A Month After One OSI Co-Founder Resigns in the Mailing Lists Over OSI’s Attacks on Software Freedom the Other OSI Co-Founder Gets Kicked Out for Speaking About It

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, OSI at 9:46 pm by Guest Editorial Team

OSI changed. They also think it’s OK for Microsoft to take over the Linux Foundation (because they do the same at the OSI these days).

OSI and Linux Foundation

Summary: The ‘cancel culture’ seems to be canceling people who speak about software freedom, under the guise of the real motivation being manners (when one lashes out at those who attack Free software and free speech)

IT SEEMS LIKE the trend. It seems like the norm rather than the exception. It’s happening in Debian (latest in [1]) and now in OSI (latest from ESR in [2]).

“The FSF’s mailing lists are meanwhile censoring messages supportive of Stallman, who ‘only’ founded the FSF. What is going on?”We’re told about ‘rude’ Torvalds lashing out at bad code and ‘disgusting’ Stallman, who dares to have an opinion on political issues (in a very political kind of project and organisation). We continue to wonder why Guido van Rossum (Dutch programmer aged around 63 at the time) suddenly left Python’s leadership. It happened around the time a controversy was brewing about the master/slave terminology in the context of programming/message-passing (topology).

The FSF’s mailing lists are meanwhile censoring messages supportive of Stallman, who ‘only’ founded the FSF. What is going on? Alex Oliva knows a thing or two [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

In Microsoft's own words, “[y]ou want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors [...] that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.”

Being super polite and wearing gloves won’t work against coup efforts, which include bribing people in key positions, or paying them large salaries to defect.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. What is a safe space?

    When foreign people come along with a different, but no less valid, Code of Conduct, zealots start screaming out for the comfort of their safe space. That is how we get the hysteria that precipitated the Hanau shooting and the lynching of Polish workers in the UK in the name of Brexit.

    The Third Reich may have been the ultimate example of the search for a safe space: a safe space for the white Aryan race. Nazis really believed they were creating a safe space. Germans allowed the Nazis to rule, in the belief that they were supporting a safe space.

    The golden rule of a safe space is that it is only safe for some. As George Orwell puts it, All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    Tolerance and safe spaces are mutually exclusive.

  2. The right to be rude

    The historian Robert Conquest once wrote: “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”

    Today I learned that the Open Source Initiative has reached that point of bureaucratization. I was kicked off their lists for being too rhetorically forceful in opposing certain recent attempts to subvert OSD clauses 5 and 6. This despite the fact that I had vocal support from multiple list members who thanked me for being willing to speak out.

    It shouldn’t be news to anyone that there is an effort afoot to change – I would say corrupt – the fundamental premises of the open souce culture. Instead of meritocracy and “show me the code”, we are now urged to behave so that no-one will ever feel uncomfortable.

    The effect – the intended effect, I should say, is to diminish the prestige and autonomy of people who do the work – write the code – in favor of self-appointed tone-policers. In the process, the freedom to speak necessary truths even when the manner in which they are expressed is unpleasant is being gradually strangled.

    And that is bad for us. Very bad. Both directly – it damages our self-correction process – and in its second-order effects. The habit of institutional tone policing, even when well-intentioned, too easily slides into the active censorship of disfavored views.

Links 27/2/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.1, Collabora Office for Phones and Latte Dock 0.9.9

Posted in News Roundup at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • 50 Simple and Useful dmidecode Commands for Linux

      The dmidecode command in Linux allows users to retrieve sensitive hardware-related information directly from the command line. This way, users can obtain useful information like serial numbers and processor cache values without taking apart their CPUs. In Linux, the dmidecode is known as the DMI table decoder, and it simply decodes hardware information from the SMBIOS (System Management BIOS) of your system. When used carefully, dmidecode can provide an extensive amount of interesting information. That’s why we have curated this guide outlining some of the most amazing things you could do with dmidecode. Continue reading to master these commands thoroughly.

    • The Best Tips for Lazy but Smart Linux Home Users

      You have probably seen the abundance of smart homes and how they make life easier. These smart homes have been made possible by the Internet of Things and can help users turn lights on and off or play music just by the command of your voice.

      To make this possible, you need to have the right hardware and software that can undertake these tasks. Some smart home users have chosen to use Linux to power their homes and have had great success at it.

      You need to know the facts about Linux first before using it and familiarize yourself with working around it. Here are some of the best tips for lazy but smart Linux home users to create the best setup.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux Laptop Buyer’s Guide 2020

        You can visit any online Linux discussion board, and you’re guaranteed to find the same question posted over and over again: What’s the best Linux laptop that I can buy?
        In 2020, this question is both easy and difficult to answer at the same time. On the one hand, the Linux kernel has made great strides in improving compatibility with hardware components, and it’s now very rare for a laptop to not work with Linux at all. On the other hand, the sheer number of attractive laptops that work with Linux can be overwhelming and make the buying process feel tiring.

        To make it easier for you, we selected the best Linux-friendly laptop brands in 2020 and picked one laptop for each brand. All there’s left for you to do is choose the laptop that best matches your requirements.

      • UbuntuBuzz.com is Now HTTPS and Got New Design!

        Dear readers! We have two good news for you. Starting from Tuesday, 25 February 2020, UbuntuBuzz.com website is now more secure with HTTPS and more fresh with new design. Firstly, by HTTPS you would notice a green padlock on your browser address bar. That’s the security sign meaning connection between you and this site is now encrypted. By encrypted means you are safe from tampering in the middle of connection which usually done by crackers or bad internet services. Secondly, after a period of broken design (caused by TinyPic.com shutdown as our image assets were hosted there) whole website is now kindly redesigned by the owner of this website, Mr. Mahmudin Ashar. However, there are still undergoing changes being made so you will see more stuffs coming. Personally, as an author here I really feel grateful to him and I love these changes! I hope these changes make you feel more comfortable visiting us. Do you love these new changes? Please give us feedbacks on comment section. We thank you all dear readers for your support!

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 846

        nodejs 12, raspberry pi, 3d printing, air frying

      • FLOSS Weekly 567: DeepCode

        DeepCode alerts you about critical vulnerabilities you need to solve in your code. DeepCode finds critical vulnerabilities that other automated code reviews don’t, such as Cross-Site Scripting, Path Traversal or SQL injection. DeepCode finds critical vulnerabilities that other automated code reviews don’t, such as Cross-Site Scripting, Path Traversal or SQL injection with 90% precision.

      • 2020-02-26 | Linux Headlines

        Brave joins forces with the Wayback Machine, the Linux Foundation teams up with IBM to fight climate change, and The Document Foundation puts out a call to the community.

      • Linux Apps I Use At Work

        Linux Apps I Use At Work This video will go over all the applications I use on my Work PC. I go over my email, file browser, and many other features. As a life long Windows user, I was able to optimize my workflow once I moved to Linux and pick up a lot of productivity.

      • Test and Code: 102: Cosmic Python, TDD, testing and external dependencies – Harry Percival

        Harry Percival has completed his second book, “Architecture Patterns with Python”.
        So of course we talk about the book, also known as “Cosmic Python”.
        We also discuss lots of testing topics, especially related to larger systems and systems involving third party interfaces and APIs.

      • IRC is Not Dead | Self-Hosted 13

        Self-Hosted IRC solutions are better than ever. Alan Pope joins us to make a case for the classic way to communicate online and tells us about a modern client for the web, mobile, and desktop you run on your server.

        Plus, follow up on the new Self-Hosted wiki, and more.

      • BSD Fundraising | BSD Now 339

        Meet FuryBSD, NetBSD 9.0 has been released, OpenBSD Foundation 2019 campaign wrapup, a retrospective on OmniOS ZFS-based NFS fileservers, NetBSD Fundraising 2020 goal, OpenSSH 8.2 released, and more.## Headlines

    • Kernel Space

      • Filesystem UID mapping for user namespaces: yet another shiftfs

        The idea of an ID-shifting virtual filesystem that would remap user and group IDs before passing requests through to an underlying real filesystem has been around for a few years but has never made it into the mainline. Implementations have taken the form of shiftfs and shifting bind mounts. Now there is yet another approach to the problem under consideration; this one involves a theoretically simpler approach that makes almost no changes to the kernel’s filesystem layer at all.

        ID-shifting filesystems are meant to be used with user namespaces, which have a number of interesting characteristics; one of those is that there is a mapping between user IDs within the namespace and those outside of it. Normally this mapping is set up so that processes can run as root within the namespace without giving them root access on the system as a whole. A user namespace could be configured so that ID zero inside maps to ID 10000 outside, for example; ranges of IDs can be set up in this way, so that ID 20 inside would be 10020 outside. User namespaces thus perform a type of ID shifting now.

        In systems where user namespaces are in use, it is common to set them up to use non-overlapping ranges of IDs as a way of providing isolation between containers. But often complete isolation is not desired. James Bottomley’s motivation for creating shiftfs was to allow processes within a user namespace to have root access to a specific filesystem. With the current patch set, instead, author Christian Brauner describes a use case where multiple containers have access to a shared filesystem and need to be able to access that filesystem with the same user and group IDs. Either way, the point is to be able to set up a mapping for user and group IDs that differs from the mapping established in the namespace itself.

      • Keeping secrets in memfd areas

        Back in November 2019, Mike Rapoport made the case that there is too much address-space sharing in Linux systems. This sharing can be convenient and good for performance, but in an era of advanced attacks and hardware vulnerabilities it also facilitates security problems. At that time, he proposed a number of possible changes in general terms; he has now come back with a patch implementing a couple of address-space isolation options for the memfd mechanism. This work demonstrates the sort of features we may be seeing, but some of the hard work has been left for the future.
        Sharing of address spaces comes about in a number of ways. Linux has traditionally mapped the kernel’s address space into every user-space process; doing so improves performance in a number of ways. This sharing was thought to be secure for years, since the mapping doesn’t allow user space to actually access that memory. The Meltdown and Spectre hardware bugs, though, rendered this sharing insecure; thus kernel page-table isolation was merged to break that sharing.

        Another form of sharing takes place in the processor’s memory caches; once again, hardware vulnerabilities can expose data cached in this shared area. Then there is the matter of the kernel’s direct map: a large mapping (in kernel space) that contains all of physical memory. This mapping makes life easy for the kernel, but it also means that all user-space memory is shared with the kernel. In other words, an attacker with even a limited ability to run code in the kernel context may have easy access to all memory in the system. Once again, in an era of speculative-execution bugs, that is not necessarily a good thing.

      • Revisiting stable-kernel regressions

        Stable-kernel updates are, unsurprisingly, supposed to be stable; that is why the first of the rules for stable-kernel patches requires them to be “obviously correct and tested”. Even so, for nearly as long as the kernel community has been producing stable update releases, said community has also been complaining about regressions that make their way into those releases. Back in 2016, LWN did some analysis that showed the presence of regressions in stable releases, though at a rate that many saw as being low enough. Since then, the volume of patches showing up in stable releases has grown considerably, so perhaps the time has come to see what the situation with regressions is with current stable kernels.
        As an example of the number of patches going into the stable kernel updates, consider that, as of 4.9.213, 15,648 patches have been added to the original 4.9 release — that is an entire development cycle worth of patches added to a “stable” kernel. Reviewing all of those to see whether each contains a regression is not practical, even for the maintainers of the stable updates. But there is an automated way to get a sense for how many of those stable-update patches bring regressions with them.

        The convention in the kernel community is to add a Fixes tag to any patch fixing a bug introduced by another patch; that tag includes the commit ID for the original, buggy patch. Since stable kernel releases are supposed to be limited to fixes, one would expect that almost every patch would carry such a tag. In the real world, about 40-60% of the commits to a stable series carry Fixes tags; the proportion appears to be increasing over time as the discipline of adding those tags improves.

      • Finer-grained kernel address-space layout randomization

        The idea behind kernel address-space layout randomization (KASLR) is to make it harder for attackers to find code and data of interest to use in their attacks by loading the kernel at a random location. But a single random offset is used for the placement of the kernel text, which presents a weakness: if the offset can be determined for anything within the kernel, the addresses of other parts of the kernel are readily calculable. A new “finer-grained” KASLR patch set seeks to remedy that weakness for the text section of the kernel by randomly reordering the functions within the kernel code at boot time.

      • Debian discusses how to handle 2038

        At this point, most of the kernel work to avoid the year-2038 apocalypse has been completed. Said apocalypse could occur when time counted in seconds since 1970 overflows a 32-bit signed value (i.e. time_t). Work in the GNU C Library (glibc) and other C libraries is well underway as well. But the “fun” is just beginning for distributions, especially those that support 32-bit architectures, as a recent Debian discussion reveals. One of the questions is: how much effort should be made to support 32-bit architectures as they fade from use and 2038 draws nearer?

        Steve McIntyre started the conversation with a post to the debian-devel mailing list. In it, he noted that Arnd Bergmann, who was copied on the email, had been doing a lot of the work on the kernel side of the problem, but that it is mostly a solved problem for the kernel at this point. McIntyre and Bergmann (not to mention Debian as a whole) are now interested in what is needed to update a complete Linux system, such as Debian, to work with a 64-bit time_t.

        McIntyre said that glibc has been working on an approach that splits the problem up based on the architecture targeted. Those that already have a 64-bit time_t will simply have a glibc that works with that ABI. Others that are transitioning from a 32-bit time_t to the new ABI will continue to use the 32-bit version by default in glibc. Applications on the latter architectures can request the 64-bit time_t support from glibc, but then they (and any other libraries they use) will only get the 64-bit versions of the ABI.

        One thing that glibc will not be doing is bumping its SONAME (major version, essentially); doing so would make it easier to distinguish versions with and without the 64-bit support for 32-bit architectures. The glibc developers do not consider the change to be an ABI break, because applications have to opt into the change. It would be difficult and messy for Debian to change the SONAME for glibc on its own.

      • UEFI Boot Support Published For RISC-V On Linux

        As we’ve been expecting to happen with the Linux EFI code being cleaned up before the introduction of a new architecture, the RISC-V patches have been posted for bringing up UEFI boot support.

        Western Digital’s Atish Patra sent out the patch series on Tuesday for adding UEFI support for the RISC-V architecture. This initial UEFI Linux bring-up is for supporting boot time services while the UEFI runtime service support is still being worked on. This RISC-V UEFI support can work in conjunction with the U-Boot bootloader and depends upon other recent Linux kernel work around RISC-V’s Supervisor Binary Interface (SBI).

