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03.02.20

FSF Canary

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 8:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Canary
Canary in the Boston mine

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

Previously:

I‘m yet to publish the final planned inStallmant of the series (it’s not at all about the FSF), but it is still at least a few days away, and I don’t wish to keep anyone holding their breaths that long.

After that, mark these words: this bird won’t sing like this any more, so here’s a ”virtual canary” (Serinus canaria indomitus) instead. It’s not needed, but it makes for a much happier home when it’s only in the unlocked cage when it wants to. It takes care of itself, but you may want to check back, once in a while, whether it hasn’t flown away.

Live long, happy and free, and prosper ethically,

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 2/3/2020: Linux 5.6 RC4 and Linux From Scratch 9.1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Windows 10 is falling apart – so it’s a great time to fall in love with a Chromebook

        I’ve been increasingly annoyed by Windows 10 recently. Not only have recent updates been causing problems – for example I lost the ability to search for files and apps for a day a while back, which was particularly frustrating – but there have been some long-running issues that have been getting to me as well.

        My trusty Dell XPS 13, for instance, has been bugging me with its awful battery life. Not only does it only last a few hours, but it doesn’t hold its charge well either. So, more often than not, if I pick up the XPS 13 to work on it, the battery is dead. Windows 10 laptops have never held their charge as well as MacBooks or Chromebooks, and I’d had enough.

        So, one day on my way to work, rather than taking the Dell XPS 13, I thought I’d give the Pixelbook Go a… go.

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Podcast.__init__: The Advanced Python Task Scheduler

        Most long-running programs have a need for executing periodic tasks. APScheduler is a mature and open source library that provides all of the features that you need in a task scheduler. In this episode the author, Alex Grönholm, explains how it works, why he created it, and how you can use it in your own applications. He also digs into his plans for the next major release and the forces that are shaping the improved feature set. Spare yourself the pain of triggering events at just the right time and let APScheduler do it for you.

      • GNU World Order 342

        Listener feedback from **beegrrl** about OOP, and **bc** from **ap**.

      • Linux Action News 147

        Bruce Schneier puts his name behind Solid, Firefox starts to roll out DNS over HTTPS as default, and Microsoft’s Linux first device ships to customers.

        Plus a birthday gift to Raspberry Pi users, Collabora comes to mobile, and more.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 185 – Is it even possible to fix open source security?

        Josh and Kurt talk about the Linux Foundation Census 2. There is a lot of talk around how to fix open source security, but the reality is we can’t fix it. We need to stop trying to fix what isn’t broken and engineering around the system we have, not the system we want.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6-rc4
        Hmm. Fairly reasonably sized rc4, and the diffstat looks nice and flat
        too (which basically means "lots of small changes") except for a
        netfilter ipset fix that ended up being somewhat big and involved due
        to locking changes.
        
        That single commit shows up in the dirstat too, and accounts for about
        1/6th of the whole patch.
        
        Anyway, everything else looks fairly small. There's a couple of
        ethernet drivers that got a few bigger changes, but there really is a
        lot of small stuff all over: architectures (x86, arm64, risc-v),
        drivers (gpu, hid, networking), filesystems (zonefs and ext4), and
        some tracing code.
        
        The shortlog is appended for the people who want to skim the details.
        
        Linus
        
      • Linux 5.6-rc4 Kernel Released

        The fourth weekly release candidate of Linux 5.6 is now available for testing.

        Linux 5.6 final should be out by the end of March or first weekend of April but in the mean time 5.6-rc4 marks roughly the midway point for this first 2020 spring kernel update.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.6-rc4

        The 5.6-rc4 kernel prepatch has been released. “Fairly reasonably sized rc4, and the diffstat looks nice and flat too (which basically means ‘lots of small changes’) except for a netfilter ipset fix that ended up being somewhat big and involved due to locking changes.”

      • WireGuard Gives Linux a Faster, More Secure VPN

        VPNs, or virtual private networks, are an important part of any security and privacy toolbox.

        VPNs are essentially encrypted connections between two or more devices that enable you to route data through a secure “tunnel.” Companies use them to allow employees to access corporate networks from outside the office. Commercial VPN services try to protect your internet traffic from eavesdroppers by routing it through remote servers. In theory, that means that a hacker eavesdropping on public Wi-Fi or your home broadband provider can’t see what you’re doing online. Routing your traffic through a remote server can also make it look like you’re in another place, allowing people in countries like China and Russia to access sites that are blocked domestically.

    • Applications

      • SRain is a New GTK IRC Client for Linux Desktops

        I don’t use IRC as much as I used to but I do use it more often than other, newer communication ‘standards’ like Slack, Matrix et al.

        So when I heard about the first stable of release of Srain, a (somewhat) new IRC client built using GTK, my interest was piqued.

        See, while IRC is far from being trendy these days (as a chat protocol it’s considered to be “of its time”) it’s still somewhat prevalent within open source communities.

        Yet the most popular IRC clients for Linux desktops are established, well-known, and/or settled on working in the ways they work. New IRC clients are few and far between and that alone makes Srain all the more unique!

      • HPLIP 3.20.2 released with Linux Mint Tricia Support

        HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) is an official hp printer and scanner software for Linux. This software is developed by HP and supports a wide range of HP network printers and scanners including Deskjet, Officejet, inkjet, etc. This software supports both monochrome and color scanning as well.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Linux Candy: tetris – terminal interface for Tetris

        Linux Candy is a series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We’re only featuring open-source software in this series.

        If you spend all day embroiled in political in-fighting, fighting bureaucracy, coding a new program in Assembler, sit in countless meetings wishing you were relaxing on a Caribbean island, you’ll need some light relief at the end of the day. And what better way by making your desktop environment a bit more fun.

        There’s lots of fun in the terminal. How about a classic iconic tile-matching puzzle video game? Step forward tetris, a terminal interface for Tetris with the main file coded in a mere 333 lines of Haskell.

      • SDL 2.0.12 Is On The Way For This Important Linux Gaming Library

        SDL 2.0.12 is on the way as the next version of this library commonly used by Linux games to provide a hardware abstraction layer across platforms.

        SDL version 2.0.12 was set in their development code on Sunday by SDL lead developer Sam Lantinga. The v2.0.12 is set in preparation for an imminent release candidate.

      • Linux Game Publishing returns in an archived form

        Linux Game Publishing, a name I rarely hear nowadays have returned to the internet with a new hosted archive of their original website.

        If you’ve not been around Linux and gaming for too long, Linux Game Publishing were one of the original teams that dedicated their time to publishing and porting games to Linux. Something that was quite unheard of in the early 2000s and they appeared after Loki Entertainment, another Linux game porter, shut down.

        They were originally responsible for titles like Cold War, Sacred: Gold Edition, Knights and Merchants: The Shattered Kingdom, Majesty: Gold Edition, plus Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor (both of which later got updated Linux builds from Alternative Games) and more titles.

        They had a rocky history with a hard drive failure in 2010 that took out everything, which took them multiple months to recover from. In 2012 their CEO stepped down, another took up the job and they later started selling their Linux games across other stores but it wasn’t enough to keep them going and later—silence.

      • Godot Engine having a code refactor – upcoming Wayland support plus performance improvements

        The team behind Godot Engine continue to push what an open source game engine can do, with a recent big release now behind them work continues towards another with some impressive changes.

        It’s going through a big code refactoring process right now, as written up in a blog post by Lead Developer Juan Linietsky. They said that while a lot of “core code changes” happened for the 3.0 release two years ago, they now have the chance to do even more for the massive Godot 4.0 release which will have Vulkan API support.

        One major change is a “design flaw in Godot 3.0″, that meant you couldn’t always tell if an object instance was freed or not which created bugs that Linietsky said couldn’t be fixed. Not a problem in the 4.x code branch, which can improve “performance considerably” and they may backport it to the 3.x releases.

      • Get a nice overview of Crusader Kings 3 features in a new video – more RPG like mechanics

        Crusader Kings 3, the upcoming grand-strategy from Paradox Development Studio and Paradox Interactive sounds like a big and quite impressive game and they’ve been talking about it a lot.

        One massive change is the new Lifestyle system, with a full skill-tree system with multiple paths for your character which makes Crusader Kings 3 sound a lot more like an RPG now too. You get experience, unlock perks with five different lifestyle categories allowing you to pick your lifestyle and focus within.

        There’s been a number of developer diaries on it, which can sometimes be a little hard to parse so Paradox did a lovely roundup video of it all.

      • Iris and the Giant is a deck-builder about facing your inner demons – out now

        Iris and the Giant is a new release that pulls you into the mind of a young girl, as she fights her inner demons in turn-based battles with card deck-building. Note: Key provided to us by GOG.com.

        You’ve fought through dungeons and more but how about the fears of a young girl? This is what Iris and the Giant is all about. The story takes place after Iris gets dropped off for a swimming lesson, full of fear and with people laughing from below, she dives into the water and wakes up on a boat. She’s crossing the Styx, a river that separates the real from the imaginary leading to the steps with each floor containing more of her inner demons to face in turn-based battles.

      • Logic World release delayed again until May 1st – developer says it’s just not ready

        Logic World, the upcoming circuit building simulation game (previously known as TUNG – The Ultimate Nerd Game), has been delayed until May 1st.

