Understanding Thierry Breton: Socialising With the Elite

Posted in Europe, Finance at 11:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research

Breton with elites
Thierry and Valerie at a gala organised by Friends of the Paris Opera (2005)

Summary: “Bernadette Chirac is not the only Presidential widow with whom Valerie has close connections.”

You might be inclined to think that he would have little spare time in his day job as CEO of Atos but, outside of business hours, Thierry and his wife Valerie, seem to have an even more punishing schedule.

There’s a never-ending round of social events to be attended such as charity dinners, operas, gala performances and other glitterati “love-ins” where they can be seen rubbing shoulders with the great and good of the French elite.

Bernard Arnault and Breton
From left to right: Thierry Breton, Bernard Arnault, Hélène Mercier and Valerie Breton.
In the background, Gautier Capuçon, cellist associated with the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

Many of these events are sponsored by the multinational conglomerate LVMH and Thierry and Valerie can often be spotted basking in the glow of France’s Lord of Luxury, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, and his Canadian-born wife, Hélène Mercier.

“During a state visit to India in February 2006 Valerie accompanied France’s First Lady, Bernadette Chirac, on her sight-seeing tours including a boat trip up the Ganges.”Another prominent guest who features at these events on a regular basis is Bernadette Chirac, wife of the late Jacques Chirac. Valerie has been a trusted confidante of Bernadette since Thierry’s time as Finance Minister from 2005 to 2007.

During a state visit to India in February 2006 Valerie accompanied France’s First Lady, Bernadette Chirac, on her sight-seeing tours including a boat trip up the Ganges.

Bernadette Chirac and Breton
Carry on up the Ganges: Valerie Breton and Bernadette Chirac on a boat trip in February 2006

The contact forged between Valerie and Bernadette during Thierry’s term in the Chirac government has lasted down the years and the pair regularly appear together in “high-society” photo-ops.

For example, in November 2010 they both attended the Dior Jewellry Boutique Party at Place Vendôme in Paris where they were photographed in the company of Gautier Capuçon, a cellist associated with the Louis Vuitton Foundation, and his wife.

Bernadette Chirac and the Bretons
Valerie Breton, Gautier Capuçon and wife, Hélène Mercier-Arnault and Bernadette Chirac.

Dior, or Christian Dior SE to give it its full title, is a French luxury goods company controlled and chaired by French businessman Bernard Arnault, who also heads LVMH, the world’s largest luxury products group.

As we shall see in the next part, Bernadette Chirac is not the only Presidential widow with whom Valerie has close connections.

Justice Peter Huber Speaking to a Front Group of Team UPC May Compromise the Integrity of the FCC and Its Outcomes

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We're Germany's highest court, we don't succumb to pressure. We just give exclusive interviews with insights to pressure groups.

Summary: The public reaction, even from some legal professionals, isn’t too positive, seeing how judges from BVerfG (FCC) speak to the mouthpieces of Team UPC (biased and in the pockets of the litigation ‘industry’)

IT IS rather worrying. Earlier today we recalled some conflict of interest and now we see bad words shared with Team UPC’s media, almost as if Team UPC gets some sort of ‘magical lane’ into constitutional courts, too.

“Looking at some early comments about Huber’s remarks, pretty much all the comments (at this time) speak about how inappropriate it was for him to speak to this co-called ‘media’ (think tank, lobbyists, pressure group) — the same thing we initially stated.”Why would a high German judge (a “justice” even; like SCOTUS judges) be speaking to a hive of misinformation and trolls? It’s funded by many Team UPC firms and worse. Was he not aware? The contents of the interview have already caused some controversy and we shall come to that in a moment.

Suffice to say, Team UPC is totally exploiting this. Gregory Bacon of Bristows is now openly bragging about this FCC judge speaking to Team UPC about the constitutional complaint. “If the BVerfG’s decision is that the complaint be dismissed,” he wrote, “this removes one factor holding up the start of the proposed unitary patent and UPC system, but the other factor, i.e. Brexit, remains.”

There are several more factors, but Bristows ignores these. Because it’s inconvenient…

But everyone knows Bristows is a pack of liars. Even some university professors share that sentiment.

Looking at some early comments about Huber’s remarks, pretty much all the comments (at this time) speak about how inappropriate it was for him to speak to this co-called ‘media’ (think tank, lobbyists, pressure group) — the same thing we initially stated.

MaxDrei said:

I find it regrettable that a judge of Germany’s highest court should use the B word in an interview with a journalist. Competition with the over-touchy, over-reactive Tweeter in the White House is not what I expect from the court.

Let’s think about it a bit more calmly. Suppose the journalist had avoided inclusion of the provocative word “delay” in their question. So; for example: “Is BREXIT slowing down the process of coming to a judgement?”. Would Judge Huber’s answer to the question thus expressed have been quite so intemperate?

So I wonder, did MIP deliberately include the provocative word “delay” in order to goad the judge into a response that generates more publicity for MIP or, worse, to give the judge an opportunity to give his court a more edgy presence with the public?

“Concerned observer” soon followed:

Is it just me, or is the interview provided by Justice Peter Huber highly irregular?

I am struggling to recall a prior occasion on which a lead judge on a case discussed that case with the media prior to providing their judgement. Whilst the interview arguably only touches upon minor details, it is surely contrary to the interests of justice for a judge to make public pronouncements on ANY matters related to a case prior to final judgement. And to make such pronouncements to the media (instead of directly to the parties to the case) is also most peculiar.

Perhaps most troubling of all is that Justice Huber is quoted as saying “Brexit is of no concern” to the BVerfG. This could perhaps be interpreted as referring solely to the timing of the BVerfG’s judgement. However, given that the precise legal identity of the UPC (and, therefore, of the Participating States to that court) could well be a crucial issue upon which the BVerfG needs to decide, that statement is careless at best.

And back came MaxDrei with this:

In MIP, the by-line below the title of the Huber interview report is “Patrick Wingrove, London”. So was the interview conducted in English or in German. I guess that Judge Huber has good English but is not bi-lingual or an English native speaker. Did Judge Huber give answers in German, later translated by MIP into English, or did he actually give in English his answers to these supremely delicate and controversial matters?

In particular, his “no concern of mine” answer sounds flippant but I give him the benefit of the doubt. I guess he wanted to say that internal UK politics is no concern of his, his concern being exclusively the DE Constitution and EU law. Dragging the UK into his deliberations is indeed not needed. This year it is the UK. Next year it could be another EU Member State.

MaxDrei also asked in IP Kat:

Can anybody tell me whether Judge Huber gave his replies to MIP in his native German, or in English? I mean, “no concern of ours” and “bullshit” strike me as unlikely to have emerged from the mouth of a Supreme Court judge offering comment on one of the cases in his pending docket.

Is MIP sexing the answers up? Or is it Peter Huber who is looking to raise the profile of his court?

Thinking also about another recent leap into the arms of the press, a recent BBC interview, that old advice to “Look before you Leap” springs to mind.

Watch the replies: “Max, the interview was in English.”

“When the top/key judge in your case uses the word “bullshit” (even in English!) something is likely amiss.”MIP too commented: “The interview was conducted in English.”

Looking at social control media, Birgit Clark (former ‘Kat’) wrote: “We can always ask the BVerfG press office? I am slightly puzzled by the choice of vocabulary…” (alluding to “bullshit”)

When the top/key judge in your case uses the word “bullshit” (even in English!) something is likely amiss. But the key issue isn’t that he spoke out like this but who he spoke with.

Alex Robinson (Team UPC, he calls himself that) said: “No, as in we won’t see a decision in 2020? (I maintain some scepticism about this too as it has already been on the list for 2018 and 2019!)”

“There seems to be great uncertainty about how it came about and in past years we saw some media — and Bristows in particular — claiming to have gotten a word from institutions without being able to verify that; they possibly lied, they may have made the whole thing up, wholly or partially. We wrote about those incidents many times.”He also said: “If there is no interview then why is MIP claiming there is? All very peculiar.”

There’s confusion even among colleagues. Max Walters wrote: “I’d also be intrigued to hear what they have to say…”

There seems to be great uncertainty about how it came about and in past years we saw some media — and Bristows in particular — claiming to have gotten a word from institutions without being able to verify that; they possibly lied, they may have made the whole thing up, wholly or partially. We wrote about those incidents many times. These people play very, very dirty games. They’re immoral and desperate.

“Never understood why FFII eV was denied access,” Benjamin Henrion said, “while the EPO or the BDI could file an amicus brief, and have privileged access to the case which is “secret” #transparency #favouritism”

“These people play very, very dirty games.”The same goes for various Team UPC ‘reporters’ (lobbyists of the litigation giants who are also close to Battistelli). Why are they getting special treatment? CEIPI (Battistelli) tweeted: “The case holding up the Unified Patent Court will be decided in the first quarter of 2020, according to Justice Peter Huber of the German Federal Constitutional Court #UnifiedPatentCourt #UPC #UnitaryPatent #Brexit cc: @xavier_seuba @TeresaCalixto https://twitter.com/ManagingIP/status/1197201103751983105″

So CEIPI (Battistelli) too is smelling ‘blood’.

What’s noted above is very much noteworthy. If judges are eager to rub shoulders with Team UPC lobbyists, what does that tell us about the case — and worse — what does that say about the FCC’s impartiality?

As someone has just put it in very general terms: “It’s a lobbying lollapalooza in Brussels right now. Everywhere you turn conferences, meet-ups and “events”. The sad irony is that for mainstream media, EU policy news right now is boring. We’ll get to it when the sausage is pretty much made and the debate lines set.”

“To see judge/justice Huber mingling with these lobbyists is at the very least concerning. It can harm also the reputation of his FCC colleagues.”Earlier this week the EPO bragged about lobbying Brussels (we responded to that) and litigation events are being set up by MIP with direct support from the EPO. Quite a few of these are pro-UPC events, so what does judge/justice Huber’s interaction with MIP tell us?

All these “events” are lobbying platforms (like "FOSSPatents Conference" for FRAND), bankrolled by particular businesses for particular outcomes, findings, stacked panels etc.

To see judge/justice Huber mingling with these lobbyists is at the very least concerning. It can harm also the reputation of his FCC colleagues.

Injustice at Every Level Would Simply Doom the Entire Patent System

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 11:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lack of respect for the fundamental laws and for constitutions (or the EPC) means the culprits cannot lecture the public on the need to obey the law

We break the law because we need to run an office to apply the law
And they hope to also enforce the law (with the UPC)

Summary: Repeated failure to restore the Rule of Law and enforce accountability/oversight in Europe’s patent system renders the entire system moot; it is a case of adherence to basic constitutional pillars

UTTER LAWLESSNESS has long been a problem in EPOnia. Stakeholders cannot sue anyone but other stakeholders, staff cannot sue the management (no matter the circumstances or severity of grievances), and ILO-AT seems to be ‘in bed’ with EPO management. The EPO’s judges are openly complaining that they lack the independence they require (as per the law) and examiners say they cannot do their job properly anymore.

Only patently dishonest people would claim that there’s no problem at the EPO. The future isn’t rosy, either. The EPO has issued the “news” “European Patent Office launches new Espacenet, improving access to world’s largest free collection of patent documents” (warning: epo.org link), soon to be boosted by Watchtroll (stenography from litigation fanatics and patent trolls).

“Only patently dishonest people would claim that there’s no problem at the EPO.”The quality of patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) under
Campinos and Battistelli is rapidly decreasing, as will the value of these documents. All those software patents would likely perish in practice (e.g. in European courts, if challenged).

As someone noted earlier today in IP Kat comments:

Alice, Mayo and Myriad attempted for policy reasons to limit what was patentable in the computer-related and biotech field. Part of the reasoning was to make sure the ‘building blocks of innovation’ were not monopolised, i.e. stayed part of the commons. The IP community reacted by simply seeing the increased uncertainty, as you say, but there are much broader ramifications. Unfortunately economists have not jumped in and given us the numbers for how much the economy would benefit or lose. They only do the easy analyses, and don’t tackle the really complex things. And if economists don’t do this, then government has no way of seeing the real impact of what the Supreme Court was doing. So government sees no point in trying to protect the commons, because in trying to do so it will only see the criticism of the IP and R&D community, without any means to look at the gain.

The EPO has meanwhile moved in the opposite direction of the US. It’s introducing all sorts of laughable patent ‘families’ and uses buzzwords like ‘hey hi’ (AI) to justify granting patents on mathematics. And who’s gonna stop that? The EPO is virtually above the law and when it breaks laws nobody is held accountable. This means that lots of Invalid Patents (IPs) or bogus European Patents (EPs) are being given for those likely to just use them in bulk for blackmail or against small actors for ‘protection money’. This is the very opposite of justice.

“…this is a repetition of the same mistakes which led to the granting of loads of fake patents — patents that simply would not withstand challenge outside the EPO.”Surely Max Walters (longtime writer for the patent microcosm) knows that quicker oppositions would mean sloppier ones, i.e. ones that are likely to leave fake patents in tact. But today he echoes a similar ‘report’ from WIPR ‘sphere’ (more patent maximalists in the EPO’s pockets) by saying that lawyers “welcome opposition speed but want clearer BoA data”. To quote: “In-house lawyers in the pharmaceutical industry say data showing that EPO opposition procedures are speeding up provides clarity but that more information should be published on how successful subsequent appeals are.”

Speed is the wrong thing to measure. As we noted earlier this week, this is a repetition of the same mistakes which led to the granting of loads of fake patents — patents that simply would not withstand challenge outside the EPO. The EPO now hopes to ‘steal’ all the courts — a subject we’ll tackle in the next post.

Understanding Thierry Breton: Thierry and the $100 Billion Man

Posted in Europe, Finance at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research

Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault – a trusted friend of Thierry Breton

Summary: Thierry Breton’s connections to the tax avoidance ploy of his friend Bernard Arnault

You might have thought that all that wheeling and dealing as Atos CEO would be enough to keep anybody fully occupied. But not so with our Thierry…

Since 2008 he has also been busy helping out his trusted friend, French billionaire Bernard Arnault by chairing the governing committee of Protectinvest, a private foundation set up to safeguard the integrity of the French multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH.

Arnault, who controls LVMH through a cascade of companies including Groupe Arnault, his private family holding company, set up the private foundation in Belgium in 2008 to prevent his five children from selling LVMH shares if he were to die within the next 10 years.

“It seems to be some kind of tax avoidance vehicle that was set up in Belgium just as France was preparing to introduce a 75 % “supertax” on incomes in excess of € 1 million after the election of François Hollande as President in 2012.”The statutes of Protectinvest state that it “has as its disinterested aim, assuming the death of Mr Bernard Arnault and until October 23 2023, of protecting directly the financial and family interests of the Pilinvest company”.

Pilinvest is another Belgian-based holding company owned 99.99 per cent by Mr Arnault.

It seems to be some kind of tax avoidance vehicle that was set up in Belgium just as France was preparing to introduce a 75 % “supertax” on incomes in excess of € 1 million after the election of François Hollande as President in 2012.

Arnault transferred his 31% stake in Groupe Arnault, the family firm that runs LVMH, to Pilinvest in December 2011. At the time the stake, was valued at € 6.5 billion. In November 2013, the Belgian authorities started an investigation into Pilinvest.

“In November 2013, the Belgian authorities started an investigation into Pilinvest.”In 2017, it was reported that Arnault had accepted a deal to end the case “without any prejudicial admission of guilt on his part”.

By a curious coincidence, Thierry Breton is also listed as a director on the board of Carrefour the French multinational hypermarket retailer in which Groupe Arnault holds a 16 per cent stake jointly with Colony Capital of the US.

LVMH’s Lord of Luxury

Breton’s connection with LVMH’s lord of luxury also provides a useful springboard for socialising with the great and good of French “high society” as we shall see in the next part.

Links 21/11/2019: Mesa 19.3.0 RC4, Canonical SPS

Posted in News Roundup at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • What Linux Distributions Are Lightweight For Laptop And PC?

        The answer is different. from the default Ubuntu package there are several default applications that come installed when using GNOME (ubuntu desktop environment now).

        When I use Xubuntu, I don’t find some default applications from GNOME like those installed on Ubuntu. But we can still install and use GNOME applications, except for applications that relate to display settings, some features that exist in GNOME cannot be implemented on the Xubuntu desktop.

        Xubuntu has a different display management application than GNOME. So, each desktop environment has different display settings

        You can choose several desktop environments that are lighter than GNOME such as Xfce, Lxde, LXQt, KDE or can also use Window Manager that is lighter than the desktop environment.

      • System76 Will Build Its Own Linux Laptops From January 2020

        System76, a popular Denver-based PC manufacturer company that also offers Ubuntu-based Linux distribution Pop!_OS, will start designing and building its own Linux laptops from January 2020.

        Speaking to Forbes in an interview, System76’s CEO Carl Richell says that the company wants to follow-up its popular Thelio desktop with in-house built Linux laptops. System76 offers an extensive line of laptops but the machines are designed by other manufacturers like Clevo and Sager. The company only offers its Pop!_OS in these laptops.

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • experimenting with Clang CFI on upstream Linux

        While much of the work on kernel Control Flow Integrity (CFI) is focused on arm64 (since kernel CFI is available on Android), a significant portion is in the core kernel itself (and especially the build system). Recently I got a sane build and boot on x86 with everything enabled, and I’ve been picking through some of the remaining pieces. I figured now would be a good time to document everything I do to get a build working in case other people want to play with it and find stuff that needs fixing.

        First, everything is based on Sami Tolvanen’s upstream port of Clang’s forward-edge CFI, which includes his Link Time Optimization (LTO) work, which CFI requires. This tree also includes his backward-edge CFI work on arm64 with Clang’s Shadow Call Stack (SCS).

      • WireGuard secure network tunnel
        RFC Note:
          This is a RFC for folks who want to play with this early, because
          Herbert's cryptodev-2.6 tree hasn't yet made it into net-next. I'll
          repost this as a v1 (possibly with feedback incorporated) once the
          various trees are in the right place. This compiles on top of the
          Frankenzinc patchset from Ard, though it hasn't yet received suitable
          testing there for me to call it v1 just yet. Preliminary testing with
          the usual netns.sh test suite on x86 indicates it's at least mostly
          functional, but I'll be giving things further scrutiny in the days to
        WireGuard is a layer 3 secure networking tunnel made specifically for
        the kernel, that aims to be much simpler and easier to audit than IPsec.
        Extensive documentation and description of the protocol and
        considerations, along with formal proofs of the cryptography, are
        available at:
          * https://www.wireguard.com/
          * https://www.wireguard.com/papers/wireguard.pdf
        This commit implements WireGuard as a simple network device driver,
        accessible in the usual RTNL way used by virtual network drivers. It
        makes use of the udp_tunnel APIs, GRO, GSO, NAPI, and the usual set of
        networking subsystem APIs. It has a somewhat novel multicore queueing
        system designed for maximum throughput and minimal latency of encryption
        operations, but it is implemented modestly using workqueues and NAPI.
        Configuration is done via generic Netlink, and following a review from
        the Netlink maintainer a year ago, several high profile userspace
        have already implemented the API.
        This commit also comes with several different tests, both in-kernel
        tests and out-of-kernel tests based on network namespaces, taking profit
        of the fact that sockets used by WireGuard intentionally stay in the
        namespace the WireGuard interface was originally created, exactly like
        the semantics of userspace tun devices. See wireguard.com/netns/ for
        pictures and examples.
        The source code is fairly short, but rather than combining everything
        into a single file, WireGuard is developed as cleanly separable files,
        making auditing and comprehension easier. Things are laid out as
          * noise.[ch], cookie.[ch], messages.h: These implement the bulk of the
            cryptographic aspects of the protocol, and are mostly data-only in
            nature, taking in buffers of bytes and spitting out buffers of
            bytes. They also handle reference counting for their various shared
            pieces of data, like keys and key lists.
          * ratelimiter.[ch]: Used as an integral part of cookie.[ch] for
            ratelimiting certain types of cryptographic operations in accordance
            with particular WireGuard semantics.
          * allowedips.[ch], peerlookup.[ch]: The main lookup structures of
            WireGuard, the former being trie-like with particular semantics, an
            integral part of the design of the protocol, and the latter just
            being nice helper functions around the various hashtables we use.
          * device.[ch]: Implementation of functions for the netdevice and for
            rtnl, responsible for maintaining the life of a given interface and
            wiring it up to the rest of WireGuard.
          * peer.[ch]: Each interface has a list of peers, with helper functions
            available here for creation, destruction, and reference counting.
          * socket.[ch]: Implementation of functions related to udp_socket and
            the general set of kernel socket APIs, for sending and receiving
            ciphertext UDP packets, and taking care of WireGuard-specific sticky
            socket routing semantics for the automatic roaming.
          * netlink.[ch]: Userspace API entry point for configuring WireGuard
            peers and devices. The API has been implemented by several userspace
            tools and network management utility, and the WireGuard project
            distributes the basic wg(8) tool.
          * queueing.[ch]: Shared function on the rx and tx path for handling
            the various queues used in the multicore algorithms.
          * send.c: Handles encrypting outgoing packets in parallel on
            multiple cores, before sending them in order on a single core, via
            workqueues and ring buffers. Also handles sending handshake and cookie
            messages as part of the protocol, in parallel.
          * receive.c: Handles decrypting incoming packets in parallel on
            multiple cores, before passing them off in order to be ingested via
            the rest of the networking subsystem with GRO via the typical NAPI
            poll function. Also handles receiving handshake and cookie messages
            as part of the protocol, in parallel.
          * timers.[ch]: Uses the timer wheel to implement protocol particular
            event timeouts, and gives a set of very simple event-driven entry
            point functions for callers.
          * main.c, version.h: Initialization and deinitialization of the module.
          * selftest/*.h: Runtime unit tests for some of the most security
            sensitive functions.
          * tools/testing/selftests/wireguard/netns.sh: Aforementioned testing
            script using network namespaces.
        This commit aims to be as self-contained as possible, implementing
        WireGuard as a standalone module not needing much special handling or
        coordination from the network subsystem. I expect for future
        optimizations to the network stack to positively improve WireGuard, and
        vice-versa, but for the time being, this exists as intentionally
        We introduce a menu option for CONFIG_WIREGUARD, as well as providing a
        verbose debug log and self-tests via CONFIG_WIREGUARD_DEBUG.
      • Latest WireGuard Patch Out For Review With It Looking Like It Will Land For Linux 5.6

        The long-awaited WireGuard secure VPN tunnel functionality looks like it will land with the Linux 5.6 kernel cycle happening in early 2020. Linux 5.5 is kicking off next week but the necessary crypto subsystem changes have yet to take place as well as a final sign-off on the new WireGuard code.

