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12.02.19

Links 2/12/2019: Linux Mint 19.3 Beta, DPL Sam Hartman Talks About SystemD

Posted in News Roundup at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Holiday gift guide: Linux and open source tech gadgets

      Everything on Opensource.com’s annual selection of tech gadgets would make an excellent holiday gift for your friends and family—or even something to add to your own holiday wishlist. Each of these gadgets encourages learning, exploring, and tinkering, qualities that reflect the values and interests of open source enthusiasts.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Use the Window Maker desktop on Linux

        Before Mac OS X, there was a quirky closed-source Unix system called NeXTSTEP. Sun Microsystems later made NeXTSTEP’s underpinnings an open specification, which enabled other projects to create free and open source versions of many NeXT libraries and components. GNUStep implemented the bulk of NeXTSTEP’s libraries, and Window Maker implemented its desktop environment.

        Window Maker mimics the NeXTSTEP desktop GUI closely and provides some interesting insight into what Unix was like in the late ’80s and early ’90s. It also reveals some of the foundational concepts behind window managers like Fluxbox and Openbox.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 13×49

        **wall**, **whereis**, and **write**: the final 3 commands in the util-linux package.

      • Linux Action News 134

        We share Mozilla’s concerns over Contract for the Web, and try out Kali Linux’s new tricks.

        Also, our thoughts on the new Alexa Voice service coming to low-end IoT devices, and much more.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 172 – The security of planned obsolescence

        Josh and Kurt talk about the security implications of planned obsolescence. We use Intel’s recent decision to remove old drivers from their website as the start of the conversation. By the end we realize this is more of a decision society needs to understand and make more than anything. Is constantly throwing out technology OK?

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.4

        Linus has released the 5.4 kernel and Collabora was once again a very active contributor to the Linux project. For this release, 12 Collaborans authored 95 commits while also helping the kernel maintainers by contributing 124 Reviewed-by tags. It’s also worth mentioning that Emil Velikov joined the list of the 10 top reviewers for this release!

        On the media subsytem front, Boris Brezillon and Ezequiel Garcia continued leading the work on the Hantro VPU driver, which supports video decoding on Rockchip RK3288, RK3399 and NXP i.MX8MQ SoCs. This release introduces support for H.264 decoding on RK3288, and also VP8 decoding on RK3288 and RK3399. Popular RK3288-based platforms include ASUS Chromebook Flip and ASUS C201 Chromebook, so this change brings Chromebooks one step closer to running upstream, reducing the up/downstream gap.

      • Linux 5.4.1

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.1 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y

        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.3.14
      • Linux 4.19.87
      • Linux 4.14.157
      • Linux 4.9.204
      • Linux 4.4.204
      • Linux 4.9.205
      • Linux 4.4.205
      • Linux 5.5 Can Boot The Modem Processor On Snapdragon 835 – Needed For Cell/WiFi On Qualcomm Laptops

        With the Linux 5.4 cycle we saw mainline support beginning to come together for some Qualcomm ARM Linux laptops while with Linux 5.5 another milestone is being achieved. There has been out-of-tree support in the works for getting the various consumer Snapdragon laptops working with Linux while those changes are slowly getting into the mainline kernel.

        The newest milestone comes with the remoteproc updates for Linux 5.5 and that is the ability to boot the modem processor on the Qualcomm MSM8998 (Snapdragon 835).

      • With Approaching Another Year Closer To Year 2038, Linux 5.5 Brings More Y2038 Fixes

        With approaching another year closer to the Year 2038 problem, where on 19 January 2038 the number of seconds for the Unix timestamp can no longer be stored in a signed 32-bit integer, Linux 5.5 is bringing more Y2038 preparations.

        Y2038 fixes have been ongoing for years to mitigate the kernel against the Year 2038 problem, particularly for 32-bit platforms. Most of the Year 2038 preparations have been made to the Linux kernel to transition to 64-bit time_t even on 32-bit architectures, among other workarounds.

      • AMD IOMMU Driver Reworked For Linux 5.5

        With the IOMMU updates for the Linux 5.5 kernel there is a major rework to the AMD IOMMU driver to make use of more common DMA IOMMU code for implementing the DMA API but with an admitted risk of potential new regressions.

        The AMD IOMMU Linux driver now makes use of the “dma-iommu” kernel code that allows the driver to be lightened up by several hundred lines of code thanks to the code sharing/re-use. Besides the DMA IOMMU changes, the AMD IOMMU driver now also has multiple PCI DMA alias support.

    • Benchmarks

      • FreeBSD 12.1 Runs Refreshingly Well With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X – Benchmarks Against Windows + Linux

        For those of you interested in AMD’s new Ryzen Threadripper 3960X/3970X processors with TRX40 motherboards for running FreeBSD, the experience in our initial testing has been surprisingly pleasant. In fact, it works out-of-the-box which one could argue is better than the current Linux support that needs the MCE workaround for booting. Here are some benchmarks of FreeBSD 12.1 on the Threadripper 3970X compared to Linux and Windows for this new HEDT platform.

        It was refreshing to see FreeBSD 12.1 booting and running just fine with the Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-core/64-thread processor from the ASUS ROG ZENITH II EXTREME motherboard and all core functionality working including the PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD storage, onboard networking, etc. The system was running with 4 x 16GB DDR4-3600 memory, 1TB Corsair Force MP600 NVMe SSD, and Radeon RX 580 graphics. It was refreshing to see FreeBSD 12.1 running well with this high-end AMD Threadripper system considering Linux even needed a boot workaround.

      • Linux 5.5 Seeing Some Wild Swings In Performance – Improvements But Also Regressions

        While there still is a week to go in the Linux 5.5 merge window with more feature code still landing, due to scheduler changes and other work already having landed, I already started running some Git benchmarks. Linux 5.5 at this stage appears quite volatile with some really nice improvements in some workloads but also regressions in others.

        I started off some Linux 5.5 Git benchmarks a few days ago after seeing the scheduler changes land that are rather heavy this cycle and other work. Plus I wanted to test out some new features like the NVMe hwmon thermal reporting.

    • Applications

      • Free Painting Program Krita Brings Another Update

        Krita 4.2.8 is released.

        Krita, the digital drawing/painting software made for artists and users – brings another significant update with its version 4.2.8 release.

        Krita – the free and open source drawing program is ideal for the digital artists, students who wants an application with easy UI, loaded with features – as the tagline says – “no limit to your creativity”.

      • Gemini – audio player with wallpaper changer

        I’ve been writing reviews of Linux music players discovering a raft of gems along the way, together with a fair few turkeys. That’s the nature of open source software. It’s not necessarily an indication of quality or maturity. But with a mesmerizing selection on offer, there’s almost always free software that meets my specific requirements.

        For this review, I’m looking at Gemini, an audio player that sports an integrated wallpaper changer.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Yogscast Jingle Jam bundle is back with 100% of the proceeds going to charity

        The Yogscast Jingle Jam, a bundle that Humble Bundle host each year is back with new games being added each day up until December 20 with 100% of the proceeds going to charity.

        Quite a different bundle to anything else they do, since it constantly adds new games and all the money goes to whatever charities have been selected. This year they include Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, Stand Up to Cancer, Mental Health Foundation, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, War Child UK, Special Effect and more including our chosen charity The Free Software Foundation (FSF).

      • Release GCompris 0.97

        You can find packages of this new version for GNU/Linux, Windows and MacOS on the download page. This update will also be available soon in the Android Play store and the Windows store. For Raspberry Pi, we’ll provide an installer soon. The updated version for iOS is still not available. Note that the MacOS package is not yet notarized, we will look at doing this during next year.

        On the voices side, we added a new voice “try again” which is used in several activities instead of “check answer”. You can check on this page if this voice is available in your language: https://gcompris.net/voicestats/ (in the “Misc” section). You can help us by providing a nice recording of your voice for all the missing entries in your native language.

        On the translation side, we have 20 languages fully supported: Basque, Brazilian Portuguese, Breton, British English, Catalan, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, French, Galician, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Malayalam, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian.

        We also have 15 languages partially supported: Belarusian (65%), Catalan (Valencian 95%), Chinese Simplified (66%), Estonian (93%), Finnish (86%), German (96%), Hindi (73%), Hungarian (95%), Indonesian (95%), Irish Gaelic (78%), Norwegian Nynorsk (93%), Russian (76%), Scottish Gaelic (67%), Slovenian (54%), Turkish (95%).

      • Geneshift Battle Royale just got a lot prettier with a big update, also on sale right now

        Geneshift just keeps getting better! This indie action game that has a sweet fast-paced Battle Royale mode (along with a full single-player and co-op campaign) just had another rather huge update.

        For starters, it’s had a bit of a graphical upgrade. It now has multisample anti-aliasing, upgraded player models that actually hold the weapons and an entirely new tilted camera angle. The new camera is a big improvement, giving you a proper sense of the height of objects around you, like getting some cover which the older top-down view just didn’t give you.

