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Links 30/10/2019: GIMP 2.10.14 Released and Google Ends Flash Support

Posted in News Roundup at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • What Service Meshes Are, and Why Istio Leads the Pack

        Cloud-native technologies like containers and microservices have made infrastructure infinitely more complex. Service meshes are there to help.

      • IBM

        • Three New Container Capabilities in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7

          We are proud to announce that users of RHEL 7.7 can now use Podman 1.4.4 to find, run, build and share containers as regular users (also called rootless). This builds on the work we did in RHEL 7.6 (A preview of running containers without root in RHEL 7.6).

          The new rootless feature can be tested with a fresh installation of RHEL 7.7 or by upgrading from RHEL 7.6. When doing a fresh install, just add a new user ID and the new version of the shadow-utils package will take care of everything (/etc/subuid and /etc/subgid entries). With an upgrade from RHEL 7.6, you will need to add the UID/GID mappings for existing users. For more detailed information, follow the Managing Containers guide in the RHEL 7 documentation.

          The tech preview of rootless containers offers only the the VFS driver (no fuse-overlay support). This has the trade-off of better runtime performance at the expense of using more disk space. The VFS driver does not use copy-on-write, so when the container is started it will copy all of the data from lower layers of the container image.

          The runtime performance is improved because there is no copy-on-write cost, though it will result in slower start up and can consume quite a bit more disk space. We are currently working on backporting the fuse-overlay capabilities to the 3.10 kernel with an eye towards full fuse-overlay support during the RHEL 7 life cycle.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • IWD 1.0 Released As Intel’s Wireless Daemon For Linux Systems

        Intel’s IWD wireless daemon for Linux systems that could potentially replace WPA_Supplicant has reached the big 1.0 milestone.

        Intel’s Marcel Holtmann presented on IWD at this week’s Open-Source Summit Europe and declared IWD as 1.0 with it now having stable D-Bus interfaces. IWD 1.0 also adds network configuration documentation.

        Besides declaring the D-Bus interfaces stable and more documentation, there aren’t any other big changes with this 1.0 release over the earlier 0.xx releases.

      • Linux kernel is getting more reliable, says Linus Torvalds. Plus: What do you need to do to be him?

        Linux inventor (and chief maintainer) Linus Torvalds says that the kernel is getting more reliable, and he is not anxious about it being used in safety-critical systems.

        Torvalds, being interviewed on stage at the Open Source Summit in Lyon yesterday, told onlookers: “I don’t do speeches any more.”

        The Finnish-American engineer is responsible for creating two of the most significant software projects of the last 30 years, one being Linux (which dominates both server computing and, in the form of Android, mobile devices), and the other being git, the most popular source code management and collaboration tool. Asking the questions was Dirk Hohndel, chief open source officer at VMware.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mir Working On A Mir-On-Wayland Nested Compositor Path, Broadcom DispmanX API Support

          In addition to Mir’s other road-map items around replaceable renderers and hybrid graphics driver support, it also turns out the Canonical developers involved are working on expanding the graphics platform support.

          Longtime Mir developer Alan Griffiths of Canonical wrote a post on Tuesday about the graphics platform support. To date Mir has released support for the KMS/Mesa drivers, Mir-on-X11 as a development target, eglstream-kms platform coverage for NVIDIA’s proprietary driver, and an Android target with libhybris going back to the original Ubuntu Touch / Mir days.

        • MoltenVK Picks Up Metal 3.0 Capabilities, More Vulkan Features On macOS

          The open-source MoltenVK is out with another new update based against the Vulkan 1.1.126 specification and allowing the Vulkan API to be used on Apple’s macOS and iOS by mapping those calls to the underlying Metal graphics drivers.

          Tuesday’s MoltenVK update brings support for VK_EXT_swapchain_colorspace / VK_EXT_hdr_metadata, support for Metal 3.0 driver capabilities, native texture swizzling support, support for compressed 3D images on macOS, additional color-space options support, Xcode 11.1 toolchain support, reduced memory usage in some scenarios along with memory leak fixes, and a variety of other Vulkan bits were tweaked or added for this Apple portability layer.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i9 9900KS Linux Performance Benchmarks Review

        Today the Intel Core i9 9900KS is shipping at $513 USD for this specially-binned Coffeelake CPU that is capable of achieving a 5.0GHz all-core turbo frequency. The all-core 5.0GHz turbo is great, but it remains an eight-core / sixteen-thread 14nm processor going up against AMD’s similarly priced Ryzen 9 3900X. Here are our initial benchmarks of the Core i9 9900KS compared to the Core i9 9900K and Ryzen 9 3900X.

        The Intel Core i9 9900KS 8c/16t CPU features a 4.0GHz base frequency with 5.0GHz turbo frequency that can be sustained across all cores. The Core i9 9900KS does carry a 127 Watt TDP compared to 95 Watts with the i9-9900K, which has a lower base frequency of 3.6GHz and its 5.0GHz turbo rating is only for a single core. The price of the i9-9900KS is launching at $513 USD while the i9-9900K is now priced at around $449. The rest of the specifications align between the year-old Core i9 9900K and the new Core i9 9900KS.

    • Applications

      • 10 Best Flowchart and Diagramming Software for Linux

        Diagrams are a great means for us to connect with information and process its significance; they help in communicating relationships and abstract information and enable us to visualize concepts.

        The flowchart and diagramming tools are used for everything from basic workflow diagrams to complex network diagrams, organization charts, BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), UML diagrams and much more.

        Are you looking for free and open-source flowchart and diagramming software to create different kinds of diagrams, flowcharts, illustrations, maps, web graphics and more, on a Linux desktop? This article reviews 10 best flowcharts and diagramming software for Linux.

      • Proprietary

        • SUSE Brings Enterprise Linux to Oracle Cloud to Meet Growing Demand for Cloud-Based Business Deployments

          SUSE®, a Gold-level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), today announced the availability of SUSE Linux Enterprise on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and that Oracle has become a member of the SUSE Partner Program for Cloud Service Providers.


          “SUSE’s collaboration with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure allows us to meet growing customer demand for the agility and cost benefits of cloud-based business-critical applications,” said Naji Almahmoud, SUSE vice president of Global Alliances. “SUSE partners with leading public cloud providers because we are committed to giving customers the tools they need to succeed as they deal with increasing pressure to become more agile and economically efficient to grow, compete and survive. Innovating with partners and communities, SUSE delivers and supports enterprise-grade Linux and other solutions that enable customers to create, deploy and manage workloads anywhere – on premises, hybrid and multi-cloud – with exceptional service, value and flexibility.”

        • City of Johannesburg Refuses to Pay Ransom to [Attackers]

          Messages left by the [attackers] on compromised computers claimed all servers and data were “hacked.” They also claimed to have dozens of backdoors that gave them control over everything in the city. “We can shut off everything with a button,” the [attackers] said.

        • Boeing CEO Accused of Telling ‘Half-truths’ in 737 MAX Hearing

          The hearing, the highest-profile congressional scrutiny of commercial aviation safety in years, heaps pressure on a newly rejiggered Boeing senior management team fighting to repair trust with airline customers and passengers shaken by an eight-month safety ban on its 737 MAX following the crashes, which killed 346 people.

