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08.21.19

Links 21/8/2019: Dell’s XPS 13, Mesa 19.2 RC1, Librem Update

Posted in News Roundup at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Elementary OS is the latest group to ditch Medium for their own blog

      Elementary OS – a Linux distribution (distro) built on top of the large, company-backed giant Ubuntu – is a mom-and-pop store by comparison.

      But it’s also one that’s managed to capture the attention of even some seasoned Linux users thanks to its focus on user interface (UI) and even user experience (UX) – something often lacking from the more spartan distros.

      With their focus on icon and UI themes sometimes suspiciously reminiscent of Apple’s interfaces – the Elementary OS team have also earned themselves something of a label of “hipsters” in the community.

      Hence, their decision some years ago to communicate news about the project by hosting their blog on another largely “hipster” online venue – Medium – was little surprise.

      What’s somewhat surprising is the about-face that the project is now making in leaving Medium for the sake of building their own blog hosted on GitHub Pages – using the static generator Jekyll.

    • Desktop

      • Introducing the XPS 13 developer edition, 9th generation

        Today we’d like to announce that the new XPS 13 developer edition (7390) will soon be available in the US, Canada and Europe. The new developer edition, based on Intel’s 10th Gen Core™ U series processors, is part of Dell’s new consumer PC portfolio that is being unveiled today.

        These systems represent the 9th generation of the XPS 13 developer edition and will come with the Killer™ AX1650 (2×2) built on Intel WiFi 6 Chipset. The new 7390 systems will co-exist alongside the current 9380 XPS 13 developer edition.

      • New Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Announced, Powered by Ubuntu

        If you’re in the market for a powerful Linux laptop you definitely want to check out the new 9th generation Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, announced today.

        Intel’s 10th Generation Core U series sit at the heart of the refreshed notebook which, in its ‘developer edition’ guise, comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS.

        The Dell XPS 13 developer edition (7390) will be made available to buy in the United States, Canada and throughout Europe during September.

        Dell plan to keep the previous Dell XPS 13 developer edition (9380), which it launched in January, on sale alongside the new ‘7390’ model.

      • Dell Unveils New XPS 13 Developer Edition Ubuntu Laptop with 10th Gen Intel CPUs
      • Dell XPS 7390 Developer Edition Announced – Intel Comet Lake With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
      • Dell’s Beautiful New Linux Laptop Features Ubuntu, 10th Gen Intel Processors And Super Fast WiFi

        Dell’s Project Sputnik — the group responsible for bringing one of the best laptops you can buy to Linux users — is on a roll. Today it’s announcing the 9th generation XPS 13 Developer Edition (which upgrades the system to Intel’s 10th generation Comet Lake CPUs), and the relaunch of the Project Sputnik website.

        The naming scheme is a bit confusing, however. Beginning with the initial launch in early September, both Windows and Linux users will want to search for the XPS 13 7390. The original system it’s based on, the XPS 13 9380, was released in January of this year. Both the Windows and Developer Edition versions of this XPS 13 launched with the 9380 model number, and both are now being upgraded to Intel’s 10th gen Comet Lake processors, and in turn both being renamed to the 7390. (This follows the XPS 13 9360, 9370, etc).

      • Dell’s New Ubuntu Hardware for Late 2019 | Jupiter Extras 4

        A quick update on the new XPS 13 details and Dell’s Linux hardware plan for 2019.

      • 5 Reasons to Use a VM for Development [Ed: Dice promoting the idea that developers should use Windows and keep GNU/Linux in a VM jail using Microsoft's proprietary tools]

        I started using virtual machines (VMs) on my development PC about six years ago; I was keen to learn Linux, having been a Windows developer since the mid-1990s. At first, I used an old Windows PC and installed a Linux distro on it; but I quickly found out that the distro took up a lot of space, and I needed a KVM switch to manage two different PCs. It was all a bit “fiddly,” which is why I began exploring the potential of VMs.

        Discovering VirtualBox was a godsend, and made things a lot more convenient. Despite all the flak Oracle gets over its databases, MySQL, and Java, Virtual Box remains an excellent and free open-source package.

    • Server

      • Open Policy Agent: Cloud-native security and compliance

        Every product or service has a unique way of handling policy and authorization: who-can-do-what and what-can-do-what. In the cloud-native world, authorization and policy are more complex than ever before. As the cloud-native ecosystem evolves, there’s a growing need for DevOps and DevSecOps teams to identify and address security and compliance issues earlier in development and deployment cycles. Businesses need to release software on the order of minutes (instead of months). For this to happen, those security and compliance policies—which in the past were written in PDFs or email—need to be checked and enforced by machines. That way, every few minutes when software goes out the door, it’s obeying all of the necessary policies.

        This problem was at the top of our minds when Teemu Koponen, Torin Sandall, and I founded the Open Policy Agent project (OPA) as a practical solution for the critical security and policy challenges of the cloud-native ecosystem. As the list of OPA’s successful integrations grows—thanks to active involvement by the open source community—the time is right to re-introduce OPA and offer a look at how it addresses business and policy pain points in varied contexts.

      • Eirini: Mapping Code into Containers

        There has been a lot of noise recently about the Project known as Eirini. I wanted to dig into what this project was in a little more detail.
        If you weren’t already aware, its goal is to allow Cloud Foundry to use any scheduler but it’s really for allowing the workloads to run directly inside Kubernetes without needing separately scheduled Diego cells to run on top of.
        There are many reason that this is a fantastic change, but the first and foremost is that having a scheduler run inside another scheduler is begging for headaches. It works, but there are odd edge cases that lead to split-brain decisions.
        NOTE: There is another project (Quarks) that is working on containerizing the control plane in a way that the entire platform is more portable and requiring significantly less overhead. (As in: you can run Kubernetes, the entire platform, and some work, all on your laptop)

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Integration delivers new Kubernetes Operators and expands data integration capabilities with latest release

          We are pleased to announce the Q3 release of Red Hat Integration, which brings us further in our alignment around Red Hat OpenShift as the platform of choice for developing and deploying cloud-native applications across hybrid cloud environments, as well as helping customers get their integrations up and running easier and faster.

          As modern IT continues its rapid evolution, it becomes important that the cloud-native solutions supporting this transformation keep pace, enabling IT organizations to truly benefit from this constant innovation. To help customers take full advantage of this, we’ve updated, tested and certified every single component in Red Hat Integration with the latest version of OpenShift: Red Hat OpenShift 4.

        • The Linux Foundation Announces New Open Hardware Technologies and Collaboration

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced that the OpenPOWER Foundation will become a project hosted at The Linux Foundation. The project includes IBM’s open POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and contributed Source Design Implementations required to support data-driven hardware for intensive workloads like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

          OpenPOWER is the open steward for the Power Architecture and has the support of 350 members, including IBM, Google, Inspur Power Systems, Yadro, Hitachi, Wistron, Mellanox, NVIDIA, and Red Hat.

          The governance model within the Linux Foundation gives software developers assurance of compatibility while developing AI and hybrid cloud native applications that take advantage of POWER’s rich feature set and open compute hardware and software ecosystems.

