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02.02.20

Links 2/2/2020: OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury”, LLVM 10.0 RC1 and Linux 5.5.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 10:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Best Linux Projects for Newbies

      Some people enjoy learning from books, and others like to gain knowledge and experience by working on interesting projects. If you belong to the latter category and you?re new to Linux, our selection of the top 5 best Linux projects for newbies is just what you need to take your skills to the next level.

      Using Linux on your personal computer is by far the simplest project you can embark on. You will be forced to find alternatives to your favorite Windows and Mac applications, figure out how to get older or more obscure hardware devices to work correctly, and stop being afraid of the terminal.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Chrome OS 81 Dev Channel adds Buster upgrade, Linux disk resizing and username choice to Chromebooks

        Chrome OS 81 is shaping up to be a pretty hefty release when it arrives on the Stable Channel on or around March 24. You don’t have to wait that long to try some of the latest features though, provided you’re feeling adventurous. The Chrome Releases Blog doesn’t yet show this but Chrome OS 81 Dev Channel version 81.0.4037.0 was released yesterday and it enabled three key features for Linux on Chromebooks.

        I upgraded to this version on a Google Pixel Slate and briefly tested the trio of functions, which include the Debian Buster release of Linux, as well as disk resizing and choice of username for the Linux container.

        If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole with this release on your own Chromebook, keep in mind that the Dev Channel can be unstable and you will likely see bugs. Additionally, you may lose data through a Chromebook powerwash when switching to or from the Dev Channel.

    • Server

      • Astro Project Ties Kubernetes to Datadog

        Fairwinds, a provider of managed IT services for Kubernetes environments, has launched an open source project dubbed Astro that provides an easier application programming interface (API) for monitoring Kubernetes clusters using monitoring tools from Datadog as well as tools that make it easier to navigate Datadog.

      • After Kubernetes’ Victory, Its Former Rivals Change Tack
      • IBM

        • Prediction #1 — IBM sells a division and disappears into Red Hat

          Prediction #1 — IBM sells a division and disappears into Red Hat. My first prediction — actually a whole series of predictions — is about IBM. Readers tell me, “Nobody cares about IBM anymore!” but I can’t shake the lingering shadow of Big Blue, so please humor me.

          On Thursday IBM shares got a big boost because Ginni Rometty stepped-down as IBM CEO. Ms. Rometty was a failure as CEO, not because she was a woman but because she was a bad corporate visionary. Following Sam Palmisano — the luckiest SOB in American business — Ginni Rometty just didn’t have Sam’s luck. Nor did she have his eye. She bought 57 companies in her time running IBM. How many of them can you name? How many of those acquisitions can you say were successful? Red Hat, maybe?

          Here’s what just happened at IBM and what will happen next. Despite the shuffling of chairs, Ginni Rometty is still in charge for another year as chairman, during which time she’ll fine-tune her golden parachute and prepare IBM for yet another transition that will happen when she actually leaves the company a year from now.

          IBM has three divisions — Global Technology Services (GTS), Global Business Services (GBS), and Red Hat. GTS is the legacy IT business, GBS is the professional services business invented by Lou Gerstner to save IBM the last time it was in huge trouble, and Red Hat is Linux. GTS — that part of IBM most of us still think of as IBM — will probably be sold by summer. Either it will go to private equity (depends on the total debt load) or it will be sold to HPE or maybe to Oracle. Either way, it’s not a likely success story, but Rometty has no real choice. IBM is, at this point, smoke, mirrors, and buybacks. The GTS windfall will land in Ginni’s final quarter, juicing her payout, which might be the major point of the deal.

          Whoever buys GTS will be a big winner for a few years. The losers will be all the IBMers who go with that deal. There will be massive layoffs of redundant staff, salespeople, and support teams. Profits will soar as the IBM staff is fired. The new owners will create a cash cow to pay down the purchase price while expanding their IT footprint. But supporting data centers and large integrations of hardware are so last century…

          IBM’s new CEO is Arvind Krishna, formerly head of the Cognitive Computing unit — IBM’s cloud guy. Except Cognitive Computing was never really cloud. Cognitive has been a mishmash of cloud, supported by revenue streams that are anything but cloud. It’s cloud in name only and will be the part that goes next summer, possibly with Mr. Krishna still at its head.

          The next chairman of IBM after Rometty will be current Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst. If Whitehurst is as smart as I think he is, he started yesterday looking for a new job. It’s not that he really intends to leave, but as the next savior of IBM, Ginni et al will pay anything to keep him.

          Cut your new deal now, Jim, while demand is greatest.

          Whitehurst will turn IBM into Red Hat, which will take HQ to North Carolina and mean most of the remaining GBS staff will be gone in a year. That’s because software is everything for Red Hat, which means certifications proving staff can actually do what they are being paid to do. But IBMers don’t believe in certifications; they are IBMers. In the end, nothing can be done for these people, so the answer will be to release anyone without the proper certifications, helping Red Hat realign the company in 2021.

          It still won’t save IBM.

          They’ll go down in the coming year or two along with the rest of the industry we used to call IT. I’ll explain more about that in another prediction next week.

          Let’s just say that IBM’s loss is AWS’s gain.

        • Cringely Predicts IBM ‘Disappears Into Red Hat’
        • How open-source became a corporate staple

          Many of the best technologies we are using now have open source components. Using Facebook? It’s mostly built on open-source software. Using Android? That’s built on Linux, an open-source operating system. In fact, Huawei may soon be forced to use a fully open-source version of Android on their latest devices. Even this article is brought to you by the power of strong open-source web software. There is a great deal of power in open-source software, but it wasn’t always as mainstream as it was today.

          A few years back, many IT decision-makers at large businesses would have looked at open source software with scepticism, because: how can something that’s been developed by so many people be safe and stable? Most wouldn’t even consider an open solution.

          Now, having an open-source platform at the business’s disposal is a huge advantage that many IT decision-makers fully understand. With so many open-source startups having track records of doing well, it just makes sense to use open source solutions. When IBM acquired the well-established Red Hat for $32-billion, over 3 times its market cap at the time, the industry realised open-source was the new methodology to adapt for a rapidly growing business.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux has Fixed Year 2038 Bug in Linux Kernel 5.6

        Linux Kernel is an opensource Unix-like OS. Which helps all other Operating Systems to run easily run on your personal computers and servers. Currently, we have got some news that Linux has fixed its 2038 year Bug from its Linux Kernel 5.6.

        The “Y2038” or “Unix Y2K” Bug or we can say problem which can arise in future is solved yet by Linux. Linux Kernel 5.6 is ready to resolve all the issues which we might face in future.

        When Linux Kernel 5.5 got released a few people namely Arnd Bergmann, Linux developer, has mailed Linus Torvalds that Linux Kernel 5.6 will serve as a base of 32 Bit system to run in the year 2038

      • Linux 5.5.1

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.1 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.5.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

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

      • Linux 5.4.17
      • Linux 4.19.101
      • Linux Kernel 5.5 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Mass Adoption

        The Linux kernel 5.5.1 point release is now available to download from the kernel.org website, marking the recently released Linux 5.5 kernel series as “stable” and therefore ready for mass deployments.

        Released on January 27th, the Linux 5.5 kernel series is the latest and most advanced kernel branch for Linux-based operating systems. It introduces many new features and improvements, as well as updated drivers, filesystems, and more.

        Highlights include a new Airtime Queue Limits (AQL) feature for better Wi-Fi connectivity, full support for the Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer, SMB multichannel support, as well as CIFS as root file system.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Now Supports USB 4.0 Version! Quick Brief!

        Linux Kernel 5.6: Greg KH Says the upcoming Linux Kernel 5.6 now supports USB 4.0 Version. USB 4.0 is the latest version has many new device supports, features and imporved security! The exact words from Greg KH are,
        USB/Thunderbolt/PHY driver updates for 5.6-rc1

        Here is the big USB and Thunderbolt and PHY driver updates for 5.6-rc1.

      • Linus Torvalds Pulls WireGuard VPN into Linux 5.6 Kernel Source Tree
      • Linus Torvalds pulled WireGuard VPN into the 5.6 kernel source tree

        Yesterday, Linux creator Linus Torvalds merged David Miller’s net-next into his source tree for the Linux 5.6 kernel. This merger added plenty of new network-related drivers and features to the upcoming 5.6 kernel, with No.1 on the list being simply “Add WireGuard.”

        As previously reported, WireGuard was pulled into net-next in December—so its inclusion into Linus’ 5.6 source tree isn’t exactly a surprise. It does represent clearing another potential hurdle for the project; there is undoubtedly more refinement work to be done before the kernel is finalized, but with Linus having pulled it in-tree, the likelihood that it will disappear between now and 5.6′s final release (expected sometime in May or early June) is vanishingly small.

      • Logitech Input Device Improvements Continue Coming With Linux 5.6

        These Logitech improvements for the Linux device support continue to be led by the community as opposed to Logitech themselves. With Linux 5.6 the hid-logitech-hidpp driver has support for reading the battery voltage now on newer devices. This comes due to a change in the Logitech HID++ protocol with that information being reported differently on their latest hardware. There are also other HID++ protocol handling improvements in the Logitech driver for this kernel version.

        When it comes to new Logitech device support, there is the adding of the Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse to the hid-logitch-hidpp driver for the Logitech Unifying Receiver and Bluetooth LE.

      • Linux 5.6 Media Updates Bring Improvements For Rockchip Users

        The Linux 5.6 media driver updates have landed in the kernel.

        Happening in the media subsystem this round include:

        - A new driver for the Rockchip MIPI Synopsys DPHY RX0 driver.

        - In turn with the previous driver, the new “rkisp” driver is added. This driver is for the Image Signal Processing (ISP) unit and is already used in user-space by the likes of libcamera. This ISP module is found in SoCs like the Rockchip RK3399.

      • Linux 5.6 Adds New CPU Cooling Mechanism With Generic Idle Cooling Driver

        This new CPU idle cooling thermal driver is similar to Intel’s Idle / PowerClamp / RAPL solution but not limited to a specific CPU architecture and not needing any extra framework. This driver will inject idle cycles at run-time when necessary to cool down the CPU and also reduce any static power leakage. Activating this CPU idle cooling driver can be done with setting a trip point that can also be used as a fall-back should the Linux CPUFreq drivers not be working optimally for controlling the CPU core frequencies.

        More details on this new CPU idle injection solution via this documentation. This new driver was led by the Linaro team.

      • Intel Gateway SoC Enablement Continues With Linux 5.6 Plus Other PCI/PCIe Changes

        There is plenty of PCI work that landed for the Linux 5.6 kernel merge window.

        [...]

        - Improved resource assignment for hot-added nested bridges, which is primarily being done around modern Thunderbolt devices.

        - Bcrmstb is a new Broadcom STB PCI Express controller driver used by some settop boxes.

        - Switchtec has added support for Gen4 devices to their driver.

        - Qualcomm SDM845 PCI Express controller support.

      • Graphics Stack

        • vkBasalt 0.3 Vulkan Layer Adds Support For Using Reshade Fx Shaders

          The vkBasalt open-source project began as just providing Contrast Adaptive Sharpening support for Linux/Vulkan games similar to Radeon Image Sharpening. This Vulkan post-processing layer then added an option for applying FXAA anti-aliasing and then SMAA and other effects. Now vkBasalt 0.3 is out today with even more post-processing features.

          With vkBasalt 0.3 the headlining feature is that this Vulkan layer can make use of most Reshade Fx shaders. ReShade is a collection of post-processing effects from color correction to ambient occlusion to various other visual features and the software is for Windows. But with the Reshade Fx shaders being open-source, vkBasalt now supports using those as part of this Vulkan post-processing layer.

