Links 26/9/2019: Huawei Does More GNU/Linux, Mesa 19.2.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 10:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Huawei’s yet another Laptop lineup joins the Linux club!

      The ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. has left Huawei scrambling for alternative suppliers for its products. The recently announced Mate 30 series comes without Google Apps despite running on the new Android 10 iteration. Similarly, Huawei and Honor’s notebook lineup is being relaunched with Linux on board. Today, another one of Honor’s MagicBook 2019 lineup joins this Linux club.

      After the Honor MagicBook Pro, the Honor MagicBook 2019 Ryzen lineup is also getting a Linux version. This particular version naturally starts at a much cheaper price tag than the Windows model. While the Windows 10 powered Ryzen 5 model with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD is priced at 3999 yuan ($561), the Linux version is 300 yuan ($42) cheaper for the exact same configuration.

    • Server

      • AMD and SUSE – world records with a great ecosystem of partners

        Recently, AMD announced its new EPYCTM 7002 Series Processors targeted at data center workloads.

        The processors, according to AMD, “feature up to 64 ‘Zen 2’ cores and deliver performance leadership across a broad number of enterprise, cloud, and high performance computing (HPC) workloads.”

        As part of their original announcement, AMD unveiled 80 world records with key Independent hardware vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, Gigabyte, and SuperMicro. Since then, the list has expanded to a total of 107 records (as of 19-SEP-2019).

      • An Introduction to Stratos: An Open Source Cloud Foundry (and Kubernetes) UI

        At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit EU in the Netherlands, Peter Andersson and Rob Knight of SUSE presented a close look at Stratos, the “Single Pane of Glass” for Cloud Foundry Instance and Application Management that runs on Kubernetes. Stratos is an Open Source, Web-based Graphical User Interface (Console) for managing Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes. It allows users and administrators to both manage applications running in the Cloud Foundry cluster and perform cluster management tasks. Peter and Rob demonstrated user access controls, application consumption from CI/CD, application instance controls and more. They also showed how a Containerized Cloud Foundry interfaces with Kubernetes and the Kubernetes Dashboard.

      • IBM

        • Download CentOS Stream based on CentOS Linux 8 software packages

          Recently, the awaited CentOS Linux 8 has been released to download, however, the company has taken a major step with the project. Now there will be two CentOS will be available to download, one is CentOS stream and other is CentOS 8 Linux. Now, you might be wondering what is the difference between them? We will discuss later in this article.

          First lets, talk about the changes and up-gradation, we got in CentOS 8 Linux based on the latest Redhat 8 Linux operating system.

        • Build web apps to automate sysadmin tasks

          Imagine you’re a sysadmin at a company with a thousand employees. If the average employee leaves after three years, you have to offboard an employee every single day. That’s a significant time sink!

          There’s a lot to do when an employee leaves: remove their user account from LDAP, revoke GitHub permissions, take them off payroll, update the org chart, redirect their email, revoke their keycard, etc.

          As a sysadmin, your job is to automate your job away, so you’ve already written some offboarding scripts to run the IT side of this automatically. But HR still has to call you and ask you to run each of your scripts, and that’s an interruption you can do without.

          You decide to dedicate one full day to automating away this problem, saving you hundreds of hours in the long run. (There is another option, which I’ll present at the end of this article.)

          The app will be a simple portal you can give to HR. When HR enters the departing user’s email address, the app runs your offboarding scripts in the background.

        • Upcoming Virtual Event: Develop. Deploy. Deliver Continuously

          For those of you out there looking to learn a bit more about what application development looks like in a Red Hat OpenShift environment, you may want to sign up for the Virtual Event we’ll be hosting on October 10, 2019. This Online Event. will drill down into the practices and processes that can help increase developer velocity and productivity. The event will feature keynotes from Brian Gracely, Director of Product Strategy at Red Hat, and Mike Piech, Vice President and General Manager of Middleware at Red Hat.

          This virtual event is a bit like an online conference, complete with three tracks of talks on a dozen topics. From microservices, to integration patterns, to serverless computing, this virtual event will make it easier to find the information you need to bring your development teams up to speed on Kubernetes, OpenShift and hybrid cloud computing at scale.


          In this talk we will provide an overview of key architecture strategies that can boost developer productivity, improve robustness and enable long term evolution of IT environments. Topics covered will include the impact of containerization, APIs, next generation integration, process automation and development processes. The talk will also cover a number of examples that show how such application environment flexibility can have a major impact on business outcomes.

        • Red Hat Ceph Storage 3.3 BlueStore compression performance

          With the BlueStore OSD backend, Red Hat Ceph Storage gained a new capability known as “on-the-fly data compression” that helps save disk space. Compression can be enabled or disabled on each Ceph pool created on BlueStore OSDs. In addition to this, using the Ceph CLI the compression algorithm and mode can be changed anytime, regardless of whether the pool contains data or not. In this blog we will take a deep dive into BlueStore?s compression mechanism and understand its impact on performance.

          Whether data in BlueStore is compressed is determined by a combination of the compression mode and any hints associated with a write operation.

        • Design for Users by Users: Design Thinking @ Red Hat – Sara Chirzari (Red Hat UX Research Team) – OpenShift Commons Briefing

          Have you ever wondered how product teams decide what features to build and what changes to make? In this OpenShift Commons Briefing, the Red Hat User Design Experience Design and Research team discuss applying design thinking to real product development challenges, from problem discovery to testing and validating ideas.

          Red Hat’s Sara Chizari walks us thru The Red Hat User Experience Design and Research team’s Design Thinking process that they use to help product teams build solutions that focus on solving problems, and are tailored to users’ needs. In this session, she takes us on a user-centered design journey. Learn about the techniques they use to develop an understanding of the users’ challenges and needs, articulate the users’ problems, and brainstorm potential solutions.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 09/25/2019 | Linux Headlines

        A patent lawsuit takes aim at the GNOME Foundation, Cloudflare launches a VPN service that does not protect privacy, a long-standing exploit has finally been disclosed for vBulletin, and Google has announced their latest code-in challenge.

      • mintCast 318 – Melted Plastic

        This week, in our Wanderings, Leo writes about Nextcloud, Bo spreads the Linux love, Tony Hughes can’t stop Linuxing, even on holiday, Josh considers the new iPhone 11 (wait really??) after yet another broken Pixel 3 , Joe spelunks into splunk, and Tony Watts is building a server.

        Then, in our News, we cover Ubuntu’s 32-bit library support, the top 5 snaps per distro, the PineTime, and more.
        In security, we talk locks, DoH and Lastpass

      • FLOSS Weekly 548: GNOME

        GNOME is an easy and elegant way to use your computer. It’s designed to put you in control and get things done.

    • Kernel Space

      • The 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit

        The 2019 version of the invitation-only Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit was held on September 12 2019, in Lisbon, Portugal. There, 31 kernel developers discussed a number of issues relating to the kernel development process and how it can be improved.

      • Defragmenting the kernel development process

        The first session at the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit was a last-minute addition to the schedule. Dmitry Vyukov’s Linux Plumbers Conference session on the kernel development process (slides [PDF]) had inspired a number of discussions that, it was agreed, should carry over into the summit. The result was a wide-ranging conversation about the kernel’s development tools and what could be done to improve them.

        Ted Ts’o introduced the topic by noting that his employer, Google, has a group dedicated to the creation of development tools, and that a lot of good things have come from that. The kernel community also has a lot of tools aimed at making developers more productive, but rather than having a single group creating those tools, we have many competing groups. While competition is good, he said, it also diffuses the available development time and may not be, in the end, the best way to go. He then turned the session over to Vyukov.

      • Dealing with automated kernel bug reports

        There is value in automatic testing systems, but they also present a problem of their own: how can one keep up with the high volume of bug reports that they generate? At the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit, Shuah Khan ran a session dedicated to this issue. There was general agreement that the reports are hard to deal with, but not a lot of progress toward a solution.

        Khan began by noting that one pervasive problem with these systems is classification: who should be responsible for a problem, what priority should it have, and is anybody working on it now? Turning to syzbot in particular, she said that getting the reproducer — the program that causes the reported problem to manifest itself — for any given report is a manual task, and that kernel developers tend to lose track of reproducers once the problem is fixed. It would be better, she said, to hang onto these reproducers and use them as regression tests going forward. She is looking into adding them to the kernel self-test infrastructure.

      • The stable-kernel process

        The stable kernel process is a perennial topic of discussion at gatherings of kernel developers; the 2019 Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit was no exception. Sasha Levin ran a session there where developers could talk about the problems they have with stable kernels and ponder solutions.

        Levin begin by saying that he has been working on the complaints he got the year before. One of those was that the automatic patch-selection system “goes nuts” and picks the wrong things. It has been retrained twice in the last year and has gotten better at only selecting fixes. About 50% of recent stable releases has been made up of patches explicitly tagged for stable updates; the other half has come from the automated system.

      • Linus Torvalds on the kernel development community

        The Linux Kernel Maintainers Summit is all about the development process, so it is natural to spend some time on how that process is working at the top of the maintainer hierarchy. The “is Linus happy?” session during the 2019 summit revealed that things are working fairly well at that level, but that, as always, there are a few things that could be improved.
        Torvalds initially turned the question around, saying that it should be about whether everybody else is happy about his work. But then he turned it back to his current pet peeve: developers who do not put changes into linux-next before pushing them into the mainline. There was one specific tree that he was unhappy about in the 5.3 merge window; others have been problematic in the past but have improved somewhat. But, it seems, there is always somebody. In general, about 10% of the patches that show up during the merge window did not first show up in linux-next.

        Dan Williams asked whether there should be a rule requiring any changes pushed upstream to be in linux-next for at least 24 hours. Torvalds responded that he doesn’t even check for presence in linux-next early in the merge window; he is happy enough to get an early pull request that nothing more is required. As the merge window approaches its end, though, he does start checking, and absence from linux-next (earlier in the merge window) can result in pull requests not being acted upon.

      • Maintainers Summit topics: pull depth, hardware vulnerabilities, etc.

        In the discussion prior to the summit, James Bottomley noted that a lot of subsystem trees are pulled directly into the mainline by Linus Torvalds. He wondered whether that is a good thing, or whether it might be better to have mid-level maintainers aggregating more pull requests to increase the “pull depth” of lower-level trees and decrease the load at the top. Bottomley was not at the summit itself, but his topic was discussed there; the answer was that things are mostly OK as they are. (For the curious, a graphic showing the pull paths for the 5.1 kernel can be found on this page.)

        Torvalds responded to the question by saying that he loves to get large pull requests from maintainers he trusts implicitly; that way, he can get a lot of work into the mainline with little effort. There is just one little problem: there are few maintainers that he trusts to that degree. In the absence of that trust, he would prefer to get more, smaller requests that are easier to review and easier to refuse if there is something wrong. He mentioned some subsystems in particular that have been problematic in the past; bypassing the maintainer and getting more focused pull requests from lower-level maintainers has improved the situation. He is not happy about having to do that, but it is better than the alternative, he said.

        He does not, however, feel overworked by the number of trees he is pulling now. He aims to act on about 25 pull requests per day during the merge window, normally spending about ten minutes on each of those.

        There are advantages to having a maintainer hierarchy, though, that go beyond reducing the number of pull requests at the top. Dave Airlie pointed out that it is a good way to train others to manage the subsystem and know that others would be able to handle it. Torvalds said that, with many subsystems, he is not competent to review the patches himself; it is good to have a mid-level maintainer who understands the area looking at things.

      • Deep argument inspection for seccomp

        In the Kernel Summit track at the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference, Christian Brauner and Kees Cook led a discussion on finding a way to do deep argument inspection for seccomp filtering. Currently, seccomp filters can only look at the top-level arguments to a system call, which means that there are use cases that cannot be supported. There was a lively discussion in the session, but no definitive conclusion was reached; various ideas were considered, but none seemed to quite fit the bill.

        Cook said that the current seccomp filters can only inspect the system-call argument values; if one of those values is a pointer, dereferencing it will not work. Even if it were possible to do so, another thread could change the values after the check is done. That is a classic time-of-check-to-time-of-use (TOCTTOU) race. Programs that are using the filters would like to be able to filter based on file name arguments to restrict which files the programs can access, for example, but that is currently not possible.

        A more pressing use case is that new system calls are using an API pattern that puts various parameters (flags, in particular) into a structure, as with clone3(), Brauner said. The address of that structure gets passed to the call along with its size, but the parameters in the structure are off-limits to filters. The idea behind the pattern is to enable additions to the API over time; the structure can be extended and the size of the structure will grow so the system call will be able to recognize when it is called with extra parameters that it does not understand.

        Both passive and active filtering of, say, open() calls are also affected, Cook said, so even simply logging file names as part of a passive filtering effort is not reliable. The value for the file name that the filter sees may not be the value that actually reaches the system call. The user-space seccomp decisions feature makes it possible for programs like container managers to reliably handle system calls but, since they cannot filter for only those they are interested in, they have to implement those system calls for every call; there is no way to tell the kernel to simply continue handling the system call once it has been deferred to user space.

      • AMDGPU Linux 5.5 Changes Being Prepped With HDCP Support, LRU Bulk Moves Re-Enabled

        While the Linux 5.4 merge window doesn’t even end until this weekend, as is usual traditional with the DRM-Next cutoff having been weeks ago, the open-source DRM driver developers are already working on their changes for what will ultimately go into Linux 5.5. On the AMD side, the AMDGPU kernel graphics driver already has some interesting work accumulating.

        The AMD Linux graphics driver development repository already has a drm-next-5.5-wip branch going with their early work anticipated for the next kernel cycle. The Linux 5.5 development will officially kickoff following the Linux 5.4 release in November but not see its stable debut until 2020.

      • Linux Foundation

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 19.2.0 Release Notes / 2019.09.25

          Mesa 19.2.0 is a new development release. People who are concerned with stability and reliability should stick with a previous release or wait for Mesa 19.2.1.

          Mesa 19.2.0 implements the OpenGL 4.5 API, but the version reported by glGetString(GL_VERSION) or glGetIntegerv(GL_MAJOR_VERSION) / glGetIntegerv(GL_MINOR_VERSION) depends on the particular driver being used. Some drivers don’t support all the features required in OpenGL 4.5. OpenGL 4.5 is only available if requested at context creation. Compatibility contexts may report a lower version depending on each driver.

          Mesa 19.2.0 implements the Vulkan 1.1 API, but the version reported by the apiVersion property of the VkPhysicalDeviceProperties struct depends on the particular driver being used.

        • Mesa 19.2 Released With Navi Support, Much Improved Intel Gallium3D

          After a month worth of delays, Mesa 19.2 is now officially available as the latest quarterly feature update to this collection of open-source graphics driver components.

        • Mesa 19.2 released to push open source graphics drivers

          A few months after the last release, Mesa 19.2 is officially available today pushing open source GPU drivers to new heights.

          Since this is a major release, as the developers note you might want to wait for the first point release (19.2.1) to clear up any nuisance issues as it sees more testing.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Power Efficiency Between Ubuntu 19.04, Clear Linux & openSUSE Tumbleweed With CompuLab’s Airtop 3

        With CompuLab’s incredibly well engineered Airtop 3 fan-less computer that is built to meet rugged industrial requirements while being loaded with an 8-core/16-thread Xeon CPU, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 graphics, 64GB of RAM, and NVMe solid-state storage, here is an interesting benchmark comparison of Ubuntu 19.04, Clear Linux, and openSUSE Tumbleweed. Given the interesting system under test, not only is the raw performance being looked at but also the performance-per-Watt / AC power consumption and CPU thermal differences between these Linux operating systems.

        The CompuLab Airtop 3 review sample as a reminder was loaded with a Xeon E-2288G 8-core / 16-thread CPU, 64GB of RAM, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 graphics (using the proprietary NVIDIA Linux driver throughout all the tests considering the otherwise poor Turing state for Nouveau), and a 250GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD all while being passively cooled.

