Links 18/12/2019: Librem Server, Linux Mint 19.3, SpamAssassin 3.4.3

Posted in News Roundup at 10:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Google reportedly blocking some Linux-specific web browsers from signing in to Google Account

        When most people think of web browsers, the usual suspects come to mind — Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, etc. — but over the history of the internet, far more browsers have been created. Recently, people who use some Linux-specific browsers, including Falkon, reportedly found themselves blocked from logging in to their Google Accounts, preventing the use of services like Gmail.

      • A Kubuntu-Powered Laptop Is Launching In 2020 For High-End KDE Computing

        A Kubuntu laptop is launching soon that is aiming for a high-end Linux laptop experience atop the KDE flavor of Ubuntu.

        Most Ubuntu-powered laptops to date are running the official flavor, of course, with the GNOME Shell. But for those wanting a laptop shipping with the blessing of Canonical and Kubuntu Council with using Kubuntu, a new option is forthcoming via Mind Share Management. The Kubuntu Council stands to receive a “significant contribution” from each laptop sold.

    • Server

      • Purism Launches Librem Server, a Secure and Protected Server Option for Business

        Purism, a popular security-first hardware and software maker, has launched Librem Server, an enterprise offering to secure server environments for businesses. Built by Purism’s dedicated enterprise solutions team, separate from the workforce creating Purism’s groundbreaking Librem 5 smartphone, Librem Server has already been successfully in use by established business customers for the past year that serve important clients such as Boeing, GE, NASA and Toyota. Now, the company is opening up the product to general availability.

      • IBM

        • Conversations with Adam Bien

          Recently Adam Bien invited IBM Developer Advocate Niklas Heidloff to his popular weekly podcast airhacks.fm to discuss NodeJS, MicroProfile, and the Java cloud-native starter project. Since 2017, Adam regularly invites developers from the community to his podcast to discuss the latest developments and capabilities.

          Adam Bien, freelancer and world-renowned Java champion, has been working with Java since 1994 and is still a very passionate aficionado. Munich-based Adam is heavily involved in the Java community, namely Jakarta EE, MicroProfile, and Quarkus. Widely recognized for his innovative presentational style, Adam does many live coding sessions, making the #slideless hashtag very popular among tech talks. Adam also makes a great deal of content online: blogging avidly, participating in webinars, and creating videos and workshops.

        • Revamped OpenShift All-in-One (AIO) for Labs and Fun

          Back in the 3.x days, I documented the All-in-One (AIO) deployment of OCP 3.11 for lab environments and other possible use cases. That blog post is available here: https://blog.openshift.com/openshift-all-in-one-aio-for-labs-and-fun/

          With OCP4.2 (and OCP4.3 nightly builds) the all-in-one (AIO) deployment is also possible. Before going into the details I should highlight that this particular setup does have the same DNS requirements and prerequisites as any other OCP 4.x deployment.

          This approach is NOT the best option for a local development environment on a laptop. This AIO is for external deployments in a home lab or cloud-based lab. If looking for an OCP 4.x development environment to run in a laptop, I highly recommend using RedHat CodeReady Containers which is a maintained solution for that specific purpose https://developers.redhat.com/products/codeready-containers

        • Real open source projects take mentoring seriously

          Part of starting, or growing, a successful open source community is designing the community to be sustainable. This means the project needs to be able to reliably, and repeatedly, bring in new people and help them become ongoing contributors. Let’s talk about how mentoring new contributors is crucial to enabling a community to be sustainable.

          If this matches your projects’s version of sustainable, then a mentoring program is absolutely crucial. It’s at the center of how to take a project from “three people who know and do everything” to make it something many people can contribute to in a self-sustaining fashion.

        • Deploying debuginfod servers for your developers

          In an earlier article, Aaron Merey introduced the new elfutils debuginfo-server daemon. With this software now integrated and released into elfutils 0.178 and coming to distros near you, it’s time to consider why and how to set up such a service for yourself and your team.

          Recall that debuginfod exists to distribute ELF or DWARF debugging information, plus associated source code, for a collection of binaries. If you need to run a debugger like gdb, a trace or probe tool like perf or systemtap, binary analysis tools like binutils or pahole, or binary rewriting libraries like dyninst, you will eventually need debuginfo that matches your binaries. The debuginfod client support in these tools enables a fast, transparent way of fetching this data on the fly, without ever having to stop, change to root, run all of the right yum debuginfo-install commands, and try again. Debuginfo lets you debug anywhere, anytime.

          We hope this opening addresses the “why.” Now, onto the “how.”

        • Operators on OCP 4.x

          In this video, we will cover introduction to operators, the use cases they cover, how operators are architected to extend kubernetes, and how OpenShift 4.x uses operators as the core technology. We will understand the types of operators in OpenShift 4.x, and also deploy an application using operator.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Nathan Wolf: Noodlings | Smoking a Turkey not my Linux Powered Lights

        Life gets in the way of my nerding. I’d apologize but I don’t exactly see me as being accountable since this is not exactly a source of income for me. So, I’ll do these as much and as often as I can.

      • Brunch with Brent: Jason Spisak Part 1 | Jupiter Extras 40

        Brent sits down with Jason Spisak, professional voice actor, actor, producer, and co-founder of multiple Linux-related projects including Lycoris, Symphony OS, and Symple PC. In Part 1 we chat about everything from Jason’s deep motivations behind his Linux projects, to patents vs. open source, digital independence and the nature of human endeavor. A few additional voices join us throughout for good measure…

      • Command Line Heroes: drawing robots and secret labs

        Welcome to the end-of-season artwork double feature. We’re moving from the Ninja Turtle inspired Bash episode artwork to robots and secret labs. While that may sound like a villain’s lair, it’s anything but. Our artwork for episode 7: Talking to Machines reflects the complicated history of AI programming. And episode 8: The C Change is all about the heroes who laid the foundation for most of the other languages we’ve covered this season. Check out how we thought to best represent these colossal stories.

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD Threadripper 3900 Series MCE Fix Queued In RAS/Core But Not Yet Mainlined

        As noted in the launch day article, AMD developers proposed a patch days ahead of launch for addressing that MCE issue with the new Threadripper systems. Though given the Linux 5.4 kernel stable release was just days later immediately followed by the Linux 5.5 merge window, that fix has yet to be merged into the mainline kernel or back-ported to any stable series.

      • GKraken Makes It Incredibly Easy To Manage NZXT Water Cooling Setups On Linux

        With most all-in-one water cooling setups I am used to seeing no Linux support at all either from the vendor themselves or any third-party/community reverse-engineered support, but in the case of the NZXT Kraken X series with the independent GKraken open-source software is easily the best experience I’ve had to date in managing water cooling setups from the Linux desktop.

      • DMA-BUF HEAPS Coming To Linux 5.6, Poulsbo Pops Back Up To Get Page-Flipping

        More Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) material is queuing ahead of the Linux 5.6 kernel cycle in early 2020.

        The first batch of drm-misc-next material targeting Linux 5.6 was sent in this morning. Some of the highlights for this Linux 5.6 DRM work include:

        - The DMA-BUF HEAPS framework that is new provides a user-space interface for DMA-BUF exporters to allow allocating different types of memory from user-space for use in DMA-BUF sharing with device drivers. DMA-BUF HEAPS is inspired by Android’s ION and this heaps support was worked on by the likes of Linaro and other embedded developers.

    • Benchmarks

      • Clear Linux Concluding 2019 With ~7% Faster Performance For The Year, Some Open-Source Workloads Much Faster

        The latest in our series looking at various Linux performance metrics for end of year 2019 as well as for larger comparisons in ending out the 2010s, the latest is an always fun benchmarking topic… Looking at the course of Intel’s Clear Linux performance over the course of the year. Here is a look at the performance of Clear Linux over the span of 2019 for 80 different tests.

        Thanks to Clear Linux’s swupd packaging/bundle system, while it’s a “rolling release” Linux distribution, it sees multiple “releases” per day and that allows easily rolling back the state of the operating system to an earlier state. So with that in doing a year-end comparison were tests of Clear Linux 26970 as their last release of 2018 compared to Clear Linux 31890 as we approach the end of 2019.

    • Applications

      • NetworkManager 1.22 Released With Experimental Cloud Setup Utility, New Logo

        NetworkManager 1.22 is out today as the last update of this widely-used Linux network manager software for 2019.

        NetworkManager 1.22 comes with new features like nm-cloud-setup as an experimental cloud auto-configuration utility plus a variety of smaller changes. Meanwhile looking ahead to NetworkManager in 2020 is more features like Enhanced Open / Opportunistic Wireless Encryption.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • POSTAL: Classic and Uncut is now permanently free on GOG

        Love a good shooter? How about one that’s brutal and something of a cult classic? POSTAL: Classic and Uncut is now permanently free on GOG.com.

        I remember playing the original, although I was far too young when it originally came out I still enjoyed it a lot more than I probably should have at the time. Left a lasting impression though, hard not to really considering how it starts. Compared to some games that have released in the last even 5 years though, Postal now seems so tame.

      • The Universim entering Beta with a ridiculously big update next month

        The Universim is already quite impressive for a city-building god sim and it’s about to get a huge amount bigger next month.

        Crytivo have announced that it’s going into Beta, along with an update they confirmed to GamingOnLinux that goes live next month.

      • Life is Strange 2 Is Coming to Linux and macOS on December 19th

        UK-based video games publisher Feral Interactive announced today that they plan to release the Linux and macOS port of the Life is Strange 2 video game on December 19th, 2019.

        Developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix, Life Is Strange 2 is a single-player, episodic graphic adventure video game powered by Unreal Engine 4 and featuring a new location and cast of characters. It’s the second main instalment in the Life Is Strange series, released on September 2018 only for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms.

        “On the run and sharing a terrible secret, brothers Sean and Daniel can rely only on each other in a world that has turned against them. With the police on their trail, they must keep moving onwards to Mexico. But the road is long and daunting, and relying on the kindness of strangers brings its own dangers,” said Feral Interactive.

      • Life Is Strange 2 Releasing For Linux This Week

        Feral Interactive has announced they are releasing the complete season of Life Is Strange 2 for Linux (and macOS) this Thursday.

        On 19 December will be the Linux release of Life is Strange 2.

      • Borderlands 3, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and Ghost Recon Breakpoint out this week on Google Stadia

        Google are starting to boost their library of games for Stadia, with Borderlands 3 and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 now available. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint will also be launching, although not until tomorrow December 18th but it comes with something extra.

      • Blade Runner is available via digital distribution for the first time

        One of the best adventure games of all time is finally available in a digital distribution platform for the first time. GOG on Tuesday launched a DRM-free version of Blade Runner for Windows (7, 8, 10), Linux (Ubuntu 18.04) and macOS X (10.11+) that’s available at a 10 percent discount for a limited time.

        Blade Runner from Westwood Studios (of Command & Conquer fame) originally landed on Windows PC on November 14, 1997. Curiously enough, it wasn’t a direct adaptation of the 1982 film by the same name but rather, tossed players into a side quest that occasionally intersects with the movie’s plot line.

      • You can now return to the world of 1997′s Blade Runner, as it’s up and restored on GOG

        What a lovely day. Blade Runner, the iconic and absolute classic 1997 adventure game from Westwood Studios has returned online and it’s now available to pick up DRM-free on GOG.

        From what my contacts at GOG tell me, this has been done in cooperation with the ScummVM team. ScummVM only gained support for running Blade Runner properly in a recent release this year, so GOG have clearly jumped at the chance to get this into your hands. Good thing too, it’s popular, now much easier to get and it’s cross-platform too.

      • Life is Strange 2 releases for Linux on December 19

        Feral Interactive announced today that their Linux port of Life is Strange 2 will be released on December 19.

        Originally developed by DONTNOD Entertainment and published by Square Enix on Windows and console, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the Linux supported release since the announcement in October last year. Just recently, the fifth and final episode was released so we get it all at once.

      • ‘Life Is Strange 2’ Linux Port Will Go on Sale This Week

        WhatsApp Santa Claus an updated wish list, cos Life is Strange 2 for Linux is being released this Thursday, December 19.

        The episodic adventure video game from developers Dontnod Entertainment is the direct sequel to the critically lauded Life is Strange, which debuted on Linux in 2016.

        As you’d expect, Linux and macOS porting duties have been handled by the talented folks over at Feral Interactive. Spread across five distinct episodes, Life is Strange 2 is pitched as follows:

        “On the run and sharing a terrible secret, brothers Sean and Daniel can rely only on each other in a world that has turned against them. With the police on their trail, they must keep moving onwards to Mexico. But the road is long and daunting, and relying on the kindness of strangers brings its own dangers…”

      • Guidance for Atari VCS Content Developers: Go!
      • Atari VCS Revenue Split Revealed, Unity and Linux Support Confirmed

        Unity is a very popular and fairly accessible game engine, so it’s no surprise that Atari VCS would support it. The Medium post revealing all this information states that Atari wants its system to be “open, easy, and straightforward for creators and studios to develop for,” and Unity support just helps them achieve that goal. Interestingly, the post also mentions that developers working on VR games in Unity should contact Atari, so it will be interesting to see if the VCS ends up having some form of VR support. As for Linux development support, Atari states that “the Atari VCS uses a version of the Debian Linux OS and supports games and apps developed using standard 64-bit Linux code, APIs and tools,” so indie developers working in Linux shouldn’t have a problem bringing their game or app over.

        These are the only two engines that are compatible with the Atari VCS at this time, though Atari is “actively working toward confirming compatibility with other popular development engines in an effort to provide additional flexibility and multiple options for game and app developers.” The console itself will also serve as a development kit, so indie developers start testing their games when the system launches in a few months. Of course, there will be developer certification and game submission portals for developers to use, but those aren’t live yet. In general, today’s post just seems to encourage Unity and Linux developers to keep the Atari VCS in the back of their minds.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The KDE FreeBSD initiave got a new website

          The KDE FreeBSD initiave got a new website. This move a new site away from the deprecated Capacity (aka media folder) framework and is more #consistent with the other KDE websites, making it easier to maintain and strengthening the KDE brand.

          I want to thank Thiago Sueto and T.H. Arjun for their help with this website. They helped a lot converting the content to the new system.

          Check it out at freebsd.kde.org and if you are bored with Plasma on Linux, I heard the FreeBSD Plasma port is also pretty good.

        • Krita Weekly #7

          My exams are over and hopefully I would back in for doing weeklies again, unless there is an Internet Shutdown in my area. Anyway, looking at the bug count we have 440 bugs open, 11 more bugs than what I reported in the last weekly (which was 12 days back).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Molly de Blanc: Friends of GNOME Update December 2019

          November was full of excitement for us. We went around the world, bringing GNOME to exciting locations, from New York to Shanghai.

          Executive Director Neil McGovern went to China Open Source Convention in Shanghai, China. While there, he gave two talks, one about the importance of free software on the desktop, and one about why open source is about communities.

          We also hosted a very successful Linux App Summit in beautiful Barcelona, Spain with our friends from KDE.

          Strategic Initiatives Manager Molly de Blanc could be found at Sustain NYC in Brooklyn, NY, talking about sustainability in open source.

          January looks quite for the GNOME Foundation, but at the end of the month you can find us in Brussels, Belgium at FOSDEM, CopyleftConf, the GNOME hackfest, and other ancillary events.


          We have two brand new Outreachy interns! Sonja Heinze will be working on Fractal, while Pryanka Saggu will be busy with the GNOME translation editor, Gtranslator. We’d like to shout out to their mentors, Jordan Petridis, Daniel García Moreno, and Daniel Mustieles García. You can follow their adventures on their blogs, which are linked to above.

    • Distributions

      • Intel’s Deep Learning Reference Stack 5.0 Released With Natural Language Processing Optimizations

        One year and one week since announcing the Deep Learning Reference Stack built atop Intel’s open-source technologies like Clear Linux and Kata, the Deep Learning Reference Stack 5.0 was released today.

        Deep Learning Reference Stack 5.0 is their first update since August and now includes support for natural language processing and to analyze natural language data in a speedy manner similar to the other supported deep learning use-cases.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Manage multiple Linux flavors with SUSE Manager custom channels

          Just because you use different flavors of Linux in your enterprise shouldn’t mean you have to use different tools to manage them all. With SUSE Manager and its ability to define custom repository channels, you don’t have to.

        • Cloud Growth

          As the end of a year, and indeed a decade, approaches, it seems like a fitting time to look back on the public cloud market, and reflect upon it.

        • SAP Workloads going Green
        • A Great Year for IBM Power Systems, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and SAP HANA

          Speaking of success stories, SAP HANA on IBM Power Systems with SUSE is a tremendous success story in itself. Since jointly launching the solution in August of 2015, we have seen such rapid adoption that it is no exaggeration to say our joint solution has caught on like wildfire. Just 4 years down the road, there are thousands of customers who deployed SAP HANA on our solution and over 50 published customer success stories. These customers also include many managed service providers (MSPs) and cloud service providers (CSPs) who host SAP HANA on Power Systems as a cloud solution for their own customers.

