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05.08.20

Links 8/5/2020: Xrdesktop 0.14 and Microsoft Asked to Suspend Kodi Add-On Developer’s Github Account

Posted in News Roundup at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Lenovo Has 2 Awesome Surprises For Linux ThinkPad Customers In 2020

      

      This Summer, Lenovo will unleash a trio of new ThinkPad laptops powered by Fedora 32. It will be a substantial boost for Linux visibility, and Lenovo’s vocal endorsement is a step in the right direction for establishing desktop Linux as a viable alternative to Windows for creators, developers, and everyone in between. But you probably already knew all this. What you don’t know is the steps Lenovo and Fedora — and by extension Red Hat — are taking to truly treat Linux as a first-class citizen when these systems launch.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux at Home: Cross-stitching with Linux



        In this series, we look at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged. The change of lifestyle enforced by Covid-19 is an opportunity to expand our horizons, and spend more time on activities we have neglected in the past.

        When we are instructed to stay at home, and only venture outdoors when it’s absolutely essential to do so, activities around the house spring to mind.

        Cross-stitch is a form of sewing and a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster-like pattern are used to form a picture. The stitcher counts the threads on a piece of evenweave fabric (such as linen) in each direction so that the stitches are of uniform size and appearance. There’s some good open source software that helps create cross stitch patterns. Here’s our recommendations.

    • Server

      • CRI-O 1.18 lands: Adds better insight, config handling for Kubeheads – but keep an eye on the defaults

        CRI-O, which pitches itself as an open-source replacement for Docker as the runtime for Kubernetes, is now available in version 1.18, improving on configuration and logging, among other things.

        The release is the first of the community project – an implementation of the Kubernetes Container Runtime Interface based on the Open Container Initiative – to support drop-in registries.conf configuration files and also provides ways to set a default environment for all containers and a default config path if needed. Users are meant to get more feedback about their input, thanks to a new verification feature that validates provided capabilities when CRI-O is started.

    • Kernel Space

      • Con Kolivas Fixes Up GUI-Related Stalls In Mesa

        Con Kolivas known for his longtime work on improving Linux desktop responsiveness with largely working on the kernel and the likes of MuQSS has now seen his first Mesa patch merged for fixing unexpected GUI-related stalls.

        With just over a dozen lines of code, he has confirmed to “address unexpected GUI related stalls in mesa applications across a range of different linux kernels.” In the patch comment or merge request he hadn’t commented in any further detail about the specific GUI-related stalls he’s been encountering with Mesa.

      • Linux’s Lima DRM Driver For Arm Mali Finally Seeing Run-Time Power Management

        The Lima kernel driver providing reverse-engineered, open-source driver support for aging Arm Mali 4xx graphics processors is finally seeing run-time power management capabilities come Linux 5.8.

        The run-time power management for the Mali 400 series hardware with this open-source DRM driver allows for letting the GPU suspend when idle for longer than 200ms. That 200ms threshold is also tunable via a new autosuspend_delay_ms value exposed on sysfs for the driver.

      • Oracle Working On “PKRAM” For Memory That Survives After Booting Into A New Kexec Kernel

        Oracle’s Anthony Yznaga has sent out a proposal for “PKRAM” as a new means of being able to preserve memory pages of the currently running kernel so that they can be restored after launching a new kernel via kexec.

        One of the mentioned use-cases for “Preserved-over-Kexec RAM” is preserving guest memory of virtual machines across kexec boots in order to support the Intel proposed VMM Fast Restart. VMM Fast Restart laid out by Intel last year would be using Kexec reboots to avoid system firmware time, seamless guest state saving, and re-using other kernel mappings to save time.

    • Applications

      • 5 ways to split your Linux terminal



        Is there anything better than a warmly flickering Linux terminal?

        Sure there is: two warmly flickering Linux terminals. In fact, the more, the better.

        Long ago, terminals were physical devices, but of course, today, they’re just emulated as an application on your computer. If you prefer the terminal as your interface, you probably know that one terminal is rarely enough. Inevitably, you’re going to open a new terminal or a new tab so you can work in it while your first is busy compiling or converting or otherwise processing data.

      • Xournal – A Journal App for Sketching and Note-Taking



        Just recently we published an article on Write – an app with which you can enter text while maintaining your handwriting almost completely.

        Today, we introduce Xournal, a touch-based application for creating journals, sketches, and notes using a stylus.

        Xournal is open source, free to use, and easy to get up and running with. Its aim is to provide superior graphical quality and overall functionality while ultimately serving as an alternative to another Linux note-taking app, Jarnal. Unlike Jarnal, however, it has no collaborative functionality.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Fast and furious deck-building action battler ‘One Step From Eden’ is now on GOG

        One Step From Eden is easily one of the highlights of this year for the mixture of deck-building and fast-paced action, plus it’s now available on DRM-free store GOG.

        Developed to fill a void in the developers heart for more games like Megaman Battle Network, so back in 2016 Thomas Moon Kang set to work and it released back in March. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, and since release it has gained multiple updates to fix up balance issues and deal with some of the more chaotic moments during the battles.

      • Out on May 28, Resolutiion will have you explore a fractured future and escort an AI through chaotic combat

        Resolutiion from Monolith of Minds might be the most stylish game coming to Linux in 2020 and it finally has a release date set for May 28.

        More: Resolutiion is a fast-paced action-adventure created by two angry German brothers leading a band of vagrants who loaded it with lovely pixels, dirty jokes, deep ideas and badassemotional tunes for 20 hours of punishing combat, rewarding exploration, and layered storytelling. Will you be the player or will you be played? In the Infinite Empire nothing is as it seems.
        The demo was seriously impressive, and we’ve been quite hyped about this one for some time now. Especially after the developer did their own little behind the scenes article here on GOL a few years ago. Developed with the excellent cross-platform and open source game engine Godot Engine, it’s another reason to be interested.

      • Space Haven is a little like a space version of The Sims and it’s entering Early Access on May 21

        Space Haven isn’t a traditional space colony building sim, quite different in fact. You’re actually building a spaceship, multiple when you get further and you need to look after your crew. In a way, it becomes a little like playing The Sims in space.

        Thankfully, you don’t have to wait long now as it’s formally entering proper Early Access on May 21.

        After having access to the Alpha builds for some time, I’ve had a huge amount of fun building ships and trying to survive. I’ve sent many away missions to board abandoned ships, lots a few to horrors that await and forgot to build a toilet once so people got pretty unhappy. Bugbyte have managed to craft a game that I’ve been waiting on for a long time.

      • Soldak Entertainment formally announce Drox Operative 2, a starship action RPG

        Drox Operative 2 from Soldak Entertainment has now been officially announced, and they have already confirmed that it will be continuing to support Linux. It’s a starship action RPG with warring alien races, fierce space battles, a dynamic evolving galaxy, and co-op multiplayer.

        The story goes that the Drox were once a powerful, and quite ruthless race that ruled the galaxy using their Drox Operatives. Things went sour, the Drox tried to destroy the Operatives realizing they were a threat and a devestating war caused the majority of the Drox to go extinct. The Drox Operative guild, now fully independent, survived. Now, many younger races are trying expand across the stars and it’s your job to pick the winning side.

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Warden & The Paunch pits the High Elves against the Greenskins

        Just recently Creative Assembly announced Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Warden & The Paunch, their next Lords Pack and this will focus on a war between Yvresse (High Elves) and Grom the Paunch from the Broken Axe Tribe (Greenskins).

