An FSF That Rejects Its Founder Would Not Remain FSF As We Once Knew It

Posted in FSF at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“You want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. [...] So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

FSF over time

Summary: It’s important to keep the FSF focused on its goals; that won’t be achieved by expelling those who insist on these goals

Links 24/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC3, Netrunner 20.01, Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organisations Announced

Posted in News Roundup at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Why Huawei Without Google Is Not The End, But The Start Of Something New [Ed: Huawei already puts GNU/Linux on some major products]

        Last year, Huawei strapped in for a rough ride when US President Donald Trump called for a trade ban on the Chinese tech giant.

        Huawei was placed on the US’ Entity List since May 2019, stopping them from doing business with American companies unless granted approval by the US Government.

        The move essentially cut Huawei off from their US supply of parts, such as the latest chips by Intel and Qualcomm — but the greatest impact felt was definitely losing access to Google’s licensed software, apps and services.

        The one question boggling fans and users was what would happen when future Huawei phones come without Google’s Android and Google Mobile Services (GMS) like Gmail, Google Chrome and Google Maps?

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Reading logs, Collision, and open source trailers

        In this episode of the Laravel News podcast, Jake and Michael discuss all the latest Laravel releases, tutorials, and happenings in the community.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 184 – It’s DNS. It’s always DNS

        Josh and Kurt talk about the sale of the corp.com domain. Is it going to be the end of the world, or a non event? We disagree on what should happen with it. Josh hopes an evildoer buys it, Kurt hopes for Microsoft. We also briefly discuss the CIA owning Crypto AG.

      • GNU World Order 341

        The journey through the Slackware **ap** software set continues. The **amp** mp3-to-wav converter, **ash** shell, and the **at**, **atq**, **atrm**, **batch** commands.

      • Linux Action News 146

        Microsoft Defender for Linux is in preview, Mozilla’s VPN has a secret advantage, and why the community is calling out NPM Inc.

        Plus a new report about open source security, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6-rc3
        Fairly normal rc3 as far as I can tell. We've seen bigger, but we've
        seen smaller ones too. Maybe this is slightly on the low side of
        average at this time, which would make sense since this was a smaller
        merge window. Anyway, too much noise in the signal to be sure either
        The overall stats look fairly regular too: about 55% drivers (staging,
        sound, gpu, networking,  and usb look noticeable, with some noise
        elsewhere). The bulk of the staging diff is actually the vsoc removal,
        so that's nice.
        Outside of drivers, we have the usual suspects: arch fixes (powerpc,
        s390, x86, but also a late csky update that I couldn't find it in
        myself to worry about). Filesystems (ext4 and btrfs) and networking.
        And misc sprinkles of small fixes elsewhere.
        See the appended shortlog for details,
      • Linux 5.6-rc3 Released As A “Fairly Normal” Kernel

        Torvalds characterized Linux 5.6-rc3 as a “fairly normal” release for this third release candidate stage. In the past there’s been both bigger and smaller RC3 releases but overall at this stage is looking like a good release. Around 55% of the changes merged over the past week were driver related.

      • Reiser5 Spun Up For The Linux 5.5.5 Kernel

        For those that have been wanting to take the experimental Reiser5 for a test drive since being announced at the end of 2019, new versions of the Reiser4 and Reiser5 file-system kernel patches have been posted.

        Edward Shishkin who continues as the lone driving force behind Reiser4 and the new Reiser5 / Reiser4 v5 file-system has updated the out-of-tree file-system for the latest kernel release. These newest patches re-base Reiser4 and Reiser5 for Linux 5.5.5 as well as Linux 5.4.21. Recent VFS optimizations upstream were causing system lockups and other upstream changes necessitated another spin of these patches for the newest Linux kernel point releases.

      • C-SKY CPU Architecture For Linux 5.6 Picks Up Stack Protector, PCI Support

        While two weeks past the Linux 5.6 merge window some late changes for the C-SKY CPU architecture were accepted today.

        C-SKY’s Guo Ren accidentally missed the recent Linux 5.6 merge window but Linus Torvalds was fine with pulling in these late changes that include both fixes and features.

      • Graphics Stack

    • Applications

      • Notable – Markdown based Note-taking App for Linux

        Notable is an open-source Markdown-based note-taking application that works in Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.

        Notes are written and rendered in GitHub Flavored Markdown, no WYSIWYG, no account required, no proprietary formats, and the app isn’t bloated.

      • VokoscreenNG: Open Source Screencasting Tool

        Vokoscreen was one of the best screen recording software for Linux. Despite its rather ‘outdated looking’ interface, it had a decent userbase.

        For some time, vokoscreen didn’t see updates and eventually it was discontinued.

        The good news is that vokoscreen is not entirely dead. It’s reborn as vokoscreenNG.

        The NG in vokoscreenNG stands for New Generation and rightly so because it’s been created from scratch using Qt and Gstreamer.

      • Excellent System Tools: nnn – portable terminal file manager

        I’m devoting most of my spare time writing about the Raspberry Pi 4 (RPI4). My findings are captured in a weekly blog chronicling my experience of using the tiny machine as a desktop replacement. One of my forthcoming blog posts examines file managers on the RPI4 looking at both graphical and terminal-based file managers.

        As I’ve spent a lot of time using nnn in the past few weeks, it makes sense I look at the latest release on a regular Intel machine, in advance of my RPI4 file manager blog.

        LinuxLinks has previously reviewed imgp and googler. They are open source software coded by Arun Prakash Jana. He’s also the developer of nnn which has seen a new major release in the past fortnight. I’ve never reviewed any of Mr Jana’s software before.

        How does the author describe his software? His man page says “nnn is the missing terminal file manager for X. (Nnn’s Not Noice) is a performance-optimized, feature-packed fork of noice with seamless desktop integration, simplified navigation, navigate-as-you-type mode with auto select, disk usage analyzer mode, bookmarks, contexts, application launcher, familiar navigation shortcuts, subshell spawning and much more. It remains a simple and efficient file manager that stays out of your way.”

        In a single sentence, nnn can be probably best summarized as software seeking to bridge the gap between the terminal and the desktop environment.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Robotality give Pathway a big update with a challenging a Hardcore Mode

        Pathway, the strategy adventure set in the 1930s from Robotality recently had a huge update if you need something to challenge you this is it.

        Now when making a new game in Pathway, it gives you the option to make your profile a Hardcore Profile which can’t be changed after. In this mode, the entire games plays as one long adventure with everything carrying over between sections. So if a character dies, they’re gone. It also gives you all jeep upgrades and characters and higher difficulty.

      • RimWorld 1.1 is out with a first expansion with RimWorld – Royalty

        Ludeon Studios dropped a sneaky one, not only did they release the big RimWorld 1.1 update they also released the first big expansion named RimWorld – Royalty.

        First, a reminder on what the big 1.1 update brings for everyone: UI improvements for high resolutions, a new Quests tab, modding improvements, the Vanilla Animals mod is now part of the game adding in more animal variety, new armour, new weapons, an asexual trait was added and so on.

        As for the expansion, RimWorld – Royalty, Ludeon mentioned that their team has expanded to seven people which has allowed them to work on multiple things. This includes new free content, plus the brand new expansion and it sounds like more to come.

      • Deck-building card battler ‘Dreamgate’ is out in Early Access

        Dreamgate, a turn-based deck-building battler is now out in Early Access with Linux support giving you another game that wants you to have just one more turn.