      • RetroArch is getting hardware video decoding, manual content scanning and more

        The team behind the RetroArch front-end used with emulators, game engines and media players have announced that it will be getting proper hardware accelerated video decoding soon.

        Currently, all video decoding is done “entirely in software”, so your CPU is doing the work instead of sending it off to your GPU which can cause slowdowns when your CPU is busy. They’ve said they’re now going to be using FFmpeg supporting VDPAU and VAAPI. This might be good news for anyone using something like a Raspberry Pi, or other lower powered devices. You can see their full post on it here.

      • Steam Survey For November Points To Flat Linux Percentage

        With the start of a new month always comes the excitement of seeing what Valve’s Steam Survey is pointing at for gaming trends as to the percentage of Linux gamers.

        For October 2019 the Linux gaming population on Steam according to Valve was about 0.83%, basically flat compared to September, at least on a percentage term. Meanwhile for the newly-published November figures it comes at 0.81%, or a decline of 0.02%.

      • Curious Expedition adds a RIVALS multiplayer mode with massive maps and it’s great fun

        Curious Expedition, a roguelike expedition simulation game set in the late 19th century just recently had a big RIVALS update to add in multiplayer support. This isn’t a DLC either, it’s a full free update for everyone who owns the game which is fantastic.

        I’m quite a late arrival on this one, only picking it up in the sales recently and I ended up a little hooked on it so this was all rather good timing. The RIVALS mode is very similar to how it all works in single-player, with you each leading an expedition. You have to keep your people alive, deal with hostile wildlife and any random events as they pop up but all this is done across a map that’s many times larger and you can see other expeditions roaming around which is quite odd.

      • Automate a futuristic food factory in Neon Noodles, out now in Early Access

        After a very promising early demo, Neon Noodles is out now in Early Access putting you in charge of automating food preparation. What could possibly go wrong?

        Directly inspired by similar such games from Zachtronics like Opus Magnum and Infinifactory, you’re in charge of designing and building a fully automated kitchen. No programming needed, as it’s all using simple blocks and commands. It’s a lot more interesting than it sounds that’s for sure!

      • Paradox give a little insight into murder and seduction in Crusader Kings 3′s new Scheme system

        Crusader Kings III will allow you to run various secret schemes with a brand new system. Not just giving you the ability to take out a rival but perhaps sway someone over to your side too.

        In the latest developer diary, they talk about wanting a system like the Murder Plot from CKII but have it “slightly easier to predict while keeping it unreliable in its outcome” so that murder is still an option but not quite as safe as before. It also sounds like it’s been both expanded and streamlined at the same time, to give you more options for scheming while also needing to send out less agents.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • GTK Apps Now Look MUCH Better on the KDE Plasma Desktop

          That’s not say that GTK theming on this predominately Qt-based desktop environment isn’t possible, or hasn’t come a long way, it’s just that GTK apps still tend to stand out more than they should.

          Well, maybe no more.

          KDE dev Nate Graham reports that GTK CSD (client-side decoration; also known as Header Bars) no longer look out of place on KDE Plasma.

          In fact, they look incredibly “native”, as this screenshot of Gedit shows…

        • KDevelop 5.4.5 released

          We today provide a bugfix and localization update release with version 5.4.5. This release introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using a previous version of KDevelop 5.4.

          You can find the updated Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page.

        • Analyzing MATE keyboard shortcuts

          Hello yet again! For those who are not acquainted with this series, I am in an endeavor to analyze keyboard shortcuts in most major DEs so that we, the KDE community, can decide on the best defaults for KDE Plasma. Last time I analyzed XFCE and before that, GNOME.

          This time we will also check on a non-keyboard-driven environment, MATE. I personally quite like MATE, mostly for two things: MATE Tweak’s ability to change panel layouts, and the Software Boutique, which looks as fashionable as its name.

          Preparations

          For testing MATE, I installed full ubuntu-mate-desktop on my work machine and used virtual machines containing Debian, Ubuntu MATE and Manjaro.

          This time, one of the candidates for the virtual machine was chosen based on a project currently being held at the public university I graduated in, namely the University of São Paulo, in São Paulo, Brazil. I chose Debian MATE in honor to the plans to migrate the computers at the computer section of FFLCH to Linux, the humanities school. Pragmatically speaking, Debian is also a good choice for usually keeping defaults as is for each desktop environment.

          For sources, I simply used MATE’s keyboard shortcuts application and its corresponding manual.

        • Calligra Plan version 3.2.1 released

          We are pleased to announce the release of Calligra Plan 3.2.1.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • New GNOME Design Team Mockups: Extension Tool, Font Manager & Revamped Clock App

          The GNOME design team is always hard at work iterating, ideating and improving on the form and function of apps and major UI elements throughout the GNOME desktop stack.

          And a lot of that design and planning takes place out in the open, on mailing lists, issue trackers, code repos, and communication channels like Matrix and IRC.

          One of the best places to get a feel for what the design team is working on is the GNOME Design GitLab. This GitLab group has a specific repo where application mockups are added, with the aim of garnering feedback and response from other design team members.

        • Adopting GitLab workflow

          As by November 26th, I’ve checked the amount of submissions we had on both libosinfo mailing list and libosinfo GitLab page during the current year.

          Mind that I’m not counting my own submissions and that I’m counting osinfo-db’s addition, which usually may consist in adding data & tests, as a single submission.

          As for the mailing list, we’ve received 32 patches; as for the GitLab, we’ve received 34 patches.

          Quite similar number of contributions, let’s dig a little bit more.

          The 32 patches sent to our mailing list came from 8 different contributors, and all of them had at least one previous patch merged in one of the libosinfo projects.

          The 34 patches sent to our GitLab came from 15 different contributors and, from those, only 6 of them had at least one previous patch merged in one of the libosinfo projects, whilst 9 of them were first time contributors (and I hope they’ll stay around, I sincerely do ;-)).

          Maybe one thing to consider here is whether forking a project on GitLab is easier than subscribing to a new mailing list when submitting a patch. This is something people usually do once per project they contribute to, but subscribing to a mailing list may actually be a barrier.

          Some people would argue, though, it’s a both ways barrier, mainly considering one may extensively contribute to projects using one or the other workflow. IMHO, it’s not exactly true. Subscribing to a mailing list, getting the patches correctly formatted feels more difficult than forking a repo and submitting a Merge Request.

        • Sam Thursfield: Into the Pyramid

          I want to do my part for increasing the amount of apps that are easy to install Linux. I asked developers to Flatpak your app today last year, and this month I took the opportunity to package Purr Data on Flathub.

          Here’s a quick demo video, showing one of the PD examples which generates an ‘audible illusion’ of a tone that descends forever, known as a Shepard Tone.

          As always the motivation is a selfish one. I own an Organelle synth – it’s a hackable Linux-based device that generates sound using Pure Data, and I want to be able to edit the patches!

          Pure Data is a very powerful open source tool for audio programming, but it’s never had much commercial interest (unlike its proprietary sibling Max/MSP) and that’s probably why the default UI is still implemented in TCL/TK in 2019. The Purr Data fork has made a lot of progress on an alternative HTML5/JavaScript UI, so I decided this would be more suitable for a Flathub package.

    • Distributions

      • Kali Linux Adds ‘Undercover’ Mode to Impersonate Windows 10

        The script even hides Kali’s dragon logo, explains a post on the Kali blog, so “you can work a bit more incognito. After you are done and in a more private place, run the script again and you switch back to your Kali theme. Like magic…!”

        “Thanks to Robert, who leads our penetration testing team, for suggesting a Kali theme that looks like Windows to the casual view…”

      • 10 Best Linux Distros for Developers and Programmers

        Today, our focus is not on just Linux distributions, but the ones best suited for developers and programmers. This means that from the first time you boot the OS to when you install the applications you need to set up your environment, the prerequisite procedures are like a walk in a park and your programs run without irritating interruptions.

        It is already common knowledge that Linux computing environments are easy to configure and are even configured for some form of development straight out of the box as opposed to an Operating System like Windows. But no two Operating Systems are the same and some are bound to fulfill your needs better than others.

        Which one have you decided to use for your next programming project? Feel free to let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.

      • Reviews

        • Review: Obarun 2019.11.02 and Bluestar 5.3.6

          This week I decided to test drive a distribution I have not reviewed before and, after looking through a handful of projects, my gaze landed on Obarun. The Obarun distribution is based on Arch Linux and features the s6 init software instead of the more commonly used systemd. The projects website describes Obarun as follows:

          The goal of Obarun is to provide an alternative for people looking for more simplicity and transparency in maintaining their systems. Obarun is not designed with beginners to Linux in mind.

