Alexandre Oliva Against Bullying and Violence

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 10:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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


I was ready to come to a close of this series, but an urgent request I got takes priority over the last planned post in the series, now postponed.

I’ve got word of threats of violence and other ongoing forms of bullying against the FSF and LibrePlanet, presumed to be in reaction to my posts.

If you are involved and you think you are doing these things on Richard’s behalf, or mine, or the good old FSF’s, please bear the following in mind. And if you know or suspect someone else who might be engaging in such actions, please pass it on to them.

A main driver of my behavior, including my commitment to and involvement with software freedom, and my writing this series, are my very strong inner sense of justice, and a crushingly demanding conscience.

I can understand the anger sparked by the claims made against my friend. Abuse alone is wrong; abusing the defenseless is outrageously wrong. Our urges to empathize with victims and fight wrongs are great, admirable traits.

However, an eye for an eye is not the path to blind justice, and history is full of outrageous, false and very effective accusations, for personal and political reasons.

I found what was done to my friend very, very wrong. It made me very angry and disappointed in humankind to witness the bullying, the violence, the humiliation, and the life-wrecking changes imposed on my friend, based on twisted, exaggerated and outright false hearsay, that even conflicted with the little available hard evidence that accompanied it. The lack of empathy, understanding and tolerance for his handicaps, including the inability to take hints, the difficulty to read emotions, and the neural wiring that drives to hair-splitting, further aggravated it.

I can thus understand your anger, as you read myself and others state quite damning facts. Though I’m somewhat reassured by the confirmations I got, I’m not at all happy to watch mob justice unfold again. Though facts I’ve witnessed myself are strong evidence to me, to you they’re no more than hearsay.

Bullying is not cool. Violence, even if driven by hearsay-provoked anger, no matter how outrageous the trigger is, is not justice, be the target friend or foe.

It’s rather mob justice, that civilization efforts have for centuries attempted to replace with science- and evidence-based, painfully slow but thoughtful, rational, unbiased and proper justice.

It’s often unsatisfying, for sometimes you can’t prove what you deeply believe, and occasionally a deep belief or plausible suspicion may turn out to be wrong. Aside from evident speculation, I know what I wrote is true. But you don’t, even if you have no reason to doubt me. Even if you have plenty of reasons to believe me!

Let’s show how political pressure can be done in a more civil way, and how justice can be pursued in a more civilized way, shall we?

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.

Links 28/2/2020: Qt 5.15 Beta, UBports/Unity8 Now Lomiri, GCC 8.4 Release Candidate

Posted in News Roundup at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Regain your focus: Manage your push notifications in Linux

      I have been working in a professional IT environment of a large organization for over 20 years and during that time I have seen a lot of different visions and opinions on individual and collective productivity. What I have noticed in all those years is how many people think that you are a bad-ass professional if you can do an insane amount of tasks simultaneously. But let’s be honest, doing many things at the same time is not the same as doing things right. But gradually, cracks start to appear in the common opinion that it is always good to multitask. More and more studies show that multitasking undermines focus. And focus is necessary to not waste valuable time due to finding back your concentration as a result of an attention switch. Focus makes sure that you can deliver some high-quality results instead of just many, but probably mediocre results. In this article I want to delve deeper into the backgrounds behind focus, productivity, the impact of notifications on your productivity, and the things that you should consider in allowing and managing your push notifications under Linux.


      In the introduction I already indicated that nowadays we are increasingly questioning the importance of being good at multitasking, and that perhaps single-tasking is much better. There is, however, a nuance, since multitasking can be fine in itself, as long as all the tasks you want to perform don’t require an equal amount of brain activity and attention. For example, if you like to listen to music during your study time, it is better to listen to instrumental music instead of music in which lyrics play the leading role. With spoken text, you unconsciously interpret and shift your attention from your main task to the music, so you constantly need to refocus back again to your main task. But if you still want to listen to music with vocals, then it is advisable to only listen to music that you have known for years instead of listening to songs with song texts that you have never heard before. New texts subconsciously require more of your attention than texts that you have already known for years. Multitasking is therefore only great when it comes to a combination of simple activities alongside your main task, such as making simple sketches, creating doodles, playing with an elastic band, or chewing your pencil, during a colleague’s presentation or while reading an advice report or listening to a teacher. These doodles and fiddling with a piece of rubber do not require brain effort, so you can keep all your real focus on the main task. But constantly looking at your messages on your mobile phone while listening to a presentation of your colleague, will lead to a loss of focus and loss of information, and of course this is not the nicest and most respectful thing to do in front of a presenting colleague.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • South Korea Government Considers Move to Linux Desktop

        The South Korean Government is on the verge of migrating from Windows 7 to Linux on the desktop. This began back in May 2019, when South Korea’s Interior Ministry announced the plans to look into making the switch.

        Since that initial date, the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Planning announced the government is now exploring migrating over three million Windows 7 desktops over to Linux. According to Choi Jang-hyuk (head of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance), South Korea will resolve their dependency on Microsoft while reducing the budget by migrating to an open source operating system.

    • Server

      • Bring your ideas to the world with kubectl plugins

        kubectl is the most critical tool to interact with Kubernetes and has to address multiple user personas, each with their own needs and opinions. One way to make kubectl do what you need is to build new functionality into kubectl.

        Challenges with building commands into kubectl

        However, that’s easier said than done. Being such an important cornerstone of Kubernetes, any meaningful change to kubectl needs to undergo a Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal (KEP) where the intended change is discussed beforehand.

        When it comes to implementation, you’ll find that kubectl is an ingenious and complex piece of engineering. It might take a long time to get used to the processes and style of the codebase to get done what you want to achieve. Next comes the review process which may go through several rounds until it meets all the requirements of the Kubernetes maintainers – after all, they need to take over ownership of this feature and maintain it from the day it’s merged.

        When everything goes well, you can finally rejoice. Your code will be shipped with the next Kubernetes release. Well, that could mean you need to wait another 3 months to ship your idea in kubectl if you are unlucky.

        So this was the happy path where everything goes well. But there are good reasons why your new functionality may never make it into kubectl. For one, kubectl has a particular look and feel and violating that style will not be acceptable by the maintainers. For example, an interactive command that produces output with colors would be inconsistent with the rest of kubectl. Also, when it comes to tools or commands useful only to a minuscule proportion of users, the maintainers may simply reject your proposal as kubectl needs to address common needs.

        But this doesn’t mean you can’t ship your ideas to kubectl users.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-02-27 | Linux Headlines

        The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a birthday surprise, Subversion hits the 20-year mark, CouchDB ratchets up its security with version 3, and the Smithsonian Institution makes a big donation to the public domain.

      • Brunch with Brent: Brandon Bruce | Jupiter Extras 59

        Brent sits down with Brandon Bruce, Director of Customer Support at Linux Academy. We explore the world of support, how his former role as professional chef informs his “Kitchen Brigade” approach to building a support team, analytics data’s ability to reveal surprising user experience patterns, and more.

      • \o/ | User Error 86

        Whether open source needs to be a complete experience, a deep need for conflict, preferred social media, and our favorite emoji.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Panfrost Open-Source Arm Mali GPU Driver Gets Experimental OpenGL ES 3.0 Support

          Panfrost is the open-source driver being developed for Arm Midgard and Bitfrost GPUs. The first versions focused on support for OpenGL ES 2.0, but the more recent OpenGL ES 3.0 enables faster and more realistic rendering.

          The goods news is that Panfros support for experimental OpenGL ES 3.0 has landed in Mesa according to a recent post on Collabora blog.

    • Benchmarks

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 Released With More Features For Open-Source, Cross-Platform Automated Benchmarking

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.4-Vestby is now available as one of our largest updates in recent years for our open-source, cross-platform automated benchmarking framework. Almost wanting to rebrand it as Phoronix Test Suite 10, sticking to conventional versioning the Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 release brings numerous result viewer improvements, a lot of polishing to the PDF result exporting, various Microsoft Windows support improvements, new statistics capabilities, some useful new sub-commands, and much more as the latest quarterly feature release.

      • Linux 5.6 Tests On AMD EPYC 7742 vs. Intel Xeon 8280 2P With 100+ Benchmarks

        The latest benchmarks for your viewing pleasure are looking at the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 performance up against the dual AMD EPYC 7742 CPUs while using the in-development Linux 5.6 kernel as the first time trying out these highest-end server processors on this new kernel debuting as stable in about one month’s time.

    • Applications

      • The 15 Best Biology Tools for Linux to Use in 2020

        Biology, also known as life science, is one of the core branches of knowledge. It deals with the vital processes of living organisms. The history of research and development in this field is quite ancient. With the development of computer technology, men have created some real progress in this field. From conquering fatal diseases to solving the mystery of a living organism, the computer is a great companion for the biologists. There are many open-source biology tools available out there. Linux is a very customizable open-source operating system that is preferred by many researchers. So if you are a biologist or an amateur biology enthusiast looking for some Linux biology software, you might want to check out these biology tools for Linux PC to get the most out of your study or research.

      • Top 20 must-have apps for your Ubuntu PC

        Here are the best apps that are must-have once your setup your Ubuntu PC. Each of the apps below is hand-picked, considering the versatility, ease of use, features, and consistent updates.

        OK, this one is going to be a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and scroll through the best apps that we think are must-have for your Ubuntu PC. We have hand-picked each one of these considering the most common categories that suit an average Linux user.

        For example, we recommend a versatile app for the image editing category, an intuitive GUI based video editor for all your multimedia editing needs, and so on.

      • 10 Best Free Linux Speech Recognition Tools – Open Source Software

        Speech is an increasingly popular method of interacting with electronic devices such as computers, phones, tablets, and televisions. Speech is probabilistic, and speech engines are never 100% accurate. But technological advances have meant speech recognition engines offer better accuracy in understanding speech. The better the accuracy, the more likely customers will engage with this method of control. And, according to a study by Stanford University, the University of Washington and Chinese search giant Baidu, smartphone speech is three times quicker than typing a search query into a screen interface.

        The speech recognition market is estimated to be worth about $10 billion a year in the next four years. Witness the rise of intelligent personal assistants, such as Siri for Apple, Cortana for Microsoft, and Mycroft for Linux. The assistants use voice queries and a natural language user interface to attempt to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions without the requirement of keyboard input. And the popularity of speech to control devices is testament to dedicated products that have dropped in large quantities such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Speech recognition is also used in smart watches, household appliances, and in-car assistants. In-car applications have lots of mileage (excuse the pun). Some of the in-car applications include navigation, asking for weather forecasts, finding out the traffic situation ahead, and controlling elements of the car, such as the sunroof, windows, and music player.

      • PyIDM – An Open Source Alternative to IDM (Internet Download Manager)

        pyIDM is a free, open-source alternative to IDM (Internet Download Manager), used to download general files and videos from youtube as well as other streaming websites. It is developed using Python (requires Python 3.6+) and relies only on open source tools and libraries such as pycurl, youtube_dl, FFmpeg, and pysimplegui.

        It features multiple-connections, a speed engine (and it offers high download speeds based on libcurl); resume uncompleted downloads, support for fragmented video streams, support for encrypted/non-encrypted HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) media streams.

        Besides, it also supports scheduling downloads, re-using an existing connection to a remote server, and HTTP proxy support. And it allows users to control options such as selecting a theme (there are 140 themes available), set proxy, selecting segment size, speed limit, maximum concurrent downloads and maximum connections per download.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Awesome looking pixel-art arcade adventure ‘Battle Axe’ fully funded and coming to Linux

        Battle Axe inspired by titles like Gauntlet, Golden Axe, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara and more looks quite incredible and the good news is their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was fully funded.

        In fact, they got quite a bit more funding than their initial £40,000 goal. The campaign ended on around £73,918 which means two interesting goals were hit. It’s going to have a New Game+ mode with a fresh challenge once you finished, plus an endless mode to see how long you can survive.

      • Cyberpunk grid-based dungeon crawler ‘Conglomerate 451′ is out with Linux support

        True to their word which is great to see, RuneHeads and 1C Entertainment really pushed the button to fully release Conglomerate 451 and Linux support is live.

