Links 1/9/2019: 4MLinux 30.0, LLVM 9.0 Third RC

Posted in News Roundup at 3:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • EROFS Is Graduating From Staging In Linux 5.4

        Linux 5.4 will be a big kernel on the file-system front as in addition to introducing the new VirtIO-FS and exFAT file-system support, Huawei’s EROFS file-system will be graduating from staging.

      • Linux Foundation

        • CNCF Project Journey Proves Kubernetes Is Everywhere

          Yes, Kubernetes is everywhere. And a new Project Journey report from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) includes some big numbers showing just how everywhere Kubernetes is in the market.

          The report, which is the first of its kind from CNCF on Kubernetes, found that the container orchestration platform has 315 companies contributing to the project today with “several thousand having committed over the life of the project.” That is a significant increase from the 15 that were contributing prior to CNCF adopting the project in early 2016.

          Including individual contributors, Kubernetes has counted about 24,000 total contributors since being adopted by CNCF, seen 148,000 code commits, 83,000 pull requests, and 1.1 million total contributions.

          “It is the second- or third-highest velocity open source project depending on how you count it — up there with Linux and React,” explained CNCF Executive Director Dan Kohn in an interview.

        • Hyperledger accepts open source Ethereum client ‘Pantheon’ as first public blockchain project

          The Hyperledger blockchain consortium has officially accepted ConsenSys’ Pantheon as its first public blockchain project, CoinDesk reported.

          Pantheon, an open source Ethereum Client developed by PegaSys – a protocol engineering team at ConsenSys, has been now renamed to Hyperledger Besu.

          The addition of Pantheon has been approved by the Hyperledger technical steering committee and it joins other existing blockchain codebases such as Hyperledger Fabric, which is backed by IBM, and Hyperledger Sawtooth, backed by Intel.

        • Hyperledger Unanimously Approves First Ethereum Codebase For Enterprises

          Among the most important differences between Pantheon and Hyperledger Besu is that since being approved by the Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee, the rebranded ethereum client will receive support training new users, certification of developers working with high-stakes enterprises, and will be more easily integrated with existing codebases, perhaps easing the path to adoption by ensuring that companies on potentially competing networks can work together.

      • Graphics Stack

        • GreenWithEnvy 0.13 Released For Better NVIDIA GPU Overclocking On Linux

          t’s been a number of months since last seeing a new release of GreenWithEnvy or hearing anything out of the project, but this weekend is finally a new version of this open-source overclocking panel for NVIDIA graphics cards on Linux.

          GreenWithEnvy 0.13 is the new release out today and their first since February. GreenWithEnvy 0.13 has various library updates, fixes the saving of preferences when running the Flatpak version of the program, and adds an option to minimize the application to the tray when hitting the close button.

    • Applications

      • AppEditor – Simple Tool To Edit Application Menu Entries

        AppEditor is an open-source tool allows you to edit application entries shown in application menu and their properties.

      • LazyDocker is a user-friendly terminal GUI for Docker

        Actually, there is! Said something is the recently released LazyDocker. LazyDocker is a simple, open source terminal UI for both docker and docker-compose that makes managing your containers from the command line really quite simple.

        You should be warned, however, that LazyDocker is very much in beta. But even with the beta release status, LazyDocker works quite well and makes managing your Docker containers from the terminal exponentially easier.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • Open-source flash emulator hopes to preserve a generation of Flash games

        In a bid to preserve a generation’s worth of Flash games, a new open-source project hopes to create, and share, a Flash emulator.

        The project – which comes just a few weeks after Adobe announced plans to “end-of-life Flash” – hopes to secure a way to play Flash games in your browser via emulation. Mike Welsh, who has previously worked on the Flash-to-HD video converter Swivel for Newgrounds, is currently leading the project.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Gets A New “Recently Used” Implementation, Fixes App Reviews Showing In Discover

          This new “recentlyused:/” implementation allows for filtering based upon activity / agent / MIME type to better select the recently used files/folders.

          - KDE Discover has restored support for showing application reviews.

          - Kate and other KTextEditor software will strip off Windows-style new-line characters from pasted text.

          - A fix for a common crash to the Baloo file indexing service.

          - Various user interface improvements.

        • I’m Going to Akademy!

          In just five days I’ll be on my way to Akademy! I’m so excited to meet with all my friends from KDE! After missing the conference weekends in Almería and Vienna, I’ll be able to get the full Akademy experience again – including delivering a talk!

        • KDE Connect macOS Release

          Now it’s the end of Google Summer of Code 2019. As my GSoC project, the port of KDE Connect on macOS has made great progress. You can find and download it in my blog release page.

          Note: This post aims at presenting the features of KDE Connect which have been implemented on macOS. If you’d like to know more information, such as compilation of your own KDE Connect binary on macOS, please turn to another post in my post Connect your Android phone with your Mac via KDE Connect. And if you’re interested in what I’ve done during Google Summer of Code, my status report of Google Summer of Code is HERE.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Coding Education Challenge promises $500k for innovative ways to teach next-gen programmers

          Non-profit organization The GNOME Foundation and philanthropic tech company Endless have teamed up to help the next-generation of coders by announcing the Coding Education Challenge. Endless has agreed to provide $500,000 to fund the competition.

          The challenge’s aim is to attract projects that’ll bring new ways for educators and students to teach and learn coding through free and open-source coding software.

    • Distributions

      • RaspEX Project Now Lets You Turn Your Raspberry Pi 4 into a HTPC with Kodi

        If you’re looking for a fast, working, and easy-to-install operating system to turn your tiny Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer into a versatile HTPC (Home Theatre PC), the latest RaspEX Kodi build is here to help with that, and it also supports previous Raspberry Pi models.

        Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” and Raspbian operating system series, RaspEX Kodi focuses on the open-source and cross-platform Kodi media center for all the video and audio playback operations, and more. Kodi 18.3 “Leia” is being used in the current release of RaspEX Kodi.

      • New Releases

        • Ubuntu-based Linux Lite 4.6 now available

          Happy Labor Day Weekend, dear BetaNews readers! Tomorrow, many of us “working stiffs” will get the opportunity to do nothing. We can sit around, watch TV, barbecue some meat — hell, for one day, we can pretty much do whatever we’d like. Personally, I picked up some steaks from Costco, which are marinating now in anticipation. Sadly, not everyone will be off from work tomorrow, so if you will be at your job on Labor Day, please accept both my sympathies and respect.

          If you want something fun to do tomorrow while relaxing at home, why not install Linux? Seriously, folks, what better time than Labor Day to look into replacing Windows 7 or Windows 10 on your PC with something better and faster? If your PC has been sluggish, or if you are wary of all the telemetry (spying) built into Windows 10, a distribution such as Linux Lite can breathe new life into your computer. Today, following a short beta period, Linux Lite 4.6 “Final” becomes available for download.

        • 4MLinux 30.0 STABLE released.

          The status of the‭ 4MLinux 30.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Edit your documents with LibreOffice and GNOME Office (AbiWord 3.0.2, GIMP 2.10.12, Gnumeric 1.12.44), share your files using DropBox ‬79.4.143,‭ surf the Internet with Firefox 68.0.2 and Chromium ‬76.0.3809.100,‭ send emails via Thunderbird 60.8.0, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 3.10.1, watch your favorite videos with VLC and mpv 0.29.1, play games powered by Mesa 19.0.5 and Wine 4.14. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 4.19.63, Apache 2.4.39, MariaDB 10.4.7, PHP 5.6.40 and PHP 7.3.8). Perl 5.28.1, Python 2.7.16, and Python 3.7.3 are also available.

      • Slackware Family

        • LibreOffice updates for Slackware 14.2 and -current

          This month, I am building different versions for LibreOffice, for our stable Slackware 14.2 and for the -current testing ground. During my holiday, new versions became available and last week I built packages from those sources.

          The 6.2.6 release which was announced by the Document Foundation two weeks ago brings some security fixes to the 6.2 series. Therefore it was important to get rid of the old 6.2.5 packages. I built 6.2.6 for Slackware 14.2 and those packages have been available for download now since early last week. Go get them!

        • VLC 3.0.8 packages

          The Release Notes state that this releases provides fixes for several security issues among wich 11 which are CVE-worthy. Meaning that it’s prudent to upgrade your VLC to 3.0.8 soonest.

          I have the new packages available (for Slackware 14.2 and -current) in my repository since a couple of days. I used the opportunity to update the following internal libraries as well: bluray, dav1d, ebml, and matroska.

          You will also probably note that there is no “npapi-vlc” package. I decided to retire this VLC based NPAPI webbrowser plugin from my repository. Modern browsers are all moving away from NPAPI plugin support, and relying on HTML5 instead. Chrome/Chromium always only supported PPAPI based plugins anyway.

        • Chromium package updates

          There was a new Chromium source release last week, but there were other software releases that had priority to get packages out the door. Therefore I could only chromium packages this weekend.
          Chromium 76.0.3809.132 fixes 3 security holes. Note that the version before that (76.0.3809.100) also fixed 4 critical holes but I never packaged that as I went on holiday. So, upgrading now would be a good idea.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • Can Fairphone 3 scale ethical consumer electronics?

          Fairphone, the Dutch social enterprise that’s on a mission to rethink the waste and exploitation that underpins the business of consumer electronics, has unboxed its third smartphone.

          The handset, which is sold with the promise of longevity rather than cutting edge obsolescence, goes on pre-sale from today in Europe via Fairphone’s website with a suggested retail price of €450 (depending on local taxes and levies). It will ship to buyers on September 3.

          Like its predecessor, the design is modular to allow the user to swap out damaged parts for replacement modules that Fairphone also sells.

          Out of the box the phone comes with Android 9 preloaded. A post-launch update will make it easy for buyers to wipe Google services off their slate and install the Android Open Source Project instead.

          Commenting in a statement, CEO Eva Gouwens said: “We developed the Fairphone 3 to be a real sustainable alternative on the market, which is a big step towards lasting change. By establishing a market for ethical products, we want to motivate the entire industry to act more responsibly since we cannot achieve this change alone.”

          “We envision an economy where consideration for people and the planet is a natural part of doing business and according to this vision, we have created scalable ways to improve our supply chain and product,” she added.

        • Huawei Ark compiler open-source code to arrive on August 31

          Today, Huawei EMUI officially said that the Ark compiler open-source code is ready. The company wrote, “wait for August 31 show you the code!”. In April this year, Huawei’s consumer business CEO, Yu Chengdong, officially released Huawei Ark compiler. According to the company, the compiler can improve the compilation efficiency of Android applications. As of now, this feature is already available in many Huawei and Honor smartphones.

        • Huawei launches open source site for Ark Compiler to promote HarmonyOS, related ecosystem

          Huawei launched a website for the long-anticipated open source project Ark Compiler over the weekend, a significant step in helping global developers adopt Android coding into applications that are compatible with the Chinese company’s HarmonyOS.

          The site will also help push forward the building of an ecosystem for HarmonyOS amid the US attack on the Chinese technology powerhouse.

          The website of Ark Compiler was put online on Saturday, allowing users to access and download the source code. A compiler is a program that translates programming language into machine language, which could bridge the gap between human instructions and a machine’s ability to understand them. Such programs are critical to the efficiency of execution.

          Huawei said its Ark Compiler could work without the need for an interpreter to enable direct translation.

          In releasing the compiler, Huawei said it aims to share technological development with developers and grow with them together to promote industrial innovation in an open way and build up an open ecosystem.

        • Huawei to push ahead with flagship phone launch — with or without Google services

          Huawei will launch a new flagship phone next month which may not come with Google apps, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told CNBC, as the Chinese firm faces being blocked from accessing the search giant’s software.

          The Mate 30 will be showcased at a September 19 launch event in Munich, Germany, the source said. It will be powered by Huawei’s latest processor called the Kirin 990 which is yet to be unveiled. The Mate 30 will be able to connect to next-generation mobile networks known as 5G which promise super-fast data speeds.

          Huawei is pushing ahead with the launch despite being on a U.S. blacklist known as the Entity List. It restricts American firms from doing business with the Chinese company. But the tech giant has been given another 90-day reprieve under which U.S. firms can apply for special licenses to sell to Huawei.

          Google is subject to these restrictions. Huawei relies on Google’s Android operating system to power its smartphones. In China, Huawei uses a modified version of Android which is stripped of Google services like Gmail or Maps because those are blocked in the country. Instead, it pre-loads its own apps. But in international markets, those Google services are pre-loaded on Huawei phones.

        • Huawei Mate 30 can’t launch with official Google apps, says Google

          Huawei may face a major roadblock for its next flagship phone, the Mate 30 — it won’t be able to launch with Google apps and services due to the White House banning US companies (like Google) from doing business with the Chinese telecommunications firm, according to a report from Reuters.

          That means that the Mate 30 — and presumably, other upcoming devices like the now-delayed foldable Mate X — could be severely limited at launch. They’ll still run Android, which is at its core open-source software that’s freely available. But Google has confirmed to The Verge that the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro (rumored to launch on September 18th) won’t be able to ship with Google’s apps and services on board, which could put them at a severe disadvantage given how important Google’s apps are.

        • Huawei Seeks Independence From the US With RISC-V and Ascend Chips

          Huawei has launched its 7nm Ascend 910 artificial intelligence chip for data centers together with a new comprehensive AI framework MindSpore. The announcement comes at a time when Huawei is facing pressure from the US government, which Huawei is responding to by considering using the open-source RISC-V.

        • Huawei using Sailfish OS fork on tablets for Russian census project

          Embattled Chinese electronics manufacturer Huawei is planning to ship a Russian variant of Jolla’s Sailfish OS on 360,000 tablets intended for use in conducting the Russian population census, according to a Reuters report published Monday.

