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10.23.19

Links 23/10/2019: Septor 2019.6 Released and Martin Wimpress the New Ubuntu Desktop Director

Posted in News Roundup at 2:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Sadly, Disney+ will not operate on Chromebooks, Ubuntu, and some Android devices due to DRM
    • AMD

      • Updated AMD Zen CPU Microcode Lands In Linux-Firmware Tree

        But as is often the case with new additions to linux-firmware.git, the changes to said microcode/firmware binaries aren’t usually described in any level of detail. Though with this Zen CPU microcode update it ultimately shouldn’t mean too much assuming you are punctual with your motherboard firmware updates that generally ship with the new AMD CPU microcode revisions, in which case the older (in-tree) firmware isn’t loaded.

      • RADV Lands More Fixes + Performance Improvements Into Mesa 19.3

        It’s always great waking up and to find RADV improvements in Mesa Git for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver that is particularly popular with Linux gamers.

        Hitting Mesa 19.3 overnight was re-enabling fast depth/stencil clears with separate aspects for GFX10/Navi. This was disabled before for causing “weird issues” on GFX10 but no longer appears to be the case. This path also works fine when tested with Feral’s new Shadow of Mordor Vulkan beta.

      • AMD Joins The Blender Foundation With An Emphasis On Vulkan

        Just earlier this month NVIDIA announced their funding of the Blender Foundation at the flagship “patron” level and now AMD has followed them in backing this foundation for assisting the development of this leading 3D creation software.

        AMD now joins NVIDIA and Epic Games at the patron level, which means contributing at least €120k per year to the foundation.

      • AMDVLK 2019.Q4.1 Vulkan Driver Brings Performance Tuning, Reworked Pipeline Cache

        AMD has been off their weekly release regiment for their open-source AMDVLK Vulkan driver but this morning they issued their first new release in just about one month.

        AMDVLK 2019.Q4.1 is this first AMDVLK source drop for the fourth quarter. Given the four weeks since the last Linux Vulkan driver source update, there have been many changes/improvements. Some of the large work items include supporting host mapped foreign memory (VKI_EXT_HOST_MAPPED_FOREIGN_MEMORY), reworking of its Vulkan pipeline cache and other cache improvements, and tuning the shader performance for F1 2017 and The Talos Principle.

    • Server

      • Has container hype jumped the shark?

        You can’t read tech news anymore without seeing containers everywhere. Containers have become the way for everyone to run their jobs on the cloud. And, to manage containers, Kubernetes is everyone’s favorite. But, according to a Cloud Foundry, the open-source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) survey of CIOs and top-level programmers, developers are calling the IT shots, and they’re getting a little tired of all containers all the time.

        Instead, the report, Climbing up the Stack, found that while PaaS usage has jumped 6% in the last two quarters (41% to 47%), serverless usage and container usage are leveling at 14% and 37%, respectively. It’s not that containers are going away. They’re much too valuable for that happen.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat is positioning itself as the digital transformation partner of the enterprise

          Although the concept of digital transformation isn’t new, the way in which companies are leveraging technology to make changes to their day-to-day business is constantly evolving, according to Red Hat senior vice president of cloud platforms Ashesh Badani.

          Using packaging and logistics giant UPS as his example, Badani said the organisation has been working with Red Hat on how it can make its monolithic architecture more modern, in a way that can support them into the future, but also allow for faster innovation.

          “Essentially take processing to the edge to improve the way they schedule packages, deliver them, increase efficiency routes,” he told Red Hat Forum in Melbourne last week. “Be able to do that quickly, because every customer wants personalisation, and they want to be able to make sure that they can see where their packages are.”

          Badani said UPS is now taking advantage of micro services-based technologies, which he said allows for the analytics to take place at the edge, useful in places such as distribution centres that are closest to the actual customers.

        • Engineering compatibility with the Red Hat Universal Base Image

          The Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) has an end user license agreement which allows partners, customers and community members to deploy it anywhere, but it takes a lot more than a license to create a container base image that’s suitable for your enterprise applications. In part, suitability for enterprise deployments comes from the compatibility guarantees of a Linux operating system. No Linux container base image can claim compatibility or supportability everywhere. Compatibility must be engineered into a system like OpenShift, from Kubernetes down to the Linux kernel on the container host.

          People often confuse portability with compatibility. Linux containers are generally considered “portable” because you can often run binaries built for one Linux distribution on another distribution of the same architecture. It’s often possible to run containers built from one distribution’s userland on another Linux distribution.. This can be described as portability.

          Portability is a design characteristic of operating systems and the filesystems that they use to store files. Engineers have to design this portability into file systems that they work on, it’s not free. But, portability is not the same thing as compatibility.

        • OpenShift 4.2: The New Cluster Overview Dashboard

          Red Hat OpenShift 4.2 is a significant release that brings a number of great enhancements to the Web Console UI, but you’ll notice one of the biggest changes as soon as you log in.

          The Cluster Overview Dashboard is the new default landing page of the OpenShift Console and provides a birds-eye view of your cluster’s current health, inventory, capacity, utilization, and activity to make identifying problems and resolving issues easier and faster.

          This post will briefly cover what this dashboard is made of, but we know from using it ourselves these past few months that static screenshots won’t quite do it justice. We’re really excited for you to try this new dashboard out in your own clusters, and our User Experience Design team would love to hear any feedback and suggestions you have for future improvements.

        • Writing Summary – late summer 2019

          I’ve done some (ok, very little) writing for opensource.com in the past and I still have some notes for more articles that keep getting pushed aside. This site is almost 10 years old, community driven (with Red Hat Sponsorship), and tries to cover a variety of open topics, products, projects, and distributions.

          This summer, some of the staff from that project switched over to help Red Hat start a new blog for system administrators called Enable Sysadmin. As the name implies it is focused on system administration topics and as a corporate blog it can also be a bit more Red Hat product specific. In addition to a small staff, a few part time contractors, and a number of Red Hat employee contributors, they do accept and encourage community contributions.

        • Red Hat Smart Management October 2019 release

          At Red Hat Summit in May 2019 we introduced Red Hat Smart Management. Red Hat Smart Management combines the flexible and powerful infrastructure management capabilities of Red Hat Satellite with the simplicity of cloud management services for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It helps users more securely manage any environment supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux—from physical machines to hybrid multiclouds.

          As IT environments continue to grow in complexity, spanning from enterprise datacenters to multiple public clouds, organizations need management solutions that can keep pace with rapidly changing infrastructure. Traditional management solutions often lack the flexibility and oversight needed to manage today’s IT, which can result in organizations using unintegrated tools and processes and struggling to stay proactive in the face of systems management, security and compliance.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • RAMburgulars | LINUX Unplugged 324

        Is the ZFS tax too high? We pit ZFS on root against ext4 in our laptop pressure cooker and see how they perform when RAM gets tight.

        Plus we take a look at Pop!_OS 19.10, complete our Ubuntu 19.10 review, cover community news, and lots more.