        • Nouveau Still Pushing Forward In 2020 Thanks To Red Hat But Community Developers Leaving

          While Karol works on Nouveau in an official capacity at Red Hat with a focus on SPIR-V/OpenCL compute and Red Hat also employs Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs and other open-source graphics driver developers like Jerome Glisse, there isn’t much Nouveau work outside of Red Hat. Karol did point out they do have a new Red Hat intern working on Nouveau shader cache support too. But there isn’t too much left to the Nouveau developer community.

        • [Keith Packard] Prototyping a Vulkan Extension — VK_MESA_present_period

          I’ve been messing with application presentation through the Vulkan API for quite a while now, first starting by exploring how to make head-mounted displays work by creating DRM leases as described in a few blog posts: 1, 2, 3, 4.

          [...]

          At first, I assumed I’d have to hack up the X server, and maybe the kernel itself to make this work. So I started specifying changes to the X present extension and writing a pile of code in the X server.

          Queuing the first presentation to the kernel was easy; with no previous presentation needing to be kept on the screen for a specified period, it just gets sent right along.

          For subsequent presentations, I realized that I needed to wait until I learned when the earlier presentations actually happened, which meant waiting for a kernel event. That kernel event immediately generates an X event back to the Vulkan client, telling it when the presentation occurred.

          Once I saw that both X and Vulkan were getting the necessary information at about the same time, I realized that I could wait in the Vulkan code rather than in the X server.

    • Applications

      • Battery Saving Tool TLP 1.3.0 Released [How to Install]
      • New Lightworks Beta Version 2020.1 revision 119451 Now Available on Windows Linux and Mac!

        The next Beta of version 2020.1 Revision 119451 on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X is now available to download!

      • Lightworks 2020.1 Beta Video Editor Brings Linux Improvements

        Lightworks 2020.1 is on the way as this professional-grade video editing system’s first release of the year and a change in their versioning scheme. Out this week is the first public beta of the still-proprietary video editing system for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

        Lightworks 2020.1 is still a binary blob: ten years after they announced their intention of open-sourcing it. As covered last year, there have been no signs of them actually working on the open-source version and it appears to be dead in the water.

      • arduino-copilot one week along

        My framework for programming Arduinos in Haskell in FRP-style is a week old, and it’s grown up a lot.

        It can do much more than flash a light now. The =: operator can now connect all kinds of FRP Events to all kinds of outputs. There’s some type level progamming going on to only allow connections that make sense. For example, arduino-copilot knows what pins of an Adruino support DigitalIO and which support PWM.

      • Load Average Monitoring

        For my ETBE-Mon [1] monitoring system I recently added a monitor for the Linux load average. The Unix load average isn’t a very good metric for monitoring system load, but it’s well known and easy to use. I’ve previously written about the Linux load average and how it’s apparently different from other Unix like OSs [2]. The monitor is still named loadavg but I’ve now made it also monitor on the usage of memory because excessive memory use and load average are often correlated.

        For issues that might be transient it’s good to have a monitoring system give a reasonable amount of information about the problem so it can be diagnosed later on. So when the load average monitor gives an alert I have it display a list of D state processes (if any), a list of the top 10 processes using the most CPU time if they are using more than 5%, and a list of the top 10 processes using the most RAM if they are using more than 2% total virtual memory.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Steam Kicks Off 2020 With Linux Gaming At The Highest Point In A While

        Valve has just reported their January 2020 numbers from the controversial Steam Survey.

        Running off December’s numbers, at first they reported a 0.14% decline in the Linux gaming market-share only to revise it late in January. The revised figure for December 2019 put the Linux gaming population on Steam for the month at 0.83%. That is within the normal range we’re used to seeing out of the Steam Survey with since the Steam Play launch roughly around 0.8% and jiving with what various game studios generally independently report as the Linux gaming customer base being at 1% or less.

      • Descent 3 returns to Linux (and macOS) with an official modern port

        Ryan “Icculus” Gordon, a developer who has ported tons of games to Linux has done it again. Descent 3, has been re-ported and upgraded for Linux (and macOS).

        Originally released in 1999, it was later ported to Linux thanks to the defunct Loki Software in 2000 and eventually in 2014 the Windows version came to Steam. The Linux port was old, not easy to find and many people likely didn’t even know it was a thing today.

      • The Linux version of Starcom: Nexus is now officially live and out of Beta

        Ready for a new space adventure and a little action? Starcom: Nexus, an open-world sci-fi game with some RPG elements is now properly out and supported on Linux.

      • The Linux GOTY Award 2019 is now open for voting

        Get ready to cast your votes, as the Linux GOTY Award 2019 is now open for business. After some time to let people nominate games, we’ve done a bit of cleaning up and it’s ready.

        This is a simple way to show off to other Linux gamers what’s really good, it shows developers their games are appreciated on Linux and it’s supposed to be a bit of community fun.

        We’re going to keep it open for voting for a full week, so you can come back to a category if you can’t yet make up your mind. It will close around 8PM UTC on Saturday 8th February.

      • OpenRA has a new release for classic Westwood real-time strategy – massive upgrade also in testing

        The team working on OpenRA, the game engine that keeps classic Westwood real-time strategy games alive have pushed out a new release. Plus there’s some real exciting advancements coming.

      • Release 20200202 “Render Test” builds

        Alongside the new Release 20200202 hotfix, I am releasing a new version of the “render test” builds that were previously shared in the Discord and IRC channels. These builds port several features that will be in the next playtest back to the current release so players can test and give feedback while playing on standard servers with other players using the regular release build.

        There are two reasons for this: the first is that we are excited that these changes fix one of the oldest and worst usability issues with OpenRA and want to share it as soon as possible, and the second is that the underlying code changes they are built on may have serious implications for game performance and compatibility on some hardware/software configurations. We would therefore like some early testing so we have time to fix issues and understand whether we will be excluding a significant number of players with older systems (unfortunately our system information database does not capture enough information to test this).

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • digiKam 7.0.0-beta2 is released

          Just few words to inform the community that 7.0.0-beta2 is out and ready to test one month later the first beta release published at Christmas time.

          After a long triaging stage, this new version come with more than 600 bug-fixes since last stable release 6.4.0 and look very promising. Nothing is completed yet, as we plan one beta version before next spring, when we will publish officially the stable version. It still bugs to fix while this beta campain and all help will be welcome from the community to stabilize codes.

          Thanks to all users for your support and donations, and to all contributors, students, testers who allowed us to improve this release.

          digiKam 7.0.0 source code tarball, Linux 32/64 bits AppImage bundles, MacOS package and Windows 32/64 bits installers can be downloaded from this repository. Don’t forget to not use this beta in production yet and thanks in advance for your feedback in Bugzilla.

        • This week in KDE: Plasma 5.18 is nigh

          The release of Plasma 5.18 is upon us! In 10 more days, it will be yours to have and to hold. Until then, the Plasma developers have been working feverishly to fix bugs–and land some welcome improvements in 5.19!

        • KDE Begins February With More Improvements In Tow

          While KDE Plasma 5.18 is dropping soon, feature work is already underway on Plasma 5.19 and other areas of the KDE desktop stack.

        • QCA cleanup spree

          What I probably also did is maybe break the OSX and Windows builds, so if you’re using QCA there you should start testing it and propose Merge Requests.

          Note: My original idea was to actually kill QCA because i started looking at it and lot of the code looked a bit fishy, and no one wants crypto fishy code, but then i realized we use it in too many places in KDE and i’d rather have “fishy crypto code” in one place than in lots of different places, at least this way it’s easier to eventually fix it.

        • Elisa has been submitted to the Windows Store

          Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

          We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

          We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sculpting Tracker 3.0

          We’re in the second phase of work to create version 3.0 of the Tracker desktop search engine.

          Tracker’s database is now up to date with the latest SPARQL 1.1 standards, including the magical SERVICE statement that lets you combine results from multiple databases in a single query. Now we’re converting the database from a service into a library, and turning the previously monolithic architecture into something more flexible.

        • Michael Catanzaro: Let’s Learn Spelling!

          Were you looking forward to reading an exciting blog post about substantive technical issues affecting GNOME or the Linux desktop community? Sorry, not today.

          GNOME

          It used to be an acronym, so it’s all uppercase. Write “GNOME,” never “Gnome.” Please stop writing “Gnome.”

          Would it help if you imagine an adorable little garden gnome dying each time you get it wrong?

          If you’re lazy and hate capital letters, or for technical contexts like package or project names, then all-lowercase “gnome” might be appropriate, but “Gnome” certainly never is.

    • Distributions and Operating Systems

      • OSMC’s January update is here

        We hope that you had a good Christmas and New Year. Our first update of the decade has arrived with a number of system improvements.

        We continue our development for 3D Frame Packed (MVC) output for Vero 4K / 4K + and a significantly improved video stack which will land shortly and our work on preparing Raspberry Pi 4 support continues.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Solus 4.1 “Fortitude” Desktop and Features Tour

          Solus 4.1 Fortitude got released this week. This release delivers a brand new desktop experience, updated software Apps, and hardware integration. In this video, we take you through the desktop and major features tour to help you decide if this rolling Linux distribution is suitable for you.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • And OpenMandriva did better: OMLx 4.1 final release is out now!

          OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 turned out to be a great one but… we made it better.
          Few days after the Release Candidate we are very proud to introduce you OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 final release.

        • OpenMandriva 4.1 Released With Clang’ed LTO+PGO Packages, Linux 5.5 + More

          OpenMandriva 4.1 now includes a Clang LTO (Link Time Optimization) plus PGO (Profile Guided Optimizations) optimized build by default, Linux 5.5 has been pulled in as the very latest kernel, KDE Plasma 5.17.5 is offering the default desktop experience, Zypper is available as an alternative to DNF for package management, systemd 244 is at play, Zstd is now used for package compression rather than XZ, their Chromium web browser build is configured with VA-API support, and there is a wealth of other package updates.

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury” Released, This Is What’s New

          The OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 operating system has been officially released as the latest and greatest version of this RPM-based GNU/Linux distribution that keeps the Mandriva and Mandrake spirit alive.

          Coming eight months after the OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 release, OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is dubbed “Mercury” and features many of the newest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software. Among these, we can mention the recently released Linux 5.5. kernel, KDE Plasma 5.17.5 desktop environment, and LibreOffice 6.4 office suite.

          Probably the coolest thing about OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is the fact that it ships pre-loaded with a new, in-house built utility called Desktop Presets (om-feeling-like), which lets users customize the appearance of the KDE Plasma desktop environment to look and feel similar to other popular operating systems.

        • A Surprise!

          Today, my daughter wanted to play some Steam games and, since we were in my home office, I let her use my laptop. I booted OpenMandriva Lx and dragora showed me that there were some updates. I had updated the machine like a couple of weeks ago, so I thought the process could wait until after the game.

          My daughter played and, afterwards, I saw that the updates were massive: more than 1800 packages!

          I decided to install the updates, but nothing was going on.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Board election 2019-2020 result

          The openSUSE Board election 2019-2020 reached an end on the night of 31 January 23h59 CET after running for about two weeks.

          Four candidates ran in this election and the result is as follows:

          Simon Lees 161
          Sarah Julia Kriesch 138
          Vinzenz Vietzke 130
          Alessandro de Oliveira Faria 95

          Simon is re-elected and gets to serve for another term while Sarah replaces outgoing board member Gertjan Lettink.

          281 out of 500 eligible members voted in this election.

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-01

          I spent some time migrating highvoltage.tv from a Mediadrop instance to a PeerTube instance. Overall, I think it provides a much better user experience and it has some great new features.

          PeerTube allows federation with other instances (read more about the fediverse on Wikipedia), my instance follows a few other instances that hosts free software and electronics content (like share.tube and diode.zone). During tis process I also discovered and enabled HLS (HTTP Live Streaming). If you’ve noticed how NetFlix switches between resolutions without any pauses or stuttering when a connection goes bad/saturated, then that’s exactly what HLS enables. It fragments mp4 files into a a whole lot of smaller files in different resolutions, allowing to quickly switch between resolutions. The only big downside is that content consumes quite a bit more disk space (about 50% more), but I think it’s worth it.

