive step where that makes sense (= where the extra effort is outweighed by the advantage of possibly avoiding a remittal).

I suppose you have no problem with parallel clarity and added-matter objections. All I am saying is that a parallel objection on inventive step is no different. They are all separate objections. One objection is enough to reject the request, but it is fine to raise two or more objections against the same request or even decide that a request infringes one requirement but complies with certain other requirements. There is no obligation to do more than the minimum, but a division is free to use common sense.

“If a patent is dead as dead can be, for any another reason, it looks at least pointless to me to decide whether the subject-matter claimed was new and inventive.”

Why would it be pointless? If there is an appeal and the board of appeal disagrees with that “another reason”, a remittal has been avoided.

On it goes:

“By the way, there is another case in which it is not possible to compare an invention with the prior art, that is in case the invention is not enabled.”

Also here I do not agree. The claim “1. A composition that help against headaches” is too broad to be sufficiently disclosed and lacks novelty over aspirin.

It is also possible for a claim to a specific embodiment to be insufficiently disclosed (because the application and common general knowledge do not allow the skilled person to carry it out) and to lack novelty or inventive step over a document that does contain all the missing information.

So be careful with general statements about how substantive requirements of the EPC relate to each other.

The sad thing is, such assessments aren’t posted anywhere anymore; not in corporate media, not even in patent-centric blogs. One needs to look at comments to actually catch a glimpse of what remotely looks like honest opinions from insiders. Remember that comments sections are nowadays being ‘sanitised’ (censored) by Team UPC-friendly people, e.g. in Kluwer Patent Blog and other blogs. They even say so upfront, thereby discouraging some efforts to bother commenting (at risk of being muzzled and wasting one’s time).

EPO-Bribed Media Speaks to Team UPC, Produces UPC Puff Pieces With Plenty of Falsehoods and (Forbidden) Software Patents Advocacy

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Office (EPO) is so profoundly corrupt that it is corrupting the European media. It still gets its money’s worth.

Financial Times on UPC

Summary: The EPO’s grip on the media is worrying; it’s like the largest publishers have become mere parrots of high EPO officials, not inquisitive journalists who check underlying facts and strive to inform the public

THIS morning we have a fantastic new example of how the EPO corrupts and manipulates the media, getting it to print the EPO’s lies while never mentioning crimes of the EPO. We last complained about the media coverage about 12 hours ago. European public money is being wasted corrupting the media which would otherwise inform the European public just how badly it is being abused. European examiners too are the victims (and Battistelli probably belongs in prison, but António Campinos keeps shielding him).

When we use words like “crimes” (as above) we allude to things far worse than scandals such as software patents being granted in Europe and lesser issues that can be described as corruption more so than crimes. Where’s the media? Why does it ignore all this? Why are EPO examiners feeling so lonely or ‘orphaned’ in the media?

“European public money is being wasted corrupting the media which would otherwise inform the European public just how badly it is being abused.”At 5AM this morning (Google says 5:02AM) the large publisher from London started its latest bombardment with lies. Clive Cookson of the Financial Times (FT), bribed by the EPO (we’ve covered this before), spreads the lie of UPC being “cost-cutting” (massive lie!!) as early as the headline. Whose costs are being cut?

Benjamin Henrion (FFII) told me about an hour ago that “”cost-cutting” is propaganda. EU-wide damages means costs will increase.”

Looking into the structure of it all and who’s quoted, it’s like this piece was done in collaboration with Team UPC, with preparation taking at least several days and the EPO involved in some form as well (see the final paragraphs). “The preparatory committee is trying to give the impression of continuing momentum,” says Bristows. But this is exactly what Bristows has been doing, to the point of making stuff up and lying for years.

Here are some portions of text:

“The preparatory committee is trying to give the impression of continuing momentum,” says Alan Johnson, IP partner at Bristows, the London-based international law firm.

[...]

“This is where political will remains vital,” says Mr Johnson. “With the possible exception of Italy . . . all UPC participating countries appear still to wish the UK to remain a part of the system. So, too, does European and British industry.”

[...]

The EPO expects inventors who want Europe-wide protection to opt for the new system because costs will be much lower. It estimates that renewal fees for a 20-year unitary patent will amount to €36,000, compared with €170,000 for 26 individual national patents.

Then, at the very same time (5:02AM apparently, based on Google) Jane Croft was pushing the "hey hi" nonsense (software patents by another name/gown) in another FT article, this one entitled “China plays catch-up with Europe and US in patents filing race”. It’s like parts of it could be ghostwritten by the EPO’s PR department:

Chinese companies are rushing to obtain patents protecting advances in everything from artificial intelligence to blockchain. They accounted for 473 of the 608 AI patents filed with WIPO in 2017, compared with 65 from the US and two from the UK.

Chinese internet company Baidu, seen as China’s answer to Google, filed 183 AI patents at WIPO in 2017 — more than any other company according to a recent report by UHY, the accounting and consulting firm.

The striking jump in Chinese patent filings might make it appear that Europe and the US are starting to lag behind in innovation. But lawyers say the underlying picture is far more complex.

China remains behind its main trading competitors in numbers of foreign-country Patent Office filings — seen as an important indicator showing the technologies that companies want to protect across borders.

[...]

Nor is there any indication that Europe is being left behind. The European Patent Office says nearly half of the more than 174,000 European patent applications last year came from its 38 member states.

[...]

Mr Finnie agrees Europe is not lagging behind but makes the point that small businesses are often slow to take up patent protection. “It can be a low priority for some companies,” he says. “There is the potential for small businesses to make more of their IP and there is a drive by the EPO to explain to small businesses in each economy how to back up their innovation.”

They’re drowning out negative articles about the EPO while pushing the agenda of EPO management.

Benjamin Henrion has just quoted ‘Pirate’ politicians as saying: “Small and medium IT companies throughout Europe prove that patents on software are no prerequisite to economic success.”

“Patent industry will say EPO give them software patents,” he noted. The EPO has just bragged about its patent data, but what if the data is not good/valid? Today’s EPO has granted too many fake patents and plans yet more degradations (intended/geared towards faking 'production').

The only language the EPO now understands is ‘production’ and by that term, production, it means abolishing quality and just granting lots of junk.

“The media (big corporate publishers) doesn’t really care about truth or justice. It’s just busy pushing corporate interests; that’s its business model.”We’ve also just noticed the EPO's latest Argentinian PR stunt mentioned in Mondaq by José Santacroce (Moeller IP Advisors). Campinos does exactly what Battistelli did 2 years ago and Santacroce writes: “The European Patent Office and the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) of Argentina are stepping up their cooperation. EPO President Antonio Campino and INPI President Damaso Pardo signed on 2 July 2019 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Reinforced Partnership programme between both offices. This comprehensive cooperation agreement is the first of its kind to be set up by the EPO with an IP office in Latin America. The meeting of the Heads of Office took place on the margins of the IP Executive Week in Alicante.”

The MoU actually goes back to May 2017. But Campinos is doing a photo ops tour and regenerating old puff pieces. The failures of today’s media is so profound that I’m sometimes at a loss for words. EPO examiners hopefully are as cynical as they ought to be. The media (big corporate publishers) doesn’t really care about truth or justice. It’s just busy pushing corporate interests; that’s its business model.

Why Social Control Media is a Threat to (Software) Freedom

Posted in Site News at 1:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Either you are in control of the platform or the platform is in control of you

Social control
Reference: Social control

Summary: Techrights explains platform autonomy and the perils of the ‘new’ form of media, wherein public officials rely on a government-connected (often foreign government) and third party with shareholders to disseminate and not discriminate against (or censor) their public communications

“S

ocial Control Media” is a term I’ve long used to describe so-called ‘social’ ‘media’ (especially centralised, proprietary, censored one; e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube). Some people including Wikileaks have adopted this term, which I coined several years ago (along with others like “openwashing”). Another noteworthy term is “fake news”; and no, it wasn’t Trump’s invention, he just popularised a term that had been used against him by Democrats and actually goes years back to what China called posts in “Social Control Media” which needed to be removed (the Communist Party deemed those posts “fake news”). This predates Trump’s presidential campaign.

We’ve rarely commented on these issues, but they’re worth entertaining because groups like the OSI and FSF never bring them up (not anymore). I asked Richard Stallman about these things several years back and published it in video form. The Linux Foundation took “Social Control Media” to new lows when it started selling “sponsored” tweets. We covered that earlier this year and presented strong evidence.

“Freedom is not free and sometimes it takes some additional effort. But at least one remains in control in one’s platform, not having to fear bogus DMCA takedown requests and deplatforming, which evokes self-censorship.”“Social Control Media” does not involve fact-checking and a lot of the time it’s gamed by AstroTurfing operatives — a subject explored more and more since Trump’s inauguration in 2017.

Jim Zemlin barely tweets anymore; his wife took all of her tweets private. They seem to have grasped the harms of “Social Control Media”. Thugs and oppressors such as Campinos and Battistelli never even bothered with “Social Control Media,” perhaps viewing it with distrust. They rarely allow people to talk back to them — a subject we covered here before.

Techrights has some old accounts in “Social Control Media,” but they have not been used in nearly a decade. I have an account in Twitter (personal account), but I only post there what I also post in Pleroma/Mastodon and Diaspora, which are decentralised and based on Free software. Whether they’re centralised or not, that does not affect the ability to silence and/or censor instances/pods across one another (at the linkage level). The actions taken to suppress/block Gab are a recent reminder of that. MINDS, one might add, is barely decentralised and its commitment to Free software is mostly a token. This is why, all in all, there’s no real substitute to running one’s site/blog and using that for all official communications. Starting soon, having made many changes at the back end, we intend to increase the frequency and volume of posts in Techrights.

The bottom line is, what was put forth with the promise of facilitating greater speech has over time become selector or filter of speech, not only broadcasts but also private dialogues. Those who value freedom will appreciate the importance of domain diversity and decentralisation of the Web. We don’t use “cloud” anything and we even object to things like CDNs (e.g. Cloudflare), which are a lazy person’s ‘fix’. Freedom is not free and sometimes it takes some additional effort. But at least one remains in control in one’s platform, not having to fear bogus DMCA takedown requests and deplatforming, the latter of which evokes self-censorship.

Links 9/7/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.2, Kaidan 0.4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • How User Revolts Shaped the Linux Desktop

        The user revolts against KDE 4, Gnome 3, and Unity have left desktop Linux developers with a fear of innovation, exactly when that’s what’s needed.

        Between 2008 and 2011, KDE, Ubuntu, and Gnome all released radically new interfaces. The mediocre reception received by all three has left developers so cautious that innovation on Linux desktop environments has been curtailed, except for minor changes. Yet innovation on the desktop is long overdue.

        Before this brief era, Linux DEs were focused on equaling the functionality of their proprietary equivalents. However, by 2005 this goal had been realized and developers had begun discussing what should come next. Particularly among KDE developers, the feeling was that Linux DEs had the chance to become pacesetters in interface design.

      • Test 200+ Linux And Unix Operating Systems Online For Free

        A while ago we have covered about OSBoxes, a website that offers a collection of free, ready-to-use Linux and Unix VMs. You can download and try them on your Linux system using VirtualBox or VMWare workstation. Today, I stumbled upon a similar service named “DistroTest”. Unlike OSBoxes, DistroTest allows you to try the live Linux and Unix operating systems for free. You can test 200+ Linux and Unix operating systems online without having to install them locally. Just visit the website, choose the Linux/Unix distro of your choice and fire it up!

        Two good Samaritans named Klemann Andy and Forster Tobias have hosted this web service on Debian using Qemu. There is no restrictions to use the public distros listed here. You can use all functions of the system as the way you do in your local system. You can install and uninstall software.

      • Linux Vs Windows: Which Is The Best OS For Data Scientists? [Ed: Technically weak article with glaring factual errors]

        Linux has many software choices when it comes to doing a specific task compared to Windows. One could search for a text editor on Freshmeat and get a number of results. Software on Linux comes with more features and greater usability than software on Windows.

