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Links 22/10/2019: MX-19, Tails 4, Mesa 19.1.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Samsung’s Support for Linux on DeX Fizzles

        Samsung has called quits on its effort to provide a full Linux desktop platform for Android.

        In an email to beta testers last week, Samsung said it would not support its Linux on DeX beta program for future operating system and device releases.

        Samsung’s announcement coincides with Google’s release of the Android 10 OS update and its rollout on Samsung phones. Neither company will provide Linux on DeX support.

        Linux on DeX allows users to connect smartphones or tablets to monitors to simulate a full Linux desktop computing experience. Samsung initially offered DeX as a docking station for phones. It then allowed users to connect their Android phones to monitors via a USB-C cable.

        Samsung did not provide details on what led to the decision to dump DeX support but an advisory informed users that DeX will not be supported in Android 10 beta. Samsung phone users will not be able to perform a version rollback to Android Pie.

      • Disney’s Streaming Service is Having Troubles with Linux

        You might be already using Amazon Prime Video (comes free with Amazon Prime membership) or Netflix on your Linux system. Google Chrome supports these streaming services out of the box. You can also watch Netflix on Firefox in Linux but you have to explicitly enable DRM content.

        However we just learned that Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+ does not work in the same way.

        A user, Hans de Goede, on LiveJournal revealed this from his experience with Disney+ in the testing period. In fact, the upcoming streaming service Disney+ does not support Linux at all, at least for now.

      • Disney+ May Not Work on Chromebooks and Some Android Devices Due to Access Control Technologies

        According to early testing in the Netherlands, Disney+ may not work on a number of popular consumer devices. Much like other streaming services, Disney is using DRM, or Digital Rights Management, to help prevent piracy, but is using a much more strict version.

        Disney is using a DRM service provided by Google called Widevine, which offers three different levels of security. Currently, Disney+ is using level 1, which is the strictest level and is not supported by Chromebooks and many older Android devices.

        Streaming services like Netflix use level 3 DRM, which doesn’t support HD streaming on mobile devices and some Android devices. Disney+ using type 1 allows it to stream in HD, but limits the number of supported devices.

      • Disney+ won’t work on Linux at launch as the DRM is set too high

        IT’S EXPECTED TO lead the vanguard of streaming services launching in the next six months, but Disney+ won’t be available to Linux users at launch.

        The news, which also applies to Chromebooks and some lower-end Android devices, has come about because of the level of DRM applied to streams.

        The service will use a system known as Widevine to try and keep stream rippers at bay. It has three levels of security, and most services, like Google Play, Netflix and Amazon use the lowest – Level 3.

    • Server

      • Unix Celebrates 50 Years

        Today and tomorrow Nokia Bell Labs is hosting a two-day event celebrating 50 years of the Unix operating system, reflecting on Unix’s past and exploring the future of computing. Speakers and panelists include many of the original team that built Unix and designed the C programming language.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Ceph Storage RGW deployment strategies and sizing guidance

          Starting in Red Hat Ceph Storage 3.0, Red Hat added support for Containerized Storage Daemons (CSD) which allows the software-defined storage components (Ceph MON, OSD, MGR, RGW, etc) to run within containers. CSD avoids the need to have dedicated nodes for storage services thus reducing both CAPEX and OPEX by co-located storage containerized daemons.

          Ceph-Ansible provides the required mechanism to put resource fencing to each storage container which is useful for running multiple storage daemon containers on one physical node. In this blog post, we will cover strategies to deploy RGW containers and their resource sizing guidance. Before we dive into the performance, let’s understand what are the different ways to deploy RGW.

        • Behind Red Hat’s growth in the local channel
        • OpenShift 4.2: New YAML Editor

          Through our built-in YAML editor, users can create and edit resources right in the Red Hat OpenShift Web Console UI. In the latest release, we’ve upgraded our editor to include language server support.

          What is language server support?

          The language server support feature uses the OpenAPI schema from Kubernetes to provide content assist inside the YAML editor based on the type of resource you are editing. More specifically, the language server support offers the following capabilities:

          Improved YAML validation: The new editor provides feedback in context, directing you to the exact line and position that requires attention.
          Document outlining: Document outlines offer a quick way to navigate your code.
          Auto completion: While in the editor, language server support will provide you with valid configuration information as you type, allowing you to edit faster.
          Hover support: Hovering over a property will show a description of the associated schema.
          Advanced formatting: Format your YAML.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • How we brought JavaScript to life for Command Line Heroes

        Animators within Red Hat?s Open Studio help bring Command Line Heroes? artwork more to life. All throughout Season 3, they?ve added movement to our episode pages and created eye-catching trailers for social and Red Hat?s YouTube channel. This post highlights their important contributions to the Command Line Heroes? creative process by looking at their work for Episode 3 of Season 4: Creating JavaScript. Also, designer Karen Crowson talks about the easter eggs in that episode?s artwork.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel adds 10nm Ice Lake desktop and server CPUs to Linux kernel

        The fact that Intel’s Kan Liang has signed off on the addition of Ice Lake desktop and server parts to the Linux kernel does lend a little more credence to Intel’s assertion last week that, despite rumours to the contrary, it would definitely be shipping 10nm desktop processors.

        Now it looks like those 10nm CPUs might actually come from the Ice Lake family after all. With Intel Comet Lake, its 10-core big-boy, and Hyper-Threading throughout the range, popping up either late this year or early next we had assumed Intel wasn’t going to follow up the mobile release of Ice Lake with any desktop parts.

      • Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake Linux Performance Benchmarks

        Recently I picked up a Dell XPS 7390 Core i7 Ice Lake laptop for finally testing this Intel 10nm+ processor under Linux. I have delivered some results so far like the Windows vs. Linux OpenGL/Vulkan performance and the Spectre impact with Ice Lake while this article is the first of several really drilling down on the CPU performance. In this article are benchmarks showing how the Core i7-1065G7 compares in raw performance and performance-per-Watt to the earlier Core i7-8565U (Whiskey Lake) and Core i7-8550U (Kabylake-R) processors.

