Links 13/12/2019: QEMU 4.2.0, GNU Guile 2.9.7

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • We’re headed for edge computing

          Every week seems to bring a new report on how edge computing is going to take over the world. This crescendo has been building for the past few years, so it’s no surprise that edge computing sits near the peak on the Gartner hype cycle for emerging technologies. But the question remains—will the edge computing phenomenon take over the world as predicted and, if so, how can businesses benefit from it?

          In this and future articles, we’ll demystify edge computing, examine its motivations, and explore best practices in creating scalable edge deployments and the role of open source at the edge. We’ll also look at 5G and its impact to the telco industry, remote office/branch office, IoT, and other use cases.

        • Persistent data implications for apps and microservices

          Speed and agility are the name of the game, whether you are running track in a triathlon, racing to find cures to the world’s most nefarious diseases, or developing new applications that are changing the way society interacts. Application development teams can have a profound effect, not only on their organizations’ ability to differentiate themselves, but also the world we live in.


          While just a few years ago, some organizations were still concerned with the viability of running production workloads in containers, the benefits of capitalizing on faster development cycles has garnered favor among developers. And, with enterprise-class enhancements delivered by platforms such as Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, containers have grown from nifty developer projects, to scalable, more manageable infrastructure environments that enable DevOps for the hybrid cloud.

        • Cloud Pak for Applications supports IBM Z

          The latest version of Cloud Pak for Applications, Version 4.0, extends support for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.2 onto the IBM Z platform.

          Now users can extend their hybrid cloud deployments to include Red Hat OpenShift clusters on IBM Z hardware, taking advantage of the container orchestration platform and tools to bring a consistent experience for development of cloud-native workloads.

          Support for OpenShift on IBM Z in this release of IBM Cloud Pak for Applications is limited to the container platform only. IBM runtimes continue to provide support for IBM Z, including container deployments where appropriate.

        • Exploring OpenShift 4.x Cluster

          In this video we will explore the cluster installed during the last video, log into the cluster, configure an authentication provider. We will understand the structure of the cluster and the architecture overview of HA installation. We will get deep understanding of what runs on the master node vs worker node, how the load balancers are setup. We will also look at the cloud provider to see all the infrastructure components that got created by the installer.

        • Celebrating 20 years of enterprise Java: Milestones

          As we celebrate the last 20 years of enterprise Java, it is important to look back at the platform’s history to better understand where it came from and how we arrived where we are today.

          Enterprise Java emerged during a pivotal time in the history of enterprise computing. When Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.2 was introduced in December 1999, it not only marked the birth of enterprise Java, but also signaled an important shift in how organizations were thinking about the web.

          Roughly five years earlier, in May 1995, the Java programming language had been publicly released. The language was originally developed to address obstacles faced by a stealth innovation team at Sun Microsystems building the Star7, an interactive handheld home entertainment controller; however, after a tepid response from the television industry, the team instead set its sights on the internet.

          Web browsers were making the web more accessible to users, and when the Java language was first announced by Sun, it came with a crucial endorsement: Netscape, one of the leaders in the nascent Web browser market at the time, announced in 1995 that it would include support for Java in its namesake browser.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Makerspace 101: Brian Beck | Jupiter Extras 39

        Brian Beck joins Ell and Wes to chat about what’s going on at 10BitWorks, 3D printing and the need to tinker, and how to find a makerspace near you.

      • Linux with USB-C & Thunderbolt Docking Stations – What Works, and Buying Tips

        Although USB-C is a specification, it doesn’t offer any consistency – only confusion. In this video, I talk about USB-C and Thunderbolt “Docks” and how they pertain to and work with Linux. I’ll show off some example devices, and give you my tips.

      • Dora, Ms. Frizzle, the Phillipines, Hardware, and Chimeras

        TIK TEK TOE, episode 008. Marcel and Evan discuss Dora the Explorer, the Magic School Bus, how Adam ruins everything, Open Source in the Phillipines, the value of old hardware, consumer vs creator devices, licences (again) and .org (again). Cloud gaming makes another appearance and Marcel totally geeks out on the concept of human chimeras and how this might impact DNA evidence and even, wait for it, conciousness.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 19.3 released with huge updates for Linux open source graphics drivers

          Arriving in time before the holiday season, Mesa 19.3 has now been officially released giving all open source Linux graphics drivers some big boosts and new features.

          What is Mesa? Is it a tasty biscuit? Do I have Mesa? If you have an AMD or Intel GPU then yes, you will be using Mesa (unless you changed it, 99% of distributions come with Mesa out of the box) and it’s what powers your GPU enabling it to talk to OpenGL and Vulkan.

        • AMDVLK 2019.Q4.4 Released With Navi 14 Fixes, DoW 3 Perf Optimization

          As anticipated, AMD has now formally released a new version of their AMDVLK open-source Vulkan driver following this week’s Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Windows driver release.

          The changes end up being what I was alluding to yesterday with VK_EXT_pipeline_creation_feedback support, subgroup cluster support, a performance optimization for the Dawn of War 3 game, CTS failure fixes for Navi 14, and other fixes.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Proton 4.11-10 Adds Halo: Master Chief Collection Support, Integer Scaling, Other Game Improvements

        Valve has released Proton 4.11-10 and with this update to their blend of Wine that powers Steam Play is support for Halo: The Master Chief Collection among other Windows game improvements.

        Halo: The Master Chief Collection is now playable with the latest Proton and on a sufficiently new Linux distribution. But some game modes end up being disabled over Easy Anti Cheat support.

      • Steam Play Proton 4.11-10 out, mouse handling improvements and Halo: The Master Chief Collection works

        A brand new update to Steam Play Proton has arrived ahead of the weekend with Proton 4.11-10, giving out of the box play for Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

        For Halo, you will need the Steam Beta Client if you’re on an older distribution, plus online matchmaking still won’t work due to Easy Anti-Cheat not supporting Steam Play Proton. However, single-player does work fine and you should be able to play with friends outside of matchmaking.

      • Railway Empire heads to the cold North in the latest DLC, free update adds in a new Challenge Map

        Railway Empire from Gaming Minds Studios and Kalypso Media Digital has expanded again with the release of the Northern Europe DLC.

      • Unsettling story-driven adventure ‘Sally Face’ has a final fifth episode released

        An adventure about a boy with a prosthetic face and a tragic past, an unsettling episodic game and it’s now complete. As of today, it’s also now available on GOG as well as Steam.

      • Feral’s Lead Vulkan Developer Leaves The Company For Sony

        Last year one of Feral’s top Linux developers left the company and now another top developer has sadly left the game porting firm.

        Alex Smith who oversaw Feral’s Vulkan support has left the UK-based game porting company. Alex had been leading their Vulkan development for the past three years as well as working on some of their Nintendo Switch ports.

      • Feral Interactive’s lead Vulkan developer is moving onto something new

        Some game industry news to share today, as the Vulkan development lead at Feral Interactive has announced they’re moving on. A big change too, as they’re jumping over to Sony to work on the PlayStation.

      • A reminder of some great looking games coming to Linux from successful crowdfunding campaigns

        Crowdfunding for games doesn’t always work out but thanks to the likes of IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, Fig and more we have a lot of good Linux games.

        Firstly though, a reminder on what games came to Linux as a result of crowdfunding. It’s easy to forget just how many there has been. Games like: 7 Days to Die, AI War II, ATOM RPG, EVERSPACE, Factorio, FTL: Faster Than Light, Hollow Knight, Hyper Light Drifter, Pillars of Eternity + Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, The Long Dark, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Wasteland 2.

        There’s plenty more on the way too, let’s take a quick look at over 20 which I think are going to be awesome that are funded and on the way to Linux. All release dates are subject to change of course, since they’re in development currently.

      • WarriOrb: Prologue gives an impressive taste of what’s to come in this action platformer

        A once mighty demon trapped in an unusual and slightly amusing body, WarriOrb: Prologue gives us a small taste of what’s to come in the full game and it’s quite impressive. You will have to make your way through the ravaged world to regain your freedom and sanity. Along the way you will meet demons, giants, mutants and all sort of magical and crazy creatures.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Meetings and Conferences

          From there Aleix Pol and I sped off to Belgium for GNU Health CON. Aleix gave a talk on Kirigami and UIs for mobile devices. I might give a talk about Pine64 hardware (which I’m hardly qualified to do, but willing). Until then I’m running the KDE booth at the event, with a Plasma Mobile phone (not a PinePhone).

          One of the things we did for this booth is slap together a presentation to run on the monitor at the booth. This is a miniature QML application that runs a slideshow; the slideshow is easy to extend by adding more Component blocks to the file. It’s not quite the equivalent of reading in a Markdown file, but pretty close. At 8k of QML source (probably 80% of that is spaces for tidy indentation, too) it’s handy to have around. We’ll add it to the promo wiki once we’re done.

          Writing the slides was fun, I got to use the new emoji picker, and Aleix did all the heavy QML lifting. I really need to learn more of that.

        • Linux App Summit 2019!

          I attended the first Linux App Summit cohosted by KDE and GNOME! The conference was held in Barcelona, Spain. The conference was organised by the local team, Barcelona Free Software.

          The conference hosted quality talks all relevant to the subject of the Linux App Ecosystem – people from the entire spectrum of the Linux Desktop came to talk at the conference, right from packaging software like snap and flatpak devs to people involved in core Plasma and GTK – LAS is THE place to be if you want to see where the Linux App Ecosystem is heading to.

          One of my favourite talks was by Tobias Bernard and Jordan Petridis on “There is no ‘Linux’ platform” describing the immense differences we have within the “Linux” platform that we effectively have to call them a separate ‘platform’ itself.

          Another talk that stood out was the Day Two Keynote by Frank Karlitsche: “We all suck” ;) The talk didn’t mince words in saying that the Linux App Ecosystem has a lot to catch up with in terms of organising technology, people, packaging for us, to really compete with the proprietary system and laid a few, I wouldn’t say far-fetched but uneasy solutions (one of them being to merge both KDE and GNOME to form a ‘super’ organisation for all desktop needs (?) )

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Dual-GPU support follow-up: NVIDIA driver support

          There were a number of problems with the old detection code in switcheroo-control:
          - it required the graphics card to use vga_switcheroo in the kernel, which the NVIDIA driver didn’t do
          - it could support more than 2 GPUs
          - and it didn’t really actually know which GPU was going to be the “main” one

          And, on top of all that, gnome-shell expected the Mesa OpenGL stack to be used, so it only knew the right environment variables to do that, and only for one secondary GPU.

          So we’ve extended switcheroo-control and its API to do all this.

          (As a side note, commenters asked me about the KDE support, and how it would integrate, and it turns out that KDE’s code just checks for the presence of a file in /sys, which is only present when vga_switcheroo is used. So I would encourage KDE to adopt the switcheroo-control D-Bus API for this)

        • GNOME 3.36 Bringing Better Multi-GPU Handling With Switcheroo-Control, NVIDIA Support

          For a few years GNOME has supported a “launch on discrete GPU” option for applications within the Shell’s menu while for GNOME 3.36 that support is being cleaned up and extended to also handle NVIDIA GPU configurations.

          GNOME developer Bastien Nocera has been cleaning up the switcheroo-control code so it doesn’t rely upon the Linux kernel’s VGA_Switcheroo, support more than two GPUs, and better handling of the main/secondary handling. For end-users the big addition is support for the NVIDIA proprietary driver.

        • Sébastien Wilmet: Providing GActions in a library

          GAction represents an action that the user can do in an application, it’s usually present in a menu item or a button. It’s not just a function to launch, it’s a little more involved than that.

          Overall, providing GActions in a library can be done quite naturally, once the library provides a framework for the application.

          TeplApplication and TeplApplicationWindow both provide GActions in their public API. They are namespaced with the “tepl-” prefix, to avoid conflicts with other libraries or the application; so the full name of the GActions are “app.tepl-something” or “win.tepl-something”. And all the GActions are documented in the class description.

          Note that TeplApplication and TeplApplicationWindow are not subclasses of GtkApplication and GtkApplicationWindow, because several libraries might want to extend those GTK classes and an application needs to be able to use all those extensions at the same time. A nice solution that doesn’t require to hold a new object in the application: use this design pattern that I’ve already described on my blog.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Plenty of Linux Power Is Built Into Linux Lite 4.6

          Linux Lite 4.6 offers a great deal of flexibility and usability. Its desktop offers considerably more system controls and configuration options than many of the more modern desktops, such as Enlightenment, GNOME 3 and Budgie.

          All of the system controls and settings are located in the Settings option within the main menu display. Windows users will find a close similarity to the Control Panel.

          Even recent Linux newcomers will not need much exploring or head-scratching to navigate their way around Linux Lite. The layout is familiar and intuitive. The Welcome panel provides a very useful listing of information and how-to resources for using Linux Lite.

      • New Releases

        • Meet The Linux Desktop OS That Mac And Windows Users Keep Downloading — But Why?

          The Zorin Group has released a point update to the beautiful beginner-friendly Linux distro Zorin OS 15, and while not substantial it does ship with a few nice improvements worth mentioning below. But the real headline, at least in my opinion, is the visibility Zorin OS is enjoying with Mac and Windows users. In the release announcement, the Zorin group shares that within 6 months Zorin OS 15 has been downloaded 550,000 times, and that a surprising 65% of those downloads come from macOS or Windows machines.

