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01.27.20

Links 27/1/2020: Linux 5.5 is Out, Work on Linux 5.6 Commences, New Solus and Award for Andrew Tridgell

Posted in News Roundup at 3:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Kubuntu Focus Linux laptop now available (for $1800 and up)

        The Kubuntu Focus is a premium notebook with a 16.1 inch display, an Intel Core i7-9750H hexa-core processor, and NVIDIA RTX graphics. But the most unusual feature is that rather than Windows, it ships with Kubuntu — a version of Ubuntu Linux with the KDE desktop environment.

        First announced in December, the Kubuntu Focus is now available for purchase, and it should ship in early February.

        The notebook has also received a bit of a price cut — rather than starting at $2300 as originally planned, there’s now a more affordable entry-level model with a $1800 price tag.

      • Kubuntu Focus KDE Laptop Launches New $1,795 USD Base Model

        Formally announced earlier this month was Kubuntu Focus as the most polished KDE laptop we’ve ever tested. Besides offering a great KDE desktop experience, the Kubuntu Focus offers high-end specs while now there is a slightly cheaper base model introduced.

        The Kubuntu Focus is great for a KDE laptop, but the former base pricing of $2,395 was a bit tough to swallow for some. The Kubuntu Focus crew has now introduced a new $1,795 USD base model that while still pricey is a bit easier to manage in comparison to other high-end laptops.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Broadridge Signs With IBM For Greater Cloud Capabilities

          Red Hat, which IBM acquired in 2018 is the most pervasive container solution on the planet today, said Schlesinger.

          “It allows us to containerize our apps and then allows us to run them on any cloud unchanged, whether our private cloud, Azure, AWS or IBM.”

        • IBM Power-based cloud instances available… from Google

          IBM and Google may be competitors in the cloud platform business, but that doesn’t prevent them from working together. Google is partnering with IBM to offer “Power Systems as a service” on its Google Cloud platform.

          IBM’s Power processor line is the last man standing in the RISC/Unix war, surviving Sun Microsystems’ SPARC and HP’s PA-RISC. Along with mainframes it’s the last server hardware business IBM has, having divested its x86 server line in 2014.

          IBM already sells cloud instances of Power to its IBM Cloud customers, so this is just an expansion of existing offerings to a competitor with a considerable data center footprint. Google said that customers can run Power-based workloads on GCP on all of its operating systems save mainframes — AIX, IBM i, and Linux on IBM Power.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 142

        The real reason Rocket League is dropping support for Linux, Wine has a massive release, and the potential for Canonical’s new Android in the cloud service.

        Plus, our take on the FSF’s Upcycle Windows 7 campaign, and the clever Chrome OS strategy upgrade for education in 2020.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 180 – A Tale of Two Vulnerabilities

        Josh and Kurt talk about two recent vulnerabilities that have had very different outcomes. One was the Citrix remote code execution flaw. While the flaw is bad, the handling of the flaw was possibly worse than the flaw itself. The other was the Microsoft ECC encryption flaw. It was well handled even though it was hard to understand and it is a pretty big deal. As all these things go, fixing and disclosing vulnerabilities is hard.

      • GNU World Order 337

        The **acct** command from the Slackware **ap** software series.

      • Podcast.__init__: Simplifying Social Login For Your Web Applications

        A standard feature in most modern web applications is the ability to log in or register using accounts that you already own on other sites such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter. Building your own integrations for each service can be complex and time consuming, distracting you from the features that you and your users actually care about. Fortunately the Python social auth library makes it easy to support third party authentication with a large and growing number of services with minimal effort. In this episode Matías Aguirre discusses his motivation for creating the library, how he has designed it to allow for flexibility and ease of use, and the benefits of delegating identity and authentication to third parties rather than managing passwords yourself.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5
        So this last week was pretty quiet, and while we had a late network
        update with some (mainly iwl wireless) network driver and netfilter
        module loading fixes, David didn't think that warranted another -rc.
        And outside of that, it's really been very quiet indeed - there's a
        panfrost driver update too, but again it didn't really seem to make
        sense to delay the final release by another week.
        
        Outside of those, it's all really tiny, even if some of those tiny
        changes touched some core files.
        
        So despite the slight worry that the holidays might have affected the
        schedule, 5.5 ended up with the regular rc cadence and is out now.
        
        That means that the merge window for 5.6 will open tomorrow, and I
        already have a couple of pull requests pending. The timing for this
        next merge window isn't optimal for me - I have some travel and other
        things going on during the same two weeks, but hopefully it won't be
        all that noticeable.  But there might be random timezones, odd hours,
        and random delays because of that. I try to avoid scheduling things
        during the merge window, but hey, it doesn't always work out, and I'd
        have to delay things by two weeks to avoid the conflicts, which just
        doesn't seem worth it.
        
        Particularly since it's not necessarily going to be a problem to begin
        with. We'll see.
        
        Anyway. Go out and test 5.5, and start sending me those pull requests
        for all the new development that is ready,
        
                            Linus
        
      • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 5.5 With Better Feature

        Insight: Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 5.5 With Better Hardware Support

        Founder of Linux, Linus Torvalds releases Linux Kernel 5.5 with tons of new features. Linux 5.5, named Kleptomaniac Octopus has better hardware support.

      • The 5.5 kernel is out

        In the end, Linus decided to release the 5.5 kernel rather than going for another prepatch. “So despite the slight worry that the holidays might have affected the schedule, 5.5 ended up with the regular rc cadence and is out now.”

      • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 5.5 With Better Hardware Support

        With the regular milestone of Release Candidate (rc7), Linus Torvalds has announced the first stable release of the Linux kernel 5.5 for the general public.

        Apart from the last-minute network driver fixes, Linux 5.5 includes various improvements for security, the new and upcoming hardware platforms such as Raspberry Pi 4, Intel processors, and Chromebooks.

      • Linux 5.5 Released With Many Hardware Support Improvements
      • Linux 5.5 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS and RISC-V Architectures

        Linux 5.5 has just been released by Linus Torvalds…

      • Linux Kernel 5.5 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

        The Linux 5.5 kernel series is now generally available. Here are some of the new features and improvements.

      • Linux kernel 5.5 [in Sparky Linux]

        The first release of the Linux kernel of the new 5.5 line landed in Sparky “unstable” repository.

        [...]

        Then reboot your machine to take effects.

        To quick remove older version of a Linux kernel, simply run APTus-> System-> Uninstall Old Kernel tool.

      • Linux 5.5 Released

        Linus Torvalds has announced Linux 5.5 release, codenamed as Kleptomaniac Octopus.The latest version of the open source operating system kernel brings RAID1 with 3- and 4- copies to btrfs filesystem, ext4 gets direct I/O via iomap together with fscrypt supporting smaller block sizes, and you can now use SMB as root filesystem. AMD OverDrive overclocking is now supported on Navi GPUS, wake-on-voice on newer Google Chromebooks is now supported. Added was a Logitech keyboard driver. KUnit is a new unit testing framework for the kernel. There are many more new features which you can read about on Kernel Newbies changelog page. For downloads visit The Linux Kernel Archives.

      • 10 Best Features in Linux 5.5, Out Now

        Serving as the latest stable version of the Linux kernel, the Linux 5.5 release was announced on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) by Linus Torvalds, who said: “Despite the slight worry that the holidays might have affected the schedule, 5.5 ended up with the regular [release candidate] cadence and is out now.”

        He goes on to describe the release as being “really tiny” — make of that what you will — and has named it “Kleptomaniac Octopus”.

        Linux 5.5 is likely to be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release, which is due for release in mid April. This kernel version will also be back-ported to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS later in the year as part of the Ubuntu HWE stack.

        If you want to install the mainline kernel on Ubuntu or another Linux distribution right now you can — but doing so is not recommended, comes with no support, and may break your system (but don’t worry: you get to keep both halves if it does).

      • Andrew Tridgell and Genevieve Bell awarded Australia Day honors

        Dr Andrew James Tridgell – know in the open source commmunity as ‘Tridge’ – has been awarded a medal in the general division of the Order of Australia (OAM).

        [...]

        RSync is a powerful and ubiquitous file synchronisation utility that is an essential part of any Linux sysadmin’s toolkit, in part because it only synchs files that have changed and therefore makes it possible to sync without using unnecessary network resources,

        Samba is a free implementation of Server Message Block that underpins Windows networking. Samba runs on Unix-like systems and its mere existence was a huge factor in the rise of Linux as it allowed the open source OS to more easily integrate with Windows servers.

        Both RSync and Samba are very, very, widely used – it’s not a stretch to say they’re both crucial underpinnings of modern computing.

      • Well done Tridge! – Medal of the Order of Australia

        In our world, we know Dr Andrew Tridgell as simply Tridge, his groundbreaking work in the software world has been recognised by the Australian Government.

        He has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2020 Australia Day honours list. This medal is given for service worthy of particular recognition

        Just one of his interests has been CanberraUAV. They have been the team to beat at the Outback Challenge, the worlds greatest drone competition for several years and Tridge and his team have shared all their work. Something Tridge is passionate about.

      • Linux 5.6 Is Looking Like It Will Be Spectacular With A Long List Of Features

        Linux 5.5 is likely to be released later today and with that are many new features. But as soon as 5.5 is released it marks the opening of the Linux 5.6 merge window and this next kernel has us particularly exciting… It’s certainly shaping up to be one of the most exciting kernel cycles in recent times with many blockbuster features and improvements.

      • Linux 5.6 “HWMON” Changes Sent In With Big AMD Improvements

        Following the Linux 5.5 kernel release one of the first pull requests sent in is for the hardware monitoring “HWMON” subsystem updates. Dominating the HWMON interest this cycle is a long overdue SATA temperature monitoring driver and vastly improving the k10temp driver for AMD Zen desktop and server CPUs.

        The SATA drive temperature driver for capable Serial ATA drives is long overdue. This generic driver allows reporting SATA drive temperatures via the kernel using existing HWMON infrastructure, unlike existing tools running in user-space and requiring root access just to read SATA drive temperatures… Way long overdue especially with Linux 5.5 having already merged its equivalent NVMe drive temperature driver. Plus now integrating nicely with all the Linux utilities polling the exposed HWMON sensors.

      • The Initial AMD Family 19h Support Sent In For Linux 5.6 EDAC Driver

        SUSE’s Borislav Petkov sent in the (Reliability, Availability and Serviceability) updates for the Linux 5.6 kernel on this first day of the new merge window.

        Notable to the RAS pull is the AMD Family 19h support in the AMD EDAC driver. Up to now Zen / Zen+ / Zen 2 has been Family 17h CPUs but for Zen 3 and beyond it’s looking like it will be treated as Family 19h. With Linux 5.6 this early enablement is underway beginning with their memory EDAC (Error Detection And Correction) driver code.

