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03.07.20

Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part VI: The FSF Without Richard Stallman Emphasises Tolerance, But It’s a Hollow Façade

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 12:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘seat warmer’ or ‘seat-filling’ mentality can actually alienate women (my wife says it’s known as “clappers” in the context of beauty pageants)

Free Speech and Free software

Summary: We’re led to think that after Stallman’s departure women are suddenly “safe” or “welcomed”; the truth of the matter is, Stallman was never a barrier to their acceptance and the real obstacle is women’s perception that they’re used as pseudo-political pawns

THINGS aren’t so grim at the FSF; Stallman and the FSF can cooperate through the GNU Project. People who ‘ousted’ Stallman could only convince him to step aside from the FSF but not from his “baby” (what he calls GNU).

As we've just shown or included in Daily Links, the official FSF Blog published “Celebrating women in free software for International Women’s Day” and as a supporter of women’s rights himself, we’re pretty certain Stallman is (or would be) happy to see that.

“People who ‘ousted’ Stallman could only convince him to step aside from the FSF but not from his “baby” (what he calls GNU).”Throughout the day today I saw various examples of corporate exploitation by companies looking to make a profit from hijacking women’s rights (there will be examples in tomorrow’s IRC logs). That’s not to say that there’s something wrong with this day; how it is misused by for-profit men-run companies is the problem. Like February 14th, this one too they’re looking to exploit for little but money-making. The Linux Foundation too is guilty of that and hours ago, linking to a puff piece in a Microsoft propaganda site that defames Stallman, the sole editor of Linux.com (a Linux Foundation site) tweeted: “Suddenly Microsoft has become a company I can say I now admire and ‘love’.”

Congrats, Linux Foundation. You are another Microsoft now. It worked. You are rapidly being absorbed and there’s a point of no return.

“At the moment, from what we can gather, LibrePlanet will accept a wide range of corporate sponsors and reciprocate.”You can either support Linux or the Linux Foundation. Not both. Those two things aren’t compatible anymore.

As for the FSF, it emulated the Code of Conduct and chooses a 'business model' reminiscent of the Linux Foundation. This concerns us just a bit. While Stallman was at the helm some of the things the FSF nowadays does just weren’t done.

“Also,” an associate of ours noted, “note that [particular groups] are being weaponized against Software Freedom. They will try to drag you into fight about [their causes]. Stay focused on the freedom they try to distract from.”

We don’t want to ‘offend’ the wrong people, as can happen when one brings up subjects like this one. “It’s a very big case which touches on two big problems,” our associate remarked, “though one is actually part of the other. The infiltration and hijacking of FOSS from within projects and organizations is part of the bigger fight over who controls and monitors communications (computers) in the world.”

“While Stallman was at the helm some of the things the FSF nowadays does just weren’t done.”At the moment, from what we can gather, LibrePlanet will accept a wide range of corporate sponsors and reciprocate. Will Google be one of those? We don’t know for sure, but SFC was happy to take money from both Google and Microsoft for a conference about copyleft (which ironically Google and Microsoft attack).

This does not look like a good trajectory. Not at all. Taking money from one’s opposition compromises oneself and months after the said sponsorship the SFC pushed Stallman to leave the FSF.

We’ve meanwhile learned about the scary possibility that the upcoming LibrePlanet (which isn’t canceled for health reasons by the way) will be used to grant SFC people an award. And for what? Ousting the FSF’s own founder?

“As we said almost 6 months ago, Kuhn was responsible (to a large degree; there were others) for what happened.”“Some media pressure about the clearly biased schedule,” one person told us, “and inquiries about Richard Stallman’s and Bradley Kuhn’s being eligible to the award, might help the FSF do the right things…”

As we said almost 6 months ago, Kuhn was responsible (to a large degree; there were others) for what happened. He leveraged social causes to rationalise the current leadership vacuum the FSF still experiences the following year. After that he left the FSF’s board, abandoning the very Board that he harmed (2 people other than him were no longer there). So he left somewhat of an empty shell.

“Dear organisers of LibrePlanet (and anonymous committee), please be aware that community members are ready to revolt if you reward the ousters of your own founder, based on deliberate misinformation and a campaign of whispers.”For that, if he ever receives an FSF award, he deserves much condemnation/scolding. For decades he did do some commendable work, but in recent years he and Outreachy (a colleague) often led witch-hunts that instead of supporting women felt like an exploitation of feminism for an SFC power grab, trying to present (or get across) SFC as the more ethical alternative not just to SFLC (which it had disputes with) but FSF as well.

Dear organisers of LibrePlanet (and anonymous committee), please be aware that community members are ready to revolt if you reward the ousters of your own founder, based on deliberate misinformation and a campaign of whispers.

Links 7/3/2020: GNOME 3.36 RC2, FreeNAS and TrueNAS Unifying

Posted in News Roundup at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Talk Python to Me Episode #254: A Python mentorship story

        How do you go from poking around at Python code to actually solving real problems, the right way?

        There are many paths. The longest one probably is to get a 4-year CS degree. Maybe faster, but pricy as well, is a solid in-person developer bootcamp.

        Have you considered reaching out to the community to find a mentor? Many Python meetups have project nights where folks who could help will be attending. If you’re up for giving back, maybe you could become a mentor too.

        That’s what this episode is about. We’ll hear from two former guests of Talk Python, Rusti Gregory and Doug Farrell. They teamed up and are back to share their mentorship story!

      • 2020-03-06 | Linux Headlines

        A 16-year-old critical vulnerability has been discovered in PPP, iXsystems is merging FreeNAS and TrueNAS, GCompris moves to Patreon for funding, and Samba makes big changes to its cryptography implementation.

      • 8 Capture Devices for Streaming | Windows and Linux

        8 Capture Devices for Streaming | Windows and Linux Let’s review 8 streaming devices that I have bought and used over the past year and a half. I have attempted to use all these on both Windows and Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel PMC Mux Control Driver Coming For Linux 5.7 To Change USB-C Modes

        One of the new Intel drivers up for testing that is currently in the USB-next for the forthcoming Linux 5.7 kernel cycle is the Intel PMC Mux Control driver.

        The intel_pmc_mux Linux driver is for Intel’s latest hardware platforms in being able to change the mode/roles of USB-C ports. The PMC (Power Management Controller) micro-controller with this mux-agent is predominantly found on newer Intel SoCs.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Seeing New “BIR” Compiler

          The Panfrost open-source, reverse-engineered Arm Mali Gallium3D driver is seeing work on a new driver-specific IR and compiler back-end.

          Lead Panfrost developer Alyssa Rosenzweig of Collabora has landed the first bits of the new “BIR” work. This is the Bifrost IR modeled for Arm’s Bifrost GPU architecture, a.k.a. the Mali G31 through Mali G76.

        • Vulkan 1.2.134 Released With Many Fixes/Clarifications, New Qualcomm Extension

          The lone new extension in this release is VK_QCOM_render_pass_transform. As implied by the vendor prefix, this new Vulkan extension was developed by Qualcomm. The VK_QCOM_render_pass_transform allows applications/games to enable driver support for render pass transform functionality. For display units that don’t support native screen rotation, flipping between portrait and landscape modes is to be handled as a later Vulkan composition pass or the application can also render frames pre-rotated if supported in order to avoid that additional overhead. Having the application/engine pre-rotate is Qualcomm’s ideal approach in this situation to avoid placing the burden on the presentation engine that will lead to power/performance implications, but either approach works for Qualcomm with Vulkan. With VK_QCOM_render_pass_transform, the driver is able to handle more of the burden for the pre-rotate method in order to achieve optimal power/performance in such situations.

        • AMDGPU Trusted Memory Zone Support Could Soon Be Enabled By Default

          Going back to last September has been work within Linux’s AMDGPU kernel driver on enabling encrypted vRAM support with “Trusted Memory Zone” functionality. Now it’s looking like a kernel release in the not too distant future could be enabled this support by default.

          The AMD Radeon Trusted Memory Zone functionality is about protecting the contents of select pages from being read by the CPU or other non-GPU clients and preventing writes from happening to TMZ-protected pages. With the Linux implementation, the Trusted Memory Zone support will allow a new “encrypted” flag from user-space via the GEM memory management interface for allocating memory that should be secured by the hardware. This isn’t enabled by default presumably due to the added overhead involved and not being of much real use besides when needing to encrypt select bits of video memory.

        • Sway Wayland Compositor Seeing Adaptive-Sync/VRR Support

          The i3-inspired Sway Wayland compositor is seeing work carried out for it to support Adaptive-Sync / Variable Rate Refresh.

          While Adaptive-Sync is most often talked about with its dynamic refresh rate for helping gamers avoid tearing and stuttering, a Sway developer has been looking at implementing it for this Wayland compositor itself.

    • Benchmarks

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Lair of the Clockwork God Mac and Linux versions available now

        Open source (and very, very, very closed source) fans rejoice! Lair of the Clockwork God is now available on Linux and Mac OS.

        Let’s just be clear for a second: We loved Lair of the Clockwork God. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and it’s unique. It’s a splicing of point-and-click and platforming that blunts the biggest flaws of each with structure and pacing. But most of all, it’s so very clever.

        In our review, we talked about it in the same breath as Portal, The Stanley Parable and Return of the Obra Dinn. That’s just how clever it is.

      • 2D isometric adventure ‘BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION’ now has a Linux Beta available

        Another project successfully funded (see more here) and released thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, and so far it looks like it’s been a hit with players. Since the release last month, it’s already got a “Very Positive” rating on Steam.

        If you own it or plan to pick it up soon and wish to help test, you can find the details on how to get involved in this Steam forum topic. This is a pretty quick turnaround on the port, so the game must be quite stable as they originally said Linux would happen once the Windows build was solid.

      • Rocket League March Update features blueprint trade-ins & the end of Mac/Linux support

        Rocket League is about to get its next update. Psyonix just announced that the March update for rocket-powered car soccer is just around the corner. There are features such as new blueprints and the ability trade blueprints in for better ones. That said, the March update is also unfortunately the setting sun of support for Mac and Linux. This is the last update both platforms will get.

      • Rocket League’s Last Update for Mac and Linux Releases March 10

        Rocket League developer Psyonix detailed what is coming in the March update for the game, which will also be the final update for the Mac and Linux versions.

        The update for all platforms changes a few default settings for the camera and controls, adds three Dynamic Range Presets for the game’s HDR Audio, and features the ability to trade in five Blueprints of the same series and rarity for a higher rarity blueprint in return.

        The March update also disables all online features for the Mac and Linux versions, such as matchmaking and in-game purchases.

      • The 20 Best Cloud Gaming Services Available in 2020

        In this highly advanced world, Video games are an anchored part of our culture and praxis. It is facile to pretermit that digital gaming only took place in a very few laboratories in the world some 40-50 years ago. Cloud gaming services are undoubtedly the biggest phenomena in the gaming industry. In the year 2017, gaming has had the industry worth $18 billion in the U.S alone, which has a foretell of being $204 in 2022. The potential gaming scope that cloud gaming offers is monstrous.

      • As Cities: Skylines comes up to the five year mark, it’s on a big sale

        Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order are celebrating Cities: Skylines, as it’s coming up for the five year mark since it took the city-building world by storm.

        What a storm it was too, not much can really come close to just how fun Cities: Skylines actually is. Frankly, it’s become the definitive city-builder on any platform, I can’t imagine how anything can knock it off the top spot. It looks good, it’s cross-platform and highly accessible and most importantly it’s fun. There’s a huge modding community around it too that’s given us over forty thousand maps, tens of thousands of buildings, entire saved games of huge cities and more. That’s on top of all the free updates and expansions it’s had since release.

      • Ambitious Half-Life remake Black Mesa is now officially available and it’s a beauty

        Black Mesa, the Valve approved Half-Life remake from Crowbar Collective leaves Early Access with a much more modern take on the classic first-person shooter.