          This accomplishment did not come as a surprise to either SUSE or IBM. We knew there was a lot of pent up demand from SAP customers and IBM Power Systems has always had a reputation for performance, availability and reliability – it’s a natural choice for many customers with demanding workloads. And of course, given SUSE’s long and trusted relationship with SAP and our overwhelming market share in SAP HANA, SUSE has always been the #1 OS of choice when it comes to any SAP HANA project. But mostly, it’s not a surprise because IBM and SUSE have such a superb history of co-innovation that spans over 2 decades and the extent of collaboration we’ve seen across product management, engineering and go-to-market teams has been deep and exceptional.

      • Fedora Family

        • GMemoryMonitor (low-memory-monitor, 2nd phase)

          Use GMemoryMonitor in glib 2.63.3 and newer in your applications to lower overall memory usage, and detect low memory conditions.


          Creating low-memory-monitor was easy enough, getting everything else in place was decidedly more complicated. In addition to requiring changes to glib, xdg-desktop-portal and python-dbusmock, it also required a lot of work on the glib CI to save me from having to write integration tests in C that would have required a lot of scaffolding. So thanks to all involved in particular Philip Withnall for his patience reviewing my changes.

        • Fedora versus Lulzbot

          I selected Lulzbot Mini as my 3D printer in large part because of the strong connection between the true open source and the company. It came with some baggage: not the cheapest, stuck in the world of 3mm filament, Cura generates mediocre support. But I could tolerate all that.

          However, some things happened.

          One, the maker of the printer, Alef Objects collapsed and sold itself to FAME 3D.

          Two, Fedora shipped a completely, utterly busted Cura twice: both Fedora 30 and Fedora 31 came out with the package that just cannot be used.

      • Debian Family

        • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, November 2019

          Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

        • BH 1.72.0-2 on CRAN

          Yesterday’s release of BH 1.72.0-1 was so much fun we decided to do it again :)

          More seriously, and as mentioned, we have to do some minor adjustments as required by CRAN. One is to ensure all filenames fit with their full paths into a shorter limit imposed by an ancient tar standard. So I always rename inst/include/boost/numeric/odeint/stepper/generation/karp54_classic.hpp by shortening it to …/karp54_cl.hpp and adjust the one file that includes this internal file. Not a big deal, and done for years.

        • meanwhile, in the BTS (100%)

          An while people still debate about legitimate aggression in our mailing lists, we still get offensive bug reports via the BTS…

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Named Tricia Available for Download On This Week!!

          Linux Mint 19.3 comes with 3 new applications named “Gnote” a simple note-taking application as the replacement for the Tomboy app, “Celluloid” multimedia player application as the replacement for the Xplayer & “Drawing Simple” drawing application as the replacement for the Gimp photo editing application.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 is Now Available to Download

          No, that isn’t Santa you can hear rattling down the chimney but a new version of Linux Mint!

          Landing just in time for Xmas, Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” is the latest update to the hugely popular Linux Mint Linux distribution. It arrives bearing a couple of notable new features, as well as a striking new logo.

          You can download Linux Mint 19.3 direct from the project website (as well as official mirrors) right this second.

          However, if you’re running Linux Mint 19.2 or 19.1 you can upgrade to Linux Mint 19.3 instead, no reinstall required.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Released, This is What’s New
        • Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” Now Available to Download, Based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS
        • Ubuntu turns 15: what impact has it had and what does the future hold?

          In 1991, Linus Torvolds created the Linux operating system “just for fun” and, 15 years later, Ubuntu was born – offering developers a more lightweight, user-friendly distribution.

          This year marks Ubuntu’s 15th birthday, with it now having established itself as the leading open source software operating system across public and OpenStack clouds.

          As we reflect on this milestone, those of us at Canonical are thinking about what it is that sets us apart from other Linux distributions and has driven Ubuntu to underpin so many successful projects in its time.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 is Now Available to Download

          No, that isn’t Santa you can hear rattling down the chimney but a new version of Linux Mint!

          Landing just in time for Xmas, Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” is the latest update to the hugely popular Linux Mint Linux distribution. It arrives bearing a couple of notable new features, as well as a striking new logo.

          You can download Linux Mint 19.3 direct from the project website (as well as official mirrors) right this second.

          However, if you’re running Linux Mint 19.2 or 19.1 you can upgrade to Linux Mint 19.3 instead, no reinstall required.

        • Canonical Wants Your Feedback To Help Prepare Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Canonical is soliciting desktop and server users to participate in a brief survey for helping to focus their work on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and moving forward.

          Users of all ranks are being asked to participate in this survey through early January. The results should help focus their work for the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release due out in April.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Data-Munching Bug Throws Chrome 79 Android Rollout Into Chaos

            Google has stalled the rollout of its Chrome 79 Web browser for Android devices until it can find a way to neutralize a data-destroying bug. Affected users have been vilifying Google and app developers for failing to head off the problem.

            The latest Chrome version contains two highly anticipated new features: phishing protection, and the ability to reorder bookmarks.

            Google started rolling out Chrome 79 on Dec. 10, last Wednesday. The latest Chrome version contains two highly anticipated new features: phishing protection, and the ability to reorder bookmarks.

            App developers and users began reporting a problem with missing data in some of their Android apps by Friday morning, Dec. 13.

            As a result, Google on Saturday temporarily suspended the Chrome 79 rollout to Android devices. Google officials said the rollout had reached 50 percent of Android users.

        • Mozilla

          • How much data are you sharing this holiday season?

            Let’s be real. Most of us don’t read the privacy policies when signing up to use a service. If you wanted to read all of the terms you’ve agreed to, find a comfortable spot because it could take up to 25 days (!!!!) to finish. No one has time for that, and some companies are counting on it.

            Yet, buried deep in all the legal jargon are key bits of personal information that we might not want companies to have. By skipping past this information, we could be agreeing to anything from our first born child for a fake social media site to the literal shirt off our backs to win an iPad.

            That’s why we read a handful of privacy policies from popular services you might use this busy travel season to see what kind of data they collect.

          • Mozilla Hacks’ 10 most-read posts of 2019

            Like holiday music, lists are a seasonal cliche. They pique our interest year after year because we want a tl;dr for the 12 months gone by. To summarize, Mozilla Hacks celebrated its 10th birthday this past June, and now in December, we come to the end of a decade. Today, however, we’ll focus on the year that’s ending.

          • Mike Hoye: Poor Craft

            There’s an old story about Soundcloud (possibly Spotify? DDG tends to the literal these days and Google is just all chaff) that’s possibly apocryphal but too good not to turn into a metaphor, about how for a long time their offices were pindrop-quiet. About how during that rapid-growth phase they hired people in part for their love of and passion for music, and how that looked absolutely reasonable until they realized their people didn’t love music: they loved their music. Your music, obviously, sucks. So everyone there wears fantastic headphones, nobody actually talks to each other, and all you can hear is in their office is keyboard noise and the HVAC.

            I frequently wonder if the people who love Lisp or Smalltalk fall into that same broad category: that they don’t “love Lisp” so much as they love their Lisp, the Howl’s Moving Memory Palaces they’ve built for themselves to their own specifications. That if you really dig in and ask them you’ll find that other people’s Lisp, obviously, sucks.

            It seems like an easy trap to fall in to, but I suspect it means we collectively spend a lot of time genuflecting this magical yesteryear and its imagined perfect crystal tools when the fact of it is that almost all of our time in other people’s code, not our own.

          • Mike Hoye: Long Term Support

            Does any computer manufacturer out there anywhere care about longevity like that, today? The Cadillac answer to that used to be “Thinkpad”, but those days are long gone and as far as I can tell there’s nothing else in this space. I don’t care about thin or light at all. I’m happy to carry a few extra pounds; these are my tools, and if that’s the price of durable, maintainable and resilient tools means a bit of extra weight in the bag I’ll pay it and smile. I just want to be able to fix it; I want something I can strip all the way down to standard parts with a standard screwdriver and replace piecemeal when it needs piecemeal replacing. Does anyone make anything like this anymore, a tradesman’s machine? The MNTRE people are giving it a shot. Is anyone else, anywhere?

      • CMS

        • State of the Word: the story of the slides

          During the State of the Word at WordCamp US 2019, Matt Mullenweg shared that Gutenberg was used to create his slides and the presentation was powered by the Slides plugin.


          Ella Van Durpe was selected to speak at JSConf and ReactEurope and wanted slides for her presentation.

          In the past, she’d used Reveal.js to create slides and enjoyed the freedom to create anything using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. These languages were comfortable, familiar, and also can be published on the web in their native format.

          For these new presentations, she wanted to use Reveal.js again but didn’t feel like writing all the HTML by hand. Creating blocks of content visually, without having to actually write any code, which can be published natively to the web, is exactly what Gutenberg was built for.

      • FSF

        • Defective by Design: A resistance to restrictions

          Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) stepped up its game in 2019 when it comes to oppressing users. The hydra of streaming media conglomerates gained an ugly new head in the form of Disney+, and Pearson’s latest attempt to restrict access to their textbooks reminded us that even education can’t escape digital handcuffs. Over the years it’s crept into our coffee, spied on our habits, and may one day threaten toast, but the fight’s not over yet.

          As every aspect of our lives goes digital, there’s no part of our lifestyle that is safe from DRM. This gives us one of two choices. Either we can go the analog route and stop trying to access the media we care about in order to retain our freedom, or we can eliminate DRM altogether. Looking back on 2019 and the thirteen-year history of the Defective by Design campaign, we’re confident that the best option is the latter one.

          Our goal may be ambitious, but it’s not impossible to achieve. The passion we’ve seen from anti-DRM activists over the years has driven one point home: the only thing standing between us and our objective is the billions of dollars corporations spend to try and persuade us to trade freedom for convenience. But as every underdog story shows, it’s passion and not profit that wins in the end. For instance, due to a large public outcry, Disney has begrudgingly lowered the DRM level of its new streaming service. Yet we won’t rest until it’s gone for good.

          We spent this year on the frontlines in the fight against DRM. Sometimes this was easier than at other times: the weather in Boston for our International Day Against DRM (IDAD) wasn’t quite as cold as it was when we campaigned against Disney outside of local theaters on the premiere of Frozen II. Just before moviegoers huddled inside the theater, we were there to pass out fliers and start conversations on the dangers of Disney+.

        • FSFE

          • CDU wants public code +++ Community Meeting +++ 36C3

            The last Newsletter of the year ends with exciting news for software freedom: the biggest conservative party in Europe, the German CDU, endorsed the principle that software developed with public money should be under a Free Software License. We further invite you to to read about the FSFE has done and achieved during the last 12 months and to dig into Florian Snow’s report of our Annual Community Meeting 2019. Also you find an outlook on our participation at the biggest hacking related conference in Europe, the 36C3 and a call for your support and help to continue our mission towards empowering users to control technology.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Hacker and Software Liberator

            Mark Wielaard has a been a free software developer and advocate for a long time! He started out helping liberate Java as GNU Classpath maintainer and over the past twenty years, he has spoken publicly about his work to improve the experience of using critical free software tools including GCC and glibc and the DWARF debugging tools, elfutils and Valgrind. He’s a senior principal software engineer at Red Hat working in the Engineering Tools group. Mark is passionate about building a software freedom movement that is inclusive and as bug-free as possible. He is not a huge fan of interviews, but generously agreed to answer a few questions for us anyway. Thanks, Mark!


            Personally I am perfectly happy using just email and irc. For all my personal needs I can now use my personal computer using free software. I have used a Firefox OS based phone in the past, but don’t generally use a “smartphone”. If you restrict yourself like that then it totally looks like we have won. There is this happy little community that has total control over their own computing. But it is a bubble. And it is getting harder and harder to get out. There are so many people who depend on communicating (and collaborating) with each other through these large centralized systems which only have proprietary (javascript) clients. It feels like it is getting harder and harder to bridge the gap.

      • Programming/Development

        • Firebird high-level native client for Node.js / TypeScript updated to v2.0
        • The Debate Continues Over How To Transition GCC’s SVN Repository To Git

          Under the planned time-line for transitioning to a Git workflow for the GNU Compiler Collection that was established back at the GNU Tools cauldron conference, 16 December was to be the cut-off for deciding which Git conversion program to use for translating their massive SVN repository into Git. That puts today as the deadline in order to meet their goal of switching over to Git at the start of 2020, but it looks like it could take several more days to decide their SVN-to-Git approach.

        • C++ probes with perf

          The Linux perf tool can be used to (among many other things!) instrument user-space code. Dynamic probes can be placed in arbitrary locations, but in my usage, I almost always place them at function entry and exit points. Since perf comes from the Linux kernel, it supports C well. But sometimes I need to deal with C++, and perf’s incomplete support is annoying. Today I figured out how to make it sorta work, so I’m writing it up here.

        • Python

          • Kids on Python: A Workshop

            Kids on Python is a kids oriented introduction to programming workshop I prepared after having that thought in my mind for quite some time. In early 2019, a close friend came to me looking for ways of initiating one of his kids to computer programming. After countless discussions, thinking things through down to the most tiny details, figuring out which skills we might be taking for granted and either avoiding their need or including them in the journey, at some point, I finally sat down and wrote the thing.

          • Documenting Python Code: A Complete Guide

            In this course, you’ll learn how to document your Python code! Documenting your code is important because it can help developers and users fully understand its usage and purpose.

          • Coverage 5.0, finally

            After a quiet week of beta 2 being available, and not hearing from anyone, I released coverage.py 5.0 on Saturday.

            I’ve been through this before, so I knew what would happen: people with unpinned requirements would invisibly upgrade their coverage version, and stuff would break. Coverage.py is used by many projects, so it was inevitable.

            Saturday afternoon was quiet. Sunday I heard from two people. Then Monday, people came back to work to find their continuous integration broken, and now I’m up to 11 issues to deal with.

          • Fancy console output in GitHub comments
          • Pytest trick: subsetting unknown suites

            While trying to reproduce an issue with coverage.py 5.0, I had a test suite that showed the problem, but it was inconvenient to run the whole suite repeatedly, because it took too long. I wanted to find just one test (or small handful of tests) that would demonstrate the problem.

            But I knew nothing about these tests. I didn’t know what subset might be useful, or even what subsets there were, so I had to try random subsets and hope for the best.

          • 2019 Malcolm Tredinnick Memorial Prize awarded to Jeff Triplett

            The Board of the Django Software Foundation is pleased to announce that the 2019 Malcolm Tredinnick Memorial Prize has been awarded to Jeff Triplett (@webology).

            Jeff has been heavily involved in the Django Community basically since there was a Django Community. He’s served on the Code of Conduct committee for many years but most notably Jeff helped found DEFNA which has run DjangoCon US since 2015. Jeff is also a Board Member of the Python Software Foundation.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #399 (Dec. 17, 2019)
          • PyCon US 2020 CFP Submissions are due!

            If you have a talk, poster or education summit idea, don’t wait, submit your proposals this week!

            To submit your proposal start by creating an account on us.pycon.org/2020. Details on submitting a proposal can be found here.

          • Spatial data with python — Let’s begin!

            Latitude and longitude. Points, lines, and polygons. GIS. CRS. EPSG. Vector or raster. Shapefile, TIF. At some point in your adventures with Python and/or data, you’ve probably come across some of these words and acronyms. We can easily deduce what some of them reference, but others aren’t as intuitive. In this post, I’ll explain these concepts, which will help you take the first steps into the world of spatial data with Python.

          • Python Get Today’s Current Date and Time
          • Continuum Analytics Blog: 2019: A Year in Review

            Before we dive into a new decade, we’re looking back on all we’ve accomplished together as a company and as a community in 2019. We’re excited to be part of such a vibrant and growing movement, with over 19 million people now using Anaconda worldwide! Our community and staff contributed more than 24,000 packages to anaconda.org this year, and over 450 of you visited us at AnacondaCON. Take a look at our infographic below for more interesting stats from 2019…

  • Leftovers

    • Breaking the boundaries – women in tech need to take charge

      Gender diversity has been a hot topic recently, with efforts to achieve better balance becoming more prominent within the technology industry. Despite the perception of the tech industry’s male-dominated culture, organisations are starting to embrace a rich mix of not only genders, but skillsets and personalities to get the best results. A variety of backgrounds is essential, especially when it comes to creative solutions and critical thinking around problems. However, talented women within the sector should not wait for the industry to catch up and grant them opportunities for the sake of ‘diversity’. They should forge their own path.