        The Dell XPS 7390 / Core i7-1065G7 continues working out well under Linux as noted in the earlier article with just the potential caveats of needing to switch the storage setting in the firmware over to AHCI mode and on some distributions needing to boot with the intel_lpss_pci driver black-listed. There is also the caveat of Ice Lake Thunderbolt support not in the mainline kernel until Linux 5.4, but at least for Ubuntu 19.10 Canonical has ended up back-porting it to Linux 5.3, but I haven’t seen any other major distributions do the same yet. But besides those few blemishes on modern Linux distributions you should be in good shape for the new Dell XPS / Ice Lake.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 19.1.8
          Mesa 19.1.8 is now available.
          NOTE: It is anticipated that 19.1.8 will be the final release in the
          19.1 series. Users of 19.1 are encouraged to migrate to the 19.2 series
          in order to obtain future fixes.
          Apologies for the big delay in this release; there were several regressions that we
          were investigating, which prevented the pre-release to be on time.
          Subject: [ANNOUNCE] mesa 19.1.8
          To: mesa-announce at lists.freedesktop.org
          Cc: mesa-dev at lists.freedesktop.org
          Adam Jackson (1):
                docs: Update bug report URLs for the gitlab migration
          Alan Coopersmith (5):
                c99_compat.h: Don't try to use 'restrict' in C++ code
                util: Make Solaris implemention of p_atomic_add work with gcc
                util: Workaround lack of flock on Solaris
                meson: recognize "sunos" as the system name for Solaris
                intel/common: include unistd.h for ioctl() prototype on Solaris
          Andreas Gottschling (1):
                drisw: Fix shared memory leak on drawable resize
          Andres Gomez (3):
                docs: Add the maximum implemented Vulkan API version in 19.1 rel notes
                docs/features: Update VK_KHR_display_swapchain status
                egl: Remove the 565 pbuffer-only EGL config under X11.
          Andrii Simiklit (1):
                glsl: disallow incompatible matrices multiplication
          Arcady Goldmints-Orlov (1):
                anv: fix descriptor limits on gen8
          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2):
                tu: Set up glsl types.
                radv: Add workaround for hang in The Surge 2.
          Danylo Piliaiev (1):
                st/nine: Ignore D3DSIO_RET if it is the last instruction in a shader
          Dylan Baker (5):
                meson: fix logic for generating .pc files with old glvnd
                meson: Try finding libxvmcw via pkg-config before using find_library
                meson: Link xvmc with libxv
                meson: gallium media state trackers require libdrm with x11
                meson: Only error building gallium video without libdrm when the platform is drm
          Eric Engestrom (4):
                gl: drop incorrect pkg-config file for glvnd
                meson: re-add incorrect pkg-config files with GLVND for backward compatibility
                util/anon_file: add missing #include
                util/anon_file: const string param
          Erik Faye-Lund (1):
                glsl: correct bitcast-helpers
          Greg V (1):
                util: add anon_file.h for all memfd/temp file usage
          Haihao Xiang (1):
                i965: support AYUV/XYUV for external import only
          Hal Gentz (1):
                gallium/osmesa: Fix the inability to set no context as current.
          Jason Ekstrand (2):
                nir/repair_ssa: Replace the unreachable check with the phi builder
                intel/fs: Fix fs_inst::flags_read for ANY/ALL predicates
          Juan A. Suarez Romero (12):
                docs: add sha256 checksums for 19.1.7
                cherry-ignore: add explicit 19.2 only nominations
                cherry-ignore: add explicit 19.3 only nominations
                Revert "Revert "intel/fs: Move the scalar-region conversion to the generator.""
                cherry-ignore: Revert "gallium: remove PIPE_CAP_TEXTURE_SHADOW_MAP"
                bin/get-pick-list.sh: sha1 commits can be smaller than 8 chars
                cherry-ignore: nir/opt_large_constants: Handle store writemasks
                cherry-ignore: util: added missing headers in anon-file
                cherry-ignore: radv: Fix condition for skipping the continue CS.
                cherry-ignore: Revert "radv: disable viewport clamping even if FS doesn't write Z"
                Update version to 19.1.8
                docs: add release notes for 19.1.8
          Ken Mays (1):
                haiku: fix Mesa build
          Kenneth Graunke (4):
                iris: Initialize ice->state.prim_mode to an invalid value
                intel: Increase Gen11 compute shader scratch IDs to 64.
                iris: Disable CCS_E for 32-bit floating point textures.
                iris: Fix iris_rebind_buffer() for VBOs with non-zero offsets.
          Lionel Landwerlin (5):
                anv: gem-stubs: return a valid fd got anv_gem_userptr()
                intel: use proper label for Comet Lake skus
                mesa: don't forget to clear _Layer field on texture unit
                intel: fix subslice computation from topology data
                intel/isl: Set null surface format to R32_UINT
          Marek Olšák (1):
                gallium/vl: don't set PIPE_HANDLE_USAGE_EXPLICIT_FLUSH
          Matt Turner (1):
                util: Drop preprocessor guards for glibc-2.12
          Michel Dänzer (1):
                radeonsi: fix VAAPI segfault due to various bugs
          Michel Zou (2):
                scons: add py3 support
                scons: For MinGW use -posix flag.
          Paulo Zanoni (1):
                intel/fs: fix SHADER_OPCODE_CLUSTER_BROADCAST for SIMD32
          Prodea Alexandru-Liviu (1):
                scons/MSYS2-MinGW-W64: Fix build options defaults
          Rhys Perry (2):
                radv: always emit a position export in gs copy shaders
                nir/opt_remove_phis: handle phis with no sources
          Samuel Iglesias Gonsálvez (1):
                intel/nir: do not apply the fsin and fcos trig workarounds for consts
          Stephen Barber (1):
                nouveau: add idep_nir_headers as dep for libnouveau
          Tapani Pälli (3):
                iris: close screen fd on iris_destroy_screen
                egl: check for NULL value like eglGetSyncAttribKHR does
                util: fix os_create_anonymous_file on android
          pal1000 (2):
                scons/windows: Support build with LLVM 9.
                scons: Fix MSYS2 Mingw-w64 build.
          git tag: mesa-19.1.8
        • Mesa 19.1.8 Released To End Out The Series

          More than one month has passed since Mesa 19.1.7 compared to the usual bi-weekly release cadence, but on Monday following the closure of remaining blocker bugs, Mesa 19.1.8 was released that also ends out this release series.

          Mesa 19.1.8 is the last planned release in the 19.1 Q2 series with users now being encouraged to upgrade at least to the stable Mesa 19.2 while Mesa 19.3 should be out around early December.

        • Linux 5.5 To Restore Power-Savings For Hybrid Laptops When Not Using The dGPU

          On recent kernels when using a laptop with hybrid graphics but not running with the discrete GPU graphics enabled, a regression meant the dGPU never got powered off… Fortunately, for Linux 5.5 — and potentially to be back-ported after that — is a change to restore that power-savings.

          A change enabling NVIDIA HDA controller support inadvertently left dGPUs powered up when not in use, i.e. where the dGPU is not bound to a driver. When the NVIDIA discrete graphics aren’t bound to a driver, the power saving path wasn’t being hit where the platform power management could disable power to the GPU.

        • Intel Lands More Graphics Code For Linux 5.5 – Jasper, More Intel Xe Multi-GPU Prepping

          Intel’s open-source developers kicked off a new week by sending in their latest vetted changes to DRM-Next ahead of next month’s Linux 5.5 kernel cycle.

          They already have sent in a lot of new graphics driver code for Linux 5.5 particularly around Tiger Lake while this week’s pull request contains more new hardware enablement. They also anticipate sending in another pull request next week to DRM-Next with any other lingering feature work they are hoping to get into Linux 5.5.

        • Intel’s Graphics Compiler For Their NEO Compute Stack Now Supports Jasper Lake

          The team maintaining the LLVM-based Intel Graphics Compiler as part of their “NEO” OpenCL/Compute Stack have rolled out v1.0.2714 that includes initial support for Jasper Lake among other improvements.