        Did Half-Life actually need such a re-imagining? Graphically it was dated but it held up quite well overall because it was ahead of its time in quite a few ways. However, I’m glad Black Mesa exists as it’s absolutely incredible. Some of the artwork that went into this, especially the later Xen chapter, is truly mesmerising in its beauty.

      • A new Humble Choice month is up with AI War II, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, Turok and more

        Another month, another fresh curated selection of games you can grab from Humble Choice and it looks like quite a nice selection for March.

        This was previously Humble Monthly, only now it’s split across different tiers and you pick the games you want to keep from a list. The different tiers all give you a Humble Store discount and access to a ton of DRM-free games in the Humble Trove, the price varies on how many games you wish to pick each month.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.35.92 ((GNOME 3.36rc2)) RELEASED
          Hi,
          
          The second release candidate for 3.36 is here! Remember this is the
          end of this development cycle; enjoy it as fast as you can, the final
          release is scheduled next week!
          
          The corresponding flatpak runtimes have been published to Flathub.
          If you'd like to target the GNOME 3.36 platform, you can test your
          application against the 3.36beta branch of the Flathub Beta
          repository.
          
          You can also try the experimental VM image, available here for a
          limited time only:
          
          https://gitlab.gnome.org/api/v4/projects/456/jobs/artifacts/gnome-3-36/raw/image/disk.qcow2?job=build-gnome-core-x86_64
          
          We remind you we are string frozen, no string changes may be made
          without confirmation from the l10n team (gnome-i18n@) and notification
          to both the release team and the GNOME Documentation Project
          (gnome-doc-list@).
          
          Hard code freeze is also in place, no source code changes can be made
          without approval from the release-team.  Translation and documentation
          can continue.
          
          If you want to compile GNOME 3.35.92, you can use the official
          BuildStream project snapshot. Thanks to BuildStream's build
          sandbox, it should build reliably for you regardless of the
          dependencies on your host system:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.35.92/gnome-3.35.92.tar.xz
          
          The list of updated modules and changes is available here:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.92/NEWS
          
          The source packages are available here:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.92/sources/
          
          WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
          --------------------------
          
          This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is
          buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking
          purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development
          status.
          
          For more information about 3.36, the full schedule, the official module
          lists and the proposed module lists, please see our colorful 3.36 page:
          
          https://www.gnome.org/start/unstable
          
          For a quick overview of the GNOME schedule, please see:
          
          https://wiki.gnome.org/Schedule
          
          Cheers,
          Javier Jardón Cabezas
          GNOME Release Team
          
          
        • GNOME 3.36 RC2 Released Ahead Of The Official Desktop Update Next Week

          The second and final release candidate for the GNOME 3.36 milestone is now available for testing this weekend ahead of the official GNOME 3.36.0 debut next week.

        • Nautilus 3.36 Stable Version Released with Essential Functions!

          Nautilus 3.36.0 Released: Gnome updated the latest version of Nautilus 3.36.0 stable version in the repository. Nautilus is built on an old Windows based File Explorer software application. It allows you to use this application as the File Manager and you can transfer the media files, document files and can be used as FTP for servers. Nautilus is default Gnome application comes default on all Linux based Distros.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Zorin OS 15.2 released, powered by Linux 5.3

          Zorin OS 1.0 initially released in July 2009 with the implicit aspiration ” … to bring the most advanced technology into the hands of everyone.”

          Now, over a decade later, it appears the Zorin Group is well on its way to that goal, with close to 1 million copies of their distro downloaded. Available in over fifty languages, Zorin OS ranks ninth on distrowatch.com, where it enjoys an average rating of 8.2 (out of ten).

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS and TrueNAS are Unifying

          FreeNAS and TrueNAS have been separate-but-related members of the #1 Open Source storage software family since 2012. FreeNAS is the free Open Source version with an expert community and has led the pursuit of innovations like Plugins and VMs. TrueNAS is the enterprise version for organizations of all sizes that need additional uptime and performance, as well as the enterprise-grade support necessary for critical data and applications.

          From the beginning at iXsystems, we’ve developed, tested, documented, and released both as separate products, even though the vast majority of code is shared. This was a deliberate technical decision in the beginning but over time became less of a necessity and more of “just how we’ve always done it”. Furthermore, to change it was going to require a serious overhaul to how we build and package both products, among other things, so we continued to kick the can down the road. As we made systematic improvements to development and QA efficiency over the past few years, the redundant release process became almost impossible to ignore as our next major efficiency roadblock to overcome. So, we’ve finally rolled up our sleeves.

        • FreeNAS + TrueNAS Unifying Into TrueNAS 12.0 CORE/Enterprise

          BSD-focused vendor iXsystems has developed FreeNAS as their community-oriented NAS operating system while TrueNAS is what they ship on their storage solutions. FreeNAS and TrueNAS have been derived largely from the same code-base. Moving forward to TrueNAS 12.0 later this year, iXsystems is unifying FreeNAS and TrueNAS.

          Since their 11.3 release, both TrueNAS and FreeNAS have been close to parity while the former is focused on their enterprise-grade support and other enterprise needs. With TrueNAS 12.0 due out later this year, both products will be based on a single software image and name.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Summit Dublin Canceled

          The openSUSE Summit Dublin has been canceled due to the cancellation of some talks and the cancellation of the in-person SUSECON 2020 in Dublin.

          Concerns over the developing situation of COVID-19 coronavirus lead to the decision to cancel the openSUSE Summit Dublin as the venue would have been shared with SUSECON and is no longer available for the summit.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Introducing a container packaging specification: Container Application Software for Enterprises (CASE)

          On our team at IBM, we have a large number of containerized software products that are released every day, built using different packaging requirements, cluster requirements, and personas. At the same time, these products need to be consistent and have a common look and feel that shows they all come from the same company. We needed a packaging standard that can provide the structure needed for consistency but also be flexible and easy to use, not just for our own products, but for containerized software products anywhere. We created a container packaging specification called Container Application Software for Enterprises (CASE) to solve these issues, and now we want to share it with the larger developer community.

      • Debian Family

        • Reproducible Builds in February 2020

          One of the original promises of open source software is that distributed peer review and transparency of process results in enhanced end-user security. However, whilst anyone may inspect the source code of free and open source software for malicious flaws, almost all software today is distributed as pre-compiled binaries. This allows nefarious third-parties to compromise systems by injecting malicious code into ostensibly secure software during the various compilation and distribution processes.

          [...]

          Media coverage & upstream news — A new paper on reproducible containers, Ruby updates, etc.

        • ClipGrab

          There is a new tool available for Sparkers: ClipGrab

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Why use Ubuntu instead of other Linux distributions?

          Ubuntu is the most famous Linux distribution in the world. Used by all types of platforms, from enterprise to desktop and passing by mobile phones, the distribution that started its journey just 14 years ago totally dominates the markets today in terms of userbase.

          But when recommending Linux distributions in online discussions for others, people keep saying stuff like “Ubuntu is for noobs, don’t use it”, or something like that. But that’s not true at all, as Ubuntu is suitable for any type of needs and use cases. In our post today, we’ll introduce you a couple of reasons of why you would want to choose Ubuntu over the other Linux distributions for your desktop.

        • Unofficial Lubuntu 20.04 LTS Remix Wallpaper Released Today!!

          Lubuntu 20.04 LTS Remix Wall paper: Lubuntu 20.04 LTS is going to release very soon. Lubuntu 20.04 LTS is derived from its legacy operating system Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Few hours before, a Twitter user uploaded a remix version Ubuntu 20.04 LTS wallpaper for Lubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Hosted private cloud infrastructure: a cost analysis

          Private cloud infrastructure remains an essential part of every enterprise nowadays. However, due to the increasing number of workloads and data, the overhead of managing bare metal servers, virtual machines and containers can mount up. Although tools like MAAS, OpenStack and Kubernetes help to address this problem, upskilling operations teams with those tools may take months. As a result, many organisations have started to either fully outsource operations of their private cloud infrastructure or for the initial rollout.

          Join Tytus Kurek, Product Manager, and James Troup, Engineering Director, from Canonical in this webinar to learn how outsourcing private cloud infrastructure management helps enterprises accelerate the initial deployment and reduce ongoing operational costs.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • FOSDEM: My first open source event

          At the beginning of February, I went to FOSDEM, my first open source conference. In fact, it was even my first non-maths conference. In maths, conferences and workshops have to be very topic-specific, since math talks are very concrete, often presenting a proof that can only be followed by people working in the same field (or, sometimes not even by them). FOSDEM was the total opposite to topic-specific. There are people, talks and stands of any kind of open source related areas. So the range of topics covered in talks was immense. But not only the range of topics; also the focus and the feeling given to the talks was very diverse: sometimes the focus was on a certain programming language, sometimes on the tools used, sometimes on the goals that got achieved, sometimes about the directions in which certain developments have been going or seem to be going now and what that implies, sometimes about moral questions involved and so on. It was very interesting to see so many different open source related topics focused from so many different ways in only two days.

          But talks were not the only part of the conference that impacted me. The conference was also an opportunity to get to know people from my community: GNOME. It was very nice to meet several people in person, I had only known through chats before, and to get to know people I hadn’t known at all before; both at FOSDEM itself and at a related beer event organized by GNOME. So the social part was very nice, but also productive. For example, at some moment I got help from several people troubleshooting a styling problem I had, caused by an adwaita decision I didn’t know of.

      • FSF

        • FSF Blogs: Celebrating women in free software for International Women’s Day

          International Women’s Day is coming up this Sunday, March 8, and it’s the perfect opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of some of the amazing women in free software we’ll be featuring at the LibrePlanet 2020 conference, coming up next weekend (March 14-15). As you’ll see, many women are doing exciting and important work that ties into our “Free the Future” theme, demonstrating how free software has the potential to unlock a better future for us all, and building projects that will help us get there.

          If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, we encourage you to register today. Registration is possible online until March 10, 10:00 a.m Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Walk-in registration is also normally possible, but we can’t guarantee it. Plus, registering in advance helps us anticipate how many people to expect! And remember: if you are a student or a Free Software Foundation (FSF) associate member, you can attend the conference gratis.

          With that said: as we recently announced, we’re proud to be welcoming Public Lab co-founder Shannon Dosemagen as one of our keynote speakers. Protecting the planet — whatever that might mean to you — is of increasing concern in the year 2020, so Shannon was a perfect fit for this year’s lineup: we know that the philosophy of the four freedoms has something special and crucial to offer every social movement. Her work demonstrates how both scientists and ordinary people can apply ethics inspired by the free software philosophy. As an environmental health advocate and community science champion, Shannon has a lot to say about how “freeing the future” will help to ensure that we have a future at all.

      • Programming/Development

        • Compose music as code using Sonic Pi

          Maybe you’re like me, and you learned a musical instrument when you were in school. For me, it was the piano, and later, the viola. However, I’ve always held that, as my childhood interests shifted towards computers and coding, I subsequently neglected my music practice. I do wonder what I would have done if I’d had something like Sonic Pi when I was younger. Sonic Pi is an open source program that lets you compose and perform music through code itself. It’s the perfect marriage of those two worlds.

        • Make a hamster feeder with Raspberry Pi Zero

          People make marvellous things for their pets with Raspberry Pi. Here’s a splendid hamster feeder tutorial from Christopher Barnatt of Explaining Computers, just perfect if you’re after a small project for this weekend.

        • Qt Creator 4.12 Reaches Beta

          Qt Creator 4.12 Beta brings better LSP client support around using Markdown for hover/tooltip information, a number of project settings improvements, support for using an externally-provided Qbs build tool, easier setting up of Android target support, remote Linux targets can be better customized, and various other improvements.