          “You have told me half-truths over and over again,” Senator Tammy Duckworth told Muilenburg, questioning why the manufacturer did not disclose more details about MCAS’s lack of safeguards. “You have not told us the whole truth and these families are suffering because of it.”

          Duckworth said the pilots did not know enough about MCAS.

          “You set those pilots up for failure.”

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Remote Play Together should now work properly on Linux with a new Steam Beta update

        Valve released a new update to the Steam Beta today that should fix the issues with Remote Play Together not working correctly on Linux.

        Fantastic news, since it’s going to be an incredible useful addition to Steam. Allowing you to play games that only feature local multiplayer, with the host being the only one who needs to own the game. There’s so many amazing games that don’t have online play, so having this feature in the Steam client really does make it easy.

      • pyLinuxWheel has a new build adding support for more Logitech Wheels on Linux

        Managing your Logitech Wheel on Linux doesn’t have to be a hassle, especially with applications like pyLinuxWheel.

        A project covered here in GamingOnLinux a few months ago, earlier this month it had a big new release. Version 0.5.1 adds in support for Driving Force (EX, RX), G920, Logitech Racing Wheel USB, WingMan Formula (Yellow, GP, Force GP) and MOMO (Force, Racing) steering wheels so now it covers quite a lot.

      • Worms have invaded Golf With Your Friends with a big new 18 hole course

        Incoming! The amusing multiplayer Golf game Golf With Your Friends has been invaded by Worms with a Team17 team-up.

        This Worms themed update brings in a big new 18 hole course with Worms inspired scenery. New mechanics were added in too including a Jet Pack allowing you to stay in the air a bit longer, along with some amusing new obstacles like Mines, Super Sheep and more to spice up your next Golf session.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Sets Out 3 Goals for the Future

          Announced this week, the KDE community has come together to map outs its development plans for the next few years.

          The direction is neatly distilled on the KDE Goals mini-site, which provides a top-level overview on the areas of focus that those working on this free software project (and associated projects within its orbit) will keep in mind.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Open Invention Network Backs Gnome Project against Patent Troll

          The Gnome Project was recently sued by a company called Rothschild Patent Imaging for a patent related to the Shotwell photo manager. The Gnome community has just announced that it is counter-suing Rothschild, which they refer to as a patent troll.

          Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO, said in his keynote at Open Source Summit, Europe, “Rothschild is a bad company. This is an entity that’s antithetical to the goals of innovation. It will sue foundations. It will sue not for profits. It will sue individuals. It will sue corporations. Their playbook is to establish a pattern of wins through relatively modest settlements,” which can get other businesses to pay up without a fight.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Tumbleweed Gets New OpenSSH Major Version

          Snapshot 20191027, brought an update to KDE Plasma 5.17.1. The bugfix update fixed the Mouse KCM acceleration profile on X11 on the Plasma Desktop and had a fix for KWIN with visibility of the Context Help button. Part of the update to Plasma 5.17.1 came in the 20191022 snapshot on the day of the release from the KDE Project. The kcalendarcore package was update to KDE Frameworks 5.63.0, which landed in last week’s snapshots. Quite a few YaST packages arrived in the snapshot as well; some of the those YaST packages adapted to new Keyboard handling. The other two packages updated in the snapshot were to the AV1 decoder dav1d 0.5.1, which fixed a build issue in ARM64 assembly if debug info was enabled, and desktop calculator, qalculate 3.5.0, which had a fix for steradian conversion that is related to the surface area of a sphere. The Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer is being fixed and doesn’t have a rating for the snapshot.

          Seven packages arrived in the 20191025 snapshot and the openssh 8.1 was a major upgrade. The new major version added some new features like an experimental lightweight signature and verification ability. According to the changelog, “signatures may be made using regular ssh keys held on disk or stored in a ssh-agent and verified against an authorized_keys-like list of allowed keys. Signatures embed a namespace that prevents confusion and attacks between different usage domains (e.g. files vs email).” The VirtualBox hypervisor for x86 virtualization had a minor update to version 6.0.14; the maintenance release fixed potential issue in the networking with interrupt signalling for network adapters in UEFI guests. The Network Time Protocol package chrony 3.5 added support for hardware timestamping on interfaces with read-only timestamping configuration and Persistent Memory programming package pmdk 1.7 introduced two new Application Program Interface (APIs) in librpmem and libpmemobj.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora 31 Linux distribution is out: here is what is new

          Fedora 31 Workstation has been released on October 30, 2019. The new version of the popular Linux distribution comes with the desktop environment GNOME 3.34 and several other improvements and changes.

          New users may download the ISO image from the official Get Fedora website or, if they use Windows or Mac OS devices, use the Fedora Media Writer tool instead to download the Linux distribution. Fedora Linux can be run as a Live distribution, ideal for getting a feel for the operating system.

          Upgrade instructions to upgrade existing installations to Fedora 31 are provided on the project website as well.

        • Paul Mellors [MooDoo]: Fedora 31

          Well it seems like Fedora 31 has been release, I’m feeling the need for an upgrade.

          I think i’ll just download the ISO from here – https://getfedora.org/ but I know I can upgrade from the command line, so if you don’t know how to do it, try this [please note i've not tried it so if it hoses your system, erm sorry], it also might cause issues if you have any third party repos enabled on your system, but give it a try any way.

        • Fedora 31 Released

          The latest version of Fedora comes with new packages and libraries.

          Red Hat sponsored Fedora community has announced the release of Fedora 31, the latest version of Red Hat’s community distribution.

          Fedora now comes in many different editions – each targeting a different workload. Fedora Workstation and Fedora Server are aimed at developers using Fedora for development and then testing their apps on server. Other editions include Fedora CoreOS, Fedora IoT and Fedora Silverblue.

        • Fedora 31 Released! Check Out The New Features

          This is a big deal of Fedora Workstation users, with the latest and greatest GNOME update 3.34, you will find some visual changes and performance improvements.

          It is easier to change the background or lock screen wallpaper with GNOME 3.34, the options are user-friendly and useful.

          In addition to this, you can also create application folders in the overview to organize your app drawer.

      • Debian Family

        • Long-Range Radios: A Perfect Match for Unix Protocols From The 70s

          It seems I’ve been on a bit of a vintage computing kick lately. After connecting an original DEC vt420 to Linux and resurrecting some old operating systems, I dove into UUCP.

          In fact, it so happened that earlier in the week, my used copy of Managing UUCP & Usenet by none other than Tim O’Reilly arrived. I was reading about the challenges of networking in the 70s: half-duplex lines, slow transmission rates, and modems that had separate dialers. And then I stumbled upon long-distance radio. It turns out that a lot of modern long-distance radio has much in common with the challenges of communication in the 1970s – 1990s, and some of our old protocols might be particularly well-suited for it. Let me explain — I’ll start with the old software, and then talk about the really cool stuff going on in hardware (some radios that can send a signal for 10-20km or more with very little power!), and finally discuss how to bring it all together.

        • Ritesh Raj Sarraf: Comments on Hugo with Isso

          Oh! Boy. Finally been able to get something set up almost to my liking. After moving away from Drupal to Hugo, getting the commenting system in place was challenging. There were many solutions but I was adamant to what I wanted.