          As the demand rises for more and more compute-intensive workloads like AI and in-memory analytics, commodity systems vendors have struggled with the looming predictions of the end of Moore’s Law. Central processing units (CPUs) may no longer handle the rising demands alone, and data-centric systems are built to maximize the flow of data between CPUs and attached devices for specialized workloads. By hosting OpenPOWER at The Linux Foundation, a cross-project, cross-community collaboration, it will accelerate development of hardware and software to support data-centric systems, by making it available to a growing global audience.

          “The OpenPOWER community has been doing critical work to support the increasing demands of enterprises that are using big data for AI and machine learning workloads. The move to bring these efforts together with the worldwide ecosystem of open source developers across projects at The Linux Foundation will unleash a new level of innovation by giving developers everywhere more access to the tools and technologies that will define the next generation of POWER architecture,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

        • Raptor Computing Systems Planning To Launch New ATX POWER9 Board With OpenCAPI

          In addition to the news out of the OpenPOWER Summit in San Diego that the POWER ISA is going open-source and the OpenPOWER Foundation becoming part of the Linux Foundation, Raptor Computing Systems shared they plan to launch a new standard ATX motherboard next year that will feature OpenCAPI connectivity.

          Built off the successes of their Talos II high-end server motherboard and lower-cost Blackbird desktop motherboard designs, there is apparently a new motherboard design for POWER9 being worked on that could launch in early 2020.

        • Why you should be developing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          With a $0 Red Hat Developer membership, you get access to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) at no cost. We have downloads available for RHEL versions starting as far back as 7.2, and as current as RHEL 8.1 Beta. The subscription costs nothing, and there are no additional costs for any of the software or content we make available through the program.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Wayland Buddies | LINUX Unplugged 315

        We spend our weekend with Wayland, discover new apps to try, tricks to share, and dig into the state of the project.

        Plus System76′s new software release, and Fedora’s big decision.

    • Kernel Space

      • low-memory-monitor: new project announcement

        I’ll soon be flying to Greece for GUADEC but wanted to mention one of the things I worked on the past couple of weeks: the low-memory-monitor project is off the ground, though not production-ready.

        low-memory-monitor, as its name implies, monitors the amount of free physical memory on the system and will shoot off signals to interested user-space applications, usually session managers, or sandboxing helpers, when that memory runs low, making it possible for applications to shrink their memory footprints before it’s too late either to recover a usable system, or avoid taking a performance hit.

        It’s similar to Android’s lowmemorykiller daemon, Facebook’s oomd, Endless’ psi-monitor, amongst others

      • New Low-Memory-Monitor Project Can Help With Linux’s RAM/Responsiveness Problem

        Red Hat developer Bastien Nocera has announced Low-Memory-Monitor as a new project he’s been tackling to try to help with the Linux desktop use-cases when responsiveness issues due to low RAM / memory pressure problems. Low-Memory-Monitor paired with complementary solutions could help improve the Linux desktop’s handling on low-end systems and other desktops/laptops when simply running short on RAM.

        Low-Memory-Monitor has been in the works the past few weeks following all the public discussions over how Linux poorly deals with low-memory situations. The Low-Memory-Monitor daemon monitors the amount of free physical memory and will signal other user-space applications when such pressure occurs. This can alert session managers and other key programs to the situation so they can in turn either free some memory themselves, trigger applications to quit/pause, or other behavior of their choosing.

      • Introducing kdevops, modern devops framework for Linux kernel development

        Last Friday, Luis Chamberlain announced the release of kdevops as a Linux kernel development DevOps framework.

        Chamberlain wrote in his email, “the goal behind this project is to provide a modern devops framework for Linux kernel development. It is not a test suite, it is designed to use any test suites, and more importantly, it allows us to let us easily set up test environments in a jiffie. It supports different virtualization environments, and different cloud environments, and supports different Operating Systems.”

        kdevops is a sample framework which lets you easily get Linux devops environment going for whatever use case you have. The first use case can be to provide a devops environment for Linux kernel development testing, and hence the name – kdevops. Apart from this, it can let you easily fork and re-purpose for whatever kdevops needs you may have.

      • Linux Foundation and Intel

        • New Cross-Industry Effort to Advance Computational Trust and Security for Next-Generation Cloud and Edge Computing

          The Linux Foundation today announced the intent to form the Confidential Computing Consortium, a community dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. Companies committed to this work include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

          Across industries computing is moving to span multiple environments, from on premises to public cloud to edge. As companies move these workloads to different environments, they need protection controls for sensitive IP and workload data and are increasingly seeking greater assurances and more transparency of these controls. Current approaches in cloud computing address data at rest and in transit but encrypting data in use is considered the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data. Confidential computing will enable encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system and reduce exposure for sensitive data and provide greater control and transparency for users.

        • The Linux Foundation, Intel & Co Form The Confidential Computing Consortium

          In kicking off the Open Source Summit that has returned to San Diego, the Linux Foundation has announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium in collaboration with Intel and other companies.

          The initial batch of companies forming the Confidential Computing Consortium include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent. This consortium will focus on providing greater transparency and control over user data, reduce exposure to sensitive data, and other protections by means of open-source tooling and hardware advancements around trusted execution environments.

        • Intel’s OpenGL Linux Driver Now Has OpenGL 4.6 Support For Mesa 19.2

          Two years after the OpenGL 4.6 specification was announced, Intel’s open-source OpenGL Linux driver is now officially advertising the support after today landing the remaining SPIR-V enablement work.

          For the better part of the past two years the Intel OpenGL Linux drivers were held up from having GL 4.6 due to the ARB_gl_spirv / ARB_spirv_extensions extensions for better interoperability with Vulkan. But today those extensions are now crossed off the list and OpenGL 4.6 is finally in Mesa core with Intel’s i965/Iris drivers being the first.

        • Intel Launches 10th Gen “Comet Lake” Laptop CPUs For Laptops & 2-in-1s

          Earlier this month Intel announced 11 Icelake CPUs for laptops and 2-in1s under their 10th Gen CPU line-up. Today the company announced the 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs also for 2-in-1s and laptops.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Publishes New RDNA Whitepaper

          AMD’s new RDNA whitepaper goes into detail explaining the efficiency and programming optimizations of this new design while retaining backwards compatibility with the GCN architecture. The 25-page read also covers True Audio Next, the Radeon Multimedia/Display Engines, caches, SIMD units, and other modern bits to these new Radeon graphics processors.

        • mesa 19.2.0-rc1
          The first release candidate for Mesa 19.2.0 is now available.
          
          The plan is to have one release candidate every Tuesday, until the
          anticipated final release on 10th September 2019.
          
          The expectation is that the 19.1 branch will remain alive with bi-weekly
          releases until the 19.2.1 release.
          
          In the path to 19.2.0 release, there is a tracker bug for the
          regressions found since 19.1:
          
          https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=111444
          
          Here are the people which helped shape the current release.
          
        • Mesa 19.2-RC1 Released But Intel Still Looking To Add OpenGL 4.6 Support

          Yesterday we shared that Mesa 19.2′s release process would finally be getting underway with the first release candidate expected today following the code branching. Sure enough, that process began but now prominent Intel open-source graphics developer Jason Ekstrand is looking to get the OpenGL 4.6 support into this release.

          Mesa 19.2 release manager Emil Velikov branched the Mesa 19.2 code from master this evening followed by creating the first release candidate. Mesa 19.2-rc1 is now available and the plan is to issue new release candidates every week until the official release is ready to ship. Assuming they close their blocker bugs on time, the hope is to officially release Mesa 19.2.0 on 10 September.

