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09.05.19

Links 5/9/2019: LibreOffice 6.3.1 and LibreOffice 6.2.7, PinePhone and Librem 5 Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 12:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Crostini Could Offer More Linux Distros in The Future

        You might already be familiar with Crostini if you aren’t new to the Chrome OS family but if you are, Crostini is Google’s initiative to expand the usability of Chromebooks.

        The company wants to achieve this by creating an evenly balanced environment where Linux apps can easily co-exist side by side with their Chrome OS counterparts and in the process creating a remarkably intuitive yet resourceful working space where users won’t need to leave Chrome OS for the sole purpose of using their preferable Linux programs to accomplish tasks.

        Google is betting big on Crostini and the company hopes its success could effectively turn Chromebooks into enticing products for the development community but according to a feature request, Linux Beta on Chromebooks could be a lot more welcoming if the Linux flavor being offered by default isn’t limit to only Debian.

      • Dell Has A New Dedicated Site For Ubuntu And RHEL-Certified Linux Desktops And Laptops

        For those of you following the Project Sputnik initiative — a project within Dell to offer and promote a premium range of Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux-certified systems — you’ve probably had one chief complaint. Finding these systems hasn’t been the most intuitive process. Searches on Dell.com can often lead to completely unrelated items, and sometimes it’s difficult to find Developer Edition versions of the XPS 13 or Precision Mobile Workstations, for example. That changes today, as Dell has launched a dedicated landing page for its developer-focused Linux desktops and laptops.

        In a recent interview with Dell’s Project Sputnik lead Barton George, I learned that increasing the overall visibility of these Linux systems is of paramount importance.

        Right now you’ll be able to find the entire lineup of XPS 13 Developer Edition and Precision Mobile Workstation laptops, as well as 6 different Precision Tower Workstation desktops.

        “We had an old landing page from the very beginning for Project Sputnik, but it wasn’t going to win any beauty awards,” George says. “This new page fits right in with the existing Dell.com responsive template and it looks much slicker. We’d like to grow this over time, because we have more than 160 platforms that ship with Linux.”

    • Server

      • Want to quickly connect OpenStack and Ceph? SUSE OpenStack Cloud has you covered

        Integration is the name of the game when it comes to software-defined infrastructure, and tools that take away much of the pain area ideal for any fast-moving IT shop. When it comes to connecting OpenStack with Ceph storage, SUSE has integrated tools that make it a snap.

        SUSE OpenStack Cloud Crowbar 9 offers users simple graphical or command-line options to make SUSE Enterprise Storage the target for Cinder, Cinder Backup, Glance and Nova using Ceph’s built-in gateways. That means ready, scalable access to block, file and object storage for all your OpenStack needs.

      • 7 tips for sysadmins to improve communication skills

        The notion that system administrators and other IT pros are social misfits who don’t work well with other humans is a stereotype. It’s a long-held one, too, mythologized both in corporate and popular culture.

        Readers of a certain age might recall, for example, Jimmy Fallon’s recurring SNL sketch, Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy. (That particular episode first aired in 2001, to give a sense of the stereotype’s endurance.) Nick overcompensated for, um, questionable communication and interpersonal skills by doling out heaps of arrogance and condescension—borne of his superior IT knowledge—toward the non-technical end users in his office. Suffice it to say, Nick wasn’t an office favorite.

        Perhaps this is an extreme example of the grumpy IT pro stereotype, but it fits a larger landscape of assumptions about sysadmins and other technical people: They’re all introverts or lack interpersonal skills that their colleagues in, say, marketing, have in spades. The truth is far more nuanced. Are some sysadmins introverts? Sure. So are plenty of people who do entirely other kinds of work. Moreover, being an introvert is not a bad thing—far from it.

        There is, however, a perfectly reasonable basis for the notion that sysadmin and similar IT jobs attract certain personality types: There’s a lot of heads-down, hands-on work involved in implementing and maintaining IT systems.

        “While it might be a stereotype that technical people tend to be introverts who prefer to work by themselves, the truth is that technical people do tend to have jobs where they’re focused on working on tasks that require concentration and cause us to have fewer human interactions,” says Gloria Metrick, owner at GeoMetrick Enterprises, which implements software (such as the Laboratory Information Management System, or LIMS) in R&D and product testing laboratories. “These types of tasks don’t help people be more communicative.”

        That fact means that if you’re not a natural-born communicator, becoming a sysadmin won’t necessarily push you to become one. Take comfort, though: You’re not alone, and it’s most definitely not an IT-only thing.

        “It’s a fallacy to assume that many people in this world are born as great communicators,” Metrick says. “In fact, some extroverts are the worst communicators. Some of them think their automatic love of people allows them to understand what others want and need from them and that’s often false.”

      • IBM

        • Introducing virtio-networking: Combining virtualization and networking for modern IT

          If we’ve learned one thing about IT at-scale over the past several years, it’s that there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to choosing deployment environments. Virtualization, private cloud, public cloud, and Kubernetes have all entered the arena, but there is no clear winner—yet. Instead, IT organizations face layers of complex infrastructure technologies, each with various facets of abstraction and their own “rules” with the added challenge of making these disparate stacks play nicely together for the benefit of the business at-large.

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4 on your laptop: Introducing Red Hat CodeReady Containers

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat CodeReady Containers is now available as a Developer Preview. CodeReady Containers brings a minimal, preconfigured OpenShift 4.1 or newer cluster to your local laptop or desktop computer for development and testing purposes. CodeReady Containers supports native hypervisors for Linux, macOS, and Windows 10. You can download CodeReady Containers from the CodeReady Containers product page on cloud.redhat.com.

          CodeReady Containers is designed for local development and testing on an OpenShift 4 cluster. For running an OpenShift 3 cluster locally, see Red Hat Container Development Kit (CDK) or Minishift.

          In this article, we’ll look at the features and benefits of CodeReady Containers, show a demo of how easy it is to create a local Red Hat OpenShift 4 cluster, and show how to deploy an application on top of it.

        • Six transformation steps to succeed in today’s digital era

          While banks continue to modernize, so do their competitors—traditional banks, startups, and even unexpected rivals like Amazon launching new digital brands. Banks are investigating, and some are even testing, advanced technologies like intelligent automation, blockchain, robo-advisers, and chat bots, and embedding them into business processes to deliver new and optimized services that help customers manage their finances and financial futures. The challenge is to successfully employ these new technologies amidst an IT environment that typically has thousands of systems and interfaces across a variety of both legacy and newer technologies.

          Banks are already planning for and indeed pursuing digital transformations. In fact, according to a 2018 Boston Consulting Group survey, a large majority of banks surveyed said that digital will impact both the “competitive landscape and the economics of the business.” But less than half actually have a solid strategy to digitally transform, according to the study.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 19.2.0-rc2
          Hi List,
          
          I'd like to announce the availability of mesa-19.2.0-rc2. This is the
          culmination of two weeks worth of work. Due to maintenance the Intel CI is not
          running, but I've built and tested this locally. I would have preferred to get
          more testing, but being two weeks out from -rc1 I wanted to get a release out.
          
          Dylan
          
          
          Shortlog:
          --------
          
          Alex Smith (1):
                radv: Change memory type order for GPUs without dedicated VRAM
          
          Alyssa Rosenzweig (1):
                pan/midgard: Fix writeout combining
          
          Andres Rodriguez (1):
                radv: additional query fixes
          
          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (3):
                radv: Use correct vgpr_comp_cnt for VS if both prim_id and instance_id are needed.
                radv: Emit VGT_GS_ONCHIP_CNTL for tess on GFX10.
                radv: Disable NGG for geometry shaders.
          