          This project comes as Huawei is looking for alternatives to Android, following their placement on the “Entity List” by the US government, effectively blacklisting the company from acquiring US-origin technology for use in their own products. This blacklisting does not affect Huawei’s ability to use the public, open-source AOSP repository. It does prevent use of Google Play services, through which vital APIs for Google Maps integration in apps is provided—as well as the Play Store, the default Android app store.

        • Android Q Dessert Name May Have Been Queen Cake, Says Dave Burke, VP Android
        • [Now available globally] OnePlus 7 (Pro) Android 10 Developer Preview 5 update goes live in China
        • Google Maps for Android adds dedicated Street View layer
        • Google-powered OnePlus TV to be an Android Device
        • OnePlus TV, set to launch in September, will run on Android TV
        • Why don’t more manufacturers offer stock Android?
        • How to send a tab from Chrome to any Android phone
        • Tippin brings bitcoin tipping to iOS and Android
        • How to block all incoming calls on Android phones
        • Satellite Android smartphone – Thuraya X5-Touch
        • 24 best new Android games released this week including Pokémon Masters, Stranger Things 3: The Game, and Men in Black: Global Invasion
        • Best mobile gambling apps for iPhones and Android phones
        • Five ways Android is much better than iOS
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • A Guide to Free and Open Source ERP Tools

        For many organizations, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has become an indispensable tool. It helps them integrate their resource distribution processes from every operational silo, including purchasing, inventory, manufacturing, distribution, accounting, and human capital management.

        As a result, ERP software has become an expansive market comprising several paid, proprietary tools. Each product’s capabilities vary, with each standing out in one area. Many of these are used across industries and are backed by strong after-sales support.

        But, in some cases, your needs may not be complex or numerous enough to justify paying for a proprietary ERP tool. Or, your business might need an ERP tool with a level of customization that’s hard to apply on a proprietary product.

      • MongoDB code guru: what even is a ‘good’ developer?

        On the subject of code, you’d be surprised to learn that good and bad code can often look amazingly similar. So it [i.e. code] alone cannot always be easily analysed. This static analysis rarely uncovers the kinds of live problems that really destroy a system’s utility.

        So if we don’t know what’s good, how do we define better?

        Instead of defining good systems, we should try and define good programmers in some abstract way. What mould do they fit into? Do they work well with people? What’s their past experience? This somewhat intangible (dubious even) list goes on.

      • Quality Of Code Doesn’t Matter Much In Open Source Contributions: Study [Ed: This research may be deeply flawed because all the project were picked exclusivity from Microsoft's own platform.]

        One can imagine that contributions to open source projects would be evaluated on the quality of code above anything else. However, researchers have found quite the opposite!

        In a paper titled, “Does Code Quality Affect Pull Request Acceptance?, submitted to “Information and Software Technology” journal; researchers tried to determine whether code quality issues such as — duplicated code, long methods, large class, code style violation, etc. — affect the chances of a pull request getting accepted by a project maintainer.

      • In praise of developers who delete code

        Blessed are the code committers to open source projects. But more blessed are they who delete, for theirs is the kingdom of clean, efficient code.

        No set of scripture contains this wisdom, but that doesn’t make it any less wise. As developer Dj Walker-Morgan has posited, “For me, deleted lines are the final burn down of the ground where tech debt built.” To delete lines of code requires deep familiarity with the code base and, as such, reflects some of the best (un)engineering possible for a project. Similarly, as Charity Majors has stated, “The best senior engineers I’ve worked with are the ones who worked the hardest not to have to write new code.”

        Is there any way to properly celebrate those who delete or who write less in order to deliver more?


        I really like Sarah Mei’s description of technical debt as “clutter” (like a messy house). For those that think such clutter/debt is whisked away by moving to a microservices architecture, it doesn’t. Not really. Mei wrote: “[Y]ou end up with an overstuffed smaller house and a bunch of disorganized storage units, and you STILL can’t find anything.” Following Fowler’s advice, perhaps the ideal way to tackle the debt/clutter is to work on those areas that see the most contributions.

      • F-Droid: A security-conscious repository for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) applications for Android

        F-Droid is an app store and repository for verified Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) applications for Android (F-Droid Docs page). I first heard about F-Droid from a CNET article in early August. According to CNET, “… 200 Android apps were found infected with malware [on Google Play] in March, followed by July’s discovery of 1,000-plus Android apps harvesting data even after you deny permissions …”. So, in the interest of security and privacy, perhaps places like F-Droid are a nice alternative to Google Play.

        F-Droid is a non-profit volunteer open-source project (it is developed and run by the community) and was started by Ciaran Gultnieks in 2010 (F-Droid About page). Since the apps on F-Droid are open-source, it allows anyone to comb through an app’s code to see if there is any questionable activity going on. There are only about 2600 apps available through F-Droid according to CNET, so this may not have much of what you’re looking for. However, if you are curious about F-Droid and want to check out its security, you can peruse their Security Model and view their latest Security Audit Results.

      • Mastodon™ Invites Singles to Join an Ad-Free & Open-Source Social Network of Over 2.2 Million People

        The internet started out as a wide open frontier where adventurous souls could wander freely and anonymously until they settled upon a place where they felt at home. Newly minted websites offered a utopia based on free collaboration, and the digital age launched with great promise.

        However, as time went by, large companies built tracks, fences, and billboards to pen people in and create a monopoly on communication. Some major websites began convincing people to trade their personal data for online services, and such transactions have eroded the spirit of online communities.

      • Release Notes: Improved mail handling and refactoring GovLens

        Last week, we pushed out some small improvements in processing mail that we hope to deploy more widely soon. We also started refactoring GovLens, our open source government site monitoring tool. Finally, we’d love your feedback on a few features and tweaks we have in the works.

      • This Company Created An Open Source AI To Identify Mold

        Michael Golubev, CEO of Mold Busters said that they have compiled the most common 50 genera of mold during inspections, testing and remediation services and are training their AI to recognized those first and focus on mold types that present the biggest threat to human health.

        InstaLab scans an image of a mold spore and browses a database for a match based on various criteria like color and cell structure.

        “We’ve identified the Stachybotrys genus (i.e., black mold) and are training our machine learning algorithms on other mold genera such as Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium,” added Golubev.

        InstaLab is currently in phase one of its development, but the company hopes the public will contribute to the data collection process.

      • Life Epigenetics Releases Open Source Software to Advance Epigenetics Research

        Life Epigenetics, LLC a subsidiary of GWG Holdings, Inc. today announced the release of two Python open source software packages to epigenetics researchers worldwide. This software will facilitate scientific breakthroughs by accelerating and simplifying the processing of complex epigenetic data that researchers use to advance their understanding of this rapidly evolving science.

      • AviDemux 2.7.5 (64-bit)

        Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities. Avidemux is available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows under the GNU GPL license.

      • PeaZip 6.9.2

        Cross-platform, full-featured but user-friendly alternative to WinRar, WinZip and similar general purpose archive manager applications…

      • Thank The NSA For Their Ghidra Software Now Helping Firmware Reverse Engineering

        Ghidra is the open-source reverse engineering tool published by the US National Security Agency as an alternative to existing decompilers/disassemblers and other reverse engineering utilities. As noted earlier this summer, a Google Summer of Code project has been creating Ghidra plug-ins for helping with firmware reverse engineering.

        It’s been some time since last hearing anything about that effort to boost firmware reverse engineering, but in their final GSoC report, it was a success. With this new Ghidra plug-in there is support for loading into Ghidra of PCI option ROMs, the Intel firmware descriptor, reading the flash map, Coreboot File-System, UEFI Firmware Volumes, and the UEFI Terse Executable format. There is also a helper script for analyzing UEFI binaries.

      • Databases

        • Scylla’s real-time NoSQL database tapped by ‘super app’

          Ships who sailed too close to her (she was thought to have been created from a beautiful nymph) rocks would risk having sailors killed by the razor-sharp shards of Scylla’s darting heads.

          Scylla and ScyllaDB on the other hand are neither mythological, sea-based or dangerous to your health… but this open source-centric real-time big data database does have shards.

          Scylla uses a sharded design on each node, meaning each CPU core handles a different subset of data. It is fully compatible with Apache Cassandra and embraces a shared-nothing approach that increases throughput and storage capacity as much as 10X that of Cassandra.

      • CMS

        • 8 Best Open-Source CMS for Starting a Website

          But it doesn’t have to break the bank, and open-source web content management software can be the first step to an affordable website.

          I know what you’re thinking: Why shouldn’t I just use WordPress?

          WordPress is a very solid, popular web content management (WCM) option, but it isn’t without faults. Before you jump on board the WordPress train, check out some of the other open-source choices and decide if they potentially fit your use case more effectively.


          The language a WCM is written in impacts how it handles content, and some systems might be better at creating certain types of websites than others. Businesses might also require in-house developers with proficiency in the language a given CMS is written in to create functions for a website.

      • BSD

        • OPNsense® Partners With Sunny Valley Networks to Provide Next Generation Firewall Features on Its Platform

          Today, Deciso® the founder of OPNsense® and Sunny Valley Networks announced the public availability of Sensei, an easy-to-install plug-in, which empowers open source firewalls with next-generation firewall features. Sensei Free Edition is made available at no cost to OPNsense users, while the Premium Subscription, which offers more advanced features is available for purchase through OPNsense webshop.

          The technology behind Sensei is a very powerful packet analysis engine which can also provide protection against encrypted cyber-attacks that are gaining momentum. Sensei technology enables cyber security tools with utmost visibility, packet classification and fine-grained policy enforcement for any type of traffic. More packet intelligence means better decision making. Better decision making means better success rates in detecting & preventing cyber-attacks. Sensei provides rich packet intelligence so that the industry can enjoy great cyber security tools.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Talend to Share Its Open Source Data Expertise at ApacheCon Las Vegas

            Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a global leader in cloud data integration and data integrity, today announced that four open source engineers from its research and development team will be speaking at ApacheCon in Las Vegas, taking place at the Flamingo Hotel, September 9-12, 2019.

          • Here’s a look at entrepreneurs’ projects aiming to boost local governments

            Use of digital map and wayfinding platforms like Google Maps have become commonplace. While these digital tools make it easy to get from here to there by car, public transit or walking, there is no equivalent tool for wheelchair accessibility. NC Clear Path holds “mapathons” to build the data sets to support handicap accessibility.

        • Open Access/Content

          • College students find cost of textbooks a barrier

            New car buyers know the feeling of sticker shock, when their interest in a car hits the reality of its price.

          • President underlines need to launch open source knowledge in Pakistani universities

            President Dr. Arif Alvi has underlined the need to launch open source knowledge in Pakistani universities like their international counterparts.

            He was talking to a delegation of University of Health Sciences led by its Vice Chancellor Professor Javed Akram that called on him in Islamabad today.

            The President while pointing out the need for improvement in data education also called for offering free online courses for the benefit of general public.

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Glia Is Making Open Medical Devices, And You Can Help

            The Glia project aims to create a suite of free and open-source medical equipment that can be assembled cheaply and easily when and where it’s needed.


            Glia member [Tarek Loubani] has recently written a blog post discussing the team’s latest release: an otoscope that can be built for as little as $5. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you’ve almost certainly seen one of them in use. The otoscope is used to look inside the ear and can be invaluable in diagnosing illnesses, especially in children. Unfortunately, while this iconic piece of equipment is quite simple on a technical level, professional-quality versions can cost hundreds of dollars.

            Now to be fair, you’ll need quite a bit more than just the 3D printed parts to assemble the device. The final product requires some electrical components such as a battery holder, rocker switch, and LED. It also requires a custom lens, though the Glia team has thought ahead here and provided the files for printable jigs that will allow you to cut a larger lens down to the size required by their otoscope. In a situation where you might have to improvise with what you have, that’s a very clever design element.

          • SparkFun® Achieves FCC/IC/CE Mark Approval on First Open-Source, US-Manufactured BLE Module
          • SparkFun® Achieves FCC/IC/CE Mark Approval on First Open-Source, US-Manufactured BLE Module

            SparkFun’s Artemis module has earned Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Industry Canada (IC), and Conformité Européenne (CE) mark approval making it the first open-source, US-manufactured, FCC/IC/CE-certified BLE module on the market. With this certification, the Artemis module enables product designers to use the same module from prototype to production, and significantly increases accessibility of low-power machine learning for any design.

      • Programming/Development

        • ‘Npm install funding’, an experiment to sustain open-source projects with ads on the CLI terminal faces community backlash

          Last week, one of the npm open source authors and maintainers, software developer Feross announced an “npm install funding” experiment. Essentially, this enabled sponsors to “advertise on the Npm package install terminals”. In turn, the money raised from these ads would ensure npm maintainers are paid for their important contributions to the project, ensuring that packages remain up to date, reliable, and secure.

          Feross wrote on the GitHub page, “I think that the current model of sustaining open source is not working and we need more experimentation. This is one such experiment.”

        • Npm Bans Package Which Display Ads via Its Command Line Interface

          npm, Inc., the company behind the popular eponymous JavaScript package manager, will no longer allow packages which display ads. Developers will be able to silence terminal messages which push ads or calls for donations, and which stem from the regular use of the npm command line interface.


          The policy changes come after Standard, a JavaScript style guide, linter, and formatter, experimented with funding, a npm package which installs open source software, and displays a message from a supporting company. Feross Aboukhadijeh, the maintainer of both Standard and Funding, together with 100+ packages on npm, shows an example of such messages:

        • JavaScript Library Kicks Open Source Hornet’s Nest With Terminal Ads

          The popular JavaScript library Standard is stress-testing ads in its package… which is also testing the patience of those who use it.

          Standard, a “style guide, linter, and formatter” for JS, claims it can be used without configuration, and will automatically format your code and catch style or programming errors for you. It’s not too-good-to-be-true, either; GitHub says over 78,000 developers use it, while NPM says it has almost 200,000 weekly downloads.