      • Linux 4.19.99
      • Linux 4.14.168
      • Stable Kernels: Linux 5.4.15

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.15 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

    • Benchmarks

      • Monitor and stress-test your Linux gaming PC with GtkStressTesting

        Monitoring your Linux gaming PC is pretty easy, there’s some good applications out there to keep an eye on CPU use and more but what about some stress testing to see how it holds up? GtkStressTesting seems nice.

        The developer, Roberto Leinardi, who also made GKraken (control the cooling (and soon also the lighting) of a NZXT Kraken X) and GreenWithEnvy (controlling NVIDIA fans and overclocking on Linux) emailed in about GtkStressTesting. Originally called GnomeStressTest, they recently changed the name to GtkStressTesting along with a new release.

      • Stress Testing Your Linux System Just Got Easier

        The goal of GTKStressTesting (GST) is to put everything you need to know about your CPU, RAM and motherboard in one screen, complete with usage monitors, temperature sensors, and more.

        You can use the app to run some stress tests too, ideal if you want to see how specific bits of hardware hold up under heavy load. A small benchmark feature is also included, though the developer stresses (ho, ho) that this is ‘nothing too serious’.

      • Linux 5.5 SSD RAID 0/1/5/6/10 Benchmarks Of Btrfs / EXT4 / F2FS / XFS

        For this round of testing on a Dell PowerEdge server with dual EPYC 7601 processors were using four Samsung 860 EVO SATA 3.0 500GB drives for conducting these fresh solid-state drive RAID benchmarks. Off a Linux 5.5 Git kernel snapshot, EXT4, F2FS, Btrfs, and XFS were tested. The RAID modes were RAID0/RAID5/RAID6/RAID10 across the four drives plus results from a single drive as well.

    • Applications

      • List Of Top 7 Best Linux Firewall Software In 2020

        Despite of being secure operating system, Linux still needs some mechanism to strength it’s security system. One of the mechanism is firewall which protects Linux system from unauthorized network traffic or access.

        Basically, A firewall is a security system which monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic. Firewall can be considered as a set of rules which monitors the data packets movement. It’s a wall between trusted network and untrusted network.

      • Deepin Music – a beautiful and simple music player

        I’ve reviewed a smorgasbord of open source music players. But there’s still quite a few I’ve yet to put through their paces. For this review, I’m looking at Deepin Music. The software bills itself as a “beautiful and simple music player that plays local audio. It supports viewing lyrics during playback, playing lossless audio, and playlist customization”.

        While the music player is designed for the Deepin Desktop Environment, it’s not tied to that environment. If you’re curious about Deepin Desktop Environment, it was featured in the survey of Best Linux Desktop Environments: Strong and Stable.

      • Joplin: The True Open Source Evernote Alternative

        If you like Evernote, you won’t be too uncomfortable with the open source software, Joplin.

        Joplin is an excellent open source note taking application with plenty of features. You can take notes, make to-do list and sync your notes across devices by linking it with cloud services like Dropbox and NextCloud. The synchronization is protected with end to end encryption.

        Joplin also has a web clipper that allows you to save webpages as notes. The web clipper is available for Firefox and Chrome/Chromium browsers.

        Joplin makes the switch from Evernote easier by allowing importing Evernote files in Enex format.

        Since you own the data, you can export all your files either in Joplin format or in the raw format.

      • The 20 Best Linux Debuggers for Modern Software Engineers

        Debuggers are a group of software used to analyze computer programs. They are very important from a software engineering point of view since they allow us to find problems in our code. There are several kinds of Linux debuggers, including memory debuggers, source debuggers, profilers, and so on. Common usage of these tools includes finding bugs, optimizing codebases, controlling runtime parameters, etc. Today, our editors have compiled a helpful resource outlining 20 of the best debuggers for Linux-based developers and software engineers. Take a look at them below to find out the perfect toolkit for your programming arsenal.

      • A big AppStream status update

        What actually was AppStream again? The AppStream Freedesktop Specification describes two XML metadata formats to describe software components: One for software developers to describe their software, and one for distributors and software repositories to describe (possibly curated) collections of software. The format written by upstream projects is called Metainfo and encompasses any data installed in /usr/share/metainfo/, while the distribution format is just called Collection Metadata. A reference implementation of the format and related features written in C/GLib exists as well as Qt bindings for it, so the data can be easily accessed by projects which need it.

        The software metadata contains a unique ID for the respective software so it can be identified across software repositories. For example the VLC Mediaplayer is known with the ID org.videolan.vlc in every software repository, no matter whether it’s the package archives of Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu or a Flatpak repository. The metadata also contains translatable names, summaries, descriptions, release information etc. as well as a type for the software. In general, any information about a software component that is in some form relevant to displaying it in software centers is or can be present in AppStream. The newest revisions of the specification also provide a lot of technical data for systems to make the right choices on behalf of the user, e.g. Fwupd uses AppStream data to describe compatible devices for a certain firmware, or the mediatype information in AppStream metadata can be used to install applications for an unknown filetype easier. Information AppStream does not contain is data the software bundling systems are responsible for. So mechanistic data how to build a software component or how exactly to install it is out of scope.

        So, now let’s finally get to the new AppStream features since last time I talked about it – which was almost two years ago, so quite a lot of stuff has accumulated!

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Debugger Improvements Are On The Way, Start Of LLVM LLDB Support

        With Wine 5.0 having released and the Git tree back open for feature work, we’re quite looking forward to see what new material will land following this feature freeze that was in effect the past two months.

        One of the new patch series out by CodeWeavers’ Rémi Bernon is improving Winedbg, the Wine debugger. Winedbg is used for debugging Windows applications and among its many debug capabilities is a proxy mode for interacting with the GNU Debugger (GDB). It’s that GDB integration that is being improved upon while also starting to support LLVM’s Debugger (LLDB).

    • Games

      • Black Mesa 1.0 preview coming soon – still getting big improvements to visuals and the AI

        The finishing line for Crowbar Collective and their re-imaging of Half-Life with Black Mesa is almost in sight, with a preview of the full finished game to come soon. In a new announcement on Steam, they said it will be available to test as soon as it’s ready.

        Plenty of upgrades are still going in though, like an overhaul to the HECU AI so the soldiers you encounter around Black Mesa on cleanup duty will be a lot smarter. They now know to “lay down suppressing fire, flank your position, communicate more, throw grenades more effectively, use their MP5 grenade launchers, and more” which has me quite excited to see in action.

      • Chained Echoes an RPG in a world filled with Dragons and Mech suits – Steam page is up

        There’s a lot of sweet Linux games to look forward to, one of them being Chained Echoes. Set in a world where a Dragon is as common a sight as a mechanised suit flying around.

        Funded on Kickstarter and listed in our little overview of crowdfunded titles coming to Linux, the creator Matthias Linda announced that it now has a Steam page live where you can follow along. They also confirmed on Twitter, that the Linux (and macOS) releases are still planned. Another reminder of a quality-looking title coming to Linux.

      • Dawnthorn, a pixel-art ARPG standalone prequel to Hazelnut Bastille releases this year

        During the Kickstarter campaign for the upcoming Zelda-like ARPG Hazelnut Bastille, Aloft Studio let out their secret other project in an announcement called Dawnthorn.

        Acting as a standalone prequel to the unreleased Hazelnut Bastille, Dawnthorn is something their team worked on to prepare everything they needed for Hazelnut Bastille. This isn’t some small tech demo though, Dawnthorn will be a full-length game at around “12-15 hours to complete”.

      • Business and trading sim ‘Merchant of the Skies’ approaching full release – price to increase

        Merchant of the Skies, the mix of exploration and a base-building/tycoon game has improved a huge amount since the first few Early Access builds and the full release is coming closer.

        According to Coldwild Games, the final release patch will be released in March or April adding “A LOT” of story content and a “fully fledged missions/campaign system”. With all the work that’s gone into crafting this very sweet game, they’re upping the price on February 15 by €5 (and whatever the equivalent turns out to be for everyone else so around £5/$5 extra).

      • Dying Light turns five years old, send Zombies flying in the HyperMode event – big sale too

        Techland managed to create probably one of the best Zombie games ever with Dying Light, it’s currently heavily discounted again and it’s now hit five years since release.

        It was actually released on Linux same-day as Windows, something that was quite a surprise years ago for such a huge release. Sadly, it wasn’t in the best state but they eventually got there and it ended up as one of my favourite games on any platform.

        To celebrate the occasion, Techland has turned on the HyperMode in-game event. This is where you’re as strong as Superman, sending Zombies flying as you punch and kick. Additionally, for this event Techland has also boosted XP gain and there’s person and global goals to hit to earn rewards.

      • Get ready to live a Life of Crime with Kingpin: Reloaded announced by 3D Realms – will be coming to Linux

        Kingpin: Life of Crime is being remastered with 3D Realms recently announced Kingpin: Reloaded bringing new life to the Quake II engine classic.

        Originally created by Xatrix Entertainment and published by Interplay Entertainment back in 1999, it’s being given a fresh look by Slipgate Ironworks with 3D Realms publishing who will be enhancing it with a new quest system, Ultrawide and 4k Support, classic and enhanced modes, controller support, a no violence mode (but all the profanity stays), multiplayer and more.

      • Rocket League Drops Linux and Mac Support But Won’t Refund Microtransactions

        Psyonix will stop supporting Rocket League on Mac and Linux in March, and while it’s offering refunds for the game, players are reportedly not getting reimbursed for microtransactions. Rocket League was just the second game to support full cross-platform play across all of its platforms, after Fortnite. That makes the end of support for Mac and Linux a big deal for players on those platforms, who don’t have as many options as players on consoles and PC.

        It’s not the first time that microtransactions have been at the center of a controversy in Rocket League. Last year, a movement against loot boxes picked up steam, leading to discussions about banning that form of microtransactions for being predatory and contributing to gambling addiction. Rocket League’s heavy use of loot boxes to deliver random cosmetic items to players put the game squarely in the crosshairs. Near the end of 2019, Psyonix eliminated loot boxes from Rocket League in favor of “blueprints,” which allowed players to see exactly what they were purchasing, but was again hit with criticism over their high prices.

      • ‘Rocket League’ To Drop Linux and Mac Support

        The announcement says their final patch “will disable online functionality (such as in-game purchases) for players on macOS and Linux, but offline features including Local Matches, and splitscreen play will still be accessible.”

        “Players on Mac can try running Rocket League on Windows with Apple’s Boot Camp tool,” explains a support page, while adding in the next sentence that “Boot Camp is not something Psyonix officially supports.” And if you play Rocket League on Linux, “you can try Steam’s Proton app or Wine. These tools are not officially supported by Psyonix.”

        The support page also includes instructions on how to request a refund.

      • Refunds now available for Rocket League on macOS and Linux

        As online support for Rocket League on macOS and Linux is officially being pulled in March, players on those platforms can request a refund through Steam if they no longer wish to play the game.