          Danylo Piliaiev (1):
                nir/loop_unroll: Prepare loop for unrolling in wrapper_unroll
          
          Dave Airlie (2):
                virgl: fix format conversion for recent gallium changes.
                gallivm: fix atomic compare-and-swap
          
          Dylan Baker (1):
                bump version to 19.2-rc2
          
          Ian Romanick (7):
                nir/algrbraic: Don't optimize open-coded bitfield reverse when lowering is enabled
                intel/compiler: Request bitfield_reverse lowering on pre-Gen7 hardware
                nir/algebraic: Mark some value range analysis-based optimizations imprecise
                nir/range-analysis: Adjust result range of exp2 to account for flush-to-zero
                nir/range-analysis: Adjust result range of multiplication to account for flush-to-zero
                nir/range-analysis: Fix incorrect fadd range result for (ne_zero, ne_zero)
                nir/range-analysis: Handle constants in nir_op_mov just like nir_op_bcsel
          
          Ilia Mirkin (1):
                gallium/vl: use compute preference for all multimedia, not just blit
          
          Jose Maria Casanova Crespo (1):
                mesa: recover target_check before get_current_tex_objects
          
          Kenneth Graunke (15):
                gallium/ddebug: Wrap resource_get_param if available
                gallium/trace: Wrap resource_get_param if available
                gallium/rbug: Wrap resource_get_param if available
                gallium/noop: Implement resource_get_param
                iris: Replace devinfo->gen with GEN_GEN
                iris: Fix broken aux.possible/sampler_usages bitmask handling
                iris: Update fast clear colors on Gen9 with direct immediate writes.
                iris: Drop copy format hacks from copy region based transfer path.
                iris: Avoid unnecessary resolves on transfer maps
                iris: Fix large timeout handling in rel2abs()
                isl: Drop UnormPathInColorPipe for buffer surfaces.
                isl: Don't set UnormPathInColorPipe for integer surfaces.
                util: Add a _mesa_i64roundevenf() helper.
                mesa: Fix _mesa_float_to_unorm() on 32-bit systems.
                iris: Fix partial fast clear checks to account for miplevel.
          
          Lionel Landwerlin (2):
                util/timespec: use unsigned 64 bit integers for nsec values
                util: fix compilation on macos
          
          Marek Olšák (18):
                radeonsi/gfx10: fix the legacy pipeline by storing as_ngg in the shader cache
                radeonsi: move some global shader cache flags to per-binary flags
                radeonsi/gfx10: fix tessellation for the legacy pipeline
                radeonsi/gfx10: fix the PRIMITIVES_GENERATED query if using legacy streamout
                radeonsi/gfx10: create the GS copy shader if using legacy streamout
                radeonsi/gfx10: add as_ngg variant for VS as ES to select Wave32/64
                radeonsi/gfx10: fix InstanceID for legacy VS+GS
                radeonsi/gfx10: don't initialize VGT_INSTANCE_STEP_RATE_0
                radeonsi/gfx10: always use the legacy pipeline for streamout
                radeonsi/gfx10: finish up Navi14, add PCI ID
                radeonsi/gfx10: add AMD_DEBUG=nongg
                winsys/amdgpu+radeon: process AMD_DEBUG in addition to R600_DEBUG
                radeonsi: add PKT3_CONTEXT_REG_RMW
                radeonsi/gfx10: remove incorrect ngg/pos_writes_edgeflag variables
                radeonsi/gfx10: set PA_CL_VS_OUT_CNTL with CONTEXT_REG_RMW to fix edge flags
                radeonsi: consolidate determining VGPR_COMP_CNT for API VS
                radeonsi: unbind blend/DSA/rasterizer state correctly in delete functions
                radeonsi: fix scratch buffer WAVESIZE setting leading to corruption
          
          Paulo Zanoni (1):
                intel/fs: grab fail_msg from v32 instead of v16 when v32->run_cs fails
          
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (1):
                glsl: replace 'x + (-x)' with constant 0
          
          Rafael Antognolli (1):
                anv: Only re-emit non-dynamic state that has changed.
          
          Samuel Pitoiset (7):
                radv: allow to enable VK_AMD_shader_ballot only on GFX8+
                radv: add a new debug option called RADV_DEBUG=noshaderballot
                radv: force enable VK_AMD_shader_ballot for Wolfenstein Youngblood
                ac: fix exclusive scans on GFX8-GFX9
                radv/gfx10: don't initialize VGT_INSTANCE_STEP_RATE_0
                radv/gfx10: do not use NGG with NAVI14
                radv: fix getting the index type size for uint8_t
          
          Tapani Pälli (3):
                util: fix os_create_anonymous_file on android
                iris/android: fix build and link with libmesa_intel_perf
                egl: reset blob cache set/get functions on terminate
          
          Thong Thai (1):
                Revert "radeonsi: don't emit PKT3_CONTEXT_CONTROL on amdgpu"
          
        • Mesa 19.2-RC2 Released Following Delay – Many Iris, RADV & RadeonSI Fixes

          Mesa 19.2 fell off the release train and is now likely to be released more towards the end of September rather than the middle of the month or even the end of August as was their original time-table.

          Mesa 19.2-RC2 was released on Wednesday and incorporates two weeks worth of fixes rather than being on the usual weekly release regiment. Some blockers bugs have been cleared up in the process, but now likely an extra week / release candidate will be in order to ensure sufficient test coverage.

        • XWayland Sees Updated Protocol Support To Help WLROOTS & KDE

          X.Org Server 1.21′s XWayland implementation has added support for the xdg-output-unstable-v1 version 3 protocol to help the likes of KDE and compositors like Sway based on WLROOTS.

          The xdg-output-unstable-v1 version 3 protocol update changes the protocol behavior to ensure a wl_output.done event happens after xdg_output changes. More details on the change in that aforelinked Git commit with KDE and WLROOTS being the mentioned Wayland compositors/users affected by the previous behavior resulting in the XWayland monitor not changing position or the cursor being able to reach all of the surface area.

        • AMD Working On Better Page Fault Handling For Navi / Vega GPUs

          Longtime open-source AMD Linux driver developer Christian König on Wednesday sent out a set of patches providing “graceful” page fault handling support for Navi and Vega graphics processors.

          This graceful page fault handling support is on their trek to providing recoverable page fault handling for newer Radeon GPUs with the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver. This ultimately is for improving the behavior of applications/games to avoid hangs and/or invalid access messages being spewed to their dmesg and the like.

    • Benchmarks

      • Running Intel’s Clear Linux On AMD EPYC Rome? Still Significant Performance Uplift Over Ubuntu

        The current AMD EPYC 7742 2P benchmarking that is happening at Phoronix is an interesting Linux/BSD operating system performance comparison. That’s in the works while so far are some Ubuntu and Clear Linux numbers. Yes, Intel’s open-source Clear Linux platform does run fine generally on AMD hardware — including the new AMD “Rome” processors — and generally does still run damn fast. Here is a look at Clear Linux on this 128 core / 256 thread server with Clear Linux against Ubuntu 19.04 as well as the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10.

        To the surprise of many in the community, Intel’s Clear Linux operating system generally works fine on AMD hardware while retaining many of the performance benefits compared to general purpose Linux distributions. About the extent of Clear Linux issues on AMD hardware I have personally encountered are sometimes NVMe SSDs not being detected, mostly due to power management quirks between the chipset and various power management tuning done by Intel’s open-source team, but with time they have rectified those issues. One issue currently encountered is Clear Linux not detecting the PCI Express 4.0 Corsair Force MP600 SSD on AMD Ryzen 3000 + X570 setups, but I’ll have some similar Ryzen tests with a PCIe 3 SSD there in the days ahead.

      • Linux Benchmarks Of NVMe SSD Performance With Varying I/O Polling Queues

        A Phoronix reader recently pointed out a little known kernel tunable option to adjust the number of I/O polling queues for NVMe solid-state drives that can potentially help improve the performance/latency. Here are some benchmarks from the NVMe poll_queues option.

    • Applications

      • 6 Open Source Paint Applications for Linux Users

        As a child, when I started using computer (with Windows XP), my favorite application was Paint. I spent hours doodling on it. Surprisingly, children still love the paint apps. And not just children, the simple paint app comes handy in a number of situations.

        You will find a bunch of applications that let you draw/paint or manipulate images. However, some of them are proprietary. While you’re a Linux user – why not focus on open source paint applications?

        In this article, we are going to list some of the best open source paint applications which are worthy alternatives to proprietary painting software available on Linux.

      • Albert – An amazing keyboard launcher for Linux

        Linux has many features and tools that make the user experience very convenient and rich. There are regular updates, a very enthusiastic community that supports you out at every step. In the same quest, today we will learn about an amazing tool called Albert. It is basically a keyboard launcher. Now you may ask, what is a keyboard launcher?

