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12.26.19

Coming Soon: Techrights Git Server

Posted in Site News at 11:51 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Better late than never

White columns

Summary: Improving code transparency in Techrights as the 15th year starts (2020 will be fifteenth, 2006 being the first)

Techrights strives to pursue justice by means of exposing facts. This has been true since 2006 when our primary goal was to end patent blackmail (financial demands based on unnamed, unspecified software patents).

“Our IRC logs don’t typically provide sufficient code transparency, only conversational transparency.”Over the past year we’ve become louder about the need to delete GitHub and we’ve developed quite a bit of software for the site over the past 8 months or so. In order to keep it organised — complete with version control — we’re going to set up our own, local, self-hosted Git. This will hopefully increase transparency, too. Our IRC logs don’t typically provide sufficient code transparency, only conversational transparency.

“Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.”High Court of Justice

We Need a Dumber Pre-Built OS

Posted in GNU/Linux at 11:35 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

A gold worldSummary: What happens when Free software distros (e.g. GNU/Linux) become too ‘smart’?

Before smart phones, there were dumb phones. They made calls, got texts, maybe even had a web browser. Or if you like, they just made calls. If you didn’t want a feature, you didn’t buy the phone with that feature. It was that simple.

While the prospect of options doesn’t bother me (on the contrary, it’s the lack of options I take issue with) the regular onslaught of “features” is a burden. Using only Mtpaint, I loaded a picture of that famous van that says “FREE CANDY” in ominous red paint, and changed it so it read “FEATURES”. Don’t get in the van!

Now we have smart speakers, and the trend is becoming clearer. “Smart” means it does what it wants, or what its designers want. What you want (or don’t want) isn’t important, it will do it anyway. “Smart” in this context seems to be a zero-sum game — a smarter device creates (or asks for) a dumber user, one who is content to just sit back and let the device make all their decisions for them.

“Siri, what colour tie should I wear?” (They actually have this, by the way.)

“Hmm, on that outfit I would try the blue one with the stripes.”

“Siri, should I wipe with the 2-ply or the moistened wipes?”

“Very funny, you know that’s the smart toilet’s job.”

“It has to do with the fact that offering real options doesn’t suit designers with corporate ambitions anymore.”No, thank you, Siri.

Again, the option of a toilet that does the wiping doesn’t bother me, though it probably should. What bothers me is that if I want to take care of something myself, the basic assumption going into the design of everything these days is that I shouldn’t bother, or even care. If I want to wipe myself, I’ll just have to manufacture my own toiletries for the purpose.

This is why we can’t have simple things.

Actually, the reason we can’t have simple things is more complicated. It has a lot to do with the fact that consumers are worth more as cattle than as people. It has to do with the fact that offering real options doesn’t suit designers with corporate ambitions anymore. It also has to do with the relentless dumbing down of society, but if you’re worried that sounds a bit elitist, then so am I.

The thing is, we don’t offer things to people who want to do things for themselves like we used to. If you want an operating system that doesn’t behave like it runs Clippy as its kernel, you’ll just have to build the entire stupid thing yourself. Or use one of those distros that are basically a build-your-own-toilet kit.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that — those toilets flush larger things faster, using less water. If you didn’t have to design, saw, sand and stain the toilet seat yourself, I would get one.

“I do expect technology to evolve. What I don’t expect is for Free software to end up out of our hands. We used to mock clippy, but now he’s having the last laugh.”Basically, it’s becoming all or nothing — either you compile your own distro, or you ask it when how long until it dispenses your food pellet. But you can’t deny this much, you’ve lost half a stone since you got the thing 2 months ago.

I thought the entire point of Free software was avoiding this dystopian horseshit; I guess I was wrong. But every year that goes by, this software and the processes behind it seem less human, less community-based, more “streamlined” and above all, less free. We weren’t forced to give up necessities or well-established, reliable tools for useless gimmicks before. If it’s really free, why does it seem like everything is getting dragged out and replaced with some kind of bullshit from Apple?

I do expect technology to evolve. What I don’t expect is for Free software to end up out of our hands. We used to mock clippy, but now he’s having the last laugh.

