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09.06.19

Guest Post: Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 11:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

Stallman and Assange in focus
© Permission to use is implied, photo is not in the Public Domain but it really ought to be.

Summary: “The importance of Stallman’s legacy is both symbolic and instructive. It is symbolic, in that he — not Torvalds — has spent his life committed to freedom.”

If this article convinces you to lump me in with the Stallman (RMS) worshipers and parrots, I don’t care. I’m in an interesting situation where Free software types probably think I’m trolling, though my critiques of Open Source are much harsher than my critiques of Free software.

“I don’t think that’s straw man either — some people just aren’t willing to admit that Stallman can be wrong.”I think Open Source is a problem, and Free software is a solution. And I say that as someone who many years ago, adopted Open Source before deciding they were re-writing history, and misleading people like myself. I have favoured Free software over Open Source for over a decade.

Free software would not be that solution without Richard Stallman. Open Source might well also not exist. What makes me not a worshiper or parrot is that I’m not afraid to disagree, or point out mistakes. I don’t think RMS is infallible, and I think it’s done quite a bit of harm to Free software that he is treated that way by some. I don’t think that’s straw man either — some people just aren’t willing to admit that Stallman can be wrong.

But I think it’s crucial to get the critique right, and not repeat the mistakes that Open Source has made. Stallman and Bill Gates were rivals before they were household names. They both went to Harvard, they both studied physics on an advanced level, they both changed the face of computing — forever. It’s morally wrong that Linus Torvalds gets credit for “inventing Linux.” Linus invented a kernel, he can take the credit for that — but he has always referred to Stallman’s operating system and broader Free software project (an ecosystem, not just an operating system) with the same name — that is, not the name of the OS, but the name of the kernel.

“It’s morally wrong that Linus Torvalds gets credit for “inventing Linux.” Linus invented a kernel, he can take the credit for that — but he has always referred to Stallman’s operating system and broader Free software project (an ecosystem, not just an operating system) with the same name — that is, not the name of the OS, but the name of the kernel.”Saying that Linus Torvalds “invented Linux” is like saying that Stephen Hawking invented relativity. No matter how important Hawking was to science, even if he was the greatest scientist in all of history, it was Einstein that should be credited for Einstein’s work — not Hawking. And if you think Torvalds hasn’t stolen that legacy (even I don’t think he would have if he wasn’t pushed to by many others, but he was) then I think you’re kidding yourself.

But mentioning this age-old “controversy” — it’s more of a scandal than a dispute, really — is only a side point, an example of the broader issue of getting Stallman right.

The greatest importance of this has nothing to do with honour. Honour is important in its own way, but this is not about paying tribute. The time to pay tribute to Stallman is when he is actually finished. The time to get his legacy right is right now, because this is the moment where we will all decide what his tribute will be.

“And if you think Torvalds hasn’t stolen that legacy (even I don’t think he would have if he wasn’t pushed to by many others, but he was) then I think you’re kidding yourself.”The importance of Stallman’s legacy is both symbolic and instructive. It is symbolic, in that he — not Torvalds — has spent his life committed to freedom. Torvalds has spent his life committed to corporations. I think Torvalds is a valuable genius, and we should get his legacy (as a talented and useful programmer, to put it mildly) right as well — but contrary to popular misconception, this really is not about Torvalds.

If not for Stallman’s contributions to what is commonly mispronounced “Linux,” Torvalds would have written a lesser BSD, at best. If it’s the truth we are always after, then without the GPL (which Torvalds actually does credit) the Linux kernel would not have as many contributions. The GPL, which Microsoft lobbied to minimise the importance of, is the reason the Linux kernel has so many people working on it.

Because they don’t have a choice. If they want to ship the kernel with modifications, those modifications have to be made available to the public.

“If not for Stallman’s contributions to what is commonly mispronounced “Linux,” Torvalds would have written a lesser BSD, at best.”In theory, this is a terrible idea, a needless limitation — at least that’s how Microsoft sells anti-GPL alternatives to the public. Look, I use permissive licensing myself; feel free to ask me why. It isn’t because the GPL is unimportant, or bad.

In practice, the GPL has resulted in a kernel that is far better suited to public use.

Please don’t think I’m dissing the BSD kernel in any way, I think the BSD kernel is a superb piece of software engineering, maybe even technically superior to the Linux kernel. But it is not quite as suitable for the broadest public use, and that’s the advantage that will keep Linux more relevant than Hurd (which is an awesome project I would be happy to support) or the FLOSS version of the ntkernel, or any other FLOSS kernel you can think of.

When the Linux kernel becomes intolerable due to corporate tampering, it will probably be a fork of it that becomes the alternative. Of course it will be a good idea to have more than one alternative — but a fork of Linux is the most likely “lifeboat” for a future GNU/Linux that is co-opted and compromised to death. I would love a better alternative, so create what you want — I’m only speaking to the most likely outcome (By far, I suspect.)

“When the Linux kernel becomes intolerable due to corporate tampering, it will probably be a fork of it that becomes the alternative.”No other kernel has the momentum that Linux has. So it’s realistic to say that even if we want floppy support back (and what the hell is that all about, seriously — did it not play nicely with WSL or something?) and even if Linus [sic] similarly drops mips(el?) the way Debian is doing now, that the future of GNU is still Linux. But as Stallman said — there is no other operating system than GNU, and “Linux is one of its kernels.”

As he is an atheist, a reasonable person will note that Stallman saying “there is no other operating system than GNU” is an example of his sense of humour. An opportunist will try to twist it into proof of something else. People have made many attempts on Stallman’s reputation over the years, and it was never necessary for them to end his career — only to minimise its impact.

The impact of Free software is becoming more minimal, as FLOSS moves farther from its goals, not closer with its “success.” A more realistic assessment than that FLOSS “winning” is that Free software is failing. Stallman’s recent visit to Microsoft may indeed be evidence of that failure — though I think it is being overhyped, especially if we are going to pretend that Stallman could ever be bought. This is someone who said it’s better to starve than write non-Free software, although he said in the same time index that it is unlikely anybody would actually starve because they didn’t choose a proprietary license.

“A more realistic assessment than that FLOSS “winning” is that Free software is failing.”The person who presented him with the false dichotomy of starvation vs. using a non-free license was the slithery, smart-assed Bryan Lunduke, who further went on to make some very smarmy ad hominem attacks in the same interview about Stallman’s other political stances. For whatever reason, Stallman has not shied away from letting Lunduke interview him, and subsequent interviews were not quite as cringeworthy on the host’s part.

I can’t help thinking of RMS agreeing to further interviews with Bryan Lunduke when I think of him talking at Microsoft — although it was probably a bad decision to accept the speaker’s fee, if he did so.

An important thing to consider in all this, is why did Microsoft have him speak now? I feel certain they intended to spin it to do further damage, and if you care about your freedom at all, I hope you won’t fall for their ruse. I don’t think Stallman needs the money. I don’t think Microsoft can offer him anything to get him to take a fall. I think it’s a ridiculous waste of time to entertain such an idea, given the decades-long history of Stallman not compromising, but even if you have nothing better to do I think this is very important to get right –

“I don’t think Microsoft can offer him anything to get him to take a fall.”The more damage Microsoft can do to Stallman, the more Free software will be compromised and the more this business of openwashing can succeed. Thinking about it in terms of black and white is pointless — thinking of it in terms of facts and non-facts is crucial. I do suppose it is useful to try to figure out exactly why Stallman is speaking at Microsoft now, whether it was their idea or whether he thought it was an opportunity to grab a spotlight for Free software one more time — or if it was their idea and he agreed for that opportunity. It will certainly be spoken of a lot.

I encourage people to think of this year as a turning point for Free software, but not because of Stallman going to Microsoft. If that’s what it takes of course, so be it — but for the record I think the real turning point was in late 2014. Before that time, I was very content to promote Free software by no other means than getting free and unwanted computers, installing Debian and giving them away. After late 2014, I think there was a dramatic change in any and all options for GNU/Linux. I have yet to see a real turnaround, although Devuan, Hyperbola and Guix are making the largest contributions in this regard.

“The more damage Microsoft can do to Stallman, the more Free software will be compromised and the more this business of openwashing can succeed.”Until late 2014, you could easily say that Trisquel and Gnewsense were the flagship distros of the FSF. Gnewsense has folded (once again) and Trisquel has overshadowed Gnewsense for many years now. Today it is a joke, using an unmaintainable operating system core that is developed primarily on servers owned and operated by Microsoft.

…by Microsoft! And just to show you what a joke Trisquel has turned into, I don’t think they they really get the problem there. In half a decade, the FSF has never suggested that it should be important to fork systemd. What’s the problem with Microsoft having write access to the core of Trisquel? (Even if Trisquel mirrors it?) They make the rules. FSF parrots act like the only thing that matters is that the software is free — this is a stupid fallacy that persists, I don’t know how on earth — the freedom to fix broken software only counts if you fix it! If you don’t, it is still obvious relevant when previously-working software is broken, especially if it appears to many respectable people (Denis Roio created an FSF-approved distro too, you know) to be sabotage.

“After 5 years of sitting on their thumbs, the compromises made to the project will lead to Guix and Hyperbola and some other (probably not yet produced) distro taking Trisquel’s place.”Instead, systemd continues to lower the quality and the freedom of GNU/Linux and its users, in ways that echo broadly across the entire Free software ecosystem. And people act like it isn’t so. If they admitted this, it would be like admitting that Trisquel was indirectly and effectively sabotaged.

Well here’s a prediction for you — Trisquel, once the FSF’s flagship distro, will go the way of Gnewsense. After 5 years of sitting on their thumbs, the compromises made to the project will lead to Guix and Hyperbola and some other (probably not yet produced) distro taking Trisquel’s place. If you want free as in freedom, Guix is probably the most extreme (and notable) example. If you want that and mainstream appeal, Hyperbola will almost certainly take over the de facto niche of FSF flagship, as Trisquel once did despite Gnewsense.

For drummy, I will say that this is not about competition — it is about the simple fact that some distros are better than others. Until a day when all distros maximise how modular they are, and the real lines between distros cease to exist not because of monolithic garbage but because of a greater good that focuses on user freedom as well as choice —

Hyperbola has a future that Trisquel just doesn’t have. That future will come from getting hard questions right, instead of pretending that problems don’t exist. And yes, that will someday be a lesson for the FSF and its fans.

“From the early days of Microsoft, Gates was attacking people for sharing software and calling them thieves.”With that said, systemd will not be (and already is not) the last major attack on Software Freedom. From the early days of Microsoft, Gates was attacking people for sharing software and calling them thieves. Sharing is not a model that Microsoft cares about at all — everything they do is to lasso Free software back into a context where they can force their anti-features (surveillance, updates you cant turn off, features they can disable or enable without warning or your approval) into software that was created with the sole purpose of taking corporate control away.

They’re bringing control back. Every gift, every Trojan horse from Redmond comes with the same strings Free software began specifically to free us of. When Microsoft doesn’t give you handcuffs, they will hold you down with countless wispy strands of compromise, no differently than the Lilliputians held down Gulliver. GNU needs users — Microsoft takes prisoners. That’s a pretty fundamental difference, for all you Open Sourcers that are still bowing before your monuments to marketing and sophistry.

These strands of compromise are the true currency of “Open Source,” which Stallman has spent his life since the late 90s (very quietly, and just barely) warning against. “In order to win, we must cede defeat” is a summary of Open Source I don’t know whom to attribute to — Ben Mako Hill? He is the greatest critic of Open Source I know.

“They’re bringing control back. Every gift, every Trojan horse from Redmond comes with the same strings Free software began specifically to free us of.”What Open Source has done more than anything else, is pave the way for Microsoft to come steal everything the FSF has done and turn it into Microsoft-As-A-Service instead.

I know the FSF wasn’t (and isn’t) fighting Microsoft alone or originally, but Microsoft is the greatest remaining threat to Free software. They stand to benefit, as much as anybody, from history getting Stallman wrong.

Is whether we honour or smear this man the largest thing at stake? Of course not. Though Torvalds has insisted that standing up to Microsoft is “extremism” while calling Facebook “a disease” and dropping the f-word on Nvidia, his smears of Free software as a movement “about hate”.

“GNU needs users — Microsoft takes prisoners.”(ANSWER THIS, YOU COWARD — IS IT WRONG TO “HATE” INJUSTICE, THEFT AND THUGGERY? because that’s what you defended, while smearing all of us. How does it feel, now that they’ve turned on you in exactly the same way?)

…he has sold off 80% of his own first name to a monopoly. He is no father of freedom, and he has never cared about Free software.

The largest thing at stake is Software Freedom itself. If the monopolies that are lining up to steal Free software and create a second era of proprietary software — not unlike the first stage in the 80s, except for its degree of fine-grained control over every individual’s personal life (the lives of most people on planet Earth.)

Stallman is not perfect, infallible, capable of anything without limitation, nor did his mission succeed — yet. That mission is in grave danger, and the number of people who realise this continues to grow. You can pretend, you can lie, you can be mistaken — though you can’t fool everybody.

