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11.12.19

Links 12/11/2019: Plasma 5.17.3, More Intel Defects, Bytecode Alliance

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • GitHub report surprises, serverless hotness, and more industry trends

          Now, let’s discuss how developers can use Quarkus to bring Java into serverless, a place where previously, it was unable to go. Quarkus introduces a comprehensive and seamless approach to generating an operating system specific (aka native) executable from your Java code, as you do with languages like Go and C/C++. Environments such as event-driven and serverless, where you need to start a service to react to an event, require a low time-to-first-response, and traditional Java stacks simply cannot provide this. Knative enables developers to run cloud-native applications as serverless containers in seconds and the containers will go down to zero on demand.

          In addition to compiling Java to Knative, Quarkus aims to improve developer productivity. Quarkus works out of the box with popular Java standards, frameworks and libraries like Eclipse MicroProfile, Apache Kafka, RESTEasy, Hibernate, Spring, and many more. Developers familiar with these will feel at home with Quarkus, which should streamline code for the majority of common use cases while providing the flexibility to cover others that come up.

        • When Quarkus Meets Knative Serverless Workloads

          Daniel Oh is a principal technical product marketing manager at Red Hat and works CNCF ambassador as well. He’s well recognized in cloud-native application development, senior DevOps practices in many open source projects and international conferences.

        • Making things Go: Command Line Heroes draws infrastructure

          Most of our episodes feature languages that have clear arcs. “The Infrastructure Effect” was different. By all accounts, COBOL is a language heading the way of Latin. There are only a few specialists who are proficient COBOL coders. But it’s still vital to many long-lasting institutions that affect millions: the banking industry, the IRS, and manufacturing. And the world of tech infrastructure is moving on—to Go. Where does that leave COBOL in the next few years? And how do you tease all of that in an image?

          We had to decide what visual themes could we use to depict each language—and then, how to combine them into a single, coherent frame. COBOL and Go have a similar function, so we wanted to make sure each language had clear, distinct imagery. We decided to rely on some of their real-world applications: the bank and subways for COBOL, and the cloud-based applications for Go.

        • Using the Red Hat OpenShift tuned Operator for Elasticsearch

          I recently assisted a client to deploy Elastic Cloud on Kubernetes (ECK) on Red Hat OpenShift 4.x. They had run into an issue where Elasticsearch would throw an error similar to:

          Max virtual memory areas vm.max_map_count [65530] likely too low, increase to at least [262144]
          According to the official documentation, Elasticsearch uses a mmapfs directory by default to store its indices. The default operating system limits on mmap counts are likely to be too low, which may result in out of memory exceptions. Usually, administrators would just increase the limits by running:

          sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144
          However, OpenShift uses Red Hat CoreOS for its worker nodes and, because it is an automatically updating, minimal operating system for running containerized workloads, you shouldn’t manually log on to worker nodes and make changes. This approach is unscalable and results in a worker node becoming tainted. Instead, OpenShift provides an elegant and scalable method to achieve the same via its Node Tuning Operator.

        • bcc-tools brings dynamic kernel tracing to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1

          In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1, Red Hat ships a set of fully supported on x86_64 dynamic kernel tracing tools, called bcc-tools, that make use of a kernel technology called extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF). With these tools, you can quickly gain insight into certain aspects of system performance that would have previously required more time and effort from the system and operator.

          The eBPF technology allows dynamic kernel tracing without requiring kernel modules (like systemtap) or rebooting of the kernel (as with debug kernels). eBPF accomplishes this while maintaining minimal overhead for each trace point, making these tools an ideal way to instrument running kernels in production.

        • What open communities teach us about empowering customers

          When it comes to digital transformation, businesses seem to be on the right track improving their customers’ experiences through the use of technologies. Today, so much digital transformation literature describes the benefits of “delivering new value to customers” or “delivering value to customers in new ways.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 8 great podcasts for open source enthusiasts

        Where I live, almost everything is a 20- or 30-minute drive from my home, and I’m always looking for ways to use my car time productively. One way is by listening to podcasts on topics that interest me, so as an open source enthusiast, I subscribe to a variety of open source-related podcasts.

        Here are eight Linux and open source podcasts that I Iook forward to every week.

      • LHS Episode #310: DMR Deep Dive

        Welcome to Episode 310 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts take an in-depth look at the world of Digital Mobile Radio, otherwise known as DMR. It’s a topic that could take volumes or multiple episodes but the idea here is to give you enough information to understand the basics of the technology, acquire appropriate hardware and get on the air using digital FM. We hope that has been accomplished. Thank you for listening.

      • Brunch with Brent: A Chat with Jill Bryant Ryniker | Jupiter Extras 31

        Brent sits down with Jill Bryant Ryniker, long time linux aficionado, for a connective conversation exploring her deep involvement in linux and open source, from community to professional animation and more.

        Jill wears many complimentary hats, a few of which include: co-host of Linux Weekly Daily Wednesday. regular community guest on Linux Unplugged, Linux Chicks LA co-organizer, professional animator and teacher, …and more! Grab a seat and join us..

      • Automate Your Server Security With GrapheneX

        The internet is rife with bots and bad actors trying to compromise your servers. To counteract these threats it is necessary to diligently harden your systems to improve server security. Unfortunately, the hardening process can be complex or confusing. In this week’s episode 18 year old Orhun Parmaksiz shares the story of how he and his friends created the GrapheneX framework to simplify the process of securing and maintaining your servers using the power and flexibility of Python. If you run your own software then this is definitely worth a listen.

        Summary

        The internet is rife with bots and bad actors trying to compromise your servers. To counteract these threats it is necessary to diligently harden your systems to improve server security. Unfortunately, the hardening process can be complex or confusing. In this week’s episode 18 year old Orhun Parmaksiz shares the story of how he and his friends created the GrapheneX framework to simplify the process of securing and maintaining your servers using the power and flexibility of Python. If you run your own software then this is definitely worth a listen.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel Gets Mitigations For TSX Aync Abort Plus Another New Issue: iITLB Multihit

        The Linux kernel has just received its mitigation work for the newly-announced TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA) variant of ZombieLoad plus revealing mitigations for another Intel CPU issue… So today in addition to the JCC Erratum and ZombieLoad TAA the latest is iITLB Multihit (NX) – No eXcuses.

        The mainline Linux kernel received mitigations for ZombieLoad TAA that work in conjunction with newly-published Intel microcode. The mitigations also now expose /sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/tsx_async_abort for reporting the mitigation status plus a new tsx_async_abort kernel parameter. With the TAA mitigation, the system will clear CPU buffers on ring transitions.

      • LinuxBoot Continues Maturing – Now Able To Boot Windows

        LinuxBoot is approaching two years of age as the effort led by Facebook and others for replacing some elements of the system firmware with the Linux kernel.

        Chris Koch of Google presented at last month’s Platform Security Summit 2019 on the initiative. The Platform Security Summit 2019 took place at the start of October at Microsoft’s facilities in Redmond. LinuxBoot in recent months has been able to begin booting Windows 10, which is related to the recent reports on kexec’ing Windows from Linux. But not only is Windows booting but VMware and Xen are also now working in a LinuxBoot environment.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarks Of JCC Erratum: A New Intel CPU Bug With Performance Implications On Skylake Through Cascade Lake

        Intel is today making public the Jump Conditional Code (JCC) erratum. This is a bug involving the CPU’s Decoded ICache where on Skylake and derived CPUs where unpredictable behavior could happen when jump instructions cross cache lines. Unfortunately addressing this error in software comes with a performance penalty but ultimately Intel engineers are working to offset that through a toolchain update. Here are the exclusive benchmarks out today of the JCC erratum performance impact as well as when trying to recover that performance through the updated GNU Assembler.

        The microcode update prevents jump instructions from being cached in the Decoded Icache when those instructions cross a 32-byte boundary or where they end on a 32-bit boundary. Due to that change there will be more misses from the Decoded ICache and switches back to the legacy decode pipeline — resulting in a new performance penalty. The Decoded ICache / Decoded Streaming Buffer has been around since Sandy Bridge but only Skylake and newer is affected by this erratum. Cascade Lake is affected by this erratum but Ice Lake and future iterations appears unaffected. The erratum notice officially lists Amber Lake, Cascade Lake, Coffee Lake, Comet Lake, Kaby Lake, Skylake, and Whiskey Lake as affected generations for the JCC bug.

    • Applications

      • Growing the Linux app Ecosystem at LAS 2019

        The third Linux Application Summit (LAS) kicks off this week in Barcelona, Spain. Formerly organised under the GNOME project, known as Libre Application Summit, the new LAS is a joint effort between the KDE and GNOME projects. The aim of the conference is to encourage the growth of a vibrant Linux application ecosystem. Canonical are proud sponsors of LAS 2019, and are sending along a team to represent Ubuntu and Snapcraft.

        The volunteers on the organising committee each have a long history in the Linux application community. They’ve all worked on platforms and infrastructure to enable new software development for Linux. I took some time to chat with some of the team, and what LAS means for them.

        Aleix Pol, representing KDE, has worked on Linux applications for a while, and is hopeful for increased collaboration between application developers and platform maintainers. Aleix told me; “While we [GNOME and KDE] are sizeable organisations, we have massive tasks at hand. We need to create an environment where people can come and create their solutions for all of us.”

        This applies both for application developers and those who work primarily on the platforms themselves. He continued; “With GNOME, we share pieces of software, we share users and we even share some of our dreams. Meeting, talking and collaborating can only be beneficial”. Aleix also highlighted the benefits of meeting in person at events like LAS, “There’s a very different kinds of visitor. The ones who have been around will be putting faces to nicknames and having these discussions that IRC and mailing lists can’t sustain”.

      • “Wireshark For The Terminal” Termshark 2.0 Adds Stream Reassembly, Piped Input And Dark Mode

        Termshark, a Wireshark-like terminal interface for TShark written in Go, was updated to version 2.0.0. This release includes support for dark mode, piped input, and stream reassembly, as well as performance optimizations that make the tool faster and more responsive.