      Throughout my studies and career, I have worked in male-dominated environments. There were only a handful of women in my classes. My first job was in a UNIX system admin team, which was predominantly male. But I didn’t care. The role turned out to be a valuable decision, which has assisted me throughout my career; as a C++ developer in the Hi-Tech world and investment banking industry, all the way through to my current role as a Partner Consulting Engineer at Tyk (an API platform).

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Releases First Native Linux Office App with Teams Client
        • Teams is now available on Linux as Microsoft’s first Office Linux app

          I genuinely hope this is the harbinger of the rest of Microsoft Office also finding its way to Linux natively. LibreOffice is workable in a pinch, but for proper compatibility nothing beats the real Office (sadly). I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft has long had Linux versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on, much like how Mac OS X has been running on Intel all along before Apple made the switch.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Puts a new DENT in Edge Networking

                On Dec. 13, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of the DENT project, which aims to develop a disaggregated enterprise network operating system for edge computing. The nascent project already has some big name backers including Amazon, Cumulus Networks, Delta Electronics Inc, Marvell, Mellanox and Wistron NeWeb (WNC)..

                The basic idea behind DENT is to deliver a simplified Linux-based network operating system stack that is well suited for edge use cased including retail stores and remote campus locations. A core element of the DENT effort is switchdev, which is an open source in-kernel abstraction model, providing a standardized way to program switch ASICs and speed development time.

                Amit Katz, vice president of Ethernet switches at Mellanox Technologies commented in a statement that switchdev was pioneered by Mellanox and can expose hardware that is used in the Mellanox Spectrum family of Ethernet Switches. Cumulus is also a support of switchdev and has provided integrated support as part of its recent release.

              • Linux Foundation takes aim at NOS segment, opens up DENT

                The Linux Foundation has unwrapped an effort to develop a close to the edge network operating system with the backing of online retail giant Amazon, amongst others.

                The DENT project aims to develop an operating system for disaggregated network switches in campus and remote enterprise applications, with its initial focus, apparently, on retail.

                According to the announcement, “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.”

              • Linux Foundation Training Announces a Free Online Course- Introduction to Site Reliability Engineering and DevOps

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced enrollment is now open for a new, free course – Introduction to Site Reliability Engineering and DevOps. This course is offered through edX, the trusted platform for learning.

                As Agile practices started revolutionizing software development, there has been an increasing need to bridge the gap between faster development and traditional waterfall practices. With its modern principles, practices and an array of state-of-the-art automation tools, DevOps provides a path to bring your operations into the Agile era, ultimately resulting in faster software delivery, without compromising on quality. The 2018 Open Source Jobs Report from Dice and the Linux Foundation highlighted the strong popularity of DevOps practices, along with cloud and container technologies. DevOps skills are in high demand, and DevOps jobs are among the highest-paid tech jobs.

        • Security

          • VMware warning, OpenBSD gimme-root hole again, telco hit with GDPR fine, Ring camera hijackings, and more

            Another week, another OpenBSD patch. You’re not having deja vu.

            This time, it’s CVE-2019-19726, a local elevation of privilege flaw that could let users grant themselves root clearance.

            The bug was discovered by researchers at Qualys, and has been patched prior to public disclosure.

            “We discovered a Local Privilege Escalation in OpenBSD’s dynamic loader (ld.so),” the report reads, “this vulnerability is exploitable in the default installation (via the set-user-ID executable chpass or passwd) and yields full root privileges.”

          • The VPN is dying, long live zero trust

            The venerable VPN, which has for decades provided remote workers with a secure tunnel into the enterprise network, is facing extinction as enterprises migrate to a more agile, granular security framework called zero trust, which is better adapted to today’s world of digital business.

            VPNs are part of a security strategy based on the notion of a network perimeter; trusted employees are on the inside and untrusted employees are on the outside. But that model no longer works in a modern business environment where mobile employees access the network from a variety of inside or outside locations, and where corporate assets reside not behind the walls of an enterprise data center, but in multi-cloud environments.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libssh, ruby2.3, and ruby2.5), Fedora (kernel and libgit2), openSUSE (chromium and libssh), Oracle (openslp), Red Hat (container-tools:1.0, container-tools:rhel8, freetype, kernel, and kpatch-patch), Scientific Linux (openslp), SUSE (git and LibreOffice), and Ubuntu (graphicsmagick).

          • SpamAssassin 3.4.3 available

            SpamAssassin 3.4.3 has been released. It includes a new plugin for finding macros in Office documents, a couple of security fixes, and various other improvements. The project is also letting it be known that, due to the dropping of support for rulesets with SHA-1 signatures, versions of SpamAssassin prior to 3.4.2 will no longer be able to download rule updates as of the beginning of March.

          • TP-Link Archer Router Vulnerability Voids Admin Password, Can Allow Remote Takeover

            Internet routers, an omnipresent device connecting us to work, services and leisure, have become an integral part of every home, business and public place. Yet although they are so essential to our connection to the world, they are one of the least secure devices we use on a daily basis.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • TrickBot Support for North Korean hackers

              According to a report released on December 11, hackers who have support from the North Korean government has begun to rent tools and access to hacked networks from the cyber TrickBot gang.

              The discovery came after years of research, at the course of which is concluded that the boundaries between the ordinary cyber crime and one that governments support are slowly being deleted, and the topic came into focus in 2017 when it was first noticed that the GameOver Zeus network of bots helps Russian intelligence officers get to sensitive documentation.

              That way, the intelligence services have been associated with hacker organizations. For years, instead of developing their own tools, they adopt those who already sold online.

              The report was released by security firm SentinelOne, discovering new links between the hacker group Lazarus from North Korea and the TrickBot network, because Korean hackers have begun to pay for access to infected networks and the tool collection, which got its name Anchor, and which provides completely new malware attack chains.

            • Lazarus Hackers Target Linux, Windows With New Dacls Malware
            • Lazarus pivots to Linux attacks through Dacls Trojan
    • Finance

      • Notes on tax issues on selling digital goods internationally

        Most countries have a requirement that if you sell digital goods to them you need to register in said country, collect the appropriate amount of tax on your sales and then report and pay it. Most countries have a lower limit under which you don’t need to do anything. This is usually on the order of 10 000 to 100 000 euros per year, which small scale operations won’t ever reach. Unfortunately in some countries this limit is zero. That is, if your sales are even one euro, you need to register and do the full bureaucratic dance. These countries include Albania, Russia, South Korea and India among others. Lists of limits per country can be found online. Be careful when reading them, though, as web pages can get out of date quickly.

        For small businesses the only realistic choice is to geoblock countries where the tax limit is zero. Dealing with the hassles is just not worth it. This is fairly easy, as most payment providers have good geoblocking tools.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: Tareq Haddad’s First-Hand Account

        Until several days ago, I was a journalist at Newsweek. I decided to hand my resignation in because, in essence, I was given a simple choice. On one hand, I could continue to be employed by the company, stay in their chic London offices and earn a steady salary—only if I adhered to what could or could not be reported and suppressed vital facts. Alternatively, I could leave the company and tell the truth.

        In the end, that decision was rather simple, all be it I understand the cost to me will be undesirable. I will be unemployed, struggle to finance myself and will likely not find another position in the industry I care about so passionately. If I am a little lucky, I will be smeared as a conspiracy theorist, maybe an Assad apologist or even a Russian asset—the latest farcical slur of the day.

        Although I am a British citizen, the irony is that I’m half Arabic and half Russian. (Bellingcat: I’m happy to answer any requests.)

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Open letter to Scott Morrison regarding Julian Assange

        More than 40 esteemed lawyers, academics, journalists, top-ranking security veterans, whistleblowers, authors and artists have joined in urging Scott Morrison to intervene to stop the British violation of international law that keeps Julian Assange under life-threatening conditions, and to ensure his transfer to a suitable hospital, as urgently petitioned by more than 80 doctors last month.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Teach Hate Young: RSS Leader’s School Gets Kids to Re-Enact Babri Demolition

        A school in Karnataka run by a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader made children re-enact the demolition of the Babri Masjid in a play on Sunday.

        Today, home minister Amit Shah said that a “grand Ram Temple” will come up where the Babri Masjid stood, within four months.

        Videos of the play have been circulating on social media. A number of school children dressed in white and saffron can be seen rushing towards a huge poster of the Babri Masjid, while a narrator says on a loudspeaker: “With enthusiasm, Hanuman bhakts with Hanuman’s anger, they bring down Babri structure. Bolo Shri Ramachandra ki, Jai!” The
        children then tore up the poster and cheered on stage. They then reportedly put up a ‘Ram Temple’.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Apple Won 46 Patents Today covering Glass Device Housings, a Smart Watch Band & 4 iDevice Design Patents

          The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple 46 newly granted patents today. In this report we cover two granted utility patents and four design patents covering two iPhone designs and two iPad designs, with one that was never manufactured. The utility patents cover Apple’s fifth granted patent relating to iDevices with unitary glass housings while the second covers strain gauges embedded into a future Apple Watch band that could tighten the band on the user’s wrist when taking specific health tests. As always, we wrap up this week’s granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.


          Patent Claim 7 adds “unitary glass housing” 13 times throughout the claims starting with claim 7 as follows: “a unitary glass housing structure defining at least four exterior sides of the electronic device, the unitary glass housing structure having a width dimension and a length dimension greater than the width dimension and defining an opening extending along the length dimension; a glass sidewall structure bonded to the unitary glass housing structure along the length dimension of the unitary glass housing structure to cover the opening; and a display positioned within the electronic device and visible through at least one of the at least four exterior sides.”

Links 17/12/2019: Linux Academy Bought, DXVK 1.5, Tails 4.1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux: An OS Capable of Effectively Meeting the US Government’s Security Needs Heading into 2020

      As Open Source has become increasingly mainstream and widely accepted for its numerous benefits, the use of Linux as a flexible, transparent and highly secure operating system has also increasingly become a prominent choice among corporations, educational institutions and government sectors alike. With national security concerns at an all time high heading into 2020, it appears that the implementation of Linux could effectively meet the United States government’s critical security needs for application development and installations.

      Because of its open-source roots, Linux is foundationally secure, highly reliable, and incredibly adaptable. Linux incorporates a “defense-in-depth” approach to security, meaning robust security measures are implemented at every level of development and deployment. Unlike obscure closed-source counterparts, Linux has a fundamental focus on security through transparency.

      In order to be approved for use in critical government functions, software and applications must be certified to ensure that they meet certain security standards. Common Criteria, FIPS 140-2 and Secure Technical Implementation Guidelines (STIG) are three security certifications required by the United States Department of Defense. These certifications indicate that technology meets standardized security protocols and cryptographic tools implement their algorithms properly. Linux has been certified to meet all of these criteria, a rare and notable achievement.

      For these reasons, Linux is not only an ideal operating system for the development of critically secure government applications, but the inherent openness and flexibility of Linux also make it a great operating system for installations that demand the highest level of security and precision. However, it should be noted that as with any operating system, Linux must first undergo additional stringent testing and development before being further incorporated into the US government’s IT infrastructure.

    • Learning

      • Better Together: A Cloud Guru and Linux Academy Join Forces

        We are thrilled to announce that today A Cloud Guru has acquired Linux Academy, and we are joining forces to teach the world to cloud with the largest and most effective cloud computing training library in the world. The combined organization now represents THE school for the future of IT: hands-on, practical, and updated daily as technology changes.

      • Happy Hackers

        Linux remains the number one destination for hackers: white hat, black hat or any colour in between. A key part of that is the ability to engineer open source code to do your bidding, but also that the tools are open source and available under open licenses.

        With Jonni fully refreshed and updated from his sabbatical now – packing a techno boat to live on – he’s crowbarring Kali Linux onto the DVD and writing up a handy guide to using its hacking playground the Metasploit framework. We’re not saying you’re going to become elite hackers overnight, but it might offer a sense of how systems become vulnerable and the basic ways you can stop attacks.

    • Server

      • A 2019 sysadmin holiday gift guide

        With the holidays just around the corner, many of us are racking our brains, trying to figure out what to buy our family and friends. If you are like me, you are probably struggling to come up with a gift that feels meaningful or useful. Honestly, who wants to get a gift card or another pair of socks? Not me! So, we’ve done the thinking for you this year.

      • How open source eases the shift to a hybrid cloud strategy

        Cloud adoption continues to grow as organizations seek to move away from legacy and monolithic strategies. Cloud-specific spending is expected to grow at more than six times the rate of general IT spending through 2020, according to McKinsey Research. But cloud adoption raises fear of vendor lock-in, which is preventing many companies from going all-in on public cloud. This has led to a rise in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments, which also have their challenges.

        Open source technology is the key to unlocking the value in a hybrid and multi-cloud strategy.

      • IBM

        • Adam Young: oc new-app

          The tools you use should help you grow from newbie to power user. OpenShift’s command line is one such tool. When getting started with Kubernetes development, the new-app option to the oc command line can help movbe you along the spectrum.

        • Building an End-to-End 5G Cloud Native Network with OpenShift

          In case you missed KubeCon 2019 in San Diego, the CNCF have been very diligent about putting the talks up online. That includes the 5G focused keynote delivered by Azhar Sayeed with Heather Kirksey (Linux Foundation) and Fu Qiao (China Mobile). A short summary of the talk is below, and naturally, the video is above.

        • Cluster Scaling

          In this video we will look at different ways to scale the worker nodes of an IPI based cluster up and down. We will see how easy it is to scale up and scale down a cluster manually. We will understand the architecture concepts behind the scaling. Next we will look at the concepts of auto scaling and create the necessary openshift components, generate workload and autoscale the cluster. We will see how the cluster sizes itself up and down based on the workload.

        • Custom wildcard DNS for OpenShift Container Platform 4.2

          With Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4 Red Hat introduced automated cluster provisioning by using openshift-installer binary. Installer based cluster provisioning enables users to deploy fully functioning OpenShift Container Platform cluster by running a single command ( openshift-install create cluster ).

          Cluster parameters (like machine CIDR, cluster network, number of masters and workers or VM size ) can be changed according to user needs by updating the install-config.yaml file before cluster installation.

          When running openshift-installer to provision OpenShift Container Platform 4.2, wildcard DNS is set to *.apps.<cluster name>.<base domain> by default.

          Sometimes user might want to have a different wildcard DNS for applications. In order to change the default wildcard DNS, user needs to generate cluster manifest files and change the domain name. Following procedure explains how this can be achieved.

        • Explore Kubernetes with OpenShift in a workshop near you

          The Kubernetes with OpenShift World Tour is a series of in-person workshops around the globe that help you build the skills you need to quickly modernize your applications. This World Tour provides a hands-on experience and teaches the basics of working with the hybrid-cloud, enterprise container platform Red Hat® OpenShift® on IBM Cloud™. You learn coding skills in the world of containerized, cloud-native development with expert developer advocates, who have deep technical experience building cloud microservices and applications with Red Hat OpenShift.

        • Before you select a container platform, consider these things

          If your organization wants to succeed in today’s fast-paced, digital economy, you need to operate like a software company, and that means rethinking the way you design, build, and use applications.

          Organizations are getting the message, and there’s a growing number of IT teams adopting development tools like containers to create cloud-native apps that work in a consistent manner across private, public, and hybrid clouds.

          But how do you know which container platforms are best for your organization? And how do you make the right decision about container orchestration to manage the lifecycles of your containers so you can operate at scale and accelerate innovation? We break it down in a new, on-demand webinar: “10 important things to consider when selecting a container platform,” including the relationship between Linux and containers and the various options available if you want to move to Kubernetes for container orchestration.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2019-12-16 | Linux Headlines

        30 million Raspberry Pis sold, GNOME Shell gets classic, and some strange Google bugs.

      • KDE is Now Lighter than XFCE?

        With the new version of KDE 5.17 pretty much on every KDE distro out now, we need to talk about how KDE is now just as light or even lighter than XFCE!

    • Kernel Space

      • Collabora Added H.264 and VP8 Decoding for Some Chromebooks in Linux Kernel 5.4

        Released last month on November 24th, the Linux 5.4 kernel series brings exciting new features for Linux users everywhere, including the long-anticipated support for Microsoft’s proprietary exFAT file system, as well as a new kernel lockdown feature for extra security, and a bunch of improvements for AMD gamers.

        Linux Kernel 5.4 also adds a new security feature for detecting file tampering called fs-verity, a new dm-clone tool for live cloning of block devices, a new high-performance virtio driver for sharing files between hosts and guests called virtio-fs, improved app memory management on Android devices, and support for Intel Tiger Lake CPUs.

      • Linux 5.4.3

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.3 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

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


      • Linux 5.3.16
      • Linux 4.19.89
      • Wong: XFS – 2019 Development Retrospective

        XFS filesystem maintainer Darrick Wong summarizes the significant XFS developments from the last year

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mir Lands Server-Side Decoration Support For XWayland

          Making Mir’s XWayland support much more usable now is initial server-side decoration support in order to handle window resizing and window movements.

