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02.03.20

Links 3/2/2020: Wine 5.1 Released, GNU/Linux Benchmarks Against Vista 10 (Windows Loses), KDevelop 5.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Give an old MacBook new life with Linux

        When I installed Apple’s MacOS Mojave, it slowed my formerly reliable MacBook Air to a crawl. My computer, released in 2015, has 4GB RAM, an i5 processor, and a Broadcom 4360 wireless card, but Mojave proved too much for my daily driver—it made working with GnuCash impossible, and it whetted my appetite to return to Linux. I am glad I did, but I felt bad that I had this perfectly good MacBook lying around unused.

        I tried several Linux distributions on my MacBook Air, but there was always a gotcha. Sometimes it was the wireless card; another time, it was a lack of support for the touchpad. After reading some good reviews, I decided to try Elementary OS 5.0 (Juno). I made a boot drive with my USB creator and inserted it into the MacBook Air. I got to a live desktop, and the operating system recognized my Broadcom wireless chipset—I thought this just might work!

        I liked what I saw in Elementary OS; its Pantheon desktop is really great, and its look and feel are familiar to Apple users—it has a dock at the bottom of the display and icons that lead to useful applications. I liked the preview of what I could expect, so I decided to install it—and then my wireless disappeared. That was disappointing. I really liked Elementary OS, but no wireless is a non-starter.

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 143

        The upcoming Linux kernels are packed full of goodies, Qt changes its licensing terms, and Thunderbird gets a new home.

        Plus our thoughts on IBM’s CEO stepping down, and Google’s new open-source security key project.

      • GNU World Order 338

        **alsa-utils** from the **ap** software series of Slackware. Lots of interesting utilities in this package, including one that enables you to send MIDI signals across your network so you can (for example) connect a USB controller to office office computer and generate sounds on the computer in your studio.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 181 – The security of SIM swapping

        Josh and Kurt talk about SIM swapping. What is it, how does it work. Why should you care? There’s not a ton you can do to protect yourself, but we go over some of the basic concepts and what to watch out for. It’s unfortunate this is still a problem.

    • Kernel Space

      • FS-VERITY Seeing Performance Enhancements With Linux 5.6

        FS-VERITY came in Linux 5.4 as a means of transparent integrity and authenticity support for read-only files. This Google creation is seeing better performance with Linux 5.6.

        FS-VERITY is similar to the existing Linux dm-verity for authenticity protection but works at the file level rather than block level. FS-VERITY can be used currently with the likes of EXT4 and F2FS file-systems. Google has been working on this native file authenticity support for use on Android devices where as in the past they have used dm-verity for verifying system images, among other possible use-cases.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Post-processing layer ‘vkBasalt’ new release up – can now use some ReShade shaders

          Another fresh release of a wonderful open source project for Linux is here, with the Vulkan post-processing layer vkBasalt continuing to advance.

          What is vkBasalt? It allows you to run a bunch of special effects on top of your games. Effects like FXAA, Contrast Adaptive Sharpening, SMAA and more to help you appreciate your favourites – especially when various graphical features are missing from the game.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu beats Windows 10 on speed test

        Phoronix’s Michael Larabel is doing some performance testing on Walmart’s $199 Motile-branded M141 laptop (which has an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor, Vega 3 graphics, 4GB of RAM, and a 14-inch 1080p display).

        He compared the performance of its pre-installed Windows 10 OS against the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux distribution and discovered that Ubuntu 20.04 was the fastest with coming in front 60 per cent of the time.

      • Ubuntu vs Windows 10: Performance Tests on a Walmart Laptop

        Phoronix’s Michael Larabel is doing some performance testing on Walmart’s $199 Motile-branded M141 laptop (which has an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor, Vega 3 graphics, 4GB of RAM, and a 14-inch 1080p display).

        But first he compared the performance of its pre-installed Windows 10 OS against the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux distribution.

        [...]

        Their conclusion? “Out of 63 tests ran on both operating systems, Ubuntu 20.04 was the fastest with coming in front 60% of the time.” (This sounds like 38 wins for Ubuntu versus 25 wins for Windows 10.)

        “If taking the geometric mean of all 63 tests, the Motile $199 laptop with Ryzen 3 3200U was 15% faster on Ubuntu Linux over Windows 10.”

    • Applications

      • Lightworks, the Pro Video Editor, Releases New Beta Build

        An all-new beta release of the Lightworks video editor is available for testing — and it premieres some hot new features!

        The current stable release is Lightworks 14.5, which was first released back in 2018.

        While there were plans to release Lightworks 15.0 last year this never materialised. Instead, the engineering effort snowballed on towards this beta, versioned Lightworks 20.

        And as you’d expect from a release that’s been over a year in the making, there are some major improvements and new capabilities in tow.

      • DeaDBeeF – the last music player

        DeaDBeeF is not available from the official respositories of popular distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora but we can download the precompiled binary from the download section. Once we have downloaded the binary, we can descompress it and run the deadbeef binary.

      • SimpleLogin: Open Source Solution to Protect Your Email Inbox From Spammers

        SimpleLogin is an open-source service to help you protect your email address by giving you a permanent alias email address.

        Normally, you have to use your real email address to sign up for services that you want to use personally or for your business.

        In the process, you’re sharing your email address – right? And, that potentially exposes your email address to spammers (depending on where you shared the information).

        What if you can protect your real email address by providing an alias for it instead? No – I’m not talking about disposable email addresses like 10minutemail which could be useful for temporary sign-ups – even though they’ve been blocked by certain services.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.1 Released with Overwatch and Darksiders Improvements

        The Wine 5.1 development release is now available for download as the first step towards the next major version of the open-source compatibility layer for running Windows programs on Linux-based operating systems.

        Wine 5.1 comes almost two weeks after the release of Wine 5.0, a major version that introduced support for the latest Vulkan 1.1 graphics API for better gaming performance, the re-implementation of the XAudio2 low-level audio API, support for multi-monitor configurations, as well as built-in modules in PE (Portable Executable) format.

      • The Wine development release 5.1 is now available

        The Wine development release 5.1 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        - Support for using LLVM-MinGW as PE cross-compiler.
        - Better reporting of error location in JScript and VBScript.
        - Support for relocatable installation of the Winelib tools.
        - Ellipse drawing in Direct2D.
        - OLE monikers improvements.
        - Various bug fixes.

        The source is available from the following locations:

        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.1.tar.xz

        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.1.tar.xz

      • Wine 5.1 Kicks Off The New Development Series Towards Wine 6.0
      • Wine 5.1 is out – the first development release of the year
    • Games

      • Top 7 Best Paid Linux Games to Play in 2020

        A decade ago, nobody would recommend Linux as an operating system for gamers. Today, Linux users can choose from an overwhelming selection of premium games with flawless Linux compatibility. Regardless of if you’re a fan of in-depth simulations or thrilling action games, our selection of the best paid Linux games available in 2020 is here to help you get your gaming fix.

      • New Vulkan Extension Could Enhance Frame Timing Controls For Games

        While there is already the Vulkan VK_GOOGLE_display_timing extension for dealing with frame/display timing, there are shortcomings when it comes the flexibility of the extension and its controls. Keith explained an example of VK_GOOGLE_display_timing’s shortcomings, “Imagine the application is trying to render at 1/2 the native frame rate. Using GOOGLE_display_timing, it sets the display time for each frame by spacing them apart by twice the refresh interval. When a frame misses its target, it will be delayed by one frame. If the subsequent frame is ready in time, it will be displayed just one frame later, instead of two. That means you see two glitches, one for the delayed frame and a second for the “early” frame (not actually early, just early with respect to the delayed frame).”

      • Terminal Phase – space shooting game in your terminal

        Text-based games are often forgotten and neglected. However, there are many ASCII gems out there waiting to be explored which are immensely addictive and great fun to play.

        The idiom ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ can be extended to ‘don’t judge a computer game by its graphics’. While the game featured in this article offers extremely basic graphics, it has many redeeming qualities beyond evoking fond memories of the early days of computer gaming.

        Many of the text games we’re covered on LinuxLinks have focused on the roguelike genre. But how about a real-time terminal-based game? And a space shooter to boot? Interested? If so, why not check out Terminal Phase, a fast paced, action-packed game.

      • Steam hits a new all-time high for users online, Linux share rises

        Two quick bits of Steam news to cover this wonderful Monday morning. As expected, Steam does still appear to be growing.

        SteamDB made a Twitter post yesterday to note that the previous historic concurrent user count on Steam set back in January 2018 of 18,537,490 was smashed to a new record of 18,801,944 online. A huge number of people of course but plenty are likely to be bots. What’s interesting, is that against the same previous record, this year there were less people actually in-game. In January 2018 there were around 7 million in-game while this year with the new concurrent record only about 6 million were in-game.

      • Isometric university management game ‘UniverCity’ development stops – goes open source

        UniverCity from Matthew Collins sadly didn’t sell too well and now the developer has a new job, so they decided to fix it up a bit – add some extra modding support and open source the code.

        Speaking on Steam in a previous update, they mentioned they budgeted “enough time to work on the game for a year which is now up”. Unlike what happens a lot of the time though, they didn’t vanish and instead announced the 1.0 release which added some basic Steam Workshop support, then open sourced the code which is now on GitHub under the GPL license. You still need to buy a copy on Steam for the assets though.

      • Be a mad scientist and grow creatures in a lab in Test Tube Titans – coming to Steam in March

        Test Tube Titans has been in First Access on itch.io for a while and it was promising even from the first build. It’s come a long way and a Steam release is approaching.

        You’re tasked with creating monsters, upgrading them, enhancing them with all sorts of crazy mutations and then causing hell for the local towns. It’s quite hilarious, especially since you control each limb individually, so you need to move step by step and it can be quite tricky.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Qt-Powered Lumina Desktop 1.6 Released For BSD/Linux Systems

        Out this weekend is Lumina 1.6 as the latest release of this Qt-powered desktop environment originally developed by iXsystems as part of PC-BSD / TrueOS.

        While TrueOS has been forging a new direction for this iXsystems operating system derived from FreeBSD and ultimately is less desktop focused these days as a result, the Lumina desktop continues to be developed. In fact, Lumina founder Ken Moore of iXsystems continues to lead the releases on this Qt-based desktop environment seeing adoption on both BSDs and Linux distributions.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt makes LTS releases commercial-only and accounts mandatory for binaries (again)

          The Qt Company, purveyor of the Qt C++ framework for GUI and cross-application development, has unveiled changes to its offering that don’t bode especially well for open source users.

          In a bid to get more users to switch to a commercial Qt license, the company has decided to make long term support releases available to paying customers only. The same goes for the offline installer the project offers. According to The Qt Company, it is “making this change to encourage open-source users to quickly adopt new versions”. It also hopes the move will “make the paid version of Qt more attractive to businesses” and “maximize the feedback we can get from the community”.

          The feedback on those particular changes came back rather promptly, showing the Qt community rather miffed about the move. While many get that revenue is needed to make the project grow, an often voiced concern is down to another change: starting February, a general Qt account will be needed to download Qt binary packages. Source packages will stay available to all.

        • Use our stuff for free and sell your application? That’s Qt. Time to give something back

          The Qt Group is making changes to the terms under which its popular open-source Qt library is available to encourage more commercial licensees and a higher level of contribution from users.

          Qt is a cross-platform C++ framework with official bindings for Python as well as community support for many other languages. It is suitable for embedded, mobile and desktop applications, and the company provides design tools (with support for the QML language for defining a user interface) and an IDE that runs on Windows, Linux and macOS.

          It has several commercial and open-source licences: LGPL3, GPL2 and GPL3. As with many businesses based on open-source projects, it sounds as if the company is experimenting to find the right balance between the open-source ethos and what is best for business. Petteri Holländer, senior veep of product management, has posted about the changes.