      • Proprietary

        • OnlyOffice, the Open Source Office Suite Apis Now Available on Flathub

          Big fan of productivity software? If so, you may be interested to know that the OnlyOffice Desktop Editors are now available on Flathub.

          Yes, Flathub, aka the de facto app store for Flatpak, the cross-distro containerised app distribution method.

        • ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors Now Available To Install On Linux From Flathub

          ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, a free and open source office suite that offers text, spreadsheet and presentation editors for the Linux, Windows and macOS desktops, is now available on Flathub for easy installation (and update) on Linux distributions that support Flatpak.

          Flathub is an app store and build service for Linux that distributes applications as Flatpak packages, which allows them to run on almost any Linux distribution.

          ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors allows creating, viewing and editing text documents, spreadsheets and presentations with support for most popular formats like .docx, .odt, .xlsx., .ods, .pptx, .csv and .odp. Its website claims it has the “highest compatibility with Microsoft Office formats”.

        • How to get Microsoft core fonts on Linux

          Linux is an open-source operating system. As a result, it is missing some critical components that users of proprietary operating systems enjoy. One big thing that all Linux operating systems miss out on is proprietary fonts.

          The most used proprietary fonts out there today are the Microsoft Core Fonts. They’re used in many apps, development, and even graphics design projects. In this guide, we’ll go over how to set them up on Linux.

          Note: not using Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, or OpenSUSE? Download the generic font package here and install the fonts by hand.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Epic Games acquires Quixel with its enormous library of 3D and 2D assets

        Epic Games have reached down the back of the sofa and pulled up enough loose change to acquire Quixel.

        For those not familiar, Quixel are responsible for some seriously high quality 3D and 2D assets and their pretty well-known for their “Megascans”. These super-high quality assets are used in plenty of AAA games, films and more. Some of what they’ve made is truly impressive too and Quixel have well over ten thousand assets people can use with a huge assortment of items.

        Since they’re now owned by Epic, their library of assets are being made completely free to Unreal Engine users. Ten of these high-res packs have already been made free on the Unreal Engine Marketplace, with more coming in future. However, they’re not stopping developers using them elsewhere and for those who are, the subscription prices have been lowered and the resolution cap was removed.

      • Gravity Ace, a gorgeous retro 2D twin-stick shooter that looks like Thrust on some serious steroids

        Thrust is that you? Gravity Ace, a new pixel-art twin-stick shooter in development by John Watson is looking quite incredible and it’s coming to Linux.

        Being made in the FOSS game engine Godot Engine, it’s actually inspired by both the classics Thrust and Gravitar. Obviously graphically a huge amount better since they’re pretty old, Gravity Ace certainly looks like it will get quite intense and you can even try it out right now.

      • How To: Fix American Truck Simulator not displaying on Linux with the latest update

        It seems the latest update of American Truck Simulator has come with a few issues, like the Linux version playing audio but seemingly displaying nothing. Here’s a fix for you.

        Curiously, it grabs your cursor and plays audio as if it’s working. However, when you ALT+TAB (at least on the KDE desktop), it will then show a very tiny window so it seems something is wrong with how they’re initially detecting screens since the latest update.

      • How to Play PSP Games in Linux with PPSSPP

        PPSSPP is one of the easiest to use PSP emulators. Theoretically, you can run it, select a game file, and almost immediately you’ll see most of PlayStation Portable’s titles run on your screen without a hitch.

        Learn how you can install PPSSPP in Linux and customize how it works. If you have a powerful computer, you can also implement upgrades that can dramatically improve how all games are presented and perform in PPSSPP.

      • We Happy Few for Linux and Mac being refunded, to get an “unofficial” beta

        After a long road, the waiting on We Happy Few for both Linux and Mac is about to come to an end. Not the happiest of endings either.

        Originally funded on Kickstarter back in 2015 for $334,754 CA, Linux and Mac support was then announced for We Happy Few after the campaign had started. In 2017, it was announced that Compulsion Games teamed up with Gearbox Publishing to complete it.

      • Tremendous looking 2D action game Helvetii confirmed to be coming to Linux

        After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the supremely stylish 2D action game Helvetii has now been confirmed to be launching with Linux support next year.

        While their crowdfunding campaign didn’t initially confirm Linux support, after it finished they announced that after evaluating it they’ve decided to do it and they “had actually quite a lot of demand” for it too. They said supporting Linux is “actually little work on our end (and we do have the ability to test it), we thought that we might as well do it”.

      • Wx3 Labs looking into Linux support for Starcom: Nexus

        Starcom: Nexus from Wx3 Labs is a striking looking open-world space action adventure and they’ve been looking into getting it running on Linux.

        In a post on Steam, one of the team noted they’re using Unity making it possible but “some testing and fixes are expected”. They went over attempting to test with a live Linux USB stick which has enabled them to see it running, and they mentioned to reply to post if you have the game and want to test the Linux version.

      • Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 21

        Prepare for a fistful of news, as the Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 21 has arrived to go over some recent interesting topics to allow you to keep up with all the news.

        For those just joining, this is a quick take roundup on recent Linux gaming news. Meant for those who struggle to keep up or just want a little Linux gaming news on the go. Audio-only files and feed links below the video.

      • Interrogation: You will be deceived to arrive on Linux on December 5

        Critique Gaming and Mixtvision have announced that their immersive noir-styled psychological detective-thiller with conversational puzzles, Interrogation: You will be deceived, is going to release on December 5.

        Previously covered here on GamingOnLinux back in August, after it caught my eye with the incredible rotoscoped almost-monochrome art. You are tasked with saving the city from a terrorist plot by interrogating suspects as the clock ticks down. To do so, you have to mix between interrogations and managing your team’s reputation with time running out.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • digiKam Image Organizer 6.4.0 Released with 14 New Plugins

          The free and open-source digiKam image organizer and tag editor released version 6.4.0 a few days ago with extended DPlugins interface.

        • Kdenlive 19.08.3 is out

          The last minor release of the 19.08 series is out with a fair amount of usability fixes while preparations are underway for the next major version. The highlights include an audio mixer, improved effects UI and some performance optimizations. Grab the nightly AppImage builds, give it a spin and report any issues.

        • Plasma 5.17.3

          Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.17.3. Plasma 5.17 was released in October 2019 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

          This release adds a fortnight’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include…

        • KDE Plasma 5.17.3 Desktop Environment Released with More Than 40 Bug Fixes
        • Here’s KDE Plasma Mobile Running on the PinePhone Open Source Linux Smartphone

          KDE developer Bhushan Shah posted today on Twitter a photo of his PinePhone open source Linux-powered smartphone from PINE64 running the latest KDE Plasma Mobile, which is mostly an open-source user interface designed for small screens, like those on phones and tablets.

          KDE Plasma Mobile is currently available from various Linux OS makers, including KDE neon, Debian GNU/Linux, and postmarketOS. Of all three, KDE neon is the recommended choice for installing a Linux-based operating system on a supported devices to run the latest KDE Plasma Mobile user interface.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.64 Released

          Sunday marked the release of KDE Frameworks 5.64 as the latest monthly update to this collection of libraries complementing Qt5.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.64.0

          November 10, 2019. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.64.0.

          KDE Frameworks are over 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks web page.

          This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • How many openSUSE fans want a name change? The answer is 42…and it’s not enough

          openSUSE fans can rest easy that their lovingly curated swag remains relevant, after the community behind the Linux distribution voted against a proposal to change the project’s name.

          Community leaders had turned to the people – or at least interested members of the openSUSE community – following debate on whether the project should reconstitute itself as a new legal entity, such as a community.

          This had unsurprisingly led to discussion over the openSUSE name and trademarks – SUSE and the SUSE logo are trademarks of SUSE LLC, the commercial company that champions the project and its open source operating system.

          So, a straightforward proposal was put to the community: Do we change the project name?

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora status updates: October 2019

          The Fedora Silverblue team was not able to get the necessary changes into Fedora 31 to support having Flatpak pre-installed. They are looking at the possibility of re-spinning the Silverblue ISO to incorporate the changes. But they did update the Fedora 31 Flatpak runtime. The team updated the Flatpak’ed GNOME applications to GNOME 3.34 and built them against the Fedora 31 runtime.

        • Upgrade Fedora 30 to Fedora 31
        • Fedora Women’s Day (FWD) 2019
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS- Expected Release Date & More

          Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS: As we are closing to the end of 2019, eyes go to the next releases from Canonical in 2020. A lot is going to happen for Ubuntu users in 2020 and it is going to start with the release of Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, the next update for the Bionic Beaver before the final Ubuntu 18.04.5 LTS on August 2020. From Release Schedules of Canonical, it is been noted that the LTS(Long Term Support) versions get updated releases every six months once and hence after the release on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS that happened on August 2018, we can expect Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS on the first week of February 2020.

        • Volla Phone Promises to Support Ubuntu Touch, Gets Kickstarter Campaign

          Founded by Dr. Jörg Wurzer, an experienced entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in research and development in user experience, machine learning, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and product management, Volla Phone promises to be a privacy-focused mobile phone powered by a free and open source operating system.

          At its heart, the Volla Phone device will use Nemo Mobile, an OS based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) promising increased security and privacy features, as well as simplicity for the everyday user. For developers, Volla Phone also promises to support an alternative, free, and open-source operation system like Ubuntu Touch.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 open source plugins for Flutter apps

        Flutter is the newest addition to Google’s programming cadre. Following the success of Android, Kotlin, and Golang, Flutter was created as a cross-platform application development language. It is primarily based on the Dart programming construct and is considered to be the next big programming paradigm because its code can run as a mobile app, a web app, and even a desktop app without any major changes. Supposedly it will support Google’s upcoming Fuschia operating system.

        Flutter plugins are simple dependencies that extend the language’s capabilities. This list of the top five open source Flutter plugins includes both user interface (UI)-related and function-related plugins.

      • Events

        • GStreamer Conference 2019
        • GStreamer Conference 2019 Videos Now Available Online

          Taking place at the end of October during the Linux Foundation events in Lyon, France was the GStreamer Conference to align with the annual developer festivities.

          GStreamer Conference 2019 was once again livestreamed by the fantastic folks at Ubicast.tv with their great quality video/audio recordings of the conference now for many years.

