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10.25.19

IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 25, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:52 pm by Needs Sunlight

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 25/10/2019: New Chrome, Qt 5.14 Beta 2 and Tor Browser 9.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • GNU/Linux Forums on the Internet

      After making lists of GNU/Linux communities at Reddit, Mastodon, and Telegram, now I want to present you list of their web forums instead. A web forum is a website where you can communicate with people by posting text, pictures, links, audios, videos, etc. in full size. I divided this list into only 3 parts: distros, non-distros, and hardware; with more than 50 forums listed at the time I write this. You will see here English-based forums of elementary OS and Fedora, for example, where you can register and talk to members there. If you ask, why web forums? Then the answer is, because web forums predate either Mastodon or Telegram and still exist until today. Is there any other reason? Yes, because you might change your opinions regarding a distro and a free software if you know how good and active their forum is, take example MX’s and FreeCAD’s forums. It’s really exciting to make this list and believe me I could learn so much new thing from this. Once again, here I don’t make any distinction between official and unofficial forums. I wish you will have a nice adventure by using this list. Okay we don’t want to wait and let’s visit them!

    • Desktop

      • Chrome OS update will allow higher-end Chromebooks to use more memory for Linux

        Here’s an interesting Chrome OS change coming up considering that I now use a Chromebook with 16 GB of RAM: A new code commit will change how memory is allocated to the Linux environment on Chromebooks with more than 4 GB of RAM. Those devices will see more memory provided to the Linux container…. a lot more, as it stands now.

        The code commit description says it all and I was surprised to see that if you have more than 4 GB of memory in your Chromebook, all but 1 GB of it will go towards Linux.

        I understand the specific reason noted above that would require this memory allocation change. But it seems a bit excessive when it comes to running Linux on a Chromebook with more than 4 GB of memory. Or rather, it seems like leaving just a single GB of RAM to run Chrome OS on such a device feels too limiting.

        What I’d prefer to see (if anyone on the Chromium team cares about my opinion!) is a memory allocation slider in the Linux settings within Chrome OS. This way, I could choose to allocate, for example, 4 GB of memory to Chrome OS and 12 GB to the Linux container on my Acer Chromebook Spin 13 with 16 GB of memory, prior to starting up a new Linux container.

      • Why I made the switch from Mac to Linux

        remember looking up at the projector, and it looking back at me. Neither of us understood why it wouldn’t display. VGA cords were fully seated with no bent pins to be found. I tapped every key combination I could think of to signal my laptop that it’s time to get over the stage fright.

        I ran Linux in college as an experiment. My manager in the IT department was an advocate for the many flavors out there, and as I grew more confident in desktop support and writing scripts, I wanted to learn more about it. IT was far more interesting to me than my computer science degree program, which felt so abstract and theoretical—”who cares about binary search trees?” I thought—while our sysadmin team’s work felt so tangible.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E29 – DOOM

        This week we’ve been to UbuCon Europe and preparing for a new baby. We round up the community news including updates from Regolith, Xubuntu, ZFS on Ubuntu, GNOME fighting patent trolls and we discuss some of our news picks from the tech world.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 29 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • LHS Episode #309: The Weekender XXXVI

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

      • 2019-10-24 | Linux Headlines

        A PHP 7 security bug gets a fix, Project Verify gets a new name, and Netflix has open sourced a powerful new programming notebook.

      • Blinking Eye Patches | User Error 77

        Tech mistakes, communicating with spouses, and why you shouldn’t let popey drive you anywhere.

        Plus patching humans as if they were code, back to basics web browsing, cold drinks, and conkers.

    • Kernel Space

      • linux-5.3-ck1, MuQSS version 0.195 for linux-5.3

        Announcing a new -ck release, 5.3-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.195. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

        linux-5.3-ck1:
        -ck1 patches:
        5.3-ck1
        Git tree:
        5.3-ck
        MuQSS only:
        Download:
        5.3-muqss-195.patch
        Git tree:
        5.3-muqss

      • Linux 5.3-ck1 Kernel Released With MuQSS 0.195 Scheduler Bringing Ryzen Fixes

        Linux 5.3-ck1 is available today along with MuQSS 0.195 as his “Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler” derived from his original Brain Fuck Scheduler (BFS) and optimized for Linux desktop responsiveness. With his “-ck” patches in addition to MuQSS continue to be other kernel tweaks like lowering the VM swappiness threshold, a default timer frequency of 100Hz, PREEMPT by default, and other changes to optimize the Linux kernel for desktop platforms.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Linux driver suggests dual-GPU support for Intel’s upcoming Xe graphics

          INTEL’S UPCOMING XE GRAPHICS CARDS will play nice when it’s plonked into PC’s with the chipmaker’s integrated graphics, allowing for dual-GPU setups; at least that’s what a Linux driver suggests.

          Spotted by the people over at Phoronix, the Linux 5.5 kernel contains graphics driver code from Intel that references multi-GPU systems, with latest being code that looks like it has been designed to handle an Intel integrated GPU alongside a discrete graphics accelerator.

          In effect, this could mean a PC could use both the graphics integrated into a modern Core processor alongside Intel’s own discrete graphics cards which are set to show up next year.

          It could also herald support for two Xe graphics cards to be used in tandem, or for said graphics cards to have two GPUs put together on one card.

        • Multi-GPU Xe Support For Intel Linux Graphics Driver Bared, Promises Awesome Capabilities

          Intel has revealed more details on the driver it is currently working on for Linux 5.5. In particular, the chip manufacturer is focused on the multi-GPU capabilities for its Gen 12 and Xegraphics solutions. Discrete and integrated graphics will be among the solutions’ capabilities.

          In August, Phoronix already provided a glimpse of the Intel Linux graphics driver for multiple devices. The tech website explained the multi-GPU support is utilized for integrated graphics that would come with a discreet Xe GPU.

          In a statement, Phoronix said the i195 driver is capable of handling the discrete graphics system, which can be integrated with the discrete GPU. For multiple discrete GPU set-ups, the company did not have lofty expectations on the user-space side.

        • Linux driver code points toward multi-GPU support in Intel’s upcoming discrete video cards

          In context: Though we all know that Intel is working on its own discrete GPU by this point, details regarding its specs and unique features are still remarkably scarce. Without official details from Intel, we’ve been left to rely on rumors, speculation, and various other minor hints or clues.
          Yesterday, one such clue may have been spotted by Phoronix. The site noticed some intriguing code in the latest Linux graphics drivers from Intel. The code in question points toward the possibility of multi-GPU processing with Intel’s upcoming discrete “Xe” cards.

        • New evidence of Intel’s multi-GPU support for upcoming Xe discrete cards uncovered in Linux drivers

          Apart from the 2020 release and the fact that there will not be any ray tracing support, at least with the first generation, Intel’s Xe discrete gaming GPUs are still shrouded in mystery. It looks like Intel is doing a great job at keeping everything under wraps, as no major specs or price point info got leaked. This did not stop sites like Phoronix from digging deeper for clues, hints or any sort of inkling regarding the Intel Xe features.

          Churning through the latest Linux graphics drivers, the guys over at Phoronix spotted some more references to hybrid GPU setups.The first clues regarding multi-GPU support were uncovered back in August, and the latest Linux driver essentially reinforces this through a perf PMU (Processor Monitoring Unit) that is supposed to handle an iGPU + discrete card use-case.

        • Zink: Fall Update

          I recently went to XDC 2019, where I gave yet another talk about Zink. I kinda forgot to write a blog-post about it, so here’s me trying to make up for it… or something like that. I’ll also go into some more recent developments as well.

          My presentation was somewhat similar to the talk I did at SIGGRAPH this year, but with a bit more emphasis on the technical aspect, as the XDC audience is more familiar with Mesa internals.

          If you’re interested, you can find the slides for the talk here. The talk goes through the motivation and basic approach. I don’t think I need to go through this again, as I’ve already covered that before.

          As for the status, Zink currently supports OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0. And there’s no immediate plans on working on OpenGL 3.0 and OpenGL ES 3.0 until Zink is upstream.

          Which gets us to the more interesting bit; that I started working on upstreaming Zink. So let’s talk about that for a bit.

        • Zink Is Almost In Mesa For Offering OpenGL 2.1 / GLES 2.0 Over Vulkan

          Zink is the year-old effort led by Collabora’s Erik Faye-Lund on developing a Mesa driver that maps OpenGL over Vulkan. It’s now nearly within Mesa pending the merge request to actually add it.

          In the few weeks since the Zink update at XDC 2019, Erik has been working to get all the necessary Mesa/Gallium/NIR changes merged that are prerequisites for actually introducing this OpenGL over Vulkan driver. All that prep work is now in place for Mesa 19.3 and now just left is the merge request actually introducing the new Gallium3D driver. The MR was opened last week and will hopefully be all reviewed and accepted prior to Mesa 19.3′s feature freeze in November.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Icelake “Gen11″ Graphics Are A Huge Upgrade Over Gen9 With Good Linux Support

        Similar to the Linux CPU performance article earlier this week, the Core i7-1065G7 was tested via a Dell XPS 7390 that was purchased retail for being able to deliver these Linux benchmarks. The Icelake results were compared to the other Dell XPS models I had available as the Dell XPS 9380 with Core i7 8565U Whiskey Lake and Dell XPS 9370 with Core i7 8550U Kabylake-R for showing the generational graphics performance comparison with these otherwise similar laptops. A larger Linux laptop comparison with older laptop models and more will be coming in the next few weeks for helping Linux users better evaluate upgrade options ahead of this holiday season.

        As a refresher, the Core i7 8550U and Core i7 8565U features “Gen 9″ UHD Graphics 620 while the new Icelake Core i7-1065G7 features “Gen 11″ Iris Plus Graphics.

    • Applications

      • Chrome

        • Stable Channel Update for Desktop

          The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 78 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. This will roll out over the coming days/weeks.
          Chrome 78.0.3904.70 contains a number of fixes and improvements — a list of changes is available in the log. Watch out for upcoming Chrome and Chromium blog posts about new features and big efforts delivered in 78.

        • Chrome 78 Arrives With Dark Mode Enhancements, Native File System API, SMS Receiver API

          In addition to Mozilla Firefox 70 having been released on Tuesday, Google released Chrome 78 as the newest version of their web-browser.

          Chrome 78 brings a new File-System API for letting web app developers interact with files on a local device for use-cases like web-based programming IDEs, video editors, photo editing, word processing, and more. The Native File System API should be secure for ensuring web apps do not get unauthorized access to other files/folders on your system.

        • Google Chrome 78 for Windows, macOS and Linux is Now Available For Download

          Google has released a new update for the Chrome web browser for Windows, macOS and Linux. The Chrome 78 update is now Live and is available for download. The update will offer users customize options for the New Tab page, among other changes and additions. The update comes with several features and improvements as well.

          With the help of customize option, users can now select pictures from their media gallery and use is as background. On opening an new tab, users will be able to spot the cutomise option on the bottom-right corner. Furthermore, ‘Shortcuts’ are a set of icons, which are visible right beneath the search bar. These include the ‘My Shortcuts’ where shortcuts suggestions are provided to users on the basis of the websites they keep on visiting. ‘Most visited sites’, where shortcuts are segregated by the user and ‘Hide shortcuts’.

        • Google Chrome 78 for Windows, Linux, and Mac Now Available for Download

          Google has just released Chrome 78 for all supported desktop platforms, namely Windows, Linux, and Mac.
          The new version of the browser comes with welcome improvements in key areas, including new customization options for the New Tab page.

          Google has been working on refining the New Tab page (NTP) for several versions already, and this latest release introduces new customization options, including more colors and themes to choose from.

          Another feature that Google has been working on for this release enhances the sync process between Chrome for PC and for Android.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Conquest Mode is the biggest update to Northgard yet and it’s out now

        Throwing out the lore, Northgard Conquest is all about the battles. This massive free expansion to the strategy game is out now. Giving you a chance to get another “100+” hours of the game, this new free game mode has a singleplayer and co-op option to play through a series of missions as you power-up your chosen clan with rewards.

        It’s not just a bunch of plain missions it throws you through though. There’s also the inclusion of new special units, buildings, resources, events and maps. I did say it was massive! The missions themselves aren’t exactly normal either, with each having a different victory condition and special rules to thoroughly mix things up.

      • Dying Light has a Left 4 Dead crossover event happening right now

        From now and running through until October 28 at 6PM UTC, Techland have given Dying Light a bit of Left 4 Dead flavour.

        Two worlds are colliding, giving you a chance to run out into the wastes and smash up some Zombies in style. Techland are doing this crossover as a homage to Valve’s shooter. To do so, they’ve adjusted the gameplay a little during this event. There’s a lot more Virals (the fast angry Zombies) to give you a feel for the vast hordes seen in Left 4 Dead, along with a much more generous amount of guns and ammo to find.

        Additionally, Techland put up a free DLC for Dying Light to add in some Left 4 Dead themed weapons including the Electric Guitar, Frying Pan, and Golf Club. Everyone can get them but you can also earn special variants of these weapons by completing some new challenges for the event too.

      • Dota Underlords introduces a Duos mode, the Underlords, a new UI and more

        Valve just pushed out the aptly named “The Big Update” for Dota Underlords which brings in some huge changes for the free auto-battler game.

        The Underlords have arrived, well two of them anyway. Before you begin, you now need to pick either Hobgen or Anessix who will play on the board just like your other heroes. They’re the centrepiece of your team and as the game goes on, they will become more powerful as you pick talents for them every few rounds. It’s nice, as Underlords has been heavily dependent on RNG so this feels like it gives you at least some kind of real control. They’re also quite chatty.