      • 2019-10-22 | Linux Headlines

        The GNOME Foundation fights back in its patent battle, Firefox 70 is here, and Ghost has its biggest release yet.

      • Episode 85 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have a jam packed episode with BIG releases from Ubuntu, KDE Plasma, antiX 19, RPM and more. We’ve also got some really interesting news from a BSD based project that is migrating to Linux. We’ll also cover an interesting security topic regarding SUDO that has been making the rounds recently. Samsung announced the end of Linux on DeX and Google finally is releasing AMP to the community. Later in the show we’ll check out a really cool Linux client for Playstation 4 Remote Play and some new Humble Bundles. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • mintCast 320 – Sudos and Sudon’ts

        First up, in our Wanderings, Leo plays with audio, Moss tries out two new System76 laptops, Josh has been oggcamping, Joe’s been headphoning, And Tony has been updating a laptop for a friend.

        Then, in our news we talk about Ubuntu, Google’s most disappointing pixel yet (the Pixel 4), Linux Mint’s gaming ability, and the releases of Freespire, Tails and Trident.

      • Nathan Wolf: Noodlings | BTRFS, Ultra Widescreens and Floppy Drives

        I have been using BTRFS on all of my openSUSE machines without issue. In my quest to build a new multi-roll system to act as a server, workstation and occasional casual desktop use, I wanted to have a storage solution that was very fault tolerant and would allow me to expand my disk size with minimal effort. That is in both replacing individual drives with larger drives and potentially adding another controller card to have more drives.

        ZFS is in the news as the new “hotness” for a file system and it does indeed have a lot of the really awesome features BTRFS provides, maybe more but support in Linux doesn’t appear to be as robust as BTRFS. Could my mind change in the future? Absolutely, but for now, until I get the stability of BTRFS on root, the snapshot system and the ease of flexibility in altering the array of storage, I will stick with BTRFS.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux kernel patch hints that Intel’s 10nm desktop CPUs are coming

        INTEL 10-NANOMETRE DESKTOP CHIPS could be on their way as the chipmaker has added Ice Lake model numbers into the Linux kernel.

        The Linux kernel patch was spotted by chip info leaker @KOMANCHI_ENSAKA on Twitter, with the patch having been signed off by an Intel senior graphics software engineer Kan Liang.

        This is by no means conclusive evidence that 10nm desktop parts are on their way. However, it does suggest that rumours of Intel skipping the 10nm process node for its desktop CPUs to pursue a 7nm fabrication process instead are not accurate; in fact, an Intel spokesperson also told us that such rumours were piffle.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Linux Graphics Drivers Show Multi-GPU Xe Support

          Phoronix already reported in August on work Intel has been doing for its graphics driver to support multiple devices concurrently. Phoronix said the muti-GPU support would most commonly be for the case of integrated graphics paired with a discrete Xe GPU, as the patches said: “With discrete graphics system can have both integrated and discrete GPU handled by i915 [driver].”

          For multiple discrete GPU setups like SLI and CrossFire, Phoronix wasn’t expecting much on the user-space side, however, saying that the OpenCL and Vulkan APIs could handle those cases, for compute and graphics respectively.

          The work is part of an ongoing effort to prepare Intel’s driver for discrete graphics support. The latest changes Phoronix reported for the upcoming Linux 5.5 kernel is code for a performance monitoring unit (PMU) for handling the integrated plus discrete graphics use-case. While it isn’t too interesting by itself, it further shows Intel’s work on Xe and multi-GPU capabilities.

    • Benchmarks

      • Firefox 70 Linux Performance, Firefox 70 vs. Chrome 78 Benchmarks

        With the new releases of Mozilla Firefox 70 and Google Chrome 78 here are fresh benchmarks of these web browsers with testing under Ubuntu Linux. Additionally, on the Firefox side looking at the performance with WebRender and compared to prior releases.

        First up in this latest Linux web browser benchmarking comparison is looking at the Firefox performance. Firefox 70.0 was benchmarked against the previous release, Firefox 69.0.3, as well ad Firefox 68.0.2 since that is the current Extnded Support Release (ESR). With Firefox 68/69/70, they were tested at their defaults and again when forcing WebRender to be utilized.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Sky Racket is a brilliant and colourful mix of a shoot ‘em up and a block breaker, out now

        They’re calling it a Shmup Breaker, since it combines the side-scrolling action found in tons of classic shoot ‘em ups with block breaking not too far from Breakout. It’s so incredibly weird to see the two different styles put together like this, but it really does work. The colourful and cheery presentation is incredibly inviting too, couldn’t help but smile at the cheesy retro-cartoon intro video.

      • Valve’s SteamOS Compositor Has Begun Seeing Some Activity Recently

        SteamOS Brewmaster hasn’t seen any updates in a while (SteamOS 2.195 came out this summer with minor updates) though recently Valve’s SteamOS Compositor GitHub repository did see some activity igniting hopes we could see a new release still this year… Well, it would be really great seeing a release re-based to Debian 10 “Buster” but any activity would be welcome even just pulling in all of their Linux graphics driver infrastructure updates they’ve funded in recent times.

        The SteamOS Compositor activity to their source tree pulled in all of their internal changes that hadn’t been part of their public-facing GitHub repository. That pull request was sent in by Collabora’s Simon McVittie. These were the first commits to the SteamOS-Compositor GitHub since April 2018.

      • Rapid Rescue, a new little open source local multiplayer strategy game made in Godot Engine

        How do you like your news in the morning? I like mine open source with coffee. Today, a game called Rapid Rescue came across the GOL news-desk built with Godot Engine.

      • The Drifter, a new pulp adventure thriller from the developer of Crawl

        Powerhoof, developer of Crawl and Regular Human Basketball have teased their new game called The Drifter. A point and click adventure thriller and it sounds awesome.

        Inspired by the recent resurgence of the point and click adventure game genre, The Drifter will have a large emphasis on the story with puzzle elements that glue it all together but the puzzles are not the focus of it. With quite a dark pixel-art style, it certainly looks good. It’s been in the works for some time, starting as a side-project in 2017 with it this year being pushed up to a full time production.

      • The incredible looking FPS Prodeus has moved to next year for Early Access

        We’re in for a longer wait to get our hands on the brutal and stylish first-person shooter Prodeus, as the team have moved the Early Access release to next year.

        Mixing in classic and modern rendering styles to create something that looks a bit wild, Prodeus successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year. The Early Access release was originally due sometime soon but in a new Kickstarter update, they mentioned February 2020 as the new date to give them a bit more time. They’re using this time to add the usual spit and polish, plus some new types of enemies.

      • You will need to protect your colonists from vicious aliens in the latest Space Haven alpha build

        Surviving in Space Haven just got a whole lot more interesting, with a fourth Alpha release now available.

        Unlike other colony building games, in Space Haven your colony is your spaceship. In fact, you can have multiple and build up an entire fleet and travel around with them all. Board other ships, pull them apart for scraps, deal with any aliens you come across, ship to ship combat and more. Considering it’s still so early on in development, it’s already very exciting to play through.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma 5.17 for Kubuntu 19.10 available in Backports PPA

          We are pleased to announce that Plasma 5.17.1, is now available in our backports PPA for Kubuntu 19.10.

