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02.06.20

Links 6/2/2020: South Korea’s Shift to GNU/Linux, Vista 10 Bricks Itself Again, RawTherapee 5.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • South Korea To Switch From Windows 7 To Linux

      Last May, South Korea had announced that all of its government computers would be switching from Windows to Linux following Window 7’s end-of-life. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft’s most popular Windows 7 operating system was officially declared dead.

      With the end of technical support for Windows 7, starting end of this year, the South Korean government will be switching the computers used in its central government, local governments, and public institutions to Linux-based operating systems.

      The operating systems planned by the government are Cloud OS, Harmonica OS, and TMAX OS, which are based on Linux. Currently, the country’s Ministry of Defense is already using Harmonica OS while the postal service is testing TMAX OS.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Even With A $199 Laptop, Clear Linux Can Offer Superior Performance To Fedora Or Ubuntu

        The latest in our benchmarking fun with the $199+ Motile M141 laptop is seeing how well Intel’s Clear Linux performs on it in relation to Ubuntu and Fedora.

        While Ubuntu Linux was about 15% faster than the default Windows 10 installation on this AMD Ryzen 3 3200U notebook, it’s possible to get even faster performance by loading up Clear Linux on it. We are used to covering Clear’s exciting performance capabilities on high-end hardware, but even for this low-end laptop with an AMD processor, Intel’s performance-optimized open-source operating system still did wonders.

      • The Linux Setup – Steve Best, The Art Directed Journal

        Why do you use Linux?

        I have used Linux in varying capacities since 2004. I use Linux for all the stereotypical reasons. It’s fast, secure, and free. I’m not against Microsoft or Apple, but I like to use what works. Right now desktop Linux is what works for me. I have found that with my current hardware set up, Windows is just a bit too much in terms of system requirements to be anything other than frustrating. This is an older piece I wrote, which explains my “why” for Linux more in-depth.

        What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?

        I am currently using elementary OS (5.1).

        What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?

        I use Pantheon, which comes default on elementary. It is actually one of the main reasons I use elementary. It is fast, fluid, and it makes my old hardware run like new.

        What one piece of Linux software do you depend upon? Why is it so important?

        I have come to rely greatly on Code, which is the default code editor on elementary. It is very lightweight, but yet extremely feature-filled. It is another of the main reasons I use elementary. Anything else I can do on my iPhone.

      • Yet another Windows 10 update is causing problems

        Crashes and the blue screen of death are by far the most common problems that users are complaining about with the optional update, but it’s certainly not the end of the story. Over on the Microsoft Community site, there is a growing list of posts from disgruntled Windows 10 users.

        As well as BSoDs, some people say they are experiencing very slow boot times after installing KB4532695, while others complain of non-functioning audio or Bluetooth.

        There are also users who have problems with their displays, some who are unable to power up their computers, and some who have issues with BitLocker.

        Uninstalling the update seems to get things back to normal, but this means you’ll have to put up with the previous set of problems that it was supposed to fix.

    • Server

      • Docker knits together Hub stats, says Pulls over 8 billion

        Docker wants the world to know that it’s still riding the waves following the offloading of its Enterprise business last year and has issued some insight from its container registry to prove it.

        The first batch of figures from the Docker Index showed that there were 8 billion pulls on the Docker Hub “in the past month”, compared to 5.5 billion a year ago. We’re presuming the past month refers to January.

        Fleshing things out a little more, there were 6 million repositories on Hub, with 5 million users and 2.4 million desktop installations, the vendor said. The total number of pulls on Hub stands at 130 billion – presumably since the hub was launched in 2014.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Django Riffs, a podcast for learning Django

        I’ve started a podcast! The podcast is called Django Riffs, and my goal is to help beginners learn how to use Django. You can find the show at djangoriffs.com or check iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get podcasts.

        Each episode of the podcast will be a topical exploration of one facet of the Django web framework. With many years of Django under my belt, I believe I have the experience to help beginners on their journey into learning Django. More experienced Djangonauts may benefit from a refresher on the subjects that we cover.

      • 2020-02-05 | Linux Headlines

        On-premises classics move to the cloud, why Tor is building its own packages, and a great update for a beloved command-line app.

      • FLOSS Weekly 565: Weaviate

        Weaviate allows you to find the data that you’re looking for fast and reliable, but it also allows you to index the data based on its meaning. It helps to automatically classify data based on the meaning of the data, even if your data contains complex branch-specific language. Weaviate can organize the data according to your wishes, 100% automated.

      • mintCast 327.5 – Doppelganger

        In our Innards section, we talk Linux Mint’s new Doppelganger with Joshua Peisach (@ItzSwirlz) from Ubuntu Cinnamon (@UbuntuCinnamon).

        Some listener feedback and “check this out.”

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 843

        kubernetes, containers, frameworks, davinci resolve, distros

      • What We Love About Linux | Choose Linux 28

        Valentine’s Day is nearly here so it’s time to talk about why we love Linux and open source. Nothing is perfect though, so we also touch on a few areas that we feel could be improved.

      • Archived Knowledge | BSD Now 336

        Linux couldn’t duplicate OpenBSD, FreeBSD Q4 status report, OPNsense 19.7.9 released, archives retain and pass on knowledge, HardenedBSD Tor Onion Service v3 Nodes, and more.

      • Going Linux #385 · Listener Feedback

        Apple is to blame for our website insecurity! Paul has a couple of concerns about Linux Mint after listening to Destination Linux, we hear more about EULAs, and Zorin, and more about Orca. John wants to migrate his mail from Windows to Linux, Ken asks about VPNs and password managers, and James provides more hidden gems.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux kernel 5.4 LTS will be supported until December 2021

        Released on November 24th, 2019, Linux kernel 5.4 is a great release that introduces a kernel lockdown feature, initial support for Microsoft’s exFAT file system, a new lightweight, read-only file system called EROFS, support for new AMD GPUs and APUs, such as Navi 12 and 14 GPUs, Arcturus GPUs, and Renoir APUs. It also adds initial support for Intel Tiger Lake GPUs.

        Other noteworthy features of the Linux 5.4 kernel series include the virtio-fs driver for sharing file systems between the host and virtual machines, support for Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoCs, namespacing support for kernel symbols, dm-clone for live cloning of block devices, fs-verity for detecting file modifications, and improved app memory management on Android.

      • Linux 5.4.18

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.18 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

      • Linux 4.19.102
      • Linux 4.14.170
    • Benchmarks

      • Intel’s Clear Linux Is Outperforming Ubuntu 20.04 —On AMD Hardware

        Looking for a Linux distribution that’s performance-optimized for your AMD processor? It may already exist, and it’s called Clear Linux. That’s right, Intel’s Clear Linux. In a recent battery of benchmarks performed on a $199 laptop from Walmart, Ubuntu proved 15-percent faster than the default Windows 10 installation, but then Clear Linux blew both Ubuntu and Fedora out of the water.

        Phoronix ran a comprehensive benchmark suite on the US retailer’s dirt-cheap Motile M141 laptop which retails for $199. The laptop is powered by a modest AMD Ryzen 3200U processor with built-in Vega 3 graphics and 4GB of RAM.

        The 50+ tests pitted Fedora 31, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 against Intel’s Clear Linux. Clear Linux wins 78-percent of the benchmarks, despite being purposefully optimized for Intel CPU architecture.

      • Firefox 72 vs. Chrome 80 Browser Performance On Ubuntu Linux With AMD Ryzen

        Given this week’s release of Google Chrome 80, here are fresh benchmarks of Chrome 80 against Firefox 72 on Linux plus also a run with Firefox’s WebRender option being enabled. This round of tests was under an Ubuntu 20.04 snapshot with AMD Ryzen processor and AMD Radeon VII graphics.

        For those wondering how the Chrome versus Firefox performance is standing today on the Linux desktop, these are the very latest numbers plus a secondary run with MOZ_WEBRENDER=1 for activating WebRender in the graphics/DOM relevant tests.

        Via the Phoronix Test Suite various popular browser benchmarks were run via Selenium/WebDriver automation.

    • Applications

      • RawTherapee v5.8

        Software should be installed through your distribution’s package manager.

        If RawTherapee 5.8 is not yet available in your package manager, you can use the AppImage:

        Download it.
        Make it executable: chmod u+x RawTherapee_5.8.AppImage
        Run it: ./RawTherapee_5.8.AppImage

      • RawTherapee 5.8 Released! How to Install it in Ubuntu 19.10

        RawTherapee 5.8, cross-platform raw photo processing system, was released a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.10, Linux Mint 19.x.

      • RawTherapee v5.8 Can Recover Photo Detail ‘Lost to Lens Blur’

        Cross-platform open source RAW processing tool RawTherapee has a new release out — and if you’re a keen photographer, it sounds like an essential update.

        RawTherapee v5.8 is the latest stable version of the free photo editor, and the first to be released this year (2020). The update introduces support for CR3 data (on cameras that support it), plus improved handling for camera models, DCP dual-illuminated input profiles, and better memory usage.

        But the “big new feature” in this update is the addition of a new Capture Sharpening tool. This, RawTherapee developers say, helps ‘recover detail lost to lens blur’.

        “[Capture Sharpening] takes place right after demosaicing, and as it works in linear space it is not prone to haloing. Capture Sharpening in combination with Post-Resize Sharpening allows for detailed and crisp results,” the RawTherapee team say of the feature.

        RawTherapee is free, open source software available for Windows, macOS and Linux.

      • Best Open Source VPN For 2020 – 5 Choices To Consider

        We’re living in times where internet privacy could soon become a myth with companies putting in their best foot to get hold of our data for advertising and other purposes.

        Thankfully, we still have VPNs to browse the internet anonymously. However, the recent case of one of the most popular VPNs falling prey to hackers further complicates the issue.

        So what’s the solution? Open source VPN. We’re not saying that open source VPNs aren’t prone to hacking but as the reputation of open source products precedes, we can consider these to be safer than closed source VPNs.

        One of the benefits of using an open-source VPN client as compared to a custom VPN is the fact that all the source code of the VPN apps is public, which ensures that the company isn’t hiding anything from you. Open source VPNs use SSL/TLS protocol for encryption.

      • Choqok 1.7.0

        Long time no see, Choqok users!

        First of all Choqok has a new and shiny website. Kudos to Carl Schwan for taking care of the theme!

        To me, version 1.7.0 was meant to be released more than one year ago, while I just released it today.

        The main reason of the delay (a part from lack of time) is because I wanted 1.7.0 to be bullet proof (spoiler: it’s not).

        I wanted Choqok 1.7.0 to have full Mastodon support, proper media attachments and a lot more.

        Let’s try to start somewhere. With this version I want to close a Choqok era and prepare us for the next one. Stay tuned!

      • Cockpit 212 and Cockpit-podman 13

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 212.