        • Event report: Google Summer of Code presentation in Ankara, Turkey

          The Google Summer of Code – aka GSoC – is a global programme focused on bringing more student developers into free and open source software development. In 2019, LibreOffice was once again a participating project, and we describe the results here.

        • Qt World Summit 2019

          We also had a dedicated table for our mobile effort where we showcased our KDE apps for Android and of course Plasma Mobile. The latter of which we had running on a good ol’ Nexus 5X and more importantly the Librem 5 Dev Kit by Purism. Unfortunately, the Pinephone developer kits we were hoping to show as well weren’t shipped in time for the event. Anyway, if you’re interested in learning more about what’s going on with Plasma Mobile go check out our new weekly blog series!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • CSS in librsvg is now in Rust, courtesy of Mozilla Servo

            Summary: after an epic amount of refactoring, librsvg now does all CSS parsing and matching in Rust, without using libcroco. In addition, the CSS engine comes from Mozilla Servo, so it should be able to handle much more complex CSS than librsvg ever could before.

          • Librsvg Continues Rust Conquest, Pulls In CSS Parsing Code From Mozilla Servo

            For about three years now GNOME’s SVG rendering library has been transitioning to Rust. This library, librsvg, now makes further use of Rust around its CSS parsing code and Mozilla’s Servo is doing some of that heavy lifting.

            Librsvg is employing the CSS engine from Mozilla’s Servo engine in order to be written in Rust while also having the benefit of being able to handle more complex CSS code than the previous implementation.

          • Mozilla partners with Intel, Red Hat and Fastly to take WebAssembly beyond the browser

            Mozilla, Intel, Red Hat and Fastly today announced the launch of the Bytecode Alliance, a new open-source group that focuses on “creating new software foundations, building on standards such as WebAssembly and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI).”

            Mozilla has long championed WebAssembly, the open standard that allows browsers to execute compiled programs in the browser. This allows developers to write their applications in languages like C, C++ and Rust and have those programs execute at native speed, all without having to rely on JavaScript, which would take much longer to parse and execute, especially on mobile devices.

            Today, support for WebAssembly is part of all the major browser engines. Companies like Figma and Autodesk have experimented with it or are using it in production. I do not get the sense that mass adoption of the technology is near, though, and the barrier to entry is high for most developers. Indeed, today’s announcement probably marks the first time I’ve heard about WebAssemly this year.

          • Announcing the Bytecode Alliance: Building a secure by default, composable future for WebAssembly

            Today we announce the formation of the Bytecode Alliance, a new industry partnership coming together to forge WebAssembly’s outside-the-browser future by collaborating on implementing standards and proposing new ones. Our founding members are Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat, and we’re looking forward to welcoming many more.

          • New Bytecode Alliance Brings the Security, Ubiquity, and Interoperability of the Web to the World of Pervasive Computing

            The Bytecode Alliance is a newly-formed open source community dedicated to creating new software foundations, building on standards such as WebAssembly and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI). Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat are founding members.

            The Bytecode Alliance will, through the joint efforts of its contributing members, deliver a state-of-the-art runtime environment and associated language toolchains, where security, efficiency, and modularity can all coexist across the widest possible range of devices and architectures. Technologies contributed and collaboratively evolved through the Alliance leverage established innovation in compilers, runtimes, and tooling, and focus on fine-grained sandboxing, capabilities-based security, modularity, and standards such as WebAssembly and WASI.

          • Mozilla + Intel + Red Hat Form The Bytecode Alliance To Run WebAssembly Everywhere

            Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat have announced the Bytecode Alliance as a new initiative built around WebAssembly and focused on providing a secure-by-default bytecode that can run from web browsers to desktops to IoT/embedded platforms.

            “Together, we’re putting in solid, secure foundations that can make it safe to use untrusted code, no matter where you’re running it—whether on the cloud, natively on someone’s desktop, or even on a tiny IoT device,” announced Mozilla.

          • Extensions in Firefox 71

            Firefox 71 is a light release in terms of extension changes. I’d like to tell you about a few interesting improvements nevertheless.

            Thanks to Nils Maier, there have been various improvements to the downloads API, specifically in handling download failures. In addition to previously reported failures, the browser.downloads.download API will now report an error in case of various 4xx error codes. Similarly, HTTP 204 (No Content) and HTTP 205 (Reset Content) are now treated as bad content errors. This makes the API more compatible with Chrome and gives developers a way to handle these errors in their code. With the new allowHttpErrors parameter, extensions may also ignore some http errors when downloading. This will allow them to download the contents of server error pages.

          • Mozilla plays role in Kenya’s adoption of crucial data protection law

            The Kenyan Data Protection and Privacy Act 2019, was signed into law last week. This GDPR-like law is the first data protection law in Kenyan history, and marks a major step forward in the protection of Kenyans’ privacy. Mozilla applauds the Government of Kenya, the National Assembly, and all stakeholders who took part in the making of this historic law. It is indeed a huge milestone that sees Kenya become the latest addition to the list of countries with data protection related laws in place; providing much-needed safeguards to its citizens in the digital era.

            Strong data protection laws are critical in ensuring that user rights are protected; that companies and governments are compelled to appropriately handle the data that they are entrusted with. As part of its policy work in Africa, Mozilla has been at the forefront in advocating for the new law since 2018. The latest development is most welcome, as Mozilla continues to champion the 5 policy hot-spots that are key to Africa’s digital transformation.

          • Tracking Diaries with Tiffany LaTrice Williams

            In Tracking Diaries, we invited people from all walks of life to share how they spent a day online while using Firefox’s privacy protections to keep count of the trackers that tried to follow them.

            Whenever you’re online, a multitude of third parties attempt to record what you’re doing, largely without your knowledge or consent. Creepy! That’s why Firefox has turned the tables, letting you block and see the trackers. Read on to find out how many trackers tried to trail Tiffany LaTrice Williams throughout his day, and how she felt about it.

      • Linux Foundation

        • See you at KubeCon!

          It’s that time of year again! We’re getting ready to head on out to San Diego for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA. For me, KubeCon always makes for an exciting and jam-packed week.

        • Amazon Web Services, Genesys, Salesforce Form New Open Data Model

          To accelerate digital transformation, organizations in every industry are modernizing their on-premises technologies by adopting cloud-native applications. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), global spend on cloud computing will grow from $147 billion in 2019 to $418 billion by 2024. Almost half of that investment will be tied to technologies that help companies deliver personalized customer experiences.

          One major challenge of this shift to cloud computing is that applications are typically created with their own data models, forcing developers to build, test, and manage custom code that’s necessary to map and translate data across different systems. The process is inefficient, delays innovation, and ultimately can result in a broken customer experience.

        • The Linux Kernel Mentorship program was a life changing experience

          Operating systems, computer architectures and compilers have always fascinated me. I like to go in depth to understand the important software components we depend on! My life changed when engineers from IBM LTC (Linux Technology Center) came to my college to teach us the Linux Kernel internals. When I heard about the Linux Kernel Mentorship program, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of it to further fuel my passion for Linux.

          One of the project in the lists of projects available to work during the Linux Kernel Mentorship program was on “Predictive Memory Reclamation”. I really wanted the opportunity to work on the core kernel, and I began working with my mentor Khalid Aziz immediately during the application period where he gave me a task regarding the identification of anonymous memory regions for a process. I learned a lot in the application period by reading various blogs, textbooks and commit logs.

          During my mentorship period, I worked to develop a predictive memory reclamation algorithm in the Linux Kernel. The aim of the project was to reduce the amount of time the Linux kernel spends in reclaiming memory to satisfy processes requests for memory when there is memory pressure, i.e not enough to satisfy the memory allocation of a process. We implemented a predictive algorithm that can forecast memory pressure and proactively reclaim memory to ensure there is enough available for processes.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Huobi’s ‘Regulator-Friendly’ Blockchain Goes Open Source

          Huobi Chain, the regulator-facing public blockchain of exchange Huobi Group, is now open source and publicly available to all developers on GitHub, the firm said Tuesday.

          Nervos, a blockchain development startup, is providing part of the technical infrastructure for the project.

          The firms are developing pluggable components for the network that could enable regulators to supervise contract deployments, asset holdings and transfers, as well as the enforcement of anti money laundering regulations, Bo Wang, a Nervos researcher, told CoinDesk.

          The components will also allow financial institutions, such as banks and regulatory agencies, to freeze assets and accounts in case of emergencies via sidechains, according to Wang.

        • Is Open Source Broken?

          The movement to develop software applications and all manner of IT services through the open source model is fundamentally rooted in the notion of community contribution, but things have shifted.

        • Managing all your enterprise’s APIs with new management gateways for review
      • BSD

        • HEADS UP: ntpd changing [in OpenBSD]

          Probably after 6.7 we’ll delete the warning. Maybe for 6.8 we’ll remove -s and -S from getopt, and starting with those options will fail.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GNU Guix: Spreading the news

          Developers keep adding crazy features, fixing bugs, and generally improving things. But how good is it if users aren’t aware of these new things? As an example, since June, our build farm has been offering lzip-compressed binaries, which results in better performance when installing software. But to take advantage of that, users need to be aware of its existence, and they need to upgrade their Guix daemon. Likewise, how do we get people to learn about the new guix deploy command that’s now available at their fingertips, about security issues that were fixed, about important infrastructure changes, new options added to existing commands, and so forth?

          Our (frustrating!) experience has been that release notes, blog posts, and mailing list announcements aren’t quite enough to get the word out. There’s always people who’ll miss important info and realize when it’s already late, sometimes too late. Hence this simple idea: wouldn’t it be nice if important information would reach users right in their terminal?

          [...]

          Since it was applied a bit more than a month ago, we’ve already put the news mechanism to good use on quite a few occasions: giving users instructions on how to deal with locales after the last glibc upgrade, giving them upgrade info for CVE-2019-18192, telling them about new command-line options, and more.