        • Python

          • [PyCon] March 2 Update on COVID-19

            The coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. Since PyCon US 2020 is scheduled in April, we want to give our community an update on our status and more information about our policy for attendees pertaining to COVID-19.

            As of March 2, PyCon 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA is scheduled to happen.

            The staff and board directors are actively watching the situation closely, as it continues to change rapidly. We plan to reassess the situation weekly and more frequently as we get closer to the event. This includes checking in with our Pittsburgh team for updates including from vendors and local authorities.

          • March 6 Update on COVID-19

            PyCon continues to closely monitor the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) situation.

            As of March 6, PyCon 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is scheduled to take place.

            As of this morning, there have been two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. These cases are in Wayne and Delaware Counties, in eastern Pennsylvania. They are not near Pittsburgh, which is in western Pennsylvania, some 300 miles (480km) away.

          • Using Python Functions As Classes

            In Python, you can use functions as classes. In py, everything is an object. How? I’m no py expert. Here’s how we do it!

          • The Zen Of Python Is A Joke And Here Is Why

            The Zen of Python inspires programmers all over the world, but, it is not to be taken too literally.

          • Using __getattr__ for nicer configuration API

            Typically, you’ll read configuration from files (such as YAML) and get them as a dictionary. However in Python you’d like to write config.httpd.port and not config['httpd']['port']

          • Implementing the Clean Architecture with Python – my book is here!

            It is my pleasure to announce that my book is finally available to buy.

  • Leftovers

    • The Tyranny of the Consciousness-Raisers: Leninism, Anarchism and Jesus

      I am a recovering anarchist, by which I mean: I am a recovering Leninist… In my imagination I attend meetings of Leninists Anonymous, and just like the mantra spoken by each member at the opening of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, I must repeat the phrase: I am a Leninist.

    • Boas’s Constructors: The Project to Remove the Stranglehold on ‘Culture’

      I remember fondly now the early days of my anthropology studies as an undergrad, talking bones in class, smoking bones after. Studying cultures, living it.  Talking with my professor about Julian Jaynes’s crazy theory that human consciousness originated in “the breakdown of the bicameral mind.”  And philosophy classes. Foucault, Sanity and Madness, the Narrenschiffen seaside asylums. Dancing in a tie-dyed tee after Mandela’s release from the apart-hate system. Reading The Left Hand of Darkness (talk about mind fucks). Global Marley, white blues Dylan, we were changing the world one tune at a time, in our minds.

    • Films from the Frontlines: “Sorry We Missed You,” Ken Loach’s Stirring Exposure of Capitalist Speed and Consumers’ Greed
    • The Romanian New Wave

      Although I was only one of the few film critics who did not find Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” worthy of an Academy Award for best film of 2020, I was happy to see a foreign-language film get such an award for the first time. As a fan of two of his earlier films (The Host, Mother), I do count him as one of South Korea’s top directors. As should be obvious from my surveys of South Korean film for CounterPunch, I consider the country to be on the leading edge of filmmaking today, alongside Iran, China and Romania. Ironically, these four nations that have long histories of repression are far more richly endowed cinematically. Perhaps, it is not such an irony in light of our greatest composers having served as court musicians under clerics and monarchs.

    • Musk’s Meeting With Saudis Bedevils Defense of Tweet-Fraud Suit

      Tesla Inc.’s effort to beat back an investor lawsuit over Elon Musk’s notorious take-private tweet drew sharp questions from a judge about the chief executive’s dealings with a Saudi Arabian investment fund.

      The company asked U.S. District Judge Edward Chen on Friday to throw out a suit claiming Musk’s Twitter post on Aug. 7, 2018 — “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured” — was an intentional deception that jolted the electric-car maker’s stock price. Investors are seeking billions of dollars in damages to cover their losses.

    • Education

      • I’ve Been Fired. If You Value Academic Freedom, That Should Worry You

        Many people disagree with my views about human population variation, about conservativism, about immigration, about economics, indeed about almost everything. That is just part of living in a liberal democracy. Disagreement is what powers intellectual progress, and without it neither the political process nor the scientific method can function. But unless we can agree on the foundational value of academic freedom, all scholars will become vulnerable to ideologically motivated punishment. Science, the great intellectual achievement of civilization, will become the servant of politics.

      • Bushfire research opportunities ‘vanishing’ without funding

        Ecologists said environmental research was urgently needed to exploit a window of opportunity to help protect threatened species – some teetering on the brink of extinction, after more than 100,000 square kilometres of bushland were scorched and a billion or more native animals were incinerated – and to alleviate drinking water contamination.

        But while fast-tracked funding is available for bushfire-related health research, ecological proposals are subject to protracted assessment. “We can’t rely on existing competitive grant programmes [because they] are designed to work on much longer timescales,” said Emma Johnston, professor of marine ecology at UNSW Sydney.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Outrageous,’ Says Bernie Sanders as Filings Show Top Healthcare CEOs Raked in Combined $300 Million in 2019

        Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, vowed to “end the greed of the pharmaceutical industry and pass Medicare for All.”

      • Cancer in US Navy Nuclear Powered Ships

        Here is a good one. In 2011, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was about 100km off the coast of Japan at the time of the Tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima reactor explosions. It was directed by the US government to ride to the rescue in what was later called Operation Tomodachi (friendship)–to provide assistance to the victims of the floods. What no-one on board was told was that the reactors had exploded and a plume of highly radioactive material was blowing east from the site into the path of the vessel. Of course, when this arrived, all the radiation monitors on the boat started screaming, and the planes and helicopters that had flown the rescue sorties were contaminated.

      • Reflections on IP exclusivity in the wake of the Corona virus outbreak

        The global outbreak of COVID-19, better known as the Corona-virus, makes daily headlines around the world. As the virus spreads to two of this Kat’s most beloved cities – Florence and Tilburg – it is clear that it is affecting many people’s lives, even if in most cases it is rather the precautionary measures that are most strongly felt. For instance, travel bans, such as the one imposed by Hong Kong on all travellers from Korea, separate families. And a harrowing two-week quarantine of a cruise ship off the coast of Japan had people stay in their rooms, isolated for 14 days—a measure now criticized for potentially causing more infections. To be sure, the virus is dangerous, but it should be kept in mind that precautionary measures also have their price for daily life.

        [...]

        At the forefront of many people’s minds is when a cure for the Corona flu and an effective vaccine will become available. Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that remdesivir, an antiviral drug originally developed by Gilead to treat ebola, might be effective to cure patients suffering from the virus. Meanwhile, Fujifilm’s flu drug has been mentioned by the Japanese government as a possible cure, while GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, among others, are developing vaccines to stop the spread of the virus [as reported by Bloomberg here].

        All these companies are likely to seek patent protection for their proposed cures. Indeed, according to Bloomberg, Gilead was granted three patents for remdesivir in China and has five more pending. But researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology reportedly also filed a patent application for the use of remdesivir for the treatment of the Coronavirus. This decision was heavily criticized – see an interesting analysis by Enrico Bonadio here – but this Kat wonders what, exactly, is wrong with it. True, the Wuhan Institute of Virology did not itself develop remdesivir. But if it is the one to establish that it can be used to treat COVID-19, there is no reason why it couldn’t be awarded a new medical use patent, even if it would be dependent on older Gilead patents. Especially if all the relevant research and clinical testing is performed by or under the supervision of the Wuhan Institute, there seem to be no good reasons to deny them a patent on the use of remdesivir to treat the Corona virus.

      • Italian Embassy tells Italians not to travel to Russia to avoid harsh Moscow quarantine measures

        The Italian Embassy in Moscow has posted on Facebook recommending that citizens of Italy avoid traveling to Russia if they are currently displaying even mild respiratory symptoms or fevers.

      • Why are there so few reported COVID-19 cases in Russia?

        The number of COVID-19 cases detected per day outside of China has long surpassed the recorded infection rate within Chinese borders. Nonetheless, since 2020 began, Russia has reported only four confirmed cases of the disease. Only one of those cases was found in Moscow, the second-largest city in Europe after Istanbul. Meanwhile, in Italy, France, and Germany, there are currently 3,089, 337, and 444 confirmed cases, respectively. This is despite the fact that the number of passengers who have traveled to those countries from China by air is comparable to the number traveling to Russia. While it’s impossible to say with certainty how this disparity arose, it is possible to offer a few potential explanations. Whether you believe them is up to you.

      • ‘I Like That’: Trump Hails Economic Impact of Deadly Coronavirus, Says People Are Now ‘Spending Their Money in the US’

        “The human impact is an afterthought.”

      • COVID-19 Reveals Trump’s Planned Obsolescence

        As COVID-19 begins its inevitable “community transmission” phase around the United States, the purveyors of the conventional wisdom are largely focused on President Trump’s (and by extension, prayerful Vice President Pence’s) incompetence and his self-serving, empathy-free approach to the coronavirus. And it is true that, as with all things Trump, it seems that all he really cares about is the stock market and its effect on his reelection bid. But Trump’s narcissism obscures something both far more pernicious and far more permanent than his oft-televised obsession with himself … and that’s the fact that he’s been busily making Milton Friedman’s “Supply Side/The Bottom Line Is The Only Line” dream an intractable reality.

      • Will COVID-19 Finally Bring Down Trump’s Virtual Presidency?

        The “pussy grab video” didn’t do it. The Stormy Daniels’s revelations didn’t do it. The Mueller investigation didn’t do it. The impeachment trial didn’t do it. The cruel handling of children and the desperate at the border didn’t do it. The unrevealed tax returns didn’t do it. Will Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic finally burst the bubble of the Trump presidency and restore an element of reality to the United States? Will the coronavirus finally bring down Trump’s virtual presidency?

      • Fox News Is Spreading Trump’s Coronavirus Lies Faster Than the Disease Itself

        President Trump said that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats to destroy his presidency. He claimed his impeachment was a Democratic hoax too and last week he said the coronavirus — or at least media coverage of the coronavirus — was one as well.

      • ‘This Is Your Brain on Capitalism’: CNBC Market Analyst Rick Santelli Calls for Infecting Global Population With Coronavirus to Help Wall Street

        “The projected death of 11 million Americans would be a fair price to pay for better long term stock growth, says a capitalist extremist.”

      • Virus Hits 100,000 Cases as Its Economic Impact Snowballs

        Crossing more borders, the new coronavirus hit a milestone Friday, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide as it wove itself deeper into the daily lives of millions, infecting the powerful, the unprotected poor and vast masses in between.

      • Trump Signs $8.3B Bill to Combat Coronavirus Outbreak in U.S.

        President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than a dozen people in the U.S. and infected more than 200.

      • Six new coronavirus cases confirmed in Russia. They’re all mild and linked to Italy.

        Health officials have recorded six new cases of coronavirus in Russia, according to a federal task force. Five of the infections were discovered in Moscow and the other patient is in Nizhny Novgorod.

      • Josh Bivens on Coronavirus Economics, Mandy Smithberger on Military Economics

        This week on CounterSpin: Coronavirus is above all a health story, of course. But healthcare plays out within societies, with economic structures and policies that have a lot to do with whether people get sick, and whether they get care, and where overall impacts are felt. We talk with Josh Bivens, research director at Economic Policy Institute, about what policy changes might mitigate the disruptive impact of coronavirus and better prepare us for the future.

      • Daring to Kiss: Coronavirus and the Butterfly Effect

        At some point, it seemed like a slow burner, gathering attention with each press release from the World Health Organisation. When talking about a threat, language is everything. With more cases of COVID-19 being identified, the panic that comes from paranoia, suspicion and good old distrust is beginning to thrive.