          Mir’s XWayland support to date hasn’t supported server-side decorations and thus losing out not only on window decorations but functionality like window resizing and movements. Now in the newest Mir development code is this SSD support wired up.

        • NVIDIA Launches Open-Source Video Processing Framework For Python

          NVIDIA’s “VideoProcessingFramework” is an open-source set of C++ libraries that are wrapped around by Python bindings for interacting with their closed-source Video Codec SDK. The function of this framework is to make it easy to exploit GPU-accelerated video encode/decode from Python.

          While Python isn’t the most performant language, it’s easy-to-use and with its mass following NVIDIA has decided to publish this Video Processing Framework that amounts to a Python wrapper around their existing Video Codec SDK C++ stack for GPU-based video encode/decode on Kepler and newer.

        • MoltenVK Updated For Providing Vulkan 1.1.130 SDK Support On Apple macOS/iOS

          MoltenVK has now caught up against the latest Vulkan upstream specification for the time being in supporting Vulkan translated to Apple’s Metal API on macOS and iOS.

          MoltenVK’s latest release on Monday is aligned with the current latest version of the spec/SDK, Vulkan 1.1.130 as shipped just over one week ago. Granted, not all Vulkan extensions are supported by MoltenVK.

        • Purism Making Some Progress On Convergence With Phosh Running On Desktop

          While both Librem laptops and smartphones are running “PureOS” as their Debian derivative, it’s not the same software stack right now on both. Among other differences, Librem laptops are running straight-up GNOME Shell while the Librem 5 is running some GNOME applications but on their custom WLROOTS-based Phosh compositor/shell. They have been working with their libhandy library and related efforts to make various programs adaptive to the screen resolution/orientation they are running on, but there hasn’t been anything in place as far as allowing a converged experience of plugging a monitor and keyboard/mouse into the Librem 5 and having a working desktop experience. But then again, they are still tackling woefully short battery life issues, even the ability to make calls from the device, and other more critical tasks with the librem 5.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB Linux Gaming Performance

        Last week AMD launched the Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card as the sub-$200 Navi 14 graphics card in versions with either 4GB or 8GB of GDDR6 video memory. In our launch-day Radeon RX 5500 XT Linux testing the benchmarks of this budget 7nm graphics card was done using the 4GB review sample, but with Phoronix readers being curious about the 8GB version, I bought the GIGABYTE Radeon RX 5500 XT GV-R55XTOC-8GD for some additional Linux testing. Here are those results.

        The RX 5500XT 8GB features the same specs as the 4GB version aside from the vRAM: 22 compute units, 1408 stream processors, up to 5.6 TFLOPS of compute, 130 Watt board power, PCI Express 4.0, and other common Navi/RDNA features.

    • Applications

      • Scrcpy – Control Android devices from a Linux desktop

        Smartphone systems can be used through a computer system to some extent. You can always use Android emulators, or virtual devices, or even Android for x86 architecture systems, but what about your very own phone? How would you use the interface of your Android phone through your computer?

        Well, this is where we introduce Scrcpy.

        Scrcpy is a desktop program that can be used to access your Android phone’s system and interface through your computer. The app is quite convenient, and some of its best features are highlighted below.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.5 released with D9VK merged in for D3D9 support, plus a statement on DXVK’s future

        With the news earlier about D9VK being merged into DXVK, to make DXVK the all-in-one solution for D3D9, D3D10 and D3D11 to Vulkan – we now have a fresh release of DXVK with it all together.

        Today, DXVK 1.5 is out and the big headline feature there then is D3D9 support included! D9VK did actually have a standalone release just before all this happened with D9VK 0.40/0.40.1 and this DXVK release includes a few extra fixes too.

        What does all that above mean? Simply put: DXVK will now run games that use D3D9, 10 and 11 and turn it into Vulkan when paired with Wine/Proton as of DXVK 1.5.

      • DXVK 1.5 Released, Now Includes D9VK (Support For D3D9)

        DXVK 1.5 has been released today and starting with this version, D9VK is now part of DXVK. The new version also brings HUD improvements and bug fixes.

        DXVK, a Vulkan-based Direct3D translation layer, supported D3D11 and D3D10 until this release, but with the merge of D9VK, DXVK now has Direct3D 9 (D3D9) support out of the box. This means that DXVK now allows running 3D applications and games (via Wine) that use Direct3D 9 directly, without having to use D9VK separately.

        DXVK 1.5 also brings some D9VK corrections on top of the latest D9VK 0.40.1 version, like some fixes for memory and resource leaks in state blocks, deletion and device resetting, and a fix for the black screen issue happening with some drivers on Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition.

      • DXVK 1.5 Released With The Newly-Added Direct3D 9 Support

        Philip Rebohle has released DXVK 1.5 as the newest version of this Direct3D-over-Vulkan implementation and is a big release considering last night’s merging of D9VK / Direct3D 9 support.

        So with the just-released DXVK 1.5 is now Direct3D 9 support thanks to this new back-end and should be offering up better performance for Direct3D 9 games under Wine / Steam Play (Proton) compared to the WineD3D code-path translating to OpenGL, especially in cases of CPU bound games.

        DXVK 1.5 also brings an improved HUD with some UI enhancements, memory allocation stats for per-heap metrics, and other heads-up display tweaking. DXVK 1.5 also now advertises all GPUs as being NVIDIA hardware to Crysis 3 for working around an issue plus has fixes affecting Halo MCC, Star Citizen, and Atelier Ryza.

    • Games

      • Atari will offer 80/20 revenue split for the Atari VCS, confirming standard Linux games will run on it

        The team behind the Atari VCS have finally given out some details on developing games for it, along with their revenue share model.

        For developers that have already ported their game to Linux to have it on the likes of Steam, GOG, itch.io, Humble and so on—you’re probably in for a somewhat easy ride. The standard Atari VCS system is powered by a slightly custom Debian Linux, so it works with “standard 64-bit Linux code, APIs and tools”.

      • Don’t Starve Together has another sweet animation and more free content

        Klei Entertainment’s online survival game Don’t Starve Together continues getting bigger and better, with another free content update out plus a sweet animation.

      • Fail to Win is a game about repeatedly blowing yourself up to reach the next checkpoint

        Need a laugh? Fail to Win certainly gave me a reason to smile, with a completely ridiculous idea for a game that surprisingly works quite well.

        It’s a 3D puzzle game, where you need to carefully guide your avatar across a series of explosive devices, to throw your body across the screen in the hopes of hitting the next checkpoint. If you manage to hit a new checkpoint, you revive there to progress through the level.

      • Open-world space adventure Starcom: Nexus now has a Linux Beta you can easily try

        Wx3 Labs have now opened up the Beta for Starcom: Nexus to everyone who owns the game (or picks it up now), plus they’re looking for some feedback.

        Sound familiar? We wrote about this one recently, but then access to the Linux version wasn’t public—it now is. If you decide to pick it up on Steam, you can try the Linux version simply by opting into the Linux Beta on Steam with no password needed.

      • The latest Stone Story RPG update looks awesome, brilliant ASCII animations

        Stone Story RPG is probably one of the most surprising indie games released this year, as it pulled me in far quicker than expected for a game animated entirely with ASCII.

        The Yellow Update released last week, as the first of a series of planned updates which brings a bunch of new fun features and balance changes. There’s a whole new tier of difficulty, brand new encounters with mini-bosses and a powerful new weapons.

      • Want to try Google Stadia early? We have a three-month Stadia Pro Buddy Pass to give away

        Courtesy of Google, we have an extra Buddy Pass to give away for their game streaming service Stadia. Google gave Founders an extra Buddy Pass, so instead of hogging it we’re giving it away.

        What is the Buddy Pass? It gives you three months of Stadia Pro with any games that can currently be redeemed like Destiny 2, Farming Simulator 19 and Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, giving you a chance to try out Stadia before the masses when it opens up next year.

      • Monster taming RPG ‘Siralim Ultimate’ announced, coming to Linux next year

        Thylacine Studios have announced the next generation of their monster taming RPG games with Siralim Ultimate, what’s essentially going to be Siralim 4.

        Already confirmed to be releasing for Linux, it sounds like it’s going to be a huge improvement over the previous games. For starters, the graphics are getting updated with all original creatures from the previous games getting redrawn to be more unique and many other visuals will see a revamp like battle backgrounds.

        The UI is also going to be overhauled, to make it more accessible and streamlined. The Siralim games have always been deep, full of options and things to do but the UI wasn’t exactly the most inviting. With Siralim Ultimate they’re adding in plenty of quality-of-life features such as on-the-fly sorting and filtering for all menus and more icons.

      • Colourful ghost-busting twin-stick shooter Dead End Job is out now

        Set in a madcap, Ren & Stimpy-esque world, Dead End Job is a crazy twin-stick shooter where you’re sucking up ghosts. Made by Scottish developer Ant Workshop, who also made the clever and brain-twisting Binaries and Linux-friendly publisher Headup Games.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Frameworks 5.65 Open-Source Software Suite Lands with More Than 200 Changes

          KDE Frameworks 5.65 is a monthly update to the open-source software suite used by the KDE Plasma desktop environment, adding more than 200 changes across various components. Among some of the highlights, we can mention implementation of an install directory for systemd units, new Baloo and Preferences Search icons, new document notifiers setting in KConfig, new protocol for 7z archives, document configuration file path on Android, and a new Quick Charts module in KQuickCharts for high-performance charts.

          “The Quick Charts module provides a set of charts that can be used from QtQuick applications. They are intended to be used for both simple display of data as well as continuous display of high-volume data (often referred to as plotters). The charts use a system called distance fields for their accelerated rendering, which provides ways of using the GPU for rendering 2D shapes without loss of quality,” reads the release notes.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shell Arc Menu v38 Adds Budgie, Windows 10 And KRunner Layouts

          Arc Menu, a traditional applications menu for GNOME Shell, was updated recently with 3 new layouts in the style of Budgie, Windows 10 and KRunner, a few new customization options and bug fixes.

          GNOME Shell gives users the alternative of using a traditional application menu by using the official Applications menu extension. Arc Menu was created as a replacement for this with extra features like search functionality, quick access to files on your system, and on top of this it’s also highly customizable.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE YES Certification Kit for SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP5

          SUSE® officially released SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP5 on Dec 9, 2019. With this new version of SUSE Linux Enterprise, we also announce the availability of the latest SUSE YES System Certification Kit (SCK), version 8.4. The 8.4 SCK provides certification support for SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP5 including Xen and KVM virtualization certification.

          The 8.4 SCK continues support for SUSE Linux Enterprise for Arm, SUSE Linux Enterprise for Power, and SUSE Linux Enterprise for z Systems. Certifications for servers, workstations, desktops, laptops, point of service systems, virtualization hosts, and third-party hypervisors are also supported.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora program update: 2019-50

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. The elections have ended. Congratulations to the winning candidates.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.1.1 is out

          This release fixes a problem when starting Tails 4.1 on some Mac computers.

          If Tails 4.1 starts successfully on your computer, you do not have to upgrade to Tails 4.1.1.

        • FAI.me service now support kernel cmdline options

          The FAI.me service for creating customized installation and cloud images now supports additional kernel cmdline parameters. After toggling to the advanced settings, you can add your options. These will replace the default grub “quiet” option.

          This feature is currently only available for the installation images, but not for the cloud images.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Hey, Ubuntu? You Need a Better Image Viewer…

          Now, don’t get me wrong: ‘Eye of GNOME‘ (which is often referred to by the package name of ‘eog‘) does its job well. It lets you view images stored on your computer without any fuss.

          But therein lies the rub; eog can’t do much more than that. The app is simply no where near as featured as the default image viewers being shipped on other platforms, including Android, and even Chrome OS!

          It’s for this reason that I made changing the image viewer a step in my list of things to do after installing Ubuntu 19.10.

        • Canonical Wants the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server Installer to Be Faster, Comfortable

          During the development cycle of the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS operating system, which should debut in late April 2020, Canonical wants to make the Ubuntu Server installer faster and more comfortable for its server users by dropping support for the Debian-installer based classic server installer and replacing it with their more modern, in-house built subiquity server installer.

          “With [Ubuntu] 20.04 LTS, we will be completing the transition to the live server installer and discontinuing the classic server installer based on debian-installer (d-i), allowing us to focus our engineering efforts on a single codebase. The next-generation subiquity server installer brings the comfortable live session and speedy install of Ubuntu Desktop to server users,” said Michael Hudson Doyle, software engineer at Canonical.

        • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 609

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 609 for the week of December 8 – 14, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • Take The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Survey Now

          The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS survey which is going run until January 10, 2020, is collecting feedback from the pubic for it’s upcoming Ubuntu.

          Ubuntu 20.04 is the next long-term support (LTS) release of Ubuntu.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How open source eases the shift to a hybrid cloud strategy

        Cloud adoption continues to grow as organizations seek to move away from legacy and monolithic strategies. Cloud-specific spending is expected to grow at more than six times the rate of general IT spending through 2020, according to McKinsey Research. But cloud adoption raises fear of vendor lock-in, which is preventing many companies from going all-in on public cloud. This has led to a rise in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments, which also have their challenges.

        Open source technology is the key to unlocking the value in a hybrid and multi-cloud strategy.

      • An Actionable Guide to Enhance Your Online Privacy With Tor

        As I mentioned before, Tor is a free open source software which defends users’ privacy. Specifically, The Onion Router software is being used by students, companies, universities, reporters who maybe want to share an idea anonymously for many years. In order to conceal users’ identities, Tor routes traffic through a worldwide overlay network which consisting of thousand of relays.

        In addition, it has a very handy functionality as it encrypts the data multiple times, including the next IP address for the node it is intended for, and sends it through a virtual circuit that includes a random node. Each node decrypts a layer of encrypted information in order to reveal the next node. The result is that the remaining encrypted information will be decrypted at the last node without revealing the source IP address. This process builds the Tor circuit.

      • Web Browsers

        • Private.sh release extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox

          Private.sh has released a Private Search Google Chrome Extension as well as a Private Search Firefox Add-On. The release of these Private.sh browser extensions allows private search engine users a new layer of control over their private internet searches by having the code stored and run locally. 

        • Mozilla

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2019 w50 – worklog – Hello, someone is here?

            We decided to try to tackle the pile of issues which needed contacts. Before we had dedicated persons: Adam and myself. But we now kind of switched roles. So without daily love, the piles of needscontact (we need to find a contact) and contactready (we need to actually contact) tends to grow. So this week, I made a special effort specifically on the contactready list. One of my axioms for Webcompat:

            If you wait long enough, a bug goes away.

            Indeed. The site disappears, has been redesigned, the libraries have been changed. With Adam, we had determined that if we were doing the full process quickly, we had more chances to catch bugs and solve issues for users. Reality and the volume of incoming bugs make this difficult.

            Fixing the Web requires a dedicated will from the whole industry to change its practices. Web compatibility issues share some of the aspects of the climate change (except no mass extinction if the Web disappears).

            This outreach week was a mixed bag of not valid anymore bugs and still ongoing issues. Once contacted, it doesn’t mean the issue will be fixed. Note that this process is open to everyone. If you want to help, you are more than welcome.

          • Marco Zehe: Call to action: HTML needs more native rich widgets

            Over the weekend, this post by Dave Rupert made the rounds, and I totally agree with what he is saying.

            In his post, Dave showcases a problem with the gap between intent and developer assumption about what a certain element or set of elements, are intended or should be used for, and what not to be used for. In this case, the details and summary elements being used as accordions, or not.

            If you are running his example with Firefox and either NVDA or JAWS, you are actually very lucky, because all features of his accordion are supported, including the headings. Because unlike some other browsers, because h elements are allowed within summary elements, we do not nuke the heading semantics, and thus it is possible with both screen readers to navigate by heading even inside the summary elements, which get mapped to the button role. Since Firefox 70, both screen readers will even announce properly when you toggle the details open or closed.

            However, this is not the case with all browser and screen reader combinations. And according to the spec, details and summary are not intended to be used as an accordion, even though the interaction model totally mimiks that. And here’s indeed one of the big problems I have encountered time and again when working with developers internally at Mozilla and on the outside: The specification does not always do a good job of explaining in an understandable form of English what an element is intended for or not. Especially if it mimiks a design pattern that fits the developers use case, but is for some reason not what the developer wants to use it for. This divide is made very obvious in Dave’s post. Even in accessibility land, there is this divide. For example, the spec allows for buttons or elements that map to buttons to have semantic children like headings. Why then do buttons, according to the accessibility specification, nuke their children’s semantics? Or should nuke them? Because traditional desktop buttons didn’t have headings?