      • What have you been playing recently and what do you think about it?

        It’s been quite some time since we last had an open discussion about what you’ve all been playing recently. Let’s get things going again.

        We’ve almost finished the second month of 2020, we’ve had tons of Linux games that have released this year already and a huge amount more on the way. Now with the rise of game streaming, Steam Play Proton and more options appearing constantly there’s never a shortage of gaming to be had.

      • Check out ‘Aseprite’ a popular cross-platform pixel-art tool to create 2D animations and sprites

        Although I’m not into game development, after finding about this popular 2D pixel animation program while researching something else, I decided to cover it here on GOL in the hopes that someone finds it useful or time saving. Aseprite is a tool developed by small Argentine developer Igara Studio, that has been around in some form for almost two decades, having its version 1.0 released on Jun 6, 2014. Right now on Steam it has 2897 positive reviews by Steam users, out of 2923 total reviews, reaching as a consequence an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ status.

      • Corona Labs announces imminent closure. Corona engine to become open source

        According to Corona Labs’ official website, the company will cease operations on May 1. The decision to close the company was made by its owner, monetization platform Appodeal, as the business’ operating expenses exceeded its revenue.

        Game developers will still have access to the Corona engine, and all projects created on it will continue to work. The project itself will now be distributed under a new, simplified license. It involves the unrestricted distribution of apps and games created on Corona.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE

          At this point we’ve got nearly all of the significant regressions from Plasma 5.18 fixed (so go file bugs if you have any new ones) and we’re starting to re-focus on fixing longstanding issues and land work for Plasma 5.19. Hopefully you’ll find something in this week’s update to feel excited about!

        • KDE Saw Many Bug Fixes This Week From KWin Crashes To Plasma Wayland Improvements

          This week in particular saw a lot of fixes in the KDE space for a wide variety of bugs.

          Some of the fixing that went on over the past week in the KDE desktop space included:

          - Fixes to the System Settings Online Accounts page.

          - Plasma is receiving a fix where a maliciously-crafted network name could cause remote images to be displayed.

          - Fixes for two common crashes in KWin.

        • Contributing to KDE is easier than you think — Localization plain and simple

          Today’s post will essentially describe how quick and easy it is to work with localization for KDE software. My latest post might have sounded intimidating or people might have gotten tired from reading it in the middle, which is a shame; hence the reason for this post.

          Oh, existing translators should also have a reason to read this post, as I’ll be showing brand new functionality in Lokalize too.

          As a brief note, I’m currently using openSUSE Krypton with Plasma from master, meaning it’s as updated as possible. I’m also using the XWayland session, because it’s dope af. It doesn’t affect my workflow at all, either.

          But well, let’s keep it short and begin.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The Adapta GTK Theme Sorely Needs a New Maintainer…

          Making a GTK theme isn’t easy. Keeping it up to date? Well, that’s even harder. And despite its relative success the Adapta theme is currently without a maintainer.

          Which is why I’m writing this post. I’d hate to see such a widely-used theme fall to the wayside.

          Not that this is new.

          This theme has been on the hunt for a new maintainer since October 2018.

        • Tick Tock Clocks got redesigned!

          Few months back, I convinced Zander Brown to take over GNOME Clocks with me and we have been working hard to refresh the code base and give it a new look for GNOME 3.36.

          So far, we have got all the four panels re-designed based on the mockups made by the GNOME design team.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Void 20191109

          Void is a rolling release Linux distribution. The project offers a number of features which are uncommon in the Linux community, including a custom package manager (XBPS), two flavours of C library (the GNU C Library, glibc, and musl libc), and a custom init implementation called runit. If this were not enough to make the project interesting, the distribution can run on multiple architectures, including 32-bit (x86), 64-bit (x86_64), and several ARM boards, including the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone.

          Void is also the future base for Project Trident, which is migrating from TrueOS to Void, partially for more up to date hardware support. The Void project is available in a minimal, command line edition and six desktop editions: Enlightenment, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, and Xfce. This, along with each edition being available in two C library flavours and multiple CPU architectures means the hardest part when getting started with Void is picking which option to download. I went with the 64-bit Xfce edition with the musl library. This edition was 757MB in size.

          Booting from the live media brings up a menu asking if we would like to load the live desktop or transfer the operating system into RAM for improved performance and then load the live desktop. Either way, in short order the Xfce 4.14 desktop appears. The desktop’s panel with an application menu, task switcher, and system tray appears across the top edge of the screen. A quick-launch panel appears centred along the bottom of the screen. Immediately after the desktop loads a pop-up message appears letting us know “Xfce PolicyKit Agent” has encountered an error. No further information is provided and all we can do is close this window. This PolicyKit error appears every time we sign in, both when running the live environment and when the operating system has been installed on the hard drive.

      • New Releases

        • Netrunner 20.01 – “Twenty” released

          The Netrunner Team is happy to announce the immediate availability of Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty” – 64bit ISO.

          This version marks the twentieth release of Netrunner Desktop for Debian/Ubuntu (not counting the incremental updates), and its 10th year since Netrunner started back in 2010.

          It is based upon the current Debian Stable 10.3 (‘buster’), including all updates since the previous release.

        • Netrunner 20.01 Released For Offering Latest Debian 10 + KDE Plasma Experience

          Netrunner 20.01 is out today as the 20th release for this Debian + KDE focused project over its ten year history.

          Netrunner 20.01 is based on Debian 10.3 stable packages along with the latest KDE packages on the desktop, continued theme tweaks, and shipping with a range of GTK and Qt/KDE programs from the likes of GIMP to Krita to Kdenlive to the GMusicbrowser to also offering Skype and other software packages.

        • Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty” Arrives as Project’s 10th Anniversary Release

          Blue Systems released today Netrunner 20.01, a major version of the Debian-based distribution to celebrate the project’s 10th anniversary and also the 10th release of Netrunner Desktop.

          On March 18th, Netrunner will celebrate 10 years since the release of its first ever version, Netrunner 1 “Albedo,” and what better way to celebrate this major milestone than with a new release. Meet Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty.”

          As its codename suggests, Netrunner 20.01 “Twenty” is also the project’s twentieth release. It is based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.3 “Buster” and comes with a refreshed look and feel and updated packages.

        • Debian-based Netrunner 20.01 ‘Twenty’ Linux distribution now available for download

          One of my favorite Linux distributions is Netrunner. If you aren’t familiar, it is a Debian-based operating system that utilizes the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It is very polished and chock-full of excellent pre-installed applications such as LibreOffice, GIMP, Firefox, and Skype. All of this makes Netrunner a great choice for those switching from Windows, but also, it is a wonderful option for Linux experts too. Seriously, folks, you will be blown away by how exceptional it is — one of the best.

          Today, Netrunner 20.01 becomes available, and it is a very important milestone. You see, not only does it represent 10 years of development, but also, it is the twentieth major version of the operating system. And so, the Debian Buster (stable) 10.3-based distro is being dubbed “Twenty.” Netrunner 20.01 is using KDE Plasma 5.14.5 and comes with a very special birthday wallpaper!

      • BSD

        • OpenVPN setup

          For historical reasons, I run a bunch of IT infrastructure at home. Mindful of sayings like the cloud is just other people’s computers I’ve installed jails on my home FreeBSD NAS / server / router to deliver a bunch of services. Mail, for instance, and an LDAP server to experiment with, and something for package building.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • EasyNAS 1.0 Beta 3 is out

          This version is a bug fix version. Shutdown & Restart are working properly, network setting is working fine, Chinese language is now downloadable, Firmware updates is now faster, Addons installation works fine.