“What Open Source has done more than anything else, is pave the way for Microsoft to come steal everything the FSF has done and turn it into Microsoft-As-A-Service instead.”It is not Stallman’s reputation at stake, but his mission. And while I’m very open to the possibility of compromise somewhere at the FSF (personally, I think GNOME is the smoking gun, why wouldn’t it be? Stallman called its leader a traitor, and another one of its key figures now literally works for Microsoft) I would sooner suspect someone on the board than Stallman himself.

It is ridiculous, it is an utter absurdity, to think that Stallman will be truly compromised in his lifetime.

Whatever it is, just be damned sure you get it right, because the importance of Stallman’s legacy never was whether he was flawless or just human — the importance of Stallman’s legacy — more than Torvalds’, more than Raymond’s or Perens’, 10,000 times more than halfway-shills like the staff at ZDnet — is that monopolies don’t control everything we do with our phones, our cars, our email, our robot helpers, our cameras and mics, our music and movie players, our contact books, our libraries — our medical and financial records, our homes increasingly outfitted with bugs and ovens that self-destruct.

“I know the FSF wasn’t (and isn’t) fighting Microsoft alone or originally, but Microsoft is the greatest remaining threat to Free software. They stand to benefit, as much as anybody, from history getting Stallman wrong.”You don’t make damned certain you get the history and legacy of Richard Stallman exactly, precisely right because you love RMS. You do it because anything — any tiny thing they do to smear him unfairly, as they have tried for years — they use to pave the road for intrusion into your digital life and ultimately, have too great a say in your entire life. This really is about freedom. It’s even about “the right to read”, which prior to Amazon was (like 1984) supposed to be a work of fiction.

You get Stallman right because you care about your freedom, and because at the end of the day, we know damned well that not one person alive today is more responsible for your computing freedom in the 20th century or the early 21st century than Richard Matthew Stallman.

Anybody else can be credited with Software Freedom, to the degree that someone other than Einstein can be credited with relativity. And you know they’re only going after Stallman so they can come after you next.

I think Techrights is a truly great website. Where else are you going to find out what the hell is going on right now? I can’t keep up with it without Techrights — but I do know one thing. These pictures of Stallman and Torvalds together, they’re dead wrong. Stallman and Torvalds were never friends, and never will be. They’re not not even allies — and that picture is a fairy tale.

“Whatever it is, just be damned sure you get it right, because the importance of Stallman’s legacy never was whether he was flawless or just human — the importance of Stallman’s legacy — more than Torvalds’, more than Raymond’s or Perens’, 10,000 times more than halfway-shills like the staff at ZDnet — is that monopolies don’t control everything we do with our phones, our cars, our email, our robot helpers, our cameras and mics, our music and movie players, our contact books, our libraries — our medical and financial records, our homes increasingly outfitted with bugs and ovens that self-destruct.”You want a picture of two people who truly stand together in a common fight, two allies who care about your freedom and whose legacies will be endlessly attacked until (and well after) they’re dead, even though they are heroes beyond most of our cynical imaginations? I’m talking about people who spent their entire adult lives standing up for you, not selling you out to Microsoft and Zemlin.

Above is a picture of Stallman with someone who is actually on the same side — yours.

Think about it — when you’re trying to get history right — and why history is so important. It isn’t about glorifying individuals, even if they deserve it. It’s about keeping hard-earned freedom, decades in the making, as a feature of the present; instead of relegating that freedom to some relic of the past.

Don’t let professional liars use cynical propaganda and utter nonsense to make freedom any less important, or to trick you into forgetting about it even a little bit. Software Freedom matters more than ever. They’re hoping you forget.

Free Assange, Free Richard –

Free Software, Free Society.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)

“Based on years of conversations, I am convinced that part of the cause of the problem is the tendency to call the system Linux rather than GNU, and describe it as open source rather than Free software.” –Richard Stallman

Links 7/9/2019: Kdenlive 19.08.1, PureOS Stable, Qt 5.13.1, Serious Exim Bug

Posted in News Roundup at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • A Survey on Storage

          Storage is a big part of any application design strategy, but containers throw something of a monkey wrench into the traditional storage models. You’ve likely noticed that Red Hat has a few dogs in the storage race, most notably Red Hat Container Storage. We’re curious to see how much our readers care about this topic, and as such, we’ve whipped up yet another survey we’d be tickled pink if you could fill out for us. We’re not sending any emails, marketing materials or salespeople out in response to this survey, we just want to check the oil, as it were. So if you’ve got a little extra time, would you mind answering a few quick questions for us? As always, our goal is to better serve our readers, not to better sell to them. We’re trying to treat our blog like a magazine, and before we start covering new topics and adding how-to’s on storage, we’d like to see if those are topics that would interest you.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.2.12

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.2.12 kernel.

        All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.2.y

        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 4.19.70
      • Linux 4.14.142
      • Linux 4.9.191
      • Linux 4.4.191
      • Linux 5.2.13
      • Linux 4.19.71
      • Turbostat Utility Sees Late Updates In Linux 5.3

        The Turbostat utility that lives within the Linux kernel source tree for reporting various power/frequency metrics on x86_64 processors saw some late updates merged last weekend for the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Graphics Compiler Changes For Gen12 – Biggest Changes To The ISA Since i965

          Since June Intel’s open-source developers have begun volleying the initial open-source graphics driver code for Tigerlake “Gen12″ hardware. To date the Gen12 changes haven’t been too invasive even with this being the first generation with the “Xe Graphics” engine branding. But that’s now changed with a new patch series showing major changes to the graphics instruction set.

          Now that the Intel open-source developers have begun preparing the changes for their graphics compiler back-end for Xe/Gen12 initially with Tigerlake processors, the major architectural changes are beginning to show compared to Icelake “Gen11″ graphics and older. The patches show that the Gen12 graphics ISA is one of the biggest reworks ever to the Intel EU ISA since the original i965 graphics a decade ago.

        • Intel Linux Graphics Stack Gets Another Speed Boost – Helping Civilization VI By ~18%

          Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver crew has been on an exciting spree lately of not only punctually enabling new hardware support but also pushing some big performance improvements for new and existing generations of graphics hardware. Today another performance achievement was unlocked.

          Kenneth Graunke who led the development of their new Gallium3D OpenGL driver discovered an optimization today that not only benefits that “iris” driver but also the i965 classic OpenGL driver and their ANV Vulkan driver. The optimization is to stop redirecting the state cache to the command stream command buffer cache section. By looking through their hardware documentation and comparing the behavior to the Intel Windows driver, this optimization was uncovered.

    • Benchmarks

      • Firefox 69 / 70 Beta Against Chrome 76 On Ubuntu Linux

        With Firefox 69 released and Firefox 70 entering beta, here are some fresh web browser benchmarks between Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome from Ubuntu Linux. On the Firefox size, Firefox 68, 69, and 70 Beta were tested with and without WebRender being enabled and compared to Google’s current Chrome 76 stable release.

        From an Intel Core i9 7960X workstation with Radeon RX 550 graphics running Ubuntu 19.04, the official Linux x86_64 binaries of these different Chrome/Firefox releases were tested. The Firefox runs with WebRender were forced using the MOZ_WEBRENDER environment variable.

    • Applications

      • Virtualbox 6.0.12 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu

        Oracle Virtualbox 6.0.12 was released a few days ago as new maintenance release for the 6.0 series. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and higher.

      • Proprietary

        • Telegram Update Adds Message Scheduling, Personal Reminders & New Theme Options [Ed: Proprietary at the server side]

          Messaging scheduling is among the new features added to the hugely popular Telegram messaging service.

          Telegram 1.8.3 (v5.11 on mobile) introduces the ability to schedule messages.

          This feature could prove particularly useful for Telegram group admins and channel owners (hi), as well as those who want to broadcast a missive at a specific time rather than having it posted (or read) straight away.

          To schedule a message in Telegram desktop is easy enough: right click on the ‘Send’ button in the chat toolbar, select the ‘Schedule Message’ option, and pick a date and time. You get a notification when your scheduled message is successfully sent (and presumably no notification if it fails).

          [...]

          You can refer to our guide on how to install Telegram on Ubuntu, Linux Mint and related distro should you want to get the service up running on your system.

        • Adobe Flash and Firefox 68+ in Gentoo Linux

          Though many sites have abandoned Adobe Flash in favour of HTML5 these days, there are still some legacy applications (e.g. older versions of VMWare’s vSphere web client) that depend on it. Recent versions of Firefox in Linux (68+) started failing to load Flash content for me, and it took some digging to find out why. First off, I noticed that the content wouldn’t load even on Adobe’s Flash test page. Second off, I found that the plugin wasn’t listed in Firefox’s about:plugins page.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The incredibly atmospheric racing platformer Distance just got even bigger

        Finished the main campaign adventure mode in Distance? Well there’s now even more levels for you to try and beat in the latest big update to the fantastic and challenging racing platformer.

        The free Horizon Update lands almost a year after it left Early Access. It adds in three new new Refract levels: Liminal, Serenity and Zenith all under Sprint. There’s also 18 new Community levels that were officially added into the game across various modes, although most are Sprint. A bunch of UI improvements were made too, especially for the Online menu making it a bit more streamlined.

      • Vagrus – The Riven Realms, the dark narrative RPG surpasses more milestones on Fig and it’s coming to GOG

        The dark narrative-focused RPG Vagrus – The Riven Realms has surpassed $40K in funding on Fig’s Open Access program, so they’ve hit more development milestones and it seems GOG were impressed by it.

      • A new Humble Monthly is up with BATTLETECH as an early unlock

        Looks like another good Humble Monthly has just arrived, as the early unlock game is the strategy title BATTLETECH which has Linux support.

        Checking SteamDB, looks like this is the cheapest BATTLETECH has been so far too. In this case, it’s even better value since you get a bunch of additional games unlocked next month. On top of that there’s access to the Humble Trove, their curated selection of DRM free games and there’s plenty in there that support Linux too.

      • You can now level up your Dota Underlords Proto-Pass to 99

        Valve have uncapped the Proto-Pass, allowing players to level it up all the way now and earn even more rewards for playing the game. That, plus more smaller bits in the latest update.

        Alchemist, Bloodseeker, Crystal Maiden, Sand King and Tusk now actually have some visual upgrades when you get them to a 2 and 3 star. There’s some animation improvements, a framerate option on mobile, melee units will target barricades if there’s no better target and Assassin targeting and Blink Daggers are now a bit more random between left and right when selecting the target.

      • Celeste Chapter 9 to arrive with over 100 new levels next week in a free update

        If you enjoyed the highly rated tight platformer Celeste, we’ve got good news for you as a huge free update is due to arrive next week.

        The developer has confirmed September 9th will see the Celeste Chapter 9: Farewell release, which will include 100+ new levels to bring Celeste up to a whopping total level count of over 800! Additionally there will also be 40 minutes of new music from Lena Raine along with several brand new mechanics and items.

      • Comedy point and click adventure Angelo and Deemon: One Hell of a Quest releasing this month

        Angelo and Deemon: One Hell of a Quest from the small Ukrainian team Specialbit Studio is now due to release on September 27th and it looks like it could be pretty amusing.

        The developers said the game is as a result of a weird dream one of them had while running a high fever, where they got sent to hell. We’ve all had some pretty weird dreams right? Well Specialbit Studio decided to turn the dream into a game. In Angelo and Deemon you assume the role of Angelo, a blogger who got sent to hell and is now recording the journey.

      • Turn-based 4X game with mythological units Fantastic Creatures confirmed to be heading to Linux

        Set in a divine Chinese realm, Fantastic Creatures is a 4x strategy game about a dying world full of mythological creatures and later this year it will release with Linux support.

        Currently in development by Blue Callisto, a one-person studio run by “FMR” who has a passion for 4x and strategy games. They previously ran through a lot of Let’s Play videos for strategy games on YouTube and now they’re rolling their own with Fantastic Creatures.

      • Valve has some new Steam search features with Steam Labs, updates to Micro Trailers

        Valve has announced some more updates to Steam Labs, their new testing area for features that may make it into Steam officially at some point.

        Firstly, there’s something entirely new. You can opt-in to the new Search experiment which will tweak the way you see and interact with lists across the entire Steam store, as opposed to being limited to the Labs area. It adds in: infinite scroll; price and sale filters; the ability to hide items on your wishlist or items you already own or you’ve ignored and multiple updates to the way tag filtering works.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kdenlive 19.08.1 released

          The first minor release of the 19.08 series is out with usability fixes.

        • Latte bug fix release v0.9.2

          Latte Dock v0.9.2 has been released containing important fixes and improvements!

        • New job, but no Akademy

          Since June of this year, I’m working for NLnet foundation. NLnet gives grants to people to improve the internet.

          NLnet is growing because it is handling grants for European Next Generation Internet (NGI) programs. This means more funds for new search technologies and privacy enhancing technologies. Typical grants go towards the creation of materials (mostly software) that are made available under free licenses.