          Obarun, like its parent, is a rolling release operating system which uses pacman as its package manager. The distribution is available in two editions: Minimal (589MB) and JWM (974MB). The former offers a command line interface while the latter provides a lightweight window manager. I decided to download the JWM edition. The project’s website provides the default usernames and passwords for the live media. We are also given a summary of the installation steps which let us know we will need to set up an Internet connection and a partition for the operating system prior to launching Obarun’s text-based installer. Obarun’s media boots to a console interface and prompts us to login. If we login using the root account we are presented with a command line interface. However, if we sign in as the user oblive then the system loads the JWM graphical interface with a panel placed across the bottom of the screen. The network settings window then opens to make sure we know to enable an Internet connection.

          The live media does not ship with a lot of software, but there are some utilities to help us get the operating set up, including the cfdisk disk partitioning tool. I like cfdisk because it can run in a terminal and is fairly easy to navigate. Using cfdisk and mkfs I created a fresh ext4 partition and mounted it prior to launching the system installer, obarun-install.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Slackware Family

        • Slackware December Report

          It has been some time since i posted about Slackware updates and around 2.5 years since my wishlist i created in 2017. Only one item left that are still not yet approved by Patrick, but i have a hunch that it’s coming soon to -Current tree. So i guess it’s time to wrap some updates up to early December 2019:
          Linux LTS Kernel 5.4.x
          PHP 7.4.x
          GCC 9.2.x
          GLIBC 2.30
          Python 3.7.x
          Perl 5.30.x
          GTK+3 3.24.x
          NetworkManager 1.20.x
          vte 0.58.x
          XOrg 1.20.x
          tcl/tk 8.16.x
          Mesa 19.2.x
          Bind 9.14.x
          Rust 1.39.x
          SDL2.0.x
          Firefox 68.0-ESR
          Thunderbird 60.8.x
          MariaDB 10.4.x
          Postfix 3.4.x
          Samba 4.11.x
          OpenSSH 8.1p1

      • Debian Family

        • DPL Sam Hartman: Voting Guide for Debian Init Systems GR
          So, under this proposal, a maintainer must integrate support for running
          without systemd if it is available. They are responsible for going out
          and finding this support. If the support is as simple as writing an
          init script, the maintainer has an RC bug until they write the init
          script. If the support is more complex, the maintainer is not
          responsible for writing it. Proposal A is the same as Proposal E,
          except that the bug is not release-critical. I'll go into Proposal A in
          more detail after discussing Proposal D.
          
          
          
          Proposal D is similar to Proposal E. My interpretation is that Proposal D places
          somewhat less of a burden on maintainers to go out and find existing
          non-systemd support. My interpretation is that the bug becomes RC when
          someone contributes that support. (Or if the support is present in the
          upstream but turned off in the package). Proposal D requires that
          non-systemd support not have a substantial effect on systemd
          installations. So where as Proposal E uses the designed exclusively for
          systemd criteria, Proposal D uses the no substantial effect on systemd
          systems criteria to determine whether working only with systemd is
          acceptable. The discussions seemed to imply that if Gnome uses systemd
          features in excess of what technologies like elogind can handle, it is
          likely to meet both criteria.
          
          
          
          Proposal D goes into a lot more detail than Proposal E. Proposal E
          would likely be a long-term block on using systemd facilities like
          sysusers. Proposal D specifically proposes a mechanism whereby such
          facilities can be documented in policy. This mechanism is only
          available if it is likely that developers of non-systemd (including
          non-Linux) systems will implement the facility. After a six-to-twelve
          month transition time, the facility can be used even on non-systemd
          systems. So, sufficiently low effort in the non-systemd community that
          it is unreasonable to expect a facility could be implemented could still
          permanently block adoption of such facilities. Proposal D is definitely
          about a long-term commitment to non-systemd systems even if the effort
          in the non-systemd community is not as high as we'd like to adopt new
          features elsewhere.
          
          
          
          Proposal D also includes a number of guidelines for proper behavior
          around these emotionally charged issues.
          
        • Debian-Med Bug Squashing

          As it is again this time of the year, I would also like to draw some attention to the Debian Med Advent Calendar. Like the past years, the Debian Med team starts a bug squashing event from the December 1st to 24th. Every bug that is closed will be registered in the calendar. So instead of taking something from the calendar, this special one will be filled and at Christmas hopefully every Debian Med related bug is closed. Don’t hestitate, start to squash :-).

      • Linux Mint 19.3

        • Linux Mint Monthly News – November 2019

          Many thanks to all the donors and sponsors who help fund our project. We received more than 500 donations in October. Many thanks to you for your support.

          You probably know we’re aiming for a Christmas release this year All 3 editions of Linux Mint 19.3 passed QA and we’ll be announcing the BETA release on Tuesday!

          We’re really excited about this release. The 19.x series is too years old and feels very polished. There are exciting features in 19.3 we haven’t talked about on the blog yet. The software selection changed and three new apps are coming in. The artwork is new and makes 19.3 feel really fresh.

          We also have tray support for system reports. That’s something we think you’ll enjoy, and it’s helps us communicate with you better. It’s yet another way for us to document issues, workarounds and solutions and to target that information in a precise way, when it’s relevant to people who need it. This is new in 19.3, but it’s also something we’ll backport… so when the 19.3 stable release is officially announced, you won’t just find out about it here on this blog, you’ll also be notified from within Linux Mint.

          I hope you all enjoy the upcoming release. We had a lot of fun working on it and it’s a real pleasure to see you use it. We look forward to receiving your feedback and to fix any bugs which might have passed our QA.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 ‘Tricia’ BETA is mere days away!

          Back in October, we told you the Linux Mint developers were hoping to have version 19.3 released by Christmas 2019. Well, I have some good news regarding that — Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” it is still on schedule for a release by December 25! Yes, Linux Mint fans, you will likely be treated to something much better than any gift wrapped under your tree– a new version of the OS you love.

          With all of that said, I have some more great news about Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” — the BETA will be released this upcoming Tuesday, December 3! This past Friday was “Black Friday,” tomorrow is “Cyber Monday,” and I think we can now dub the day after that “Mint Tuesday.”

        • Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” Beta Is Now Available to Download with a Fresh New Look

          Initially revealed earlier this fall, the Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” operating system will be the third installment in the Linux Mint 19 series, based on Canonical’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) long-term supported operating system series.

          As expected, Linux Mint 19.3 will features packages from the Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS release, but it will also introduce some exciting new features that are yet to be revealed to the public, as well as new apps and refresh artwork, such as new icons and wallpaper, which you can see in the screenshot gallery below.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Beta Arrives with New Apps, ‘Fresh’ Artwork

          We now know that Linux Mint 19.3 will ship with three new apps and feature a revamped set of artwork that, Mint say, “…makes 19.3 feel really fresh”.

          We know at least 2 of those 3 new apps already: Celluloid (a user-friendly front to MPV) and Gnote, which replaces Tomboy.

          The Cinnamon 4.4.2 update will also be at the heart of the next Mint release. On paper this uplift looks like it brings a sizeable set of bug fixes and stability improvements, though no major new features.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Rust-Based Redox OS Is Nearly Self-Hosting After Four Years

        The article notes that the OS’s latest release was version 0.5 last March, arguing that it’s “best described as experimental…”

        “Still, if Rust continues to grow in popularity, its characteristics of safety and unimpeded performance seem ideal for creating a new operating system, so perhaps Redox will become more prominent.”

      • Getting a big scientific prize for open-source software

        It is a great honor, because the selection was made by the members of the Académie des Sciences, very accomplished scientists with impressive contributions to science. The “Académie” is the hallmark of fundamental academic science in France. To me, this prize is also symbolic because it recognizes an open view of academic research and transfer, a view that sometimes felt as not playing according to the incentives. We started scikit-learn as a crazy endeavor, a bit of a hippy science thing. People didn’t really take us seriously. We were working on software, and not publications. We were doing open source, while industrial transfer is made by creating startups or filing patents. We were doing Python, while academic machine learning was then done in Matlab, and industrial transfer in C++. We were not pursuing the latest publications, while these are thought to be research’s best assets. We were interested in reaching out to non experts, while partners considered as interesting have qualified staff.

      • App Highlight: Caligator is a Beautiful Calculator & Converter

        You will find lots of useful applications for Linux, however, not all of them focus primarily on the user experience.

        Sure, the user interface may end up being something nice and simple but not necessarily pleasing to look at.

        For the very same reason, I wanted to have a calculator and converter app on Linux similar to Numi (which is available only for macOS). I know we already have a superb calculator app like Qalculate but I am not a fan of its simple looking (read boring) interface.

        Recently, I came across something very similar – ‘Caligator‘ made by Team XenoX.