          You won’t need to download the ISO of the new version, just use the Update feature in the menu and you’ll get the new full new version including Beta-4 and the final release. You’ll see many updates for all components , update it when it’s available.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Where I Stand on Systemd

          Once I turn to design considerations and technological benefits, however, I quickly bog down. The Unix philosophy of one utility to do one thing very well sounds admirable in theory, and perhaps on the administrative level it works well. Yet, I have heard few if any complaints that large apps like SE Linux or AppArmor violate the Unix philosophy, and on the desktop, apps like LibreOffice or Krita are clear violators. Could it be that some projects require a different approach to be effective?

          As a user, my initial tendency is to applaude Init Freedom’s rejection of “this one-size-fits-all vision” that led to the general acceptance of systemd in the major distributions. Yet as I think further, I wonder how practical supporting multiple init systems might be.

          In the recent Debian general resolution on systemd, both sides maintained that expecting maintainers to support multiple init systems would seriously add to the task of keeping packages current. The Devuan project itself appears to illustrate the difficulty, since it still uses Debian 9 as its basis and so far has been unable to add multiple init support itself. When finding maintainers is a constant problem for many distros, perhaps a limit on the number of supported init systems is sheer practicality.

        • PulseAudio 14 Is Releasing Soon With Better USB Gaming Headset Support

          In addition to PipeWire 0.3 having shipped last week, also making it out a few days prior was a development snapshot in the road to PulseAudio 14.0.

          PulseAudio 13.99.1 was released as a development snapshot in the road to the imminent PulseAudio 14.0.

          In the 6+ months since PulseAudio 13, developers have been working on various audio sink changes, automatic switching to HDMI audio is now disabled by default, flat volumes are also disabled by default, there is better support for USB gaming headsets, PulseAudio honoring Xauthority arguments for X11 modules, a workaround for GNOME Sound Settings behavior, and various other changes.

        • Enterprise open source software is growing within innovative companies

          Red Hat has been at the forefront of the global open source discussion, fighting for software freedom in the U.S Supreme Court, and offering free tech products for cloud infrastructure, automation, AI, and much more. After conducting research and interviewing IT leaders from around the world, Red Hat released a report examining the state of enterprise open source in 2020.

          950 IT leaders, unaware that Red Hat was the research sponsor, were surveyed about their practices and opinions on enterprise open source software.


          The benefits of using open source software seem obvious, namely that they are, of course, freely available. However, its lack of a price tag isn’t the main thing that IT leaders love.

          According to the survey, respondents believe that higher-quality software is the number one benefit of enterprise open source. FOSS software is often better than proprietary options, with better security, cloud-native technologies, and cutting edge solutions.

        • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16 Delivers Long-Term Support

          On Feb. 20, Red Hat announced OpenStack Platform 16, a major update providing up to five years of support. The update is the first of 2020 and marks the beginning of a new approach to OpenStack support from Red Hat. Up until the OpenStack 15 release in September 2019, Red Hat released two minor updates every year that had up to one year of support, followed by a major long-term support release. As of the Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16 release, there will now only be long-term support releases.

      • Debian Family

        • DPL Sam Hartman proves blackmail is alive and well in Debian

          Debian has gone as far as humiliating and shaming people on a number of occasions to force them to bend over and submit to the monoculture. That may work with one or two victims at a time, as revealed in the Debian Christmas lynchings but the number of people expressing concerns about Israel appears to be too large for plain vanilla blackmailing.

        • What can you preseed when installing Debian?

          Preseeding is a very useful way of installing and pre-configuring a Debian system in one go. You simply supply lots of the settings that your new system will need up front, in a preseed file. The installer will use those settings instead of asking questions, and it will also pass on any extra settings via the debconf database so that any further package setup will use them.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Ksnip is a cross-platform, open source screenshot tool with many annotation options

        The program supports five modes for capturing screenshots. Rectangular Area is the default one which was mentioned in the above paragraph. The second option is Last Rectangular Area, selecting this option directly captures the content inside the previous area that you chose. This is a rather unusual option, and quite a useful one as it allows you to retake a screenshot or take another one in case something changed inside the rectangle.

        The Full Screen mode can be used to save a snapshot of the entire screen. What’s special here is that, Ksnip can capture the screen from all connected monitors. So, you can use it to take wide screenshots from videos, games and maybe even set the captured image as your desktop background wallpaper.

      • Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform integrates open source technology

        Dell combines several open source streaming data technologies, including Apache Kafka, Apache Flink and Pravega, to create a new streaming data platform.

      • Instaclustr Achieves PCI-DSS Certification for its Managed Apache Cassandra and Kafka Offerings on AWS
      • Democratizing space exploration with new technologies

        Democratization means nothing without the support of and collaboration with public consumers and talent. Open source software, whose source code anyone can peruse, modify and contribute to, allows NewSpace industries to engage directly with the public through hands-on, widely accessible opportunities that help develop and improve technology.

        The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a big proponent of these open access projects, finding that they build online and in-real-life communities and help shape the future of NewSpace tech.

        These open access resources solicit submissions from all over the world, inviting users to send their personal research concept to space. Participants, for example, can rent time on a cubesat constellation (similar to buying time on a cloud computing system). Here they can interact in open science communities with access to libraries and maker studios where users can utilize MIT’s already vast research portfolio. On top of it all, the initiative offers other integrated support systems like a STEAM outreach program with educational resources, curriculum and DIY hacker guidelines for climate-smart cubesats.

      • Should I Use Open Source Instead Of Demand Planning Software For Forecasting?

        You’re not going to get advanced modeling like machine learning in Excel. Excel can’t handle large data sets either, making it clunky and problematic.

      • Collaboration Over Competition: How Companies Benefit from Open Innovation

        More and more technology companies are adopting open innovation initiatives. This is largely due to the realization of the benefits of working with outside experts to gain external perspectives and insights. This situation wherein an organization thinks beyond its internal resources for innovation and collaborates with external resources is known as open innovation. Open innovation is an opportunity for the company to utilize those external ideas and use them to develop innovative products and services. It may seem simple, but there is more to the collaboration process than just brainstorming.

      • An Open Source Ebike

        In the ebike world, there are two paths. The first is a homemade kit bike with motors and controllers from China. The second is a prebuilt bike from a manufacturer like Giant, with motors and controllers from China, which will be half as fast and cost three times as much. The choice is obvious, and there are other benefits to taking the first path as well, such as using this equipment which now has an open source firmware option.


        This new open source firmware for the TSDZ2 further improves on the ride by improving the motor responsiveness, improving battery efficiency, and opening up the ability to use any of a number of color displays. (More information is available on a separate Wiki.)

      • RedNotebook 2.17

        RedNotebook is a modern desktop journal. It lets you format, tag and search your entries. You can also add pictures, links and customizable templates, spell check your notes, and export to plain text, HTML, Latex or PDF. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL.

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

      • DB and NGINX

        • MongoDB: developer distraction dents DevSecOps dreams

          MongoDB’s director of developer relations has just opened a piece of internal research that suggests as few as 29% of Europe’s developers take full responsibility for security.