        Keyboard launcher is an application that allows you to do things from the keyboard which you normally have to carry out with a mouse. Having one makes your interaction with your computer very easy and quick.

        Now, you may be saying, “are you talking about keyboard shortcuts because I already know that”. My replay to this question is, Naah!

      • Proprietary

        • A New Version Of SoftMaker FreeOffice Adds Dark Mode, Improved Microsoft Office Compatibility

          The update to FreeOffice also expands compatibility with LibreOffice by adding full ODT (Open Document Text) functionality.

          Additionally, FreeOffice adds a new dark interface to make things easier on your eyeballs. I appreciate this, because I dark mode all the things.

          Though FreeOffice is a multi-platform Office suite, SoftMaker says these features are a direct response to requests from its Linux community. As it stands now, FreeOffice may be a viable alternative to the widely-used LibreOffice, which is included by default in a number of popular Linux distributions. In fact, making the switch is boldly encouraged in the accompanying press release.

          Both non-paid and paid commercial versions of FreeOffice are available to download for Linux, Windows and macOS at freeoffice.com.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The FOSS 2D game engine GDevelop continues advancing the 5.0 release

        GDevelop, a FOSS (Free and open-source software) 2D game engine seems to be really coming along nicely for the current overhaul.

        Tools like GDevelop are incredible for quick prototyping, introducing a younger generation to developing and professional games too. What I love about GDevelop, is that it uses a visual programming events system. It could be compared with Clickteam’s Fusion or Scirra’s Construct.

      • The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is coming later this year with Linux support

        Ready for more excellent party games? The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is coming later this year and Jackbox Games, Inc. will be continuing to support Linux with this latest pack.

        Following on from the bundle of games included in packs 1 to 5 which all support Linux, this newest version already sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

      • Co-op puzzle game We Were Here Together launching on October 10th

        We Were Here Together, the third game in the co-op puzzle series from Total Mayhem Games has been confirmed for release on October 10th.

        The previous games We Were Here and We Were Here Too both support Linux and the gameplay is a lot of fun with the right partner. It’s a game that requires co-op, as there’s no single-player here. You start together, you end up alone and you have to communicate using in-game walkie-talkies to solve puzzles and keep moving.

      • FOSS fantasy turn-based strategy game Battle for Wesnoth has a new Beta, still porting to Godot Engine

        The team behind the popular free and open source fantasy turn-based strategy game Battle for Wesnoth have announced the start of a big new release.

        Wesnoth 1.15.1 is the first in what will be a long series of Beta releases which includes a brand new campaign called Wings of Victory, an “Intermediate level Drake campaign with 11 scenarios”. The Dunefolk faction got a big re-work as well to improve balance against the six Default factions, lots of translation updates, AI improvements, IPv6 improvements for multiplayer, the Font Scaling preference is back and much more included.

      • Nanotale – Typing Chronicles confirmed for Linux at the full release

        Remember Epistory – Typing Chronicles The typing adventure game from Fishing Cactus? Well, they’re working on another called Nanotale – Typing Chronicles.

        It’s certainly an intriguing concept and it did work really well in Epistory, so I’m pretty keen to see more.

      • CodeWeavers still looking for more developers to work on Steam Play/Proton

        CodeWeavers, the company that helps to support development of Wine and partnered with Valve to help with Steam Play/Proton are still looking to bring in some more developers.

        I spoke to James Ramey, the CodeWeavers President last night who confirmed that there has actually been a good amount of interest as the position has been open for a while. They need more though, especially if Wine and Proton development is going to keep pushing forwards.

    • Distributions

      • Multiple YaST Packages, Major Versions of Gawk, Swig Update in Tumbleweed

        The snapshots brought two new major versions and two Linux Kernel updates.

        Snapshot 20190902 brought the second Linux Kernel update for the week with an update of kernel 5.2.11; the new kernel brought several fixes for ASoC audio drivers. The snapshot also provided an updated version of Ceph to address a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures.The IRC Client irssi 1.2.2 version fixed a crash and libreoffice 6.3.1.1 removed some patches. The updated libsolv 0.7.6 fixed repository priority handling for multiversion packages and the network discovery and security auditing utility nmap 7.80 resolved a compatibility issue with OpenSSL library configured with security level 2. Qt4 support was removed with the polkit-qt5-1 version 0.113.0. MicroOS integration tests and an added required cryptomount coding for EFI boot were added with core appliance builder python-kiwi 9.18.12. The interface compiler connecting programs written in C and C++ with scripting languages, Swig, received the 4.0 update in the snapshot; the new major version improves support for parsing C++11 and C++14 code and removes php5 support. Several YaST packages updated the name type X-SuSE-YaST-AutoInstResource. The snapshot is trending at a rating of 88, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

        Snapshot 20190829 updated three packages. The three package updates were freeipmi 1.6.4, texlive-specs-m and texlive-specs-n. The snapshot recorded a moderate rating of 90, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

      • New Releases

        • Linux Lite 4.6 Has Been Officially Released, and it Comes With Several Changes

          Jerry Besancon has announced a new version of Linux Lite 4.6, which is based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS.

          This is the fourth release of the Linux Lite 4.x series. But it is not shipped by default with the HWE (Hardware Operating) Linux 5.0 kernel.

          At the same time, users are allowed to install a variety of custom kernels from versions 3.13 to 5.2.

          There are many changes to this release, and more details below.

          The Linux Lite Welcome Screen allows us to easily select a light or dark theme.

          Also, it comes with new keyboard and number lock info guide.

        • Septor 2019.5 (September 5)

          Tor Browser is fully installed (8.5.5)
          System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of September 4, 2019
          Update Thunderbird to 60.8.0.1
          Update openjdk-11-jre to 11.0.4
          Update VLC to 3.0.8.0
          Update ffmpeg to 7.4.1.4
          Update youtube-dl to 2019.08.13

      • Fedora Family

        • F30-20190904 updated Live isos Released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F30-20190904 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.2.11-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have 1.2GB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, paddy, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

        • Internationalization (i18n) features for Fedora 31

          All next week, we will be testing internationalization (i18n) features in Fedora 31.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • 4MLinux 30.0 STABLE is Released, Which Includes New Multimedia Applications

          Zbigniew Konojacki has announced the new stable release of 4MLinux 29.0 on Sunday, September 1, 2019.

          This major new release brought some new features, and the details are below.

          OpenGL is working out of the box in games (No need to install additional drivers).

          It automatically disables Pulseaudio when needed (for example, in classic games like DOOM).

          Few multimedia applications are included in this release like FlMusic (audio player), Sound Studio (sound editor), fdkaac (command line front-end for Fraunhofer FDK AAC codec library).

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Developers Italia and the New Guidelines: Let the Open Source Revolution Start! An Interview with Leonardo Favario

        Yes, I must admit that for me the Free Software movement was love-at-first-sight! I immediately felt it was a natural tool to empower people and I really enjoyed the thriving communities that were flourishing around even small pieces of wonderfully written code. As such, as many youngsters do, I jumped from channel to channel trying to fit all the small pieces together and get the complete puzzle in place. Soon I decided that lurking was not my way of being, so I started to create communities around Free Software, getting friends to work together. I am particularly fond of communities striving to improve education by using technology and that’s where I have been active lately, especially in Italy. One example is the Open edX community where it’s possible to find a great combination of actors, ranging from full stack devs to educators, all trying to work together on the future of education. That’s something that I love about FOSS communities.

      • Events

        • Tobias Bernard: GUADEC 2019

          Last week I was in Thessaloniki (Greece) for this year’s GUADEC. This time I took vacations before the conference, visiting Athens and Delphi among other places, before coming to Thessaloniki.

          [...]

          I made an effort to see more talks this year, because there were so many interesting ones. Kudos to the speakers and organizers for getting such an excellent program together! Among my favorites were Allan’s talk on UX strategy and tactics, Cassidy’s about his research on dark styles, and Deb Nicholson’s closing keynote on building a free software utopia.

        • Going to Akademy together with MBition

          MBition is still in the learning phase as organization when it comes to Open Source, but the enthusiasm among my colleagues, including the leadership team, with the posibility of becoming contributors in the near future makes me confident about our Open Source journey.

          [...]

          In order to learn about community driven projects, I think KDE is a great place to start and not just because I am involved in the project. There are several additional reasons.