        The blocker for the past long while on getting WireGuard merged into the Linux kernel was over its Zync cryptography code and needing to get that mainlined, which was proving difficult. While WireGuard was ready to fold and adopt to Linux’s existing crypto API, in the interim crypto subsystem improvements making use of some Zinc design improvements materialized. It’s those crypto improvements now expected to land soon in the Crypto development tree that in turn open the door for the WireGuard networking code itself to merge.

      • NVIDIA DP MST Audio To Begin Working With The Linux 5.5 Kernel

        While the official NVIDIA Linux driver has worked well with DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (DP MST) setups for years now for driving large displays, audio hasn’t worked under Linux for NVIDIA’s driver in this combination. But with the upcoming Linux 5.5 cycle that will be addressed.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Promotes Navi 14 Linux Support Out Of “Experimental” + Fixes For Raven Ridge

          With the initial Navi 14 support to be found in the Linux 5.4 kernel releasing this weekend the GPU ASIC (along with Navi 12) have been marked as experimental and thus not enabled by default unless passing a special module parameter to the kernel. But now at the last minute this support has been deemed non-experimental for Navi 14.

          After the original Navi 12/14 open-source driver support was published, it was then marked as experimental. Under that experimental state, the hardware initialization only happens if amdgpu.exp_hw_support=1 is set as a parameter for the AMDGPU kernel driver.

        • mesa 19.3.0-rc4
          Hi list,
          I'd like to announce mesa 19.3.0-rc4 is now available. We're starting to slow
          down a bit in terms of the number of patches being backported, but there's still
          a fair number of opened bugs in the release tracker:
          As such I'm predicting at least one more -rc will be required before the 19.3
          release, I'll update the calendar accordingly.
          Among the changes in this release aco dominates, with anv and freedreno no far
          behind. We've reverted an underspeced egl extension that was causing
          regressions, as well as stopped modifying Khronos headers. There's also so fixes
          to i965, core mesa, llvmpipe and st/mesa.
        • Mesa 19.3.0 Not Expected Until December – RC4 Released With ACO Fixes

          Mesa 19.3 had been expected for release next week per their original release calendar, but as we are used to seeing for these quarterly feature releases, at least one if not more weekly release candidates tend to be needed for ironing out bugs. As such, Mesa 19.3.0 is now solidly looking like at least an early December release while Mesa 19.3-RC4 shipped on Wednesday.

        • Intel Graphics Compiler Update Adds 16-Bit Atomics For Tiger Lake, Other New Features

          Wednesday marked the v1.0.2878 update to Intel’s “IGC” Graphics Compiler that is used by their graphics hardware compute stack.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Psych Ward: Warden’s Edition the first PC expansion for Prison Architect is out with a big free update

        Now that Paradox Interactive own the rights to Prison Architect, with Double Eleven handling the development they’ve released the first PC DLC with Psych Ward: Warden’s Edition.

        This is an upgraded version of a DLC pack that consoles had for a while, so it’s good to see it actually land for PC players too.

      • Psyonix give some details on the item shop coming to Rocket League

        One of the last pieces of the pie to replace their current loot box system in Rocket League is the Item Shop, which Psyonix have now talked about.

        The item shop will be joined alongside their new Blueprint system to finally get rid of loot box gambling in an update due next month. It’s a nice step, as loot boxes are a terrible system but this also comes with its own set of issues.

        Firstly, the Item Shop is going to be replacing the Showroom, the place where you can view DLC in-game. With it, you will be able to pick a specific item and purchase it with Credits. You will be able to buy Credits in bundles from 500-6500 with a price from $4.99 to $49.99.

      • Chaotic track building game Unrailed! now has a Beta for Linux

        Developer Indoor Astronaut announced yesterday that their amusing and chaotic track building game Unrailed! now has a Beta available for Linux players to try out.

      • Dwarrows, a 3rd person adventure and town-building game will be released for Linux

        After a successful Kickstarter campaign way back in 2016, Lithic Entertainment have been progressing well with their 3rd person adventure and town-building game Dwarrows.

        Seems like this was one we entirely missed too, even though during their crowdfunding campaign it was announced that it will have Linux support. It’s not yet released though, they’re expecting to launch sometime in Q1 2020. However, they’re currently running a Beta for backers and in August the first Linux build arrived.

      • Streets of Rogue now has a Level Editor and Steam Workshop in Beta, along with an update released

        Streets of Rogue, the incredibly fun rogue-lite from Matt Dabrowski has a new update out. This includes a playable version of the Level Editor and Steam Workshop support in Beta, with new content also available for everyone.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Translation Workshop in Indonesia this Weekend

          The KDE Indonesia Community will once again hold a Kopdar (local term for BoF). This meeting is the second meeting after the successful meeting in 2018. The activity will be held this weekend with talks and activities about translating KDE software into Indonesian. The main event is for KDE fans in particular and Linux in general to collaborate in KDE translation.

    • Distributions

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Update Weeks 39–45

          Somehow, my semi-weekly updates turned into monthly things. Mostly, updates per week have been rather light and stable, so it always seemed that there was no need to write an update. Of course, that ends up meaning one really large update after a long time. This past week was pretty busy, so I thought it best to finally write up a post.

          One small changeset was removing automated Suggests from R packages when they do not exist in Fedora yet. This is due to legal concerns on the F31 Change for automated R dependencies. So far, I’ve fixed mine, and intend to fix others’ soon.

          On the Python 2 front, aside from dropping unused subpackages from Fedora 32, I’ve also ported git-cinnabar’s test running from nose to unittest. This makes it easier to get the Python 2 exception. Since upstream is working on Python 3 support, I expect that this exception won’t need to be in place for long.

        • Zekr Quran (1.1.0 Final) on linux (Fedora 30)

          It work fine on Java 6 era but not anymore. You need to tweak, hack, compile you self or find package alternative.

          I want to build this software as RPM package so it will be available for others but maybe it will take lot of effort.. plus there is issue about licensing, humm.. maybe next time?

          Anyway, If you are looking for solution how to install Zekr on Fedora, just let me know. I will help.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Teases Big Ubuntu Announcement with Leading Global Automation Company

          Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, announced today that it will be present at the upcoming Smart Product Solutions (SPS) 2019 event in Nuremberg to showcase Ubuntu Core to the industrial Mittelstand.

          Canonical continues to promote its Ubuntu Core operating system, a slimmed-down version of Ubuntu designed and optimized to run on smaller, embedded hardware, such as IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and it now promises to support the Mittelstand innovators, which are medium-sized companies, with Open Source software and GNU/Linux technologies.

        • The lifecycle of a component

          Vanilla Framework is a living design system for our products that will grow along with our organisation.

          Vanilla’s component library is used by many internal and external websites along with the cloud applications JAAS dashboard and MAAS UI. We release updates approximately every 2 weeks, either for bug fixes, improvements or new components. All members of the team can make changes once discussed and agreed upon. We then review and QA carefully before pushing the code to our master branch.

          Which in turn makes the component lifecycle a very complex thing to manage.

        • Canonical introduces Ubuntu to the industrial Mittelstand at SPS 2019

          Canonical is attending the Smart Product Solutions (SPS) trade fair in Nuremberg from November 26th to 28th. We are convening to the 30th edition of the trade fair for smart automation solutions alongside 1650 other exhibitors. Digital transformation in automation will be the main theme of SPS 2019, under the official motto “automation meets IT”. Find us at booth 119 in hall 6.

          Mittelstand companies attending SPS are the backbone of industry. However, these companies have seen their growth challenged by global competition from emerging economies. But today, the industry 4.0 revolution offers an opportunity for Mittelstand companies to differentiate by innovating.

          We at Canonical, are on a mission to empower innovators with open-source software. We endeavor to be a technology partner of big corporations as well as SMEs, in their journey to industry 4.0 transformation. For this purpose, we have made the latest and greatest embedded and IoT technologies ready for deployment by Mittelstand innovators.

        • Streaming Television — A New Hope?

          There is a somewhat cheeky interactive posted by The New York Times to help people determine what services they should subscribe to in streaming. As you might imagine, it is a newspaper based in the United States of America so the results of the quiz are biased to here. Caveat lector.

          There has been chatter in the Ubuntu Podcast Telegram group about the usability of such streaming services. There hasn’t been discussion on the podcast yet but you are encouraged to tune in via Spotify, via iTunes, or on Android.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Khadas VIM3 NPU ToolKit Release & Video Demo

        The toolkit works in host PCs running Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04 with Tensorflow framework, and inference can run on both Linux and Android OS in Khadas VIM3/3L board. It includes an Inception v3 sample with 299×299 sample photos, among other demos. You’ll find documentation to get started with model conversion and inference in Linux on Khadas Wiki.

      • Magicsee N5 Plus Amlogic S905X3 TV Box Comes with a 2.5″ SATA HDD/SSD Bay

        Amlogic S905X3 TV boxes have been announced since June. S905X3 is Amlogic’s first Arm Cortex-A55 processor and targets 4K UHD HDR TV boxes

        The box runs Android 9.0, and ships with an IR remote control, a power supply, an HDMI cable, and a user manual in English. There’s CLOSE/OPEN switch to open the lid and install the drive, so no tools appear to be needed to install a hard drive.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • Google Plans A Single Linux Kernel For All Android Devices

          The Android platform is built on the Linux kernel but the kernel that runs on your Android device is very different from the LTS version Google picks up as.

          It has to go through three stages of modifications from Google, the chip makers, and the device makers before ending up as the Device Kernel on a smartphone. In fact, in February 2018, the LTS kernel sent to OEMs has over 32,000 insertions and over 1,500 deletions.

        • Google wants to use the Linux kernel

          Google has been talking about getting Android as close as possible to the mainline Linux kernel.

          Android is built on top of the Linux kernel, but it has always used a heavily-modified version with changes from OEMs, chip manufacturers like Qualcomm and MediaTek, and Google. There have been efforts over the years to close the gap between the two kernels, but now Google is getting more serious about it.

          At this year’s Linux Plumbers Conference, Google engineers held talks about the company’s efforts to get Android as close as possible to the mainline Linux kernel.

          The big idea is to reduce technical overhead for Google and other companies because they would no longer have to merge thousands of changes into each new Linux kernel version and Google would no longer have to support Linux kernel versions for six years.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: November Edition

            As anticipated in previous reports, the release cycles are getting progressively shorter, in order to reach a consistent 4 weeks length in the first half of 2020.

            Firefox 71 will be released next week, on December 3rd. At that point Firefox 72 will move to beta, and the deadline to ship updates for that version will be on December 24th.

            Firefox 71 will ship with 3 new languages: Catalan (Valencian) (ca-valencia), Tagalog (tl), and Triqui (trs).

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Better math import from PPTX into Impress

          Impress now has a much improved math handling in its importer from PPTX, eliminating annoying duplicated objects you had to delete after import, manually.

          First, thanks TU Dresden who made this work by Collabora possible.


        • The case of Seth Lloyd is a microcosm of the systemic problems at MIT

          MIT has a documented record of failing to deal with inappropriate and harmful behavior by faculty. In one out of multiple such cases in the last year, Richard Stallman was pressured to resign from CSAIL when a series of people came forward to describe having been harassed in some manner by him over the last several decades. In a recent survey on sexual misconduct at MIT, it was found that that MIT faculty and instructors made up 18.1 percent of the instigators of harassment, which was almost double the national average of 9.6 percent. This is further evidence of this administration’s inability to hold prominent faculty members accountable for their behavior.

        • Input for the BEREC’s guidelines on Router Freedom in Europe

          Router Freedom is the right of customers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) to choose and use a private modem and router instead of a router that the ISP forces them to use. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) drafted guidelines for national agencies how to deal with Router Freedom in their countries. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) provided mixed feedback to an ongoing public consultation.

          The status of Router Freedom in Europe differs from country to country as the monitoring by the FSFE shows. The core of the debate is the question of where the Network Termination Point (NTP) is located. This defines where the network of the ISP ends and where the network of the user begins. If the modem and router are considered part of the ISP’s infrastructure, a user cannot claim sovereignty of their communication and security.

          The patchwork rug of different rules may change soon as BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, has been commissioned to create guidelines for the National Regulatory Agencies (NRAs) and help them with implementing European regulation in a harmonised way. BEREC’s current draft of the guidelines is up for public consultation until 21 November 2019. We analysed this draft and the EU Directives and Regulations it references, and provided our conclusion in a brief document.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python Bytes Episode #157: Oh hai Pandas, hold my hand?

          Data validation and settings management using python type annotations.

        • Simulate gravity in your Python game

          The real world is full of movement and life. The thing that makes the real world so busy and dynamic is physics. Physics is the way matter moves through space. Since a video game world has no matter, it also has no physics, so game programmers have to simulate physics.

          In terms of most video games, there are basically only two aspects of physics that are important: gravity and collision.

          You implemented some collision detection when you added an enemy to your game, but this article adds more because gravity requires collision detection. Think about why gravity might involve collisions. If you can’t think of any reasons, don’t worry—it’ll become apparent as you work through the sample code.

          Gravity in the real world is the tendency for objects with mass to be drawn toward one another. The larger the object, the more gravitational influence it exerts. In video game physics, you don’t have to create objects with mass great enough to justify a gravitational pull; you can just program a tendency for objects to fall toward the presumed largest object in the video game world: the world itself.

        • How to document Python code with Sphinx

          Python code can include documentation right inside its source code. The default way of doing so relies on docstrings, which are defined in a triple quote format. While the value of documentation is well… documented, it seems all too common to not document code sufficiently. Let’s walk through a scenario on the power of great documentation.

          After one too many whiteboard tech interviews that ask you to implement the Fibonacci sequence, you have had enough. You go home and write a reusable Fibonacci calculator in Python that uses floating-point tricks to get to O(1).

        • Faster Winter 4: Export lists

          Without an export, the compiler has to assume that every top-level function can possibly called from the outside, even functions that you think of as “internal”. If you have a function that you do not export, like instr, step_work and step after my change, the compiler can see all the places the function is called. If the function is only called in one place, it may inline it (copy its definition into where it is called), and simplify the code around the edges. And even if it does not inline the function, it might learn something about how the functions are used, and optimize them based on that (e.g. based on Demand Analysis).

        • Ondřej Holý: How to call asynchronous function synchronously

          GLib provides a lot of asynchronous functions, especially to deal with I/O. Unfortunately, some functions don’t have synchronous equivalents and the code has to be split into several callbacks. This is not handy in some cases. My this year’s GSoC student recently asked me whether it is possible to create synchronous function from asynchronous. He is currently working on test suite and don’t want to split test cases into several callbacks. So I decided to write a blog spot about as it might be handy for more people.

        • Sort list alphabetically with python

          You will be given a vector of string(s). You must sort it alphabetically (case-sensitive!!) and then return the first value.

          The returned value must be a string and have “***” between each of its letters.

          You should not remove or add elements from/to the array.

          Above is another problem in codewars, besides asking us to sort the array list and returning the first value in that list, we also need to insert stars within the characters.

        • Abolishing SyntaxError: invalid syntax …

          Do you remember when you first started programming (possibly with Python) and encountered an error message that completely baffled you? For some reason, perhaps because you were required to complete a formal course or because you were naturally persistent, you didn’t let such messages discourage you entirely and you persevered. And now, whenever you see such cryptic error messages, you can almost immediately decipher them and figure out what causes them and fix the problem.

          Congratulations, you are part of an elite group! Even a large number of people who claim that they can program are almost certainly less capable than you are.

          Given your good fortune, would you mind donating 5 to 10 minutes of your time to help countless beginners that are struggling in trying to understand Python error messages?

        • Is it too late to integrate GitOps?

          The idiom “missed the boat” can be used to describe the loss of an opportunity or a chance to do something. With OpenShift, the excitement to use this new and cool product immediately may create your own “missed the boat” moment in regards to managing and maintaining deployments, routes, and other OpenShift objects but what if the opportunity isn’t completely gone?

          Continuing with our series on GitOps (LINK), the following article will walk through the process of migrating an application and its resources that were created manually to a process in which a GitOps tool manages the assets. To help us understand the process we will manually deploy a httpd application. Using the steps below we will create a namespace, deployment, and service and expose the service which will create a route.

  • Leftovers

    • 10 Tips on Disarming Despair

      “Despair is humanity’s worst enemy.” Now, that’s a declaration I make often, which might imply that I’ve conquered it. But, having spent recent weeks with eyes locked on climate-catastrophe reports, this morning despair started closing in on me. Whoa, I thought to myself… “Your twitter ID is “’hope monger.’ You’d better get a grip.

    • Science

      • Museum gets Unix version 0 running on a DEC PDP-7

        The Living Computers museum in Seattle has got a DEC PDP-7 minicomputer running version 0 of Unix just in time for the operating system’s 50th birthday.

        According to Living Computers, the feat is all the more interesting because DEC PDP-7 minicomputers are as rare as an honest politician.

        The machine running UNIX version 0 belongs to Fred Yearian (pictured), a former Boeing engineer who bought his machine from the company’s surplus channel at the end of the 1970s. He restored it to working order and it sat in his basement for decades, while the vintage computing world laboured under the impression that including the museum’s existing machine only four had survived — of which only one worked. Yearian’s unexpected appearance with a potentially working fifth machine was a surprise.

      • Trump’s War on Science Rages On

        The Trump EPA wants to introduce a new rule: Its scientists can only use studies that make all of their data public.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Top Economist Robert Pollin Answers Key Questions on the Emerging Divide Between Sanders and Warren on Medicare for All

        “I clearly don’t think it is premature to have detailed discussions on funding Medicare for All,” says co-author of 200-page study on that exact subject. “How Sanders or Warren should handle the matter politically is another matter.”

      • Russia is overturning drug convictions after European Court rulings, but its justice system is reluctant to back away from controlled purchases

        In 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) agreed to hear complaints brought by nine Russian citizens convicted of drug-related offenses. Irina Khrunova, a lawyer with the “Agora” international human rights group who specializes in drug crimes, is defending four of the Russians who turned to the ECHR. She told Meduza that the main evidence in the cases against all nine of these individuals were so-called “controlled purchases” of narcotics, were police officers recruit known drug dealers and other intermediaries to buy illegal drugs from suspected dealers, in order to confirm their suspicions. The method is one of the most common ways police catch drug dealers.

      • Tennessee’s Healthcare Crisis: Bankruptcies, Closing Hospitals, And Medical Debt

        The State of Tennessee is in the midst of a health care crisis, where its residents are struggling with debt, bankruptcies, and a lack of access to health care, while suffering from some of the highest rates in the United States of preventable illnesses.

        In December 2013, 32-year-old Katie Phillips in Knoxville, Tennessee gave birth to her son, Keegan, who was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a genetic disorder that produces a variety of symptoms. Keegan spent three months in the neonatal intensive care unit, but Tennessee’s Medicaid program did not cover the first five to six weeks of care, leaving Phillips’ family with thousands of dollars in medical debt.

      • A 12-Step Program to Opioid Justice

        It was evening and we were in a windowless room in a Massachusetts jail. We had just finished a class—on job interview skills—and, with only a few minutes remaining, the women began voicing their shared fear. Upon their release, would someone really hire them?

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Guy Arrested For Creating ‘Custom’ Linux Distro For ISIS

        He has been allegedly charged for writing a Python script, so other ISIS members could re-post it on their own accounts, and make ISIS propaganda more accessible to social media users.

      • The awaiting Roboto Botnet

        On August 26, 2019, our 360Netlab Unknown Threat Detection System highlighted a suspicious ELF file (4cd7bcd0960a69500aa80f32762d72bc) and passed along to our researchers to take a closer look, upon further analysis, we determined it is a P2P bot program.

      • Linux Servers Running Webmin App Targeted By DDoS Attacks [Ed: Anti-Linux sites and anti-Linux people working overtime this past week to paint Linux as "botnet", "back door", "ISIS" even though these have nothing to do with Linux itself and there's no back door. ISIS uses Windows.]