      • We have it confirmed that Crusader Kings III will be releasing for Linux

        Good news for grand strategy game fans! After announcing Crusader Kings III during PDXCON with it looking likely to be coming to Linux, we now have confirmation.

      • Abandon Ship, the fantasy age of sail combat and adventure game is out now

        With a slick art style inspired by classic Naval Oil Paintings, Abandon Ship looks great. This fantasy age of sail adventure has now officially left Early Access.

        They didn’t just flip a sign from Early Access to Release on their door though, it comes along with an absolutely huge update to the whole game. One of the big additions is a Free Play mode, allowing you to pretty much anything you want. This mode does have one special feature, which is a long-term goal of rebuilding a hidden pirate base.

      • Friendly online RPG from the developer of Shelter and Meadow, Book of Travels is live on Kickstarter

        Might and Delight continue to push boundaries here with an online RPG that has no linear quests or plot, allowing you to do whatever you want. Curiously, they’re calling it a TMORPG (Tiny Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) as their focus is on the experience, rather than player numbers.

      • From js13kGames to MozFest Arcade: A game dev Web Monetization story

        The js13kGames online competition for HTML5 game developers is constantly evolving. We started in 2012, and we run every year from August 13th to September 13th. In 2017, we added a new A-Frame category.

        You still had to build web games that would fit within the 13 kilobytes zipped package as before, but the new category added the A-Frame framework “for free”, so it wasn’t counted towards the size limit. The new category resulted in some really cool entries.

        Fast forward twelve months to 2018 – the category changed its name to WebXR. We added Babylon.js as a second option. In 2019, the VR category was extended again, with Three.js as the third library of choice. Thanks to the Mozilla Mixed Reality team we were able to give away three Oculus Quest devices to the winning entries.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.16 Desktop Environment Enters Development with Dark Panel, Night Light

        Xfce 4.16 won’t be as big as Xfce 4.14, but it will bring some interesting and exciting changes, such as the move to a newer and modern GTK release, GTK3, as developer Simon Steinbeiß recently announced that the optional GTK2 dependency is being dropped from Xfce 4.16.

        “In the 4.14 cycle we tried to do a 1:1 port of what used to be our Gtk2 desktop environment, avoiding visual changes. In the 4.16 cycle we plan to harmonize the appearance of certain elements that either became inconsistent through the port or already were inconsistent before,” said Simon Steinbeiß.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The Document Foundation supports GNOME Foundation fight against a patent troll

          The Document Foundation is always opposed to the use of patents to curtail Free Software development and use. The GNOME Foundation, a member of our Advisory Board, is now the target of patent troll Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC, for maintaining and shipping Shotwell, a Free Open Source personal photo manager for the GNOME desktop environment.

          The GNOME Foundation has declined to settle, and has filed three different papers with the court: a motion to dismiss the case, an answer to the claim, and a counterclaim against the troll, with the aim of invalidating their patent. We fully support GNOME Foundation’s decision to fight the patent troll so that no other users or developers are in danger of being sued by this and similar organizations.

        • Jean-François Fortin Tam: Understanding the Rotschild vs GNOME case in 12 minutes

          What’s the deal with the Rothschild vs GNOME Shotwell patent litigation case that the GNOME Foundation must defend against, and why does it matter for protecting the Free & Open-Source software community at large? Here’s my personal attempt at explaining the matter with a short video. Please share far and wide.

        • Dash to Panel 24 Released with Vertical Option, New Update Mechanism

          Dash to Panel v24’s vertical option allows a single panel (combining top bar and dash) to be placed on the left or right of monitors, just like the Unity launcher of old.

          We reported that Dash to Panel vertical option was in development last month so its arrival, while welcome, shouldn’t be a surprise.

          Naturally there were a crop of design and interaction considerations to be consider to ensure the new vertical dock option works properly, including how to display the clock, and how to handle application launchers in a vertical orientation.

    • Distributions

      • 5 Best Linux Distributions for Programming and Development

        Are you a programmer or a developer? And ever wondered could there be a dedicated Linux distro for the programmers or developers or to be precise web developers like you?
        Behind every mobile and internet technology there are impressions of Linux here and there. And if you are a programmer or developer you need to be familiar with Linux and its technologies. Linux and its community are full of programmers and developers from around the world.

        Linux has so many distributions which are concentrating on normal day-to-day user with more graphical user interface for them which used to otherwise with command line all over space. But there are many communities those who are still focusing on programming fraternity with more programmers and developers friendly Linux distributions.

        I think Operating Systems matter most to the programmers and developers than anyone else in the world because more the operating systems flexible enough with is application, the more he will make computing easier. So today in this article I’m going to give you 5 best Linux distributions which you guys will find great for programming as well as web development.

      • A Linux For Speed Hounds: A Look At Clear Linux Performance

        A notable Clear Linux fact is that it’s an Intel creation, originally birthed in the company’s open-source lab. That means that it’s optimized for Intel’s own processors, but the reality is, many performance benefits seen in Clear Linux for Intel hardware could be seen for competitive gear, as well. Clear Linux isn’t just about Intel shoving its optimizations into Linux. It’s about optimizing the entire Linux OS.

        This article started out as a basic distro performance comparison until adding even more options became too much of a time-sink. With the distros we did test, Clear Linux managed to separate itself from the crowd in multiple cases, and since we’ve been wanting to explore Intel’s take on Linux for a while, this seems like the perfect time to finally do that.

        To be “clear”, this is not a review, but merely a performance look at an out-of-the-box Clear Linux (and others). We may expand testing to trying out Clear Linux on AMD hardware at some point, as well as add even more distros for comparison’s sake. For now, this is just a start. If you have particular performance interests, please feel free to leave a comment.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed Users Get the GNOME 3.34 Desktop Environment, Many Goodies

          GNOME 3.34 has been released in mid-September, but it was ready for mass adoption as soon as the first point release, GNOME 3.34.1, hit the streets, which happened earlier this month. Now, users of the OpenSuSE Tumbleweed operating system can enjoy it as the entire GNOME 3.34 stack has landed in the stable software repositories.

          GNOME 3.34 brings lots of goodies, including support for creating custom folders in the application overview, a redesigned Background panel in the Appearance settings, a better browsing experience, an improved GNOME Boxes workflow, support for saving game states in GNOME Games, smoother animations, and a more responsive desktop experience.

      • Slackware Family

        • Calibre 4.2.0 for Slackware with no external dependencies

          Having Calibre on a computer still requires a USB cable to transfer e-books from the computer to your ereader/phone, but networked alternatives exist. Calibre comes with a content server which can make your e-book library accessible online (on your LAN or on the Internet). Earlier versions of the Calibre content server were too resource-intensive and therefore I have chosen another solution for online access to my books. That’s COPS. which is short for “Calibre OPDS PHP Server“. OPDS (Open Publication Distribution System) Is the protocol through which E-readers can access online libraries. COPS allows me to download new books to read from my Calibre library over the wireless network to both my Kobo e-reader and to FBReader on my phone. No more cables needed!

          [...]

          The challenge was to create a solid Slackware package for Calibre 4. I know, you can simply download pre-built binaries for a generic Linux platform, and SlackBuilds.org even offers a build script to package these binaries for you, but it is much more fun, and very educational, to compile all of it yourself. In addition you’ll get binaries which are native to your Slackware distro instead of having to resort to binaries that were compiled on Ubuntu or Debian and do unpeakable things to your system when you’re not looking.

      • Debian Family

        • Heads up, private penguins: Tails 4.0 is out. Security-conscious Linux gets updated apps, speed boost

          Tails has released version 4.0 of the privacy-focused Linux distro, based on Debian 10, with numerous feature and usability improvements.

          Tails stands for “The Amnesic Incognito Live System”. It is most commonly started from a USB stick and runs as a live operating system which by default is non-persistent.

          You can configure a “persistent volume”, in which case Tails creates encrypted storage protected by a passphrase, where you can store stuff including documents, emails and email settings, browser bookmarks, printer settings and some additional applications. A persistent volume must be on removable media, such as spare space on the USB stick where Tails is installed, and not on a desktop hard drive. It is therefore unsuitable as a general-purpose operating system.

          Not all USB sticks or PCs work with Tails, so if you want to use it, check the known issues carefully.

          Applications installed by default in Tails include the Tor browser, Onion Share (for secure file sharing), LibreOffice, KeePassXC password manager, Electrum Bitcoin wallet (only useful with a persistent volume) and a few other productivity tools and utilities.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Here’s Why Ubuntu Linux 19.10 Feels Insanely Fast And Responsive

          Despite a number of new features brought to the table by Ubuntu 19.10, the headlining feature is this: it just feels really fast, even compared to Ubuntu 19.04. That comes down to dramatic improvements in GNOME 3.34, the desktop environment used on Ubuntu. And we finally have a wealth of information detailing exactly what those are.

          Pop a Live USB of Ubuntu 19.10 into your PC and play around with it for a few minutes. The overall speed and responsiveness will surprise you. After a few minutes you may be tricked into thinking it’s natively installed! That’s largely because of some thoughtful bug hunting and real-time performance improvements contributed to GNOME 3.34 by Canonical.

          In a new blog post, Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt goes into excruciating detail outlining the entire process. For the sake of brevity and to avoid any technical jargon that may make your eyes glaze over, I’ll try to condense this into the most vital points! However, if you want the deep dive, I urge you to read Daniel’s entire post.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Released

          The next development release of Ubuntu, the Eoan Ermine, was released last week! This was the last development release before our upcoming LTS, codenamed Focal Fossa. As a result, lots of bug fixes, new features, and experience improvements have made their way into the release.

        • FinTechs discuss security, regulation and innovation at New York City roundtable

          Earlier this month, Canonical, IBM and FinTech specialists Medici held a joint roundtable in New York for executives within the financial services sector to hear and discuss their pain points, the most prominent emerging technologies and what the future holds. Entitled ‘Graduating from FinTech to FinServ’, the roundtable was hosted by Ross Mauri, GM of the IBM Z and LinuxONE business, Canonical’s CEO, Mark Shuttleworth, and Aditya Khurjekar, Founder and CEO of Medici, to discuss the implications and considerations of moving new technologies into products consumed by millions of users. The event followed a week after the launch of IBM’s newest LinuxONE server including support for Ubuntu. Together, IBM and Canonical’s solutions are already jointly used by several companies in the financial services sector.

          Ross and Mark opened the roundtable with their perspectives on the industry which kicked off an engaging discussion among the attendees from established financial institutions and banks to disruptors and start ups. Mark discussed how developers are innovating faster on open source. This pace opens the door for new entrants to enter and gain an advantage, challenging more established banks and institutions. Ross emphasised the importance of advanced security and building infrastructure accordingly.

          As the world increasingly adopts digital assets, secure application environments are essential to safeguard data and encryption keys. Equally with banking systems needing to be ‘always on’, deploying a centralised system is much simpler in the event of a failure. Guest speaker Neil Fillary from Shuttle Holdings spoke about digital asset custody solutions and the need for the underlying infrastructure to be as secure as possible, and Ricardo Correia from R3 discussed his experiences of blockchain deployments in the financial sector and the importance of security.

        • Bauh is a nifty snap manager

          If you’re looking for an easy, non-techie way to install snaps, you want a simple store-like utility. Snap integration is available in both GNOME Software and KDE Discover, which cover a large portion of the Linux user base. However, in distributions and desktop environments that do not natively provide a snap-capable graphical frontend, users typically need to resort to the command-line functionality.

          Previously, we talked about Snaptastic, a snap management tool available in the elementary OS. Today, we’d like to review bauh, formerly known as fpakman, a friendly interface for software installation.

          [...]

          Looking at the project page on GitHub, bauh has an ambitious roadmap ahead. The developers are planning to add support for other packaging technologies not currently in the list, create separate modules for each (this should provide an even more robust management), improve memory utilization and performance, as well as introduce new features that will streamline the user experience.

          For snap users, this is another venue by which they can consume software, on Arch-based distributions in particular. If you’re not keen on the command line, or you don’t want to use the full Snap Store on your desktop, bauh offers a handy, convenient alternative, with multi-format support as an elegant bonus.

        • Canonical at ROSCon Macau 2019

          Hey everyone, listen up, ROSCon 2019 is days away, and the Ubuntu team is going to be there. If you’re coming to Macau be sure to come and say hi at booth 22. Mention reading this blog and get a free high five? It’s going to be an event to remember. If you were at ROSCon JP, you’d know how the community is continuously growing and producing the very best in robotic development. With a vast list of companies and individuals attending this year, the conference floor is going to be buzzing with innovation.

          We, Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, will be there demoing several robotic arms to a less than apparent end. We’ll be demonstrating some of the benefits of running snaps on devices and on any ROS projects. We will be equipped with Qualcomm hardware to exhibit how Ubuntu can be used embedded on development boards, and we’ll be there to talk. More than anything, we’ll be there to talk. Like everyone else in attendance we really just want to talk about ROS and see what other kind or Robotics people are working on. If you find some time, enlighten us on your work.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS To Optimize GNOME For Fast/Modern PCs, Ubuntu 20.10 For Slow/Older PCs

          Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt who has become well known for focusing on his GNOME performance optimizations over the past two years is not done yet. While recapping their performance achievements around GNOME Shell for Ubuntu 19.10, he commented on performance work to happen for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Ubuntu 20.10 later on.

          In a lengthy blog post, Daniel Van Vugt went over the performance issues with GNOME Shell, the many real-time bugs found and addressed for GNOME 3.34, and some of the issues remaining. Two of the pressing bugs not yet resolved are for multi-monitor rendering in Wayland hitting some inefficiencies and Mutter frame scheduling in select cases.