        Set in 2099, in a future where corporations are involved in organised gang warfare, Conglomerate city is being overrun and now it’s your job to clear it up and take out the trash. Using newly approved clones, you will build up a team to eradicate crime and restore order at any cost.

      • Metro Exodus to get a release date for Linux “soon” say 4A Games

        Recently, Metro Exodus ended its Epic Store exclusivity and Deep Silver (the publisher) confirmed it was heading to Linux. In a recent Reddit AMA (Ask me anything), the developer 4A Games mentioned the Linux port too.

      • Snaliens, a brain-twisting family-friendly puzzle game is out now

        The Snaliens are separated and marooned on an unknown planet after some kind of mechanical problem with their spaceship, so it’s up to you to reunite them in this puzzle game.

        A simple premise, with simple game mechanics. Each level puts you into a new puzzle, with you needing to direct the Snalien to the exit. However, there’s plenty of things in your way and you need to push certain blocks around to make a path, activate switches and more.

      • Extreme sports game ‘Descenders’ is free to play all weekend, plus a sale and update

        Descenders, an extreme sports downhill freeriding game from RageSquid and No More Robots just got another sweet update and you can now try it free for the weekend.

        The update adds in a new Bike Park section to the game, with a bunch of hand-craft maps and a very popular community-made Stoker Bike Park by ‘Spe’. Additionally, they’re going to be directly adding in more maps created by Spe into the game ‘on a regular basis’. You can find a lot more extra content for Descenders on mod.io, the cross-platform modding site (like Steam Workshop for all platforms).

      • OBS Studio gains another big sponsor with Facebook

        Do you make videos? Livestream? Well, you probably know of or use the cross-platform open source OBS Studio and how it’s basically the go-to for such things and they just gained another huge sponsor.

        Facebook join Twitch in being a top-level “Premiere Tier” sponsor, meaning they give a higher sum than $50,000 (which is the minimum for Diamond Tier, which is down a level). In a new blog post on the official OBS site, they mentioned how they’re now looking to grow their team thanks to the level of funding they have been getting. Ending on a personal note, developer Hugh Bailey (“Jim”) mentioned how thankful they are for the support from “sponsors, contributors, volunteers, and especially all of our users” as without them all it wouldn’t be where it is.

      • With ‘next generation 4CPT vehicle physics’ the racing game DRAG finally has a Steam page

        Remember DRAG? An exciting sounding racing game with “next generation 4CPT vehicle physics (4-way contact point traction technology)” we covered here two years ago. Well, it’s finally nearing a release.

        It just recently gained a Steam page to make it more official and they’ve confirmed it’s going to be entering Early Access sometime this year.

      • The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place is a free ‘examination of the violence of erasure’

        Studio Oleomingus, a tiny two-person studio based out of India have released another short free 3D story adventure. Previous works include a Museum of Dubious Splendors and In the Pause Between the Ringing, two more free 3D exploration games and they will eventually be releasing a full-length experience with Under a Porcelain Sun.

        With their latest, The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place, they’re getting a bit political. Like with a Museum of Dubious Splendors, it’s somewhat based on the written works of Mir UmarHassan, the fabled Gujarati poet and in this case it’s a sort-of adaption of a satirical poem they wrote titled “The Building Eaters of Matsyapur”. The game uses a blend of descriptive text and surrealist visuals to ponder the violence of erasure and the profound grief of having to survive on the margins of history.

      • Blendo Games have open sourced their strategic space adventure ‘Flotilla’

        To celebrate Flotilla turning 10 years old, Blendo Games announced today that it’s been made open source.

        Flotilla is a mixture of a space exploration adventure, with turn-based tactical combat and branching events when you do the exploring. It only gained Linux support last year, when Ethan Lee ported it from XNA to the FNA project.

      • Lair of the Clockwork God gains an unofficial Linux build for testing

        Announced today on Twitter, they mentioned this is not officially supported yet and they’re looking for some help in testing. Just do note though, that this is one of those no promises deals so if you go and buy it specifically for Linux—you know what you’re getting into. If you do own it and want to test, they’re asking for the feedback in their Discord.

      • Stellaris: Federations releases on March 17 with a new trailer

        Today, Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio announced the huge Stellaris: Federations expansion will be releasing on March 17.

        Giving a much needed boost to the diplomacy systems in this grand-scale space strategy game, “players can build up the internal cohesion of their Federations and unlock powerful rewards for all members” and it sounds like it’s going to make the meta game later in Stellaris much more interesting

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt 5.15 Beta1 Released

          I am happy to announce to you Qt 5.15 is moved to Beta phase and we have released Qt 5.15 Beta1 today.

          As earlier our plan is to publish new Beta N releases regularly until Qt 5.15 is ready for RC. Current estimate for Qt 5.15 RC is ~ end of April, see details from Qt 5.15 releasing wiki.

          Please take a tour now & test Beta1 packages. As usual you can get Qt 5.15 Beta1 by using Qt online installer (for new installations) or by using maintenance tool from your existing Qt online installation. Separate Beta1 source packages are also available in qt account and in download.qt.io

        • Qt 5.15 Reaches Beta

          The Qt Company has released their first beta of the forthcoming Qt 5.15 tool-kit.

          Out today is the first of several betas until the release candidate phase is ready, which the company hopes will be ready by late April, and the stable release in turn in May.

          The brief Qt 5.15 beta announcement can be read on qt.io.

    • Distributions

      • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 142 is available for testing

        Only days after finally releasing our new DNS stack in IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141, we are ready to publish the next update for testing: IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 142.

        This update comes with many features that massively improve the security and hardening of the IPFire operating system. We have also removed some more components of the systems that are no longer needed to shrink the size of the operating system on disk.

        We have a huge backlog of changes that are ready for testing in a wider audience. Hopefully we will be able to deliver those to you in a swift series of Core Updates. Please help us testing, or if you prefer, send us a donation so that we can keep working on these things.

      • IPFire 2.25 Core Update 142 Testing Version Available for Download!

        PFire 2.25 Core Update 142 Released: IPFire is also a Linux distribution and it is mainly used as a web-based interface for operational management. IPFire Linux aimed to provide the high level of security and easy equipping. The developers of IPFire releasing the updates frequently to keep the IPFire OS safe and secure. IPFire Distro comes with PAKFire custom package manager.
        Yesterday, Michael Tremer said that the latest version IPFire 2.25 Core update testing version has been released and available for download.

      • Solus Linux Creator Ikey Doherty Enters the Game Dev Business With a New Open Source Game Engine

        You are here: Home / Games / Solus Linux Creator Ikey Doherty Enters the Game Dev Business With a New Open Source Game Engine
        Solus Linux Creator Ikey Doherty Enters the Game Dev Business With a New Open Source Game Engine
        Last updated February 28, 2020 By John Paul Leave a Comment

        Ikey Doherty, the creator and former lead dev of Solus, is back with a new project. His new company, Lispy Snake, Ltd, uses open source technology to create games, with a focus on Linux support.

        I asked Ikey some questions about his new project. Here are his answers.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • DRM Plugin crashes after openSUSE Tumbleweed update

          A few days ago openSUSE users started complaining about DRM Plugin crashes in Firefox after running a Tumbleweed update.

          Netflix requires the DRM plugin in Firefox to be able to play encrypted videos. The plugin would crash due to a bug in Firefox 73. While this bug affected not just openSUSE users, but everyone using Firefox 73, it became apparent to TW users as v73 landed in the Tumbleweed repo.

        • How Melissa Di Donato Is Going To Reinvent SUSE

          SUSE is one of the oldest open source companies and the first to market Linux for the enterprise. Even though it has undergone several acquisitions and a merger, it remains a strong player in the business. It has maintained its integrity and core values around open source. It continues to rely on its tried-and-tested Linux business and European markets, and generally shies away from making big moves taking big risks.

          Until now.

          SUSE appointed Melissa Di Donato as its first female CEO. She is making some serious changes to the company, from building a diverse and inclusive culture to betting on emerging technologies and taking risks.

          Soon after taking the helm last year, Di Donato spent the first few months traveling around the globe to meet SUSE teams and customers and get a better sense of the perception of the market about the company.

          Just like Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, Di Donato didn’t come to the company from an open source background. She had spent the last 25 years of her career as a SUSE customer, so she did have an outsider’s perspective of the company.

          “I am not interested in what SUSE was when I joined. I am more interested in what we want to become,” she said.

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro Linux 19.0 MATE Edition Is Out Now with MATE 1.24 Desktop

          Released earlier this week, Manjaro Linux 19.0 shipped with the official flavors, including Xfce, GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Architect. Now, users can download and use the latest release of the Arch Linux-based distribution with the MATE desktop environment too.

          Manjaro Linux 19.0 MATE Edition comes with the same under-the-hood components and changes included in the main editions, such as the Linux 5.4 LTS kernel, Pamac 9.3 package management system with Flatpak and Snap support, as well as improved and polished tools.

          On top of that, the MATE edition brings all the features of the latest MATE 1.24 desktop environment, such as support for NVMe drives, improved support for HiDPI/4K displays, support for mouse acceleration profiles, as well as embedded color profiles and Wayland support for Eye of MATE.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora’s gaggle of desktops

          There are 38 different desktops or window managers in Fedora 31. You could try a different one every day for a month, and still have some left over. Some have very few features. Some have so many features they are called a desktop environment. This article can’t go into detail on each, but it’s interesting to see the whole list in one place.

          To be on this list, the desktop must show up on the desktop manager’s selection list. If the desktop has more than one entry in the desktop manager list, they are counted just as that one desktop. An example is “GNOME”, “GNOME Classic” and “GNOME (Wayland).” These all show up on the desktop manager list, but they are still just GNOME.

        • The Fedora Project’s One Sentence Vision

          Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller recently talked about his vision for the Fedora Project over the next decade and it to become an “operating system factory”, among other advancements he hopes to see out of the project in the 2020s. A one-sentence vision for Fedora is now drafted as their vision statement.

        • Let’s keep writing a new vision statement for Fedora

          If you compare it to the first draft, you’ll notice we shortened it to one sentence. We kept the parts we felt were most important: everyone benefiting from free & open source software and the attributes of the communities that make it.

          The word benefit is important here. It’s not enough that the software is there, waiting to be used. It has to be accessible and usable. This was much longer in our first draft, so shortening it here seems right.

          We also cut out the sentence about Fedora being a reference for everyone who shares this vision. We still want to be that, but that’s implied by the fact that we have this vision in the first place. Why bother expressing a vision that we wouldn’t want to be an influential part of? And frankly, it’s hard to get the wording right, especially in a way that works across languages and cultures.

        • Enable Git Commit Message Syntax Highlighting in Vim on Fedora

          When setting up new machines, I’m often frustrated by lack of syntax highlighting for git commit messages in vim. On my main workstation, vim uses comforting yellow letters for the first line of my commit message to let me know I’m good on line length, or red background to let me know my first line is too long, and after the first line it automatically inserts a new line break whenever I’ve typed past 72 characters. It’s pretty nice. I can never remember how I get it working in the end, and I spent too long today trying to figure it out yet again. Eventually I realized there was another difference besides the missing syntax highlighting: I couldn’t see the current line or column number, and I couldn’t see the mode indicator either. Now you might be able to guess my mistake: git was not using /usr/bin/vim at all! Because Fedora doesn’t have a default $EDITOR, git defaults to using /usr/bin/vi, which is basically sad trap vim. Solution:

        • Executive Q&A: Stephen Leonard, GM of IBM’s Cognitive Systems

          There is no single path that business executives travel. The best managers have significant talent that is then honed to a fine edge by training, experience and a willingness to take up new challenges. Employers contribute hugely to the process, of course, and it is difficult to think of a company that does a better job of recognizing, training and advancing new leaders than IBM.

          I recently had a chance to interview Stephen Leonard, General Manager of IBM’s Cognitive Systems where he is responsible for the development, sales and marketing of the company’s Power Systems solutions, as well as offerings for cloud computing platforms and data centers. Our discussion covered a wide range of issues and events that have colored Leonard’s 30+ years with IBM.

