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08.11.19

Links 11/8/2019: DragonFly 5.6.2 and OpenBSD 6.6 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 12:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Star Labs Linux Laptop Review — A Premium Ultrabook for Open Source Admirers

        We’ve previously covered System76 and their Linux loving laptops. But there are several other brands around that put Linux first. Star Labs is one of them and they’ve provided a demo unit of their Labtop (yes, Labtop). A premium laptop with fairly boastful specs.

        [...]

        Powering this understated device is no modest hardware, either. The Core-i7 8550u gives you four cores with eight threads running at 1.8 GHz and boosting to a whopping 4.0 GHz to chew through your workload with relative ease. The 8GB of DDR4 RAM isn’t bad, but a 16GB option would be nice given the increasing demands of modern software. Underpinning all of that computing power is also a beast of an NVMe SSD capable of 3200MB/s read speeds and 2200MB/s write speeds. Of course, none of this really matters without the context of pricing. The Labtop comes in at a very fair $850USD (before any applicable surcharges). That’s significantly better than the $720USD I paid for my Asus Zenbook that came with an Intel Core-M CPU and SATA SSD, both far less performant (keeping in mind that it is now about four years old).

        As I mentioned before, I had no brand awareness of Star Labs before embarking on this review. So, my very first impressions were gathered from the product packaging. The shipping box seemed very thin, which worried me, but that was dispelled afterward. The product packaging is a stylish black matching the laptop with a silvery metallic depiction of the laptop on each side of the box. It’s a little bit flashy but it compensates with the very clean illustrations. The unboxing experience was fairly standard, however, I was very happy with the general lack of non-recyclable materials. As a proponent of environmentally friendly packaging, I was happy to see that there wasn’t a bunch of styrofoam inside. Despite the minimalistic packaging, I was confident that it would stand-up to shipping. After all, mine shipped all the way from the UK to Canada and it was fine.

    • Server

      • CNCF-led open source Kubernetes security audit reveals 37 flaws in Kubernetes cluster; recommendations proposed

        Last year, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) initiated a process of conducting third-party security audits for its own projects. The aim of these security audits was to improve the overall security of the CNCF ecosystem.

        CoreDNS, Envoy and Prometheus are some of the CNCF projects which underwent these audits, resulting in identification of several security issues and vulnerabilities in the projects. With the help of the audit results, CoreDNS, Envoy and Prometheus addressed their security issues and later, provided users with documentation for the same.

        CNCF CTO Chris Aniszczyk says “The main takeaway from these initial audits is that a public security audit is a great way to test the quality of an open source project along with its vulnerability management process and more importantly, how resilient the open source project’s security practices are.” He has also announced that, later this year, CNCF will initiate a bounty program for researchers who identify bugs and other cybersecurity shortcomings in their projects.

      • Mesosphere Transforms into D2iQ

        Mesosphere this week renamed itself D2iQ as part of an effort to firmly re-establish is bona fides as a provider of tools for automating the deployment of a variety of open source platforms, including Kubernetes.

        As part of that effort, the rebranded company launched three separate offerings, starting with a curated distribution of Kubernetes dubbed Konvoy. That platform provides the foundation for Ksphere, a suite of tools for automating both the deployment and ongoing management of Kubernetes that address everything from monitoring and logging to ingress control and disaster recovery via a single installer.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Innovation Awards 2020 Now Open for Nominations

          The Red Hat Innovation Awards have been recurring annually every years since 2007, and the nominations for the 2020 awards are now open. The Red Hat Innovation Awards recognize organizations for the transformative projects and outstanding results they have experienced with Red Hat’s open source solutions.

          Open source has helped transform technology from the datacenter to the cloud and the Red Hat Innovation Awards showcase its transformative impact in organizations around the world. Users should nominate organizations that showcase successful IT implementation and projects that made a difference using open source.

        • IBM offers explainable AI toolkit, but it’s open to interpretation

          Decades before today’s deep learning neural networks compiled imponderable layers of statistics into working machines, researchers were trying to figure out how one explains statistical findings to a human.

          IBM this week offered up the latest effort in that long quest to interpret, explain, and justify machine learning, a set of open-source programming resources it calls “AI 360 Explainability.”

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: AI Explainability 360

          The toolkit offers IBM explainability algorithms, demos, tutorials, guides and other resources to explain machine learning outcomes. IBM explained there are many ways to go about understanding the decisions made by algorithms.

          “It is precisely to tackle this diversity of explanations that we’ve created AI Explainability 360 with algorithms for case-based reasoning, directly interpretable rules, post hoc local explanations, post hoc global explanations, and more,” Aleksandra Mojsilovic, IBM Fellow at IBM Research wrote in a post.

          The company believes this work can benefit doctors who are comparing various cases to see whether they are similar, or an application whose loan was denied can use the research to see the main reason for rejection.

    • Kernel Space

      • What has to happen with Unix virtual memory when you have no swap space

        I’m afraid I have bad news for the people snickering at Linux here; if you’re running without swap space, you can probably get any Unix to behave this way under memory pressure. If you can’t on your particular Unix, I’d actually say that your Unix is probably not letting you get full use out of your RAM.

        To simplify a bit, we can divide pages of user memory up into anonymous pages and file-backed pages. File-backed pages are what they sound like; they come from some specific file on the filesystem that they can be written out to (if they’re dirty) or read back in from. Anonymous pages are not backed by a file, so the only place they can be written out to and read back in from is swap space. Anonymous pages mostly come from dynamic memory allocations and from modifying the program’s global variables and data; file backed pages come mostly from mapping files into memory with mmap() and also, crucially, from the code and read-only data of the program.

        (A file backed page can turn into an anonymous page under some circumstances.)

        Under normal circumstances, when you have swap space and your system is under memory pressure a Unix kernel will balance evicting anonymous pages out to swap space and evicting file-backed pages back to their source file. However, when you have no swap space, the kernel cannot evict anonymous pages any more; they’re stuck in RAM because there’s nowhere else to put them. All the kernel can do to reclaim memory is to evict whatever file-backed pages there are, even if these pages are going to be needed again very soon and will just have to be read back in from the filesystem. If RAM keeps getting allocated for anonymous pages, there is less and less RAM left to hold whatever collection of file-backed pages your system needs to do anything useful and your system will spend more and more time thrashing around reading file-backed pages back in (with your disk LED blinking all of the time). Since one of the sources of file-backed pages is the executable code of all of your programs (and most of the shared libraries they use), it’s quite possible to get into a situation where your programs can barely run without taking a page fault for another page of code.

        (This frantic eviction of file-backed pages can happen even if you have anonymous pages that are being used only very infrequently and so would normally be immediately pushed out to swap space. With no swap space, anonymous pages are stuck in RAM no matter how infrequently they’re touched; the only anonymous pages that can be discarded are ones that have never been written to and so are guaranteed to be all zero.)

      • Swap, swap, swap, and bad places to work

        So, yeah, back in 2007 at some big web company, the hosts started paging me, and I’d log in and they just … felt weird. They felt like something I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the time, but it was probably something I had picked up back in the ’90s when messing with much smaller Linux boxes. Maybe I tried running without swap and paid the price. It’s been so long I’m not even sure any more.

        Then, closer to 2016 or so, I hit it again at some other big web company. There, I was trying to advocate for “tinyswap” — not NO swap, but not massive multi-GB partitions, either. I met one of the memcg developers at the time who also thought it was a good idea. Sadly, I never saw any progress on the technique after moving teams and before leaving the company a few years later.

      • Can Swap Space Solve System Performance Issues?
      • Graphics Stack

        • X.Org Server Gains Support For Auto-Binding Secondary GPUs To The Screen

          Adding to the changes to find with the eventual X.Org Server 1.21 release is a change from Red Hat that has been carried by Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora for years.

