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08.16.19

Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Upgrade from Windows 7 to Ubuntu Part 2: Releases

        Knowing Ubuntu releases is important to understand it better. Ubuntu is released twice a year, more precisely, every April and October, hence the number 04 and 10 in every version. It has special release called Long Term Support (LTS) released once in two years, only when the year number is even, hence all LTS version numbers are ended with 04. More importantly, you will also see 3 different periods of Ubuntu Desktop, that have been going through GNOME2, Unity, and GNOME3 eras, with OpenOffice.org and then LibreOffice as the main office suite. You will also see Ubuntu siblings like Kubuntu and Mythbuntu. I hope this will be interesting enough for everybody to read. Go ahead, and learn more about Ubuntu!

      • Goodbye PCs, it’s been nice knowing you. Hello, desktop as a service

        I don’t think we’ll see Windows 10 as a standalone desktop operating system fold. After all, you’ll still need something to log into the virtual desktop — and Microsoft and its partners won’t want that to be a Chromebook, but you can see it from here.

        Now, all that is fine with some people. They love their SaaS programs. I don’t blame them. I love them, too. My Chrome OS-powered Pixelbook with Google Docs has become my go-to business laptop. They don’t see why — for all the good that you get with DaaS and SaaS — this trend has a dark side, as well.

        If we go all-in on SaaS, we’re returning our power to large corporate IT firms. We’re walking back to the 70s when IBM and DEC called the computing shots. Today, it will be Google and Microsoft, but it’s the same model.

        Going forward, if you want to call your own work shots at the keyboard, you’re going to need either a Mac or a Linux desktop. That’s one reason why I’ve always preferred the Linux desktop. On Linux, with open-source software such as LibreOffice, ultimately, I’m in charge of my computing experience.

        The conventional Microsoft/Intel-based PC, that most of you have used for decades? It’s on its way out. I’ll miss it.

      • Forget Windows, Linux or MacOS: Our choice of the best alternative operating systems

        If you’re fed up with Windows, Linux, or macOS, you’ll want to know if there’s a great alternative desktop operating system that’s worth using.

        While there are no absolute definitive answers here – everyone’s use case is different, after all – we’ve discovered ten distinct examples that fall outside the usual bounds.

        Our list even includes a few true outsiders, independent operating systems built from the ground up which serve mainly to prove just how difficult it is to create an entire functioning OS without a large number of brains working on it.

        Everything here can be tested reasonably within a virtual machine, so if something grabs your interest don’t hesitate to download and give it a try.

        Linux powers most of the website providers out there. Check out the best web hosting services in the world right now.

    • Server

      • Keeping track of Linux users: When do they log in and for how long?

        The Linux command line provides some excellent tools for determining how frequently users log in and how much time they spend on a system. Pulling information from the /var/log/wtmp file that maintains details on user logins can be time-consuming, but with a couple easy commands, you can extract a lot of useful information on user logins.

      • Daily user management tasks made easy for every Linux administrator

        In this article, we will be going over some tasks that a Linux administrator may need to perform daily related to user management.

      • The cost of micro-services complexity

        It has long been recognized by the security industry that complex systems are impossible to secure, and that pushing for simplicity helps increase trust by reducing assumptions and increasing our ability to audit. This is often captured under the acronym KISS, for “keep it stupid simple”, a design principle popularized by the US Navy back in the 60s. For a long time, we thought the enemy were application monoliths that burden our infrastructure with years of unpatched vulnerabilities.

        So we split them up. We took them apart. We created micro-services where each function, each logical component, is its own individual service, designed, developed, operated and monitored in complete isolation from the rest of the infrastructure. And we composed them ad vitam æternam. Want to send an email? Call the rest API of micro-service X. Want to run a batch job? Invoke lambda function Y. Want to update a database entry? Post it to A which sends an event to B consumed by C stored in D transformed by E and inserted by F. We all love micro-services architecture. It’s like watching dominoes fall down. When it works, it’s visceral. It’s when it doesn’t that things get interesting. After nearly a decade of operating them, let me share some downsides and caveats encountered in large-scale production environments.

        [...]

        And finally, there’s security. We sure love auditing micro-services, with their tiny codebases that are always neat and clean. We love reviewing their infrastructure too, with those dynamic security groups and clean dataflows and dedicated databases and IAM controlled permissions. There’s a lot of security benefits to micro-services, so we’ve been heavily advocating for them for several years now.

        And then, one day, someone gets fed up with having to manage API keys for three dozen services in flat YAML files and suggests to use oauth for service-to-service authentication. Or perhaps Jean-Kevin drank the mTLS Kool-Aid at the FoolNix conference and made a PKI prototype on the flight back (side note: do you know how hard it is to securely run a PKI over 5 or 10 years? It’s hard). Or perhaps compliance mandates that every server, no matter how small, must run a security agent on them.

      • IBM

        • Announcing Oracle Linux 7 Update 7

          Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 Update 7. Individual RPM packages are available on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and the Oracle Linux yum server. ISO installation images will soon be available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud and Docker images will soon be available via Oracle Container Registry and Docker Hub.

        • Oracle Linux 7 Update 7 Released

          Based on last week’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 is now Oracle Linux 7 Update 7 with many of the same changes.

          Oracle Linux 7 Update 7 features many of the same changes as RHEL 7.7 but now also adding an updated Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 based on Linux 4.14.35 with many extra patches compared to RHEL7′s default Linux 3.10 based kernel.

        • RHELvolution: A brief history of Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases from early days to RHEL 5

          The launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8) at Red Hat Summit 2019 was a jubilant event. Not only for the many team members around the world who worked to make the next-generation of the world?s leading enterprise Linux platform a reality, but also for customers who are excited to utilize its new capabilities in driving business innovation.

          This is a great time to reflect on what is so special about RHEL 8 by taking a walk through time on the evolution of RHEL. The RHELvolution, if you will. I’ll be your guide on this journey, having been at the helm for RHEL engineering since the beginning (2001), starting with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1. And yes, we’ll explain why it started with 2.1.

          It has been thrilling to be part of the RHEL team all these years. Having worked on proprietary UNIX operating systems before being at Red Hat, constructing RHEL offered a first hand view of the power of open source. Through collaboration with customers, community and a highly motivated team, we have had a global impact on the IT landscape. Evolving from “lighting up the box” to dynamic infrastructure that helps to advance the state of the art while liberating customers from vendor lock-in (originally at the hardware level, later expanded to hybrid cloud).

        • Command Line Heroes season 3 episode 4: Diving for Perl
        • How Developers Can Survive the Last Mile with CodeReady Workspaces

          As a way to piece together this explosion of available open source tools into simple and coherent single interface for cloud native deployments, the Eclipse Foundation offers the Eclipse Che integrated development environment (IDE).

          Today’s often desperate need for Eclipse Che can be traced back to the evolution of open source tools during the past 10 years. Not only have these tools been evolving, but in many cases, they have been outright created from scratch. That’s posed a bit of a problem for those out on the cutting edge of scalable microservices as the stable infrastructure components of old gave way to a hodgepodge of brand new open source and commercial products and tools.

          Inside each cloud provider, a host of tools can address CI/CD, testing, monitoring, backing up and recovery problems. Outside of those providers, the cloud native community has been hard at work cranking out new tooling from Prometheus, Knative, Envoy and Fluentd, to Kubenetes itself and the expanding ecosystem of Kubernetes Operators.

          Within all of those projects, cloud-based services and desktop utilities is one major gap, however: the last mile of software development is the IDE. And despite the wealth of development projects inside the community and Cloud Native Computing Foundation, it is indeed the Eclipse Foundation, as mentioned above, that has taken on this problem with a focus on the new cloud development landscape.