      • An Early Look At The AMD EPYC Performance With The In-Development Linux 5.4 Kernel

        While the Linux 5.4 cycle just officially began last week and its feature merge window not even over until this weekend, given there are AMD EPYC load balancing improvements and many other kernel improvements in general, I was eager to fire up the in-development kernel on the EPYC 7002 “Rome” series to see how the performance is looking.

        With the Linux 5.4 Git state as of a few days ago, I ran some preliminary benchmarks of Linux 5.4 at the time compared to Linux 5.3.0 and Linux 5.2.16 on the Rome “Daytona” reference platform with the EPYC 7642 and EPYC 7742 processors in both 1P and 2P configurations.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The massive overhaul for Factorio is now live for everyone, get ready to build big

        After first releasing the test builds for Factorio 0.17 around half a year ago, the team at Wube Software have now finished it up enough to let everyone have it. Note: Copy personally purchased.

        It’s quite the difference. Overhauling a number of major parts of this engrossing building and automation game. It has a brand new map editor, redesigned enemies with a graphical overhaul, automatic mod downloads when joining a server, a “massively” optimised fluids system, a completely new and modern rendering backend to take advantage of modern GPUs, a much better introduction scenario for new players, a new and improved look for the interface and plenty more smaller features.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Ruqola on FreeBSD

          Ruqola has a long-ish history within the KDE community, with students Veluri and Vasudha working on it. The code recently completed the KDE incubation process and has been moved to a regular release cycle by Jonathan.

          So as the KDE community welcomes Ruqola, FreeBSD welcomes it too. Tobias has added this new entry in the IM category. No screenshot here, since I’m not sure I’ve installed it correctly (so it looks funny when I use it and doesn’t render emoji, for instance). That’s something for a next iteration of the port.

        • Milanese Akademics

          Each year, the KDE community puts on one of the best tech conferences in the world, and people from around the globe congregate in, usually, a university to talk about all the things that happened over the last year (or decade, or indeed sometimes longer, usually referring to a certain David’s t-shirts), and to show off the shiny things people have been working on, or take those discussions which fall into the overlap between “too awkward to take over the internet” and “can wait a few months for a resolution”.


          During the week, alongside the KDE e.V. AGM on Monday, it was time for the other, meatier part of the conference: The BoF sessions. Those things i mentioned earlier, which are awkward or difficult to discuss online for various reasons, that’s what the BoF sessions are for. I didn’t host any myself this year, but I did attend a great many. A small sample includes the Maui and Kirigami sessions on the Monday morning, which put the two teams in the same room, allowing them to take on those seemingly contentious topics of “why?”, giving the team the ability turn that into the more immediately useful “how”. Much progress was made there, that i very much look forward to seeing continuing.

        • Let’s Test Krita 4.2.7 Beta!

          We’re almost ready for a new release of Krita, with lots of bug fixes! So, please help with testing. As with 4.2.6, there’s a link on the welcome screen to a survey. Filling out the survey helps us figure out regressions and other problems. You can safely use any beta build on any operating system next to your production version of Krita. Settings and resources will be shared, but you won’t overwrite you existing installation by using one of the portable beta downloads.

          In addition to reported bugs, this release fixes a lot of issues found by the Coverity Static Code checker.

          We also have a bunch of great patches by new Krita hackers: Karl Ove Lufthammer, Rebecca Breu, Matthias Wein, Jasper Hartog, Krysztof Kurek and Guo Yunhe. Yay!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Towards a UX Strategy for GNOME (Part 4)

          This post is part of my blog series on GNOME UX strategy. The other parts in the series covered background research and analysis for the strategy, then outlined some high-level goals and principles, followed by an outline of recent design work which fits within the strategy. This can all be thought of as answering “what” and “why” questions: what should GNOME be doing, and why?

          In this, the final post in the series, I’m turning to the question of “how”: how can the GNOME project can deliver all this? For me, this how question is just as important as the what and the why. Having an effective strategy means nothing if we can’t successfully deliver it.

          This post is primarily about design and development process. I’m going to draw on my experiences working on the GNOME project, as well as methodologies from the wider software industry, and recent experiments that have taken place in the GNOME project. Agile is clearly present, but it’s just one element, and has necessarily been adapted to an upstream, open source context.

        • Richard Hughes: Synaptics CX Audio Support

          So, after all that we got down to a 1377 line fwupd plugin which is a 16x code reduction. It’s broadly comparable in functionality to the 22,000 line code drop but only works in fwupd as a plugin rather than as a standalone updater. To add support for new hardware to the plugin all we have to do is add an entry to the quirk file, which tells us which CX family the specific USB VID/PID is using. The rest is auto-detected.

          I can’t tell you the OEM or the hardware all this work is being driven by, but eagle-eyed readers will work it out :) In some cases you might see an extra device appear in fwupdmgr get-devices if you’re running the soon-to-be-released fwupd 1.3.2 and hopefully we can get firmware updates which use this new device on the LVFS some time this year.

        • Fwupd Gaining Support For Synaptics/Conexant CX Audio Firmware Updating

          Fwupd is gaining the ability to update firmware on Synaptics/Conexant CX audio devices commonly used by laptops.

          Fwupd/LVFS lead developer Richard Hughes has been working on adding support for CX audio device support following Synaptics providing him with a code drop for demonstrating the support.

    • Distributions

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Releases New Linux Kernel Security Update for Debian 10 and Debian 9

          Five security vulnerabilities have been fixed in this new Linux kernel security update for Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” and Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series, including a backporting error (CVE-2019-15902) reported by Brad Spengler, which reintroduced a Spectre V1 vulnerability in Linux kernel’s ptrace subsystem, in the ptrace_get_debugreg() function.

          Also fixed is a race condition (CVE-2019-14821) discovered by Matt Delco in KVM’s coalesced MMIO facility, which could allow a local attacker with access to /dev/kvm to escalate his/her privileges or cause memory corruption or system crash, as well as a missing bounds check (CVE-2019-15117) discovered by Hui Peng and Mathias Payer in usb-audio driver’s descriptor parsing code, which could let an attacker that can add USB devices to cause a system crash.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Deploying Kubernetes Locally – MickroK8s

          This is the second part of our introduction to MicroK8s blog series. In the previous blog, we introduced MicroK8s, went over K8s basic concepts and showed you how fast and easy it is to install Kubernetes with MicroK8s — it’s up in under 60 seconds with a one-liner command. In this blog, we dive deeper to discuss the add-ons available in MicroK8s and show you how to deploy pods in MicroK8s.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • PineTime Smartwatch Specifications Released, Availability Scheduled for H1 2020

        A couple of weeks ago, we covered PineTime smartwatch for PinePhone Linux smartphone that should be launched next year for around $25.

      • Purism & Linux 5.3

        Following up on our report for Linux 5.2, here’s a list of Purism’s contributions for the 5.3 cycle Linux kernel. We contributed 12 patches, which include the Librem 5 devkit device tree and a driver for the i.MX8MQs D-PHY.

      • 22-inch AiO touchscreen is powered by RK3288-based Chromebox Mini

        AOpen’s fanless “C-Tile 22” all-in-one touchscreen computer for kiosks runs Chrome OS on its Rockchip RK3288 based Chromebox Mini mini-PC and offers an IP65-protected 22-inch HD touchscreen plus GbE, HDMI, and more.

        AOpen, which in July launched a 7th Gen Core based Digital Engine DE5500 embedded PC for kiosk and signage, has introduced an all-in-one touchscreen computer for self-service kiosks built around its Rockchip RK3288 based Chromebox Mini mini-PC. The C-Tile 22, which follows earlier C-Tile 19 and C-Tile 15 systems built around the Chromebox Mini, features a 21.5-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel touchscreen. The system is aimed at self-service kiosk applications including check-in, ticketing, loyalty programs, and wayfinding, as well as a variety of DOOH (Digital Out of Home) applications.

      • Purism starts shipping the Librem 5 smartphone (Linux-based, privacy-focused phone)

        Purism, a company best known for selling laptops that run free and open source, Linux-based software, is now shipping its first smartphone.

        The Purism Librem 5 phone has been under development for several years, and it’s still a bit of a work in progress. The first set of phones to ship are part of the “Aspen” batch, and include an early version of the case design and early versions of Purism’s core apps.

        Purism plans to address the latter issue with regular software updates. But folks who want more polished hardware will likely have to wait for a future batch — the roadmap calls for four more batches before the third quarter of 2020, with next-gen hardware sporting a new processor and design later next year.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Updates to the OSI Board

        Moving forward, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) will appoint two directors based on the board’s discretion, as opposed to elections held with the individual and affiliate membership. As a result, the OSI Board will consist of 4 members chosen by the individual membership, 4 members chosen by affiliates, 2 members chosen by the board, and the general manager. The majority of the OSI Board will still be elected.

        Each year the OSI holds elections, however per OSI bylaws, the elections’ results are advisory only, rather than binding. While the OSI honors the elections’ results, and appoints those with the highest number of votes as Board Directors, the makeup of the OSI Board is ultimately the decision of the board.

        With the resignation of two directors, the OSI found itself in a position to appoint two new people to the OSI Board. Current board directors have spent a significant amount of time discussing the best way to accomplish this. Should the board look at past election results? Should it run another election?

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • QMO: Firefox 70 Beta 10 Testday, September 27th

            We are happy to let you know that Friday, September 27th, we are organizing Firefox 70 Beta 10 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on: Password Manager.

          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Recommended Extensions & community involvement

            In July we launched the Recommended Extensions program, which entailed a complete reboot of our editorial process on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Previously we placed a priority on regularly highlighting new featured extensions to explore. With the Recommended program, we’ve shifted our focus to actively monitoring a fairly fixed collection of curated extensions.

            For years community contributors on the Featured Extensions Board played a big role in selecting AMO’s monthly curated content. We intend to maintain a community project aligned with the Recommended program. We’re in the process now of reshaping the project to be known as the Recommended Extensions Community Board. As before, the board will be comprised of contributors who possess a keen passion for, and expertise of, browser extensions. Board membership will rotate every six months.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • pin gallery

          This extension add you a pin gallery on top of each galleries so if you switch to galleries you can drag & drop your favorite drawings, images, … simple but usefull.


        • Free Software Wireless-N Mini Router v2 from ThinkPenguin, Inc. now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the Free Software Wireless-N Mini Router v2 (TPE-R1200) from ThinkPenguin, Inc. The RYF certification mark means that these products meet the FSF’s standards in regard to users’ freedom, control over the product, and privacy.

          This is ThinkPenguin’s fourteenth device to receive RYF certification in 2019. The FSF announced certification of seven devices from ThinkPenguin on March 21st, as well as announcing six additional certifications on May 16th. ThinkPenguin continues to expand their collection of RYF-certified devices, already the largest collection of any RYF retailer. This is the first wireless router to receive RYF certification since the Free Software Wireless-N Mini Router (TPE-R1100) in 2016. This latest addition offers users several improvements over previously certified devices.

          “The TPE-R1200 is a more powerful version of a previously RYF-certified router and ships with some new features, including two external RP-SMA antennas that provide for a greater wireless range. For those looking to hack on the router, there is a new, more powerful CPU, as well as significantly more NAND, NOR, and RAM,” said Christopher Waid, founder and CEO of ThinkPenguin.

      • Licensing/Legal

        • Sony publishes Android 10 building guide via Open Devices, Xperia XZ3 gets September security update

          Unlike Google or OnePlus, Sony devices come with a complicated bootloader unlock policy. In fact the procedure is quite similar to Xiaomi or Motorola, where a device specific token is issued from the company and the warranty gets instantly void after unlocking the bootloader.

          Here comes the contrast! Despite such a stubborn policy, Sony is actually quite developer friendly. They regularly publish GPL mandated kernel source code for their devices. Their engineers committed truckload of codes in the AOSP (Android Open Source Project), especially in the domain of theming.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 5.14 Alpha Released

          Qt 5.14 New Features page contains information about most important changes coming with the release. Please remember creating the list is still in progress so something important can still be missing. List should be completed by the time we are ready to release the first Beta in the coming weeks.

          Please take a tour & test Qt 5.14 already now. Your feedback is valuable in making sure Qt 5.14 shapes up to be a great release. When testing Qt 5.14, please make sure to report all bugs you may encounter via the Qt bug reporting Jira.

        • Qt 5.14 Hits Alpha With Major Renderer Work, Better HiDPI Support

          The Qt Company has announced the availability of the Qt 5.14 Alpha release ahead of this half-year tool-kit update due out before year’s end. Qt 5.14 is also the second to the last in the Qt5 series with an increasing amount of work shifting to Qt6 that is expected to debut towards the end of 2020.

          Among the changes coming with Qt 5.14 are:

          - Qt Quick is seeing its first work on the graphics API independent scenegraph renderer. In addition to OpenGL, this renderer supports Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D 11. The Vulkan support is certainly exciting and will mature with Qt6.

        • How to Use Generators and yield in Python

          Have you ever had to work with a dataset so large that it overwhelmed your machine’s memory? Or maybe you have a complex function that needs to maintain an internal state every time it’s called, but the function is too small to justify creating its own class. In these cases and more, generators and the Python yield statement are here to help.

        • [DE] Python Meeting Düsseldorf – 2019-09-25
        • PyCharm 2019.2.3

          PyCharm 2019.2.3 is now available!

        • GCC’s Conversion To Git: “Within The Realm Of The Practically Achievable”

          It was back in July 2018 that GCC’s conversion to Git was becoming a massive headache and now more than a year later it’s looking like that switch from Subversion to Git is still weeks if not months from becoming official.

          Last year the GCC conversion to Git was blamed on high DDR4 RAM prices and then evaluating a port of the conversion utility from Python to Go. That GCC Git port work being led by Eric S Raymond was then boosted earlier this year after upgrading to a Threadripper system with more RAM and also going ahead with the Reposurgeon rewrite in Go. But even months after that milestone, the reworked Reposurgeon is still a work-in-progress but the end may be in sight.

          ESR has issued a new status report today saying he’s in the last stages of qualifying his Go port, he’s currently working on debugging a “extractor harness” peripheral feature, topological sorting of commits is still being done, and various other bugs.

        • Intel SYCL Compiler + Runtimes 2019-09 Released

          Moving towards their oneAPI beta release next quarter, the Intel developers are as busy as ever advancing their LLVM-based SYCL compiler and run-times for Windows and Linux.

          Out this morning is the SYCL Compiler and Runtimes 2019-09 release for this compiler to allow OpenCL offloading to accelerators like Intel GPUs and FPGAs. New to this release are supporting some CL/SYCL FPGA extensions, support for dumping the SYCL task graph to JSON, a long list of other SYCL/OpenCL improvements, and a wide range of bug fixes.

        • Episode #231: Advice for freelancing with Python

          Have you ever wanted to get into consulting? Maybe you’re seeking the freedom to work on whatever project you’d like or gain more control of your time.

          Many folks see consulting and freelancing as the next step in their career. But what do they need to put in place first? What challenges might come their way they won’t see coming?

        • This Week in Rust 305

          Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

        • Are you a Nim-by? C-ish language, gentler than Go, friendlier than Rust, reaches version 1.0

          The Nim programming language reached v1.0 on Monday, bringing with it a stability guarantee and enthusiasm from its community of fans.

          “Version 1.0 marks the beginning of a stable base which can be used in the coming years, knowing that the future versions of Nim won’t break the code you have written with the current version,” the Nim team said on Monday.

          Nim is a compiled language, like C, rather than an interpreted one, like JavaScript. So it tends to perform well, because compilation translates source code into efficient native instructions for specific hardware. It’s also statically typed, like C and Java, which avoids certain type-related bugs and can improve performance. The language and compiler are offered under the MIT license.

