The Software Freedom Deniers

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 3:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They deny us the freedom of Free/libre software while gleefully exploiting it

More water for me. Less food for me.

Summary: We must not overlook the impact of those who — quite often behind the scenes — work to undermine the freedom of software by betraying facts and scientific principles; lobbying speaks louder than press releases

NOBODY can forget how Bill Gates openly complained about the patent system back when Microsoft was small, bemoaning the fact that it was helping monopolists such as IBM. To quote Gates: “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

“Neither IBM nor Microsoft should deserve our trust; both are old guard monopolists looking to exploit everything they can for money, even if that means ‘stealing’ — to use their own words — Free software.”Nowadays Microsoft together with IBM still lobbies against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and for software patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). They both also lobby for software patents at the European Patent Office (EPO), in effect harming not just Free software but all software developers that are small. They want a shared monopoly; now that IBM owns Red Hat and has systemd in most distros (it’s still hosted by Microsoft by the way) they might even get their way.

Neither IBM nor Microsoft should deserve our trust; both are old guard monopolists looking to exploit everything they can for money, even if that means ‘stealing’ — to use their own words — Free software. Remember how they responded to Stallman being canceled. They’re in many ways two-faced hypocrites, who contradict even their own prior positions. Whenever that suits the agenda.

“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.”

Bill Gates

Attacks on Free Software and GNU/Linux Reinforce the Perception That It is a Strong Force

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The first wave will attack the perception that Linux is free.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft


Free Software FUD

Summary: All the recent attacks on Free software are in some sense serving to reaffirm that Free software has gotten to the point where nothing can undermine it other than infiltration and/or attempts to oust/marginalise leaders, which in turn elevates these leaders to “martyr” status

Links 3/1/2020: Xen Project 4.12.2 and Electronic Arts Shows Its Hatred of GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Microphone support finally comes to Linux on Chromebooks

        Linux apps on Chromebooks have become a bit more commonplace than they were just a year ago. Many devices now support this new feature and the overall abilities of the Linux container in Chrome OS continue to grow. As the big pieces have been in place for some time, it is easy at this point to miss the less glaring omissions that are still yet to be fixed, and that is exactly what has happened with microphone support with the latest build of Chrome OS 79.

    • Server

      • Kubernetes Distribution: What It Is and What It Isn’t

        It’s easy to define what a Kubernetes distribution is not: It’s not “vanilla” Kubernetes, meaning a Kubernetes installation that you create by downloading the Kubernetes source code from GitHub, compiling it and installing it yourself. Almost no one would install Kubernetes that way because it would take way too much work.

        Instead, most people who use Kubernetes install it using a distribution. At a high level, a Kubernetes distribution is any pre-built, prepackaged software platform that includes Kubernetes.

        Not only do Kubernetes distributions save you from the hassle of having to download and build a bunch of stuff from source yourself, but most also feature user-friendly installers to help simplify the complex task of installing Kubernetes’ various components.

      • IBM

        • Adapting legacy support systems for the digital era gives telcos a foundation for the future

          The telecommunications environment is growing increasingly complex. Service providers are virtualizing their networks, building for rapid traffic growth with limited revenue growth, and grappling with the Internet of Things (IoT) impact from hundreds of millions of new devices globally connecting to the network every year.

          To make matters even more complex, they are transforming their software and application infrastructure and migrating to 5G so they can deliver the digital services required to compete in the 21st century. They still need to run much of their businesses on legacy networks and services and to maximize their investment returns on legacy operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS), but they must lay a foundation for the future with new technologies that bring the agility to adapt to accelerating market changes.

          The challenge: How can organizations minimize the risk of transitioning the legacy systems, applications, and the OSS/BSS of today —in a secure and cost-effective manner— to a modern infrastructure that includes cloud, open APIs and other modern technologies so they can realize the value of their networks, applications, and data? A combination of lightweight and distributed integration called Agile Integration can help control the pace and risk of the journey, but it needs to be scalable, secure, and simple to manage. And it should enable innovation among internal teams, with vendors and with partners, helping to clear the hurdles created by multi-vendor environments and the service delivery bottlenecks that can be caused by monolithic enterprise service bus (ESB) approaches.

        • 5 ways to join our growing community of system administrators

          The Enable Sysadmin community has come a long way in just six months. We started publishing new content every weekday in June and have almost 200 articles on the site. We’re adding new authors every week with fresh perspectives and a desire to share their experience.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • EXT4 In Linux 5.6 To See Big Write Performance Boost For Direct I/O

        For those of you running EXT4 with Direct I/O on the likes of Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory or PMEM simulated via a virtual machine, better write performance is coming when overwriting already allocated blocks.

        Queued within the EXT4 development code ahead of Linux 5.6 is optimize EXT4 DIO overwrites by SUSE’s Jan Kara. This optimization about Direct I/O when overwriting already allocated blocks is particularly beneficial for multi-threaded workloads engaging in small writes.

      • A Possible Workaround For AMD APUs With Stability Issues On Recent Kernels

        While we have found recent Linux kernels paired with latest motherboard BIOS releases to work out generally well for recent AMD APUs, not everyone has been having a trouble-free experience on recent kernels. But an affected user has discovered a possible workaround if hitting stability issues.

        There has been a bug report since October stemming from graphics ring timeouts since Linux 5.2 and 5.3 kernels with multiple users affected. Those ring timeouts ultimately lead to graphics no longer functioning until rebooting the system.

      • Google Stadia Port Troubles Blamed on the Linux Kernel Scheduler

        If anyone cares more about millisecond-long delays than gamers, it’s developers. They know a millisecond can make a big difference in how a game plays. That’s bad news for Google Stadia because devs recently claimed an issue with the Linux kernel scheduler can lead to issues in games ported to the platform.

        A developer named Malte Skarupke publicized the problem on Monday. Skarupke explained how he became aware of the issue and his efforts to address it in a blog post (shout-out to Phoronix for spotting the post).

        This is the high-level overview Skarupke provided before offering more technical details about the issue…

      • Xen Project 4.12.2 is available!

        I am pleased to announce the release of the Xen 4.12.2. Xen Project maintenance releases are released in line with our Maintenance Release Policy. We recommend that all users of the 4.12 stable series update to the latest point release.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking 9 Linux Distributions On A $50 Processor

        Your choice of Linux distribution on a budget PC can mean the difference of ~14% performance overall. Here are benchmarks of Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, EndeavourOS, Manjaro Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora Workstation, and Clear Linux on a $50 processor as we roll into 2020 with the newest Linux distribution releases.

        For some holiday benchmarking fun I was testing out various Linux distributions on the AMD Athlon 3000G, the recent $50 processor that features two cores / four threads, 3.5GHz clock speed, and Vega 3 graphics while having a 35 Watt TDP. Of many Linux distributions tried, the only modern Linux distribution where I ran into troubles was with Debian 10.2 stable. Even with the proprietary microcode loaded, the Vega 3 graphics weren’t working with the default driver stack shipped by Debian 10.2. But aside from that it was a smooth experience on all other major distributions, including Debian Testing.

    • Applications

      • Catfish 1.4.12 Brings Wayland Support

        Catfish File Search Utility Brings Wayland Support.

      • Display Network Bandwidth Utilization Using Bandwhich Tool

        Bandwhich, previously known as What, is a command line, open source utility to display network bandwidth utilization by process, connection and remote IP or hostname. It sniffs the given network interface card and records IP packet size and finally cross reference it with the /proc filesystem on your Linux system or lsof command on Mac OS. It is written in Rust programming language and supports Linux and Mac OS.

      • Clementine 1.4 RC1 Available to Install in Ubuntu 18.04,19.10

        The first release candidate of Clementine 1.4.0, an audio player inspired by Amarok 1.4, was released today.

        Though the last 1.3.1 was released more than 3 years ago, the development of Clementine is being active all the time. Now Clementine 1.4.0 rc1 is available to install in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.04, Ubuntu 19.10 with no announcement or change-log though.


        Once installed, open the music player from your system application launcher and enjoy!

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Using Linux Operating Systems In Battlefield V Will Likely Result In A Permanent Ban

        We’ve gone so far in gaming in 2019, and it’s a shame that the community must regress yet again before charging forward. At the center of this is a Linux application known as DXVK, a Vulkan translation of Direct3D which allows running three-dimensional games on Linux via Wine. Linux has made huge strides in the most recent year thanks to Valve, Google, and Red Hat all working in tandem on open source projects to help translate Windows application to Linux.

        If you’re on Linux and looking to get into the most popular titles, you’re likely to end up needing a DXVK distribution to help translate.

        Users have begun reporting that they are being banned for the usage of DXVK from Electronic Arts multiplayer, and that the ban is irrevocable even after them double-checking ban purposes.

      • Looks like EA might be banning Linux gamers using Wine to play Battlefield V

        A heads up: there’s been reports of people being banned by EA and having EA claim their ban will stay, for playing Battlefield V with Wine + DXVK.

        The post on the Lutris forum, has multiple people claiming the same thing. This wouldn’t be the first time playing an online game with some form of Wine got people banned, as the same happened with Activision Blizzard and the game Overwatch although the majority of those bans were overturned. In this case, things might not go so well with EA already telling users they will not “remove this sanction from your account”—ouch.

      • Exhumed/PowerSlave can now be played easily with a cross-platform game engine

        Exhumed, also known as PowerSlave, a retro shooter from the 90s has been revived with the power of open source.

        A coder going by the tag of sirlemonhead, released PCExhumed which they did with EDuke32. They said it’s a “reverse engineering of the version of the game that is considered the most complete – the 1996 retail release of Exhumed”. The code to run it has also been pulled into NBlood, giving another easy way to run it.

      • Survive the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse in Z Dawn, recently released for Linux

        One missed from early last month is Z Dawn from GoldenGod Games, a fast-paced turn-based survival strategy game about getting through the zombie apocalypse.

        GoldenGod Games previously developed Expect The Unexpected released back in 2016 and Dungeons of Hell in 2017 so this is their third game with Linux support. Looks like a fun mix of strategy, survival and base building all in one.

      • With wireframe-like visuals, the dungeon crawler Der Geisterturm is releasing this month

        Graverobber Foundation are back with another dungeon crawler, after previously releasing Das Geisterschiff / The Ghost Ship they’re releasing Der Geisterturm / The Ghost Tower later this month.

        Releasing on January 23, Der Geisterturm / The Ghost Tower is a futuristic dungeon crawler with survival horror elements set inside a mysterious tower known as Turm der Wiederkehr. You are a Robotic Combat Suit pilot taking part in a war between two powerful megacorps over what little resources Earth has left. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it seems to be set in the same universe as the previous game acting as a spin-off.

      • My top 5 Linux games released in 2019, those that truly won me over

        As 2019 is now properly over and done with, it’s time to take a quick look back. Here’s some thoughts on the Linux games released that sat above the rest.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Take Screenshot of LightDM Login Screen in 2020

        There are not many clear tutorials available in taking picture of the login screen of latest Ubuntu, Mint, and elementary OS. Their login screen technology is called LightDM. You cannot simply press Printscreen key in the login screen to create its screenshot. Instead, you need a complicated way with superuser access to do so. This might give you frustration if you do not know the way especially if you are a writer like me. Fortunately, it is easy and everybody can do it like my explanations below. You can do this both in LiveCD session and in an installed system. I write this tutorial by testing it first on elementary OS 5.1 Hera that released recently at the end of 2019. After a long time, I am happy to finally figure out this method. Enjoy!

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Educational Data Sets

          There are many online sources available that provide data sets for educational and study purposes. They cover many different areas (physics, statistics, medicine, etc.) and many tools and frameworks provide wrappers for them and allow you to easily play around with the data sets. In many cases, the technical tasks of fetching the data from the server, parsing it and installing it are completely transparent for users.

          We recently added a similar functionality to LabPlot and we plan to release this new feature as part of the upcoming 2.8 version. The initial implementation for this was done by Ferencz Kovács during Google Summer of Code 2019.

    • Distributions

      • Top 5 Linux Distros You Must Use in 2020

        Windows 10 is currently in a mess and there’s a lot to not like. Fortunately, it isn’t the only OS out there and Linux distros are now just as feature-packed as Windows with arguably better user interfaces. Moreover, Mac’s can be pricey whereas Linux distros are usually free. But there are a boatload of Linux distributions out there and finding the best can be tricky.

        To help you in your journey to find the perfect distro, we’ve created a list of the top 5 Linux distros you should try in 2020. You might have tried a couple distros in the list if you’ve used Linux before. However, if this is your first time using Linux, then don’t fret. All five distros listed here are user-friendly and can be set up easily. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about entering codes or commands to get things up and ready. Before switching to Linux, you might want to check out 5 reasons why Windows is better than Linux.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/01

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          Happy new year! The year 2020 has started in full swing and I wish everybody a great new year!

          For Tumbleweed, things have started off reasonably well: Snapshot 20200101 (first one of the year) has been published, and 0102 will be discarded. Ups  But let’s step back a bit and do the review of the whole week (which was the crossing over of 2019 to 2020). In the last week, we have released a total of 6 snapshots! Ok, I admit, they were all rather ‘small’ updates, as many contributors are with their families and have better things to do than submitting breaking updates. The six updates released were, still from 2019: 1227, 1228, 1229, 1230 and 1231 and from 2020 the one mentioned earlier: 20200101.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora 32 Goes Through Its Formalities To Land GCC 10 + Golang 1.14

          Fedora Linux has long been well known for always shipping with bleeding-edge GCC compiler releases even if it means a near-final pre-release, thanks in part to Red Hat’s significant engineering resources to GCC and the GNU toolchain in general. With Fedora 32 it’s expected to be no different with having the upcoming GCC 10 compiler.

