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08.05.19

Links 5/8/2019: Linux 5.3 RC3, Mesa 19.1.4 RC, GCC 9.2 RC, LLVM 8.0.1 Release

Posted in News Roundup at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Startup Dgraph Labs growing graph database technology

        Dgraph Labs Inc. is set to grow its graph database technology with the help of a cash infusion of venture financing.

        The company was founded in 2015 as an effort to advance the state of graph database technology. Dgraph Labs’ founder and CEO Manish Jain previously worked at Google, where he led a team that was building out graph database systems. Jain decided there was a need for a high-performance graph database technology that could address different enterprise use cases.

        Dgraph said July 31 it had completed an $11.5 million Series A funding round.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • gnuWorldOrder 13×32
      • Linux Action News 117

        Manjaro’s news starts us off and leads us into a bigger philosophical question about open source development.

        Plus Gnome and KDE come together at the Linux App Summit, Mozilla’s update on DNS-over-HTTPS, and the case for the VR desktop.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3-rc3
        Interesting. Last Sunday, rc2 was fairly large to match the biggish
        merge window, but this last week has actually been quite calm, and rc3
        is actually smaller than usual, and smaller than rc2 was. Usually it's
        the other way around: rc2 is small while people take a breather after
        the merge window, and then rc3 is when thing grow.
        
        Oh well. One reason is probably that there was no networking fix pull
        this past week, so the changes are mostly driver fixes (gpu is most
        noticeable, but there's other stuff in there too - rdma, scsi, xen)
        with the usual arch updates (mainly arm64 and s390 this time around)
        and then a random smattering all over (example: tooling header files
        got re-synced with the main kernel header files. Very interesting, I
        know).
        
        But there really isn't a ton of changes, and most of the changes are
        pretty small.
        
        Go out and test. And if you just want to see what changed, read the
        shortlog below. It really is not all that exciting, I feel.
        
        Linus
        
      • Linux 5.3-rc3 Comes In As A Calm Release

        Linus Torvalds released Linux 5.3-rc3 on Sunday night and it was to his surprise that it was even smaller than the previous week’s release candidate.

        Linux 5.3-rc3 marked a rather calm week that was quieter than 5.3-rc2 and with less changes, which normally isn’t the case for the third week in the kernel development cycle.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel clarifies on US$200 Intel Xe GPUs, new Linux driver signals Xe iGPU+dGPU multi-GPU support

          It is well-known by now that Intel is prepping up its Xe GPUs to be viable AMD and NVIDIA contenders, at least in the mid-range at first and possibly at the high-end sometime down the line. Recently, we also saw some leaked driver references to the next gen Gen12 graphics architecture that will form part of Xe as well as integrated Intel GPUs. All these developments combined with the anticipation of having a veteran of the likes of Raja Koduri at the helm has created palpable excitement in the GPU space. However, this has also resulted in some misconstrued reports.

          Recently, in an interview to Russian YouTube channel Pro Hi-Tech (now removed, but you can still watch it on Computerbase.de at the 6:15 mark), Koduri apparently spoke about Intel’s plans of targeting the first Xe GPUs with HBM memory at the US$200 price point. The channel chose to include a voice-over in Russian, which made Koduri’s actual statements in English incomprehensible. A Redditor, u/taryakun, provided a translation for Koduri’s message, which reads,

        • Mesa 19.1.4 release candidate
          Hello list,
          
          The candidate for the Mesa 19.1.4 is now available. Currently we have:
           - 49 queued
           - 2 nominated (outstanding)
           - and 0 rejected patch
          
          
          The current queue consist mostly, as usual, in fixes for different drivers (anv,
          radv, radeon, nv50, nvc0) as well as in backend parts (egl, spirv, nir, ...).
          
          Of those fixes, we could highlight several ones:
          
          - Vulkan 24/48 bit formats are now not supported on Ivybridge.
          
          - R8G8B8_UNORM_SRGB is not supported on Haswell.
          
          - A fix for hair artifacts in Max Payne 3 on AMD/RADV.
          
          - Vulkan transform feedback extension is disabled on Intel gen7.
          
          Take a look at section "Mesa stable queue" for more information
          
          
          Testing reports/general approval
          --------------------------------
          Any testing reports (or general approval of the state of the branch) will be
          greatly appreciated.
          
          The plan is to have 19.1.4 this Tuesday (6th August), around or shortly after
          10:00 GMT.
          
          If you have any questions or suggestions - be that about the current patch queue
          or otherwise, please go ahead.
          
          
        • Mesa 19.1.4: Intel Vulkan Fixes For Older Generations, Max Payne 3 Issue Fixed For RADV

          If all goes well Mesa 19.1.4 will be released on Tuesday as the newest stable point release to this collection of OpenGL/Vulkan drivers for Linux systems. Mesa 19.1.4 is bringing around four dozen patches that accumulated over the later half of July and it’s particularly heavy on Intel ANV and Radeon RADV Vulkan driver fixes.

          Mesa 19.1.4 will no longer advertise 24/48-bit format support for Vulkan on Ivybridge (the oldest Intel Gen graphics supported by the driver) and it also stops advertising R8G8B8_UNORM_SRGB on Haswell. Vulkan transform feedback support was also disabled for Intel Gen7 Ivybridge/Haswell graphics due to being buggy there / not properly supported. That should clear up some issues for those using these buggy/unsupported bits on these older generations of Intel graphics.

        • New Linux driver signals Intel Xe iGPU+dGPU multi-GPU support

          It is well-known by now that Intel is prepping up its Xe GPUs to be viable AMD and NVIDIA contenders, at least in the mid-range at first and possibly at the high-end sometime down the line. Recently, we also saw some leaked driver references to the next gen Gen12 graphics architecture that will form part of Xe as well as integrated Intel GPUs.

          A couple of months ago, we reported that Intel Gen11 OpenGL (i915) and Vulkan (ANV) drivers for Linux are feature-complete and that we should be seeing them integrated in distros running Linux kernel 5.2 and above. Phoronix, which is closely monitoring the Intel kernel driver patches, now notes that restructuring of the i915 Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver has begun in preparation for Xe’s multi-GPU support. The patch notes say,

    • Applications

      • Blender 2.8 Has Been Released!, Say Goodbye For Low Spec Computers!

        One of the requirements for running version 2.8 is that we must have a computer with OpenGL 3.3. Yes, this is bad news for me and other low specification computer users. Because, at this time we are unable to run Blender 2.8 on computers with OpenGL below the standards specified by the Blender. So for those of you who want to run Blender 2.8, maybe, it’s better to upgrade the hardware you have, or maybe buy a new PC that has more qualified specifications.

      • cli-visualizer – command line visualizer for MPD, ALSA and PulseAudio

        Over the past few months, I’ve written many reviews of open source audio software, focusing mainly on music players. Linux has a mouthwatering array of open source multimedia tools, so I’m going to turn my attention in that direction. First off, let’s take a quick run-through about cli-visualizer.

        cli-visualizer is a command-line visualizer. Music visualization generates animated imagery based on a piece of music. The imagery is generated and rendered in real time and in a way synchronized with the music as it is played. Good music visualization seeks a high degree of visual correlation between a musical track’s spectral characteristics such as frequency and amplitude.

        cli-visualizer supports MPD, as well as ALSA and PulseAudio.

        The software is written in C++ and published under an open source license.

      • What’s your favorite open source BI software?

        Open source software has come a long way since the Open Source Initiative was founded in February 1998. Back then, the thought of releasing source code anyone could change scared many commercial software vendors. Now, according to Red Hat’s 2019 State of Enterprise Open Source survey, 99% of IT leaders say open source software plays at least a “somewhat important” role in their enterprise IT strategy.

        Open source principles play an equally key role in business intelligence (BI). Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Data Science and Machine Learning said the market is in the midst of a “big bang” that’s redefining the “who” and “how” of data science and ML. In this report (available for clients), the authors cite open source software as one reason for the growth of citizen data scientists—”‘power users’ who can perform both simple and moderately sophisticated analytical tasks that would previously have required more expertise.”

      • Intel’s IWD 0.19 Linux Wireless Daemon Picks Up New Features

        IWD is the multi-year effort by Intel’s open-source group to create a new Linux wireless daemon that could potentially replace WPA-Supplicant. IWD 0.19 is the new release available that arrived at the end of the weekend and carrying new features.

      • Chafa 1.2.0: Faster than ever, now with 75% more grit

        For all you terminal graphics connoisseurs out there (there must be dozens of us!), I released Chafa 1.2.0 this weekend. Thanks to embedded copies of some parallel image scaling code and the quite excellent libnsgif, it’s faster and better in every way. What’s more, there are exciting new dithering knobs to further mangle refine your beautiful pictures. You can see what this stuff looks like in the gallery.