        Originally planned to launch last Summer and then October and then this March, the developer didn’t hold back on the reasoning in their announcement post. To put it simply to start with they said “The game is not ready; we are not ready.” and that if they kept working as hard as they are currently, they jokingly said “we would be dead” and that it would be a “buggy incomplete product on the 13th” so they decided to just delay it again. The good news though, is that Beta testing has begun and from what we’ve been told the Linux version is “working very well”.

      • Quirky comedy adventure ‘The Unholy Society’ is out now

        Cat-astrophe Games just released The Unholy Society, a comical and quirky adventure game inspired by ’80s and ’90s movies, comic books and all other “pop-culture” stuff and things.

        Their aim was to create a game like the classics “full of witty dialogues, fleshed out characters, supernatural creatures, a tiny bit of magic, and a whole lot of retro aesthetics.”

      • Stadia roundup: two SteamWorld titles live now and Serious Sam this week

        Stadia, Google’s Linux-powered game streaming service continues to grow with more games. Let’s start this week off with a roundup and some behind the scenes info.

        Firstly, Stadia now has more games live on the service as across the weekend SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Quest launched and both are available for anyone with Stadia Pro. In addition, SteamWorld Dig and SteamWorld Heist will be launching on Stadia on March 10th.

      • The upcoming Frictional Games title now has a new teaser – what the heck is going on?

        The currently unnamed upcoming game (likely some form of horror) from Frictional Games now has a new teaser.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita Weekly #11 | Bi weekly from now

          It has been some tough few months and this would probably linger for a bit more. Nothing much serious but then my calendar is facing some trouble to sew some recreational hours into the schedule. Resting always gets a bit more priority than recreation. So, I haven’t been able to put some work for Krita, specifically working on the magnetic lasso, the new edge detection filter and of course Krita weeklies. And hence I decided to go bi-weekly.

          Ok enough of excuses, let’s get to the point. Currently, there are around 510 open bugs in Krita. The rate of bugs getting fixed has slowed down a bit again since both Dmitry and Ivan have shifted their focus to the resource rewrite now.

          [...]

          Krita will be again participating in Google Summer of Code as a part of KDE. If you are a student and would love to contribute to this amazing open source painting application, don’t forget to drop a message on the IRC channel.

    • Distributions

      • Kali Linux evolution: What’s next for the open source pentesting Linux distro?

        When the popular security-focused BackTrack Linux distribution was redesigned from the ground up and given the name Kali Linux nearly seven years ago, I remember thinking that it was a fantastic name – and fitting, too.

        I had the vivid image of the many-handed Hundu goddess of time and change in my mind, with her typical fierce expression and wielding a weapon/tool in each hand, and made an instant association with the newly Debian-based distro containing hundreds of preinstalled penetration testing programs.

      • Linux From Scratch 9.1 Adds Zstandard and Linux 5.5 Support, Many Updates

        Linux From Scratch (LFS) 9.1 and Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) 9.1 are major releases that add support for the latest Linux 5.5 kernel series. Linux kernel 5.5.3 is supported in these new versions, which also add support for the Zstandard (ZSTD) fast lossless compression algorithm.

        This will ensure you’re building a GNU/Linux distribution from scratch with Linux kernel 5.5 and ZSTD compression for packages.

        A total of 35 packages have been updated in the LFS 9.1 release, including core components like GNU C Library (Glibc) 2.31 and GNU Binutils 2.34. Additionally, various changes were made to the text throughout the book.

      • Reviews

        • Review: Solus 4.1 “Fortitude”

          With the exception of the issues I had with GNOME MPV not being able to play high definition videos on my computer without having to tweak a few things first, Solus 4.1 is a very polished distribution. Maybe users with more powerful hardware do not need to enable hardware decoding and install additional packages to make GNOME MPV work with high definition video without lagging, but the issues I had with video playback were my one major critique of the distribution. Everything else is well thought out and the default software selection is excellent. There are a few minor issues with some of the Budgie Desktop Settings application, but those are minor.

          If you are looking for a desktop Linux that does its own thing instead of being yet another “Ubuntu plus a few extra packages” distribution, Solus is an excellent choice. The Budgie desktop environment and the eopkg tool are very good. I highly recommend this distribution as a general use desktop distribution for users of all levels of experience.

        • Peppermint 10 – Too spicy for my desktop

          Peppermint 10 is a weird distro. It’s got some rather amazing points, but it’s also rather precariously built, and any change from the baseline unfrays the whole deal. On the bright side, you get reasonable connectivity on all fronts, network, media and phone, the installation is simple, and there are a lot of goodies available, even if the default set of apps is slim. Speed, another killer feature.

          Alas, Peppermint simply tries too hard, and there are way too many visual glitches and oddities to make for a pleasant user experience. It’s distracting, with an awful choice of theme and decorations. Then, you have Xfce resisting you all the way as you try to make it budge away from its 2005 nostalgia. There are also actual bugs all over the place, all of which detract and reduce the efficiency and fun factors. It can be tamed, but it’s a chore, and you can have the same just by choosing a different distro in the family. Shame, because the jumbled effort thrown almost casually at the presentation layer undoes the really cool features included in the system, like Ice, the non-default (Aladeen) package manager, and the sprinkling of unique utilities and options. All in all, Peppermint 10 deserves 6/10, but it could easily get so much more if it manages to provide more consistency. On the cusp between hale and bitter. We’re done.

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.02 installed in addition to Windows, mac os and Linux

          The team of developers of GhostBSD was released after about six weeks, a Version of 20.02 at All, and part of TrueOS, based on the operating system. Particularly, the Partition Editor that allows you, during the Installation to create a ZFS Partition for GhostBSD 20.02, in addition to the existing Windows, mac or GNU/Linux in the other partitions.

          In GhostBSD, Software can be controlled via the graphical user Interface Software Station installed in the Pendant of the Update (the”Update Station”), has been significantly improved. Since the GhostBSD community is talking a lot about the Telegram Messenger is pre-installed on your System. Laptop-batteries-will also benefit significantly from the pre-installed “powerd” to save energy.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Porteus Kiosk 5.0 Released with Linux 5.4 LTS, Many Improvements

          It’s been more almost six months since the last Porteus Kiosk release and the team lead by Tomasz Jokiel proudly unveiled today a new major series of the Gentoo-based operating system that lets you transform a computer into a versatile and flexible kiosk system.

          Porteus Kiosk 5.0 includes major software upgrades, starting with the kernel, which has been updated to the long-term supported Linux 5.4 series. Linux kernel 5.4.23 LTS is included in this first release of the 5.0 series, adding better support for newer hardware and many other benefits.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Academic Program teams up with Linux Professional Institute to promote Open Source and Linux education

          As of December 12, 2019, SUSE and Linux Professional Institute (LPI) signed a MoU to increase the use of Open Source Software and provide quality learning and certification tools to the academic sector worldwide. When we first came together months ago, the goal was clear and simple, let’s utilize both of our communities to promote open source education. To highlight a few main points, the scope of the collaboration includes:

        • SLE 15 SP2 Public Beta – Snapshot Updates (5,6,7)

          As you might know from our SLE 15 SP2 Public Beta announcement, we are now releasing fewer Public Beta ISOs but we are releasing weekly updates, called Snapshot, in our Beta Online Channels!

        • Monitoring, Alerting, and Visualization for SUSE CaaS Platform

          In order to manage systems and deliver applications optimally, securely, and continuously, it’s important to know what’s going on. Are resources failing or overtaxed? Are applications serving their users well?

          And while piles of statistics in reams of reports can provide the data you need, the key information in the data can be obscured by sheer volume. It’s more valuable when it’s easy to see, and when you can be alerted when limits are reached or neared or when something fails.

          The gold standard for monitoring, alerting, and visualization in the cloud-native world, and for modern open source technologies in general, is the pairing of Prometheus (for monitoring and alerting) and Grafana (for visualization). That is why we’re pleased to announce that, as of the beginning of this year, they have been available in our registry as supported components of SUSE CaaS Platform.

        • openSUSE community welcomes new board member

          The results of the openSUSE Board election were published on 1 February 2020. The community welcomed Sarah Julia Kriesch and Simon Lees as they started their new term.

          However, ten days later, Sarah stepped down, leaving a vacant seat on the board. Under such circumstance and the board election rules, the sitting board may appoint someone until the next board election.

      • Debian Family

        • Does Debian deserve an independent news service?

          There has been increased discussion recently about the purpose of Debian Community News. The ultimate goal is to improve Debian, both the operating system and the community, through accurate, independent feedback about leadership decisions.

          As explained in the About page, Debian Community News is proud to be independent. In countries like North Korea, all news media is run by those in power. Debian’s mission is so important that we deserve better than that.

          Debian Community News is very much about Debian and that enables us to use the Debian trademark on a fair-use basis. We encourage other people with the right motivation to follow our example. We have all contributed so much to Debian over so many years that we all have the right to use the Debian name.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

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

        If managed services based on OSS projects are a winning combination, it would be a major hurdle if AWS chose to adopt the same approach. And there’s almost nothing that can be done to stop AWS from doing so. In fact, competition from AWS is simply the price to pay for developing OSS. Yes, restrictive licensing including AGPL might be able to slow down AWS, but the real impact of such licensing is lower user adoption. Even if AWS were to build a service on top of OSS, what’s important to focus on is not the competition aspect but rather the validation of the staying power of OSS. In other words, AWS entering the space would provide users more confidence that their investment would remain protected through multi-party competition.