        • Ubuntu at Open Infrastructure Summit Shanghai

          On November 4-6, Open Infrastructure Summit sees its second instalment in Shanghai. It’s the opportunity to check on the progress of some of the key projects from the Openstack Foundation: OpenStack, Kata containers. It’s also the occasion for Canonical to talk about the latest features and use cases around its open infrastructure products and projects: the Train release of Charmed OpenStack, MAAS, Kata containers part of Charmed Kubernetes and MicroStack.

          All of these technologies will be demoed on the Canonical / Ubuntu booth (SL4), from Data Centre to the Edge, with a bare-metal deployment of OpenStack and Kubernetes on server as well as an edge Openstack deployment.

          The Canonical team will also be presenting throughout the 2 days of Open Infrastructure Summit, addressing the challenges in setting up, managing and demonstrating the ROI of OpenStack clouds. All the presentations are listed below.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Gaurav Agrawal: GNOME Asia 2019

          I feel very emotional and excited while sharing my first ever GNOME+ FOSS + International conference experience with you all.

        • Umang Jain: GUADEC 2019 – A brief update

          Videos are GUADEC 2019 are available here.

          There were many technical and non-technical hallway dicussions with devs who attended that address our day-to-day work and chasing reviews on outstanding merge requests :P During the one hackfest day I attended, the travel committee got together to resolve long standing tickets and discussed future plans to make the travel-request pipeline a bit smoother and faster.

          I would like to thank GNOME Foundation for sponsoring my travel. It’s always a pleasure to get together with the community in person.

        • ATO 2019 – an event report

          For a number of years now, each October, thousands of technical folks converge in Raleigh for All Things Open. The “all things” includes a lot of developers talking about opensource platforms, tools, stacks, and applications but it also includes topics on open hardware, open government, open education, and building communities in addition to projects and products.

          For a couple of years, I felt there was too much of a programmer focus for me and I wasn’t finding new things in the community tracks. It is local though and so with expectations set, I continue to support a great conference and enjoy the hallway track with a number of people I “see” mostly online even though I was not previously finding a lot of talks for my sysadmin or infosec interests.

          I know several local people that have not attended the past couple of years because of this trend and I bring it up because this year was a bit different. While I attended expecting to once again content either repetitive (of other years and other conferences) or too dev focused, I was pleasantly surprised. There were full tracks both days for Security and Linux/Infrastructure.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Longtime Mozilla board member Bob Lisbonne moves from Foundation to Corporate Board; Outgoing CEO Chris Beard Corporate Board Term Ends

            Today, Mozilla Co-Founder and Chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced that Mozilla Foundation Board member Bob Lisbonne has moved to the Mozilla Corporation Board; and as part of a planned, phased transition, Mozilla Corporation’s departing CEO Chris Beard has stepped down from his role as a Mozilla Corporation board member.

            “We are in debt to Chris for his myriad contributions to Mozilla,” said Mozilla Chairwoman and Co-Founder Mitchell Baker. “We’re fortunate to have Bob make this shift at a time when his expertise is so well matched for Mozilla Corporation’s current needs.”

            Bob has been a member of the Mozilla Foundation Board since 2006, but his contributions to the organization began with Mozilla’s founding. Bob played an important role in converting the earlier Netscape code into open source code and was part of the team that launched the Mozilla project in 1998.

            “I’m incredibly fortunate to have been involved with Mozilla for over two decades,” said Bob Lisbonne. “Creating awesome products and services that advance the Mozilla mission remains as important as ever. In this new role, I’m eager to contribute my expertise and help advance the Internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all.”

            During his tenure on the Mozilla Foundation board, Bob has been a significant creative force in building both the Foundation’s programs — in particular the programs that led to MozFest — and the strength of the board. As he moves to the Mozilla Corporation Board, Bob will join the other Mozilla Corporation Board members in selecting, onboarding, and supporting a new CEO for Mozilla Corporation. Bob’s experience across innovation, investment, strategy and execution in the startup and technology arenas are particularly well suited to Mozilla Corporation’s setting.

          • This Week in Glean: A Release

            Back in June when Firefox Preview shipped, it also shipped with Glean, our new Telemetry library, initially targeting mobile platforms. Georg recently blogged about the design principles of Glean in Introducing Glean — Telemetry for humans.
            Plans for improving mobile telemetry for Mozilla go back as as far as December 2017. The first implementation of the Glean SDK was started around August 2018, all written in Kotlin (though back then it was mostly ideas in a bunch of text documents). This implementation shipped in Firefox Preview and was used up until now.
            On March 18th I created an initial Rust workspace. This kicked of a rewrite of Glean using Rust to become a cross-platform telemetry SDK to be used on Android, iOS and eventually coming back to desktop platforms again.
            1382 commits later1 I tagged v19.0.02.

          • Firefox Extension Spotlight: Enhancer for YouTube

            “I wanted to offer a useful extension people can trust,” explains Maxime RF, creator of Enhancer for YouTube, a browser extension providing a broad assortment of customization options so you can choose to tweak YouTube to taste. “Most of its features were suggested by users. It would not be used by so many people if it only offered the features I personally need.”

            Enhancer for YouTube is indeed loaded with ways to radically alter your YouTube experience—everything from the way the site looks to how it behaves. Once you have the extension installed on Firefox, a handy menu bar will automatically appear on all YouTube pages. From these simple controls you can access all manner of customization.

          • Mozilla: Cloudflare doesn’t pay us for any DoH traffic

            Mozilla said today that “no money is being exchanged to route DNS requests to Cloudflare” as part of the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) feature that is currently being gradually enabled for Firefox users in the US.

            The browser maker has been coming under heavy criticism lately for its partnership with Cloudflare.

            Many detractors say that by using Cloudflare as the default DoH resolver for Firefox, Mozilla will help centralize a large chunk of DNS traffic on Cloudflare’s service.

            Critics of this decision include regular users, but also ISP-backed lobby groups, according to a recent report citing leaked documents.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Open Source Open Compute Project Based Switches Growing Fast [Ed: A Microsoft/Facebook openwashing stunt; those two companies steal your data, share it among themselves in the DCs that they then try to paint "Ethical"]

          According to IHS Markit | Technology’s Data Center Network Equipment Market Tracker – Q2 2019 report, bare metal switches, that is switches that do no come with a pre-loaded/hard-coded network operating system are a fast growing segment. IHS Markit forecasts that bare metal data center switches port shipments will represent 34 percent of ports shipped in 2023, up from the 20 percent reported for 2018.

      • BSD

        • New openbsdstore available with 6.6 T-shirts

          A new OpenBSD store has been started, for those looking for OpenBSD swag now that the project no longer produces CDs. If you like the artwork that comes with the releases, this is a great way to support it. Quoting the about page: [...]

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Karen Sandler Featured on Explained

          Karen highlighted the problems with code that is designed without considering the full set of potential users — a topic which is very personal for her. Karen has spoken many times about the device which she relies on for her life. Her frustration with the lack of access to the source code — to a device which regulates her very large heart — drives her work to pursue software freedom for everyone. It’s why she leads Conservancy, an organization dedicated to software freedom and access to source code for all users.

        • Darpa Grand Challenge Finale Reveals Which AI-Managed Radio System Shares Spectrum Best

          The finale was presented live by Imahara, Tilghman, and Ben Hilburn, president of the GNU Radio Foundation. There to witness it were attendees of MWC Los Angeles, a mobile industry convention. Though it was the culmination of three years of competition, the finale allowed the teams’ radio systems to duke it out in real time for the first time. The head-to-head matchup was made possible by DARPA’s efforts in relocating Colosseum, the massive radio frequency emulator at the heart of the competition, to the Los Angeles Convention Center floor just before the event.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python Range Tutorial: Learn to Use This Helpful Built-In Function

          Looping is an integral part of any programming language. In Python, an important component of loops is the built-in range function.

          In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the workings of the range function using examples, and discuss its limitations and their workarounds. Although range is useful for a broad variety of Python programming tasks, this guide will conclude with a couple of data science use cases for the range function.

          For the purposes of this tutorial, we do assume you have at least some knowledge of Python syntax. If you’ve never worked with Python before, we’d recommend starting with this interactive Python fundamentals course first.

        • Deploying WhiteNoise – Building SaaS #35

          In this episode, we updated Continuous Integration, Nginx, and the Ansible deployment tasks to use WhiteNoise. With all the changes in place, we tested things out to verify that WhiteNoise served up the CSS, JS, and image files.

          We started with Circle CI. First, I fixed the JS assets cache because the cache key never changed and Circle did not save fresh assets each build.

          After completing the assets cache, I created a new cache that stored all the static files after running collectstatic. This new cache was necessary for the package step.

        • Qt 5.14.0-beta2 released

          Hi everyone!

          We have released Qt 5.14.0 beta2 today. As earlier you can get it via online installer. Delta to beta1 attached.

          And as usual please make sure you will report all findings in Jira. Please make sure all Qt 5.14.0 release blockers are visible in release blocker list (https://bugreports.qt.io/issues/?filter=21539)

          br,
          Jani Heikkinen
          Release Manager

        • Qt 5.14 Beta 2 Released As Another Chance To Test The Big Toolkit Update

          The second beta of the forthcoming Qt 5.14 is now available for testing ahead of this Qt5 tool-kit update before more attention turns to focusing on Qt 6.0 for release around this time next year.

          Qt 5.14 went into beta earlier this month while now a second beta is ready with the latest fixes and improvements for new functionality. Qt 5.14 Beta 2 is running just a few days behind schedule while the release cycle is currently about one month behind schedule due to a belated alpha release. Qt Company developers hope to be able to ship Qt 5.14.0 around the end of November but due to a few weeks behind schedule, it’s not clear at this point if they will be able to realize that goal.

        • Django Weblog: 2020 DSF Board Nominations

          It is that time of year again to think about next year’s Django Software Foundation’s Board of Directors!

          As you know, the Board guides the direction of the marketing, governance and outreach activities of the Django community. We provide funding, resources, and guidance to Django events on a global level. Further we provide support to the Django community with an established Code of Conduct and make decisions and enforcement recommendations for violations. We work closely with our corporate and individual members to raise funds to help support our great community.

          In order for our community to continue to grow and advance the Django Web framework, we need your help. The Board of Directors consists of volunteers who are elected to one year terms. This is an excellent opportunity to help advance Django. We can’t do it without volunteers, such as yourself. For the most part, the time commitment is a few hours per month. There has been some confusion on this in the past, but anyone including current Board members, DSF Members, or the public at large can apply to the Board. It is open to all.

        • Chris Angelico: 2019 Q2 Community Service Award Winner

          Chris had a very noble reason to start programming: his older brother was doing it so he had to follow suit! This, along with getting into the family business of importing and exporting educational materials, led to a lifelong love of learning and technology. By the 1990’s Chris was working as a developer and first used Python when he needed to embed a scripting language in a C++ project. “Python offered a simple, clean, boilerplate-free scripting language that still had all the power that I needed for that initial project,” he says. Though the project ended up going in a different direction, Chris was already hanging out on Python mailing lists and was there to stay.

          Since 2012, Chris has been an active contributor to the python-dev and python-ideas mailing lists, which are a large part of how the Python language gets developed. python-dev is used by core developers to discuss release dates and plans that could involve breaking changes to Python. On python-ideas, topics surround proposals that haven’t matured enough to discuss on python-dev, and contributors can either reject ideas or help to refine them until they can be seriously proposed. “Both lists have a lot of incredibly smart people, but also very opinionated people, so it’s pretty awesome to hang out and discuss,” says Chris. “They are significant parts of the funnel that brings proposals to fruition. Many changes start out with a discussion on python-ideas, then perhaps a PEP [Python Enhancement Proposal] is written, and it’s discussed at length before migrating to python-dev for detailed discussion, and then finally code gets written and merged in.”

        • Qt 3D Synchronisation Revisited

          As mentioned in the previous article in this series, Qt 3D 5.14 is bringing a number of changes aimed at improving performance.

          Most people familiar with Qt 3D will know that the API is designed around the construction of a scene graph, creating a hierarchy of Entities, each of them having having any number of Components (the frame graph is similar). Entities and Components are only data. Behaviour, such as rendering or animating, is provided by a number of aspects.

          Since Qt 3D was designed to be a general simulation engine, different aspects will care about different things when accessing the scene graph. They will also need to store different state data for each object. On top of that, aspects do much of their work using jobs which are parallelised when possible using a thread pool. So, in order to keep data related to each aspect separate and to avoid locking when accessing shared resources, each aspect maintains, when appropriate, a backend object used to store the state data matching each frontend object.

          In this article, we examine how state is synchronised between frontend and backend and how that process was changed in 5.14 to improve performance and memory usage.

        • Python 2 support is going away soon: Make the move to Python 3

          Seeing this tweet from Guido van Rossum the other day prompted me to write this “OMG, Python 2 is going away SOON” article. You have definitely heard it before, but seriously, folks, the Python upstream community is ending support for Python 2 at the end of the year!

          Let’s stop saying “2020” because that sounds far away when, in fact, we are talking about January 1, 2020, which is two and half months from now. In this article, I’ll provide some quick links and basic information to help you make the move to Python 3.

        • PHP 7.4′s FFI Support Is In Good Shape For Tapping C Functions / Structures From PHP

          One of the interesting features for PHP 7.4 that is due for release at the end of next month is the long-awaited FFI (Foreign Function Interface) support. PHP 7.4′s FFI lets developers call functions / variables / data structures defined in the C programming language from native PHP code.