          In parallel, given that reading the mailing lists is akin to “drinking from a fire hose” as they say, Christopher Baines has been thinking about how to provide regular development updates to interested users and developers. Chris announced last week a prototype of a “Guix Weekly News” web site that would aggregate information about package updates automatically extracted from the Guix Data Service, along with manually written updates. It would seem that this service could readily grab info from channel news as well.

        • Hang out with the FSF staff in Seattle, November 15

          We are hosting this get-together to show our appreciation for your support of the FSF’s work and to provide an opportunity to meet other FSF members and supporters in the area. We’ll give updates on what the FSF is currently working on and we are curious to hear your thoughts, as well as answer any questions you may have.

      • Programming/Development

        • Thinking Recursively in Python

          In this course, you’ll learn about recursion. Recursion is a powerful tool you can use to solve a problem that can be broken down into smaller variations of itself. You can create very complex recursive algorithms with only a few lines of code.

        • How to encode categorical features with scikit-learn (video)

          In order to include categorical features in your Machine Learning model, you have to encode them numerically using “dummy” or “one-hot” encoding. But how do you do this correctly using scikit-learn?

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #394 (Nov. 12, 2019)
        • Plumbing Kubernetes CI/CD with Tekton

          Our first DevNation Live regional event was held in Bengaluru, India in July. This free technology event focused on open source innovations, with sessions presented by elite Red Hat technologists.

          In this session, Kamesh Sampath introduces Tekton, which is the Kubernetes-native way of defining and running CI/CD. Sampath explores the characteristics of Tekton—cloud-native, decoupled, and declarative—and shows how to combine various building blocks of Tekton to build and deploy a cloud-native application.

        • Coverage 5.0 beta 1

          I want to finish coverage.py 5.0. It has some big changes, so I need people to try it and tell me if it’s ready. Please install coverage.py 5.0 beta 1 and try it in your environment.

          I especially want to hear from you if you tried the earlier alphas of 5.0. There have been some changes in the SQLite database that were needed to make measurement efficient enough for large test suites, but that hinder ad-hoc querying.

        • How to get current date and time in Python?

          In this article, you will learn to get today’s date and current date and time in Python. We will also format the date and time in different formats using strftime() method.

          There are a number of ways you can take to get the current date. We will use the date class of the datetime module to accomplish this task.

        • RcppAnnoy 0.0.14

          A new minor release of RcppAnnoy is now on CRAN, following the previous 0.0.13 release in September.

          RcppAnnoy is the Rcpp-based R integration of the nifty Annoy library by Erik Bernhardsson. Annoy is a small and lightweight C++ template header library for very fast approximate nearest neighbours—originally developed to drive the famous Spotify music discovery algorithm.

          This release once again allows compilation on older compilers. The 0.0.13 release in September brought very efficient 512-bit AVX instruction to accelerate computations. However, this could not be compiled on older machines so we caught up once more with upstream to update to conditional code which will fall back to either 128-bit AVX or no AVX, ensuring buildability “everywhere”.

        • The Royal Mint eyes fresh IT talent to power digital drive

          The Royal Mint has been manufacturing coins for 1,100 years, originally from the Tower of London and, since 1967, from its current site in South Wales. Today, it is the world’s largest export mint, printing 3.3 billion coins and blanks a year, and now is looking to expand its digital reach to serve retail customers online.

        • Google plans to give slow websites a new badge of shame in Chrome

          A new badge could appear in the future that’s designed to highlight sites that are “authored in a way that makes them slow generally.” Google will look at historical load latencies to figure out which sites are guilty of slow load times and flag them, and the Chrome team is also exploring identifying sites that will load slowly based on device hardware or network connectivity.

        • Moving towards a faster web

          In the future, Chrome may identify sites that typically load fast or slow for users with clear badging. This may take a number of forms and we plan to experiment with different options, to determine which provides the most value to our users.

          Badging is intended to identify when sites are authored in a way that makes them slow generally, looking at historical load latencies. Further along, we may expand this to include identifying when a page is likely to be slow for a user based on their device and network conditions.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • The Maturing of QUIC

          QUIC continues to evolve through a collaborative and iterative process at the IETF — of adding features, implementing them, evaluating them, reworking or discarding them because they don’t stand up to continued scrutiny, and refining them. And in doing so, QUIC has matured in more ways than we imagined, yielding a protocol that is remarkably different and substantially better than it was in the beginning. So, keeping your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, let us take you on this journey of how QUIC has gone from an early experiment to a standard poised to modernize the [Internet].

  • Leftovers

    • Risks with renting your home PC to FluidStack for “up to $50/month”

      FluidStack is a service that wants to rent your PC and internet connection and pays “up to 50 USD per month”. This may be an especially tempting offer if you’re short on cash and want to make some no-effort passive income. However, you may want to reconsider FluidStack’s offer if you spend a little more time reading the fine print.

      Last week, I discussed how the company behind the network-attached storage (NAS) appliance Cubbit plans to operate a datacenter from your home. Cubbit is a relatively expensive piece of hardware and I called them out for wanting to use the hardware you bought to make even more money from you and your internet connection. FluidStack’s promise of “up to $50 per month” compensation sure puts Cubbit’s business plan in perspective.

      FluidStack requires that your PC is powered on and idle at least 12 hours a day, and that it’s connected to a residential internet service provider (ISP). If you’ve got more PCs then they’ll only pay you per unique residential IP address. As I discussed in the article on Cubbit, it’s your residential IP address that holds the true value to these companies.

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Fedora (community-mysql, crun, java-latest-openjdk, and mupdf), openSUSE (libssh2_org), and SUSE (go1.12, libseccomp, and tar).

      • New ZombieLoad Side-Channel Attack Variant: TSX Asynchronous Abort

        In addition to the JCC erratum being made public today and that performance-shifting Intel microcode update affecting Skylake through Cascade Lake, researchers also announced a new ZombieLoad side-channel attack variant dubbed “TSX Asynchronous Abort” or TAA for short.

        ZombieLoad / MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) was announced back in May by researchers while today Cyberus Technology has announced a new variant focused on Intel processors with TSX (Transactional Synchronization Extensions). TSX Asynchronous Abort is a new ZombieLoad variant that was actually discovered back as part of Cyberus’ originally discoveries but faced an extended embargo.

      • SUSE addresses Transactional Asynchronous Abort and Machine Check Error on Page Size Changes issues

        Today Intel and security researchers published a number of security
        issues covering various Intel hardware and software components.
        Intel has published an overview of those issues in a blog article.
        SUSE is providing updates to mitigate two new Intel CPU issues out of the above list.

      • Red Hat Responds to ZombieLoad v2 Security Vulnerabilities Affecting Intel CPUs

        Red Hat informes Softpedia today on a series of three new security vulnerabilities affecting the Intel CPU microarchitecture, but which have been already patched in the Linux kernel.

        The three new security vulnerabilities are CVE-2018-12207 (Machine Check Error on Page Size Change), CVE-2019-11135 (TSX Asynchronous Abort), as well as CVE-2019-0155 and CVE-2019-0154 (i915 graphics driver-related vulnerabilities). These are marked by Red Hat Security team as having an important and moderate security impact, which could allow attacker to gain read access to sensitive data, and which affects all supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.

      • Ubuntu updates to mitigate latest Intel hardware vulnerabilities

        Today, Intel announced a group of new vulnerabilities affecting various Intel CPUs and associated GPUs, known as TSX Asynchronous Abort (CVE-2019-11135), Intel® Processor Machine Check Error (CVE-2018-12207), and two Intel i915 graphics hardware vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-0155, CVE-2019-0154).

        TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA) is related to the previously announced MDS vulnerabilities but only affects Intel processors that support Intel® Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX). Due to the similarity between this issue and MDS, the mitigations for MDS are sufficient to also mitigate TAA. As such, processors which were previously affected by MDS and which have the MDS microarchitectural buffer clearing mitigations employed are not affected by TAA. For newer processors which were not affected by MDS, but which support Intel® TSX, TAA is mitigated in Ubuntu by a combination of an updated Linux kernel and Intel microcode packages which disable Intel® TSX. Where TSX is required, this can be re-enabled via a kernel command-line option (tsx=on) and in this case, the kernel will automatically employ microarchitectural buffer clearing mechanisms as used for MDS to mitigate TAA.

        Intel® Processor Machine Check Error (MCEPSC, also called iTLB multihit) is a vulnerability specific to virtualisation, where a virtual machine can cause a denial of service (system hang) to the host processor when hugepages are employed. This is mitigated in Ubuntu with an updated Linux kernel.

      • This week’s hardware vulnerabilities

        A set of patches has just been pushed into the mainline repository (and stable updates) for yet another set of hardware vulnerabilities. “TSX async abort” (or TAA) exposes information through the usual side channels by way of internal buffers used with the transactional memory (TSX) instructions. Mitigation is done by disabling TSX or by clearing the relevant buffers when switching between kernel and user mode. Given that this is not the first problem with TSX, disabling it entirely is recommended; a microcode update may be needed to do so, though. This commit contains documentation on this vulnerability and its mitigation.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Reclaiming Armistice Day

        Today, as many narratives swirl around veterans and the military, I am reminded how much work is still needed to “unlearn” the toxic narratives that have been ingrained into our subconscious as a society.  Engrained messages and societal norms that we must unlearn tell us that a man must behave a certain way to be considered masculine, women must be quiet to be considered

      • How the Syrian Democratic Forces Were Suddenly Transformed into “Kurdish Forces”

        That wars end very differently to our own expectations – or our plans – was established long ago. That “we” won the Second World War did not mean the Americans would win the Vietnam war, or that France would vanquish its enemies in Algeria. Yet the moment we decide who the good guys are, and who the evil monsters whom we must destroy, we relapse again into our old mistakes.

      • In the Looming Shadow of Civil War
      • A Doubtful Proposition

        “Whether nuclear weapons are actually illegal under international or domestic law (a doubtful proposition) is not relevant or an appropriate issue to litigate in this case,” so ruled Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, late on Friday October 18.