      • Linux Kernel Seeing Patches For NVIDIA’s Proprietary Tegra Partition Table

        As an obstacle for upstreaming some particularly older NVIDIA Tegra devices (namely those running Android) is that they have GPT entry at the wrong location or lacking at all for boot support. That missing or botched GPT support is because those older devices make use of a NVIDIA proprietary/closed-source table format. As such, support for this proprietary NVIDIA Tegra Partition Table is being worked on for the Linux kernel to provide better upstream kernel support on these consumer devices.

        NVIDIA Tegra devices primarily rely on a special partition table format for their internal storage while some also support traditional GPT partitions. Those devices with non-flakey GPT support can boot fine but TegraPT support is being worked on for handling the upstream Linux kernel with the other devices lacking GPT support or where it’s at the wrong sector. This issue primarily plagues Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 era hardware like some Google Nexus products (e.g. Nexus 7) while fortunately newer Tegra devices properly support GPT.

      • Intel Continues Bring-Up Of New Gateway SoC Architecture On Linux, ComboPHY Driver

        Besides all the usual hardware enablement activities with the usual names by Intel’s massive open-source team working on the Linux kernel, one of the more peculiar bring-ups recently has been around the “Intel Gateway SoC” with more work abound for Linux 5.7.

        The Intel Gateway SoC is a seemingly yet-to-be-released product for high-speed network packet processing. The Gateway SoC supports the Intel Gateway Datapath Architecture (GWDPA) and is designed for very fast and efficient network processing. Outside of Linux kernel patches we haven’t seen many Intel “Gateway” references to date. Gateway appears to be (or based on) the Intel “Lightning Mountain” SoC we were first to notice and bring attention to last summer when patches began appearing for that previously unknown codename.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Panfrost Open-Source Driver Gets Initial OpenGL ES 3.0 Support

          This comes as great news for Linux users, especially gamers. While many 3D apps and games have basic OpenGL ES 2.0 support, for advanced rendering tasks the newer OpenGL ES 3.0 is required, and Panfrost now supports it.

          As expected, OpenGL ES 3.0 is by far more powerful than its predecessor, adding new features like to 3D textures, instanced rendering, multiple render targets on Mali T760 GPUs and higher, primitive restart, as well as uniform buffer objects.

        • Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Adds Experimental OpenGL ES 3.0 For Open-Source Arm Mali
        • Experimental Panfrost GLES 3.0 support has landed in Mesa

          In the early days of Panfrost, the free and open-source graphics driver for Mali GPUs, we focused on OpenGL ES 2.0. Many applications and games work have basic support for ES 2.0 but for advanced rendering require the newer, more featureful OpenGL ES 3.0… for which Panfrost now has initial support!

          ES 3.0 adds dozens of new features to ES 2.0 to enable faster and more realistic rendering. To support it, we’ve added features to Panfrost like instanced rendering, primitive restart, uniform buffer objects, 3D textures, and multiple render targets (on Mali T760 and up). Features like instanced rendering and primitive restart allow developers to write faster graphics applications, to render efficiently scenes more complex than possible in ES 2.0. Features like uniform buffer objects and 3D texture give developers a more natural environment to write efficient graphics shaders, again allowing for more complex fast applications. Finally, features like multiple render target enable a range of modern rendering techniques like deferred shading.

        • Open source ‘Panfrost’ driver for Mali GPUs gets initial GLES 3.0 support

          Do you have a system laying around rocking a Mali GPU (perhaps in a Chromebook)? The good news is Mesa just got experimental support for OpenGL ES (GLES) 3.0 to give them more advanced graphics support.

          Writing on the Collabora blog, graphics hacker Alyssa Rosenzweig noted about the initial GLES 3.0 support landing in upstream Mesa today. They’ve added tons of new features to the Panfrost driver including: instanced rendering, primitive restart, uniform buffer objects, 3D textures and multiple render targets (on Mali T760 and up).

          All of this together means some more modern games can run on these Mali chips, they’ve tested the classic open source racing game SuperTuxKart and mentioned how “SuperTuxKart’s ES 3.0 non-deferred renderer now works with Panfrost”.

    • Applications

      • HPLIP 3.20.2 Released with Linux Mint 19.3 Support

        HPLIP 3.20.2, HP developed open source Linux driver for HP printers and scanners, was released today with many new devices and Linux Mint 19.3 support.

      • MuseScore – Create, play, and print beautiful sheet music

        Do you need a top-notch musical notation editor for your Linux PC? MuseScore should be the software of your choice. A good music notation app requires to provide the user with features like quick corrections, fast editing, reliable sharing, and provision of a uniform layout of sheet music. It should make the whole process of creating, editing, and printing music a lot easier and fast.

        MuseScore is one of the powerful and versatile open-source music score editors in the market. It might not offer all the editing features provided by high-end paid software, but it provides users with the core functionality needed.

      • Best 14 teamviewer alternatives for Linux/Ubuntu

        One of the most popular software enabling computers to be controlled remotely is TeamViewer, but there are many other options that are available as well, which have just as many features (desktop sharing, online conferences, and data transfers). Since TeamViewer dominates the major online users, it has long ranked number one by many users.
        However, for many, TeamViewer isn’t their number one choice and so in the true spirit of ope n source, let’s talk about thousands of similar software. Since I can’t discuss it all, let’s talk about the top 14 alternatives of TeamViewer for Linux in 2020.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • How to play The Sims 4 game on Linux

        Sims4 is an online real-life simulation game that creates a virtual environment quite similar to the real world. For gamers, it is relatively similar to Second Life only that some of the features are different.

        With Sims4, players are provided with a platform to create a virtual character (a sim) of themselves. They control the sims to interact with other personalities and change with the game outlook. It’s more like having another life online. You can even create challenges like creating a single sim and ensuring that its family lasts for up to ten generations.

      • How to install League of Legends on Linux Mint 19.3

        In this video, we are looking at how to install League of Legends on Linux Mint 19.3.

      • Clean up a filthy spaceship in ‘Out of Space’, now out in full with Linux support

        Out of Space from developer Behold Studios (Chroma Squad, Galaxy of Pen & Paper) just recently released, and they added Linux support just before leaving Early Access.

        It’s an odd and quite amusing game, where you and friends are basically space janitors cleaning up your spaceship. With support for local and online multiplayer (matchmaking and invites possible), as well as Steam Remote Play, there’s plenty of opportunities to team up with someone to play.

      • Incredibly quirky exploration adventure ‘MoonQuest’ is out now – adds Linux support

        After being in development for 8 years, plus 18 months of that being in Early Access, MoonQuest from developer Ben Porter of Wizard Mode is now officially released.

        With procedural generation, each game you jump into gives you something new and weird to explore including wild forests, giant mountains and ancient ruins. Your quest? Bring light to a darkened world. Harvest resources, find treasure, and forge the weapons that will help you on your journey. A little Terraria-like in its presentation, with a destructible world too but the overall feel is vastly different and unique in its own right.

      • Take your chicken on a wild adventure in ‘Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac’ – out now

        Take control of the outcast Edgar, a rather quirky individual who wears a tin hat and talks to their Chicken in ‘Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac’ and it’s out now. Note: Key provided by their PR team.

        Developed by the French team La Poule Noire, it’s not particularly long game with the developer saying it takes 2-5 hours (my run through was about 2 hours) but it positively oozes charm. I actually fell a little bit in love with it when I completed the old demo previously, with this silly protagonist who calls their chicken “Precious” and things just continue getting more weird as the story goes on—what do you expect with a city where an 800 year old fire rages beneath the surface? Cultists, probably.

      • Upcoming strategy game ‘Radio General’ has you yell orders down a microphone

        Sitting in a tent during WW2 and all you have is a map and a radio, it’s time to shout some orders and hopefully win. You quite literally do shout your orders too, you need a microphone for this as it’s using speech recognition.

        While not a unique idea, a few others have done it, for it to be in a strategy game like this definitely is a bit more unusual. It’s real-time too and as you get verbal reports back you then need to act fast and start making some decisions.

      • Golf With Your Friends to leave Early Access in Q2 this year

        Blacklight Interactive and Team17 have announced that their amusing multiplayer golf game, Golf With Your Friends, is leaving Early Access.

        They’ve not actually given an exact date yet but we at least have a release window now, with “Q2 2020″ being mentioned. Blacklight did say we can expect plenty more content to be added in before the full release, and they only recently introduced some big updates too like a whole Worms-themed set and a Museum set too.

      • Stardew Valley turns 4, more free updates on the way

        Gamers can have a little extra farming, as a treat. Stardew Valley is confirmed to be getting another free content update as it just recently hit four years since release.

        After the release it’s had multiple big updates already, with the 1.4 update going out last November so it’s not exactly been long. That update was huge too adding in tons of new customization, a big farm screenshot feature, big multiplayer enhancements, gamepads improvements and much more.

      • Working on games and need some interface sounds? Kenney saves the day again

        Kenney is well-known for creating high-quality reusable art assets, they’ve done a huge amount you can buy and quite a lot are also public domain under the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication license so you really can do anything.

        They’re also now doing audio assets! Giving developers in need something a little extra, on top of everything they already do. Just recently, they released the Interface Sounds pack which contains 100 public domain sound effects that anyone can download and use free (you can also donate). All high quality too—wonderful!

      • “Doosk” is a crossover mod that brings the weapons and gameplay from “Dusk” to “Doom”

        Considering we already have several mods of this type for Doom, that aim to mix elements from different popular FPS’s (see GOL articles for BlooM, BorderDoom and DaggerHell Overkill as references), it was only a matter of time until someone decided to bring the insanity of Dusk as well…

      • Clean up a filfty spaceship in ‘Out of Space’, now out in full with Linux support

        Out of Space from developer Behold Studios (Chroma Squad, Galaxy of Pen & Paper) just recently released, and they added Linux support just before leaving Early Access.

        It’s an odd and quite amusing game, where you and friends are basically space janitors cleaning up your spaceship. With support for local and online multiplayer (matchmaking and invites possible), as well as Steam Remote Play, there’s plenty of opportunities to team up with someone to play.

      • Dead Cells: The Bad Seed now available for Linux on GOG

        DRM-free your thing? Shop on GOG regularly? Good news, Motion Twin/Evil Empire have now sorted the DLC situation for Linux on GOG with Dead Cells.

        Now even more people can enjoy the awesome looking and brilliant combat in Dead Cells, with the expanded content in the recent Dead Cells: The Bad Seed DLC which is absolutely worth picking up. It’s helped me personally enjoy the game for quite a few more hours as it nicely mixes up with early game and the extras are excellent.

      • Quiet survival adventure ‘Aquamarine’ is fully funded and on the way to Linux

        Some good news to share today, as Aquamarine from Moebial Studios has managed to push through the noise and get fully funded on their Kickstarter campaign.

        This means another sweet looking game is on the way to Linux, plus with their funding level they managed to hit a few of their special stretch-goals to work on more features. With the campaign now over, they ended on $18,763 in funding so the game should be more lively thanks to the $15K goal of more animations and the $17K goal of an expanded soundtrack and audio effects.

      • Children of Morta still heading to Linux, developer Dead Mage confirms

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2015, Dead Mage went onto launch their story-driven action RPG to a lot of positive reviews last year but so far Linux has been missing.

        It was a confirmed platform for release on their Kickstarter but since release, things have been a little quiet. The publisher, 11 bit studios didn’t reply to our messages and the developer has been practically silent about it on their Steam page.

        Thankfully, Dead Mage themselves did email me early this morning to say “We are working on the Linux version and we are doing this because we love what Linux is all about :).”. A short, sweet and to the point message. Not much to go in since the last reply in October 19 but good that it’s happening.

      • Alternate-history WWII Story-driven tactical RPG ‘Broken Lines’ is out

        Set in an alternate version of WWII, Broken Lines from developer PortaPlay and Super.com is a story-driven tactical RPG and it’s out with Linux support.

        A squad of soldiers crash land in the middle of enemy territory. With no leaders alive and no available orders, the group must find a way to deal with their situation and internal conflicts, before a mysterious fog engulfs them and enemy forces hunt them down. Broken Lines is a game about a group of soldiers under immense pressure, losing hope and directions, while still trying to put up a fight.

      • GOG update their refund policy giving gamers more time to decide

        Today, the DRM-free store GOG announced a few changes to how they will handle refunds for games purchased through them.

        In short you will now get 30 days to refund a title from GOG, which includes games currently in development which previously only gave you two weeks. Even if you’ve downloaded it and played it, GOG say if it’s within 30 days of asking they will give you a refund.

        A good policy, 30 days is a pretty good amount of time to refund a game. However, it can be open to abuse of course. Sounds like they will keep an eye on people doing it often though, as they said “we reserve the right to refuse refunds in individual cases”.

      • Speculation: porting studio Feral Interactive could be in some trouble (updated: they’re fine)

        Feral Interactive, the porting company that has made many games available on Linux (as well as macOS and mobile) may be in a spot of trouble.

        Reported first on Phoronix, as found out from the UK’s Companies House, they’re being given a “First Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off” which is not exactly a good sign for any company. What this means, is that they have a few months before they might cease to legally exist. There can be a few reasons for this, like not sending in their accounts or an annual confirmation statement. Looking at Feral, it seems theirs are overdue as they should have been done by 31 December 2019.

      • Game Porting Firm Feral Interactive’s Days Could Be Numbered With Compulsory Strike-Off

        Prominent Linux and macOS game porting firm Feral Interactive looks like it may be dissolving, (edit) but fortunately turned out to be an accounting error.

      • Stadia gets GRID, SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Quest for March Pro subs – Spitlings is out

        Another round-up is here for the Stadia game streaming service, going over some recent news and new games available.

        Google have announced that for Stadia Pro subscribers in March you’re getting three games which are: GRID, SteamWorld Dig 2, and SteamWorld Quest. We already knew the SteamWorld games would be available for Pro subs, since that was mentioned in the announcement about them coming to Stadia but we didn’t know it was so soon. GRID is quite a nice surprise though, that might even pull a few people back in since the initial Pro time for most people is now up. Farming Simulator 19 Platinum Edition will be leaving Stadia Pro, so if you do want it make sure you claim it before February 29.

      • The T’au invade Warhammer 40,000: Gladius in a new expansion out now

        Proxy Studios and Slitherine yesterday released a big new expansion for Warhammer 40,000: Gladius focusing on the T’au race, as they’ve joined the fight for the domination of Gladius Prime.