        Still, at the end of the day, commercial OSS companies will have to compete with giants like AWS on the merits of an exceptional DBaaS experience, rather than on the merits of the core OSS database. For this reason, it’s crucial to draw a clear line of separation between an OSS database project and commercial DBaaS offerings. In doing so, OSS companies can capitalize on a potent competitive advantage of no cloud vendor lock-in, proprietary features, same-day releases, higher configurability, lower costs and the ability to bank on the expertise of the software creators themselves. Couple those advantages with a passionate user community and a few well-known reference customers, and open-source companies have an opportunity to thrive — even amidst the constant threat of innovative cloud providers.

      • Open-Source Software Meets Industrial Automation

        Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) and horizontal drilling are not the only technologies producing profits these days in the oil patches of southern Texas. Another is the open-source software that has been steadily seeping into industrial automation and providing opportunities for innovators like Dan Arbeau, CEO of system integration firm netDNA Services.

        Arbeau relies on open-source software to automate the trailer-mounted, mobile pumping units Calgary-based New Wave Energy Services builds for managing the water used in fracking. With this technology in place, technicians no longer need to manually monitor flow rates and the level of the water stored in tanks and pits. And they no longer need to transmit instructions by text message or other manual means to technicians in the field adjusting the pumps. They can now control the pumps directly from their mobile devices.

      • Bringing open source code to agriculture

        Brian Tischler, an Albertan grain farmer and the founder of AgOpenGPS, is bringing open source coding to agriculture with AgOpenGPS.

        “I’m coming more from a do it yourself perspective. Everything in agriculture is closed source proprietary paid big dollars, you buy what you get,” Tischler said.

      • Events

        • Netdev 0×14 postponed

          The Netdev 0×14 conference, scheduled to begin March 17 in Vancouver, has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns; it has been tentatively rescheduled for June 16 to 19 at the same location.

        • NeuroFedora at FOSDEM’20 – Brussels, Belgium

          FOSDEM is one of the biggest gatherings of open-source developers, enthusiasts, and contributors. This year’s FOSDEM was a huge deal for me, as well for the neuro-sig. For the first time in FOSDEM, the Open Research Tools and Technologies devroom was participating, and we were also presenting NeuroFedora at FOSDEM for the first time. For those who don’t know, NeuroFedora is an initiative to provide a ready-to-use open-source platform (based on Fedora) for neuroscience. Our work revolves around packaging, testing, and maintaining tools that are used in neuroscience research and development.

          I traveled from Delhi, India. My flight got delayed and had to stay at the airport for a bit longer. But, it also gave me plenty of time to rehearse for my talk about NeuroFedora (wait for it :P). I reached Brussels at night and made it to our accommodation, Hotel Chambord, via the Brussels high-speed train. I checked into the hotel and met with Sumantro (my roomie for FOSDEM).

          The next day, we woke up early, had some breakfast at the hotel (I just devoured on the cheese and coffee). Then we all (Zach, Mariana, Geoff, Sumantro) took an Uber to the venue: Universite Libre de Bruxelles. We all carried the goodies to the stall, where we all set it up. I had to leave early because the talk on NeuroFedora was early in the morning.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Using LibreOffice for your open source budgeting tool

          Budgets can be intimidating for beginners. It can feel overwhelming to think about money, much less about how to keep track of it. But it’s important to know where your money is coming and going.

          In this article, I’ll step through a sample budget by explaining the logic behind important money decisions as well as the formulas you need to automate the process. Fortunately, LibreOffice makes it easy for anyone to keep their yearly budget in check, even the math-averse.

      • CMS

        • The Month in WordPress: February 2020

          There was a ton of excitement around WordCamp Asia, not to mention all the effort from organizers, speakers, sponsors and volunteers. Unfortunately, on February 12th, WordCamp Asia was cancelled due to concern and uncertainty around COVID-19. Since then, the organizing team has worked to refund tickets and to support hotel and air refunds. In addition, a pop-up livestream featuring some WordCamp Asia speakers and a Fireside Chat and Q&A with Matt Mullenweg took place on February 22nd.

          For a personal take on the cancellation of WordCamp Asia, read this post from Naoko Takano, the global lead organizer. Many thanks to the volunteers who worked hard to deliver WordCamp Asia. They’ve not only handled logistics associated with cancellation but have also announced that they’ve started working on WordCamp Asia 2021 with some January dates in mind! To get the latest on WordCamp Asia, subscribe to updates here.

        • Naseej Invests in Sprintive to Further Enhance its Portfolio of Digital Transformation Solutions Based on Leading Open Source Platforms

          Naseej, the Middle East’s Leading Digital Transformation & Knowledge Solutions Provider, announced that it’s investing in Sprintive a startup out of Jordan that specializes in the design and development of online portals using Drupal open-source CMS. The move comes as part of Naseej’s efforts to complement its digital transformation solutions with leading open source platforms.

      • Funding

        • Hasura raises $9.9M Series A to simplify GraphQL for developers

          Hasura, a startup working to solve developer problems around connecting to databases when using the open-source GraphQL tool, announced a $9.9 million Series A investment today.

          [...]

          GraphQL is an open-source tool originally developed at Facebook in 2012 and open-sourced a few years later. Hasura CEO and co-founder Tanmai Gopal says the company had been working on helping developers to simplify Kubernetes, but over time, it realized that data access was a bigger problem, so it developed an open-source tool that works with GraphQL to help solve that issue.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – the Barriers to Router Freedom in Germany

            Consider this hypothetical scenario: you moved house. Apart from all the stress of packing, transporting, and unpacking all your stuff at your new home, you also had to deal with getting utilities connected. The electric company turned out to be difficult to deal with: they said you had to change your TV set, toaster, refrigerator and most of your lamps.

            They said that they couldn’t guarantee you would have electricity at all unless you bought a whole new set of appliances from them. You don’t understand: your stuff worked perfectly fine in your old place.

            The water company was not much better. They told you that your old washing machine was “not supported” and that you would even have to change your toothbrush or you risked polluting the water network of the whole city for some unexplained reason. We are guessing you would no doubt find this scenario very hard to believe. We do not blame you: it is silly beyond the believable.

            [...]

            In December of the same year, I moved to a new city and chose a business cable Internet connection offered Unitymedia (meanwhile largely incorporated by Vodafone). After several calls, a technician finally visited my new home and successfully installed the ISP’s default modem. Of course, I immediately noted that I wanted to use my own router. The technician told me that this was not allowed.

            In a call with the service hotline, after defending some of the already mentioned soft barriers, I learnt that one of the features I had ordered, a static IPv4 address, is not available when using an own router, apparently because the address could only be mapped to their devices – even though my own router was the exact same model.

            Although I am now able to use my own router (after a long series of hotline calls and waiting), I still cannot use an essential feature I ordered. This is a “hard barrier” because customers who want to exercise their freedom of choice are treated worse. At least I can enjoy the freedom of using equipment which I own and which I can control, but I will report this misconduct by my ISP to the national Federal Network Agency and a consumer protection organisation (see below).

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • That Digital Textbook? Your College Has Billed You for It

            Colleges are increasingly assigning digital books and study tools instead of paper textbooks. But one electronic option in particular has come under criticism from some student advocates.

            That model is called inclusive access, in which colleges have contracts with education publishers to provide required digital texts and study tools at a discount. Then, colleges automatically bill students when they enroll, as part of their tuition. Colleges began adopting these digital programs over the past decade in response to expensive increases in textbook prices. Now, courses at hundreds of colleges offer inclusive access programs.

            The benefit, publishers say, is that all students are able to use required textbooks and tools when they begin taking a class, at a more affordable cost. Research by both student advocates and campus bookstores has shown that students sometimes skip buying required materials — often because of cost, but also because they think they won’t actually need the materials.

            Federal rules allow colleges to automatically bill students for course materials if the colleges meet certain requirements, like an agreement with a publisher to charge below-market prices or give students the choice to opt out of the purchase.
            But skeptical student advocates say the benefits of some programs can be murky.

          • Open Science & Open Access : How far apart are they?
      • Programming/Development

        • OpenSource GUI Tool For OpenCV And DeepLearning

          AI and Deep Learning for computer vision projects has come to the masses. This can be attributed partly to the community projects that help ease the pain for newbies. [Abhishek] contributes one such project called Monk AI which comes with a GUI for transfer learning.

        • EOF is not a character

          I was reading Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective the other day and in the chapter on Unix I/O the authors mention that there is no explicit “EOF character” at the end of a file.

        • Perl / Raku

          • KBOS signatures

            There are signatures in Raku, core Perl 5, Moose, Dios and lot of other modules. With KBOS I tried to find out how optimal signatures would look like to me. My objectives are: 3. easy to parse with the eye, 2. concise syntax and 1. delegates as much work as possible into the background so I have to write the least amount of code.