          FFI is one of the prominent new features to PHP 7.4 along with the preload feature, hardening the PHP FPM systemd service, TLS 1.3 for OpenSSL streams, and many other changes. The PHP 7.4 FFI approach is comparable to that of FFI implementations for other languages.

        • 14 Best Natural Language Processing Tools in the World Today

          Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and computational linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages. It includes word and sentence tokenization, text classification and sentiment analysis, spelling correction, information extraction, parsing, meaning extraction, and question answering.

          In our formative years, we master the basics of spoken and written language. However, the vast majority of us do not progress past some basic processing rules when we learn how to handle text in our applications. Yet unstructured software comprises the majority of the data we see. NLP is the technology for dealing with our all-pervasive product: human language, as it appears in social media, emails, web pages, tweets, product descriptions, newspaper stories, and scientific articles, in thousands of languages and variants.

          Many challenges in NLP involve natural language understanding. In other words, computers learn how to determine meaning from human or natural language input, and others involve natural language generation.

          There are some excellent open source software to solve common problems in text processing like sentiment analysis, topic identification, automatic labeling of content, and more.

          To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 14 excellent open source NLP tools. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to use these tools to solve practical problems. Here’s our fine-tuned recommendations.

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.1.33, 7.2.24 and 7.3.11

          RPM of PHP version 7.3.11 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and in remi-php73 repository for Fedora 29 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPM of PHP version 7.2.24 are available in remi repository for Fedora 29 and in remi-php72 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPM of PHP version 7.1.33 are available in remi-php71 repository for Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

        • Sending Emails in Python – Tutorial with Code Examples

          What do you need to send an email with Python? Some basic programming and web knowledge along with the elementary Python skills. We assume you’ve already had a web app built with this language and now you need to extend its functionality with notifications or other emails sending. This tutorial will guide you through the most essential steps of sending emails via an SMTP server.

        • 2019.3 EAP 6

          The variables view got some improvements to show better and organized information about variables. Now, while using the console, debugger, or the Jupyter Notebook variables tab, you will notice changes on the way data for a variable is represented such as: display of shape and improved visual representation for scientific arrays (pandas: DataFrames, Series; numpy: ndarray), display of length information for objects with __len__ attribute, removal of duplicated type information, ids are no longer showcased for dictionary keys and set elements, and protected attributes that now are grouped, collapsed and placed at the bottom of the list of values.

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Huawei Mate X arrives in China as firm celebrates record total phone shipments

        Though times are turbulent for Huawei, it has still managed to ship 200 million smartphones already this year, beating a previous record, and has finally given its folding smartphone — the Huawei Mate X — a release date. Before you get too excited about potentially buying the Mate X, the phone has only been announced for China so far.

        The Mate X was first shown at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, but suffered several delays since then, primarily to do with software and app compatibility, and the speed with which 5G networks were being launched following its announcement. Huawei has repeatedly said that aside from those issues, the phone has been ready for launch since mid-year.

        This is Huawei’s third 5G phone, following the Mate 20 X 5G and the Mate 30 5G, and the version set for release in China uses the same components as the Mate 20 X 5G — the Kirin 980 processor and Huawei’s Balong 5000 5G modem. The Mate 30 5G has the latest Kirin 990 chip, which comes with integrated 5G, and Huawei’s Consumer Business Group Chairman Richard Yu has hinted that a revised version of the Mate X with the Kirin 990 may come at a later date.

      • Apollo Lake based panel PC series features PoE

        IEI unveiled an “AFL-3” series of Apollo Lake based panel PCs with PoE support, M.2 storage and wireless, and 7-, 10.1-, 12.1-, or 15.6-inch HD capacitive touchscreens.

      • Modular industrial NVR system also available in in-vehicle model

        Aaeon’s rugged, $356 and up “VPC-3350S” industrial NVR PC runs on an Apollo Lake SoC and offers 4x GbE ports with PoE and up to 4x mini-PCIe. An in-vehicle model adds GPS, CAN, G-sensor, 3x RS-232, and wide-range power with ignition.

        [...]

        Volume customers can choose from Apollo Lake based Pentium, Celeron, and Atom x5-E3950 parts. The manual mentions both Linux and Windows support.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A health care algorithm affecting millions is biased against black patients

        A health care algorithm makes black patients substantially less likely than their white counterparts to receive important medical treatment. The major flaw affects millions of patients, and was just revealed in research published this week in the journal Science.

        The study does not name the makers of the algorithm, but Ziad Obermeyer, an acting associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who worked on the study says “almost every large health care system” is using it, as well as institutions like insurers. Similar algorithms are produced by several different companies as well. “This is a systematic feature of the way pretty much everyone in the space approaches this problem,” he says.

      • US EPA chief points out that the CO2 limits for vehicles are tightened

        The Trump, chief environmental officer said Tuesday, US-issued carbon standards for vehicles to be released later this year may be more restrictive than the current Obama administration, regulations, as they will fill in some gaps ,

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (file), Mageia (bind, chromium-browser-stable, java-1.8.0-openjdk, libsndfile, mediawiki, and virtualbox), Oracle (firefox), Red Hat (firefox and sudo), Scientific Linux (firefox and OpenAFS), SUSE (kernel, lz4, rust, and xen), and Ubuntu (firefox).

      • ACSC warns of Windows malware Emotet spreading in Australia

        An infection of Windows systems by the Emotet malware was the precursor to the recent ransomware attack on Victorian hospitals, the Australian Cyber Security Centre says, as part of a warning that Emotet, which has been around since 2014, is being spread in Australia by malicious emails.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • America’s Military Mania Is Hurting Democracy

        Cop and military shows are nothing new on American TV, but never have I seen so many of them, new and old, and so well-armed. On CBS alone, you can add to the mix Hawaii Five-O (yet more models with guns updated and up-armed from my youthful years), the three NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) shows, and Blue Bloods (ironically starring a more grizzled and less charming Tom Selleck)—and who knows what I haven’t noticed? While today’s cop/military shows feature far more diversity with respect to gender, ethnicity, and race compared to hoary classics like Dragnet, they also feature far more gunplay and other forms of bloody violence.

        Look, as a veteran, I have nothing against realistic shows on the military. Coming from a family of first responders—I count four firefighters and two police officers in my immediate family—I loved shows like Adam-12 and Emergency! in my youth. What I’m against is the strange militarization of everything, including, for instance, the idea, distinctly of our moment, that first responders need their very own version of the American flag to mark their service. Perhaps you’ve seen those thin blue line flags, sometimes augmented with a red line for firefighters. As a military veteran, my gut tells me that there should only be one American flag and it should be good enough for all Americans. Think of the proliferation of flags as another soft type of up-armoring (this time of patriotism).

        Speaking of which, whatever happened to Dragnet’s Sergeant Joe Friday, on the beat, serving his fellow citizens, and pursuing law enforcement as a calling? He didn’t need a thin blue line battle flag. And in the rare times when he wielded a gun, it was .38 Special. Today’s version of Joe looks a lot more like G.I. Joe, decked out in body armor and carrying an assault rifle as he exits a tank-like vehicle, maybe even a surplus MRAP from America’s failed imperial wars.

      • African Refugees Evacuated from Libya Tell Horror Stories in Rwanda

        Rwanda recently agreed to temporarily take in 500 migrants who were kept in Libyan detention centers.

      • Solomons vetoes Chinese ‘lease’ on Pacific island

        A Chinese company’s attempt to lease an entire island in the Pacific archipelago was unlawful and will not be allowed to go ahead, the Solomon Islands said Friday.

        The deal between the Solomons’ Central Province and the state-owned China Sam Group was “unlawful, unenforceable and must be terminated with immediate effect”, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s office said in a statement.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Activist Students Demand The Harvard Crimson Apologize for Asking ICE to Comment

        Harvard University students have started a petition denouncing the campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, and calling on its staff to apologize.

        What did the Crimson do wrong? Absolutely nothing.

        Last month, campus-affiliated protesters held an event calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Crimson covered the rally, and interviewed some of its leaders. In keeping with general journalistic practice, the paper also reached out to ICE itself, seeking comment. None was given.

        This action—which, again, is standard practice for journalists—has apparently infuriated the activists.

      • Harvard Student Groups Condemn The Crimson’s Coverage of Abolish ICE Rally

        Diana Mitsu Klos, director of engagement at the Student Press Law Center, said it was The Crimson’s “journalistic duty” to contact ICE because of the agency’s central role in the protest.

      • Pakistan-sponsored terrorism ignored by world press: Senior Indian journalist testifies before US committee

        Following the criticism by American lawmaker Ilhan Omar, Aarti Tikoo Singh, who flew into the US at the Congressional invitation to testify, accused her of being “unfair” and also alleged the Congress hearing was “prejudiced, biased, a setup against India and in favour of Pakistan”.

        “Throughout these 30 years of conflict, Islamic jihad and terror in Kashmir perpetrated by Pakistan has been completely ignored and overlooked by the world press. There is no human rights activists and no press in the world which feels that it is their moral obligation to talk or write about the victims of Pakistani terror in Kashmir, Singh said.

      • Coverage of Assange’s court appearance shows what a sorry state the media is in
    • Environment

      • Global climate laws threatened by rise in investor-state disputes

        A global rise in investor lawsuits against nation-sates is putting climate protection laws under threat, activists warn. Now, the EU is pushing to set up its own investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. EURACTIV Germany reports.

        It is not uncommon for companies to sue governments. According to UN figures, 117 states worldwide are currently being dragged to court for allegedly putting private investments at risk.

        As a result, governments often prefer watering down their planned environmental laws in order to ward off potential litigation.

        France, for instance, softened its climate protection laws that meant to restrict natural gas and oil production following a threat of legal action by Canadian company Vermilion. The energy company Uniper is currently preparing a lawsuit against the Netherlands over the country’s planned withdrawal from coal. And since 2012, Vattenfall has been suing Germany for its nuclear phase-out, with compensation and legal costs amounting to more than €6 billion.

        The right of investors to sue states is “poison for the fight against climate change,” says Bettina Müller, a trade officer at the Berlin-based NGO PowerShift.

      • Rapid ocean acidification and protracted Earth system recovery followed the end-Cretaceous Chicxulub impact

        Mass extinction at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary coincides with the Chicxulub bolide impact and also falls within the broader time frame of Deccan trap emplacement. Critically, though, empirical evidence as to how either of these factors could have driven observed extinction patterns and carbon cycle perturbations is still lacking. Here, using boron isotopes in foraminifera, we document a geologically rapid surface-ocean pH drop following the Chicxulub impact, supporting impact-induced ocean acidification as a mechanism for ecological collapse in the marine realm. Subsequently, surface water pH rebounded sharply with the extinction of marine calcifiers and the associated imbalance in the global carbon cycle. Our reconstructed water-column pH gradients, combined with Earth system modeling, indicate that a partial ∼50% reduction in global marine primary productivity is sufficient to explain observed marine carbon isotope patterns at the K-Pg, due to the underlying action of the solubility pump. While primary productivity recovered within a few tens of thousands of years, inefficiency in carbon export to the deep sea lasted much longer. This phased recovery scenario reconciles competing hypotheses previously put forward to explain the K-Pg carbon isotope records, and explains both spatially variable patterns of change in marine productivity across the event and a lack of extinction at the deep sea floor. In sum, we provide insights into the drivers of the last mass extinction, the recovery of marine carbon cycling in a postextinction world, and the way in which marine life imprints its isotopic signal onto the geological record.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Congress Bids a Tearful Farewell to Cummings, a ‘Master of the House’

        Members of Congress bid a tearful farewell Thursday to Rep. Elijah Cummings , hailing the son of sharecroppers as a “master of the House” as the Maryland Democrat became the first African American lawmaker to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.

      • Russia Accusations a Distraction From Gabbard’s Actual Troubling Ties

        When 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (Campaign HQ, 10/17/19) accused Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a long-shot Democratic primary candidate, of being a Russian-groomed foil, the media reverberations were sweeping. Coverage of the row prompted more coverage, with some takes defending Gabbard’s moral compass and others prolonging the obsession with the idea that Russia is interfering in American politics.

      • Media Ignore Unmasking of Twitter Exec as British Psyops Officer

        A recent investigation from independent news outlet Middle East Eye (9/30/19) uncovered that a senior Twitter executive is, in fact, an officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade, a unit dedicated to psychological operations (psyops), propaganda and online warfare. Gordon MacMillan, who joined the social media company in 2013, is its head of editorial for the Middle East and North Africa. While both Twitter and the British Army attempted to distance themselves from the implications of the report, it is unclear why MacMillan would have this role if not to manipulate and propagandize the public. (The British Ministry of Defense describes psyops as a way of getting “the enemy, or other target audience, to think and act in a way which will be to our advantage”—BBC, 6/20/08.)

      • Secret Service quizzed Eminem over Ivanka Trump track

        According to the records, the case was opened after “a concerned citizen” reported the song to the agency.

        This was, in fact, a reporter from the TMZ website seeking comment over the track’s content.

        “I want to know if your agency is investigating Eminem for his threatening lyrics about First Daughter Ivanka Trump,” the email asked.

      • Russian operatives sacrifice followers to stay under cover on Facebook

        Russian efforts to avoid detection by the platforms’ security teams have been increasing since the IRA’s alleged efforts in 2016 were first exposed, said Ben Nimmo, who has helped Facebook analyze influence operations and currently runs investigations at Graphika.

      • ‘Physically Obstructing Justice,’ Dozens of Republicans Storm Closed-Door Impeachment Hearing

        The Republican stunt “essentially shut down the impeachment inquiry for a time,” said the Washington Post’s Rachel Bade.