          Just in the past week we’ve begun seeing Linux graphics driver patches around “Jasper Lake” and that initial kernel-side support coming for Linux 5.5. Jasper Lake is the rumored 10nm successor to Gemini Lake for low-power SoCs but not to be confused with Elkhart Lake that is Tremont+Gen11 also for ultra-low-power environments based upon the limited information thus far.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Space grand strategy game AI War 2 has now officially launched

        Arcen Games have released a new deadly AI into space with the grand strategy game AI War 2 now available as it has left Early Access. This comes ten years to the date since the original launched as well.

        This is the 11th title from Arcen Games to support Linux after AI War: Fleet Command, Tidalis, A Valley Without Wind, A Valley Without Wind 2, Shattered Haven, Skyward Collapse, Bionic Dues, The Last Federation, Starward Rogue, In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor and now AI War 2. You’ve got to hand it to Arcen, they treat Linux well as a platform for gamers.

      • The Children’s Commissioner in England has called on the government to class loot boxes as gambling

        Here could be the start of another nail in the coffin for loot boxes, as the Children’s Commissioner in England has put out a new report after a little study was done.

        Never heard of the Children’s Commissioner? It’s a public independent body in England that is responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of children (read more here). The current head is Anne Longfield, who today released a pretty damning report on the state of how certain games and companies really attempt to suck money out of people at every opportunity.

        I won’t quote all of it to spare you some of the things we all already know but it’s good to see such a thing being done over here. It’s needed, it has been for a long time now. This particular study had them speak to children between 10 to 16 about their gaming habits, what they liked and disliked and so on. Games included that were talked about include Fortnite, Call of Duty, FIFA, Roblox and more which do have some pretty aggressive advertising of the in-game items and subscriptions.

      • Dead End Job, a twin-stick ghost-sucking shooter releases December 13

        Ant Workshop and publisher Headup have announced the madcap mash-up of Ren & Stimpy meets Ghostbusters, Dead End Job, is releasing on December 13. If you love 90′s cartoons (who doesn’t?) and ghost hunting adventures then you’re probably going to enjoy Dead End Job.

        Interestingly, Ant Workshop was founded by Tony Gowland, who previously worked for Rockstar Games and their first game as an indie was Binaries released back in 2016 with Linux support arriving a little later. On top of that, they’re getting the music in the game produced by the award winning Wil Morton of Solid Audioworks, who also worked for Rockstar Games.

      • Chilly survival game The Long Dark has released Episode 3, Survival Mode update due December

        Today, you can venture back into the frozen wastes of The Long Dark, as Episode Three CROSSROADS ELEGY is now out. You can skip right ahead to it too.

        With the first two episodes following Mackenzie, this new episode instead follows Astrid after she and Mackenzie get separated in Milton at the opening of Episode One. Due to that, Hinterland Studio said they’ve just unlocked the first three episodes for anyone to jump in where the want. They said there “may be some minor spoilers for the earlier episodes, but in general we think this flow can work” and while they still recommend playing from the first episode you now have a choice.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME files defense against patent troll

          A month ago, GNOME was hit by a patent troll for developing the Shotwell image management application. It’s the first time a free software project has been targeted in this way, but we worry it won’t be the last. Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC offered to let us settle for a high five figure amount, for which they would drop the case and give us a licence to carry on developing Shotwell. This would have been simple to do so; it would have caused less work, cost less money, and provided the Foundation a lot less stress. But it also would be wrong. Agreeing to this would leave this patent live, and allow this to be used as a weapon against countless others. We will stand firm against this baseless attack, not just for GNOME and Shotwell, but for all free and open source software projects.

          For these reasons, GNOME Foundation Executive Director Neil McGovern instructed our legal counsel at Shearman & Sterling to file three papers with the court in California.

        • Molly de Blanc: Join GNOME in our fight against a patent troll

          A month ago, GNOME was hit by a patent troll for developing the Shotwell image management application. It’s the first time a free software project has been targeted in this way, but we worry it won’t be the last. Rothschild Patent Imaging, LLC offered to let us settle for a high five figure amount, for which they would drop the case and give us a license to carry on developing Shotwell. This would have been simple to do so; it would have caused less work, cost less money, and provided the Foundation a lot less stress. But it also would be wrong. Agreeing to this would leave this patent live, and allow this to be used as a weapon against countless others. We will stand firm against this baseless attack, not just for GNOME and Shotwell, but for all free and open source software projects.

          For these reasons, GNOME Foundation Executive Director Neil McGovern instructed our legal counsel at Shearman & Sterling to file three papers with the court in California.

          First, a motion to dismiss the case outright. We don’t believe that this is a valid patent, or that software can or should be able to be patented in this way. We want to make sure that this patent isn’t used against anyone else, ever.

        • Richard Hughes: GNOME, and Free Software Is Under Attack

          A month ago, GNOME was hit by a patent troll. We’re fighting, but need some money to fund the legal defense, and counterclaim. I just donated, and if you use or develop free software you should too.

        • GNOME’s patent-troll counterattack

          Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC filed a patent suit against the GNOME Foundation in September, asserting a violation in the Shotwell photo manager. GNOME has now gone on the counterattack, questioning the validity of the patent and whether it applies to Shotwell at all. There is also an unspecified counterclaim to strike back against Rothschild. “We want to send a message to all software patent trolls out there — we will fight your suit, we will win, and we will have your patent invalidated. To do this, we need your help.”

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • MX-19 “patito feo” released!

          We are pleased to offer MX-19 for your use.

          As usual, this iso includes the latest updates from debian 10.1 (buster), antiX and MX repos.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • The Importance of Culture in Software Development

          A few weeks ago at Cloud Foundry Summit, I had the chance to grab a few of our partners and talk about how culture plays a part in the software development process. While appropriate tools are very important, it is only part of the story. Culture will make or break any change initiative regardless of how amazing our technology is.

        • openSUSE Asia Summit

          I met Edwin and Ary earlier this year at the openSUSE Conference in Nuremberg. They invited me to come to the openSUSE Asia Summit happening in Bali. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to attend it. But then, around June I saw a tweet reminding about the deadline for the Call for Proposal for the openSUSE Asia Summit and I thought maybe I should give it a try.

          I submitted a workshop proposal on MicroOS and a lightning talk proposal to the openSUSE Asia CFP team. Both were accepted and I couldn’t be happier. It gave me the chance to meet friends from the openSUSE community again, learn and share more.

          We do not have direct flights to Indonesia. I traveled through Air Mauritius to Kuala Lumpur and then Malaysia Arlines to Denpasar, Bali. I spent almost 24 hours traveling before reaching my hotel in Jimbaran. I was totally knackered when I arrived but the enthusiasm of being there for the summit was stronger than anything.