        • Change of Plans

          TL;DR; foss-north IoT and Security Day has been cancelled, or at least indefinitely postponed, due to health reasons.

          For the past three weeks (from August 11, to be exact) I have had a fever that I couldn’t really shake. At the same time my wife had pneumonia for which she was successfully treated. Antibiotics is treated with care in Sweden, so I basically waited for my CRP tests to return a high enough value for my doctor to be convinced that I had an infection.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Great News! Firefox 69 Blocks Third-Party Cookies, Autoplay Videos & Cryptominers by Default

            If you’re using Mozilla Firefox and haven’t updated yet to the latest version, you are missing a lot of new and important features.

            To start with, Mozilla Firefox 69 enforces stronger security and privacy options by default. Here are some of the major highlights of the new release.

            A lot of websites offer auto-play videos nowadays. No matter whether it is a pop-up video or a video embedded in an article set to autoplay, it is blocked by default (or you may be prompted about it).

          • Firefox 69 Web Browser Released. Download Now

            Firefox 69 Released with Default Tracking Protection Enabled.

            The famed open-source browser, Firefox lands its latest release 69 with some major privacy focused changes for its users.

          • Firefox 69 Is Out with Enhanced Tracking Protection for Better Privacy, Security

            Mozilla officially announced today the general availability of the Firefox 69 web browser for all supported platforms, including Linux, Android, Mac, and Windows, a major release that adds new features and improvements for a better browsing experience.
            One of the most important features of the Firefox 69 release is that the Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) functionality is now enabled by default for stronger security and privacy protections by automatically blocking third-party tracking cookies and cryptominers, as well as an optinal setting that also blocks fingerprinters. This feature is now available for Linux, macOS, Windows, and Android systems.

            Another new feature implemented by Mozilla in the Firefox 69 web browser is called Block Autoplay, which, as the name suggests, gives users the ability to block video content from automatically playing, wheather they are playing with sound or without. Moreover, Firefox 69 ships with a revamped “New Tab” page experience focused on Pocket’s content.

          • Introducing Glean — Telemetry for humans

            In the last few years, Firefox development has become increasingly data-driven. Mozilla’s larger data engineering team builds & maintains most of the technical infrastructure that makes this possible; from the Firefox telemetry code to the Firefox data platform and hosting analysis tools. While data about our products is crucial, Mozilla has a rare approach to data collection, following our privacy principles. This includes requiring data review for every new piece of data collection to ensure we are upholding our principles — even when it makes our jobs harder.

            One great success story for us is having the Firefox telemetry data described in machine-readable and clearly structured form. This encourages best practices like mandatory documentation, steering towards lean data practices and enables automatic data processing — from generating tables to powering tools like our measurement dashboard or the Firefox probe dictionary.

            However, we also learned lessons about what didn’t work so well. While the data types we used were flexible, they were hard to interpret. For example, we use plain numbers to store counts, generic histograms to store multiple timespan measures and allow for custom JSON submissions for uncovered use-cases. The flexibility of these data types means it takes work to understand how to use them for different use-cases & leaves room for accidental error on the instrumentation side. Furthermore, it requires manual effort in interpreting & analysing these data points. We noticed that we could benefit from introducing higher-level data types that are closer to what we want to measure — like data types for “counters” and “timing distributions”.

          • Debugging TypeScript in Firefox DevTools

            Firefox Debugger has evolved into a fast and reliable tool chain over the past several months and it’s now supporting many cool features. Though primarily used to debug JavaScript, did you know that you can also use Firefox to debug your TypeScript applications?

            Before we jump into real world examples, note that today’s browsers can’t run TypeScript code directly. It’s important to understand that TypeScript needs to be compiled into Javascript before it’s included in an HTML page.

            Also, debugging TypeScript is done through a source-map, and so we need to instruct the compiler to produce a source-map for us as well.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Developers Announce Increased Focus on PPT/PPTX File Support

          And because working with Microsoft Office files is something that all LibreOffice users expect to do as smoothly as possible, The Document Foundation today announced that a dedicated team of developers would be in charge specifically of improving support for PowerPoint presentation files.

          In other words, LibreOffice should soon receive updates refining the way the freeware productivity solution works with PPT and PPTX files, albeit the timing obviously depends on a series of factors, including how smoothly the development process goes.

        • LibreOffice 6.3.1 and LibreOffice 6.2.7 announced, focusing on security

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.3.1, the first minor release of the LibreOffice 6.3 family, and LibreOffice 6.2.7, the seventh minor release of the LibreOffice 6.2 family, with many bug fixes and a key security improvement.

          LibreOffice 6.3.1 and LibreOffice 6.2.7 consider the presence of any call to a script-like thing as equally hazardous as a macro, and present the user a warning dialog about the document trying to execute a script. Users should never allow the execution of macros and scripts embedded in documents, unless they are perfectly aware of the potential risks associated with the action.

          LibreOffice 6.3.1 “fresh” is targeted at technology enthusiasts and power users, while LibreOffice 6.2.7 “still” is targeted at users in production environments and individual users who prefer robustness over advanced features. All LibreOffice users should update immediately their current version.

          LibreOffice’s individual users are helped by a global community of volunteers: https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/community-support/. On the website and the wiki there are guides, manuals, tutorials and HowTos. Donations help us to make all of these resources available.

        • LibreOffice 6.3 Office Suite Gets Its First Point Release, over 80 Bugs Fixed

          Coming a month after the release of the LibreOffice 6.3 series, LibreOffice 6.3.1 is a maintenance update that fixes a total of 82 issues across various components, such as Word, Draw, Calc, Math, etc., and also introduces a new layer of protection for users before they attempt to run a script or a macro embedded in a document. The same level of protection has been implemented in the LibreOffice 6.2.7 release as well, also announced today.

          “LibreOffice 6.3.1 considers the presence of any call to a script-like thing as equally hazardous as a macro, and present the user a warning dialog about the document trying to execute a script,” explains Italo Vignoli. “Users should never allow the execution of macros and scripts embedded in documents, unless they are perfectly aware of the potential risks associated with the action.”

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Sponsor Article: why open frameworks matter

          The use of computers to control buildings was an inevitable consequence of the falling cost of the technology and the huge increase in the complexity of the equipment required to achieve comfort in large modern buildings. As with computers, the nascent BMS market was initially supplied by manufacturers who offered highly-proprietary systems which only they could install and maintain. As the technology matured, so the software to program the required control logic was made easier. As a result, a wider range of people could provide the engineering. Meanwhile, pressure from end users, who didn’t want to be tied to only one manufacturer for the life of the building or campus, led to the development of open protocol standards that could enable one manufacturers’ system to talk to another.

          However, since the way buildings are contracted tends to require a functionally-biased packaging of sub-contracts, each piece of controls equipment in a building developed separately, and each sub-sector developed its own standards. The result today is a plethora of ‘standard’ protocols which are used by the various sub-systems in a building; BACnet for HVAC, DALI and KNX for lighting, Modbus for electrical metering and power management, M-Bus for heat metering etc. Some protocols such as LONworks did manage for a while to gain traction in multiple segments, but its adoption has declined in recent years. So, although people still dream of there being ‘one standard to rule them all’, the reality is much messier, and the challenge of how to get systems talking to one another has not gone away.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Free Software Supporter – Issue 137, September 2019

          Defective by Design is calling on you to stand up against digital restrictions management and join us in celebration of the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on October 12th, 2019. Keep an eye on defectivebydesign.org for further announcements.

      • Licensing/Legal

        • Some Intel Firmware Binaries Will Reportedly Be More Liberally Licensed

          One interesting nugget of news from this week’s Open-Source Firmware Conference is that some Intel firmware binaries pertaining to their Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) will be more liberally licensed under their simpler microcode/firmware license.

          Open-source firmware consulting firm 3mdeb shared that Intel will reportedly publish TXT-related binaries like BIOS and SINIT ACMs under a similar license to the Intel FSP and microcode.

      • Programming/Development

        • Introducing the guide to 7 essential PyPI libraries and how to use them

          Why is Python so beloved by programmers? It’s open source. It’s compatible with a variety of operating systems. It’s readable for beginners. And it’s powerful enough to use for developing complex applications.

