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09.02.19

Buy Proprietary Software to Run Your ‘Open Source’ Program

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Open Source is “WINNING!” according to mainstream media; what is actually being won, however, when this ‘open’ stuff brings with it a whole raft of surveillance and proprietary software stacks which cost hundreds of dollars (to merely rent, for one person, for limited time)?

TINKER all you want. Look, touch. Study, modify. But your program won’t run unless you use code you can neither study nor modify. Code which contains heavy surveillance you cannot switch off. Code with NSA back doors built in (by design).

Welcome, ladies and gents, to the world Steve Ballmer long pursued.

Windows… is “open”.

Proprietary software such as Windows… is “open” for business.

They’re “open” to ideas and “open” to contribution of more software.

So-called ‘open source’ software…

“It’s further exacerbated by Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub — a subject we shall revisit later in the week in our Openwashing Report series.”Programs that would offer no freedom/liberty if run; simply because the developers never bothered with Free/libre development toolkits, development platforms, and operating systems. .NET and Visual Studio, for example, aren’t “open”.

This is not a new issue. But it’s a persistent one. It’s further exacerbated by Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub — a subject we shall revisit later in the week in our Openwashing Report series.

Microsoft is of course not the sole culprit. It no longer has a monopoly on dilution of the term “Open Source”.

Ghacks Technology News has been posting reviews of “open” programs lately; the problem is, quite a few of these run on no platform other than Windows (example from last week and another one from Monday). So what good is it? If it won’t run without malware called Microsoft Windows (that spies on oneself and has NSA back doors), how much freedom does one really gain?

“What does “Open Source” really mean if it won’t run on the BSDs and GNU/Linux?”In recent months we spotted at least half a dozen similar examples from Apple’s iOS and OSuX. In recent weeks we also saw the word “Free” used; because nothing is as affordable as Apple’s “i” things, right?

A whole bunch of recent articles marketed NetNewsWire as “open” and “Free and Open Source” (new example here, “NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt from Scratch, Now Free and Open Source”) because of its licence. The main issue is, you can run the program only if you use a proprietary software platform with DRM and NSA back doors.

As we said above, this is not an entirely new issue; however, it seems to have gotten worse this year. What does “Open Source” really mean if it won’t run on the BSDs and GNU/Linux? Apple and Microsoft want to indoctrinate potential/junior developers to produce their ‘open’ programs this way. Inside their cages. Visual Studio ‘Code’ (open core) and other bait is the means; compelling schools to teach Windows is another.

Openwashing Report: Buzzwords for Lock-in Are Getting Out of Hand and It’s Not Funny

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Marketing at 11:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amusing only for marketing departments, which don’t understand technical issues and probably cannot properly and coherently define even their own catchphrases

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: We now have “serverless 2.0″; never mind if “serverless” is a meaningless and outright misleading buzzword, which never made any sense in the first place

THE outsourcing of computing (sometimes known as “clown computing” or “cloud computing”) is a very major headache. It’s taking us back to the days of mainframes and rental thereof. We’re back to buying “computer time” instead of actual computers. But it gets yet worse. It gets worse over time.

Nowadays there are far more press releases and articles about “cloud” than about “servers” or about “Open Source”. We know roughly why; we know who pushes the media in that direction. We know who stands to gain. So they engage in ‘openwashing’ along with ‘cloudwashing’, trying to associate one with the other and hyping that up; it’s… hip! Does ‘the cloud’ have some Open Source somewhere in the stack? Then call it “open”. Call it “native”. Or “private”. You don’t own it, you certainly do not control it, but whatever…

“We’re back to buying “computer time” instead of actual computers.”Another new press release shows some classic (but not classy) openwashing with buzzwords like "serverless". It speaks of “Open Source Project CloudState” and more puff pieces from Ron Miller would tell us that “CloudState, a new open-source project from Lightbend, wants to change that by moving beyond functions.”

Beyond functions (FaaS, aka “serverless”)?

Buzzword 2.0. Oh wait….

How about “serverless 2.0″?

“Nowadays there are far more press releases and articles about “cloud” than about “servers” or about “Open Source”.”Apparently that’s a real thing now!

“Open-source serverless framework wants to pave the way towards serverless 2.0,” says this headline. “Lightbend has launched a new open-source serverless framework to take on the next generation of serverless. CloudState aims to go beyond the normal stateless functions most serverless initiatives take on today,” SD Times wrote.

So outsourcing not only your servers but also your pertinent services (or ‘micro’ services, typically a fancy word for daemons) to some other companies is so very “2.0″…

All this surveillance and vendor lock-in enjoys openwashing from an IDG site, InfoWorld. The other day we saw “7 open-source tools that make AWS Lambda better” (this is a trap as dangerous as it gets!).

“So outsourcing not only your servers but also your pertinent services (or ‘micro’ services, typically a fancy word for daemons) to some other companies is so very “2.0″…”Mac Asay has apparently just joined Amazon and he says “Lock-in can’t be avoided” in this new headline. Just months after shilling for AWS and making excuses for their gross misuse of Free software and hijacking of projects (made proprietary behind ‘the cloud’) he now works for AWS. If one starts with defeatism (“Lock-in can’t be avoided”) and then promotes openwashing and faked “open”, i.e. proprietary software traps marketed as “open” or “community”, what can one conclude?