        • KDevelop 5.5 released

          We are happy to announce the availability of KDevelop 5.5 today bringing half a year of work mainly on stability, performance, and future maintainability.

          New features have not been added. The existing ones have received small improvements…

        • KDevelop 5.5 Released With Better C++, PHP, Python Language Support

          Version 5.5 of KDevelop, the KDE-focused integrated development environment, is now available with various language integration improvements.

          KDevelop 5.5 features a number of fixes and other improvements for C++, the PHP language support has support for PHP 7.4′s typed properties and other new additions, and the Python support now handles Python 3.8.

          KDevelop 5.5 also adds support for rebasing, various build fixes, and a number of other improvements.

        • KDevelop 5.5 Released with Initial Python 3.8 Support

          The KDevelop 5.5 open-source IDE (Integrated Development Environment) has been released today bringing various improvements and bug fixes for C++, PHP, and Python languages.

          Packed with improvements and new features that the development team worked on for the past six months, the KDevelop 5.5 release is here to introduce initial support for the Python 3.8 programming language. This should help Python developers keep their applications up-to-date with the latest trends.

        • Season of KDE, 2020

          Finally, I am going to write about my experience as a student of Season of KDE 2020. A winter learning new things, learning what matters is not just writing code but writing good code. I would like to thank GCompris and KDE for giving me such an opportunity to be a part of the community and to try to bring happiness to people and kids using it around the world.
          I had to complete the following tasks during this period:
          Improve multiple datasets of clock game activity.
          Add multiple datasets to balance scales.
          Add multiple datasets to balance scale with kgs.
          Add multiple datasets to balance scales with ounce.
          Since ew weeks are still left for SoK to come to an end. Till now, I have completed the following tasks:
          Implemented new multiple datasets to clock game activity which got merged to the multiple_dataset branch.
          Added multiple datasets to balance scales activity which is under review by the mentors.
          Added multiple datasets to balance scales with kgs activity which is under review by the mentors.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: KaOS 2020.01

          KaOS is a rolling release distribution whose team chooses to focus on one CPU architecture (x86_64), one desktop environment (KDE Plasma) and one application toolkit (Qt). The project publishes regular, monthly snapshots of the distribution. The January snapshot featured a few interesting changes. In particular, the distribution now features signed kernel modules for added security and supports installing non-free NVIDIA video drivers during the install process if an NVIDIA card is detected. KaOS has also replaced the Calligra productivity suite with LibreOffice.

          The latest snapshot is a 2.1GB download. Booting from the project’s media brings up a menu offering to start a live desktop environment, start the desktop with non-free NVIDIA drivers, or run a hardware detection tool. When the system boots, the KDE Plasma desktop loads and displays a welcome screen. This window provides quick access to the system installer, a list of available packages, and links to the distribution’s forum and install guide. The provided documentation seemed clear to me and includes screenshots to guide new users in setting up the distribution. The welcome screen also features a second tab which provides the default usernames and passwords for the live media.

          KaOS may be unique in the way it sets up Plasma. The desktop places the panel vertically down the right-hand side of the screen. The application menu is located in the upper-right corner and the system tray at the bottom-right. In the middle are a few quick-launch icons and the task switcher. It makes for a fairly busy panel by default, especially when notifications, the update indicator, and network connection icon are all trying to grab the user’s attention.

          [...]

          Early OOM is not a new piece of technology, it has been around for a while, helping users and administrators keep their systems from slowing to a crawl. However, most distributions do not install Early OOM by default, leaving the user to experience the kernel’s default behaviour. The reason I’m talking about Early OOM today is I feel many people could benefit from this program, not just Fedora users who will likely have it running by default in the near future.

          Apart from monitoring the system’s memory consumption and killing off greedy processes, Early OOM has a few handy features. One is that we can set the percentage of RAM and swap that can be consumed before Early OOM begins reaping processes. Maybe we want swap to be nearly full before we kill off processes, hoping they will sort themselves out on their own. Or maybe we want to terminate programs if only 10% of swap is consumed, in order to enjoy maximum performance. Early OOM will let us make these adjustments.

          One of the bigger concerns when using a program to kill off applications is the worry that something we really want to keep running will be terminated when we would prefer another, perhaps less heavy, program to be closed instead. Early OOM will help us with this. We can specify programs we would prefer to have killed off and programs we would prefer to have remain in memory. This gives us a layer of protection against having a useful program suddenly disappear.

          A final interesting option is the ability to tell us, through a desktop notification, when a process is being terminated to free up memory. This can be useful if we are running background processes and want to know when one of them is being killed. Or if we just want to have a visible notification that Early OOM is working.

          These and other features of Early OOM are covered in detail in the project’s manual page. I definitely recommend exploring it if you are running a system that occasionally runs low on memory and becomes unresponsive as a result.

      • BSD

        • Second (final) release candidate for NetBSD 9.0 available!

          Sixth months after the start of the release engineering process for 9.0, the second (and most likely final) release candidate is now available.

          Shortly after the first release candidate had been published and feedback came it, it became clear that this was not going to be the final state of 9.0. In the end a lot of fixes were done, but we used the opportunity to also incorporate more hardware support (Pinebook Pro) and update a few components (dhcpcd, openssl).

          We will be very restrictive with further changes and expect a quick and smooth release from this point on. Tentative release date is February 14, 2020.

          Since the start of the release process a lot of improvements went into the branch – nearly 700 pullups were processed!

          This includes usbnet (a common framework for usb ethernet drivers), aarch64 stability enhancements and lots of new hardware support, installer/sysinst fixes and changes to the NVMM (hardware virtualization) interface.

          We hope this will lead to the best NetBSD release ever (only to be topped by NetBSD 10 – hopefully later this year).

        • NetBSD 9.0 Coming Soon With 64-bit ARM, Updated ZFS, Hardware-Accelerated Virtualization

          NetBSD 9.0 is bringing with it support at long last for ARMv8/AArch64 64-bit ARM, support for various kernel sanitizers and other security improvements, NVMM as the new hardware-accelerated virtualization hypervisor for Intel and AMD CPUs, better NVMe solid-state drive performance, updated ZFS file-system support, updated Intel DRM driver code for graphics, performance monitoring counters support, an audit to its networking stack, NCQ (Native Command Queuing) finally within its SATA stack, USBNET framework for USB Ethernet drivers, and other support improvements.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Is Out With Linux Kernel 5.5

          Days after the build release, OpenMandriva Lx has announced its first point release of 4.x series with the latest Linux Kernel 5.5 and Zstandard compression algorithm.

          The current stable release OMLx 4.1 includes the core package updates and toolchains for configuring automatic updates and customizing desktop environments for a better look and feel.

        • Going to a Super Bowl LIV party? You should replace Windows with OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Linux distro on the host’s computer!

          It was just a few days ago that we shared with you a release candidate was released for OpenMandriva Lx 4.1. Well, things apparently went very well, as today, you can download the final release! Today is Super Bowl Sunday though — surely people should be relaxing and watching the big game instead of messing around with Linux, right? Sure, if you enjoy football. If you don’t like the sport, don’t torture yourself. Instead, turn off the TV and install this new version of OpenMandriva!

          Hell, if you are invited to a Super Bowl party today, you should not only bring with you snacks or beverages, but a flash drive containing OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 too — you can then install it on your host’s PC. If they are running the unsupported Windows 7 in particular, you would be doing them a huge favor.

        • OpenMandriva at FOSDEM 1 & 2 February 2020
        • Steam client crashing on OpenMandriva Lx 4.1

          I downloaded and installed OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 and the OS looks good.

          The main problem with it right now is that Steam is not working properly: even though the client starts, downloads updates and unpacks the Steam runtime, it crashes right before login.

          There was not much I could do about it. Apparently, this problem has already been reported.

        • ROCK USERS time to distro-sync to Lx 4.1

          OK, the OM Lx 4.1 release is upon us and the repositories have been created and are ready for users. This requires a “dnf disto-sync” not a “dnf upgrade”.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Laura Abbott: Changes

          I mentioned this on twitter and the Fedora kernel mailing list but January 17th was my last day at Red Hat. I can’t express enough thanks to every single person I met during my nearly 5(!) years there. I came in to Fedora as basically an outsider and everyone welcomed me with open arms. You all touched my life in ways I will never forget. I enjoyed all the challenges of being a kernel maintainer and working to make things better.

          I started my new role at Oxide Computer on January 20th. I’m very excited to be working with this team to solve real industry problems and learn new and exciting things about hardware and software. I’m not doing Linux kernel work on a day-to-day basis at the moment but I still expect to be around the community. I’m still on the TAB and I’m still on the Linux Plumbers planning committee (yes the website will be up soon). Start ups move fast so we’ll see what I end up working on.

          Here’s to new changes in 2020!

        • Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 005.

          Today we have once again dealt with this topic on the possibilities of improving the Fedora distro.
          This time the adventure turned to the Selinux system switching to SELinux MLS.
          Let’s test the SELinux Fedora 31 from default targeted to mls.

        • Fedora rawhide – fixed bugs 2020/01
        • IBM launches new open source tool to label images using AI

          Images for use in development projects need to be correctly labeled to be of use. But adding labels is a task that can involve many hours of work by human analysts painstakingly applying manual labels to images, time that could be better spent on other, more creative, tasks.

          In order to streamline the labelling process IBM has created a new automated labeling tool for the open source Cloud Annotations project that uses AI to ‘auto-label’ images and thus speed up the process.

        • IBM’s big bet on cloud computing, AI and open source needs to pay off soon

          And so, after eight years spent leading one of the world’s oldest and most famous technology businesses, IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty will step down in April. Stepping up to the CEO role is Arvind Krishna, who currently serves as the senior VP for the company’s cloud and cognitive software unit.

          When the news came out on Thursday, IBM’s shares jumped as much as 5%. Fingers can easily be pointed at Rometty’s mixed legacy: during her tenure, the company’s stock price dropped over 25% and while the company has been keen to trumpet its artificial intelligence work (in the form of IBM Watson) and its reinvention as a cloud company (thanks to Red Hat) there is still plenty of work to do if IBM is to every approach its former glories.

          Sure, the latest earnings published by IBM earlier this month beat Q4 expectations. But the $77 billion yearly revenue revealed by the company still stands awkwardly small next to its competitors. Apple’s annual turnover, for instance, is a dwarving $261 billion. And while the company has made some big acquisitions it has also been criticised for spending billions on share buy back programs as well.

      • Debian Family

        • Installing Debian on the Pinebook Pro

          There are a couple of different pre built operating system images one can dd to SD cards or the eMMC and there are also some scripts to install (instead of dding) systems. The laptop comes preinstalled with what is usually (in the forums and the wiki) called Debian Desktop. It is a Debian based image with a Mate Desktop and a lot of modifications. The images for this system are distributed via a github repository. I did not find any source code for the images nor documentation about the changes from upstream Debian, so I have no idea how they are built (the archives behind the Source code links on the release page of the images only contain the README.md file). I only started the preinstalled system once or twice, but it seemed to work very well (suspend worked) and it ships a lot of useful software for end users. But I did not take a deeper look at this image. There are also two Ubuntu based images listed in the Pine64 wiki, one of which comes with LXDE as desktop system, the other one with the Mate Desktop. They are also distributed via github release pages, but in these cases the repository also contains the code of the build scripts. Manjaro, an Arch Linux based distribution, also provides images for the Pinebook Pro. Besides those there are Armbian images, Android images, Chromium images and some more.

          I did not really want to use any of the provided images, but rather install my own Debian system. There is an installer script which installs Debian on a SD card or the eMMC using debootstrap. This script does a lot of useful stuff, and a good part of my approach of installing Debian is based on it.