          But best of all is its large community, making it easy to find a solution to whatever problem you’re having. This community is the reason we have such a large, diverse range of software packages available in the Python Package Index (PyPI) to extend and improve Python and solve the inevitable glitches that crop up.
          We’ve put together a collection of PyPI library tutorials by Python expert, Moshe Zadka, in a downloadable guide. Learn how to solve common Python problems such as how to simplify writing C extensions, format your code consistently, add methods to libraries retroactively, automate tests, and more.

        • Why Java is so hot right now

          The Java platform has become one of the most widely used platforms, with a huge ecosystem in the world of technology. Java lets developers create applications for several platforms, such as Windows, Linux, embedded systems, and mobile.

          Java also has received criticisms, such as: Java is fat; Java takes a lot of memory; Java is verbose. But, Java was created to solve big problems, not small problems. Of course, you can also solve small problems with Java, but you see the real benefit of Java when you have a big problem, especially when creating solutions for enterprise environments. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the current Java ecosystem.

          Java is great for enterprise environments because of its power to solve complex problems and its multi-platform characteristics, but also because it promotes more security to business promoting backward compatibility and offers solutions based on specifications.

        • 10 pitfalls to avoid when implementing DevOps

          In companies of every size, software is increasingly providing business value because of a shift in how technology teams define success. More than ever, they are defined by how the applications they build bring value to their customers. Tickets and stability at the cost of saying no are no longer the key value of IT. It’s now about increasing developer velocity by partnering with the business.

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn Scala

          Scala is a modern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based programming and scripting language that’s released under the Apache License 2.0. It blends functional and object-oriented programming models. Scala introduces several innovative language constructs. It improves on Java’s support for object-oriented programming by traits, which are stackable and cannot have constructor parameters. It also offers closures, a feature that dynamic languages like Python and Ruby have adopted.

          Scala is particularly useful for building cloud-based/deliverable Software as a Service (SaaS) online applications, and is also proficient to develop traditional, imperative code.

          The language helps programmers write tighter code. It uses a number of techniques to cut down on unnecessary syntax, which helps to make code succinct. Typically, code sizes are reduced by an order of 2 or 3 compared to an equivalent Java application.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (webkit2gtk), Fedora (systemd), openSUSE (go1.11, python-Twisted, SDL2_image, SDL_image, and wavpack), Oracle (kdelibs and kde-settings, kernel, and qemu-kvm), Red Hat (chromium-browser and firefox), Slackware (seamonkey), SUSE (java-1_8_0-ibm, kernel, and python-urllib3), and Ubuntu (firefox and npm/fstream).

      • Top NSA cyber official points to ransomware attacks as key threat to 2020 elections [iophk: Microsoft Windows TCO]

        “Ransomware is really interesting — 4,000 attacks a day over the last number of years. … That is certainly something that would be a key concern for the elections,” Neuberger said at Billington CyberSecurity’s 10th annual summit.

        Neuberger noted that ransomware attacks in general would be a “focus” of the NSA’s Cybersecurity Directorate, which was announced in July and will be formally set up on Oct. 1.

      • The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History [iophk: Windows TCO]

        NotPetya was propelled by two powerful [attacker] exploits working in tandem: One was a penetration tool known as EternalBlue, created by the US National Security Agency but leaked in a disastrous breach of the agency’s ultrasecret files earlier in 2017. EternalBlue takes advantage of a vulnerability in a particular Windows protocol, allowing [attackers] free rein to remotely run their own code on any unpatched machine.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Colombian Peace Agreement in Peril: Rebels Return to Armed Struggle

        Civil war in Colombia may have a new lease on life. Appearing in a video released on August 29, Iván Márquez (formerly Luciano Marín Arango) spoke for former FARC guerrillas accompanying him.  He announced they had returned “to the mountain,” to armed struggle.

      • Private Sale Allowed Texas Gunman to Evade Background Check

        ODESSA, Texas–The gunman in a West Texas rampage that left seven dead obtained his AR-style rifle through a private sale, allowing him to evade a federal background check that blocked him from getting a gun in 2014 due to a “mental health issue,” a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

      • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Praises Pinochet in Chile

        Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticized on Wednesday U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who is from Chile, by praising that country’s 1973 military coup.

      • Danny Haiphong – The Project Censored Show

        Hosts Mickey Huff and Chase Palmieri spend the hour in conversation with Danny Haiphong, co-author of the new book with Roberto Sirvent “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence” out from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. He explains his assertion that throughout U.S. history, “fake news has been the only news disseminated by the rulers of U.S. empire,” which has in turn been canonized as the dominant historiography of American Exceptionalism. Excellent book and discussion! Tune in!

      • The siege through journalists’ eyes 15 years after a horrific terrorist attack in Beslan, ‘Meduza’ asks reporters on the ground what they remember

        On September 1, 2004, terrorists seized a grade school in Beslan, capturing 1,128 children, parents, and staff. For the next two and a half days, the assailants mined the building and waited. By the end of the ordeal — one of the worst terrorist attacks in Russian history — 333 people were dead, and 783 were injured. Throughout the tragedy, Russian and foreign journalists were in Beslan, reporting the story live from on the ground. Fifteen years later, Meduza asked some of these journalists what they remember about those difficult, dark days.

      • Boko Haram: Bloody Terror, No End in Sight

        “The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for example, gives billions of dollars in aid to northeastern Nigeria. The problem is that aid, which helps fix small amounts of damage, is not a sufficient answer. As long as groups such as Boko Haram are able to keep destroying whole villages and infrastructure — while devastating populations — NGOs will never be able to keep up.” — International Christian Concern’s regional manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, to Gatestone Institute.

      • Private Sale Allowed Texas Gunman to Evade Background Check

        The gunman in a West Texas rampage that left seven dead obtained his AR-style rifle through a private sale, allowing him to evade a federal background check that blocked him from getting a gun in 2014 due to a “mental health issue,” a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

      • U.N. Report Finds U.S. Likely Guilty of War Crimes in Yemen

        A new report by a group of investigators commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council says the United States, Britain and France may be culpable for war crimes in Yemen. The three countries back a Saudi Arabia- and United Arab Emirates-led coalition fighting on the side of the government in the current Yemeni civil war, which has been ongoing for five years.

      • How the U.S. Shattered the Middle East

        Yemen is a nightmare, a catastrophe, a mess—and the United States is highly complicit in the whole disaster. Refueling Saudi aircraft in-flight, providing targeting intelligence to the kingdom and selling the requisite bombs that have been dropped for years now on Yemeni civilians places the 100,000-plus deaths, millions of refugees, and (still) starving children squarely on the American conscience. If, that is, Washington can still claim to have a conscience.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Justice Department To Force Imprisoned Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond To Testify Against WikiLeaks

        FBI informant Hector Xavier Monsegur was instrumental in targeting and carrying out a cyberattack on the private intelligence firm, Stratfor, in 2011. The FBI allowed several individuals to submit stolen information from the firm to WikiLeaks, and it ultimately led to the prosecution of hacktivist Jeremy Hammond, who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in 2013.

        Now, the Justice Department has transferred Hammond from the Federal Correctional Institution Milan in Michigan to the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia so they can force him to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

      • The French Press and the Assyro-Chaldeans

        A new book titled La France et les Assyro-Chaldéens – qu’en dit la presse? (France and the Assyro-Chaldeans — What does the press say?) has been published by Claire Weibel Yacoub, a French historian and author of three books on Assyrians.

        The book’s introduction starts with the bold title “Return of the Assyro-Chaldeans on the stage.” The French “stage” at least, in form of an extended historical press review, is traced meticulously and in a scholarly manner for almost two centuries by the author.

        Given the existential threat Assyrians have faced since World War One, Mrs. Waibel Yacoub’s asks what do French people know about the Assyro-Chaldeans based on the French press? Are they the forgotten ones? Compared to the Armenians, with whom the French public opinion is familiar with, the Assyro-Chaldeans seem less visible. The book is structured into seven chapters, each representing an important historical phase in modern Assyrian history in the Middle East and its coverage in the French press.

      • Deutsche Welle Journalists Threatened With Punishment In Russia

        The head of a Russian parliamentary commission pursuing Moscow’s claim that Germany’s public broadcaster promoted unrest in Russia has threatened punishment against Deutsche Welle journalists working in the country.