And as a side note, Private Equity Wire has this article where an “AWS Advanced Consulting Partner” is being framed “open source specialist” (in the headline).

As if nothing says “Open Source”… like AWS! AWS is proprietary software.

Over a decade ago when I was an online pal of Asay he still promoted the GPL and spoke against vendor lock-in. He himself has just recalled: “Back in 2000 I worked for an open source embedded Linux vendor, Lineo. We talked about using Linux to avoid vendor lock-in. A few years later, I was at a different open source vendor (Alfresco), still talking about open source as a tonic for lock-in. For nearly 20 years I worked for open source and proprietary companies, but lock-in was never far from the conversation, no matter the vendor.”

“Don’t ever let that become acceptable as that would be the end of Software Freedom. “Days ago he asked: “Why doesn’t anyone weep for Docker?”

Nothing to weep for, as they fired the founder, befriended Microsoft, and they also adopted proprietary software business models (the ‘CE’ trick). Notice that part which says “Disclosure: I am an employee of AWS.” It must have happened this past summer, maybe weeks ago.

The main point here, buzzwords are being phased in, Open Source is being made proprietary in ‘the cloud’, and companies such as Amazon hire voices that make it come across as “acceptable”. Don’t ever let that become acceptable as that would be the end of Software Freedom.

Links 2/9/2019: Linux 5.3 RC7, Liquid Lemur Linux 4.1, Condres OS 2019.09, Sparky 2019.09

Posted in News Roundup at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Linux for Chromebooks could get an installation menu for different distros

        If you use the current Linux for Chromebooks beta, also known as Project Crostini, you probably have the Debian distro installed. That’s the default flavor of Linux offered as of today. But a Crostini user recently submitted a feature request to provide more options, such as Ubuntu, Fedora or theoretically, any Linux distro that Google could possibly offer.

        As of today, the request has been assigned to someone on the Chromium team and has a priority level of three; roughly meaning to me that“it’s not terribly important at the moment but we’ll look into it.”

    • Server

      • Thomas Graf on Cilium, the 1.6 Release, eBPF Security, & the Road Ahead

        Cilium is open source software for transparently securing the network connectivity between application services deployed using Linux container management platforms like Docker and Kubernetes. It is a CNI plugin that offers layer 7 features typically seen with a service mesh. On this week’s podcast, Thomas Graf (one of the maintainers of Cilium and co-founder of Isovalent) discusses the recent 1.6 release, some of the security questions/concerns around eBPF, and the future roadmap for the project.

      • Unix at 50 : The OS that powered smartphones started from failure

        UNIX was born 50 years ago from the failure of an ambitious project that involved titans like Bell Labs, GE, and MIT. This OS powers nearly all smartphones sold worldwide. The story of UNIX began from a meeting on the top floor of an unremarkable annex at the Bell Labs complex in Murray Hills, New Jersey.

      • We offer enterprise-grade open source solutions from edge to core to cloud: Brent Schroeder, Global CTO, SUSE

        The open source market is taking an interesting turn of its own. With IBM acquiring Red Hat for $34 billion, the wheels of competition and innovation have truly been set into motion in the open source market.

        In such interesting times, Brent Schroeder, Global CTO, SUSE took over from Thomas Di Giacomo, the now president for engineering at the company. In an exclusive interview with ETCIO, Schroeder talks about how SUSE intends to power digital transformation for companies to innovate and compete.

      • Julita Inca: Building a foundation of HPC knowledge

        The curriculum for courses are previously arranged in advance by the teachers and teaching assistants and published one week before on the intranet. They consist of the theorical materials and practical exercises to support the theory. Some reinforcing workshops were also used in order to address questions and concerns.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3-rc7 Released One Day Late While Linux 5.3 Likely Coming In Two Weeks

        It appears Linus Torvalds is spending some time away from his computers this US Labor Day weekend with the Linux 5.3-rc7 kernel test release coming one day late.

        Linus released Linux 5.3-rc7 today due to being away from his keyboard most of Sunday. As a result of the extra day and the RC7 week starting off light, last minute pull requests ended up inflating this weekly release candidate to be larger in size than normal.

      • Linux 5.3-rc7
        So this goes out on Monday morning rather than my usual Sunday
        afternoon schedule, simply because I was away from a keyboard most of
        Sunday. It happens.
        
        Partly because of that, I got a couple of pull requests (networking,
        usb, misc/char) that would have missed this rc with the normal timing,
        and it's a bit bigger as a result. Not huge, but considering how quiet
        the beginning of the week was, it's definitely noticeable, and the one
        extra day added about 25% to the size of the rc.
        
        That's not enough for me to go "uhhuh, uncomfortably much this late in
        the rc game" but I also happened to look at the calendar last week,
        and it dawned on me that I have the kernel summit travel coming up,
        and if I do the usual release cadence, I'd be on the road during the
        worst time (for me) of the merge window - the first five days.
        