      • BleachBit 3.2.0

        When your computer is getting full, BleachBit quickly frees disk space. When your information is only your business, BleachBit guards your privacy. With BleachBit you can free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn’t know was there.

        Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean thousands of applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Steam hitting nearly 95 million ‘monthly active’ users and other Steam news

        Valve are talking a lot more lately, actually telling us what’s been going on and what some of their plans are. In their latest blog post, they had plenty to share.

        A nice recap of what they’ve been up to, which started off with a small announcement on how they’ve increased their monthly active user count to “nearly 95 million”, meaning they added close to 5 million new monthly active users over last year. Using the current operating system figures from the Hardware Survey, that could put the number of monthly active Linux users at around 855,000.

        That’s not all, they said revenue actually made by developers was up “year over year” and the last sale in 2019 was the most successful they’ve ever done. So even with competition heating up from Epic Games, game streaming and more it doesn’t seem to have affected Valve much overall.

      • Fast-paced free-moving rogue-lite ‘ScourgeBringer’ out now and it’s damn good

        Flying Oak Games might have done the unthinkable here, they may have dethroned Dead Cells in my heart with ScourgeBringer.

      • Unitystation, a cross-platform remake of Space Station 13 has a first public build up

        Space Station 13 is something of a classic, released way back in 2003 on the BYOND service. It’s being remade with Unity to have a more modern experience, as well as being cross-platform.

        The team doing Unitystation just put out the first Public Alpha. Not only that, all the code is available on GitHub under an open source license. It requires Unity to build, so there’s still a bit of a barrier but I still think it’s great it’s being made in the open.

      • You can test the huge “Nether Update” for Minecraft in the latest Snapshot

        Mojang are busy bees working on a massive update to Minecraft, mainly focusing on expanding The Nether and you can test out this big update in a brand new Snapshot.

        Minecraft Snapshot 20w06a, the first pre-release for the 1.16 update went out yesterday adding in two entirely new biomes for The Nether with the Crimson Forest, Warped Forest and Soulsand Valley. There’s also a ton of new Nether blocks, a new high-level material called Netherite is in that lets you upgrade diamond gear, Hoglin mob is in and more.

      • Raze – a new open source fork of EDuke32 backed by GZDoom tech

        Late last month to coincide with the 24th anniversary of Duke Nukem 3D, the EDuke32 fork Raze was announced.

        What’s the point of this then, what does it do? They say it’s a fork of EDuke32 that’s “backed by GZDoom tech” and it combines together EDuke32, PCExhumed, NBlood, and RedNukem all under a single package. Right now, they said their main focus is on usability “and actually being able to PLAY the games without frustration”.

      • UAlbion is an open source game engine for the 1995 classic RPG ‘Albion’

        Yet another classic game is being kept alive on modern systems thanks to open source. UAlbion was pointed out to us recently, as a game engine for Albion the 1995 classic from Blue Byte Studio. When originally released, it was highly rated by critics and a lot of people still love it today.

      • The creator of Pony Island is back with a strange narrative-infused deck-builder ‘Inscryption’

        Daniel Mullins Games (Pony Island, The Hex) announced their latest game that’s been in development for over a year. It’s called Inscryption and it’s a narrative focused, card-based deck building roguelike.

        They’re calling it their “latest mind melting, self-destructing love letter to video games” and it blends together a lot of genres. This isn’t a standard roguelike, it’s also pulling in escape-room style puzzles and psychological horror “into a blood-laced smoothie”. Well, that’s certainly one way to get my attention.

      • 2.5D multiplayer military shooter ‘Soldat 2′ announced – yes it’s a proper sequel

        Today, Michal Marcinkowski of Transhuman Design officially announced a sequel to the classic 2D side-view multiplayer action game Soldat.

        The good news is that a Linux version is confirmed and they said it will be available “for Windows/Mac/Linux as soon as it is ready”. It seems they’re going with the same basic recipe as started with Soldat, only expanding it in every way they possibly could with their plan to have Soldat 2 as a “powerful platform for custom created content”.

      • City-building god sim ‘The Universim’ enters Beta, full release this year

        After a long road since the Kickstarter in 2014, Crytivo’s city-builder that mixes in some god sim elements The Universim is now considered to be in Beta with a huge update.

        Not only that, they’ve also said that all the systems they need for the full game are in, although plenty of content is not in the current build while they finish it all up. So it will be releasing in full and out of Early Access later this year.

      • Collabora’s FOSDEM videos are up, including one on putting Linux games in Containers on Steam

        In a recent update to the Linux Steam Client, the ability to run Linux games inside a special container was added in. At the FOSDEM event, Collabora consultant Simon McVittie who works on helping Valve with the Linux steam-runtime gave a talk on it.

        The talk goes over a brief bit of history on the different versions of the steam-runtime, which is definitely interesting for any developers looking at Linux support and for gamers who perhaps don’t entirely understand much about it. This includes the problems with it and from there they go into info about “pressure-vessel”, the new and experimental Container system.

      • 2.5D multiplayer military shooter ‘Soldat 2′ announced – yes it’s a proper a sequel

        Today, Michal Marcinkowski of Transhuman Design officially announced a sequel to the classic 2D side-view multiplayer action game Soldat.

        The good news is that a Linux version is confirmed and they said it will be available “for Windows/Mac/Linux as soon as it is ready”. It seems they’re going with the same basic recipe as started with Soldat, only expanding it in every way they possibly could with their plan to have Soldat 2 as a “powerful platform for custom created content”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Ships February 2020 Applications Update, Here’s What’s New

          KDE Applications 19.12.2 includes many of the recent application releases, such as KDevelop 5.5, which introduced initial Python 3.8 support and improvements to C++ and PHP languages, Latte Dock 0.9.8 bugfix release, and KMyMoney 5.0.8 with support for check forms with split protocol.

          Also included are the Okteta 0.26.3 Hex editor with a new CRC-64 algorithm for the checksum tool, as well as the Zanshin 0.5.71 todo list tracker and RKWard 0.7.1 front-end to the R programming language, each shipping various improvements and new features to make your life easier.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • elementary OS 5.1 Pushes Out Its First Point Release

          Anyone currently running elementary OS 5.1 won’t need to do anything upon hearing this news as all of the updates within the re-spun .iso have been pushed out as regular system updates. But anyone looking to install elementary 5.1 fresh should use this image. Why? Because it features a stack of security fixes, app updates, and — rather excitingly — the latest hardware enablement (HWE) stack courtesy of Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS.

        • elementary OS 5.1 “Hera” Has a New ISO Release Based on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS

          It’s not usual for elementary OS to get incremental builds of its releases, but thanks to a new release process that helps the development team tag and build ISO images much faster, there’s now a new spin of the elementary OS 5.1 “Hera” ISO release, versioned 5.1.2.

          elementary OS 5.1.2 is based on the Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system release, which means that it ships with the Linux 5.3 kernel that features support for AMD Navi GPUs, as well as for keyboards and trackpads of 2015 MacBook models, and many other hardware improvements.

        • elementary OS 5.1.2 Hera ISO Images Officially Released

          “The release of elementary OS 5.1 Hera marked the first time we built the stable ISO for elementary OS via our new, completely open source pipeline. With the new process, it has become much easier to tag and release incremental builds of the OS, and consequently today we’ve released a new spin of the 5.1 ISO,” Keli Grubb, elementary OS developer, said today.

          The new ISO images obviously come with lots of improvements, including all the updates that were part of the January 2020 release.

          For example, this new version comes with Code 3.2, Terminal version 5.5.1, Files, and System Settings refinements, so using these ISOs for a clean install provides you with the latest release of elementary OS.

      • BSD

        • syslog-ng in FreeBSD ports

          For the past couple of years, syslog-ng was made available as a rolling release. There is a new release roughly every second month containing both new features and fixes for bugs reported for the previous version(s). Each new release receives a dedicated port in the FreeBSD ports tree. They are named based on the version number, for example, syslog-ng 3.25 is available in sysutils/syslog-ng325.
          As we do not want to fill up the FreeBSD port system with syslog-ng releases, older releases are removed from ports regularly. The current policy is that a syslog-ng version is marked as deprecated as soon as a new version is out. Older syslog-ng versions are deleted after about a year.

          Creating a new port for each new release helps to avoid surprises (a new release might accidentally or even intentionally break old features) and it allows the use of a given release indefinitely (“if it works, do not fix it”). On the other hand, you might want to use the latest available version all the time. Of course, before each upgrade, it needs a bit of extra testing. Additionally, there is also a sysutils/syslog-ng metaport available, which pointsat the latest stable syslog-ng version in ports. Most of the time this means the latest syslog-ng version but if a serious problem is identified on other platforms, then we might keep pointing the metaport at the previous version.

      • Arch Family

        • Tests for the Arch Linux infrastructure

          The Arch Linux DevOps team uses a combination of Ansible and Terraform to manage their hosts. If you want to have a look on their infrastructure repository, you can do so via this link: https://git.archlinux.org/infrastructure.git/tree/

          The combination of Ansible and Terraform works quite well for Arch Linux, the only subject we are missing is proper testing. I want to present a small proof of concept on how we could do tests in the future. My approach uses molecule for testing. Molecule utilizes Vagrant and Docker for running the Ansible Playbooks.

          Arch Linux provides images for both of them, since quite a while now. These projects are called Arch-Boxes and Archlinux-Docker. Therefore it makes sense to reuse them infrastructure tests.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Eclipse and Handling Content Types on Linux

          One of the ways we achieve nice desktop integration on Linux by packaging Eclipse in RPMs or as a Flatpak application is by providing a desktop entry file (using the Freedesktop Desktop Entry Specification) to allow desktop environments to list Eclipse in their application launchers and menus.

          In this file we may also declare what content types Eclipse supports so that we also get nice integration with file managers. This results in users discovering that files may be edited with Eclipse before they even start up their IDE. For example, if you install the Flatpak version of Eclipse, you may now see this nice context menu entry when you right-click on Java, Maven POM or Gradle Build files…

        • Red Hat kicks off long goodbye for CoreOS Container Linux

          Red Hat has called time on CoreOS Container Linux and urged users to begin moving to another operating system “as soon as possible” before the lights go out completely in September.

          Presumably Red Hat would prefer that migration to be to Fedora CoreOS, which it has designated as the “official successor” to the lightweight operating system and which officially came out of preview last month.

          According to Red Hat, it is “built specifically for running containerized workloads securely and at scale” and “combines the provisioning tools and automatic update model of Container Linux with the packaging technology, OCI support, and SELinux security of Atomic Host.”

          The end of life announcement says that “effective immediately, the CoreOS Container Linux listing on AWS Marketplace will no longer be available to new subscribers.” Existing subscribers will be unaffected – for now.