    • Applications

      • 7 Great Linux Statistical Analysis Tools

        Science is the effort of seeking to comprehend how the physical world works. From observation and experimentation, science uses physical evidence of natural phenomena to compile data and analyze the collated information.

        In modern research it is essential for scientists to keep abreast of the latest statistical software. Just like the fast moving world of research, developments in statistical software and methods continue to abound. Making full use of the improvements in computer software helps to advance the pace of research.

        Science really prospers and advances when individuals share the results of their experiments with others in the scientific community. There is a certain logic that scientific software should therefore be released in a freely distributable environment.

        Linux is particularly strong in the field of open source statistical software. The purpose of this article is to identify software for performing statistical analysis. This type of software helps to summarize data in a shorter form, and helps scientists understand a concept or representation and make possible predictions based on this understanding.

      • Announcing notqmail

        Okay, that’s not entirely true. While qmail hasn’t been updated by its original author, a group of respected users created netqmail, a series of tiny updates that were informed, conservative, and careful. By their design, it was safe for everyone running qmail to follow netqmail, so everyone did. But larger changes in the world of email — authentication, encryption, and ever-shifting anti-spam techniques — remained as puzzles for each qmail administrator to solve in their own way. And netqmail hasn’t been updated since 2007.

      • Announcing notqmail

        The notqmail project has announced its existence and shipped an initial release. It’s a new fork of the venerable qmail mail transport system.

      • Blender 2.81 To Feature Intel Open Image Denoise & Eevee Renderer Improvements

        Blender 2.80 made its hugely anticipated debut just under one month ago while already Blender 2.81 is looking interesting and will hopefully be out in November.

      • Proprietary

        • Opera 63 initial release

          Today, we are releasing the first browser from the 63 line. Opera 63 comes with an improved private browsing mode.

        • Opera 63 Released with Improved Private Mode

          Opera web browser 63 was released a day ago with improved private browsing mode.

        • Vivaldi Web Browser 2.7 Released with Better Sound Control

          Vivaldi web browser 2.7 was released today. The new version features better sound controls, smoother navigation and overall improvements.

        • Vivaldi 2.7 : Bring more productivity to your day

          We’re happy to be back in the saddle after the summer break! We want Vivaldi to be the perfect tool for you to control and enjoy the digital aspect of your lives.

          And that’s why we are working on the things that count – the things that make you more productive and organised on the Web.

          The new update has little gems that will give you a better control of sound behavior in Vivaldi. In addition, you have new options to access user profiles quicker, an enhanced status bar as well as overall improvements and security related fixes.

        • Opera 63 Web Browser Released with Improved Private Browsing Mode and Bookmarks

          Opera Software announced the release and immediate availability of the Opera 63 cross-platform, Chromium-based web browser for all supported platforms, including Linux, Mac, and Windows.
          Based on the open-source Chromium 76.0.3809.100 project, the Opera 63 web browser comes with a much-improved private browsing mode (a.k.a. Incognito mode) that’s more user-friendly and privacy-aware, informing users about what data is removed or can be kept after exiting the private browsing mode.

          “We want to make sure you know what kind of data is cleared once you leave private mode. However, we would also like you to be aware that some data from private browsing (like new bookmarks you create) will still be visible in normal mode,” explains Joanna Czajka in the release notes.

        • Vivaldi 2.7 Hopes to Boost Your Productivity, Improves Stability and Reliability

          Vivaldi Technologies released today Vivaldi 2.7, a new version of the cross-platform, Chromium-based web browser that brings more productivity to your day and stability improvements.
          Two months in the work, the Vivaldi 2.7 web browser is now available based on Chromium 76.0.3809.110 and packed with a bunch of enhancements that promise to boost your productivity. These include a new right-click tab context menu option that lets you mute a website to prevent it from playing audio.

          Vivaldi 2.7 also makes it possible to access your user profiles a lot faster by creating a desktop shortcut to a specific User Profile, which will ensure you’re always in the right account. A new context menu item will be available for Windows users in the user profile menu under the “Add Person/Edit Person” button.

          “We want Vivaldi to be the perfect tool for you to control and enjoy the digital aspect of your lives,” said Jon von Tetzchner, Vivaldi Technologies CEO. “And that’s why we are working on the things that count – the things that make you more productive and organised on the Web.”

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • 2D game editor ct.js goes open source and it’s closing in on a new major release

        With an aim to make 2D game development learning fun, ct.js recently went open source to allow anyone to jump in and try it as well as help push it further.

        It’s going through a major revamp too, with the first few preview builds available. Since we’re covering it, of course this means the editor has Linux support too! As the name of the game engine might suggest, games in ct.js are written in JavaScript.

      • A look over Steam’s top releases from July, plus some usual quick thoughts on Linux support

        Valve continue their blog posts highlighting games doing well on the platform, with a look at their top releases on Steam during July now available. Just look with June and May, here’s my own little run-down on it.

        As usual, Valve are looking at revenue earned during the first two weeks following the release of a game.

      • Dark fantasy RPG Sin Slayers is getting ready to release soon with Linux support

        Sin Slayers, an RPG with roguelike elements set in a dark fantasy world is getting ready to release with Linux support on September 5th.

      • Dino survival game Path of Titans has been fully funded ready to support Linux

        Path of Titans from Alderon Games has managed to pass the crowdfunding test, with their dino survival game hitting well over their initial goal.

        They had a flexible goal, meaning all funds raised would be sent to them even if the final target wasn’t met. Not that it was needed, as they managed to raise $63,920 against the original $24,437 goal.

      • In SKUL, you’re a special skeleton that switches heads to gain powers

        SouthPAWGames recently released a demo of their upcoming action-platformer SKUL, it’s rather impressive with a pretty unusual cast of characters.

        You play as Skul, a skeleton guard with the power to switch heads with another and gain their power. From what the developer said, eventually you will regain some memories of your past life and eventually face your original death and find out the truth.

      • Rise of Industry is getting a futuristic expansion with 2130 releasing this year

        Dapper Penguin Studios recently announced Rise of Industry: 2130, a futuristic expansion to their sweet strategic tycoon game.

        2130 seems to be taking Rise of Industry in an interesting direction, as it follows players overpulluting the world, creating a nuclear winter killing almost all life on the planet. Since they’re not being constrained by history with the original set in 1930, they said for the expansion they’re going “crazy with technobabble and future-tech”.

      • Steam Play arrived on Linux one year ago, some thoughts

        Tomorrow marks a special occasion, as Steam Play celebrates its first birthday! A good time to reflect on how it’s impacted Linux gaming.

        Steam Play is a feature of the Steam client on Linux that enables you to play Windows games just like you would with any other Linux game. It’s a feature that was long requested by users, with multiple tickets being opened on Valve’s steam-for-linux bug tracker, like this one, all the way back in 2012.

        Announced officially on this day back in 2018, Valve shook the very core of Linux gaming and they’ve certainly made things interesting. What they came up in partnership with the team at CodeWeavers is called Proton—the name given to the software behind Steam Play. It takes Wine with some extra patches and bundles it together with other projects like DXVK. Proton is open source too, available to see on GitHub.

        Linux users have used Wine for many years to run all sorts of games and applications from Windows on Linux. An issue with Wine usage is that developers see you as another Windows user in their statistics. Steam Play does help to solve that issue, as your purchases do count and show up as a Linux sale on Steam.