          We’ve already known Fedora 32 would aim for LLVM 10 and GCC 10 to little surprise. Now they are just going through the formalities of submitting a change proposal to introduce these system-wide changes.

        • Fedora Magazine: Tracking Translations with Transtats

          Translation is an important step in software localization which helps make software more popular globally, and impacts international user experience. In recent years, localization processes have been evolving worldwide to become more continuous, faster, efficient with automation. In Fedora, the development of the Zanata platform and its plugins, then Transtats, and now the migration to the Weblate platform are part of this common ongoing goal. The localization of a desktop OS like Fedora is highly complex because it depends on many factors of the individual upstream projects which are packaged in Fedora. For example, different translation timelines, resources, and tooling.


          In translation of software packages, one of the challenges is to prevent string breakage. Package maintainers should strive to abide by the scheduled Fedora release String Freeze. However, in some circumstances it could be necessary to break the string freeze and to inform the translation team on the mailing list. As well as, to update latest translation template (POT) file in the translation platform. Just in case these actions seem missing – translators may get new strings to translate very late or the application may have some strings untranslated. In the worst case, an outdated translation string mismatch may result in a crash. Sync and automation pipelines are there to prevent this, nevertheless it depends on the push or pull methods followed by package developers or maintainers.

          To deal with the same context, we can use a job template in Transtats to detect this string change – particularly useful after string freeze in Fedora release schedule. This would be really helpful for the folks who look for packaging translations without string breakage, keeping translation template (POT) file in sync with translation platform, and testing localized form of the application for translation completeness to back trace.

        • Paul Mellors [MooDoo]: The Fedora Way – Day 1/2/3

          Well if you’ve read my last post then you’ll think that I’ve been running Linux as my daily driver since the 1st Jan 2020.

          Well ooops, it’s now the 3rd Jan and I’ve just wiped my hard drive and installed Fedora 31. It’s currently had no updates, the nvidia drivers need installing and er it needs making look nice :)

      • Debian Family

        • November and December Update for FreeCAD & Debian Science

          In November a strange bug was found in the OpenFOAM package which led to only one core being used during builds, even though the logs reported an N core build. In the worst case scenario, on the mipsel architecture, this led to an increase in build times from 17 to 92 hours! I did some troubleshooting on this but found it a bit difficult since OpenFOAM uses a bespoke build system called wmake. I found myself wishing for the simplicity of CMake, and found there was an experimental repo implementing support for it but it didn’t seem to work out of the box or with a bit of effort. I wonder if there’s any consideration amongst OpenFOAM developers in moving away from wmake?

          Anyway, OpenFOAM ended up getting removed from Debian Testing, but thankfully Adrian Bunk identified the problem, which is that the environment variable MAKEFLAGS was getting set to ‘w’ for some reason, and thus falling through the wmake code block that set up a proper parallel build for OpenFOAM. So, unsatisfyingly, as a workaround I uploaded the latest OpenFOAM version, 1906.191111, with unexport MAKEFLAGS. It would be nice to find an explanation, but I didn’t spend much more time digging.


          For the past several summers, FreeCAD has participated in the Google Summer of Code program under an umbrella organization led by Sean Morrison of BRL-CAD. BRL-CAD is a very interesting bit of software with a long history, in fact the oldest known public version-controlled codebase in the world still under development, dating back to 1983-12-16 00:10:31 UTC. It is inspired by the development ideas of the era, a sort of UNIX philosophy for CAD, made up of many small tools doing one thing well and meant to be used in a normal UNIXy way, being piped into one another and so forth, with a unifying GUI using those tools. Since it’s made up of BSD/LGPL licensed code, it ought to be available as part of the Debian Science toolkit, where it may be useful for FreeCAD as an included alternative CAD kernel to the currently exclusive OpenCASCADE. For example, fillets in OpenCASCADE are somewhat buggy and unmaintainably implemented such that an upstream rewrite is the only hope for long-term improvement. BRL-CAD could potentially improve FreeCAD in areas like this.

          It turns out a Debian Request for Packaging bug for BRL-CAD has been open since 2005. I plan to close it! It turns out there’s already existing Debian packaging work, too, though it’s quite a few years old and thus some adaptation still is required.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Standard Notes is Now Available as a Snap App

          This makes it super easy to install the productivity tool on Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Manjaro.

          Not familiar with Standard Notes? It’s a cross-platform note taking tool available on all major desktop operating systems, as well as mobile and web.

          Using it you can create multiple notes, apply tags, search, and sync your stuff between devices securely, using end-to-end-encryption.

          Standard Notes is both open source and free to use — you can even run your own self-hosted server — but an “extended” plan is available for those who want to support the project and its ideas.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 72 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 72, we are pleased to welcome the 36 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 28 of whom were brand new volunteers!

      • Funding

        • Daniel Stenberg: curl receives 10K USD donation

          The largest ever single-shot monetary donation to the curl project just happened when indeed.com graciously boosted our economy with 10,000 USD. (It happened before the new year but as I was away then I haven’t had the chance to blog about it until now.)

          curl remains a small project with no major financial backing, with no umbrella organization (*) and no major company sponsorships.

      • FSF

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Free Software for Privacy and Education: Support for REUSE (SPDX) headers in emacs-reveal

            I continue to use and develop emacs-reveal, a FLOSS bundle to create HTML presentations based on reveal.js as Open Educational Resources (OER) from Org mode source files in GNU Emacs. Last time, I mentioned license attribution for OER figures as tedious challenge, which I believe to be addressed properly in emacs-reveal.

            Over the last couple of days, I added functionality that generates license information in my OER HTML presentations from SPDX headers embedded in source files. The FSFE project REUSE recommends the use of SPDX headers to indicate copyright and licensing information in free software projects, and, although OER are not software, I started to make my OER source files REUSE compliant.

      • Programming/Development

        • [Old] Why I’m focusing only on some programming languages

          I tried so many languages and tried to do so much, that in the end I don’t know nothing deep enough to do useful stuff at a reasonable speed. To paraphrase a well-known quote:

          I know the trade-offs of everything, but the depths of nothing.

          This is why from now on, I’m going to learn and focus only on some languages and tools.

        • Scripting tmux

          I often want to start similar workspaces in tmux; for example I always want to tail those two log files in a pane, or I always want to start both vim and mysql in a pane, etc.

          If you try to find information about starting tmux workspaces you typically get advised to use wrapper programs such as tmuxinator, tmux-resurrect, or tmux-continuum. These programs may be great, but I like a simple approach.

        • New essay: Trying to convince application developers to write API documentation

          I’ve written a new short essay: Trying to convince application developers to write API documentation

          I’ve created the Short essays page on my website. I plan to write more essays in the future, as short articles that can be read independently. Around the theme of programming best-practices. I’ll inform you on my blog when I publish a new essay.

          Note, it’s unfortunately not written in ConTeXt (see this previous blog post), as I haven’t found a text editor for ConTeXt that just works and is easy to install, with all the features I’m accustomed to when I write a LaTeX document. So I fell back to using LaTeX.

        • GCC 10 Adds ARMv8.6-A Targeting, BFloat16 + i8MM Options

          Building on earlier GCC commits for Arm’s BFloat16 (BF16) support and other new extensions, a late change landing for GCC 10 is the command line options for targeting the ARMv8.6-A architecture and optionally toggling i8mm and BF16 extensions.

          ARMv8.6-A brings BFloat16 for helping the performance of neural network performance running on Arm-based systems. There has been compiler support worked on already for Arm BFloat16 while now the CLI switches are there for toggling it with +bf16.

          Another new CLI option is +i8mm for enabling Arm’s new 8-bit Integer Matrix Multiply instructions.

        • What you need to know about Rust in 2020

          Rust has drawn plenty of attention from programmers on sites like Hacker News for a while. While many have long loved using the language for hobby projects, it didn’t start catching on in industry until 2019, when this really started to change.

          Over the last year, many large companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, and Intel, came out in support of Rust, and many smaller ones took notice. As the first emcee at RustFest, the largest Rust conference in Europe, in 2016, I didn’t meet a single person professionally using Rust who didn’t work at Mozilla. Three years later, it seemed like every other person I talked to at RustFest 2019 was using Rust in their day job for another company, whether as a game developer, a backend engineer at a bank, a creator of developer tools, or something else.

          In 2019, Opensource.com also played a role by reporting on the growing interest in Rust. In case you missed them, here are the top articles about Rust on Opensource.com over the last year.

        • Python

          • Snakes on a wane: Python 2 development is finally frozen in time, version 3 slithers on

            With the arrival of 2020, the Python Clock has stopped ticking, marking the end of development for the Python 2 programming language.

            Nevertheless, Python 2 should still be shambling about through April at least, when the final Python 2.7 release (v2.7.18) is slated for delivery. And it’s likely to linger for years to come in corporate environments, propped up by enterprise vendors.

            But the Python 2.7.18 code base has officially been frozen. Between now and PyCon 2020 (April 15-23), code fixes developed in 2019 will be integrated through the beta and Release Candidate process and new pull requests are blocked.

            “The CPython core developer community is retiring the Python 2 series after nearly 20 years of development,” the Python Foundation said in a statement last month. “The last major version 2.7 will be released in April 2020, and then all development will cease for Python 2.”

          • Add scorekeeping to your Python game

            If you’ve followed along with this series, you’ve learned all the essential syntax and patterns you need to create a video game with Python. However, it still lacks one vital component. This component isn’t important just for programming games in Python; it’s something you must master no matter what branch of computing you explore: Learning new tricks as a programmer by reading a language’s or library’s documentation.

            Luckily, the fact that you’re reading this article is a sign that you’re comfortable with documentation. For the practical purpose of making your platform game more polished, in this article, you will add a score and health display to your game screen. But the not-so-secret agenda of this lesson is to teach you how to find out what a library offers and how you can use new features.

            Displaying the score in Pygame

            Now that you have loot that your player can collect, there’s every reason to keep score so that your player sees just how much loot they’ve collected. You can also track the player’s health so that when they hit one of the enemies, it has a consequence.

            You already have variables that track score and health, but it all happens in the background. This article teaches you to display these statistics in a font of your choice on the game screen during gameplay.

          • Creating Sitemaps in Django

            Django comes with baked-in functionality for generating sitemaps dynamically using the sitemap framework.

            A sitemap is an XML file that informs search engines such as Google, the pages of your website, their relevance, and how frequently they are updated. Using sitemaps facilitates crawlers indexing the site, therefore sitemap plays a crucial role in modern SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

            In this article, we will go through the process of creating sitemaps in Django.

          • Python IDEs and Code Editors

            A code editor is a tool that is used to write and edit code. They are usually lightweight and can be great for learning. However, once your program gets larger, you need to test and debug your code, that’s where IDEs come in.

            An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) understand your code much better than a text editor. It usually provides features such as build automation, code linting, testing and debugging. This can significantly speed up your work. The downside is that IDEs can be complicated to use.

          • The Skills to Get a Job As a Django Developer

            When I first started to learn Django. I used videos from DjangoCon US, DjangoCon Europe, Coding for Entrepeneurs, Chris Hawks and a book from Two Scoop of Django to start my journey to learn about how to program in Django.

            Those are how it got me started to learn Django. I sought to learn to build a project using the TryDjango series from the basics of deploying it to Heroku.

            So I think it might be good to offer my own two cents on what to learn to land a job as a Django developer. Besides that, you do need to know that you do not need to know everything at the start instead pick it up along the way in your job.

          • Intro to Arduino with LoRa

            If you’ve ever wanted to get started using LoRa wireless communication in your Arduino projects this video is for you. It covers some popular LoRa module options, a brief introduction to the Arduino code needed to control them, and an explanation of the different ways to configure your LoRa modem to maximize range or data transfer rate along with visualizations of the LoRa packet transmissions.

          • How to Read a File in Python, Write to, and Append, to a File

            In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to read a file in Python 3. After we have learned how to open a file in Python, we are going to learn how to write to the file and save it again. In previous posts, we have learned how to open a range of different files using Python. For instance, we have learned how to open JSON, CSV, Excel, and HTML files using Pandas, and the json library. Here, however, we are going to open plain files (.txt) in Python.

          • New NumPy and Panda Courses Released

            The best place to start any journey is at the beginning and NumPy is where it all started. NumPy was the library that gave rise to the Data Science / Python revolution. Therefore, as you?re working through the course, you?ll build upon the foundations of Data Science and large data processing.

          • Introduction to Speech Recognition with Python

            Speech recognition, as the name suggests, refers to automatic recognition of human speech. Speech recognition is one of the most important tasks in the domain of human computer interaction. If you have ever interacted with Alexa or have ever ordered Siri to complete a task, you have already experienced the power of speech recognition.

            Speech recognition has various applications ranging from automatic transcription of speech data (like voicemails) to interacting with robots via speech.

            In this tutorial, you will see how we can develop a very simple speech recognition application that is capable of recognizing speech from audio files, as well as live from a microphone. So, let’s begin without further ado.

            Several speech recognition libraries have been developed in Python. However we will be using the SpeechRecognition library, which is the simplest of all the libraries.

          • Django: Django 3 Tutorial & Example: Build a CRUD REST API for A Simple CRM

            Django 3 is released with full async support!