      • Valve make some needed improvements to the Steam Search

        After testing out a bunch of changes to the way Steam Search works in a Steam Labs experiment, Valve has now rolled it out for everyone with new features.

        Steam Labs is the area of Steam where they experiment more, let people opt into new features and they also pull in outside developers to do some prototypes. This expanded Steam Search is one of such experiments. Valve said the improvements to it started as “an exploration of new ranking algorithms, but based upon user feedback it expanded to include the many quality of life improvements in today’s release”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Latte bug fix release v0.9.9

          Every distro providing Latte v0.9.x it is suggested to update to v0.9.9 because that will improve the Latte new users experience vastly [kde#417886]. Through the mentioned bug report I discovered that initialization of config files during startup it was not valid for all new users. There were cases that configuration files were not consistent with v0.9.x implementation. Old users using Latte since v0.8.x days are not influenced by that.

        • Latte Dock 0.9.9 Will Vastly Improve Launcher’s Experience for New Users

          Latte Dock 0.9.9 dock-like app launcher for GNU/Linux distributions has been released today as a maintenance update that promises to dramatically improve the Latte Dock experience for new users.

          Latte is one of the most used dock-like applications for Linux-based operating systems. It is based on KDE’s Plasma frameworks, but it can be used on virtually any desktop environment.

          The latest release is here to address a critical bug in the initialization of configuration files during startup. While users using the Latte Dock 0.8 series aren’t affected, this will vastly improve the Latte Dock experience for new users and those who are using the 0.9 series.

    • Distributions

      • Distributions Were For Linux, Not For Kubernetes

        I often liken the Kubernetes revolution and the way it’s taking over the cloud to Linux/Unix and the way it took over servers. I think we’re right at the beginning of the same kind of revolution, and I’m not the only one who is seeing this trend, as evidenced by so many companies cropping up to capitalize on its growth.

        Companies looking to make money in the world of Linux went out and took the core, bundled it up with their best practices and their favorite applications, and then sold it as a “distribution.” You see this with Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, etc. — even the open-source versions took the base system and then built significantly above and beyond that to the point where each had its own default windowing interface, and some were massively different experiences for the user even though what was underneath was basically the same.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 Beta Version Released Today & Available for Download!

          OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 Beta Version Released now: The Novell private software development company funding the OpenSUSE operating system. The team of developers really working very hard to make OpenSUSE more professional and bug free. Few days before, the developers team released the latest beta version “OpenSUSE Leap 15.2” for people usage.

      • Slackware Family

        • MATE 1.24 Binaries Pushed

          I have just build the latest MATE 1.24 on top of latest Slackware-Current (per Feb 26 2020) and pushed the binaries into the usual repository provided by Darren Austin at slackware.uk. I took this chance to bump some libraries to the latest version available.

          As mentioned earlier, i can’t provide mate-power-manager 1.24 since it requires new upower 0.99.x which uses a new API, so i will leave it as it is for now. Once new upower gets included, i will have to make some test first before pushing mate-power-manager 1.24 to public.

      • Arch Family

        • Distro news: Arch gets a new leader and Manjaro has a new release

          Today we’re starting off with a little double-dose of distribution news, helping you to keep up with the wider community around Linux and gaming.

          Firstly, Arch Linux now has a new project leader. After heading the project for over 10 years, Aaron Griffin has stepped down. In the brief post they said “Arch Linux needs involved leadership to make hard decisions and direct the project where it needs to go. And I am not in a position to do this.”.

          To get a new leader, in a team effort, the Arch Linux staff came up with a new process to elect a new leader around every two years. The first official vote has already been done, with “Levente Polyak (anthraxx)” taking over as Arch Linux leader. Hopefully they will keep it going strong.

        • Manjaro 19.0 released

          Version 19 of the Arch-based Manjaro distribution is out. “The Xfce edition remains our flagship offering and has received the attention it deserves. Only a few can claim to offer such a polished, integrated and leading-edge Xfce experience. With this release we ship Xfce 4.14 and have mostly focused on polishing the user experience with the desktop and window manager. Also we have switched to a new theme called Matcha. A new feature Display-Profiles allows you to store one or more profiles for your preferred display configuration. We also have implemented auto-application of profiles when new displays are connected.”

        • Manjaro 19.0 is here with Linux 5.4 and improved UI

          Most probably, the most important highlight of this release has to be that Manjaro has upgraded to Linux Kernel 5.4 LTS. However, it seems clear that the system’s user interface has been the focal point of this release.

          With this update, the brains behind the product have made it clear that its flagship edition, Xfce of Manjaro, reigns supreme over all the other versions. Accordingly, Kyria comes with the latest version of the Xfce desktop environment in v4.14. However, this isn’t the only change implemented when it comes to the system’s UI, as users should also notice an improved desktop and window manager.

          Apart from that, you’ll also find a new default theme dubbed Matcha when you update to Manjaro 19.0. Plus, the developers have also worked on a new feature called Display Profiles through which users will be able to save their preferred display settings. Moreover, upon connecting a new display, the profiles will be automatically applied to it.

          However, if you want to go for the KDE edition of Manjaro, you’re going to be finding Plasma 5.17 desktop environment that has been specially modified, keeping in mind this Manjaro update. Yakuake skins, Konsole profiles, animated splash-screen, and light/dark versions will also be a part of the Breath2-themes. Moreover, there’s also going to be KDE Apps 19.12.2 accompanying this edition.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and CentOS 7 Receive Important Kernel Security Update

          The new kernel security update is marked as “Important” by the Red Hat Product Security team and patches two heap overflows (CVE-2019-14816 and CVE-2019-14901) in the Marvell Wi-Fi chip driver.

          While CVE-2019-14816 could allow an attacker on the same Wi-Fi physical network segment to cause a denial of service (system crash) or even maybe execute arbitrary code, CVE-2019-14901is more dangerous as it lets a remote attacker crash the system or execute arbitrary code.

        • IBM, UN and Linux Foundation tackle climate crisis in 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge

          For its 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge, IBM has partnered with United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation to invite software developers and innovators worldwide to help fight climate change with open source powered technology.

          “IBM has a long history of taking on the world’s biggest challenges and we cannot think of a greater one today than climate change ,” said IBM’s Daniel Krook, chief technology officer for IBM’s Call for Code.

        • Open source marketing: Hacking our technology and process problems

          The teams that make up the Red Hat Open Studio are stewards of the Red Hat brand and identity. We are also makers, because Red Hat is an open source company, and open source is all about creating things.

          Open source is also about hacking together solutions when there isn’t an easy way to solve a problem.

        • Enterprise Kubernetes with OpenShift (Part one)

          The question “What’s the difference between Kubernetes and OpenShift?” comes up every now and then, and it is quite like asking: “What’s the difference between an engine and a car?”

          To answer the latter, a car is a product that immediately makes you productive: it is ready to get you where you want to go. The engine, in return, won’t get you anywhere unless you assemble it with other essential components that will form in the end a … car.

          As for the first question, in essence, you can think of it as Kubernetes being the engine that drives OpenShift, and OpenShift as the complete car (hence platform) that will get you where you want to.

        • Rules for product managers at open source companies

          Product management is an interesting career. It’s immensely rewarding to be the interface between users, business strategy, engineering, and product design. And it’s also a highly lucrative career with increasing demand for ambitious and empathetic practitioners.

          It’s also a role with no single path. You might see various certifications and courses emerging to help address the serious skills shortage. The good news is that these are starting to contribute to the talent pipeline, but they struggle to address the wider demands of the role. This is especially the case where roles require direct experience across the enormous range of what it takes to build and ship successful products.

        • Red Hat simplifies container development and redistribution of RHEL packages

          Now, application developers in the Red Hat Technology Partner program can build their container apps and redeploy from the full set of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) user space packages (non-kernel). This nearly triples the number of packages over UBI only.

          When we introduced Red Hat Universal Base Images (UBI) in May 2019, we provided Red Hat partners the ability to freely use and redistribute a substantial number of RHEL packages that can be deployed on both Red Hat and non-Red Hat platforms. This gave developers the ability to build safe, secure, and portable container-based software that could then be deployed anywhere. The feedback on this has been overwhelmingly positive and we thank you for it, but we learned that you needed more, so we’re sharing this advanced preview with Red Hat Partner Connect members to help you with your planning.

        • F31-20200224 updated isos released (New Fedora Builds)

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-2020224 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.5.5-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 1GB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, short-bike, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

      • Debian Family

        • How Kosovo won DebConf21

          On 20 February, the DebConf team announced that Kosovo will host DebConf21 in the summer of 2021. DebConf is an annual, week-long conference of Debian Developers, typically attracting between 300 and 600 people to a different host city each year.

          The DebConf21 win is a strong endorsement of the work done by local groups including FLOSSK, CoderGals Kosovo and Toastmasters.

          FLOSSK operate the amazing Prishtina Hackerspace and they have been running an annual event, Software Freedom Kosovo (SFK) for ten years now. The CFP deadline for SFK 2020 is imminent, please submit your proposal before 1 March.

          CoderGals Kosovo ran their first Hackathon for Girls in Prizren, 2017.

          As a Debian Developer, I’ve visited and helped organize a number of events in the region covering Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. At the Digital-born Media Carnival in Kotor, 2017, I was fortunate to meet four students from Kosovo, including Albiona and Qendresa Hoti, who told me about their plans to run a hackathon in Prizren. They invited me to attend as an advisor to their event and this was a great opportunity to see the possibilities in Kosovo.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Makes Picking a Graphics Driver Easier

          Now that the latest NVIDIA graphics are available in Ubuntu LTS releases directly (without the need for third-party repos or obtuse web downloads) dev are updating the look of the Software & Updates > Additional Drivers to better help users understand what it is they’re looking at.

          Here, for example, is how the graphics driver selection screen looks in Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS…

          Could be a touch clearer, couldn’t it?

          Ubuntu certainly thinks so too. It plans to adjust the order that ‘additional drivers’ are listed, and improve on the wording used to present them.

          For graphics drivers specifically this means overly technical terms like “X.org X server” and “metapackage” are being ditched, and more intelligible and concise labels introduced…

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Includes New Light and Dark Theme Variant — Check Now

          As we reported last month that Canonical will introduce a new theme variant in the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, subsequently, the Ubuntu team has now added the new desktop theme to their daily builds updates.

          The 19th week of the Ubuntu development cycle is about to end with a feature freeze. But before the end of new features and packages addition, Ubuntu 20.04 has included various new features.

        • What Is the Difference Between Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server?

          Apart from the many Ubuntu Flavours, Ubuntu has different versions namely Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Core, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Cloud, Ubuntu Server, and Ubuntu desktop. The Ubuntu Server is the operating system version of Ubuntu built specifically to the server specifications while Ubuntu Desktop is the version built to run on desktops and laptops.

          In case you missed it, here are 10 Reasons Why Your Business Is Better Off With A Linux Server. And if you’re just joining us then read on to know which type of the Ubuntu ISO image you’re better off using.

          A server is a computer designed to provide data and other functionality to other computers over the internet. They may run common servers like the Apache TTP server and the computers typically run on a LAN or WAN e.g. desktops, laptops, smartphones, IoT devices. A desktop computer is any personal computer designed to be used regularly at a single location due to its size.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 7 open source Q&A platforms

        Where do you go when you have a question? Since humans began walking the earth, we’ve asked the people around us—our family, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, or other people we know well. Much later came libraries and bookstores offering knowledge and resources, as well as access for anyone to come in and search for the answers. When the home computer became common, these knowledge bases extended to electronic encyclopedias shipped on floppy disks or CD-ROMs. Then, when the internet age arrived, these knowledge bases migrated online to the likes of Wikipedia, and search engines like Google were born with the purpose of making it easy for people to search for answers to their questions. Now, sites like StackOverflow are there to answer our software questions and Quora for our general queries.

        The lesson is clear, though. We all have questions, and we all want answers for them. And some of us want to help others find answers to their questions, and this is where self-hosted Q&A sites come in.

      • Events

        • DevCon 2020 is just about a month away

          The annual Developers Conference of Mauritius is happening on 2 – 4 April. That leaves us like about a month of final preparations.

        • (pre-)FOSDEM +++ ILoveFS +++ Community

          Every year, at the beginning of February, FOSDEM brings together thousands of Free Software enthusiasts for one weekend in Brussels to discuss current topics and developments in the Free Software world. The FSFE used this occasion to invite key Free Software groups of Europe one day before the FOSDEM festivities to participate in our “pre-FOSDEM meeting”. This was an event for everyone to network and get an overview of the activities of different Free Software groups from all over Europe.

          The event was kicked off by a presentation from Marcel Kolaja, Vice President of the European Parliament, which was then followed by insights and presentations from diverse Free Software organisations from all over Europe, from Portugal to Greece. After the presentations, we concluded with a dinner and a social meeting.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Videos for microconferences

          The videos for all the talks in microconferences at the 2019 edition of Linux Plumbers are now linked to the schedule. Clicking on the link titled “video” will take you to the right spot in the microconference video. Hopefully, watching all of these talks will get you excited for the 2020 edition which we are busy preparing! Watch out for our call for microconferences and for our refereed track both of which are to be released soon. So now’s the time to start thinking about all the exciting problems you want to discuss and solve.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Lessons learned from Credit Karma GraphQL architecture

          Credit Karma and similar companies have transformed the personal finance market during the past two decades. Credit Karma has undergone multiple transformations since launching in 2007, culminating in reports this week from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal that it will be acquired by Intuit in a deal valued at $7 billion. Credit Karma did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the acquisition.

          While multiple technologies have helped spur Credit Karma’s growth, in recent years the company has increasingly embraced GraphQL architecture as a way to improve its services with faster response times for its 100 million members. According to the company, approximately 50% of Credit Karma’s data traffic flows through GraphQL.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.4.1

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.4.1, the 1st minor release of the LibreOffice 6.4 family, targeted at technology enthusiasts and power users. LibreOffice 6.4.1 includes over 120 bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility.

          LibreOffice 6.4.1 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, and as such is not optimized for enterprise class deployments, where features are less important than robustness. Users wanting a more mature version can download LibreOffice 6.3.5, which includes some months of back-ported fixes.