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in January 2020

          This month I accepted 264 packages and rejected 56. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 291.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint and the Cinnamon desktop progressing well, all-time high donations

          Linux Mint’s Clement Lefebvre wrote another of their monthly progress reports on how Linux Mint and their Cinnamon desktop are doing and it’s all great news.

          In regards to their funding, they’ve managed to smash another record. From donations made by users, the previous record in a single month was April last year at $24,170 but in December 2019 they managed to pull in $25,352 showing that plenty of people appreciate their work.

          They’re now working on LMDE 4 (Linux Mint Debian Edition), their own special brand of Debian that’s a testing area for if “Ubuntu was ever to disappear” using Debian as a base just like Ubuntu. LMDE 4 will ship with all the improvements the last main release of Linux Mint had including the addition of boot-repair, their system reports feature, better language settings, HiDPI and artwork improvements, new boot menus and tons more. Additionally, they’re going to be adding a new boot menu option for NVIDIA users which install the NVIDIA driver “on the fly, so both the live session and the installed OS work out of the box” which is great.

        • Linux Mint is Adding Fractional Scaling Support to Cinnamon

          Using the Cinnamon desktop environment on a high-resolution display? If so, you may be pretty excited to hear that fractional scaling support is on the way.

          Cinnamon 4.6 is expected to introduce support for fractional scaling when it’s released later this year, possibly as part of Linux Mint 20 (which will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) though it could be sooner.

          At present the Cinnamon desktop offers just two scaling options: 100% (normal mode) and 200% (HiDPI mode). And the selected value is applied to all monitors connected, regardless of whether they have a higher or lower resolution.

        • Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS Wallpaper Contest

          As we begin getting closer to the next release date of Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS, now is a great time to show what the best of the Ubuntu Studio Community has to offer! We know that many of our users are graphic artists and photographers and we would like to see their/your talent also reflected more directly in the upcoming version.

          For this purpose, we are holding a wallpaper contest. Submission will be open to works of photography, codeart, abstract paintings, illustrations and other art genres that highlight the capabilities of the software available and of open source software in general.

        • Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS Wallpaper Contest Officially Open for Entries

          The Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS wallpaper contest has open its doors to talented photographer and graphics artists from all over the world.

        • What’s New in Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon Edition

          Linux Mint 19.3 is the latest minor release of Linux Mint 19. The release available in the flavors Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce as usually, introduces several changes and new features, brings refinements, and bug fixes among other things.

          In this release, Linux Mint 19.3 cinnamon edition features the latest cinnamon desktop 4.4 which received various improvements as well, such as the System Reports tools, which now comes with a new icon in the system tray area to inform users that they need to review certain things, along with automatic detection of potential issues in their computers for missing drivers or codecs, and the Language settings tool, which now lets users set a preferred time format.

          Among the changes that will be implemented in the upcoming Linux Mint 19.3 operating system, Clement Lefebvre reveals improved support for HiDPI/4K displays in both the Cinnamon and MATE editions by making various icons and images less blurry, including flags in Language settings, Software Sources, and Cinnamon screensaver, as well as theme preview images in Cinnamon theme settings.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • ProtonVPN goes open-source: What this means for your privacy

        Virtual-private-network (VPN) provider ProtonVPN is open-sourcing all its client software, parent company Proton Technologies announced earlier this month.

        Code repositories for ProtonVPN’s Windows, macOS, Android and iOS client apps, as well as one of its Linux command-line tools, are now available on GitHub for you to download (you can find links below) and tinker with.

        [...]

        Instead, what open-sourcing means is that software experts and independent developers can look at the software source code and examine it for security and privacy flaws. They can also suggest improvements, or make improvements themselves and release the updated versions for free.

      • CERN Replaces Facebook Workplace With Open Source

        I hope to see more of this. Facebook is the Fox News of social media. Like The Mac Observer’s editor-in-chief Bryan Chaffin says: “Death by a thousand paper cuts.”

      • PeaZip 7.1.0

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

        Open and extract 180+ archive formats: 001, 7Z, ACE(*), ARC, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, DMG, GZ, ISO, LHA, PAQ, PEA, RAR, TAR, UDF, WIM, XZ, ZIP ZIPX – view full list of supported archive file formats for archiving and for extraction.

      • Klavaro is an open source touch typing tutor for Windows and Linux

        Sure, I make the occasional typo or two, but it’s quite minimal. The faster you type, the more productive you can be provided that you keep errors to a minimum.

        Klavaro is an open source touch typing tutor for Windows and Linux. Essentially, this program is a course that teaches you how to type fast while being accurate. There are five sections in the application’s interface: Introduction, Basics, Adaptability, Speed and Fluidity.

      • Compress Studio – A free open source image compression platform

        Compress Studio is a free image compression tool. It is an alternative to TinyPng. The objective for creating such a platform is to offer a privacy-focused way of doing compression at the client-side. Today most of the compression happens at the server-side and not at the browser. Today, with browsers becoming powerful there is a huge opportunity to push server-side apps to the client/browser side. This provides a transparent system for the people to use tools with confidence which doesn’t collect any information on the user. There are no trackers, no cookies or analytics being run. It’s a clean app that provides privacy to users.

      • Espanso is an open source text expander for Windows, Mac and Linux

        Snippet tools are incredibly useful. The idea is to save time that would have otherwise been wasted typing phrases, sentences or entire paragraphs.

      • Matrix: Matthew Hodgson highlights benefits of secure, open-source collaboration tool
      • BT hopes ‘open source’ network equipment model will challenge Huawei dominance

        BT is looking to challenge the dominance of Chinese technology company Huawei by supporting a new ‘open source’ approach to purchasing network equipment, reports The Telegraph.

        In an interview with the newspaper, Openreach CEO Clive Selley said that the group was looking to push back against the current consolidated market structure where Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia have too much power. He said that BT was trying to challenge their dominance by encouraging the telecoms industry to adopt a ‘mix and match’ approach to network equipment suppliers.

      • Intelligence Brief: What will drive open RAN in 2020?

        This month Telefonica’s UK arm O2 announced a partnership with three challenger vendors planning to commercially deploy open RAN solutions across the country.

        [...]

        In light of persistent pressure from the US to exclude some vendors from global 5G networks, politicians around the world have taken notice of the small set of suppliers the telecom industry has been relying on to build mobile networks.

        [...]

        These building blocks, while small scale steps, will lead to larger deployments as more companies try out the concept and report back successful best practices, hopefully leading to a snowball effect attracting more operators as well as a larger share of their networks running on open solutions.

        Further, funding support out of countries such as the US (and one can be hopeful more will follow the example) will further enable the industry to build a diverse supply chain. And, as other operators such as Telefonica and Vodafone Group continue to spearhead the movement, concerns around RoI and tech maturity will diminish over time.

        As to lack of internal ownership and expertise, this highlights the greater role industry partners including system integrators like IBM and vendors with teams providing E2E services, for example Mavenir, will need to play, not only in stitching the technologies provided together, but also by coordinating or even educating internal staff as part of a handover process to enable greater ownership.

      • China and open source geopolitical strategy: Simon Wardley weighs in

        Instead, Wardley noted, an organization that wants to make good use of open source must be “all in” on open source: Investment, desire, reasoning. This isn’t to suggest that meeting these conditions will necessarily result in an open source success. Despite all the effort, Wardley went on, it’s really “more opening doors for others to walk through. You have to manufacture conditions and constraints for the project to succeed.”

        Take, for example, Kubernetes. I’ve written about Kubernetes’ community success for years, but that success didn’t come for free. Google had to open up the project’s governance to outsiders, allowing Red Hat and more lately, VMware, to contribute in significant ways. This is one reason that Wardley warned that open source breeds “Lots of frustration…and it won’t happen quickly if it is going to be sustainable.” It’s relatively cheap for a single company to launch a project and mostly use it for marketing window dressing; but to be truly sustainable, a project needs diverse inputs to fund it (with cash) and fuel it (with code).

        [...]

        Is it game over, China wins? Of course not. But smart companies (and countries) will increasingly use open source to drive long-term value, according to Wardley, which also requires long-term investment. Using open source as a marketing gimmick may offer immediate benefits, but it doesn’t deliver the long-term, competitive advantage Wardley points to.

      • Founding organizations: Creating companies that sustain our open-source community

        Open source has a sustainability problem.

        A question that’s frequently discussed in the web development community is how to make open-source maintainable. As one of many examples, Henry Zhu, the lead maintainer of Babel, one of the most depended-on projects in the JavaScript ecosystem, until 2017 was working on Babel in his free-time while working a full-time job.

        Open source is key infrastructure: for comparison, imagine if the lead mechanic on the Brooklyn Bridge had to work on it in his spare time, or hustle for contracts!

      • GraphDB Goes Open Source

        There’s a new version of Ontotext GraphDB that’s open source and comes with a range of new plugins. GraphDB Workbench, which give developers a way to quickly develop knowledge graph prototypes, was also open-sourced as a separate project.

        Ontotext’s GraphDB is a database for managing semantic information, and the latest release, GraphDB 9.0, aims to make it easier for developers to create and operate knowledge graphs by opening multiple integration extension points.

      • Hardware Bitcoin Node Provider Casa Open-sources its Software
      • CERN bails on Facebook’s Workplace, cites cost and data management concerns

        Research organization CERN will replace Facebook’s Workplace collaboration application with an open source alternative, citing concerns around the management of user data following changes to Workplace’s payment plan.

        CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, began a free trial of the enterprise social network in 2016. It has since been testing the app with staff, including corporate HR and IT teams. Approximately 1,000 members of CERN’s staff have a Workplace account, with around 150 active weekly users on the platform.

      • Unotech Software Raises $2 Mn To Increase Focus On Open Source Development

        Enterprise technology startup Unotech Software has raised $2Mn Series A funding from Manish Choksi, promoter of Asian Paints. Along with the funding round, the company will also undergo a shift in its software architecture.

        Unotech said it would evolve into an open source IT platform and services organisation with specialisation in identity management, business process automation and digital transformation. To enable the same, Unotech is revamping its digital brand presence and also relaunching its website to share its offerings under a new stratagem.

        The fresh capital will also be used to reconstruct the company’s market presence. “Unotech Software is realigning its IT products and services to adapt to its new approach of rapid development, rapid partnership and alliances and rapid go-to-market, under the core pillars of access, automate and assist,” said Vikash Jha, Unotech’s CEO and CTO in a statement.

      • Security in the financial industry

        By using the mix of hardware and software that the so-called “security service container” offers, developers get the same quality of security that they would on Linux, and this works in any data center, whether on-premise or using cloud services. The next generations of finserv IT infrastructures are being built around Linux because it is easy to deploy, and gives you a highly functional and easily automated stack. Industry giants such as Barclays have already built whole data center infrastructures around Linux. Besides providing easy access to innovations and software frameworks for IT teams, open source software also increases trust, which is essential for security compliance in the long term.

        When it comes to close-sourced software, it is impossible to verify all background activities happening, and in case of a bug or an error, it is hard to analyse the reasons behind them, given only the original developer can access the backend. In the case of open source, the community of developers is very quick to spot and fix bugs or errors.

      • Silicon Labs announce open-source licencing model for Micrium RTOS

        Silicon Labs has announced a new open-source licensing model for Micrium µC/ family of real time operating system (RTOS) components.

        By adopting permissive license terms for the µC/ components, Silicon Labs is extending the benefits of µC/ software to the widest user base possible and giving the embedded developer community a role in future software development efforts.

        Silicon Labs plans to ensure a smooth transition to open-source terms for all licensees of µC/ software. The company will continue to provide technical support for customers with valid maintenance agreements. Silicon Labs is also working closely with partners who may offer similar support services in the near future.