          More than half a million downloads may seem trivial when compared to the large user-base for Windows and Macs, but for a boutique Linux distribution — in a sea of literally hundreds — this seems worthy of celebration

        • Zorin OS 15.1 has been released with great new improvements

          I made my first steps in the Linux world hand in hand with my good old friend Linux Mint. The reason was that the Linux Mint distribution is very newbie friendly but also good for professional use, incredibly easy to install and setup and many important and useful functionalities are already available out-of-the-box. Linux Mint makes it more easy for beginners to make the switch compared to other Linux distributions. And while Linux Mint was my favorite distro for a couple of years and I think it is still a great distribution, I feel that it mainly pleases former Windows users due to the chosen UI design language and way of working. But there is another easily accessible, friendly and beautiful Linux distribution that will appeal not only to former Windows users but to former macOS users as well, and that has some great special features that Linux Mint doesn’t offer straight out of the box. That is, in my opinion, Zorin OS. I really lost my heart to this distribution because it looks fantastic, can be visually set up via simple adjustments to appeal both Windows and macOS users, offers a lot of robust functionality that is already present after installation, has nice integration with your mobile device and offers many user-friendly and health friendly functionalities which makes this distribution rise above others. I am very enthusiastic about Zorin OS so I am really excited that yesterday the Zorin team released Zorin OS 15.1. Let’s see what it has to offer.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2019/50

          Another week has passed – and we’re almost at the end of the year. During the last week we have released 4 snapshots for Tumbleweed (1206, 1207, 1210 and 1211) containing those noteworthy changes:

          gpg 2.2.18
          libvirt 5.10.0
          linux-glibc-devel 5.4
          Mozilla Thunderbird 68.3.0
          bluez 5.52
          libxml 2.9.10
          createrepo_c 0.15.4: beware: it is very strict and blocks any snapshot if there is a package with non-UTF8 chars or ASCII < 32 (except 9, 10 and 13) in a changelog. Double check your .changes files before submitting.
          GNOME 3.34.2
          KDE Plasma 5.17.4

      • Fedora Family

        • Flatpak 1.5.2 Continues Work On Authentication Support In Push To Handling Paid Apps

          Introduced last month was the Flatpak 1.5.1 development build that provided initial support for protected/authenticated downloads of Flatpaks as the fundamental infrastructure work towards allowing paid or donation-based applications within Flathub or other Flatpak-based “app stores” on Linux.

          Flatpak 1.5.2 is out this Friday morning and it has continued work on this focus for authenticated/protected downloads. There has been new API coverage around the authentication code, an OCI authenticator is now bundled, a simple user/password authentication-driven option similar to HTTP-based authentication, and related work towards opening up new use-cases for Flatpak.

        • Cockpit 209

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 209.

          A new design for the Overview page

          The landing page has been completely redesigned. Information is grouped into easier to understand panels, health information is much more prominent, the resource graphs have been moved to their own page, and the hardware information page should now be easier to find.

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan McDowell: This Week I Voted

          I made use of Ian Jackson’s voting guide (and should disclose that he and I have had conversations about this matter where he kindly took time to explain to me his position and rationale). However I’m more pro-systemd than he is, and also lazier, so hopefully this post is useful in some fashion rather than a simple rehash of anyone else’s logic.

          I ranked Further Discussion last. I want this to go away. I feel it’s still sucking too much of the project’s time.

          E was easy to rank as second last. While I want to support people who want to run non-systemd setups I don’t want to force us as a project to have to shoehorn that support in where it’s not easily done.

          I put F third last. While I welcome the improvements brought by systemd I’m wary of buying into any ecosystem completely, and it has a lot of tentacles which will make any future move much more difficult if we buy in wholesale (and make life unnecessarily difficult for people who want to avoid systemd, and I’ve no desire to do that).

          On the flip side I think those who want to avoid systemd should be able to do so within Debian. I don’t buy the argument that you can just fork and drop systemd there, it’s an invasive change that makes it much, much harder to produce a derivative system. So it’s one of those things we should care about as a project. (If you hate systemd so much you don’t want even its libraries on your system I can’t help you.)

        • Olivier Berger: Antidote and NRELabs presentation at Paris Open Source Summit 2019

          I’ve just presented Antidote and the NRELabs platform at Paris Open Source Summit 2019. Here are the slides of the presentation : Antidote: virtualized learning labs running over kubernetes

          I made a demo and the speech in front of the few people left, unfortunately, as the conference attendance suffered from the ongoing strikes in France (opposing the pensions system reform).

          In any case, I hope it triggered some interest for the platform and the project.

        • Molly de Blanc: Autonomy

          I’ve been stuck on the question: Why is autonomy an ethical imperative? or, worded another way Why does autonomy matter? I think if we’re going to argue that free software matters (or if I am anyway), there needs to be a point where we have to be able to answer why autonomy matters.

          I’ve been thinking about this in the framing of technology and consent since the summer of 2018, when Karen Sandler and I spoke at HOPE and DebConf 18 on user and software freedom. Sitting with Karen before HOPE, I had a bit of a crisis of faith and lost track of why software freedom matters after I moved to the point that consent is necessary to our continued autonomy. But why does autonomy matter?

        • Outreachy post 1 by Anisa Kuci

          Couple of months ago I decided to apply for the winter 2019-2020 round of Outreachy.

          Outreachy, for those who don’t know, provides internships in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) with the aim to support underrepresented groups of people. Outreachy internships are open to applicants around the world, and interns are able to work remotely.

          There were quite a few very interesting projects to choose among this round, but since I have been a Debian user and contributor for a while and it is a project I really like, I decided to work towards it. I have been doing small Debian related events or gatherings in the community I was part of. The Debian project I applied for is “Create fundraising material for DebConf20+, document the fundraising processes and support a cycle”.

          The initial tasks were very interesting and applicable to my skill-set, so I was really enjoying working on them. Also the mentor of the project was very responsive and helpful when I would have questions or feel in doubt and quite supportive, which was motivating me to keep contributing in such a great project.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.3 disc images are being tested ready for Christmas release

          The Linux Mint ISO images status page now shows that the final disc images are being tested by the project in anticipation of the final release of Linux Mint 19.3 due at Christmas. The fact that these images are being finalised suggests that any bugs discovered since the betas have been fixed.

          It’s still unclear when the ISOs will be finalised but it’s likely to be very soon. Once the status page indicates that the builds are approved for stable release, we’ll then have to wait on an announcement from Clement Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project. Linux Mint 19.3 will be the final release of the series with attention shifting over to Linux Mint 20 in the new year.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Why FOSS is still not on activist agendas

        On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.

      • Web

        • Curl

          • Daniel Stenberg: Reporting documentation bugs in curl got easier

            After I watched a talk by Marcus Olsson about docs as code (at foss-sthlm on December 12 2019), I got inspired to provide links on the curl web site to make it easier for users to report bugs on documentation.

            Starting today, there are two new links on the top right side of all libcurl API function call documentation pages.

            File a bug about this page – takes the user directly to a new issue in the github issue tracker with the title filled in with the name of the function call, and the label preset to ‘documentation’. All there’s left is for the user to actually provide a description of the problem and pressing submit (and yeah, a github account is also required).

        • Mozilla

          • Benchmarking Mozilla’s Firefox Performance Over The Past Two Years

            With 2019 quickly drawing to an end, I figured it would be interesting to see how the performance of Mozilla Firefox has been trending over the longer term. So for this article today is a look at the Firefox 57 through Firefox 71 stable performance plus tests of Firefox 72 beta and Firefox 73 alpha all from the same system and using a variety of browser benchmarks.

            Going back to Firefox 71 means a look at the performance of this web browser from present back through November 2017. Firefox 57 was the cut-off as Firefox 56 and older was not working with the Selenium / WebDriver interfaces used for automating these browser benchmarks. For all the Firefox releases tested, they were using the official Linux x86_64 binaries from the Mozilla FTP and each time tested in an out-of-the-box configuration with clean profile.

          • Ending QA community events, for now

            QMO events have been around for several years now, with many loyal Mozilla contributors engaged in various types of manual testing activities– some centered around verification of bug fixes, others on trying out exciting new features or significant changes made to the browser’s core ones. The feedback we received through them, during the Nightly and Beta phases, helped us ship polished products with each iteration, and it’s something that we’re very grateful for.

            We also feel that we could do more with the Testday and Bugday events. Their format has remained unchanged since we introduced them and the lack of a fresh new take on these events is now more noticeable than ever, as the overall interest in them has been dialing down for the past couple of years.

            We think it’s time to take a step back, review things and think about new ways to engage the community going forward.

          • Tips to improve your Ring camera security

            We cannot stress this enough. Weak and reused passwords are a serious vulnerability to your personal security and privacy. The software that the Nulled crew is using to tap into Ring feeds can be used to take over other things like, say, a Disney+ account. Or your bank account.

          • The Mozilla Blog: Petitioning for rehearing in Mozilla v. FCC

            Today, Mozilla continues the fight to preserve net neutrality protection as a fundamental digital right. Alongside other petitioners in our FCC challenge, Mozilla, Etsy, INCOMPAS, Vimeo and the Ad Hoc Telecom Users Committee filed a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc in response to the D.C. Circuit decision upholding the FCC’s 2018 Order, which repealed safeguards for net neutrality.

            Our petition asks the original panel of judges or alternatively the full complement of D.C. Circuit judges to reconsider the decision both because it conflicts with D.C. Circuit or Supreme Court precedent and because it involves questions of exceptional importance.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Trying Out The Skia+Vulkan Powered LibreOffice 6.5 Development Build

          Skia is more modern and much better maintained than Cairo so that alone is a huge win, but the Vulkan support makes it even more interesting with not being aware of any other open or proprietary office programs with Vulkan drawing support.

          I tried out a new development build of LibreOffice and it’s indeed working when activating the Skia code path. The Skia usage can be done either on a CPU or Vulkan if a Vulkan-supported GPU/driver is detected and needing Vulkan 1.1.

          At least from some basic testing, the LibreOffice Skia+Vulkan configuration does appear to be a bit faster when dealing with scrolling / presentation of large documents/spreadsheets. Unfortunately I am not aware of any LibreOffice UI-representative benchmarks, but just from my experience so far in testing the latest LO 6.5 development build. I didn’t try the CPU-based Skia support to know whether any changes “feel” like they are from the transition to Skia as opposed to the Vulkan-based drawing, but when this follow-on release to LibreOffice 6.4 approaches later on in 2020 I will be around with more testing. It would be great if LibreOffice has a representative UI benchmark (there is this LibreOffice test profile albeit limited to document conversion/handling operations and not encompassing the UI).

        • The LibreOffice Documentation Team Announces the LibreOffice Online Guide

          The guide includes content for end-users – as well as for system administrators – for rapid deployment and start of operation. It covers the basic usage of the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation modules, as well as guides for file handling and – one of the major technological achievements of LibreOffice Online – the collaborative editing capability, that allows several users to work on the same document, spreadsheet or presentation at the same time. Users familiar with LibreOffice on the desktop will quickly grasp the operation of LibreOffice Online, except for some specific differences addressed in the guide.

          For the system administrator, the guide covers installation and basic operation, and explains deployment in small and limited environments. Professional support and operation services are strongly recommended for large installations and mission critical deployments, available in the LibreOffice business ecosystem.

      • CMS

        • Marco Zehe: A quick introduction to using Gutenberg

          Late in November, I published a personal opinion on the state of Gutenberg accessibility. Today, I’d like to give an introduction to Gutenberg from a screen reader user perspective.

          Gutenberg, the WordPress block editor, is the new way to create content and build sites in WordPress. It is a rich web application that uses many modern techniques such as dynamic updates, toolbars, side bars and other items to completely update the posting experience. It can also be quite daunting at first. Let us try to shed a little light on some of the mysteries around it.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Pitfalls for OMEMO Implementations – Part 1: Inactive Devices

            Smack’s OMEMO implementation received a security audit a while ago (huge thanks to the Guardian Project for providing the funding!). Radically Open Security, a non-profit pentesting group from the Netherlands focused on free software and ethical hacking went through the code in great detail to check its correctness and to search for any vulnerabilities. In the end they made some findings, although I wouldn’t consider them catastrophically bad (full disclosure – its my code, so I might be biased :D). In this post I want to go over two of the finding and discuss, what went wrong and how the issue was fixed.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guile 2.9.7 Released [beta]

            We are pleased to announce GNU Guile release 2.9.7. This is the seventh
            and hopefully next-to-last pre-release of what will eventually become
            the 3.0 release series.

            Compared to the current stable series (2.2.x), the future Guile 3.0 adds
            support for just-in-time native code generation, speeding up all Guile
            programs. See the NEWS extract at the end of the mail for full details.

            Compared to the previous prerelease (2.9.6), Guile 2.9.7 improves the
            quality of native code generation, and fixes a bug that prevented a
            timely switch from the interpreter to native code. A performance
            comparison is further down in this mail.

            The current plan is to make another prerelease (2.9.8) on 3 January
            2020, and 3.0.0 on 17 January 2020. It’s a good time to test the
            prereleases to make sure they work on your platform. Please send any
            build reports (success or failure) to address@hidden, along with
            platform details. You can file a bug by sending mail to

          • GNU Guile 2.9.7 (beta) released
        • Licensing / Legal

          • Support FSF’s copyleft and licensing work

            We launched our annual fundraiser with the goal of welcoming 600 new associate members before December 31st. New members are critical to the cause, and by becoming a member you will stand in solidarity with others who care about computer user freedom. As is the case with any social movement, the numbers matter, and it is a very powerful gesture to make for only $10 a month ($5 if you are a student). Please support the work that gives hope for a future with software freedom: make a donation or – better yet — join us and become a member today.

            The Free Software Foundation is a global leader for copyleft, and the licensing team plays a vital role in disseminating useful knowledge about free software while working to protect it. We accomplish this in part by answering licensing questions from the public and by providing resources like our list of free software licenses. We also increase access to software freedom by managing the Respects Your Freedom certification program, and cataloging free software through our endorsed distributions program and the Free Software Directory. To protect free software, we handle license compliance for the GNU Project, resulting in a stronger community and more respect for the power of copyleft.

            We are proud to accomplish this as just two staff working with our executive director, board, and legal counsel. These resources combined make a potent force for software freedom, and your support will ensure our work continues with the aim to do an even better job in 2020. Let us share a bit about the work we did in 2019 and elaborate on why it is so vital that this work continues.