Sure, these aren’t your typical digital handcuffs. These are softer, they blink, and they say “It looks like you’re trying to escape. Can I tighten?”

You’re free to reply, in the next major version it will stop bothering with questions and just tighten whenever the sensors determine a certain threshold of looseness.

These damned handcuffs keep getting smarter, but they’re doing the job they were made for. In the future, they won’t even need a key. Isn’t that cool?

“The solution for this in Windows was simple enough — if you don’t want Clippy, just click the “X”. But ensuring that he would never come back again? I RTFM but they changed it, again!”Maybe the solution at this point really is just to build my own from source. I’m still surprised that it’s come to that, when I’m trying to do simple tasks like run a basic, well-established text editor that doesn’t keep getting redesigned in some stupid way. I mean I didn’t think my only choices were “F — – you”, OR “LFS”.

The solution for this in Windows was simple enough — if you don’t want Clippy, just click the “X”. But ensuring that he would never come back again? I RTFM but they changed it, again!

It seems a bit late for that now, the bastard’s everywhere you turn. Why won’t you die, Clippy? Tell us what realm you came from, so you can be banished once and for all.

The freedom to NOT run the software, to be free to avoid vendor lock-in through appropriate modularization/encapsulation and minimized dependencies; meaning any free software can be replaced with a user’s preferred alternatives (freedom 4). – Peter Boughton

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Foaming at the Mouth

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft monster

Summary: Microsoft loves GNU/Linux in the same ways many like to eat things

Links 26/12/2019: digiKam 7.0.0 Beta and New ISOs for Slackware Live

Posted in News Roundup at 6:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 10 Best Linux Apps for Chromebook

        One of the reasons users miss their previous operating system whenever they migrate to a new platform is the absence of their favorite applications. New Chromebook users are not excepted from this phenomenon and it doesn’t even have to be that way. Why? Because it is possible to run Linux applications on a Chromebook.

        If you don’t already know how to go about preparing your Chromebook to have Linux applications installed on it then check out my article on how to install Linux apps on your Chromebook. Once you go through the steps your options are virtually limitless.

        Here is our list of the best Linux apps for your Chromebook listed in alphabetic order. Most, if not all of them, are a must-have for a Chromebook productivity boost.

    • Server

      • 7 questions to ask an employer before taking a sysadmin job

        Where you work and what you do is one of the most significant decisions that you will make in your lifetime. This decision will impact almost every facet of your daily life. It directly correlates to the resources you have, how you spend your time, and your general disposition. These decisions cannot be taken lightly and must be weighed out carefully. Much like a game of chess, you want to have good strategies to make the right move in order to succeed. During my transition from the military, I had a very eye-opening experience, and it is one that I want to be able to share with other young professionals; however, these experiences can benefit everyone if applied. Here are some of the most important things to learn about a position when exploring new career options.

        [...]

        This question is near and dear to me. Let me explain why. My first position post-military was a fantastic one. I had good pay, flexible hours, and an excellent supporting team. So imagine my confusion when, by the end of my first year, half of the original group was gone. Only one had been fired, and for good reason, but everyone else was leaving voluntarily. I was a senior tech in 18 months. This was partly because I have an affinity for learning new technology, but it was also partially because those other techs were leaving for greener pastures.

        The more time I spent there, the more I saw the issues they were facing. The local team was great, and to this day was one of the best groups of people that I have worked with. However, the upper management for that particular product was very disconnected from the daily work going on, and the expectations grew while the resources we had at our disposal continued to dwindle. This situation was a major red flag and was eventually a part of my decision to leave. My point here is this: If the team you are joining has no one with more than three years of experience, you should most likely avoid that position.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Explained! Why Your Distribution Still Using an ‘Outdated’ Linux Kernel?

        Check your Linux kernel version. Chances are that you’ll find that the kernel version your system is using has already reached end of life (EOL) as listed on Linux Kernel website.

        End of life means a software won’t get bug fixes and support anymore.

        That poses some valid questions. Why is my Linux distribution using a kernel that has reached end of life? Is this not a security risk? Is my system safe?