          • Friend of Add-ons: Jocelyn Li

            Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Jocelyn Li! Jocelyn has been an active code contributor to addons.mozilla.org (AMO) since May 2018, when she found a frontend issue that involved broken CSS. She had known that Mozilla welcomed code contributions from community members, but hadn’t been sure if she was qualified to participate. As she looked at the CSS bug, she thought, “This doesn’t look that hard; maybe I can fix it,” and submitted her first patch a few hours later. She has been an avid contributor ever since.

            Jocelyn says that contributing to a large public project like Mozilla has helped her grow professionally, thanks in part to positive interactions with staff members during code review. “They always give constructive comments and guide contributors,” she says. “When I learn either technical or non-technical skills, I can apply them to my own job.”

            Mozilla and contributors alike benefit from the open source model, Jocelyn believes. “Mozilla receives contributions from the community. Contributors are like seeds all over the world and promote Mozilla’s projects or languages and improve their own companies at the same time.”

          • Firefox UX: Designer, you can run a usability study: Usability Mentorship at Mozilla

            On the Firefox UX team, a human-centered design process and a “roll up your sleeves” attitude define our collaborative approach to shipping products and features that help further our mission. Over the past year, we’ve been piloting a Usability Mentorship program in an effort to train and empower designers to make regular research part of their design process, treating research as “a piece of the pie” rather than an extra slice on the side. What’s Mozilla’s Firefox UX team like? We have about twenty designers, a handful of user researchers, and a few content strategists.

          • Firefox Announces New Partner in Delivering Private and Secure DNS Services to Users

            Firefox announced a new partnership with NextDNS to provide Firefox users with private and secure encrypted Domain Name System (DNS) services through its Trusted Recursive Resolver Program. The company has committed to putting user privacy first in efforts to modernize DNS.

            For more than 30 years, DNS has served as a key mechanism for accessing sites and services on the web. DNS is the Internet’s directory. It translates names we know like ​www.firefox.com​ to numeric Internet addresses that a computer understands. Almost every activity on the Internet begins with a DNS request.

            The Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the oldest parts of internet architecture, and remains largely untouched by efforts to make the web safer and more private. Malicious actors can spy on or tamper with users’ browsing activity and DNS providers, including internet service providers (ISPSs), can collect and monetize a user’s browsing activity.

            Over the last two years, Firefox, in partnership with other industry stakeholders, has been working to develop, standardize, and deploy DNS over HTTPs (DoH). DoH aims to protect that same browsing activity from interception, manipulation, and collection in the middle of the network.

          • David Humphrey: Teaching Open Source, Fall 2019

            Today I’ve completed another semester of teaching open source, and wanted to write something about what happened, experiments I tried, and what I learned.

            This fall I taught the first of our two open source classes, cross-listed in our degree and diploma programs as OSD600 and DPS909. This course focuses on getting students engaged in open source development practices, and has them participate in half-a-dozen different open source projects, making an average of 10 pull requests over 14 weeks. The emphasis is on learning git, GitHub, and how to cope in large open source projects, code bases, and communities.

            This is the 15th year I’ve taught it, and I had one of my largest groups: 60 students spread across two sections. I don’t think I could cope with more than this, especially when I’m also teaching other courses at the same time.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Writer: The User Interface

          This tutorial explains briefly how we work with LibreOffice Writer’s user interface. This includes its Menubar, Toolbar, Sidebar, Statusbar, and Window in general, particularly frequently used buttons. The goal is for us to familiarize the most important features first in Writer. This article is intended for beginning LibreOffice users even if they are also new in computing. Happy learning!

          Whenever you start LibreOffice, you may encounter its welcome dialog with buttons to create new documents in Writer word processor, Calc spreadsheet, Impress presentation, and others. It shows you recently edited documents if any. The more you edit documents, the more recent items showed here. The purpose of this starting point is to ease you to access all of your existing documents and create new ones. To create new Writer document, simply click blue button Writer Document on the left.

      • Programming/Development

        • GNU C Library 2.31 Should Be Out In February – To Ship With Fedora 32

          As part of Fedora 32′s bleeding-edge compiler toolchain with the likes of GCC 10 and LLVM 10, the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee has approved making use of GNU C Library 2.31. Glibc 2.31 will be out early next year with more features in tow.

          The change proposal and acceptance isn’t much of a surprise thanks to Red Hat engineers always working to ensure the latest GNU toolchain bits are shipped as part of new Fedora releases — after all, it’s many of the same Red Hat folks working on the upstream improvements.

        • #include </etc/shadow>

          Recently I saw a tweet where someone mentioned that you can include /dev/stdin in C code compiled with gcc. This is, to say the very least, surprising.

          When you see something like this with an IT security background you start to wonder if this can be abused for an attack. While I couldn’t come up with anything, I started to wonder what else you could include. As you can basically include arbitrary paths on a system this may be used to exfiltrate data – if you can convince someone else to compile your code.

          There are plenty of webpages that offer online services where you can type in C code and run it. It is obvious that such systems are insecure if the code running is not sandboxed in some way. But is it equally obvious that the compiler also needs to be sandboxed?

          How would you attack something like this? Exfiltrating data directly through the code is relatively difficult, because you need to include data that ends up being valid C code. Maybe there’s a trick to make something like /etc/shadow valid C code (you can put code before and after the include), but I haven’t found it. But it’s not needed either: The error messages you get from the compiler are all you need. All online tools I tested will show you the errors if your code doesn’t compile.

        • Using a Raspberry Pi as a synthesiser

          Synthesiser? Synthesizer? Whichever it is*, check out this video of Floyd Steinberg showing how he set up his Raspberry Pi as one of them.

        • New cmb(3) library and cmb(1) utility

          Over 30 years in the making, this is not just a cute tool to generate combinations. It is both a novel algorithm and the fastest implementation we have for complex combinatorics. It is faster than python’s itertools, faster than numpy, faster than Perl, faster than Perl XS, faster than comb in R, faster than every library I have found and tested over the past 5 years.

        • BH 1.72.0-1 on CRAN

          The BH package provides a sizeable portion of the Boost C++ libraries as a set of template headers for use by R. It is quite popular, and frequently used together with Rcpp. The BH CRAN page shows e.g. that it is used by rstan, dplyr as well as a few other packages. The current count of reverse dependencies is at 193.

          Boost releases every four months. The last release we packaged was 1.69 from last December, prepared just before CRAN’s winter break. As it needed corresponding changes in three packages using it, it arrived on CRAN early January of this year. The process was much smoother this time. Yesterday I updated the package to the Boost 1.72 release made last Wednesday, and we are on CRAN now as there are no apparent issues. Of course, this BH release was also preceded by a complete reverse-depends check on my end, as well as on CRAN.

          As you may know, CRAN tightened policies some more. Pragmas suppressing compiler warnings are verboten so I had to disable a few (see this patch file). Expect compilations of packages using Boost, and BH, to be potentially very noisy. Consider adding flags to your local ~/.R/Makeconf and we should add them to the src/Makevars as much as we can. Collecting a few of these on a BH wiki page may not be a bad idea. Contributions welcome!

        • 3 Excellent Books to Learn Elixir

          Elixir is a dynamic, functional language designed for building scalable and maintainable applications. Besides scalability, Elixir is noted for its speed, good garbage collection, dynamic typing, immutable data, and high reliability.

          Elixir is a relatively new functional programming language that runs on the Erlang virtual machine. Elixir builds on top of Erlang and shares the same abstractions for building distributed, fault-tolerant applications.

          The language is published under the Apache License 2.0.

        • Types of Code Translator

          Let us say you are in a country where the English language is commonly spoken and you only understand the English language. For some office or personal work, you visit a country where English is not used as a common language. Let us say the country you are in is China. You want to talk to a person but you don’t understand Chinese at all. Normally Chinese people know English as well but let’s just imagine for this Example, the person you want to talk to can only understand Chinese. Verbal communication will be impossible in this situation. You see around and find a person who can understand both languages English and Chinese. Its time to thank god because the person you just found can listen to you and translate that into Chinese and make the other person understand what you want to communicate.

          In this example, the person you want to talk to is a Computer. The person you just found who can understand English, as well as Chinese, is a Code translator. I hope you understand the example.

          The same thing happens in the programming world. The language you write your program in is called High-Level Language. The language that your computer understands is called Low-Level Langauge.

          The examples of High-Level Languages are C#, C++, Java, HTML etcetera.

          The example of Low-Level Langauge is Binary code. Your computer only understands Binary code nothing else. When I say your computer, I mean your computer’s processor.

        • Perl / Raku

          • 2019.50 Roles Reviewed

            Vadim Belman has extensively reviewed the way Roles work in Raku, and came to the conclusion that quite a lot of work would need to be done on them to make them fully accessible and malleable from a MOP perspective. And they did that lot of work. This work of the past months has now been merged. Kudos to Vadim Belman for this extensive and intricate work!

        • Python

          • Creational Design Patterns in Python

            Creational Design Patterns, as the name implies, deal with the creation of classes or objects.

            They serve to abstract away the specifics of classes so that we’d be less dependent on their exact implementation, or so that we wouldn’t have to deal with complex construction whenever we need them, or so we’d ensure some special instantiation properties.

            They’re very useful for lowering the level of dependency between our classes and controlling how the user interacts with them as well.

          • Design Patterns in Python

            Design Patterns are reusable models for solving known and common problems in software architecture.

            They’re best described as templates for dealing with a certain usual situation. An architect might have a template for designing certain kinds of door-frames which he fits into many of his projects, and a software engineer, or software architect, should know templates for solving frequent programming challenges.

          • Finding Natural Breaks in Data with the Fisher-Jenks Algorithm

            This article is inspired by a tweet from Peter Baumgartner. In the tweet he mentioned the Fisher-Jenks algorithm and showed a simple example of ranking data into natural breaks using the algorithm. Since I had never heard about it before, I did some research.

            After learning more about it, I realized that it is very complimentary to my previous article on Binning Data and it is intuitive and easy to use in standard pandas analysis. It is definitely an approach I would have used in the past if I had known it existed.

            I suspect many people are like me and have never heard of the concept of natural breaks before but have probably done something similar on their own data. I hope this article will expose this simple and useful approach to others so that they can add it to their python toolbox.

            The rest of this article will discuss what the Jenks optimization method (or Fisher-Jenks algorithm) is and how it can be used as a simple tool to cluster data using “natural breaks”.

          • Python Statistics Fundamentals: How to Describe Your Data

            In the era of big data and artificial intelligence, data science and machine learning have become essential in many fields of science and technology. A necessary aspect of working with data is the ability to describe, summarize, and represent data visually. Python statistics libraries are comprehensive, popular, and widely used tools that will assist you in working with data.

          • Podcast.__init__: Riding The Rising Tides Of Python

            The past two decades have seen massive growth in the language, community, and ecosystem of Python. The career of Pete Fein has occurred during that same period and his use of the language has paralleled some of the major shifts in focus that have occurred. In this episode he shares his experiences moving from a trader writing scripts, through the rise of the web, to the current renaissance in data. He also discusses how his engagement with the community has evolved, why he hasn’t needed to use any other languages in his career, and what he is keeping an eye on for the future.


            The past two decades have seen massive growth in the language, community, and ecosystem of Python. The career of Pete Fein has occurred during that same period and his use of the language has paralleled some of the major shifts in focus that have occurred. In this episode he shares his experiences moving from a trader writing scripts, through the rise of the web, to the current renaissance in data. He also discusses how his engagement with the community has evolved, why he hasn’t needed to use any other languages in his career, and what he is keeping an eye on for the future.

          • LAST Part – teach your kids to build their own game with Python.

            So, without further due, lets pickup from where we left last time.
            (Nope wait! if you havent, go check part 1 and part 2 then get back here. We’ll be waiting!)
            So far our code creates the main player and allows us to move it, create the enemies, and randomly place them in the battle field.

          • Python Education Summit – 8 years in 2020!

            Teachers, educators, and Pythonistas: come and share your projects, experiences, and tools of the trade as you teach coding and Python to your students. The Annual Python Education Summit is being held at PyCon 2020, taking place on Thursday April 16th .

          • Sound lights with Spotify and ESP8266

            As unfortunately my old fancy sound lights setup only works on Linux, it stopped working after I switched to a new laptop. So I decided to make a cross-platform solution.

          • How Kali deals with the upcoming Python 2 End-of-Life

            Five years ago, the Python developers announced that they will stop supporting Python 2 in 2020. For a long time, nobody cared and Python 3 adoption was slow. But things have changed a lot lately as the deadline is right around the corner (1st January).

      • Standards/Consortia

        • We are giving every IPv6 address a name

          You can use IPv6address.has-a.name as a domain name for any of your containers or VMs. The required format is 1234-5678-9abc-def0-1234-5678-9abc-def0.has-a.name. This is already a valid name and points to the IPv6 address 1234:5678:9abc:def0:1234:5678:9abc:def0.

  • Leftovers

    • Ann Arbor Taskforce on the Center of the City Commons

      In October 2018 the voters of Ann Arbor, Michigan, approved an amendment to the City Charter for a commons in the center of the city. These remarks formed the basis of a brief talk to the Task Force charged with planning its implementation.

    • Across the Balkans: Sarajevo

      An account of a journey from Croatia to Kosovo, by way of Bosnia-Hercegovina and Serbia, and with a detour into Montenegro. This is part IV of a series.

    • HBO PR Vet Mara Mikialian to Depart After 36 Years

      She is the latest executive to depart HBO following the management shakeup in March, when Bob Greenblatt was named WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman, prompting the exit of longtime HBO CEO Richard Plepler. The news also comes as WarnerMedia merges its communications departments under Kevin Brockman, who joined WarnerMedia after a lengthy stint at Disney in May. Mikialian’s fellow HBO vet Nancy Lesser, to whom she previously reported, also left the company in October.

    • The War Vet, the Dating Site, and the Phone Call From Hell

      Meanwhile, a number of service members were also reporting shakedown calls to military investigators and police. Taken individually, each case probably would have been too trivial to motivate law enforcement to do much. But eventually, their sheer numbers started to get the attention of authorities. According to documents I obtained from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a variety of federal agencies, including the NCIS and its counterparts with the Army and Air Force, began investigating reports of the underage girl scam in 2015. The FBI eventually ceded its investigation to the NCIS, handing over the information it had gathered from Fodeman and other sources.

    • Education

      • Rating the 2020 Democrats at This Weekend’s Education Forum

        Support was voiced by the candidates for community schools, increased school funding for Title I schools, increased pay for teachers, support for unions, fully-funded pre-schools, increasing the number of teachers of color, student loan forgiveness, and other equity issues which have commonly appeared in candidates’ platforms.

      • Refugee Children Have the Right to a Full Education

        Mohammed should be in a 9th grade classroom right now. Instead, he spends his days selling napkins and dry-cleaning clothes. Mohammed has lived in Jordan for seven years, since his family fled Syria. He desperately wants to study, but his family struggles to meet their most basic needs, and they can’t afford the cost of transportation to school. He is just one of millions of refugee children denied an education today.

        Human Rights Watch recently spoke with refugees in Jordan whose children are out of school. The reasons vary. Some cannot afford basic costs. Others faced administrative barriers when they tried to enroll. Still others lament the quality of instruction, as teachers are not trained to work with students dealing with trauma. And children with disabilities often find that schools do not accommodate their needs. Refugee children all over the world face these challenges, which are only compounded as they grow older.

      • No More Late Fees At LA Public Libraries, Mayor Says

        Garcetti said that instead of encouraging people to return books, fines have sometimes forced people to hold onto them because they couldn’t pay. Or, they avoided the library altogether. He explained that in 2016, when LAPL went fine-free for two weeks, 64,000 overdue books ended up back on the shelves and more than 7,900 new library cards were issued.

        “And we know that eliminating fines works,” City Librarian John Szabo said Friday. “Libraries across the country that have become fine-free experience [upticks] in materials borrowed, library card registration, staff morale and customer satisfaction.”

        Patrons will still be charged for replacing books that are more than 45 days overdue, officials said. They will also still be charged for replacing damaged books. Patrons who take out items for more than 108 days will have their cards blocked until the books or DVDs are returned, or, until they pay.

      • LA Public Libraries will stop charging late fees in spring 2020, making it largest free public library system

        The Los Angeles Public Library system will stop charging late fees beginning in spring 2020, making it the largest free public library system in the country.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Avast CEO Downplays Collection Of 400 Million Users’ Browsing Data

          In an ideal world, companies that profess to be dedicated to protecting users from malware and privacy threats probably shouldn’t contribute to the problem. In the world we live in however, that’s often not the case–as everybody saw when Facebook tried to sell its users on a “privacy protecting VPN” that actually hoovered up their browsing data, providing insight into user behavior when they aren’t using Facebook. Facebook did ultimately shut the project down, but it took a year before they were willing to do so.