      • Programming/Development

        • Research: Developers are trusted by the business but the alignment is not felt evenly across different generations

          Welcome to the first in a series of in-depth articles looking at the developer’s role in the modern organisation. In this first post: a new generation has arrived. As organisations shift to becoming technology-focused, developers’ roles have evolved so that they are now playing a crucial role in decision making across their businesses. However, all this newfound alignment isn’t so keenly felt across the whole developer workforce…

        • Jakarta EE: Creating an Enterprise JavaBeans timer

          Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) has many interesting and useful features, some of which I will be highlighting in this and upcoming articles. In this article, I’ll show you how to create an EJB timer programmatically and with annotation. Let’s go!

          The EJB timer feature allows us to schedule tasks to be executed according a calendar configuration. It is very useful because we can execute scheduled tasks using the power of Jakarta context. When we run tasks based on a timer, we need to answer some questions about concurrency, which node the task was scheduled on (in case of an application in a cluster), what is the action if the task does not execute, and others. When we use the EJB timer we can delegate many of these concerns to Jakarta context and care more about business logic. It is interesting, isn’t it?

        • Python

      • Standards/Consortia

  • Leftovers

    • Oregon Community College Press Offers Low-Cost Textbooks

      Managing editor of the Press, Brian Mosher, explained to the Salem Reporter how expensive textbooks contribute to dropouts: “Higher costs per course mean[sic] a student may take fewer classes per quarter, meaning a degree takes longer to finish. Students in college longer are less likely to finish at all.” Providing affordable textbooks offsets other college costs and encourages students to complete their degrees, especially for community college students who often have to balance school with other responsibilities.

    • Prostitutes Relish Drive-thru Brothels as Governments Sanction Sex Infrastructures

      For cash-strapped women like Nicole Schulze, these government-sanctioned drive-thru facilities offer an avenue of employment to get over financial speed bumps without going to pay-day lenders or other predatory quick-cash potholes.

    • Putin attends Luzhkov’s memorial service
    • Science

      • Public Shielded from Realities of Government-Funded Animal Research

        The National Institutes of Health (NIH) ensure that research using animals takes place behind closed doors, with only minimal public scrutiny. For example, the University of Iowa invested $11.2 million on a 35,000 square foot vivarium in an effort to further research and “offer an extra measure of protection from animal rights extremists.” Rosenberg states that often millions of animals are being sent to their death when they arrive to these labs. In addition to that, millions of animals that are being restrained and subject to a procedure, known as the Draize Test, that involves substances being applied to their eyes or skin to check for negative reactions.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • British Voters Are Terrified of US Companies Privatizing the NHS. They Should Be.

        The US healthcare machine raked in $100bn last year—and CEOs are salivating at the money they could extract from British patients.

      • California Farms Struggle to Harvest Produce in a Broken Food System

        Civil Eats found that many farmers would only estimate the amount of unharvested produce per year; when a thorough survey was conducted with accurate data, the numbers were higher than estimated, causing alarm across the agricultural community. With almost 40-million Americans categorized as food insecure, efforts to reduce the amount of unharvested food are crucial.

      • Baby Food Industries Milk Profits from Poor Mothers

        For example, a 2018 investigation, conducted by the Guardian and Save The Children, found that in deprived areas of the Philippines, Nestlé, Abbott, Mead Johnson and Wyeth (which is now owned by Nestlé) used underhanded methods, including some which clearly violated Philippine law, to encourage doctors, midwives, and local health workers to encourage low income mothers to use specific brands of formula milk.

      • Despite Audit, Doctors With Checkered Records Can Still Decide Fate of Green Card Seekers

        Last year, government investigators found that the federal program for vetting the health of green card applicants included scores of doctors with histories of professional misconduct. Physicians who had been disciplined by state medical boards for abusing patients, and in some cases had faced criminal charges, had the government’s blessing to conduct screenings that can decide the fate of an immigrant’s petition for permanent residency.

        The investigators found one doctor who had been convicted of hiring a hitman to kill a disgruntled patient, and in the same sample, found more than a hundred other physicians with serious disciplinary histories. The review concluded that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that maintains the list of more than 5,000 doctors, inadequately vets the physicians, and that it often fails to follow its own standards. “As a result of these deficiencies, USCIS may be placing foreign nationals at risk of abuse by physicians performing medical examinations,” investigators concluded.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Makes Connection Between 20% Jump in Healthcare Costs and Industry-Sponsored Spa Days for Congressional Staffers

        “This is the healthcare system of ‘choice’ that so many politicians are committed to protecting.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The 2 Problems Facing Linux (and Open Source) in 2020

                Some of the largest and, arguably, most influential organizations within the Open Source world are heavily funded by companies who are predominantly opposed to Open Source as a concept.

                Microsoft and Facebook fund the Open Source Initiative. Facebook, VMWare, Microsoft, Comcast, and Oracle (all companies that focus on Closed Source almost entirely — the vast majority of their work is closed and some of these firms take drastic legal action against Open Source projects and their users) all fund the Linux Foundation (and have seats on the Linux Foundation board).

                Some of these seats cost half a million dollars per year.

                Companies don’t throw around that kind of money without expecting something in return.

                That’s not a conspiracy theory… that’s just good, obvious business. If Microsoft, for example, simply wished to be generous, they would donate the half million dollars, issue a press release about how nice they are, and be hands off. Instead, they are paying for board positions to give them greater control over activities and stances of organizations like the Linux Foundation.

                Again. Not a conspiracy. I’m not claiming anything unfounded or unproven. Simply pointing out the business relationships that have formed — and that companies don’t typically pay half a million dollars (per year) for nothing in return.

                I want to also stress this point: None of this makes these companies, like Microsoft, evil. I don’t view Microsoft as evil… simply a company focused (primarily) on Closed Source software and with a track record of attacking those that threaten their core businesses. They’re just doing the business they do. Looking at how the business needs (real or perceived) of such a company can impact the organizations they have some control over (such as the Open Source Initiative and the Linux Foundation) is, regardless of your views of any of these entities, the prudent thing to do.

                To me, Microsoft buying seats on the Linux Foundation board feels like a cigarette company buying a seat on the board of an organization focused on helping people quit smoking — in that their interests are not (by and large) aligned. Or Tesla buying a seat on the board of a chain of gas stations.

                Note: I have reached out to both The Linux Foundation and Microsoft repeatedly over the last several months. I genuinely want their viewpoint. To date, no response has been given.

              • Linux Foundation pitches DENT to simplify enterprise edge networks

                The Linux Foundation today announced a new open-source project aimed at simplifying enterprise networking software at the edge.

                The DENT initiative‘s goal is to create a network operating system for disaggregated network switches used in remote enterprise locations such as retail stores. The project is being backed by a number of companies, including Amazon.com Inc., Cumulus Networks Inc., Delta Electronics Inc., Marvell Technology Group, Mellanox Technologies Ltd. and Wistron NeWeb Corp.

                DENT’s founders say they’re trying to facilitate “open networking” at the network edge based on the idea of “disaggregation.” That refers to the evolution of switching and routing appliances from proprietary, closed hardware and software sourced from a single provider toward totally decoupled, open components combined to form a complete switching and routing device.


                Analyst Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. said the battle for the edge is in full swing and it’s not surprising that some companies are choosing to wage it on the standards front too.

                “The Foundation has a good track record on standards so far, and enterprise executives want to see cross-vendor endorsed standards win in the marketplace to power their next-generation applications,” he said.

              • DENT Launches To Simplify Enterprise Edge Networking Software

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the launch of DENT, a project to enable the creation of Network OS for Disaggregated Network Switches in campus and remote enterprise locations. Under the Linux Foundation, DENT hopes to unify and grow the community of Silicon Vendors, Original Design Manufacturers (ODM), System Integrators (SI), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and end users to create an ecosystem of contributors around a full-featured network operating system. The initial use case will focus on the retail industry with premier members including Amazon, Cumulus Networks, Delta Electronics Inc, Marvell, Mellanox, Wistron NeWeb (WNC).

                Networking solutions today are customized for each market and each use case, whether telecom, cloud or enterprise data center markets. They use proprietary silicon (ASIC) for packet processing and closed operating systems to enable workloads and applications on a network switch. Disaggregation is the new way for Open Networking and has been well accepted in data centers and telecom infrastructures. However, in enterprise networking– especially with distributed locations– nothing currently exists for Enterprise Edge properties that fall outside the traditional public cloud as they have very specific requirements to take advantage of disaggregation and the networking stack.

                Remote campus locations and retail stores require a simple networking OS stack that is low cost and Linux-based. DENT is an Open Source project that will enable the community to build this solution without complicated abstractions. It uses the Linux Kernel, Switchdev and other Linux based projects to allow developers to treat networking ASICs and silicon like any other hardware. It simplifies abstractions, APIs, drivers and overheads that currently exist in these switches and on other open software.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • GitHub Urges “Critical” Updates After Nine Git Vulnerabilities Spotted

              “If you clone untrusted repositories, there is no workaround that avoids the risk of any vulnerabilities disclosed in this post, except for updating”


              Among the vulnerabilities was CVE-2019-1350, which through incorrect quoting of command-line arguments allows remote code execution during a recursive clone in conjunction with SSH URLs, the Git project’s Johannes Schindelin said.

              “This is a Windows-only issue, as the vulnerable code is only compiled on Windows. The exploit we found involves a submodule having a name that ends in a backslash, and a maliciously-crafted SSH URL that exploits the bug to pass arbitrary options to `ssh.exe`, allowing remote code to be executed during a recursive clone.”

            • OpenJS Foundation Welcomes Electron As Its New Incubating Project [Ed: OpenJS is run by people from Microsoft]

              Initially developed by GitHub in 2013, today the framework is maintained by a number of developers and organization

        • Security

          • This Week In Security: VPNs, Patch Tuesday, And Plundervault

            An issue in Unix virtual private networks was disclosed recently, where an attacker could potentially hijack a TCP stream, even though that stream is inside the VPN. This attack affects OpenVPN, Wireguard, and even IPSec VPNs. How was this possible? Unix systems support all manner of different network scenarios, and oftentimes a misconfiguration can lead to problems. Here, packets sent to the VPNs IP address are processed and responded to, even though they are coming in over a different interface.

            The attack initially sounds implausible, as an attacker has to know the Virtual IP address of the VPN client, the remote IP address of an active TCP connection, and the sequence and ACK numbers of that connection. That’s a lot of information, but an attacker can figure it out one piece at a time, making it a plausible attack.

            The scenario suggested in the disclosure was a rogue access point with multiple clients. An attacker can scan the private address space, 10.*.*.* for example, and discover all the VPN clients on the network. Unless the client’s firewall is configured to block it, the VPN interface will happily respond to that scan when the correct IP address is probed.

          • Microsoft Rolls Out Giant Full-Page Reminders That Windows 7 Is About to Die [Ed: GNU/Linux companies totally MIA. Not interested in exploiting this to advance GNU/Linux on desktops and laptops.]
          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (knot-resolver and xen), openSUSE (kernel), and SUSE (haproxy, kernel, and openssl).

          • Mozilla to force all add-on devs to use 2FA to prevent supply-chain attacks
          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • May the Open Source Force Be with You [Ed: Flexera acting like Microsoft's Black Duck, spreading fear for money/sales]

              One of the challenges is that companies could have multiple versions of the same open source library in their product. Version control is a real issue. The ability to leverage SCA to make sure you have the latest version of a particular library and the version that is approved, safe, has the most desirable license terms according to your policies, and is used consistently across the entire product line is a huge benefit.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Amazon’s Ring: Technology that Promises Home Security Introduces New Vulnerabilities

              The Ring app has already raised a number of privacy and civil liberty concerns, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported in August 2019. According to a July 2019 report by Gizmodo, Amazon has partnerships with more than 225 police departments, which not only promote Amazon’s product, but also, under certain circumstances, use video data collected by it.

            • Michael Hayden Ran The NSA And CIA: Now Warns That Encryption Backdoors Will Harm American Security & Tech Leadership

              There are very few things in life that former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden and I agree on. For years, he was a leading government champion for trashing the 4th Amendment and conducting widespread surveillance on Americans. He supported the CIA’s torture program and (ridiculously) complained that having the US government publicly reckon with that torture program would help terrorists.

            • Florida Appeals Court Says Govt’s Lack Of Good Faith Can’t Save A 2012 Warrantless Stingray Deployment

              A good ruling [PDF] has been issued by a Florida Appeals Court — one that not only affirms its earlier warrant requirement for Stingray use, but also reminds law enforcement that the good faith exception isn’t as expansive as they think it is. (via FourthAmendment.com)

            • Inspector General’s Report On Investigation Of Trump Campaign Finds More FISA-Related Abuse By The FBI

              The Inspector General’s report [PDF] on the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s connection to the Trump election campaign has been released. In the 480-page report, there’s enough to satisfy both sides of the argument. Those who believe the investigation was never politically-driven will have their hunches confirmed. Those that believe there’s a concerted Deep State effort targeting Trump will find just enough in it to affirm those beliefs as well.

            • Hungary Has Fined Facebook For ‘Misleading Consumers’ Because It Promoted Its Service As ‘Free’

              Perhaps one of the more annoying points that people like to make when you point out that certain services are “free” is for them to point out, pedantically, “but you pay with your data” or some other such point. This is annoying because it’s (1) obvious and (2) not the point. When people say something is “free” in this context, they don’t mean “free of all consequences.” They mean “it doesn’t cost money.” However, it appears that Hungary’s Competition Authority is playing this pedantic game on a larger scale and has fined Facebook approximately $4 million because it advertises its services as “Free and anyone can join” on its front page…

    • Defence/Aggression

      • US Wary of China’s Influence in Iran

        And, as The Diplomat and RT reported, in September 2019, during a visit to Beijing, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced that Iraq would join China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).  The Arab Weekly described the BRI as “a massive global network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks” that would span Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, expected to result in “trillions invested in new infrastructure.”