        So I do suspect that with my timing (and a number of other developers
        are probably going to be traveling for LPC and KS too) I'll just make
        an rc8 even if it turns this Labor Day week ends up being very quiet
        and there might not be any _technical_ reason to delay the release.
        
        NOTE! If you are a submaintainer, and have your pull request all ready
        to go for 5.4, you should - as always - feel free to just send it
        early. I already have one 5.4 pull request in my inbox, and I much
        prefer the early ones over the late ones. So if you were planning for
        the normal cadence, just go on with your life, and ignore the likely
        one-week release delay due to conference travel.
        
        As to what happened in rc7 itself: the shortlog is appended, and
        nothing huge stands out. The diffstat is mostly fairly flat, which
        means it's a lot of small changes, with just a few blips: rxpc,
        openvswitch, cifssmb cleanups, turbostat utility update, and some
        embargoed hw issue process documentation.
        
        But the bulk of it is small fixes all over: drivers, networking, arch
        updates, documentation, filesystems..
        
        Would I have been happier with things being even calmer? Sure. But it
        all looks pretty normal.
        
        So go forth and test,
        
      • Graphics Stack

        • DAV1D Experimenting With Vulkan & OpenGL ES GPU Offloading

          There isn’t any AV1 video decode/encode built into the video engines of today’s GPUs, but the DAV1D project CPU-based AV1 decoder is experimenting with offloading some aspects of the process to current generation hardware with OpenGL ES and Vulkan.

          There are experimental branches of the dav1d decoder that exploit OpenGL ES and Vulkan for offloading some elements of the decode process to the graphics hardware. At the moment Self-Guided Restoration (SGR) and Constrained Directional. Enhancement Filter (CDEF) is among the functionality implemented for OpenGL ES / Vulkan.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Gen12 Graphics Linux Patches Reveal New Display Feature for Tiger Lake

        Submitted by Rianne Schestowitz on Monday 2nd of September 2019 05:32:43 PM Filed under Graphics/Benchmarks Linux
        Some information about the upcoming Gen12 (aka Xe) graphics architecture from Intel has surfaced via recent Linux kernel patches. In particular, Gen12 will have a new display feature called the Display State Buffer. This engine would improve Gen12 context switching.

        Phoronix reported on the patches on Thursday. The patches provide clues about the new Display State Buffer (DSB) feature of the Gen12 graphics architecture, which will find its way to Tiger Lake (and possibly Rocket Lake) and the Xe discrete graphics cards in 2020. In the patches, DSB is generically described as a hardware capability that will be introduced in the Gen12 display controller. This engine will only be used for some specific scenarios for which it will deliver performance improvements, and after completion of its work, it will be disabled again.

    • Applications

      • Manage your Photos: JPEG Photo Compression

        Data compression is the process of storing data in a format that uses less space than the original representation would use. Compressing data can be very useful particularly in the field of communications as it enables devices to transmit or store data in fewer bits. Besides reducing transmission bandwidth, compression increases the amount of information that can be stored on a hard disk drive or other storage device.

        There are 2 main types of compression. Lossy compression is a data encoding method which reduces a file by discarding certain information. When the file is uncompressed, not all of the original information will be recovered. Lossy compression is typically used to compress video, audio and images, as well as internet telephony. The fact that information is lost during compression will often be unnoticeable to most users. Lossy compression techniques are used in all DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and most multimedia available on the internet.

        Images take up massive amounts of internet bandwidth because they often have large file sizes. They are the most popular resource type on the web. According to the HTTP Archive, 60% of the data transferred to fetch a web page is images composed of JPEGs, PNGs and GIFs. 45% of the images seen on sites crawled by HTTP Archive are JPEGs.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 4.15 Released With Framework For PnP Drivers, Various Updated Patches

        Based off Friday’s Wine 4.15, Wine-Staging 4.15 is now available that has its 800+ existing patches while adding a number of new patches and updating functionality for some of the existing feature patches.

        New to Wine-Staging 4.15 is a framework for installing and running native PnP (Plug n Play) drivers, working towards closure of a six year old Wine bug report. Wine 4.15 also has a CryptExtOpenCER implementation for the Cryptext DLL.

    • Games

      • Godot Vulkan Progress Report #3

        Work on 3D rendering has begun. This month was mostly spent on refactoring and modifying the core rendering architecture.

        One of the main goals for Godot 4.0 is to make it possible to replace the core rendering class with as less rewriting as possible. The default 3D renderer will be as good as possible, but if some game requires a completely different one (because of very specific requirements), the idea is that just re-implementing some functions should be enough to achieve this.

        Added to this, a lot of hacks were removed from the 3D engine viewports (no more need to flip, set a viewport to keep linear color to embed on 3D, etc), and the strategy of allocating buffers on demand continues (so by default users don’t need to configure the game features to tweak memory usage manually, engine will automatically allocate whatever is needed on the fly).

      • Godot Begins Working On Its Vulkan 3D Rendering Support

        The increasingly used Godot open-source game engine has been working on porting to Vulkan as part of Godot 4.0. With much of the lower-level and 2D bits in good standing, work on their 3D rendering support with Vulkan has begun.