          Most who chimed in via GitHub or Reddit note it’s not a perfect solution, but pushes forward the conversation regarding open source maintainers getting paid. Our own survey shows 21 percent of developers disagree that open-source repo managers should be paid, while the majority think they should see some income; the majority (58 percent) feel an open-source project should be able to monetize if a paid app uses the service.

        • StandardJS Ends Controversial Funding Experiment

          Feross Aboukhadijeh, maintainer of StandardJS, has formally ended the funding experiment he started lasted week, which inserted ads in the terminal whenever Standard 14 is installed.

          Although the experiment met widespread aversion, it successfully captured public attention and put a spotlight on the critical need for a viable model of funding open source infrastructure. It also uncovered some intense presuppositions that developers have when it comes to protecting their workflow in the terminal.

        • Developer reconsiders npm command line ad scheme after outcry

          Software developer Feross Aboukhadijeh has decided to discontinue a funding experiment that brought text ads to the command line and criticism from detractors.

          Introduced on August 19, Aboukhadijeh’s JavaScript package called funding represented an attempt to provide open source project maintainers with a way to generate revenue for their work.

          Over the years, many people who maintain open source projects have complained that companies and individuals take advantage of their labor and profit from it without giving something back. Open source doesn’t come with a default revenue model after all.

        • StandardJS Pauses Experiment with Ads in the Terminal after Linode Pulls Sponsorship

          Feross Aboukhadijeh, maintainer of the StandardJS library, a JavaScript style guide, linter, and automatic code fixer, launched an experiment last week that places ads in the terminal in order to fund development. The experiment has since been paused after receiving negative feedback from the developer community, causing Linode, one of the initial sponsors, to remove its advertisement.

          “I think that the current model of sustaining open source is not working and we need more experimentation,” Aboukhadijeh said. “This is one such experiment.” He developed a module that inserts an ad whenever Standard 14 is installed. Sponsorship funds are designated to pay for maintainer time, which he defined as “writing new features, fixing bugs, answering user questions, and improving documentation.”

        • Motor control PLC in Python

          We have different types of devices like sov, motor, analog, digital, control valves etc. Each type of device has 100 items.

          Now our software continuously monitors with the PLC to read some property of each type according to which we need to write some property.

          As an example, if motor on command is high then we need to write on feedback at PLC end high. At the moment, I face the problem that it takes too much time to update.

        • Useful Development Tools For Beginners

          When starting out writing HTML/CSS it is important to use validators, especially when you don’t have someone else to look over your work 24/7. Validators allow you to see where you went wrong (if you did), and help you learn best practices with the most recent releases of your chosen technologies.

        • LLVM 9.0-RC3 Released With The Official Compiler Release Coming Soon

          With LLVM 9.0-RC3, all known blocker bugs have now been resolved clearing its path for the official release. So assuming no serious blockers are uncovered, LLVM 9.0.0 could be officially released in the coming days. Though brought up this weekend was a regression for NetBSD support, but it looks like that may just be a fix that needs back-porting.

        • [llvm-dev] [9.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 3 is here
          Hello everyone,
          9.0.0-rc3 was tagged today from the release_90 branch at r370450. In
          the Git monorepo, it's tagged as llvmorg-9.0.0-rc3.
          Source code and docs are available at https://prereleases.llvm.org/9.0.0/#rc3
          Binaries will be added as they become available.
          There are currently no open release blockers, which means if nothing
          new comes up, the final release could ship soon and this is what it
          would look like (except for more release notes, which are still very
          Please file bug reports for any issues you find, and mark them
          blocking https://llvm.org/PR42474
          Release testers, please run the test script, share your results and
          upload binaries.
          Many thanks,
  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • #OSSummit: Don’t Ignore GitHub Security Alerts

        In a session at the Open Source Summit in San Diego, California on August 22, Gil Yehuda, senior director, open source and technology strategy at Verizon Media, outlined the security challenges and opportunities facing organizations that build open source projects on GitHub.

        GitHub has become the defacto primary place to share code for many organizations engaged in open source, including Verizon Media. Yehuda explained that Verizon Media is a conglomerate, which is effectively made up of what had been Yahoo and AOL and includes many different online media properties. Across all those properties, Verizon Media has started over 330 open source projects, ranging from screwdriver, which is a continuous delivery technology, to Denali design, which is a user interface design language for open source projects.


        However, a challenge that Yehuda pointed out, is not for individual projects, but rather for managing many projects at scale. He noted that it’s great that a project maintainer gets an alert and is diligent about fixing the issue, but what happens if the individual maintainer just ignores the alert and doesn’t fix the issue?

      • Binance Funds 40 Developers to Build Open-Source Crypto Software

        Malta-based crypto exchange Binance wants to spur greater research in open-source blockchain development.

      • Money 2.0 Stuff: Open Binance
      • How to Make Your CSO Happy with Your Open Source Components [Ed: Mild FOSS bashing by implying that it's FOSS that has defect whereas proprietary software has none]

        The secret to a CSO’s heart is through a healthy codebase. If you’re interested in introducing OSS into your company’s network, be prepared for a major security challenge. You’ll need to keep track of your OSS, keep an eye out for vulnerabilities, and keep the company codebase as secure as possible.

      • Close Agile open source tools vulnerabilities [Ed: Sonatype still ignoring the elephant in the room: defects and intentional 'defects' (back doors) in proprietary software]
      • Do the benefits of open source software outweigh the risks? [Ed: Let's pretend again that programming the proprietary software away is 100% perfect, has no defects and no secret back doors. Only FOSS is a risk. Every piece of software has some "risk" associated with it. It's not a FOSS thing. Proprietary software comes with a huge risk of EULA enforcement and massive fines, lawsuits. It also has secret back doors, with no liability. No audits. Complicity with spy agencies.]
      • Corelight’s Brian Dye: Data-Driven Approach, Open Source Tools Key to Building Defensive Cyber Program

        Brian Dye, chief product officer at cybersecurity firm Corelight, has said agencies should implement data-driven security approach and open source-based tools to protect their networks from cyber attacks. Dye wrote that some federal agencies have shifted toward that approach with the use of an open-source network analysis framework called Zeek and the Risk Management Framework of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

        “For a high-level, strategic view, agencies need to have all three of those bases covered. If they don’t, it will take significantly longer to find threats, and some won’t be discovered. That puts organizations in the difficult position of not knowing what they don’t know,” Dye said.


        “Open source-based tools are crucial for ensuring that agencies have good data to work with when building a defensive program,” he said. “Such tools provide data that is adaptable, extensible and often irreplaceable. If the right information isn’t in the raw data, no amount of post-processing or analytics will ever compensate for that.”

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • James Comey avoids prosecution over leaked memos on Donald Trump meetings

        The US Justice Department has decided not to prosecute former FBI director James Comey despite an internal investigation finding he improperly leaked a memo to the media.


        The Inspector General said that while Mr Comey’s memo did not contain classified material, he set a dangerous example when he shared sensitive information to create public pressure for official action.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • U.S. Unleashes Military to Fight Fake News, Disinformation

        Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks,” as the top Republican in Congress blocks efforts to protect the integrity of elections.

        The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society.

      • What You Need To Know About U.S. Election Security And Voting Machines [iophk: s/fear/observe/]

        Some experts fear that without a paper record for a person’s ballot, there’s no way to audit an election after the fact and verify the total. But there are other worries about cybervulnerabilities, including the systems used to check voters in on Election Day — called e-pollbooks — and databases of voter data used by officials or vendors that the public doesn’t see.

      • Fix the Electoral College — Or Scrap It

        The decision was the reverse of a ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court in May that upheld that state’s law imposing a fine of $1,000 on three faithless electors, including Mr. Baca’s ally. That court noted that the Constitution gives states near-total authority over electors.

        If the United States Supreme Court steps in to resolve the conflicting rulings, it will of course note that Hamilton’s vision has not been a reality for more than 200 years. After electors unanimously chose the nonpartisan George Washington in the first two elections, national political parties developed and electors became partisan actors who voted for their party’s candidate.

        In other words, electors aren’t distinguished citizens weighing whether the people have made a wise decision on their presidential ballot; they are men and women chosen because of their partisan loyalty. So it’s understandable that after years of tightly contested elections, Americans are aghast that an elector would dare to substitute his judgment for the will of the people.

      • Anti-Islamist Geert Wilders Claims Minister Colluded with Prosecutors in Hate Speech Case

        The document, dated 16 September 2014, speaks of an “intended decision” on the Wilders hate speech case, and therefore not a definite, final decision. That is important, because the Public Prosecution Service always said that the decision to prosecute Wilders was made on September 10th.

        According to RTL, this shows that the Minister and Public Prosecution Service discussed the Wilders case before the decision was made to prosecute him. What was said during this discussions, and whether the Minister actually pressured or influenced the Prosecutor in any way, is not shown in the document. According to the broadcaster, the Ministry also had press releases from the Public Prosecutor adjusted, so that they made a better political impression.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Hong Kong Police Storm Subway With Batons as Protests Rage

        Protesters in Hong Kong threw gasoline bombs at government headquarters and set fires in the streets on Saturday, while police stormed a subway car and hit passengers with batons and pepper spray in scenes that seem certain to inflame tensions further in a city riven by nearly three months of pro-democracy demonstrations.

      • Yaniv’s Other Racket: How a Single Gender Troll Managed to Get ‘Hundreds’ of Women Thrown Off Twitter

        But the saga of JY also carries a lesson for social-media companies, especially Twitter, since JY has weaponized the issue of gender as part of a campaign against other users—typically women—often culminating in (shockingly successful) efforts to de-platform the targeted individuals. Indeed, Lindsay Shepherd, one of the co-authors of this article, had her Twitter account suspended for several days in just such an episode. But for the fact that Ms. Shepherd is a public figure who was able to rally support online, she might still be permanently banned.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Border agents are checking entrants’ Facebook and Twitter profiles — but we still don’t know how closely

        But his case is just one incident in a troubling and well-established trend of expanding social media surveillance at the border. The Obama-era Department of Homeland Security initially suggested an “online presence” field for people requesting visa waivers, and the Trump administration quickly forged ahead with asking for social media data. Some border agents have aggressively pushed visitors to disclose their account handles, even when the practice was optional. Earlier this year, the State Department started requiring most visa applicants to list their social media accounts.

        This week has offered a nightmare scenario for this vetting process. Ajjawi’s account suggests that digital surveillance goes far beyond checking whether a potential immigrant is a criminal threat — and that border officials are treating tenuous social media connections like close, meaningful relationships.

      • Beyond the GDPR: here comes the EU’s ePrivacy regulation – but not yet

        The European Commission published its draft ePrivacy Regulation text, designed to update the old 2002 regulations governing this area, in January 2017. As is customary with the EU legislative process, the European Parliament then set to work to produce its own version of the text, amending the European Commission’s original proposal. The German site Netzpolitik, which has followed the legislation closely, summarized the six main points of the European Parliament’s draft as follows (original in German).

      • How the German Right Wing Dominates Social Media

        The analyst has conducted an extensive study focusing on how active German political parties are on Facebook. And the AfD dominates in a way that Davis finds rather surprising. While political surveys indicate that support for the party is currently between 11 and 15 percent, fully 85 percent of all shared posts originating from German political parties stem from the AfD. The remaining 15 percent of these “shares” are split among the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the pro-environment Greens, the Left Party, the pro-business FDP and the conservatives. The countries big-tent parties — the SPD and the conservative combination of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) — were only responsible for 2 to 3 percent of shares each.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Uber, Lyft bankroll $60million to lobby against California worker classification bill

        Uber and Lyft have stepped up their actions the Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) being tabled in the State Senate of California. According to a new report, the companies are spending a whopping $60 million to throw a wrench in the process and stop the passage of the bill.

        The bill, which will work towards changing worker classification in California and challenges the companies’ business model was bound to have them up in arms. They currently work using “independent contractors,” who actually comprise people working bigger shifts than regular drivers. While they don’t get any benefits that the company would have to give them if they were regular workers, they can be fired easily by ride-sharing companies.

      • Copyrights

        • Petter Reinholdtsen: Norwegian movies that might be legal to share on the Internet

          While working on identifying and counting movies that can be legally shared on the Internet, I also looked at the Norwegian movies listed in IMDb. So far I have identified 54 candidates published before 1940 that might no longer be protected by norwegian copyright law. Of these, only 29 are available at least in part from the Norwegian National Library. It can be assumed that the remaining 25 movies are lost. It seem most useful to identify the copyright status of movies that are not lost. To verify that the movie is really no longer protected, one need to verify the list of copyright holders and figure out if and when they died. I’ve been able to identify some of them, but for some it is hard to figure out when they died.

        • “Legal Options Are a Better Way to Beat Piracy Than Enforcement”

          A new article, published in the American University International Law Review, suggests that affordability and availability are the key drivers to decrease piracy. Focusing on the supply-side is more effective than enforcement options such as lawsuits, infringement notices, and website blocking, the researchers conclude.

Openwashing Report: Monopoly is Open

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google, IBM, Microsoft at 1:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: We’re supposed to be feeling joyous and victorious because — good news, everybody! — even all the technology giants are nowadays claiming to have ‘opened up’

THE plague of openwashing has spread to every corner of the proprietary software world. Just about every proprietary software company, provided it’s large enough, has invested in creating a false image of it being “open”. It’s about perception, as they know that this is all that matters. They can get a bunch of puff pieces published for them, hitting the right keywords to construct a fictional version of reality. There are other slants similar to it, including diversity, greenwashing, social responsibility and so on. But here in Techrights we shall focus on openwashing and name some of the worst offenders every weekend. We might even start doing it on a daily basis, depending on volume of material, urgency, and time available.