          • perlmodules.net remake

            Hi. The current version of perlmodules.net was made in 2013/2014 with AngularJS, it is hard to update and so I’m starting a remake of the site.

            Apart from an aesthetic makeover, it will be built with Vue.js/nuxt.js in order to allow the site to be indexed by all search engines. New features and ways of viewing the data may be added.

            It will still use Mojolicious, but will use PostgreSQL instead of (the current site’s) MySQL, DBIx::Class instead of Rose::DB::Object, plus also Minion, RxJS, and will be open-sourced.

        • Python

          • Plotting Epicycles

            At first I tried using Skyfield, the Python library which is supposed to replace PyEphem (written by the same author). But Skyfield, while it’s probably more accurate, is much harder to use than PyEphem. It uses SPICE kernels (my blog post on SPICE, some SPICE examples and notes), which means there’s no clear documentation or list of which kernels cover what. I tried the kernels mentioned in the Skyfield documentation, and after running for a while the program died with an error saying its model for Jupiter in the de421.bsp kernel wasn’t good beyond 2471184.5 (October 9 2053).

            Rather than spend half a day searching for other SPICE kernels, I gave up on Skyfield and rewrote the program to use PyEphem, which worked beautifully and amazed me with how much faster it was: I had to rewrite my GTK code to use a timer just to slow it down to where I could see the orbits as they developed!

            It’s fun to watch; maybe not quite as spacey as Galen’s full-dome view in the planetarium, but a lot more convenient. You need Python 3, PyEphem and the usual GTK3 introspection modules; on Debian-based systems I think the python3-gi-cairo package will pull in most of them as dependencies.

          • How to read and write to files in Python

            Files are used to store any data permanently for future use. Reading from a file and writing to a file are common requirements for any programming language. Any file needs to open before reading or writing. Most of the programming languages use open() method to open a file for reading or writing using file object. Different types of file access mode can be used as an argument of open() method to mention the purpose of opening the file. This argument is optional. close() method is used after completing the file operation to release the resources occupied by the file object. Two types of files can be handled by Python programming. These are text file and a binary file. How to read and write text files in Python programming is described in this tutorial.

          • How to parse arguments on command-line in Python

            The command-line arguments are used to pass data in the program at the time of program execution. This feature is available on most of the popular programming languages. But the processing of command-line arguments is different for different languages. The arguments values are given with the program name at the time of running the program. Python language supports this feature. How command-line arguments are parsed in Python script is shown in this article.

          • How to add and remove items from a list in Python

            Array variable uses in most of the programming languages to store multiple data. Python has four data types to store multiple data. These are list, tuple, dictionary and set. The data can be ordered and changed in Python list. The square brackets ([]) are used in Python to declare list like array. The index of the list start from 0. List works like the reference variables. When a list variable assign to another variable then both variables will point to the same location. This tutorial shows the uses of different Python methods to add and remove data from the Python list.

          • Python 3.6.9 : My colab tutorials – part 001.

            Today I start this tutorials series for the Colab tool.
            To share my working with the Colab tool I created this GitHub project.

          • Python Qt5 – Create a spectrum equalizer.

            I haven’t written much for a while on these issues about python and PyQt5.
            Today I will show a complex example of QtMultimedia and how to create a spectrum equalizer.
            First, the PyQt5 bindings come with this python module named QtMultimedia.
            The main reason was the lack of time and focus of my effort on more stringent elements of my life.
            Let’s start with the few lines of source code that show us how can use this python module.

          • What is python programming language?

            Python is the most popular programming language in the world, above Java and above C/C++/C#. We can use Python for free to develop web applications or desktop software and then sell that application or software in the marketplace. Just like Perl, Python source code is also available under the GNU General Public License (GPL) which guarantees end-users the freedom to run, study, share and modify the source code. Python is created by Guido van Rossum. In my opinion, Python programming language looks like the combination of Java, Javascript, and Perl programming language, therefore there is nothing new and nothing we have not seen before if we have already learned those programming languages above.

            Python is a high-level, interpreted (processed at runtime by the interpreter, no need to compile our program before executing it but it also can be compiled to byte-code for building large scale applications), interactive (Python has support for an interactive mode that allows interactive testing and debugging of snippets of code), object-oriented (a programming language model that organizes software design around data, or objects), functional (create a set of instruction within a function block) and structured programming (conditional programming) scripting language. Python provides very high-level dynamic data types (A dynamic type escapes type checking at compile-time; instead, it resolves type at run time) and supports dynamic type checking. It supports automatic garbage collection just like Java. Python can be easily integrated with C, C++, COM, ActiveX, CORBA, and Java. Python’s bulk of the library is very portable and cross-platform compatible with UNIX, Windows, and Macintosh. Python can run on a wide variety of operating systems (Windows, Linux, and Mac) and has almost the same interface on all platforms. You can add low-level modules to the Python interpreter. These modules enable programmers to add to or customize their tools to be more efficient. Python provides interfaces to all major commercial databases. Python supports GUI applications that can be created using Tkinter.

          • PyDev of the Week: Doug Farrell

            This week we welcome Doug Farrell (@writeson) as our PyDev of the Week! Doug is working on Python book entitled The Well-Grounded Python Developer for Manning. He is also a contributor for Real Python. You can find out more about Doug on his website. Now let’s spend some time learning more about Doug!

          • PyCharm 2020.1 EAP 5

            We have a new Early Access Program (EAP) version of PyCharm that can be now downloaded from our website.

            We are getting closer every week to the 2020.1 release. We are pushing hard to get through all the new features we want to make it into it. There are some big ones to try out in this EAP.

          • PyBites: Productivity Mondays – What Can You Do Consistently This Week?

            Last week I learned about lagging and leading indicators and why it’s important to focus on the latter.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Certificate lifetime capped to 1 year from Sep 2020

        Looking at my data from Crawler.Ninja I can see the certificate validity periods for the certificates in use across the top 1 million sites on the Web.

        Of the sites presenting certificates to the crawler, 25% of those sites will need to renew with a shorter certificate from 1st Sep 2020 as they’re currently using one longer than the 398 day maximum. It’s not just me looking at this either, Paul Calvano did an analysis using a different data set from HTTP Archive and came back with the exact same 25% figure for certs that will be too long!

  • Leftovers

    • Researchers want to save traditional pre-Hispanic ballgame

      Many people are aware of the ancient game because of the over 1,000 ball courts which have been excavated at numerous sites from central Mexico into Central America. The game was an important part of the Olmec, Mayan, Toltec and Teotihuacan as well as Aztec civilizations. The Náhuatl word for the game is ulama, or “hip” and the ball pok ta pok.

      What most people do not know is that the game is still played today.

      The focus of the game is a large solid rubber ball that can weigh as much as 3 kilograms. It is moved around the court by bouncing off the players’ hips as they try to get it into the appropriate ring.

    • Science

      • Researchers find way to boost self-supervised AI models’ robustness

        In experiments, the researchers trained a self-supervised model on an open source data set — CIFAR-10 — and tasked it with predicting the correct orientation of images rotated slightly. To test the lens, they added shortcuts to the input images with directional information that let the model solve the rotation task without having to learn object-level features. The researchers report that representations the model learned (without the lens) from the synthetic shortcuts performed poorly, while feature extractors learned from the lens performed “dramatically” better overall.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Next Month’s GDC Cancelled After Companies Pull Out Over Coronavirus Concerns

        GDC was set to run March 16-20 at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. In the past few weeks, multiple companies including Microsoft, Sony, Epic Games, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Amazon, Kojima Productions and Unity Technologies announced they will skip the event, citing safety concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Update on Coronavirus

        The European Patent Office is closely monitoring the spread of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) worldwide.

        [...]

        Meetings of up to 50 (external) participants will go ahead as planned (under the precautions stated above). For other meetings, decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis and participants will be notified of any cancellation in due time prior to the event.
        All duty travel to China, the “red area” of Italy (Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglione d’Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fiorano, Somaglia, Terranova dei Passerini and Vò) and South Korea has been cancelled until further notice.
        Please note that, in view of the current situation, the EPO is not obliging staff to undertake duty travel to any destination. As a result, some external meetings may be postponed or conducted via videoconferencing.

      • Coronavirus precautions lead some Southern California Catholic churches to alter communion services

        Catholic Church leaders throughout Southern California have altered or suggested changes in their worship service practices amid concerns of the spread of the new coronavirus, church officials said Saturday.

        The dioceses serving Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties issued statements to parishes in recent days highlighting the changes, which include a ban on communion by cup, receiving the bread from hand to mouth, and holding and shaking hands during prayer and greetings.

        While the Diocese of Orange made the restrictions mandatory, the Diocese of San Bernardino, serving San Bernardino and Riverside counties, said on its website the changes are optional for parishes.

      • Virus Spreads Worldwide: Italy Cases Surge 50%; France Closes the Louvre

        Coronavirus cases surged in Italy, and France closed the world-famous Louvre Museum on Sunday as the deadly outbreak that began in China sent fear rising across Western Europe, threatening its tourism industry.

      • “Ahh the Ol’ Pretend I’m President” Routine: Mega-Billionaire Bloomberg Buys Prime Time Slot to Address Nation on Coronavirus

        “It’s bad enough that an oligarch can buy up airtime; to do so in order to exploit a pandemic for your presidential campaign is disgraceful.”