        Godot lead developer Juan Linietsky has posted his third progress report on the Vulkan undertaking. He has begun working on refactoring and improving the core rendering architecture to allow for a Vulkan-geared 3D renderer. While focused on adding Vulkan support, Juan has made various improvements to the 3D engine in the process.

      • Godot Engine continues advancing the Vulkan rendering system, 3D work has begun

        Godot Engine developer Juan Linietsky has another progress report up on the status of moving over to Vulkan and it’s sounding great.

        Now that the work on the 2D side of Godot Engine with Vulkan is mostly ready, Linietsky has moved over to the 3D engine and work “continues at a steady pace”.

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II is getting huge Forts to take down in a free update

        The team working on Total War: WARHAMMER II have put out a new development post about one of the free features being added in the next update and it sounds really fun.

        Recently, The Hunter & The Beast expansion was announced that seems quite feature-filled but it’s also coming alongside a big free update too. Part of this update is the inclusion of “hyper defensible” Forts for the free Mortal Empires campaign map that you get if you own both Total War: WARHAMMER games.

        You’ve battled across the map in various locations but there’s currently nothing quite like this.

      • Devader, possibly the most insane twin-stick shooter I’ve ever played is out now

        You think you know bullet-hell? Devader will challenge that thought. Released today with Linux support from developer Falkenbrew, Devader is one twin-stick not to be missed.

        [...]

        You might think that it would be a little boring or stale to always be in the same place but the aforementioned enemy design as well as the insane action keeps Devader being seriously fun.

      • OSK is a beautiful looking 2.5D platformer about a squirrel escaping an apocalypse

        Points here for a little originality and a beautiful style. The one-person studio Diax Game have announced their “2.5D” platformer OSK.

        In OSK you play as a squirrel, climbing an ridiculously large tree to get away from the chaos of an apocalypse. You need to climb fast, avoid other animals and solve puzzles to stay alive as long as you can. Certainly an interesting idea and it actually looks quite good too.

      • Survival game Vintage Story adds food spoilage, preservation and improved visuals

        I have to say, every new release of Vintage Story brings me closer to tapping that buy button as it’s really starting to sound pretty sweet.

        This survival game might look like Minecraft but it continues to add in a multitude of gameplay features and graphical enhancements to make it truly different. Just like this latest 1.10 update that’s now been released after two Release Candidates.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kdenlive 19.08 review – Film Noir Redux

          About a year ago, I reviewed the beta version of Kdenlive 18.08. It proved to be an okay program, an incremental improvement, even though there were some issues that you’d expect to find in beta-quality software. Overall, there weren’t any big surprises, but I was hoping for a more streamlined workflow and improved consistency.

          Twelve months later, Kdenlive 19.08 has been released, and it’s time for another review. After all, this is my favorite video editor, and I’ve used it to create all of my funny and unfunny Youtube videos, so I’m always very keen on what new things and improvements we can have here. Let us commence then, ever so gingerly.

        • Krita Interview with Wojtek Trybus

          It was 2015, I guess, when I read about it on David Revoy’s blog for the first time – I suppose many artists switched from GIMP to Krita somewhere in that time because of his support to the program.

        • GSoC’19 Project : Milestone 4

          The fourth milestone for my Google Summer of Code 2019’s project Porting KDE Connect to Windows involves creating some system integrations for the windows Operating System so it works seamlessly on Windows.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sumaid Syed: GUADEC 2019 – India to Greece Journey!

          When I started contributing to GNOME, I never thought one day I would travel to Greece to present my work. Travelling to Europe has always been my dream, so when I received sponsorship email from GNOME travel committee, I was very excited. Being a student, it would have been impossible for me to attend GUADEC without sponsorship. Now after a month of planning, reading about Greece and watching past GUADEC videos, finally 22nd August, 2019 had come.

        • Meg Ford: GUADEC 2019

          I arrived for GUADEC on the 22nd and rushed from the hostel to the 10th annual Womens’ Dinner. The dinner was held at a local restaurant and we had balloons, lots of shared appetizers, and vanilla fondant spoon sweets :) Perhaps because the dinner was held before GUADEC, it was very small this year. As always, though, there was a lively conversation and it was great to catch up with old friends and meet new women in the community.

          On the first day of GUADEC Manuel Quiñones and I gave a talk on the work that we did on the Hack Computer. It was nice to share the process of preparing and practicing the talk with one of my old teammates. We introduced the Hack system, and then we each covered the components we had worked on in more depth. I gave a basic outline of the responsibilities of the toolbox. I also discussed some of the thornier issues in the ToolBox component of Hack, like type checking and post-condition validation in JavaScript. When we were putting together the talk I was struck by how the design (both technical and visual) made the Hack project more than the sum of its parts — it created an imaginative, engaging space where disparate parts of the system worked seamlessly in concert.

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: GUADEC 2019

          I am happy to say that every GUADEC that I attended so far was absolutely fantastic. The 2019 edition of the conference, however, will have a special place in my heart for several reasons.

          Let’s start with the fact that it happened in Greece. Being a Greek descendant myself, I was particularly excited with the idea of visiting the country of half of my family tree. I then decided to use this chance to travel all over the country with my father, and visit the places where my grandparents came from.