        • IBM is bringing Red Hat OpenShift to Its Platforms

          IBM is fully embracing Red Hat OpenShift. The company recently announced that it will use Red Hat OpenShift as the primary container environment for all its hybrid cloud offerings. This includes IBM Cloud, IBM Cloud Paks running on OpenShift, an entire field of IBM consultants and services people being trained on OpenShift, and OpenShift on IBM Power Systems and Storage, IBM Z and LinuxONE enterprise platforms. With this move, Red Hat OpenShift has become the preferred Kubernetes platform for IBM to address the needs of increasingly critical container workloads.

          With Red Hat OpenShift running on top of IBM’s cloud and systems, existing IBM customers can unlock the hybrid cloud model for software developers and systems architects. OpenShift can transform IBM systems that have been optimized for data, transaction processing and AI workloads into another resource for container-based infrastructure, inside the fold when it comes to networking, APIs and data access controls.

        • Disaster Recovery Strategies for Red Hat OpenShift

          As increasingly complex applications move to the Red Hat OpenShift platform, IT teams should have disaster recovery (DR) processes in place for business continuity in the face of widespread outages. These are not theoretical concerns. Many industries are subject to regulations that require data protection even in the event of massive failures. For instance, CFR 164.308(7)(ii)(B) of the HIPAA regulation stipulates that companies must be able to “restore ANY loss of data” (emphasis added) in the event of a failure. Thus for some truly mission critical applications to run on OpenShift, disaster recovery is essential.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Destination Linux 134 – Xfce 4.14, Ubuntu Snaps, LibreOffice, Linux Journal, NVidia, Huawei, FFmpeg

        Sparky Linux 2019.8, Xfce 4.14, LibreOffice 6.3, FFMPEG 4.2, Phoronix RX5700, Huawei New OpenSource OS, Martin Wimpress on Snaps, Linux Journal Says Goodbye?Again, Nvidia Coming Around? Space Mercs.

      • LHS Episode #296: Sham Shack

        Welcome to the 296th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts discuss Bill teaching our children (yikes), VHF propagation, the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, YOTA, Linux Journal, Huawei, QSSTV and much more. Thank you for downloading and listening to this episode and we hope you all have a wonderful week of amateur radio and open source.

      • Conference Gear Breakdown | BSD Now 311

        NetBSD 9.0 release process has started, xargs, a tale of two spellcheckers, Adapting TriforceAFL for NetBSD, Exploiting a no-name freebsd kernel vulnerability, and more.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E19 – Starglider

        This week we’ve been fixing floors and playing with the new portal HTML element. We round up the Ubuntu community news including the release of 18.04.3 with a new hardware enablement stack, better desktop integration for Livepatch and improvements in accessing the latest Nvidia drivers. We also have our favourite picks from the general tech news.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 19 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Stuart Langridge are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • Kernel Space

      • kdevops: a devops framework for Linux kernel development

        I’m announcing the release of kdevops which aims at making setting up and testing the Linux kernel for any project as easy as possible. Note that setting up testing for a subsystem and testing a subsystem are two separate operations, however we strive for both. This is not a new test framework, it allows you to use existing frameworks, and set those frameworks up as easily can humanly be possible. It relies on a series of modern hip devops frameworks, it relies on ansible, vagrant and terraform, ansible roles through the Ansible Galaxy, and terraform modules.

      • Kdevops Aims To Assist In Linux Kernel Testing

        Luis Chamberlain has announced the first release of Kdevops as a Linux kernel development “DevOps” framework.

        Kdevops aims to be the first modern devops framework for the Linux kernel. Kdevops can target different virtualization platforms, cloud providers, and Linux distributions. This devops framework is built off Ansible, Vagrant, and Terraform while it doesn’t integrate any testing frameworks itself but leaves that open to the developer for integration.

      • Etnaviv Is Packing Code For An Exciting Linux 5.4 Cycle

        While Freedreno and Panfrost have been steaming ahead when it comes to open-source, reverse-engineered graphics for Arm SoCs, the Etnaviv project for targeting Vivante graphics hasn’t had too much to report on recently. Fortunately, that’s changing as coming up for the Linux 5.4 cycle they have a lot of new code to introduce.

        The biggest Etnaviv DRM driver feature for Linux 5.4 is supporting per-process address spaces on capable GPUs, which is necessary for bringing up their Softpin support and in turn supporting the texture descriptor buffers on GC7000 series hardware.

      • QEMU 4.1 Released With Many ARM, MIPS & x86 Additions

        QEMU 4.1 is now out as one of the important pieces to the open-source Linux virtualization stack.

        QEMU 4.1 brings many improvements to various architecture-specific bits for ARM, MIPS, POWER, s390, x86, and even RISC-V has seen a number of prominent additions. On the Arm front there is now FPU emulation support for Cortex-M processors, ARMv8.5 RNG support, and other bits added. On the RISC-V front is the Spike machine model, ISA 1.11 support, and support for CPU topology in device trees. On the x86 front there is support for new Hygon Dhyana and Intel Snow Ridge CPU models as well as emulation support for the RdRand extension.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 Updated With Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS Support

          In addition to AMD releasing the Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q3 Linux driver, they also quietly released a new Radeon Software Linux driver release for consumer GPUs.

          This new Radeon Software for Linux release is still in the 19.30 release stream as was the case since the AMD Navi launch driver one month ago. But with this updated Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 driver they now are claiming official support for the Radeon RX 5700 (Navi) series.

        • Intel Volleys Another Batch Of Tiger Lake “Gen 12″ Graphics Code

          While it remains to be seen if Tiger Lake will be able to ship on time in 2020 as the Icelake successor, the “Gen 12″ Xe Graphics continue to be worked on with the company’s open-source Linux graphics driver.

          At the end of June Intel sent out the very preliminary open-source Linux graphics driver changes for Tiger Lake that is coming with “Gen 12″ graphics compared to Gen 11 with Icelake. Though so far at least there hasn’t been too many changes to the driver side while today a third round of Tiger Lake enablement patches were sent out.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q3 for Linux Released

        On Wednesday marked the release of AMD’s Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise driver package for Windows and Linux.

        The Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 19.Q3 on the Windows side added more optimizations for workstation software, wireless VR visualization, and other bits to improve the AMD Radeon Pro support in the workstation software ecosystem. On the Linux side, the changes are a bit more tame.

      • AMDVLK 2019.Q3.4 Vulkan Driver Enables Atomic Optimizer For Navi

        AMD’s official open-source Vulkan driver code had fallen off its roughly weekly code push / release cadence with not having a new release in nearly three weeks, but that changed today with the availability of AMDVLK 2019.Q3.4.

        There is a new Vulkan extension with AMDVLK 2019.Q3.4 and that is VK_EXT_subgroup_size_control, the extension introduced last month with Vulkan 1.1.116. The subgroup size control extension allows for a varying sub-group size and a required size; more details in this earlier article.

    • Applications

      • Violin – minimalistic desktop music player

        Over the past few months I’ve covered scores of open source graphical music players. They’ve been a mixed bag. Some are genuinely excellent, others falling short of my (fairly) modest requirements. Many of them purport to be lightweight.

        There’s a new music player on the block. It’s called Violin, seeing its first release in March this year. The author bills his multimedia app as “… fast, lightweight, and minimalistic desktop music player”.

        The software is written in the JavaScript language using Electron, an open-source framework developed and maintained by GitHub. Violin is published under an open source license.

      • Avidemux 2.7.4 Released with Tons of Bug-fixes (How to Install)

        Avidemux video editor released version 2.7.4 today with tons of bug-fixes. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.04.

