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01.08.20

Links 8/1/2020: Leaving Vista 7, Sailfish SDK 3.0, Tails 4.2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Meet The Linux Desktop That Wants To Be An Ideal Upgrade For Windows 7 Users

        In a few short days, millions of Windows 7 users will reach the end of the line. Or at least, the end of crucial security updates from Microsoft. While Redmond is pushing those users to upgrade to Windows 10, many in the Linux community are vying for attention by pitching their respective distribution (aka Linux desktop OS) as a superior alternative to Windows 10. One such example is KDE Plasma, a desktop I’ve praised in the past for its surprising leanness and wealth of customization options.

      • Plasma: A Safe Haven for Windows 7 Refugees

        There won’t be any more patches that correct bugs or even dangerous vulnerabilities. This will leave Windows 7 users exposed to all sorts of bad stuff. But that is not a huge concern for Microsoft. With this move, Redmond hopes to encourage users to upgrade to Windows 10.

        But why should we care? Maybe because Windows currently holds 77% of the global desktop market share (all Linux desktops combined hold less than 2%). Of that 77%, nearly 30% belongs to Windows 7. That is nearly a billion people still holding on to Windows 7 because they are resisting the move to Windows 10. Apart from the natural human resistance to change, Windows 10 has earned a bad rap as an operating system that will gladly leak your data back to Microsoft and lace your desktop with intrusive advertisements as a matter of course.

        Helping people regain control over their systems and protecting their data is precisely what Free Software communities do best, making this the perfect opportunity to help Windows 7 users upgrade to something much better: To the Plasma desktop!

      • Why and how to switch from Windows 7 to Linux

        Because many people are not really aware of good alternatives outside of the Microsoft world and a lot of them don’t want to upgrade their existing machines to Windows 10 themselves, most of the current Windows 7 users will therefore automatically be inclined to purchase an entirely new computer as a replacement for their current system, as on each new system Windows 10 is already pre-installed which is of course more convenient. As a result many still usable but older computers will therefore unnecessarily end up in the garbage dump. However, there are lots of people, including myself, who have a problem with throwing away still perfectly working equipment, or just don’t want to make the switch to Windows 10 at all. And for these people it is very important to be educated that there are a lot of very user friendly Linux distributions that could bring back life into their old but trusted computer and give back a user experience as it was bought yesterday.

        Linux really breathes new life into old equipment. While the relatively extensive Linux Mint is already running fine on old computers, you can get even more performance out of your ancient hardware by using a very light Linux distribution, such as Lubuntu, Zorin Lite or Linux Lite. My goal is to make as many current Windows 7 users as possible aware of what Linux has to offer and to what extent the purchase of a new computer may be postponed.

      • What Businesses Need to Know Before Updating These Popular Operating Systems

        Microsoft and Apple may be the heavy hitters among OSs, but Linux isn’t far behind. Its Ubuntu system comes preinstalled on laptops from Dell and ASUS, and the latest long-term support version, Ubuntu 18.04 Linux, was released just last year. It will be supported through 2023, so it’s a great option for companies looking for a system with a longer life span.

        Users should make sure that any minor updates to their current version of Ubuntu have been made to ensure the smoothest transition when the latest version is deployed. As with Windows and Mac OS upgrades, it’s important to back up everything before updating, and stop as many noncritical services as possible.

        If upgrading from an older Ubuntu version, the process is simple: Go into system preferences and follow the instructions. Perform the update when time allows so it can run through the process without interruptions, and be sure to reboot the computer afterwards.

      • Samsung’s aspirational Galaxy Chromebook: Shell out $1k for a fast beaut (and remember to try Linux if you’re into that)

        CES Amidst the stifling heat and ever-present body odour of the annual CES trade show, Samsung lifted the lid on its latest top-tier 2-in-1 Chromebook – the Galaxy Chromebook.

        Available this quarter, and with a price tag of $999.99 (plus tax), the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is arguably the most aspirational Chrome OS device we’ve encountered since the original launch of the Chromebook Pixel in 2013.

      • Samsung Debuts Sleek Galaxy Chromebook

        Samsung on Monday introduced a high-end Galaxy Chromebook at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The new model could serve as an extension of the company’s smartphone lineup and spawn a premium device demand in the category.

        Samsung aims to position it as the company’s flagship Chromebook to meet potential demand for a more useful and powerful multipurpose premium mobile device.

        That could amount to little more than wishful thinking, suggested Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. Demand for ultra powerful Chromebooks has yet to develop much traction.

        “Every couple of years, some vendor rolls the dice in hopes that the healthy business for Chromebooks in education and other markets will result in demand for premium products,” he told TechNewsWorld. “So far, that has not panned out. See the modest commercial success of Google’s Pixelbooks for proof points.”

      • Have a Razer laptop and use Linux? Keep a close eye on this new open source project

        Many hardware developers sadly don’t provide official drivers for Linux, even when they do there’s no decent interface for them. One user got “sick” of Razer’s “lack of Linux support for laptops” so they made their own driver.

        The Razer Laptop Control Project was created from this, with a focus on Razer laptops fan and power mode modifications and to eventually do everything Razer Synapse does but on Linux. While there is already Openrazer, that has a focus on the RGB lighting. We may also see RGB controls being added to this project too, according to what the developer has said. They’ve already been able to recreate Razer’s “ambient RGB mode”, which they showed off in a video and it actually looks very cool…

    • Server

      • My 5 favorite Linux sysadmin tools

        Every system administrator has a secret and sacred toolbox to help them manage Linux systems. Favorite applications, favorite command-line scripts, and favorite tools are all part of the sysadmin’s life script. We carry our tools from job to job. We promote our tools to other sysadmins. We love to collect tools, but we’re also practical in that we want tools that work and do their jobs without being too fiddly, or too high maintenance. None of us have the luxury of time to learn a hundred different options and tweaks to get what we want. We need efficient tools that are unencumbered by complexity and high cost.

        These five meet all of the requirements for essential system administration tools. They are my favorites. Most of them have helped me for more than 15 years. I’m loyal to them and they to me. You should get acquainted with them and add them to your toolbox. Here is your opportunity to do just that. These are in no particular order.

      • 7 questions sysadmins should ask a potential employer before taking a job
      • IBM

        • OpenShift under the hood: How global systems integrators like DXC Technology are using enterprise Kubernetes to build on the promise of PaaS

          Anwar Belayachi is a senior partner global solutions architect for the DXC Technology Alliance at Red Hat.

          Accelerating application development and deployment processes for the cloud and digital era doesn’t just happen. Building the next-generation of enterprise apps, which are likely going to be cloud-native, requires a new set of tools, practices and platforms is a vital component to the success of these transformation initiatives.

          The variety, scope and scale of these new demands can seem overwhelming, but Red Hat and our global systems integrators partners like DXC Technology are ready to help.

        • Red Hat support for Node.js

          For the past two years, Red Hat Middleware has provided a supported Node.js runtime on Red Hat OpenShift as part of Red Hat Runtimes. Our goal has been to provide rapid releases of the upstream Node.js core project, example applications to get developers up and running quickly, Node.js container images, integrations with other components of Red Hat’s cloud-native stack, and (of course) provide world-class service and support for customers. Earlier this year, the team behind Red Hat’s distribution and support of Node.js even received a “Devie” award from DeveloperWeek for this work, further acknowledging Red Hat’s role in supporting the community and ecosystem.

        • IBM acquisitions may be best path back to the top

          Like many tech companies in the early 2000s, IBM has stumbled a few times trying to find its footing traveling from the civilized world of proprietary hardware to the wild west that is the cloud-based software and services market.

          It hasn’t all been a series of stumbles and bumbles and IBM appears to have finally found the right path forward. With IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat in late 2018, the company now owns a solid foundation to build a hybrid-cloud strategy, which many feel IBM should have pursued several years ago.

          Instead, the company spent too much time focusing on its private cloud strategy, catering to what it felt its longtime corporate customers preferred.

          [...]

          Since 2001, IBM has made over 160 acquisitions of software, hardware and communication companies spending anywhere from less than a million to multiple billions for each of them. The vast majority of those deals proved strategically inconsequential and/or IBM buried the acquired technologies so deeply into its own existing products they became either invisible or lost their value to the intended user base.

          If IBM hopes to grow its revenues again, it will have to do a better job of selecting acquisition targets. Since the end of 2011, IBM’s top-line number has steadily slid from $106.9 billion to what financial analysts project will be in the neighborhood of $77 billion for fiscal 2019. Despite the enormous amount of money IBM and IBM Research have spent on developing innovative products the past 20 years, the resulting products have contributed little to top-line growth.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #319: HF Homebrew Antennas Deep Dive

        Welcome to Episode 319 of Linux in the Ham Shack, the first episode of the new decade. In this episode, the hosts discuss what you might need in terms of money, knowledge, supplies and elbow grease to build a number of different effective HF antennas, both single- and multi-band. If you were wondering if you should put up a commercial mega-tenna or build something out of copper pipe and spare insulators, check out this episode. It is the first in several deep dive episodes concerning antennas and antenna theory. Hope you enjoy.

      • mintCast 325.5 – Oracles Virtually Boxed In

        In our Innards section, we make our 2020 Predictions!

      • Mark Shuttleworth’s Predictions For 2020
      • Practically Perfect Predictions | LINUX Unplugged 335

        Find out what’s happening in 2020 before it happens. Our crew returns from the future with predictions so perfect you could bet some Dogecoin on it.

      • 2020-01-07 | Linux Headlines

        The darktable project releases a major new version, Firefox extends picture-in-picture mode to Linux and macOS, and Arduino announces a new modular hardware system for IoT.

    • Kernel Space

      • What is the difference between Linux and Unix?

        What we know as Linux today is the culmination of two separate efforts from the 1990s. Richard Stallman, a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, wanted to create a free and open-source alternative to Unix. He began building a library of programs and utilities. He dubbed GNU (GNU is not Unix!). However, although the applications and utilities were flowing and were impressive, GNU was not a real operating system as he did not have a kernel to go with his GNU. Enter Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki.

        The licensing of his university’s OS of choice, Minix (Unix’s precursor), frustrated Torvald. Minix, at that time, was limited to educational use only. Undeterred, Torvald began work on his OS kernel, using the Unix-like Minix kernel as his model. That kernel eventually became the Linux kernel.

        The marriage of Stallman’s GNU toolset and Torvalds’ Linux kernel was a custom-made match that resulted in a viable free and open-source alternative to the proprietary Unix OS and associated programs and utilities. As a result, GNU/Linux (usually just referred to as Linux) was born.

      • Linux 5.6 Seeing Random Changes, New “Insecure” Option With GRND_INSECURE

        The recent work by longtime kernel developer Andy Lutomirski on improving Linux’s random APIs and introducing a new “GRND_INSECURE” option is now queued into the random dev queue ahead of the Linux 5.6 cycle.