      • The Neoliberal Plague

        For those who aren’t familiar with Albert Camus’ The Plague, disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. Today, by way of the emergence of a lethal and highly communicable virus (Coronavirus), we— the people of the West, have an opportunity to reconsider what we mean to one another. The existential lesson is that through dread and angst we can choose to live, with the responsibilities that the choice entails, or just fade away.

      • It’s Medicare or Coronavirus-for-All

        A healthy populace with regular access to affordable health care is the best defense against an epidemic like we now face.

      • All the Devastating Epidemics That Coronavirus is Distracting Us From

        Almost every day the BBC’s One-minute World News provides the latest death tally from coronavirus. The short news wrap-up typically covers about three news items only, meaning that for the BBC, the virus has been among the top three most important issues for the world, daily for the last two months.

      • Coronavirus Alarm Blends Yellow Peril and Red Scare

        As an Asian-American, I’m not surprised that there are numerous reports surfacing of racist and xenophobic responses arising in the US (and elsewhere) as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, where “coughing while Asian” is being compared to “driving while black.” In case there are any doubts that media coverage is being racialized, reports about new coronavirus updates in the US, particularly in areas like New York City, are using unrelated header images of East Asian people wearing face masks to drive the impression that Chinese people are unique carriers of disease, even when they aren’t Chinese.

      • You Might Be Buying a Hand Sanitizer That Won’t Work for Coronavirus

        It’s tempting, especially now, to buy one of the many hand sanitizers whose label says it “kills 99.99% of illness causing germs.” But that does not mean the product will protect you against the novel coronavirus.

        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends rubbing on hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol when you aren’t able to wash your hands. Huge pumps and multipacks of bottles are flying off store shelves. But “alcohol-free” products — which are not recommended by the CDC — are also getting snatched up in the consumer frenzy.

      • Unions Helped Stop the Spread of Ebola. They’re Trying Again With Coronavirus.

        As the number of U.S. coronavirus cases climbs, people are justifiably frightened by the Trump administration’s lack of preparation. It’s hard to feel safe when, at a rally last Friday, the president called the virus the Democrats’ “new hoax” and compared it to immigrants crossing the southern border.

      • Exactly How Many People in Iran Will Die of Coronavirus Because of Trump’s Inhumane Sanctions?

        If you were an evil comic book villain attempting to kill large numbers of people with a disease outbreak, you could not do a better job in putting people in harm’s way than Trump has been doing.

      • ‘Absolutely Chilling’: Reports From Frontlines of Coronavirus Outbreak Reveal Roadblocks to Testing, Lack of Safety Protocols

        “Recall that this refusal to test fits a pattern: This the same president who railed against attempts to count the dead in Puerto Rico post-Maria… Ignorance is a lethal political tool.”

      • The U.S. has the world’s highest coronavirus death rate at more than 5% – a number that reflects the country’s lack of testing

        At 5.4% the mortality rate is 2 percentage points higher than the global average – a number that reflects the country’s lack of testing.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • FDA warns patients about Bluetooth flaws affecting pacemakers, glucose monitors

          Pacemakers and glucose-monitoring systems are among the critical medical equipment that could be affected by new security vulnerabilities in wireless technology, the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Homeland Security warned this week.

          The set of flaws in a popular wireless protocol known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which impact microchipped devices in a range of industries, could allow a hacker within radio range of a device to disrupt its communications, forcing it to restart.

        • Google Interviewing Process for Software Developer Role in 2020

          From what Olivia told me, the interviewing process at Google comprises three stages: first of all, there are two remote coding interviews on algo and data structures. If you’re extraordinary, you might just have one interview, but for an average software engineer it will be two. The next stage is an on-site interview in one of the Google offices, which includes several coding interviews (again!), a system design interview, and last but not least, ‘Googleyness and Leadership’. The last one detects how well you’ll fit into the company.

          [...]

          In Olivia’s words, «Even if you pass all the interviews and reach the final stage, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get the job. Because Google’s hiring process has one more step, which will take place without you. In this last stage, several senior Googlers (who don’t know you and have never spoken to you) will review your CV and feedback from the interviewers and decide whether you will fit into Google or not. Only with their endorsement can you land the job.» OK, it’s time for frustrating moment #2.

        • My Second Year as a Solo Developer

          My long-term unprofitability often perplexes people. They assume I fund my money-losing endeavors with freelance work, but the truth is that 100% of my working hours go into my non-lucrative businesses. This is possible due to three main factors: [...]

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The Elements And Benefits Of Open-Source Compliance [Ed: Linux Foundation 'research' is an attack on Free software. It's like it's run for Microsoft, Oracle etc.]

                The goal of the Linux Foundation’s[1] OpenChain Project, and the specification[2] it maintains, is to promote predictability and uniformity in the management of open source. The project also aims to create consistency in how critical open-source compliance information is collected and retained so that it may be properly communicated to others. The specification is gaining momentum and will likely be adopted by the International Organization for Standardization by mid-2020. With open-source use on the rise and more and more demanding proof of compliance becoming mainstream, this is a perfect time to reevaluate how you address compliance. But first, let’s explore….

              • Kubernetes 1.18 Will Embrace Side Cars: Why It Matters

                Kubernetes 1.17 became generally available on Dec. 9 bringing with it a host of new stable enhancements, but what’s perhaps more interesting is not what’s in that release, but what’s missing.

                The release notes identify 22 enhancements in total, which is half what was originally expected to debut in the release. Among the enhancements that were originally planned for the release but didn’t end up making it into Kubernetes 1.17 is full support for sidecar containers, but don’t worry, it’ll likely come together in time for Kubernetes 1.18.

              • Decipher the true meaning of cloud native

                The term “cloud native” is tossed around constantly these days. It’s used in so many different ways and contexts that the actual definition seems quite vague — even by the notoriously low standards of tech buzzwords.

                [...]

                In that sense, it’s reminiscent of the term “free software,” coined by Richard Stallman in the 1980s to refer to software with freely available source code. The phrase caused generations of laymen to conflate free software with freeware. Similarly, cloud native will confuse a lot of people into thinking you have to use the cloud if you want to build a cloud native app.

              • Eficode Joins CNCF

                Eficode said that the company qualified as a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider on the basis of years of experience in Kubernetes consulting and training. The KCSP program is a pre-qualified tier of vetted service providers who have deep experience in helping enterprises adopt Kubernetes.

        • Security

          • Researchers discover that Intel chips have an unfixable security flaw

            The chips are vulnerable during boot-up, so they can’t be patched with a firmware update.

            Security researchers have discovered another flaw in recent Intel chips that, while difficult to exploit, is completely unpatchable. The vulnerability is within Intel’s Converged Security and Management Engine (CSME), a part of the chip that controls system boot-up, power levels, firmware and, most critically, cryptographic functions. Security specialists Positive Technologies have found that a tiny gap in security in that module that could allow attackers to inject malicious code and, eventually, commandeer your PC.

            The vulnerability is another in a string of Intel chip flaws that have damaged the chipmaker’s reputation of late. In 2018, Intel faced heavy criticism over the Meltdown and Spectre flaws in Intel chips that could have allowed attackers to steal data.

          • A cross-browser code library for security/privacy extensions. Interested?

            Google’s “Manifest V3″ ongoing API changes are severely hampering browser extensions in their ability to block unwanted content and to enforce additional security policies, threatening the usefulness, if not to the very existence, of many popular privacy and security tools. uBlock’s developer made clear that this will cause him to cease supporting Chromium-based browsers. Also EFF (which develops extensions such as HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger) publicly stigmatized Google’s decisions, questioning both their consequences and their motivations.

            NoScript is gravely affected too, although its position is not as dire as others’: in facts, I’ve finished porting it to Chromium-based browsers in the beginning of 2019, when Manifest V3 had already been announced. Therefore, in the late stages of that project and beyond, I’ve spent considerable time researching and experimenting alternate techniques, mostly based on standardized Web Platform APIs and thus unaffected by Manifest V3, allowing to implement comparable NoScript functionality albeit at the price of added complexity and/or performance costs. Furthermore Mozilla developers stated that, even though staying as much compatible as possible with the Chome extensions API is a goal of theirs, they do not plan to follow Google in those choices which are more disruptive for content blockers (such as the deprecation of blocking webRequest).

          • Firefox to Get an Additional Sandbox Layer

            Starting with Firefox 74, the open source web browser will include the new RLBox security feature.

            The Firefox web browser already runs on top of a sandbox which separates the browser from the operating system. But with attack vectors growing more and more sophisticated (and many shared libraries not up to modern security demands), the Mozilla developers decided it was time to take the isolation of the browser further.

            With the release of Firefox 74, a new sandbox technology, called RLBox, will be added. RLBox was developed as a joint effort between Mozilla, the University of California San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, and Stanford University.

            According to Bobby Holley, principle engineer with Mozilla, RLBox is a “big deal”. With this new sandbox layer, it’s easy to isolate existing chunks of code at an unheard of granularity. With RLBox in place, the Firefox developers are able to separate third-party libraries from the Firefox core engine. By making this separation, bugs and exploits within third-party libraries will be unable to impact other applications that use the same library.

          • Linux PPPD Has A 17 Year Old Vulnerability That Could Lead To Remote Code Execution

            It turns out the Point-to-Point Protocol Daemon (PPPD) used for dial-up models, DSL, and other point-to-point network setups on Linux has been bugged for the past seventeen years with a buffer overflow vulnerability that could lead to remote code execution at the system level.

            Going back to PPPD 2.4.2 in 2003 up through PPPD 2.4.8 as the latest stable release is subject to a buffer overflow in the EAP packet processing code. Due to an incorrect bounds check, there is the possibility of arbitrary code execution within this high profile Linux daemon.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Tech Lobbyists Are Pushing Bad Privacy Bills. Washington State Can, and Must, Do Better.

              A data privacy bill in Washington State has gained momentum. The bill, 2SSB 6281 (also known as the Washington Privacy Act, or WPA), has received widespread support from big tech companies. It’s no wonder they like it because, as currently written, the WPA would be a weak, token effort at reining in corporations’ rampant misuse of personal data.

              The WPA didn’t come from nowhere, and it didn’t come alone. A number of industry-friendly groups have proposed or endorsed milquetoast privacy bills that will give the impression of regulation without changing the surveillance business model. Moreover, tech industry lobbyists are promoting the Washington bill as a template, and encouraging legislators in other states to adopt similar laws. Through a variety of channels, the tech industry is pushing state lawmakers to affirm and encode the privacy-harmful status quo.

            • AI Company Has Access To Pretty Much Every Piece Of Surveillance Tech The State Of Utah Owns

              A stash of documents obtained from Utah government agencies has exposed another surveillance tech purveyor who’s threatening to disrupt privacy for unquantified law enforcement gains. Banjo is the innocuous name the company does business under, led by a CEO sporting a ZZ Top beard and an urban camo sports coat.

            • How Facebook uses machine learning to detect fake accounts

              The system starts by using a large number of low-precision machine-generated labels. These are generated through a mix of rules and other machine-learning models that estimate whether users are real or fake. Once that data is used to train a neural network, the model is then fine-tuned with a small batch of high-precision hand-labeled data, generated by people around the world who have an understanding of local cultural norms.

              The final classification system can identify one of four types of fake profiles: illegitimate accounts not representative of the person, compromised accounts of real users that have been taken over by attackers, spammers who repeatedly send revenue-generating messages, and scammers who manipulate users into divulging personal information. Since implementing DEC, Facebook says, it has kept the volume of fake accounts on the platform at around 5% of monthly active users.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump’s Choices: Wars, Walls and Wall Street

        The 2020 presidential campaign is well underway, and it’s noisy. Candidates make promises, break promises, offer assurances, and spin the news constantly.

      • Donald Trump or the Politics of Derision

        Never underestimate Donald Trump. Nobody is better than him in the use of language. Nobody is better than him in using derisory language. Nobody is better than him in using language to demolish an opponent. Like a language’s Picasso, he can paint people’s portrait (or what he wants other people to see as their portrait) with only a few well-chosen words. And the world is poorer by this practice that always destroys, never constructs.