    • Server

      • Happy 20th Birthday SAP Linux Lab!

        1999 marks the year SAP solutions were deployed on Linux for the first time. To ensure joint support between SAP, server vendors and Linux distributors like SUSE, SAP established the Linux Lab. Over the years many, many projects were successfully concluded, starting with porting SAP R/3 to IBM zSeries or IBM pSeries, to supporting SAP’s Next-Generation in-memory database HANA, to delivering Data Hub and HANA via Containers to customers.

      • IBM

        • Deliver open hybrid cloud’s value with simple, customer-centric strategies

          More and more enterprises are evaluating hybrid cloud architectures to support their operations, but they have questions about integrating public clouds with their existing private clouds. Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager of storage and hyperconverged infrastructure at Red Hat, spoke with SiliconANGLE’s show theCUBE at the recent Google Cloud Next ‘19 event to dig into what hybrid cloud means for customers, Red Hat, and the broader ecosystem. The interview covered open hybrid cloud adoption, today’s customer priorities, and the power of the ecosystem to solve customer problems today and into the future.

        • 10 tips for reviewing code you don’t like

          As a frequent contributor to open source projects (both within and beyond Red Hat), I find one of the most common time-wasters is dealing with code reviews of my submitted code that are negative or obstructive and yet essentially subjective or argumentative in nature. I see this most often when submitting to projects where the maintainer doesn’t like the change, for whatever reason. In the best case, this kind of code review strategy can lead to time wasted in pointless debates; at worst, it actively discourages contribution and diversity in a project and creates an environment that is hostile and elitist.

          A code review should be objective and concise and should deal in certainties whenever possible. It’s not a political or emotional argument; it’s a technical one, and the goal should always be to move forward and elevate the project and its participants. A change submission should always be evaluated on the merits of the submission, not on one’s opinion of the submitter.

        • The case for making the transition from sysadmin to DevOps engineer

          The year is 2019, and DevOps is the hot topic. The day of the system administrator (sysadmin) has gone the way of mainframes if you will—but really, has it? The landscape has shifted as it so often does in technology. There is now this thing called DevOps, which can’t exist without Ops.

          I considered myself on the Ops side of the aisle prior to the evolution of DevOps as we know today. As a system administrator or engineer, it feels like you are stuck in a time warp, with a small tinge of fear because what you knew and must learn varies greatly, and is now much more time-sensitive than you might have anticipated.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • [Sparky] Linux kernel 5.2

        The first release of Linux kernel of the new 5.2 line just landed in Sparky “unstable” repository.

      • Linux 5.2 Released : Update Linux Kernel In Ubuntu

        There are multiple ways to update Linux Kernel in Ubuntu and Ubuntu based operating systems.

      • Linux 5.2 And Debian 10 “buster” Released For Linux Enthusiasts

        Kernel 5.2 also continues to add more speculative execution bug fixes for Intel CPUs. There are new GPU drivers as well for ARM Mali devices.

        Apart from these changes, kernel 5.2 comes with the usual bug fixes for different drivers, better hardware support for new and older hardware, and better display performance.

      • Kernel 5.2 Is Out, Tutanota Launches a Fully Encrypted Calendar, ISPA UK Announces Internet Hero and Villain Nominations, Tesla to Start Providing a Free Self-Driving Chip, and System76′s Thelio Desktop Now Available with Third-Gen AMD Rizen Processors

        Kernel 5.2 has been released. Linus Torvalds writes, “…there really doesn’t seem to be any reason for another rc, since it’s been very quiet. Yes, I had a few pull requests since rc7, but they were all small, and I had many more that are for the upcoming merge window. Part of it may be due to the July 4th week, of course, but whatever – I’ll take the quiet week as a good sign.”

      • Linux Kernel 5.2 Released, This is What’s New

        Arriving pretty much bang on schedule, the Linux kernel 5.2 release was announced to the world with little of Linus Torvalds’ usual fanfare.

        Instead, the Linux founder opted for a quiet introduction when announcing the update on the Linux Kernel Mailing List.

        He writes: “…despite a fairly late core revert, I don’t see any real reason for another week of rc, and so we have a v5.2 with the normal release timing”.

        Each and every update to the Linux kernel, be it big or small, brings a stack of welcome improvements, drivers, hardware support, graphics compatibility and more. Linux Kernel 5.2, dubbed the “Bobtail Squid” (blame Linus’ scuba diving hobby the moniker), is no exception.

      • Double delight for Linux lovers as kernel 5.2 and Debian 10 debut

        The weekend has given Linux users two big new releases to contemplate!

        Those who like new cuts of the kernel have version 5.2 to consider. Linus Torvalds signed it off on Monday, Australian time.

        The biggest feature in 5.2 is probably support for Intel’s forthcoming Comet Lake architecture, which will power the tenth generation of its Core desktop and mobile CPUs due. The new silicon is due to ship late in 2019 and appear in products early the next year. Linux 5.2 also includes many tweaks that improve its performance on laptops.

        The kernel also now supports a handful of extra ARM-powered single-board computers.

        The other big new release is Debian 10 “Buster”, which officially debuted on Sunday 7 July, Australian time. But this cut of Debian had actually already been available since 25 June as part of the new version of Raspbian OS, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s preferred OS for its single board computers.

        The Foundation described Buster as offering “no huge differences” compared to its predecessor. “In a sad reflection of the way the world is nowadays, most of the differences are security changes designed to make Buster harder to hack,” wrote Simon Long, a senior principal software engineer at the Pi Foundation.

      • Microsoft admitted to private Linux developer security list [Ed: Little by little, Microsoft seizes greater control over its competition]

        Most open-source development work, like the name says, is done in the open. The exception is the first stages of security work. Unpatched security holes, however, are discussed and fixed behind closed doors. Now, Microsoft has been admitted to the closed linux-distro list.

        Microsoft wanted in because, while Windows sure isn’t Linux, the company is, in fact, a Linux distributor. Sasha Levin, a Microsoft Linux kernel developer, pointed out Microsoft has several distro-like builds — which are not derivative of an existing distribution — that are based on open-source components.

      • Confirmed: Microsoft Will Join The Private Linux Kernel Mailing List [Ed: Swapnil became a Microsoft propagandist. A few paragraphs down he repeats marketing points of the company.]

        However, it wasn’t all praise. Levin had to prove to the community whether it qualifies to join the list or not. After a long and quite intensive discussion, it all but certain that Microsoft will be accepted into the mailing list, possibly, by the end of this week.

      • 64-Bit ARM Changes Already Sent In For The Linux 5.3 Kernel

        Due to summer holidays, the 64-bit ARM (AArch64/ARM64) architecture changes were already sent in days ago for the Linux 5.3 kernel merge window.

      • There’s A Kernel Subsystem Being Dropped In Linux 5.3 As Easier To Start Over Than Fix

        The GPIO updates for the newly-opened Linux 5.3 kernel merge window is dropping the FMC subsystem as they deem it easier to re-start from scratch writing that code than to try to repair it, or “start over using the proper kernel subsystems than try to polish the rust shiny.” Funny enough, this code is being used by the CERN’s well known Large Hadron Collider.

        After talking about it for months on the kernel mailing list, the Linux 5.3 kernel is set to delete the FMC bus subsystem that was developed by CERN and others for the past roughly seven years. FMC is for supporting the FPGA Mezzanine Card specification for modules connecting FPGAs and other devices with I/O. The FMC subsystem code works and is even used by CERN’s LHC particle accelerator, but continued work on the FMC kernel code has revealed architectural faults.

      • Jailhouse 0.11 released
        Long time, no release: Version 0.11 is finally available. Several last-minute
        issues delayed this, though that's not a real excuse for having so many months
        since the last one. Time-wise, this should have been two releases.
        Changeset-wise, we are in the same dimension as usual: 140 commits, 185 files
        changed, 4057 insertions, 1437 deletions.
        
        
      • Jailhouse 0.11 Hypervisor Brings New CPU Support, Spectre V2 Mitigation For ARM

        The past several years Siemens and others have been working on Jailhouse as a Linux-based partitioning hypervisor for bare metal appliances. Their previous release was all the way back during last year’s Oktoberfest and now with construction for this year’s fest kicking off at the wiesn, the developers happen to be releasing their next version of Jailhouse.

        New CPU/target support with Jailhouse0 .11 include the Marvell MACCHIATObin, Xilinx Ultra96, Microsys miriac SBC-LS1046A, and Texas Instruments AM654 IDK.

      • GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu
        GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at
        
        http://www.fsfla.org/selibre/linux-libre/download/releases/5.2-gnu/.
        
        It didn't require any deblobbing changes since -rc7-gnu.  Binaries are
        on the way.
        
        
        The most relevant change in this release is Sound Open Firmware support:
        I had not realized the SOF files were Free Software in recent earlier
        releases, so the requests for these files were disabled in them.  Only
        while cleaning up the new kernel module specifically devoted to
        SOF-supporting devices did I realize my mistake.  I look forward to the
        day when assuming a firmware name is a blob is no longer a safe bet.
        
        Several new drivers required cleaning up due to blob loading: mt7615,
        rtw88, rtw8822b, rtw8822c, btmtksdio, iqs5xx, ishtp, and ucsi\_ccg.
        Cleaning up needed adjustments for microcode docs, ixp4xx, imx-sdma,
        amdgpu, nouveau, and goya.  The r8822be driver was removed upstream, in
        favor of rtw8822[bc], so its cleaning code is also gone.
        
        
        I'm still undecided as to whether to backport the SOF changes to 5.1 and
        to the already EOLed 5.0 series.  If there is interest, please let us
        know, or, if you feel adventurous, just use the 5.2 deblob-check, and,
        in deblob-5.[01], change:
        
          reject_firmware sound/soc/intel/common/sst-acpi.c
        
        to
        
          maybe_reject_firmware sound/soc/intel/common/sst-acpi.c
        
        and run it with --force, so that it ignores a potential complaint about
        sound/soc/intel/common/soc-acpi-intel-hda-match.c not changing.  I have
        not tested this myself with the earlier releases, but I wouldn't be at
        all supriprised if this is all it takes.
        
        With failure or success, please let us know how it goes.
        
        
        For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of irc.gnu.org
        (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister http://twister.net.co/,
        Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at social.libreplanet.org, Diaspora* at
        pod.libreplanetbr.org or pump.io at identi.ca.  Check my web page (link
        in the signature) for direct links.
        
        
        Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.
        
        
        What is GNU Linux-libre?
        ------------------------
        
          GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below),
          suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free
          GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions.
        
        http://www.gnu.org/distros/
        
          It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as
          source code or distributed in separate files.  It also disables
          run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as
          part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid
          (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software.
        
        http://www.fsfla.org/anuncio/2010-11-Linux-2.6.36-libre-debait
        
          Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution.
          It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008
          it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America.  In 2012, it
          became part of the GNU Project.
        
          The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to
          cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that
          need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones.
          Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so.
        
        http://libreplanet.org/wiki/LinuxLibre:Devices_that_require_non-free_firmware
        
          Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out
          of the shower.  Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater
          contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more
          promotion.  See our web page for their images.
        
        http://linux-libre.fsfla.org/
        
        What is Linux?
        --------------
        
          Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]
        
        (snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)
        
        
        -- 
        Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter  he/him   https://FSFLA.org/blogs/lxo
        Be the change, be Free!                 FSF Latin America board member
        GNU Toolchain Engineer                        Free Software Evangelist
        Hay que enGNUrecerse, pero sin perder la terGNUra jamás - Che GNUevara
        
        
      • GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu Blesses Sound Open Firmware, Cleans Other Drivers

        Following last night’s Linux 5.2 kernel release, the GNU folks maintaining their GNU Linux-libre off-shoot that de-blobs the kernel of being able to load binary-only firmware/microcode files or the ability to load binary-only kernel modules is out with their re-based kernel.