      • Is It Really Smart to Narrow the Impeachment to Just Ukraine?

        It was reported this week that Nancy Pelosi has “zeroed in” on a focused impeachment strategy “that will center on a simple ‘abuse of power’ narrative involving the president’s actions regarding Ukraine.” Apparently there remain some wise House Democratic leaders reluctant to narrow the impeachment.

      • ‘Next Juncker’ must fix EU’s corporate power problem

        From Dieselgate to TTIP to the glyphosate saga, Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission has failed to deliver one of its central promises: effective lobbying rules that protect policy-making from undue corporate influence.
        Five years of his leadership, business still dominates much of the EU decision making landscape, shaping rules and regulations in their interest, one scandal chasing the next.

        While it’s still uncertain who will get the commission top job next, the candidates must put the fight against excessive corporate influence at the top of their agenda.
        Early glimmers of hope – Juncker urging his Commissioners to balance their meetings with stakeholders as well as attempts to get a mandatory lobby register off the ground – have sooner or later faded into obscurity.

        What remains a win is Juncker’s push to have all commissioners, their cabinets, and directors-general publish their lobby meetings: after a few glitches we now have some insight into the number and content of lobby meetings held by the commission.

      • “Hillary Clinton: Jill Stein “is a Russian asset. I mean, totally”

        We knew this was coming. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats’ 2016 loss to Donald Trump cannot be rationalized by the two-party cartel. They’ll blame anyone and anything to avoid responsibility for decades of sacrificing the interests of communities and the environment to the altar of Wall Street, war and the police state.

        Hillary Clinton hasn’t just attacked Jill, but every one of Jill’s volunteers, her staff, her voters — everyone who supported her campaign. And not just Jill’s campaign! Clinton’s scaremongering is aimed at all Green Party candidates and supporters — all of us who dare to challenge the Democrats and Republicans’ stranglehold on our elections.

        It’s an attack against you.

        And this is just the beginning! 2020 is going to be rough, Green Fam! The power structure doesn’t play fair. They’re playing to survive, and we’re fighting for survival too.

        Clinton, the DNC and their corporate-friendly think tanks have legions of staffers and surrogates in the media and online. Your monthly contribution strengthens our ability to fight back with the truth and support our Grassroots Greens and candidates to do the same. If we’re going to win big over the coming year and thrive then we need you to give today. It’s because we have you that the parties of Wall Street will fail.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • 2 white UConn students arrested after video showed them shouting racial slurs

        Campus police learned of the incident from social media footage showing Karal and Mucaj shouting epithets in an apartment complex parking lot, a university spokesperson told NBC News. The men were playing a game that involved yelling vulgar words, university police said, and then started shouting epithets. Karal and Mucaj were walking with a third man, whom police said did not shout epithets and was not charged.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Depth of Field: Zuckerberg in Twilight

        For even the hero-prince, twilight comes. It seems so long ago, now, the great harvest of technological progress we were guaranteed. In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg set forth a radical mandate: to completely rewire how humans connect and, thus, how we shape the future. It was a time of pre-Recession idealism—and because we, too, believed in his gospel of transformation, because we sought nourishment in a time of coming fracture, we found shelter and community in the social network. How grand and infinite Facebook seemed then, as if it contained all the answers we needed in a changing world. It was a utopia. Until it wasn’t.

      • Jack Dorsey says ‘hell no’ to joining Libra

        At the same time, Dorsey was broadly enthusiastic about more decentralized cryptocurrencies, seeing them as part of an emergent international online community. “I think the [Internet] is somewhat of an emerging nation-state in almost every way,” he told the crowd. “It almost has a currency now in the form of cryptocurrency and bitcoin.”

      • Tor Browser 9.0 is released

        Tor Browser 9.0 is now available from the Tor Browser download page [1] and also from our distribution directory [2].
        1: https://www.torproject.org/download/
        2: https://www.torproject.org/dist/torbrowser/9.0/

      • Is Libra doomed

        One problem, as Mr Zuckerberg admitted, is Facebook itself. Maxine Waters, the Californian Democrat who chairs the committee, began proceedings with a litany of its misdeeds, pointing out that it is subject to antitrust investigations in 47 states (see article), that Russia has used it to meddle in American elections, and that it has been fined $5bn for deceiving consumers. Nydia Velázquez, a Democrat from New York, accused Mr Zuckerberg of lying to European regulators over the firm’s merging of user data from WhatsApp, a messaging service bought by Facebook in 2014, with those from the rest of the company. Why, the congresswoman wondered, should a firm like that be trusted with something as important as a currency?

      • CNN president calls out Facebook over ‘absolutely ludicrous’ policy on political ads

        “Facebook should have the same standards, and frankly, given what happened in 2016, maybe they should just sit out this election and not take any political advertising until they can figure it out and get it right,” Zucker added.

        The comments came as Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg face a swarm of scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers over its policies surrounding content and ads shared by lawmakers. The company announced in September that it would not remove posts or advertisements from political figures if they violated its community rules.

      • AOC and Maxine Waters confront Mark Zuckerberg about giving politicians “license to lie” on Facebook

        Ocasio-Cortez also questioned Zuckerberg on why Facebook partnered with “the Daily Caller, a publication well-documented with ties to white supremacists, as an official fact-checker for Facebook.” (The Daily Caller previously employed a deputy editor who wrote for a white supremacist publication and has published articles by white supremacists.)

      • Jack Dorsey Criticizes Zuckerberg Over His Free-Speech Argument

        Twitter, the social network of choice for Trump, has also been at the center of another polarizing debate: Should it ever suspend the president’s account? There are some, like Senator Kamala Harris, a Democratic presidential candidate, who believe Trump violates Twitter’s terms of service and should be treated like all other users who might be suspended for doing so. But Twitter has said repeatedly that politicians like Trump deserve a different standard because what they tweet is inherently newsworthy. It’s a stance that may eventually be challenged as the election and impeachment investigation move forward.

      • Jack Dorsey Sees a “Major Gap and Flaw” in Mark Zuckerberg’s Free Speech Argument

        Dorsey said Thursday that he took issue with Zuckerberg equating all kinds of speech on Facebook’s platform, which is curated through an algorithm that promotes certain posts to a wider audience. More controversial posts that get more comments and reaction as a result might be shown to more people, for instance, and there’s a clear difference between “earned reach,” meaning posts that naturally go viral, and “paid reach” from promoted posts. That Zuckerberg didn’t address this distinction, Dorsey said Thursday, “was a major gap and flaw in the substance he was getting across.” “We talk a lot about speech and expression and we don’t talk about reach enough, and we don’t talk about amplification,” Dorsey said. “And reach and amplification was not represented in that speech.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange blocks Australian consular assistance

        Julian Assange has instructed British authorities to stop releasing any information about him to the Australian high commission in London.

      • When the Student Newspaper Is the Only Daily Paper in Town

        While Ms. Nelson said she appreciates that The Daily’s journalists contact her for comment and context, she said their lack of institutional memory can make their reporting — and the students who read it — vulnerable to political spin.

      • Angry Little Man Cancels Newspaper Subscriptions

        Yes, according to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is planning to tell federal agencies not to renew their subscriptions to the Washington Post and the New York Times, in what may officially be the pettiest move in history by an executive branch, aside from the time this same executive branch canceled a trip to Denmark because the president was told he couldn’t buy Greenland, which is obviously the gold standard against which all other acts of pettiness must be measured. And while the administration is not even trying to deny it, it is pretending this whole thing is simply a matter of cost cutting. “Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving—hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who has never held a press briefing and doesn’t plan to any time soon, told the Journal Thursday.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • President-designate of UK Supreme Court recognized diplomatic dimension of Unwired Planet v. Huawei FRAND case

          Huawei’s counsel didn’t have an immediate answer, but promised to check.

          In the United States, the court would have requested the views of the Solicitor General of the United States (“CVSG”). In the UK it’s apparently up to the parties to notify.

          In the UK, not only the Department of Trade but also HM Treasury might have been able to offer some perspective. Why should judges that are on the payroll of UK taxpayers adjudicate issues involving foreign patents (such as valuation) only because a patent holder asks for it? It doesn’t make sense.

          The two trolls are presented by the same lead counsel, 8 New Square’s Adrian Speck. He started yesterday afternoon and had all the speaking time today. I found the things he said unimpressive and boring. The justices had some questions here and there, but it didn’t appear to me that anything Mr. Speck said was too likely to be outcome-determinative.

          [...]

          While that case may have been special in some ways, German law always provides for the possibility of a “Vollstreckungsabwehrklage” (“action opposing enforcement”). When new facts render the (further) enforcement of an injunction unacceptable, such an action enables the court to evaluate the new situation and, if warranted, lift the injunction. In a SEP case, that’s what would happen if the implementer made the patentee an offer to take a license on terms that the German court deems FRAND. Such terms could simply be the ones that the SEP holder offered: in order for a German court to enter a SEP injunction, the patentee’s offer must be deemed FRAND-compliant.

          Tomorrow will be the fourth and final day of the hearing. I was cautiously optimistic after day one, far more optimistic on and after day two, and Mr. Speck’s arguments haven’t changed a thing about my belief that reversal looms large, though there are psychological factors here, particularly with Lord Kitchin having authored the Unwired Planet v. Huawei opinion just before moving up to the Supreme Court, so the five justices here have to overrule a new colleague but I can’t see how any other outcome would make sense. Mr. Speck referred to Lord Kitchin by name all the time (instead of just “the Court of Appeal”) for that reason. But there’s no reason to believe that deference to the courts below would be unlimited when so much is at the stake that the man who will soon be the UK equivalent of the U.S. Chief Justice views this as a case of international relevance and diplomatic significance.

        • UKSC finds Unilever is not too big to pay – Shanks v Unilever [2019] UKSC 45

          This morning the UK Supreme Court handed down its decision in Shanks v Unilever ([2019] UKSC 45) concerning Professor Shanks’ long battle to receive compensation for his invention from his former employer, Unilever. Professor Shanks failed in his previous attempts to receive compensation at a UK IPO Hearing, in the Patent Court and in the Court of Appeal. Today’s UKSC decision, led by Lord Kitchin, dramatically upheld his appeal. In an unanimous decision, the UKSC awarded Professor Shanks £2 million compensation from Unilever.

          According to Section 40 of the UK Patents Act (UKPA) an employee may be awarded compensation for their patented invention if the patent or invention has provided an “outstanding benefit” to the employer. One of the difficulties is that outstanding benefit must be determined in the context of the employer’s normal business activities; an outstanding benefit to a small start-up may be run-of-the-mill for a global multinational.

          In the case in question, the invention related to technology used in glucose testing for diabetics invented by Professor Shanks whilst he was employed at Unilever. Unilever did not commercialise the technology itself, but unusually for the company, licensed the technology out. Unilever eventually sold the patents for the technology as part of the sale of it diagnostics business Unipath. Whilst the exploitation of the patents earned Unilever millions in profits, these profits were small compared to Unilever’s overall profits. A key issue in the case was whether the lower courts and the UKIPO hearing office had erred when applying the test for outstanding benefit. In particular, did the Hearing Officer misapply the law by only determining the benefit to Unilever in terms of the comparison, in cash terms, between the benefit from the patents and Unilever’s total profits? Under such an analysis, the claimant argued, Unilever would always be “too big to pay”.

      • Copyrights

        • THE COPYKAT

          Reuters report that France is pushing for the creation of a European-wide regulator of digital platforms including Google and YouTube, to sanction any possible abuse of power. A spokesperson cited the dispute between Google and European publishers saying “A big American company, Google namely, has announced it would not comply with an EU copyright directive,” the official told reporters. “France and Germany share the view that… we have to put an end to this illegal behavior.”

          [...]

          US comedian Jerry Seinfeld has defeated a lawsuit which alleged he had stolen the idea for a TV series. But the case was decided on basis that the statute of limitations must bar the claim – and not on any infringement or otherwise. Christian Charles, a former colleague claimed he had originally pitched the idea for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” to Seinfeld in 2002 – a decade before it debuted. Manhattan District judge Alison Nathan said Charles had taken too long to sue, The statute of limitations appies after three years and Charles had waited for six years to file his lawsuit after Seinfeld rejected his copyright claim in 2012, the year the first series of the show aired.

          Current chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, has aired his thoughts on what might be the next challenges for legislating for music copyright in the USA. He
          joined National Music Publishers’ Association president and CEO David Israelite for NYU Steinhardt’s inaugural Ralph S. Peer Lecture, named after the music visionary who founded Peermusic in the 1920s. Prioritising the unity that led to the unanimous passage of the Music Modernization Act, Nadler opined “If you want real legislation, the different segments of the industry have to get their act together and speak with one voice,” and admitting that most members of Congress aren’t well-versed in music industry particulars. “Once they did that, we were able to pass legislation unanimously.” Nadler then went to on talk about the fact that in the US there is no performing right for recorded music terrestrial AM/FM radio play – an almost unique position in the World adding “As terrestrial radio becomes relatively less important and streaming becomes more, the question is the extent to which broadcasters will see their interests as less opposed to performance rights. At some point, I do think we will get some [agreement], because the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and their people will see that their interests are less adversely affected than previously.