          I booked a taxi through Traveloka ahead of my arrival in Bali. It was recommended by Edwin. When I compared other taxi fares I felt glad I booked it online. I also bought a SIM card on my way to the hotel with a 6GB data package. I knew we’d all communicate mostly on Telegram, just as we did for oSC 2019. My hotel WiFi connection wasn’t great but I was impressed by the 4G coverage of my mobile Internet provider, XL Axiata. Mobile connectivity was extremely helpful as I would rely on GoJek car-hailing for the next few days.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.0 is out

          We are especially proud to present you Tails 4.0, the first version of Tails based on Debian 10 (Buster). It brings new versions of most of the software included in Tails and some important usability and performance improvements. Tails 4.0 introduces more changes than any other version since years.

        • Tails 4.0

          Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is, as the spelled out name implies, a privacy focused distribution, designed to run from removable media. Version 4.0 has been released.

        • Tails 4.0 Anonymous Linux OS Released, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          The Tails project released today the final version of the Tails 4.0 operating system, a major release that introduces numerous enhancements and updated components.

          Based on the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system, Tails 4.0 is here with up-to-date components to keep your online identity hidden from potential attackers. These include the latest Tor Browser 9.0 anonymous web browser, Tor anonymous network client and server, OnionShare 1.3.2 anonymous file sharing tool, MAT 0.9.0 metadata removal tool, and KeePassXC password manager.

          Tails 4.0 is also powered by the latest Linux 5.3 kernel series, shipping with Linux kernel 5.3.2 in the live ISO image, which brings better support for newer hardware and many other improvements. On top of that, Tails 4.0 ships with GnuPG 2.2.12, Enigmail 2.0.12, Electrum 3.3.8, Git 2.20.1, LibreOffice 6.1.5, Inkscape 0.92.4, GIMP 2.10.8, and Audacity 2.2.2.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.10: A look into Ubuntu’s enterprise future

          As Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth said, “In the 15 years since the first Ubuntu release, we have seen Ubuntu evolve from the desktop to become the platform of choice across public cloud, open infrastructure, IoT, and AI.” The Linux desktop still matters, especially for developers and system administrators, but Canonical’s real cash comes from the cloud.

          I say “plans” because Ubuntu 19.10, Eoan Ermine, isn’t a long-term support (LTS) version. No one — I hope! — will build a business around an operating system with a nine-month support lifetime. The next LTS edition, Ubuntu 20.04, “Focal Fossa, won’t be out until April 2020. But we can see what it’s likely to have by looking at Eoan Ermine.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) Daily Build ISOs Are Now Available to Download

          Unveiled last week as the “Focal Fossa” release, the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS operating system will hit the streets next year on April 23rd, as the 8th long-term support version of Ubuntu Linux, one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems in the world.

          While its development cycle will kick off officially later this week on October 24th, with the toolchain upload, the first daily build ISO images are now already available to download for those who want to test it and report bugs, as well as anyone else who just wants an early taste of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa – Features and Updates

          The next Ubuntu long term support (LTS) release would be code named “Focal Fossa” – Canonical says. The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” would be released on April 23rd 2020 for users including desktops and servers.

          Before we inform you about the tentative feature-set of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – you should know what is ‘Focal Fossa’. As per Wikipedia, Focal Fossa is a “carnivorous mammal regularly found in Madagascar, and it’s related to the mongoose family.” Scary!

        • Regolith Linux Adds Support for Ubuntu 19.10

          We wrote about Regolith Linux (a distro) and the Regolith desktop (a DE) earlier in the year — and the topic proved incredibly popular with many readers.

          So I’m pleased to hear that the Regolith experience is now available on Ubuntu 19.10, aka the latest version of Ubuntu.

          While I recommend read our earlier post out for a comprehensive look at what Regolith is, what it offers, and why it’s (imo) pretty cool, I’ll recap the essentials:

          Regolith Linux is lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 19.04 that uses the Regolith desktop by default.

        • 20 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 19.10 ‘Eoan Ermine’

          Ubuntu 19.10 with codename Eoan Ermine is now here and available for install. For those of you who are eager to check the latest Ubuntu version and for all newcomers to the Linux family, we have prepared few tips to help you get started with Ubuntu 19.10 and get what you may need to complete the setup of your desktop/laptop distro.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) Gets First Linux Kernel Security Patch, Update Now

          Canonical’s recently released Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) operating system has received today its first Linux kernel security patch to address an important security vulnerability.

          Released last week on October 17th, Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) brought numerous new features and improvements, including experimental ZFS on root support in the installer, LZ4 initramfs compression for all architectures, up-to-date toolchain, and embedded Nvidia graphics drivers. It also ships with the latest Linux 5.3 kernel series.

        • How Ubuntu Advantage delivers top-notch Linux security

          Every two years in April, a Long Term Support (LTS) release is published. Ubuntu LTS releases are commonly used in enterprise environments, with more than 60% of large-scale production clouds running Ubuntu LTS images.

          Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) is the latest Ubuntu LTS release, with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS coming in April 2020. Each new LTS release is supported for ten years total; five years of standard support, and five additional years of support under Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure (UA-I). UA-I provides users and organisations access to key security fixes and patches, including Canonical’s Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) and Kernel Livepatch services.

          Twice every year, in April and October, interim releases are published. They are commonly used by those interested in the latest features and capable of upgrading more frequently.

          Our latest interim release, which arrived last week, is Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine). It enhanced capabilities include the latest OpenStack Train release for live-migration assistance, improved security for Kubernetes deployments at the edge and significant updates to desktop performance. Standard support for an interim release is provided for nine months with no additional support extension offered.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • NextCloud on Pi Adventures

        I spent yesterday *finally* setting up a NextCloud instance of my own. It’s been on my todo since I installed fiber at home and got a decent Internet connection.

        I started out with Rasbian Lite and combined it with the NextCloudPi install script from ownyourbits. I then used certbot to install certificates from let’s encrypt before migrating the data directory using these instructions.

        After that it was happy account creation time, before realizing that I could not upload files larger than ~10kB. Very annoying.

      • Escape Google!

        Being practical most people are going to want to keep using Google services, but at least knowing what the issues are, how you can use privacy-enhanced versions or escape completely with your own services is good to know. While Nextcloud is so slick these days and with pre-packaged options it’s certainly fun just to try out, if not deployed as a full-time personal cloud solution.

        But it’s not all worrying about invasion of the privacy snatchers, we’ve plenty of down-to-earth tutorials and projects to keep you busy. We take another look at using Audacity to improve your YouTube audio and create effects, we test out of a bunch of server distros to see which is best for you in Roundup, there’s some lovely retro loving with a look at running ZX Basic and we look at building a wearable webcam from a Pi Zero. Enjoy!

      • Commitment To Elevating The Very Best

        OSI applauds the efforts of every individual who has ever spoken up and taken steps to make free, libre, and open source software communities more inclusive. Without you, the movement would be less vibrant, less welcoming, and irreversibly diminished.

        Whether you’ve led your community to implement a code of conduct or taken the time to mentor someone who isn’t like you, whether you’ve reported toxic behavior or pressured community leaders to act: thank you. It takes courage to change the status quo, and all too often, that comes at a personal expense.