          I’m honoured to have been asked for this position and will do my best for the success of the projects that we support.

        • Sketchnotes at FOSDEM 2019

          During this year’s FOSDEM, I continued to practice live sketchnoting of the few sessions I attended (there are so many!!). I posted them on social media as I was working on them, but somehow I forgot to post them on my blog. B

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The Future of Theming on GNOME, and more from GUADEC 2019

          The System76 team has returned from GUADEC and successfully recovered from crippling jetlag! (Mostly.) Based on many constructive conversations that took place over the course of the conference, we’re very excited about GNOME’s future and eager to see how the project progresses. Here’s what we learned:

          Theming

          Theming was a huge topic of discussion at GUADEC. Ultimately, GNOME members arrived at a compelling solution that we believe works for GNOME, application developers, and hardware vendors alike. The proposed solution involves transitioning Adwaita, GNOME’s default theme, into a theming engine, along with adding the necessary documentation.
          Using Adwaita as a theming engine would introduce new flexibilities to theming in GNOME, and would allow app developers more control over the appearance of their application on different themes. The addition of FreeDesktop.org’s dark style is being considered as well, which would also allow for better control over an application’s appearance across desktop environments.

    • Distributions

      • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2019/3

        Seems we’re settling at 3 snapshots per week. It seems to be pretty hard at the moment to get stagings fully built and tested (build are constrained by only few workers able to build e.g. Firefox, and since Leap started the dev cycle, the load on OBS and those few workers massively increased). So, 3 snapshots, or roughly one every other day, does not sound so bad overall. During this week, we released 0829, 0902 and 0904.

      • Reviews

        • New OSGeoLive Release Opens Doors to Geospatial Worlds

          OSGeoLive is a unique Linux distro. It pulls together a large library of Linux tools and applications that support geospatial workloads. It is not designed to be a general usability Linux operating system, but if you add the software it’s missing, you can happily use it for other computing tasks.

          I was particularly intrigued by some of its standalone applications and Web app offerings. Browsing through this distro’s feature tools was a fun-filled discovery experience.

          Nothing needed to be set up or configured. One click led to another. With each new screen came interesting information that teased my inquisitive mind. The experience actually sparked an interest in the world of geospatial elements.

      • New Releases

        • Condres OS 2019.09 is Released, Which Introduces Support for Snap and Appimage Applications

          Condres team has announced the release of Condres OS 2019.09 on Sep 02, 2019.

          It offers multiple flavours like KDE, GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, and XFCE desktop.

          The notable features in this release is, they have introduced support for snap and appimage applications.

          Added multiple php version support for seamless website development.

          Also, it supports php 7.1.x and 7.2.x versions, so it has greater compatibility with future versions.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-36

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. The Beta freeze is underway and the Go/No-Go meeting is Thursday!

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • rpminspect-0.5 released, two new inspections and some bug fixes

          rpminspect-0.5 is now available. The releases are noted on the github project page. I uploaded the tarball there. I have done builds in Fedora rawhide and the f31 branch. For other releases, you will need to use the Copr repos.

      • Debian Family

        • PureOS Rolls On as Stable

          A rolling release receives periodic updates in a “rolling” fashion–they just keep rolling in. This is good, as you get the latest cutting edge changes to applications and system libraries. But unfortunately there is a side effect to rolling releases: they are bad for stability, because the changes they bring are often not yet widely used, or tested, in real world situations. This issue is inherent to any fast moving body of code, and PureOS is no different; we attempt to solve it by putting the user at the center of our design choices. With this in mind, we polled our forum and worked internally to devise a pragmatic solution that follows best practices, while continuing to provide options for users.

          Our solution is straightforward; we’re making our PureOS release a stable release, and creating a new rolling release. In addition to this stable release, we’re adding two complementary suites–amber-security and amber-updates–which work together to bring a rock solid release. We will also build and release a rolling release just like the one our users are used to, meant for those who are willing to use, and test, the latest software from upstream. Both releases will receive security updates, of course, but the rolling release will lack real-world testing, by design.

        • Kali Linux 2019.3 Released, Which Includes Various New Features

          Kali Linux team have pleased to announce the new version of Kali Linux 2019.3 on 02 Sep 2019.

          This is the third release of the Kali Linux 2019.x series.

          This release brings kernel version 5.2.9 and includes many new features with NetHunter, ARM, and packages.

          Official Kali Linux LXD Container Image is Released starting from Kali Linux 2019.3.

          As always, it brings regular bug fixes and updates.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • How to use the LXD Proxy Device to map ports between the host and the containers

          LXD supports proxy devices, which is a way to proxy connections between the host and containers. This includes TCP, UDP and Unix socket connections, in any combination between each other, in any direction. For example, when someone connects to your host on port 80 (http), then this connection can be proxied to a container using a proxy device. In that way, you can isolate your Web server into a LXD container. By using a TCP proxy device, you do not need to use iptables instead.

          There are 3³=9 combinations for connections between TCP, UDP and Unix sockets, as follows. Yes, you can proxy, for example, a TCP connection to a Unix socket!

        • Management of snaps in a controlled, enterprise environment

          Few enterprises want all their computing devices to be fully exposed to the internet. In an environment of ever-growing security threats, isolating internal networks from the wider internet is not simply best practice, but borderline essential.

          However, with all the benefits that restricted networks provide, it can pose challenges for enterprises who are looking to take advantage of certain technologies. One of these is the automatic update feature of snaps which enable a low-friction process and a fast release cadence. If an enterprise has a restricted network, then this will prevent snaps being able to automatically update due to the necessity for an external internet connection and potentially upsetting change management policies.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Improved Common Agricultural Policy compliance with publicly available and user-generated data

        The open source RECAP platform is currently available under the GNU General Public License. The remote sensing components are also market-ready. Both can be hosted either on project partners’ servers or on the client’s own servers.

      • Events

        • Bringing the FOSS XR community together

          With the recent release of the OpenXR 1.0 specification, the presence of numerous Open Source platforms for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, and a growing community of developers, the need for a collaborative Open Source XR Conference became clear. With millions of VR headsets already on the market and preliminary support for platforms like Linux and BSD introduced, the only remaining pieces of the puzzle needing more work are better open drivers and adoption.

          That being said, we’re very excited to announce the 1st edition of the FOSS XR Conference, a new yearly gathering aimed at bringing the community together and giving a podium to the future of XR. Whether it’s users, developers, engineers, businesses, hackers or hobbyists, anyone with an interest in Open Source XR can attend, share knowledge and code.

          Taking place on 26 October in parallel with the Blender Conference (a long running conference in Amsterdam held by the Blender Foundation, at their trusty location The Balie), FOSS XR will have presentations throughout the day, a small dedicated hackerspace for meeting new people working on projects and more. Presentations will include everything from open source driver development, to the use of open source in XR applications, reverse engineering and showcases.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What’s next in making Encrypted DNS-over-HTTPS the Default

            In 2017, Mozilla began working on the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol, and since June 2018 we’ve been running experiments in Firefox to ensure the performance and user experience are great. We’ve also been surprised and excited by the more than 70,000 users who have already chosen on their own to explicitly enable DoH in Firefox Release edition. We are close to releasing DoH in the USA, and we have a few updates to share.

            After many experiments, we’ve demonstrated that we have a reliable service whose performance is good, that we can detect and mitigate key deployment problems, and that most of our users will benefit from the greater protections of encrypted DNS traffic. We feel confident that enabling DoH by default is the right next step. When DoH is enabled, users will be notified and given the opportunity to opt out.

            This post includes results of our latest experiment, configuration recommendations for systems administrators and parental controls providers, and our plans for enabling DoH for some users in the USA.

          • Mike Hoye: Forward Motion

            This has been a while coming; thank you for your patience. I’m very happy to be able to share the final four candidates for Mozilla’s new community-facing synchronous messaging system.

            [...]

            We’ve been spoiled for choice here – there were a bunch of good-looking options that didn’t make it to the final four – but these are the choices that generally seem to meet our current institutional needs and organizational goals.

            We haven’t stood up a test instance for Slack, on the theory that Mozilla already has a surprising number of volunteer-focused Slack instances running already – Common Voice, Devtools and A-Frame, for example, among many others – but we’re standing up official test instances of each of the other candidates shortly, and they’ll be available for open testing soon.

            The trial period for these will last about a month. Once they’re spun up, we’ll be taking feedback in dedicated channels on each of those servers, as well as in #synchronicity on IRC.mozilla.org, and we’ll be creating a forum on Mozilla’s community Discourse instance as well. We’ll have the specifics for you at the same time as those servers will be opened up and, of course you can always email me.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice has a new Macro Team

          Power users often implement macros in their documents, and LibreOffice’s volunteer contributors are typically power users, so it makes sense to ensure the tools they need are in excellent shape. We are excited to announce the creation of a dedicated team for macro improvements in the LibreOffice contributor community.

      • CMS

        • People of WordPress: Abdullah Ramzan

          Abdullah Ramzan was born and brought up in the under-developed city of ​Layyah​, which is situated in Southern Punjab, Pakistan and surrounded by desert and the river ​Sindh​.

          He graduated from college in his home town and started using a computer in ​2010​ when he joined ​Government College University Faisalabad​. Abdullah’s introduction to WordPress happened while he was finishing the last semester of his degree. His final project was based in WordPress.

          Ramzan’s late mother was the real hero in his life, helping him with his Kindergarten homework and seeing him off to school every day.

          Before her heart surgery, Ramzan visited her in the hospital ICU, where she hugged him and said: ​“Don’t worry, everything will be good.” Sadly, his mother died during her surgery. However, her influence on Ramzan’s life continues.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GNU Wget2 Reaches Beta With Faster Download Speeds, New Features

          GNU Wget2 is a from scratch rewrite of the popular wget downloading utility. GNU Wget2 wraps around the libwget library while now being multi-threaded and supporting other features to provide better performance over the current wget releases.

          GNU Wget2 is providing for faster performance by being multi-threaded, properly supporting HTTP2 connections, handling HTTP compression features, dealing with parallel connections, taking into account the If-Modified-Since HTTP header, and other features.

        • GNU Wget2 1.99.2 (beta) released
          Hi,
          
          we, the maintainers, are happy to announce the release 1.99.2 of GNU Wget2.
          
          GNU Wget2 is the successor of GNU Wget, a file and recursive website
          downloader.
          
          Designed and written from scratch it wraps around libwget, that provides
          the basic
          functions needed by a web client.
          
          Wget2 works multi-threaded and uses many features to allow fast operation.
          
          In many cases Wget2 downloads much faster than Wget1.x due to HTTP2,
          HTTP compression,
          parallel connections and use of If-Modified-Since HTTP header.
          
          GNU Wget2 is licensed under GPLv3+. Libwget is licensed under LGPLv3+.
          
          Thanks to all authors that made this release possible (list
          auto-generated, sorted by # of commits).
          Also many thanks to all contributors and translators who are not listed
          in git meta data.
          ```
          Tim Rühsen
          Darshit Shah
          Kumar Mallikarjuna
          DalmeGNU
          Ander Juaristi
          Josef Moellers
          Neil Locketz
          Rohan Fletcher
          Tsukasa OI
          Gisle Vanem
          Leif Ryge
          Leon Klingele
          Rafael Fontenelle
          Yuri Chornoivan
          sameeran joshi
          sebma
          ```
          
          **Noteworthy changes since the last release:**
          ```
            * Improve docs
            * Improve build system
            * More continuous integration testing
            * Add functionality tests
            * Add examples
            * Add HTTP/2 support for test suite (GSOC project)
            * Add OCSP responder for test suite (GSOC project)
            * Add new option --keep-extension
            * Add new option --retry-on-http-status
            * Add new option --dns-cache-preload
            * Add -X/--exclude-directories and -I/--include-directories
            * Add new option --save-content-on
            * Add new option --limit-rate
            * Add new option --unlink (Wget1.x compatibility)
            * Add new option --start-pos (Wget1.x compatibility)
            * Add new option --no-if-modified-since
            * Add new option --ocsp-server
            * Add new option --ocsp-nonce
            * Add new option --ocsp-date
            * Add bitmap type to libwget
            * Add support for Chromium's HSTS Preload List
            * Add zstd decompression (RFC8478)
            * Add WolfSSL as alternative TLS backend
            * Add OpenSSL as alternative TLS backend
            * Add arguments fail / nofail to --verify-sig
            * Add TLSv1_x to --secure-protocol
            * Add support for TCP FastOpen Linux 4.11+ style
            * Add basic HTML entity decoding (RFC1866)
            * Add TLS 1.3 post-handshake authentication
            * Add XDG Desktop Specification support for config files
            * Remove support for libidn2 < 0.14 and libunistring
            * Remove option --gnutls-options (use --secure-protocol instead)
            * Rename --dns-caching to --dns-cache (Wget1.x compatibility)
            * Skip -np/--no-parent for CSS URLs
            * Enable syncing with translationproject.org while bootstrapping
            * Fix HTTP/2 slowness issue
            * Fix xattr behavior (CVE-2018-20483)
            * Fixed a pile of bugs
            * Made many changes to the libwget API
          
      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 5.13.1 Released – Many bugs have been crushed!