        Regardless of whether you’ve owned the game for more than 2 weeks or have more than 2 hours of playtime logged, you can still request a refund. There are two ways to go about it.

      • Rocket League Mac and Linux players can get a refund

        Previously I wrote about Epic Games ending their support for Rocket League on macOS and Linux Platforms. The main reason behind this decision as Epic Games explained was that they both were not viable for them. Furthermore, Rocket League only multiplayer support was finished, players could still play in split-screen and other modes. Their support ending also meant that if the game went through some terrible buggy phase or anything else, they won’t try to fix it.

      • Psyonix Granting Refunds to Mac and Linux Rocket League Players

        Earlier this week, Rocket League developer Psyonix announced that it would be ending support for the Mac and Linux versions of the game. Although the platforms don’t have a particularly large player base, the developer claims it “cannot justify the additional and ongoing investment in developing native clients for those platforms”. For such cases, Psyonix is offering two alternatives: you can either continue online play on Windows, or you can claim a refund.

      • Rocket League players on Mac and Linux get refunds after dropped support

        Essentially, this meant that online modes would no longer be supported, but the game’s other modes would be playable. Unfortunately, multiplayer is pretty much integral to the experience, and as such, the lack of online options all but crippled Rocket League.

      • Rocket League PC, Mac, Linux Refund | How to get money back

        Following the news that the game will be dropping online support for macOS and Linux, Psyonix has confirmed that you will be able to receive a full Rocket League refund on the platforms. Read on to discover how to get a refund for Rocket League on PC, macOS, and Linux (SteamOS). Discover how to get money back from Rocket League if you no longer wish to play on PC, macOS, and Linux (SteamOS).

      • Rocket League ending Mac and Linux support because they represent “less than 0.3%” of active players

        Last week, Psyonix revealed they’re going to stop supporting Rocket League on Mac and Linux, ending the ability to use any of the online functions on those platforms. They explained that it was “no longer viable” to support Mac and Linux as they continued to upgrade the game with “new technologies”.

        This was a bit of a vague reason that naturally left a lot of fans asking questions – but now they’ve said they can’t justify upgrading the tech on platforms that house less than 0.3% of their active player base.

        In a post that went up over the weekend, Psyonix explained that, while there are a lot of reasons it makes sense for them to stop supporting the platforms, the biggest is incompatibility with tech upgrades they’re planning.

      • Rocket League Mac and Linux players can now get refunds

        Psyonix announced that it was dropping multiplayer support for the Mac and Linux versions of Rocket League last week, with the changes coming in early March. While the other modes will still be playable, multiplayer is a vital component of the car-ball romp, leaving its small community unimpressed—especially as there was seemingly no refund option. It looks like this was a miscommunication, however, and Psyonix has since clarified why it’s dropping support, as well as offering players refunds.

        DirectX 11 is the main reason Mac and Linux players won’t be able to play online, apparently. Rocket League is being updated from 32-bit to 64-bit later this year, as well as updating from DX9 to DX11. Unfortunately, this means DX9, which the Mac and Linux clients require for OpenGL, will no longer be supported. Psyonix claims that only 0.3 percent of Rocket League’s players use Mac or Linux, so it can’t justify spending time and resources on an alternative.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Slimbook & Kubuntu – Combat report 12

          There we go. My Slimbook brings all the boys to the yard. And the thing is, it’s a very decent laptop. The overall feel has become more refined, part due to my tweaking and fine polishing touches, part due to updates and fixes introduced in the Kubuntu desktop. All in all, it’s fairly invisible, sitting in the background and doing its job.

          Now, technically, this could be a machine for everyone, but the problem is – applications. A generic Linux issue. There are some key programs that people expect and need, and are not available. Games, another big one. No matter how advanced and slick the operating system is, you can’t just plop a random Windowser, and expect them to have a transparent experience. But it’s pretty close. I’m quite pleased with how elegant Slimbook and Kubuntu are. Well, I guess that’s all for now. Bottom line: me happy. Annoyances? Yes, here and there. I hope they get sorted. Until the next report.

        • Qt LTS Releases To Be Restricted To Commercial Customers, Other Commercial Changes

          Moving forward, Qt Long-Term Support (LTS) releases will be restricted to commercial customers. All bug fixes will go into the public Qt development tree but the back-porting of fixes to Qt LTS branches will be restricted now to commercial customers. The Qt Company is hoping this move will make more companies become commercial customers in order to gain LTS access.

          Additionally, The Qt Company will now require Qt Accounts for downloading binary packages. This helps The Qt Company in tracking users and they say to “simplify distribution and integration with the [Qt] Marketplace.” Thankfully most Linux users get Qt via their distribution package management systems.

        • [Development] Changes to Qt offering
          Hi all,
          
          The Qt Company has done some adjustments to the Qt will be offered in the future. Please check out https://www.qt.io/blog/qt-offering-changes-2020 . 
          
          The change consists of three parts. 
          
          One is a change in policy regarding the LTS releases, where the LTS part of a release is in the future going to be restricted to commercial customers. All bug fixes will (as agreed on the Qt Contributor Summit) go into dev first. Backporting bug fixes is something that the Qt Company will take care of for these LTS branches. We’ve seen over the past that LTS support is something mainly required by large companies, and should hopefully help us get some more commercial support for developing Qt further.
          
          The second change is that a Qt Account will be in the future required for binary packages. Source code will continue to be available as currently. This will simplify distribution and integration with the Marketplace. In addition, we want open source users to contribute to Qt or the Qt ecosystem. Doing so is only possible with a valid Qt Account (Jira, code review and the forums all require a Qt Account).
          
          The third change is that The Qt Company will in the future also offer a lower priced product for small businesses. That small business product is btw not limited to mobile like the one Digia had some years ago, but covers all of Qt for Device Creation.
          
          None of these changes should affect how Qt is being developed. There won’t be any changes to Open Governance or the open development model.
          
          Best regards,
          Lars
          
        • Qt 5.14.1 Released

          I am happy to announce we have released Qt 5.14.1 today. As a patch release, Qt 5.14.1 does not add any new functionality but provides many bug fixes and other improvements.

          Compared to Qt 5.14.0, the new Qt 5.14.1 contains around 220 bug fixes including security issue fixes for both Qt (CVE-2020-0570) and 3rd party components (CVE-2019-19244, CVE-2019-19603, CVE-2019-19242, CVE-2019-19645, CVE-2019-19646 & CVE-2019-19880). Also in QtWebEngine there are many CVE fixes from Chromium. For details of the most important changes, please check the Change files of Qt 5.14.1.

        • Qt 5.14.1 Released With 200+ Bug Fixes, Including Security Fixes

          Following last month’s release of the big Qt 5.14 tool-kit, Qt 5.14.1 is out this morning as the first point release.

          Qt 5.14.1 is shipping with around 220 known bug fixes. Among those many bug fixes are several security fixes, including for the likes of Qt WebEngine, Qt’s copy of SQLite, and other components.

          There is also a security fix for Qt core itself over it trying to load libraries from the current working directory path and that could lead to inadvertently loading unintended or perhaps malicious libraries. Qt 5.14.1 corrects the library loading behavior to address this CVE-2020-0570 issue.

    • Distributions

      • Distrowatch is NOT a Measure for Distributions Popularity

        Another alternative could be releasing the hit statistics for the official distribution’s repositories. Almost every user may need to download a certain package or an update from the repositories at least once every few weeks, so if we could access the logs of how many unique IP addresses are accessing the distribution’s repositories mirrors per month for example, we may gain a good vision on how popular that distribution is.

        While this alternative is theoretically good, the issue about it is that it won’t count offline installations. People from both sides can argue with strong reasons why offline installations are important or not important, but it leaves us in an issue anyway. Additionally, this would count Linux Mint users, Kubuntu users and Ubuntu MATE users all as Ubuntu users, simply because they are using Ubuntu’s official repositories, which is not a nice thing to have.

        At the end, it sounds like each methodology has its own issues, but some are way more better than the other. Still, do not get tricked by people who try to use Distrowatch’s visitor statistics to rank all the Linux distributions out there.

      • New Releases

        • ExTiX 20.2, Build 200127, with KDE Plasma Desktop 5.17, Calamares Installer, Refracta Snapshot, Nvidia Graphics Driver and kernel 5.5.0-rc7-exton

          I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 20.2 KDE Plasma Live DVD. (The previous KDE version was 19.1 from 181228). The best thing with ExTiX 20.2 is that while running the system live (from DVD/USB) or from hard drive you can use Refracta Snapshot (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu 20.04 system. So easy that a ten year child can do it!

          ExTiX 20.02 KDE Plasma DVD 64 bit is based on Debian and (upcoming) Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The original system includes the Desktop Environment Gnome. After removing Gnome I have installed KDE Frameworks 5.66.0 with KDE 4.19. KDE Frameworks are 60 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms.

        • ExTiX 20.2 Is the First Distro to Be Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Linux Kernel 5.5

          ExTiX 20.2 appears to be the first to adopt the Linux 5.5 kernel series, and the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS base. It lets you create your own Ubuntu live system.

        • Solus 4.1 Released with Zstd Compression, Improved Gaming

          Solus 4.1 is now available to download. It ships with Budgie, GNOME, MATE, and KDE Plasma editions.

        • Solus 4.1 Fortitude Linux distro now available for download with Budgie, GNOME, KDE Plasma, and MATE

          There are too many Linux distributions these days, but as long as many of them are of high quality, I suppose that isn’t such a bad problem to have. Many people in the Linux community know of the common ones, such as Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, and Manjaro, but there are some lesser-known distros that are actually worth consideration, like Deepin and Solus.

          Speaking of the latter, there is a new version of that operating system available for download. While technically just a point release, Solus 4.1 Fortitude is chock full of updates, fixes, and more. You get Linux kernel 5.4.12 and Mesa 19.3.2. The operating sytem comes with many quality apps pre-installed too, such as Firefox 72.0.2, LibreOffice 6.3.4.2, and Thunderbird 68.4.1 — three essential productivity tools. Once again, there are four desktop environments to choose — Budgie, GNOME, KDE Plasma, and MATE. All four are great, but Budgie is considered the default for this operating system.

        • Solus 4.1 is out with upgraded drivers, ESync support for better Linux gaming and more

          Solus, the independently developed Linux distribution that also houses the Budgie desktop environment has a big new released tagged with Solus 4.1 Fortitude.

          This is quite a big one, although Solus has a curated rolling-release model where you install once and continue getting updates, a tagged release gives people a good base to start with that should be stable.

        • Solus 4.1 “Fortitude” available for download now

          The Solus team announced the release of Solus 4.1 “Fortitude,” the latest in their Solus 4 “Fortitude” series. According to the official release announcement, this release “delivers a brand new desktop experience, updated software stacks, and hardware enablement.”