        Let me explain all these questions in this article.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Gallium3D Driver Performance Is Looking Good With The Core i9 9900KS

        With Mesa 20.0 expected to ship the “Iris” Gallium3D driver as the default Intel OpenGL Linux driver for Broadwell hardware and newer, I’ve been ramping up my testing of this open-source driver in recent weeks. For adding to the various generations of CPUs tested, here are some numbers of the latest code when using the UHD Graphics 630 off the high-end Core i9 9900KS processor.

        Similar to our findings on other processors from Broadwell through Ice Lake, the Intel Gallium3D driver is rocking! Besides OpenGL 4.6, the performance for this new driver is generally far better off than the classic “i965″ OpenGL driver in Mesa.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5 + KDE Applications Matured Rather Well

          Most KDE users are probably happy with the current state of the Plasma desktop and the state of the KDE applications. There’s certainly less bugs in recent releases, KWin and the overall desktop is in better standing (though still improvements to be made such as showcased by the likes of KWin low-latency) with reliable Wayland support, and most would probably agree that the work out of this open-source project matured rather well in recent years with their focus on enhancing usability and other areas.

        • digiKam 7.0.0-beta1 is released

          Dear digiKam fans and users,

          Just in time to get you into the holiday spirit, we are now proud to release digiKam 7.0.0-beta1 today. This first version start the test stages for next 7.x series planing while next year. Have a look at some of the highlights listed below, to discover all those changes in detail.

          Deep-Learning Powered Faces Management

          While many years, digiKam has provided an important feature dedicated to detect and recognized faces in photo. The algorithms used in background (not based on deep learning) was older and unchanged since the first revision including this feature (digiKam 2.0.0). It was not enough powerful to facilitate the faces management workflow automatically.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

      • New Releases

        • The all-new Feren OS is finally here

          As always, it’s easy to update to the December 2019 Snapshot. To update to the December 2019 Snapshot open up Update Manager, hit ‘Refresh’, let it check for new updates and then update everything.

          However, for Feren OS Classic users, an optional step was introduced in this snapshot to transform your installation into a Feren OS installation. However, that change is for later in this article.

          For Feren OS Next Release Candidate 2 users, you’ll roll automatically onto Feren OS, however you’ll be missing some packages introduced in the final version. You’ll want to install these packages after updating everything: gamemode fonts-emojione

          [...]

          Now if you’re out of the loop you may be wondering what ‘Feren OS Classic’ is. Feren OS Classic, for those not yet informed, is the new name for Feren OS with Cinnamon (aka the original Feren OS and the only Feren OS version until this snapshot). Since calling both the Cinnamon and Plasma Feren OS versions ‘Feren OS’ was confusing I decided to rename the older version of Feren OS to this more appropriate name.

      • Slackware Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • MediaPipe is an Open Source Perception Pipeline Framework Developed by Google

        MediaPipe is an open-source perception pipeline framework introduced by Google, which helps to build multi-modal machine learning pipelines. A developer can build a prototype, without really getting into writing machine learning algorithms and models, by using existing components. This framework can be used for various vision & media processing applications (especially in VR) such as Object Detection, Face Detection, Hand Tacking, Multi-hand Tracking and Hair Segmentation. MediaPipe supports various hardware and operating system platforms such as Android, iOS & Linux by offering API’s in C++, Java, Objective-c, etc. And this framework also capable of utilizing GPU resources.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • libredwg-0.9.3 released
            This is another minor patch update, with some bugfixes from fuzzed DWG's. 
            Here are the compressed sources: 
              http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/libredwg/libredwg-0.9.3.tar.gz   (9.8MB) 
              http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/libredwg/libredwg-0.9.3.tar.xz   (3.7MB) 
            Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]: 
            
            http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/libredwg/libredwg-0.9.3.tar.gz.sig
            
            
            http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/libredwg/libredwg-0.9.3.tar.xz.sig
            
            Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth: 
            
            https://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html
            
            Here are more binaries: 
            
            https://github.com/LibreDWG/libredwg/releases/tag/0.9.3
            
            Here are the SHA256 checksums: 
            e53d4134208ee35fbf866171ee2052edd73bf339ab5b091acbc2769d8c20c43f  libredwg-0.9.3.tar.gz 
            62df9eb21e7b8f107e7b2eaf0e61ed54e7939ee10fd10b896a57d59319f09483  libredwg-0.9.3.tar.xz 
            [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the 
            .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file 
            and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this: 
              gpg --verify libredwg-0.9.3.tar.gz.sig 
            If that command fails because you don't have the required public key, 
            then run this command to import it: 
              gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys B4F63339E65D6414 
            and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command. 
            No messages in libredwg-0.9.3 released
            
          • The Hurd Microkernel Still Isn’t Ready But GNU Had A Great 2010s With GCC + Other Projects

            While the GNU Hurd microkernel is still woefully behind in hardware support and hasn’t even seen a new release in three years, at least a lot of the other GNU projects experienced a great decade — especially with the likes of the GNU Compiler Collection, GNU Octave, GRUB, and other components critical to modern Linux systems.

            Out of our 1,000+ articles written on “GNU” matters in the 2010s, here is a look back at the most popular ones in reliving some of the most successful moments for some of the projects as well as other drama and issues that were overcome.

          • Upcoming GNUnet Talks

            There will be various talks in the next few months on GNUnet and related projects on both the Chaos Communication Congress (36C3) as well as FOSDEM.

            [...]

            In addition to these talks, we will be hosting a snack machine which accepts Taler for payment. The first of its kind! It will be filled with various goodies, including Swiss chocolates, books, and electronics. The machine will be located somewhere in the OIO assembly, and there will be a station at which you may exchange Euro for digital Euro for immediate use.

      • Programming/Development

        • See the magic behind Quarkus, the cloud-native Java framework

          Our first DevNation Live regional event was held in Bengaluru, India in July. This free technology event focused on open source innovations, with sessions presented by elite Red Hat technologists.

          Quarkus is revolutionizing the way that we develop Java applications for the cloud-native era, and this tutorial, presented by Edson Yanaga, explains why. Yanaga looks at how Quarkus works and the techniques it uses to achieve its dramatic startup speed improvements. He also covers the Quarkus extension API, so you can see how to write your own extensions.

        • podlators 4.13

          podlators provides the utilities to convert Perl’s POD documentation syntax to text and man pages.

          In this release, I finally dropped support for Perl 5.6. Even CPAN testers have stopped testing this old of a version, and it isn’t available on Travis-CI, which means that support may well regress without me knowing about it. It felt like time.

          I considered bumping the required version high enough that I could use a few new features (use parent and the version argument to package), but I decided to be conservative since CPAN testers are still actively testing Perl 5.8, so I only bumped the required version to 5.8.

        • December 2019: OpenSMTPD and filters work, articles and goodies

          Following a discussion on our IRC channel (#OpenSMTPD @ irc.freenode.net), I made an improvement to filter-greylist which consists in detecting that a session was initiated by a local or authenticated user, and whitelisting the destination for messages.

          Not whitelisting destination doesn’t cause huge penalty with SPF-aware greylisting, but having destinations of local users whitelisted means that there’s no penalty at all for hosts from which we expect e-mails.

        • How to set up and use your brand-new Raspberry Pi

          If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you bagged yourself a brand-new Raspberry Pi for Christmas, and you’re wondering what you should do next.

        • Python

          • How the Zen of Python handles errors

            Handling “exceptional conditions” is one of the most debated issues in programming. That could be because the stakes are high: mishandled error values can bring down even the largest systems. Since “exception conditions,” by nature, are the least tested but occur with unpleasant frequency, correctly handling them can often distinguish a system that horror stories are told about to a system that “just works.”

            From Java’s checked exceptions through Erlang’s fault isolation to Haskell’s Maybe, different languages have remarkably different attitudes to error handling.

  • Leftovers

    • The Christian Right and Left Share the Same Faith But Couldn’t Be More Different

      I didn’t know Christians could be Democrats until I got to college. Though affiliated with the relatively conservative Christian Reformed Church, my school had a small but vocal minority of leftist professors and students.