        The new open-source µC/ license model will go into effect on February 28, 2020. The open-source license applies to all µC/ software components including µC/OS-II, µC/OS-III, µC/FS, µC/TCP-IP, µC/USB-Device, µC/USB-Host, µC/CAN and µC/Modbus.

      • Apex.OS 1.0 now available, brings ROS-based development to autonomous vehicles

        Last week, Jan Becker, co-founder and CEO of Apex.AI, announced the availability of Apex.OS 1.0. The framework is based on ROS 2, the open-source Robot Operating System, and it is intended to ease software development for autonomous vehicles.

        Becker said in a blog post that he and Dejan Pangercic co-founded Apex.AI in 2017 with the goal of making “mobility safer and more reliable.” As the software stack for robotics and self-driving cars evolves, software engineers will need to simplify and specialize, Becker wrote.

        “Apex.OS is a natural choice for automotive companies interested in using modern software practices to implement autonomy,” he stated. “ROS is already the de facto standard for robotics, and Apex.OS extends that standard to the autonomous driving industry. In doing so, Apex.OS offers companies a head start on bringing safety to the autonomous driving software layer, the means to focus their business on their own key differentiators, and much faster time to market.”

      • The DevOps food chain: Software may be eating the world, but open source is devouring software

        As the world turns digital, speed is critical. Software deployments and updates that used to take months are now happening daily, as developers adjust to the demands of an environment where continuous integration is replacing the traditional drawn-out development cycle. Fueling this ability to move fast is the open-source software movement, which is gaining strength across all industries as cloud-native hits the mainstream.

        “Software is eating the world, but open source is eating software,” said Balaji Siva (pictured), vice president of product and business development/marketing at OpsMx.

        Siva joined John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at theCUBE’s Palo Alto studio for a CUBE Conversation on the evolution of networking.

        [...]

        The answer comes from open-source tools such as Spinnaker (which came to fame as the tool used by media streaming service Netflix Inc. to enable continuous delivery to the cloud), Tekton and Jenkins. “These [allow] enterprises to take their container-based applications, and functions in some cases, and deploy to various clouds, AWS or Google or Azure,” Siva said.

        Getting DevOps right can be tricky, but once companies have adapted to the agile mindset the efficiency and speed benefits are huge. Developing the non-DevOps way required multiple engineers working on multiple features over many months.

      • The IT Pro Podcast: Opening up to open source

        The open source debate is over. Companies are no longer prevaricating over whether or not they should be using open source tools and components within their IT organisations, and tools like Jenkins, Ruby and Visual Studio Code have become commonplace throughout business. But with all this love for open source components, why are these organisations lagging behind in adopting the ethos and methodologies of open source?

        In this week’s episode, we sit down with Puppet’s field CTO Nigel Kersten to discuss the current state of open source adoption, including the lack of high-level knowledge sharing, the relationship between open source and SaaS, and why businesses should get better at giving back to the open source community.

      • TTC blockchain DApp ecosystem project Tigris Protocol now open-source
      • Events

        • Daniel Stenberg: HTTP/3 for everyone

          I brought a huge collection of stickers this year and I kept going back to the wolfSSL stand to refill the stash and it kept being emptied almost as fast. Hundreds of curl stickers were given away! The photo on the right shows my “sticker bag” as it looked before I left Sweden.

          Lesson for next year: bring a larger amount of stickers! If you missed out on curl stickers, get in touch and I’ll do my best to satisfy your needs.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google promises next week’s cookie-crumbling Chrome 80 will only cause ‘a very modest amount of breakage’

            Next week Google is scheduled to release Chrome 80 to its stable channel, and says only “a very modest amount of breakage” of websites is expected.

            The reason web publishers might see “breakage” – which can mean anything from the loss of certain user-facing features to backend analytics errors – is that Chrome 80 handles HTTP cookies in a different way than its predecessors. The coming changes, intended to improve online security and privacy, mean that web developers need to explicitly declare in website code how they want cookies to be handled if they want to avoid potential problems.

            HTTP cookies are files containing data keys and associated values and are created on a web user’s local device through website code or server interaction to help with session management and to convey information, which may be necessary or may serve a publisher-oriented purpose like advertising or analytics. They’re widely used (and misused) by third-party marketing firms for tracking user behavior and interests to serve targeted ads.

      • CMS

        • The Month in WordPress: January 2020

          Gutenberg 7.2, the first Gutenberg release of 2020, was deployed on January 8th and included over 180 pull requests from more than 56 contributors. This was followed soon after by Gutenberg 7.3. New features include a new Buttons block, support in adding links to Media & Text block images, improvements to the Navigation and Gallery blocks, performance improvements, and accessibility enhancements. These releases also included many additional enhancements, fixes, new APIs, documentation, and more.

      • FSF

          • Thinking About an Open-Source Windows

            The Free Software Foundation is petitioning Microsoft to open-source Windows 7. That sounds crazy. Until you really think about it.

          • There’s a petition to turn Windows 7 into an open-source OS

            A year ago, Microsoft announced that Windows 7 would not be receiving any more support, starting from the 14th of January 2020. Based on the official termination of the support to the OS, FSF (Free Software Foundation) has created a petition calling for Microsoft to make Windows 7 open-source.

            The petition asks for 7777 signatures so that Microsoft ‘upcycles’ Windows 7, turning it free for everyone to use, study and improve. The petition already surpassed its objective, with 10574 signatures at the time of writing.

            As written in the petition’s official webpage, by turning Windows 7 into an open-source application, Microsoft would “undo past wrongs”, such as “poisoning education, invading privacy, and threatening user security”.

          • FSFE

      • GNU Projects

        • Hyperlink Support in GNU Poke

          For many years now, terminal emulators have been detecting http:// URLs in the output of any program and giving the user a chance to click on them and immediately navigate to the corresponding web page. In 2017, Egmont Kob made a proposal for supporting general hyperlinks in terminal emulators. Gnome Terminal, iTerm and a few other terminal emulators have already implemented this proposal in their latest releases. With Egmont’s proposal, an application can emit any valid URI and have the terminal emulator take the user to that resource.

      • Licensing / Legal

        • Open-Source Software in Federal Procurements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Part 3 – The Ugly

          Concluding our blog series on open-source software in the government market, it is time to turn to the darker side of things. We already discussed the “good” of open-source software for government buyers, and we walked through the “bad,” explaining how some elements may conflict with federal laws or priorities. Now we will look at the “ugly” side of open-source software and how contractors can mitigate associated risks.

    • Public Services/Government

      • Open-source software to support low-carbon district energy network planning

        With an ambitious EU Green Deal on the table, providing secure, affordable and low carbon energy stays high on the priority list of local authorities to increase air quality and reach their energy and climate targets in 2030 and establish new ones by 2050. With heating and cooling (H&C) responsible for 50% of the final energy demand in Europe, decarbonisation of the sector will be crucial to reach those targets.

        According to the latest study on the 14 European countries with the highest H&C demands, district energy can play a leading role in the energy transition and for achieving an economically viable decarbonisation of the H&C sector in urban areas (see: Heat Roadmap Europe 4).

        Eight European cities together with the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol, as well as partners from research, private and public associations and the city network ICLEI Europe have developed an open-source online tool designed specifically to simplify and optimise complex network planning processes for local planning authorities.

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Steve Persch on Open Source Communities and Tough Challenges in Technical Leadership

        In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Steve Persch of Pantheon about supporting open source communities and leading technical teams.

      • Open Data

        • What freeware or open-source software packages are available to support GNSS performance evaluations?

          At least two different classes of GNSS analysis software exist, although some tools support multiple objectives. The first class includes tools that predict GNSS performance based on propagating GNSS satellite orbits and calculating GNSS performance factors at specific user locations and times based on the projected locations of GNSS satellites (“satellite geometries”). The second class focuses on analysis of previously-collected GNSS measurements converted into a standard data format. This article will focus on performance prediction, and a later article within this column will examine the processing of measurement data. Future articles in this column may also consider the use of software tools to emulate GNSS receiver functions in real-time and post-processing.

          One of the original motivations for software to predict GNSS performance was simply to show the quality of future GNSS satellite geometry at specific places and times. In the early years of GPS, when the GPS constellation had fewer and shorter-lived satellites than it does now, periods of weak GPS geometries (either an insufficient number of visible and healthy satellites to compute a solution or a sufficient number but with poor Dilution of Precision, or DOP, which relates range measurement error to position and/or timing error) were not uncommon. However, absent a sudden change in the health of the GPS satellites, these periods could (and can) be predicted in advance.

        • Mid-Sized IT Innovation: Two Cities Chart Their Own Course

          Shreveport, La., and Boulder, Colo., are using tools like open source development, flatter organizational structures and performance dashboards to inspire continuous improvements in each city’s use of technology.

          [...]

          After joining the city following several years in private software development, Keith Hanson spent his first six months reorganizing an IT department of about 30 people. He created a special projects team, which includes a specialist in data, GIS, IoT and social media. The group is tasked with completing one project per quarter to optimize city government or improve services for the city’s roughly 192,000 residents.

        • Synoptic Office Launches Open Source Archive of Chinese Typefaces

          Synoptic Office has launched Chinese Type Archive, a volunteer-run, open data resource that will bring awareness and discussion around Chinese typefaces for designers. The archive aims to support designers who use Chinese typography by developing descriptors for concepts and typefaces, as well as archiving related and relevant visual examples. The Archive features a growing catalog of over 230 Chinese typefaces, definitions, and resources with information in both English and Chinese.

          Synoptic Office was co-founded by Caspar Lam and YuJune Park, Assistant Professors of Communication Design at the Parsons School of Design. As Synoptic Office, Park and Lam have designed extensively for both US and Chinese markets. Years ago, when working on projects like Vogue China, they discovered a distinct lack of design discourse surrounding Chinese typography in both China and the English-speaking design world.

    • Programming/Development

      • Yelp Open-Sources Fuzz-Lightyear

        Business directory and crowd-sourced review service, Yelp, has open-sourced their in-house developed testing framework, fuzz-lightyear, that identifies Insecure Direct Object Reference (IDOR) vulnerabilities.

        Fuzz-lightyear uses stateful Swagger fuzzing and has been designed to ensure enterprise microservices architectures can be integrated with continuous integration pipelines. Yelp identified IDOR vulnerabilities as not only high-risk, but also particularly difficult to prevent and detect. Swagger is an open-source software development framework for RESTful web services. It allows APIs to describe their own structure, then asks the API to return a YAML or JSON file that contains a detailed description of the entire API. Being able to read an API’s structure means documentation can be automatically built, multi-lingual client libraries can be generated and it can be leveraged for automated testing.

        Fuzzing is a testing technique that can be used to discover security vulnerabilities. It inputs large amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in a detection attempt.

      • Perl / Raku

      • Python

        • Surviving zombie apocalypse with random search algorithm

          A group of desperate folks, led by a charismatic hero, barricades itself in some building, trying to make it to the end of the movie. Hoards of blood craving creatures knock on every door and every window trying to get inside. The people try to back them off using anything they can, but as they are getting short on ammo, the hero needs to send somebody to fetch more shells.

          The decision has to be made – weighing the risks of losing a team member against running out of ammo. Doesn’t it sound like an optimization problem?

          Although it certainly can be formulated this way, we will see that it is not always possible to apply the standard gradient descent algorithm (SGD). Instead, we will use a simple alternative known as the random search. To illustrate its simplicity, we will implement it in pure python .

        • Ionel Cristian Maries: Speeding up Django pagination
      • R

        • RStudio reborn as a Public Benefit Corporation – commits itself to open source, not shareholders

          RStudio has rebirthed itself as a Public Benefit Corporation, meaning the company behind the eponymous IDE for R can run itself for the benefit of the R community as well as its shareholders.