      • The Iron Oath looks like a great turn-based tactical RPG coming to Linux next year

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign back in 2017, The Iron Oath is progressing well onto a release scheduled for next year.

        This is one covered here on GOL back in August of 2017 when the Kickstarter was running. We never did check back on how The Iron Oath did, so it’s pleasing to see Curious Panda Games slashed through the $45,000 goal ending with $94,524! Did you miss it?

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.14 released! (Yeah, like a week ago ;))

        Why is the release manager late to the party with his blog post? The explanation is simple: We prioritized sticking to the schedule and getting our releases out to everyone as planned, as our codebase was ready. What was not (entirely) ready was some parts of the website, which were brought up-to-date over the course of last week.

        So I’m pleased to give you the official Xfce 4.14 tour, which nicely summarizes many of the nice user-facing changes that we pushed into the release (despite it being planned as feature-less, porting-only).

      • Xfce 4.16 Should Be Out Next Year But Without GTK4 Or Wayland

        With Xfce 4.14 having finally been released last week following a four year development cycle, prominent Xfce developer Simon Steinbeiß has begun talking about the now-started Xfce 4.16 development cycle.

        Simon acknowledges the need to improve their release model and get back on track to around six-month release cycles. But for the Xfce 4.16 release, he envisions it being about a year or so out to their next stable release.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Applications 19.08 Open-Source Software Suite Released, Here’s What’s New [Ed: Late coverage of the KDE release]

          More than two months in the works, the KDE Applications 19.08 software suite is here to elevate your KDE apps experience by implementing various enhancements and new features. Among these, we can mention the ability to launch the Dolphin file manager from anywhere via a new Meta + E keyboard shortcut, along with improvements to the information panel to automatically play media files or copy the text displayed in the panel.

          Furthermore, the KDE Applications 19.08 release improves various of KDE’s default applications, including the Gwenview image viewer, which now features a much-improved, faster, and more resource-efficient thumbnailer when loading JPEG and RAW images, better support for Canon and Sony cameras, as well as a new “Share” menu that lets you send images to various places and more informative EXIF metadata for RAW files.

        • Kdenlive 19.08 Released with Clip Speed, Project Bin Improvements

          Busy trying to salvage footage from a recent video shoot, I missed the arrival of Kdenlive 19.08, the first major release of this free video editor since its big code revamp earlier this year.

          And what a release it is!

          Kdenlive 19.08 builds on the terrific work featured in the various point releases that have been available since April.

          “This version comes with a big amount of fixes and nifty new features which will lay the groundwork for the 3 point editing system planned for this cycle,” they say in their release announcement.

          Now, 3-point editing isn’t my bag (if you’re a heavy keyboard user, you might want to look into it) so I’m gonna skip that side of things to highlight a couple of other welcome changes to the project bin.

        • LabPlot’s Welcome screen and Dataset feature in the finish line

          Hello Everyone! This year’s GSoC is coming to its end. Therefore I think that I should let you know what’s been done since my last blog post. I would also like to evaluate the progress I managed to make and the goals set up at the beginning of this project.

          As I told you in my last post, my main goal, in this last period, was to clean up, properly document, refactor, optimise the code and make it easier to read, so it would be fit to be brought to the master branch and to be used by the community.

          My next proposition was to search for bugs and fix them, in order to make the implemented features more or less flawless. I can happily state, that I succeeded in this.

        • Distributed Beta Testing Platforms

          Do they exist? Especially as free software? I don’t actually know, but I’ve never seen a free software project use something like what I’ve got in mind.

          That would be: a website where we could add any number of test scenarios.

          People who wanted to help would get an account, make a profile with their hardware and OS listed. And then a couple of weeks before we make a release, we’d release a beta, and the beta testers would login and get randomly one of the test scenarios to test and report on. We’d match the tests to OS and hardware, and for some tests, probably try to get the test executed by multiple testers.

          Frequent participation would lead to badges or something playful like that, they would be able to browse tests, add comments and interact — and we, as developers, we’d get feedback. So many tests executed, so many reported failure or regressions, and we’d be able to improve before the release.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GSoC 2019 Final submission

          Since my last blog post the main merge request of my GSoC project has landed and after that I followed up with subsequent bugfixes and also a couple of enhancements to the savestates manager.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Endeavour OS | Review from an openSUSE User

          Endeavour OS is the unofficial successor to Antegros, I’ve never used Antegros so I cannot make any comparisons between the two. It should also be noted that I think Arch Linux, in general is more work than it is worth so this won’t exactly be a shining review. Feel free to bail here if you don’t like the direction of my initial prejudice.

          I am reviewing Endeavour OS as a rather biased openSUSE Linux user that is firmly entrenched in all things openSUSE. I am going at this from the perspective that my computer is my companion, my coworker or assistant in getting my digital work done and some entertainment sprinkled in there as well.

          Bottom Line Up Front: If you want to run main-line Arch, Endeavour OS is absolutely the way to get going with it. They take the “Easy Plus One” approach to Arch by allowing you to install what I would consider a minimal but very usable base and learn to use “genuine Arch” with all the triumphs and pitfalls. If you want to go Arch, I can most certainly endorse this as the route to do so. However, even after playing here for two weeks, I find Arch to be more trouble than it is worth but a great educational experience.

      • New Releases

        • Debian Buster-based Netrunner 19.08 ‘Indigo’ KDE-focused Linux distro is the perfect Windows replacement

          GNOME is undeniably the best desktop environment, but understandably, not everyone likes it. Hey, that’s OK. Some folks like Pepsi despite Coke being, like, 1,000 times better. Such is life. Thankfully, with Linux, there are plenty of environments from which to choose, such as Xfce, Cinnamon, and KDE to name a few.

          If you are a fan of KDE, or interested in sampling it for the first time, Netrunner is a Linux-based operating system you have to try. Quite frankly, this distro offers the greatest implementation of KDE Plasma. But that’s not all — it is one of the best Linux distros overall. It is chock full of useful software and is extremely polished, making it a great choice for those switching from Windows, but also, it is a solid choice for Linux experts. Today, Netrunner 19.08 “Indigo” becomes available for download.

        • Netrunner 19.08 Linux Distro Released: Get A Beautiful Plasma Experience

          Blue Systems, a German IT company, is a major supporter and sponsor of KDE and Kubuntu. Over the years, the company has hired many developers for KDE development and contributed to the overall improvement of the Kubuntu operating system.

          In 2010, the company released Netrunner Linux distro, which was based on Kubuntu. Over the years, Netrunner has undergone many changes and it’s now available in two versions. While the fixed release version of Netrunner is based on Debian GNU/Linux, the rolling release version is based on Manjaro. Just recently, the developers released Netrunner 19.08 Indigo, which is based on Debian Buster 10. So, let’s discuss it in brief.

          [...]

          As Netrunner aims to deliver an out-of-the-box experience to everyday computer users, you don’t need to install external codecs manually after the installation.

          Netrunner also features lots of useful and quality applications to make this experience even better. You get LibreOffice, GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, Kdenlive, GMusicbrowser, Yarock, Steam, etc., preinstalled. You can visit this link to get a complete list of applications and addons.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Eclipse is Now a Module on Fedora 30

          From Fedora 30 onwards, Eclipse will be available as a module for Fedora Modularity.

