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08.14.19

Links 14/8/2019: Best Chromebooks, EPEL 8.0, LibreOffice 6.2.6

Posted in News Roundup at 2:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • How Mobile Linux Differs from Desktop Linux

      Next year might be “the year of desktop Linux” in perpetuity, but mobile operating systems aren’t waiting around. They represent the fastest-growing of the Linux kernel, powering the vast majority of mobile devices. But how can the same kernel work on the desktop and a mobile system? Android doesn’t make much of a desktop operating system after all. The basic rules stay the same, but there are significant differences between mobile and desktop operating systems.

    • Desktop

      • Best Chromebook laptops for school

        You might think a Chromebook is limited because it can only run programs when it’s online. That’s not true. For example, you can still work with Google Docs when you’re offline.

        Also, you can now run many Android apps on Chromebooks. And, these days you can run a full Linux desktop on your new Intel-based Chromebook. Indeed, as my tech buddy Mike Elgan points out, today’s high-end Chromebook laptops “run more apps without dual- or multi-booting than any other computing platform. Chromebook laptops can run apps from Android, Linux, and Windows concurrently in the same session.”

        In addition, as FutureSource points out, when it comes to school work, Chromebook laptops combine “affordable devices, productivity tools via G-Suite, easy integration with third-party platforms/tools, task management/distribution via Google Classroom, and easy device management remains extremely popular with US teachers and IT buyers alike.”

        One unsung advantage of Chromebook laptops is that, if your dog ate the Chromebook, you wouldn’t have lost your work. All you need do is get another one, log on, and you’re back in business with all your e-mail, documents, and calendars intact and ready to go. Another sweet deal that comes when you buy a Chromebook is that you can get 100GB of free Google One cloud storage for a year. That’s more than enough room for your homework.

        And, since it’s easy to erase a Chromebook and then reset it to your account, this is safer than using a used Windows laptop.

    • Server

      • Linux and Cloud Computing: Can Pigs Fly? Linux now Dominates Microsoft Azure Servers [Ed: This is not about “Linux” dominating Microsoft but Microsoft trying to dominate GNU/Linux]

        Over the last five years things have changed dramatically at Microsoft. Microsoft has embraced Linux. Earlier in the year, Sasha Levin, Microsoft Linux kernel developer, said that now more than half of the servers in Microsoft Azure are running Linux.

      • Google Cloud Adds Compute, Memory-Intensive VMs

        Google added virtual machine (VM) types on Google Compute Engine including second-generation Intel Xeon scalable processor machines and new VMs for compute- and memory-heavy applications.

      • Kubernetes Ingress

        On a similar note, if your application doesn’t serve a purpose outside the Kubernetes cluster, does it really matter whether or not your cluster is well built? Probably not.

        To give you a concrete example, let’s say we have a classical web app composed of a frontend written in Nodejs and a backend written in Python which uses MySQL database. You deploy two corresponding services on your Kubernetes cluster.

        You make a Dockerfile specifying how to package the frontend software into a container, and similarly you package your backend. Next in your Kubernetes cluster, you will deploy two services each running a set of pods behind it. The web service can talk to the database cluster and vice versa.

      • IBM

        • Announcing EPEL-8.0 Official Release

          The EPEL Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the initial EPEL-8 is ready for release. We would like to thank everyone in the community for helping us get the initial set of builds out to mirrors and to consumers worldwide. Special thanks go to Patrick Uiterwijk, Jeroen van Meeuwen, Robert Scheck, and many others in the community who helped in the last 6 months to get this release done.

          EPEL-8.0 has packages for the x86_64, ppc64le, aarch64, and now the s390x platforms.
          What is EPEL?

          EPEL stands for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux and is a subcommunity of the Fedora and CentOS projects aimed at bringing a subset of packages out of Fedora releases ready to be used and installed on various Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is not a complete rebuild of Fedora or even of previous EPEL releases. EPEL is also a community and not a product. As such we need community members to help get packages into the repository more than done in Fedora.

        • EPEL 8.0 released
          The EPEL Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the initial
          EPEL-8 is ready for release. We would like to thank everyone in the
          community for helping us get the initial set of builds out to mirrors
          and to consumers worldwide. Special thanks go to Patrick Uiterwijk,
          Jeroen van Meeuwen, Robert Scheck, and many others in the community
          who helped in the last 6 months to get this release done.
          
          EPEL-8.0 has packages for the x86_64, ppc64le, aarch64, and now the
          s390x platforms.
          
          ## What is EPEL?
          
          EPEL stands for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux and is a
          subcommunity of the Fedora and CentOS projects aimed at bringing a
          subset of packages out of Fedora releases ready to be used and
          installed on various Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It is not a
          complete rebuild of Fedora or even of previous EPEL releases. EPEL is
          also a community and not a product. As such we need community members
          to help get packages into the repository more than done in Fedora.
          
          If you are interested in getting a package into EPEL, contact the
          package maintainer through bugzilla. This way the request can be
          tracked, and if the primary maintainer is not interested in branching
          to EPEL, others can step in and do so. Optionally you can send a
          request to the epel-devel@lists.fedoraproject.org mailing list. If you
          do so, please include why the package is needed, to help other
          volunteers decide whether they can support it.
          
          ## What is new?
          
          ### Playground for Rawhide like things
          We have added an additional set of channels for EPEL-8 called
          playground. It is similar to Fedora Rawhide so packagers can work on
          versions of software that are too fast moving or will have large API
          changes compared to versions in the regular channel.
          
          To make this purpose transparent, when a package is built in epel8, it
          will normally also be built in epel8-playground. This is done via a
          packages.cfg file which lists the targets for fedpkg to build against.
          A successful package build will then go through two different paths:
          * epel8 package will go into bodhi to be put into epel8-testing
          * epel8-playground will bypass bodhi and go directly into
          epel8-playground the next compose.
          
          If a packager needs to focus only on epel8 or epel8-playground they
          can edit packages.cfg to change the target=epel8 epel8-playground to
          target=epel8.
          
          Packages in epel8-playground are intended to be used in the following manner:
          * To test out a new version of the package that might not be stable yet.
          * To test out new packaging of the package
          * To test a major version change of the package intended for the next
          EPEL-8 minor release.
          * To build a package that will never be stable enough for EPEL-8, but
          still could be useful to some.
          
          At minor RHEL releases (ie, 8.1, 8.2) people can pull in big changes
          from playground to the main EPEL-8 packages. Since people will be
          upgrading and paying more attention than usual anyhow at those points,
          it’s a great chance to do that change, but you can test beforehand in
          the playground to make sure these changes work.
          Consumers should be aware that packages in EPEL8-playground are
          without any Service Level Expectations. You may want to only cherry
          pick packages from the playground as needed.
          
          ### New Architecture: s390x
          
          We have added the s390x platform to builds. Some consumers have wanted
          this platform for many years but we did not have the time to integrate
          necessary changes. We have done this with EPEL-8, and hope to be able
          to do so for EPEL-7 if there are continued requests for it.
          
          ## What is next? (Why is it called EPEL-8.0?)
          The goal for EPEL-8.1 will be implementing modules into the
          repository, which allows builds for packages that depend on
          non-shipped devel packages. It also allows maintainers to supplement
          and replace other packages they could not under standard EPEL rules.
          
          ## Known Issues:
          1. EPEL-8.0 does not come with modules. Packages built for perl,
          python and other modules are only built against “default” modules. For
          example installing a perl library from EPEL will work with the
          perl-5.26 but not with the perl-5.24 module.
          2. RHEL-8.0 and RHEL-8.1 beta do not come with the same packages in
          all architectures. There are 720 ‘desktop’ packages which were only
          shipped for x86_64 and ppc64le. Packagers looking to deliver GNOME,
          KDE, or other platforms will need to exclude s390x and aarch64 at this
          time.
          3. The dnf in RHEL-8.1 beta does not work with the EPEL repository due
          to zchunk code. This has been opened as an upstream bug as
          
          https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1719830
          
          4. Until modularity and module builds are implemented in EPEL, there
          will be many packages which can not be built for EPEL. This is mainly
          due to RHEL-8 not shipping many -devel packages and the need for us to
          rebuild those packages in a module to make those -devel available to
          build against. When running into this please open a ticket with
          https://pagure.io/epel/new_issue for us to put in a request for it to
          be added to Red Hat’s Code Ready Builder. Please list the package(s)
          which is blocked from being built because of its absence. We will
          collate these items into bugzilla tickets which will be reviewed by
          the Red Hat product groups to see if they will be added in future Code
          Ready Builder releases. Doing this will ensure that we do not have 70
          requests for foo-devel but can have one with all the packages needing
          it.
          5. /usr/bin/python does not exist in RHEL8. Developers should aim
          towards /usr/bin/python3 or /usr/bin/python2 and patch appropriately.
          Python2 packages are discouraged. RHEL-8 will contain python2.7 until
          probably the end of life of RHEL-7. However support upstream will only
          be minimal. When modularity occurs, we suggest that you make whatever
          python2 packages modules which can be pulled out when RHEL-8.N no
          longer has python2.
          6. python2-sphinx is not shipped. Most packages should work with
          python3-sphinx, and if it doesn’t please open a bug. The python team
          has been good about making fixes for this.
          7. When branching python packages, be aware that python in EL-8 is
          python36 and not the version currently in rawhide. This has come up
          with a couple of test packages where they assumed python37 or later.
          8. While EL-8 comes with platform-python, it should NOT be used in
          Requires: unless absolutely necessary. python3 should be used instead.
          (Exceptions can be made but will be rare and need justification.)
            * Accepted exception: Use python3.6dist(coverage) instead of
          python3-coverage. This package is not shipped but is needed in %check
          code.
          10. Sometimes RHEL8 only has a python3 package for a dependency you
          need for your build. (Example: python-bleach requires
          python2-html5lib, but RHEL8 provides only python3-html5lib). For
          EPEL-8.0 we recommend strongly to only focus on python3 subpackages..
          11. RHEL-8 was built with packages which were not shipped. In general
          it is OK to branch these packages and build them in EPEL.
          12. systemd-rpm-macros is not a separate packages. If needed, used
          BuildRequires: systemd
          13. You will need to make sure you have a version of fedpkg greater
          than fedpkg-1.37-4 to work with both `epel8` and `epel8-playground`.
          Versions before that should work with just `epel8`.
          
          ## Developer requests for multiple branches
          Branching is handled the same way as requesting a branch using fedpkg
          request-branch. A maintainer can request an epel8 branch using fedpkg
          request-branch epel8 which will create a ticket in
          https://pagure.io/releng/fedora-scm-requests/issues and Release
          Engineering will process these requests.
          To branch multiple packages please use this or a variant of this script:
          
          ```
          #!/usr/bin/sh
          # Reminder to get an updated pagure token for releng tickets
          # Usage: epel-8.sh package1 package2 package3 package4
          if [ $# -lt 1 ]
          then
              echo "At least one package name should be provided"
          else
              TMPDIR=`mktemp -d /tmp/epel8.XXXXXX`
              pushd "$TMPDIR"
              for pkg in "$@"
              do
                  fedpkg clone "$pkg"
                  pushd "$pkg"
                  fedpkg request-branch epel8
                  fedpkg request-branch epel8-playground
                  popd
              done
              rm -rfv "$TMPDIR"
          fi
          ```
          
          Releng will then work through the tickets in the system which is
          adding branches to the PDC and src.fedoraproject.org.
          
          ## Known RHEL-8 packages missing -devel
          * libblueray-devel
          * liba52-devel
          * libXvMC-devel
          * libdvdnav-devel
          * gfbgraph-devel
          * libuv-devel
          * rest-devel
          * qgpgme-devel
          
          ## Definitions
          * Package maintainer. Person who has accepted responsibility to
          package and maintain software in the Fedora Project ecosystem. The
          main packager is usually someone focused on Fedora Linux, and
          secondary packagers may be focused on particular use cases like EPEL.
          * Consumer. A person who has subscribed to EPEL for packages but is
          not a maintainer.
          * PDC. Product Definition Center. A tool to help list the lifetime and
          permissions that a product has so that branching and updates can be
          better managed.
          
          
          
        • EPEL 8.0 Is Now Ready To Offer Up More Packages To Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Users

          EPEL 8.0 is now ready for users of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and the eventual CentOS 8 for complementing the standard repositories with extra packages for what is found in Fedora.

          The “Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux” continues providing a sub-set of Fedora’s packages to RHEL/CentOS users. Just as they’ve done for prior RHEL series, EPEL 8.0 provides updated/additional packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 / CentOS 8.0 users.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • mintCast 315 – Les, Dan and the Banter

        In the first half, Dan learns Jekyll and Ruby web development, Les teaches kids to code in Manchester, Leo has been testing Ubuntu 19.04 and attending a wedding, Bo is now certified, Tony Hughes has been Volunteering again and running ‘ARCH’, Moss is Distrohopping big time and is getting a new Pi 2B, Josh is publishing another issue of his magazine, and Joe buys new ‘old’ laptops for the kids and plays with Pis.

        Then, our news, we discuss new hardware, the death of the floppy drive (or not), Demise of another Linux magazine and some controversy in the OS world.

    • Kernel Space

      • BFQ (Budget Fair Queuing) I/O Scheduler Improves Linux Systems Responsiveness (Video)

        Storage is normally the slowest part of a system, and operating systems such as Linux try to limit I/O access with “tricks” like caching. The I/O.

      • RapidDisk version 6.0-1 released

        RapidDisk is an advanced Linux RAM Disk which consists of a collection of modules and an administration tool. Features include: Dynamically allocate RAM as block device. Use them as stand alone disk drives or even map them as caching nodes to slower local disk drives.

        [...]

        I also made sure to verify that the latest module code compiles cleanly with version 5.3 (currently at -RC4) of the Linux kernel.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Announcing New Course: DevOps and SRE Fundamentals-Implementing Continuous Delivery

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced today that enrollment is now open for the new DevOps and SRE Fundamentals – Implementing Continuous Delivery eLearning course. The course will help an organization be more agile, deliver features rapidly, while at the same time being able to achieve non-functional requirements such as availability, reliability, scalability, security, etc.

          According to Chris Aniszczyk, CTO of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, “The rise of cloud native computing and site reliability engineering are changing the way applications are built, tested, and deployed. The past few years have seen a shift towards having Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) on staff instead of just plain old sysadmins; building familiarity with SRE principles and continuous delivery open source projects are an excellent career investment.”

    • Benchmarks

      • Blender 2.80 Performance With Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 vs. AMD EPYC 7742

        The Blender 2.80 release arrived at the end of July that unfortunately was too late for using that big new release in our launch-day testing of AMD’s EPYC 7002 “Rome” processors but as a follow-up here are AMD EPYC 7742 performance benchmarks up against the Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake as well as the AMD EPYC 7601 2P. Blender 2.80 performance is the focus of this article along with some other renderer benchmarks.

        [...]

        The three servers used for testing (AMD Naples, AMD Rome, Intel Cascade Lake) were using Intel Optane 900p NVMe SSDs for storage and RAM satisfying all available channels and at each processor’s optimal frequencies. Ubuntu 19.04 was running on each server with the Linux 5.2 kernel. The Phoronix Test Suite test profile makes use of Blender 2.80′s official binaries and some of the common benchmark scenes, similar to the long-standing Blender 2.79 test.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Time travelling adventure game The Great Perhaps is out now

        Caligari Games and Daedalic Entertainment have today released their time bending adventure game The Great Perhaps and with it comes same-day Linux support as promised.

        A very intriguing game this one, since it’s both pre and post-apocalypse due to the time travelling mechanics involved. The game tells the story of an astronaut returning to Earth destroyed by natural disasters. While searching amongst the ruins, you find an usual old lantern which has the ability to shine a light into time itself.