      • Here Are 10,000 Words Detailing Why Bloomberg Embodies Everything Wrong With the US Plutocratic Political System

        Bloomberg and his political and media allies want to portray him as a non-ideological centrist, a good administrator who will “get it done,” and a pragmatic politician who can work with both major parties. Don’t believe them.

      • Missteps at the CDC Have Set Back Its Ability to Detect 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.

      • Biden and Buttigieg See Pharma Money as the Cure For Campaign Woes

        HHS secretary Alex Azar refused to guarantee a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable to all during Congressional testimony on Wednesday. The outrage reminded Americans why they are sick and tired of the unchecked pharmaceutical industry’s abuses. As we wrote for the American Prospect, Azar is a former pharma lobbyist who, like the rest of President Trump’s coronavirus response team, has no background in public health or research.

      • Robert B. Reich: Medicare for All? Green New Deal? Inaction also has enormous cost.

        In one of last month’s Democratic debates, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg charged that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ policy proposals would cost $50 trillion. Holy Indiana.

        Larry Summers, formerly the chief White House economic adviser for Barack Obama, puts the price tag at $60 trillion. “We are in a kind of new era of radical proposal,” he told CNN.

        Putting aside the accuracy of these cost estimates, they omit the other side of the equation: What, by comparison, is the cost of doing nothing?

      • With Another Win in South Carolina Primary, ‘Medicare for All Is Four for Four’

        “Support was 57 percent to 38 percent in Iowa, 58 percent to 37 percent in New Hampshire, 62 percent to 35 percent in Nevada, and 50 percent to 44 percent in South Carolina.”

      • Protecting the Truth About the Coronavirus in China

        Tens of thousands of us are working to save the articles and accounts of COVID-19 before Chinese censors can delete them forever.

        [...]

        As of February 18, the pneumonia-causing virus that emerged in December in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 1,870 and sickened 72,528 in China. The World Health Organization reports 804 confirmed cases in 25 other countries. Getting around censorship on Weibo and Douban is a familiar cat-and-mouse game. But the outrage on these social media platforms is on a scale I’ve never seen before. The death of Li Wenliang, a doctor reprimanded for warning about a dangerous new virus that would later kill him, led to an outpouring of grief and rage and sparked demands for freedom of speech. Authorities responded by increasing censorship and launching propaganda campaigns.

        For weeks, I have been glued to Chinese social media and Chinese-language media. Some nights, I can’t sleep as I stay up to read the pleas of health care workers for medical supplies and sick residents for treatment. I’ve also been riveted by brave reporting: Chinese journalists uncovered the government’s delayed response to the epidemic and the inability of the local Red Cross chapter to distribute donated products. After epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan confirmed human-to-human transmission on January 20 and before pervasive censorship began in early February, there was relative press freedom in China. During that window, I marveled at the depth and breadth of the coverage. Hard-hitting investigations revealed the extent of the crisis, and human-interest stories captured the range of emotions. Yet, as a journalist on the China beat and a Chinese social media user of over 10 years, I worried about the lifespan of the work; I knew that anything challenging the government’s narrative or questioning how authorities handled the epidemic could one day just vanish. Whenever I read a piece that I thought might be deleted, I saved it to the Internet Archive, a digital library that provides free access to collections of digitized materials.

      • ‘SNL’ Cold Open Takes on the Coronavirus

        Beck Bennett initially took center stage for the sketch series as Vice President Mike Pence. Speaking to the media, Bennett’s Pence said, “Most of you know me from the phrase, ‘Even if Trump was removed, we’d still be stuck with Mike Pence.’”

        Kenan Thompson appeared as Dr. Ben Carson, “the brain surgeon they put in charge of house development.” Of the coronavirus, Thompson’s Carson said: “It looks like this,” showing a picture of Stitch from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch.

        While the cold open did address precautions the public should take regarding COVID-19, such as covering one’s mouth when coughing, SNL’s cast offered humor alongside health concerns. Bennett’s Pence tacked on the precaution of “closing your eyes during intercourse” and Thompson’s Carson suggested purchasing a “Make America Great Again” face mask from the White House website.

        Former SNL castmember Fred Armisen appeared as Mike Bloomberg. When Bennett’s Pence asked him how he got into the press conference, he said: “I just walked in coughing and everyone got out of my way.” Kate McKinnon reprised her impression of Elizabeth Warren. “I might be fifth in the polls, but I’m number one in your nightmares,” she told Armisen’s Bloomberg.

      • Chinese social-media platform WeChat saw spikes in the terms ‘SARS,’ ‘coronavirus,’ and ‘shortness of breath,’ weeks before the first cases were confirmed, a study suggests
      • Working on Viruses from Home owing to Coronavirus? Here’s a Handy Remote Forensics Tool

        IT security specialists forced to work from home in coming weeks owing to coronavirus (many companies are now mandating it) can get ready to do some of their work on a new release of an open source tool designed for remote digital forensics, called Bitscout.

        A customisable live OS constructor tool designed to help users create remote forensics bootable disk images, Bitscout was first open sourced by Russia’s Kaspersky Lab two years ago but appears to have seen limited traction.

        In a fresh push, Kasperky emphasised its free and fully open source nature: users are free to reverse-engineer and modify any part of it.

      • Four states report more COVID-19 cases; silent Washington spread suspected

        Last night and so far today, four states have reported more COVID-19 cases, including two more in Washington state, where a new gene finding is fueling concerns that the virus may have been circulating in the community for as long as 6 weeks.

        Also, Rhode Island reported its first case, California’s Santa Clara County reported another, and Illinois’ Cook County reported a presumed positive, raising the number of cases detected by the nation’s public health system to 27.

      • Access to Medicines Activism: Collaboration, Conflicts, and Complementarities

        This chapter address three phases of access to medicines [A2M] advocacy. The first phase started in the late 1990s and continuing into at least the mid 2000s when global cooperation and collaboration between A2M advocates grew as they confronted the terrible scourge of HIV compounded by the refusal of pharmaceutical companies and rich country governments to take measures to increase affordability of newly effective ART. After some significant victories in securing lower prices and gaining access to off-patent generic ARVs, the second phase, starting in the mid 2000s, focused on using a plethora of access strategies to overcome or bypass patent monopolies on medicines and to resist Big Pharma and rich government pressure to increase IP protections and to cease use of TRIPS flexibilities. Unfortunately, during this phase fractures developed in the A2M movement about the comparative advantages and potential complementarity of voluntary licensing with other access strategies — most especially patent oppositions. In the third phase, as activists turned to new diseases and new issues like delinkage and transparency and to international high-level forums and drug pricing campaign in rich countries, new tensions have arisen about the impact of these activities on the historical global health justice issue of ensuring affordable and equitable access to existing medicines in LMICs. Although truly monumental efforts have resulted in dramatic improvement in access to medicines, the path forward will be complicated and contested.

      • The ‘Evergreening’ Metaphor in Intellectual Property Scholarship

        This article is a plea for changes in the scholarly dialogue about “evergreening” by drug companies. Allegations that drug companies engage in “evergreening” are pervasive in legal scholarship, economic scholarship, medical and health policy scholarship, and policy writing, and they have prompted significant policymaking proposals. This Article was motivated by concern that the metaphor has not been fully explained and that policymaking in response might therefore be premature. It canvasses and assesses the scholarly literature — more than 300 articles — discussing or mentioning “evergreening.” It catalogues the definitions, the examples, and the empirical studies. Scholars use the term when describing certain actions taken by the innovative companies that develop and introduce new medicines to market. But they are inconsistent in their descriptions of the circumstances to which the term applies. And though most claim the innovator has “extended” something in these circumstances, they do not agree on the particulars. The literature is similarly in disarray about what has been “evergreened” — an invention, a product, a price, a patent, or something else entirely. All of this makes it hard to know from the literature what exactly scholars are writing about. After sorting through the definitions and examples — and considering the legal framework and practical landscape in which drug innovators and their generic competitors operate — this Article offers an answer and, more importantly, identifies the implicit normative claim. In simple terms the normative claim in the literature is something like this: “an innovator should not enjoy an exclusive market and supra-competitive pricing for innovations that stem in some fashion from a separate innovation for which it already enjoyed a 20-year patent term. Or at least, a drug innovator should not.” This Article does not defend, or reject, this normative claim. Instead, it makes a different claim: that policymaking should be based on descriptive scholarship that is careful and precise about the relevant law and facts, normative work that is clear and candid about its claim and thorough in its reasoning, and empirical studies that document the actual problem the normative proposals and policymaking proposals are meant to address. Significant policymaking would be premature today, because we have not yet produced this body of work. Constant use of the “evergreening” metaphor may be obscuring this failure. The Article concludes with recommendations for scholars continuing to work on these topics, focusing on ways that we can provide quality work to assist policymakers considering the normative claim.

      • McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign

        Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), facing a tough election campaign this year, on Friday unveiled the outline of a bill aimed at lowering drug prices that includes some breaks with GOP orthodoxy.

        McSally is putting a new focus on lowering drug prices, a top issue with voters, as she faces one of the most competitive races in the country this year.