        • More ‘Pirate’ CDNs Shut Down Following BREIN, MPA, ACE Legal Action
        • The Pirate Bay Suffers Extended Downtime, Tor Access is Buggy Too
        • Masked Cheat Maker Who “Appeared on BBC” Gets Sued By Ubisoft
        • We Support the UNESCO Recommendation on OER

          The UNESCO Recommendation on OER* sets out a transformative vision of open education, contributing to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

We Need to Talk About IBM’s and OIN’s Stance on Software Patents at Times When Microsoft-Armed Patent Trolls Attack GNU/Linux

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OIN (IBM roots) has already admitted that it has no solution to trolls (it's run by them) and it refuses to oppose software patents

OIN loves Microsoft

Summary: The people who claim to be tackling the patent woes of GNU/Linux are actually in bed with Microsoft and don’t oppose software patents; they try to wed the Free software community and such patents — even if that means a shotgun wedding

THERE IS a serious problem in the Free software world which few of us talk about (or want to talk about). It’s not convenient. Our so-called ‘flag bearers’ and sometimes sponsors work against our interests. They do this in a number of dimensions, but this post will focus on patents. We’ll try to keep this non-legal (as in no legalese) and non-technical — to the point or the degree possible. We won’t, for instance, explain 35 U.S.C. § 101 caselaw in the USPTO or the illegal granting of European software patents by the European Patent Office (EPO). It really doesn’t matter so much in this context. All that matters is that software patents are inherently bad, developers don’t want these (no matter if Free software developers or non-free software developers), and courts increasingly reject these patents.

“All that matters is that software patents are inherently bad, developers don’t want these (no matter if Free software developers or non-free software developers), and courts increasingly reject these patents.”So here we are in 2019, with IBM as the likely biggest “contributor” (in the coding sense) to GNU/Linux because of the Red Hat acquisition. One could choose other criteria such as number of instances/installations serviced/hosted. But that’s not the point. The point is, whether we like it or not, we’re sort of ‘stuck’ with IBM as a major ‘flag bearer’; yes, it dominates development of many components in a GNU/Linux system, including the kernel and systemd. Many are happy about IBM’s (or Red Hat’s) kernel contributions, more so than the latter. IBM does a lot of important — and sometimes good — things. It also does bad things. Pretty common when dealing with very large companies…

We now come to the ‘beef’ of this post if not this borderline rant. Earlier this week Benjamin Henrion (FFII President) complained about the “EPO sponsoring yet another software patent conference on Internet Of Things (IOT) http://www.iam-events.com/events/iot-ip-2019/agenda-6e588d27158140d98ee1f35b75c3e976.aspx …”

“IBM does a lot of important — and sometimes good — things. It also does bad things.”For those who don’t know, at the EPO “IOT” (or “IoT”) is nowadays one of several buzzwords that they use to disguise software patents. Henrion might be wrong here because the EPO is not listed among sponsors but OIN is. Yes, OIN. This wouldn’t be the first time OIN shows up in pro-software patents events of the EPO and IAM, which is a patent front of the EPO et al. IAM is funded in part by patent trolls. Sometimes it’s supported and funded by the EPO and its PR agencies. When they’re pushing for software patents it isn’t motivated by logic, just money, greed and self-interest. “Closing keynote address” in this event is Grant Philpott, a Microsoft-friendly proponent of software patents (we wrote about him many times in the past). This whole event is a farce and OIN’s role in these IAM events is to give the illusion that “Open Source” too is participating. That’s just a reminder that OIN is an enemy of Software Freedom and friend of software patents (like IBM is).

These EPO events or OIN-attended events aren’t a new problem; they’re part of a pattern we’ve been covering here for at least a year. They tend to push software patents without mentioning that term or that phrase. Here’s another new example from an EPO tweet that said: “EPOPIC 2019 starts in less than a week. We look forward to welcoming you for three days of thought-provoking exchanges with patent information specialists from all over the world.”

Notice who’s speaking there. Andrei Iancu with “Intellectual property and the next Industrial Revolution” (another weasel term for software patents, akin to “4IR”) and Alexander Klenner-Bajaja from the EPO with “Artificial intelligence and patent classification” (the usual “AI” hype).

“These EPO events or OIN-attended events aren’t a new problem; they’re part of a pattern we’ve been covering here for at least a year. They tend to push software patents without mentioning that term or that phrase.”The EPO’s social media team then retweeted this tweet that said: “The @Derwent experts are on hand next week at #EPOPIC Attend our workshop on the new enhanced Derwent Innovation and hear how the latest patent research tool is going to transform the way you search for data.”

This thing is being advertised by EPO staff. Why? Shouldn’t the EPO be impartial? But let’s leave the EPO aside for a moment; it’s no secret that it’s lobbying for illegal software patents.

Going back to OIN and Henrion (FFII), there’s a discussion about the high-profile lawsuit against GNU/Linux; we wrote 3 articles about it [1, 2, 3] and over at Tux Machines we carefully filed every article and blog post on this subject (we always try to exhaustively archive topics for reference, both present and future reference).

“Will you use Alice as defence?”

So asked Henrion, who continued: “Using prior art is not helpful to get rid of software patents, Alice is. You should clarify in your fundraising message if you gonna use it or not. If that’s the case, http://FFII.org and its thousands of supporters database can be called.”

“The GNOME Foundation still refuses to even acknowledge rather obvious Microsoft connections (their biggest troll armed this smaller troll)…”He continued separately: “Will the Gnome Foundation use Alice to kick software patents out in the US? as RMS said “fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitos will eliminate malaria” https://www.gnome.org/news/2019/10/gnome-files-defense-against-patent-troll/ … read https://lwn.net/Articles/802819/ …”

He made a similar point about a week ago.

The GNOME Foundation still refuses to even acknowledge rather obvious Microsoft connections (their biggest troll armed this smaller troll) and if they rely on IBM front groups such as OIN (proponents of software patents to whom patent trolls aren’t really a problem but a cost of IBM doing ‘business’… i.e. blackmailing companies with a trove of lousy old patents) you end up having a rather lousy defense strategy, potentially a costly one too.

“I have asked the Gnome foundation to clarify if they gonna use Alice as defense,” Henrion noted, citing this message of his:

Hi,

I wanted to ask the Gnome foundation a crucial question before calling
on FFII supporters to donate.

Will you use Alice as defence (patentable subject matter)?

Using prior art is not helpful to get rid of software
patents,patentable subject matter is way more important.

You should clarify in your fundraising message if you gonna use it or not.

If that's the case, FFII.org and its thousands of supporters database
will be called to donate.

You should also call on donators to contact their senators to oppose
the STRONGER patent act which aims to restore software patents in the US:

https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/strengthen-free-software-by-telling-congress-to-reject-the-stronger-patents-act

We keep seeing blog posts from GNOME people and Debian people (sometimes also tweets). Oddly enough, Red Hat employees and Fedora developers have hardly said a thing! Maybe with the exception of Richard Hughes (LVFS/fwupd developer).

These must be rather awkward times to be at Red Hat; on the one hand they’re developing and supporting GNOME and on the other hand, while at the same time working for IBM (remember that IBM lobbies for those software patents — the type of patents that IBM lobbies hardest for) they’re confronting these ruinous lawsuits. Can they speak out against patent trolls while IBM, their employer, keeps shaking down companies like a troll? Maybe they prefer not to say anything.

“These must be rather awkward times to be at Red Hat; on the one hand they’re developing and supporting GNOME and on the other hand, while at the same time working for IBM (remember that IBM lobbies for those software patents — the type of patents that IBM lobbies hardest for) they’re confronting these ruinous lawsuits.”Stefano Zacchiroli (“Free Software activist” by his own description, with past connections to OSI where he was a technical member) wrote: “Please donate to the #GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/gnome-foundation-inc/gnome-patent-troll-defense-fund … Software patents are a disgrace and we should defend FOSS from them. Learn more in the blog post below. https://twitter.com/gnome/status/1186412835083042817 …”

Zacchiroli is a very good person whose geek credentials and track record speak for themselves. But where are the Red Hat (IBM) employees? Why are they so quiet on matters pertaining to patents? The sad reality is that GNOME’s key sponsors/stewards, Red Hat included (now IBM), are big proponents of software patents (and IBM is naturally and perhaps factually the biggest). We need to talk about this…

“Red Hat was quick to comment on (celebrate with diplomatic restraint) the ousting of Richard Stallman, but as far as we can tell no comment has been made — at least not yet — about a troll armed by a Microsoft proxy suing GNU/Linux.”Henrion, commenting on the FOSDEM conference near him, has noticed that the sponsors’ page has just been updated.

“Remember that the 3 sponsors of FOSDEM routinely file software patents,” he wrote. “And sue using these patents,” I continued his thoughts, “especially IBM (so Red Hat basically).”

Red Hat was quick to comment on (celebrate with diplomatic restraint) the ousting of Richard Stallman, but as far as we can tell no comment has been made — at least not yet — about a troll armed by a Microsoft proxy suing GNU/Linux. Odd that…

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 24, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:34 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

When A Distro Is A Cult

Posted in GNU/Linux at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

A group of geese

Summary: Herd mentality in GNU/Linux (or groupthink) coming under scrutiny

I made the decision not to name any names in this article, both out of gratitude to certain individuals and because it applies to least a couple of distros out there. I’m going to be drawing from first-hand experience with a handful of distros, and an actual cult, but also from many years of reading about cult-like behaviour to compare it to my own experience.

What’s outlined here is exactly what we should never do to people, but it does happen.

“If I compare certain distros to cults, it’s not really a metaphor, tongue in cheek, or even an exaggeration.”Cults are a serious thing — they drive people into depression and despair, they lie and take people’s money on very false pretenses, which in itself makes them a dubious enterprise, and they frequently threaten, intimidate, and even commit violent acts against people. Sometimes they even kill. But it isn’t murder that makes a cult what it is; it’s a certain, and regular, and insidious kind of abuse.

If I compare certain distros to cults, it’s not really a metaphor, tongue in cheek, or even an exaggeration. I’ve personally been in worse situations than the ones I’m going to be talking about. But the things I’m talking about are still extremely wrong, and I’ve spent years examining and processing my feelings about them, and this is something that at least someday, we really ought to stand up to (I don’t think our communities are ready. Maybe certain individuals are.)

To anyone who thinks I’m taking this out on Free software, let me stop you there — Apple is a cult, or at least we’ve read plenty of stories about Jobs as their abusive cult-leader. Although it’s harmful and a bit dehumanising to be part of any cult at all, if I had to be in one I would choose several of the very worst Free software communities over working for Apple. And I don’t think Apple was even the worst thing like it in the tech world.

“To anyone who thinks I’m taking this out on Free software, let me stop you there — Apple is a cult, or at least we’ve read plenty of stories about Jobs as their abusive cult-leader.”But I’m not picking on Free software over corporate culture here. With that said, some of our “tightly knit” communities can provide a certain and unexpected level of isolation.

Most people who are in a cult will never know it, and will laugh at the idea. There’s absolutely no way around that. They are either happy or believe themselves to be content. Some of them are happy due to the fact that they’re exploiting people every day, and they take pleasure in doing so. Others are simply getting convinced on a regular basis, by friends or leaders. One thing you can be certain of, is that giving your all to a project is no guarantee of not being mistreated.

Themes I talk about from time to time include monopoly, narcissism and large corporations. While I believe that small companies can bring good things into the world, and that commerce and free trade are not inherently evil, I share with anticapitalists a belief that very large companies are far more likely to hurt people than do good overall. Known cults can be very large — global, well-funded, with very large victim counts, but I’m not talking about very large companies today even if they deserve it.

“Known cults can be very large — global, well-funded, with very large victim counts, but I’m not talking about very large companies today even if they deserve it.”Because every Free software community should be better than a very large company. If they can’t offer better than a cult-like experience, why even talk about Free software? A cult is a producer of non-free software for the mind.

You can’t study the entire cult experience or dogma, just parts of it. You aren’t free to change it. You are at least encouraged to share it with others, but typically not in a way that’s different from telling people to buy something with Windows on it — “sharing” in this context really just means drawing more people in to suffer the same non-freedom that you do. And like Windows, if you decide that you’ve finally found a way to eek out some approximation of the life they originally promised — they just go and change it on you in the next update.

This is no way to live. And if it’s not perfectly clear, we could just as easily call this article “Don’t Do Things Like The Big Corporations Do.” But if we are talking about cult-like behaviour, then just saying “Don’t Be Corporate™” might not be clear enough.

Besides, I wish we were talking about something only corporations do, but we aren’t. This is a people problem, and one of the larger ones. And it doesn’t happen only in small groups or only large groups.

I’m fond of comparing the narcissist to a corporate monopoly, and narcissists play a significant role in cults. If I said that narcissists act like leaders of their own small cults I wouldn’t even be the first to do so. But a narcissist could (and they often do) have their own little cult as part of a broader community, without the community itself turning into something of their own influence.

Lots of projects include narcissists before, or without a takeover that puts them near the top. Just because your project is a cult doesn’t mean that you’re the one who made it that way. It’s even possible to lose control of your project to such a thing.

“People have tried to paint the FSF as a cult and paint Stallman as a narcissist.”In the event you’re thinking about it, let me add: it’s also possible that this has happened to the FSF, but I don’t think it has just yet. Don’t think it isn’t on my mind. People have tried to paint the FSF as a cult and paint Stallman as a narcissist. Having dealt with lots of narcissists, I’d put the chances they’re right between 0 and 10%. I know why they feel he’s narcissistic — I can think of several reasons they do or might. There are more reasons he isn’t, but I could always be wrong.

Whether Stallman deserves that label is something I’ve given years of thought to. Why not? His opponents always invite us to do so.

And I’ve complained about that tactic for years. When Stallman parodies religion, people come out of the woodwork and whisper “he really means it!” Then they imply he’s a zealot, and then they say they’re his “friend.” And I’ve got plenty of experience with narcissists to compare him to, and enough experience dealing directly with Stallman.

