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12.28.19

Protecting Free Software Means Studying and Covering Political Affairs Too

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Self-censorship and overt censorship (like the EPO censoring us since 2014, blocking the site to prevent staff getting exposed to facts and leaks) would be one example of the political nature of scientific things, such as patents

Political censorship

Summary: We must allow ourselves to explore and to speak out about politics even in the workplace or in the context of our careers; As Richard M. Stallman once put it (and Stallman was right, as usual): “Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

“Value your freedom or you will lose it, teaches history. ‘Don’t bother us with politics’, respond those who don’t want to learn.”

Richard M. Stallman said that a very long time ago and it became memorable/popular among many people.

“Microsoft and Bill Gates use that foundation as an instrument of power/influence (sometimes bribery), not just tax evasion.”The last and concluding part of the Thierry Breton series will come some time soon. The previous part talked about Benalla/Macron (related to Battistelli) and 3 days ago we explained how that related to the European Patent Office (EPO) and to software patents in Europe — a subject that impacts all software developers everywhere in the world. Everything is connected.

“Whether Richard Stallman was left temporarily homeless because of the millions of dollars paid by Bill Gates to MIT (through Epstein, who has since then died mysteriously in prison) is a noteworthy question.”Those who read all our articles closely enough certainly noticed the political machinations of the Gates Foundation when it comes to software. Microsoft and Bill Gates use that foundation as an instrument of power/influence (sometimes bribery), not just tax evasion. Failing to speak out about such issues, including bribery of politicians and overt tax evasion, would easily lead us astray. Whether Richard Stallman was left temporarily homeless because of the millions of dollars paid by Bill Gates to MIT (through Epstein, who has since then died mysteriously in prison) is a noteworthy question. Those things are difficult to prove indisputably, but assessing the probability based on evidence is possible. It’s only possible if we’re exposing ourselves to broader contexts of pertinent stories.

What If Richard Stallman Spoke Like Linus Torvalds Does?

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 9:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

🗺 domination. But whose?

I'm Richard. I repudiate corporations for their illegal acts
He founded GNU in the early eighties at MIT

I'm Richard. I repudiate corporations for their illegal acts
He released Linux in the early nineties in Finland, became a US national, and decided to take it commercial with the corporate Linux Foundation

Summary: Double standards can be seen in the way corporate media treats ‘cool’ insults and ‘rude’ criticisms (the former being Torvalds’ and the latter Stallman’s)

THE BIRTHDAY of Linus Torvalds is today. He’s a grown up man. He’s 50 now. Stallman is nearly 70 (or getting there) and he’ll soon be giving talks in the UK. His ‘cancellation’ has apparently not worked (not fully; he’s still in charge of GNU).

For a number of years (nearly a decade) I’ve publicly complained about the way Stallman is treated in/by the media, especially corporate/mainstream media. Stallman is rarely rude (to the extent the average software developer is) and I’ve spoken to him several times this month. As noted here earlier this month, his ‘cancellation’ did not work and arguably ‘backfired’ in the sense that it served to demonstrate the unfair treatment if not mistreatment. As we shall show some time next month, it was Bill Gates who deserved ‘cancellation’. But he has more ‘media muscle’ (bribes to publishers worldwide) than Stallman. It’s just that Stallman neither pays the publishers nor does his message suit the owners of large publishers.

“…no ‘boss’ is perfect and almost nobody likes his/her boss. Stallman is, in relative terms, not bad and we’ve witnessed the FSF suffering somewhat without his presence.”Stallman is still doing reasonably well. His critics in the GNU projects have toned down the letters and now pursue improved transparency instead of removal of Stallman from GNU. No defacement of his Web site, no smears. They just want to better understand the GNU-FSF relationship.

Now, going back to Torvalds, compare the attitudinal concerns expressed about him and about Stallman. Consider what the petitioners from GNU have said about Stallman. Did they complain that he was rude? Intimidating? No.

“We maintain our position that if Stallman cannot retake his old position at the FSF he should at least be invited back to the Board.”As we said months ago, no ‘boss’ is perfect and almost nobody likes his/her boss. Stallman is, in relative terms, not bad and we’ve witnessed the FSF suffering somewhat without his presence. Since he stepped down two members of the Board have left. We heard from people who canceled their membership specifically because Stallman had left.

We maintain our position that if Stallman cannot retake his old position at the FSF he should at least be invited back to the Board. That would certainly address some of the above-mentioned concerns (from the letter signed by Ludovic Courtès, Andy Wingo, Carlos O’Donell, Andreas Enge and Mark Wielaard).

Mansion of Pedophilia – Part IV: An Apparent Gates Foundation Exodus During Pedophilia Trial

Posted in Bill Gates at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

People’s reaction to the Gates-Epstein stories was rather revealing; it didn’t fit in with prior perceptions

They say he's a nice man and he pays them to say nothing when he does bad things. He did what?

Summary: We take note of peculiar timings of Gates Foundation CEO departures (causality is possible, albeit it might be coincidental); The media’s lack of participation if not ‘cover-up’ (lack of interest in some very serious affairs and a lengthy trial) is also noteworthy

PREVIOUSLY in this series (please kindly revisit part one, part two, and part three for some background) we explained why it was rather evident that Mr. Gates had tried hard to avoid media attention. The media did not mention the pedophilia case at all until a whole year after the criminal case had been opened (a case regarding pedophiles in Gates’ mansion). One of our members speculated that it might be related to Mr. Gates choosing to step down from various levels of duty… or being forced to. Based on court records, that seems not too improbable; it was in 2013 that the case was opened; the police alone — as we’ve hinted before — has more than 2,000 pages in its report — so much in there that they’re barely capable of opening the files (it is work in progress). That’s according to them. That’s just the police report, not court documents. So it’s not some minuscule and trivial case. It’s taking months just to merely process a public record request. We’ll say more about that at a later point so as to not interfere with the process or to overburden anybody.

“Those explosive reports later turned out to be true (corroborated by other publishers and Gates offering an admission, only with some shallow and unbelievable excuses for what he had done).”Today we focus on the Foundation and the next part will look closely at how media covered this case. I myself mentioned this in January of 2015, citing the very few media reports on the matter. Those who dared report on it have also published several exclusive reports on Gates’ connections to Epstein (and Prince Andrew’s). Those explosive reports later turned out to be true (corroborated by other publishers and Gates offering an admission, only with some shallow and unbelievable excuses for what he had done).

Quite a lot happened that year. See for example “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann to Step Down, Longtime Foundation Executive Mark Suzman Appointed to Role” (press release). That’s from earlier this month. “Interestingly enough with the Foundation,” as one member noted to us, “he was not CEO of that in May 1, 2014 or a while before that.”

2014 was the year of the trial. Yes, that was months after the criminal case had been opened and about six months prior to media disclosing the case’s very existence! As our member then added: “Since 2000 Bill Gates has mostly kept himself out of the CEO positions. But from September 10 2013 to May 1 2014 he was. So something is off there.”

“2014 was the year of the trial. Yes, that was months after the criminal case had been opened and about six months prior to media disclosing the case’s very existence!”That’s the period of time of the pedophilia case. As the member continued, having spent time researching the matter, “the current Foundation changeover of CEO is how you expect it to read, i.e. one CEO steps down and another appointed. That 2013 has no straight up appoint[ment means] it falls back to the Board.”

Something happened around that time; “basically,” as our member concluded, “it’s fishy and I would love to find a Jeff Raikes tell-all book about it.”

Here is the 2013 press release: “Jeff Raikes to Retire as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Jeff Raikes retiring at the age of 55? That seems rather early…

Did he even retire? Based on Wikipedia, he and his wife are still active (as recently as a couple of years ago). So one might joke that it’s more like he evacuated/’recused’ himself from Foundation duties.

“I am not really finding more,” said our member, but he added that the “problem is that it only looks fishy, but fishy for what reason? Problem is, there could be many harmless reasons.”

“Jeff Raikes retiring at the age of 55? That seems rather early…”We’re not suggesting that the criminal case necessarily has something to do with the above; but it’s hard to ignore two CEO changes in about one year. And it’s that very particular year. Maybe a lawsuit would force the Foundation to divulge more information. As our member put it, “the fact Bill Gates is mostly not a CEO means that labour laws don’t apply to him like they did to RMS with FSF. It also makes you wonder if we should look at more detail at 1999. If there is anything there, why would Bill Gates have been forced out of CEO of Microsoft?”

When Gates stepped down from key duties at Microsoft Richard Stallman published this article at the BBC (which Bill Gates later bribed repeatedly, as we covered several times in the past). Here’s a key quote from it:

'[Bill] Gates may be gone, but the walls and bars of proprietary software he  helped create remain, for now. Dismantling them is up to us.'~Richard Stallman

We are still investigating some of these things, but that goes almost 2 decades back (if not more). “I don’t have time at the moment,” our member noted, “but I will at some point. Digging into history online from 1999 can be very hard… the 2000s are most likely harmless.”

Citing this article from 20 years and one month ago (CNN’s “MSFT ruled a monopoly”), our member said, “I would guess it linked to anti-trust that Gates was in charge of; when wrong things were done [...] so [he] stepped down in 2000 … so that [it] would be harder to come back.”

That November 5th (1999) article is one of not so many that survived so-called ‘Internet rot’ or ‘link rot’. “I will at some point dig around deeper in the 1999 records,” our member said, “but looking at the timeline I don’t think I will find anything linking to [the above case]. I will dig around 2013 a little more, but I don’t think I will find anything other than the question that not answered.”

“That November 5th (1999) article is one of not so many that survived ‘Internet rot’.”“This is September 10, 2013,” he said of the above. “It really seems odd with a CEO contract coming to end that another CEO was not ready… or current one had stating they were staying on.”

Just to clarify, in a crucial (or sensitive as per the timeline) one-year period the Foundation had (apparently, based on its public records) three different CEOs: Jeff Raikes (he came from Microsoft), Desmond-Hellmann and Mark Suzman. After 5 years Mark Suzman left (not even exactly 5 years), coinciding with a lot of negative press about Gates and Epstein. And there’s yet more we’ll come to in future parts.

When I first mentioned this in 2015 some people whom I don’t know (never spoke to him) tried to ridicule me. I instantaneously directed them to press reports on the matter — however few there were — to avert ad hominem attacks (trying to personify these reports, then focusing on the messenger instead). At the time I didn’t believe that it implicated Gates in any way (not directly anyway) because less was known about him and it was presented in a particular way. It was only in more recent months that I began to think Gates was well aware he can go down in history as another Michael Jackson (allegations of child abuse), except Jackson suffered most of the bad press posthumously. Both had mansions and those mansions are closely guarded and manned by loyal staff. So getting out the word — without personal risk — isn’t always easy (whistleblowers can be publicly mocked/discredited by other insiders who are more loyal to the mansion’s holder). Money helps.

“We invite further sources to contact us with additional information; it certainly seems like quite a few people are aware of things they’re frightened to speak about.”Our investigation of this is no longer a one-man or a one-site effort. There’s interdisciplinary and cross-site interest, us being the more technical folks (being familiar with technical aspects or legal aspects of Gates’ past and his father’s — a very powerful individual who mustn’t be considered in isolation, more so considering the massive firm he controls and the roots of Microsoft as a company). There’s legal mischief, lobbying, and potential clout in the court system. Don’t forget that Gates was once arrested by the police (for an actual crime) and then released by his parents using their great wealth. Connections too have helped. Gates’ huge ‘investment’ (bribes) in the media have also helped and we haven’t lost sight of that.

The next part will deal with how media covered it, removed material, then restored material (after complaints had been made). Something just isn’t right and we’ve thankfully accumulated and linked sufficient evidence. We invite further sources to contact us with additional information; it certainly seems like quite a few people are aware of things they’re frightened to speak about. Apart from risk of reprisal, some people don’t think they’d be believed (like Donald Trump accusers), especially when contradicted by a so-called ‘charity’ run by a supposed ‘Saint’.

Happy Birthday, Linus Torvalds!

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Torvalds’ 50th birthday is today; the man who took GNU corporate with the corporate Linux Foundation

Who Will Merpel be in 2020? (Now Defending Battistelli’s Attacks on EPO Judges and Serious Violations of the EPC)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maximalists (patent, copyright, trademark etc.) and litigation zealots have taken over IP Kat, which has sadly become merely an amplifier of EPO lies (deliberate falsehoods) and propaganda

The old IP Kat
The ‘old’ IP Kat (several more key people have left since)

Summary: The tone of IP Kat has changed to the point where it’s very much part of Team Campinos/Battistelli — i.e. the very opposite of what it was prior to key departures and sanctions from the European Patent Office (EPO)

THE EPO is not an ordinary institution. I probably ought to know this, having covered it very closely since 2014 (I had covered it before that, albeit not as closely and without inside informants). Today’s EPO is bribing and threatening publishers (they tried this on us several times). Sheer corruption, sheer abuse, but these people enjoy immunity…

I’ve often read about practices such as these in Russia or sometimes China as well. Is Europe prone to tolerating the same? The corrupt people who have seized control of the Office are effectively killing every form of journalism (about patents) that dares criticise or even speak about EPO abuses. I spoke to some reporters and they told me stories. Giving the full details would likely reveal identities of publishers and therefore writers too.