        GNU Linux-libre 5.2-gnu was another busy release for them with having to keep up in cleaning the new/extended drivers that get added and working around or disabling any binary blobs they may optionally support or require. In the case of Linux 5.2, they’ve had to do some cleaning around Realtek’s new RTW88 WiFi driver that is replacing the RTLWIFI driver. They’ve also had to make changes to a number of other Realtek and Mediatek drivers among others along with adjustments for AMDGPU and Nouveau GPU binary firmware along with the Goya accelerator.

      • Ryabitsev: Patches carved into developer sigchains

        Konstantin Ryabitsev has posted a lengthy blog entry describing his vision for moving away from email for kernel development.

      • Patches carved into developer sigchains

        The “decent” tool is fiction, but the SSB framework I’m describing is not. SSB stands for “Secure Scuttlebutt” (it’s nautical slang for “gossip,” so please stop guffawing). SSB is a distributed gossip protocol that is built on the concept of replicating individual “sigchains,” which are very similar in concept to git. Each record references the hash of the previous record, plus SSB uses an ECC key to cryptographically sign every new entry, such that the entire chain is fully verifiable and attestable. Unless someone has access to the ECC secret key created at the beginning of the SSB chain, they would not be able to add new entries — and unless the chain has never been replicated anywhere, all entries are immutable (or the replication simply breaks if any of the existing records in it are modified).

        The sigchains are only part of the story — SSB also offers a decentralized replication protocol that works hard to make sure that there is no single point of trust and no single point of failure. It is able to replicate using “pub” servers that merely work as convenient mediators, but are unnecessary for the overall health of the SSB fabric. SSB replication can be done peer-to-peer via local network, over the Internet, via Tor, sneakernet, or anything at all that is able to send and receive bits.

        The end-tool on the client uses these individual feeds to assemble a narrative, using message-id cross-references to construct threads of conversations. SSB is envisioned as a fully-private and fully-decentralized social network where each participating individual shares an immutable activity record choosing how much to share publicly, how much to share with specific individuals, and how much to keep fully private.

        I suggest we co-opt SSB for free software development to make it truly decentralized, self-archiving, and fully attestable in all developer interactions.

      • Why Linux Is Developed In Public: Linus Torvalds

        When we asked if Torvalds would prefer a private mailing list where the community can discuss things candidly without worrying about bloggers sensationalizing things, he said no.

      • Linux 5.3 Adds Support For Intel Multi-Die CPU Topology

        Intel’s patches for supporting the multi-die topology of Cascadelake-AP processors is now going into the Linux 5.3 kernel.

        These patches have been sitting on the mailing list the past number of months for dealing with the multi-chip package of Cascadelake “Advanced Performance” processors where their dies are connected via UPI links.

      • x86 CPU Changes For Linux 5.3 Bring Intel UMWAIT, Zhaoxin, Engineering Train Wreck

        Thomas Gleixner sent in his various x86 code updates early this morning for the just kicked off Linux 5.3 kernel cycle.

        Some of the notable x86 CPU changes for Linux 5.3 include:

        - Official x86 Zhaoxin CPU support for these Chinese desktop CPU processors based on VIA Centaur IP. There were some kernel patches last year for Zhaoxin while with this next kernel release the support appears in order.

      • The Ryzen 3000 Boot Problem With Newer Linux Distros Might Be Due To RdRand Issue

        As outlined yesterday, AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors are very fast but having issues booting newer Linux distributions. The exact issue causing that boot issue on 2019 Linux distribution releases doesn’t appear to be firmly resolved yet but some are believing it is an RdRand instruction issue on these newer processors manifested by systemd.

        For those that missed my launch day article, check it out for more details and then all the benchmarks for when running very performant on the likes of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS where the issue does not occur. What people are jumping on today are the old reports of AMD RdRand problems for using this hardware RNG instruction causing issues on older pre-Zen2 processors. It is possible though the RdRand support regressed even further and thus in worse shape with Zen 2, but I haven’t seen that officially acknowledged by AMD nor if it firmly addresses the issue.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Automotive Grade Linux reveals new members

          Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) says Wuhan Bluestar Technology has joined as a Silver member, while Candera, IDW Technologies, Reutlingen University and T-Systems have joined in the Bronze category.

          AGL is a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open source platform for connected car technologies,

          “We are excited to expand our growing, global community with five new members,” said AGL executive director at the Linux Foundation, Dan Cauchy.

          “We look forward to working with them as we continue to expand the AGL platform including instrument cluster, telematics and vehicle-to-cloud connectivity.”

          AGL is an open source project at the Linux Foundation bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of a fully open, shared software platform for all technology in the vehicle, from infotainment to autonomous driving.

      • Graphics Stack

        • LLVMpipe Software OpenGL Implementation Picks Up More GL4 Extensions

          It’s 2019 and OpenGL 4.6 remains the latest version of this once predominant graphics API yet Mesa’s Gallium3D LLVMpipe software rasterizer is still only exposing OpenGL 3.3.

          LLVMpipe while the default fallback on many Linux desktops in the case of no hardware OpenGL support doesn’t receive too much attention these days. At least this weekend Red Hat’s David Airlie did contribute a handful of improvements to LLVMpipe for Mesa 19.2.

        • Vulkan 1.1.114 Released With Image-Less Framebuffer Support

          Vulkan 1.1.114 is another weekly update to the Vulkan graphics API specification… With this update does come a new extension of some interest.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking Valve’s RADV+ACO Yields Fastest Open-Source Radeon Vulkan Driver

        Last week Valve formally announced their new Radeon shader compiler for AMD’s open-source Linux graphics drivers. At this stage it’s an out-of-tree solution providing generally faster performance to the Mesa RADV Vulkan driver over the current AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler but they also have ambitions of wiring it up to the RadeonSI OpenGL driver once mature too, assuming AMD’s developers are willing to make use of this new compiler code. For those wondering about the Vulkan performance, here are our independent benchmarks of the current Mesa 19.2 RADV performance with the LLVM shader compiler compared to Valve’s new “ACO” compiler back-end and then also using AMD’s official AMDVLK reference driver that is also leveraging LLVM.

    • Applications

      • 9 Best Free Linux Astronomy Apps (Updated 2019)

        Astronomy is a branch of science that deals with the study of celestial objects (including stars, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, meteor showers, nebulae, star clusters and galaxies) and other phenomena.

        Like many others, I was introduced to the world of astronomy by the venerable Sir Patrick Moore. For anyone who does not know, Sir Patrick was an amateur astronomer who presented The Sky at Night, the longest-running television programme, for over 54 years, and made an outstanding contribution to astronomy.

        Astronomy is particularly well suited to the layperson. It’s a wonderful hobby which has almost no age limits, it is open to individuals of all financial means, and there is always the potential for an amateur to discover something that has eluded professional astronomers, or to help monitor stars and track asteroids. Even with the unaided eye, there is much to study in the night sky including constellations, shooting stars, planets, and of course the moon, the Earth’s only natural satellite.

        There is a wide variety of free astronomy software available for Linux that offer real benefits to astronomy enthusiasts. This category of software lets you map the night sky, plan detailed observations, control telescopes, present star charts, offer observing logs, and much more.

        This article focuses on selecting the best free astronomy software available for Linux. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to study the sky. Here’s our recommendations.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Check the Kernel Version in Linux
      • How to fix the KDE Plasma panel crash problem
      • Fedora 30 : Using the python-wikitcms.
      • Running your own mail server

        Not too long ago there was some hubub around https://myaccount.google.com/purchases. In brief, if you use google mail, it tracks your purchases through receipts received in email. Now, some people see this as no big deal or even a feature. Others see it as a privacy invasion, and are reminded that all their data can be mined by the email provider and possibly third parties. Of those, some advoate getting a paid email provider. Agreed, that provides less incentive to monetize your data… but only a bit. Eventually, any company, however good its initial intentions, goes through leadership changes, is bought out, or goes bankrupt. At that point, your data is one of the assets being bargained with.

        The other alternative, of course, is to run your own mail server. I won’t lie – this is not for everyone. But it’s not as bad as some make out. I recently reinstalled mine, so I wrote down the steps I took, and will leave them here. I’ve been holding onto this for at least 6 months hoping to eventually run through them again to work out some of the finer details. That hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll just post what I have now as a start.

        Running your own mail server is not free. In particular, you’ll need to pay for a domain name ($10-15/year), and some place to run the mail server. If you have an always-on machine at home, and stable IP address, then you can run it there. You can pay for a tiny cloud instance on amazon/rackspace/digitalocean/etc. There are cheaper options (including “one year free” amazon micro instances), but a small digitalocean instance will be $5/month. Personally, I keep a large server online for running many VMs and containers, and run the mail server there.

      • How to Use User Mode Linux

        User Mode Linux is a port of the Linux kernel to itself. This allows you to run a full blown Linux kernel as a normal userspace process. This is used by kernel developers for testing drivers, but is also useful as a generic isolation layer similar to virtual machines. It provides slightly more isolation than Docker, but slightly less isolation than a full-blown virtual machine like KVM or VirtualBox.

        In general, this may sound like a weird and hard to integrate tool, but it does have its uses. It is an entire Linux kernel running as a normal user. This allows you to run potentially untrusted code without affecting the host machine. It also allows you to test experimental system configuration changes without having to reboot or take its services down.

      • How to use multiplexing to speed up the SSH
      • How to Encrypt Messages With PGP When Using Darknet Markets
      • How To Find Virtualbox Version From Commandline In Linux
      • How to install Nvidia drivers in Fedora 30 guide
      • How to search for YouTube videos on Ubuntu Desktop
      • How to Install Node.js in RHEL 8
      • How to install R on Ubuntu (16.04/18.04)
      • Command line quick tips: Permissions
      • Analyze ACPI Tables in a Text File with FWTS
    • Games

      • SkateBIRD entering the final day of funding, getting a little Them’s Fightin’ Herds crossover

        SkateBIRD, a game about birds on skateboards (that’s actually pretty sweet) is closing in on the last day of funding. They’ve also announced some more fun stuff coming to it and the demo will vanish after the Kickstarter, so be quick.

      • GOG are having a big sale for French developers, plus recent releases of Eternam and Leo the Lion

        Three bits of GOG news in one for you DRM-free shopping fans today, as not only are they doing a big sale they also recently revived two more classic games.

        First up, the classic 1992 comedy adventure Eternam was released on GOG earlier this month. Little late on picking it up since the Linux build wasn’t actually available right away but now it is. Next up is Leo the Lion (original Polish name: Lew Leon), another retro classic action-platformer from 1996. GOG just released it today!

      • Some early thoughts on A.N.N.E, the platformer and space shooter hybrid

        Now that A.N.N.E is finally available to play in Early Access, I have played it and I have some thoughts to share on what to expect from this stylish platformer and space shooter hybrid. Article may contain spoilers.

      • Key reseller G2A is back in the spotlight again, as a petition is up to ask them to stop selling indie games

        G2A, the key reseller that isn’t particularly liked by most game developers is having some time in the spotlight and as usual, it’s not for good reasons.

        They have a bit of a history with developers, something I’ve written about before and even the first comment on that article was about keys being revoked that were purchased from G2A. They’re a very shady company and I shall continue to urge people to support developers and shop elsewhere. You would think after Gearbox pulled the plug on their deal with G2A, that lessons would have been learned but it appears not.

      • Business sim city-builder “Summer Islands” recently added Linux support

        Inspired by the classic game Holiday Island, Summer Islands recently entered Early Access and the developer has now added Linux support to it on Steam.

        Summer Islands is a game about building the perfect resort, so it’s a business sim city-builder. You will need to manage your finances, as you attempt to attract more tourists.

      • BittBoy Review: A Tiny Gaming Handheld To Slide In Your Backpocket

        Back in my childhood days, I didn’t own a Gameboy or even a Real Nintendo Console; however, I did have a console that worked on cassettes, labeled as “10,000 games in 1.” Obviously, I couldn’t find the hidden 999 games on the console.