      • The Great Perhaps Out Now for PC Mac and Linux

        Daedalic Entertainment has launched the original time travel adventure game The Great Perhaps, the debut title from indie developer Caligari Games. Featuring hours of puzzle-based gameplay and atmospheric storytelling in a unique sci-fi universe, this thought-provoking journey will be available for £8.99 / €9.99 / $9.99 on Windows PC, Mac and Linux via Steam, GOG.com and other portals.

      • pyLinuxWheel and Oversteer, two open source tools for managing Steering Wheels on Linux

        Don’t get frustrated by the lack of official support from Logitech for their steering wheels on Linux, reclaim your hardware with these two handy open source tools.

        The first, is pyLinuxWheel (GPL). This supports Driving Force Pro, Driving Force GT, G25, G27 and the G29.

        A few days ago, pyLinuxWheel had a brand new 0.4 release adding support for alternate modes, a Spanish translation and Driving Force Pro Logitech wheel support.

      • Dead Cells feature filled Who’s the Boss update out now under a new company

        Some exciting news if you’re a big Dead Cells fan like me, as work shall continue on it to expand the game even further under a new dedicated company.

        Motion Twin, the original developer is a “workers co-op” and they said this makes growing their team a little difficult. Since they’ve been prototyping new games, they also wanted to continue working on Dead Cells. So to do exactly that, the company Evil Empire was created. They’re all still in the same office, they have the exact same creative control as before but now they have a dedicated team for Dead Cells. Well, that’s one way to do it!

      • Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” brings a retro turn-based tactics game to Linux

        Retro-style tactical turn-based strategy game Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” has recently released with Linux support.

        Another new interesting release for you recently, developed by From Nothing Game Studios, Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” is inspired by console tactical RPGs from the 1990s like Final Fantasy Tactics.

      • Defeat enemies and take their abilities in the roguelike dungeon crawler Emberlight, now available

        Released on Steam yesterday with same-day Linux support, Emberlight is a dungeon crawler with a bit of a difference.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Best desktop environments for Debian

        Under Linux the desktop environment, or graphical environment is independent of the OS (Operating system) in contrast to Windows which, as its name says, incorporated windows as part of its core rather than an optional feature we could add to MS-DOS. I won’t explain deeply that Linux is a kernel rather than an OS and all additional components are complementary including the graphical environment but it is what brings the flexibility on tools choice.
        Initially Linux wasn’t developed for domestic use, based on Unix it provided multiuser, multitask and networking functions and the graphical environment wasn’t an initial priority, actually in contrast to Windows servers Linux servers lack of graphical environment because it is unnecessary (but optional, as with any Linux installation).

        For domestic or professional use, users need a graphical interface of which you can choose among many options, some of which will be explained in this article.

        The disclaimer is no one can affirm what the best desktop environments are since the choice is based on individual needs and tastes, this article lists some desktop environments currently remain unused like Fluxbox because I consider it great, sadly the Linux community disagreed.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Lazy Qt Models from QVariant

          In Calamares there is a debug window; it shows some panes of information and one of them is a tree view of some internal data in the application. The data itself isn’t stored as a model though, it is stored in one big QVariantMap. So to display that map as a tree, the code needs to provide a Qt model so that then the regular Qt views can do their thing.

          [...]

          This is strongly oriented towards the key-value display of a QVariantMap as a tree, but it could possibly be massaged into another form. It also is pushy in smashing everything into string form. It could probably use data from the map more directly (e.g. pixmaps) and be even more fancy that way.

          Most of my software development is pretty “plain”. It is straightforward code. This was one of the rare occasions that I took out pencil and paper and sketched a data structure before coding (or more accurate: I did a bunch of hacking, got nowhere, and realised I’d have to do some thinking before I’d get anywhere – cue tea and chocolate).

          What I ended up with was a QVector of quintptrs (since a QModelIndex can use that quintptr as intenal data). The length of the vector is equal to the number of nodes in the tree, each node is assigned an index in the tree (I used depth-first traversal along whatever arbitrary yet consistent order Qt gives me the keys, enumerating each node as it is encountered). In the vector, I store the parent index of each node, at the index of the node itself. The root is index 0, and has a special parent.

    • Distributions

      • How to Distro Hop With a Web Browser

        Getting familiar with Linux up close and personal is easy to do with a free service provided by DistroTest.net, a website that allows testing without ISO downloads or local installations.

        Are you a wandering Linux distro hopper looking for a way to streamline the selection process? Are you a Windows or macOS user who wants to try Linux?

        Linux has countless distributions and dozens of desktop environments. How can you choose?

        Now you can find the perfect combination of distro and desktop without leaving the Web browser running on your current operating system. Just point that browser to DistroTest.net.

        The DistroTest website is a relatively new online Linux distro-vetting system. It even includes some BSD offerings if you have a hankering to venture into an operating system that is similar to Linux.

      • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 82

        July and August are very sunny months in Europe? and chameleons like sun. That?s why most YaST developers run away from their keyboards during this period to enjoy vacations. Of course, that has an impact in the development speed of YaST and, as a consequence, in the length of the YaST Team blog posts.

        [...]

        Bcache technology made its debut in YaST several sprints ago. You can use the Expert Partitioner to create your Bcache devices and improve the performance of your slow disks. We even published a dedicated blog post with all details about it.

        Apart of the Expert Partitioner, AutoYaST was also extended to support Bcache devices. And this time, we are pleased to announce that ? we have fixed our first Bcache bug!

        Actually, there were two different bugs in the AutoYaST side. First, the auto-installation failed when you tried to create a Bcache device without a caching set. On the other hand, it was not possible to create a Bcache with an LVM Logical Volume as backing device. Both bugs are gone, and now AutoYaST supports those scenarios perfectly.

      • Fedora Family

        • Sausage Factory: Modules – Fake it till you make it

          Last week during Flock to Fedora, we had a discussion about what is needed to build a module outside of the Fedora infrastructure (such as through COPR or OBS). I had some thoughts on this and so I decided to perform a few experiments to see if I could write up a set of instructions for building standalone modules.

          To be clear, the following is not a supported way to build modules, but it does work and covers most of the bases.

        • Fedora: Flock Budapest 2019

          Probably the best from FLOCK was to being able to record several members from our community who kindly accepted to say their names, the places where they come from and the language they speak, and create a small video showing how Diverse and Inclusive Fedora is. Produce a short 2min video in such a chaotic schedule is challenging enough, so after 3 hours of recording, and a rough 2:30hs of editing, I ended up finishing the render of the video just as I was plugin my laptop to the main stage… People usually don’t know how long it takes to do something like that, but I’m just glad everyone seemed to like it and that my laptop didn’t died in the process.

          While working on the video, I was able to have small interviews with several folks from Fedora and got to ask them how comfortable they felt in the community. It was satisfactory to learn from them that the overall care we have take to make minorities feel more included has worked, however, it was a bit sad to learn how hard has been for our contributors to deal with burn out, how tired they are of putting fires out instead doing new projects and mainly getting a general sense of getting stuck into the same routine.

          As our team says, our labor is not only to help with the diversity efforts for making everyone feel comfortable, but we also need to work more to include more effective ways to give people a sense of purpose, provide new challenges that put them on a fun path and give them the recognition they deserve. Fedora has always put a lot of effort into bringing new people to contribute, but I’ve seen that the old contributors are getting on a side because “everything is working” and we need to take care of that. They need the same attention (and I would dare to say that probably more) than new contributors do. At the end, is this amazing group of people who has to mentor new contributors. Feel free to reach me or any member of the Diversity and Inclusion Team if you feel that this words got your attention and you’re willing to share some thoughts. Anonymity is a top priority.

        • Flock to Fedora 2019 Trip Report

          I just flew back from Flock 2019 in Budapest, Hungary, and boy are my arms tired!

          Flock is the Fedora Project’s annual contributor-focused conference. This was my first time attending Flock, and I’ve only attended a handful of previous conference in general, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was also my first-ever experience presenting at a conference, and I’m not a fan of long flights in cramped seats—so I arrived for the conference with a bit of anxiety in addition to jet lag. However, sampling the local food and beverage choices helped me adjust.

          I found the four days of events to be filled with interesting sessions that sometimes required difficult choices when deciding what to attend.

          Based on my impression of sessions I attended and discussions in which I participated or observed, here are several topics that seemed to be generating a lot of interest and activity within the Fedora community.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Pi-Hole – The DNS Triangle

        At the end of the day, I had Pi-hole running, but the setup was far from trivial. There were four or five cardinal problems, and none of these should have happened, because the installation wizard could have gone through separate checks to make sure things were working. Part of the first-time run could be the service check, and if there are issues there, some sort of self-diagnosis to make sure FTL is up and running. The same applies to the Web service. Then, there’s the password reset and list update. All of these would make the experience much more streamlined.

        As a product, Pi-Hole is a very nice and powerful tool. It does its job extremely well, it’s fast, effective and robust, and the Web UI is nicely designed. You also gain some on the traffic side, as there’s less content that needs to be served, and fewer queries to be resolved, hence performance improvement for the stuff that matters. The setup isn’t trivial but it is achievable, and you have a lot of flexibility in how you wire up your network. You could have Pi-Hole as a standalone system, or it could serve all the different devices in your home. All in all, this is the doomsday weapon for if and when the Internet turns rogue on you. Well worth testing, but remember the second rule of thermodynamics. You can’t have trivial and complex at the same time.

      • Proven Linux OS Expanded to Aitech’s Multi-core Remote I/O Subsystem

        Chatsworth, Calif. July 2019 – Aitech Defense Systems, Inc., a part of the Aitech Group, has ported the cost-effective, open source Linux operating system onto its intelligent Ai-RIO remote I/O interface unit (RIU). This modular small form factor (SFF) RIU internally networks up to eight expansion modules – or ‘slices’ – for extremely high density and low power in a compact physical space.

      • Tiny Type 10 module serves up Apollo Lake with 16GB DDR4

        Kontron’s Linux-friendly, COM Express Mini Type 10 form-factor “COMe-m4AL10” and “COMe-m4AL10 (E2)” modules are built around Apollo Lake SoCs and offer up to 16GB DDR4 and 64GB eMMC with up to -40 to 85°C (E2) support.

        Kontron announced two 84 x 55mm, Intel Apollo Lake based compute modules with 16GB DDR4. The Atom-powered, -40 to 85°C ready COMe-m4AL10 (E2) and Pentium and Celeron equipped, 0 to 60°C COMe-m4AL10 both support up to twice the RAM of the previous (circa-2017) industrial temp COMe-mAL10 (E2) and commercial COMe-mAL10 modules, which use DDR3L RAM.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Codefresh improves its open source marketplace by removing barriers to faster code deployment
      • Codefresh’s More Robust, Open Source Marketplace Makes Coding Easier, Faster, More Secure

        First deployed in December 2018, the Codefresh Marketplace makes it easier for code developers to find commands without having to learn a proprietary API – every step, browsable in the pipeline builder, is a simple Docker image. The Marketplace contains a more robust set of pipeline steps provided both by Codefresh and partners, such as Blue-Green and Canary deployment steps for Kubernetes, Aqua security scanning, and Helm package and deployment. All plugins are open source and users can contribute to the collection by creating a new plugin.

      • Databases

        • MongoDB 4.2 materialises with $merge operator and indexing help for unstructured data messes

          Document-oriented database MongoDB is now generally available in version 4.2 which introduces enhancements such as on-demand materialised views and wildcard indexing.

          Wildcard indexing can be useful in scenarios where unstructured, heterogeneous datasets make creating appropriate indexes hard. Admins can use the function to create a filter of sorts that matches fields, arrays, or sub-documents in a collection, and adds the hits to a sparse index.

          [...]

          Speaking of cloud, last year MongoDB decided to step away from using the GNU Affero General Public License for the Community Edition of its database and switched to an altered version. The Server-Side Public License is meant to place a condition – namely, to open source the code used to serve the software from the cloud – on offering MongoDB as a service to clients.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.2.6 is ready, all users should update for enhanced security

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.2.6, the sixth minor release of the LibreOffice 6.2 family, targeted at users in production environments. All users of LibreOffice 6.1.x and LibreOffice 6.2.x versions should upgrade immediately for enhanced security, as the software includes both security fixes and some months of back-ported fixes.

      • Programming/Development

        • An Effective Python Environment: Making Yourself at Home

          When you’re first learning a new programming language, a lot of your time and effort go into understanding the syntax, code style, and built-in tooling. This is just as true for Python as it is for any other language. Once you gain enough familiarity to be comfortable with the ins and outs of Python, you can start to invest time into building a Python environment that will foster your productivity.

          Your shell is more than a prebuilt program provided to you as-is. It’s a framework on which you can build an ecosystem. This ecosystem will come to fit your needs so that you can spend less time fiddling and more time thinking about the next big project you’re working on.

          Although no two developers have the same setup, there are a number of choices everyone faces when cultivating their Python environment. It’s important to understand each of these decisions and the options available to you!

        • Think carefully about API language standards

          The idea behind an API is pretty simple. The developer exposes functions from within the application in an abstracted manner. In doing so, the developer can change the functions within the application while all external systems can access the service minus the need for rewrites.

          But developers can hit a snag when they need to change the API library to support new functionality. This this action can — and often does — break calling systems that don’t adhere to the framework of the original API.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Farm Rot is Eating America Alive

        American politics covers up the bleeding of nature

      • Why can’t we sell our own organs?

        I just clicked the box on the government form that asks if, once I die, I’m willing to donate my organs to someone who needs them.

        Why not? Lots of people need kidneys, livers, etc. When I’m dead, I sure won’t need mine.

        Still, there are not enough donors. So, more than 100,000 Americans are on a waiting list for kidneys. Taking care of them is so expensive, it consumes almost 3% of the federal budget!

        So why not allow Americans to sell an organ?

      • Senators Call for Closing “Loopholes” That Make Health Care Fraud Easy

        Following a detailed account of how scam artists can easily gain access to health care cash, six Democratic senators this week sent a letter to federal regulators urging them to “close loopholes” that allow “bad actors” to commit fraud.

        The letter came in response to a recent story by ProPublica and Vox that traced the brazen scam of a Texas personal trainer, who despite having no medical credentials was able to submit a blizzard of fake bills with some of the biggest insurance companies in the country and recoup millions. The story revealed not only how David Williams exploited weaknesses at each step, but how slowly the insurers responded to his ongoing fraud.

        Williams’ con, for which he was later prosecuted, was initially enabled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The federal agency issues and administers National Provider Identifiers, or NPIs, the unique numbers medical providers need to bill insurance plans. ProPublica found that Medicare doesn’t check the credentials of medical providers who apply for NPI numbers, such as whether they have valid licenses, which means scammers can lie to obtain them. Williams obtained at least 20 NPI numbers and used them to bill insurers.

        The insurers he scammed — Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare — then allowed his fraud to proceed for years, largely unchecked. The companies also failed to verify that Williams was a licensed physician, even as he billed them for complex, and expensive, office visits as an out-of-network provider. Instead, they paid him more than $4 million over a span of four years, despite alerts from his ex-wife and her dad about his scam. Williams was convicted of four counts of health care fraud in 2018 and sentenced to about nine years in federal prison. The insurers declined to comment on his fraud.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (kernel, linux-4.9, otrs2, and tomcat8), Fedora (igraph and jhead), openSUSE (ansible, GraphicsMagick, kconfig, kdelibs4, live555, mumble, phpMyAdmin, proftpd, python-Django, and znc), Oracle (kernel and openssl), Red Hat (kernel, openssl, and rh-mysql80-mysql), Scientific Linux (kernel and openssl), Slackware (kernel), SUSE (containerd, docker, docker-runc, golang-github-docker-libnetwork and mariadb-100), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-snapdragon, php5, php7.0, php7.2, and wpa).

      • He tried to prank the DMV. Then his vanity license plate backfired big time.

        It seemed like a good idea at the time.

      • Thoughts from Defcon 27 – This is why I do what I do

        Every year, thousands of security professionals descend upon Las Vegas to take part in a series of conferences known as Hacker Summer Camp. This year, Black Hat, BSides Las Vegas, Defcon 27 and the Diana Initiative took up the majority of the conference space. So, what makes this one of the most relevant and successful security conferences?