          I haven’t created much content in 2019 but I hope to do a whole bunch of Debian Package of the Day vidoes this year and also some interviews with interesting people.

          [...]

          The last 3 days of the month I was at MiniDebCamp FOSDEM, a get together of Debian contributors preceding the FOSDEM conference. We were hosted by HSBXL, an interesting hacker space in Brussels. Turnout was quite good, with more than 50 people showing up, working on all kinds of things and with impromptu lightning talks at the end.

          The first two days of the minidebcamp I worked on a Python script for parsing DebConf archive metadata and automatically uploading videos to our peertube instance. Initially I used the PeerTube CLI tools, which has a huge dependency chain and a somewhat intrusive setup. I made good progress with this, but started hitting some limitations and seeked out a proper Python module instead. I found peertube-uploader, a Python CLI script, but it’s a bit too basic for our use case. After talking about it with Stefano over dinner, we ended up concluding that it’s going to be best to use the PeerTube API (which is well documented with examples) with some inspiration from peertube-uploader. I should find some quiet time over February to finish that up.

          On the last day I worked a bit on the Calamares framebuffer session, which is part of my Calamares roadmap for buster. Soon you’ll be able to pass a kernel command line parameter like “calamaresfb” and then the Calamares will start up without loading an entire desktop environment or a Xorg/Wayland session, which can be beneficial for low memory/resource systems. It still looks a bit ugly but upstream has mentioned some potential solutions that I’ll try out at some later stage.

        • DebConf Video team sprint (and stuff) @ MiniDebCamp FOSDEM 2020

          I’ve been (very pleasantly!) surprised by the number of people present at the MiniDebCamp, as well as the variety of topics they were working on. A great atmosphere, the welcoming environment provided by the HSBXL, and the low-key organization were something that I think other event organizers can get inspiration from: just get a room, and basic amenities (power, tables, seats, heating), and this will turn into a successful event!

        • Linux Mint officially announces LMDE 4 and changes in Cinnamon 4.6

          The January Edition of the Linux Mint’s monthly newsletter is sure to get Mint fans excited as it briefly unveils LMDE 4, discusses what’s new in Cinnamon 4.6, and a whole lot more.

          It was clear that Linux Mint 19.3 was a massive hit as it soared donations to about $25K in a single month. Clement Lefebvre, who is one of the team leaders of the Linux Mint project, thanks to the Mint fans for their support to start the blog post.

          Apart from the beginning of a new development cycle, the development team also has its sight set on producing two new package bases for Linux Mint 20 and Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4.

          Users will first be able to get their hands on LMDE 4, which features new boot menus, Cinnamon 4.4, better HiDPI, and various other improvements included in Linux Mint 19.3. Plus, the system will now be based on an enhanced Debian 10 package.

          This update to LMDE will also come with the features that LMDE 3 was not able to inherit from Linux Mint, which includes the way-better-looking installer.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 6 open governance questions every project needs to answer

        When we think about what needs to be in place for an open source project to function, one of the first things to come to mind is probably a license. For one thing, absent an approved Open Source Initiative (OSI) license, a project isn’t truly open source in the minds of many. Furthermore, the choice to use a copyleft license like the GNU General Public License (GPL) or a permissive license like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) can affect the sort of community that grows up around and uses the project.

        However, Chris Aniszczyk, VP of Developer Relations at the Linux Foundation, argues that it’s equally important to consider the open governance of a project because the license itself doesn’t actually tell you how the project is governed.

      • Coders Should Be Activists

        Last year, a former employee of the cloud platform Chef took the entire service offline with the click of a few buttons. In protest of the company’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he revoked access to crucial open-source code the company relies on, temporarily crippling the company’s entire platform.
        The missing code halted the work of both Chef and its customers, forcing Chef’s CEO to reverse the company’s stance on working with ICE in a matter of hours.
        Workers at Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other companies across the tech industry have begun to protest their employers’ decisions about everything from sexual harassment to climate action by walking out, striking, and writing open letters. But what happened at Chef is the only example I’ve found of developers using open-source code as a protest tool. And that is a huge missed opportunity.

      • Apex.OS: An Open Source Operating System for Autonomous Cars
      • 5 Open-Source Startups That Are Making It Big In 2020

        Open-source is gaining prominence as organisations want to make breakthroughs using the help of diverse developers across the world. Companies are even releasing their state-of-the-art projects to enhance the products further and gain a competitive advantage over others. For one, Facebook and Google have hosted their deep learning frameworks PyTorch and Tensorflow to expedite its developments. Such initiatives have not only helped the firms that host their projects but also assist various technology community.

        Over the years, open-source has witnessed massive success in some projects, enabling the hosts to make it profitable. For instance, MongoDB and Cloudera are now public companies that are playing a crucial role in the data science landscape. Such triumph became the motivational force in the open-source marketplace. Consequently, we are now witnessing a rise in open-source startups that are striving towards commercialising the projects.

      • Bitcoin Startup Casa Names New CEO as Node Service Goes Open-Source

        Bitcoin startup Casa is charging into 2020 with a new look – by winding down its hardware product and shuffling its front office.

        CEO Jeremy Welch is stepping down from the role with current head of product Nick Neuman taking the helm. CTO Jameson Lopp will remain in his current position but will join the board along with Neuman.

        Welch’s decision to step away from his position was linked to personal matters and not the firm’s product decisions, Welch and Neuman said.

      • Omnitracs to Leverage Open Source Technology to Fight Human Trafficking

        The TAT mobile app helps drivers report suspicious activity as they spot it on the road, or at truck stops. It also educates drivers about human trafficking, providing informative material about red flag indicators, and best practices around how they can help.

      • Best Open Source AirDrop Alternative For Android And Windows Users

        oogle is preparing to launch an Airdrop-like “Nearby Sharing” Feature for Android devices, as we saw in the leaked video; however, there is no upated on the launch timeline yet.

        In the meantime, Android users can use an open-source web-based alternative for AirDrop, known as Snapdrop. This speedy file-sharing progressive web app is perfect for users who have always longed for a hassle-free method to transfer files from Android to Mac and, even Android to Windows.

      • Events

        • OpenCV Hackathon

          OpenCV has announced a hackathon aimed at eliminating bugs and generally stabilizing the library functionality. Taking place February 2 – 9 the open source project is looking for help in resolving a selected list of issues.

          Providing us with a free yet highly capable computer vision library, OpenCV is an important open source resource. It is responsible for a lot of progress in robotics, computational photography, medical image processing and more – you can even use it with Raspberry Pi projects. Its library includes modules for standard image processing tasks such as filtering, warping, color space conversion and so on. The video module even has advanced techniques such as object tracking and background subtraction and its relied on both by professionals and hobbyists.

        • Open Source Camp on Bareos: Call for Papers open

          The organizer NETWAYS GmbH opens the Call for Papers for the Open Source Camp (OSCamp) on Bareos. Presentations can be submitted until March 30, 2020.

      • Web Browsers

        • The Ultimate Guide to Tor Browser (with Important Tips) 2020

          If you’re curious about Tor browser, then you already know how important your privacy and anonymity online can be. And yes, Tor browser is a great tool that can help keep you safe. But there’s a lot of confusion about its pros and cons, and especially, about how it relates to VPNs.
          This guide will answer those questions and more. We’re going to explain how this powerful tool works and what to consider when deciding if it’s right for you.

      • Google

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20 – When there’s something wrong with your Tux

          In the Linux world, Arch is the great noob equalizer. But there’s an ever more frightening beast in the forest. It’s BSD, and even invoking its name can send the lesser man into despair. The simple truth of the matter is, throughout the nerdy circles of the world, BSD holds a respectable place as a stable, reliable workhorse. But it’s never distinguished itself as a viable desktop alternative.

          Over the years, I’ve dabbled in BSD quite some – you can check my UNIX reviews to figure out what gives. Sometimes, there would be this or that BSD flavor that surprised with its simplicity, but things would usually unravel at some point, whether it’s hardware compatibility, disk-greedy partitioning, or perhaps the ease of everyday use. Then, recently, I came across GhostBSD, and it looks pretty and inviting. So let’s see what gives.

      • FSF

        • Free Software Foundation behind petition to Open Source Windows 7

          When Windows 7 was first released Microsoft and open-source software appeared to be at diametric opposites of the spectrum, but since then Microsoft has actively adopted free software development principles internally, and contribute to numerous open-source software projects, including famously the Chromium rendering engine.

          It may have been this change of heart which encouraged Greg Farough, Campaigns Manager at the Free Software Foundation to pen a petition demanding Microsoft open-source Windows 7, now that the software has reached End of Life.

        • Microsoft Should Release Windows 7 as Free Software to “Undo Past Wrongs,” FSF Says

          Windows 7 reached its end of life on January 14, which means Microsoft will only be sending updates to paying customers. Users have been advised to upgrade to Windows 10 to avoid security issues. But, there are some who believe Microsoft should open source the operating system.

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has said that users can continue receiving updates if Microsoft open sources the operating system enabling the community to maintain it.

        • FSF calls on Microsoft to open source Windows 7

          The foundation hopes that if Windows 7 is open sourced, it will give the community the opportunity to study, modify, and share it. It also stated two other demands of Microsoft: “We urge you to respect the freedom and privacy of your users – not simply strongarm them into the newest Windows version. We want more proof that you really respect users and user freedom, and aren’t just using those concepts as marketing when convenient.”

          To support their goals, the FSF started a petition with a goal of 7,777 signatures. At the time of this writing, it has 9,600 signers.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Binutils 2.34 released
            Hi Everyone,
            
            We are pleased to announce that version 2.34 of the GNU Binutils project
            sources have been released and are now available for download at:
            
            https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/binutils
            
            
            https://sourceware.org/pub/binutils/releases/
            
            The md5 checksums are:
            
               b0afc4d29db31ee6fdf3ebc34e85e482  binutils-2.34.tar.bz2
               079f3414a4c2b8f58e05acfd03b57355  binutils-2.34.tar.gz
               eda15400c0e76f4a152ef2505e7204d2  binutils-2.34.tar.lz
               664ec3a2df7805ed3464639aaae332d6  binutils-2.34.tar.xz
            
            This release contains numerous bug fixes, and also the
            following new features:
            
              * The disassembler (objdump --disassemble) now has an option to
                generate ascii art thats show the arcs between that start and end
                points of control flow instructions.
            
              * The binutils tools now have support for debuginfod.  Debuginfod is a 
                HTTP service for distributing ELF/DWARF debugging information as
                well as source code.  The tools can now connect to debuginfod
                servers in order to download debug information about the files that
                they are processing.
            
              * The assembler and linker now support the generation of ELF format
                files for the Z80 architecture.
            
            Our thanks go out to all of the binutils contributors, past and
            present, for helping to make this release possible.
            
            Cheers
              Nick Clifton
            
          • GNU Binutils 2.34 + GNU C Library 2.31 Released

            First up, Red Hat’s Nick Clifton released Binutils 2.34. First up, Binutils 2.34 adds support for generating ASCII art from the objdump –disassemble disassembler for control flow instructions. Binutils 2.34 also has support for the debuginfod HTTP service for distributing debugging information and program sources. There are also other fixes and code improvements out of GNU Binutils 2.34.

          • GNU C Library 2.31 released

            The GNU libc 2.31 release is out. Significant changes include some initial C2X standard support, some DNS stub resolver changes, a new pthread_clockjoin_np() POSIX threads extension, a number of changes to time-related functions, and more.

          • The GNU C Library version 2.31 is now available
            The GNU C Library
            =================
            
            The GNU C Library version 2.31 is now available.
            
            The GNU C Library is used as *the* C library in the GNU system and
            in GNU/Linux systems, as well as many other systems that use Linux
            as the kernel.
            