        With the announcement going up yesterday, Feral Interactive confirmed the Linux version will see support for this DLC “shortly after Windows” which is due on May 21. Creative Assembly has confirmed that both sides will be available to play in the Eye of the Vortex and Mortal Empires Campaign, and can also be used in campaign, custom, and battle modes.

      • Valve adds a ‘Play Next’ shelf in Steam to remind you of all those games you’ve never played

        If you’ve ever been stuck for something to play on Steam, Valve have made a small step towards reminding you of games you own that you’ve not actually played.

        Arriving in the Steam Beta Client on May 6, they added a new ‘Play Next’ Shelf which has a list of games you own that you’ve not played. It’s the same as the recently released Steam Labs experiment of the same name, except this is in the client to remind you each time you load up Steam.

      • Jotun: Valhalla Edition, Sundered: Eldritch Edition and CHORUS heading to Stadia

        More great news for Stadia fans using Linux, as even more games will be coming to the Linux-powered game streaming platform that have just been announced.

        Following on from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla being announced, finally getting wireless Stadia Controller in the web, and DIRT 5 also being confirmed for Stadia we also have Thunder Lotus Games coming with Jotun: Valhalla Edition and Sundered: Eldritch Edition. Two games already available on the Linux desktop in fact.

      • Hadean Tactics adds deck-building to an auto-battler that takes you through the underworld

        Emberfish Games recently announced Hadean Tactics, a deck-builder with auto-battling that will be coming to Linux when it enters Early Access later this Summer. Linux support is confirmed, and stated by the developer on Steam.

        Hadean Tactics is a deckbuilding autobattler with roguelike elements. Choose a Hero, build your deck, go against monsters, and forge your own path down to the bottom of the underworld to defeat the lord of demons!

        While there’s not much footage on it yet, there is a short trailer that gives us just a taste of what to expect from it. After watching it back a few times, I get the sense it’s a blending of Slay the Spire complete with a node-based map to explore and Dota Underlords and that’s actually pretty interesting. Not only that, the two together makes it quite unique since you have the added control using your card collection. I’m very interested to see how this will play out.

      • Go on a free and slightly disturbing journey as an egg cell in Swallow the Sea

        I love short experimental games and Swallow the Sea is up there in my favourites this year, as it’s so delightfully weird that it’s absolutely captivating.

        Swallow the Sea has you control a “lowly egg cell journeying through a swollen sea of strange and humanoid fish. Prey on smaller life, growing larger and stronger to perhaps someday be born”. It’s incredibly atmospheric, which is helped by the great audio work done on it too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • xrdesktop continues expanding the Linux desktop into Virtual Reality with work sponsored by Valve

        Today the hackers over at Collabora announced the release of xrdesktop 0.14, a Valve Software sponsored effort to bring Linux desktops into the VR world.

        xrdesktop enables traditional Linux window managers to be aware of VR, and it is then able to use VR runtimes to render your traditional windows into a 3D space giving you the ability to interact with them using VR controllers. It’s seriously cool! With the latest release of the open source project, there’s plenty new.

        The biggest change comes with xrdesktop now able to run on XR runtimes with the OpenXR API enables the use of a runtime like Monado which Collabora also develop. It also now supports OpenVR 1.11 which they say provides full support for the latest SteamVR. Additionally they added what they call “scene mode” which is where “xrdesktop renders the full environment in our internal Vulkan renderer, in addition to the existing overlay mode” and there’s plenty more in their release notes.

      • Xrdesktop 0.14 Released With OpenXR Support

        Xrdesktop, the Valve-funded Linux desktop support for VR headsets and making the likes of GNOME and KDE window managers VR-aware, is out with a new release.

        With today’s release of Xrdesktop 0.14, OpenXR is now supported so that Xrdesktop can run on any XR runtimes providing the OpenXR API. In turn this allows Xrdesktop to now work with the open-source Monado implementation.

      • xrdesktop 0.14 with OpenXR support is here!

        Today, we are excited to announce the 0.14 release of xrdesktop, the Open Source project which enables interaction with traditional desktop environments, such as GNOME and KDE, in VR.

        xrdesktop makes window managers aware of VR and is able to use VR runtimes to render desktop windows in 3D space, with the ability of manipulating them with VR controllers and generating mouse and keyboard input from VR.

        Sponsored by Valve, this latest release brings the largest amount of changes yet, with many new features and architectural improvements.

        Most importantly, the most excisting improvement is that xrdesktop is now able to run on XR runtimes providing the OpenXR API, which enables running xrdesktop on a full Open Source stack with Monado.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Participating in GSoC 2020 with DigiKam

          I’m really excited to announce that my proposal for participating in GSoC 2020 with DigiKam has been accepted! I would like to thank the developers for considering me worthy of this opportunity.

          I came to know about KDE during December 2019, when Season of KDE was announced. Even though my proposals for SoK were rejected, I’m glad I didn’t lose hope! I spent the months of January and February getting used to compiling from source, and the GitLab workflow. I learnt many lessons along the way, such as how copy pasting any command you find on StackOverflow into your terminal, can sometimes be disastrous.

        • Finally into GSoC by Ashwin Dhakaita

          It has been over a year since I made my first contribution for KDE and I truly loved every bit of it since then. It all started from October 2018 when I was trying to get habitual of using Linux as it is good for development but ended up in really hating it, due to its Desktop environment. Then, I tried KDE plasma and fell in love with it. I began exploring various KDE projects and really loved the work that the community is doing. I really wanted to be a part of it.

          I tried out using Elisa and was really mesmerised by its beautiful user interface. I then began contributing to the same project and then started working for Krita.

          I applied for GSoC 2019, but was rejected due to lack of slots for the organisation. Though I was sad, I trusted my mentor’s decision and I made into the program this year.

        • Plasma desktop secrets: system area icon spacing

          Small aesthetic niggles can be quite annoying. And sometimes, you just can’t really ignore them. Well, this is one of those, and I must say, with even just a few small pixels of padding added there, things look so much better and more professional. The only downside is that one must dig deep into nerdy stuff to get this configuration changed.

          As you can see, it’s doable – and, you’ve also discovered a Pandora’s box of goodies. You can now manually tweak plasmoids as you see them fit, and as you slowly become more accustomed to the QML code, you can really change and edit the look & feel of the Plasma desktop. Best of all, if you garble something BAR-like, you can simply delete your custom configuration from your home directory, and no harm done. I hope you like and appreciate this tutorial. See you out there, Plasmateers.

        • Finally made into GSoC’20 by Deepak Kumar

          Hello everyone, I am Deepak Kumar a 3rd-year undergraduate student pursuing B.E in Information Technology from India.

          I am happy to share that I have finally cracked Google Summer of Code this year. My project titled “Adding Multiple Datasets to several Activities” has been selected by KDE GCompris organization.

          I have been contributing to the GCompris project from the past year. The day when I started contributing to GCompris I was new to open-source. GCompris was the first organization I started to contribute in the field of open-source. I took up the basic issues initially and gradually when I was enough comfortable with the codebase I worked on resolving many issues, adding features to this awesome project. I have also completed Season of KDE 2020 on which I have worked on implementing multiple datasets to few activities. I think that I was the best candidate for this project because I am well familiar with the codebase, worked on successfully implementing multiple datasets to a few activities and an active contributor for this project.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Cinnamon Vs. GNOME: Which one is for you?