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Careerism and the War Machine

        In Three Guineas, which I am reading at the request of a young friend who tells us she is writing her dissertation on Woolf and James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf answers the question asked of her by a prominent liberal of his day, which is that she give her opinion as to how war – this was 1938, in Europe – can be prevented. In the course of answering, Woolf suggests that the independent aspect of women’s thought, cultivated as (unwilling) outsiders in patriarchal society is what’s needed to address the evil of war. She does not so much answer his question as state that, by virtue of their differences, well-intentioned men and women must seek to “destroy” evil in different ways. Her vision of a just (i.e., sane, healthy) society as one that must include its outsiders, bringing them from the margins into the center, has not come to pass, needless to say. The problem may have been that she did not envision women remaining outsiders, and, moreover, presumed that by the fact of their inclusion, and the breakdown of patriarchy, society would be improved.

      • Atomic Bombs Are Not Lifesavers

        One shouldn’t have to state the obvious. It is well known that two atomic detonations, in early August, 1945, killed over 100,000 Hiroshima and Nagasaki residents, revealing the unlimited human capacity for atrocity in wartime. But it seems many U.S. history teachers are still telling students that the atomic bombings somehow saved lives.

      • Massacres at Home and Abroad

        On August 5, former President Obama released a powerful statement in response to the latest gun massacres in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton that left scores dead and wounded—including children who were shopping for school supplies at Walmart with their mothers, and with their families at the wonderful Gilroy Garlic Festival. He decried the madness of violence that has been fueled by Trump’s vile pronouncements and policies that help spread anti-immigrant and racist poison across the nation.

      • Militarized Observers: Institutional Daydreams of Ethics End Runs to Weaponize Culture

        A significant limitation facing scholars studying US military uses of anthropology and other social sciences is that while the existence and activities of various military programs are known, and some related documents are available, there is much about these programs that remains unknown to outsiders. Yet, even with these gaps in knowledge, it is possible to detect patterns indicating trends or recurrent institutional desires and approaches.

      • Nothing Less Than a Revolution Can Save Us

        Is there no limit to the lethal and authoritarian absurdity of America, land of mass gun massacres like Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, and now El Paso and Dayton among other pockmarked sites?

      • Are We Ready Now to Put Shooters’ Gender at Center of Gun Debate?

        Last weekend’s killing sprees in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, brought the number of mass shootings in the first 215 days of the year to 251. In the United States of Ammunition, that’s more than one a day. What’s going on? To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s the masculinity, people.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Sneering at “Conspiracy Theories” is a Lazy Substitute for Seeking the Truth

        On the morning of August 10, a wealthy sex crimes defendant  was reportedly found dead in his cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

      • Fox News Commentator Calls For A ‘Backlash’ Against Big Tech… Because Wikileaks Released His Phone Number

        It’s widely recognized that there’s been a widespread backlash against the big tech companies over the last few years. Politicians on both sides of the aisle in the US have been calling for massive, sometimes crippling, regulations, fines or even antitrust breakups of the companies. Regulators around the globe have been fining the companies billions of dollars.

        Apparently all of that is news to Fox News contributor Juan Williams, who has taken to the august pages of The Hill to publish an op-ed calling for a backlash to big tech. Dude, it’s already happening. Still, perhaps Williams has a new argument that is worth considering? I mean, there are legitimate points to be made about competition, privacy and the like. But… nope. Williams is mad that Wikileaks — which, last I checked, is not considered a member of “big tech” — leaked his cell phone number in a cache of John Podesta emails…

    • Environment

      • Climate Crisis Means the Ruling Class has Failed. Can the Working Class Inherit the Earth?

        The climate crisis is proof positive that the ruling class is an utter failure — but it will not fall on its own. Can the working class rise to the challenge? It sure will help if we understand that our class interests are not merely the economic needs of working people — no matter how important that is — but the universal interests of a healthy planet for all the people. Let’s start acting like it.

      • Energy

        • Fracking and Shale Drilling Caused Spike in Climate-Warming Methane Pollution, Says New Study

          Climate-changing pollution reached unprecedented levels in 2018. That’s both judged against the last 60 years of modern measurements and against 800,000 years of data culled from ice cores, according to the U.S. government’s State of the Climate report, which was published this week with the American Meteorological Society.

          That pollution creates a greenhouse effect that is over 42 percent stronger than it was in 1990, the report added.

          And while carbon dioxide hit a new level last year, it isn’t the only climate-changing gas that’s on the rise globally. Pollution of the powerful but short-lived greenhouse gas methane also climbed in 2018, showing an increase “higher than the average growth rate over the past decade,” the report adds.

        • Fracking’s methane leaks drive climate heat

          An atmospheric methane rise that will speed up global temperature rise is probably being caused mainly by the gas industry’s fracking methane leaks in North America, a new study says.

          The analysis, confirming environmentalists’ worst fears about fracking, is a serious blow to the industry, which claims the gas it produces is cleaner than coal and is needed in the interim before renewables can replace fossil fuels.

          The study is the work of a scientist from Cornell University in the US who has examined the rapid rise in methane concentrations in the atmosphere since 2008. He has found that the gas’s carbon composition has changed.

          His research suggests that methane from biological sources such as cows and bogs has less carbon-13 relative to carbon-12 (denoting the weight of the carbon atom at the centre of the methane molecule) than does methane from conventional natural gas and other fossil fuels such as coal.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Millions of Tokay Geckos Are Taken From the Wild Each Year. International Protection Could Help Save Them

          A popular reptile often found in pet stores is also one of the most heavily traded wildlife species on the planet — perhaps even more than pangolins. A decision pending later this month could help change that.

          Tokay geckos (Gekko gecko) are colorful, foot-long reptiles native to Southern China through southern and Southeast Asia. Although widespread they’re increasingly threatened throughout their range, with millions of animals traded every year for use in traditional Chinese medicines, and to a lesser extent, as pets, which are mainly exported to the European Union and United States.

        • We Ignore Thousands of Threatened Plant Species at Our Own Peril

          Endangered animals may get more attention from the public, but without plants, humans won’t survive.

    • Finance

      • Dow set to fall 400 points after bond market flashes a recession warning, bank stocks drop

        The yield on the 2-year Treasury note topped the 10-year rate, a so-called yield curve inversion that has been a precursor to past recessions.

      • U.S. Economy Faces ‘Strongest Recession Signal Yet’

        Warning signs that the U.S. economy could be barreling toward a recession quickly became alarm bells Wednesday after the Treasury bond yield curve—a key indicator that has preceded every major downturn over the past five decades—inverted for the first time since the Wall Street crash of 2007.

        As the Washington Post reported, “the yields on short-term U.S. bonds eclipsed those of long-term bonds” on Wednesday, a phenomenon that “suggests investors’ faith in the economy is faltering.”

        Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, told the Post that “yield curves are all crying timber that a recession is almost a reality, and investors are tripping over themselves to get out of the way.”

      • Bodies on the Ground and the Rise and Rise of the Economic Elite

        The US is less of a nation than a collective, psychotic episode.

      • Five Ways the Economy is Stacked Against the Young

        The mechanics of wealth building are fairly simple. Save more than you spend, invest those savings to generate more money. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      • Dear Progressives for Warren: Your Class Is Showing

        Let me begin by making the apparently mandatory and sacrosanct ritual offering to the gods of progressive politics in 2019: “Sure, I like Warren. In fact, I agree with her on many issues. She’s not bad.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Boris Johnson Recklessly Picks at the Scabs of Ireland’s Violent Past

        On 8 May 1987 a Provisional IRA unit of eight men attacked a police station in the village of Loughgall in county Armagh 15 miles from the Irish border. One man drove a digger with a bomb in its bucket towards the building, half of which was destroyed in the explosion. But British forces had been informed of the time and place of the assault and SAS soldiers waiting in ambush opened fire killing all eight Provisionals and a civilian.

      • Epstein, Faction, and Neopatrimonialism

        Never has the word “conspiracy” been spoken so easily.

      • The Case Against Voting for President

        As individuals, our choices make very little difference to the state of the world, often virtually none. Nonetheless, those same choices can have significant effects on ourselves, sometimes profoundly.

      • The Need for Unity in Ethiopia

        Ethiopia is a tribal nation, made up of 80 or so different groups, some large some small, some powerful, some not. Large numbers of people, the majority perhaps, identify themselves with their tribe more powerfully than their country, or their region. Tribal affiliation runs deep among all age groups, loyalty is strong, resentment of tribal others can be fierce.

      • Democrats and the Politics of Change

        With the political season underway, the question of an effective politics is the subtext of the debates and speeches intended to motivate constituencies and movements. This should read as odd: in the U.S., it is the act of getting elected that defines effective politics. But as neoliberalism has crept into every aspect of modern life, elections have become an anti-politics, a way of working against the democratic will.

      • The “Trump Recovery”: Behind Right-Wing Populism’s Radical Transformation

        Trump’s unique brand of right-wing populism has long been sold in “mainstream” discourse via a narrative that his supporters are angry as hell over mounting personal and economic insecurity, in an age that affords fewer and fewer opportunities to the “working class.” This story was popularized in part because of Trump’s rhetoric, and because of his higher support among those (especially whites) with low levels of education, who were angry (at the time of Trump’s election) at the state of the nation and economy, and who were opposed to corporate “free trade” agreements. But this narrative was always highly misleading. As social scientists have documented in recent years (see some examples here, here, here, and here), there is little evidence that Trumpeters are economically insecure relative to non-supporters. And their opposition to “free trade” is largely a function of being socialized to oppose it via Trump’s rhetoric, rather than due to personal experiences being harmed by the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. There is no indication that Trumps supporters are more likely to come from rustbelt areas of the nation that are disproportionately affected by outsourcing. Rather, the story of 2016 was one of Democratic demobilization of the working class, not Republican mobilization. This was most evident in the finding that the Democrats lost 3.5 times as many working-class votes from the 2012 to 2016 presidential elections than Republicans gained. In other words, the Democrats gave us Trumpism as much as Republican right-wing “identity politics” and Trump’s activation of the reactionary right did.

      • Boris Johnson: Three Weeks After

        Johnson’s tempestuous energy which in the past poured itself into writing endless articles over a 25-year-period is undimmed. He continues to write for any paper that will publish him all sorts of diatribes that will please his voter base.

        To this arsenal, he now adds Facebook appeals produced at Downing Street. The latest was a promise to make life much harsher for prisoners and to build new prisons to house 10,000 future criminals. The UK has by far the largest number of women and men incarcerated in Europe.

        Why is he doing that? Johnson cannot copy Trump and attack Muslims. He cannot copy Salvini and attack refugees. He cannot copy Kaczynski and copy attack gays.

        But to satisfy his voters’ palpable sense of indignation, he has chosen to be very tough on the women and men who are mostly locked up for non-violent offences. These include items such as petty fraud or providing recreational drugs to, well, politicians like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in their younger years.

      • It’s Very Clear: Bernie Sanders Can Beat Donald Trump

        When trying to guess which candidate will be strongest against Donald Trump in 2020, you would be equally well-served by a dowsing rod, Ouija board, tea leaves, or deck of tarot cards as you would by the informed judgment of cable news pundits or political reporters. Yet polls show the Democratic primary electorate, apparently still scarred by Trump’s surprise win in 2016, are attempting cast their own political yarrow stalks by lining up whoever has the best chance to win next year.

        Only God knows which Democratic candidate will be the strongest in 14 months’ time. However, we can say one thing with as much confidence as can be mustered in this fallen world: Bernie Sanders could beat Donald Trump.

        Polls are obviously rather fluid at this early stage in the election cycle, but they’re also the only data we have on how candidates would stack up against Trump in a head-to-head race. They have consistently shown Sanders ahead of Trump by about 5 points (while former vice president Joe Biden is ahead by about 8 points). Sanders’ approval rating has also been consistently in the mid-50s, with disapproval in the high 30s. That is far, far better than either Trump’s or Hillary Clinton’s numbers in 2016.

      • Bernie Sanders Sees Right Through The Washington Post

        Many decades ago, the great media critic George Seldes observed: “The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself.” That remains true today.

        Bernie Sanders set off the latest round of outraged denial from elite media this week when he talked to a crowd in New Hampshire about the tax avoidance of Amazon (which did not pay any federal income tax last year). Sanders went on to say: “I wonder why the Washington Post — which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon — doesn’t write particularly good articles about me. I don’t know why. But I guess maybe there’s a connection.”

        Sanders has fought explicitly and effectively to raise the wages of Amazon workers as well as millions of others. Yet the mass-media pretense is that the financial interests of the Post’s owner have no effect on the newspaper’s coverage of Sanders.

        Corporate denial is the name of that media game. Usually, expressed denials aren’t necessary. But there’s nothing usual about Bernie Sanders, who’s been willing to call out the biases and blind spots of corporate media since he entered politics.

        For his latest transgression, Sanders earned purportedly authoritative pushback from the likes of the Post’s top editor, its media columnist and others with high media visibility. “Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor,” Post executive editor Martin Baron declared, “Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Difficult Discussions, Not-So-Difficult Answers

        There are some things we should not have to discuss with our kids. Ever.

      • Epstein Jail Guards Suspected of Falsifying Logs

        Jail guards on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required, according to a person familiar with the investigation into the financier’s death.

        Surveillance video shows guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, said the person, who was not authorized to disclose information about the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

        Epstein, 66, is believed to have killed himself early Saturday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was awaiting trial in a sex trafficking case. The cause of the death has not been announced, but a person familiar with operations at the federal lockup said the financier was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck.

        His death prompted the Justice Department to place two guards on leave and remove the jail’s warden pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general. Falsifying log entries can be a federal crime.

      • Epstein’s Death Should Generate Investigations, Not Conspiracy Theories

        Anti-Clinton/Trump hashtags will not get to the bottom of Epstein’s death, or how the rich and powerful’s involvement in child sex abuse, The Nation’s Jeet Heer explains

      • We’re All Enemies of the State

        We’ve been down this road many times before.

      • Educating Ourselves About Violence

        I’m at a loss to say whether Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover’s highly-celebrated account of her escape from a fundamentalist, survivalist, home-schooled upbringing in Idaho to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, is a good book. What I can say without hesitation is that it’s a disturbing book. It took me awhile to get through it, actually. I was reading it at night before I went to sleep. I had barely started it when I was overcome one morning by dizziness and nausea as I got out of bed. The feeling subsided as the day wore on, but it returned the next morning, and if anything, it was even worse.

      • Conspiracy, Death and Jeffrey Epstein

        Within minutes of news about his death in a Manhattan jail cell Saturday morning, theories spread with pestilential vigour. Was Jeffrey Epstein murdered? Accepting the premise without qualification, the next question followed: Who did it? MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was not giving anyone time to wonder. “A guy who had information that would have destroyed rich and powerful men’s lives end up dead in his jail cell. How predictably…Russian.”

      • Ken Cuccinelli just took his racist interpretation of the Statue of Liberty poem to another level

        The poem only refers to welcoming “people from Europe,” he claimed this week.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Preclusion at the USITC

        The Federal Circuit previously released its opinion in this appeal that I discussed in an essay titled Who Needs Proof of Actual Confusion? Not a TM Plaintiff, Patentlyo-O (May 9, 2019) (Swagway I). Now, the court has released a new opinion focusing on the preclusive impact of ITC orders.

        [...]

        Based upon this briefing, the panel has withdrawn its original opinion and issued a new one. The new opinion has the same result, but removes the declaration that the ITC order would have no preclusive effect.

        In particular, the court found that the error alleged in Swagway’s appeal was that the ITC denied the consent order motion using the wrong paper — in the Final Initial Determination [ID] rather than in an Order. Since on remand the ITC could simply reissue the denial in an “Order” — the court found no actual harm.