            In this tutorial series, you’ll learn about Django 3 by creating a CRUD example application with database, admin access, and REST API views. We’ll be using MySQL as the database system.

            Throughout this beginner’s tutorial for Django 3, we are going to learn to build web applications with Python and Django. This tutorial assumes no prior experience with Django, so we’ll be covering the basic concepts and elements of the Django framework by emphasizing essential theory with practice.

            Basically, we are going to learn Django fundamental concepts while building a simple CRM web application.

            This tutorial doesn’t only cover fundamental basics of Django but also advanced concepts such as how to use and integrate Django with modern front end frameworks like Angular 2+, Vue and React.

            You’ll learn about CRUD, database ORM, how to create API views and URLs.

          • Django: Python Webviews with PyWebView

            Have you ever wanted to use your python and web development skills to build cross platform desktop GUI apps? if yes then welcome to this tutorial where we’ll show you how to use PyWebView to turn your web application built using python and client side technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript into a standalone cross platform GUI application that runs under major operating systems such as Linux, Windows and MAC.

            You can also use any web framework based on python such as the so popular django framework or also the lightweight web development framework flask to build business logic of your app and then wrap the whole app, server and client side, into a desktop app .

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: 20 best Python questions at stackoverflow in 2019
          • 3 Tips to be Effective In Pycharm

            I had been using PyCharm for a very long time whenever I am developing in Python.

            It’s one of the best IDEs for Python out there that I had encountered.

            Which I am coming from realms of Visual Studio, Netbeans & Eclipse in other programming languages.

            What blew me away for Visual Studio the most is their debugger & their IntelliSense.

            This made me set a high bar for selecting an IDE for any new programming language.

            It must have an excellent debugger and great IntelliSense.

  • Leftovers

    • The Public Trust is Slipping Away
    • Health/Nutrition

      • All Students Should Receive Free School Meals

        In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, an area with a poverty rate of 13.8 percent, about 1,000 families received letters in August warning that unless their arrears were paid in full, they could be taken to Dependency Court for negligence. “The result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care,” threatened the missive, which was sent a month before the 2019-2020 school year began. The total owed, the district reported, was more than $22,000.

      • Whales Help Explain the Evolutionary Mystery of Menopause

        The “grandmother hypothesis” suggests that grandmas play a crucial role in the survival of their grandchildren, which obviously gives the grandmas’ own genes a boost. But that doesn’t explain why humans—along with killer whales, short-finned pilot whales, belugas, and narwhals—stop reproducing with decades left to live. Wouldn’t it be better to just keep having babies of your own and help your grandchildren? Possibly not: in certain species, with certain family dynamics, evolutionary models show that it’s more worthwhile for grandmas to invest all their resources in their grandchildren, rather than compete with their own daughters.

      • Bangladesh halts breast milk scheme after Islamic cleric backlash

        A Bangladesh hospital has suspended plans to give donated breast milk to needy newborns after a backlash by Muslim clerics, who said the scheme was a violation of Islamic law.

        The programme was to feed up to 500 orphans and infants of working mothers in the Muslim-majority country, which has one of the world’s highest rates of child malnutrition and stunted growth.

        But religious leaders said that the plan could lead to breaches of Sharia law if two babies drank milk from the same mother and later married.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Dear Apple, a little help here? How hard can it be to move our developer account to our new not-for-profit?

          Apple: Computer says no?

        • How I once saved half a million dollars with a single character code change

          Unless you know that the trick will make a different in that location, the optimisation is premature. There is no benefit, but there is still a cost. And it is a real cost — I had to spend time justifying the presence of that ‘0’ many times over the years as other developers questioned its purpose.

          And if the optimisation was applied everywhere how would people know which ones were important?

          This particular trick also no longer works.

        • Google veterans: The company has become ‘unrecognizable’

          Former workers shared why they left the company, citing organizational changes and a lack of transparency from management.

          Workers said the company’s culture has turned into the opposite of what the founders said they had hoped for.

        • Good times create weak men

          Yes, these particular bugs are pretty minor and probably do not affect business in the short run, only Apple’s reputation. Still, it is a big deal. Imagine how tall, opaque and unstable that ladder of abstractions is that it’s even possible to fail such a simple thing as selecting an item in a list??? It is a freaking list and if you click it, it should select a thing that you just clicked. How hard of a task do you think that is? Why it has worked flawlessly since the first iPod with a monochrome screen and quarter of computing power of modern watch, but can’t be done in a flagship product of the most advanced operating system in the world?

          Because advanced means complex. So complex that no one could reasonably understand it or have control over it, even if they wanted. Apple DID want it. But even they couldn’t. Even with all the resources in the world.

          At this point, you might think I’m just picking on Apple or Catalina. God knows what went wrong there. Maybe they did change priorities and re-hired all the programmers. But no. This problem is universal.

        • Security

          • UL Pushes Security Standards For The Internet Of Broken Things

            If you hadn’t noticed yet, the internet of things is a security and privacy shit show. Millions of poorly-secured internet-connected devices are now being sold annually, introducing massive new attack vectors and vulnerabilities into home and business networks nationwide. Thanks to IOT companies and evangelists that prioritize gee-whizzery and profits over privacy and security, your refrigerator can now leak your gmail credentials, your kids’ Barbie doll can now be used as a surveillance tool, and your “smart” tea kettle can now open your wireless network to attack.

          • Warning Issued For Millions Of Microsoft Windows 10 Users

            Picked up by the ever-reliable Windows Latest, Microsoft’s Windows 10 November update is causing significant problems by breaking core elements of File Explorer. These include file search, file transfers and being, as one user described, “generally all around terrible”. Windows Latest notes these bugs are “widely reported”.

            For its part, Microsoft has committed to investigate the issue, though Microsoft senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc has riled some affected users after tweeting “We will look into this but since it’s not a pressing issue, we may not get traction until after the holidays.”

            “It’s a very pressing issue, affecting everyone,” replied one disgruntled user.

          • Cisco critical bugs: Nexus data center switch software needs patching now

            Cisco warns that a remote attacker can bypass DCNM’s authentication and carry out tasks with administrative privileges on an affected device.

            The available updates are highly important for enterprise data centers built with its Nexus NX-OS-based switches. DCNM is a key component for automating NX-OS-based network infrastructure deployments.

            Cisco points to three separate authentication bypass vulnerabilities in a single advisory. They’re tagged as CVE-2019-15975, CVE-2019-15975, and CVE-2019-15977 and the trio have a severity rating of 9.8 out of a possible 10, meaning they are firmly critical security issues.

            The bugs “could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass authentication and execute arbitrary actions with administrative privileges on an affected device”, Cisco said.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • TikTok Transparency Report Released to Try and Prove China Isn’t Spying

              ByteDance has released the first-ever TikTok transparency report. TikTok claims it received no requests for user information from China in the first half of 2019.

            • Samsung smart TVs are set to upload screenshots of what you’re watching

              Samsung’s privacy policy reveals an unnerving reality: that Samsung smart TVs are sending clips of whatever is playing on the television to be sent back to Samsung. It’s hard to imagine a deeper violation of privacy from a smart TV set than having a screenshot of what you’re watching be uploaded to the cloud for corporate advertising purposes. As early as 2018, researchers from the University of Chicago and Princeton University have even highlighted that data from your smart TVs, not just Samsung branded ones, is making its way back to third parties such as Netflix or Facebook.

            • Court (Barely) Allows Class Action Lawsuit Over Google’s Location Tracking To Move Forward

              A 2018 lawsuit [PDF] against Google over location tracking survives, but only just. The lawsuit — filed after a report showed Google was still collecting location data even after users shut off location services on Android phones — alleges Google violated California laws and privacy protections by tracking users (including children) after it had been told not to.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Rojava’s Revolution Begins in the Classroom

        From the start of the Rojava revolution in 2012, the Syrian regime has maintained control of a small area of the regional capital, Qamishli. Symbolic of its ongoing power and threat of return, members of the Syrian regime forces patrol what is called “security square,” or the Christian quarter. On the roundabout just outside the square stands a statue of President Bashar al-Assad set against the backdrop of the Syrian flag, with posters of martyrs who have died fighting for the regime.

      • Hypersonic Putin and Gonzo Weaponry

        Weapons of dazzling murderousness have always thrilled military industrial establishments. They make money; they add to the accounts; and they tickle the pride of States who manufacture them. From time to time, showy displays of restraint through arms limitation agreements are made. These can apply to either the offensive element of such weapons, or their defensive counters.

      • Another penitentiary torture video surfaces in Russia, but officials say those responsible have already been punished

        The human rights project Gulagu.net (“No to the Gulag”) has posted a video that allegedly shows defendants being tortured in the Kemerovo region’s Pretrial Detention Center 4. The video, titled “Everyday Sadism,” was sent to Gulagu.net’s hotline.

      • With Space Force, Congress Hands Trump a Major Victory

        Donald Trump, who will go down in history as the most reviled president of all time, has just won a major victory in the creation of a sixth branch of the military: Space Force. Trump will be able to claim credit for a serious milestone — with the smooth cooperation of both major parties.

      • ‘War Hawks Must be Celebrating’: Trump’s Defense Secretary Claims US Ready to Strike Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq

        “We’re back to preemptive wars now! Dick Cheney might as well be president.”

      • A New Year and a New Trump Foreign Policy Blunder in Iraq

        We hope that 2020 will be the year when the American public finally looks at the fateful choice between war and peace with 20/20 vision, and that we will start severely punishing Trump and every other U.S. politician who opts for threats over diplomacy, coercion over cooperation and war over peace.

      • ‘An Explicit Act of War’: US Kills Senior Iranian Military Official Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad Drone Strike

        “It’s like Iran killing the head of the CIA or the Mossad on foreign soil.”

      • Could a New Civil War Erupt in Iraq as the US and Iran Vie for Influence?

        In Iraq, Iran-backed militia members withdrew from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone on Wednesday after being tear-gassed by American security forces. Their withdrawal ended a tense standoff that began Tuesday when militia members broke through the embassy’s reception area chanting “Death to America” while thousands rallied outside to protest a slew of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that killed at least 24 members of the Iranian-backed militia Kata’ib Hezbollah. The U.S. airstrikes came after an American contractor was killed in a rocket attack in Kirkuk, Iraq, Friday. The embassy withdrawal was ordered by militia leaders, who said they agreed to leave after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pledged to pursue legislation to force U.S. troops out of Iraq. We speak with Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper.

      • Pentagon: U.S. Airstrike Kills Powerful Iranian General

        The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump.

      • Turkish Lawmakers Authorize Sending Troops to Fight in Libya

        Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorized the deployment of troops to Libya to support the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli that is battling forces loyal to a rival government seeking to capture the capital.

      • Telecom giant MTN accused of paying bribes to Taliban, al-Qaeda

        Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN says it is reviewing allegations that it paid protection money to militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan.

      • Europe: Anti-Christian Attacks Reach All-Time High in 2019

        Gatestone Institute reviewed thousands of newspaper reports, police blotters, parliamentary inquiries, social media posts and specialized blogs from Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The research shows (see appendices below) that roughly 3,000 Christian churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments were vandalized, looted or defaced in Europe during 2019 — which is on track to becoming a record year for anti-Christian sacrilege on the continent.

        Violence against Christian sites is most widespread in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments are being vandalized, desecrated and burned at an average rate of three per day, according to government statistics. In Germany, attacks against Christian churches are occurring at an average rate of two per day, according to police blotters.

      • Amir Khan Shocked By “All The Hate” For Celebrating Christmas

        British boxer Amir Khan was stumped by the hateful reactions he got for posting Christmas wishes on his social media platforms.

      • Pakistan: “Saving one Christian girl suffering persecution will help others”

        Recently, Huma’s abductor has threatened both her parents and their lawyer, Tabassum Yousaf, that he would accuse them of blasphemy. The High Court of Sindh lawyer has worked on many cases of forced marriage, and speaking with Aid to the Church in Need, she says that these threats are common. She explains that the abductors often say, “If you do not stop searching for your daughter, we will rip pages out of the Koran, place them on your doorstep, and accuse you of profaning the sacred book”.

      • Canadian Islamic Sermons, Literature on Killing Jews and Enemies of Islam

        This is a first segment of hadith 2922 in Sahih Muslim: “Abu Huraira reported Allahs Messenger as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: “Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”4

        The same hadith, accompanied with modern commentary, appears also in an online book (Riyadh as-Salihin – The Gardens of the Righteous, by Al-Nawawi) on the website of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Canada:5

    • Environment

      • Plastics Industry’s Greenwashing Aggravates Environmental and Health Crises

        Janine Jackson: Those of a certain age will remember a TV spot in which a Native American man — the actor was Italian-American, it turns out, but never mind — surveys a roadside full of discarded bottles and bags, and a single tear rolls down his cheek. Memorable and impressive, the spot did a couple of things: It located the responsibility for pollution at the level of the individual — the litterbug — and it suggested that the big problem with these plastic bags and bottles was their improper disposal, and not their production. But what we saw as a Public Service Announcement, and a fairly lofty one at that, was, in reality, more like an ad, intended to sell the public on a particular viewpoint, specifically to deflect growing contemporary concerns. The production of plastics has exploded since then, tons of it in the ocean and inside sea creatures, as well as inside us. And industry deflections about the environmental and health effects of plastics production and destruction continue apace — including, it seems, the idea of plastic recycling. Our next guest has been reporting this difficult set of issues. Sharon Lerner covers health and the environment for The Intercept, and is a reporting fellow at Type Investigations. She joins us now by phone from here in town. Welcome to CounterSpin, Sharon Lerner.