          It was a fantastic and emotional journey.

          The social aspect of GUADEC is also a big reason for the enjoyment. Over the years, the social aspect of the event is growing in importance to me. Being part of the GNOME community, seeing old friends, sitting down and enjoying some time with great people, this is what makes GUADEC valuable to me. I think part of the reason is that, after finishing masters and starting work full time from home, my daily human interaction is very limited, and I value these interactions much more now.

          This GUADEC, I felt we are managing to make our community more diverse and well represented. I was happy to see members of System76, elementary OS, Endless, Collabora, Centricular, and independent contributors deeply engaged with the community.

        • GNOME 3.34′s Mutter Lands A Last-Minute Performance Fix For NVIDIA

          GNOME 3.34 is expected for release next Tuesday while squeezing into Mutter this morning is an important performance fix for those running GNOME on X11 with the NVIDIA proprietary graphics driver.

          Canonical’s Daniel van Vugt who is known for his many GNOME performance optimizations over the past two years has been toying with this NVIDIA fix/optimization the past few months and merged the code this morning to Mutter. This change that landed is the removal of GLX threaded swap wait handling for the NVIDIA binary driver.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • LEMUR 4.1 RELEASED!

          Liquid Lemur Linux 4.1 has been released. It should be available on the download server by the time you read this post.

          Unfortunately, there is no upgrade path from previous Lemurs (including 4.0) due to the entire Lemur update system being re-written. Going forward from this release, you will be able to upgrade without doing a complete re-install.

          Just to mention a few changes… The old Lemur installer has been replaced with the default Calamares installer for Debian. The Lemur Dock and Lemur iDesk have been removed. They are no longer compatible with Lemur. APEman was replaced with an updated version of the old Lemur Control Center. The Control Center is still a work in progress so please be patient.

        • Condres OS official version 2019.09 available

          Today we are proud to release Condres OS 2019.09 with the flavours KDE, GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE, and Condres Control Center. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts and a custom patched version of desktop and filesystem.

          KDE Plasma stands at version 5.16.4, while GNOME comes in at 3.32
          and Xfce at 4.14, while Cinnamon comes in at 4.2 and MATE at 1.22.1.

          This release comes with the name “19.09”.

          Important news regarding the release of this version which introduces native support for default snap and appimage applications. Some bugs regarding hplip that required the installation of the pyqt5 package have been fixed.
          Added multiple support to almost all php versions for those who develop websites in order to have greater compatibility with future versions. The control center now also supports printer management.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2019.09

          There are new live/install media of Sparky 2019.09 “Po Tolo” available to download. This is the 2nd snapshot of the (semi-)rolling line, which is based on the testing branch of Debian “Bullseye”.

        • Review: deepin 15.11

          deepin is a Debian-based distribution developed in China. The distro ships with its own desktop environment, also called Deepin, and a dozen or so applications that are developed in-house. To avoid confusion, the distribution is called “deepin” (in all lower case) while the desktop environment’s name is “Deepin” (with a capital “D”).

          The latest version of deepin was released in July and mainly features bug fixes. The most notable new feature is “Cloud Sync”, which is an option to store various system settings (everything from the wallpaper to the power settings) in the “cloud”. This is an interesting option but it is currently only available for users in mainland China. In other words, there aren’t a whole lot of new and exciting features in deepin 15.11. However, as deepin is one of those distros about which there is a lot to say, it is worth having a look at the latest release.

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities (2019-08)

          Ah, spring time at last. The last month I caught up a bit with my Debian packaging work after the Buster freeze, release and subsequent DebConf. Still a bit to catch up on (mostly kpmcore and partitionmanager that’s waiting on new kdelibs and a few bugs). Other than that I made two new videos, and I’m busy with renovations at home this week so my home office is packed up and in the garage. I’m hoping that it will be done towards the end of next week, until then I’ll have little screen time for anything that’s not work work.

        • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS/ELTS (August 2019)

          In August 2019, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 24 hours (of 24.75 hours planned) and on the Debian ELTS project for another 2 hours (of 12 hours planned) as a paid contributor.

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in August 2019

          This month the numbers went up again and I accepted 389 packages and rejected 43. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 460.

        • rra-c-util 8.0

          This is a roll-up of a lot of changes to my utility package for C (and increasingly for Perl). It’s been more than a year since the last release, so it’s long-overdue.

          Most of the changes in this release are to the Perl test libraries and accompanying tests. Test::RRA now must be imported before Test::More so that it can handle the absence of Test::More (such as on Red Hat systems with perl but not perl-core installed). The is_file_contents function in Test::RRA now handles Windows and other systems without a diff program. And there are more minor improvements to the various tests written in Perl.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Kodi “Leia” 18.4 Release

        Another couple of months have passed since we last pushed out a release, and so, in our ongoing efforts to produce the best media software in the world, it’s time to squash another few of those more irritating bugs. Usual rules apply: don’t expect any new features, don’t think that this will change your life, it won’t make you richer or more attractive, but it will hopefully be more stable and usable for people who’ve been victims of any of these bugs.