        • BITS from the DPL For September/October 2019

          I’m absolutely convinced we’ve reached a point where in order to respect the people trying to get work done, we need to figure out where we are as a project. We can either decide that this is work we want to facilitate, or work that we as a project decide is not important. If we choose to facilitate the work, then I can help. I can work with teams to help them get the resources they need to respond to concerns. The policy editors will likely be able to break some of their deadlocks. We’ll never force people to engage in work they don’t want to do. But those of us in leadership positions will benefit from understanding where the project wants to go.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • My transition to an Ubuntu workstation.

          I’ve been using Ubuntu as my workstation OS for several months now. Ubuntu Server with the i3 window manager to be specific. I love it, and I’ve had to change my workflow a lot to make it work for me. But now that I’ve made the switch to it from Mac and Windows, I’m very happy with it.

          I’ll be honest, there’s not a ton of hard evidence that working on a Linux distro is objectively better than working on Windows or Mac. I have almost equal amounts of time spent working on each of these platforms, and I think each one excels at something different. With that in mind, I think Ubuntu just feels right for the priorities I have now.

          So what have I gained, what have I lost, and what did I learn along the way?

          My physical computer now feels entirely replaceable.>

          There’s pretty much nothing on this laptop I’m typing on right now that I wouldn’t be able to recover if it suddenly stopped working. This document hasn’t been pushed to git yet, and the contents of my ~/Downloads/ folder would be gone. That’s it. Everything else lives somewhere online where I can easily get it back from.

        • Pop!_OS 19.10 is a wonder that makes me wonder

          I make no bones about being a big fan of System76. Not only do they walk the open source walk, but their in-house hardware (the Thelio) might well be the single best desktop computer I have ever owned, and their laptops are high on the list. That hardware is made even more impressive with Pop!_OS running on top.

          For those that aren’t in the know, Pop!_OS is System76′s in-house take on Linux. Built on a foundation of Ubuntu, the operating system includes a few tweaks, geared specifically toward System76 hardware. Those tweaks make Pop!_OS truly sing on the Thelio (it runs fine on non-System76 hardware as well).

          Recently, in accordance with Ubuntu 19.10, System76 released the latest iteration of Pop!_OS, and I’m here to tell you that this release is truly a wonder…. One that makes me wonder.

          Let me explain.

          First I want to discuss what makes this new release so good.

        • Balint Reczey: New tags on the block: update-excuse and friends!

          In Ubuntu’s development process new package versions don’t immediately get released, but they enter the -proposed pocket first, where they are built and tested. In addition to testing the package itself other packages are also tested together with the updated package, to make sure the update doesn’t break the other packages either.

          The packages in the -proposed pocket are listed on the update excuses page with their testing status. When a package is successfully built and all triggered tests passed the package can migrate to the release pocket, but when the builds or tests fail, the package is blocked from migration to preserve the quality of the release.

          Sometimes packages are stuck in -proposed for a longer period because the build or test failures can’t be solved quickly. In the past several people may have triaged the same problem without being able to easily share their observations, but from now on if you figured out something about what broke, please open a bug against the stuck package with your findings and mark the package with the update-excuse tag. The bug will be linked to from the update excuses page so the next person picking up the problem can continue from there. You can even leave a patch in the bug so a developer with upload rights can find it easily and upload it right away.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The goldsmith and the chaos warrior: a typology of workers

        Notably, in some industries like IT or the Free & Open-Source software sub-industry, we have done a pretty good job at externalizing (for better or for worse) the software developers and designers’ todo list as “bug/issue trackers”, and their assignments may often be linear and fairly predictable, allowing them to be “goldsmiths”.


        If you’re a chaos warrior, or you fit any of the goldsmith’s “exceptions” (or if you’re interested in the field of personal productivity in general), you’ll probably be interested in reading my next article (coming up this Friday!) on (re)building the best free & open-source “GTD” application out there (but before that, if you haven’t read it already, check out my previous article on “getting things done”).

      • Events

        • foss-north 2020 is on

          The foss-north event due a few days ago got cancelled due to health issues, but I’m happy to announce that I’m back and that the planning for foss-north 2020 already is on.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google Chrome seventy eight for Home windows, macOS and Linux is Now Readily available For Download

            Google has introduced a new update for the Chrome internet browser for Home windows, macOS and Linux. The Chrome 78 update is now Stay and is available for download. The update will offer you customers personalize choices for the New Tab site, amongst other modifications and additions. The update will come with quite a few characteristics and improvements as properly.

            With the support of customize selection, consumers can now find images from their media gallery and use is as qualifications. On opening an new tab, consumers will be equipped to spot the cutomise selection on the base-correct corner. Moreover, ‘Shortcuts’ are a set of icons, which are noticeable right beneath the research bar. These include things like the ‘My Shortcuts’ where shortcuts tips are provided to users on the basis of the internet sites they keep on checking out. ‘Most visited sites’, where shortcuts are segregated by the person and ‘Hide shortcuts’.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 71 Enters Development with New Kiosk Mode, Picture-in-Picture on Windows

            A few days after the release of the Firefox 70 web browser, Mozilla kicked off the development of the next major version, Firefox 71, which is currently in the beta testing phase.

            While Firefox 71 doesn’t look like a big update, it brings a couple of interesting new features, such as a new kiosk mode that allow you to open the web browser directly in full-screen mode without any other distractions. This is mostly useful for companies who want to use on their kiosks, and can be enabled via the –kiosk command-line parameter.

            Another interesting feature that will land as part of the upcoming Firefox 71 web browser is Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode on Windows systems, which lets users pop a video out of its webpage into a floating window that can be resized and placed on top of all windows and in any part of your desktop.

            On top of that, Firefox 71 promises a redesigned about:config internal configuration page, a new, easier to use Certificate Viewer that brings more features and more detailed information, and a new server-timing information in DevTools’ Network panel to allow web developers to analyze server-related timings in the context of other request and response details.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Linux shows its mettle when it comes to new cloud and edge applications

          We’re only two years off the 30th anniversary of the Linux kernel, which gave the open source software movement a turbo boost. At the annual Open Source Summit Europe run by the Linux Foundation this week in Lyon, France, Data Economy attended to find out how open source will address the evolving needs of cloud, edge and IoT connectivity.

          The first time this writer saw Linux creator Linus Torvalds give a presentation about open source it was at an Informix database conference in Seattle in 1998, and the big news from that event was that Informix had introduced an open source version of its database. Not that long after the event IBM acquired Informix to confirm its own interest in supporting the open source development community, as well as making money out of it.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice and Google Summer of Code 2019: The results

          This year, LibreOffice was once again a mentoring organization in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) a global programme focused on bringing more student developers into free and open source software development. We ran six projects – and all were finished successfully. Both students and mentors enjoyed the time, and here we present some of the achievements, which should make their way into LibreOffice 6.4 in early February!

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Funding open source development may not be as complicated as you think

          While the world is awash in tens of millions of developers, virtually none of them regularly contribute to open source. Yes, most developers (68%) believe open source code is of higher quality than proprietary code (according to a TideLift survey) and, yes, virtually all developers (and their employers) end up using open source (according to a survey by The New Stack). Even so, according to the 2019 Stack Overflow survey, which polled over 85,000 developers, just 12.4% of the developers surveyed contribute to open source at least monthly; while another 23.1% contribute less than monthly but more than once each year, a whopping 64.4% either never contribute or do so less than once per year.