          One great thing about Linux based systems is the variety of choices that the users have to choose from as per their liking. Users get a lot of options to choose from in the case of almost every aspect of the system, be it package managers, desktop environments, applications, and even bootloaders (if your hardware supports them).

          One of the most important of these things is the desktop environment. It is the basic look and feel of the system, it consists of the set of basic applications and often also the amount of work that your hardware has to do (some DEs are lighter than others).

          In this article, we are going to compare the two popular desktop environments, GNOME and Cinnamon.

        • Daniel García Moreno: Fractal: Google Summer of Code 2020

          The selected student is Alejandro Dominguez (aledomu), that is collaborating with Fractal since the Seville Hackfest in December 2018, doing a great work in the backend. Alejandro is young developer with a lot of energy and ideas, so it’s great to have this kind of people working on GNOME.

          I’ve not spend much time lately developing Fractal, the time and energy is limited, but I’ll try to use this GSoC mentorship to go back to the active Fractal development. My objective during this summer will be to stabilize, fix bugs and improve the performance and create a new release at the end of the GSoC, because we’ve a lot of new functionality in master, but I didn’t spend the time to do the release.

          The google summer of code is a great opportunity for free software, it give us a full time working student, during three months, working on free software, so it’s really appreciated in a community where a lot of work is volunteer work.

    • Distributions

      • The 7 Best Scientific Linux Distros Available in 2020



        The above mentioned scientific Linux distros provide a productive environment for the researchers and science students to work on their project. Although some of the above projects are no longer officially maintained or in other words, the development is no longer active. But they are so well optimized and stable that these have become the comfort zone for many veteran researchers. Many researchers are found who don’t want to migrate to modern distros from these special-purpose Linux distributions.

        We all know that the modern and general-purpose Linux distros are being maintained regularly and provide a better value. Still, you should give these scientific distros a try if you are a science enthusiast or young researcher. All of them support booting from the external drive so that you can try them out before making a decision. And, if you are already a user of any of these distros, don’t forget to comment on your experiences below.

      • BSD

        • Getting started with FreeBSD as a desktop operating system

          

          FreeBSD is a great operating system, but, by design, it does not come with a desktop environment. Without installing additional software from FreeBSD’s ports and packages collection, FreeBSD is a command-line only experience. The screenshot below shows what logging into FreeBSD 12.1 looks like when every one of the “optional system components” is selected during installation.

          FreeBSD can be turned into a desktop operating system with any of a wide selection of desktop environments, but it takes time, effort, and following a lot of written instructions. Using the desktop-installer package, which provides the user with options in a text-based menu and helps automate much of the process, is still time-consuming. The biggest problem with either of these methods is that users might find out that their system is not fully compatible with FreeBSD after they have taken all the time to set things up.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE carve out affecting openSUSE

          SUSE’s partnership with EQT started last year – and now SUSE starts to separate more and more services from MicroFocus.

          SUSE and openSUSE are not only cooperating and share code – often enough they also share the same services. As result, openSUSE is also affected from some of the separation work which is currently going on behind the scenes.

          This weekend, the official bug tracking tool for openSUSE related issues (https://bugzilla.opensuse.org/) is one of the targets. The SUSE-IT team is migrating the service together with the bug tracking tool for SUSE to new systems in a new location. As the database has been grown over the last 25(!) years, the scheduled downtime is covering the whole weekend:

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How Red Hat Open Innovation Labs has pivoted to remote residencies

          All over the world people are adjusting to the new reality of remote working. Businesses are thinking carefully about how to adapt to the current situation. Simulating standard working practices across a distributed workforce to maintain normal operations is hard enough, but imagine having to apply this new paradigm to activity that’s heavily reliant on a physical environment. That facilitates human interaction, cooperation and collaboration. Given the situation, it would be perfectly acceptable to suspend such an activity.

          Red Hat Open Innovation Labs residencies are designed to be conducted in person, and to take advantage of the high bandwidth communication that takes place face to face. Normally, we wouldn’t attempt a residency online, but a number of residencies were already in progress and those customers decided that, due to the strong team bond that had developed, they wanted to continue these, even if this meant moving to a virtual residency.

          Labs residencies are a highly immersive experience. They expose teams to the culture of open source so that they begin to understand the value of digital communities, how to collaborate, explore new ideas and put them to good use. Residents can learn new techniques, understand new concepts or immerse themselves in emergent technologies such as AI and automation.

        • Zowe enables the continuing evolution of z/OS

          IBM Z is celebrating 56 years since the original introduction of the IBM System/360. Many factors have contributed to the system’s longevity — one is the platform’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of the information technology (IT) market. In the early days of computing, batch processing dominated, then transaction processing, then client-server, and now cloud computing. Cloud computing is based on a vast number of open source technologies. Today, IBM Z’s evolution continues to embrace open source — specifically for z/OS.

        • IBM and Java: 8, 11, and beyond

          . IBM embraced OpenJDK and open-sourced its J9 Java Virtual Machine to the Eclipse Foundation, as Eclipse OpenJ9. IBM actively contributes to the AdoptOpenJDK community to build fully open source Java binaries based on OpenJDK and the OpenJ9 JVM. We recommend that our products, business partners, and customers use the LTS versions of these binaries, especially for JDK 11 and later. For the z/OS® platform, IBM will deliver an IBM SDK for z/OS, Java Technology Edition version 11, so that Java applications can rely on existing components like JZOS, and underlying IBM Z® software and hardware facilities.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-19

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Fedora 30 will reach end-of-life on 26 May.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Updated Oracle Database images now available in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace

          The deployed Instance will be based on the following software stack:

          Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Native Instance
          Oracle Linux 7.8
          UEK5 (Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, release 5) Update 3
          Updated Oracle Database 12cR2, 18c and 19c with April, 2020 Critical Patch Update

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Focal Fossa Corona Kit



          Upon the recent release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, I write this for people in Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. Please stay at home, don’t get bored, and you can amuse yourself with Ubuntu. I mentioned here several ideas and suggestions for you to explore and have fun more with Ubuntu. Among them are to use Telegram and Jitsi, watching community conference videos and podcasts, making 3D games and playing them, reading ebooks and audio books, join the new world Fediverse, hacking your own computer, and beyond. All can be done gratis. Cheers up and go social again even at home!

          For example, as I have a GNU/Linux course, I teach my students from home with Telegram and Jitsi no matter they are in my country Indonesia or beyond. I find it is fun and far from boring, even I love it more and more and I always learn many new things. By these two tools, it means I communicate with text, voice, file sharing, and video with people. All can run on Focal Fossa. You can do that too even for other purposes!

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is certified for the Raspberry Pi

          The release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was April 23, 2020. On the same day, Canonical added full support for Ubuntu Server 20.04 on all of the Raspberry Pis that we certify. Users can flash 20.04 to their Raspberry Pi knowing Canonical guarantees it will ‘just work’ and can make the most out of all of the new features added with 20.04. You can do this from our download page, or from the Official Raspberry Pi Imager tool.

        • Ready, Set, Bake: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is Now Certified for the Raspberry Pi



          Canonical buffed up its support for the hugely successful single board computer earlier this year so this news, while welcome, isn’t exactly a moonshot announcement!

          But the company say the move means “…users can flash 20.04 to their Raspberry Pi knowing Canonical guarantees it will ‘just work’ and can make the most out of all of the new features added with 20.04”.