          LibreOffice 6.4.1’s change log pages are available on TDF’s wiki: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/6.4.1/RC1 (changed in RC1) and https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Releases/6.4.1/RC2 (changed in RC2).

        • LibreOffice 6.4 Office Suite Gets First Point Release, over 120 Bugs Fixed

          Coming a month after the release of LibreOffice 6.4, a major update introducing multiple performance improvements, better compatibility with Microsoft Office documents, and several new features, LibreOffice 6.4.1 is here to address numerous bugs and regression to improve the stability, as well as document compatibility.

          According to The Document Foundation, more than 120 bug fixes are included in this first point release, which is highly recommended to everyone who already updated their PCs to the LibreOffice 6.4 series. Details about the bugs fixes are available here and here.

        • LibreOffice 6.4.1 Released with 120+ Bug Fixes

          The first point update to the sizeable LibreOffice 6.4 release from last month is out, and it features more than 120 bug fixes.

          While none of the fixes are particularly exciting in isolation — there are a tonne of fixes for .docx opening, saving, and formatting — together, they result in a more finessed end product.

          And that’s the important bit.

          Do check out our earlier article for everything new in the LibreOffice 6.4 release specifically (there is a lot, so grab a coffee).

          For a complete overview on the batch of bug fixes bundled up in this point release there’s a change-log on the TDF wiki with lots more info.

        • Collabora Office for Phones

          SUSE was a foundational supporter of LibreOffice, and it was clear that smartphones were becoming a thing, and something needed to be done here. Also Apache OpenOffice was being used (without anything being contributed back) by AdrOpen Office – which looked like ‘X on Android’, so we needed a gap plugging solution, and fast.

          Luckily a chunk of the necessary work: cross-compiling was dual-purpose. Getting to work was part of our plan inside SUSE to build our Windows LibreOffice with MINGW under SLES. That would give us a saner & more reliable, and repeatable build-system for our problem OS: Windows.

          Of course we used that to target Android as well, you can see Tor’s first commit. We had a very steep learning curve; imagine having to patch the ARM assembler of your system libraries to make STL work for example.

          FOSDEM as always provided a huge impetus (checkout my slides) to deliver on the ambitious “On-line and in your pocket” thing. I have hazy visions of debugging late at night in a hotel room with Kendy to get our first working screenshot there:

        • Collabora Office Brings Power of LibreOffice to Android & iOS

          Dream of using LibreOffice on Android or iOS? if so, the release of Collabora Office will be of particular interest.

          Collabora Office is a free and open source office suite for Android and iOS. It is powered by LibreOffice and developed (in part) by open-source consultancy firm Collabora.

          But unlike previous ‘LibreOffice for Android’ style apps you may have seen this is a fully featured editing tool, not merely a document viewer.

          It also features a bespoke UI crafted specifically for editing documents on mobile devices, via fingers. The UI borrows from the Collabora Online interface.

          These features, along with other mobile-minded enhancements and power ups, make Collabora Office super useable on small screen sizes, and easy to use singlehandedly.

          The app also works entirely offline. With no cloud or online service features come enabled by default or are required to use any of the included features (though naturally there’s support for integrations with cloud storage services, including NextCloud, should you want it).

      • FSF

        • FSF details progress on ‘ethical’ code hosting platform…look away Git**b

          The Free Software Foundation has issued an update on its efforts to launch a public code hosting and collaboration platform, and after a review of ethical web-based software can confirm that…it probably won’t be based on GitLab.

          The FSF first aired its plans for a new “forge” last year, and this week confirmed “members of the FSF tech team are currently reviewing ethical Web-based software that helps teams work on their projects, with features like merge requests, bug tracking, and other common tools.” Which sounds like some other platforms you may be aware of.

          The new site would “complement the current GNU and non-GNU Savannah servers, which we will continue to support and improve, in collaboration with their awesome volunteer team”, it added.

          The statement went on to say, “it’s unfortunate that so much free software development currently relies on sites that don’t publish their source code, and require or encourage the use of proprietary software. Our GNU ethical repository criteria aim to set a high standard for free software code hosting, and we hope to meet that with our new forge.”

        • FSF Code Hosting/Collaboration Platform In Prospect

          So will the joined forces of FSF and Fedora Pagure make it a rival to GitHub. I hardly think so. Currently Pagure hosts 1965 projects and has 7905 users. In 2018, shortly after its acquisition by Microsoft was confirmed GitHub reached the milestone of 100 million repositories and a community of 31 million developers. Of course, acquisition by Microsoft would hardly appeal to the FSF and GitHub had already been rated an F (Unacceptable) on the GNU ethical repository criteria. SourceForge, also rated an F on the grounds that it rejects users in certain countries and that important site functionality doesn’t work without JavaScript, or with LibreJS enabled, might feel the impact but as it claims 35 million users worldwide, perhaps not. It is GitLab with an active community of more trhan 2,200 contributors of that might feel the impact.

          The FSF’s current grouse with GitLab is is use of Google ReCAPTCHA code, but more long-standing complaints are that it “Encourages bad licensing practice, including no license ” and that it “does not work with LibreJS enabled”. FSF’s commitment to non-proprietary JavaScript appears to be the prime motivator for this new forge as for so much else.

        • When is GOTS not in the national interest?

          The modern open-source software (OSS) movement can be traced back to the early 1980s with the birth of Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation.


          However, cost is a red herring for the real challenge presented by GOTS software solutions. On the surface, GOTS seems very similar to OSS which implies that it has the larger structural advantages of OSS. If handled cautiously, it can have those advantages, but care needs to be taken about what sort of existing software is being commoditized. The U.S. has a national interest in maintaining a strong software development capability. We are fortunate to be the dominant software-building country in the world. According to the Forbes 2000 list, the total market capitalization of U.S. internet, software, and computer services companies is close to $4.7 trillion — more than twice the rest of the world combined. Software tech is an enormous comparative advantage for the U.S. As a result, it is clearly in the national interest to have the government avoid directly competing against and potentially weakening the U.S. private sector.

        • GNU Projects

          • GDB Debugger Adds Support For Debuginfod Web Server

            Debuginfod is the Red Hat led debug information HTTP web server distributed as part of elfutils and able to supply on-demand source code and ELF/DWARF debug files to debuggers / IDEs / other compiler tooling. The GDB debugger can now tap debuginfod for on-demand source files and debug information that isn’t present on the local system.

            The motivation with debuginfod is to carry less developer “baggage” on local systems when it comes to debug files and potentially even source files. Particularly for organizations or cases like Linux distributions, a centralized debuginfod server could in turn supply the needed files to clients based upon the requested build ID. Red Hat has been working to expand the debuginfod support both for the GNU toolchain and also LLVM, among other possible users.

      • Public Services/Government

        • The City of Dortmund continues its transition to open source software

          Five years after the creation of its Open Source Working Group, the City of Dortmund published several reports on the “Investigation of the potential of Free Software and Open Standards”. The reports share the city of Dortmund’s open source policy goals as well as its ambition to create an alliance of municipalities in favour of open source software.

        • CERN adopts Mattermost, an open source messaging app

          The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has decided to discontinue the use of the Facebook collaboration app Workplace, instead opting to replace it with Mattermost, an open source messaging app. CERN switched to open source software after changes to Facebook’s solution subscription prices and possible changes in the data security settings.

        • No More WhatsApp! The EU Commission Switches To ‘Signal’ For Internal Communication

          In a move to improve the cyber-security, EU has recommended its staff to use open source secure messaging app Signal instead of the popular apps like WhatsApp.

          Signal is an open source secure messaging application with end to end encryption. It is praised by the likes of Edward Snowden and other privacy activists, journalists and researchers. We’ve recently covered it in our ‘open source app of the week‘ series.

          Signal is in news for good reasons. The European Union Commissions have instructed its staff to use Signal for public instant messaging.

          This is part of EU”s new cybersecurity strategy. There has been cases of data leaks and hacking against EU diplomats and thus policy is being put in place to encourage better security practices.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Apache Software Foundation Announces 20th Anniversary of Apache® Subversion®

          The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today the 20th Anniversary of Apache® Subversion®, the popular centralized software version control system.

          Apache Subversion (“SVN”) allows users to commit code, manage changes, and recover previous versions of all sorts of data across files and directories. Subversion is ideal for distributed teams who need to easily audit and act on modification logs and versioning history across projects. Subversion originated at CollabNet in 2000 as an effort to create an Open Source version-control system similar to the then-standard CVS (Concurrent Versions System) but with additional features and functionality. Subversion was submitted to the Apache Incubator In November 2009, and became an Apache Top-Level Project in February 2010.

          “We are very proud of Subversion’s long history, and remain committed to our mission statement,” said Stefan Sperling, Vice President of Apache Subversion. “Subversion has moved well beyond its initial goal of creating a compelling replacement for CVS. In 2010 our mission statement was updated to ‘Enterprise-class centralized version control for the masses’.”

        • Apache Celebrates Subversion’s 20th Anniversary

          While Git has become the most popular VCS in recent times thanks to its wonderful feature-set with better performance, reliability, distributed model, and branch handling, among other benefits, Subversion remains quite popular in some spaces. Especially for handling of large assets and other mostly static files, Subversion still has its users as well as for legacy projects.

        • Go 1.14 Released – Performance Improvements, Go’s Module Support Production-Ready

          Go 1.14 highlights include the go command’s module support now being deemed production-ready for dependent management, there is improved defer performance, go routines are asynchronously preemptible, the page allocator is more efficient, and internal timers are also more efficient.

        • Go 1.14 is released

          Today the Go team is very happy to announce the release of Go 1.14. You can get it from the download page.

        • Go 1.14: Module support in the go command is production-ready

          Every six months, a new Golang release arrives. Go 1.14 is here and it includes some changes to the language, as well as improved defer performance and a more efficient page allocator. With 1.14, module support in the Go command is now officially ready for use in production. Users are now strongly encouraged to migrate to go modules.
          On February 25, 2020 the Go team released the latest version of the language with Golang 1.14. This release arrives right on time, six months after 1.13 and continues to maintain Go version 1 compatibility.

          It includes changes in the implementation of the toolchain, runtime, and libraries as well as some changes to the language and performance upgrades.

        • New compiler added to popular studio for ARM and Cortex-M IDE

          The studio for ARM/Cortex-M is now supplied with three different compilers: GCC, Clang and the company’s own compiler. The new compiler outperforms GCC and regular Clang on most benchmarks, decreasing both size of generated code as well as its execution speed.

        • Looking At The PHP 8.0 Performance So Far In Early 2020

          With it being a while now since the PHP 7.4 release and the PHP developers continuing to be busy at work on PHP 8.0 as the next major installment of the popular web programming language, here is a fresh look at the performance of PHP 8.0 in its current state — including when its JIT compiler is enabled — compared to releases going back to PHP 5.6.

          Most exciting with PHP 8.0 is the JIT compiler that has the ability to provide better performance on top of all the gains already scored during PHP 7.x releases. PHP 8.0 is also bringing support for static return types, weak maps, union types, improved errors and warnings, and more is surely to come — stay tuned to the PHP RFC page. The latest indications are PHP 8.0 isn’t expected for release until the very end of 2020 or early 2021.

        • WASMtime 0.12 Released For The JIT-Style WebAssembly Runtime

          Announced last November was the Bytecode Alliance with a goal of running WebAssembly everywhere. This effort by Intel, Red Hat, Mozilla, and others has resulted in a new release today of wasmtime, their JIT-style runtime for WebAssembly on the desktop.

          The Bytecode Alliance developers from the different organizations continue working heavily on their Wasmtime JIT runtime, Cranelift low-level code generator, the WAMR micro-runtime, and Lucet sandboxing WebAssembly compiler. Wasmtime v0.12 is the new release out today for their optimizing run-time offering for WebAssembly and WASI (WebAssembly System Interface) on desktops and other non-browser use-cases.

        • Perl / Raku

          • The Weekly Challenge #049

            This is my second blog for The Weekly Challenge. I am only able to participate, thanks to Ryan Thompson for helping me with the Perl and Raku reviews. I am going for Perl solutions first then will try to translate it into Raku next. I believe in coding to learn the language. With so many Raku experts around, I am not shy throwing questions up. I am now going to share my experience doing “The Weekly Challenge – 049”.

        • Python

          • Webinar Recording: “Security Checks for Python Code” with Anthony Shaw

            Last week we had a webinar on Python security with Anthony Shaw. He covered a number of places where Python code, including popular frameworks, run into security vulnerabilities. He also showed his PyCharm plugin for showing and fixing known vulnerabilities. The webinar recording is now available.

            So much covered in this webinar! Anthony discussed common Python security vulnerabilities, how his plugin helps, how to run it in continuous integration, and more.

          • How to Write a Guest Article for PyBites

            Hello Everybody! In this article I’ll run through the procedure of using git and github to submit a guest article to PyBites.

          • The Beginner’s Guide to Python Turtle

            When I was a kid, I used to learn Logo, a programming language that involved a turtle that you could move around the screen with just a few commands. I remember feeling like a computer genius as I controlled this little object on my screen, and this was what got me interested in programming in the first place. The Python turtle library comes with a similar interactive feature that gives new programmers a taste of what it’s like to work with Python.

          • Use logzero for simple logging in Python

            The logzero library makes logging as easy as a print statement, which is quite a feat of simplicity. I’m not sure whether logzero took its name to fit in with the series of “zero boilerplate” libraries like pygame-zero, GPIO Zero, and guizero, but it’s certainly in that category. It’s a Python library that makes logging straightforward.

            You can just use its basic logging to stdout the same way you might use print for information and debugging purposes, and it has a smooth learning curve towards more advanced logging, like logging to a file.

          • Create Boing!, our Python tribute to Pong

            Following on from yesterday’s introduction to Pong, we’re sharing Boing!, the Python-based tribute to Pong created by Eben Upton exclusively for Code the Classics. Read on to get a detailed look at the code for Boing!

          • EuroPython 2020: Call for Proposals opens on March 9th

            We’re looking for proposals on every aspect of Python: all levels of programming from novice to advanced, applications, frameworks, data science, Python projects, internals or topics which you’re excited about, your experiences with Python and its ecosystem, creative or artistic things you’ve done with Python, to name a few.
            EuroPython is a community conference and we are eager to hear about your use of Python.
            Since feedback shows that our audience is very interested in advanced topics, we’d appreciate more entries in this category for EuroPython 2020.
            Please help spread word about Call for Proposals to anyone who might be interested. Thanks.

