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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.”

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    Today we commenced a multi-part mini-series about pensions and what happens when they suddenly vanish and nobody is willing to explain where all the money went

  7. Sirius 'Open Source' Pensiongate: An Introduction

    The Sirius ‘Open Source’ series continues in the form of a mini-series about pensions; it’s part of an ongoing investigation of a deep mystery that impacts people who left the company quite a long time ago and some of the lessons herein are applicable to any worker with a pension (at times of financial uncertainties)

  8. Links 07/02/2023: Endless OS 5.0 and Voice.AI GPL Violations

    Links for the day

  9. No Doubt Microsoft Unleashed Another 'Tay', Spreading Bigotry Under the Guise of Hey Hi (AI)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan

  10. Links 07/02/2023: Fedora 39 Development Plans Outlines

    Links for the day

  11. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 06, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, February 06, 2023

  12. Links 06/02/2023: Escuelas Linux 8.0 and Many Political Issues

    Links for the day

  13. Links 06/02/2023: Sparky 6.6 and IPFire 2.27 – Core Update 173

    Links for the day

  14. Taking Back Control or Seizing Autonomy Over the News Cycle (Informing People, Culling the Marketing)

  15. Reality Versus Fiction: EPO Insiders Versus EPO Web Site and UPC 'Churnalists'

    The "official" sources of the European Patent Office (EPO), as well as the sedated "media" that the EPO is bribing for further bias, cannot tell the truth about this very large institution; for proper examination of Europe's largest patent office one must pursue the interpretation by longtime veterans and insiders, who are increasingly upset and abused (they're being pressured to grant patents in violation of the charter of the EPO)

  16. Links 06/02/2023: Linux 6.2 RC7 and Fatal Earthquake

    Links for the day

  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 05, 2023

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 05, 2023

  18. Links 05/02/2023: Wayland in Bookworm and xvidtune 1.0.4

    Links for the day

  19. Links 05/02/2023: Pakistan Blocks Wikipedia, Musharraf Dies

    Links for the day

  20. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 04, 2023

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 04, 2023

  21. Links 04/02/2023: FOSDEM Happening and Ken Thompson in SoCal Linux Expo

    Links for the day

  22. 2023 is the Year Taxpayers' Money Goes to War and Energy Subsidies, Not Tech

    Now that a lot of powerful and omnipresent ‘tech’ (spying and policing) companies are rotting away we have golden opportunities to bring about positive change and maybe even recruit technical people for good causes

  23. Getting Back to Productive Computer Systems Would Benefit Public Health and Not Just Boost Productivity

    “Smartphoneshame” (shaming an unhealthy culture of obsession with “apps”) would potentially bring about a better, more sociable society with fewer mental health crises and higher productivity levels

  24. Links 04/02/2023: This Week in KDE and Many More Tech Layoffs

    Links for the day

  25. Dotcom Boom and Bust, Round 2

    The age of technology giants/monopolies devouring everything or military-funded (i.e. taxpayers-subsidised) surveillance/censorship tentacles, in effect privatised eyes of the state, may be ending; the United States can barely sustain that anymore and raising the debt ceiling won't solve that (buying time isn't the solution)

  26. Society Would Benefit From a Smartphoneshame Movement

    In a society plagued by blackmail, surveillance and frivolous lawsuits it is important to reconsider the notion of “smart” phone ownership; these devices give potentially authoritarian companies and governments far too much power over people (in the EU they want to introduce new legislation that would, in effect, ban Free software if it enables true privacy)

  27. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 03, 2023

    IRC logs for Friday, February 03, 2023

  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 02, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 02, 2023

  29. Links 03/02/2023: Proton 7.0-6 Released, ScummVM 2.7 Testing

    Links for the day

  30. Links 03/02/2023: OpenSSH 9.2 and OBS Studio 29.0.1

    Links for the day

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