          Now, 29% is a somewhat arbitrary figure, cleary i.e. it could be 22.45% or it could be 39.93%… the fact that the firm has pointed to an exact sum in this way is merely intended to show that it has undertaken a degree of calculation and statistical analysis

        • NGINX Unit Adds Support for Reverse Proxying and Address-Based Routing

          NGINX announced the release of versions 1.13 and 1.14 of NGINX Unit, its open-source web and application server. These releases include support for reverse proxying and address-based routing based on the connected client’s IP address and the target address of the request.

          NGINX Unit is able to run web applications in multiple language versions simultaneously. Languages supported include Go, Perl, PHP, Python, Node.JS, Java, and Ruby. The server does not rely on a static configuration file, instead allowing for configuration via a REST API using JSON. Configuration is stored in memory allowing for changes to happen without a restart.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Who cares about Emacs?

            GNU Emacs isn’t the oldest interactive text editor for Unix—it’s predated (at least) by the Vi editor—nor is it the only Emacs in existence. However, it’s surely the most popular Emacs and one of the best editors available on POSIX. Or it was until fresh new editors, like Atom, VSCode, and Brackets, came to the fresh new open source landscape of today. There are so many options for robust text editors now, many of which have iterated upon Emacs’ ideas and traditions, that you may well wonder whether GNU Emacs is still relevant.

      • Public Services/Government

        • International Centre for Free and Open Source Software wins honour by Malayalam Mission

          The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) was awarded the first-ever Bhasha Pratibha Puraskaram instituted by the Malayalam Mission. ICFOSS was selected for making Malayalam language technology-friendly and also for promoting open-source software. ICFOSS chief and CEO of Kerala IT Parks Sasi PM received the award from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Ayyankali Hall here recently. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 50,000 and a citation.

          This is the first technology award instituted by the Malayalam Mission for the technical help got for “expanding and democratising” Malayalam on the internet and Malayalam computing, said a statement. ICFOSS focuses on a variety of areas including machine translation, free and open-source software (FOSS) training, research and development.

          The jury observed that the ICFOSS made commendable efforts in coordinating the development of free software and thus by defending corporatisation in the language computing arena. It also lauded the efforts of the agency in developing new fonts and for giving free training government staff in language computing.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Open Source textbooks saving Beaufort County Community College students money
          • Open-source textbooks save Beaufort students over $50,000 per semester

            Open source textbooks are helping students at Beaufort County Community College save money, making the cost of their education less expensive and helping stretch financial aid or scholarship money they may be receiving.

            The average student will spend over $1,200 on textbooks per year. Since initial adoption by Ashleigh Howard, Lead Professor for the Social & Behavioral Sciences Department, the books have been adopted by other professors across campus, cumulatively saving students over $50,000 per semester. Currently, cultural geography, history, criminal justice, sociology and Spanish classes are using the books.

      • Programming/Development

        • Jussi Pakkanen: Open source does not have a reward mechanism for tedious

          Many software developers are creators and builders. They are drawn to problems of the first type. The fact that they are difficult is not a downside, it is a challenge to be overcome. It can even be a badge of merit which you can wave around your fellow developers. These projects include things like writing your own operating system or 3D game engine, writing device drivers that saturate the fastest of transfer links, lock free atomic parallelism, distributed file systems that store exabytes of data as well as embedded firmware that has less than 1 kilobyte of RAM. Working on these kinds of problems is rewarding on its own, even if the actual product never finishes or fails horribly when eventually launched. They are, in a single word, sexy.

          Most problems are not like that, but are instead the programming equivalent of ditch digging. They consist of a lot of hard work, which is not very exciting on its own but it still needs to be done. It is difficult to get volunteers to work on these kinds of problems and this is where the problem gets amplified in open source. Corporations have a very strong way to motivate people to work on tedious problems and it is called a paycheck. Volunteer driven open source development does not have a way to incentivise people in the same way. This is a shame, because the chances of success for any given software project (and startup) is directly proportional to the amount of tedious work people working on it are willing to do.

        • ledger2beancount 2.0 released

          I released version 2.0 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter.

        • digest 0.6.25: Spookyhash bugfix

          digest creates hash digests of arbitrary R objects (using the md5, sha-1, sha-256, sha-512, crc32, xxhash32, xxhash64, murmur32, and spookyhash algorithms) permitting easy comparison of R language objects. It is a fairly widely-used package (currently listed at 889k monthly downloads with 255 direct reverse dependencies and 7340 indirect reverse dependencies) as many tasks may involve caching of objects for which it provides convenient general-purpose hash key generation.

          This release is a one issue fix. Aaron Lun noticed some issues when spookyhash is used in streaming mode. Kendon Bell, who also contributed spookyhash quickly found the issue which is a simple oversight. This was worth addressing in new release, so I pushed 0.6.25.

        • Google announces 200 open-source mentors for the 2020 GSoC event

          With this year’s Google Summer of Code event right around the corner, the organizers considered this to be the perfect time to announce the mentoring organizations for the participants. In this year’s edition of GSoC, there will be 200 mentoring organizations, including 30 new teams. Read on to find out more details of this open-source event.

        • Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organizations Announced

          You can find the full list of organizations/projects on GSoC website. For each company, you can click on “View Idea List” to see more details about the potential projects. Students will be invited to apply and submit proposals between March 16-31. Selected students will be working on the project between May 19, 2020 – August 11, 2020, with regular evaluation and final results on August 26, 2020.

        • What developers need to know about domain-specific languages

          A domain-specific language (DSL) is a language meant for use in the context of a particular domain. A domain could be a business context (e.g., banking, insurance, etc.) or an application context (e.g., a web application, database, etc.) In contrast, a general-purpose language (GPL) can be used for a wide range of business problems and applications.

          A DSL does not attempt to please all. Instead, it is created for a limited sphere of applicability and use, but it’s powerful enough to represent and address the problems and solutions in that sphere. A good example of a DSL is HTML. It is a language for the web application domain. It can’t be used for, say, number crunching, but it is clear how widely used HTML is on the web.

          A GPL creator does not know where the language might be used or the problems the user intends to solve with it. So, a GPL is created with generic constructs that potentially are usable for any problem, solution, business, or need. Java is a GPL, as it’s used on desktops and mobile devices, embedded in the web across banking, finance, insurance, manufacturing, etc., and more.

        • Using C and C++ for data science

          While languages like Python and R are increasingly popular for data science, C and C++ can be a strong choice for efficient and effective data science. In this article, we will use C99 and C++11 to write a program that uses the Anscombe’s quartet dataset, which I’ll explain about next.

          I wrote about my motivation for continually learning languages in an article covering Python and GNU Octave, which is worth reviewing. All of the programs are meant to be run on the command line, not with a graphical user interface (GUI). The full examples are available in the polyglot_fit repository.

        • Python

          • Python 101 2nd Edition Sample Chapters

            I have put together some sample chapters for the 2nd edition of Python 101 which is coming out later this year. You can download the PDF version of these sample chapters here. Note that these chapters may have minor typos in them. Feel free to let me know if you find any bugs or errors.

          • Python 3.7.6 : The SELinux python package.

            The tutorial for today is about the SELinux python package.

          • Release 0.7.0 of GooCalendar
          • Python in Production

            I’m missing a key part from the public Python discourse and I would like to help to change that.

            The other day I was listening to a podcast about running Python services in production. While I disagreed with some of the choices they made, it acutely reminded me about what I’ve been missing in the past years from the public Python discourse.

          • Python Packaging Metadata

            Since this topic keeps coming up, I’d like to briefly share my thoughts on Python package metadata because it’s – as always – more complex than it seems.