        However, the handheld gaming console that I am going to talk about supports nearly all ’90s games and consoles [emulators]. BittBoy comes pre-loaded with emulators such as NES, SNES, Atari, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance and more.

      • Single-player roguelike deck-builder “Roguebook” from the developer of Faeria is fully funded

        That’s a tick in the box for another game confirmed to be coming to Linux, as Abrakam’s single-player roguelike deck-builder “Roguebook” has been fully funded. The campaign on Kickstarter ended today with €66,810 from 2,706 backers and the Linux Alpha they provided does work well, so hopefully there will be no issues through development.

      • The Lion King, Aladdin and The Jungle Book no longer available on Steam, some about to leave GOG too

        Three classics are no longer available for sale on Steam, with nothing announced to say why. However, GOG at least have given a bit of warning that they’re about to go.

      • More Xen content is coming to Black Mesa on August 1st

        Crowbar Collective announced on the weekend, that the Black Mesa Xen beta is due to expand on August 1st.

        After releasing the Technical Beta for Windows on June 25th, they said on August 1st they’re going to add in the complete Xen and Gonarch’s Lair chapters to public beta. A few weeks after that, they’re planning to add in the concluding chapters: Interloper, Nihilanth, and Endgame.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • OpenExpo 2019 After Dark

          OpenExpo is an event aimed a businesses and the public sector. Top topics usually revolve around cloud computing, big and open data, IoT, and as of late, blockchain technologies. 2019 was its sixth edition, held on the 20th of June in “La Nave” on the outskirts of Madrid.

          Organisers tell us that 2800 visitors attended this year’s event. There were about 120 speakers and 70 exhibitors with booths. From what we could garner, most visitors were representatives of public institutions, consulting companies, and software development companies, especially from the field of cloud computing.

        • Updates on Krita on android

          It has been a long time since I posted a blog (1 month+). In fact it might even seem the Krita ran on Android and now GSoC is done. Well, not quite. There’s still a lot to be done.

        • Kaidan 0.4.0 released!

          After more than one and a half years there finally is a new release. Kaidan 0.4.0 is the biggest update until now and apart from some bug-fixes and many minor and major features increasing the usability, Kaidan now has multiplatform-support for all common operating systems like Linux, Windows, Android and macOS.

        • Interview with Enrique Gan

          Sycra Yasin posted a video showcasing Krita back in 2013 and I ended up trying it out some time in the summer of 2015. I think I got my first and current drawing tablet a month after and started churning out digital art with Krita since.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Settings: new Search panel

          I haven’t been working on GNOME Settings for quite some time now. Currently, I am focusing mostly on GNOME Boxes, Usage, and Fedora Silverblue. To be fair I still have some love for Settings and I enjoy context-switching once in a while to hack on code bases which I don’t face daily. Unfortunately I can’t do this more often.

          A few years ago I pushed a WIP version of the Settings “Search” panel that never got merged because we were in a moment of transition in the project and at the time we thought that introducing Drag & Drop capabilities to GtkListBox would make sense still in gtk3. Fast forward, we are far from even starting to port Settings to gtk4, but people got to use the panels! For this reason, I rebased and iterated a bit over the Search panel in order to make it identical to the mockups. The final result is previewed below and will be available in our next stable release, 3.34.

        • Bolt 0.8 update

          Christian recently released bolt 0.8, which includes IOMMU support. The Ubuntu security team seemed eager to see that new feature available so I took some time this week to do the update.

        • Gtk-rs tutorial

          Leonora Tindall has written a very nice tutorial on Speedy Desktop Apps With GTK and Rust. It covers prototyping a dice roller app with Glade, writing the code with Rust and the gtk-rs bindings, and integrating the app into the desktop with a .desktop file.

        • Battle of the Bilerps: Image Scaling on the CPU

          I’ve been on a quest for better bilerps lately. “Bilerp” is, of course, a contraction of “bilinear interpolation“, and it’s how you scale pictures when you’re in a hurry. The GNOME Image Viewer (née Eye of GNOME) and ImageMagick have both offered somewhat disappointing experiences in that regard; the former often pauses noticeably between the initial nearest-neighbor and eventual non-awful scaled images, but way more importantly, the latter is too slow to scale animation frames in Chafa.

          So, how fast can CPU image scaling be? I went looking, and managed to produce some benchmarks — and! — code. Keep reading.

    • Distributions

      • Linux Lite Users Are the First to Try Linux Kernel 5.2, Here’s How to Install It

        Announced by Linus Torvalds on June 7th, 2019, Linux kernel 5.2 is now the most advanced kernel series featuring a new open-source firmware for DSP audio devices, a new mount API for mounting file systems, new open-source GPU drivers for ARM Mali devices, and a new CPU bug infrastructure to protect devices against the Intel MDS hardware flaws.

        Linux kernel 5.2 also improves resource monitoring for Android devices, adds some notable performance improvements to the BFQ I/O scheduler, allows case-insensitive names in the EXT4 file system, and introduces a new, Arch-independent “mitigations=” boot option to make it easier to enable and disable mitigations for CPU vulnerabilities.

      • Kali Linux arrives on Raspberry Pi 4

        The Kali Linux team says that in addition to the impressive hardware of the new model, the Pi 4 now also benefits from Kali Linux support complete with on-board Wi-Fi monitor mode. At the moment, Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4 is only available in a 32-bit variant, but a 64-bit version is promised “in the near future”. Offensive Security says that because of the popularity of Kali on previous versions of Raspberry Pi, it moved quickly to support the latest version.

        Getting up and running is no different to installing Kali Linux on previous versions of Raspberry Pi, and you’ll find full instructions here.

        If you’re happy to stick with the 32-bit version of Kali Linux for Raspberry Pi 4, you can grab it from the Kali ARM download page. If not, you’ll just have to wait a bit longer for 64-bit support.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

        • Mageia 7 Pushes Linux Desktop Boundaries

          Linux dispels the notion that one universal computing platform must define the features and functionality for all users. That is why so many distributions exist.

          The Mageia distro is a prime example of how freedom and choice are the hallmarks of open source operating systems. Mageia 7 pushes the limits of personal choice and usability definitions.

          What gives Mageia Linux its edge is its independence. Mageia 7 is not based on a predefined Linux family of distributions.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Linux arrives

          Debian, the most important, truly independent Linux distribution, has just released Debian 10 “Buster”.

          Apart from Debian, there are many important community Linux distros such as Fedora, which is the foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and CentOS and openSUSE, which is SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)’s bedrock. Debian, however, stands alone. Its support comes purely from its community of users, not a company. At the same time, it is the core operating system for other important Linux distributions such as Canonical’s Ubuntu. This means any Debian release is a big deal.

          That’s not to say Debian is a cutting-edge Linux. It’s not. If you want the bleeding edge, you want Fedora. But if stability is what you value, Debian is for you. For example, while the Linux 5.2 kernel has just been released, Debian 10 comes with October 2018′s Linux kernel 4.19.

          Debian also supports no fewer than 10 different hardware architectures. These are: 64-bit Intel; 32-bit Intel; Motorola/IBM PowerPC; 64-bit IBM S/390 mainframe; both 32-bit ARM, and 64-bit ARM; and the almost obsolete 32-bit MIPS and 64-bit MIPS architectures.

          Buster also comes with better Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) support for the x86 32 and 64-bit architectures and ARM 64-bit. With this, Debian should work out of the box on most Secure Boot-enabled machines.

        • Debian 10 “Buster” Released

          It is a stable version and is based on Linux Kernel 4.19. It will use Wayland display server instead of Xorg.

          The UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) support which was first introduced in Debian 7 has been improved in the latest version of Debian. Users should no longer need to disable Secure Boot support in the firmware configuration as Secure Boot support is included in this release for amd64, i386 and arm64 architectures which will work out of the box on most Secure Boot-enabled machines. It will feature more than 59,000 other ready-to-use software packages, built from nearly 29,000 source packages. Debian can be installed in 76 languages.

        • Debian 10 ‘Buster’ Linux released

          Debian, one of the longest-running Linux distributions around, has officially launched its tenth stable version: Debian 10 ‘Buster,’ continuing the naming theme of characters from the Toy Story series of films.

          First released in 1993 by founder Ian Murdoch, and named for him and his wife Deb, Debian has grown to become one of the most popular Linux distributions around – in no small part thanks to acting as the upstream distribution for Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux and its multifarious derivatives, as well as the Raspbian Linux distribution created for the Raspberry Pi family of single-board computers.

          Debian 10 ‘Buster,’ the latest stable release, comes just over two years after Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ – both continuing a naming convention going back to Debian 1.1 ‘Buzz,’ taking character names from the Toy Story film series. It also comes with a major shift from the norm: When installed with the popular GNOME desktop, Debian 10 defaults to using the next-generation Wayland display server in place of the venerable Xorg – thanks to what the team describes as ‘a simpler and more modern design, which has advantages for security.’ Other desktop environments are also available, including KDE Plasma, Cinnamon, MATE, LXDE, LXQt, and Xfce.

        • Too close?

          At times of stress I’m prone to topical nightmares, but they are usually fairly mundane – last night, for example, I dreamed that I’d mixed up bullseye and bookworm in one of the announcements of future code names.

        • Andy Simpkins: Buster Release Party – Cambridge, UK

          With the release of Debian GNU/Linux 10.0.0 “Buster” completing in the small hours of yesterday morning (0200hrs UTC or thereabouts) most of the ‘release parties’ had already been and gone…. Not so for the Cambridge contingent who had scheduled a get together for the Sunday [0], knowing that various attendees would have been working on the release until the end.

          The Sunday afternoon saw a gathering in the Haymakers pub to celebrate a successful release. We would publicly like to thank the Raspberry Pi foundation [1], and Mythic Beasts [2] who between them picked up the tab for our bar bill – Cheers and thank you!

        • Debian 10 is here with updated software and enhancements

          The Debian Project announces the release of Debian 10, codenamed buster, with five years of support.

          Let’s learn more about Debian before discussing its new features and changes. Debian is a free-to-use operating system that comes with a variety of other software packages that are free as well. Many popular operating systems, including Kali Linux and Ubuntu, are based on Debian.

          The highly anticipated Debian 10 release took two years in the making. Accordingly, it has a lot of new stuff to offer, which we will discuss later. Also, the makers have termed this release as ‘stable,’ so you can start downloading it on its supported architectures or using it in production environments.

        • Linux Weekly Roundup #33

          We also know that Debian 11 will have the codename Bullseye.

        • The Perfect Server – Debian 10 (Buster) with Apache, BIND, Dovecot, PureFTPD and ISPConfig 3.1

          This tutorial shows how to prepare a Debian 10 server (with Apache2, BIND, Dovecot) for the installation of ISPConfig 3.1. The web hosting control panel ISPConfig 3 allows you to configure the following services through a web browser: Apache web server, Postfix mail server, Dovecot IMAP/POP3 server, MySQL, BIND nameserver, PureFTPd, SpamAssassin, ClamAV, and many more.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical’s GitHub Account ‘Hacked’ But Ubuntu Repos Are Safe [Ed: GitHub accounts are Microsoft's, not Canonical's, but whatever... Canonical's GitHub account compromised, so corporate media funded by Microsoft (CBS paid for ads etc.) says Ubuntu hacked; never mind if GitHub is actually a Microsoft platform... Blaming Canonical or Ubuntu, not GitHub or Microsoft. Remember, dear corporate media 'journalist' wannabes: When there's some system compromise due to weak/default passwords it's because of "Linux". If due to Microsoft/NSA back doors, blame "HACKERS!"]

          While the extent of the breach is still being investigated, the security team said that there is no indication that the source code or PII was affected.

          Moreover, the Launchpad infrastructure where the Ubuntu distribution is built and maintained has been disconnected from GitHub. There is also no sign that it has been affected.