      • Cockpit and the evolution of the Web User Interface

        This article only touches upon some of the main functions available in Cockpit. Managing storage devices, networking, user account, and software control will be covered in an upcoming article. In addition, optional extensions such as the 389 directory service, and the cockpit-ostree module used to handle packages in Fedora Silverblue.

        The options continue to grow as more users adopt Cockpit. The interface is ideal for admins who want a light-weight interface to control their server(s).

      • Popular mpv Player is now Celluloid

        The popular media player mpv is renamed as Celluloid and released latest installment.

        Celluloid (formerly GNOME mpv) is a GTK+ based free and open source media player. Celluloid is very lightweight and can easily be adapated as an alternative to popular VLC Media player. This slick media player interacts with mpv via the client API exported by libmpv, allowing access to mpv’s powerful playback capabilities.

        Some notable features of Celluloid includes the implementation of MPRIS D-Bus Interface which allows for better integration with desktop environments that have compatible MPRIS clients, fully functional Wayland support.

      • Proprietary

        • AI Algorithms Need FDA-Style Drug Trials

          Intelligent systems at scale need regulation because they are an unprecedented force multiplier for the promotion of the interests of an individual or a group. For the first time in history, a single person can customize a message for billions and share it with them within a matter of days. A software engineer can create an army of AI-powered bots, each pretending to be a different person, promoting content on behalf of political or commercial interests. Unlike broadcast propaganda or direct marketing, this approach also uses the self-reinforcing qualities of the algorithm to learn what works best to persuade and nudge each individual.

        • Stop Calling it AI

          The hype on terms like “machine learning” and “AI” is a rebranding of the terms “statistics” and “general programming logic”. It’s a long ways away from the scary AI you envision from sci-fi. At best, it makes cancer research faster. At worst, it spends a lot of research money on AWS.

          End of the day, it’s so far away from being a boogeyman that you should refocus on things that matter like global warming or overpopulation.

        • How AI is impacting the UK’s legal sector

          A recent study of London law firms by CBRE revealed that 48 percent are already using AI and a further 41 percent will start to do so in the near future. Furthermore, a Deloitte study estimated 100,000 legal roles will be automated by 2036, and by 2020 law firms will be faced with a “tipping point” for a new talent strategy. As a result, law firms that don’t start to embrace AI capabilities risk falling behind their more innovative peers.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The dieselpunk sci-fi RPG INSOMNIA: The Ark due for Linux sometime after the next update

        In their news post on Steam, talking about their progress on V1.6. While it’s sounding promising, it’s not ready yet as they’re working through the final set of issues. The good news, is that they mentioned that completing this version, will be “an important step towards Linux and Mac versions of the game”.

      • The first trailer for Commandos 2 – HD Remaster has been released

        Commandos 2 – HD Remaster, announced with Linux support back in June now has a first gameplay trailer ahead of Gamescom.

        Originally developed by Pyro Studios, it’s now being handled by Yippee! Entertainment with Kalypso Media Digital acting as publisher since they acquired the rights back in 2018.

      • The team behind SUPERHOT are now helping to fund other indie games

        A nice story for a Friday morning as the SUPERHOT team have announced SUPERHOT PRESENTS, a fund to help other indie game developers who don’t want or need a publisher.

        SUPERHOT PRESENTS, a name they jokingly stole from Double Fine Productions (Double Fine Presents) aims to work with developers who need some “finishing (or starting) funds” and they will give some mentoring and advice. They said they just want to “enable a few more properly independent studios exist in the world” which is rather admirable.

      • Action RPG with mutating characters Din’s Legacy to leave Early Access this month

        Din’s Legacy from Soldak Entertainment is their latest action RPG, after being in Early Access for nearly a year it’s getting ready to release in full.

        Soldak Entertainment previously developed games like Zombasite, Drox Operative, Din’s Curse and Depths of Peril with all of them supporting Linux too.

        For the final release of Din’s Legacy, they’ve set a date of August 28th (announced on Twitter) and since we already have a key, we should be taking a proper look.

      • ClockworkPi Rolls Out GameShell, A DIY Kit To Build Your Own Modular Console

        ClockworkPI is providing tech enthusiasts the opportunity to build their own modular console with the GameShell.

        The gadget is the result of the Kickstarter launched in April 2018. The campaign raised a total of $290,429 or almost six times the original goal of $50,000. Nearly 3,000 people pledged money for the company to push through with the project.

        The gadget was billed to be the first mobile and modular game console using an open-source GNU/Linux system. After building the kit, you can play thousands of retro games from major publishers like Atari, SNES, NES, GBA, and GB.

      • Great looking retro-inspired FPS Ion Fury is out now with Linux support

        Ion Fury (previously Ion Maiden) from Voidpoint and 3D Realms has been officially released, this retro inspired FPS looks fantastic and it comes with full Linux support.

      • Single-player RTS game From Orbit is launching soon with Linux support

        Tentacle Head Games have announced their single-player RTS game From Orbit will launch on August 27th.

        Confirming that date will include Linux support on Twitter, From Orbit will see you manage the crew of a small spaceship stranded in deep uncharted space. You will move from planet to planet as you attempt to find your way back home.

      • FOSS local multiplayer game Superstarfighter sees a great new release

        Superstarfighter is a FOSS local multiplayer game made with Godot Engine that continues to impress me and the latest update is out now with more great features.

        v0.5.0 released around a week ago adds in a new additional variant to the game modes, to add a snake-like feel where instead of launching bombs at your enemies, you need to get them to fly into your tail to take them out. It’s a pretty fun mix-up actually!

      • The Group Stage for Dota 2′s The International 2019 starts, as the prize pool continues breaking records

        The International 2019 is heating up for Dota 2 as The Group Stage has now officially begun and the community-driven prize pool has hit a new record-breaking high.

        The Group Stage going on now, with the second day starting around 1AM UTC Friday, is where you have two groups of nine teams and they face off against every other team in a best of two matchup. The top 4 teams advance onto the Upper Bracket of the Main Event, with the teams in 5th-8th place in each group advancing onto the Lower Bracket of the Main Event. The bottom team from each group is then eliminated!

      • Facepunch adjust their Linux plans for Rust, refunds being offered as it won’t continue at all

        As an update to the Rust situation, Facepunch have now changed their plans for the Linux version. They’ve decided to offer refunds, as they won’t continue it at all.

        Previously, their plan was to split the Linux version of Rust from Windows/Mac to at least give Linux owners a working game although without future feature updates. In the new blog post, written by Facepunch’s Garry Newman, they “now realise how shit that would be” after talking to the community.

      • Survival game Stranded Deep has an absolutely huge update out now

        Stranded Deep, the survival game where you’re marooned on a desert island after a plane crash just had its first major stable update in some time.

        Along with an impressive list of bug fixes, some big new features made it into this release. There’s a new intro scene, a new main menu and loading visuals, a female character model with female voice-over, difficulty options when starting a game, stamina, player skills, sprint swimming for moving faster in water, multiple new sharks, multiple new shipwrecks and more. If you’ve not played for a while, there’s a lot to look forward to when jumping into a new game.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.14 officially released, here is what’s new

        A piece of good news for this morning! Xfce desktop environment v4.14 is finally here, courtesy of 4 years and five months of efforts by the development team.