          I am pleased to announce that Qt 5.13.1 is released today. As a patch release, Qt 5.13.1 does not add any new functionality but provides many bug fixes and other improvements.

          Compared to Qt 5.13.0, the new Qt 5.13.1 contains around 500 bug fixes. For details of the most important changes, please check the Change files of Qt 5.13.1.

          Note that as a long-term supported release Qt 5.12 LTS receives all the applicable bug fixes as well. We are working on the next patch level release, Qt 5.12.5, to be available in the coming weeks. So unless you need the new functionality provided by Qt 5.13 it is fine to stay using Qt 5.12 LTS and get the relevant bug fixes.

        • Qt Creator 4.10.0 released – New features added

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.10.0!

          You can “pin” files now. Pinned files stay open when bulk-closing files for example via
          File > Close All and File > Close All Files in Project. They also stay on top in the Open Documents pane and in the document dropdown in the editor toolbar. The pin functionality is available via the context menu on the document dropdown and the Open Documents pane.

          Our client for the Language Server Protocol is now better integrated into Locator: It shows symbols from the current document ‘.’, from the workspace ‘:’, and classes ‘c’ and functions ‘m’. If the server provides a tool tip for a code location, the client shows it in the editor. In the server settings you can specify that it should only be started when needed, and you can use variables for the server executable and arguments.
          We also moved the plugin out of experimental state, so it is enabled by default.

          We fixed many issues with the reformatting feature of QML files, which could lead to invalid code.

        • Multiline String in Python with Examples

          This tutorial explains how to create a Python multiline string. It can be handy when you have a very long string. You shouldn’t keep such text in a single line. It kills the readability of your code.

          In Python, you have different ways to specify a multiline string. You can have a string split across multiple lines by enclosing it in triple quotes. Alternatively, brackets can also be used to spread a string into different lines.

          Moreover, backslash works as a line continuation character in Python. You can use it to join text on separate lines and create a multiline string. Finally, there is string join() function in Python which is used to produce a string containing newlines.

        • Teaching testing best practices with 4 testing maxims – Josh Peak

          You’ve incorporated software testing into your coding practices and know from experience that it helps you get your stuff done faster with less headache.

          Awesome.

          Now your colleagues want in on that super power and want to learn testing.

          How do you help them?

          That’s where Josh Peak is. He’s helping his team add testing to their workflow to boost their productivity.

          That’s what we’re talking about today on Test & Code.

        • Wing Python IDE 7.1.1 – September 6, 2019

          Wing 7.1.1 avoids slowing and dropping of remote development connections, fixes showing Pandas DataFrame and Series values, makes OS Commands work on remote hosts with Python 3, inspects remote extension modules with non-ascii characters in the interface, adds __init__ arguments to the auto-completer, allows ignoring exceptions in frozen importlib files, fixes line numbers shown in pytest exception tracebacks, and fixes other minor usability issues.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Following Pushback, Chinese-owned Chemical Giant Pulls Plug on Massive Plastics Project in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

        Chinese giant Wanhua Chemical officially withdrew its plans to build a $1.25 billion plastics manufacturing complex in St. James, Louisiana, in the heart of the already industrialized Cancer Alley. The news bought relief to opponents of the plant.

        “I’m glad they won’t be coming,” Eve Butler, a lifelong resident of St. James Parish, told me in a call. “I live straight across the river from where the plant was going to be built.” Butler was part of a group of residents, local community groups, and environmental advocacy nonprofits that took part in a concentrated battle to stop the Wanhua plant from being built.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Friday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (exim4 and firefox-esr), Fedora (lxc, lxcfs, pdfresurrect, python3-lxc, rdesktop, and seamonkey), Oracle (kernel), and SUSE (nginx, python-Werkzeug, SUSE Manager Client Tools, and util-linux and shadow).

      • Reproducible Builds in August 2019

        In these monthly reports we outline the most important things that have happened in the world of Reproducible Builds and we have been up to.

        As a quick recap of our project, whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws, most software is distributed to end users or systems as precompiled binaries. The motivation behind the reproducible builds effort is to ensure zero changes have been introduced during these compilation processes. This is achieved by promising identical results are always generated from a given source thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was changed or even compromised.

      • Critical vulnerability in Exim

        Anybody running the Exim mail system will want to apply the updates that are being released today; there is a remote code-execution vulnerability in its TLS-handling code with a known proof-of-concept exploit.

      • CVE-2019-15846

        If your Exim server accepts TLS connections, it is vulnerable. This does not depend on the TLS libray, so both, GnuTLS and OpenSSL are affected.

      • critical vulnerability discovered in Exim (CVE-2019-15846) – snapshot and update now

        In popular software for mail servers, Exim discovered a critical vulnerability (CVE-2019-15846), which allows to remotely execute code and gain system access with root privileges. The fix for the security issue, and its detailed description will be published on Friday, September 6. To prevent attacks using CVE-2019-15846 recommended to update Exim to version 4.92.2 or later.

      • Exim marks the spot… of remote code execution: Patch due out today for ‘give me root’ flaw in mail server

        The widely used Exim email server software is due to be patched today to close a critical security flaw that can be exploited to potentially gain root-level access to the machine.

        The programming blunder can be abused over the network, or internet if the server is public facing, or by logged-in users to completely commandeer vulnerable installations, steal or tamper with data, install spyware, and so on.

        The vulnerability, designated CVE-2019-15846, has been kept under tight wraps. Details of the bug, along with updates to install to address the security weakness, are due to go live today at 1000 UTC. To be safe from the remote-code execution flaw, ensure you are running version 4.92.2 or later, either built from source or obtained from your operating system’s package manager.

      • Is Linux Really Immune to Viruses and Malware? Here’s the Truth [Ed: Conveniently overlooks the fact that the user needs to be tricked into installing malware, whereas proprietary software has deliberate back doors and worse issues. Common FUD.]

        One reason people switch to Linux is to have better security. Once you switch to Linux, the thinking goes, you no longer have to worry about viruses and other types of malware. But while this is largely true in practice, desktop Linux isn’t actually all that secure.

      • Thousands of servers infected with new Lilocked (Lilu) ransomware [Ed: Catalin Cimpanu from the CBS tabloid ZDNet says "Researchers spot new ransomware targeting Linux-based servers." It doesn't bother him what takes that ransomware to get installed in the first place.]
      • WireGuard Releases New Snapshot While Not Expected For Linux 5.4 Mainline

        WireGuard 0.0.20190905 was released on Thursday by lead developer Jason Donenfeld.

        WireGuard 0.0.20190905 is the newest snapshot for this secure VPN tunnel that has been making waves in recent years. While WireGuard has been brought to many operating systems and mobile platforms, WireGuard itself is still considered “experimental but fairly stable.”

      • WireGuard Snapshot `0.0.20190905` Available
        Hello,
        
        A new snapshot, `0.0.20190905`, has been tagged in the git repository.
        
        Please note that this snapshot is, like the rest of the project at this point
        in time, experimental, and does not constitute a real release that would be
        considered secure and bug-free. WireGuard is generally thought to be fairly
        stable, and most likely will not crash your computer (though it may).
        However, as this is a pre-release snapshot, it comes with no guarantees, and
        its security is not yet to be depended on; it is not applicable for CVEs.
        
        With all that said, if you'd like to test this snapshot out, there are a
        few relevant changes.
        
    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Waters: from defending Assange to fighting Trump’s populism. My battle

        He is one of the legends of rock famous for his progressive battles. At seventy-six, the Pink Floyd co-founder, Roger Waters, has not given up at all and does not hesitate to call his country, Great Britain, “disgusting” for its treatment of Julian Assange. Last Monday, Waters sang his great classic, “Wish You Were Here” in front of the UK Home Office in London in support of Assange, while the Australian journalist, John Pilger, explained the serious risk the WikiLeaks founder runs of being extradited to the US, and Assange’s brother, Gabriel, described an emotional meeting with Julian Assange. Roger Waters is currently in Venice to present his film “US + Them”. Repubblica interviewed him.

      • ‘This place was hell’: Julian Assange’s brother on prison conditions

        Gabriel Shipton, brother of jailed WikiLeaks co-founder, told a rally in London that the British prison system is “working its hardest at crushing any hope” Julian Assange has left.

        Speaking at a rally outside the British Home Office in Westminster on Monday, Shipton described an emotional visit to his weakened and emaciated brother, currently serving a 50-week sentence at Belmarsh prison, ostensibly for skipping bail in 2012.

    • Environment

      • Joe Biden Doesn’t Sound Very Serious About the Climate Crisis

        It was a slippery, evasive response—if technically accurate—from Biden, who struggled to articulate a clear vision for climate action throughout his portion of the town hall. Speaking about the need for the next US president to spur other countries to act, Biden repeated a right-wing talking point about the United States’ being responsible for “only 15 percent of the problem,” a point that omits the responsibility this country bears as the world’s biggest carbon polluter historically, as well as the US role in driving technological innovation that can be adopted elsewhere. On fracking, Biden said that rather than trying to ban the practice nationally (something that Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and a few other candidates have called for, though a president can’t do that unilaterally on private land), he favored no new wells on public lands. He claimed that the Obama administration didn’t do more on climate because the urgency of the climate crisis wasn’t well understood until recently, when in fact scientists and advocates have been sounding the alarm for decades. “Everything is incremental,” Biden said at one point, dodging a question about fossil fuel exports.

      • Prince Harry defends private plane travel ‘to keep my family safe’ as Meghan looks to rehab public persona, reports say

        First off, the Daily Mail and The Sun reported that the U.S.-born former TV actress has gone back to her Hollywood roots for help with improving their public persona. She has hired Sunshine Sachs, which the outlets described as “a top PR crisis firm” for A-list celebrities, to help with the task.

        However, a representative for the firm said in an email to this news organization that the firm wasn’t working specifically with Meghan but with the Sussex Royal Foundation to help launch the Travalyst initiative, a global effort that seeks to encourage more responsible tourism.

        [...]

        The firm also faced controversy when its owner admitted to hiring people to edit the Wikipedia pages of clients to remove negative comments, which is prohibited by the site’s terms, The Sun reported.

      • Trump Interior Official Who Pushed Arctic Drilling Joins Oil Company In Alaska

        Joe Balash, an assistant secretary at the department who oversaw the Bureau of Land Management, left his job last week. On Wednesday he announced his new position as senior vice president for external affairs with Oil Search, a Papua New Guinea-based company that first expanded into Alaska in 2017.

      • French wines show hot dry years are now normal

        French wines tell a remarkable story: climate scientists and historians, with a new wine list to savour, have carefully reconstructed the harvest dates for Burgundy – one of the most important wine regions of France – to highlight the dramatic change in global climate.

        Grapes in Burgundy are now picked 13 days earlier than the average for the last 664 years. And the advance in harvest dates has been dramatic: almost all since 1988.

        The finding is based on painstaking study of data going back to 1354. From medieval times Burgundian growers and civic authorities had an unusual communal arrangement: they each year collectively considered the growing conditions and imposed a date before which no grapes might be picked.

        And scientists from France, Germany and Switzerland report in the journal Climate of the Past that they worked through all surviving records to provide an accurate record of the harvest date around the city of Beaune.

      • Confronting the Climate Crisis—Why We Need Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal

        The climate emergency is the single biggest challenge to our food, water and people on this planet.

      • How to Fight Fake Climate Science on YouTube

        You probably know you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet. But you may still be surprised to find how easily fake science makes its way through YouTube and other social media sites — and how intentionally it’s being promoted.

        A new study from a researcher at Aachen University in Germany about the prevalence of inaccurate climate science and conspiracy theories on YouTube illustrates the grim reality, but also a way to fix it.

        The study used 10 different search terms on YouTube, such as “climate change,” “climate science,” “geoengineering” and “climate hacking,” and analyzed the results to see which videos supported the scientific consensus around climate change and which did not.

        It also used an internet tool called Tor, which anonymizes users, in order to avoid YouTube’s practice of personalizing search results based on previously watched videos, location and other demographics.

        Overall, most videos in the 200-video sample disagreed with the scientific consensus around climate change, and of those, 85 percent actively spread conspiracy theories. Videos that agreed with scientific consensus received more total views than those that disagreed, but by only 2,300 views — and both categories had almost 17 million views each.

      • Hurricane Dorian Batters the Carolinas as It Pushes Northward

        Hurricane Dorian raked the coastal Carolinas with howling, window-rattling winds and sideways rain Thursday, spinning off tornadoes and knocking out power to more than 200,000 homes and businesses as it pushed northward toward the dangerously exposed Outer Banks.