        • IBM Sterling enables intelligent orchestration of customer transactions across back-end record systems

          A deep understanding of customers’ wants and needs are key to driving supply-chain efficiencies and enhanced customer experiences. An intelligent call center solution equips customer care representatives (CSRs) with deep insights in a natural language-based conversation interface to solve complex customer queries.

          On a typical day, a CSR opens multiple tabs/applications to address a single query, spending an enormous amount of time on a customer call, thereby impacting the customer experience. This is especially detrimental during peak business hours, when it is important to resolve issues quickly since there is typically a backlog of waiting calls. Wouldn’t it impress the customer if the CSR proactively asked, “Are you calling about the accessories that you bought yesterday?”, along with a warning that the order may be delayed. Informing the customer and providing a discount voucher or a different added benefit results in a much happier customer.

          The heart of this improved customer experience is the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Assistant With Watson™, which infuses conversational AI capabilities into the IBM Sterling Call Center and enables intelligent orchestration of customer transactions across back-end record systems. It also surfaces recommendations and best next steps based to enable quick and easy decision-making for the CSRs. The Sterling Supply Chain Business Assistant With Watson appears as a pop-up over the IBM Sterling Call Center application and can be embedded into any other application. Sample insights are shown below.

        • Scaling Persistent Volume Claims with Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage v4.2

          For choosing a storage solution for dynamic provisioning of persistent volume claims (PVC) in OpenShift Container Platform, the time it takes to bind and prepare a PVC for the use with application pods is a crucial factor.

          For Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage v4.2 we performed a series of tests investigating how OCP v4.2 behaves from a scalability point of view. We wanted to know how fast application pods are starting when PVCs are from different storage classes provided, and to get get numbers which can be used when making decisions when choosing storage solution for OCP application pods.

          The test results presented in this document are recommended values for OpenShift Container Storage v4.2 and do not show the real limits for Openshift Container Storage v4.2, which are higher. We will conduct more scalability tests for future OpenShift Container Storage releases.

          For future OpenShift Container Storage releases we plan to target configurations for cases when more pods are running on the OpenShift Container Platform cluster and are actively requesting PVCs originating from Openshift Container Storage.

          In this document we describe test processes and results gathered during PVC scale test execution with Openshift Container Storage v4.2 showing why OpenShift Container Storage is the supreme storage solution for use cases where pod density and PVC allocation speed are key, as e.g. in CI/CD environments.

        • Red Hat Extends Partner Offerings to Drive Open Hybrid Cloud Innovation

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced enhancements to its partner offerings centered around open hybrid cloud innovation and in support of the growing demand for cloud-native solutions within the Red Hat ecosystem. Using the proven innovations of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and Red Hat OpenShift 4 as the foundation, Red Hat Partner Connect is expanding its certification programs and support services to better equip partners for an IT world built on hybrid and multicloud deployments.

          Red Hat Partner Connect provides many partnership opportunities, including certification offerings and enablement for software, hardware, services and cloud service providers that develop products and services for Red Hat hybrid cloud platforms. The program offers partners a set of tools and alignment opportunities to automate, accelerate and streamline modern application development for the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform, Red Hat OpenShift. Certified partner products deliver interoperable, supported solutions to customers. Marketing and sales related benefits are also available to partners completing certification programs.

        • Which container platforms are right for your cloud-native strategy?
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Touch Mobile OS Drops “8” From Its Desktop Environment Unity8

          The market for Linux-based mobile operating systems isn’t that crowded; UBports is one of the stakeholders in the same market that develops and takes care of Ubuntu-based OS, Ubuntu Touch, for smartphones.

          Slowly but surely, Ubuntu Touch is gaining popularity with more platform support. Hence, the UBPorts team discussed their name clash of the “Unity8” desktop environment with the most popular game engine brand “Unity.” As a result, UBPorts renamed “Unit8” to “Lomiri.”

        • UBports: Unity8 Becomes Lomiri, the Linux Environment for Ubuntu Touch

          Unity8 is dead, long live Lomiri! UBports, the maker of the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phone devices is unveiling today the new name of the Unity8 project as Lomiri.

          Based on Unity8, Lomiri promises to continue the great work left by Canonical and add new features and improvements to provide Linux phone users with a slick and user-friendly interface for their mobile devices.

          So why the name change you may ask? Well, according to UBports, there are several reasons for the Unity8 renaming. First, many people were apparently confused about the Unity name, confusing it with the Unity 2D/3D game engine.

        • UBPorts Unity8 Convergence Environment Becomes Lomiri

          Back in April 2017, Canonical decided to refocus Ubuntu development for the Cloud and IoT, dropping their mobile/desktop convergence efforts. So Unity8 environment was dropped in favor of GNOME desktop environment, which to this date is still used in recent versions of Ubuntu Desktop operating system.

          As a reminder, Unity8 was both suitable for desktop PCs, as well as smartphones and tablets through Ubuntu Touch. But at the time, it was working fairly well, even found in devices such as BQ Aquaris M10 tablets. Since the code was open source, UBPorts developer community was formed and a few months later they released their first image for supported phones such as OnePlus One, FairPhone 2, or Optimus L90.

        • Unity 8 Desktop Renamed To Lomiri

          The Unity 8 desktop environment that continues to be developed by the UBports open-source community for use on UBports’ Ubuntu Touch and ultimately back on the Linux desktop as well have renamed the project.

          The Unity 8 environment was renamed to Lomiri. Renaming Unity 8 was done to avoid confusion with the Unity Tech 2D/3D game engine leading to confused users on both sides. The other issue was with Unity 8 being packaged up for other Linux distributions like Debian and Fedora, some packagers didn’t want “ubuntu” appearing in any package strings for different Unity 8 dependencies.

          So to avoid confusion, the UBports team decided to rename Unity 8 to Lomiri, pronounced as low-mee-ree.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Default Wallpaper Revealed

          Now, it’s fair to say that the forthcoming release of Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ is shaping up to be fairly fantastic (and feature-filled). But every great Ubuntu release needs an equally great wallpaper to go alongside it.

          And with the ‘Disco Dingo’ and the ‘Eoan Ermine’ mascots making suitably strong impressions on their debuts last year, the flashy ‘Focal Fossa’ has some feverish expectations to live up to…

          So without any further ado here it is; feast your eyes on the funky, fresh new feline-themed wallpaper below. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it makes a mighty fine first impression!

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Wallpapers Revealed[Latest]

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Wallpaper Released: Canonical released the default wallpapers of the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS codenamed Focal Fossa which is scheduled for release on April 2020. The new wallpaper follows the same trend as the earlier versions, Eoan Ermine and Bionic Beaver. Check out: Terminology behind the Codename of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        • Experimental feature: snap refresh awareness and update inhibition

          We’d like to follow up on last week’s article about parallel installs for classic snaps with another bleeding-edge topic. Today, we will discuss snap refreshes. By design, snaps come with automatic updates, and by default, the update (refresh) frequency check is four times a day. Whenever new application versions are published, they soon become available and propagate to all end-user systems.

          Normally, the process is transparent and seamless, but there could be exceptions. For instance, if you have an app open and running, an update could be disruptive in the middle of your work. Some developers have asked for an option to inhibit refreshes of snaps while they are running, and this is now a new, experimental feature that you can enable and test on your system.


          The app refresh capability offers snaps users another level of control in the overall user experience. Automatic updates are geared toward security, but users can defer updates for up to 60 days, and now, they also have the ability to gracefully update applications with minimal disruption to their normal usage patterns and workflows.

          We very much welcome your feedback and suggestions, especially with new and upcoming features. The refresh awareness option is a good example of where the developer feedback has been valuable and useful in making the snap ecosystem even friendlier and more robust. If you have any ideas on this topic – or any other, please join our forum for a discussion.

        • How Domotz streamlined provisioning of IoT devices

          Learn how Ubuntu Core and snaps gives Domotz a competitive advantage

          As the number of IoT devices scale, the challenges of provisioning and keeping them up to date in the field increases. Domotz, who manufacture an all-in-one, network monitoring and management device for enterprise IoT networks, found themselves with this challenge that was further compounded by their rapid software release cadence.

          One of the most crucial and difficult aspects for Domotz to solve was the delivery of automatic updates to the tens of thousands of devices deployed. Domotz turned to snaps and Ubuntu Core to meet their exacting requirements.

          I absolutely believe that Ubuntu Core and snaps give us a competitive advantage. We are the only company in the IoT network management space that can guarantee a secure, always-up-to-date device for our customers’ on-premises deployments.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 technologists on careers in tech for minorities

        In honor of Black History Month, I’ve garnered the opinions of a few of my favorite technology professionals and open source contributors. These four individuals are paving the way for the next generation alongside the work they’re doing in the technology industry. Learn what Black History Month means to them, what influences their career, resources for minorities wanting to break into tech, and more.

      • Purges

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • Access an independent, uncensored version of Planet Debian

          Please update your bookmarks and RSS subscriptions to use the new links / feeds below.

          A number of differences of opinion have emerged in the Debian Community recently.

          People have expressed concern about blogs silently being removed from Planet Debian and other Planet sites in the free software universe.

          These actions hide the great work that some Debian Developers are doing and undermines our mutual commitment to transparency in the Debian Social Contract.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Hoping To Combat ISP Snooping, Mozilla Enables Encrypted DNS

            Historically, like much of the internet, DNS hasn’t been all that secure. That’s why Mozilla last year announced it would begin testing something called “DNS over HTTPS,” a significant security upgrade to DNS that encrypts and obscures your domain requests, making it more difficult (though not impossible) to see which websites a user is visiting. Obviously, this puts a bit of a wrinkle in government, telecom, or other organizational efforts to use DNS records to block and filter content, or track and sell user activity.

      • Events

        • Linux Security Summit North America 2020: CFP and Registration

          Note that the conference this year has moved from August to June (24-26). The location is Austin, TX, and we are co-located with the Open Source Summit as usual.

          We’ll be holding a 3-day event again, after the success of last year’s expansion, which provides time for tutorials and ad-hoc break out sessions. Please note that if you intend to submit a tutorial, you should be a core developer of the project or otherwise recognized leader in the field, per this guidance from the CFP…

        • Learn about Fulfilling Your Organization’s Business Needs at SUSECON 2020!

          SUSECON 2020 is a unique opportunity to educate yourself about all the most important developments in enterprise open source technology, in one location, during more than 160 sessions, over five days. Register now – you don’t want to miss this opportunity!

        • Prepare for the Future With Roadmap Presentations at SUSECON 2020

          SUSECON 2020 is one of the best opportunities of the year to immerse yourself in SUSE technologies and get answers your questions about open source and SUSE solutions. This is the one time each year that we bring all our technology superstars together to talk about the future. Click here to register – you don’t want to miss it!
          By attending SUSECON 2020, you will have the opportunity to learn about forthcoming SUSE solutions to help your organization accomplish its business goals.

        • Canonical at the 9th OSM Hackfest, Madrid

          To all telecommunications service providers, global system integrators, research institutions, OSM community members and innovators all over the world: heads-up! The 9th OSM Hackfest starts in two weeks and Canonical as always will be there. We will lead hackfest sessions, answer any questions you may have and help drive the evolution of the OSM project. The event will be hosted by Telefonica in Madrid, Spain from 9th to 13th of March.

          NOTE: seats are limited, so don’t wait for any longer and register today.

          OSM (open source MANO) is an open-source project that enables telcos with MANO (management and orchestration) capabilities for VNFs (virtual network functions). It is hosted by ETSI and supported by 14 global telecommunications service providers with 137 organisations involved in total. Starting from release SEVEN, OSM now supports the possibility of deploying CNF (container network function) workloads on Kubernetes.

        • BSides SF 2020 CTF: Infrastructure Engineering and Lessons Learned

          Last weekend, I had the pleasure of running the BSides San Francisco CTF along with friends and co-conspirators c0rg1, symmetric and iagox86. This is something like the 4th or 5th year in a row that I’ve been involved in this, and every year, we try to do a better job than the year before, but we also try to do new things and push the boundaries. I’m going to review some of the infrastructure we used, challenges we faced, and lessons we learned for next year.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice-Based Collabora Office Is Now Available on Android and iOS

          Collabora Office moves from the big screen of desktop computers to the smaller screen of mobile devices. Apps are now available for free on Android and iOS (iPhone and iPad), putting a powerful and feature-full LibreOffice backed office suite on users’ pockets.