      • Welcome to 2020: 8 Important Environmental Stories to Follow This Year
      • Kill GDP to Help Save the Planet

        There’s a problem with America’s favorite statistic: GDP. It avoids pretty much everything that’s actually, truly, really good for society, including the importance of robust ecology. Still, it’s the biggest measure of what’s happening with the economy and used around the world, even though horribly flawed.

      • Flooding From What Officials Called ‘Not Ordinary Rain’ Kills Dozens and Displaces Thousands in Jakarta

        Greenpeace Indonesia demanded climate action “in accordance with the advice of world scientists,” warning that “otherwise disasters like this will only become more frequent and worse.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Last Decade Brought the Conflict to the U.S., and That Is Progress

        Mainstream politicians are talking about BDS and Zionism. A portion of the Democratic Party is firmly committed to Palestinian human rights, because the Democratic base is demanding it.

      • ‘We Will Not Change a Damn Thing’: Sanders Campaign Vows No Pivot to Big Money in General Election

        “If you have Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden telling you that they need to kowtow at the altar of the rich to fundraise in the general election, they’re wrong. We’re upending those notions.”

      • Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg Are Not to Be Trusted

        It’s understandable that corporate-backed candidates don’t want to be cornered by questions that touch on realities of political and economic power.

      • “Netanyahu Knows He’s Guilty”: Israeli Prime Minister Asks Parliament for Immunity From Corruption Charges

        “Trump claims absolute immunity. Sounds like he and his buddy, Netanyahu, have the same cheat sheet.”

      • Death Toll Rises in India as Protests Against Modi’s Citizenship Law Intensify

        In India, the death toll amid the government’s crackdown on widespread protests has risen to at least 27 people, and over 1,000 more have been arrested. The protests are against a controversial new citizenship law, which provides a path to Indian citizenship for undocumented immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — unless they are Muslim. Opponents of the law say it’s a step toward the official marginalization of India’s 200 million Muslims. Paramilitary and police forces were deployed in response to the demonstrations in Muslim-majority districts in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, and the internet was shut down. We go to Mumbai for an update from Rana Ayyub, global opinions writer for The Washington Post, where her latest piece is headlined “India’s protests could be a tipping point against authoritarianism.”

      • 2020: Buckle Up for a Rough Ride

        Here we are, saddle pals, heading into a new year, a new decade and a host of new elections nationwide. It would be wonderful to say it’s going to be a great year ahead, but that would require some serious myopia on the challenges facing the nation and world. Realistically, it’s going to be a very rough ride stoked by partisan hatred as we wrestle with a host of difficult issues. But strength and unity can and often do come from adversity, which is what keeps hope for a better future alive and inspires us to do the best we can to make that dream come true.

      • A More Perfect Union

        Current partisan politics frequently returns to questions and debates about the supreme law of the land—The Constitution—as it should, because two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump passed on December 18, 2019. This affirmed an ugly truth about Trump’s illegitimate use of the office of the White House. Trump will go down in history for his transgressions.

      • Our Nazis: the Gehlen Org

        In February 2019 Germany opened a brand new intelligence complex in the city of Berlin. The new headquarters of the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst or Federal Intelligence Service) occupies a huge space—by the way, much as STASI or State Security Service once did in East Berlin the former German Democratic Republic—and supposedly employs a total of over six thousand persons. The move from its former secret location in the Munich suburb of Pullach reflects both the centralization in Berlin of federal institutions that after World War Two were widely dispersed throughout Germany and importantly, European Union-NATO leader Germany’s efforts to get away from the nation’s Nazi past. The new BND location in Germany’s capital city seems also a giant step away from the former obsessive secrecy of its location in Munich, hidden away in that obscure suburb and operating under a cover name and, above all, until the late 1950s an affiliate of the CIA. The move to Berlin can be interpreted as the BND’s declaration of sovereignty.

      • Cuba’s Revolutionary Origins: a Personal Reflection

        Some time ago in another late December my partner in life commented that she liked beginnings in reference to the approaching new year. I became immediately aware that other traditions may have a calendar different from the Gregorian calendar and the beginning of their new year may take place at a different time. But the notion of “beginning” intrigued me, especially because I had another upcoming beginning in my political mind.

      • Labour’s Patriotism Test

        In the recent UK general election the winning Conservatives managed to convince voters nostalgic for the days of Empire that the repeated slogan “Get Brexit Done” was somehow the guarantee of a “Rule Britannia” resurgence of patriotism.

      • Bernie Sanders Condemns Trump for Putting US on Path to ‘Another Disastrous War in the Middle East’

        “Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one,” 2020 Democratic candidate said of Trump’s order to assassinate top Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani.

      • Sanders Announces ‘Staggering’ $34.5 Million Fourth-Quarter Haul, With Average Donation of Just $18.53

        “Bernie Sanders is closing the year with the most donations of any candidate in history at this point in a presidential campaign,” said campaign manager Faiz Shakir.

      • After Year-Long Run as Outspoken Advocate for Immigrants and the Poor, Julián Castro Suspends Presidential Campaign

        “We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this race, stood up for the most vulnerable people, and given a voice to those who are often forgotten.”

      • Julian Castro’s Story Should Cause the Democratic Party to Reflect on How It Chooses Candidates

        In general, it should make the country melancholy about how we do politics in the age of big money.

      • Julián Castro Ends 2020 Bid by Listing Names of People of Color Killed by Police

        Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who was the only Latino candidate in the Democratic presidential field, announced that he would end his 2020 campaign on Thursday.

      • Democrat Julián Castro Drops Out of 2020 Presidential Race

        Former Obama housing secretary Julián Castro, the only Latino in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, on Thursday ended his campaign that had pushed the field on immigration and swung hard at rivals on the debate stage but never found a foothold to climb from the back of the pack.

      • A New Year’s Resolution For Democrats
      • Before Putin It’s been two decades since Boris Yeltsin stepped down and tapped his successor, but there are lingering questions about the official history

        Twenty years ago, on December 31, 1999, Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, announced his resignation, catapulting a young Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to head of state. It was the first time in Russia’s history that a living leader left office voluntarily. Everyone who witnessed or participated in the event remembers it roughly the same way, but there are still a few things we don’t know about how Yeltsin stepped down. Meduza’s Dmitry Kartsev looks at the lingering questions.

      • In This Time Of Techlash, It’s Important To Remember That Sometimes Social Media Is Actually Good

        It feels like pretty much every day there’s some sort of new “techlash” story, about how awful social media is, about how it’s dragging down democracy, destroying lives, and that we’d all be better off without it. We’ve been arguing for quite some time now that while there are real issues of concern about social media, most of the narrative is exaggerated to downright misleading. So it’s actually surprising, but nice, to see the NY Times (which has been among the most vocal cheerleaders of the “internet is bad” narrative) have an excellent opinion piece by Sarah Jackson outlining how Twitter, in particular, has “made us better.”

      • Russian officials introduce bill to allow mandatory evacuations following refusals during escalating floods

        Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has posted draft legislation that would allow for mandatory evacuations following natural disasters and other emergencies even if a state of emergency has not been officially declared. If approved, the bill is scheduled to take effect in April.

      • Two Right-Wing Democrats Join Republicans in Asking Supreme Court to Consider Overturning Roe v. Wade

        “It’s happening, people. This is what’s at stake in 2020.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Navy SEAL Leader Accused Of War Crimes Threatens Defamation Suit Against NY Times Reporter For Revealing Videos & Text Of Men Who Reported Him

        The NY Times recently published quite a story, sharing videos and text messages of various Navy SEALs who had reported to officials their concerns with Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was then put on trial for war crimes and mostly acquitted last summer. The one charge he was convicted for resulted in a demotion and a confinement sentence, but President Trump stepped in and reversed that decision, leading to some turmoil within the military, as many leaders were not at all happy about what former Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer (who was fired over all of this) called “shocking and unprecedented interference.” Other long term military officials also found the decision shocking.

      • Hit With a YouTube Copyright Claim? Now You Can Surgically Remove It

        YouTube Studio has been updated with trim tools to assist with the YouTube copyright claim process. The Assisted Trim tool lets creators remove the offending portion of the video, releasing the claim.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Women Who Struggle
      • The Struggle to Vote in the U.S.

        From the suffragettes to today’s voting rights advocates, securing the right to vote should be a common pursuit of us all.

      • Fighting for Reforms Isn’t Enough. It’s Time We Reach for Prison Abolition.

        It’s time to drastically reconsider what safety means to our communities.

      • Chelsea Manning Says She Is ‘Never Backing Down’ in Face of US Detention Meant to Break Her

        “My long-standing objection to the immoral practice of throwing people in jail without charge or trial, for the sole purpose of forcing them to testify before a secret, government-run investigative panel, remains strong.”

      • Today’s Concentration Camps Go by Many Names, But They’re Still Open

        “The use of concentration camps changes the world, but going forward, the most predictable outcome of their use is a world with more camps.”

      • Pentagon Tells Military Members To Steer Clear Of Consumer DNA Testing Kits

        Dozens of companies are offering off-the-shelf DNA tests that promise to do everything from settling paternity claims to letting you know what horrible disease is going to end your life. Other companies simply offer you a chance to connect with the roots and outer branches of your family tree by matching your DNA to the thousands of other people in their databases.

      • Minnesota Appeals Court Nukes State’s Broadly-Written Revenge Porn Law

        Revenge porn laws generally aren’t built to last. When crafting these laws, legislators tend to lose sight of the Constitution. Everyone agrees revenge porn is bad, but simply being in agreement isn’t enough when rights are on the line.

      • What We Found in Three Years of Documenting Hate: A Letter to Our Partners

        After a spate of hate incidents in the wake of the 2016 election, we wanted to better understand why the government does such a bad job tracking hate crimes. So we launched Documenting Hate, working to uncover as much as we could about hate in America. It’s an enormous task, and we knew from the beginning we’d need lots of help. That’s where you, our partner newsrooms, came in.

        Now that the collaboration is coming to an end, we wanted to share with you the impact that we’ve been able to achieve together and to thank you for working with us for these three years.

      • French National Dies in ICE Custody, Marking Agency’s Ninth Death in 2019

        According to a statement shared by ICE, the individual, whose identity has yet to be released as officials work to identify next of kin, was a 40-year-old native of Angola.

        It is still unclear how the French national came to arrive in the U.S. or why they were being held under ICE custody.

      • UN experts urge Pakistan to clear scholar of blasphemy, lift death sentence

        In 2013 students at the university where Hafeez taught accused him of making blasphemous Facebook posts. Insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95% Muslim.

        His lawyers say he was framed by students from a militant Islamist party because of his liberal and secular views. This month a US religious freedom commission placed Hafeez on its list of global victims.

        Hafeez’s family and lawyers released a statement saying the trial had been marked by a “wave of fear” and intimidation after Hafeez’s initial defence lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was shot and killed in 2014 after agreeing to take on the case. No one has been charged with that murder.

      • In Iran, It Is a Crime to Be a Christian

        Converts to Christianity from Islam, according the Iran’s Islamic law, can face the death penalty. The Iranian Islamist judges generally resort to verses from the Quran and Hadith (Muhammad’s sayings and acts) to justify their verdicts.

        Iran systematically violates the U.S. International Religious Freedom Act and this is why, since 1999, the U.S. has designated the Islamic Republic as a “Country of Concern.”

      • Gaza sermon: Florida shooter acted out of compassion for Islamic nation

        The sermon was delivered at the Al-Huda Mosque in Rafah in the Gaza Strip and uploaded to Sheikh Mossran’s YouTube channel on Dec. 22.

      • Female athletes deprived of Afghanistan National Bowling Team membership due to disregarding Islamic hijab

        “The decision made by the Afghanistan Bowling Federation is discriminatory and a clear violence against women. It is not the first time that women in Afghanistan have been deprived of their membership rights. No law or policy can limit a person’s privacy. The statement of Afghanistan Bowling Federation seems suspicious for me, they spoke of ‘violation’ but never ‘specify’ it. If such discriminations in Afghanistan’s sport section are not stopped, women will not dare to attend such environments.”, Samira told Khaama Press.

      • U.N. experts urge Pakistan to clear scholar of blasphemy, lift death sentence
      • The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative

        The ruling Establishment has learnt a profound lesson from the debacle over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. The lesson they have learnt is not that it is wrong to attack and destroy an entire country on the basis of lies. They have not learnt that lesson despite the fact the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Merger Lawsuit Docs Reveal T-Mobile Eyed Merging With Comcast

        We’ve long noted that T-Mobile’s brand reputation as a feisty consumer-friendly disruptor is only really skin deep. While the T-Mobile of 2012 or so certainly added some much needed competition to the wireless sector (killing ETFs, eliminating long-term contracts, and eroding international roaming costs), more recently the company has started to look a lot like the bigger competitors (AT&T, Verizon) it pretends to be superior to. From mocking groups like the EFF to opposing net neutrality, the company isn’t all that different from the companies its brash CEO John Legere likes to make fun of.

    • Monopolies

      • Guest Post: Against the Design-Seizure Bill [Ed: By Sarah Burstein, Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law]

        As previously covered here on Patently-O, a new design patent bill has been introduced in Congress. The so-called “Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019” would allow Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to seize goods accused of design patent infringement.