        These changes to the random number generation add a new GRND_INSECURE flag for getentropy() and removes the blocking pool (though /dev/random can still block after the system has booted). These changes provide for some code cleanups and GRND_INSECURE allows returning potentially “insecure” random data.

      • Clear Linux Set To Begin Offering EarlyOOM For Better Dealing With Memory Pressure

        Following Fedora’s plans to begin using EarlyOOM by default and other recent upstream discussions about Linux’s relatively poor performance when it comes to the Linux desktop not handling memory pressure / low RAM situations well, Intel’s Clear Linux looks like it will soon offer EarlyOOM as an option.

        EarlyOOM is a user-space daemon for monitoring the amount of memory and swap in order to trigger Linux’s out-of-memory killer (oom-killer) sooner than would otherwise be triggered. The goal of EarlyOOM is to trigger the OOM killer before experiencing too much memory pressure where the Linux desktop hits responsiveness problems.

      • Systemd Will Be Working To Improve Out-Of-Memory Linux Handling With Facebook OOMD

        While more Linux distributions have begun packaging (and in the case of Fedora, potentially deploying by default) EarlyOOM as the out-of-memory monitoring daemon for trying to improve the Linux desktop’s handling of low memory situations, systemd ultimately should be picking up its own out-of-memory daemon in the months ahead.

        Going back to 2018 we first reported on Facebook developing their own out-of-memory Linux daemon. This user-space based solution was originally designed as the Facebook engineers feel the Linux kernel’s OOM killer is inadequate. Facebook’s OOMD as it’s called should respond faster and offer better knobs for controlling its behavior. Facebook initially designed OOMD for their Linux servers but have been working on it to make it more relevant to the desktops and Linux at large.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon™ GPU Profiler 1.7

          We are happy to announce the release of Radeon™ GPU Profiler (RGP) v1.7. This release adds support for the latest Radeon™ graphics cards: the RX 5500 series and the RX 5300 series. In addition, this release adds new UI features to help you better understand your GPU workloads.

          RGP generates easy to understand visualizations of how your DirectX®12, Vulkan®, and OpenCL™ applications interact with the GPU at the hardware level. Profiling a game is both a quick and simple process using the Radeon Developer Panel and our public GPU driver.

        • Radeon GPU Profiler 1.7 Released With RX 5300/5500 Support, New Visualizations

          AMD has issued their first update to the open-source Radeon GPU Profiler since the v1.6 update last July that introduced initial RDNA/Navi support.

          With today’s Radeon GPU Profiler 1.7 support the RDNA/Navi support has been extended to cover the new Radeon RX 5300 and RX 5700 series. Also new is support for capturing OpenCL profilers for the Radeon RX 5700 series is now in place.

        • RadeonSI Disables SDMA For Polaris To Fix Corruption Bugs

          For those plagued by OpenGL corruption issues with the RadeonSI driver on Polaris GPUs like the Radeon RX 580, System DMA (SDMA) support is now being disabled as a workaround.

          There have been bug reports going back to at least last June and others more recent about in-game artifacts or other corruption issues within OpenGL programs on some games with Polaris discrete GPUs.

        • Mesa’s NIR Linker Taking On More Duties – Further Enhancing Linker Speed

          The NIR intermediate representation is already faster than GLSL IR and TGSI but could be seeing even quicker linking speeds moving forward.

          Beyond other recent NIR achievements like RadeonSI now exclusively relying on NIR, a now-merged set of patches by Valve open-source developer Timothy Arceri works on nursing NIR into more roles.

          The new code in Mesa 20.0-devel further moves the NIR linker closer to handling uniforms and varyings, which will allow more GLSL IR optimization passes moving forward and as part of that faster linking of compiled shaders.

    • Benchmarks

      • GCC 10 Link-Time Optimization Benchmarks On AMD Threadripper

        Stemming from the recent news in Fedora 32 potentially LTO’ing packages by default for better performance and not yet having checked on the Link-Time Optimization performance of the in-development GCC 10, here is a fresh look at the possible performance gains from making use of link-time optimizations for generating faster binaries. This round of testing was done on the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X and is complementary to the recent Profile Guided Optimization benchmarks.

    • Applications

      • Server Monitoring Tools For Linux In 2020

        Welcome to the brand new year of the decade and of course, we are here with the list of server monitoring tools that might be helpful for you in 2020. In fact, this list can be of help for many years to come.

        This post is for you if you are looking for a list of server monitoring tools.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Battlefield V Players on Linux Are Getting Permanently Banned

        Battlefield V, EA’s first-person shooter game that launched last year, is only available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC via Microsoft Windows. However, enthusiastic Linux users have found a way to run the game on the open source operating system. Unfortunately, EA doesn’t think this is acceptable behavior, and has begun delivering permanent bans to such players.

        Like most PC games, Battlefield V is not officially supported on the Linux operating system. That doesn’t mean that you can’t play the game on it; Linux users are running a combination of WINE and DXVK, which is an extension allowing WINE to run Vulkan instead of just DirectX 11, to boot up and play Battlefield V. Sadly, their workarounds apparently violated EA’s terms and conditions, as the developer began permabanning players on the basis of “cheating”.

      • Which Linux Distro Should You Use for Gaming?

        In this video, I go over which Linux distro you should use for gaming. The distros I bring up in the video are the best possible starting points for new gamers coming to Linux.

      • Minigalaxy, the free and open source Linux client for GOG has a new release

        Progressing quickly, Minigalaxy is becoming quite a nice streamlined Linux client for managing GOG.com games since GOG themselves don’t yet support Galaxy on Linux.

        This free and open source alternative had an update pushed out yesterday, which cleans up some crash bugs while also adding big new features. It’s now possible to remove games directly from Minigalaxy, an option open the game folder was added, translations are now supported with multiple in, there’s an offline mode, game detection is improved, it starts up faster and so on.

      • Adventure game creator ‘Visionaire Studio’ is coming to Linux

        Visionaire Studio, quite a popular game engine for creating adventure games is bringing the editor to Linux with the next planned release. While the game engine already has a Linux export option, being able to develop with it on Linux is currently missing.

        Used in the development of 2D and 2.5D point & click adventure games, if you’ve played any in the last few years it’s likely some were made with it. Daedalic Entertainment use it for the Deponia series and Anna’s Quest (plus more), Paradigm from Jacob Janerka, STASIS from The Brotherhood and the list goes on. Part of the reason it’s popular, is like Construct and GDevelop developers can create games using an event-driven system rather than writing out line after line of code (but you can do that too).

      • Up for a retro adventure? The Space Quest II remake is now available on Linux

        Space Quest II from Sierra On-Line, originally released back in 1987 not long before I was born, has been revived by Infamous Adventures.

        It was actually revived a few years ago, with the first build of the remake landing in 2011. A few years later in 2018, the team put it up on itch.io and on the 1st of January this year a 2.0 build went up which included Linux support as well.

      • 90s collectible card game Doomtrooper is being revived as a PC game, releasing for Linux this Spring

        Originally released in the 90s as a proper real-life game, the CCG (collectible card game) Doomtrooper was revived with a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017.

        The team behind it, Secret Cow Level, was founded by Justin Reynard who worked on some big names like Dungeon Siege III, Fallout: New Vegas and Alpha Protocol. Not only that the original designer of Doomtrooper, Bryan Winter, is also involved to ensure it’s good.

      • The Last Cube will bring some awesome-looking brain-teasers to Linux

        Sometimes I come across a puzzle game that really sucks me in with a fancy trailer, The Last Cube is one such game.

        A 3D puzzler, one where you’re moving cubes around doesn’t exactly sound like much but you have some seriously clever looking tricks and the presentation here is absolutely fantastic. It throws many unique mechanics as you, and as you progress previously introduced features get twisted.

      • Fates of Ort, a fantasy RPG focused on strategic action releases March with Linux support

        A retro inspired fantasy RPG with a focus on strategic action? With a story? Fates of Ort looks and sounds like it’s going to be very interesting to play.

        What has my interest is the time mechanic, as nothing moves until you do making every movement and action critical and that’s where the tactical part of it comes in. Magic also isn’t free, it will cost your life if you’ve not been careful enough. Definitely has my interest fully piqued.

      • The final Act of Kentucky Route Zero will release January 28

        Later this month, Kentucky Route Zero will finally be a finished story, seven years after the release of the first part.

        In an announcement today, the developer Cardboard Computer noted that the big update will also include all the free “interludes” they released between episodes, plus localization for French, Italian, German, Spanish (Lat. Am. & European), Russian, Korean & Japanese and other fixes and improvements.

      • UnCiv, a free and open source remake of Civilization V

        What do you do when you want to keep the mechanics of a game you love alive? If you’re developer Yair Morgenstern, you remake it yourself like they did with UnCiv.

        A remake of Civilization V, although it looks nothing alike as it’s gone for a much more retro pixel-art like style it’s supposed to follow the same game mechanics. Much like the classic Freeciv which is based on earlier rules and features.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KaOS Linux’s First 2020 Release Adds Linux Kernel 5.4, Nvidia PRIME Improvements

          KaOS 2020.01 is now available to download as the latest and most up-to-date installation media for this GNU/Linux distribution, bringing the Linux 5.4 kernel series, which adds support for Microsoft’s exFAT file system and the “lockdown” security feature, as well as automatically signed kernel modules.

          “All internal modules are now automatically signed during the kernel build, out of tree modules like VirtualBox-modules and NVIDIA packages have the signing added too. Building of those modules was adjusted to use the kernel specific signing files during each and every rebuild,” explain the developers.

        • New Feren OS Does Plasma Better

          Overall, Feren OS’ Plasma patches do a fanciful job of going beyond a Cinnamon desktop-like appearance and functionality. Or the patches do a workable job of bringing most — but not all — of the Cinnamon features and applications to the KDE environment.

          Feren OS Classic and the new Feren OS install with only the Vivaldi Web browser. A handy Web tool lets you automatically install other browsers. It also lets you remove Vivaldi if you wish.

          In almost any Cinnamon desktop-running distro, numerous panel applets and desktop desklets failed to install and run. The desktop cube almost never was compatible.

          Not so with Feren OS with the KDE desktop. The cube task switcher actually works. Widgets, AKA applets and desklets install and work on both the screen and the panel. Those successes are rare with the Cinnamon desktop.

        • Plasma 5.17.5
        • KDE Plasma 5.17.5 Desktop Environment Released as the Last in the Series

          Coming about a month after version 5.17.4, the KDE Plasma 5.17.5 point release is here to add a month’s worth of bug fixes and translation updates in an attempt to make the KDE Plasma 5.17 desktop environment more stable and reliable for everyone. According to the official changelog, it includes 32 changes.