        • Max Katz shares how to lead developer relations teams within a large enterprise

          One fascinating aspect of developer relations is how a team’s goals and practices can differ between startups and large companies. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Max Katz, who joined IBM as a developer relations (DevRel) Team Lead. Max has experience working at various startups, leading teams at both small and large companies. Our conversation dives into Max’s experience with leading DevRel teams within large companies and his views on the differences in developer relations between startups and large enterprises.

        • OCS 4.2 in OCP 4.2.14 – UPI installation in RHV

          When OCS 4.2 GA was released last month, I was thrilled to finally test and deploy it in my lab. I read the documentation and saw that only vSphere and AWS installations were currently supported. My lab is installed in an RHV environment following the UPI Bare Metal documentation so, in the beginning, I was a bit disappointed. I realized that it could be an interesting challenge to find a different way to use it and, well, I found it while hacking away for some late night fun. All the following procedures are unsupported.

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4.2 IPI on OpenStack 13: All-in-one setup

          Months ago, a customer asked me about Red Hat OpenShift on OpenStack, especially regarding the network configuration options available in OpenShift at the node level. In order to give them an answer and increase my confidence on $topic, I’ve considered how to test this scenario.

          At the same time, the Italian solution architect “Top Gun Team” was in charge of preparing speeches and demos for the Italian Red Hat Forum (also known as Open Source Day) for the Rome and Milan dates.

        • The three principles of successful cloud-native development

          To succeed with digital transformation, enterprises must learn how to modernize and develop applications much more rapidly and frequently. That requires a paradigm change in how applications are created. This new approach, cloud-native application development, should adhere to the following three principles:

          Choice: Choice enables enterprises to be more flexible and agile, and is required on several levels. First, business applications should work on any infrastructure (on-premises, virtualized, and private or public cloud), from any place, and with any provider. Second, enterprises should have an IT infrastructure that lets them use best-of-breed solutions, specifically the best price, best technology, and best innovation capabilities.

          Open source: Open source provides a collaborative way for the development community to design and create software. Solutions get the features that the community wants and are available to everyone at any time. Proprietary solutions can come with vendor lock-in that sacrifices long-term benefits like agility and innovation. Today, ground-breaking open source software for cloud is being developed by highly motivated and creative individuals. I believe it’s hands-down the best software and technology for the cloud-native approach.

        • How vDPA can help network service providers simplify CNF/VNF certification

          In this post we are going to discuss the challenges network operators currently face around the ongoing certification of containerized network functions (CNFs) or virtual network functions (VNFs), and how those challenges can be addressed with virtio data path acceleration (vDPA). vDPA is an innovative open and standards-based approach for CNF/VNF network acceleration.

          If you are interested in understanding the certification problem, how acceleration is done today through proprietary vendor SR-IOV and how vDPA provides the same capabilities openly solving the certification challenge, please read on!

        • OpenShift 4.3: New Improved Topology View

          The topology view in the Red Hat OpenShiftConsole’s Developer’s Perspective provides a visual representation of the application structure. It helps developers to clearly identify one resource type from the other, as well as understand the overall communication dynamics within the application.

          Launched with the 4.2 release of OpenShift, topology view has already earned a spotlight in the cloud-native application development arena. The constant feedback cycles and regular follow-ups on the ongoing trends in the developer community have helped in shaping a great experience in the upcoming release. This blog focuses on a few features in the topology view added for OpenShift 4.3.

        • Why IBM Choosing Arvind Krishna Over Jim Whitehurst Was Wise

          It was widely expected that Red Hat’s Jim Whitehurst would be Ginni Rometty’s successor. Instead, the job is going to Arvind Krishna — and that’s probably a good thing.

        • Fedora Update 2020 Weeks 1–5

          It looks like it’s another month since the last update. This long span seems to be becoming a trend, but I had good reason, being on vacation for much of this one. Since, as mentioned in the last update, the home Internet was down for a bit, that meant a bit of catch-up after both of these periods. Additionally, this was also the period in which the Mass Rebuild for Fedora 32 was run, and I took a little break for that. So this last period was a bit of an up-and-down as far as packaging work goes.

          The Mass Rebuild found about 20 or so of my packages that failed to build. Some of these were false positives, and some of them are due to changes in GCC 10, notably Fortran handling of rank mismatches and the switch to -fno-common for C. For R-Rmpfr, a patch was already written upstream, which I simply had to backport. For R-deldir, I wrote a patch and sent it upstream, and it’s in the latest release.

        • Introducing: fedora-update-feedback

          I was recently able to finally finish my Rust bindings for the Bodhi REST API. And since fedora-easy-karma is still unable to submit feedback from the terminal, I thought I could put the new Bodhi bindings to good use, and implement an alternative. Enter: fedora-update-feedback.

          With the latest releases of fedora-update-feedback, everything should be in place for providing feedback for updates installed from updates-testing. Updates that are still in the pending state but were installed from koji directly can optionally be queried, as well. Features of the program include providing karma and / or a comment (old fedora-easy-karma features), and attaching bug and testcase feedback (which is a new feature!).

          The project’s README.md file and the –help CLI switch on the binary provide some more detailed usage information.

      • Debian Family

        • Unity 8 + Mir Is Being Packaged Up For Debian

          Debian developer Mike Gabriel in cooperation with the UBports developers continuing to maintain Ubuntu Touch and Unity 8 are working to offer Unity 8 (and in turn, Mir) packages within Debian.

          With the Unity 8 desktop support being revived ahead and with Debian having no good desktop environment for Debian on tablets, Unity 8 and Mir packaging is being prepared for upstream Debian. This in turn will also help Debian derivatives wanting to offer Unity 8 as an option in the future

        • UBports: Packaging of Unity8 Desktop for Debian

          Why Unity8? Because of its convergent desktop feature: Just one code base, usable on a phone, tablet and desktop. Unity8 currently is very well tested on the Ubuntu phone and on various tablet devices. The desktop implementation is lagging a bit behind, but that will be amended soonish, too.

          Why Unity8 for Debian? Because there is no real good solution for tablets in Debian at the moment. If I see this wrong, please correct me.

          Why Unity8 for Debian derivatives? Uploading software to Debian is always the best approach for bringing software into other distributions that are constantly derived from Debian (e.g. just like Ubuntu).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Likely To Ship With Linux 5.4 As Opposed To 5.5

          While the Linux 5.5 is out as stable today and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS isn’t shipping until late April, it looks like they are settling on the use of the Linux 5.4 series, rather than the newer 5.5 and Linux 5.6 would be cutting too close to release anyhow for making this long-term support release.

          The reason developers are targeting Linux 5.4 for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is that the 5.4 kernel is the newest long-term support (LTS) release. With Linux 5.4 being LTS, it will be maintained by upstream longer — until the end of 2021. If Canonical went with Linux 5.5, they would have to carry more of the burden in maintaining and back-porting patches for their kernel build.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Confirms Its Kernel Choice (And Spoiler: It Isn’t the Latest)
        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” Will Ship with Linux Kernel 5.4 LTS

          Development on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS kicked off last year in October, based on the kernel and graphics stack from Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine.” However, a few months later the Ubuntu Kernel Team has bumped the kernel version to Linux 5.4.

          With the Linux 5.5 kernel series out the door in January, many believed that Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will get another kernel bump before the final release hits the streets in April 2020.

          But it won’t happen, because Linux kernel 5.4 is a Long Term Support (LTS) version, which will get maintenance updates until December 2021.

        • Edge AI in a 5G world

          Deploying AI/ML solutions in latency-sensitive use cases requires a new solution architecture approach for many businesses.

          Fast computational units (i.e. GPUs) and low-latency connections (i.e. 5G) allow for AI/ML models to be executed outside the sensors/actuators (e.g. cameras & robotic arms). This reduces costs through lower hardware complexity as well as compute resource sharing amongst the IoT fleet.

          Strict AI responsiveness requirements that before required IoT AI model embedding can now be met with co-located GPUs (e.g. on the same factory building) as the sensors and actuators. An example of this is the robot ‘dummification’ trend that is currently being observed for factory robotics with a view to reducing robot unit costs and fleet management.

          In this webinar we will explore some real-life scenarios in which GPUs and low-latency connectivity can unlock previously prohibitively expensive solutions now available for businesses to put in place and lead the 4th industrial revolution.

        • How to launch IoT devices – Part 2: selecting foundations

          In our last blog on launching an IoT product, we outlined the key steps and problems in the process. We’ve studied over 30 Canonical business cases, project summaries and case studies on how customers who launch IoT devices. Let’s learn from past problems and solutions and kick start your IoT business.

          This blog will accelerate the time it takes to make hardware decisions at the inception of an IoT business. It will then provide software foundations which will scale as your product matures.

        • Design and Web team summary – 5th February 2020

          This was a fairly busy two weeks for the Web and Design team at Canonical. Some of us attended our internal roadmap alignment sprint in Cape Town. These trips are extremely valuable for the Web and Design team as we interact with almost all teams across the company.

        • Building a Java snap by example

          Following up on the previous example of building a rust and C based snaps, I thought we’d take a look at bundling a Java application as a snap. In this example we’ll use an open source game called “Shattered Pixel Dungeon“. It’s a little more complex than some more common snaps, which helps highlight some of the ways we can accommodate tricky-to-snap applications.

    • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • The Two Faces of Open Source: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 5

      The open source software movement has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. Many businesses that once considered open source a threat now recognize its value.

      On the other hand, in spite of increased enthusiasm among enterprises, consumer interest by and large has not materialized.

      With large companies increasingly embracing open source, what does it mean to be a part of the free and open source software, or FOSS, “community”?

      Why have consumers been so slow to adopt open source software?

      Our roundtable of industry insiders tackled those questions during their lengthy virtual conversation on technology trends.

    • Free and Open-Source Software 2020. Top 5 Interesting Facts

      Open-source is taking the world by storm due to its unprecedented ability to unite developers and create a sense of community among programmers. It seems like everyone is ready to embrace the open-source mindset these days because the benefits of such an approach are incomparable to anything we’ve seen before in the IT universe.

      According to the report, almost 80% of companies run part or all of their operations on open-source software, but the figure keeps growing steadily in the last few years. On the other side, a mere 1% of organizations claim that open-source is not strategically important to their overall enterprise infrastructure software plans.

      What makes the new IT trend do important and influential on a global scale? In this post, we will discuss the concept of free and open-source software and show you the top five interesting facts about this phenomenon. Let’s take a look!

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • Brrrlin 2020: a SUMO journal from All Hands

          The intensity an event of this scale is able to build is slightly overwhelming (I suppose all the introverts reading this can easily get me), but the gratification and insights everyone of us has taken home are priceless.

          The week started last Monday, on January 27th, when everyone landed in Berlin from all over the world. An amazing group of contributors, plus every colleague I had always only seen on a small screen, was there, in front of me, flesh and bones. I was both excited and scared by the number of people that suddenly were inhabiting the corridors of our conference/dorm/workspace.