          This isn’t just fancy marketing talk, either. Certification means that all Ubuntu images for the board undergo fastidious testing — “before we release an update we test it on every Pi in Canonical’s lab”, they add — and if a critical CVE is discovered Canonical commit to patching it within one day.

          This helps ensure that running Ubuntu on a Raspberry Pi is just as secure and as stable as running anywhere else.

        • 10 Most Interesting Facts About Ubuntu Linux That You Must Know

          Ubuntu is the most popular and beginner-friendly open-source Linux distribution. There are thousands of Linux distros but Ubuntu stands out among all of them. The reason is its simplicity, high customization, and feature-richness.

          Since the first release of Ubuntu 4.10 in 2004, Ubuntu has evolved and changed the meaning of Linux. This is because, before Ubuntu, Linux was considered a nightmare to install and use. But as Ubuntu arrived, it eased the method as simple as Windows installation with additional features and customization. That’s the reason people love Ubuntu the most (including me). Hence, in this article, I’m gonna touch upon some fascinating Ubuntu facts that you may not know. So, let’s get to know about our favorite Linux distribution.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • A guide to setting up your Open Source Program Office (OSPO) for success



        Companies create Open Source Program Offices (OSPO) to manage their relationship with the open source ecosystems they depend on. By understanding the company’s open source ecosystem, an OSPO is able to maximize the company’s return on investment and reduce the risks of consuming, contributing to, and releasing open source software. Additionally, since the company depends on its open source ecosystem, ensuring its health and sustainability shall ensure the company’s health, sustainable growth, and evolution.

        Marc Andreessen has said that “software is eating the world,” and more recently, it could be said that open source is eating the software world. But how is that process happening?

        Companies get involved with open source projects in several ways. These projects comprise the company’s open source ecosystem, and their relationships and interactions can be seen through Open Source Software’s (OSS) inbound and outbound processes.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice On Windows Will Now Hard Require Clang For Performance Reasons

          Last month we reported on LibreOffice now preferring its new rendering code be built with LLVM Clang over alternative compilers. When falling back to CPU-based software rasterization, the Clang-generated code performs much better than alternative compilers given Google’s own emphasis with Skia on being Clang-focused. LibreOffice 7.0 is now beginning a hard requirement on Clang when building for Windows.

          Collabora’s Luboš Luňák made the change today in LibreOffice Git to hard require the Clang compiler for Skia on Windows. Skia rendering is the default on Windows and in its CPU-based rasterization mode “performs much worse when compiled under MSVC” compared to Clang.

        • Export larger pages from Draw using PDF 1.6

          You can use Draw with a document which has a single page, which more or less acts as a canvas with unlimited size to handle vector graphics. The current limit of such a canvas in size is 600 x 600 cm. (And that can be increased further if there is demand without too large problems.)

          Exporting such a document to PDF is a different matter, though. The specification (up to, and including version 1.5) says that the unit to specify sizes is points, and the maximum allowed value is 14 400. This means that there is no markup to describe that your page is 600 cm wide. PDF 1.6 (and newer versions) introduce a UserUnit markup to allow unlimited page size, and now Draw (and other apps) can use this to describe the increased size.

          Another use-case can be a large sheet in Calc, exporting it to a single PDF page, so you can pan around easily on a touch device. If you have enough rows, then getting rid of this limit is helpful to deal with the large page height.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro kernel source code is now available

            After months of leaks and rumors, the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro were officially announced last month. The devices are now on sale in several countries and they even received their first set of software updates last week which addressed some early bugs and improved the front camera performance. Now in a bid to comply with the requirements of GPL v2 and help the custom development community get the ball rolling on building ROMs and kernels, OnePlus has released the kernel sources for the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro.

      • Programming/Development

        • Developers say Google’s Go is ‘most sought after’ programming language of 2020

          Lots of developers really want to learn Go, a programming language for large systems created by Google, meanwhile most developers are sick of attending meetings, and most of those working at multinational corporations aren’t happy there.

          That’s according to the results of a survey of over 16,655 developers from 76 countries carried out by HackerEarth, a company with offices in India and San Francisco that provides tools for recruiters to remotely assess developer coding skills.

        • Forget about Python. Learn COBOL and become a crisis hero

          Used in 80 percent of all in-person transactions and 95 percent of all cash machines, COBOL is the programming language of money. More than 200 billion lines of COBOL are still in use today, and all that needs to be maintained.

          Now more than ever. As unemployment claims are going through the roof, the ancient — and COBOL-based — social security systems are overloaded. So governors are willing to do anything to get their hands on COBOL programmers.

          So if you want to get a few big paychecks and do something to help those who are affected by this crisis, COBOL is the way to go.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Python Bytes Episode #180: Transactional file IO with Python and safer
          • EuroPython 2020: Second call for proposals (CFP)

            After participating in several other online events in Europe, we found that there is a lot of interest in these events from other time zones as well. This is a real advantage of running an online event: without the need to travel, joining an event becomes much easier.

          • Making sense of generators, coroutines, and “yield from” in Python
          • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #8: Docker + Python for Data Science and Machine Learning

            Docker is a common tool for Python developers creating and deploying applications, but what do you need to know if you want to use Docker for data science and machine learning? What are the best practices if you want to start using containers for your scientific projects? This week Christopher’s guest is Tania Allard, she is a Sr. Developer Advocate at Microsoft focusing on Machine Learning, scientific computing, research and open source. Tania has created a talk for the PyCon US 2020 which is now online. The talk is titled “Docker and Python: Making them Play Nicely and Securely for Data Science and ML.” Her talk draws on her expertise in the improvement of processes, reproducibility and transparency in research and data science. They discuss a variety of tools for making your containers more secure and results reproducible.

          • PyCharm 2019.3.5

            If you currently run PyCharm version 2019.3, this release comes with multiple bug fixes to improve your experience. Get it from within PyCharm (Help | Check for Updates), using JetBrains Toolbox, or by downloading the new version from our website.

        • Talks

        • Java

          • Oracle’s Project Leyden uses static images to ease Java pain

            A new project from Oracle seeks to solve the nagging problem of slow Java startup times and other performance-related issues.

            Dubbed Project Leyden, the effort will address these pain points by introducing a concept of “static images” to the Java Platform and the Java Development Kit (JDK), said Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle, in a post to a Java mailing list about the effort he proposed and heads up.

            He describes a static image as “a standalone program, derived from an application, which runs that application — and no other.” Moreover, “a static image is a closed world: It cannot load classes from outside the image, nor can it spin new bytecodes at run time,” Reinhold said.

  • Leftovers

    • A Good Time: Civilization Hits the Pause Button

      Think of all the times you were on hold, waiting for a response, something to take place, like a decision about a school or financial aid application, a job interview, a submission to a publication, or even a marriage proposal. Did you simply sit on your thumbs, immobilized, until some far-off entity decided your fate? You probably didn’t, simply because life presented other demands you felt obliged to meet. The same should be true now, even in these times of round-the-clock curfew in which little is demanded of us prisoners.

    • The Great Divorce: the People of Colorado v. the State

      When I was a boy, my dad took me and my twin sister and brothers to see the demolition of the Omaha-Grant Smoke Stack in Globeville. At the time it was among the tallest smokestacks in the world. It stood 350 feet high, with brick walls 12 feet thick. It was said to contain enough bricks to build 600 six-room bungalows.