    • Remembering the Message of Christmas

      On Wednesday, Christmas will be celebrated by millions of people across this country and across the world. Joy surrounds the holiday, with music in the air, lights on homes and lampposts, families gathering, presents exchanged and blessings shared.

    • In Defense of Nostalgia: a Christmas Story

      School and childhood were complicated, and I got out of both as fast as I could. Aged fifteen – that seems quite young to me now – I found a labouring job in a boat shed along the Clyde. The days of good apprenticeships in the Glasgow shipyards, or anywhere else for that matter, were fading fast, and I settled for poor pay and prospects in a badly ventilated box buffing fibreglass boats.

    • The Soul Will Find a Way

      At the start of the 1960s, my father Paul moved my mom Geneva, three older brothers, younger sister and me from Boston to rural Spartanburg County in upstate South Carolina. He’d fled the South in the 1940s, enlisting in the Navy. Twenty years later, he returned to an inheritance of eleven shotgun houses and a juke joint at the foot of a hill in a tiny, segregated, one-way-in one-way-out community called Freyline.

    • The Gift of Perspective

      Our existence at any scale is indeed a cosmic gift, even more so when we consider its full range of operation.

    • Pope Offers Christmas Message of Hope to a Suffering World

      Pope Francis offered a Christmas message of hope Wednesday against darkness that cloaks conflicts and relationships in large parts of the world from the Middle East to the Americas to Africa.

    • 10 articles to become more data science savvy

      When LinkedIn released its third annual Emerging Jobs report, engineers everywhere said, “Amen.” More than half the list consists of engineering roles, with new fields like robotics appearing for the first time.

      But data science had a strong showing as well. The role shows 37% annual growth, topping that aspect of the Emerging Jobs list for the third year in a row.

      Looking at the core skills a data scientist needs—including R, Python, and Apache Spark—it’s easy to find overlaps with open source. So, we’re not surprised that data science was one of the most popular topics at Opensource.com in 2019.

      We saw a need for knowledge about diverse data science topics. And our community of authors delivered answers.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Right to Healthy Food: Poisoned with Pesticides

        Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written an open letter addressed to three senior officials in Britain: John Gardiner, Under Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the British government; Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England; and Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Security.

      • In 2020, It’s Time to Make Universal Health Care a Human Right

        I don’t know about you, but everyone I know these days is struggling with something: with their health or the health of a loved one, with their finances or their career, with an addiction or a relationship — even with the nature of existence itself. That’s life, right? True, but something more is fueling these struggles, something harder to define, something that makes already difficult problems feel impossible to bear. Most of us put on a brave face each morning and attempt to be cheerful, but an undercurrent of vague worry pulses through our surface interactions; a shared common sense that things aren’t right in the world, our communities, ourselves.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Green Party Is Not the Democrats’ Problem

        Although it is a constant refrain from Democratic leaders and commentators, the Green Party is not why the Democrats lost to Bush and Trump.

      • The Early Warning Signs of Boris

        There is a new day in British politics, or so we’re told. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just got his Brexit deal through the House of Commons. He has revealed part of his agenda for government after winning a historic election.

      • Judiciary Committee Says New Testimony Could Lead to Second Impeachment of Trump

        Days after voting to impeach President Trump, lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee told a federal court that lawmakers are open to impeaching the president again.

      • (Reflections On) Our Culture And The Arts

        The Morrison government’s recent failure to recognise the arts specifically in its reformed structure of ministries is really nothing new in principle – nor even surprising, given the political history of the arts in this country since the Whitlam era, writes Donald Richardson.

      • We Let Scott Morrison Make Our Bed. Now He’s Lying In It, And So Are We

        The Prime Minister’s Hawaiian vacation may have been an ‘ill-timed smoko’, but it’s what we asked for, writes Joshua Dabelstein.

      • Democrats Cave in Secret Budget Deal with Trump

        While attention was focused on the House of Representatives’ impeachment of Donald J. Trump, legislators from both parties were secretly huddling with White House aides to seal a $1.4 trillion budget deal to fund the government until next September. They were rushing to do this to avoid a partial government shutdown starting December 21, 2019.