          The change was announced by CEO JJ Allaire at its user conference yesterday, and will be seen in part as an effort to offset concerns that the IDE maker might wield too much influence over the direction of R as a whole. Which is always going to be a concern where commercial organisations and open source projects meet.

          In a blog post yesterday, Allaire said “RStudio’s mission is to create free and open-source software for data science, scientific research, and technical communication.” He said the firm leads contributions to over 250 open source projects, as well as selling its eponymous IDE and other commercial products and online services.

        • RStudio restructures to focus on ‘public benefit’

          RStudio has changed its corporate structure to become a certified “Delaware Benefit Corporation,” a move that legally allows it to consider the needs of the R community when making decisions instead of focusing solely on what’s financially best for its stockholders.

          “Our directors and officers now have a fiduciary duty to pursue public benefits along with balancing the needs of all our stakeholders,” not just its corporate owners, founder and CEO J.J. Allaire said in his keynote speech at RStudio Conference this morning in San Francisco.

      • Java

        • Ballerina – An Open Source JVM Language and Platform for Cloud-Era Application Programmers

          Open-source technology company, WSO2, has released Ballerina 1.1.0, an update to their programming language with new features including: the new Ballerina Tool, enhanced IDE support for VSCode and IntelliJ IDEA; and improved performance in runtime type checking, and creating and accessing maps, arrays and records.
          Ballerina is an open-source programming language for writing network distributed applications. It is a relatively new player among the non-Java JVM languages such as Scala, Groovy and Clojure. The release of Ballerina 1.0 in September 2019 was an effort three years in the making, after WSO2 decided to create their own programming language in their efforts to improve their enterprise service bus (ESB).

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Epic’s call to block a proposed data rule is wrong for many reasons

      But it doesn’t really work like that. At the cost of millions to billions of dollars per hospital or health system, health care relies on pre-internet proprietary and non-interoperable software where, as in the old “Roach Motel” ads, data check in, but they don’t check out. In addition, EHR software is sold under contracts that contain both hold harmless clauses to abdicate responsibility for adverse events associated with their products and nondisclosure clauses to inhibit reporting of serious adverse events. As described in “Death by a Thousand Clicks,“ EHRs have contributed to an epidemic of physician burnout.

    • Interoperability to be hotly debated at Digital Health Rewired 2020

      As an issue which has been cited as the highest priority for NHS IT leaders two years in a row in Digital Health Intelligence’s annual NHS IT Leadership Survey, interoperability within healthcare could transform how medical records are shared.

      The Interoperability track will explore latest developments and examples of interoperability and use of the key standards, such as FHIR, that enable interoperability at scale.

    • Old CSS, new CSS

      I first got into web design/development in the late 90s, and only as I type this sentence do I realize how long ago that was.

      And boy, it was horrendous. I mean, being able to make stuff and put it online where other people could see it was pretty slick, but we did not have very much to work with.

      I’ve been taking for granted that most folks doing web stuff still remember those days, or at least the decade that followed, but I think that assumption might be a wee bit out of date. Some time ago I encountered a tweet marvelling at what we had to do without border-radius. I still remember waiting with bated breath for it to be unprefixed!

      But then, I suspect I also know a number of folks who only tried web design in the old days, and assume nothing about it has changed since.

      I’m here to tell all of you to get off my lawn. Here’s a history of CSS and web design, as I remember it.

    • Making A Website 06 – Finishing Touches

      It’s time for the final post in my Making A Website series. In this 6th and final post, we’re going to be adding some finishing touches to our website. This is mostly going to be CSS changes, to improve our theme.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Space weather warning: Technology crippling solar storm could hit ‘at any time’

        The last ‘great’ solar storm came in 1989, when a major power outage occurred in Quebec, Canada.

        In 2012, a great solar storm also occurred, but it narrowly missed Earth.

      • Destructive Super Solar Storms Hit Us Every 25 Years Or So

        Solar storms powerful enough to wreak havoc on electronic equipment strike Earth every 25 years, according to a new study. And less powerful—yet still dangerous—storms occur every three years or so. This conclusion comes from a team of scientists from the the University of Warwick and the British Antarctic Survey.

        These powerful storms can disrupt electronic equipment, including communication equipment, aviation equipment, power grids, and satellites.

        The team identifies two types of powerful magnetic storms: ‘great super storms’ are the most powerful and occur every 25 years on average. The weaker but still dangerous ‘severe super storms’ occur every three years on average.

      • How I Work From Anywhere in the World

        I am currently in Perpetual Traveller mode, living out of a suitcase and slowly drifting around the world while running my business. This is made easier by an array of tools and websites which I think are wildly underappreciated.

        What follows are some indispensable tools for the travelling hacker. And no, this isn’t some clickbait-y listicle. There isn’t a single affiliate link here.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Doctors Are Failing Women With Eating Disorders

        Rebecca Lester’s book “Famished: Eating Disorders and Failed Care in America,” attempts to cover the medical communities’ Herculean efforts to cure a wide range of eating disorders. The book focuses on the complicated relationship between the attempts to treat those who suffer from eating disorders and the apparent failure of the system to heal them. And at its heart, Lester writes, “It is critical to understand that eating disorders are not about food—not really. They are about a deep, abiding, toxic shame and self-negation that is so embedded that it may never fully be eradicated.”

      • Nearly Eight Thousand Hospital Workers Strike in Seattle

        After nine months of fruitless negotiations, 8,000 hospital workers in the Swedish Medical Center chain in Seattle walked out January 28 on a three-day strike.

      • China Gives Financial Markets $173 Billion Virus Shot

        China’s central bank announced plans Sunday to inject 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) into the economy to cushion the shock to financial markets from the outbreak of a new virus when trading resumes on Monday after a prolonged Lunar New Year holiday.

      • Working for Facebook Can Give You PTSD

        Working for Facebook can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Financial Times recently received documents showing that Accenture, a global professional services firm that provides content moderation for Facebook in Europe, asked its employees to sign a waiver acknowledging that screening content for the social media company could result in PTSD.

      • Jihadi Clerics Issue Fatwa Permitting Muslims To Celebrate Spread Of Coronavirus In China, Accuse China Of ‘Exporting’ Coronavirus To East Turkestan

        On January 23, 2020, Syrian jihadi cleric Abd Al-Razzaq Al-Mahdi issued a fatwa permitting Muslims to celebrate the spread of the Coronavirus in China, and further permitting Muslims to pray to Allah to annihilate the people of China. Al-Mahdi is a prominent cleric who is well respected by jihadi factions, and who is known for his sermons and fatwas, in which he encourages Muslims to take part in jihad and carry out attacks inside Russia.[1] According to his Twitter account, which has more than 11 thousand followers, Al-Mahdi is from Damascus, and describes himself as “not affiliated with any group or party.” Al-Mahdi is also active on Telegram, on which his channel has over 11 thousand subscribers.

      • Meet the Chinese crowdsourcers fighting coronavirus censorship

        When Linda logged in to the Chinese social network Weibo on Monday, she saw a curious post from the state-controlled publication People’s Daily: Hubei province was adding 100,000 beds in hopes of handling the new coronavirus that has caused panic across the country. The number was jarring given official reports that only a few thousand people were infected, and people immediately began to respond with concern. The People’s Daily account quickly deleted the post and associated hashtag. 

        Angela Chen

      • ‘I want to apologize to everyone’ One of Russia’s first two coronavirus patients says he only learned of his diagnosis from news reports

        A Chinese national named Wan Yunbin has contacted journalists at the website Chita.ru and identified himself as one of the first two people infected with the coronavirus in Russia, as reported by state officials a few days earlier. Yunbin says he was never given his test results and he only learned of his diagnosis from news reports. He’s now concerned about his two-year-old daughter, who’s been quarantined because she was in contact with him.

      • Coronavirus is a proving ground for scientific transparency

        As the number of people who have contracted coronavirus increases, several groups at universities in the US and Europe have rolled out predictions over the last few days about where and how the disease, which epidemiologists have now dubbed nCoV19, will spread next.

        Some predictions focus on ranking the countries and Chinese provinces most at risk of seeing new cases (an analysis led by Northeastern University group puts the US fifth). Others have tried to estimate what the final tally will be—an estimate from the UK’s Lancaster Medical School says the caseload in Wuhan could reach above 190,000 people within two weeks.

      • Coronavirus Live Updates: Stocks Sink as Markets Open in China
      • SA firm donates masks to curb coronavirus spread

        In a true spirit of Ubuntu, a Pretoria company has committed to donating masks to China, where demand has spiked since the outbreak of coronavirus.
        Co-founder of U-Mask David Molinsakwe said the decision to donate the masks was to pledge solidarity and support with the Chinese during the battle with the outbreak which had wreaked havoc in that country and beyond.

        “China is a key partner to our continent and we thought it was necessary to contribute to the embassy and assist in fighting the spread of the virus,” he said.

        His business partner Jodin Eksteen said China had always assisted when Africa was in need and now it was the continent’s turn to jump in and assist that nation in any shape way or form.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Manifold

              Manifold is a visual debugging tool for machine learning developed by Uber. Machine learning is widely used across the Uber platform to support decision making and forecasting for features such as ETA prediction and fraud detection, the company explained.

              The tool aims to help engineers and scientists identify performance issues across ML data slices and models, and diagnoses their root causes by surfacing feature distribution differences between subsets of data.

            • Alfresco and Tech Mahindra Introduce Four Jointly Developed AI/IoT Solutions for Insurance Companies

              Alfresco Software, an open source content, process and governance software company, and Tech Mahindra, a leading provider of digital transformation, consulting and re-engineering services and solutions, today announced collaboration on four jointly-developed, transformative insurance solutions. The collaboration combines Tech Mahindra’s insurance expertise and experience in the insurance industry with Alfresco’s powerful Digital Business Platform to create solutions for risk management, automated underwriting, a self-learning chatbot, and intelligent claims handling.

            • An Updated Overview of the Open Source VOLTTRON Platform

              For readers not yet acquainted with the VOLTTRON technology, the diagram below provides a helpful snapshot of the open source VOLTTRON platform.

            • Bruce Willis-Starring Feature ‘Open Source’ Begins Filming in Cincinnati
            • Eve V Makers Promise High Refresh Rates, On-Time Shipments With 3 Open-Source Gaming Monitors

              Eve, the makers of the open-source Eve V convertible laptop, has something to prove with its upcoming lineup of open-source developed PC monitors. The specs match some of the best gaming monitors by featuring LG’s 1ms IPS panels at 1440p and 4K at up to 240Hz. However, Eve CEO Konstantinos Karatsevidis is aware that the Eve V left many disappointed with years-long delivery times and promised that the Eve Spectrum gaming monitors available for pre-order today will arrive on time, thanks a number of business operation changes.

        • Security

          • AsusWrt-Merlin Provides 384.13.3 and 384.15 Beta 1 Firmware for ASUS Routers

            As for the differences, while the 384.13.3 firmware only installs OpenVPN 2.4.8, the 384.15 Beta 1 version merges with GPL 384_7756 (for RT-AX88U) and GPL 385_10002 (for other models).

          • Daniel Stenberg: Remote-exploiting curl

            In a Blackhat 2019 presentation, three gentlemen from the Tencent Blade Team explained how they found and managed to exploit two curl flaws. Both related to NTLM over HTTP. The “client version Heartbleed” as they call it.

          • Warnings Issued For Millions Of Microsoft Windows 10 Users

            Picked up by the eagle-eyed WinCentral, Microsoft’s long-awaited fix for Windows 10’s File Explorer issues (KB4532695) is now causing a wide array of new problems itself, including broken audio, slow performance, game incompatibilities, driver issues and blue screen of death (BSOD) crashes.