        If your ears found Xfce as something unheard of, let’s briefly discuss what the software is all about. Xfce is an attractive, simple desktop environment aimed at UNIX-like operating systems, which include Linux and BSD. Plus, it does not go all out on the system resources as well, as the software is made to be lightweight. Users are to find Xfce with popular operating systems, such as Manjaro, Xubuntu, Linux Mint, and Fedora.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KTouch in KDE Apps 19.08.0

          KTouch, an application to learn and practice touch typing, has received a considerable update with today’s release of KDE Apps 19.8.0. It includes a complete redesign by me for the home screen, which is responsible to select the lesson to train on.

          There is now a new sidebar offering all the courses KTouch has for a total of 34 different keyboard layouts. In previous versions, KTouch presented only the courses matching the current keyboard layout. Now it is much more obvious how to train on different keyboard layouts than the current one.

        • KDE Applications 19.08 released with improvements in Dolphin and Konsole Tiling

          The KDE community releases KDE Applications 19.08 and users will find more stability and usability in applications including Dolphin, Konsole, Okular, Kate, and many others.

          With this update, KDE has implemented many new features, improvements, and bug-fixes into their software. With that being said, their most prominent work can be found in Dolphin and Konsole. So let’s see what the new KDE applications have in store for its users.

        • KDE Applications 19.08 Brings New Features to Konsole, Dolphin, Kdenlive, Okular and Dozens of Other Apps (KDE.News)

          KDE.News reports on the release of KDE Applications 19.08. The release has updates for many different applications, as can also be seen in the official announcement.

        • New features with each release, The Kde applications version 19.08 is here!

          KDE is one of the best desktop environments for the Linux operating system that is particularly popular with customization enthusiasts
          The KDE development team makes sure to make it better with each release by adding a host of features and improvements.

        • Applications 19.08

          The KDE community is happy to announce the release of KDE Applications 19.08.

          This release is part of KDE’s commitment to continually provide improved versions of the programs we ship to our users. New versions of Applications bring more features and better-designed software that increases the usability and stability of apps like Dolphin, Konsole, Kate, Okular, and all your other favorite KDE utilities. Our aim is to ensure you remain productive, and to make KDE software easier and more enjoyable for you to use.

          We hope you enjoy all the new enhancements you’ll find in 19.08!

        • KDE Applications 19.08 Brings New Features to Konsole, Dolphin, Kdenlive, Okular and Dozens of Other Apps
        • KDE Applications 19.08 Released With Dolphin Improvements, Better Konsole Tiling
        • Cantor 19.08

          Since the last year the development in Cantor is keeping quite a good momentum. After many new features and stabilization work done in the 18.12 release, see this blog post for an overview, we continued to work on improving the application in 19.04. Today the release of KDE Applications 19.08, and with this of Cantor 19.08, was announced. Also in this release we concentrated mostly on improving the usability of Cantor and stabilizing the application. See the ChangeLog file for the full list of changes.

          For new features targeting at the usability we want to mention the improved handling of the “backends”. As you know, Cantor serves as the front end to different open-source computer algebra systems and programming languages and requires these backends for the actual computation. The communication with the backends is handled via different plugins that are installed and loaded on demand. In the past, in case a plugin for a specific backend failed to initialize (e.g. because of the backend executable not found, etc.), we didn’t show it in the “Choose a Backend” dialog and the user was completely lost. Now we still don’t allow to create a worksheet for this backend, but we show the entry in the dialog together with a message about why the plugin is disabled.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Microsoft’s Component Firmware Update Is Their Latest Short-Sighted Spec

          Microsoft’s newest specification is the “Component Firmware Update” that they envision as a standard for OEMs/IHVs to be able to handle device firmware/microcode updating in a robust and secure manner. While nice in theory, the actual implementation has a number of issues that complicate the process and could quickly evolve into another troubling specification from Microsoft in the hardware space.

          Red Hat’s Richard Hughes who is the lead developer on Fwupd and LVFS for firmware updating on Linux has written a lengthy blog post with his thoughts after studying the specification. Now that vendors have begun asking him about CFU, he’s getting his opinions out there now and there are issues with the specification. Ultimately though if there is enough interest/adoption, he could support Component Firmware Update via Fwupd but he certainly isn’t eager to do so.

    • Distributions

      • Clear Linux launches a new documentation website

        Clear Linux fans will now be able to have better access to more information about the operating system as Clear Linux announces a new and improved documentation website.

        New Linux users can be somewhat unfamiliar with the Clear Linux Project. Accordingly, let FOSSLinux give a brief introduction of this wonderful operating system. Powered by Intel, the Clear Linux OS is a Linux-based, rolling-release distro that has its eyes set on providing optimal performance and security. Other than that, users will also find this operating system to be manageable and customizable.

        Now that we’re done with its introduction let’s get to the actual news. The new Clear Linux documentation site is based on a Sphinx/reST framework and uses the Read-The-Docs theme, which you will find on most of the documentation sites out there. With this, it can be seen that Clear Linux wants to stay in the same lane as its competition.

      • New Releases

        • Raspberry Digital Signage donation

          The build of Raspberry Digital Signage you can download from SourceForge is limited is some functionality: if you like this project please donate.

          As a donor, you will have full access to the unrestricted versions of: Raspberry Digital Signage (web-based digital signaging), Raspberry Slideshow (image/video slideshow-based digital signaging) and Raspberry WebKiosk (cheap web kiosking), which can be deployed on how many devices you wish!

      • Fedora Family

        • Flock 2019 – Budapest, Hungery : Internationalization, Localization and Testing

          I am one of the lucky person who has got an opportunity to consistently participate in amazing Fedora community to drive innovation in free and open source way. This was my 5th flock after 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Indeed, it’s great to see how many things has been changed in technology space. Values of Fedora still remains the same, Freedom, Friends, Features and First !!

          For me the highlight talks was Denise Dumas on “Fedora, Red Hat and IBM”. She very well explained how Fedora and Fedora community is very very important to Red Hat and it will remain the same even after acquisition.

          Other than that i also attended all talks from Brendan Conoboy. He nicely explained on RHEL-8 planning side stuff.

        • Flock Fedora Conference 2019

          I attended the annual Fedora Flock conference this year at Budapest, and has been one of the most productive conferences so far. Here is a brief trip report.

      • Debian Family

        • APT Patterns

          Patterns allow you to specify complex search queries to select the packages you want to install/show. For example, the pattern ?garbage can be used to find all packages that have been automatically installed but are no longer depended upon by manually installed packages. Or the pattern ?automatic allows you find all automatically installed packages.

          You can combine patterns into more complex ones; for example, ?and(?automatic,?obsolete) matches all automatically installed packages that do not exist any longer in a repository.

          There are also explicit targets, so you can perform queries like ?for x: ?depends(?recommends(x)): Find all packages x that depend on another package that recommends x. I do not fully comprehend those yet – I did not manage to create a pattern that matches all manually installed packages that a meta-package depends upon. I am not sure it is possible.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Mythical Economic Model of Open Source

        Simply put, the Open Source model, involving huge freedoms to developers to decide direction and great opportunities for collaboration stimulates the intellectual creativity of those developers to a far greater extent than when you have a regimented project plan and a specific task within it. The most creatively deadening job for any engineer is to find themselves strictly bound within the confines of a project plan for everything. This, by the way, is why simply allowing a percentage of paid time for participating in Open Source seems to enhance input to proprietary projects: the liberated creativity has a knock on effect even in regimented development. However, obviously, the goal for any Corporation dependent on code development should be to go beyond the knock on effect and actually employ open source methodologies everywhere high creativity is needed.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Announcing Rust 1.37.0

            The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.37.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

          • Using WebThings Gateway notifications as a warning system for your home

            Ever wonder if that leaky pipe you fixed is holding up? With a trip to the hardware store and a Mozilla WebThings Gateway you can set up a cheap leak sensor to keep an eye on the situation, whether you’re home or away. Although you can look up detector status easily on the web-based dashboard, it would be better to not need to pay attention unless a leak actually occurs. In the WebThings Gateway 0.9 release, a number of different notification mechanisms can be set up, including emails, apps, and text messages.