        So, what have we done? Well, you can find a full summary of closed pull requests here, but the summary would be…

      • Kodi 18.4 Released With A Few Months Worth Of Fixes

        For those with extra time on their hands this US Labor Day, the Kodi team behind this open-source HTPC software issued their 18.4 Leia release.

        Kodi 18.4 incorporates the past few months worth of fixes ranging from memory leak and segmentation fault issues to fixed handling of TrueHD pass-through audio, controller fixes, user interface fixes, and also pulling in a slightly updated FFmpeg.

      • Kodi (Formerly XBMC) 18.4 Released, How to Install in Ubuntu 18.04

        Kodi media center 18.4 was released today as another bug-fix release for Kodi 18 “Leia”. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 19.04.

        [...]

        The Kodi stable PPA has made the new release packages for Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.04, and their derivatives.

      • Open source Kodi 18.4 ‘Leia’ now available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and more

        Officially, Kodi is not for piracy, but the reality is… it sort of is. Look, not everyone uses the software for nefarious purposes, but let’s be honest here, folks, in these days of inexpensive streaming media, people setting up a media center to access locally stored files are few and far between. So, yeah, Kodi is a platform used by many pirates.

        Regardless of what you use Kodi for, you should be excited today. Why? Well, a new version of the open source software is now available for download. No, it is not a monumental release by any means — Kodi 18.4 “Leia” is pretty much all about bug fixes. In fact, end users may not even notice any changes.

      • Open Source Feminism: The Unfinished Revolution

        2009-2015 was the age of open source feminism. For six years, women talked about their lack of representation in free software, and organized for change. Then, suddenly, the movement fell almost silent, leaving far less than advocates had hoped.

        Women in open source had been an issue in open source since the founding of LinuxChix by Deb Richardson in 1999. However, the motivation for greater organization was the FLOSSPOL study of open source in 2006, which is no longer available online although a few references remain. The study found that while women were 28% of those working on proprietary software, only 1.5% of those working on open source were women.

      • Espressif ESP-Skainet Voice Assistant Offers Wake Word Engine and Speech Commands Recognition for Embedded MCUs
      • scikit-survival 0.10 released

        To illustrate the use of compare_survival, let’s consider the Veterans’ Administration Lung Cancer Trial. Here, we are considering the Celltype feature and we want to know whether the tumor type impacts survival. We can visualize the survival function for each subgroup using the Kaplan-Meier estimator.

      • How To Choose The Perfect Open-Source Dashboard

        In the current data-driven scenario, data visualisation is something all data analyst have to court, and a dashboard, in this case, is an obvious protagonist. Dashboards allow real-time visualising and easy understanding of the key performance indicators in an organisation. Dashboards extract meaningful insights from data which is further used by organisations for decision-making.

        [...]

        Mozaïk is a tool based on NodeJS/ React / D3 / stylus to easily craft beautiful dashboards. It supports multiple devices through an adaptive layout such as on a big screen in the open space or smartphones.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 69 Gearing Up For Release With Linux Performance Improvements

            Firefox 69.0 is set to be officially released tomorrow but for those eager to upgrade the release binaries have now hit their FTP server.

            Firefox 69 isn’t the most exciting Mozilla web browser update in recent times but we’ve found it to at least provide better Linux performance for Firefox both out-of-the-box and when making use of the WebRender code path.

            Other changes for Firefox 69.0 are mostly catering to macOS and Windows platform specific changes though one visible alteration is that Adobe Flash content will now always ask users before activating Flash content on a web page.

          • Mozilla Firefox 69 Is Now Available to Download for Linux, Windows, and macOS

            A day ahead of its official release, the Firefox 69.0 open-source and cross-platform web browser is now available to download for all supported systems from Mozilla’s FTP servers.
            Almost two months in the works, the Mozilla Firefox 69.0 web browser is slated for release on Tuesday, September 3rd, but Mozilla already uploaded the final binaries for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems, along with the source code, on its download servers.

            Firefox 69.0 isn’t currently available through OTA (Over-the-Air) updates, so if you want to be one of the first to install it or update your existing installation, you can download Firefox 69.0 for GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS right now from our free software portal or directly from Mozilla’s FTP servers by clicking the link above.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Emmanuel Semutenga

          Uganda currently has the highest youth population between 17 to 24 years – that makes 80 percent of the population, and most of these young people lack the practical skills to enable them to get employed. Hence the intervention of Kampabits.

          Kampabits is a youth-based organization founded in 2010 that uses ICT multimedia creatively to improve the lives of less privileged youth from the non-formal settlements. We also create safe spaces for persons with disabilities to freely express themselves while learning these in-demand skills.

          We have helped 350 young people since our inception, with skills in computer literacy, graphic design and coding skills (front-end, back-end and full-stack developers) during our six month trainings. Kampabits later places these young people in a three month internship with their partner companies.

          Kampabits also runs a “Women in Tech” project that trains 15 women in advanced coding skills, to make them employable, in a period of six months. This project focuses on women who have prior knowledge of computer basics. They are later placed in outsourcing jobs in companies like Tunga.