          The mirror of the hacked Canonical GitHub account shows that the attacker created 11 new GitHub repositories sequentially named CAN_GOT_HAXXD_1. Surprisingly, those repositories were empty.

          So it seems that the hacking incident was limited to defacement only as there is no proof of existing data being changed or deleted.

          Meanwhile, a cyber-security firm called Bad Packets, tweeted that it detected internet-wide scans for Git configuration files just two days before the incident.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 586

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 586 for the week of June 30 – July 6, 2019.

        • Design and Web team summary – 8 July 2019

          This was a fairly busy two weeks for the Web & design team at Canonical. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work.

        • GCC 9 Is Now The Default System Compiler Of Ubuntu 19.10

          As a change we had been expecting this cycle, Ubuntu 19.10 has upgraded to GCC 9 as the default system compiler over GCC 8.

          Ubuntu 19.10 (and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) will be using GCC 9 stable as the default system compiler. The transition happened on Sunday with GCC 9 becoming the default compiler for Eoan. It’s customary for Ubuntu to pull in new GCC releases with their xx.10 releases and to then carry forward that same version for their next xx.04 release, due to the GCC release timing generally coming too late for meeting their April release, and as such GCC 9 will be used for the Ubuntu 20.04 Long Term Support release.

        • GCC 9 now the default in eoan
          Hi,
          
          as previously announced in
          
          https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-announce/2019-June/001262.html
          
          GCC 9 is now the default in eoan. Using the Sunday to not disturb development
          during working hours with needed promotions and demotions.
          
          Matthias
          
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source in 2019, Part 2/3: The relative victory of open source

        All the benefits detailed in part 1 really explain why open source became so popular in the last 15 years. Open source is everywhere today. It has become the default way to build and publish software. You can find open source on every server, you can find open source on every phone… Even Microsoft, the company which basically invented proprietary software, is heavily adopting open source today, with great success. By all accounts, open source won.

        But… has it, really ?

        The server, and by extension the computing, networking, and storage infrastructure, are unquestionably dominated by open source. But the growing share of code running operations for this infrastructure software is almost always kept private. The glue code used to provide users access to this infrastructure (what is commonly described as “cloud computing”) is more often than not a trade secret. And if you look to the other side, the desktop (or the user-side applications in general) are still overwhelmingly driven by proprietary software.

        Even contemplating what are generally considered open source success stories, winning can leave a bitter taste in the mouth. For example, looking at two key tech successes of the last 10 years, Amazon Web Services and Android, they both are heavily relying on open source software. They are arguably a part of this success of open source picture I just painted. But if you go back to part 1 and look at all the user benefits I listed, the users of AWS and Android don’t really enjoy them all. As an AWS user, you don’t have transparency: you can’t really look under the hood and understand how AWS runs things, or why the service behaves the way it does. As an Android user, you can’t really engage with Android upstream, contribute to the creation of the software and make sure it serves your needs better tomorrow.

        So open source won and is ubiquitous… however in most cases, users are denied some of the key benefits of open source. And looking at what is called “open source” today, one can find lots of twisted production models. By “twisted”, I mean models where some open source benefits go missing, like the ability to efficiently engage in the community.

      • Secure email provider Tutanota launches free encrypted calendar.

        Our encrypted calendar – Tutanota Calendar – has just been added to your secure emails. This new feature brings amazing privacy improvements. With our encryption expertise, we have not only made sure that all data you enter is encrypted, we are also encrypting notifications for upcoming events. In contrast to other calendar services, we do not know when you have an appointment, where you have an appointment, or with whom you have an appointment. Basically, we remain completely blind to your daily habits.

      • Women in code series: Joan Touzet

        Joan Touzet is an Apache Software Foundation (ASF) Member, Apache CouchDB PMC member and committer, with over 30 years of experience in commercial and open source software development. Based in Toronto, Canada, she currently works with Neighbourhoodie Software, running the CouchDB Development/Production Support team. In her spare time, Joan composes and records music, rides motorcycles, designs and builds electronic musical instruments, and pets cats. Gnomes over ponies.

      • Kiwi TCMS: Contributor profile: Aneta Petkova

        Aneta is a software engineer navigating the complex field of QA since her first “grownup” job. She’s been working in the area of test automation for web applications using different programming languages and tools. Her mission is to inspire people to think about quality from the very inception of ideas and to blur the line between developers and QA specialists.

      • Events

        • 1st batch of talks approved!

          Since May we have been receiving speaker applications from all over the world, with lots of super interesting topics. We are very excited about what’s being prepared to make Ubucon Europe in Sintra one of the best!

        • [Ubucon's older] Call For Volunteers

          We are 4 months away from the Ubucon Europe 2019 meeting. It is very important to announce this event that will be held in Sintra on 10, 11, 12 and 13 October. From now on, you can contribute to the dissemination of the meeting and as such, share this information with the people you know in order to get further.

        • Arrival at CommCon 2019

          Last night I arrived at CommCon 2019 in Latimer, Buckinghamshire, a stone’s throw from where I used to live in St Albans, UK. For many of you it is just a mouseclick away thanks to online streaming.

          It is a residential conference with many of the leaders in the free and open source real-time communications and telephony ecosystem, together with many users and other people interested in promoting free, private and secure communications.

          On Wednesday I’ll be giving a talk about packaging and how it relates to RTC projects, given my experience in this domain as a Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian Developer.

        • CFP and Registration Open For Linux Piter Conference

          The conference gathers many key Linux people from all around the world. In the past we had Lennart Pottering (Red Hat), Christoph Hellwig, Stephen Hemminger (Microsoft), Monty Widenius (MariaDB Corporation AB), Bero Rosenkränzer (OpenMandriva), Rafael J. Wysocki (Intel) and many others joining the event.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: VFIO/IOMMU/PCI Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the VFIO/IOMMU/PCI Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference!

          The PCI interconnect specification and the devices implementing it are incorporating more and more features aimed at high performance systems. This requires the kernel to coordinate the PCI devices, the IOMMUs they are connected to and the VFIO layer used to manage them (for user space access and device pass-through) so that users (and virtual machines) can use them effectively. The kernel interfaces to control PCI devices have to be designed in-sync for all three subsystems, which implies that there are lots of intersections in the design of kernel control paths for VFIO/IOMMU/PCI requiring kernel code design discussions involving the three subsystems at once.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Update on LPC 2019 registration waiting list

          Here is an update regarding the registration situation for LPC2019.

          The considerable interest for participation this year meant that the conference sold out earlier than ever before.

          Instead of a small release of late-registration spots, the LPC planning committee has decided to run a waiting list, which will be used as the exclusive method for additional registrations. The planning committee will reach out to individuals on the waiting list and inviting them to register at the regular rate of $550, as spots become available.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 68 Is Now Available to Download for Linux, Mac, and Windows

            The Mozilla Firefox 68 open-source and cross-platform web browser is now available to download for GNU/Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms ahead of tomorrow’s official release.
            Scheduled to be released on July 9th, 2019, the Firefox 68 web browser can be downloaded and installed right now from Mozilla’s official download servers. So if you can’t wait until tomorrow’s official release, you can go ahead and download Firefox 68 for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems.

            Mozilla Firefox 68 isn’t an impress release as it only brings some minor improvements and not so exciting features. For example, it introduces a new reporting feature in about:addons to make it easier for users to report security and performance issues for add-ons and themes.

            It also adds support for accessing the Firefox Account settings directly from the hamburger menu, implements a full page color contrast audit capable of identifying all the elements on a web page that fail the color contrast checks, and brings WebRender support for Windows 10 users with AMD graphics cards.

      • SaaS/Back End

        • Data as a Service in a Hybrid, Multicloud World

          As it was emerging, cloud computing was seen as a fairly straight-up proposition for enterprises of finding a cloud, putting applications and data into it and running and storing it all on someone else’s infrastructure.

          But over the past few years, it’s become a complex mix of hybrid clouds and multiclouds, with some workloads and data staying on premises while others were pushed into the public cloud, and organizations using several public clouds at the same time. In the new world where data is at the center of everything and yet housed and used in multiple sites, having access to data wherever it resides and being able to move it quickly and easily between different clouds and between the cloud and core datacenter is crucial to an enterprise’s business success.

          Containers like Docker and the Kubernetes container orchestration platform have come onto the scene in part to help ease the portability of applications across the expanded distributed landscape. Over the past couple of quarters, startup Hammerspace has begun selling its data-as-a-service platform, a product designed to make the data as agile and easy to orchestrate across hybrid and multicloud environments as containers.

        • Ambedded’s ARM-based, Ceph Storage Appliance Goes Green

          With deep knowledge in open source software, distributed storage, embedded Linux and ARM-based architecture, Ambedded burst on the scene in 2013 as an innovator of software-defined storage.

          Today, with an ARM micro-server that leverages Ceph Unified Virtual Storage Manager (UVM), Ambedded has teamed up with SUSE Embedded to introduce SUSE Enterprise Storage 6 (also based on Ceph) to its line of storage appliances. The result is unified software-defined storage that provides object storage, block storage and file system in a single cluster.
          The Ambedded appliance delivers a high performing, low power storage option that can scale with ease, while helping mid-and large-scale enterprises avoid a single-point of failure by pairing a single-server node with a single-storage device.

        • OpenStack Networking

          If you’re familiar with OpenStack at all, you’ll know that it’s a collection of different components, or projects and not a single packaged piece of software. More than 30 different pieces of software make up OpenStack in its entirety ranging from networking to compute, to storage, to bare metal, to key management, orchestration, clustering and more. While OpenStack is widely recognized as being the leading open source cloud management platform, it’s not without its complexities. This can make it difficult to build if you don’t have the right skilled resources in-house, or if you need it up and running quickly so that you can use it for your business-critical systems and data.

      • Databases

        • Introducing Octo

          Octo is a YottaDB plugin for using SQL to query data that is persisted in YottaDB’s key-value tuples (global variables).

          Conforming to YottaDB’s standard for plugins, Octo is installed in the $ydb_dist/plugin sub-directory with no impact on YottaDB or existing applications. In addition to YottaDB itself, Octo requires the YottaDB POSIX plugin. The popularity of SQL has produced a vast ecosystem of tools for reporting, visualization, analysis, and more. Octo opens the door to using these tools with the databases of transactional applications that use YottaDB.

          [...]

          At present (early July, 2019), following an Alpha test with an intrepid user, Beta test releases of Octo are available, and YottaDB is working with a core set of Beta testers. Based on their feedback and on additional automated testing we will follow up with a production release of Octo, which we anticipate in late 2019.
          Octo currently supports read-only access from SQL, and is therefore useful in conjunction with imperatively programmed applications which update database state. As SQL supports all “CRUD” (Create, Read, Update, Delete) database operations, following the release of a production grade version of Octo for reporting (i.e., read-only access), we intend to work towards versions that support read-write access as well.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Jun Nogata

          So, I live in Himeji, Japan where UNESCO World Heritage site Himeji Castle is. I work a part-time lecturer at a local university.

          I am a big fan of free and open source software (FOSS). I started to use Linux from Slackware 95, and I’m using Debian Sid at the moment. I am active in the Debian community in Japan and I’m also an OpenStreetMap mapper.

          I like listening to indie rock music, playing guitar and DJing sometimes. Also, I’m learning Korean – I want to talk to my friend DaeHyun Sung from the Korean LibreOffice community!

      • BSD

        • OpenBSD Community goes Platinum for 2019!

          The OpenBSD Foundation is happy to announce that individual contributions from the OpenBSD community have again exceeded CDN$50,000, making the community the 1st Platinum level donor for 2019!

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • A Complete History of Computers: From the 1800s to Now

        Can you imagine your life without a computer?

        Think about all of the things you wouldn’t be able to do. Send an email, online shop, find an answer to a question instantly.

        And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve come a long way from the very first computer, and even the first smartphone. But how much do you really know about their history and evolution? From floppy discs to cloud security, the Acorn to the Macintosh, let’s explore how far we’ve come.