          The release announcement detailing the new features and improvements in Plasma 5.17 can be found here

        • These Xfce Versus KDE Numbers Reveal A Shocking Surprise About Linux Desktop Environments

          When I say “Xfce,” it’s a good bet you think about a lean, responsive Linux desktop environment that’s particularly light on system memory usage. And you’d be absolutely right. Does that same description dance through your head when I say “KDE?” If not, one can hardly blame you. KDE seems to be perceived as a “bloated” but beautiful desktop environment. If you hold that belief, I’m here to tell you it’s time to change your opinion.

          I’m as surprised about writing this article as you are at reading that headline. But yes, folks, in much of my initial testing the latest version of KDE (5.17) is using less RAM than Xfce 4.14.

          After seeing a couple stray comments on Twitter making this very claim, I felt compelled to see if there was any substance to it. So I set up a couple test environments and recruited my podcasting colleague Zebedee Boss (of Destination Linux) to run independent tests of his own.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The Debian Project stands with the GNOME Foundation in defense against patent trolls

          In 2012, the Debian Project published our Position on Software Patents, stating the threat that patents pose to Free Software.

          The GNOME Foundation has announced recently that they are fighting a lawsuit alleging that Shotwell, a free and Open Source personal photo manager, infringes a patent.

          The Debian Project firmly stands with the GNOME Foundation in their efforts to show the world that we in the Free Software communities will vigorously defend ourselves against any abuses of the patent system.

        • Hell hath GNOME fury: Linux desktop org swings ax at patent troll’s infringement claim

          After being hit with a patent-infringement lawsuit last month, the GNOME Foundation has fired back with a counterclaim – and urged the courts to dismiss the case.

          In a memo this week, the non-profit org said Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPI) – a patent assertion entity (PAE) it characterizes as a “patent troll” – had filed an infringement claim regarding the foundation’s Shotwell image management application in a US district court in California.

          “It’s the first time a free software project has been targeted in this way, but we worry it won’t be the last,” the GNOME Foundation said.

          “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.”

          Said offered settlement appears to be about 20 times less than the typical cost of dealing with a patent claim. The median cost of patent litigation, when the potential penalty falls in the range of $1m to $10m, came to $1.5m in 2019, according to the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s “2019 Report of the Economic Survey.”

        • Sriram Ramkrishna: Let’s fight back against patent trolls

          The GNOME Foundation has taken the extraordinary step of not just defending itself against a patent troll but to aggressively go after them. This is an important battle. Let’s me explain.

          The initial reason for Rothschild to come after us they clearly believe that the GNOME Foundation has money and that they can shake us down and get some easy money with their portfolio of patents.

          If we had lost or given them the money, it would have made us a mark to not just Rothschild, but to every other patent troll who are probably watching this unfold. Worse, it means that all the other non-profits would be fair game . We do not want to set that precedent. We need to set a strong message that if they attack us they attack us all.

          The GNOME Foundation manages infrastructure around the GNOME Project which consists of an incredible amount of software over a nearly 23 year period. This software is used in everything from medical devices, to consumer devices like the Amazon Kindle and Smart TVs, and of course the GNOME desktop.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 19 ‘Patito Feo’ is here!

          In the classic story The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen, a bird is bullied and tormented by a bunch of mean ducks — simply because his appearance is different, and he is perceived as ugly. Spoiler alert: he grows up to be a beautiful swan and has the last laugh. Take that, mean ducks! In many ways, Linux users have been like that bullied bird — made fun of for being different, but as time marches on, it is clear that they are the true swans of the computing world.

          And so, how appropriate that MX Linux 19, which is released today, is code-named “Patito Feo,” which is Spanish for ugly duckling. Yes, following some beta releases, the increasingly popular Debian 10 Buster-based distribution is finally here. The operating system features kernel 4.19 and uses the lightweight Xfce 4.14 desktop environment. It even features a patched sudo, so you don’t need to worry about that nasty security vulnerability that had some folks worried. Of course, there is a bunch of great software installed, such as Firefox 69, Thunderbird 60.9, LibreOffice 6.1.5, VLC 3.0.8, GIMP 2.10.12, and more!

        • Septor 2019.6

          Tor Browser is fully installed (9.0)
          System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of October 22, 2019
          Update Thunderbird to 60.9.0.1
          Update Onionshare to 2.2
          Update firmwares to 20190114-2
          Update openjdk-11-jre to 11.0.5
          Update youtube-dl to 2019.10.16

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE project: vote on name change

          The openSUSE project informed it’s members by mail to vote for a potential name change. The vote ends on 07.11.2019 at 23:59 UTC. In a Wiki article the openSUSE Board and Election Committee have gathered the most important arguments for and against a name change for all members.

        • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 87

          As you may know, we have recently extended YaST to support additional encryption mechanisms like volatile encryption for swap devices or pervasive encryption for data volumes. You can find more details in our blog post titled “Advanced Encryption Options Land in the YaST Partitioner”.

          Those encryption mechanisms offer the possibility of adjusting the sector size of the encryption layer according to the sector size of the disk. That can result in a performance boost with storage devices based on 4k blocks. To get the best of your systems, we have instructed YaST to set the sector size to 4096 bytes whenever is possible, which should improve the performance of the encrypted devices created with the recently implemented methods.

          Additionally, we took the time to improve the codebase related to encryption, based on the lessons we learned while implementing volatile and pervasive encryption. We also performed some additional tests and we found a problem that we are already fixing in the sprint that has just started.

        • toolbox – bring your own (debugging) utilities with you

          Our Container Host OS openSUSE MicroOS and our Kubernetes platform openSUSE Kubic are both using transactionl-update to apply patches to the system. This implies that a read-only root filesystem is used. While this has big advantages, like it allows to update a cluster automatically in a safe way, this has one drawback: you need to reboot to activate new installed packages. But what if you want to debug a problem and the utility you need is not installed? Who says, that the problem is still debuggable after a reboot?

        • Why software-defined storage is right for the hybrid cloud

          Beyond being an intermediate step, hybrid cloud isn’t particularly well defined. If you took a random selection of three CIOs, they’d each likely explain it differently. It’s a bit like asking three people to imagine a farmyard animal: one thinks “pig”, one thinks “hen” and the other thinks “cow”. All three are right, but all three are imagining something very different. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have given us an official hybrid cloud definition but not everyone agrees that this is that helpful. Lauren Nelson, principle analyst at Forrester, described this definition as “far from reality”. We’re at the top of the hype cycle and Nelson was making a fair point: NIST’s definition calls for active bursting from one environment into another, and while most enterprises would see themselves as hybrid, cross environment bursting is in practice nearly as rare as real unicorns.

        • A “Silly Season Blog” – Have Fun with Sapstartsrv and Pacemaker

          This blog is about a funny integration of a plain Linux service into the SAP start framework sapstartsrv and SUSEs High Availability solution based on pacemaker. This solution is not intended to run in productive environments but should demonstrate how to integrate special services.