        Included is also a Python program by Mo Zhou that uses k-means clustering to produce optimal glyph sets from training data. Neat!

        Thanks to all the packagers, unsung heroes of the F/OSS world. Shoutouts go to Michael Vetter (openSUSE) and Guy Fleury Iteriteka (Guix) who got in touch with package info and installation instructions.

      • 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for August 2019

        COPR is a collection of personal repositories for software that isn’t carried in Fedora. Some software doesn’t conform to standards that allow easy packaging. Or it may not meet other Fedora standards, despite being free and open source. COPR can offer these projects outside the Fedora set of packages. Software in COPR isn’t supported by Fedora infrastructure or signed by the project. However, it can be a neat way to try new or experimental software.

      • Review of the Igalia Multimedia team Activities (2019/H1)

        Another important feature for non-linear video editors is nested timeline support. It allows teams to decouple big editing projects in smaller chunks that can later on be assembled for the final product. Another use-case is about pre-filling the timeline with boilerplate scenes, so that an initial version of the movie can be assembled before all teams involved in the project have provided the final content. To support this, Thibault implemented a GES demuxer which transparently enables playback support for GES files (through file://path/to/file.xges URIs) in any GStreamer-based media player.

        As if this wasn’t impressive enough yet, Thibault greatly improved the GES unit-tests, fixing a lot of memory leaks, race conditions and generally improving the reliability of the test suite. This is very important because the Gitlab continuous integration now executes the tests harness for every submitted merge request.

        For more information about this, the curious readers can dive in Thibault’s blog post. Thibault was invited to talk about these on-going efforts at SIGGRAPH during the OpenTimelineIO BOF.

        Finally, Thibault is mentoring Swayamjeet Swain as part of the GSoC program, the project is about adding nested timeline support in Pitivi.

      • Proprietary

        • 10 Best Google Maps Alternatives You Should Try

          Google Map is arguably the most popular map application and this should come as no surprise because of Google’s stronghold on web surfing and navigation e.g. Google Earth, but you would be wrong to think that there aren’t alternatives that are just as cool and in some cases, even cooler.

          Today, we bring you a list of the Best Map & Navigations Apps that you can use instead of Google Maps. They all feature a modern UI that is easy to use and offer almost any functionality you might want when driving within a familiar city or trying to get lost in strange terrains. They are arranged in no particular order.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The developer of Gloomhaven wants to see what kind of demand there is for Linux support

        Gloomhaven, he digital adaptation of the acclaimed board game recently entered Steam’s Early Access program and it appears the developer Flaming Fowl Studios continued to be open about Linux support.

        This wouldn’t be the first time they’ve talked about Linux support. In fact, their latest word on it does seem to be a bit of a backtrack from a previous statement, but priorities change and nothing is ever set in stone when a game is in development. That was multiple months before Early Access even started though, to be fair.

      • FOSS game engine “Godot Engine” making fantastic Vulkan API progress

        Godot Engine developer Juan Linietsky continues pushing ahead with Godot’s move to Vulkan, with another impressive progress report now available and it all sounds great.

        Firstly, Linietsky goes over improvements to the lighting and shadows system, with Godot 4.0 having all “2D lighting is now done in a single pass”, which will give it a decent performance although now there’s a few limits in place but the improvements should be worth it. Additionally, they’ve added the ability to use “specular and shininess both as parameter and as textures supplied to Sprite, AnimatedSprite, Polygon2D and other nodes” for 2D lights.

        Further improvements include a new 2D material system, which enables writing custom shaders with their fancy new Vulkan renderer and there’s no restriction on the amount of textures shaders can use. As another performance boost, shaders are compiled and cached on load reducing game stalls. Shader compilation is also now fully threaded “greatly improving performance”. There’s more multi-threading work being done, with even more to come later too.

      • Collabora detail more work going into Monado, their open source OpenXR runtime

        With the 1.0 release of the OpenXR 1.0 specification, Collabora have begun to detail more work going on with Monado their open source OpenXR runtime for Linux.

      • Another SteamVR release is up, further improving the VR experience on Linux

        Valve continue to move at a rapid pace to improve SteamVR across all platforms, especially with the Valve Index being so new there’s plenty of teething issues to address. This is not a beta release, this is an official release of SteamVR.

        Something that has been posted across the web (and emailed to us), is an issue with the Valve Index Controller thumbsticks. Like a lot of thumbsticks, you can click it in to perform some sort of action. However, it seems you’re not able to click it in all the time and in certain positions it won’t click or won’t register it has been clicked. To the point that VR game developers have been working to remove the need for it. So what have Valve done?

      • Co-op submarine adventure roguelike “We Need To Go Deeper” officially released

        After over two years of Early Access, the silly co-op roguelike submarine adventure We Need To Go Deeper has released. Very similar in idea to Barotrauma, with a much more playful setting and style to it.

        When I last tested it, I wasn’t overly impressed. A messy interface, no help or guidance on what to do with no tutorial. The layout has certainly improved, things are a little clearer now but there’s still no tutorial, it still just dumps you into a game without the slightest explanation of what to do. Due to this, it can be somewhat frustrating, although also highly amusing while you’re discovering what to do.

      • Laservasion looks like a nice twist on Asteroids with great music and colourful visuals

        Laservasion is the next game from Red Phoenix Studios (prev. Poly Towns, A New World: Kingdoms), a shoot ‘em up that resembles the classic Asteroids only it seems to get a lot more intense.

        Speaking about the new game, the developer said they wanted to make a game with a smaller scope than their previous titles, so they decided to make something inspired by the classics.

      • Simple and relaxing trading sim “Merchant of the Skies” has entered Early Access

        Merchant of the Skies from Latvian developer Coldwild Games just recently entered Early Access, it’s a strangely relaxing trading sim.

        Starting off with nothing but a simple airship, you set off across the skies in search of goods to buy and sell. As you progress, you can gradually upgrade your ship, obtain perks to help like reducing fuel consumption, purchase an island or two, come across a massive Carrot with a Top Hat and more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Another GNOME Improvement Being Discussed To Help With Touchpad Scrolling / Tablets

          Daniel has volleyed a new patch under discussion for only queuing compressible events within Mutter’s Clutter stage code. In doing so, this lowers the input latency for incompressible events such as touchpad scrolling and drawing tablets. The impact is that those scrolling / drawing tablet events can arrive as much as one frame sooner than the current code. Beyond the lower latency, the incompressible events should be smoother / less bursts as a result.

        • App Grid in GNOME Shell

          During the London UX Hackfest, in 2017, GNOME designers and developers had many interesting ideas about different ways to organize GNOME Shell’s UI elements. Letting designers create freely, without having to consider toolkit limitations or time constraints, can produce wonderful results!

          It is interesting to notice that many of these ideas floated around the concept of an user-customizable application grid.

          In fact, such kind of application grid exists in Endless OS (which by itself is loosely inspired by how smartphones do that) and our user research has shown that it improves discoverability. New users that are presented to Endless OS can easily and quickly navigate through the OS.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • 4MLinux 29.2 released.

          This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.19.57. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.39, MariaDB 10.3.16, and PHP 7.3.7 (see this post for more details).

          You can update your 4MLinux by executing the “zk update” command in your terminal (fully automatic process).

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux 2019.08 Released, Which is Based on the Testing Branch of Debian (Bullseye)

          SparkyLinux Team is pleased to announce the 1st snapshot of the new (semi-)rolling line of SparkyLinux 2019.08 on 02nd Aug, 2019.

          This release is based on the testing branch of Debian “Bullseye” and codenamed “Po Tolo”.

          Sparky is offering rolling line only to amd64/x86_64 machines, this was alrady communicated in the previous update.

          Sparky rolling 32 bit is fully supported so if you have it, simply keep it up to date.

        • Review: Resilient Linux, PrimeOS and BlueLight

          The first project on my experimental list is Resilient Linux. Resilient is based on Debian 9 “Stretch” and is designed to run with the operating system on a read-only partition. A second partition, referred to as the persistence partition, includes system updates and user data. This arrangement offers a few benefits. One is that we can backup the entire system by taking a snapshot or archive of the persistence partition. Another is that attackers cannot directly corrupt or compromise the main operating system partition since they cannot write to it. Finally, it should be very easy to restore or transfer an existing system by installing Resilient and then copying the persistence partition to the new operating system.

          The Resilient website reports that the persistence partition can be encrypted for additional security and the distribution is available in Desktop and Server editions. At the moment, Resilient is available for 64-bit computers (x86_64) only. The distribution’s Desktop edition is available as a 3.2GB Zip file, which unpacks to a 4.3GB image file.