“I’ve often read about practices such as these in Russia or sometimes China as well. Is Europe prone to tolerating the same?”The EPO may in fact be Europe’s most corrupt institution. This very much matters because it’s also Europe’s second-largest one. Why don’t more publications speak about it? Well, being Europe’s second-largest institution means a lot of power, connections and even budget (‘slush funds’). Therein lies a very big problem. Publications that used to speak of EPO issues refrain from saying anything at all. It’s not necessarily the case that they all paint a rosy picture; but when there’s a scandal they pretend not to see, they perpetuate the idea that it does not exist. I’ve witnessed similar things when Wikileaks published some bombshell reports/leaks, whereupon there were even (as recently as this month) reports about reporters who resign, having been denied — by the publisher — the permission to cover the story. 4 years ago I saw that at the BBC. They try to keep as ‘marginal’ as possible particular stories/developments, suppressing ‘inconvenient’ facts to guard an incomplete and misleading narrative. JUVE totally embraced that. Yes, JUVE… which used to provide splendid coverage back in the days.

Several years ago people reported to us that IP Kat had begun actively deleting comments — even entire threads — critical of EPO management. Moderators changed. They sought to police the tone, narrative, discussion etc. It was rather astounding given the low standards applied; totally polite comments were deleted as well (we made copies — where possible — before these deletions). Since then IP Kat has been pushing UPC lies every month or so. With AstraZeneca and Bristows in key positions it’s hardly surprising (consider their corporate agenda), which means that IP Kat has become ‘litigation industry’ blog. Also remember Stephen Jones; previously in charge, not just at CIPA, an integral part of Team UPC, he did photo ops with Battistelli. It was as if he chose to make photographic evidence of a complete coup.

“Several years ago people reported to us that IP Kat had begun actively deleting comments — even entire threads — critical of EPO management.”We could go on and on talking about the pro-software patents bias of IP Kat; it hardly deals with 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and a lot of the time it uses misleading propaganda terms that are technically and legally unsound. So what is this blog even useful for? When it comes to patents, it’s not scholarly at all (the scholars have mostly left), it’s a litigation lobby. Ask around the EPO (examiners); they might say the same. The difference is felt. Speak to former ‘Kats’ (if they dare speak out); they too might say the same.

This morning I saw this latest tidbit, preceded by the following introductory paragraph: “It has been a busy year for the Enlarged Board of Appeal. 2019 has seen four referrals from the Boards of Appeal and one decision. The more controversial of this year’s referrals (namely Pepper and Computer simulated inventions) have attracted a large number of third party comments. Other referrals (i.e. “Double-patenting”) seem to have dropped off the radar of even the EBA. Readers may therefore be forgiven for losing track.”

This is far from a balanced overview; we’ll get to that in a moment. Rose Hughes with her typically dismissive remarks about software patents critics (we covered her stance on software patents in Europe in the past; she’s no coder) isn’t quite surprising to us. We’ve become accustomed to it by now. Her outline does not mention at all those who oppose software patents, instead giving the impression that software companies are in favour (citing monopolies and law firms); they try to ‘vanish’ actual coders, letting legal departments of multinationals claim to speak ‘for’ them. She also mentions Campinos with his violation of the European Patent Convention (EPC) — the principle of separation of powers — but seems to see nothing wrong with that!

“Remember that Merpel is not an actual person but a pseudonym for several (they told me so themselves).”For those who wish to hear from critics of software patents (people who actually do software) there’s this talk tomorrow by Benjamin Henrion at CCC/36C3 in Hamburg (Germany). They’ve “Moved the Unitary Software Patents discussion to Sunday at 6PM”, he noted. It was supposed to be today. “Unitary Software Patents discussion moved to 6PM on Sunday,” he added later. We know that some of our readers will be there (but won’t name them).

Going back to IP Kat, notice what Hughes added in: “[Merpel: Whilst relocation of the Boards of Appeal was undoubtedly an unpopular move, was it really necessary to expend EBA time on such a question?]“

Remember that Merpel is not an actual person but a pseudonym for several (they told me so themselves). It wasn’t an “unpopular” move but an illegal one. But now they’re changing history and retroactively justifying the abuse. Here’s the full text about software patents and Haar:

Computer simulated inventions (G 1/19)

The patentability of software (which takes the form of computer “simulated” or “implemented” inventions under the EPO’s problem and solution approach) is a controversial topic. In the first of a couple of referrals in February, a Board of Appeal (3.5.07) sought clarity from the EBA on the patentability of computer-implemented simulations (T 0489/14): The patentability of computer simulated methods – another referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal. The referral was followed by comments from the EPO president: Comments from the EPO President on the patentability of computer-implemented simulations (G 1/19). The President appears broadly in favour of the patentability of computer-simulated inventions. The referral particularly relates to claims having both a technical and non-technical character. The referral asks whether the non-technical features of such an invention and/or the technical purpose of the invention can be considered in the assessment of inventive step.

G 1/19 has received a large number of amicus curiae from third parties. A number of the amicus curiae are from large software companies, who are unsurprisingly in favour of the patentability of this kind of software invention (e.g. Siemens, Philips and IBM). CIPA and EPI have also all given their view, which are in favour of including the technical purpose of a claim in the assessment of inventive step.

Clarity in appeal and is Munich in Haar? (G 2/19)

The second referral in February related to appeals procedure. The referral sought an answer to whether a clarity objection can be discussed in appeal oral proceedings. Clarity can not be raised in opposition (accept in response to a Patentee’s post-grant amendment). A clarity objection may be raised in examination by a third party (Article 115 EPC). In the case in question (T 831/17), in order to pursue a clarity objection after grant, a third party filed an appeal against the decision to grant the patent (EP2378735). The appeal was rejected as inadmissible. However, the Board of Appeal referred the question to the EBA of whether the appellant still has the right to oral proceedings even when an appeal is deemed inadmissible.

In response to the referral, the EBA decided that following an inadmissible appeal, a third party is not entitled to oral proceedings in order to discuss the third party’s clarity objections. The EBA therefore closed the door on the possibility that clarity may be discussed as a ground of opposition in appeal proceedings: Enlarged Board of Appeal releases full reasoning in G2/19. The opposition period for the granted patent has now expired.

The final question in the referral raised a collective sigh from many in the patent community. The question related to whether Haar could really be said to be situated in Munich: Where is Haar and how did it get there? Observations on Geography while Waiting for G2/19. In particular, did the location of oral proceedings in Haar contravene a party’s right to be heard? Rather unsurprisingly, the EBA decided that Haar was in Munich. [Merpel: Whilst relocation of the Boards of Appeal was undoubtedly an unpopular move, was it really necessary to expend EBA time on such a question?]

Wow, what a truly terrible remark, attributed to “Merpel”. In past years Merpel held exactly the opposite position, but the whisperer handle which is “Merpel” is now used to justify what happened to G 2/19. Sorry, “Merpel”, but now you’re contradicting yourself, you’re not even consistent!

Now that the blog’s founder has left — and later those whom he left in charge (entrusted so to speak) — who’s even in charge? We have a rough idea as it’s at the top of all pages in the blog (names but not employers). They try to give the impression that the blog is run by a vast and diverse team.

“Now that the blog’s founder has left — and later those whom he left in charge (entrusted so to speak) — who’s even in charge? We have a rough idea as it’s at the top of all pages in the blog (names but not employers).”Read again that last paragraph (above); to them, it’s almost as if it’s a waste of time to check whether the law is being broken (which isn’t hard to see, but they make it a political question and thwart it altogether). Remember that this decision was released not in English (intentional). As we explained and showed at the time, they googlebombed in every way possible to distract from what was happening. Read the first (and as of now only) comment: “Regarding G4/19, the written decision was handed down on December 20, 10 months after the hearing.”

By that stage will anyone care/notice/bother?

Days ago we also saw Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. wrongly assuming that the EPO respects the EPC (it does not, it's a rubber-stamping machine) when writing about bioinformatics patent claims. To quote:

This article discusses challenges in prosecuting bioinformatics patent applications before the European Patent Office (EPO). The EPO determines the subject-matter eligibility of bioinformatics patent applications under Articles 52 and 56 of the European Patent Convention. Article 52 governs what is considered patent eligible subject matter.[1] Article 56 governs whether a bioinformatics patent claim involves an inventive step.[2] While Article 56 is not directly related to eligible subject matter determinations, the EPO uses this Article to screen bioinformatics patent application for eligible subject matter issues. Four points of concern and consideration related to the subject-matter eligibility of bioinformatics patent applications in Europe are discussed below.

First, under Article 52, the EPO may incorrectly reject a bioinformatics patent claim as being directed to (1) discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods, or (2) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers.[3] One way patent applicants can argue that a bioinformatics patent claim is not directed to either category is to explicitly recite a computer or physical step (e.g., tying bioinformatics method claim to specific technical equipment) to support technical character in the claim.

Second, under Article 56, the EPO may overlook a technical purpose of a bioinformatics patent claim. In response, patent applicants can argue that the technical purpose is the biological rationale for performing the bioinformatics analysis. For example, the biological rationale can be related to diagnosing a disease or assessing a particular physical property. Patent applicants should be cognizant that issues may arise when arguing that the features fundamental to solving the biological problem (e.g., aligning gene sequences) are the biological rationale. This is because such features may not be considered by the EPO to sufficiently provide the requisite biological rationale.

Articles 52 and 56 of the European Patent Convention won’t matter to today’s EPO management; because it routinely violates many other articles and it gloats about that mass violation having no consequences!

Last but not least, Kluwer Patent Blog is the latest of several to speak of “inventive step” (the EPO’s bizarre terminology, which includes “technical problem”) in the context of “hope” — as pertaining to T/83. Arianna Bartolini, Charlotte Richards-Taylor and Thorsten Bausch (published by the last of the bunch) say this:

As was rightly noted on this blog, the skilled person’s “hope” of solving the objective technical problem using the means that led to the (later claimed) invention, has disappeared from the Guidelines for Examination. What we are left with is the (perhaps) more objective “expectation of some improvement or advantage (see T/83)”. Interestingly, this expectation of “some improvement or advantage” no longer appears to be so closely linked to the objective technical problem than the language previously used in the Guidelines. Whether this will in the future give rise to more problems for applicants or patentees remains to be seen. In any case, it may be a good point in time to remind ourselves that even recognizing a problem and its roots can (at least sometimes) be an invention of itself.

[...]

Conclusion

Decision T 2321/15 thus came to the interesting conclusion that the discovery of a yet unrecognized problem may give rise to patentable subject-matter in spite of the fact that the claimed solution may be, once the root of a problem has been identified, retrospectively trivial and in itself obvious. As such, T 2321/15 is not the first decision of its kind, but rather follows a long tradition starting with T 2/83 itself, which was confirmed in T 764/12. It may thus be prudent for parties applying the problem-solution-approach to include the recognizability of the objective problem and its cause into their considerations.

Nothing is said about the lack of independence of the Board; this has, apparently, become the new ‘normal’; the EPO has managed to silence or ‘tame’ its critics and now everyone is supposed to accept that Haar is the permanent home of ‘justice’ — where judges are actively lobbied/pressured by Campinos himself to allow illegal patents.

“Articles 52 and 56 of the European Patent Convention won’t matter to today’s EPO management; because it routinely violates many other articles and it gloats about that mass violation having no consequences!”We certainly hope that more blogs will appear that the EPO won’t bribe or censor (or threaten). As it stands, however, even IPPro Magazine no longer covers EPO affairs (it did for a while and Barney did a decent job). Based on their site, they stopped publication about a month ago (prior to that they had significantly slowed down and only Becky Bellamy composed new articles, mostly PR and ‘puff pieces’ that resemble advertisements).

Links 28/12/2019: Calculate Linux 20, Debian’s Init System GR Ends (“Proposal B” on Top), Latte Dock 0.10

Posted in News Roundup at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

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        Kubuntu is a free and open-source Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that uses KDE install of the GNOME desktop.

      • How to Make the Switch From Windows to Linux

        Microsoft is finally ending support for Windows 7 in January, meaning you won’t get bug fixes or security updates anymore. If you’re one of the final Windows 7 holdouts and don’t want to get stuck with an unsafe system, you have a choice to make: upgrade to Windows 10 or switch to something else entirely.

        If you don’t like the direction Microsoft has taken with Windows 10, we understand. It’s gotten better (and you can make it feel more like Windows 7 with a few tweaks), but its new approach to Windows as a Service means there will always be more of a focus on embedded advertisements, constant updates, and data collection. If you’ve been thinking about making the jump to Linux, now is the time.

      • What lengths should I go to in holding on to 7-year-old PC

        A: Yes, seven years is pretty much a lifetime for computers. And yes, you could install a different operating system, such as Linux. Some Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, are free and very easy to install. What’s more, there are a lot of applications available for Linux that are compatible with the major Windows applications, such as Word, Excel and others.

        But do you really want to learn the ins and outs of a new operating system?

        Yes, you could replace the motherboard with one that is compatible with Windows 10, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you encountered an avalanche of conflicts with the rest of what’s inside your old computer.