      • Zealots in High Office

        Back in 2003, in a top-secret international phone call, President George W. Bush urged French President Jacques Chirac to join America in invading Iraq on grounds that Christian nations must thwart the Satanic forces of Gog and Magog. Chirac was baffled by such crackpottery. A few French newspapers wrote derisive sneers about the born-again U.S. leader.

      • Afghanistan Papers Confirm That the Longest War Is a Lie

        The Washington Post’s Afghanistan Papers, detailing a true history of the nation’s longest official war, reveals nothing new about the war’s futility or about the fact that it was doomed to failure from almost the beginning. The Post fought a legal battle for three years to obtain the documents from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a federal government watchdog agency that interviewed hundreds of officials about their honest assessments of the war.

      • The U.S. Government Lied about the Afghanistan War, They Couldn’t Have Done It Without Media Lapdogs

        “In ten years or so, we’ll leak the truth,” the Dead Kennedys sang. “But by then it’s only so much paper.”

      • Another accident interrupts repairs to the Russian Navy’s only aircraft carrier

        The “Admiral Kuznetsov,” the only aircraft carrier in Russia’s Navy, suffered a fire on December 12 while docked for repairs. According to reports from the “Zvezdochka” shipyard, the fire broke out during welding work to repair an electrical compartment on the ship’s lower deck, where several cables caught fire. The fire spread to roughly 600 square meters (6,458 square feet), a source told the news agency Interfax. The news agency TASS says there were 400 people aboard the ship when the fire started.

      • When You Follow the Gun Trail, You Can End Up in Expected Places

        I’ve always wanted to find out where the guns came from. Who were the ‘willing accomplices’ to the wars I witnessed?

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Whose Coups?

        Donald Trump says that impeachment is actually a coup. It’s one more example of his attack on the rule of law.

      • #RefundPete Trends as Early Backers Request Donations Back After Learning Buttigieg Not So Progressive After All

        “The honeymoon is over.”

      • Kansas Abandons Technology Trumpeted by Kris Kobach, Trump’s Onetime Voter Fraud Czar

        The Kansas Secretary of State’s office has announced it will indefinitely suspend the use of controversial technology meant to identify voter fraud after concerns were raised about security risks.

        The technology had been heralded by former Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican who in recent years has been one of the most prominent promoters of the alleged menace of voter fraud across the country. The computer program, known as CrossCheck, matched various state voter rolls against each other, identifying duplicate voters by first name, last name and birthdate. Critics called the program a cynical effort meant to suppress the vote among people of color.

      • Lawmakers Debate Articles of Impeachment

        The House Judiciary Committee pressed toward a historic vote Thursday to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Split sharply along party lines, the panel was expected to send the charges to the full House for pre-Christmas action next week.

      • Southern States Take Up Fight For Bold Democracy Reforms

        Pro-democracy advocates are tapping a deep well of frustration with the status quo, and creating a blueprint for a more vibrant democracy.

      • The NFL Groomed Us for President Trump

        Because everything is so Trumpian these days, there’s less air or space for the only other mass entertainment that promotes tribalism and toxic masculinity while keeping violence in vogue: football.

      • Indian Government Strips Naturalization Rights From Muslims, Sparking Protests

        Critics condemned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government Tuesday after the Lok Sabha, the lower chamber of the country’s parliament, passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, stripping naturalization rights granted to other groups from the nation’s 200 million Muslims living in the world’s largest democracy.

      • Unequal Justice: Democrats Go Surgical and Small on Impeachment

        The Trump articles comprise a narrative of corruption, and on close inspection may not be as constrained as they appear at first glance.

      • Bernie Sanders Should Be Democrats’ First Choice

        Less than two months out from the Iowa caucus, the Democratic primary has become a four-way race featuring Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. But while a recent war of words between Warren and Buttigieg has done little to bolster the prospects of either, it has served to underscore what makes Sanders such a unique candidate—more specifically, his remarkable consistency.

      • Pride Goeth Before the Fall

        The hammer of impeachment is finally falling on Donald Trump’s occupancy of the White House. For many, it’s taken far too long to get to the point where an obviously corrupt individual with a very long record of shady dealings, illicit financial transactions and bankruptcies now faces a process in which he has no control.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Teespring Takes Down Our Copying Is Not Theft Gear, Refuses To Say Why

        At Techdirt we’re no strangers to people disagreeing — often, let’s say, vehemently — with our views on copyright. But I’ve still often been surprised by how angry some people get about the simple, factual observation that copying is not theft. We’ve made the point many times (and it remains true even if you think copyright infringement is a dastardly crime), and a few years ago we put it on a t-shirt and some other products via the print-on-demand platform Teespring, where we sell a bunch of gear. But you won’t find the shirt at those links anymore, because last week we received notice from Teespring that it had been taken down… supposedly for copyright infringement.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Preventing Migrant Deaths on Arizona’s US-Mexico Border

        Warren’s work included dropping off gallons of water and canned food for migrants. Although eight members of a 12-person jury found Warren not guilty of a felony conspiracy charge, resulting in a mistrial on the conspiracy charge, at the time of the Democracy Now! interview he was awaiting trial on two charges of harboring migrants as well as several misdemeanor charges.

      • Death of Inmate Working in Extreme Heat Spurs Reform of Texas Prisons

        Donnelly was serving a 12-year sentence after pleading guilty of intoxication manslaughter in 2012. He was frequently assigned “grunt jobs” because guards assumed that his tattoos meant he was connected to a gang. Two months before his death, Donnelly started a new job training dogs to catch escapees. Inmates working as dog trainers got to go outside the prison gates to lay scents for the hounds to track, but they also sometimes had to wear stifling, 75-pound “fight suits” for protection when the dogs attacked.

      • Alabama Prisoners Shackled to Lavatory Buckets

        Caldwell was transferred to Limestone from a coveted work release center. Because he was suspected of smuggling contraband, on entry to Limestone, he underwent entry procedures that included several body cavity searches, metal detectors, and inspection by drug-detecting dogs. Yet, once Caldwell was in his cell he was shackled from his wrists, belly, and ankles, which prevented him from raising his hands above his waist; his pant legs were taped up.

      • Family Murder of 21-Year-Old Palestinian Woman Raises Protests over “Honor Killings”

        Israa Gharib’s murder was considered an “honor killing,” a term used to refer to the killing of a relative, most often a young girl or a woman, who is perceived to have brought dishonor or shame on the family. In an article published by Quds News Network, members of Gharib’s family claimed that she suffered from a “psychological disorder,” and that her spinal injuries were the result of her having jumped from the second story of their house. On August 30th, Israa’s brother denied that she was beaten. He explained that her screaming in the hospital was the result of being possessed by evil spirits. However, the director of the Center for Women’s Psychosocial Counseling and a member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Women’s Union, Khawla Al-Azraq, was able to obtain information indicating that Israa Gharib had no history of mental illness.

      • How Working Class Atomization and the Mohawk Valley Formula Gave Us Centrist Democrats

        The Mohawk Valley Formula, the propaganda model of “scientific strikebreaking” originated in 1937. Since that time, forms of non-violent worker control have been updated into much more sophisticated measures of strike-breaking. At this stage in American history, strike breaking is a major profession and by destroying unions and atomizing people, the business-run class war continues to achieve major electoral bipartisan results in promoting the right wing GOP business elite while holding off progressive Democratic electoral victories.

      • “None of the Children at the School Are Safe”

        The knock came on Beth Sandy’s door late one Friday afternoon at the end of May.

        Standing outside was an investigator with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the state agency charged with examining allegations of child abuse and neglect.

      • US Government Using Google Translate To Screen Refugees

        Although the manual acknowledges that online translation tools may not provide the best translations, its guidance raises questions about the extent to which immigration officials rely on professional translators to do proper background checks to vet refugees.

      • US Border Policy, Abuse of Children, to face International Scrutiny in 2020

        The emotional abuse of children who are locked up in deplorable conditions with not enough space or a bed on which to sleep will be under the microscope as possible violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      • Paper Genocide: The Barriers to an Accurate Count of Native People in 2020

        As the country prepares for the 2020 census, many tribal governments and communities are still awaiting an accurate count of the most undercounted group in the United States: American Indians (AI) and Alaska Natives (AN). Though the 2020 census is the first to offer an online response form, that will have little impact in increasing AI and AN participation given existing barriers. At the same time, the undercounting of AI and AN people wreaks havoc on tribal communities today, and it will for generations to come.

      • Youth Lead Nigeria’s #ChurchToo Movement

        Iyorah’s report for Sojourner recounts multiple charges against Biodun Fatoyinbo, the pastor of the Common Wealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), a megachurch with a huge following in Lagos. Many critics allege Tatoyinbo is a serial rapist. After a series of tweets, sparked by an interview in which a celebrity photographer, Busola Dakolo, said that Fatoyinbo had raped her when she was a teen, Lagos youth “poured onto the streets in protest,” Iyorah wrote. Widespread protest led Fatoyinbo to resign as pastor. However, a month later Fatoyinbo returned to the pulpit.

      • Impunity for UK Police Accused of Domestic Abuse

        Reports of alleged abuses by law enforcement officers were treated differently. More than three quarters of accused officers receive no professional discipline, and just 3.9% of alleged domestic abuse cases involving police force members in England and Wales resulted in convictions, compared with 6.2% of such cases among the general population.

      • A$AP Rocky Successfully Performs in Sweden To Help Refugees

        Rapper A$AP Rocky triumphantly returned to Sweden, where he was jailed earlier this year, to perform a concert that in part benefited refugees.

      • Nginx’s office is being searched due to Rambler Group’s lawsuit. The complaintant press service confirmed the suit
    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • Restaurant Association Looks To Take Back Taco Tuesday For The People

          You may have noticed something of a steady stream of posts from us on the topic of a “Taco Tuesday” trademark held by the chain Taco John’s. Taco John’s has used this descriptive trademark to bully all kinds of other restaurants into not advertising their own taco Tuesday offerings, while also leaving alone the vast majority of small purveyors of tacos on Tuesdays. The ubiquity of Taco Tuesdays is mostly what has everyone confused as to why Taco John’s is acting like Taco Jerks: the term is descriptive and, even if it weren’t, fully generic at this point.

Links 13/12/2019: Zorin OS 15.1, Vim 8.2

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • China’s Kylin forks are about to join up for new ‘domestic os’

        China Standard Software (CS2C) and Tianjin Kylin Information (TKC) are both tied up with the powers that be in Bejing but are, nevertheless, software titans in the land of the rising CO2 emission.

        If this all sounds a bit familiar, that’s because we’ve been down this road before – several times.

      • Top 5 reasons to switch from Windows to Linux right now

        When my editor approached me to write an article on reasons to switch from Windows to Linux, I could not help but to chuckle to myself. Earlier in the week, a photographer friend of mine posted on my Facebook page thanking me for turning him on to Linux. I was hardly surprised to see his post.

        I always preach the “gospel of Linux” to my friends, family, acquaintances, and, well, pretty much whoever I talk to. What is surprising is I’ve not seen my friend in over five years. I barely even remember the conversation. However, I don’t doubt it happened. I’ve been trying to turn Windows users into Linux users for well over 15 years.

      • Google Now Bans Some Linux Web Browsers From Their Services

        Google is now banning the popular Linux browsers named Konqueror, Falkon, and Qutebrowser from logging into Google services because they may not be secure.

        It is not known when Google started blocking these browsers, but a user discovered this ban yesterday and posted about it on Reddit.

        In tests conducted by BleepingComputer, we can confirm that we were unable to log in with Konqueror or Falkon on multiple machines. When attempting to do so, we were told to try a different browser as Konqueror or Falkon may not be secure.

    • Server

      • Sysadmins: How many spare cords do you have sitting around?

        I was recently reading a thread over on r/sysadmin on Reddit called “Every single one of you has a big box of cords” and it got me thinking: is that true? Are we all cord hoarders? Or do some of us manage to keep our unused computer accessories in check?

        So I thought I’d ask our own readers: How many extra cords do you have sitting around? I went through a few iterations of how to phrase the responses: How many kilograms? How many meters? What’s the exact count? How many kinds? But if you’re anything like me, giving an answer that’s anything more than a ballpark is undoable.

        The Raleigh, NC-based Enable Sysadmin staff recently shifted workspaces, and aside from lots of other interesting finds from the years of collected detritus at our desks were an awful lot of cords. Fortunately, it was a good opportunity to clear some of these out.

        Sadly, though, my personal collection far exceeds those that I rehomed in my move here at work. And that’s after I made significant inroads in clearing out my cable clutter in the past year. It’s just a never-ending battle.

      • IBM

        • The Rise Of Open-Source Software

          Open-source software powers nearly all the world’s major companies. This software is freely available, and is developed collaboratively, maintained by a broad network that includes everyone from unpaid volunteers to employees at competing tech companies. Here’s how giving away software for free has proven to be a viable business model.

        • Red Hat Wins 2019 Ford IT Innovation Award

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it has been awarded the prestigious Ford IT Innovation award. In its fourth year, the award showcases Ford’s technology partners that have helped it launch new capabilities and services or enhance existing operations. The Ford IT Innovation Award emphasizes Red Hat’s work related to the digital transformation of stateful applications across Ford’s hybrid cloud environment, spanning dispersed datacenters and multiple public clouds, as well as Red Hat’s leadership in enterprise Kubernetes innovation and its collaboration with Ford Motor Company’s technical leaders.

        • Introduction to DevSecOps by John Willis (Red Hat) – OpenShift Commons Briefing

          In this briefing, DevSecOps expert, John Willis, Senior Director, Global Transformation Office at Red Hat gives an introduction to DevSecOps and a brief history of the origins of the topics.