          I tried booting off the image file and, each time, the system began to boot and then dropped me to an initramfs prompt. After trying a few different boot options, I had to admit defeat. While Resilient is not working for me yet, I think the idea of a read-only operating system partition makes sense. It sounds similar to openSUSE’s Transactional Server or Fedora’s Silverblue operating system, but with a Debian base. I am hoping the next release runs for me so I can give this concept a try.

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in July 2019

          After the release of Buster I could start with real work in NEW again. Even the temperature could not hinder me to reject something. So this month I accepted 279 packages and rejected 15. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 308.

        • Emmanuel Kasper: Debian 9 -> 10 Ugrade report

          I upgraded my laptop and VPS to Debian 10, as usual in Debian everything worked out of the box, the necessary daemons restarted without problems.

          [...]

          I was a bit unsure at first, as I thought I would need to fight my way through the nine different config files of the dokuwiki debian package in /etc/dokuwiki

          However the issue was not so complicated: as the apache2 php module was disabled, apache2 was outputting the source code of dokuwiki instead of executing it. As you see, I don’t php that often.

        • Bits from the [Debian] Stable Release Managers
          Hi,
          
          Introduction
          ============
          
          The Stable Release Managers, with the support of the rest of the
          Release Team, are responsible for updates to the stable release (and
          oldstable while that suite is also being supported by the Security
          Team), via point releases and the stable-updates mechanism [STABLE-
          PDATES].
          
          You can see the current status of proposed updates to stable via our
          BTS pseudo-package [BTS] and our tracking website. [QUEUE-VIEWER]
          
          First 'buster' point release
          ============================
          
          The first point release for Debian 10 has been scheduled for 7th
          September 2019. That is slightly later after buster's initial release 
          than we would normally aim for, but an earlier date has proved
          difficult with DebConf and holidays.
          
          A point release for 'stretch', Debian 9.10, will also take place on the
          same day.
          
          Following the release of 10.1, we will continue to aim for stable point
          releases on an approximately two-month basis, and oldstable every three
          to four months.
          
          As always, the first update to a new release is very busy, so we ask
          for your patience if you are still awaiting a reply to an upload
          request. It may be that an update to your package is deferred to a
          later point release purely from a workload perspective; more serious or
          more urgent fixes will be prioritised.
          
          Workflow
          ========
          
          Uploads to a supported stable release should target their suite name in
          the changelog, i.e. 'buster' or 'stretch'. You should normally use
          reportbug and the release.debian.org pseudo-package to send a *source*
          debdiff, rationale and associated bug numbers to the Stable Release
          Managers, and await a request to upload or further information.
          
          If you are confident that the upload will be accepted without changes,
          please feel free to upload at the same time as filing the
          release.debian.org bug. However if you are new to the process, we would
          recommend getting approval before uploading so you get a chance to see
          if your expectations align with ours.
          
          Either way, there must be an accompanying bug for tracking, and your
          upload must comply with the acceptance criteria below.
          
          Update criteria
          ===============
          
          Here's a reminder of our usual criteria for accepting fixes. These are
          designed to help the process be as smooth and frustration-free as
          possible for both you and us.
          
             * The bug you want to fix in stable must be fixed in unstable
               already (and not waiting in NEW or the delayed queue)
             * The bug should be of severity "important" or higher
             * Bug meta-data - particularly affected versions - must be
               up to date
             * Fixes must be minimal and relevant and include a sufficiently
               detailed changelog entry
             * A source debdiff of the proposed change must be included
               in your request (not just the raw patches or "a debdiff
               can be found at $URL")
             * The proposed package must have a correct version number
               (e.g. ...+deb10u1 for buster or +deb9u1 for stretch) and you
               should be able to explain what testing it has had
             * The update must be built in an (old)stable environment or chroot
             * Fixes for security issues should be co-ordinated with the
               Security Team, unless they have explicitly stated that they
               will not issue an DSA for the bug (e.g. via a "no-dsa" marker
               in the Security Tracker) [SECURITY-TRACKER]
          
          Please don't post a message on the debian-release mailing list and
          expect it not to get lost - there must be a bug report against
          release.debian.org.
          
          We make extensive use of usertags to sort and manage requests, so
          unless you particularly enjoy crafting bug meta-data, reportbug is
          generally the best way of generating your request. Incorrectly tagged
          reports may take longer to be noticed and processed.
          
          Thanks,
          
          Adam,
          for the SRMs
          
        • Debian 10.1 Expected For Release In One Month

          Debian 10.1 along with Debian 9.10 are expected to be released on 7 September.

          Debian 10 “Buster” debuted at the start of July while the first point release is expected the weekend of 7 September, for those that generally wait for the first stable update before migrating to a new series. This slower turnaround time for issuing the first point release is attributed to DebConf 19 and holidays complicating the release process.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Released: Here’s What’s New and How to Get it

          Recently, the Linux Mint team announced the release of Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon with significant improvements and feature additions. I’ll show you some of the main features of the new release and how to upgrade to it.

          What matters the most is that Linux Mint 19.2 is also a Long Term Support release which will be supported till 2023. The new version includes updated software and lot of improvements along with added features.

          What are the key highlights among the added features? Let us take a look.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open Source Is Good, but How Can It Do Good?

        The big advantage of helping out with these projects is that an individual free software programmer’s contribution might be limited in absolute terms, and yet provide a relatively massive boost because the number of people helping out is small.

        Finally, it’s worth noting that there is another, rather novel way of trying to make the world a better place using open source, albeit indirectly, by means of its infrastructure. A group of tech activists recently issued a call for action using GitHub, asking for “digital protesters” to post a prepared message to Palantir’s GitHub boards. The action was in response to allegations that Palantir’s software has been used to help deport families of migrant children at the Mexican border. The idea was to draw attention to the issue, and to persuade the company to change.

        Nor is this the only example of people turning to GitHub to flag social problems and push for solutions. In China, a group of coders set up the GitHub repository called 996.ICU. The name refers to the punishing work culture in many digital companies in China, where coders are expected to work from 9am to 9pm, six days a week—”996″. As for the ICU part, it refers to the Intensive Care Unit where people may end up if they don’t break free of the 996 culture. One of the ways the group hopes to fight 996 culture is by using the “Anti 996″ License. It’s a permissive software license in most respects, but its key element is that it requires users of code released under the license to “strictly comply with all applicable laws, regulations, rules and standards of the jurisdiction relating to labor and employment”.

        That goes against the generally accepted requirement that free software must be freely available for anyone—including companies that try to impose a 996 culture on their workers. But, it’s undeniably a clever idea. It’s just one of ways programmers are going beyond doing good coding with open source, and using it to do good.

      • Open Source in 2019

        The freedoms and rights attached to free and open source software bring a number of key benefits for users.

        The first, and most-often cited of those benefits is cost. Access to the source code is basically free as in beer. Thanks to the English language, this created interesting confusion in the mass-market as to what the “free” in “free software” actually meant. You can totally sell “free software” — this is generally done by adding freedoms or bundling services beyond what F/OSS itself mandates (and not by removing freedoms, as some recently would like you to think).

        If the cost benefit has proven more significant as open source evolved, it’s not because users are less and less willing to pay for software or computing. It’s due to the more and more ubiquitous nature of computing. As software eats the world, the traditional software pay-per-seat models are getting less and less adapted to how users work, and they create extra friction in a world where everyone competes on speed.

        As an engineer, I think that today, cost is a scapegoat benefit. What matters more to users is actually availability. With open source software, there is no barrier to trying out the software with all of its functionality. You don’t have to ask anyone for permission (or enter any contractual relationship) to evaluate the software for future use, to experiment with it, or just to have fun with it. And once you are ready to jump in, there is no friction in transitioning from experimentation to production.

        As an executive, I consider sustainability to be an even more significant benefit. When an organization makes the choice of deploying software, it does not want to left without maintenance, just because the vendor decides to drop support for the software you run, or just because the vendor goes bankrupt. The source code being available for anyone to modify means you are not relying on a single vendor for long-term maintenance.

        Having a multi-vendor space is also a great way to avoid lock-in. When your business grows a dependency on software, the cost of switching to another solution can get very high. You find yourself on the vulnerable side of maintenance deals. Being able to rely on a market of vendors providing maintenance and services is a much more sustainable way of consuming software.

      • SaaS/Back End

        • Cloudera: The Truth Is Out There

          Reilly’s leaving has more to do with the execution and timing of the strategy and how two major revisions to estimates were made with no clue as to why other than what the Street speculated. I believe management realized, after the fourth-quarter 2019 release and before the first-quarter 2020 release and conference call, that they were caught between a rock and a hard place as they needed to change the estimates going forward. On the one hand full disclosure of the open source model change could have caused competing forces to swoop in and take existing business away. On the other hand, massive lawsuits would almost be for certain as the stock collapsed based on another major revision. In any event, it is what it is.