          Promising full control over your documents and top privacy settings, Collabora Office for Android and iOS offers rich editing features, copy and paste of rich content, offline editing support, easy-to-use slide sorting for presentations, and easy handling of spreadsheets and tables.

          Collabora Office for Android and iOS also integrates with third-party storage services like Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, OneDrive or Dropbox, but it gives users the liberty to store their documents locally on the device too.

      • Programming/Development

        • A beginner’s guide to everything DevOps

          While there is no single definition, I consider DevOps to be a process framework that ensures collaboration between development and operations teams to deploy code to production environments faster in a repeatable and automated way. We will spend the rest of this article unpacking that statement.

          The word “DevOps” is an amalgamation of the words “development” and “operations.” DevOps helps increase the speed of delivering applications and services. It allows organizations to serve their customers efficiently and become more competitive in the market. In simple terms, DevOps is an alignment between development and IT operations with better communication and collaboration.

          DevOps assumes a culture where collaboration among the development, operations, and business teams is considered a critical aspect of the journey. It’s not solely about the tools, as DevOps in an organization creates continuous value for customers. Tools are one of its pillars, alongside people and processes. DevOps increases organizations’ capability to deliver high-quality solutions at a swift pace. It automates all processes, from build to deployment, of an application or a product.

        • How to solve the DevOps vs. ITSM culture clash

          Since its advent, DevOps has been pitted against IT service management (ITSM) and its ITIL framework. Some say “ITIL is under siege,” some ask you to choose sides, while others frame them as complementary. What is true is that both DevOps and ITSM have fans and detractors, and each method can influence software delivery and overall corporate culture.

        • JFrog Launches JFrog Multi-Cloud Universal DevOps Platform

          DevOps technology company JFrog has announced its new hybrid, multi-cloud, universal DevOps platform called the JFrog Platform that drives continuous software releases from any source to any destination. By delivering tools in an all-in-one solution, the JFrog Platform aims to empower organizations, developers and DevOps engineers to meet increased delivery requirements.

          For the uninitiated, JFrog is the creator of Artifactory, the heart of the Universal DevOps platform for automating, managing, securing, distributing, and monitoring all types of technologies.

        • New Caddyfile and more

          The new Caddyfile enables experimental HTTP3 support. Also I’ve added a few redirects to my new domain. All www prefix requests get redirected to their version without www prefix. My old domain nullday.de redirects now to my new domain shibumi.dev. Also I had to add connect-src ‘self’ to my CSP, because Google Lighthouse seems to have problems with defalt-src ‘none’. If just default-src ‘none’ is being set, Google Lighthouse can’t access your robot.txt. This seems to be an issue in the Google Lighthouse implementation, the Google Search Bot is not affected.

        • Content Addressed Vocabulary

          How can systems communicate and share meaning? Communication within systems is preceded by a form of meta-communication; we must have a sense that we mean the same things by the terms we use before we can even use them.

          This is challenging enough for humans who must share meaning, but we can resolve ambiguities with context clues from a surrounding narrative. Machines, in general, need a context more explicitly laid out for them, with as little ambiguity as possible.

          Standards authors of open-world systems have long struggled with such systems and have come up with some reasonable systems; unfortunately these also suffer from several pitfalls. With minimal (or sometimes none at all) adjustment to our tooling, I propose a change in how we manage ontologies.

        • GCC 8.4 Release Candidate available from gcc.gnu.org
          The first release candidate for GCC 8.4 is available from
          and shortly its mirrors.  It has been generated from git commit
          I have so far bootstrapped and tested the release candidate on
          x86_64-linux and i686-linux.  Please test it and report any issues to
          If all goes well, I'd like to release 8.4 on Wednesday, March 4th.
        • GCC 8.4 RC Compiler Released For Testing

          GCC 8.4 will hopefully be released next week but for now a release candidate is available for testing the latest bug fixes in the mature GCC8 series.

          GCC 8.4 is aiming for release next week as potentially the last of the GCC8 series while GCC 9.3 is also coming soon. GCC 8.4 represents all of the relevant bug fixes over the past year for back-porting to users still on GCC 8. GCC 10 (in the form of version GCC 10.1) meanwhile as the next feature release should be out in the next month or two.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Forth

          Forth is an imperative stack-based programming language, and a member of the class of extensible interactive languages. It was created by Charles Moore in 1970 to control telescopes in observatories using small computers. Because of its roots, Forth stresses efficiency, compactness, flexible and efficient hardware/software interaction.

          Forth has a number of properties that contrast it from many other programming languages. In particular, Forth has no inherent keywords and is extensible. It is both a low level and high level language. It has the interesting property of being able to compile itself into a new compiler, debug itself and to experiment in real time as the system is built. Forth is an extremely flexible language, with high portability, compact source and object code, and a language that is easy to learn, program and debug. It has an incremental compiler, an interpreter and a very fast edit-compile-test cycle. Forth uses a stack to pass data between words, and it uses the raw memory for more permanent storage. It also lets coders write their own control structures.

          Forth has often being deployed in embedded systems due to the compactness of object code. Forth is also used in boot loaders such as Open Firmware (developed by Sun Microsystems) as well as scientific fields such as astronomy, mathematics, oceanography and electrical engineering.

        • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2020 [Ed: Redmonk uses to assess programming languages use only projects that Microsoft (a Redmonk client) controls. Some 'research', eh?]
        • Python

          • Adding Metadata to PDFs

            For both Django Crash Course and the forthcoming Two Scoops of Django 3.x, we’re using a new process to render the PDFs. Unfortunately, until just a few days ago that process didn’t include the cover. Instead, covers were inserted manually using Adobe Acrobat.


            The lesson I learned writing this little utility is that as useful as Google and Stack Overflow might be, sometimes you need to explore reference manuals. Which, if you ask me, is a lot of fun. :-)

          • A Week At A Time – Building SaaS #46

            In this episode, we worked on a weekly view for the Django app. We made navigation that would let users click from one week to the next, then fixed up the view to pull time from that particular week.

            The first thing that I did was focus on the UI required to navigate to a new weekly view in the app. We mocked out the UI and talked briefly about the flexbox layout that is available to modern browsers.

            From the UI mock up, I changed the view code to include a previous_week_date and next_week_date in the view context so we could change the links to show real dates.

            From there, we needed a destination URL. I create a new path in the URLconf that connected the weekly URL to the existing app view that shows the week data.

            After wiring things together, I was able to extract the week date from the URL and make the view pull from the specified day and show that in the UI.

            Finally, we chatted about the tricky offset calculation that needs to happen to pull the right course tasks, but I ended the stream at that stage because the logic changes for that problem are tedious and very specific to my particular app.

          • Python 3.6.9 : Google give a new tool for python users.

            Today I discovered a real surprise gift made by the team from Google for the evolution of programmers.

            I say this because not everyone can afford hardware resources.

          • Learn Python Dictionary Data Structure – Part 3

            In this Part 3 of Python Data Structure series, we will be discussing what is a dictionary, how it differs from other data structure in python, how to create, delete dictionary objects and methods of dictionary objects.

        • Rust

          • Announcing Rust 1.41.1

            The Rust team has published a new point release of Rust, 1.41.1. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

            If you have a previous version of Rust installed via rustup, getting Rust 1.41.1 is as easy as:

            rustup update stable
            If you don’t have it already, you can get rustup from the appropriate page on our website.

          • This Week in Rust 327
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Zip Files: History, Explanation and Implementation

        I have been curious about data compression and the Zip file format in particular for a long time. At some point I decided to address that by learning how it works and writing my own Zip program. The implementation turned into an exciting programming exercise; there is great pleasure to be had from creating a well oiled machine that takes data apart, jumbles its bits into a more efficient representation, and puts it all back together again. Hopefully it is interesting to read about too.

        This article explains how the Zip file format and its compression scheme work in great detail: LZ77 compression, Huffman coding, Deflate and all. It tells some of the history, and provides a reasonably efficient example implementation written from scratch in C. The source code is available in hwzip-1.0.zip.

        I am very grateful to Ange Albertini, Gynvael Coldwind, Fabian Giesen, Jonas Skeppstedt (web), Primiano Tucci, and Nico Weber who provided valuable feedback on draft versions of this material.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • It’s not too late to save Brazil’s universities and its democracy

        A new report by Scholars at Risk, Free to Think 2019, analyses attacks on higher education in Brazil, and troublingly, shows that they are part of a global phenomenon. Over the past year, for example, authorities in Sudan and Algeria have cracked down on student expression to quash nascent pro-democracy movements, while thousands of academics in Turkey have continued to endure politicised prosecutions for challenging those in power.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • House Democrats and Healthcare Experts Explain Why Medicare for All ‘Is a Racial Justice Necessity’

        “Our healthcare system determines who is worthy and unworthy of healthcare. And people of color are often deemed unworthy. That stops now.”

      • Ahead of South Carolina Primary, Grassroots “I’m a Medicare for All Voter” Campaign Faces Down Big-Dollar Industry Ad Blitz

        “One of the things that we’ve found as we’ve gone around in South Carolina and elsewhere, talking to working people of all sorts, is that people do understand that nobody loves their insurance company.”

      • Trump Endorsed a Risky Antidepressant for Veterans. Lawmakers Want to Know if His Mar-a-Lago Pals Had a Stakeenergy

        House Democrats are expanding their investigation of outside influence at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, examining whether a push to use a new antidepressant from Johnson & Johnson was advanced by a group of unofficial advisers who convened at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club.

        The chairmen of the House veterans affairs and oversight committees sent letters last week asking for emails and financial records from the three advisers, Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, physician Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman. The Democrats are seeking, among other documents, any communications the men had with Johnson & Johnson and financial records showing whether they had any stake in the company.

      • Tell Us About the Health Care Industry’s Markups and Middlemen

        Americans call the high cost of health care their number one financial concern. But few understand the extent to which red tape, markups and middlemen needlessly drive up the expense — in large part because these costs are purposely hidden, or intentionally complicated.

        That’s where you come in. I need health care insiders to help me identify these little-known cost-boosters — and who may be profiting from them.

      • No, eliminating religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates will not endanger immunosuppressed children

        In response to low vaccine uptake, more and more states have been considering passing laws that would eliminate all exemptions to school vaccine mandates other than medical exemptions. It started in California in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak five years ago. Led by Senator Richard Pan, the California legislature passed SB 277, which eliminated all personal belief and religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates and allowed only medical exemptions. It worked. Last year, that law was strengthened with SB 276 and SB 714. Last year, as a result of several measles outbreaks, other states have been considering eliminating nonmedical exemptions, be they religious or personal belief exemptions. For example, New York banned religious exemptions last year, and out-of-state antivaxxers have descended upon Trenton because the New Jersey state legislature is also considering eliminating religious exemptions. To oppose this bill (and others like it) mothers like Liz Rovegno are claiming that children like her son Keanu would die if they were “forced” to be vaccinated. It’s a message that could sound convincing to legislators.

      • PetNet ‘Smart’ Pet Feeders Go Offline For A Week, Customer Service Completely Breaks Down

        The “smart” internet of things era was supposed to usher forth a new era of convenience. Instead, it somehow keeps managing to advertise how dumber technology is often the smarter option, and you’re not being particularly innovative if your product actually makes life harder. From “smart” door locks that are easily hackable to hackable “smart” TVs that are so smart they spy on you, there’s near daily examples showing how connecting old tech to the internet and calling it innovation–is itself not particularly innovative.

      • Virus Anxiety Triggers Biggest 1-Day Market Drop Since 2011

        Worldwide markets plummeted again Thursday, deepening a weeklong rout triggered by growing anxiety that the coronavirus will wreak havoc on the global economy. The sweeping selloff gave U.S. stocks their worst one-day drop since 2011.