        • Microsoft has started putting ads in native Windows 10 apps again

          You might remember that this time last year, we started seeing adverts (mostly for other Microsoft products) in the native Mail and Calendar UWP apps for Windows 10. At the time Microsoft passed it off as just “an experiment” and duly, they disappeared soon after Chrimbletide.

          However, a report from MSPowerUser this weekend suggests they’re back with a vengeance and worse than before.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • X factor: Populating the globe with open leaders

              At Mozilla, we think of open leadership as a set of principles, practices, and skills people can use to mobilize their communities to solve shared problems and achieve shared goals. Open leaders design and build projects that empower others to collaborate within inclusive communities.

              Mozilla’s Open Leaders program connects and trains leaders from around the world whose communities can help one another address the challenges and opportunities they face in creating a healthier internet, more trustworthy AI, and better online lives for all.


              While Mozilla staffers have historically organized the program, returning graduates have served as the experts, mentors, and community call co-hosts of each subsequent round of programming, contributing their time and expertise back to the program and its participants. They have also helped us at Mozilla better participate in discussions of engagement, value exchange, sustainability, power-sharing, care, and labor (among many, many other interwoven open topics).

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Uber Announces OpenChain Conformance

                Today Uber, a Platinum Member of the OpenChain Project, announces their conformance to the OpenChain Specification. This builds on their long-standing engagement and commitment to the project and a deep engagement with developing our industry standard, accompanying reference material, and our evolution into a formal ISO standard.

                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.

                “Consistent and transparent compliance standards are critical for building trust among the open source community and our business partners,” said Matthew Kuipers, Senior Counsel, Uber. “ We’re increasing our commitment to the community and our partnerships by adopting the Linux Foundation’s OpenChain Specification.”

              • Cloud Foundry vs Kubernetes: Julian Fisher

                “Kubernetes is one of the technologies being in the hype cycle. So there’s a lot of attention. People look at it and they know that they need to do something with Kubernetes, but not everybody has yet figured out what exactly it is and how it fits into the portfolio of modern operations,” Julian Fisher, CEO and Founder of anynines.

              • Linux Foundation’s DENT To Create Network OS For Disaggregated Network Switches

                With an aim to simplify enterprise edge networking software, Linux Foundation has launched a new open source project called DENT. The project will help in the creation of Network OS for Disaggregated Network Switches in campus and remote enterprise locations.

                Linux Foundation said it expects DENT to unify silicon vendors, ODMs, SIs, OEMs, and end users across all verticals and enable the transition to disaggregated networks.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (davical, intel-microcode, libpgf, php-horde, spamassassin, spip, and thunderbird), Mageia (clementine, dnsmasq, git, jasper, kdelibs4, kernel, libcroco, libgit2, libvirt, ncurses, openafs, proftpd, qbittorrent, signing-party, squid, and wireshark), openSUSE (java-1_8_0-openjdk and postgresql), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (chromium-browser and openslp), and SUSE (kernel, libssh, and xen).

          • GNU Guix: Reproducible Builds Summit, 5th edition

            For several years, the Reproducible Builds Summit has become this pleasant and fruitful retreat where we Guix hackers like to go and share, brainstorm, and hack with people from free software projects and companies who share this interest in reproducible builds and related issues. This year, several of us had the chance to be in Marrakesh for the fifth Reproducible Builds Summit, which was attended by about thirty people.

          • Plundervolt – stealing secrets by starving your computer of voltage

            The funky vulnerability of the month – what we call a BWAIN, short for Bug With an Impressive Name – is Plundervolt, also known as CVE-2019-11157.


            In very greatly simplified terms, the vulnerability relies on the fact that if you run your processor on a voltage that’s a little bit lower than it usually expects, e.g. 0.9V instead of 1.0V, it may carry on working almost as normal, but get some – just some – calculations very slightly wrong.

            We didn’t even know that was possible.

            We assumed that computer CPUs would be like modern, computer-controlled LED bicycle lights that no longer fade out slowly like the old incandescent days – they just cut out abruptly when the voltage dips below a critical point. (Don’t ask how we know that.)

            But the Plundervolt researchers found out that ‘undervolting’ CPUs by just the right amount could indeed put the CPU into a sort of digital twilight zone where it would keep on running yet start to make subtle mistakes.

            The undervoltages required varied by CPU type, model number and operating frequency, so they were found by trial and error.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Guess What? Many Cookie Banners Ignore Your Wishes, So Max Schrems Goes On The GDPR Attack Again

              One of the most visible manifestations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the “cookie banner” that pops up when you visit many sites for the first time. These are designed to give visitors the opportunity to decide whether they want to be tracked, and if so by whom. Any business operating Internet sites in the EU should theoretically use them or something similar, or risk a GDPR fine of up to 4% of global turnover. Cookie banners may be tiresome, but at least they give users some measure of control over how much they are tracked online. But do they? Few of us have the skills or the time to check that our wishes are obeyed by every site. Fortunately, three researchers in France — Célestin Matte, Nataliia Bielova, Cristiana Santos — possess both, and have conducted the first rigorous study of this area. They’ve written a good summary of their full academic paper.

            • App developers may be forced to disclose any foreign involvement

              The US government is considering forcing app developers to disclose any foreign involvement after a string of concerns about how users’ data is being collected.

            • What Not to Do on Your Work Computer

              Even if your every move isn’t being watched, it’s still best to assume your work computer is monitored and act accordingly. Here are some less obvious tasks you should be mindful of.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Planetary Perestroika

        The twentieth century turned Western civilization upside down. Wars and upheavals resurrected the dark ages. It was extremely violent, perhaps the most violent era in history.

      • Bipartisan Spending Deal Could End Freeze on Gun Research

        A bipartisan deal on a government spending bill would for the first time in two decades provide money for federal research on gun safety. A law adopted in the 1990’s has effectively blocked such research and prohibits federal agencies from engaging in advocacy on gun-related issues.

      • Nuclear Fantasies Down Under: The Political And Economic Problems With Old Money Power

        The nuclear energy ‘industry’ in Australia should be dead, but somehow it keeps getting revived. Dr Darrin Durant weighs in in New Matilda’s ongoing series on ‘the nuclear option’.

      • Whose Coups?

        Coups have been one of the greatest threats to democracy. The people elect a daring leader willing to take on the status quo. And then, as in Iran in 1953 or Chile in 1973, the military pushes the leader aside to take control. Sometimes the generals remain in power; sometimes they restore a royal to the throne. Often some external force – a foreign intelligence agency, a cabal of corporate interests – plays a key role in denying the people their democratic choice.

      • Human Rights, Myopic Perspectives, and Ideological Manipulations

        Since the 1990s, the U.S. government has launched manipulative ideological campaigns with respect to human rights in order to justify interventions in the affairs of nations that resist subordination to U.S. imperialist intentions. The U.S. ideologically manipulated human rights campaign has ignored the evolution of the meaning of democratic rights during the last two and one-half centuries.

      • Afghanistan: Oh, When Will We Ever Learn?

        “U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign,” the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock reports, “making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”

      • The Moment the Military-Industrial Complex Became Uncontrollable

        I’ve been writing critiques of the Pentagon, the national security state, and America’s never-ending military overreach since at least 1979 — in other words, virtually my entire working life. In those decades, there were moments when positive changes did occur. They ranged from ending the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994 and halting U.S. military support for the murderous regimes, death squads, and outlaws who ruled Central America in the 1970s and 1980s to sharp reductions in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals as the Cold War wound down. Each of those victories, however complex, seemed like a signal that sustained resistance and global solidarity mattered and could make a difference when it came to peace and security.

      • Iraq: State Appears Complicit in Massacre of Protesters


        An ambulance arrives in Tahrir square in Baghdad after an attack on protesters in al-Khilani Square late on December 6, 2019. 

      • Indonesia Steps Up Investigation After Militant Attack on Police

        MIT, a U.N.-designated terrorist group, is mostly active in Indonesia’s Java and Sulawesi province, with some presence in eastern provinces.

        While it is unclear how many fighters are in MIT, the group reportedly has ties with other terrorist groups in the country and abroad.

        MIT has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and some of its members have traveled to Syria to join the extremist group.

        Since 2012, MIT has targeted Indonesian government officials and security forces, while also killing civilians in multiple attacks. It has become increasingly bold in its attacks on security forces, which include beheadings and the use of explosives and shootings, according to the United Nations.

      • Turkey Deploys Armed Drones to Northern Cyprus as Tensions Escalate

        Turkey has deployed armed drones to northern Cyprus as tensions escalate in the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean over energy resources and control of their distribution. Greek- and Turkish Cypriots remain at loggerheads over the issue with the dispute now drawing in other nations.

        The drones arrived after the Turkish Cypriot government, which is recognized only by Ankara, granted permission for their deployment. The drones are intended to protect Turkish research ships searching for hydrocarbons in contested waters of the Mediterranean Island.

    • Environment

      • California’s coastal waters are acidifying at double the pace of the rest of the world’s oceans

        As humans fill the atmosphere with more and more planet-warming carbon dioxide, not only is it heating up the planet — with devastating effects on the world’s oceans — the gas is also being absorbed by seawater in huge quantities. Roughly 27 percent of all carbon dioxide emitted since 1959 has gone into the oceans.

        As all that carbon dioxide mixes with seawater, it makes the entire ocean more acidic, an effect commonly referred to as ocean acidification. The oceans are now around 30 percent more acidic than they were before the industrial revolution.

        A more acidic environment is damaging for many marine species but it’s especially bad for the ones that form shells. The acidic waters make the chemical building blocks that sea creatures use to form shells in the first place less plentiful and corrode those that do manage to coalesce.

      • Waters Off California Acidifying Faster Than Rest of Oceans, Study Shows

        Emily Osborne, a scientist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ocean acidification program, with her colleagues studied the fossil record of planktonic foraminifera — tiny simple organisms which, like shellfish, build their shells from calcium carbonate. They have been around for millions of years, but each individual organism only lives for roughly a month.

        “They are creating this super tight snapshot of what the ocean looks like for a month period of time,” said Dr. Osborne, a lead researcher on the study, published in Nature Geosciences.

      • COP25 Was a Failure, But Activists’ Collective Organizing Was Unprecedented

        The COP25 United Nations climate summit ended in failure Sunday, after negotiators failed to agree to a deal that would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — a key goal of the Paris Agreement. Scores of civil society groups condemned governments in the European Union, Australia, Canada and the U.S. for a deal that requires far less action than needed to avert catastrophic climate change. Indigenous leaders and environmentalists blasted the United Nations for marginalizing civil society groups over two weeks of negotiations at the climate summit, while welcoming polluters. For more on the outcome of the U.N. climate summit, we speak with Asad Rehman, executive director of War on Want, and Tasneem Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network International.

      • Glacial melt creates Andes time bomb

        The speed of glacial melt in parts of Latin America is threatening water supplies – and life and limb in cities downstream.

      • “Stop What You’re Doing and Watch This”: Intense Praise for Apocalypse-Themed Climate 2020 Campaign Ad

        “It’s a catastrophe of our own creation—but it doesn’t have to end this way,” says Andrew Romanoff, a Democratic hopeful for U.S. Senate running in Colorado.

      • Climate: From Catastrophe to Cataclysm

        Please watch the 23 minute video, linked below, to completion. It shows an interview of Dr. Peter Carter (Director Climate Emergency Institute, IPCC expert reviewer, Co-author in 2018 of Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival). This interview was conducted at COPS25 (“this is set up to fail”) currently underway in Madrid, Spain, on 10 December 2019.

      • Toxic Injustice and the Green New Deal

        Priority for abused communities must pervade every aspect of a Green New Deal.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Orangutans Pay a Steep Price for the World’s Palm Oil

          Mutilated orangutan bodies discovered near palm oil plantations captivated public attention throughout 2018 in Indonesian Borneo. One hundred and thirty bullets shot from close range riddled one orangutan carcass. Seventeen bullets were found in another decapitated orangutan. Conservation workers observed signs of torture in a third body discovered near a newly opened palm oil plantation.

        • Tigers Deaths in Nepal Threaten Recovery
      • Overpopulation

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Asserting Authority to Dictate Process, Trump Claims 2020 ‘Debates Are Up to Me’

        “My record is so good on the Economy and all else, including debating,” declared the president as he derided the non-partisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates.

      • St. Petersburg stops selling ‘Stalin chocolates’ after public uproar

        Looking forward to bringing home a bar of souvenir chocolate bearing Joseph Stalin’s face from your next visit to St. Petersburg’s Russian Museum? Alas, the facility has pulled the confections from its cafe, following a public backlash, according to the radio station Govorit Moskva. “The cafe tenants bought the chocolate from the ‘Faces of Russia’ series, without the museum’s prior approval, and so it was decided to suspend all sales now,” said a spokesperson for the museum.

      • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky introduces bill on decentralizing Ukrainian government authority

        Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has introduced a new bill for consideration in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. The bill, which was published on the Rada’s website on December 16, includes a new scheme for territorial designations in the country.

      • Industry Seeks to Flatline Universal Health Care

        A deeply funded lobbying group is out to kill Medicare for All. Its ideological roots run back to the Truman era.

      • Why Are Democrats So Afraid of Medicare for All?

        We might expect that corporate billionaires and Koch-funded Republican right-wingers would be howl-at-the-moon opponents of a wealth tax, Medicare-for-All, and other big progressive ideas to help improve the circumstances of America’s workaday majority.

      • Boris Johnson at the Top
      • Devastating Defeat For Corbyn Isn’t A Bad Omen For The US Left
      • Boris Johnson is the Luckiest Politician Alive

        I suspected from the moment the general election was called that the result would be a large Conservative majority, a calamitous defeat for Labour, and a decisive victory for Brexit. To prevent myself getting too depressed by this grim prospect, I picked out and read two books on crises that were far more dire: one on the Wars of the Roses in 15th century England and the other on Verdun in 1916, perhaps the most horrific battle in the First World War.

      • Brexit and the Collapse of British Labour: A Post-Mortem on the UK Election

        Last week, the British parliamentary election gave conservative Boris Johnson a big victory, and leveled an historic defeat on the British Labour Party not witnessed since 1935.  Johnson now has an absolute majority in Parliament and his quick march to a hard Brexit is now very likely.

      • A Hidden Majority: UK General Election 2019

        The threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn to the powerful and privileged in Britain at the 2019 general election was far more severe than the one from Clement Attlee in 1945. While his Labour Party manifesto may have just laid out plans for a return to post-war norms of a “civilized” European social democratic state, Corbyn’s ambitions have long lain deep in English history, with movements like the Diggers in the 17th Century and the wider workers’ movements of the 1920s General Strike years.

      • Corporate Media Can’t Understand Why Voters Don’t like Buttigieg

        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.

      • Leading Among People of Color and Younger Voters, Sanders Right Behind Biden in New 2020 National Poll

        The new survey shows the Vermont senator trailing the former vice president by just two points.

      • Media Taking Notice as Sanders Surges in New Polls

        Bernie Sanders refuses to be counted out of the Democratic primary field, and, based on two recent polls, it appears that voters are backing him up.

      • As Buttigieg Attends Fundraisers of Ultra-Rich, Sanders Reminds Voters Billionaires Not Donating ‘Through Goodness of Their Hearts’

        “Why would many, many billionaires be contributing to candidates if they didn’t think they were getting something out of it?”

      • Progressives Need a United Front for Warren and Sanders

        We’re now seven weeks away from the Iowa caucuses, the first voting in the Democratic presidential race. After that, frontloaded primaries might decide the nominee by late spring. For progressives torn between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — or fervently committed to one of them — choices on how to approach the next few months could change the course of history.

      • America’s Next President: Warren Sanders

        President Warren Sanders can then start clearing the wreckage left by Trump, and make America decent again.

      • The Woman-Hater-in-Chief

        United States President Donald Trump is a racist, a nativist, a narcissist, a bully, a classist, an authoritarian, an eco-exterminist, and a neofascist. Given all that and the front-page impeachment drama sparked by Trump’s arms-for-dirt shenanigans, it can be all too easy to forget that he is also – consistent with all the rest – a malignant woman-and girl-hating sexist. This alone should disqualify from holding the most powerful position in a world that is slightly more than half-female.

      • Democrats Should Go After Trump’s Full Corruption, Not Just Ukraine
      • After Impeachment and Acquittal, Expect a Vicious Republican Counterattack

        In the past, despite their differences, our political leaders were in agreement that to at least preserve the ideals behind our democratic system it was important to pay lip service to the spirit of the law. For instance, during the Iraq war, the Bush administration committed war crimes. But officials didn’t come right out and say, “Yes, we torture people. What are you going to do about it?” There were consequences to openly defying the law, which they knew could get quite serious down the road. They understood that to openly endorse war crimes was to let an ugly, dangerous genie out of the bottle. So they claimed it wasn’t actually torture and pretended that they believed torture was wrong, insisting they would never do such a thing.