            When I say metadata I mean mostly the version so I will talk about it interchangeably. But the description, the license, or the project URL are also part of the game.

          • Better Python tracebacks with Rich

            One of my goals in writing Rich was to render really nice Python tracebacks. And now that feature has landed.

            I’ve never found Python tracebacks to be a great debugging aid beyond telling me what the exception was, and where it occurred. In a recent update to Rich, I’ve tried to refresh the humble traceback to give enough context to diagnose errors before switching back to the editor.

          • PyDev of the Week: Hameer Abbasi

            This week we welcome Hameer Abbasi as our PyDev of the Week! Hameer works on the PyData Sparse project.


            I was doing a Hilfswissenschaftler job (sort of like a Research Assistant in the USA), and there I was presented the problem of scaling a sparse system to a larger space. I discovered the PyData/Sparse project back then (it was in Matthew Rocklin’s personal repository at the time), and was immediately fascinated by the idea of computational gains to be had if one moved to a sparse representation. I’m now the maintainer for that project, and I’m grateful I chose that path, as it landed me a talk at SciPy 2018 and a client in the form of Quansight.

        • Git

          • Reaching Serenity: Porting Git To A Homebrew Operating System

            Life is all about the little joys — such as waking up in the morning and realizing there’s still plenty of time before you have to actually get up. Or getting up anyway to watch a delightful sunrise as the city slowly wakes up, or as [Andreas Kling] chose, porting your favorite development tool to the operating system you wrote.

            With the aesthetics of ’90s UI design and the functionality of a simpler 2000s Unix-style system core in mind, and personal reasons to keep himself busy, [Andreas] started SerenityOS a little while back. Of course, writing your own operating system is always a great educational exercise, but it takes a certain amount of commitment to push it beyond an experimental playground phase. So ideally, you’d eventually want to use it as your actual main system, however, as software developer, [Andreas] was missing one crucial component for that: git. Well, he decided to change that and just port it — and as someone who likes to record his hacking sessions, you can watch him along the way.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Microbiome researcher accused of sexual misconduct

        A researcher famed for his work on the microbiomes of hunter-gatherers has been accused by several American women of sexual assault, according to court documents. Jeff Leach, a resident of Terlingua, Texas, co-founded a major open-source, crowdfunded project on the microbiome and is the co-author of multiple papers on gut microbes, including one published in Science. But in the publicity resulting from the accusations, other questions have emerged—about Leach’s academic qualifications and his behavior in the field. Leach and his lawyer, Rae Leifeste, told Science that all the charges are unfounded and were motivated by personal and professional jealousy and disagreements over money. Leach sued one accuser for defamation, but as part of that case further allegations have emerged, including sexual assault and past legal problems.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • UBank puts open source accessibility kit on GitHub [Ed: This feeds a proprietary software trap of Microsoft for openwashing purposes and to make matters worse, it is not accessible]
            • Precious Plastic open source recycling project takes a new perspective toward waste

              “Plastic is a precious and valuable material. It’s just been kind of designed, used and marketed in the wrong way, in our view,” explained Precious Plastic business guy (yes, that’s his real title) Joseph Klatt. The company’s business guy is originally from Ohio but moved to the Netherlands where the project is headquartered.

            • The open source platform empowering creatives to turn recycling into craft [Ed: This use of the term "open source" may be misleading]

              In response to this, Hakkens looked to the large-scale recycling plants that operate across the world. Their huge industrial machines then formed the base of the Precious Plastic operation.

              “He began recreating these machines on a small scale, putting the blueprints and assembly instructions online for others to use,” continues Elleke.

              Once built, users can create with the waste plastic however they need, making anything from furniture and household goods, to bricks and other modular structures. The possibilities, she says, are endless: “Anything made with plastic, can be made with recycled plastic.”

              According to Elleke, the whole idea was to “take a global problem, and find a community solution.” In giving a second, third or infinite number of lives to waste plastic, Hakkens and his team provide local designers, craftspeople and creatives with a new material and profit stream.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux and LISH release census for open source security

                The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH), announced the release of ‘Vulnerabilities in the Core,’ a Preliminary Report and Census II of Open Source Software.

                This Census II analysis and report represent important steps towards understanding and addressing structural and security complexities in the modern-day supply chain where open source is pervasive, but not always understood. Census II identifies the most commonly used free and open-source software (FOSS) components in production applications and begins to examine them for potential vulnerabilities, which can inform actions to sustain the long-term security and health of FOSS. Census I (2015) identified which software packages in the Debian Linux distribution were the most critical to the kernel’s operation and security.

              • Vulnerabilities in the Core: Key Lessons from a Major Open Source Census

                A major new Open Source census has identified the Top 20 most commonly used free and open source software (FOSS) components in production applications.

                The Linux Foundation/ Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) “Census II” report, published this week, represents what it describes as the “first steps toward addressing the structural issues that threaten the FOSS ecosystem.”

              • Equinix joins open source Edge body LF Edge

                Colocation and interconnection giant Equinix has joined a body aiming to develop open source solutions for the Edge.

                Equinix has become a Premier member of LF Edge, a body set up by the Linux Foundation one year ago to manage a set of open source projects addressing issues with Edge computing.

        • Security

          • All Those Low-Cost Satellites in Orbit Could Be Weaponized by Hackers, Warns Expert

            Last month, SpaceX became the operator of the world’s largest active satellite constellation. As of the end of January, the company had 242 satellites orbiting the planet with plans to launch 42,000 over the next decade.

            This is part of its ambitious project to provide internet access across the globe. The race to put satellites in space is on, with Amazon, UK-based OneWeb and other companies chomping at the bit to place thousands of satellites in orbit in the coming months.

          • NMap – A Basic Security Audit of Exposed Ports and Services

            For a plethora of reasons, auditing the security of our servers and networks is of paramount importance. Whether we are talking about a development server, a workstation, or a major enterprise application, security should be baked into every step of the deployment. While we can easily check our firewall settings from “the inside” of our systems. It is also a good idea to run a security audit from “the outside”. Using a network enumeration tool such as the famous and highly vetted Network Mapper (NMap).

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

            • Cybersecurity startup Polyverse raises $8M to protect Linux open-source code from hackers [Ed: Right around the corner from Bill Gates, another company like Black Duck and it'll "protect" Linux... just buy its proprietary software]

              Polyverse has been validated by the U.S. Department of Defense for mitigating zero-day attacks, intrusions that occur just as a vulnerability becomes public, such as the infamous WannaCry ransomware and hacks of companies like Equifax. The company says its technology is “running on millions of servers.”

            • Kubernetes Security Plagued by Human Error, Misconfigs

              Following a year of numerous security bugs within the Kubernetes ecosystem and the first security audit of Kubernetes conducted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which hosts the open source platform, continued wide-spread adoption has seen security become somewhat of an afterthought.

              However, if security concerns continue inhibiting business innovation, does that fall on businesses for neglecting security practices or the market for not providing them with the tools to confidently secure their deployments?