      • Countries Take Harsh Steps as They Struggle to Contain Virus
      • Trump Officials Are Cynically Spreading Lies About the Coronavirus

        President Donald Trump and Larry Kudlow, the director of Trump’s National Economic Council, aren’t doctors, but they play them on TV. As the coronavirus epidemic spirals into a pandemic, causing a plunge in the U.S. stock market, Trump and Kudlow, a former CNBC TV host, are cynically spreading disinformation about the contagion.

      • Climate Crisis Is Increasing the Spread of Infectious Diseases Like Coronavirus

        Sonia Shah is an investigative science journalist and author of Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond. Her new book is titled The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move and will be published in June. She says the climate crisis is making outbreaks of infectious diseases more common, with the destruction of natural animal habitats and the changes in migration bringing humans and animals into ever-closer contact and making new pathogens more likely. Her latest article, published in The Nation, is titled “Think Exotic Animals Are to Blame for the Coronavirus? Think Again.”

      • How Can the US Confront Coronavirus With 28 Million People Uninsured?

        As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, we don’t yet know either the full scale of the unfolding global health disaster or the cumulative impact economically. But over the past week, as virus hotspots have emerged in South Korea, in Iran, in Italy and elsewhere, and as more and more countries find cases of the disease, we’re beginning to get a sense of the magnitude of what is unfolding.

      • Key Missteps at the CDC Have Set Back Its Ability to Detect the Potential Spread of Coronavirus

        As the highly infectious coronavirus jumped from China to country after country in January and February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost valuable weeks that could have been used to track its possible spread in the United States because it insisted upon devising its own test.

        The federal agency shunned the World Health Organization test guidelines used by other countries and set out to create a more complicated test of its own that could identify a range of similar viruses. But when it was sent to labs across the country in the first week of February, it didn’t work as expected. The CDC test correctly identified COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. But in all but a handful of state labs, it falsely flagged the presence of the other viruses in harmless samples.

      • Moscow mayor says coronavirus isolation measures for Chinese citizens are not discriminatory

        Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin argued in a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Moscow that the city’s coronavirus prevention measures are not discriminatory because they apply to all foreign citizens arriving in the Russian capital, not only Chinese citizens.

      • Looming Coronavirus Threat in US Bolsters Case for Medicare for All and Universal Paid Sick Leave

        “Doubters may claim that our nation can’t afford Medicare for All, but it’s increasingly likely that we are about to discover just how costly our current system really is.”

      • Ocasio-Cortez Says Putting Pence in Charge of Coronavirus Effort ‘Irresponsible’ Because He ‘Literally Does Not Believe in Science’

        “This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have.”

      • Pence At CPAC: All Right Now
      • There Is No Reason To Panic Because We Have Done Very Very Good On This Coronavirus Thing Which Anyway Is Just the Flu Also Dems Are Bad and Go USA!
      • ‘An Outrage’: HHS Chief Azar Refuses to Vow Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Affordable for All, Not Just the Rich

        “This is what happens when you put a Big Pharma CEO who doubled the price of insulin in charge of regulating Big Pharma.”

      • America’s bad paid sick leave policy could make the coronavirus outbreak worse

        The Covid-19 illness, caused by the coronavirus, is here and likely here to stay for a while. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning people to be prepared for major disruptions in their daily lives. That could mean staying home for days if they get sick.

        But that is easier said than done for millions of American workers. Employees in the service industry especially, like food workers or personal care assistants, are much less likely than their peers in more lucrative fields to have paid time off if they get sick. But they also make less money in general, meaning a lost day of work hurts their families’ budgets more. That gives them a strong motivation to go into work — even if they’re not feeling well.

        And because these workers come in close contact with the rest of humanity, they are a potent vector for spreading contagions, particularly those as infectious as coronaviruses. It’s a recipe for making a bad outbreak even worse, all because America hasn’t decided to guarantee paid sick leave for all workers.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Defender ATP coming to Linux

          Last week, we reported that Microsoft plans to add Linux support for Chromium-based Edge. This week, Microsoft announced that it will be bringing another of its services to Linux: Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which the company describes as follows:

        • A billion Wi-Fi devices suffer from a newly discovered security fla

          More than a billion internet-connected devices—including Apple’s iPhone and Amazon’s Echo—are affected by a security vulnerability that could allow [attackers] to spy on traffic sent over Wi-Fi.

        • New ‘Haken’ Malware Found On Eight Apps In Google Play Store

          Eight apps – mostly camera utilities and children’s games – were discovered spreading a new malware strain that steals data and signs victims up for expensive premium services.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • What does it take to commit to 100% open source?

              While experts in the database market in particular agree that open source is becoming the norm, the question remains, just how open is this sector’s open-source software? Can software providers realistically succeed with a company that’s 100% open source? Furthermore, would a proprietary infrastructure software provider with a freemium tier be able to achieve the same benefits as those committing to open source?

              The short answer is, yes — a proprietary infrastructure software company with a freemium tier could theoretically achieve the same benefits as companies going fully open source. However, it’s important to recognize that it would take a freemium model company a significantly longer period of time for its software to mature to the same level as that of an open-source company. Also, the loss of collaborative development and slower feedback loops would likely lead to a higher probability of the software never achieving market traction and ultimately fading away into oblivion.

            • Mirantis: Balancing Open Source With Guardrails

              Mirantis, an open infrastructure company that rose to popularity with its OpenStack offering, is now moving into the Kubernetes space very aggressively. Last year, the company acquired the Docker Enterprise business from Docker. This week, it announced that they were hiring the Kubernetes experts from the Finnish company Kontena and established a Mirantis office in Finland, expanding the company’s footprint in Europe. Mirantis already has a significant presence in Europe due to large customers such as Bosch and Volkswagen.

        • Security

          • Linux 4.4.215 / 4.9.215 / 4.14.172 / 5.5.7 Kernels Bringing Intel KVM Security Fix

            A few days back we reported on a security vulnerability within Intel’s KVM virtualization code for the Linux kernel. That vulnerability stems from unfinished kernel code and was fixed for Linux 5.6 Git and is now being back-ported to the 4.4 / 4.9 / 4.14 / 5.5 supported kernels.

            Back on Monday when the CVE-2020-2732 patches first came to light, little was publicly known about the issue but that it stemmed from incomplete code in the vmx_check_intercept functionality in not checking all possible intercepts and in turn could end up emulating instructions that should be disabled by the hypervisor.

          • Let’s Encrypt Has Issued a Billion Certificates

            We issued our billionth certificate on February 27, 2020. We’re going to use this big round number as an opportunity to reflect on what has changed for us, and for the Internet, leading up to this event. In particular, we want to talk about what has happened since the last time we talked about a big round number of certificates – one hundred million.

            One thing that’s different now is that the Web is much more encrypted than it was. In June of 2017 approximately 58% of page loads used HTTPS globally, 64% in the United States. Today 81% of page loads use HTTPS globally, and we’re at 91% in the United States! This is an incredible achievement. That’s a lot more privacy and security for everybody.

            Another thing that’s different is that our organization has grown a bit, but not by much! In June of 2017 we were serving approximately 46M websites, and we did so with 11 full time staff and an annual budget of $2.61M. Today we serve nearly 192M websites with 13 full time staff and an annual budget of approximately $3.35M. This means we’re serving more than 4x the websites with only two additional staff and a 28% increase in budget. The additional staff and budget did more than just improve our ability to scale though – we’ve made improvements across the board to provide even more secure and reliable service.

            Nothing drives adoption like ease of use, and the foundation for ease of use in the certificate space is our ACME protocol. ACME allows for extensive automation, which means computers can do most of the work. It was also standardized as RFC 8555 in 2019, which allows the Web community to confidently build an even richer ecosystem of software around it. Today, thanks to our incredible community, there is an ACME client for just about every deployment environment. Certbot is one of our favorites, and they’ve been working hard to make it even easier for people to use.

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

            • The “Cloud Snooper” malware that sneaks into your Linux servers [Ed: Sophos citing itself, hyping up the threat is installing malicious software on one's own server]

              SophosLabs has just published a detailed report about a malware attack dubbed Cloud Snooper.

              The reason for the name is not so much that the attack is cloud-specific (the technique could be used against pretty much any server, wherever it’s hosted), but that it’s a sneaky way for cybercrooks to open up your server to the cloud, in ways you very definitely don’t want, “from the inside out”.

              The Cloud Snooper report covers a whole raft of related malware samples that our researchers found deployed in combination.

            • OpenSMTPD Email Server Vulnerability Threatens Many Linux and BSD Systems [Ed: It is this package, not the operating systems (GNU/Linux rarely uses this)]

              A critical vulnerability has been discovered in the OpenBSD email server OpenSMTPD. Exploiting the flaw could allow remote code execution attacks. The seriousness of the vulnerability poses a threat to the integrity of OpenBSD and Linux systems.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • State Court Says It Isn’t Theft To Remove An Unmarked Law Enforcement Tracking Device From Your Car

              If you’ve ever wondered how far the government will go to justify its illegal actions, here’s one for you.

            • State Actors Are Increasingly Targeting Journalists With Surveillance Malware

              Columbia Journalism Review is reporting it has witnessed more malware attacks targeting journalists. An article by Financial Times cyber security head Ahana Datta details attempts to compromise a Middle East correspondent’s phone via WhatsApp.

            • First Success Against Facial Recognition in France

              Earlier this month, the Administrative Court of Marseille heard our case against facial recognition systems controlling access to two high schools in Nice and Marseille. These systems were authorised in December by the PACA Region as “experimental”. Yesterday, the Court annulled this decision.

            • Schools Are Pushing the Boundaries of Surveillance Technologies

              A school district in New York recently adopted facial recognition technology to monitor students, and it is now one of a growing number of schools across the country conducting mass privacy violations of kids in the name of “safety.” The invasive use of surveillance technologies in schools has grown exponentially, often without oversight or recourse for concerned students or their parents.

              Not only that, but schools are experimenting with the very same surveillance technologies that totalitarian governments use to surveil and abuse the rights of their citizens everywhere: online, offline, and on their phones. What does that mean? We are surveilling our students as if they were dissidents under an authoritarian regime.

            • WhatsApp security flaw: Over 60,000 groups still accessible online

              WhatsApp links that lead to closed groups can be found with a simple Google search — a major security flaw revealed by DW last week. Following social media outrage, the links were removed from Google’s search results.

              Despite the removal, however, publicly-available internet archives are still storing the information, as security researcher Lav Kumar has found out. He gathered and organized over 60,000 unique links, which can still be found on multiple websites.

              Of the 1,000 randomly selected links DW tested, 427 were active chat links. Even without actively joining a group, its title, description, image and creator’s phone number are available for all. However, upon entering a group, it is possible to also see the phone numbers of up to 256 participants, as well as other information, and adding these numbers to one’s contacts can reveal their names in the app.

            • Newly Declassified Study Demonstrates Uselessness of NSA’s Phone Metadata Program

              This program is legal due to the USA FREEDOM Act, which expires on March 15. Congress is currently debating whether to extend the authority, even though the NSA says it’s not using it now.

            • N.S.A. Phone Program Cost $100 Million, but Produced Only Two Unique Leads

              A National Security Agency system that analyzed logs of Americans’ domestic phone calls and text messages cost $100 million from 2015 to 2019, but yielded only a single significant investigation, according to a newly declassified study.

              Moreover, only twice during that four-year period did the program generate unique information that the F.B.I. did not already possess, said the study, which was produced by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and briefed to Congress on Tuesday.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Return to Bahrain: Nine Years After the Uprisings, the Nation’s Human Rights Record Has Worsened

        It’s been nine years since Bahrain’s February 2011 uprising. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities and towns across the country to protest the ruling Al Khalifa family’s tight grip on power, discrimination against the country’s majority Shia population, and arrests of political critics.

      • If Venezuelan Embassy Protectors Are Retried, Jury Should Hear About US Crimes

        On February 28, federal prosecutors will announce whether they plan to retry four people who spent 37 days in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2019 to protect it from an illegal invasion by the U.S. government. The first trial of Adrienne Pine, Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese and David Paul, who were charged with “interfering with the protective functions” of the State Department, ended in a hung jury on February 14.