      • As House Vote Looms and Senate Draws Battle Lines, Democracy Defenders Say No Choice But to Impeach Trump

        “We know the facts. We know the Constitution. We know what needs to be done.”

      • Impeachment Could Prevent Trump From Attempting Election Fraud in 2020

        Some people on the left have been neutral or even opposed to the Democrats’ drive to impeach Donald Trump over his effort to coerce Ukraine’s government into taking steps to harm a 2020 competitor. Some argue that there are better reasons to impeach the president, or that Democrats’ efforts are woefully inadequate. But part of this disdain for impeachment stems from objections to the New Cold War policies that the career State Department staff wanted to pursue. Many also are not fans of Joe Biden and don’t mind seeing him slimed by the Trump administration.

      • Emanuel Macron Is a Cautionary Tale for Democrats

        Emmanuel Macron was born nearly a decade after the 1968 protests and strikes that shook France more than a half-century ago, threatening the presidency of Charles de Gaulle and bringing the country to a halt, but the 41-year-old president’s first few years in office have been highly reminiscent of that turbulent period in French history.

      • The Terror Queue

        Like other big players in the industry, Accenture’s Austin site is based on the model of a call center. (Unlike Facebook, Google declined to let me visit any of its sites.) Employees work in a dedicated space known as the production floor where they work in shifts to process reports. The work is critical to enabling YouTube’s existence: many countries have passed laws that legally require the company to remove videos containing terrorist material, some of them in as little as 24 hours after a report is received.

        Daisy found the terrorist material disturbing, but she was even more unsettled by what Google calls child sexual abuse imagery (CSAI). The job listing had promised she would only be reviewing content related to child abuse for an hour or two a week. But in practice, it was a much bigger part of the job.

        It’s illegal to view CSAI in most cases, so Google set up what the moderators called a “war room” where they could review requests related to child exploitation without the risk that other co-workers would inadvertently see the material. Initially, the company set up a rotation. Daisy might work CSAI for three weeks, then have six weeks of her regular job. But chronic understaffing, combined with high turnover among moderators, meant that she had to review child exploitation cases most weeks, she says.

        “We started to realize that essentially, we were not a priority for the company,” Daisy says of Google. “We would ask for things and they would say, ‘Look, we just don’t have the budget.’ They would say the word ‘budget’ a lot.”

      • Impeachment Needs to Move to the Streets
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Sons Of Confederate Veterans Sued Over Bogus DMCA Takedown

        As you’ll recall, earlier this month we wrote about this bizarre situation in North Carolina, in which the University of North Carolina agreed to give a bunch of racists $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit before the lawsuit had even been filed. The details of the story came out due to some inquisitive digging by North Carolina lawyer Greg Doucette. And, in response to him publishing the details, including a “victory” letter sent by the head of the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans (in which it is admitted that they obviously had no legal standing to sue), Doucette’s Dropbox account was blocked thanks to a bogus DMCA letter from the group. Doucette retained lawyer Marc Randazza, who sent the Sons a letter demanding they use the $2.5 million to fund scholarships for African American UNC students or face a lawsuit for the bogus takedown. That letter argued that the bogus DMCA notice violated Section 512(f) of the DMCA, which (in theory) is supposed to stop abusive takedowns by punishing “misrepresentations” in takedown notices.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • An Ominousness Act: Jewish Nationality

        Last week, President Trump signed an executive order that implicitly defines Jewishness as a racial or national category and not as just a religious category. This is ominous.


        The key sentence in the order is this: “Discrimination against Jews may give rise to a [Civil Rights Act] violation when the discrimination is based on an individual’s race, color, or national origin.”

        In fact, Judaism is a religion, not an ethnicity, race, or nationality. There is no Jewish gene, and the very suggestion echoes eerily from the 1930s.

      • Tennessee Deputy Who Baptised An Arrestee And Strip Searched A Minor Now Dealing With 44 Criminal Charges And Five Lawsuits

        Tennessee sheriff’s deputy Daniel Wilkey has racked up some amazing stats during his short law enforcement career. At the age of 26, Deputy Daniel Wilkey is at his second law enforcement agency, having left the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office for the Hamilton County in 2018.

      • Senegal: Failure to End Abuses in Quranic Schools

        The Senegalese government has not gone far enough to combat the chronic and widespread abuse, exploitation, and neglect of thousands of talibé children living in traditional Quranic schools, Human Rights Watch and the Platform for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (PPDH), a Senegalese coalition of rights groups, said in a report released today. 

        The 84-page report, “‘These Children Don’t Belong in the Streets’: A Roadmap for Ending Abuse, Exploitation of Talibés in Senegal,” analyzes the Senegalese government’s policy, programming, and judicial efforts from 2017 to 2019 to address the abuses.

      • Where Trump and the Deep State are in Lockstep: Torture

        It’s a paradox of impeachment politics.

      • Indian Crackdown on Dissent Over Bill Stripping Naturalized Citizenship From Muslims ‘An Affront to Democratic Values’

        “Is this democracy? Where are we living?”

      • India: Show Restraint at Demonstrations

        The Indian authorities should immediately order all police to abide by international standards on policing assemblies, Human Rights Watch said today. The police may have used excessive force against demonstrators across the country who have been protesting against the enactment of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act on December 12, 2019. 

        The government should establish a credible independent investigation into allegations of excessive force, brutality, and vandalism by law enforcement officials against demonstrators.

      • European Court of Human Rights accepts Russian case on transgender parenting that will set precedent for 47 countries

        The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has accepted a case on the parental rights of a transgender individual for the very first time, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported. The case follows from a complaint submitted by a Russian citizen who was completely barred from seeing or contacting her children following her surgical transition. The ECHR’s decision in the case will set a precedent for all Council of Europe member states.

      • The Danish Orania (a Reply to M.G. Piety)

        I would have never thought that I would be using the pages of Counterpunch to defend an article that appeared (of all places) in The New York Times. Yet, the contents of M.G. Piety’s “A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration” required some sort of reply.

      • South Korea: Stand Up for Human Rights

        The South Korean government should stop disengaging from ongoing human rights abuses by North Korea, a coalition of human rights and other groups said on December 16, 2019 in a joint open letter to South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

        The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) and 76 nongovernmental groups, coalitions, and individuals from 22 countries, representing over 300 groups and individuals, said South Korea’s recent decisions betray past efforts to push for human rights improvements for the North Korean people.

      • What Does the Evidence Show?

        I learned many powerful lessons from my father. He was a dedicated pediatrician and he spent his last years doing medical evaluations for suspected child abuse. He was responsible for forensic analysis and, in some cases, evidence collection. Over lengthy conversations I learned of a number of his frustrations in this area, often due to cases of arrogance. He said he only approached each distinct case with one primary question: what does the evidence show?

      • Drug Tests Administered By Prison Staff Aren’t Much Better Than The Terrible Ones Deployed By Cops

        Faulty drug tests deployed by law enforcement continue to ruin lives. Usually, it’s cheap field tests used by officers during traffic stops that turn legal substances into illegal substances, resulting in hefty criminal charges for people who’ve never used drugs, much less carried them around in their cars.

      • McKinsey Called Our Story About Its ICE Contract False. It’s Not.

        This month, we wrote an article revealing how the consulting giant McKinsey & Company helped Immigration and Customs Enforcement implement the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The article reported that, after President Donald Trump launched a crackdown on illegal immigration in early 2017, McKinsey, which was already working for ICE on a project dating to the previous administration, was redirected to focus on advising the agency on two elements of Trump’s crackdown: hiring 10,000 new immigration officers and reducing the cost of handling an expected influx of migrant detainees.

        The article described how McKinsey “proposed cuts in spending on food for migrants, as well as on medical care and supervision of detainees,” noting that some of McKinsey’s recommendations made ICE staffers uncomfortable. The story explained that it was based on “interviews with people who worked on the project for both ICE and McKinsey and 1,500 pages of documents obtained from the agency after ProPublica filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.” It incorporated several statements and responses from McKinsey and ICE.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • Uber Is Offering Scab Rides to Help Break France’s General Strike

        For more than a week, hundreds of thousands of people have been taking to the streets of France in a general strike protesting the potential degradation of the country’s pension system. One of France’s largest public-sector strikes in recent history, the action has united a wide array of workers, including air-traffic controllers, teachers and hospital staffers.

      • Uber Judge Balks at Making Drivers Employees, for Now

        Uber Technologies Inc. beat back an aggressive bid to force it to treat California drivers as employees, but a judge’s ruling may allow a long-running fight over pay and benefits to gain traction in 2020.

        U.S. District Judge Edward Chen declined Monday to order Uber to instantly convert drivers in its home state from contractors to employees based on an argument that it’s cheating not just workers but also the public at large.

        But the San Francisco judge also refused to throw out the case, an early test of a California law aimed at gig economy companies that’s set to take effect Jan. 1. In what may turn out to be a significant threat to Uber’s business model, Chen concluded the case presents “a plausible claim that any misclassification by Uber is willful.” Uber declined to comment on the ruling.

      • Patents

        • Fed. Circ. Backs Amgen’s $70M Patent Win Over Epogen

          The Federal Circuit on Monday affirmed Amgen’s $70 million victory over its anemia treatment Epogen, ruling the jury correctly found that Hospira was not shielded by a safe harbor meant for companies seeking federal approval for biosimilar products.

          The Federal Circuit backed a $70 million patent infringement verdict that Amgen won against Hospira in what was one of the first trials to test the rules for developing biosimilars. (Getty)

          In a published opinion, the three-judge panel affirmed a Delaware federal court’s decision to uphold a jury verdict that Pfizer Inc. unit Hospira Inc.

      • Copyrights

        • The Pirate Bay launches its own streaming service called ‘BayStream’

          If you visit the BayStream site directly, there’s no way of searching for videos like on YouTube or Netflix. Instead, it’s just a portal for people to upload files of up to 20GB in size for which they definitely own the copyright.

          On that note, one of just two links on the page is to \report abuse’. “If you believe some of our users has violated our Terms of Service or your intellectual property [sic] rights [sic], please file a report in the form below,” the page sternly reads.

          “You must provide genuine information regarding who you are, who you represent and which file(s) this report concerns,” meaning that armchair fans of IP [sic] rights [sic] are discouraged from dobbing files in.

          It’s not clear whether this is run by The Pirate Bay itself, or is the effort of outsiders. The only clue is the big old Kopimi logo at the bottom of the page, but that doesn’t really answer the question.

        • FBI Seized “At Least” $5.2m from Bank Says Gears Reloaded IPTV Boss OMI IN A HELLCAT

          Last month, founder of ‘pirate’ IPTV service Gears Reloaded ‘OMI IN A HELLCAT’ revealed that the FBI had seized all of this cars and the contents of several bank accounts. Under pressure to show that the whole thing wasn’t a giant publicity stunt, OMI has released new video evidence and a bank statement that appears to show $5.2m disappearing from an account on the day of the raid.

        • Copyright Trolls Go Mostly Silent In US Federal Courts

          Readers here will be familiar with the practice of copyright trolling and the toll this extortion by threatened litigation has had on the public and the court system. You will also be aware that a huge chunk of copyright trolling efforts in America have been undertaken by two companies: Malibu Media and Strike 3 Holdings. Both companies have had setbacks as of late, between ownership and investor issues, and a series of both losses in court and judges who are finally starting to catch on to the shady way these trolls attempt to extort money from people with scant evidence.

        • First Pirated Screener of the Season Leaks Online

          The first pirated screener of the season has just made its way onto various pirate sites. This year the honor goes to Uncut Gems, which has yet to be released widely in US movie theaters. Interestingly, there are leaks available with a DVD Screener as well as a Web Screener tag, suggesting the source includes an online screener.

        • WIPO Raises Questions About Artificial Intelligence and Copyright

          WIPO has launched a public consultation about artificial intelligence and intellectual property. With technology moving forward at a rapid pace, the UN organization wants to know whether copyrights should be limited to human creativity or if AI-generated content can enjoy the same privilege. Similarly, can AI infringe copyrights of others?

        • Fringe At The Edge Of The World Is Coming Back To Tassie Next Month

          Fringe at the Edge of the World – an artist run festival in Hobart which directs 100 per cent of ticket sales to the artists themselves – will be back in January 2020, with an expansion of venues and acts that claims “every genre of performance”, including the “undefinable”.

        • John Frusciante Rejoins the Red Hot Chili Peppers

          John Frusciante, who has been the on-and-off guitarist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is rejoining the band, according to a post on the group’s official Instagram account. The post also announced that Josh Klinghoffer was leaving.

        • Share Your Thoughts and Experiences of the CC Global Network!

          In 2016, CC released an assessment of the community in the Faces of the Commons research. The CC ecosystem has changed since then and many of those changes have been essential for the commons to reach its full potential and to grow the CC Network. In fact, the CC Network has indeed grown to over 500 members across 42 chapters. 

        • Rambler sues Twitch for almost 3 billion dollars over pirated broadcasts of English Premier League soccer

          Rambler Group has filed a copyright lawsuit in the Moscow City Court against the streaming service Twitch, demanding a “halt to the distribution of pirated broadcasts” of English Premier League (EPL) soccer games on the network, according to the newspaper Kommersant. As an injunctive measure, the Russian court subsequently ordered the blocking of EPL games broadcast on Twitch.

        • Rambler asks police to drop criminal case against Nginx, says it will sue in civil court, instead

          Top executives at Rambler say they will ask Russian law enforcement to close their criminal case against the web-server Nginx, based on a decision by Rambler’s board of directors, according to a press release issued to Meduza.

        • U.S. Government To Take Legal Action Against Live Nation

          It is being reported that the U.S. Justice Department will soon take legal action against Live Nation because they believe that the company has been trying to coerce concert venues into using its Ticketmaster subsidiary.

        • Why Are Members Of Congress Telling A Private Organization Not To Comment On Copyright Law?

          For the past few years, there’s been a really bizarre “fight” going on in the copyright world. I had considered writing about it nearly two years ago when it first seemed to flare up, but I had hoped that facts and cooler heads might prevail. Silly me.

Mansion of Pedophilia – Part I: Bill Gates Has Plenty to Hide. Money and Connections Have Helped.

Posted in Bill Gates at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Residence of Bill Gates
Photo of the residence of Bill Gates; Licence and source: CC BY 2.0

Summary: The first in our multi-part series about things that the Gates family works to suppress — to prevent the public knowing much (or anything) about

IT IS A KNOWN fact, neither a rumour nor speculation, that an arrest was made at the above mansion for child pornography. There’s lots of official paperwork about it and the story revolving around secrecy is about as fascinating as that incident itself.

This series might be short; it might also be long, very long. That depends on the amount of material we get our hands on. We publish facts here; where there’s speculation it will be presented as such. Ultimately, readers can decide for themselves what’s going on and potentially dig deeper and further. We’ll provide pointers. But we’ll warn in advance that there’s a lot of stonewalling, possibly even NDAs (the secret contract whose secrecy itself is a secret, i.e. circular).

“…there’s a lot of stonewalling, possibly even NDAs (the secret contract whose secrecy itself is a secret, i.e. circular).”Techrights is doing an investigation, hopefully based not only on police records but also based on publicly accessible material (an “open source investigation” as it’s called), of the pedophilia/child porn surrounding Bill Gates and implicating people at his mansion. Yes, arrests were made, but little beyond that is known. Attempts to find out more information are actually quite revealing in their own right. One might expect transparency in the legal process, but when the accused resides or works in the home of the son of Gates Sr. (who controls one of the largest law firms in the United States) connections and strings come handy. Remember that Epstein managed to get away with what he did and even avoid prison for a very long time. So did Weinstein and ‘Prince’ Andrew, despite all that was widely known for a number of years. Then there’s the BBC and Savile, among other British affairs and cover-up by intelligence agencies. When there’s money and power, there’s a way… to get away with virtually anything. Cover-up only becomes impossible when public opinion changes. To shape and control public opinion Gates has long used a sham ‘charity’, whose key functionality is bribing media all around the world — the BBC included — for puff pieces.