        • Announcing Speaker Line-Up for Openshift Commons Gathering in London January 29th 2020
        • OpenShift 4.x Installation – A Quick Overview

          In this video we will look at the options to install an OpenShift 4.x cluster and will see a fully automated quick installation with minor customizations on a cloud provider.

        • RHEL package updates and live kernel patching with Red Hat Satellite

          In many environments, scheduling downtime to patch and reboot Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems is difficult, which can lead to systems being left vulnerable for weeks or months on end. Some of these security vulnerabilities are critical in nature.

          RHEL versions 7.7 and 8.1 introduced live kernel patching functionality via kpatch for all subscriptions, which allows for select critical and important security kernel patches to be applied without a reboot. There are several considerations to take into account when using kpatch, so please review the relevant RHEL 7 and RHEL 8 documentation which covers kpatch in depth, including its limitations, before proceeding further.

          If the goal is to live patch a system for security vulnerabilities, we need more than kpatch, as it only handles kernel patches. We also need to consider other packages that might need to be updated on the system for security issues. One frequent mistake system administrators make is updating a system, but not restarting processes on the system that have had their libraries updated, which can lead to processes remaining vulnerable.

        • FWD’19 Mexico City

          Fedora Women’s Day (FWD) is a day to celebrate and bring visibility to female contributors in open source projects, including Fedora. Fedora’s Diversity and Inclusion team lead the initiative. The number of women in tech has been increasing year over year, further highlighting the importance of a more inclusive culture in tech.

          On October 10, We had our second Fedora Women’s Day in Mexico City, this time hosted by UNAM, one of the greatest Universities of Mexico and we loved to do it again.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2019-12-12 | Linux Headlines

        KDE’s release service has a fresh batch of updates, Electron joins the OpenJS Foundation, VirtualBox 6.1 brings nested virtualization to Intel CPUs, and Vim levels up with a fun game to showcase the release of version 8.2.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E36 – Desert Strike

        This week we’ve been making a low latency point-to-point game streaming application, discuss what it takes to create each Ubuntu distro release, bring you some command line love and go over the last of your feedback for 2019.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 36 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • Bad Voltage 2×61: Frankly Much Smarter

        Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which a tenth of a point is more important than one might think it is, Mother Shipton is turning in her grave, and:

      • 5G Fundamentals | TechSNAP 418

        As the rollout of 5G finally arrives, we take some time to explain the fundamentals of the next generation of wireless technology.

        Plus the surprising performance of eero’s mesh Wi-Fi, some great news for WireGuard, and an update on the Librem 5.

      • Python Bytes: #160 Your JSON shall be streamed
    • Kernel Space

      • WireGuard to be merged with Linux net-next tree and will be available by default in Linux 5.6

        On December 9, WireGuard announced that its secure VPN tunnel kernel code will soon be included in Linux net-next tree. This indicates, “WireGuard will finally reach the mainline kernel with the Linux 5.6 cycle kicking off in late January or early February!”, reports Phoronix.

        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.

        On December 8, Jason Donenfeld, WireGuard’s lead developer sent out patches for the net-next v2 WireGuard. “David Miller has already pulled in WireGuard as the first new feature in net-next that is destined for Linux 5.6 now that the 5.5 merge window is over,” the email thread mentions.

        While WireGuard was initiated as a Linux project, its Windows, macOS, BSD, iOS, and Android versions are already available. The reason behind the delay for Linux was that Donenfeld disliked Linux’s built-in cryptographic subsystem citing its API is too complex and difficult.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia Linux/BSD Graphics Driver Adds Support for Quadro T2000 with Max-Q Design

          Coming just three weeks after the Nvidia 440.36 driver, which introduced support for the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER graphics card, the Nvidia 440.44 graphics driver is here to add support for the Nvidia Quadro T2000 with Max-Q Design graphics card on Linux, BSD, and Solaris systems, as well as support for the __GL_SYNC_DISPLAY_DEVICE environment variable for Vulkan apps on GNU/Linux systems.

          The Nvidia 440.44 proprietary graphics driver also improves installation support on Oracle Linux 7.7 systems where the Nvidia kernel module could fail to build with the “unknown type name ‘vm_fault_t’” error, and addresses a bug discovered in an error handling path, which could cause a Linux kernel crash while loading the nvidia.ko module.

        • Mesa 19.3.0 Release Notes / 2019-12-12

          Mesa 19.3.0 is a new development release. People who are concerned with stability and reliability should stick with a previous release or wait for Mesa 19.3.1.

          Mesa 19.3.0 implements the OpenGL 4.6 API, but the version reported by glGetString(GL_VERSION) or glGetIntegerv(GL_MAJOR_VERSION) / glGetIntegerv(GL_MINOR_VERSION) depends on the particular driver being used. Some drivers don’t support all the features required in OpenGL 4.6. OpenGL 4.6 is only available if requested at context creation. Compatibility contexts may report a lower version depending on each driver.

          Mesa 19.3.0 implements the Vulkan 1.1 API, but the version reported by the apiVersion property of the VkPhysicalDeviceProperties struct depends on the particular driver being used.

        • Mesa 19.3 Released With Big Updates For Intel’s Open-Source Drivers, Valve ACO Option

          After a few weeks worth of delays due to blocker bugs the release of Mesa 19.3 is out today as a big end-of-year upgrade to the open-source OpenGL and Vulkan drivers for Linux systems. Intel and AMD Radeon driver changes largely dominate the work as always but there is a growing number of embedded driver changes and other enhancements for this crucial piece to the open-source 3D ecosystem.

        • AMD Pushes Updated AMDVLK Vulkan Code Following Adrenalin 2020 Unveil

          Earlier this week AMD unveiled the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition driver and we await a Radeon Software for Linux / AMDGPU-PRO driver update for Linux users on supported distributions. But AMD has begun pushing some updated AMDVLK open-source Vulkan driver code ahead of a possible tagged release in the next few days.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmark results on mdds multi_type_vector

        One of the data structures included in mdds, called multi_type_vector, stores values of different types in a single logical vector. LibreOffice Calc is one primary user of this. Calc uses this structure as its cell value store, and each instance of this value store represents a single column instance.

        Internally, multi_type_vector creates multiple element blocks which are in turn stored in its parent array (primary array). This primary array maps a logical position of a value to the actual block instance that stores it. Up to version 1.5.0, this mapping process involved a linear search that always starts from the first block of the primary array. This was because each element block, though it stores the size of the block, does not store its logical position. So the only way to find the right element block that intersects the logical position of a value is to scan from the first block then keep accumulating the sizes of the encountered blocks.

        The reason for not storing the logical positions of the blocks was to avoid having to update them after shifting the blocks after value insertion, which is quite common when editing spreadsheet documents.

        Of course, sometimes one has to perform repeated searches to access a number of element values across a number of element blocks, in which case, always starting the search from the first block, or block 0, in every single search can be prohibitively expensive, especially when the vector is heavily fragmented.

        To alleviate this, multi_type_vector provides the concept of position hints, which allows the caller to start the search from block N where N > 0. Most of multi_type_vector’s methods return a position hint which can be used for the next search operation. This allows the caller to chain all necessary search operations in such a way to only scan the primary array once for the entire sequence of search operations. The only prerequisite is that access to the elements occur in perfect ascending order. For the most part, this approach worked quite well.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.2.1 Released

        Released earlier this month was Phoronix Test Suite 9.2 while now available is a point release with a couple of fixes.

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.2 brought graph improvements, Phoromatic Server result viewer enhancements, new options / environment variables, Phodevi hardware/software detection improvements, macOS Catalina support, and other changes. Phoronix Test Suite 9.2.1 is out as a few bugs had crept into that release.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1 Released With Better 3D Support, UI Enhancements

        Oracle has released VM VirtualBox 6.1 with better integration around the public Oracle Cloud, continued work on their new 3D support brought forward in VirtualBox 6.0, user-interface improvements, and much more.

        As covered previously, among the items introduced with Oracle VirtualBox 6.1 are:

        - Better import/export capabilities for the Oracle Cloud.

        - Support for nested hardware virtualization on Intel CPUs.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Try multiple upcoming Linux games like CARRION and SkateBIRD for 48 hours during The Game Awards

        The Game Awards is back and so Steam is doing a Game Festival to go along with it, with multiple upcoming games putting up a special limited-time demo. There’s also sales, again.

        You might want to be quick, as the demos are only valid until December 13 at 6PM UTC. Below are the games that have a Linux demo available to try out.

        Spiritfarer – a cozy management game about dying. You play Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, a Spiritfarer. Build a boat to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife.

      • Fully supported Unity Editor for Linux delayed, Unity 2019.3 in the final testing stages

        Two bits of big news about the Unity game engine to share today, one specifically about Linux and one about the Unity engine as a whole.

        Firstly, remember the team at Unity announced back in May that the Unity Editor for Linux was going to be fully supported instead of staying experimental? Well, sadly the release date slipped. Still happening though! In an update to the original blog post announcing it, they said it’s been pushed from 2019.3 and so it’s now happening in 2020. No exact date or version number for when it happens is being given. When we get more news about the Unity Editor getting a date again to move from experimental to supported, we will let you know.

      • Build and manage a totally scientifically inaccurate Beehive in Hive Time, out now

        Keep busy Bees, grow your hive, make some sweet honey and produce a new Queen before your current one dies of old age. That’s mostly the aim of the game in Hive Time, with colourful visuals and a family friendly theme encased in a sublime soundtrack from Peter Silk it’s quite lovely overall.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • What GNOME 2 fans love about the Mate Linux desktop

          Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: When GNOME 3 was first released, many GNOME users were not ready to give up GNOME 2. The Mate (named after the yerba mate plant) project began as an effort to continue the GNOME 2 desktop, at first using GTK 2 (the toolkit GNOME 2 was based upon) and later incorporating GTK 3. The desktop became wildly popular, due in no small part to Linux Mint’s prompt adoption of it, and since then, it has become commonly available on Fedora, Ubuntu, Slackware, Arch, and many other Linux distributions. Today, Mate continues to deliver a traditional desktop environment that looks and feels exactly like GNOME 2 did, using the GTK 3 toolkit.

    • Distributions

      • Why secure web-based applications with Kali Linux?

        The security of web-based applications is of critical importance. The strength of an application is about more than the collection of features it provides. It includes essential (yet often overlooked) elements such as security.

        Kali Linux is a trusted critical component of a security professional’s toolkit for securing web applications. The official documentation says it is “is specifically geared to meet the requirements of professional penetration testing and security auditing.“ Incidences of security breaches in web-based applications can be largely contained through the deployment of Kali Linux’s suite of up-to-date software.

      • Best Linux Distribution for Windows Users in 2019

        It wasn’t too long ago that we published an article on the best Linux distros that looks like MacOS. Today, our focus is not necessarily on distributions that have a similar UI to that of Windows, but ones that are, firstly, convenient for Windows users to use due to familiarity, and secondly, without technical hurdles during installation or application set up.

      • Reviews

        • Deepin Linux Review: Stylish Distro or Spyware?

          Deepin is a rising star among Linux distributions, thanks to its combination of an elegant desktop environment with the stability and reliability of Debian. But Deepin is also a divisive Linux distribution, both because of its Chinese origin and some arguable choices by its creators. Where does it diverge from the alternatives? What does it offer compared to other distributions? How is it in actual everyday use? Do you have to worry about the safety of your data if you use it as your primary operating system?

      • New Releases

        • Zorin OS 15.1 is Released: A Better Way to Work, Learn and Play

          Just over 6 months ago, we launched Zorin OS 15, our most advanced and refined operating system ever. Since then, it’s been downloaded over 550,000 times around the world. Over 65% of these downloads were coming from Windows and macOS, reflecting our mission to bring the power of Linux to people who’ve never had access to it before. We would like to take this opportunity to thank every one of you for making this release as big and impactful as it has been.

          Today, we’re excited to announce that Zorin OS is getting even better with the release of version 15.1. We’ve paid close attention to your feedback and worked hard to make the desktop experience better for work, learning, playing, and everything in between. We’ve focused on making the desktop feel even more familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7 leading up to the end of its support in one month.

        • Zorin OS 15.1 Released with Better Microsoft Office Compatibility, GameMode
        • Zorin OS 15.1 Released with LibreOffice 6.3, Dark Mode Scheduling
        • Zorin OS 15.1 Linux distro is ready to replace Microsoft’s dying Windows 7 on your PC

          Windows 7′s death is imminent — support for the popular operating system ends next month on January 14, making it extremely dangerous to use from a security standpoint after that date. This is very unfortunate for the millions of computer users that don’t want to switch to the much-maligned Windows 10. Thankfully, in 2019, you don’t have to run Windows anymore — Linux is a totally legitimate option for both business and home use these days. Hell, even the Windows-maker sees the writing on the wall — the company recently released its wildly popular Office 365 program, Microsoft Teams, for Linux.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Golly – exploring cellular automata like the Game of Life

        Golly is a free and open source cross-platform application for exploring Conway’s Game of Life and many other types of cellular automata. A cellular automaton is a model studied in computer science, mathematics, physics, complexity science, theoretical biology, and microstructure modeling.

        The Game of Life is an example of a set of rules often known as a “cellular automation”. Life takes place on an arbitrary-sized grid of square cells. Each cell has two states “dead” or “alive”. The state of each cells changes from one “generation” to the next only on the state of its eight immediate neighbors.

        The British mathematician John Conway invented the Game of Life in the late 1960s. He chose rules that produced the most unpredictable behaviour.

      • Events

        • Top tech conferences to attend in 2020

          Understanding the expanding technology universe takes diligence and patience, as chief information officers and other IT decision makers are tasked with setting technology priorities to serve the long-term needs of a business. It’s easier said than done.