            The GNU C Library is primarily designed to be a portable
            and high performance C library.  It follows all relevant
            standards including ISO C11 and POSIX.1-2017.  It is also
            internationalized and has one of the most complete
            internationalization interfaces known.
            
            The GNU C Library webpage is at http://www.gnu.org/software/libc/
            
            Packages for the 2.31 release may be downloaded from:
            
            http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/libc/
            
            
            http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/libc/
            
            The mirror list is at http://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html
            
            NEWS for version 2.31
            =====================
            
            Major new features:
            
            * The GNU C Library now supports a feature test macro _ISOC2X_SOURCE
              to enable features from the draft ISO C2X standard.  Only some
              features from this draft standard are supported by the GNU C
              Library, and as the draft is under active development, the set of
              features enabled by this macro is liable to change.  Features from
              C2X are also enabled by _GNU_SOURCE, or by compiling with "gcc
              -std=gnu2x".
            
            * The <math.h> functions that round their results to a narrower type
              now have corresponding type-generic macros in <tgmath.h>, as defined
              in TS 18661-1:2014 and TS 18661-3:2015 as amended by the resolution
              of Clarification Request 13 to TS 18661-3.
            
            * The function pthread_clockjoin_np has been added, enabling join with
              a terminated thread with a specific clock.  It allows waiting
              against CLOCK_MONOTONIC and CLOCK_REALTIME.  This function is a GNU
              extension.
            
            * New locale added: mnw_MM (Mon language spoken in Myanmar).
            
            * The DNS stub resolver will optionally send the AD (authenticated
              data) bit in queries if the trust-ad option is set via the options
              directive in /etc/resolv.conf (or if RES_TRUSTAD is set in
              _res.options).  In this mode, the AD bit, as provided by the name
              server, is available to applications which call res_search and
              related functions.  In the default mode, the AD bit is not set in
              queries, and it is automatically cleared in responses, indicating a
              lack of DNSSEC validation.  (Therefore, the name servers and the
              network path to them are treated as untrusted.)
            
            Deprecated and removed features, and other changes affecting
            compatibility:
            
            * The totalorder and totalordermag functions, and the corresponding
              functions for other floating-point types, now take pointer arguments
              to avoid signaling NaNs possibly being converted to quiet NaNs in
              argument passing.  This is in accordance with the resolution of
              Clarification Request 25 to TS 18661-1, as applied for C2X.
              Existing binaries that pass floating-point arguments directly will
              continue to work.
            
            * The obsolete function stime is no longer available to newly linked
              binaries, and its declaration has been removed from <time.h>.
              Programs that set the system time should use clock_settime instead.
            
            * We plan to remove the obsolete function ftime, and the header
              <sys/timeb.h>, in a future version of glibc.  In this release, the
              header still exists but calling ftime will cause a compiler warning.
              All programs should use gettimeofday or clock_gettime instead.
            
            * The gettimeofday function no longer reports information about a
              system-wide time zone.  This 4.2-BSD-era feature has been deprecated
              for many years, as it cannot handle the full complexity of the
              world's timezones, but hitherto we have supported it on a
              best-effort basis.  Changes required to support 64-bit time_t on
              32-bit architectures have made this no longer practical.
            
              As of this release, callers of gettimeofday with a non-null 'tzp'
              argument should expect to receive a 'struct timezone' whose
              tz_minuteswest and tz_dsttime fields are zero.  (For efficiency
              reasons, this does not always happen on a few Linux-based ports.
              This will be corrected in a future release.)
            
              All callers should supply a null pointer for the 'tzp' argument to
              gettimeofday.  For accurate information about the time zone
              associated with the current time, use the localtime function.
            
              gettimeofday itself is obsolescent according to POSIX.  We have no
              plans to remove access to this function, but portable programs
              should consider using clock_gettime instead.
            
            * The settimeofday function can still be used to set a system-wide
              time zone when the operating system supports it.  This is because
              the Linux kernel reused the API, on some architectures, to describe
              a system-wide time-zone-like offset between the software clock
              maintained by the kernel, and the "RTC" clock that keeps time when
              the system is shut down.
            
              However, to reduce the odds of this offset being set by accident,
              settimeofday can no longer be used to set the time and the offset
              simultaneously.  If both of its two arguments are non-null, the call
              will fail (setting errno to EINVAL).
            
              Callers attempting to set this offset should also be prepared for
              the call to fail and set errno to ENOSYS; this already happens on
              the Hurd and on some Linux architectures.  The Linux kernel
              maintainers are discussing a more principled replacement for the
              reused API.  After a replacement becomes available, we will change
              settimeofday to fail with ENOSYS on all platforms when its 'tzp'
              argument is not a null pointer.
            
              settimeofday itself is obsolescent according to POSIX.  Programs
              that set the system time should use clock_settime and/or the adjtime
              family of functions instead.  We may cease to make settimeofday
              available to newly linked binaries after there is a replacement for
              Linux's time-zone-like offset API.
            
            * SPARC ISA v7 is no longer supported.  v8 is still supported, but
              only if the optional CAS instruction is implemented (for instance,
              LEON processors are still supported, but SuperSPARC processors are
              not).
            
              As the oldest 64-bit SPARC ISA is v9, this only affects 32-bit
              configurations.
            
            * If a lazy binding failure happens during dlopen, during the
              execution of an ELF constructor, the process is now terminated.
              Previously, the dynamic loader would return NULL from dlopen, with
              the lazy binding error captured in a dlerror message.  In general,
              this is unsafe because resetting the stack in an arbitrary function
              call is not possible.
            
            * For MIPS hard-float ABIs, the GNU C Library will be configured to
              need an executable stack unless explicitly configured at build time
              to require minimum kernel version 4.8 or newer.  This is because
              executing floating-point branches on a non-executable stack on Linux
              kernels prior to 4.8 can lead to application crashes for some MIPS
              configurations. While currently PT_GNU_STACK is not widely used on
              MIPS, future releases of GCC are expected to enable non-executable
              stack by default with PT_GNU_STACK by default and is thus likely to
              trigger a crash on older kernels.
            
              The GNU C Library can be built with --enable-kernel=4.8.0 in order
              to keep a non-executable stack while dropping support for older
              kernels.
            
            * System call wrappers for time system calls now use the new time64
              system calls when available. On 32-bit targets, these wrappers
              attempt to call the new system calls first and fall back to the
              older 32-bit time system calls if they are not present.  This may
              cause issues in environments that cannot handle unsupported system
              calls gracefully by returning -ENOSYS. Seccomp sandboxes are
              affected by this issue.
            
            Changes to build and runtime requirements:
            
            * It is no longer necessary to have recent Linux kernel headers to
              build working (non-stub) system call wrappers on all architectures
              except 64-bit RISC-V.  64-bit RISC-V requires a minimum kernel
              headers version of 5.0.
            
            * The ChangeLog file is no longer present in the toplevel directory of
              the source tree.  ChangeLog files are located in the ChangeLog.old
              directory as ChangeLog.N where the highest N has the latest entries.
            
            Security related changes:
            
              CVE-2019-19126: ld.so failed to ignore the LD_PREFER_MAP_32BIT_EXEC
              environment variable during program execution after a security
              transition, allowing local attackers to restrict the possible
              mapping addresses for loaded libraries and thus bypass ASLR for a
              setuid program.  Reported by Marcin Kościelnicki.
            
            The following bugs are resolved with this release:
            
              [12031] localedata: iconv -t ascii//translit with Greek characters
              [15813] libc: Multiple issues in __gen_tempname
              [17726] libc: [arm, sparc] profil_counter should be compat symbol
              [18231] libc: ipc_perm struct's mode member has wrong type in
                sys/ipc.h
              [19767] libc: vdso is not used with static linking
              [19903] hurd: Shared mappings not being inherited by children
                processes
              [20358] network: RES_USE_DNSSEC sets DO; should also have a way to set
                AD
              [20839] dynamic-link: Incomplete rollback of dynamic linker state on
                linking failure
              [23132] localedata: Missing transliterations in Miscellaneous
                Mathematical Symbols-A/B Unicode blocks
              [23518] libc: Eliminate __libc_utmp_jump_table
              [24026] malloc: malloc_info() returns wrong numbers
              [24054] localedata: Many locales are missing date_fmt
              [24214] dynamic-link: user defined ifunc resolvers may run in ldd mode
              [24304] dynamic-link: Lazy binding failure during ELF
                constructors/destructors is not fatal
              [24376] libc: RISC-V symbol size confusion with _start
              [24682] localedata: zh_CN first weekday should be Monday per GB/T
                7408-2005
              [24824] libc: test-in-container does not install charmap files
                compatible with localedef
              [24844] regex: regex bad pointer / leakage if malloc fails
              [24867] malloc: Unintended malloc_info formatting changes
              [24879] libc: login: utmp alarm timer can arrive after lock
                acquisition
              [24880] libc: login: utmp implementation uses struct flock with
                fcntl64
              [24882] libc: login: pututline uses potentially outdated cache
              [24899] libc: Missing nonstring attributes in <utmp.h>, <utmpx.h>
              [24902] libc: login: Repeating pututxline on EINTR/EAGAIN causes stale
                utmp entries
              [24916] dynamic-link: [MIPS] Highest EI_ABIVERSION value not raised to
                ABSOLUTE ABI
              [24930] dynamic-link: dlopen of PIE executable can result in
                _dl_allocate_tls_init assertion failure
              [24950] localedata: Top-of-tree glibc does not build with top-of-tree
                GCC (stringop-overflow error)
              [24959] time: librt IFUNC resolvers for clock_gettime and clock_*
                functions other  can lead to crashes
              [24967] libc: jemalloc static linking causes runtime failure
              [24986] libc: alpha: new getegid, geteuid and getppid syscalls used
                unconditionally
              [25035] libc: sbrk() failure handled poorly in tunables_strdup
              [25087] dynamic-link: ldconfig mishandles unusual .dynstr placement
              [25097] libc: new -Warray-bounds with GCC 10
              [25112] dynamic-link: dlopen must not make new objects accessible when
                it still can fail with an error
              [25139] localedata: Please add the new mnw_MM locale
              [25149] regex: Array bounds violation in proceed_next_node
              [25157] dynamic-link: Audit cookie for the dynamic loader is not
                initialized correctly
              [25189] libc: glibc's __glibc_has_include causes issues with clang
                -frewrite-includes
              [25194] malloc: malloc.c: do_set_mxfast incorrectly casts the mallopt
                value to an unsigned
              [25204] dynamic-link: LD_PREFER_MAP_32BIT_EXEC not ignored in setuid
                binaries (CVE-2019-19126)
              [25225] libc: ld.so fails to link on x86 if GCC defaults to -fcf-
                protection
              [25226] string: strstr: Invalid result if needle crosses page on s390-
                z15 ifunc variant.
              [25232] string: <string.h> does not enable const correctness for
                strchr et al. for Clang++
              [25233] localedata: Consider "." as the thousands separator for sl_SI
                (Slovenian)
              [25241] nptl: __SIZEOF_PTHREAD_MUTEX_T defined twice for x86
              [25251] build: Failure to run tests when CFLAGS contains -DNDEBUG.
              [25271] libc: undeclared identifier PTHREAD_MUTEX_DEFAULT when
                compiling with -std=c11
              [25323] localedata: km_KH: d_t_fmt contains "m" instead of "%M"
              [25324] localedata: lv_LV: d_t_fmt contains suspicious words in the
                time part
              [25396] dynamic-link: Failing dlopen can leave behind dangling GL
                (dl_initfirst) link map pointer
              [25401] malloc: pvalloc must not have __attribute_alloc_size__
              [25423] libc: Array overflow in backtrace on powerpc
              [25425] network: Missing call to __resolv_context_put in
                getaddrinfo.c:gethosts
            
            Release Notes
            =============
            
            https://sourceware.org/glibc/wiki/Release/2.31
            
            Contributors
            ============
            
            This release was made possible by the contributions of many people.
            The maintainers are grateful to everyone who has contributed changes
            or bug reports.  These include:
            