        Earlier this month, she announced her support for a bipartisan measure from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to lower drug prices.

        Now, she is also unveiling her own proposal.

        The bill is noteworthy because it includes some ideas usually more associated with Democrats, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but only in limited instances where there is a lack of market competition after a patent expires but when the company still has a monopoly.

        Details of that proposal, which will be key for understanding its breadth, were not available yet on Friday. McSally’s office said legislative text will be available next week.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Warning Issued For Millions Of Microsoft Windows 10 Users

          Windows 10 free updates are still a thing, but the cost for users has been very high in recent months. And now users need to know about another fundamental vulnerability, one which Microsoft enables on all Windows 10 PCs by default.

          [...]

          “Microsoft hides file extensions in Windows by default even though it’s a security risk that is commonly abused by phishing emails and malware distributors to trick people into opening malicious files,” the site warns.

          File extensions are the letters shown after a file name. BleepingComputer uses the example report.txt and “txt” is the file extension. You will be familiar with many common file extensions such as .doc (Word documents), .pdf (Adobe documents), .mov (QuickTime media files) and, perhaps most famously, .mp3 (music files). And yet it is likely you can’t name many modern types now because, yes, Microsoft now hides them by default to simplify the end user experience. And that’s dangerous.

        • What to know about cyberattacks targeting energy pipelines

          The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of DHS, said a ransomware attack hit a “natural gas compression facility,” leading to a two-day shutdown for the entire pipeline.

          While the agency did not specify the name or location of the facility, an assessment by a cybersecurity firm linked the attack to an alert put out by the U.S. Coast Guard in December about a ransomware intrusion that affected camera and physical access control systems and disrupted the entire corporate IT network at the facility.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Switchgear company, Stordis, joins open source platform

              Open networking firm Stordis has joined the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to help develop open source hardware and software for future networks.

              TIP is a collaborative platform founded by telco companies in 2016 to create an open source platform for next-generation networks. It’s a spin-off from the Open Compute Project, (OCP) which Facebook founded to develop and share open source designs for hyperscale data center hardware.

            • Open Source ‘Recipe’ Catalogue Created to Accelerate Development of Lab Meat and Seafood

              Online platform developer Kerafast Inc. and plant-based nonprofit the Good Food Institute (GFI) are partnering to make a catalogue of terrestrial meat and aquatic cell lines. The resources are essential for the sustainable development of lab-grown meat, also known as cultured meat.

              Kerafast’s online platform facilitates access to unique, lab-made bioresearch materials. Increasing access to this research could quickly accelerate the development of lab-grown meat products.

            • Telefónica’s Wayra Germany invests in SD-WAN vendor flexiWAN

              In December, flexiWAN announced proof-of-concept trials with Telefónica, which was followed up by Monday’s news that Wayra Germany has made a minority investement in flexiWAN. In Monday’s press relase, Telefónica said its investment in flexiWAN, which took place in December, would enable it to differentiate its network services by integrating third-party applications over flexiWANs SD-WAN infrastructure.

              [...]

              Telefónica and flexiWAN started their collaboration in June with a plan to run flexiWAN’s open source, modular SD-WAN solution on white box customer premises equipment. This year’s PoCs across Germany will test flexiWAN on customers’ branches that need throughput from 50 Mbps to 1 Gig of encrypted traffic.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • What Are The Most Common Issues With Free Open Source Software?

                Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has become a prominent aspect of the new age global economy. It has been analysed that FOSS makes up about 80-90% of any particular piece of today’s software. It is to be noted that software is an increasingly-critical resource in almost all businesses, both public and private. But, there are many issues with FOSS, according to the Linux Foundation.

                The Linux Foundation established the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) in 2014 as a part of which its members gave funding and support for FOSS projects, which are important to worldwide data and information infrastructure. In 2015, CII finished the Census Project (“Census I”) to find out which software packages in the Debian Linux distribution had been the most important to the kernel’s overall security.

                While the Census I project emphasised on analysing the Linux kernel distribution packages, it did not go deep into which software was utilised in production applications. That’s where Census II comes in.

              • Linux Foundation and LISH publish latest open-source census with suggestions to boost security

                The latest open-source census has been published by the Linux Foundation and Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard University (LISH) with some interesting observations.

                Now in its second edition, the census examines the current state of open-source software. The latest report, catchily titled “Vulnerabilities in the Core, a Preliminary Report and Census II of Open Source Software,” focuses on common Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) used in production applications.

              • Open Mainframe Project Announces Ambitus as a New Open Source Project and Plans for a Virtual Zowe Hackathon

                The Open Mainframe Project (OMP), an open source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources, today announces the launch of Ambitus, a new community of developers who want to better understand how their existing open source environment can be implemented and operated on a mainframe. Ambitus joins 8 other OMP projects including Zowe, which will launch its first virtual hackathon on February 23.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Two Months Without Social Media

              One of my New Years Resolutions for 2020 was to remove Social Media from my life. No Twitter. No Facebook. No Mastodon / Fediverse. Removing all such things from my life. We are now a little over two months in to this… and the results are pretty clear. Here’s a short list of some of the ways my life is better now, without things like Twitter in my life: I don’t have to see all the hate, cruelty, and other garbage that gets plastered all over Social Media in an almost impossible to ignore way.

            • Future of Work 2020: Aadhaar’s Chief Architect Pramod Varma on building the world’s largest biometric identity system

              Aadhaar is the world’s largest biometric identity programme covering about 16 percent of the world’s population. It also holds immense potential in improving public service deliveries and fostering digital and financial inclusion.

              As India’s digital identity program, Aadhaar has successfully covered more than 1.25 billion people. It is also one of India’s best case studies of scale. In addition to core digital identity systems, India’s open digital infrastructure, collectively known as India Stack, also includes electronic payment, digital signature, digital locker, and data empowerment as its core layers.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Religious riots escalate in India

        Why are the protesters angry? Violence surged during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India earlier this week. He flew out of New Delhi on Tuesday after a two-day visit. Since December, demonstrators have marched against a law that offers Indian citizenship to Christians, Hindus, and other migrants who fled religious persecution, but not Muslims. Trump has shown support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, but has not taken a position on the citizenship law. He told reporters he heard about the violence but did not discuss it with Modi: “I want to leave that to India, and hopefully they’re going to make the right decision for the people.”

      • Epicentre of terrorism: Pak minorities put up posters outside UN office

        This comes a day after India advised Pakistan to stop terror funding and dismantle terrorist camps operating from its soil and territories under its control while decrying Islamabad’s efforts to derail the positive developments in Jammu and Kashmir.

      • Coercion Theory: A Basic Introduction for Practitioners

        In Schelling’s taxonomy, “coercion” is an overarching category encompassing both “deterrence” and “compellence.” The word “deterrence” was in common usage when he wrote Arms and Influence.17 The term “compellence” he coined himself, after rejecting several alternatives. Since 1966, it has become part of the lexicon of security studies.18 (Schelling admired, but chose not to select, the terms “dissuasion” and “persuasion” that J. David Singer had used several years earlier to describe a similar idea.)19

        Deterrence involves a threat to keep an adversary “from starting something,” or “to prevent [an adversary] from action by fear of consequences.” Compellence is “a threat intended to make an adversary do something.”20 In deterrence, the punishment will be imposed if the adversary acts; in compellence, the punishment is usually imposed until the adversary acts.21 As noted, the central characteristic of both forms of coercion is that they depend, ultimately, on cooperation by the party receiving the threat. This is by no means friendly cooperation, but it is cooperation nonetheless. Compellence can be used in peacetime and in wartime, the former use being referred to generally as coercive diplomacy.22

        >/blockquote>

      • Nigeria’s Islamists targeting Christians to provoke religious war, says minister

        Information Minister Lai Mohammed said jihadist groups in the northeast of the country have now adopted a “deliberate policy of attacking Christians.”

        “They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos,” he told reporters.

        Nigeria’s 200 million inhabitants are roughly split between Islam and Christianity.

      • Refugees Mass at EU Border as Turkey-Syria Conflict Intensifies

        Thousands of migrants and refugees massed at Turkey’s western frontier Sunday, trying to enter Greece by land and sea after Turkey said its borders were open to those hoping to head to Europe. In Syria, Turkish troops shot down two Syrian warplanes after the Syrian military downed a Turkish drone, a major escalation in the direct conflict between Syrian and Turkish forces.

      • Greece Sends Army to Border as Turkey Open Gates for Migrants

        Greece took a raft of tough measures Sunday as it tried to repel thousands of migrants amassed at its border with Turkey.

        It deployed major military forces to the border, seeking to fortify the area after Turkey allowed migrants to pass through to the European Union over the weekend. The Greek government also said it would suspend asylum applications for a month and summarily deport migrants entering illegally.

        The developments were increasing tensions between the two countries, leaving thousands of people exposed to winter weather and caught in an increasingly volatile situation.

        Neither move announced by Greece is permitted by European Union law, but the Greek government said it would request special dispensation from the bloc. International protocols on the protection of refugees, of which Greece is a signatory, also prohibit such policies.
        “Turkey, instead of curbing migrant and refugee smuggling networks, has become a smuggler itself,” the Greek government said in a statement.
        Military officials would not say how many additional troops were being deployed, but they confirmed that they were stepping up joint military and police operations along the border. Dozens of military vehicles were seen moving toward various outposts along Greece’s 120-mile boundary with Turkey.