      • Media Malfunction as Sanders Notes Positive Aspects of Latin American Socialism

        When 60 Minutes (2/24/20) asked Sen. Bernie Sanders about his past support for aspects of Cuba’s socialist revolution, as well as for Nicaragua’s 1979–90 leftist Sandinista government, Sanders responded by saying he opposes what he described as the “authoritarian” features of the Cuban government, while noting that after the 1959 revolution,  Cuba launched “a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?”

      • They Rule: No Easter Bernie

        A Witch Out of Dickens

      • Bernie Sanders Lost Minnesota Because He Fought For Racial Justice

        Other than the refreshingly Bernie agnostic Jeffrey St. Clair, I don’t remember a single left commentator admitting that Bernie Sanders really wasn’t doing better in 2020 than he was in 2016. Bernie Sanders had a disappointing week, and this was especially true in Minnesota, where he won handily in 2016. How is it possible that Bernie, despite huge rises in Latino voters, and moderate rises in black voters, has not taken off in 2020?

      • ‘Plainly Ridiculous’: Sanders Supporters Decry MSNBC for Not Covering Nazi Protester at Bernie Rally

        “MSNBC pundits likened the Bernie campaign to Nazi Germany on air weeks ago. Yesterday, someone brought a Nazi flag to a Bernie rally.”

      • ‘Absolutely Sickening—and Scary’: Man Unfurls Nazi Flag at Bernie Sanders Rally, Heightening Security Concerns

        “All people of conscience must condemn this anti-Semitism against the most visible Jewish politician in the country.”

      • The Wisdom That Comes with Age and Moral Courage

        In a rare foray into U.S. domestic politics, Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz said there was a not a Jew in the world who “hasn’t dreamed of Jerusalem,” and Sanders words were so severe that he had no choice but to retort.

        [...]

        No doubt the international community finds this spectacle entertaining, the Foreign Minister afterall represents a constituency of close to 6, maybe 7 million while our Vermonter corrals a bit more than 700,000 close to the Capitol, Montpelier, not counting domestic and foreign students attending the university system colleges.

        I would suggest that these men from these countries bring focus to the principle that Bernie brings to his campaign offering it to the voters across America, in Europe, and in all locations around the world where American service men and women serve, a campaign focused on Truth and betterment for all peoples around the world.

      • Roaming Charges: Super Tuesday at Manzanar

        My plan to spend Super Tuesday scaling the eastern flank of Mt. Whitney until my knees or lungs gave out was foiled by the closure of the Whitney Portal Road, which was buried under a late, but welcome, snowstorm. I had no interest in returning to the motel to watch the Democratic Party self-destruct again, so I headed through the fractured boulders of the Alabama Hills north about 8 miles to visit the ruins of Manzanar, the desert concentration camp named after an apple orchard.

      • Super Tuesday?

        The DNC is nothing if not predictable. The crumbs to the working poor that would be a Sander’s presidency was more than they could abide as the machinations of the last few days illustrated.  The centrists of the pending collapse worked the phones, solidifying the status quo. They succeeded in suppressing votes in areas that would tend towards Sanders—one Texas man at a university polling spot required 7 hours to get his vote entered. A midweek Tuesday primary that requires hours of waiting—well that does nothing but enhance the affluent “I have nothing better to do” vote. How many voters had to leave the lines because they would get fired from their low wage, no time off jobs if they didn’t get back quickly? How many had to get home to relieve the babysitter? The young of this country are working multiple jobs, being treated as commodities to plunder. They don’t have the ability to clear these hurdles, and that is by design. It’s something of a modern-day poll tax. These suppression numbers are impossible to calculate, making the fraud of the DNC apparatus so slick and unclear to those of means and minimal intellectual curiosity.

      • Trump vs. Sanders: A Concise Comparison for Voters (and Why Bernie Wins Hands Down)

        When there is a conflict between big business and the public good, on labor rights, consumer rights, small taxpayer respect, and environmental protections, Bernie has stood with the people.

      • Progressives Urge Elizabeth Warren to Rally Behind Bernie Sanders

        Senator Elizabeth Warren suspended her bid for the presidency Thursday, leaving the 2020 Democratic presidential race down to two older white men: former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. Warren’s decision to end her campaign comes after she failed to perform as well as she had hoped in early primary states and on Super Tuesday, including placing third in her home state of Massachusetts. Warren gave no indication whether she will endorse either of her former rivals. Supporters of Sanders say they hope she will throw her support behind their candidate in order to form a united “progressive front” and take on powerful corporate forces now lined up behind Biden. Six more states are set to hold presidential primaries and caucuses on March 10, including delegate-rich states of Michigan, Washington and Missouri. We get response from Raquel Willis, a journalist and activist and former executive editor of Out magazine who had endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president. We are also joined by Norman Solomon, co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org, which is supporting Bernie Sanders.

      • The Super Tuesday Sting
      • Sanders: Trump’s Latest Vow to Cut Social Security Exposes Biden’s Vulnerability

        After President Donald Trump declared during a Fox News town hall Thursday night that his administration “will be cutting” non-discretionary spending programs like Social Security if he wins a second term, Sen. Bernie Sanders argued Trump’s promise makes clear that Democrats must nominate a 2020 candidate with a consistent record of defending Social Security — not Joe Biden.

      • Bernie Sanders Has One Chance to Defeat Joe Biden
      • The Meaning of Super Tuesday

        A gush of corporate relief fills the airwaves as Super Tuesday becomes history. A progressive wave was not electorally visible as the Democratic status quo consolidated itself behind Joe Biden and won 10 states.

      • Russian Meddling Again

        Joe Biden is not the only bad idea, way past its “best if sold by” date, that the Clintonites who call the shots for the Democratic Party have resurrected; a Cold War with Russia and with China too, insofar as it can be done in a way that does not imperil the American economy, is another.

      • ‘Warning Shot to Our Party’: Sanders Says Trump’s Latest Vow to Cut Social Security Exposes Biden’s General Election ‘Vulnerability’

        “One of us has a history of not only fighting cuts to Social Security but working to expand benefits,” said Sanders. “And that’s why we are the campaign best positioned to defeat Donald Trump.”

      • The Neoliberal Bumbler-in-Chief

        Listening to Joe Biden on the campaign trail is about as painful as listening to Trump. The gaffes just keep on coming! Running for the senate or the presidency? Joe Biden can’t seem to get it right and often he doesn’t seem to be able to follow a thought to a logical end (“Say It Ain’t So, Joe, the Latest Neoliberal From the War and Wall Street Party,” CounterPunch, March 20, 2019).

      • Bernie vs. Biden: When Will Unions Show Solidarity With Sanders?

        In May 1976, a small group of Vermonters gathered in a church basement in Montpelier, the state’s capital, to learn about union organizing. At a day-long training session, the United Electrical Workers (UE) and three other progressive unions discussed strategy and tactics with cheese makers from Vermont’s famous Cabot Creamery, delivery drivers from a local beer distributor, and white-collar workers from a nearby newspaper.

      • The Democrats’ Durable Dichotomy

        It was a big day for Joe Biden, and a disappointment for Bernie Sanders. Mike Bloomberg got a sweeping win in American Samoa as a return on his massive spending. He’s cut his losses and endorsed Joe. Elizabeth Warren is on her way out, the only question is whether she will endorse Bernie. And then there were two (Tulsi Gabbard doesn’t count).

      • ‘This Is Unacceptable’: Sanders Calls On Biden to Disavow Surrogate’s Racist Attack on Nina Turner

        “Joe must apologize to Nina and all the people of color supporting our campaign.”

      • Will Biden’s Trade Policy Record Come Back to Haunt Him in Midwest?

        “I helped lead the opposition to these agreements, Joe Biden supported those agreements,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders. “And that is a fundamental difference about our approach toward the trade union movement and towards the needs of working people.”

      • Joe Biden, The ‘Impulse Buy’ Candidate

        Now that the dust has settled from the political earthquake of the Super Tuesday primary races, one thing has become clear: Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has become the new frontrunner of the Democratic Party, was an impulse buy — one that voters may come to regret deeply.

      • Let’s face it, America: We didn’t deserve Elizabeth Warren

        “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody,” she said to the small group of people at a house party. “You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.”

      • Facebook Removes Trump Ad Disguised as Census Message

        Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who worked with Facebook on its census policies, said the social network confirmed the removal of the ads.

        “While we’re gratified that Facebook shut down Trump’s attempt to sow confusion about how and when to participate in the 2020 Census, it’s disturbing that the ads weren’t immediately removed,” Gupta said in a statement.

        “The company has done its civic obligation by removing these deceptive ads.”

      • Nearly 90 percent of world population biased against women, UN study finds

        The prejudiced views include: that men are better politicians and business leaders than women; that going to university is more important for men than women; and that men should get preferential treatment in competitive job markets.

        The percentage of those holding at least one sexist bias was largest in Pakistan – where 99.81 percent of people held similar prejudices – followed by Qatar and Nigeria, both at 99.73 percent.

      • Tangled Web of Russia’s Cyber Underground Further Exposed in US [Cracker] Trial

        The case against Nikulin, who was arrested in 2016 in Prague and extradited to the United States in 2018, is the latest example of a Russian citizen facing prosecution in the United States for cybercrimes. It’s a trend that has infuriated the Russian Foreign Ministry, which complains that the United States is “hunting” Russians around the globe.

        But the pretrial motions add yet more evidence of the web of relationships among Russia’s cyber underworld, allegedly tying Nikulin, now 32, to people who have been charged with even bigger, more serious [attacks]. That includes a [attacker] who allegedly worked for Russian intelligence to steal hundreds of millions of Yahoo user credentials — possibly used in the 2016 hack of the U.S. Democratic National Committee, according to cyberexperts.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Dissenter Weekly: Espionage Act Reform Unveiled To Protect Journalists, Whistleblower Disclosures

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” we break down reform legislation that would help ensure the Espionage Act is no longer used against journalists. It would also expand protections for whistleblower disclosures.

        The rights of members of the press that “solicit, obtain, or publish government secrets” would be protected from prosecution, if the bill was passed.

      • Journalistic Objectivity Isn’t Realistic, Young Reporters Say [iophk: twitter is hearsay, not a source]

        Teen Vogue talked to nine journalists in their 20s and 30s about why they believe neutrality is an illusion, and how taking stances have made them stronger reporters — and citizens.

      • “Julian Did Redact”: An Interview With Lawyer-Journalist Mark Davis

        The line up of renowned Australian journalists on the stage at the Martin Place Amphitheatre on 24 February was impressive. Gathered for a rally, they included John Pilger, Mary Kostakidis, Quentin Dempster, Wendy Bacon, Andrew Fowler and Mark Davis.

        They were there to speak in support of fellow journalist Julian Assange, on the first day of his appearance at London’s Woolwich Court, in proceedings that will decide whether the Australian citizen will be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges adding up to 175 years.

        Not only is the Trump administration fixing to lock Assange up for the rest of his life, but it has recently revealed that it plans to do so under “special administrative measures”, which means he’ll be completely shut off from the outside world.

        As each of the rally speakers addressed the crowd, there was a common sentiment expressed. And this was that there’s a grave injustice being perpetrated upon an Australian journalist of stature and there should be much greater public outcry so as to wake the government into action.

      • Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, Ben Norton, Rebecca Vincent and Robert Boyle on Julian Assange

        Jesselyn Radack heads the Whistleblower and Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at ExposeFacts. As National Security & Human Rights Director of WHISPeR, her work focuses on the issues of secrecy, surveillance, torture and drones, where she has been at the forefront of challenging the government’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers, which has become a war journalists, hacktivists, and those who reveal information that the public has right to know but the government wants kept secret.