      • CMS

        • The Month in WordPress: August 2019

          The upcoming minor release of WordPress, v5.2.3, is currently in the release candidate phase and available for testing.

          Following that, the next major release is v5.3 and the Core team has laid out a schedule and scope for development. In addition, a bug scrub schedule and an accessibility-focused schedule have been set out to provide dedicated times for contributors to work on ironing out the bugs in the release.

          Want to get involved in building WordPress Core? Follow the Core team blog, and join the #core channel in the Making WordPress Slack group.

      • Programming/Development

        • Why I use Java

          I believe I started using Java in 1997, not long after Java 1.1 saw the light of day. Since that time, by and large, I’ve really enjoyed programming in Java; although I confess these days, I’m as likely to be found writing Groovy scripts as “serious code” in Java.

          Coming from a background in FORTRAN, PL/1, Pascal, and finally C, I found a lot of things to like about Java. Java was my first significant hands-on experience with object-oriented programming. By then, I had been programming for about 20 years, and it’s probably safe to say I had some ideas about what mattered and what didn’t.

        • Top take-aways from DevOps World 2019

          In August, I had the opportunity to join more than 2,000 people gathered in San Francisco for DevOps World 2019. Following are some of the most newsworthy announcements from the 150 breakout sessions and 16 workshops held over the four-day event.

        • Wingware Blog: Dark Mode and Color Configuration in Wing Python IDE

          When Dark Mode is selected, Wing switches to the most recently used dark color configuration, or the default dark configuration if none has been used.

          To select which dark mode is used, change Color Palette on the first page of Wing’s Preferences.

        • Code Challenge 63 – Automatically Generate Blog Featured Images

          In this new blog code challenge you are going to use selenium to automatically generate some cool featured images for PyBites. Let’s write some Python code, shall we?

        • Natural Language Processing With spaCy in Python

          spaCy is a free and open-source library for Natural Language Processing (NLP) in Python with a lot of in-built capabilities. It’s becoming increasingly popular for processing and analyzing data in NLP. Unstructured textual data is produced at a large scale, and it’s important to process and derive insights from unstructured data. To do that, you need to represent the data in a format that can be understood by computers. NLP can help you do that.

        • Combining Python And SQL To Build A PyData Warehouse

          The ecosystem of tools and libraries in Python for data manipulation and analytics is truly impressive, and continues to grow. There are, however, gaps in their utility that can be filled by the capabilities of a data warehouse. In this episode Robert Hodges discusses how the PyData suite of tools can be paired with a data warehouse for an analytics pipeline that is more robust than either can provide on their own. This is a great introduction to what differentiates a data warehouse from a relational database and ways that you can think differently about running your analytical workloads for larger volumes of data.

        • Capitalize the letters that occupy even indexes and odd indexes separately

          Given a string, capitalize the letters within the string that occupy even indexes and odd indexes separately, and return as a list! Index 0 will be considered even.

        • Dependencies Handling in Python

          Dependencies are a nightmare for many people. Some even argue they are technical debt. Managing the list of the libraries of your software is a horrible experience. Updating them — automatically? — sounds like a delirium.

          Stick with me here as I am going to help you get a better grasp on something that you cannot, in practice, get rid of — unless you’re incredibly rich and talented and can live without the code of others.

          First, we need to be clear of something about dependencies: there are two types of them. Donald Stuff wrote better than I would about the subject years ago. To make it simple, one can say that they are two types of code packages depending on external code: applications and libraries.

        • Django bugfix releases issued: 2.2.5, 2.1.12, and 1.11.24

          Today we’ve issued 2.2.5, 2.1.12, and 1.11.24 bugfix releases.

          The release package and checksums are available from our downloads page, as well as from the Python Package Index. The PGP key ID used for this release is Mariusz Felisiak: 2EF56372BA48CD1B.

        • Teaching an old Pythonista new Gopher tricks

          I recently got a new job where I need to write a lot of Golang, so needed to learn it.
          I figured that you don’t really learn a language unless you try and write code that actually does something useful. However having been to a recent Golang meetup where someone had come to a similar conclusion, and had written a full emulator of the Gameboy in Go – I also figured I wanted to do something that was not quite so complex or low level … ie hopefully, could be done in a week.

          So I decided to take the plunge by creating an open source package that does the same job, as a Python one that I released many years ago called django-csvimport. A simple add-on for the Django ORM that caters for loading data to models from CSV files, with the option to generate the model code from scratch for a CSV file by checking the data fields and determining the data type for each column.

          Also doing a task where I had solved the problems in another language would mean I could just focus on how Golang might approach the problem, not the problem itself. So this post is about the practical differences between writing a Python and Golang solution. As such it compares the languages as tools for a certain job, which I hope is complementary to the many posts that compare the languages themselves. Suffice is to say, they differ in many ways … most significantly in static vs. dynamic typing … whilst being most similar in regarding readable consistent simple syntax as paramount – where other languages have different priorities – hence for both auto-formatting code is good practise, with Go’s builtin go format doing the job of Python’s black or yapf.

        • EuroPython 2019: Please send in your feedback

          We will leave the feedback form online for a few weeks and then use the information as basis for the work on EuroPython 2020 and also intend to post a summary of the multiple choice questions (not the comments to protect your privacy) on our website.