          The FOSS Linux Solus distro independently developed and uses its desktop environment, Budgie, derived from GNOME. In 2016, the Solus development team abandoned its fixed point release approach and adopted a curated rolling release model with the slogan “Install Today. Updates Forever”.

          [...]

          Audio and video multimedia playback differs with out-of-the-box software chosen explicitly for the best experience in a particular environment. Budgie, GNOME, and MATE editions use Rhythmbox for audio playback, with the latest release of the Alternate Toolbar extension, while KDE Plasma uses Elisa for audio playback. KDE uses SMPlayer for video playback, while MATE ships with VLC and Budgie and GNOME utilize GNOME MPV.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • How SUSE builds its Enterprise Linux distribution – PART 1

          In 2020, one might think that Operating Systems in general are not interesting any more, possibly because some have an interest on shifting the attention to an “upper layer”, like Cloud or Containers. But even if the OS lost it’s former attraction, somehow you (or someone else) still needs a software system that manages computer hardware, software resources and provides services to applications and users. Obviously an OS is essential but it needs everything around it to serve an higher purpose than just a basic interface between human and hardware.
          As of now with the increased pace of new technologies and changes to the “upper layer”, a modern Operating System needs to adapt, support new hardware, new software, and needs. But also be stable, resilient and secure to properly host the “upper layer”.
          But before we discuss modern days, let’s have a look back in the past.

          [...]

          SUSE is a long lasting player in the GNU/Linux Operating Systems, as you might know SUSE once stood for Software-und System-Entwicklung (Software and Systems Development), and was created in 1992 doing a lot of translation, documentation and hacking (on technologies but not subverting computer security). The same year we were distributing the first comprehensive Linux Distribution (more than just Linux Kernel and GNU tools), called Softlanding Linux System (SLS), one of the earliest Linux Distributions at large.
          Soon we switched our focus from SLS to Slackware (initially based on SLS), by translating in German and supporting this new Linux Distribution. And thanks to this effort and experience, we were able to release S.u.S.E Linux 1.0 based on Slackware in 1994.
          This were really an exciting time for the Linux community, it was basically the beginning and everything rapidly changed or grew, new projects arise, new people started to contribute, in short a lot of things were in flux. Just two years after S.u.S.E Linux 1.0, in 1996, we have released SUSE Linux 4.2 our very first true SUSE distribution! which was not based on Slackware but on Jurix.
          Yet another big milestone was achieved in 2000, when we brought the first Enterprise Linux Distribution ever, with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (for IBM S/390)!

      • Fedora Family

        • DevConf 2020

          As it happened at other times in my life, I managed to be present at DevConf. DevConf is one of the best conferences that I attend. The reasons are many and varied, starting from the location that I find relatively stress-free. Another reason is the fact that there are many different kinds of sessions, and many sessions are not overcrowded, so it is relatively simple to participate in any session you would like to.

          This year, I chose to participate in many container and security sessions, since this is what I mostly work with nowadays, as probably pretty much anyone in the industry.

        • DevConf.cz 2020 – Awesome people! [Ed: Red Hat is pushing Microsoft .Net]

          Let me actually start a week before devconf. .NET Core had a Security update that went public on Tuesday and we were unable to build it until Wednesday!

          [...]

          I was driving (and loading the car) while I was in our weekly dotnet meeting on headphones and later another one with Microsoft.

      • Debian Family

        • DebConf20: offer to speak in Palestine censored

          On 20 December 2019, a Debian Developer posted the message below to the debian-project mailing list, offering to give the same talk at both DebConf20 in Haifa, Israel and again in Palestine.

          The message never appeared in the list and can’t be found in the list archive for December.

          Alexander Wirt (formorer) has previously declared that he will censor messages about Israel due to anti-semitism. Yet the message below doesn’t include anything against Israel and doesn’t mention the boycott campaign. It is simply a volunteer offering to give up more of his time to help a population in Palestine who suffer from extraordinary discrimination.

          Is Wirt really fighting anti-semitism, or could the DebConf20 organizers simply be afraid of any discussion that may deter wealthy Israeli sponsors?

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What’s New in Coming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS? Features Brief!

          New Features in Ubuntu 20.04: Ubuntu 19.10 is about to end in a few months. The upcoming Ubuntu version is 20.04 and Focal Fossa is the name of the Ubuntu 20.04. Ubuntu 20.04 is a LTS version and have 10 years of software and bugfix support! Team Canonical says, Ubuntu 20.04 will be launched with many exotic features which includes new Gnome Themes, GUI & many Software Tweaks. Here in this article, we added the some essential and unique features of coming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS version.

        • Ubuntu 19.04 Reached End of Life, Upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10 Now

          If you’re using the Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) operating system on your personal computer or server, you should know that it has reached end of life on January 23rd, 2020. Of course, this means that Canonical will no longer provide software updates and security patches that address bugs or vulnerabilities.

          Dubbed as the “Disco Dingo,” Ubuntu 19.04 was released on April 18th, 2019, and it was supported for 9 months. Ubuntu 19.04 was the first Ubuntu release to adopt the Linux 5.0 kernel series. This added quite some goodies, including AMD FreeSync display support, advanced ARM hardware support, Btrfs swap files, support for Raspberry Pi touchscreens, and support for the Adiantum file system encryption.

          Ubuntu 19.04 also shipped with the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment, which introduced the long-anticipated fractional scaling feature, as well as an updated toolchain including GCC 8.3, Python 3.7.3 by default, Golang 1.10.4, OpenJDK 11, Glibc 2.29, etc.. Other changes included a new icon theme, improvements to the Yaru theme, a new “Safe Graphics Mode” option in the GRUB menu, and improved VMware integration.

        • scrcpy Now Available In Debian Testing / Sid And Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

          scrcpy, a tool to display and control Android devices from your desktop, was added recently to the Debian testing (bullseye) and sid, and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa repositories. As a result, the popular tool will also be in upcoming releases for other Linux distributions based on these Debian or Ubuntu versions, like Pop!_OS 20.04 or Elementary OS 6 Odin.

          scrcpy is a free and open source application that can be used to show an Android device’s screen on a Linux, macOS or Windows desktop, allowing you to control it remotely. This can be done by connecting your Android device to a computer either via USB or wirelessly.

        • Linux on laptops: Ubuntu 19.10 on the HP Dragonfly Elite G1

          If you’re looking for the easiest possible experience in procuring a Linux laptop, you just can’t argue with an OEM experience like Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition, or System76′s Galago Pro. But it’s nice having the option to retrofit Linux onto a laptop you just plain like rather than being limited to the ones sold with it—and if you like the Dragonfly Elite, it makes a great Linux laptop. We didn’t face any significant hurdles getting Ubuntu 19.10 installed (we were completely done in well under ten minutes), and the laptop was completely and immediately functional, without the need to mess around with anything.

          The Dragonfly Elite is a great performer. Everything from booting to opening applications to running them felt quick and crisp; for more detail, refer to Valentina’s original review. The important thing from our perspective is that changing operating systems didn’t slow the system down or make anything get perceptibly clunky—it’s still a well-behaved eighth generation i7 system with 16GB of RAM and fast solid state storage, and it behaves just as you’d expect such a system to.

          The battery life is also excellent, with a solid six to seven hours of full-screen, online 720P YouTube watching at full screen brightness. If you’re watching offline media and willing to drop the screen brightness down to 50%, you could almost certainly watch movies on the Dragonfly Elite for a full ten-hour plane ride across the Atlantic.

        • An intro to MicroK8s

          MicroK8s is the smallest, fastest multi-node Kubernetes. Single-package fully conformant lightweight Kubernetes that works on 42 flavours of Linux as well as Mac and Windows using Multipass. Perfect for: Developer workstations, IoT, Edge, CI/CD.

          Anyone who’s tried to work with Kubernetes knows the pain of having to deal with getting setup and running with the deployment. There are minimalist solutions in the market that reduce time-to-deployment and complexity but the light weight solutions come at the expense of critical extensibility and missing add-ons.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • What to Talk About at ChefConf 2020 – Ecosystem and Community

          ChefConf 2020 will be the best gathering of the Chef Community yet. We rely on our community to help us see all the amazing use cases for our products and help us make them better. ChefConf is a great place for our community members and folks from other companies in our ecosystem to talk about how all the tools in their toolboxes fit together. Chef Infra, Chef InSpec, and Chef Habitat fit with all sorts of other tools and workflows, so if you?re still thinking about your talk submission, maybe some of these ChefConf 2019 hits will inspire you. Check out the whole YouTube Playlist for more sessions!

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Calc Guide 6.2 is now available

          The LibreOffice Documentation Team is happy to announce the Calc Guide 6.2, a long-awaited update of the old Calc Guide 4.4, to cover all of the innovations included in newer versions of the suite. The team wanted to catch-up with the forthcoming release of LibreOffice 6.4, while offering to the user community a book with its contents suitable for the most-used features of the LibreOffice 6 family.

      • BSD

        • Review of FuryBSD 12.0

          FuryBSD is the most recent addition to the DistroWatch database and provides a live desktop operating system based on FreeBSD. FuryBSD is not entirely different in its goals from NomadBSD, which we discussed recently. I wanted to take this FreeBSD-based project for a test drive and see how it compares to NomadBSD and other desktop-oriented projects in the FreeBSD family.

          FuryBSD supplies hybrid ISO/USB images which can be used to run a live desktop. There are two desktop editions currently, both for 64-bit (x86_64) machines: Xfce and KDE Plasma. The Xfce edition is 1.4GB in size and is the flavour I downloaded. The KDE Plasma edition is about 3.0GB in size.

          Booting from the live media brings up the Xfce 4.14 desktop environment. Along the bottom of the screen is a panel which holds the application menu, task switcher and system tray. Icons on the desktop open the Thunar file manager, launch the system installer, and provide quick access to a Getting Started document. There are two more icons for accessing X.Org configuration options and showing system information. The Getting Started document is a quick reference text file containing command line instructions for setting up networking and installing video drivers. The System Information icon opens the Firefox web browser and displays a locally generated page which contains general information about our computer and its resource usage.

        • FreeBSD is an amazing operating system

          The BSDs just aren’t my thing. I’m not a developer, and I’m not a system administrator. Over the past six months or so, I’ve moved all my machines and all my workflows over to Linux – my laptop, my main PC (used for everything that isn’t translating), and my office PC (for my translation work), and I couldn’t be happier (in the interest of full disclosure, I do keep Windows around on my main PC for possible future Windows-only games, and I have a Windows 10 virtual machine on my office PC for some Windows-specific translation software I need to keep around).

          As I was planning this careful migration, I never once considered using any of the BSDs. For the simpler, almost exclusively desktop oriented work that I do, BSD just doesn’t seem like the right tool for the job – and that’s okay, I’m not the target audience – and I suspect there are many people like me. I think the BSDs are stronger for not trying to be everything to all people, and this more focused development seems to be exactly why someone chooses BSD over Linux.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Missing documentation and the reproduction problem

            I recently took some criticism over the fact that reposurgeon has no documentation that is an easy introduction for beginners.