      • A Veterans Day Worth Celebrating

        Once upon a time, a U.S. president told his people they were fighting “a war to end all wars.” Only a handful of centenarians could possibly remember the false pretexts used to sell the “Great War” to the populace and how that same president imposed draconian “peace” conditions that made the even bloodier second World War all but inevitable. A self-proclaimed progressive, President Woodrow Wilson not only ditched his anti-war credentials but suppressed free speech, the free press under the Espionage Act and civil liberties more generally. Peaceful war opposition became a crime, and many activists were jailed. Sound familiar?

      • Cadet Bone Spurs Tells the People He Rips Off, Trash Talks, Exploits and Blocks They Are Why the Nation Thrives In Freedom, and It Does Not Go Well

        So the guy whose slimy daddy got him five free passes from our imperial wars, whose party has blocked 56 veterans’ bills, who’s stolen millions from vets’ charities, trash-talked Gold Star families, blocked 500,000 VoteVets members, tried to ban disabled vets from selling their sad wares near his gold palace and once evicted a vet with a therapy dog was just booed and shunned

      • Most Iraq and Afghanistan Vets now Regret the Mission

        “Trump’s Opposition to ‘Endless Wars’ Appeals to Those Who Fought Them” read the headline above a front-page story by Jennifer Steinhauer in the New York Times November 1. The percentage of vets deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan who disapprove of US intervention there has almost doubled since 2011! Key excerpts follow.

      • Gambia Brings Genocide Case Against Myanmar

        The Gambia’s case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the Genocide Convention, filed on November 11, 2019, will bring the first judicial scrutiny of Myanmar’s campaign of murder, rape, arson, and other atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, 10 nongovernmental organizations said.

      • Helping Students Keep Their Humanity by Not Signing Up for War

        On this Veterans Day, 2019, for the United States, making war is less about amassing human air, land and sea forces to attack “the enemy” as it is increasingly about amassing technological superiority in which machines replace humans enabling politicians and corporate bosses to pursue their goals without the pesky problem of waves of homeward-bound body bags and caskets.

      • And the Armies That Remained Suffer’d: Veterans, Moral Injury and Suicide

        I was very pleased to see the New York Times editorial on November 1, 2019, Suicide Has Been Deadlier than Combat for the Military. As a combat veteran myself and someone who has struggled with suicidality since the Iraq war I am grateful for such public attention to the issue of veteran suicides, particularly as I know many who have been lost to it.

      • ‘Highly Disturbing’ Pentagon Document Shows US Military Surveilling Groups Protesting Family Separation

        “Cataloging individuals protesting government policy creates serious risk of abuse, and even without misconduct, monitoring protesters is likely to chill the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

      • Bigotry and Ideology in India and Kashmir: the Legacy of the Babri Masjid Mosque

        With the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973, (which authorizes an executive magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than four people in any area), in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, mainland India gets a small smattering of what Kashmir has been facing since August 5.

      • One Step Closer to Justice for Murdered Thai Activist

        A Thai court has approved arrest warrants for Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn and three other forestry officials in connection with the abduction and murder of the prominent ethnic Karen human rights defender Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, known widely as “Billy,” in April 2014.

      • Turkey’s Other Weapon Against the Kurds: Water

        “This dam is a weapon against the lowlands,” said Ulrich Eichelmann, a German ecologist and conservationist and head of the Austrian NGO RiverWatch, over the phone from Vienna. “It was planned and is now being built in a way they can hold back the whole Tigris for a long time. If you see water as a weapon, dams are the new cannons. Iraq has the oil, Turkey has the water, and sometimes, it’s much better to have the water.”

      • Three performers stabbed on stage during play in Saudi capital

        A Yemeni man stabbed three performers during a live play in the Saudi capital Monday, police said, in the first such attack since the ultra-conservative kingdom began easing decades-old restrictions on entertainment.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Caught in the net: The FishRot Files

        TWO Namibian ministers and a managing director of a multinational investment company have been named in a fishing scheme that allegedly paid N$150 million kickbacks.

        Wikileaks documents pinpointed fisheries minister Benhard Esau, justice minister Sacky Shanghala and businessman James Hatuikulipi as masterminds of a Namibian fishing licence donated to the Angolan government but ended up benefiting a few individuals.

      • Fishrot Files – Part 1

        Today WikiLeaks publishes over 30,000 documents (the first of two batches) it has obtained from a whistleblower within SAMHERJI, a multinational fishing company based in Iceland. They appear to expose corrupt schemes by the company in Namibia to gain access to rich fishing grounds off the African country’s shores.

        The documents are dated from 2010 to 2016, the period during which the company gained its foothold in Namibia. SAMHERJI has now become the biggest single recipient of fishing quotas in the country. The documents (which include e-mails, internal reports, spreadsheets, presentations and photos) expose how the company paid senior Namibian officials and politicians millions of dollars in order to ensure growing and continued access to the country’s resources.

        It also exposes that lofty promises by SAMHERJI, to build infrastructure in the country and create jobs, were never fulfilled. On the contrary, the company used its international corporate structure to transfer proceeds from the operations straight out of the country. This appears to have been done through intermediaries it controls in Cyprus and in the tax-haven of Mauritius.

        Today’s released files also demonstrate how these same tools were used to transfer funds to a hidden account which was set up by SAMHERJI in Dubai for the apparent purposes of transferring kick-backs to the corrupt entities in Namibia.

        SAMEHRJI currently has operations in Iceland, Germany, Poland, U.K., the Faroe Islands, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal as well as Namibia. The company has been fast growing in the last two decades and has a turnover over 700 Million USD.

      • An Icelandic fishing company bribed officials in Namibia and used Norway’s largest bank to transfer 70 million dollars to a tax haven

        Iceland’s biggest fishing company, Samherji, transfered more than 70 million dollars through a shell company in the tax haven Marshall Islands from 2011 to 2018. Samherji transferred the money through bank accounts in Norway´s largest bank DNB NOR. The bank’s largest shareholder is the Norwegian state, which holds a 34 percent stake in the bank.

        The money consisted partly of proceeds from Samherji´s questionable and possibly unlawful operations in Namibia where the company bribes officials to get secure access to fishing quotas. The company in the Marshall Islands was used to pay salaries to the crews of Samherjis factory trawlers . These trawlers fished horse mackerel in Mauritania, Morocco and Namibia.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • ‘Strong Majority’ of Hearst Magazines Staffers Vote to Form One of the Media Industry’s Biggest Unions

        “This is how people who craft content ensure that their voices are heard and their workplace needs are met.”

      • Corporate Mammon: Amazon and the Seattle Council Elections

        An enduring US political tradition was in evidence in Seattle recently. Amazon had decided that the city council elections would be too important to leave alone. Seattle was their city after all. The aim of the company was much in keeping with the manor lord who prosecutes keen poachers: fund pro-business candidates sympathetic to its cause and defeat such Amazon critics as Kshama Sawant in their home town.

      • The Billionaire Class Won’t Go Quietly

        The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, it’s easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the “threat” of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

      • Why Billionaires Don’t Really Like Capitalism

        Capitalism doesn’t work well with monopolies, insider-trading, political payoffs, fraud, and large amounts of inherited wealth. Billionaires who don’t like Sanders’s and Warren’s wealth tax should at least support reforms that end these anti-capitalist advantages.

      • Class War Violence: Centralia 1919

        The Centralia American Legion and the leading businessmen of that city had more than a parade in mind when they gathered on November 11, 1919, to celebrate Armistice Day. Apparently believing that the spectacle of political violence would enhance the patriotic experience, they concocted a plan to raid the Centralia IWW Hall. IWW halls were of great practical and symbolic importance to workers. As Wobbly activist and historian Ralph Chaplin explains, the halls were loved by workers, but despised by employers. These “churches of the movement,” as public historian Robert Weyeneth called them, represented the closest thing to a home for many wandering IWW members.

      • The Dubious Case of Washing Machines and Student Performance

        On its face, it seems insane, but we are living in the most insane of times! The mayor of Providence, Rhode Island has been thwarted in his effort to install washing machines in local public schools. The mayor read that a school district in another state had installed washing machines in its schools and that it had encouraged some students to attend classes because the machines had eliminated the stigma of wearing dirty clothes to school. Dirty clothes, or insufficient clothing, in a society of such unparalleled wealth is difficult to comprehend, unless readers take into account the massive level of income inequality in the contemporary US.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Foreigners visiting China are increasingly stumped by its cashless society

        Technically, it’s illegal for Chinese merchants to refuse payment in cash, but this rule is hardly ever enforced, and China has been sprinting to a cashless society that requires mobile devices — not credit-cards — to effect payments, even to street hawkers.

        This has lots of implications for privacy, surveillance, taxation, and fairness, but in the short term, the biggest impact is on visitors to China, who are increasingly unable to buy anything because they lack Chinese payment apps like Wechat, and even when they install them, the apps’ support for non-Chinese bank accounts and credit cards is spotty-to-nonexistent.

      • Study: Social Media a Double-Edged Sword for Female Politicians

        A recently published study by a Washington think tank indicates that women in public office — or those seeking it, whether in the United States or abroad — are increasingly bypassing traditional media, relying instead on social media to bolster their image and broadcast their message in a more nuanced and unfiltered way.

        According to Wilson Center Global Fellow Lucina Di Meco, who authored the study for the organization’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, social media enables female leaders to connect directly with constituents and allows them to be “authentic, to really go beyond very scripted images that we had seen in the past, to really try and show a little bit more of themselves.”

        Based on 88 interviews with female leaders from 33 countries, Di Meco’s research indicates that, despite a highly toxic media environment, female candidates often have been able to use both Twitter and Facebook to support their political ambitions by creating a robust network of online support.

      • Microsoft to follow landmark California privacy law nationwide [iophk: not as magnanimous as it may try to look. what was the alternative otherwise, two editions of each program and service?]

        Microsoft on Monday announced that it intends to follow California’s landmark online privacy law nationwide when it goes into effect next year, a move that comes as federal efforts to draw up the country’s first comprehensive privacy law have stalled.

      • Microsoft vows to ‘honor’ California’s sweeping privacy law across entire US

        In a Monday blog post, Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, said that the company will extend the main principles of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) across the US just as it did with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year. The law goes into effect in California on January 1st, 2020.