      • Coreboot Had An Exciting Decade Thanks To Google’s Chromebooks, Efforts Like LinuxBoot

        With all but the very first Google Chromebook devices running Coreboot in place of traditional proprietary BIOS, this has been a big win for Coreboot during the 2010s but there has also been notable offshoots like LinuxBoot and Libreboot.

        Coreboot, or LinuxBIOS as it was originally known, has been around for 20 years already but certainly during the 2010s has been the most exciting years to date. Besides powering all current Chromebook devices at Google, Coreboot continues seeing new laptops / motherboards ported to Coreboot, more architectures embracing Coreboot, and other efforts helping it in trying to replace legacy/proprietary system firmware/BIOS.

    • Server

      • The 20 Best Linux Web Hosting for Personal Sites and Enterprises

        Web hostings are crucial to developers, companies, and personal website owners. Although creating a web server is easy for Linux gurus, it’s quite the opposite for general consumers. Since not everybody can build and deploy web apps intuitively, many hosting providers offer ready-made servers with necessary environment configurations. Linux web hostings are simply hosting services that utilize Linux distros for providing customers with a working server. Due to its superior features and unmatched flexibility, Linux is the number one choice for renowned companies. Today we take a look at some of the best Linux hosting you can use for your next website.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Talk Python to Me: #244 Top 10 Real Python Articles of 2019

        We’ve come to the end of 2019. Python 2 has just a handful of days before it goes unsupported. And I’ve met up with Dan Bader from RealPython.com to look back at the year of Python articles on his website. We dive into the details behind 10 of his most important articles from the past year.

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        From classifying cats to colorizing old photos we share our top tips and tools for starting your machine learning journey. Plus, learn why Nebula is our favorite new VPN technology, and how it can help simplify and secure your network.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.3 Reached End of Life, Users Urged to Upgrade to Linux Kernel 5.4

        Renowned Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced last week the release of the 18th maintenance update to the Linux 5.3 kernel series, version 5.3.18, which changes a total of 59 files, with 369 insertions and 329 deletions. However, the developer also noted the fact that this will be the last update for the Linux kernel 5.3 series, which now reached end of life.

        “I’m announcing the release of the 5.3.18 kernel. Note, this is the LAST 5.3.y kernel release. It is now end-of-life. Please move to 5.4.y now. All users of the 5.3 kernel series must upgrade,” said Greg Kroah-Hartman in a mailing list announcement. “The updated 5.3.y git tree can be found at https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git;a=summary.”

      • Linux 5.3 Came to an End! Users Kindly Upgrade to the Kernel 5.4 Version

        Linux Kerenel 5.3 Come to an End: Yes, the bay day is here. Greg KH officially announced on his blog about that the Kernel version 5.3.18 is the last maintaince update in the series of Kernel 5.3. The exact words that he used is,
        Note, this is the LAST 5.3.y kernel release. It is now end-of-life.
        Please move to 5.4.y now.
        All users of the 5.3 kernel series must upgrade.

      • Western Digital develops new Linux file system “Zonefs”

        In recent years, from the RISC-V architecture to storage enhancements, Western Digital has made a greater contribution to the Linux kernel. The latest code it has been working on in recent weeks is the new Linux file system.

        However, the new Western Digital product is not intended to be a universal file system that competes with EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and ZFS on Linux. This new file system, Zonefs, is suitable for special use cases and runs on block devices.

        Western Digital’s Damien Le Moal described Zonefs as saying, “zonefs is not a POSIX-compatible file system. Its purpose is to simplify the use of block device support in applications by replacing raw block device file access with APIs based on more feature-rich files. Implementation, avoid relying on direct block device file ioctl.

      • Intel Continues Prepping ACPI Error Disconnect Recover Support For The Linux Kernel

        Since this summer Intel open-source engineers have been working on adding ACPI Error Disconnect Recover (EDR) support to the Linux kernel and this week marks the eleventh revision to the kernel support for this new ACPI feature.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 20.0′s LLVMpipe Now Supports Running OpenCL On The CPU

          Mesa’s LLVMpipe Gallium3D driver has long been about running OpenGL on GPUs as a software fallback / debug path but as of this morning in Mesa 20.0-devel there is now the experimental ability of having OpenCL support making use of OpenCL “Clover” with NIR for CPU-based execution.

          LLVMpipe recently introduced the ability to use the NIR intermediate representation over TGSI. Following that NIR transition, it ended up being quite easy to get OpenCL support going making use of the “Clover” Gallium3D state tracker for OpenCL. Clover recently picked up NIR support thanks to the work by Red Hat on the Nouveau side and their open-source NVIDIA compute efforts.

        • DragonFlyBSD Updates Its Intel Graphics Driver From Linux 4.8.17

          The Linux 4.8 series is over three years old while now the DragonFlyBSD crew has pulled in the Linux 4.8.17 sources of the Intel “i915″ DRM driver into their kernel for providing updated graphics driver coverage.

          For roughly two years the DragonFlyBSD kernel has been making use of modified Linux 4.7~4.8 kernel code for their Intel Direct Rendering Manager driver adaptation. With this update against the newer point release code, DragonFlyBSD desktop users with Intel graphics should be seeing better support.

        • If you have an old NVIDIA 8 or 9 series GPU, there’s a new Linux driver update out for you

          While naturally a lot of the focus for a GPU vendor is on their latest and greatest, NVIDIA do still support many of their older GPUs on Linux.

          This month they put out the 340.108 driver, which supports some of their classics like the GeForce 9800 and GeForce 8800 GTX plus many older.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 5.5-rc3 Benchmarks Are Still Pointing To Slips In Performance

        Early on in the Linux 5.5 cycle during the merge window we saw some wild swings in performance including some positive gains but also performance regressions. Given last weekend’s Linux 5.5-rc3 release having merged some scheduler fixes and other fallout from early on in Linux 5.5, I was curious to see if those regressions have been addressed… Sadly, they are not.

        Those earlier tests were on Intel Xeon Cascade Lake but even on AMD EPYC I can hit similar performance woes on Linux 5.5. Sadly, even with Linux 5.5-rc3 there are some apparent regressions.

    • Applications

      • CopyQ – Advanced clipboard manager for Linux

        CopyQ is an extensive clipboard manager that has some powerful features for every Linux user out there.

        We have all had that moment when we copied a text, but we first needed another one, and in the process, lost the first one. If you’re lucky, you can get it back quickly with a bit of work.

        But what if you can not, and that information was crucial? The solution is a clipboard manager. The one that we are going to talk about today is CopyQ for Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.0-rc3 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.0/wine-5.0-rc3.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.0/wine-5.0-rc3.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.0-rc3 Released With Another 46 Bugs Fixed

        Even with the Christmas holiday slowing down the rate of changes for some of the developers, this week’s Wine 5.0 release candidate managed to arrive with 46 bug fixes.

        Being well into the code freeze, there are just bug fixes with Wine 5.0-rc3 while the stable Wine 5.0.0 release is tentatively expected for mid to late January.

    • Games

      • Developer of Brutal Doom reveals new project: VietDoom; alpha 0.1 already available

        Last August, the developer responsible for the excellent mod Brutal Doom, revealed after a month of absence that he was working on a new project called VietDoom, which takes place during Vietnam War. Since then, he has been releasing updates on a regular basis, showcasing new technical additions and features, and on December 8 the first Alpha was made available for everyone to try.

      • Free and open source transport sim OpenTTD has a second Beta towards a big new version

        OpenTTD is a true classic, building upon what Transport Tycoon Deluxe started and expanding it across more platforms and keeping it alive many years later.

        The team behind OpenTTD are working on a huge new 1.10.0 release, with the first Beta landing in October and a second Beta available as of a few days ago.

      • Futuristic racer mixed with a little combat ‘GRAL’ arrives on Linux

        Three Souls Interactive emailed in to let everyone know that GRAL, their future racer is now officially available for Linux gamers.

        Developed as a sort-of tribute to 90′s racers like DethKarz and POD, GRAL (Galaxies Racing Automobile League) mixes together racing and combat to make a fast-paced heart-pumping experience.

      • GOG have new games up on GOG Connect, big sale still going

        More titles have recently appeared on GOG Connect, giving you the ability to grab an extra DRM-free copy on GOG if you already have them on Steam.

        Titles now available on GOG Connect are: Chasm and Hedon which both support Linux plus, Through the Ages, Bad North: Jotunn Edition and Galaxy Trucker: Extended Edition.

      • The Legacy Update is live for Dead Cells, allowing you to play old versions plus saves get backups

        Much like what Hinterland did with The Long Dark’s Time Capsule, you can now try out older versions of Dead Cells at any time if you dislike changes made over time.

        They’re calling this the Legacy Update, something they say they wanted to do for a long time because the experience drastically changes between major releases. So now, if you have it on Steam, you can select any version from the first build of Early Access right up to present (using the Beta opt-in system) and they will continue adding to it as new versions release.

      • Laminar Research readying Vulkan support for an upcoming public beta with X-Plane 11.50

        Release the Vulkans! Laminar Research and pushing forwards with their plan to upgrade X-Plane 11 with Vulkan support.

        This detailed flight simulator is now going through a private beta for X-Plane 11.50, with a plan to go into a public beta once they have enough feedback on how it’s running. There’s no set date for it to be public, as they said it depends on the types of bugs that get reported.

        Once it is live for everyone, to change between OpenGL and Vulkan it will have a simple checkbox in the rendering settings which then requires you to restart. If it detects a problem, it will revert back to OpenGL so you hopefully won’t get locked out of the game.

      • Survival RPG ‘Dead Age 2′ coming to Linux in early 2020

        Silent Dreams are working on a sequel to their 2016 survival RPG with Dead Age 2 coming to Linux early next year, with publishing once again from Headup Games.

      • Xen now out of Beta in Black Mesa, time to relive Half-Life plus a roadmap is up

        Shortly after drastically improving the performance in the Linux version, Crowbar Collective actually released the Xen chapter of Black Mesa out to everyone.

        You no longer need to opt into any Beta, plus it comes with updates to the gameplay gathered from feedback during the beta period to “refine the difficulty, increase player guidance, fix bugs, as well as increase performance throughout the Interloper chapter”. Black Mesa is still in Early Access, but at least now you can complete it and you should have a pretty good experience but they will still be taking on feedback and adding in some more polish to it.

      • Minigalaxy, a new open source simple GOG client for Linux

        Find getting your Linux games from GOG a bit of a hassle since they don’t support Galaxy on Linux yet? Enter the free and open source application Minigalaxy. It’s being developed by Wouter “sharkwouter” Wijsman who also works on VaporOS, a special build of SteamOS with a ton of extra enhancements.

      • Thanks to Proton, you can have ‘A Date in the Park’ in this intriguing free short adventure; some thoughts

        “A Date in the Park” is a lightweight point and click adventure that will take you approximately one hour to solve. It was actually released more than five years ago, but thanks to Proton 4.11, it is now possible to enjoy it on Linux -almost- without any problems. As of the moment of writing this article, it has a single but Platinum review (“works flawlessly”) on ProtonDB, so it’s even possible that it works without issues for you. The first time I launched it took one minute for Proton to setup everything (it installed a tool called Steamworks Common Redistributables) but after that it loads almost immediately (even on my old laptop) and plays completely smooth.

        I only experienced one graphical glitch a few times during the game, but that was it: some animated sprites become transparent for a couple of seconds. However, considering the game is stylized as a graphical adventure from the 90′s, due to the pixelated images and the limited color palette this ends up being only a minor inconvenience. Also, I originally though there was a problem with the background animation on the main menu (it appeared to run at 2 FPS per second) but to be completely sure I checked a “Let’s Play” video thoroughly on YouTube to confirm that it was an intended effect.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Latte Dock v0.10~ | Floating Docks And Panels

          Latte Dock v0.10~ is the development version of Latte which is going to end next summer as v0.10… Until then of course you can still enjoy it by building it yourself from Phabricator KDE or by searching in your distro repos if it is already built daily.

        • Latest Latte Dock Development Release Adds Floating Panels

          One of my new year’s resolutions is to try and use KDE Plasma (as well as other non-GNOME Shell desktop environments) more often — and one of app I’m really excited to try when I do is Latte Dock.

          Latte Dock is a Qt/Qml dock app designed for the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It’s big on bling, egregious on eye candy, and terrific at app switching.

        • Latte Dock 0.10 Sees First Development Version For Release Next Summer

          Latte Dock, the dock designed for KDE Plasma desktops, is working on a v0.10 feature update due out next summer while out this weekend is the first development release.

          Latte Dock 0.10 comes with the ability to support floating docks and panels, which are docks/panels having a margin from the screen edge, rather than being immediately up against the screen edge without any gap.

        • Host Akademy 2020 in your City!

          Hosting an event is a big and significant way of contributing to Free Software. One of the biggest challenges in international distributed teams like KDE is communicating effectively with one another. Akademy, the yearly global conference of the KDE community, solves that by bringing the community together in one place, allowing us to share what we have been up to and have it reach its potential.