      • Bernie Sanders Has All the Right Enemies

        For the United States, oligarchy is the elephant—and donkey—in the room. Only one candidate for president is willing to name it.

      • The UK’s Electoral System Failed

        First-past-the-post voting has been praised for promoting political stability, but it comes at the price of a government in which a minority can ride roughshod over the interests and preferences of more than half of the population.

      • All I Want for Christmas Is the Truth

        Winter Solstice has passed. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are upon us, and in the giving spirit of the season, Donald Trump has bestowed upon us a dollop of gibberish so elemental in its purity that birds tumbled from the trees for miles around.

      • A President Who Ignores the Constitution Is a Colossal Threat—Even to His Own Party

        This should not be layers on layers of politics. This is about the sanctity and security of our Constitution. We cannot abide by a precedent that ignores the rule of law when our party is benefited. A president who ignores the Constitution and obstructs Congress is a colossal threat, even to the party he or she represents. Trump is counting on the support of his party in the Senate, but his safety net appears to be our party’s self-destruct button.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russia Cuts Off Its Internet, With Mixed Results

        Russia yesterday completed a series of tests designed to make sure that its internet services could still work when isolated from the worldwide web.

        The tests, said to involve state-run institutions and security services, as well as all communications operators, message services and email providers, effectively turned Russia’s internet, RuNet, into the largest intranet in the world.

      • [Older] Russia to Cut Internet Access Next Week

        Roskomnadzor, the country’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, has introduced new tools to the RuNet, as the Russian-language internet is known, which will allow the agency to sever Russian web traffic in the case of a large-scale cyber attack. The upcoming test is meant to measure “the possibility of intercepting subscriber traffic and revealing information about the subscriber, blocking communication services,” according to a document that was posted to a well-known Russian Telegram channel concerning IT issues, and later verified by Open Media.

        Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law forces foreign web traffic to go through a series of government checkpoints.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Medical Opinion, Torture and Julian Assange

        On November 27 this year, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, delivered an address to the German Bundestag outlining his approach to understanding the mental health of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. These comprised two parts, the initial stage covering his diplomatic asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy, the second dealing with his formal detention in the United Kingdom at the hands of the UK legal and judicial system. The conclusion was a recapitulation of previous findings: that Assange has been subjected to a prolonged, state-sponsored effort in torture, nothing less than a targeting of his being.

      • Let 2020 Be the Year of a Truly Free Press

        We all have a responsibility to ensure that journalists are free to do their work, without threats of injury, imprisonment, or death.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • White Nationalist Media Is Shaping US Immigration Policy

        Janine Jackson: That White House senior policy advisor and speechwriter Stephen Miller believes in white nationalism is evident: By their policy, ye shall know them. But we now have, as it were, the receipts.

      • EFF at 36c3 (Chaos Communications Congress)

        Find EFF in Leipzig at the 36th year of one of the largest technology, security, and activism conferences in the world, Chaos Communication Congress. Learn how our team of lawyers, technologists, and activists are working to protect online rights, and connect with the larger international digital freedom community. We’ll be part of the About:Freedom Assembly in the Rights & Freedoms Cluster, floor 0 in the CCL building, just after exiting the tube from the central Glass Hall, alongside other groups protecting freedom of expression and human rights around the world. 

      • Bethlehem is Scarred by Brutal Israeli Occupation, While the World Acquieses

        Some seven weeks back I attended a colloquium presentation delivered by a member of the religion faculty at the university where I taught for 42 years. Known for his scholarship and excellent teaching skills, the presenter was reporting on the results of a trip he undertook last summer to study innovative techniques on the teaching of biblical Hebrew. Prior to his trip to Occupied Palestine, I shared a CP column I’d written summarizing Ilan Pappé’s tome under the title The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (71 Years Later Zionist Terrorism Is Alive and Well, April 19, 2019, CP) and another scholarly article about Israel’s brutal violation of human rights, its theft and desecration of Christian monuments and churches, and its outright hatred and demonization of Palestinians in general, and Christian Palestinians in particular.

        [...]