            Adhemerval Zanella
            Alexandra Hájková
            Alistair Francis
            Andreas Schwab
            Andrew Eggenberger
            Arjun Shankar
            Aurelien Jarno
            Carlos O'Donell
            Chung-Lin Tang
            DJ Delorie
            Dmitry V. Levin
            Dragan Mladjenovic
            Egor Kobylkin
            Emilio Cobos Álvarez
            Emilio Pozuelo Monfort
            Feng Xue
            Florian Weimer
            Gabriel F. T. Gomes
            Gustavo Romero
            H.J. Lu
            Ian Kent
            James Clarke
            Jeremie Koenig
            John David Anglin
            Joseph Myers
            Kamlesh Kumar
            Krzysztof Koch
            Leandro Pereira
            Lucas A. M. Magalhaes
            Lukasz Majewski
            Marcin Kościelnicki
            Matheus Castanho
            Mihailo Stojanovic
            Mike Crowe
            Mike FABIAN
            Niklas Hambüchen
            Paul A. Clarke
            Paul Eggert
            Petr Vorel
            Rafal Luzynski
            Rafał Lużyński
            Rajalakshmi Srinivasaraghavan
            Raoni Fassina Firmino
            Richard Braun
            Samuel Thibault
            Sandra Loosemore
            Siddhesh Poyarekar
            Stefan Liebler
            Svante Signell
            Szabolcs Nagy
            Talachan Mon
            Thomas Schwinge
            Tim Rühsen
            Tulio Magno Quites Machado Filho
            Wilco Dijkstra
            Xuelei Zhang
            Zack Weinberg
            liqingqing
            
        • Licensing / Legal

          • Open Source License Compliance: Raising the Bar [Ed: Spreading FUD about "risk" of Free software licenses... in order to sell one's own proprietary software 'solution']

            Question is, can you have true security without being a company that focuses on license compliance? I think not.

            Some companies count on using open source software with no regard for the licenses associated with the code they use. Open source licenses give others permission to modify, use, and distribute software, but under specific conditions and terms. And, every component may very well have a different license. With the volume of open source being used, you can see how quickly this can get out of hand and lead to IP, reputation, and subsequent litigation down the road.

            Another statement I use quite a bit, “It’s a must, not a maybe.” Development teams need to respect the legalities associated with source code licensing by passing along a copyright statement or a copy of license text, or by providing the entire source code for the company’s product. Licenses range from fairly permissive (allowing the licensee to use code without responsibilities) to highly restrictive (extremely limiting, even requiring you to make your proprietary project subject to the same licensing terms of the OSS used).

          • Open source licence series – Altus: open source is big business, get used to it

            The idea that open source developers are college students, creating some really cool software that big organisations then exploit and don’t give anything back may have been valid 20 years ago, but not today, it’s not how things work.

            Open source is now big, with major players driving innovation, like the OpenBank Project, the Banking API platform and OpenLogic.

            For a working example, AT&T is (obviously) a household name and very large quoted business. The organisation provides the majority of engineering, design and architectural resource for the ONAP open source project.

          • Open source licence series – Rancher Labs: Why vendor ‘strip-mining’ is an opportunity, not a threat
          • Open source licence series – Delphix: Rent vs buy, which fits your licencing cost model?
          • Open source licence series – Puppet: consumption without collaboration equals consternation
          • Open source licence series – Tidelift: Ethical source-available licenses challenge open source
          • Open-Source Software in Federal Procurements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part 2 – The Bad

            In the first post of this series, we discussed “the good” of open-source software and why federal buyers should find it attractive. However, when it comes to the federal government accepting open-source code with open arms, the reality is certainly more mixed. Faced with changing and technical regulations, government contractors need to know the major drawbacks of using open-source code in government contracts. In this second entry to our open-source series, we explore “the bad” impacts of open-source use in government contracting.

          • EDRM Announces Newest Affinity Partner Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation and New Processing Specifications Project

            Setting the global standards for e-discovery, the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) is pleased to announce its newest affinity partner, the Merlin Legal Open Source Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve access to justice and make legal and regulatory compliance more efficient through the use of open source software and secure cloud computing. The Merlin Foundation was established in 2019 by John Tredennick, its executive director and a longtime industry expert and former CEO and founder of Catalyst Repository Systems, a leading search and technology-assisted review e-discovery platform.

      • Programming/Development

        • Addressing Open Source Language Pain Drives Growth for ActiveState

          ActiveState today announced another year of rapid annual recurring revenue (ARR) growth and profitability driven by its innovation in open source languages and its expanding enterprise customer base. Building on the strength of its enterprise support, indemnification and custom runtime offerings, the company successfully launched a beta of the ActiveState Platform that attracted over 250,000 new users in 2019. The ActiveState Platform is SaaS that makes ActiveState’s powerful enterprise Open Source Language Automation tooling freely available to developers.

        • [llvm-dev] [10.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 1 is here
          Hello everyone,
          
          It took a bit longer than planned due to master being a somewhat
          unstable at the branch point, but Release Candidate 1 has now been
          tagged as llvmorg-10.0.0-rc1.
          
          Source code and docs are available at https://prereleases.llvm.org/10.0.0/#rc1
          
          Pre-built binaries will be added there as they become available.
          
          Please file bug reports for any issues you find as blockers of
          
          https://llvm.org/pr44555
          
          Release testers: please start your engines, run the script, share your
          results, and upload binaries.
          
          Release Candidate 2 was previously scheduled for February 2. Because
          of the late RC1, I've pushed this back a bit to the 11th.
          
          Thanks,
          Hans
          
        • LLVM 10.0 RC1 Is Available For Testing

          LLVM 10.0 was branched in mid-January but it took until Thursday to get the first release candidate out the door. That first step towards the release of LLVM 10.0 and sub-projects like Clang 10.0 is now moving along and you can enjoy testing the compiler stack this weekend.

          Hans Wennborg continues serving as the release manager for LLVM and on 30 January was able to finally create the first release candidate. The two weeks from branching to release candidate was due to the code being in a rather unstable point at branching time. More details within the RC1 announcement.

        • Symbolically Executing WebAssembly in Manticore

          With the release of Manticore 0.3.3, we’re proud to announce support for symbolically executing WebAssembly (WASM) binaries. WASM is a newly standardized programming language that allows web developers to run code with near-native performance directly within the browser. Manticore 0.3.3 can explore all reachable states in a WASM program, and derive the concrete inputs that produce a given state. Our goal with this feature is to provide a solid foundation for security analysis of WASM programs in the future.

        • Java

          • The Eclipse Foundation Announces the CN4J Day 2020 Event for Building Enterprise Java on Kubernetes

            Today the Eclipse Foundation announced the launch of the Cloud Native for Java (CN4J) Day event, a full-day of expert talks, demos, and thought-provoking sessions focused on enterprise applications implemented using open source vendor-neutral Jakarta EE (successor of Java EE) and Eclipse MicroProfile specifications on Kubernetes. Taking place on March 30, 2020 in Amsterdam, the event is co-located with Kubecon+CloudNativeCon Europe and is sponsored by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), IBM, Oracle, and RedHat. Interested parties can view the event’s agenda and register to attend here: http://eclipse.org/cn4j-day.

        • Python

          • Go Deh: Sharing another way?

            In my earlier blog entry: Sharing Fairly, I looked into the Thue-Morse sequence for who gets to pick next and showed that using that sequence, and itsextension for more than two people sharing, the person with the most accumulated wealth switches over time and does not diverge like in the simple taking of turns shown above.

            I showed how using a Thue-Morse sequence for multiple people sharing gave a “fairer” distribution of wealth, for example this graph of accumulated wealth for three people:

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxiii) stackoverflow python report
          • Tryton News: Newsletter February 2020

            Tryton is a business software platform which comes with a set of modules that can be activated to make an ERP, MRP, CRM etc.

            During the last month, we kept improving the user experience with many changes that fine tune how Tryton works. There was also a major improvement to the product cost calculations.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • European Parliament resolution on a common charger for mobile radio equipment (2019/2983(RSP))

          Strongly stresses that there is an urgent need for EU regulatory action to reduce electronic waste, empower consumers to make sustainable choices, and allow them to fully participate in an efficient and well-functioning internal market;

          2. Calls on the Commission to present and publish without further delay the results of the impact assessment on the introduction of a common charger for mobile telephones and other compatible devices with a view to proposing mandatory provisions; [...]

        • [Old] TLS has exactly one performance problem: it is not used widely enough.

          Data delivered over an unencrypted channel is insecure, untrustworthy, and trivially intercepted. We owe it to our users to protect the security, privacy, and integrity of their data — all data must be encrypted while in flight and at rest. Historically, concerns over performance have been the common excuse to avoid these obligations, but today that is a false dichotomy. Let’s dispel some myths.

  • Leftovers

    • Brecht, Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill

      Bertold Brecht put Marxist collectivism and dialectical materialism into his art as few other Western writers. His avidness for money? No matter. The German poet-playwright belied any doubts about his ultimate goals: ed-u-ca-tion of the people. Education in Socialism. The existence of thirty volumes of Brecht’s works will bewilder people who limit his art to The Threepenny Opera and images of Satchmo singing Mack the Knife.

    • Science

      • U.S. States Join Global Push to Ban Animal-Tested Cosmetics

        A growing number of U.S. states are considering a ban on the sale or import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals, as advocates argue testing products such as lotions, shampoos and makeup on rabbits, mice and rats is cruel and outdated.

      • The latest antivaccine conspiracy theory: The 2019-nCoV Wuhan outbreak is due to a failed coronavirus vaccine

        Antivaccine activists are incredibly consistent in two things. First, they are conspiracy theorists par excellence. This first observation should not be surprising given that antivaccine views are strongly grounded in conspiracy theories, particularly what I like to call the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, namely that “they” (the CDC, big pharma, doctors, etc.) “know” that vaccines cause autism and all the adverse health effects falsely attributed to them by antivaxxers but are covering up the studies and data showing that. I’ve been writing about this aspect of antivaxxers for as long as I’ve been blogging, beginning the Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s conspiratorial take on the CDC Simpsonwood conference and more recently with Del Bigtree’s cherry-picking of quotes from the World Health Organization Vaccine Safety Summit a couple of months ago. Second, to antivaxxers, it’s always, always, always the vaccines. A recent example occurred when antivaxxers tried to blame the vaccine strain of measles for the deadly measles outbreak in Samoa late last year. Now, with the recent outbreak of serious coronavirus disease that started in Wuhan, China, antivaxxers are looking for another way to blame vaccines. Yesterday, they blamed the flu vaccine and viral interference. Today, former scientist turned antivaccine “scientist” James Lyons-Weiler is claiming that 2019-nCoV, the coronavirus strain behind the outbreak, is in reality the result of an attempt to make a vaccine that went wrong.

      • Blaming the flu vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak: The latest antivaccine misinformation

        I have to hand it to antivaxxers. If there’s one thing about them, they’re consistent. Whenever there’s an outbreak of infectious disease, they make and spread conspiracy theories designed to support their antivaccine views. Yes, it might be happening now with the new coronavirus outbreak in China, but it happened during the horrific measles outbreak in Samoa last year that killed dozens of children, mostly unvaccinated, and sickened thousands. (Antivaccine leader Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. even wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Samoa warning him that it was shedding from the MMR vaccine that had caused the outbreak. Interesting how antivaxxers never mention that the outbreak started when MMR vaccine uptake was very low and didn’t break until the government had achieved >90% vaccine uptake.) Similarly, there were a great many conspiracy theories about the Disneyland measles outbreak in early 2015, in particular that the government was hiding its “true cause” (MMR viral shedding, of course) and had instigated it as a tool to usher in “forced vaccination.” Earlier, there were more conspiracy theories during the H1N1 influenza pandemic 10 years ago than I can even remember. I’m sure there were conspiracy theories during the SARS outbreak 17 years ago, but I wasn’t paying as close attention then as I do now to these issues.