      • ‘The OAS Has a Lot to Answer For’: New MIT Study Disputes Key Claim That Paved Way for Right-Wing Coup in Bolivia

        The Organization of American States “greatly misled the media and the public about what happened in Bolivia’s elections.”

      • US: Revisit Landmines Decision

        The United States should reverse its decision to allow the US to use landmines anywhere in the world in perpetuity, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch issued a question-and-answer document reviewing the landmine policy changes.

        A January 31, 2020 memo by Defense Secretary Mark Esper reverses a 2014 ban on US production and acquisition of antipersonnel landmines, as well as their use outside of a future conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The policy decision nullifies years of steps by the US to align its policy and practice with the 1997 treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.  Related ContentDownload the full Q&A

      • ‘Meduza’ answers questions about its investigation into alleged murder committed by multiple Network case defendants

        On Friday, February 21, Meduza published the original Russian-language version of an article about homicide allegations against certain defendants named in the Penza Network case. Alexey Poltavets, a leftist activist who knows many of the defendants and is now living abroad, confessed to Meduza that he participated in this crime. Other evidence and case materials studied by Meduza do not contradict Poltavets’s claims. These very serious accusations, which Russian law enforcement should obviously investigate, do not in any way negate the civic campaign in support of the Network case defendants, who were tortured into confessing to bogus terrorism charges. Meduza’s story nevertheless upset many activists and caused a controversy within Russia’s journalistic community. In the text below, we respond to the main questions about our investigative report.

      • Defendant in controversial terrorism case says murder allegations reported by ‘Meduza’ are ‘insane’

        Dmitry Pchelintsev, a defendant in the Penza Network case, has stated in a letter to MBK Media journalist Zoya Svetova that he has no connection to the information presented in a recent investigative report by Meduza about his alleged role in drug dealing and a potential homicide.

        “To say that I’m shocked would be an understatement,” Pchelintsev wrote in his letter. “I have absolutely no connections to Ekaterina Levchenko and Artyom Dorofeyev. I’m not even sure that I understand who we’re talking about, because I haven’t seen their photographs. I can only guess that I saw Artyom when I was working as a waiter, but we didn’t speak to each other. I have no information about their disappearance, except for the story that circulated as rumors.”

      • Reexamining Russia’s ‘Network’ case

        Meduza’s investigative report about murder allegations against suspects in the Penza Network case is one of the most difficult stories we have ever published. 

      • ‘This is not something to memorialize’ It’s the five-year anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination. Here’s how the Kremlin responded.

        Ekho Moskvy: Today is the five-year anniversary of the murder of Boris Nemtsov. First of all, I would like to ask — does the Kremlin find it necessary to perpetuate the memory of Boris Nemtsov?

      • Bernie Finally Puts a Number on Cutting Military Spending

        Bernie Sanders’ campaign has published a fact sheet on how everything he proposes can be paid for. On that fact sheet we find this line in a list of items that collectively will pay for a Green New Deal:

      • ‘Screaming red siren’: Trump’s replacement of spy chief after Russia briefing stirs outcry

        U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers Feb. 13 that Russia is mounting an effort to possibly steer the 2020 election in favor of Trump. After the hearing, the president reprimanded Joseph Maguire, the former acting director of national intelligence, and replaced him days later.

        Democrats accused Trump of dumping Maguire is to shield the fact Russia may have intervened in the 2020 election to benefit him.

      • Trump in Modi’s India

        I’ve been in New Delhi for over a week, attending a conference organized by the Muslim-majority Jamia Millia Islamia University. Jamia has been a focal-point of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which came into law in December last year.

      • Jammu and Kashmir Cannot be Reduced to Rubble

        While I have been highly critical of the extended detentions of former heads of government, former legislators, and a former civil services officer under the Public Safety Act (PSC), I cannot forget the 200 Kashmiri men being held in jails outside the Valley.

      • India, US officially sign $2.6 bn deal for Seahawk helicopter, Navy calls it ‘force multiplier’

        India and the United States formally signed a deal for the procurement of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk for the Indian Navy on Tuesday. The Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the acquisition of 24 MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters multi-role helicopters on 21st February. Moreover, a deal to procure six Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters were also a part of the deal signed between the two countries. The Apache attack choppers will be procured by the Army as a plan modernizing the force. India will be paying $ 3 billion for these two choppers for its Navy and Army.

      • Pompeo Says ‘Crimea Is Ukraine’ On Anniversary Of Russia’s Seizure

        Pompeo’s remarks came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a decree designating February 26 a memorial day to mark Russia’s annexation of Crimea — an annexation not recognized by the international community and which has led to a series of sanctions against Moscow.

      • Paris police attacker reportedly ran web search on killing ‘infidels’ before rampage

        A police employee who fatally stabbed four colleagues in the force’s Paris headquarters ran an online search for “how to kill infidels” an hour before he rampaged through the building, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

        Data on the cell phone of Mickael Harpon, a 45-year-old IT worker who converted to Islam a decade before last October’s attack, supported suspicions his motive was terrorism-related, the judicial source and a police source told Reuters.

      • CAIR: Councilman who said Muslims should obey law must resign

        The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on an Indiana councilman to step down after he shared on Facebook a post that said Muslims should obey U.S. law.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • ABC’s David Wright told the truth about network news and Trump — and paid the price

        The truth-teller was David Wright, an Emmy Award-winning ABC News correspondent who’s been with the network since 2000. And unfortunately for him — and the truth — when his bosses at ABC saw the video, they suspended him and reassigned him away from political coverage.

        An anonymous statement from ABC News explained: “Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved.”

        It’s the latest example of a major media organization getting played by the right — overreacting out of panic to critiques from people who do not have journalism’s best interests at heart.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery – The Assange Hearing Day 3

        We now come to the consideration of yesterday’s legal arguments on the extradition request itself. Fortunately, these are basically fairly simple to summarise, because although we had five hours of legal disquisition, it largely consisted of both sides competing in citing scores of “authorities”, e.g. dead judges, to endorse their point of view, and thus repeating the same points continually with little value from exegesis of the innumerable quotes.

        As prefigured yesterday by magistrate Baraitser, the prosecution is arguing that Article 4.1 of the UK/US extradition treaty has no force in law.


        The UK and US Governments say that the court enforces domestic law, not international law, and therefore the treaty has no standing. This argument has been made to the court in written form to which I do not have access. But from discussion in court it was plain that the prosecution argue that the Extradition Act of 2003, under which the court is operating, makes no exception for political offences. All previous Extradition Acts had excluded extradition for political offences, so it must be the intention of the sovereign parliament that political offenders can now be extradited.

      • Trump wants to ‘make an example’ of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, court told

        On Monday, Fitzgerald told the court that Rohrabacher had approached Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy and discussed a “preemptive pardon.”

        The former congressman was accompanied on the visit by controversial conservative blogger Charles “Chuck” Johnson. The pair made it clear that they were acting on behalf of the President, who had approved of the meeting, Fitzgerald said.

      • Julian Assange Against the Imperium

        The second day of extradition hearings against Julian Assange and by virtue of that, WikiLeaks, saw Mark Summers QC deliver a formidable serve for the defence at Woolwich Crown Court. “It’s difficult to conceive of a clearer example of an extradition request that boldly and blatantly misstates the facts as they are known to be to the US government.” The targets were, respectively, allegations by the US Department of Justice that Assange attempted to conceal Chelsea Manning’s identity for nefarious purposes and second, that WikiLeaks was reckless as to the potential consequences of harm in releasing unredacted State Department cables in 2011.

      • Prosecution in Assange Extradition Hearing: US-UK Treaty Does Not Apply To Wikileaks’ Publisher

        As his defense team argues U.S. effort to get their hands on Assange is clearly political in nature, the defendant complains to court he is being prevented from meeting privately to consult with his lawyers.

      • Attempts to Extradite Assange Threaten Press Freedom – Validated Independent News

        The 2003 extradition treaty between the US and UK declared extraditions to be unlawful on the basis of “political offense.” This term itself does not have a concrete definition—however espionage is frequently associated with “offenses directed against state power.”

      • Judge: Julian Assange Must Remain In Glass Box During Extradition Proceedings

        Editor’s Note

      • Judge Andrew Napolitano: Prosecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange violates First Amendment

        “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” — First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

        In the oral argument of the famous U.S. Supreme Court cases known collectively as the Pentagon Papers Case, the late Justice William O. Douglas asked a government lawyer if the Department of Justice views the “no law” language in the First Amendment to mean literally no law. The setting was an appeal of the Nixon administration’s temporarily successful efforts to bar The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing documents stolen from the Department of Defense by Daniel Ellsberg.

        The documents were a history of the Vietnam War, which revealed that President Lyndon B. Johnson and his secretaries of defense and state and the military’s top brass materially misrepresented the status of the war to the American people. Stated differently, they regularly, consistently and systematically lied to the public and the news media.


        After his administration lost the case and the Times and the Post published the documents, Nixon attempted to distinguish his presidency and administration of the war from LBJ’s, but he did not challenge the truthfulness of the publications.

        Regrettably, the Trump administration is pretending the Pentagon Papers Case does not exist. It is manifesting that pretense in its criminal pursuit of international gadfly and journalist Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

        Sometime in 2010, Assange and his colleagues began receiving classified U.S. Department of Defense materials from an Army intelligence officer now known as Chelsea Manning.

        Manning committed numerous crimes, for which she pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama, whose Department of Justice publicly declined to prosecute Assange in deference to the once universal acceptance of the Pentagon Papers Case and the numerous court rulings that have followed it.

        The Trump DOJ, however, sought and obtained two indictments of Assange, who is now charged with 17 counts of espionage and faces 175 years in prison. Assange is currently being held in a maximum-security prison outside of London. The U.S. has sought his extradition at a proceeding that began in a British courtroom this week.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • This Is All So Very Normal (Video)
      • To Reduce Inequality in the Election Process, All States Should Allow Voting At Home

        Letting people fill out ballots at their kitchen table and pop them in the mail reduces economic barriers to participation for low-income Americans.

      • VA Secretary Under Investigation After Complaint He Looked for Dirt on a House Staffer Who Said She’d Been Assaulted

        The inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating allegations that Secretary Robert Wilkie sought damaging information to discredit a congressional staffer who said she was sexually assaulted in a VA hospital.

        The allegations, first reported by ProPublica, were raised in an anonymous complaint to the committee that the staffer works for. A former senior official and another person familiar with the matter, who both spoke to ProPublica on the condition of anonymity, described meetings between Wilkie and his senior staff in which he discussed information he had collected about the staffer’s past and suggested using it to discredit her.

      • WaPo Backing Limited Impeachment Was Constitutional Disaster

        FAIR (11/26/19, 2/4/20) has covered how one flagship ResistanceTM newspaper, the New York Times, trivialized the importance of the impeachment process as a check on authoritarianism by covering it as a partisan competition, littered with false equivalences, and underplaying the danger Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican Party poses to whatever tatters of democracy the US has left. Instead of raising critical questions about impeachment that would inform their audience of the ways the Democratic Party could function as an effective opposition party, the Times merely regurgitated uncritical “he said, she said” statements, without making the effort to determine whether one side had greater credibility.

      • The Unfounding Father: Donald Trump and the End of American Democracy

        Not with a bang, ladies and gentleman, but with a pathetic whimper.

      • Top DNC Committee Is Packed With Fossil Fuel and Bank Lobbyists

        It’s likely that going into the Democratic National Convention in July, none of the presidential candidates will have the outright majority of pledged delegates needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot. If that’s the case, Democratic National Committee members and other unelected superdelegates will be allowed to vote on a second ballot to choose the nominee.

      • Our Democratic Institutions Are Dying as Presidential Power Grows

        In this fast-paced century, rife with technological innovation, we’ve grown accustomed to the impermanence of things. Whatever is here now will likely someday vanish, possibly sooner than we imagine. Movies and music that once played on our VCRs and stereos have given way to infinite choices in the cloud. Cash currency is fast becoming a thing of the past. Cars will soon enough be self-driving. Stores where you could touch and feel your purchases now lie empty as online shopping sucks up our retail attention.