    • Hardware

      • Professor faces 219-year prison sentence for sending missile chip tech to China

        Yi-Chi Shih, an electrical engineer and adjunct professor at UCLA, was found guilty last month by a Los Angeles jury, officials said in a statement this week. He was convicted on 18 counts, including making an illegal export and multiple fraud charges.

        Shih and another defendant, Kiet Ahn Mai, were found to have worked together to defraud an American semiconductor chip manufacturer. According to prosecutors, Mai posed as a potential customer to obtain chip designs from the unnamed company, then illegally sent the products to China.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • 500 Sydney Outdoor Workers Hold Walkout Over RoundUp Health Concerns

        The outdoor staff in Blacktown, a western suburb of Sydney, refused to continue spraying glyphosate and urged management to follow the lead of the several other city councils that have phased out Roundup and started to use other herbicides.

        The strike started last Wednesday after management ordered six staff members to either use Roundup or find other work, according to the United Services Union, which represents the striking workers, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

        “Outdoor staff responded by halting work and returning to their depots, leaving more than 10,000 bins uncollected,” a union statement said, as reported by Channel 7 News in Australia.

        The workers decided to continue their protest on Thursday.

      • Blacktown council to trial new weedkiller after workers strike over Roundup

        A Sydney council will trial a new weed killer after more than 500 workers walked off the job due to concerns over the use of Roundup, which has been linked to cancer.

        Blacktown City Council sought an urgent hearing in the Industrial Relations Commissions on Thursday morning after thousands of garbage bins weren’t collected.

      • Sydney council workers fight orders to use Roundup, go on strike

        A Sydney council will trial a new weed killer in a move being hailed as a “win” for more than 500 workers who walked off the job because of concerns over the use of the glyphosate-based Roundup, which has been linked to cancer.

        Outdoor staff at Blacktown City Council last month refused to continue using glyphosate sprays, urging management to follow the lead of other local councils which have banned the product and begun trialling safer alternatives.

    • Security

      • Various RememBear security issues

        AutoFill functionality of password managers is another typical area where security issues are found. RememBear requires a user action to activate AutoFill which is an important preventive measure. Also, AutoFill user interface will be displayed by the native RememBear application, so websites won’t have any way of messing with it. I found multiple other aspects of this functionality to be exploitable however.

        Most importantly, RememBear would not verify that it filled in credentials on the right website (a recent regression according to the developers). Given that considerable time can pass between the user clicking the bear icon to display AutoFill user interface and the user actually selecting a password to be filled in, one cannot really expect that the browser tab is still displaying the same website. RememBear will happily continue filling in the password however, not recognizing that it doesn’t belong to the current website.

        Worse yet, RememBear will try to fill out passwords in all frames of a tab. So if https://malicious.com embeds a frame from https://mybank.com and the user triggers AutoFill on the latter, https://malicious.com will potentially receive the password as well (e.g. via a hidden form). Or even less obvious: if you go to https://shop.com and that site has third-party frames e.g. for advertising, these frames will be able to intercept any of your filled in passwords.

      • Microsoft Confirms This Windows 10 Bug Could Crash VPN Services

        Microsoft has disclosed that a new bug in its Windows 10 OS could mess up with the VPN services running on your machine and show the error code “0xc000005.”

        As per the support page, it’s present in the Remote Access Connection Manager (RASMAN) service that’s required by the VPN services to function properly.

      • Microsoft Issues Warning For 50M Windows 10 Users

        The big one is VPNs. RASMAN handles how Windows 10 connects to the internet and it is a core background task for VPN services to function normally. Given the astonishing growth in VPN usage for everything from online privacy and important work tasks to unlocking Netflix and YouTube libraries, this has the potential to impact heavily on how you use your computer.

        [...]

        Why conservative? Because Microsoft states Windows 10 has been installed on 800M computers worldwide, but that figure is four months old. Meanwhile, the ever-reliable AdDuplex reports Windows 10 1903 accounted for 6.3% of all Windows 10 computers in June (50.4M), but that percentage was achieved in just over a month and their report is 10 days old. Microsoft has listed a complex workaround, but no timeframe has been announced for an actual fix.

      • Google Researcher Finds Nasty iMessage Bug That ‘Bricks’ iPhone

        This specific set of characters, when received on iMessage, can brick the phone — locking you out of everything on it. Once you receive this message, there is no way out of it, other than doing a factory reset. Also, any data that wasn’t backed up would be lost.

        The researcher, Natalie Silvanovich, is part of Google’s Project Zero team that hunts down zero-day vulnerabilities. She discovered the bug in April and explained how it affects iOS devices:

        “On a Mac, this causes soagent to crash and respawn, but on an iPhone, this code is in Springboard. Receiving this message will case Springboard to crash and respawn repeatedly, causing the UI not to be displayed and the phone to stop responding to input.”

      • New Cryptojacking Malware is Targeting Linux Servers [Ed: Attributing to "Linux" everything that can be maliciously installed on it]

        In the last few weeks, multiple cybersecurity research groups reported about the malware and, according to the researchers at Trend Micro, the malware not only targets a vulnerable server but also try to propagate in the entire network.

      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (dosbox, python-django, squid3, and unzip), Fedora (filezilla, libfilezilla, and samba), openSUSE (gvfs), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (firefox and redhat-virtualization-host), SUSE (bash and libpng16), and Ubuntu (libvirt).

      • Can You Hear Me Now? Staying Connected During a Cybersecurity Incident

        We all know that communication is important. Anyone who’s ever been married, had a friend, or held a job knows that’s true. While good communication is pretty much universally beneficial, there are times when it’s more so than others. One such time? During a cybersecurity incident.

        Incident responders know that communication is paramount. Even a few minutes might mean the difference between closing an issue (thereby minimizing damage) vs. allowing a risky situation to persist longer than it needs to. In fact, communication — both within the team and externally with different groups — is one of the most important tools at the disposal of the response team.

        This is obvious within the response team itself. After all, there is a diversity of knowledge, perspective and background on the team, so the more eyes on the data and information you have, the more likely someone will find and highlight pivotal information. It’s also true with external groups.

        For example, outside teams can help gather important data to assist in resolution: either technical information about the issue or information about business impacts. Likewise, a clear communication path with decision makers can help “clear the road” when additional budget, access to

      • IoT Developer Orvibo Suffers Major Database Leak

        Recently, we saw a different kind of database leak. This leak did contain usernames and passwords as normal, but instead of them being for online services, they were for IoT devices. This makes it one of the first breaches where people’s physical devices were under threat due to a database leak.

      • Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, was hacked; Ubuntu source code unaffected [Ed: No. Microsoft GitHub got cracked. Not Canonical.]

        The unknown attacker(s) used a Canonical owned GitHub account whose credentials were compromised to unauthorizedly access Canonical’s Github account. According to a mirror of the hacked Canonical GitHub account, the hacker created 11 new GitHub repositories in the official Canonical account. The repositories were empty and sequentially named CAN_GOT_HAXXD_1, `with no existing data being changed or deleted.

      • Canonical’s GitHub account was briefly compromised [Ed: No, that was Microsoft GitHub]
      • Ubuntu-maker Canonical’s GitHub account hacked
      • Canonical’s GitHub Account Gets Hacked, and Its Page Gets Defaced [Ed: That's a Microsoft site, not a Canonical site]
      • Backdoor found in Ruby library for checking for strong passwords [Ed: FOSS catches security mischief fast, but this drama queen from ZDNet won’t frame it like that and mostly ignores proprietary software back doors (this one was only downloaded a few hundreds of times, then caught). For instance, Microsoft steals the decryption keys from millions of people who set up disk encryption, but that doesn’t seem to bother ZDNet (part of CBS, an advertiser to Microsoft)]
      • D-Link Settles With FTC, Agrees To Fix Its Shoddy Router Security

        While the shoddy Internet of Things sector gets ample heat for being a security and privacy dumpster fire, the traditional network gear sector has frequently been just as bad. A few years ago, for example, hardware vendor Asus was dinged by the FTC for offering paper-mache grade security on the company’s residential network routers. The devices were frequently being shipped with easily guessable default usernames and passwords, and contained numerous, often obvious, security vulnerabilities.

        In 2017, the FTC also filed suit against D-Link, alleging many of the same things. According to the FTC, the company’s routers and video cameras, which the company claimed were “easy to secure” and delivered “advanced network security,” were about as secure as a kitten-guarded pillow fort. Just like the Asus complaint, the FTC stated that D-Link hardware was routinely shipped with easily-guessable default usernames and passwords, making it fairly trivial to compromise the devices and incorporate them into DDoS botnets (or worse).

      • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: The Case Of YouTube And ‘Hacking’ Videos

        Last week there was a bit of an uproar about YouTube supposedly implementing a “new” policy that banned “hacking” videos on its platform.

        [...]

        Eventually, YouTube responded to all of this and noted a few things: First, and most importantly, the removal of Kozie’s videos was a mistake and the videos have been restored. Second, that this wasn’t a “new” policy, but rather just the company adding some “examples” to existing policy.

        This raises a few different points. While some will say that since this was just another moderation mistake and therefore it’s a non-story, it actually is still an important point in highlighting the impossibility of content moderation at scale. You can certainly understand why someone might decide that videos that explain how to “bypass secure computer systems or steal user credentials and personal data” would be bad and potentially dangerous — and you can understand the thinking that says “ban it.” And, on top of that, you can see how a less sophisticated reviewer might not be able to carefully distinguish the difference between “bypassing secure computer systems” and some sort of fun hacking project like “launching fireworks over WiFi.”

        But it also demonstrates that there are different needs for different users — and having a single, centralized organization making all the decisions about what’s “good” and what’s “bad,” is inherently a problem. Going back to Hutchins’ and Halderman’s points above, even if the Kinzie video was taken down by mistake, and even if the policy is really supposed to be focused on nefarious hacking techniques, there is still value for security researchers and security professionals to be able to keep on top of what more nefarious hackers are up to.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The reporter on the NYT’s Bernie Sanders beat consistently fails to identify her sources as corporate lobbyists

        Ember’s negative reporting on Sanders might be the result of her deep connections to the finance world: she came to the Times after a career as an analyst at the coal-boosting hedge fund Blackrock and she’s married to Mike Bechek, son of the former CEO of Bain Capital, where he also worked.

        FAIR’s Katie Halper has dug deep into Ember’s network of go-to sources for quotes on why no one should vote for Sanders, showing that they are drawn from the ranks of the finance and corporate lobbyist world. [...]

    • Environment

      • Summer reading: Environment books that changed the world

        From Rachel Carsen’s seminal literary depiction of a poisoned world in the early 1960s, Silent Spring, to David Wallace-Wells’ profound climate crisis treatise, The Uninhabitable Planet (2019), here are six essential cautionary eco tales and nonfiction environmental books to be enjoyed in the shade of what is shaping up to be another scorching European summer.

      • Let Rivers Flood: Communities Adopt New Strategies for Resilience

        In 2016 California’s rainy season kicked off right on schedule, at the beginning of October. The rains came — and then just kept on coming. By February there was so much water filling Northern California’s rivers that Oroville Dam, the tallest in the country, threatened to break after its spillway and emergency spillways both failed.

        Water managers averted a crisis at the dam, but not before 180,000 people living downstream were evacuated.

        It was a wake-up call. In just a few months California had gone from five-year-drought to deluge, ending up with the second wettest year on record for the state. It served as a warning of things to come. With rising temperatures from climate change and an increase in the number of extreme storms predicted, scientists have warned of “climate whiplash” — more pronounced swings between wet and dry that could make floods even more dangerous and costly.

        It’s an issue that’s top of mind not just in California, but across the country. The United States just endured the wettest 12 months on record, and flooding this spring resulted in federal disaster declarations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Dozens of other states and counties declared emergencies, and at the time of this writing, floods had already claimed 67 lives nationwide. They’ve also caused billions of dollars in property damage and swamped farmers have experienced billions more in economic losses.