        Among her clients are national security and intelligence community employees who have been investigated, charged, or prosecuted under the Espionage Act for allegedly mishandling classified information, including drone whistleblower Brandon Bryant, NSA whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou. She also represents clients bringing whistleblower retaliation complaints in federal court and other administrative bodies. Previously, she headed the National Security and Human Rights program at the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization, served on the DC Bar Legal Ethics Committee and worked at the Justice Department for seven years, first as a trial attorney and later as a legal ethics advisor.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • After Alabama Executes Nathaniel Woods, Ayanna Pressley Leads Fresh Calls for US to Abolish Death Penalty

        “This INJUSTICE system is racist, sexist, and xenophobic,” said the Massachusetts Democrat. “We need a system that centers shared power, freedom, equality, safety, and dignity.”

      • Voter Suppression Threatens to Take the US Back to Reconstruction Era

        Janine Jackson: Heritage Foundation co-founder Paul Weyrich’s statement at that Ronald Reagan rally in 1980, “I don’t want everybody to vote; elections are not won by a majority of people,” is as clear a picture as one needs that voter suppression is seen by many powerful Republicans as a legitimate tool for moving the country in the direction they choose. Taken seriously, this goes beyond partisanship, upending decades of what many understood to be the country’s driving political project: the expansion of participation in the democratic process.

      • Sheikh of Dubai abducted 2 of his daughters, UK court says

        ABC News had previously reported on the allegations laid out by human rights lawyers and friends of Princess Latifa, one of the Sheikh’s other daughters, who they claim had attempted to escape Dubai but was caught in March 2018. Her friend, Tiina Jauhiainen, who testified in the court case, told ABC News she helped Latifa attempt to escape after allegedly being subjected to “inhumane treatment” by her family, but they were apprehended while on a boat in the Indian Ocean. Latifa’s sister, Shamsa al Maktoum, attempted a similar escape in 2000 and has not been seen since, according to the activists.

      • Dubai ruler abducted and imprisoned his princess daughters, UK court rules

        The ruling does not amount to a criminal charge.

        Instead, Thursday’s ruling relates to events surrounding the disappearances of two of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters from a previous marriage: Princess Shamsa, who vanished from the streets of Cambridge in 2000, when she was 19; and Princess Latifa, who planned her escape from Dubai’s ruling family for seven years, running away from what she said was her father’s oppressive and cruel treatment.

      • Dubai’s ruler abducted daughters, threatened former wife: UK judge

        McFarlane said the allegations made by Haya about the abduction and torture of Shamsa and Latifa and the threats made against her were proved, with the exception of her claim that an arranged marriage was being sought between Jalila and Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

      • Organ harvesting charges against Taipei mayor dismissed

        The accusations cited U.S. author Ethan Gutmann’s 2014 book, “The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China’s Secret Solution to its Dissident Problem.” Gutman testified in October 2018, suggesting Ko was a middleman in the alleged organ market, reported Liberty Times.

        However, prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence proving Ko secured organs from China for his patients. Neither was it shown such practices involved Falun Gong members.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T Can’t Get Out Of Its Own Way As It Tries To ‘Disrupt’ Traditional TV

        So we’ve noted a few times how giant telecom providers, as companies that have spent the better part of the last century as government-pampered monopolies, are adorable when they try (then inevitably fail) to innovate or compete. Verizon’s attempt to pivot from curmudgeonly old phone company to sexy new media darling, for example, has been a cavalcade of clumsy errors, missteps, and wasted money.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • A major new Intel processor flaw could defeat encryption and DRM protections

        Security firm Positive Technologies discovered the flaw, and is warning that it could break apart a chain of trust for important technology like silicon-based encryption, hardware authentication, and modern DRM protections. “This vulnerability jeopardizes everything Intel has done to build the root of trust and lay a solid security foundation on the company’s platforms,” explains security researcher Mark Ermolov.

        The root of the flaw is Intel’s Converged Security Management Engine (CSME), the part of Intel’s chips that’s responsible for securing all firmware that runs on Intel-powered machines. Intel has previously patched vulnerabilities in the CSME, but the researchers warn the CSME firmware is unprotected early on when a system boots so it’s still vulnerable to attacks.

        “The problem is not only that it is impossible to fix firmware errors that are hard-coded in the Mask ROM of microprocessors and chipsets,” warns Ermolov. “The larger worry is that, because this vulnerability allows a compromise at the hardware level, it destroys the chain of trust for the platform as a whole.”

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Desperate Nokia doth protest too much against complaints over its anticompetitive conduct

          Nokia’s corporate communications efforts hit a new low this week with a blog post that must have been written in a reality distortion field.

          Arguably, the weakest part is what’s missing from it: an explanation of how it is sound innovation policy to threaten the commercial viability of low-margin component makers by exposing them to indemnification claims far in excess of their margins.

          [...]

          First, the list of ten brands is misleadingly inflated: there’s six Volkswagen (Audi, Bentley, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen) and three BMW (BMW, Mini, Rolls Royce) brands among them–plus Volvo. So we’re talking about three licensees, not ten. But that’s just misleading. The actual lie here is this:

          Those companies aren’t all “licensed to Nokia’s patents.” I’ve heard from various sources that Volkswagen and BMW have Avanci licenses that come with major limitations such as not including 5G for the time being. Nokia would have had to say “to some Nokia patents” or “to many Nokia patents,” but not
          just “licensed to Nokia’s patents.”

          [...]

          Two Nokia v. Daimler trials will take place in Mannheim on the 17th. I’ll be there, and hopefully some more light will be shed on the overall situation. The Mannheim court may decide one way or the other, but I doubt that it will be affected by smokescreens.

        • AI Has No Personality: EPO Rules That An AI Machine Cannot Be An Inventor In Patent Applications

          In the patent grant proceedings for two European Patent Applications, the EPO has ruled that an AI machine cannot be named as an inventor in a Patent Application. Doing so does not comply with the requirement to designate the inventor according to Art. 81 EPC and leads to the rejection of the application under Art. 90 (5) EPC. According to the EPO, only a natural person can be designated as inventor. Machines on the other hand have no legal personality and are therefore unable to have any rights.

          The Applicant of two European Patent Applications indicated an AI machine as the inventor, stating that the machine has made the invention and that the Applicant wanted to indicate the truthful inventor. It was argued that the applicant obtained the right to the European patent as a successor in title of the inventor, i.e. the machine.

      • Trademarks

        • NFL Gets Shopify To Take Down Clear NY Jets Parody Merch Site With Trademark Complaint

          All regular readers here will need is to see a headline that includes both the word “trademark” and the NFL to get their eyes rolling. The NFL is notorious in its jealous protection of its intellectual property. In fact, the league goes much further than your everyday trademark bully, chiefly by pretending it has trademark rights that it absolutely does not have. This usually rears its head in the run up to the Super Bowl.

        • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to abandon “Sussex Royal” UK trade mark applications

          Last month, this blog reported that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were seeking to register “Sussex Royal” as a UK trade mark. In particular, the couple filed two trade mark applications with the UK Intellectual Property office (UK IPO): “Sussex Royal” and “Sussex Royal The Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”.

          Since then, as Harry and Meghan have taken the decision to drop their royal duties and Royal Highness (HRH) titles, media have also reported that the couple would give up their two pending trade mark applications as well.

      • Copyrights

        • Is my car a “digital audio recording device?” The DC Circuit Court of Appeals rules that in-car CD-copying devices do not fall under the Audio Home Recording Act

          For several years, automakers have offered a feature that allows consumers to copy the contents of CDs onto hard drives within the vehicles for playback without the CDs present. In 2014, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) filed suits against General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler, as well as their suppliers of these recording devices, DENSO, Clarion, and an American subsidy of Mitsubishi; these suits were consolidated in 2015. The suit alleges that the recording devices featured in these vehicles are “digital audio recording devices” under the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).

          Last month, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling that these recording devices did not fall within the restrictive definitions of the AHRA; as a result, these automakers and suppliers are not required to pay royalties for copying performed by users using the devices, nor must they implement copying control technologies for these devices to comply with the act. Let’s explore how the court reached this decision.

        • Plex Slammed By Huge Copyright Coalition For Not Policing Pirates

          Plex has become the latest neutral technology to get slammed for not doing enough to prevent movie and TV show piracy. According to pro-copyright lobby group CreativeFuture, which represents more than 560 companies and organizations, Plex – like Kodi – is a “dangerous digital media player” that has joined the ranks of “internet heavyweights who refuse to take responsibility for the criminal behavior on their platforms.”

        • NYU Law School’s Video Teaching Copyright Completely Flummoxed YouTube’s Copyright Filters

          You may recall a few years back that Harvard Law Professor William Fisher had one of his lectures about copyright taken off YouTube by a bogus copyright claim from Sony Music. It appears that something new has happened to the Engleberg Center at NYU’s School of Law, in which a panel discussion on “proving similarity” in copyright law (a big, big topic ever since the awful Blurred Lines decision came down), was taken down itself. It wasn’t just taken down by a single bogus claim, but a whole bunch of bogus claims (“whole bunch of bogus claims” is my band’s name, by the way).

        • SafeKodi: Researchers Help Kodi Users to Spot Malicious Addons

          Researchers from Northwestern University and Brave Software have taken an in-depth look at possible security issues with third-party Kodi addons. They find that most addons are safe. Only a very small number of addons are linked to malicious content, but these tend to be relatively popular. To help users spot these risks, the researchers offer a solution in the form of a Kodi addon.

        • Piracy Trial Between Record Labels and ISP Grande Postponed

          The piracy liability trial between a group of RIAA labels and Texas ISP Grande Communications has been postponed until September. The trial was initially scheduled to start last week. However, it was pushed back because the court only had six days available, which was not enough, according to both parties.

Arjen Kamphuis Spoke About Free Software Influence and Control Games Before His Disappearance

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

1.5 years later the fate of Arjen Kamphuis is still unknown to authorities

Arjen Kamphuis: Missing
Arjen Kamphuis: Missing

Summary: Corporate money funnelled into public interest projects in the name of good causes (like inclusion of women) serves to feed exploitation, predation, and sometimes infiltration as well while discussion about any of these pertinent issues is being viciously suppressed if not censored (with whistleblowers silenced, reprimanded, and sometimes completely banished)

THE disappearance — and likely death — of Arjen Kamphuis is a topic we wouldn’t normally cover here because Kamphuis was best known for contributions to security and association with Assange/Wikileaks. We’ve put in Daily Links well over 100 news links about him. But we never wrote an article on the subject.

Why the sudden relevance?

“Not much is said about Kamphuis anymore.”Something he wrote about an issue we’ve often covered here, especially in recent months. After the death of Debian’s founder (as a result of extreme humiliation by police*) and various removals from power of leading Free/Open Source software proponents/founders (the list is already becoming too long to exhaustively recall) we wouldn’t be off our rocker to ask, cui bono? Following the shambolic ‘trials’ of Julian Assange it’s clear that it’s rarely about justice; it’s about protecting power in a decapitation strike-like fashion. The witch-hunt was all along about Cablegate, not about women whom Julian Assange met in Sweden. The media helped cloud matters such as war crimes as an issue of women’s rights as if to oppose heinous crimes is the equivalent of sexual subjugation of women. But we digress. This is politics and we’re not an inherently political site. The underlying methods, however, need to be understood. They’re increasingly prevalent as a vehicle of disempowerment (removing officials not for corruption but for sexual behaviour, views on race, choice of words and so on). I too saw some attempts; a week ago I shared an example.