          This shows that Eclipse 2019-06 is available to install with three different profiles from which to choose. Each profile will install the Eclipse IDE and a curated set of plug-ins for accomplishing specific tasks.

          java — This is the default profile and will install everything you need to start developing Java applications.
          c — This profile will install everything you need to start developing C/C++ applications.
          everything — This profile will install all the Eclipse plug-ins currently available in the module, including those that are a part of the above two profiles.

        • Fedora Update Weeks 31–32

          The branch point also meant that the Change Code Complete deadline was passed. As part of the Go SIG, I was one of the packagers behind the Adopt new Go Packaging Guidelines Change. As mentioned in the last post, this was mostly handled by @eclipseo and the tracker bug was marked complete for it just earlier. I am also behind the Automatic R runtime dependencies Change. As part of this Change, I initiated a mini-rebuild last week of all affected R packages. I will write about that in a separate post. That tracker bug is now Code Complete, though there are a couple FTBFS to fix up.

          With release monitoring working again, that meant a slew of new bug reports about new package versions being available. This happened just last Friday, so I haven’t had much chance to update everything. I did manage to go through almost all the R packages, except for a few with new dependencies. I also updated one or two Go and Python packages as well.

      • Debian Family

        • Joey Hess: releasing two haskell libraries in one day: libmodbus and git-lfs

          The first library is a libmodbus binding in haskell.

          There are a couple of other haskell modbus libraries, but none that support serial communication out of the box. I’ve been using a python library to talk to my solar charge controller, but it is not great at dealing with the slightly flakey interface. The libmodbus C library has features that make it more robust, and it also supports fast batched reads.

          So a haskell interface to it seemed worth starting while I was doing laundry, and then for some reason it seemed worth writing a whole bunch more FFIs that I may never use, so it covers libmodbus fairly extensively. 660 lines of code all told.

          Writing a good binding to a C library has art to it. I’ve seen ones that are so close you feel you’re writing C and not haskell. On the other hand, some are so far removed from the underlying library that its documentation does not carry over at all.

          I tried to strike a balance. Same function names so the extensive libmodbus documentation is easy to refer to while using it, but plenty of haskell data types so you won’t mix up the parity with the stop bits.

        • Misc Developer News (#49)
          The news are collected on https://wiki.debian.org/DeveloperNews
          Please contribute short news about your work/plans/subproject.
          
          In this issue:
           + Self-service buildd givebacks
           + Removal of the mips architecture
           + Superficial package testing
           + Debian Developers Reference now maintained as ReStructuredText
           + Scope of debian-mentors broadened to help with infrastructure questions
           + Hiding package tracker action items
          
          Self-service buildd givebacks
          -----------------------------
          
           Philipp Kern has created[1] an *experimental* service that allows Debian
           members to perform self-service retries of failed package builds (aka
           give-backs). This service aims to reduce the time it takes for give-back
           requests to be processed, which was done manually by the wanna-build
           admins until now. The service is authenticated using the Debian Single
           Signon[2] service. Debian members are still expected to act responsibly
           when looking at build failures; do your due diligence and try reproducing
           the issue on a porterbox first. Access to this service is logged and logs
           will be audited by the admins.
          
        • Debian Guts Support For Old MIPS CPUs

          Debian developers have decided to remove the 32-bit MIPS big-endian architecture. Debian will continue to maintain MIPSEL and MIPS64EL but the older 32-bit big-endian variant of MIPS will be no more. Debian developers decided to drop the older 32-bit BE support due to it being limited to 2GB of virtual address space and it being one of the remaining holdouts of big endian architectures for Debian. Not to mention, there hasn’t been much interest in the older MIPS 32-bit BE target in a while either.

        • Alpha: Self-service buildd givebacks

          Builds on Debian’s build farm sometimes fail transiently. Sometimes those failures are legitimate flakes, for instance when an in-progress build happens to exhaust its resources because of other builds on the same machine. Until now, you always needed to mail the buildd, wanna-build admins or the Release Team directly in order to get the builds re-queued.

          As an alpha trial I implemented self-service givebacks as a web script. As SSO for Debian developers is now a thing, it is trivial to add authentication in a way that a role account can use to act on your behalf. While at work this would all be an RPC service, I figured that a little CGI script would do the job just as well.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Runtu XFCE 18.04.3 Released, Which is Based on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver 18.04.3 LTS

          Hsh has announced the release of Runtu 18.04.3, it’s third maintenance update of Runtu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) LTS, which is based on the package release base of Bionic Beaver 18.04.3 LTS.

          It features full support of Russian localization and a set of pre-installed software, which make sure you to run the system smoothly.

          Also, backported few of the packages from Ubuntu 19.04 for better improvements.

          It’s backported Linux kernel version 5.0 and the graphics stack components, and the package database.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon Edition – Ships With Cinnamon 4.2 and Uses Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Package Base

          Linux Mint 19.2 has been released and announced by Linux Mint Project, now available to download which ship with the Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce editions both for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. It’s powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel and uses the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS package base, which will be supported for five years until 2023.

          Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon edition features latest version of Cinnamon desktop 4.2 with new features and updates. Although the amount of RAM consumed by Cinnamon largely depends on the video driver, Cinnamon uses significantly less RAM than before. The application menu is faster and it now identifies and distinguishes duplicates. If two applications have the same name, the menu will show more information about them. Scrollbars are now configurable and Nemo file manager support pin file and folder .

        • Jupyter looks to distro-agnostic packaging for the democratisation of installation

          When users of your application range from high school students to expert data scientists, it’s often wise to avoid any assumptions about their system configurations. The Jupyter Notebook is popular with a diverse user base, enabling the creation and sharing of documents containing live code, visualisations, and narrative text. The app uses processes (kernels) to run interactive code in different programming languages and send output back to the user. Filipe Fernandes has a key responsibility for Jupyter packaging and ease of installation. At the 2019 Snapcraft Summit in Montreal, he gave us his impressions of snaps as a tool to improve the experience for all concerned.

          “I’m a packager and a hacker, and I’m also a Jupyter user. I find Jupyter to be great as a teaching tool. Others use it for data cleaning and analysis, numerical simulation and modelling, or machine learning, for example. One of the strengths of Jupyter is that it is effectively language agnostic. I wanted Jupyter packaging to be similar, distro-agnostic, if you like.”

          Filipe had heard about snaps a while back, but only really discovered their potential after he received an invitation to the Snapcraft Summit and noticed that Microsoft Visual Studio Code had recently become available as a snap. The ease of use of snaps was a big factor for him. “I like things that just work. I often get hauled in to sort out installation problems for other users – including members of my own family! It’s great to be able to tell them just to use the snap version of an application. It’s like, I snap my fingers and the install problems disappear!”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla takes action to protect users in Kazakhstan

            Today, Mozilla and Google took action to protect the online security and privacy of individuals in Kazakhstan. Together the companies deployed technical solutions within Firefox and Chrome to block the Kazakhstan government’s ability to intercept internet traffic within the country.

            The response comes after credible reports that internet service providers in Kazakhstan have required people in the country to download and install a government-issued certificate on all devices and in every browser in order to access the internet. This certificate is not trusted by either of the companies, and once installed, allowed the government to decrypt and read anything a user types or posts, including intercepting their account information and passwords. This targeted people visiting popular sites Facebook, Twitter and Google, among others.