          Highlights include a fix for a KDecoration crash in System Settings, revert of the “[sddm-theme] Fix initial focus after SDDM QQC2 Port” change from previous releases, a fix for a regression in “Port the pager applet away from QtWidgets,” and a fix for a regression in temperature size with short panels in the Weather applet.

        • Krita Weekly #8

          The number of bugs has risen to 457 as it was a vacation season. Also, Dmitry is on parental leave, so the increase is quite normal.

        • The Eight Rules of Multithreaded Qt

          While the concept of multithreading may be straightforward, code with threads is responsible for some wicked bugs, which can be nearly impossible to reproduce or track down. This makes writing bullet-proof code using threads a tall order. Let’s look a little deeper into why that is.

          First, you need better than average knowledge about the internals of your frameworks, language, and compiler to know how to avoid threading trouble-spots. You need to know about synchronization primitives and appropriate design patterns so you can create multi-threaded code that operates correctly under all conditions. And you need to understand how to use debugging tools with multiple threads to be able to find those tricky to reproduce issues that are inherent in multithreading bugs.

          When it comes to Qt and multithreading, it’s especially true that you need to know your framework and design patterns. Qt gives you the power to make amazing multithreaded apps – as well as shoot your foot off. We’ve honed our multi-threading expertise over the years by finding and fixing threading bugs in both the Qt framework and Qt client code. Here’s a short list of our top rules for avoiding the most common pitfalls to have your Qt apps run right the first time:

        • Kevin Ottens: Looking back at 2019

          Talking about KDE, I started working with the community in 2003… it means that during the next spring I’ve been around for a whooping 17 years! I’ll never beat someone like David Faure at the “oldest dino still around” contest but that starts to be a very respectable number of years I guess. Of course, on such a long period of time I added roles or changed roles several times.

          The two most demanding projects I ever undertook were facilitating the creation of the KDE Manifesto and the transition from kdelibs to KDE Frameworks. Add to that that both happened around the same time (although one ended earlier) and I can tell you that around 2015 I was very much burnt out. That’s in part why I decided to focus only on Zanshin for a while, but had troubles to sustain even this.

          I thus took kind of a longer break which got extended due to my son being born. As I was finally coming back to ramping up again on Zanshin and started my work on Community Data Analytics (more on that below), that’s when the first pneumonia kicked in (see above) ruining all my efforts to keep my pace.

          And then end of 2019, we started talking about Qt 6 and KDE Frameworks 6… that’s my chance to somewhat come back. I’m not at full capacity yet, but as you might have noticed I participated in the KF6 Kickoff Sprint, I’m helping with the organizational work and reporting about progress. So let’s say for now I’m having a light stewardship role in KDE Frameworks. That’s a good area to keep in touch and do more, in particular through my new job as hinted at above.

          Of course I’m not loosing hope doing more in Zanshin again and resuming my Community Data Analytics explorations. We’ll see what 2020 brings on that front.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sam Thursfield: Last month in [GNOME] Tracker

          Here’s an incomplete report of some work done on Tracker during the last month!

          [...]

          Tracker is famous enough that it merits a real website, not just an outdated set of wiki pages. So I made a real Tracker website, aiming to collect links to relevant user and developer documentation and to have a minimal overview and FAQ section. We can build and deploy this straight from the tracker.git repo, so whereas the wiki is easily forgotten, the new website lives in the same repo as the sourcecode. The next step will be to merge this and then tidy up most of the old wiki pages

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Emby Media Server on openSUSE Linux | Review

          One of the main reasons I build a computer was for the purposes of hosting my video content on my system and serve it to other machines. I had heard about having something like Netflix or Hulu in the form of Plex. I have known others that have done this and have always been impressed by it. My first stop in exploring media servers in Linux was Emby. I chose it largely because I heard of Plex and wanted to try something that was open source based, more on that later. At the very beginning of this exercise, I decided I want to try out three different server products, Plex, Emby and Jellyfin.

          This is my review, with no real expectations, other than to easily have access to my movies and TV shows from any device in the house. This is a review of only the free services, not the paid features. Bottom line up front. I like it and it has few issues.

      • New Releases

        • Manjaro 19.0 Preview Images For KDE + GNOME Available For Testing

          For fans of the easy-to-use Arch-based Manjaro Linux distribution, 19.0 preview images as the first test builds have begun to surface.

          These first preview builds of Manjaro 19.0 are based on the Linux 5.4 kernel, introduce NVIDIA PRIME support paired with their latest proprietary driver, theme updates, Oracle VM VirtualBox support fixes, and many other package updates for this Arch Linux based platform.

        • 1st preview of Manjaro Gnome is ready

          Here comes the first testbuild for the upcoming Manjaro-Gnome 19.0 edition. This is a full build on the testing branch.

          Highlights are:

          needed fixes for VirtualBox support
          linux 5.4 kernel series
          Nvidia 440 driver series with Prime-Support
          Layout Switcher to have Manjaro, Gnome, Classic and Modern
          Latest theme and many more
          Please give it a try and let us hear your feedback! 

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Is The Latest Linux Distribution Using Zstd To Compress Packages

          Similar to Fedora’s move last year to compress RPMs with Zstd rather than XZ for much faster decompression speeds and a better compression ratio at the highest level, OpenMandriva has now enacted a similar change.

          This OpenMandriva change also comes just days after Arch Linux switched to Zstd for a ~1300% speedup in total decompression time, among other Linux distributions as well switching to Zstandard for either offering a comparable compression ratio to existing algorithms or better, depending upon the compression level utilized. But the big win in switching the packaging to Zstd compression is the significantly faster decompression times.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Support: Online and Always On

          SUSE has curated discussion forums that are monitored by our team, but community-run. From SUSE Linux Enterprise discussions to Kubernetes and Containers, there’s a forum for everyone. And, our forums are super active. They are a great place to discuss and obtain answers in regard to a number of SUSE products and open source solutions.

          Whether you want to ask questions, respond to any forum message or tell us about your latest adventure with your SUSE product, forums are the place for you. Extend a helping hand to one of your fellow users by jumping into the conversations. Don’t be shy. Even if you are not sure of your answer, the input from multiple sources gives the person asking the question options. While not “official” support from SUSE, the participants share so much experience and technical expertise, they are a great place to get some good free advice.

        • SUSE and Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences collaborate to enhance cloud and open source learning

          The SUSE Academic Program, the education arm of SUSE, and Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences (KITS), have signed an MoU to collaborate in providing Linux and open source learning and skills to students. The program aims to provide aspiring professionals with essential technical expertise and help them leverage opportunities in the cloud job market via “SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux” certification.

          SUSE will support the program with all course materials for cloud-related technologies such as DevOps, cloud application development, cloud administration, and enterprise Linux.

          Marco Kraak, Vice President of Channel, SUSE EMEA and APJ, said, “As a leader in open source, SUSE understands the changing dynamics of the IT industry. Through the SUSE Academic Program, we have been supporting academia to meet the changing demands of the digital economy by providing open source knowledge, training materials and an affordable education opportunity that benefit students as they explore job possibilities in the fast-growing technology space.”

          Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Country Manager, SUSE India, added, “At SUSE, we believe that by educating and preparing the next generation of professionals, we are ensuring the future growth and adoption of open source. Our collaboration with KITS will pave the way for learning and skill development in this area.”

      • Fedora Family

        • Martin Stransky: Fedora Firefox team at 2019

          I think the last year was the strongest one in whole Fedora Firefox team history. We have been always contributed at Mozilla but in 2019 we finished some major outstanding projects at upstream and also ship them at Fedora.

          The first finished project I’d like to mention is disabled system titlebar by default on Gnome. Firefox UI on Linux finally matches Windows/MacOS and provides similar user experience. We also implement various tweaks like styled and HiDPI titlebar button rendering and left/right button placement.

          A rather small by code changes but highly impacted was gcc optimization with PGO/LTO. In cooperation with Jakub Jelinek and SuSE guys we managed to match and even slightly outperform default Mozilla Firefox binaries which are built with clang. I’m going to post more accurate numbers in some follow up post as was already published by a Czech linux magazine.

          Firefox Gnome search provider is another small but useful feature we introduced last year. It’s not integrated at upstream yet because it needs an update for an upcoming async history lookup API at Firefox side but we ship it as tech preview to get more user feedback.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.2 is out

          We worked on important improvements to the automatic upgrade feature, which is still one of your major pain points when using Tails:

          Until now, if your version of Tails was several months old, you sometimes had to do 2 or more automatic upgrades in a row. For example, to upgrade from Tails 3.12 to Tails 3.16, you first had to upgrade to Tails 3.14.

          Starting with 4.2, direct automatic upgrades will be available from all prior versions to the latest version.

          Until now, you could only do a limited number of automatic upgrades, after which you had to do a much more complicated “manual” upgrade.

          Starting with 4.2, you will only have to do a manual upgrade between major versions, for example to upgrade to Tails 5.0 in 2021.

          We made automatic upgrades use less memory.

          We optimized a bit the size of the download when doing automatic upgrades.

        • Tails 4.2 Fixes Numerous Security Flaws, Improves Direct Upgrades

          The Tails Project released a new version of the security-focused Tails Linux distribution and advises users to upgrade as soon as possible to fix multiple security vulnerabilities impacting the previous Tails 4.1.1 version.

          Tails (short for The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is a Linux distro focused on guarding its users’ anonymity and help them circumvent censorship by forcing all Internet connections through the Tor network.

          The new Tails 4.2 version also comes with important improvements to its automatic upgrade feature, new command-line tools for SecureDrop users “to analyze the metadata of leaked documents on computers that cannot use the Additional Software feature”, and some additional updates.

          [...]

          The Tails Project enhanced the automatic upgrade feature with the release of Tails 4.2. From now on, you can upgrade from all previous versions to the latest version.

          “Until now, if your version of Tails was several months old, you sometimes had to do 2 or more automatic upgrades in a row,” the dev team says. “For example, to upgrade from Tails 3.12 to Tails 3.16, you first had to upgrade to Tails 3.14.”

          In addition, you will only have to do manual upgrades between major Tails versions as is the case when you’ll have to upgrade to Tails 5.0 after its next year’s release.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Outs Major Linux Kernel Update for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

          Affecting Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS systems using Linux kernel 5.3, the new security update addresses two heap-based buffer overflows in the Marvell WiFi-Ex and Marvell Libertas WLAN drivers, as well as flaws in the Fujitsu ES network device driver, Broadcom V3D DRI driver, Mellanox Technologies Innova driver, and Mellanox Technologies ConnectX driver.

          Additionally, issues were resolved in Linux kernel’s Intel WiMAX 2400 driver, Geschwister Schneider USB CAN interface driver, netlink-based 802.11 configuration interface, event tracing subsystem, the driver for memoryless force-feedback input devices, Microchip CAN BUS Analyzer driver, PEAK-System Technik USB driver, ALSA timer implementation, and DesignWare USB3 controller driver.