        • Comparing GCC and Clang security features

          Implicit fall-through behavior in switch statements is a common source of bugs, so many projects are trying to eliminate it. To that end, both compilers support the -Wimplicit-fallthrough option. GCC has supported a special attribute making fall-through behavior explicit for some time; Clang has just gained that support as well. There are evidently no plans in the Clang community to support fall-through markers in comments, though, as GCC does. The kernel is now free of implicit fall-throughs; of the roughly 500 patches fixing fall-through warnings in the last year, Cook said, about 10% turned out to be addressing real bugs in the code.

          Link-time optimization (LTO) works with both compilers now. It’s not primarily a security feature, but it turns out to be necessary to implement control-flow integrity, which requires a view of all of the functions in a program. Both compilers support LTO, but updating the build tooling to make use of it is still painful. There are also, he said, concerns that LTO can expose differences between the C memory model and the model that the kernel uses, but nobody has provided any specifics about where things could go wrong. It is theoretically a problem, but “practicality matters” and these concerns shouldn’t hold up adoption of LTO unless somebody can demonstrate a real-world problem.

          Stack probing is the practice of reading a newly expanded stack in relatively small increments to defeat any attempt to jump over guard pages. GCC can build in this behavior now, controlled by the -fstack-clash-protection flag; Clang still lacks this capability. This feature is more useful in user space than in the kernel, Cook said, since the kernel has fully eliminated the use of variable-length arrays.

        • Python 3.7.4 : Print with random colors.

          This is a simple example for custom print output. The script detect the platform for color settings and then use print. The first print will print with blue color the name of the script.

        • PyPI Security Q4 2019 Request for Proposals period opens.

          The Python Software Foundation Packaging Working Group has received a grant from Facebook Research to implement advanced security features for PyPI. These features include cryptographic signing of uploaded artifacts and the infrastructure necessary to implement automated detection of malicious files uploaded to the index.
          The Python Package Index (PyPI) is a foundational component of the Python ecosystem and broader computer software and technology landscape. This project aims to improve the security and accessibility of PyPI for all users worldwide, whether they are direct users, like project maintainers and pip installers, or indirect users. The impact of this work will be highly visible and improve crucial features of the service.
          We plan to begin the project in Quarter 4 of 2019. Because of the size of the project, funding has been allocated to secure one or more contractors to complete the development, testing, verification, and assist in the rollout of necessary features.

        • Episode #149: Python’s small object allocator and other memory features
        • Rust-like enums in Kotlin

          Rust has an exciting concept of enumeration types, which is much more powerful than enums in other languages. Notably C has the weakest type of enum, since there’s no type checking of any kind, and enum values can be used interchangeably with integers…

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Discovery could improve MDS cancer treatment

        Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), one of the most common blood cancers, has very few treatment options. Now, researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have discovered a new and promising drug target for this deadly condition.

    • Hardware

      • NVMe-oF products are changing the face of data storage

        The NVMe interface is rapidly becoming the preferred interconnect for flash disks and all-flash arrays because of its superior performance and lower system overhead. Indeed, even as IDC recently warned of a sales slowdown for external storage in the EMEA region, it noted that the AFA market was red hot — up 20% annually to 35% market share. Storage buyers are clearly ready to spend precious capital on the better performance of NVMe devices versus SSDs using legacy storage interfaces.

        NVMe has begun displacing SSDs in servers. However, with organizations using clusters of VMs and container servers for most workloads, it hampers workload portability if storage is locked down to a particular system. Fortunately, NVMe-oF has finally made it through the specifications process and NVMe-oF products are starting to provide a viable option for NVMe-based shared storage.

      • Mac Pros Across Hollywood Are Crashing, Refusing to Reboot
      • Luc Verhaegen: FOSDEM video hw: TFP401 capture test boards for everyone!

        Uwe finished soldering the remaining boards, and sent them to me before his vacation started. I added one connector that was still MIA earlier, and also ordered more lcds and tfp401 modules, and then tested the lot.


        This picture was probably made during openfest 2018, so this is from just before we rebuilt all 29 slides boxes. One change is that this slides box lacks the IR LED to control the scaler by playing pcm files :)

        Left, you can see scaler (large green board) and the splitter (small green board). In the middle, from top to bottom, the hardware h264 encoder, the banana-pi, and the status LCD. Then there’s an ATX power supply, then, hidden under the rats nest of cables, there’s a small SSD, and then an ethernet switch.

      • ARMv8.6-A Brings BFloat16, GEMM & Other Enhancements

        Arm has outlined their architecture enhancements being introduced in ARMv8.6-A as their 2019 ARMv8 architecture update.

        ARMv8.6 is adding General Matrix Multiply (GEMM) and BFloat16 as their big additions to this ARMv8 revision for boosting neural network / machine learning performance. There is also now support for fine grained traps for virtualization, wait-for-event instructions, extending pointer authentication, and a variety of other changes.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • E-Cigarettes: Media Bury the Lede, We Get to Bury the Bodies

        “Walmart Inc. will stop selling e-cigarettes in its U.S. locations as the country grapples with a string of vaping-related deaths,” Bloomberg reports.

      • Into the Marijuana Future: A Day On a Mendocino Pot Farm

        “I’ve been lucky,” the tall, thin, energetic pot farmer tells me on a hot day in September. “I grew my first crop at 17 and now 30 years later I’m still growing it. At 22, the DEA raided my garden in San Francisco. I was part of the underground movement that provided cannabis to HIV and cancer patients.” He pauses for a moment and adds, whimsically, “I call myself a THC-hemp farmer.”

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • IServ Schulserver – Insecure Setup Strategy allows Hi-Jacking of User Accounts

        “IServ Schulserver” [1] is a commercial school server developed by a company in Braunschweig, Germany. The “IServ Schulserver” is a product based on Debian. The whole project started as a students’ project.

        The “IServ” is an insular school server (one machine for everything + backup server) that provides a web portal / communication platform for the school (reachable from the internet), manages the school’s MS Windows® clients via OPSI [2] and provides other features like chatrooms, mail accounts, etc.

        The “IServ Schulserver” has written quite a success story in various areas of Germany, recently. IServ has been deployed at many many schools in Northrhein-Westfalia, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. You can easily find those schools on the internet, if you search the web for “IServ IDesk”.

        The company that is developing “IServ” has various IT partner businesses all over Germany that deploy the IServ environment at local schools and are also the first point of contact for support.

      • The properties of secure IoT devices [Ed: Microsoft puts back doors in everything for the NSA and somehow the LF lets these people (who bribe the LF for PR) lecture us on security]

        At that point, Tarditi launched into a thinly veiled advertisement for the project he works on at Microsoft: Azure Sphere. While Azure Sphere is meant to provide an end-to-end solution for device makers that embodies the seven principles, it is a proprietary product that simply uses the Linux kernel as part of its Azure Sphere OS.

      • Take command of your computer with a command line interface [Ed: Notice how at ITPro "command line" means Microsoft Windows and almost nothing else. This is narrative being hijacked for PR purposes.]
    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Collapse of the East Asian Order

        The United States is losing its status as a Pacific power. It can no longer control developments in East Asia. It still maintains a large military footprint in the region. But that military presence no longer translates into an ability to achieve the outcomes that Washington wants.

      • Iran: Neither Military Action Nor Economic Sanctions

        It would be utterly immoral of the United States to launch a military attack upon Iran if it is true that one of the missiles that destroyed an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia on the 14th of September 2019 had a casing bearing a number that suggested that the weapon was manufactured for NATO forces. The alphabets preceding the number denote the type of missile it is and one of its uses. The picture of the missile was inadvertently supplied to the media by the Saudi Defence Ministry.

      • Rwanda: Killing Is Latest Attack on Opponents

        Rwanda’s international partners and the UN Secretary-General should demand transparent and credible investigations into recent deaths and disappearances of opposition members when they meet with President Paul Kagame, Human Rights Watch said today. Kagame is scheduled to speak at the 74th United Nations General Assembly on September 24, 2019.  

      • Sudan’s New Investigation Committee Raises Concerns

        Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has announced an investigation into a bloody attack by Sudanese security forces on pro-democracy demonstrators in the capital, Khartoum, on June 3. 

      • As Netanyahu’s Power in the Middle East Wanes, Trump Has to Find His Own Way to Deal with Iran

        There is an extraordinary irony in the fate of both Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran. The first has been captaining the Titanic, in the words of one Israeli academic, through the past couple of days. The second – a rather better captain, it might be said – has been captaining a couple of tankers in and out of the Mediterranean and the Gulf.

      • On the Road to Damascus: International Conference in Syria on Sanctions and Its Blowback

        “Welcome to your second country” was the greeting our Syrian hosts gave us when we arrived for the International Trade Union Forum for “solidarity with the workers and people of Syria against the economic blockade, imperialist interventions, and terrorism.”

      • The Drone Strikes on the Saudi Oil Facilities Have Changed Global Warfare

        The devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities by drones and missiles not only transforms the balance of military power in the Middle East, but marks a change in the nature of warfare globally.

      • Life, Liberty and Kashmir

        Kashmiri Pandits – There is no doubt that there was a mass exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley. Nobody disputes that. But just like the process followed in NRC, whether rightly or wrongly couldn’t the Kashmiri Pandits be sent back home. I would argue this is the best time. You have a huge contigent of forces in the valley, you can start the process, get the documents, get them back into the valley, otherwise this will continue to be something like Palestine is in Israel which has continued to an issue for both Israelis and Palestinians with no end in sight. The idea that Pakistan will not harass or do something in Kashmir in fool’s paradise. They have been doing it since 90’s, for that to have a huge population blocked from communicating is nothing but harassment. And hate will never get you anywhere. While this is more greyer than I am making it out, feel free to read this interview as well as the series called The Family Man which I found to be pretty truthful as to the greyishness of the situation out there. While most of the mainstream media gave it an average score, I found it thought-provoking. The fact is mainstream media in India no longer questions the Government excesses. Some people do and they are often targeted. I do hope to share the banking scenario and a sort of mini-banking crisis soon. Till later.

    • Environment

      • Left, Center and Right: We’re All in Denial About Climate Change

        The political left, center and right do share something in common in today’s polarized America: we’re all in denial. The first step in 12-step programs begins with admitting that you have a problem for a reason: you can’t tackle a challenge whose existence you refuse to acknowledge. “From a psychoanalytical viewpoint, denial is a pathological, ineffective defense mechanism,” doctors M.S. Vos and J.C. de Haes observed in their 2006 study of cancer patients. A stunning 47% of the patients they polled denied that they had cancer! Denial reduced their chances of seeking treatment and then following through.

      • Extinction Rebellion: Leaving it to the Students

        The protestor of school age sported a placard featuring a distorted caricature of Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison: “Scomo was liking it hot”. A glorious spring day, and a gathering was already fussing and buzzing outside the Victorian State Library and students were striking. The placard image was one that toasted both ways – looking “hot” for the purposes of appearance – the lace underwear, the high-heels; and also observing a climate heating the earth to a state of cooked oblivion.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Another Day, Another Major Disinformation Effort Facebook Thinks Is Ok

        Our disinformation problem simply isn’t going away. While the Russian “Internet Research Agency” has received most of the attention for filling the internet with bullshit and bile, the problem is routinely disclosed to be far larger than that. Take for example the thriving “fake news” efforts coming out of Macedonia, where (with the help of US allies) filling the internet and Facebook with disinformation has become a cottage industry. And while Facebook spends a lot of time insisting they’re taking radical steps to police the problem in the wake of genocide in Myanmar, it remains fairly clear they still don’t have a handle on the problem.

      • To Vanish Jack the Ripper

        The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, became Prime Minister of the UK in May of 1979; the Yorkshire Ripper, a.k.a. Peter Sutcliffe, was caught two years later. The Ripper was taken to trial in 1981 in a truck battered by the mob and guarded by Thatcher’s cops. Baroness Thatcher left office in 1990, a humiliated outworn shape in the back of a car. Her death in 2013 was met by mass celebration in the streets, while the Yorkshire Ripper lives quietly in Broadmore prison to this day. Does anyone talk about Wilma McCann? Irene Richardson? Tina Atkinson? Helen Rytka, from Huddersfield? What is the distance from the Ripper to the Cuts? And from us to Liz Stride and Polly Nichols, murdered in 1888 by Sutcliffe’s idol, Jack the Ripper?

      • Bernie Sanders: There Should Be No Billionaires

        Even as Sen. Bernie Sanders’ progressive platform polls well among Democratic voters, consistently ranking second after Joe Biden, and even as he draws large crowds at rallies and lands 1 million donors (according to the Sanders campaign), his opponents respond with the same refrain: H0.ow is he going to pay for his plans like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal?

      • Pelosi Announces Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump

        House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, acquiescing to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats and plunging a deeply divided nation into an election year clash between Congress and the commander in chief.

      • The Labour Party Annual Conference

        I am in Brighton, UK, attending the Labour party annual conference as a member-delegate. It is my first party conference, even though I’ve supported Labour for decades, albeit intermittently— adhering to the party-line during the Blair years was like having one’s teeth pulled without anaesthetic, and really that was a time when the Greens and nationalist parties were far more radical than Blair’s neo-Thatcherite crew.

      • The Impeachment Dam May Finally Be Bursting

        As the Washington Post reported late Monday that President Donald Trump ordered a hold on U.S. military aid to Ukraine just days before he pressured that country’s leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden—a move critics described as a serious abuse of power and “extortion”—a slew of Democrats previously unsupportive of impeachment began speaking out in favor of removing the president from office.

      • Russian state prosecutors want prison sentence overturned in controversial extremism case

        State prosecutors have asked the Moscow City Court to overturn the felony conviction of Pavel Rebrovsky, who was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison as a defendant in the so-called “Novoe Velichie” (New Greatness) case. 

      • Trump delivers fascist tirade at United Nations

        Since taking office in 2017, US President Donald Trump has used his annual speech at the UN General Assembly to denounce socialism, promote nationalism and xenophobia, and bully and threaten the whole world.

        With his third address to the UN General Assembly, Trump escalated his fascistic rhetoric. He openly echoed the tropes of the neo-Nazi right, declaring that “globalists” want to “replace” national identity, while falsely declaring that “socialism and communism” had resulted in the deaths of 100 million people—more than the number killed by Nazi Germany.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Other Big CJEU Case Says Google Must Put Certain Links At The Top Of Search Results

        While most of the attention today was focused on the CJEU “right to be forgotten” ruling concerning global censorship, the court actually released another ruling concerning the right to be forgotten, again around disagreement between French regulators and Google. And, as intermediary liability expert Daphne Keller notes, this ruling may turn out to be more interesting in the long run.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • RomUniverse To Attempt To Crowdfund Legal Defense, Which Isn’t Going Well At All

          We recently discussed Nintendo’s lawsuit against RomUniverse, part of a longstanding war on ROM sites that seems less than absolutely necessary given just how much cash the company is raking in from its retro consoles and titles. Several commenters pointed out that RomUniverse, while proclaiming that it’s a source for those who long ago purchased Nintendo games to preserve those purchases, also engages in plenty of other less than ethical behaviors. This includes offering up books and movies alongside the ROMs, for which it can’t really make the same claims. In other words, while Nintendo itself might not be the best paladin to slay RomUniverse, it’s not as though the site is on the side of the angels.

        • Music Piracy Drops Dramatically, IFPI Shows

          Music industry IFPI has released its latest music consumption report, revealing that music listening numbers are increasing. The report also stresses that piracy remains a threat, but fails to highlight the rather dramatic drop in piracy rates that took place over the past year.

        • ESET: 91% of Russians Prefer Pirated Content Over Legal

          If the results of a survey carried out by ESET are any indicator, Russia faces an uphill battle to combat piracy. The security company reports that just 9% of those surveyed prefer exclusively legal content over pirated, with 75% citing high prices as a reason to use illegal sources.