            After contemplating the undeniable truth of this criticism for a while, I realized that I might have something useful to say about the process and problems of documentation in general – something I didn’t already bring out in How to write narrative documentation. If you haven’t read that yet, doing so before you read the rest of this mini-essay would be a good idea.

            “Why doesn’t reposurgeon have easy introductory documentation” would normally have a simple answer: because the author, like all too many programmers, hates writing documentation, has never gotten very good at it, and will evade frantically when under pressure to try. But in my case none of that description is even slightly true. Like Donald Knuth, I consider writing good documentation an integral and enjoyable part of the art of software engineering. If you don’t learn to do it well you are short-changing not just your users but yourself.

            So, with all that said, “Why doesn’t reposurgeon have easy introductory documentation” actually becomes a much more interesting question. I knew there was some good reason I’d never tried to write any, but until I read Elijah Newren’s critique I never bothered to analyze for the reason. He incidentally said something very useful by mentioning gdb (the GNU symbolic debugger), and that started me thinking, and now think I understand something general.

            If you go looking for gdb intro documentation, you’ll find it’s also pretty terrible. Examples of a few basic commands is all they can do; you never get an entire worked example of using gdb to identify and fix a failure point. And why is this?

            The gdb maintainers probably aren’t very self-aware about this, but I think at bottom it’s because the attempt would be futile. Yes, you could include a session capture of someone diagnosing and debugging a simple problem with gdb, but the reader couldn’t reliably reproduce it. How would you the user go about generating a binary on which the replicating the same commands produced the same results?

            For an extremely opposite example, consider the documentation for an image editor such as GIMP. It can have excellent documentation precisely because including worked examples that the reader can easily understand and reproduce is almost trivial to arrange.

          • GNU Linux-libre 5.5-gnu
            GNU Linux-libre 5.5-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at
            <http://www.fsfla.org/selibre/linux-libre/download/releases/5.5-gnu/>.
            It didn't require any deblobbing changes since -rc5-gnu, though the
            first published snapshot was only -rc6-gnu, and there was a regexp fix
            in -rc7-gnu to silence warnings and even errors in regexp compilers in
            gawk and Python 3.8.  Binaries are expected to show up in the near
            future.
            
            
            This release had more new drivers needing cleanup than we've seen in a
            while: Realtek RTL815[23] USB ethernet adaptors, WFX wf200 wireless, IDT
            Clockmatrix and RT5677 sound codecs.  Other drivers that needed
            deblobbing changes were wilc1000, brcmstb_dpfe, r8169, iwlwifi, x86
            touchscreen dmi, xhci-tegra, i915, and mlxsw spectrum.
            
            
            For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of irc.gnu.org
            (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister <http://twister.net.co/>,
            Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at social.libreplanet.org, Diaspora* at
            pod.libreplanetbr.org or pump.io at identi.ca.  Check my web page (link
            in the signature) for direct links.
            
            
            Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.
            
            
            What is GNU Linux-libre?
            ------------------------
            
              GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below),
              suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free
              GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions.
            
            http://www.gnu.org/distros/
            
              It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as
              source code or distributed in separate files.  It also disables
              run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as
              part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid
              (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software.
            
            http://www.fsfla.org/anuncio/2010-11-Linux-2.6.36-libre-debait
            
              Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution.
              It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008
              it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America.  In 2012, it
              became part of the GNU Project.
            
              The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to
              cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that
              need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones.
              Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so.
            
            http://libreplanet.org/wiki/LinuxLibre:Devices_that_require_non-free_firmware
            
              Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out
              of the shower.  Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater
              contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more
              promotion.  See our web page for their images.
            
            http://linux-libre.fsfla.org/
            
            What is Linux?
            --------------
            
              Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]
            
            (snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)
            
          • GNU Linux-Libre 5.5 Kernel Arrives for Those Seeking 100% Freedom for Their PCs

            GNU Linux-Libre 5.5 kernel has been released for those seeking 100% freedom for their personal computers.

          • Linux 5.5 Required More Deblobbing Than Usual For GNU Linux-libre 5.5

            Fresh off the Linux 5.5 release, the Free Software Foundation Latin America crew has debuted their GNU Linux-libre 5.5 downstream that continues to be focused on deblobbing the kernel of drivers requiring proprietary firmware and stripping out other code/functionality that is contingent upon non-free software bits and removing the ability to load closed-source kernel modules.

            Linux 5.5 with its many changes proved more challenging than usual for their “deblobbing” adventure. The new WFX WiFi driver and others required handling as well as updates to existing drivers like the Intel IWLWIFI driver and Realtek r8169.

      • Programming/Development

        • A little hidden gem: QStringIterator

          The code above is broken.

          It falls into the same trap of endless other similar code: it doesn’t take into account that QString does not contain characters/code points, but rather UTF-16 code units.

          All operations on a QString (getting the length, splitting, iterating, etc.) always work in terms of UTF-16 code units, not code points. The reality is: QString is Unicode-aware only in some of its algorithms; certainly not in its storage.

          For instance, if a string contains simply the character “𝐀” — that is, MATHEMATICAL BOLD CAPITAL A (U+1D400) — then its QString storage would actually contain 2 “characters” reported by size() (again, really, not characters in the sense of code points but two UTF-16 code units): 0xD835 and 0xDC00.

          The naïve iteration done above would then check whether those two code units are uppercase, and guess what, they’re not; and therefore conclude that the string is not uppercase, while instead it is. (Those two code units are “special” and used to encode a character outside the BMP; they’re called a surrogate pair. When taken alone, they’re invalid.)

        • How to get started with test-driven development

          I am often approached by software developers who are on board with the switch to test-driven development (TDD). They understand that describing expectations first and then writing code to meet those expectations is the best way to write software. And they agree that writing tests first does not introduce any overhead since they must write tests anyway. Still, they find themselves stuck, not being clear on what to test, when to test it, and how to test it. This article will answer those questions.

          [...]

          One way to the test custom-made car battery would be to hire a testing crew, ship the car with the battery to Portland, and then get the testing crew to drive the car from Portland to Seattle. If the car arrives in Seattle, you can confirm that, yes, the car battery functions as expected.

          Another way to test the custom-made car battery would be to install it in the car and see if the engine turns over. If the engine starts, you can confirm that, yes, the car battery functions as expected.

          Still another way would be to use a voltmeter and connect the positive (+) and the negative (-) terminals to see if the voltmeter registers voltage output in the range of 12.6 to 14.7 volts. If it does, you can confirm that, yes, the car battery functions as expected.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 44: Only 100, Please, and Make it $200

            These are some answers to the Week 44 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            [...]

            For solving this task, we first use a recursive combine subroutine that generates all possible strings by inserting between the digits of the “123456789” string the + plus addition, the – subtraction operator, or the ” empty string (i.e. no operator). We then use the evaluate subroutine with each string to perform the various arithmetic operations and compute whether the total is 100.

            [...]

            You have only $1 left at the start of the week. You have been given an opportunity to make it $200. The rule is simple with every move you can either double what you have or add another $1. Write a script to help you get $200 with the smallest number of moves.

            Obviously, doubling your asset is a faster way to go high values than just adding 1. But, if you only double your asset, you get powers of 2, leading you to 128, and then you have to go all the way from 128 to 200, which is most probably not the fastest way to get to 200. In fact, if you first go to three (for example by adding 1 twice), then multiplying by 2 six times, you get to 192, which is much closer to 200. That’s 16 moves, which seems not bad at all. But there may be a yet faster way, let’s see.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • There’s Nothing “Pro-Life” About Trump’s Opposition to Abortion Rights

        As Senators sat listening to hours upon hours of impeachment proceedings, considering the possibility of removing the president from office, Donald Trump began campaigning for a second term. Yesterday, that meant being the first sitting president ever to attend and speak at the March for Life. Trump said it was a “profound honor” to be the first president to attend, and assured that “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.” Similar to his campaign rallies, at the end of Trump’s speech, the crowd erupted into a chant of “four more years.”

      • The Flu Poses a Far Greater Threat to Americans Than the Coronavirus From China

        There’s a deadly virus spreading from state to state. It preys on the most vulnerable, striking the sick and the old without mercy. In just the past few months, it has claimed the lives of at least 39 children.

      • Lyme disease patients fight for their lives while academics fight each other. That’s just wrong.

        And yet this should not be a solely academic debate: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2013 that roughly 329,000 new cases of Lyme occurred every year when around 30,000 were reported. In 2017, 42,743 new cases were reported to the CDC, leading scientists to calculate that the true yearly incidence of new Lyme infections is now over 400,000 (and approximately 427,000 in 2017). Either makes the number of people infected with Lyme each year larger than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, HIV and hepatitis C combined. And that’s just in the United States.

      • Arizona, California Cases Push U.S. Tally of New Virus From China to 5

        The U.S. has five confirmed cases of the new virus from China, all among people who traveled to the city at the center of the outbreak, health officials said Sunday.

      • Of Coronavirus and Chartism

        I am cheerfully optimistic that this Coronavirus, like asian swine flu and SARS before it, will prove not to be as deadly as may be prognosticated by journalists wanting to fill column inches. One day the human race will become extinct; but it is unlikely to be a virus that does it, as wiping out your host is not a clever survival policy for a virus. Even a disease as vicious as ebola proved not to be so potent against subjects who were not malnourished nor struggling with other health issues. So far this coronavirus seems to have a mortality rate of about 3%, which is probably an over high estimate as it is only a percentage of those who died after testing, whereas it appears there are large numbers with milder symptoms who are unlikely to have been tested in the first place. So coronavirus is not looking vastly different to ordinary influenza, which has a mortality rate of about 1%.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (jsoup and slirp), Fedora (community-mysql, elog, fontforge, libuv, libvpx, mingw-podofo, nodejs, opensc, podofo, thunderbird-enigmail, transfig, and xfig), openSUSE (arc, libssh, and libvpx), Red Hat (git, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, python-reportlab, and sqlite), Slackware (thunderbird), and SUSE (java-1_8_0-openjdk, python, and samba).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Top EU court’s advisor: bulk surveillance is “disproportionate”, and national security exemptions do not always apply

              The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU’s top court, has played a key role in protecting privacy in the digital age, in Europe and beyond. In 2014, it ruled that a major piece of EU legislation, the Data Retention Directive, was “invalid” – that is, illegal – and should be taken off the statute books by members of the EU. This is known as the Digital Rights Ireland judgment:

            • Hillary Clinton: Mark Zuckerberg Has ‘Authoritarian’ Views on Misinformation

              Now that Clinton gets it, she’s horrified—and she’s specifically alarmed by what she views as Mark Zuckerberg’s unwillingness to battle the spread of disinformation and propaganda on his own platform. There was the time, last spring, when a slowed-down video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caught fire online. The distorted speed, which made Pelosi appear as though she was slurring her words, seemed designed to make her appear cognitively impaired. “Google took it off YouTube … so I contacted Facebook,” Clinton said. “I said, Why are you guys keeping this up? This is blatantly false. Your competitors have taken it down. And their response was, We think our users can make up their own minds.”