      • CMS

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GCC 9.2 Release Candidate available from gcc.gnu.org
          The first release candidate for GCC 9.2 is available from
          
          https://gcc.gnu.org/pub/gcc/snapshots/9.2.0-RC-20190805/
          
           ftp://gcc.gnu.org/pub/gcc/snapshots/9.2.0-RC-20190805
          
          and shortly its mirrors.  It has been generated from SVN revision 274111.
          
          I have so far bootstrapped and tested the release candidate on
          x86_64-linux and i686-linux.  Please test it and report any issues to
          bugzilla.
          
          If all goes well, I'd like to release 9.2 on Monday, August 12th.
          
        • GCC 9.2 Available For Testing With Tuned AMD Zen 2 Support Back-Ported

          The GNU Compiler Collection 9.2 release should be out next Monday while until then a release candidate was issued today for testing.

          GCC 9.2 offers various bug fixes back-ported to the GCC 9 branch since the inaugural stable release earlier this year, GCC 9.1.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Digital Textbooks Are Forcing a Radical Shift in Higher Ed

            FOR SEVERAL DECADES, textbook publishers followed the same basic model: Pitch a hefty tome of knowledge to faculty for inclusion in lesson plans; charge students an equally hefty sum; revise and update its content as needed every few years. Repeat. But the last several years have seen a shift at colleges and universities—one that has more recently turned tectonic.

            In a way, the evolution of the textbook has mirrored that in every other industry. Ownership has given way to rentals, and analog to digital. Within the broad strokes of that transition, though, lie divergent ideas about not just what learning should look like in the 21st century but how affordable to make it.

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Touchpad, Interrupted

            For two years I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to figure out the source of a driver problem on OpenBSD: interrupts never arrived for certain touchpad devices. A couple weeks ago, I put out a public plea asking for help in case any non-OpenBSD developers recognized the problem, but while debugging an unrelated issue over the weekend, I finally solved it.

            It’s been a long journey and it’s a technical tale, but here it is.

      • Programming/Development

        • Top 10 Machine learning Libraries for Python

          You have come here to use Machine Learning(ML) . Have you considered carefully what for? When you pick a Machine Learning Library, you need to start with how you are going to use it. Even if you are just interested in learning, you should consider where Machine Learning is used and which is closest to your main interest. You should also consider if you want to focus on getting something going on your local machine or if you are interested in spreading your computing over many servers.

          In the beginning, start by making something work.

        • Customize the compilation process with Clang: Optimization options

          When using C++, developers generally aim to keep a high level of abstraction without sacrificing performance. That’s the famous motto “costless abstractions.” Yet the C++ language actually doesn’t give a lot of guarantees to developers in terms of performance. You can have the guarantee of copy-elision or compile-time evaluation, but key optimizations like inlining, unrolling, constant propagation or, dare I say, tail call elimination are subject to the goodwill of the standard’s best friend: the compiler.

          This article focuses on the Clang compiler and the various flags it offers to customize the compilation process. I’ve tried to keep this from being a boring list, and it certainly is not an exhaustive one.

          This write-up is an expanded version of the talk “Merci le Compilo” given at CPPP on June 15, 2019.

        • Akamai Threat Research: Phishing and Credential Stuffing Attacks Remain Top Threat to Financial Services Organizations and Customers

          Akamai’s findings revealed that 94% of observed attacks against the financial services sector came from one of four methods: SQL Injection (SQLi), Local File Inclusion (LFI), Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and OGNL Java Injection (which accounted for more than 8 million attempts during this reporting period). OGNL Java Injection, made famous due to the Apache Struts vulnerability, continues to be used by attackers years after patches have been issued.

        • [GNOME] GSoC: Things I’ve been doing and what I learned until now

          The second month of Google Summer of Code passed quickly. Last weeks I’ve been working on my markers code. My early implementation, while functional, needed a lot of cleaning, refactoring and refining to fit into Pitivi. Mathieu Duponchell and Alexandru Băluț have been guiding me through this process.

          In GES I expanded the GESMarkerList with new signals, writed new tests and changed some unusual structures for others more usual in GES.

          In Pitivi I added a new module with the markers logic, ‘markers.py’. Roughly speaking, now we have the class MarkersBox, which is a GTK.EventBox containing a GESMarkerList and a GTK.Layout to put on markers. The class Marker is also a GTK.EventBox, so we have a widget for every GESMarker, which allows to move, remove and select markers. The class MarkerPopover brings a popover menu to edit metadata in every marker. I also implemented undo and redo actions.

          The process of rewriting a lot of my previous code has been hard and challenging. I knew that my original code wasn’t clear or optimized but I wasn’t sure how to exactly improve it. It implied to learn and apply some concepts which wasn’t clear to me. While hard work it felt as a rewarding and foundamental learning.

        • PyCon Australia 2019

          PyCon Australia 2019 was, surprisingly, my first Australian Python Convention. It was also the first Python Convention I’ve attended purely as a spectator. I didn’t contribute officially and was just there to learn and meet people.

        • How Working At GitLab Changed My Life: Priyanka Sharma

          Priyanka Sharma is the Director of Technical Evangelism at GitLab. She had started her own company when she met the founder of GitLab. She was so impressed with the culture of GitLab that she decided to join the company. In this interview, Sharma shared her journey and also talked about what makes GitLab an ideal place for open source developers to work at.

        • LLVM 8.0.1 Release
          LLVM 8.0.1 is now available! Download it now, or read the release notes.
          
          This release contains bug-fixes for the LLVM 8.0.0 release. This
          release is API and ABI compatible with 8.0.0.
          
          LLVM 8.0.1 would not be possible without the help of our volunteer
          release team! Thanks to all the release testers:
          
          Dimitry Andric, Hans Wennborg, Yvan Roux, Sylvestre Ledru, 
          Michał Górny, Bernhard Rosenkraenzer, Brian Cain
          
          
          Also, a big thanks to everyone else who helped identify critical bugs,
          track down bug-fixes, and resolve merge conflicts.
          
          If you have questions or comments about this release, please contact
          the LLVMdev mailing list!
          
          LLVM 8.0.0 Release Announcement:
          
          http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-announce/2019-March/000082.html
          
          
        • LLVM 8.0.1 Released With Bug Fixes

          We are hopefully only a few weeks away from seeing LLVM 9.0 at the end of August or early September, but for those making use of LLVM 8.0 today there is now LLVM 8.0.1 along with associated updates like Clang 8.0.1. The v8.0.1 update just incorporates various fixes back-ported to its code-base from March.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • The maths equation that tried to stump the [Internet]

        More generally, the conventional order of operations is to evaluate expressions in parentheses first. Then you deal with any exponents. Next come multiplication and division, which, as I said, are considered to have equal priority, with ambiguities dispelled by working from left to right. Finally come addition and subtraction, which are also of equal priority, with ambiguities broken again by working from left to right.

    • Hardware

      • Analysing WPA3′s Dragonfly Handshake

        April 2019 — Modern Wi-Fi networks use WPA2 to protect transmitted data. However, because WPA2 is more than 14 years old, the Wi-Fi Alliance recently announced the new and more secure WPA3 protocol. One of the supposed advantages of WPA3 is that, thanks to its underlying Dragonfly handshake, it’s near impossible to crack the password of a network. Unfortunately, we found that even with WPA3, an attacker within range of a victim can still recover the password. If the victim uses no extra protection such as HTTPS, this allows an attacker to steal sensitive information such as passwords and emails. We hope our disclosure motivates vendors to mitigate our attacks before WPA3 becomes widespread.

      • “IBM PC Compatible”: how adversarial interoperability saved PCs from monopolization

        Adversarial interoperability is what happens when someone makes a new product or service that works with a dominant product or service, against the wishes of the dominant business.

        Though there are examples of adversarial interoperability going back to early phonograms and even before, the computer industry has always especially relied on adversarial interoperability to keep markets competitive and innovative. This used to be especially true for personal computers.

        From 1969 to 1982, IBM was locked in battle with the US Department of Justice over whether it had a monopoly over mainframe computers; but even before the DOJ dropped the suit in 1982, the computing market had moved on, with mainframes dwindling in importance and personal computers rising to take their place.

        The PC revolution owes much to Intel’s 8080 chip, a cheap processor that originally found a market in embedded controllers but eventually became the basis for early personal computers, often built by hobbyists. As Intel progressed to 16-bit chips like the 8086 and 8088, multiple manufacturers entered the market, creating a whole ecosystem of Intel-based personal computers.