          By organising Akademy we are then turning one of our weak points into a strength. We get to work together like a local team does, while remaining flexible and geographically distributed for most of the rest of the year. It becomes therefore one of the best ways for Free Software to thrive in your area.

          [...]

          You can find the full description of what’s necessary in this simple-to -follow brochure. Reach out to the KDE e.V. Board and the Akademy team and put your thoughts in action.

    • Distributions

      • How Nitrux is Changing the Traditional Linux Scenario [Interview]

        You might have heard of Nitrux Linux. It was featured on It’s FOSS a couple of years ago.

        Many people took it as just another distribution that is based on Ubuntu with a little theme change. That is so wrong!

        In this interview with Nitrux founder Uri Herrera, you’ll learn why Nitrux is not just another Linux distribution and how it is adding new dimension to Linux scene with innovative tools like ZNX operating system manager, MAUI for quickly developing desktop and mobile apps and more.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Gentoo Family

        • Meet Calculate Linux 20!

          For this new (year) release, Gentoo 17.1 was used as the base profile, all binary packages recompiled with GCC 9.2, and overlays managed with eselect. Calculate Linux will no longer come in 32 bits.

          Are available for download: Calculate Linux Desktop featuring the KDE (CLD), Cinnamon (CLDC), LXQt (CLDL), Mate (CLDM) or else Xfce (CLDX and CLDXS) scientific, Calculate Directory Server (CDS), Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS) and Calculate Scratch Server (CSS).

        • Gentoo-Based Calculate Linux 20 Released To Ring In The New Year, Free Of 32-Bit Support

          One of the few still maintained Linux distributions derived from Gentoo is Calculate Linux, which saw a new release today in preparing for the new year.

          Calculate Linux 20 is based upon newer Gentoo sources, builds all packages now using GCC 9.2, has dropped 32-bit support, various Emerge and overlay changes, the xf86-video-modesetting driver is finally supported, MPV has replaced MPlayer as the media player, Xfce 4.14 is now available, Cronie replaced Vixie-cron for job scheduling, and a variety of other changes and improvements for this desktop-focused Gentoo-based distribution.

        • Calculate Linux 20 Now Available For Download

          Moreover, Version 20 of this desktop-focused distribution seems also perfect to mark the beginning of 2020. Based upon newer Gentoo sources, the latest version drops 32-bit support.

          Featuring a number of Emerge and overlay changes, Calculate Linux 20 also finally supports the xf86-video-modesetting driver. Other highlights include the availability of Xfce 4.14, MPV replacing MPlayer as the media player, and also Cronie replacing Vixie-cron for job scheduling.

        • Gentoo-Based Calculate Linux 20 Now Available For Download

          Calculate Linux 20, a Gentoo-based operating system, is ready to be installed on your computer. Calculate Linux 20 is based on Gentoo 17.1 and comes with several desktop environment choices, such as Cinnamon, KDE, Xfce, MATE, and more. Unfortunately for some users, the operating system is now 64-bit only. Yes, with version 20, the developers have chosen to kill the 32-bit variants. While some people will be upset, it is definitely the correct choice — 32-bit only processors are very old at this point. You can likely get a better 64-bit machine for a steal at a thrift store these days.

        • Gentoo-based Calculate Linux 20 now available for download

          With 2019 almost over, we turn our sights to a new decade with 2020. Soon we will celebrate the new year by partying, eating good food, and watching the Times Square Ball drop on TV. Sadly, Dick Clark is dead, but his legacy lives on through Ryan Seacrest.

          But what if you want to celebrate 2020 in a more… nerdier way? Well, I have some good news. Calculate Linux 20 is now available for download! Yes, the Gentoo-based operating system is ready to be installed on your computer. Since it is version 20, that makes it perfect for ringing in 2020.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2019/52

          The year 2019 is coming to an end and this is the final week of the year. As you are surely aware, in many regions people tend to stay away from computers during this period of the year and it is thus not surprising, that Tumbleweed has been rolling a bit slower. But actually: has it? During the last week, 2 snapshots (1221 and 1225) have been published to the users. But there were also snapshots tested and discarded (e.g. 1223 and 1224). Just because we have a snapshot does not mean we distribute it (in this case the issues were around libmozjs60 switching to be an i686 base library, but polkit being an i586 application linking this library). But anyway: let’s talk about the success of this week and what updates those two published snapshots brought the users in the end:

          KDE Frameworks 5.65.0
          QEmu 4.2.0
          PHP 7.4.1
          zsh 5.8 (pre2)

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan Dowland: Debian’s init system GR

          Debian is currently conducting a vote on a General Resolution entitled Init systems and systemd. I had a few brief thoughts about the circumstances around this that I wanted to share.

          I like systemd and I use it on all of my systems. That said, I have some concerns about it, in particular the way it’s gradually eating up so much other systems software. The opportunity for alternatives to exist and get feedback from interested users seems important to me as a check and balance and to avoid a monoculture. Such an environment should even help to ensure systemd remains a compelling piece of software. The question that this GR poses is really whether Debian should be a place where alternatives can exist. In answering that question I am reminded of the mantra of Extinction Rebellion. I appreciate that is about a far more important topic, but it still seems pertinent: If not us, who? If not now, when?

          What is Debian for, anyway? Once upon a time, from a certain perspective, it was all counter-cultural software. Should that change? Perhaps it already has. When I was more actively involved in the project, I watched some factions strive to compete with alternative distributions like Fedora. Fedora achieves a great deal, partly by having a narrow and well-defined focus. With the best will in the world, Debian can’t compete at that game. And why should it? If Fedora is what you want, then Fedora is right there, go use it!

        • Debian GR
          Starting results calculation at Sat Dec 28 00:00:29 2019
          
          Option 1 "F: Focus on systemd"
          Option 2 "B: Systemd but we support exploring alternatives"
          Option 3 "A: Support for multiple init systems is Important"
          Option 4 "D: Support non-systemd systems, without blocking progress"
          Option 5 "H: Support portability, without blocking progress"
          Option 6 "E: Support for multiple init systems is Required"
          Option 7 "G: Support portability and multiple implementations"
          Option 8 "Further Discussion"
          
          In the following table, tally[row x][col y] represents the votes that
          option x received over option y.
          
                            Option
                        1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8 
                      ===   ===   ===   ===   ===   ===   ===   === 
          Option 1          185   246   223   227   278   243   307 
          Option 2    207         243   211   216   286   240   299 
          Option 3    159   131         113   120   250   165   225 
          Option 4    192   177   235         137   309   261   281 
          Option 5    187   168   222   163         301   246   271 
          Option 6    116   104    88    53    51         121   173 
          Option 7    168   145   176    93    91   207         216 
          Option 8    110   111   166   114   124   214   168       
          
          
          
          Looking at row 2, column 1, B: Systemd but we support exploring alternatives
          received 207 votes over F: Focus on systemd
          
          Looking at row 1, column 2, F: Focus on systemd
          received 185 votes over B: Systemd but we support exploring alternatives.
          
          Option 1 Reached quorum: 307 > 45.224440295044
          Option 2 Reached quorum: 299 > 45.224440295044
          Option 3 Reached quorum: 225 > 45.224440295044
          Option 4 Reached quorum: 281 > 45.224440295044
          Option 5 Reached quorum: 271 > 45.224440295044
          Option 6 Reached quorum: 173 > 45.224440295044
          Option 7 Reached quorum: 216 > 45.224440295044
          
          
          Option 1 passes Majority.               2.791 (307/110) >= 1
          Option 2 passes Majority.               2.694 (299/111) >= 1
          Option 3 passes Majority.               1.355 (225/166) >= 1
          Option 4 passes Majority.               2.465 (281/114) >= 1
          Option 5 passes Majority.               2.185 (271/124) >= 1
          Dropping Option 6 because of Majority. (0.8084112149532710280373831775700934579439)  0.808 (173/214) < 1
          Option 7 passes Majority.               1.286 (216/168) >= 1
          
          
            Option 2 defeats Option 1 by ( 207 -  185) =   22 votes.
            Option 1 defeats Option 3 by ( 246 -  159) =   87 votes.
            Option 1 defeats Option 4 by ( 223 -  192) =   31 votes.
            Option 1 defeats Option 5 by ( 227 -  187) =   40 votes.
            Option 1 defeats Option 7 by ( 243 -  168) =   75 votes.
            Option 1 defeats Option 8 by ( 307 -  110) =  197 votes.
            Option 2 defeats Option 3 by ( 243 -  131) =  112 votes.
            Option 2 defeats Option 4 by ( 211 -  177) =   34 votes.
            Option 2 defeats Option 5 by ( 216 -  168) =   48 votes.
            Option 2 defeats Option 7 by ( 240 -  145) =   95 votes.
            Option 2 defeats Option 8 by ( 299 -  111) =  188 votes.
            Option 4 defeats Option 3 by ( 235 -  113) =  122 votes.
            Option 5 defeats Option 3 by ( 222 -  120) =  102 votes.
            Option 7 defeats Option 3 by ( 176 -  165) =   11 votes.
            Option 3 defeats Option 8 by ( 225 -  166) =   59 votes.
            Option 5 defeats Option 4 by ( 163 -  137) =   26 votes.
            Option 4 defeats Option 7 by ( 261 -   93) =  168 votes.
            Option 4 defeats Option 8 by ( 281 -  114) =  167 votes.
            Option 5 defeats Option 7 by ( 246 -   91) =  155 votes.
            Option 5 defeats Option 8 by ( 271 -  124) =  147 votes.
            Option 7 defeats Option 8 by ( 216 -  168) =   48 votes.
          
          
          The Schwartz Set contains:
          	 Option 2 "B: Systemd but we support exploring alternatives"
          
          
          
          -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
          -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
          
          The winners are:
          	 Option 2 "B: Systemd but we support exploring alternatives"
          
          -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
          -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
          
          
        • Debian Developers Decide On Init System Diversity: “Proposal B” Wins

          The Debian developer voting over init system diversity options has wrapped up and a decision has been made.

          In recent months there has been lots of differing views over how much Debian should care about systemd alternatives some five years after they decided to move to systemd in the first place. Many in the Debian camp support Debian-without-systemd as an option but not all developers and those fixing bugs care about bugs that don’t affect systemd, leading to this EOY2019 voting…

          Receiving the most votes was Proposal B, which is “Systemd but we support exploring alternatives.”

        • Music for Debian [by DPL Sam Hartman]

          December has been a difficult month for me and I think for Debian as a whole. It was strongly suggested to me that I (and Debian in general) needed more music. I’m reminded of the fun I had dancing with you all at DebConf. It’s been a while since I dug out my DJ kit. But Dec 25, I pulled it out and spent a couple of hours looking at some of the tracks that came out since I last DJed. And then I put together a mix. I had fun. Perhaps you’d like a little more music in your holiday. If so, I join you on the (virtual) dance floor.

        • Debian’s Excitement In The 2010s From Big Releases To Systemd Usage To Powering SteamOS

          As we enter 2020, Debian remains one of the oldest Linux distributions out there and over the 2010s continued advancing quite well for being volunteer-led and competing with the corporate heavyweights like Ubuntu, Red Hat, and SUSE. Debian in the 2010s found itself being used as the basis for Valve’s SteamOS, continuing to be integral to the success of Ubuntu, it ultimately decided to make use of systemd, there were various desktop changes, and multiple successful releases of Debian GNU/Linux to celebrate.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • This is why smart displays run Ubuntu Core

          First impressions count, and making sure your users can see and interact with your product in a seamless way, means selecting the right smart display technology. Read on to find out what hardware features are needed to make a reliable smart display, and why smart displays run Ubuntu Core.

        • List of Differences Between Pop! OS and Ubuntu

          Pop!_OS is a recent Linux distribution from system76, one of the hardware vendors that exclusively provides systems pre-installed and pre-configured with Linux. Based on Ubuntu, Pop!_OS provides all the good stuff that comes with Ubuntu, with some additional bells and whistles. Pop!_OS’s adaptation of Ubuntu sounds similar to Linux Mint, with few key differences. Linux Mint ships with its own desktop shell and is based on LTS releases of Ubuntu only while Pop!_OS has released new builds for every Ubuntu version so far.

          This article will list various differences between Pop!_OS and Ubuntu.

        • Linux Mint Monthly News – December 2019

          Before we move ahead and start working on Linux Mint 20 and LMDE 4, we’ll make a few adjustments and fix some of the things you expressed in your feedback.

          First, I noticed some of you regretted the removal of keyboard shortcuts in Cinnamon’s grouped window list. When we removed this feature, we assumed it wasn’t discoverable and so very few people were likely to use it. It looks like we were wrong, so we’ll bring this feature back.

          We finally managed to solve the 1px border bug which impacts full screen windows in Cinnamon, and we also have a fix for the screensaver lag. We’ll be pushing these fixes as package updates.

          The new version of the System Reports tool was very well received but the root password notice confused a huge number of people. I talked to some of our IRC moderators and it’s their number 1 complaint with the new release. We’ll review this and find a solution for it.

          There was a packaging issue with grub2-theme-mint and grub2-theme-mint-2k. These packages couldn’t be removed cleanly. This is fixed now.