      • Where’s Waldo?: Climate Change Edition
      • To Win Power, Progressives Must Embrace ‘Primary’ as a Verb

        Progressive activists often see a frustrating pattern. Many Democrats in office are good at liberal platitudes but don’t really fight for what we need. Even when constituents organize to lobby or protest, they have little leverage compared to big campaign donors, party leaders and corporate media spin. Activist efforts routinely fall short because—while propelled by facts and

      • ‘That Corruption Needs to End’: Biden Urged to Cancel Fundraiser With Fossil Fuel Executive Day After Climate Crisis Forum

        “If Biden is serious about taking on the power of the fossil fuel lobby, why is he going to a fundraiser hosted by the co-founder of a natural gas company?”

      • Bahamian Environmental Advocate Calls for Global Climate Action
      • Overpopulation

        • Sanders under fire for remarks on population control

          The presidential candidate made the comments on Wednesday at a climate town hall on CNN after he was asked by an attendee about rising populations and how the planet “can not sustain this growth.”

          The questioner, identified by CNN as a teacher named Martha Readyoff, said that she realized linking population control to climate was a topic “poisonous for politicians, but it’s crucial to face.”

        • The Politics of Procreation

          Ultimately, the issue facing the high-income world—and increasingly China as well—is how we regard humanity itself. British author Austin Williams describes this question as a conflict between whether humanity represents “the biggest problem on the planet” or the “creators of a better future.”

        • Retreat? Pish. Democrats Dare Not Speak Climate Change’s ‘R’ Word

          But when moderators and audience members asked the Democratic hopefuls whether they’d relocate people away from coastal areas prone to flooding, the candidates called it virtually everything other than retreat. [...]

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Official: Trump to Challenge California Authority on Mileage

        The Trump administration is moving forward with a proposal to revoke part of California’s authority to set its own automobile gas mileage standards, a government official said Thursday, confronting a state that has repeatedly challenged the administration’s environmental rollbacks.

      • The Pro-Israel Extremist Behind Trump’s Economic War on Iran
      • Petition for Official International Observers for Next Scottish Independence Referendum
      • Don’t Let Crowd Sizes Mislead You

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has said she has drawn crowds of up to 15,000. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden has not exactly been packing them in, even as he continues to lead by a healthy margin in most polls of the Democratic presidential primary. So could Warren’s big crowds be picking up on something that the polls are missing?

        The short answer is: No. While the ability to generate big crowds is certainly nice — it may signal enthusiasm among highly engaged voters or produce favorable media coverage — you should ignore any candidate, surrogate or media outlet that tells you that large crowd sizes mean that the polls are underestimating a candidate’s support. It’s just spin; polls are much more accurate at forecasting elections than crowd-size estimates, which don’t tell us all that much.

      • 8chan could be back online as soon as next week, lawyer says

        8chan owner Jim Watkins provided evidence to congressional staffers on Thursday to comply with a subpoena the House Homeland Security Committee issued him after a series of racist manifestos from mass shooters were posted on the site. His site has remained down since shortly after the shooting — but new statements made to The Verge suggest it may be coming back sooner than many expected.

        According to Watkins’s lawyer, Benjamin Barr, 8chan’s owners hope to have the site back online in the next week or so. In his prepared remarks for the committee, Watkins said that 8chan is currently “offline voluntarily” and that it may come back online soon, once the site “is able to develop additional tools to counter illegal content under United States law.”

        “This isn’t written in stone, but somewhere around a week, they hope to be back,” Barr said.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Facebook commits $10M for project to detect deepfakes

        The social media platform is teaming up with Microsoft and a handful of research institutions to launch the Deepfake Detection Challenge, with the goal of “detecting and preventing media manipulated via AI from being used to mislead others.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • 30+ Rights Groups Launch Campaign Demanding Law Enforcement Ban on ‘Authoritarian and Invasive’ Facial Recognition Technology

        “We need to ban this technology outright, treat it like biological or nuclear weapons, and prevent it from proliferating before it’s too late.”

      • Facebook wants to create a ‘Supreme Court’ for content moderation. Will it work?

        When Aftenposten, one of Norway’s largest newspapers, reported on the incident and shared its article along with the Napalm Girl photograph on its Facebook page, the content was removed. Even the Norwegian prime minister’s post was taken down when she chimed in.

        Egeland, meanwhile, grew more frustrated and appealed Facebook’s decision. But reaching out to the company was getting him nowhere.

      • Chinese netizens get privacy-conscious

        ON THE NIGHT of August 30th, soon after ZAO—an app whose name means “to make”—was launched, it proved so wildly popular that its servers crashed repeatedly. Almost as rapidly, a sudden backlash from its many fans nearly unmade it. Technology-news outlets and meticulous netizens who had combed through the terms of its user agreement found that by signing up, users had granted ZAO “completely free”, “irrevocable” and “perpetual” rights to all content they uploaded to its platform.

        Furious comments flooded Apple’s app store in China, where ZAO is now rated a measly two stars out of five. (This did not stop it from becoming China’s most-downloaded free app in the store.) WeChat, a dominant Chinese app—always eager to stick it to a potential rival—blocked ZAO links from being shared on its messaging service citing “security risks”. ZAO swiftly removed the offending clause. On September 3rd it apologised to users and pledged to protect their personal data “in every possible way”.

      • The next great platform shift is underway, and that could be really bad for privacy

        The main platform for voice-based systems is the so-called “smart” speaker, for example, Amazon’s Echo, or Google’s Home. It might seem an exaggeration to call these devices a platform, since their sales are still relatively low, and their capabilities are quite limited. But that’s only because the West is not in the vanguard here: China is leading the way. Smart speakers are taking off rapidly there, for a number of reasons. For example, they sidestep the issue of how best to input Chinese characters – certainly possible, but less convenient than inputting Western letters. They are also good first devices for older users who may not have computers or the keyboard skills to use them – a huge potential market in China. Another crucial factor is that privacy issues arising from products that eavesdrop on everything we say in our homes are less to the fore in a country where the government has built the world’s most complete surveillance society.

        As an article in the South China Morning Post explains, the main high-tech companies in China – Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent – are pouring money into this sector, which they see as the next big battlefield in the digital world. So great is the desire to build market share quickly, that some devices are being sold for as little as $15 each. Companies are willing to offer models at these knock-down prices because what they want for tomorrow is more important than a few dollars more today. High-volume sales of smart speakers will give them huge quantities of voice data for training and improving their back-end AI systems, and a major share of the new platform that is already making money in China: [...]

      • 8chan owner defends platform in testimony before Congress

        The owner of the anonymous messaging board tied to a string of mass shootings this year testified on Capitol Hill on Thursday, offering an adamant defense of his website to House staffers behind closed doors.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Kremlin is considering a state system that would track online content views

        Government officials, members of President Putin’s administration, and major media companies are discussing the creation of a single state system that would track online content views and advertisement impressions, sources tell the newspaper Vedomosti. The new entity would reportedly compare to existing systems that measure television audiences and tickets sold at movie theaters.

      • The Crimes of the Criminal Justice System

        Your first reaction to the concurrence of three online films about the racist abuses of the American criminal justice system might be to attribute this to pure happenstance. However, given the objective reality of the increasing legal, moral and political rot of the police, the courts and the prison system, it was inevitable that filmmakers of conscience would feel impelled to respond to the crisis. In other words, we should not speak of happenstance but ineluctability.

      • ‘Outrageous Behavior’ as Boston Judge Holds National Lawyers Guild Attorney in Contempt for Reading Case Law in Court

        “By compelling arraignment in every case, the judge punished the exercise of individuals’ First Amendment right to protest.”

      • Documentary film about Beslan survivors leads to a flood of support for one disabled woman

        On September 2, journalist Yuri Dud released a three-hour video on YouTube dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Beslan school siege, featuring interviews with eyewitnesses who survived the hostage crisis and “continue to live a normal life, no matter how hard they were hit by the terrorist attack.”

      • Moscow car rental agency sues Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation and independent TV station ‘Dozhd’ for 1 billion rubles

        The company “Fly Auto,” which rents and leases cars, has filed a 1-billion-ruble ($15.2-million) lawsuit against Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, naming the independent television station Dozhd as a third party in the case. The lawsuit was filed with the Moscow Arbitration Court on September 5, and the court’s website currently specifies only the damages in the claim, not the nature of the complaint.

      • Verizon Workers File Federal Complaints Against Alleged Racist Workplace Culture

        Several workers recently filed equal employment opportunity complaints against Verizon, accusing their employer of racial discrimination and ignoring or retaliating against them for making allegations.

        Latasha French has worked at a call center in Verizon’ corporate office in Irving, Texas for over 17 years. She recently filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint with the support of her colleague, Jennifer Womack. She claimed rampant racial discrimination has occurred within their department at Verizon, which is the largest wireless provider in the United States.

      • One down, four to go, Hong Kong protesters say as the government meets its first demand

        The withdrawal of the bill is the first and only government concession to the five key demands of the protesters. The others are an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, amnesty for arrested protesters, the right of Hong Kong citizens to elect their own political leaders and a government edict against describing the protests as “riots.”

      • Hong Kong leader to withdraw China extradition bill, but will it stop the protests?

        The protesters also want an independent inquiry into police brutality. Jarring images of Hong Kong police beating and pepper spraying terrified people in a subway, believed, but not confirmed to be protesters, have galvanized those calls.

      • 12 arrested at Massachusetts Amazon building in ICE protest

        Cambridge Police Department spokesman Jeremy Warnick told The Hill that the 12 individuals were arrested on trespassing charges after officers attempted to escort them out of the Amazon building peacefully.

        The group of demonstrators, organized by “Never Again Action: Jews Against ICE,” began protesting in Boston, causing traffic issues throughout the city. The group similarly protested in July Boston Magazine reported, disrupting traffic in a demonstration against immigrant detentions and conditions at federal detention facilities.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Google’s paid search ads are a ‘shakedown,’ Basecamp CEO says

        Basecamp CEO and co-founder Jason Fried sounded off against the practice Tuesday, calling it a “shakedown” and saying it’s like ransom to have to pay up just to be seen in results.

        “When Google puts 4 paid ads ahead of the first organic result for your own brand name, you’re forced to pay up if you want to be found,” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a shakedown. It’s ransom. But at least we can have fun with it. Search for Basecamp and you may see this attached ad.”

      • YouTubers say kids’ content changes could ruin careers

        On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission fined YouTube $170 million for collecting data and targeting ads to children, an alleged violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The fine is relatively small — roughly 1 percent of the service’s annual revenue — but it comes with strict conditions that could spell disaster for the thousands of creators who are making content for children. As part of the settlement, YouTube must stop collecting data on videos that are targeted toward children (defined by the FTC as anyone under the age of 12). YouTubers who create videos for children, like unboxing toys or nursery rhymes, must also clearly label their content as being intended for kids.

        For anyone making those videos, the changes will be significant. Features like comments and notifications won’t be available on videos “that have an emphasis on kids characters, themes, toys, or games,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a blog post responding to the settlement. It’s also likely that these videos will not be able to run targeted ads, which could affect monetization.

      • Copyrights

Links 6/9/2019: GNOME Shell 3.33.92, COBOL at 60

Posted in News Roundup at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Dell Makes It Easier to Find Its Growing Linux Range

        Dell. Blessed Dell. The computer giant is passionate about meeting the needs of Linux loving users with its “Project Sputnik” derived line of devices — and we love them for it!

        But while Dell might make the best Linux laptops available — not that I’ve been lucky enough to ever try one — they don’t seem to be the easiest Linux laptops to find for purchase.

        Trying to locate the “Ubuntu” option available on devices like the latest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition line is like a game of hide and seek. The relevant option crouching behind some random toggle on customisation page that takes three hundreds clicks and a page scroll to get to.

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #300: The Weekender XXXIII

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

      • Command Line Heroes – New episode “Heroes in a Bash Shell”

        Shells make large-scale IT possible. They’re a necessary component to modern computing. But it might not have turned out that way without a lot of hard work from a developer at the Free Software Foundation named Brian Fox. Now, the Bash shell is shipped with almost every computer in the world.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E22 – Shadow of the Beast

        This week we’ve been playing with the GPD WIN 2. We interview Sarah Townson about Science Oxford and making fighting robots, bring you some command line love and go over all your feedback.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 22 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • Librem 5 Unplugged | Jupiter Extras 11

        We react to the “ship date” of the Librem 5, and look back at when it was first announced.

        Then our take on what steps Pursim could take to turn this situation into a net postive.

      • Mobile Security Mistakes | TechSNAP 411

        We take a look at a few recent zero-day vulnerabilities for iOS and Android and find targeted attacks, bad assumptions, and changing markets.

        Plus what to expect from USB4 and an upcoming Linux scheduler speed-up for AMD’s Epyc CPUs.

    • Kernel Space

    • Applications

      • Hyper – terminal emulator built with web technologies

        One of the reasons why I became hooked on Linux was the command line. The command line offers advantages day-to-day because of facets like its scalability, scriptability, simple design, and simple interface. At the command line, there’s so much power at my fingertips. Its continuing flexibility and power remain big draws to this day.