        CCPA, which was approved in June 2018, is one of the fiercest and most sweeping data privacy regulations in the US. It’s somewhat similar to GDPR. Under CCPA, companies must disclose to users what personal data of theirs is being collected, whether it is sold and to whom, and allow users to opt out of any sales. Users must also have access to their data and be able to request that a company delete it.

      • ‘When Will Someone Go to Jail?’: New Report Shows Google Secretly Storing Health Data of Millions of Americans

        According to The Wall Street Journal, neither patients nor doctors have been notified of the data collection and storage.

      • Google reveals ‘Project Nightingale’ after being accused of secretly gathering personal health records

        The Wall Street Journal’s Rob Copeland wrote that the data amassed in the program includes “lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, complete with patient names and dates of birth,” and that as many as 150 Google employees may have had access to the data.

        The New York Times corroborated much of the report later in the day, writing that “dozens of Google employees” may have access to sensitive patient data, and that there are concerns that some Google employees may have downloaded some of that data.

      • Google Is Slurping Up Health Data—and It Looks Totally Legal

        On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported details on Project Nightingale, Google’s under-the-radar partnership with Ascension, the nation’s second-largest health system. The project, which reportedly began last year, includes sharing the personal health data of tens of millions of unsuspecting patients. The bulk of the work is being done under Google’s Cloud division, which has been developing AI-based services for medical providers.

      • How Blockchains Can Cause Severe Privacy Issues

        Blockchains are a very important part of IoT. With ledgers and activities being stored across hundreds of thousands of devices, it may become the main way we store critical information in the future.

        There is one element of blockchains that goes relatively unnoticed. How long does data stored on a blockchain remain there? If many copies of a blockchain are spread across devices, and data isn’t deleted between them, does this mean we’re entering a future of permanent information?

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Uber CEO Under Fire for Downplaying Saudi Kingdom’s Murder of Khashoggi as a ‘Mistake’

        “Not only is he running cover for the Saudi government by saying the pre-planned murder of a Washington Post writer was a ‘mistake,’ he compares the murder of a human being to Uber making a tech glitch.”

      • Uber CEO on Saudi murder of journalist: “We’ve made mistakes too”

        Primack challenged his comparison of a political assassination, as described in a CIA report, to the presumptively accidental killing of a pedestrian by a self-driving car.

      • Uber CEO: Time to Forgive the Saudis for Murdering That Journalist

        Here, Primack attempted to explain why an analogy between someone being killed by a faulty self-driving car and someone being dismembered via bone saw maybe wasn’t entirely apt. “The CIA didn’t suggest that they made a mistake and that it was an oversight, like with self-driving that was basically a bad censor, correct? The CIA suggested the Crown Prince had a role in ordering the assassination. It’s a different thing. You guys didn’t intentionally run somebody over.”

      • Tech’s transportation companies keep bending the knee to Saudi Arabia

        The conference, colloquially known as Davos in the Desert, was taking place at the same Ritz-Carlton that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman used as a prison in late 2017 during his massive power grab. The conference also became a political flashpoint last year, as a number of companies and executives backed out from participating following Khashoggi’s initial disappearance and assumed murder at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

        None of this stopped those three executives, though.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Is There Anything the Media Won’t Blame on Millennials?

        In recent times, media have taken a great interest in highlighting and even generating intergenerational fighting. One example is the focus on the “OK boomer” meme, a witty two-word comeback gaining popularity on the internet. “OK boomer” is a pithy, cutting retort millennials (those born between 1981–96) and Generation Z (those “Zoomers” born even later than 1996) give to those born during the baby boom (1946–64). The digital equivalent of an eye roll, it conveys that the speaker considers the person being addressed to be obtuse, stubborn and out of date.

      • The Worm in the Apple

        The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      • “They Want to Be Treated Like Men and Women, Not as a Subhuman”

        As a community organizer with the criminal justice advocacy organization Silicon Valley De-Bug, Jose Valle helps incarcerated people and their families navigate the justice system. This includes both people in county jails, designed to briefly hold inmates awaiting trial or serving short terms, and in prisons that house people convicted of felonies and sentenced to years behind bars. In recent years, Valle has been hearing a surprising refrain from people being held in California’s Santa Clara County jails.

        “All the time we hear these guys telling us, ‘I can’t wait to go to prison,’” he said at a recent event held by ProPublica, The Sacramento Bee and the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at Stanford Law School. “I don’t think that’s what realignment was about.”

      • The Secret of Cuba’s Success: International Solidarity

        Once again the international community represented at the United Nations General Assembly on November 7 has spoken and voted to reject overwhelmingly the financial and economic blockade (embargo) imposed by the United States against Cuba through unilateral sanctions. The US blockade has been imposed in an escalating progression over the last 57 years with the most damaging rapid increase in the last few months under the Trump administration. Yet, Cuba thrives socially and internationally, if not economically. Despite the undeniable negative impact of the blockade on the population, by and large the majority of Cubans are confidently committed to resisting and enduring. But what motivates that courageous resilience and the international support for Cuba?

      • French President Silent on Rampant Abuses During China Visit

        French President Emmanuel Macron’s various public statements during his visit to China last week were remarkable, for what went unsaid more than their substance.

      • Nigeria: People With Mental Health Conditions Chained, Abused

        Thousands of people with mental health conditions across Nigeria are chained and locked up in various facilities where they face terrible abuse.

      • Veterans’ Day: Four Poems
      • “Other Than Honorable?” Veterans With “Bad Paper” Seek Long Overdue Benefits

        On Veterans Day this year, in a nation now reflexively thankful for military service of all kinds, nearly 500,000 former service members are not included in our official expressions of gratitude.

      • Russia: Don’t Block Action on Incendiary Weapons

        Russia should support, not block, diplomatic talks about possible action to address the civilian harm caused by the use of incendiary weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

      • To Overthrow Radical Evil, Part II: A Grandmother’s Proposal

        Many liberals will readily agree that our white supremacist civilization has all along shown contempt for human beings and for the earth. Native author Joseph Marshall tells us the Lakota people watching the 19th-century white incursion on their lands saw the white soldiers as killers, not braves. Further, some of us on the so-called left can agree that civilization’s modern avatar, late-capitalist neoliberalism, constitutes what Hannah Arendt called “radical evil” in its perfection of that contempt for all human beings. It’s not so difficult to name evil, nor even to realistically prophecy our civilization will “get what it deserves,” and the “common lot” go back to “brutish, nasty and short.” The difficult thing, because it requires much more than simply reaching a logical conclusion that allows us to continue our way of life without changing, is to find, and to act upon, radical good. This is the one thing that has not been tried on a large scale, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Why on earth would you concern yourself with restoring the conviction of intrinsic self-worth when it works far better – for those at the top and for those determined to stay off the bottom – that human beings remain convinced of our worthlessness, capable of attaining only the limited self-worth that can be demonstrated in material success?

      • ‘Bad Paper’ Discharges Brand Veterans for Life

        In the nearly 20 years since America’s longest wars began, more than 500,000 US troops have returned home with invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries only to be dismissed from the military for minor infractions and given “less than honorable” discharges that deny them benefits, including Veterans Affairs benefits that would ensure access to treatment for PTSD and other service-related injuries.

      • Think Capone When It Comes to Trump’s Impeachment

        Is President Donald Trump more like Richard Nixon or Al Capone? That’s not a question many commentators in search of historical analogies will ask as the House begins televised hearings on Trump’s impeachment this week.

      • “I Will Never Let Boeing Forget Her”

        Samya Stumo liked to ride pigs. This was on her family’s farm, in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Caring for the pigs was one of her chores, so she would hop on an old, dilapidated Army jeep and drive a water tank to the sty, where she would fill the troughs and take a ride. She was 9 years old.

        Samya had always been precocious. She started playing cello when she was 3, the year before her younger brother, Nels, became ill with cancer. When her mother, Nadia Milleron, returned from the hospital one day, Samya told her that she had learned to read.

      • Abby Martin and Matt Taibbi – The Project Censored Show

        Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi is the first guest on this week’s show; his new book, “Hate, Inc.” explains how today’s corporate media, especially television, profits by pitting Americans against one another.Then independent journalist Abby Martin returns to the program; on this segment, she describes the making of her new documentary Gaza Fights For Freedom, and the distortions and omission in US media coverage of Palestine. Notes: Matt Taibbi’s previous books include “Insane Clown President” and “Griftopia.” Abby Martin’s work can be found at www.theempirefiles.tv

      • Cambodia: Drop Case Against Opposition Leader

        The Cambodian authorities should immediately and unconditionally dismiss all charges against the political opposition leader Kem Sokha and let him resume his political activities.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Hollywood Praises Australia’s Anti-Piracy Laws, But More Can Be Done

          In a recent submission to the US Trade Representative, the MPA applauds Australia’s anti-piracy enforcement tools, including effective copyright laws. Hollywood’s trade group notes that piracy rates are dropping. However, it adds that even more can be done on the anti-piracy front to keep copyright problems at bay.

        • Sci-Hub & Libgen Blocked By Austrian ISPs Following Elsevier Complaint

          Austrian ISP T-Mobile has announced that following a supervisory procedure carried out by local telecoms regulator TKK, it has begun blocking two dozen Sci-Hub and Libgen related domains. The original complaint was filed against rival ISP A1 several months ago by publishing giant Elsevier. A1′s blocking is also well underway.

You’ve Gotta Go When You’ve Gotta Go

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Management Has Gotta Go

Summary: How most staff of the European Patent Office (EPO) feels these days

Teaser: Thierry Breton and His Disquieting Past

Posted in Europe at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previously: EPO and EU: People Behind the Faces

Thierry Breton caricature
Political caricature showing Leonardo da Vinci designing the perfectly balanced EU Commissioner who bears an unmistakable resemblance to Thierry Breton

Summary: “The company attracted notoriety and loathing in the UK for its role in assessing disability benefit eligibility.”