Techrights Turns Thirteen Soon, Traffic at All-Time Record Levels

Posted in Site News at 8:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Been running CentOS all along

CentOS logo

Summary: We’re about to reach another milestone with an average of 2,000 blog posts/articles per year

JUST over a month is left before our next anniversary — one that few sites manage to celebrate because Web sites (or blogs) don’t tend to last very long. Seeing that IBM intends to keep CentOS going, we might upgrade to CentOS 8 some time in the not-so-distant future. We assessed quite a few alternatives, including Devuan, but seeing that Debian finally entertains another debate on systemd (or init diversity) we might also consider Debian GNU/Linux and its derivatives.

“We’re only about a hundred posts shy of 26,000 posts, so we expect that we will have posted 26,000 posts before we turn 13, putting the average pace at 2,000 per year.”In terms of traffic, we’re still moving up. Over the past half a week we served 2,470,881 requests (checked a short while ago) and the numbers go up every year if not every month. Many things that we wrote a very long time ago turn out to be of interest to a lot of people. We’re only about a hundred posts shy of 26,000 posts, so we expect that we will have posted 26,000 posts before we turn 13, putting the average pace at 2,000 per year.

The EPO and the USPTO Keep Granting Illegal Patents and Mainstream Media Doesn’t Talk About That

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seats in church

Summary: The departure from the rule of law in pursuit of abstract patents doesn’t seem to interest the media; it’s as if media owners are perfectly happy to let this injustice carry on

THE failure of the media is profound. It’s only selectively covering issues. It also stopped writing about European Patent Office (EPO) abuses; not because they ended but because the EPO bribed or threatened publishers (there’s evidence to that effect, it’s not an empty accusation).

Yesterday we saw additional coverage about the EPO stepping out of line w.r.t. patent scope; Earlier this week we mentioned Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review's coverage and last week we wrote a couple of articles about it. Mainstream media in Europe and elsewhere continues to mostly ignore this scandal, which is about the EPO granting patents on life and nature in defiance of European law. Do the media owners worry that covering that might tarnish Europe’s reputation? As if the cover-up isn’t in itself damaging? Google News doesn’t pick up anything but ‘small sites’ that cover EPO problems, e.g. “EU Reporter” this week. That’s not because Google itself tries to censor these issues; it’s because corporate media is complicit in a silence. This is an issue we shall continue to bring up. “Parliament says no to patenting plants bred naturally,” said the headline of “EU Reporter”, which then went on to say: “The European Parliament has repeated its opposition to patenting plants obtained through natural processes. But what makes it an issue in the first place? On 19 September, MEPs voted in favour of a resolution stating that plants obtained through conventional breeding processes, such as crossing and selection, must not become patentable. They fear that allowing natural plant varieties to be patented would concentrate plant breeding material in the hands of a few powerful multinational companies. The resulting loss of genetic variety could in turn endanger food security and raise food prices.”

“That’s not because Google itself tries to censor these issues; it’s because corporate media is complicit in a silence.”Why has no “mainstream” site touched this subject? Not even one!

Meanwhile we can see that the American patent office sets up events, webinars etc. to disguise illegal software patents as “HEY HI!” — the same thing the EPO does. To quote a patent maximalists’ blog: “The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking a technical expert to advance the shared understanding of how to best implement the opportunities presented by Artificial Intelligence. The role will provide technical expertise in developing solutions for real-world, large-scale problems using Artificial Intelligence at the USPTO.”

Janal Kalis has just given this new example: “Specifio has obtained US Pat 10417341 for methods for using machine learning to create a patent spec based on human provided claims. I wonder if the patent spec was created using only the software–no human intervention.”

“Why has no “mainstream” site touched this subject? Not even one!”If it is “using only the software,” then it is a software patent. It ought to be denied. But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Director is looking to bypass 35 U.S.C. § 101, i.e. the law itself. He’s not a lawmaker and it’s not his job to decide what the law is. António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli are similar to him in that regard; they promote software patents in Europe and defend patents on life/nature in spite of the law forbidding that. European Parliament is too slow to (re)act and there’s insufficient public outcry because the big publishers aren’t mentioning that.

Bogus patents are being granted. Should we not all be very concerned? Each such grant is an injustice. Those are fake patents or software patents that the courts will toss out again and again, citing 35 U.S.C. § 101. But they say “blockchain” and “HEY HI!” (AI) so the patent offices tell us it’s OK. Here’s a new example entitled “Verizon Awarded Patent for Blockchain-Based Virtual SIM Cards” (obviously software).

To quote: “Leading communications and technology company Verizon has been awarded a patent for using virtual subscriber identity modules (vSIMs) for customers’ devices.”

Why would any court uphold such a patent? Verizon would probably never take such a patent into court, knowing that an unfavourable outcome is likely. Maybe Verizon might pass this to a troll some time in the future…

“The EPO went as far as trying to swap all the judges with its own (UPC), but that coup failed miserably.”The courts in the US will thankfully continue to do their job, which is why patent maximalists at Watchtroll keep attacking the legal system. Watchtroll’s Gene Quinn has just published “Blame for the Weakened U.S. Patent System Cannot Be Pinned on the PTAB Alone” (because he now attacks all the courts, all the judges, and everyone who agrees with PTAB). David Cohen has also just published “Standard Essential Patents: Examining and Learning from the European Approach” (EPO approach).

It’s often understated or not stated at all that illegal EPO practices are copied by USPTO and vice versa. They cannot be tackled in isolation. We need international action and coordination among public interest groups. There’s also “Patent Eligibility Under Section 101: Has the United States ‘TRIPPED’ Up?” by Paul Cole. These patent maximalists pretend that the sky is falling because invalid, bogus, bunk patents are nowadays being rejected by judges. The EPO went as far as trying to swap all the judges with its own (UPC), but that coup failed miserably.

Patent Maximalists Have Ruined the European Patent Office, Which Became a Lying Organisation That Bullies Everyone

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: An introspection of the second-largest institution in Europe, which together with EUIPO just lies to the public in order to justify what it does

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is quite the extremist organisation. It’s a bully. It’s a thug. Both inwards and outwards. It tortures its staff mentally, sometimes into suicide. It also intimidates journalists and bloggers. The EPO now employs a law firm to also bully a disabled person. How can they even find the moral courage? Or immoral ‘courage’… how?

A lot of greedy law firms and their lawyers go wherever the money is (here’s a new article to that effect). Some of these pompous sociopaths even took the EPO’s money to bully me. And for what? For exposing corruption at the EPO? Several law firms and several different people sent me threatening letters. They’re SLAPP lawyers. They’re not using their licence to do justice but to protect injustice. How about all those people who work in “AYE PEE”? They do not protect “property”; they protect rich raiders from better equality in society. They’re complicit in unjust oppression. I’m not against patents (per se or otherwise); I never was; what I oppose is patent extremism, which is what I believe the EPO to have given in to. The EPO is a thuggish institution which breaks laws at every level. Nobody should tolerate this (anywhere!), no matter one’s views on patents and patent scope. If we value the law itself — including patent law — then every violation of it (or attempts to discard it) should be strongly condemned.

“Nobody should tolerate this (anywhere!), no matter one’s views on patents and patent scope. If we value the law itself — including patent law — then every violation of it (or attempts to discard it) should be strongly condemned.”Patent extremism isn’t a new problem; we mentioned it earlier this week and we write about it virtually every week (in one form or another). Consider the AIPPI Congress “Report” (lengthy coverage in [1, 2, 3]) from IP Kat. It comes almost exclusively from a chronically lying firm, Bristows LLP. Sarah Blair (formerly of Bristows) via Annsley Merelle Ward (Bristows) wrote about the AIPPI Congress, which we mentioned here last week. It’s an echo chamber of patent extremists. This is their annual ‘Mecca’. Curiously enough, this UPC propagandist barely even mentioned UPC, except in this (in the third part): “He completed a spirited run-through of the different IP rights and how they may be affected by Brexit, the current state of the Unified Patent Court, exhaustion and enforcement in record time.”

Nothing else was said about UPC. Maybe she too is belatedly sobering up a bit? After years of Kool-Aid?

Either way, the EPO persists with its toxic agenda. As soon as this week began the EPO wrote about translations made by a computer (as it habitually does). People can read these, maybe, but not understand. These automated translations are notoriously awful and not legally valid. But the EPO is racing to the bottom with automated texts, low quality of service, and unmanned services (AI or “HEY HI!”). It’s all about cost-cutting, but at what expense? Can we rely on such a system?

“Last week,” the same account continued, “EPO examiners from all areas exchanged know-how and learned about the newest #techtrends at a conference in The Hague. It was our first event aimed at harmonising best practices & developing patenting competencies.”

They then mention 3-D printing; certainly the EPO knows that 3-D printing is a case against the patent system because just like UAVs it’s an area where patents held back innovation for several decades. This is common knowledge; it’s routinely being mentioned online and offline.

On the same day the EPO spoke of “[t]he very first EPO- @LESIntl conference will be in Dublin. If you want to learn how to create an IP strategy that supports your business strategy…”

“They then mention 3-D printing; certainly the EPO knows that 3-D printing is a case against the patent system because just like UAVs it’s an area where patents held back innovation for several decades.”Why even be baffled when the EPO can just liaise with a patent trolls’ front group, in public, rather than pretend otherwise? We can all see whose interests EPO management serves. For the second day in a row the EPO then tweeted or retweeted promotion of its alliance with this patent trolls’ front group: “Register now for the Intellectual Property themed conference in Dublin @EPOorg @LESintl and listen to the podcast which interviews Jürgen Graner…”

Yesterday morning the EPO and EUIPO then make an announcement. As readers are aware, EUIPO has had corruption spreading to it from EPO management. They co-produce marketing propaganda for law firms every year and the EPO posted this teaser early in the week: “Stay tuned: We will soon publish the results of a joint study with @EU_IPO on the impact of IPR-intensive industries on economic performance in the EU.”

Then, at 5AM it published this; then again at 8AM: “New study shows the impact of IPR-intensive industries on GDP, employment & trade in Europe: http://bit.ly/IPRindustries19 Higher wages: +47% up to +72% 1 in 3 jobs 45% of the EU’s GDP 80% of the EU’s external trade…”

“EPO/EUIPO conflate “businesses use trademarks and patents” with “business succeed BECAUSE of trademarks and patents” (as usual, they do this annually).”A site called ResponseSource was ready as soon as 5AM with the EPO puff piece, so people can see it’s not a news site but a PR collusion that said: “Industries that make an above average use of intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright generate 45% of GDP (EUR 6.6 trillion) in the EU annually and account for 63 million jobs (29% of all jobs). In the UK, these IP rights-intensive industries account for more than 8.4 million jobs (28.1% of all UK jobs), and contribute more than EUR 1 trillion to the country’s GDP. These are among the findings of a joint report released today by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on the importance of IPRs for the EU economy between 2014 and 2016.”

This was composed by the EPO itself. Compare to this press release (warning: epo.org link). It’s identical.

EPO/EUIPO conflate “businesses use trademarks and patents” with “business succeed BECAUSE of trademarks and patents” (as usual, they do this annually). Moreover, the EPO keeps shooting down claims that it’s detached from the EU when it co-produces ‘studies’ with EUIPO because EPO management wants to keep committing crimes without being held accountable by any European authorities. The above so-called ‘study’ is based on a lie and to work for EPO and EUIPO management you have to deliberately lie. That’s why many at the top are lawyers (liars).

Links 25/9/2019: Patent Lawsuit Against GNOME, Zorin OS 15 Education Edition, First Librem 5 Linux Phones

Posted in News Roundup at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Kubernetes: Contributor Summit San Diego Registration Open!

        While the Kubernetes project is only five years old, we’re already going into our 9th Contributor Summit this November in San Diego before KubeCon + CloudNativeCon. The rapid increase is thanks to adding European and Asian Contributor Summits to the North American events we’ve done previously. We will continue to run Contributor Summits across the globe, as it is important that our contributor base grows in all forms of diversity.

        Kubernetes has a large distributed remote contributing team, from individuals and organizations all over the world. The Contributor Summits give the community three chances a year to get together, work on community topics, and have hallway track time. The upcoming San Diego summit is expected to bring over 450 attendees, and will contain multiple tracks with something for everyone. The focus will be around contributor growth and sustainability. We’re going to stop here with capacity for future summits; we want this event to offer value to individuals and the project. We’ve heard from past summit attendee feedback that getting work done, learning, and meeting folks face to face is a priority. By capping attendance and offering the contributor gatherings in more locations, it will help us achieve those goals.

        This summit is unique as we’ve taken big moves on sustaining ourselves, the contributor experience events team. Taking a page from the release team’s playbook, we have added additional core team and shadow roles making it a natural mentoring (watching+doing) relationship. The shadows are expected to fill another role at one of the three events in 2020, and core team members to take the lead. In preparation for this team, we’ve open sourced our rolebooks, guidelines, best practices and opened up our meetings and project board. Our team makes up many parts of the Kubernetes project and takes care of making sure all voices are represented.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat’s CentOS 8 arrives: Here’s what you get with it

          Ever since Red Hat released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 in May, CentOS users have been waiting impatiently for CentOS 8 to arrive. Now, their wait is over. CentOS 8 is here and ready for download.

          This is great news for the many hosting companies, data centers, and businesses with in-house Linux experts that rely on CentOS every day for their work. By Datanyze’s count of web servers, CentOS, with 15.65% of the market, is second only to Ubuntu, with its 26.7% share. It’s popular because CentOS is a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone with most of RHEL’s top-tier business server Linux benefits but without RHEL’s costs.

        • New CentOS Linux distro sips updates from RHEL codebase like an ever-flowing Stream

          CentOS has told devs that they can now get stuck into Stream, a new Linux distro it built with code planned for the next minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

          Wait, you may think, is it not Fedora Linux that is based on early RHEL code? True, and Fedora is Red Hat’s free distribution with a twice-yearly release cycle intended for testing and developing new features.

          The Fedora Project goes back to the early days of Red Hat – it was announced in 2003. But Red Hat’s relationship with CentOS is more recent. In 2014, Red Hat and the CentOS Project confirmed a collaboration where CentOS is a community-supported distro based on RHEL code, though “open to variation”.

        • Red Hat and CentOS Unveil CentOS Stream, a New Rolling Release Linux Distro

          Red Hat and CentOS Project announced today the availability of a new GNU/Linux distribution called CentOS Stream, providing a rolling release operating system to developers and contributors.

          CentOS Linux has always been an Open Source alternative to the commercial, enterprise-ready Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, and now, both Red Hat and CentOS have decided to bring their alliance to the next level and create a developer-centric distribution for the community, as well as Red Hat partners.

          Meet CentOS Stream, a new GNU/Linux distribution developed in parallel with the current CentOS Linux operating system to offer the community access to the latest development code of the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases. CentOS Stream follows a rolling release model where you install once and received updates forever.

        • CentOS Linux 8 and CentOS Stream Announced

          Red Hat and CentOS today announced the general availability of CentOS Linux 8 and the new CentOS Stream.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • RHELhide | LINUX Unplugged 320

        CentOS goes rolling and announces version 8. Find out why we’re excited to take a dip in this stream.

        Plus we review what might just be your next Linux laptop, and explain why systemd is coming for your /home.

      • 09/24/2019 | Linux Headlines

        CentOS 8 is finally here, and with it comes a surprising new release from Red Hat.

        Plus .NET Core 3 is out, a new libc for embedded systems, and Google’s big win in the EU.

      • Self-Hosted Production Meeting | Jupiter Extras 17

        Alex and Chris are hard at work on the next Self-Hosted episode, here’s a behind the scenes real moment from their recent production meeting.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Raspberry Pi Should See Much Better SPI Performance On Linux 5.4+

        The SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) pull requests to the Linux kernel normally don’t get us excited, but they do when it comes with word of big performance enhancements. There are several SPI performance improvements this round but exciting us the most is the work done on the Broadcom SPI driver for Raspberry Pi hardware.