        • Canonical Released Major Kernel Security Updates for all Ubuntu Releases

          Canonical released today the major security kernel update for all Ubuntu versions. The new kernel update address more than 30 security vulnerabilities.

          On Ubuntu 18.04 LTS systems and 19.10 systems, the new kernel update fixes the flaws in Marvell WiFi-Ex and Marvell Libertas WLAN drivers, Fujitsu ES network device driver, Broadcom V3D DRI driver, Mellanox Technologies Innova driver, and Mellanox Technologies ConnectX driver.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” set to remove Python 2

          As much of the world was celebrating a new year on January 1, 2020, Python 2 reached end-of-life. Python 2’s EOL, although expected since the official announcement from Guido van Russom, Python’s principal author and creator back in 2014, has Ubuntu and Debian developers scrambling to end their distros dependencies on Python 2.

          The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS development team is the latest to announce that their goal is to remove Python 2 from their long-expected Ubuntu “Focal Fossa” 20.04 LTS release scheduled just four short months from now in April.

        • New elementary OS 5.1 Changes

          elementary OS 5.1 is a “service pack” update of 5.0 released recently at 3 December 2019. It brings really a lot of new features and redesigns. This article tries to cover 6 things from the beginning to the end including the new redesigns, its ISO contents, and Flatpak support. Enjoy the new elementary OS!

          elementary OS is a user-friendly Ubuntu-based operating system that emphasizes visual beauty founded by Daniel Fore and Cassidy James from United States since 2011. Its slogan is The fast, open, and privacy-respecting replacement for Windows and macOS. elementary OS has uniqueness compared to other GNU/Linux distros, most notably among them are 5 things: its “e” logo, its user interface Pantheon, its design (the HIG) that resembles Apple system, its file manager, and its software publishing central AppCenter. Its official website is https://elementary.io.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Whatever Happened To news.gmane.org?

        Over the past few years, people have asked me what happened to Gmane, and I’ve mostly clasped my hands over my ears and gone “la la la can’t hear you”, because there’s nothing about the story I’m now finally going to tell that I don’t find highly embarrassing. I had hoped I could just continue that way until I die, but perhaps it would be more constructive to actually tell people what’s going on instead of doing an ostrich impression.

        So here’s the long, boring and stupid story.

        But first, just some background, because there’s no reason you should know what I’m blathering on about: In 2002 I started a mailing list archive called Gmane. It was fun for many years: I got to write a whole bunch of software for the web site, and it was a useful and satisfying hobby (with some quirks, like not daring to visit India). After a decade or so I started getting burned out, and that’s when my problems started.

        At that point I should have looked for somebody to take over Gmane in an orderly fashion, but there were (at least) two reasons I didn’t: I felt a childish attachment to the entire project (I think the feeling can best expressed summed up as “NO! MINE!”), and while I could easily see that somebody would want to take over the web part, the NNTP part (which was the one I used personally) seemed too obscure for anybody to be interested in.

      • Ingebrigtsen: Whatever Happened To news.gmane.org?

        Lars Ingebrigtsen provides details on the current status of the Gmane archive server and asks for feedback on whether it is still useful.

      • Huawei’s Open Source OS openEuler is Available Now!

        Huawei offers a CentOS based enterprise Linux distribution called EulerOS. Recently, Huawei has released a community edition of EulerOS called openEuler.

        The source code of openEuler is released as well. You won’t find it on Microsoft owned GitHub – the source code is available at Gitee, a Chinese alternative of GitHub.

        There are two separate repositories, one for the source code and the other as a package source to store software packages that help to build the OS.

      • openEuler, Linux Operating System By Huawei Is Available Now

        One of the biggest Chinese smartphone makers, Huawei has released a Linux operating system by the name openEuler. Meanwhile, at the same time, the source code of openEuler is also available at Gitee, which is considered as a Chinese alternative of GitHub. Huawei also offers a CentOS-based enterprise Linux distribution called EulerOS for its customers.

      • XMPP – Prosody & Ejabberd

        In my day job I’m responsible of maintaining the VoIP and XMPP infrastructure. That’s about approx. 40.000 phones and several thousand users using Enterprise XMPP software. Namely it is Cisco CUCM and IM&P on the server side and Cisco Jabber on the client side. There is also Cisco Webex and Cisco Telepresence infrastructure to maintain.

        On the other hand I’m running an XMPP server myself for a few users. It all started with ejabberd more than a decade ago or so. Then I moved to Openfire, because it was more modern and had a nice web GUI for administration. At some point there was Prosody as a new shiny star. This is now running for many users, mostly without any problems, but without much love and attention as well.

        It all started as “Let’s see what this Jabber stuff is…” on a subdomain like jabber.domain.com – it was later that I discovered the benefits of SRV records and the possibility of having the same address for mail, XMPP and SIP. So I began to provide XMPP acounts as well for some of my mail domains.

        A year ago I enabled XMPP for my Friendica node on Nerdica.net, the second largest Friendica node according to the-federation.info. Although there are hundreds of monthly active users on Friendica, only a handful of users are using XMPP. XMPP has a hard stand since Google and Facebook went from open federation to closing in their user base.

        My personal impression is that there is a lot of development in the last years in regards of XMPP – thanks to the Conversations client on Android – and its Compliance Tester. With that tool it is quite easy to have a common ground for the most needed features of todays user expectation in a mobile world. There is also some news in regards to XMPP clients on Apple iOS, but that’s for another article.

        This is about the server side, namely Prosody and Ejabberd. Of course there are already several excellent comparisons between these two server softwares. So, this is just my personal opinion and personal impressions about the two softwares I got in the past two weeks.

      • With friends like AWS, who needs an open source business?

        In December, a New York Times article suggested that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was strip-mining open source projects by providing managed services based on open source code, without contributing back to the community.

        In response to the article, Andi Gutmans, vice-president of analytics and ElastiCache at AWS, wrote a blog post claiming that customers have repeatedly asked AWS to offer managed services for Elasticsearch and other popular open source projects.

        “A number of maintainers of open source projects build commercial companies around the open source project,” he said.

      • Diversity: Why open source needs to work on it in 2020

        The reason? Well, men, to put it bluntly (or unwelcoming behavior, to add some color). For those who don’t think diversity matters, this post won’t convince you. But for those who would like to see open source development become more representative of the people who will use it, a 2019 DigitalOcean developer survey offers clues for improvement.

        [...]

        First, let’s acknowledge that open source software has never been more important. It is foundational to how great software gets written today. From Kubernetes to Android to Linux to [insert your open source project of choice], the world runs on open source. We would be out-of-our-minds crazy to not want the software that runs the world to be more representative of the world that runs it.

        This seems intuitively correct, and fortunately also has good data/science behind the intuition. There are scads of studies showing that the more diverse a company, the better its financial performance (including this one from McKinsey), and a great summary article in Harvard Business Review that finds “nonhomogeneous teams are simply smarter.” Why? Because, as James Beswick has argued, a non-diverse development team leads to a “mono-chromatic, average approach to problem solving and an inability to think dynamically,” which is why “Adding diversity is absolutely fundamental to the problem-solving process because we all have different life experiences, backgrounds and knowledge that combine to give us fresh insights and different approaches.”

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • How to block fingerprinting with Firefox

            Fingerprinting is a type of online tracking that’s more invasive than ordinary cookie-based tracking. A digital fingerprint is created when a company makes a unique profile of you based on your computer, software, add-ons, and even preferences. Your settings like the screen you use, the fonts installed on your computer, and even your choice of a web browser can all be used to create a fingerprint.

            If you have a commonly used computer or phone, it may be harder to uniquely identify your device through fingerprinting. However, the more unique add-ons, fonts, and settings you have, the easier you’ll be to find. Companies can use this unique combination of information to create your fingerprint.

          • Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox for desktop

            Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox automatically protects your privacy while you browse. It blocks many of the trackers that follow you around online to collect information about your browsing habits and interests. It also includes protections against harmful scripts, such as malware that drains your battery.

          • 72.0 Firefox Release

            Version 72.0, first offered to Release channel users on January 7, 2020

            We’d like to extend a special thank you to all of the new Mozillians who contributed to this release of Firefox.

          • Firefox 72.0

            Firefox 72.0 has been released. In this version Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection now blocks fingerprinting scripts. Also picture-in-picture video is available. See the release notes for the details of these features and other changes.

          • Firefox 72 Released & Available for Download! Check out What’s New!!

            Firefox 72 Released: The team Mozilla announced today the release the latest version of Firefox 72. Check out the cool factors in the new version.

          • Firefox 72 — our first song of 2020

            2020 is upon us, folks. We’d like to wish everyone reading this a happy new year, wherever you are. As you take your first steps of the new year, figuring out what your next move is, you may find it comforting to know that there’s a new Firefox release to try out!

            Version 72 to be exact.

            One of the highlights that we are most proud of is that user gestures are now required for a number of permission-reliant methods, such as Notification.requestPermission(). User research commonly brings up permission prompt spam as a top user annoyance, so we decided to do something about it. This change reduces permission spam and strengthens users’ agency over their online experience.

            This release brings several other new features, including DevTool improvements such as Watchpoints, WebSockets inspector improvements, and resource download times; support for CSS features like shadow parts, motion path, and transform properties; and JS/API features such as event-based form participation and the nullish coalescing operator.

          • Firefox 72 rolls out: No more notification popups, fingerprinting blocked by default

            Google this week announced it would follow suit in Chrome 80, which will block most notifications popups by default and, like Firefox 72, will show a small icon in the browser address bar. Chrome 80 is due out next month.

            Firefox 72 also does more to tackle the many ways companies track users across websites. It now, by default, blocks browser fingerprinting, a set of tracking techniques that rely on a script to collect unique characteristics of a browser and the device, such as the user’s screen size, browser, operating system, and even the fonts the user has installed.

            Firefox 72 relies on a blacklist of companies known to conduct browser fingerprinting. That list is managed by Disconnect.

            “Firefox 72 protects users against fingerprinting by blocking all third-party requests to companies that are known to participate in fingerprinting,” explained Mozilla privacy engineer Steven Englehardt.

            “This prevents those parties from being able to inspect properties of a user’s device using JavaScript. It also prevents them from receiving information that is revealed through network requests, such as the user’s IP address or the user agent header.”

            The privacy feature is part of Mozilla’s Enhanced Tracking Prevention, which was recently enabled by default to block third-party tracking cookies and crypto miners.

          • webcompat.com Anonymous Reporting – Some context

            The first week of January, we had to disable anonymous reporting. GitHub in a two steps strike blocked webcompat-bot (which allows us to handle anonymous reporting) and finally the full web-bugs repo (which handles all the issues for webcompat.com). The reason for blocking was illegal content.