        This is a bad idea.

        This bill is not reasonably tailored to address its purported goal of “stem[ming] the flow of counterfeit goods.” Instead, it will allow design patent owners to foist their private enforcement costs onto taxpayers, under circumstances that are unlikely to result in accurate determinations of infringement. Moreover, this type of ex parte, non-public system of adjudication is ripe for abuse.

        I have three major groups of concerns about this bill: substantive, procedural, and rhetorical. This post will address them in turn.


        Many (perhaps most) design patents claim just a small part of a larger design; the whole point of such patents is to capture competing products that don’t look the same overall. When an applicant claims a small part of a design, there is no requirement that it be an important or valuable part—let alone a part that would lead to serious consumer deception. (If you’re interested, I wrote more about these claiming techniques here and here.)

        Over the years, I’ve heard many design patent attorneys say they want border enforcement. But it’s not because they’re worried about counterfeiting. They want it because it will make design patents more valuable—or at least seem more valuable—to their clients, which in turn makes it easier to sell their design patent prosecution services. (It’s perhaps not surprising that the push for CBP enforcement became more organized after the Supreme Court’s decision in Samsung v. Apple which, in the eyes of many, made design patents less valuable. The ultimate impact of that case, however, remains to be seen. For more on that case, see here; for more on the developments since then, see here.) While some proponents of this bill may truly, in their hearts of hearts, be worried about actual counterfeiting, the fact remains that many design patent attorneys want border enforcement for these other reasons.

        We’ve seen this rhetorical technique before—in the past, proponents of broader copyright laws have used the word “counterfeiting” to conjure the specter of medicines laced with poisons and other horrors to scare legislators into enriching private rights holders. I hope Congress doesn’t fall for it.

      • Trademarks

        • How much trademark protection does a full name enjoy?

          When one uses a full name as a trade mark, to what extent can one rely on that name to prevent others from registering similar marks? In therecent case of Multi Access Limited v Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited [2019] SGIPOS 15, the Registry found that the protection afforded to a full name mark was narrower than one might expect.

          On 15 December 2015, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited (“the Applicant”) applied to register the trade mark “WONGLO” (“the Application Mark”) in Singapore under International Registration No. 1297792 (Trade Mark No. 40201608455Q) in Classes 5, 30 and 32.

          On 5 September 2017, Multi Access Limited (“the Opponent”) initiated opposition proceedings against the Application Mark, relying on a host of earlier trade mark registrations in Singapore, including the mark “WONG LO KAT” registered in Classes 5, 30 and 33 in 2018 (Trade Mark No. T1015993G) (“the Opponent’s Mark”).

        • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seek to register “Sussex Royal” as a UK trade mark

          The applications were published on 20 December 2019, after it was announced that the couple would separate from the organization (The Royal Foundation), to which they participated together with Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton, in order to form their own charitable venture, that is … Sussex Royal. The foundation will likely start operating this year. Also the launch of a Sussex Royal newspaper appears to be on the cards.

          Kensington Palace acknowledged the dissolution of the former joint charity in a statement last year: “The Royal Foundation will become the principal charitable and philanthropic vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge”.

          The Palace went on to describe the choice for the royals to separate their charitable ventures as a decision to “best complement the work and responsibilities of Their Royal Highnesses as they prepare for their future roles, and to better align their charitable activity with their new households.” (see here).


          This is not the first time that we see celebrities, including those with a royal status, applying to register trade marks that cover a wide range of goods and services. Also, it would not be the first case to make headlines in the event that the trade mark application was opposed.

          One of the main issues with these applications is that it is not a given that the relevant signs actually function as trade marks. For instance, readers might recall the bad luck of Cardi B’s trade mark application for the word mark “OKURRR” (see here). The more common a term or expression is, the less likely it is that the public will use it to identify only one source and the less likely that it will be recognized by purchasers as a trade mark.

          Now that the application has been published on the Trade Mark Journal, third parties are able to oppose the registration for another two months, based on absolute and/or relative grounds. Once two months have passed (without any opposition), the marks will officially be registered.

      • Copyrights

        • Our 4.0 License Suite Is Now Available in Simplified and Traditional Chinese

          Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese are different in important respects, but also have many similarities and overlapping communities. Even within each language, variances occur depending on region and cultures. While all official translations are faithful linguistic translations of the original English language 4.0 licenses, CC and its community account for these variations and document the rationale for those differences on our website.

        • ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ by George Gershwin Enters the Public Domain

          “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin is entering the public domain, along with other works from 1924. Not everyone is happy about it.

        • How the Entertainment Industry Solved Piracy, Then Made It Popular Again

          Only in the last 10 years has the industry’s thinking finally started to evolve. Instead of treating would-be customers as nefarious villains, companies began listening to data showing that—fair or not—the industry needs to view piracy as a competitor. In short, it finally learned the best way to stop piracy is to listen to consumers and start giving them what they want.

          That lesson remains a work in progress. While video streaming has exploded in the last decade, an ocean of costly services—all rushing to hide exclusive content behind paywalls—risk annoying consumers and driving them right back to piracy.

        • Nintendo Wins Injunction Against Switch Mod & Pirate Game Seller

          In 2018, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against a California man it accused of selling pirated Nintendo games, modding devices and modding services. As part of a stipulated judgment, a California court has now handed down a permanent injunction restraining the man from circumventing Nintendo’s technical measures or offering any unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyright works.

        • Torrent Site YTS ‘Settles’ Piracy Lawsuit with Movie Company but Stays Online

          The operator of the popular torrent site YTS has resolved the piracy lawsuit that was filed by movie outfit Wicked Nevada last year. In a consent judgment, which is signed by both parties, the YTS admin agreed to pay $150,000 in damages. The site is no longer allowed to share torrents of the film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile,” but YTS itself remains online for now.

        • Streaming Accounted for 80% of US-Based Recording Revenues in 2019

          In an announcement that mirrored a similar report from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said that music streaming accounted for 80% of the U.S. recorded music market in 2019.

        • Music Streams Cross 100 Billion Annually in the U.K. — Another Record

          According to a new report from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), there were more than 100 billion music streams in the United Kingdom during 2019, which breaks a record.

Links 3/1/2020: 2020 XPS 13 Developer Edition, KStars 3.3.9 and Grep 3.4

Posted in News Roundup at 4:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Microphone audio capture arrives in Linux on Chromebooks. Here’s how to use it

        At long last one of the major features I’ve missed from Linux on Chrome OS has arrived. And nobody even told us. I’m talking about audio capture in a Linux container on Chromebooks. You can actually use it now on the Chrome OS 79 Stable Channel that launched a few weeks ago.

        Normally experimental new features are hidden behind a Chrome OS flag but audio capture hasn’t even reached that stage yet. Instead, you have to start Termina, the virtual machine where your Linux containers run on a Chromebook, with a command line flag.

      • Introducing the 2020 XPS 13 Developer Edition — (this one goes to 32!)

        We are proud to announce the latest and greatest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition. The system, which is based on 10th Gen Intel® Core™ 10nm mobile processors represents the 10th generation of the XPS 13 Developer Edition (see a list of the previous nine generations below).

        This 10th generation system features an updated design and comes with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preloaded. Two areas of note are that the new XPS 13 will be available with up to 32GB of RAM as well fingerprint-reader support.

      • Dell’s Upcoming XPS 13 Linux Laptop Includes A Highly Requested New Feature

        If you’ve been following the steady march of progress from Dell’s Linux-first Project Sputnik team, you’re no doubt aware that the “Developer Edition” variant of the XPS 13 is one of the finest Linux-ready ultrabooks you can buy. Just ahead of CES 2020, Dell is pushing out a few more improvements including a feature that’s been hotly requested: fingerprint-reader support.

      • Dell Finally Rolls Out XPS 13 Developer Edition With Ice Lake, Fingerprint Reader

        Up to now the most recent Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop with Ubuntu Linux has been using Comet Lake processors while now the 10th Generation XPS 13 Developer Edition has been announced with Ice Lake processors.

        The new Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition will begin shipping in February with the latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS HWE support. Beyond being exciting for having Ice Lake processors with Gen11 graphics, the developer edition finally goes up to 32GB of RAM (rather than 16GB) and fingerprint reader support is also finally going to be available.

      • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Gets a 10th Anniversary Revamp

        Dell has unveiled a redesigned Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition ahead of the Project Sputnik’s tenth anniversary.

        Having sported the same overall look for the past few years Dell is using this opportunity to make a redesign. The new Dell XPS 13 is thinner and lighter than the models it replaces, yet remains built by the same core materials: aluminium, carbon and glass fibre.

        Famed for its stunning displays, the latest entrant in the XPS 13 line boasts a 13.4-inch “InfinityEdge” screen with thinner bottom bezel. This latter reduction means this device, as noted by Neowin, boasts a fantastic 91.5% screen-to-body ratio.

        Smaller bezels have allowed Dell to use a 16:10 aspect ratio screen in both FHD and UHD+ and touch and non-touch variants. This slightly roomier screen size provides more vertical height, which should be useful when working on documents or surfing the web.

        The XPS 13’s keyboard is wider with larger key caps, and the touchpad has been increased by 17% — good news for those with big hands, I guess!

        Specifications are also marginally improved here too. The new Dell XPS 13 swaps Intel’s Comet Lake processors for Intel Ice Lake ones across i3, i5 and i7 SKUs — with the latter integrated Iris Plus graphics, too.

      • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition 2020 Ubuntu Laptop Announced

        Look like Dell listing to customer feedback. Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is the ultimate Linux laptop for developers and Linux enthusiasts/power users. The Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition 2020 now supports 10th Gen Intel CPU and 32GB ram. This system comes pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux 18.04, but you can install any other distro.

        One of the most requested features for Dell XPS 13 developer edition was an option for 16GB or more RAM to run VMs or Linux containers workload. Dell listened to our demands, and you can grab device up to 32GB RAM.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Managing development environments with Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2

          At the heart of CRW is the concept and implementation of ?workspaces.? A workspace is a development environment that can be likened to a PC loaded up with an operating system, programming language, tools, editor, and one or more development projects. You can even access a command line running in your browser.

          You might have a workspace that has Java and Maven installed on a CoreOS image. Another workspace might be based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with Node.js and MongoDB installed. Need to work on some .NET Core 3.0 code? No problem, simply create a workspace. Yes, while Che 7 and CRW might have been initially created with Java developers in mind it is, in fact, very much language neutral. Its use of the Language Server Protocol ensures future language support. Yes, even COBOL is supported. Grace Hopper meets Tim Berners-Lee.

          In each case, you can optionally?and probably should?include a software project. For most use cases, this will be source code stored in a Git repository. CodeReady Workspaces handles this, as GitHub integration is built in.

          In CRW, you simply start a workspace just as you would power on a PC. In seconds, the code editor is open in front of you, your project is loaded, and all the tools and language support you need are at hand. Several workspaces can be defined and switching between them is easy. Start and stop workspaces with a mouse click. Stop now, here, and restart the workspace later from a different computer. Indeed, all you need is a browser.

        • Disaster Recovery Strategies for Applications Running on OpenShift

          There is an increasing pressure to deploy stateful applications in Red Hat OpenShift.These applications require a more sophisticated disaster recovery (DR) strategy than stateless applications, as state must also be taken into account as opposed to just traffic redirection.

          Disaster recovery strategies become less generic and more application-specific as applications increase in complexity. That said, this document will attempt to illustrate high-level disaster recovery strategies that can be applied to common stateful applications.

          It is also important to acknowledge that the disaster recovery strategy for the OpenShift platform itself is a separate topic aside from the disaster recovery for applications running within OpenShift.

        • Red Hat Satellite Ask Me Anything Q&A from October 31, 2019

          This post covers the questions and answers during the October 2019 Satellite Ask Me Anything (AMA) calls.

          For anyone not familiar, the Satellite AMAs are an “ask me anything” (AMA) style event where we invite Red Hat customers to bring all of their questions about Red Hat Satellite, drop them in the chat, and members of the Satellite product team answers as many of them live as we can during the AMA and we then follow up with a blog post detailing the questions and answers.

        • Red Hat customers say hybrid is their top cloud strategy

          Customers of Red Hat Inc. are increasingly opting for a hybrid approach as their preferred cloud strategy, but doing so isn’t always easy: A large number of them admit to struggling to attract staff with the right skills to make it happen.

          That’s one of the main takeaways from Red Hat’s 2020 Global Customer Tech Outlook, a survey of 876 of its biggest customers released today.

          Red Hat reports that 31% of them say the term “hybrid” best describes their cloud strategy, with 21% more leaning toward a private cloud approach. Perhaps surprisingly, just 4% say public cloud is their first choice, with 6% opting for “multicloud,” based on two or more public cloud platforms. Most worrisome, some 12% appear to have no cloud strategy at all, saying simply they have “no plans to focus on cloud.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 15 Years Of Ubuntu With Mark Shuttleworth | KubeCon Interview

        Ubuntu & Canonical turned 15 in 2019. Our editor-in-chief, Swapnil Bhartiya, sat down with Mark Shuttleworth, founder and CEO of Canonical, to reflect on the past 15 years and also take a peak at the future. We talks about the role Ubuntu has played in making Linux community friendlier to new users and how Ubuntu enabled budding entrepreneur to create new businesses. We also talked about the future of Canonical in the era where companies like Red Hat and Dockers got acquired.