        The SPI changes for Linux 5.4 come with “a big performance enhancement” for the Raspberry Pi driver to help with performance for devices connected via SPI. The patches to the driver note that when an Ethernet chip was attached to the SPI controller, there was a 30us reduction in ping time with the optimizations and a 2% reduction in CPU time.

      • WireGuard Will Port To Existing Linux Crypto API In Order To Make It In The Kernel

        The WireGuard open-source secure network tunnel won’t be mainlined for Linux 5.4 but there finally is an action plan for getting this promising network security tech into the kernel.

        WireGuard has been trying for mainline since last year but ultimately keeps getting blocked by its proposed Zinc crypto API that they’ve been viewing as a next-generation crypto interface over what is currently offered in the kernel with its crypto APIs. But differing views over Zinc and that making the review more difficult is now leading WireGuard to postponing those plans.

      • The D in Systemd is for Directories: Poettering says his creation will phone /home in future

        Systemd inventor Lennart Poettering told the crowds at the All Systems Go Linux user-space event in Berlin he intends to reinvent home directories to fix issues with the current model that are otherwise insoluble.

        In Linux systems, each user typically has a directory under /home for personal documents and data. Users are identified by a username and user ID (UID) number which by default is in a text database called /etc/passwd.

        Speaking at the event earlier this month, Poettering identified several problems with this long-standing approach. Philosophically, he said, it mixes state and configuration, because in his view the user record is state rather than configuration, and therefore does not belong in /etc.

        The /etc/passwd database is not extensible, and therefore Linux has evolved numerous secondary databases that are stored elsewhere, such as /etc/shadow, a privileged location used for encrypted password hashes and other password-related fields, such as the maximum time before a password expires.

    • Applications

      • 8 Best Free Linux Camera Tools

        Since the advent of the consumer digital camera, hard disks and memory devices have faced the burden of ever increasing amounts of images to store. This is, in part, due to digital photography being an inexpensive way of taking thousands of images without any image processing costs to bear, thereby encouraging the photographer to snap many pictures of the same thing. The only ongoing expense is recharging the batteries in the camera.

        When a digital camera captures an image, its image sensors records the light from millions of sensing area. The camera’s digital circuitry converts the generated analog voltage signal into a digital representation. Many cameras allow these images to be stored in a raw image file. They are akin to digital negatives, as they have the same role as negatives in film photography. These RAW files usually offer higher color depth than JPEG files, but take up far more storage space.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Fairy metroidvania inspired by Slavic myths, Catmaze, adds Linux support

        Ready for your next Metroidvania? Catmaze, a game inspired by Slavic myths is now officially supported and available on Linux as of earlier this week.

        Created by developer Redblack Spade, who also made the 2017 dark puzzle game Reflection of Mine (supports Linux) and the upcoming psychedelic metroidvania Fearmonium (will also support Linux) Linux support arrives for Catmaze well over a year after the Steam release but good things come to those who wait right? Seems so, with it having a “Very Positive” rating on Steam from over 200 users.

      • Looks like the grand strategy space game AI War 2 could release in October

        AI War 2, the space grand strategy game currently in Early Access being developed by Arcen Games is looking close to a full release in October.

        Recently, Arcen have been releasing some pretty big updates to the game polishing up all aspects of it and replacing some older placeholder elements. One such update was released yesterday and in the Steam announcement they mentioned a tentative release date of October 22nd.

      • GOG are giving away Freespace 2 in their Interstellar Sale with some good discounts on too

        GOG have another interesting sale going on as well as Freespace 2 going free for the next 48 hours, don’t miss out!

        If you’re not aware, Freespace 2 can be played on Linux thanks to the FSOpen project after Volition open sourced the game engine used way back in 2002. Freespace 2 is also one of my absolute favourite space combat sims and it’s still awesome to this day even when compared to some newer games.

      • Easily Organize And Enjoy Your Linux Game Collection With GameHub

        This month’s visual overhaul to our Steam library is a welcome change, especially when it comes to organizing and categorizing our collections. But Steam isn’t the only game in town in town when it comes to our Linux game libraries. This week I stumbled across a terrific little app called GameHub, and if you find yourself with a large collection of games across services like GOG, Humble Bundle and Steam, you’re going to want this!

        GameHub is best described as a unified library and launcher for all of your – even if they’re not native Linux titles, and even if they’ve been installed with other nifty Linux gaming solutions like Lutris or PlayOnLinux.

        That’s because it includes built-in support for Wine, Proton, DOSBox, RetroArch and ScummVM.

      • Hilarious looking multiplayer physics fighting game Havocado adds a Linux build

        Here’s a bit of a win for a Wednesday morning. The developer of the multiplayer physics fighting game, Havocado, added a Linux version.

        A user on Steam posted on their forum about it being “quite crashy” with Steam Play Proton, asking if they plan to support Linux or make it work better with Proton. The reply from a developer wasn’t quite what you would normally expect. As it turns out it did originally have a Linux version but they dropped it as no one seemed to play it and doing it “took some time away from development”. Now people seem interested, they added it back and said it will “continue to support it in future updates”.

      • Wild West styled city builder Depraved has left Early Access

        A city builder with survival elements and a Wild West theme? Sign me up! Depraved just recently left Early Access.

        Set in a procedurally generated world so each play through is different, it has the standard setup for a smaller city builder. Start of with nothing but a single carriage full of resources and eventually build up into a bustling town. Not quite the same as massive titles like Cities: Skylines though, since it’s smaller and more focused with the survival elements as you need to keep your people happy with their various needs. You also need to deal with bandits, overcome harsh seasons and weather, wild animals and more.

      • The very unique block breaking shoot ‘em up Sky Racket has a release date

        Releasing on October 22nd, Sky Racket is a shoot ‘em up that’s also a bit like Arkanoid/Breakout. A strange mix but it works well! A game I actually tested and reported on here at GamingOnLinux back in July, it really did impress me with the genre blending.

        It’s a side-scroller like classic shoot ‘em ups, but you’re basically playing Tennis with enemy projectiles. You’re not firing off lasers or bombs or anything yourself, instead you’re sending their own armaments right back at them to destroy them and any blocks in your way. They’re called it a “Shmup Breaker”—works for me!

      • Broken Lines will bring a story-driven tactical RPG in an alternative WW2 setting to Linux

        With quite good looking graphics and gameplay that has me wanting to see more, Broken Lines could be a good tactical RPG for Linux and it’s releasing later this year. This is one we completely missed from Gamescom!

      • A developer from Epic Games adds an offscreen video driver to SDL 2

        Something that came across the desk this morning is a note about Epic Games contributing to the cross-platform development library SDL 2.

        What’s interesting is that the added code from developer Brandon Schaefer, previously a Canonical (Ubuntu) developer, is for offscreen rendering. From what Schaefer said in the submitted code it’s “intended to be used for headless rendering as well as allows for multiple GPUs to be used for headless rendering”.

      • Epic Games Contributes New SDL Video Driver For Offscreen Rendering

        Epic Games’ Brandon Schaefer (and in fact former Canonical developer working on Ubuntu’s Mir display server) has contributed a new SDL2 video driver back-end for offscreen rendering.

        This offscreen video driver for SDL2 is intended for headless rendering and for letting multiple GPUs be used for headless rendering via EGL.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • A patent lawsuit against GNOME

          A company called Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC has filed a lawsuit [PDF] against the GNOME Foundation, alleging that the Shotwell photo manager violates patent 9,936,086. Stay tuned, more details will surely emerge.

        • GNOME Will “Vigorously Defend” Shotwell in Lawsuit

          Shotwell, the free, open source photo management app, has allegedly fallen foul of a patent held by Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC.

          In an (understandably) short statement GNOME explain the situation as thus:

          “The GNOME Foundation has been made aware of a lawsuit from Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC over patent 9,936,086. Rothschild allege that Shotwell, a free and open source personal photo manager infringes this patent.”

          You can view the (rather broad) patent in question on Google Patents.

          Now i’m not a patent expert (I majored in Spice Girls trivia) but the crux of the issue seems to concern Shotwell’s ability to get photos off of a connected device (a feature that’s pretty standard across most photo management software).

          Neil McGovern, who’s the Executive Director for the GNOME Foundation, says the organisation “intend vigorously defend against this baseless suit”.

        • GNOME Foundation is Being Sued Because of Shotwell Photo Manager

          The GNOME Foundation is facing a lawsuit from Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC. Patent troll Rothschild allege that Shotwell photo manager infringes its patent.

        • GameMode improvements for GNOME 3.34 and Fedora 31

          Christian Schaller wrote an excellent blog post highlighting a lot of the cool new features and improvements that ship with Fedora 31. I wanted to add to that and give an overview of new things and improvements we did for GameMode that will be in Fedora 31. First of all a quick refresher about GameMode:

          GameMode is a solution to optimize performance of a GNU/Linux system for gaming. This is to improve frames-per-seconds as well as make games run smoother, i.e. avoid stuttering. Performance optimization is done by applying various global and per-game tweaks: setting the CPU governor, adjusting the I/O priority, changing the niceness of the game and setting a different kernel scheduler (SCHED_ISO). It recently gained support for setting GPU performance modes (NVIDIA and AMD) and GPU overclocking (NVIDIA). Additionally it will inhibit the screensaver and can execute custom scripts on start and end.

          There were two main issues that I focused on: First it was hard to tell if GameMode was currently active and what games/programs were requesting it. The second one was to make GameMode compatible with flatpaks. Both required changes to the GameMode daemon and the API. Upstream was very quick to review and merge all the required patches and roll a release (1.4), thanks a bunch of that.

    • Distributions

      • Zorin OS 15 Education Edition Officially Released, Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        Talking advantage of all new GNU/Linux technologies and features of the Zorin OS 15 operating system, which was released in early June 2019, the Zorin OS 15 Education Edition is packed with a great selection of educational apps for all educational levels, aiming to provide a free alternative to the Microsoft Windows OS in schools and other educational institutions.

        “It pairs the latest and greatest software with educational apps that make learning better and more impactful at preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary levels. It helps prepare students with the skills they need to understand the world of today and build their world of tomorrow,” reads today’s announcement.

      • The Newest Version Of Zorin OS 15 Brings Linux And Open Source To The Classroom

        Desktop Linux distribution Zorin OS 15 quickly moved to the center of my radar when it was released, because of its overall polish, easy customization options, installation support and out-of-the-box usability. Now the Zorin Group is bringing that accessibility to the classroom with the free Zorin OS Education.

        In general, Zorin OS 15 has solid support for touchscreens (including tablets, 2-in-1 laptops and smart whiteboards), and has a neat “Auto Theme” feature that adapts the desktop wallpaper depending on the time of day. It’s based on Ubuntu 19.04 LTS and ships with Linux kernel 4.18; not bleeding-edge, but certainly stable and thus an ideal fit for the classroom.

        The Zorin OS Education edition takes the base feature set from Zorin OS 15 and layers on “a plethora” of educational apps and games.

      • Fedora Family

        • Out of box H.264 and AAC support in Fedora 31 Workstation

          Up until now, playing video files has been problematic in Fedora as we haven’t been able to include the necessary codecs for popular video formats. This is now changing in Fedora 31 Workstation.

        • Fedora 31 Lands Good GStreamer AAC & H.264 Support

          On top of many other changes for Fedora Workstation 31, this next release of Fedora Linux continues to improve the experience for proprietary multimedia codecs where the patents have lapsed.

          Fedora has long been working on better support for AAC and H.264 support while with Fedora 31 the out-of-the-box experience should be in good shape.

          Fedora 31 just landed the latest GStreamer “bad-free” package with AAC support enabled for handling most MP4 audio content. Cisco’s OpenH264 support is also available through a separate repository that is shipped as part of the configuration but not enabled by default.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Conference 2019 by numbers

          LibreOffice Conference 2019 ended and… seems people really enjoyed!

          Here I provide some metrics about the conference. Hopefully they’ll be useful for next years.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


        • Low grade “journalists” and internet mob attack RMS with lies. In-depth review.

          On September 13, 2019 the periodic MOTHERBOARD published an article titled Famed Computer Scientist Richard Stallman Described Epstein Victims As ‘Entirely Willing’.

          As we’ve seen, Stallman did not say or imply that one girl was entirely willingly having sex with Mr. Minsky, much less that all of Epstein victims were (note the letter s on the title of the article after the victim word, denoting plural).

          As we’ve seen, Stallman said that one girl could have presented herself to Mr. Minsky as willingly.

          The article then goes on with its defamation…

        • Free Software Awards: Nominate those who inspire you by November 6th

          Each year we use the Free Software Awards to recognize significant contributions to the free software movement. This year, we are adding a special award for newcomers as well. Nominate the developers, activists, and organizers that inspire you today.
          Every free software supporter knows someone who has made inspiring contributions to the cause for user freedom. Whether you know them personally, or only through following them online, we can all think of outstanding individuals who have helped further the cause for free software through their care and attention. There are also many projects whose contributors have consistently demonstrated their dedication to the principles of the free software movement.

          Each year the Free Software Foundation (FSF) recognizes the exemplary commitments of these individuals and organizations through the Free Software Awards, which are announced as part of the FSF’s annual LibrePlanet conference and gathering for free software users, developers, and activists alike. Rather than simply recognizing the sheer number of commits to projects, the Free Software Awards are meant to recognize the commitment members of our community have applied in their work to advance the cause for software freedom.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Python Software Foundation has updated its Code of Conduct

          The Python community values members who are accepting, helpful, and respectful: for many years, the Python Software Foundation (PSF) has had an organization-wide Code of Conduct that defines these values, and behaviors that we want to have in our community. The Foundation has also insisted for years that every event that we sponsor have a Code of Conduct in place.

          But spaces where our community meets – online, or in person – need a Code of Conduct that does more than just emphasize our values. The PSF’s flagship conference, PyCon US, has had its own Code of Conduct – separate from the PSF Code of Conduct – for many years. The PyCon US Code of Conduct not only highlights our community’s values, but it also identified behaviors that are not acceptable at the conference, explained how to report violations, and included enforcement procedures.


          The PSF worked with Sage Sharp of Otter Tech to produce the draft of the new Code of Conduct.

        • Tahoe-LAFS on Python 3 – Call for Porters

          Earlier this year a number of Tahoe-LAFS community members began an effort to port Tahoe-LAFS from Python 2 to Python 3. Around five people are currently involved in a part-time capacity. We wish to accelerate the effort to ensure a Python 3-compatible release of Tahoe-LAFS can be made before the end of upstream support for CPython 2.x.

          Tahoe-LAFS is a Free and Open system for private, secure, decentralized storage. It encrypts and distributes your data across multiple servers. If some of the servers fail or are taken over by an attacker, the entire file store continues to function correctly, preserving your privacy and security.

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #387 (Sept. 24, 2019)
        • Welcome to Google Code‑in 2019

          Pre-university students ages 13 to 17 are invited to take part in Google Code-in: Our global, online contest introducing teenagers to the world of open source development. With a wide variety of bite-sized tasks, it’s easy for beginners to jump in and get started no matter what skills they have.

          Mentors from our participating organizations lend a helping hand as participants learn what it’s like to work on an open source project. Participants get to work on real software and win prizes from t-shirts to a trip to Google HQ!

        • Google Code‑in 2019

          Google Code-in (GCI) provides students ages 13 to 17 the opportunity to participate in open source projects. Google has announced the 2019 round of GCI.

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Editing software problem crashing computers in Hollywood

        An editing software program used by some film and TV editors was crashing users’ Apple Mac Pro computers Monday.

        The program, Avid, said Tuesday it is aware of the issue and the company is working to get it fixed.

        “Avid is aware of the reboot issue affecting Apple Mac Pro devices running some Avid products. This issue is top priority for our engineering & support teams, and we’re working diligently to determine & resolve the root cause. We’ll publish additional information as we learn more,” Avid tweeted Tuesday.