          The merged change is about automatically binding secondary GPUs to the screen, particularly helping out cases like hybrid graphics laptops or USB DisplayLink setups driving secondary displays. Previously there’s been some RandR magic for users (or scripted setups) via xrandr for handling this setup while now the patch by David Airlie will auto-bind the GPUs to the screen.

        • Compression benchmark

          As this GSOC project approaches its end, I’ve been testing and refactoring the code for waypipe. The only new feature of note is a waypipe bench subprogram, which makes it easier to estimate which compression settings, precisely, are appropriate for a combination of bandwidth and machine performance. The bandwidth must be specified on the command line, since real network stacks include buffering that would make online measurements very difficult. (The benchmark design implicitly assumes that decompression time on the remote machine never delays the critical path for a transfer, or at the very least, is far less significant than the compression algorithm and level settings.) The results of this program are mostly predictable. Because frames containing text tend to compress better than frames containing rendered 3d scenes or pictures, the compression level which minimizes transfer latency, at high bandwidths, is typically higher for text heavy images, since even fast compression methods offer significant space reduction. At low bandwidths, the reverse holds, since beyond a point images require enough transfer time that there is enough time for very high levels of compression.

    • Applications

      • Git Alligator

        For each thing that I work on, I make a branch; if it’s attached to a Calamares issue, I’ll name it after the issue number. If it’s a different bit of work, I’ll name it more creatively. The branch is branched off of master (which is always in a good state). Then I go and work on the branch – commit early, commit often – until the issue is resolved or the feature implemented or whatever.

        In a codebase where I’m the only contributor, or the gatekeeper for it so that I know that master remains unchanged, I know a merge can go in painlessly. In a codebase with more contributors, I might merge upstream master into my branch right at the end as a sanity check (right at the end because most of these branches are short-lived, a day or two at most for any given issue).

        The alligator effect comes in when merging back to master: I always use –no-ff and I try to write an additional summary description of the branch in the merge commit.

        Here’s a screenshot of Calamares history, from qgit, turned on its side like an alligator crawling to the right, (cropped a little so you don’t see where I don’t follow my own precepts and annotated with branch names).

      • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Towards a happy ending

        A very important bug/regression that I’m glad we were able to fix is the NintendoDS crash that was caused by introducing the Savestates Manager. We couldn’t have included this feature in a release as long as this bug was present since it was a major regression as the user wasn’t even able to start a NintendoDS game at all.

        The bug was caused by the fact that we used to re-instantiate the emulator core everytime we would start the game or load a new savestate. This didn’t cause any problems with other cores but it seems that the NintendoDS core didn’t like this.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 83

          Pretty cool, huh!? This feature was written by Carson Black, our new Breeze GTK theme maintainer. Thanks Carson!

          As you can see, the Gedit window still doesn’t display shadows–at least not on X11. shadows are displayed on Wayland, but on X11 it’s a tricky problem to solve. However I will say that that anything’s possible!

        • Kate – More languages supported via LSP!

          The default configuration for the Kate LSP client does now support more stuff than just C/C++ and Python out of the box.

          In addition to the recently added Rust support we now support Go and LaTeX/BibTeX, too.

        • Krita Sprint 2019

          The sprint has officially ended yesterday and most of the participants have already left, except me, Ivan, Wolthera and Jouni. Well I would have also left as planned but I read my flight timings wrong and it would leave after 3 hours of what I thought the departure time was. And I being sick as always decided to stay up in Boud’s house for the night.

          Anyway coming to sprint, it was my first trip out of the country and would say I have learnt a lot, really liked how the locals took me as responsible citizen and trusted me unlike my native.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell & Mutter Reach The 3.34 Beta Milestone With Last-Minute Changes

          Earlier this week was the GNOME 3.34 beta release that also marked the UI/feature/API/ABI freezes for this six month update to the GNOME desktop The GNOME Shell and Mutter are late to the party but on Friday evening saw their 3.33.90 (3.34 beta) releases.

          GNOME Shell saw support added for DnD app picker folder management, clocks/weather integration support for sandboxed applications, support for start-up via systemd user instances, replacing Tweener with Clutter animations, consistent animation of new window actions, and a variety of bug fixes.

        • Gnome MPV 0.17 Released! It’s Renamed to ‘Celluloid’

          By releasing version 0.17, the GTK+ frontend for mpv Gnome MPV is officially renamed to Celluloid.

    • Distributions

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How to measure the health of an open source community

        As a person who normally manages software development teams, over the years I’ve come to care about metrics quite a bit. Time after time, I’ve found myself leading teams using one project platform or another (Jira, GitLab, and Rally, for example) generating an awful lot of measurable data. From there, I’ve promptly invested significant amounts of time to pull useful metrics out of the platform-of-record and into a format where we could make sense of them, and then use the metrics to make better choices about many aspects of development.

        Earlier this year, I had the good fortune of coming across a project at the Linux Foundation called Community Health Analytics for Open Source Software, or CHAOSS. This project focuses on collecting and enriching metrics from a wide range of sources so that stakeholders in open source communities can measure the health of their projects.

      • Linux Journal has shut down
      • Self-driving car service open sources new tool for securing firmware

        Developing and maintaining secure firmware for tablets, cars, and IoT devices is hard. Often, the firmware is initially developed by a third party rather than in-house. And it can be tough as projects move from inception and prototyping to full-force engineering and finally to deployment and production.

        Now, an engineer at self-driving car service Cruise is easing the pain with the release of FwAnalyzer, a tool he and his Cruise colleagues developed themselves. Collin Mulliner spent more than a decade scouring firmware found in phones and other devices before becoming Cruise’s principal security engineer. He helped write FWAnalyzer to provide continuous automated firmware analysis that could aid engineers at any phase of the code’s lifecycle.

        “It’s peace of mind that there’s constant analysis,” Mulliner said of the tool, which he’ll be discussing at a panel on Wednesday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. “At any step in development… it runs checks.”

      • Open Source At a Glance: Better than Propriety Apps?

        Privately developed apps, unlike open source, don’t let their code be accessed by the general public. So if there are any channels that allow security breaches to take place, they cannot be accessed. Even if the app developers intentionally have a system in place that extracts user data from the cloud, there is no way of knowing because the coding framework is kept under lock and key. This is why even if people are aware of the data security risk that comes with installing Facebook, there’s not much they can do about it. Because ultimately Facebook is a privately license enterprise that can only be modified by the people employed by it. Open-source applications aren’t developed for profit, and since they aren’t licensed so they have little incentive to sell your data to third parties. The biggest advantage is that open source apps are transparent about data vulnerabilities.

        [...]

        In short, if you’re looking for alternatives to google maps and FaceApp, there are good open-source apps available that won’t sell your data to advertisers.

      • Despite the looming threat of Amazon’s cloud, some software companies are going all in on free software. Others are fighting back
      • On the shoulders of open source, cloud stands tall – BlackLine [Ed: FOSS is being exploited to make proprietary systems, surveillance, and lock-in (no Affero)]

        A Linux Foundation survey last year found 72% of companies “frequently using open source for non-commercial or internal reasons”, while 55% have incorporated open source components into their commercial products.

        Interest in the use of open source components continues to grow.

        A recent study found that “on average, developers had access to more than 21,448 new open source component releases every day, since the beginning of 2018.”

        Citing numbers from IT analyst firm IDC, the same study said that in 2018, “developers around the world consumed hundreds of billions of open-source software component releases.”

      • On CRM: The One Big Problem With These 11 Open-Sourced CRM Applications [Ed: Forbes being Forbes. Trying hard to push people to proprietary software partners of the site.]

        A shout-out to Ankush Das, a tech blogger who put together a really nice list of 11 “open-source” CRM applications for the Linux-focused website It’s FOSS.