        It’s true that some people consider the command line to be arcane and obsolete. They prefer graphical interfaces. And for non-technical people and beginners, few dispute good graphical user interfaces make life easier. But who doesn’t want the best of both worlds?

        The power of the command line can be accessed on the desktop by using a terminal emulator. The terminal window allows the user to access a console and all its applications such as command line interfaces (CLI) and text user interface software. Even with sophisticated modern desktop environments packed with administrative tools, other utilities, and productivity software all sporting attractive graphical user interfaces, it remains the case that some tasks are best undertaken with the command line.

        The terminal emulator is a venerable but essential tool for everyone using the command line. There are so many terminal emulators available for Linux that the choice is, frankly, bamboozling.

        This article looks at Hyper, one of the newer terminal emulators available. It’s built with web technologies – JavaScript, HTML, CSS. The goal of the project is to create a beautiful and extensible experience for command-line interface users, built on open web standards. Hyper is based on xterm.js, a front-end component written in TypeScript.

        Hyper is cross-platform support running on Linux, macOS, and Windows. It boasts that it’s fully extensible. Let’s see how it fares.

      • Proprietary

        • FreeOffice Update Adds .ODT File Saving, Dark Mode

          An updated version of FreeOffice, the free Microsoft alternative for Windows, macOS and Linux, is now available to download.

          Among the notable changes which feature in FreeOffice revision 670 is an optional dark mode. If you’re into writing your essays and compiling your slideshows in the dark, do take advantage of that as, SoftMaker say, it can help reduce eye fatigue.

          TextMaker, the productivity suite’s word processor, is now able to save to the OpenDocument Text format (.odt) popularised by LibreOffice. Prior to today TextMaker could only open .odt file types, so this is a notable (and some say much needed) addition.

        • You can now use Apple Music on Linux without any hacks

          Apple Music is now available through a web browser, which means I’m pleased/obligated to report that you can now use the service on Linux!

          Users on Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other distros just need to load beta.music.apple.com in a modern web browser (sorry Lynx) and, et voila: the ability to stream Apple Music on Linux.

        • Here’s How To Easily Use Apple Music From Any Linux Distribution
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Linux Gaming On Steam Saw An Increase In The Month Of August 2019

        Linux Gaming on Steam increased to 0.08% of the total player base in the month of August 2019. The new data comes after the gaming client, Steam, released its survey for August.

        A lot of other data including the most popular OS, GPU and CPU were also revealed during the survey.

        [...]

        The mere increase in the player base of Linux might not seem impressive upfront but on a year-on-year percentage basis, this increase is significant. In August 2018, the player base was a mere 0.58% and now it is 0.22% more at 0.8%. The rise in the player base can also be credited with the release of Steam Play, which allowed a number of Windows games to be playable on Linux. Several developers also work really hard to make sure that popular games like DOOM and Borderlands 2 run natively on Linux without the need of any API like WINE. The number of native Linux games keeps increasing every month.

      • GTA: San Andreas is being remade (unofficially) in Unity and it supports Linux

        Have any fond memories of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? You might want to take a look at this new unofficial remake being made in Unity as it supports Linux.

      • Your pre-weekend look at what’s on sale and some free weekends

        It’s Friday, the weekend is on the way and you’re excited to start playing some games! Need something new? Got you covered. Note: a few picks from different stores, based on the current best deal.

        First up, a reminder that Humble Bundle are doing an excellent RPG Bundle currently with titles like HIVESWAP: Act 1, Deep Sky Derelicts, Tyranny, Pillars of Eternity plus a few others. You can also get Darkwood, Beholder 2, Butcher and more in their Spooky Bundle.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Setup Complete Qt Development Tools on KDE Neon

          Neon GNU/Linux recently gained more popularity and it is good to start Qt5 application development on it because Neon is an operating system built upon both latest Qt and KDE. With Qt5, you can create perfect and cross-platform GUI applications working on GNU/Linux and other OSes. Qt5 development here uses C++ language by default and gives you advanced user interface designer. And with Neon you can easily install and update latest Qt Software Development Kit (SDK) to support your development. This setup tutorial includes the IDE, framework (libraries), C++ compiler & debugger, complete documentation and examples, as well as other necessary programs. If last January I presented you Neon for Designers, then now is the time for Neon for Programmers. I hope this tutorial helps every new programmer in Qt. Happy hacking!

        • Mesa Gets One Line Fix To Help With KDE KWin Crashing

          Landing Thursday within Mesa 19.3 Git but marked for back-porting to the stable 19.1 and 19.2 series is an Intel driver fix to address an issue with KDE’s KWin sometimes crashing.

          The bug reports cite the KWin compositor crashing, sometimes at start-up, experienced by multiple users with the KDE KWin EGL back-end.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell 3.33.92
          About GNOME Shell
          =================
          
          GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3
          desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME
          Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware
          and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a
          visually attractive and easy to use experience.
          
          Tarball releases are provided largely for distributions to build
          packages. If you are interested in building GNOME Shell from source,
          we would recommend building from version control using the build
          script described at:
          
          https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/GnomeShell
          
          Not only will that give you the very latest version of this rapidly
          changing project, it will be much easier than get GNOME Shell and its
          dependencies to build from tarballs.
          
          News
          ====
          
          * Animate pointer a11y pie timer [Jonas D.; !688]
          * Fix restarting shell in systemd user session [Benjamin; !690]
          * Misc. bug fixes and cleanups [Florian, Jonas D., Jonas Å., Will;
            !691, !689, !692, #1552, !698]
          
          Contributors:
            Jonas Ådahl, Benjamin Berg, Piotr Drąg, Jonas Dreßler, Florian Müllner,
            Will Thompson
          
          Translators:
            Daniel Șerbănescu [ro], Danial Behzadi [fa], Daniel Mustieles [es],
            Jiri Grönroos [fi], Asier Sarasua Garmendia [eu], Piotr Drąg [pl],
            Rūdolfs Mazurs [lv], Anders Jonsson [sv], Fran Dieguez [gl], Jordi Mas [ca],
            Matej Urbančič [sl], Zander Brown [en_GB], Ryuta Fujii [ja], Tim Sabsch [de],
            Fabio Tomat [fur], Pawan Chitrakar [ne], A S Alam [pa], Changwoo Ryu [ko],
            Aurimas Černius [lt], Daniel Rusek [cs], Marek Černocký [cs],
            Kukuh Syafaat [id], Goran Vidović [hr], Rafael Fontenelle [pt_BR]
          
          
        • Mutter 3.33.92
        • Last Minute Shell & Mutter Changes Ready For Testing Ahead Of GNOME 3.34

          GNOME Shell and Mutter today saw their v3.33.92 releases as their second and final release candidates ahead of next week’s GNOME 3.34 stable release. While usually things are very quiet at this stage, there have been some prominent last minute performance fixes.

          GNOME Shell 3.33.92 has fixed support for restarting the shell in the systemd user session, a new feature itself of the 3.33/3.34 cycle. There are also various mostly mundane bug fixes.

    • Distributions

      • Overview Of The Lightweight Linux Operating Systems
      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • PHP on the road to the 7.4.0 release

          Version 7.4.0RC1 is released. It’s now enter the stabilisation phase for the developers, and the test phase for the users.

          RPM are available in the remi-php74 repository for Fedora ≥ 29 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS) and as Software Collection in the remi-safe repository (or remi for Fedora)

        • Fedora status updates

          Welcome to the first of a monthly set of updates on key areas within Fedora. This update includes Fedora Council representatives, Fedora Editions, and Fedora Objectives. The content here is based on the weekly updates submitted to the Fedora Council, published to the project dashboard.

          [...]

          The Fedora CoreOS team published a preview release on July 24. This was followed by 30.20190801.0, which successfully demonstrated a gradual rollout. The previous release runs on AWS’s us-east-1 region, bare metal, QEMU, and VMware. The team gave a talk at Flock and two talks at DevConf.us. Work is underway to fix issues like manual artifact signing and implement release streams and automatic updates.

      • Debian Family

        • Anonymous OS Tails Gets Fix for SWAPGS Variant of the Spectre Vulnerability

          Tails, the amnesic incognito live system built around the Tor technologies, also known as the Anonymous OS, has been updated to version 3.16 to address a critical security vulnerability and update core components.

          Tails 3.16 is now available and it ships with an updated Linux kernel to version 4.19.37-5+deb10u2, imported from the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system. Besides several other security fixes, the updated kernel is patched against the SWAPGS variant of the infamous Spectre vulnerability.

          Moreover, the Tails 3.16 release updates most of the firmware packages to improve support for newer hardware, including graphics, Wi-Fi, and others. It also updates the Tor Browser anonymous web browser to the latest 8.5.5 release, and removes predefined bookmarks from Tor Browser’s bookmarks toolbar.

        • Tails 3.16: Security release addresses multiple vulnerabilities

          Tails users have been urged to update to the latest version of the privacy-focused Linux-based operating system, which includes mitigations to numerous security vulnerabilities.

          Launched yesterday, Tails 3.16 includes fixes to previously disclosed bugs affecting the Linux kernel and certain Debian packages.

          Among the now-patched issues is the SWAPGS gadget vulnerability – a Spectre-like flaw that could allow an attacker to circumvent CPU memory security controls.

          The latest Tails release also addresses multiple security vulnerabilities impacting the Tor Browser, Thunderbird, and Libre Office, which come bundled with the OS.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Join the Linux App Summit in Barcelona!

          As many of you will know we, at KDE and together with GNOME, are organising the Linux App Summit (LAS for short). It will be in Barcelona between the 12th and 15th November.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 69 Is Available for All Supported Ubuntu Releases, Update Now

            The recently released Mozilla Firefox 69 web browser is now available for download from the official software repositories of all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems.

            Mozilla officially launched the Firefox 69 web browser earlier this week with several new privacy and security features, such as the enablement of the Enhanced Tracking Protection by default to automatically block cryptominers, fingerprinters, and third-party tracking cookies.

            Firefox 69 also introduces a new Block Autoplay feature to automatically block video content from automatically playing, improves support for WebRTC conferencing services, and brings JIT support to ARM64 systems to improve the performance of Mozilla’s JavaScript Optimizing JIT compiler.

          • Mozilla Firefox 70 Enters Development with Extended Dark Mode Support, New Logo

            With the Firefox 69 out the door, Mozilla has kicked off development of the next major Firefox release, version 70, which brings exciting new features and various improvements.
            The Mozilla Firefox 70 web browser is now in the works and it looks like it’s already shaping up to be a great release that finally brings us the new logo Mozilla showcased earlier this summer. While Firefox 69 still ships with the old logo, after upgrading to Firefox 70, users will immediately notice the new logo on their desktop shortcut.

            Firefox 70 promises another revamp of the user interface on all platforms by extending the Dark Mode support to all built-in pages. What this means is that if you’re using Dark Mode on your operating system, Firefox 70 will show all internal pages, including the preferences, in dark, as you can see from the screenshot gallery below.

            Furthermore, users will notice a new Welcome to Firefox screen on the New Tab page to more easily get started, an updated and re-organized Firefox Accounts toolbar menu that gives them faster access to account features and services, and a more efficient compositor was implemented for macOS users, which dramatically reduces power consumption on most Mac machines.

          • Semantic Placement in Augmented Reality using MrEd

            In this article we’re going to take a brief look at how we may want to think about placement of objects in Augmented Reality.

            Designers often express ideas in a domain appropriate language. For example a designer may say “place that chair on the floor” or “hang that photo at eye level on the wall”.

            However when we finalize a virtual scene in 3d we often keep only the literal or absolute XYZ position of elements and throw out the original intent – the deeper reason why an object ended up in a certain position.

            It turns out that it’s worth keeping the intention – so that when AR scenes are re-created for new participants or in new physical locations that the scenes still “work” – that they still are satisfying experiences – even if some aspects change.

            In a sense this recognizes the Japanese term ‘Wabi-Sabi’; that aesthetic placement is always imperfect and contends between fickle forces. Describing placement in terms of semantic intent is also similar to responsive design on the web or the idea of design patterns as described by Christopher Alexander.

      • Databases

        • ArangoDB: Three Databases in One

          ArangoDB, a German database expanding its business in the United States, has released new capabilities in version 3.5 of its eponymous database management software to make it easier to query and search growing data sets across multiple data models.

          Multimodel databases take on the issue of effectively using data stored in different ways, but also of managing multiple databases, each with its own storage and operational requirements, including data consistency.