      • PeaZip 7.0

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

      • OwnTracks on macOS

        So why did Christoph do this? Because he could! But honestly, since Catalyst isn’t 100% like programming for iOS, it has made OwnTracks better because several edge cases were detected and fixed.

      • Events

        • Tobias Bernard: LAS 2019

          A few weeks ago I attended the Linux App Summit in Barcelona. I arrived very late on Monday night by bus, after almost not making it to Spain that day (my train from Paris stopped in Montpellier due to the rails being destroyed by a storm and the highway was blocked by a protest). Adrien, Julian and I had a shared accommodation, which conveniently was just down the street from the venue.

          On Tuesday and Wednesday I attended some talks, but was mostly focused on preparing the talk Jordan and I had on Wednesday afternoon. Talks with multiple presenters are always tough, especially if there’s not much time for practicing, but I think it went okay given the circumstances. There’s a recording on Youtube in the day 2 live stream video.

          Over the course of the conference I had lots of good conversations about the state of free software with people from GNOME and other projects. In some areas it’s exciting how far we’ve come (e.g. Flatpak), but in others it’s frustrating how little has changed over the past decades (e.g. fragmentation).

        • Tech Day by Init

          Last Thursday I visited Tech Day by Init and had the opportunity to talk about a topic close to my heart. I decided to do a talk about Open Source Anti-Patterns (you can find the slides over at Kuro Studio).

      • CMS

        • The Month in WordPress: November 2019

          November has been a big month in the WordPress community. New releases, big events, and a push for more contributors have characterized the work being done across the project — read on to find out more!

      • BSD

        • ryzen build (for openbsd)

          I like my computers fast and light, and thus the preference for Thinkpad X1 models and the like. But recently I’ve been playing more with my Samsung ultrabook and it’s definitely a step back in the performance department. But then I thought, what if we get a really fast desktop and remote into it? The classic solving a problem by turning it into two problems.

      • Programming/Development

        • PHP 7.4.0 released

          Version 7.4.0 of the PHP language has been released. New features include typed properties, arrow functions, weak references, and more; see the release announcement and migration guide for more information.

        • Python

          • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Bob Belderbos

            This week we welcome Bob Belderbos (@bbelderbos) as our PyDev of the Week! Bob is a co-founder of PyBites. Bob has also contributed to Real Python and he’s a Talk Python trainer. You can learn more about Bob by checking out his website or visiting his Github profile. Let’s spend some quality time getting to know Bob better!

            Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

            I am a software developer currently working at Oracle in the Global Construction Engineering group. But I am probably better known as co-founder of PyBites, a community that masters Python through code challenges.

          • Spyder IDE: Variable Explorer improvements in Spyder 4

            Spyder 4 will be released very soon with lots of interesting new features that you’ll want to check out, reflecting years of effort by the team to improve the user experience. In this post, we will be talking about the improvements made to the Variable Explorer.

            These include the brand new Object Explorer for inspecting arbitrary Python variables, full support for MultiIndex dataframes with multiple dimensions, and the ability to filter and search for variables by name and type, and much more.

            It is important to mention that several of the above improvements were made possible through integrating the work of two other projects. Code from gtabview was used to implement the multi-dimensional Pandas indexes, while objbrowser was the foundation of the new Object Explorer.

          • Django security releases issued: 2.2.8 and 2.1.15

            Since Django 2.1, a Django model admin displaying a parent model with related model inlines, where the user has view-only permissions to a parent model but edit permissions to the inline model, would display a read-only view of the parent model but editable forms for the inline.

            Submitting these forms would not allow direct edits to the parent model, but would trigger the parent model’s save() method, and cause pre and post-save signal handlers to be invoked. This is a privilege escalation as a user who lacks permission to edit a model should not be able to trigger its save-related signals.

            To resolve this issue, the permission handling code of the Django admin interface has been changed. Now, if a user has only the “view” permission for a parent model, the entire displayed form will not be editable, even if the user has permission to edit models included in inlines.

            This is a backwards-incompatible change, and the Django security team is aware that some users of Django were depending on the ability to allow editing of inlines in the admin form of an otherwise view-only parent model.

          • Guidelines for BangPypers Dev Sprints

            How do you get started on open source programming? How can you contribute to that framework you’ve been itching to add an extra feature to? How do you get guidance and get help pushing your changes to merge upstream?

            If you’ve wondered on the above at least once, then you’re in dire need to attend one of our dev sprints.

          • Trey Hunner: Cyber Monday Python Sales

            Python Morsels is my weekly Python skill-building service.

            I’m offering something sort of like a “buy one get one free” sale this year.

            You can pay $200 to get 2 redemption codes, each worth 12 months of Python Morsels.

            You can use one code for yourself and give one to a friend. Or you could be extra generous and give them both away to two friends. Either way, 2 people are each getting one year’s worth of weekly Python training.

            You can find more details on this sale here.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Beware of shell globs

            Shell globs allow one to specify set of filenames with wildcard characters. This is really useful, but they have some rather unintuitive functions that could surprise you, and even cause big problems if you’re unlucky enough.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Blue Beanie Day 2019

          Web designer Jeffrey Zeldman wrote a book about web standards and wears a blue beanie on the cover. This picture inspired the inventors of the Blue Beanie Day to choose a blue beanie as a sign of web accessibility. They now try to get everyone to take a selfie with a blue beanie and spread the word every year on November 30th. Who does not have blue beanie can also digitally paint or paste one into the picture.

          Web accessibility does not only affect people with disabilities. It is also important to provide [Internet] access to all people regardless of their technical capabilities. This includes, for example, the use of the [Internet] via text-only browsers. Also, age-related limitations as poor eyesight issues should be considered.

        • SPF-aware greylisting and filter-greylist

          TL;DR:
          – greylisting is a sound idea
          – yet it is not really practical today
          – people tend to disable it or find work-arounds
          – SPF-aware greylisting makes greylisting usable again

  • Leftovers

    • Episode 56 –The Coltrane Church – Along The Line Podcast

      Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo, and Nolan Higdon discuss the Coltrane Church. ATL’s Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga. Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

    • Science

      • ‘We Wanted Our Patrons Back’ — Public Libraries Scrap Late Fines To Alleviate Inequity

        In April, Ramirez finally caught a break. The San Diego Public Library wiped out all outstanding late fines for patrons, a move that followed the library system’s decision to end its overdue fines. Ramirez was among the more than 130,000 beneficiaries of the policy shift, cardholders whose library accounts were newly cleared of debt.

        The changes were enacted after a city study revealed that nearly half of the library’s patrons whose accounts were blocked as a result of late fees lived in two of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. “I never realized it impacted them to that extent,” said Misty Jones, the city’s library director.

        For decades, libraries have relied on fines to discourage patrons from returning books late. But a growing number of some of the country’s biggest public library systems are ditching overdue fees after finding that the penalties drive away the people who stand to benefit the most from free library resources.

        From San Diego to Chicago to Boston, public libraries that have analyzed the effects of late fees on their cardholders have found that they disproportionately deter low-income residents and children.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • TfL resets passwords for every Oyster account in London

        Cast your mind back to August – the weather was fairly lousy and TfL confirmed that around 1200 Oyster accounts had been [cracked].

        For the not-of-London, an Oyster card is London’s joined-up RFID powered travel card – custodian of top-up fares and annual season tickets alike.

        Although that was a minor [attack] in relative terms, TfL has decided to take action to ensure that nothing like it happens again and has decided to reset everyone’s passwords.

      • Proprietary

        • New checkra1n beta goes live with Apple TV support; Linux version one step behind the release

          Do you love customising your phone? In case you do, you might avoid iOS because it ain’t a personalisation freak’s paradise. Owing to the Cupertino brand’s efforts to keep the ecosystem closed, changing built-in settings on a raw unit is impossible.

          What if you just want the OS to come your way? Well, that involves a series of geeky steps, which cumulatively bears the name, jailbreaking. In short, you intrude into the filesystem to gain an elated set of privileges without Apple’s consent.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (389-ds-base, asterisk, file, nss, proftpd-dfsg, ssvnc, and tnef), Fedora (chromium, djvulibre, freeradius, ImageMagick, jhead, kernel, phpMyAdmin, python-pillow, and rubygem-rmagick), Mageia (bzip2, chromium-browser-stable, curl, dbus, djvulibre, glib2.0, glibc, gnupg2, httpie, libreoffice, libssh2, mosquitto, nginx, python-sqlalchemy, unbound, and zipios++), openSUSE (bluez, clamav, cpio, freerdp, openafs, phpMyAdmin, strongswan, and webkit2gtk3), Red Hat (samba and SDL), Scientific Linux (389-ds-base), and SUSE (haproxy, python-Django, and tightvnc).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • It’s Time to Throw Off Our Digital Chains

              While we struggle to articulate compelling defenses of privacy, those in power have had little difficulty understanding its significance. The structures of class society are being encoded into our experience of online life at a rapid pace, something that is only possible because of our political ambivalence about privacy’s value. Most recently, this disconnect was made clear in a report by the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty, which highlighted how technology is being used by governments in various oppressive ways in the digitization of welfare services.