        A new botnet named Roboto is targeting Linux servers running Webmin app, according to security researchers at 360 Netlab. Roboto is a peer-to-peer botnet that has been active since summer and is exploiting a vulnerability in the Webmin app. The app offers a web-based remote management system for Linux servers and is installed on as many as 215,000 servers.

        The vulnerability, identified as CVE-2019-15107, allows bad actors to compromise older Webmin servers by running malicious code and gaining root privileges. The vulnerability was identified and patched by the company behind Webmin. However, many users have not installed the latest version with the patch, and Roboto botnet is targeting such servers.

      • Your web browsers including Chrome, Edge, and Safari are not as safe as you might think

        Recently, Chrome, Edge, Safari were hacked at a Security event in China named Tianfu Cup. Our lives are being more dependable on digital devices than ever and there’s nothing scarier than the fear of losing your personal information to some third parties. To know about the loopholes of various web browsers a Security-focused event was held at China aimed to exploit various web browsers and to reward the researchers. Various researchers test some hidden loopholes presented within some known apps including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and even Apple’s Safari as well as Office 365 and Adobe PDF Reader. Security Researchers were even able to hack these apps and softwar during the contest and earned thousands of dollars in rewards.

      • Security-Oriented Container Linux Gets Patched Against Latest Intel CPU Flaws

        The security-oriented Container Linux by CoreOS GNU/Linux distribution has been updated this week with all the necessary patches to mitigate the latest Intel CPU microarchitecture vulnerabilities.

        CoreOS Container Linux 2247.7.0 is here as the latest stable version of the security-oriented, minimal operating system for running containerized workloads securely and at scale, which was acquired by Red Hat last year and will soon become Fedora CoreOS. This release includes fixes for the CVE-2019-11135 and CVE-2018-12207 security vulnerabilities affecting Intel CPUs.

        According to the release notes, CoreOS Container Linux 2247.7.0 fixes Intel CPU disclosure of memory to user process, but the complete mitigation requires manually disabling TSX or SMT on affected processors. Additionally, is also fixes Intel CPU denial of service by a malicious guest VM, and a CFS scheduler bug throttling highly-threaded I/O-bound applications.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Attorney General Calls FOIA Requests ‘Harassment’ During Long Rant About How Much It Sucks To Be Running The Nation

        I’ve never seen a Presidential administration so thoroughly pissed off it’s in power. Despite having his boy in the White House and a Senate majority, the DOJ’s top man spent most of a memorial lecture complaining about how hard it is to be in charge.

      • Whistleblowing Religion

        The widespread publicity regarding the whistleblower, who disclosed President Trump’s extorting telephone call to the president of Ukraine, should remind us that political whistleblowing is a dominant prophetic role of Christians That critical role comes from Jesus, who is recorded as saying about his mission: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. (Luke 4: 18) Prophetic political whistleblowing is a major role of Christians, because political structures greatly determine who shall be rich and who shall be poor, who shall be free and who shall be oppressed, who shall live and who shall die. Prophetic Christian whistleblowing is also inspired by The Bible’s Jewish prophets, such as Isaiah who spoke moral political truth in his day with, “Learn to do good, Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor, Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1: 17)

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Protests in the Global South: Ecuador and Chile Facing an Uncertain Economic Order

        The Latin American south cone countries have been international analysed for what is being called social protests in the face of rising prices, elimination of subsidies, sale of ancestral lands to mining companies and other anti-social measures taken by governments.

      • French Yellow Vests Celebrate First Birthday, Converge With Planned Labor Strikes

        This weekend the Yellow Vests celebrated their first birthday, with convivial barbeques on traffic circles (roundabouts) all over France followed by direct actions like liberating tollbooths. Although number of protestors has declined to about 10% of the estimated 400,000 who rose up a year ago on Nov. 17, 2018 – thanks to a year of violent police repression, media distortion, and sheer fatigue –– a surprisingly large number of women and men throughout la France profonde (“middle France”) came out of ‘retirement’ and donned their yellow vests for “ACT 53” of the weekly Yellow Vest drama – double the previous weeks’ numbers. Recent polls indicate that 10% of French people consider themselves “Yellow Vests,” and two-thirds still support them (although a majority wish they would go home!)

      • Neoliberalism Backfires

        Nick Hanauer, a self-professed capitalist billionaire, spoke at a TED conference only recently. He exposed neoliberalism’s brand of capitalism getting away with murder in plain sight.

      • Google Hires Firm Known for Anti-Union Efforts

        Google has hired an anti-union consulting firm to advise management as it deals with widespread worker unrest, including accusations that it has retaliated against organizers of a global walkout and cracked down on dissent inside the company.

        The firm, IRI Consultants, appears to work frequently for hospitals and other health care organizations. Its website advertises “union vulnerability assessments” and boasts about IRI’s success in helping a large national health care company persuade employees to avoid a union election despite the unions’ “dedicating millions of dollars to their organizing campaigns.”

        Google’s work with IRI is the latest evidence of escalation in a feud between a group of activist workers at Google and management that has tested the limits of the company’s traditionally transparent, worker-friendly culture. Since Google was founded two decades ago, employees had been able to ask management tough questions at weekly meetings, and anyone who worked there could look through documents related to almost any company activity.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Trumpists’ Attempts at Snark Define Their Day: Impeachment Day Three

        Monday AM. Trump says he might consider testifying in writing. I’m not sure how that is testifying and it seems that it’s just a way for Trump to try and control the conversation. More delightful news involved a newly released poll that says 58% of voters between 18 and 30 years of age want Trump impeached and removed from office. At least the youngsters don’t have their heads where the sun don’t shine. Soon after this news comes a story that Trump is being investigated for lying to Congress in the written testimony he provided to the Mueller investigators. It’s not like he’s going to change his stripes this time around.

      • WATCH LIVE: Day 4 of Trump Impeachment Hearings

        Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, “will most likely be the day’s most consequential witness.”

      • #PresidentPelosi Trends After Sondland Testimony Implicates Pence in Trump Ukraine Scheme

        “Gordon Sondland’s devastating testimony must end the Trump presidency.”

      • The Walls are Closing in on Donald Trump

        As witness after credible witness appears before the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry, the walls are closing in on Donald Trump and he knows it.

      • Ex-Republican Justin Amash Says There’s Not a Jury in Country That Wouldn’t Indict Trump Based on Impeachment Testimony So Far

        “Impeachment in the House is an indictment, said the Michigan congressman. “If this were an ordinary prosecution, there’s no grand jury in America that would not return an indictment on the facts and evidence presented in these hearings.”

      • ‘Destroyer of Newspapers’ Vulture Fund Buys Majority Stake at Tribune Publishing

        Newspaper unions express fear that Alden Global Capital “is looking to bleed its next chain of newspapers dry.”

      • Labor and the UK General Election

        The media focus in the UK general election has tended, understandably, to be on BoJo Johnson, the latest prime (un)mover of Ukania’s protracted and bizarre Brexit ordeal.

      • ‘My Guy’: Ariana Grande Gives Big Hug to Bernie Sanders on Her Massive Social Media Platforms

        “Thank you Senator Sanders for coming to my show, making my whole night and for all that you stand for.”

      • OK Obama, It’s Time to Cancel Centrism

        As we gear up for next year’s presidential race, the only political class in the United States that may be as terrified of losing power as the Republican Party is that of centrist Democrats. Former President Barack Obama embodied this fear in his recent remarks at an event for wealthy liberal donors when he said, “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.” It was a not-so-veiled reference to the rising chorus of demands for a “Medicare for All” health care system, a climate action plan like the Green New Deal or taxes on billionaires that redistribute some of their obscene wealth.

      • Prince Andrew to Step Back From Public Duties Amid Epstein Scandal

        Britain’s Prince Andrew is stepping back from public duties with the queen’s permission because of his association with a notorious sex offender.

      • Bloomberg Running
      • Do Not Despair of This Election

        I have had moments in the last few days which led me to feel pretty hopeless. Perhaps the worst was in the ITV debate when Corbyn was roundly jeered by a substantial section of the audience for stating that climate change impacted hardest on the poorest people in the poorest countries. That encapsulated for me the current far right political climate in England, dominated by boorish, selfish stupidity. I do not come from a left wing political background and I have never subscribed to the romanticisation of “the people”. Years living in the UKIP heartland of Ramsgate made me realise that “the people” en masse can be very unpleasant and racist indeed. I have always for that reason eschewed direct democracy and subscribed to a very Burkean view. That however falls down when, as now, you have a political class who are becoming even more base and vicious than the most unpleasant mob. But the growl of that studio audience, infuriated that Corbyn cared about the foreign poor, is a warning klaxon of the state of English society.

      • Some Midday Thoughts About Sondland Testimony and Impeachment

        I’ve watched every minute of the public impeachment hearings. I’m watching the Sondland testimony now, as I write. And I’d like to start this brief comment with an observation: anyone who cares about the future of democracy in the U.S.

      • The Final Word From A Madman

        Despite Gordon Sondland’s explosive testimony implicating the Mob-Boss-In-Chief and his minions in impeachable crimes, a fat, old, orange lunatic then lumbered out to his lawn to shout to dutifully waiting reporters that “it’s all over.”

      • Impeachment is a Kitchen Table Issue

        As the Democrats have pushed ahead with impeachment proceedings, there have been criticisms from both the right and left that impeachment is a needless distraction from the pocketbook issues that people really care about. The argument is that people will see the Democrats as playing political games rather than focusing on health care, jobs, wages, and other issues that directly affect people’s lives.

      • WATCH LIVE: Day 3 of Trump Impeachment Hearings

        Testimony on Wednesday came from two key witnesses Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams in the morning. In a separate afternoon hearing, testimony was provided by Ambassador Kurt Volker, former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine and Timothy Morrison, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia, National Security Council.

      • On Eve of NBC-Hosted Debate, Sanders, Warren, Harris, and Booker Join Call for Network to Allow Outside Probe of Sexual Violence

        “Donald Trump has been credibly accused of sexual harassment and sexual abuse by dozens of women. We, as a party, have to offer voters a clear and unquestionable difference come November when it comes to these important issues.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • How Does Amazon Ring Protect User Privacy? “Basically, They Don’t,” Senator’s Investigation Finds

        Sen. Ed Markey found Amazon’s lack of civil rights protections “nothing short of chilling.”

      • Freedom, Valor, Love: On Snowden’s Permanent Record

        We all know someone who has suffered explicit privacy violations through data breaches, has been censored, or has valiantly fought for press, Internet, and telecommunications freedoms at a time of deep political polarities and culture war divisions. Edward Snowden’s life reveals it’s not just “the computer guy” (or other non-male folks) at tech’s helms, but the general U.S. public that bears witness to corporatized data surveillance state violations, or the data industrial complex. This secretive sprawling network is the invasive rule today; it involves regular media outlets, telecommunications, social media platforms, Internet service providers, and government agencies.

      • The Intelligence Community Took Months to Respond to a Key Question About Section 215, And It Still Doesn’t Have Any “Legal Conclusion”

        Even with the looming expiration of Section 215 and other key provisions of the Patriot Act, it took the Intelligence Community almost four months to respond to a letter written by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) seeking clarification on how the Intelligence Community interprets the landmark Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States and whether it is using Section 215 to collect Americans’ location data.

        Wyden’s concerns were entirely justified. We know that the NSA has used Section 215 to collect cell phone location data in the past. But last year in Carpenter, the Supreme Court held that police violated the Fourth Amendment when they collected days of cell site location information about a robbery suspect without a warrant. In his letter, Senator Wyden noted that he and other senators had repeatedly asked others in the government what it saw as Carpenter’s effects on the intelligence community, but hadn’t gotten any answers. Indeed, EFF, ACLU, and others have been asking these same questions. “If Congress is to reauthorize Section 215 before it expires in December,” Wyden wrote, “it needs to know how this law is being interpreted now, as well as how it could be interpreted in the future.”

      • Judge Says The FBI Can’t Keep Refusing To Confirm Or Deny The Existence Of Social Media Monitoring Documents

        The ACLU is one step closer to obtaining documents detailing the FBI’s use of social media monitoring tools. The FBI replied to the ACLU’s FOIA request with a Glomar and a denial.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • 46 Cities Sue The FCC For Trampling Their Rights

        The Trump FCC has made it abundantly clear it isn’t particularly keen on state, city, or local rights, especially when they interfere with AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast’s ability to make a buck. The problem: when the FCC neutered its ability to police the telecom sector at lobbyist request as part of the net neutrality repeal, it may have ironically obliterated its authority to tell states or cities what they can do.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • CRISPR Motions Day at the PTAB: Broad Files Its Substantive Motion No. 3

          On October 14th, Senior Party the Broad Institute (joined by Harvard University and MIT) filed several authorized motions, including Substantive Motion No. 3 (to designate claims as not corresponding to the count), against Junior Party the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier; collectively, “CVC.” In its Motion No. 3, the Broad asks the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to designate some of its claims as not corresponding to the Count in Interference No. 106,115 as declared.

          It should be appreciated that this Motion No. 3 is part and parcel of the Broad’s motions to remake the contours of the interference, along with Motion No. 2 (to substitute the Count) and Motion No. 4 (to be awarded benefit of priority to USSN 61/736,527). In this Motion No. 3, the Broad reiterates the arguments made in Motion No. 2, that there are two embodiments of CRISPR, one involving single-molecule RNA guide RNA (which the Broad argues here is not recited in the claims it wants the Board to designate as not corresponding to the Count) and further that certain of the Broad’s claims directed to “SaCas9″ systems that require two or more NLSs do not correspond to the Count.


          The brief then supplements with greater specificity the distinctions between “generic, non-limited RNA” embodiments of CRISPR claimed in the claims the Broad moves to dedesignate and the single-molecule RNA embodiments encompassed in the Count, particularly with regard to definitions for “guide RNA,” tracr RNA,” and other species comprising various permutations of CRISPR technology, in contrast to CVC’s interpretation of these terms in the claims.

        • Software Patents

          • IBM, Microsoft, the Linux Foundation and OIN join forces to counter open source threat
          • FRAND: OLG Karlsruhe rules on nature, extent and timing of obligations under Huawei v ZTE

            Plaintiff and SEP holder Philips notified defendant and implementer Wiko on 28 July 2015, that Wiko’s sale mobile phones allegedly infringed Philips’ SEPs. The notification contained partial mappings of claim features of the patent in suit to the UMTS and LTE standards implemented in Wiko’s phones, and a license offer. Wiko’s reply, wherein it indicated that it was willing to negotiate a license, was received by Philips on 21 October 2015. Two days earlier, Philips had filed infringement lawsuits against Wiko. During the proceedings, Wiko made a counteroffer backed up with a matching escrow. Negotiations took place during the proceedings, but parties did not reach agreement on a FRAND license.


            However, the OLG is of the opinion that both SEP holder and implementer can make up failures in meeting their obligations after a lawsuit was filed. The OLG held that it is not contrary to the CJEU’s decision to qualify the pursuit of an injunction as abusive only after the (initially non-abusive) filing of a lawsuit, for example, when the implementer complies with its obligations only after being sued. The OLG is of the opinion that the obligation to grant a license on FRAND terms, as well as the negotiation obligations set out in Huawei, exist regardless of the existence of lawsuits.

            The OLG goes on to explain that, in view of the principle of proportionality, it is not necessary to curtail the rights of a SEP holder by denying him the possibility to make up compliance failures after filing suit, as the SEP holder can always avoid undue pressure on the implementer e.g. by suspending the proceedings. Likewise, the OLG does not think it necessary to curtail the implementer’s right to a FRAND license by denying the implementer similar make up possibilities. The OLG notes that this does not give the implementer the possibility to delay the proceedings, since the risk associated with late compliance remains with the implementer. E.g. if due to late compliance of the implementer, there is insufficient time within the proceedings for the SEP holder to comply with subsequent duties, the pursuit of an injunction will not constitute abuse.

      • Trademarks

        • “Many are called but few are chosen”: When a claim of bad faith succeeded in a trademark matter in Singapore

          Bad faith is often pleaded in trade mark opposition and invalidation cases. In Singapore, both the Registry and Courts have consistently made clear that the enquiry is fact-dependent and the evidentiary threshold is high because of the seriousness of the allegation.

          As a result, a claim of bad faith is seldom successful. A rare instance of success is the recent case in Singapore before the Registry, Dentsply Sirony Inc. v Tomy Incorporated [2019] SGIPOS 13, where the applicant (for invalidation) managed to rely on its longstanding relationship and contractual agreements with the registered proprietor to show that the trade mark applications had been filed in bad faith.


          (iii) A list of marks (including “MICROARCH”, “SENTALLOY” and “BIOFORCE”) applied/registered in certain specified territories – set out in an exhibit – belonged to GAC, which granted a non-exclusive, royalty-free licence to the Proprietor to use them in connection with producing and selling the products until termination of the agreement.

          c) The 2004 Agreement was largely similar to the 1998 Agreement, save that Singapore became a non-exclusive territory (previously, GAC had exclusive rights to sell and distribute the products in Singapore).

          d) The 2012 Agreement did away with any division based on exclusive and non-exclusive territories. Instead, GAC had only a non-exclusive right to sell and distribute the products in all territories. More crucially, in relation to trade marks, the agreement provided that:

          (i) GAC owned the rights to its own trade marks and the Proprietor could not claim any rights therein;

          (ii) The Proprietor owned all rights to its Tomy trade marks, including “Tomy” and “Orth-Tomy”, and GAC could not claim any rights therein; and

          (iii) Marks applied/registered in certain specified territories, as set out in an exhibit, were the property of GAC and its affiliates.

      • Copyrights

        • Reproductions of Public Domain Works Should Remain in the Public Domain

          Most of these objects have been in the public domain for a long time now, indeed many that have never been subject to copyright. The copyright holder is the only person that can apply a CC license to a work. If the work is in the public domain, no copyright licenses should be applied, and in the case of CC licenses, which are designed to only operate where copyright exists, the application of a CC license is ineffective. In these cases, if anything, the Public Domain Mark or the CC0 public domain dedication tool should be applied to confirm worldwide public domain status.

Links 21/11/2019: Charmed OSM, Mesa 19.2.5, DXVK 1.4.5, Zorin OS 15 Lite

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Will Start Designing And Building Its Own Linux Laptops Beginning January 2020

        Denver-based PC manufacturer and Pop!_OS Linux developer System76 plans to follow-up its custom Thelio desktop PC with an in-house laptop beginning next year according to founder and CEO Carl Richell.

        During a recent interview, Richell was quick to emphasize that the entire process of designing, prototyping and iterating the final product could take two to three years. But the company is eager to break into this market and put the same signature “stamp” on its laptop hardware that graces its custom-built Thelio desktop.

        System76 sells an extensive lineup of laptops, but the machines are designed by the likes of Sager and Clevo. The company doesn’t merely buy a chassis and slap Pop!_OS on it, but Richell tells me he’s confident that with the experience gained from developing Thelio – and the recent investment into a factory at the company’s Denver headquarters – System76 is capable of building a laptop from the ground up that meets market needs and carries a unique value proposition.

      • Pinebook Pro Review: A $200 laptop that’s only for cool people.

        There’s a $200 laptop out in the wild now that has been getting a lot of buzz in the Fediverse. It’s called the Pinebook Pro and it ships with a customized version of Debian Stretch with the Mate desktop. If you don’t know what that means, it’s Linux. This is a Linux laptop. But that’s not all… it also has a few other tricks up its sleeve, like a bootable MicroSD card slot so you can easily run other operating systems off a cheap memory card whenever you feel like it. Now, this is being sold at cost mainly as a gift to the Free (as in Freedom) Open Source Software (FOSS) community so it’s not really meant for normal people. If you just want to open web pages like Facebook or Google Docs, you’re probably better off with a Chromebook or Macbook. If you believe in freedom and like to seriously learn about technology, keep reading… The Pinebook Pro is serious fun!

    • Server

      • Cumulus Networks updates its network-centric Linux distribution

        The Linux distribution ecosystem is pretty set, with Red Hat and Canonical in the leadership positions, followed closely by SuSe and home brews from the likes of IBM and other major vendors. Even Microsoft has its own distro for Azure users.

        And then there is Cumulus Networks, which specializes in networking software. It just released Cumulus Linux 4.0 and NetQ 2.4, its cloud network deployment and management console. With this release, Cumulus is claiming its Linux is its most stable and reliable software stack yet and NetQ is the most comprehensive end-to-end network automation product.

      • Microsoft restores services after it experienced a large global outage across numerous platforms

        Microsoft says it first addressed the issue at about 8:15 p.m. ET. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, the company said it identified access issues with the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and Yammer.

        The company said in a tweet that it “identified and reverted a networking build that caused user traffic from the internet to Microsoft 365 services to intermittently fail.”

      • IBM

        • Red Hat and Microsoft debut KEDA 1.0, promise to play nice with Knative
        • Application Migration with Container-native virtualization

          More and more frequently, modern applications are choosing a container-first development and deployment paradigm built on the foundation of Kubernetes. However, not all applications are fully modernized and containerized micro services. Many applications are a hybrid of architectures and technology which have existed for years, even decades. This can add complexity, both to the application architecture and management overhead, when a container-based, cloud-native application component needs to access existing functionality which is virtual machine based.