        • GIMP 2.10.14 Released With New Show All View Mode, Loaded Images Now Default to 72 PPI

          GIMP 2.10.14 comes with a new Show All view mode that allows showing pixels outside the canvas boundary. You can mark the canvas boundary with a new Show Canvas Boundary option that renders a dotted line around it. There’s also a new Keep Padding option in the new Show All view mode, to preserve the padding color instead of displaying the checkerboard.

          Also, several features were updated to work with this new Show All mode, including color-picking, canvas grid, transform tools, bucket fill, and more.

      • Programming/Development

        • GCC 11 Compiler Could End Up Removing Support For The Motorola m68k, Other Old CPUs

          Deprecated for the upcoming GCC 10 compiler release and set for removal in GCC 11 one year later is the CC0 representation code that is being used for handle condition codes in GCC back-ends. That in turn means a number of older CPU targets will be removed in GCC 11 should they not receive some development attention to transition them to the modern MODE_CC representation.

          Announced at the end of September (but flying under our radar until now) is the cc0 representation is deprecated with GCC 10 and then set for removal in GCC 11. The GCC 11 removal includes targets still using cc0 representation like avr (AVR micro-controller), cris (the Axis Communications’ ETRAX CRIS embedded processors), h8300 (the Renesas H8 microcontrollers), m68k (the Motorola 68000 series), vax (DEC VAX), and cr16 (National Semi CompactRISC).

        • Test automation without assertions for web development

          Graphical user interface (GUI) test automation is broken. Regression testing is not testing; it’s version control for a software’s behavior. Here’s my assertion: test automation without assertions works better!

          In software development and test automation, an assertion is a means to check the result of a calculation, typically by comparing it to a singular expected value. While this is very well suited for unit-based test automation (i.e. testing the system from within), applying it to testing an interface (specifically the user interface) has proven to be problematic, as this post will explain.

          The number of tools that work according to the golden master approach to testing, characterization testing, and approval testing—such as Approval Tests, Jest, or recheck-web (retest)—is constantly increasing. This approach promises more robust tests with less effort (for both creation and maintenance) while testing more thoroughly.

        • GitLab Had Begun Planning To Track Its Users But Quickly Changed Course

          While many fled from GitHub to GitLab following Microsoft acquiring the code hosting service, GitLab has come under a bit of fire of its own with plans they had been working on around telemetry support that would begin tracking its users and potentially sharing the data with third-party firms.

          After announcing planned changes to their terms of service, following customer outrage they quickly stepped down on those plans. Below is an email GitLab sent out to their customers that was also then shared with Phoronix.

        • Great R packages for data import, wrangling and visualization

          The table below shows my favorite go-to R packages for data import, wrangling, visualization and analysis — plus a few miscellaneous tasks tossed in. The package names in the table are clickable if you want more information. To find out more about a package once you’ve installed it, type help(package = “packagename”) in your R console (of course substituting the actual package name ).

        • Site.js: now with live reload

          I just released version 12.9.6 of Site.js with live reload support for static pages.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Goodbye, Flash

          Google Search will stop supporting Flash later this year. In Web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will ignore the Flash content. Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files. Most users and websites won’t see any impact from this change.

        • Google to stop indexing Flash for search

          Minus indexing, searches for Flash content will come up empty. If Google doesn’t index it, in other words, does it exist? For the vast majority on the web – analytics vendor Net Applications said Google accounted for 75% of global search activity last month – that would be a no.

  • Leftovers

    • More Mural Fever in San Francisco: Arnautoff Controversy Goes Viral

      Students and faculty members gathered in the auditorium at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) recently to hear a panel discussion about “public art.” They were joined by citizens concerned about the controversial murals at George Washington High School, which were painted in the 1930s, by WPA artist and Communist Party member Victor Arnautoff who was born in Russia and who died in the Soviet Union. Before the panel began, Robin Ballinger, one of the organizers for the event, and a faculty member at SFAI, expressed the hope that the panel might get beyond theArnautoff murals and the controversies they have sparked. That was understandable. Articles about the murals have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere. In cafes and restaurants and on the streets of San Francisco, the murals are a topic of conversation. They have been for months.

    • Disagreeing Reasonably in a Complex World

      In my last couple years of university teaching before retiring, I repeated two catch phrases as often as possible—“reasonable people can disagree” and “if two things are both true, then both are relevant.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Genetically Engineered Golden Rice: A Silver Bullet that Misses the Target

        Promoters of genetic modification (GM) in agriculture have long argued that genetically engineered Golden Rice is a practical way to provide poor farmers in remote areas with a subsistence crop capable of adding much-needed vitamin A to local diets. Vitamin A deficiency is a problem in many poor countries in the Global South and leaves millions at high risk for infection, diseases and other maladies, such as blindness.

      • What Algorithms Tell Us About Structural Racism in Health Care

        A research study on a commercial computer program used to allocate health care resources on predicted future health care costs provided a window on the ongoing pervasive impact of structural racism in our nation’s health care system.Moreover, the research published in Science magazine reinforced how structural racism persists throughout society, including disparities in

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Landlock Revved An 11th Time For Unprivileged Yet Powerful Security Sandboxes

        We first wrote about the Landlock Linux security module in 2016 with its aspirations for offering powerful security sandboxing abilities. Landlock has seen revisions every few months and this week marks the 11th time the patches have been volleyed for this interesting sandboxing Linux Security Module (LSM).

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (imapfilter, libvncserver, and pam-python), Fedora (tcpdump), Mageia (file, graphviz, kernel, and php, pcre2), openSUSE (nfs-utils), Red Hat (heketi and samba), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (libtomcrypt, php7, and runc), and Ubuntu (apport, libarchive, libidn2, samba, and whoopsie).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Sanders Says $3.8B in Annual US Military Aid to Israel Should Be Leveraged to End Horrific Treatment of Palestinians

        “We have a right to say to the Israeli government that the United States of America and our taxpayers and our people believe in human rights, we believe in democracy, we will not accept authoritarianism or racism.”

      • Russia’s Education Ministry releases plans for anniversary lessons on Kalashnikov that involve assembling rifles in school

        Russia’s Education Ministry has released methodological guidelines for schoolteachers to use on November 10, the 100th anniversary of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s birth. The guidelines call for a nationwide lesson on the inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle, arguing that such a class will foster patriotism, help schoolchildren form a Russian identity, allow them to understand the value of defending their fatherland, and facilitate interest in military service down the line.

      • Trump’s Syria “Withdrawal”: Where Less is Probably More

        When US president Donald Trump announced his plan to relocate a few dozen US soldiers in Syria — getting them out of the way of a pending Turkish invasion — the Washington establishment exploded in rage at what it mis-characterized as a US “withdrawal” from Syria.