            • China tightens cyberspace controls by introducing mandatory face scans for phone users

              China will require telecom operators to collect face scans when registering new phone users at offline outlets starting on Sunday, according to the country’s information technology authority, as Beijing continues to tighten cyberspace controls.

              In September, China’s industry and information technology ministry issued a notice on “safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens online”, which laid out rules for enforcing real-name registration.

            • In “60 Minutes” appearance, YouTube’s CEO offers a master class in moral equivalency

              Susan Wojcicki may be one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley, but she also holds the unenviable role of being ultimately responsible for a lot of misinformation that we, along with our parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and children — not to mention billions of strangers — now consume on YouTube.

              That garbage, along with valuable content, is inevitable on a platform that Wojcicki says sees 500 hours of video downloaded to the platform every single minute. But it doesn’t meant that YouTube can’t do considerably more, particularly given the vast financial resources of its parent company, Alphabet, which had a stunning $117 billion in financial reserves as of this summer — more than any company on the planet.

            • Google Messages will soon verify businesses to block spam

              The latest beta build of Google Messages looks to change that, with a new feature called “Verified SMS”. When enabled, your handset will create a hash code based on both the business’ and your phone number, and the message contents. These are then forwarded to Google, which checks the business’ own code to figure out if the message is genuine or a cheeky SMS scammer.

            • China due to introduce face scans for mobile users

              People in China are now required to have their faces scanned when registering new mobile phone services, as the authorities seek to verify the identities of the country’s hundreds of millions of [Internet] users.

              [...]

              When signing up for new mobile or mobile data contracts, people are already required to show their national identification card (as required in many countries) and have their photos taken.

              But now, they will also have their faces scanned in order to verify that they are a genuine match for the ID provided.

            • China requires face scan for new mobile users

              A regulation that requires Chinese citizens to scan their faces when registering new mobile phones came into effect on Sunday (Dec. 1), as Beijing works to ensure the identities of the country’s [Internet] users.

              The Chinese government said the new rule, announced in September, is intended to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace.” According to Liberty Times, Chinese nationals are required to keep their photos on file when purchasing new phones or signing mobile contracts, and the new implementation will strengthen government surveillance over its population.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Focus on Early Release of Terror Convict in London Stabbings

        Usman Khan was convicted on terrorism charges but let out of prison early. He attended a “Learning Together” conference for ex-offenders, and used the event to launch a bloody attack, stabbing two people to death and wounding three others.

      • Toll at Least 21 After Mexico Cartel Attack Near U.S. Border

        Mexican security forces on Sunday killed seven more members of a presumed cartel assault force that rolled into a town near the Texas border and staged an hour-long attack, officials said, bringing the death toll to at least 21.

      • Justices Take Up Gun Case, Though Disputed Law Has Changed

        The Supreme Court is turning to gun rights for the first time in nearly a decade, even though those who brought the case, New York City gun owners, already have won changes to the regulation they challenged.

      • Denmark wants to break up ethnic enclaves. What is wrong with them?

        The 15 areas designated as “hard ghettos” have serious problems. To qualify, they must meet two of the following four conditions: 40% of working-age residents must be out of the labour market and not in education; the proportion of residents with criminal convictions must be at least triple the national average; the share of people with no secondary-school diploma must exceed 60%; and the average taxpayer’s income must be under 55% of the regional average. Moreover (and this is where the law is most controversial) more than half the population must have a non-Western immigrant background.

        Denmark is delineating ghettos not to contain immigrants, as the original ghetto in Renaissance Venice was designed to contain Jews, but to push them out. In Mjolnerparken, the plan is to renovate and sell enough apartments to bring the share of subsidised units to below 40%. Tenants who are priced out will receive help to move into public housing in non-ghetto developments around the city. Mjolnerparken’s fortress-like courtyards will be opened up, to allow more flow-through to the wealthier surrounding areas.

      • China Has Lost Taiwan, and It Knows It

        China has also made no secret of its intention to exacerbate social rifts in Taiwan. An editorial from April in The Global Times, a Chinese state-owned tabloid, stated: “We don’t need a real war to resolve the Taiwan question. The mainland can adopt various measures to make Taiwan ruled by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) turn into a Lebanon situation which ‘Taiwan independence’ forces cannot afford.” Meaning: The Chinese government believes it can pit various ethnic, political and social groups in Taiwan against one another.

      • Shaping Public Opinion: The New York Times’ Long History of Endorsing US-Backed Coups

        This included pre-exonerating the country’s notorious security services of all future crimes in their “re-establishment of order,” leading to massacres of dozens of mostly indigenous people.

        The New York Times, the United States’ most influential newspaper, immediately applauded the events, its editorial board refusing to use the word “coup” to describe the overthrow, claiming instead that Morales had “resigned,” leaving a “vacuum of power” into which Añez was forced to move. The Times presented the deposed president as an “arrogant” and “increasingly autocratic” populist tyrant “brazenly abusing” power, “stuffing” the Supreme Court with his loyalists, “crushing any institution” standing in his way, and presiding over a “highly fishy” vote.

        This, for democratic-minded Bolivians, was “the last straw” and forcing him out “became the only remaining option,” the Times extolled. It expressed relief that the country was now in the hands of “more responsible leaders” and stated emphatically that the whole situation was his fault; “There can be little doubt who was responsible for the chaos: newly resigned president Evo Morales,” the editorial board stated in the first paragraph of one article.

        The Times, according to Professor Ian Hudson of the University of Manitoba, co-author of “Gatekeeper: 60 Years of Economics According to the New York Times,” remains America’s most influential news outlet in shaping public opinion.

        “Despite the changing media landscape and the financial troubles of old school journalism models – including the New York Times – it remains the agenda setter. Social media often use or respond to Times stories. It is still probably the single most referenced news outlet in the U.S. Other websites, like Yahoo get more hits, but they do not report or create their own stories. The New York Times still ranks as the top investigative and opinion setting news organization” he told MintPress News.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Meet the Men Fueling the Climate Crisis

        Earlier this year, the climate writer Kate Aronoff laid out the case for trying fossil-fuel executives for crimes against humanity. The effort, she argued, “would put names and faces to a problem too often discussed in the abstract” and “channel some populist rage at the climate’s 1 percent.” Not all of us anthropoids, after all, are equally responsible for anthropogenic climate change: More than 60 percent of all the carbon spat into the atmosphere since 1854 can be traced to 90 corporations and state-owned industries. Over the last half century, just 20 firms produced more than a third of all emissions.

        Historically speaking, corporations are a recent fiction, one created precisely to limit individual accountability. Behind the logos, though, actual human beings make decisions that affect us all. Some of them have decided again and again, day after day and year after year, to put shareholders’—and their own—profits before everyone and everything else in the planet. As the seas rise, the fires burn, the storms swell, and the Arctic melts, remember that we are in this disastrous predicament because the leaders of a few dozen companies—including lobbyists, financiers, various government enablers, think tank hacks, and related shills and swindlers, perhaps a few thousand people over a century and a half—enriched themselves by selling off the future in which the remaining 7.7 billion of us will struggle to survive. German, French, and Swedish now have words for the “flight shame” suffered by air travelers, but no language yet has come up with a term large enough to contain the guilt of fossil fuel executives.

      • Climate change: COP25 talks to open as ‘point of no return’ in sight

        “These unrelenting emergencies are stretching the humanitarian system to breaking point. Repeated cycles of food insecurity from climate-related shocks is resulting in big gaps in funding and unmet humanitarian needs. We are reaching a crisis point in this region.”

        The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, will tell the meeting that the world is now facing a full-blown climate emergency.

        He will urge countries to significantly increase their carbon cutting ambitions. Subsidies for fossil fuel extraction must end, he said, and no new coal-fired power stations must be built after 2020.

      • Green Party will make large-scale environmental destruction a criminal offence

        Green MPs will fight for a new criminal offence of Ecocide, the Green Party’s Deputy Leader Amelia Womack has announced today.

        The new criminal offence would punish severe, widespread and long-term environmental damage, and impose individual liability on company directors.

        This would include companies who are responsible for polluting rivers and oceans, companies involved in large scale deforestation of rainforests and polluting soils.

      • Why We Need a Green New Deal and Half Measures Won’t Work

        Last week there were two reports released on climate change. The first warned that most nations were falling short of their commitments under the Paris agreement and that time was running out to avoid going above a 1.5 degrees C increase in temperature.

      • Failure to Address Climate Crisis Puts Children at Risk

        On Nov. 12, Veneto, Italy’s regional council was debating climate policy in its Venice offices. Minutes after a majority voted against budget amendments to address climate disruption, the chambers were inundated with water. Venice is known for flooding, but it’s getting worse, and the timing in this instance felt like a message.