      • Arch Family

        • Pacman 5.2 for Arch Linux released

          Allen McRae, an Arch Linux project/lead developer, announced the release of Pacman 5.2 on his blog on Monday.

          For those new to Pacman, it’s a package manager and one of the major distinguishing features of Arch Linux, combining a simple binary package format with an easy-to-use build system. Pacman can manage installation, upgrades, removal, and downgrades.

          The new version Pacman 5.2, includes a variety of changes over earlier releases.

          The most significant change is related to delta packages. The dev team has completely removed support for delta packages, claiming not only was the feature was massively underutilized, but it also made updates slower, albeit slightly. The programmers also noted a massive security hole with the delta packages that allowed for malicious package database to run arbitrary commands on the user’s system.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Outs New Linux Kernel Security Update for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 LTS

          Affecting both the Linux 4.15 kernel used in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS (Xenial Xerus) systems, the new security patch fixed an improperly implemented Spectre mitigation in the ptrace susbsystem (CVE-2019-15902), which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information.

          It also addresses a buffer overread (CVE-2019-15918) discovered that the SMB networking file system implementation, which could allow an attacker to expose sensitive information (kernel memory), two flaws (CVE-2019-15117 and CVE-2019-15118) discovered in the USB audio driver that may allow a physically proximate attacker to crash the system, and a flaw (CVE-2019-14821) in the KVM hypervisor implementation that let a local attacker to crash the system.

        • Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Has Two Awesome New Features For Linux Users

          The Ubuntu 19.10 upgrade season is officially upon us, and I’ve been dabbling with several of the freshly updated Ubuntu-based distributions this past week. One of those is Ubuntu MATE 19.10, which has a pair of minor but exceptional new features you might appreciate.

          You may know this feature as Optimus, and PRIME is Nvidia’s name for the Linux implementation. (Clearly someone over loves Transformers). This allows you to drive your display with one GPU (and thus saving power) while offloading more demanding tasks like gaming to your dedicated Nvidia GPU.

        • Release of the Year: What’s New in Ubuntu “Eoan Ermine” 19.10?

          The very much anticipated release of Ubuntu’s latest cool project is finally upon us and the dev team made sure not to disappoint. Codenamed Eoan Ermine, Ubuntu 19.10 is the next big step that will usher us to version 20.04 LTS by allowing to enjoy a variety of options with official support for the next 9 months.

          Did you know that Eoan is derived from the Greek word ἠώς which translates to a property of “dawn” or relating to the East? As is expected by the naming convention committee, an Ermine is a short-tailed weasel also know as “the weasel in Ireland where the least weasel does not live” or “stoat“.

          If you’re not running Eoan Ermine and the fancy animal name has won you over, wait till you see the new features that it’s shipping with.

        • OpenStack Train for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

          Thanks to everyone who has contributed to OpenStack Train, both upstream and downstream. Special thanks to the Puppet OpenStack modules team and the OpenStack Charms team for their continued early testing of the Ubuntu Cloud Archive, as well as the Ubuntu and Debian OpenStack teams for all of their contributions.

        • Canonical Has a New Ubuntu Desktop Director

          Martin Wimpress is a name that should be familiar to many of you due to his efforts within the open source and Linux communities.

          This includes his leadership of the Ubuntu MATE flavour; his work as a Snapcraft engineer; development on the MATE desktop; involvement in open source events and conferences around the country; and his many podcast activities, including being velvet voiced co-anchor of the Ubuntu UK podcast.

        • Will Cooke Steps Down As Canonical’s Ubuntu Desktop Director

          With Ubuntu 19.10 having successfully shipped last week and the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS cycle just getting off the ground, longtime Ubuntu Desktop Director Will Cooke announced he is leaving Canonical.

          Will Cooke has been the director of the Ubuntu Desktop for the past five years leading its road-map and strategy. Will led many of the efforts in recent years to get Ubuntu pre-loaded on more PCs, led the various desktop teams, and more.

          Will spent several years prior to that as the engineering manager as the company’s short-lived Ubuntu TV effort while also being involved in Ubuntu Touch.

        • Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 Release

          Kugi has outdone himself this time. With this update you’ll find a new way to edit text via the Ubuntu Touch on-screen keyboard: the Advanced Text Functions. Using this feature, you can move around your typed text, undo and redo actions, move around a text selection rectangle, and use the cut/copy/paste commands, all from the same overlay. To get started, press and hold the space bar!

          We are still unsure about the discoverability of this feature, so stay tuned for changes that will make it even easier to find and use!

          This update also adds the option of a Dvorak keyboard layout for the refined OSK user. The PR included fixes to allow multiple keyboard layouts to share the same correction dictionary and word overrides. Huge thanks, zoenb!

          Rounding off the updates to the keyboard are improvements to the Polish layout, removing some diacritics that are not used in the language (Thanks, Daniel20000522!); the same treatment for the French-Swiss layout (Thanks, wilfridd!); and a tweak to the Japanese layout so that it respects your settings better (Thanks, Fuseteam!). If you’d like to get in on the keyboard-improving action, Tallero added instructions for building and testing the keyboard to its Readme at https://github.com/ubports/keyboard-component.

        • UBports’ Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 Released

          For Ubuntu Touch OTA-12 they hope to have ready the Mir 1.x support as well as switching to Canonical’s last version of Unity 8. The UBports developers have been working on the Mir 1.x transition for months and is important for being able to support Wayland moving forward.

          While the Ubuntu Touch base is getting old at this stage, they do not plan on migrating to the newly-released Ubuntu 19.10 but ultimately they continue eyeing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for ultimately migrating to in due course. However, that will likely still be some time out, not to mention Ubuntu 20.04 LTS not debuting as stable itself until April.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Testing Indico opensource event management software

          After orgnazing a bunch of conferences in the past years I found some communities had problems choosing a conference management software. One alternative or others had some limitations in one way or another. In the middle I collected a list of opensource alternatives and recently I’m very interested in Indico. This project is created and maintained by the CERN (yes, those guys who invented the WWW too).

        • XDC2020 X.Org/Wayland/Mesa Conference To Be Hosted In Gdansk, Poland

          At the XDC2019 X.Org Developers Conference earlier this month in Montreal they named the location of XDC2020 in Europe.

          As is their usual rhythm, each XDC they flip between hosting it at a location in the Americas and in Europe. With XDC2019 having been in Canada, for XDC2020 they selected a proposal putting it in Gdansk, Poland. Gdansk is on the Baltic coast and serves as the country’s primary seaport. Gdansk has an international airport as well as plenty of railway connections.

        • 36th Chaos Communication Congress to take place in Leipzig

          We would like to fill our approximately 120 curated talk slots with high-quality content and therefore today solicit your submissions with our Call for Participation.

          On four days, in addition to the curated talks in five large halls, there will be a widely varied program of self-organised workshops at the stages of our assemblies distributed throughout the event venue. There will also be lots of art & beauty with exhibitions, light installations, bars and parties.