    • Leftovers

      • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

        • Warning Issued For Millions Of Microsoft Windows 10 Users

          Picked up by the eagle eyes of Windows Latest, users are warning that Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 update is hitting performance hard. And what’s most frustrating is Microsoft was warned about this prior to release, shipped it anyway and continues to ignore it.

          Showing up for anyone who hits the ‘Check for updates’ button in Windows Update, KB4512941 was released to fix multiple problems, including bugs in Windows Sandbox, black screen issues and more. But inside the update is a botched Cortana fix which is causing the service to gobble up to 40% of user’s CPUs. Wave goodbye to half your PC’s power and a good chunk of battery life.

        • Security updates for Monday

          Security updates have been issued by Debian (gosa, libav, libextractor, nghttp2, pump, and python2.7), Fedora (dovecot, mod_http2, and pango), Gentoo (dovecot, gnome-desktop, libofx, and nautilus), Mageia (ansible, ghostscript, graphicsmagick, memcached, mpg123, pango, vlc, wavpack, webmin, wireshark, and wpa_supplicant, hostapd), openSUSE (flatpak, libmirage, podman, slirp4netns and libcontainers-common, python-SQLAlchemy, and qemu), Red Hat (ghostscript, java-1.8.0-ibm, and squid:4), and SUSE (kernel, libsolv, libzypp, zypper, NetworkManager, nodejs10, nodejs8, perl, python-Django, and python-SQLAlchemy).

      • Environment

        • Hurricane Dorian batters Bahamas, slowly moving toward Florida
        • Dorian closes in on Bahamas as dangerous Category 5 storm

          An already dangerous Hurricane Dorian intensified yet again Sunday as it closed in on the northern Bahamas…

        • Energy

          • Desert treaty steps up fight for degraded land

            Degraded land − drought − the spread of the world’s deserts: that’s the challenge for a UN conference starting in Delhi.

            DELHI, 2 September, 2019 − The battle to halt the march of deserts across the world and the spread of degraded land, which lead to mass migration, is the focus of 169 countries meeting in India from today.

            The annual United Nations climate change convention, held every year, receives massive media coverage. In contrast the UN Convention to Combat Desertification meets once every two years to combat the spread of deserts, land degradation and drought. Its success is vital for more than half the world’s population. But it gets little attention.

            Four out of five hectares of land on the planet have been altered from their natural state by humans. Much of this alteration has been damaging, making the land less fertile and productive.

        • Wildlife/Nature

          • Panda cubs are born at Berlin Zoo

            Berlin zoo is celebrating after its resident panda became a mum and gave birth to twins.
            The zoo tweeted: “Meng Meng the panda is a mom,” adding they were “speechless.”
            A video shows Meng Meng guiding one of her tiny pink babies to feed.

            It’s extremely difficult and rare to breed pandas in captivity; there are just over 400 living in zoos around the world, in conservation projects set up with China.

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • Why doping is just a form of corruption like any other case

          The first thing that comes to mind when people around the world think about Kenya, is our world-class athletes.

          Hundreds of Kenyans win international races almost every two weeks. Scientists are confounded by our prowess for running, but there is no doubt that we are the best of the best.

      • Monopolies

        • Patents and Software Patents

          • U.S. DOJ, Nokia, InterDigital, Dolby, 20 law profs among amici curiae supporting Qualcomm’s Ninth Circuit appeal of antitrust ruling in FTC’s favor

            On Friday (August 30), one week after Qualcomm’s opening brief in its Ninth Circuit appeal of Judge Lucy H. Koh’s antitrust ruling in favor of the Federal Trade Commission as well as the Ninth Circuit’s August motions panel’s decision to grant Qualcomm a stay of two injunctive remedies, eight amicus curiae briefs were filed in support of Qualcomm–some officially claiming to support neither party, but practically all of them supporting Qualcomm’s positions.

            I’m not overwhelmed because neither the filers nor, at first sight, their views are a suprise. But inundated I do feel.

            So far I’ve just commented on one part of Qualcomm’s opening brief: its argument, with which I agree in two respects but not in all others, against the component-level licensing obligation. I’m going to do a follow-up to that one because I’ve concluded that SEPs really are subject to compulsory licensing, as they already were in Germany a long time ago under the Orange-Book-Standard doctrine there, and I found an interesting old U.S. case where the DOJ imposed a compulsory-licensing obligation on a patent holder. But before I even got there, much less found time to address the other parts of Qualcomm’s opening brief, there’s been that flood of amicus curiae briefs.

        • Trademarks

          • Can the ideal image of female beauty be considered a limit to a designer’s freedom

            After years of legal battle between Barbie and Bratz [see here] and the more recent trouble in relation to the Frida Kahlo Barbie [covered by The IPKat here], Barbie is back on the legal battlefield, this time obtaining a win before the EUIPO Invalidity Division.

            Last month, in fact, the EUIPO declared invalid the Registered Community design (RCD) for the products Doll’s heads and heads for dolls registered on 7.5.2014 by Jieyang Defa industry Co.

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