      • Decrying ‘Utterly Inadequate’ Efforts to Tackle Climate Crisis, UN Chief Declares ‘Our War Against Nature Must Stop’

        “The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,” Antonio Guterres warned ahead of COP 25. “It is in sight and hurtling toward us.”

      • We’re Still Waiting for ‘Early and Often’ Climate Debate Questions

        As the Democratic Party prepared for its first presidential primary debates in June, climate activists pushed the DNC to schedule a single-issue debate on the climate crisis, given the urgency of the problem and the lack of attention given to it in previous debates. DNC chair Tom Perez refused, saying he had “the utmost confidence” that climate disruption would be discussed in

      • Earth Nears Irreversible Tipping Points

        On the eve of a global climate summit in Madrid, seven distinguished climate scientists have issued an urgent warning of approaching planetary tipping points: within a few years, they say, humankind could enter a state of potentially catastrophic climate change on a new “hothouse” Earth.

      • Energy

        • Thousands Stage Protest at German Coal Mines for Bolder Climate Policy

          On the heels of Friday’s global youth-led climate strike, thousands of activists staged demonstrations at three coal mines in Germany Saturday to protest the government’s plan to phase out coal by 2038, which activists say isn’t soon enough.

        • Oil and Gas Industry Tries to Rehabilitate Fracking Amid Calls for National Ban

          The American Petroleum Institute, the nation’s largest oil and gas trade association, is promoting a new video touting domestic natural gas production as essential to energy security. The video, titled “America’s Energy Security: A Generation of Progress At Risk?” comes at a time when calls for halting new fossil fuel production and infrastructure are getting louder and coincided with the release of a United Nations report highlighting the misalignment between global climate goals and countries’ plans to develop fossil fuels.

        • Texas Petroleum Chemical Plant Explosion, And Our Petrochemical “Collective Suicide”

          Although it was clear that many residents had left, it wasn’t hard to find people who remained. I photographed homes within a half-mile of the plant and chatted with residents who were out on the street sharing holiday greetings with their neighbors. They were talking about damage to their homes and the size and the direction of the plume.

        • Myths About EVs

          Nope. None of those are true today. The last one to die was the one about not enough models. That may have been true a couple of years ago but now just about every maker of ICEd vehicles also makes EVs. [...]

        • SUVs Are Worse for the Climate Than You Ever Imagined

          According to a summary analysis of a report by the International Energy Agency that was released on November 13, SUVs are the second-biggest cause of the rise in global carbon dioxide emissions during the past decade. Only the power sector is a bigger contributor.

          [...]

          The preference for heavier SUVs is offsetting fuel-efficiency improvements in smaller cars and carbon savings from the growing popularity of electric cars. “If SUV drivers were a nation, they would rank seventh in the world for carbon emissions,” reported The Guardian.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Factory Farm Conditions Are Unhealthy for Animals and Bad for People, Too

          In 2014, the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by the U.K. government and Wellcome Trust, estimated that 700,000 people around the world die each year due to drug-resistant infections. A follow-up report two years later showed no change in this estimate of casualties. Without action, that number could grow to 10 million per year by 2050. A leading cause of antibiotic resistance? The misuse and overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.

        • New Global Protection Measures for Threatened Rosewood Trees Start this Week

          Ninety days after the decisions were taken in Geneva, the listings for mukula and mulanje cedar are now coming into effect. Starting this week the timber can be internationally traded only with a special CITES permit, issuance of which is contingent upon the timber having been harvested legally, and also proof that its removal does not threaten species survival in the forest. Governments have had three months to put necessary measures in place to comply with the Convention.

          As are all rosewoods, mukula is in particularly high demand for furniture in China. Asian timber trafficking networks have been plundering Africa’s forests for years to export this valuable timber, despite bans in both Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In its investigation Scheduled Extinction: Our Last Chance to Protect the Threatened African Mukula Trees, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) U.S. warned that without international regulation to control the trade, the mukula tree will be driven to extinction in the next two-to-five years. Forestry Advisor from Malawi, Clement Chilima, who introduced the proposal to protect mukula trees at the CITES CoP18, warned: “Mukula is disappearing rapidly through international trade.”

    • Finance

      • European Protesters Demand Amazon Stop Treating Workers Like Robots

        Labor rights activists and climate campaigners across Europe used the occasion of Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, to call attention to and protest Amazon’s “appalling” working conditions, paltry benefits, and destructive environmental practices.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • House Panel to Vote on Ukraine Report as Trump Mulls Defense

        The House impeachment inquiry enters a pivotal stage this week, with investigators planning a vote Tuesday to approve their report making the case for President Donald Trump’s removal from office as he decides whether to mount a defense before a likely Senate trial.

      • It’s Past Time Congress Reined in the President’s Emergency Powers

        The full Senate could soon consider legislation that would rein in the president’s emergency powers and bolster the principle of separation of powers that underpins American democracy. This legislation, the ARTICLE ONE Act as amended by a Senate committee, contains sensible reforms of the National Emergencies Act of 1976 (NEA), the flawed and outdated law that governs the

      • Hong Kong’s Leaders Have Only One Way Out of the Protest Crisis

        As United Nations high commissioner for human rights, I have been closely following the outbreak of mass protests across every region of the world this year. Demonstrators have taken to the streets for weeks on end, seeking to reclaim their economic, social, civil, political, and cultural rights and pushing back against inequalities in all these spheres.

      • 2020 Race Shows the More Women Run, the More They’re Treated Like Candidates—Not ‘Tokens’

        When Victoria Woodhull ran for president in 1872, she was depicted as “Mrs. Satan” in a political cartoon.When Sen. Margaret Chase Smith sought the Republican nomination in 1964, one columnist labeled her too old—at 66—while others insisted she was attractive “for her age.”

      • Back to Jim Crow Under Trump: ‘Lynch Her’ Is Republicans’ Big Idea to Deal With Rep. Ilhan Omar

        Liz Sawyer at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twitter account of Danielle Stella, the Republican challenger to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), has been shut down after she called for her opponent to be lynched.

      • Who is Worse: Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell?

        Consider Georgia: Republican Senator Johnny Isakson is retiring, meaning both of Georgia’s Senate seats are now up for grabs. And this one extra seat—in a state that is trending blue—could be the tipping point that allows Democrats to win enough seats to end GOP control of the Senate.Trump has to go, but so does McConnell. Here’s what you can do: Wherever you are in the country, you can donate to McConnell’s challengers. If you live in or near Kentucky, you can get out and knock doors or make calls. Or if you have friends or family in the state, encourage them to get involved.As to the question of who is worse, Trump or McConnell — the answer is that it’s too close to call. The two of them have degraded and corrupted American democracy. We need them both out.

      • Bloomberg’s Press Cheerleaders Are Ignoring and Downplaying His Scandals

        Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the crowded presidential race hasn’t caused big changes in polling for the top three Democratic candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. It has, however, brought a number of media cheerleaders for the city’s richest resident out of the woodwork.

      • Democratic Party Set Up One-on-One Meetings for Lobbyists and State Lawmakers

        In late August, Democratic state lawmakers from around the country gathered in Boston for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee’s (DLCC) Summer Policy Conference. The 40 legislators who attended were outnumbered by more than 140 lobbyists, most of them representing companies in industries such as oil, pharmaceuticals, insurance, and tech, according to documents obtained by the Energy and Policy Institute via a West Virginia Freedom of Information Act request.

      • A Pennsylvania County’s Election Day Nightmare Underscores Voting Machine Concerns

        The machines that broke in Northampton County are called the ExpressVoteXL and are made by Election Systems & Software, a major manufacturer of election machines used across the country. The ExpressVoteXL is among their newest and most high-end machines, a luxury “one-stop” voting system that combines a 32-inch touch screen and a paper ballot printer.

      • As a Former Police Chief, I’m Troubled Watching My Republican Colleagues Forsake the Law to Protect Trump

        During my 27 years as a law enforcement officer, I almost never knew the political party of the culprits we encountered or the brave officers who locked them up. For a time, I also served as the commander of internal affairs. Our job was to investigate police officers accused of wrongdoing—investigating our own. It was difficult, but we always followed the facts.

        In that job, we took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I never could have imagined betraying that oath by turning a blind eye to wrongdoing because the accused was a member of my political party. The citizens would never have tolerated such a dereliction of duty at the local level. We don’t have to tolerate it now.

        Yet that is exactly what my Republican colleagues in the U.S. Congress have decided to do. As a former police chief, I find their behavior bizarre and beyond disappointing. I know it’s tough, but everybody should be held accountable.