          Container-native virtualization provides flexibility during the modernization process so that you can focus on the most critical aspects first, while still being able to access, manage, and consume VM-based aspects using the new Kubernetes-centric tools. Based on the KubeVirt project, recently accepted by the CNCF, Container-native virtualization manages both virtual machines and containers through a single control plane saving time, resources, and budget. Red Hat Container-native virtualization delivers KubeVirt functionality directly to OpenShift customers and helps to manage both virtual machines and OpenShift deployments from a single platform. This single platform simplifies the management of virtual machines and containers with a common Kubernetes interface that standardizes orchestration, networking, and storage management while also supporting the long term move to containers.

        • Alberto Ruiz: Hanging the Red Hat

          After 6+ wonderful years at Red Hat, I’ve decided to hang the fedora to go and try new things. For a while I’ve been craving for a new challenge and I’ve felt the urge to try other things outside of the scope of Red Hat so with great hesitation I’ve finally made the jump.

          I am extremely proud of the work done by the teams I have had the honour to run as engineering manager, I met wonderful people, I’ve worked with extremely talented engineers and learned lots. I am particularly proud of the achievements of my latest team from increasing the bootloader team and improving our relationship with GRUB upstream, to our wins at teaching Lenovo how to do upstream hardware support to improvements in Thunderbolt, Miracast, Fedora/RHEL VirtualBox guest compatibility… the list goes on and credit goes mostly to my amazing team.

          Thanks to this job I have been able to reach out to other upstreams beyond GNOME, like Fedora, LibreOffice, the Linux Kernel, Rust, GRUB… it has been an amazing ride and I’ve met wonderful people in each one of them.

        • Recap: OpenShift Commons Gathering at Kubecon/NA San Diego [Videos Uploaded]

          The OpenShift Commons Gathering in San Diego brought together over 550+ Kubernetes and Cloud Native experts from all over the world to discuss container technologies, best practices for cloud native application developers and the open source software projects that underpin the OpenShift ecosystem.

        • IBM Kicks Up Kubernetes Compatibility With Open Source
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2019-11-20 | Linux Headlines

        Slack releases an open source mesh network, Private Internet Access is being bought, an update on the world’s top supercomputers, another init system debate option for Debian to consider, and NVIDIA’s new accelerated computing platform.

      • FLOSS Weekly 556: Chezmoi

        Chezmoi helps you manage your personal configuration files across multiple machines. It’s flexible, personal and secure, robust, and fast and easy to use. It has particularly strong support for security, allowing you to manage secrets (e.g. passwords, access tokens, and private keys) securely and seamlessly using either gpg encryption or a password manager of your choice.

      • Why Doesn’t Linux Work on my PC?!

        Why doesn’t Linux work on your computer? In this video I explore some of the common reasons why this might be the case. I’ll discuss some tips for finding the right hardware, and some general understanding of what some of the challenges are that we face with Linux compatibility today.

    • Kernel Space

      • The 2019 Automated Testing Summit

        As with the first ATS, this edition was organized by Tim Bird and Kevin Hilman. Bird welcomed everyone to the conference then turned things over to Hilman for something of an overview of the “kernel testing landscape”. Hilman started by noting that there were some gatherings and discussions at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) in September, which he described in an email to the automated-testing mailing list. There were some themes that came out of those discussions, he said, which led to the title of his talk (slides [PDF]): “The bugs are too fast (and why we can’t catch them)”.

        He gave a brief summary of the new kernel unit-testing frameworks that were discussed at LPC in order to bring attendees up to date on what kernel developers have been up to. The existing kernel test efforts, including kselftest, Linux Test Project (LTP), syzbot, and others, are likely pretty familiar to attendees, he said. The KUnit framework (LWN article from March) has been merged into linux-next; it is a fast way to test kernel functionality in an architecture-independent way and can be run in user space with user-mode Linux (UML). The Kernel Test Framework (KTF) is another unit-test framework that has been posted for comments. Since KUnit is headed for the mainline, though, the KTF project will need to figure out how to add its functionality to KUnit, Hilman said, since there won’t be multiple unit-test frameworks in the mainline.

        He then turned to the various testing initiatives that are currently active. The Intel 0-Day test service is probably the longest running; it is “mostly Intel focused”. The Linaro Linux kernel functional testing (LKFT) has “quite a bit of in-depth testing but on a narrower set of hardware”. The Red Hat continuous kernel integration (CKI) project has been around for a while, but has only recently been seen more publicly, he said; it is focused on testing stable kernels. And, of course, there is KernelCI that he cofounded; it was officially announced as a Linux Foundation project earlier in the week.

      • Emulated iopl()

        Operating systems and computing hardware both carry a lot of their history with them. The x86 I/O-port mechanism is one piece of that history; it is rarely used by hardware designed in the last 20 years, but it must still be supported. That doesn’t mean that this support can’t be cleaned up and improved, though, especially when the old implementation turns out to have some unpleasant properties. An example can be seen in the iopl() patch set from Thomas Gleixner.

        On most architectures, I/O is handled through memory-mapped I/O (MMIO) regions. A peripheral device will make a set of registers available as a range of memory; that range is then mapped into the processor’s address space. Device drivers can then interact with the device by reading from and writing to those registers using normal memory accesses (or something close to that). This mechanism is flexible and it allows, for example, a set of registers to be mapped into a user-space process if the need arises; user-space drivers generally depend on this capability.

        Back in the early days of the x86 architecture, though, things were done a little differently. A separate address space was created for up to 65536 I/O ports, which have to be accessed via special instructions. Even devices that could map memory ranges for other purposes would use I/O ports for their control interfaces. The instructions for accessing I/O ports are necessarily privileged, so user-space code cannot normally use them.

      • Statistics from the 5.4 development cycle

        As of this writing, just over 14,000 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline repository for the 5.4 release; that is a bit less than we saw for 5.3, but more than most of the other recent kernels. The final 5.4 release is approaching, so it must be time for our usual look at where the code merged in this development cycle came from. It’s mostly business as usual in the kernel community, modulo an appearance from none other than Hulk Robot.

        Those 14,000 changesets were contributed by 1,802 developers, which is just short of the 1,846 who contributed to 5.3; there is still time, though, for 5.4 to set a new record for the number of contributors — a surprising number of developers wait until the end of the release cycle to fix something. Of the developers seen so far, 266 made their first contribution to the kernel in this cycle. The combined work from these developers increased the size of the kernel by 393,000 lines.

      • Analyzing kernel email

        Digging into the email that provides the cornerstone of Linux kernel development is an endeavor that has become more popular over the last few years. There are some practical reasons for analyzing the kernel mailing lists and for correlating that information with the patches that actually reach the mainline, including tracking the path that patches take—or don’t take. Three researchers reported on some efforts they have made on kernel email analysis at the 2019 Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE), held in late October in Lyon, France.

        The presentation (slides [PDF]) actually listed four speakers, though one could not make it to ELCE. The three present were Ralf Ramsauer, from the Technical University of Applied Sciences Regensburg, Sebastian Duda, of Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nürnberg, and Wolfgang Mauerer, of Siemens AG in Munich. Lukas Bulwahn, who is a hobbyist active in the Linux Foundation ELISA Project and employed at BMW AG, was unable to attend. In the introduction, Mauerer jokingly suggested that the goal of the research was to understand more “than the NSA already knows” about the behavior of kernel developers. Really, though, the presentation was meant partly as a request for comments; the researchers have been observing the kernel community for some time and have been pulling out pieces they find interesting, but they would be happy to hear other ideas on the kinds of analysis that would be useful to the community.

      • Intel Details New Data Streaming Accelerator For Future CPUs – Linux Support Started

        The “Data Streaming Accelerator” (DSA) is a new block on future Intel CPUs that hasn’t been talked about much publicly… Until now. Intel’s open-source crew has begun detailing DSA for future Intel CPUs that will offer high-performance data movement and transformation operations. The Linux driver enablement has begun.

      • Graphics Stack

        • CUDA 10.2 Released With VMM APIs, libcu++ As Parallel Standard C++ Library For GPUs

          NVIDIA has released CUDA 10.2 for SuperComputing 19 week. CUDA 10.2 comes with some interesting changes, including to be the last release that will support Apple’s macOS and the introduction of a standard C++ library for GPUs.

        • Intel Iris Plus Ice Lake Graphics Run Great With Mesa 19.3′s Gallium3D Driver

          While Mesa 19.3 was the original target for switching to the Intel Gallium3D driver by default for Broadwell and newer, they shifted that goal to Mesa 20.0 to allow more time for testing and ensuring a bug-free experience as users transition from the classic “i965″ driver over to “Iris” Gallium3D. But even so if running with Mesa 19.3 today it means better performance for Ice Lake as well as Gen8 and Gen9 hardware too.

        • Vulkan post-processing layer vkBasalt has a new release up with SMAA support

          Continuing to boost the feature set of the post-processing layer for vkBasalt, a new release is up and it appears we missed a few smaller in-between releases too.

          Version 0.2.0 was released yesterday, adding in support for SMAA which is a higher-quality form of anti-aliasing which can be enabled in the config file. With that in vkBasalt now supports: Contrast Adaptive Sharpening, Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing and Enhanced Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing so it’s advancing quite quickly.

        • mesa 19.2.5
          Hi list,
          I'd like to announce mesa 19.2.5. This is a return to our regularly scheduled
          release cadence, featuring a reasonable number of fixes. In general things are
          slowing down on the 19.2 branch, and things are starting to look pretty nice.
          There's a little bit over everything in here, with anv and radeonsi standing out
          as the two biggest components getting changes, but core mesa, core gallium,
          llvmpipe, nir, egl, i965, tgsi, st/mesa, spirv, and the Intel compiler also
          fixes in this release.
          Ben Crocker (1):
                llvmpipe: use ppc64le/ppc64 Large code model for JIT-compiled shaders
          Brian Paul (1):
                Call shmget() with permission 0600 instead of 0777
          Caio Marcelo de Oliveira Filho (1):
                spirv: Don't leak GS initialization to other stages
          Danylo Piliaiev (1):
                i965: Unify CC_STATE and BLEND_STATE atoms on Haswell as a workaround
          Dylan Baker (4):
                docs: Add SHA256 sum for for 19.2.4
                cherry-ignore: Update for 19.2.4 cycle
                docs: Add relnotes for 19.2.5
                VERSION: bump for 19.2.5
          Eric Engestrom (1):
                egl: fix _EGL_NATIVE_PLATFORM fallback
          Ian Romanick (2):
                nir/algebraic: Add the ability to mark a replacement as exact
                nir/algebraic: Mark other comparison exact when removing a == a
          Illia Iorin (1):
                mesa/main: Ignore filter state for MS texture completeness
          Jason Ekstrand (1):
                anv: Stop bounds-checking pushed UBOs
          Lepton Wu (1):
                gallium: dri2: Use index as plane number.
          Lionel Landwerlin (3):
                anv: invalidate file descriptor of semaphore sync fd at vkQueueSubmit
                anv: remove list items on batch fini
                anv/wsi: signal the semaphore in the acquireNextImage
          Marek Olšák (3):
                st/mesa: fix Sanctuary and Tropics by disabling ARB_gpu_shader5 for them
                tgsi_to_nir: fix masked out image loads
                tgsi_to_nir: handle PIPE_FORMAT_NONE in image opcodes
          Paulo Zanoni (1):
                intel/compiler: fix nir_op_{i,u}*32 on ICL
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (3):
                radeonsi: disable sdma for gfx10
                radeonsi: tell the shader disk cache what IR is used
                radeonsi: fix shader disk cache key
          git tag: mesa-19.2.5
        • Mesa 19.2.5 Released With Intel Vulkan + RadeonSI Driver Fixes

          Mesa 19.2.5 is out today as the latest bi-weekly stable update to the current Mesa 19.2 series.

          Mesa 19.3.0 will be out in likely two or three weeks while Mesa 19.2.5 represents the latest stable experience for this collection of OpenGL and Vulkan drivers on the Linux desktop.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 5.4 Is Big For AMD Radeon Users From New GPU Support To Slightly Faster Performance

        With Linux 5.4 due to be released this coming Sunday, 24 November, one of the big “winners” of this next kernel are AMD Radeon customers. Linux 5.4 brings support for new GPUs as well as better performance for existing graphics cards. Here are some fresh benchmarks of the performance wins as a result of the LRU bulk moves functionality.

        Linux 5.4 brings many exciting changes/improvements but in particular for the AMDGPU DRM driver it’s particularly exciting. As outlined previously in our Linux 5.4 feature overview some of the AMD work includes…

      • JCC Erratum Impact On Skylake Xeon Scalable Plus The Patched Assembler

        Last week ago we provided a number of benchmarks looking at the performance impact from Intel’s Jump Conditional Code (JCC) Erratum that required a CPU microcode update to mitigate but that comes with a performance hit. At least Intel has pending GNU Assembler patches to help offset that performance hit. In time for last week’s articles I didn’t have a chance to perform Skylake Xeon Scalable (1st Gen) benchmarks but now here are some metrics alongside Cascade Lake.

      • Ceph RGW dynamic bucket sharding: performance investigation and guidance

        If we know how many objects the application would store in a single bucket, pre-sharding the bucket generally helps with overall performance. On the flip side, if the object count is not known in advance, the dynamic bucket re-sharding feature of Ceph RGW really helps to avoid degraded performance associated with overloaded buckets.

        In the next post we will learn how the performance of RHCS 3.3 has improved since RHCS 2.0 and what all performance benefits BlueStore OSD backend brings with it.

    • Applications

      • scrcpy 1.11 Available For Download (View And Control Your Android Phone From A Linux, Windows Or macOS Desktop)

        scrcpy, a tool to control (and show) Android devices from a Linux, macOS or Windows desktop, was updated to version 1.11. This release includes support for touchscreens / multitouch, an option to set the initial window size and position (including support for launching scrcpy with a borderless window), along with other changes and some important bug fixes.

        scrcpy is a free and open source tool to display and control Android devices from a desktop running Windows, Linux or macOS, via USB or wirelessly. The application is developed with low latency, high performance and quality in mind, and it requires Android 5.0 or newer to work.

        For more about scrcpy, see Control Android Devices From A Desktop With scrcpy and the scrcpy project page.

      • Scrcpy Update Adds Android 10 Support, Multitouch Gestures

        Scrcpy 1.11 intros support for laptop and PC touch screen. Earlier versions of the utility only let you interact using a mouse and keyboard.

        But as of this release it’s now possible to use the touchscreen as an input method on a mirrored Android device. For example, you can use a two finger pinch to zoom in or out of images and maps.

        Several of Scrcpy’s core features (including the rather critical copy/paste function) have ‘been adapted to work on Android 10’.

        Those lucky enough to be using a phone that runs the latest version of Android can also take advantage of a new –max-fps option to (surprise) limit the frame rate.

      • The 10 Best Geometry Software for Linux System in 2019

        Today whatever you consider, be it day to day life, physics, chemistry, architecture, space science, everywhere there is geometry. The invention of the computer has invented critical geometries and quick solutions to solve those. Many software is created to make geometry accessible and easy for everyone. The Linux dominated tech world has also created some excellent software for geometry. Thus, we shall discuss some geometry software for Linux that can fulfill almost all its related issues.

      • Antoine Beaupré: a quick review of file watchers

        File watchers. I always forget about those and never use then, but I constantly feel like I need them. So I made this list to stop searching everywhere for those things which are surprisingly hard to find in a search engine.

      • [ProtonVPN] Release notes for Linux client version 2.0

        We’re proud to release version 2.0 of the ProtonVPN Linux client. Entirely rewritten in Python, the new version of the client is lighter, faster, and more stable. Version 2.0 also includes the Kill Switch feature, which keeps your data private, even if your VPN connection is interrupted.

      • Proprietary

        • Security lessons from a Mac-only fintech company

          Apple remains a highly secure choice for enterprise professionals, but security threats remain and the environment requires sophisticated endpoint management tools, according to Build America Mutual (BAM) CTO David McIntyre.

        • Trump is lying about the ‘new’ ‘Apple’ factory

          This is not true for a couple reasons — one of them nitpicky and one of them a lot more serious. The nitpicky problem is that Apple isn’t actually building a manufacturing plant. The company is building a new campus in Austin, but it’s miles away from the factory and the jobs are going to be very similar to the kind of white-collar design and engineering work that Apple does in Cupertino. Apple doesn’t do its own manufacturing, and the plant Trump is standing in belongs to a contractor called Flex Ltd (formerly Flextronics).

          But the bigger problem is that what Flex is doing isn’t anything new. This particular factory has been manufacturing Mac Pros since 2013, when Cook first announced it would assemble them in the United States. That’s before Trump took office. So the idea that we’re seeing the beginning of something, or that Trump has done something during his presidency to bring about this particular instance of US manufacturing, just doesn’t hold water.

          Trump is talking as if Apple has created a brand-new factory in Texas to build Mac Pros. If all you saw was a five-second clip on the news, that’s probably the impression you would get — but it just isn’t true.

        • SecureCRT 8.7 and SecureFX 8.7 Beta Releases from VanDyke Software Introduce New Enhancements for Increased Efficiency and Streamlined Workflow

          The new releases also introduce macOS Dark Mode, local Proxy command firewall, new algorithms, and support for Ubuntu 19.x and macOS Catalina.

        • SaltStack adds automatic vulnerability remediation tool to portfolio

          IT automation tool provider SaltStack has kicked off its SecOps division by announcing the general availability of SaltStack Protect.

          Protect is meant to make the “massive amount of coordination and work required to actually fix thousands of infrastructure security vulnerabilities” less daunting, by throwing some automation into the mix.

          To do that, the product ingests vendor CVE advisories and delivers scans and remediation workflows as a service to SaltStack customers. Automatic prioritisation of which issues to tackle first can be realised by feeding the system with real-time data on the configuration state of all assets in a SaltStack environment, which ties it in with the rest of the SaltStack portfolio.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.4.5 released bringing further performance improvements for D3D11 and D3D10 to Vulkan

        DXVK continues maturing with another exciting sounding release now available with DXVK 1.4.5, bringing in some performance improvements and plenty of bug fixes.

        On the performance side DXVK 1.4.5 now enables asynchronous presentation on all GPUs, which was previously disabled for NVIDIA due to GPU hangs. You should ensure your driver is fully up to date, and try the NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Driver as well. On top of that, this release has a reduction in the amount of thread synchronization around occlusion queries which should improve multithreading efficiency.

      • DXVK 1.4.5 Brings Async Presentation For All GPUs, Better Multi-Threading Efficiency

        It’s been three weeks already since the last DXVK update but that was succeeded this evening by DXVK 1.4.5 as another notable update to this project mapping Direct3D 10/11 onto Vulkan for speeding up the Wine/Proton-based Windows gaming experience on Linux.

        DXVK 1.4.5 unconditionally enables asynchronous presentation now for all GPUs while dropping the “asyncPresent” tunable previously exposed for toggling this behavior. For those particularly on NVIDIA graphics if encountering any GPU hangs, make sure you are running the latest NVIDIA driver.

    • Games

      • Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service Arrives To A Collective ‘Meh’

        As we noted last week, there’s a laundry list of potential issues plaguing Google’s attempted entry into the game streaming space via Google Stadia, not least of which is the US’ substandard broadband networks and arbitrary broadband caps. Stadia eliminates the physical home game console and instead moves all game processing to the cloud. And while it’s clear that this is the inevitable path forward and somebody is going to eventually dominate the space, there’s no solid indication yet that it’s going to be Google.

      • Godot Engine has a new Platinum sponsor with gambling game dev Interblock

        Good news for Godot Engine, as they have another company supporting their work on the free and open source game engine.

        This time, it’s Interblock who has become a Platinum level sponsor. This means they’re pledging at least $1,500 a month on the Godot Engine Patreon. Of their current $12.1k target to hire another developer, they’re currently sat at just over $11k so not far to go.


        We are happy to announce that Interblock is now supporting Godot’s development as Platinum sponsor! For this occasion, we asked them to share some words about the company, why they chose to support Godot and their plans to use the engine for their products.

      • Remote Play Together released out of Beta, big sale now on Steam

        Valve have decided to remove the training wheels from Remote Play Together and give it a released sticker along with a big sale.

        What is Remote Play Together? It’s a feature available in the Steam client, that allows you to host a local multiplayer game for others online to actually join you. Only the host needs to own a copy too! It’s pretty sweet stuff and works across Linux, macOS, Windows, Android and iOS for some sweet cross-platform online gaming together.

      • XWayland Work Pending To Address Game Tearing/Stuttering

        The long overdue X.Org Server 1.21 still hasn’t been organized for release but at least the extra time is allowing more XWayland bits to land.

        It’s looking increasingly unlikely X.Org Server 1.21 will see a 2019 release especially with the holidays being just around the corner. Last month plans were expressed for CI-driven, automated releases of the X.Org Server on a timed basis but so far those plans haven’t turned into action. The X.Org Server 1.20 series has been out for eighteen months and 1.21 hasn’t even been branched yet, well off their past six month release cadence. Though at least we continue seeing more XWayland changes land, which along with GLAMOR is where most of the X.Org Server changes are happening these days.