        In theory, all of these computers could run MS-DOS, the Microsoft operating system adapted from 86-DOS, which it acquired from Seattle Computer Products, but, in practice, getting MS-DOS to run on a given computer required quite a bit of tweaking, thanks to differences in controllers and other components.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Urban or Rural, the U.S. Drug Crisis Is an Equal-Opportunity Killer

        For the study, researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics used cause-of-death data and a deceased person’s county of residence to determine that the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths grew significantly in both urban and rural areas from 1999 to 2017.

        In urban counties, the rate grew from 6.4 to 22.0 per 100,000 standard population, while rural counties saw a surge from 4.0 to 20.0 during the same period. Over the entire time frame, the type of county with the highest rate of fatal overdoses flipped back and forth.

      • [Old] OSEHRA 2019 Summit in Washington to Examine Next Steps for Open Health

        The second day of the Summit will feature 30 sessions and roundtable discussions. The sessions will feature a demonstration by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Agency (SAMHSA) of their state-of-the-art open source software package, Omnibus Care Plan (OCP). Additional sessions will feature leading-edge topics including the Synthetic Patient Data project, Open Source Ecosystems, Open Source APIs and Standards, Machine Learning and Analytics, Imaging and Analytics, and Innovation with VistA.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • The false sense of security

        The main reason for this mindset could be the omnipresent focus on technology when it comes to information security. However, as discussed in other articles, technology is only a small subset of information security.

        In the following, we present three reasons for a false sense of security when it comes to configuring technology to make it “more secure”.

      • Capital One Hack Exposes Personal Information of About 106 Million

        Capital One Financial Corp. was notified by a third party on July 19 that their data had appeared on the code-hosting site GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft. The McLean, Virginia, company says it immediately notified the FBI.

      • Capital One systems breached by Seattle woman, U.S. says

        While the complaint doesn’t identify the cloud provider that stored the allegedly stolen data, the charging papers mention information stored in S3, a reference to Simple Storage Service, Amazon Web Services’ popular data storage software.

        An AWS spokesman confirmed that the company’s cloud had stored the Capital One data that was stolen, and said it wasn’t accessed through a breach or vulnerability in AWS systems. Prosecutors alleged that the access to the bank data came through a misconfigured firewall protecting one of its applications.

      • Linux 5.2.6
      • Linux 4.19.64
      • Linux 4.14.136
      • Linux 4.9.187
      • Linux 4.4.187
      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (proftpd-dfsg and vim), Fedora (java-11-openjdk and matrix-synapse), Gentoo (binutils and libpng), Mageia (kernel), and SUSE (openexr and python-Django).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Terrorists turn to female suicide bombers in new trend

        Previously it was thought widely that women were primarily recruited by Al-Shabaab as brides for fighters and were meant to cook and clean in the militants’ camps.

        However more women are now assuming greater roles in active combat, intelligence gathering, planning, coordination, and execution of attacks, according to the intelligence report.

        The new trend of Al-Shabaab recruiting an alarmingly high number of women into their rank and file is mainly because women are less lily to raise suspicious when undertaking terror activities.

      • India to revoke special constitutional status for disputed Kashmir

        Interior Minister Amit Shah told members of the upper house of parliament that the government has decided to repeal a law that gives special status to the Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir by presidential order.

        Shah said that the government has also decided to split the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be ruled directly by the central government without a legislature of its own.

      • India to revoke special status for Kashmir

        India’s government has said it plans to revoke the part of the constitution that gives Indian-administered Kashmir special privileges.

        Article 370, which grants it significant autonomy, is sensitive because it is the basis on which the princely state of Kashmir joined India when it was partitioned in 1947.

      • Why Russia is really sending military advisers and other specialists to Venezuela

        In late June 2019, Venezuela averted another coup. The government also nearly fell in the spring, on April 30, when opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the country’s lawful president and tried to overthrow the acting head of state, Nicolás Maduro. Protesters clashed with police in the streets, hoping for the army’s support, but the soldiers ultimately remained loyal to Maduro. In those days, when the U.S. recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s sole legitimate president, Moscow sent military advisers to Caracas. To learn more about the exact nature of “Russia’s support for the Maduro regime” (which attracted a great deal of attention abroad), Meduza sought out Russian army and intelligence agency veterans who previously served in Venezuela, and discovered that they mainly guarded Russian business interests, not the local authorities.

      • Iran Won’t Let Itself Be Hemmed in by the U.S. and U.K.

        In late May, the shipping authorities in Panama deregistered Grace 1, an oil tanker carrying two million barrels of Iranian crude oil around the coastline of Africa and into the Mediterranean Sea. Having lost its Panamanian flag, the ship now had to carry an Iranian one.

        It was this deregistration that began a serious provocation. Off the coast of Gibraltar, British Royal Marines seized and impounded Grace 1. The British said that the ship was going toward Syria, a breach of European Union sanctions. Iran denied this.

        Under pressure from the United States, Panama has removed its flag from 59 vessels that are either linked to Iran or Syria. A ship without an international flag cannot buy insurance, which means that it has to almost instantly take on a different flag.

      • NPR Shreds Ethics Handbook to Normalize Regime Change in Venezuela

        The Reagan administration in 1982 coerced National Public Radio (NPR) to cover more favorably the US terrorist war then being waged against Nicaragua.

        As Greg Grandin writes, Otto Reich, head of the administration’s Orwellian propaganda outfit known as the Office of Public Diplomacy, informed the public network that his office had contracted “a special consultant service [to listen] to all NPR programs” on Central America. Dependent on state funding, NPR promptly buckled under pressure, reassigning reporters viewed as “too easy on the Sandinistas,” and hiring conservative pundit Linda Chavez to provide “balance.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • #KamalaHarrisDestroyed debate signals how much we still don’t understand about social media manipulation

        There’s still a lot we don’t understand about misinformation, social media manipulation, and online election interference after the 2016 election. In 2019, that’s becoming increasingly apparent.

      • Moscow police press secretary fined for photos of drug lab that police passed off as photos from Ivan Golunov’s apartment

        Yury Titov, who leads the press service for Moscow’s branch of Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry, has been disciplined in connection with the case against Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, RBC reported.

        Titov and the press service he leads have not yet commented on the disciplinary actions taken against him. They only came to light after Alexander Khaminsky, a former advisor for the Moscow police department, submitted an inquiry to police about their handling of the Golunov case.

      • Ivan Golunov’s attorney refutes reports of criminal charges against police

        Sergey Badamshin, an attorney for Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov, told Meduza that he has not received any reports of a criminal case against the police who arrested Golunov in early June. Golunov was framed for drug possession and distribution charges before a massive solidarity campaign helped trigger his release.

        Badamshin added that the investigator responsible for the drug case that was opened against Golunov in June denied that any additional cases had been opened in the matter.

      • Putin spokesperson: Kremlin employees have read latest Ivan Golunov investigation on Moscow funeral industry

        The report, which was submitted in draft form hours before Golunov was arrested on fabricated drug charges, exposed corruption and FSB ties in Moscow’s funeral industry

      • WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Decoding the National Security Commentariat

        The Fourth Estate, that historical unelected grouping of society’s scrutineers, has become something of a rabble, and, as a confederacy of strewn dunces and the ongoing compromised, is ripe for analysis. An essential premise in the work of WikiLeaks was demonstrating, to a good, stone-throwing degree, how media figures and practitioners had been bought by the state or the corporate sector, unwittingly or otherwise. At the very least, the traditionalists had swallowed their reservations and preferred to proclaim, rather unconvincingly, that they were operating with freedom to scrutinise and question, facing down the rebels from the WikiLeaks set.

        The Fourth Estate has, however, been placed on poor gruel and life support. Gone are the days when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ferreted their way through sources and obtaining the material – leaks from confidential sources, no less – that would make them famous and lay the way for the demise of a US President. Such energy is frowned upon these days; the investigative journalist is being treated more as an irritating remnant, a costly undusted fossil. The way for what Nozomi Hayase calls the “Global Fourth Estate” is being well and truly paved as a result.

        The corporate factor in this process is undeniable. The Australian media tycoon and ageing tyrant Rupert Murdoch has proven to be the kiss of death to much decent journalism, though he is by no means the only contributor. As a man who takes pride in directly intervening in the policies and directions of his newspapers, identifying the credible view from the crafty slant is a hard thing. Political and business interests tend to converge in such an empire. Balanced reporting is for the bleeding hearts.

      • The Most Important Article You’ll Never Read? How Western Media Support State Terror, While Millions Die, and How this Article was Killed

        As media theorists, we set out in Spring 2019 to pool our collective expertise into a short and very readable article for the mainstream press about how media treats Western foreign policy.

        As we expected, our efforts were roundly ignored. However, as fate would have it, one leading liberal publication was excited by the project. Our source worked closely with us until deadline day, where it was presented to a senior editor for a final check before printing. And that’s when the real story started.