            “People around the world trust Firefox to protect them as they navigate the internet, especially when it comes to keeping them safe from attacks like this that undermine their security. We don’t take actions like this lightly, but protecting our users and the integrity of the web is the reason Firefox exists.” — Marshall Erwin, Senior Director of Trust and Security, Mozilla

          • Protecting our Users in Kazakhstan

            In July, a Firefox user informed Mozilla of a security issue impacting Firefox users in Kazakhstan: They stated that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Kazakhstan had begun telling their customers that they must install a government-issued root certificate on their devices. What the ISPs didn’t tell their customers was that the certificate was being used to intercept network communications. Other users and researchers confirmed these claims, and listed 3 dozen popular social media and communications sites that were affected.

            The security and privacy of HTTPS encrypted communications in Firefox and other browsers relies on trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) to issue website certificates only to someone that controls the domain name or website. For example, you and I can’t obtain a trusted certificate for www.facebook.com because Mozilla has strict policies for all CAs trusted by Firefox which only allow an authorized person to get a certificate for that domain. However, when a user in Kazakhstan installs the root certificate provided by their ISP, they are choosing to trust a CA that doesn’t have to follow any rules and can issue a certificate for any website to anyone. This enables the interception and decryption of network communications between Firefox and the website, sometimes referred to as a Monster-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack.

            We believe this act undermines the security of our users and the web, and it directly contradicts Principle 4 of the Mozilla Manifesto that states, “Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.”

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Updates from the Document Liberation Project

          We mostly focus on LibreOffice on this blog, but The Document Foundation also oversees the Document Liberation Project (DLP), which develops software libraries to import and export many different file formats. If you have some old documents or spreadsheets from legacy office software, for instance, the DLP can help you to access that data – giving control back to you.

          Many well-known free and open source programs use DLP libraries, such as Inkscape, Scribus, Calligra and of course LibreOffice. A few days ago, there were some DLP updates, so here’s a quick summary:

        • UI Logger

          This project is to generate a new easier Domain-Specific_language for logging the user interactions to be able to convert it to a python script that used by python UI framework for testing.

          This project made with Textx which is a meta-language for building Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) in Python. it helps you build your textual language in an easy way. You can invent your own language or build support for already existing textual language or file format.

      • Programming/Development

        • Datasets for Credit Risk Modeling

          This tutorial outlines several free publicly available datasets which can be used for credit risk modeling. In banking world, credit risk is a critical business vertical which makes sure that bank has sufficient capital to protect depositors from credit, market and operational risks. During the process, its role is to work for bank in compliance to central bank regulations.

        • Embedding PyQtGraph (or any other custom PyQt5 widgets) from Qt Designer

          Qt Designer is a great tool for designing PyQt5 GUIs, allowing you to use the entire range of Qt5 widgets and layouts to construct your apps. As your applications get more complex however you may find yourself creating custom widgets, or using PyQt5 libraries such as PyQtGraph, who’s widgets are not available within Designer.

          Helpfully, Qt Designer supports a mechanism for using placeholder widgets to represent your custom or external widgets in your design. This tutorial will walk you through the process of using placeholders to include a PyQtGraph plot in your app from within Qt Designer.

        • Refactoring to Multiple Exit Points

          Functions should have only a single entry point. We all agree on that. But some people also argue that functions should have a single exit that returns the value. More people don’t seem to care enough about how their functions are organized. I think that makes functions a lot more complicated than they have to be. So let’s talk about function organization and how multiple exit points can help.

        • Sony Continues Tuning AMD Jaguar Support Within The LLVM Clang Compiler

          Thanks to Sony using LLVM Clang as their default compiler toolchain for their PlayStation game console, they continue making improvements to the AMD Btver2/Jaguar code for optimized performance. The Jaguar APU is what’s in the current PlayStation 4 while we’ve already seen contributions from Sony to improve the Zen CPU support ahead of their next-generation console.

          Just this week was the newest contribution to the Jaguar/Btver2 target code within the LLVM compiler stack. This most recent addition is fixing the latency and throughput of CMPXCHG instructions. These improvements should yield better generated code around those instructions.

        • Open Source Developer Gain New Collaboration Opportunities on Open Hardware

          Live from Open Source Summit this week, we’re thrilled to share that the OpenPOWER Foundation is becoming a project hosted at The Linux Foundation. This includes a technical contribution of the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and Source Design Implementations, including a softcore implementation of the POWER ISA.

          The OpenPOWER Foundation recognizes how increased collaboration across the open source ecosystem will advance open hardware technology and accelerate opportunity.

          Six years ago, IBM setup the OpenPOWER Foundation to widen the reach of their POWER technology. The goal from the start was to support Instruction Set Architecture and contributed Source Design Implementations required for data-driven HPC workloads like modelling and simulation, cloud services and also Artificial Intelligence (AI).

        • iOS and Android Localization Tool

          Localization is simply the process of translating your app into multiple languages.

          In situation like you need support multiple language, including API response messages and dynamic strings you need a list of localizable .strings file, and you need to localized it based on the Language you want ( e.g English, Chinese, Japanese ).

          Xcode has a built-in localizable file generator that generate your localizable .strings for each language you supported.

        • First Python Program

          Ok, really thrilled today.
          Patting myself on the back.

          I finally managed to write a program all on my ownsome. Kushal gave me a toy problem and I went around, scratched my head, did a lot of searching, a lot more headbanging, even more mistakes and then finally managed to write this.

          Am happy because this is how I imagined myself learning in the first place.
          Figuring out a problem someone has and then figuring out how to help them.

        • Reactive Spring Boot programming with Vert.x

          The latest bundle of Red Hat supported Spring Boot starters was recently released. In addition to supporting the popular Red Hat products for our Spring Boot customers, the Red Hat Spring Boot team was also busy creating new ones. The most recent technical preview added is a group of Eclipse Vert.x Spring Boot starters, which provide a Spring-native vocabulary for the popular JVM reactive toolkit.

          Let’s quickly go through the main concepts to get everybody on the same page before looking into an example.

          A reactive system as defined in the Reactive Manifesto is responsive, resilient, elastic, and message-driven. These properties guarantee easy replication, non-blocking communication with high system resources utilization and great fault tolerance. At the latest stage of software evolution, with cloud-first, low-latency, and highly data-intensive applications, reactive systems provide a great value for money.

          In our newest release, we have introduced a few Spring WebFlux extensions for Vert.x. With these extensions, you can build your application the way you’re used to—using WebFlux and Project Reactor—while network communications will be handled by the Vert.x servers and clients.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Fedora (ghostscript, pango, and squirrelmail), openSUSE (libcryptopp, squid, tcpdump, and wireshark), SUSE (flatpak), and Ubuntu (giflib and NLTK).

      • Security flaws caused by compiler optimizations

        An optimizing compiler is one that tries to maximize some attribute(s) of an executable program at the expense of other attribute(s). Usually the goal is to improve performance or code size at the expense of compiler time and the possibility to debug the program at a later stage. Most modern compilers support some sort of optimization. Normally code optimized for performance is the usual preference. In cases where space is a constraint like embedded systems, developers also prefer code optimized for size.

        Code optimization is both an art as well as a science. Various compilers use different techniques for optimizing code.

      • To patch Windows or not: Do you want BlueKeep bug or broken Visual Basic apps?