      • Google says a Chrome update might be killing some Macs

        We shared a story yesterday in which a number of Mac Pro users were reporting that their machines would not start correctly after being shut down. At the time it was thought that the presence of Avid Media Composer was the cause, although now it seems that isn’t the case at all. Instead, Google has confirmed that its Chrome update corrupted some macOS file systems.

        Google confirmed the issue in a Chrome support thread, saying that “a Chrome update may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines with System Integrity Protection (SIP) disabled.” SIP is designed to prevent apps from modifying system files, but it needs to be disabled to allow apps like Avid to have a direct connection to a Mac’s graphics systems. That’s where the link to Avid came from.

        Google says that it has now ceased the rollout of Keystone – the Chrome updater software that caused the issue – while it works on a fix. In the meantime it has also shared details on steps impacted users can take in order to get their machines back up and running.

        We’ve reached out to Avid for comment on their stance following this news after it confirmed yesterday that it was aware of the ongoing issues. At that time Avid gave the impression that the issue was related to its own software. We’ll update this post if and when we receive a response.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Lucy Xiaolu Wang on the Medicines Patent Pool

        Patent pools are agreements by multiple patent owners to license related patents for a fixed price. The net welfare effect of patent pools is theoretically ambiguous: they can reduce numerous transaction costs, but they also can impose anti-competitive costs (due to collusive price-fixing) and costs to future innovation (due to terms requiring pool members to license future technologies back to the pool). In prior posts, I’ve described work by Ryan Lampe and Petra Moser suggesting that the first U.S. patent pool—on sewing machine technologies—deterred innovation, and work by Rob Merges and Mike Mattioli suggesting that the savings from two high tech pools are enormous, and that those concerned with pools thus have a high burden to show that the costs outweigh these benefits. More recently, Mattioli has reviewed the complex empirical literature on patent pools.

        Economics Ph.D. student Lucy Xiaolu Wang has a very interesting new paper to add to this literature, which I believe is the first empirical study of a biomedical patent pool: Global Drug Diffusion and Innovation with a Patent Pool: The Case of HIV Drug Cocktails. Wang examines the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a UN-backed nonprofit that bundles patents for HIV drugs and other medicines and licenses these patents for generic sales in developing countries, with rates that are typically no more than 5% of revenues. For many diseases, including HIV/AIDS, the standard treatment requires daily consumption of multiple compounds owned by different firms with numerous patents. Such situations can benefit from a patent pool for the diffusion of drugs and the creation of single-pill once-daily drug cocktails. She uses a difference-in-differences method to study the effect of the MPP on both static and dynamic welfare and finds enormous social benefits.


        Under these estimations, the net social benefit is substantial. Wang uses a simple structural model and estimates that the MPP for licensing HIV drug patents increased consumer surplus by $700–1400 million and producer surplus by up to $181 million over the first seven years of its establishment, greatly exceeding the pool’s $33 million total operating cost over the same period. Of course, estimating counterfactuals from natural experiments is always fraught with challenges. But as an initial effort to understand the net benefits and costs of the MPP, this seems like an important contribution that is worth the attention of legal scholars working in the patent pool area.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (kernel, libgcrypt20, and spip), Fedora (compat-openssl10, expat, ghostscript, ibus, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, and SDL2_image), openSUSE (bird, chromium, kernel, libreoffice, links, and varnish), Oracle (httpd:2.4 and qemu-kvm), Red Hat (kernel), Scientific Linux (qemu-kvm), SUSE (djvulibre, dovecot22, ghostscript, kernel, libxml2, and python-Twisted), and Ubuntu (file-roller and libreoffice).

      • How to fight deepfakes and ransomware: Better security training

        I was two days into my most recent CIO role when I received an email from the CEO asking me to work with the CFO to initiate a wire transfer on behalf of a client. The CEO requested that I respond quickly. It’s important to note that this email was sent to the personal email address associated with my LinkedIn profile. Not today Satan, not today.

        There were several red flags in the message letting me know it was not a legitimate request, but the biggest clue was that I had not shared this email address with anyone in my new organization.

        Similar social media targeting is likely being used against you and your users. Hackers target users as it may be easier to have someone click on a deceptive link or share credentials than to break through firewalls unnoticed.

      • Linux MCQ-07: Documentation and Security

        The assessment test is an excellent way to test yourself before starting to study. It gives you an idea of where you should start and why.

        In an assessment test, test your current skills from beginning to advance lever for any subject or topic to check “what do you know and from where you should start learning?”

        Here I have put some basic questions for Linux assessment, so you can test your Linux skill and choose right path for Linux Learning.

      • SamSam Ransomware

        The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are issuing this activity alert to inform computer network defenders about SamSam ransomware, also known as MSIL/Samas.A. Specifically, this product shares analysis of vulnerabilities that cyber actors exploited to deploy this ransomware. In addition, this report provides recommendations for prevention and mitigation.


        The actors exploit Windows servers to gain persistent access to a victim’s network and infect all reachable hosts. According to reporting from victims in early 2016, cyber actors used the JexBoss Exploit Kit to access vulnerable JBoss applications. Since mid-2016, FBI analysis of victims’ machines indicates that cyber actors use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to gain persistent access to victims’ networks. Typically, actors either use brute force attacks or stolen login credentials. Detecting RDP intrusions can be challenging because the malware enters through an approved access point.

        After gaining access to a particular network, the SamSam actors escalate privileges for administrator rights, drop malware onto the server, and run an executable file, all without victims’ action or authorization. While many ransomware campaigns rely on a victim completing an action, such as opening an email or visiting a compromised website, RDP allows cyber actors to infect victims with minimal detection.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.N. Chief Warns of a World Divided Between U.S. and China

        U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned global leaders Tuesday of the looming risk of the world splitting in two, with the United States and China creating rival internets, currency, trade, financial rules “and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies.”

      • Cyber Command’s first major weapons system needs the cloud

        The contract noted that the Air Force anticipates to award up to 15 blanket purchase agreements, which, according to the General Services Administration, makes it easier to meet recurring needs. The notice stated the estimated value of the agreement is $95 million.

        According to contract documents, the blanket purchase agreement will “eliminate contracting and open market costs such as the search for sources, the development of technical documents and solicitations, and the evaluation of offers. This BPA will further decrease costs, reduce paperwork, and save time by eliminating the need for repetitive and individual purchases.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The Central Role of the Whistleblower

        The fortuitous emergence of a courageous whistleblower in the Trump White House and Harvard Professor Jill Lepore’s pathetically ill-informed review of Edward Snowden’s recent book, “Permanent Record,” are important reminders of the central and difficult role of whistleblowers in any successful effort to restore our democracy. The information provided by whistleblowers is key to the work of congressional oversight; investigative journalism; and informed political debate.  Whistleblowers contributed to the knowledge of the crimes of the intelligence community during the Vietnam War and the exposure of Iran-contra, which led to the creation of intelligence oversight committees in the Congress and a statutory Inspector General at the Central Intelligence Agency, respectively.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Trump May Get Much of the World’s Manufacturing Out of China, But It Won’t Be Coming Back to the U.S.

        “Chimerica” is a term originally coined by the historian Niall Ferguson and economist Moritz Schularick to describe the growing economic relationship between the U.S. and China since the latter’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. In the words of Ferguson: “The Chinese did the saving, the Americans the spending. The Chinese did the exporting, the Americans the importing. The Chinese did the lending, the Americans the borrowing.” Much of the pre-crisis boom in global trade was driven by this economic symbiosis, which is why successive American presidents tolerated this marriage of convenience despite the increasing costs to the U.S. economy. The net benefits calculation, however, began to change after 2008, and the conflict has intensified further after the 2016 presidential election result. Today, the cumulative stress of Donald Trump’s escalating trade war is leading to if not an irreparable breach between the two countries, then certainly a significant fraying. The imminent resumption of trade talks notwithstanding, the rising cost of the tariffs is already inducing some U.S. manufacturers to exit China. But in most instances, they are not returning to home shores.

      • We Reported on a Nonprofit Hospital System That Sues Poor Patients. It Just Freed Thousands From Debt.

        MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city’s largest nonprofit hospital system has erased the debts owed by more than 6,500 patients it sued for unpaid hospital bills, less than two months after announcing an overhaul of its debt collection processes.

        The dramatic shift was prompted by an MLK50-ProPublica investigation that revealed that Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare filed more than 8,300 debt lawsuits from 2014 through 2018, including against its own employees. Methodist had doggedly pursued low-income defendants who had little ability to pay, often garnishing their meager paychecks.

      • Trump’s Economy Revealed

        The next time Trump and his enablers boast about the economy to distract from the damage they’re really doing to America, know the truth. Their failed economic agenda has made Americans poorer and less secure.

      • Why Are So Many Top-Tier College Girls Turning To ‘Soft Prostitution’?

        What do they Sugar Babies do with the money they earn with their vaginas? 30% is spent on tuition and other school related expenses, while 25% goes towards living expenses.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Propaganda and Politics in the USA, UK and Australia

        Two weeks ago, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has analysed the link between politics and the media in three countries – the UK, USA and Australia. In all three countries, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has achieved a decisive influence. Among many others in Murdoch’s global media empire, Murdoch runs The Sun in the UK, Fox in the USA and the Daily Telegraph in Australia. Ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd explains why Labour (UK), Labor (Australia) and the Democrats (USA) hardly ever win elections despite the fact that many pressing issues would favour the progressive side of politics such as growing inequality, wage stagnation, underfunding of hospitals, desolate public schools, universities increasingly out of reach for the middle class, global warming, rising poverty, homelessness, etc. Despite all this, in all three countries – UK, USA and Australia – we see conservatives win election after election. Currently, all three countries are governed by conservatives, just as Murdoch wants it. Perhaps this is because Labour (UK and Australia) and the Democrats (USA) are engaged in a two against one fight when it comes to elections. They face two opponents: the conservatives and the powerful force of Murdoch’s highly influential media empire. At the same time, the conservative parties face only one opponent in their respective countries: Labour (UK), Labor (Australia) and the Democrats (USA).

      • Are Democrats Blowing It All Over Again?
      • Media Continue to Push Misinformation About Venezuela and Drug Trafficking

        In recent years, Western corporate journalists have turned to systematically citing unnamed sources and secret documents from the US national security state. Indeed, one would be forgiven for thinking it was standard operating procedure.

      • Obstruction Of Whistleblower Complaint Leads To Pelosi Announcing Trump Impeachment Inquiry

        Referring to obstruction of a whistleblower complaint by President Donald Trump’s administration, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry would be launched.

        Pelosi also issued an ultimatum to Joseph Maguire, the acting Director of National Intelligence, to provide the full complaint to the House intelligence committee when he testifies on September 26, or risk violating the Constitution.

      • Instead of ‘No Collusion!’ Trump Now Seems to Be Saying, So What if I Did?

        Even for a leader who has audaciously disregarded many of the boundaries that restrained his predecessors, President Trump’s appeal to a foreign power for dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is an astonishing breach of the norms governing the American presidency.

      • Southfield City Clerk accused of Michigan election fraud

        Hawkins is accused of altering 193 ballot sheets to reconcile the number of absentee ballots that arrived in her office prior to the election with vote totals on Election Day.

        Further, original election night reports were allegedly discovered in a trash can in the Pontiac elections office when Oakland County’s Election Director, Joseph Rozell, began asking questions.

    • U.K. Parliament To Resume After Supreme Court Rules Suspension Was ‘Unlawful’

      The U.K. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the suspension of Parliament that was recently orchestrated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson was illegal. In light of the decision, the House of Commons will convene on Wednesday, Speaker John Bercow says.

      Speaking to journalists outside of Parliament after the ruling, Bercow said the court’s ruling was “explicit” and clear. He was careful to say there will not be a “recall” of lawmakers, but instead a resumption of the session — because the court had entirely nullified the suspension.

      Reading the decision of the court, Senior Judge Brenda Hale said the suspension “was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

      Lady Hale’s summary of the ruling said the order to prorogue Parliament is “unlawful, void and of no effect and should be quashed.”

      Jeremy Corbyn, who leads the opposition Labour Party, said the ruling “demonstrates a contempt for democracy and an abuse of power” by Johnson. Corbyn joined others in calling for Johnson to resign.

      “I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to ‘consider his position,’ Corbyn said, addressing an exultant crowd at his party’s annual conference. He added that Johnson should “become the shortest-serving prime minister there’s ever been.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Automatic License Plate Readers Are The Latest Neighborhood Perk

      Round-the-clock surveillance is becoming a part of everyday life here in the United States. Unfortunately, unlike CCTV-infested London, the steady influx of cameras in the US is the result of police-private company partnerships and the efforts of friends and neighbors.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How to Make Sure the Tech You Use and Build Reflects Your Values

      Technology should empower you. It should put you in control. You should not feel used by the company that provides it to you. And if you’re a builder of technologies, we believe you should always carry the responsibility to empower your users. Ultimately you should be able to say that you are proud of what you built.

    • Roger Waters: We’re Ignoring One of Humanity’s Biggest Threats

      DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris reporting for The Real News Network from Harold Square in Manhattan.

    • US Move Puts More Asylum Seekers at Risk

      (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, September 25, 2019) –The Trump administration has drastically expanded its “Remain in Mexico” program while undercutting the rights of asylum seekers at the United States southern border, Human Rights Watch said today. Under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – known as the “Remain in Mexico” program – asylum seekers in the US are returned to cities in Mexico where there is a shortage of shelter and high crime rates while awaiting asylum hearings in US immigration court.    

    • Iraq: Appeals Courts Ignoring Torture Claims

      close study of appeals court decisions in terrorism-related cases in Iraq shows that judges in close to two dozen cases in an 18-month period appeared to ignore torture allegations or to rely on uncorroborated confessions, Human Rights Watch said today. Some of the torture allegations had been substantiated by forensic medical exams, and some of the confessions were unsubstantiated by any other evidence and were apparently extracted by force, including by torture.

    • Employers Used Facebook to Keep Women and Older Workers From Seeing Job Ads. The Federal Government Thinks That’s Illegal.

      Two years ago, ProPublica and The New York Times revealed that companies were posting discriminatory job ads on Facebook, using the social network’s targeting tools to keep older workers from seeing employment opportunities. Then we reported companies were using Facebook to exclude women from seeing job ads.

      Experts told us that it was most likely illegal. And it turns out the federal government now agrees.

    • Russian senators denied visas to attend UN General Assembly session

      Ten senators serving in Russia’s Federation Council have been denied U.S. visas they would need in order to participate in the upcoming annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. Konstantin Kosachev, who leads the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee and was among the senators denied a visa, told Interfax about the incident.

    • First, there were fake Putin graves. Now, there are photos on real graves — and that means potential prison time for Russian opposition activists.

      Activists from various anti-regime protest movements have been installing fake cardboard “headstones” bearing Vladimir Putin’s name and portrait since March of 2019. The first among them appeared on March 10 in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny: It was installed near a regional Investigative Committee building to protest new limits on Internet use. That same day, an activist for the Bessrochny Protest (Permanent Protest) movement named Karim Yamadayev was arrested. He was later sentenced to 28 days in jail, while an acquaintance who helped him bring the fake headstone to the protest site got six days. After that initial action, a number of different movements took up the challenge of installing Putin headstones in public places, from Moscow to St. Petersburg and even Berlin. The graves, they said, symbolized the assertion that Putin was dead to ordinary Russians.

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Blankenship’ By DIIV
    • International Human Rights Bodies Provide a Case for Reparations

      It is common for nations where mass atrocities have taken place to engage in the process of reparation and repair. This process happened in Germany after the Holocaust, South Africa after apartheid, and here in the United States, forty years after the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. As a result,  international human rights bodies have sought to lend their expertise to the process, often by holding hearings and publishing international guidelines on the steps necessary to effectively administer a program for reparations.