        In all of these cases, we see a common thread: It’s not just the direct blows from nature that are the problem. We’ve made things worse by paving over floodplains, channelizing rivers, and draining wetlands.

        But change could be on the horizon. Today more and more communities are beginning to realize that 20th century development practices are harmful. It’s ushering in a new era of thinking about floodplain management — one that involves letting rivers behave like rivers.

      • ‘Staggering’ UN Warning That Climate Crisis Disasters Now Occur Weekly Provokes Calls for Action

        A “staggering” new warning from a top United Nations official that climate crisis-related disasters are now occurring at the rate of one per week, with developing nations disproportionately at risk, provoked calls for immediate global action to combat the human-caused climate emergency.

      • Energy

        • Here Are Some of the Climate-Linked Disasters and Rollbacks Trump’s ‘Environmental Leadership’ Speech Didn’t Cover

          President Donald Trump spoke to “America’s environmental leadership” in an address today, where he lived up to predictions and described the country’s air and water as clean (“crystal clean” even).

          The speech started late, and with a reference to the heavy rains that have flooded Washington, D.C., which today’s Washington Post noted were unusual and consistent with the changes predicted by climate scientists.

          The rest of the world may be forgiven some skepticism about America’s environmental leadership — particularly under Trump. Within six months of taking office, Donald Trump had announced that he planned to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, the world’s framework for coordinating the international response to climate change, which scientists and world leaders have described as the most consequential environmental issue of our time.

        • Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Residents Take the Fight for Environmental Justice on the Road

          Last month, four residents from Louisiana neighborhoods impacted by air pollution traveled far from their Mississippi River parishes to Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, Japan, seeking help in their struggle for clean air.

          St. James Parish’s Sharon Lavigne and Barbara Washington, both fighting to prevent additional petrochemical plant construction near their homes, attended the Congressional Convening on Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C., on June 26.*

        • Climate Activists Respond to OPEC Official Calling Them ‘Greatest Threat’ to Big Oil

          Climate campaigners were undaunted when the secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) called their movement “perhaps the greatest threat” to the oil industry.

          “Thank you!” 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in response Thursday. “Our biggest compliment yet!”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Trump’s USDA Suspends Honeybee Survey

          The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) annual honeybee count has fallen victim to budget cuts, CNN reported Saturday.

          The suspension of the Honey Bee Colonies report is at least the third bee-related data set to be halted or reduced under the Trump administration, and comes three weeks after Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the emergency use of bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres. It also comes as the population of bees, which help pollinate a third of edible crops, has been declining since 2006.

        • Honeybees hit by Trump budget cuts

          The US Department of Agriculture has suspended data collection for its annual Honey Bee Colonies report, citing cost cuts — a move that robs researchers and the honeybee industry of a critical tool for understanding honeybee population declines, and comes as the USDA is curtailing other research programs.

          It’s also another step toward undoing President Barack Obama’s government-wide focus on protecting pollinators, including bees and butterflies, whose populations have plummeted in recent years.
          The annual survey, which started in 2015, gathers data on the number of honeybees per state by quarter, including those being lost with symptoms of colony collapse disorder, an issue that’s made honeybees a darling of environmentalists and climate activists.
          It is at least the third bee-related dataset to be suspended under the current administration.
          “The decision to suspend data collection was not made lightly, but was necessary given available fiscal and program resources,” according to a notice posted by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Survey. The USDA would not provide a figure for how much the agency was saving by discontinuing the survey.

        • This Dutch City Has Transformed Its Bus Stops Into Bee Stops

          In the Dutch city Utrecht 316 bus stops now have a green roof. They do not only look great, they also help capture fine dust, storage of rainwater and provide cooling in the summertime.

          It is one of many measures that could improve Utrecht’s air quality. Did you know that after smoking, an unhealthy environment (including bad air quality) is the second cause of diseases in the Netherlands?

        • All 21 of Mississippi’s beaches are closed because of toxic algae

          Summer’s the perfect time to hit the beach — unless you live in Mississippi.

          Along the state’s Gulf Coast, all 21 of the state’s beaches have been shut down for swimming due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom (HAB), according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
          HABs occur when “colonies of algae — simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater — grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people” or wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says.
          The toxic algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned.
          Though the state says people can still use the sand portion of the beaches, they should avoid water contact or consumption of anything from the waters “until further notice.”

        • Every Mississippi Beach Is Closed Due to Toxic Algae

          A toxic algal bloom has made the waters dangerous to humans and their pets. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has shut down swimming at all of its beaches due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom, according to CNN.

          Toxic algae are dangerous to touch and poisonous when swallowed. It can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned.

        • All Mississippi beaches closed as toxic algae bloom blankets state’s coast

          All of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast beaches have been closed for swimming as the expanding bloom of toxic blue-green algae blankets the state’s waters.

          On Sunday the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced the closures of Pascagoula Beach West and Pascagoula Beach East, the final two state beaches that were open for swimming.

        • Officials close all Mississippi beaches due to blue-green harmful algal bloom

          All 21 of Mississippi’s beaches have been shuttered for swimming due to the presence of toxic algae.

          The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced two additional closures on Sunday due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom, after previous closures were issued for the 19 other beaches along the state’s Gulf Coast.

          The two beaches that were shut down on Sunday are in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on the Alabama border.

        • Pascagoula the last coastal town to join algae-related water advisory

          Pascagoula’s beach is the latest to be placed under a water contact advisory tied to the ongoing blue-green algae bloom. Sunday’s advisory means the entire Mississippi coastline is now off-limits to swimming and fishing in the near-shore waters.
          Residents like Bill Kenan believe it is becoming a major problem for the entire area.
          “I had a feeling it was going this way. Water always flows west to east,” Kenan explained. “It just keeps going and going and going. I don’t know if it’s ever going to get better. I hope it does.”
          Some people spent their Sunday lounging on the sand, which MDEQ said is safe and still open for public use. Others chose to cool down in a nearby splash pad at Pascagoula Beach Park.
          Moss Point resident Clyde Sims said, “It just don’t look right to me. I like the clean pretty water, that’s why we go to Pensacola and places like that to get in the water.”

        • Toxic algae bloom forces Mississippi to close all the state’s beaches

          The blooms can be triggered by many things, including changes in water temperature and fertilizer run-off, and once the colonies of algae — which are actually cyanobacteria — start growing rapidly, they produce toxins that can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and rashes. People and their pets are being told to stay out the water and avoid any seafood caught in the affected areas, but they can still be on the sand.

        • Did Life on Earth Begin in the Deep Sea?

          When it comes to being otherworldly, alien and bizarre, the ocean has plenty to fuel the imagination and make your jaw drop: giant scuttling bugs, jelly-like blobfish, slimy mucus-drenched hagfish, hairy armed lobsters and almost anything else you could imagine.

          It’s no big surprise that Hollywood science fiction films so often look to the deep for their monsters, landscapes and mystery. After all, the deep ocean is more alien to us than the surface of the moon.

          But bizarrely, some scientists think the ocean floor might well be the very place where life on our planet first evolved.

    • Finance

      • Deutsche calls time on global banking ambitions by cutting 18,000 jobs and setting up €74bn ‘bad bank’

        Deutsche Bank has effectively called time on its global banking ambitions after it unveiled a much more radical than expected overhaul on Sunday.

        This will include setting up a “bad bank” stuffed with €74bn of toxic assets, closing down large units in its investment banking arm – including equities trading – and laying off about a fifth of its workforce.

        Following a supervisory board meeting in Germany at the weekend, the troubled bank said the drastic measures were needed to battle falling revenues and rising costs. The overhaul is expected to cost around €8bn.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • If You Want To Kill Google And Facebook, Leaving Section 230 Alone Is Your Best Hope

        We recently released our Don’t Shoot The Message Board report, which details, with actual numbers, evidence of how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has encouraged and enabled a tremendous amount of investment in thousands of internet companies, building up real competition. At the event in Washington, DC, where we announced the paper, one of the questions from the audience focused on whether or not we should remove Section 230 protections from large companies as a way to deal with allegedly anti-competitive actions. The premise, put forth by the questioner, was that Google/Facebook/Amazon have benefited so much from Section 230 that that’s why they’re now so dominant — and somehow removing the protections of 230 will somehow create competition.

        That’s a very strange take, and one that doesn’t seem supported by the evidence. Again, as our report showed, having CDA 230 created lots of investment in startups and new internet platform companies. Taking away Section 230 would create a massive liability and regulatory burden, which I’m sure the big internet companies wouldn’t like, but which they could obviously handle. Smaller companies? Not so much. Removing CDA 230 would only serve to lock in Google, Facebook and Amazon.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Encryption law making life harder for journalists: claim

        The passage of the Australian encryption law has made it harder for journalists to communicate with their sources without jeopardising their confidentiality, American cryptography fellow Dr Riana Pfefferkorn has claimed in a submission to an inquiry into the law.

      • Encryption law: ‘Misunderstanding leading to IT industry concerns’

        The Department of Home Affairs says it is creating documentation to clarify the intended operation of the encryption law which was passed in December 2018, claiming that companies are concerned about it because they do not have a clear idea of their obligations under the law.

      • Twitter’s Disinformation Data Dumps Are Helpful—to a Point

        A year later, Twitter released an archive of more than 10 million tweets, from 3,841 accounts it said were affiliated with the IRA, hoping to encourage “open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics.” The company has followed with additional data dumps, most recently last month when it released details of accounts linked to Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and the Catalan independence movement in Spain. All told, Twitter has shared more than 30 million tweets from accounts it says were “actively working to undermine” healthy discourse.

      • One in Ten UK Adults Are Now Cashless

        Meanwhile, the number of cash payments in the UK last year was just 11 billion, down 16% from 2017. Cash payments made up just 28% of all transactions last year, which is a huge decline from a decade ago when in 2008 cash payments accounted for 60% of transactions. And UK finance has predicted that in ten years’ time cash payments will make up just 9% of all transactions.

      • Only a third of us use cash every day so can you get around Nottingham without it? We tried it for a week

        We decided to see exactly what we could and couldn’t do over a week in Nottingham without using banknotes and coins.

      • UK’s newspaper launches pro-cash campaign, ‘Keep Our Cash Manifesto’

        On June 9th, 2019, the daily mail’s financial arm shared the story of a British baker who regrets adopting a cashless system after pressure from a bank to rent a card reader. Within this article, This is Money introduced a 5-point pro-cash campaign called, the ‘Keep our Cash Manifesto’.

      • [Old] Which? leads new pro-cash campaign: Freedom to pay. Our way.

        The UK’s top consumer affairs body, Which?, has recently launched a campaign in defence of the public’s number one payment choice. Sign their petition and help protect public access to cash.

        Since 1956, Which? has been guiding tea-crazed Brits towards the nation’s holy grail of kitchen appliances – the kettle. Now, they are using their platform and research insight to steer the country away from the dangers of an enforced cashless society.

      • Google still keeps a list of everything you ever bought using Gmail, even if you delete all your emails

        At the time of my original story, Google said users can delete everything by tapping into a purchase and removing the Gmail. It seemed to work if you did this for each purchase, one by one. This isn’t easy — for years worth of purchases, this would take hours or even days of time.

        So, since Google doesn’t let you bulk-delete this purchases list, I decided to delete everything in my Gmail inbox. That meant removing every last message I’ve sent or received since I opened my Gmail account more than a decade ago.

        Despite Google’s assurances, it didn’t work.

      • Google’s creepy Gmail purchase history can’t be deleted

        Additionally, since Google’s recommendation of deleting purchase receipts from your Gmail inbox doesn’t appear to work, these other recommendations may also do little to prevent purchase data from being collected.

        This report on Google’s purchase history is the latest in a series of stories that show how just how much data Google mines from Gmail and how difficult it often is to disable or opt-out of this data collection.

      • Is your Aadhaar data about to be monetised?