          We want to stress the unusually short submission deadline this year: 26 October 2019. No excuses, please.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 70 Released with New App Icon, Faster JavaScript Interpreter

            Mozilla Firefox 70 stable was released with new logo icon, improved page load performance, and other enhancements.

          • The two-value syntax of the CSS Display property

            If you like to read release notes, then you may have spotted in the Firefox 70 notes a line about the implementation of the two-value syntax of the display CSS property. Or maybe you saw a mention in yesterday’s Firefox 70 roundup post. Today I’ll explain what this means, and why understanding this two-value syntax is important despite only having an implementation in Firefox right now.

            [...]

            We can then take a look at the newer value of display, flow-root. If you give an element display: flow-root it becomes a new block formatting context, becoming the root element for a new normal flow. Essentially, this causes floats to be contained. Also, margins on child elements stay inside the container rather than collapsing with the margin of the parent.

            In the next CodePen, you can compare the first example without display: flow-root and the second with display: flow-root. The image in the first example pokes out of the bottom of the box, as it has been taken out of normal flow. Floated items are taken out of flow and shorten the line boxes of the content that follows. However, the actual box does not contain the element, unless that box creates a new block formatting context.

            The second example does have flow-root and you can see how the box with the grey background now contains the float, leaving a gap underneath the text. If you have ever contained floats by setting overflow to auto, then you were achieving the same thing, as overflow values other than the default visible create a new block formatting context. However, there can be some additional unwanted effects such as clipping of shadows or unexpected scrollbars. Using flow-root gives you the creation of a block formatting context (BFC) without anything else happening.

      • CMS

        • Open Source CMS Ghost 3.0 Released with New features for Publishers

          Ghost is a free and open source content management system (CMS). If you are not aware of the term, a CMS is a software that allows you to build a website that is primarily focused on creating content without knowledge of HTML and other web-related technologies.

          Ghost is in fact one of the best open source CMS out there. It’s main focus is on creating lightweight, fast loading and good looking blogs.

          It has a modern intuitive editor with built-in SEO features. You also have native desktop (Linux including) and mobile apps. If you like terminal, you can also use the CLI tools it provides.

        • WordPress 5.3 RC2

          The second release candidate for WordPress 5.3 is now available!

          WordPress 5.3 is currently scheduled to be released on November 12 2019, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.3 yet, now is the time!

      • BSD

        • os-release file appears

          There’s now (well, for DragonFly 5.7 users) an /etc/os-release file to show the installed DragonFly version.

        • samsung ativ book 9

          Physically, it’s in the ultraportable category with a 12 inch screen and weighing about two pounds. It’s a completely fanless design, using an M-5Y31 CPU (Broadwell generation). My model came with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, but it’s possible to find some with half that. Everything is a bit tiny and compromised, so in my opinion it wouldn’t make for a good all around machine (like the Carbon X1), but if space and weight is at a premium, it’s a good substitute.

          I immediately installed OpenBSD 6.6 when it arrived and have been using it for a few days. I have a few complaints, and I’m not confident in recommending it, but no regrets.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Re: Turning GNU into a bottom-up organization
          
          Various GNU project actually already work a bit like this. First you
          become a contributor by submitting some trivial patches, then you add
          more meaningful patches and a copyright assignment/disclaimer, when
          consistently providing meaningful patches and showing you can cooperate
          with other developers following the GNU way you get committer status
          and can mentor others by reviewing and installing their patches, you
          might become a subsystem maintainer or even a GNU (co-)maintainer and
          be trusted to and responsible for writing policy for the project. The
          GNU maintainers of related packages can then come together to form a
          technical committee to coordinate GNU policy to make the GNU system
          more consistent that others might then adopt for their packages.
          
          
        • GNU Project Developers Debate A Restructuring As A “Bottom Up” Organization

          GNU developers unhappy with Richard Stallman sticking around as head of the GNU Project and not planning to make any “radical” changes are now expressing their desire for the GNU to be restructured as a “bottom-up” organization whereby those active developers and volunteers involved could potentially have more say.

      • Programming/Development

        • Best practices in test-driven development

          In my previous series on test-driven development (TDD) and mutation testing, I demonstrated the benefits of relying on examples when building a solution. That begs the question: What does “relying on examples” mean?

          In that series, I described one of my expectations when building a solution to determine whether it’s daytime or nighttime. I provided an example of a specific hour of the day that I consider to fall in the daytime category. I created a DateTime variable named dayHour and gave it the specific value of August 8, 2019, 7 hours, 0 minutes, 0 seconds.

          My logic (or way of reasoning) was: “When the system is notified that the time is exactly 7am on August 8, 2019, I expect that the system will perform the necessary calculations and return the value Daylight.”

          Armed with such a specific example, it was very easy to create a unit test (Given7amReturnDaylight). I then ran the tests and watched my unit test fail, which gave me the opportunity to work on fixing this early failure.

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #391 (Oct. 22, 2019)
        • Startup Row PyCon US 2020 Applications are Open!

          Another year, another PyCon US, another opportunity for early-stage startups to show off how they use Python on Startup Row. Every PyCon since 2011, the Python Software Foundation has given qualifying early-stage startups complimentary access to the best of what PyCon has to offer.

          If you’re one of those “apply first and read things later” sorts of folks, first create an account and then click here to get started! It should only take a few minutes to register and confirm your user account, and then to fill out the form. Applications are due by January 17, 2020!

        • Python Enumerate

          enumerate() is a built-in function in Python that allows you to have an automatic counter while looping over iterables. Python enumerate() Function The enumerate() function takes the following form: enumerate(iterable, start=0) The function accepts two arguments: iterable – An object that supports iteration. start – The number from which the counter starts. This argument is optional. By default, counter starts from 0. enumerate() returns an enumerate object on which you can call the __next__() (or next() in Python 2) method to get a tuple containing a count and the current value of the iterable.

        • How to program with Bash: Loops

          Bash is a powerful programming language, one perfectly designed for use on the command line and in shell scripts. This three-part series, based on my three-volume Linux self-study course, explores using Bash as a programming language on the command-line interface (CLI).

        • The most in-demand technologies for IT professionals

          IT professionals face an array of technologies, languages, and other skills that they need to know to stay current for their existing jobs and potential new jobs. But of course, there’s only so much time and energy that an IT pro can devote to learning and mastering different skills. Knowing which technologes are most in-demand is half the battle to keeping your career on the right track. To help IT pros determine where to focus, Pluralsight has expanded its Technology Index to include in-demand technologies for IT operations professionals, information security pros, and data professionals.

  • Leftovers

    • Western China and the New Silk Road

      Coming to China every few months has almost become a regular occurrence for me, though this time I am in a part of China I have not been to before.

    • Science

      • Mike Hoye: 80×25

        Every now and then, my brain clamps on to obscure trivia like this. It takes so much time. “Because the paper beds of banknote presses in 1860 were 14.5 inches by 16.5 inches, a movie industry cartel set a standard for theater projectors based on silent film, and two kilobytes is two kilobytes” is as far back as I have been able to push this, but let’s get started.