      • After killing two in car crash, Russian National Guard officer’s son reportedly turns in father’s urine for intoxication test

        Vladimir Vasilyev is suspected of causing a car crash in Yekaterinburg that killed two other people. According to Kommersant, sources familiar with the results of subsequent biological testing said Vasilyev turned in his father’s urine instead of his own for a test to determine whether the young man had consumed alcohol before the crash. Vasilyev’s father, identified by Znak.com as Russian National Guard Colonel Andrei Vasilyev, was reportedly with his son in the hospital at the time the urine sample was collected.

      • Kashmir: Self-Determination is the Solution

        It is a pity that some groups and individuals are urging palm oil importers in India to refrain from buying the commodity from Malaysia. The Solvent Extractors Association of India, India’s top vegetable oil trade body is one such outfit. Apparently, this boycott is a sort of “punishment” for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks on Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly on 27th September 2019.

      • Trump Is Not Alone Among Americans In Failing to Understand What A Real Lynching Is

        Donald Trump’s use of the term “lynching” to describe the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the House naturally sparked bipartisan outrage.The president and his shameless apologist, South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, defended the use of the word, with Graham calling the investigation a “lynching in every sense.”

      • White House Official Who Heard Trump’s Ukraine Call to Offer ‘Damning Testimony’ to House Impeachment Investigators

        “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman plans to tell House committees Tuesday

      • Drone Strikes and Tears: Why I Weep While I Work

        Think back to the last time you cried at work. Did the tears come after your boss sent you a curt email? Or when you accidentally cc’d (instead of bcc’d) everyone? Maybe you just had a really, really long day and that one last little misstep pushed you over the edge.

      • Press Watch: New evidence that Trump’s extortion attempts damaged national security

        The draft of testimony from U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, made public on Monday night is significant for a number of reasons.

      • Bomb attacks are now a normal part of Swedish life

        ‘Normalization’ is a term that we have come to associate with domestic violence: the victim begins to think of abuse as a part of everyday life. Explosions have become so normalized in Sweden that SVT, Sweden’s equivalent of the BBC, did not even mention the three explosions in the country’s capital on its national news program that evening. Instead, the main domestic story was the purported censorship of ‘big female bodies’ on Instagram. Apparently, we mustn’t be referred to as ‘women’ any more, but ‘female bodies’, lest anyone’s gender be assumed. The explosions were left to the local news.

        To understand how Sweden arrived at this degree of normalization, consider the statistics: between January and June this year, more than 100 explosions were reported in the country, up from about 70 in the same period last year. A total of more than 160 suspected attacks with explosives were reported last year. There are no comparable figures available for earlier years because it’s such a recent phenomenon. Until recently no one would have thought of adding a column on bombings to the national Swedish crime statistics.

      • ‘Potentially Seismic for Control of Congress’: Court Strikes Down North Carolina GOP’s Gerrymandered Map

        “This is huge: NC is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Why I sued the Pentagon and wrote my book on Donald Trump and James Mattis

        That’s when the red tape started. I expected questions to be raised by the Pentagon, and I was prepared to answer them. I also knew I’d need to submit my manuscript for a security review, a step necessary to preserve our nation’s security lest any classified information be inadvertently published. Despite working with some excellent professionals in the office that reviews books, I didn’t fully prepare myself for the backlash I experienced from other quarters.

    • Environment

      • Take Action Now: Declare a Climate Emergency

        Wildfires in California this weekend forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate and left millions more without power. Flames engulfed the Carquinez Bridge near San Francisco as drivers tried to escape across it on Sunday; another fire broke out yesterday morning, spreading rapidly across hundreds of acres in Western Los Angeles, prompting urgent evacuation orders. This is what climate change looks like. If we don’t act fast, scenes like these will grow far more common.

      • Fire Season
      • The California fires show how unprepared we are for climate change

        Fires are a fact of life in California, but the state’s fire season has grown wilder and more destructive as the planet warms, and these fires give us a taste of what climate change will mean in human terms. Longer droughts and more unpredictable winds turn what would once have been manageable fires into region-wide catastrophes. We’re only one year removed from the largest fire in California history, and few think that record will hold much longer. The slow-moving nature of the climate crisis means that, under even the best scenarios, these fires will keep growing for the next 40 years. The longer we keep going this way, the more powerful they’ll get.

        If a foreign country had caused something like this, we would be mobilizing for war. [...]

      • Shifting Winds and the Changing Shape of California Fires

        So, climate change, per usual? Only sort of. The wind pattern is typical of this time of year, and indeed wildfire has been part of the western landscape since before people lived there. Certainly, lots of the things that make wildfires worse are consequences of climate change—hotter, drier summers, for example. Some of them are consequences of bad planning—a reluctance to build housing in cities that pushes new development to the wildland urban interface where most wildfires start, and failures to protect electrical distribution infrastructure.

        The wind is the hazard; all that other stuff makes it into a disaster. A diablo might knock down an electrical line, which then sparks the tinder-dry vegetation nearby … or it might push a fire’s event horizon faster than firefighters can keep up with, or spread burning embers miles through the air (most buildings that burn in wildfires ignite because of windblown embers).

      • Demanding Seat at the Table, Youth Organizers Announce New Wave of Climate Strikes Ahead of UN Talks in Chile

        “Young people are making it clear that we will support and vote for leaders who will listen to us because we will be here, striking, marching, rallying, and voting.”

      • Energy

        • Senate Hearing Calls out the Influence of Dark Money in Blocking Climate Action

          Sen. Whitehouse called out the considerable investment by the fossil fuel industry and dark money interests in the Republican Party, which has gained a reputation as the party of climate science denial.

        • Four States, Led by New York, Challenge Trump Admin Over Oil Train Safety Rule

          That oil originates in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Montana, where trains help take the place of scarce pipelines in order to move fracked crude oil to Washington’s refineries and ports along the coast. North Dakota and Montana have fought back against Washington’s law, which was passed in May, and filed a petition to PHMSA in protest just two months later.

        • Polling Experts Bash Koch-Funded Electric Car Survey as ‘Highly Biased’ and ‘Highly Misleading’

          Survey results commissioned and publicized by the American Energy Alliance (AEA) seem on their surface to indicate that a majority of respondents are not thrilled about subsidizing EVs purchased by other consumers, particularly wealthy Americans. However, according to polling experts who reviewed the survey for DeSmog, the questions were designed to solicit a certain response and produce results to serve a predetermined narrative that supports the oil industry’s interests. According to polling expert Ed Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, the surveys relied on “highly biased questions designed to elicit highly misleading answers.” 

        • Why 250 Miles of Bike Lanes Are Being Built

          New York has long been a car-dominated metropolis where riding a bicycle has been a harrowing experience. But the city is vowing to change that with a bill spearheaded by Mr. Johnson that would create 250 miles of protected bike lanes.

          Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have agreed to the legislation, expected to be passed tomorrow.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • From the Gulag to Brexit The life and death of Vladimir Bukovsky, the fiery dissident who shed light on Soviet punitive psychiatry
      • The Politics of Tyranny

        Twenty years ago, a newspaper headline asked the question: “What’s the difference between a politician and a psychopath?”

      • Vowing to Put People Before Corporate Interests, Sanders Agrees He Poses ‘Existential Threat to the Democratic Party’

        “I want to convert the Democratic Party, to break its dependency on big money and corporate interests, and make it a party of working-class people, of young people, of all people who believe in justice.”