          The schedule for the SUMO team and SUMO contributors was a little tight, but we managed to make it work: Kiki and I decided to share our meetings between the days and I am happy about how we balanced the work/life energy.

          On Tuesday we opened the week by having a conversation over the past, the current state and the future of SUMO. The community meeting was a really good way to break the ice, the whole SUMO team was there and gave updates from the leadership, products, as well as the platform team. This meeting was necessary also to lay down the foundations for the priorities of the week and develop an open conversation.

        • uBlock Origin available soon in new Firefox for Android Nightly

          Last fall, we announced our intention to support add-ons in Mozilla’s reinvented Firefox for Android browser. This new, high-performance browser for Android has been rebuilt from the ground up using GeckoView, Mozilla’s mobile browser engine and has been available for early testing as Firefox Preview. A few weeks ago, Firefox Preview moved into the Firefox for Android Nightly pre-release channel, starting a new chapter of the Firefox experience on Android.

          In the next few weeks, uBlock Origin will be the first add-on to become available in Firefox for Android Nightly. As one of the most popular extensions in our Recommended Extensions program, uBlock Origin helps millions of users gain control of their web experience by blocking intrusive ads and improving page load times.

        • It’s the Boot for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1

          The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol is the de facto means for establishing security on the Web. The protocol has a long and colourful history, starting with its inception as the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol in the early 1990s, right up until the recent release of the jazzier (read faster and safer) TLS 1.3. The need for a new version of the protocol was born out of a desire to improve efficiency and to remedy the flaws and weaknesses present in earlier versions, specifically in TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. See the BEAST, CRIME and POODLE attacks, for example.

          With limited support for newer, more robust cryptographic primitives and cipher suites, it doesn’t look good for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. With the safer TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3 at our disposal to adequately project web traffic, it’s time to move the TLS ecosystem into a new era, namely one which doesn’t support weak versions of TLS by default. This has been the abiding sentiment of browser vendors – Mozilla, Google, Apple and Microsoft have committed to disabling TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 as default options for secure connections. In other words, browser clients will aim to establish a connection using TLS 1.2 or higher. For more on the rationale behind this decision, see our earlier blog post on the subject.

        • FOSDEM, and All Those 20′s

          I’ve been meaning to blog again for some time, and just looked in disbelief at the date of my last post. Yes, I’m still around. I hope I get to write more often in the future.

          Ludo just posted his thoughts on FOSDEM, which I also attended last weekend as a volunteer for Mozilla. I have been attending this conference since 2002, when it first went by that exact name, and since then AFAIK only missed the 2010 edition, giving talks in the Mozilla dev room almost every year – though funnily enough, in two of the three years where I’ve been a member of the Mozilla Tech Speakers program, my talks were not accepted into that room, while I made it all the years before. In fact, that’s more telling a story of how interested speakers are in getting into this room nowadays, while in the past there were probably fewer submissions in total. So, this year I helped out Sunday’s Mozilla developer room by managing the crowd entering/leaving at the door(s), similar to what I did in the last few years, and given that we had fewer volunteers this year, I also helped out at the Mozilla booth on Saturday. Unfortunately, being busy volunteering on both days meant that I did not catch any talks at all at the conference (I hear there were some good ones esp. in our dev room), but I had a number of good hallway and booth conversations with various people, esp. within the Mozilla community – be it with friends I had not seen for a while, new interesting people within and outside of Mozilla, or conversations clearing up lingering questions.

        • Fosdem turns 20

          I’ve been attending Fosdem since 2004 when I was involved with Camino. I got enticed to come by a post of Tristan. On that particular year I got enrolled by Gerv to check a few mac things. I met Patrick who was working on enigmail, and we became friends. I was hooked – and have only missed Fosdem 2015. Over the years I gave talks. I met new people, made friends. 3 years ago I became a volunteer, by accident and ran the PGP key signing party. I enjoyed being a volunteer, it was fun and gave me an orange T-shirt to grow my collection. So the year after I signed up on volunteers.fosdem.org to help clean up on the Sunday evening. It was my first time attending the fosdem fringe (CentOS dojo and Configuration Management Camp).

    • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Neo4j 4.0 major update boosts graph database security, scalability

        The widely used Neo4j graph database got a major update Tuesday with the general availability release of Neo4j 4.0.

        Graph databases enable users to connect data in a contextual way that is different than a traditional relational database. It’s an approach that has been gaining traction across enterprises in recent years as organizations seek to gain more insights from interrelated data. Neo4j was one of the early pioneers in the graph database market with its 1.0 release in 2010 and continuing with a regular stream of updates over the past decade.

    • CMS

      • How Drupal 8 aims to be future-proof

        Thomas Edison famously said, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” This quote made me wonder if “sticking-to-it” is contradictory to innovation; does it make you resistant to change? But, the more I pondered on it, I realized that innovation is fueled by perseverance.

        Before Drupal 8 was introduced, the Core committee had not just promised to innovate; they decided to be persistent. Persistent in continuous reinvention. Persistent in making Drupal easier to adopt—not only by the market but also by developers with various levels of expertise. However, to be able to make Drupal successful and relevant in the long run, a drastic change was needed—a change that would build a better future. For this, Drupal 8 had to dismantle the Drupal 7 architecture and lay a fresh foundation for a promising future. Moving on to Drupal 9 (coming soon) and subsequent versions will now be easy and straightforward.

    • Programming/Development

      • Ruby Team Sprint 2020 in Paris – Day Two

        Day Two of the Ruby Team Sprint 2020 in Paris is over. Again we were able to tackle our main goals. There was a lot of silence as everybody was focused on their tasks. At the end we took an hour to discuss our open topics.

      • Perl / Raku

        • Speeding Up Perl Test Suites & Test2::Aggregate

          I gave a talk at TPC 2019 based on my experiences speeding up the Perl test suite at room/roommate finding service SpareRoom, also serving as an introduction to the – just released at the time – Test2::Aggregate. The talk was a bit too dense, as I had prepared a pretty packed 20 minute presentation, only to realize a couple of days before (newbie speaker) that I had just 15 minutes real time excluding the Q&A. So, some attendees asked me to put up a blog post with the notes etc, and especially more about Test2::Aggregate, which is why I am writing this. I will try to give a longer and more detailed talk about the subject in one of the Perl conferences this summer.

      • Python

        • How key Python projects are maintained

          Jannis Leidel is part of the Jazzband community. Jazzband is a collaborative community that shares the responsibility of maintaining Python-based projects.

          Jazzband was born out of the stress of maintaining an open source project alone for a longer time. Jannis is a roadie, which means he does administrative tasks and makes sure the people in the band can play when they want.

          Jazzband is not his first open source volunteer work—he is a former Django core developer, Django Software Foundation board member, has written many Django apps and Python projects, has been a pip and virtualenv core developer and release manager, co-founded the Python Packaging Authority, and been a PyPI admin. On the community front, he co-founded the German Django Association, served as DjangoCon Europe 2010 co-chairperson, has spoken at several conferences, and for the last year has served as a director and co-communication chair of the Python Software Foundation.

        • 15 Python Libraries for Data Science You Should Know

          Python is one of the most popular languages used by data scientists and software developers alike for data science tasks. It can be used to predict outcomes, automate tasks, streamline processes, and offer business intelligence insights.

          It’s possible to work with data in vanilla Python, but there are quite a few open-source libraries that make Python data tasks much, much easier.

          You’ve certainly heard of some of these, but is there a helpful library you might be missing? Here’s a line-up of the most important Python libraries for data science tasks, covering areas such as data processing, modeling, and visualization.

        • Accessing cache APIs from command line

          In addition to a GUI, Python and REST APIs, it is now possible to access your Zato caches from command line. Learn from this article how to quickly check, set and delete keys in this way – particularly useful for remote SSH connections to Zato environments.

        • Deploying Django Apps to Heroku from GitHub

          Heroku is a popular Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that allows developers to run and deploy applications by availing the infrastructure required in terms of hardware and software.

          This means that we do not have to invest in the hardware and software needed to expose our applications to end-users and this freedom allows us to concentrate on our business logic instead of deployment.

          In this post, we will outline how to deploy a simple Django application to a Heroku pipeline. It targets existing Python developers and assumes a basic understanding of setting up and running a Django application.

        • Create an application with python to record sales

          In the previous article, I have created an application with python to record sales for various items. In this article, I have slightly modified the previous program to remove some errors in the code as well as included a button that will plot the graph for all the item sales during the month of January.

        • How to reset Django superuser password

          It is quite easy to forget the superuser password of your Django application if the Admin part is not used frequently. We can always create a new superuser but that would not be a good idea from the security perspective.

          We can always reset the superuser password of the Django application.

        • AWS EC2 Vs PythonAnyWhere Vs DigitalOcean for hosting Django application

          We have hosted Django applications on AWS EC2, PythonAnyWhere and now on DigitalOcean as well. Here is a brief comparison of all.

        • PyCon US 2020 Tutorial Launch!

          PyCon US 2020 Tutorial Registration is open!

          Tutorial schedule is now available at us.pycon.org/2020/schedule/tutorials. To register, you can add the tutorials to your existing registration or add them to a new registration by using the link on your dashboard.

          Tutorials do sell out quickly, if you are planning to attend be sure to register early.

        • Creating searchable widget dashboards

          Dashboard applications are a popular way to display live data and user controls, whether interacting with APIs or controlling locally attached devices. However, as more controls are added, dashboards can quickly get out of control, making it hard to find the controls you want when you want them. One common solution is to provide the user with a way to filter the displayed widgets, allowing them to zero-in on the information and tools that are important to them right now.

          There are many ways to filter lists, including dropdowns and facets, but one of the most intuitive is a simple, live, search box. As long as elements are well named, or tagged with appropriate metadata, this can be both fast and easy to understand.

          In this tutorial we’ll build a simple search based widget filter, which can be used to filter a custom compound control widget. This could be an app to control the electrical sensors/gadgets around your home. The finished example is shown below —

          The interface includes a search bar with autocomplete, a scrollable region list, and a series of independent custom widgets.

        • Python Command Line Arguments

          Adding the capability of processing Python command line arguments provides a user-friendly interface to your text-based command line program. It’s similar to what a graphical user interface is for a visual application that’s manipulated by graphical elements or widgets.

          Python exposes a mechanism to capture and extract your Python command line arguments. These values can be used to modify the behavior of a program. For example, if your program processes data read from a file, then you can pass the name of the file to your program, rather than hard-coding the value in your source code.

        • The 20 Best Python Books Available Online in 2020

          Python is considered one of the best programming languages in the modern world. It has a vast field of usages like the development of desktop graphical user interface (GUI), apps development, development of websites, development of scientific applications and numeric applications, development of games, etc.