        Ultimately, ours is a moral movement, and our integrity hinges on whether we rise to meet the challenge of seeking justice and equity for all.

        As we move forward, we hope that we can learn as a community and incorporate the lessons of the past into building a better future. Further, we hope we can build bridges to those who have been shut out of our movement, whether by omission or commission, at the hands of systemic bias as well as toxic and predatory behavior.

        As the saying goes in open source, “Many eyes lead to shallower bugs.” So too do many perspectives lead to better software. Here’s to a better, more inclusive tomorrow.

        - The OSI Board of Directors

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

            • Firefox 70 is Here with New Logo, Secure Password Generator + More

              The release, the latest stable update to the hugely popular open source web browser, features a number of notable improvements and privacy enhancements.

              Among the changes is the new Firefox logo we reported on back in June. The new Firefox logo for the browser — there’s a separate new logo for Firefox as a product family — is as striking as it is colourful, and certainly helps give the browser a more ‘modern’ presence across operating systems.

              But the “visual” changes don’t stop there.

              Users will also now see an indicator in the address bar when loading a website that accesses geolocation data.

            • Firefox 70 Released With JavaScript Baseline Interpreter, Other Updates

              Firefox 70.0 officially hit the web this morning as the newest version of Mozilla’s web browser.

              Firefox 70 is notable on the JavaScript front with enabling the new Baseline Interpreter as a faster JavaScript interpreter. The baseline interpreter is exciting but there are also various security improvements, WebRender being flipped on by default for more systems (though on the Windows side), various developer tooling enhancements, privacy handling refinements, and many other web API / developer additions.

            • Firefox 70 — a bountiful release for all

              Firefox 70 is released today, and includes great new features such as secure password generation with Lockwise and the new Firefox Privacy Protection Report; you can read the full details in the Firefox 70 Release Notes.

              Amazing user features and protections aside, we’ve also got plenty of cool additions for developers in this release. These include DOM mutation breakpoints and inactive CSS rule indicators in the DevTools, several new CSS text properties, two-value display syntax, and JS numeric separators. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the highlights!

            • Firefox 70 Is Out Today with the Ability to “Track the Trackers”

              Mozilla has today released Firefox 70.0 for all platforms. The previous version of the browser arrived with Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) enabled by default on all platforms. The latest version of this privacy-focused browser ups the game by also bringing Social tracking protection – which blocks cross-site tracking cookies from sites like Facebook and Twitter – under the Standard settings. [The browser offers Standard, Strict, and Custom privacy settings.]

              The company said that since July 2 it has blocked over 450 billion tracking requests that attempted to follow Firefox users. Mozilla added that all of this happened behind the scenes but the growing threat to privacy warrants more visibility to these efforts.

            • Dramatically reduced power usage in Firefox 70 on macOS with Core Animation

              In Firefox 70 we changed how pixels get to the screen on macOS. This allows us to do less work per frame when only small parts of the screen change. As a result, Firefox 70 drastically reduces the power usage during browsing.In short, Firefox 70 improves power usage by 3x or more for many use cases. The larger the Firefox window and the smaller the animation, the bigger the difference. Users have reported much longer battery life, cooler machines and less fan spinning.

            • Latest Firefox Brings Privacy Protections Front and Center Letting You Track the Trackers

              Our push this year has been building privacy-centric features in our products that are on by default. With this move, we’re taking the guesswork out of how to give yourself more privacy online thanks to always-on features like blocking third-party tracking cookies and cryptominers also known as Enhanced Tracking Protection. Since July 2 we’ve blocked more than 450 billion tracking requests that attempt to follow you around the web.

            • Firefox 70 released

              Version 70 of the Firefox web browser is out. The headline features include a new password generator and a “privacy protection report” showing users which trackers have been blocked. “Amazing user features and protections aside, we’ve also got plenty of cool additions for developers in this release. These include DOM mutation breakpoints and inactive CSS rule indicators in the DevTools, several new CSS text properties, two-value display syntax, and JS numeric separators.” See the release notes for more details.

            • Firefox 70 new contributors
            • The Illusion of choice and the need for default privacy protection

              Since July 2019, Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection has blocked over 450 Billion third-party tracking requests from exploiting user data for profit. This shocking number reveals the sheer scale of online tracking and it highlights why the current advertising industry push on transparency, choice and “consent” as a solution to online privacy simply won’t work. The solutions put forth by other tech companies and the ad industry provide the illusion of choice. Let’s step through the reasons why that is and why we ultimately felt it necessary to enable Enhanced Tracking Protection by default.

            • Firefox privacy protections reveal who’s trying to track you

              You could say that a web browser is kind of like a car. The engine drives you where you want to go, and a dashboard tells you what’s happening under the hood. And cars these days have dashboards that go beyond the basics of your speed and fuel level. They also alert you to things you might not realize, like when you need to brake and if you’re driving in a blind spot. The latest Firefox has a new privacy protections dashboard that reveals who’s trying to track you behind the scenes and helps you stop them.

            • New password security features come to Firefox with Lockwise

              Remembering unique, strong passwords for all your accounts and apps is a challenge, but it’s also essential for good digital security. We’re making that easier by helping you generate and manage passwords with Firefox Lockwise — all seamlessly, straight from your browser. Here’s how the new password security features work.

            • No Judgment Digital Definitions: What is a web tracker?

              Let’s say you’re on an outdoor pizza oven website dreaming about someday owning one. Mmm pizza. Next you switch gears and visit a fitness site; low and behold an ad for the pizza oven you were just looking at is there, too. Then you go to YouTube to see how easy it would be to build your own pizza oven (it’s too hard), but first you have to sit through an advertisement about, you guessed it, that same pizza oven. Time to check Instagram on your phone, and there it is again, grinning at you as a sponsored post in your feed.

            • No-judgment digital definitions: What are social media trackers?

              Let’s be honest. We’re usually pretty particular about what we post on social media, right? When we’re on vacation, we’ll post photos on Facebook of a beautiful sunset… and crop out the guy wearing the “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” T-shirt. We’ll post on LinkedIn about our exciting new job… but not that we were laid off four months earlier and self-medicated with pints of ice cream.

              While we choose what we want to share with our friends and followers, we don’t get to choose what those social media platforms learn about us behind the scenes.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 Alpha1 is ready for testing

          The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 6.4 Alpha1 is ready for testing!

          LibreOffice 6.4 will be released as final at the beginning of February, 2020 ( Check the Release Plan ) being LibreOffice 6.4 Alpha1 the first pre-release since the development of version 6.4 started in the beginning of June, 2019. Since then, 4600 commits have been submitted to the code repository and more than 720 bugs have been set to FIXED in Bugzilla. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.


        • GNU Parallel 20191022 (‘Driving IT’) released [stable]

          GNU Parallel 20191022 (‘Driving IT’) [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/parallel/

          No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.
          GNU Parallel is 10 years old next year on 2020-04-22. You are here by invited to a reception on Friday 2020-04-17.