      • A Real Super Tuesday Calls for a Strong Progressive Media

        The corporate media has cast itself as a bulwark against the erosion of our democracy under Donald Trump. The president has declared the media the “enemy of the people” and routinely rails at the critical coverage of his administration, dismissing it as “fake news.” Democracy depends on a free and independent press that can hold power accountable, but sadly, the corporate media does not meet that standard.

      • No, Google Isn’t Hiding Elizabeth Warren’s Emails To Promote Mayor Pete

        Content moderation at scale is impossible. This time, it’s email content moderation. This week a new publication called The Markup launched. It’s a super smart group of folks who are doing deep data-driven investigative reporting of companies in and around the tech space — and I’m very excited to see what they do. I was going to write about the project overall and its goals, but instead I’m going to write about one of its first stories, done in partnership with the Guardian, entitled Swinging the Vote?, and which looks at Gmail’s filtering system, specifically as it regards political emails from Presidential candidates.

      • Bloomberg’s Game

        There are two things I feel compelled to say about Mike Bloomberg and his candidacy.

      • The Important Word in “Democratic Socialism” is Democratic

        After the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race.

      • Why Bernie Sanders Is Winning

        If you want to have a successful campaign, it helps to be extremely authentic as you run on ideas and policies that are very popular with a majority of people.

      • Bernie Sanders Has Redefined What’s Possible in American Politics

        The movement surrounding Sanders has never been just about getting one man elected to the White House. It’s about building a movement of millions that can long outlive and outperform any single electoral campaign.

      • Bernie’s Very Welcome Assault on Our Cliché of Greatness

        Sanders is giving voice to ideas and realities that have long been declared taboo in American political discourse. One might even called it historic.

      • ‘You’ll See Rebellion’: Sanders Supporters Denounce Open Threats by Superdelegates to Steal Nomination

        “The Democrats might be able to stop Sanders, but in doing so they would destroy their party’s own electoral prospects.”

      • “The Public Doesn’t Really Decide”: MSNBC Guest Under Fire for Saying Voters Won’t Choose Dem Nominee

        Anton Gunn, a longtime South Carolina political operative, is on the board of anti-Bernie Sanders group the Democratic Majority for Israel.

      • The Democratic Establishment is Freaking Out About Bernie. It should Calm Down.

        Instead of the Democratic establishment worrying that Sanders is unelectable, maybe it should worry that a so-called “moderate” Democrat might be nominated instead.  

      • Sanders Says Trump ‘Taking a Page From His Dictator Friends Around the World’ With 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.”

      • GOP Plotting Resolution to Condemn… Teaching Children and Adults to Read

        “I’ve had it with people speaking for our Cuban-American community and simply using us as a political football to hurt Sanders,” said one critic of the recent smear effort.

      • Democratic Socialism: From Fromm to Sanders

        The derisive children’s sandbox terms used by media pundits, Democratic and Republican stooges and the One Percent to describe Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a millionaire himself, would be comedic if it were not so sad. The words used to denigrate Sanders would be instantly recognized by Fromm since they were used in 1955 in the same fashion during the first Cold War.

      • Democrats Are Willing to Blow Up the Party to Stop Sanders

        It was a moment that was destined to go viral. During a town hall in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday, Jason Pietramala, an account manager at a software company and a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., posed the following question to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.: “During the Nevada debate, you and every other candidate on the stage, except for Bernie … indicated that the candidate with the plurality of delegates should not necessarily be the nominee. This essentially means that the will of the voters could be denied by the superdelegates and the DNC, which is basically undemocratic, and in my opinion is a bunch of baba booey to put it politely. Can you explain why the will of the voters should not matter if no candidate reaches a majority of delegates?”

      • Sanders Supporters Denounce Open Threats by Superdelegates to Steal Nomination

        Nearly 100 Democratic superdelegates told the New York Times in interviews this week that if Sen. Bernie Sanders does not arrive at the party’s 2020 convention in July with a majority of pledged delegates, they are willing to thwart the will of the plurality of primary voters — and potentially risk damaging Democrats’ chances of defeating President Donald Trump — in order to stop Sanders from winning the nomination.

      • Why MSNBC Is Freaking Out Over Bernie Sanders

        Andrew Lack, who became chairman of MSNBC in 2015, is known for his hostility toward progressives. The rise of Donald Trump allowed Lack to move the network to the right while still keeping its liberal audience. The trick was to use Trump’s triumph as an excuse to hire Never Trump conservatives, who could be relied on to criticize the president but strictly from a right-of-center point of view. Some of the already-existing hosts of MSNBC were natural Never Trump voices, notably Joe Scarborough. But the network became increasingly receptive to pundits like William Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and Max Boot.

      • Hindu Nationalist Violence Rocks Delhi as Trump Visits Modi in India

        In India, the death toll from anti-Muslim violence in Delhi has risen to at least 34, with police accused of turning a blind eye to assaults on Muslims committed by Hindu nationalist mobs. The violence began Sunday, when groups of Hindus attacked peaceful sit-ins of Muslims protesting against Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new citizenship law, which widely restricts Muslim immigration to India. Modi said nothing as the violence continued for days, instead hosting President Donald Trump on a two-day state visit in which Trump heaped praise on the Indian prime minister. We speak with Neha Dixit, independent Indian journalist, and Priya Gopal, lecturer at the University of Cambridge and author of Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent.

      • India Says US Politicizing Religious Riots in Which 30 Died

        India accused a U.S. government commission of politicizing communal violence in New Delhi that killed at least 30 people and injured more than 200 as President Donald Trump was visiting the country.

        The violent clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs were the capital’s worst communal riots in decades and saw shops, Muslim shrines and public vehicles go up in flames. Though the rioting had largely subsided, the rising toll was confirmed by hospital officials Thursday.

      • Social Media Disrupted in Togo on Election Day

        Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm the loss of access to social media platforms via Togo’s leading operator Togo Telecom (Togocom, AS24691) as polls closed on election day, Saturday 22 February 2020.

        Measurement from multiple locations show that the services became were reachable during the day but became unavailable by 17:00 at multiple locations via the state operator.

      • Founder of 8chan Faces Arrest on ‘Cyberlibel’ Charge

        Fredrick Brennan, who founded but later distanced himself from the 8chan message board that has given encouragement and visibility to violent extremists, is facing arrest in the Philippines in a “cyberlibel” case brought by the site’s current owner.

        An arrest warrant was issued Thursday in Pasig City, his lawyer, Alex Acain, told Rappler, a news site in the Philippines. Mr. Brennan is currently in the United States, and it was unclear on Thursday if he planned to return to the Philippines, where he lives.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Law Doesn’t Care About Your Feelings: 9th Circuit Slams Prager University For Its Silly Lawsuit Against YouTube

        Dennis Prager and his silly propaganda machine, PragerU, push out videos about how “facts don’t care about your feelings” and how “if a baker won’t bake you a cake, find another baker.”

      • Trump Campaign Files Laughably Stupid SLAPP Suit Over A NY Times Opinion Piece

        Welp, Donald Trump promised to “open up libel laws” back when he was first running for President, and his campaign has now decided to test out some moronic theory of defamation in suing the NY Times over an opinion piece. Just to be clear upfront: the lawsuit is bad. It will not succeed and appears to have no intent to succeed. Instead, it appears to be almost entirely performative — including the kind of text you’d normally see on a political website, rather than in a lawsuit filed by a serious lawyer. But, hey, this one is filed by Charles Harder, who has a bit of a history of filing such lawsuits (including against me!).

      • Blurred images: Concerns raised over growing conservatism in public universities

        A picture recently posted on the Instagram account of a student body at the Jakarta State University’s (UNJ) engineering school has raised not only eyebrows but also the question as to whether students in public universities are drifting further to the right.

        The picture, posted by @bemftunj, shows photos of female and male students smiling to the camera— with bold and bright text showing their names and positions in the organization – but while the male students are depicted in sharp focus against a blurred background, their female counterparts are shown in low contrast, thus blending in with the background and creating a somewhat ghost-like appearance.

      • Court orders man who stepped on Quran to be sent to Permai Hospital

        Mohd Zulkifli was charged with defiling the al-Quran by stepping on it with the intention of insulting Islam under Section 295 of the Penal Code, which provides for a maximum jail term of two years or a fine or both if convicted.

        He was also accused of uttering insulting words heard by an individual with the intent to hurt his or her religious convictions under Section 298 of the same code which carries a jail term of up to a year or a fine or both if found guilty.

      • Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment

        A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that internet giants like Google and Facebook can censor content on their platforms, rebuking arguments from conservatives who claim the tech companies violate users’ First Amendment rights by removing certain messages or videos.

        With its unanimous opinion, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest court to dismiss arguments that platforms like YouTube can be sued under the First Amendment for decisions on content moderation.

        But on Wednesday, McKeown wrote, “YouTube does not perform a public function by inviting public discourse on its property. To characterize YouTube as a public forum would be a paradigm shift.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Real Story About Trump’s Latest Attack on the Press

        Wednesday was an ominous day for freedom of the press in this country, and I want to tell you why.

        You may have heard or seen that President Trump filed a libel suit against the New York Times. Perhaps you weren’t surprised: the president is known to frequently disparage the Times even as he reads it obsessively. Borrowing a page from what I’ve referred to before as a Mount Rushmore of totalitarians, Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin and Mao, Trump loves to call the press the “enemy of the people.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • UN Human Rights Chief Slams Trump for Attacks on Environment, Refugees, and Children

        Michelle Bachelet included the U.S. in her report on current human rights violations around the world.

      • ‘Change your name and forget where you came from’ In new portraits of the latest Russian émigré wave, a journalist shares his experience coming out to his Dagestani family and remaking his life in Brooklyn

        Russian photographer Evgeny Feldman, a regular contributor to Meduza, is working to document the lives of the newest wave of Russian émigrés: those who have left the country within the past fifteen years, forming a distinct group from the migrations of the late 20th century. Feldman edits a self-published samizdat magazine whose next issue will tell nine stories from within that rapidly growing community. Meduza is featuring one of those stories, the memories of a Moscow journalist who was raised in a village in Dagestan, one of Russia’s Northern Caucasian republics. After the journalist came out as gay, he faced threats from family members and ultimately moved to New York City to begin a new life.

      • Tunisia: Unfinished Rights Business
      • St. Petersburg government permits Nemtsov march after two refusals

        After twice denying permits for a proposed February 29 protest in honor of assassinated opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the government of St. Petersburg has granted permission for activists to hold a memorial march instead.

      • ‘This Is a Nightmare’: Trump Accused of Weaponizing DOJ With New Task Force Focused on Stripping US Citizenship

        “Of all the dystopian shit—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit.”

      • How We Stay Blind to the Story of Power

        If one thing drives me to write, especially these posts, it is the urgent need for us to start understanding power. Power is the force that shapes almost everything about our lives and our deaths. There is no more important issue. Understanding power and overcoming it through that understanding is the only path to liberation we can take as individuals, as societies, and as a species.

      • How hard will the robots make us work?

        On conference stages and at campaign rallies, tech executives and politicians warn of a looming automation crisis — one where workers are gradually, then all at once, replaced by intelligent machines. But their warnings mask the fact that an automation crisis has already arrived. The robots are here, they’re working in management, and they’re grinding workers into the ground.

      • The boss who put everyone on 70K

        In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.

      • Kazakhs Bid Farewell To Noted Activist Who Died In Custody, Demand Explanation

        As of February 27, President Toqaev had yet to comment on Aghadil’s death.

        According to police, Aghadil was intoxicated at the time of his arrest and died from heart problems hours later.

        Aghadil’s relatives and colleagues, however, have insisted that Aghadil did not drink alcohol due to health issues and had never complained about his heart.

      • Why Germany can’t quit its racist Native American problem

        These practices “relegate us to a historical myth and is a disavowal of the differences,” among the hundreds of Indigenous nations in North America,” Nephin said. Shea Vassar, a Cherokee writer, agreed, saying “it places us forever is a historical and mythical context.”