          With ArangoDB, data can be stored as key-value pairs, graphs or documents and accessed with one declarative query language. And you can do both at the same time — a document query and a graph query. The combination offers flexibility and performance advantages, explained Claudius Weinberger, CEO.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Open Source Is Poised To Have A Greater Impact On Security [iophk: marketeering]

          Falco, another open source security project, is a native runtime protection/detection tool for hosts and containers. It lives right in the container environment and can ascertain everything going on by watching system calls, obviating the need for agents in each container. It also provides rich out-of-box policies/rules that can be used to detect anomalous behavior in different levels, including the host, container and cluster levels.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Help defend the right to read: stand up against DRM on October 12th

          Defective by Design is calling on you to stand up against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on October 12th, 2019. This year we will be focusing specifically on everyone’s right to read, particularly by urging publishers to free students and educators from the unnecessary and cumbersome restrictions that make their access to necessary course materials far more difficult.

          For years, products incorporating Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) have been a plague upon the Web, and have gradually infiltrated nearly every aspect of digital society. New developments have reminded all of us that DRM is now more of a threat than ever. Many people were impacted by Microsoft’s Orwellian “ebook apocalypse,” in which thousands of books were forcibly deleted from ebook readers and smartphones. Recently we have seen DRM extend its sinister influence into education, especially in the form of “digital-first” textbooks that put onerous restrictions on students that forbid them from accessing the course materials they have bought, and the education that they deserve. The “Netflix of textbooks” model practiced by the major textbook publisher Pearson is a Trojan horse for education: requiring a constant Internet connection for “authentication” purposes, severely limiting the number of pages a student can read at one time, and secretly collecting telemetric data on their reading habits.

        • International Day Against DRM (IDAD) 2019

          Defective by Design is calling on you to stand up against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) on the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on October 12th, 2019. This year we will be focusing specifically on everyone’s right to read, particularly by urging publishers to free students and educators from the unnecessary and cumbersome restrictions that make their access to necessary course materials far more difficult.

          For thirteen years, we have used IDAD to mobilize actions that stand up for the freedom of users everywhere. This year, we’ll be continuing the fight by bringing in a round of in-person actions, guest bloggers, organizing tips, and a few surprises that you won’t want to miss. Follow along with us at the Defective by Design Web site, join the DRM Elimination Crew mailing list, and read about our past actions, such as last year’s IDAD, and our protest of the W3C’s decision to embed DRM into the core framework of the Internet.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Learn a new pandas trick every day!

          Every weekday, I share a new “pandas trick” on social media. Each trick takes only a minute to read, yet you’ll learn something new that will save you time and energy in the future!

        • Rotating Images in ReportLab

          There are times when you want to rotate images or other objects in ReportLab while creating a PDF. For example, you might want to rotate an image by 45 degrees for watermarking purposes. Or you might need an image that runs vertically along one of the edges of the PDF.

        • Pulumi 1.0 Brings Developers and Operators Together with Modern Infrastructure as Code

          Pulumi Corporation today announced the general availability of version 1.0 of its modern Infrastructure as Code platform. Pulumi 1.0 introduces new capabilities designed to help developer and operations teams overcome organizational silos and achieve best-in-class levels of productivity, reliability and security on any cloud using familiar programming languages and open source tools and frameworks. Since its founding in 2017, Pulumi has worked with thousands of end users and companies of all sizes — from startups to Global 2000 Enterprises — to deliver production workloads. The 1.0 milestone is a statement of the readiness of Pulumi’s platform for the most demanding applications and organizations.

        • Machine Learning in Healthcare: 5 Use Cases that Improve Patient Outcomes

          Machine learning is accelerating the pace of scientific discovery across fields, and medicine is no exception. From language processing tools that accelerate research to predictive algorithms that alert medical staff of an impending heart attack, machine learning complements human insight and practice across medical disciplines.

          However, with all the “solutionism” around AI and machine learning technologies, healthcare providers are understandably cautious about how it will really help patients and bring a return on investment. Many AI solutions on the market for healthcare purposes are tailored to solve a very specific problem, such as identifying the risk of developing sepsis or diagnosing breast cancer. These out-of-the-box AI solutions make it difficult or impossible for companies to customize their models and get the most out of their investment.

          Open-source data science allows healthcare firms to adapt models to address a variety of challenges using the latest machine learning technologies, such as audio and visual data processing. Using open-source tools, data scientists can custom-build applications in a way that meets healthcare IT’s strict requirements and improves patient care in a variety of settings, ultimately differentiating an organization from its competitors. Here are five machine learning use cases for the healthcare sector that can be developed with open-source data science tools and adapted for different functions.

        • COBOL turns 60: Why it will outlive us all

          I cut my programming teeth on IBM 360 Assembler. This shouldn’t be anyone’s first language. In computing’s early years, the only languages were machine and assembler. In those days, computing science really was “science.” Clearly, there needed to be an easier language for programming those hulking early mainframes. That language, named in September 1959, became Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL).

          The credit for coming up with the basic idea goes not to Grace Hopper, although she contributed to the language and promoted it, but to Mary Hawes. She was a Burroughs Corporation programmer who saw a need for a computer language. In March 1959, Hawes proposed that a new computer language be created. It would have an English-like vocabulary that could be used across different computers to perform basic business tasks.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Vulnerability round-up: Mozilla, Cisco and Samba issue security updates

        Mozilla, Cisco and Samba developmers yesterday issued security updates for their respective products, fixing a multitude of software vulnerabilities.

      • warning: implicit backdoor

        One way to slip malicious code into a project is to hack into their build server and just drop it in. Messy. Another way is to hack a trusted developer’s machine and alter the code there so that they commit it, but it might get spotted during code review. A third way is to become a developer, then yourself commit a seemingly innocuous patch containing an obfuscated backdoor. This is sneaky. Even better is to have somebody else intentionally commit the backdoor for you.

      • Yahoo Mail has been down for several hours [iophk: tweets in place of official communications :( ]

        Customers are finding that they can’t log in properly and instead of their emails, are greeted with a message reading “We are experiencing some technical details” with an error code of 15.

      • Windows 10 alert: Microsoft dealt another blow as users plagued by more PC problems

        Windows 10 was recently granted a new upgrade called KB4512941 that was supposed to resolve a number of known issues with the PC platform.

        However, following its debut many fans complained the software was responsible for causing high CPU usage.

        In particular, it was noted Microsoft’s esteemed virtual assistant, Cortana, was taking up to a whopping 90 percent of CPU usage in some instances.

        However, it seems this is not the only issue affecting those that have obtained the KB4512941 update.

    • Environment

      • Democratic Presidential Candidates Face 7 Hours of Tough Questions on Climate Change, From Fracking to Fossil Fuels

        CNN’s Wolf Blitzer kicked off a seven-hour long town hall on climate change with an unambiguous message of urgency on climate change.

        “This unprecedented town hall is dedicated to the climate crisis,” he said, “an issue many voters say needs aggressive action and some scientists say that action needs to happen now.”

        Many of the candidates offered multi-trillion dollar plans to address the crisis — as economists warn that the price of failing to act could be $69 trillion worldwide by the end of the century and U.S. firms forecast roughly $1 trillion in climate-related hits to their bottom lines over the next five years.

        But the highlight of the evening wasn’t the economics nor was it the candidates. It was the questions — a mix of queries from CNN reporters, video-taped messages, and those attending the town hall in person. The questions were often nuanced and detailed — and drew on understandings shaped by both personal experience and professional expertise.

    • Finance

      • Report: Jack Dorsey Has No Plans to Issue “Twitter Coin”

        Jack Dorsey has reiterated his support for Bitcoin in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, and says Twitter has no plans to create a private digital currency for that network.

      • Tackling Tax Havens

        Until the 2008 financial crisis, tax havens were generally seen as exotic sideshows to the global economy, Caribbean islands or Alpine financial fortresses frequented by celebrities, gangsters, and wealthy aristocrats. Since then, the world has woken up to two sobering facts: first, the phenomenon is far bigger and more central to the global economy than nearly anyone had imagined; and second, the biggest havens aren’t where we thought they were.

        Tax havens collectively cost governments between $500 billion and $600 billion a year in lost corporate tax revenue, depending on the estimate (Crivelli, de Mooij, and Keen 2015; Cobham and Janský 2018), through legal and not-so-legal means. Of that lost revenue, low-income economies account for some $200 billion—a larger hit as a percentage of GDP than advanced economies and more than the $150 billion or so they receive each year in foreign development assistance. American Fortune 500 companies alone held an estimated $2.6 trillion offshore in 2017, though a small portion of that has been repatriated following US tax reforms in 2018.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Jonathan Riddell: OpenUK Meets the Crumbling of UK Democracy

        This week I went to Parliament square in Edinburgh where the highest court of the land, the Court of Session sits. The court room viewing gallery was full, concerned citizens there to watch and journalists enjoying the newly allowed ability to post live from the courtroom. They were waiting for Joanna Cherry, Jo Maugham and the Scottish Government to give legal challenge to the UK Governement not to shut down parliament. The UK government filed their papers late and didn’t bother completing them missing out the important signed statement from the Prime Minister saying why he had ordered parliament to be shut. A UK government who claims to care about Scotland but ignores its people, government and courts is not one who can argue it it working for democracy or the union it wants to keep.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • A $170 Million Joke: Why the FTC’s ‘Record’ YouTube Fine for Collecting Kids’ Data Won’t Change Anything

        Two days—that’s how long it will take Google to earn enough to pay a record $170 million fine aimed at punishing the company for, in the words of a Federal Trade Commissioner, “bait[ing] children using nursery rhymes, cartoons, and other kid-directed content” on its YouTube channels.

        If people wonder why Big Tech doesn’t seem to take privacy seriously, the fine, announced on Wednesday by the FTC and New York’s Attorney General, is a good reason why. The penalty was levied under a law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)—a law that forbids tracking what kids do online. Because it blatantly violated the law, Google has agreed to pay the $170 million fine.

    • Monopolies

      • Can Africa’s trade agreements handle regional integration?

        With respect to the recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and Nigerian businesses in South Africa, Nigeria (and other African countries such as Rwanda, Congo and Malawi) have condemned the attacks and are rumoured to have boycotted the World Economic Forum for Africa meeting holding in Cape Town because of the latest xenophobic attacks. Nigeria has also recalled its ambassador to South Africa. South Africa has condemned the attacks and have promised to bring perpetrators to book, with several persons arrested.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • At least five German Nokia v. Daimler patent infringement trials to take place between December 2019 and May 2020

          Continental was just forced by a German anti-antisuit-injunction injunction (“AAII”) to withdraw, in part, the U.S. antisuit motion it had brought in its San Jose FRAND/antitrust lawsuit against the Avanci patent pool firm and some of its contributors (especially Nokia and a couple of trolls Nokia fed with patents). As I explained in the post I just linked to, the scope of the withdrawal-in-part may give rise to an enforcement dispute. Considering that the Munich court wrote in its first AAII that German law doesn’t recognize antisuit injunctions, it appears fairly likely that the appeals court will lift that AAII pretty soon.

          Meanwhile the press offices of the Regional Courts of Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich have thankfully provided me with the numbers of the patents Nokia is asserting against Daimler in Germany and the hearing or trial dates to the extent they have been scheduled.

          [...]

          Three more German cases are pending with the Dusseldorf Regional Court, but no trials have been scheduled yet in any of them:

          case no. 4c O 17/19 over EP2087629 on “a method of transmitting data within a telecommunications system”

          case no. 4a O 26/19 over EP2087626 on “additional modulation information signaling for high speed downlink packet access”

          case no. 4a O 27/19 over EP1929826 on an “apparatus, method and computer program product to request data rate increase based on ability to transmit at least one more selected data unit”

        • Dallas Invents: 162 Patents Granted for Week of Aug. 27
        • Sovereign Indignity: Texas must Litigate its Infringement Case in Delaware

          UT sued Boston Scientific for patent infringement in its home district of W.D. Texas (Austin). BSC responded with a motion to transfer/dismiss on venue grounds — arguing that venue was improper under 28 U.S.C. 1400(b). BSC is not a Texas corporation and has no regular-and-established place of business in W.D. Texas. As such, the district court found venue improper and transferred the case to D.Delaware. (BSC does have a few dozen employees in W.D.Tex., all of whom work from home, but that did not create proper venue.)

          UT appealed the transfer — arguing sovereign immunity, sovereignty, and “State Dignity”. In particular, UT argued that an implicit exception to the venue statute allows for State of Texas has a right to sue for patent infringement in the state of Texas.

        • Chinese companies set sights on more licensing deals

          US-based IP dealmakers from Xiaomi and Via Licensing see Chinese companies gaining more sophistication in negotiation processes

      • Trademarks

        • International jurisdiction in online EU infringement cases: CJEU rules that targeting may serve establish jurisdiction

          More specifically, the question referred by the Court of Appeal (England and Wales) related to a situation in which the defendant is established and domiciled in Member State A (in this case, Spain) and advertised and offered for sales infringing goods on a website targeted at traders and consumers in Member State B (in this case, the UK). Could courts in Member State B have jurisdiction to hear a claim for infringement of an EU trade mark?

          In line with the Opinion of Advocate General Szpunar last March, today the CJEU answered in the affirmative.

          In the background proceedings, at first instance the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court held that it had no jurisdiction to hear such action. The Court of Appeal was unsure, so it referred the matter to the CJEU for guidance.