          To help navigate the changing world, research firms, vendors, collectives and communities put on conferences dedicated to enterprise technology covering the breadth of top concerns including data management, cloud strategy and security concerns.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Analysis Maturation Plan

            To summarize the problem, I need to be able to share analyses with my peers at Mozilla (often HTML documents generated by Rmarkdown). Currently, we effectively dump documents onto an FTP server tied to a webserver (called Hala). This works pretty well, but it makes it almost impossible to search and discover other people’s analyses and makes getting review difficult.

            To address these two problems, we put together mozilla.report and mozilla-private.report. These are effectively lightweight blog indexes for public and private analyses. This works OK, but it still requires analysts to take the time to check in their results and get review. It’s a little heavy weight and isn’t getting as much use as I would like. Hell, I don’t even use it all the time just because I’m busy.

          • Test the new Content Security Policy for Content Scripts

            As part of our efforts to make add-ons safer for users, and to support evolving manifest v3 features, we are making changes to apply the Content Security Policy (CSP) to content scripts used in extensions. These changes will make it easier to enforce our long-standing policy of disallowing execution of remote code.

            When this feature is completed and enabled, remotely hosted code will not run, and attempts to run them will result in a network error. We have taken our time implementing this change to decrease the likelihood of breaking extensions and to maintain compatibility. Programmatically limiting the execution of remotely hosted code is an important aspect of manifest v3, and we feel it is a good time to move forward with these changes now.

            We have landed a new content script CSP, the first part of these changes, behind preferences in Firefox 72. We’d love for developers to test it out to see how their extensions will be affected.

          • Discover on desktop or mobile. Enjoy in VR, only with Firefox Reality.

            A special update for Firefox Reality is available today — just in time for the holidays! Now you can send tabs from your phone or computer straight to your VR headset.

            Say you’re waiting in line for your festive peppermint mocha, killing time on your phone. You stumble on an epic 3D roller coaster video that would be great to watch in VR. Since you’ve already signed in to your Firefox Account on Firefox Reality, you can send that video right to your headset, where it will be ready to watch next time you open the app. You can also send tabs from VR over to your phone or desktop, for when you eventually take your headset off.

            When you use Firefox on multiple devices, you can sync your history and bookmarks too. No more waving the laser pointer around to type wonky URLs or trying retrace your steps back to that super funny site from yesterday. Stay tuned in the new year for more features like these that make using VR a more seamless part of your everyday life.

      • CMS

        • The New bluesabre.org

          It’s faster. Ghost is fast without any help, providing all the publishing tools I need and (from what I can tell) none that I don’t. To further speed things up, I’ve optimized all of the images on my site for small download sizes and super-fast loading.

        • WordPress 5.3.1 Security and Maintenance Release

          This security and maintenance release features 46 fixes and enhancements. Plus, it adds a number of security fixes—see the list below.

          WordPress 5.3.1 is a short-cycle maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.4.

          You can download WordPress 5.3.1 by clicking the button at the top of this page, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

      • BSD

        • Meet Radiant Award Recipient Claudio Jeker

          When we at ISRG think about the greatest threats to Web security today, the lack of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) security might top our list. Claudio’s passion for networking, his focus on security, and his talent as a software developer are enabling him to make great contributions to fixing this and other Web security problems. In particular, he is making great contributions to OpenBSD and OpenBGPD.

        • 2019 in Review: Advocacy

          2019 began with a big announcement regarding the FreeBSD Journal. You can now access every issue for Free! We’re very excited to be able to bring all of the informative articles to the community at no cost. If you haven’t read it yet, please take a look and share with your friends and colleagues.

        • Why computers suck and how learning from OpenBSD can make them marginally less horrible

          Next I will compare this enterprise development model approach with non-enterprise development – projects such as OpenBSD, which do not hesitate to introduce binary interface and API breaking changes to improve the code.

          One of the most commonly referred to pillars of the project’s philosophy has long been it’s emphasis on clean functional code. Any code which makes it into OpenBSD is subject to ongoing aggressive audits for deprecated, or otherwise unmaintained code in order to reduce cruft and attack surface. Additionally the project creator, Theo de Raadt, and his team of core developers engage in ongoing development for proactive mitigations for various attack classes many of which are directly adopted by various multi-platform userland applications as well as the operating systems themselves (Windows, Linux, and the other BSDs). Frequently it is the case that introducing new features (not just deprecating old ones) introduces new incompatibilities against previously functional binaries compiled for OpenBSD.

      • Programming/Development

        • Vim 8.2 is available!

          Before I did the keynote at VimConf 2018 I asked plugin developers what they wanted from Vim. The result was a very long list of requested features. The top two items were clear: Popup windows and text properties.
          After more than a year of development the new features are now ready for the Vim crowds. Popup windows make it possible to show messages, function prototypes, code snippets and anything else on top of the text being edited. They open and close quickly and can be highlighted in many ways. More about that below.

          This was no small effort. Although the existing window support could be used, popup windows are different enough to require a lot of extra logic. Especially to update the screen efficiently. Also to make it easy for plugin writers to use them; you don’t need to tell Vim exactly where to show one, just give a reference point and the text to display, Vim will figure out the size and where the popup fits best.

          Text properties can be used for something as simple as highlighting a text snippet or something as complicated as using an external parser to locate syntax items and highlight them asynchronously. This can be used instead of the pattern based syntax highlighting. A text property sticks with the text, also when inserting a word before it. And this is done efficiently by storing the properties with the text.

          The new change listener support can be used to keep the highlighting up-to-date and support other LSP features. An example of what can be done with this is the “govim” plugin. It connects to a server (written in Go) and uses “gopls”, the Language Server Protocol (LSP) server for Go. You can find a list of features with links to demo videos on github. A couple of screenshots are below.

        • Vim 8.2 Released With Support For Popup Windows

          For those preferring the Vim text editor, Vim 8.2 is out today and its primary new feature is support for “popup windows” and for demonstrating those new capabilities is even a new Vim-based game called Killer Sheep.

          Vim 8.2 introduces the concept of popup windows for displaying items like message boxes, function prototypes, code snippets, and other bits of information on top of the text being edited. This ended up being a big addition to Vim 8.2 that introduced a lot of new code. Also significant for Vim 8.2 is text properties for handling features like syntax highlighting rather than using pattern-based highlighting.

        • This Week in Rust 316
        • Continuous Delivery for Puppet Enterprise 3.0 is now available

          I am very excited to announce the immediate availability of Continuous Delivery for Puppet Enterprise 3.0! Over the last year, we’ve taken to heart the challenges and recommendations our customers have shared with us on how we can make Continuous Delivery for Puppet Enterprise better. Our intent is to be truly customer-obsessed, meet our customers where they are, and help them get to where they want to be. This release focuses on our customers’ needs by providing more context into the impact of a proposed Puppet change by offering Hiera support for Impact Analysis, a simplified approach to defining pipelines as code, and the ability to easily compose custom deployment processes (currently in beta!). Let’s dive in!

        • Fedora 32 Will Feature Bleeding-Edge Compilers Again With LLVM 10 + GCC 10

          Fedora Linux is on track to deliver another bleeding-edge compiler toolchain stack with Fedora 32 due out this spring.

          Fedora’s spring releases have tended to always introduce new GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) releases that are generally out a few weeks before the April~May Fedora releases. Thanks to Red Hat employing several GCC developers that collaborate with Fedora, they tend to stick to ensuring Fedora ships new GCC releases quite quickly while managing minimal bugs — in part due to tracking GCC development snapshots well before launch to begin the package rebuilds.

        • Python

          • Circuit Python at PyConf Hyderabad

            Coding in/with hardware has become my biggest stress buster for me ever since I have been introduced to it in PyCon Pune 2017 by John. Coding with hardware provides a real-life interaction with the code you write. It flourishes creativity. I can do all of this while I learn something new. Now I look for auctions to offer me a chance to code in/with Hardware. It gives the chance to escape the muggle world.

          • New in testmon 1.0.0

            Significant portions of testmon have been rewritten for v 1.0.1. Although the UI is mostly the same, there are some significant differences.

          • Determining affected tests

            Automatically determining affected tests sounds too good to be true. Python developers rightfully have a suspecting attitude towards any tool which tries to be too clever about their source code. Code completion and symbol searching doesn’t need to be 100% reliable but messing with the test suite execution? This page explains what testmon tries and what it does not try to achieve.


            After running the test with coverage analysis and parsing the source code, testmon determines which blocks does test_s.py::test_add depend on. In our example it’s Block 1,2 and 4. (and not Block 3). testmon doesn’t store the whole code of the block but just a checksum of it. Block 3 can be changed to anything. As long as the Block 1,2 and 4 stay the same, the execution path for test_s.py::test_add and it’s outcome will stay the same.

          • How to set-up and use py.test in Pycharm

            I’ve been using Vim and terminal as a weapon of choice for years. I’ve had a good time with it, however, more and more people ask me why I’m using this setup. And honestly, I don’t know the answer.

            I’m aware that things can be done more efficiently and an IDE can help with a lot of things. I guess that my weak spot is the unit tests and testing my code in general. I’m not running my tests when on the coding spree, I’m breaking lots of stuff, and only when I think I’m finished, I’ll do the fixing and make everything running green again.

            Well, I would like to change that. And I’m also curious about trying out new ways of doing things. The obvious choice for programming in Python is the PyCharm. It’s a nice IDE, supports many features that I like and most importantly, it can help with the testing. PyCharm can easily integrate with popular test frameworks and run the tests for me.

          • What makes Python a great language?

            I know I’m far from the only person who has opined about this topic, but figured I’d take my turn.

            A while ago I hinted on Twitter that I have Thoughts(tm) about the future of Python, and while this is not going to be that post, this is going to be important background for when I do share those thoughts.

            If you came expecting a well researched article full of citations to peer-reviewed literature, you came to the wrong place. Similarly if you were hoping for unbiased and objective analysis. I’m not even going to link to external sources for definitions. This is literally just me on a soap box, and you can take it or leave it.

            I’m also deliberately not talking about CPython the runtime, pip the package manager, venv the %PATH% manipulator, or PyPI the ecosystem. This post is about the Python language.

            My hope is that you will get some ideas for thinking about why some programming languages feel better than others, even if you don’t agree that Python feels better than most.

          • Python String Replace

            In this article, we will talk about how to replace a substring inside a string in Python, using the replace() method. .replace() Method In Python, strings are represented as immutable str objects. The str class comes with many methods that allow you to manipulate strings. The .replace() method takes the following syntax: str.replace(old, new[, maxreplace]) str – The string you are working with. old – The substring you want to replace.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Twitter wants to fund an open source social media standard

          Centralised solutions, he says, can’t meet the challenges ahead. “For instance, centralised enforcement of global policy to address abuse and misleading information is unlikely to scale over the long-term without placing far too much burden on people,” he tweeted.

          There’s also the fact that social media is moving from content hosting and removal to algorithms directing people towards content. “Unfortunately, these algorithms are typically proprietary, and one can’t choose or build alternatives. Yet.”

        • End of term report for healthcare IT

          The research at Imperial that was widely reported in the past week was pointing at the fact that a high proportion of patients are seen without a full record available to the treating clinician. This is highlighted where care takes place in more than one organisation and information is not shared. The press articles written about this, that I have seen, were woefully wide of the mark, talking about the fact that as many as 21 different systems are used in a health provider (it can be many more), but that the answer was once again to move to one system.

          Ironically, large monoliths might not be as good at interoperability at those that need to do it for a living. This may be changing, but systems that are built to do everything typically find it easier to just build more functionality than to message or share platforms. The real problem forms at the edge though, and in a world where patients move around between organisations we need systems where their information flows with them.

        • Report: Over half of people working with APIs are not developers

          API development firm Postman has released some interesting findings about the various types of people who are engaging with APIs.

          Most people would probably assume developers are the core group of people who are using APIs. However, 53 percent of the 10,000 respondents do not have the title of “developer”.

          That’s a significant increase over last year when 59 percent of respondents said they were either front-end or back-end developers.

  • Leftovers

    • The real problem with robocalls

      The biggest problems are baked into the network itself. As the [Internet] moves to fiber optic cable (the modern broadband network), phones have, too, sharing infrastructure with the public [Internet] and cable TV. That’s come with new risks, as the phone network grows more exposed to [Internet]-based attacks. But it also has new rewards, as the IP-based system can execute more complex authentication protocols to ward off spam.

    • Hardware

      • A self-driving truck delivered butter from California to Pennsylvania in three days

        The truck, which traveled on interstates 15 and 70 right before Thanksgiving, had to take scheduled breaks but drove mostly autonomously. There were zero “disengagements,” or times the self-driving system had to be suspended because of a problem, Kerrigan said.

        Plus.ai has been running freight every week for about a year, its COO said, but this is the first cross-country trip and partnership it has talked about publicly.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • In California Care Homes, Residents Are Neglected and Workers Are Exploited

        In her final months, Elaine Geslicki, a bedridden dementia resident at a home for seniors in the Los Angeles area, had difficulty communicating. But by the time the owner of Court Yard Estates sent her to the hospital in an ambulance, the severe pressure sores and bite marks from rats gnawing on her flesh spoke for themselves.

      • How Does One of the Most Hated Industries Stay Profitable?

        Pharma is one of the public’s most detested industries. But despite its low approval ratings and a plethora of government lawsuits, Pharma continues to thrive. Here are some of the tricks up its sleeve that enable its continued profiteering.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Teams for Linux launches in public preview
        • Microsoft Teams is first Linux Office 365 app
        • SAP users in the UK struggling to meet 2025 ECC6 maintenance deadline

          The UK&I SAP User Group’s chairman said the complexity of the migration means customers are struggling to make the business case within their organisation

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The OpenChain Project announces Microsoft OpenChain Conformance

                Today, the OpenChain Project announced Microsoft, a Platinum Member, is the latest company to achieve OpenChain conformance. This milestone is an example of how OpenChain can be an important part of building quality open source compliance programs that meet the needs of companies and that build trust in the ecosystem.