        In August of 1861, by order of the U.S. Congress and in order to fund the Union’s ongoing war efforts against the treasonous secessionists of the South, the American Banknote Company started printing what were then called “Demand Notes”, but soon widely known as “greenbacks”.

        It’s difficult to research anything about the early days of American currency on Wikipedia these days; that space has been thoroughly colonized by the goldbug/sovcit cranks. You wouldn’t notice it from a casual examination, which is of course the plan; that festering rathole is tucked away down in the references, where articles will fold a seemingly innocuous line somewhere into the middle, tagged with an exceptionally dodgy reference. You’ll learn that “the shift from demand notes to treasury notes meant they could no longer be redeemed for gold coins[1]” – which is strictly true! – but if you chase down that footnote you wind up somewhere with a name like “Lincoln’s Treason – Fiat Currency, Maritime Law And The U.S. Treasury’s Conspiracy To Enslave America”, which I promise I am only barely exaggerating about.

        [...]

        Baird’s original “Televisor” showed its images on a 7:3 aspect ration vertically oriented cathode ray tube, intended to fit the head and shoulders of a standing person, but that wouldn’t last.

        For years previously, silent films had been shot on standard 35MM stock, but the addition of a physical audio track to 35MM film stock didn’t leave enough space left over for the visual area. So – after years of every movie studio having its own preferred aspect ratio, which required its own cameras, projectors, film stock and tools (and and and) – in 1929 the movie industry agreed to settle on the Society of Motion Picture And Television Engineers’ proposed standard of 0.8 inches by 0.6 inches, what became known as the Academy Ratio, or as we better know it today, 4:3.

        Between 1932 and 1952, when widescreen for cinemas came into vogue as a differentiator from standard television, just about all the movies made in the world were shot in that aspect ratio, and just about every cathode ray tube made came in that shape, or one that could display it reliably. In 1953 studios started switching to a wider “Cinemascope”, to aggressively differentiate themselves from television, but by then television already had a large, thoroughly trenched install base, and 4:3 remained the standard for in-home displays – and CRT manufacturers – until widescreen digital television came to market in the 1990s.

        As computers moved from teleprinters – like, physical, ink-on-paper line printers – to screens, one byproduct of that standardization was that if you wanted to build a terminal, you either used that aspect ratio or you started making your own custom CRTs, a huge barrier to market entry. You can do that if you’re IBM, and you’re deeply reluctant to if you’re anyone else. So when DEC introduced their VT52 terminal, a successor to the VT50 and earlier VT05 that, with only 1Kb of display ram (one kilobyte!) displayed only twelve rows of text. Math is unforgiving, and 80×12=960; even one more row breaks the bank. The VT52 and it’s successor the VT100 doubled that capacity, giving users the opulent luxury of two entire kilobytes of display memory. The VT100 hit the market in August of 1978, and DEC sold more than six million of them over the product’s lifespan.

        You even got an extra whole line to spare! Thanks to the magic of basic arithmetic 80×25 just sneaks under that opulent 2k limit with 48 bytes to spare.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The teenagers so addicted to cellphones they’re going to detox centers

        South Korea has one of the highest ownership of smartphones in the world. More than 98% of South Korean teens used one in 2018, according to government figures — and many are showing signs of addiction.

        Last year, around 30% of South Korean children aged 10 to 19 were classed as “overdependent” on their phones, according to the Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technology (MSIT). That means they experienced “serious consequences” due to their smartphone use, including a decline in self-control.

      • How Donald Trump Turned to a Comics Titan to Shape the VA

        President Donald Trump personally directed administration officials to report to one of his largest donors, Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, according to a new book by former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin.

        Starting with Shulkin’s interview for the cabinet post, Trump routinely dialed Perlmutter into meetings and asked if the secretary was keeping Perlmutter informed and happy, Shulkin wrote. Perlmutter would call Shulkin as often as multiple times a day, and White House officials such as Stephen Miller would scold Shulkin for not being in close enough contact with Perlmutter and two of his associates at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida.

      • Canada: Make First Nations Water Supply a Priority

        Canada’s new government should make addressing the lack of safe drinking water in many First Nations communities in Canada an urgent priority, Chiefs of Ontario and Human Rights Watch said today. Despite some progress over the last four years, successive Canadian governments have an overall record of failure to deliver on their promises for safe drinking water.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (go, go-pie, pacman, and xpdf), CentOS (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, and patch), openSUSE (gcc7), Red Hat (firefox, kernel, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Slackware (mozilla), SUSE (kernel, libcaca, openconnect, python, sysstat, and zziplib), and Ubuntu (libxslt, linux-azure, and linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws).

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Assange in Court

        But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

        Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

      • Whistle-Blowers Are the Last Defense Against Global Corruption

        Passed in April and formally adopted this month, the EU law arrives just in time. Whistle-blowers are the lifeblood of free societies. The global proliferation of whistle-blower-protection laws, an idea that began in America in the 1770s, is imperative when corruption networks sprawl across national borders. Trump’s business dealings—which remain opaque—have involved a German bank, Russian investors, and properties in a variety of countries. The 11 million documents that surfaced in the 2015 Panama Papers leak exposed a global industry of tax avoidance. The previous year, the so-called LuxLeaks scandal revealed the role the Luxembourg government had played in helping multinational corporations evade taxes.

      • OPCW Whistleblower Panel on the Douma attack of April 2018

        Today WikiLeaks publishes a statement made by a panel that listened to testimony and reviewed evidence from a whistleblower from the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) last week. To accompany this statement, Wikileaks is also publishing a previously leaked engineering assessment of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria on April 7th last year. This assessment was omitted in the final report by the OPCW, which does not support its findings.

        WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson took part in the panel to review the testimony and documents from the OPCW whistleblower. He says: “The panel was presented with evidence that casts doubt on the integrity of the OPCW. Although the whistleblower was not ready to step forward and/or present documents to the public, WikiLeaks believes it is now of utmost interest for the public to see everything that was collected by the Fact Finding Mission on Douma and all scientific reports written in relation to the investigation.

        We call out to people within the OPCW to leak these documents securely to us via wikileaks.org/#submit” One of the panel members was Dr José Bustani, the first Director-General of the OPCW, who concluded that: “The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing”

        In support of the OPCW’s original objectives, the panel called upon the organisation to re-establish its credibility and legitimacy by allowing ‘all inspectors who took part in the Douma investigation to come forward and report their differing observations in an appropriate forum of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention’

      • Panel Criticizes ‘Unacceptable Practices’ in the OPCW’s investigation of the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma, Syria on April 7th 2018

        The Courage Foundation convened a panel of concerned individuals from the fields of disarmament, international law, journalism, military operations, medicine and intelligence in Brussels on October 15th. The panel met with a member of the investigation team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international chemical watchdog. On this basis the panel issued the following statement:

        Based on the whistleblower’s extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018. We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion.

    • Environment

      • The World Can Make More Water From the Sea, but at What Cost?

        There are environmental costs to desalination as well: in the emissions of greenhouse gases from the large amount of energy used, and in the disposal of the brine, which in addition to being extremely salty is laced with toxic treatment chemicals.