        Das recommended products like SuiteCRM, Vtiger, EspoCRM, YetiForce and others – both well-known and more obscure – and they all represent a good variety of choices for companies that have a developer mindset.

        Open source products like the ones included in Das’ list mostly come with the ability to be hosted internally or by a hosting provider, offer free and paid versions based on either the number of servers or users and include documentation and support provided by the application’s developer communities.

      • How Has Open-source Software Revolutionized Business Growth in India [Ed: Revisionism that calls Richard Stallman "Linus Torvalds"]

        The OSSs are the outcome of the several like-minded software developers working towards developing one software which has an objective to solve a problem while following the discipline which is coming from the Open Source philosophy. This Philosophy also allows copyright holders to grant users the right to study, change and distribute the software to anyone for any purpose. This philosophy not just helped in making software’s faster and of high quality but also made it affordable for various businesses, governments and non-profit organizations.

        Linus Torvalds initiated this revolution by releasing the first-ever open-source software known as Linux Kernel in the mid-90s, the software industry we see today is an outcome of many such small and big initiatives since then. Many IT companies have built their entire business model around commercial open source, offering business value in the form of subscription services (aka Opex Model) giving a tough fight to the multi-billion dollar proprietary software industry selling perpetual software license with YoY maintenance (aka Capex Model).

      • Assessing Open Source Software for Industrial Use

        Also look at who else is supporting these open source SCADA applications, such as members of Linux or Eclipse Foundations. “Eclipse manages a lot of projects and they have specific project areas for Industrial Internet of Things software, like Paho and Tahu for MQTT and Sparkplug B. These are both open source technologies that are backed by a big organization. That can give a user a lot of confidence that there’s a support mechanism and community behind them.”

      • ForgeRock Delivers Open Source IoT Edge Controller Solution to Secure Device Identities

        ForgeRock extends its leadership in innovation and commitment to developers in providing the IoT Edge Controller as open source under the Apache 2.0 License. Open source customers and partners can more easily build industry-specific solutions with additional functionality, and ultimately drive higher levels of interoperability. More information on ForgeRock’s IoT solutions is here, and to access the open source Edge Controller, please visit here.

      • ForgeRock launches open-source IoT edge controller solution

        Digital identity management solutions provider ForgeRock has announced the availability of its IoT Edge Controller, which provides consumer and industrial manufacturers with the ability to deliver trusted identity at the device level.

        In this way, “things” can have the same identity capabilities as traditional (customer or employee) identities.

        An end-to-end security solution for IoT deployments, the IoT Edge Controller runs on smart edge devices and provides the privacy, integrity and security required for devices to register as identities in the ForgeRock Identity Platform.

        [...]

        ForgeRock has provided the IoT Edge Controller as open-source under the Apache 2.0 License. Open source customers and partners can more easily build industry-specific solutions with additional functionality, and ultimately drive higher levels of interoperability.

      • Open source has never been stronger

        There has perhaps never been so much angst over whether open source software development is sustainable, and yet there has never been clearer evidence that we’re in the golden age of open source.
        Or on the cusp. Here and there an open source company might struggle to make a buck, but as a community of communities, open source has never been healthier. There are a few good indicators for this.

      • Can an open-source AI take on Amazon and Google?

        It’s only been a few years since Amazon unveiled the Alexa-powered Echo, but since then, smart speakers have become a major consumer-electronics category.

      • Events

        • GitLab Announces Schedule for 2019 GitLab Commit Brooklyn

          Today GitLab, the DevOps platform delivered as a single application, announced initial programming and speakers for 2019 GitLab Commit Brooklyn, taking place September 17 in Brooklyn, NY.

          GitLab Commit, GitLab’s inaugural user event, will bring together the GitLab community to connect, learn, and inspire. Speakers will showcase the power of DevOps in action through strategy and technology discussions, lessons learned, behind-the-scenes looks at the development lifecycle, and more.

        • One week to go!

          There is one week left of the call for papers for the foss-north IoT and Security Day. The conference takes place on October 21 at WTC in Stockholm.

          [...]

          The first confirmed speaker is Patricia Aas who will speak about election security – how to ensure transparency and reliability into the election system so that it can be trusted by all – including a less technologically versed public.

          Also, this is the first stage in our test of the new foss-north conference administration infrastructure, and it seems to have worked this far :-). Big thanks goes to Magnus for helping out.

        • Cameron Kaiser: And now for something completely different: Making HTML 4.0 great again, and relevant Mac sightings at Vintage Computer Festival West 2019

          The UltraBook played a Solaris port of Quake II (software-rendered) and Firefox 2, the ThinkPad ran AIX’s Ultimedia Video Monitor application (using the machine’s built-in video capture hardware and an off-the-shelf composite NTSC camera) and Netscape Navigator 4.7, the Galaxy ran the standard NeXTSTEP suite along with some essential apps like OmniWeb 2.7b3 and Doom, and the PrecisionBook ran the HP/UX ports of the Frodo Commodore 64 emulator and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 SP1. (Yes, IE for Unix used to be a thing.)

        • DebConf in Brazil again!

          I had a very busy time, as usual – lots of sessions to take part in, and lots of conversations with people from all over. As part of the Community Team (ex-AH Team), I had a lot of things to catch up on too, and a sprint report to send. Despite all that, I even managed to do some technical things too!

          I ran sessions about UEFI Secure Boot, the Arm ports and the Community Team. I was meant to be running a session for the web team too, but the dreaded DebConf ‘flu took me out for a day. It’s traditional – bring hundreds of people together from all over the world, mix them up with too much alcohol and not enough sleep and many people get ill… :-( Once I’m back from vacation, I’ll be doing my usual task of sending session summaries to the Debian mailing lists to describe what happened in my sessions.

      • China

        • Baidu Open-Sources ERNIE 2.0, Beats BERT in Natural Language Processing Tasks

          In a recent blog post, Baidu, the Chinese search engine and e-commerce giant, announced their latest open-source, natural language understanding framework called ERNIE 2.0. They also shared recent test results, including achieving state-of-the art (SOTA) results and outperforming existing frameworks, including Google’s BERT and XLNet in 16 NLP tasks in both Chinese and English.

        • Huawei doesn’t see open source as the fix for spying accusations (but they should)

          Networking equipment is one of the last bastions of technology where opaque, proprietary, closed-source hardware continues to thrive. This opacity—combined with networking equipment functioning as the backbone of enterprise computing—creates a fertile breeding ground for fear, uncertainty, and doubt to proliferate. As a result of this, Huawei has spent nearly a decade embattled by accusations of spying for the Chinese government, and since May, a blacklisting.

          As a quick historical review, in April, a Bloomberg report claimed evidence of a “backdoor” in Huawei networking equipment, which turned out to be an exposed Telnet interface—a problem found in networking equipment from a variety of vendors, including Cisco, over the last five years. Despite this being a common problem, Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan breathlessly declared it a “smoking gun” in a companion editorial.

        • China to launch its first open-source foundation

          China’s first open-source foundation will be launched in about a month or two, said Huawei after it released its open-source HarmonyOS on Friday.

          The foundation, yet to be named, will be led by Huawei and is seen as a follow-up step for China to build a software developer ecosystem and a complete industry chain.

          China’s first open-source foundation will officially start operation in a month or two, Wang Chenglu, president of the Huawei Consumer Business Group software division, told the Global Times on Saturday.

          The foundation is expected to provide a lucrative environment for Chinese software developers, and gather their strength to help the country’s electronic information industry to break their bottlenecks in chipset making and OS development, according to observers.

        • Huawei Announces New Open-Source Operating System ‘Harmony’

          Huawei unveiled a new operating system called “Harmony” at the company’s 2019 developer conference on Friday, marking the Chinese smartphone giant’s latest step toward creating its own software ecosystem.