      • The Revolution Is Here: Democrats Ignore It at Their Peril

        Despite the yammering by the mainstream media and the neoliberals running the Democratic Party—not to mention Republicans and Fox News—the overwhelming majority of voters support progressive issues on a case-by-case basis, and the majority support the candidates who espouse them. Doubt that?

      • With Brexit on the Line, Corbyn Vows ‘Ambitious and Radical Campaign’ as Labour Backs General Election

        Labour Leader says U.K. election “a once in a generation chance to build a country for the many, not the few.”

      • Sanders Tops CNN Poll in New Hampshire: Bernie Edges Warren as Biden Dives

        “As we have said from the beginning, this is a campaign built to win and planning to win,” campaign manager Faiz Shakir told Common Dreams.

      • Hong Kong: Prominent Activist Barred from Elections

        Disqualifying Joshua Wong from running for office is just the latest example of the Hong Kong government’s increasingly anti-democratic tactics. The government’s rigging of the electoral process reinforces for many people that the only way to be heard is by protesting on the streets.

      • With 330,000 People on Georgia ‘Purge List,’ Rights Advocates Warn of Massive Voter Suppression

        “Voters should not lose their right to vote simply because they have decided not to express that right in recent elections.”

      • ‘Stick to Sports’ Demand Backfires: Deadspin Newsroom in Open Revolt Against Private Equity Owners and Management

        The popular sports and culture site was instructed to stick to the former on Monday and did not. 

      • READ: House Democrats Release Text of 8-Page Resolution Detailing Public Phase of Trump Impeachment Inquiry

        “We are taking this step,” explained Nancy Pelosi ahead of its release, “to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives.”

      • Report: Devin Nunes’ Aide Going Around Leaking Ukraine Call Whistleblower’s Name

        We’ve been highlighting lately how the situation with the whistleblower, who first tried to ring the alarm bells about President Trump’s now confirmed quid pro quo call with Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent, showed why the “official channels” are useless for whistleblowers. Some suggested that we were premature in making that claim. However, since then, we’ve seen the President himself repeatedly try to attack the whistleblower while repeatedly demanding that the whistleblower be revealed. Now come reports that a staffer for Rep. Devin Nunes is going around revealing the name of the whistleblower…

      • 6 Ways Trump Has Sold Out America

        At every turn, he has sold out America for his own personal interest. Instead of putting America first, here are 6 ways Donald Trump has put himself first: 1) He has encouraged foreign powers to interfere in our democracy. Trump is using the power of the presidency to encourage foreign leaders to interfere in our elections – asking the President of Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents in exchange for military aid. He has also publicly called on Russia and China to investigate his political opponents. 2) He receives money from foreign governments through his hotels and real estate business. Since taking office, representatives of at least 22 foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Russia, have spent money at properties owned by the Trump Organization. These payments are clear violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which forbids the president from accepting anything of value from foreign governments. Trump had even planned to host next year’s G-7 meeting at his Doral golf resort, in Florida, but this brazen corruption was apparently too much even for his supporters in Congress. 3) He is making foreign policy on the basis of where his business is located around the world. The simplest explanation for why he cozies up to Turkey’s dictator Recep Erdogan, even withdrawing US troops from the Syrian border, is the Trump Towers Istanbul is his first and only office and residential building in Europe, and businesses linked to the Turkish government are also major patrons of the Trump Organization. 4) He has called on foreign powers to investigate Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who concluded that Trump’s campaign sought help from Russia during the 2016 election. The Trump administration has encouraged officials in Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom to investigate details of Mueller’s investigation in an effort to discredit his report.5) He is favoring authoritarian regimes around the world, turning his back on America’s allies. Beyond Turkey’s Erdogan, Trump has said he’s “in love” with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and, of course, praised Vladimir Putin. 6) He has ignored American intelligence agencies, relying instead on foreign governments. He has repeatedly disputed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, favoring Vladimir Putin’s version of what happened over the findings of our own intelligence community. Donald Trump claims to be a patriot at the same time as he sells out America. He has brazenly sought private gain from foreign governments at the expense of the American people. Instead of putting “America First,” he has repeatedly put “Donald First.”

      • White House Official to Offer ‘Damning’ Impeachment Testimony

        A White House National Security Council official who listened to President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s leader plans to tell House impeachment investigators in a sworn deposition Tuesday that he was so alarmed by the conversation that he reported it to his superiors and the NSC’s top lawyer.

      • Mark Zuckerberg Faces Employee Backlash Over Political Ads

        Last year, it seemed that Facebook might emerge relatively unscathed from accusations ranging from privacy violations to allowing Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The social media company did walk away with a $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission for user privacy violations, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg sailed through a 2018 Senate hearing, partly because, as Casey Newton wrote in The Verge, “Senators don’t understand how Facebook works.”

      • In Ecuador, ‘Broken Windows Are Intolerable, but Broken People Are Fine’
      • Latin America: Risks Worth Taking

        It was just a matter of time before the Bolivian government would be the target of a reactionary opposition. Indeed it happened at its most vulnerable time during an election process that had not officially ended. Following popular protests against neoliberal structural changes imposed by the governments of Ecuador and Chile, it was the conservative opposition in Bolivia that attempted to prevent the presidential re-election of Evo Morales.

      • Tuesday’s papers: Changing political discourse, roaming problems, and a liquorice frock

        Helsingin Sanomat reports on criticism by the parliamentary group chairs of the language being used by politicians, and a warning that social media – particularly twitter – is responsible for a change in how MPs communicate. A number of politicians have been sharply criticised for the language they use both in parliament and on social media, with three prominent MPs the subject of a recent police investigation. Kai Mykkänen of the National Coalition Party tells HS that MPs seem more concerned with creating attention-grabbing soundbites than serious political debate.

      • Umbrella Movement icon Joshua Wong barred from Hong Kong election

        Hong Kong authorities barred high-profile pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong from an election, and the city’s leader ruled out political solutions before the end of the violent protests gripping the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Harmless bruising’ Russian federal agents dragged a man into the forest and beat him. He’s been charged repeatedly with posting ‘illegal comments’ online.

        On October 15, members of the Federal Security Service in Kaluga arrested a 36-year-old local man and accused him of justifying terrorism in comments published on the social network VKontakte. A court later placed the suspect under house arrest for at least the next two months. This isn’t the first time Ivan Lyubshin has faced criminal prosecution for things he’s written online. In 2017, he was charged with distributing pornography and extremism, and “rehabilitating Nazism,” but he got off mostly with a few fines. Lyubshin’s father told Meduza that his son wasn’t so lucky this month, when FSB agents dragged him into the woods and beat him. Afterwards, forensic experts nevertheless concluded that the attack “caused no harm.”

      • Russian state television censors joke about anti-extremism police

        Comedian Danila Poperechny says the late night talk show “Vecherny Urgant” cut his joke about Russia’s anti-extremism police. In a tweet, the comic said he took the stage and explained to the crowd that he’d come on the show for two reasons: first, he likes the host, Ivan Urgant, and second “because when regional officers in the anti-extremism department see me on Channel One, for some reason they think I’m white-listed and they don’t fuck with me when I’m on tour.” This latter remark never aired for television audiences.