          • Using Anaconda Environments with Wing Python IDE

            Wing version 7.2 has been released, and we’ve been looking at the new features in this version. So far we’ve covered reformatting with Black and YAPF, Wing 7.2′s expanded support for virtualenv, and using python -m with Wing.

            This time we’ll take a look at what Wing 7.2 provides for people that are using Anaconda environments created with conda create as an alternative to virtualenv.

          • Easy Provisioning Of Cloud Instances On Oracle Cloud Infrastructure With The OCI CLI

            The OCI CLI requires python version 3.5 or later, running on Mac, Windows, or Linux.
            Installation instructions are provided on the OCI CLI Quickstart page.

          • Python Range

            The Python range type generates a sequence of integers by defining a start and the end point of the range. It is generally used with the for loop to iterate over a sequence of numbers. range() works differently in Python 2 and 3. In Python 2, there are two functions that allow you to generate a sequence of integers, range and xrange. These functions are very similar, with the main difference being that range returns a list, and xrange returns an xrange object.

        • Java

          • Code Borrowing and Licence Violations [Ed: This study may be deeply flawed because they bothered assessing no projects other than those that Microsoft controls (what about projects that don't use Git and Microsoft's proprietary trap?)]

            The researchers used the Public Git Archive (PGA), a large dataset that was composed in the early 2018. It consists of all GitHub projects with 50 or more stars which can be filtered by language. They extract all projects with at least one line written in Java which resulted in 24,810 projects overall and a final dataset of 23,378 Java repositories.

          • Painless Java with BlueJ

            Whenever you’re learning a new programming language, it’s easy to criticize all the boilerplate text you need to memorize. Before you can get comfortable starting a project, you have to remember the preambles that, in theory, ought to be easy to remember since they’re usually relatively short and repetitive. In practice, though, boilerplate text is too obscure in meaning to become an easy habit, but it’s essential for a program to run.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • How to de-Google-ify your site to make it faster and visitor friendly

        Did you know that 94% of sites include at least one third-party resource while the median page requests content from 9 different domains? These third-party resources represent 35% of the total network activity and 7 of the 10 most used resources are owned by Google.

        Third-party resources slow down the web and are a concern for the privacy of people who visit these sites. Google themselves will point the finger at their analytics and ads when you use their speed tests. They provide guides on making third-party resources less slow too.

        Here’s how you can de-Google-ify your site, get fully independent and in control while having faster loading time, being more eco-friendly and more compliant with the privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA.

      • Open security group unveils common OpenDXL language

        Initially developed by McAfee, the OpenDXL messaging framework is already used by more than 4,000 suppliers and enterprises to develop and share integrations between various tools.

        Now, with the release of OpenDXL Ontology, OCA said it could offer a single, common language for notifications, information and actions across security products, providing users with a set of tooling that can be applied once and automatically reused everywhere, while eliminating the need to update integrations for new product versions and functionalities.

      • Open Cybersecurity Alliance announces new language for connecting cybersecurity tools

        OpenDXL Ontology is based on the Open Data Exchange Layer (OpenDXL), an open messaging framework to develop and share integrations with other tools. With the release of the language, the alliance can provide a single, common solution for notifications, information, actions and communicating with other tools. In addition, it provides companies with a set of tooling that can be applied once and automatically reused everywhere across all product categories, while also eliminating the need to update integrations as product versions and functionalities change

      • Open Cybersecurity Alliance Unveils First Open Source Language

        The newly formed Open Cybersecurity Alliance connects the fragmented cyber-security landscape with common, open source code and practices that allow companies to “integrate once, reuse everywhere.” Governed under the auspices of OASIS, the OCA now includes more than 25 member organizations and has brought two major intero-perability projects into the open-source realm, with OpenDXL Ontology (contributed by McAfee) and STIX Shifter (contributed by IBM Security) now available for cross-industry collaboration and development on GitHub.

        In addition to the availability of OpenDXL Ontology, the OCA is also announcing the formation of its Technical Steering Committee, including leaders from AT&T, IBM Security, McAfee, Packet Clearinghouse, and Tripwire, who will drive the technical direction and development of the organization.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • Bloomberg’s Public Education Legacy Is a Case Study in Disastrous Privatization

        As of mid-February, Michael Bloomberg has spent over $400 million on his presidential campaign, including blanketing the air waves with ads and is on track to spend more than a billion dollars. As a result, he has risen sharply in the polls, and in turn, begun to receive critical attention regarding his record on certain issues, such as racial profiling and his stop-and-frisk policies.

      • In it for the long haul? Reflections on international relocation

        Appropriately, I conclude with a story of travel. I moved from a British professorship and head of department job in a gritty post-industrial city to a professorship and head of school role in a sleepy regional town in Australia. The previous head had found strife – or strife had found her – and when I arrived, it was clear that the staff were wary. But by remembering everything I had learned, heard and seen, I helped us to create a culture of decency, integrity and hope. My then office manager a few weeks later told me: “We were so nervous when you arrived, you know. By lunchtime, none of us could remember any other head of school but you.”

        That is the gift of academic mobility. Like cats, we can land on our feet, assess the scene and create movement in the weirdest of locations. There have been tears. There have been shocks, and occasional moments of horror. I don’t expect a happy ending; I don’t expect kindness, honesty, respect or integrity. Agendas are summoned and meetings are run while our intellectual culture is burning.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Opera 67 Released with ‘Workspaces’ for Tab Organization

          Opera web browser 67 was released a few days ago with tab organization redefined via a new tool called ‘Workspaces’.

          Often have your browser with too many tabs open? With Opera 67, opened tabs can be grouped into different workspaces. And you can easily switch workspaces via the icons in the left sidebar.

          You can add up to 5 workspaces, name them, and designate their icons. Tabs can be moved to the workspace of your choice via their context (right-click) menu.

        • Ars takes the new Opera R2020 browser for a spin

          Opera R2020 is available on Windows, MacOS, and Linux—meanwhile, Opera Touch, for mobile devices, is available on Android and iOS. We tested Opera on both Linux and Windows, and we also tested Opera Touch on Android. MacOS and iOS ports were not tested.

        • Tax Software Companies Mislead Citizens about Free Tax Filing Options – Validated Independent News

          The average household income in the United States is just under $62,000, meaning most US citizens are entitled to file their taxes for free since they fall below the $64,000/year income line set by the IRS. But, as Justin Elliott and colleagues at ProPublica reported in a series of articles, internal documents and current or former company employees show how TurboTax and H&R Block “steered customers away from the government-sponsored free option and made them pay.”

        • Admins beware! Microsoft gives heads-up for ‘disruptive’ changes to authentication in Office 365 email service

          Microsoft has doled out more details on forthcoming changes to the way mail clients authenticate to Exchange Online, the email service used by Office 365.

          In March 2018, Microsoft said that it would require Modern Authentication for Office 365 services including Exchange Online, and that this would be enforced from 13 October 2020. Microsoft referenced a 2017 statement that from this date, “Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services.”

          Modern Authentication means OAuth 2.0, where applications request access tokens from Azure Active Directory rather than using username and password to connect. This enables multi-factor authentication, conditional access policies and other security features.

        • Microsoft’s Edge roadmap reveals history sync coming this summer, Linux support coming

          Recently, Microsoft updated its public roadmap for its still-new Edge browser, which is based on Chromium. There’s quite a bit on there, from minor fixes to major things like support for Linux.

          Two specific things are new. The ability to navigate a PDF via a table of contents is now under review, and the tab preview feature from Edge Legacy is now in discussion. As ‘in review’ and ‘in discussion’ suggest, neither is a commitment to actually building out the features.

        • Microsoft Defender ATP now in public preview for Linux
        • Microsoft Goes Live with Azure Sphere, Its Linux-Powered IoT Security Platform
        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Adafruit Industries Joins Zephyr Project

                The Zephyr Project, an open source project at the Linux Foundation, has added Adafruit Industries to its growing ecosystem.

                Adafruit makes open source hardware, tutorials and code for makers to create DIY electronic products. With this development, Adafruit now joins member companies including Antmicro, Eclipse Foundation, Foundries.io, Intel, Linaro, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP, Oticon, SiFive, Synopsys, Texas Instruments and more to create an open hardware and software ecosystem using the Zephyr OS.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (python-pysaml2), Mageia (clamav, graphicsmagick, opencontainers-runc, squid, and xmlsec1), Oracle (kernel, ksh, python-pillow, systemd, and thunderbird), Red Hat (rh-nodejs12-nodejs), Scientific Linux (ksh, python-pillow, and thunderbird), and SUSE (nodejs6, openssl, ppp, and squid).

          • What you can do with the new DNS features in IPFire

            Every time you try to access a website – for example ipfire.org – you will ask a DNS server for the IP address to connect to. They won’t see anything past “the slash” in the URL, but that is not necessary to know what you probably have in mind to do. That DNS server now knows which bank you are with, where you work, where you do your online shopping, who is hosting your emails and many things more…

            Although this data is not too interesting about one individual, it becomes very relevant when you are looking at many profiles. People who shop at a certain place or are with a certain bank might be high earners. People who shop at another place might have trouble to stay afloat financially. Now I know what advertisements I need to show to which group so that they will become my customers.

            In short, your whole browser history tells a lot about you and you might be giving it away for free to the advertising industry or other parties who will use your data against you.

          • How Shodan Has Been Improved to Help Protect Energy Utilities

            Shodan is a well-known security hacking tool that has even been showcased on the popular Mr. Robot TV show. While Shodan can potentially be used by hackers, it can also be used for good to help protect critical infrastructure, including energy utilities.

            At the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Michael Mylrea, Director of Cybersecurity R&D (ICS, IoT, IIoT) at GE Global Research, led a session titled “Shodan 2.0: The World’s Most Dangerous Search Engine Goes on the Defensive,” where he outlined how Shodan has been enabled to help utilities identify risks in critical energy infrastructure. Shodan, to the uninitiated, is a publicly available search engine tool that crawls the internet looking for publicly exposed devices.

            Mylrea explained that utilities are often resource constrained when it comes to cybersecurity and are typically unaware of their risk. In recent years, there have been a number of publicly disclosed incidents involving utilities. To help solve that challenge, Mylrea proposed a project to the US Department of Energy (DoE) to enhance Shodan for utilities so they could use the tool to find risks quickly.

          • Canonical takes leadership role in security for ROS

            Canonical is committed to the future of robotics, as proven a short time ago when we joined the Technical Steering Committee of the second version of the Robot Operating System (ROS 2). We’re also dedicated to building a foundation of enterprise-grade, industry leading security practices within Ubuntu, so we’re excited to join both of these strengths with our own Joe McManus taking the helm of the ROS 2 Security Working Group.

            We believe robots based on Linux are cheaper to develop, more flexible, faster to market, easier to manage, and more secure. While ROS began as an academic project over a decade ago, it has grown to become the most popular middleware for creating Linux-powered robots. It has harnessed the power of open source, allowing for many of the complex problems faced by robotics to be solved through collaboration. The ROS developer community has continued to grow, and ROS now enjoys an increasing amount of commercial use and supported robots. In response, the ROS community has completely overhauled the ROS codebase and started distributing ROS 2.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel, ksh, python-pillow, and thunderbird), Debian (opensmtpd, proftpd-dfsg, and rake), Fedora (NetworkManager-ssh), openSUSE (chromium), and SUSE (libexif, mariadb, ovmf, python3, and squid).

          • IPFire on AWS: Update to IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141

            Today, we have updated IPFire on AWS to IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141 – the latest official release of IPFire.

            Since IPFire is available on AWS, we are gaining more and more users who are securing their cloud infrastructure behind an easy to configure, yet fast and secure firewall.

            This update adds the rewritten DNS stack and brings many bug fixes to the cloud.

          • Whonix VirtualBox – Point Release! – vanguards; TCP ISN Leak Protection; Extensive Hardening!

            This is a point release.

            Download Whonix for VirtualBox:

          • Build your career in Computer Forensics: List of Digital Forensic Tools – Part I

            Digital devices are present everywhere and considered to be the primary source of evidence in the case of cybercrime. Out of all the devices, phones and laptops are the top weapons used in cybercrimes. Regardless of who the device belonged to, either the victim or suspect, it offers an abundance of data to investigate the crime. But retrieving evidence from these devices in a secure environment can be very challenging. To overcome the time constraint and other complications, cyber forensic professionals use digital forensic tools.

          • What are Open Source Security Approaches? With Examples

            Open source security approaches enable organizations to secure their applications and networks while avoiding expensive proprietary security offerings.

            An open source approach allows organizations to secure their applications across cloud providers and other platforms using platform-agnostic APIs. These APIs are written by contributors to the open source software code while cloud providers may use open source code that allows the open APIs to connect to the cloud.

            Open source approaches, for security or not, also bring in collaboration across an industry. It isn’t just one organization that benefits from a program or technology, but everyone who contributes to and uses it.

            The open source projects and programs used as examples in this article come from two major open source entities: The Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The two also work closely together to further the projects under their purview.

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

            • Cloud Snooper: Hackers Using Linux Kernel Driver To Attack Cloud Server [Ed: So, if you install malicious software in Linux, due to recklessness or sabotage, it'll do malicious things. How is that a Linux weakness?]

              Whether you’re a Linux user or not, you must have heard the buzzword about the Linux — “Best OS for security.” Well, it is true, but being a computer program, Linux also has some downside that challenges its security.

              Talking about the security risks, recently, SophosLab published a report about a new malware dubbed Cloud Snooper, that can compromise the security of any Linux or other OS based servers by deploying a kernel driver.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Law Enforcement Official Claims Citizens Use Better Encryption Than Cops Do

              Arguing against encryption is a popular law enforcement pastime. The problem is there really aren’t many good arguments to be made against the use of encryption, so people like Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray have to summon up apocalyptic scenarios or beat down straw men of their own creation to score points for their side.

            • The enemy within: welcome to the Internet of gaslighting

              Two and a half years ago, this blog warned about the Internet of “listening, eavesdropping, spying things” that were starting to become more popular. Today, smart speakers are found in many homes, and people seem largely oblivious of the privacy issues. Beyond these obvious spies that many invite into their homes, there are the more subtle ones: the Internet of Things (IoT). The worst are broadcasting details about people’s lives in the clear; but even the best, which encrypt the streams sent out of a house, can reveal surprising details about the activities of those who live there. More recently, Privacy News Online looked at another problem of IoT devices: the fact that they are vulnerable to being hacked. And the more people have of them, the greater chance of one or more devices being turned against users.