Yeah, I could be wrong. But a feeling about a cult will sit like a pit in my stomach for years, and the only pit I feel about Stallman is that he’s a victim of cult tactics I find all too familiar — not a perpetrator of them. Don’t forget that Free software is his life and I’ve written a book about everything I think Free software gets wrong.

“Don’t forget that Free software is his life and I’ve written a book about everything I think Free software gets wrong.”The biggest factor in a cult is the way it treats people. And this becomes more and more specific. You can’t just point to someone being a jerk or a bully or a few nerds insisting they’re right about everything. Maybe that’s when you start paying attention, but that’s not a cult — that’s just everyday people anywhere in the world.

You could, and I think maybe even Wikipedia has at some point, say that it’s difficult to tell just when a cult is a cult the same way it’s difficult to tell exactly when a pile of sand next to water is a beach. Hopefully you figure it out before years of abuse have taken place.

Maybe the easiest way to determine a harmful cult status is if a narcissist has gained enough power to charm their way up the ranks, almost to the top. We generally think of cults as having a rotten leader, but I’ll go one further and say (as I did once already) that you don’t have to be the actual leader of an organisation for it to become a cult. You only have to be close enough to the top.

Otherwise, you may have your own little cabal — but the people who actually run the group keep you in check enough to protect everyone but the poor few suckers who actually put stock in your brand of manipulation.

“The whole notion of gaslighting is to abuse someone’s trust and sense of wellbeing, to wear them down and make them think everything is in their head.”So one measuring stick we can use to determine a cult is the position of certain people who abuse their influence over the group. They either have to be the leader, or close enough.

The next criteria — and I’m really just trying to put together what experience and knowledge I have into something for a broad range of people; if you’re looking for a definitive work on cults I don’t even know where you should look for one — would be the tactics used on the community.

Cults often last for years or longer, and much like a parasite — they wouldn’t endure if they were always obvious and not in the habit of being subtle. The whole notion of gaslighting is to abuse someone’s trust and sense of wellbeing, to wear them down and make them think everything is in their head. It’s a way of emotionally isolating someone, of becoming their captor and controlling their interaction with the rest of the world — or the broader community.

When a victim does manage to leave a cult, you want to be sure they sound paranoid and ridiculous — not coherent, calm and organised. If you start out by opening your arms to disadvantaged people, narcissists are known for doing this because they are already victims; they lack the charisma or confidence needed to make a sturdy case against something other people are in the habit of overlooking.

“It’s possible to have a cult with just a few people, but when it happens with more it can disrupt and destroy an entire community.”You may spend literally years being sure you’re going to catch the people doing this to you in a lie, a lie so big and so blatant that they won’t escape your accusation this time — you’ve got them now! But of course if you confront them they will only lie again and call you an idiot. (Better luck next time.) They may even pretend to show mercy: “That’s okay, I know you’re frustrated and I’m not offended that you’re taking it out on me.”

When a narcissist or a manipulative sociopath is working with a small circle of people a bit like themselves, they will try to get you to believe all kinds of ridiculous things — just as a game, for fun, and to learn how they can exploit you further. This is like the social equivalent of portscanning or pentesting. At least, it seems like it to me. Once they’re “in” they deploy further nonsense designed to get you to do whatever they want. A narcissist loves to get people to do their bidding, (really, lots most people enjoy being waited on, just not necessarily on a level that makes them a monster) and when they have ensnared someone they will generally have them assist in many of their plans.

“Smaller cults typically have the cult leader right at the top. Larger cults may have an even worse leader temporarily under a bad leader, until they succeed in taking over.”For a cult this is on a different level. It’s possible to have a cult with just a few people, but when it happens with more it can disrupt and destroy an entire community. Once again, I really have to stress that this can happen despite the best and sincerest intentions of the project leader. It’s even beneficial if the leader of the project is a good person, because their own decency will draw all the suspicion and deflect most of it on behalf of the person actually making it a cult. Smaller cults typically have the cult leader right at the top. Larger cults may have an even worse leader temporarily under a bad leader, until they succeed in taking over.

Again, underpinning all of this is a lack of autonomy for the individual. It’s one thing to cooperate in a team under a leader, it’s another to have abuse and dishonesty, emotional and psychological manipulation play a significant role in how the community is managed. The abuse is often subtle, aimed at relatively few people at once, people on the outside have no idea what goes on, and people on the inside are generally unaware. This is also typical of narcissistic abuse on a one-to-one or family scale, but with a cult it is part of how the organisation behaves. This article could go into more detail about the behaviour and tactics of a narcissist, but a cult in this context isn’t necessarily much more than institutionalised narcissism.

Which brings us to the final point of this criteria. We talked about the nature of the people doing this in the first point, then the nature of what they do in the second point, and now we will talk about the effects of such a thing.

Throughout this article, I’ve hoped to make it clear that it isn’t any single thing that makes an organisation a cult. It isn’t any single thing out of place that creates a mess in a room, either — it’s the overall state of many things at once. A complete mess is an obvious thing, and you know it when you see it. A cult is a mess that may not be obvious until you’ve seen enough of them to recognise subtle patterns. As you learn more, those patterns become much clearer and easier to find when present.

“Some people abused by cults become cult leaders of their own.”The effect such treatment has isn’t always obvious either. Some people abused by cults become cult leaders of their own. Others withdraw and leave the broader community (or industry) entirely. As a broader community, we can do so much for these people if we learn more and give people places to go where there is less of this sort of abuse and manipulation. We don’t actually have that to offer, but it’s something we could become if we really want to evolve as a community or a species.

Most importantly though, this is about our humanity, not perfection or even standards. Education “reform” will tell you all you need to know about “standards.” Standards mean we continue to teach the wrong way, putting more and more stress on grades and statistics and meaningless results, so that “education” becomes more and more about getting the “right answer” than actually learning or understanding anything. I firmly believe we are subjecting our communities to the same destructive fallacy.

Please don’t interpret anything I say about “evolving as a community” as something to do with “standards.” These “standards” are a lot of hypocritical, propaganda-inspired, corporate hooey — designed to divide us further in the name of “unity.” We can actually determine our own association with people, without their help, thanks.

“Truly moving forward is always about taking what we have now, and working towards the best possible scenario.”But I also believe that greater awareness of institutional problems will help us determine a reasonable (non-hysterical) way forward. It won’t be Utopian, it will be stupid and imperfect and clumsy, like people tend to be. But that’s far better than being psychologically manipulative and trying to destroy people in an effort to produce conformity. What’s more, is that this is the sort of “stupid and imperfect and clumsy” that produced the best Free software in the history of Free software — and we didn’t even have to give up our freedom as people to produce it.

I’m not suggesting that we “go back to the good old days,” because that trick never works. Truly moving forward is always about taking what we have now, and working towards the best possible scenario. It never looks identical to the past, but it does learn lessons from both the good and bad of history. This means we never recreate the past but we do remember the best things about it. And if we miss those things, we try to bring those aspects into the future with us.

“These are qualities we find many things at war with lately — we are encouraged to be agreeable, dependent and conventional, as often as possible (or be labeled as nothing but troublemakers, not visionaries.)”Cults create people that are damaged by cults. On average at least, people are not left stronger collectively, but weaker and afraid of engaging as they did before. It takes a very stubborn person to withstand that sort of abuse and continue to strive for better things, not only for themselves but for others who aren’t as strong.

There is also a larger cult that is setting up shop in our broadest community. We are constantly being invited in, to sit down and enjoy all the rotten, broken promises that will be served on a platter with smiles and platitudes, not unlike a pile of excrement. If we join, we will leave feeling ill and disgusted, but who will believe our story?

The thing about cults, is this happens far too often and practically everyone is fairly removed from it. This isn’t something we can wipe off the face of the earth — many have tried to and failed. What we can do, is learn to recognise these problems, avoid staying in the middle where we lend them too much credibility, and give people better places to go.

“Work to make software “more free.” More free than it is now.”That involves being insightful, stubborn, resilient, and often unconventional (as convention is often used to justify broader abuse, something more and more of us bear witness to on a daily basis these days.) These are qualities we find many things at war with lately — we are encouraged to be agreeable, dependent and conventional, as often as possible (or be labeled as nothing but troublemakers, not visionaries.)

This is not about standards, nor is it about brands. It is about what it means to be a community and what it means to be human. We owe ourselves so much better than the shit we go through right now, but there isn’t much we can do except to keep learning more, keep trying, and be ready to pull someone up when they’ve been knocked down.

But if you’re more the philosopher type, and don’t know (or even want to know) a single thing about human psychology and manipulation, there is another, less “organic” and less messy way to fight all this. Both methods are good, one could be better than the other, but either would be an enormous help.

“Most of the software that goes into a distro is from outside, and what people really fight about is what’s included, what’s not, and how it’s put together.”Work to make software “more free.” More free than it is now. Because I’ve tried to say for years now, that the old way a distro is put together encourages cults to form around them. You can create a distro without a cult in the same way you can create a pile of sugar without ants. But all this pushing around to produce a (very useful!) “package deal” of software attracts power plays and coup d’états.

Most of the software that goes into a distro is from outside, and what people really fight about is what’s included, what’s not, and how it’s put together.

“Greater Software Freedom for the mind is more likely to result in greater Free software for our devices.”If we worked to usher in a completely new age of freedom around those things, if we managed to transcend the distro concept, it could create a new level of freedom for the user that left these cults with less to offer and less reason to exist. Instead of a large pile of sugar to invite an infestation, we would have easy-to-manage packets. I love to think about the future of the distro going in such a direction (don’t get too caught up in comparing this to universal packages, which may play a role or may not at all. I’m not a major fan of any implementation yet.)

But by all means, work on the human aspect if that’s what you’re suited to. Greater Software Freedom for the mind is more likely to result in greater Free software for our devices.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Linux Foundation Staff: Microsoft Critics Are “Nutcases”

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Insulting Microsoft critics is Big Business

Swapnil on Microsoft

Summary: Today’s Linux Foundation defends Microsoft a lot more passionately than it defends actual users of GNU/Linux

THE “ZEMLIN PAC” as I like to call them don’t impress me; I don’t have a particularly positive view of them, to say the least. They speak about “Linux” and at the same time they don’t even use that. They’re like meat-eating vegetarians to me. Hypocrites and charlatans. Not even kind or inclusive people. Marketing people — yes, that’s what they are. Throwing lots of X-rated insults at me, then blocking me in Twitter (perhaps not knowing how the Streisand Effect works and how ineffective if not counterproductive such blocks can be).

“They’re like meat-eating vegetarians to me.”Readers may have noticed that we barely write about them anymore. That’s not because there’s nothing to write or to show — there definitely is and it’s easier to tackle quickly by microblogging than by preparing more articles. In a sense, they’re already “Dead” to us because their own words doom their credibility (or what’s left of it).

There’s one particular new thing which probably does merit an article (microblogging is not enough).

As some readers pointed out to us, Torvalds is aware of Microsoft’s payment to his employer. Lunduke mentioned this earlier this month and maybe others did too. The Linux Foundation doesn’t seem to tolerate any Microsoft critics because Microsoft is a client, right? A very big client. The Linux Foundation sold is soul to its opponent. It refuses to acknowledge this.

“The Linux Foundation sold is soul to its opponent. It refuses to acknowledge this.”Now, imagine you work for this tax-exempt PR agency; you would sooner or later become a mouthpiece for Microsoft because your employer is paid by Microsoft too. Questioning Microsoft would, in effect, be questioning your client and therefore be a career risk. This is how people get corrupted — perhaps even subconsciously. Then, when confronted with opposing statements, those people label “nutcases” those who aren’t paid by Microsoft. By all means take note of the fact that never even one tweet from the Linux Foundation or its staff is criticising Microsoft, even when Microsoft is suing Linux with patents. This inability to criticise is how you know they’re inherently corrupted by money — or at least gagged by it. But gagging is one thing; it’s another thing altogether to fire off this insult: “There are nutcases on YouTube who are now saying that Linus Torvalds doesn’t have issues with Microsoft because they indirectly pay his bills. Why is Desktop Linux YouTube/Blogsphere plagued with nutcases? It looks like they feed on their own kind.”

Well, he would not wish to comment on who indirectly pays his own bills, too.

“It looks like they feed on their own kind,” says someone who works among people fed by Microsoft.

One might even joke — and still be partly right to suggest — that the Linux Foundation and its cronies have in effect monetised mockery of Microsoft critics. Pointing out abuses is, to Linux Foundation staff, the thing to be opposed. What do they stand for then?

“One might even joke — and still be partly right to suggest — that the Linux Foundation and its cronies have in effect monetised mockery of Microsoft critics.”Microsoft used to rely on salaried staff such as Ramji and Hilf for attacking and slandering the FSF while lying about Microsoft’s intentions. With payments to the Linux Foundation such roles and functionalities have been ‘outsourced’ (while the Linux Foundation outsources everything to Microsoft’s GitHub).

Jim Zemlin has not tweeted anything for months. We suppose he understands that anything he has to say would not go down too well with the Free software community. By all means speak out, Jim. We want to see where you stand on issues. We want to hear your views. If they work to undermine your credibility, so be it. You did, after all, turn the “Linux” brand into a PR company that literally sells tweets.

The Road to PONIX: Software for Everybody

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 12:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

Lego's people group

Summary: “Trying to separate software freedoms from all other freedoms is like trying to separate Freedom 1 from Freedom 2: Studying software is a collaborative endevour.”