        Below is our article, in full, and the story of how it was pulled by senior management at the last minute.

        When Noam Chomsky first observed that the United States had attacked South Vietnam, he was upending a particularly tedious case of media conformism from that era, namely that the West was fighting Communists in the North to defend Saigon. However, the young professor was spectacularly right. By the end of the war, two thirds of US bombs – twice the total tonnage detonated in World War II – had fallen on the South.

        The leading military historian, Bernard Fall – who believed in the US presence there – said at the time that ‘Vietnam as a cultural and historic entity… is threatened with extinction… [as] the countryside literally dies under the blows of the largest military machine ever unleashed on an area of this size.’ Yet, as Chomsky argued, mainstream media opinion saw US actions in Vietnam either ‘as a “noble cause” that could have been won with more dedication,’ or, on the other side of the political spectrum, the critics spoke of ‘“a mistake” that proved too costly’.

        The war consumed everything like a vortex: Vietnam; Cambodia; Laos; even Bernard Fall himself was killed by a landmine.

      • In Crisis of Democracy, We Must All Become Julian Assange

        The US government’s indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange marked the worst attack on press freedom in modern history. Assange has been charged with 18 counts, including 17 violations of the Espionage Act. James Goodale, former general counsel of The New York Times, who urged the paper to publish the Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration noted, “If the government succeeds with the trial against Assange, if any, that will mean that it’s criminalized the news gathering process.”

        On June 12, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed the extradition papers. Assange’s hearing is now set to begin next February. He is currently being held in London’s Belmarsh high security prison for what amounts to a politically motivated, 50-week sentence given by a judge for violating bail conditions in 2012 while attempting to obtain political asylum in Ecuador against the threat of extradition to the US.

        Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture visited Assange with two medical experts and assessed that Assange has been subjected to prolonged psychological torture by the US government and its allies for nearly a decade, and warned about his serious physical deterioration. While this multi-award winning journalist who published truthful information in the public interest about the US government, is in jail, the British government (that has been a key player in this political persecution) recently held a Global Conference for Media Freedom.

        Despite its stated mission of protecting the safety and rights of journalists, the conference failed to address the degrading and inhumane treatment of Assange and the US government’s prosecution of the publisher that could set a dangerous precedent for press freedom. This total hypocrisy was best shown by the fact that this gathering was hosted by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who, last month, told US TV that he would happily extradite Assange to Trump’s America where former CIA officer John Kiriakou indicated that he would receive no fair trial and face life imprisonment.

      • Assange and His Wiki Wicked leaks

        “But all the same,” insisted the Savage, “it is natural to believe in God when you’re alone—quite alone, in the night, thinking about death…”

        “But people never are alone now,” said Mustapha Mond. “We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it’s almost impossible for them ever to have it.” Brave New World (17.31-3)

        There’ll come a time when you’ve gone too far with your thinking. You’ve crossed the Imaginot line. Which is to say, à la Descartes, that you’ve gone too far with your being. Cogito ergo sum. A knock comes on your door. You open to find an agent of information (AI) say, “We have so much information on you. Please, follow me. We need to blow out your candles. Have your cake and eat it too. A long convalescence. Some adjustments and renewal.” They’re not asking and God help anyone who tries to stop them.

        Amazon, Google, Facebook. Recorded Future, predictions of what you’ll do. MyActvity, the copious details of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and implicitly what you’ve thought.. Algorithms up the yinyang. Fused databases, a life’s postings of “thoughts”. Cogitos you cannot defend. Offenses “Made” on the run, arbitrary, charges bespoken, tailored to your presumed needs. You’ve always been a criminal — like, say, Trevor Noah — but never knew until the fascists came to collect you. To blow your mind to kingdom come. And reset to factory default.

        As in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, it’ll be the Savages who want to be left alone, off the grid, who appreciate the value of privacy, who will be targeted, breaking as they do from the conditioning required by late metastatic Techno-Capitalism breaking real bad. In an information age your cogito is the final frontier for economic growth, your thoughts mere commodities. Settled into Soma, you’ll soon be swimming with the endolphins and feeling new porpoise, but the reality is that the sharks are swimming all around you in algorithmic circles. Only a savage would want to be free.

    • Environment

      • Should Rivers Have Same Legal Rights As Humans? A Growing Number Of Voices Say Yes

        Traditionally, nature has been subject to a Western-conceived legal regime of property-based ownership, says Monti Aguirre with the environmental group International Rivers.

        “That means … an owner has the right to modify their features, their natural features, or to destroy them all at will,” Aguirre says.

        The idea of environmental personhood turns that paradigm on its head by recognizing that nature has rights and that those rights should be enforced by a court of law. It’s a philosophical idea, says Aguirre, with indigenous communities leading the charge.

      • Greenland’s ice wasn’t expected to melt like this until 2070

        Mass losses from Greenland this past week were already approaching levels not expected until 2070 based on the best available models. It is still too early to tell if the ice losses for the summer will exceed the losses in 2012, but it is clear that the Greenland ice sheet is rapidly responding to climate change, even faster than many scientists expected. These rapid changes point to the necessity for action on climate change and for improved observing systems to monitor the ice sheet.

      • Energy

        • Saudi Oil Chief Reaffirms Commitment To Output Cuts During Russia Visit

          Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members in early July reached an agreement with other major oil-producing nations, including Russia, to extend production cuts into next year amid concerns over weaker global growth.

        • How NAFTA Killed the Green New Deal

          In a fundamental way, the 2020 election will be about unfinished business. The neoliberal order that emerged from the 1970s remained viable until 2008. Since then it has retained legitimacy in the centers of power, due no doubt to the highly stratified economic outcomes it produces. However, its social logic was never evident in the hinterlands. This distance reframed the adversarial posture of the political parties as an insider’s game that is largely unrelated to the public interest.

          Oddly, or perhaps not, the Democrats deemed most likely to unseat Donald Trump have the policies most like his. Joe Biden is a racially challenged neoliberal operator with a long history of toadying to corporate interests. The irony, to the extent the term fits, is that the less distinct the candidates’ policies are from Mr. Trump’s, the less motivation there is to unseat him. By implication, the centrist Democrats assert that Mr. Trump is a legitimate president.

          The emergent left has the ideas and the programs, but no real entre into the political process. Outside of large-scale political unrest that seems unlikely at present, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the left’s programs will be enacted through official channels. What appears to be widely misunderstood is why this is the case. On the one hand, the programs are in the public interest. And when they are presented fairly, they are wildly popular.

        • Report: ‘No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Without Threatening Public Health’

          In 2010 when I first started writing about hydraulic fracturing — the process of blasting a cocktail of water and chemicals into shale to release trapped hydrocarbons — there were more questions than answers about environmental and public-health threats. That same year Josh Fox’s documentary Gasland, which featured tap water bursting into flames, grabbed the public’s attention. Suddenly the term fracking — little known outside the oil and gas industry — became common parlance.

          In the following years I visited with people in frontline communities — those living in the gas patches and oilfields, along pipeline paths and beside compressor stations. Many were already woozy from the fumes or worried their drinking water was making them sick. When people asked me if they should leave their homes, it was hard to know what to say; there weren’t many peer-reviewed studies to understand how fracking was affecting public health.

          Those days are over.

          In June the nonprofits Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York released the sixth edition of a compendium that summarizes more than 1,700 scientific reports, peer-reviewed studies and investigative journalism reports about the threats to the climate and public health from fracking.

          The research has been piling up for years, and the verdict is clear, the authors conclude: Fracking isn’t safe, and heaps of regulations won’t help (not that they’re coming, anyway).

          “Across a wide range of parameters, from air and water pollution to radioactivity to social disruption to greenhouse gas emissions, the data continue to reveal a plethora of recurring problems and harms that cannot be sufficiently averted through regulatory frameworks,” write the eight public health professionals, mostly doctors and scientists, who compiled the compendium. “There is no evidence that fracking can operate without threatening public health directly and without imperiling climate stability upon which public health depends.”

          The research collected and summarized is wide-ranging and includes the harms not just from drilling and fracking, but the long tail of the process, including compressor stations and pipelines, silica sand mining, natural-gas storage, natural-gas power plants, and the manufacturing and transport of liquefied natural gas.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Animals adapt to climate heat, but too slowly

          German scientists have an answer to the great question of species survival: can animals adapt to climate change? The answer, based on close analysis of 10,000 studies, is a simple one. They may be able to adapt, but not fast enough.

          The question is a serious one. Earth is home to many millions of species that have evolved – and adapted or gone extinct – with successive dramatic shifts in climate over the last 500 million years.