When we started researching this past week’s news we wrongly assumed that one concise article would be sufficient or that one single installment would contain everything. But one article isn’t enough; it would be absolutely huge, so we’ve decided make that at least 6 upcoming parts of the Openwashing Report. In fact, we might soon render it a daily feature, not weekly. We wish such a series wasn’t necessary or even possible, but too many incidents/instances are found and it’s very clearly a fast-growing problem. It’s a pandemic/epidemic. It’s 2019 and we can’t believe we’re sketching actual, well-supported (slam-dunk evidence) articles about how truly malicious proprietary software is being framed (and advertised) as “Open Source”. This oughtn’t be happening, but virtually nobody enforces labels such as “Open Source”; so who’s or what’s to stop abuse/misuse of it? Nothing.

“We wish such a series wasn’t necessary or even possible, but too many incidents/instances are found and it’s very clearly a fast-growing problem.”The noise is everywhere, outweighing the signal by nearly a whole order of magnitude. You search the Web for “Open Source” news and you get stuff like “Which Open Source Software is Better for You,” (published days ago) which on the surface (headline) sounds promising. This is not “Open Source” however (at all). It’s nothing but a ramp for malicious proprietary software that follows you around (location surveillance). This isn’t the exception. So Microsoft and Google blobs on one’s phones are “Open Source”? Seriously?

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that Platform9 is not "Linux" or "Open Source" as shallow ‘news’ sites like to claim. Here comes another one of those puff pieces about fund-raising. Check what this company offers. It’s clearly misfiled. It’s one of those “cloud” things (spying).

“So Microsoft and Google blobs on one’s phones are “Open Source”? Seriously?”Over at Toolbox the other day we saw this article about an “Open-Source Partnership”. What is it exactly? Ten tech giants that do mass surveillance for the US government and China’s CCP gang up for openwashing and painting of their spying as “security” and “confidential”. Thanks, Linux Foundation, for this practical joke. Here they go again…

Over a week later media in South Africa is still producing puff pieces about it (“Ten tech giants join forces to beef up data security”).

We’re very sorry for being cynical, but…

Companies that spy on people the most (or build the spies’ infrastructure) use the PR services of the Foundation to paint themselves “Confidential”, “Consortium” and other marketing nonsense (even “Open-Source” and “Security”). How about Channel Futures with many of these buzzwords in one single headline?

How about this one from the Foundation-connected SDxCentral? IBM does lots of surveillance — some exceptionally notorious (see their work for NYPD) — but the media connected to the IBM-funded Foundation frames it as “quantum-safe” and “crypto” and “confidential” etc. (like the NSA calls itself “security”; it’s in the acronym!) and we hardly find that amusing. Even the term “open source” is used. “IBM will begin offering quantum-safe cryptography services on its public cloud beginning next year in a move toward bolstering the security of data and privacy from fault-tolerant quantum computers,” it said.

“Companies that spy on people the most (or build the spies’ infrastructure) use the PR services of the Foundation to paint themselves “Confidential”, “Consortium” and other marketing nonsense (even “Open-Source” and “Security”).”So surveillance is privacy.

“Cloud” is open.

And “cryptography” means “only IBM will read it” (or so one hopes; IBM has partners in the public and private sector).

Analytics India Magazine went ahead with this hilarious report entitled “How Tech Giants Are Advocating Open Source Software As Vehicle Of Change” (Obama also promised “Change”).


“Open Source isn’t exactly true to history and its “champions” exercise lots of openwashing — nothing like whatever the Free software movement originally envisioned.”“Tech Giants Are Advocating” people producing code for them, free of charge, for these “Tech Giants” to then ‘borrow’ this code for openwashing purposes, calling imperialistic spying companies “community”.

The article isn’t better than its headline. It starts with: “Open-sourced projects branched out from the free-software movement which began in the late 80s.”

It’s incredible revisionism to state that “the free-software movement [...] began in the late 80s.” This is false. If it didn’t start in the early 80s, then it started decades beforehand when sharing of code was commonplace; it was the default. But OK, we get it. Open Source isn't exactly true to history and its “champions” exercise lots of openwashing — nothing like whatever the Free software movement originally envisioned.

Later this week we’ll show more examples to that effect — surveillance in particular — implicating Facebook, VMware, IBM, Microsoft, Google and the rest of our ‘favourite’ Open Source ‘champions’ (“Open source champion Microsoft” is what Brian Fagioli’s headline said about Microsoft a few days ago).

Links 1/9/2019: Linux Lite 4.6, Rock Pi 4

Posted in News Roundup at 5:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Linux Anniversary Special: How Linode Was Born

        In this clip, Linode founder Christopher Aker recalls the story of how he came to create Linode. He had left his previous job to focus on a new venture and was impressed with the work that was being done to turn Linux into a user-space program. That gave him an idea about virtualization. Rest is history now, Linode is one of the earlier pioneers of – cloud – which enables users to run any workload on remote machines without having to buy expensive hardware and deal with its management and maintenance.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Should the Linux Kernel Accept Drivers Written In Rust?

        Packt’s recent story about Rust had the headline “Rust is the future of systems programming, C is the new Assembly.”

        But there was an interesting discussion about the story on LWN.net. One reader suggested letting people write drivers for the Linux kernel in Rust. (“There’s a good chance that encouraging people to submit their wacky drivers in Rust would improve the quality of the driver, partly because you can focus attention on the unsafe parts.”)

      • Intel Icelake Thunderbolt Support Queued Ahead Of Linux 5.4

        The Intel Icelake Linux support has largely been squared away for months but one lingering important feature for many is the Thunderbolt support and that’s now set to be introduced with the upcoming Linux 5.4 version.

        With Icelake, the Thunderbolt controller is now implemented on the processor itself (sans the Thunderbolt power circuitry) and this required some rework of the Linux kernel Thunderbolt driver code. It took a while through a few rounds of code revisions and review but that Icelake Thunderbolt support is now ready for Linux 5.4.

      • Graphics Stack

    • Applications

      • 5 great alternatives to FL Studio to use on Linux

        FL Studio is a robust digital audio workstation and musical creation tool for the Windows and Mac platforms. It’s commercial software and considered one of the best musical production programs available today. However, FL Studio does not work on Linux, and no support is planned in the future. So, if you’ve just switched to the Linux platform and want to create music, you’ll need a good alternative. Here are 5 great alternatives to FL Studio to use on Linux!

      • Audacious is an open source music player for Windows and Linux that supports Winamp skins

        Once upon a time, the world of Windows music players was ruled by Winamp. It was resurrected a few months ago and works quite well even though it has not received much love in years.

        If you want the look-and-feel of good ol’ Winamp, with better features, Audacious may be the music player you’re looking for.

        I tested the program on Windows and Linux. And since they are quite similar, we’ll be discussing the Windows version here. The Winamp interface uses a context-menu for most features, so we will focus on the default GTK interface to explore the options.

      • Need A Good Linux Hex Editor? 20 Linux Hex Viewers & Editors Reviewed

        A hex editor is a computer program used for editing a binary file that contains machine-readable data. It paves the way of manipulating raw binary data for a particular application. “Hex” is the short form of hexadecimal, a numerical standard format that represents the binary program. A regular hex editor has three specific areas such as ‘character area’ on the right, ‘hexadecimal area’ in the middle and the ‘address area’ on the left. Additionally, some hex editors are designed to edit and parse sector data from the hard disk and floppy disk which are frequently called disk editor or sector editor. There are far ranges of Linux hex editor available in the market; that to a greater extent make a user squarely beneficial, and allow them to edit binary program.

      • Announcing lymworkbook project

        In 2017, I started working on a new book to teach Linux command line in our online summer training. The goal was to have the basics covered in the book, and the same time not to try to explain things which can be learned better via man pages (yes, we encourage people to read man pages).


        We are starting with only a few problems, but I (and a group of volunteers) will slowly add many more problems. We will also increase the complexity by increasing the number of machines and having setup more difficult systems. This will include the basic system administration related tasks.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Is Now In Better Shape On NetBSD Thanks To GSoC 2019

        In addition to NetBSD seeing better DRM ioctl support for its Linux compatibility layer (as part of an effort towards possible Steam support) thanks to Google Summer of Code 2019, there were also Wine improvements as a result of this Google programming initiative.

        Student developer Naveen Narayanan worked the summer on improving NetBSD’s Wine support, particularly when it comes to AMD64 (x86_64) support.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.14 review – Holding out for a hero

        People often ask me (joking, no one asks me anything, I ain’t got no friends) what my favorite Linux desktop is. And my answer is, well, long and complicated. But I guess, in the past fifteen years, I’ve mostly used and loved Plasma and Unity, with some brief moments of joy with Gnome 2. Then, inevitably, the question of Xfce comes up, and my answer is even longer and more complicated.

        The release of Xfce 4.14 might provide a part of the answer you’re looking for. And you should definitely look at my reviews of various distros running Xfce, like say Xubuntu or MX Linux, to get a sense of what this desktop environment does, and how it does it. But then, it’s never been really my default go-to setup, although I did use it quite successfully and effectively – and still do – on my feisty, 10-year-old Asus eeePC netbook. On the desktop proper, I like it, and I liked what it did approximately three years or so. Since, it’s kind of kept a quiet profile, not quite here nor there. Well, I want to see if the new version has the kick to make my proverbial colt buck and gallop. Testing time it is then!

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 86

          Here’s week 86 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative! There are lots and lots of cool changes, which is especially impressive as the KDE community prepares for Akademy, which kicks off next weekend. Sadly I cannot attend this year–there was an unavoidable scheduling conflict with my best friend’s wedding–but I will be there in spirit!

        • Akademy Ahead!

          Akademy is the yearly get-together of the KDE community and of KDE e.V. (the association that supports the community’s activities). As always, the conference and attendance is free (gratis).

        • Help Beta Test Krita 4.2.6!

          This will be the first Krita release since the big sprint. We’re aiming to do monthly bugfix releases again from now on! But we also want to cut down on the regressions that come with rapid development so we’re making beta releases again. Please help the team out and check these beta releases for bugs and regressions. R

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linux Lite 4.6 Final Released

          Linux Lite 4.6 Final is now available for download and install.

          This release has a number of changes.

        • Linux Lite 4.6 Officially Released, It’s Based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS

          After several months of work, the final version of the Linux Lite 4.6 operating system is here, coming five months after the previous version, Linux Lite 4.4. The entire system is based on Canonical’s recently released Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system, but it doesn’t ship with its newer HWE (Hardware Enablement) Linux 5.0 kernel by default.

          Instead, Linux Lite 4.6 is still powered by the stock Linux 4.15 kernel of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series, though users will be able to install a wide range of kernels from Linux 3.13 to Linux 5.2 from the official Linux Lite software repositories.

      • Fedora Family

        • Anatomy of a bug

          I’m not sure how many have noticed, but DNF hasn’t been downloading zchunk metadata in Fedora since the beginning of this month due to a bug in… well, it’s complicated.

          Let’s start with the good news. The fact that almost nobody has noticed means that the fallback to non-zchunk metadata is working perfectly. Fedora is still generating zchunk metadata. When we get the fix built for Fedora, DNF will automatically go back to downloading zchunk metadata. And, when that happens, almost nobody will notice (but their metadata downloads will be greatly reduced in size again)


          There are a couple of ways to fix this. The method we’ve gone with is to define WITH_ZCHUNK in libdnf so LRO_SUPPORTS_CACHEDIR is defined once more. This fix is currently in review, and once it’s pushed upstream, we’ll try to get libdnf builds done in Fedora with it included.

      • Debian Family

        • C TAP Harness 4.5

          Peter Paris requested that C TAP Harness support being built as C++ code. I’ve not been a big fan of doing this with pure C code since I find some of the requirements of C++ mildly irritating, but Peter’s initial patch also fixed one type error in a malloc uncovered because of one of C++’s rules requiring the return of malloc be cast. It turned out to be a mostly harmless error since the code was allocating a larger struct than it needed to, but it’s still evidence that there’s some potential here for catching bugs.

          That said, adding an explicit cast to every malloc isn’t likely to catch bugs. That’s just having to repeat oneself in every allocation, and you’re nearly as likely to repeat yourself incorrectly.

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities August 2019
        • Sylvain Beucler: Debian LTS and ELTS – August 2019

          Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

        • Sparky news 2019/08

          The 8th monthly report of 2019 of the Sparky project:

          • Sparky 2019.08 (semi-)rolling based on Debian testing “Bullseye” released
          • Chours translate Wiki pages to Russian, so I do that to Polish as well; let me know if you would like to translate Sparky Wiki to your language
          • Sparky 2019.08 Special Editions released
          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.2.11 & 5.3-rc6
          • Nemomen started translating Sparky tools to Hungarian
          • added to repos: FreeOffice office suite

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What To Expect From The Ubuntu 19.10 ‘Eoan Ermine’ Beta On September 26

          The release of Ubuntu Linux 19.10 edges ever closer, with an expected Beta release landing on September 26 ahead of the planned October 17 launch. Here’s a brief rundown of what to expect, and a few features that might make it worth the upgrade from versions 18.10 or 19.04.

          As always Ubuntu 19.10 will introduce the usual minor interface and software tweaks, but there are some highlights I’m seriously looking forward to, such as flicker-free boot for Intel users, similar to what you see today in Fedora 30.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • As Ola Bini Prosecutors Wrap Up Investigation, Amnesty Calls Out Human Rights Violations in His Case

        Today marks the last day that the Ecuadorean prosecution has to investigate its case against Ola Bini, the Swedish free software programmer  who was arrested there in April and detained for over two months without trial and without clear charges. On Thursday, the judge accepted a plea by the prosecutors to change the nature of the charges, switching from one part of Ecuador’s broad cybercrime statute to another. It seems likely that the prosecution will rely on evidence uncovered a few weeks ago that depicted Bini accessing an open, publicly available telnet service: an act that is, in itself, entirely legal under any reasonable interpretation of the law

        The sudden swapping out of charges at the last moment is just the latest twist in a politically charged and technically confused prosecution. It should be no surprise, then, that Amnesty International this week released a statement denouncing Ecuador’s treatment of Bini. The organization, which works to protect human rights globally, has determined that the Ecuadorian state failed to comply with its obligations under international law during Bini’s arrest and subsequent detention. In addition to this pronouncement, Amnesty has also expressed serious concern that political interference jeopardizes the chance for a fair trial, concerns that EFF has raised as well.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • TenFourFox FPR16 available

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 16 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). This final version has a correctness fix to the VMX text fragment scanner found while upstreaming it to mainline Firefox for the Talos II, as well as minor outstanding security updates. Assuming no issues, it will become live on Monday afternoon-evening Pacific time (because I’m working on Labor Day).