        The biblical narrative informs us that at the time of Christ’s birth Palestine was an extension of Augustus’ massive empire. Palestina/Falasteen was sandwiched between Egypt and Syria; the first served as Rome’s breadbasket, and the second as Rome’s eastern line of defense and the last stop of the ancient Silk Road and one of the conduits that fed the insatiable Roman treasury to maintain its stranglehold on its expansive Pax Romana Empire. Ironic it is that American, British, and European hegemonic interest in that same region are no different from Rome’s. And since 1917, the Brits, French, and later the Americans have been drawing and redrawing the boundaries of the oil-rich Near East; and “What we say, goes” is the new Anglo-Franco-Americana Pax Oleum Petra.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Dodging Bullets on the Path to a Decentralized Future: 2019 in Review

        The Internet’s decentralized nature has historically been its greatest super-power, granting it the ability to shrug off censors and spies and redistribute power away from corruptible gatekeepers out to the creators and innovators on its edges. But it’s only been in the last few years that the Net’s own corporate children—Google, Amazon, Facebook, and the rest—have started to defeat that innate ability to re-route around such choke-holds.

        In response, a movement to re-decentralize the Internet has sprung up online: networks of volunteers, communities, and small independent businesses working to develop new tools, and new ways of organizing online that might build a more resilient and equitable network.

      • America Is Still in Desperate Need for a Fiber Broadband for Everyone Plan: Year in Review 2019

        Earlier this year, EFF noted that the United States is facing a high-speed broadband access crisis. For the foreseeable future, it appears that a supermajority of Americans will not have access to fiber to the home. Instead, it is cable monopolies or nothing at all.

        Government data indicates that this problem is particularly pronounced in low-income neighborhoods and rural markets. But this future is not set in stone. We support efforts to aggressively meet this challenge so that this generation can benefit from affordable, universally accessible, competitive high-speed broadband access. 

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Brexit: UK To Enter Transition Period On 31 January 2020

          On Friday 20 December the UK Parliament voted in favour of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill which is the first step in implementation of the draft withdrawal agreement reached between the UK and EU in October this year. The process in the UK is expected to be completed in January 2020 and the EU Parliament is also expected to ratify the draft withdrawal agreement in January 2020 so that the UK will exit the EU on 31 January 2020 and will enter a transition period. During the transition period the UK will be treated as if it were a member of the EU and as a consequence the status quo as far as IP is concerned will be maintained. Although the future relationship between the UK and EU beyond the end of the transition period is still to be negotiated, there is now more certainty regarding the future as far as IP is concerned. Even in the case of no deal being reached between the UK and EU by the end of the transition period (a no-deal Brexit), the position as regards IP is unlikely to change. The transition period is currently expected to expire at the end of 31 December 2020.

          [...]

          Whatever form the UK’s exit from the EU takes, there will be no effect on how patents are obtained and enforced in the UK or any other states party to the European Patent Convention. All European Patent Attorneys at J A Kemp LLP will therefore be able to continue to represent clients at the European Patent Office (EPO) as in the past.

      • Copyrights

        • BitTorrent Tokens: The Last Minute Christmas Gift, Now Extortionate on eBay

          Earlier this year BitTorrent Inc. released a new version of uTorrent that promised to reward seeders with BitTorrent Tokens (BTT). We have seen no credible reports of people earning these tokens at scale but there’s another way to obtain them. Opportunists are selling them on eBay for massively extortionate prices through mining contracts, which is impossible.

        • Funding a Pirate Business’s Lawsuit is Mostly Unpopular With Pirates

          Pirate sites of all kinds are trouble magnets. The chances of getting threatened, sued, or arrested are pretty high. That’s why plenty of sites have handed round the begging bowl when the proverbial hits the fan. So when are these fundraisers successful and when do they flop? It seems it’s mostly down to whether the service in question truly gave something back or was just a profit machine for its owners.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:45 am by Needs Sunlight

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Open Source Trusting Microsoft

Posted in Humour, Microsoft at 12:24 am by Guest Editorial Team

Context: Jim Zemlin: Open Source Loves Microsoft

Microsoft loves Linux and Open Source loves Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft isn’t there to look after whatever competes against Windows and its proprietary ‘crown jewels’; it’s just there to undermine the competition by complete control

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