      • A Taste of the Climate Apocalypse to Come

        At the beginning of October, my kids’ preschool informed me that it might be closed the next day because of rolling blackouts — a radical new effort by our local power utility in Northern California to avoid sparking wildfires. The water company, faced with the shutdown of its pumps, asked us to fill our bathtubs before the cutoff. On the advice of experts, my car was backed into the driveway for a quick escape, its hatch packed with 7 gallons of water and a go-bag including leather gloves, breathing masks, spare clothes, headlamps and emergency food.

        The National Weather Service was predicting 55-mile-an-hour winds, with 10% humidity. It was like living inside a ticking time bomb. And so, in a desperate attempt to avoid detonation, the utility decided to haul almost 800,000 households backward through time into premodernity, for days at a stretch. Around Silicon Valley, residential areas adjacent to some of the most technologically advanced corporations in the world — the offices of private space-exploration companies, internet search engines, electric vehicle manufacturers — would forgo basic electricity.

      • A World Partnership for Ecopolitical Health and Security

        The world in 2019 is in deep trouble. States still act in their own interest, scarcely paying attention to the evolving horrors of climate change, war, hunger, ecological impoverishment of the planet and rapidly growing population.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Alliance for the Wild Rockies Challenges Logging and Burning Project in Methow Valley

          The Alliance for the Wild Rockies has mounted a legal challenge against the Mission Restoration Project on National Forest lands in the Methow Valley west of Twisp, Washington.  This pristine, remote rural area is sandwiched between the Pasayten Wilderness on the north, the Sawtooth Wilderness on the south, and the North Cascades National Park on the west.  It is Federally-Designated Critical Habitat for a number of threatened and endangered species from lynx to salmon. The project is on the eastern slope of the North Cascades mountain range and includes 1,853 acres of commercial logging and 10,219 acres of prescribed burning.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Apple’s Split Brain: Building Levers for Improved Security or Content Censorship?

        For many years, Chinese users of Apple devices have had a very different experience from non-Chinese users. Chinese users can’t type or see the Taiwanese flag emoji (which has even caused severe bugs in the past); iCloud backups and encryption keys for Chinese users are stored locally within China; content services like iTunes Movies and iBooks are either not available or asked to step carefully around damaging China’s image; and the “curated” App Store’s selection criteria is markedly different, forbidding tools like VPNs which are prevalent in the rest of the world.

        As the Chinese mainland government and Hong Kong population struggle over the extent to which their shared “one country, two systems” is applied, these differences have started to show in the special administrative region too. Last week, as part of an iOS update, Apple extended the Taiwanese flag emoji ban to Hong Kong and Macau. Under pressure from the authorities, it has censored applications there as well, despite worldwide criticism. Apple’s recent expansion of content restrictions into Hong Kong is extremely concerning, especially since Apple’s strictly walled gardens give it nearly unilateral control over this content.

      • Cop’s Bogus Defamation Lawsuit Nearly Puts A Small Iowa Newspaper Out Of Business

        Sometimes the goal of a libel lawsuit isn’t to win. Sometimes the goal is to simply inflict as much financial pain as possible. Sometimes all the plaintiff really wants is to destroy the entity they’re suing. It’s more about being vindictive than being vindicated.

      • In These Partisan Times, The Only Thing That Gets Bi-Partisan Agreement Is That Blizzard Sucks

        We live in partisan times. The left and the right might as well be cats and dogs, mostly incapable of living together and the subject of fascination by the public when they manage to work together in the slightest way. The country needs a rallying cry. Something to bring both sides of the aisle together to demonstrate to all that they can actually agree on things.

      • Two UConn Students Arrested After Repeatedly Shouting Racial Slur, Officials Say

        The students, Jarred Karal and Ryan Mucaj, both 21, were charged with ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race. Their arrests came after the widely shared video drew outrage and calls by students for the administration to take action.

        The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $50, according to state law. The two were released on personal recognizance and are scheduled to appear in Rockville Superior Court on Oct. 30. Efforts to reach the students late Monday were not immediately successful, and it was unclear whether they had retained lawyers.

      • TikTok Quietly Banned Explicit Lyrics ⁠— Before Uncensoring Them A Few Weeks Later

        Many labels signaled their concern to TikTok and began delivering clean versions of rejected music to avoid interruptions. A statement from TikTok acknowledges the platform had trouble handling explicit lyrics.

      • Did You Notice When TikTok Banned Explicit Lyrics?

        This episode serves as a potent reminder of how labels are beholden to massive technology companies that can now often dictate what becomes a hit. And the company’s mistake proved mystifying from a business perspective — a quick tour of TikTok shows that profane music performs incredibly well on the platform. Kids love yelling along to BigKlit’s “Liar” (“Fuck! You a pussy-ass bitch!”), relish the opportunity to mime blackbear’s “Hot Girl Bummer” (“Fuck you and you and you/I hate your friends, and they hate me too”), and respond gleefully to Ugly God’s “One, Two” (“One, two, who the fuck is you, bitch?/Three, four, come and get yo’ ho, bitch”).

      • Bringing Free Speech Back: Trump Promises To Sue CNN Over Its Biased Coverage Based On Dumbest Legal Theory Ever

        By way of disclosure, I will mention that (as you may be aware), Charles Harder was the lawyer who represented Shiva Ayyadurai in his lawsuit against us, and who has a decently long history of both threatening and filing lawsuits against media properties — some of which have been more successful than others. Harder appears to have used his reputation for killing off Gawker to get ever more prominent clients, on whose behalf he has sent plenty of laughable threat letters trying to silence obviously protected speech, from Roger Ailes to Harvey Weinstein to Donald Trump. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine if you see a pattern in some of Harder’s clients and the representation he has provided for them.

      • Illinois Supreme Court Says State’s Revenge Porn Law Is Constitutional While Barely Trying To Apply The Constitution To It

        The Illinois state Supreme Court has reached a questionable decision that has the potential to negatively affect First Amendment expression in the state. (h/t Orin Kerr)

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • EFF to Amazon and Shaq: Stop Pushing Police Partnerships with Doorbell Camera Company

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging Amazon, along with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, to cancel an event promoting Ring home-surveillance cameras at a police chiefs’ conference in Chicago later this month. EFF and many other civil liberties and privacy organizations are growing increasingly concerned about privacy-invasive partnerships between Ring and law enforcement agencies across the country, which threaten the privacy of all of us as we walk and drive around our communities.

        Ring, a subsidiary of Amazon, sells networked cameras—often bundled with doorbells or lighting—that record video when they register movement and then send notifications to users’ cell phones. While Ring pitches the technology as a way to make your home safer, more than 500 police departments across the country have partnered with Ring to create an omnipresent surveillance system gathering video of people going about their lives.