        • GNU Health: 10 years of Freedom and Equity in Healthcare

          I am back from my trip to India, where I spent a week with the team of All India Institute of Medical Sciences – AIIMS –, the largest public hospital in Asia and a leading research institution. They have taken the decision to adopt GNU Health, the Free Hospital and Health Information System.

          One key aspect in Free Software is ownership. From the moment they adopted GNU Health, it now also belongs to AIIMS. They have full control over it. They can download and upgrade the system; access the source code; customize it to fit their needs; and contribute back to the community. This is the definition of Free Software.

          The definition of Free Software is universal. GNU Health is equally valid for very large institutions, national public health networks and small, rural or primary care centers. The essence is the same.

        • The 3rd FSFE System Hackers hackathon

          On 10 and 11 October, the FSFE System Hackers met in person to tackle problems and new features regarding the servers and services the FSFE is running. The team consists of dedicated volunteers who ensure that the community and staff can work effectively. The recent meeting built on the great work of the past 2 years which have been shaped by large personal and technical changes.

          The System Hackers are responsible for the maintenance and development of a large number of services. From the fsfe.org website’s deployment to the mail servers and blogs, from Git to internal services like DNS and monitoring, all these services, virtual machines and physical servers are handled by this friendly group that is always looking forward to welcoming new members.

      • Programming/Development

        • Picolibc Updates (October 2019)

          Tiny stdio in picolibc uses a global variable, __iob, to hold pointers to FILE structs for stdin, stdout, and stderr. For this to point at actual usable functions, applications normally need to create and initialize this themselves.

          If all you want to do is make sure the tool chain can compile and link a simple program (as is often required for build configuration tools like autotools), then having a simple ‘hello world’ program actually build successfully can be really useful.

          I added the ‘dummyiob.c’ module to picolibc which has an iob variable initialized with suitable functions. If your application doesn’t define it’s own iob, you’ll get this one instead.

        • NGT: A library for high-speed approximate nearest neighbor search

          Different search methods are used for different data types. For example, full-text search is for text data, content-based image retrieval is for images, and relational databases are for data relationships. Deep learning models can easily generate vectors from various kinds of data so that the vector space has embedded relationships among source data. This means that if two source data are similar, the two vectors from the data will be located near each other in the vector space. Therefore, all you have to do is search the vectors instead of the source data.
          Moreover, the vectors not only represent the text and image characteristics of the source data, but they also represent products, human beings, organizations, and so forth. Therefore, you can search for similar documents and images as well as products with similar attributes, human beings with similar skills, clothing with similar features, and so on. For example, Yahoo! Japan provides a similarity-based fashion-item search using NGT.

        • Tryton Spanish Days 2019: In Alicante on the 27th & 28th of November

          The Tryton Foundation is happy to announce the venue and date of the next Tryton Spanish Days.

        • 6 Excellent Free Books to Learn OCaml

          Caml is a general-purpose, powerful, high-level programming language with a large emphasis on speed and efficiency. A dialect of the ML programming language, it supports functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming styles. Caml has been developed and distributed by INRIA, a French research institute, since 1985.

          The OCaml system is the main implementation of the Caml language. It has a very strong type-checking system, offers a powerful module system, automatic memory management, first-class functions, and adds a full-fledged object-oriented layer. OCaml includes a native-code compiler supporting numerous architectures, for high performance; a bytecode compiler, for increased portability; and an interactive loop, for experimentation and rapid development. OCaml’s integrated object system allows object-oriented programming without sacrificing the benefits of functional programming, parametric polymorphism, and type inference. The language is mature, producing efficient code and comes with a large set of general purpose as well as domain-specific libraries.

          OCaml is often used for teaching programming, and by large corporations. OCaml benefits from a whole range of new tools and libraries, including OPAM (package manager), optimizing compilers, and development tools such as TypeRex and Merlin.

          OCaml was written in 1996 by Xavier Leroy, Jérôme Vouillon, Damien Doligez, and Didier Rémy at INRIA in France.

        • Build win32/win64 nightlies using Gitlab CI

          A week ago after getting Dia nightlies published on GNOME’s new Flatpak nightlies infrastructure I was discussing with Zander Brown, the new maintainer of Dia, of the possibility to publish Windows nightlies through Gitlab the same way we do with Flatpak bundles. A few minutes later I was already trying to cargo-cult what Gedit had to build Windows bundles.

          It took me a bit of time to figure out how things work, especially that I wanted to make it easier for you to set up a win32/win64 build for your project without much work and as we already use a CI template for Flatpak builds, I ended up doing something pretty similar, but a bit more complex under the hood.

        • Additions and Corrections

          FreeBSD official ports has KDE Frameworks 5.63, Plasma 5.17 and Applications 19.08.2 so it’s right up-to-date with the main KDE releases and it makes a great development platform.

        • NumFOCUS and Tidelift partner to support essential community-led open source data science and scientific computing projects

          NumFOCUS and Tidelift today announced a partnership to support open source libraries critical to the Python data science and scientific computing ecosystem. NumPy, SciPy, and pandas—sponsored projects within NumFOCUS—are now part of the Tidelift Subscription. Working in collaboration with NumFOCUS, Tidelift financially supports the work of project maintainers to provide ongoing security updates, maintenance and code improvements, licensing verification and indemnification, and more to enterprise engineering and data science teams via a managed open source subscription from Tidelift.

        • Python Plotting With Matplotlib

          A picture is worth a thousand words, and with Python’s matplotlib library, it fortunately takes far less than a thousand words of code to create a production-quality graphic.

          However, matplotlib is also a massive library, and getting a plot to look just right is often achieved through trial and error. Using one-liners to generate basic plots in matplotlib is relatively simple, but skillfully commanding the remaining 98% of the library can be daunting.

        • Nominations for 2019 Malcolm Tredinnick Memorial Prize

          Malcolm was an early core contributor to Django and had both a huge influence and large impact on Django as we know it today. Besides being knowledgeable he was also especially friendly to new users and contributors. He exemplified what it means to be an amazing Open Source contributor. We still miss him.

          The DSF Prize page summarizes the prize nicely:

          The Malcolm Tredinnick Memorial Prize is a monetary prize, awarded annually, to the person who best exemplifies the spirit of Malcolm’s work – someone who welcomes, supports and nurtures newcomers; freely gives feedback and assistance to others, and helps to grow the community. The hope is that the recipient of the award will use the award stipend as a contribution to travel to a community event — a DjangoCon, a PyCon, a sprint — and continue in Malcolm’s footsteps.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: pkgKitten 0.1.5: Creating R Packages that purr

          This release provides a few small changes. The default per-package manual page now benefits from a second refinement (building on what was introduced in the 0.1.4 release) in using the Rd macros referring to the DESCRIPTION file rather than duplicating information. Several pull requests fixes sloppy typing in the README.md, NEWS.Rd or manual page—thanks to all contributors for fixing these. Details below.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by CentOS (jss and kernel), Debian (libpcap, openjdk-8, and tcpdump), Fedora (java-11-openjdk), openSUSE (libreoffice), Oracle (java-1.7.0-openjdk), Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk, python, and wget), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk), SUSE (ceph, ceph-iscsi, ses-manual_en, dhcp, openconnect, and procps), and Ubuntu (exiv2, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-snapdragon, and uw-imap).