        Biggest bottom line: Non-patent ITC orders are likely to begin having preclusive effect in parallel district court litigation. This improves the attractiveness of the ITC for enforing trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets against companies importing products into the US. The result then – get a quick win on the merits at the ITC and obtain an exclusion order; then take decision to the district court to collect damages.

      • Irish Supreme Court in Merck v Clonmel puts “adequacy of damages” back in the balance when granting preliminary junctions

        Right at the end of July, came big news from the Irish Supreme Court in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp v Clonmel Healthcare Ltd 2019 IESC 65. The case concerned the launch of a generic version of an ezetimibe/simvastatin combination drug for the treatment of cardiac related issues and the grant of a preliminary injunction. The decision is a big deal in Ireland as it has reformulated the approach to be adopted by the Irish Courts in the application of the three stage Campus Oil test for the grant (or not) of a preliminary injunction (PI).

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • PPH: diverging opinions at the USPTO and EPO

          Lawyers tell Managing IP that because of different approaches by the offices, plus some examiners’ tendency to take less notice of previous results, the PPH programme is not always beneficial

          Lawyers have told Managing IP that they would not normally recommend that clients opt for the Patent Prosecution Highway when trying to accelerate claims at the USPTO or the EPO – as it is uncertain whether either office would accept claims previously granted…

        • Ajinomoto Co. v. International Trade Commission (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The Federal Circuit again reviewed a determination of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, in this instance by the International Trade Commission (ITC), again finding that one of the Supreme Court’s exceptions to the preclusive effects of prosecution history estoppel (the “tangential relationship” test) applied, and affirmed the ITC’s finding of infringement under the doctrine.

          Ajinomoto petitioned the International Trade Commission (ITC) under Section 337 (19 U.S.C. § 1337) for an exclusion order against CJ Cheiljedang for importing animal feed-grade L-tryptophan amino acid products produced by several different strains of Escherichia coli and that infringed Ajinomoto’s U.S. Patent No. 7,666,655. The relevant claim of the ’655 patent (claim 20) is directed to methods for “producing an aromatic L-amino acid, which comprises cultivating the bacterium according to any one of claims 9–12, 13, 14, 15–18, or 19.”

          [...]

          The Federal Circuit affirmed the Commission’s decision in an opinion by Judge Taranto joined in full by Judge Moore; Judge Dyk concurred in part and dissented in part. Beginning with the Commission’s claim construction, the panel unanimously affirmed that construction and rejected Ajinomoto’s argument that the term “encompasses mutagenesis of individual nucleotides within the native promoter” rather than being limited to replacement of the native promoter with a “stronger” one. The Court found that this construction was supported by the ordinary and customary meaning of the claim language (using as examples of “replacing” an object “a laptop computer, a bicycle, a sail-boat, a blender,” comprising an interesting Markush group). The opinion asserts that “context matters, stating that “[i]n many contexts, one would not refer to swapping out one small component of a larger unit as ‘replacing’ the unit or as providing a ‘substitute’ for the unit, even though the net result is a differently constituted larger unit.” This interpretation is consistent with the disclosure in the specification of the ’655 patent, which tellingly does not recite the term “replacing” but does recite the word “substituting,” (even reciting in an express example that the promoters were substituted), which the Court held was consistent with the Commission’s construction of the phrase. And nothing in the prosecution history was to the contrary. The opinion recapped the course of prosecution and amendments and argument relevant to the construction, saying that even though patent applicants may have restricted the scope of their claims to a greater extent than necessary, “there is no principle of patent law that the scope of a surrender of subject matter during prosecution is limited to what is absolutely necessary to avoid a prior art reference that was the basis for an examiner’s rejection,” citing Norian Corp. v. Stryker Corp., 432 F.3d 1356, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2005), and Biogen Idec, Inc. v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC, 713 F.3d 1090, 1095–96 (Fed. Cir. 2013), for the proposition that this principle applies to rejections under § 112. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Commission’s construction.

Being in Favour of Free/Libre Open Source Software Means Rejecting Software Patents

Posted in EFF, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 1:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A decade ago they spoke about this issue, but not anymore

Torvalds on Software Patents
Full interview [PDF]

Summary: Those who believe in Software Freedom cannot at the same time believe that software patents are desirable; we’ve sadly come to a point where many companies that dominate so-called ‘Open Source’ groups actively lobby for such patents, in effect betraying the community they claim to be a part of

“Open Source is nowadays a by-product of Proprietary Software,” Benjamin Henrion wrote or quoted, “permissive licenses, repositories with subscriptions, open client but not the server, “APIs”, cloud lock-in, software patents all over. And hipsters with their Macbooks…”

Like people who run the Linux Foundation and lie to everyone

“Open Source” is nowadays a whole different beast, different if not wholly distinguishable from what it was two decades ago. Back then it was supposed to just be a substitution of Free software, but today it is just proprietary software with some openwashing (for marketing purposes or bait); so we’ve ‘lost’ the cause and must revert back to Free software, this time insisting that openwash isn’t credible and cannot be tolerated (those who do this should state upfront it’s proprietary).

“On the patent front we got our way; openwashing is another, newer problem. We’re nowadays focusing more on the latter one.”Henrion went further; he mentioned software patents and linked to this new tweet from IAM (“In an exclusive interview with IAM, @danielnazer of @mozilla shares top tips for software IP protection, his evolving role as Senior IP & Product Counsel and why he’s looking forward to speaking at #SoftwareIP this October.”). Oddly enough a former EFF lawyer/attorney, who fought software patents, decided to participate/speak at an event of the patent trolls’ lobby to give false impression of ‘balance’. He represents Mozilla, which isn’t supposed to use terms like “software IP protection”. It’s typically the likes of OIN who are attending this event, but they're pro-software patents, unlike most Mozilla staff.

Observation worth making: most patent blogs went totally or almost totally silent this year; few remain active and they’re hardly covering Section 101 cases anymore. Coons et al have gone nowhere with their bill, either, so it’s just like in prior years and just what we predicted all along. We’re winning the patent policy battles and IAM became irrelevant. On the patent front we got our way; openwashing is another, newer problem. We’re nowadays focusing more on the latter one.

Links 14/8/2019: Apache Evaluated, HardenedBSD Has New Release

Posted in News Roundup at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audios

      • Clementine Music Player for All Your Audio Needs

        VLC is a mainstay for most fans of FOSS technology and most Linux distros. It’s a great little player, don’t get me wrong, but if you have a large library of audio files, some times you need something more powerful.

        The Clementine Music Player is a full-service audio player with all the tools you need to keep track of your audio library. According to the project’s website, Clementine “inspired by Amarok 1.4, focusing on a fast and easy-to-use interface for searching and playing your music.”

      • Episode #143: Spike the robot, powered by Python!
      • Bigger. Faster. Harder to Maintain. | LINUX Unplugged 314

        It’s huge, and it’s getting bigger every month. How do you test the Linux Kernel? Major Hayden from Red Hat joins us to discuss their efforts to automate Kernel bug hunting.

        Plus our honest conversation about which Linux works best for us.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3 Will Address Crackling Audio on AMD PCs

        Linux users received some good news today: Phoronix reported that Linux 5.3 will finally address issues with audio input on systems with AMD processors. Those fixes will be added to currently available versions of the Linux kernel, too, so users won’t have to install the point upgrade.
        Phoronix said that Linux users who rely on AMD processors have been reporting “crackling” audio input since at least 2017. The problems don’t usually appear to affect the audio output, so many people were probably unaware of the issue, but there were sporadic reports of “occasional playback hiccups.”
        These issues were said to affect systems featuring motherboards built around AMD’s X470 and X370 chipsets that used Realtek audio codecs. Linux users couldn’t find a workaround to address the issue–which isn’t common for that particular community–so they simply had to accept the crackle.

      • Reiser4 File-System Port Updated For The Linux 5.1 + Linux 5.2 Kernels

        Up until today the newest Linux kernel version supported by the official Reiser4 out-of-tree file-system driver patch was Linux 5.0, but that has now changed with the belated Linux 5.1 kernel support arriving as well as a separate patch for Linux 5.2 kernel support.

        Bringing Reiser4 to the Linux 5.1 kernel required various changes to the block layer’s interface while porting to Linux 5.2 required some additional block layer interface changes. The Linux 5.2 version also has one additional bug fix as well.

      • Patch Workflow With Mutt – 2019

        Given that the main development workflow for most kernel maintainers is with email, I spend a lot of time in my email client. For the past few decades I have used (mutt), but every once in a while I look around to see if there is anything else out there that might work better.

        One project that looks promising is (aerc) which was started by (Drew DeVault). It is a terminal-based email client written in Go, and relies on a lot of other go libraries to handle a lot of the “grungy” work in dealing with imap clients, email parsing, and other fun things when it comes to free-flow text parsing that emails require.

        aerc isn’t in a usable state for me just yet, but Drew asked if I could document exactly how I use an email client for my day-to-day workflow to see what needs to be done to aerc to have me consider switching.

        Note, this isn’t a criticism of mutt at all. I love the tool, and spend more time using that userspace program than any other. But as anyone who knows email clients, they all suck, it’s just that mutt sucks less than everything else (that’s literally their motto)

      • Building The Default x86_64 Linux Kernel In Just 16 Seconds

        It’s now been one week since the launch of AMD’s EPYC Rome processors with up to 64 cores / 128 threads per socket and better IPC uplift compared to their previous-generation parts. Rome has outperformed Intel Xeon Scalable CPUs in their class while offering better power efficiency and way better performance-per-dollar. One of my favorite metrics has been how quickly the new EPYC 7742 2P can build the Linux kernel.

        It used to be that building out the Linux kernel could easily take the time needed to enjoy a beverage or have a meal while now with the EPYC 7742 2P it’s easy to build the Linux kernel in just 15~16 seconds! Up until the Rome testing I was never able to crack 20 seconds with any of the hardware at my disposal while now it’s easy hitting 15 seconds. That is with a Linux x86_64 default “defconfig” build. As shown in the launch article, that easily beats the likes of a dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 and a big improvement as well over the Naples EPYC 7601 2P configuration.

      • Linux Foundation

        • 9 open source cloud native projects to consider

          I mean, just look at that! And this is just a start. Just as NodeJS’s creation sparked the explosion of endless JavaScript tools, the popularity of container technology started the exponential growth of cloud-native applications.

          The good news is that there are several organizations that oversee and connect these dots together. One is the Open Containers Initiative (OCI), which is a lightweight, open governance structure (or project), “formed under the auspices of the Linux Foundation for the express purpose of creating open industry standards around container formats and runtime.” The other is the CNCF, “an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud native computing universal and sustainable.”

          In addition to building a community around cloud-native applications generally, CNCF also helps projects set up structured governance around their cloud-native applications. CNCF created the concept of maturity levels—Sandbox, Incubating, or Graduated—which correspond to the Innovators, Early Adopters, and Early Majority tiers on the diagram below.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA have released the 435.17 beta driver with Vulkan and OpenGL support for PRIME render offload

          NVIDIA have a little present available for Linux fans today, with the release of the 435.17 beta driver now being available.

          This is a beta driver and it includes quite the highlight with the addition of PRIME render offload support for Vulkan and OpenGL. This is where you might have your Intel GPU running most normal applications, with an NVIDIA chip then powering your games. It’s usually found in Notebooks and it’s been a source of annoyance for NVIDIA Notebook owners for a long time, so it’s really pleasing to see proper progress like this.

        • NVIDIA 435.17 Linux Beta Driver Adds PRIME Offloading For Vulkan and OpenGL+GLX

          The latest NVIDIA 435.17 Linux beta driver has added Vulkan and OpenGL+GLX support for PRIME render offload.

          PRIME is a collection of features in the Linux kernel, display server, and various drivers to enable GPU offloading with multi-GPU configurations under Linux, like laptops using NVIDIA Optimus (which use an integrated Intel GPU and a discrete NVIDIA GPU).

          Thanks to the new on-demand PRIME render offload, you’ll be able to run specific application on the discrete NVIDIA GPU, while using the integrated GPU for everything else, saving battery power.

        • New Firmware update Reportedly solves Ryzen 3000 boot issues Linux

          We don’t talk about Linux a lot, as the install base is small and not really the PC Gamers domain, however as it turns out Linux users have had Boot issues with Ryzen 3000. A problem that is now confirmed to be solved with the latest BIOS updates.

          AMD provided a solution for the Linux issues at hand as firmware updates with AGESA Combo-AM4 1.0.0.3abb should solve the problems (and various others on the Windows platform). The Linux issues had been named Systemd error, at least that is listed at the change log of the ROG Crosshair VII Hero bios.

    • Applications

      • The beast of 3D editors version 2.80 is free in the wild !

        Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It is characterized by high features that made it a fierce competitor for commercial tools. It is considered one of the most important open source pieces.
        Recently, all those interested in the field of 3D tools have been closely watching the developments and news of version 2.80, and also waiting for its release date.

      • 10 Best Free Linux Document Management Systems (Updated 2019)

        Document Management is an information technology that has taken over from legacy systems of manual or server based file sharing, the electronic filing cabinet, to control policies and procedures. It is one of the functions provided by Enterprise Content Management.

        A document management system enables individuals and businesses to manage documents, making it easy to locate a previous document version. This is important from a record control perspective, and to ensure that compliance standards are met within a user-friendly environment.

        The main benefit offered by a document management system is that it gives individuals and businesses the tools to store and index many different types of documents and electronic files. Information and knowledge within the organisation can be accessed as appropriate, leading to an increase in productivity. Any kind of binary data can be stored in the document system. Other uses of this type of system include document workflow, records management, image management, disaster recovery, backup, and access control.

      • Proprietary

        • New Snip Smartphone App Converts Math Screenshots Into LaTeX

          Not so long ago, mathematics students and researchers had to spend a tedious amount of time writing out equations in the technical and scientific documentation typesetting system LaTeX. The launch this April of the AI-powered desktop tool Snip changed that. Available for Mac, Windows and the Ubuntu system, Snip converts screenshots of mathematical formulas into LaTeX code in seconds. Snip went viral as an easy-to-use time-saver for the math and science community.

        • What Microsoft’s upcoming ‘outsourcing’ licensing changes could mean for your business

          Microsoft’s cloud competitors have been making a lot of noise about changes in Microsoft’s licensing coming on October 1. And Microsoft, which has been positioning itself as an ally of customer choice, found itself on the wrong side of accusations of untrustworthiness and price-gouging.

  • Instructionals/Technical

  • Games

    • Korean survival horror-adventure The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters announced with Linux support

      After recently releasing Vambrace: Cold Soul, Devespresso Games are going back to horror with The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters.

    • The Dreamcast emulator Flycast has made some amazing progress lately

      In a post on the official Libretro website, the team notes that open source Dreamcast emulation with Flycast (a fork of Reicast) has progress along tremendously.

      Thanks to all the work that has gone into it, you will no longer need an external Dreamcast BIOS which is a pretty big milestone for such an emulator and will make it a lot easier to setup and use with the RetroArch front-end.

    • The dev of Assault Android Cactus is working on Unpacking, a zen puzzle game

      Witch Beam, known for the awesome twin-stick shooter Assault Android Cactus is going to bring us something a little calmer with their next game: Unpacking.

      Unlike real-life moving, stuffing your life into boxes and then unpacking everything again, Unpacking is supposed to be a little more relaxing. They say it’s like “item Tetris” mixed with home decoration “while learning clues about the life you’re unpacking”.

    • SNES-styled RPG made by Janitors, Kingdoms of the Dump has managed to get funded on Kickstarter

      With only a few hours left to go, Kingdoms of the Dump a SNES-styled RPG which is being made in the FOSS game engine Godot Engine by a team which includes some real-life Janitors has reached over the funding goal.

      Launched on Kickstarter on July 15th with a goal of $60,000 they’ve done really well hitting over $73,000!

    • Mozilla VR Blog: WebXR category in JS13KGames!
    • Roll dice, swap around cards and kick butt in Dicey Dungeons, out now

      Dicey Dungeons is a lighthearted deck-building roguelike, where you’re a massive walking die and it’s available today with Linux support.