      • dōTERRA Center for Integrative Oncology: St. Elizabeth Healthcare sells out to an MLM company hawking essential oils

        With the firehose torrent of stories involving science, medicine, denialism, and antivaccine misinformation that assault my senses and social media every day, it is not surprising that there are a fair number of stories that are definitely “in my lane,” so to speak, but about which I somehow never manage to apply my characteristic helping of Insolence, either Respectful or not-so-Respectful. It happens. It’s been happening for the entire 15 years that I’ve been engaged in this pursuit. It will continue to happen, certainly more often now that I’ve cut back from a manic five or six posts a week to a mor manageable two to four. Even so, thankfully I sometimes get a second chance to tackle a topic that I missed, and so it is today. That’s why I thank Cincinnati.com for doing a followup story about a cancer center in Cincinnati accepting a gift from a dubious multilevel marketing company to open an “integrative oncology center.” I’m referring to an article from Sunday that I saw yesterday entitled Essential oils company gifts $5 million to St. Elizabeth; social media criticism follows months later. The company is dōTERRA, and the hospital is St. Elizabeth Healthcare. I would have written about this for yesterday, but I had to wait for a Twitter follower (thanks, @KimWahlman!) who happened to have a subscription to send me the text, hence the delay.

      • Harassment: The price of defending science-based medicine

        There are perils involved in communicating science and medicine, in particular in standing up to pseudoscience, quackery, and the antivaccine movement. I’ve discussed some of them before, most recently when I was targeted with an abusive Michigan Freedom of Information Act request by Gary Null’s lawyer Neal Greenfield a few months ago. (I’ll update that story later in this post.) Before that, there was the time that a “Lyme-literate” doctor sued Jann Bellamy and most of the other editors of this blog for a post he didn’t like. Fortunately, it was dismissed, but not before causing considerable trouble. Then there was the time that Mike Adams published something like 40 libelous posts about me over the course of a few months and claimed to have submitted “complaints” about me to the local FBI office. Before that there was the time antivaxxers, led by a particularly nasty piece of work named Jake Crosby launched a campaign of harassment against me. They flooded my university’s board of governors, my medical school dean, my department chair, and my cancer center director with complaints about a nonexistent “conflict of interest”. Those are just some “highlights”. There are many more examples.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Intel Quietly Released A Redistributable, Lightweight ME “Ignition Firmware” Binary

          That ME ignition firmware release happened in November but seemingly went unnoticed by most. However, security researcher / developer Daniel Maslowski has been poking at that new binary and presented on it this weekend at FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • New Sudo Vulnerability Could Allow Attackers to Obtain Full Root Privileges

            The Debian Project published today a new security bulletin to inform users about a Sudo vulnerability that affects the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series.

            It would appear that there’s a vulnerability (CVE-2019-18634) in the Sudo package, a program that allows users to run programs in a UNIX system with the security privileges of another user, which could allow an unprivileged user to obtain full root privileges.

            The vulnerability affects Sudo versions prior to version 1.8.26, from 1.7.1 to 1.8.25p1, but only if the pwfeedback option was set in the /etc/sudoers file by the system administrator. This could allow users to trigger a stack-based buffer overflow in the privileged sudo process.

          • Magento patches critical code execution vulnerabilities, upgrade ASAP!

            According to the newest Magento-themed security bulletin (now published as an Adobe security bulletin), three of the six fixed flaws are critical and three are important.

            In the “critical” category are a deserialization of untrusted data (CVE-2020-3716) and a security bypass (CVE-2020-3718) that could lead to arbitrary code execution, and an SQL injection (CVE-2020-3719) that could be exploited to leak sensitive information.

            In the “important” category are two stored cross-site scripting flaws (CVE-2020-3715, CVE-2020-3758) and a path traversal (CVE-2020-3717) vulnerability, all of which could lead to sensitive information disclosure.

          • UN hacked: Attackers got in via SharePoint vulnerability

            According to the report, the attack started in July 2019, when the attackers managed to compromise a server located at the UN Office in Vienna through CVE-2019-0604, a security hole in Microsoft SharePoint patched by Microsoft in February 2019 and subsequently widely exploited by attackers to hit a variety of targets worldwide.

            The hole should have been patched by the UN IT staff within a month of the release of the patch, but wasn’t.

            The attackers then moved through UN’s networks and ultimately reached systems at the UN Office in Geneva and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), also in Geneva.

          • OpenBSD

            • OpenBSD Mail Server Bug Allowed Remotely Executing Shell Commands As Root

              This week a remotely-exploitable vulnerability (granting root privileges) was discovered in OpenSMTPD (OpenBSD’s implementation of server-side SMTP).

            • Critical RCE flaw in OpenSMTPD, patch available

              CVE-2020-7247 has been found in OpenSMTPD’s smtp_mailaddr() function, which is responsible for validating sender and recipient mail addresses.

              The vulnerability can be exploited by sending to a vulnerable server a specially crafted email message.

              Qualys researchers were able to overcome certain exploitation limitations by using a technique from the Morris Worm, one of the first computer worms distributed via the Internet, to make sure the body of the email they sent is executed as a shell script.

              [...]

              The flaw has been responsibly disclosed to OpenSMTPD developers, who have released a patch for OpenBSD. A portable versions of the implementation (OpenSMTPD 6.6.2p1) has also been made available.

              They did not say which versions of OpenSMTPD are affected, but promised to provide more details about the flaw “when things settle down”.

              Hopefully the fix will be propagated into affected OS distributions soon, as the bug is being already debated online and Qualys’s advisory is pretty on point.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • New Bill Would Take Needed Steps Toward Curbing Mass Surveillance

              Last week, Sens. Ron Wyden (D–Oregon) and Steve Daines (R–Montana) along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D–California), Warren Davidson (R–Ohio), and Pramila Jayapal (D–Washington) introduced the Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act (SAPRA), H.R 5675. This bipartisan legislation includes significant reforms to the government’s foreign intelligence surveillance authorities, including Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows the government to obtain a secret court order requiring third parties, such as telephone providers, Internet providers, and financial institutions, to hand over business records or any other “tangible thing” deemed “relevant” to an international terrorism, counterespionage, or foreign intelligence investigation. If Congress does not act, Section 215 is set to expire on March 15.

            • The EARN IT Act: How to Ban End-to-End Encryption Without Actually Banning It

              There’s a new bill afoot in Congress called the EARN IT Act. A “discussion draft” released by Bloomberg is available as a PDF here. This bill is trying to convert your anger at Big Tech into law enforcement’s long-desired dream of banning strong encryption. It is a bait-and-switch. Don’t fall for it. I’m going to explain where it came from, why it’s happening now, why it’s such an underhanded trick, and why it will not work for its stated purpose. And I’m only going to barely scratch the surface of the many, many problems with the bill.

            • Paper: Kela website user data ended up with Google, Facebook

              The news agency reported Saturday that the data belonging to persons who use the website of the Finnish Social Insurance Institution, Kela, had ended up in the hands of third parties such as Facebook and Google.

            • Cambridge, Massachusetts Passes Ban On Facial Recognition Tech Use By Government Agencies

              Congratulations to Cambridge, Massachusetts for joining the banwagon! Cambridge joins three other communities in the state which have decided facial recognition tech is too risky, too invasive of privacy, and all-around bad news for their residents. Brookline, Somerville, and Northampton have also banned the tech, potentially leading the way for a statewide ban.

            • Clearview AI—Yet Another Example of Why We Need A Ban on Law Enforcement Use of Face Recognition Now

              This week, additional stories came out about Clearview AI, the company we wrote about earlier that’s marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to law enforcement. These stories discuss some of the police departments around the country that have been secretly using Clearview’s technology, and they show, yet again, why we need strict federal, state, and local laws that ban—or at least press pause—on law enforcement use of face recognition.

              Clearview’s service allows law enforcement officers to upload a photo of an unidentified person to its database and see publicly-posted photos of that person along with links to where those photos were posted on the internet. This could allow the police to learn that person’s identity along with significant and highly personal information. Clearview claims to have amassed a dataset of over three billion face images by scraping millions of websites, including news sites and sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Venmo. Clearview’s technology doesn’t appear to be limited to static photos but can also scan for faces in videos on social media sites.

            • The fractured future of browser privacy

              Justin Schuh, Chrome’s director of engineering, says Google is already seeing this migration toward apps and other closed platforms. He argues that while there’s nothing wrong with this evolution in theory, it shouldn’t come at the web’s expense. So Chrome has been working on a set of open standards, collectively known as the Privacy Sandbox, that aims to find a middle ground on privacy protections to keep advertisers in the fold.

              “Broadly speaking, advertisers don’t actually need your data. All that they really want is to monetize efficiently,” Schuh said during the Enigma panel. “So what we’re proposing here is we can just give them the tools to do that without actually building user profiles and tracking them.” With the Privacy Sandbox, Google plans to propose standards that would anonymously aggregate ad data for marketers and put more of the processing of ad targeting on users’ own devices.

              Chrome has been adamant that this proposal is about strengthening the open web; if content moves to closed-off apps, users won’t benefit from the transparency and protections technologists have worked so hard to develop and standardize for everyone online. But it’s hard to ignore that Google, which runs one of the largest online ad networks in the world, also has a clear economic interest in safeguarding that industry.

            • Security risks for e-scooters and riders exposed

              However, a research out of UTSA finds e-scooters have risks beyond the perils of potential collisions. Computer science experts at UTSA have published the first review of the security and privacy risks posed by e-scooters and their related software services and applications.

              [...]

              Some e-scooter models communicate with the rider’s smartphone over a Bluetooth Low Energy channel. Someone with malicious intent could eavesdrop on these wireless channels and listen to data exchanges between the scooter and riders’ smartphone app by means of easily and cheaply accessible hardware and software tools such as Ubertooth and WireShark.

              Those who sign up to use e-scooters also offer up a great deal of personal and sensitive data beyond just billing information. According to the study, providers automatically collect other analytics, such as location and individual vehicle information.

              This data can be pieced together to generate an individual profile that can even include a rider’s preferred route, personal interests, and home and work locations.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Fouling Our Own Nest & Draining Our Wallets: It’s Time to Divest from Endless Wars

        Just one month into a new decade, we face an ever-increasing risk of nuclear apocalypse. The U.S. government’s assassination of Iranian General Soleimani on January 3 intensified the very real threat of another all-out war in the Middle East. On January 23, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists accordingly reset the Doomsday Clock to just 100 short seconds to midnight, apocalypse.

      • Terrorism and the Militarization of the NYPD

        de Blasio warned, I “have spoken with [New York Police Department, NYPD] Commissioner [Dermot] Shea + Dep Commissioner [John] Miller about immediate steps NYPD will take to protect key NYC locations from any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against America.” He added, “We will have to be vigilant against this threat for a long time to come.” 

      • The U.S. Is Recycling Its Big Lie About Iraq To Target Iran.

        Sixteen years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, most Americans understand that it was an illegal war based on lies about non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.” But our government is now threatening to drag us into a war on Iran with a nearly identical “big lie” about a non-existent nuclear weapons program, based on politicized intelligence from the same CIA teams that wove a web of lies to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

      • Why the U.S. Might Be Angling for the Return of a New ‘Strongman’ Like Saddam in Iraq

        The departure of the former Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani is beginning to be felt in Iraq. The two meetings that the U.S. President Donald Trump had with the leader of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government Nechirvan Barzani and the president of Iraq Barhem Salih in Switzerland on January 22 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum are symptomatic of Washington’s agenda to press ahead with the rollback of Iranian influence in Iraq.