      • BSD

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Designing open audio hardware as DIY kits

            Previously in this series about people who are developing audio technology in the open, I interviewed Juan Rios, developer and maintainer of Guayadeque and Sander Jansen, developer and maintainer of Goggles Music Manager. These conversations have broadened my thinking and helped me enjoy their software even more than before.

            For this article, I contacted Håvard Skrödahl, founder of Muffsy. His hobby is designing open source audio hardware, and he offers his designs as kits for those of us who can’t wait to wind up the soldering iron for another adventure.

            I’ve built two of Håvard’s kits: a moving coil (MC) cartridge preamp and a moving magnet (MM) cartridge phono preamp. Both were a lot of fun to build and sound great. They were also a bit of a stroll down memory lane for me. In my 20s, I built some other audio kits, including a Hafler DH-200 power amplifier and a DH-110 preamplifier. Before that, I built a power amplifier using a Motorola circuit design; both the design and the amplifier were lost along the way, but they were a lot of fun!

          • Nuvoton Launches Brand New M261/M262/M263 Series MCUs for IoT Applications

            Low power and robust security are two major requirements for the Internet of Things (IoT) applications. In terms of low power consumption, NuMicro M261/M262/M263 series provides multiple power modes for different operating scenarios, integrating RTC with independent VBAT to support low power mode. The power consumption in normal run mode is 97 μA/MHz (LDO mode) and 45 μA/MHz (DC-DC mode). Standby power-down current is down to 2.8 μA and Deep power-down current is less than 2 μA. The low power, low supply voltage, and fast wake-up (9 μs from Fast-wakeup Power-down mode) features make M261/M262/M263 series suitable for battery-powered IoT applications.

            The robust security functions of NuMicro M261/M262/M263 series include secure boot function to ensure that a device boots using only trusted software through a series of digital signature authentication processes. The M261/M262/M263 series integrates complete hardware crypto engines such as AES 256/192/128, DES/3-DES, SHA, ECC, and True Random Number Generator (TRNG). Furthermore, it provides 4-region programable eXecute-Only-Memory (XOM) to secure critical program codes and up to six tamper detection pins against outer physical attack, which significantly improves the product security.

            [...]

            Third-Party IDEs such as Keil MDK, IAR EWARM, and NuEclipse IDE with GNU GCC compilers are also supported.

          • Arm, WDC and Qualcomm Announce OpenChain Conformance Activities

            Arm and Western Digital Corporation, Platinum Members of the OpenChain Project and key participants in the global supply chain, today announce conformance with the OpenChain Specification. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., Platinum Member and founding contributor of the OpenChain Project, today announces expanded conformance to the latest version of the OpenChain Specification.

            The OpenChain Project establishes trust in the open source from which software solutions are built. It accomplishes this by making open source license compliance simpler and more consistent. The OpenChain Specification defines inflection points in business workflows where a compliance process, policy or training should exist to minimize the potential for errors and maximize the efficiency of bringing solutions to market. The companies involved in the OpenChain community number in the hundreds. The OpenChain Specification is being prepared for submission to ISO and evolution from a growing de facto standard into a formal standard.

  • Leftovers

    • How many books could you read if you quit social media?

      Cutting out three 10-minute social media checks a day means you could read as many as 30 more books a year.

    • How many extra books could you read if you quit social media?

      Globally, digital consumers spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media, according to GlobalWebIndex’s Flagship Report for 2019.

    • Science

      • Green Party Education Spokesperson: A-levels do not reflect 21st-century skills needs

        Commenting on today’s A-levels results, Vix Lowthion, Green Party Education Spokeperson and a secondary teacher who was with her pupils as they got the results this morning, said:

        “This morning I was looking at the nervousness of students, teachers and parents and reflecting how A-levels are high-stakes testing.

        “Pupils feel that their whole future is fixed in three exams taken in the summer heat. The working reality for adults is investigation, project work and in teams. Our qualifications system should reflect these 21st-century skills.

      • The Devolution Trap

        For the many who expressed kind concern at the bureaucratic impasse involved in Cameron starting his new school, I should update you with the good news. Cameron was able toThe Devolution Trap start on time in the local school, and I am very happy to say that both staff and pupils have been extremely friendly and helpful. Which does not obviate the daftness of the system which makes it impossible to get more than a day’s notice of acceptance, but we are getting over the problems that caused.

        But I have also to say that I am genuinely shocked that Cameron took the 33rd place in his class, which is now full. Class size is a very major factor in pupil achievement and I am perplexed to find these Victorian levels of pupil/teacher ratio still surviving in 2019.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Sick to the Stomach: Pesticides and the Cocktail of Toxicity

        Dame Sally Davies is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England and recently released the CMO annual report for 2019. The report focuses on UK engagement with global health and forging partnerships.

      • Green Party calls for move away from failed ‘War on Drugs’

        Responding to the news that drug-related deaths in England and Wales are the highest they have been since records began more than a quarter of a century ago (1), Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack said:

        “We are seeing in these figures the huge human cost of the ‘War on Drugs’, and the impact of cutbacks to treatment and prevention services following Westminster government austerity.

        “It is striking the higher levels of deaths in the poorer regions of the UK, including in Wales.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Microsoft’s latest Surface updates are causing CPU and Wi-Fi issues

        Microsoft is working to fix CPU throttling on the company’s latest Surface devices, while owners complain of Wi-Fi issues, too. “We are aware of some customers reporting a scenario with their Surface Books where CPU speeds are slowed,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to TechRepublic. “We are quickly working to address via a firmware update.”

        The CPU throttling appears to be affecting both the Surface Book 2 and Surface Pro 6, according to a variety of complaints on Reddit. Processors are getting throttled all the way down to a measly 400MHz, and it’s not immediately clear what is causing the problems. TechRepublic reports that the throttling appears to be related to an Intel CPU flag being locked on by mistake, causing the CPU to throttle as it thinks it’s at a thermal limit.

      • Bluetooth BR/EDR supported devices are vulnerable to key negotiation attacks

        The encryption key length negotiation process in Bluetooth BR/EDR Core v5.1 and earlier is vulnerable to packet injection by an unauthenticated, adjacent attacker that could result in information disclosure and/or escalation of privileges. This can be achieved using an attack referred to as the Key Negotiation of Bluetooth (KNOB) attack, which is when a third party forces two or more victims to agree on an encryption key with as little as one byte of entropy. Once the entropy is reduced, the attacker can brute-force the encryption key and use it to decrypt communications.

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by openSUSE (irssi, ledger, libheimdal, libmediainfo, libqb, and libsass) and Slackware (mozilla).

      • Inspect PyPI event logs to audit your account’s and project’s security

        To help you check for security problems, PyPI is adding an advanced audit log of user actions beyond the current (existing) journal. This will, for instance, allow publishers to track all actions taken by third party services on their behalf.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Somalia Assesses Al-Shabab Moles’ Infiltration of Government

        The July 24 suicide bombing that killed the mayor of Somalia’s capital was disturbing on multiple levels, security experts say. Abdirahman Omar Osman was slain by one of his own aides, who was female and blind, and who acted in concert with another one of his employees, also female.

        Besides those unsettling facts, Osman’s death highlighted a cold, hard reality: militant group al-Shabab had again infiltrated an important Somali government entity.