        The fourth chapter of the Economic Survey 2018-19 is entitled Data “Of the People, By the People, For the People”. It perhaps would be appropriate to quote relevant excerpts from that chapter to put the government’s thinking on commercial exploitation of data that it seems to be contemplating in a context.

        “The private sector may be granted access to select databases for commercial use. Consistent with the notion of data as a public good, there is no reason to preclude commercial use of this data for profit. [...]

      • Unnamed Nokia smartphone leaks with 3 rear cameras, could be new Nokia 8 series phone

        How do we know this could be a phone part of Nokia 8 series? We know because the Nokia 9, which is a flagship phone, has five cameras. So a phone with 3 rear cameras is likely to be placed one notch below it in the product line-up. Also, the Nokia 8 series is due for an upgrade.

      • EPIC to Appear Before Top European Court on US Surveillance

        This week EPIC Senior Counsel Alan Butler will appear before the Court of Justice for the European Union in the case Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook. The case, known as “Schrems 2.0.” follows the European Court’s landmark decision in Schrems v. DPC striking down the “Safe Harbor” arrangement and leading to the creation of the “Privacy Shield.”

      • The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Signals It Will investigate NSA Surveillance, Facial Recognition, and Terror Watchlists

        After a long dormant stretch, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) has signaled it’s ready to tackle another big review of government surveillance and overreach. The PCLOB, an independent agency in the executive branch, last published a 2014 report on warrantless surveillance of the Internet by the U.S. intelligence community. While EFF welcomes the PCLOB’s efforts to bring oversight and transparency to the most controversial surveillance programs, we’ve disagreed with some of the Board’s findings, particularly on surveillance under FISA Section 702. So while it’s a good sign that the board is turning its attention to other major issues, its mixed history means it may be a little too soon to get your hopes up.

        This week, the board, which was created after a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission to look into the violation of civil liberties, released a strategic plan [PDF] that does not shy away from investigating some of the biggest threats to privacy in the U.S. According to the document, they will be looking into the NSA’s collection of phone records, facial recognition and other biometric technologies being used in airport security, the processes that govern terrorist watchlist, what they call “deep dive” investigations into NSA’s XKEYSCORE tool and the CIA’s counterterrorism activity, as well as many other government programs and procedures.

      • Announcing “Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Understanding How IMSI-Catchers Exploit Cell Networks”

        Our phones hold a plethora of important, private information about our personal lives, and it’s not just their contents that matter: the data that our phones exchange with cell towers during basic connection procedures can reveal critical, and private, information. Perhaps you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge; maybe you received a call from the local NRA office while it was having a campaign against gun legislation, and then called your senators and congressional representatives immediately after. The contents of those calls aren’t as secret as you might hope to someone who knows that the calls were made, and when. And just knowing the location a phone was in at a certain time, regardless of whether a call was made, could place someone at a protest—or at the scene of a crime.

        While the field of cell network security has been rapidly advancing, there’s also been a significant rise in the exploitation of cell network security bugs by criminals and law enforcement, who are using them to gain access to that private data. Devices known as Cell-Site Simulators (CSSs, a.k.a. Stingrays or IMSI-catchers) are increasingly being used by law enforcement for both dragnet and targeted surveillance; and several years ago we saw the first crackdowns against criminals using cell site simulators on a mass scale to deliver spam.

        Rightly, there’s been a lot of interest in—and confusion about—what CSSs are capable of. From activists worried about being targeted and tracked, to policy makers concerned about the privacy of their constituents, to technologists interested in learning about the security flaws so that they can deliver fixes, there’s a range in knowledge, though all of these groups have a stake in learning more. But the barrier to entry to the field of cell network security has historically been quite high, even if you already have a technical background. While there’s increasingly more highly technical research into the cell network attack techniques that CSSs rely on, very little exists for the average reader.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Two journalists arrested, internet shut down amid disputed election in Mauritania

        The journalists are among more than 100 people who have been detained in the wake of Mauritania’s disputed presidential elections on June 22, according to reports. According to the independent internet monitoring group Netblocks, the country has also faced a widespread [Internet] shutdown beginning shortly after the elections.

      • An hour with Noam Chomsky on fascism, nuclear weapons, climate change, Julian Assange & more

        Well, Assange is a similar case: We’ve got to silence this voice. You go back to history. Some of you may recall when Mussolini’s fascist government put Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said, “We have to silence this voice for 20 years. Can’t let it speak.” That’s Assange. That’s Lula. There are other cases. That’s one scandal.

        The other scandal is just the extraterritorial reach of the United States, which is shocking. I mean, why should the United States—why should any—no other state could possibly do it. But why should the United States have the power to control what others are doing elsewhere in the world? I mean, it’s an outlandish situation. It goes on all the time. We never even notice it. At least there’s no comment on it.

        You can ask yourself: Why is this accepted? So, in this case, why is it acceptable for the United States to have the power to even begin to give even a proposal to extradite somebody whose crime is to expose to the public materials that people in power don’t want them to see? That’s basically what’s happening.

      • Months After The Law’s Enactment, California Law Enforcement Agencies Are Still Blowing Off Public Records Requests

        This is no longer a question of law. Courts have repeatedly held the new law is retroactive, making records generated prior to the beginning of this year responsive to requests. The state’s Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, has apparently decided to see how much of this year he can spend with his head up his ass. He’s appealing a decision by a judge granting access to records involving the state’s DOJ… which still has yet to release the records it was ordered to release.

        Other agencies have been a bit more compliant. The San Francisco PD has released a handful of records on four shootings by officers and the LAPD is continuing to release files on a rolling basis. In both cases, these agencies have upped their staffing to handle the influx of requests — all without complaining publicly about their obligations.

        Other agencies have chosen to go the route of antagonistic compliance — following the letter of the law while making it very clear they hate everything about the law and every requester taking advantage of it.

      • Local sheriff misconduct records still secret 6 months after transparency law took effect

        Months after law enforcement unions in Riverside and San Bernardino counties dropped their lawsuits arguing that some police misconduct records should remain secret, the sheriff’s departments in the two counties have yet to release records in accordance with a police misconduct transparency law that took effect in January.

        The two local sheriff’s departments aren’t the only agencies that still have yet to comply with the new law, the California Reporting Project has found. The project — a collaboration among 40 newsrooms across California including The Desert Sun — has found some departments are charging high fees, destroying the documents or ignoring court orders to produce the records.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Incarceration Helped Fuel America’s Opioid Crisis, Study Suggests

        Researchers also found that on average, counties with the highest incarceration rates saw a drug mortality rate 54% higher than the rate among counties with the lowest incarceration rates.

        “You have similar communities that are poor, and one has a much higher rate of drug use than the other,” King says. “Half of that seems to be explained by the incarceration rate.”

        Across the U.S., more than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017, and most deaths were opioid-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drug epidemic has hit the country so hard that it’s contributed to a falling life expectancy for Americans in recent years.

      • Economic decline, incarceration, and mortality from drug use disorders in the USA between 1983 and 2014: an observational analysis

        Reduced household income and high incarceration rates are associated with poor health. The rapid expansion of the prison and jail population in the USA over the past four decades might have contributed to the increasing number of deaths from drug use disorders.

      • Hong Kong Protesters Take Their Message to Chinese Tourists

        Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory, has a separate political and judicial system and is governed based on a principle known as “one country, two systems.” But in recent years, as Beijing has grown more autocratic and increased efforts to integrate Hong Kong with the mainland, many here have become alarmed about the erosion of the city’s once-robust protections for civic freedoms and rule of law.

        While previous marches have been held in the downtown financial and business districts of Hong Kong Island, the march on Sunday is the first to take place in Kowloon, an area of Hong Kong that is attached to the Chinese mainland. It is being billed as an opportunity to engage with mainland Chinese in the hope that they will back the protesters.

        The Hong Kong protests have been heavily censored in the mainland, where they are portrayed by government officials and the state news media as being organized by “foreign forces” and spearheaded by violent “extreme radicals.”

      • Hundreds protest in Paris against deadly domestic violence

        Yelling “Enough” and carrying signs reading “Stop femicides” or “The planet needs women alive”, the crowd took to the Place de la Republique square as part of the demonstration organised by various women’s rights NGOs to protest the rate of femicides, the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender.

      • Christians in Africa: “You have three days to go or you will be killed!”

        Distressingly, these Christians have been finding themselves in the blind spot of the West: they are “too Christian” to get the Left’s attention, but too far away for the Right. Africa’s Christians are orphans. They have no “allies”, John O’Sullivan writes.

      • CBP Agents Flocked To Closed Facebook Groups To Post Bigoted Memes And Insult Detainees

        According to this Politico report, not a single agent was ever punished or reprimanded for their comments and posts in this closed group. Sure, they’re being denounced now by top Homeland Security officials, but it’s years too late. CBP supervisors had an opportunity to pass this up the ladder three years ago but did nothing. Springing into action when there are no options left is no one’s idea of heroic. There’s no excusing the CBP’s refusal to act when it was first notified. There’s finally an Inspector General’s investigation underway, but it will be months or years before we see results from this, if ever.

        The CBP continues to stand by its personnel, saying most of its staff are good people not prone to posting bigoted content to closed Facebook groups. This is a pretty safe stance to take when no one’s outing the members of the 10-15 Group. But that stance has already passed its expiration date. The Intercept infiltrated the group and managed to make off with tons of screenshots before posts were deleted by members and moderators following the ProPublica article.

        Not only is The Intercept publishing the screenshots it grabbed, it’s publishing them with the names of CBP agents on full display. Good. Speech has consequences and DC politicians have been promising retribution. With names out in the open, the Congressional bluff has been called. Put up or shut up, reps. And I’m sure the CBP Inspector General appreciates any input it can get, even if it has to come from outside sources.

      • Court Upholds Conviction Of Cop Who Threatened, Beat, Tased, And Arrested A Man For Complaining About Being Beaten By Him Earlier

        And it is a string of horrors. It’s an undeniable story of just how much havoc a man with a badge and bunch of power can wreak on a “civilian.” When it comes to police/citizen relationships, only one side holds all the cards. And unless someone has the wherewithal to lawyer up — and continue to litigate through multiple court levels for multiple years — the badge and the abused power go unchecked.

        Jeffrey Littlepage stuck it out. Good thing he did. Otherwise, Officer William Dukes might have skated on this string of horrors. Without Littlepage’s tenacity, Dukes might be out of prison, free to roam around with a badge in hand and subject others to the same treatment he gave Littlepage.

        Littlepage’s story starts with a traffic stop. It doesn’t end until Officer Dukes is behind bars. In between, there’s a hell of a lot of abusive activity by a man who never should have been allowed to carry a badge.

        Officer Dukes was presumably killing time waiting to fuck someone up when a call came in that someone had tried to run another driver off the road. For whatever reason, Dukes decided it was Littlepage. He didn’t know who he was pulling over, so Littlepage won the SHIT COP lottery.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Killing Net Neutrality Rules Did Far More Harm Than You Probably Realize

        We’ve noted repeatedly that the repeal of net neutrality did far more than just kill popular net neutrality rules. It effectively neutered the FCC’s ability to do its job and oversee lumbering natural telecom monopolies. And, contrary to the claims of the telecom lobby, it threw any remaining authority to an FTC that lacks the resources or authority to do the job either. In short the repeal gave loathed telecom giants like Comcast and AT&T carte blanche to do pretty much anything they’d like to their captive customer bases, provided they’re marginally clever about it.

        Here’s one case in point: the previous FCC had passed some fairly basic rules requiring that ISPs be transparent about the kind of connection you’re buying. As in, ISPs were required to not only inform you what kind of throttling or restrictions were on your line, but they were supposed to make it clear how many hidden fees you’d pay post sale. With those rules dead, the FCC’s process now basically involves you complaining to the Ajit Pai FCC, and the agency doing jack shit about it. Under Pai’s model, ISPs are allowed to bullshit you all they’d like in terms of caps, throttling, and other limits, as long as their bullshit is hidden somewhere in their website.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

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