      • New Photo Reveals Cuban Navy’s Secret Submarine

        When a tourist took a photo of Havana’s picturesque harbor, they didn’t realize the intelligence value of what they were capturing. Lurking in the shadows near a pier, and behind a palm tree, was one of the world’s least photographed submarines.

        It’s the Cuban Navy’s Delfin Class, and this is by far the clearest image of it to date. It is also evidence that it has been active in the Florida Straits.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Sonia Sotomayor Just Issued a Serious Warning About the Supreme Court

        This is the kind of dissent that should be made in opposition to the court’s treatment of Trump administration arguments. And it should have made the media take notice. When a justice of the Supreme Court warns that the court has ceased acting as an independent check on the administration, that should sound a loud, eardrum-busting alarm.

        But that narrative was muted, because Donald Trump tweeted. The president took to Twitter to call for Sotomayor (and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because why not?) to recuse themselves “on all Trump, or Trump related, matters!” Like a pack of Pavlovian dogs, the media followed the scent of Trump’s tweets away from the bigoted rule at issue in the case, and the legal point Sotomayor was making in her dissent, into the tangled underbrush the media is most comfortable in.

        The mainstream press presented Sotomayor’s dissent and Trump’s tweets as “both sides” of an argument about judicial bias, while making no attempt to understand, much less explain, the larger legal and ethical implications of the dissent. Many sources even referred to Sotomayor’s dissent as “comments,” as if writing a dissent in a major Supreme Court case was the same as Sototmayor’s shooting off her mouth after a couple of glasses of wine at Outback Steakhouse.

    • Environment

      • Trait-based technology to help predict climate change impact on biodiversity

        Time is running out to envision how climate change will impact biodiversity and the functioning of the biosphere. To make predictions, researchers need to rapidly accelerate understanding the planet’s diverse forms of life. A new global network of international researchers, including University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology associate researcher Joshua Madin, are using the power of open-source technology and communication to document life from a trait-based perspective.

        The Open Traits Network (OTN) is a major global assembly of biodiversity scientists from universities, museums, herbariums (plant equivalent of a museum) and government agencies. This group published a perspective in Nature Ecology and Evolution to catalogue species traits—features of organisms that tell us how they go about daily life—in an effort to save and predict biodiversity in the future.

      • Educating Girls Is Key to Fighting the Climate Crisis

        If you really want to tackle the climate emergency, there’s one simple but often forgotten essential: throw your weight behind schools for girls, and ensure adult women can rely on the chance of an education.

      • ‘Against Colonial Violence and Land Theft,’ Indigenous Activists and Allies Target Mining Industry Convention in Toronto

        Demonstration held “in solidarity with every community that has found itself staring down the barrel of a gun for daring to oppose Canada’s ongoing colonial project through resource extraction.”

      • Did We Just Witness the First Union-Authorized Climate Strike in the United States?

        The union’s focus on climate change demands is part of a growing trend toward “bargaining for the common good.”

      • Energy

        • California’s Primary Season Comes Amid a Dramatic Battle Over Nuclear Energy

          California’s Super Tuesday primary on March 3 comes amid an atomic struggle whose outcome will hugely impact the nation and world, including the global climate crisis, the Green New Deal and the outcome of the 2020 election.

        • Wealthy Donors and Fossil Fuel Interests Pump Millions Into Super PACs for 2020

          Independent political spending groups are readying their arsenals to flood the airwaves with 2020 election ads praising their preferred candidates or attacking those they don’t like. Right-wing millionaires and billionaires and fossil fuel corporations are helping them do so.

        • Native Activists Are Forging a Just Transition to Renewable Energy

          Native activists and youth are shaping a clear vision for the transition necessary to guide us toward an environmentally just future — and there are more of them coming. Nationally, the Sunrise Movement and Indigenous environmental justice groups are overtaking entrenched political power with a breath of fresh air. Democrats are even talking about it. The Green New Deal policy is in Congress, but underlying it is the broader need for a just transition strategy — a plan that supports workers in securing fair and meaningful jobs as deep structural changes are made to the way humans relate to the environment.

        • Africa grapples with clean energy conundrum

          Africa is both the world’s least electrified continent and the most vulnerable to climate change.

          And as the continent with the world’s fastest growing population, the decisions that African politicians make to boost power supplies could have an impact both locally and globally.

          The conundrum is how to meet the demand for energy without making the climate situation worse.

          There is a large amount of investment, much of it from overseas, going into renewable sources. But the continent also has untapped reserves of oil and natural gas, which it aims to exploit.

    • Finance

      • China transferred detained Uighurs to factories used by global brands – report

        At least 80,000 Uighurs have been transferred from Xinjiang province, some of them directly from detention centres, to factories across China that make goods for dozens of global brands, according to a report from the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

        Using open-source public documents, satellite imagery, and media reports, the institute identified 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces that have used labourers transferred from re-education centres in Xinjiang since 2017 as part of a programme known as “Xinjiang aid”.

      • Stellar marks first major release of open-source API with Horizon 1.0

        Stellar, the powerful open-source blockchain for payments, announced today the release of Horizon 1.0, the first major release of its open-source API. Horizon was first originated back in 2015, and since then has had 24 minor release versions.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Twitter is testing new ways to fight misinformation. Is an open-sourced method the answer?
      • Iranian director barred from leaving country wins top prize at Berlin film fest

        Dissident Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has won the top prize at the Berlin film festival for “There is no evil,” a searingly critical work about the death penalty in his country.

        Rasoulof, 48, is currently banned from leaving Iran and was unable to accept the Golden Bear in person.

      • Why Mohammad Rasoulof still makes films despite Iran’s threats

        Dealing with moral questions surrounding the death penalty, the film is also a metaphor for the work of the filmmaker himself: By directing and defying despotic authorities, Mohammad Rasoulof expresses his power, all the while knowing that his actions will lead to tragic consequences and personal loss.

        “This is one of the reasons people connect so strongly with Mohammad Rasoulof’s films, because it reflects his own experience,” his producer Kaveh Farnam told DW.

        Banned from filmmaking since 2017, Rasoulof was sentenced to a year in prison in July 2019. While appealing the decision, he managed to direct There is No Evil.

      • ‘There Is No Evil’: Film Review

        In Iran, executions are often carried out by conscripted soldiers, which puts an enormous burden on the shoulders of ordinary citizens. And what are we to make of the condemned, for whom guilt can sometimes be a capricious thing, dictated by a severe and oppressive Islamic regime — the same one that accused Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof of “endangering national security” and “spreading propaganda” against the government?

        When Rasoulof returned from Cannes in 2017, following the premiere of his film “A Man of Integrity,” he was banned from filmmaking for life and sentenced to a year in prison. But as a man of integrity himself, the director could not stop. His latest film, “There Is No Evil,” premiered in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, where instead of being silenced, Rasoulof launches his most openly critical statement yet, a series of Kafkaesque moral parables about Iran’s death penalty and its perpetrators, made in open defiance of the restrictions the government put on him.

      • Iranian dissident, teen abortion drama take top prizes at Berlin film fest

        Rasoulof was sentenced to a year in prison last year for “attacking the security of the state”, and banned from making films for life.

        His passport was confiscated in 2017.

        “Imposing such restrictions very clearly exposes the intolerant and despotic nature of the Iranian government,” he said in a statement.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing
      • Assange enters the kangaroo court

        When the court reconvened, Assange’s lawyer formally requested Assange be permitted to sit with his legal team — a position that astonishingly was supported by the lawyer for the prosecution, who apparently found the whole set-up so gross as to discredit the entire proceeding. Yet still, the judge would not relent and Assange remained caged like an animal.

        However the abuse in the courtroom pales in comparison to the abuse behind closed doors in Belmarsh prison.

      • Contact lost with 3 Sputnik Turkey employees attacked in Ankara

        Late Saturday evening, three Sputnik employees in Ankara were attacked at their homes, with organized groups attempting to break down the front door, threatening and calling the agency staffers “traitors” and “Russian spies.”

      • Four Russian News Agency Journalists Released in Turkey

        Sputnik said the journalists went to the police to report the attacks and the agency lost contact with them. Later, it said, investigators raided Sputnik’s office and detained the bureau’s editor-in-chief.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Herbert Marcuse’s Philosophy of Liberation

        Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) is the greatest but largely unknown philosopher of the mid-20th century. When I mention him in my UCLA classes today, almost no one recognizes the references. Yet when I began teaching in the late 1960s, he was a major staple of my work. For several years, at UC Berkeley, I assigned and taught “One-Dimensional Man, An Essay on Liberation, Eros and Civilization,” and “Repressive Tolerance.” These course readings were well received and generated robust, often animated discussion. These assignments and reading lists were less well received by my more conservative faculty superiors—all likely liberal Democrats—who disliked and feared the ongoing student rebellions on the Berkeley campus and throughout the nation.

      • Family of 11 Homeless for Leaving Islam in Eastern Uganda

        A large family is staying at his church site after Islamist threats for leaving Islam forced them to flee their home. His congregation is dwindling as members have stopped attending services out of fear of an Islamist attack. Should he ask the family to try to relocate?