        Microsoft says apps that use Visual Basic 6 (VB6), VBA, and VBScript “may stop responding with error” after its updates from this Tuesday have been installed.

        “After installing this update, applications that were made using Visual Basic 6 (VB6), macros using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and scripts or apps using Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) may stop responding and you may receive an ‘invalid procedure call error’,” Microsoft says.

        The issue affects all supported versions of Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and their corresponding server versions.

        “Microsoft is presently investigating this issue and will provide an update when available,” the company said.

        Microsoft didn’t offer an explanation for the problem but it did flag earlier this month that it will move ahead with sunsetting VBScript, by disabling it in IE11 by default via an update in this week’s patch.

        “The change to disable VBScript will take effect in the upcoming cumulative updates for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 on August 13, 2019,” Microsoft warned in a blog. The change brought these versions of Windows in line with Windows 10.

      • Latest Debian GNU/Linux Security Patch Addresses 14 Vulnerabilities, Update Now

        Available for the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” and Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series, the new Linux kernel security update addresses a total of 14 vulnerabilities discovered by various security researchers. The Debian Project urges all users to update their installations as soon as possible.

        Among the security flaws patched, we can mention a race condition in the libsas subsystem that supports Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) devices, a potential double-free in the block subsystem, as well as two issues that could make it easier for attackers to exploit other vulnerabilities.

    • Environment

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Is Science Failing the World’s Primates?

          There are more than 500 known primate species, but it would be hard to tell that by looking at recent research. Want to know how chimpanzees are doing across Africa? We can tell you plenty about them. But understanding how nocturnal pottos are doing across the same region? That may be more difficult.

          Here’s why: A new study by primatologists Michelle Bezanson of Santa Clara University and Allison McNamara of University of Texas-Austin surveyed 29,000 recent journal articles and found a lack of diversity in the species studied, field sites chosen and research topics.

          And that’s troubling. Now is a critical time for primate conservation: Approximately 60 percent of primate species are endangered, half of them critically. And yet, as McNamara and Bezanson’s research of peer-reviewed studies published between 2011 to 2015 found, less than 20 percent of research was focused on conservation. Instead the studies focused on topics such as behavior and ecology, which address theoretical questions. And many papers did not acknowledge the contributions of local communities. Without basic research on the most severely threatened primate species, we lack the information and infrastructure needed to save them. And successful conservation efforts can only happen with the cooperation and investment of the local human communities who live alongside them.

    • Finance

      • Re-Imagining India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ in the Context of a $5 Trillion Economy

        Every now and then, the talk of Bangalore being ‘India’s Silicon Valley’ becomes topical and trendy. Governments, policy makers and intelligentsia see in this a proof of our pre-eminent position in the world’s tech happening spaces. In reality, barring their salubrious climates, they don’t resemble each other very much.

        The 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report has ranked the city at #18 as compared to Silicon Valley at #1, New York at #2, and London and Beijing sharing the #3 spot.

      • MP: Evidence no deal Brexit would be damaging ‘overwhelming’

        Jeremy Corbyn’s much ridiculed letter to opposition leaders, saying he would bring a vote of no confidence in the Government and then lead a government of national unity (GNU), merely served to remind us that more than half of Labour MPs have no confidence in their own leader.

        Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson came out of her corner fighting, highlighting just how ridiculous Corbyn’s idea was, and that any GNU should be led by a respected parliamentary grandee, suggesting Father of the House Ken Clarke, or Mother of the House Harriet Harman. Both are well respected.

        Ken Clarke pointed out that in trying to avoid a no deal Brexit, MPs who are against no deal are split several ways, some advocating a Norway-style deal, others looking at a Swiss-style deal, yet more at a customs union Turkish-style deal, whilst others want to go straight to the Canada-style free trade deal. Don’t forget many want a second referendum.

      • What’s Next for Brexit’s Foes?

        An anti-Brexit Government of National Unity falls at the first hurdle: its acronym.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge

        My own position on Brexit is more nuanced than is currently fashionable (more below), but I am strongly against a no deal Brexit. Jo Swinson’s successful deflation of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a caretaker administration purely to organise a general election, makes no deal much more probable.

        [...]

        Swinson was one of the Lib Dems who was least uncomfortable in coalition with the Tories, and her attitude now is based entirely on the wishes of Chuka Umunna and other actual and potential Blairite defectors to the Lib Dems. Swinson is more interested in playing to the Blairite visceral hatred of Corbyn than she is in stopping no deal Brexit, and it is proof if any were needed that the arrival of Blairite and Tory defectors is moving the Lib Dems still further to the right. I see not a single hint of the party’s old radicalism or principle.

        The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have shown maturity and common sense in welcoming Corbyn’s initiative, with due reservations and caveats. Had the Lib Dems done so too, it would have encouraged Tory rebels to join in an all-party initiatvie. Swinson’s refusal to work with Corbyn, on the grounds that Tory rebels would also refuse, was as she well knew a self-fulfilling prophecy. By making it about Corbyn, Swinson made it impossible for Tory MPs to go along when the Lib Dems had refused.

        Institutional and personal loyalties are very difficult things to shake off. The Tory Party has become a far right movement whose primary policies are motivated by nothing but racist hatred of immigrants. It is extremely hard for decent people like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve to accept that this has happened and it is irreversible.

        If Westminster cannot stop hard Brexit and it goes ahead, it will be enabled by Swinson’s ambition, the hatreds of Blairites, and the failure of decent Tories to process psychologically what has happened to their party.

      • Corporate Media Filled With Nameless Voices Attacking Progressive Democrats

        The Democratic Party establishment wants you to know that they’re not afraid of primary challenges from the Justice Democrats—a progressive political action committee that runs progressive candidates who reject campaign funding from the ultra-rich and corporations. But when the establishment Democrats tell you they aren’t afraid, they often aren’t brave enough to let reporters quote them by name.

        These anonymous sources are rarely as insulting as the one quoted by Fox News’ Brooke Singman: “No one is afraid of those [Justice Democrat] nerds. They don’t have the ability to primary anyone.” But as FAIR contributor Adam Johnson and Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid observed, other anonymous sources are not very different in content, because corporate media are generally granting anonymity to sources in the Democratic establishment looking to run opposition talking points against progressive lawmakers and organizations.

        For example, The Hill (7/11/19) carried an anonymous response to Saikat Chakrabarti, then Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, after he tweeted that centrists in the Blue Dog and New Democrat caucuses were “the new Southern Democrats” because they voted to fund Trump’s border concentration camps: “You can be someone who does not personally harbor ill will towards a race, but through your actions still enable a racist system,” Chakrabarti said.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • White House Suspends Another Reporter’s Press Pass, Once Again, Raising 1st Amendment Concerns

        As you’ll recall, last year, the White House tried to remove CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass over a silly made up controversy claiming that he had “assaulted” an intern in trying to hold onto the microphone while the intern had tried to pull it away. CNN sued and a court sided with them in blocking the White House’s action. Soon after, the White House released new rules, that we mentioned left them open to future 1st Amendment challenges.