        • Python tutorial: An introduction to the programming language

          Anyone who grew up with C, Java or Perl might perhaps view Python (even the very unconventional community) as a programming language for less gifted developers. This is already unfair, because, in terms of libraries, Python has huge volumes and also offers some very interesting syntactic gimmicks.

          This article assumes that the reader knows another programming language – be it C ++ or Java – and wants to learn more about the specifics of Python. The host should be an AMD 8 core workstation running on Ubuntu 14.04. This does not mean that Python does not exist for macOS or Windows: There is hardly an operating system out there that has to make do without Python.

      • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

      • Rust

        • This Week in Rust 324

          Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn’t know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

  • Leftovers

    • How the World Ends: a Story

      I’m writing this letter to myself. I need to talk to someone, even it is only my own self. I need to believe that what happened was real.

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

      • It’s Farmer v. Monsanto in Court Fight Over Dicamba Herbicide

        Bader Farms claims Monsanto induces farmers to buy dicamba-tolerant seeds.

      • Saugeen Ojibway Nation Has Saved Lake Huron From a Nuclear Waste Dump

        A major victory for Canada’s First Nations has just been won in Ontario. On January 31, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) overwhelmingly voted down the proposed deep geological repository (DGR) for storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive nuclear waste next to Lake Huron. The DGR had long been proposed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), but in 2013 OPG had committed to SON that it would not build the DGR without their support.

      • Musician Seeking ‘Good Publicity’ Shouts He Has Coronavirus on a Plane

        A 28-year-old aspiring musician decided to announce he has coronavirus for an Instagram video.

      • In Spite Of Industry-Backed Disinformation Around Health Care, Largest Nurses Union Mobilizes Voters For ‘Medicare For All’

        In Phoenix, Arizona, Don Ameden lost his job as a driver for a tourist bus service in July 2018 after he spent a month in a hospital following an emergency surgery during a route in California. 

        “I had to get a bus ride back to Phoenix with an open wound from surgery. When I got here, I found out the company let me go,” Ameden shared. 

      • Coronavirus Highlights Need for Paid Sick Leave in the US

        The new coronavirus has spread rapidly around the globe since its discovery late last year in China. It has now infected more than 20,000 people worldwide and killed over 400, prompting travel bans, citywide quarantines and mass hysteria.

      • ‘Nobody knew we were going to Tyumen’ A Russian woman caught up in the evacuation of Wuhan describes life under quarantine

        On February 5, two planes operated by Russia’s Defense Ministry removed 144 Russian nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, delivering them to a facility outside Tyumen for 14 days of quarantine and observation. To learn more about what’s happening in China and how the Russian authorities are bringing people home from Wuhan, Meduza spoke to a woman from Rostov-on-Don who’s been caught up in the evacuation, Nadezhda K. (who asked us not to disclose her full name for security reasons).

      • An algorithm that can spot cause and effect could supercharge medical AI

        Understanding how the world works means understanding cause and effect. Why are things like this? What will happen if I do that? Correlations tell you that certain phenomena go together. Only causal links tell you why a system is as it is or how it might evolve. Correlation is not causation, as the slogan goes.

        Douglas Heaven

      • Dr. Lawrence Palevsky: An antivaccine pediatrician who’s an endless font of misinformation

        Dr. Lawrence Palevsky is a pediatrician. He is also one of the things I detest the most, an antivaccine physician, having appeared in the antivaccine propaganda film disguised as a documentary, The Greater Good; actively spread antivaccine misinformation among the orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County in New York; and has become an active promoter of antivaccine pseudoscience and conspiracy theories to the point where I advocate taking his license to practice medicine away. Recently, I was made aware of a video of him providing “expert” (if you can call it that) testimony before a legislative informational forum in Connecticut, which has been considering removing the religious exemption to the state school vaccine mandate, and it had so much misinformation that it set my teeth to grinding, and when my teeth start grinding my blogging hands get itchy for a keyboard to type out a rebuttal on, particularly given that his testimony is being touted by quack websites.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Ragnarok Ransomware Targets Citrix ADC, Disables Windows Defender

          A new ransomware called Ragnarok has been detected being used in targeted attacks against unpatched Citrix ADC servers vulnerable to the CVE-2019-19781 exploit.

          Last week, FireEye released a report about new attacks exploiting the now patched Citrix ADC vulnerability to install the new Ragnarok Ransomware on vulnerable networks.

          When attackers can compromise a Citrix ADC device, various scripts would be downloaded and executed that scan for Windows computers vulnerable to the EternalBlue vulnerability.

          If detected, the scripts would attempt to exploit the Windows devices, and if successful, inject a DLL that downloads and installs the Ragnarok ransomware onto the exploited device.

        • TurboTax and Others Charged at Least 14 Million Americans for Tax Prep That Should Have Been Free, Audit Finds

          More than 14 million taxpayers paid for tax prep software last year that they could have gotten for free, according to a scathing audit released Wednesday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. That amounts to roughly a billion dollars in revenue for TurboTax maker Intuit, H&R Block and other tax software companies, according to a ProPublica analysis of tax prep fees.

          The audit, which was launched following ProPublica’s reporting last year, explores why so few taxpayers use the Free File program, a public-private partnership between the IRS and companies such as Intuit and H&R Block. Among the reasons, the audit found: the confusing design and complexity of the program and persistently lax oversight by the IRS.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (storebackup), openSUSE (e2fsprogs and wicked), Red Hat (containernetworking-plugins, ipa, kernel, kernel-rt, ksh, and qemu-kvm), Scientific Linux (ipa and qemu-kvm), SUSE (libqt5-qtbase, python-reportlab, and terraform), and Ubuntu (graphicsmagick, OpenSMTPD, spamassassin, and sudo).

          • BurpSuite Tutorial for Beginners

            BurpSuite is a collection of tools to carry out pen testing or security auditing. This tutorial focuses on the Community version, the free one, which features Proxy, Intruder, Repeater, Sequencer, Comparer, Extender and Decoder tools.
            This tutorial shows how to install BurpSuite on Debian, how to setup your browser (in this tutorial I only show how to setup it on Firefox) and SSL certificate and how to capture packets without previous proxy configuration on the target by combining it with ArpSpoof and configuring the Invisible Proxy to listen.

            To begin installing BurpSuite visit and select the Get Community option (the third one) to get BurpSuite for free.

          • Kali Linux 2020.1 overview | By Offensive Security

            In this video, I am going to show an overview of Kali Linux 2020.1 and some of the applications pre-installed.

          • Serious sudo flaw could be exploited to gain root access to Linux systems

            Details of a nine-year-old security vulnerability with the sudo utility found in numerous Unix and Linux based operating systems have been revealed.

            The flaw, which affects the likes of Linux Mint and Elementary OS, could be exploited to give users root privileges on a vulnerable system. Sudo versions 1.7.1 to 1.8.30 are at risk if the pwfeedback option is enabled.

          • Patches to make Sudo utility less open to abuse

            Sudo has weight as “one of the most important, powerful, and commonly used utilities that comes as a core command pre-installed on macOS and almost every UNIX or Linux-based operating system,” said Kumar. Malcolm Owen in AppleInsider also talked about Sudo in general. It has the potential to cause havoc if misused.

            “The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2019-18634, is the result of a stack-based buffer-overflow bug found in versions 1.7.1 through 1.8.25p1,” said Ars Technica. “It can be triggered only when either an administrator or a downstream OS, such as Linux Mint and Elementary OS, has enabled an option known as pwfeedback.”

            In the vulnerable versions, an attacker could take advantage of a pair of separate flaws in order to gain root privileges. The problem was not just a “Mac thing” but AppleInsider made note that the vulnerability was found by an Apple security employee Joe Vennix.

            Decipher: “The risk of exploitation is quite high for systems on which the pwfeedback option is enabled. In order to exploit the bug, an attacker would just need to send a large amount of data to sudo through the password prompt field. The vulnerability results from two separate errors in the sudo code.”

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel-rt, qemu-kvm, spamassassin, and Xorg), Debian (ruby-rack-cors), Fedora (glibc), openSUSE (ImageMagick), Oracle (ipa, kernel, and qemu-kvm), SUSE (systemd), and Ubuntu (exiv2, mbedtls, and systemd).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • How To Protect Your Phone Number On Twitter

              The bad news is that Twitter has disclosed a failure to protect users’ phone numbers, again. The good news is that Twitter users can take steps to protect themselves.

              Earlier this week, Twitter announced it had discovered and shut down “a large network of fake accounts” that were uploading large numbers of phone numbers and using tools in Twitter’s API to match them to individual usernames. This type of activity can be used to build a reverse-lookup tool, to find the phone number associated with a given username.

            • How Twitter’s Default Settings Can Leak Your Phone Number

              Twitter has publicly disclosed a security “incident” that points to long-standing problems with how the service handles phone numbers. Twitter announced it had discovered and shut down “a large network of fake accounts” that were uploading large numbers of phone numbers and using tools in Twitter’s API to match them to individual usernames. This type of activity can be used to build a reverse-lookup tool, to find the phone number associated with a given username.

              It turns out at least one of those people uploading massive lists of phone numbers was a security researcher, whose findings TechCrunch reported on in December.

            • Google Photos accidentally sent people’s private videos to strangers
            • Facial Recognition Developer Told Cops To Test Out The Software By Running Searches On Friends And Family

              More information about super-sketchy facial recognition software developer, Clearview, is being made public… none of it good.

            • Email politics, security, and why you got an empty newsletter

              Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecommunications regulator, is on the warpath against privacy focused European email service providers. Last week, it ordered Russian internet service providers to block ProtonMail and StartMail.

              [...]

              With a backup MX hosted on an unblocked domain, email servers located in Russia can still deliver emails. Delivery may take longer than normal as the sender’s email server will need to try the blocked servers first and then fall back to the backup MX. This is also good for redundancy in case of service interruptions at Mailbox.

              I already have a self-hosted email server used for the blog’s newsletter. I didn’t want to manage two email servers. Instead, I reconfigured the newsletter email service to also act as the backup mail server for my domains.

              While I was busy reconfiguring my domains and email server (it only took about ten minutes), news hit about a remote code execution vulnerability in OpenSMTPD. OpenSMTPD is the open-source email server software I’m using. I needed to double-check on something with my configuration and Bing helpfully put the news of the vulnerability at the top of the results.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Final Opportunity Zone Rules Could Raise Tax Break’s Cost

        We’ve seen similar dynamics play out in other areas of the 2017 tax law, with lobbyists using the regulatory process to secure significant new tax breaks that mainly benefit multinational corporations and very affluent owners of certain kinds of businesses.

      • As Momentum Builds for Paid Family Leave, Much Work Remains

        The FAMILY Act represents the best chance to pass a national paid family leave program that provides new benefits to families without asking them to sacrifice their financial futures. 