      • Freedom of Thought is Under Attack: Here’s How to Save Your Mind

        Freedom of thought stands at a critical crossroads. Technological and psychological advances could be used to promote free thought. They could shield our inner worlds, reduce our mental biases, and create new spaces for thought. Yet states and corporations are forging these advances into weapons that restrict what we think.

      • The Demonization of Dissent

        Still more alarming, several months later, in December 2017, a little-noticed amicus curiae brief sent by former high-ranking US intelligence officials asserted that Russia uses “political organizers and activists, academics, journalists, web operators, shell companies, nationalists and militant groups, and prominent pro-Russian businessmen” to subvert the American political process.

      • Blow the house down

        Social media has many uses — some good, some mildly disturbing. But what we are seeing now in Bangladesh, most recently in Bhola and in many other places before that, is unmatched in its vileness, and reveals the existence of a mind-set in our country that most decent people would rather not think about.


        Seven years later, we are still waiting to see the perpetrators brought to book.

      • After Catch and Kill Fallout, Former Fox News Staffers Demand to Be Released From Their NDAs

        Now, in the wake of the NBC scandal, at least six former Fox News employees, including Gretchen Carlson, the first woman at Fox News to publicly file a lawsuit against Ailes, are calling to be released from their NDAs. “All women at Fox News and beyond forced to sign NDAs should be released from them immediately, giving them back the voices they deserve,” Carlson told me over the weekend. “None of us asked to get into a workplace dispute. We simply had the courage to stand up and say something—but in the end it’s our voices no one can hear. Because of our NDAs, we can never say what is factually correct or incorrect about what happened to us at Fox.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook Faces Another Congressional Grilling

        Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was called back to Capitol Hill to speak about the company’s impact on the financial and housing sectors—particularly in light of its proposal to launch a cryptocurrency wallet, Calibra, and its involvement in the creation of the Libra cryptocurrency.

        We’ve criticized Facebook on many fronts for years, and we share the wide ranging concerns of lawmakers who want to ensure their constituents’ privacy and rights are protected from Facebook’s abuses as it looks to expand its reach. Throughout the hearing, we appreciate that the committee members focused on Facebook’s actions as the basis of their skepticism about Libra, rather than around blockchain technology.

      • Companies Can Still Do More to Protect Privacy in Brazil: Internet Lab Releases Fourth “Who Defends Your Data” Report

        Internet Lab, the Brazilian independent research center, has published their fourth annual report of “Quem Defende Seus Dados?” (“Who defends your data?”), comparing policies of their local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and how they treat users’ data after receiving government requests. Vivo (Telefónica) still takes the lead, but Tim is not far behind. Claro/NET (América Móvil), SKY (DirectTV/AT&T), and Oi also show progress compared to 2018’s report.

        In this year’s report, all companies, except Nextel, received at least a partial star for providing information on data disclosure to the government. Most of the ISPs have published details on how their users’ data is collected and processed. While Net joined the list in the new report, Algar lost the partial star earned in 2018. Vivo is still the only company to provide a comprehensive transparency report, but SKY and Tim scored partially this time. Brazilian ISPs could certainly do more with regard to transparency reports as well as law enforcement guidelines and user’s notification.

      • DNS over HTTPS Will Give You Back Privacy that Big ISPs Fought to Take Away

        An absurd thing is happening in the halls of Congress. Major ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are banging on the doors of legislators to stop the deployment of DNS over HTTPS (DoH), a technology that will give users one of the biggest upgrades to their Internet privacy and security since the proliferation of HTTPS. This is because DoH ensures that when you look up a website, your query to the DNS system is secure through encryption and can’t be tracked, spoofed, or blocked. 

        But despite these benefits, ISPs  have written dozens of congressional leaders about their concerns, and are handing out misleading materials invoking Google as the boogeyman. EFF, Consumer Reports, and National Consumers League wrote this letter in response.

      • Georgia Supreme Court Says Cops Need Warrants To Search Vehicle Crash Data Recorders

        A couple of years ago, the Georgia state appeals court interpreted the Supreme Court’s Riley decision to cover data pulled from vehicles after accidents. If warrants were required to search cellphones — thanks to their ability to store all sorts of personal information — it stood to reason warrants should be needed to access other data not visible to the naked eye.

      • Comcast Insists It’s An Innocent Little Daisy On Consumer Privacy

        Both Mozilla and Google have begun pushing encrypted DNS via their respective browsers, making it more difficult for outsiders to monitor and/or monetize your daily browsing habits. Not too surprisingly the broadband industry, which has a long, proud history of covertly collecting and selling this data, isn’t particularly happy about this evolution. With the help of unskeptical news outlets, telecom lobbyists have been trying to convince the government that what Mozilla and Google are up to is somehow nefarious, going so far as to (incorrectly) claim the move is even an antitrust violation.

      • Take Back the Internet with Us

        You understand the importance of online privacy. You understand that Tor offers holistic, privacy-by-design solutions that allow you to take back the internet from the grip of surveillance, tracking, and censorship.

      • Australians May Be Forced to Scan Their Faces to Watch Porn

        Now, another government body — the Department of Home Affairs — has submitted a response to that inquiry. Its totalitarian solution: start scanning porn viewers’ faces, and matching them up with government photos, to verify their ages.

        Home Affairs — essentially the Aussie version of the United States’ Department of Homeland Security — is currently developing a Face Verification Service that would confirm a person’s identify by matching their face to a photo in a government identification document, such as a driver’s license.

      • The Department of Home Affairs proposes using face scanning tech to verify Aussie porn users are over 18

        There’s one significant catch for the department’s proposal: the Face Verification Service isn’t actually fully operational yet. It won’t be until Parliament passes the Identity-matching Services Bill 2019, which was just rejected by the bipartisan joint intelligence and security committee due to its lack of privacy safeguards. The committee recommended the bill be entirely redrafted.

      • Tinder, Four Other Dating Sites Don’t Comply With Dutch Privacy Laws: Consumer Group

        Consumentenbond investigated 10 dating platforms and found that half of them violate the General Data Protection Regulation. All five above mentioned sites place tracking cookies – which show other sites your browsing history, for example for placing ads – before visitors accepted these cookies. Tinder, Parship and Paiq also forwarded the tracking information to Facebook.

      • Mass cellphone surveillance experiment in Spain

        This is news because it’s not a business deal but rather a collaboration between Spain’s National Statistics Institute and all Spanish carriers, and because it’s run at a large scale. But, as I said above, this is not technically novel.

        On paper, and also thinking as a scientist, it sounds very interesting. The actual experiment consists on tracking most Spanish phones for eight days in order to learn about holiday trips. With the results, the Government expects to improve public services and infrastructures during holiday season.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Freelance Columnist Suggests Workaround To California’s AB5: Submit One Giant, Regularly Edited, Column

        We recently wrote about the many problems (even if created through good intentions) with California’s new AB5 law that will turn many freelancers into employees. As we noted, a big part of the problem is that many freelancers don’t want to be employees, and the law will almost certainly backfire, in making companies wary of hiring freelancers in California. The one area we focused in on (though many are impacted) is journalism, where the author of the bill, Lorena Gonzalez admitted upfront that she chose 35 submissions per year as the dividing line “arbitrarily,” despite the fact that many freelancers will contribute a much higher number than 35 stories for many publications.