    • Science

      • Why are viruses hard to kill? Virologists explain why these tiny parasites are so tough to treat

        The odd makeup of these infectious agents is part of what makes them difficult to defeat. Compared to other pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses are minuscule. And because they have none of the hallmarks of living things — a metabolism or the ability to reproduce on their own, for example — they are harder to target with drugs.

        “The fact that they are not alive means they don’t have to play by the same rules that living things play by,” said Britt Glaunsinger, a virologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

    • Education

      • As More Students Sit Online Exams Under Lockdown Conditions, Remote Proctoring Services Carry Out Intrusive Surveillance

        The coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdown in most countries has forced major changes in the way people live, work and study. Online learning is now routine for many, and is largely unproblematic, not least because it has been used for many years. However, online testing is more tricky, since there is a concern by many teachers that students might use their isolated situation to cheat during exams. One person’s problem is another person’s opportunity, and there are a number of proctoring services that claim to stop or at least minimize cheating during online tests. One thing they have in common is that they tend to be intrusive, and show little respect for the privacy of the people they monitor.

      • Online Education in a Time of Grave Danger

        I taught a college course online. I used a program that was accepted at that level of education as the standard for teaching. The program took several sessions of individual instruction at the community college’s tech center and lots of off-site practice to become competent in meeting students online for one class out of four classes each week. There is also a learning curve for students in how to use and navigate online learning software.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Dropbox Posts First Net Income on Rising Cloud-Software Demand

          Earnings in the first quarter were $39.3 million, or 9 cents a share, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Sales rose 18% to $455 million. Analysts on average had projected a net loss of 3 cents and revenue of $452.2 million. Dropbox has exceeded analysts’ estimates for sales and profit every quarter since going public in March 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

        • Google unifies all of its messaging and communication apps into a single team

          The move puts all of Google’s major communication products under one umbrella: Soltero’s team. Soltero tells me that there are no immediate plans to change or integrate any of Google’s apps, so don’t get your hopes up for that (yet). “We believe people make choices around the products that they use for specific purposes,” Soltero says.

          Still, Google’s communications apps are in dire need of a more coherent and opinionated production development, and Soltero could very well be the right person to provide that direction. Prior to joining Google, he had a long career that included creating the much-loved Acompli email app, which Microsoft acquired and essentially turned into the main Outlook app less than two months after signing the deal.

        • Smart home platform Wink will require a monthly subscription starting next week

          Wink has not responded to a request for comment from The Verge about the announcement. The sudden shift to a subscription service isn’t the first indication that Wink may be experiencing troubles. A report published by The Verge in October 2019 described how Wink, which is owned by will.i.am’s technology company i.am+, hadn’t at the time paid staffers in seven weeks.

        • PrivateVPN and Betternet vulnerabilities allow for fake or malicious updates

          Crucial vulnerabilities in PrivateVPN and Betternet can allow hackers to push fake updates and install malicious programs or steal user data

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Indian Startup Dhiway Joins the ToIP Global Foundation as Founding Member

                Dhiway, India’s first Verifiable Data Exchange Platform joined the Trust over IP (ToIP) Foundation as a Founding Steering Committee member, to help enable trustworthy exchange and verification of data between any two parties on the Internet. The ToIP Foundation is hosted at the Linux Foundation with the goal of creating a robust common standard that gives people and businesses the confidence that data is coming from a trusted source, allowing them to connect, interact and innovate at a speed and scale not possible today.

                Dhiway is a startup out of Bengaluru, India. Founded by technologists with extensive experience in building open source projects which scale, Dhiway is committed to working with open standards in order to drive innovation. Dhiway builds data interchange systems and enables organizations to deploy governance frameworks to sustain these as sustainable digital assets.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, salt, and webkit2gtk), Fedora (firefox, mingw-gnutls, nss, and teeworlds), Mageia (firefox, libvncserver, matio, qt4, roundcubemail, samba, thunderbird, and vlc), Oracle (firefox and squid), SUSE (firefox, ghostscript, openldap2, rmt-server, syslog-ng, and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (firefox).

          • GoDaddy suffers hack of SSH credentials

            In an email, Markku Rossi, CTO of Finland-based security provider SSH.com noted that those signing up for GoDaddy’s web hosting get a Linux operating system account on GoDaddy’s servers for web content.

            All GoDaddy plans include FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access to that account for uploading website assets. Administrators can also enable SSH for more secure access. The SSH access, he noted, uses the same username+password authentication used for the FTP access.

          • FreeRDP 2.1 Released Due To Multiple Security Issues

            Last month marked the release of FreeRDP 2.0 for implementing the Microsoft Remote Assistant Protocol v2. FreeRDP 2.0 also brought RDP proxy support, font smoothing by default, Flatpak packaging support, better scaling for Wayland, and other improvements. Today now marks the release of FreeRDP 2.1.

            FreeRDP 2.1 isn’t coming as a result of some fun new features like v2.0, but rather due to security issues. Users of this Remote Desktop Protocol implementation are encouraged to move to FreeRDP 2.1 to mitigate multiple security issues. Among the security advisories are for out-of-bound reads and writes along with possible integer overflows.

          • FreeRDP 2.1.0 released

            2.1.0 is mainly a security and bug fix release that addresses multiple security issues indentified by hac425. If you are using any earlier version of FreeRDP we recommend updating to 2.1.0. The security advisories will be published on the FreeRDP security advisory page on GitHub.

          • Wladimir Palant: What data does Xiaomi collect about you?

            A few days ago I published a very technical article confirming that Xiaomi browsers collect a massive amount of private data. This fact was initially publicized in a Forbes article based on the research by Gabriel Cîrlig and Andrew Tierney. After initially dismissing the report as incorrect, Xiaomi has since updated their Mint and Mi Pro browsers to include an option to disable this tracking in incognito mode.

            [...]

            Even with the recent changes, Xiaomi browsers are massively invading users’ privacy. The amount of data collected by default goes far beyond what’s necessary for application improvement. Instead, Xiaomi appears to be interested in where users go, what they search for and which videos they watch. Even with a fairly obscure setting to disable this tracking, the default behavior isn’t acceptable. If you happen to be using a Xiaomi device, you should install a different browser ASAP.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Utah Pulls Plug On Surveillance Contractor After CEO’s Past As A White Supremacist Surfaces

              A couple of months ago, a records request revealed a private surveillance contractor had access to nearly every piece of surveillance equipment owned and operated by the state of Utah. Banjo was the company with its pens in all of the state’s ink. Banjo’s algorithm ran on top of Utah’s surveillance gear: CCTV systems, 911 services, location data for government vehicles, and thousands of traffic cameras.

            • Why Americans have to talk about digital privacy at the kitchen table

              As we huddle in our homes for remote work, schooling, and family life, our nation has been dramatically transformed within weeks to one that operates largely online, as millions are tethered to their screens on various digital devices for most waking hours.

              This increasing use of, and dependence on, broadband networks, websites, and apps enable us to undertake daily activities while social distancing from others who are not hunkered down with us. Whether we are applying for a new job, seeking government financial assistance, or enabling telehealth diagnoses, there is no doubt that digital privacy finally has reached the kitchen table.

            • Sidewalk Labs pulling out of Quayside waterfront project

              Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff says in a letter that the Google affiliated company is no longer pursuing the smart city because it has become too difficult to make the project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of its plan.

            • Sidewalk Labs announces it’s no longer pursuing Toronto waterfront development

              In November 2019, the company released a 482-page document with an updated plan for the development in the hope that it would ease concerns over privacy that had circled the project since its proposal, including from Ontario’s privacy commissioner.