      Made by Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV, Super Hexagon), Chipzel, Marlowe Dobbe and Justo Delgado Baudí, this new team have managed to created something extremely unique with Dicey Dungeons.

    • Impressive looking science fiction point and click game ENCODYA is now on Kickstarter

      Encodya, the upcoming science fiction point and click with a free demo on itch.io, is now on Kickstarter. While the demo showed a rather ordinary day of orphan Tina and her Robot SAM-53, she’ll be going on real adventures in the full game.

      The beautiful game the author attributes to “the sweetness and creativity of Studio Ghibli, the setting and atmosphere of Blade Runner and the humor and game style of Monkey Island”, is looking for at least 27,500€ (~$30,800) in funding. The first stretch goal is 32,500€ for three additional languages, namely Italian (the developer is Italian by origin), German (we are the home of adventure games, right?) and Spanish. The second stretch goal promises an additional hour of gameplay with extra puzzles, locations and characters if 45,000€ is reached. Additional stretch goals would be unlocked later.

    • Be ready for a party with the new Humble Jackbox Party Bundle 2019

      Having people over and fancy a laugh? The Humble Jackbox Party Bundle 2019 just recently went live and has some good picks for you.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The lightweight desktop environments champion version 4.14 is here !

      XFCE is one of the best Linux desktop environments, its lightness, fast performance and High customization capability, made it very popular among Linux users, especially those with weak hardware.
      Despite the slow development of the project, we are surprised from time to time with new and impressive versions that bring with it a lot of improvements and new features.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita Sprint 2019

        So, we had a Krita sprint last week, a gathering of contributors of Krita. I’ve been at all sprints since 2015, which was roughly the year I became a Krita contributor. This is in part because I don’t have to go abroad, but also because I tend to do a lot of administrative side things.

        This sprint was interesting in that it was an attempt to have more if not as much artists as developers there. The idea being that the previous sprint was very much focused on bugfixing and getting new contributors familiar with the code base(we fixed 40 bugs back then), this sprint would be more about investigating workflow issues, figuring out future goals, and general non-technical things like how to help people, how to engage people, how to make people feel part of the community.

      • A Script Making It Easier Turning A FreeBSD Install Into A Working Desktop

        With TrueOS (formerly PC-BSD) no longer focused on delivering a quality BSD desktop as they once did, while there still are options out there for a desktop-focused BSD like MidnightBSD, for those wanting to use a vanilla FreeBSD installation can now setup a desktop easier using a new script.

        FreeBSD developer Adriaan de Groot who has done much of the FreeBSD + KDE packaging work and other tasks over the years decided to create a script making it easier to deploy a desktop from a clean FreeBSD install.

      • Introducing Qt Quick 3D: A high-level 3D API for Qt Quick

        As Lars mentioned in his Technical Vision for Qt 6 blog post, we have been researching how we could have a deeper integration between 3D and Qt Quick. As a result we have created a new project, called Qt Quick 3D, which provides a high-level API for creating 3D content for user interfaces from Qt Quick. Rather than using an external engine which can lead to animation synchronization issues and several layers of abstraction, we are providing extensions to the Qt Quick Scenegraph for 3D content, and a renderer for those extended scene graph nodes.

        Does that mean we wrote yet another 3D Solution for Qt? Not exactly, because the core spatial renderer is derived from the Qt 3D Studio renderer. This renderer was ported to use Qt for its platform abstraction and refactored to meet Qt project coding style.

      • The Qt Company Announces Its New High-Level 3D API – Qt Quick 3D

        Continuing on from the recent technical vision for the Qt6 tool-kit, The Qt Company has now announced their new high-level 3D API they are developing for this next major release of Qt.

        Qt Quick 3D is this new high-level API for creating 3D content for user-interfaces out of Qt Quick without the need for any external engine. Qt Quick 3D will make use of the renderer currently employed by the Qt 3D STUDIO.

      • Implementing a derivated class of kis_brushes_pipe

        I am still working on the change of the brush index, so far I’ve been confused with the classes, because I am not sure why somethings are implemented and then overriden or why somethings are where they are, and I am not sure exactly when or why to do this.

        I’ve been working all week, instead of trying to deliver a feature I tried to write and organize the whole class, and then slowly write all the small functions, this is because I’ve had problem with classes and objects, but I understand functions, so I to tried work with my strengths.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • A look at MX Linux 18.3

        I’ve been doing a little bit of distrohopping in the last week or so to take a look at new systems being developed and to try a few I haven’t had a look at in a while; MX Linux being one of the latter.

        The last time I touched MX Linux was at least two or three years ago, and I remember that I wasn’t a fan at the time. However, I’m really happy to say that my opinion of the OS has changed with my latest dive into it.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Fedora Family

      • Taz Brown: How Do You Fedora?

        We recently interviewed Taz Brown on how she uses Fedora. This is part of a series on the Fedora Magazine. The series profiles Fedora users and how they use Fedora to get things done. Contact us on the feedback form to express your interest in becoming a interviewee.

        Taz Brown is a seasoned IT professional with over 15 years of experience. “I have worked as a systems administrator, senior Linux administrator, DevOps engineer and I now work as a senior Ansible automation consultant at Red Hat with the Automation Practice Team.” Originally Taz started using Ubuntu, but she started using CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora as a Linux administrator in the IT industry.

        Taz is relatively new to contributing to open source, but she found that code was not the only way to contribute. “I prefer to contribute through documentation as I am not a software developer or engineer. I found that there was more than one way to contribute to open source than just through code.”

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cooling The Raspberry Pi 4 With The Fan SHIM & FLIRC For Better Performance

      With the Raspberry Pi 4, a passive heatsink is an absolute minimum for running this new ARM SBC unless you want to deal with potentially drastic performance limitations based upon your operating conditions. However, if you will be enduring the Raspberry Pi 4 with significant load for any measurable length of time, an active cooler is almost warranted or otherwise a very capable passive cooler. In this article we’re looking at the Raspberry Pi 4 performance with a Fan SHIM as an active fan designed for running on the Raspberry Pi off the GPIO pins as well as the FLIRC as a metal case that passively cools the device.

    • Tiny i.MX8M Mini module plugs into carrier via M.2

      InnoComm’s audio focused “WB15” module is built around an i.MX8M Mini SoC and ships with 1GB LPDDR4, 8GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, and connectors that plug into dual M.2 expansion slots on the $195 “WB15EVK” dev kit.

      InnoComm has launched a tiny, 50 x 45mm compute module equipped with NXP’s quad-core, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M Mini SoC. The WB15 is designed for streaming audio applications including wireless smart speakers. This is the first module we’ve seen that connects to its carrier board via a pair of M.2 E-Key expansion slots. (See farther below for more on the WB15EVK dev kit.)

    • Orange Pi Zero2 mini PC supports Android & Linux, measures 2.2 inches wide

      About three years after launching a tiny single-board computer called the Orange Pi Zero, the folks at Shenzhen Xunlong are introducing a Orange Pie Zero2 with a faster processor, an HDMI port, and other upgrades.

      It still measures just 2.2″ x 2.2″ across, making it one of the smallest single-board computers I’m aware of to feature a 64-bit, quad-core processor and full-sized USB, HDMI, and Ethernet ports.

    • The Librem 5 Smartphone in Forbes

      Purism’s crowdfunding campaigns on the Crowd Supply platform consistently achieved more than their funding goal. The latest, concerning the Librem 5 smartphone, raised over $2 million. And what makes the Librem 5 smartphone different from other phones? Several factors, such as the business model, an engaged community, and the fact that privacy and security are starting to be a great concern– and not just for everyday smartphone users but for the government as well.

    • Blankets give them enough warm but not Education!

      Operating System?

      Hanthana Linux, a Fedora remix bundle with bunch of Educational tools and Sugar Desktop.

      Software?

      LibreOffice, Firefox, VLC, Educational Tools, Gnome/Sugar Desktop.

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Take Your Time With IBM Stock as it Digests its Behemoth Linux Maker Deal

      Prior to the Red Heat deal, IBM was treading water. The company released earnings on July 17. For the second quarter of 2019, revenue was down year-over-year. Sales were $19.1 billion, down from $20 billion in the prior year’s quarter. The company’s Cloud and Business Services unit saw slight growth (5% and 3% YoY, respectively), but declines in the Global Technology Services and Systems units countered this improvement. Despite this slight revenue slip, IBM managed to keep quarterly operating income steady at ~$2.8 billion.

      The Red Hat deal adds a variety of growth catalysts to the International Business Machines story. For one thing, the acquisition makes IBM a bigger player in the $1 trillion cloud computing space. The deal is expected to accelerate revenue growth and improve gross margins. The deal is also very synergistic. IBM can now sell Red Hat’s suite of solutions to their existing customer base. With IBM’s global reach, the company could expand Red Hat’s business better than Red Hat would have done as an independent company.

    • Apache Software Foundation’s Code-Base Valued At $20 Billion USD

      The Apache Software Foundation has published their 2019 fiscal year report highlighting their more than 350 open-source projects/initiatives and this also marks their 20th anniversary.

      The Apache Software Foundation’s 2019 report values their code-base at more than $20 billion USD using the COCOMO 2 model for estimating. Though for their 2019 fiscal year the foundation turned a profit of $585k USD thanks to sponsors. There are more than 190 million lines of code within Apache repositories.

    • Web Browsers

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • With Microsoft dumping MS Office, consider LibreOffice for your next PC office suite

        LibreOffice’s Export as PDF has improved. It now fully supports PDF/A-2 document format. This is required by several organizations for long-term file storage. It also simplified its editable PDF forms by incorporating the Form menu into LibreOffice Writer.

        A new feature, which security-minded businesses may find interesting, is that you can now “redact” information in documents. With this, you can remove or hide sensitive information such as personal data before exporting or sharing the file.

        You can run LibreOffice on Linux, MacOS, and Windows. You can also use as a cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, LibreOffice Online, by deploying it on a cloud you control.

      • New LibreOffice out

        The open source office suite LibreOffice released its version 6.3 with many new features, interoperability enhancements and performance increases.

        There are several performance improvements related to loading and saving documents in Writer and Calc. For example there is a FOURIER() function in its spreadsheet app Calc.

        The biggest improvement are the document redaction tools which enables you to stick black bars you see across sensitive passages in documents that are only intended to be partially released.

        When you select Tools⟶Redact, a Draw window opens up with your flattened document in it. So does a simplified toolset allowing you to draw boxes or scribble over content you don’t want to expose. When you’re done, you can export the redacted version of a document; this produces a completely flattened PDF. There are no hidden text elements to be sleuthed out by pesky journalists.

    • BSD

    • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Teaching People to Share Technology: Adafruit Founder Limor Fried

          When Adafruit founder Limor Fried was studying electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, she realized she was less interested in the electrical engineering part.

          “What I really liked to do was build stuff,” she said.

          Instead of working on her homework or thesis, Fried spent her time designing hardware projects in her dorm. She built an MP3 player way before Apple made iPods popular.

          “With electronics, you could build anything from an MP3 player to a GPS tracker,” she said.

          [...]

          “Open source hardware is a perfect middle ground. It’s inexpensive and allows you to customize the way you need it,” Fried said. “The code is there. Instructions are there. Anyone can do it. Since it’s open source, people can iterate, tweak, fine-tune to their needs. We are seeing a lot of interest in open source hardware for assistive technologies.”

          Adafruit’s hardware is working for everyone from creative hobbyists to people interested in building things for their smartphones to developers inventing products for the next industrial revolution. Adafruit also worked with computer game company Nvidia to help build its Jetson Nano Developer Kit, which lets users run multiple neural networks for artificial intelligence, machine learning and edge computing.

    • Programming/Development

      • buildah error: vfs driver does not support overlay.mountopt options

        Buildah and podman make a great pair for building, managing and running containers on a Linux system. You can even use them with GitLab CI with a few small adjustments, namely the switch from the overlayfs to vfs storage driver.

        I have some regularly scheduled GitLab CI jobs that attempt to build fresh containers each morning and I use these to get the latest packages and find out early when something is broken in the build process.

      • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #381 (Aug. 13, 2019)
      • Gcc 4.2.1 to be removed before FreeBSD 13, a firm timeline
        Greetings,
        
        As promised for almost the past decade or so, gcc 4.2.1 will be removed
        from the tree before FreeBSD 13 is branched.
        
        I propose the following timeline for its removal:
        
        2019-08-31: disconnect gcc 4.2.1 from CI build
        
        Turn off -Werror on gcc 4.2.1 platforms
        
        Turn off all gcc 4.2.1 from universe by default (can be turned on)
        
        2019-12-31: Turn off gcc 4.2.1 build by default (can be turned on)
        
        2020-03-31: svn rm gcc 4.2.1 and friends
        
        2020-05-31: svn rm all non-clang platforms not supported by in-tree LLVM or
        converted to ext toolchain.
        
        2020-07-31: svn rm all ext toolchain platforms not supported by re@ release
        scripts
        
        The basic notion is that it’s long past time to have a firm plan for EOL
        gcc 4.2.1 in the tree. There is ample external toolchain support today for
        platforms that need it to build images, though that integration with
        buildworld could use some more polish. It’s now completely sufficient to
        move to the next phase of removing gcc 4.2.1 from the tree.
        
        We already have gcc 6.4 as an xtoolchain on amd64 in CI. This should
        somewhat mitigate the risk for cross-compiler portability. This is a
        long-established part of our CI. We want to retain gcc support for modern
        versions of gcc since its debuggability is higher. Notifications for this
        are currently turned off, but will be enabled soon. It’s expected that this
        always will be working later in the year. We’ll work to update the
        committers guide to reflect this, as well as give a recipe for testing.
        
        The first phase will be at the end of the month. We’ll turn off -Werror on
        gcc 4.2.1 (and MFC it to stable/11 and stable/12). We’ll then stop building
        all platforms that require it as part of CI. New warnings will come up, but
        will no longer waste developer time in trying to fix. Gcc 4.2.1 platforms
        will no longer be built as part of universe, unless you add
        -DMAKE_OBSOLETE_GCC is added to the command line. We plan on implementing
        this by 2019-08-31.
        
        An experimental branch will be created that will remove gcc related bits to
        expose gaps in planning and to come up with a list of action items needed
        to ensure Tier 1 platforms are unaffected by the gcc removal. The timeline
        for this is by the end of September.
        
        Next, we’ll turn off building gcc by default. This will effectively break
        all gcc platforms with in-tree compilers. The external toolchain support we
        have will suffice here, and patches will be accepted for whatever
        integration are needed for these platforms with our current ports /
        packages. The onus for these changes will be squarely on people that want
        the platforms to continue. However, as a stop-gap gcc building can be
        turned on for those people transitioning gcc-only platforms until gcc 4.2.1
        is removed. This will happen on or about 2019-12-31.
        
        After a 3 month transition period, gcc 4.2.1 will be removed from the tree.
        This will be done on or about 2020-03-31.
        
        After an additional 2 month transition period, all those platforms that
        have not integrated with the FreeBSD CI system, work in a make universe
        with the proper packages installed, and are shown to boot on real hardware
        will be removed from the tree. This will happen on or about 2020-05-31.
        
        After an additional 2 month grace period, those platforms that require
        external toolchain integration that aren’t supported by the release
        engineer’s release scripts will be removed. This  will happen on or about
        2020-07-31.
        
        The timeline gives powerpc, mips, mips64, and sparc64 9 months to integrate
        either into an in-tree compiler, or to have a proven external toolchain
        solution. This is on top of the many-years-long warnings about this being
        the end game of the clang integration.
        
        This is the proposed timeline, but should there be a significant issue
        that’s discovered, the timeline can be amended.
        
        Also note: the all toolchains in tree discussions are specifically out of
        bounds here. Let’s remove one compiler and get the infrastructure needed to
        make external toolchains robust before embarking on that discussion.
        
        Comments?
        