      • Diplomats Losing Out to Trump Picks for Top Spots

        Former diplomats are sounding alarm bells over what they see as a “diplomatic disarmament” of America’s professional foreign service ranks.

        Successive administrations have squeezed out career diplomats from senior jobs, both in Washington and abroad, in favor of political appointees. But the trend appears to have accelerated under President Donald Trump as more and more management and ambassador posts are being handed to people with the right connections

      • The Root Cause of Mass Shootings is the Rage of Alienation

        Mass shootings prompt simple explanations of the gunman’s motivation. At Columbine High School in Colorado, the killers supposedly snapped after being bullied. The guy who shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado was wild-eyed carrot-topped nuts. After a massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, an anti-immigrant manifesto posted online pointed to right-wing politics. Simple mental illness—if there is such a thing—appears to be the culprit in Dayton, Ohio. Also misogyny. But the Dayton shooter’s Twitter feed indicates the shooter liked Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. So right-wing media blames his progressive leanings.

      • Green MEP at “Stand with Kashmir” event in London

        London’s Green MEP Scott Ainslie will today be attending the “Stand With Kashmir” event in Trafalgar Square, which starts at 5pm.

        In advance of the event, Scott said: “Security in Kashmir can only come from the respect of human rights and self-determination. Time and time again UN agencies and human right organisations have found how Kashmiris’ human rights are being violated.

        “It is time to put an end to the decades of violence and human rights suffered by the inhabitants of Kashmir, and the decisions by India to unilaterally end the rights of Kashmiris is deeply disturbing and should be called out.

        “By virtually cutting off the region, India is making Kashmiris inhabitants of an open-air prison, completely flouting the principle of autonomy enshrined in its constitution. Far from guarantee its security, the Indian Government is raising the stakes in a dangerous game that will only satisfy the hawks in its administration.

    • Environment

      • Greta Thunberg: Climate change activist sets sail from Plymouth

        The teenager, who refuses to travel by air because of its environmental impact, said of climate sceptics: “There’s always going to be people who don’t understand or accept the united science, and I will just ignore them, as I’m only acting and communicating on the science.”

      • Modi has vowed to ban single-use plastics to fight India’s trash crisis

        About 70% of the plastic the country consumes is simply discarded and there is no processing of waste in most Indian cities, according to the Ministry of Environment’s Central Pollution Control Board.

        As a result the world’s largest democracy is home to vast trash mountains that loom over the outskirts of major cities, and huge quantities of plastic end up in the water by way of the Ganges. The river is second only to China’s Yangtze in the amount of plastic it contributes to the world’s oceans, according to a 2017 study.

      • 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg says no company on Earth right now has a climate change strategy that’s good enough

        When Business Insider asked whether she thinks any company on Earth is doing a good enough job to tackle the climate and ecological crisis at a Wednesday press conference, Thunberg said: “We will just simply have to see.”

        “If they succeed in reducing enough CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions then of course they have succeeded in doing that. And if they won’t, then they haven’t.”

        “And as it looks now, it doesn’t look very good,” she said.

      • Energy

        • Cheap renewables will price out oil on roads

          The days of oil as a fuel for cars, whether petrol or diesel, are numbered − because the economies offered by wind and solar energy and other cheap renewables, combined with electric vehicles, are irresistible, a French bank says.

          BNP Paribas Asset Management calculates that oil majors like Exxon, BP and Shell will have to produce petrol from oil at $10 a barrel (the current price is $58) to compete with electricity on price, while for diesel, it says, oil can cost no more than $19 a barrel.

          “The oil industry has never before in its history faced the kind of threat that renewable electricity in tandem with electric vehicles poses to its business model,” the bank says. Electric vehicles (EVs) could easily replace 40% of the current market for crude oil.

        • Investing in Science to Improve Climate Risk Management

          Climate change caused by past and ongoing emissions from fossil fuel burning poses sizable risks for current and future generations through its impacts on multiple interacting sectors, including, for example, food and water supplies and public health [O’Neill et al., 2017].

          The extent of these risks is subject to deep uncertainties and tipping points, suggesting the need for flexible approaches to climate adaptation. One example of a deep uncertainty in our understanding of climate is the degree to which local and regional storm surge intensities are modulated by a warming climate [Lee et al., 2017; Wong et al., 2018].

          In climate risk management, these uncertainties often affect estimates of potentially damaging impacts, thus amplifying the importance of the uncertainties [Wong et al., 2017a].

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Deforestation in the Amazon may soon begin to feed on itself

          SINCE THE 1970s nearly 800,000km² of Brazil’s original 4m km² (1.5m square miles) of Amazon forest has been lost to logging, farming, mining, roads, dams and other forms of development—an area equivalent to that of Turkey and bigger than that of Texas. Scientists worry this is uncomfortably close to the threshold for tree loss, of between 20 and 25%, beyond which deforestation begins to feed on itself, turning much of the Amazon basin into drier savannah known as cerrado. Under Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing president of Brazil who was inaugurated in January, the Amazon appears to be rushing towards that tipping point.

        • A Chance to Save the ‘Rhinos of the Sea’

          Many scientists wait for their whole careers to see their predictions proven correct — and if that happens, it’s often cause for celebration. But for conservation scientists who study threatened species, it can be a gut punch to learn your prediction’s come true.

          For Alec Moore, a conservation biologist at Bangor University, that’s exactly what happened.

          In 2016 Moore participated in a symposium focusing on sawfishes, which were then considered the most endangered marine fish in the world. His talk, however, focused on emerging threats to a similar group of fishes called guitarfishes, a type of ray related to sharks.

          At the time Moore said several of the 55 known guitarfish species faced a risk of extinction. He then called for “comprehensive and coordinated action” for guitarfish that could be conducted in conjunction with current sawfish conservation efforts — which themselves arrived almost too late.

    • Finance

      • Kenyan Government Risks Squandering The Long-Term Potential Of Mobile Transactions In The Hope Of A Little Extra Tax Revenue

        The report notes the many benefits of promoting mobile payments — things like serving as an economic driver, and encouraging savings and credit. Particularly important for developing countries is the how mobile-based services increase financial inclusion, providing access to banking for even the poorest sectors of society, which can help to reduce overall levels of poverty.

        The authors of the study point out that the tendency of taxes to operate on a Laffer curve means that as rates increase, tax revenue from mobiles and data use may decline at some point, making such moves self-defeating. Moreover, if people start to turn back to cash to avoid increased costs of mobile payments, the benefits of digital transactions are lost, including the ability for governments to track and tax transactions more easily, leading to further revenue losses.

      • Boris Johnson accuses MPs of ‘collaborating’ with Brussels to block No Deal Brexit

        The claims by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were described on Thursday by Labour MP Mary Creagh as “a wicked lie.”

        Speaking during a Facebook event hosted at Downing Street, Johnson said, “There’s a terrible kind of collaboration as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.”

        “The more they think there’s a chance that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position.”

      • A Corbyn-led GNU would be a ridiculous creature

        It’s the latest trend in Westminster politics. There has been a lot of talk lately about a government of national unity – a GNU…

      • Marikana was a product of capitalism

        The strike had been taking place for a week – too long for the faceless men who sent a command to the police to end the strike and halt the slide in profits.

        Today marks seven years since the brutal killings of 34 mineworkers by the South African Police Service, aka the Marikana massacre.

        It was August 16, 2012, when police officers were the mediator between hundreds of disgruntled mineworkers and Lonmin mine bosses. The strike had been taking place for a week – too long according to the faceless men who sent a command to the police to end the strike and halt the slide in profits.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The old man and the stream

        The point of Sanders’ stream is to connect with people where they are. “It’s another opportunity, I think, to tap in to a potentially supportive audience that we may not be hitting other ways,” says Josh Miller-Lewis, Sanders’ director of digital comms. “Our goal with Twitch is to not only let people know what we’re doing on the campaign every day, and what Bernie’s doing — but also hear from them, and bring their opinion into what we’re trying to do and into the political process.”