        Well, here we are. On Friday, the White House removed Playboy reporter Brian Karem’s press pass, claiming it was about some sort of weird yelling match Karem had with ex-Trump official Sebastian Gorka at Trump’s silly social media troll summit back in July. Karem immediately said he’d sue over the removal and his attorney Ted Boutrous has sent a series of letters to White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham over the last few weeks. The opening of the first one lays everything out pretty nicely.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Apple’s New WebKit Policy Takes a Hard Line for User Privacy

        Ever since mid-2017, Apple has been tackling web tracking in a big way. Various iterations of its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) technology have been introduced over the past few years in WebKit, the browser engine for Safari. ITP already protects users from tracking in various ways, but it left open a number of questions about the guidelines it uses to determine just who Apple considers a tracker, and what behavior is indicative of tracking.

        [...]

        In addition to defining exactly what Apple means by the term “tracking,” the new policy also enumerates different forms of tracking, including the use of tracking cookies, fingerprinting, HSTS supercookies, and several other examples. The inclusion of HSTS as a tracking technology is significant. HSTS, or HTTP Strict Transport Security, is a web header that sites can use to indicate that they should only be accessed over the secure HTTPS transport layer in the future. Your browser will cache this response and ensure that future requests are not made over insecure HTTP. However, trackers can use this cache to piece together a supercookie that can identify your browser across multiple websites. Safari limits this by only respecting HSTS under certain conditions. For this reason, researchers have lately been suggesting the use of EFF’s own HTTPS Everywhere, which maintains a list of HTTPS-supporting sites, as an alternative to caching HSTS headers.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Huawei Busted Helping African Governments Spy On The Press, Political Opponents

        While the Trump administration’s war on Huawei may be largely fueled by evidence optional protectionism, that certainly doesn’t mean Huawei is an ethical company. Like any good telecom and networking giant, it can routinely be found helping governments engage in behavior that’s less than, say, moral. For example a damning report emerged this week in the Wall Street Journal (paywall, here’s a non-paywalled video report and a fairly decent alternative take) showcasing how Huawei technicians have helped African leaders intercept encrypted transmissions of their political opponents…

        [...]

        That said, none of this is historically unique. Telecoms are, again, routinely grafted to governments, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies in problematic ways. Just ask AT&T, who is so tightly wired to the NSA, you can’t tell where the telco ends and the government begins. Similarly the US has a long history of partnering with companies to provide IT support and telecoms gear to a huge variety of dictators who then utilized that technology to help track and kill political opponents, dissidents, and even students. The press and public moral indignation at this kind of behavior tends to be… inconsistent and colored by patriotism.

        And while Huawei is clearly not ethical, you’d be hard pressed to find a telecom giant that is. The US blackballing of Huawei is still based on a lot of unproven allegations of wholesale spying on Americans at China’s behest, something that would drive (and has driven) US companies bat-shit crazy when the shoe is on the other foot. And while the US war on Huawei is partially based on some genuine security concerns, it’s also heavily driven by a protectionist bid by companies like Cisco that simply don’t want to have to compete with cheaper Chinese kit. The exact percentage breakdown of this equation has yet to be seen.

      • With Record Number Of Immigrants In ICE Detention, Class Action Lawsuit Outlines ‘Atrocious Conditions’

        Marco Montoya Amaya is 41 years old. He is currently detained at the Mesa Verde Immigration and Customs Enforcement Processing Center in California. He has “end-stage neurocysticercosis,” which is a brain parasite, and has not received any treatment.

        According to a class action lawsuit filed by multiple civil rights groups, Amaya entered the United States in 2012. He lived in Napa, California. He was first detained by ICE at Yuba County Jail and later transferred to Mesa Verde in March 2019. He suffers from worsening cognitive and psychiatric symptoms that are potentially irreversible and has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder.

        Amaya was placed in solitary confinement for about a week in May 2019 for “accidentally eating an extra tray he was given by an officer. He did not understand the officer’s instructions—likely due to his cognitive impairment—that the tray was for other detained individuals who were fasting for Ramadan.”

        The lawsuit adds, “He did not receive an opportunity to appeal or challenge his segregation,” and he “was confused as to whether the segregation was disciplinary or instead for his health or protection, as he was housed in medical isolation.”

        Amaya is one of fifteen individuals detained at eight different detention facilities in six states. They represent a class of around 55,000 immigrants who allegedly are subject to inhumane and unlawful conditions. Many of these individuals have endured treatment that amounts to torture.

        The lawsuit challenges systemic problems that consistently result in denial of medical care, failure to provide mental health treatment, lack of accommodations for persons with disabilities, and solitary confinement.

      • Lawsuit Filed By Victims Of ICE’s Fake College Sting Revived By Appeals Court

        An elaborate scheme involving a fake college set up in New Jersey by ICE has, unsurprisingly, resulted in a lawsuit by some of the foreign students swept up in the sting operation. Apparently having given up on rooting out the worst of the worst non-citizens, ICE is contenting itself with arresting and charging foreigners for attempting to stay in the country legally by continuing their education.

        The fake university looked pretty real to applicants. It had a website, a Facebook page, and — most importantly — accreditation by a national accreditation service. The school’s website told students the fake school was certified by the DHS’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program to “educate international students.”

        It all looked legit. None of it was. ICE claims it was targeting people who defrauded students or universities by brokering illegitimate educational offerings meant to allow visitors to overstay their visas. That doesn’t explain why ICE accepted registration fees from interested students. Nor why it arrested a bunch of students trying to do something they were legally allowed to do.

        ICE ended up with about eight criminal suspects from the hundred-plus arrests resulting from the sting operation. Some of the others caught up in the sting had their visas cancelled, supposedly due to “fraudulent enrollment.” So, in the government’s eyes, the people ICE tricked into enrolling in its very real-looking fake college are every bit as criminal as the criminals the government is actually prosecuting.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • New Hampshire Supreme Court: Of Course It’s Not Defamatory To Call A Patent Troll A Patent Troll

          Earlier this year, we wrote about a legal fight in New Hampshire, where patent trolling firm ATL, had sued a bunch of critics for defamation for calling them a patent troll. As we noted in February, this was an incredibly weak argument, as it’s a statement of opinion. Thankfully, the New Hampshire Supreme Court got this one right and ruled that calling someone a patent troll is not defamatory.

          The ruling is a pretty straightforward, by-the-books ruling on a bogus defamation claim on an opinion statement. It cites all the usual cases — mainly Phantom Touring — to point out that “patent troll” is just an opinion that can’t be defamatory, because there’s no objective standard by which you would prove it true or false. People can (and do!) disagree over what constitutes a patent troll, and the court system is not there to settle that debate.

      • Trademarks

        • Intra-Family Trademark Violence: SR Sues JR For Using His Own Name In Law Firm Marketing

          With the chief hurdle for infringement in trademark law being potential public confusion as to the source of a good or service, we sometimes toss that standard around as a blanket sort of thing. And, in trademark law, it kind of is just that binary. But the combination of the protectionist view of trademark law taking hold in America and the unfortunate habit of many people attempting to trademark their own names in one fashion or another, I wonder if the law might need to be updated in some ways. For example, we’ve seen several instances of intra-family trademark spats that arise from a person or business looking to trademark or simply use their own names. Any system of trademark enforcement that results in broadly disallowing someone to use their own name in the marketplace feels like a clear step too far, if only from a common sense perspective.

          Yet it keeps happening. The latest iteration of this involves a lawyer, George Sink Sr., suing his own son, George Sink Jr., for using his own name for his law firm and marketing material. The court overseeing the matter just this week issued a restraining order barring George Jr. from using his own name to advertise his firm.

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