          It should be observed that, while the CJEU has already rule on matters of international jurisdiction relating to online infringements of national trade marks (Wintersteiger) and offline infringements of EU trade marks (Coty), the Court had not been given the chance – until AMS Neve – to rule on international jurisdiction in online EU trade mark infringement cases.

          [...]

          In a case like the one at issue, the ruling in L’Oréal prompts the conclusion that the infringing acts (advertising and offering for sale) “were committed in the territory where the consumers or traders to whom that advertising and those offers for sale are directed are located, notwithstanding the fact that the defendant is established elsewhere, that the server of the electronic network that he uses is located elsewhere, or even that the products that are the subject of such advertising and offers for sale are located elsewhere.” (para 47)

        • CJEU hands brand owners ‘maximum flexibility’ in jurisdictional challenge

          Lawyers say the CJEU has correctly ruled that trademark owners can bring cases in national EU courts even if the allegedly infringing actions took place elsewhere

          The Court of Justice of the European Union has today answered an important jurisdictional question, ruling that an EU trademark owner can bring an infringement action in a member state where it has sales…

National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI France) Not Immune Like the EPO and the Courts Find it Guilty of Mismanagement

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

INPI

Summary: The rot or the odor passes from one institution to the next when corrupt officials are put in charge, as INPI too serves to show

“Dear Roy,” one reader wrote, “here an article in French about the disastrous management of the INPI. I sounds familiar, isn’t it?”

Except INPI lacks diplomatic immunity, so it can be sued, just like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

It’s about abuse if not corruption where Battistelli came from months/years before dragging a whole bunch of other INPI people into the highest ranks at the European Patent Office (EPO) — same thing which happened over the past year at EUIPO. Here’s a partial automated translation of the article about INPI:

Red card for the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). In a court decision released Tuesday, the Court of Accounts severely pinpoints the management of this institution under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, which manages and centralizes industrial property rights. “The persistence of dysfunctions within the INPI, even though these shortcomings and bad practices have long been criticized by the Court as other stakeholders, is not acceptable,” warn the sages of the street Cambon.

These flaws include the purchasing processes that must be “reviewed and centralized”, the management of the housing stock that “lacks rigor” and the allocation of remuneration and bonuses, which turns out to be “a problem recurrent”. So the performance bonus was given to … all the staff. In addition, the objective of dematerialization of patent management seems, for the time being, to be compromised. “The court found that this approach did not rely on a master plan information systems duly approved,” said the interlocutory, which points to the “deficiencies of the general management in the supervision of the project.”

We reckon CEIPI too might be corrupt by now. This institution cannot teach law when it’s headed by a person who broke so many laws. Musical chairs with its former head, António Campinos, who is now the EPO’s President?

EPO Rating Cartoon

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 2:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Rating Cartoon

Summary: Those applying a deliberately unfair performance rating system to threaten staff members with dismissal for ‘professional incompetence’ deserve being rated themselves

Microsoft’s Plan for Linux is to Make it Proprietary Software With ‘Surveillance Capitalism’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Embrace, extend, and extinguish
Reference: Embrace, extend, and extinguish

Summary: Microsoft’s strategy seems to be working; it’s hoping to devour Linux and buy off most Free software repositories without actually becoming a different company (just more of the same and worse)

THIS site spent 2019 writing a great deal about Microsoft entryism inside Linux. It’s all about control. This was the plan all along. It’s about controlling one’s opposition — not a novel strategy at Microsoft (look what they did to Novell 13 years ago).

Having just called on people to “boycott Azure,” Benjamin Henrion (best known for his activism against software patents) wrote: “Microsoft “open source” strategy is only targeted at selling more Azure cloud minutes (hyperv/docker/linux/azure/kubernetes/etc…).”

“Fedora hasn’t been particularly active lately and we’re sceptical of IBM’s plan for it.”Obviously. Is it working? To some degree, yes…

Red Hat is again publishing articles about Windows as if it’s abandoning GNU/Linux, at least as a desktop/laptop platform (or longterm goal). Fedora hasn’t been particularly active lately and we’re sceptical of IBM’s plan for it.

The people who control Linux.com, a site that promotes a lot of Microsoft and Windows after everyone associated with the site got laid off (back in April), take note of the fact that the Linux Foundation has just outsourced to Microsoft (GitHub) yet another one of its projects. Linux.com itself has just bumped up this article after Google outsourced to Microsoft (GitHub, NSA PRISM) one of its privacy-washing projects. Sober people certainly know it’s not really about privacy but more of an openwashing publicity stunt from Google (like the Foundation calling surveillance companies “Confidential”). Google treats privacy as a business risk. Google profits from lack of privacy. Android, for instance, is more about data harvesting than about Linux or AOSP.

“Google treats privacy as a business risk. Google profits from lack of privacy.”Looking elsewhere, Electronic Design wrote just over a week ago about “A Linux-to-Cloud IoT Solution the Microsoft Way” and Linux Gizmos has just posted this article (from former Linux Foundation/Linux.com staff) that says: “Microsoft announced a $249 “Vision AI Developer Kit” with an 8MP, 4K camera that runs Linux on Qualcomm’s 10nm, AI-enabled QCS603 SoC.”

Using Linux to feed Microsoft surveillance and back doors would not be unprecedented. Linux.com, which is all about Microsoft, obviously promoted this some hours ago, adding links to Microsoft.com.

Is Linux.com a feeder of Microsoft.com and, if so, what does that make Linux?

Sayak Boral also wrote some hours ago “An Introduction to IoT Plug and Play by Microsoft” (in a site focused on devices).

“This is ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ at work.”Microsoft wants not only to ‘swallow’ Linux (with its APIs and ‘cloud’) but also to swallow lots of data, i.e. conduct surveillance , through Linux…

In this article’s own words: “Microsoft has recently launched a new offering called IoT Plug and Play for its Azure ecosystem. IoT Plug and Play is a first-of-its-kind device integration model which allows you to use off-the-shelf, smart devices that have been preapproved by Microsoft.”

This is ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ at work. This data collection is Microsoft’s new ‘business’…

There’s meanwhile an extremely misleading story/narrative Microsoft is trying very hard to construct in order to sell the lie that it’s “open” while it’s pushing loads of proprietary software, surveillance, and making billions of dollars (crates of money) — using software patents it lobbies for — with back room OEM ‘deals’. Microsoft is throwing seemingly endless budget at telling us it “loves” what it’s attacking; this is the biggest ploy since telling us that a famous, sociopathic criminal is a hero saving the world. Money does not buy truth, but it does, however, buy the media.

“There’s meanwhile an extremely misleading story/narrative Microsoft is trying very hard to construct in order to sell the lie that it’s “open” while it’s pushing loads of proprietary software, surveillance, and making billions of dollars (crates of money) — using software patents it lobbies for — with back room OEM ‘deals’.”About a year ago Microsoft invited Zemlin to its own event in Israel, compelling him to say 'back' that “Open Source loves Microsoft” (a Microsoft executive filmed it, seemingly took it out of context by removing the context, then uploaded it to YouTube from his account). Almost exactly one year before Microsoft invited Richard Stallman (RMS) to its campus.

“Hell reputed to have freezed over,” one Microsoft apologist wrote, citing a Microsoft booster. “Only if RMS had said something pro-Microsoft,” I replied, “which isn’t the case…”

Microsoft is playing a game here, and it might even pull that stunt off.

Simon Phipps‏ (OSI) wrote last night: “I bet @schestowitz will have an interesting take on the latest FLOSS luminary to go to Redmond.”

We wrote about it yesterday after we had seen Microsoft apologists twisting it.

“Stallman’s visit was a sign of weakness, in my humble opinion, not of strength.”Henrion responded to Phipps‏: “‘Permissists’ were only interested in ‘making software proprietary again’ :-)”

Do note tha Mary Jo Foley wasn’t at the RMS talk. Someone from Microsoft — likely the PR department — gave her a ‘prepared’ piece after they had invited RMS. Only she covered it, so they control the narrative (e.g. we “listen to Freedom…” or “RMS is OK with Microsoft”).

Here’s what The Register wrote a few hours ago:

When a frantic group of paranormal researchers were trying to convince the Mayor of New York of the impending apocalypse depicted in the 1984 flick Ghostbusters, they described the situation as a disaster of Biblical proportions.

[...]

They might also have warned of the dire possibility of Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman speaking at Microsoft.

It was a historical possibility at least, if not a likely one: Stallman launched the GNU Project, which led to the free software movement, in 1983, around the time Ghostbusters was being made, though his work at the time was not appreciated widely enough for the reference to make sense.

Microsoft apologists leap at this to justify their views — as if to say “Microsoft is OK now…”

Stallman’s visit was a sign of weakness, in my humble opinion, not of strength.

“At the same time Microsoft tries to control most of Free software by buying the proprietary GitHub, then playing ‘FOSS police’.”Watch out. Microsoft has not changed. It’s a spying operation whose emerging/emergent business model is spying for governments, military work, and imperial censorship. Moreover, all the core products are proprietary software. They just want a bunch of “Linux” and “GNU” people to give the impression they’re ‘cool’ with all that. At the same time Microsoft tries to control most of Free software by buying the proprietary GitHub, then playing 'FOSS police'.

The Corrupt EPO Apparently Hides Its Serco Outsourcing Deal

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From Serco’s own site (press release removed and also withdrawn from Reuters, maybe at the request of the European Patent Office (EPO))

Serco and EPO

Summary: It seems like the EPO has passed a lot of its work to a controversial private company under everyone’s noses during the summer holiday

The above page has been removed, but we have a screenshot. This press release was ‘modified’ (completely deleted by Reuters) without saying much. They want to hide something. We’re left simply guessing that Serco wanted to brag about a massive new deal (seemingly outsourcing of EPO work), but the EPO rushed to keep it a secret. Remember what happened at EUIPO after António Campinos sent/outsourced the jobs to India (likely breaking EU laws in the process)? He’s no better than Benoît Battistelli; it’s a temperament thing only.

“This press release was ‘modified’ (completely deleted by Reuters) without saying much.”Serco Group PLC is a massive and notorious company plenty of people never heard about (and the company prefers it that way). Did the EPO give a contract to corrupt Serco? If so, the EPO also connected to the military and to ‘concentration camps’ (they resemblance is uncanny). That would not be unprecedented in light of a contract for nazis' firm (one which likely profited and came into being from actual concentration camps). Is this where applicants’ money goes?

Here is the full text of the purged press release:

Serco selected by the European Patent Office to provide patent classification and reclassification services

Published: 7 Aug 2019

[Gaetan Desclée]

Serco Germany, the German subsidiary of the international services company Serco, has signed a Framework Agreement with the European Patent Office (EPO) to provide services for the classification and reclassification of patent documents.

Serco will bid for individual task orders along with two other companies on the Framework, which in total has a ceiling value of €34m over a three-year period. Five work packages have already been awarded to Serco, under which Serco will be responsible for reclassifying over fifty thousand documents by the end of July 2020.

Under individual task orders, Serco will be responsible for the classification and reclassification of multilingual patent documents and of other technical and scientific literature. These classifications are critical elements in the patent process and are used to enable EPO employees and the public to search for documents under specific classification types.

The EPO, headquartered in Munich, examines European patent applications, enabling inventors, researchers and companies from around the world to obtain protection for their inventions. It is the European authority on patent information and searching, and one of the largest public service institutions in Europe.

Serco Germany will be responsible for the commercial and contractual management of this Framework Agreement and will receive support and expertise from colleagues in Serco’s North America business. Serco has been supporting the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) for the last 13 years, providing patent classification and other analysis services; employing over 100 scientists, engineers, and Intellectual Property professionals who have processed over four million patent applications for USPTO.

Managing Director for Serco Europe, Gaetan Desclée, said:

“We are delighted to have signed this Framework Agreement and look forward to supporting the European Patent Office. The award of this Framework Agreement is an excellent example of Serco’s ability to support its customers by transferring global knowledge and expertise across its international business, this time from North America to Europe.”

Can any EPO insiders please shed light on this? Has anyone been actually told about this? Why was it signed when most people were away on holiday?

As a side note, yesterday the EPO once again advertised and amplified front groups of patent trolls (it had done so almost every day this week). “Want to better understand which IP commercialisation options will complement your business model? Join us at this event,” they wrote.

Notice whose service/interests the EPO is promoting. Definitely not scientists’ (nor businesses’).

“The EPO’s promotion of the UPC was sufficient proof that nowadays the EPO is hostile towards science and technology. All it cares about is litigation firms and patent trolls.”Yesterday Patrick Wingrove pinged me about his new article (so-called ‘survey’) about the UPC. “Loaded question,” I told him about it, as “implies it stands a chance. Also asks a particular group with particular self-interest.”

That’s like asking the farmers’ association whether there will be drought. The EPO’s promotion of the UPC was sufficient proof that nowadays the EPO is hostile towards science and technology. All it cares about is litigation firms and patent trolls.

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