      • Bernie Sanders launches Twitch channel

        The senator is one of the first presidential candidates with a presence on the video game streaming service.

      • Why the deepfakes threat is shallow

        The bottom line: Deepfakes take advantage of human vulnerabilities that can be exploited much more efficiently by other means.

        That means the disinformation problem won’t be solved through technology or policy alone.

      • State officials beg Congress for more election security funding

        Speaking at a forum hosted by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R) and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) said additional federal funding is the best way Congress can help states shore up election security and ward off cyberattacks.

      • Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity

        But many campaigns have said little on their cyber efforts. The Hill reached out to other 2020 presidential campaigns, but those campaigns did not provide details on their cyber efforts.

      • Why Bernie Sanders is Right About the Washington Post–and Corporate Media Overall

        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.

      • Here’s the Evidence Corporate Media Say Is Missing of WaPo Bias Against Sanders

        And then 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.

        The Post‘s executive editor, Martin Baron, immediately retorted (CNN, 8/12/19) that Sanders was spouting a “conspiracy theory,” insisting that “Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.”

        Many others in corporate media were incensed as well. NPR‘s All Things Considered (8/13/19) accused Sanders of “echoing the president’s language,” and CNN (8/13/19) ran a segment that likewise accused him of using Trump’s “playbook”; CNN‘s Poppy Harlow warned ominously, “This seems like a dangerous line, continuous accusations against the media with no basis in fact or evidence provided.”

        FAIR has been following this issue for quite some time, so we’re happy to offer the evidence CNN and the Post protest is lacking.

      • Bill of Rights: the Last Seduction

        Patrick Henry’s objection to the Constitution is given in the above passage. He, and Richard Henry Lee were anti-Federalists, and thought the substitution of the Constitution for the Articles of Confederation as big a revolution as that of 1776. The United States’s unrestrained power of raising taxes and an army outweighs any structural controls within the document. The speech above and the letters below were written between the ratification of the Constitution and the passing of the amendments called the Bill of Rights. Henry and Lee, above all others, championed the Bill of Rights on the grounds that the Constitution not only did not protect rights, but is an instrument of despotism. They hoped, expressly, to limit the powers of the new government. Henry’s surprising opinion of the Bill of Rights is here:

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Google Blocked TorrentFreak From Appearing in Search Feature’

        Documents released by whistleblower Zachary Vorhies suggests that Google actively blocked hundreds of sites, including TorrentFreak, from its Google Now service. The blocklist doesn’t provide a specific reason for the blockade, but other sites are flagged for having a high user block rate or for peddling hoax stories. Vorhies has shared the documents with the US Department of Justice.

      • In its struggle to subdue Kashmir, India is stripping it of liberties

        …has obscured the northernmost tip of India. Since it scrapped Jammu & Kashmir’s largely nominal autonomy on August 5th and carved the state into two territories, the central government has maintained a curfew in the region. Internet and telephone services have been suspended. Travel has been restricted. A young academic in Delhi says the lockdown made it impossible for him to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid with his family in rural Kashmir. The territory has “disappeared”, he says, leaving people like him only able to guess what might be happening there.

      • YouTube is changing how some copyright claims work, and it could result in ‘more blocked content’

        Now, when a copyright claim is manually filed for “very short clips” of music or for music that is “unintentional[ly]” playing in the background of a video clip, the rights holder will no longer be allowed to earn money from ads placed on the video. Instead, they’ll have to choose between leaving the video up and blocking the creator from making money, or blocking the video entirely. The new rules apply to audio copyright claims only, so short clips of videos aren’t covered.

      • Lawyers Who Sued YouTube For Anti-Conservative Bias Are Suing YouTube Again… For Anti-LGBTQ Bias

        So, this is interesting. Every time we talk about alleged “anti-conservative” bias on various internet platforms, people who believe it’s true (and who yell at us for daring to ask for evidence) tend to do two things: (1) cite Dennis Prager and his claims of YouTube’s anti-conservative bias and (2) insist that there is no equivalent on the more liberal end of the spectrum that received similar treatment. We’ve discussed in great detail why both of those claims are laughably wrong, but we never quite expected the very same lawyers who filed Prager’s failed lawsuit against YouTube — the very same lawsuit that Prager himself just used on the pages of the Wall Street Journal to insist was proof of anti-conservative bias — would now file a nearly identical complaint against YouTube… but on behalf of various LGBTQ+ YouTube channels.

        In both cases, the plaintiffs are represented by Peter Obstler and Eric George of the law firm Browne George Ross law firm. And this new lawsuit has basically as much chance of succeeding as Prager’s lawsuit did. Of course, it strikes me as rather ironic that this very lawsuit seems to undermine the basic claim of the Prager lawsuit, that the “only” reason why Prager’s videos could have been put into restricted mode were because of the conservative viewpoints they represented. Yet, here, in this lawsuit, there are lots of claims about how Google/YouTube are purposefully discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community.

      • Is There A Conspiracy Among Legacy Media Companies To Push A False Narrative About Big Tech?

        Over the last few months we’ve witnessed a veritable flood of misleading to simply false articles about internet companies showing up in mainstream sources. There were misleading articles in Vox and the Washington Post. And then, just recently, we saw not one but two NY Times pieces that went out of their way to misrepresent the law. And, then of course, there’s the Wall Street Journal that has been misrepresenting Section 230 for ages. To date, the only one of these publications to run a serious correction (and to continue to help debunking misrepresentations) is the smallest of those listed above: Vox, who did some research and published a big mea culpa.

        This has gotten many in the tech industry to begin to wonder. It’s one thing for (cross aisle) grandstanding politicians like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Nancy Pelosi, and Richard Blumenthal to totally misrepresent the law. But when the mainstream media is doing so on a regular basis — it’s causing a lot of talk behind the scenes about whether this is a coordinated hit. Some, like the excellent reporter Anna Wiener, recently more or less dismissed this theory as being “mostly… a facile argument,” though I think she mixes up two separate issues. First, it is absolutely true that many startup founders don’t know how to deal with the press well, and get personally offended by bad press coverage. And, for those entrepreneurs: fuck ‘em. They should grow up and learn what the press actually does, when done right — which includes researching and debunking nonsense (and there’s a ton of nonsense in Silicon Valley).

        But, that’s a separate issue from whether or not there’s a coordinated campaign to undermine the foundations of the internet by a few larger, legacy industries who have failed to adapt to a changing time. Indeed, we saw significant evidence of Hollywood’s top lobbyists working behind the scenes (though, it occasionally slipped out publicly) to push for FOSTA, the first bill that significantly undermined Section 230.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Researcher buys NULL vanity plate and ends up with $12,000 in fines

        A security researcher by the moniker of Droogie decided he wanted to have some fun with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems (ALPR in the US) systems and much to his surprise and delight, found that the number plate “NULL” was available.

        This seemed like a splendid wheeze. That is until the tickets started.

      • Danish government wants more CCTV to tighten security following explosions

        Moving forwards, the government wants an effective CCTV system so surveillance material can be quickly accessed by the authorities, and it also wants to increase the penalties for blowing things up.

      • Manhattan DA served Google with a “reverse search warrant” in a bid to prosecute antifa protesters

        The Manhattan DA filed assault and riot charges against four Proud Boys, but that’s not all: the DA’s office also served Google with a “reverse search warrant” seeking the names of the owners of every mobile device present on the scene, in a bid to unmask and charge antifa protestes.