            Previous situation

            Anonymous reporting was open to everyone and we would moderate after the fact if the issue was really a liability for both GitHub or us. For the last 5 years, I guess the webcompat.com site was not known enough to not be a target of bots and the issues not regular enough. The situation has evolved.

            The fall: We missed one issue which needed to be moderated and deleted. It was in a public view for quite a long time. We need to review our process about that.

            [...]

            While anonymity or soft-anonymity is an important feature in our society, it also creates challenges in some contexts. Some of these issues are not only tied to anonymous reporting, but anonymous reporting makes it more difficult to have a direct discussion about them.

          • Open Letter to Indian IT Minister by Mozilla, GitHub, and Cloudflare: Release draft intermediary liability rules, assuage concerns voiced during public consultation

            Given the Indian government’s impending commitment to the Supreme Court to notify the intermediary liability amendments by January 15 2020, global internet organizations Mozilla, GitHub, and Cloudflare have penned an open letter to the Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology, Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad. The letter highlights significant concerns with the rules and calls for improved transparency by allowing the public an opportunity to see a final version of these amendments prior to their enactment.

      • Programming/Development

        • 9 Skills Businesspeople Can Learn From Developers

          Developers love detail, it’s what makes good code good. Effective software engineers don’t just have organizational structures to know what work they should be working on when and where, they also have naming and labeling conventions so that the nomenclature of every piece of work they do is appropriately classified and supported by the correct amount of annotation. This is especially important if a developer leaves their role, i.e., every piece of work has a trail of information detailing its genesis and provenance, as well as its onward development and augmentation.

        • Celebrating 20 years of enterprise Java

          AS we celebrate the last 20 years of enterprise Java, it is important to look back at the platform’s history to better understand where it came from and how we arrived where we are today.

          Enterprise Java emerged during a pivotal time in the history of enterprise computing. When Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.2 was introduced in December 1999, it not only marked the birth of enterprise Java, but also signaled an important shift in how organizations were thinking about the web.

          Roughly five years earlier, in May 1995, the Java programming language had been publicly released. The language was originally developed to address obstacles faced by a stealth innovation team at Sun Microsystems building the Star7, an interactive handheld home entertainment controller; however, after a tepid response from the television industry, the team instead set its sights on the internet.

          Web browsers were making the web more accessible to users, and when the Java language was first announced by Sun, it came with a crucial endorsement: Netscape, one of the leaders in the nascent Web browser market at the time, announced in 1995 that it would include support for Java in its namesake browser.

          By 1999, Java had developed a loyal following among application developers and Sun saw an opportunity to extend the language for traditional enterprise workloads. With the launch of J2EE, and another technology that was gaining prominence—the application server—enterprises now had a platform that was designed to meet their needs with capabilities for things like security, scalability, and reliability.

        • Turns Out Oracle Copied Amazon’s S3 APIs; When Confronted, Pretends That’s Different (Spoiler Alert: It’s Not)

          Oracle has waged a many years long war (now heading to the Supreme Court) arguing that copying APIs is copyright infringement. Many people who actually understand what an API is, have explained why that is absolutely ridiculous, but tons of non-technical (always non-technical) people keep insisting that an API is just as copyrightable as software. Indeed, they often insist that an API is no different than software itself. This includes Oracle’s main lawyer on the case, Annette Hurst, who just a few months ago insisted that APIs were executable code (they are not).

        • Reusing software ‘interfaces’ is fine, Google tells Supreme Court, pleads: Think of the devs!

          Google last night strode into the last-chance saloon of the US Supreme Court, warning judges (PDF) that if they did not overturn a Federal Circuit ruling in Oracle’s favour over its use of Java code in the Android mobile operating system, this could “upend … the computer software industry.”

          “New entrants into a software market ‘reimplement’ existing tools,” argued Google, adding in a plea in the umpteenth appeal in the near decade-long spat that amounts to: “Think of the devs!”

        • Understanding Bash fork() Bomb :(){ :|:& };: code

          The fork bomb is a form of denial-of-service (DoS) attack against a Linux or Unix-based system. It makes use of the fork operation. The :(){ :|:& };: is nothing but a bash function. This function get executed recursively. It is often used by sysadmin to test user process limitations on server. Linux process limits can be configured via /etc/security/limits.conf and PAM to avoid bash fork() bomb. Once a successful fork bomb has been activated in a system it may not be possible to resume normal operation without rebooting the system as the only solution to a fork bomb is to destroy all instances of it.

        • Starbucks’ API key found in public GitHub repository – reports

          JumpCloud is an active directory management platform billed as an Azure AD alternative, which provides user management, web app single sign-on (SSO) access control, and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) service.

        • How to set up OctoPrint on your Raspberry Pi

          If you own a 3D printer, you’ll likely have at least heard of OctoPrint from the ever benevolent 3D printing online community. It has the potential to transform your 3D printing workflow for the better, and it’s very easy to set up. This guide will take you through the setup process step by step, and give you some handy tips along the way.

        • Python

          • Python args and kwargs: Demystified

            Sometimes, when you look at a function definition in Python, you might see that it takes two strange arguments: *args and **kwargs. If you’ve ever wondered what these peculiar variables are, or why your IDE defines them in main(), then this course is for you! You’ll learn how to use args and kwargs in Python to add more flexibility to your functions.

          • Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q4 2019

            Congratulations! Thank you for your continued contributions. We have added you to our Fellow roster online.

            The above members have contributed to the Python ecosystem by teaching Python, contributing to and maintaining CPython, organizing Python events and conferences, starting Python communities in their home countries, and overall being great mentors in our community. Each of them continues to help make Python more accessible around the world. To learn more about the new Fellow members, check out their links above.

            Let’s continue to recognize Pythonistas all over the world for their impact on our community. The criteria for Fellow members is available online: https://www.python.org/psf/fellows/. If you would like to nominate someone to be a PSF Fellow, please send a description of their Python accomplishments and their email address to psf-fellow at python.org. We are accepting nominations for quarter 1 through February 20, 2020.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #402 (Jan. 7, 2020)
          • Tutorial: Python Regex (Regular Expressions) for Data Scientists

            Diving headlong into data sets is a part of the mission for anyone working in data science. Often, this means number-crunching, but what do we do when our data set is primarily text-based? We can use regular expressions. In this tutorial, we’re going to take a closer look at how to use regular expressions (regex) in Python.

            Regular expressions (regex) are essentially text patterns that you can use to automate searching through and replacing elements within strings of text. This can make cleaning and working with text-based data sets much easier, saving you the trouble of having to search through mountains of text by hand.

            Regular expressions can be used across a variety of programming languages, and they’ve been around for a very long time!

            In this tutorial, though, we’ll learning about regular expressions in Python, so basic familiarity with key Python concepts like if-else statements, while and for loops, etc., is required. (If you need a refresher on any of this stuff, our introductory Python courses cover all of the relevant topics interactively, right in your browser, and they’re free!)

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Fifty Years of RFCs

          This RFC marks the fiftieth anniversary for the RFC Series. It includes both retrospective material from individuals involved at key inflection points as well as a review of the current state of affairs. It concludes with thoughts on possibilities for the next fifty years for the Series. This document updates the perspectives offered in RFCs 2555 and 5540.

  • Leftovers

    • By the numbers How Russia has changed in the last 10 years

      In 2010, Vladimir Putin was Russia’s prime minister, its police force was called the “militsiya” instead of the “politsiya,” and government officials were promising widespread modernization. A lot has changed since then. We took a look at a few of those changes.

    • Education

      • Educators Push to Ban Seclusion of Students and Shift School Culture

        Educators testifying before Illinois lawmakers Tuesday urged an end to the practice of secluding students inside small rooms but said it would take a cultural shift as well as a new law to end years of misuse.

        At the first legislative hearing on two reform bills — one in the House, one in the Senate — educators and advocates also pointed to the need for state officials to hold schools accountable and require robust training for employees.

    • Hardware

      • NXP i.MX 8M Plus Processor Targets AI Applications with a 2.3 TOPS Neural Processing Unit

        NXP has just announced its first i.MX processor with a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) at CES 2020.

      • NXP samples first i.MX8 with an NPU

        NXP unveiled a 1.8GHz, quad -A53 “i.MX8M Plus” SoC with a 3D GPU, a Cortex-M7 MCU, a HiFi4 DSP, dual ISPs, and a 2.3 TOPS NPU. A Linux BSP and EVK are also in the works.

        NXP has begun sampling its first processor with an AI chip. Applications for the i.MX8 Plus include “people and object recognition for public safety, industrial machine vision, robotics, hand gesture, and emotion detection with natural language processing.”

        The i.MX8M Plus is like a faster version of the i.MX8M Nano, but with a 2.3-TOPs Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and more coprocessors. The NPU can process AI algorithms on MobileNet v1 at over 500 images per second, claims NXP.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Avast complies to respect users’ privacy

          Avast’s official communication throughout that month was nothing short of amazing. I found it hard to believe that a company could keep denying any wrongdoing despite all the evidence to the contrary. Avast’s CEO Ondrej Vlcek even gave an interview to the Forbes magazine where he claimed that there was no privacy scandal here. Users clearly disagreed, and so did most journalists. But the company’s stance didn’t change: all the data collected is necessary to protect users, and selling it later without user’s agreement is completely unproblematic due to the data being “anonymized.”

          So when on December 22nd they finally brought out updated versions of their extensions, I was very curious to see what they changed other than writing a usable privacy policy. The updates have been accepted by all browser vendors and, at the time of writing, all four extensions are available for Firefox and Chrome. The Opera Add-ons site currently lists three extensions, with Avast Online Security still missing.

          Let’s say this much up front: the changes are far more extensive and far more convincing than I would have expected. While Chrome and Opera versions appear identical however, there are some additional changes in the Firefox version. That’s presumably to comply with stricter privacy requirements of the Mozilla Add-ons site.

          Just to be clear: with the large codebases and without any official information from Avast I might have overlooked some of the changes. On Firefox I looked at Avast Online Security 19.4.426, on Chrome at Avast Online Security 19.4.433 and on Opera at AVG Online Security 19.4.433.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Bluetooth/Openwashing

            • Silicon Labs BG22 Secure Bluetooth 5.2 SoC Promises 10-Year Coin-Cell Battery Life

              Yesterday, we wrote about the new Bluetooth LE Audio standard which promises smaller Bluetooth audio devices, or longer battery life, as well as support for multi-stream and broadcast audio.

            • CES 2020: Open Connectivity Foundation reveals first open IoT standard devices

              The OCF 2.1 specification is meant to enable the development of vertical IoT devices for both smart homes and smart commercial devices while maintaining fundamental interoperability between device architectures. It’s meant to be scalable from resource-constrained to resource-rich devices.