      • Why Computers Suck | BSD Now 331

        How learning OpenBSD makes computers suck a little less, How Unix works, FreeBSD 12.1 Runs Well on Ryzen Threadripper 3970X, BSDCan CFP, HardenedBSD Infrastructure Goals, and more.

      • Conquering Planned Obsolescence | Self-Hosted 9

        Master of details, open source advocate and YouTuber, Quindor from Intermittent.Tech joins us for a chat about tuya-convert to avoid planned hardware obsolescence, his new 100TB server build, highly available home setups, and his DIY LED project.

      • Destination Linux 154 – 2020 Predictions, Endeavour OS, Darktable, Kdenlive, Kubuntu Laptop

        Our 2020 Predictions:
        – Intel bring the best price for performance dedicated GPU and releases 10nm CPU.
        – Arch overtakes all other distros on the desktop with partnership with Valve.
        – Cannonical and Microsoft form a stronger partnership. Cannonical moves over even more resources to work on WSL. Microsoft never release office suite to Linux.
        – System 76 releases full AMD based laptop.
        – Apple continues to release crap products nobody wants at prices nobody can afford.
        – Google shuts down Stadia.
        – Wayland will still not replace X11 in 2020 – I keep hearing they have made fantastic advances and I am positive it is not their fault but until it works with Nvidia…..
        – The Ubuntu Desktop will thrive under the Stewardship of Martin Wimpress, Director Of Engineering, Ubuntu Desktop, at Canonical Ltd. and 20.04 will eclipse all other earlier versions, including the phenominal 14.04 which was my Year of the Linux Desktop
        – Pine64 will continue to flourish, this is s a shining example of how Products should be marketed and sold with complete transparancy. Something we wish “Other” companies would aspire too.
        – Michaels stool will languish unused, heartbroken, sitting lonely in the corner, rueing the day it was wrenched screaming from it’s Family life. Wanting to be back to other stools in the warehouse before Michael bought it.
        – Canonical goes public – MS buys a big share
        – A cloud connected company goes under over a PR disaster of privacy
        – Tech will be a talking point in the 2020 American elections
        – Apple will move further away from desktop and more into mobile
        – A real 3rd party mobile player will emerge
        – Pine will go mainstream
        – Stool given away for charity
        – more Linux powered devices
        – Plasma will finally introduce good user experience defaults putting it in its rightful place of being the go to Desktop Environment
        – Valve makes another announcement on the same level as Proton that blows everyone’s minds
        – at least 1 big commercial company will release their application on Linux thanks to the Universal App formats
        – I think 2020 will be the Year of the Linux Smartphone, well at least for me
        – Destination Linux Network will become a media juggernaut not only in the Linux space but just tech in general making it possible for us to push Linux and Open Source forward in so many ways

      • Lunduke’s 2020 Computer Industry Predictions

        Prediction #1: There will be more major data breaches in 2020 than in 2019.

        In 2019, there were an estimated 5,000+ large scale data breaches — resulting in close to 8 billion records exposed.

        To put that in perspective: That’s more than the population of… the entire world. Or roughly 2 to 3 unique, exposed records for every single person that uses the Internet.

        In 2020, those numbers will rise. Dramatically. I’d estimate that we can expect a minimum of 10 billion records leaked, hacked, or otherwise exposed over the next year. A trend that I predict will continue for the foreseeable future.

      • Lunduke’s 2020 Computer Industry Predictions
    • Kernel Space

      • Systemd Is Approaching 1.3 Million Lines While Poettering Lost Top Contributor Spot For 2019

        As of New Year’s morning, systemd’s Git tree was at 1,273,896 lines spread across 3,522 commits built up over 42,700+ commits from around 1,500 different authors.

        Though to some surprise, systemd’s Git commit count for 2019 fell compared to the record-setting pace of development in 2018.

      • Introducing the guide to inter-process communication in Linux

        Getting one software process to talk to another software process is a delicate balancing act. It can be a vital function for an application, though, so it’s a problem any programmer embarking on a complex project has to solve. Whether your application needs to kick off a job being handled by someone else’s software; to monitor an action being performed by a peripheral or over a network; or to detect a signal from some other source, when your software relies on something outside of its own code to know what to do next or when to do it, you need to think about inter-process communication (IPC).

      • More Improvements Queued For The Smaller DRM Drivers In Linux 5.6

        The first batch for 2020 of DRM-Misc updates have been sent to DRM-Next of the smaller Direct Rendering Manager drivers and other core / user-space API changes to our favorite subsystem.

    • Applications

      • Cozy – Modern GTK+ 3 Audio Book Player for Linux

        Cozy is an open-source audio book player with a modern user interface. It’s written in Python with GTK+ 3, and works in Linux and Mac OS.

      • Telegram App Adds an Annoying New Feature: Autoplay Video

        The desktop Telegram app for Windows, macOS and Linux system has received a small new year update.

        Headline change: videos shared in chats now start playing automatically. Yeah, I didn’t mistype that. The “good” news about this potentially very annoying behaviour is that it can be controlled.

        An option to disable automatic playback for videos (and for GIFs and ’round video messages’, whatever they are) is available via Settings > Advanced > Automatic media download — so turn it off if you find it an annoyance!

      • You can now easily control the AMD Wraith Prism RGB colouring on Linux with CM-RGB

        Thanks to an open source project, you can now quite easily adjust the colouring on the fan of the AMD Wraith Prism RGB cooler.

        Since AMD don’t officially provide their software for adjusting RGB on Linux, we’re once again left to the community to fill in the gaps. Thankfully someone has done this, enter CM-RGB. Once of those utilities that’s not even remotely essential, but very much nice to have.

        CM-RGB offers up quite a lot of options for tweaking colours, with a fun example script of displaying CPU utilization with the ring LED’s like the example gif the developer provided below:

      • 21 Best Free Linux Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

        An integrated development environment (IDE) (sometimes known as an integrated design environment or integrated debugging environment) is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to programmers for software development.

        Many coders learn to code using a text editor but in time they move towards using an IDE as this type of software application makes the art of coding quicker and more efficient.

        For example, IDEs have semantic knowledge of the programming language which highlights coding problems while typing. Compiling is ‘on the fly’ and debugging is integrated.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Shocking! EA is Permanently Banning Linux Gamers on Battlefield V

        Several Linux gamers have been banned by EA Sports because they chose to play Battlefield V on Linux using Wine. Read more about it.

      • The remaster of turn-based RPG ‘Stoneshard: Prologue’ is now available on Linux

        Stoneshard: Prologue acts as the demo for the upcoming Early Access release of Stoneshard, a tough turn-based RPG inspired by Diablo and classic roguelikes.

        The Prologue demo was originally released back in 2018, while it had an ongoing crowdfunding campaign. Since then, Ink Stains Games have made a lot of progress and it no longer gave an accurate idea of what the game would be like. So the Remastered Prologue was released on December 25, with it today being announced that the Linux version of the remaster is also up.

      • Open Fodder, the open source game engine for Cannon Fodder has a new release

        Now this is some classic gaming. Cannon Fodder is a game I remember playing on the Amiga and it’s being kept alive with a cross-platform open source game engine called Open Fodder.

        It comes with many improvements compared with the original, like working easily on modern systems and Linux of course. There’s also an editor to create custom maps and campaigns, as Open Fodder supports more than just the original content/ Just recently, version 1.6.0 went out adding in support for huge maps, a JavaScript engine for random map generation, better asset detection, better configuration support and some good bug fixes.

      • Deck-building rogue-lite RPG, A Long Way Down, entering Early Access this month

        A Long Way Down mashes together elements of an RPG and a deck-building game, as you attempt to escape a maze and it’s coming to Linux later this month.

        On Steam, the team recently announced January 16 as the Early Access date. I asked if that included Linux, to which they gave me a crystal clear answer: “Yes it does! Windows, MacOS and Linux versions are ready for the Early Access Release :)”.

      • Event Horizon drop a new teaser for their upcoming RPG Dark Envoy, releasing this year

        Dark Envoy from Event Horizon (Tower of Time) is an upcoming on-linear RPG inspired by the likes of the Divinity series, XCOM, FTL, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age.

        Confirmed to be coming to Linux in our previous article, it’s sounding like quite an exciting adventure. Considering how good Tower of Time was, I’ve no doubt this will be just as good.

      • FOSS game engine Godot Engine aiming for Vulkan support by ‘mid 2020′

        All those are in addition to Juan Linietsky working as Lead Developer and Rémi Verschelde working as Project Manager. We have to remember this is in quite a short amount of time too, they only setup their Patreon well into the second half of 2017 and within the first month their first goal to have Linietsky work full time was hit.

        Now onto the more exciting bit, what does the future hold for Godot? Going by what Linietsky wrote, Godot Engine 4.0 is going to be due in ‘mid 2020′ which is the huge release that comes with their rendering overhaul with Vulkan. Much sooner though, Godot Engine 3.2 should be releasing this month with Verschelde handling it as Linietsky works on 4.0.

        Great work to everyone involved. It’s fun to watch a free and open source game engine evolve so quickly.

      • Mike Shapiro drops a cryptic message from G-Man for the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx

        Half-Life: Alyx is set to release in March this year, and while we don’t yet know what exactly is happening with Linux support it’s still an exciting time. It’s a VR exclusive game, so you need VR hardware.

        As a quick reminder, Half-Life: Alyx is set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 as you follow Alyx Vance, as one of the founders of a fledgling resistance trying to push back against a vicious alien race known as the Combine.

      • Set in a comic-book world with Metal Slug inspired visuals, Fury Unleashed is coming to Linux

        I do love a good action-heavy platformer and Fury Unleashed from Awesome Games Studio looks pretty intense. The developer has teased that they’re getting closer to a full release and it turns out Linux support will arrive for it then too.

      • devilutionX, an open source game engine for the original Diablo sees a big release

        devilutionX, based upon the reverse engineered code from Devilution, has a big 1.0 release for playing the original Diablo on modern systems. Note: You need a copy of the original data to play, which you can get easily from GOG.com.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Kate Text Editor Seeing LSP Improvements For Better Code Support

          With last month’s release of KDE’s Kate 19.12 text editor there was an initial plug-in for Language Server Protocol (LSP) support to better allow language-agnostic support for code syntax highlighting and other features. There were some issues in that initial implementation but with Kate 19.12.1 and beyond will be better support.

          The Language Server Protocol is what’s been increasingly supported by text editors and IDEs for providing programming language specific features and by editors supporting LSP is designed to make it quite easy to support new languages with syntax highlighting, code completion, and other language-specific features.

        • KStars v3.3.9 is Released

          We kickoff 2020 with a brand new KStars v3.3.9 release for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

          This release incorporates the continued improvements to KStars base while introducing new long-awaited features in a few areas.

          Stretch Controls

          Hy Murveit implemented adjustable and fast stretch controls for mono and color images within the FITS Viewer. These allow fine changes in Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights clipping even for high resolution astro-photos.

          Adjusting the controls do not change the underlying data, only the previewed image. After any stretch adjustment is made, the user can always revert to the automatic stretching again by clicking on the small wizard icon at the bottom right corner of the controls panel.

        • KDE Plasma Plans New Look and New App Menu for 2020

          Nate Graham’s peek at the KDE roadmap for 2020 reveals these and other changes planned for Plasma, though not all are said to be guaranteed inclusion.

          Breeze is KDE’s steely-cool theme, and is used by default in most (it not all) KDE-based Linux distributions, including KDE Neon, Kubuntu, and Manjaro KDE — but it might soon look a little different, as this mockup shows…

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Bonsai Promises to Make Syncing GNOME Devices Much Easier

          Red Hat developer, Christian Hergert has been working on a GNOME desktop syncing project with lots of promise.

          If you’re a GNOME user with multiple devices, and have longed for the day when those devices could easily be synced with one another, that wish may be coming true. Red Hat developer Christian Hergert has started developing a project called Bonsai, which will serve as a sort of personal cloud for all of your GNOME-based devices.

          On his blog, Hergert stated, “I want access to my files and application data on all my computing devices but I don’t want to store that data on other peoples computers.” This idea led Herget to create Bonsai. And although this tool is very much in the experimental phase (which means it’s not an official GNOME project), it is being hosted on Hergert’s GNOME Gitlab repository.

        • Celebrating GNOME Newcomers’ contributions

          A few weeks ago, I sat down to solve some issues related to the GNOME Engagement team. While going through the list, I found this issue created by Umang Jain, which looked forward to celebrating the contributions made by GNOME Newcomers. It was opened in late 2017 and a lot of discussions happened during this period. So, I decided to take on this issue and solve it programmatically.

    • Distributions

      • Fedora Family

        • Packages of varnish-6.0.5 with matching vmods for el6 and el7, and a fedora modularity stream

          Some time back in 2019, Varnish Software and the Varnish Cache project released a new LTS upstream version 6.0.5 of Varnish Cache. I updated the fedora 29 package, and added a modularity stream varnish:6.0 for fedora 31. I have also built el6 and el7 packages for the varnish60 copr repo, based on the fedora package. A snapshot of matching varnish-modules, and a selection of other misc vmods are also available.

        • Fedora 32 Planning To Make Use Of systemd’s sysusers.d For Declaring New Users

          Fedora 32 is likely to make use of systemd’s sysusers.d functionality for packages declaring new system users as part of the package installation process. This change proposal is being led by Red Hat’s Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek of their systemd team.

          The sysusers.d functionality allows for declarative allocation of system users and groups in a convenient manner that makes it easy for end-users/administrators to evaluate.