      • Password lessons: Longer is better, so is salt

        Infosec pros who had no idea of how easily a stolen list of hashed passwords could be cracked got a sobering lesson at this month’s SecTor security conference in Toronto.

        There, Will Hunt, co-founder of the U.K. based In.security consulting firm, casually talked of systems that can be built around a common (about $1,500) Nvidea GTX 2080 graphics card that could make 100 billion guesses a second in a brute force attack.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Go Home America. After You Made Our Sons Die’: Outraged Syrian Kurds Throw Dirt and Rotten Food at Fleeing US Troops

        “To the U.S. Army who are leaving northeast Syria, tell your children that the children of the Kurds were killed by the Turks and you did nothing to protect them.”

      • As Trump Tweets He Is ‘Bringing Soldiers Home,’ Pentagon Chief Says US Forces Leaving Syria Are Shifting to Iraq

        “We simply cannot believe anything the Trump administration says—and neither can our allies.”

      • No, Trump Isn’t Bringing US Troops Home

        Although Trump keeps talking about bringing the troops home from the Middle East, that isn’t what he is doing. There are some 60,000 US troops in and around the Middle East. There is no prospect of any significant number of them “coming home” any time soon.

      • The Empire Steps Back

        What everyone is most upset about with regard to Syria isn’t the bloodshed or anything having [to] do with human rights. It’s the decline in American control of the Middle East. This is 100% about US imperialism taking a hit.

      • Myopic Morality: The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush

        It’s a nice story if you don’t think beyond it: former president George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, sitting in the Cowboys’ owner’s luxury suite with Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi at a Dallas Cowboys/Green Bay Packers NFL game. “People were upset,” DeGeneres was quoted as saying. “They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president. . . . A lot of people were mad . And they did what people do when they’re mad . . . they tweet.” Rather than sharing any negative tweets, DeGeneres offered a positive one: “ ‘Ellen and George Bush together makes me have faith in America again.’” DeGeneres then made an observation that also was enthusiastically applauded by her television audience: “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them . . . When I say, ‘be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.” (“Ellen DeGeneres explains hanging out with her friend George W. Bush,” By Lisa Respers France, CNN, Oct. 8, 2019)

      • Let’s Make Sure the Nazis Killed in Vain

        I don’t know how many times I heard that if we don’t stand by Israel, the victims of the Nazi Judeocide will have died in vain. I knew something was wrong with that claim, but for the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on it. Now I think I can.


        The victims of the Holocaust did not see themselves as dying for a cause and were not expecting their deaths to accomplish anything on their part. They certainly did not think of themselves as dying for the future establishment of a chauvinist Jewish state in Palestine, although a small number might have been Zionists.

      • Russian journalist-turned-mercenary reportedly killed in Libya

        Yevgeny Ilyubayev, a journalist from Yekaterinburg, has evidently been killed in the Libyan civil war, the local investigative outlet Znak.com reported based on anonymous tips.

      • Chinese Revolution at 70: Twists and Turns, to What?
      • No Limits to Evil?

        Not all world leaders are evil.  The Russians are bombing hospitals in Syria, but the president of Ethiopia has just won the Nobel Prize for fostering peace in the Horn of Africa.  Meanwhile, the presidents of China, Russia, India, Turkey, and  the United States are distinguished by their almost unimaginably evil actions.   

      • Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition

        My friend Marianne Goldscheider, who is 87, suffered a broken hip in July, 2018 and then, in June 2019, it happened again. When she broke her hip the first time, she was running, with her son, on a football field. After the second break, when she fell in her kitchen, she recalls her only desire as she was placed on a stretcher. “I just wanted ‘the right pill,’” she says. She wished she could end her life. Marianne says her Catholic friends, who live nearby in the New York Catholic Worker community, persuaded her not to give up. They’ve long admired her tenacity, and over the years many have learned from her history as a survivor of the Nazi regime who was forced to flee Germany. Recalling her entry to the United States, Marianne jokes she may have been one of the only displaced persons who arrived in the United States carrying her skis. Yet she also carried deep anxieties, the “angst,” she says, of her generation. She still wonders about German people in the military and the aristocracy who knew Hitler was mad and, yet, didn’t try to stop him. “When and how,” she wonders, “do human beings get beyond all reasoning?”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Adam Silver Reveals The Chinese Government Asked Him To Fire Daryl Morey

        We’ve been taken on something of a journey over the past several weeks by China and their thin-skinned government’s attempt to pressure everyone into forgetting that Hong Kong exists. Specifically, it seems that Beijing is quite afraid of any person with a platform showing any support for the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, which much of the world sees as an attempt to stave off an authoritarian government with a history of human rights abuses. While much of the eSports gaming world has taken the cowardly step to self-censor — going so far as to punish those competing in a fairly hamfisted manner — there is also this NBA…thing.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Bad Laws And The Best Of Intentions: Law Designed To ‘Protect’ Gig Workers May Destroy Journalism Freelancers

        For years there have been arguments about the whole “gig work” economy, and how the various “gig workers” should be classified. Specifically, it historically came down to a question of whether or not they should be seen as contractors/freelancers or employees. Of course, the real answer should probably be “neither” and there should be a different classification altogether (if we must classify them). However, following a California Supreme Court ruling that found that the so-called “ABC Test” should be used for determining employment, California pushed for a law codifying that rule, which would, in theory, force tons of companies to reclassify contract/gig workers as “employees.” Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law last month with a signing statement that claimed it was to combat the “hollowing out of our middle-class…” and suggesting this will somehow help workers.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Azerbaijan: Peaceful Rallies Dispersed Violently

        Azerbaijan police violently dispersed two peaceful protests in central Baku on October 19 and 20, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. Police rounded up dozens of peaceful opposition and civic activists, beating and roughing them up while forcing them onto buses and into police cars.

      • Lebanon Plan to Address Protest Grievances Falls Short

        Spontaneous anti-government demonstrations broke out across Lebanon last week, sparked by the announcement of a slew of new taxes. The largely peaceful protests took an ugly turn on October 18th.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Ed Norton Calls Out Steven Spielberg & Hollywood For Demonizing Netflix

        Earlier this year Steven Spielberg had a “get off my lawn” moment in demanding that films from Netflix and other streaming services be excluded from Oscar contention. The sentiment isn’t uncommon among old-school Hollywood types who see traditional film as somehow so sacred that it shouldn’t have to change or adapt in the face of technological evolution. It was the same sentiment recently exhibited by the Cannes film festival when they banned Netflix films because Netflix pushed back against absurd French film laws like the 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming availability.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Ericsson privateer Unwired Planet seeking $8 billion from Apple over standard-essential patents, submission to UK Supreme Court says

          Yesterday it became known that Apple is an intervenor (as is Qualcomm with its diametrically opposed views) in the UK Supreme Court appeal of Unwired Planet v. Huawei (consolidated with Conversant v. ZTE).