          Known as Hongmeng in Chinese, HarmonyOS is a microkernel-based, distributed operating system that can be used on smartphones, wearable devices, laptops, and other devices, the company said.

        • Huawei announces open source Harmony OS

          Huawei has unveiled its own operating system, called Harmony OS, that has been in development for several years.

          Following potential problems with access to Google’s Android OS, Huawei seems to have stepped up efforts to introduce its own OS.

          The company will show off Harmony OS on the Honor Vision TV, but for now, Android remains the preferred mobile OS for Huawei smartphones and tablets.

          Harmony is designed to work on devices from tablets, phones, smartwatches, cars and other devices including smart TVs.

        • Huawei announces open-source Harmony OS, in case they need it

          Ever since the American Presidential order to ban Huawei from US networks and temporarily from US industry, the Chinese mega-corporation has been working on resourcing their own hardware and software components for their devices so as to be unreliant on any other economy – a big aspect of which is the creation of their own operating system for all their devices.

          Introducing ‘Harmony OS‘, following months of speculation and a few leaks of an Android-adjacent ‘HongMeng‘ or ‘Ark’ OS, Huawei has finally unveiled their new open-source operating system developed in parallel with Android in more ways than one.

        • Huawei unveils open source HarmonyOS for consumer devices

          Android developers will be able to port their Android apps to HarmonyOS with Huawei’s ARK compiler.

        • Huawei’s Android Alternative “Harmony OS” Will Be Open Source

          After so many ups and downs in the last few months, Huawei finally took to the stage and announced its much-awaited Android alternative called Harmony OS, or Hongmeng OS (as known in China), or ArkOS if you want to call it by other names.

          The said OS is known to be under development since 2012, but initially, Huawei intended to put it on IoT devices. Almost two years back, the company transformed it into a multi-platform offering. Probably because Huawei got an idea of what the future had in store.

        • Huawei launches smart TV running on HarmonyOS

          It was also the first time that the Chinese tech firm unveils the operation interface of HarmonyOS to the public.

          Zhao Ming, president of Huawei Honor brand, said the 55-inch bezel-less smart screen is powered by the Honghu 818 smart chip with a pop-up selfie camera.

          “The use of quad-core CPU and GPU in the screen leads the industry in multi-tasking abilities as algorithms determine the quality of image display,” Zhao said.

          Apart from the Honor smart screen, the HarmonyOS will also be used in more smart devices such as PCs, smartphones, smart watches and in-vehicle systems.

      • Databases

        • PostgreSQL: When open-source gets serious

          The transition from academic research to commercial production environments that much technology makes is well documented.

          In the area of software, the most shallow dive into any sector’s day-to-day production applications shows that the journey has been made, if not by the finished, user-facing app, then almost certainly in some aspect of the codebase.

          Artificial Intelligence (AI) and grid computing, for example, both began in academe, and now are to be found in fully-commercial, production settings— often in open-source.

          While there are commercial offerings of AIaaS most famously in Watson from IBM, machine learning, AI, cognitive computing and the like are now embedded into many apps and services in daily use– although, the technology might not be immediately apparent.

          That’s the same shape of the journey taken by Postgres (aka PostgreSQL), a database schema that was devised as a successor to Ingres, released as open-source, and now is the fastest-growing (in terms of deployments) database in the enterprise space.

          And while like all open-source software, the ongoing development and support of Postgres is community-driven, there are plenty of commercial companies that use the platform as the basis of their offerings.

          There are small and not-so-small companies operating in this space; Devart, Severalnines, EnterpriseDB, Database Labs, and Aiven, to name but a handful.

        • BlazingSQL, a GPU-accelerated SQL engine built on top of RAPIDS, is now open source

          Yesterday, the BlazingSQL team open-sourced BlazingSQL under the Apache 2.0 license. It is a lightweight, GPU-accelerated SQL engine built on top of the RAPIDS. ai ecosystem. RAPIDS. ai is a suite of software libraries and APIs for end-to-end execution of data science and analytics pipelines entirely on GPUs.

          Explaining his vision behind this step, Rodrigo Aramburu, CEO of BlazingSQL wrote in a Medium blog post, “As RAPIDS adoption continues to explode, open-sourcing BlazingSQL accelerates our development cycle, gets our product in the hands of more users, and aligns our licensing and messaging with the greater RAPIDS.ai ecosystem.”

          Aramburu calls RAPIDS “the next-generation analytics ecosystem” where BlazingSQL serves as the SQL standard. It also serves as an SQL interface for cuDF, a GPU DataFrame (GDF) library for loading, joining, aggregating, and filtering data.

        • GPU SQL engine BlazingSQL now open source

          A new open-source project wants to take analytics to the next level. BlazingSQL is a GPU-accelerated SQL engine built on the RAPIDS ecosystem. RAPIDS is an open-source suite of software libraries for executing end-to-end data science and analytics pipelines entirely on GPUs.

          According to the team, BlazingSQL was built to address the expense, complexity and sluggish pace users deal with when working on large data sets.

          “BlazingSQL addresses these customer concerns not only with an incredibly fast, distributed GPU SQL engine, but also a zealous focus on simplicity,” Rodrigo Aramburu, CEO of BlazingSQL, wrote in a blog post. “With a few lines of code, BlazingSQL can query your raw data, wherever it resides and interoperate with your existing analytics stack and RAPIDS.”

          BlazingSQL enables users to query datasets from enterprise data lakes directly into GPU memory as a GPU DataFrame (GDF). GDF is a project that offers support for interoperability between GPU applications. It also defines a common GPU in-memory data layer.

        • DataStax: what is a ‘progressive’ cloud strategy?

          With its roots and foundations in the open source Apache Cassandra database, Santa Clara headquartered DataStax insists that it likes to keep things open.

          As such, the company is opening a wider aperture on its collaboration with VMware by now offering DataStax production support on VMware vSAN, now in hybrid and multi-cloud configurations.

        • Cockroach Labs raises $55 million for ultra-resilient databases

          Cockroach Labs, the New York-based developer of the open source distributed database project CockroachDB, today announced that it’s closed a $55 million, oversubscribed series C round co-led by Altimeter Capital, Tiger Global, and GV (formerly Google Ventures). The raise, which saw participation from existing investors Benchmark, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and Work-Bench, brings the company’s total capital raised to $108.5 million and comes after a year in which revenue doubled quarter-over-quarter.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.3 released

          Writer and Calc performance has been improved by an order of magnitude based on documents provided by end users: text files with different bookmarks, tables and embedded fonts, large ODS/XLSX spreadsheets, and Calc files with VLOOKUP load and render more quickly. Saving Calc spreadsheets as XLS files is also faster.

      • Education

        • The best programs and tools for students

          Besides the fact that it’s free, the main strength of LibreOffice is that it can open pretty much every document format ever made. It uses the OpenDocument format by default, but it can also open files created by Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Apple’s office suite (Keynote, Pages, Numbers), Microsoft Write, and many other formats. It can also save docx and xlx files, which is the main advantage it has over OpenOffice. LibreOffice does struggle sometimes with Word or PowerPoint files with lots of custom formatting, but overall, it does a great job of managing every type of document you throw at it.

          LibreOffice is available for free, but if you find it useful, you should consider throwing the project a few bucks so it can keep getting better.

      • BSD

        • DragonFly 5.6.2 tagged

          I tagged 5.6.2 and built it this morning:

          http://lists.dragonflybsd.org/pipermail/commits/2019-August/719259.html

          It includes the recent tcp keepalive changes and some other work.
          You’ll want to update dports, too.