              The OCF architecture is based on the Resource Orientated REST architectural style. It’s also designed to bridge the gap between existing IoT ecosystems. So, it provides detailed implementations for Bluetooth, EnOcean, Zigbee, and Z-wave network protocols.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Automotive Grade Linux nabs Subaru and Wind River teams with Baidu on driverless cars

                Subaru will use Automotive Grade Linux in its 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy cars. Meanwhile, Wind River revealed a partnership with Baidu to develop an AUTOSAR solution based on Wind River Linux and VxWorks for Baidu’s Apollo autonomous car platform.

                At the CES show in Las Vegas today, the Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project announced a major new customer win with Subaru. The Japanese carmaker and AGL member will use the Linux-based AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) for its Subaru Starlink in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system in two 2020 models: the Subaru Outback and Subaru Legacy.

              • Subaru Adopts AGL Software for Infotainment on New 2020 Subaru Outback and Subaru Legacy

                “Using AGL’s open source software allows us to easily customize the user experience and integrate new features, creating an integrated cockpit entertainment system that is more enjoyable for drivers,” said Mr. Naoyoshi Morita, General Manager of Electronic Product Design Dept. of Subaru Corporation. “We believe that shared software development through Automotive Grade Linux benefits the entire industry, and we look forward to our continued involvement and collaboration with other automakers and suppliers.”

                AGL is supported by more than 150 members, including 11 automakers, who are working together to develop the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) platform, a shared software platform that can serve as the de facto industry standard for infotainment, telematics, and instrument cluster applications. Sharing an open platform allows for code reuse and a more efficient development process as developers and suppliers can build once and have a product work for multiple automakers.

                “Subaru has been an AGL member for many years, and we are very excited to see them use AGL in production,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux. “The AGL platform continues to gain traction, and we expect to see more automakers using it in production in the years to come.”

              • Automotive Grade Linux Has Large Presence At CES 2020

                At the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas there isn’t too often “pure” Linux being showcased aside from the likes of Ubuntu occasionally running on demo machines or servers, the year Canonical was there with Ubuntu TV, and a number of other select mostly small instances where Linux is prominently featured. That’s in part why I stopped regularly attending CES (as well as budgetary constraints due to ad-blockers…) but this year at CES there is a large floor showcase of the Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux.

                [...]

                A Phoronix reader at CES 2020 kindly passed along these images. Those not at CES but wanting to check out the latest AGL happenings can do so via AutomotiveLinux.org.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (nss and pillow), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-ibm and kernel), Slackware (firefox), SUSE (virglrenderer), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-5.0, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-kvm, linux-oem-osp1, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.0, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, and linux-snapdragon).

          • Encryption: An Essential Yet Highly Controversial Component of Digital Security

            Governments have been trying for years to require that companies build backdoors, or deliberate weaknesses in encryption intended to provide easy access to encrypted data, into encrypted software and technology, arguing that unbroken encryption makes criminal investigations too difficult. The FBI has been using the term “going dark” since the late 90’s to describe the “threat” that strong encryption poses to omnipresent government surveillance.

            This fear of strong, unbroken encryption is not only unfounded – it is dangerous. Encryption with built-in backdoors which provide special access for select groups not only has the potential to be abused by law enforcement and government agencies by allowing them to eavesdrop on potentially any digital conversation, it could also be easily exploited by threat actors and criminals.

            US Attorney General William Barr and US senators are currently pushing for legislation that would force technology companies to build backdoors into their products, but technology companies are fighting back full force. Apple and Facebook have spoken out against the introduction of encryption backdoors, warning that it would introduce massive security and privacy threats and would serve as an incentive for users to choose devices from overseas. Apple’s user privacy manager Erik Neuenschwander states, “We’ve been unable to identify any way to create a backdoor that would work only for the good guys.” Facebook has taken a more defiant stance on the issue, adamantly saying that it would not provide access to encrypted messages in Facebook and WhatsApp.

            Senator Lindsey Graham has responded to this resistance authoritatively, advising the technology giants to “get on with it”, and stating that the Senate will ultimately “impose its will” on privacy advocates and technologists. However, Graham’s statement appears unrealistic, and several lawmakers have indicated that Congress won’t make much progress on this front in 2020.

            This article will examine the pivotal role that strong encryption plays in digital privacy and security, and hopefully dispel some of the common and detrimental myths that exist surrounding encryption.

          • Have You Checked Your Patches And Updates Today?

            The Cyber Infrastructure Security Agency at the United States Department of Homeland Security has been filling my inbox with updates in the past 36 hours. From an alert concerning possible cyber response to a United States military strike in Baghdad to a press release about a new analytical report concerning geopolitical tensions (which is actually a 2 page PDF file) they certainly have been issuing reports. It may be prudent in these tense geopolitical times to ensure your package updates are in fact up to date, that you’re not running unnecessary services on public-facing servers, and that your firewall definitions meet current needs.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Florida Appeals Court Asks State’s Top Court To Decide Whether Compelled Password Production Violates The Fifth Amendment

              The Florida state Supreme Court is being asked to settle the open question as to whether compelled password production violates the Fifth Amendment. (via FourthAmendment.com)

            • No Digital Surveillance of Iranians at the U.S. Border—Or Within the U.S.

              Only days into heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, media outlets have published disturbing reports of increased scrutiny of people of Iranian descent at U.S. borders, including in at least one case involving a traveler’s phone. EFF strongly opposes any targeting of people for digital surveillance based on their race, religion, or nationality, at our border and in our interior. And we remind all members of the public to practice surveillance self-defense.

              On January 5, media outlets reported that more than 60 people of Iranian descent, including U.S. citizens, were held at the border between Canada and Washington state for many hours and questioned about their perceived connections to Iran. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denied that it detained or refused entry to Iranians based on their national origin, a claim contested by accounts from travelers. CBP also denied allegations that there was an agency directive to detain people of Iranian descent. 

            • Why 5G Mobile Is Arriving With a Subplot of Espionage

              Some critics warn that 5G’s pervasiveness could create vulnerabilities in public infrastructure and among the billions of chips, sensors, cameras and appliances that are expected to be interconnected. Ericsson AB, the Swedish maker of wireless equipment, estimates that more than 22 billion gadgets will be connected to the internet of things by 2024. On the other hand, there’s still some debate whether 5G can live up to its billing across the board. The use of millimeter waves — extremely high frequency bands that can carry a much higher data load — is still being worked out and many 5G services and phones have launched without it in the initial phase. That’s because high frequencies are much more prone to interference, are generally only useful over short distances, and don’t find their way through walls and other physical barriers as well as lower bands.

            • U.S. to collect and store DNA from teenagers detained at the border

              Starting today, the branch of the Department of Homeland Security will start collecting DNA from people it detains at the U.S. border. And yes, according to a privacy impact assessment published by DHS, kids as young as 14 are subject to the new program.

              [...]

              It is slated to eventually span the entire nation.

            • Facebook executive defends ad policies that ‘very well may’ mean Trump reelection

              A top Facebook executive is defending a controversial memo he sent to employees that suggests the company’s ad policies “very well may lead” to President Trump’s reelection.

              In a post to his personal Facebook page Tuesday, Andrew Bosworth said the Dec. 30 memo obtained by The New York Times wasn’t “written for public consumption and I am worried about context collapse.”

            • Lord of the Rings, 2020 and Stuffed Oreos: Read the Andrew Bosworth Memo

              In the post, titled “Thoughts for 2020,” Mr. Bosworth — who oversaw Facebook’s advertising efforts during the 2016 election and is now in charge of the company’s virtual and augmented reality division — admitted that President Trump’s savvy use of Facebook’s advertising tools “very well may lead to” his re-election. But he maintained that the company should not change its policies on political advertising, saying that doing so in order to avert a victory by Mr. Trump would be a misuse of power, comparing it to a scene from “The Lord of the Rings.”

              Mr. Bosworth, who is seen by some inside Facebook as a proxy of sorts for Mr. Zuckerberg, also weighed in on a variety of issues that have vexed Facebook for the past few years, including data privacy scandals, Russian interference, political polarization and the debate over whether Facebook is healthy for society.

              Here is the full post as written: [...]

            • Facebook exec erroneously cites The Lord of the Rings when comparing the social network to the One Ring

              As part of his argument, Boz makes the comparison by citing none other than J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings to explain his decision. Facebook, Boz argues, is akin to Sauron’s One Ring, and wielding its power — even with noble intent — would only lead to ruin.

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Disinformation For Hire: How A New Breed Of PR Firms Is Selling Lies Online

        Peng’s clients are companies, brands, political parties, and candidates in Asia. “Customers have money, and I don’t care what they buy,” he said. They’re purchasing an end-to-end online manipulation system, which can influence people on a massive scale — resulting in votes cast, products sold, and perceptions changed.

        Peng’s product is modeled on automation software he saw in China, which he believes no one else outside the mainland has. But while his technology may be unique, his company, Bravo-Idea, is not. There is now a worldwide industry of PR and marketing firms ready to deploy fake accounts, false narratives, and pseudo news websites for the right price.

      • FAKE ALERT: Random, old photos of sex toys, condoms shared claiming these were found in JNU girls’ hostel

        We found the same two photos being shared by many other users, both on Facebook and Twitter, with the exact same caption.

        Both the photos are old and have nothing to do with JNU, girls’ hostels there or the violence that happened inside the campus on January 6, 2019.

        A simple reverse-image search on these photos on Google will lead you to the truth.

    • Environment

      • Love the Land Or Watch It Die

        Sagebrush, Ponderosa Pine, Juniper Trees, and Piñón Pine are important flora in the western United States. Juniper can live more than 1,000 years, as can some Piñón. Ponderosa live up to 400 years. Sagebrush is a perennial and can survive for 100 years. All have been and are used for a variety of purposes by native peoples. They are also integral parts of what were once vibrant ecosystems in some of the most beautiful and astonishing parts of the United States. The ways in which plants, grasses, trees, and wildlife interreacted, in what are harsh environments, was remarkable. Not only could we learn much from studying these ecosystems, but their sheer beauty made them places worthy of contemplation and awe. We know that biodiversity is essential to any efforts to limit global warming, to avoid devastating fires, to, in a word, the maintenance of a healthy, habitable earth. Where a part of the planet is healthy, it should not be made unhealthy. John Donne said, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” But then he wrote, “if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were.” That is, the human and the non-human world are intimately connected, in ways increasingly known by scientists but little understood by most of us, to our detriment.

      • More Than One Billion Animals Killed in Australia Wildfires Called a ‘Very Conservative’ Estimate

        Chris Dickman of the University of Sydney said “without any doubt at all” the animal death toll has exceeded one billion.

      • In Australia’s Nightmare, a Vision of the Planet’s Terrifying Future

        What’s happening Down Under is a dark preview of the kind of chaos and destruction that’s awaiting the rest of the world in this rapidly unfolding climate crisis… It sounds dramatic because it is.