      • Why Economics is an Impossible Science (In One Paragraph)

        In a word, Economics is an Impossible Science because by its own definition the determining conditions of the economy are not economic: they are “exogenous.” Supposedly a science of things, it is by definition without substance, being rather a mode of behavior: the application of scarce means to alternative ends so as to achieve the greatest possible satisfaction—neither means, ends, nor satisfaction  substantially specified. Exogenous,” however, is the culture, all those meanings, values, institutions, and structures, from gender roles, race relations, food preferences, and ethnicities, to technical inventions, legal regulations, political parties, etc., etc. The effect is a never ending series of new theoretical breakthroughs, each an Economics du jour worthy of a Nobel prize, consisting of the discovery that some relevant little bit of the culture has something to do with it. Only to be soon superseded and forgotten since the continuous development and transformation of the culture, hence of the economy, leaves the Science in its wake. An impossible Science, by its own premises.

      • Technology, Patents, and Inequality

        It is popular for people, especially economist-type people, to claim that technology has been a major driver of the increase in inequality over the last four decades. This view is very convenient for those on the winning side of the inequality divide, since it implies that the growth in inequality was largely an organic process independent of government policy. Inequality might be an unfortunate outcome, but who would be opposed to the advance of technology?

      • ‘America in a State of Denial About the Level of Poverty in This Country,’ Says Ocasio-Cortez

        “We do not want to recognize the level of poverty in this country because if we did, it would be a national scandal.”

      • The Shame of Child Poverty in the Age of Trump

        The plight of impoverished children anywhere should evoke sympathy, exemplifying as it does the suffering of the innocent and defenseless. Poverty among children in a wealthy country like the United States, however, should summon shame and outrage as well. Unlike poor countries (sometimes run by leaders more interested in lining their pockets than anything else), what excuse does the United States have for its striking levels of child poverty? After all, it has the world’s 10th highest per capita income at $62,795 and an unrivalled gross domestic product (GDP) of $21.3 trillion. Despite that, in 2020, an estimated 11.9 million American kids — 16.2% of the total — live below the official poverty line, which is a paltry $25,701 for a family of four with two kids. Put another way, according to the Children’s Defense Fund, kids now constitute one-third of the 38.1 million Americans classified as poor and 70% of them have at least one working parent — so poverty can’t be chalked up to parental indolence.

      • Investigative journalists find mansions owned by former Russian defense minister’s family in wealthy neighborhood outside Moscow

        The family of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov owns two countryside estates in the village of Zhukov outside Moscow in the posh Rublevka neighborhood, according to investigative journalists at the website Proekt, who say the properties make up more than 150 acres together. Proekt estimates that the real estate is worth at least 1.2 billion rubles ($19.2 million).

      • How Capitalism’s Structural and Ideological Crisis Gives Rise to Neo-Fascism
      • Dutch Ruling a Victory for Rights of the Poor
      • AT&T Keeps On Firing Employees Despite Claims The Trump Tax Cut Would Boost Job Growth

        It seems like only yesterday that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was promising on live TV that if Trump followed through on his tax cuts, the company would dramatically boost investment, in the process creating thousands of new jobs. Not “entry-level jobs,” mind you, but at least “7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in the ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year.” Each $1 billion in new investment, AT&T insisted, would result in 7,000 such jobs. “Lower taxes drives more investment, drives more hiring, drives greater wages,” Stephenson said.

      • Strategic Policies from Abroad Could Ease US Housing Crisis

        Austrian policymakers take the approach that society should provide every citizen with decent and affordable housing. Federal spending and an expansive housing stock have allowed sixty percent of Vienna’s citizens to live in subsidized homes. These buildings include common areas to encourage neighbourly interaction and shared childcare facilities. City governments regulate rent with households spending an average of 21 percent of their monthly income on rent. By contrast the average American family spends 37 percent each month and nearly sixty percent in places like New York City.

      • The Public Banking Revolution

        Since the banking crisis of 2008, the public has had concerns about commercial banks and the nature of banking. Each year billions of dollars of public funds are deposited in private (Wall Street) banks. It’s not the government that keeps our money, it’s private banks. Typically, these public funds are not invested in local communities or states. These funds end up in high return investments like the fossil fuel industry, pipelines, private prisons, etc. A growing divestment movement is now focused on divesting government programs, such as public employee pension funds, for example, from big banks. The question then is where to put them. Economic justice activists say the answer is public banking.

      • Do Davos Billionaires and Bankers Really Believe That There Won’t Be Any More Booms and Busts?

        Can runaway booms descend into busts absent monetary tightening by the world’s central banks? I pose this question in the wake of an extraordinary exchange on January 22 at Davos between Bloomberg editor-at-large Tom Keene and Bob Prince, co-CIO of Bridgewater Associates, in which the latter posited the notion that “we’ve probably seen the end of the boom-bust cycle.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘Both Disgusting and Pure Right-Wing Genius’: Trump Awards Bigoted Radio Host Rush Limbaugh Medal of Freedom

        “You gotta hand it to Trump. He knows how to keep the base onboard.”

      • Midnight In Washington
      • ‘Trump Is Getting a Little Bit Nervous,’ Says Sanders Campaign as GOP Plots Anti-Bernie ‘Victims of Socialism’ Videos

        “The president’s campaign is quickly realizing that the only way to attack someone who spent his entire life standing with the working class is to lie.”

      • The Dramatic Fall of Chile as Latin America’s Neoliberal Role Model

        After the outbreak of the most intense and massive social protests ever recorded in the history of Chile, on November 16 the government and most political parties signed an agreement to restore peace and public order and initiate a process to draft a new constitution.

      • ‘Not a Good Night For Democracy’: Sanders Releases More Internal Results Hinting at Iowa Victory, But Laments Caucus Chaos

        “I don’t know how anybody declares victory before you have an official statement as to an election result, so we’re not declaring victory.”

      • Progressive Outrage Boils Over as ‘Utter Trainwreck’ of Iowa Caucus Continues

        “It is genuinely scandalous that the Iowa Democratic Party has only released 75% of the results to the caucus.”

      • ‘Trumpian’: Biden Campaign Under Fire for Questioning Legitimacy of Iowa Results Showing Candidate in Distant Fourth Place

        “This is not going to help anyone trust the process.”

      • Left Election Strategy: Lesser Evil or Independent Left?

        A Response to Michael Albert’s “Battle Strategically Everywhere”

      • Bolton’s Battle With Government Censorship

        Former national security adviser John Bolton is about to learn that the government’s pre-publication review process is little more than a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech rights.  Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” which exposes the perfidy of the Trump administration’s orchestrated extortion of the Ukrainian government, is scheduled for release in March 2020.  The book is already proving more damaging to Donald Trump than the 448-page Mueller report, and rivals the attention given to the CIA whistleblower’s account of Trump’s efforts to bribe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.  But there are indications that the government will demand the deletion of significant portions of the manuscript, and will do its best to delay publication as long as possible.

      • “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”

        At one point when he felt under siege by possible indictments and impeachable offenses, the president whined petulantly, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”

      • It’s the Turnout, Stupid: The Real Story of Iowa Caucus

        My caucus in Iowa City had 60 fewer people than four years ago. Tepid turnout will re-elect Trump for sure.

      • The Holocaust, the BBC and Antisemitism Smears

        Senior BBC news reporter Orla Guerin has found herself in hot water of an increasingly familiar kind. During a report on preparations for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, she made a brief reference to Israel and an even briefer reference to the Palestinians. Her reporting coincided with Israel hosting world leaders last week at Yad Vashem, its Holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem.

      • Boris Johnson’s Brexit Got “Done”

        Formally, BoJo’s Brexit got “done” at 11pm on Friday, 31 January.

      • 280+ Protests Planned Across US as Senate GOP Prepares to Acquit Trump

        With the Senate expected to vote largely along party lines to acquit President Donald Trump on Wednesday, thousands of people are planning to take part in demonstrations at more than 270 locations across the U.S. to condemn Republican senators for turning what was supposed to be a trial into a “cover-up” by refusing to allow witnesses and additional documentary evidence.

      • 270+ ‘Reject the Cover-Up’ Protests Planned Across US as Senate GOP Prepares to Acquit Trump

        “The Senate has failed to hold Trump accountable, so the American people will.”

      • Who Exactly are Biden and Buttigieg’s Campaign Money Bundlers?

        Beginning in the fall, the Revolving Door Project was one of a handful of voices drawing attention to Democratic primary candidates’ failure to release the names of their most important fundraisers. In op-eds, newsletters, and across other forums throughout the fall we repeatedly made the case that this consequential information could not stay hidden.

      • How Corporate Media Make Pete Look Like He’s Winning

        If you turn to the New York Times for an update on the excruciatingly and inexplicably slow counting of the votes from the Iowa caucuses, you find what looks like a bar chart showing that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg did approximately 50 times better than any of his next closest rivals:

      • The Senate Has Spoken: US Presidents Can Abuse Power Without Consequence

        Trump was acquitted Wednesday on a largely party-line vote not because the Senate believes he didn’t conspire to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for political favors, but because the Republicans have now explicitly decided they don’t care that he did this. Having decided to block the testimony of any witnesses who might make it too politically uncomfortable for such a cavalier attitude to stand in the court of public opinion, Mitch McConnell’s senators decided to speedily wrap up the trial and vote to acquit in the face of overwhelming evidence of Trump’s wrong-doings. As a result, the “so what?” defense has won, and Trump has shed one of the last restraints on his tyrannical presidency. The consequences will ricochet through the body politic for years, perhaps generations, to come.

      • Democrats’ Wimpy Impeachment Has Made Trump Stronger Than Ever

        “Many Democrats fear that Trump may be laying an impeachment trap,” Stephen Collins wrote for CNN last May. “It’s possible that the wider political divides get, the more Trump benefits. The spectacle would help him charge up the political base he needs to turn out in droves in 2020 with claims their 2016 votes were being stolen by political elites.”

      • Dems and GOP Draw From Same Playbook on Immigration and Foreign Policy

        President Trump delivered his 2020 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. The speech reprised many of the themes of Trump’s 2016 campaign, including demonization of immigrants. We continue our discussion with Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept, and Roberto Lovato, author of the forthcoming book Unforgetting: A Memoir of Revolution and Redemption. About 10 Democrats skipped the speech and a few more walked out while it was in progress, but Lovato says the Democratic establishment doesn’t differ with Trump on many key issues. “Nancy Pelosi may have ripped the speech, but they both draw from the same playbook on issues like immigration, foreign policy, corporate domination. Trump knows that,” Lovato says.

      • Donald Trump’s State of the Mighty Me

        A speech not worth the paper Nancy Pelosi tore apart.