“We’ll try to focus not on this incident; instead we’ll talk about his connection to Free software.”Not much is said about Kamphuis anymore. Back in January we saw this article which said: “Arjen Kamphuis was well known for his work on government transparency, and especially IT and online security. He e.g trained journalists on how to do their work more safely, and consulted various companies on their IT security. He also e.g. consulted the Dutch government in 2013 on why using voting computers is bad practice in an accountable democracy. Next to that he was an avid hiker and mountaineer. In August 2018, during a trip in the north of Norway he went missing, and is presumed to have died due to a kajaking accident. I’ve known Arjen through his work for well over a decade (and I’ve written about his disappearance here before). I’m sad about his disappearance, and as a result have been more active in paying what I learned from him and what he made me aware of forward since then.”

We’ll try to focus not on this incident; instead we’ll talk about his connection to Free software. We understand that some people still hope to find him, not giving up hope. Recently someone tweeted: “In August 2018 my best friend #ArjenKamphuis went on holiday and never returned. He was a brilliant infosecurity specialist. That’s why we #teamarjen archived his work in this handy and beautiful book available on https://t.co/l9SCrd0tci…”

In respect to Kamphuis, here’s a link to that book. I had personally followed the developments related to and wrote hundreds of tweets about Kamphuis. It was in our IRC channels, our Daily Links and so on for a number of months. The circumstances of the disappearance and the failure of Norwegian police (with help from Dutch authorities) to explain what happened continues to fascinate me. It means people who are not ‘convenient’ to particular companies/governments can just be ‘vanished’ without a trace (Saudi Arabia does this a lot, as does the Chinese government).

“We should note that it isn’t an attack on Outreachy but rather some nefarious affairs surrounding the program’s management (and it may be reducible to few ‘rotten apples’).”Last month we learned something of interest.

“Before Arjen Kamphuis disappeared, he sent me an email about abuse problems in a free software organization,” one person told us. “It is signed and encrypted, so there are no doubts about authenticity.”

Kamphuis was a master of security, with a career in well-known corporations followed by consulting (his CV was publicly available on his site when I last checked, exposing reputable employers and distinguished jobs). Encryption is something he would not get wrong.

“We met at many events in Albania,” the person continued, and “there are even some photos” (of the events).

“The email,” the person told us, “is damning for more than one organization.”

I’ve since then asked a Techrights associate about this. That associate too is very familiar with the events surrounding the disappearance of Kamphuis.

“Could that be one of the reasons that Arjen was offed? Various agencies have been exploiting fringe groups to infiltrate and undermine FOSS projects,” that associate noted.

“Context matters here. Some people like to remove context so as to misrepresent the real grievances.”Yesterday the mail was published in a site that examines what it calls “cult psychology in free, open source software organizations” (like Debian). To quote a recent post: “Many free, open source software organizations have seen increased tension in the last few years due to cult-like phenomena. The Debian Community News team is offering to mentor an intern under Outreachy or another funding program to explore this problem.”

We should note that it isn’t an attack on Outreachy but rather some nefarious affairs surrounding the program’s management (and it may be reducible to few ‘rotten apples’). As yesterday’s post put it, “an encrypted email sent to the same Debian Developer by Arjen Kamphuis before he disappeared in August 2018″ and the message said: “I don’t want to get caught up in internal politics but have noticed some strange events around [redacted/event]. Will have discusson [sic] about that with [redacted/group] and especially [redacted/name] who seems to put himself in positions of control in cases he should not.”

Context matters here. Some people like to remove context so as to misrepresent the real grievances. “Kamphuis names the same problem a Debian Developer had asked for support with,” the post clarifies, “a local male organizer putting himself in positions of control over women. If Wikimedia, LibreOffice (Document Foundation) and Kamphuis had all concluded the problem originated with the same person, how could Debian’s leader spread false accusations about one of his own volunteers?”

Yesterday I corresponded with the person in question for further clarifications. “I preferred not to link to these,” said the person, “but these are examples of the behaviour described in the blog, herding women to get diversity funding and give the money to men:

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:TPS/Nafie_shehu/FOSScamp_Syros_2017

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:TPS/Silva.1994/FOSScamp_Syros_2017

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:TPS/Sido_uku/FOSScamp_Syros_2017

“Notice the €40 participation fees for those events? They ask for the money as they are participants in Open Labs (a non-profit) and then they pay the fee to a private company. One of the directors of the company then writes one of the endorsements on the grant applications, without anybody declaring his company is beneficiary of the money.”
_______
* Our associate insists that this understates the severity of what happened. I intentionally chose an understatement in case the critics choose to say that Ian Murdock may have exaggerated or even lied. “However,” our associate notes, “Murdock was not ‘humiliated’ by police, he was beaten severely by them twice in the same day. IIRC they even followed him home from the hospital to ensure they could do the second beating.”

CNN has these quotes from him: “The police here beat me up for [knocking] on my neighbor’s door.. they sent me to the hospital [...] They followed me home… then they pulled me out of my house and did it again.”

Financial and Legal Corruption Scandal in France (INPI) Implicating the Person Benoît Battistelli Put in Charge of the EPO’s Finances

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: EPO May be Financially Defrauding the Public and Its Employees

INPI corruption

Summary: The EPO is run by criminals and people who protect criminals; the legal system shows its shortcomings as it refuses to hold accountable the worst offenders, who ruin many lives and cause billions of euros in damages (at the public’s expense)

WELL, AS one can expect (and this was our expectation all along; right from the start or the nomination phase), António Campinos has done nothing whatsoever to hold his predecessor accountable. After all, he gave him this job. The corrupt president proceeded to heading a law school (yes, the irony!).

However, past actions continue to haunt the corrupt president, who was supposed to be in jail right now together with Alexandre Benalla. It’s a classic case where the superior, who does something illegal, is shielded from justice, whereas the low-level executioner takes all the blame. This exactly is what’s described in this French article from the publishers who exposed much of the Benalla scandal (critical components of it).

“Benalla is to Battistelli what the convicted person is to Frédéric Angermann, the person responsible for Battistelli’s financial abuses. They’re robbing the EPO while destroying it.”Well, somebody has just ‘leaked’ to us the translation published here along with additional (several more) articles regarding this matter.

Benalla is to Battistelli what the convicted person is to Frédéric Angermann, the person responsible for Battistelli’s financial abuses. They’re robbing the EPO while destroying it. It’s a miracle that neither has been sentenced to prison (yet) or simply another bit of evidence that the French legal system is corrupt (see how they let Lagarde off the hook following a conviction, allowing her to become head of Europe’s largest bank) and EPO immunity breeds criminality of the highest order.

Here’s an English translation of the article dated a month ago:

Serious dysfunctions within the financial justice system

By Laurent Mauduit
Article published February 4, 2020.

In a display of double standards, two contradictory judgements have been handed down for the same offences. The former Secretary General of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), who has since become a financial magistrate, was acquitted by the Budget and Finance Disciplinary Court (CDBF), while the public accountant who validated the payments from which he benefited was convicted in the Court of Auditors.

This story is currently making a lot of noise at the Court of Auditors and the Council of State, even though it has not received any publicity beyond these two institutions. And with good reason: it shows financial justice in an atrocious light. The former Secretary General of the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), who has since become a Master of the Court of Auditors, was acquitted by the Court of Budgetary and Financial Discipline (CDBF). Meanwhile, the public accountant who allowed the disputed payments was convicted of the same type of charges by the Court of Auditors.

It is an understatement to say that the INPI file has been thoroughly examined by the Court of Auditors. For many years, financial magistrates have periodically plumbed the depths of this public institution’s accounts and each time raised numerous grievances, but to little effect. Within the Court, the Institute has long had a shambolic reputation.

In a referral dated May 27, 2019 (), addressed to Bruno Le Maire and Gérald Darmanin, the First President of the Court of Auditors at the time, Didier Migaud, underlined the recurrent problems within the INPI: “The persistence of dysfunctions within the INPI, even though these shortcomings and bad practices have long been the subject of criticism by the Court as well as other intervenors, is not acceptable. It is all the more unacceptable because the INPI must be above reproach, in terms of the exemplary nature of public management in general, and of patent management in particular, and its work must be carried out in of optimum efficiency and regularity, given its absolutely strategic nature for French economic competitiveness,” he wrote.

This is how the INPI once again hit the headlines and prompted two judgements for the same offences, one from the Court of Auditors, the other from the CDBF. The reason for the two judgements was that the two courts do not have the same jurisdiction. The Court of Auditors judges accounting officers who are responsible for verifying the regularity of expenditure (and not the authorising officers) under accounting regulations, in particular Article 60 of the Finance Act of 1963. It is this section that enshrines the noted rule: “Public accountants are personally and financially responsible for the collection of revenue, the payment of expenditure, and the custody and preservation of funds and assets belonging to or entrusted to the various legal persons governed by public law that have a public accountant.”

An equal number of members of the Court of Audit and the Council of State make up the CDBF, which judges the authorising officers on the basis of the laws and regulations governing public management.

Thus, new irregularities noted between 2008 and 2012 at the INPI gave rise to two separate proceedings. On the occasion of a public hearing on 28 September 2017, the Court of Audit judged the first of two successive public accountants. The judgement of the Court of Auditors can be read on its website or consulted below:

A reading of this judgement shows that the complaints there were numerous complaints against the two accountants. According to the complaints, the second accountant alone, for the years 2011 and 2012, was in debt to the INPI for considerable sums: 46,304 euros, then 109,257.87 euros, then 23,400 euros, then 2,860 euros, then 888 euros, all plus interest as of December 12, 2014.

The judgement does not make it possible to guess the identity of the INPI officials involved, but their irregularities are meticulously described. We learn that the Institute reimbursed “payments for ‘overnight stays’ at actual expenses and without a ceiling on the basis of INPI regulations which would institute a permanent derogation from the laws in force”; “payments of travel expenses without a travel order or with a permanent travel order, one of the payments without a travel order relating to a trip for a spouse”; “payments for transport booked at expensive rates”; “payment of taxi fares without prior authorisation, or for journeys to and from work”.

We also learn that “the accountants approved payment for visa expenses and a trip to China by the wife of the Director General on the basis of an administrative certificate signed by the Secretary General and endorsed by the State Controller”. And so it continues.

And then there is the second judgement, handed down on 23 January 2020 by the CDBF, against the same leaders of the INPI. The judgement can be downloaded on the Court of Auditors website or consulted below:

This ruling still does not make it possible discern which leaders were involved since they are anonymised. But the ruling can also be seen on the Légifrance website, and the identity of the three persons concerned can be found. They are Yves Lapierre, Director General of the INPI from 26 August 2010 to 6 October 2016; and Sophie Spilliaert, Administrative and Financial Director of the INPI from October 1, 2012, to January 30, 2016; and, finally Frédéric Angermann, Secretary General of the INPI from February 22, 2007, to October 31, 2012.

On reading the judgement, the irregularities committed by Frédéric Angermann are of particular interest. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, after his time at the INPI, he would become in 2012 a Master of the Court of Auditors, Deputy Rapporteur to the Constitutional Council and member of the Tax Infringement Commission (CIF). He is therefore one of the judges that the magistrates of the Court of Auditors, together with members of the Council of State, are judging in this ruling.

Furthermore, some of the irregularities may not involve large sums of money but are incongruous, to say the least. According to our information, the person concerned was living in Lille at the time—which he did not wish to confirm—and was therefore reimbursed for the “overnight stays” referred to above when he came to Paris to work and stayed at the hotel. He also routinely took taxis from the Gare du Nord train station to get to work, although this type of trip would not normally be reimbursed.

Above all, if he attracts attention, it is because he was acquitted by his peers. Amazing as it may seem, the accountant (this is the second one) was convicted for having validated some of these irregular payments to the Secretary General, but the Secretary General himself slipped through the judicial net. This suggests that financial justice is just not functioning properly.