        Lawmaker Vasily Piskarev, who chairs a State Duma commission set up to probe foreign meddling in domestic affairs, said a Deutsche Welle representative must appear before a parliamentary hearing or draw its ire, according to an Interfax report cited by dpa.

    • Environment

      • Plastic Will Be the Shameful Artifact Our Descendants Dig Up

        Today in Science Advances, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography report how the Earth itself is tainted with microplastic particles. By taking a core sample of sediments just off the coast of Southern California, the scientists could observe in its layers how plastic concentrations have changed year after year. And exponentially so: Since the 1940s, when plastic production began to take off, microplastic deposition rates have doubled every 15 years. This correlates with both figures on plastic manufacturing and coastal population growth in California, and brings us to a troubling conclusion: As seaside cities continue to boom, so does the amount of microplastic flowing into the sea, tainting whole ecosystems.

      • Climate change underlies Europe’s rapid warming

        Europe’s rapid warming means the world’s hottest property could now be on the continent. It has seen the strongest intensification of heat waves anywhere in the world in the last 70 years. The hottest of hot summers are now 2.3°C hotter than they used to be.

        And winter extremes of cold are dwindling. The number of extremely cold days has fallen twofold or even threefold, and the coldest days are now 3°C milder than they used to be, according to readings from 94% of the continent’s weather stations.

        This, say Swiss scientists, adds up to “a climate change signal that cannot be explained by internal variability.”

        That is, thanks to a steady increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases driven by ever-increasing use of fossil fuels, Europe is warming even faster than global climate models predict.

      • Elizabeth Warren Details Bold Plans for Green New Deal

        Declaring the climate emergency an “existential crisis” that requires bold and urgent action, Sen. Elizabeth Warren Tuesday night unveiled a proposal that calls for repealing President Donald Trump’s tax cuts for the rich and corporations to help fund a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

      • ‘We Need Help’: Rescuers in Bahamas Face a Blasted Landscape

        Rescue crews in the Bahamas fanned out across a blasted landscape of smashed and flooded homes Wednesday, trying to reach drenched and stunned victims of Hurricane Dorian and take the full measure of the disaster. The official death toll stood at seven but was certain to rise.

      • The Impossibility of Intransigent Transcendence

        On Thursday, August 22, 2019, the Resolutions Committee of the Democrat’s National Committee (of Super-delegates) voted 17 to 8 against the possibility of a debate between their presidential candidates focussed on climate change. That means that slightly over 2/3rds of the Resolution Committee opposes such a debate.

      • Killing the Ocean

        The oceans are “crying for mercy,” a fact that is starkly revealed in a telling 900-page draft of a forthcoming UN report due for release September 25th. The draft report obtained by Agence France-Presse (AFP) assesses the status of the oceans and cyrosphere. It’s a landmark UN report, and it’s not a pretty picture.

      • Apartheid Had Always Been the Plan

        What do wealthy capitalists do in response to the ever present threat of nuclear annihilation or a biosphere teetering on the edge of collapse? Why they build enormous, fortified bunkers deep underground, of course. Here they can live like the descendants of the mammals that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous and early Paleocene around 65 to 100 million years ago. The long deceased necrolestes patagonensis, whose shockingly appropriate meaning for this comparison is “grave robber,” are the descendants of the cronopio who narrowly escaped the dinosaurs’ fate by burrowing deep under the earth’s soil.

      • Energy

        • Fighting Fossil Fuels in South Africa: Campaigners Invoke Specters of Climate Chaos

          South Africa is one of the most difficult places to combat fossil fuels, including the petrochemical complexes that regularly poison the third largest city, Durban, founded by white settlers on the east coast in the mid-19th century. The average South African emits 9 tons of CO2 annually, which is the 11th highest among countries with at least 10 million residents. And measured in CO2/capita/GDP – in order to assess an economy’s carbon intensity – it the world’s third highest level, behind only Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Burundi Bans Trading of Digital Currencies

        Burundi banned all trading of cryptocurrencies on its soil, saying it couldn’t offer digital money users protection in case of problems.

        Some Burundians lost money while trading virtual currencies and asked the government to intervene, according to Alfred Nyobewumusi, a director at the central bank’s micro-finance department. Digital coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are now illegal in the country, he said.

      • Top 20 Best Cryptocurrency Exchange Platforms in 2019

        In today’s world, cryptocurrency has become one of the hottest topics. It uses a peer-to-peer digital cash system, and like other transaction systems, you need a bank account while sufficient balance is necessary for exchanging. To prevent double spending or to solve the problem of repetitive use of the same entity, every action is checked and verified by the miners. Miners take transactions, stamp them as legitimate, and spread them in the network. Several reliable cryptocurrency exchange platforms are available for selling or buying cryptocurrencies.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • When Evil Devoured a Good Man

        Wedat Aydin didn’t have a say in why he was born a Kurd in an international colony called Kurdistan part of which is now reeling under the jackboots of the Turkish Army.

      • East Timor and Australia: a Loveless Affair at Twenty

        Cringe worthy, a touch molesting in sentiment: this was the celebratory occasion of the gathering of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison with his East Timorese counterparts. During the course of its history, the state has been pillaged and bombed, its residents massacred and its politicians spied upon. The exposure of that seedy little matter of espionage came in December 2013, when it was revealed that an Australian intelligence officer known as Witness K had spilled the beans on how his masters were attempting to undercut the East Timorese in their 2004 negotiations for a maritime boundary. The Australian delegation had eyes on underwater oil and gas revenue; nothing would be left to chance.

      • San Francisco council calls NRA ‘domestic terrorist organisation’

        The resolution says the US is “plagued by an epidemic of gun violence” and accuses the NRA of using “its considerable wealth and organisation strength to promote gun ownership and incite gun owners to acts of violence”.

      • Tech giants meet intelligence officials to talk 2020 election security

        Executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter huddled with U.S. intelligence officials in Menlo Park, Calif., on Wednesday to discuss how the companies are working to prevent election meddling ahead of 2020, sources familiar with the meeting confirmed to The Hill.

      • FEC can’t enforce election laws right now, because of Mitch McConnell’s obstruction

        There is no good reason that the FEC, which is supposed to have six members, has just three. Two new FEC commissioners are usually nominated every two years. Since Mitch McConnell, an opponent of campaign finance laws who has blocked multiple election security bills, became Senate majority leader in 2015, not a single commissioner has been confirmed. There has been no indication McConnell plans to address the FEC issue, even though the president nominated a pro-Trump lawyer to the panel two years ago. The Senate has yet to hold a confirmation hearing.

      • North Carolina Has Won a Huge Victory in the Fight Against Rigged Elections

        But here’s the difference between the two cases: The North Carolina judges determined that the Republican maps violated the state constitution: “it is the carefully crafted maps, and not the will of the voters, that dictate the election outcomes in a significant number of legislative districts and, ultimately, the majority control of the General Assembly.”

        The state court’s 357-page decision was detailed and firm in its conclusion that legislative contests in the state had been “significantly tainted in that they unconstitutionally deprive every citizen of the right to elections for members of the General Assembly conducted freely and honestly to ascertain, fairly and truthfully, the will of the People.” [...]

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Pro Tip: Don’t Send A Completely Bogus Defamation Threat To A Website That Employs A Former ACLU Badass

        If you happen to recognize the name Jamie Lynn Crofts, it may be from the truly amazing amicus brief she filed two years ago in the nutty SLAPP lawsuit that coal boss Bob Murray filed against comedian John Oliver after Oliver did a (very funny) segment about coal and coal jobs that talked a fair bit about Bob Murray. Crofts, at the time working for the ACLU in West Virginia, filed an amicus brief that was truly wonderful to behold, including sections entitled “The Ridiculous Case at Hand” and “Anyone Can Legally Say “Eat Shit, Bob!” and “You Can’t Sue People for Being Mean to You, Bob” and “You Can’t Get a Court Order Telling the Press How to Cover Stories, Bob.”

      • ‘Deutsche Welle’ refuses to participate in Russian parliamentary hearings on political interference by foreign media

        The Deutsche Welle broadcasting company has refused to participate in hearings held by a State Duma committee investigating supposed foreign interference in Russia’s domestic affairs, according to a letter sent by the news agency’s head of general management, Johannes Hoffmann. In the text, Hoffmann said DW is accountable to the German authorities, and explained that there is therefore no “legal recourse” for a company representative to attend the committee’s hearings.