        • Emacs 26.3 comes with GPG key for GNU ELPA package signature check and more!

          Few users expected more changes in this release, a user commented on HackerNews, “So … only two relevant changes this time?” While others think that there are editors comparatively better than Emacs.

          Another user commented, “I don’t want to start a flamewar, but I moved most things I was doing in Emacs to Textadept a while back because I found Textadept more convenient. That’s not to say TA does everything you can do in Emacs, but it replaced all of the scripting I was doing with Emacs. You have the full power of Lua inside TA. Emacs always has a lag when I start it up, whereas TA is instant. I slowly built up functionality inside TA to the point that I realized I could replace everything I was doing in Emacs.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Multiply according to the number of times

          In this example, a root number and the number which indicates how many numbers of times that root number should get multiplied have been passed into a function which will then return a list of multiplied numbers of that original number. For example, if we pass in 3 and 5 to this method multiples(3, 5), we will receive a list of multiplied numbers: [5, 10, 15].

        • Newsletter September 2019

          For this coming back month, Tryton has still improved for the users by simplifying some usage but also for the developers by providing more tools.

        • PyCon 2020 Conference Site is here!

          Our bold design includes the Roberto Clemente Bridge, also known as the Sixth Street Bridge, which spans the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Steelmark, was originally created for United States Steel Corporation to promote the attributes of steel: yellow lightens your work; orange brightens your leisure; and blue widens your world. The PPG Building, is a complex in downtown Pittsburgh, consisting of six buildings within three city blocks and five and a half acres. Named for its anchor tenant, PPG Industries, who initiated the project for its headquarters, the buildings are all of matching glass design consisting of 19,750 pieces of glass. Also included in the design are a fun snake, terminal window, and hardware related items.

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (cxcii) stackoverflow python report
  • Leftovers

    • Greetings From Echo Park

      This is the second (and final) installment of Jeffrey St. Clair’s essay, Deep Time and the Green River, Floating. Click here to read Part One.

    • Karl Marx and Religion

      Karl Marx is widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated theorists of human history. Marx was above all a scientist. He used the term historical materialism to explain that it was the material state of society that produced human relations. Today, perhaps especially in the United States, the mainstream tends to tell us it is the other way around. The American Dream argues that material gains comes from hard work, discipline and innovation.

    • Valerie Harper, Taboo-Busting ‘Rhoda’ TV Star, Dies at 80

      Valerie Harper, who scored guffaws, stole hearts and busted TV taboos as the brash, self-deprecating Rhoda Morgenstern on back-to-back hit sitcoms in the 1970s, has died.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Why Some People Don’t Trust Doctors

        On a recent night on duty at my hospital, I was called to the room of a 60-year-old patient from Puerto Rico. He had a treatable cancer that had now turned end-stage and metastatic. But he refused medical interventions such as intubation or resuscitation.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Multiple Ways To Install Security Updates On RedHat And CentOS

        In this tutorial, we are going to show you the multiple ways to install security updates on RHEL and CentOS operating system.

        Basically, we will use four different methods to intstall security updates on RedHat and CentOS operating system.

      • In Cybersecurity, Decentralization and Diversity are Strength

        The US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the New York Times reports, fears “ransomware” attacks against America’s voter registration systems in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. In response, it’s launching a program that “narrowly focuses” on protecting those systems.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Bankrupt and Irrelevant: the Presidential Debates and Four Recent Studies on Pentagon Spending

        In the almost 12 hours of Democratic Party presidential primary debates on June 26-27 and July 30-31, the words “Pentagon budget” or “defense spending” were not uttered, except for a fleeting, unanswered comment from Senator Bernie Sanders. Nor did any of the cable news moderators ask a single question about the more than $1.25 trillion dollars spent in 2019 for national security.

      • Making a Killing From Killing

        Though I encounter students and other young people who have never heard the term I hope most Americans are aware of the “Military Industrial Complex.” In his final speech to the nation President Eisenhower, surprisingly since he oversaw much of its formation, warned citizens of the growing danger of the “permanent armaments industry” controlled by those who owned and profited greatly from this new scientific and technological establishment. Many of the giant arms industries, both industrial and high tech, that dominate the corporate landscape today came into existence as the result of war and would long ago have gone out of business in the absence of the guaranteed government profits flowing from the manufactured wars that sustain them today.

      • The Great Cost and Myth of U.S. Defense Spending

        U.S. defense spending is out of control, severely undermining our ability to tackle climate change, infrastructure needs, health care, and other national challenges.  The mainstream media, particularly the New York Times and Washington Post, contribute to the problem of defense spending by understating the cost of defense.

      • Trump Eyes Mental Institutions as Answer to Gun Violence

        When shots rang out last year at a high school in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 people dead, President Donald Trump quickly turned his thoughts to creating more mental institutions.

      • The High Stakes of Oracle’s Appeal

        So now Oracle is appealing the Pentagon’s award to Amazon of its US$10 billion JEDI contract to provide cloud computing solutions.

        “The Court of Federal Claims opinion in the JEDI bid protest describes the JEDI procurement as unlawful, notwithstanding dismissal of the protest solely on the legal technicality of Oracle’s purported lack of standing,” said Dorian Daley, general counsel, Oracle Corporation. “Federal procurement laws specifically bar single award procurements such as JEDI absent satisfying specific, mandatory requirements, and the Court in its opinion clearly found DoD did not satisfy these requirements.”

        At the same time the DoD announced an official review of the award.

        “We are reviewing the DoD’s handing of the JEDI cloud acquisition, including the development of requirements and the request for proposal process,” said Dwrena Allen, spokeswoman at the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. “In addition, we are investigating whether current or former DoD officials committed misconduct relating to the JEDI acquisition, such as whether any had any conflicts of interest related to their involvement in the acquisition process.”

        Frankly, a lot of people probably — likely, definitely — don’t care about JEDI and what it means, but if we were all small-d democrats in this republic, we might (ought to) care. Here are some reasons.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • ‘His psychological torture is unabated’: John Pilger reveals Assange prison conditions

        Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker John Pilger says the “psychological torture” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues “unabated” while he remains in British custody.
        Pilger tweeted that he recently spoke with Assange and said the journalist had lost even more weight than previously reported; he has also been denied a chance to speak to his parents on the phone.

      • Ecuador Presses New Charges Against Assange’s Associate Ola Bini

        Swedish programmer Ola Bini was arrested in Ecuador’s capital Quito in mid-April on the the same day as his friend and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and is suspected of having hacked government accounts.
        During a court hearing on Thursday, the prosecutor announced that he had changed the crime classification in the case of Ola Bini, a Swedish national with ties to Julian Assange, as well as an activist and developer of software that complicates online monitoring.

        The charges were changed from “attack on the integrity of computer systems”, which the prosecutor previously insisted Bini was guilty of, to “unauthorised intrusion into computer systems”, the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reported. Bini is now suspected of having breached the Ecuadorian state telecommunications company CNT’s website.

      • Attys For Alleged Ex-CIA Leaker Say They May Need To Testify

        Attorneys for a former CIA programmer accused of spilling secrets to WikiLeaks have asked a New York federal court to divide the case, saying two of his public defenders are potential witnesses in the programmer’s favor for a new count that has been added to the indictment.

        Attorneys for Joshua Schulte explained in a letter motion filed Monday that they are able to testify as to Schulte’s state of mind while he was held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, during which time prosecutors allege Schulte attempted to disclose more classified information. However, attorneys cannot act as both counsel and…

    • Environment

      • Look at All These Celebrities Fighting Climate Change With Private Jets!

        Our pop culture landscape is overflowing with celebrities “speaking out.” For all their work, however, our planet’s environment has yet to escape its perilous future. These activist heroes also face an avalanche of criticism for the impact privately chartered aircrafts have on our atmosphere. (According to the New York Post’s calculations, Google Camp’s fleet of famouses dumped 784,000 kilograms of CO2 into the air.) To shoulder some of the burden, Jezebel has compiled the following list of prominent eco-warriors and the immense benefits private jets have afforded them in their fight against environmental catastrophe. It’s quite literally the least we could do!

      • The Amazon Is on Fire. So Is Central Africa.

        In Central Africa, as in other parts of the world, many of the fires are typical for this time of year. While some ignite naturally in the dry season, others are deliberately set by farmers to clear land and improve crop yields.

        In South America the burns spilled into sensitive areas and grew out of control. In Africa, some experts fear the same outcome, and say that Central African governments may be inadequately prepared to fight the blazes.

        Irène Wabiwa Betoko, a forest manager with Greenpeace who is based in Kinshasa, said that regional governments are less equipped to fight these burns than their South American counterparts, both technically and financially.

        “If it catches the rainforest in the Congo Basin, it will be worse than in South America,” she said in a telephone interview. “We are calling on governments to not be silent. Start acting now to make sure these fires are not getting out of control.”

      • 4 climate tipping points the planet is facing

        Is our planet approaching a climate change cliff edge? Across the world, from the forests to the oceans, the consequences of humanity’s activities are being felt – and the effects could be catastrophic.

        Here are four key climate emergencies happening right now: [...]

      • Hurricane Dorian Now a Category 3, With 10 Million in Florida in Its Path

        An increasingly dangerous Hurricane Dorian menaced a corridor of some 10 million people — and put Walt Disney World and President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in the crosshairs — as it steamed toward Florida on Friday with the potential to become the most powerful storm to hit the state’s east coast in nearly 30 years.

      • The Amazon Inferno

        One of the lasting highlights of my teaching at the University of New Orleans in 1991-1992 was my travel to Brazil in January 1992 for a conference on climate change. This was a rehearsal for the June 1992 Earth Summit on Climate Change in Rio.

      • Stop Blaming Cows and Start Targeting the Corporations That are Destroying the Amazon

        Most of the reporting on the fires raging in the Amazon try to identify the guilty parties. Some of those that have been identified include ranchers and loggers, as well as the rightwing government of Jair Bolsonaro for its lack of enforcing environmental regulations. Yet, what we need to consider is that no single actor is responsible for destroying the rainforest, but instead corporate supply chains that crisscross our planet. To truly effect change, we need to target companies within these networks, which can occur if we restore Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in agriculture and boycott firms that have been linked to deforestation.

      • Energy

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Kashmiri Pride and Dignity: My Grandfather’s Dream Will Not Be Forgotten

        In Kashmir, dissenting voices, even those of legislators and parliamentarians of opposition parties, have been muzzled. And with the lack of accountability suspension of phone and internet services in the Valley, the populace of Kashmir continues to remain incommunicado. In doing so, the federal government has ignored constitutional checks and balances that ought to prevent the over centralization of powers in India.

      • The Hitler-Stalin Pact, Reconsidered

        On August 26th, an article titled “The Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939: Myth and Reality” appeared on CounterPunch. It made many useful points about the right of the USSR to conclude a non-aggression pact with any capitalist nation in light of the invasion that nearly destroyed it in the early 1920s. While Cold War scholarship, including its most recent incarnation in a book like Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, tries to draw parallels between Stalin and Hitler as totalitarian monsters, it was in the interest of humanity to preserve what was progressive about Soviet society despite the clique that ruled from the top.

      • Sex Work and the 2020 Presidential Campaign

        The next Democratic presidential-candidates debate is scheduled for mid-September and it would be interesting if a network moderator asks the candidates whether they were in favor of decriminalizing consensual, adult sex work?

      • Make America … More Like Canada

        We Americans tend not to pay much attention to our northern neighbors. Often, entire election cycles can come and go without anyone running for national office saying anything about Canada.

      • Humanism – Helping People

        Long ago, when I was a congressional press secretary, Jennings Randolph was a wise senator from West Virginia. On his Washington desk, he kept a motto I never forgot…

      • A Voting Calculus

        “Reality is not always probable, or likely” Borges tells us, but we are yet, presumptuously and foolishly, driven to find a logic and its calculus, especially regarding U.S. presidential elections.

      • The Primary Contradiction: Corporate Power vs. Progressive Populism

        For plutocrats, this summer has gotten a bit scary. Two feared candidates are rising. Trusted candidates are underperforming. The 2020 presidential election could turn out to be a real-life horror movie: A Nightmare on Wall Street.

      • DNC Reverses Course on Virtual Voting in Two States

        Cybersecurity concerns have prompted the Democratic National Committee to reverse course on offering a telephone voting option in 2020’s presidential caucuses in Iowa and Nevada. But those key early states may find another way for voters not present at February caucuses to take part—possibly by voting early at voting centers.

      • Palin’s Flute, Obama’s Voice

        A recent New York Times piece by pop critics—the two Jons, Pareles & Caramanica—on the playlists of Democratic Presidential candidates was an ode to posturing and opportunism. The computer-curated tastes of musical consumer/voters have long been turned into political capital. The algorithm is now democratic king-maker.

      • Name and Shame Big Political Contributors

        This August, a phony controversy erupted over wealthy donors to President Trump’s campaign and political action committee being publicly named.

      • Let’s Make the Next Debates Good for Something

        Do we really need three-ring circus “debates” to figure out that the only two candidates in the running for president who should be taken seriously are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren?