This is all the more reason to believe that the grounds of the CBDF’s ruling come as a surprise to experts. We have interviewed lawyers who specialize in these cases as well as a professor of public law. All agree that the CDBF ruling is, to say the least, lenient and twists the law to arrive at an acquittal.

Sleight of Hand Around Financial Loss

Firstly, the judgement grants the former Secretary General of the INPI the benefit of a statute of limitations for many of the claims against him, using arguments that appear to be ill-founded in law. Indeed, the judgement considers that some of the irregular expenses are time-barred. However, it reaches this decision only after tortuous legal reasoning. First argument: “Under the terms of Article L. 314-2 of the Code of Financial Courts: ‘No action may be brought before the Court of Justice after the expiry of a period of five completed years from the day on which the act likely to give rise to the application of the penalties provided for in this Title has been committed’.” However, the judgement rightly points out the following: “The procureur général’s referral reiterates several times that ‘the Court has long accepted that a decision covered by the statute of limitations may lead to the liability of its author where it continued to have effect during the period not prescribed, in particular as regards remuneration’.”

In other words, if a bonus, compensation, remuneration or expenses have been improperly voted by the board of directors of an institution, the statute of limitations applies for the period beginning five years after that vote or decision. However, if the beneficiary of this irregular measure continues to receive the sums concerned during the non-prescription period, he is liable.

However, by an entangled legal reasoning, the judgement considers that in this case the provision, exceptionally, does not apply. Conclusion: “Since the breaches relating to procedural defects occurred during the prescribed period, it is no longer possible, due to the provisions of the aforementioned Article L. 314- 2, to seek the liability of the perpetrator on this count [...] It follows that, as regards the reimbursement of expenses without a travel order, the elements constituting the offences provided for in Articles L. 313-4 and L. 313-6 of the Code of Financial Courts are not met.” Many of the complaints against the three INPI directors collapsed by the same token.

This decision of the CDBF on the statute of limitations is unprecedented. If it were not subsequently overturned by the Council of State, it would lead to a major reversal of case law in this area, prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of numerous irregularities.

But this judgement is even more surprising in that it defends the idea that the public accountant having previously been convicted for some of the charges also made against the Secretary General—in particular, the hotel nights in Paris, which was his place of work at the time—meant the Secretary General could no longer be prosecuted.

Here again, the legal reasoning is tortuous, because first of all, the judgement acknowledges that there was indeed an irregularity. It is so convoluted that, here again, the grounds deserve to be read carefully: “By two decisions of 11 and 16 January 2012, the Director General of the INPI decided that the Secretary General would be reimbursed for his accommodation and meal expenses in the jurisdiction of his administrative residence, on the basis of Article 19 of the regulation of 20 June 2011, according to which ‘Staff members who, by absolute necessity of service, are prevented from returning to their homes at the end of their working day will be reimbursed for their on-site accommodation expenses as well as for their corresponding meal expenses.’ The same article states that ‘The absolute necessity of the service shall be defined by the Director General of the institution and shall be the subject of a detailed decision.’ However, there is no provision in the Decree of 3 July 2006 for the reimbursement of accommodation costs when the staff member is at his or her administrative residence. On this point, the regulation adopted by the INPI contradicts the provisions of the Decree of 3 July 2006 and the two decisions mentioned above, taken in application of the regulation, are for this reason irregular.”

The favour granted by the Director General to the Secretary General is therefore indeed an irregularity. This is what the judgement confirms as follows: “In application of the principles set out in points 2 to 5, the irregularities affecting the payment of INPI travel expenses, adopted during the prescribed period, vitiate the decisions taken pursuant to the said regulation, namely the two decisions of 11 and 16 January 2012 which were made during a period which was not prescribed. The liability of their author, in this case the Director General of the INPI, may therefore usefully be sought, and the fact of having made those irregular decisions constitutes an infringement of the rules relating to the execution of expenditure within the meaning of Article L. 313-4 of the Code of Financial Courts.”

The judgement therefore recognizes that the Director General, who granted these favours, is at fault and that his liability is established. But the beneficiary of these favours is exonerated for this staggering reason—because the public accountant was previously convicted by the Court of Auditors for having allowed this expenditure: “However, for this failure to constitute an unjustified advantage granted to another person within the meaning of Article L. 313-6 of the Code of Financial Courts, it must have caused financial damage to the INPI. However, by a ruling handed down by the Court of Auditors on 27 October 2017, the INPI’s public accountant was held liable for the same facts as those prosecuted before the Court of Budgetary and Financial Discipline, and was found to be in debt to the INPI for a sum corresponding to travel expenses paid irregularly. As the financial loss is no longer constituted, the elements constituting the offence provided for in Article L. 313-6 of the Code of Financial Courts are therefore no longer present.”

One has to admire the judicial somersault: since the public accountant has been sentenced to reimburse the INPI out of her personal funds for the irregularities authorised by the Director General for the benefit of the Secretary General, the financial loss suffered by the INPI no longer exists. And therefore, there is no longer grounds for prosecution. An excellent game of three-card monte.

The sleight of hand is easy to spot. Article L313-6 of the Code of Financial Jurisdiction stipulates the following: “Any person referred to in Article L. 312-1 who, in the exercise of his duties or powers, in disregard of his obligations, has procured for another person an unjustified advantage, pecuniary or in kind, resulting in damage to the Treasury, the community or the body concerned, or has attempted to procure such an advantage, shall be liable to a fine of not less than 300 euros and not more than to double the amount of the gross annual salary or wages he or she was receiving at the time of the offence.”

Reading this article, it is clear that it applies with three reservations. Firstly, it must not be established that the person responsible for the irregularity was not aware of his or her obligations—which is clearly not the case here. Secondly, the irregularity must have generated an unjustified advantage—which in this case is clearly established. And thirdly, it must have caused financial damage to the body or institution concerned.

It is this third provision that the judgement plays on by means of what must be called a judicial sleight of hand. For, on reading the judgement, one question stands out: what did the public accountant do the day after her conviction? Did she not ask the minister responsible, in this case budget minister Gérald Darmanin, for a remission? We asked the accountant the question, but we could not get an answer. In any case, it is allowed by law and it is common practice: the budget minister frequently grants a remission, which can be substantial, to public accountants who request it.

But if that is what happened in the present case, the CBDF would not be justified in ruling that there is no longer any financial damage. The financial loss would still exist, but if an ex gratia remission has been granted, this loss would no longer be borne by the INPI but by the Treasury. Or by the INPI, if the Minister had decided it should cover the cost. However, the CDBF states that there is no longer any financial loss, but the ruling is not reasoned on this point—which, according to our public law experts, is a major
legal error, for by the same token, the CDBF would have had no reason to grant an acquittal.

This is precisely what happened. Mediapart questioned the budget minister, Gérald Darmanin, and he told us through a staff member that he had granted a remission to the two accountants concerned: “The accountants who were debited by order of the Court of Auditors have obtained remission of their debts, these remissions were borne by the INPI, without cost to the state budget,” we were told at Bercy. So, how can the CDBF ruling claim that the financial damage to the INPI has disappeared? To grant the acquittal, the CDBF therefore relies on an argument that is in fact false: the INPI has indeed always suffered financial damage.

The two rulings of the Court of Auditors and the CDBF are therefore not only very unfair, in that they afflict the public accountant and exonerate the Secretary General, but they also demonstrate a very serious malfunctioning of this financial jurisdiction. What is most worrying is that the court that has the power of cassation in this matter is the Council of State, which provides half of the judges in the CBDF. Clearly, the Council of State is judge and party, which is always unhealthy.

In this procedure, there is therefore no possibility of appeal. The only recourse, therefore, is an appeal in cassation to the Council of State. Questioned by Mediapart, the public prosecutor at the Court of Auditors, Catherine Hirsch de Kersauson, replied: “The deadline for appeal is two months, which gives me time for reflection. You will understand in this context that I do not wish to comment on the substance.” We also questioned the accountant, but she did not respond to our e-mail.

According to the professor of public law we consulted, there could, however, be many grounds for appealing this decision, particularly due to the error of fact on which it is based and the erroneous reasoning that results from it.

We have also submitted several questions to Frédéric Angermann, the former Secretary General of the INPI who has become a Master of the Court of Auditors.

These questions can be found under the “Go Further” tab associated with this article. The interested party did not wish to answer our questions precisely, but sent us some general
remarks, which can also be found under the same tab.

Go Further

Before this article went online, we submitted several questions to Frédéric Angermann. Here is the email we sent him:

“Dear Sir,
I will soon be writing an article on Mediapart about the two judgements of the Court of Auditors and the Court of Budgetary Discipline concerning the INPI. As I want to be as precise as possible and am very respectful of the rules of debate, I would like to reach out to you for your version of the facts and your observations.

I therefore take the liberty of submitting my questions to you, on the understanding that I will naturally publish any answers that you are kind enough to pass on.

- The CBDF’s judgement of 23 January 2020 anonymised the names of all the persons mentioned in the INPI case. But I imagine that the
Director General of the INPI in question is indeed you, correct?

- Can you confirm that at the time you were living in Lille while working in Paris, and that this is the reason for the ‘overnight stays’ and taxi expenses mentioned in the judgement.

- Do you think it is fitting that the public accountant was convicted on some of these grounds by the Court of Auditors and that the CDBF used that as an argument for considering that the damage was no longer constituted and therefore to acquit you?

- To what do you attribute this paradoxical situation in which the accounting officer was convicted and you were discharged? Could your status as a financial magistrate have contributed to this leniency?

- I see that you are the auditor of the European Patent Office, long chaired by Benoît Battistelli, your predecessor at the INPI. Is he the one who sponsored you to become an auditor? Is the proximity that you maintain with him likely to guarantee your independence?

Thank you, sir, and my best regards to you.”

In response, Frédéric Angermann sent us this email:

“Dear Sir,

I received your email with great interest and I apologize for the delay in responding, which is due to my professional commitments.

I do not at this stage intend to provide answers to your questions on points that were dealt with by the courts, which, in this context, do not concern me although their nature and structure seem to me to be such that they would be likely to appear relevant to you.

The courts have ruled on the various points you raise, and I have been acquitted of the sole charge against me. I would now like to turn the page on this case, particularly in view of the consequences that it has already had and is having on my personal and professional life.

I have three clarifications:

- A non-anonymised version of this judgement is available online on Légifrance, in particular via the Court of Auditors’ website and the following link:

https://www.ccomptes.fr/fr/publications/institut-national-de-la-propriete-industrielle-inpi-1.

Click on ‘read more’ on the home page.

- I was Secretary General of INPI from February 2007 to October 2012.

- The conditions of my appointment as statutory auditor of the European Patent Office (EPO), member of the college of statutory auditors: Mr. Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2018, never intervened in the process that led to my appointment, on December 12, 2013, by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of this institution—of which he was not a member.

I would like to inform you that I am and will remain vigilant in ensuring the preservation of my honour and reputation.

I shall ensure, if necessary, that I exercise my right of reply to any material you may publish on these matters.

Finally, with regard to any questions you may have on the general organisation of financial public policy and the various procedures involved, I can only refer you to the Court of
Auditors, which will be in a better position to answer them.

Yours sincerely

Notice the question: “I see that you are the auditor of the European Patent Office, long chaired by Benoît Battistelli, your predecessor at the INPI. Is he the one who sponsored you to become an auditor? Is the proximity that you maintain with him likely to guarantee your independence?”

He did not even respond to the actual question.

So basically, while defrauding the EPO Battistelli put in charge of oversight an old colleague of his, secured by ‘Team Battistelli’. This isn’t just an embarrassment to the EPO but to the French system as a whole.

Sometimes it seems like many criminals are in charge, whereas those who expose such criminals are being put behind bars or driven into bankruptcy/insanity.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 06, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:25 am by Needs Sunlight

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