      • Pinterest’s Way Of Dealing With Anti-Vax Nonsense And Scams Is Only Possible Because Of Section 230

        A key argument by many who are advocating for getting rid of Section 230 is that various internet platforms need to “take more responsibility” or have some sort of “duty of care,” to rid their platforms of malicious content (however that’s defined). I even heard one staunch anti-Section 230 advocate complain vocally that internet services “aren’t experimenting enough” with policing their platforms. The argument that there’s not enough experimentation struck me as quite odd — because if you look around, there’s actually a ton of experimentation going on in platform moderation methods and techniques. And, even more weird, is that most of this experimentation is only possible because of Section 230.

      • Knight Institute Warns Rep. Ocasio-Cortez That She, Like Trump, Can’t Block People On Twitter

        Earlier this summer, we wrote about the 2nd Circuit appeals court affirming a district court ruling against Donald Trump, saying that it’s a 1st Amendment violation for him to block followers on Twitter. The reasoning in the decisions was a bit nuanced, but the short version is that (1) if you’re a public official, and (2) using social media (3) for official purposes (4) to create a space of open dialogue, then you cannot block people from following you based on the views they express. The four conditions do need to be met — and the lower court at least noted that such public officials can still “mute” people. That is, the officials don’t need to listen — but they cannot limit access to the narrow public space that is created in response to their official social media posts.

      • Remembering Gene Crick, Digital Rights Pioneer

        We pause this week to celebrate our longtime friend Gene Crick, a digital rights activist and former president of EFF-Austin, who passed away August 14 in Texas at age 73. Gene was a tireless advocate for free speech, a free, open, and inclusive Internet, and digital rights for everyone in the state of Texas. He worked for many years to bring free Internet access to communities, especially rural and underserved areas, and advocated for broadband access for rural communities.Gene was ahead of his time in recognizing the power and community-building potential of the Internet, and the pitfalls of an Internet controlled by marketing interests. “He was devoted to community networking,” said Jon Lebkowsky, co-founder, secretary, and board member of EFF-Austin, who knew and worked with Gene for many years.Gene, he remembers, was a folksy Texan from a small town east of Austin who had a great sense of humor. “I thought he was one of the funniest guys I’d ever run into,” said Lebkowsky about first meeting Gene at EFF-Austin’s monthly public meetings back in the 1990s.Later, when the web was in its toddler stage, deep in the throes of excessive speculation that marked the first dot com bubble, Gene talked in 2000 about the “dark horse on the horizon” that threatened to turn the web into one big shopping mall with no place for innovators, creators, culture, and speech just for the sake of speech.“We are creating, if we’re not careful, a commercial medium that is being controlled upstream by infrastructure-level decisions,” Gene said an article about the Internet’s effects on society and politics. “There’s interests that want to determine whether we can have proprietary architecture and proprietary access to infrastructure. That’s scary, because decisions are being made from a commercial engine.” Capitalism isn’t evil, he said—it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing. “What it’s not supposed to do is set the national agenda and maintain that ethical mooring that we’ve been talking about,” he said.Gene founded and worked at several organizations whose missions were to provide open access to communities. He was executive director at the Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network (MAIN), a nonprofit that provided web access to other nonprofits and training in developing web sites. The organization, partnering with arts and library groups, established access stations in 25 cities in the mid- to late-1990s. To this day, it still provides free websites for nonprofits. Gene believed strongly in an inclusive Internet and recognized it could be used to polarize and segregate if access and control are only available to certain groups.Gene was president of EFF-Austin in the 1990s. The nonprofit group originally was formed in 1991 with the intention that it would become the first chapter of Electronic Frontier Foundation. However, EFF decided not to become a chapter-based organization, and EFF-Austin became a separately-incorporated, independent nonprofit organization focusing on cyber liberties, digital rights, and emerging technologies. EFF-Austin is now a member of the Electronic Frontier Alliance, which EFF launched in 2016.Gene founded the Texas Internet Service Providers Association and was a board member for Rural Telecom Congress, which advocates for broadband access for rural communities. He was a member of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee, and advised Australia and New Zealand on community technology development.“The thrust of all the work he was doing was to make telecom services like the Internet as broadly available as possible,” said Lebkowsky. His work “did touch a lot of people.”We are grateful for Gene’s passion for inclusiveness, and his vision of enabling underserved communities and organizations all over Texas—and beyond—to connect with each other and world. His successors at EFF-Austin continue to advocate for digital rights, representing an enduring legacy in which we are proud to have played any role.

      • Bedbug Privilege: Bret Stephens Uses His NY Times Column To Suggest Jokingly Comparing Him To A Bedbug Is Prelude To Ethnic Genocide

        It’s one thing to trigger a massive Streisand Effect. It’s another to keep on making it worse. Bret Stephens is entering new territory here. Last week, we wrote about his bedbug freakout, in which he misread a tweet that basically no one had seen or read, and tried to use his high and mighty position as a “NY Times Columnist” to get a professor fired, by angrily emailing that professor and cc’ing university provost. As you’ll recall, the professor, David Karpf of George Washington University, had simply cracked a mild joke in response to someone at the NY Times tweeting that there were bedbugs in the NY Times offices: “The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook And Twitter Hope To Fix California’s Troubled Privacy Law With…Misleading Ads?

        With the federal government doing little to pass a real privacy law for the modern era, states have begun rushing into the void. That’s unfortunately resulting in some state privacy laws that are a lacking in the…quality department. That’s been particularly true in California, where the government recently passed the new California Consumer Privacy Act. While the law may be well intentioned, we’ve noted how the rushed bill has plenty of problems that need fixing if it’s ever going to actually work. Murky definitions and drafting errors leave the bill a bit of a muddled mess, with the potential to even undermine other, existing laws.

      • Lawmakers Must Not Listen to the Internet Association and Weaken the California Consumer Privacy Act

        Hundreds of thousands of Californians last year demanded that big technology companies respect their privacy rights, and supported a movement that led to the California Consumer Privacy Act.

        The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Big technology companies fought hard against the CCPA and have been leaning heavily on Sacramento legislators ever since to gut the law. With just weeks to go before the legislative session ends, they are pulling out the stops for an eleventh-hour effort to weaken the CCPA before it goes into effect.

      • White House Now Thinks Harvesting Fitness Tracker Data Could Stop The Next Mass Shooting

        In the wake of more mass shootings, everything coming from up top has been bat shit insane. The Trump Administration has a bunch of suggestions, and they’re no better than those offered by a bunch of policy makers who think pulling the plug on certain areas of the internet will somehow reduce the frequency of mass shootings in the US.

      • Facebook is Changing Its Face Recognition Settings. We Have Questions.

        Yesterday Facebook announced it was changing its settings for face recognition, which it has used since 2010 to match known faces in user profile pictures and other photos to unknown faces in newly uploaded photos. This leads to two questions:

        News media are starting to report that Facebook has turned face recognition into an “opt-in” feature for all users. This is something EFF and many others have pushed for for years. It’s also the law in Illinois. However, Facebook’s announcement, while far from clear, definitely does not say that face recognition is now opt-in for all users.

      • Just As Attorney General Barr Insists iPhone Users Have Too Much Security, We Learn They Don’t Have Nearly Enough

        You may recall a few years back, John Oliver did one of his always excellent Last Week Tonight shows all about encryption. It concluded with an “honest Apple commercial” that highlighted the difficulty of keeping phones secure, and noting that it’s a constant war against malicious attackers who are always trying to figure out new ways to break into people’s phones…

      • Facebook Blocks Sharing of Links to Prominent Pirate Sites

        Facebook is preventing users from sharing links to several prominent pirate sites, including YTS.lt and LimeTorrents. According to an error message that pops up, links to these sites go against the company’s community standards. The Pirate Bay, which was temporarily blocked by Facebook years ago, is not affected as of yet.

      • Report: Millions of Facebook users’ phone numbers found in unsecured database

        Each record in the database included a phone number along with an identifier that could easily be linked to a specific Facebook account. Some of the records even included the user’s name and gender.