    • Judicial Blowback

      The Tory government, under both May and Johnson, has made plain its contempt for the rule of law repeatedly, and not only over the prorogation of parliament. In the last few days we have seen the Tories admit to illegal sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, in direct breach of a ruling by the Court of Appeal, for which “accident” Liz Truss gave a completely fake apology.

    • An Uprising in West Papua

      Throughout West Papua, West Papuans are wounded and killed on a daily basis. One would need to follow West Papuan media outlets or social media to see this reality, as it is not an easy task for journalists to cover incidents in West Papua with the Indonesian government’s narrative dominating mainstream national media, and foreign journalists still banned from West Papua.

    • Video: Malian man tied up in public for opposing caste-based slavery

      A man had his feet and hands bound and was publicly humiliated on September 17 in the village of Krémis, located in the Kayes region in southwestern Mali for opposing the traditional slavery that is still practised in the region. He’s not the first to suffer violence for speaking out against this entrenched system.

    • Indonesia protests over sex before marriage bill

      The bill has been delayed, but protesters are concerned it could still eventually pass through parliament.

  • Monopolies

    • ‘Launch at risk’ – Article 9 (7) of the Enforcement Directive interpreted by the CJEU in C-688/17 (Bayer), concluding that when a patent is subsequently revoked it does not automatically follow that the preliminary injunction was unfounded

      The injunction gap is a frequently discussed characteristic of those European jurisdictions, Hungary being one such country, whose patent litigation systems are bifurcated. In a preliminary injunction proceeding in Hungary the court does not assess the validity of the patent in suit, at least not simply at the level of arguments, although decisions on invalidity which have already been made are to a certain extent relevant. Consequently, following the decision on the request for preliminary injunction, the main patent infringement action is suspended for the duration of revocation/opposition proceeding, which may and indeed sometimes does give rise to the patent, on the basis of which the preliminary injunction was ordered, being subsequently revoked.

      This is the context of the case in which the referral in C-688/17 (Bayer) was made by the Metropolitan Court of Budapest, Hungary.

      The parties are Bayer Pharma AG (Bayer) vs. Richter Pharma Nyrt. (Richter) and Exeltis Kft. (Exeltis). The patent in suit covers an oral contraceptive pharmaceutical preparation. Although the patent was still pending when the generic products came onto the market, once the patent had been granted Bayer immediately filed a request for preliminary injunction while Richter initiated a revocation action against the patent. Following the Metropolitan Court’s positive finding on the likelihood of patent infringement taking place, a preliminary injunction was ordered and the main infringement suit suspended in line with the practice of bifurcation.

      The preliminary injunction was, however, subsequently lifted by the Metropolitan Appeal Court for reasons unrelated to the previous findings concerning the likelihood of patent infringement. Some months later the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) revoked the patent. In Hungary, the first instance decision of the HIPO is followed by two judicial instances, as well as the possibility of an extraordinary judicial review, on questions of law, by the Curia (Supreme Court). At the end of the revocation proceeding the patent was revoked with final effect.


      The Court reaffirmed that a contrary conclusion would, in circumstances similar to those in the basic case, lead to right holders being deterred from seeking the measures provided by the Directive and would thus be contrary to its aims. As a restriction to its interpretation the Court also noted, with reference to Art. 3 (2) of the Directive, that national courts must ensure that the measures encompassed in Art. 9 of the Directive are not misused. Courts must therefore establish that the request for preliminary injunction is not a misuse of rights.

      Even though at first glance it might seem that the judgement of the CJEU is merely filling a gap in Hungarian legislation, its significance may go well beyond the basic case in determining the content of ‘appropriate compensation’ as an autonomous notion of Union Law, requiring uniform interpretation throughout the EU and in doing so making it clear that ‘launching at risk’ may indeed be the risk of the defendant and not that of the patentee. In what may be considered food for thought for future cases, the decision appears to rule out automatic compensation within the context of Art. 9 (7) while also setting down the necessary safeguards against the misuse of provisional measures. The judgement may consequently impact judicial practice not only in Hungary but also in other jurisdictions and will probably be particularly relevant in countries that apply bifurcation in patent litigation.

    • Is article 3 (a) of the Regulation (EC) 469/2009 disappearing into the mist, or is clarity round the corner?

      The interpretation of article 3 (a) of the Regulation (EC) 469/2009 concerning the Supplementary Protection Certificates for medicinal products (the “SPC Regulation”), has been in the center of attention for courts (including the CJEU) and for SPC enthusiasts alike. The recent AG Opinion in C- 650/17 (Royalty Pharma) and C-114/18 (Sandoz) has provided for more food for thought, for the details of the case and the summary of the AG Opinion see IPKat post here.
      What has been particularly interesting during the past few years is the interpretation of one of the criteria for SPC eligibility in the EU, namely the requirement that the product is “protected by a basic patent in force”. And while national courts and the CJEU have experienced fierce litigation concerning this exact seemingly innocent phrase, clarity is not succeeded.

      The only matter on which there appears to be consensus is that the CJEU has rejected the so called “infringement” test: this means that in order to satisfy the “protected by a basic patent in force requirement”, it is not sufficient for the product to simply fall within the scope of a claim of the basic patent.

      During the past few years, landmark decisions concerning the interpretation of the SPC Regulation have introduced two different tests, namely that the product must be “specified” or “identified” in the claims of the basic patent (Medeva, C-322/10), and that the product must reflect “the core inventive advance” of the basic patent (Actavis v Sanofi, C-443/12).

      In the ruling of 25 July 2018 (Case C-121/17 Teva v. Gilead), Teva, the CJEU ruled that the Medeva test was complied with if, at the filing date (or priority date) of the basic patent:
      (a) the combination of those active ingredients must necessarily, in the light of the description and drawings of that patent, fall under ‘the invention covered by that patent’, and
      (b) each of those active ingredients must be specifically identifiable, in the light of all the information disclosed by that patent.

    • Patents and Software Patents

      • Phigenix, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

        Earlier this month, in Phigenix, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California striking the infringement opinion of Phigenix’s expert and granting summary judgment of noninfringement based on a lack of evidence of both direct infringement and intent to induce infringement. The District Court also denied summary judgment of invalidity of Phigenix’s U.S. Patent No. 8,080,534.


        Rejecting Phigenix’s arguments that the District Court had abused its discretion in striking the noninfringement opinion of Phigenix’s expert, and without its expert report, the panel determined that Phigenix’s direct infringement case must fail, and therefore affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment of noninfringement.

      • Turkey: Determination Of Non-Infringement Action Is To Be Rejected If Marketing Authorisation Is Not Granted Yet

        As per Article 154 of the Turkish IP Law any person who has a legal interest can file an action to have the Court determine that his acts do not constitute an infringement of the intellectual property rights of a rights owner.

        For a quite long time patent owners were squeezed between conflicting approaches in the implementation of, on the one hand, the legal interest condition in determination of non-infringement actions (DNI), and, on the other hand, the Bolar exemption in patent infringement actions. I In both cases the marketing authorisation (MA) application of the Gx Company is pending. In accordance with established case law on the interpretation of the Bolar exemption, the IP Courts immediately reject any patent enforcement attempt of a patent owner if the MA application of the defendant is still pending, emphasizing that experimental acts for the purpose of the MA are exempted from patent rights. However, the IP Courts used to accept and deal with the determination of non-infringement actions of Gx companies that are filed while the MA application is still pending. The objections of patent owners that the MA application is exempted from patent rights and therefore the plaintiff does not have any legal interest in filing the DNI were not heard.

      • Supreme Court: What is the Role of Functional Claim Limitations?

        The Supreme Court had previously held claims invalid that use “conveniently functional language at the exact point of novelty.” Gen. Electric Co. v. Wabash Co., 304 U.S. 364 (1938).


        The claim at issue is directed to a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement) by administering “an effective amount of an inhibitor of phosphodiesterase (PDE) V.” The claim also includes a group of compounds that might be inhibitors but that are not covered by the claim. Lilly’s Cialis drug does serve the function of a PDE inhibitor, but Lilly argues that thousands of other drugs also fit the functional description.

        The E.D. Tex. court hearing the case allowed it to go to a jury trial and confirmed the jury verdict of infringement ($20 million damages). On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed without opinion. (R.36 Affirmance) .


        An interesting aspect of this case is how it relates to patent eligibility. The patentees here appear to have been the first to discover the general concept that PDE V inhibitors can serve as a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia. That general discovery itself is an unpatentable aspect of how the human body works — what the Supreme Court calls a Law of Nature. As such, the patentee looked to find the broadest application of the general law — administering a PDE V inhibitor in an amount effective to treat. In its briefing, the patentee Uropep suggests that there might have been an eligibility argument in this case, but it was waived by Lilly.

      • Patents for Sharing

        Spurred by the Internet, emerging technologies have changed the way commercial firms innovate and have made it possible for individuals to play an important role in that innovation. Producers in the Information Communication Technologies (ICT), and other sectors dealing with complex technologies with many separately patentable components, find it increasingly difficult to make products without infringing on patents held by others. Numerous overlapping patents often cover such products. Producers have developed a new way to use patents: as inclusive rights for sharing their technologies with others through cross-licensing and other private ordering arrangements in order to ensure the freedom to operate and innovate. Individual innovators, and open source software (OSS) programmers in particular, have also developed a new use of copyrights: using them to share their technologies through OSS licenses. Producers of complex technologies use patents for sharing their technologies with OSS programmers and for protecting themselves from patent assertion. In light of these recent uses, this article proposes a new utilitarian theory for patents: patent as the incentive to share, with the reward of increasing the freedom to operate and innovate. It argues that both the ex ante and ex post incentive to invent theories are outdated because they fail to take into account the patent owners’ lack of control over their products in complex technology sectors. This article urges Congress to reevaluate U.S. patent rights in light of the new patent use. It reviews U.S. patents as property rights from the comparative law perspective and proposes the revitalization of the inclusive side of U.S. patents by introducing a compulsory license for blocking patents. It also proposes that the exclusive side of patent rights should be limited to private and experimental use exceptions to ensure the freedom to operate and innovate by sharing.

      • The Effect of High-Tech Clusters on the Productivity of Top Inventors

        The high-tech sector is increasingly concentrated in a small number of expensive cities, with the top ten cities in “Computer Science”, “Semiconductors” and “Biology and Chemistry”, accounting for 70%, 79% and 59% of inventors, respectively. Why do inventors tend to locate near other inventors in the same field, despite the higher costs? I use longitudinal data on top inventors based on the universe of US patents 1971 – 2007 to quantify the productivity advantages of Silicon-Valley style clusters and their implications for the overall production of patents in the US. I relate the number of patents produced by an inventor in a year to the size of the local cluster, defined as a city × research field × year. I first study the experience of Rochester NY, whose high-tech cluster declined due to the demise of its main employer, Kodak. Due to the growth of digital photography, Kodak employment collapsed after 1996, resulting in a 49.2% decline in the size of the Rochester high-tech cluster. I test whether the change in cluster size affected the productivity of inventors outside Kodak and the photography sector. I find that between 1996 and 2007 the productivity of non-Kodak inventors in Rochester declined by 20.6% relative to inventors in other cities, conditional on inventor fixed effects. In the second part of the paper, I turn to estimates based on all the data in the sample. I find that when an inventor moves to a larger cluster she experiences significant increases in the number of patents produced and the number of citations received. Conditional on inventor, firm, and city × year effects, the elasticity of number of patents produced with respect to cluster size is 0.0662 (0.0138). The productivity increase follows the move and there is no evidence of pre-trends. IV estimates based on the geographical structure of firms with laboratories in multiple cities are statistically similar to OLS estimates. In the final part of the paper, I use the estimated elasticity of productivity with respect to cluster size to quantify the aggregate effects of geographical agglomeration on the overall production of patents in the US. I find macroeconomic benefits of clustering for the US as a whole. In a counterfactual scenario where the quality of U.S. inventors is held constant but their geographical location is changed so that all cities have the same number of inventors in each field, inventor productivity would increase in small clusters and decline in large clusters. On net, the overall number of patents produced in the US in a year would be 11.07% smaller.

      • Micron chips away at memory patent fight at Fed Circuit

        The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board that invalidated key claims in an IMS patent on technology for converting analog signals into digital signals.

      • Broad Institute Takes Its Turn in Interference Motion Practice

        Friday, the Broad Institute (and its partners as Senior Party, Harvard University and MIT) filed its opposition to an authorized motion for protective order by the Junior Party (the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier; collectively, “CVC”) as well as its Substantive Motion No. 1 that CVC was barred from the interference by interference estoppel. The arguments in each brief were related by several themes repeated (sometimes exhaustively) both between the briefs and throughout each one.


        The Broad uses the first sentence to counter CVC’s (presumed) argument that judgment estoppel requires a judgment (i.e., a losing party) and that under conditions where the Board (and the Federal Circuit) find no interference-in-fact there is no losing party and thus no estoppel. On the contrary, the Broad argues that the first sentence of the rule applies in such cases and raises an estoppel because (as argued throughout) CVC did not avail itself of its right to file a responsive motion to the Broad’s motion for no interference-in-fact in the ’048 interference. The Broad finds support for its position in the Notice in the Official Gazette (1277 OG 51 TRDRULE, 2003 WL 25967289, Off. Gaz. Pat. & Trademark Office, Vol. 1277, No. 4 at *30 (December 23, 2003), regarding the rule, and further notes that “[t]he PTAB commonly relies on its own notices of rulemaking to interpret the intent of its rules,” citing Garner v. Quate, 2006 WL 3939187, at 22 *6-7 (B.P.A.I. Dec. 14, 2006). This interpretation of the rule is also consistent with the purpose of estoppel, to promote “finality, certainty, and efficiency,” according to the Broad, as well as preventing “serial” interferences (as the Broad alleges CVC is attempting to pursue in this interference). To rebut a reading of the provisions of the MPEP (Section 2308.03(b)) that could be interpreted as being contrary to their own reading, the Broad cites Racing Strollers, Inc. v. TRI Indus., Inc., 878 F.2d 1418, 1422 (Fed. Cir.1989) (en banc), for the principle that “to the extent any portion of the MPEP conflicts with the federal regulations, of course, the federal regulation controls (provided that the Board interprets Rule 127(a) as the Broad does).


        For the absence of doubt, the brief then recites its own patents and application that should be maintained and CVC’s applications having claims (substantially all of them) that should be finally rejected.

        The Board did not grant CVC authorization to file a brief in opposition to the Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 1 but in view of the dispositive nature of this motion it is unlikely not to give CVC the opportunity to respond.

    • Copyrights

      • Guest Post: Copyright Troll-[ing] Canadian Courts? Canada’s First Reverse Class Action Copyright Case

        This Kat was very intrigued to hear about Canada’s first reverse class action copyright case brought by film production companies against a class of a unidentified and potentially unlimited number of Canadians for copyright infringement.


        While some may know Voltage by their films, courts and lawyers refer to them and similar plaintiffs as “copyright trolls”. A copyright troll is a party that aggressively enforces its copyright through litigation in an effort to monetize assertions of infringement. There has been significant case law in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Denmark, and Singapore surrounding copyright trolls generally and Voltage specifically. All of the copyright troll litigation share the same modus operandi​: plaintiff owns a copyright to a film; plaintiff sues numerous John Does identified in a single action for using BitTorrent to copy the movie, all identified using the forensic software companies “Guardaley” or “MaverickEye”; plaintiff subpoenas the Internet Service Providers to obtain the identities of these Does; if successful, plaintiff will send out demand letters to the Does; and, finally, Does will send a settlement to the plaintiff. Where the Does do not respond, the trolls obtain default judgments. Very rarely do these cases reach the merits. Never has an international jurisdiction certified a class of respondents. It appears that Voltage has been on a world tour of trolling Courts for copyright infringement, with stints in the UK, Australia, Singapore, and the US. Canada seems to have been its next stop. And Voltage has attempted an ambitious campaign here.