      • Fear broken

        To be sure, the church closed. But it didn’t end trouble for Pastor Bet Tamraz. Tehran’s security apparatus never stopped watching him ( see “Shadow groups within shadow groups”). In 2014 officials arrested him during a private Christmas gathering in his home. Plainclothes officers led him to Evin Prison, where he spent 65 days in solitary confinement. When he became sick, prison officials moved him to a room with dozens of Muslim men. Bet Tamraz shared the gospel with them, and some of his fellow prisoners, by their own accounts, became Christians.

        Bet Tamraz did not go on trial until May 2017. Three months later, Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison for “forming a group composed of more than two people with the purpose of disrupting national security.”

      • ‘Scarlet letter statute’: L.A.’s adult performers strike back against state registry bill

        “AB2389 is a bill that, like SESTA/FOSTA, is dressed to look like it seeks to protect adult entertainers, when in fact, it seeks to further criminalize them,” wrote Antonia Crane, founder and director of Soldiers of the Pole, a stripper labor movement in California. “The bill allows the state to ‘register,’ meaning to fingerprint, record, ID and to police, the most vulnerable workforce in the world.”

      • Ever Wonder Why Disney World Scans Fingerprints?

        As per Disney’s website, they assure guests that the park doesn’t store anyone’s prints. Instead, they pair your unique print with a number, which they match with your ticket, and then immediately delete the scans themselves.

        This is how Walt Disney World prevents ticket fraud and as of right now, it’s only practiced at the resort in Florida, not Disneyland in California.

      • Missouri bill calls for fingerprinting medical marijuana employees

        Republican Rep. Lane Roberts introduced the bill and is sponsoring it.

        Section 195.815 of the bill states the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will require “all officers, managers, contractors, employees, and other support staff of licensed or certified medical marijuana facilities,” as well as the facilities’ owners, to submit fingerprints to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

        The fingerprints would be submitted as part of a facility’s application for a license or certification under the proposal. If an individual seeks to obtain an identification card authorizing them as a medical marijuana employee, their prints would be taken during that application process.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Applied DNA Sciences Receives Patents From Canada, China

          As consumers place greater value on quality goods available through a transparent supply chain, Stony Brook, N.Y., Applied DNA Sciences, Inc., announced its receipt of a Chinese patent and notice of allowability for its Canadian patent application for its Encrypted Optical Markers for Security Applications. This product relates to the company’s Beacon-encrypted molecular-marker technologies, which allow for on-site authentication of a DNA-tagged substrate incorporated into the manufacturing of threads and other goods produced by Applied DNA’s clients. Previous patents for Beacon technologies include United States Patent No. 10,047,282. Additional patent applications in the U.S. and abroad remain pending.

        • Software Patents

          • What is an Abstract Idea, Anyway? [Ed: Michael Borella continues lobbying for fake patents like software patents without writing a single line of code. These people don't care about innovation. They just want and need more litigation.]

            In 2014′s Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l case, Justice Thomas famously wrote, “we need not labor to delimit the precise contours of the ‘abstract ideas’ category in this case.” Instead, he found the claims of patentee Alice to have “no meaningful distinction” under 35 U.S.C. § 101 from those the Court previously found ineligible in Bilski v. Kappos.

            Since then, the abstract idea inquiry has been applied by the Federal Circuit over 100 times in various ways. Initially, there was some hope that this category may be limited to financial transactions or certain types of computer-implemented business methods. Not so. Recently, network-controlled electric car charging stations and garage door openers were found to be abstract in ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc. and The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Techtronic Industries Co., respectively. These inventions join a long list of those found too abstract for patenting, including claims for displaying advertisements in before content in a video distribution service, dynamic tabs on a user interface, administration of digital images, monitoring of an electrical power grid, and computer virus screening just to name a few.

            Even with all of these appellate opinions, the legal definition of “abstract idea” remains remarkably elusive. Notably, in Interval Licensing LLC v. AOL, Inc., Judge Plager of the Federal Circuit wrote, “a search for a definition of ‘abstract ideas’ in the cases on § 101 from the Supreme Court, as well as from this court, reveals that there is no single, succinct, usable definition anywhere available.” Last year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published patent eligibility examination guidance that defined three classes of abstract idea (mental processes, mathematical concepts, and methods of organizing human activity). This demonstrates that the USPTO is struggling to have its examining corps of thousands apply Alice consistently. But the courts have not adopted the USPTO’s view of the world, and the Federal Circuit has explicitly stated that it is not bound by the guidance.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyrighting Musical Sequences To Prevent Lawsuits

          In an attempt to put an end to musicians being sued for infringement of copyright, lawyer/musician/programmer Damien Riehl teamed up with musician/programmer Noah Rubin to create a melody database which has been released using a Creative Commons Zero license.

          In recent high profile copyright cases for song melodies, defendants have been accused of “subconsciously infringing” the copyright of music they could have heard. So “having access” to a tune is enough to put musicians at risk of costly litigation. Damien Riehl’s argument is that making all possible song melodies accessible in the public domain will frustrate future lawsuits. This is why he embarked on a project to generate all the song melodies that could be subject to future lawsuits and store them in compressed format on a 2.6 Terabyte drive that he can hold in his hand.

          For the full story, here is Reihl’s Ted Talk with the title “Copyrighting all the melodies to avoid accidental infringement”:

        • U.S. Court Denies $28,500 Default Judgment Against Accused Pirate

          Adult entertainment company Malibu Media has failed in its bid to get a $28,500 default judgment against an alleged pirate. While the defendant didn’t present a defense, a federal court in New Jersey denied the request, noting that IP-address evidence alone is not sufficient.

        • What Type of Anti-Piracy Campaign Is More Likely to Work on Infringers?

          There have been dozens of anti-piracy campaigns over the years but which ones are more likely to work on illicit consumers? According to some of the findings in a government report published in the UK this week, different approaches may be needed to convince both casual and savvy pirates to stop or reduce their activities.

Free Speech Isn’t Violence and Richard Stallman Isn’t an Offender (Nor Are His Supporters)

Posted in Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Abandoning the intellectually-dishonest argument that verbal offence or insult is like a physical assault

Freedom zero/Number one. Freedom number zero. Freedom to run the GNU Project, for any purpose.

Summary: Freedom is being squashed in the name of “protecting people”; this is no laughing matter because we’ve been seeing more of that in more and more Free software projects and communities

BEFORE we proceed to “Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part V” we’d like to respond to the tired old nonsense or stigma that people who defend Stallman’s role in GNU (and/or the FSF) are somehow “rude” or “condone violence” or “disrespect women” or whatever.

These stupid tricks don’t work anymore or they won’t work for much longer. People call these out. People are growing tired of these tricks. They cheapen the concept of offence or violence and they harm the cause of feminism (painting people with far too broad a brush, distracting from actual victims).

I get my share of rude responses (example here) for merely saying that it’s not OK for the FSF to suddenly pretend that its very founder does not exist. Does this make sense?

FSF and Stallman: Hello, I'd like to speak to Richard Stallman. Stallman? We don't know someone called Stallman. Wrong number?

As we’re going to show in weeks if not months to come, what happens in the FSF right now isn’t unique to it. It happens in Debian as well (several recent examples and some communication is being wrongly equated with “violence” or “aggression”). It’s not funny and it destabilises project rathers than making them more inviting. There were two new examples of it over the weekend (we’d rather not name the people, but there are some related links to our IRC logs [1, 2]).

I became a Free software advocate a couple of decades ago — as a teenager — not because I was a geek or male or white or whatever. I don’t even think in those terms. What matters is the technical substance and the potentially political goal, which strives to improve transparency, cooperation, collaboration, honesty and frank participation. ‘Workplace politics’ can often be avoided in the context of Free software projects and that’s a big plus for personal freedoms, including free speech.

Phone and Stallman: Ah, yes... Stallman... The guy who compares free software to free speech

Please, let’s be grown-ups. Most of our readers aren’t kids (even those old enough to be literate) and adopting a kindergarten-like mentality where people must be guarded from the potential of their feelings being ‘hurt’/’offended’ — and maybe even sobbing — would imperil us all (e.g. who’s feeling threatened by the simple verbal observation that Palestinians have rights too?). If we go down this route, then we pursue not Free software, not “Ethical” software, not “Open Source” but some kind of “Social Control” software. Like Social Control Media, where speech is policed and particular people are de-platformed by those who don’t share their worldviews.

Let’s remember that the price of freedom may be tolerating the freedom of others. When it comes to speech, this means allowing a platform to facilitate speech not everyone agrees with. This is not violence. It’s not aggression. Inciting towards violence is another matter — a matter well outside the scope of freedom of speech as that’s trumped by very explicit laws.

Speech isn’t inherently aggressive. Speech is sharing one’s thoughts, not fists. That’s what free speech is about. Taking that away from others will, inevitably, take that away from oneself. And just to be clear, Stallman promotes peace and never condones violence, unlike another Richard.

“‘Free software’ is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of ‘free’ as in ‘free speech,’ not as in ‘free beer’.”

Richard Stallman

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 01, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:35 am by Needs Sunlight

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