            “This installed and now I do not have any sound. I have two different sources. HDMI cable and soundcard. Neither works now… I have not changed anything, just updated Windows and now no sound!! **** MICROSOFT!!! FIX YOUR ****!” – source

            “I have also lost my TPM Driver and now bitlocker is not working and I am constantly getting BSOD (Memory Management). Not expecting anything better from MS though.” – source

            “I AGREE !! Installed update and Sound went bonkers. Multiple devices installed by update in Bluetooth. In addition my PDF Software ceased to function from MS Office 365. Menu creation broken. Am getting sick and tired of MS fouling up my computer through updates.” – source

            “This update was such a hassle for me, I had to do a clean install of Windows… I have been on the phone with Microsoft technical support for hours now (they have been VERY helpful!)”. This mostly boiled down to a problem with drivers, and all the error codes I was getting from the BSOD were all driver related (so I was told by the helpful technician). Instead of me trying to update any driver, it was less time and hassle to do a clean reinstall of Windows, but quite a hassle none the less.” – source

            “Installed this in an Intel NUC8i3BEH and encountered very slow boot times. Windows would get stuck at splash or welcome screen for around 5 minutes. I deinstalled this update and reinstalled twice, with the same results.” – source

            “As soon as I got the latest update, I keep going in these boot cycles… Just endless, telling me an error had been found… Then when Windows boots up, it eventually crashes. I’ve reinstalled Windows from an ISO image, same problems. I’ve restored from a back up from three weeks ago, same problems. I’ve come realize that this new update is huge trouble.” – source

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

            • Open Source Software Licensing Basics For Corporate Users [Ed: Will she also be giving a talk about proprietary software EULAs and back doors?]

              In a recent presentation, partner Heather Meeker provided an overview of open source licensing fundamentals for “lawyers, business persons or engineers who want to understand open source software licensing and how to comply with open source licenses in a corporate setting.”

              Among the issues addressed are the risks and benefits of open source software and licensing requirements for corporate users

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Deanonymizing Tor Circuits

              Over the last month, I’ve noticed a new type of attack. It took me a while to figure out what they are trying to do: they appear to be trying to map out part of the Tor circuit used by my hidden service.

              (In this blog entry, you’ll see Tor spelled “Tor” and “tor”. Uppercase is the protocol’s name, while lowercase is the name of the program.)

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trapped and Voiceless: The Palestinians Depicted in Trump’s Plan

        The world does not hear our stories or see our reality, why would they stand in solidarity with us?

        Peace is not something the victims of occupation, displacement and oppression can initiate. (Photo: Screen shot /Twitter) 

      • Palestinian Authority Cuts All Ties With U.S. Over Trump’s ‘Peace Plan’

        The Palestinian Authority, which governs the occupied West Bank, announced on Saturday that it would act immediately to cut ties with the U.S. after President Donald Trump unveiled a so-called peace plan that effectively allows Israel carte blanche to continue the occupation and theft of Palestinian land.

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

        The Palestinian Authority, which governs the occupied West Bank, announced on Saturday that it would act immediately to cut ties with the U.S. after President Donald Trump unveiled a so-called peace plan that effectively allows Israel carte blanche to continue the occupation and theft of Palestinian land.

      • Saab launches Gripen and GlobalEye evaluations for Finland

        A GlobalEye did fly from Saab’s facility in Linköping, Sweden, on 30 January with a Finnish Air Force delegation on board. This aircraft will continue to fly out of Linköping for the duration of the evaluation as that is where the company’s bespoke de-briefing and other specialist related equipment is located. The Gripen E 39-10, Gripen NG 39-7 and the GlobalEye will be evaluated through to 6 February.

      • Is Islam Really a Religion of Peace?

        The primary reason I chose to write this book is that it is such a misunderstood topic amongst Catholics. We’re continually fed what I perceive to be a “politically correct” presentation on this delicate and controversial topic to the point that one cannot even question the intentions of Muslims who commit barbarous acts in the name of Islam. I wanted to not just speak for the beleaguered and forgotten victims of Islamic jihad, Christians in particular, but to demonstrate that the acts of jihad, terrorism, and other human rights violations committed by Muslims are drawn from the Islamic texts: the Quran, the hadith (Sunna) [a collection of traditions containing sayings of the prophet Muhammad which, with accounts of his daily practice (the Sunna), constitute the major source of guidance for Muslims apart from the Quran], and the Sira of the Prophet Muhammad [traditional Muslim biographies of the prophet].

      • Rice County priest apologizes for criticizing Islam in sermon

        “Both as Americans and as Christians we do not need to pretend that everyone who seeks to enter America needs to be treated the same,” he said. “I believe it is essential to consider the religion and worldview of the immigrants or refugees. More specifically, we should not be allowing large numbers of Muslims [seeking] asylum or immigration into our country. Islam is the greatest threat in the world both to Christianity and to America.”

      • Venice shuts down for WWII-era bomb removal

        The WWII bomb surfaced during a maintenance crew’s excavations to repair sewer lines. Weighing roughly 225 kilograms (500 pounds) and containing about 129 kilograms of explosives, the bomb is set to be detonated at sea.

        The operation to get rid of the bomb required first the evacuation of some 3,500 city residents. Next, crews worked to remove the fuses from the explosive device.

      • Streatham attacker had been released from jail

        A man shot dead by police after he attacked people in south London had been recently released from prison after serving time for terror offences.

    • Environment

      • The Worst Locust Plague in Decades Could Destroy Crops in Africa on a Massive Scale

        FAO claims its size and destructive potential is like nothing we’ve seen before. These voracious pests threaten to destroy pastures and crops, and apparently, even a small swarm can consume enough food for 35,000 people in a single day.

        Coming off a year of El Niño-induced drought, further deterioration of food security could spell disaster. In Kenya, about 70,000 hectares of land are already infested, and FAO says it doesn’t see the issue abating until at least June 2020.

      • 5 Spray Planes Trying to Save Kenya From Billions of Locusts

        As locusts by the billions — yes, billions — descend on parts of Kenya in the worst outbreak in 70 years, small planes are flying low over affected areas to spray pesticides in what experts call the only effective control.

      • Climate Crisis to Blame for Whales Injured and Killed After Being Caught in Fishing Lines: Study

        “A perfect set of events to cause entanglements.”

      • Australia’s Decade of Burning Environmental Apathy

        The country is paying a deadly price for its conservative politicians’ climate denialism. 

      • The Green New Deal Could Revolutionize Theater

        The most recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report gives humanity twelve years to curb greenhouse gas emissions, in order to keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Over 1.5 degrees and widespread climate disruptions—heatwaves, floods, fires, droughts, of the sort we see happening now—will intensify, adversely affecting everyone on the planet (though, of course, the poor suffer first and most). Other reports give us as little as eighteen months to act. One million species are poised right now to go extinct. The climate crisis is “the biggest challenge ever to face” humankind, environmental lawyer Sharon Tisher says, along with many others. Homo sapiens need immediately to come to grips with a situation unparalleled in our existence: the very real possibility that organized life on earth might end.

      • Energy

        • Is Your Rep Invested in Fossil Fuels?

          At least 100 members of the House of Representatives and their spouses own fossil fuel company stocks or mutual funds despite the conflicts of interest the investments pose for addressing climate change.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • At famed Mexican butterfly reserve, second worker found dead

          Raul Hernandez’s body was found in the area in the early hours of Saturday, with different parts beaten, and a head injury possibly caused by a sharp object, the state attorney general said.

          Earlier this week, Mexicans in El Rosario mourned the death of activist Homero Gomez, who had fought for a decade to protect the monarch butterflies until his mysterious death. It is unclear whether the two cases are connected.

          The sudden disappearance of such a high-profile campaigner had sparked an outcry in Mexico, an increasingly violent country where activists are routinely threatened, harmed or even killed as a result of their work.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Anxiety, Unpredictability in Iowa on Eve of Caucuses

        On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Democratic presidential candidates hustled across the state on Sunday trying to fire up voters and make one last appeal to those struggling to make a final decision about their choice in the crowded field.

      • This is the Way it Ends, Not with a Bang but a Whimper

        This is a big deal, a clear impeachable offense, and it’s depressing that Republicans do not acknowledge this.

      • Two Nadirs

        The Trump impeachment is a low point in the history of the United States.

      • The Emperor’s Clothes
      • Decolonization Is Essential to Successfully Resist Extractivism

        “Colonialism, imperialism, and racial capitalism are impacting people across the globe, both historically and in the contemporary moment,” write Nick Estes and Jaskiran Dhillon, editors of Standing With Standing Rock: Voices From the #NoDAPL Movement. In this interview, Estes and Dhillon discuss how this collection situates the #NoDAPL movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline within a broader historical context — a context that transcends the Oceti Sakowin-led movement and emphasizes Indigenous sovereignty and decolonization as central to successfully resisting extractivism.

      • A Look Back at Seven Centrist Defeats

        Bernie Sanders is more electable than any centrist.

      • Because Bernie Showed ‘There is a New Way Now,’ Younger Democrats Backing Sanders, Says Michael Moore

        “There have been approximately 15 million 17-year-olds in the past four years that have turned 18. And they are massively behind change.”

      • ‘People Want Change’: Left Wing Sinn Féin Ties for Top Spot in Poll Ahead of Irish Election

        The poll marks the first time Sinn Féin has topped ruling party Fine Gael in the Red C survey’s history.

      • Media Attacks Aren’t Slowing Sanders’s Surge — They’re Showing His Independence

        Dominant media outlets continue to produce more desperate and cartoonish attacks on Bernie Sanders as he continues to surge in the polls. The attacks are failing in epic fashion. And the left is having some laughs at the expense of establishment tears.

      • Voting Trump Out Isn’t Enough — We Must Organize to Build a Better Future

        If we don’t want to see a repeat (or worse) of the 2016 elections in 2020, we must organize the South. The real way change happens is through visionary and effective social movements working outside the political party apparatus. Building social movements is a steady, slow process that requires investment, resources and a clear-eyed, historical understanding of race, the South and the power of collective action. To transform the landscape and build a better future, we have to realize that just voting Trump out of office is not enough. Spoiler alert: It ain’t just about a vote.

      • John Kerry Heard Weighing Joining 2020 Race as Establishment Panic Over Sanders Reaches Full Meltdown

        “Maybe I’m fucking deluding myself here,” Kerry said on a phone call overheard in an Iowan hotel by an NBC News analyst.

      • We’re Not In Kansas Anymore: Stable Genius Strikes Again
      • From the editor: Des Moines Register, partners cancel release of Iowa Poll after respondent raises concerns

        J. Ann Selzer, whose company conducts the Iowa Poll, said, “There were concerns about what could be an isolated incident. Because of the stellar reputation of the poll, and the wish to always be thought of that way, the heart-wrenching decision was made not to release the poll. The decision was made with the highest integrity in mind.”

      • Schengen Visa Rules Set to Change as of February 2020 – Here’s What You Need to Know

        All Schengen Visa applicants lodging an application file from the first Sunday of February 2020 and on, will be subject to the new Schengen Visa Code.

        Officials of several EU countries implementing the Schengen Acquis confirmed to SchengenVisaInfo.com, that the new Visa Code will start implementation in the same period in all Member States.

      • Superdelegates and the 2020 Democratic National Convention

        Unlike at-large or district-level delegates, they are neither elected by Democratic presidential primary voters nor required to pledge their support to a specific presidential candidate. Beginning with the 2020 presidential election, they are prohibited from voting on the first ballot at a contested national convention.