          I’m uploading the 5.6.2 image as I type. You can rebuild using the
          normal process on an existing 5.6.0 or 5.6.1 system:

          > cd /usr/src
          > git pull
          > make buildworld
          > make buildkernel
          > make installkernel
          > make installworld
          > make upgrade

          and of course

          > pkg upgrade

        • openbsd 6.6-beta has been tagged
      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GNU Radio Sees Its First Release In More Than Six Years

          After being in development for more than six years, GNU Radio 3.8 is now available and is in fact considered a minor release update.

          GNU Radio as a reminder is a tool-kit around signal processing blocks for supporting software-defined radios. GNU Radio paired with external RF hardware can allow for low-cost software-defined radio setups or for simulated radio setups too.

        • GNU Radio 3.8.0.0

          Tonight, we release GNU Radio 3.8.0.0.

          It’s the first minor release version since more than six years, not without pride this community stands to face the brightest future SDR on general purpose hardware ever had.

          Since we’ve not been documenting changes in the shape of a Changelog for the whole of the development that happened since GNU Radio 3.7.0, I’m afraid that these release notes will be more of a GLTL;DR (git log too long; didn’t read) than a detailed account of what has changed.

          What has not changed is the fact that GNU Radio is centered around a very simple truth:

          Let the developers hack on DSP. Software interfaces are for humans, not the other way around.

          And so, compared to the later 3.7 releases, nothing has fundamentally modified the way one develops signal processing systems with GNU Radio: You write blocks, and you combine blocks to be part of a larger signal processing flow graph.

          With that as a success story, we of course have faced quite a bit of change in the systems we use to develop and in the people that develop GNU Radio. This has lead to several changes that weren’t compatible with 3.7.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • OpenHAK open source fitness tracker

            Joel Murphy and Leif Percifield have been involved in the open source hardware for over 12 years and have now pooled their skills and resources to create the OpenHAK open source fitness tracker. Watch the introduction video below to learn more about the open source fitness system and its features that allows you to keep your data safe and secure.

            The developers behind the open source fitness tracker explain more about its inspiration, and why they made OpenHAK : “The short answer, is Because We Can! That’s right, the availability of open-source technology has exploded over the last decade with access to low-cost development boards and powerful code libraries to the point where you’d think simple things like fitness trackers would start to self-assemble in the box on the UPS truck from SparkFruit. Well, we couldn’t wait for that, so we got the basic parts required, poked ’em into place with a soldering iron, stubbed out some codeware, and what do you know? It works! We made OpenHAK because we want to share what we’ve got with you, Dear Backer, and see what we can build together!”

          • Rock Pi 4 SBC Runs GNOME & KDE Plasma using Panfrost Open Source GPU Driver & Wayland

            One of the highlights of Linux 5.2 release was support for two new Arm Mali GPU open-source drivers, namely Lima for Mali-4xx GPU…

          • Red Hat Joins Foundation for Developing Open-Source RISC-V ISA

            Red Hat, now part of IBM, joined the RISC-V Foundation to develop support for the open-source instruction set architecture in its Linux distributions.

            [...]

            IBM also formed the OpenPower Foundation in 2013 for open source development of the ISA for its Power-brand microprocessors. Today, OpenPower is backed by Google and Nvidia and others, and the idea is that companies besides IBM can make Power chips.

            However, outside of supercomputers and a few data centers, the Power chips aren’t all that ubiquitous, as they tend to cost a pretty penny for similar performance to Intel chips. The recent AMD Epyc Rome server chips have further increased the performance/price competition by several fold, which should make it even more difficult for Power chips to compete in the server chip market.

          • Nvidia gives a major boost to Nouveau open source driver for Linux

            Nvidia has extended a helping hand to the developers working on Nouveau, the open source Linux driver for Nvidia graphics cards, in a move that comes rather out of the blue.

            To be precise, Nvidia has released further GPU hardware documents to aid the project which has had its fair share of thorny issues, shall we say.

            Nvidia contacted Phoronix in an emailed statement which reads: “Nvidia has released public, freely available (MIT licensed) documentation of portions of its GPU hardware interface. This is a work in progress; not all interfaces have been published.”

          • Nvidia Just Published A Ton Of GPU Hardware Documentation On GitHub, But There’s A Catch

            You might want to check if pigs are flying outside your window. Nvidia has published a wealth of GPU hardware documentation on GitHub.

          • Nvidia GPU Hardware Documents To Bring Performance Boost On Linux

            Nvidia GPU hardware documents have been released on GitHub for the easier development of Open source Linux drivers, also known as NOUVEAU. Open Source software like Linux and Nvidia haven’t played nice for a long time. So,

            it’s no surprise that Nvidia has been promising to release the full documentation of its GPU since 2012. That was the case until now when complete Nvidia GPU hardware documents for Linux have been released.

      • Programming/Development

        • Jenkins World 2019: Sacha Labourey Q&A

          “We’re always actively looking at deals that make sense. To be truthful, we’ve set the bar pretty high at the moment. Not only are we focusing hard on executing on those acquisitions, we’re delivering on a vision we’ve laid out for the future in a category we call Software Delivery Management.”

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (cxc) stackoverflow python report
        • ListenData: Python : Learn Object Oriented Programming in 3 Hours

          This tutorial outlines object oriented programming (OOP) in Python with examples. It is a step by step guide which was designed for people who have no programming experience. Object Oriented Programming is popular and available in other programming languages besides Python which are Java, C++, PHP.

        • PerlCon 2019 in Rīga

          This year our Perl conference took place in Rīga under the new and improved name PerlCon. Improving names was generally a hot topic, I won’t go into details here, but please do checkout the discussion and participate!

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • RadWagon electric cargo bike review: the SUV of e-bikes

        I hate owning a car. The daily hunt for a parking spot, the inevitability of traffic, the knowledge that for every gallon of gas I pump another chunk of the polar ice cap slides into the ocean. My dream is to completely replace my car with a bike, preferably an electric one, but it’s a tough sell. My wife and I have two little kids, and we like having the freedom to take weekend trips outside the city. A car accommodates our lifestyle. I’m desperate for an e-bike that will, too.

        The RadWagon from Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes gets me most of the way there.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Federico Mena-Quintero: On responsible vulnerability disclosure

        Recently KDE had an unfortunate event. Someone found a vulnerability in the code that processes .desktop and .directory files, through which an attacker could create a malicious file that causes shell command execution (analysis). They went for immediate, full disclosure, where KDE didn’t even get a chance of fixing the bug before it was published.

        [...]

        … but some behaviors in the infosec sphere are deeply uncomfortable to me. I don’t like it when security “research” is hard to tell from vandalism. “Excuse me, you left your car door unlocked” vs. “Hey everyone, this car is unlocked, have at it”.

        I don’t know the details of the discourse in the infosec sphere around full disclosure against irresponsible vendors of proprietary software or services. However, KDE is free software! There is no need to be an asshole to them.

      • A Remote-Start App Exposed Thousands of Cars to [Attackers]

        In a talk at the Defcon hacker conference today in Las Vegas, Jmaxxz described a series of vulnerabilities in MyCar, a system made by Canadian company Automobility, whose software is rebranded and distributed under names including MyCar Kia, Visions MyCar, Carlink, and Linkr-LT1. MyCar’s devices and apps connect to radio-based remote start devices like Fortin, CodeAlarm, and Flashlogic, using GPS and a cellular connection to extend their range to anywhere with an [Internet] connection. But with any of three different security flaws present across those apps—which Jmaxxz says he reported to the company and have since been fixed—he says he could have gained access to MyCar’s database backend, letting him or a less friendly hacker pinpoint and steal any car connected to the MyCar app, anywhere in the world.

      • Teen Security Researcher Suspended for Exposing Vulnerabilities in His School’s Software

        Bill Demirkapi, an 11th grader in Lexington, Massachusetts, had found a vulnerability in Aspen, the software his school uses to deliver students’ grades, transcripts, and schedules. With this sort of access, an attacker could obtain a student’s password, their birth city, details on their free or reduced lunch, and other information.

