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12.17.19

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.”

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