        In 2020, there will be an estimated 764 superdelegates.[6] The Democratic National Committee is expected to confirm the names of the automatic delegates by state no later than March 6, 2020.[7] Political analysis

      • DNC members spooked by Bernie Sanders discuss returning power to superdelegates

        Nina Turner, the national co-chairwoman of the Sanders campaign, said Perez’s list of picks for committees charged with overseeing the convention and helping to create the party’s platform was a “slap in the face.” The Sanders camp also lashed out on Friday after the DNC changed a rule, which removed the requirement for candidates to meet a minimum number of donors starting with the Feb. 19 debate in Nevada. The rule gives Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who is self-funding his bid and not accepting campaign contributions, a pathway to the debate stage.

      • High-profile Iowa poll won’t be released

        Because the respondent did not hear Buttigieg’s name, the respondent contacted Selzer, who brought the irregularity to the attention of CNN and The Des Moines Register.

        Because CNN, the Register and Selzer were unable to determine if it was a one-time occurrence, the partners decided they could not move forward with releasing the poll, the person at CNN said. The person was not authorized to discuss the details by name and requested anonymity.

      • Scottish Independence is Within our Grasp if We Heed the Lesson of Toom Tabard

        There will never again be a route to Scottish Independence deemed legal by Westminster. 2014 will never be repeated. The UK will never willingly give up a third of its land, most of its fisheries, most of its mineral resources, its most marketable beef, soft fruit and whisky, most of its renewable energy potential, a vital part of its military including its primary nuclear base, its best universities in a number of key fields including life sciences, its ready pool of intellectual and professional talent. Johnson is for once honest when he says keeping the Union together is his top priority. It is the top priority of the entire British establishment.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Meet the man who made San Francisco the porn capital of America 50 years ago

        Fifty years ago, San Francisco established itself as the porn capital of America – the New York Times and Dianne Feinstein called it such. This was largely thanks to a documentary made by a former craps dealer with a bad limp who would become the first porn millionaire. And he did it while facing regular police busts and opposition from local politicians such as Feinstein.

        Alex de Renzy, then 34, released a documentary called “Pornography in Denmark” on Feb. 24, 1970 at the Presidio Theatre on Chestnut and Scott. The small room of San Franciscans became the first audience to watch a publicly screened hard-core porn movie in America.

      • Gab Chat is an open-source, end-to-end encrypted Discord alternative for growing censorship-proof communities

        Gab is a decentralized and open-source US social network with a focus on free speech and individual liberty.

        The platform differentiates itself from dominant, centralized networks by insisting on decentralization, that allows users control over their data and the way they interact online – specifically, “free from woke left-wing Silicon Valley morality policing.”

        In an age when the issue of free speech is increasingly plaguing the likes of Twitter or Facebook – Gab promises to ensure that all speech protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution is allowed on its network.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Remember the Influence of Socialism on Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy

        By the end of his life, King was criticizing the triple evils of militarism, racism, and materialism.

      • The Art of Criminalization

        A Lakota girl had no idea she would be brutalized and criminalized by a racist system leaving her with a record at school where she was suspended and a record within the courts.

      • “No one suspected me”: Women food critics dish on dining out for a living

        Without Besha Rodell, Otium would have likely gotten away with their casual sexism. When women critics are honest about their experiences, and hold restaurants accountable, it brings the industry forward. They also provide invaluable service for those trying to decide where to eat and where to avoid.

      • Video shows police in Guinea using a woman as a human shield

        The video, which is just over three minutes long, shows a police officer holding onto a woman and pushing her in front of him as he advances alongside several other officers. The police were facing off with several young men during the latest in a series of protests against the possibility of President Alpha Condé serving a third term.

        The three officers push the woman in front of them for several metres, apparently to protect themselves from the rocks that the young men are throwing. Eventually, the scene ends in chaos after one of the officers fires a shot. The police retreat, one grabbing the woman and half-dragging, half-carrying her.

      • The Country Where Having a Miscarriage Can Land You in Prison

        A new documentary titled En Deuda con Todas — produced by the Galician organization Agareso — offers a striking glimpse at the war on reproductive and human rights in El Salvador. One protagonist is Teodora Vásquez, released from prison in 2018 after her thirty-year sentence was commuted to ten. Her crime? “Killing” her newborn by fainting during labor. She was awaiting the arrival of an ambulance and awoke to find her baby dead.

      • Girl, 12, dies after undergoing female genital mutilation in Egypt

        Amel Fahmy, managing director of Tadwein Gender Research Centre, said: ‘Many more Egyptian girls will be forced to undergo the procedure, and many of them will die – as long as there is no clear strategy from the state and a true criminalisation of the practice.’

        In 2016, legislators adopted amendments to the law, redefining FGM from a misdemeanour, for which offenders typically receive up to two years in prison, to a felony, which draws tougher sentences and punishments.

        However, women’s rights advocates argue the law still contains loopholes.

      • Brazil: Possible Evidence Tampering in Police Killings

        Two reports by international forensic experts point to possible destruction of crime scene evidence by police in the killing of nine people during a February 2019 operation in poor communities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Human Rights Watch said today. The analysis by experts commissioned bv Human Rights Watch also points to other serious failures in collecting and preserving critical evidence in the case.

        The reports, based on detailed independent analyses of the autopsy reports of 9 of the 13 people killed in the operation, suggest that military police may have taken bodies of people they had killed to the hospital, pretending they needed to move the victims to try to save their lives. For more than a decade, Human Rights Watch has documented similar cases of “false rescues” in Rio de Janeiro in which the police use this ruse to destroy crime scene evidence and hamper investigations.

      • Trump’s New Commission Looks Like a Platform for Pro-Police Propaganda

        On January 22, Attorney General William Barr swore in 18 members of a White House commission on policing.

    • Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • Furry thoughts on Sky v. Skykick – Part 2: trade marks registered with no intention to use

          Last week, this Kat published a post on the issue of trade mark registrations suffering from a lack of clarity [here] following the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)’s decision in C-371/18 Sky v. SkyKick [rapid announcement post here]. This post concerns the issue of bad faith registrations in the absence of an intention to use.

          The CJEU decision

          Sky applied for large numbers of trade marks for a very broad range of products, including products far removed from its core business, such as whips, furs or fire extinguishers. This practice made Arnold J (as he then was) conclude that “the reason for including such goods and services was that Sky had a strategy of seeking very broad protection of the Trade Marks regardless of whether it was commercially justified” [par. 250 of the referring decision], and he wanted to know the limits set to such strategies by EU law.

          The CJEU called to mind its recent decision in C-104/18 Koton and reiterated that the concept of bad faith “presupposes the presence of a dishonest state of mind”. In Koton, the CJEU held that a finding of bad faith is not limited to situations where the applicant had knowledge of use of a similar or identical trade mark by a third party [par. 55]. Rather, bad faith must be established in light of “all the relevant factual circumstances as they appeared at the time that the application was filed” [par. 59], including the “commercial logic” of the registration [par. 62].

          [...]

          My feeling is that it will not be very easy to establish this in cases where the trade mark is used and has a strong reputation for a wide range of goods, since it will often be legitimate for these kinds of parties to protect their brand also in ancillary markets. Then again, invoking several 8 000+ word trade mark registrations against a company that offers services quite far removed from Sky’s core business won’t win much sympathy from most courts, and it certainly did not in the referring court. Those courts certainly can read in the CJEU’s decision encouragement to severely trim down such registrations.

          Will a statement as required by Section 32(3) UK Trade Marks Act 1994 help? Most likely, no. If a trade mark is not used after five years, it is clear that no intention to use existed or was lived up to. In that case, it is unclear what the added value is of a statement that such an intention existed at the time of registration if that cannot by itself establish bad faith. After the Brexit transition period, UK courts may become effectively free to disregard the decision in Sky so they may attach more severe consequences to falsely stated intentions to use. But in the rest of Europe, this Kat expects comparable restrictions will do little to reign in applicants like Sky.

          All in all, Sky does not really seem to empower courts to deal with the important issues the case raised. As noted last week, the CJEU’s solution to the lack of clarity issue is not really satisfactory. The bad faith issue is left sufficiently open for courts to potentially act against overbroad trade mark applications like Sky’s; but it will not be easy to determine a clear boundary. The good part is that Sky seems to be just the beginning, so that exciting developments on these issues no doubt await us.

      • Copyrights

        • Author Fears That Former Pirate Site Owner is Trying to Bankrupt Him

          Since early 2019, author John Van Stry has been spending huge sums of money in an effort to bring the former operator of download site eBook.bike to justice. The site itself has been down for months but legal costs are mounting to the point that Van Stry feels there might be an effort to bankrupt him. As a result, a practical win for either side seems a distant proposition.

        • Record Labels Will Ask Potential Piracy Trial Jurors if They Read TorrentFreak

          Cox Communications will soon go to trial where several major music companies accuse the ISP of not doing enough to curb piracy. The eventual verdict will be handed down by a carefully selected jury of regular citizens. As part of the jury selection procedure, the record labels want to know if potential jurors use The Pirate Bay, support EFF, or read TorrentFreak.

        • Prepper-style music hoarding

          I don’t believe that any technology company in the music industry will survive in the long term. That means Spotify, but even more it means Spotify competitors. Streaming services like Apple’s, Google’s, and Amazon’s are enormous corporate experiments, intended to succeed or fail within a decade. When they fail, the folks paying for them will get an email and lose access to their music in some specified ‘sunset’ timeline.

          But before we even get to the failure state of streaming services, we’ll notice the chipping-away of ownership expectations. Bands and artists will remove their work from the platform, or silently replace songs with updated tracks. The pool of music still looks and feels infinite, but random items disappear without warning.

Microsoft “Azure” (or “Cloud”) Results Are Most Likely an Elaborate Fraud

Posted in Deception, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft, Servers at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And it’s hardly shocking that Microsoft is reportedly shutting down some datacentres

Capone Commits the Crimes, Pays Slush Funds

Summary: Even Microsoft fans (who participate in Microsoft podcasts and censor Microsoft critics) aren’t buying the latest “sales figures for Azure”

THE criminals who run Microsoft apparently carry on with their long-running financial misconduct. Maybe they feel like they’re above the law. Maybe they feel shameless about it under the current president, who is himself known for con jobs and other things…

“Is he belatedly realising that Microsoft fakes Azure “success”?”The Microsoft propagandist and chief editor of the ‘defamation mill’ ZDNet (a tabloid of CBS that defames Free software people and whose editor is in bed with Microsoft, having fired Free software-centric writers) has just published “Dear Microsoft: It’s time to disclose some real sales figures for Azure” (it never does). We omit the link.

The opening paragraph says: “Microsoft delivered a blowout fiscal second quarter as its commercial cloud hit a $50 billion annual run rate, but in the end we know just as little about Azure sales as we did before. In other words, we know nothing about Azure sales so let’s put aside the breathless BS until Microsoft gives us some real data.”

We do know that most of it is GNU/Linux VMs. It’s not a business model but an entrapment strategy.

“Microsoft defrauds its shareholders by reclassifying everything “cloud” and pretending that it’s going great.”Is he belatedly realising that Microsoft fakes Azure “success”? Microsoft insiders spoke about this and a former one issued a complaint to the SEC. This is very serious stuff. Microsoft’s fictional market value may be based almost entire on a very major lie.

Microsoft defrauds its shareholders by reclassifying everything “cloud” and pretending that it’s going great. Details? No, thanks. That’s a secret. Ask again later.

It’s corporate cannibalism (competing against oneself or one’s old ‘products’). The people who promote this illusion are part of the fraud and one of them was arrested for pedophilia last year. All in all, be extremely sceptical of what Microsoft claims because even its biggest and loudest fans are now sceptical. Have they been so easily conned and co-opted into relaying lies which shareholders and sometimes pension funds are tied to?