Techrights recently took note of a tweet from Benjamin “ZooBab” Henrion criticising the nomination of Thierry Breton by Emmanuel Macron as a candidate for the position of EU Commissioner in charge of industrial policy:

“Many readers will not be au fait with the minutiae of French politics, so it seems like a good opportunity have a closer look at Thierry Breton and what the implications of his appointment as EU Commissioner might be.”“Thierry Breton nomination is bad news for software freedom, ex-CEO of Technicolor/Thomson who was collecting royalties over MP3. Plus he seems to be in the Battistelli/EPO sphere…”

“ZooBab” is on the ball with this one but – whether he realises it or not – he has only touched on the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Many readers will not be au fait with the minutiae of French politics, so it seems like a good opportunity have a closer look at Thierry Breton and what the implications of his appointment as EU Commissioner might be.

“He still has to face a hearing by members of the EU Parliament before any appointment is approved.”Before going any further it should be emphasised that the proposed appointment is not yet a done deal. As things stand at the time of writing, Breton has only been nominated as the preferred candidate of the French government.

He still has to face a hearing by members of the EU Parliament before any appointment is approved.

There is already speculation that Breton’s candidacy may become a cropper in the same way that Macron’s initial candidate Sylvie Goulard was rejected by the EU Parliament on “ethical grounds” after facing awkward questions about her employment of a European parliamentary assistant on national political duties and her lucrative salary from a US-based think-tank while she sat as an MEP.

“Some time later this month Breton is expected to face a “grilling” by EU parliamentarians in connection with various controversies related to his business activities, in particular his role as CEO of the dubious French multinational Atos, an “IT services” conglomerate.”The EU parliamentary jury is still out in Breton’s case but there is growing disquiet about a candidate who has been described as “brilliant, very smart” with “a lot of ideas” but also “a man of utmost arrogance” whose ego has “harmed him a lot in his career”.

Some time later this month Breton is expected to face a “grilling” by EU parliamentarians in connection with various controversies related to his business activities, in particular his role as CEO of the dubious French multinational Atos, an “IT services” conglomerate.

UK readers might recall that Atos was one of the main corporate recipients of government largesse in the area of public service “outsourcing” which reached its peak during the ConDem government of “Captain” Cameron and “Corporal” Clegg.

The company attracted notoriety and loathing in the UK for its role in assessing disability benefit eligibility.

Thierry Breton crimes

So, ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat-belts and watch this space as we commence our exploration of the high-octane career of the French whizz-kid entrepreneur-politician and wannabe EU Commissioner Thierry Breton…

EPO and EU: People Behind the Faces

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When they say EPO breaks the law. So they alter the lighting.

Summary: It’s no secret that the EPO breaks the law and European officials have taken no concrete steps to intervene; to make matters worse, potentially new EPO allies may soon be put in charge of the EU Commission

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has been run mostly by French people in recent years. Battistelli is the best (or worst) known example and his successor António Campinos is also French (born there, studied there, mother is French, has French nationality). Last year we made this image just to make a point:

French EPO

Some of Techrights’ upcoming posts may seem political in nature, but this is not deliberate; it’s the only way to explain particularly obscene (for lack of a better term) aspects of EPO corruption. France needs to arrest more than just Battistelli and ‘Sarko’. It is a national embarrassment and if not properly tackled it will tarnish the national brand and harm France’s status in the EU. This point was explained already by French politicians, who had themselves been worried and repeatedly warned about it.

“One part (number 17) will look at Breton’s connections to Battistelli and the EPO.”
      –Anonymous
A new series about Thierry Breton is about to kick off. “We have been busy working on a new series,” told us the authors, who in our experience have a sterling record. “It’s about Macron’s latest nomination for EU Commissioner, Thierry Breton.”

Readers would be well aware (if they paid attention) that we are pro-EU. This series is not an attack on the EU.

“This is a subject with a lot of mileage and the material which we have gathered has been spread out over a total of 18 parts,” the authors clarified.

We are going to start later today with a teaser and the first 14 parts are good to go. We’ll set the pace of publication according to current events. Sometimes particular issues or facts arise in response to something we publish. We’ll try to take these into account. We’ll listen rather than just preach with our ears shut. “There is still some work needed on the last four parts,” the authors said. “One part (number 17) will look at Breton’s connections to Battistelli and the EPO.”

“A lot of readers in the “Anglosphere” may not be familiar with Thierry Breton although they have probably heard something about Atos where he was CEO from 2008 onwards.”
      –Anonymous
We mentioned these before, but only in passing and only in social control media. This needed exploring and fact-checking.

“We realise that this is a “political” rather than a “technical” subject,” the authors said, “but it might be of interest to Techrights readers judging by Benjamin Henrion’s comment here.

“A lot of readers in the “Anglosphere” may not be familiar with Thierry Breton although they have probably heard something about Atos where he was CEO from 2008 onwards. This recent article helps to explain why the Breton nomination is so controversial.”

From the article:

After seeing his first pick for Commissioner rejected by the European Parliament due to concerns of conflict of interests, French President Macron seems to have doubled down with a potentially even more controversial nomination: Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos.

If approved, this would likely be the first time that a CEO was chosen to join the College of Commissioners, a move more reminiscent of the Trump administration than the EU civil service. There is a striking and massive overlap between the interests of the company Breton headed and the remit of the Internal Market portfolio Macron has negotiated for him, including industrial policy, defence, tech and space. This overlap creates a maze of potential conflicts of interest that would be very difficult to solve.

[...]

Atos has also been one of the main recipients of EU funding from the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (EU-LISA), to build what have been called “virtual walls”. These are IT systems that control, monitor and survey people at the EU’s external borders. According to the Transnational Institute, these programmes use “stringent controls following generalised threat assessments based on biometrics and features, not in the least skin colour”. Moreover such border control systems can also be seen as trial runs for a possible later deployment in the general population.

An internet monitoring system dubbed ‘Eagle’, which was developed by Atos’ subsidary, Bull, is even now the focus of an investigation by the Paris Prosecutor’s office. The system was sold to various repressive regimes including the Khadaffi regime in Libya, Ben Ali’s Tunisia and the Moroccan secret service, allowing them to monitor citizens and journalists. Breton was a board member of Bull.

If Breton is approved by the European Parliament he would now become responsible for steering EU policy in these areas. The mission letter assigned to Commissioner-designate Breton would put him in charge of investing in technologies like “blockchain, high-performance computing, algorithms, and data-sharing and data-usage tools”; “defining standards for 5G networks”; coordinating an “European approach on artificial intelligence and on the new Digital Services Act”; and, finally, building a real single market for cybersecurity”.

[...]

This would not be Breton’s first spin through the revolving door between private and public, between regulated and regulator. He had already previously been plucked from France Telecom (now Orange) in 2005 to become France’s Finance Minister. He stayed in this role for two years. Directly after leaving he took a job at the Rothschild Bank as a senior advisor and within one year he was appointed CEO of Atos.

Breton is a typical member of the French economic and political elites: 35% of the CEOs of companies listed in the Paris Stock Exchange (CAC40) come from the two top universities, which typically train most of the country’s senior politicians and high officials (the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, where Macron studied, and – the Polytechnique, from which Breton graduated), and the Board members of publicly listed French companies have the highest rate of simultaneous mandates in boardrooms among European countries.

There’s lots more in that article. It’s rather fascinating, but we’ve taken particular interest in his past when it comes to patents.

“Because Breton is being lined up by Macron for a key position on the EU Commission,” the authors of our series wrote, “the issue is a “live” one where there is still time to contact MEPs to ask questions/raise objections about his nomination.”

“If the Breton nomination gets approved by the EU Parliament, then that would give Macron and his clique two key levers of EU policy (the ECB and the Commissioner responsible for industrial policy).”
      –Anonymous
There are also familiar faces that are connected to Battistelli.

“It is worth noting that an old “buddy” of Breton’s, namely Christine Lagarde, has already been parachuted in as head of the European Central Bank by Macron,” the authors noted.

“If the Breton nomination gets approved by the EU Parliament, then that would give Macron and his clique two key levers of EU policy (the ECB and the Commissioner responsible for industrial policy).”

This series takes a great deal of work and preparation. If errors are found along the way, they will be corrected. As always, readers’ input is more than welcome.

Maintaining the ‘Delete Github’ page

Posted in Microsoft, Site News at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

GitHub RepositoriesSummary: “This list really is a starting point, which can hopefully increase awareness about the issue of concern.”

THE primary goal of the Delete Github page is an early-warning system for projects that Microsoft has undue control over — they can restrict access, delete projects, or (perhaps in a worst-case scenario) either deliberately modify a project download as SourceForge once did, or simply act a vector for malicious activity — as has already happened to Gentoo and Canonical.

“At this stage there is an effort to be as comprehensive as possible — to include as many mainstream Free software projects as we can, to give people a better idea of how many projects are potentially threatened by a monopoly.”As with higher quality warning systems, including all anti-malware software, false positives are a known possibility. Some care is taken to avoid them, simply to increase the quality of the list itself. At this stage there is an effort to be as comprehensive as possible — to include as many mainstream Free software projects as we can, to give people a better idea of how many projects are potentially threatened by a monopoly.

Admittedly, there is a lower threshold of evidence to get on the list than to be removed. While people may decide to make decisions based on this list, we hope they would double-check our findings first. This is research, it is not law — the list includes IceWM, which I use routinely, and JWM, which I have running as a process as we speak. It includes Leafpad, which I am using to type this very line of text. If we find evidence that WordPress is using Github (and there is a repo for it, I haven’t checked it yet and it isn’t on the list yet) it is unlikely that Roy will decide to remove it from the Techrights servers.

“To some of us, this list is like an endangered species list — we are concerned about the future of projects that are hosted on Github.”If a clerical error places an allergy you don’t have on your medical records, it is very possible that when this error is found, a single line will be drawn through the note. That is the sort of response that will most likely come of discovering errors in the list. A prominent note (perhaps in bold text) is the most likely correction.

To some of us, this list is like an endangered species list — we are concerned about the future of projects that are hosted on Github. And we are most eager to update the status of each one (even possibly Systemd, not necessarily for any wishes of success.)