      • The Annihilation of Julian Assange

        “In Defense of Julian Assange,” edited by Tariq Ali and Margaret Kunstler, is now available for OR Books.

      • Julian Assange in ‘a crazy situation’, set to receive request for a visit from George Christensen

        North Queensland politician George Christensen is fighting to bring Julian Assange home and will seek the British Government’s permission to meet with the controversial WikiLeaks founder ahead of his full extradition hearing early next year.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • This Idaho Town Lets You Switch Between Cheap Fiber ISPs In A Matter Of Seconds

        In 2009, the FCC funded a Harvard study that concluded (pdf) that open access policies (letting multiple ISPs come in and compete over a central, core network) resulted in lower broadband prices and better service. Of course when the Obama FCC released its flimsy, politically timid “National Broadband Plan” back in 2010, this realization (not to mention an honest accounting of the sector’s limited competition) was nowhere to be found.

      • The Internet At 50: It Has Enabled Many Wonderful Things, But We Have To Fight To Keep It That Way

        Today has been declared the 50th anniversary of the internet, as on October 29th, 1969, a team at UCLA, lead by Leonard Kleinrock, sent a message to a team at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), representing the very first transmission over the then ARPANET, which later became the internet. This seems like a good moment to think about all that the internet has enabled — but also just how far we may have strayed from its early promise and how far we might still be able to go. On the historical side, Kleinrock himself has posts at both ICANN and the Internet Society, and both are worth reading. The ICANN post is all about that first message transmission…

      • 5 milestones that created the [Internet] 50 years after the first network message

        Much more traffic than that travels through the [Internet] these days, with billions of emails sent and searches conducted daily. As a scholar of how the [Internet] is governed, I know that today’s vast communications web is a result of governments and regulators making choices that collectively built the [Internet] as it is today.

        Here are five key moments in this journey.

      • Internet 50 years old today

        On 29 October 1969 the first message was transmitted over ARPANET, the forerunner to the Internet. UCLA student programmer Charlie Kline used the University’s SDS Sigma 7 computer to login to an SDS 940 computer at Stanford Research Institute at Stanford University in Silicon Valley.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon Spends Big to Remake Seattle’s City Council

        Brian Sweeney has a long list of complaints about Amazon, from the way it treats warehouse workers to the low taxes it pays and its effort to win concessions from cities to bring in jobs. So when he learned the online retail giant had poured $1 million into remaking the Seattle City Council with more business-friendly candidates, he pulled out his wallet.

      • [Guest post] Event report: #FashionLawLDN – The Autumn Winter Review [Ed: When the so-called 'industry' called “fashion” (actually sweatshops with some rich glorified designer’s name in Milan/NY/London/Paris) is a bunch of predatory lawyers looking who to sue next]

        The trio’s success with their first Review, the Spring/Summer Review, prompted the decision to hold another in the Fashion Law London series. Taking place on Friday 18th October, the day itself was advertised as an opportunity to “catch up with the latest fashion (law) trends; hear from industry innovators, world-leading luxury law experts, and those behind the most disruptive fashion businesses; and, join a frank and collaborative environment where you are at the centre of discussion,” and safe to say, it most certainly delivered. With a line-up of luxury brand creators, Intellectual Property icons, and fashion technology experts, this event was one not to be missed.


        The lectures given on the day were robust whilst remaining accessible to all levels of the profession. Whether you’re a student with an interest in Fashion Law, or a fully experienced Fashion Lawyer in the peak of their career, future events held by Rosie, Eleonora and Giulia are not to be missed.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Inventergy Backs Away from Nuisance Lawsuit over GPS Patent

          EasyTracGPS is a family-owned business that provides GPS tracking solutions to commercial shipping fleets. Recently, EasyTracGPS faced a litigation threat from Inventergy LBS, LLC, which accused it of infringing U.S. Patent No. 8,760,286. That patent supposedly claims a “[s]ystem and method for communication with a tracking device,” but like so many patents, actually claims generic steps of data collection and processing that any computer could perform. This is not the kind of invention that can be patented.

          EFF represented EasyTracGPS pro bono, writing Inventergy a letter explaining that its patent was invalid, and that its bad faith assertion of patent infringement violates state law. Inventergy withdrew the lawsuit the same day it received the letter.

        • Public Use in 1840

          [A]s to the supposed public use of Wyeth’s machine before his application for a patent. To defeat his right to a patent, under such circumstances, it is essential, that there should have been a public use of his machine, substantially as it was patented, with his consent.

        • Pro se appellant overturns Section 101 Abstract Idea rejection

          Applicants typically rely on outside counsel who use their expertise to navigate the response strategy. And for good reason. These outside counsel have developed years of experience in advancing client goals while complying with the numerous patent laws and rules. Here, however, we write about an ex parte appeal where the Board agreed with a pro se applicant in overturning the Section 101 rejection.

          The decision Ex parte Yemmela Appeal No. 2018-005814 (Oct. 25, 2019). The art unit, 2659, handles technology related to Linguistics, Speech Processing and Audio Compression.

          Before getting to the substance of the rejections, the Board appears to show some level of sympathy with the appellant in a footnote: “We recognized that Appellant may be unfamiliar with patent prosecution procedure. While Appellant may prosecute the application (unless the application is assigned to a juristic entity; see 37 C.F.R. § 1.31), lack of skill in the field of patent prosecution usually acts as a liability in affording maximum protection for the invention disclosed. If Appellant chooses to request continued prosecution of the application, Appellant is advised to secure the services of a registered patent attorney or agent to prosecute the application, since the value of a patent is largely dependent upon skilled preparation and prosecution.”


          The Board proceeded to sustain others of the Examiner’s rejections (including Section 112 and 103 rejections).

          A take home lesson from this decision is that a compelling argument under prong 1 is to argue that the claim addresses a problem that is solved by computers in a specific technique computers that humans cannot solve. A second lesson is that if an Examiner a broad characterization of what the asserted abstract idea is, it can be successfully pushed back. Especially if the analysis lacks specificity. The Examiner cannot have their cake and assert that the abstract idea is a broad concept, but ignore specific “additional” elements outside of that broad concept.

      • Copyrights

        • Millions of UK Football Fans Seem Confused About Piracy

          A new survey published today suggests that up to five million people may have accessed football matches illegally in the UK at some point in their life. While that headline figure is high, it’s the confusion among many consumers that seems the greatest concern for outfits like the Premier League.

        • Pirate Bay Downtime ‘Caused by Malicious Attack, Proxies May be to Blame’
        • Nickelback’s Record Label Abuses Copyright to Silence Political Speech

          EFF legal intern Samantha Hamilton co-wrote this blog post

          Nickelback never asked to become a meme. And yet, after the Internet decided it hated the Canadian alternative rock band and due to the lead singer’s unique voice, users have shared their image millions of times. But their record label decided to draw a line at President Trump tweeting a meme putting the Biden-Ukraine controversy into a Nickelback music video. We may tend not to think of memes as political speech, but they can be. And when someone expresses a political message via meme, using copyright law to silence their speech when it is very clearly fair use is an abuse of copyright.

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