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Gates animation

Systemd Has Become (Almost) an Operating System

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Red Hat at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With a humongous amount of code added and removed (hundreds of thousands of lines per year) the freedom to study the source code becomes almost moot (too much in one place and changing far too fast)

The freedom to study 1.2 million lines of source code? Too Damn High

Summary: StrongSwan on Debian 10 (Buster) is hard; systemd isn’t helping, it’s mostly getting in the way and as it turns out this is part of a much broader problem introduced by Red Hat’s system-wide “D”isruption

“BUSTER” is great! It really is. Well done, Debian team! What a great operating system! Far better than anything which comes out of Microsoft and Apple. I even installed on it all the available desktop environments (bar GNOME). They work. They work very, very well. Polish is noteworthy.

But with claims of perfection no room is left for improvement, so this is going to be a rant. Not about Debian. Not about Red Hat (now IBM), either.

This rant will be focused on one project alone. It’s the project one isn’t meant to be criticising (without risk of retaliation of some kind). This project probably stole took a lot of my time (hence not many articles in Techrights lately).

First of all, let’s be clear that Debian 10 works and I am generally happy with many things about it (almost everything worked perfectly out of the box), but when things don’t go smoothly, they can be downright distressing and almost impossible to diagnose/debug/resolve.

I think that the views of Bruce Perens have been clear (when he spoke about it at the end of last year). He focused on reliability aspects. Purely technical aspects.

One thing I’ve long noticed about systemd is that any system with it takes ages to boot and shut down — something I’ve experienced only since systemd was put there by default (the time it takes isn’t slightly longer — we’re talking about something like 4 times longer!).

No wonder Chromebooks don’t use systemd…

One could go make oneself coffee while rebooting a machine with systemd… and still be back to an almost ready system.

But never mind the coffee breaks. Those take only minutes. When things do not work as expected, they can end up taking hours or days to fix.

Consider StrongSwan. I’ve already spent about 6 hours on this (net time, putting aside distractions). I finally got to the point where I can either get only to the VPN’s internal realm or the ‘outside world’ (not both). I spoke to the developers about it as the subject is very scarcely documented on the Web; there are hardly any Web pages about it (like a HowTo for StrongSwan on Debian 10).

It’s hard to debug. Here’s some fun with StrongSwan:

strongswan debug

And StrongSwan entries in the log:

strongswan log

Does that say what goes wrong? No. Nowhere.

When using older systems I was at least getting some error message showing somewhere, but systemd is truly disruptive to what one already knows. Debian is not Red Hat, but it adopted a massive piece (blob?) of IBM/Red Hat and now needs to grapple with it.

I never had to spend so much time — with help from technical networking people — just to set up something reasonably simple.

Judging by what I see online, not only do other Debian users have had similar issues in recent years; those same issues are inherited ‘downstream’ and by recent versions of Ubuntu and its derivatives. I could cite about half a dozen examples. At times you see reports from entire companies that have issues related to this.

At the moment I have something that almost works, but I still lack complete and clear documentation to explain what I’ve done so far to almost make it work. It has been rather chaotic an experience.

/home/ will soon be conquered by systemd, maybe /var/log/ too (so producing the above will require yet more learning and retraining, maybe coping with new bugs as well).

Whatever one thinks of systemd, it’s hard to make or form a fully informed opinion because systemd is vast and it touches almost everything in the system. Maybe it’s great and innovative, but the disruption it has caused is very much real and it’s hard to believe anyone but Red Hat (now IBM) shareholders will profit from it. Those shareholders probably don’t use GNU/Linux themselves, certainly not on their desktops/laptops — a form factor they almost certainly don’t care for as “there’s no money on it!” (ask the Linux Foundation how many people in it even use the operating system).

Special gratitude and credit goes out to @thermicorp (who helped me in the process).

Why I’m Optimistic About Free Software (Although I’m a Pessimist by Nature)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 2:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free Software Movement (FSM) advocates have much to celebrate

Beer

Summary: The rise of Arvind Krishna (couldn’t possibly be overstated a piece of news in GNU/Linux circles) is a good sign for GNU/Linux while Microsoft gradually moves away from its entryism-type strategy (it failed miserably; it just didn't work)

THERE are several recent developments that tell me we’re ‘winning’ (not a phase that I like, mostly because who tends to use it). First of all, last week IBM put Red Hat's CEO in a position of great responsibility, a sort of “second in command”. IBM isn’t going away; its history with the government is well documented (many governments worldwide; it’s ugly at times) and if it puts its weight behind GNU/Linux, expect major things to come. Over the past decade or so, under misguided IBM management, Apple became a strategic partner of IBM and patents were brought back from the warehouse to the litigation department. Will that stop? Time will tell. Fedora could certainly used a boost, surely at the expense of all that patent shakedown. Ginni is out and Manny (their litigation zealot) hasn’t been seen anywhere for a long while (and I watch these things very closely). He used to badmouth 35 U.S.C. § 101 and push for software patenting at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as well as American courts.

“It can tell us every hour of the day that it “loves Linux” but even 5 years down the line (after hearing it a thousand times) nobody will believe Microsoft.”So far this year Microsoft has mostly kept off the “Linux” news; their ‘googlebombing’ campaigns likely make them more enemies than friends (it is annoying actual users of GNU/Linux, who wish to get away from Microsoft). Are they coming to realise this? Every week I check carefully also “open source” feeds; Microsoft and GitHub are hardly visible in these anymore (maybe a third of the volume I measured last year). The way I interpret that is, Microsoft and GitHub are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Those were billions of dollars wasted; it’s just another CodePlex. There was a little hype at first, at the expense of operations (GitHub operates at a loss by giving the services gratis, hoping the business model will just ‘miraculously’ appear).

Those who meticulously enough follow the news and the trends in news coverage will certainly be able to affirm the above. I could put it in more numerical/quantitative terms, but that would take a lot of time. The short story is, Microsoft’s strategy has been costly and it seems to be failing. Even Microsoft knows that. It can tell us every hour of the day that it “loves Linux” but even 5 years down the line (after hearing it a thousand times) nobody will believe Microsoft.

As a side note, Marius Nestor left Softpedia some weeks ago (apparently leaving it to the anti-Linux Microsoft tyrants, notably Bogdan Popa) and went on to establish 9to5Linux, an excellent news site which we recommend. Who said journalism is dead? It’s just evolving. 9to5Linux is very credible (so far).

Optimism in my personal case now relies a great deal on what IBM will show in weeks/months to come. “Krishna joined IBM in 1990,” according to Wikipedia, “rising to become senior vice president for IBM’s cloud and cognitive software. He is credited as leading IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat for US$34 billion in 2018.” Now he has Jim on his side. Go IBM, go? But remember that GNU/Linux and Free software aren’t the same thing (many critics would point out that systemd threatens the freedom to study and modify code for numerous reasons). As someone has just put it in Forbes: “Red Hat came under fire a few years ago by many technology experts for predatory approaches to facilitate vendor lock-in to their services. With their recent acquisition by IBM, some of those concerns have risen again.”

IBM probably wants something like a monopoly (at least on some parts in Linux).

So why the optimism? Because GNU/Linux typically begets software freedom. GNU/Linux users generally dislike or are ‘allergic’ to proprietary software. That’s one of several reasons why Microsoft’s “Charm Offensives” failed to ‘charm’ — so to speak — its opposition. Historically, IBM supported GNU/Linux and it has much better ‘karma’; this is going to pay off.



YouTube link

“A pessimist is a man who looks both ways when he crosses the street.” ~Laurence Peter

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~Winston Churchill

“An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight… the truly wise person is colorblind.” ~Albert Schweitzer

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 02, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:02 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Free Software (as in Copyleft/GPL) Will Eventually Win for the Same Reasons GNU/Linux Did

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 1:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘old guard’ is merely ‘buying time’ for itself (at great expense, e.g. loss-making GitHub for $7.5 billion in Microsoft stock, which is grossly overvalued based upon sheer financial misconduct)

The night's fog
Their proprietary software is up in flames, but they hope we won’t smell the smoke

Summary: The “OS war” may be over (Linux — typically with GNU — as de facto standard in most technical sectors including Microsoft's), so the war on this inevitable paradigm change has shifted to licensing and GitHub is a major attack vector

THE FREEDOM of Free (libre) software is not so simple a concept to grasp. It is further complicated by intentionally misleading media that conflates freedom with all sorts of other things, which is why the word "rights" is preferred by some. Several betrayed Microsoft partners are begrudgingly coming to grips with the difference between “Open Source” and freedom. Microsoft is trying to swallow the competition and so-called ‘liberal’ licences (unlike so-called ‘resctrictive’ licences, surely a misnomer) enable that. They’re basing proprietary malware (and spyware) such as “Edge” on such code.

“Microsoft is trying to swallow the competition and so-called ‘liberal’ licences (unlike so-called ‘resctrictive’ licences, surely a misnomer) enable that.”When Richard Stallman went to Microsoft to give a talk (a few weeks before the media ‘canceled’ him) he stressed the importance of helping GPL/GNU (or copyleft in general) at GitHub. Microsoft managers have told me how much they dislike such licences; they intend to discourage them in GitHub (which is itself proprietary software) and Microsoft-connected firms which keep telling us — sometimes through the media — that GPL is ‘dying’ are in fact basing it on GitHub primarily (as if any project that isn’t controlled by Microsoft does not exist and should not be counted).

“Microsoft managers have told me how much they dislike such licences; they intend to discourage them in GitHub (which is itself proprietary software) and Microsoft-connected firms which keep telling us — sometimes through the media — that GPL is ‘dying’ are in fact basing it on GitHub primarily (as if any project that isn’t controlled by Microsoft does not exist and should not be counted).”“Here are the suggestions I gave to Microsoft,” Stallman wrote. “Publicly take back Microsoft’s attacks on copyleft made in the 2000s. Ballmer called the GPL a “cancer”. Allchin called it “un-American”.”

Based on my conversations online (e.g. in Twitter) with Microsoft managers, none of that has changed. They advocate BSD-type or MIT licences and they’re eager to use their control of GitHub to push towards proprietary software (with “openwashing”-themed marketing). Do not for a second believe that Microsoft has become any ‘softer’. Its strategies against the inevitable rise and domination of Free software have evolved. Removing Stallman was just a little milestone along the way for them. I personally find it rather ironic and sad that as a ‘reward’ for his talk — an extension of an olive branch so to speak (even at Microsoft’s own back yard!) — Stallman had his name tarnished by Microsoft-aligned media which needed to distract from Bill Gates connections to pedophilia — the real MIT scandal. Money can buy narrative. It often does when the media is owned by few very rich people.

“People sooner or later witness the great deceit, as even Microsoft ‘partners’ have. Let’s welcome them to our fold.”Stallman and I still talk sometimes. He will be giving a talk here in England “between mid-Feb and mid-March.” I am a pessimist by nature — like he is — but I am very optimistic about software freedom because our story and our mission is a lot more attractive for far more people. Sure, few greedy executives loathe software freedom, but they cannot mobilise millions of people, not for long anyway. People sooner or later witness the great deceit, as even Microsoft 'partners' have. Let’s welcome them to our fold.

When I started advocating GNU/Linux about 20 years ago (as a teenager) it wasn’t certain that GNU/Linux would take over the world. It faced a lot of dangers even before the SCO lawsuit. Half a decade before the Novell/Microsoft patent deal (in effect the start of the patent war on GNU/Linux — a war which covertly persists to this day). Two decades ago not many people and not many companies participated in Free software development; but today it is pretty much the norm. Even Microsoft was forced to pretend that is is participating (even if all the major products are proprietary). Microsoft loses money in GitHub (in an effort to control and police the competition) and may also (still) be losing money in Azure according to Microsoft insiders. This is not sustainable. Microsoft’s strategy is a late effort to salvage what’s left of its ‘crown jewels’. WSL was a miserable failure. Doing a “E.E.E.” on something that is largely GPL-licensed is exceptionally difficult.

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