      • Trump Administration Asks Congress to Reauthorize N.S.A.’s Deactivated Call Records Program

        The White House is seeking reauthorization of a law that lets the N.S.A. gain access to logs of Americans’ phone and text records — while acknowledging that the program has been indefinitely halted.

      • Victory! California Supreme Court Blocks Sweeping Search Condition of Minors’ Electronic Devices and Social Media Accounts

        The California Supreme Court just rejected the government’s attempt to require a youth probationer, as a condition of release, to submit to random searches of his electronic devices and social media accounts. The trial court had imposed the condition because the judge believed teenagers “typically will brag” about drug use on the Internet—even though there was no evidence that the minor in this case, Ricardo P., had ever used any electronic devices in connection with any drugs or illegal activity, let alone ever previously bragged about drug use online.

        EFF and the ACLU filed an amicus brief in the case back in 2016, warning that the search condition imposed here was highly invasive, unconstitutional, and in violation of the California Supreme Court’s own standard for probation conditions—which requires that search conditions be “reasonably related to future criminality.” We also warned of the far-reaching privacy implications of allowing courts to impose such broad electronic search conditions. We’re pleased that the California Supreme Court heeded our warnings and recognized the substantial burden this “sweeping probation condition” imposed on Ricardo’s privacy.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Jailed Saudi activist rejects deal to deny torture for release, says family

        Hathloul, who was arrested in May 2018 as part of a crackdown on government critics, initially agreed to sign a document denying the torture, her brother Walid al-Hathloul wrote on Twitter Tuesday. But when Saudi security officials requested she make the statement on camera, she rejected the offer, Walid added.

      • Immigration Is for Rich People

        Oh, and about that “line” that Republicans want immigrants to get in? You can buy your way out of that, too. USCIS gives applicants the option of shelling out an additional $1,410 for what’s known as “premium processing,” which cuts the wait time for a status approval (or denial) from several months to 15 days.

    • The End of Humanitarianism?

      The last century has seen the emergence of several humanitarian norms and laws that were arduous, even frustrating, to implement and often ignored by governments, but which were the result of important lessons learned from the destruction that the world wars brought to civilian populations.

    • Was It a Thumbs Up Sign or a Finger Gun Pointing at Us?

      I have to say it doesn’t take very long for Kansas’ 1st district Rep. Roger Marshall and his staff to feel like as though they are the victims of their constituents’ concerns and not the other way around.

    • The Continuing Hong Kong Impasse

      I was in Hong Kong 10 days ago, which is now in its tenth week of demonstrations that began as a response to a proposed extradition law, but have since expanded to include other grievances and demands for democratic reforms. These include the following:

    • ‘Black Communities Are Already Living in a Tech Dystopia’ – CounterSpin interview with Ruha Benjamin on racism and technology

      This week on CounterSpin: Listeners may have heard about the electronic soap dispensers whose light sensors can’t detect black skin, Google and Flickr’s automatic image-labeling that—oops—tagged photos of black people with “ape” and “gorilla.” An Asian-American blogger wrote about her Nikon digital camera that kept asking, “Did someone blink?” And you can, I’m afraid, imagine what turns up in search engine results for “3 black teenagers” versus “3 white teenagers.”

      Some examples of discriminatory design are obvious, which doesn’t mean the reasons behind them are easy to fix. And then there are other questions around technology and bias in policing, in housing, in banking, that require deeper questioning.

      That questioning is the heart of a new book called Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. CounterSpin spoke with author Ruha Benjamin; she’s associate professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, and author, also, of the book People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier. Ruha Benjamin, today on CounterSpin. That’s coming up, but first we’ll take a very quick look at some recent, relevant press.

    • Attorney General William Barr Declares War On The General Public

      So far, the administration has failed to end the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere” or turn “living in a safe community” into a fundamental right. Trump may back the blue, but the blue keep making things worse for themselves by refusing to alter their tactics, their “us v. them” attitude, or their routine abuse of the rights of those they’re supposed to be serving.

      The former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, wanted to roll back the clock for law enforcement, replacing the minor alterations of years of DOJ/law enforcement agency consent decrees with old school drug warring that shoots first and never asks questions.

      Sessions is out and the new boss is in. Attorney General William Barr has already made it clear he believes tech companies should create encryption backdoors for law enforcement. Now, he’s declaring war on the general public. His speech to a national police union gathering makes it clear the only people who matter are those wearing badges.

    • Prosecutor Tosses Charges Against Driver After Field Drug Test Claims Bird Poop On A Car’s Hood Is Cocaine

      Maybe with enough lawsuits, this nation of zealous drug warriors will finally abandon field drug tests. The tests are cheap, which makes them popular with law enforcement agencies. But they sure as hell aren’t accurate.

      A field drug test declared a small crumb of an over-the-counter pain relief medicine to be crack cocaine, resulting in the wrongful jailing of a woman for three weeks. Thanks to this faulty field test, this person lost her home and her job.

      A man received a $37,500 settlement for an arrest predicated on a drug field test that turned Krispy Kreme donut crumbs into methamphetamine. In the same state (Florida), another man was arrested after drywall residue was declared to be cocaine by the $2 test.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Pai FCC Is Oddly Quiet About Trump’s Plan To Have The Agency Police Speech

      So last week, you probably saw the leaked plan by the Trump administration to try and “fix” the nonexistent censorship of Conservatives on social media. According to the leak, a large part of the plan would involve having the FCC, which has no real authority in this area, police speech on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Most legal experts I’ve spoken to say the plan is illegal and utterly nonsensical, and the FCC has no authority to do this under Section 230 or anywhere else. The order would also undermine most of the logic the Pai FCC used in its effort to repeal net neutrality.

      Oddly though, an FCC that has been very vocal on this subject when convenient has been oddly mute since the story broke, with none of the agency’s three Republican Commissioners (Ajit Pai, Brendan Carr, or Mike O’Rielly) making so much as a peep about the terribleness of the latest Trump “plan.”

    • Congress is demanding that 8chan owner Jim Watkins testify over his site’s involvement in recent mass shootings

      After being “respectfully requested” to appear before the House Committee on Homeland Security last week, 8chan owner Jim Watkins was sent a subpoena on Wednesday ordering him to testify on September 5.

    • Cloudflare filings say sites like 8chan and the Daily Stormer are business risks

      Cloudflare isn’t a social media platform, and it’s described the 8chan and Daily Stormer bans as exceptions to its usual neutrality. But it’s also expounded on some sweeping theories of what free speech should mean for an infrastructure provider. The filing offers some economic justification for this, suggesting that, right now, brushing off moderation and censorship questions is bad business.

  • Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Nintendo Hates You: Company DMCAs Over 100 Videos Celebrating Nintendo Game Music

        Our posts on famed gaming giant Nintendo will likely give you the impression that the company has a very strange distaste for its own fans. Your brain will probably try to convince you that this doesn’t make any sense, since Nintendo fans are what makes Nintendo money. Your brain is wrong. Nintendo has demonstrated over and over again that if forced to choose between maximum control over its intellectual property and allowing fans to do fan-things, it will choose control every single time.

        YouTube in particular tends to find itself in Nintendo’s crosshairs, what with the site being the natural place for fans of Nintendo to share Nintendo-y things with other fans. It’s worth noting again that, on matters of copyright at least, there’s really no reason why Nintendo must issue takedowns for anything that even barely could be seen as infringing on its IP. Such is the case with the recent spate of takedowns the company issued against a YouTube channel which had the singular purpose of celebrating Nintendo game music.

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