        But Demirkapi didn’t want to abuse the vulnerability he discovered. He wanted to do the responsible thing and let the company that makes the software, Follett Corporation, know about the issue so it can fix it and make students’ personal data safer. The problem was that Follett didn’t respond to Demirkapi’s multiple attempts to warn them about the vulnerability. So he tried a different approach and used a feature of the software to send a message to Follett.

      • [Attackers] Could Decrypt Your GSM Phone Calls

        Regular GSM calls aren’t fully end-to-end encrypted for maximum protection, but they are encrypted at many steps along their path, so random people can’t just tune into phone calls over the air like radio stations. The researchers found, though, that they can target the encryption algorithms used to protect calls and listen in on basically anything.

        “GSM is a well documented and analyzed standard, but it’s an aging standard and it’s had a pretty typical cybersecurity journey,” says Campbell Murray, the global head of delivery for BlackBerry Cybersecurity. “The weaknesses we found are in any GSM implementation up to 5G. Regardless of which GSM implementation you’re using there is a flaw historically created and engineered that you’re exposing.”

      • Black Hat USA 2019 conference Highlights: IBM’s ‘warshipping’, OS threat intelligence bots, Apple’s $1M bug bounty programs and much more!

        The popular Black Hat USA 2019 conference was held from August 3 – August 8 at Las Vegas. The conference included technical training sessions conducted by international industry and subject matter experts to provide hands-on offensive and defensive skill-building opportunities. It also included briefings from security experts who shared their latest findings, open-source tools, zero-day exploits, and more.

        Tech giants including Apple, IBM, Microsoft made some interesting announcements such as Apple and Microsoft expanding their bug-bounty programs, with IBM launching a new ‘warshipping’ hack, and much more.

        Black Hat USA 2019 also launched many interesting open-source tools and products like Scapy, a Python-based Interactive packet manipulation Program, CyBot, an open-Source threat intelligence chatbot, any many other products.

      • Somu Tiny Open Source FIDO2 Security Key Enables Passwordless Login & Two-factor Authentication (Crowdfunding)

        Meet Somu open-source and secure key with FIDO2 support for two-factor authentication, or Microsoft account passwordless login.

      • Carbon Black Threat Analysis Unit (TAU) Launches “Binee,” an Open-Source Binary Emulator for Malware Researchers at DEF CON 27

        Carbon Black (NASDAQ: CBLK), a leader in cloud-native endpoint protection, today announced the launch of “Binee,” an open-source binary emulator that bridges the gap between static and dynamic analysis of real-world malware. Binee empowers researchers to extract run-time data from binaries at a cost, speed and scale previously only possible with static analysis tools, opening up a wealth of run-time malware data for behavioral analysis and machine learning applications.

      • Bishop Fox Introduces New Open-Source Hacking Tool for Testing ZigBee Networks at 2019 Black Hat Arsenal
      • Bishop Fox Introduces New AI-Based, Open Source Pentesting Tool at 2019 Black Hat Arsenal
      • empow Launches Open-Source Security Log Plugins Repository for Elasticsearch
      • 13-Year-Old Encryption Bugs Still Haunt Apps and IoT

        RSA encryption has been around for decades. Unfortunately, so have bad implementations that leave it less secure.

      • #BHUSA : Open Source is Key to Solving Cyber Skills Gap

        At Black Hat USA in Las Vegas, Anomali threat research team manager Joakim Kennedy explained to Eleanor Dallaway why he believes the open source movement in the cybersecurity industry will help to address the skills gap.

        “One way of opening up the industry to more people is to provide good free tools accessible to everyone.” The open source movement allows people “to take the toolkits and moderate them.” This, he said, is particularly relevant to teenagers and people outside of the cybersecurity industry that may have an interest in joining. “The best way to learn is to get hold of toolkits and play with them, moderate them,” he said, explaining that his own path into the industry began as a teenager, “using whatever tools were available” and self-educating himself.

        Making these open source tools available “will trigger the interest of the next generation of potential employees by giving them the tools to play with for free and get their interest. We need to get more interested people into the field and there’s a high threshold to get started.” He explained this high threshold means that the paid products and tools in the industry are very expensive. “The license price is too high.”

      • Cyber Eavesdropping Vulnerability Found On Phones Used By 90% Of Fortune 100: Report

        VoIP phones from leading provider Avaya are the latest IoT devices exposed as a cyber risk by security researchers.

      • Popular Avaya enterprise VoIP phones are vulnerable to hacking

        The issue was discovered by researchers from security firm McAfee and was disclosed Thursday at the DEF CON security conference in Vegas. However, firmware updates have been available since June 25.

        The vulnerability is located in the DHCP service, which allows the devices to automatically obtain IP addresses on the network. Attackers can exploit it by sending maliciously modified DHCP responses to the devices, which do not require authentication, and winning a race condition with the network’s legitimate DHCP server.

      • Hackers Take on Darpa’s $10 Million Voting Machine

        FOR THE LAST two years, hackers have come to the Voting Village at the DefCon security conference in Las Vegas to tear down voting machines and analyze them for vulnerabilities. But this year’s Village features a fancy new target: a prototype secure voting machine created through a $10 million project at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. You know it better as Darpa, the government’s mad science wing.

        Announced in March, the initiative aims to develop an open source voting platform built on secure hardware. The Oregon-based verifiable systems firm Galois is designing the voting system. And Darpa wants you to know: its endgame goes way beyond securing the vote. The agency hopes to use voting machines as a model system for developing a secure hardware platform—meaning that the group is designing all the chips that go into a computer from the ground up, and isn’t using proprietary components from companies like Intel or AMD.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • “Russians” threatening Dutch F-16 pilots’ family

      The partners of Dutch fighter pilots who were active in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania in 2017, were harassed at home during this period. They received repeated, unpleasant phone calls from people with a Russian accent who asked whether their men should not rather leave the area, among other things, the Telegraaf reports.

      Military intelligence service MIVD told the newspaper that it is familiar with this practice, but would not say anything further about it.

    • Amnesty International filed a lawsuit against Israeli surveillance firm NSO and fears its staff may be targeted by the company with its Pegasus spyware.

      On August, the human rights group published a report that provides details on the attack against an employee at Amnesty International. The [attakers] attempted to compromise the mobile device of a staff member in early June by sending him a WhatsApp message about a protest in front of the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

    • Hiring Freeze Put U.S. Diplomats Under Threat Worldwide, Report Says

      The report offers the most comprehensive public account yet of how a nearly year-and-a-half-long hiring freeze at the State Department had sweeping negative impacts on the day-to-day functions of U.S. foreign policy under the Trump administration. Released by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General on Friday, the report details how the hiring freeze undercut State Department initiatives around the world, including on top Trump administration priorities, such as counterterrorism initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Environment

    • Another Death in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Brings Environmental Activists Together to Honor One of Their Own

      On August 8, after Geraldine Mayho’s funeral, her body was laid to rest in the St. James Catholic Cemetery in southern Louisiana, across the street from a cluster of oil storage tanks. The tanks are like those that surround the Burton Lane neighborhood in St. James where she had lived, and are emblematic of the type of polluting industry she spent her last years rallying against.

    • Why land is the next frontier in environmental breakdown

      The soil problem is particularly worrying. In areas that are ploughed for farming, soil is being lost over 100 times faster than it can be replenished – and, astonishingly, around 10-20 times faster than can be replenished by natural processes in areas where it’s not even being farmed. Humans are entirely dependent on soil to grow food. And soil also absorbs CO2, so depletion speeds up climate breakdown. Life on Earth is finely tuned and delicately interconnected: damage to one area has consequences elsewhere.