      • EFF and Partners Urge U.S. Lawmakers to Support New DoH Protocol for a More Secure Internet

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today called on Congress to support implementation of an Internet protocol that encrypts web traffic, a critical tool that will lead to dramatic improvements in user privacy and help impede the ability of governments to track and censor people.EFF, joined by Consumer Reports and National Consumers League, said in a letter today to 12 members of Congress that the protocol, DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH), is a major step in enabling basic human rights—free speech and privacy—to become a natural and integral part of the Internet ecosystem.

      • New Way Found to Use Alexa, Google to ‘Voice Phish’ and Eavesdrop on Users

        Researchers have found new ways that bad actors can exploit Alexa and Google Home smart speakers to spy on users. This time the hack not only includes eavesdropping, but also includes voice-phishing, or using people’s voice cues to determine passwords.

      • Smart Spies: Alexa and Google Home expose users to vishing and eavesdropping

        As the functionality of smart speakers grows so too does the attack surface for hackers to exploit them. SRLabs research found two possible hacking scenarios that apply to both Amazon Alexa and Google Home. The flaws allow a hacker to phish for sensitive information and eavesdrop on users. We created voice applications to demonstrate both hacks on both device platforms, turning the assistants into ‘Smart Spies’.

      • ‘Do Not Discuss the Incident,’ Facebook Told Employee Fired After Speaking About Worker Suicide

        Yi Yin, a Facebook engineer who was fired days after speaking to the media about an employee who killed himself, says that he wanted to stand up for Chinese engineers at the company who feel silenced because of their precarious visa status.

        “Most Chinese workers are on H-1B visas, and don’t want to make any trouble. But I am a troublemaker,” Yin told Motherboard. “I really wanted the Chinese engineers to stand up and speak for ourselves.”

      • Facebook Lays On the Charm for Its Libra Cryptocurrency Plan

        Company executives are expending a surprising amount of energy and time defending their cryptocurrency plan, even though it is not central to Facebook’s business, advertising. The company also faces a variety of seemingly more pressing issues in Washington, including questions about antitrust and privacy violations and election security and disinformation.

        The Libra project was secretly incubated inside Facebook for over a year. Though many questioned why Facebook needed to create a cryptocurrency, Mr. Zuckerberg has long been fascinated by digital coins like Bitcoin. The company initially brought on 27 partners that it hoped would help give the cryptocurrency legitimacy and spread it. Twenty-one remain.

      • Trump Admin to Require DNA Samples from Asylum Seekers

        “The proposed rule change would help to save lives and bring criminals to justice by restoring the authority of the Attorney General to authorize and direct the collection of DNA from non-United States persons detained at the border… with the ultimate goal of reducing victimization of innocent citizens,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen in an official statement issued by the Justice Department today.

      • NordVPN Had Private Keys Stolen after Server Breach
    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Know What the First Amendment Is For

        What is the First Amendment for? I ask my students this every year. Every year, several people quickly respond that the First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to speak without restriction. True, I say, but what is it for? It’s so that Congress doesn’t pass a law that would limit the right to free speech, someone often says. Another might add that, in fact, the government does place some limits on free speech—you can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, or say certain words on broadcast television and radio. I ask the question a third time: What is the First Amendment for? There is a pause as students realize that I am asking them to shift their frame of reference. Then someone says that the First Amendment is for democracy, for the plurality of opinions in the national conversation.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Pro-Democracy Movement in Haiti Swells Despite Police Violence

        It’s getting hard not to notice that U.S. corporate media is covering pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong far more than pro-democracy forces in the Caribbean. It can be challenging to catch up on significant events in a place that’s a mere two-hour flight from Miami; with a few exceptions, the media is largely failing Haiti right now.

      • Why Is a Los Angeles City Attorney Trying to Criminalize Dissent?
      • As Modi Hobnobs With Kissinger and Other War Criminals, Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal Criticize US Support for Indian Regime

        “At what point do we no longer share values with India? Are we waiting for the Muslims in Assam to be put in those camps?”

      • FBI Raided My Home, Wanted To Know About ‘My Indoctrination’

        Anh Pham and her husband were still in bed when the FBI came to their home on September 24. Pham’s husband went to the door and returned to tell Pham that FBI agents were at the door and wanted to speak to her. Pham asked him if they had a warrant. He didn’t know.

      • The FBI Followed Me In My Car To A Parking Garage

        Tom Burke and his wife were at home with their daughter on September 24, 2010. They received phone calls from people in Chicago and Minneapolis informing them the FBI was raiding their homes. Burke thought the FBI might raid his house. He decided his daughter needed to get to kindergarten before the FBI entered his home. He left with his daughter.

      • Change the Nation You Live In

        First, I want to say that, despite the difficulty that it sometimes is, I absolutely believe in all People and our inherent worth. This is of paramount importance for us as humanity to understand, because without it, we will always come to cages, borders, hate, pollution, arrogance, war, greed – sicknesses galore; all that the mind can dream up. But no sickness or forgetfulness can ever erase our inherent worth.

      • UK LGBT Hate Crimes Stats Make Shocking Reading

        New hate crimes data for the United Kingdom shows a shocking number of incidents targeting LGBT people. 

      • Trump’s Asylum Ban Could Apply Retroactively to Thousands of Migrants Even Though Officials Promised It Wouldn’t

        Thousands of migrants who agreed to wait in Mexico for their asylum hearings in the United States are now finding out they may not be eligible for asylum at all.

        They’re stuck at the Kafkaesque intersection of two Trump policies designed to crack down on those seeking humanitarian protection. First, when they came to the U.S. to seek asylum earlier this year, they were given court dates but forced to wait in Mexico for their hearings.

      • Chile: Respect Rights in Protest Response

        The government of Chile should ensure that its security forces respect fundamental rights while containing sometimes violent ongoing protests. HRW is deeply concerned by the images of instances of police brutality coming out of Chile.

      • Canadian Supreme Court To Cops: You Can’t Arrest Someone Just Because You Think Something Illegal Might Happen In The Future

        Free speech protections have been given a bit of a boost in Canada. Simultaneously, the leash on the country’s law enforcement has been tightened a little. That’s how these things go. Personal rights and government power are often zero-sum. This case — dealing with the arrest of a counter-protester — ensures Canadian law enforcement can’t just go around arresting people for the “crime” of not committing any crimes. (via a site that wrote about it but somehow found it impossible to include a link to the freely-available ruling, so here’s a link to the Supreme Court’s site)

      • EU: Sanction Nicaraguans for Grave Abuses

        The European Union (EU) and its member states should act promptly under its newly adopted sanctions framework to impose targeted sanctions against President Daniel Ortega and other top Nicaraguan officials responsible for serious human rights violations.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • FCC Approved T-Mobile Sprint Merger Without Even Seeing The Full Details

        Surprising nobody, the Ajit Pai FCC last week approved T-Mobile’s $26 billion merger with Sprint. The approval comes despite that fact that antitrust experts, consumer advocates, and a long list of others have pointed out the deal will reduce wireless sector competition by 25%, inevitably driving up costs and reducing the quality of service (40 years of US telecom history suggests as much). And while T-Mobile and Sprint insists the deal will create jobs, both union reps and Wall Street predict the deal could kill anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 jobs.

    • Monopolies

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