      • When It Comes to Fighting Gerrymandering, These Youth Activists Are Using Data for Democracy

        Redistricting is a normal part of democracy that accounts for how populations can change, but it can be exploited. That’s the case with gerrymandering, the process of redrawing district lines to give one party or group an unfair advantage over the other by concentrating voters who will support that party into a single bloc. It’s not exactly a new process, but it is one that could still have huge impacts in the future.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • UN Free Speech Expert to Visit Ethiopia

        Today, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, starts a week-long visit to Ethiopia.

      • TikTok Reinstates Banned User Who Criticized China

        In the wake of the controversy that ensued after TikTok banned a user who had posted a video that criticized the Chinese government, the company has reinstated the user while insisting that the ban was not related to the video’s criticism of China.

      • Facebook Adds Disclaimer to Post That Singapore Deems False

        Facebook Inc. issued a disclaimer for the first time to a post that the Singapore government said was false, complying with an order under the country’s recently-enacted “fake news” law that critics said could be used to curb dissent.

        A government unit instructed Facebook on Friday to correct a States Times Review post accused of using falsehoods to criticize the ruling People’s Action Party. The label by the social media giant said “Facebook is legally required to tell you that the Singapore government says this post has false information.” A number of people outside Singapore reported not seeing any disclaimer on the platform.

      • Facebook bowed to a Singapore government order to brand a news post as false

        Singapore authorities had previously ordered STR editor Alex Tan to correct the post but the Australian citizen said he would “not comply with any order from a foreign government”.

        Mr Tan, who was born in Singapore, said he was an Australian citizen living in Australia and was not subject to the law. In a follow-up post, he said he would “defy and resist every unjust law”. He also posted the article on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Docs and challenged the government to order corrections there as well.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Indigenous Colombians Escalate Fight to Rescue Ancestral Lands

        The Nasa are one of 102 Indigenous peoples of Colombia who were pushed up into the mountains by European conquest in the 16th century, and later by massive sugarcane plantations. Since 2015, they have been carrying out direct actions in which they cut down cane fields, plant organic crops in their place, and allow the native vegetation to cover additional areas within the same reclaimed lands. They call this action “the liberation of Mother Earth,” an initiative that has cost them at least eight lives and approximately 600 evictions by Colombian state security forces trained by the U.S. Southern Command, according to people interviewed.

      • Hungary Pulls Out of Eurovision Song Contest Due to Alleged Homophobia

        Hungary is reportedly pulling out of the Eurovision 2020 contest for reasons that some may see as homophobic.

      • Conservative Christians Are Making Schools Less Safe for LGBTQ Students

        When student Mason Rice announced that he intended to start a gay-straight alliance, also known as gender and sexuality alliance or GSA, in Fannin County High School in Blue Ridge, Georgia, earlier this fall, conservative parents, students and church leaders organized to create a petition: “Don’t Let Homosexuality Be Pushed on Students in Fannin County,” it read. As of November 25, around 1,303 individuals had signed on.

      • Iraq: Abductions Linked to Baghdad Protests

        At least seven people, including a boy of 16, were reported missing since October 7 from or near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where they were participating in ongoing protests in Iraq’s capital

      • ICC: Changes Needed to Deliver Justice

        The annual meeting of International Criminal Court (ICC) member countries is a pivotal moment to strengthen the court’s delivery of justice, Human Rights Watch said today. The 18th session of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties will take place in the Hague from December 2 to 7, 2019.

      • Bestie Atti: Raising African Women in the Digital Space

        Bestie Atti is a lawyer and the Founder of Bestie Network Africa, an initiative that is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity for women across Africa. In this interview with Maduabuchi Ubani, she shares insight on her journey in digital marketing and the need for entrepreneurs to share their stories of failure as well. Excerpts: [...]

      • Shirish Agarwal: No country for women – rehashed

        The most recent gruesome addition to the list was that of a 26 year-old veterinarian. From the various news reports it was a pre-planned rape and murder of the woman. What was startling to me when I read the report that it seems people still either don’t know or police officers who should know and inform people do not inform people of their rights such as zero FIR . Maybe some RTI activist can find out how many people have used zero FIR or not and make efforts to popularize the concept and its utility. If people are courageous enough, they can even live-shoot video when asking a police officer or constable to file a zero FIR . The other part is I do hope the police do investigate and do the DNA matching so they have conclusive proof other than the statements which the rapists may later claim as being under duress. The views of police is almost Victorian in nature irrespective of whether it’s an officer or a lower hawaldar/constable on the beat.

        While there have been many attempts to try and figure out solutions, it somehow always falls short. There was the ‘Occupy streets by women’ movement in 2017 and so many small and major attempts but almost all have fallen short. Simply put, neither the society, nor the police or the judiciary seems to have any answers. I probably had shared about India’s Daughter , a documentary which shared an insight into the rapist’s mindset. Except for the juvenile, all the other rapists who had confessed to the crime shared their opinion on why the rape happened and most of it was victim-blaming or victim-shaming. The producer Leslee Udwin at the time she made and released the documentary shared that she herself had been raped. The statements made by various BJP leaders as well as some from the opposition were so in favor of the men who had committed the rape were such that they had to finally ban the documentary as lot of hypocricy was being unveiled.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Democratize the Internet

        Jacobin’s Meagan Day spoke with Srinivasan about the [Internet]’s migration from the public to the private sphere, the political agenda of big tech, and the promise that remains of an internet for people, not for profit.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright in State Government Works in the Information Age

          On December 2, 2019, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in Georgia v. Public.Resource.org, Inc. 18-1150 on the question of whether the state of Georgia can obtain and protect a copyright on the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated.” Or, is copyright protection prohibited by the government edicts doctrine as the 11th Circuit held.

        • South Africa Faces US Trade Sanctions over Online Piracy

          The US Trade Representative has launched a review of South Africa’s copyright protection policies, which could result in trade sanctions. The announcement follows a petition from the IIPA, which represents the MPA, RIAA, and other entertainment industry groups. The organizations are unhappy with how South Africa is handling the threat of online piracy and are demanding change.

        • Jung Joon-young, Choi Jong-hoon Incarcerated Over Sex Charges

          A court in Seoul sentenced K-pop stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon to prison for having sex with women who were not capable of resisting them.

        • Restaurant Owned by Drake Shuts Down, Landlord Demands Unpaid Rent

          The Pick 6ix restaurant in downtown Toronto, which was an upscale sports bar owned by rap superstar Drake, has been shut down after the building’s owner terminated the restaurant’s lease as a result of unpaid rent.

        • EBook Piracy Case Plaintiff Vents Frustrations, Judge Responds

          Earlier this year, author John Van Stry granted former Pirate Party leader Travis McCrea’s wish to be sued over his eBook download platform eBook.bike. The matter is now at the discovery stage but it’s clear Van Stry’s attorney has run out of patience with McCrea. After submitting a laundry list of complaints and frustrations to the court, things are now coming to a head.

What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s definitely not “D” for Debian

Bruce Perens systemd 3

Bruce Perens systemd 2

Bruce Perens systemd 1

Summary: Now that Debian is debating and voting on diversity in the technical sense the thoughts of Bruce Perens merit broader audience/reach

Free/Libre Software Will Eventually Become the Norm, ‘Open Source’ is Just Proprietary Software Trying to ‘Buy Time’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OSI at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They’re chocking on their own blood and complaints are being filed by former insiders (for financial fraud)

Azure complaint

Summary: More people are starting to ask questions about Free software while “Open Source” languishes (people can see it’s just a mask for proprietary software); it was a two-decade delaying tactic that’s wearing off (people see GitHub and the OSI/Linux Foundation for what they really are)

MICROSOFT threw lots of money at GitHub, as it had done previously at Skype. By trying to buy a monopoly or near-monopoly Microsoft soon lost that monopoly. People fled. In the case of Skype it was competitors such as WhatsApp (Facebook), not to mention Google, Apple and smaller players like Viber (Rakuten). What’s replacing GitHub? We’re not entirely sure as not many statistics are available, but earlier this year we heard (possibly from the inside, albeit indirectly) that GitHub was losing users and projects. Never mind the likely decrease in new users and projects (entrants).

“That so-called ‘Arctic vault’ won’t go to waste. Microsoft can be buried in it.”We’ve written a great deal about openwashing and GitHub (any project on GitHub ought to be well aware that it is being managed by proprietary software that spies on and censors not only developers but also users/downloaders). Azure is apparently still losing money.

We predict that in the coming years this attempt of Microsoft to hijack GNU/Linux and ‘FOSS’ (they pretend only what’s inside GitHub counts or exists) will fail spectacularly. That so-called ‘Arctic vault’ won’t go to waste. Microsoft can be buried in it.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 01, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:17 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Richard Stallman is Active and Doing Well

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 2:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Sometimes attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

RMS on fighting

Summary: The rumour mill may still be humming along; but against all odds — as Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project — Stallman keeps fighting the good fight (in the face of growing resistance)

LAST week I exchanged some messages with Stallman after few people online had claimed him to be less responsive than before.