          We’re chasing an issue with the clock format in Cinnamon. If you’re impacted, don’t hesitate to comment at https://github.com/linuxmint/cinnamon/issues/9042.

          In your feedback we noticed many issues with the system tray and the XappStatusIcon applet. Everything’s in place on our side for this to work smoothly and we can’t reproduce issues here. If you’re impacted by a tray problem, please report it at https://github.com/linuxmint/linuxmint/issues, tell us which desktop you’re using, what your panel layout is (i.e. which applets it contains), and the list of your installed packages (you can get this with “dpkg -l”).

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Most-read open source news stories of 2019

        A great deal happened in the world of open source in 2019. Once upon a time, you would have been hard-pressed to find news about Linux, free software, and open source software outside of a small handful of specialist publications. Today, though, news about open source is everywhere; the online edition of Forbes even has its own Linux columnist.

        We regularly round up many of the most interesting and topical news articles in fortnightly articles. Of those, we’ve compiled the top 10 most read (by you, our readers) stories we curated during 2019.

      • Web Browsers

        • 5 best Google Chrome alternatives on Linux

          Brave is an open-source, privacy-focused web browser for Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. It automatically blocks advertisements and trackers out of the box and replaces them with “Brave Ad Replacement,” a program that lets users directly contribute to their favorite websites.

          The Brave browser is the brain-child of former Firefox CEO Brendan Eich and Firefox CTO Brian Bondy. Under the hood, it uses Chromium, ensuring that users get privacy as well as access to their favorite Google services, and extensions. If you’re a privacy geek, ditch Chrome and check out Brave!

        • Chromium

          • Google Chrome on Linux reportedly freezing after version 79 update

            Google Chrome has a four layered mechanism for rolling out the updates. And, they only release overhauls to the public users after bringing them to other three channels (beta, dev, and canary). Nonetheless, things may go out of hands sometimes.

            Failure to load HTTPS sites on macOS, breaking hovering over variables in Chrome DevTools, crashing on Linux with ESET NOD32 installed, and disrupting revamped profile/people menu are a few that we came across this month.

          • Chrome 79 is causing problems for Linux users

            PiunikaWeb spotted the growing number of complaints about Chrome 79 on Linux. Users are being very specific in saying that the freezing issue has only been occurring on Linux devices since version 79 was rolled out.

            One post on Google’s support forums indicated serious freezing problems with Chrome 79 on Linux. The original poster said the browser even freezes when they are typing text. The browser also sometimes freezes when they are scrolling through a page or when a page loads or a new tab is opened.

            YouTube videos also freeze on the browser. The person said the freezing can last 10 to 20 seconds. Switching tabs in the browser enables them to avoid freezing, and then the page works for a while before it freezes again.

            One person responded to say they were experiencing issues with Chrome 79 on Linux Mint 19.2. There’s even a full thread about issues with the browser on Linux Mint on the Linux Mint forums here. Additionally, Mint isn’t the only Linux distribution being affected. Another person said they were having the same problems on Ubuntu running in VirtualBox.

        • Mozilla

          • This Week in Rust 318

            Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn’t know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.3.4 packages for Slackware-current

          After a recent upgrade of the ‘boost’ package in slackware-current my LibreOffice package was in need of a refresh.
          I do of course offer a ‘boost-compat‘ package in my own repository to prevent breakage of the 3rd-part applications that have a boost dependency, but a newer release of LibreOffice was available anyway.
          So I compiled LibreOffice 6.3.4 for Slackware -current and uploaded these packages to my repository.

          [...]

          If you run Slackware-current but do not have KDE5 packages installed at all, don’t worry. LibreOffice will work great – the KDE integration package just will not add anything useful for you. On the other hand, if you have Plasma5 installed you will benefit from native file selection dialog windows and other integration features. And even if you do not have Plasma5 but you do have Qt5 installed, then you will be able to run LibreOffice with Qt5 User Interface elements instead of defaulting to GTK3.

        • CODE 4.2.0 Released with fresh User Interface

          This major update of Collabora Online Development Edition (CODE) comes with a rich new user interface and is built onto of the stability and performance of our LTS version of LibreOffice: Collabora Office 6.2. It includes many improvements in functionality and user-friendliness. The most obvious new feature is the powerful sidebar on the right. Many settings for text and all kind of properties of objects in the documents can be easily updated here. The sidebar makes it much easier to change tables, colour settings and charts elements in the browser, with close to the same feature richness that is available in Collabora Office on the desktop. The status bar has been redesigned and our powerful function wizard is now available in Calc online. Copy and paste of rich text and content is added for online, and our responsive user interface adapts nicely to mobile phones and tablets.

          [...]

          CODE is the Collabora Online Development Edition. It contains the latest developments and is perfect for home users that want to start to run their own online office suite. It enables them to regain control of their own online documents and host them themselves in their own controlled and private environment. For them and also for tech-enthusiast, it is a low-threshold way to get involved and familiar with our online office solution. CODE gives the possibility to be the first to use new features. It will be improved continuously and our next enterprise Collabora Online product will be built from it. Note that we recommend our supported and maintained enterprise release: Collabora Online for business and production environments. CODE warns users that they might want support after 10 concurrent documents or 20 concurrent users. Find out how about the different ways to install CODE on our product page.

      • BSD

        • OpenBSD perl 5.30.1 – Call for Testing

          Fairly sure perl 5.30.1 is as ready for import as I can get it without other folks trying it out, so I’d like some additional testing on some of the architectures I don’t have and a bulk ports build to see what sort of fallout happens there. I have been running 5.30 on my main testing machine for several months now and things have been working well.

      • FSF

        • GNU Maintainers Seeking Greater Transparency, Clear Procedures From The FSF

          Ludovic Courtès, Andy Wingo, Carlos O’Donell, Andreas Enge and Mark Wielaard penned a set of proposals to the Free Software Foundation and other GNUers for discussion. They are proposing for the GNU maintainers as a whole to represent the leadership of the GNU, the FSF should be supportive of GNU maintainer requests, and to have established steps for how GNU maintainers can request domain/server resources and other clear processes. They also seek the Free Software Foundation to continue overseeing the finances/donations of the GNU and to have a clear trademark policy guideline for the GNU.

        • Bringing the free software vision to 2020

          2019 has been an eye-opening, transformative year for free software and the Free Software Foundation (FSF), bringing some major changes both internally and in the world around us. As we navigate these changes, we are guided by the FSF’s founding vision — the four freedoms that define free software, and our mission to make all software be compatible with human freedom. It must be honest, transparent, and shareable, and it must truly work in service of its users.

          For the last sixteen years, I have been steeped in these principles, and along with so many of you, have absorbed them into my heart and soul. Thank you for being a member of this community, for your advocacy and code and commitment. It is your support that has put us in a position to be able to face new challenges, and to continue evolving into an organization that can last for as long as the work still needs to be done.

          Over the last month and a half, we’ve been sharing highlights of the work our campaigns, licensing, tech, and operations team have done in 2019. We don’t have a full-time position dedicated to fundraising, so you’ve heard these details directly from the people doing the work. I’m proud of what our teams have accomplished this year with your support: huge steps forward for the Respects Your Freedom product certification program, significant updates to the infrastructure we provide for thousands of free software developers and users worldwide, an impactful International Day Against Digital Restrictions Management, a successful pilot program to teach public school students about free software, and of course our new ShoeTool video. Our intense focus on program work earned us another 4-star top rating from Charity Navigator.

        • GNU Projects

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Noncommercial Doesn’t Compose (and it never will)

            It’s sad to see history repeat itself, but that’s what history does, and it seems like we’re in an awfully echo’y period of time. Given the volume of submissions in favor of some sort of noncommercial style license, I feel I must weigh in on the issue in general. Most of my thoughts on this developed when I worked at Creative Commons (which famously includes a “noncommercial” clause that can be mixed into a few licenses), and it took me a while to sort out why there was so much conflict and unhappiness over that clause. What was clear was that Non-Commercial and No-Derivatives were both not considered “free culture” licenses, and I was told this was drawn from the lessons of the free software world, but here we are hashing it out again so anyway…

            (I’m not suggesting this is a CC position; Creative Commons hasn’t to my knowledge taken an official stance on whether NonCommercial is right, and not everyone internally agreed, and also I don’t work there anymore anyhow.)

            I thank Rob Myers for a lot of clarity here, who used to joke that NC (the shorthand name for Non-Commercial) really stood for “No Community”. I think that’s true, but I’ll argue that even more so it stands for “No Composition”, which is just as much or more of a threat, as I hope to explain below.

            As a side note, I am of course highly empathetic to the motivations of trying to insert a noncommercial clause; I’ve worn many hats, and funding the software I’ve worked on has by far been the hardest. At first glance, an NC approach appears to be a way to solve the problem. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work.

      • Programming/Development

        • Joey Hess: 2020 hindsight

          Ten years ago, I’d been in an increasingly stale job for several years too long. I was tired of living in the city, and had a yurt as a weekend relief valve. I had the feeling a big change was coming.

          Four months on and I quit my job, despite the ongoing financial crisis making prospects poor for other employment, especially work on free software.

          I tried to start a business, Branchable, with liw, based on my earlier ikiwiki project, but it never really took off. However, I’m proud it’s still serving the users it did find, 10 years later.

          Then, through luck and connections, I found a patch of land in a blank spot in the map with the most absurd rent ever ($5/acre/month). It had a house on it, no running water, barely solar power, a phone line, no cell service or internet, total privacy.

          This proved very inspiring. Once again I was hauling water, chopping wood, poking at web pages on the other end of a dialup modem. Just like it was 2000 again. Now I was also hacking by lantern-light until the ancient batteries got so depleted I could hear the voltage regulator crackle with every surge of CPU activity.

        • Introduction to the Unicode Collation Algorithm

          Programmers love to sort things. We discuss sorting algorithms, big-O notation, when sorting pointers or values is better, parallelism, whether being able to discuss sorting algorithms and big-O notation makes you a better programmer or not… but today, I’m going to be talking about the comparison function. Usually, we sort of take it for granted, even when sorting strings, but for anything but the most trivial examples, the standard memcmp()-like algorithm (lexical comparison of bytes) will produce undesired results. What we need is the Unicode Collation Algorithm, or UCA.

          A word of warning first: Superficial knowledge of Unicode and collations gives a high risk of being a loud and boring person who wants to flaunt their own superficial knowledge of Unicode and collation. Don’t be that guy.

          With that out of the way… Let’s discuss first a bit what we want. We want a universal and consistent way of comparing strings that match what users intuitively expect. (Note that comparison includes both “is before” and “is equal”.) Of course, different users expect different things, so we must also be able to parametrize the algorithm (so-called tailoring), but I won’t be talking much about it.

          Just comparing Unicode code points (which, for UTF-8 is exactly the same thing as comparing bytes) will inevitably end up in disaster. For instance, most users will accept that “René” should sort before “Renoir”, but é is U+0072 and o is U+006F, so you’d get the opposite order. Similarly, even in a case-sensitive collation, where “linux” and “Linux” are unequal, they should probably sort together (ie., they should not be split by “Windows”, even though W is between l and L). (Don’t think about hacks like NFD normalization, removing accents or folding case before sorting, because you’re not likely to be getting it right. Stick with the UCA.)

        • Google’s IREE To Demonstrate Machine Learning Via Vulkan With MLIR

          One of the new open-source compiler IR advancements of 2019 has been the Google/Tensorflow MLIR as the Multi-Level Intermediate Representation designed for machine learning models/frameworks. With Google’s “IREE” project, MLIR can be accelerated by Vulkan and thus allowing machine learning via this high-performance graphics/compute API.

          MLIR is becoming an LLVM sub-project and has growing industry support for this machine learning IR. Google’s IREE is an experimental execution environment for MLIR to make use of modern hardware acceleration APIs. In other words, getting MLIR running on the likes of Vulkan and other hardware abstraction layers. IREE also has a CPU interpreter too for running on traditional x86/ARM CPUs.

        • Playing around with XOR (my fav operation) during the holidays
        • Python

        • Russia

          • Coding from Russia’s countryside: A group of Moscow programmers has launched a crowdfunded project to bring metropolitan expertise to remote towns

            Several times a year, “Kruzhok” programmers from Moscow visit towns and villages to hold free coding workshops for local teenagers. Before finishing these lessons, students create websites where they share videos and photographs of their hometowns, describing life in Russia’s countryside. As it’s grown more popular, the Kruzhok project has also become more diverse. It’s not just programmers going into towns anymore; there are now musicians, architects, journalists, and astronomers. Meduza explains how professionals sick of the “Moscow bubble” are using their fatigue to fuel an effort to help young people in Russia’s remote regions. 

  • Leftovers

    • Kurt Vonnegut: Anarchist and Social Critic

      After my early enthusiasm about the writer Kurt Vonnegut, I became skeptical. Was he a phony? After I met him, his lifestyle in his sumptuous Manhattan East Side town house bothered me and seemed to belie his satires of that same life. Even the adoration for him in Europe at the time sharpened my suspicions that he was perhaps not what he seemed to be. Despite my admiration for him the writer, the satirist, the anarchist, still for some time after our two meetings in the middle 1980s, I wondered if his claim that he belonged to the establishment because he was rich was not jaded. I wondered too about his “positive nihilist” role. What did that mean? It took me time to make full circle and again see him for what he was. What in the end endeared Kurt Vonnegut to me was his unwavering attack on the “American way of life”.

    • ‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Composer Jerry Herman Dies at 88

      Tony Award-winning composer Jerry Herman, who wrote the cheerful, good-natured music and lyrics for such classic shows as “Mame,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “La Cage aux Folles,” died Thursday. He was 88.

    • Don Imus, Made and Betrayed by his Mouth, Dead at 79

      Disc jockey Don Imus, whose career was made and then undone by his acid tongue during a decades-long rise to radio stardom and an abrupt public plunge after a nationally broadcast racial slur, has died. He was 79.

    • ‘I’ve moved onto another level of self-perception’ We talked to Andrei Petrov, the first gay rapper ever to create a hit music video in Russian

      On December 19, the 23-year-old Moscow video blogger Andrei Petrov dropped the music video for his very first hip-hop track. In many ways, it’s a typical rap debut: A pulsing beat barrels forward as a Rolls-Royce surrounded by people in tracksuits appears on-screen, and shots of exclusive Moscow neighborhoods and fashionable hotel rooms follow. While the video’s scenery is not altogether unique within the Russian hip-hop world, its circumstances are: Petrov is openly gay. He wears heavy makeup and long, glittering nails; his performances forgo the genre’s traditional exercises in machismo for lines like “I’m smoking a big, fat dick — this is no joint.” Petrov’s YouTube channel, where he typically posts makeup and lifestyle videos, already boasts almost a million subscribers.

    • Enough Absurdity: Time To Get Smart

      There are places and seasons in which the old quip about how, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few hours, is good advice.

    • Greatness Comes to Those Who Want It

      We know there are always; at the very least three sides to every object. Our world can be seen as an object and we must understand, we live in a multi-dimensional world. Our conversations however sometimes seem to lack this understanding as we push one point of view or another forward to promote a certain position or, you might say, perspective. We move from the beauty of a world of infinite perspectives to the stark and barren land of a binary world. We trade the awesome wonder of our true multi-dimensional nature for a mutilated and therefore a false image of the world.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by SUSE (dia, kernel, and libgcrypt).

          • Reports of patients’ deaths linked to heart devices lurk below radar

            The Food and Drug Administration continues to file thousands of reports of patients’ deaths related to medical devices through a reporting system that keeps the safety data out of the public eye.

            The system is similar to a vast program exposed earlier this year by KHN that kept device-injury reports effectively hidden within the agency. The FDA shuttered the program after the article about it was published and released millions of records.

          • Ransomware Attackers May Lurk for Months, FBI Warns

            The FBI flash alert confirms what ransomware experts have been telling me for the past couple of years: That a crypto-locking malware infection is often just the final, very noisy end stage of an attack that may have already persisted for weeks or months.

          • Beware the three-finger-salute, or ‘How I Got The Keys To The Kingdom’

            He discovered that none of the services were running on the Linux server because whatever fool had set the thing up had configured the running state to be different to what was the default following a restart. “Changing the run state was therefore a quick fix to get everything to work again,” he recalled happily.

            The cause of the failure was a mystery. Hans checked in with The Boss and discovered that a user in a remote location had complained that he was unable to log in to the terminal server. Since Hans was out, The Boss (in a most unboss-like fit of business ownery helpfulness) decided to check out the machine in question. It all looked fine, but right after he checked the “Internet and Email had a problem as well…”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Fighting Back Against Face Surveillance in the Skies: 2019 Year in Review

              While cities and municipalities made clear strides to limit the use of face surveillance technology throughout 2019, airlines and government agencies tasked with identifying travelers have spent much of the year trying to expand its use. But while the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), along with several different airlines, did launch or conclude pilot programs that tested the waters of face recognition technology on travelers this year, they also saw significant push back—and in some cases, retreated. 

              Just this month, officials at Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport halted a planned implementation of face recognition by Delta, voting unanimously to pause the use of face recognition until the Port of Seattle Commission, which manages the airport, can create policies to protect traveler privacy.  Delta had planned to implement face recognition at the terminal by year’s end. This is the first time an airport has taken action against face recognition, but it likely won’t be the last. The Commission’s president, Stephanie Bowman stated, “We feel that our community expects more than to have this kind of technology rolled out without any public discussion or input.” Every airport official in the country—and every government official—should agree.

            • Amazon and Ring Hit With Lawsuit After Camera Hacks Confirm Worst Fears of Privacy Advocates

              “These devices are not safe,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future.

            • What do you get if you put DNA and facial recognition together? Today, it’s China; tomorrow, maybe everywhere else

              Two themes crop up again and again on this blog: facial recognition and DNA sequencing. Both technologies on their own are powerful, and steadily becoming greater threats to privacy. So what happens when they are put together? A story in the New York Times means we don’t have to guess, because China is already doing it:

            • What You Can Help Tor Accomplish in 2020

              For Tor, 2020 will be all about scaling. We will continue to scale our organization; our sources of income; and of course, the Tor network, its accessibility, and its reachability. This looks like working to: [...]

            • Fed up with Big Tech

              I’ve also set out to use “small tech” to find my place in the Fediverse. I’ve set up a tiny cluster of Raspberry Pi’s (the Raspberry Pi 4 is surprisingly beefy) and am now learning to move stuff away from Big Tech to my own Small Tech world. I want to really own my stuff, in terms of hardware, software, and data. It’s a journey, though, because, for instance, getting Mastodon on a Raspberry Pi proved to be difficult and it remains a work in progress. My first success was setting up a Gitea server (on a Raspberry Pi 4 of course) so I can move away from GitHub (which is owned by Microsoft). There’s still lots of creases to be ironed out, for instance, how can I make sure my data is safe when my Pi or its SSD drive fails?

            • Foreign Police Want to Bypass Privacy Laws—and Courts—to Get Data from Abroad: Year in Review 2019

              The global nature of the Internet means that police agencies all around the world facing challenges investigating crime when the data is stored in other countries. The pressure to make this process easier is mounting. To many governments, that means stripping away legal protections for privacy. Soon, police in other countries could get their hands on data from abroad based on an international agreement or other legal initiative. Under new cross-border authorities, police elsewhere can obtain evidence to investigate things that might not even be a crime in your country—and their demands for data might not be reviewed by a judge, or by anyone from your own government. (In the U.S., foreign agencies can’t use the new CLOUD Act methods to get access to data of Americans, and companies are supposed to actively remove Americans’ data from their responses, but proposals elsewhere mostly don’t have an analogous restriction.)

              This year EFF and our colleagues have been fighting over access mechanisms like the CLOUD Act in the United States, the US-UK CLOUD Act Agreement, the upcoming US-Australia CLOUD Act Agreement, proposals for a US-EU agreement, the European e-evidence proposal, and cross-border data exchange systems proposed in amendments to the Council of Europe’s Budapest Convention (which we commented on in February and November). Some of these are bilateral deals involving just two countries, but others—especially the European and Budapest Convention mechanisms—could potentially involve dozens of countries, rapidly ushering in legal changes that allow officials in any one of them to get personal information from companies in any other.

            • CCPA: Everything you need to know about California’s new privacy law

              The most sweeping data-privacy law in the country kicks in Jan. 1. The CCPA, short for the California Consumer Privacy Act, gives residents of the Golden State the right to learn what data companies collect about them. It also lets Californians ask companies to delete their data and not to sell it.

              The full impact of these new rights isn’t entirely clear because the regulations used to enforce the law are still being finalized. Still, companies inside and outside California are already scrambling to become compliant so that they can continue to do business in the country’s most populous state.

              Nearly two years in the making, CCPA has prompted other states to consider their own privacy laws, some of which have already passed. The law is often compared to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, currently the benchmark for online privacy.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Space Warriors: Democrats Give Trump His Space Force for Xmas

        President Trump last week signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020 that establishes a U.S. Space Force as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces—despite the Outer Space Treaty designating space as a global commons to be used for peaceful purposes.

      • Conspiracy U A former KGB instructor is winning over students with pseudoscience lectures and FSB internships

        This winter term, two-thirds of the students at the MIREA Russian Technological University — one of Russia’s biggest technological schools — will be tested in “psy-effects,” “combat memes,” and the doctrine of “hybrid warfare.” The first rumors about these bizarre exams came from the students’ relatives, but the university has now verified the reports. Meduza’s Liliya Yapporova learned that Vitaly Grigorev, a military veteran and former instructor at the KGB Higher School, is forcing his “national systems of information security” students to learn about these strange concepts, as well as a few popular conspiracy theories, like “Dulles’s Plan” (which claims that former CIA chief Allen Dulles plotted to destroy the USSR by corrupting its “cultural heritage” and “moral values”).

      • 12 Killed, Dozens Hurt After Jetliner Crashes in Kazakhstan

        A jetliner with 98 people aboard struggled to get airborne and crashed shortly after takeoff Friday in Kazakhstan, killing at least 12 people, authorities said.

      • MMA fighter Alexander Emelyanenko accepts invitation to fight Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov

        Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the government of Chechnya, challenged the successful mixed martial arts fighter Alexander Emelyanenko to a fight on December 22. Kadyrov said, “In the sports world, this has become a kind of trend: Anyone who’s not too lazy challenges Alexander Emelyanenko to a fight.”

      • A man living in Siberia said officers planted drugs on him and forced him to confess. A week later, he was found with his head cut off.

        The 25-year-old Omsk resident played drums in a rock band and worked installing smart home systems as a manager for a local IT company. He was preparing to marry his fiancée, Lyudmila Troitskaya, in early January of 2020: The two lived together and had been dating for seven years.

      • Top Syrian Official Says US Has ‘Absolutely No Right’ to Occupy or Plunder Nation’s Oil Fields

        “He’s talking about stealing it,” Bouthaina Shaaban said of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has kept troops in Syria to guard that country’s oil fields.

      • The Khashoggi Verdict Is Exactly What Impunity Looks Like. It Must Be Denounced.

        Impunity for the killing of a journalist commonly reveals underlying political repression, corruption, abuse of power, propaganda and even international complicity. All are present here.

      • Lennon in Havana

        The anniversary of John Lennon’s death (December 8) was marked in Cuba. Criticism followed on social media: Cuba repressed Beatles music forcing kids under the covers. Abel Prieto and Guille Vilar, youth in Cuba at the time, say it’s not true. [1] But that’s not the point.

      • OPCW-DOUMA – Release Part 4

        Today WikiLeaks releases more internal documents from the OPCW regarding the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.

        One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW.

        [...]

        The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident.

        Another document released today is minutes from a meeting on 6 June 2018 where four staff members of the OPCW had discussions with “three Toxicologists/Clinical pharmacologists, one bioanalytical and toxicological chemist” (all specialists in chemical weapons, according to the minutes).

    • Environment

      • Typhoon Devastates Philippines With at Least 20 Dead on Christmas Day

        Flooded villages and widespread power outages after powerful storm hits island nation on holiday.

      • The Key to Solving the Climate Crisis Is Beneath Our Feet

        The bottom line is that saving the planet from environmental destruction is not only achievable, but that by focusing on regenerative agriculture and tapping up the central bank for funding, the climate crisis can be addressed without raising taxes and while restoring our collective health.

      • ‘Victory for Our Oceans’: US Court Upholds Ruling on Vast Marine Monument Established by Obama

        “This decision upholds protections for one of the most fragile and scientifically important areas in the North Atlantic from destructive activities like oil drilling and industrial fishing.”

      • Fossil fuel and chemical magnates top Forbes list of ‘most successful’ Russian billionaires this decade amid climate and ecological crisis

        The Russian edition of Forbes has compiled a list of the “most successful” Russian billionaires of the decade, ranking the oligarchs and entrepreneurs whose net worth increased most during the 2010s.

      • Deep Green Declaration

        Produced by a collective of Green Party members including Linda Cree, Steve Welzer, Greg Gerritt, Margaret Human, Bruce Hinkforth, John Rensenbrink, and Sid Smith.

      • COP25: Never Have so Many Governments Done So Little for So Many

        It’s said that it is better to laugh than cry. But what do we do when a situation has become so beyond parody that laughter is impossible?

      • Denouncing Corporate Climate Profiteers, Comedy Icon Lily Tomlin Arrested at #FireDrillFriday Protest in DC

        This week’s civil disobedience organized by Jane Fonda came as youth activists took to streets worldwide for the final #FridaysForFuture protests of the year.

      • Big City, Small Farmers, and a Dying River

        So, it’s not just science ringing alarm bells about climate change then. India’s literary epics had it nailed down ages ago, asserts 75-year-old Delhi farmer Shiv Shankar. He believes he is paraphrasing lines from the 16th century classic Ramcharitamanas (see video). Shankar may be a bit rusty in his reading of the classics, and you might find it difficult to locate those lines in the original Tulsidas poem. But the words of this farmer in the floodplains of the Yamuna river seem well suited to our own era.

      • Why We Can’t Just #PlantATree

        If you scroll through Instagram, you will see them: smiling 20-somethings with dirt under their fingernails and a freshly nestled seedling below them. #PlantATree. The idea has been trending recently, not least of all because of the fires in the Amazon. And in many ways, this is a good thing.