              The project had been marred by criticism around privacy protections and intellectual [sic] property [sic] concerns and attracted complaints from business leaders and security experts alike.

            • Alphabet’s Dream of a Smart City in Toronto Is Over

              The stated reason was the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on real estate prices. Without the ability to profitably sell office space and homes in the development, the project wasn’t viable, Sidewalk Labs Chief Executive Officer Dan Doctoroff said in a blog post.

              But even before the virus swept over the world, Sidewalk’s Toronto ambitions had been scaled back significantly. Years of opposition from privacy activists and urbanists, as well as pushback from prominent members of Canada’s tech industry had relegated Alphabet to a 12-acre plot of land that would essentially only have room for a handful of residential and commercial buildings.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • How to save economy and climate together

        There’s growing agreement by economists and scientists: Covid-19 needs the world to rescue both economy and climate together.

      • How Climate Change Is Contributing to Skyrocketing Rates of Infectious Disease

        The scientists who study how diseases emerge in a changing environment knew this moment was coming. Climate change is making outbreaks of disease more common and more dangerous.

        Over the past few decades, the number of emerging infectious diseases that spread to people — especially coronaviruses and other respiratory illnesses believed to have come from bats and birds — has skyrocketed. A new emerging disease surfaces five times a year. One study estimates that more than 3,200 strains of coronaviruses already exist among bats, awaiting an opportunity to jump to people.

      • Return to ‘Business as Usual’ Means Climate Catastrophe: World’s Mayors Demand Transformative Green Covid-19 Recovery

        “Half-measures that maintain the status quo won’t move the needle or protect us from the next crisis.”

      • Covid-19 Is a Reason To Start the Green New Deal Now

        We can get out of this depression and save the planet all at once.

      • Energy

        • The Screamer

          I was covering an Extinction Rebellion march and rally a couple months ago when, as folks were organizing themselves, unrolling the banners, figuring out logistics and doing some last minute speechifying this one cat, assumed to be homeless by the way he dressed I suppose, came up into the circle and right in the middle of the organizing and instruction-giving he starts screaming AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH and he keeps going. A couple of the protesters got up beside the guy and  asked in gentle tones if he could cool it and not disrupt the speakers and stuff. Well, he went on for a while, screaming AARRRRRRGGGHHH as loud he could.  People tried to ignore him maybe feeling a little embarrassed as people do when someone lets out with some passionate, primal impulse, in this case something like a wounded animal screaming out its last act of total defiance. AARRRRGGGHHHH he said until his voice started cracking a bit and a couple cops moved in to insure the peace.

        • Leader of Gas Industry Front Group Used Public Health Threat to Cancel Climate Policy Vote in California

          And while the March 16 protest threat preceded right-wing reopen groups protesting stay-at-home orders across the country, both have something in common — an appearance of grassroots organizing with underlying ties to big funders including fossil fuel interests.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Conserving Politics or Conserving Nature?

          Imagine a world in which conservation decisions were based on ethics and aesthetics, that including the interdependence of all the earth’s organic and inorganic elements. Imagine a northern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in which the science of ecology, the science of conservation biology, were inextricable and uncompromising parts of those decisions. Imagine a Gallatin Range from Yellowstone to Bozeman that was conserved with those determinants being uncensored, freely circulated, and openly discussed and critiqued on all sides. Imagine an environmental movement that was united in, and guided by, such views.

        • New High Seas Treaty Could Be a Gamechanger for the Ocean
    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Republicans Oppose Mail-In Voting Because They’re Scared of Losing

        Donald Trump’s deliberately cruel, remorselessly lethal, floundering, blundering, utterly worthless response to the COVID-19 pandemic has left him and his Republican hostages in Congress wide open to a historic electoral rout in November.

      • We Believe This “Dark Money” Group Illegally Spent Nearly $5 Million to Destroy Sanders 2020 Campaign

        And because voters have a right to know the truth, the Campaign Legal Center where I work has filed an official FEC complaint against the secretive Big Tent Project.

      • “What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?”

        The coronavirus does not care whether we are Republican or Democrat; mainline or evangelical Christian; Jew, Muslim or Hindu; white, black or brown; Chinese, Italian, Iranian, Russian, African or American, richer or poorer, older or younger. We are all human and subject to the same illnesses. Our nationality, faith, race, class, location or age does not shield us from our common human frailties.

      • Florida Judge Signals Clear Intent to Strike Down State’s New “Poll Tax” Law

        A U.S. district court judge for the state of Florida made it evident on Wednesday in no uncertain terms that he intends to strike down or significantly alter the state’s restrictive rules process for restoring the right to vote for individuals with felonies on their records.

      • The Fight for Bernie Delegates Is Escalating—and Could Help Beat Trump

        “We have had enough of the status quo policies that do not change the material conditions for the poor, working poor and middle class in this country,” said former Sanders national co-chair Nina Turner this week. “We intend to keep pushing for a government that works for everyone.”

      • Sketchy Gets Sketchier: Senator Loeffler Received $9 Million ‘Gift’ Right Before She Joined The Senate

        Kelly Loeffler is, by far, the wealthiest elected official in Congress, with an estimated net worth of half a billion dollars (the second wealthiest is Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte (famous for his body slamming a journalist for asking him a question and then lying to the police about it)). Loeffler may be used to getting away with tearing up the red tape in her previous life, but in Congress, that often looks pretty corrupt. In just the last few months since she was appointed, there were concerns about her stock sales and stock purchases, which seemed oddly matched to information she was getting during briefings regarding the impact of COVID-19. She has since agreed to convert all her stock holdings to managed funds outside of her control (something every elected official should do, frankly).

      • Did Gorbachev want to destroy the USSR? Could the Soviet Union still exist today? Might Putinism end in reforms? Questions about Perestroika that you’re too embarrassed to ask, 35 years later

        On April 23, 1985, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union held a plenary session that is now considered the start of Perestroika. These transformations were associated directly with Mikhail Gorbachev, the party’s popular new general secretary. But why did Perestroika end with the USSR’s collapse? Could the country have been reformed in some other way? What role did the secret police and the Americans play in all this? For answers to these questions about Perestroika and more, Meduza turned to Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow and the chair of the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

      • ‘Just Straight Cronyism’: Top Trump and GOP Donor Picked to Lead US Postal Service in Time of Crisis

        “President Trump rewards a partisan donor by installing him at the United States Postal Service. This crony doesn’t cut it.”

      • Day After Trump Says Testing Makes ‘Ourselves Look Bad,’ Harvard Researchers Call for Tripling of Testing as Covid-19 Deaths Surge

        “I think what people have to remember is that the virus isn’t gone. The disease isn’t gone.”

      • Testing Times: a Journal of the Onset of the Plague Year

        Donald Trump is not a president. He can’t even play one on TV. He’s a corrupt and dangerous braggart with ill-concealed aspirations for a Crown and, with an election coming up, he’s been monopolizing prime time every day, spouting self-congratulation and misinformation. (No, don’t inject that Lysol!) His never-ending absurd performances play out as farce against the tragic background of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the nation. If we had a real president, which is to say, almost anybody else, things would be different. We would have seen the pandemic coming. It would not have attacked me in my old age. And most of the dead might still be alive.

      • Getting Trumped by Covid-19

        A journal of the onset of the plague year.