      • Film Official Secrets Is Tip of Mammoth Iceberg

        It is also one of the most poorly understood, in part because the story of Katharine Gun, played by Knightley, is so little known. I should say from the outset that having followed this story from the start, I find this film to be, by Hollywood standards, a remarkably accurate account of what has happened to date—”to date” because the wider story still isn’t really over.

      • The Whistleblower Who Almost Stopped the Iraq Invasion

        Gun’s immediate action after reading critiques of U.S. policy and media coverage makes a strong case for trying to reach government workers by handing out fliers and books and putting up billboards outside government offices to encourage them to be more critically minded.

      • Real News or Fake News?

        You can’t make shit like this up. Well, sometimes you can make shit like this up.

      • The Rise of the ‘Rise of the Global Right’

        In the U.S., Donald Trump remains among the least popular presidents in modern history. Given the buoyant state of the U.S. economy, at least relative to the widespread misery of the prior decade, this unpopularity reinforces the political disillusion reflected in the 2016 election results. Only Jimmy Carter, who engineered a vicious recession in the midst of a colonial rebellion in Iran, was less popular than Mr. Trump at this point in his tenure.

      • China’s Biggest Propaganda Agency Buys Ads on Facebook and Twitter to Smear Protesters in Hong Kong

        China’s largest state-run news agency, Xinhua News, is buying ads on Facebook and Twitter to smear protesters in Hong Kong, a new tactic being used to influence how the rest of the world perceives the pro-democracy demonstrators.

        An estimated 1.7 million people in Hong Kong, roughly a quarter of its population, took to the streets on Sunday to denounce Beijing’s attempts to interfere in the semi-autonomous territory. But China has amassed soldiers across the border in Shenzhen and appears to be stepping up its propaganda efforts online through paid ads on Facebook and Twitter, as well as unpaid content on platforms like YouTube.

      • Facebook Discloses Cambridge Analytica Email It Fought for Months to Keep Secret

        “The District of Columbia fought to make this document public because we believe the American people have a right to know what and when Facebook knew about its data security weaknesses,” said a spokesperson for the office of the attorney general for the District of Columbia. “According to the conversations this document contains, Facebook employees were raising alarms about political partners and doubts about their compliance with Facebook’s data policies as far back as September 2015.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Hong Kong ISPs Refuse To Help China Censor The Internet

        China’s no stranger to censorship online, given it runs one of the most sophisticated internet censorship operations on the planet. Like many governments upset with the idea of free expression online, China has also long waged a war against VPNs and proxies that let the public bypass this ham-fisted techno-blockade.

      • Angering China Can Now Get You Fired

        But the case of Sy’s firing shows that Beijing is turning up the heat further still. The CCP is intervening directly in the staffing decisions of firms, pitting managers against their own employees, and enforcing Beijing’s wishes in an area beyond the direct control of China’s surveillance state.

      • [Older] Why China’s assault on Cathay Pacific should scare all foreign firms

        With 26,000 employees in Hong Kong, Cathay initially took a neutral stance as protests engulfed the city. The airline would not dream of telling its employees what to think, its chairman proclaimed. His defiance withered, though, as criticism from China mounted. When the Chinese aviation authority, absurdly, accused the airline of imperilling safety because its employees had joined the protests, Cathay dumped its chief executive. A climate of fear now pervades it. Chinese inspectors have started screening the phones of Cathay crew for anti-Beijing material.

      • To end HK protests, the government plans to force ISPs to block apps used by protesters

        The Hong Kong government has drawn up plans to use executive orders to force internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict certain applications in Hong Kong as a way to disrupt the successful mass organization of those in the HK protests. Targeted apps could include anything used by protesters to help their organization. Telegram, WhatsApp, Messenger – you name it – they could all be affected. It doesn’t take much to imagine where the inspiration for the orders actually came from – The Chinese government has a well known penchant for this exact type of internet restriction enforced at the ISP level. In response, the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association (HKISPA) issued a statement pleading the government to reconsider any sort of limitation on open internet access in Hong Kong. The association passionately cautions anyone that will listen that to block the apps that HK protesters are using is not going to end well: [...]

      • Jerry Falwell’s Systematic Censorship at Liberty University Is Shocking—and Bound to Backfire

        “We encountered an ‘oversight system’—read: a censorship regime—that required us to send every story to Falwell’s assistant for review,” a former student at Liberty wrote for the Post this summer.

        We can’t blame the students, who are attending the school hoping to learn and do journalism. We can’t fully blame the faculty, who are trying to do their job and provide for their families. One has to blame the leadership of that university, who created such a dishonest climate for journalism education.

      • Libel Reform Resources for Defamation Bill 2012

        The modern movement for reform of the law of defamation is associated with the campaign which supported Simon Singh in defending the misconceived and illiberal libel claim brought by the (now discredited) British Chiropractic Association from 2008 to 2010. The campaign was transformed by the charity Sense About Science (and English Pen and Index on Censorship) into a broader demand for libel reform via “the Libel Reform Campaign“. All three main political parties committed to defamation reform in their 2010 general election manifestos.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Don’t Play in Google’s Privacy Sandbox

        Last week, Google announced a plan to “build a more private web.” The announcement post was, frankly, a mess. The company that tracks user behavior on over ⅔ of the web said that “Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do.” 

        Google not only doubled down on its commitment to targeted advertising, but also made the laughable claim that blocking third-party cookies — by far the most common tracking technology on the Web, and Google’s tracking method of choice — will hurt user privacy. By taking away the tools that make tracking easy, it contended, developers like Apple and Mozilla will force trackers to resort to “opaque techniques” like fingerprinting. Of course, lost in that argument is the fact that the makers of Safari and Firefox have shown serious commitments to shutting down fingerprinting, and both browsers have made real progress in that direction. Furthermore, a key part of the Privacy Sandbox proposals is Chrome’s own (belated) plan to stop fingerprinting.

      • Harvard Student’s Deportation Raises Concerns About Border Device Searches and Social Media Surveillance

        Media outlets reported this week that an international student at Harvard University was deported back to Lebanon after border agents in Boston searched his electronic devices and confronted him about his friends’ social media posts. These allegations raise serious concerns about whether the government is following its own policies regarding border searches of electronic devices, and the constitutionality of these searches and of social media surveillance by the government.

        As the Harvard Crimson reported, Ismail Ajjawi alleges that after he arrived at Logan International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers subjected him to hours of questioning, including about his religious practices. Officers also had him unlock his cell phone and laptop, and took the devices out of his sight for approximately five hours. A CBP officer ultimately confronted Ajjawi about political posts that his friends had made on social media, cancelled his visa, and denied his admission to the United States.

      • Five Concerns about Amazon Ring’s Deals with Police

        More than 400 police departments across the country have partnered with Ring, tech giant Amazon’s “smart” doorbell program, to create a troubling new video surveillance system. Ring films and records any interaction or movement happening at the user’s front door, and alerts users’ phones. These partnerships expand the web of government surveillance of public places, degrade the public’s trust in civic institutions, purposely breed paranoia, and deny citizens the transparency necessary to ensure accountability and create regulations.

        You can read more about EFF’s thoughts on how this technology threatens privacy, encourages racial profiling, and stifles freedom here.

      • BangBros buys pornstar doxxing site just so it could burn the hard drives

        The company has bought the domain pornwikileaks.com: a site that previously housed a forum with over 300,000 posts on it, sharing private information of 15,000 porn stars. In its place is a simple message explaining the act, and a link to a video where the company shows what it did with all the data it purchased:

        “We have purchased this site with the intention of shutting it down and removing all information associated with it,” the text reads. “There’s no catch. No hidden thing to getting your personal stuff off of it. We simply didn’t want it out there for the world to see anymore.

      • YouTube will pay up to $200 million after allegedly violating children’s privacy

        The exact terms of the settlement are unclear, but Google will reportedly pay fines between $150 and $200 million. The charges stem from data collection and targeting practices in YouTube, which consumer groups alleged violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Some details of the settlement had been reported in July by The Washington Post, but they were not finalized until today’s vote.

      • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account [cracked] [iophk: phone numbers are *NOT* a second factor]

        Twitter tweeted later Friday afternoon that Dorsey’s account “is now secure,” and that there is no indication its internal systems were breached. The company later added that “the phone number associated with the account was compromised due to a security oversight.”

      • Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey has account [cracked]

        The profile, which has more than four million followers, tweeted out a flurry of highly offensive and racist remarks for about 15 minutes.

        Twitter said its own systems were not compromised, instead blaming an unnamed mobile operator.

        “The phone number associated with the account was compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider,” Twitter said in a statement.

        “This allowed an unauthorised person to compose and send tweets via text message from the phone number. That issue is now resolved.”

      • How Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Account (Probably) Was [Cracked]

        Twitter hasn’t yet offered any more details about what exactly happened yet. While Chuckling Squad’s modus operandi remains unknown at this time, some of the influencers who got hit in the last two weeks have blamed so-called SIM swap attacks, with a particular focus on AT&T. In a SIM swap, a hacker either convinces or bribes a carrier employee to switch the number associated with a SIM card to another device, at which point they can intercept any two-factor authentication codes sent by text message. (It’s hard to stop a determined SIM swapper, but at the very least you should switch from SMS two-factor to an authenticator app). AT&T did not immediately respond to an inquiry from WIRED about the spate of hacks this month, or whether the @jack incident was related.

      • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account was [cracked]

        Today’s hack appears to be from the same group that attacked a number of YouTube celebrities last week on Twitter, including beauty vlogger James Charles, Shane Dawson, and comedian King Bach. The hackers also allegedly gained access to the late Desmond “Etika” Amofah’s Gmail account, as seen by screenshots collected in their Discord server. At the time, many of the people who’d been affected suggested their accounts were breached following a SIM card swap conducted by AT&T employees.

        “We are working with law enforcement, have restored the customers’ service, and discussed ways to secure the account,” an AT&T spokesperson told The Verge after the previous Chuckle Squad attacks. AT&T has not responded to a request for comment today.

      • The Baroness Fighting to Protect Children Online

        The problem, as Baroness Kidron sees it, is that apps like YouTube and Instagram use data-fueled enticements — such as tallying “likes” and automatically personalizing videos that play one after another — to get youngsters hooked on their services. Children, she says, are no match for the turbocharged influence tactics, and often stay glued to the services even if doing so makes them unhappy.

        “The idea that it’s O.K. to nudge kids into endless behaviors, just because you are pushing their evolutionary buttons — it’s not a fair fight,” Lady Kidron told me, as she sat a few tables away from a Facebook policy executive. “It’s little Timmy in his bedroom versus Mark Zuckerberg in his Valley.”

        Her goal is to counter that power dynamic, so that children’s rights and protections in the digital world more closely resemble those in real life. And she’s not just talking about it — she is changing the law.

      • The Myth of Consumer-Grade Security

        In his keynote address at the International Conference on Cybersecurity, Attorney General William Barr argued that companies should weaken encryption systems to gain access to consumer devices for criminal investigations. Barr repeated a common fallacy about a difference between military-grade encryption and consumer encryption: “After all, we are not talking about protecting the nation’s nuclear launch codes. Nor are we necessarily talking about the customized encryption used by large business enterprises to protect their operations. We are talking about consumer products and services such as messaging, smart phones, e-mail, and voice and data applications.”

        The thing is, that distinction between military and consumer products largely doesn’t exist. All of those “consumer products” Barr wants access to are used by government officials — heads of state, legislators, judges, military commanders and everyone else — worldwide. They’re used by election officials, police at all levels, nuclear power plant operators, CEOs and human rights activists. They’re critical to national security as well as personal security.

      • You Know That Mobile Phone Tracking Data You Used As Evidence In Over 10,000 Court Cases? Turns Out Some Of It Was Wrong, But We’re Not Sure Which Yet

        As many have pointed out, our mobile phones are the perfect surveillance device. Most people carry them around — voluntarily — while they are awake. Put this together with the fact that mobile phones have to connect to a nearby transmitter in order to work, and you end up with a pretty good idea of where the person using the device is throughout the day. No surprise, then, that police and prosecutors around the world turn routinely to phone tracking data when they are investigating cases. But as the New York Times reports, there can be serious problems with simply assuming the results are reliable. The Danish authorities have to review over 10,000 court verdicts because of errors in mobile phone tracking data that was offered as evidence in those cases. In addition, Denmark’s director of public prosecutions has ordered a two-month halt in the use of this location data in criminal cases while experts try to sort out the problems…

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • China Expels a Wall Street Journal Reporter in Sign of Tougher Line

        China has effectively expelled a reporter working for The Wall Street Journal after he wrote an article about the cousin of the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, in the latest sign of a government clampdown on media freedom.

        The Chinese authorities declined to renew the press credentials of Chun Han Wong, a reporter in Beijing for The Journal, a spokesman from Dow Jones, the parent company of the newspaper, said in an emailed statement on Friday.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Raping Words After Raping Women

        On the Feminist Glitter Revolt in Mexico City

      • Judge Marks and Mass Incarceration in the Middle District of Alabama

        In 2016, together with former colleague Assistant Federal Public Defender Donnie W. Bethel, I wrote, “[p]eople of all persuasions, political parties, and philosophies have awakened to the terrible toll the crises of overcriminalization and mass incarceration have wrought on America.”

      • Humanity Denied: What Is Missing from the Omar, Tlaib Story

        Israel’s decision to bar two United States Democratic Representatives, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, from entering Israel and visiting Palestine has further exposed the belligerent, racist nature of the Israeli government.

      • TSA’s Expensive Scanners Can’t Figure Out Afros Or Turbans, So Guess Who’s Getting Searched More Often

        The TSA accidentally admitted years ago that its (annoying) presence at airports was extraneous. Summoned into existence by the 9/11 attacks, the TSA was nothing more than an obsolete government fixture a few years later. With terrorism being pretty much ground-based at this point in time, we’re left to wonder why we still need to jump through all the TSA’s hoops just to board a plane agents haven’t made any safer with their elaborate security pantomime.