            • Google Is Going to Charge Cops for Your Data

              The New York Times reports that Google sent out a notice announcing the new fees, which went into effect on Jan. 13, to law enforcement officials. The fees are legal, as federal law allows companies to charge reimbursement fees for these requests, and they are not new for Google. According to the Times, the company has charged to fulfill legal data requests in the past, and it is not the only company that charges for such work. Cell phone carriers have been charging to fulfill similar legal requests for years.

            • Have a Search Warrant for Data? Google Wants You to Pay

              Facing an increasing number of requests for its users’ information, Google began charging law enforcement and other government agencies this month for legal demands seeking data such as emails, location tracking information and search queries.

              Google’s fees range from $45 for a subpoena and $60 for a wiretap to $245 for a search warrant, according to a notice sent to law enforcement officials and reviewed by The New York Times. The notice also included fees for other legal requests.

              A spokesman for Google said the fees were intended in part to help offset the costs of complying with warrants and subpoenas.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Muslim Ban Is 3 Years Old. Its National Security Argument Is Still Bogus.

        January 27 marks three years since President Trump issued the original Muslim Ban, which disrupted the lives of thousands of people around the world and triggered mass protests around the United States. Since then, the ban has been through three iterations, all of which have been met with legal challenges on the grounds that the policy was motivated by animus toward Muslims.

      • Rwanda: Abusive Detention of Street Children

        Rwandan authorities are seeking to formalize their abusive arrests and detention of some of the country’s most vulnerable children under the pretense of rehabilitating them, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Geneva-based United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which starts its review of Rwanda on January 27, 2020, should call for the immediate closure of Gikondo Transit Center, where children are arbitrarily detained and abused.

        “Rwandan authorities claim they are rehabilitating street children,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “But instead, they are locking them up in inhuman and degrading conditions, without due process, and exposing them to beatings and abuse.”

      • Fighting Rages as Libya Force Pushes Toward Key Western City

        Officials from Libya’s two rival governments said fighting erupted Sunday as the country’s east-based forces advanced toward the strategic western city of Misrata, further eroding a crumbling cease-fire agreement brokered earlier this month.

      • Austin police to host several ‘no questions asked’ gun surrender programs this year
      • Muslim Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Bollywood Film Director for ‘Showing Quran in Bad Light’

        New Delhi (Sputnik): The Bollywood movie “Gul Makai”, based on the story of the life and struggle of 22-year-old Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, has drawn the ire of a Muslim cleric.

      • One of two civilians killed by Pak Army along LoC, was beheaded

        In a gruesome revelation, it has come to light that one of the two unarmed civilians killed in an attack in Poonch sector along LoC two days ago by Pakistan Army’s Border Action Team (BAT), was beheaded, government sources informed.

    • Environment

      • How Does a Nation Adapt to Its Own Murder?

        And to the names of those historic betrayers of their people — Vidkun Quisling, Benedict Arnold, Mir Jafar — perhaps one day will be added that of Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia who, when faced with the historic tragedy of his country’s destruction, dissembled, enabled, subsidized and oversaw omnicide, until all was ash and even the future was no more.

      • When Fire Weather Becomes the Norm

        In the bush, the fires have killed millions of animals. Rescue workers have recounted hearing koalas screaming in the trees. So many of the marsupials have died that scientists might classify them as endangered in certain regions of Australia. Ecologists are worried that 100 threatened animal species have been either critically endangered or effectively wiped out, as the fires have engulfed many national parks. Even the beaches are awash with thousands of bird carcasses; in Mallacoota, one local man counted 25 different species along a short stretch of shore.

      • These scientists think we’re in a ‘bushfire spiral’. They have a plan

        Importantly, a healthy forest needs a patchwork mosaic of burnt areas. Possums, mallee fowl and parrots rely on recently burnt areas to feed, but live in old-growth areas that are full of good nesting sites.

        Over lunch, Morgan pulls out his phone and shows off an image of a dot painting he’s had commissioned by Pauline Bonney, a Wongi artist from Western Australia.

        It’s a stand of banksia trees being licked by flames, the fire a matrix of red and purple and black dots. Banksias need fire to open their seed pods and spread the seed. Without fire, they die. “Fire’s not about destruction,” says Morgan. “It’s about regeneration.”

      • Cut Back on Email If You Want to Fight Global Warming

        Right now, data centers consume about 2% of the world’s electricity, but that’s expected to reach 8% by 2030. Moreover, only about 6% of all data ever created is in use today, according to research from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. That means that 94% is sitting in a vast “cyber landfill,” albeit one with a massive carbon footprint.

        “It’s costing us the equivalent of maintaining the airline industry for data we don’t even use,” says Andrew Choi, a senior research analyst at Parnassus Investments, a $27 billion environmental, social, and governance firm in San Francisco.

      • Global Groundwater Is Threatened by Unsustainable Practices Amid Climate Crisis

        As the planet’s thermometer continues to inch upwards, one sought-after resource is only going to increase in value: groundwater.

      • Rolling Back Water Rules Doesn’t Help Most Farmers — It’s For Big Polluters

        On Thursday, Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency finalized its new rules to dramatically reduce the number of waterways previously protected from harmful pollution and runoff under the Clean Water Act (CWA). These rules replaced the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), or Clean Water Rule, an executive order that redefined and expanded the term “waters of the U.S.” in the CWA to include streams and wetlands.

      • 2020 Is Off to a Terrifyingly Hot Start

        The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards – as they have every year since measurements began – leading to a continuation of the Earth’s rising heat.

      • Energy

        • Blocking Trains and Removing Coal, Climate Activists Fight to Close One of New England’s Largest Power Plants

          By escalating from symbolic actions to obstruction, the #NoCoalNoGas campaign is mounting a serious challenge to the fossil fuel industry with a growing network of climate activists.

          Sarah Freeman-Woolpert is a writer, researcher and organizer focused on nonviolent social movements and creative action. She lived for two years in the Balkans, studying and supporting youth activist movements. Sarah now works as a grassroots organizer for peace and justice and is based in Boston.

          Arnie Alpert is a longtime nonviolent action trainer in New Hampshire. He blogs at inzanetimes.wordpress.com.

        • Groups Funded by Oil Industry Bash Plan to Reduce Northeast’s Dependence on Oil

          These campaigns are active in multiple states throughout the Northeast, featuring public events to sway legislators, public letters co-signed by various free market groups, and at least one study produced by a Koch- and oil-industry funded think tank based in Texas. 

        • The surprising protest of Exxon’s law firm at Harvard Law

          Law school recruitment dinners like these are usually high-end, low-key, genteel affairs, according to students. The venue for the Paul Weiss dinner was the Catalyst Restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, replete with an open bar, whole lobsters, and an ice sculpture, and more than 100 students were in attendance.

          So a raucous protest like this served as a jarring new tactic to pressure greenhouse gas emitters: targeting the white-collar workers that protect them.

    • Finance

      • The Failure to Deliver Reparations

        In July 2019, on a stage cluttered with nine other Democratic presidential candidates, Marianne Williamson broke with her normal jargon of cosmos to present a plan for reparations to black Americans. After translating 40 acres and a mule into a modern-day equivalent, she proposed from $200 billion to $500 billion for reparations programs, along with some “deep truth telling” in America. Her reference to “truth telling” likely refers to this nation’s deep and long history of racial inequality. The liberal media exploded with praise over Williamson’s rare and sobering policy talk in this moment. Though she will not be president in 2020, her call for reparations revealed a larger national conversation reignited by a variety of contributing factors, notwithstanding Donald Trump’s unabashed racism.

      • Trump’s new food stamp rules hurt vulnerable Texans
      • The science behind why saving for retirement is hard

        The data is alarming: Most people aren’t saving enough for retirement. According to the 2019 Planning & Progress Study nearly one in four of Americans have less than $5,000 put aside for retirement. In fact, because of low retirement savings, almost half of Americans say they’ll be forced to work past the age of 65.

        The majority of Americans—59% according to a 2019 study by Charles Schwab—say they live paycheck to paycheck, making saving money a challenge. But beyond the that, there are lots of reasons why people don’t prioritize planning for their future, even though they know they should. It’s here where research in behavioral science can help.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘Big-Monied Interests Are Getting Very Nervous’: Sanders Leads in New Hampshire Poll

        “They’re looking at recent polls,” the Democratic candidate said, “and they’re saying, ‘Oh my God, Sanders can win.’”

      • Sanders Takes Commanding Lead in New Iowa Poll

        Sen. Bernie Sanders has a strong lead over his Democratic rivals among likely voters in Iowa, according to a new New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday, just over a week out from the state’s caucuses.

      • “A Who’s-Who” of People Against Progressive Agenda: DNC’s Perez Under Fire for Convention Committee Picks

        Former Congressman Barney Frank, who wrote a 2015 op-ed entitled “Why Progressives Shouldn’t Support Bernie,” is among those nominated.

      • The Evolution of ‘Davos Man’ into . . . Trump Fan!

        With everything from tax cuts to deregulation, the president has made himself indispensable to the world’s mega rich.

      • In Secret Recording, Trump Admits Fear of Clinton Picking Sanders as VP in 2016

        In a nearly 90-minute audio recording of a private dinner that took place with numerous individuals and President Donald Trump in 2018 and that was made public Saturday evening by the legal team of Lev Parnas, a close associate of the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, the president can be heard saying “take her out” in reference to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch—a key witness in the impeachment trial now in the U.S. Senate.

      • Trump Told Bolton Ukraine Aid Contingent on Probe Into Democratic Rivals: NYT

        “There is no pretense left. There are no excuses remaining,” said Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

      • ‘Take Her Out.’ In New Recording, Trump Heard Discussing Firing Ambassador To Ukraine

        In a new recording made public on Saturday, President Trump can be heard speaking with two men he has claimed to not know and ordering the firing of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

        The hour-long recording from April 2018 captures a meeting between Trump and a group of donors that includes two associates of his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who in recent weeks have emerged as central figures in the impeachment inquiry: Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas.

      • UK’s failure to ban far-right groups undermines fight against online extremism, report finds

        A report by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) warned that posts by non-proscribed groups may not be properly monitored or taken down by social media companies.

        Nikita Malik, director of the think tank’s Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism, said some companies rely on government lists of banned organisations when deciding what to remove.

        “The lack of far-right groups subject to proscription in the UK, when compared to Islamist groups, has left the authorities reliant on hate crime legislation rather than specific terrorist offences which carry heftier sentences,” she added.