      • What to Know About Australia’s Deadly Wildfires [iophk: fight fires by preventing the further release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere]

        The fires are particularly bad in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. A map of the fires from researchers in Western Australia shows several concentrations along the east coast of the country.

        The flames have killed over 20 people. Nearly 500 million animals have died in New South Wales since September, according to University of Sydney Professor Chris Dickman, but he said that number could end up being much higher. Roughly one-third of koala populations – as well as one-third of their habitat – has been wiped out in New South Wales because of the fires, according to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.

        Celebrities have pledged millions of dollars to help fight the fires, but researchers warn there isn’t an end in sight for the disaster.

      • Australia Is on Fire — Its Government Must Stop Denying Climate Crisis

        After years studying the climate, my work has brought me to Sydney where I’m studying the linkages between climate change and extreme weather events.

      • Climate Change Is Science Not Politics. So Can We Talk About It Yet?

        The time to talk about and act on climate change is now. While the corporations are still polluting, while the politicians are still delaying, and while the fires are still burning. We have no other choice, writes Rosie Latimer.

      • The Hottest Day on Earth: the Politics of Australia’s Bushfires

        Just before Christmas and in excessive secret, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, known as Scomo, tried to escape the nightmare of bushfires he left behind. Scomo flew 8,000km to Hawaii. Meanwhile the bush firestorm was ravaging Australia. Unforeseen by Scomo and his entourage, a Facebook storm was also ravaging his approval ratings. Hence, reluctantly and perhaps on the advice of his political spin-doctors, Scomo returned to Sydney. Once back in Australia, former marketing/PR manager and spin-doctor Scomo tried to make up lost ground. He pretended to care – as much as a PM cares who left for Hawaii in the middle of the worst pre-summer bushfires Australia has ever seen. On his return, Scomo visited fire brigades but only days later, he was found swimming at one of Sydney’s favourite beaches, Bronte. Shortly after, he enforced his handshake onto a young pregnant woman and a fire fighter who rejected him. The men on the fire front had experienced neoliberal underfunding first hand. Even the otherwise very compliant Murdoch propaganda machine was forced to show Scomo’s rejection by the fire-fighters. In true PR style, Scomo rolled up with six cars of his media and security entourage to present “one” bag of biscuits to survivors for the all important media photo. While Scomo visited the fire-struck town of Cobargo, local people were yelling obscenities at him as he walked around the dusty village. You’re not welcome you f***wit, one women shouted.

      • The bushfires are horrendous, but expect cyclones, floods and heatwaves too

        The peak time for heatwaves in southern Australia has not yet arrived. Many parts of Australia can expect heavy rains and flooding. And northern Australia’s cyclone season is just gearing up.

      • Leftist Media Seeks Photo Of Hero Andrew Bolt On Front Line, Like This One

        As the bushfire crisis gripping Australia continues to play out, many heroes have emerged.

      • Two Sides, Same Coin: It’s Not About Labor Or Liberal Anymore. It’s Too Late For That Now.

        If politics has to change after the fires, that means that everyone has to change the way they relate to it. We need a more oppositional political culture now, writes Nick Riemer.

      • This virtual image of the Australian bushfires was created using NASA data — it’s not a satellite photo

        An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, alongside a claim that it is a photograph of the bushfires in Australia taken from space by a NASA satellite. The photo has been circulated in a misleading context; a Brisbane-based photographer said he created the image digitally using NASA’s data of the Australian bushfires.

      • A 3-Decade-Long Water Dispute Heads To The Supreme Court

        It’s a big lake, covering some 60 square miles, but it fills slowly. In times of plenty, there’s enough water to serve the needs of metro Atlanta plus communities, industry and farming in southern Georgia, eastern Alabama and a section of Florida’s panhandle.

        The problems arise when there’s a drought.

        “A one-year drought doesn’t cause particular complications, but a three-year drought does,” says Katherine Zitsch, with the Atlanta Regional Commission.

      • Former state officials charged in Flint water crisis have criminal cases dismissed

        Judge David Goggins dismissed charges against Steven Busch and Michael Prysby, two former state environmental officials, after reviewing their cases. The two former officials worked for Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and had oversight responsibility for Flint’s water system after it began using the Flint River as its water source in 2014 and 2015.

      • Final criminal Flint water case could be dismissed this week

        Liane Shekter-Smith, 59, the only state government employee to lose her job as a result of the water crisis, is scheduled to appear in Genesee Circuit Court Wednesday, Jan. 8, for a review of her case.

      • Opinion: Following Flint, increase drinking water transparency

        Drinking water flows through lead service lines to an estimated 460,000 homes and businesses in Michigan every single day. The best thing about the new Lead and Copper Rule is that it requires removal of all lead service lines in the state within the next 20 years. Right now, that makes Michigan the only state working toward a future where no customer will drink water from a solid lead pipe. It took a long time to install these lead lines, so it will take time, money, and perseverance to get them out.

      • Global Environmentalist Joseph Appiah Honoured In England

        In his words at the conference he said, The environmental problems like global warming, acid rain, air pollution, urban sprawl, waste disposal, ozone layer depletion, water pollution, climate change and many more affect every human animal.

      • Michael Mann: Australia, Your Country Is Burning – Dangerous Climate Change Is Here With You Now
      • The Plastics Giant and the Making of an Environmental Justice Warrior

        On the evening of January 6, Louisiana state regulators issued 15 key permits to the Taiwanese petrochemical corporation Formosa for its $9.4 billion plastics manufacturing complex proposed for the historically black area of St. James Parish. Word spread today about the approvals, which pave the way for the project’s construction, opposed by local and national environmental advocates.

      • Russia moves to exploit Arctic riches

        As the polar sea ice vanishes faster, Russia unveils plans to exploit Arctic riches: fossil fuel deposits, minerals and new shipping routes.

      • London and NYC Mayors Call on Every Major City in the World to Divest From Climate-Destroying Fossil Fuels

        “Instead of having to move cities, let’s move money!”

      • Energy

        • Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry Rejoins Board of Dakota Access Owner

          Former Trump administration Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who resigned from his cabinet-level post effective last month, has joined the board of directors of the general partner of Energy Transfer LP, according to a filing made last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Energy Transfer.

        • Forecast for 2020: More Oil Trains, Fires, Spills, and the Rise of LNG by Rail

          In early December, a train carrying oil from Alberta, Canada, and destined for Oklahoma, home to the biggest oil distribution hub in the U.S., derailed shortly after departing from the loading facility. Many of the oil tank cars ruptured and spilled large amounts of oil, which caught on fire. The train spilled 400,000 gallons of oil and burned for 24 hours.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Even the IMF Is Calling for Higher Taxes on the Rich

        Raising taxes on the world’s wealthiest people is crucial to combating income inequality around the globe, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a blog post Tuesday.

      • Reporting Recipe: How to Investigate Professors’ Conflicts of Interest

        When professors moonlight, the income may influence their research and policy views. Although most universities track this outside work, the records have rarely been accessible to the public, potentially obscuring conflicts of interests.

        That changed last month when ProPublica launched Dollars for Profs, an interactive database that, for the first time ever, allows you to look up more than 37,000 faculty and staff disclosures from about 20 public universities and the National Institutes of Health.

      • Four Reasons Why Millennials Don’t Have Any Money

        If we want to address their problems, we need to understand those problems.Number one: Stagnant wages. Median wages grew by an average of 0.3% per year between 2007 and 2017, including the Great Recession – just as millennials were beginning their careers. Before that, between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, wages grew at three times that rate.Second: As wages have stagnated, the costs of essentials like housing and education have been going through the roof. Millennials own fewer homes, the most common way Americans have built wealth in the past.  Education costs have soared. Adjusted for inflation, the average college education in 2018 cost nearly three times what it did in 1978.Third: As a result of all of this, Debt.  That expensive college education means that the average graduate carries a whopping $28,000 in student loan debt. As a generation, millennials are more than one trillion dollars in the red.  In addition, the average young adult carries nearly $5,000 in credit card debt, and this number is growing.Fourth: Millennials are finding it harder than previous generations to save for the future. Among Fortune 500 companies, only 81 sponsored a pension plan in 2017, that’s down from 288 twenty years ago. Employers are replacing pensions with essentially “do-it-yourself” savings plans.All of this means that fewer millennials are entering the middle class than previous generations.  Most have less than $1,000 in savings. Many young people today won’t be able to retire until 75, if at all.If we don’t start trying to reduce this generational wealth gap — through policies like debt relief, accessible health insurance, paid family leave, affordable housing, and a more equitable tax code for renters — millions of young Americans will struggle to find financial security for the rest of their lives.

      • ‘The People With the Least Resources Are Now Shouldering the Greatest Burden’
      • One of America’s oldest and largest milk producers files for bankruptcy

        The company branched into other businesses, including chemicals, and went on another acquisition binge, buying 23 companies for $442.6 million in 1987 alone. But by the early 1990s it began to run into financial problems and in 1995 it was purchased by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. for $2 billion and taken private. It sold off many of the other business, leaving mostly just the dairy business.

      • [Old] A look back at KKR, the investment firm that bought out Toys R US … among others

        Firms like KKR work in the background, doing some flipping of their own with actual companies through leveraged buyouts. They might not be household names, but some of the companies they acquire for billions of dollars certainly are.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Reap the Whirlwind, USA

        The 45th President of the United States of America — Donald J Trump — is an accused rapist.

      • Advocates Argue ‘It Is Ludicrous, and Frankly Offensive,’ to Let Impeached Trump Continue Right-Wing Takeover of Courts

        “We cannot allow a president who demanded foreign interference in our elections and obstructed Congress to pack our courts with lifetime appointees.”

      • ‘Biden Bait’: New Warren Bankruptcy Reform Plan Reignites 2005 Fight With 2020 Rival

        Although the proposal doesn’t mention the former vice president by name, political observers argue it “is designed to challenge his record of selling out working families in the name of financial interests.”

      • Period of Calm Obscures Deepening Crisis of Democracy in Bolivia
      • Convict and Remove
      • McConnell Says He’ll Start Impeachment Trial, Delay Decision on Witnesses

        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he has secured the Republican votes needed to start President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and postpone a decision on witnesses or documents that Democrats want.

      • With Bolton Willing to Testify Before Senate, Sanders Asks Trump: ‘What Are You Afraid Of?’

        “If you are not guilty of corruption and abuse of power, you should welcome the testimony of your former national security advisor and other witnesses.”

      • Are Establishment Democrats Running Out of Ways to Sabotage Bernie Sanders?

        The moderates of the party can’t stand what Bernie is and what he stands for, but they apparently can’t find a way to beat him.

      • Bernie Sanders Hits Joe Biden Where It Hurts

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday evening took aim at the legislative record of 2020 Democratic primary rival former Vice President Joe Biden, calling Biden—who also served in the U.S. Senate representing Delaware for 36 years—the wrong candidate to take on President Donald Trump in the general election this November.