      • Zervos v Picasso, or copyright v droit d’auteur

        Whilst most readers are likely familiar with the work of Pablo Picasso, the same might not be true for the work of someone who closely worked with and catalogued Picasso’s impressive wealth of artworks.

        Zervos was a Greek-French art historian, critic, collector and publisher who founded the magazine Cahiers d’art in Paris and published several books such as The Art of Crete, The Art of the Cyclades, L’art de l’époque du Renne en France. In the early 1930s, he began to catalog Picasso’s work, publishing what is, among experts, generally known as “Zervos”, a 33-volume publication including more than 16,000 Picasso’s paintings and drawings. The last volume of the catalogue was published in 1978, at a time when both Picasso and Zervos had died.

Latest Software Patent Lawsuit Against GNU/Linux (GNOME) is Connected to Microsoft

Posted in Bill Gates, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pay closer attention to the game, not the players (or show and actors)

Leigh Rothschild
Photo source: Intellectual Ventures (which has since then removed the page connecting it to the troll that’s now suing GNOME, i.e. GNU/Linux)

Summary: Armed by the biggest patent troll of Microsoft, Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC not only threatens but also sues Free software that’s part of standard GNU/Linux desktops

HAVING just returned home I was saddened to find out that GNOME had been sued. The information became public only a few hours ago and the corresponding legal documents are already online. Tux Machines will, as usual, keep a dynamic list of articles (updated as more coverage and/or information arrives). We have some important remarks to make on this newsworthy event, particularly considering the origin of the patent troll — a subject nobody appears to be researching or even touching. We covered it here in past years (thankfully we spent many years tracking these things closely).

“We covered it here in past years (thankfully we spent many years tracking these things closely).”Early coverage said that “GNOME Foundation is Being Sued Because of Shotwell Photo Manager”; notice who they target (GNOME) and remember that funds over there are very limited and are often used for practical needs. They recently received a large and generous donation anonymously. Legal fights such as this are incredibly expensive and may drain the ‘piggy bank’, so this is no laughing matter.

Techrights wrote a LOT about this particular patent troll. Why does he pick on GNU/Linux and why now? Might Red Hat staff realise, at long last, that many of these lawsuits are connected to Microsoft? Red Hat staff is now formally employed by a company that lobbies hard for those patents — those which are often voided by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and US courts. Those are the patents that patent trolls now use against a Red Hat ‘darling’, GNOME.

“This patent lawsuit is connected not only to Microsoft (just check where this patent troll gets his patents from) but also a super-close friend of Bill Gates (he supports the troll personally).”Some Techrights articles about this particular patent troll already explained the connection to Microsoft, e.g. [1, 2, 3].

“GNOME Will “Vigorously Defend” Shotwell in Lawsuit,” said one headline. This is proving that Techrights focused on the right issues all along. Where were other groups, including the FSF and FSFE?

This patent lawsuit is connected not only to Microsoft (just check where this patent troll gets his patents from) but also a super-close friend of Bill Gates (he supports the troll personally).

Microsoft, which funds and runs it, says it “loves Linux”…”

“This is the kind of situation when 26,000 Techrights articles become very handy and invaluable for research (many of the Web pages we cited have since then been removed, but we have copies)”Of course you do, Microsoft…

Of course.

LWN is the latest to write about it; like the prior two blog reports, however, it neglects to mention that this patent troll is connected to Microsoft. It probably just doesn’t know. “Stay tuned,” Corbet wrote, “more details will surely emerge.”

Oh certainly. Stay tuned as we already have plenty of details in past articles (including the three listed above). This is the kind of situation when 26,000 Techrights articles become very handy and invaluable for research (many of the Web pages we cited have since then been removed, but we have copies). Intellectual Ventures has already removed the reference page above (the one where the above photo was originally extracted from).

Time to Rename the Linux Foundation’s Linux.com and Maybe Call it Linux.NET

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Marketing, Microsoft at 4:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Publicity rights (or personality)

Publicity rights

Summary: The “Linux Foundation” has nothing to do with Linux anymore; it’s just an opportunistic and tax-exempt marketing agency looking to squeeze bucks out of the Linux trademark of Linus Torvalds

THE Linux Foundation is killing the Linux brand. It’s misusing it or “lending” it to things that have nothing to do with Linux. Similarly, as an associate of ours put it this morning, Forbes has, as recently as yesterday, resorted to “brand dilution, “open-source” vs “open source”, OSI is too quiet…”

I’ve pointed this out to OSI; but they rarely respond when I raise such concerns or register complaints with them. From the article’s summary: “Open-source relies on collaboration between contributors and companies – but profits make things more difficult. Part one of two.”

“The Linux Foundation is killing the Linux brand. It’s misusing it or “lending” it to things that have nothing to do with Linux.”Notice they’re not even speaking about code! This is pure openwashing.

Yesterday we wrote about how Zemlin’s PAC had been selling (or licensing) the “Linux” brand to dying/unpopular projects (The Corporate Linux Foundation [LF as Agent of Microsoft and Other Serial GPL Violators]”) while outsourcing almost everything to Microsoft. Thomas B. Rücker wrote in response that “LF is an industry association and pay-for-play is their raison-d’etre. At some point it was supposedly ‘just’ about paying Linus, but those days are *long* gone. A lot of the projects that get labeled “LF project”, there’s a vendor paying for this fronting. They’ve been doing this for years. I’ve seen this first hand and was privy to meetings.”

Someone has just pointed out this article to us. It’s about “LF Edge” and it says: “Two open-source foundations – IOTA Foundation working in the sphere of blockchain and the open-source Linux Foundation have come together for Edge computing, specifically the LF Edge.”

“What other ‘snake oil’ is the Linux Foundation willing to be associated with?”What does that have to do with Linux? The Corporate Linux Foundation doubles down on marketing as a business model, misusing the “Linux” brand for quick profit (never mind the dilution of the brand). A few hours ago this site published news entitled “IOTA {MIOTA} Foundation teams up with Linux; may facilitate mainstream interest” (got that? It’s about brand recognition, right?)

Nonsensical sites such as these aren’t even about Linux. To quote the summary: “IOTA is ranked at #16 above Dash but underneath Huobi Token in the market. The price declined at a rate of 11.73% in the course…”

“As for the site known as Linux.com? Forget about it. It’s ‘sold’…”What other ‘snake oil’ is the Linux Foundation willing to be associated with?

As we noted over the weekend, corporations are taking over both “Open Source” and “Linux” (their identity); Microsoft now pays people to relay the lie that Microsoft is authority or commands its competition. As for the site known as Linux.com? Forget about it. It’s ‘sold’… its soul is sold because all editors and writers got fired back in April; all that’s left is a Microsoft-friendly stenographer.

“And now we have a so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation which does more or less the same (you must create an account with Microsoft to participate in “LF” projects) while its news site, Linux.com, promotes .NET.”Welcome to Linux.com? No. Should we call it Linux.NET? Seems reasonable in light of this latest story from Swapnil (“AWS Joins the .NET Foundation”). Whose agenda is being served here? What does that even have to do with Linux?

Need we mention again how the ‘Linux’ Foundation outsources pretty much everything to Microsoft? The code is hosted by a proprietary software platform called GitHub and check out what Pete Zaitcev (Linux developer) published only hours ago:

A job at LinkedIn [owned by Microsoft] in my area includes the following instruction statement:

Don’t apply if you can’t really write code and don’t have a github profile. This is a job for an expert level coder.

I remember the simpler times when LWN authors fretted about the SourceForge monopoly capturing all FLOSS projects.

P.S. For the record, I do have a profile at Github. It is required in order to contribute to RDO, because it is the only way to login in their Gerrit and submit patches for review. Ironically, Fedora offers a single sign-on with FAS and RDO is a Red Hat sponsored project, but nope — it’s easier to force contributors into Github.

We previously covered examples where sponsorship or invitation to events was limited only to those with a GitHub account, i.e. those imprisoned by proprietary software of Microsoft. It’s totally absurd. And now we have a so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation which does more or less the same (you must create an account with Microsoft to participate in “LF” projects) while its news site, Linux.com, promotes .NET.

Guest Article: Are We Still Removing Problems, or Removing Options?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 3:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

Windows options
Windows options

Summary: Monoculture in GNU/Linux as explained by figosdev

To avoid a misunderstanding, here are two things this article is NOT referring to:

1. I’m not referring to situations where there is too much extra trouble to create an option. In other words, if you switch to (or from) elogind to another method of removing a systemd dependency, I’m NOT saying that you need to make both methods an option. That would lead to a potentially infinite amount of maintenance when applied across everything.

(Don’t forget though, that a similar argument is made against providing alternatives to systemd. And maintaining alternatives to that is important.)

2. I’m also NOT saying that it is important to include “the option of having handcuffs.” This is not about supporting non-free software.

“When I do promote FSF-endorsed distros, I focus mostly on Hyperbola and Guix — Hyperbola is particularly important in that I feel Guix is more highly technical, and Hyperbola is necessary for the mainstream.”So with that out of the way, I think a lot of the fully-free FSF distros fall short when it comes to user freedom. I’m referring of course, to newer problems like init freedom. When I do promote FSF-endorsed distros, I focus mostly on Hyperbola and Guix — Hyperbola is particularly important in that I feel Guix is more highly technical, and Hyperbola is necessary for the mainstream.

So I support Hyperbola about as much as any FSF-approved distro. I’m still very happy that Hyperbola was accepted to the list (it’s a huge step forward for the FSF.)

My critique is based on something someone has told me, which I will treat as a mostly-hypothetical problem that I hope Hyperbola devs will either mitigate or avoid.

Essentially, it’s how we go about liberating the user. There are (at least) two ways we can make the user more free: We can become nannies, or we can assist the user in their freedom. I consider these two different approaches, and the difference is the point.

“There are (at least) two ways we can make the user more free: We can become nannies, or we can assist the user in their freedom.”If we choose to be nannies, we make all the decisions, we enforce those decisions, we might even (and this is the worst of it I think) choose to enforce those decisions in a way that there is little recourse for the user if “we” (developers) make a mistake in our judgment.

Here are some things I would like to have removed:

* Gnome: As much as possible. I guess we are stuck with GTK at least — I LOVE leafpad. I use IceWM as well. Year after year, it’s the best. Qt is good, but will there ever be a Qt IceWM or Leafpad?

* Pulseawful: Not enough is done in other distros to make this monstrosity optional.

* Systemd: Obviously. I refer to it as a weapon against free software.

“Some of these technologies are bad for the user and don’t even belong in the free software ecosystem.”And I know the blacklist Hyperbola uses — there are a lot more things.

Some of these technologies are bad for the user and don’t even belong in the free software ecosystem. If they are under a free license, they are free software at least. If they are designed deliberately to limit what else we can do, perhaps the term “Open Source Proprietary Software” (OSPS) applies. I am also ready to promote the term “Punix” for, a reduced-modularity, reduced-user-respecting corporate overthrow kind of design.

Some of these technologies make it really difficult to remove them once they are entrenched. Many of us already agree that this is a major problem.

Getting back to the critique, the longer the blacklist gets, the higher the odds that we will make “a mistake” in what we should remove. And as much as other people are making mistakes about what to include, mistakes about what to remove are just as important.

“Because there are more users than developers; we want the user to have as much say as possible.”It’s very important that we not become nannies — it goes against the entire spirit of free software in my opinion. I’ve spent a while now complaining that the distro concept itself is ripe for user abuse and limits user autonomy.

We should always have user autonomy as our goal — a goal that is higher than autonomy for developers only. Because there are more users than developers; we want the user to have as much say as possible. The freedom isn’t just for us, we are trying to bestow it on everybody.

That means the decisions aren’t just for us.

So I think it’s great that we provide services to remove harmful software. It’s all about how we do it, and what the user is left with in terms of options. Yes, our first priority should be to minimise the impact of (OSPS) software designed to take freedom away. But as we remove more and more we should always try to empower the user in making their own decisions, and not to simply be protective.

I’m not saying distros are evil — they can help a lot. There was a time when a distro was the only efficient way to provide freedom to the user. In an age of automation, we will find the distro is not the most liberating thing possible. We should transcend the distro, and consider options that are distro-agnostic when possible.

That’s a long road ahead, and in the meantime we should never take too much power for ourselves.

I’m in favour of the blacklist, I think it’s a great idea.

I’m not saying that everything on the blacklist should be hosted in the repos either. Perhaps some of it should be. I don’t know if it is — this is partly hypothetical, so the current status is partly irrelevant to what I’m saying.

“Defaults are defaults — the very nature of a default is that it is a choice made for everybody. That’s alright.”What I am saying is that freedom is more important than choice, but choice matters as well. We cannot support every possible example of choice, but we can keep some choices open. That should remain the default, except when we honestly can’t do everything.

We don’t have to make every decision for the user. Defaults are defaults — the very nature of a default is that it is a choice made for everybody. That’s alright.

The decisions made that go beyond defaults, we need to be careful not create another distro that tells the user what to do by doing everything for them, and denying them recourse against our own decisions.

We really have to trust the user more than that, and not devalue their judgment.

This doesn’t necessarily mean making systemd an option; this is about other things than systemd. Systemd itself is an endless growth of problems — plural.

But we definitely can’t treat every option we consider a problem, the way we treat systemd. We can’t enforce every choice of ours as though “we know best.” We have to leave distros more open than that, or we are ultimately making ourselves a slightly improved version of Lennart himself.

“What I do know, is that apart from Hyperbola, other distros are making mistakes like these.”There are no accusations here. This is a comment on concerns brought to me personally, that I have not yet verified. I hope those concerns are unfounded.

What I do know, is that apart from Hyperbola, other distros are making mistakes like these.

So my advice to the Hyperbola team, and my advice to the entire culture of free software is: Let’s do better than that. It’s not about perfection, it’s not about making “every single possible choice” an option.

It’s just about our attitude towards users, and how highly we think of our own decision making and value theirs.

Let’s abandon all the hubris that we can — not just for Hyperbola, but as a higher goal for all free software development: to create freedom wherever we are able as a higher goal, and make our job go beyond removing things we consider a threat.

Finally I will, as an example, put to you a matter related to linux-libre.

“Many of us don’t really care about non-free kernel modules, as we don’t think it’s good to load them in the first place.”Linux-libre has a bug related to its loading of non-free kernel modules.

Many of us don’t really care about non-free kernel modules, as we don’t think it’s good to load them in the first place.

But we don’t work to forbid people from loading them — not even in the FSF distros; meaning, we don’t create whitelists or use DRM-like measures to stop people from loading non-free code on their computers.

Linux-libre has had a bug for years, that prevents it from loading non-free modules.

I used the word “bug” because that’s the word the linux-libre developers use. It’s actually not a desired effect that linux-libre prevents loading non-free modules. It is an unwanted side-effect, according to the developers.

They have sought a fix for years, and consider it unfixable. But it is a shortcoming.

We don’t want to be in the business of creating shortcomings like that when they’re avoidable. Linux-libre has that shortcoming because of its goal of not “enticing the user to install non-free software.” It is related to an error that shows up during boot. In fixing that problem, linux-libre creates an unwanted side effect.

“Having this goal requires an entirely different attitude to one of a nanny. It requires the attitude of a devoted civil servant — devoted not to institutions, but to everyday people.”The point here, is that linux-libre does not have a goal of creating such side effects. They are not considered desirable and it may not be fixable for linux-libre, but when it is possible we should avoid such effects.

Having this goal requires an entirely different attitude to one of a nanny. It requires the attitude of a devoted civil servant — devoted not to institutions, but to everyday people.

To the Hyperbola team and anybody who takes up a similar list of goals, keep up the good work. I realise you are volunteers — this consists of a think piece stating opinions, there are no demands being made here.

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