        “The biggest issue is the overall simplification of our cultures and the erasure inherent in ‘playing Indian,’ as if we were something mystical like a wizard. It’s not like dressing up like an ancient Roman. We still exist.”

      • Iran forces Christian converts from Islam to declare their faith to obtain ID cards

        The National Census Bureau has narrowed the choices available to new applicants to only the four religions recognised under the Iranian constitution: Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism.

        This means that Muslim-born converts to Christianity, who may have preferred not to make public their faith in order to avoid hostility or persecution from their family, employers or the authorities, now have to reveal they are Christian, or lie about their faith and tick the box that says Muslim.

      • Swedish Mosque Under Fire For Calling it Sinful for Women to Deny Men ‘Legitimate Intimacy’

        According to the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, the website includes exerpts from “The New Muslim Guide” written by Fahd Salem Bahammam and published in 26 different languages. The website itself touts “The New Muslim Guide” as a consensus among most Muslim scholars.


        Its values, however, sparked a negative reaction from the Swedish public. The advice there doesn’t only express a “reprehensible view of women”, but is also contrary to the law, Sweden’s leading terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp of the National Defence College wrote in an opinion piece. Ranstorp stressed that is not the first time a problematic view of women has been discovered in Swedish mosques.

      • Sweden’s Victimized Children

        Parents are afraid to report the crimes committed by other children against their children… In August 2019, 13-year-old Filip and his family had no other choice than to move from the city of Uppsala after a gang of minors made his life there unbearable. He was abused, robbed and his life was threatened by gangs, with Swedish authorities telling him not to report it to the police as this would make things “worse” for him.

    • Monopolies

      • Up to 91% More Expensive: How Delivery Apps Eat Up Your Budget

        When you order through a delivery app, you pay multiple parties, including the driver and the companies that offer the apps, like Uber Eats and Postmates. In some cases, you pay the restaurants extra fees as well.

        The markups can be downright egregious. Take Panda Express, the fast-food chain. If you ordered a $39 Family Feast value meal using Uber Eats, your tab would be 49 percent higher than if you bought the same meal at the restaurant.

      • Union Coalition Wants Investigation of Amazon Influence on Wages

        A group of unions representing 5.3 million U.S. workers in various industries has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon.com Inc.’s growing economic power.

        The group, which includes the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Communications Workers of America, the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Service Employees international Union, filed a petition Thursday calling on the agency to investigate Amazon for a variety of potentially anticompetitive practices, including its “impact on wages.”

      • KOL283 | Webinar: Has Intellectual Property Become Corporate Welfare? (Freedom Hub Working Group)

        “Despite two decades of IP law practice for Big Oil and other clients, Stephan Kinsella earlier had been exposed to the great Murry Rothbard (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Rothbard) and wasn’t convinced the ancient property rights philosophy had room for intangible ideas – that maybe, he was in the middle of a gross example of corporate welfare that was killing entrepreneurship.

        Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, former adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, and author of “Against Intellectual Property” and “Law in a Libertarian World: Legal Foundations of a Free Society”, Stephan will present “Property Rights versus Intellectual Property”, and apply that lesson to how crony corporations abuse IP to squash competition and suppress innovation – with Big Pharma and the China “IP theft” as examples.”

      • Trademarks

        • Netflix Seeks Cancellation Of “Choose Your Own Adventure” Trademark

          This really should happen more frequently than it does. You will hopefully recall the ongoing drama between Chooseco, the company behind the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books we all remember from the 80s and 90s, and Netflix, producer of the hit series Black Mirror and its recent iteration entitled Bandersnatch. To catch you up, Bandersnatch was an interactive streaming show that billed itself as a “choose your own adventure” show, allowing the viewer to influence the progression of the story via choice. Chooseco sued Netflix over this production, claiming trademark infringement. Chiefly at issue is the appearance of a book mockup in the series, trade dress and marketing surrounding the show, and the fact that a character in the show refers to his own video game creation as a “choose your own adventure” game.

      • Copyrights

        • Pirate IPTV Box Seller Arrested By LAPD, ABS-CBN Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits

          Media giant ABS-CBN has filed two US lawsuits worth millions of dollars in damages against two men they accuse of supplying pirate IPTV devices to the public. One of the men was arrested earlier this month by Los Angeles Police Department following an undercover sting operation.

        • Amazon Fire TV Stick is the Preferred Device for Pirate IPTV Subscribers

          New data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine shows that pirate IPTV traffic is growing in the US and Canada. This translates to millions of ‘pirate’ subscriptions. A detailed analysis further reveals that Amazon Fire TV Sticks are the preferred tool to access pirate IPTV.

        • Reforming Copyright with the Shuttleworth Foundation

          From March 1, I am embarking on a new project. With the support of the Shuttleworth Foundation, I will be returning to my home town of Berlin to work full-time on advancing access to knowledge and culture through copyright reform. Read their announcement here or below.

          Many were disappointed after the European Parliament adopted the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, but our fight was not in vain. I will be devoting the next years to defending all the safeguards and improvements we have achieved, in the national implementation and in court.

        • The Scholarly Record At The Internet Archive

          The Internet Archive has been working on a Mellon-funded grant aimed at collecting, preserving and providing persistent access to as much of the open-access academic literature as possible. The motivation is that much of the “long tail” of academic literature comes from smaller publishers whose business model is fragile, and who are at risk of financial failure or takeover by the legacy oligopoly publishers. This is particularly true if their content is open access, since they don’t have subscription income. This “long tail” content is thus at risk of loss or vanishing behind a paywall.

        • Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images + Data into the Public Domain Using CC0

          This major initiative uses CC0—Creative Commons’ public domain dedication tool—to make millions of images and data freely available to the public.

Richard Stallman is Now Eligible for the FSF’s Award

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2020: an opportunity for the FSF to show respect and gratitude to its founder

FSF award

Summary: To counter the impression that FSF leadership distances itself from the FSF’s founder it can publicly display a healthy and cordial relationship with GNU’s chief

THE FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software can finally, after a number of decades, go to the project’s, movement’s and institution’s founder, depending on what the award committee decides. Stallman has already received an impressive number of unique awards, some with monetary components to them. To combat the ‘evil tongues’ which try to dehumanise Stallman and basically cause a lot of trouble the FSF can grant Stallman the ultimate prize. It would, in our assessment, do far more good than harm. Those who are ‘insulted’ or emotionally ‘harmed’ by such a gesture quite likely don’t support Free software at all.

People Who Oppose Stallman Can be Rude and They Pick on People Who Merely Defend Stallman’s Role at FSF

Posted in FSF at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Typical example from only moments ago; I didn’t say anything rude or confrontational


Summary: Earlier this week I wrote about aggressive reactions I receive for my articles; here’s one of them (minutes old)

3 Founders Out in 5 Months

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, OSI at 7:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ESR RMS caricature: They told me  I was bad for the institution I had founded... You know, I created OSI to get rid of you. Perens admitted it. Last month he quit the OSI, admitting that OSI was basically a fraud... Under my watch the FSF received awards every year... Heck, it has been around for nearly 40 years. How bad could that be? Wanna help us get software freedom back?

Summary: With OSI’s co-founders both out (not long after the start of this year), as well as the founder of the FSF, one must ask who’s left to lead the fight against proprietary software injustices

Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part II: The Majority of the Board Supports Richard Stallman

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free Speech and Free software

Summary: It seems to have become somewhat fashionable separating high-profile projects and institutions from their founders; at the FSF, thankfully (at least for now), the founder still has a foothold

IN PART ONE and the introduction we highlighted a number of things we had heard from numerous sources and had experienced ourselves even before Alex started writing about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Alex is not associated with Techrights, but some of the things he wrote over the past week resemble stories we occasionally hear. Last year we wrote a number of stories about censorship at LibrePlanet. Even back then Stallman was being silenced or threatened somewhat (even months before what some in the Free software community call “Free software 9/11″). Rejecting one’s founder? The OSI has just done that too. As for the Linux Foundation, we’re being told that Torvalds (Linux founder) is “sexist” or “rude” and therefore he should have no control over his own project (let Microsoft, Oracle and others control it through their foundation).

“People who oppose corporate takeovers are being spun as racist, sexist and so on.”LibrePlanet was a sign of things to come. This year the conference offers corporate sponsors “thank yous” (it's in the brochure) and there’s understandably some anger. There’s a perception that control is being passed (of the FSF and by extension GNU) from the founder to corporations which exploit the work. It’s being "sold" to the public as a matter of "ethics" as if there’s something inherently moral about for-profit corporations. Even those that predominantly profit from non-free software…

People who oppose corporate takeovers are being spun as racist, sexist and so on. This strategy isn’t novel or unprecedented. If they happen to be right wing-leaning, then tough luck — in all likelihood they also fit such labeling and get banned without appeal rights. No need to even take anything out of context, only to go further and further back in time (ask Mr. Eich why he’s no longer Mozilla’s CEO).

Months ago J. Gay from “Defective By Design” (DBD) fame, among other FSF campaigns, routinely came to our IRC channels, which are publicly logged (no secrets necessary there). Seeing his stance on Stallman and a variety of other topics, I began to get a clearer picture and a better understanding of what had been happening and who was pushing for what outcome (and why). This series is based on a large number of discussions and conversations. It will be based only on facts, not hearsay.

“Based on our understanding — and again without mentioning any names — the Board of the FSF is still mostly trustworthy. Mostly.”It does not seem like anyone at the higher ranks of the FSF genuinely hates Stallman, although that much can be said about former people and ‘lower-level’ people. We’ll try to name nobody. It would be counter-productive to make it seem personal.

Based on our understanding — and again without mentioning any names — the Board of the FSF is still mostly trustworthy. Mostly.

“It’s not that the board is compromised,” one person noted. There’s only one or at most two people there who strive to have an FSF without Stallman (without even his mentioning), wrongly believing that he is more of a liability than an asset.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 27, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:22 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

EUIPO and EPO Celebrate Corruption in Croatia

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:06 am by Guest Editorial Team

14 months ago: EPO Vice-President Željko Topić in New Article About Corruption in Croatia

Topić and António Campinos

Kuterovac Topić WIPO 2010

Summary: The EPO returns to its corrupt roots of the Battistelli era even in the form of photo ops

THE reputation of the European Patent Office (EPO) won’t be redeemed as long as António Campinos shows himself to be his predecessor’s shadow.

“The above photo comes from a very tactless photo op, which accompanies this very latest puff piece from the EPO.”Put aside the corruption associated with Christian Archambeau at EUIPO and his presence at this event along with Željko Topić‘s ‘mistress’, Ljiljana Kuterovac (there are court documents detailing the relationship).

The above photo comes from a very tactless photo op, which accompanies this very latest puff piece (warning: epo.org link) from the EPO. It says this:

A delegation headed by the EPO President attended an international conference on challenges in intellectual property held in Zagreb last week under Croatia’s EU Council presidency. The conference was opened by the Croatian Minister of Science and Education, Blaženka Divjak, the Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Darko Horvat; the Minister of Culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, and the Director General of the State intellectual Property Office, Ljiljana Kuterovac. Speakers and panellists included Executive Director of the EU Intellectual Property Office Christian Archambeau, and representatives of the World Intellectual Property Organization, European Commission and other leading European and Croatian organisations in the IP field.

In his opening address, EPO President António Campinos thanked the Croatian government for putting IP firmly on the agenda of the EU presidency. He emphasised the importance of international co-operation in responding to the rapid changes in the IP landscape due to an ever increasing number of applications, and the rise of technologies such as AI and blockchain. He stressed the need to ensure the delivery of high-quality, legally robust patents – which are the “cornerstone of the European patent system” – to bring about tangible benefits for users and the public.


The conference participants discussed topics such as support for SMEs, shaping IP policy to boost Europe’s industrial competitiveness in the digital age, Standard Essential Patents and Artificial Intelligence, and the role of IP in fostering green technologies.

Notice the mention of “HEY HI” (AI), which typically means software patents in Europe. There’s also “blockchain”, but leave all that aside and focus on who’s attending. Well, la familia is back with vengeance.

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