      • The War in Libya Will Never End

        General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) continue to partly encircle Libya’s capital, Tripoli. Not only does the LNA threaten Tripoli, but it is within striking distance of Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata. Both Tripoli and Misrata are in the hands of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by the United Nations and—most strongly—by Turkey. The second-largest city—Benghazi—is in the hands of Haftar’s LNA. Haftar’s LNA is backed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Russia. There has always been a whiff of suspicion that Haftar himself is an old CIA asset—having lived under the shadow of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, for decades. What the NATO war on Libya did to that country is to turn it into a battlefield of other people’s ambitions, to reduce Libya into a chessboard for a multidimensional game that is hard to explain and even harder to end.

      • In Wake of Trump-Netanyahu Proposal, Palestinian Authority Cuts Ties With US

        The move came days after the White House announced the deal, which allows Israel the right to continue settlements and annexation while leaving Palestinians with vague promises of statehood at an undetermined future date. 

      • Top 3 Ways America Has Been Deeply Wounded By Supporting Israel Lobbyists Like Jared Kushner

        The ongoing human rights catastrophe provokes rage and provides grounds for political mobilization in the region.

      • Ending Palestinian Statehood as ‘Path’ to Palestinian Statehood

        The U.S. has never been an honest or impartial broker for resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict.

      • The ‘Deal of the Century’ … For Israel

        Under the shadow of his trial in the senate, and accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the very day he was indicted on criminal charges in Israel, U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his ‘Deal of the Century’ that is supposed to resolve the decades-long Palestine-Israel conflict. Trump’s advisor, son-in-law and close personal friend of Netanyahu, Jared Kushner, is the mastermind of this remarkable deal. It is remarkable for many reasons, a few of which this writer will now detail.

      • Exclusive: Hackers acting in Turkey’s interests believed to be behind recent cyberattacks – sources

        The [attackers] have attacked at least 30 organizations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups, according to a Reuters review of public [Internet] records. Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government’s national security advisor, the records show.

        The attacks involve intercepting [Internet] traffic to victim websites, potentially enabling [attackers] to obtain illicit access to the networks of government bodies and other organizations.

      • Why Pakistan is not joining global forum on cybercrime

        In a written reply filed in a case against the availability of hate material on social media against the judiciary, the ministry stated that a meeting for signing the convention was held on Jan 22 last.

        However, it said, the agencies did not support the proposal pointing out that Israel was also a signatory to it and Pakistan did not recognise Israel as a state.

      • West Virginia plans to make smartphone voting available to disabled people for 2020 election

        The Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency that offers election security assistance and advice to state and county election officials, declined to comment. But its top cybersecurity official, Chris Krebs, has repeatedly cited the National Academy of Sciences report on election security, which says online voting currently is untenable as a secure technology, as an authoritative guide.

      • When Torture Goes Uncondemned

        What a sad congruence.  It was a stark reminder of what has become of the United States.  It was the day the Senate began the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, the man who single handedly brought the institution of the presidency to its lowest level since the country was founded.  It was the day James E. Mitchell began testifying in a military courtroom at Guantánamo Bay Cuba about torture methods he and a fellow psychologist, John Bruce Jessen, devised to extract information from prisoners of war in United States custody.  The methods of which they were the fathers were a complete betrayal of everything we once thought the United States stood for.

      • Beyond Injustice: Murderous Racism Alive on the Streets of the US

        When W. E. B. Du Bois wrote The Souls of Black Folk (1903), he said that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” With the 20th century now in the rearview mirror, it’s easy to see just how right and how eloquent Du Bois was over 100 years ago. I’m just a stone’s throw from Du Bois’ childhood home in Massachusetts. Making some observations about what I see when in Harlem may be useful in trying to determine how racism is still one of the most serious problems in the US today as it was during Du Bois’ lifetime.

      • The Anti-War Voter’s Conundrum

        I got called by a military recruiter when I was a senior in high school. This was ’86 or ’87, and I wasn’t surprised; other guys I knew had been contacted too, but even so, I hadn’t put any thought into how to respond ahead of time. Nonetheless, when the moment came I was unequivocal. I told the man I had no interest whatsoever in going overseas to kill people, no matter what. He was a bit taken aback–this was Nebraska, after all–but he pushed on.

      • Iraq: Authorities Violently Remove Protesters
      • Non-Condemnatory International Reaction to Trump’s Bantustan Lite Shows the “Two State” Solution Was Always a Lie

        I have read through the entire 181 pages of Trump’s “peace deal” for Israel, and it is breathtaking. It is not just that the “solution” it proposes is ludicrously one-sided, it is the entire analysis of the problem to be solved which reads as pure, unadulterated zionist propaganda.

        For example, the word “violence” is used repeatedly. But it only ever refers to violence by Arabs. There is not one single mention of violence by Israel against the Palestinians, even though the ratio of killing between Israelis and Palestinians over the last ten years is approximately 80:1 . The only mention of violence against Palestinians at all relates to Kuwaiti expulsion of Palestinian refugees after the first Gulf war.

        The analysis of the refugee issue is the same. Nowhere can the paper bring itself to note the key historic fact, that the Palestinian refugees were expelled from Israel. The paper treats Palestinian refugees as if they had simply materialised as an inconvenient phenomenon, like a plague of locusts. This “othering” of Palestinian refugees permeates the entire paper…

        [...]

        In many ways the most incredible thing about the Trump proposals is how welcoming the western powers were. The general reaction from all European governments was that these are serious proposals with which the Palestinians must engage. While the ridiculous assessment from Dominic Raab that “this is clearly a serious proposal” is perhaps what you would expect from a state looking to the US for economic crumbs, the Palestinians might legitimately have expected better from the EU than the official response, which welcomed Trump’s “commitment to a two state solution”, of France which “welcomes Donald Trump’s efforts”, and of Germany which “appreciates that the president is sticking to the two state solution”.

        The Palestinians were probably less disappointed by the support of the traitorous dictatorships of the Saudi and other Gulf States for their close Israeli ally, which is par for the course. But the fact that the international community recognises as a proposed “two state solution” a paper which in no sense whatsoever establishes a Palestinian state within any normal definition of the word, should tell us something important.

        As I have repeatedly stated, those who trumpeted the “two state solution” have always been con-artists who do not believe in a viable Palestinian state at all. The fact that Blair and Bush, two dedicated ultra-zionists, stood in the Rose Garden and promised a “two state solution” as part of their propaganda for the Iraq War and other Middle East invasions, really should have shown people of goodwill this was a blind alley. The Trump proposals are a betrayal of the Palestinians, of course. But they are not unique to Trump and they are exactly what Blair, Bush and all the zionist apologists intended all along.

        The “two state solution” was always a con.

        There is no viable two state solution. To create a viable Palestinian state alongside a viable Israeli state would now involve highly undesirable further forced movements of population. The only long term solution for Palestine/Israel is, as with South Africa, a single state in which everybody has a vote and everybody is treated equally, irrespective of ethnicity, creed or gender.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Jack Ma Donates $14 Million For Coronavirus Vaccine, Like Average U.S. Family Donating $33

        Alibaba and Amazon both treat their employees like shit, their owners both own major media outlets (Bezos owns the Washington Post and Ma owns the South China Morning Post), and now their owners both give out relatively small charitable donations while they sit on billions of dollars.

        Bezos, who’s worth an estimated $117 billion, recently donated $690,000 to help Australia battle its bushfires, the equivalent of an average American donating less than a dollar. How generous, coming from a guy who says he doesn’t know how to spend his money. Bezos and Ma would get along just swimmingly.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Watch: News Anchor Shows Americans Real Size of Wealth Gap—Using American Pie

        “Give this video four minutes and let’s start the revolution.”

      • 21st Century Socialism

        Fifty years ago, Peter Camejo ran for Senator from Massachusetts against Ted Kennedy. He didn’t win but did manage to recruit many young people to socialism through a stump speech filled with jokes. One of them had to do with life under socialism. There would be such an abundance of goods that money would no longer be necessary. He’d say something like this: “You go to a grocery store and there is filet mignon. Nothing would prevent you from sticking a dozen under your jacket and sneaking out. But instead of being arrested for shoplifting, you’d be referred to a psychotherapist for doing something so crazy. All you can eat is one, right?”

      • Karl Marx’s Law of Value in the Twilight of Capitalism
      • Gig Workers Have Nowhere to Pee

        Motherboard spoke to delivery drivers who work on Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash, and Instacart, and found that not having access to a bathroom while picking up and delivering food for hours is a common problem in many areas of the country. Drivers told us that often restaurants will post signs or tell drivers that bathrooms are reserved for customers only, forcing them to use the bathroom outside or pee in cups in their cars. As middlemen who shuttle food between businesses and customers, gig workers who deliver food and groceries often find themselves occupying a marginalized position. Neither customer nor employee, gig workers are denied the amenities typically offered to both. Federal laws requires that employees provide a least one bathroom for roughly every 15 employees, but this access does not extend to gig workers who are independent contractors.

      • Socialism and the Failures of Capitalism
      • Richard Wolff: Global Capitalism Is Theft

        In modern capitalism, governments routinely borrow money. They do this to finance budget deficits that occur when governments raise less in taxes than they spend. Governments also borrow to invest in long-term projects of economic development. The swindling occurs when the lenders and borrowers—usually private financiers and career politicians—negotiate loans that serve their own particular interests at the expense of the taxpayers who eventually cover the costs of repaying the government’s loans plus interest on them.

      • Homeless in Wine Country: Rick Boals’ Story

        I’ve been writing about people without a home to call their own long enough to know that they each have their own individual stories. I try not to use the word “homeless” to describe them. It has turned into a cliché that often prevents people who are living relatively comfortable lives from seeing, understanding and feeling compassion for those less fortunate than they. Still, one can’t avoid the word completely. After all, it’s a national and not just a local disgrace. Even in Sonoma County, the land of the millionaire and the Mac Mansion, an estimated 5,000 people are homeless, hungry and living in poverty. Too bad more reporters don’t seek out those who are on the edge, but prefer to talk to county officials and law enforcement. 

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Shreya Singhal case was one of the defining rulings of modern [Internet] law

        In a landmark ruling earlier this month, India’s Supreme Court held that citizens’ right to freedom of speech and rights to carry out business using the [Internet] are constitutionally protected. The new decision builds in part on an equally important 2015 case, Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, in which the Court defined key rules for the relationship between democratic governments and commercial [Internet] platforms. That case called on courts and government agencies — not companies like Google or Facebook — to decide what speech and information violates the law, and must be removed from public view on the [Internet].

      • Texas Bar Opinion on Encouraging Positive On-Line Reviews by Current or Former Clients

        This month, the Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas issued Opinion No. 685, which addressed whether a lawyer could encourage current or former clients to post favorable reviews or comments on social media sites. The Texas opinion stated that, so long as nothing of value was given for the reviews and that the lawyer did not encourage false, misleading, or unfounded statements, this would be appropriate.

        On the other hand, while not deciding whether a lawyer has an obligation to monitor posts, the opinion joined the views of other states and explained that “if lawyer becomes aware that a client posted a favorable review that is false, misleading, or unfounded, the lawyer should take reasonable steps to see that the statement is corrected or removed.” The opinion suggested that, if the lawyer controlled the site, the statement should be removed, but even if the lawyer did not, the lawyer should ask the author to address the concern, or “consider” asking the owner of the site to address the concern. Finally, it suggested that if that failed, the lawyer should make a “curative statement” — but one that did not violate client confidences.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Mexicans Building a Feminist Internet Face Challenges

        When Patricia Azcagorta ran as a candidate for mayor of Caborca, Sonora, in Mexico in 2018, a video was circulated on social media of a woman dancing in her underwear, together with photos of Azcagorta, and messages accusing her of being a stripper.

      • Uprising in Chile is the Legacy of Dashed Hopes and Bitter Defeat

        Santiago high school students were the spark. Rejecting a fare hike, they jumped over subway toll barriers on October 18, 2019. Students filled the streets all over. Police action led to injuries and arrests. Some 1.2 million people occupied Plaza Italia in Santiago a week later. After three months, on January 18, Santiago marchers arriving from three plazas demonstrated outside the Moneda Palace, the seat of Chile’s president. Protests took place in 19 other cities.