      • MOLEK-SYNTEZ from Zachtronics has left Early Access, hopefully coming to GOG soon

        MOLEK-SYNTEZ, the latest engrossing puzzle game from Zachtronics had only a very brief time in Early Access to ensure it was nicely polished and now it’s out in full.

        During Early Access, they did manage to make a number of improvements. This includes a bonus campaign with more levels, which you unlock halfway through the main campaign.

      • Operate a kitchen of the future in Neon Noodles, now with a Linux demo

        Neon Noodles is all about the future of food preparation, which has you programming a little robot worker to make a tasty dish.

        Don’t be afraid of the word programming though, this isn’t writing lines of code but rather giving a robotic worker a little automation. In Neon Noodles, you use very simple commands with movement directions and actions to perform the tasks and get them to repeat.

      • Turn-based tactical steampunk combat arrives with Steam Marines 2 now in Early Access

        Worthless Bums has just recently released the followup to their 2014 title Steam Marines, now in 3D and with an aim to be a more complex game than the original. Note: Key provided by the developer.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.8 Beta

          We had to skip the October release because we were working on a bunch of issues that took longer to resolve than planned, but that means that this release has more fixes than ever. Please test this beta, and take the survey afterwards!

          There has been a lot of work on vector shapes, the transform tool and, especially, saving on Windows. Windows usually only writes out saved files to the actual disk when it feels like it.

          So if you’d cut the power to your computer before Windows did that, you might get corrupted files. With 1,500,000 distinct Windows 10 users of Kritain the past month, chances are good for that happening (just like there are people who work exclusively with unnamed autosave files — don’t do that!), so we now try to force Windows to write files to disk after saving.

        • How is User Support in Krita organized?

          Some of our users seem to don’t really know how Krita (as a project) functions or not understand how User Support is done (User Support: helping users, solving their problems with Krita, hardware, use-cases, limitations of tools, misunderstanding on how some features work). That’s natural – nobody knows details before they get inside and can see for themselves.

          I did get inside and I’m tempted to write that the answer to the question in the title is “Not at all”, but that’s not actually true – often you’ll get the first answer on reddit.com/r/krita within a few hours. On the other hand, the person answering you will most probably be me…

          When I first came to reddit.com/r/krita, a lot of questions were left unanswered, and most of the others had an answer from Boudewijn Rempt: the lead developer. I thought that I’d prefer Krita’s main developer to develop, not answer user questions. I knew that helping Krita on the code side would be difficult because of the complexity of the code and me having little time between uni and writing my thesis, so I decided to help with user support which I could easily do in small chunks of free time. A year later, when I was hired to actually hack on Krita, I realized that now there is, again, a full-time Krita developer doing user support…

    • Distributions

      • Zorin OS

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite Release: Good Looking Lightweight Linux

          Zorin OS 15 Lite edition has finally landed after a long time of Zorin OS 15 Core release. You can get your hands on the free lite editions or the paid ultimate lite edition now.

          I tried the Zorin OS 15 Lite Ultimate edition. In this article, I shall cover the details for this release and what you should know before choosing to download Zorin OS 15 Lite for your computer.

          Zorin OS 15 Lite is almost similar to the full-fledged Zorin OS 15 release. You can check out Zorin OS 15 features in our original coverage for that.

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite Released as a Windows 7 Replacement, Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

          Based on Canonical’s latest long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) operating system series, Zorin OS 15 Lite is here packed with some of the most advanced and efficient software components and the latest Xfce 4.14 desktop environment, which provides a user-friendly experience and promises extend the lifespan of your PC for years to come.

          “With Zorin OS 15 Lite, we’ve condensed the full Zorin OS experience into a streamlined operating system, designed to run fast on computers as old as 15 years. With version 15, we’ve gone the extra mile to make the XFCE 4.14-based desktop feel familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7,” reads today’s announcement.

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite: Xfce Has Never Looked So Good!

          Zorin OS Lite is a slimmed down version of the full (GNOME Shell based) Zorin OS 15 which is based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS and uses the Linux Kernel 5.0.

          Although the spin is tailored toward older, lower spec’d PCs, the distro doesn’t skimp on visual appeal.

          The Xfce 4.12 desktop environment is beautifully themed and the stock layout is both logical and ordered, mimicking a traditional Windows desktop. A reasoned selection of default apps and utilities are onboard too.

        • Zorin OS 15 Lite is Here: Breathe New Life into your Old Computers

          We’re excited to announce the release of the Zorin OS 15 Lite, our lightweight operating system for old and low-spec computers.

          With Zorin OS 15 Lite, we’ve condensed the full Zorin OS experience into a streamlined operating system, designed to run fast on computers as old as 15 years. With version 15, we’ve gone the extra mile to make the XFCE 4.14-based desktop feel familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7 leading up to the end of its support in January 2020. By pairing the most advanced and efficient software with a user-friendly experience, we’ve made it possible for anyone to extend the lifespan of their computers for years to come.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora 31 elections voting now open

          Voting in the Fedora 31 elections is now open. Go to the Elections app to cast your vote. Voting closes at 23:59 UTC on Thursday 5 December. Don’t forget to claim your “I Voted” badge when you cast your ballot. Links to candidate interviews are below.

        • Council election: Interview with Alberto Rodríguez Sánchez (bt0dotninja)

          I know that it is a great responsibility and also know than the time of my fellow contributors is very valuable so I don’t want to waste it. I will be in every meeting and commenting on every ticket doing always my best.

        • Council election: Interview with John M. Harris, Jr. (johnmh)

          I believe that we’ve been rushing to make change where there is no call for it recently. We may be inadvertently ostracizing users and developers by moving from conventional tools, and moving away from our Four Foundations: Freedom, Friends, Features and First.

          For example, recently users were provided with easy ways to install proprietary software on Fedora (NVIDIA proprietary drivers, Google Chrome browser), without being told why we don’t have proprietary software (other than firmware) in the repositories to begin with. More and more, we often seem to be overlooking the first of the Four Foundations, Freedom.

        • FESCo election interview: Randy Barlow (bowlofeggs)

          There have been many regressions with ease of use for tooling that packagers need to use to deliver software to Fedora’s users over the past few years. Quite a few things are manual now that used to be automatic. As a member of the infrastructure group, I have some first hand knowledge of how and why these changes happened, and I have ideas on how we can improve them.

          There is also a project aimed at bringing the CentOS and Fedora dist-gits together in the horizon. I’ve been working on gathering requirements for this project with some other folks, and has potential to lead towards many technical changes being proposed.

        • FESCo election interview: Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek (zbyszek)
        • FESCo election: Interview with Justin Forbes (jforbes)

          There is no question that modularity is the biggest technical issue affecting the Fedora community at the moment, and probably over the next year. I believe my insight comes from a few places. I was involved with rPath quite some time ago, where we tackled some of the issues that modularity is trying to solve. And as a kernel maintainer by day to day job, I don’t have any particular stake in modularity, so I can view it objectively, with an eye to what is best for Fedora over the long term. I have been involved with Fedora for a very long time, I do have a vested interest in the continued improvement of Fedora and the success and growth of the community.

        • FESCo election: Interview with Kevin Fenzi (kevin)

          I think that modularity and the issues around it are going to continue for a while. I hope I can provide some help in bringing the ‘lets drop modularity and forget it happened’ and the ‘lets modularize everything’ camps together on some solution that works not only for Fedora, but our downstream distros too.

        • FESCo election: interview with David Cantrell (dcantrel)

          Developer controls for gating and CI. A lot of work has been happening in the context of continuous integration. We created new services, developed processes, and wrote tests. These are all beneficial. I think Fedora needs to ensure we implement developer tools that do not disrupt workflows and which are stable. In my project rpminspect, a Koji RPM and module build analysis tool, I think about developers who are running it to compare builds. A comparison of builds of zlib is very different than comparing two kernel builds, yet I still have a desire to make the tool work for both use cases, so I have added functionality to ensure it will. As we work on projects for gating and CI, we need to keep in mind the broad range and types of software that makeup Fedora.

        • FESCo election: interview with Fabio Valentini (decathorpe)

          One of the big issues I see today is the increasingly large number of packages that fail to build or install on fedora, which seems to have about doubled between Fedora 29 and rawhide, according to my data. I am trying to reintroduce a regular dependency check report for rawhide (and maybe stable/testing as well), which would at least make the problem more visible, and provide pointers to the most problematic missing dependencies.

          There’s also the fallout from the – currently incomplete (or broken, depending on who you ask) – implementation of Modularity, which has caused upgrade issues (the “libgit2 issue”), various issues around the Java stack, including the broken eclipse packages in fedora 31+ and the “forced move” to modules (or even the recommendation to use the flatpak version instead), and so on. I’ve been actively working to keep the non-modular Java stack maintained under the umbrella of the Stewardship SIG, so packagers who can’t (or won’t) move their packages into modules don’t suffer from this current, broken situation.

        • FESCo election: interview with Miro Hrončok (churchyard)

          I think that the most important issue the Fedora community is facing at the moment, and will keep facing for the foreseeable future, is not really technical but instead a communication problem of how to talk about our technical changes and challenges.

        • FESCo election: interview with Peter Walter (pwalter)

          We have a lot of people being unhappy how Modularity was “forced” on them in Fedora. I’d like to be a voice of this community and advocate of going back to simple yum repos to ship the default package set, and leaving Modularity strictly as an add-on one can choose, but doesn’t have to use.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian init systems – what, another GR ?

          Sam Hartman, the Debian Project Leader, has proposed a General Resolution (a plebiscite of the whole project) about init systems. In this posting I am going to try to summarise the situation. This will necessarily be a personal view but I will try to be fair. Also, sorry that it’s so long but there is a lot of ground to cover.

          My starting point for all of this is what I have written at the top of my proposed alternative to the DPL’s GR texts:

          It is primarily for the communities in each software ecosystem to maintain and develop their respective software – but with the active support of other maintainers and gatekeepers where needed.

          This is particularly important for a project like Debian. Debian plays a very central role for a lot of people. It is at least as much a clearinghouse or a marketplace, as it is a unified system. Supporting a different init system or a different menu system or whatever is fairly easy to do if done within Debian (if the Debian maintainers will take your patches) but a lot harder to do downstream.

        • ExLight Linux Distro Is Now Based on Debian Buster, Powered by Linux Kernel 5.4

          ExLight Build 191120 is now available for download and it’s Arne Exton’s second GNU/Linux distribution to ship with the latest Linux 5.4 kernel series, which will officially be announced by Linus Torvalds at the end of the week, on November 24th. For now, ExLight Build 191120 ships with Linux kernel 5.4 RC8.

          While previous versions of ExLight were based on Ubuntu, starting with Build 191120, the entire distribution is now based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, featuring the Enlightenment 0.22.4-2 desktop environment and the Calamares 3.2.4-3 graphical installer.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical introduces Charmed OSM to enable telcos with network functions management and orchestration

          Canonical, the publishers of Ubuntu, today announced Charmed OSM – a pure upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) distribution designed for production-grade, highly available and scalable deployments. Charmed OSM provides telecommunications service providers (TSPs) with a generic approach to network functions management and orchestration, allowing them to benefit from cost reduction resulting from the adoption of network functions virtualisation (NFV) technology.

          Charmed OSM is a pure upstream OSM distribution. Telcos are assured of a predictable release cadence and upgrade path as Charmed OSM will be released within two weeks of the upstream, enabling them to benefit from the latest features. Charmed OSM is supported under Ubuntu Advantage to provide critical security patches, 24/7 support and production-grade SLAs for maximum uptime and stability.

          “OSM allows TSPs to move from traditional, legacy networking services to cloud-native network functions and benefit from reduced CAPEX and OPEX, and DevOps agility,” said Tytus Kurek, Product Manager for Charmed OSM at Canonical. “However, telcos need an OSM distribution that is stable, secure, supported and easy to operate. Charmed OSM brings all of that together, enabling a smooth transition and painless adoption.”

        • Canonical intros OSM distributon platform for telco NFV

          Canonical, the publishers of Ubuntu, announced Charmed OSM, a new platform for telecom operators to virtualise network functions. Charmed is a pure upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) distribution, providing a generic platform to develop NFV.

          Operators can be assured of a predictable release cadence and upgrade path as Charmed OSM will be released within two weeks of the upstream, enabling them to benefit from the latest features, Canonical said. The platform is supported under the Ubuntu Advantage to provide critical security patches, 24/7 support and production-grade SLAs for maximum uptime and stability.

          The company claims providers can reduce deployment times of complex OSM clusters from weeks to hours in an automated process with Juju, the application modelling tool offered with Charmed. Juju charms are collections of scripts and metadata which contain all necessary logic required to install, configure and connect applications.

        • Canonical Releases Charmed OSM As Its Latest Enterprise Push

          The latest enterprise push by Ubuntu maker Canonical is Charmed OSM as their own commercial flavor of Open-Source MANO.

          Charmed OSM is a distribution of Open-Source MANO for network function virtualization (NFV) management and orchestration. This Management and Orchestration (MANO) stack is designed to handle commercial NFV networks. Canonical’s Charmed OSM is targeting major telecommunication companies for their NFV needs.

        • Ubuntu’s Canonical Intros Charmed OSM – Pure Upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) Distribution

          Canonical, the publishers of Ubuntu, this week announced Charmed OSM – a pure upstream Open Source MANO (OSM) distribution designed for production-grade, highly available and scalable deployments.

          Charmed OSM provides telecommunications service providers (TSPs) with a generic approach to network functions management and orchestration, allowing them to benefit from cost reduction resulting from the adoption of network functions virtualisation (NFV) technology.

          Charmed OSM is a pure upstream OSM distribution. Telcos are assured of a predictable release cadence and upgrade path as Charmed OSM will be released within two weeks of the upstream, enabling them to benefit from the latest features. Charmed OSM is supported under Ubuntu Advantage to provide critical security patches, 24/7 support and production-grade SLAs for maximum uptime and stability.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine – Settling in, spit and polish

          Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Eoan Ermine is a good distro. Not perfect, but it’s better than Dingo in many regards. Lots of the old woes have been removed, squashed, fixed, and in fact, the make-it-perfect tutorial I wrote for the spring release is in fact no longer required. A promising start.

          But there were troubles, of course. Most of them stem from the over-complicated visual setup, and there’s really no reason for so many configurations. Three layouts would be more than sufficient for all practical purposes, and they would make testing and QA so much easier. Indeed, Brisk and Plank were the chief offenders. The performance is good, the battery life can be better, the default app selection can be more exciting, and there are some niggles here and there, like inconsistent borders, icons and alike. Now, if you’re after MATE, Ermine delivers a much more cohesive experience than 19.04. So you should definitely consider and test. Overall, something like 8.5/10. Not the greatest of heart and mind grabbers, as mentioned, but I see a solid, positive trend, and that’s rather promising. A freedom of choice is always great. Thus endeth this review.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 605

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 605 for the week of November 10 – 16, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Cross-Platform Source Explorer Sourcetrail is Now Open Source

        Also, they found it tough to provide cross-platform support while trying to reproduce the issues and apply a fix to them, especially for Linux distros. So, making their project open source was an ideal choice.

        To further clarify the situation they also explained why their commercial licensing plan wasn’t working out…

      • Sourcetrail, an interactive source code explorer, becomes open source

        Another helpful tool becomes free and open source software. Coati Software’s Sourcetrail is an interactive source code explorer that helps developers understand what is going on in existing source code and provides helpful context. You can connect various editors to it with a plugin and all source code is private, as it runs locally on your machine.
        Another celebration for FOSS. Sourcetrail, the cross-platform source explorer is now officially open source and free to use under the GNU General Public License. The project moved to an open source model instead of offering a paid commercial license. This model change will bring Sourcetrail to a wider consumer base, and more developers will be able to use it.

        The Patreon for Coati Software offers several tiers for sponsors for those who wish to say thanks and see how its development will continue.

      • Three-course professional specialization aims to close the gap between the use and understanding of open source in business

        Even though open source software (OSS) is pervasive in IT, many people in business don’t understand what open source is and how it differs from proprietary software. According to Brandeis University, “open source software now accounts for between 78% and 98% of all core digital infrastructure, yet few organizational managers understand the business behind it.”

        In an effort to close the gap between open source usage and understanding, Brandeis and the Open Source Initiative (OSI) have launched a three-course specialization in Open Source Technology Management. After attending an information session about the new program at All Things Open 2019, I was eager to learn more about it and how it will be delivered and assessed, so I reached out to the leadership at Brandeis and the OSI over email for more information. (The interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity.)

      • And the Collabora family keeps growing!

        As we begin winding down 2019, it’s time to take a moment to celebrate the new Collaborans who joined our various engineering and administrative teams in Q2 & Q3 this year!

        Comprised of some of the most motivated and active Open Source contributors and maintainers around the world, Collaborans share an enduring passion for technology and Open Source, and these 14 new joiners are no different.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Karl Dubost: Saving Webcompat images as a microservice

            Thinking out loud on separating our images into a separate service. The initial goal was to push the images to the cloud, but I think we could probably have a first step. We could keep the images on our server, but instead of the current save, we could send them to another service, let say upload.webcompat.com with a HTTP PUT. And this service would save them locally.

          • Multiple-column Layout and column-span in Firefox 71

            Firefox 71 is an exciting release for anyone who cares about CSS Layout. While I am very excited to have subgrid available in Firefox, there is another property that I’ve been keeping an eye on. Firefox 71 implements column-span from Multiple-column Layout. In this post I’ll explain what it is and a little about the progress of the Multiple-column Layout specification.

            Multiple-column Layout, usually referred to as multicol, is a layout method that does something quite different to layout methods such as flexbox and grid. If you have some content marked up and displaying in Normal Flow, and turn that into a multicol container using the column-width or column-count properties, it will display as a set of columns. Unlike Flexbox or Grid however, the content inside the columns flows just as it did in Normal Flow. The difference is that it now flows into a number of anonymous column boxes, much like content in a newspaper.

          • The Mozilla Blog: Can Your Holiday Gift Spy on You?

            Mozilla today launches the third-annual *Privacy Not Included, a report and shopping guide identifying which connected gadgets and toys are secure and trustworthy — and which aren’t. The goal is two-fold: arm shoppers with the information they need to choose gifts that protect the privacy of their friends and family. And, spur the tech industry to do more to safeguard consumers.

            Mozilla researchers reviewed 76 popular connected gifts available for purchase in the United States across six categories: Toys & Games; Smart Home; Entertainment; Wearables; Health & Exercise; and Pets. Researchers combed through privacy policies, sifted through product and app specifications, reached out to companies about their encryption and bug bounty programs, and more. As a result, we can answer questions like: How accessible is the privacy policy, if there is one? Does the product require strong passwords? Does it collect biometric data? And, Are there automatic security updates?

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 313

            Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

          • Firefox Extension Spotlight: Image Search Options

            Let’s say you stumble upon an interesting image on the web and you want to learn more about it, like… where did it come from? Who are the people in it? Is there a backstory? Are there others like it?

            There are a number of dedicated image search engines that can help you learn more, but if you do a lot of reverse image searching (dubbed “reverse” because instead of using text to search images, you start this search process with an image), it quickly becomes cumbersome to always copy the image, navigate to your preferred image search site, paste in the pic, sift through results, etc. Naturally, there are browser extensions designed to streamline this distinct form of search. One of the most capable is Image Search Options.

            It makes reverse image searching simple and fast. Once installed on Firefox, just right-click on any image you find to pull up a context menu offering 11 image search engines. That search engine variety should be enough to satisfy most folks, but if not, Image Search Options allows you to customize the list of search providers by adding your own or removing others. You can even set it to automatically search across multiple engines simultaneously.

          • Oxidizing Squeekboard

            The experiment relies entirely on Squeekboard as the subject. It has been chosen due to the need to redesign it for a new process (X.org to Wayland), and due to being relatively easy to separate.

            Because Rust is an element belonging to the programming language group, this analysis ignores all other constituents of Squeekboard. Squeekboard’s programming languages are almost exclusively Rust and C, with some shell and Meson impurities, which are subsequently ignored, as replacing them with Rust is not expected to yield useful results.


            Oxidation is a process of adding oxygen to a chemical compound. Some examples are burning, and rusting. This experiment concerns the Rusting of a compound called Squeekboard: a derivative of Eekboard, originally containing high quantities of C, and reacting eagerly with GObject, GTK, and the X windowing system.

            The goal of the ongoing experiment is to measure properties of Rust and the consequences of its application in real-world conditions. Due to safety and time concerns, the widely popular approach of Rewrite it in Rust (RiiR) was dismissed in favor of a gradual oxidation process.

          • Rav1e Squeezes Out More Performance For This Rust-Written AV1 Encoder

            Intel’s SVT-AV1 video encoder for AV1 is currently the fastest AV1 CPU-based encoder we have seen but it’s looking like in due time Rav1e could be closing in on it if they continue with their current trajectory.

            Recently we’ve seen this Rust-written AV1 encoder making impressive gains in performance. There has been x86 hand-tuned Assembly and more instruction set extensions now being exploited by rav1e and other performance improvements. It’s been enough that earlier this month marked the first release of rav1e.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Open Source Community Connects Global 5G Cloud Native Network

          LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today demonstrated an end-to-end, global, 5G, cloud native network live on-stage at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America. As a thought leader in generating technology from multiple sources based on telecom 5G requirements, LFN’s OPNFV community shepherded the cutting-edge Proof-of-Concept (PoC), which illustrates how to build, connect, and manage a global 5G network – including on-prem, cloud, and edge operations – on open architecture running network services using Kubernetes.