    • Mercury levels in fish are rising despite reduced emissions

      Climate change and overfishing may be hampering efforts to reduce toxic mercury accumulations in the fish and shellfish that end up on our plates. Mercury emissions are decreasing around the globe. But new research suggests that warmer ocean waters and fishing’s effects on ecosystems can alter how much mercury builds up in seafood.

      Fishing practices increased methylmercury levels in the tissue of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) caught in the Gulf of Maine by as much as 23 percent over a roughly 30-year period, researchers estimate. That’s despite decreases in atmospheric mercury levels over the same time period, from the 1970s to the 2000s. The finding is based on simulations of mercury emissions as well as ecosystem changes related to fishing. It reveals how the diet of cod, driven by the rebound of once-overfished herring, plays an important role in determining how much mercury accumulates in the fish, the team reports online August 7 in Nature.

    • Some Fish Are Still Full of Mercury, for a Worrying Reason

      While other studies have focused on mercury levels in predatory fish, this one is unique in considering the entire ecosystem. “It’s an important study, showing how the quality of our seafood is intimately connected to a healthy, balanced ocean and that human behaviors—fishing and climate change—directly affect the contamination profiles of that seafood,” says Anela Choy of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    • Climate change and overfishing could lead to higher mercury levels in fish

      Schartup’s model suggested that the warming trend in the Gulf of Maine would lead to a 30 percent increase in the amount of mercury found in resident tuna between 2015 and 2030. Indeed, mercury measurements in tuna from 2012 to 2017 appear to bolster the model’s findings. During that time, mercury levels rose 3.5 percent per year, the researchers found.

    • Energy

      • Why data centres are the new frontier in the fight against climate change

        While most climate change activists are focused on limiting emissions from the automotive, aviation and energy sectors, it’s the communications industry that is on track to generate more carbon emissions than all of the aforementioned sectors.

        In 2016, it was reported that the world’s data centres used more than Britain’s total electricity consumption – 416.2 terawatt hours, significantly higher than the UK’s 300 terawatt hours. At three percent of the global electricity supply and accounting for about two percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, data centres have the same carbon footprint as the aviation industry.

      • Why recent smartphone ‘bad news’ is really good news

        As a species, we manufacture way too many smartphones. Only about 2.5 billion humans own smartphones. Manufacturing and shipping 2.2 billion phones in a single year means that nearly 90% of smartphone owners will get a brand-new phone.

        Smartphones are good, a huge benefit to humanity. But smartphone manufacturing is bad. Some 80% of a smartphone’s lifetime carbon footprint happens during manufacturing. The mining required to extract aluminum, cobalt, copper, gold, palladium, platinum, silver, tantalum, tin, tungsten and other metals is extremely resource-intensive.

      • Funding for Annual UN Climate Talks Plummets as Mining Companies Slash Contributions — Reports

        Funding arrangements for the upcoming UN climate conference may be in disarray after local reports suggested contributions from the local mining industry to the Chilean authorities were to be slashed.

        Chile’s Tele 13 Radio journalist Paula Comondari reported on Wednesday that the national Mining Council’s expected $10 million funding package for the UN’s 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) was to be slashed to just $2 million. Mining is Chile’s biggest industry and is intensive in terms of its associated water, energy and associated carbon emissions.

      • Deniers Deflated as Climate Reality Hits Home

        Climate science deniers are becoming desperate as their numbers diminish in the face of incontrovertible evidence that human-caused global warming is putting our future at risk. Although most people with basic education, common sense, and a lack of financial interest in the fossil fuel industry accept what scientists worldwide have proven through decades of research, some media outlets continue to publish inconsistent, incoherent opinions of people who reject climate science.

    • Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Team Mitch’ claims victory after Twitter unlocks McConnell’s campaign account

      The social media giant, which had locked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign account Wednesday after it posted a video of a profanity-filled protest outside his home in Kentucky, made the announcement Friday.

      “Going forward, the video will be visible on the service with a sensitive media interstitial and only in cases where the Tweet content does not otherwise violate the Twitter Rules,” the social media’s communications account said. (An interstitial is a warning message.)

    • Hong Kong protesters defy police with new rallies

      The fresh demonstrations came after the city’s leader pledged she would not grant concessions to the protesters as their movement enters its third month.

    • Inside Saudi Arabia’s Disinformation Campaign

      A new investigation finds that Saudi Arabia is behind a disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting its enemies.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • PBS lands first streaming deal with YouTube TV [iophk: and puts YouTube in charge of hiding their material]

      During Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, PBS today announced that it has secured carriage for its member stations on YouTube TV. This includes live, on-demand and DVR access to PBS and PBS Kids. Starting later this year, YouTube TV will livestream all PBS member stations that choose to participate.

    • PBS Stations Head to YouTube TV

      PBS has more than 330 member stations across the country, and as part of the deal any member station that wishes to participate will be live streamed on YouTube TV. In addition to having access to live PBS and PBS KIDS content, YouTube TV subscribers can access PBS content through the platforms on-demand and DVR services.

      YouTube TV is expected to begin carrying the PBS livestreams starting later in 2019.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Epstein’s Death Must Be the Start, not the End, of the Investigation

      There are a number of royal palaces and grand residences of former Presidents and Prime Ministers where the inhabitants have a little bit more spring in their step following the death of Jeffrey Epstein. The media is rushing to attach the label “conspiracy theory” to any thought that his death might not have been suicide. In my view, given that so many very powerful people will be relieved he is no longer in a position to sing, and given that he was in a maximum security jail following another alleged “suicide attempt” a week ago, it would be a very credulous person who did not view the question of who killed him an open one.

      There has been a huge amount of obfuscation and misdirection on the activities of Epstein and his set. To my mind, the article which remains the best starting point for those new to the scandal is this one from Gawker.

      Two days ago a federal court unsealed 2000 pages of documents related to the allegations against Epstein. Of these the most important appears to be a witness statement from Virginia Giuffre alleging that while a minor she had sex at Epstein’s direction with Senate Majority leader George Mitchell and former New Mexico Governor Bill Mitchell, plus a variety of senior foreign politicians.

      Epstein’s sexual activities and partying with young girls were carried out in full view of key friends, his domestic and office staff, his pilots and of course the participants. There is no shortage of potential witnesses. Several of these really ought to be taking great care – though if I were them I would certainly eschew any protection involving US security services or law enforcement. Ghislaine Maxwell might take heed of her father’s fate and avoid swimming for a few years.

    • Lady who forcibly tried to enter Sabarimala says Muslim fanatics from SDPI paid her husband to convert her and daughter to Islam

      The complainant, Bindhu Thankam Kaliyani has alleged her husband, Kamal C. Najmal’s connivance with the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) for her daughter’s conversion. She has accused her husband of receiving money from SDPI for converting the couple’s daughter, Bhoomi, into Islam. According to her complaint, Kamal took their daughter away from the home during the vacation and declined to send her home back. He allegedly got Transfer Certificate from Bhoomi’s school and got her admitted to a school under the administration of the Muslim fundamentalist group, Solidarity.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Legal Shield for Websites Rattles Under Onslaught of Hate Speech

      The [Internet] industry has a financial incentive to keep Section 230 intact. The law has helped build companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars with a lucrative business model of placing ads next to largely free content from visitors.

      That applies to more than social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Wikipedia and Reddit depend on its visitors to sustain the sites, while Yelp and Amazon count on reviews for businesses and products.

  • Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Latin America–a whole lot of trademark activity is going on

        Mexico-Alejandrina Gisselle Guzmán Salazar, daughter of Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán, has recently launched a clothing collection under the trademark “El Chapo 701”. The trademark, which was applied for earlier this year (here) for products in international class 33 (?) will in fact be used in connection with high end clothes. Profits from sales will be in part be contributed to a project intended to help people going through drug rehab.