      • The Military and Climate Change/Justice

        The world situation is much worse than generally acknowledged. This last December, the coinciding meetings of NATO and of the climate change Congress of Parties (COP25) were barely reported, much less analyzed, even though the delegates held the fate of humanity in their hands. To some degree, their unelected delegates are not accountable to the public. NATO provides anonymity and shields member states from legal and political accountability. NATO does not reveal which member state participated in a military operation. [1] To judge by the results, delegates in both organizations chose to ignore both science and the human situation.

      • Energy

        • Fossil Fuel Knocks the Wind Out of Renewable Energy Movement in Ohio

          With no shortage of wide-open land, Ohio is ripe for a transition to renewable energy, but instead the state has become a hotbed for corporate-driven attacks on wind energy. As a result of increasingly restrictive laws on renewables, the state was recently ranked second to last among U.S. states in its renewable energy generation, with only 2.3 percent of its energy generated through renewable sources.

        • How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled

          In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, while stranded New Orleanians flagged down helicopters from rooftops and hospitals desperately triaged patients, crude oil silently gushed from damaged drilling rigs and storage tanks.

          Given the human misery set into motion by Katrina, the harm these spills caused to the environment drew little attention. But it was substantial.

        • A Look Back at Some of DeSmog’s Major Investigations of 2019

          Earlier this year a DeSmog investigation including public records requests revealed that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection failed to disclose new evidence of toxic pollutants at the site of a planned gas compressor station in Weymouth, Mass. DeSmog found that DEP had received air quality sample test results from a Rhode Island lab that indicated elevated levels of toxins and possible carcinogens, including several compounds that were not included in a previous air sampling test done by a private lab. The Rhode Island lab results were excluded from a health impact assessment (concluding exposure to the compressor station would have little impact on human health), and the assessment paved the way for DEP to issue an air quality permit for the proposed compressor station.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

    • Finance

      • California Gave Billions in Taxpayer Dollars to Improve Jails. But That’s Not How These Sheriffs Are Spending It.

        Two summers ago, the board of supervisors in Contra Costa County, California, faced a packed meeting room. On the agenda was a proposal to divert $1.5 million in state taxpayer money intended to ease jail overcrowding to other priorities of the local sheriff’s office.

        Without the funds, Assistant Sheriff Matthew Schuler said, street patrols across the county would be sacrificed. “That loss would be drastic,” he told the board.

      • Greedy Old Plutocrats

        In his book Totem and Taboo, Sigmund Freud indulged in a speculative scenario for the origins of society. Everyone, young and old alike, once lived together in a “primal horde”– ruled by an aging, domineering father-figure, who selfishly monopolized the women for his own satisfaction. But one day (so to speak), the deprived “sons” defiantly rose up, challenged his control–and slew him. In the aftermath, separate nuclear families now became possible, along with the sanctions and taboos which would facilitate orderly social relations.

      • On Those Questionable US Wage Stats…Again

        In recent months, various independent business and research sources have been raising questions about the accuracy of US official job and wage statistics. Several more sources have joined the discussion, questioning the oft-cited official—and widespread mainstream press reported–3.1% annual rise in US wages the past year. As many have indicated, the 3.1% grossly over-estimates recent wage increases in the US for several important reasons.

      • World’s 500 Richest People Gained $1.2 Trillion in Wealth in 2019: Analysis

        “In the U.S., the richest 0.1% control a bigger share of the pie than at any time since 1929.”

      • World’s 500 Richest People Gained $1.2 Trillion in Wealth in 2019

        The 500 richest people in the world, all of whom are billionaires, gained a combined $1.2 trillion in wealth in 2019, further exacerbating inequities that have not been seen since the late 1920s.

      • The Right to a Good Night’s Sleep

        I barely slept during the full two years I was homeless.

      • 5 Ways to Stop Corporations From Ruining the Future of Work

        Why we need to assert our roles as workers and members of a democratic society to ensure that new technologies benefit all of us.

      • American Cities Are Becoming Shell Companies for the Rich

        America’s cities are being bought up, bit by bit, by anonymous shell companies using piles of cash. Modest single-family homes, owned for generations by families, now are held by corporate vehicles with names that appear to be little more than jumbles of letters and punctuation – such as SC-TUSCA LLC, CNS1975 LLC – registered to law offices and post office boxes miles away. New glittering towers filled with owned but empty condos look down over our cities, as residents below struggle to find any available housing.

      • Can a New Counterculture Be the Elixir to Late Capitalism?

        Though I was born about 30 years too late to have been a Flower Child, the Hippie era always loomed large in my life. Much of my family identified as Hippies (or Hippie-adjacent), and spoke lovingly of the Flower Power days. Unusually, my grandparents, born in the 1920s, were fairly bohemian in their inclinations, and thus enamored of the counterculture generation that assimilated their children. My grandmother — a fervent atheist more libertine than most Millennials — bemoaned the evangelical direction of the country during the Bush years. “In the ’60s, we never thought people would still be religious by the year 2000,” she lamented in 2004, just after Bush’s reelection. “We thought we’d all get more enlightened.” As a young progressive coming into his political conscience during Bush, her statement was as heartbreaking as it was unfathomable.

      • As Cities Subsidize Billions for Developers, Teachers Ask, “What About Us?”

        When Hilario Dominguez looks around his school, he sees dilapidated bathrooms, students taking recess in the parking lot, and sick kids going through the day without care because there’s a nurse on staff just one day a week. But, beyond the school’s walls, Dominguez, a case manager and special education teacher at Peter Cooper Elementary Dual Language Academy, sees money flowing.

      • NYTimes Predicted San Francisco Would ‘Drown In Millionaires’ Post IPO Boom; Now Whines That It Never Happened

        Back in March, NY Times reporter Nellie Bowles had quite a story, announcing that When Uber and Airbnb Go Public, San Francisco Will Drown In Millionaires. Nearly all of the article was quotes from various third party service providers — real estate, financial planners, party planners — excitedly planning to cash in, but the overall tone of the article was basically one big “Man, San Francisco is sure going to be totally overrun by obnoxious insanely rich tech bros.” When that article came out, I think I heard about it from just about everyone I knew. People both here in the Bay Area and elsewhere were all commenting on it — in many cases worried what it would do to where we all live.

      • Shirish Agarwal: Indian Economy, NPR, NRC and Crowd Control – Part 1

        I dunno whether this would be a short or a long post but as the NPR, NRC seem to be deeply linked to how the Indian Economy is at the moment, I would say that the energy and the political capital the Government is putting into wrong things . Why I say that, I will attempt to use studies, data and newspaper reports to share what the issues are and where the Government should have been looking at and instead where it is using its energy and why it’s wrong.

        [...]

        Now the sad and interesting part of that graph as shown above is that entrepreneurs, business houses etc. would be paying more to service debt rather than making profit. So, in essence, if an entrepreneur decided not to do any businesss today, he would be much better off than taking efforts, taking all the risks and still spend money out of his pocket to service debt instead of making profits. Of course the transmission of why lower interests given to banks are not reaching to the businessman have been more than effectively shared by the working paper so will not go into that. I have to commend Dr. Arvind and Mr. Josh for making the paper so simple so reading it even once or twice is enough to grasp the issues which threaten the Indian economy, this is when I have read and have been reading such papers about the Indian and International markets in my spare time.

        There is another part however which hasn’t been really answered as the point being made in the working paper is that private banks are better than public sectors banks at either risk management or other things but there is no evidence shared which bears that out. One could argue, in fact the opposite. Private banking is much more opaque and there has been no discussion on how such banks are supposed to fill the needs of the millions of the customers and potential customers. The social welfare of banking that Public banking fulfills, how Private banking is supposed to do that is not told. India is still a very much an under-banked market. While Dr. Arvind and Mr. Josh have shared a bit about direct benefit transfers, they haven’t talked anything about the needs of the MSME sector or even how DBT would work in real life. As have been in Airtel Payment banks and others, most private banks have at one time or the other violated rules and norms. I am not going to get into great lengths but there are possibly about a dozen or two-dozen well-known scandals with private banks where people have lost money. The Great 2008 financial crash itself was made by private individuals, companies who were doing risky products and even after the crash, riskier derivative financial products seem to thrive in the American market. As far as regulatory bodies in India, such as the banking ombudsman or RBI is concerned, they seem to behave very similarly to SEBI and other regulatory bodies which doesn’t bode well for the Indian economy.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Retweets Article Outing Name of Alleged Ukraine Whistleblower

        Legal experts have said outing a whistleblower is likely a federal crime.

      • Trump Retweets Article Outing Name of Alleged Ukraine Whistleblower

        President Donald Trump late Thursday retweeted an article that names the alleged whistleblower who came forward to sound the alarm about president’s conduct toward Ukraine, which ultimately led to his impeachment by the House of Representatives.

      • Here Are the Corporate Elites Hosting Biden’s Manhattan Fundraisers

        The president of an investment bank that collapsed from selling junk bonds. A shadow lobbyist at private equity giant Blackstone. A law partner who defended a Saudi Arabian banker against criminal charges. A lawyer who represents bankers accused of securities fraud. A financial executive who inspired the character Gordon Gekko, a personification of limitless greed.

      • Boris Johnson, the Moral Runaway

        In CounterPunch in July 2016 I noted that the then British foreign minister, Boris Johnson, “is a twofaced, devious, posturing piece of slime who can’t be trusted to tell the time of day” who began his career as a journalist and was sacked by The Times newspaper for fabricating a quotation to back up a story. Then in 2004 he told an outrageous lie concerning his sex life.  He has the morals of a downmarket alley cat, and had denied reports that “the mother of his alleged mistress, Petronella Wyatt, said her daughter had become pregnant by him and had an abortion . . .  Johnson, who is married with four children [but now separated from his wife and living in the Prime Minister’s residence with another woman, with whom he is currently holidaying in the Caribbean], had categorically dismissed the allegations . . . as an ‘inverted pyramid of piffle’ — and, crucially, had assured Tory Party leader Michael Howard they were untrue.”  But they were true, and when he could no longer deny the truth he had to resign, but carried on up the political ladder, in spite of his glaring moral defects.

      • The UK Election: a Postmortem

        The various statistical analyses of the UK general election result have been coming in, and they allow some interesting and perhaps important observations to be made.

      • Bernie Sanders Faces the Democratic Establishment’s Wrath

        A central premise of conventional media wisdom has collapsed. On Thursday, both the New York Times and Politico published major articles reporting that Bernie Sanders really could win the Democratic presidential nomination. Such acknowledgments will add to the momentum of the Bernie 2020 campaign as the new year begins—but they foreshadow a massive escalation of anti-Sanders misinformation and invective.

      • Backstory on a Billionaire: Mayor Pete’s Favorite Wine-Maker Hasn’t Been a Good Napa Neighbor

        When wealthy Californians pay $2,800 to meet a presidential candidate, they expect to be wined and dined.

      • The Articles of Impeachment Should Have These Instead

        Donald Trump deserved to be impeached. He deserves to be convicted in the Senate.

      • Amy McGrath Files to Challenge McConnell in Senate Race

        Calling her party’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race a jolt of momentum for her own bid to unseat a Republican incumbent, Democrat Amy McGrath on Friday officially filed to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in what looms as a bruising, big-spending campaign next year.

      • Spotify Political Ads Will Be Paused, Starting In Early 2020

        Spotify political ads sales will be suspended in ‘early 2020.’ Spotify says it doesn’t have the resources to properly vet political ads.

      • Emily Ratajkowski Turned Down Saudi Arabian Music Festival

        It is being reported that famed model Emily Ratajkowski turned down the Saudi Arabian music festival MDL Beast, which many celebrities and Instagram influencers controversially attended in exchange for six-figure payouts.

      • Impeachment Theater While the Planet Burns

        With the gravitas of a wardrobe malfunction at a Super Bowl halftime show, Donald Trump was impeached. This, by the same Democratic Party functionaries who went on to pass his $734 billion military budget and his reworked not-NAFTA trade agreement. To the perpetual ‘if,’ if Mr. Trump isn’t to be trusted with the affairs of state, the alleged reason he was impeached, why enhance his power over the affairs of state through increasing the military budget? The same is true with re-upping the Patriot Act. And backing his coup in Bolivia. And his attempted coup in Venezuela.

      • Sanders After Corbyn: The Jewish Question

        The hordes of Democratic Party pundits, anti-Trump Republicans, and former national security state functionaries who supply CNN and MSNBC with endless streams of jibber-jabber, along with their counterparts at The New York Times and Washington Post, are pulling out all the stops — trying to convince Democrats that only a “moderate” can defeat Donald Trump.

      • Because Bernie ‘Constitutionally Incapable of Sucking Up,’ Anti-Corruption Champion Zephyr Teachout Endorses Sanders

        “That’s why people love him,” says progressive activist and legal scholar. “They know he’ll always be on the side of the little guy against big agriculture, big banks, big pharma, big tech, hate, and fear.”