              “People just get security wrong sometimes,” McLean said. “Companies need a combination of increased learning, cross-pollination, new tooling, and updated processes to identify and remediate these security ‘mistakes’ during build and deploy vs. waiting for exposure during runtime.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Assange indictment poses serious risk to press freedom

        The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today expressed deep concern over the U.S. government’s decision to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act.“The decision to prosecute him under the Espionage Act poses serious implications for press freedom in the U.S. and globally”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said. “Receiving and publishing information that governments would rather keep hidden goes to the core of journalism’s role in democracy. This indictment risks setting a highly dangerous precedent that can be abused to prosecute journalists of any stripe for their role in revealing information in the public interest.”The U.S. Justice Department unveiled the new indictment against Assange on Thursday. Prosecutors had previously charged Assange with conspiracy to commit computer hacking together with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. The charges under the Espionage Act represent a significant escalation of the U.S.’s efforts to punish Assange for his role in publishing a vast trove of American military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

      • Assange’s fate hangs in balance as UK court considers US extradition bid

        A British court begins hearings on Monday, London time, to decide whether Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States almost a decade after his WikiLeaks website enraged Washington by leaking secret US documents.

        A hero to admirers who say he has exposed abuses of power, Assange is cast by critics as a dangerous enemy of the state who has undermined Western security. He says the extradition is politically motivated by those embarrassed by his revelations.

      • Julian Assange ‘put lives at risk’ by sharing unredacted files

        Mr Lewis said that the majority of the charges relate to “straightforward criminal” activity, which he described as a “conspiracy to steal from and hack into” the department of defence computer system along with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
        “These are ordinary criminal charges and any person, journalist or source who hacks or attempts to gain unauthorised access to a secure system or aids and abets others to do so is guilty of computer misuse,” Mr Lewis said.
        “Reporting or journalism is not an excuse for criminal activities or a licence to break ordinary criminal laws.”
        He said the dissemination of specific classified documents unredacted put dissidents in Afghanistan and Iraq at “risk of serious harm, torture or even death”.

    • Environment

      • Canary Islands sandstorm: Flights disrupted as dust cloud strands tourists

        Spain’s national weather service said winds of up to 120km/h (75mph) could buffet the Canaries until Monday.

        It is strong winds that have blasted the islands with a dense cloud of sand from the Saharan desert, some 500km (300 miles) across the Atlantic Ocean.

      • Facing Undeniable Reality of Climate Change, Deniers Now Argue It’s Not That Bad

        Climate change denialism has a long history. Possibly the earliest clear example dates back to October 1959, when a researcher working for none other than Royal Dutch Shell published an article in The New Scientist. Acknowledging that an “immense” quantity of fossil fuel has been burned since the middle of the 19th century, he nonetheless argued that, “Nature’s carbon cycles are so vast that there seem few grounds for believing Man will upset the balance.” Since then, articles, books, and other materials denying or belittling the existence of anthropogenic climate disruption have only proliferated, particularly as industry-funded groups, such as the Global Climate Coalition and the George C. Marshall Institute, emerged in the 1980s.

      • Energy

    • Finance

      • New Financial Aid Scheme Requires Students to Forfeit Future Income to Investors

        One day in 2017, Lauren Neuwirth sank into a chair in her university’s financial aid office feeling out of options. She was finishing her second year at Purdue University in northwest Indiana, a school she’d chosen for its top-ranked engineering program. Neuwirth, who grew up near Milwaukee, was working two jobs to cover her living expenses and quickly running through the money her mother had set aside for college. Federal student loans only covered some of Purdue’s pricey out-of-state tuition. She worried that to remain in school she’d have to take out expensive private loans or join the Army.

      • ‘Blue-Collar Boom’ Is a Bust

        Trump’s claims of a reinvigorated economy are mostly bogus.

      • The next economic recession will likely come from climate crisis, researcher says

        Griffin said in the article that his years of research concluded that “unpriced risk” was the “main cause” of the 2007-08 Great Recession and companies are once again failing to assess the damage extreme weather events can wreak on their business.

        “Right now, energy companies shoulder much of that risk. The market needs to better assess risk, and factor a risk of extreme weather into securities prices,” he said. “Without better knowledge of this risk, the average energy investor can only hope that the next extreme event will not trigger a sudden correction to the market values of energy firms.”

      • One million developers will work on Ethereum in the long term

        Joseph Lubin, a co-founder of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys, the largest development studio behind Ethereum, confirmed at ETH Denver 2020 that he remains committed to bringing more than one million developers into the ETH ecosystem. Lubin first announced the initiative at Devcon 5 last October, although it only really got underway in January, as Jim Jagielski, the open source head of ConsenSys, explained.

      • Visa Head of Crypto Sees Bright Future for Bitcoin

        Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at credit card giant Visa, envisions Bitcoin Sats as the internet native unit of account for purchases less than one cent. He sees this as the main use case where the leading asset can supersede fiat.

      • How Bitcoin Optech Is Connecting the Open-Source and Corporate Worlds

        Bitcoin Core and other open-source projects have, over the years, built a range of technologies to improve Bitcoin scaling and the general Bitcoin user experience. With examples including Segregated Witness (SegWit), Replace-By-Fee and the Lightning Network, Bitcoin users have a number of tools at their disposal to utilize the Bitcoin blockchain as best and efficiently as possible.

      • Sectors Realizing the Full Potential of DeFi Protocols In 2020

        As the new decade unreels, a new wave of disruption seems to be coming to the shores of the global financial system. That wave is called decentralized finance protocols.

        Decentralized finance, or DeFi, simply refers to financial software that is built on the blockchain to make it easy for anyone to piece together digital assets and financial smart contracts.

      • Infographic: Who Has Funded Bitcoin Core Development?

        Monetarily, free and open-source software (FOSS) has always been at a disadvantage to proprietary software. It’s easier to solicit funding for a centralized project than for a decentralized one, not least of all because companies necessitate business models.

        Conversely, funding (and the agendas that often come with it) seems almost anathema to FOSS projects. At the very least, it is elusive. And Bitcoin is no exception.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • PM Modi wants definition of ‘hate speech’ expanded

        The officials cited above said the PM was hinting at including incidents such as attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra at the behest of a political party, or anti-national statements made for carving out a separate state like Khalistan, which have the potential to cause inter-regional clashes, and attacks on students from the north-east or Kashmir in other parts of the country in the amended laws pertaining to hate speech.

        Any publication, comments on social media and cartoons, which are potentially incendiary and could cause a regional clash could also be included in the amended definition of hate speech, said one of the officials.

      • Who Should Decide What Books Are Allowed In Prison?

        Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, says Tafolla’s story illustrates an important point: Denying incarcerated people broad access to reading materials doesn’t just interfere with their education.

        “We’re depriving prisoners of materials that they desperately want and need to affirm their humanity, to help them rehabilitate themselves, to occupy their minds and their hearts while they’re in prison,” she says.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • USA v Julian Assange Extradition Hearing
      • Thousands Protest in London Against Assange Extradition Before Start of Hearing

        The extradition hearing to decide whether to send Julian Assange to the United States to be tried for publishing classified military documents on Wikileaks is expected to finally begin on Monday in London.

      • John Kiriakou On Week-Long Assange Hearing: World Will Hear For First Time About Espionage Operation Against Him
      • The DNC May Have Paved The Way For Julian Assange’s Acquittal
      • Interview With James Goodale: Few Grasp Threat Assange’s Case Poses

        James Goodale is one of the more prominent First Amendment lawyers in the United States. He represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. In 2013, Goodale wrote the book, Fighting For The Press, which outlined the threat to press freedom if President Barack Obama’s administration prosecuted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

        No First Amendment attorney has been as outspoken on what will happen to journalism if the U.S. government successfully extradites Assange and brings him to trial in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act.