      • Google accused of secretly feeding personal data to advertisers

        Google is secretly using hidden web pages that feed the personal data of its users to advertisers, undermining its own policies and circumventing EU privacy regulations that require consent and transparency, according to one of its smaller rivals.

        New evidence submitted to an investigation by the Data Protection Commissioner, which oversees Google’s European business, accused the US tech company of “exploiting personal data without sufficient control or concern over data protection”.

        The regulator is investigating whether Google uses sensitive data, such as the race, health and political leanings of its users, to target ads. In his evidence, Johnny Ryan, chief policy officer of the niche web browser Brave, said he had discovered the secret web pages as he tried to monitor how his data were being traded on Google’s advertising exchange, the business formerly known as DoubleClick.

      • Welsh cops’ use of facial recognition is legal, High Court rules

        Civil rights group Liberty and local Cardiff resident Ed Bridges had challenged the deployment of facial recognition in the first legal challenge to UK police use of facial recognition technology. It was first used by South Wales Police in a trial during the Champions League Final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in June 2017.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Russian Blogger Sentenced to Five Years Over ‘Extremist’ Tweet

        A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced a blogger to five years in a penal colony for a tweet calling for attacks on the children of police, a ruling his lawyer said was unprecedented.

        Vladislav Sinitsa, 30, posted the tweet in the wake of a police crackdown against protesters who have called for free elections.

        “It’s an act of intimidation,” said lawyer Denis Tikhonov after a Moscow district court found Sinitsa guilty of inciting hatred.

      • Jeremy Hammond, Anonymous Hacker and WikiLeaks Source, Summoned to Testify Before a Federal Grand Jury

        Hammond’s transfer and potential testimony, which supporters say he’s unlikely to give, raises new questions about the scope of the government’s criminal case against WikiLeaks. The charges against Assange have thus far been limited to events linked to the release of classified U.S. government documents provided by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who has herself being held in a Virginia jail for refusing to give a grand jury her testimony.

      • Scoop: Trump allies raise money to target reporters

        President Trump’s political allies are trying to raise at least $2 million to investigate reporters and editors of the New York Times, Washington Post and other outlets, according to a 3-page fundraising pitch reviewed by Axios.

        Why it matters: Trump’s war on the media is expanding. This group will target reporters and editors, while other GOP 2020 entities go after the social media platforms, alleging bias, officials tell us.

      • Imprisoned Activist Jeremy Hammond Called Against His Will to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury in the EDVA [iophk: plea "deal"]

        “The government’s effort to try to compel Jeremy to testify is punitive and mean-spirited. Jeremy has spent nearly 10 years in prison because of his commitment to his firmly held beliefs. There is no way that he would ever testify before a grand jury. The government knew this when they gave him immunity in every federal jurisdiction in exchange for his guilty plea. In bringing him against his will to the Eastern District of Virginia, the government has put an end to his participation in the RDAP drug program, effectively adding a year to his sentence. (If Jeremy had been permitted to complete the 9-month program, he would have earned a 12-month sentence reduction.) When he refuses to testify, his sentence will be prolonged indefinitely when he is punished with further incarceration for contempt of a court order to testify.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • RuNet: The Miniseries ‘Meduza’ interviews creator of new documentary about Russian Internet’s rise

        This week, the television and digital network Current Time will release “Holy War,” a new miniseries by journalist Andrey Loshak about the evolution of the Russian Internet, spanning the first experiments on the Web to the rise of giant corporations, covering everything from the first startup investments to the explosion of government regulations and the arrest of Baring Vostok founder Michael Calvey. Meduza deputy chief editor Sultan Suleimanov spoke to Loshak about the miniseries and the figures who feature in the show. “Holy War” will be available on YouTube on September 5.

      • How Kentucky Gambled for Hundreds of Millions of Dollars From a Broadband Program It Didn’t Qualify for

        In the spring of 2015, KentuckyWired, the Bluegrass State’s ambitious plan to bring high-speed internet access into rural areas, had ground to a halt.

        Officials were in talks with Macquarie Capital, an Australian investment bank known for organizing big infrastructure projects around the globe, to build and manage the new network. But the bank wanted $1.2 billion over three decades — money Kentucky didn’t have on its own.

    • Right To Repair/Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Pressured By ‘Right To Repair’ Movement, Apple Will Sell Parts To Independent Repair Shops

        Apple has never looked too kindly upon users actually repairing their own devices. The company’s ham-fisted efforts to shut down, sue, or otherwise imperil third-party repair shops are legendary. As are the company’s efforts to force recycling shops to shred Apple products (so they can’t be refurbished and re-used), and Apple’s often comical attacks on essential right to repair legislation, which only sprung up after companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, John Deere, and others created a grass-roots counter-movement via their attempts to monopolize repair.

    • Monopolies

      • Inside Google’s new ‘Digital Garage’ for jobseekers in downtown Helsinki

        The new space is open to everyone, but will have a special focus on those looking to enroll in workshops for digital skills and who wish to learn how to navigate Finland’s tech scene.

        The space occupies a sprawling building on Kluuvikatu and is open to children as well as adults. Google has stated that they aim to educate over 10,000 Finns over the course of the next year.

      • 14 women sue Lyft for alleged ‘sexual predator crisis’ among drivers

        The women, who are unnamed in the suit, allege Lyft drivers sexually assaulted or raped them in 2018 and 2019, based on a copy of the suit. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in San Francisco, where the company is based.

      • Uber rides away from taxi services in ride-sharing market battle

        While younger Australians are Uber’s best customers, Australians aged 65+ had the lowest proportion (6.6%) of Uber usage among them.

        Taxi usage, however, is far more consistent across age groups, with the study revealing that those aged 35-49 had the highest proportion of taxi usage (25.3%), with 14-17 years old’s recording the lowest (14.8%).
        So, what else do we know about Uber users?

        According to the Roy Morgan study Uber users are far more likely than the average Australian to be in Generation Y and Generation Z, to be in the ‘Young Optimism’ and ‘Socially Aware’ Roy Morgan Value Segments, and to be in a ‘Young Single’ or ‘Young Couple’ household life cycle.

      • Trademarks

        • Even Kirk Herbstreit Thinks THE Ohio State Is Being THE Silliest With Its ‘THE’ Trademark Application

          A few weeks back, we talked about the dumbest trademark application I’ve ever seen, with the Ohio State University deciding to try to get a trademark on one of the most commonly used determiners in the English language: “The.” Honestly, the whole thing is painfully stupid, as trademarking such a common word cannot possibly be worked into the original purpose of trademark law, but here we are. The only good thing thus far to come out of all of this was the University of Michigan’s playful suggestion that maybe it should trademark the word “Of.”

      • Copyrights

        • Getting Upload Filters Wasn’t Enough: EU Copyright Industry Starts Stealth Campaign To Demonize Internet Companies Even More

          The EU Copyright Directive was supposed to bring copyright into the digital age. Instead, it turned into an attack on the Internet ecosystem by companies that once dominated analog media, and which are still struggling to accept the arrival of online services with a global reach. For example, the upload filters that are unavoidable under Article 13/17 of the Directive are really directed against Google, which ironically won’t be much inconvenienced by them. Ordinary people, by contrast, may find their perfectly legal uploads forbidden without explanation. You might think the EU copyright companies would be pretty satisfied now they have this powerful new right to block uploaded materials using automated filters as their proxy, without needing a judge’s approval. Not a bit of it. The German Web site Netzpolitik has obtained a leaked document revealing a coordinated campaign by copyright companies to hammer home the message that Internet companies are today’s baddies:

        • Three Years Later And The Copyright Office Still Can’t Build A Functioning Website For DMCA Agents, But Demands Everyone Re-Register

          In early 2016, we wrote about an absolutely ridiculous plan by the Copyright Office to — without any basis in the law — strip every site of its registered DMCA agent. In case you’re not aware, one of the conditions to get the DMCA’s Section 512 safe harbors as a platform for user content, is that you need to have a “Designated Agent.” As per 512(c)(2), it says:

        • Book Preview: “Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians”

          The CC Certificate program is Creative Commons’ official training in open licensing. It targets copyright law, CC legal tools, and the recommended practices of working in our global, shared commons. The CC Certificate is currently offered as a 10-week online course, or as a 1-week in-person training (bootcamp) to educators and academic librarians.

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