But how can we know that we are in error? Certainly there is some level of assurance we can be given, most likely we will try to re-evaluate items that are called into question as our priorities allow. But we can check on the first one during the writing of this article:

“We will also probably use this lowercase convention for projects that abandon Github for other repos — if it’s all lowercase, that means we no longer believe the project is relying on Github.”“OpenBSD does not use Github for development at all Roy. They do not even use git!”

“I’m sure there are others in the list that also do not use github.”

Hopefully so. And by no means is Wikipedia a facts-only source of information, but if we simply grep https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenBSD:

$ leafpad <(wget -O- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenBSD | tr ">" "\n" | grep ithub)

We get this:

<a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://github.com/openbsd"

“When this list started, it was a completely manual process.”Now, it’s possible that OpenBSD doesn’t use this repo. If so, the article should be corrected. Let’s increase the quality of this check and visit the actual article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenBSD

Ah, now — one of the not-yet-implemented (though already considered) quality checks is to verify if the Github link is in the summary box (or whatever it’s called, I’m not a Wikipedian) on the top right. Selecting it and right-clicking, “View Selection Source” we find this is probably called an “infobox” and that it begins with:

<table class="infobox vevent"

It completes with "</tbody></table>" which we can use in the future to parse infoboxes.

Doing a further search for our Github link, we find the non-url text of our link is in the “External links” section, titled “Github mirror”.

“There are still checks in place, but in the writing of this article we have found things we can do to refine the process.”What have we learned:

1. The Github link isn’t in the infobox section, which decreases the significance of the link.

2. The official repo is https://cvsweb.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/ this is actually the most pertinent information.

3. The text of the very link that put OpenBSD on our list was labeled “Github mirror” which isn’t necessarily criteria we want or need to add projects to this list.

“Obviously people who are more intimately familiar with these projects are encouraged to help us, as arm did.”I would say this warrants a correction, which I will issue now before the article is finished. Since the first letter of every list entry is capitalised, we will make it easier to parse / automatically filter corrected entries by making the title all lowercase: OpenBSD -> openbsd. And… updated. Thanks to arm for setting this straight.

We will also probably use this lowercase convention for projects that abandon Github for other repos — if it’s all lowercase, that means we no longer believe the project is relying on Github.

When this list started, it was a completely manual process. Since then, (only) some aspects have drifted towards rudimentary automation. This has produced a more complete list, with a slightly higher tendency towards false positives. There are still checks in place, but in the writing of this article we have found things we can do to refine the process.

“For the moment, the highest priority is still adding to the list, so we may not double check every existing entry right away.”Even after items are added, we can use this new information to double-check the entries (even all at once.) That doesn’t mean this will happen today, but it may ultimately make it easier to discover when projects abandon Github, which would be a bonus. Obviously people who are more intimately familiar with these projects are encouraged to help us, as arm did.

For the moment, the highest priority is still adding to the list, so we may not double check every existing entry right away. This is the stage where the list is built as large as possible, within reason and utility.

At no point has the process become entirely automated, though I did just parse all of English Wikipedia for Github entries. Wikipedia will not be (is not) our only source, entries do not automatically go from discovery to inclusion (they are checked further, and also chosen manually for relevance, but please feel very free to suggest items you think are worth adding) but we will now try to slightly refine the process of adding new entries, first.

“We also want to encourage projects to leave Github.”We want everybody to realise that Github holds more mainstream projects than many of us thought. We also want to encourage projects to leave Github. We already know that GNOME and KDE mostly have their own repositories, though at the moment it appears that Kate for example, may use Github for something (that is still being looked into.) It’s surprising to discover gnuradio on Github — we are also aware that some of these (like OpenBSD) are just mirrors.

This list really is a starting point, which can hopefully increase awareness about the issue of concern. As awareness increases, we fully expect the quality of this information to be further refined — not unlike the software projects listed here as talented people review them and contribute to the sources.

Thanks again, you’ve helped make this list better than it was when we started.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Linux Foundation Picking Money

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Picking up membership fees

Do you use Linux? No, I work for Microsoft. I don't use Linux, either. Just pay me to join, let's dance.

Summary: The dating standards of the Linux Foundation

Microsoft ‘Borrows’ the Linux Brand

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So Microsoft ports some proprietary thing to GNU/Linux. And then you realise it doesn't even run natively on GNU/Linux. But the media will advertise this proprietary thing using the 'Linux' brand.

Summary: With help from the likes of the Linux Foundation Microsoft continues to misuse and ‘dilute’ the Linux brand (and registered trademark)

EPO Corruption Compared to Cocaine Scandals in Antwerp

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seaport Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp, Belgium

Summary: Days after the Dutch protest discussion is sort of ‘uncorked’ regarding EPO corruption (published, as usual, in the form of anonymous comments)

THE latest comments about EPO ineptitude and corruption, as seen in blogs like Kluwer’s and the Kat’s. We quote some below.

On UPC being at risk due to EPO corruption:

Thanks for that, Pfui, even though I read it with a sinking heart. Why sinking? Because I think of the UPC and what people want out of it. Even now, 40 years after the start of the EPO, users can by-pass the EPO by using national Patent Offices instead. Today, when it comes to litigation, the national patents courts compete with each other for the business. To replace these national courts (where the Rule of Law still runs) with a supra-national entity with fuzzy (and perhaps) opaque lines of accountability suddenly (given the way things are going at the EPO) seems like the wrong way to go.

Pfui responded a day or so later (there’s moderation and censorship by the blog, hence lag/latency):

I fear that you may be right again.

Another point which upsets me and which illustrates too well the major democratic deficit of the EPO: a diplomatic conference is overdue for more than a decade as delegates of the member states of the administrative council carefully avoid to inform their ministers of its existence and of the legal requirement for it (and abusing its power, Battistelli never called for it to keep his hands free to do what he wanted).

How can this serve the public when a major international organisation is being highjacked by its member states to their own selfish benefit?

How can a dysfunctional and weaker EPO serve Europe? Why is Europe passive and mute although perfectly aware of the mess – all EU member states are members of the EPO and an EU representative sits as an observer at the administrative council meetings.

Good response to Astra Zeneca and Team UPC pretending (lying) that UPC is somehow not an EU thing (it very strictly is; it’s right there in the text):

“Merpel does not remember ‘the end of the jurisdiction of the CJEU’ being on her Brexit referendum ballot paper.”

If fictitious cats were allowed to vote in the referendum, does that provide a ground for challenging the outcome?

“A friend of the EPO” revisited (as before) EPO corruption by saying: “The question which now arises is how many skeletons, and of which nature, are sitting in the new president’s cupboard for him to keep in place the two worst minions introduced by his predecessor.”

The question which now arises is how many skeletons, and of which nature, are sitting in the new president’s cupboard for him to keep in place the two worst minions introduced by his predecessor. They might have been shifted a bit around, but their power of nuisance remains. As long as those two minions, and especially the female one, are left in position social peace will remain wishful thinking.

The actual president having brought in not one, but chores of people from Alicante, those will certainly not have any intention to say anything, even should they become aware of something “strange”, as all these people are indebted to the new president for their position.

This applies especially to the new VP4 coming from Alicante. VP5 switched from chairman of the Administrative Council, with only some pay on the meeting days, to a full time job at the EPO and the cosy salary coming with it. Once he retires, he will benefit from medical coverage by the EPO for a fraction of his income. VP1 was responsible for trademarks at the UKIPO, so his dealings with Alicante are obvious. I doubt that all those VPs would have been chosen by the AC if the new president would have had any reservations. In other words, the new VPs are also indebted to the actual president.

I agree with Max Drei, there are enough people external to the EPO, but profiting from it, and they have no interest to any change. Let us get patents by the dozen. Their real value does not matter much, it is simply a lever in negotiations between big players.

I doubt the members of the AC will ever agree with removal of the possibility they have to obtain “emergency” dental treatment when being present at AC meetings, and this at the cost of the EPO. EPO is his own insurer for medical care and only employs an insurance broker for the administrative task of reimbursing expenses. Otherwise, it would not have been possible to give this type of medical coverage to members of the AC.

The cooperation budget is also a very powerful tool, to obtain the “correct” votes from the AC. The former president played a lot with this budget. Why would the new president not continue? And who is in charge of cooperation in the future? You guessed it: the other half of PD inHR. Under the former president it was already one of his minions, now retired, who controlled cooperation. Everything stays thus under control.

The level of multiple dependency has reached such a level that the system works like a closed loop, and none of the actors have the slightest interest in breaking the loop.

I think it was Mao Ze Dong who has said that the fish stinks from the head. We have a perfect illustration here.

MaxDrei (attorney) suggested that the Council should “give the President please a mandate, an instruction, to root out the corruption at the EPO before it spreads further and becomes irreparable, like at Antwerp.”

It’s about a high-profile revelations regarding drug trade (article by Der Spiegel):

As we all know, and as EPO Friend reminds us, with any dead fish, the stink sets in at the head, then travels downwards. EPO Friend invites us to think about the closed loop of venality that has been installed by the former “head” of the EPO. What EPO Friend doesn’t offer is a way to break the loop.

Coincidentally, I have just read in Der Spiegel a long article about the trade in cocaine from South America into Europe. The main port of entry is Antwerp, where the battle to stem the inbound flow of cocaine has already been lost. It seems that those who have used cocaine has risen to 5% of the population in Western Europe. Europe’s enemies, the authoritarian rulers of the world outside democratic Western Europe, are delighted that Europe is killing itself slowly.

Do our politicians care? Not at all, it seems. Grotesquely inadequate money and resources are being made available to reduce cocaine consumption. I suppose our representatives salve their consciences with the thought that nobody is being forced to addict themselves to cocaine. And I suppose they do nothing about the mis-government, mis-management and disregard for the Rule of Law at the EPO because, even if they think about it at all, they cannot see who is being harmed.

Well, politicians, we are all being harmed, by the cynicism, the loss of precious trust. But mostly YOU. If you do not care about the Rule of Law, the angry voters will get more and more angry with you and the society that looks up to you as our representatives in the Parliament, the legislature. So, even if it is only for your own long-term self-interest, at the AC, give the President please a mandate, an instruction, to root out the corruption at the EPO before it spreads further and becomes irreparable, like at Antwerp.

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