      • Best of CounterSpin 2019

        Every week, CounterSpin looks behind the headlines of the corporate media whose presentation of the world does so much to shape it, even though they are less a window than a reflection of the priorities of owners, advertisers and power players. We try to bring you voices you might not hear elsewhere: activists, researchers, reporters and teachers, who can illuminate what big media are getting wrong—or missing entirely—why it matters, and what we can do about it.

      • ‘Bombshell’ Glosses Over the Horrors of Fox News

        “You will be muzzled,” the lawyer for Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) warns her at the end of “Bombshell,” as the former Fox News anchor signs a $20 million settlement of a sexual harassment suit against her former boss, ex-Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. The lawyer could have been speaking about the movie.

      • Iraq President Offers to Quit After Rejecting PM Nominee

        Iraq’s president refused on Thursday to designate a prime minister candidate nominated by the Iran-backed parliamentary bloc and offered to resign, plunging the country into further political uncertainty amid nearly three months of unprecedented mass protests.

      • In Christmas Night Twitter Eruption, Trump Questions Why House Is ‘Allowed to Impeach the President’

        “The words of an aspiring dictator.”

      • Propaganda and the Defeat of Jeremy Corbyn

        If Americans are going to make connections with the British elections they must talk about the assault on democracy from the billionaires and their willing minions. 

      • Poll Showing Record Support for Trump’s Ouster Indicates GOP ‘Policy of Complete Obstruction Not Selling’

        Daily tracking poll reveals support for Senate conviction of Trump is all-time high while opposition hits all-time low.

      • Dead fish found embedded in Russian city’s festive ice sculptures

        The city of Tyumen, like many of its counterparts in Russia, marks every holiday season by building a complex of ice sculptures. According to the local outlet 72.ru, this year’s “ice village” features an extra, unintentional decoration: dead fish frozen into the ice.

      • Woman presumed to be Putin’s daughter joins national athletics council along with defense minister’s daughter

        Katerina Tikhonova, whom journalists have said is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters, has joined the Russian executive branch’s Council for the Development of Physical Culture and Sport.

      • Voters Want Change, Not Centrism

        Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and other candidates aiming for the so-called center do not inspire voters.

      • Buttigieg’s Small-Dollar Contest Seen as ‘Cynical Ploy’ to Lower Average Donation Amount

        “The only reason to do this is to rig the stats.”

      • Federal officials cut through Navalny’s office door in case connected to report about corruption involving Russia’s prime minister

        Special forces agents from the Federal Bailiff Service raided the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s Moscow office. Leonid Volkov, opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s chief of staff, first reported the search shortly after noon, Moscow time, on Thursday, December 26, saying that about 40 people were in the middle of a staff meeting when the authorities arrived. The foundation refused to open its front door for the agents, who then cut through it with a buzzsaw. No one was detained, though the organization’s press secretary initially reported that Navalny himself had been arrested. It turns out that officers merely forced him into the hallway during the search.

      • While Americans Slept in 2019, Uprisings Reshaped Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Algeria

        All four of these popular revolts caused a sitting prime minister or president to step down.

      • Congressional Oversight Claimed Important Victories in 2019. Here Are the Top 5.

        New avenues for accountability and oversight became possible in Washington, D.C., in 2019, following the election of a new Democratic Party majority in the House (and the most diverse Congress ever) in the 2018 midterms. As a result, Democrats took hold of the subpoena power that rests in the House of Representatives, along with the power to set the agenda across congressional committees. As a result, 2019 has been full of important moments for congressional oversight of both the Trump administration and private business. Here are five of the most important moments in congressional oversight in 2019.

      • ‘People Should Take Him Very Seriously’: Sanders Polling Surge Reportedly Forcing Democratic Establishment to Admit He Can Win

        “He has a very good shot of winning Iowa, a very good shot of winning New Hampshire, and other than Joe Biden, the best shot of winning Nevada,” said one former Obama adviser.

      • No One Is Dismissing Bernie Sanders’ Chances Now

        Sen. Bernie Sanders’ recent surge in national and early-state polls, enthusiastic progressive base, and resilience in the aftermath of his heart attack have reportedly forced some within the Democratic establishment who were previously dismissive of the Vermont senator to concede—both in private and in public—that he could ultimately run away with the party’s presidential nomination.

      • Michael Moore on Republicans Opposing Impeachment, Possible Trump 2020 Win

        As the Senate attempts to set rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial, at least one Republican is expressing concern about the proceedings. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said in an interview Tuesday that she was disturbed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise of “total coordination” with the White House. Murkowski’s comments mark a rare instance of dissent for the Republican Party, which has been unified behind President Trump until now. McConnell needs 51 votes to set the rules for the hearing. Republicans have a thin majority of 53 seats in the Senate. Last week, Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore witnessed the historic vote to impeach the president from the front row of the House gallery. He joins us for the hour to discuss the impeachment process, the 2020 election and why he thinks Trump would win re-election today.

      • Reports That Bloomberg’s Campaign Exploited Women’s Prison Labor Spark Outrage

        Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign relied on women incarcerated at an Oklahoma prison to make campaign calls to California, The Intercept reports.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Police in Pakistan’s Sindh province arrest Daily Jurat reporter Ajeeb Lakho

        Police arrested Lakho, a reporter for the Urdu-language newspaper, Daily Jurat, on December 24 on charges that included the attempted murder of a police officer, according to a local journalist, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation, and the local journalist association, Sindh Journalist Council. A First Information Report, seen by CPJ and which marks the start of a criminal investigation in Pakistan, has been filed. The local journalist said that Lakho was arrested after he published a story alleging that police were accepting bribes from oil smugglers.

      • 45 Years of Rebellion

        Generally I manage to dig up some recent lecture or published work to post while I am on holiday, on a mission or indisposed. I have a video somewhere of a really stunning symposium on whistleblowing at the University of Newcastle, to which I made a minor contribution, which I intended to use for that purpose today. But out of the blue I received an email this morning which changed my plan.

      • Investigative journalist searched and detained in case against criminal group that she reported on

        Yulia Polukhina, a journalist for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was detained on the morning of December 26 and released that evening following an interrogation. Officials from the Krasnodar Regional Investigative Committee also searched Polukhina’s home before she was taken in for questioning, according to Novaya Gazeta.

      • Veliky Novgorod editor-in-chief accused of rape resigns

        Mikhail Bogolyubov, the editor-in-chief of the Veliky Novgorod-based newspaper Novgorod, has resigned from his post and been granted resignation by a majority of the local City Duma.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Victories and Disappointments in AI and Algorithmic Decision-Making: 2019 Year in Review

        AI and algorithmic decision-making raised important civil liberties issues in 2019, with developments good, bad, and in-between.

        Starting off in the “disappointing” category, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced in August that it was considering new rules that would insulate landlords, banks, and insurance companies that use algorithmic models from lawsuits over discriminatory impacts. In response, we told HUD that their proposal was seriously flawed and sought to educate them about the ways that machine learning and other algorithmic tools work in practice. Far from being intrinsically neutral, these tools must be approached very carefully to avoid entrenching and concealing historical discrimination. HUD’s proposed affirmative defenses are dangerous, inconsistent with how machine learning actually works, and would upend enforcement of the Fair Housing Act going forward. 

      • The Last Line of Defense: 20 Activist Groups That Are Making a Big Difference

        Are you frustrated with The Resistance©, still fronting for the failures of Hillary Clinton while thousands of kids whose families fled the killing regimes in central America that she enabled are being held in concentration camps? You’re not alone. Here at CounterPunch we get lots of calls from readers this time of year asking: where are the good groups? Where can I send a year-end check and know that the money will be well spent, not recycled into a fat executive salary or an annoying direct mail campaign? There are many such groups out there; indeed, there is a vibrant and thriving grassroots movement across a whole range of issues. Unfortunately, we can’t bring all of them to your attention. But once or twice a year we devote the pages of CounterPunch to a survey of what these organizations are up to. Here’s our end of the year list of good groups, the real resistance, fighting on the frontlines against ICE, the coal companies, the police, the CIA, the warmongers, the pipeline gougers, the bankers, the slumlords, big pharma and the child separators. They all deserve your support and, if you can spare it, your money.

      • NYC Ups Policing in Jewish Areas After Spate of Attacks

        New York City is increasing its police presence in some Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations after a string of possibly anti-Semitic attacks during the Hanukkah holiday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said after the latest episode happened Friday.

      • Indians Rise Up Against Hindu Supremacy

        India’s government has pushed through a dangerous new bill that has provoked a mass uprising. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) offers a fast-track to legalization for Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Buddhist and Jain immigrants from bordering nations while explicitly denying one religious group the same privileges. For years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been chipping away at the rights of Muslims in India, but the world’s largest democracy may have finally overplayed its hand on the deepest question in any country: who belongs and who does not.

      • I Was Jailed for my Trafficker’s Death. I’m Free Now—But Other Women Languish.

        An injustice to one is a threat to us all. #FreeEveryCyntoia

      • We Can’t Obtain Immigration Justice in a World of Borders and Nations

        We can’t reckon with the extreme inequalities and inherent injustices of immigration policy without an analysis of how borders, the state and capitalism function to create them.

      • Beyond Compensation for Reparations

        Every innovation our world has experienced began with imagination. In today’s society, we suffer from imagination deficiency when it comes to considering the humanity of all people, regardless of their race, class, or sexual/gender orientation.

        Because of this lack of imagination, some of us hold on to the idea that reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans is not possible. Comments made by President Barack Obama in a 2016 interview, exemplify this: “You can make a theoretical, abstract argument in favor of something like reparations. And maybe I’m just not being sufficiently optimistic or imaginative enough…”

        Several cases have been made to prove that the U.S. government owes reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans on this land. Those cases are based on facts that slavery—specifically the enslavement of African people brought to this land, and the subsequent exploitation and economic oppression of their descendants—created the economic superpower that the United States is today. Yet the imagination of our leaders on how to make possible repair for that particular harm is consistently faulty, even when we’ve been shown solutionary models here and abroad—the Sioux Indian and Japanese examples, and the South African model, Ubuntu.

        For the purposes of this discussion, which is focused on the United Nations definition of reparations, we might consider compensation for slavery and the world that slavery created as necessarily focused on the moral framework of Ubuntu, a Zulu term that means “humanity,” and translates, “I am because you are.”

        Ubuntu was popularized because of Bishop Desmond Tutu’s work on truth and reconciliation hearing in South Africa. While Tutu’s framing was important, some possibilities offered by Dr. Fania Davis, author of the Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice, centers Ubuntu, which understands that reciprocal relationships creates moral and just possibilities.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • New Law Finally Bans Bullshit Cable TV Fees

        For a decade we’ve talked about how the broadband and cable industry has perfected the use of utterly bogus fees to jack up subscriber bills — a dash of financial creativity it adopted from the banking and airline industries. Countless cable and broadband companies tack on a myriad of completely bogus fees below the line, letting them advertise one rate — then sock you with a higher rate once your bill actually arrives. These companies will then brag repeatedly about how they haven’t raised rates yet this year, when that’s almost never actually the case.

      • EFF Enters the Competition Fray: 2019 Year in Review

        None of us signed up for an Internet composed of “a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four”, but here we are, watching as hyper-concentrated industries rack up catastrophic victories against net neutrality, right to repair, security auditing, and a host of other issues.

        These gains come at the expense of the public interest, and endanger the public interest Internet: the parts of the net that let anyone, anywhere collaborate with anyone, anywhere without permission from someone who has interposed themselves between them. They represent a triumph of lobbying over evidence, and such lobbying is only possible because the industries behind it are so fantastically concentrated that their top executives literally fit around a modest boardroom table.

      • [Old] Warning: proposed sale of the TLD puts .ORG registrant data at risk

        The proposed sale of the .ORG top-level domain (TLD) presents a risk of governance over sensitive data that society cannot afford to take. Prior to the adoption and implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, information related to the registration of domains, including the personal details, names, phone numbers, and addresses of individuals, was published online in the WHOIS database. It was generally agreed at the time that such information should not be publicly available, although there was considerable disagreement over how much information should, or could, remain public.

        Through the use of registrant data — which includes personal information of journalists, activists, and human rights defenders who have registered .ORG domains — it is possible to conduct many forms of harassment online, and that harassment can of course become physical off the internet. As is often the case, members of civil society are particularly vulnerable in this regard. The human rights protection work many of us perform can put us at odds with nation states.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Pebble Tide (IP Edge) patent challenged as likely invalid; Unified expands scope of activities to include PGR challenges

            On December 24, 2019, Unified filed a petition for post grant review (PGR) against U.S. Patent 10,303,411, owned by Pebble Tide, LLC, an IP Edge affiliate and well-known NPE. The ’411 patent is directed to capturing and outputting digital content. Since its May 28, 2019 issue date, the ‘411 has been broadly asserted in 23 district court cases against various products and applications such as remote monitoring camera systems, mobile banking apps, online photo-sharing services, and auto insurance claims submission apps.

            Over the last 5 years, Unified is one of the top petitioners for inter partes review proceedings with over 180 petitions filed against bad NPE-controlled patents. This filing marks the first occasion that Unified has filed an early, post-grant review petition challenging a patent’s validity.

      • Copyrights

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