      • All the Presidents’ Miens

        All the Presidents’ Miens

      • What Happened When Health Officials Wanted to Close a Meatpacking Plant, but the Governor Said No

        On Tuesday, March 31, an emergency room doctor at the main hospital in Grand Island, Nebraska, sent an urgent email to the regional health department: “Numerous patients” from the JBS beef packing plant had tested positive for COVID-19. The plant, he feared, was becoming a coronavirus “hot spot.”

        The town’s medical clinics were also reporting a rapid increase in cases among JBS workers. The next day, Dr. Rebecca Steinke, a family medicine doctor at one of the clinics, wrote to the department’s director: “Our message is really that JBS should shut down for 2 weeks and have a solid screening plan before re-opening.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Cloudflare Shares Tumble After Company Posts Bigger Net Loss

        Cloudflare Inc. reported a bigger quarterly loss on Thursday, sending shares of the software maker down 12% in extended trading.

        The net loss was $32.7 million in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $17.1 million a year earlier, the San Francisco-based company said Thursday in a statement. Revenue jumped 48% to $91 million, while operating expenses surged 65%. The company lost 4 cents a share, excluding some items.

      • YouTube Removed a Sex Tech Conference for No Reason

        “Considering this isn’t a one-time occurrence and there are frequent stories of folks being shadowbanned, demonetized, having their accounts disabled, and so on within our communities, I can’t help but wonder what variables within the automation their smart detection has been told to look for that would trigger a violation of inappropriate content,” Falk said.

        This is yet another example of sex education and sexual speech being routinely silenced by tech companies like YouTube, Facebook and Apple for years. It’s an incident that’s indicative of a larger pattern of sexual censorship online.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • ‘Fuck the Pulitzer — I just want a hyperlink’ Russian journalists say ‘The New York Times’ should have acknowledged their investigative work in the newspaper’s award-winning reports about the Putin regime’s ‘predations’

        On May 4, 2020, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced the latest winners of the most coveted award in journalism. The staff of The New York Times won prizes in three different categories: international reporting, investigative reporting, and commentary. The first honor was awarded for “a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.” The winning work includes six articles and two videos. Not one of the stories is actually set inside Russia: the reports are about wars in Libya and Syria, elections in Madagascar and the Central African Republic, and murders in Bulgaria and Ukraine. 

      • Trump’s VOA Criticism Shows US-Funded News Doesn’t Mean US-Approved

        But tensions between the White House and VOA have been the norm for decades, largely because of the uniqueness of a semi-independent – and occasionally aggressive – news agency operating within the belly of a massive federal government bureaucracy.

        Last month, President Donald Trump joined some of his predecessors who have taken issue with VOA’s news coverage – but with unprecedented intensity and shrillness.

      • Freedom of Press Under Attack by Trump

        Sunday was World Press Freedom Day and although it’s far from a national holiday, freedom of the press is a right granted to all Americans.

      • Assange’s US extradition, Threat to Future of Internet and Democracy

        On Monday May 4, the British Court decided that the extradition hearing for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, scheduled for May 18, would be moved to September. This four month delay was made after Assange’s defense lawyer argued the difficulty of his receiving a fair hearing due to restrictions posed by the Covid-19 lockdown. Monday’s hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court proceeded without enabling the phone link for press and observers waiting on the line, and without Assange who was not well enough to appear via videolink.

        Sunday May 3rd marked World Press Freedom Day. As people around the globe celebrated with online debates and workshops, Assange was being held on remand in London’s Belmarsh prison for publishing classified documents which exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. On this day, annually observed by the United Nations to remind the governments of the importance of free press, Amnesty International renewed its call for the US to drop the charges against this imprisoned journalist.

        The US case to extradite Assange is one of the most important press freedom cases of this century. The indictment against him under the Espionage Act is an unprecedented attack on journalism. This is a war on free speech that has escalated in recent years turning the Internet into a battleground.

        Privatized censorship

        While he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after being granted asylum in 2012, Assange alerted the public about the oppressive force that is now threatening press freedom around the world. In a statement that was read during the “Organizing Resistance to Internet Censorship” webinar in January 2018, Assange noted how multinational tech companies like Google and Facebook have evolved into powerful “digital superstates”. He warned that “undetectable mass social influence powered by artificial intelligence is an existential threat to humanity”.

        Most who care about digital rights are well aware that tech giants like Google and Facebook have long been embroiled with Washington’ halls of power. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook has been candid about his pro-censorship stance. In his 2019 Washington Post op-ed Zuckerberg shared his belief that Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site with more than 800 million users, should take an active role to control content – for governments.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Rohingya in Malaysia: Coronavirus and Alibis for Paranoia

        Rounding up undocumented workers, migrant and refugees is part of a brutal order of things in Malaysia. When matters economic are going well, authorities turn the blindest of eyes. The money pours in; development goals are being met. During times of crisis, the eye sharpens in the search for scapegoats. With the enervating effects of the COVID-19 response, the vulnerable are easy fare.

      • Barr Accused of ‘Capturing Justice System’ for Benefit of Trump as DOJ Drops Case Against Michael Flynn

        “Fairness, independence, and the rule of law are principles that have no meaning to Barr. This is a dark day for the Justice Department.”

      • The Coronavirus Has Stopped School Shootings, But Not All Gun Violence

        The second, more subtle lesson we can learn is the idea that gun violence is essentially a problem of school shootings is truly misinformed. While the number of school shootings has decreased during the pandemic, just as with many other issues, the problems of vulnerable communities are being exacerbated and definitively worsened. While the same students (including myself) who protested gun violence in the context of school shootings have the ability to quarantine and maintain social distancing, incidents of gun violence have increased in cities like Dallas, Nashville, and Tucson, according to analysis from The Trace of Gun Violence Archive data. People can’t just maintain social distance from gun violence when it’s so close to home.

      • We Didn’t Need Video to Know Ahmaud Arbery Was Lynched

        The thing to remember is that this video, which was leaked this week, contains no new information. Arbery was shot dead on February 23. Police have had everything they’ve needed to arrest these men since then. That’s because the McMichaels’ own “official” story is an admission of crime.

      • Ahmaud Arbery Should Be Alive

        I’m going to word this carefully, because I don’t necessarily believe any part of the story Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William Bryan are telling. Gregory, a retired investigator for the Brunswick County district attorney, told police that he first saw Arbery “hauling ass” that day down Satilla Drive, according to the police report. That is what a young, athletic man might be doing on a jog, first of all. But that sight provoked him to tell his son Travis that he suspected Arbery was involved in two recent burglaries in the area, even though neither of the alleged incidents had been reported to police and no official description was on record. Gregory made that assessment, despite the guy “hauling ass” past him. Was a black man running away in this predominantly white community all the probable cause that he needed?

      • Father and son accused in Ahmaud Arbery shooting arrested

        A white father and son accused of fatally shooting of 25-year-old black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia earlier this year have been arrested, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI).

        The GBI announced Thursday evening that Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, will be booked into the Glynn County Jail on charges of murder and aggravated assault.

      • Woman who accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of sexual assault now claims Trump supporters paid her to lie

        The woman says right-wing provocateur Jacob Wohl and his frequent accomplice Jack Burkman persuaded her to cast Fauci as the assailant using details from an actual sexual assault she survived just after high school, and they paid her to do it, reported Reason.

      • She Said Anthony Fauci Sexually Assaulted Her. Now She Says Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman Paid Her to Lie.