      • Why I’m a Proud Anti-American

        Anti-American, that’s the popular slur for any critic of American foreign policy, especially in an election year. If you happen to have enough of a conscience to give a shit about who this country happens to be bombing or starving this week, you’re an anti-American, you hate the troops and you should go back to where you came from. The knee-jerk reaction to this knee-jerk reaction from most peaceniks, left and right, is to designate their opposition to empire as a form of patriotism. And I can respect that, but it’s not really my style. I’ve always been the kind of fat insane faggot who owns her slurs and wears them proudly like gang colors. I call it the Eazy E school of political incorrectness. You can be a patriotic pacifist, or you can be an Anti-American with attitude. My homegirls in the Squad have sheepishly chosen the prior, but I for one am proud to be a flag burning, middle finger waging, Anti-American bitch, and if Trump wants to send me back to the County Cork, I’ll pack my bags if he agrees to kiss my ass on the way out.

      • What to Ask Before Calling Out

        What do you do when someone says something offensive?

      • The Tragic Comedy in “Buying Greenland” from Denmark

        President Donald Trump’s recent proposition to buy Greenland generated curious headlines and reactions around the world. Many have focused their attention on the comical reaction to his offer: not for sale, absurd. Trump’s disregard for Greenland’s self-governing-autonomy and his unsophisticated approach to negotiation and problem-solving are on full display.

      • Senator Cotton on the Need to Buy Greenland

        Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has published an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “We Should Buy Greenland,” confirming the fact that Trump’s spurned bid was indeed dead-serious. In it Cotton reflects the imperialist mentality of his “crazy like a fox” president.

      • The Dream is Dead Not Just for Dreamers, But for All Americans

        It is a truism that whatever starts off hurting immigrants eventually harms us all. On the other hand, if something benefits immigrants that too ends up helping all of us. When xenophobia hits a nation, this basic principle is forgotten, as a false us-versus-them dichotomy takes hold. A disturbing aspect of American exceptionalism is that this dichotomy keeps being presented as something virtuous; the veneer of exceptionalism blinds us to our common interest and is now breeding the intense storm of resentment that is ostensibly targeted toward immigrants but is actually a reflection of deep self-hatred.

      • Diary: Franketienne

        The end of the long and dominant history of modernism in Haitian painting which, like with that of most 20th century societies, began with a midcentury batch of artists combining Europe and home, in this case Haiti, is coinciding with the collapse of bourgeois social order in Haiti, the beginning of a collapse that came with the end of the Duvalier regime, the birth of Haitian democracy, and the human rights wins of the 20th century (out of which emerged Jean Bertrand Aristide). A “collapse of social order” is a heavy accusation but it is true in Haiti’s case: Haitian society is today semi-sovereign and primarily relies on money transfers from the diaspora to survive. In other words, modernism continues to die in Haiti, especially in the form of “tropical figuration” of coconut, bananas, nudes, art but continues to sell the most primarily because modernism is the most sellable. An artist putting an end to modernism’s domination and has been doing so is Franketienne.

      • Prison Classrooms Reflect White Supremacy

        One story is that of a young man in the midst of bizarre, even outrageous interactions with a group of boys. He is inexperienced, but perseveres, learns, and overcomes what looks like a dead-end situation. The other story is about these imprisoned teenagers conveying a notion of their own racial oppression through dialogue with the same man, who is their teacher. The combination of the two is extraordinary.

      • The Troubling Relationships Between Bolsonaro and Dictatorships

        When he was a congressman, the walls of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s office were decorated with photos of Brazilian dictators. Bolsonaro has repeatedly defended the Brazilian military dictatorship that ruled from 1964 to1985. He even paid homage to the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet. In an interview in 2015, Bolsonaro said that Pinochet “had to act violently to recover the country” and, on several occasions, stated that the dictator “did what had to be done” and that he “should have killed more people”.

      • California Supreme Court Says Cops Must Turn Over Info On Misconduct To Prosecutors

        Another layer of opacity shielding bad cops from accountability has been lifted in California. Accountability and transparency hasn’t exactly been welcomed by the state’s law enforcement agencies, but recent developments have forced it upon these unwelcoming recipients.

      • Mark Trahant on Indigenous and the Election; Tea Party Revisionism

        An article in the New Republic about this month’s historic Native American Presidential Forum ends by citing OJ Semans from the organizing group Four Directions, who says the event was ultimately less about the candidates than about the 5 million Natives across the country, and the possibility of their seeing government as representing rather than oppressing them. We’ll talk about electoral issues in indigenous communities with Mark Trahant, moderator of that presidential forum and editor of Indian Country Today.

      • Violent White Supremacists Threaten Basic Civil Rights — and Our Lives

        Every right we have fought for and won since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his monumental “I Have a Dream” speech 56 years ago this Wednesday is under unrelenting attack and in grave peril — from the right to drink fresh water and breathe clear air, to the right of workers to organize for better wages and safer conditions to the right to vote without interference from “enemies foreign and domestic” to the rights of women, children, the LGBTQ community and immigrants.

      • He Spent Years Infiltrating White Supremacist Groups. Here’s What He Has to Say About What’s Going on Now.

        Late in 2017, ProPublica began writing about a California white supremacist group called the Rise Above Movement. Its members had been involved in violent clashes at rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, and several cities in California. They were proud of their violent handiwork, sharing videos on the internet and recruiting more members. Our first article was titled “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.”

        More articles followed, and another neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, was exposed.

      • Trump’s Camps: the Odious Comparison

        That the comparison can be made is odious–so are the conditions.  So is the one imposing them.  He is the most odious of all and his stench pervades the country. He wasn’t the first one to implement it when confronted  by those he has made helpless.  It happened in Hitler’s Germany.

      • Behind Islamophobia Is a Global Movement of Anti-Semites

        The global rise of white nationalist violence proves that the threat of fascism is not just about one community — it threatens all communities: white people, black people, Muslims, Jews, and beyond.

      • Epstein-Barr Syndrome: Juris-prurience

        According to WebMD, Epstein-Barr Syndrome is the virus that causes monomaniacus. Nicknamed “mono” or “megalo,” it’s a “kissing disease,” and you must be careful because, as with Herpes, that wonderful messenger god, you’ve probably got it and don’t even know. Lots of people carry the virus but don’t get sick and tired of it, onaccounta they like kissing so much. Well, that’s my reader-response parsing of what the good e-doctor said.

      • Denim company becomes first Russian retailer to feature hijabi model in its advertising

        The Russian clothing company Gloria Jeans has released an advertisement that momentarily features a model wearing a hijab, making it the first retailer in Russia to do so. RBC first drew media attention to the advertisement.

      • ‘Something’s about to go down’ Cossack troops and Donbas veterans might start helping police disperse Moscow’s election protests

        The election protests that have rocked Moscow since July are set to continue, and government officials are looking for new ways to contain them. Five sources told Meduza that Cossack groups and members of the Union of Donbas Volunteers are currently negotiating with government representatives about the possibility of helping police and National Guard forces disperse protesters at forthcoming demonstrations. Three sources said that Russia’s presidential administration is responsible for the initiative, but they also added that no funds have yet been allocated for it.

      • ACTION ALERT: NYT Presents Murder of a Palestinian Boy as ‘National Trauma’—for Jewish Israelis

        HBO has a series based on a real-life crime in Israel—a 2014 case involving (in the New York Times‘ words) “a Palestinian teenager snatched off a Jerusalem street by Orthodox Jews, choked, bludgeoned and burned to death in a forest at dawn.”

      • Beyond Protest

        I attended my first protest when I was fourteen years old. It was a mild-mannered affair in the suburban Maryland town I lived in. The date was October 15, 1969—the first Vietnam Moratorium—and it involved about twenty-five of us standing on a street corner with signs calling for an end to the US war in Vietnam. We read the names of the US war dead. I was one of perhaps a half dozen high school students at the protest. The rest of the attendees were college students from nearby College Park, nuns from the local Catholic high school and a couple World War veterans. Most people driving by had no idea what was going on and ignored us. A few people flashed us peace signs in support and many more yelled what they considered to be epithets at us. As the years went by, I attended many, many more protests. Some were peaceful, some involved pushing and shoving with the police and right-wing protesters and some involved fairly pitched battles that included rock throwing, barricades, tear gas, truncheons and rubber bullets.

      • Reading the Tea Leaves in Hong Kong

        In 1995 in a little remembered event Li Ruthuan, a member of the Chinese Politburo(containing the top seven in the government), made a speech likening the Chinese take-over of Hong Kong to the case of a lady who had agreed to sell a 100-year-old Yi-Xiang teapot that was famous for the taste of the tea it poured.

      • China appears to have blocked Hong Kong’s attempt to make peace with its protest movement by scrapping its incendiary extradition bill

        The Chinese government rejected Lam’s proposal, and blocked her outright from giving in to any of the protesters demand, Reuters said, noting that the request was submitted at some point between June 16 and August 7.

      • Exclusive: Amid crisis, China rejected Hong Kong plan to appease protesters – sources

        In addition to the withdrawal of the extradition bill, the other demands analyzed in the report were: an independent inquiry into the protests; fully democratic elections; dropping of the term “riot” in describing protests; and dropping charges against those arrested so far.

        The withdrawal of the bill and an independent inquiry were seen to be the most feasible politically, according to a senior government official in the Hong Kong administration, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said the move was envisioned as helping pacify some of the more moderate protesters who have been angered by Lam’s silence.

      • Hong Kong protesters expected to defy rally ban

        As demonstrators were arranging how to sidestep the ban, some called for mass “shopping trips”, while a YouTuber with 800,000 followers called a fan meeting.

        However, in a blow to those efforts, LIHKG, the Reddit-like forum used by protesters to communicate, reported via Twitter that its app had suffered the “largest attack it has ever seen”.

        The demonstrators, who have earned a reputation for their creativity, have also said they will hold small religious gatherings, which do not require permission for groups of up to 30 people, for the “sinners of Hong Kong”.

      • Cherokee Nation Seeks to Send First Delegate to Congress

        But now, the Cherokee Nation is turning to treaties signed in the 18th and 19th centuries to push for a delegate to Congress for the first time in history. The treaties, the Nation claims, promised them a seat at the table.

      • Yazidi woes drag on after ISIS defeat as religious persecution worsens globally

        This month, Khairo and other Yazidis marked five years since ISIS overran northwestern Iraq, murdering an estimated 5,000 Yazidi men and boys who refused to convert to Islam, and enslaving some 7,000 women and girls, including some as young as 9.

      • American Islamists’ Double Standards on Kashmir

        CAIR emerged in 1994 from a Muslim Brotherhood-created Hamas-support network called the Palestine Committee. CAIR operates under the guise of being a benign civil rights group, but has a long history of serving as a front for Hamas, undermining counter-terrorism actions, and fabricating conspiratorial narratives against the government to rationalize the group’s support of terrorism.

        The Islamists’ strident advocacy for the rights of the Kashmiri population allegedly “besieged” by the Indian Army stands in marked contrast to their silence on the forced expulsion by terrorists of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) from the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990s. Today, the Kashmiri Pandits live in refugee camps in Jammu, a Hindu-majority region south of the Kashmir Valley that is part of Jammu and Kashmir. Islamists also failed to protest the systematic, state-supported repression and displacement of local populations in Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan that is claimed by India.

        Additionally, the Islamists conveniently overlook the Pakistani state’s tyrannical subjugation of its Baloch, Mohajir, and Pashtun populations.

      • What the G-7 Got Right—and Wrong—About Gender Equality

        For the second year running, the G-7 made gender equality one of the five central themes of the summit. G-7 leaders held a session entirely focused on women’s empowerment. The keynote address came from members of the G-7’s second Gender Equality Advisory Council, which was composed this year of champions of the cause such as the Nobel Peace Prize laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad.

        The United States reportedly pushed back on French President Emmanuel Macron’s emphasis on gender equality, with senior administration officials expressing frustration about inclusion of a so-called “niche” issue on the summit agenda. The real question, however, is whether G-7 leaders can afford to ignore the status of women if they hope to meet their development goals. Investment in women, after all, yields high returns on poverty reduction and income growth initiatives. Experts estimate that closing the gender gap in the workforce could add a staggering $28 trillion to global GDP by 2025. There’s benefit to food security, too: If female farmers have equal access to productive resources, it could raise agricultural output and reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 150 million. Increasing girls’ education grows household income and improves health outcomes, while access to family planning brings economic dividends. And when it comes to security, women’s contributions to conflict prevention and resolution reduce conflict and improve stability.

      • Long Before Epstein: Sex Traffickers & Spy Agencies

        The alleged use of sexual blackmail by spy agencies is hardly unique to the case of Jeffrey Epstein. Although the agencies involved as well as their alleged motivations and methods differ with each case, the crime of child trafficking with ties to intelligence agencies or those protected by them has been around for decades.

        Some cases include the 1950s -1970s Kincora scandal and the 1981 Peter Hayman affair, both in the U.K.; and the Finders’ cult and the Franklin scandal in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Just as these cases did not end in convictions, the pedophile and accused child-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein remained at arms’ length for years.

        “For almost two decades, for some nebulous reason, whether to do with ties to foreign intelligence, his billions of dollars, or his social connections, Epstein, whose alleged sexual sickness and horrific assaults on women without means or ability to protect themselves… remained untouchable,” journalist Vicky Ward wrote in The Daily Beast in July.

        The protection of sex traffickers by intelligence agencies is especially interesting in the wake of Epstein’s death. Like others, Epstein had long been purported to have links with spy agencies. Such allegations documented by Whitney Webb in her multi-part series were recently published in Mintpress News.

        Webb states that Epstein was the current face of an extensive system of abuse with ties to both organized crime and intelligence interests. She told CNLive! that: “According to Nigel Rosser, a British journalist who wrote in the Evening Standard in 2001, Epstein apparently for much of the 1990s claimed that he used to work for the CIA.”