            • Presidential Candidates Should Declare Their Stance on “Costly Failure of the NSA’s Unconstitutional Mass Surveillance Program,” Says Snowden

              The whistleblower’s call follows reporting by the New York Times showing the agency’s sprawling photo data collection effort came with a $100 million pricetag and nearly no success.

            • NSA Blew $100 Million On Phone Records Over Five Years, Generated Exactly One Usable Lead

              The telephone metadata program the NSA finally put out to pasture in 2019 was apparently well past its expiration date. Since the initial Snowden leak in 2013, critics have argued the program needed to die since it was obviously the sort of general warrant rummaging (only without the warrant!) the founding fathers headed off with the Fourth Amendment.

            • How Ring Could Really Protect Its Users: Encrypt Footage End-To-End

              Last week, we responded to recent changes Amazon’s surveillance doorbell company Ring made to the security and privacy of their devices. In our response, we made a number of suggestions for what Ring could do to be responsive to the privacy and security concerns of its customers and the larger community. One of our suggestions was for Ring to implement measures that require warrants to be issued directly to device owners in order for law enforcement to gain access to footage. This post will elaborate on this suggestion by introducing a technical scheme that would serve to protect both Ring’s customers and the wider community by employing end-to-end encryption between doorbells and user devices.

              In traditional surveillance systems, law enforcement had to approach the owners of footage directly in order to gain access to it. In so doing, law enforcement informed owners of the fact their footage was being requested and the scope of the request. This also served as a de facto rate-limiting of surveillance requests: a certain amount of real-world legwork had to be done to gain access to private footage. Even then, the footage was most likely granted once, and subsequent requests would have to be made for more material.

            • Barr’s Motives, Encryption and Protecting Children; DOJ 230 Workshop Review, Part III

              In Part I of this series on the Department of Justice’s February 19 workshop, “Section 230 — Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability?” (archived video and agenda), we covered why Section 230 is important, how it works, and how panelists proposed to amend it. Part II explored Section 230’s intersection with criminal law.

            • Most Americans Plan to Participate in Census, Poll Finds

              Most Americans say they are likely to participate in the 2020 census, but some doubt that the U.S. Census Bureau will keep their personal information confidential, a new poll shows.

            • Senators Pitch Temporary Facial Recognition Ban, Leave Door Wide Open For Abuse By Federal Agencies

              Here’s a promising development on the facial recognition front — one that won’t make facial recognition tech developers very happy. Bans have been popping up around the nation but this legislative pitch would (sort of) prevent the federal government from deploying the tech.

            • Stalkerware Developer Demands TechCrunch Remove Article Detailing Its Leaking Of Sensitive Data

              Last week, stalkerware purveyor ClevGuard was discovered to be hosting tons of sensitive data harvested from victims’ phones in an Alibaba data bucket set to public with no password protection. ClevGuard makes KidsGuard, an app whose name suggests it’s something parents can use to monitor their children’s cell phone use, but the developer has helpfully noted the software’s also great for monitoring spouses and employees.

            • A Key FBI Photo Analysis Method Has Serious Flaws, Study Says

              A study published this week casts doubt on the reliability of a technique the FBI Laboratory has used for decades to identify criminals by purporting to match their bluejeans with those photographed in surveillance images, potentially undermining evidence used to win numerous convictions.

              The FBI’s method, used principally in bank robbery cases, matches denim pants by the light and dark patches along their seams, called wear marks. An FBI examiner’s scientific journal article on bluejeans identification in 1999 argued that wear marks create, effectively, a barcode that is unique on every pair. That article provided a legal foundation for the FBI to use an array of similar techniques to assert matches for clothes, vehicles, human faces and skin features.

            • EFF Files Comments Criticizing Proposed CCPA Regulations

              Today, EFF joined a coalition of privacy advocates in filing comments with the California Attorney General regarding its ongoing rulemaking process for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA was passed in 2018, and took effect on January 1, 2020. Later this year, the Attorney General (AG) will finalize regulations that dictate how exactly the law will be enforced.

              Last time we weighed in, we called the AG’s initial proposed regulations a “good step forward” but encouraged them to go further. Now, we are disappointed that the latest proposed regulations are, compared to the AG’s initial proposal, largely a step backwards for privacy.

            • Many WhatsApp private groups are indexed in Google and open to the public

              Many WhatsApp private groups were left exposed on the open web due to a privacy-ignoring configuration error by Facebook’s WhatsApp. The discovery was made by Jordan Wilson, a journalist for DW.com. He noticed that the “Invite to Group via Link” function for WhatsApp private groups creates a link that, when posted on the public internet, ends up being indexed by search engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing.

            • Facebook Partners with Online Casinos to Target Addictive Personalities – Validated Independent News

              Reveal reported that social casino games, including virtual slot machines and poker games on Facebook and mobile devices, “have become a $5 billion-a-year business, with revenues nearly as large as all the Las Vegas Strip casinos combined.” However because these games are classified as “entertainment,” gambling regulations do not apply to them, and “there is nothing stopping tech companies from monitoring, analyzing–and targeting–those with addictive personalities.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Multiple People Dead in Milwaukee Shooting at Molson Coors

        Multiple people were killed Wednesday in a shooting on the Molson Coors Brewing Co. campus, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

      • Nonviolent Action for Peace

        George Lakey’s new book is called How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning. On its cover is a drawing of a hand holding up two fingers in what is more often considered a peace sign than a victory sign, but I suppose it is meant as both.

      • ‘Red Alert’: Anti-Muslim Violence in India Reaching Critical Levels as Homes and Businesses Burn and at Least 24 Dead

        “Who will help the Muslims of India?”

      • Death Toll Rises to 24 From Delhi Riots During Trump Trip

        At least 24 people were killed and 189 injured in three days of clashes in New Delhi that coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s first state visit to India, with the death toll expected to rise as hospitals continue to take in the wounded, authorities said Wednesday.

      • Heaven Protect Us From Men Who Live the Illusion of Danger: Pete Buttigieg and the US Military

        #CIAPete has been trending on social media this past month as stories and commentaries have emerged telling and re-telling Pete Buttigieg’s role as a naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan, his duties in his assignment in Kabul as a member of the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, and his relationship to CIA colleagues. This would be all rather amusing and just another dust speck of non-sense in the vast universe of inanity that is the US presidential race, if it were not for Buttigieg’s own use of his time in uniform and in Afghanistan as a cudgel to silence others from both an informed and moral perspective on issues of foreign policy and war.

      • ‘In Chile, In Guatemala, In Iran’: Sanders Applauded for Highlighting US Record of Overthrowing Governments Around the World

        “Nobody on the debate stage except Bernie has the guts to say the truth about the legacy of U.S. foreign policy.”

      • Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon? (Part Two)

        In fact, the State does facilitate peace through its strategy of assuming the monopoly of violence, as Max Weber indicated. It is interesting that most leftists around the world will currently be favourably comparing countries with strict gun laws to the present situation in the USA where, for historical reasons, the US government has never apparently quite understood the benefits for a State in more properly disarming the population.

      • America’s Endless Wars Persist Because They Don’t Exist (For Americans)

        Even though the U.S. now lives in a state of perpetual war, for most Americans it’s a peculiar form of non-war.

      • Twilight of the Boomers

        I was once drinking by myself and watching a hockey game on TV in a little dive bar near my home in Pittsburgh when an older guy in a trucker cap, who had began haranguing the poor bartender with a series of complaints about the nebulous yet omnipresent political powers that be, turned his squint on me and asked, inexplicably and a little aggressively, if I had ever “carried a .50 caliber machine gun.”

      • Cameroon: Civilians Massacred in Separatist Area

        Government forces and armed ethnic Fulani killed at least 21 civilians in Cameroon’s Ngarbuh village, including 13 children and 1 pregnant woman, on February 14, 2020. They also burned five homes, pillaged scores of other properties, and beat residents. Some of the bodies of the victims were found burned inside their homes. The government denies that its troops have deliberately committed crimes.

        “The gruesome killings of civilians, including children, are egregious crimes that should be effectively and independently investigated, and those responsible should be brought to justice,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Denying that these crimes have occurred adds another layer of trauma to survivors and will only embolden government troops to commit more atrocities.”

      • Iran: No Justice for Bloody Crackdown
      • Netanyahu, Trump, and Kushner Named in ‘War Crimes’ Lawsuit Filed by Palestinians in US Court

        The suit claims that the behavior of U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a “violation of the Nuremberg principles.”

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Why We Shouldn’t Run Government Like a Business

        It’s been popular in recent years for certain wealthy capitalists to claim they will “run government like a business” when they seek political office. While that may sound good to some, neither the state nor national Constitution ever suggests that governance and business are or should be the same — just the opposite, in fact. The Founding Fathers specifically designed our government structure to ensure life and liberty to benefit the well-being of the governed through the checks and balances of three separate but equal branches of government. It is at our peril — and that of our democracy — should we confuse business with governance.

      • Democratic Socialism in the Twenty-First Century

        In the previous century I was a regular columnist for The Humanist magazine, and I was fortunate to work for an editor, Rick Szykowny, who was committed to publishing both class conscious and explicitly socialist writers. On March 1, 1994, The Humanist published my article titled “The Good Fight: The Case for Socialism in the 21st Century.” The article is archived online at The Free Library.

      • Even Wall Street Plutocrats Can’t Burn Bernie

        America’s plutocrats and their media allies are certain that US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is unelectable, or that, if somehow elected, he would bring about the collapse of the republic. This disdain is both telling and absurd.

      • Neoliberalism Has Radicalized a Whole Generation

        When the conversation veered toward “capitalism” and “socialism” at last week’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, the preeminent capitalist on the stage, Michael Bloomberg, could hardly believe what he was hearing. “I can’t think of a way that would make it easier for Donald Trump to get reelected than listening to this conversation,” lamented billionaire Bloomberg, who pronounced the discussion ridiculous. “We’re not going to throw out capitalism,” he said. “We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism, and it just didn’t work.”

      • Chris Matthews and the Twilight of the Boomer’s Pro-Corporate Establishment

        This ineffectual effort to red-bait Sanders and smear his supporters as wannabe Stalinists or violent revolutionaries, are absurd on their face.

      • How Bernie Sanders Is Reviving the Promise of FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights

        There are deep parallels between what Bernie Sanders is proposing and what Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised.

      • The U.S. Would Be Better Off With Fewer Billionaires

        Living under an oligarchic system, we should develop a healthy skepticism of the actions of billionaires, whether they are running for office, bankrolling other candidates or giving billions to charity.

      • NYT’s Look at Democratic Tax Plans Is an Orgy of Really Big Numbers
      • Naked Fearmongering at the New York Times

        I have often gone after the media on printing large numbers that are meaningless to almost all their readers. The point is that when you throw out numbers in the millions, billions and trillions, very few readers have any idea what these numbers mean. It is possible to make them meaningful by simply adding some context, such as expressing them relative to the size of the economy or as a per-person amount.

      • Trump Budget Would Cut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families by $21 Billion

        In his new budget, President Trump proposes to cut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by $21 billion over ten years, which would leave many families with less assistance when they fall on hard times. The cuts include a 10 percent reduction in the annual block grant funding for states and an end to the $608 million TANF Contingency Fund, which gives states additional funds at times of economic distress.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Public Citizen Weighs In On Why Court Should Protect @DevinCow’s Information Under The 1st Amendment

        As lawyer Steven Biss continues to use one lawsuit to seek to identify the person or people behind a satirical internet cow that he’s trying to unmask in another case, Public Citizen’s Paul Levy has now filed an amicus brief arguing that identifying who is behind the @DevinCow account (along with two other pseudonymous accounts) would violate the 1st Amendment. While the brief makes a nod towards the point that the @DevinCow account seems entirely unrelated to the case at hand — between PR guy Trevor FitzGibbon and lawyer Jesselyn Radack — its arguments focus on the fact that, even if @DevinCow had communicated with Radack, the subpoena that Biss sent to Twitter on behalf of FitzGibbon would violate 1st Amendment protections for anonymity.

      • Rep. Cicilline Wants To Remove Section 230 Protections For Platforms That Host ‘Demonstrably False’ Political Ads

        What is it with politicians (and other commentators) who keep confusing the 1st Amendment with Section 230? The latest is Rep. David Cicilline, who wants to remove Section 230 protections from internet platforms that host “demonstrably false” political ads:

      • ‘Taking a Page From His Dictator Friends Around the World’: Sanders Hits Trump Over NYT Libel Lawsuit

        The 2020 Democratic frontrunner said the president is “trying to dismantle the right to a free press in the First Amendment by suing the New York Times for publishing an opinion column about his dangerous relationship with Russia.”

      • Michael Bloomberg Wants to Silence Those Who Discuss Their Past — Including Me

        And yet that’s exactly what happened: A reporter from the New York Post connected my byline to another story I’d published some months earlier, in which I disclosed my new occupation. In response to the Post‘s salacious cover story: “Bronx Teacher Admits: I’m an Ex-Hooker,” Bloomberg yanked me from the classroom and called for the city to take legal action against me, as if my very existence was a crime.

      • NPR Pulls Out The Big Guns: Asks For Sanctions Against Lawyer Steven Biss For Lying

        Earlier this month, we wrote about an absolutely awful ruling in a bizarre lawsuit brought by Fox news commentator Ed Butowsky, represented by lawyer Steven Biss (a name you might recognize). Butowsky sued NPR and reporter David Folkenflik for accurately reporting on a failed lawsuit by another Fox News commentator, Rod Wheeler, accusing Fox News and Butowsky of defaming him in regards to a story about Seth Rich — about whom conspiracy theorists seem to regularly fantasize.

      • China Sentences Hong Kong Bookseller Gui Minhai to 10 Years in Prison

        What freedom he enjoyed was short-lived. While taking a train to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats in early 2018, he was grabbed by plainclothes police officers. Mr. Gui had been traveling to the Swedish Embassy in Beijing for a medical examination when about 10 men grabbed him off the train.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • I worked with Assange to release US Iraq secrets – extraditing him is bullying masquerading as justice

        Come back to the detonation point of the explosive saga of Julian Assange, in the spring of 2010, and look at what Chelsea Manning, who was working as an intelligence analyst at a US base, said about the vast collection of material which she had just leaked to him.