          The rapid heating of the planet in a climate emergency driven by profligate fossil fuel use threatens a measurable shift in climate conditions and is in any case coincident with what looks like the beginning of a mass extinction that could match any recorded in the rocks of the Permian, or other extinctions linked with global climate change.

    • Finance

      • The trick that makes you overspend

        Psychologists still debate the exact reasons for this particular effect, but one idea is that the comparison with the decoy offers us an easy justification for an otherwise arbitrary decision. If you were to compare just A and B, it’s hard to know exactly how to appraise the trade-offs between cost and waiting time – how much money is 90 minutes’ extra wait really worth? But if one option is obviously better than the decoy – Flight C – on one of those measures, you have a ready-made reason to explain your preference.

        These patterns of behaviour have been observed for many different kinds of goods – from beer to TVs, cars and houses: an unattractive third option changes people’s preferences between the two other possibilities.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • While You Were Offline: Mitch McConnell Got a New Nickname

        McConnell then made the mistake of letting it be known that he didn’t like the nickname, thereby ensuring that it would stick around probably forever. It’s almost as if he wasn’t bullied in high school, or else he’d know better.

      • In the World of Truth and Fact, Russiagate is Dead. In the World of the Political Establishment, it is Still the New 42

        Douglas Adams famously suggested that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. In the world of the political elite, the answer is Russiagate. What has caused the electorate to turn on the political elite, to defeat Hillary and to rush to Brexit? Why, the evil Russians, of course, are behind it all.

        It was the Russians who hacked the DNC and published Hillary’s emails, thus causing her to lose the election because… the Russians, dammit, who cares what was in the emails? It was the Russians. It is the Russians who are behind Wikileaks,and Julian Assange is a Putin agent (as is that evil Craig Murray). It was the Russians who swayed the 1,300,000,000 dollar Presidential election campaign result with 100,000 dollars worth of Facebook advertising. It was the evil Russians who once did a dodgy trade deal with Aaron Banks then did something improbable with Cambridge Analytica that hypnotised people en masse via Facebook into supporting Brexit.

        All of this is known to be true by every Blairite, every Clintonite, by the BBC, by CNN, by the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post. “The Russians did it” is the article of faith for the political elite who cannot understand why the electorate rejected the triangulated “consensus” the elite constructed and sold to us, where the filthy rich get ever richer and the rest of us have falling incomes, low employment rights and scanty welfare benefits. You don’t like that system? You have been hypnotised and misled by evil Russian trolls and hackers.

        Except virtually none of this is true. Mueller’s inability to defend in person his deeply flawed report took a certain amount of steam out of the blame Russia campaign. But what should have killed off “Russiagate” forever is the judgement of Judge John G Koetl of the Federal District Court of New York.

        In a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee against Russia and against Wikileaks, and against inter alia Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, for the first time the claims of collusion between Trump and Russia were subjected to actual scrutiny in a court of law. And Judge Koetl concluded that, quite simply, the claims made as the basis of Russiagate are insufficient to even warrant a hearing.

      • 40% of Scottish Labour Voters Support Independence

        The headline from the major new Ashcroft poll of Scottish public opinion is that Independence now has 52-48 majority support, and that is excellent news. Ashcroft himself is a Machiavellian Tory but his polling effort involves much larger samples than regular newspaper polls and has a generally good record. For me, the most interesting point in his new Scottish poll is that fully 40% of Scottish Labour voters in 2017 now support Independence.

        This has important repercussions. The Labour leadership will no longer be able to portray Independence as beyond the pale for decent thinking people, or to portray Scottish nationalism as akin to Viktor Orban, without alienating a huge swathe of its own support. It certainly ought, at the very least, to encourage the Labour Party in supporting the Scottish people’s right to a new referendum, against Tory attempts to block it.

        But it also has ramifications for how the SNP and wider Yes movement conduct ourselves, particularly online. Nationalists must stop automatically writing off Labour supporters as unionists. There remains a Blairite rump still powerful in Scottish Labour who are rightfully despised, but we need more readily to acknowledge how much we have in common with a great many ordinary members of the Labour Party, both in terms of supporting Independence and in terms of the more socially inclusive Scottish state we wish to build.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • China and the Difficulties of Dissent

        It is important to understand that China is a fascist dictatorship. The term “fascist” is now thrown around with such carelessness that it has lost most of its meaning outside the offices of a few historians or political science professors. But fascism, in its original early twentieth century incarnation, meant a political system defined by three attributes—authoritarianism, ethnonationalism, and an economic model in which capitalism co-existed with large state-directed industries and partnerships between the government and corporations.

        China is an ethnonationalist, corporatist, authoritarian state. The government harasses, imprisons, or murders those who demand the right to vote. It engages in cultural genocide and seeks to make the Chinese dictatorship ideologically inseparable from the self-image of the Chinese people. It protects its domestic economy from foreign competition, subsidises all its important industries, mandates that government officials sit on the boards of all large companies, and does not allow independent labour unions. Despite the use of the word “communist” in both the name of the state and the name of its ruling elite, China is fascist. The label of communism is now merely a historical anomaly, relevant only to the extent that totalitarianism remains an underlying principle, the source code of a regime that has likely killed more people than any other in history.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook hit with new questions over Cambridge Analytica

        Facebook has maintained that it first became aware of Cambridge Analytica’s illegal harvesting of user data in December of 2015, when The Guardian first reported it.

        But internal emails from Facebook employees, first described in a lawsuit from the attorney general for Washington, D.C. in March, show that Cambridge Analytica had been flagged within the company as early as September 2015 over suspicions that it had been “scraping” Facebook data in violation of the platform’s policies.

      • Honey trapping job? Pakistan’s ‘military owned’ media house looks for ‘females’ to ‘attract and communicate’ on Social Media

        When checked, the official website of Fatima Jinnah Women’s University indeed has this unique job opening posted on their official page.

        There are two aspects of this job posting that are interesting.

        1. That Pakistani Army owns a media house

        2. They want a ‘female’ Social Media Specialist to ‘attract and interact’ with ‘targeted virtual communities’ and ‘network users’.

      • ‘The Great Hack’ Shows How Facebook Got Your Number

        When filmmaker Jehane Noujaim and producer Karim Amer made “The Square,” their Oscar-nominated documentary about the 2012 Arab Spring uprising in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, part of their focus was on the power of social media in organizing a virtual public square that unified protesters and enabled free speech. Six years later, their new film, “The Great Hack,” finds the social media public square becoming a public sewer, where vitriol and lies are coin of the realm. Exhibit No. 1 is the sordid saga of Cambridge Analytica, the controversial consulting firm that used unauthorized personal data gleaned from Facebook.

        “Cambridge Analytica was practicing voter suppression, different kinds of methods of manipulating the population of these different countries in the Third World and then bringing it back to the U.S. and the U.K. in order to influence those populations,” Amer, the film’s co-director, told Truthdig.

        “Facebook should be seen as being part of the largest corporate negligence case in American history,” he said. “The leak of Facebook data of 100 million-plus users—we don’t see it, so we don’t feel it, but what’s happening in the psy-ops world is a new era of colonization. He or she that collects the most up-to-date data on the most people on the planet and shows the ability to influence their behavior, wins.”

      • Records Show Palantir Made $60 Million Contracting with ICE for Mobile App

        Palantir, the secretive data company founded by billionaire Trump surrogate and well-known Silicon Valley techno-goblin Peter Thiel, has come under fire in recent months for its work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other government agencies involved in implementing Trump’s racist anti-immigrant policies. Protests organized both from within the tech community and from immigrants’ rights organizations have highlighted the essential role that Palantir plays in keeping the wheels of ICE raids turning.

        A critical July 2019 exposé from WNYC based on documents obtained via FOIA request shows how Palantir’s proprietary software, in this case the FALCON mobile app, is essential to the removal operations of ICE and related agencies. As WNYC explained, “FALCON mobile allows agents in the field to search through a fusion of law enforcement databases that include information on people’s immigration histories, family relationships, and past border crossings.”

        But while the information contained in the WNYC story, as well as reporting from other news outlets, is important for what it reveals about how Palantir collaborates with the deportation machine, we have not yet had the financial side of the Palantir-ICE relationship come into focus. Until now.