          As global communications providers gear up to deliver high-speed connectivity to support new services and use cases (e.g. autonomous vehicles, smart cities, specialized applications, IoT, AR/VR, and more), the need for low-latency, high-bandwidth, scalable networks is more important than ever. Conventional communications and connectivity hardware will not sustain next-generation mobile technology, so the need for cloud native architectures is essential for delivering the performance, capabilities, and automation that 5G requires.

          The LF Networking community, comprised of major projects such as ONAP, OPNFV, OpenDaylight, FD.io, Tungsten Fabric and more — account for more than 70 percent of the world’s mobile subscribers through participating carriers. It serves as the de facto open source umbrella for helping telcos evolve.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice community at Czech free software events

          Like every year, we would like to say few words about our impressions and experiences from our Czech free and open source software (FOSS) conferences in autumn. As in the last year, we participate with our LibreOffice booth at LinuxDays in Prague (me and Zdeněk Crhonek), and at OpenAlt in Brno (Petr Valach and Zdeněk Crhonek).

      • CMS

        • Birger Schacht: Converting ikiwiki to hugo

          Sometimes I play around with Tails and on rare occasions I also build a Tails image myself. One thing that makes the build of Tails a bit tedious is that it a also builds the Tails Website, which contains the whole documentation (which is really cool, because that way users have the most up to date documentation on their desktop!). The problem is, that the website takes a looooong time to build- on my Laptop (i7-5600U) it takes around 11 minutes.

          I was curious if it was possible to convert the whole website, which is based on ikiwiki, to the hugo static site generator which is known to be pretty fast (”with its amazing speed and flexibility, Hugo makes building websites fun again” as the hugo website puts it ;)). I did some research if there was some tooling to do so- the Hugo website lists some migration tools but nothing for ikiwiki, but I stumbled upon anarcat’s conversion notes which has a lot of information and also links to the write up jak did on his conversion. Anarcat also published a python script to convert ikiwiki to hugo which I tried, but there were some important parts missing.

        • WP Maintanance Plugin Vulnerable To CSRF & XSS

          If you have installed WP Maintenance plugin on your WordPress site or blog, this article is for you. Recently Wordfence team discovered CSRF vulnerability in WP Maintenance plugin that is used to put the website on maintenance mode during maintenance.

          The plugin allows webmasters to customize the maintenance page and show it to all website visitors during maintenance.

          Wordfence team discovered CSRF vulnerability in the plugin that can also allow an attacker to inject malicious code into the website and can redirect all site visitors to another malicious website.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • CloudFormation gets open source CLI to automate external resource creation

          AWS has updated its infrastructure as code product CloudFormation, fitting it with an open source CLI and a registry to get started with custom resource providers. The refresh is meant to let users automate the creation of non-AWS resources and improve resource coverage, both of which seem to have been requested a lot in the past months.

          CloudFormation CLI comes with sample code and documentation facilitating the creation of resource providers. To build one, users first have to describe their resource, including attributes and properties, in a schema which conforms to AWS’ Resource Provider Definition Schema. Once that is done, they’ll have to write a handler in Java or Go that defines the core operations create, read, update, delete, and list for the resource.


        • How to open a PSD file without Photoshop

          It stands to reason that with the PSD file being a photo-editing file, the best ways to open PSD image files without Photoshop are going to be other photo editing programs. GIMP, which stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program is an excellent and free image editor alternative to Photoshop. GIMP works on Linux, Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows powered devices and is open source software, meaning it is developed voluntarily by developers all over the world.

          GIMP offers professional level features, which include being able to open and indeed edit PSD files. Many professional photographers and graphic designers use GIMP for their jobs, and many contribute towards developing new features. If you want to have complete control over the Photoshop file you’re trying to open without Photoshop, then GIMP is the tool you’re looking for. You can download GIMP by pressing the download button below. Then, once you’ve installed it, you can open a PSD file as you would open any other file type.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dart 2.6 Adds Native Linux Support

          Google’s Dart has increased support for native, ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation for Linux, Windows and MacOS. The extra support comes from an extension of Dart’s existing compiler set called dart2native, which can be used to create command-line programs.

          Dart is described as a client-optimized language for fast apps on any platform. It began life as an alternative to JavaScript that would be supported directly by browsers, but when this didn’t work out it was redeveloped as a better compiler.

        • A couple of handy zsh/bash functions for Python programmers

          Just a quick post today, to tell you about a couple of simple zsh functions that I find handy as a Python programmer.

          First, pyimp – a very simple function that tries to import a module in Python and displays the output. If there is no output then the import succeeded, otherwise you’ll see the error. This saves constantly going into a Python interpreter and trying to import something, making that ‘has it worked or not’ cycle a bit quicker when installing a tricky package.

        • Python CSV

          A CSV (Comma Separated Values) format is one of the most simple and common ways to store tabular data. To represent a CSV file, it must be saved with the .csv file extension.

        • Switching from Python 2 to Python 3: What you need to know

          In 2012, the team maintaining the Python programming language reviewed its options. There were two increasingly different codebases, Python 2 and Python 3. Both were popular, but the newer version was not as widely adopted.

          In addition to Python 3′s disruption of changing the underlying way data is handled by completely reworking Unicode support, a major version change allowed non-backward-compatible changes to happen all at once. This decision was documented in 2006. To ease the disruption, Python 2 continued to be maintained, with some features backported. To further help the community transition, the EOL date was extended from 2015 to 2020, another five years.

        • #100DaysOfCode, Day 001 – Dates & Times

          We begin with a date/time project.
          Python has objects (primitives) to deal with dates and times.
          They are part of the datetime module, which is part of the Python Standard Library.

        • Top 25 Python Libraries for Data Science Projects

          This post is attempting to enlighten you about the most useful and popular Python libraries used by data scientists. And why only Python, because it has been the leading programming language for solving real-time data science problems.

          These libraries have been tested to give excellent results in various areas like Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning, Artifical Intelligence (AI), and Data Science challenges. Hence, you can confidently induct any of these without putting too much time and effort in R&D.

          In every data science project, programmers, even architects, use to spend considerable time researching the Python libraries that can be the best fit. And we believe this post might give them the right heads up, cut short the time spent, and let them deliver projects much faster.

        • Invalid Syntax in Python: Common Reasons for SyntaxError

          Python is known for its simple syntax. However, when you’re learning Python for the first time or when you’ve come to Python with a solid background in another programming language, you may run into some things that Python doesn’t allow. If you’ve ever received a SyntaxError when trying to run your Python code, then this guide can help you. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll see common examples of invalid syntax in Python and learn how to resolve the issue.

        • Scraping dynamic websites using Scraper API and Python

          In the last post of scraping series, I showed you how you can use Scraper API to scrape websites that use proxies hence your chance of getting blocked is reduced. Today I am going to show how you can use Scraper API to scrape websites that are using AJAX to render data with the help of JavaScript, Single Page Applications(SPAs) or scraping websites using frameworks like ReactJS, AngularJS or VueJS.

          I will be working on the same code I had written in the introductory post. Let’s work on a simple example. There is a website that tells your IP, called HttpBin. If you load via browser it will tell your real IP.

        • Registration for PyCon US 2020 is open!

          We are excited to announce the opening of PyCon US 2020 registration. The registration site has been updated, tweaked, and tested all in the effort to provide you a seamless experience.

          The new system will allow you to access, view, and add to your current registration. You can book and view hotel reservations and request changes if needed right through your dashboard.

        • The Incredible Disaster of Python 3

          I have long noted issues with Python 3?s bytes/str separation, which is designed to have a type ?bytes? that is a simple list of 8-bit characters, and ?str? which is a Unicode string. After apps started using Python 3, I started noticing issues: they couldn?t open filenames that were in ISO-8859-1, gpodder couldn?t download podcasts with 8-bit characters in their title, etc. I have files on my system dating back to well before widespread Unicode support in Linux.

          Due to both upstream and Debian deprecation of Python 2, I have been working to port pygopherd to Python 3. I was not looking forward to this task. It turns out that the string/byte types in Python 3 are even more of a disaster than I had at first realized.


          On POSIX platforms such as Unix, a filename consists of one or more 8-bit bytes, which may be any 8-bit value other than 0×00 or 0x2F (‘/’). So a file named “test\xf7.txt” is perfectly acceptable on a Linux system, and in ISO-8859-1, that filename would contain the division sign ÷. Any language that can’t process valid filenames has serious bugs – and Python is littered with these bugs.

  • Leftovers

    • Modern Biology and Ecology: the Roots Of America’s Assertive Illiteracy

      The 2016 election elevated Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos—major supporters of teaching creationism—to the vice presidency and leadership of the U.S. Department of Education, respectively. DeVos is a billionaire funder of efforts to pass state laws that give science teachers the right to present anti-evolution materials in science classrooms under the guise of protecting academic freedom. At every political level, from local school boards to the U.S. Department of Education, anti-evolution advocates are active and gaining ground.

    • Solaris/UNIX

      • Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU15

        Today we are releasing SRU 15, the November 2019 SRU, for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via ‘pkg update’ from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

      • Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU15 Has A Number Of Package Updates

        While there is no sign of Solaris 11.5 or Solaris.Next (last year was a road-map pointing to Solaris 11.Next in H2’19 or H1’20 that has since been removed), Oracle does continue putting out more updates to the Solaris 11.4 series.

        Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU 15 was released on Tuesday as the latest monthly update to the Solaris stable series. With Solaris 11.4 SRU 15 are more Python 3 modules being added along with other Python updates, updating the GCC compiler against v9.2, updates to other toolchain bits like CMake, and a wide range of security updates.

      • A Mystery of Unix History

        The two most popular historic editors on Unix, vi and emacs, both make heavy use of these features (Emacs using Esc when Alt or Meta is unavailable). Some of the later entries in the DEC terminal line, especially the vt510, supported key remapping or alternative keyboards, which can address the Esc issue, but not entirely.

        According to the EmacsOnTerminal page and other research, at least the vt100 through the vt420 lacked Esc by default. Ctrl-3 and Ctrl-[ could send the character. However, this is downright terrible for both vi and Emacs (as this is the only way to trigger meta commands in Emacs).

        What’s more, it seems almost none of these old serial terminal support hardware flow control, and flow control is an absolute necessity on many. That implies XON/XOFF, which use Ctrl-S and Ctrl-Q — both of which are commonly used in Emacs.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Medicare for All Advocate Ady Barkan Endorses Warren, Praises Her Understanding of the ‘Central Challenge of Our Time’

        “Warren understands that the central challenge of our time is the unequal distribution of power in America, and the grave human consequences of that imbalance.”

      • Democratic Naysayers Are Wrong on Medicare for All

        The American political debate over health care is absurd. Americans pay twice as much as any other nation for health care, and then are told daily that they “can’t afford” to switch to a lower-cost system very similar to those of Canada and Europe. If President Donald Trump and the plutocratic Republican party were the only ones carrying this ridiculous message, it would be

      • The Health of Millennials (and those coming next) Can Benefit from Lessons of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

        A recent Blue Cross-Blue Shield study of millennials health revealed startling declines in the health of younger generations, who suffer higher rates of major depression, hypertension, hyperactivity, type-II diabetes, and endocrine disorders, among others.

      • Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter

        Newly released pesticide usage statistics for 2018 confirm that the British people are being used as lab rats. That’s the message environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has sent to Dave Bench, senior scientist at the UK Chemicals, Health and Safety Executive and director of the agency’s EU exit plan. In her open letter to Bench, Mason warns that things could get much worse.

      • Robert Reich: Medicare for All or Bust

        Let’s first consider a limited version that keeps private insurance — as proposed by candidates including Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris. The insurance costs remain the same because it’s the same private insurers and the same co-payments and deductibles. The only difference is more of this would be paid through your taxes, rather than by you directly, because the government would reimburse the insurance companies.This could help bring down costs by giving the government more bargaining leverage to get better prices. But we don’t know yet how much.    Now, let’s talk about a different version of Medicare for All that replaces private for-profit health insurance, as proposed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. In this version, total costs — including a possible combination of premiums, co-payments, deductibles, or taxes — are even lower. This option is far cheaper because it doesn’t have all those administrative expenses. It’s public insurance that reimburses hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies directly and eliminates the bloat of private insurance companies.Economists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst say Medicare for All that replaces private for-profit insurance would reduce costs by about 10 percent, mostly from lower administrative and drug costs. The Urban Institute estimates that households and businesses would save about $21.9 trillion over ten years, and state and local governments would save $4.1 trillion.You’d pay for it through a combination of premiums, fees, and taxes, but your overall costs would go way down. So you’d come out ahead.  And everyone would be covered.You’d keep your same doctor or other health-care provider. And you could still buy private insurance to supplement Medicare for All, just like some people currently buy private insurance to supplement Medicare and Social Security. The only thing that’s changed is you no longer pay the private for-profit corporate insurers.Any Medicare for All is better than our present system, but this second version is far better because — like Medicare and Social Security — it’s based on the simple and proven idea that we shouldn’t be paying private for-profit corporate insurers boatloads of money to get the insurance we need.It’s time for true Medicare for All.

      • Inside Purdue Pharma’s Media Playbook: How It Planted the Opioid “Anti-Story”

        In 2004, Purdue Pharma was facing a threat to sales of its blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, which were approaching $2 billion a year. With abuse of the drug on the rise, prosecutors were bringing criminal charges against some doctors for prescribing massive amounts of OxyContin.

        That October, an essay ran across the top of The New York Times’ health section under the headline “Doctors Behind Bars: Treating Pain is Now Risky Business.” Its author, Sally Satel, a psychiatrist, argued that law enforcement was overzealous, and that some patients needed large doses of opioids to relieve pain. She described an unnamed colleague who had run a pain service at a university medical center and had a patient who could only get out of bed by taking “staggering” levels of oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin. She also cited a study published in a medical journal showing that OxyContin is rarely the only drug found in autopsies of oxycodone-related deaths.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • ACBbackdoor trojan designed to hit Linux and Windows systems

        Intezer Security has found a new backdoor, ACBackdoor, that has no known connection to an operating threat group creating the possibility it could be a harbinger of a new gang’s formation.

        ACBackdoor is primarily a Linux malware, but Intezer has spotted a Windows variant and the company believes it was created by an experienced group of threat actors.

        One piece of evidence pointing toward the ACBackdoor developers being experienced with Linux is that version has a lower detection rate, is written better than the Windows implant, with a higher quality persistence mechanism, along with the different backdoor commands and additional features not seen in the Windows version such as independent process creation and process renaming.

      • Chinese Hackers Break Into Chrome, Safari, Edge; Reveal Browsers’ Vulnerabilities

        Popular vendors received terrible news over the weekend as reports claimed that Chinese hackers were able to exploit vulnerabilities in major browsers, apps, and common utilities. At the recent Tianfu cup held in Chengdu, China, Chinese China’s top white-hat hackers have converged in to test zero-days against top software available in the market today. During the first day of the event, Chinese security researchers were able to break into major browsers such as Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Google Chrome.

        Since Mar. 2018, the Chinese government has officially discouraged security researchers from joining hacking competitions outside the county. The recent Tianfu Cup is the venue for hackers to showcase their skills and even earn six-figure bounties for successful exploits. Former Pwn2Own winner Team 360 Vulcan took home $382,500 for successfully hacking the old version of Office 365, Microsoft Edge, Adobe PDF Reader, VMWare Workstation, and gemu+ Ubuntu during the two days event, reports ZDNet.

      • New Roboto botnet emerges targeting Linux servers running Webmin [Ed: ZDNet again goes out of its way to ignore back doors in #proprietarysoftware such as Windows and instead promote the stigma of “Linux” having “back doors” and being super dangerous, courtesy of By Catalin Cimpanu as usual]
      • Linux Webmin Servers Being Attacked by New P2P Roboto Botnet [Ed: Catalin Cimpanu's 'homebase' with more from the same 'script']
      • Linux Kernel Security in a Nutshell: How to Secure Your Linux System

        The Linux kernel is the core component of the Linux operating system, maintaining complete control over everything in the system. It is the interface between applications and data processing at the hardware level, connecting the system hardware to the application software. The kernel manages input/output requests from software, memory, processes, peripherals and security, among other hefty responsibilities. Needless to say, the Linux kernel is pretty important.

        However, with power comes great responsibility, and the Linux kernel is no exception to this rule. Kernel security is critical: it determines the security of the Linux operating system as a whole, as well as the security of every individual system that runs on Linux. Vulnerabilities in the kernel can have serious implications for Linux users, and it is extremely important that users stay up-to-date on news and advisories pertaining to kernel security.

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (redmine), Fedora (libidn2), Mageia (clamav, ghostscript, kernel, kernel-linus, libexif, libjpeg, mariadb, microcode, and systemd), and openSUSE (libjpeg-turbo).

      • EFF, Antivirus Companies, and Human Rights Groups Launch Coalition to Combat Stalkerware

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Kaspersky, Operation Safe Escape and seven other organizations today launched the Coalition Against Stalkerware to unite and mobilize security software companies and advocates for domestic abuse victims in actions to combat and shut down malicious stalkerware apps.Stalkerware, a type of commercially-available surveillance software, is installed on phones without device owners’ knowledge or consent to secretly spy on them. The apps track victims’ locations and allow abusers to read their text messages, monitor phone calls, see photos, videos, and web browsing, and much more. It’s being used all over the world to intimidate, harass, and harm victims, and is a favorite tool for stalkers and abusive spouses or ex-partners.Groups supporting targets of domestic abuse are seeing a growing number of victims seeking help about stalkerware. According to Kaspersky, the number of its antivirus users finding stalkerware on their devices rose by 35%, from 27,798 in 2018 to 37,532 in 2019. The threat landscape for stalkerware has also widened, as Kaspersky has detected 380 various forms of stalkerware in the wild in 2019—31% more than a year ago.The Coalition Against Stalkerware aims to provide help for victims and bring leaders in antivirus technology together to establish best practices for ethical software development.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Amazon Takes Transparency Step

        Amazon took a useful first step toward transparency on November 15, 2019 by publicly disclosing on its website the names, addresses, and other details of over 1,000 facilities that produce Amazon-branded products, a broad coalition of human rights groups, labor rights organizations, and global unions said today. But the list is not easily accessible, sortable, or sufficiently specific to learn the type of products made in each of the listed facilities, limiting its value for consumers, workers, and labor advocates.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Hell To The Yeah

        On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s impeachment testimony featured more dramatic, damning evidence, a poignant thank you to his father for leaving the Soviet Union 40 years ago to live in a country “free of fear,” and a killer mic drop in response to fake farmer Devin Nunes’ smears.

      • White House Slams ‘Illegitimate’ Hearing
      • How the Photographer Got That Iconic Shot of Trump’s Notes

        It’s a simple photograph, just a close-up on a notepad filled with Sharpie letters scrawled in an all-caps shout. But the pad is Donald Trump’s, the notes are a strangled refutation of fact, and the image has instantly become the most iconic yet of the impeachment proceedings that have enveloped his presidency. In an email, Getty Images photographer Mark Wilson shared with WIRED how he got the shot.

      • For-Profit Colleges Tap a Fox News Host to Influence Trump

        Pete Hegseth, the Fox News personality who urged President Donald Trump to pardon service members charged with war crimes, is trying to influence the White House on another military-related cause.

        An Army veteran who talks to Trump periodically and has dined with him at the White House, Hegseth traveled to New Orleans in June to address leaders of for-profit colleges at their annual convention. They are pushing to enroll more veterans, a lucrative class of students — and Hegseth is the face of the colleges’ new campaign to defend a favorable carve-out in federal law.

      • The Right to Vote Should Not Fall Victim to Partisan Battles

        The right to vote is fundamental to any democracy. Protecting that right—and making it easier to exercise it—ought to be a priority across partisan lines.Instead, in states across the country—particularly in the five years since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act—it has become a pitched battle.

      • ‘Disqualifying’: Buttigieg Faces Backlash for Praising Right-Wing Tea Party Movement in Resurfaced 2010 Video

        “I believe we might find that we have a lot in common,” Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said during an event hosted by Citizens for Common Sense.

      • ‘What Momentum Looks Like’: Sanders Becomes Fastest Presidential Candidate in History to Reach 4 Million Individual Donations

        “This is damn impressive,” said progressive strategist Rebecca Katz.

      • Making Andrew Yang Smarter

        The New York Times ran a column by Andrew Yang, one of the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Yang used the piece to repeat his claim that automation is leading to massive job loss.

      • The People of the World

        The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, and other heroic rulers of our glorious nations. Not only are they hard at work making their respective countries great again, but they are providing you, the people of the world, with a choice between two opportunities for mass death and destruction.

      • She Can’t Vote, but 2020 Democrats Want Her Support

        One of the most sought-after presidential endorsements in a key early voting state is from a woman who cannot vote.

      • Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian Universities

        Education has always been a political matter, whatever the apolitical advocates of it think it is. In Australia, it has proven sectarian, ideological, and skewed, often on the issue of funding. At the schooling level, private institutions receive more worldly goods from the taxpayer than state institutions. It is an absurdity that has become commonplace and unchallengeable.