      • Declaring That ‘Disability Rights Are Civil Rights,’ Sanders Unveils ‘Most Progressive’ Plan of 2020 Field

        “Every person with a disability deserves the right to live in their community and have the support they need to thrive.”

      • In Rural Areas, a “Quiet Jail-Building Boom” Is Taking Place

        I live in Champaign County, the heart of the Illinois cornfields. Our somewhat liberal-minded county of 200,000 is home to the flagship campus of the University of Illinois, the “Fighting Illini.” But our county has another distinction: While Black people only comprise 13 percent of our population, they consistently make up 50-71 percent of those in the local jail, resulting in one of the highest racial discrepancies in the country.

      • How the Border Patrol’s Unchecked Powers and Carelessness Separated a Family

        Mirza had a sense of foreboding soon after she crossed into the U.S. with her two children and their father, David. A Border Patrol agent ordered the family from Honduras and the rest of their group to divide into two lines: “Women to one side, men to the other.”

      • An Unusual Lawsuit Against Iran

        The Washington Post recently published an article about a lawsuit that American citizens have brought against Iran. The plaintiffs are Iraq veterans and families of veterans who suffered horrendous injuries or deaths while serving in the U.S. armed forces in Iraq. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs are claiming that Iran sent roadside bombs into Iraq that wreaked massive injuries or death on U.S. troops.

      • “Coded Bias”: New Film Looks at Fight Against Racial Bias in Facial Recognition & AI Technology

        A new documentary looks at the dangers of artificial intelligence and its increasing omnipresence in daily life, as new research shows that it often reflects racist biases. Earlier this month, Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the latest major city to ban facial recognition technology, joining a growing number of cities, including San Francisco, to ban the artificial intelligence, citing flawed technology and racial and gender bias. A recent study also found that facial recognition identified African-American and Asian faces incorrectly 10 to 100 times more than white faces. The film “Coded Bias” begins with Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, discovering that most facial recognition software does not recognize darker-skinned or female faces. She goes on to uncover that artificial intelligence is not in fact a neutral scientific tool; instead, it internalizes and echoes the inequalities of wider society. For more on the film, we speak with Joy Buolamwini, a researcher who uses art to raise awareness on the implications of artificial intelligence and is featured in the documentary “Coded Bias,” which just premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. We also speak with Shalini Kantayya, director of “Coded Bias.”

      • 108 women in Sindh ‘killed for honour’ in 2019 alone: police report

        The report, compiled by the police, recorded statistics from January 31, 2019 to January 30, 2020. According to the report, 126 people, who were suspected of being involved in the ‘honour killings’, had been arrested. Challans of 81 cases pertaining to ‘honour killings’ were presented in courts while 32 are still being investigated.

      • Cruelty to Animals Gets More Media Coverage than Beheaded Christians

        The Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria described the area as “killing fields”, like the ones the Khmer Rouge created in Cambodia to exterminate the population.

      • Kobe Bryant’s Death Was A Tragic Accident. The Sexual Assault He Committed Wasn’t.

        The outpouring of grief at the death of a very ‘imperfect stranger’ makes Madlin Sims wonder what it will take for society to start celebrating the lives of ordinary people who stare down those who sexually assault them.

      • Italy: Revoke Abusive Anti-Asylum Decrees
      • Literally Insane

        Shortly after 1600, Judge Nicholas Remy of Lorraine boasted that he’d sent no less than 800 witches to their death. He’d also sentenced the children of these diabolical sorcerers to be beaten with rods as they watched their mothers burned alive. Over the years, however, he was beset by a nagging doubt: was I too lenient?

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Sale of .org domain registry delayed by California attorney general

        California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sent a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) demanding more information about the private equity takeover of the .org domain registry. The attorney general is seeking answers to 35 questions concerning the sale as well as documents sent between ICANN, private equity firm Ethos Capital, and Public Interest Registry (PIR), which manages the .org domain.

        Ethos Capital disclosed last year that it was acquiring PIR from its non-profit parent organization, the Internet Society, for $1.135 billion.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • News Analysis: Sonos shows the danger of a hardware-only business model

        How long should a manufacturer be responsible for maintaining support for legacy products?

        Consumer devices have increasingly become smart and connected, only to later be abandoned by the manufacturer. Smart suitcases have turned dumb, talking toys gone mute, and wireless security cameras bricked into paperweights. Most recently, Sonos got a lot of grief for announcing that older versions of its smart home speakers would soon lose access to services and functionality. Customers complained that they had spent thousands on their audio systems, with some products still on the market as recently as 2015.

        A hardware device is a one-time purchase, while software updates require continual labor. As technology improves and devices last longer, the initial manufacturing cost may end up being a small proportion of the total lifetime cost of production. Many manufacturers have shifted to business models that treat the device sale as a loss leader for future revenue streams. Amazon can afford to underprice the Echo because it enables consumers to buy more stuff from Amazon; Google and Spotify teamed up to give away Google Home Minis; and even Apple recently lowered prices on its iPhones to grow a user base for its subscription services.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Another Disqualification Based Upon Implied Attorney-Client Relationships with Corporations Affiliated with the Client

          Over on the main page, Dennis summarized the grant of a motion to disqualify in the non-precedential decision in Trimble Inc. v. PerDiem Co. (Fed. Cir. Jan. 28, 2020) (Taranto, J.). The firm representing PerDiem on appeal (another firm had represented it in the trial court) was at the same time providing prosecution advice to a subsidiary of Trimble. Applying an amorphous multi-factor test that is common, the panel held that because the firm was representing the subsidiary, it could not be adverse to the parent on appeal. Hence, the firm was disqualified.

          Oddly enough, probably at the moment this opinion was released, I was speaking at the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel meeting, with Mercedes Meyer, and discussing this recurring one: the corporate client moves to disqualify a lawyer who is adverse, not to the corporate client, but to a subsidiary, parent, or affiliate. Where, as here it seems was the case, the lawyer and client do not clearly define whether representation of one entity means the lawyer represents others, they leave it for a court to decide which entities are “the client” by examining the corporate structure, how the entities’ legal services are provided, and other often unpredictable factors.

        • Aftermath of the CRISPR hearing – Highlights from the blogosphere

          For the past couple of weeks, the patent news has been saturated with reports and commentaries on the Board of Appeal decision in the CRISPR hearing (T 844/18). Many readers may not have the time and/or enthusiasm to read all of these articles.

          [...]

          These included the experts called on to give their opinion of the case. In support of the Broad Institute, “Former UK Supreme Court judges David Neuberger and Leonard Hoffman, Matrix Chambers barrister Phillipe Sands, Joseph Straus, former chair of a EPO Board of Appeal Ursula Kinkeldey, and Swiss Federal Patent Court judge Tobias Bremi”, whilst on the side of the opponents “former German Supreme Court judge Klaus-Jürgen Melullis, former director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos, and Rudolf Teschemacher, former chair of a Board of Appeal”.

          Another welcome addition to the commentary is provided by Novagraaf, who take the opportunity to remind readers of the pitfalls that exist for US applicants of a European patent application. The US has less stringent priority requirements than the EPO. This is because the US understands priority as applying to inventions. Thus, a priority claim is valid in the US if the priority application and the application claiming priority has merely one inventor in common. Therefore, when a US provisional application is filed in the name of an inventor, in the US the inventor does not need to assign their rights to the applicant of the PCT application prior to the PCT filing date.

        • Software Patents

          • Polaris Concurrence Explains Why Arthrex Was Wrong, But Signals Federal Circuit Won’t Fix It

            Today’s Federal Circuit decision in Polaris v. Kingston had an unsurprising outcome—in line with last year’s Arthrex decision, the PTAB’s determination was remanded back to the PTO for review in line with Arthrex. But while the decision was brief, the concurrence—authored by Judge Hughes and joined by Judge Wallach—was not. It explains, in detail, just why Judge Moore’s decision in Arthrex was fundamentally flawed.

            [...]

            Given this remand, as well as several others in recent days, it seems likely that the Federal Circuit won’t take the Arthrex case to en banc review—even though both parties to the case, as well as many others, have asked them to, and even though at least four judges are on record (between Polaris and the earlier Bedgear concurrence by Judges Dyk and Newman) as believing Arthrex was wrongly decided. If en banc review was likely, then it seems that the remands would have been held pending review, rather than forcing the PTAB to re-hear a case when they might not have to.

            But even if the Federal Circuit won’t re-hear it, that’s not the end. The Supreme Court heard an Appointments Clause case quite recently, where they clarified the distinction between officer and employee—they might well see this as a chance to clarify the distinction between principal and inferior officers.

            And whether the Court decides to hear it or not, Congress could act. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Arthrex back in November where every witness agreed that it should be fixed. And Judge Hughes described a number of fixes that Congress could enact, ranging from “grant[ing] the Director unilateral review over all Board decisions” to “provid[ing] for presidential appointment of all APJs.” And this problem isn’t going to go away on its own. It’s already spread beyond the PTAB, with the similar trademark judges of the TTAB recently targeted on the same theory.

            A quick, clean fix to this problem isn’t controversial. Everyone wants to ensure that the administrative judges working for the PTO—both on the PTAB and TTAB—can do their work without either unfair threats to their jobs or uncertainty as to the validity of the work they do. Congress should pursue such a fix—without making the kinds of disputed changes to patent and trademark law that have disrupted other recent attempts to patent reform.

      • Copyrights

        • Another decision on AI-generated work in China: Is it a Work of Legal Entities?

          The ushering in of 2020 brought another gift to the IP community – the Shenzhen Tencent v Yinxun case, heard before the Nanshan District Court of Guangzhou Province. The court ruled that a work generated/created by an AI system was a literary work protected under copyright law. Since the work was the result of activities carried out on behalf of the plaintiff (Article 11 of PRC Copyright Law), the plaintiff, as a legal entity, would be deemed the author of the work. Accordingly, the plaintiff would be entitled to copyright protection of the work.

          [...]

          The data service module of the software formulates a ready-for-test database in a specific format by analysing the collected data with the machine learning algorithm. The triggering module then assesses whether the content in the ready-for-test database meets the requirement of generating an article according to the set trigger conditions and rule engine. When the content satisfies the trigger conditions, it will be sent to the writing engine. The writing engine then writes the article with the template after double-checking the data. The review module proofreads and checks the article. Finally, the smart distributing module distributes the article to relevant online platforms.

          In all these phases, the creating group selects and arranges the input of the data type, the process of the data format, the setting of the trigger condition, the selection of templates of the article structure, the setting of language resource, and the training of the intelligent checking algorithm model.

          The plaintiff claimed that the work was created under the supervision of the plaintiff, which was responsible for its organisation and creation and bore all liability arising therefrom. As such, they argued, under Chinese copyright law, the plaintiff should be deemed the author of the article and therefore be entitled to exclusive rights under copyright law.

        • Acting US copyright register: ‘We have an open-door policy’

          “I see my [role] here as continuing the momentum of the office,” says Maria Strong, acting register of copyrights and director of the US Copyright Office.

        • YTS Lawsuits Offer Clearest Sign Yet That Pirates Shouldn’t Trust Anyone

          One of the most common recurring questions in respect of downloading, sharing and even streaming, is whether service X or platform Y is ‘safe’ to use, from a copyright-infringement perspective. Recent developments show that no matter how safe users think they are, security is something that should never be taken for granted.

        • ‘The US Shouldn’t Sanction South Africa for Copying US-Style Fair Use’

          Several US entertainment industry groups are unhappy with South Africa’s copyright policies, including plans to adopt a fair use exceptions inspired by US law. The complaints triggered a review into possible trade sanctions by the US Government. This is totally unwarranted, opponents now say, highlighting that South Africans have just as much right to fair use as Americans.

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