    • Copyrights

      • Fact check: What you may have heard about the dispute between UC and Elsevier

        Whether you have received an email directly from Elsevier, or have been reading the news coverage since early July, you may have seen some of Elsevier’s claims regarding the journal contract dispute between the publisher and UC. Here’s a fact check from UC’s negotiating team.

      • ‘Copyright Troll’ Files Over 1,000 Piracy Lawsuits in Half a Year

        After filing more than 1,000 lawsuits against alleged BitTorrent pirates in the first half of this year, Strike 3 Holdings is the most active copyright litigant in the United States. Together with fellow adult entertainment company Malibu Media, the company is responsible for nearly all cases filed against alleged file-sharers in the US.

      • RIAA: Ebay and Amazon Sell a Lot of Copyright Infringing Music

        In a letter to the US Department of Commerce, the RIAA is calling for stronger measures to curb piracy and counterfeiting that takes place through online marketplaces. The music group points out that copyright infringement is widespread on many services, including Amazon and eBay, where a significant percentage of the CDs and box-sets are sold without permission.

      • Police Arrest Two in Football Piracy Crackdown

        Officers of the Intellectual Property Brigade (BRIDEPI) of the Chilean Investigative Police say they have arrested two men who illegally broadcast live football matches via the Internet. It’s claimed the men received the matches into their homes, captured them, and uploaded the resulting live streams to a pair of popular football-focused sites.

Launching the Weekly Openwashing Report

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: Increased focus on fake “Open Source” (or proprietary software with an “open” slant for marketing purposes)

Openwashing is a term that we believe we coined around 2008 (maybe other people came up with it independently around the same time; there’s nothing too clever about it as it’s derived from greenwashing). In recent years we saw an uptick or a sharp increase in openwashing — to the point where our openwashing section grew bigger than (proper) “FOSS” and was filled with corrective comments (Editorial/Ed). It no longer seems suitable for daily links. It merits its own section of standalone posts with rebuttals. So today, without further ado, we shall post our first “Openwashing Report”. We’ll try to keep it up and issue a report on a weekly basis until further notice.

Europe is Gradually Becoming a Hotspot for Patent Litigation and Trolls as Patent Quality Decreases

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Euro

Summary: European jurisdictions have become more attractive for players seeking to litigate rather than innovate; this is exactly what litigation firms have been drooling over all along, basically an opportunity to tax Europe with no benefits to the European economy

THE quality of European Patents has collapsed to the point where law firms sometimes say that it’s lower than that of US patents, granted by the USPTO after Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101. While the US took some important steps to elevate the quality of patents, at least in the courtrooms, Europe was pushed the other way — towards UPC (which thankfully failed) and disregard for quality at the EPO — to the point of routinely violating the EPC (this is one of the reasons the UPC is failing). The expectation was, all along, that such deterioration in patent quality would attract/invite patent trolls to European courts. Law firms that enlist trolls as their clients had been having wet dreams about it for decades.

“The expectation was, all along, that such deterioration in patent quality would attract/invite patent trolls to European courts. Law firms that enlist trolls as their clients had been having wet dreams about it for decades.”In recent years we saw some comprehensive surveys suggesting a sharp increase in troll litigation mostly around Germany. It is definitely measurable. This morning we saw much-needed patent reporting — again — from what little remains of active patent blogs, naming Avanci, Nokia, Sharp and Daimler. The gist of it:

Through a filing with Judge Lucy H. Koh’s court in the Northern District of California, I’ve become aware of the following patent infringement complaints (presumably but not necessarily involving one or more requests for injunctive relief) filed by Foxconn subsidiary Sharp Corporation against Daimler in Germany…

[...]

Like Nokia’s German patent infringement suits against Daimler, those Sharp cases involve, at least in part, cars that come with a telematics control unit (TCU) supplied by Continental, which alleges that “Sharp’s lawsuits are evidence of the immediate, substantial threat that Avanci will encourage or direct its members to engage in a concerted litigation campaign in an effort to force Continental’s OEM customers to take a non-FRAND license through Avanci.”

Filing “over five patents in two German courts” (to quote the headline) is no longer so uncommon because the European Patent Office (EPO) is granting dubious patents, including software patents in Europe. They’re added up, i.e. a bunch of law-quality patents, to sue or to threaten in bulk. It makes a defense more expensive, compelling the victim to simply settle (or ‘license’) instead. Nowadays Campinos and his colleagues — much like Battistelli — are meeting with patent trolls and their front groups. They even co-host events. Who does the EPO strive to serve and what goals? Whose goals?

“Sometimes one has to wonder if Team UPC and their friends in patent trolls’ circles joke about how they hijacked the EPO (with ‘moles’ who do whatever the trolls want) and nearly hijacked the court system too (with the UPC).”We have meanwhile noticed that the patent trolls’ lobby and the EPO’s favourite propaganda outlet (IAM) sort of promotes the lowering of the British Pound as “good for litigation”. Their sick logic goes like this:

For example, although patents are not directly affected by Brexit, it is pretty clear that whatever lingering chances there were the unitary patent system might include the UK will die with No Deal. However, against that, think of the falling value of the pound.

Currently hovering at the $1.20/€1.07 mark, the UK is becoming a much cheaper jurisdiction in which to litigate. If the Supreme Court upholds the Unwired Planet decision, that might make London’s courts even more compelling venues in which to enforce SEPs as a means to secure global settlements. With a G8 economy, expert judges, highly-skilled practitioners and lower costs than ever before, what could there be for rights owners to dislike about litigating in the UK?

They cite a patent trolls’ case as though it’s a desirable thing for the UK. Maybe some law firms based in London like it, but the British public stands to lose the most from such lawsuits. What’s at stake here is market embargo, i.e. reduction in choices offered on the British market and with it the potential of price hikes.

Sometimes one has to wonder if Team UPC and their friends in patent trolls’ circles joke about how they hijacked the EPO (with ‘moles’ who do whatever the trolls want) and nearly hijacked the court/legal system too (with the UPC).

Linux is Not Winning, It’s Changing (or Being Changed)

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 12:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation logo
Credit: Will Hill, 2 days ago

Summary: Linux development is guided by the wrong interests — general interests which are themselves motivated by domination over the users rather than empowerment and emancipation of computer users

MANY things are crumbling around us: the Web, digital freedom, and more pertinent issues like privacy and control over one’s computing (these issues are closely related and inherently connected).

To say that Linux “won” is easy; but did GNU? Or the vision put forth by its manifesto? The only thing being manifested these days, both on the Web and in Linux, is DRM (and similar). Restrictions grow in number and complexity. Microsoft, together with Intel, push UEFI ‘secure boot’, which is all about corporations controlling users’ choice of what to boot on a machine they supposedly own. These are the sorts of interests that dominate and always steer Linux Foundation decisions (look where their technical chiefs come from!).

Techrights does not expect that this will be easy to change; Techrights barely believes it can be changed, but one has to try, one has to start somewhere. If people give up without even trying (not fighting back), then defeat is assured. As we noted yesterday, there’s an effort here to make the Web more accessible or rather to make information from the Web more accessible, using Fair Use doctrine and some clever hacking (coding). At the same time we work to eliminate software patents and constantly strive to expose those who perturb the direction of GNU/Linux. A decade ago we battled against Trojan horses such as Mono, but nowadays we need to challenge much more widespread things such as listening devices (so-called ‘smart’ ‘assistants’). Don’t give up. Never let go. Once you do it’s all over. It’s not hard to see who would gain from defeatism. It’s also not hard to envision society that surrenders to such 24/7 surveillance (video/audio), universal back doors, and everything as “rental” with the concept of real ownership (control) altogether eliminated.

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