      • Here’s What Happened When I Knocked on Doors in Pennsylvania

        All working people, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, faith, or sexual orientation, or gender identity, need a stake and a say in our society—and they all need to hear that they’re part of “We the People.”

      • Haryana Police Brutally Tortured Nearly 50% of Jail Inmates, Finds Survey

        Electric shocks, bricks hung from private parts, threatened with rape, sexually assaulted, hung naked, hung upside down — these are some of the methods that Haryana Police has been undertaking in dealing with prisoners, both men and women, a study has revealed.

        The report, Inside Haryana Prisons, by Sabika Abbas and Madhurima Dhanuka of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiatives, was prepared following a study commissioned by the Haryana State Legal Services Authority.

        It is based on interviews of 475 inmates in 19 prisons across the state. Intended to shed light on the conditions of jails in the state, it has revealed that a large number of inmates suffered shocking and inhuman cruelty in the hands of the police soon after they were arrested.

      • The Report trailer: Adam Driver investigates allegations of torture against CIA post-9/11

        In The Report, Adam Driver headlines the film as a real-life figure Daniel J Jones. Jones was responsible for a document that detailed, among other things, how many innocent people were brutally tortured by the CIA only so could they would utter what the interrogators wanted after 9/11.

      • Can Adam Driver Make Americans Care About CIA Torture Again?
      • Green London Assembly member arrested in Trafalgar Square during Defend Our Democracy protest

        Video footage has emerged of Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell being arrested in Trafalgar Square while taking part in a Defend Our Democracy protest (1)

        Her fellow Green London Assembly member Sian Berry, Green Party co-leader, said:

        “Earlier today, I was speaking at the main rally of the Defend Our Democracy protest. I said then that we were calmly determined not to have our rights chipped away. Protest, and direct action were needed, I said then.

        “I’m proud that Caroline has been at the forefront, with others, of showing that determination.

        “History tells us that all the rights we have we had to win. No one has ever handed them to us.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Josh Hawley Continues To Pretend That Silicon Valley Isn’t Innovative

        Josh Hawley pretends to be against big government. He pretends to be against the “nanny state.” But since the second he got into power, nearly everything he’s proposed has been about increasing government control over industry. But just one industry. The internet/tech industry that he has personally decided doesn’t work the way he thinks it should. Beyond trying to get rid of Section 230, Hawley has proposed a bill that literally makes design choices for internet companies. Earlier this year, he introduced another bill that tries to design features for online video sites. He’s made it clear that he doesn’t like internet site because his constituents like them too much, which seems odd.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Put $90 Million to Possible Ballot War

        California Labor Federation head Art Pulaski said the state’s labor movement was “unified in opposing” the companies’ “cynical measure,” and would “meet the gig companies’ absurd political spending with a vigorous worker-led campaign” to defeat it.

        Pulaski said in a statement that the companies’ ballot measure campaign shows that they “never cared about their drivers or workers. The only thing they care about is their bottom line and making their executives even richer than they already are.”

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Avanci, Nokia, Sharp move to dismiss Continental’s San Jose FRAND/antitrust complaint over component-level licensing

          In very general terms, I already commented on some of Avanci’s previously announced theories two weeks ago. Also, the fact that Judge Lucy H. Koh denied Avanci’s motion to stay discovery suggests to me that Avanci’s preview of the motion to dismiss didn’t immediately make her feel that this case was a waste of time.

          The question here that is most relevant to the information and communications technology industry at large, apart from the overarching objective of Continental’s complaint (to obtain a component-level license on FRAND terms), is whether patent pool firms like Avanci, which don’t hold patents in a formalistic sense but are key in bringing companies together and getting them to combine their leverage and to coordinate their behavior, can be held liable. Avanci is a SEP pool with a focus on IoT, but there’s plenty of similar organizations such as MPEG LA.

          I would encourage the decision-makers at major ICT companies and industry bodies (many of whom are known to read this blog) to strongly consider supporting Continental on that “pool-firm liablity” question, be it through amicus curiae briefs or background advice. Such involvement may be particularly important because, quite frankly, Nokia’s litigation skills (and let’s not forget that Qualcomm is also an Avanci member) are world-class, while there’s light and shadow with respect to Continental. The U.S. antisuit motion and the related reply brief left a lot to be desired (while no one can blame Continental’s outside counsel in Germany for the anti-antisuit situation, which was a total surprise to everybody and where they face a court that aspires to make the Eastern District of Texas pale by comparison; plus, I think they may very well prevail on appeal). By contrast, Continental’s opposition to Avanci’s U.S. venue transfer motion was perfect; it could serve as a textbook example for how to deal with this frequent type of situation, and one can see that a lot of thought as well as hard work went into it.

      • Trademarks

        • Tom Brady Fails To Trademark ‘Tom Terrific’ As USPTO Rightly Assesses He’s Not The Most Terrific Tom

          Earler this summer, we discussed Tom Brady, famed Patriots quarterback and winner of many games, deciding to apply for a trademark on a nickname some fans had given him: Tom Terrific. In news you’ll never believe, it appeared that Brady didn’t really have any idea how trademark law works. As evidence for that, Brady claimed to want the trademark because he hates the nickname and wanted to stop others from using it. That’s not how trademark law works. Instead, to have a valid trademark, Brady would have to use the term himself in commerce, meaning that more people would hear his unwanted nickname in doing so.

        • Board of EUIPO says re-filing of ’Monopoly’ as EUTM is invalid due to bad-faith

          As an EU trade mark (EUTM) proprietor, one must keep in mind that there is a five year grace period to use the registered mark. Following the expiry of this period, third parties may seek the revocation of the EUTM in relation to goods and services for which it has not been used. It is therefore common practice for some trade mark proprietors to re-file their respective marks and secure another five year period in relation to the new mark.

          In this context, the Second Board of the EUIPO has, in an interesting decision, partially invalidated the EUTM ‘Monopoly’. In particular, the Board considered that a re-filing of the EUTM in question, was made in bad faith as it included goods and services already covered by the earlier registrations.

        • Brussels court grants Louboutin inhibitory decision against Amazon

          The court recognised that Amazon used the red sole sign in advertising related not only to the Louboutin’s shoes but also to Amazon’s services and goods, for example on the online newspaper “The Guardian” where the trade marks Amazon and its arrow and “Prime” were combined with the offer for sale of counterfeit red sole shoes.

A Reader Explains Why the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) Silence on Particular Issues Harms Causes of the FSF

Posted in Deception, FSF at 2:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: One of our readers has decided to clarify to us why the FSF is, in this reader’s personal view, doing damage to itself by discouraging particular types of dissent

SOME of our readers oppose all patents. They say so themselves. I even have such a close friend with several patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He says patents as a whole should be abolished. He’s a university professor, so there’s pressure from his employer to pursue these patents. I myself am not against patents. Only software patents and patents on things in nature.

Similarly, I am very supportive of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). I also understand its limitations. Some of its members and sponsors/patrons have particular expectations and the FSF cannot alienate them, not without a high toll/price/risk. When the FSF ‘bashed’ Vista 7, for instance, it lost some members. They saw that as negative advocacy.

“When the FSF ‘bashed’ Vista 7, for instance, it lost some members.”One particular reader of ours is upset at the FSF’s silence regarding all sorts of risks, but “when it comes to truth,” he explains, “the FSF has a GOOD track record. better than anybody. Credit is due.”

Over the past few days if now weeks we’ve politely argued about whether the FSF should do anything. I argued that it’s misguided to spend energy focusing on the FSF when the Linux Foundation (LF), for instance — with a budget almost 50 times bigger — does far greater damage. Unlike the FSF, passivity isn’t the issue there. The Linux Foundation actively harms Software Freedom in a variety of ways. We wrote many articles with plenty of examples.

“The Linux Foundation actively harms Software Freedom in a variety of ways.”Two weeks ago we clarified our position on this matter. Recognising the fact that some readers don’t share our views and actively push for the FSF to “do something” (at least verbally), we’ve decided to air the views below. It’s fine to insist that the FSF should at least say something, but the FSF saying something would not necessarily solve any of the issues.

Regardless, here are one person’s views:

I know you and I differ (in small ways, because I still pay attention to your output and it’s not terribly different) but I keep looking for an objective way to point out just what harm the FSF is doing — and to whom.

Obviously, the greatest harm is being done by Microsoft. That’s a given, it’s basically a statement of fact. We can quibble and say its subjective, but leans closer to a fact than an opinion. Microsoft does more than any other company, perhaps all put together.

Could they do it without the help of other shills? I don’t think either of us believe so. Shills do less than Microsoft does, and some of it unwittingly (not every shill thinks they’re deliberately shilling, and of course the deliberate kind is worse) but shills play a vital role — one for which they (LF for example) will be rewarded short term and ultimately discarded.

Look at all the Open Source publications folding. They were corporate — they called it “Linux” — in the short term that was a gain, but ultimately they folded when the hype died down. Linux is being sold off, and these publications are a disposable commodity — a tool that is used up getting tossed out. (not to its fans, not to historical value, but certainly to the owners.) Common theme right now.

Open Source has always rewritten history, as a tactic. Offended by pretending that it all started 28 years ago, not 35? Do you know how long I’ve spit on that for? It’s not just rewriting history, which is bad enough by itself, but it is doing it to unfairly compete and for personal gain.

I would say the FSF does very little that is “unfair” to “compete.” But rewriting history is bad enough, and doing it to allow your own adversaries to move forward (even if not intentionally) is worse.

As the attacks on Free software increase, everyone is taking a softer stance — everybody — from OSI to Apache to LF to Canonical to Red Hat — and mostly for different reasons. Sometimes it is about threats and harassment, other times it is about bribery, for Canonical it really is about constantly whoring themselves out, not unlike with LF. They don’t like “politics” because it is too close for comfort to ethics. You don’t need to look farther than Shuttleworth’s hilariously dishonest justification of Unity Lens to prove that.

If I guess why the FSF is also taking a softer stance, then I do so, taking their track record into account. What is compromising them? Is it the Code of Conduct, is it an agreement someone other than RMS made regarding RYF? RYF (I always thought, and think it is a great idea) has even been criticised by the Trisquel community (Stallman parrots by the bushel) for what it has chosen to endorse.

But whatever the reason, you’re far more likely to uncover it than I am. If I do, it will probably be while reading a Techrights article.

Rewriting history is an attack on truth that helps our adversaries — if it was only helping our adversaries theoretically, if it was not actively doing so, that would not be great but it would be better than this.

As much as it helped corporations take over when they rewrote history to make “Linux” the saving grace, it is helping corporations take over when the FSF does the same.

But does the FSF rewrite history? Obviously not, in the same way nor for exactly the same reasons.

OpenRespect, Codes of Conduct, and all the advice OSI gave about “playing nice” stifled the Free software movement, all along and every step of the way. It is itself dishonest — as you just said about Bill Gates being painted as a Saint in a recent article, you simply say your opponent isn’t being “nice” and now they have to be quiet, not do whatever they were doing — because it isn’t “nice” to criticise monopolies.

But the FSF is becoming more “nice.” Worse than that, we have historical accounts of the FSF coming out AGAINST things that need to be fought, if we are going to win.

Mono needed to be resisted, OOXML needed to be resisted, everything that needed to be resisted, Open Source told us to resist less.

Now the FSF is telling us to resist less.

They are changing their tune — going from telling us that things need to be fought, to telling us many such things DON’T need to be fought.

It would be misleading if Open Source did this, but it is more misleading when trusted advocates of freedom do it.

Again, there has to be an explanation. But until we have one, the impact of this is bad.

It weakens the Free software movement, to be told that things we knew (and know) are threats, are not threats. The FSF is doing that.

If they are allowed, if it goes unaddressed, then they will have an easier time than anybody (because they are trusted) telling everyone “it’s ok, don’t worry, these aren’t threats.”

Historically, they were threats. Now they’re being swept under the rug.

When you rewrite history like that, it hurts everybody who stays committed to history. It makes people committed to truth look foolish. It make it harder to talk honestly about history and about the present.

The FSF is doing harm to all of that.

It’s not about attacking the FSF, but about not allowing them to prevent other people from seeking and stating the truth.

The FSF is acting like a monopoly on history, and they aren’t being honest about these issues.

Considering their track record, painting them as liars is a waste of time — one they don’t even deserve. When we find out the reasons, chances are, most people acted honourably and some (perhaps even outsiders) acted dishonourably.

So it isn’t about “GNU man bad” or removing all credit from the FSF. A historical account will talk about the good and bad, and the FSF is OUTSTANDINGLY, PREDOMINENTLY good!

But rewriting history is very harmful, it makes all our jobs impossible, and don’t think for a minute that ideologues won’t ask you to do things they have already made impossible. They will tell you to just find a way.

If you are really dedicated to journalism, and some organisation wants you to rewrite history first and then do your job despite that, you will — ultimately — find yourself fixing the damage done to the historical narrative first.

Because you cannot fix the world’s problems with a perspective that was sabotaged to mislead.

Rewriting history is one of the biggest attacks of all. And moral courage doesn’t allow it to persist, no matter how much “nice” the FSF dishes out, or demands of us.

If they are silent, we have to be louder. But we have to point out, again and again and again, that they are silent.

My opinion, you don’t have to agree. But once you realise (or agree) that this is about rewriting history, you have to know that history demands debate — while the FSF seems to want us to comply in silence.

It is truly either/or. The best weapon against the rewriting of history is to call out the people doing it, and the FSF is rewriting their own — writing themselves out of it.

That’s not something we can rightly allow — if we play along, we are doing the same harm, adding to it. That cheats every person we talk to. It even cheats the FSF and helps whomever is hurting them.

That’s one person’s view (or set of views) anyway. As we stated at the top, we deem it more constructive and productive to call the those who actively harm Software Freedom. And we shall continue to do just that.

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