          Day 2 of the hearing just started. Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Howard, counsel for Huawei, came out swinging–he’s more forceful today than he was yesterday, though the point he drove home on Monday that the implementer of a standard is entitled to dispute validity and infringement (an entitlement that would be vitiated by a SEP holder just being given all the leverage in a single jurisdiction to force the defendant into a global portfolio license).

          Given how outrageous the lower courts’ rulings in this case were, I would have expected more judges to make the kinds of statements we heard from Lady Black, who so far appears to have the best grasp at both the theoretical/dogmatic and practical levels of the case. And by now the most senior judge on the panel, Lord Reed (Deputy President of the Court) appears to have totally understood the difference between a declared-essential patent (with declarations being made even before it’s clear what the ultimately-adopted standard looks like, which is but one of the various uncertainties between a declared-essential patents and an established-essential patent). This is closely related to that brilliant point I mentioned: it’s not about turning SEP licensing (in my words) into an implementer’s jukebox–it is, as Mr. Howard made clear yesterday, about the entitlement to dispute validity and essentiality, which involves issues on which one jurisdiction may very well reach a different conclusion from another (as has been proven in this case, where Unwired Planet is on the losing track in China so far).


          The new information is now that what Unwired Planet demands from Apple amounts to $8 billion.

          If those patents are really that valuable–and it’s not like Ericsson doesn’t know a thing or two about cellular SEPS–, why would Ericsson have transferred them to Unwired Planet without a substantial one-time payment due upon the signing of the agreement? It’s because Unwired Planet is not a regular and genuine acquirer. It’s, as I just said, a licensing and litigation agent. No legal issues concerning the transaction itself or directly related to it, such as standing, are at issue in the UK case. But this is important context because it shows the policy implications of the lower courts’ misguided decisions.

        • Six months after settlement, Apple and Qualcomm opposing each other in UK court: interventions in Unwired Planet v. Huawei

          There is a lot at stake in this case (for the technology industry, this is bigger than Brexit), and the panel of five justices, led by Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the UK Lord Reed, will hear argument over the course of four days–or a total of roughly 20 hours, which is about 10-20 times as long as a U.S. Supreme Court hearing in a comparable case would be. While this case involves certain questions specific to standard-essential patents (SEPs) that the UK Supreme Court must delve into, it wouldn’t actually be hard to find a dispositive error. But the UK Supreme Court doesn’t seem to be looking for a shortcut. They’re trying to narrow the actual issue of dispute down with a jigsaw as opposed to just disposing of the case with a chainsaw. While courts at all levels, and especially top-level courts, generally seek to rule narrowly rather than broadly, there’s always the risk of not seeing the forest amid all the trees.

          After the first day, there is no clear indication as to what’s going to happen. Huawei’s counsel had all the speaking time today, and drove a few points home, but hasn’t dealt the lower courts’ misguided rulings a knock-out blow yet.

          One circumstance that has me concerned is that Lord Justice Kitchin, who was on the appellate panel that upheld Mr. Justice Birss’s reasoning, is now on the Supreme Court–not on the panel hearing this case, but he appears to seize each and every opportunity, be it a Munich conference that I attended earlier this year or a recent interview with ManagingIP magazine, to advocate affirmance instead of letting his colleagues form their own opinion without a questionable kind of attempt to influence their thinking (indirectly, as I don’t presume he actually talked to them about this case).


          That entitlement wasn’t abolished by the CJEU’s Huawei v. ZTE ruling. But that leads us to the other point I wish to make (as there’ll be opportunities on the following days to look at this case from more angles): I got the impression that the UK courts–at all three levels–are influenced far too strongly by that Huawei v. ZTE decision and the idea that FRAND goes both ways (though the reciprocal-license requirement in an ETSI FRAND declaration is irrelevant to this, and Lady Black made a very important when she stressed that the FRAND undertaking estops the declarant, but does not prevent the implementer from disputing validity and infringement). Brexit hasn’t happened yet, so CJEU rulings can still govern UK cases, but what needs to be considered is that Huawei v. ZTE came from Germany, a jurisdiction that doesn’t distinguish between legal and equitable remedies. But UK law does give judges more discretion with respect to the grant of injunctive relief. Huawei v. ZTE may be the only line of defense (until Germany finally brings its national patent law into compliance with the IPR enforcement directive of the EU) for a company held to infringe a SEP. It’s an antitrust defense. In the UK, however, courts don’t even need to resort to antitrust law in order to find that a patent holder–in this case, one that doesn’t make any products–can simply be made whole with money, even if it may take a couple of rounds of litigation to get there.

          The ruling that is being reviewed here does not contain a proper derivation of a result from the starting parameters. In this case, as Huawei’s counsel outlined, the major market is China, as is the place of manufacturing, and Unwired Planet has already lost multiple patents there and may end up having failed to prove the infringement of a single valid patent. In such cases, a real-world defendant will, in the absence of judicial imperialism, base its negotiating position largely on the parties’ positions of strength and weakness in the most relevant jurisdiction.

          It was British understatement when Huawei’s counsel said toward the end of the first hearing day that the UK wouldn’t be a major patent litigation venue in the smartphone industry (except in the event of affirmance) as it is neither where those phones are manufactured nor the place where most of them are sold. The UK market isn’t small or poor, and many parties have litigated there (such as by seeking declaratory judgment of invalidity) just to be handed decisions that would serve as persuasive authority in other countries, such as Germany. And one can submit UK rulings in many other jurisdictions even without having to translate them (while translation costs are a non-issue, it’s always preferable to present an original decision).

      • Copyrights

        • Ready to Pay $30,000 for Sharing a Photo Online? The House of Representatives Thinks You Are

          Tomorrow the House of Representatives has scheduled to vote on what appears to be an unconstitutional copyright bill that carries with it life altering penalties. The bill would slap $30,000 fines on Internet users who share a copyrighted work they don’t own online.

          Take Action

        • Congress Looks To Rush Through Unconstitutional Pro-Copyright Trolls Bill, Despite Promising To Explore Alternatives

          We’ve written a bunch about the CASE Act, which Congress (misleadingly) has referred to as a sort of “small claims court” for copyright claims. Supporters say that this is needed because actually going to federal court, where copyright claims are normally heard, is too expensive for smaller copyright holders. There are multiple problems with this, starting with the fact that an entire industry of copyright trolling firms has been built up around “helping” smaller copyright holders demand payment from anyone who uses their works, and the courts are already flooded with such cases (many of which are already dubious). Second, the CASE Act is not actually about “small claims” nor is it a “court.” The process it can create — a tribunal within the Copyright Office — can order accused infringers to pay up to $30,000, which is not very small at all. Yet, Congress is so out of touch with the average American citizen that one member, Rep. Doug Collins, literally laughed about how $30,000 was such a “small claim.”

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