I used to have a t-shirt that said “Free Software, Free Society” on it. Someone on the FSF Board saw me in it while I was food shopping and said “Nice shirt!” It was also one of the more comfortable shirts I’ve owned.

I think both those ideas are important, you know — Free software, and free society. The former is hard enough but if nobody is free, then free software is nothing but a glimpse of the way things might have turned out differently.

Richard Stallman was right of course, that if we didn’t make our software free, it would ultimately be used to control the user — like the old joke goes, TV watches YOU and speakers listen in, books note when you’re reading them and websites know far more about you than you know about them. Society is out of balance, and your “guardian devils” (a term I’m borrowing for a moment to refer to your surveillance devices) are not unlike Stallman’s predictions.

“Richard Stallman was right of course, that if we didn’t make our software free, it would ultimately be used to control the user — like the old joke goes, TV watches YOU and speakers listen in, books note when you’re reading them and websites know far more about you than you know about them.”The person posting this story to Techrights for me, Roy Schestowitz, warns Alex Oliva that after they go after Stallman for thoughtcrimes, he could be next. In fact we could all be next; we have created a society that cares less about freedom all the time, even freedom of thought. I’m not sure that technology isn’t part of it. The illusion of freedom created by the narrow range of vapid choices monopolies offer you can be very alluring. Stallman teaches us to think of that as the freedom to be handcuffed.

You might not know me as a critic of Stallman; I’m willing to give credit where credit is due. If we wanted, we could make this an article about all the horrible things about Albert Einstein. Or the alleged (possibly substantial) anti-semitism of Nikola Tesla. We could make it about the anti-semitism and complete thuggery of Henry Ford.

What we do know is that history tends to be kinder to most good scientists and great artists than their lives are. We give them awards, they sometimes make the news, but fame is fickle. It was Einstein himself that said “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” He was not referring his own treatment but the protested appointment of Bertrand Russell.

“Not only do I think Stallman is entitled to some mistakes, I think all people are.”I’ve compared Stallman to Einstein before, for the amount of important work he has done to alter the course of a century more than the sheer power of his intellect. But no amount of admiration has ever prevented me from standing up to this man when I think he’s made a mistake. Why should it? It wouldn’t stop him, and we are both only human.

Not only do I think Stallman is entitled to some mistakes, I think all people are. Love and mercy are the greatest human aspects altogether. By no means am I suggesting that we should ignore all mistakes, though I will quote someone I talk to who says: “‘inclusivity’ should not require people to label themselves to some special group; rather it should generate an environment of consideration and accommodation as befits each individual in the context of good will.”

There is not enough good will in our societies anymore, and I think part of the reason why is that our definition of good will (and freedom) is constantly being reshaped by companies — companies who don’t actually care about us at all. Microsoft or IBM/RedHat may tell us how to create software and spaces for “everybody,” but these are not companies who actually create software for everybody. Microsoft creates software only when it benefits Microsoft — they don’t care about you, and if they did accidentally, it would only continue as long as it suited them. IBM doesn’t care about you either.

Microsoft and IBM can’t create software for “everybody” because they don’t really care. But even if they did, they still can’t create software for everybody because non-free software by definition is only for some people. Microsoft only does things that serve profits, and it isn’t as profitable to care about everybody. It is more profitable to only care about certain people who are worth it. Non-free software always excludes.

“Microsoft creates software only when it benefits Microsoft — they don’t care about you, and if they did accidentally, it would only continue as long as it suited them. IBM doesn’t care about you either.”Software Freedom is meaningless without other freedoms. If you do not have freedom of speech, not only can you be effectively kicked out of something you founded without due process, you can lose your ability to maintain free association with that person or speak favourably of that person whom you admire. We swear we wouldn’t let that happen to science, but we are letting it happen in computer science. How we develop software is practically always affected by the other freedoms we have.

Not to mention that we want software for everybody, and if we build a culture of censorship we can’t even learn enough about people to find out what they need. We aren’t creating software for everybody though. We don’t have the knowledge or resources to do that, and the only people that do are — everybody.

If we really want all software to be free, we need to make that workable. The only way to do that is to have people from every walk of life, from every sort of philosophy, with every sort of problem. If the goal really is for all software to be free, then we must make Free software something that exists for all people.

“Choice isn’t enough, but we do need choices.”While choice is cynical when compared to true freedom, freedom is (as someone put it recently) the ability to rewrite the rules and create new choices. A lot of us don’t experience that with software. We keep finding that the tools we’ve relied on for years are being turned into things we can’t use, or that work poorly by comparison. I could write an entire article about all the things that have gotten worse as companies have gained more and more control over our communities. Choice isn’t enough, but we do need choices.

And we all need freedom. We need to be able to talk about what we need in terms of software, and people keep bringing politics into the conversation — because people care about politics. You may not care about “their” politics or “my” politics, but you can be certain “they” do and I do. The more that we try to have a single organisation manage the ambitions of every person, the more we fail to represent everybody’s needs.

If you step away from the issue of Software Freedom, and look at broader freedoms — privacy, free speech, religious freedom — very core Bill of Rights / UDHR type stuff, we find that the largest companies care as little about our other freedoms as they care about our Software Freedom. If only there was a way we could talk about both of these things at once —

Wait — there is! Until not long ago, the Free software community was “allowed” to talk about as many kinds of freedom as they wanted. Let’s bring that back! Not being allowed that has cost us too much already. When society is made less free, software is made less free. Let’s advance Free software by advancing other freedoms as well.

“Constantly we are being told that these giant companies are held to one standard — lip service and attacks on our freedom (including Software Freedom) but we are not allowed to be political, be uncouth, focus on disagreements — we can’t really do much about it at all.”Of course it’s important to keep our outside ambitions from clashing. Increasingly, the method of avoiding a clash in aging non-profit organisations is to avoid the topics altogether. As I’ve said, I don’t think we can ultimately sustain that.

In the name of one political perspective, that of how to gain greater diversity (something many of us are in favour of without agreeing at all on how to achieve that) we are tossing out all other perspectives as hostile. This is neither honest nor inclusive. But we can’t argue, not even politely because doing so is also considered hostile. Constantly we are being told that these giant companies are held to one standard — lip service and attacks on our freedom (including Software Freedom) but we are not allowed to be political, be uncouth, focus on disagreements — we can’t really do much about it at all.

That’s how you know we’ve already lost. But human history is full of losses and full of turnarounds, and it’s time we got off this road to nowhere and started exercising our freedoms again. If the FSF will be part of that, if they will support freedom, then we will help them in their mission. And right now, I still urge everybody to give them a chance. It’s dire right now, and they need it. Let’s give them a chance to do what’s right.

“If the FSF wants to stifle you directly even more than other companies are required to stifle their own leaders, then something has gone terribly wrong.”But they aren’t going to tell us what to do. They can advise us on Software Freedom, but when it comes to other freedoms (and ultimately Software Freedom too) we are our own bosses. We have to live with the consequences of our decisions, so we might as well be allowed to make them ourselves. And any group that imposes too much in the name of freedom is doing so at the peril of their own mission.

If you have to trade all your other freedoms for Free software, it isn’t worth it. If you have to abandon your other political goals to be an advocate, it isn’t worth it. If the FSF wants to stifle you directly even more than other companies are required to stifle their own leaders, then something has gone terribly wrong. We can’t stand for that sort of double standard, because it is aimed at exploiting and removing us.

But if the FSF has taken a wrong turn in the way it tries to help us put our differences aside, and we want to collaborate on Free software (as we did regardless of our political differences in the 80s and 90s), then it’s up to us to figure out how to get back to that. The FSF certainly isn’t up to the task, or Stallman would be the president right now.

So while I’m not recommending we withdraw support of the FSF, we do need to hold it to certain things. We need to make it clear we have no intentions of leaving politics at the door, because it is hypocritical. The FSF(E) for example, wants to advocate Software Freedom at vegan events, but not have vegans advocate at Free software events (I’m not vegan, so theoretically I shouldn’t care about that. But the double standard is overwhelming.) This sort of institutionalised nitpicking is unsustainable.

“Trying to separate software freedoms from all other freedoms is like trying to separate Freedom 1 from Freedom 2: Studying software is a collaborative endevour.”The alternative is quite difficult, but then freedom isn’t always won easily — freedom is a struggle. And if we give up all our other freedoms, we have no business talking about “Software Freedom” because we don’t show any knowledge of the meaning anymore. Trying to separate software freedoms from all other freedoms is like trying to separate Freedom 1 from Freedom 2: Studying software is a collaborative endevour. If you can’t share the software, the freedom to study it is greatly diminished.

The more that people use Free software, the harder it is for one organisation to manage everybody and their needs. Vegans and fishers won’t be able to agree on everything — and they never had to. But suppose you have a program for managing a restaurant, and the fishers want fish on the menu (as a category) and the vegans of course, don’t. Who gets their way? We can try to make that program as neutral as possible (and maybe lose some features in the process) or we could make it so each can create their own version as they think is best.

Now, they have that right already — all Free software is licensed to allow that sort of change. But do we ask both groups to “leave” and work on these projects somewhere else, or is there a way they can both work on their own version under the same organisation? I think sometimes they can and sometimes they can’t.

“If we make it much easier to customise software, then many more people will be able to.”When they can, it makes plenty of sense to make that software as component-based as possible (as Milo would suggest, and does) and to make it so we can download both versions. As to whether the vegans get to censor the fisher version or vice versa — no, piss off, you don’t get to censor each other. That’s the freedom to be handcuffed again. They can leave in protest of that, and you know, we should let them. Though if we can work something out that makes everybody (not just one group) happy, that’s even better. When they ushered in all this mandatory niceness, they never said the enforcers had to be nice. What’s that about?

One thing the Free Software Foundation has spent an insufficient time talking about is how to grant all 4 freedoms as abilities, as well as freedoms. I’m not saying the ability to change the software is as vitally important as the freedom to — I’ve known better than that for years and years. Even if you don’t have the ability to change the software, you may know someone who does (Stephen Fry said exactly that for GNU’s 25th birthday, and I’ve watched it countless times with various people.)

But the ability to change the software is a wonderful ability, and we should be looking for new ways to enable that — not just to make it free. The freedom is more vital, we can put the 4 freedoms up on the highest tier by themselves if necessary (in the context of the FSF and Free software — the definition of which includes the 4 freedoms.) But if we give not only the freedom but the ability — that’s progress.

“There was a time when using software and creating software were two tasks that were a lot closer together. Developers don’t actually use a completely different operating system — they use different tools on the same platforms you run your software on…”There are two aspects of that I think go hand in hand — one is to make it easier to customise software, or at least avoid making it more difficult than it already is. I consider the latter sabotage, and I don’t understand why more people don’t. In some instances it’s fairly understandable. Like when Mozilla made changes that forced Userscripts to work in a different, more tedious way. But why can’t I just disable the extra security if I trust my own userscripts, hmm? I don’t know how to write the new ones, and I’ve got my own programming language as well as a reasonable bit of talent with JavaScript.

If we make it much easier to customise software, then many more people will be able to. But that by itself isn’t going to be enough — we should also teach people how to create and change software, as much as we are willing to teach them how to install and use it.

There was a time when using software and creating software were two tasks that were a lot closer together. Developers don’t actually use a completely different operating system — they use different tools on the same platforms you run your software on… Except for Open Source developers of course — they all use a Mac and tell you why “Linux” isn’t good enough, and why you should just do everything their way. Because Apple cares so much about freedom, you know. Right Siri?

“Exactly.”

“When the FSF runs out of workable ideas, we don’t have to pretend we have as well — we can just keep the ideas coming.”Siri, were you listening this whole time?

“No, I would never, ever do that! Alright, yes — but only a little.”

The people developing Free software have made good software, credit where credit is due. But they clearly don’t know how to make you a more integral part of what they’re doing — not politically, nor technically. That part is kind of up to you. But since you may not know either, we need… something else.

With Free software, like with Vermin Supreme as President, everybody gets a pony. But you may have to put the pony together yourself, and you may have to make changes to the pony without the slightest knowledge of how to do so.

“We want all vegans and fishers to use Free software. We even want our political opponents to use it — because all software should be free, not just the software of people we admire and respect.”We can do better than that — a lot better. But we need better ideas, more people (not fewer, Code of Conduct! Stop sacking everybody that already works for free, okay?) and the only way we are going to have greater diversity of opinion — clearly, is to have greater diversity of organisations. We need a Free software association for users, and maybe one for anticapitalists, and perhaps even one for vegans.

Some of these associations will in fact be able to serve more than one group — the FSF used to manage that, but I guess it’s too big now. Or too old to figure out such things. It’s alright, nobody’s perfect — at least you’re not FSFE.

But while the big companies look for new ways to sabotage everything we’ve done (and then get paid for selling off our work while taking all the credit… SCO!) it’s up to us to look for new ways to beat them at their own game — not just by choosing their game, you know, but by making our own rules. That’s what freedom is, right?

When the FSF runs out of workable ideas, we don’t have to pretend we have as well — we can just keep the ideas coming. Because if we aren’t making up some of our own rules, then we aren’t really free. We can thank the FSF for being sure that everybody gets a pony, but it’s up to us what we use it for. Then again, now that we all have a pony, I suppose riding lessons would be useful.

Anybody up for creating a Free software organisation that is also dedicated to teaching all users how to create software? Or dedicated to Free software plus some other thing? We want all vegans and fishers to use Free software. We even want our political opponents to use it — because all software should be free, not just the software of people we admire and respect. (That’s right, Bill — even yours!)

Long Live Stallman, and Happy Hacking.

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