      • UK Think Tank Recommends Silencing Foes of Jihad Terror

        “The report, which was commissioned by Facebook, proposed a ‘harm classification system’ to improve consistency across different kinds of extremism.” How will this “real and significant harm” be classified? Lowest level is feeling annoyed, highest level is being moved to tears? And what if someone lashes out online at the perpetrator of the online harm – is the “harm” negated? It’s ridiculous.

        The second problem with the HJS analysis is that it continues the practice of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in the U.S., of tarring with the “far-right extremist” label people who are not neo-Nazis or Klansmen, and whose only crime is to oppose jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and others. The report, says the Independent, “also named extremists, such as anti-Islam figures Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who had been prevented from entering Britain because of extremist concerns but are allowed to remain on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Zindagi Tamasha: Pakistan film suspended after religious uproar

        Pakistan has suspended the release of an award-winning film, after an Islamist political party objected to its portrayal of a struggling cleric.

      • India says [Internet] is being restored to Kashmir, but no social media

        After a monthslong internet blackout, Indian authorities said that Kashmir residents can now go online under strictly controlled conditions. The users can visit only about 300 websites and cannot access social media.

      • Your social media posts can be used against you

        For many reasons, it’s a good idea to watch what you post on your social media accounts. One of them is because companies like Airbnb may well be monitoring the habits of its possible renters in order to predict bad behavior.

        As more reports have surfaced involving Airbnb renters trashing homes, the company realizes that more screening may be needed to avoid future problems.

        Airbnb says it already makes a risk assessment on everyone who fills out an application for a reservation along with a background check. The company explains that they use predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate and flag suspicious activity before it happens. But now it seems that this process may not be going far enough.

        It has been reported that Airbnb filed a patent last year with the European Patent Office (EPO) for a new technology that will allow it to search the internet in an effort to calculate the risk of someone trashing a host’s home. The patent documents suggest that the technology is for determining the trustworthiness and compatibility of a person along with assessing behavioral and personality traits. Airbnb seems to be downplaying the patent by stating that it acquired the U.S. patent after buying the California-based background check startup Trooly.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • When Computer Crimes Are Used to Silence Journalists

        Why EFF stands against the prosecution of Glenn Greenwald

      • Reporters Face New Threats From the Governments They Cover

        When Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, was charged last year by the Trump administration in connection with the publication of secret United States government documents nearly a decade earlier, many journalists expressed deep concern about the dangerous precedent the case could set for investigative reporting in America.

        But few seemed to consider that the case might also serve as a model for other nations eager to clamp down on press freedom.

        On Tuesday, Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist living and working in Brazil, was charged, in a criminal complaint brought by Brazilian prosecutors, with cybercrimes in connection with his stories on private messages among Brazilian officials that revealed corruption and abuses at the highest levels of the government. Brazilian prosecutors asserted that Mr. Greenwald was part of a criminal organization that hacked the cellphones of government officials. He has denied the charges. (Full disclosure: Mr. Greenwald is a co-founder of The Intercept, where I work as a reporter; I also run the First Look Press Freedom Defense Fund, part of the nonprofit organization that includes The Intercept.)

      • American tortured by rebels sues Qatari bank for financing terrorism in Syria

        American photojournalist, Matthew Schrier, who was held captive and tortured for seven months in 2013 in Syria by extremist rebel groups, has filed a law suit against Qatar Islamic Bank alleging the bank provided financial services to terrorist groups, he told Al Arabiya on Friday.

        Schrier said he was tortured by two Syrian al Qaeda-affiliated rebel groups, US-designated terrorist group al Nusra Front and rebel group Ahrar al-Sham. He now alleges that the Qatari bank helped finance the two Syrian organizations in several ways.

      • Mike Pompeo Berated A Journalist Who Asked Him A Tough Question Then Called Her A Liar For Reporting It

        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not deny Saturday that he lashed out at an NPR reporter after abruptly ending an interview, but claimed in a statement that the (reportedly profanity-laden) “post-interview conversation” between himself and journalist Mary Louise Kelly was off the record.

      • After Contentious Interview, Pompeo Publicly Accuses NPR Journalist Of Lying To Him

        “He shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the [9-minute] interview itself had lasted,” Kelly told Shapiro. “He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.”

        Pompeo then had a pop quiz for Kelly, a veteran national security correspondent who has reported from China, Russia and, most recently, Iran.

        “He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map; I said yes,” she continued. “He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this.’ ”

      • Pompeo Accuses NPR Journalist Of Lying Following Controversial Interview

        NPR issued a response to Pompeo’s statement, calling Kelly a reporter with “utmost integrity” and said it stood behind her report.

        The Committee to Protect Journalists also issued a statement later on January 25 criticizing Pompeo, saying his reaction was another sign of the Trump administration’s “hostility” toward the press.

        “These verbal attacks undermine efforts to protect journalists and erode U.S. standing as a beacon of press freedom,” the committee said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Trump Team Titans

        “Birds of a feather will gather together.”

      • Ten Years After Howard Zinn’s Death — Lessons from the People’s Historian

        Now is an especially good time to remember some of Howard Zinn’s wisdom.

      • What to Do When You Have Been Abusive

        As I sit in my bed and begin to type (beds are my favorite typing places), there is a part of me that says, “Don’t write this article.”

      • Turkey: UN Review Should Address Sharp Decline on Rights

        A review of the situation in Turkey before the United Nations offers a chance to acknowledge and address the country’s human rights crisis and the dramatic erosion of its rule of law framework, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 28, 2020, Turkey will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

        Over the past four years, the Turkish authorities have detained and prosecuted perceived government opponents, journalists, activists, and human rights defenders on broad and vague terrorism and other charges for peacefully exercising their freedom of expression and other non-violent activities. The rights to assembly and association have been severely curtailed across the country and the government has exerted heavy political control over the courts, whose judges have all too easily handed down convictions and harsh sentences in defiance of human rights norms.

      • Two years after a federal law banning shackling women during childbirth was passed, prisoners in America are still giving birth in chains

        As a result, the practice of shackling women before, during and after childbirth is rampant across America, and in the majority (61%) of these circumstances, the women are shackled not because of any specific danger, but because the facility has a policy that insists that they be in chains. The US government does not require state or local lockups to maintain statistics on pregnancy among inmates, and a bill to require this data collection has languished in Congress since September 2018.

      • The American Dream — in crisis

        The World Economic Forum released a report this week in Davos that ranked the United States 27th in the world for social mobility. The top five nations were Denmark, Norway, Finland. Sweden and Iceland.

        In a recent study, researchers from UPenn, Northwestern, the University of Nebraska and the Census Bureau looked back as far as 1850 and concluded that socioeconomic mobility in America is at its worst ever.

      • ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Architect Dr. James Mitchell’s Testimony at Guantánamo Highlights His Role in U.S. Torture, Debasement of Psychological Ethics: PHR

        As nearly two decades of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) research and advocacy have made clear, the post-September 11 U.S. torture program constituted a systematic, illegal, and unethical regime of human rights violations. The complicity of health professionals like Dr. James Mitchell and his collaborator, Dr. Bruce Jessen, represents one of the gravest breaches of medical ethics in U.S. history.

      • The Torturers Wanted to Stop, but the CIA Kept Going

        Prisoner Abu Zubaydah was terrorized that way 83 times at a black site in Thailand. According to the Senate torture report, he was “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” That report also noted that “non-stop use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was disturbing to CIA personnel at Detention Site Green,” and that they objected, but were “instructed by CIA headquarters to continue using the techniques.” It added that the techniques continued for “more than two weeks” after CIA personnel on-site questioned the legality of what they were doing.

      • Architect Of CIA’s Torture Program Says It Went Too Far

        The CIA paid a company owned by Mitchell and his partner, Bruce Jessen, another psychologist, more than $80 million to develop the torture program ultimately used by the CIA on suspected terrorists: waterboarding, stress positions and mock burials, among others. Mitchell and Jessen took a training program meant to teach the U.S. military to resist torture and reverse-engineered it. Once the public learned about the practices, the CIA canceled Mitchell and Jessen’s contract amid international controversy in 2009. Jessen is expected to testify after Mitchell.

      • CIA Used Prisoner As ‘Training Prop’ For Torture, Psychologist Testifies

        According to CIA records, the interrogation provided little new information.

        Testifying at the U.S. military court at Guantanamo in a pretrial hearing for al-Baluchi and other Sept. 11 defendants, Mitchell affirmed claims by al-Baluchi’s attorneys that CIA employees used the experience to earn certification in the agency’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

      • Architect of CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ testifies at Guantánamo tribunal

        At a pre-trial hearing in Guantánamo, lawyers for the accused are seeking to have evidence statements that their clients made to the FBI thrown out because of the CIA interrogation methods used to extract them.

      • Marni Soupcoff: Torture doesn’t work. Stop using it

        It is a mistake to treat people suspected of crimes, including people captured during wartime, inhumanely. And the lesson is being underlined this week in pretrial hearings at Guantanamo Bay for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who is alleged to have planned and directed the 9/11 attacks — and, also, a man who was waterboarded 183 times by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      • Architect of C.I.A. Interrogation Program Testifies at Guantánamo Bay

        It was an extraordinary moment in the slow-moving justice system set up to try foreign prisoners of the war on terror, with American lawyers for defendants who were tortured more than a decade and a half ago flipping the script to question an interrogator from the so-called black sites.

        Dr. Mitchell, a former contract psychologist for the C.I.A., expressed no regrets or contrition, tearfully saying he did it for the American people at a time when President George W. Bush’s administration feared a follow-on attack by airplane or nuclear bomb to the Sept. 11 hijackings that killed 2,976 people.

      • Call it torture if you want, military judge says at Guantanamo hearing

        “I know torture’s a dirty word,” defense attorney Walter Ruiz told the tribunal. “I’ll tell you what, judge, I’m not going to sanitize this for their concerns.”

        Ruiz repeatedly used the word “torture” — and gave vivid descriptions of what had been done to his client, Mustafa Hawsawi, in secret CIA-run black-site prisons — something that would have been unthinkable for most of the eight years the case has been ongoing.

      • Iran Eliminates ‘Other Option’ Of Religious Affiliation For Citizens’ IDs

        Article 13 of the Islamic Republic Constitution stipulates that “Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians are the only recognized religious minorities, who, within the limits of the law, are free to perform their religious rites and ceremonies, and to act according to their own canon in matters of personal affairs and religious education.”

        Removal of the “other religions” affects Baha’is, a persecuted religious minority, in applying for a new National ID card. Without the ID, Baha’is will be deprived of a official and business transactions.

      • Marriage of minor halted by police

        The girl’s father allegedly obtained Rs0.5million from a 50-year-old man to marry his 11-year-old daughter.