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan Dowland: Linux Desktop

          I already wrote a little bit about my ethos and some particulars, so I’ll not repeat myself here. The version of GNOME I am using is 3.30.2. I continue to rely upon Hide Top Bar, but had to disable TopIcons Plus which proved unstable. I use the Arc Darker theme to shrink window title bars down to something reasonable (excepting GTK3 apps that insist on stuffing other buttons into that region).

          Although I mostly remove or hide things, I use one extension to add stuff: Suspend Button, to add a distinct “Suspend” button. The GNOME default was, and seem to remain, to offer only a “Power off” button, which seems ludicrous to me.

          I spend a lot of time inside of Terminals. I use GNOME terminal, but I disable or hide tabs, the menubar and the scrollbar. Here’s one of my top comfort tips for working in terminals: I set the default terminal size to 120×32, up from 80×24. It took me a long time to realise that I habitually resized every terminal I started.

        • Nazi rhetoric creeping into Debian

          Rhonda D’Vine, a Debian Developer from Austria, recently wrote about actively excluding people from free software projects.

          At first glance, what D’Vine is proposing amounts to emotional blackmail.

          This is the psychology of cults: people must show a blind obedience to the leaders and suppress their own feelings and ideas or they are treated rudely.


          D’Vine’s musings reveal an Austrian/German cultural defect: a desire and willingness to control everybody around you or eliminate them. An unwillingness to invest in relationships with people you wouldn’t normally count as close friends.

          The fact that D’Vine independently derives this philosophy from her own environment, which includes Debian, suggests a disturbing possibility that those from a German cultural background will keep reviving the philosophy behind the Holocaust from time to time whenever they participate in a state or organization with mixed cultures.

        • Debian LTS work, December 2019

          I was assigned 16.5 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 3.75 hours from November. I worked all 20.25 hours this month.

          I prepared and, after review, released Linux 3.16.79. I rebased the Debian package onto 3.16.79 and sent out a request for testing.

        • Balasankar ‘Balu’ C: FOSS contributions in 2019

          I have been interested in the concept of Freedom – both in the technical and social ecosystems for almost a decade now. Even though I am not a harcore contributor or anything, I have been involved in it for few years now – as an enthusiast, a contributor, a mentor, and above all an evangelist. Since 2019 is coming to an end, I thought I will note down what all I did last year as a FOSS person.


          My job at GitLab is that of a Distribution Engineer. In simple terms, I have to deal with anything that a user/customer may use to install or deploy GitLab. My team maintains the omnibus-gitlab packages for various OSs, docker image, AWS AMIs and Marketplace listings, Cloud Native docker images, Helm charts for Kubernetes, etc.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.3 is here and better than ever

          When I say low-powered, I mean machines from the 2000s. The full version of Linux Mint requires a mere 2GBs of RAM. It can even run with as little as 1GB and with older 32-bit processors. You’ll also need at least 15GBs of disk space, but I recommend 20GBs. Finally, you’ll need a graphics card and monitor that supports a 1024×768 resolution. In short, you can pretty much run Mint on any PC you have lying around your junk room.

          Beneath the hood, the new Mint is based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS and the 4.15.0-72 Linux kernel. MInt 19.3 is also a LTS version. It will be supported until December 2023. The default kernel has already been upgraded to the Linux 5.0.

          The first thing you’ll notice about the new Mint is the warning icon in your system tray. It’s not nearly as alarming as it looks. Now, when you boot up Mint, System Report checks for potential issues, such as a missing language package, multimedia codec, an updated hardware driver, or a new version of Linux Mint. Just click on the mini icon and Mint will let you know what’s missing or new and guide you to getting the latest and greatest update. You can, of course, just ignore its recommendation and continue on your Minty way. I find it a very handy little feature.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Pulse SMS by Klinker Apps is now completely open source

        Klinker Apps released ‘Pulse’ in 2016 as a new SMS client with support for sending messages from multiple devices. Once set up on your phone, you can send messages from a web app, wearables, and other platforms. Now the app is completely open-source, with Klinker Apps hoping more developers will contribute.


        Klinker Apps hopes this will lead to more developers contributing to the app, which could result in a more stable experience and additional features. Even though Pulse SMS development is already extremely active (five updates were released just last month), the app might benefit from more cooks in the kitchen.

      • Coreboot Seeing Tigerlake + Jasperlake Activity, Experimental Razer Icelake Laptop Support

        Building upon Coreboot Icelake support that has been coming together recently is now the initial Intel support for Jasperlake and Tigerlake. Additionally, when it comes to the Icelake support, there is experimental/work-in-progress support for the Icelake-powered Razer Blade Stealth laptop.

        When it comes to Coreboot on laptops generally most work is done on several generations old Intel processors, but over December and already continuing into January are some useful modern CPU support improvements.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • grep-3.4 released [stable]
            This is to announce grep-3.4, a stable release.
            Special thanks to Paul Eggert and Norihiro Tanaka for their many fine contributions.
            There have been 71 commits by 4 people in the 54 weeks since 3.3.
            See the NEWS below for a brief summary.
            Thanks to everyone who has contributed!
            The following people contributed changes to this release:
              Jim Meyering (31)
              Norihiro Tanaka (5)
              Paul Eggert (34)
              Zev Weiss (1)
            Jim [on behalf of the grep maintainers]
            Here is the GNU grep home page:
            For a summary of changes and contributors, see:
            or run this command from a git-cloned grep directory:
              git shortlog v3.3..v3.4
            To summarize the 819 gnulib-related changes, run these commands
            from a git-cloned grep directory:
              git checkout v3.4
              git submodule summary v3.3
            Here are the compressed sources and a GPG detached signature[*]:
            Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:
            [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the
            .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file
            and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this:
              gpg --verify grep-3.4.tar.xz.sig
            If that command fails because you don't have the required public key,
            then run this command to import it:
              gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 7FD9FCCB000BEEEE
            and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command.
            This release was bootstrapped with the following tools:
              Autoconf 2.69.197-b8fd7-dirty
              Automake 1.16a
              Gnulib v0.1-3121-gc3c36de58
            * Noteworthy changes in release 3.4 (2020-01-02) [stable]
            ** New features
              The new --no-ignore-case option causes grep to observe case
              distinctions, overriding any previous -i (--ignore-case) option.
            ** Bug fixes
              '.' no longer matches some invalid byte sequences in UTF-8 locales.
              [bug introduced in grep 2.7]
              grep -Fw can no longer false match in non-UTF-8 multibyte locales
              For example, this command would erroneously print its input line:
                echo ab | LC_CTYPE=ja_JP.eucjp grep -Fw b
              [Bug#38223 introduced in grep 2.28]
              The exit status of 'grep -L' is no longer incorrect when standard
              output is /dev/null.
              [Bug#37716 introduced in grep 3.2]
              A performance bug has been fixed when grep is given many patterns,
              each with no back-reference.
              [Bug#33249 introduced in grep 2.5]
              A performance bug has been fixed for patterns like '01.2' that
              cause grep to reorder tokens internally.
              [Bug#34951 introduced in grep 3.2]
            ** Build-related
              The build procedure no longer relies on any already-built src/grep
              that might be absent or broken.  Instead, it uses the system 'grep'
              to bootstrap, and uses src/grep only to test the build.  On Solaris
              /usr/bin/grep is broken, but you can install GNU or XPG4 'grep' from
              the standard Solaris distribution before building GNU Grep yourself.
              [bug introduced in grep 2.8]
          • GNU Guile 2.9.8 Released [beta]
            We are pleased to announce GNU Guile release 2.9.8.  This is the eighth
            and possibly final pre-release of what will eventually become the 3.0
            release series.
            Compared to the current stable series (2.2.x), the future Guile 3.0 adds
            support for just-in-time native code generation, speeding up all Guile
            programs.  See the NEWS extract at the end of the mail for full details.
            Compared to the previous prerelease (2.9.7), Guile 2.9.8 fixes a bug in
            libguile that caused writes to unmapped memory in some circumstances.
            This problem manifested itself as a failure of Guile to compile itself
            on some systems, notably Ubuntu 18.04 on x86-64.  It also fixes a couple
            warnings related to SRFI-35.
            The current plan is to make a 3.0.0 final release on 17 January 2020.
            We may need another prerelease in the interim.  It's a good time to test
            the prereleases to make sure they work on your platform.  Please send
            any build reports (success or failure) to address@hidden, along
            with platform details.  You can file a bug by sending mail to
            The Guile web page is located at http://gnu.org/software/guile/, and
            among other things, it contains a copy of the Guile manual and pointers
            to more resources.
            Guile is an implementation of the Scheme programming language, with
            support for many SRFIs, packaged for use in a wide variety of
            environments.  In addition to implementing the R5RS Scheme standard,
            Guile includes a module system, full access to POSIX system calls,
            networking support, multiple threads, dynamic linking, a foreign
            function call interface, and powerful string processing.
            Guile can run interactively, as a script interpreter, and as a Scheme
            compiler to VM bytecode.  It is also packaged as a library so that
            applications can easily incorporate a complete Scheme interpreter/VM.
            An application can use Guile as an extension language, a clean and
            powerful configuration language, or as multi-purpose "glue" to connect
            primitives provided by the application.  It is easy to call Scheme code
            >From C code and vice versa.  Applications can add new functions, data
            types, control structures, and even syntax to Guile, to create a
            domain-specific language tailored to the task at hand.
          • GNU Guile 2.9.8 (beta) released

            We are delighted to announce the release of GNU Guile 2.9.8. This is the eighth and possibly final pre-release of what will eventually become the 3.0 release series.

            See the release announcement for full details and a download link.

            This release fixes an error in libguile that could cause Guile to crash in some particular conditions, and was notably experienced by users compiling Guile itself on Ubuntu 18.04.

      • Programming/Development

        • Ruby 2.7.0 Released

          We are pleased to announce the release of Ruby 2.7.0.

        • Ruby 2.7 released

          Over the holiday week, we missed the announcement of Ruby 2.7 on December 25. It is the most recent release of the Ruby programming language and was more than a year in development. There are quite a few new features including experimental pattern matching for case statements (more information can be found in these slides), a new compaction garbage collector for the heap, support for separating positional and keyword arguments, and plenty more.

        • AI creativity will bloom in 2020, all thanks to true web machine learning

          Machine learning has been trotted out as a trend to watch for many years now. But there’s good reason to talk about it in the context of 2020. And that’s thanks to developments like TensorFlow.js: an end-to-end open source machine learning library that is capable of, among other features, running pre-trained AI directly in a web browser.

          Why the excitement? It means that AI is becoming a more fully integrated part of the web; a seemingly small and geeky detail that could have far reaching consequences.

          Sure, we’ve already got examples a plenty of web tools that use AI: speech recognition, sentiment analysis, image recognition, and natural language processing are no longer earth-shatteringly new. But these tools generally offload the machine learning task to a server, wait for it to compute and then send back the results.

          That’s fine and dandy for tasks that can forgive small delays (you know the scenario: you type a text in English, then patiently wait a second or two to get it translated into another language). But this browser-to-server-to-browser latency is the kiss of death for more intricate and creative applications.

        • Java Is A Language of 50 Keywords ‘for’

          The ‘for‘ a keyword is a loop keyword among several other loopings keywords. The other looping keywords are while loop, do-while loop. In programming whenever we want to repeat the code multiple times we need to use for loop. The people who are new to the programming they repeat the code whenever they need to print something multiple times but repeating code is a huge mistake in programming because it gives more work to compilers that leads to more time in the execution of the program.

          A for loop is actually a predefined function by the developers of Java. This function takes 3 parameters and based on the parameters it repeats the code.

        • Perl and Rust

          • Class, Role And Attribute Accessor in Raku

            There could be some disagreement among devs wether the code should output 42 or 666. Though Raku states it explicitly that things defined by class have priority over role’s declared ones. Hence, we expect 42 here.

            Period, this post is over, everybody is free to go? Alas, this issue says that the code above outputs 666! Oops… What’s going on here?

          • This Week in Rust 319
        • Python

          • Python 3.7.5 : Testing the Falcon framework – part 001.

            I start the new year with this python framework named Falcon.
            The Falcon is a low-level, high-performance Python framework for building HTTP APIs, app backends, and higher-level frameworks.
            The main reason was the speed of this python framework, see this article about falcon benchmark.
            You can see is more faster like Flask and Django.

          • Python 2.7 Reaches End of Life After 20 Years of Development

            As of January 1st, 2020, Python 2.7 has officially reached the end of life and will no longer receive security updates, bug fixes, or other improvements going forward.

            Released in 2000, Python 2.7 has been used by developers, administrators, and security professionals for 20 years. While Python 3 was released in 2006, due to the number of users continuing to use 2.7, the Python team decided to support both development branches.

            Originally slated to be retired in 2015, the development team pushed the sunset of Python 2.7 to 2020.

            To focus on Python 3 and increase the speed of its development and bug fixes, the development team has now sunset Python 2.7 and the team recommends that all users upgrade to Python 3 to continue receiving important updates.

          • Build a Rest API with Python and Django – The easiest way

            Think REST API as a web service that provide you the data you want to use in your application(mobile or front-end client).

          • Doing Math with Python: Number of trailing zeros in the factorial of an integer

            I recently learned about a cool formula to calculate the number of trailing zeros in the factorial of a number. It has been a while since I wrote a program to do something like this. So, I decided to change that and write this blog post. Let’s jump in.