      • Sanders Targets Biden Over Iraq War Vote, Repeated Attacks on Social Security

        “I just don’t think that that kind of record is going to bring forth the kind energy we need to defeat Trump.”

      • Biden and Buttigieg Exemplify How Corporatism and ‘the Madness of Militarism’ Go Together

        Political positions on class warfare don’t always run parallel to positions on military warfare. But they have now clearly aligned in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

      • Big Data Firms Helped Sway the 2016 Election. Could It Happen Again in 2020?

        The documentary “The Great Hack,” which was shortlisted for the Oscars, explores how the data firm Cambridge Analytica came to symbolize the dark side of social media in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Cambridge Analytica collapsed in May 2018 after The Observer newspaper revealed the company had harvested some 87 million Facebook profiles without the users’ knowledge or consent. Cambridge Analytica then used the data to sway voters to support President Trump during the 2016 campaign. We speak with “The Great Hack” co-directors Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, as well as Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser.

      • Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Reveals Extent of Global Voter Manipulation

        New details are emerging about how the shadowy data firm Cambridge Analytica worked to manipulate voters across the globe, from the 2016 election in the United States to the Brexit campaign in Britain and elections in over 60 other countries, including Malaysia, Kenya and Brazil. A new trove of internal Cambridge Analytica documents and emails are being posted on Twitter detailing the company’s operations, including its work with President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. The documents come from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser, who worked at the firm for three-and-a-half years before leaving in 2018. We speak with Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, co-directors of the Oscar shortlisted documentary “The Great Hack”; Brittany Kaiser, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower featured in “The Great Hack” and author of Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower’s Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again; and Emma Briant, a visiting research associate in human rights at Bard College whose upcoming book is titled Propaganda Machine: Inside Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry.

      • Trump’s Apologists on the Left Never Had an Excuse
      • Who Is Jared Kushner?

        After the Second World War, anti-Semitic immigration laws sharply limited the number of Jews allowed into the United States. In 1949, in order to increase his chances of obtaining an American visa, Rae’s husband and Jared’s grandfather, Yossel Berkowitz, posed as his father-in-law’s son, listing Kushner as his name on U.S. immigration paperwork, and renaming himself Joseph Kushner. As a result, his son Charles was called Charles Kushner, not Charles Berkowitz, and his grandson was Jared Kushner, not Jared Berkowitz. Jared’s wife’s married name would be Ivanka Kushner, not Ivanka Berkowitz.

      • Attacks on Iran, Past and Present

        The assassination of General Qasem Soleimani

      • Trump is Starting a War With Iran, Whether by Accident or Design

        Is this war by accident or war by design? We’ve all said that a major war in the Middle East could start by accident. But no one thought Donald Trump would go for the jugular quite like this. To kill General Qassem Soleimani is a sword at the heart of Iran, without doubt. And on whose behalf?

      • Here Are Some Ways Your Congress Members Can Oppose Iran War

        In the wake of President Trump’s decision to kill a powerful Iranian general and an Iraqi Shia militia leader in a drone strike on Friday, Congress has the power to stop what is arguably already a proxy war with Iran from devolving into all-out war. Indeed, lawmakers already have several options for reasserting their constitutional war powers and immediately taking action to prevent further violence, including measures to block war funding and repeal longstanding military authorizations.

      • Trump’s Rationale for Killing Soleimani Makes No Sense

        There is, of course, precedence for Republican administrations launching Middle Eastern wars on the basis of lies. But historically, such administrations have felt compelled to keep up the pretense of democratic accountability. George W. Bush & Co. put in the effort to fabricate a logically coherent casus belli for Iraq and manufacture intelligence backing up their mendacious claims. The Trump White House, by contrast, has not even done voters the courtesy of pretending to believe that they are entitled to a facially plausible narrative — or evidence of any kind — before their government launches wars in their name.

      • Veterans group says Trump administration ignoring Russian disinformation targeting troops, vets

        A major veterans group says the Trump administration of has been ignoring Russian disinformation campaigns that have been targeting U.S. troops and veterans for nearly two years.

        Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) cautioned the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments in March 2018 that disinformation campaigns aimed at service members could plant seeds for social disagreement, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

      • Elizabeth Wurtzel: Prozac Nation author dies aged 52

        “It’s impossible to convey the impact Elizabeth Wurtzel had in the ’90s. She was unapologetic, raw, honest. She stood for a very specific form of GenX femininity, confession, rage,” journalist Erin Blakemore wrote.

      • ‘Prozac Nation’ Author Elizabeth Wurtzel Dies of Breast Cancer

        NEW YORK—Elizabeth Wurtzel, whose blunt and painful confessions of her struggles with addiction and depression in the best-selling “Prozac Nation” made her a voice and a target for an anxious generation, died Tuesday at age 52.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • ‘What You’re Seeing From Mitch McConnell Is Disgusting’

        The question is not whether McConnell has abandoned his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He did that long ago—even before he rewrote the rules to block the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, in a move that confirmed the senator’s choice of partisanship over patriotism. The question is whether Democrats will in 2020 challenge McConnell on the grounds where he is most vulnerable.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Disney+ Titles Disappear Without Warning, Bringing Confusion To The Streaming Wars

        While there’s little doubt that cheaper, more flexible streaming TV options are a definite step up from overpriced cable TV channel bundles, we’ve noted for a while how there’s a problem in the sector it hasn’t spent much time thinking about. As companies rush to lock down your favorite content via exclusives, users are increasingly being forced to hunt and peck among rotating catalogs to find the content they’re looking for. Want to watch Star Trek? You’ll need to subscribe to CBS All Access. Want to watch The Office? You’ll need to subscribe to Comcast’s streaming service. Friends? You’ll need AT&T.

      • For tech-weary Midwest farmers, 40-year-old tractors now a hot commodity

        Tractors manufactured in the late 1970s and 1980s are some of the hottest items in farm auctions across the Midwest these days — and it’s not because they’re antiques.

        Cost-conscious farmers are looking for bargains, and tractors from that era are well-built and totally functional, and aren’t as complicated or expensive to repair as more recent models that run on sophisticated software.

        “It’s a trend that’s been building. It’s been interesting in the last couple years, which have been difficult for ag, to see the trend accelerate,” said Greg Peterson, the founder of Machinery Pete, a farm equipment data company in Rochester with a website and TV show.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Appeals Court Smacks Down Patent Troll Blackbird, Orders It To Pay $363k In Attorneys Fees To Company It Sued

            Remember Blackbird Technologies? This was the patent trolling firm made up almost entirely of lawyers who insisted they weren’t a law firm… they just bought up patents for basically nothing and then threatened and/or sued a bunch of companies claiming patent infringement. A few years back it was suing basically everyone over some dubious patents. But it made a pretty massive strategic error in suing Cloudlfare because Cloudflare decided to fight back, not just to win its case, but to invalidate as many Blackbird patents as possible, while simultaneously reporting the ethics violations involved in pretending not to be a law firm when you really are (and in what appeared to be trying to purchase the bare right to sue, rather than the actual full patent rights).

          • Sonos is suing Google for patent infringement, and wants to sue Amazon too[Ed: Such abstract patents are a waste of any court's time; so they use quantity to make up for lack of quality (to make legal defense more expensive and cumbersome)]

            The speaker company Sonos says that Google “blatantly” used technology information disclosed in confidence —and that if only it could afford to, it would simultaneously sue Amazon for the same reasons.

            [...]

            “Since 2015,” it continues, “Google’s misappropriation of Sonos’s patented technology has only proliferated, as Google has expanded its wireless multi-room audio system to more than a dozen different infringing products, including, for example, the Google Home Mini, Google Home, Google Home Max, and Pixel phones, tablets, and laptops.”

            “Worse still, Google has persisted despite the fact that Sonos has warned Google of its infringement on at least four separate occasions dating back to 2016.”

            [...]

            Sonos maintains that Google has infringed around 100 of its patents, but its lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court, district of California, concentrate on five. These include one that covers how wireless speakers can connect and synchronise with each other.

            Sonos is asking for trial by jury and is seeking unspecified financial damages and an injunction against Google continuing the alleged infringements. The company says that it sued Google first, because it cannot afford to be in a protracted legal battle with both Google and Amazon, simultaneously.

          • Sonos Files Lawsuits Against Google for Stealing Its Speaker Patents

            Smart speaker company Sonos is suing Google because they think the tech giant copied their technology.

          • 2020 iPhone design tipped: Did Apple just oust big iPhone 12 secret?

            The report suggests Apple has filed three design patents in Japan, all of which show an iPhone without the notch, which was popularly accepted as a trend in the industry. While the patents are for user interface, some sketches showing the device from side and top seems unnecessary and suggest the patents are more than just UI changes.

      • Copyrights

        • U.S. Appellate Court Enforces CC’s Interpretation of NonCommercial

          “Under the License, a non-commercial licensee may hire a third-party contractor including those working for commercial gain, to help implement the License at the direction of the licensee and in furtherance of the licensee’s own licensed rights. The License extends to all employees of the schools and school districts and shelters Office Depot’s commercial copying of Eureka Math on their behalf.”

        • Cloudflare Sued For Failing to Terminate 99 ‘Repeat Copyright Infringing’ Sites

          Two companies that design and manufacture wedding dresses are suing Cloudflare for copyright infringement after it failed to terminate service to 99 ‘repeat infringer’ websites. Allure Bridals and Justin Alexander claim that they sent 7,000 DMCA complaints to the CDN company but aside from passing the notices on, Cloudflare failed to take more meaningful action.

        • The Pirate Bay’s Seeded ‘Archive’ Grows to 2.5 Petabytes

          The Pirate Bay has revealed some intriguing statistics on its decentralized archive of data. Over the years more than 6.7 petabytes of data were made available through the site. Less than half of this is still being seeded. The data further reveal that the 2014 raid did some serious damage to the infamous torrent site.

        • Nintendo Responds To RomUniverse’s Lame Argument That First Sale Doctrine Makes The Site Non-Infringing

          You will recall that Nintendo, as part of its sweeping new war on ROM sites initiated a year or so ago, went particularly hard at RomUniverse and its site operator, Matthew Storman. Differentiating RomUniverse from other ROM sites is some combination of the fact that it’s run out of California as opposed to overseas, that the site is also a place to go get lots of other media that sure looks to be infringing on copyright, and Storman’s verbose attitude in making public comments that don’t paint him or his site in the best light. At the onset, as part of an attempt to crowdfund its legal battle with Nintendo, RomUniverse trotted out the claim that it was offering ROMs in an attempt to preserve video gaming history. It wasn’t a particularly believable argument given the rest of the site’s behavior and RomUniverse quickly opted for other legal arguments in court.

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