        “Everywhere there is a US post, there is a diplomatic scandal revealed,” she wrote. “How the first world exploits the third, in detail… Almost criminal political back dealings… Incredible, awful things that belong in the public domain, not on some server in a dark room in Washington DC…”

        Shortly after she wrote that in an online chat, Chelsea Manning was arrested. On behalf of The Guardian, I contacted Assange and together we created an alliance of news organisations which published a stream of stories based on the material she had leaked. I never had a moment’s doubt that we were right to do that.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2

        This afternoon Julian’s Spanish lawyer, Baltasar Garzon, left court to return to Madrid. On the way out he naturally stopped to shake hands with his client, proffering his fingers through the narrow slit in the bulletproof glass cage. Assange half stood to take his lawyer’s hand. The two security guards in the cage with Assange immediately sprang up, putting hands on Julian and forcing him to sit down, preventing the handshake.

      • Julian Assange and the Imperium’s Face: Day One of the Extradition Hearings

        If we are to believe it, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, the man behind showing the ugliness of power, is the one responsible for having abused it. It is a running theme in the US case against this Australian publisher, who has been given the coating of common criminality hiding the obvious point: that the mission is to make journalism on official secrets, notably those covering atrocity and abuse, a crime.

      • Assange’s Extradition Hearing Reveals Trump’s War on Free Press Is Targeting WikiLeaks Publisher

        On Monday, WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange’s one-week extradition hearing began at Woolwich Crown Court in SouthEast London. The judge heard the opening arguments for the prosecution and defense. The prosecution began, accusing the journalist who exposed the US government’s war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan of espionage charges that would carry 175 years in jail.

      • Prosecution: US-UK Treaty Does Not Apply To Assange Extradition

        The prosecution in Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London Wednesday maintained a magistrate court has the authority to flout an international norm enshrined in treaties and approve the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder to the United States.

        Arguments on the third day of the hearing focused on the issue of “political offenses” and whether an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. applies to the case. If it does, the defense believes extradition should be denied because the allegations against Assange involve the publication of state secrets and are “purely political offenses.”

      • With Wikileaks, Julian Assange Did What All Journalists Should Do

        I was in Kabul in 2010 when Julian Assange and WikiLeaks first released a vast archive of classified US government documents, revealing what Washington really knew about what was happening in the world. I was particularly interested in one of these disclosures which came in the shape of a video that the Pentagon had refused to release despite a Freedom of Information Act request.

      • Free Julian Assange!

        The criminals who perpetrated war crimes revealed in their own communications documented and made public by WikiLeaks did not want you to know about them. Nor do they want you to know about those they commit in the future. To conceal the truth, they will put the truth-teller in an oubliette where he will never again discover and reveal anything. By depriving Julian Assange of his freedom and thus intimidating his journalistic colleagues, US and UK prosecutors are abetting criminality by spies, secret policemen, torturers, and kleptocrats everywhere. If they succeed in putting Julian Assange in a concrete cell for the rest of his life, it will give them a long breathing space to commit more crimes and amass illegal wealth in secret.

      • Assange stands up to the courts — but what of the press?

        That Julian Assange has asked the judge in his extradition trial to allow him to sit with his lawyers at the defence table, rather than behind the glass screen of the dock, is typical of the man.
        Challenging power at any point that it manifests itself, even in the physical arrangements of a courtroom. The dock used to be open and in the centre of British courtrooms. Now the defendant sits behind a sheet of perspex glass with a few vents in it, at the back or the side of the courtroom.
        There is at least honesty in the arrangement in this case. The procedure is a dealing between states, with a piece of courtroom theatre in the middle.
        It is obviously worth it for Assange to participate, rather than standing mute, since there is a chance that the judiciary may find unacceptable the request to render a journalist to a potential 175 year jail term.
        It’s unlikely. Unlikely too is that British PM Boris Johnson will recover a dash of his purported libertarian flair and refuse the request, but that’s worth a go too.
        But the process is so draconian, and world opposition growing so strongly that there is a greater chance now than there might have been six months ago. So it’s worth trying anything.
        What’s missing at the moment is any concerted and coordinated campaign by the major press of the world to stand up, not only for a journalist, but one with whom some of them worked closely and extensively for years.
        The Guardian, The New York Times and others should be leading a global campaign, with coordinated front pages protesting the US charges and the hearing.

      • Lawyer complains of prison treatment of WikiLeaks’ Assange

        Attorney Edward Fitzgerald told a judge that the treatment of Assange at London’s Belmarsh Prison “could be a contempt of this court.” The extradition hearing opened on Monday at Woolwich Crown Court, which is located next to the prison.

        District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is hearing the case, said she had no power to act unless Assange became unable to participate in the proceedings, which are expected to last several months.

      • ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Interview With Jérémie Zimmermann, Assange Collaborator and Friend, on the Travesty at Woolwich Crown Court

        Leaving the inhospitable grounds of Belmarsh Prison’s Woolwich Crown Court, one couldn’t fail to notice the protestor who was madly blowing a whistle. It was Jérémie Zimmermann, computer science engineer, friend of Julian Assange and Cypherpunk guest on the 2012 Assange TV series: “The World Tomorrow.” Zimmermann was a contributor to Assange’s book Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet (OR Books). He spoke of how the internet had changed for the worse over the last decade, and how the people holding Assange were “using the Magna Carta as toilet paper.”

    • New Matilda Statement On Bettina Arndt’s Defamation Of Nina Funnell

      A statement from New Matilda editor Chris Graham regarding defamatory comments and articles about journalist Nina Funnell by Bettina Arndt AM.

    • ‘We should talk war crimes & killing civilians, not US espionage claims in this court’ – WikiLeaks head Kristinn Hrafnsson
    • Watch Yanis Varoufakis’ powerful speech at #FreeAssange event in London

      Because first they came for Julian. Then they will come for our comrades. Then our friends. Then our children. Then the good people working for the Guardian, the BBC – anyone who does not submit to the right of the powerful to carry out crimes against humanity in our name and without our knowledge.

    • In support of Julian Assange and in defence of journalism

      Journalism itself that is on trial in the proceedings against Julian Assange that opened in London on Monday February 24th 2020 and in which the United States is seeking to extradite him from Great Britain over charges that include espionage. The founder of WikiLeaks is not a spy but an activist working on behalf of a fundamental right: the right to know everything that is in the public interest. That is why we are supporting him, writes Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article.

    • Assange’s Extradition Hearing Reveals Trump’s War on Free Press Is Targeting WikiLeaks Publisher

      Major human rights organizations and press freedom groups, including Amnesty International and The Committee to Protect Journalists, have now come out strongly against Assange’s extradition to the United States. 

    • Assange Extradition Hearing: Chelsea Manning’s Grand Jury Resistance A Major Hurdle For Prosecutors

      Months before trial in 2013, United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning read a statement in military court, where she outlined her role in disclosing over a half million documents to WikiLeaks. She described her motivations for releasing each set of information and meticulously informed the court about how she downloaded, prepared, and electronically made the disclosures.

      The defense for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange heavily relied on this statement during the second day of a week-long extradition hearing in London. What unfolded showed how crucial her grand jury resistance is to the ability of Assange to defend himself in court.

    • USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 3

      In day three of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, the defense argued that the WikiLeaks publisher must not be sent to the United States because the US-UK Extradition Treaty precludes extradition for a “political offense.”

      Article 4 of the 2003 treaty, which was ratified in 2007, says, “Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.”

      But the US government claimed that the judge must rely on domestic UK law, rather than the international Treaty. Even if the offenses Assange is accused of in the extradition request are political, the prosecution said, “he is not entitled to derive any rights from the [US-UK Extradition] Treaty” because it has not been incorporated into domestic law.

      The same year the Extradition Treaty was written, the UK Parliament passed the Extradition Act 2003, a UK domestic law that does not feature a bar to extradition for political offenses. But in 2007, the US-UK Extradition treaty was ratified in the United States, without removing the political offense exemption. “Both governments must therefore have regarded Article 4 as a protection for the liberty of the individual,” the defense argues, “whose necessity continues (at least in relations as between the USA and the UK).”


      At the outset of today’s proceedings, the defense noted to the court that Assange’s medication and other factors make it difficult for him to concentrate, and Judge Vanessa Baraitser said she would check in with him if thinks he’s struggling.

      This afternoon, noticing that Assange, who views the proceedings from the back of the courtroom in the defendant dock behind slotted glass, appeared tired or otherwise struggling to participate, the judge asked him if he could hear the proceedings.

      “I am as much a participant in these proceedings as I am watching Wimbledon,” Assange said, standing to speak from the dock. He continued,

      “I cannot meaningfully communicate with my lawyers. There are unnamed embassy officials in this court room. I can not communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications without the other side seeing. There has been enough spying on my lawyers already. The other side has about 100 times more contact with their lawyers per day. What is the point of asking if I can concentrate if I cannot participate?”

      Unhappy with Assange speaking to the court, the judge said it was unusual for defendants to have a voice if they’re not going to testify. The court then briefly recessed as she allowed Assange to leave the dock into a back room to meet with his lawyers privately, but it appeared they were accompanied by security officers.


      The judge asked if this constituted a bail application, and then discussed the matter with the prosecution, who said it would oppose a bail application but thought it reasonable to allow Assange to sit with the defense. The judge asked if doing so would mean Assange would technically be out of the court’s custody; the prosecution said it didn’t believe so, as having security officials on either side of him could ensure he remained in custody. The judge didn’t agree, and the defense will have to make a submission tomorrow morning regarding Assange’s ability to participate in the proceedings.

    • USA v Julian Assange: Extradition Day 4

      The first week of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing at Woolwich Crown Court has ended a day earlier than expected, with District Judge Vanessa Baraitser denying Julian Assange’s request to leave the glassed box known as a secure dock in the back of the courtroom.

      Assange had asked to leave the dock to sit with his legal team so that he can have legally privileged conversations with his lawyers throughout the proceedings. “I cannot meaningfully communicate with my lawyers,” he said. “What is the point of asking if I can concentrate if I cannot participate?”

      But the judge rejected the request, arguing that Assange has ample access to his lawyers to whom he can pass notes through the slotted glass barrier. She said she’s willing to start proceedings later so that Assange can meet with his lawyers in the morning and to adjourn court when the defense would like to meet with their client in a holding cell.

      The defense explained this would unduly extend the proceedings and render them incoherent, as the court may have to break every three minutes for a twenty-minute break. When the judge said that was an exaggeration of what would be required, the defense reminded the court how lengthy and complicated is the process to take Assange to and from his holding cell. Nevertheless, Assange’s request was denied.

    • How Assange case highlights crime of psychological torture

      The extradition case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has cast the spotlight not only on his future treatment should he be extradited to the United States, but on the treatment he has received during the close to 10 years since he was first arrested in 2010, say legal experts.

      The prospect of psychological torture, should Assange be extradited to the US and tried for treason, could render the extradition illegal under international law.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Approximately 120 Years Too Late, US House Passes Law to Make Lynching a Federal Crime

      “Today, we send a strong message that violence—and race-based violence, in particular—has no place in America.”

    • Congress Makes Lynching a Federal Crime, 65 Years After Till

      Sixty-five years after 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi, Congress has approved legislation designating lynching as a hate crime under federal law.

    • Ninth Circuit Court Greenlights Trump’s Gag Rule

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday overturned a block on the Trump administration’s domestic “gag rule,” which has cut off people with low incomes from affordable family planning services.

    • Judge Tears Into Cops For Beating A Man Who Dared To Question Their Words And Actions

      It doesn’t happen often enough, but it is so very refreshing to watch a bunch of assholes get torn new assholes.

    • Bettina Arndt, Men’s Rights Activists Are Given Too Much Power In Australia And It Is Dangerous

      Calls to strip Bettina Arndt of her AM, while appropriate, are the band-aid to a much bigger problem, writes Dr Kate Johnson from Doctors Against Violence Towards Women.

    • Elected Leaders Of 750,000 University Students Demand Bettina Arndt Be Stripped Of Australia Day Honours

      Student presidents representing at least three quarters of a million students enrolled at 18 different universities across Australia have joined together to sign an open letter demanding Bettina Arndt AM be stripped of her Australia Day honours.

    • Reform or Expire

      Earlier today, the House Committee on the Judiciary was scheduled to mark up the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020, a bill meant to reform and reauthorize Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as some other provisions of FISA, before they are due to expire on March 15, 2010. At the last minute, this markup was postponed without warning and without a new date, throwing the process into chaos.

      It is time to enact real reforms to the government’s use of national security authorities, beginning with the obvious, overdue step of prohibiting the intelligence community from using Section 215 to collect the call records of innocent Americans on an ongoing basis. Just yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) found that between 2015 and 2019, the CDR program cost $100 million taxpayer dollars, but yielded only one significant investigation. 

    • 6-year-old arrested by Florida cop tearfully asks for second chance in body cam footage

      A short time later, Turner returns to the office to talk to Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy administrators, who appear dismayed by what they have witnessed in the school office.

    • Harvey Weinstein’s conviction is less significant than it seems

      The appeals process could easily take a year, which Mr Weinstein is unlikely to spend at liberty. In the meantime, he faces criminal charges in Los Angeles and a stream of civil suits by women who claim he abused them. The difference is that he now faces them as a convicted rapist.

      It therefore seems unlikely that he will sit out his retirement comfortably. But perhaps the more salient question is how much this matters. Bennett Capers, a Brooklyn law professor, doubts there is a much wider significance. “Many will undoubtedly see this as possibly signalling a new era where prosecutors believe victims and pursue sexual assault cases, even against the powerful,” he says. But “will the verdict help everyday victims” like hotel workers, or where there is a single accuser?

    • Women Confront Ugly Harassment at Beauty Products Plant

      At a lotion factory outside Chicago, workers endured years of sexual harassment, coercion, gender and racial discrimination, and unsafe working conditions.

    • The Harvey Weinsteins of the World Can’t Exist Without Systems of Power

      Disgraced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted of first-degree commission of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape, but acquitted of two more serious charges. Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, says that if we overlook the larger systems in which sexual assault occurs, “then we’ll just have another Harvey Weinstein. … That’s why we have to upend the systems.” We also speak with award-winning actress Rosanna Arquette, who was one of the first women to share details of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct.

    • Greyhound Finally Bans CBP, Border Patrol From Suspicionless Searches Of Its Buses And Passengers

      Greyhound has finally, definitively decided to stop serving up its customers to US border agencies.

    • Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn Schools into Prisons

      Just when you thought the government couldn’t get any more tone-deaf about civil liberties and the growing need to protect “we the people” against an overreaching, overbearing police state, the Trump Administration ushers in even more strident zero tolerance policies that treat children like suspects and criminals, greater numbers of school cops, and all the trappings of a prison complex (unsurmountable fences, entrapment areas, no windows or trees, etc.).

    • ICE Is Torturing LGBTQ Immigrants by Putting Them in Solitary

      Francisco Morales Torres, 26, is currently locked up in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention in Juneau, Wisconsin. Torres, who identifies as queer, has been placed in solitary confinement at least twice, according to his lawyer — not an uncommon situation for many LGBTQ people detained by ICE. Community organizers, who point out that solitary confinement is torture, worry about the impact it might have on a young man with a history of mental illness.

    • ‘This Is Outrageous’: Legal Experts Condemn Trump for Demanding Sotomayor and Ginsburg Recusals

      “Justice Sotomayor’s dissent is a call to action, and now Trump is attacking her for speaking the truth.”

    • Border Patrol Agents Circulating Racist “Challenge Coin” – Validated Independent News

      One side of the coin shows a group of migrants carrying the Honduran flag, a reference to the Honduran migrant caravan that President Trump and other portrayed as a national crisis in 2018; the coin’s other side shows Border Patrol Agents caring for migrant children. The coin, ProPublica described, “appears to poke fun at the fact that many border agents are no longer out patrolling and instead are now caring for and processing migrants — including families and children.”

    • UCSC Grad Students Are on Strike for a Living Wage

      Their biggest issue? The rent is too damn high, and their wages are far too low to be able to afford to live in the pricey Santa Cruz area. According to one of the strike’s organizers, Jane Komori, the vast majority of graduate student workers at UCSC spend more than 50% — and often 60 or 70% — of their wages on rent. As a result, the UCSC Graduate Student Association has been lobbying the university administration for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of $1,412 per month since November. Those demands were unmet, so they decided to escalate: December was the beginning of a grading strike in which grad students withheld 12,000 grades at the end of the fall quarter; after they say the administration refused to meet with them, the workers decided to continue withholding grades through the entire winter semester. The Pay Us More UCSC movement was heating up.

    • Jussie Smollett tries to kill six criminal charges against him for alleged hate crime hoax

      Earlier this month Webb convinced a Chicago grand jury to return a six-count indictment against Smollett for allegedly making four separate false reports about hate crimes to Chicago Police Department officers. He is accused of paying two Nigerian brothers $3,500 last January to stage a hate crime against him. The supposed attack involved Smollett being victimized by racist and homophobic slurs (Smollett is both African American and gay), beaten up, having bleach poured on him, and having a noose tied around his neck.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Loses California Case After Lying To Consumers About ‘Unlimited’ Data Throttling

      Back in 2014 the FTC sued AT&T for selling “unlimited” wireless data plans with very real and annoying limits. The lawsuit noted that, starting in 2011, AT&T began selling “unlimited” plans that actually throttled upwards of 90 percent of your downstream speeds after using just two or three gigabytes of data. AT&T spent years trying to wiggle out of the lawsuit via a variety of legal gymnastics, including at one point trying to claim that the very same net neutrality and FCC Title II rules AT&T was trying to kill prevented the FTC from holding it accountable.

    • The FCC To Field More Comments On Net Neutrality. Maybe They’ll Stop Identity Theft And Fraud This Time?

      Last October the DC US Court of Appeals upheld a large chunk of the FCC’s controversial net neutrality repeal with a 2-1 vote. But the ruling wasn’t a total win for Ajit Pai’s FCC. The ruling blocked the FCC and broadband industry’s attempt to include a provision in the repeal that would have banned US states from being able to protect consumers, noting that when the Trump FCC abdicated its consumer protection authority, it also gave up its right to say what state regulators and lawmakers could or couldn’t do.

    • Empty Promises Won’t Save the .ORG Takeover

      The Internet Society’s (ISOC) November announcement that it intended to sell the Public Interest Registry (PIR, the organization that oversees the .ORG domain name registry) to a private equity firm sent shockwaves through the global NGO sector. The announcement came just after a change to the .ORG registry agreement—the agreement that outlines how the registry operator must run the domain—that gives PIR significantly more power to raise registration fees and implement new measures to censor organizations’ speech.

      It didn’t take long for the global NGO sector to put two and two together: take a new agreement that gives the registry owner power to hurt NGOs; combine it with a new owner whose primary obligation is to its investors, not its users; and you have a recipe for danger for nonprofits and NGOs all over the world that rely on .ORG. Since November, over 800 organizations and 24,000 individuals from all over the world have signed an open letter urging ISOC to stop the sale of PIR. Members of Congress, UN Special Rapporteurs, and US state charity regulators [pdf] have raised warning flags about the sale.

  • Monopolies

    • Turns out Uber and Lyft rides are not eco-friendly at all: study

      Rather, researchers at the U.S.-based nonprofit science advocacy organization found that a “ride-hailing trips today result in an estimated 69 percent more climate pollution on average than the trips they displace.”

    • Copyrights

      • [Guest post] Functionality, cumulation and lessons from trade mark law: the Advocate General’s Opinion in Brompton Bicycle

        Much has been written about the Advocate General (AG)’s recent Opinion in Brompton Bicycle (see e.g. here and here), where the AG had to consider whether there is an exclusion from copyright where a shape is functional. Here are some thoughts from the perspective of someone who has been thinking a lot about functionality in trade mark law.

        First, after Cofemel [Katpost here], there can be no stricter test for originality for works which are also designs than for other copyright works, nor can there be a test of aesthetic merit. This means that cumulative protection will be common. The AG saw this as a serious problem. Copyright lasts for a long time and so there will little incentive for designers to use the design system. This though fails to take into account that design protection, while shorter is in some ways more expansive. The AG was also worried about the effect on legal certainty, because there is no registration to look back to in copyright. While this may be true, many other IPRs manage to exist without a formal registration (including unregistered designs).

      • False copyright claims took down debate commentary channels on Twitch

        On February 25th, CBS News hosted the last Democratic presidential debate ahead of the vastly important Super Tuesday primaries. The debate was officially licensed to broadcast on Twitter and CBS News’ website, but there was an even broader reach of live commentary channels as Twitch streamers reacted to the arguments in real time.

        But if you were tuned in to one of those channels, you may have gotten an unpleasant surprise halfway through the broadcast.

        As the debates progressed, popular channels like Chapo Trap House and Mychal “Trihex” Jefferson were hit with the suspensions after their streams received copyright strikes for hosting their own debate coverage. As far as Twitch was concerned, those live commentary tracks were pirating copyright-protected content. But after investigations by Twitch, channels that received takedowns by a group called Praxis Political were false.

      • Pornhub’s Owner Goes After Thousands of BitTorrent Pirates

        MG Premium is a sister company of Pornhub. Both are active in the same industry under the wings of adult entertainment giant Mindgeek. However, instead of serving free video content, MG Premium is going after thousands of suspected pirates in Sweden, urging them to pay hefty financial settlements.

      • DMCA Notices Took Down 14,320 Github Projects in 2019

        Github has revealed that throughout 2019, the coding hosting platform took down more than 14,300 projects following DMCA complaints. Of the total notices received, only a tiny proportion was contested via counter-notice. Interestingly, the Microsoft-owned platform also reveals that one copyright complaint cannot be detailed as it’s the subject of a gagging order.

      • Reddit’s Copyright Infringement Removals Increased by 500% Last Year

        Reddit has published new data which shows that 124,247 pieces of content were removed following copyright takedown notices last year. This is a fivefold increase compared to the year before. For the first time, the site also reported details on its repeat infringer policy which resulted in 283 users and 137 subreddits being banned.

      • As UK Pirates Swarm to Live Sports & Movies, Hardcore Pirates Diminish

        The UK’s Intellectual Property Office has published the latest edition of its Online Copyright Infringement Tracker report. Illicit consumption of movies increased considerably over the previous period, with a new category of live sports leaping almost to the top of the infringement tables. Interestingly, the report also highlights a significant decrease in hardcore pirates.

      • RapidVideo Agrees to Pay Settlement to ACE, Hands Over Domains

        Popular file-hosting service RapidVideo shut down late last year following legal pressure from Netflix and Warner Bros. This case is now closed and the site’s operator has agreed to pay a substantial settlement to the rightsholders. In addition to the settlement, the site’s domain names have been handed over to the Motion Picture Association.

      • Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain

        For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse and transform them into just about anything they choose—be it a postcard, a beer koozie or a pair of bootie shorts.

        And this gargantuan data dump is just the beginning. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting.

      • Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images And 3D Models Into The Public Domain

        Here’s some good news for a change. The Smithsonian has just announced Smithsonian Open Access, in which it has released 2.8 million high quality digital images and 3D models into the public domain under a CC0 public domain dedication.

      • Disney CEO Bob Iger Steps Down in Surprise Announcement
      • Copyright In The Modern Era: Fortnite Lets Players Mute Emote To Avoid Auto-Copyright Claims Against YouTubers

        If you had told me a few years ago that we would have multiple stories at Techdirt over copyright issues surrounding video game emotes, I would have said you were a crazy person. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s the world that is crazy instead.  Fortnite in particular has been a focus of many of these stories, as a popular feature in the game is the ability to perform emotes, some of which are or are accused of being based on pop culture occurrences from other media. It is all, I can assure you, very stupid.

The Linux Foundation is Deeply Committed to Diversity and Inclusiveness (as Long as You Have Perfect Vision and Use ‘Big Browsers’ That Spy)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Standard at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation access issues

Summary: The Linux Foundation’s message of inclusiveness refers only to a particular kind of inclusiveness

“The Linux Foundation is Deeply Committed to Diversity and Inclusiveness,” say several pages, including this one in the title.

“It is only getting worse over time; months ago I was no longer able to access the site at all using my GNU/Linux (KDE) browser.”We’ve already mentioned that this site has spyware in all the Web pages and other usability (“UX”) type issues, not to mention severe accessibility issues (see above).

It is only getting worse over time; months ago I was no longer able to access the site at all using my GNU/Linux (KDE) browser. I cannot press the X, as it has no effect.

Linux Foundation diversity

I cannot move anywhere. Same here:

Linux Foundation diversity programs

I cannot click on anything or highlight anything. Scrolling up and down is all I can do. Even with JavaScript fully enabled!

“Scrolling up and down is all I can do. Even with JavaScript fully enabled!”It’s clear that whoever develops the site only bothers checking if it works in GAFAM+Firefox browsers, nothing else. They’re all proprietary with DRM.

It’s pretty damning that every single page is like this. So to access the site of something called Linux Foundation I cannot use my Linux Web browser.

“It’s clear that whoever develops the site only bothers checking if it works in GAFAM+Firefox browsers, nothing else.”Then you have to wonder if they’re inclusive of blind people or other people who have special needs when navigating the site. The Linux Foundation made even me feel disabled; for failing to use the site with an actual Linux Web browser.

GitHub is moving in a similar direction and is now Director at Large in the Foundation.

The Foundation says it helps setting/crafting standards, but that too isn’t a consistent message (actions not matching one’s words or perceived values). 81 validation errors/warnings in the front page alone.

Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part I: Year Zero

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Helping the FSF succeed or just another Year Zero?

Free Speech and Free software
The image at the top is this (in)famous one from the Library of Congress

Summary: People behind the ousting of Richard Stallman (or ‘leaders of the coup’ as some call them) want a fresh start; but they aren’t starting what most FSF supporters have been led to believe

THE other day we began preparing a carefully fact-checked analysis of FSF affairs. We had been hearing all sorts of stories, similar to the ones nowadays told by Alex [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

“Remember what happens to technical people just because they wear a red hat with the wrong slogan instead of a company’s logo.”I myself experienced similar things and heard similar things for months. For months. Maybe I did not mention them, partly for diplomatic reason.

I’ve had feminists shun me (refuse to even reply to my mail after they had contacted me) because, according to them, my articles defended Richard Stallman. Everything was fine and they offered us help… until they found out about our stance on Stallman. Maybe one day I will publish some carefully redacted E-mails (for privacy purposes alone) just to show how they treat people who merely support Stallman on issues pertaining to software…

Yes, software.

Remember what happens to technical people just because they wear a red hat with the wrong slogan instead of a company's logo.

“Maybe one day I will publish some carefully redacted E-mails (for privacy purposes alone) just to show how they treat people who merely support Stallman on issues pertaining to software…”Some of these activists, who may be perfectly well-meaning at heart, respect not diversity of views and they are tolerant as long as you’re not blind or obese or have some physical defect that’s not actually your fault. So perhaps ethics isn’t their true motivation (only subconsciously). They purge. They eliminate. They cancel. Year Zero. Look up the political reference. And there’s little room for negotiation with them (I’ve tried, but they’re so stubborn that if you defended Stallman at some point in the past, then you’re a non-person to them).

Now let’s talk about the FSF. The FSF never called me names, at least not in public. But we recently learned that the ‘leaders of the coup’ (FSF coup) “perceive you [...] and shared friends as attackers whose opinions are of little relevance and had better be dismissed, and also as unfriendly journalists [FSF] shouldn’t be talking to.”

How nice of them.

“Are those people even there to promote the mission statement of the FSF, as per the original objectives?”So after 13+ years defending and promoting the FSF’s true cause in this site this is what we get? At least from people who want to purge Stallman and his legacy at the FSF?

Are those people even there to promote the mission statement of the FSF, as per the original objectives? I doubt it.

I wasn’t born yesterday. I already saw the OSDL collapsing (in conjunction with its Microsoft flirtations) and it is happening again in the Linux Foundation. Let’s not allow the same to happen to the FSF.

Alexandre Oliva on Diversity Hypocrites

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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


I‘ve just come across this online gang.

Some of them purport to be for inclusion and diversity, but won’t hesitate to make fun of someone’s poorly-disguised handicap.

Not cool. Also, no credibility or moral authority is left for them to stand for inclusion or diversity.

I should have guessed, after they ganged up on someone else because of his own poorly-disguised handicap.

What makes people so heartless?

Do they leave their hearts at the corporate frontdesks?

Or could this be their own handicap, and I should be ashamed myself?

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.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:58 am by Needs Sunlight



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