      • Journalist/Politician/Corporate Coziness on Display at Snowflake Garden Brunch

        Every now and then, reporters pull back the curtain a bit and reveal the incestuousness of the Beltway media/politician nexus. The New York Times‘ Michael Grynbaum  (2/3/20) did this in his piece this week, “The National Media Mob Descends on Iowa,” describing the charity brunch thrown by a “Washington impresario,” the Iowa version of an annual event that Grynbaum describes as “a required stop for reporters, editors, network news anchors and political operatives.”

      • Vowing No Repeat of Iowa Caucus Fiasco, Nevada Dems Say They Won’t Use Secretive Shadow Inc. App

        “There is no doubt that Nevada should disregard this app,” Jeff Weaver, senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, said ahead of the announcement.

      • Dude, Where’s My Vote?

        The caucuses are a carnival of disenfranchisement, especially this year.

      • Elizabeth Warren Is Inviting a Crackdown on the Left

        Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently introduced a plan to stanch the flow of “disinformation” during and after the 2020 election season. Citing alleged foreign interference in the 2016 election, the proposal outlines potential requirements for social media companies and actions she would take as president to prevent “inauthentic” messaging, from more stringent laws to data-sharing schemes.

      • Developer of Faulty Iowa Caucus App Was Entrenched in Democratic Establishment

        The final results of Monday’s Democratic Iowa caucuses remain unknown, with 71% of precincts reporting the final tallies of the first 2020 presidential contest. Senator Bernie Sanders is leading in the popular vote, while former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a narrow lead of 26.8% of precincts — the state delegate equivalent traditionally used to determine the winner — followed by Sanders with 25.2%. Sanders won the popular vote in both the first and second rounds of voting, followed by Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Former Vice President Joe Biden placed fourth, followed by Senator Amy Klobuchar. It is unclear when full results will be released and how the reporting problems will impact the Democratic race. Democratic officials cited problems with a newly created app built by a firm called Shadow that was supposed to help precincts report results. The Democratic Party in Nevada was also planning to use the app during its upcoming caucuses but abandoned that plan on Tuesday. We speak with Lee Fang, a reporter with The Intercept. His new piece is titled “New Details Show How Deeply Iowa Caucus App Developer Was Embedded in Democratic Establishment.”

      • Trump Turned the SOTU Into MAGA Reality TV, With Limbaugh as a Guest Star

        Weirdly enough, Tuesday night wasn’t the first time a president delivered a State of the Union address in the middle of his impeachment trial. Back in 1999, Bill Clinton delivered one in the same circumstances. It’s hard to believe the timing would work out almost exactly the same way but it did.

      • Sleaze Forever: The State of The Ceaseless Pilfering of the Union
      • The Real State of the Union

        8. CLIMATE: losses related to climate change have already reached new highs in the US, which has suffered more property damage than any other country – reaching some 1.5% of GDP in 2017.

      • Live From the Iowa Caucuses: In Search of Lost Time and Votes

        This is the third article of periodic reports from the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, and perhaps beyond, should the republic last until South Carolina and Nevada. This was written as the results were being released in Iowa.

      • After Iowa, Does Bernie Have What It Takes?

        In his most famous work, The Prince, Machiavelli compared the behavior of a successful new prince to a fox and a lion: “The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.” Cersei Lannister, whom George RR Martin wrote as a fictional new prince, similarly argued that “in the game of thrones you win or you die.” For Bernie Sanders supporters, the true debacle of the Iowa caucus meltdown was not the failure of the Shadow app, but rather their candidate’s failure to claim victory when he had the chance. Instead he unwisely ceded that role to the corporate candidate extraordinaire, Pete Buttigieg. It stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump, who for all his faults would not have hesitated to declare victory, and who would have energized his supporters with the statement and cowed the party establishment.

      • Retail Politics, Iowa Style

        While watching the travesty in Washington the last few weeks I decided that my best action was to volunteer for change. The closest and most immediate opportunity was working for Bernie in Iowa. I signed up for canvassing in nearby Dubuque for caucus day. I received a request from a Bernie staff person on the east coast to instead be a precinct captain for Bernie. The Iowa caucus system has people gather in different corners of a room, each campaign’s captain having the job of reading a short speech and trying to persuade undecideds to join their group. Most caucuses have a second round, where those supporters of a candidate who do not reach a predetermined viability threshold can move to another group for the final tally.

      • Trump’s SOTU Speech Bristled With Fascist Politics

        The ghost of Orwell has never been far from Trump’s misleading rhetoric, outright lies, dehumanizing invective and punitive policies. All of the latter were on full display in Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address. Trump’s speech moved between the kind of absolutes one expects from demagogues, including comments that ranged from how great America is (overlooking how millions live in poverty and millions have lost health care under Trump) and how the U.S. economy is in an unprecedented boom (when in reality it grew at its slowest pace since 2016). Trump’s speech also included outrageously false claims about the president’s supposed support for people who have preexisting conditions and protection of Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, when in reality he has taken steps to weaken or eliminate protections for patients with preexisting conditions, and he has proposed cutting funding for all three social programs.

      • How Parnas and Fruman’s Dodgy Donation Was Uncovered by Two People Using Google Translate

        Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have attained notoriety for their parts in the Ukraine mess. They’re both Soviet-born U.S. citizens who worked closely with the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, serving as emissaries in the campaign to oust then-U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and press Ukraine’s government to investigate Joe Biden’s son.

        But Parnas and Fruman also exemplify the shattering of norms when it comes to the influence of big money in politics during the administration of President Donald Trump — and that’s the subject of this week’s episode of “Trump, Inc”.

      • Journalistic “Objectivity” Is Being Weaponized to Silence Oppressed People

        “Objectivity is in itself a slippery slope that can actually lead to not telling the truth, or requiring journalists to withhold statements of fact,” says Lewis Raven Wallace. It was this statement which ultimately led to Wallace being fired from Marketplace in 2017. What was it about this statement that resulted in the public radio show’s leadership feeling the need to take this action? The answer to this is laid out in Wallace’s new book, The View From Somewhere, where the concept of journalistic objectivity is examined closely in an era of Trumpian doublespeak and “alternative facts.”

      • Over 60 Green Groups Call on House Dems to Pass Sweeping Worker Rights-Boosting PRO Act

        “There is no way to build a greener, more inclusive economy without strong, thriving labor unions.”

      • Trump Reportedly Compiling Nixonian ‘Enemies List’ as He Seeks Revenge for Impeachment

        “McConnell hasn’t even held the final vote to launch the post-checks and balances era, and already the would-be authoritarian is escalating his abuses of power.”

      • The Iowa Caucuses App Had Another Problem: It Could Have Been Hacked

        A glitch in the smartphone app used to count and report votes from individual precincts continues to delay results from Monday’s Iowa caucuses. But a closer look shows that the app had a potentially graver problem that apparently did not come into play: its vulnerability to hacking.

        The IowaReporterApp was so insecure that vote totals, passwords and other sensitive information could have been intercepted or even changed, according to officials at Massachusetts-based Veracode, a security firm that reviewed the software at ProPublica’s request. Because of a lack of safeguards, transmissions to and from the phone were left largely unprotected.

      • How California Will Be Stolen From Bernie Sanders (Again)

        After watching Iowa devolve into chaos like a car crash in slow motion, I regret to inform you that California will be stolen from Bernie Sanders.

      • Impeachment Is Over, But Don’t Despair

        The Senate failed to do their job—but ordinary citizens can’t fail to do ours.

      • Split Senate Acquits Trump of Impeachment

        President Donald Trump won impeachment acquittal Wednesday in the U.S. Senate, bringing to a close only the third presidential trial in American history with votes that split the country, tested civic norms and fed the tumultuous 2020 race for the White House.

      • Sorry, Republican Senators: Alan Dershowitz’s Theory of Impeachment Is Total Bullshit

        No matter how much Dershowitz explains and obfuscates, a legitimate motive simply cannot magically immunize unconstitutional conduct against impeachment.

      • Senate Republicans Acquit Trump in ‘Cowardly and Disgraceful Final Act to Their Show Trial’

        “Make no mistake about it, this was nothing more than an attempted partisan coverup for the shameless and illegal conduct of Donald Trump.”

      • Bernie’s Success
      • Romney to Vote to Impeach Trump, Cites ‘Appalling Abuse of Public Trust’

        President Donald Trump is on the verge of acquittal by the Senate, bringing an end to only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history in a vote at the start of the tumultuous campaign for the White House.

      • The New York Times’ Impeachment Coverage Is a Total Farce

        Watching the actions of the Trump administration through the lens of the New York Times’ coverage has been by turns dumbfounding, disheartening and infuriating. While the white nationalists running our government have rolled out one attack after another on civil rights, civil liberties, the independence of the judiciary, procedural democracy, human rights laws and planetary survival, the “paper of record” has offered a soothing translation of these threats into the familiar language of Beltway politics—an anesthetizing stew of “he said, she said” false equivalences that juxtaposes claims and lies by Trump and Trumpsters with statements by others, often statements of fact, with no indication of the veracity of either side; an intense dedication to avoiding referring to anything as racist; and a general, unspoken pretense that Trump is just another president, which for the Times means extending to him its ever-reliable commitment to legitimating and stabilizing power. Never mind how dangerous this regime might be to the rest of us.

      • A Working Theory of What Went Wrong in Iowa

        The electronic system used by the Iowa Democratic Party for the first time to compile its 2020 presidential caucus results was only counting “partial data,” IDP Chairman Troy Price said in a statement Tuesday morning, giving the most specific clue about what went wrong.

      • Iowa Fiasco Raises Stakes for New Hampshire, Where Sanders Could Win Big

        Monday night’s collapse of the caucus vote-counting process in Iowa has amped up the spotlight on—and political consequences of—what will happen in the New Hampshire primary.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Twitter Moves To Quash Fishing Expedition Subpoena For Info On Devin Nunes Cow By Devin Nunes’ Lawyer In Unrelated Case

        Last week, we wrote about the details of how it appeared that Devin Nunes’ lawyer, Steven Biss, appeared to be using his subpoena power to try to unearth the identity of the parody account for “Devin Nunes Cow” in a totally unrelated case. I’m kind of amazed that no one else has really picked up on this story, because it’s crazy. Biss has been representing Nunes in his various (highly questionable) defamation lawsuits, including the very first, which was focused on trying to expose a couple parody accounts that mocked Nunes, a Congressional Representative who really needs to grow some thicker skin. We’ve highlighted how much of Nunes’ activity in that case in particular appears to be a fishing expedition to find out the identities of some of his critics.