        Ahead of the first part of Assange’s extradition hearing, I spoke with Goodale about the U.S. government’s argument that Assange is not protected by the First Amendment. He also addressed the evidence of an espionage operation against Assange while he was in the Ecuador embassy. The operation was reportedly backed by the CIA.

        Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. In a few areas, the audio cut out, but it is still possible to understand all of Goodale’s key points on what is at stake in this case.

      • We’re Asking One Question In Assange’s Case: Should Journalists Be Punished For Exposing War Crimes?

        Tomorrow in the UK a judge will start the process of answering a very important question. It’s a question that many of us knew was the heart of this debate back in 2010, ten years ago, when this all started. It’s a question that they have been obfuscating, bloviating, huffily denying, smearing, gaslighting, and distracting from — basically doing anything they can to hide it from view.
        It’s a question that they don’t want the public to know that we are answering. A question that goes to the heart of democracy, and to the heart of the role of the fourth estate, journalism. And that question is this:
        Should journalists and publishers be punished for exposing US war crimes?
        And, ancillary to that question: should we allow them to be punished by the very people who committed those war crimes?
        Is that something that we want for our world, ongoing? Because our answer to this question is going to shape our society, our civilization, for generations to come.
        There is no coming back from this for a very long time should the answer be, “Yes! Yes, it’s fine, war criminals should go ahead and punish journalists for publishing true facts about their war crimes.”
        If we allow the answer to be yes, then the endless stupid wars that everyone wants done with, from Melbourne to Kabul, from Sydney to Syria, right across the world people are done with these stupid wars for profit.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Puerto Rico’s Uprisings Have Empowered a New Leadership Among the Oppressed

        The U.S. federal government’s disastrous response to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria illustrates a longstanding history of an exploitative domestic policy on the island. Recent earthquakes have not only rocked Puerto Rico’s infrastructure but have emphasized the United States’s negligence of its own citizens. Journalist and Columbia University professor, Ed Morales, describes Puerto Rico as the “symbol of marginalized communities all over the U.S. and the world.” He joins activist and scholar Rosa Clemente to discuss the personal and political implications of the island’s ongoing debt crisis, recovery efforts, and an intersectional movement that challenges the political establishment.

      • A Guide to Restoring Faith in Democracy

        American democracy is in trouble as never before. In the past, there have been moments when democratic process and democratic guarantees have been suspended — Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus, the internment of the Japanese Americans during World War II, the McCarthy hearings with their extralegal destruction of lives and careers — and we have lived through tragic errors in judgment, as in the Vietnam War — but never has the whole system of America democracy been so fundamentally challenged as simply no longer able to meet the needs of its citizens.

      • Haiti Police in Firefight With Troops Near National Palace

        Off-duty police officers and their supporters exchanged fire for nearly two hours on Sunday with members of the newly reconstituted Haitian army in front of the national palace, in a dangerous escalation of protests over police pay and working conditions.

      • ‘They lied to us’: Mom says police deceived her to get her DNA and charge her son with murder

        Breaking News Emails Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. SUBSCRIBE Feb. 22, 2020, 9:00 PM UTC By Jon Schuppe VALDOSTA, Ga. — On an October morning in 2018, Eleanor Holmes and her husband left home to run an errand and found two men inside their front gate. They introduced themselves as detectives from Orlando, Florida, and said they needed the couple’s help. Standing in the driveway, the casually dressed detectives said they were trying to identify someone who’d been found dead many years earlier, the Holmeses recalled. They were looking for the person’s relatives, and were using DNA and genealogical records to stitch together a family tree that they hoped would lead them to a name. Friendly and businesslike, they said they’d already got DNA samples from Eleanor Holmes’ sister and an aunt. And now they wanted hers. Holmes already knew about the detectives’ visit to her sister. It worried her that someone in her family had died without anyone knowing about it. She had relatives in Orlando, including a niece whom she hadn’t heard from in more than a decade. So she agreed. “I just did it because that was the only thing on my mind, my niece. That was it, bottom line,” Holmes said in a recent interview. The detectives, still standing in the driveway, swabbed Holmes’ cheek and put the sample in a container. They thanked her, gave her a business card and drove away. She thought nothing of it until a few days later, when she got a frantic phone call from the girlfriend of one of her sons, Benjamin Holmes Jr. Orlando police had just arrested him for allegedly fatally shooting a college student, Christine Franke, in her Florida home in 2001. They’d used DNA and genealogical records to tie him to the crime.

        In that panicked moment, it dawned on Holmes that the detectives hadn’t told her the truth. They’d used her DNA to help build a case against her son.

        “When they arrested him, I knew they were lying,” Holmes said. “They lied to us.”

        Police have said that the arrest of Benjamin Holmes Jr., 39, shows their commitment “to do everything we can to solve crimes.” Franke’s family says the arrest has given them long-needed answers about her death and allowed them to stop wondering if the killer was still out there, free to prey on others.

        Benjamin Holmes Jr. and his parents, though, say he is innocent. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial, scheduled for June, may be the first to explore how police conduct investigations using genetic genealogy, a largely unregulated technology that has exploded in popularity in recent years.

      • Sri Lanka- Tamil politics after UNHRC ‘exit’

        It would be interesting to know how Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha feels about the UNHRC processes of the past decade. He was there when the nation continued to boycott the resolutions on ‘war-crimes probe’, after Sri Lanka lost the same under his predecessor, and for obvious reasons. That was under the regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, now Prime Minister.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • T 1621/16: A handy decision, not only for dishwashing

          Decision T 1621/16 of Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.06 deals with a patent concerning a liquid hand dishwashing detergent composition. In a broader context, T 1621/16 will be of interest for practitioners struggling with the allowability of amendments under Article 123(2) EPC based on multiple selections from lists of converging alternatives. By “list of converging alternatives”, the Board understands lists of options ranked from the least to the most preferred, wherein each of the more preferred alternatives is fully encompassed by all of the less preferred and broader options in the list.

          The current approach of the EPO seems to be to allow such amendment, if at all, only if alternatives having the same degree of preference (e.g. “most preferably”) are combined with each other (see item 1.5.1 of the decision). In T 1621/16, after a thorough case law review (see item 1.6 of the decision), Board 3.3.06 challenges this approach and expands Patentee’s options to make amendments based on combinations of more and less preferred ranges. This decision may have significant practical significance and is likely to be welcomed particularly by patent owners and applicants.

          With reference to G 1/93, the Board first clarifies that the idea underlying Article 123(2) EPC is that the applicant or patent proprietor should not be allowed to improve their position by adding subject-matter not disclosed in the application as filed, as this would give rise to an unwarranted advantage and could be damaging to the legal security of third parties relying on the content of the original application. The Board further agrees with the established case law, according to which multiple arbitrary selections from lists, mainly based on non-converging alternatives, are considered as an extension of the content of the application as filed which contravenes Article 123(2) EPC (e.g. T 727/00).


          The Board considered the single selection from a list of non-converging alternatives (i) to be not arbitrary, since the selected alternative was realized in all examples of the application as filed, thus indicating that this alternative of the respective feature is indeed preferred. The lists of converging alternatives (ii) were at least partly not disclosed in the claims as filed but only in the description of the application.

          Concerning the requirement of a “pointer” to the specific combination of features of the amended claims (see condition b) above), in item 1.8.7 of the decision, the Board considers the specific combination of features defined in amended claim 1 to be a result of a purposeful (i.e. non-arbitrary) restriction of the claimed subject matter, since it converges towards the most preferred forms of the invention as provided in seven out of 21 examples. In the Board’s view, these seven examples thus provide a pointer to the respective combination. However, it is noteworthy that, in the case now decided, it was evidently not derivable from the application as filed whether the seven examples falling within amended claim 1 achieve an improvement of the technical effect (shine) compared to the remaining examples.