        Warner
        
      • FreeBSD 13 Is Preparing To Finally Retire GCC 4.2

        A firm timeline has been established for removing GCC 4.2.1 before next year’s FreeBSD 13 release. This timeline includes dropping GCC 4.2.1 from continuous integration builds at the end of the month and turning off GCC 4.2.1 from universe by default. At the end of the calendar year they will turn off GCC 4.2.1 by default and at the end of March is when they will remove the compiler code entirely from their SVN. Next May they also intend to drop non-Clang platforms that are not supported by the in-tree LLVM or converted to an external toolchain.

      • Designing Continuous Build Systems: Handling Webhooks with Sanic

        After covering how to design a build pipeline and define build directives in the continuous builds series, it’s time to look at handling events from a code repository.

        As internet standards evolved over the years, the HTTP protocol has become more prevalent. It’s easier to route, simpler to implement and even more reliable. This ubiquity makes it easier for applications that traverse or live on the public internet to communicate with each other. As a result of this, the idea of webhooks came to be as an “event-over-http” mechanism.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • The Impending Demise of “PGP & GPG”

        My No Starch books normally sell out their print run, get reprinted a few times, and fade into Out Of Print status. But PG3 never sold out its initial print run.

      • Down the Rabbit-Hole…

        It took a lot of effort and research to reach the point that I could understand enough of CTF to realize it’s broken. These are the kind of hidden attack surfaces where bugs last for years. It turns out it was possible to reach across sessions and violate NT security boundaries for nearly twenty years, and nobody noticed.

        Now that there is tooling available, it will be harder for these bugs to hide going forward.

      • Flaws in 4G Routers of various vendors put millions of users at risk

        “Those manufacturers who are going to be selling 5G routers are currently selling 3G and 4G routers. Which – and I really cannot stress this enough – are mainly bad.”

      • Hack in the box: Hacking into companies with “warshipping”

        Penetration testers have long gone to great lengths to demonstrate the potential chinks in their clients’ networks before less friendly attackers exploit them. But in recent tests by IBM’s X-Force Red, the penetration testers never had to leave home to get in the door at targeted sites, and the targets weren’t aware they were exposed until they got the bad news in report form. That’s because the people at X-Force Red put a new spin on sneaking in—something they’ve dubbed “warshipping.”

        Using less than $100 worth of gear—including a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a small battery, and a cellular modem—the X-Force Red team assembled a mobile attack platform that fit neatly within a cardboard spacer dropped into a shipping box or embedded in objects such as a stuffed animal or plaque. At the Black Hat security conference here last week, Ars got a close look at the hardware that has weaponized cardboard.

      • These Legit-Looking iPhone Lightning Cables Will Hijack Your Computer

        It looks like an Apple lightning cable. It works like an Apple lightning cable. But it will give an attacker a way to remotely tap into your computer.

      • Nmap Defcon Release! 80+ improvements include new NSE scripts/libs, new Npcap, etc.

        Nmap 7.80 source code and binary packages for Linux, Windows, and Mac are available for free download from the usual spot: [...]

      • Microsoft Warning Impacts 800M Windows 10 Computers

        Microsoft has warned users of ‘critical’ new vulnerabilities across all versions of Windows which have the potential to spread worldwide…

      • We checked and yup, it’s no longer 2001. And yet you can pwn a Windows box via Notepad.exe

        Software buried in Windows since the days of WinXP can be abused to take complete control of a PC with the help of good ol’ Notepad and some crafty code.

        On Tuesday, ace bug-hunter Tavis Ormandy, of Google Project Zero, detailed how a component of the operating system’s Text Services Framework, which manages keyboard layouts and text input, could be exploited by malware or rogue logged-in users to gain System-level privileges. Such level of access would grant software nasties and miscreants total control over, and surveillance of, the computer.

        The flaw, designated CVE-2019-1162, is patched in this month’s Patch Tuesday release of security fixes from Microsoft. The relevant update should be installed as soon as possible.

      • No, Zwift Racing Wasn’t Hacked. Yet. Sorta. Let Me Explain.

        One of the most well-known conferences from a lore standpoint is Def Con, but there are also many other huge ones such as BlackHat, SANS, and RSA, and other vendor-specific ones like BlueHat (run by Microsoft for Microsoft technologies) or government-specific ones. Again, in general the goal of these summits is to learn about security and improve security practices.

        This past Sunday at Def Con (considered one of the more rambunctious events on the circuit) a presentation was given around Zwift and ‘hacking’ it – titled “Cheating in eSports: How to Cheat at Virtual Cycling Using USB Hacks”. Now one has to understand that while in the ‘mainstream’ the term ‘hacking’ is usually akin to ‘breaking’, in the computer world, the term ‘hacking’ is often a bit more nebulous. Sometimes used interchangeably with ‘tweaking’ or ‘optimizing’, and sometimes used in the less ideal variant such as ‘credit cards were hacked’. So one has to take any usage of that term with a bit of sanity check to see what’s going on.

      • Protecting your organization against privileged identity theft

        What do the top data breaches of the 21st century have in common? Privileged identity abuse. In these breach instances, well-resourced, external actors were able to gain the credentials of users with access to privileged accounts – such as administrative, service or operational accounts – giving them the ability to collect and exfiltrate industrial-scale amounts of data.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Rattling the Nuclear Cage: India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and the US

        We like our anniversaries in blocks of 50 or 100 – at a push we’ll tolerate a 25. The 100th anniversary of the Somme (2016), the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (2015). Next year, we’ll remember the end of the Second World War, the first – and so far the only – nuclear war in history.

      • China Hysteria Down Under

        The blinkered security establishment is standard fare in politics. From Washington to Manila, we hear of terrors and concerns which tend to more spectral than not. Legitimate concerns such as catastrophic environmental failure, or a nuclear accident, are treated with a sigh, its warners doomsday advocates rather than reasoned citizens. It is the unseen demon that preoccupies.

      • Russian Blast Points to Danger of New Nuclear Arms Race

        On Thursday August 8th, an explosion at the Nenoksa Missile test site in northern Russia during testing of a new type of nuclear propelled cruise missile resulted in the death of at least seven people, including scientists and was followed by a spike in radiation in the atmosphere.

      • Chinese intervention in Hong Kong would be a ‘catastrophe,’ says ex-governor Chris Patten

        Patten told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Hong Kong was “close to the abyss”, because its leader Carrie Lam refused withdraw a controversial extradition bill and hold an inquiry into the reasons for the ongoing demonstrations and the way they have been policed.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • I’m a journalism student in an era of closing newsrooms, ‘fake news.’ But I still want in.

        Journalism jobs are vanishing and the industry is changing, but I still want in.

        A few days after I asked investigative journalist and University of Michigan professor Will Potter for advice on entering the journalism industry, he tweeted that our conversation forced him to escape to the woods. Talking about the state of the journalism industry had literally made him sick.

        That wasn’t exactly the response I expected when I set out to write about why young journalists like me want to pursue a career in journalism. I came into it with a wide-eyed attitude and, though Potter hasn’t changed my mind, he has wisened me up to the stakes.

      • On Banning Terrorist Boots: This Is What Occupation Looks Like

        In its latest, greatest victory, Israel’s COGAT, the bureaucratic arm of the Occupation, just announced it has confiscated several dozen pairs of hiking boots “hidden in a shipment of civilian goods in an attempt to smuggle them into Gaza for terrorist purposes” – news breathlessly reported in the Israeli press with, “Battling Gaza Terrorists On a New Front.” COGAT, for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, tweeted the find complete with stark photos of… shoes…and the sinister warning, “This is another miserable and failed attempt by terrorist groups in Gaza to hide behind the civilian population…The more these attempts continue, the more security and stability are compromised.” That’s the “security and stability” of the world’s largest open-air prison, where millions lack water, power, housing and other necessities, up to 70% of people are unemployed, and the still-rubble-strewn streets are filled with groups of young amputees on crutches thanks to the Israeli military’s deliberate shooting of unarmed young men in the legs – a practice an IDF spokesman says represents “the minimal use of force possible.” Since the 2018 start of Great March of Return protests, that restraint has killed 300 Palestinians and injured over 31,000, some as young as 13; over 7,000 have been shot, mostly in the lower legs. The UN estimates 1,700 of those need complex surgeries to walk again; due to lack of funding and medical care, they will likely face amputations instead. Under international law, Israel has now committed 31,000 more war crimes.

      • Russian senator breaks with political establishment and criticizes Moscow’s police crackdown on protesters

        On August 12, Vyacheslav Markhaev wrote on his Instagram page: “Instead of hearing out [protesters’] claims by organizing a dialogue, the administration found it easier to rely on force that was excessive in many cases.” The text was remarkable because Makhaev is a member of Russia’s Communist Party and a sitting senator in the Federation Council, as well as a former riot-police commander with 27 years of service. He says the actions of police officers and National Guard troops in Moscow in recent weeks has been “unlawful and professionally illiterate.” Makhaev’s comments about Moscow’s protests are sharply at odds with statements from other lawmakers. For example, Andrey Klimov, a fellow senator and chairman of Russia’s State Sovereignty Protection Commission, has accused the West of inciting activists. Communist leader and State Duma deputy Gennady Zyuganov, meanwhile, says the protests in the capital are the “evil grin of orange shenanigans” (referring to political unrest in Ukraine more than a decade ago). Meduza special correspondent Kristina Safonova asked Senator Markhaev why he’s decided to speak out in support of Moscow’s protesters, despite the hard-line positions of his colleagues and fellow party members.

    • Environment

      • Old Sailor Logs Show How Frighteningly Fast the Arctic Is Losing Ice

        When scientists report trends in Arctic sea ice, they tend to focus on the satellite era, or 1979 onwards. Research published last month in the Journal of Climate is helping extend those records back to the early 20th century. While it’s not the first attempt to do so, the study makes use of a novel dataset of ships’ logs that volunteers are digitizing from records held in the National Archives as part of the Old Weather project.

      • One in 4 people live in places at high risk of running out of water

        The world is facing a water scarcity crisis, with 17 countries including India, Israel and Eritrea using more than 80 percent of their available water supplies each year, a new analysis finds. Those countries are home to a quarter of the world’s 7.7 billion people. Further population rise or dwindling water supplies could cause critical water shortages, the researchers warn.

      • In Echo of Flint Lead Crisis, Newark Offers Bottled Water

        For nearly a year and a half after high lead levels were first discovered in the water system, Mr. Baraka and other officials blamed aging lead pipes, insisting on the city’s website that the water was “absolutely safe to drink.”

        But Newark changed course after a study found that lead was leaching into the water because of ineffective corrosion treatment at the city’s Pequannock plant. Last year, lead levels in more than half the samples tested at homes served by the plant exceeded the 15 parts per billion standard.

      • Zambia Urged to Declare Emergency After Worst Drought Since 1981

        A Southern Africa Development Community report last month forecast 2.3 million Zambians will be food insecure by March, after large parts of the southern and western areas of the country received the lowest rainfall since at least 1981. Over the same period, the report forecast Zambia would have an 888,000-ton cereal deficit.

        The government says it has enough corn, the staple food, to last until the next season and won’t need to import.

      • Power-Starved Zimbabwe, Zambia Face Further Drought-Induced Blackouts

        The Kariba dam that straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe, the world’s biggest man-made reservoir, is emptying fast, sparking fears the countries may have to cut hydropower production there completely.

      • Oregon Republicans End 9-Day Walkout as Climate Bill Fails

        Republican lawmakers returned to the Oregon Senate on Saturday, ending an acrimonious nine-day walkout over a carbon-emissions bill that would have been the second-such legislation in the nation.

        The boycott had escalated when the Democratic governor ordered the state police to find and return the rogue Republicans to the Senate so the chamber could convene, and a counter-threat by one GOP senator to violently resist any such attempt. Senate Republicans fled the state to avoid being forcibly returned by the Oregon State Police, whose jurisdiction ends at the state line.

        Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the Senate but need at least 20 members — and therefore at least two Republicans — to vote on legislation.

        Nine minority Republicans returned to the Senate on Saturday after Senate President Peter Courtney said the majority Democrats lacked the necessary 16 votes to pass the legislation aimed at countering climate change.

        Sen. Sara Gelser, a Democrat from the college town of Corvallis, said the demise of the cap-and-trade bill has deeply upset many constituents.

      • Energy

        • Adani Beware: Coal Is on the Road to Becoming Completely Uninsurable

          The announcement by Suncorp that it will no longer insure new thermal coal projects, along with a similar announcement by QBE Insurance a few months earlier, brings Australia into line with Europe where most major insurers have broken with coal.

          U.S. firms have been a little slower to move, but Chubb announced a divestment policy in July, and Liberty has confirmed it will not insure Australia’s Adani project.

          Other big firms such as America’s AIG are coming under increasing pressure.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Proposed California Law Would Punish Companies for Failing to Limit Harm to the Planet’s Forests

          In an effort to cut carbon emissions and forestall the climate crisis, California legislators are pushing a new law aimed at helping limit deforestation around the globe.

          The proposed bill, called the California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act, or AB 572, would require companies that contract with the state to certify that their products do not cause the cutting of sensitive tropical forests or the destruction of boggy peatland soils in tropical regions — both of which contain enormous stores of carbon dioxide.

        • Sea Level Rise!

          Sea level has been stable, at current levels, throughout recorded history for 5,000 years. That’s about to change. Still, it’s very difficult for people to imagine a change in sea level after 5,000 years of rock solid stability.

    • Finance

      • In a Tight Labor Market, the Profit Share of Income is Falling

        Last month’s GDP report also included revisions to previously reported profit data for the last three years. The earlier reports showed a slight increase in the profit share in 2018; the revised data showed that the profit share of corporate income had fallen by 0.4 percentage points from the prior year. This is important both because it means that workers are now clearly getting their share of the gains from growth and also because of what it tells us about the structure of the economy.

      • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: We Need to Make Structural Changes to Our Government & Economy

        Senator Elizabeth Warren pushed for structural changes to the U.S. government in Wednesday’s presidential debate, saying she would make college free and eliminate private insurance altogether. We speak with Anand Giridharadas, editor-at-large at Time magazine and author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, about Warren’s debate performance and the issues facing the 2020 candidates. He joins a roundtable discussion with Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash, She the People founder Aimee Allison and Ana María Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Myth of the Rugged Individual

        Let’s stop perpetuating this myth of the self-made individual. And let’s start rebuilding the American dream by creating opportunities for all, not just those who are already wealthy, privileged, and well-connected. 

      • The British Still Haven’t Learned the Lessons of the Troubles

        Fifty years ago, the Battle of the Bogside in Derry between Catholics and police, combined with the attacks on Catholic areas of Belfast by Protestants, led to two crucial developments that were to define the political landscape for decades: the arrival of the British army and the creation of the Provisional IRA.

      • [Old] Reporters Committee urges prison to allow Reality Winner interviews

        In a letter sent May 29, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press urged a Texas prison warden to allow journalists to interview Reality Winner, the first person under the current administration to be sentenced to prison under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information to a news outlet.

        Last year, Winner pled guilty to leaking a classified National Security Agency report that described a Russian cyberattack on a U.S. voting software supplier to a news outlet. Her prison sentence — five years and three months — is the longest a journalistic source has received under the Espionage Act.

      • Greens say withdrawal of UK staff from Brussels is ‘dereliction of duty’

        Responding to reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to pull UK officials from meetings in Brussels (1),

        Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack said:

        “The plans would constitute a complete dereliction of duty by the Government that will consciously fail to perform its basic functions.”

        “Once again it is clear that for propagandistic reasons the Prime Minister would risk the security of our country and our standing in relation to our natural allies.

        “Brexit was never presented as a diminishment of our status in the world. Every day we are safer as a country as a result of the exchange of information with our EU allies.”

        “The EU has always been at the forefront of consumer protection, it would be a mistake to abandon those standards.”