        CounterPunch has learned that since 2016, Palantir has made more than $60 million in contract awards from ICE for access to FALCON and for Operations & Maintenance (O&M) for the mobile application. This, of course, is solely for FALCON and related services, and likely just scratches the surface of the true scope of Palantir’s profits from collaboration with ICE, to say nothing of Palantir’s lucrative relations with other government agencies such as CIA, DoD, etc.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • All You Need is Hate

        Bruno Sammartino, Killer Kowalski, Professor Tanaka, The Fabulous Moolah, The Sheik, Haystacks Calhoun, Chief Jay Strongbow, Ivan Koloff “The Russian Bear,” Billy Graham, Colonel Ninotchka, and The Progressive Liberal. Turnbuckle nose jobs, sleeper holds, flying splats, head chairs, an occasional Curley Shuffle, tag-team terror, caged grudge, and emcee Vince McMahon. Hatred never had so much fun wrestling with Truth. Until Now. Entering the ring, none other than WWE Hall of Defamer, the one, the only, Donald J. Trump, aka Saint Grobian, champion of the deplorables, who “schlonged” Hillary Clinton, and is feared for his legendary hold, The Pussy Snatch.

        According to Rolling Stone staff writer Matt Taibbi, this is the state of affairs in national politics today — a Spectacle of bizarre performers flipping each other in the public arena, to the titillation of the rabid masses, like some scene from the classic movie, A Face in the Crowd. They are divided Left and Right, polarized bears wrassling over baby seal meat on the world’s last floe, united by their choreographed hatred for each other. The End of the World as Reality TV. Great ratings. Matt Taibbi calls it all Hate Inc. — his new book.

        Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity face off on the cover of Hate Inc. Loud Democrats versus Loud Republicans. Of the two, Taibbi takes issue with Maddow more because he sees her as “smart, quick, and funny,” and should know better than to slog the slimey end of Trump and Russiagate the way she has. Meanwhile, “The Sean Hannity Show is an uncomplicated gruel of resentment, vituperation and doomsaying,” writes Taibbi. Both adhere, to varying degrees, to what Taibbi calls The Ten Rules of Hate, which include notions like, “There are only two ideas,” “Root, don’t think,” “No switching teams,” “The other side is literally Hitler,” and in fighting that other side everything is permitted. For Taibbi, they are two faces of the coin of the fucked-up Realm.

        We’ve been at the bread and circuses so long in America that it’s now difficult to conjure up the sad, but heady, days of catharsis that followed Dick Nixon’s TV resignation in 1974. Goodbye to ‘dirty tricks’ and, soon enough, the Apocalypse Then of Vietnam.

        [...]

        The Russian disappointment aside, Taibbi locates the beginning of the corruption of good, solid journalism in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Far from seeing the end in Nam as a military loss, let alone a moral loss, American war hawks came away angry that ruptures in the narrative — Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, Sy Hersh’s My Lai account — had undermined and betrayed the so-called Noble Cause. “The post-Vietnam story blamed an ‘excess of democracy’ for the loss,” writes Taibbi, “especially in the media: loserific criticism of our prospects for victory undermined the popular resolve to keep fighting a winnable war.”

      • Oklahoma Victims Compensation Program Disproportionately Denies Funds for Black Victims

        Data shows that Black victims are often denied compensation for the very same crimes as committed against white victims, who did receive compensation.
        Tiras Johnson, age 23, was unarmed when he was shot and killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His family was devastated by his death, and they were struggling to pay for Tiras’ funeral. Like many victims’ families, Tiras’ mother applied for financial compensation through the Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation Act in order to cover his funeral costs, but instead received a surprising response in the mail.

        The letter, addressed to Tiras’ mother, Netarsha, explained that her claim was ineligible for funds because of implied contributory conduct — that is, that the incident “appeared to be gang-related” and “[Tiras] exercised poor judgment by choosing to be a gang member.” All compensation was denied. “We extend our condolences for the loss of your loved one,” it read.

        Tiras wasn’t a gang member, for the record, but of far greater importance is that he played no contributory role in his own death. As it turns out, he would be one of many Black victims often denied compensation for the very same crimes as committed against white victims, who did receive compensation.

        The Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation Act is intended to fairly compensate victims, or their surviving families, for expenses incurred “as a result of the criminal acts of other persons.” Eligibility requirements for receiving funds include the existence of sufficient evidence that the compensation wouldn’t benefit the offender (e.g., in a domestic violence case), that the crime was reported within a specified amount of time, and that the victim was not complicit in the crime (which includes the arbitrary rule that one must not be associated with a gang). The fund is managed by the District Attorneys Council, and claims are approved or denied in each District Attorney’s office. Unfortunately, there is evidence to suggest that these eligibility requirements are not applied equally to Black and white victims and their families.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon’s New ‘Unlimited’ Data Plans Still Have Very Real, Problematic Limits

        Back in 2007, Verizon was forced to strike an agreement with the New York State Attorney General for marketing data plans as “unlimited” when the plans had very clear limits. Twelve years later and it’s not clear the company has learned much of anything.

        The latest case in point: Verizon this week once again revamped the company’s not really “unlimited” data plans, and they once again come with some very real limits. For example the company’s entry level “unlimited” plan still bans HD video entirely, throttling everything to 480p, then forcing you to pay extra should you want to view a video stream as its originator intended.

        [...]

        It’s fairly impressive that twelve years after Verizon was dinged for not understanding the definition of unlimited — and after fifteen years of net neutrality debates — some people still don’t see the terrible precedent these kinds of pricing plans set. Letting ISPs impose arbitrary restrictions, then charge you more money to get around them, isn’t a model that’s going to be great for innovators over the longer haul. And with the triple punch of regulatory capture at the FCC, the death of net neutrality, and looming consolidation/competition erosion courtesy of the Sprint T-Mobile merger, there’s a whole lot more of this sort of thing over the horizon.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          On July 23, 2019, the Federal Circuit denied ChargePoint’s request for panel rehearing and en banc review of its March 28, 2019 decision rendering four ChargePoint patents invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Since we did not review this case when the panel decision came down, and because the case subsequently garnered attention as being one of the more problematic § 101 decisions of late, today we provide a review and some perspective of the substantive issues at hand.

          ChargePoint sued SemaConnect in the District of Maryland, asserting infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,138,715, 8,432,131, 8,450,967, and 7,956,570. All four patents share the same specification. SemaConnect moved for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) on the grounds that the patents failed to meet the eligibility requirements of § 101. The District Court sided with SemaConnect. ChargePoint appealed.

          2014′s Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank Int’l Supreme Court case set forth a two-part test to determine whether claims are eligible for patenting under § 101. One must first decide whether the claim at hand involves a judicially-excluded law of nature, a natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea. If so, then one must further decide whether any element or combination of elements in the claim is sufficient to ensure that the claim amounts to significantly more than the judicial exclusion. But elements or combinations of elements that are well-understood, routine, and conventional will not lift the claim over the § 101 hurdle. While this inquiry is generally carried out as a matter of law, factual issues can come into play when determining whether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional.

      • Trademarks

        • Confusing a Stylized H

          This case stems from an opposition action filed by Hybrid against Hylete’s mark that is pending registration. The senior mark Hybrid is associated with two cross-fit style gyms in Connecticut (flipping tires and carrying boulders). Hylete sells athletic apparel. During the opposition though, Hybrid provided evidence of use of its mark on athletic apparel as well.

          [...]

          On appeal to the Federal Circuit, Hylete argued that Hybrid’s common law mark was different than the registered mark. Namely, the common law mark is a composite that includes the trio shown above: (1) a stylized-H along with (2) the words “HYBRID ATHLETICS” and (3) a series of dots. Hylete argued on appeal that the TTAB erred by failing to compare its mark with the whole of Hybrid’s usage.

          Although this sounds like a potentially winning technical argument, the Federal Circuit refused to rule on the question — holding instead that the distinctions being raised here were new arguments “never raised before the Board and are therefore waived.”

      • Copyrights

        • Jury awards Joyful Noise $2.8M in copyright infringement damages for Katy Perry’s Dark Horse

          Previously, this Kat reported on a case against singer Katy Perry of her song “Dark Horse”, brought by Marcus Gray (Flame) who claimed that his song “Joyful Noise” had been copied. Back in August 2018, the Court denied Perry’s motion for summary judgement and the case proceeded to trial.

          After a seven-day trial, in the US District Court of California, a federal jury of nine, found all of the songwriters including Katy Perry, the producers and all the corporations that released and distributed the songs liable for copyright infringement on 29th July 2019.

        • The CJEU Pelham decision: only recognizable samples as acts of reproduction?

          It also noted that these referrals had at least three things in common: they all concerned (to a greater or lesser extent) the interplay between copyright and fundamental rights; the same Advocate General (AG Szpunar) had delivered an Opinion in all the cases; and they were decided by the Court in a Grand Chamber composition (15 judges, instead of the usual chambers of 3 or 5 judges). Now that the decisions are available, there is a fourth element of identity between them, and that is that they also share the same Judge Rapporteur (Judge Ilešič).

          Let’s get started with the first judgment, the one concerning sampling of musical content: Pelham, C-476/17 (also known as the Metall auf Metall case).

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