          Altogether, T 1621/16 could prove very helpful in everyday practice defending amendments based on multiple selections from converging lists of alternatives. However, it remains to be seen whether, in order to fulfil conditions a) and b) above, it is sufficient that some examples fall under the more restricted version of the claim irrespective of whether they show any improved technical effect over the examples now lying outside the claim.

        • Webinar on EPO Opposition Practice

          J A Kemp will be offering a webinar entitled “Opposition Practice at the EPO” on March 12, 2020 from 15:30 to 16:30 pm GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Sarah Roques and Ravi Srinivasan of J A Kemp will consider opposition practice, including how to set up an attacking opposition, and also highlight strategies for defence, including setting up the case in prosecution and formulating a strategy for amendment during opposition.

        • The EPO explains why the inventor has to be a human being, not a machine [Ed: The key issue is that the EPO grants fake patents to real people, not that it grants them to de facto pseudonyms]
      • Copyrights

        • Copyright Troll Now Has its Own Piracy Tracking Tool

          Strike 3 Holdings has targeted thousands of alleged BitTorrent pirates in U.S. courts over the past several years. Up until recently, the company relied on evidence gathered by a third-party piracy tracking firm. However, new court filings show that Strike 3 now has its own in-house surveillance tool called VXN Scan.

        • YouTube Fair Use: Documentary Makers Defeat Gaye, Thicke, Bee Gees & Jackson

          In December 2019 a web-series dedicated to debunking copyright and copying myths was hit with four copyright complaints over the alleged illegal use of tracks from Robin Thicke, Marvin Gate, Bee Gees and Michael Jackson. However, the makers of The Creativity Delusion: Geniuses Steal, decided to fight back and have now defeated every single claim against their video. Fair use, they say, is worth fighting for.

Alexandre Oliva’s New Article About a Coup

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president


Some people try to tell me that the criticism I’ve got, inside the FSF and outside, since the Free Software Sept 11, are not about my being supportive of RMS, but about my making public statements referencing him at all.

That must be the reason why public complaints are passed on to me when my postings are favorable to Richard as much as when they are disfavorable. Uhh, no, I only get such complaints when they’re favorable.

To wit, even before Richard left the board, I posted multiple requests for feedback from people all over the spectrum of opinions about Richard that I’d heard. This was deemed confusing by a number of people, because they couldn’t figure out my own position (by design), but what were the complaints that were passed on to me? You guessed it, about a post that was favorable to him.

Then, Richard left the board, and I, as acting president, posted a short note of gratitude to him, thanking him for his many years of service. Surely nobody would complain about that or give it much thought, right? Wrong!

On Ada Lovelace day, I posted a message praising and encouraging women to speak up against abuse, explicitly mentioning and including any who’d signed a joint statement against Richard, but that had been largely portrayed as against sexism. I got complaints even about that! It was labeled as confusing, because people couldn’t quite figure out how I supported Richard there, but still, somehow I must be doing so, so, bad Alex!

You think that’s funny?

Then, after leaving things quiet down for a while, I get a list of concerns “not about Richard”, in which 5 out of 6 entries are about public posts of mine that are scrutinized, twisted and criticized by the same people who cancelled Richard, for my daring say anything in his favor (or even the opposite, like the Ada Lovelace post), and that were a reason for concern because I was taking a public position divergent from what the board had guided the entire FSF to take.

Behold!, dear colleagues and readers: since I joined the FSF board, and quite possibly before that, the FSF board never made any decision to distance the FSF from Richard, to criticize him, or to celebrate his departure. Quite the opposite, if you look carefully at statements issued by the board, namely those on the relationship between FSF and GNU. Somehow, despite the decision by the board to stay the course after Richard left, the notion that got to FSF staff was that we were to move away from him, silence his supporters and support his silencers. I wonder how that came about…

Maybe it’s for similar reasons that, as soon as I wrote my first public posts after Richard left, despite the request to coordinate all public communications through a single person that wasn’t me, I got a few surprised messages from outsiders who wondered “what was going on, weren’t you guys supposed to keep quiet?!?” While others took it all over? No, I don’t think I ever agreed to that.

But no, it’s not a coup!

Or, as we say in Brazil, “mas não é golpe!” That phrase became popular in Brazil during former president Dilma Rousseff’s ousting and Lula’s judicial persecution, when the most outrageous and illegal moves were portrayed by the mainstream press, favorable to the coup, as perfectly legal and reasonable procedures.

So blong…

Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

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Debian Leadership Should Not be ‘Shy’ of Politics (and It’s OK to Admit Palestinians Are Human Beings Too)

Posted in Debian at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Neutrality when it comes speech means no censorship

Debian's censored message
Debian’s censored message

Summary: The contemporary tendency to limit people’s freedom of speech (e.g. permission to express political views) means that while people may find software freedom they will lose other essential freedoms

IT HAS been disheartening to read last night’s post as well as prior ones about what Debian’s “elite” does to suppress the mention of Palestine as if it does not exist and should not be mentioned, however politely. This harms the perception that Free software fosters free speech and it prioritises some people’s feelings over others’.

As a Debian user myself, I’d like to see this censorious behaviour coming to an end. We’re all adults, we don’t always agree on everything, and the worst we can do is treat other adults like children who need to be protected (not from physical harm but emotional inconvenience).

New Series: Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 4:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When you attack Free Speech to supposedly protect Free software (or FSF) you are protecting neither

Free Speech and Free software
Free Speech, Free software

Summary: In the interest and motivation of exposing the true nature of things, Techrights will turn its attention to internal affairs at the higher echelons of the FSF, founded more than three and a half decades ago in MIT (where Stallman launched the GNU Project, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and a lot more foundational Free software)

THIS past weekend we highlighted the importance of intervention of some kind. Based on a bunch of recent blog posts from their Board — something that I noticed over at Diaspora — things had gone sour and there’s an effort to silence people to maintain the impression that everything is rosy. They might think that it’s for the better good of Free software, but it is bad for free speech (or Free Speech) and the same thing is happening in Debian right now.

Many people will refuse to talk about this; they want to avoid becoming the next target or persecution, smears, cancellation and so on.

The series won’t be about me or about us. We’ll make sure it’s factual and we invite sources with additional information of relevance to contact us discreetly. 6 years ago we dealt with secrecy at the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff representatives — sometimes even judges — were attacked and fellow examiners were threatened to prevent ‘leakage’ to the media.

“Transparency isn’t so scary a thing when what you’re up to isn’t at all nefarious.”Now, we don’t encourage leaking anything. But as people now know (it’s common knowledge), there’s a degree of secrecy at Debian (secret mailing lists and whispering — akin to secret agencies) and the FSF has a policy — imposed on people at the top (Brad Kuhn spoke about it last year as he departed) — preventing communication with media. This, in my view, is contrary to the values of the FSF. We need facts, not NDAs/embargoes/sanctions. Transparency isn’t so scary a thing when what you’re up to isn’t at all nefarious.

We’ll keep it polite and even cordial. We love GNU, we love the FSF, but some elements inside today’s FSF aren’t there for free speech and maybe not for software freedom, either.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 23, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:29 am by Needs Sunlight



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