      • Woman Threatens Rep. Steve King With A Lawsuit For Using A 12-Year-Old Meme On His Facebook Page

        No matter what your political leanings are, this is just a very dumb thing to do. (via BentFranklin in the Techdirt Chat window):

      • Twitter Suspends Reporter For ‘Posting Private Info’ That Is Merely Internal Deutsche Bank Email That Could Implicate Trump

        Once again, I need to refer you to Masnick’s Impossibility Theorem, on how it is effectively impossible to do content moderation at scale well. The latest example? Twitter suspended the account of Scott Stedman, the founder of the investigative news site, Forensic News. A few weeks back, Forensic News had a pretty incredible scoop, highlighting how a Russian government-controlled bank, Gazprombank, sent over $500 million to the American subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, at about the same time that very same subsidiary was lending nearly $400 million to Donald Trump. Deutsche Bank has run into trouble for its handling of Russian government-connected money, including its role in helping the Russians launder money.

      • Myanmar Again Cuts Rakhine State’s Internet

        Myanmar authorities have issued a surprise order reinstating the shutdown of mobile internet traffic in five townships in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine and Chin States. Added to four other Rakhine State townships where mobile internet service has been blocked since June 2019, this leaves nine townships unable to get online, causing an information blackout that affects approximately one million people.

        The Ministry of Transport and Communications’ directive to internet and telecommunications providers cited security requirements and public interest as the reasons for re-imposing the shutdown, which had been lifted in the five townships in September. The Norwegian Telenor Group issued a statement to inform the public of the directive, and said it was seeking further clarification from the ministry.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • ‘These Are New Tactics Being Employed to Silence Journalism’
      • Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

        Dear Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,

        We wish to nominate Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, in honour of their unparalleled contributions to the pursuit of peace, and their immense personal sacrifices to promote peace for all.

        The year 2020 began with Julian Assange arbitrarily detained and tortured, at risk of death according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and over 100 medical doctors, for revealing the extent of harm and illegality behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 2020 began with Chelsea Manning in her secound year of renewed imprisonment for resisting to testify to a Grand Jury empaneled against Wikileaks, after having also been imprisoned seven years previously and tortured, following her disclosures that were published by Julian Assange. 2020 began with Edward Snowden in his 7th year of asylum for revealing illegal mass surveillance, in defence of the liberties underpinning revelations such as those made by Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange.

        The Collateral Murder video, provided by Chelsea Manning in 2010 and published by Wikileaks, honoured the dignity of those slain needlessly in war. It gave names and identities to victims whose humanity had been kept from public view, capturing the last moments of life for a young Reuters photojournalist, Namir Noor-Eldeen. Namir, who was killed in cold blood while on assignment in Baghdad, was described by his colleagues as among “the pre-eminent war photographers in Iraq” with “a tender eye that brought humanity via quiet moments to a vicious war”.

        For humanising Namir and his driver Saeed Chmagh, a father of four, slain in front of two children who sat strafed with bullets in a van, Julian Assange faces 175 years in a US prison under the 1917 Espionage Act, and Chelsea Manning is currently detained without charge.

        As well as humanising innocent victims of war, in 2010 Julian Assange and Wikileaks exposed the means by which public abhorrence of killing is overcome, and peace subverted, by psychological manipulation and strategic messaging.

        In March 2010 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) produced a memorandum, subsequently published by Wikileaks, entitled, Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-led Mission-Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough.

        At the time of the memorandum, 80 percent of French and German publics opposed greater troop deployment to Afghanistan. The memo expressed concern that public “indifference might turn into active hostility if spring and summer fighting results in an upsurge in military or Afghan civilian casualties.” To overcome public opposition to the “bloody summer” ahead, the memorandum advised tailoring messages for French audiences that “could tap into acute French concern for civilians and refugees,” given that French “opponents most commonly argued that the mission hurts civilians.”

        “Appeals by President Obama and Afghan women might gain traction” the memorandum added.

        With respect to the legalities of peace, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have contributed to the historical record on the International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 2002 under the Rome Statute of 1998, to promote the “peace, security and well-being of the world.” The ICC’s mission was to end impunity by prosecuting “the worst atrocities known to mankind”: war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.

        When the ICC’s enforcement capabilities were taking shape in the years following its inception, cables published by WikiLeaks exposed bilateral deals between nations under Article 98 of the Rome Statute, in which states placed themselves outside the ICC’s jurisdiction. The Article 98 deals undercut the ICC’s power to prosecute war crimes and other internationally illegal obstacles to a peaceful world order.

        Later, in 2013, when Edward Snowden revealed the warrantless masssurveillance of citizens and officials worldwide, he exposed an immense global network with the capability to intercept and obstruct peace proponents such as Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Edward Snowden’s revelations have contributed to international investigations, transparency initiatives and legislative reforms around the globe.

        These are but a selection of the contributions that Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden have made towards pursuing and defending lasting peace.

        Together, their actions have exposed the architecture of abuse and war, and fortified the architecture of peace. In return, all three individuals have been forced to sacrifice the very liberties, rights and human welfare that they worked so hard to defend.

        A Nobel Peace Prize for Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden would do more than honour their actions as individuals. It would ennoble the risks and sacrifices that those pursuing peace so often undertake, to secure the peace and freedom for all.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • CBP Lied About Iranian-American Detentions, Leaked Memo Suggests

        If this memo is authentic, CBP has been caught in a lie.

      • ‘Big Win for Justice’ as Calif. Gov. Newsom Pardons Late Civil Rights Icon Bayard Rustin

        In addition to the posthumous pardon for Rustin, Newsom announced a new initiative for clemency for others who fell victim to the state’s criminalization of the LGBTQ community.

      • HBO Picks Up Russell Simmons Rape Documentary After Oprah Bails Out

        On the Record, a documentary that explores sexual assault and rape allegations made against Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons, has been bought by HBO. 

      • Rejecting ‘Profoundly Disturbing’ Logic That Criminalizes Empathy, Judge Reverses Convictions of Border Humanitarians

        This is the second time in recent months that a federal judge has granted a faith-based defense raised by volunteers prosecuted for providing aid to migrants traveling through the dangerous Arizona desert.

      • Rebuilding the past How a single Trotskyist activist restored a dilapidated public housing block in Perm to its former socialist glory

        In the late 1920s to early 1930s, a socialized town (sotsgorodok) sprang up around the Motovilikha military equipment plant in Perm, Russia. It boasted three dozen buildings in the avant-garde architectural style that were supposed to become a symbol of a new proletarian way of life. Decades later, these blocks had become a neighborhood of dilapidated houses for the underprivileged. Then, socialist activist Anastasia Maltseva came along and changed everything. For 10 years, she took officials to court and battled with contractors, local drunks, and neighbors who disagreed with her approach to improving the neighborhood. Now, her block looks like a fashionable, gentrified space, albeit with red flags and socialist slogans. Journalist Mikhail Danilovich recounts how Maltseva managed this — and why this little leftist utopia even found a place in its heart for Aleksey Navalny.

      • Solving bias

        Bias is to AI as rust is to steel. It corrupts decisions, leaving us unsure of the integrity of our systems. Lurking within data and algorithms, these hidden prejudices skew AI results in unexpected and undesired directions. Next month in San Francisco, EmTech Digital explores the practical approaches to addressing bias in algorithms and data. 

      • Second California Court Tells State AG To Stop Screwing Around And Release Police Misconduct Records

        A California appeals court has just handed Attorney General Xavier Becerra a second defeat in his quest to keep police misconduct records out of the public’s hands.

      • 117 Rights Groups Offer Roadmap to Transform US Criminal-Legal System

        The prison bureaucracy has grown over the last four decades, and it will not vanish overnight. Even if we reduced our incarcerated population by eighty percent, we would barely reach the US incarceration rate of 40 years ago. The result is a criminal-legal bureaucracy that denies millions of people the opportunities, legal equality, and human rights that they deserve, even as it fuels the world’s highest incarceration rate. States must stop criminalizing poverty and start building systems that use treatment and social services to address our social problems.

      • We Live in a Disintegrating World

        My favourite slogan about Brexit over the past three years is written in large white letters on a red gable wall in the Tigers Bay district of Belfast. It was painted before the referendum of 2016 and, below a union flag, reads: “Vote Leave EU. Rev 18:4.”

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Patent law’s approach to AI: finding the way forward

            There is no language in either of those stipulations precluding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from granting patents that credits human inventors alongside any AI software, platform or algorithm used in their efforts. Right now, it is impossible to predict whether the USPTO would do such a thing, but it is not specifically prevented.

            The USPTO, realizing its need to address AI issues vis-a-vis patent protections better, announced a public comment period on the issue October 2019, closing it in mid-December. Further guidance on the issue could come sometime in 2020, so American inventors and businesses working heavily with AI should prepare for all possibilities on that front.

          • EPO publishes reasons for rejecting AI as inventor on patent application

            These patent applications appear to have been filed as a “test case” as part of the Artificial Inventor Project, which is seeking intellectual property rights for the output of artificially intelligent machines. This is the first skirmish as part of a campaign to recognise the output of AI, not least given the substantial role AI now plays in innovation and selection of inventions.

            The patent applications had previously been rejected by both the UK and US patent offices on similar grounds: whilst the novelty and inventive step requirements appeared to have been fulfilled, the fact that an AI, and not a human, had been named as the inventor, was a bar to patentability. Indeed, the UK Intellectual Property Office has now issued updated guidance to the effect that any patent application which names an AI as the inventor will not be accepted, as the inventor must be “a person” and this is “required by law”.

            Whilst it is unlikely that AI inventorship will be recognised by patent offices in the immediate term, it is interesting to note that the EPO observed that AI systems “at present” have no rights, and that “no … law has [yet] been determined which would recognise… an AI… as an inventor”. The EPO did not go so far as to say that it would be impossible for any AI to be recognised as an inventor in the future.

      • Copyrights

        • Disney’s Licensing Dogs Charge Underserved School District A Third Of Fundraiser Money For Playing ‘Lion King’ DVD

          When it comes to posts about copyright issues, I cannot say for certain that Disney is the most frequent commonality in those posts, but it just… feels like it’s probably true. After all, Disney has played such a heavy role in making copyright the over-extended, profit-driven, legal-cudgel bastardization of what copyright law was originally meant to be. Mickey Mouse himself is cited as the reason for copyright extensions in the past, and the company has been notorious in its zealous jealousy in protecting its copyrights.

        • Retired Police Officer Wins $47,777 Judgment Against Copyright Troll

          A retired police officer has won his case against Strike 3 Holdings, a known copyright troll that failed to properly back up its piracy claims. A federal court in Seattle ordered the company to pay $47,777 in fees and costs. According to the order, Strike 3 had no evidence to prove that the man had pirated its films.

        • Huge French Torrent Site YggTorrent Suffers Domain Suspension

          France’s largest torrent site YggTorrent has lost control over its main domain. According to the site’s operators, YggTorrent.ws was suspended by the domain registrar without providing additional information. Given that Alexa reports that YggTorrent is one of the most-visited websites in the whole of France, the disruption is likely to affect millions of visitors.

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