      • Does Joe Biden Excite Anybody But Wealthy Donors?

        Last week, I attended Joe Biden’s first rally in California since he launched his presidential campaign more than six months ago.

      • It Was Revealing Who Joe Biden Saw—and Who He Didn’t See—in California

        Last week, I attended Joe Biden’s first rally in California since he launched his presidential campaign more than six months ago.It was revealing.The Biden for President campaign had been using social media and its email list in the Los Angeles area to urge attendance.

      • Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn on the Eve of the Debate

        Citizen Corbyn! Boris Johnson, he of the lofty lead in the polls, has agreed to debate you on Tuesday night. The serial philanderer looks set to coast to easy victory in an election that will no doubt have repercussions across the pond. You, the level-headed, stoic leader of the Clean-up Crew, are among the least liked political figures in the whole UK. From here in France, everything over there looks a little upsidedown, even if the wheels are still in spin.

      • GOP-Requested Witness Rejects Trump ‘Conspiracy Theories’

        Sought by Republicans to testify, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine spoke up instead for Democrat Joe Biden in Tuesday’s impeachment hearings, rejecting “conspiracy theories” embraced by President Donald Trump and some of his allies.

      • Our Better Angels

        On this date 156 years ago, Abraham Lincoln was asked to offer “a few appropriate thoughts” at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Ceremony.

      • Why Were the Russians So Set Against This Hacker Being Extradited?

        The Russian government has for the past four years been fighting to keep 29-year-old alleged cybercriminal Alexei Burkov from being extradited by Israel to the United States. When Israeli authorities turned down requests to send him back to Russia — supposedly to face separate hacking charges there — the Russians then imprisoned an Israeli woman for seven years on trumped-up drug charges in a bid to trade prisoners. That effort failed as well, and Burkov had his first appearance in a U.S. court last week. What follows are some clues that might explain why the Russians are so eager to reclaim this young man.

      • Border Guard suspects bid to open new entry route into Finland

        According to the preliminary investigation, suspects living in Finland also went to check conditions in the area a few days before the planned arrival.

        “The suspects knew about the conditions in the border area to the extent that they could find nearby roads and the border zone. The rest of the terrain conditions remained unknown,” says Mihl.

        The three people making the attempted entry were driven to a point in Russia 15 km from the Finnish border. From there, they continued on foot.

        Meanwhile they were being tracked and advised in real time by organisers in Central Europe using a mobile location app.

        “They were given instructions as needed if they got lost or deviated from the planned route,” he explains.

      • Outside the wire

        When the US entered Afghanistan, local DJs were hired to help with the war effort. And when the American military pulled out, they abandoned those voices, leaving many of them for dead.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Masnick’s Impossibility Theorem: Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible To Do Well

        As some people know, I’ve spent a fair bit of time studying economist Kenneth Arrow whose work on endogenous growth theory and information economics influenced a lot of my thinking on the economics of innovation in a digital age. However, Arrow is perhaps most well known for what’s generally referred to as Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, which could be described most succinctly (if not entirely accurately) as arguing that there is no perfect voting system to adequately reflect the will of the public. No matter which voting system you choose will have some inherent unfairness built into it. The Wikipedia summary (linked above) of it is not the best, but if you want to explore it in more detail, I’d recommend this short description or this much longer description.

      • Vietnam: Longtime Critic Facing Trial

        Vietnamese authorities should drop all charges against the blogger Pham Van Diep and immediately release him.

      • Russian feminist activist faces porn charges for running Vagina Monologues art group on social media

        Yulia Tsvetkova, an artist and activist for women’s well-being and LGBTQ rights in the far eastern Russian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, has been named a suspect in a criminal pornography distribution case. Tsvetkova first spoke about the case with the human rights group and media outlet OVD-Info.

      • Despite appeal by major news outlets, Russia’s censor says it will keep issuing fines for hyperlinks to obscene language

        The chief editors at several major Russian news outlets have appealed to Roskomnadzor, the federal censor, demanding an explanation for the fines the agency has been imposing on websites for including hyperlinks in stories that direct readers to content with obscene language.

      • Evangelical ‘Financial Whiz’ Who Apparently Hates Gossip, Sues YouTuber For Criticism

        Dave Ramsey is a radio host/”personal finance guru” whose religious beliefs appear to be a key part of his public persona. A long and detailed story in the Daily Beast a few years back showcased another apparent part of his persona: what appears to be significant anger towards those who criticize him or his company, including former employees:

      • Would I have been called a Naziphobe in the 1930s?

        Who said: “Our battle with World Jewry is a question of life and death. It is a battle between two conflicting faiths, each of which can exist only on the ruins of the other.” A Nazi or an Arab leader?

        What would the media of today have said in the 1930’s when Hitler was sharing his views of the Jews? The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, CTV or the journalists at the New York Times write? Or CNN and BBC? Or fill in the blank… What would they have said upon hearing these words?

      • Sukarno’s daughter accused of blasphemy after comparing father to Prophet Muhammad

        A mass organization called the Bima Islam Youth Forum reported Sukmawati to the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) on Saturday, accusing her of making blasphemous remarks the group said had “defamed Islam”.

        The report, signed by Imron Abidin as the forum’s representative, particularly lamented Sukmawati’s remarks made in her speech during a discussion forum dated Nov. 11, footage of which has been making the rounds on social media.

      • Ahmet Altan and Turkey’s revolving prison doors

        Many of the new inmates have continued the tradition of Turkish prison literature. Mr Demirtas produced a popular collection of essays. Kadri Gursel, a veteran journalist, spent most of his 11 months behind bars writing a new book. Can Dundar, a film-maker who fled to Germany after being released in early 2016, thanked the authorities for locking him up and confiscating his smartphone, thereby giving him a chance to focus on his writing. In a recently coined joke, an inmate asks the prison librarian to borrow a book. “We don’t have the book,” says the librarian, “but we have the author.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Five Senators Join the Fight to Learn Just How Bad Ring Really Is

        Amid months of damaging investigative reporting and pressure by advocacy groups like EFF, senators are finally joining the fight to learn just how invasive and harmful Amazon’s Ring cameras are to the privacy of people in their vicinity.

        In September, after it had been revealed that over 400 police departments around the country had entered into agreements with Ring, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to the company demanding answers. These agreements give police departments access to a portal that allows them to bulk request footage from Ring users with little beyond an incident number connected to a specific case to prove they need the footage. This simple process to access potentially hundreds of cameras in the vicinity of an incident creates a vested interest for police to help expand the use of Ring cameras within their towns. We’ve written before about concerns with Ring-law enforcement partnerships; as of November 2019—two months after Markey sent his letter—there are now well over 600.

      • Victory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

        The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion today holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police. In a 4-3 decision in Commonwealth v. Davis, the court found that disclosing a password is “testimony” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

        EFF filed an amicus brief in Davis, and we were gratified that the court’s opinion closely parallels our arguments. The Fifth Amendment privilege prohibits the government from coercing a confession or forcing a suspect to lead police to incriminating evidence. We argue that unlocking and decrypting a smartphone or computer is the modern equivalent of these forms of self-incrimination.

      • Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system

        The senators sent the letter in response to reports last week that the Ring doorbell system had a vulnerability that left Wi-Fi networks of users exposed to hackers, a vulnerability that has since been patched. The senators also cited concerns related to a January report from The Intercept that found that Ring executives were given access to the company’s technical support video portal, which includes videos of customers’ homes.

      • Google issues harsh new restrictions on political ad targeting

        In a blog post, Google’s vice president of product management and advertising Scott Spencer, said that the company would begin to ban political advertisers from targeting consumers based on their political affiliation or public voter records. Advertisers will still be able to target voters based on age, gender and zip code, but no more specific location targeting will be permitted. Contextual advertising, like “serving ads to people reading or watching a story about, say, the economy,” Google said, will also be permitted.

        These changes will roll out in the United Kingdom ahead of its general election by the end of this year, and globally on January 6, 2020.

      • Aussie kids big owners, users of mobile phones

        New analysis of Roy Morgan Research data from the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) shows that in 2018, 32% of kids owned a mobile phone – with a further 16% having access to one.

        And one in four kids aged 6-7 had or used a mobile phone.

      • The continually evolving fight for freedom

        At Private Internet Access, we have always been very clear that our business allows us to carry out what we consider financially sustainable activism. We’re not afraid to stand up, we’re not afraid to speak out and we are quick to ensure that we provide support to those whose voices are often not heard, those whose causes are often overlooked.

      • House Lawmakers Extend Section 215 into Next Year Even Though They Had Years to Stop Illegal Overcollection of Americans’ Sensitive Data

        With federal agencies set to run out of money this week, House lawmakers today passed a short-term funding bill that contained a nasty surprise. Tucked into the end of this must-pass legislation, in a section titled “Other Matters,” is language reauthorizing three Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities currently set to expire on December 15, 2019. The new expiration date would be March 15, 2020.

        The extension of these surveillance authorities, even for three months, is bad enough. Hiding the language in the back of a must-pass funding bill shows a patent disregard for the importance of this issue.

      • Facebook Claims Users Sign Up Because They Want To See Personalized Ads, Max Schrems Disagrees — And Usually Wins These GDPR Arguments

        The privacy activist Max Schrems has been conducting a battle on multiple fronts against Facebook’s use of personal data. Last year, Techdirt wrote about one of the skirmishes, which saw the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), ruling that Schrems could use the GDPR to litigate in Austria, where he is based, rather than in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters. The latter option would have been prohibitively expensive for Schrems, and would probably have meant he dropped the case.

      • The Council of Europe Shouldn’t Throw Out Our Privacy Rights Just to Speed Up Police Access

        Foreign police often want to investigate a crime by gathering potential evidence from Internet companies located in another country. What if police in Poland want to get a user’s data from an ISP in Germany, Philippines, Japan—or vice versa? Can they do this? Under what rules, and with what kind of oversight?

        It’s easy to get this wrong by making deals that undercut human rights protections, like having judges review data requests after the fact, rather than needing to authorize them beforehand. Another danger is signing agreements that ignore differences between countries’ legal systems, like whether or not particular actions are even crimes in both countries. But the pressure to find ways to give police routine and streamlined access to potential evidence is mounting. We’ve seen this before with the CLOUD Act in the United States, the US-UK Cloud Act Agreement, and the European e-evidence proposal.

      • Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes (“The War of All Against All”)

        Millions of years ago, when we were the prey, we relied on our ability to have privacy to hide our location, smell and sounds. With privacy, we gained freedom — and we survived. However, over time, we gave up many freedoms in exchange for peaceful order, as social contracts and consensus on the general will had developed — but at least there was peace. 

      • Handing Trump ‘Terrifying Authoritarian Surveillance Powers,’ House Democrats Include Patriot Act Reauthorization in Funding Bill

        “Wow. House Democrats are ignoring civil liberties and including a three month straight reauthorization of the Patriot Act (with zero reform) in the continuing resolution.”

      • Interpol Confirms, Denies It’s Against Strong Encryption

        The latest law enforcement agency to offer up its opinion on end-to-end encryption doesn’t seem to like it either. Joseph Menn reports for Reuters that Interpol is siding with the FBI, DOJ, and a handful of European government agencies in finding that encryption is bad and lets bad people do bad things.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Prosecution of Julian Assange Calls for the Public’s Defense of Free Speech

        On Saturday, The New York Times published a front-page article on the leaked files that exposed the Chinese government’s coordinated crackdown on ethnic minorities.

      • Sweden Maintains ‘Rape Suspect’ Narrative Against Julian Assange Even As It Drops Investigation Again

        The Swedish prosecution authority yet again closed a “preliminary investigation” into sexual allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

        It was reopened after Assange was expelled from the Ecuador embassy, indicted by the United States government, and arrested and jailed at Belmarsh prison by British authorities.

      • With Assange on Verge of Extradition to US, Sweden Drops Years-Long Rape Investigation Into WikiLeaks Founder

        From the start of the Swedish investigation, said the WikiLeaks Defense Fund, “Assange’s expressed concern has been that waiting in the wings was a United States request that would be unstoppable.”

      • The Swedish case against Assange was always political

        It was only after his arrival in London that an Interpol notice was issued for his arrest. In the meantime, Assange sought and was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy on the grounds that he would be subjected to grave human rights abuses should he be extradited to the US. Despite years of his legal team requesting that Swedish authorities provide assurances that he would not be extradited onwards to the US, the opportunity for Assange to formally clear his name was never afforded to him. Nor was the right to the presumption of innocence. Many in the media still falsely claim that charges were laid. It was trial by media.

        The political nature of the Swedish case became apparent from the beginning. As early as 2013, emails from the UK Crown Prosecution Service, released under Freedom of Information, demonstrated that the prosecutors wanted to drop the case. However, pressure was placed on them to keep it open – and they were told not to get “cold feet”. The London-based organisation Women Against Rape point out that the case was pursued with “unusual zeal” and concluded it was only pursued for the simple fact that he has uncovered war crimes.

        Let’s make one thing clear, any sexual misconduct allegations should be treated seriously. But, as Women Against Rape and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture point out, this case was never about protecting the women involved; it was about ensuring the focus was kept off the war crimes that WikiLeaks exposed, and assassinating Assange’s character.
        The decision now to drop the investigation is welcome news for Assange and his legal team, and removes the possibility of extradition from Sweden to the US. However, the fact remains that an Australian citizen is being pursued by the Trump administration for political purposes and is facing serious human rights violations if extradited to the US.


        Australia and the Morrison government now face the stark choice. Do we defend an Australian citizen facing rendition and an effective death sentence, because of Trump – a President facing impeachment. Or do we abandon him?

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Illinois to Take Emergency Action to Halt Isolated Timeouts in Schools

        The Illinois State Board of Education announced Wednesday that it will take emergency action to end the seclusion of children alone behind locked doors at schools, saying the practice has been “misused and overused to a shocking extent.”

        Responding to a Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois investigation published a day earlier, Gov. J.B. Pritzker called the isolation of children in the state “appalling” and said he directed the education agency to make emergency rules for schools. He will then work with legislators to make the rules into law, he said.

      • How a single staffing shakeup changed what Putin’s Human Rights Council has to say about the death penalty
      • Denmark: Shootings, Car Torchings, Gang Violence

        “In addition to a common fondness for crime, the culture of immigrant gangs is a cocktail of religion, clan affiliation, honor, shame and brotherhood,” wrote Danish Conservative Party MP Naser Khader, who is also a co-founder of the Muslim reform movement .

      • Hong Kong Was Never Built to Stand Up to China

        The Chinese legislature has now told Hong Kong’s courts in no uncertain terms that only Beijing can decide what’s constitutional in the territory. This could be a fatal blow to Hong Kong’s already shaky judiciary independence.

      • Police Surround Last Holdouts at Hong Kong Campus Protest

        A small band of anti-government protesters, their numbers diminished by surrenders and failed escape attempts, remained holed up at a Hong Kong university early Wednesday as they braced for the endgame in a police siege of the campus.

      • Tortured by CIA and Detained at Gitmo Without Trial, Ahmed Rabbani Gives Haunting Review of ‘The Report’—a New Film He’ll Likely Never See

        “If we do not learn from history we will be doomed to repeat our mistakes—and I would hate for anyone else to endure what I have had to endure.”

      • Federal Judge Asks DEA To Explain Why All 179 Of Its Stash House Sting Targets Are Minorities

        Federal judges appear to be tiring of the government’s long-running entrapment programs. One of the federal law enforcment’s favorite “enforcement” efforts is creating crime in order to bust “criminals.” Agencies like the ATF and DEA find someone in need of cash — usually a minority someone — and use undercover agents and confidential informants to convince them to raid a drug stash house for some easy money.

      • Russia’s Justice Ministry says claims about domestic violence are exaggerated, and men are the real discrimination victims

        Russia’s Justice Ministry has formally responded to questions from the European Court of Human Rights about domestic violence connected to lawsuits filed by four Russian women. The court asked Russian officials if they acknowledge the seriousness and scale of domestic violence and discrimination against women in Russia.

      • Russia’s Justice Ministry says journalists distorted its argument that domestic violence claims in Russia are exaggerated. Fine, here’s the full quote.

        In June of 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) notified the Russian government of four complaints submitted by women who argue that the Russian authorities did not react properly to the domestic violence they faced. Natalia Tunikova was convicted of attacking a partner who was beating her. Yelena Gershman’s husband beat her as well, but investigators refused to open a case against him. Irina Petrakova’s husband was penalized for his abuse, but that penalty was cancelled. Margarita Gracheva’s husband cut off her fingers before being sentenced to 14 years in prison. The four women’s complaints to the ECHR have been unified into a single case.

      • Problematic Bills on Lebanon Parliament’s Agenda

        Lebanon’s parliament has indefinitely postponed a legislative session which was due to take place on Tuesday, after protesters blocked the entrances to Parliament and several parliamentarians announced their boycott of the session.

      • France Slammed Over Treatment of Migrant Children

        In France, unaccompanied migrant children are pushed back at the French-Italian border, are falsely labelled adults and denied services by authorities, and made to live in shabby hotels or worse, in squats, even when recognized as children. These children are denied fundamental rights, such as protection and education. Human Rights Watch has exposed this situation, outrageous in a country like France, in reports on Calais, Paris and the Hautes-Alpes region, and the French Ombudsman condemned it this week in his annual report on the rights of children.

      • Greece and the Struggle for Freedom
      • Egypt: Families Of Dissidents Targeted

        Egyptian authorities have carried out arrests, house raids, interrogations, and travel bans against dozens of relatives of dissidents who live abroad, apparently in reprisal for their activism, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • After Week of Violence and Unrest, Warren Criticized for Conciliatory Remarks on Post-Coup Bolivia

        “Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re going to call yourself a progressive who stands up for the little guy you might want to start calling a right wing coup that’s resulted in the curbing of democratic freedoms and onslaught of violence… well, a right wing coup.”

      • Bolivia: Interim Government Adopts Abusive Measures

        Bolivian authorities should repeal a November 15, 2019 decree granting the military overly broad discretion to use force, and stop harassing independent journalists and government opponents.

      • Why I Support Closing Rikers Island Without Building New Jails: A Letter From Prisoner Jennifer Rose

        Shadowproof exchanged letters with incarcerated people who are part of the abolitionist No New Jails NYC campaign to get their perspectives on the plan to invest billions of dollars in new jails as part of an effort to close the Rikers Island jail complex.

        These incarcerated people crafted a plan with outside activists for closing Rikers Island without building new jails. It was titled “We Keep Us Safe.”

      • Half of American Men Can’t Handle the Prospect of a Woman President

        In 2019, just 49% of American men say they are comfortable with a woman president, according to a new poll on attitudes toward gender and power by consulting firm Kantar Public and Women Political Leaders, an Iceland-based nonprofit coalition of female politicians.

      • The Federal Government Collects Data on How Often Schools Seclude Children. The Numbers Don’t Add Up.

        In fall 2015, Glacier Ridge Elementary School in Crystal Lake first used its Blue Room, a padded space that allows school workers to place students in “isolated timeout” for safety reasons.

        Students were secluded in that room more than 120 times during the 2015-16 school year, according to records obtained by ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune. Yet the district, in its required reporting to the federal government, said it hadn’t used seclusion at all that school year.

      • How We Reported This Story

        The state of Illinois does not collect any data on how often public schools put students in seclusion, why they do it or for how long.

        Though state rules require schools to document each “isolated timeout” incident in detail, these records are stored by schools and are not submitted for review to the Illinois State Board of Education or any other state agency.

      • Spread the Progress on Children’s Rights to All

        Today is World Children’s Day, marking 30 years since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Over the past three decades, every country in the world – except the United States – has ratified the treaty.

      • UAE: Groups Press to Aid Prisoners With HIV

        United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities should ensure that all prisoners in their custody have access to appropriate HIV prevention, treatment, and care, Treatment Action Group, Action Against Aids Germany, Human Rights Watch, and 37 human rights and public health organizations and networks working on HIV and TB, said in a letter today to Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi crown prince. The groups also said that independent international monitors should be allowed regular access to prison and detention facilities.

      • ‘Community Control Over Police Should Be a Democratic Right’
      • Tom Secker Presents ‘Jack Ryan, The CIA, And Venezuela’ (Video)

        Journalist Tom Secker, known for his work at Spy Culture, produced a video essay on the Amazon series, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” It breaks down how the CIA, Defense Department, and other United States government agencies produced the show.

        Secker outlines some of the history of U.S. government  involvement in Tom Clancy productions and examines U.S. foreign policy propaganda in Season 1 and Season 2.

      • Senate Passes Bill to Support Human Rights in Hong Kong

        The bill would mandate sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and require an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

      • Amnesty Says at Least 106 Killed in Iran Protests

        Days of protests in Iran over rising fuel prices and a subsequent government crackdown have killed at least 106 people across the Islamic Republic, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing “credible reports.”

      • Rights Group: 106 Killed in Iran’s Crackdown on Anti-Government Protests

        In a Tuesday interview with VOA Persian, the London-based rights group’s Iran researcher, Raha Bahreini, said Amnesty determined that security forces killed 106 protesters based on eyewitness accounts, social media videos and reports of exiled Iranian human rights activists.