      • Media Defend Biden by Attacking Dems for ‘Attacking’ Obama

        Coming out of the second round of Democratic debates, a curious storyline crystallized in the media: The candidates are attacking Obama, and that’s a sure-fire way to hand the election to Trump. It’s the latest flavor of “the Democrats are moving too far left” (FAIR.org, 7/2/19)—this time echoing both Trump himself and the right-wing Democratic candidates, including former Obama Vice President Joe Biden.

        During the first debate, Rep. John Delaney pitched the story, claiming, “Most of the folks running for president want to build economic walls to free trade and beat up on President Obama.” Biden’s team was also quick to hype the story after his own appearance in the second debate. The Washington Post‘s Steven Stromberg (7/31/19) quoted one of his advisers immediately after the debate: “Many people on this stage spent more time attacking Obama than they did Trump. I think Democratic primary voters will make a judgment about this.”

      • How Wavering Democrats Bought Into Kochs’ Free Trade Scheme

        When George Soros and Charles Koch announced in July that they are partnering to create a think tank dedicated to ending the United States’ forever wars, Steven Kinzer of The Boston Globe called the idea “one of the most remarkable partnerships in modern American political history.”

        Despite the jarring image of the liberal billionaire joining forces with the radical conservative, the forthcoming Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is not such an anomaly in the history of the Koch family. As Ryan Grim and Andrew Perez explain in a joint report from The Intercept and Maplight, in 2007, Koch Industries “ secretly financed a report by Third Way, a corporate-funded think tank with ties to the centrist wing of the Democratic Party.”

        Grim and Perez’s reporting is based on research from a new book, “Kochland,” by Christopher Leonard, an investigative reporter.

      • Welcome to Ayn Rand’s America

        There’s a direct link between a sociopathic killer in 1927 and the GOP’s willingness to embrace a sociopathic president like Trump. That link runs through the work of Ayn Rand.

        When Donald Trump was running for the GOP nomination, he told USA Today’s Kirsten Powers that Ayn Rand’s raped-girl-decides-she-likes-it novel, “The Fountainhead,” was his favorite book.

        “It relates to business, beauty, life and inner emotions,” he told Powers. “That book relates to … everything.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russian diplomats summon U.S. embassy official to complain about Internet posts…

        Russia’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Tim Richardson, the head of the U.S. Moscow Embassy’s Political Section, to question him about a post on the embassy’s website and a tweet by the U.S. State Department’s Travel account on August 2 that showed a map of Moscow’s unpermitted march on August 3.

      • Russia tells Google to block ads for ‘illegal’ protests

        The watchdog, Roscomnadzor, said some entities had been buying advertising tools from YouTube, such as push notifications, to spread information about illegal mass protests, including those aimed at disrupting elections.

      • Dennis Prager Peddles Complete Nonsense About ‘Google Censorship’ In The WSJ

        Another day, another major publication peddling complete and utter bullshit about big internet platforms. The latest is Dennis Prager, whose Wall Street Journal op-ed, Don’t Let Google Get Away With Censorship (possibly paywalled) is so utterly full of wrong that it should maybe be a canonical example of how to bloviate wrongness. The entire premise is bullshit, with most of it focusing on the made up claim that YouTube is somehow censoring Prager’s videos because of his “conservative” viewpoints. We’ve debunked Prager’s arguments in great detail before, but apparently we need to do so again.

        As a quick summary: a very small percentage (less than 12%) of Prager’s videos are put into “restricted” mode. This does not demonetize them. It only means that the very small percentage of people who have opted-in to set up YouTube to not return videos that are inappropriate for children (which is less than 1.5% of YouTube’s users) don’t see that small percentage of YouTube videos in their search results. This includes videos with titles like: “Born to Hate Jews” and “Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?” which “includes an animated depiction of a nearly naked man lunging at a group of women.” You might recognize why people at YouTube thought this might not be appropriate for children. But Prager insists that it’s evidence of an anti-conservative bias.

      • NY Times Publishes A Second, Blatantly Incorrect, Trashing Of Section 230, A Day After Its First Incorrect Article

        Last week we wrote about the NY Times having to issue a whopper of a correction on a giant front page of the Business Section, totally false claim, saying that Section 230 “protected hate speech” online — which they later had to edit to note that it was actually the 1st Amendment that protected such speech (and the article leaves out that it’s actually Section 230 that allows websites to remove hate speech). Coming from a paper that, just weeks earlier, had published an editorial mocking politicians for getting 230 wrong, this was kind of embarrassing.

        Even more embarrassing, though, was the day after the NY Times had to totally correct that false article, they ran another blatantly wrong op-ed about Section 230, this one published by Jonathan Taplin, who two years previously had published another op-ed at the NY Times that completely fabricated a bunch of blatant lies about how YouTube and Google operate. You would think that would be enough for the NY Times to maybe think twice about having him publish another op-ed, especially about Section 230 a day after the paper got called out for getting the Constitution wrong. But, nope. Taplin got to publish his anti-Section 230 op ed with no problems, until the NY Times felt the need to issue a correction on that one too.

      • Be Careful What You Wish For In Asking Silicon Valley To Police Speech Online

        We live in a weird moment right now where any piece — no matter how misleading or unhinged — seems to be able to find a publication place so long as it blames basically everything on the big internet companies and demands that they do more (or sometimes less) to stop bad stuff from happening online. There are still a few brave souls out there pointing out how problematic all of this might be, and thankfully the EFF’s executive director, Cindy Cohn, has taken to the pages of Wired to explain why asking the internet to stifle speech online could backfire in a really big way. She notes that it’s a reasonable emotional reaction to mass murdering assholes posting screeds on 8chan to seek to shut the site down entirely, but that comes with serious costs as well.

      • Online Harms: Blocking websites doesn’t work – use a rights-based approach instead

        Blocking websites isn’t working. It’s not keeping children safe and it’s stopping vulnerable people from accessing information they need. It’s not the right approach to take on “Online Harms”.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie says data still not safe from tech giants like Facebook

        Cambridge Analytica used the data to influence not only the 2016 US presidential election of Donald Trump, but also the Brexit Leave vote in the United Kingdom.

        Mr Wylie wants people to understand the risks of social media and data manipulation.

      • NatWest trials home banking via Google Assistant smart speaker [iophk: s/speaker/microphone/;]

        The trial will use a combination of voice recognition and a six-figure PIN to authenticate users, enabling customers to find out the details of their bank balances, pending transactions, and recent spending – and nothing else at this stage of the trial.

        Because recent reports have suggested that voice recognition alone could be an unreliable form of authentication, users will additionally need to authenticate by barking out two digits from a six-digit code, provided exclusively for voice assistant banking.

      • Evaluating the NSA’s Telephony Metadata Program

        This paper sheds significant light on all three of these concerns. First, we carefully analyze the numbers, showing how forty orders might lead to the collection of several million CDRs, thus offering a model to assist in understanding Intelligence Community transparency reporting across its surveillance programs. Second, we show how the architecture of modern telephone communications might cause collection errors that fit the reported reasons for the 2018 purge. Finally, we show how changes in the terrorist threat environment as well as in the technology and communication methods they employ ­ in particular the deployment of asynchronous encrypted IP-based communications ­ has made the telephony metadata program far less beneficial over time. We further provide policy recommendations for Congress to increase effective intelligence oversight.

      • The FBI Can’t Get Into The Dayton Shooter’s Phone. So What?

        A high-profile act of violence has brought FBI complaints about device encryption to the surface again. This has been a long-running theme with the agency, one amplified recently by domestic surveillance advocate/Attorney General William Barr. Barr claimed encryption was creating a more dangerous world for everyone. Barr’s claims echoed those of successive FBI directors. Both Barr and Wray continue to talk about device encryption despite having (so far) refused to update the number of encrypted devices the FBI can’t access.

        As Barr warned in his rant against encryption, all it would take is one major attack to sway public opinion to the government’s side.

        [...]

        Then there’s the dishonesty: intellectual and otherwise. Most of what’s offered as arguments for backdoors is intellectually dishonest. The FBI’s failure to inform the American public about the true number of locked devices in its possession is the regular kind of dishonest. So is the assertion made by the FBI that it could be “months or years” before it can access the phone’s contents. Multiple companies offer devices that can (supposedly) bypass any device’s encryption, including the latest iPhones. The FBI and DOJ simply pretend these options don’t exist when talking to Congress, law enforcement agencies, and the general public.

        Every tragedy is an opportunity. The FBI isn’t going to let these pass without attempting to capitalize on them. Unfortunately, it seems our country is capable of generating an endless amount of tragic opportunities. And it only takes one to give the government everything it wants.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Jeffrey Epstein’s Eyes

        Jeffrey Epstein had a collection of eyeballs on his wall. They were originally “made for injured soldiers,” we’re told, which presumably means they were artificial. Each was individually framed and mounted in his entranceway. We’re not told whether any soldiers had the chance to use them first.

      • The Case That Made an Ex-ICE Attorney Realize the Government Was Relying on False “Evidence” Against Migrants

        Laura Peña could see that her 36-year-old client was wasting away. Gaunt and haggard after nearly two months in jail, he ran his fingers through his hair and opened his hands to show her the clumps that were falling out. He was so distraught that his two young children had been taken from him at the border, he could barely speak without weeping.

        After Carlos requested political asylum, border and immigration agents had accused him of being a member of the notorious MS-13 gang in El Salvador — a criminal not fit to enter the United States. But as Peña looked at him, she saw none of the typical hallmarks of gang membership: the garish MS-13 tattoos or a criminal record back home. He was the sole caregiver for his 7-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter. He’d even brought an official letter from El Salvador’s Justice Ministry certifying that he’d never been in jail. Something else about his case bothered her, too: She’d been peppering the government’s lawyers with phone calls and emails for weeks and they’d yet to reveal any evidence to back up their accusation.

      • Trump Called Baltimore “Vermin Infested” While the Federal Government Fails to Clean Up Rodents in Subsidized Housing

        BALTIMORE — President Donald Trump launched a multiday Twitter tirade last month directed at U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, sharing video footage of derelict Baltimore neighborhoods and asking why the Democratic congressman wasn’t doing more to address the “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” in his district.

        Though Trump didn’t say so, some of the responsibility for any such conditions rests with his own administration. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has ultimate oversight of nearly 35,000 public housing and federally subsidized rental units in the city, many of which suffer from the squalor the president decried on social media. HUD has known for years of failing conditions in many of them but hasn’t taken steps to ramp up oversight as it has done in other regions, such as New York City.

      • Confounding New Details Emerge in Epstein Case

        One of Jeffrey Epstein’s two guards the night he hanged himself in his federal jail cell wasn’t a regular correctional officer, according to people familiar with the detention center, which is now under scrutiny for what Attorney General William Barr on Monday called “serious irregularities.”

      • Placido Domingo Concerts Canceled as Harassment Probe Opens

        SAN FRANCISCO—Two music companies canceled appearances by Placido Domingo and the Los Angeles Opera said Tuesday it would launch an investigation in response to an Associated Press story in which numerous women accused the opera legend of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior spanning decades.

      • Top Trump Official Disavows Statue of Liberty Greeting

        Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli is under fresh fire on Tuesday after telling NPR in an interview that the famous words engraved on the U.S. Statue of Liberty—based on the poem by Emma Lazarus—should be re-cast with a qualifier when it comes to the kinds of people arriving at the nation’s shores seeking refuge or welcome.

      • Expanding Involuntary Confinement is Not the Answer to Solve Gun Violence

        In the wake of last weekend’s tragic shootings, President Trump did what he does best: stoked fear and cast blame. He proclaimed that  “we must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people, not only get treatment, but when necessary, involuntary confinement.”

      • We have Until Aug 13 to Oppose Trump’s Anti-Trans Health Care Plan

        The Trump Administration has shown it will stop at nothing to undermine access to health care for marginalized communities. Most recently, the Administration has proposed to undermine critical protections against sex discrimination in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Rights Law. Instead of combatting discrimination in accessing health care and insurance coverage, the Administration is looking for any opportunity to weaken the Health Care Rights Law’s protections, which have been life saving for many transgender and non-binary people.

      • After the Power of Protest Ousts a Governor, Puerto Rico has a New Leader. For Now.

        Public outcry and protests in Puerto Rico brought on the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló, and the successor he appointed — former politician and lawyer Pedro Pierluisi — had to step down yesterday. The Puerto Rico Supreme Court unanimously decided that appointing Pierluisi as governor without Senate confirmation is unconstitutional. Wanda Vázquez, the former secretary of justice, took the oath as governor before the end of day yesterday. Puerto Ricans are now in a new period of doubt in its leadership, with many wondering how long the seemingly unpopular Vázquez might be governor.

      • They’re Still Dying at an Early Age

        Fast forward thirty years later. I retired from teaching in public schools and learned that the Providence schools were looking for counselors. I put my name in for a position and I was soon called and asked to report to a middle school only a few miles from the school where I had taught in 1969.

        The single day I spent in a counseling role in that school opened my eyes as almost no other experience I had in those decades of teaching. I was assigned to work in a counseling holding room where students who misbehaved spent the day out of class. It was a recipe for disaster because placing so many adolescents in a room for an entire school day was akin to asking a leftist to spend a day trying to reason with all of those doves that Donald Trump claims to have working in his administration.

        During the first hour of that day, two students began prodding a young girl to arrange times after school where she would be available to have sex with people they were lining up. After listening in on the conversation, I called the administrative office to have someone come down to the room to sort out the situation: No one ever showed up.

        Next, a student in the back of the room found some 78 rpm records on a shelf and began breaking them by hurling them across the room. I had never seen this kind of acting out, and thought that I had seen and dealt with everything in several educational roles over many decades.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Sisvel / Xiaomi – FRAND: Injunction Claim in Summary Proceedings Denied

          While the numerous recent court decisions may suggest so, the ‘F’ in FRAND does not stand for ‘Fashionable’. The reader of this blog, well-informed in patent matters, will know by heart what this acronym spells out. He (or, I say once and for all, she)1 will also know that, next to technical intricacies of assessing the validity of a (portfolio of) SEP – yes, another term of this fine art – FRAND cases add another layer of complexity: what is FRAND? Not the acronym, but in the facts and circumstance of a specific case.

          This question was not answered in a recent judgment in summary proceedings (in Dutch: Kort Geding) between Sisvel and Xiaomi (1 August 2019, Dutch version here). The Preliminary Relief Judge – who is not known to shy away from complex cases, even in summary proceedings – did not touch upon the What is FRAND? question. Sisvel’s claim for an injunction under its SEP patents was already denied due to a lack of urgent interest.

          [...]

          Disclaimer: This author’s firm represented Xiaomi in this case.

        • Our Product is Lossy and Slow — Therefore we Don’t Infringe

          Iridescent’s patent covers a method of providing “high quality” bandwith “on demand” using custom routes (rather than ad hoc packet-by-packet routing) to maximize the availability of bandwidth, minimize packet loss, and reduce latency.

          On appeal, the main issue was the meaning of “high quality” network service as used in the claims. AT&T argued particularly that the term should be defined as having a connection speed of >= 1 mbps; packet loss <= 0.0001%; and latency of < 1 second. Under that definition, everyone agreed that AT&T’s service was not “high quality.”

          On appeal, the Federal Circuit agreed. Although the patent does not define “high quality,” it did provide a chart that appeared to delineate between some services that are high quality and those that are not.

          [...]

          Thus, the decision here provides some caution and guidance to patent prosecutors using “coined terms:” (1) even if your term uses “ordinary words” it can be considered coined if it lacks an “ordinary and customary meaning” in the art; (2) the court is more willing to look to prosecution history to understand the meaning of a coined term.

      • Trademarks

        • Brewery In Wales Changes Name Of 2 Beers After Fight With Hugo Boss

          For some time now we’ve discussed in a series of posts the trademark fallout that has hit the craft brewing industry. With the explosion of this industry throughout the world, the once-congenial attitude breweries had towards intellectual property concerns has slipped away, replaced by both aggression when it comes to protecting IP and the threat of aggressive action from those outside the industry, given the amount of money being made in brewing. It’s been sad to see and it has frankly led to some of the silliest IP disputes I’ve ever seen.