Don’t let rumours cloud judgment. As head of the GNU project (still) he remains busy and very active. Maybe he hasn’t given public talks since that one in Microsoft; but from what we can see, week after week, GNU releases are still frequent (pertinent projects), the media has left him alone and the FSF lost 3 Board members without anyone new being appointed. Lack of new appointments isn’t the problem; a problem would arise if someone improper was (improperly) appointed. Wouldn’t IBM love that?

“Lack of new appointments isn’t the problem; a problem would arise if someone improper was (improperly) appointed.”The relatively few people who signed a letter striving to remove Stallman from GNU have not given up. One of them occasionally shows up in our IRC channels. But 2.5 months down the line Stallman faces no real controversy. The dust has settled. Let’s hope that the FSF will rise as champion of Software Freedom, seeing that Debian now (belatedly) tackles the problems with systemd (second post this weekend from DPL Sam Hartman).

Attempts to ‘cancel’ Stallman have not been thoroughly successful, only partially. And that’s a big problem for the “cancellation lobby” (they wanted him to vanish) because among more and more people Stallman is now seen as a victim, a martyr. There’s sympathy. Like we said months ago, considering who’s in this lobby (and why), their whole effort may prove counter-productive.

Banning Former Microsoft Employees Who Complain About Microsoft Lies, Abuses and Crimes

Posted in Microsoft at 1:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Truly the mindset of a "dangerous cult" which viciously attacks its critics/exposers

Windows Insider

Summary: The official account of Windows Insider is banning people whom it never even spoke to; this seems like a way of ‘punishing’ people who are not ‘true believers’ in Microsoft

Mitchel Lewis, a former Microsoft employee whose articles we’ve at times syndicated here, is no friend of Microsoft. He has evidence of crimes and he writes about various abuses.

“Achievement Unlocked?”

“Did he abuse them? Did he say something offensive? No.”That’s what he asked after he had found out about being blocked by Microsoft boosters.

And for what? The above account bans Microsoft critics, even former employees.

Did he abuse them? Did he say something offensive? No.

“I honestly don’t even recall tweeting at them,” he laughed. “I’m flattered at this point…”

He sent us the screenshot. Was he also reported to Twitter for ‘abuse’? The “bury brigade” mentality? Silence the messenger?

“Microsoft truly operates like a cult. It uses the same indoctrination and intimidation tactics.”I’ve asked him: “Can you find and share the context leading up to it (the ban)?”

I’ve also checked Twitter to see history of interactions. I can’t find any. I can see the contexts from my account, which is not banned (blocked) by Windows Insider. From all I can see and gather, the oversensitive people at Windows Insider could not bear the sight of Microsoft being criticised — even by its own former employees — to the point of simply blacklisting them. From what we’ve heard (testimonies from Mr. Lewis), this isn’t limited to Windows Insider. Microsoft truly operates like a cult. It uses the same indoctrination and intimidation tactics.

Wikileaks: Thierry Breton May Have Misused Regulatory/Government Positions to Attack His Competition (in the Market)

Posted in Europe, Fraud at 1:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Telegram (cable)
It’s always there somewhere, under the radar…

Summary: Thierry ‘revolving doors’ Breton as seen by the United States government

THE FOLLOWING telegram (cable) merits attention. We have not mentioned this in our ongoing series, but it’s another potential scandal from 2005.

To quote the cable in full:


PRICE-FIXING; ECONOMY MINISTER UNDER SUSPICION 
 
NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION 
 
1.  (SBU) SUMMARY. France's three main mobile telephone 
operators (Orange, SFR and Bouygues) are being investigated 
by the government's Fraud Office for anticompetitive 
practices.  If found guilty by France's Competition Council 
of a concerted effort to fix calling rates from 1997 to 
2003, they could face fines of up to 10 percent of their 
respective annual revenues.  A decision by the Council is 
expected before the end of the year, according to the August 
24 issue of "Le Canard Enchaine", the French satirical and 
investigative weekly that made the ongoing government 
investigation public.  The weekly hints at least some 
involvement by former France Telecom CEO and current Economy 
Minister Thierry Breton, which could spell trouble for the 
minister and the government. END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  (SBU)  The investigation results from an original 
complaint by French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir in 
February 2002.  The consumer association noted that each 
mobile operator had adopted "strictly identical rates."  An 
investigation carried out by the Economy and Finance 
Ministry's Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Office 
(DGCCRF) documented the allegations further, according to 
"Le Canard Enchaine" in its August 24 issue.   In its May 
2004 report, the Fraud Office found memos and minutes of 
"secret regular meetings" between the three operators to 
allow them to be more reactive to market changes. (Note: 
Orange is owned by France Telecom, Bouygues is privately- 
owned, and SFR is owned jointly by Vodafone and Vivendi.) 
 
3.  (SBU)  "Le Canard" cites many of the operators' 
documents which were never intended to be "communicated to 
outsiders, either to ART, the French telecoms regulatory 
authority or to the Economy and Finance Ministry."  The 
documents further point to the minutes of an October 28, 
2002 meeting between the three operators, in the presence of 
then- France Telecom CEO Thierry Breton.  During that 
meeting, the CEO of FT's mobile unit Orange allegedly 
referred to the "Yalta of market share" agreed by the three 
operators.  An earlier note claims that Breton's predecessor 
Michel Bon had given a green light to the secret agreement. 
 
4.  (SBU)  Finally, according to the press reports, the 
investigation carried out by the Fraud Office concluded the 
(tortured?) reasoning behind the alleged collusion : to keep 
financially ailing Bouygues afloat in order to prevent FT's 
Orange market share from crossing the watershed 49.6 percent 
mark, at which point the regulator would be required to step 
in and set prices.   The Fraud Office's report allegedly 
quotes Thierry Breton as using this explanation in a meeting 
it documents.  FT allegedly feared that if Bouygues went 
bankrupt, most of its customers would move to Orange. 
 
5. (SBU) Breton, who was CEO from October 2003 to 2005, 
before being named Economy and Finance Minister, shepherded 
France Telecom's gradual transformation from a state- 
controlled company to one where the GOF owns approximately 
39 percent.  Mobile operator Orange was a publicly trade 
company in 2000 when France Telecom acquired it from 
Vodafone, in a deal approved by European Commission 
authorities. Under Breton's tenure, FT bought back all 
outstanding shares of the company. 
 
6. (U) Breton and other ministry officials categorically 
deny these allegations.  Breton says the facts being 
investigated took place before he took over at FT, and added 
that France's three mobile phone operators "would have to be 
punished" should any evidence of a price-fixing agreement be 
found. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
7. (SBU) In the short-term, the allegations against Breton 
could weaken the minister's personal efforts to push for tax 
reform in the fall, and could distract public and press from 
Prime Minister de Villepin's singular focus on employment. 
If it mushrooms, a highly visible scandal involving Breton 
(France's fourth Economy minister in two years) could be 
politically damaging for the Chirac government.  A scandal 
involving one of the new government's leading ministers 
would certainly provide the deeply divided Socialist Party 
with one thing to agree on.  (In parliament next week there 
will be no lack of socialist lambasting of price fixing by 
capitalist fat cats).  Chirac's other rivals and their 
supporters are also lining up to take political advantage of 
the government's weaknesses.  The knives may be even sharper 
next week as much of France returns to work and school. 
 
HOFMANN 

There were several other scandals implicating Breton as a government official, e.g.

  1. Chirac's Entrepreneurial “Joker”
  2. The “Cost-Killer” Tries to Tame the National Debt
  3. “Rhodiagate” and the Vivendi Universal Affair
  4. Insider-Trading Scandal at EADS
  5. Noël Forgeard and His “Golden Parachute”
  6. Thierry and the $100 Billion Man
  7. Thierry & Nicolas - a Bromance That Turned Sour?

Now Breton has a very powerful position in the EU. He has just been given additional duties and powers, according to press reports.

13 Years of UPC Promises

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The anatomy of UPC ‘fake news’ or lobbying tactics along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecies and false predictions

UPC in 2007

2007 (EU): coming in 2012! Pinky promise!

UPC in 2011
2011: Richard Stallman sounds the alarm

UPC in 2011, CIPA

2011 (CIPA): it’s coming, it’s coming! Yes, it’s true, we support software patents (and UPC)

UPC in 2012, Sept.
2012 (EU Commission): coming soon! Real soon!

upc-2012-sept

2012 (law firm) slight delay. Don’t panic. Coming soon.

UPC in May 2014
2014 (UK-IPO): coming soon

UPC in 2014

2014 (Bristows): coming soon (next year)

UPC in 2015

2015 (EPO): Unitary Patent ready to go

2020 is only a month away.

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