        The incident occurred in Chak -140 where a man named Mazhar Iqbal, resident of Chak-138 forcibly tried to tie the knot of his minor daughter Yasmeen with an old man, Mazhar.

      • Proposal would end Oklahoma death penalty

        State Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, filed House Bill 2876 to end use of the death penalty in Oklahoma.

        According to a press release, Dunnington pointed to problems with the death penalty, including high costs, no conclusive evidence that it deters crime and the fact that for every 10 inmates executed, one is exonerated.

        “I’m proud to be a part of the important progress we’ve made toward criminal justice reform,” Dunnington said. “This is neither a partisan nor an ideological proposal… The profound problems with the death penalty are a concern for all Oklahomans.”

      • We’ll Never Advance Australia Fair Until We Face Our Black Past

        On January 26, Alison Pennington reflects on the history of a nation defined by resistance and determination, but diverted by elite self-interest.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Danger in delay (periculum in mora) is still a relevant requirement in certain cases to obtain preliminary injunctions in Spain (three pi decisions on fulvestrant)
        • Barcelona Court of Appeal confirms refusal of preliminary injunctions against fulvestrant generics

          The Barcelona Court of Appeal recently issued two decisions confirming the refusal of the preliminary injunctions that AstraZeneca….

        • Software Patents

          • Jury Orders Apple to Fork Over $85 Million in Royalties for Wi-LAN Suit

            Wi-LAN, a Canadian tech developer, has been lobbing similar lawsuits at the biggest names in tech for the better part of a decade now (to varying degrees of success) over its patents for Bluetooth and other wireless communication technology. The company’s suit against Apple hinged on two of its patents concerning downloading data while simultaneously making phone calls, Bloomberg reported.

          • Apple Owes Quarterhill $85 Million in Royalties, U.S. Jury Says

            WiLan’s two patents cover ways to make phone calls and download data at the same time. A different jury in 2018 said Apple infringed the patents and awarded $145 million, but a new trial was ordered to reconsider the damages.

            [...]

            The case is Apple Inc. v. Wi-Lan Inc., 14-2245, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego)

          • IP5 hold joint AI response meeting
          • The intellectual property dilemmas caused by AI-generated works

            Intellectual property is extremely valuable for your company. Not only can investments in innovation be recouped through the exploitation of intellectual property, you can also keep competitors at bay by enforcing these rights. In addition, the (re)structuring of intellectual property portfolios can provide strategic benefits.

            Traditionally, intellectual property rights vest with the human creator or inventor. At the time when intellectual property laws came into being, it was clear who the inventor or creator was: the human(s) that created the work. This can still be the case with AI-generated works if AI is merely used as a tool and human intervention in such a work is clearly present. However, the latter is becoming increasingly difficult to establish as the technology progresses rapidly and AI is able to operate more independently.

            Patents

            Under the European Patent Convention (EPC), you can’t patent software ‘as such’. Case law shows that software is patentable when it can be presented as a new, non-obvious technical solution to a technical problem.

            The European Patent Office (EPO) has amended its guidelines to provide more clarity on the circumstances under which inventions in the field of AI are patentable. According to these guidelines, AI-based inventions are patentable as long as the method used serves a technical purpose. For example, the use of a neural network in a heart-monitoring apparatus for the purpose of identifying irregular heartbeats makes a technical contribution and is thus, in principle, patentable.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights/Entertainment/Sports

        • Is the New James Bond Film Just More Neoliberal Hype?

          Yet another James Bond sequel, No Time to Die, is scheduled for release in April 2020, and a major marketing rollout is now trying to build a frenzy of anticipation for the hugely popular and highly profitable spy thriller series.

        • Kobe Bryant, His Daughter and 7 Others Die in Helicopter Crash

          NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed Sunday when their helicopter plunged into a steep hillside in dense morning fog in Southern California, his sudden death at age 41 touching off an outpouring of grief for a star whose celebrity transcended basketball.

        • Kobe Bryant’s Death Creates a Logistical Nightmare for the Grammys

          The shocking and unexpected death of Kobe Bryant Sunday morning created a major crowd-control problem outside the Staples Center, where the Grammys red carpet and event was held.

        • Movie & TV Show Database Bombards Google With Bizarre Takedown Notices

          Movie and TV show information portal AlloCiné has reportedly sent a wave of DMCA notices to Google to have allegedly-infringing content taken down. Unfortunately, however, the complaints are littered with clearly erroneous URLs that target everything from Netflix and Amazon listings to news reports from sites like Wired, plus content on rival movie portals such as JustWatch and Rotten Tomatoes.

        • Indonesia Faces Call for US Trade Sanctions over Online Piracy

          The MPA, RIAA and other entertainment industry groups are unhappy with Indonesia’s progress on the anti-piracy front. The country is blocking over 1,500 pirate domains but should do more to prevent domain hopping, they argue. Without significant improvement on this and other copyright issues, the rightsholders advise the US Government to suspend or withdraw several trade benefits.

        • AG Szpunar advises CJEU to rule that car leasing companies are not ‘users’ that provide a communication to the public

          Eventually, the matter reached the Swedish Supreme Court, which stated that, according to CJEU case law, it is apparent that a communication to the public may take place – in the manner envisaged by Article 3(1) of the InfoSoc Directive – when transmissions are made by means of technical equipment to a nearby public (e.g. in a hotel, café, rehabilitation centre, or a spa). Furthermore, the CJEU has held that hotel operators carry out a “communication to the public” in light of Article 8(2) of the Rental Rights Directive, when hotel rooms are equipped with phonograms available in digital or physical form and which can be played or intercepted (Phonographic Performance Ireland, C-162/10). Nonetheless, the CJEU also came to the contrary conclusion regarding transmission of phonograms in a dentist’s waiting room (Società Consortile Fonografici, C-135/10). The Supreme Court was unsure how to treat the providers of rental cars. Thus, it asked the CJEU to answer the following questions:

          1) Does the hiring out of cars which are equipped as standard with radio receivers mean that the person who hires the cars out is a user who makes a communication to the public within the meaning of Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29 and within the meaning of Article 8(2) of Directive 2006/115?

          2) What is the significance, if any, of the volume of the car hire activities and the duration of the hires?

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  1. Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 15, 2020



  3. Guest Article: Au Revoir, GNU/Linux

    "Funny how OSI just ended up being another vehicle for their takeover of the computing world..."



  4. Former Microsoft Employee: ZDNet is Owned by Microsoft (and Others) in Some Senses

    A noteworthy message we've received from someone who knows Microsoft from the inside



  5. Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft Views 'Open Source' as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People's Free Labour)

    Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking



  7. Did Microsoft 'Buy' ZDNet?

    A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed



  8. Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

    It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend



  9. Today's EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

    Beneath the scandals associated with systematic abuse against staff, union-busting (silencing whistleblowers) and en masse granting of invalid patents — the hallmark of grotesque maladministration — lie a bunch of even greater crimes



  10. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 14, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 14, 2020



  11. One Need Only Look at ZDNet's 'Linux' Section to Understand It's a Microsoft Propaganda Operation

    A timely new snapshot (or screenshot) that demonstrates what ZDNet became after hiring Microsoft employees as ‘journalists’ and censoring on behalf of Microsoft, defaming Free software figures and so on



  12. Links 14/2/2020: New Release of KStars, OpenSSH 8.2, Rhythmbox 3.4.4, Flatpak 1.6.2

    Links for the day



  13. The Uselessness of Social Control Media and Why We Need RSS Feeds' Resurgence More Than Ever

    Social control media became pure noise or misinformation, usually in pursuit of financial expansion alone, and it is also a censorship machine which discourages not falsehoods but unconventional thinking



  14. Another New 'Clown' for the UPC 'Circus'

    A former writer of IPPro Magazine (which seems to be defunct now) reports another shuffle -- perhaps the fifth in a few years -- of "IP" [sic] Minister for the UK; it doesn't bode well for the Unified Patent Court (UPC)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 13, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 13, 2020



  16. Links 13/2/2020: Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, Septor 2020, Endless OS 3.7.7, Wayland 1.18.0, KDE Plasma 5.18 and GTK 3.98 Released

    Links for the day



  17. The Microsoft Propaganda Model

    Classic new examples (real screenshots) of how Microsoft-funded media entraps people looking for information about "Linux" to actually push Microsoft talking points and marketing, cover-up, face-saving lies etc.



  18. What's Evil is Forcing People to Use Something They Don't Want and Typically Dislike

    The difference between Google Search and Microsoft is that many people actually want to use Google (and don't have to)



  19. 2020: The Year Microsoft Became Honest... About Being Corrupt and Criminal

    Microsoft is destroying any past attempts to portray itself as a reformed company or 'recovering criminal'; nothing is really changing and everyone has noticed



  20. Free Software is Being Abandoned by Opponents of Software Patents and It's Being Attacked by Patent Trolls

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is rotting away as an advocate against software patents; Patents on algorithms are still being granted (even when courts repeatedly reject these) and Red Hat's Chief Patent Counsel remains Manny Schecter, one of the loudest proponents of such patents (citing the likes of Adam Mossoff this week, in effect Koch operatives); this is a very big problem because Free software projects come under a barrage of lawsuits, using patents like those IBM lobbies ferociously to legitimise



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 12, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 12, 2020



  22. Links 12/2/2020: KDE Neon 5.18, Tails 4.3 and WordPress 5.4 Beta

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 11, 2020



  24. Links 11/2/2020: New Firefox and KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  25. Sometimes ILO-AT is Good for Nothing But Law Firms in or Around Switzerland

    ILO-AT’s latest judgements are out. But ILO — and by extension the UN — are still morally deficient and they give the impression that don’t care about people (or that ILO is in bed with the same businesses WIPO (UN) serves, i.e. no better than WB/IMF).



  26. The European Patent Office Continues to Violate the European Patent Convention (EPC) With Impunity While the European Commission Lets That Happen

    The European Commission (and Union) can be seen as increasingly complicit in the EPO's abuses; this means that the EPO has become a liability or source of accountability for the integrity of Europe as a bloc



  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 10, 2020



  28. EPO Staff Representatives to Challenge Ridiculous and Unnecessary Austerity Measures

    The EPO's President of Nepotism "is currently finalizing his “package” of financial measures in order to reduce an alleged coverage gap of 5.8 B€ following a heavily biased and flawed Financial Study," according to EPO staff representatives who have already demonstrated it's a fake crisis that distracts from the real crisis and profound corruption



  29. You're Almost Guaranteed to Lose the Argument When You Call People Who Plant Seeds 'Pirates'

    The EPO's patent maximalists are damaging the reputation of the institution and harm its perceived legitimacy (people are getting fed up instead of fed)



  30. Unified Patent Corruption

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is more dead than ever before; but UPC hopefuls — people who lied their way into this fraudulent pact (designed to enrich only themselves by violating many constitutions) — try telling us otherwise and they’re weaponising corrupt media


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