          As in any other industry, however, the truly frustrating stories when it comes to trademark disputes in the brewing business involve those outside the industry initiating conflict where it doesn’t belong. The most recent example of this is Boss Brewing having to change the name of a couple of its beers after being bullied by Hugo Boss, the upscale clothier.

      • Copyrights

        • Top University Of California Scientists Tell Elsevier They’ll No Longer Work On Elsevier Journals

          Last week we highlighted the ongoing dispute between academic publishing giant Elsevier and the University of California (UC) system. Earlier this year, UC cancelled its contract with Elsevier, after the publishing giant — which gets nearly all of its content and labor for free, but charges insane prices for what is often publicly funded research — refused to lower prices or to work with the UC system on moving to an open access approach. Last week, we covered how Elsevier had emailed a bunch of UC folks with what appeared to be outright lies about the status of negotiations between the two organizations, and UC hit back with some facts to debunk Elsevier.

        • Leadership Transitions at Creative Commons

          Today Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley is announcing the conclusion of his five years of leadership of the organization. As he describes in his personal message, he is stepping down as CEO to start a new position at Wikimedia. We are thankful to Ryan for his five years of leadership at CC and excited for him and the Commons that he will continue as a leader in the open knowledge community. We are all very proud of Creative Commons’ accomplishments during the past five years—including redesign of our global network, launch and development of the CC Certificate program, and our new search engine—which provides a welcoming front door to the commons.

          In other leadership news, I am delighted to announce today the appointment of four new members of the Creative Commons Board of Directors. Carolina Botero, Bilal Randeree, Alek Tarkowski, and Alexander Macgillivray are all longtime members of the CC community. Each of them brings incredible expertise and insight to this new role with the organization, as the bios below illustrate. Carolina, Bilal, and Alek have begun their CC board service, while Alex will begin his term in January 2020. All of us at Creative Commons are thrilled to start working with these outstanding CC community members in this new capacity.

          Two of the touchstones of the organizational strategy that has driven our recent work have been gratitude and collaboration. On behalf of the Creative Commons Board of Directors, I want to express my sincere gratitude for Ryan’s service to our organization and mission. Looking to the future, we are excited about the opportunities for collaboration we will have with Ryan in his new role. I am also grateful to our new board members for their willingness to serve, and I’m excited to collaborate with them and with the global Creative Commons community on the process of searching for a new leader for CC as we enter our third decade. We will soon be announcing details about that search process and inviting community input. In the meantime, my board colleagues and I are working closely with CC’s dedicated management team to ensure continuity and momentum for our important work.

        • Moving on from Creative Commons

          I have some bittersweet professional news to share. I will be stepping down from my position at Creative Commons and joining the Wikimedia Foundation as Chief of Staff. Leading Creative Commons has been the most challenging and rewarding role of my career. It has been a privilege to do this work, and together we’ve had some incredible accomplishments. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and professional staff, and a caring and driven community — I deeply believe that our collaborative efforts are the reason for every success we’ve had. I’m excited to continue working on issues that I care about in the open community. And I’m excited to continue working collaboratively with the CC team as a community member and partner.

          Looking back on five years as CC’s CEO, I believe that the organization is in a stronger position than it has ever been. CC’s focus is clear, building a vibrant, usable commons powered by collaboration and gratitude through community support and training, product development and partnerships, and engagement.

          Operationally, CC has an inspired and driven management team, with exceptional staff leading all aspects of our operations and programs. They are some of my favorite humans, and it’s been a joy to work with them. The team is guided by a multi-year strategy and collaboratively developed goals that support accountability and transparency. Financially, the organization has established a meaningful reserve upon which it can draw, secured partnerships with new multi-year funders, and initiated a strategy to secure multi-year relationships that has been embraced by the Board and is being executed upon by CC’s senior management.

        • Zomato delivery boys refuse to deliver beef and pork as it hurts their ‘religious sentiments’

          Raged by the hypocrisy, people had slammed Zomato for the stark contrast in the manner in which it deals with the grievances of different religious communities. Customers pointed out how Zomato customer care which had offered a moral science lecture to the Hindu customer, was seen prostrated before one community for Halal meat.

        • Why the Jeffrey Epstein Investigation Is Not Over

          Federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who built the case against Mr. Epstein will turn their attention to people whom his accusers have said participated in a scheme that dates back more than a decade and involved the sexual exploitation of dozens of underage girls.

          That could include a circle of close associates whom accusers said helped recruit, train and coerce them into catering to Mr. Epstein, a wealthy financier.

Planet Python is Being Overrun by Microsoft, Just Like PyCon and Python in General

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft Technical Evangelist. From Exhibit 3096; Comes v. Microsoft litigation [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft is perturbing the Free/Open Source software (FOSS) world from the inside, promoting Microsoft’s most malicious proprietary software from within that world while taking positions of power in powerful FOSS projects

Over the past six months or so I’ve read Planet Python every day. I had already complained about Microsoft buying all the key people and I have, for well over a decade, covered related aspects. Earlier today Planet Python even started pushing Microsoft’s proprietary software (MSVS) by linking directly to their blog. It’s like Microsoft is officially part of Python. There’s also loads of GitHub stuff in there, but one could argue that this predates the takeover.

“Of course Azure is proprietary software with surveillance, just like MSVS and GitHub. They also kick out developers and projects they dislike, so it is a censorship mechanism and this doesn’t seem to bother the Linux Foundation.”The way things are going isn’t encouraging; months ago we wrote about how ASF, run by a Microsoft employee, gave Microsoft all Apache projects (now hosted in GitHub). They're apparently fine with that. Microsoft apologists dominate the ASF, some of whom even salaried by Microsoft. Earlier today Phoronix published “Apache Software Foundation’s Code-Base Valued At $20 Billion USD”. That’s several times more than what Microsoft paid for GitHub.

Denial of such a problem (or that it’s a problem) is itself the problem. Too many people are asleep at the wheel while Microsoft is, piecewise, taking control of the competition to Microsoft. But don’t worry, dear regulators and antitrust officials; Linux 'chief' says "Open Source loves Microsoft" (Microsoft executives even capture it on video and upload it to the Internet). His wife worked for a Gold Microsoft Partner as a high-level manager (2016-2017) while he accepted lots of money from Microsoft. Greedy people are destroying us, just like the people who ‘sold’ PyCon to Microsoft and repeatedly promoted Azure in exchange for that money. Of course Azure is proprietary software with surveillance, just like MSVS and GitHub. They also kick out developers and projects they dislike, so it is a censorship mechanism and this doesn't seem to bother the Linux Foundation.

Coming Soon: The Innards of the Eric Lundgren Case That Microsoft is Desperate to Hide or Spin (by Defaming Lundgren)

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 5:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Microsoft is rather stressed about Eric Lundgren coming out of prison and telling how Microsoft put him there; right now Microsoft is mostly name-calling while seeking to control public dialogues

LAST week I was deeply disgusted to see Microsoft staff (they admitted so) defaming Eric Lundgren and overrunning a comments thread regarding his case. This was done in a post citing the parts of the series we had covered by that point, namely:

Overview

Microsoft’s Declaration of War on Recyclers

There are more parts on the way. We have not yet published the legal documents (it may take time). We have not yet shown the work he was doing (Microsoft lies about it in the most insulting of ways).

We don’t want to link to or quote Microsoft’s comments, but it certainly seems like dedicated Microsoft staff that spent hours writing comments, all of which basically reducible to character assassination and distortion of facts. We actually foresaw that, knowing how damaging the case had been to Microsoft, especially because media picked it up and explained it. Microsoft then started threatening the media — a subject we’ll come to later (we’re familiar with ways Microsoft accomplishes such censorship as we covered examples of that).

Wrong Person in Charge of the Linux Foundation (and in Charge of Linus Torvalds)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is it the Six Million Dollar Man or a geek?

Jim Zemlin in tuxedo
Photo credit: The Linux Foundation

Summary: There are several glaring issues when it comes to the leadership of Linux’s steward; for one thing, it lacks actual background in… Linux

LINUS Torvalds was never a champion of Software Freedom, but at least he came from a technical background, chose the GPL (after he had chosen to share Linux, initially a proprietary project), and he’s more likely to focus on programming while antagonising those looking to destroy it. Torvalds is a geek. That’s one reason he had gained following (prior to Google shutting down his ‘blog’ along with all the rest). His former employer, OSDL, is no longer around; the Linux Foundation, run by increasingly hypocritical management that does not even use GNU/Linux, now poses a growing risk if not threat to Software Freedom. It wasn’t always a rosy relationship (probably never); but from neutrality came hostility in recent years. The Foundation is actively hostile towards copyleft and unbelievably amicable/cordial when it comes to foremost foes of Linux. This and only this — the latter part — is why we began this investigation earlier this year. It may seem counterintuitive that something called “Linux Foundation” is a Linux-hostile foundation, but that certainly is what’s happening, especially if one assumes that Linux is just an abbreviation for “GNU/Linux”.

“In this post we strictly limit ourselves to what’s publicly known; we didn’t seek or even dig anything private.”Techrights is a huge advocate of privacy. At the same time Techrights loves research and making use of publicly-accessible information (sometimes known as open-source intelligence) seems reasonable, or ‘fair play’. In this post we strictly limit ourselves to what’s publicly known; we didn’t seek or even dig anything private. While guarding people’s decency and privacy we also want to show where they come from as that can help explain their actions at present. The Linux Foundation has always been run by the same person (for 12 years now), so it makes sense to learn his professional background. We’ll come to it in a bit. He’s not a John or a Jane but a relatively famous person with great wealth*. It’s not some vulnerable person being ‘harassed’ by those whom he claims, in vain, to be representing.

Zemlin comes from the world of proprietary software (and not a technical role); he’s named in this old article as a manager at Corio, a past employer. “Corio implements and supports PeopleSoft systems for midsize customers,” it said, “charging a flat fee of $100,000 to $150,000 and monthly rent of about $850.”

“Mr. Zemlin advises a variety of startups, including DeviceVM.”
      –Bloomberg
There seems to be some common mistake about his past though; Bloomberg appears to have wrongly interpreted this page (another such page was removed, perhaps upon request) that said: “Lumity used its proprietary risk model to analyze the [Linux] foundation’s health data and unearthed a significant discrepancy between projected health care expenses and the rates the foundation was paying their carrier. In the previous two years, the overall group health profile had dramatically improved. As a result, Lumity was able to negotiate lower premiums and a wider network plan, and cost savings were reduced without sacrificing coverage. Additionally, employees gained Lumity’s data-driven enrollment software to guide their health plan decisions and enroll in health savings accounts (HSAs) using a single login.”

The “case study” makes it seem like Zemlin works for this private company. He’s listed like an author. So Bloomberg wrote: “Mr. Jim Zemlin has been an Executive Director of Lumity, Inc. since November 17, 2016…”

This is actually false. Bloomberg‘s official page for him (prior to removal) said: “Mr. Jim Zemlin has been an Executive Director of Lumity, Inc. since November 17, 2016. Mr. Zemlin serves as an Executive Director of The Linux Foundation. He served as Vice President of Marketing at OS Group, LLC (also known as Covalent Technologies, Inc.). Mr. Zemlin advises a variety of startups, including DeviceVM. His career spans three of the largest technology trends to rise over the last decade: mobile computing, SaaS and open source software.”

“…I kind of started having a midlife crisis. At that time I thought of becoming a chef, a professional rock climber…”
      –Jim Zemlin
But there’s no connection to Lumity; maybe a mistake in some low-skilled curator’s work. That same page says his “Education” is “Bachelor’s Degree, University of Minnesota…”

In Jim’s own words, “my father was a computer programmer at Control Data Corporation, which was headquartered in Minnesota. At that time, Minnesota was the hub of companies like Control Data Corporation, Honeywell, and 3M.”

So that seems plausible that he studied there**. It doesn’t say what he studied though. In LinkedIn he just says he was VP of Marketing, Director of Marketing/Founder, and Brand Manager…

That’s likely based on skills/qualifications he got at college.

It seems to suggest that he never worked in Japan. Jim Zemlin says he speaks Japanese (we know Darl McBride did as a former missionary). This perhaps relates to “Unknown/Other Education” in Bloomberg, which names Sophia University in Japan. It might be a missing link (where he picked that language), but it’s curious that Zemlin completely leaves out his education from LinkedIn. Zemlin said in an interview 2 years ago: “When Covalent Technologies ended up being acquired by VMware, I kind of started having a midlife crisis. At that time I thought of becoming a chef, a professional rock climber…”

“The deeper we look into it, the clearer it seems that Zemlin lacks background in (and dedication for) FOSS.”Instead he does this openwashing of Microsoft; Based on that same interview, Zemlin wasn’t even involved in “Open Source” until a decade after Linux and 2 decades after GNU. When he ran the predecessor of the Linux Foundation he had a technical person, the founder of Debian, to help him out (that person has since then committed suicide, after altercation with abusive police).

The deeper we look into it, the clearer it seems that Zemlin lacks background in (and dedication for) FOSS. He is a marketing and branding person. Maybe this is what he studied at the University of Minnesota (we didn’t research that far).

The Linux Foundation is a very classic case of pretenders riding coattails of other people’s achievements to make a fortune, usually by looking for rich overlords to serve. Months ago we remarked on the push the get rid of Torvalds. It was based on the most incredulous people's claim that he was rude and unprofessional.

Someone posted a comment further down in LWN, speaking about the hypocritical management that had apparently pushed Torvalds aside for a while. “Jim Zemlin (Linux Foundation, boss of Linus) has been complicit in this,” said the person (alluding to arguments in the mailing lists).

“Torvalds was doing absolutely fine before the Linux Foundation existed.”“Here is a summary of his TEDx talk [quoting the Linux Foundation's site]: “His last point is perhaps the most entertaining and provocative. Zemlin talks here about the value of flame wars, defending ideas and ridiculing code. The result? Better software. He cites a UC Berkeley study that found groups that are encouraged to debate rigorously and defend their ideas, opposed to traditional brainstorming where every idea is a good idea, come up with better ideas.”

Torvalds was doing absolutely fine before the Linux Foundation existed. Last week Linux Journal said, in its very last post, that the golden era of Linux was in 2007 (i.e. before the Foundation existed). Being ‘bossed’ by a Mac user with an obscure past (the relationship was explained here) hasn’t made Torvalds more independent and free to focus on purely technical work; it just seems to have silenced him, consciously or not (self-censorship and prior restraint). Can someone who is actually a geek be put in charge of the Foundation? At the moment it’s a career-climbing money-grabbing under-qualified person who doesn’t even use what he claims to be promoting and speaking on behalf of.
_____
* Jim Zemlin apparently has a ‘summer house’ (we don’t know how many houses in total). A decade back there was one in Lake Tahoe, reveals this PDF. When paying oneself so much in salaries and amassing perhaps $10,000,000 in savings one starts to appeal to power, not principles. Jim Zemlin said in an interview: “I’d be a manager of a discreet island hotel that is only accessible by float plane” (article apparently removed or made not accessible). That’s not very green and it’s the same sort of thing Linux was a reaction to if not against. He and his spouse are dancing with wealth and power. Almost a decade ago his wife wrote: “We are bringing in more Harvard Professors and well-recognized graduates. Sheryl Sandberg, Harvard AB and MBA, will be keynoting our Annual Dinner on Thursday, June 10th at the University Club.” Very Harvard-like thinking. It’s about class and serving class. When Jim Zemlin welcomed Microsoft into the Foundation his wife worked closely with Microsoft as a General Manager and Global Vice-President at TIBCO. According to his above-mentioned interview with Jeremy Allison, his wife controls him.

** “Since November 17, 2016, he holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Minnesota,” this page says, but it also says: “He has been an Executive Director of Lumity; he serves the Executive Director of The Linux Foundation.” That Lumity part is not correct, so the page might be derived from misinformation.

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