                The OpenChain Project establishes trust in the open source from which software solutions are built. It accomplishes this by making open source license compliance simpler and more consistent. The OpenChain Specification defines inflection points in business workflows where a compliance process, policy or training should exist to minimize the potential for errors and maximize the efficiency of bringing solutions to market. The companies involved in the OpenChain community number in the hundreds. The OpenChain Specification is being prepared for submission to ISO and evolution from a growing de facto standard into a formal standard.

              • Google, Siemens and VMware fund The Linux Foundation to advance the Automated Compliance Tooling project

                The Linux Foundation, today announced that Google, Siemens and VMware have committed funding for the Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT), as well as key advancements for tools that increase ease and adoption of open source software. the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source. The three companies are founding members of the Foundation.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox and nss-softokn), Fedora (samba), Oracle (nss, nss-softokn, nss-util, nss-softokn, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), SUSE (firefox), and Ubuntu (librabbitmq and samba).

          • Reproducible Builds in November 2019

            As a summary of our project, whilst anyone can inspect the source code of free software for malicious flaws almost all software is distributed to end users as pre-compiled binaries. The motivation behind the reproducible builds effort is therefore to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

          • The FSB’s personal hackers How Evil Corp, the world’s most powerful hacking collective, takes advantage of its deep family ties in the Russian intelligence community

            On December 5, the U.S. government formally indicted members of the Russian hacker group “Evil Corp.” Washington says these men are behind “the world’s most egregious cyberattacks,” causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to banks. The Justice Department believes Evil Corp’s leader is Maxim Yakubets, who remains at large and was still actively involved in hacking activities as recently as March 2019. Meduza investigative journalist Liliya Yapparova discovered that Evil Corp’s hackers belong to the families of high-ranking Russian state bureaucrats and security officials. She also learned more about the Russian intelligence community’s close ties to Maxim Yakubets, whose arrest is now worth $5 million to the United States.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • UK Government Database Tracking Innocent Men, Women and Children

              This database is intended to help identify young people vulnerable to radicalization, and then provide support to them through voluntary deradicalization programs.  However, most people’s information is stored indefinitely and shared without their consent or knowledge.

            • Why Ring Doorbells Perfectly Exemplify the IoT Security Crisis

              Though it sounds shocking, the situation with Ring is far from unique. At the beginning of the year, for example, hackers launched similar attacks against Nest cameras, complete with incidents where hackers were creepily talking to children through the devices. The manufacturers behind these devices—Amazon and Google, respectively—are both billion-dollar tech giants with massive development resources. The fact that their cameras regularly feature in these kinds of cases reflects a broader industry failure to produce trustworthy internet-of-things devices that are easy for consumers to set up in a secure and private way.

            • Unusual Alliance Seeks Reforms in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance

              Among other reforms, the bill proposed the creation of a special advocate to represent the interests of surveillance targets before a secret intelligence court in Washington.

              But Blumenthal’s legislation never gained traction. While 18 Democrats co-sponsored it, not a single Republican signed on, Blumenthal said Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Justice Department inspector general’s report about the FBI’s investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

              “Unfortunately, a great many of those proposed reforms did not become law,” Blumenthal said.

            • Serious Security Flaws Found in Children’s Connected Toys

              Various connected toys for children – hot off the shelves from this holiday shopping season – have been found with deep-rooted security issues, including missing authentication for device pairing and a lack of encryption for connected online accounts.

              The research, formed by a partnership between consumer group Which? and researchers at NCC Group, tested various smart toys available from big-named brands including Spinmaster, Vtech and Mattel.

            • On Data Privacy, India Charts Its Own Path

              India is poised to pass its first major data protection law, placing new restrictions on how corporations can collect and use information from the country’s 1.3 billion people.

              The legislation, which is set to be introduced in Parliament this week after more than a year of discussion, builds on Europe’s recently enacted privacy protections that gave residents there the ability to request and better control their online data. But lawyers said the bill would also move India closer to China, where the [Internet] is tightly overseen by the government.

            • Senator Wyden Asks Avast Antivirus Why it Sells Users’ Browsing Data

              Jumpshot’s website says the company provides “Incredibly detailed clickstream data from 100 million global online shoppers and 20 million global app users.” Customers can, the website suggests, “Analyze it however you want: track what users searched for, how they interacted with a particular brand or product, and what they bought. Look into any category, country, or domain.”

            • What Are Finland’s Most Popular Online Payment Solutions?

              Finland has long been a frontrunner in the so-called ‘cashless revolution’, with card and mobile payments overtaking cash payments for the first time several years back. Across the EU, a total of 78% of all payments are made in cash. However, the reverse is true in Finland, where more than 80% of all payments are made via debit or online banking.

              As a percentage of the total of all payments in Finland, online payments are rapidly emerging as the most popular option, with the number of such payments growing by 28% in 2018.

              But which online payment solutions are the most popular? Let’s take a look and see which online payment methods are preferred by businesses and customers in Finland.

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘Atrocious’: 188 Democrats Join GOP to Hand Trump $738 Billion Military Budget That Includes ‘Space Force’

        “It is Orwellian for Congress to hand over billions of dollars worth of weapons and bombs to a president waging a horrific, unconstitutional war in Yemen—and call that progressive.”

      • Progressives Rebel as House Hands Trump War Spending Package

        The House voted 377-48 to advance a $738 billion military spending authorization package on Wednesday despite a rebellion among progressive Democrats angered by the loss of provisions that would have curtailed endless wars and put President Trump’s most violent foreign policy ambitions in check.

      • Action Needed to End Iraq Killings

        As protests in Iraq enter their third month, the numbers of arrests, abductions, and killings of protesters continue to rise. But instead of protecting the demonstrators mostly peacefully protesting on Iraq’s streets, some security forces are the ones attacking and killing them. Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi had promised in a letter to Human Rights Watch that security forces would no longer use live ammunition against protesters, before announcing his own resignation on November 29. But killings and abductions of protesters have continued.

        Since the beginning of these protests, Human Rights Watch has also documented unidentified armed men attacking protesters while the state security forces apparently stand by. Last week alone, these unidentified actors abducted one protester in Baghdad and opened fire on another in Karbala, killing him.

      • How Russian Agents Hunt Down Kremlin Opponents

        Reporting by Der Spiegel, Bellingcat, The Insider and The Dossier Center now reveals that not only were both murders very similar — they were also likely carried out by the same person. A forensic comparison of both perpetrator photos reveals clear similarities. The man who carried a passport bearing the name Vadim Sokolov in Berlin was the Russian Vadim Krasikov, the killer who is thought to have also struck in Moscow.

      • Iranians Understand Trump Sanctions, Obama Nuclear Deal Was ‘Disastrous,’ Shah’s Son Says

        Hundreds—perhaps more than 1,000 according to U.S. authorities—of dissenters have been cut down in the streets by regime gunmen. Human rights groups accuse the authorities of hiding away the bodies of the dead to conceal the true death toll while throttling [Internet] to prevent survivors communicating with each other and the world.

        According to Reza Pahlavi—the last surviving son and heir of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, deposed in the Iranian Revolution—the reported “massacre” shows the desperation and ruthlessness of the regime.

        Pahlavi spoke to Newsweek from Washington, D.C., where he still lives in exile after his family fled the country in 1979. He has consistently called for a secular democracy to replace the current system.

      • Military Officials Sent Us to Fight, Kill, and Die in an Unwinnable War

        Which is why I wasn’t surprised to read the revelations of the Afghanistan Papers released by The Washington Post earlier this week. US strategy in Afghanistan has followed the exact formula we were supposed to use to solve the puzzles when I was training to become a Marine officer—don’t think, just act.

        In my 13 years of military problem solving, this formula never once worked for me, and I quickly learned from good instructors the value of deliberation—so why were men with decades of experience waging war unable to learn that lesson?

        Arrogance among leadership has only amplified the military’s “bias for action.” This arrogance is built on two assumptions. First, military might is the most important if not the only way to win a modern war. Second, the US military is a superior fighting force to any other in the world and thus will win any modern war.

      • Renouncing Israel on Principle

        When anti-Zionists discuss the Middle East, the topic of Israel’s existence rarely arises.  It’s almost exclusively a pro-Israel talking point. We’re focused on national liberation, on surviving repression, on strategies of resistance, on recovering subjugated histories, on the complex (and sometimes touchy) relationships among an Indigenous population disaggregated by decades of aggression.  That a colonial state—or any state, really—possesses no ontological rights is an unspoken assumption.

    • Environment

      • UN chief warns against ‘survival of the richest’ on climate

        Failure to tackle global warming could result in economic disaster, the United Nations Secretary-General warned Thursday in Madrid, as negotiators at the U.N. climate talks remained deadlocked over key issues.

        António Guterres said unrestrained climate change would allow only the “survival of the richest,” while former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the “absence of leadership” from Washington was a big obstacle in the talks.

      • Protesters disrupt UN climate conference

        The protesters had expressed anger over the lack of willingness of countries that emit large amounts of greenhouse gasses to do more to curb the effects of climate change. The conference appears to be headed for overtime over differences over rules for international carbon markets, according to the AP.

      • U.N. head demands bolder climate action or ‘we are doomed’

        Scientists say that current pledges are nowhere near enough to stabilize the earth’s climate in time to avert catastrophic sea-level rise, prevent severe damage to agriculture, and stop droughts and floods generating waves of forced mass migration.

        Guterres urged major emitters to send a clear signal they are ready to increase their ambition next year and “hopefully” commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – seen as vital to keeping global temperatures within manageable levels.

      • Time
      • Greta Thunberg Blasts ‘Creative PR’ in Her Climate Speech

        Thunberg kicked off her speech at the 25th Conference of the Parties, or COP25, by telling world leaders that she wouldn’t have any personal or emotional headline-grabbing one-liners, like when she told world leaders she wanted them to panic.

        “I will not do that, because then those phrases are all that people focus on,” she said. “They don’t remember the facts, the very reason why I say those things in the first place. We no longer have time to leave out the science.”

      • Insiders, Outsiders: Media And Climate Change And Repeating, Without Question

        The impotence of the media is never more apparent than when it lets governments make outrageous claims on climate, unchallenged, writes Nick Pendergrast.


        This is not supported by the evidence yet none of the journalists at this press conference challenged this claim. It has been repeated on ABC News 24 throughout the day, also without challenge. You can see a simple graph on emissions here, at the The Guardian.

        To the credit of the journalists, while they did not specifically challenge Morrison’s claim about reduced emissions, they did separately raise The Climate Change Performance Index released at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP25, which ranks Australia as having the lowest climate performance in the world, of all of the countries analysed.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Betsy DeVos Forced Students Defrauded by For-Profit Colleges to Repay Loans

        Education Secretary Betsy DeVos overruled career staff at the department’s Borrower Defense Unit, deciding to force student borrowers to partially pay back their loans even though they had been defrauded by for-profit colleges, according to documents obtained by NPR.

      • A Rising Movement Is Challenging Mexico’s Corporatized Unions

        After lying dormant for decades, in January this year the Mexican labor movement erupted. A presidential decree in December raising the minimum wage to 102 pesos (US$5) per day and 176 pesos (US$9) in zones close to the US, was the spark that led to tens of thousands of workers undertaking the most important industrial action Mexico has witnessed in the entire 21st century.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Money, Power and Turf: Winning the Middle East Media War at Any Cost

        It is hardly surprising to see Middle Eastern countries at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, as the worst violators of freedom of the press. But equally alarming is the complete polarization of public opinion as a result of self-serving media and, bankrolled by rich Arab countries, whose only goal is to serve their specific, often sinister, agendas.

      • The Dire Warnings Hidden Within the Impeachment Articles
      • Stephen Michael Kellat: In the aftermath…

        Election results have started to come in across the United Kingdom and initial reactions to them were not positive. I already read talk about expatriation from multiple quarters. That’s often not a good thing.

      • “It’s Happening,” Declares Jeremy Corbyn as Early UK Election Reports Suggest “Longest Queues Ever”

        “These images of people queuing to vote will scare the death out of the Tories. Get up, get out, and let’s make history.”

      • UK Exit Polls Suggest Defeat for Labour, Strong Majority for Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson

        “Just utterly devastating.”

      • The Voter Suppression Playbook Is Britain’s Latest Toxic Import From the US

        So why, then, with the benefit of this information, has the Conservative Party made voter identification a part of its manifesto? Could it be because the problem it is actually trying to solve is not what it claims? Here it might be worth considering the origins of the Voter Integrity movement in the United States to see if any parallels can be drawn.

      • A Very Difficult Night

        Banff and Buchan was the constituency held by the Tories which means Johnson is now definitely over the line with a majority. One thing I can absolutely guarantee is that the duped fishing communities will be sold down the river completely when serious negotiations with the EU on trade get going next year. —————————————– I normally manage to find some sympathy for MPs who have lost their job, on a purely personal level. But it is hard to believe that their Tory replacements can actually be worse than Caroline Flint and Ruth Smeeth. —————————————– Astonishingly, after results from all kinds of Scottish constituencies, the SNP is currently at over 50% of the popular vote itself. With the news from North Belfast, it looks like Boris has got his Brexit and lost the Union. This is vital; the break up of the UK is the only way to break the weird imperialist delusion that feeds this extreme English nationalism. —————————————– The BBC, in case anyone isn’t feeling bad enough about Boris Johnson’s triumph, now bring out war criminal Alastair Campbell to lecture us. —————————————— Seeing the back of the inane Kirstene Hair in Angus was particularly welcome. Putney was cheerful and gave hope for Uxbridge. In Scotland the SNP getting swings of about 5% from both Unionist parties.