            In the spirit of wring various “calculators” in the book, we will write a “number of trailing zero” calculator. First up though, let’s refresh some key relevant concepts.

          • EuroPython 2020: Venue and location selected

            We will now start work on the contracts and get the organization going, so that we can all enjoy another edition of EuroPython next year.

  • Leftovers

    • Booked Up: the 20 Best Books of 2019
    • For 2020 and Beyond: ‘Keep Hoping Machine Running’

      All things considered, we could do worse than embracing Woody Guthrie’s resolutions for the new year.

    • Of Scrooges, and Sweeps, Body Snatching and Death on the Street: A Christmas Carol in Portlandia

      In the midst of the Christmas, Hannukah crush, even for Wiccans and Pagans, it’s easy to overlook a relatively recent national ritual that coincides with the solstice: Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless designated December 21st, the darkest day of the year, National Homeless Persons Memorial Day. Personally, around this time of year, I can’t help but think about my housemate and friend Debbie Hill, a longtime vendor for Portland’s street newspaper Street Roots, who died on New Years Eve, 2014. A founding member of Dignity Village, Portland’s first city-sanctioned tent city, Debbie thankfully died inside, in a nursing home. I’m sometimes amazed that she survived so long on the streets, given the host of health issues she had struggled with since birth, which I had ample occasion to bear witness to during visits to the Emergency Room, ICU and various and sundry wards at Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Debbie’s experience of struggling through houselessness with multiple disabilities—both physical and psychological—is far more common than most of us would care to imagine over our figgy pudding. So National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day is here to remind us that in the era of late stage capitalism, medically fragile, chronically ill people, and people with multiple disabilities are routinely dying in our midst on the streets of some of the most “livable” cities in the United States.

    • Science

      • The Y2K bug was not a hoax. Here’s how our computers are headed towards another major glitch

        t’s not hard to find echoes of the late 1990s in the zeitgeist. Now as then, impeachment is on many peoples’ minds, and films like The Matrix and The Sixth Sense continue to influence culture. Another feature of the same era that perhaps has a more important, if subtler, influence is the infamous Y2K bug.

        Y2K was the great glitch in computer systems that looked capable of destroying civilisation at the stroke of midnight on the millennium. In the end, however, nothing much went wrong. Some people started to wonder if we had been misled all along. In fact, they couldn’t have been more mistaken. Y2K is in danger of becoming one of those moments in history from which exactly the wrong lessons have been drawn.

        Many of the systems that were at risk from the Y2K bug dated from the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. This was the era when the alleged insistence by Bill Gates that “640k [of RAM] ought to be enough for anybody” was still ringing in people’s ears. Even powerful servers had only a few megabytes of RAM – a fraction of what you would find in most ordinary PCs today.

        With so little space, programmers were always trying to come up with ways to conserve memory. Dates were one of those things that were integral to most computer programs, and years came to be stored as a number between “0” and “99” – so for example, “80” would represent 1980. The advantage was that only a single byte of memory would be used. But with the new millennium soon to come around, it meant that the year “99” would become “100”. As a result, computer programs would believe that the year was 1900 rather than 2000, which threatened to raise serious problems.

    • Hardware

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Red Hat (chromium-browser and rh-git218-git) and SUSE (java-1_8_0-ibm and openssl-1_1).

          • Reproducible Builds Summit, 5th edition

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

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

            • New USB cable kills your Linux laptop if stolen in a public place [Ed: Whenever ZDNet mentions Linux it has to be FUD and an attack on Linux; even if that has nothing to do with it! ZDNet's logic is something like, forks are dangerous because you can stick them in the socket and get electrocuted.]

              The cable, named BusKill, was designed by Michael Altfield, a software engineer and Linux sysadmin from Orlando, Florida.

            • FPGA cards can be abused for faster and more reliable Rowhammer attacks [Ed: Same author clearly overstating low risk and old news]

              On modern RAM cards, data is stored inside memory cells, and all memory cells are arranged in a grid pattern. In 2014, academics discovered that by reading data stored on one row of memory cells repeatedly, and at high speeds, they could create an electrical charge that would alter data stored in nearby memory rows.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ProtonMail Launch a Privacy-Focused Alternative to Google Calendar

              Proton Calendar is a new encrypted calendaring solution from the makers of ProtonMail — and it’s just hit beta.

              Organised spies, efficient emissaries, as well as anyone else preferring absolute privacy for their day-to-day plans will appreciate Proton Calendar.

              Like the ProtonMail email service this add-on is related to, it’s built around end-to-end encryption.


              Although no native desktop app (Linux or otherwise) is available the service ( at least at present) a cloud-based tool is accessible from Linux browsers. Mobile apps for Android and iOS are said to be in development.

            • On Privacy versus Freedom
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Full-Spectrum Fubar

        Back in the days when the Deep State’s diktats commanded a modicum of credibility, its stated goal was worldwide military “full spectrum dominance”.  Twenty years of grossly humiliating failure in its murderously ineffectual floundering has rendered that idea null, even to doctrinaire NeoCon wanks.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The 2020 Imperative Cease Being Mesmerised By Demons

        We have a vast global communication network at our fingertips, a significant part of which has long since been hijacked by the purveyors of ‘the daily matrix’. But another part of which still manages to operate within a spectrum that gives a possibility for what we refer to as ‘freedom of speech’.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Zyrcuits (IP Edge) patent challenged as likely invalid

            On December 31, 2019, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 6,671,307, owned and asserted by Zyrcuits IP, LLC, an IP Edge affiliate and well-known NPE. The ‘307 patent, directed to spread-spectrum communications systems, has been asserted in multiple district court cases against such companies as Bosch Security, Samsung, Assa Abloy, and Wink Labs.

          • TransactionSecure patent challenged as likely invalid

            On December 31, 2019, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,738,921, owned and asserted by TransactionSecure, LLC, an NPE. The ‘921 patent, directed to user authentication systems and methods, has been asserted in multiple district court cases against such companies as Formstack, Fitbit, Facebook, Stripe, and Github.

          • AutoBrilliance patent challenged as likely invalid

            On December 31, 2019, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 6,792,351, owned and asserted by AutoBrilliance, LLC, an NPE. The ‘351 patent, directed to multi-vehicle communication, has been asserted in district court litigation against Toyota.

          • PTO Informative Decisions: Patent Eligibility Rejection — Look to what is expressly “RECITED” in the claims

            This post will focus on Linden, which is a patent application owned by BAIDU spun out of Prof. Andrew Ng’s lab at Stanford.

            In Linden, the BAIDU patent application claims a method using a trained neural network to transcribing speech. The claimed method involves several data processing steps: normalizing the input (to the training data); generating a “jitter set” of audio files (time-distorted versions of the original); generating a spectrogram for each time-jiggered audio file; predicting character probabilities with the neural network; and transcribing the audio based upon character probabilities and a language model.

            The examiner rejected the claims as directed to an abstract idea of manipulating data; creating information sets (based upon prior information sets); and decoding data.


            Linden. In case you didn’t see it – this is bonkers. The Board here is saying that the claim would be problematic only if it actually and expressly recited the algorithm that it uses. Since the claim is drafted more broadly (i.e., at a higher level of abstraction), it cannot be seen as abstract.

            The PTAB went on to explain that even if the claims did recite a mathematical concept — they are still not problematic because the claims as a whole are not “directed to an abstract idea” but rather any abstractions are “integrated into a practical application.”

Billionaires and Corporations Are Revolting Against the Freedom of Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They try to divide us and spur infighting, betrayals


Summary: Attempts to ‘sanitise’ or ‘socially-engineer’ Free software communities are underway; it may mean that we’re winning the battle (causing stress among corporate giants), but we must also be clever and cautious about it

What we nowadays see at the FSF, the Linux Foundation and even Debian is a sign of stress in corporate boardrooms. They strike hard at the very heart and core of Free software. Many people will likely be hurt — perhaps as a sort of ‘collateral damage’. Microsoft boosters have also stormed our IRC channels lately. We’ve learned this morning that they did the same thing in other GNU/Linux forums. We’re doing OK, we’ve learned to mostly ignore them (we don’t block or censor, ever).

“Microsoft boosters have also stormed our IRC channels lately.”Word to the wise, clue to the cautious: be careful what you say these days. The kapos are lurking, waiting for the next person to ‘make an example of’ for so-called ‘wrongthink’ (which may be something as trivial as criticising a government or a corporation that gave money to a project). They’re right there among us, sometimes as ‘fake’ community members, typically contributing no code but just lecturing and whispering, choosing targets for exclusion and shaming.

The Linux Foundation’s Linux Kernel Code of Conduct (CoC) Committee is Now Officially Corporate

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell at 3:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporate crimes? OK. Personal Opinions? No.

Summary: The Linux kernel’s Code of Conduct Committee now includes Intel, so a company of multi-continental antitrust violations and endless criminality nowadays gets to decide who to banish from Linux and various events

Greg K-H sent out the following message a few weeks ago: “Side-note, yes, the website at https://www.kernel.org/code-of-conduct.html is not up to date with the list of the current members of the kernel code of conduct committee, nor does it contain this or the prior report yet. I’ll get that working soon…”

Greg is Torvalds’ so-called ‘right-hand man’ (as the old term goes), so that kind of matters, irrespective of our opinions about him and his past at Novell (when Novell acted like a de facto department of Microsoft).

The Linux CoC Committee is now available for all to see.

Kernel.org has just updated its CoC page (this page was updated yesterday, based on the RSS feed). We could not flag the differences and the Wayback Machine has only a year-old copy of this same page (maybe it just hadn’t been modified since, until this week).

The Code of Conduct Committee is shown as follows:

The Linux kernel Code of Conduct Committee is currently made up of the following people:

Kristen Accardi <kristen.c.accardi@intel.com>
Mishi Choudhary <mishi@linux.com>
Shuah Khan <skhan@linuxfoundation.org>
Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@linuxfoundation.org>
Committee members can be reached all at once by writing to <conduct@kernel.org>.

Choudhary is OK. I get along pretty well with her. I regret that she recently did a panel discussion of the SFLC with Microsoft on the panel, though it’s probably not her choice/fault. But the first person in that list comes from the same employer as a notorious drama maker, who picked on all sorts of kernel hackers, including Greg Kroah-Hartman. These people all have a lot of power; they can oust people from Linux, even based on selective enforcement hinged upon broad rules (maybe something which was tweeted a very long time ago). They’re like bosses in a sense. We saw weakly-backed accusations used for targeted witch-hunts before. Its sets precedents and deterrents.

But let’s also put things in perspective; the committee now has in it employees of a company that assaulted a charity which had promoted GNU/Linux in Africa (for kids’ education). The company committed many other actual crimes (we have ample documentation of those). Who are they to police ethics?

Here’s an example of policing:

Linux Kernel Code of Conduct Committee: September 2018 to July 2019 report

In the period of September 15, 2018 through July 31, 2019, the Committee
received the following reports:
  - Inappropriate language in the kernel source: 1
  - Insulting behavior in email: 3

The result of the investigations:
  - Education and coaching: 4

We would like to thank the Linux kernel community members who have supported
the adoption of the Code of Conduct and who continue to uphold the professional
standards of our community.  If you have questions about this report,
please write to <conduct@kernel.org>.


Side-note, yes, the website at
https://www.kernel.org/code-of-conduct.html is not up to date with the
list of the current members of the kernel code of conduct committee, nor
does it contain this report yet, but that will be resolved next week
when I have a chance to fix it up.  Sometimes web site changes are hard
for kernel programmers :)

To let everyone know, the current members of the Kernel Code of Conduct
Committe [sic] are:
	Mishi Choudhary
	Shuah Khan
	Greg Kroah-Hartman
One other person has been nominated, but due to travel issues has not
formally accepted.  Their name will be added to the above web site when
that happens in a few weeks.


greg k-h

Notice that list at the end. Intel is the new addition. Shuah Khan is Linux Fellow at the Linux Foundation, so Accardi is the first corporate member of the Committee. Does paying the Foundation help get your staff in that Committee? The Foundation has already banished all community participation in its board, so…

The person per se is not a problem. We are not personifying the issue. According to the Linux Plumbers Conference, she’s technical (“Kristen is a Linux kernel engineer working on power management for Intel’s Open Source Technology”), but we know where salaries come from and that’s who the person is loyal to.

The Foundation became just a company or a front for several. This is how they fire people (even those not on the payroll). Earlier today we mentioned this in relation to Debian. Ultimately, this lets the world’s richest people be in charge of everything, even Free software.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 02, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:29 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Canceling Free Software Developers for ‘Wrongthink’

Posted in Debian at 1:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free Software, Free Speech

Summary: The slippery slope of uniformal thinking in Debian project

Hours ago at Debian Community News:

Rhonda D’Vine, a Debian Developer from Austria, recently wrote about actively excluding people from free software projects.

At first glance, what D’Vine is proposing amounts to emotional blackmail.

This is the psychology of cults: people must show a blind obedience to the leaders and suppress their own feelings and ideas or they are treated rudely.


D’Vine’s musings reveal an Austrian/German cultural defect: a desire and willingness to control everybody around you or eliminate them. An unwillingness to invest in relationships with people you wouldn’t normally count as close friends.

The fact that D’Vine independently derives this philosophy from her own environment, which includes Debian, suggests a disturbing possibility that those from a German cultural background will keep reviving the philosophy behind the Holocaust from time to time whenever they participate in a state or organization with mixed cultures.

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