“Facts we know will hereon be distinguished from mere assumptions.”There appears to be a rather elaborate effort to extinguish reports on Bill Gates’ ties to pedophilia. People who merely bring up the subject get ridiculed and mocked, but as we put known facts together for a future part we invite yet more input, knowing that several associates of Gates are well aware of all sorts of things (which they prefer to take to the grave). My E-mail address is not hard to find. Also my PGP key. We have IRC channels, which can be accessed anonymously. One reason for breaking down things into parts (rendering it a series) is to give time for additional sources to come forth. As far back as more than a decade I’ve been in contact with people who know Gates personally and consider him a friend (it’s them who contacted me, not the other way around). We’ve heard stories from former Microsoft employees. One such story was about a relative, whom Microsoft was entrapped using pedophilia (for leverage). This is not ‘conspiracy theory’ territories; that actually happened. A number of years back a former Microsoft employee who was arrested for solicitation of sex with a child sent me an E-mail through his wife (or someone pretending to be the wife). It was a censorship attempt.

As someone told me this morning, regarding Bill Gates, “it seems that some of his friends are pedophiles and he’s aware of it, but then he shuts his mouth, he doesn’t want to ‘interfere’…”

Facts we know will hereon be distinguished from mere assumptions. We do know for a fact that Bill Gates associated with people whom he knew to be mass- or large-scale pedophiles and traffickers. But whether he’s participating, “watching” or whatever we don’t know. We find a lot of things suspicious, especially the suppression of reports until Xmas/NYE time (the week between Christmas and New Year) when nobody reads the news. It’s almost like the reporters and those whom they report on agreed to publish, but only at a particular moment in time.

It’s like “the timing is really planned,” as someone explained to me, and that happened a whole year after the actual incidents. Why report it a year later while journalists are all on holiday? They were enjoying time at home, so the news didn’t travel far and barely anybody noticed (at the time).

“A phony “scandal” emerged just weeks after it, causing Stallman to step down (forcibly), rendering him disgraced and homeless.”Sounds familiar? Watch what corporate media did back in September of this year. In August there were reports surfacing about some juicy “MIT” story — for it turned out Bill Gates relayed money to MIT (like a bribe) through Epstein, even when he knew what Epstein had done. He knew!

Why did he pass millions of dollars to MIT? Why not directly? Was it a bribe? To the employer/home of Richard Stallman?

A phony “scandal” emerged just weeks after it, causing Stallman to step down (forcibly), rendering him disgraced and homeless. Some readers of ours who researched this for weeks explained that MIT used Stallman as a scapegoat or distraction from the other (real) scandals, deflecting from these and making it seem like issues were being addressed and people punished for that old legacy.

Stay tune for part two, which is likely a lot more interesting than this introductory one.

Free Software: A Love Story

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A little bit of background about how I was introduced to Free software (I had to dig hard myself; media wasn’t helping) and why its advocacy is becoming only more important over time

MY adventures with Free software began around age 19 when I was introduced to GNU as a developer (GTK work). Prior to that I had already become familiar with GNU/Linux, albeit the philosophy and true history wasn’t as widely available, so I wasn’t truly familiar with it (like many others, as a teenager, I had this idea that “Linux” was something from Finland and that’s all there was to it).

AquariumI was a colleague, for a number of years, of the person who combined GNU and Linux to form the first ever GNU/Linux distribution. Last I heard, he still worked at the University. I worked there while studying. At a later stage I became more familiar with the history and the nature of various BSDs; I ran one site on BSD and some of the back end where I worked included BSDs.

My trajectory in understanding all this goes two decades back, but not much has changed in the way people are introduced to GNU/Linux. For those who think I discovered the FSF and GNU too late, bear in mind I’m celebrating my thirty-eighth birthday today, so unless I was some ‘wunderkind’, I wouldn’t know GNU since inception (I was just over a year old when GNU started). GNU and I are almost the same age. Cue goofy jokes about marrying GNU…

GodIn any event, the more I read about GNU philosophy, and the more society became dependent on technology (cash registers for instance; when I was a small child some small shops still used paper and pen, sometimes a calculator, to come up with the bill!), the more I understood the importance of GNU/Linux not just as “substitute to Microsoft/Windows” but something bigger with broader implications. Microsoft isn’t the only problem and had Microsoft vanished overnight, we’d still have a big mess to contend with on numerous fronts.

FishIn recent months I became privy or exposed to some discussions internal to Free software groups and people; I came to realise that a crisis had been brewing and that predates Stallman’s talk at Microsoft, followed (within weeks) by his ‘cancellation’.

At no point did that depress me; I fought on, seeking to help Stallman, the FSF and all those other groups, even those which seemed to have lost their compass (FSFE for instance).

Earlier today figosdev mentioned Atlantis as means of an analogy (fictional, sure, but it makes a point; hence the photos in this personal ‘essay’); I’ve long dreaded the thought — going back to my days as a young student — of the possibility of GNU/Linux ‘going away’, forcing me into some sort of proprietary system. This fear — as shall we say ‘phobia’ — was the most powerful motivator behind my activism or GNU/Linux advocacy in 2003-2008. I felt like we were fighting for the very existence of GNU/Linux as a desktop/laptop platform, long before Android came along and the whole ‘game’ changed (Windows no longer being the dominant platform). Remember that at one point, in 2006, Novell signed a hugely treasonous deal, followed by (a year later) a few similar deals that put an actual ‘patent tax’ on GNU/Linux distros (remember Xandros?). That’s why this site exists. Imagine having to go through Microsoft to download your GNU/Linux operating system. Also bear WSL in mind… they’re still trying. They tried a similar approach for guarding the Office monopoly.

Mayan pyramidJonathan I. Schwartz, CEO of Sun, said after he had left (company sold): “Steve Jobs threatened to sue me, too. [and also] Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. They’d flown in over a weekend to meet with Scott McNealy. [...] Bill skipped the small talk, and went straight to the point, “Microsoft owns the office productivity market, and our patents read all over OpenOffice.” [...] Bill was delivering a slightly more sophisticated variant of the threat Steve had made, but he had a different solution in mind. “We’re happy to get you under license.” That was code for “We’ll go away if you pay us a royalty for every download” – the digital version of a protection racket.”

Microsoft has not changed.


It hasn’t.

I should know. I have contacts inside Microsoft (past and present). People inside are very much aware of the company’s evil deeds, which now include working for ICE and the Pentagon, not to mention oil companies that drill the oceans to death (I love sea creatures and they’re slaughtered by the millions by those greedy, reckless companies).

Reno neon lightsThe lights on the left are from Reno, where Microsoft evades tax by the billions. Who sort of blew the whistle on it, or at least did lots of activism on the matter? Jeff Reifman, who came from Microsoft and possibly became Microsoft’s biggest nightmare a decade back. In his own words: “Microsoft et al. lobbied to reduce Washington State’s Royalty Tax [...] The company decided to open a small Reno…” (there are equivalents abroad)

Reno neon lightsReifman and I exchanged E-mails a very long time ago and I must admit we get some of our best material from disgruntled employees of the company. Don’t discount their effort. Some of them “saw the light” — like those lights from Reno (right). Many people nowadays follow Lunduke for his GNU/Linux activism. He too spent a number of years working for Microsoft. Working for Microsoft is definitely a mistake, but I also believe that people deserve a chance to accept that they made a mistake and try to correct or compensate for such mistakes.

The way I see it — and I believe others too ought to see it — Microsoft remains the biggest enemy and the most potent threat to GNU/Linux, for various reasons that are unique. But looking at the bigger picture, which includes “clown computing” (Amazon et al), surveillance (Google, Facebook, Microsoft and many more), for software freedom to survive fashionable consumerism and trends we need to speak of the underlying issues, convincing if not compelling people to demand it, to fight for it. Jagadees.S. is a good advocate in that regard as he manages to break down the concepts and explain those in terms everyday people can grasp.

IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 16, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:35 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

“That’s the Future of the Free Software Movement: Either We Pass It on, or Freedom Dies”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 1:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Eben Moglen explains “The Future of the Free Software Movement” (new talk); Congratulatory and complimentary ‘waffle’ lasts about 6 and a half minutes, but then starts the part of more substance (around 6:40)

Guest Post: When You Realise the FSF is Dying, or Dead

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 1:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

Sinking Atlantis

Summary: “In the 1990s, teaching about computing shifted to application training. This enlisted mandatory education in helping the sales of proprietary software.”

This is an article with very gloomy implications, inspired by the sad tone of a short reply from a former FSF board member; a man who obviously loves and has spent his life defending the ideals of freedom.

The following things are not said to make you give up hope. They are meant to address unhappy days, and give people a way to muddle through those days.

Defending the Free Software Foundation will continue to go on, until there is nothing left to defend. Unfortunately, the only real help the FSF is accepting is from the P.R. handlers. And (financial) support from listeners like you. To remind you that reality is holographic, there are people speaking daily of an existential crisis for humanity itself. But even those who believe the species could fizzle would find it harder to consider that happening to the original Free software organisation.

“To remind you that reality is holographic, there are people speaking daily of an existential crisis for humanity itself.”The purpose of warning about it was to get people to prepare and try to prevent it. As it happens, there wasn’t much time. The FSF has acted not unlike Steve Jobs, in that it refuses to do anything that might save it, but it will accept help from liars and charlatans. Financially speaking, they have that anonymous nest egg that (by comparing it to fundraising goals through the past few years) will likely keep an otherwise-unfunded FSF running for a year or a few.

I’m not worried about the FSF losing funding, only relevance. But I mean relevance to the fight for software freedom, not relevance to the media or to the same companies that are trying to destroy software freedom. They can continue to trade relevance to what matters for favour with their destroyers, but ultimately what their sponsors will demand in return is to lay down and die. This really isn’t news, it’s the thing open source pretends isn’t a cold hard fact.

If Steve Jobs had wanted to act more like the FSF as he was dying, then instead of relying on superstition or fighting his cancer with medicine and treating it like something to defeat he might have tried to partner with it or find some way to peacefully coexist. “I can’t beat cancer” he would say, “So I might as well join it.” That’s the 20-year-old mantra of Open Source, and the FSF really should know better.

“This really isn’t news, it’s the thing open source pretends isn’t a cold hard fact.”Stallman, on the other hand, is known for saying that he will fight to eliminate non-free software “or die trying.” Some people will try to save the FSF as long as it exists, and I don’t blame them for trying. The fact that the FSF is deaf and refuses to take any advice whatsoever (all while asking to hear from you, albeit with its fingers stuck in both ears) is exactly the problem that may have killed Steve Jobs.

Still, I’m not here (not today) to prove that the FSF is dead. I know fantastic claims require ample evidence, but you’re reading Techrights, and I defy you to find more ample evidence than you will reading this website. If you do, please write! Most likely, Techrights will gladly publish that, too.

What I’m saying is, that ample evidence doesn’t always come all at once. A lot of times when I talk about something happening, I’m reporting on a lot of different things at once. If you want details, this website is where you will find many of them. And by all means, don’t limit yourself to one source — we certainly don’t. On the contrary.

“What I’m saying is, that ample evidence doesn’t always come all at once.”Here is some very interesting reading, if you wonder where the doom and gloom comes from (this is just an example though). That is about FSFE, so you may wonder what this has to do with the FSF. Again, you’re reading Techrights, so this website talks about problems related to the FSF all the time these days.

What’s the goal here? Most of us are “computer people” at least. We aren’t all “developers” and that isn’t the only hat we wear if we are. But if you have a sick and dying computer, or vital component, what do you do?

1. Get more information.

2. Do a full backup, or at least of everything important.

3. Replace faulty components (I don’t mean Stallman, dammit. Did cancelling him help at all? F- — no!)

4. Restore data.

Do redundant systems like networks and RAID help? Absolutely! So if you don’t have things like that, you might eventually upgrade.

Still, people keep trying to save the dying machine. I would try, I did try. I’ve devoted literally years to trying. One person even recommended I try to join the board (to be fair, I said the same to them. We could just be blowing smoke, but I know for a fact that I was being sincere.)

“Apple, like the FSF without Stallman, has certainly not improved without Jobs.”You couldn’t force Jobs to accept medical help (and just to be clear, I don’t think it would be ethical to.) He chose to do things his way, and refuse options that might have saved him. Apple, like the FSF without Stallman, has certainly not improved without Jobs.

Again and again, I have called for “more Stallmans.” How would you achieve that? By learning more about the man. By being true to facts and context, not merely superficial. You do not need to acquire every one of his quirks, though you should also not be overly quick to dismiss his qualities as quirks either. What some might consider weaknesses of his were in fact strengths in the proper context.

I hope it’s also clear that a cult of personality isn’t a worthwhile goal either. This is about Free software. And Stallman is just the surest path there. We shouldn’t abandon the surest path, but it doesn’t have to be the only path. Jokes aside, Stallman isn’t really a Holy Man (though he does play one sometimes during speeches.)

“Ceding to oppressors in the name of freedom is not a working strategy, it is a convoluted type of failure.”We also know that some paths are worthless. Ceding to oppressors in the name of freedom is not a working strategy, it is a convoluted type of failure. Short term, we know there always setbacks. As a strategy, failing and succeeding are completely different and should never be confused for the other.

Since it may seem like the solution isn’t stated yet, we can spell things out a little more:

1. Learn more about the founder of Free software, and the history of Free software. History always adds light to the present — it really isn’t just about yesterday, but it will even tell you things about the future.

“Don’t trust, or act like, the corporations bent on destroying Free software.”2. Don’t create idols. (Don’t mislead yourself with superficiality. Truth runs deep, as should the quest for it.) Stallman isn’t an idol, he’s a person. We are all people. It’s perfectly alright to take inspiration from heroes, of course. But remember they aren’t a different species. Also, some humans are more powerful, but humans are Turing complete.

3. Don’t trust, or act like, the corporations bent on destroying Free software. Again, this is about truth, not superficiality. Don’t be shallow and image-based, be real.

4. Don’t pretend we haven’t lost anything and won’t lose anything. We are losing, right now, and if we want the courage to win at some point, we can’t forget ourselves with too many false victories.

5. Create backups. Literally. Also, learn things.

6. Restore Data. Also, share things.

“FFS, Delete GitHub already!”7. Spread out. Not too far, but don’t create walled gardens or single points of failure like GitHub. That enabled Microsoft to control and surveil far too much of what we do. It’s telling that the FSF warned against that, but now that the damage is done, doesn’t state the major importance of fixing it.

8. FFS, Delete GitHub already! This means you. Also, these guys.

9. Invent. Share your ideas, try to build them, do it like science — not every experiment will be a success. Keep going.

10. Stop waiting for help to arrive. Do what you can on your own, because you could be the help someone else is waiting for now.

11. BE HONEST! Everybody here is human. So be as honest as you f—ing well can be. It’s vital, we are losing a lot of ground to lies. If you’re going to be full of crap, just go write for the mainstream tech press or work for Microsoft. They’ll pay you, and you can leave us the hell alone.

The FSF is making promises it can’t keep. It can’t fight for your freedom while selling you out. You don’t have to go far to find someone who feels abandoned by the FSF. Stop waiting.

But, if you have already stopped waiting, the rest of that advice is for you.

“In the 1990s, teaching about computing shifted to application training. This enlisted mandatory education in helping the sales of proprietary software.”Also, know that in the 1980s, when the FSF was founded, schools occasionally taught about computing. In the 1990s, teaching about computing shifted to application training. This enlisted mandatory education in helping the sales of proprietary software. It also created a deeper rift between the concepts of “User” and “Developer.” That rift helps proprietary software companies, as these roles were more coupled at one point.

In other words, in the 1980s you used a computer by using a computer. There were applications, but you didn’t learn computing by learning applications — you really learned some form of computing. From the 90s onward, applications and “developers” started to become intermediaries.

Learning “computing” and not just being a slave to applications doesn’t mean you have to be a developer for a living. But it makes you literate. You don’t learn to read just so you can consume books and follow signs, you also learn to read so you can write. And in my opinion, “coding” is not just about developing applications. It is about telling the computer what to do. You don’t learn to write words just to become a professional author, but because it helps immensely to learn.

“…in my opinion, “coding” is not just about developing applications. It is about telling the computer what to do. You don’t learn to write words just to become a professional author, but because it helps immensely to learn.”If you can’t tell the computer what to do, you will always be looking for intermediaries. It’s one thing to have people doing the work for you. It’s another to have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. That lack of knowledge is no advantage at all.

My advice is to treat Free software like Atlantis — a lost, advanced civilisation that we (in this narrative, at least) keep finding bits and pieces of — treasure them, and try to build the future with knowledge, even though Atlantis the civilisation is lost to the ages.

A note: I don’t have any conclusive opinion on whether “Atlantis” really existed or not. It’s an interesting story, but still a metaphor in the context of this article. This is for the one troll who takes that point literally as a sorry excuse to ignore the rest. That’s exactly the sort of superficiality threatening our movement, too — as well as Stallman’s hard-earned legacy.

Someday, that legacy may also be ours — there’s always a chance, right? But that’s no reason to write out a founder or impoverish our history. We wouldn’t do that to Alan Turing or Grace Hopper, so why do that to him?

Long Live Stallman, and Happy Reconstructing.

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