      • For Corporate Media, Voters Are Obstacle to Buttigieg’s Centrist Rise

        After polling averages showed him as a frontrunner in the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic nomination contests, journalists predicted South Bend, Indiana, mayor, presidential candidate and “media darling” Pete Buttigieg would be in the hot seat at last month’s MSNBC/Washington Post debate in Atlanta.

      • Interpreted by Young Progressives as ‘Abject Contempt,’ Buttigieg Says He Was Also ‘Big Fan of Bernie Sanders’ at 18

        “Think of when this generation came of age…Is it any wonder that young voters are completely, thoroughly done with anything that smacks of politics as usual?”

      • Pete Buttigieg’s Progressive Early Backers Demand a Refund

        Though they initially viewed South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as an intriguing and progressive newcomer when he began his presidential campaign early this year, the #RefundPete hashtag began trending Thursday morning on social media as a growing number of former donors started requesting their donations back in the wake of recent revelations about the 2020 Democratic candidate.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange: A Court of Star Chamber — cruelty beyond belief

        Publisher, whistleblower, journalist Julian Assange has been the victim of a 21st century Court of Star Chamber operated by media intent on smears, by politicians not wanting to offend Washington and by opponents who decided on hearsay that they knew the consequences of the WikiLeaks cables, what he did in Sweden, how he behaved in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

        A week ago, Kristinn Hrafnson, editor in chief of WikiLeaks, flew from Iceland to address the National Press Club in Canberra about the extradition proceedings against Julian Assange. In common with Nils Melzer the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and 60 doctors who have expressed serious concern about Julian’s health, Hrafnson said he worried that Julian would die in prison.

      • Respected Press Freedom Organization Excludes Assange From Annual List Of Jailed Journalists

        Every year, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) compiles a list of journalists jailed throughout the world. It calls attention to authoritarian leaders in countries like China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, who flagrantly clamp down on reporters critical of their governments.

        But the highly respected press freedom organization, which is based in New York City, excluded a journalist who is in jail as a result of President Donald Trump, an authoritarian leader in the United States. They did not include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Pakistan Should End Silence on ‘Disappeared’ Activist

        It’s been a month since unidentified armed men abducted political activist and human rights defender Idris Khattak, intercepting his car near Swabi, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan’s nongovernmental Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believes that Khattak was forcibly disappeared, where the state is unwilling to acknowledge detaining someone or provide their location.

        Khattak, who just turned 56, has been involved with progressive politics since his student days, and has long been a member of the National Party. He is also a freelance researcher focusing on human rights issues in his home province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

      • A New Study Prompted by Our Reporting Confirms Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department Lacks Accountability

        An outside study of the police department in Elkhart, Indiana, ordered after a series of reports last year by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica, has found that a lack of accountability has tarnished the force’s reputation, with officers viewed in the community as “cowboys” who engage in “rough treatment of civilians.”

        The study, made public Thursday, provided a long list of recommendations to make officer discipline more consistent, promotions less political, citizen complaints easier to file and the department’s workings more transparent.

      • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ethnic Discrimination a Key Barrier

        December 12, 2019 VideoBosnia and Herzegovina: Ethnic Discrimination a Key BarrierPut Constitutional Reform Back on the Agenda (London) – Bosnian politicians still have not ended second-class status for Jews, Roma, and other minorities a decade after the European Court of Human Rights found that the Bosnian constitution violates their rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Following the court’s decision, it ruled in three other cases that the Bosnian constitution violated citizens’ rights to run for public office, but none of the decisions have been carried out.

        An estimated 400,000 Bosnians, 12 percent of the population, cannot run for president or parliament because of their religion, ethnicity, or where they live. The constitution also bans people who do not wish to declare an ethnic identity from running for the highest office. One person who brought a case before the European court is a Bosniak (Muslim) doctor, a survivor of the genocide in Srebrenica, which is in the part of the country where only Bosnian Serbs can run for the member of the tripartite presidency, which has one member from each of the main ethnic groups.

      • Huey Lewis Contemplated Suicide After Hearing Loss

        In a recent interview, pop legend Huey Lewis described how he considered killing himself after being diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, which left him with severe hearing loss.

      • Tanzania: Burundians Pressured into Leaving

        The fear of violence, arrest, and deportation is driving many of the 163,000 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers in Tanzania out of the country. Tanzanian authorities have also made it very difficult for the United Nations refugee agency to properly check whether hundreds of refugees’ recent decision to return to Burundi was voluntary.

        In October and November 2019, Tanzanian officials specifically targeted parts of the Burundian refugee population whose insecure legal status and lack of access to aid make them particularly vulnerable to coerced return to Burundi. The actions come after the Tanzanian president, John Magufuli, said on October 11 that Burundian refugees should “go home.”

      • They were holding hands A group of men with ties to violent Russian nationalists attack four ‘suspected lesbians’ in St. Petersburg

        A group of young men attacked four women in St. Petersburg on December 9, brutally beating one of them. After they were arrested, the attackers told police that they assaulted the women because they saw them holding hands and believed they were lesbians. The assailants are reportedly tied to a local nationalist movement supposedly headed in part by a man named Andrey Linok, who is suspected of involvement in dozens of similar and even more serious attacks.

      • Digital Rights are Human Rights

        Today academics, researchers, and hackers are discussing algorithms implemented in new digital technologies and how they are being weaponized with human targets. Automated systems are implemented to capture our digital traces, monitor our daily lives with no accountability. With complete lack of transparency, digital surveillance has real impact on human lives: discrimination, preventing people from organizing, enabling targeting and arrest of marginalized groups, and even blocking purchases and access to services, as well as access to information.

      • Algeria: Prominent Rights Defender Imprisoned on Election Eve

        Algerians take part in an anti-government demonstration, on April 5, 2019 in the capital Algiers after the resignation of ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. 

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T Said Trump Tax Cuts Would Create Thousands Of Jobs. Instead, AT&T’s Laying Off Thousands.

        It seems like only yesterday that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was promising on live television that if Trump followed through on his tax cuts, the company would dramatically boost investment, in the process creating thousands of new jobs. Not “entry-level jobs,” mind you, but “7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in the ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year.” Each $1 billion in new investment, AT&T insisted, would result in 7,000 new jobs. “Lower taxes drives more investment, drives more hiring, drives greater wages,” Stephenson said.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon’s Bullshit Environmentalism

        For Amazon, this expansion comes at a cost. Where USPS packages cost the company $2–per package, Amazon’s own delivery network costs $9–10 a package. The company loses money on each item it ships. For now, it can absorb the burden: Buoyed by the profits of the company’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, Amazon can justify operating at a loss if it means increasing market share and shifting consumer habits. But in the longer term, it will have no interest in sustaining these costs or passing them on to consumers who refuse to pay higher prices.

        Amazon is instead betting on lowering the cost per item delivered through innovation. In this context, Amazon’s announcement to buy 100,000 electric vehicles from Rivian makes sense. Rivian, a venture capital-backed “automobile technology” company receiving investment from Amazon and Ford alike, manufactures not only electric but also autonomous vehicles. The hand has been played: Amazon’s long-term strategy is to automate the supply chain. Bezos’s private Green New Deal stacks all the chips in his favor.

      • Copyrights

        • CC Certificate Graduate on the Ripple Effect of Open Licensing Expertise for K12 Pedagogy

          In this interview, we highlight one CC Certificate graduate’s work within Connecticut, a #GoOpen state, and celebrate the momentum he’s built in open education. 

        • USMCA Trade Deal Keeps DMCA-Style ‘Safe Harbor’ for ISPs

          The United States, Canada, and Mexico have signed a new trade deal that will replace NAFTA. The USMCA deals with a wide range of trade topics including copyright issues. Despite warnings from rightsholders and some lawmakers, the agreement offers liability protections for Internet companies, including a DMCA-style safe harbor provision.

        • Apple Used the DMCA to Take Down a Tweet Containing an iPhone Encryption Key

          On Sunday, a security researcher who focuses on iOS and goes by the name Siguza posted a tweet containing what appears to be an encryption key that could be used to reverse engineer the Secure Enclave Processor, the part of the iPhone that handles data encryption and stores other sensitive data.

          Two days later, a law firm that has worked for Apple in the past sent a DMCA Takedown Notice to Twitter, asking for the tweet to be removed. The company complied, and the tweet became unavailable until today, when it reappeared. In a tweet, Siguza said that the DMCA claim was “retracted.”

        • Apple Hits Encryption Key With DMCA Notice, Panic Shuts Down the Jailbreak Sub-Reddit

          A sub-Reddit dedicated to jailbreaking iOS devices put itself into lockdown yesterday after several DMCA notices were filed against the discussion forum. Various sources reported that the notices were filed by Apple, in an attempt to hinder distribution of jailbreaking-related tools and information. While that remains unconfirmed, Apple did use the DMCA to take down a related tweet containing an encryption key.

        • Implementing the new EU press publishers’ right

          Which uses are affected by the new right? Online uses by information society service providers (as defined in Directive (EU) 2015/1535).

          Which uses are not affected by the new right? Uses of individual words and very short extracts; hyperlinking; private and non-commercial uses by individuals; uses permitted by copyright exceptions; uses permitted by non-exclusive licenses; use of public domain works; use of mere facts reported in press publications.

        • How to Protect Yourself From the Copyright Trolls — Our Latest Podcast

          “Certainly, we’re in the age of copyright trolling.”

Linux Foundation Has Outsourced All the Licence Compliance Stuff to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No wonder the Linux Foundation also avoids copyleft/GPL (except for old projects such as Linux) and habitually slanders it

Jim Zemlin in tuxedo
Photo credit: The Linux Foundation

Summary: OpenChain Specification/OpenChain Project and Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT) are yet more examples — the latest of many — of the Linux Foundation being outsourced to Microsoft, not only for code but also documentation and hosting

THE Linux Foundation has long outsourced just about everything except Linux itself (except temporarily; years ago due to a security incident/breach) to Microsoft. Yes, Zemlin and the non-Linux-using Corporate Linux Foundation don’t mind sending everything to Microsoft at GitHub, even new projects (they know Microsoft controls GitHub). The editor of Linux.com is meanwhile posting lots of tweets raving about Apple and Macs (several so far this week). Just so we know what kind of problem we’re dealing with…

“With former Microsoft as vice chair and a Microsoft employee as second in command (longterm Linux), how long will it be before they also rehost Linux itself (kernel) in GitHub? Even permanently?”Earlier this week we saw several press releases [1-3] and puff pieces, e.g. [4], from the Corporate Linux Foundation. The Corporate Linux Foundation is once again whitewashing and openwashing a major GPL violator, VMware (it’s paid for!) and of course the Linux Foundation is still promoting and feeding Microsoft’s GitHub (proprietary platform) and outsourcing everything to it, even documents! Putting the Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT) aside, see the OpenChain Project’s Web site.

“The Online Certification Questionnaire is available under the Apache 2.0 license on Github” and all the other documents in the page are hosted by Microsoft. Who on Earth thought this would be appropriate? Their latest press release is entitled “The OpenChain Project announces Microsoft OpenChain Conformance” and it’s full of Microsoft praises.

They’re already composing Linux.com puff pieces as well. The Corporate Linux Foundation is a lost cause. Some people have said that since taking millions of dollars from Microsoft (years ago) it has effectively been “bought” by Microsoft, just like GitHub. With former Microsoft as vice chair and a Microsoft employee as second in command (longterm Linux), how long will it be before they also rehost Linux itself (kernel) in GitHub? Even permanently? Microsoft does not love Linux; it’s just trying to devour it and it’s succeeding. It already misuses the brand “Linux” to market its proprietary spyware.

The same thing was done to ASF (Apache) when its head was a Microsoft employee; he stepped down shortly after outsourcing everything in Apache (billions of dollars in value!) to Microsoft at zero cost. Microsoft is buying the competition for slush funds. Where are the regulators? We know what Jim Zemlin would tell them. He thinks Microsoft loves Linux even though in 2019 it still blackmails Linux for money. Those who work on WSL defend this blackmail. It’s also worth adding that, as per media reports from this week, Microsoft has just done to HUAWEI MateBook what it did to OLPC and EEE PC. It’s pretending that it’s about “choice” or options, but it’s actually about Windows, replacing a GNU/Linux laptop with something that typically runs Windows, instead. That’s how much Microsoft loves Linux.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The OpenChain Project announces Microsoft OpenChain Conformance

    Today, the OpenChain Project announced Microsoft, a Platinum Member, is the latest company to achieve OpenChain conformance. This milestone is an example of how OpenChain can be an important part of building quality open source compliance programs that meet the needs of companies and that build trust in the ecosystem.

    The OpenChain Project establishes trust in the open source from which software solutions are built. It accomplishes this by making open source license compliance simpler and more consistent. The OpenChain Specification defines inflection points in business workflows where a compliance process, policy or training should exist to minimize the potential for errors and maximize the efficiency of bringing solutions to market. The companies involved in the OpenChain community number in the hundreds. The OpenChain Specification is being prepared for submission to ISO and evolution from a growing de facto standard into a formal standard.

  2. The Linux Foundation’s Automated Compliance Work Garners New Funding, Advances Tools Development
  3. The Linux Foundation’s Automated Compliance Work Garners New Funding, Advances Tools Development

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced founding member commitments from Google, Siemens and VMware for the Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT), as well as key advancements for tools that increase ease and adoption of open source software.

    Using open source code comes with a responsibility to comply with the terms of that code’s license. The goal of ACT is to consolidate investments in these efforts and to increase interoperability and usability of open source compliance tooling. Google, Siemens and VMware are among the companies helping to underwrite and lead this collaborative work.

  4. Google, Siemens and VMware fund The Linux Foundation to advance the Automated Compliance Tooling project

    The Linux Foundation, today announced that Google, Siemens and VMware have committed funding for the Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT), as well as key advancements for tools that increase ease and adoption of open source software. the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source. The three companies are founding members of the Foundation.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 12, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:11 am by Needs Sunlight



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