        An Amnesty press release said it recorded fatalities of protesters in 21 towns and cities, with the highest numbers of deaths occurring in five western cities: Kermanshah, Javanroud, Bandar-e Mahshahr and its suburbs, Mariwan and Behbahan.

      • Iran: Security Forces Violently Crack Down on Protesters

        Iranian security forces appear to be using excessive force against protests that emerged after an abrupt government increase in fuel prices across the country, Human Rights Watch said today. 

      • Burkina Faso army says 32 ‘terrorists’ killed after deadly convoy attack

        The first operation in Yorsala in Loroum province saw a number of women who “had been held and used by the terrorists as sex slaves” freed.


        Such attacks – typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings – have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.

        Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.

      • Detroit judge halts deportation of Iraqi Christians

        U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith said in a written order that deportation is halted for 14 days while he decides if his court has jurisdiction to hear their plight.

        The Justice Department had argued that the detainees, including many who were recently rounded up after decades in the U.S., must go to immigration court to try to remain in the U.S., not U.S. District Court. But the American Civil Liberties Union said they might be deported before an immigration judge can consider their requests to stay.

      • ACLU Sues Feds to Stop Chaldean Deportations

        Metro Detroit’s Chaldean community is the largest in the U.S. and those arrested were part of a federal roundup that was one of the biggest in years.

      • It’s Time 2020 Presidential Candidates Take Action to Dismantle the School-to-Prison-and-Deportation Pipeline

        The mandate demands that the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education is properly funded and staffed in order to make sure schools don’t violate our civil rights by doing things like systematically kicking out Black and Latinx students or referring them to police, or failing to ensure that trans students can use the right bathroom and be safe in schools. It also builds on a growing grassroots movement calling for the repeal and replacement of the 1994 Crime Bill, which created the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program that ultimately gave way to the largest sustained source of direct federal dollars to put police in schools.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Ajit Pai Does a Good Thing As He Pushes For Public C Band Auction

        You may have read something of late about the battle over so-called “C Band spectrum,” the wireless frequencies that lie between 3.7 GHz and 4.2 GHz. This spectrum will be hugely beneficial for deploying 5G wireless, and wireless carriers and activists alike have been pressuring the FCC for years to repurpose much of it for 5G. How this should be done has been a point of contention, however. And given there’s upwards of $60 billion to be made off of auctioning this spectrum, the typical alliances you’ll see in telecom have been more complicated than usual.

      • Knowing What Happens Next, T-Mobile CEO Legere Heads For The Exit

        We’ve long noted that T-Mobile’s brand reputation as a feisty consumer-friendly disruptor is only really skin deep. While the T-Mobile of 2012 or so certainly added some much needed competition to the wireless sector (killing ETFs, eliminating long-term contracts, and eroding international roaming costs), more recently the company has started to look a lot like the bigger competitors (AT&T, Verizon) it pretends to be superior to. From mocking groups like the EFF to opposing net neutrality, the company isn’t all that different from the companies its brash CEO John Legere likes to make fun of.

      • PSA: DirectTV Pushes Back By Mentioning All The Refunds For Blackouts Its Issued… To Customers That Asked

        Earlier this month, we discussed how DirectTV was one cable operator the Colarado Attorney General is investigating over how it extracts varied and confusing fees from customers and more specifically how DirectTV managed to continue charging customers for a regional sports station that had been blacked out. The overall tenor of the post was, first, that cable operators charging fees in as confusing a manner as possible is par for the course and, second, that even in that landscape continuing to charge customers for a channel it wasn’t offering sure felt like a bridge too far.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Amicus activity has never been more important’

        As technology continues to outpace the law, companies and associations are turning to amicus briefs to make their voices heard but they say that courts are less inclined to value repetitive arguments.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Divided Arguments Set for Click-To-Call

          35 U.S.C. § 314(d). Thus, the question before the Supreme Court is the extent of the no-appeal rule. The Federal Circuit has allowed appeals in this (and parallel cases) and has also given an expansive interpretation to 1-year time bar.

          At oral arguments Petitioner Thryv (who is looking to invalidate the patent) will get 15 minutes as will the Federal Government who also argues that nonappealable means no appeal. “[T]he Board’s institution decision, including its application of Section 315(b), [is] unreviewable.” Gov’t brief. The patentee Click-To-Call will have 30 minutes in response.

        • Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Gemalto M2M GmbH (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The ’662 patent involves checksums, which are calculations performed over blocks of data that result in a short (e.g., 16, 32, or 64 bit) code. These calculations may be a simple exclusive or operation, a more complicated cyclic redundancy check, or a hash function. Virtually all data transmitted on a network, wired or wireless, is accompanied by a checksum. In most cases, the transmitter calculates the checksum, appends the code to the blocks of data to be sent, and then sends the block and code. The receiver calculates its own version of the checksum over the blocks of data. If this matches the transmitted code, then the receiver can be reasonably assured that the blocks of data were not corrupted (e.g., due to random noise) during the transmission. But checksums are not perfect, and occasionally a corrupt block can produce the same code as if it were error free.

          The inventors of the ’662 patent observed that checksums often fail in the presence of certain types of systematic errors — non-random errors that repeat from block to block. For instance, “[i]f a fixed [checksum] generating function produced defective check data for a transmission that was corrupted with a given systematic error (e.g., first and fourth bit is erroneous in every data transmission), that fixed generating function would likely continue to produce the same defective check data every time that systematic error appeared.” In these cases, the systematic error will not be detected by the checksum.

          The ’662 patent involves “var[ying] the way check data is generated from time to time so that the same defective check data does not continue to be produced for the same type of persistent systematic error.” This variability dramatically decreases the probability that a receiver will not detect repetitive errors after validating the checksum. One of the ways that the generation of check data can be varied is “through permutation, which interchanges the bit position in a data block.”

        • Serving, Waiving Service, and the IPR Time Bar

          The PTAB found problems with Game & Tech’s U.S. Patent 7,682,243 — cancelling claims 1-7 obvious. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed — holding (1) that IPR was not barred under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) and (2) that the obviousness decision was supported by substantial evidence.


          No Court Determination of Proper Service or Waiver: In its written decision, the PTAB sided with the patent challenger — finding no service of the complaint prior to the March 13, 2016 critical date. In reaching that conclusion, the Board impliedly concluded that it cannot find proper service if “no district court has deemed service to have occurred.” On appeal, the Federal Circuit rejected that conclusion — holding instead that the statute empowers and requires the Board (and PTO Director) to “determine whether service of a complaint alleging infringement was properly effectuated.”

        • IBM, Microsoft and Linux plan to send patent trolls back under the rickety bridge

          THREE OF Big Tech’s biggest are joining forces to fight the scourge of the patent troll.

          IBM, Microsoft and The Linux Foundation have agreed to become fully paid up members of the Open Invention Network (OIN), which has been battling the trolls for years now on behalf of its 200 member organisations and the community at large.

          What this means in real terms is that the big three are bankrolling the OIN’s work, giving it far more teeth as it fights against those who try to get rich through nuisance intellectual property (IP) lawsuits.

        • Short summary of November 12, 2019 Brussels conference on Component-Level SEP Licensing

          This is the final part of a post-conference “trilogy.” After publishing the slide decks used by seven panelists and an abstract of one presentation and reporting on the patent injunctions panel (with a particular focus on the German reform project) (where I just added the German-language version of Maurits Dolmans’s slides), I’ll now summarize the component-level licensing panels.

          It’s normally easier to report and comment on other people’s conferences. What makes it equally easy in this case is simply that all the feedback I received was extremely favorable on the bottom line. There was one panel where maybe things appeared a bit repetitive during the last third or quarter to parts of the audience, but that was the only criticism I heard.

          It was part of the plan to kick off the day in a way that would energize everyone. With Pat Treacy (Bristows), Paul Lugard (BakerBotts), Jay Jurata (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe) and Professor Christian Donle (Preu Bohlig & Partner) I had four great lawyers–well-respected in the legal community including some of their adversaries–whom I was able to ask a few questions on component-level licensing and the royalty base. Like all other lawyers who spoke at my conference, they didn’t express the views of any particular client (nor did Mrs. Treacy speak for the England & Wales High Court, on which she serves as a Deputy Judge).

          The first question to them was about component makers’ entitlement to a SEP license on FRAND terms under the antitrust laws. Mr. Jurata and Professor Donle explained their conclusion that it’s necessary for competition to work. In those opening statements, Professor Donle made the funniest remark of the day when he said that SEPs are like railroad station toilets–not that nice, but you need to use them.


          Intel’s director of IP policy in the EU, Dr. Rebekka Porath, moderated a panel on some antitrust complaints over component-level licensing. Professor Rafal Sikorski (Adam Mickiewicz University) gave an overview that went back to the first antitrust cases in the U.S. about 100 years ago were (F)RAND was established as a principle. His cross-jurisdictional knowledge is impressive, and since SEP cases are generally not litigated in Poland for practical reasons, he’s neutral, though it appeared to me that his views on FRAND weren’t far from my own. After Professor Sikorski’s presentation, I filled in for Kent Baker of u-blox, who wasn’t able to travel that week, to give a quick overview of the Continental v. Avanci et al. case pending in the Northern District of California. (As we were running behind schedule, I requested to hold a vote, but there was a lot of interest in that part, too, and maybe that’s because Continental is also among the five companies who complained to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition over Nokia’s refusal to license component makers.)

        • Is Big Tech FRANDly to Competition?

          On Tuesday, Apple released a new policy on its website relating to the obscure topic of “FRAND” licensing of patents. That’s an especially obscure corner of the already-obscure area of patent law. But it’s worth the attention of anyone who follows the debates over big tech and platform dominance, because Apple’s statement reveals an important industry-wide shift in many key tech companies’ views on their position in the technology ecosystem. So far, that shift has favored smaller companies hoping to break into the technology market, but current threats could endanger those small companies and competition generally.

          Though you’ve probably never heard of the acronym FRAND, you certainly know some of the acronyms it has produced: Wi-Fi, USB, HTML, 4G LTE. These are examples of “technology standards,” which allow computers and electronic devices to communicate and work with each other. Unsurprisingly, standards are absolutely fundamental to just about every smart device out there today, from your mobile phone to your Wi-Fi juice maker. Standards are the reason that, when you look for a new Bluetooth headset compatible with your latest phone, you find not just one company making them but dozens.

          Technology standards don’t arise out of thin air; they are rigorously devised by “standard-setting organizations,” consortia of companies and engineers that assemble technologies into standards. A problem comes up when a company contributes a patented technology to the standard—a patent on a component of Wi-Fi could (and did) allow someone to sue anyone who owns a wireless router. Standard-setting organizations try to avoid that by requiring members to license any patents essential to the standard on terms that are “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory,” or FRAND. Implementers of products using the standard can thus feel safe knowing that they will not be pushed out of the market due to overbearing pressure from a patent holder.

          The FRAND obligation represents a balance between implementers of standards and holders of standard-essential patents. But there is an ongoing debate as to which way that balance swings. Apple’s statement promises to push the needle toward implementers and away from itself as one of the world’s largest patent owners. That contrasts with positions of other companies and the Trump Administration, who treat the FRAND obligation as essentially allowing patent holders free rein.

      • Trademarks

        • On Remand, TTAB Denies Abandonment Claims But Finds That “ADD A ZERO” Fails To Function As A TM For Shirts And Caps

          On remand from the CAFC, the TTAB denied Petitioner adidas’s claim that Respondent Church abandoned it marks ADD A ZERO (in standard character and design form), but the Board agreed that the phrase itself fails to function as a source indicator for shirts and caps. However, the Board found that the word+design form (shown below) is unitary and does function as a trademark. adidas AG v. Christian Faith Fellowship Church, Cancellation No. 92053314 (November 13, 2019) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cindy B. Greenbaum).

        • Another “Glen”, another GI Violation– Hamburg Court considers “Glen Els” an Evocation of “Scotch Whisky”

          Can a protected geographical indication (GI) be infringed by a sign that does not contain any of the words composing that GI? The CJEU recently had the opportunity to rule on this question in a case involving a German whisky under the brand “Glen Buchenbach”, allegedly infringing the registered GI “Scotch Whisky” (case C-44/17, Katpost here).

          Based on the CJEU decision in Glen Buchenbach, the District Court of Hamburg ultimately issued an injunction against “Glen Buchenbach” for containing a “misleading indication” within the meaning of Art. 16(c) of the Regulation 110/2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks (the “Spirits Regulation”; Katpost here). However, it considered that “glen” was not sufficient for a finding of “evocation” of the protected GI within the meaning of Art. 16(b) of the Spirits Regulation.

      • Copyrights

        • Supreme Court agrees to review disastrous ruling on API copyrights

          The Supreme Court has agreed to review one of the decade’s most significant software copyright decisions: last year’s ruling by an appeals court that Google infringed Oracle’s copyrights when Google created an independent implementation of the Java programming language.

          The 2018 ruling by the Federal Circuit appeals court “will upend the longstanding expectation of software developers that they are free to use existing software interfaces to build new computer programs,” Google wrote in its January petition to the Supreme Court.

          The stakes are high both for Google and for the larger software industry. Until recently, it was widely assumed that copyright law didn’t control the use of application programming interfaces (APIs)—standard function calls that allow third parties to build software compatible with an established platform like Java.

          But the legal foundation of this assumption was always a bit shaky. And in 2014, the Federal Circuit Appeals Court blew it up with a ruling holding that software APIs actually can be copyrighted. A few years later, the same court held that Google’s use of the Java APIs was not protected by copyright’s fair use doctrine.

        • Narcos Defeats Yet Another Silly Copyright Lawsuit

          While Netflix’s Narcos has certainly been a hit show for the streaming platform, it’s still a bit surprising that there has been so much intellectual property strife surrounding the show. To date, the most notable IP dispute has been Pablo Escobar’s brother’s attempt to sue Netflix for one billion dollars. As Netflix was having Narcos actors pretend to threaten to shoot the public for pirating the show, Roberto Escobar was busy making no headway with his lawsuit, eventually dropping it.

        • Cox Knew About Pirating Subscribers, Court Concludes

          Internet provider Cox Communications can’t argue that it had “no knowledge” of the hundreds of thousands of piracy notices it received, a Virginia federal court ruled. The ruling is important for the upcoming trial between the Internet provider and dozens of music companies, as “knowledge” is a critical element of the rightsholders’ liability claim.

        • Police Arrest Three in Prolonged Movie2K Piracy Investigation

          Six years ago, Movie2K was one of the largest ‘pirate’ streaming sites on the Internet, with more traffic in Germany than Twitter or Amazon. During May 2013, the site suddenly disappeared but now, more than half a decade later, police say they have made three arrests. They include two men suspected of being former operators and another who allegedly laundered millions of euros.

        • Finally, the Supreme Court Agrees to Review the Federal Circuit’s Dangerous Decisions in Oracle v. Google

          Good news! The U.S. Supreme Court has finally agreed to review the Federal Circuit’s dangerous decisions in the long-running case of Oracle v. Google. The Supreme Court now has an opportunity to reverse the damage done by the Federal Circuit. The Court can explain why copyrighting Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) is a bad idea and why—even if there is copyright protection—fair use applies.

          To summarize the last nine years: Oracle claims a copyright on the Java APIs, and that Google infringed that copyright by using certain Java APIs in the Android OS. When it created the Android OS, Google wrote its own version of Java. But in order to allow developers to write their own programs for Android, Google used certain specifications of the Java APIs. Since APIs are, generally speaking, specifications that let programs talk to each other, it would strike at the heart of innovation and collaboration in technology to declare them copyrightable.

Understanding Thierry Breton: Atos Healthcare – “The Ugly Face of Business”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research

Atos comparing

Summary: “…2,380 people died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended because a work capability assessment (WCA) found that they were found fit for work.”

Atos Healthcare ended up at the centre of a major public controversy in the UK as a result of its provision of Work Capability Assessment (WCA) services for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The company became a lightning rod for public anger over the WCA scheme which was criticised by MPs and campaigners as inhumane.

Health assessments conducted by Atos were mired in controversy, including complaints over the qualifications of assessors, as well as the criteria used to determine fitness for work.

“In another case, a woman with stage 4 cancer, who was suffering from hair loss undergoing chemotherapy, was told she was also able to get a job, and had her benefits slashed.”Thousands of vulnerable people were found to have been wrongly judged to be fit for work and ineligible for government support. In one case, a dying father, 34, diagnosed with emphysema was told that because he could “push an empty box” he was “fit for work”. In another case, a woman with stage 4 cancer, who was suffering from hair loss undergoing chemotherapy, was told she was also able to get a job, and had her benefits slashed.

In 2013, Greg Wood, a former navy doctor decided that he could no longer tolerate working for the company and blew the whistle on practices within Atos after he was asked to change a report he had made on a claimant, in this case making it unlikely that the individual would be eligible for sickness benefit.

Wood left because he considered that the company was acting unethically by putting pressure on a doctor to change the conclusions of an assessment.

“Wood left because he considered that the company was acting unethically by putting pressure on a doctor to change the conclusions of an assessment.”His decision to spill the beans made headlines in the UK because he was the first Atos-employed doctor to put his career on the line and articulate concerns about a system that had been criticised by charities and claimants for years.

Wood gave strong evidence to the BBC to suggest that the methods used to assess whether individuals were eligible for the new incapacity benefit – employment and support allowance (ESA) – were “unfair” and “skewed against the claimant”.

The DWP’s own statistics revealed that in 2011 10,600 people died within six weeks of being found fit for work by Atos and another 2,200 died before their assessment was complete.

“The DWP’s own statistics revealed that in 2011 10,600 people died within six weeks of being found fit for work by Atos and another 2,200 died before their assessment was complete.”It was reported that the Government had refused to publish statistics for 2012/2013 and had rejected a Freedom of Information request submitted by Mike Sivier of the Vox Political blog on the grounds that was ‘vexatious‘.

However, following a ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office in April 2015, the DWP released statistics which revealed that, during the period December 2011 and February 2014, 2,380 people died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended because a work capability assessment (WCA) found that they were found fit for work.

Atos protest
Dodgy health assessments by Atos led to widespread outrage and protests in the UK

In February 2014 it was reported that Atos was endeavouring to secure an early exit from its WCA contract, which was due to expire in August 2015.

Atos claimed that there had been about 163 incidents of abuse or assault on staff each month during the previous year and that it had found comments on social media accusing staff of being “murdering scumbags” who “won’t be smiling when we come to hang you”.

A month later the DWP confirmed that it had agreed to an early exit from the existing WCA contract after raising concerns about the quality of the work conducted by Atos.

“…2,380 people died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended because a work capability assessment (WCA) found that they were found fit for work.”However, as of October 2016 Atos was still undertaking work for the DWP in assessing Personal Independence Payment applications.

When Atos took over administering PIPs its estimates of how fast claims could be processed were over-optimistic as were estimates of how easily claimants could get to assessment centres. This led to delays in assessments, distress to claimants and unexpectedly high costs and to accusations that Atos had misled the government over its capabilities for processing claims.

In 2017 revelations that Atos and Capita were on target to be paid more than £ 700m for their five-year PIP contracts, and significantly more than the original estimate of £ 512m, led to accusations that the DWP was “rewarding failure”.

In December 2015, a report by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee singled out Atos for its failure to show “an appropriate duty of care to the taxpayer” over an IT system designed to allow the extraction of data from all GP practice computer systems in England. The costs of the system, which started five years late, ballooned from an initially estimated £ 14m to a final total of £ 40m.

“The costs of the system, which started five years late, ballooned from an initially estimated £ 14m to a final total of £ 40m.”As a result of this “IT cockup”, the Public Accounts Committee urged the Cabinet Office to review Atos’s relationships as a Crown supplier, and to ensure the reasons for the project’s failure were “disseminated widely to reinforce the steps that need to be taken to avoid such mistakes being repeated again”.

In December 2016, Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron questioned how Atos and Capita could have been paid over £500m from tax payers money for assessing fitness to work in view of the fact that 61% who appealed won their appeals.

Farron stated, “This adds to the suspicion that these companies are just driven by a profit motive, and the incentive is to get the assessments done, but not necessarily to get the assessments right. They are the ugly face of business.”

OH Assist
If your reputation is in shreds, it may be time to rebrand…

By 2014, the Atos brand had become so toxic in the UK that Atos Healthcare “reinvented” itself as OH Assist. The Atos Healthcare brand was reserved for use in connection with activities relating to the PIP contract.

In 2016 it was announced that Atos had sold off the OH Assist business to CBPE Capital.

One positive outcome finally emerged from the Atos Healthcare saga in April 2017 when the Scottish government adopted legislation prohibiting the use of private firms for carrying out benefit assessments in Scotland.

“One positive outcome finally emerged from the Atos Healthcare saga in April 2017 when the Scottish government adopted legislation prohibiting the use of private firms for carrying out benefit assessments in Scotland.”Social Security minister Jeane Freeman declared that profiteering companies had no place in assessing a person’s fitness to work:

“One of our fundamental principles is that profit should never be a motive nor play any part in assessing or making decisions on people’s health and eligibility for benefits.”

In the next part we will return to Thierry Breton and explore some of his connections with the upper echelons of French plutocracy.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:46 am by Needs Sunlight



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