        For those lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the exploits of Wohl and Burkman, they are pro-Trump provocateurs who’ve found a niche drumming up fake sexual harassment allegations that end comically badly, including against former FBI Director Robert Mueller (who turned out to have been serving jury duty the day he was supposed to have committed the assault) and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (the press conference for which took place on Burkman’s stoop, and whose supposed victim, a 24-year-old Marine, never showed up).

        Being on the receiving end of an allegation of sexual misconduct is now a rite of political passage—a perverse sign you’ve made it. Fauci’s star rose in March as he appeared at COVID-19 briefings day after day, outshining President Donald Trump and occasionally knocking the president’s pronouncements out of the headlines. Here, then, was an opportunity for Wohl and Burkman to take down the newest of Trump’s perceived enemies, to maybe become favorites in Trump’s actual orbit. On the chance it would cause their own star to rise, they would move Fauci toward irrelevancy, if not infamy.

      • Atheists Warn Minneapolis That Mosque’s Public Prayers Violate Noise Ordinance

        That seems like a clear-cut violation of the ordinance, which is why the Freedom From Religion Foundation has written a letter to Mayor Jacob Frey warning him against this blatant violation of church/state separation.

      • As Women in Iran Face Prison for Taking Off the Hijab, Fox TV Series Glamorizes It

        Elementary school teachers in Tunisia were threatened with death for not wearing hijab. Syrian schoolgirls were forbidden to go to school unless they wore hijab. Women in Gaza were forced by Hamas to wear hijab. Women in London were threatened with murder by Muslim thugs if they didn’t wear hijab. An anonymous young Muslim woman doffed her hijab outside her home and started living a double life in fear of her parents. Fifteen girls in Saudi Arabia were killed when the religious police wouldn’t let them leave their burning school building because they had taken off their hijabs in their all-female environment. A girl in Italy had her head shaved by her mother for not wearing hijab.

        Other women and girls have been killed or threatened, or live in fear for daring not to wear the hijab.

        Women in Iran continue to protest against the Islamic regime by daring to take off their hijabs, despite the fact that they face heavy prison sentences for doing so.

        But where is the TV series glamorizing the many victims of hijab? Who is standing with them? Rob Lowe? Anyone? Anyone?

      • COVID-19 not an excuse for unlawful deprivation of liberty – UN expert group on arbitrary detention

        A group of independent UN experts today recalled that “the prohibition of arbitrary detention is absolute even during times of public emergencies” and urged governments worldwide to prevent arbitrary deprivation of liberty in the context of the measures currently adopted for controlling the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

        “Imposition of mandatory quarantine, from which a person cannot leave for any reason, in the context of a public health emergency is de facto deprivation of liberty and safeguards against arbitrariness must be strictly observed”, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • New AT&T CEO Says You’re A Moron If You Don’t Use AT&T Streaming Services

        Last week AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson stepped down after his $150 billion bid to dominate the video advertising space fell flat on its face. Stephenson’s tenure was plagued by no shortage of scandals, though it was his failures on the TV front that likely cost him his comfy seat as one of the highest paid executives in America.

      • No, Congress Can’t Fix The Broken US Broadband Market In A Mad Dash During A Pandemic

        COVID-19 has shone a very bright light on the importance of widely available, affordable broadband. Nearly 42 million Americans lack access to any broadband whatsoever–double FCC estimates. And millions more can’t afford service thanks to a lack of competition among very powerful, government pampered telecom monopolies.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Amazon Sued For Saying You’ve ‘Bought’ Movies That It Can Take Away From You

        For well over a decade we’ve talked about the many problems that arise when copyright is compared to “property” — and people try to simply move over concepts from physical, tangible property into the world of digital. A key aspect of this: when you “purchase” something digital online, is it really a “purchase” or is it a “license” (especially a license that could be revoked)? If it was a true “purchase” then you should own it and the seller shouldn’t be able to take it back. But in practice, over and over and over again, we’ve seen stories of people having things they supposedly “bought” disappear. The situation is so crazy that we’ve referred to it as Schrödinger’s Download, in that many copyright holders and retailers would like the very same thing to be a “sale” some of the time, and a “license” some of the time (the “times” for each tend to be when it hurts the consumers the most). This has, at times, seeped into physical goods, where they’ve tried to add “license agreements” to physical products. Or, worse, when some copyright folks claimed that buying a DVD means you don’t actually own what you bought, but rather are merely “purchasing access” to the content, and that could be revoked.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon Warehouses Flouting Sick Leave Law as Outrage Swells Over Worker Conditions in Midst of Pandemic

        “We’re risking our safety for the company.”

      • Dissenter Weekly: Amazon Executive Quits Over Fired Whistleblowers, Officials Silence Whistleblowers In Prison

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights an Amazon Web Services executive who resigned in protest against the wider corporation’s whistleblower firings.

        Tim Bray wrote in a post on his personal website that terminating whistleblowers was “evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture.” He added, “I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison.”

      • Uber and Lyft Owe California $413 Million in Unemployment Insurance Taxes, Study Says

        A new report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center finds that Uber and Lyft avoided paying California $413 million in state unemployment insurance (SUI) taxes by misclassifying drivers as independent contractors from 2014 to 2019.

        As far back as September 2015, California has ruled in favor of individual Uber drivers being reclassified as employees and thus entitled to unemployment benefits. With the arrival of AB5, a state law that requires companies to reclassify workers as employees, not contractors, if they exert significant control over workers, the business model championed by Uber and Lyft has faced a flood of legal challenges culminating in a landmark lawsuit by the state of California.

      • Uber reports $2.9 billion quarterly loss during pandemic

        Uber lost $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2020, its biggest loss in three quarters. The company also reported $3.54 billion in revenue. Gross bookings in its ride-hailing business fell 3 percent, while bookings in its Uber Eats division were up more than 54 percent year over year, thanks to increased demand for food deliveries.

    • Patents

      • Hologic, Inc. v. Minerva Surgical, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

        The opinion set out the relationships between the parties in this dispute. Inventor Truckai (named on both the ’183 and ’489 patents) founded Novocept, which developed a system for detecting perforations in a uterus that could cause serious side effects for women undergoing endometrial ablation; the system depends on introducing carbon dioxide into the uterus and monitoring gas escape. It was undisputed that Novocept’s ablation product uses the claimed technology, and that inventor Truckai assigned his right to these patents to Novocept. Thereafter, Novocept was acquired by co-plaintiff Cytyc Corp., which was subsequently acquired by co-plaintiff Hologic. Hologic now sells the Novocept system.

        Meanwhile, Inventor Truckai founded accused infringer Minerva and developed the accused infringing article, termed the Endometrial Ablation System (EAS). Hologic sued Minerva over sales of the EAS for infringing the ’183 and ’349 patents. Hologic moved for summary judgment that Minerva was estopped under the doctrine of assignor estoppel for both the ’183 and ’348 patents, which motion the District Court granted. Assignor estoppel has differences in both philosophy and patent policy than licensee estoppel, which was abolished by the Supreme Court in Lear, Inc. v. Adkins, 395 U.S. 653, 666 (1969). Licensee estoppel, according to the Supreme Court, was against public policy because a licensee of an invalid patent, of all parties, has the most incentive to see such patents invalidated. (Similar considerations motivated the Supreme Court in MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc.) Assignor estoppel, on the other hand, is a situation where a patent owner (frequently the inventor) has transferred ownership rights in their patent for consideration, and now wishes to challenge the transferred patent’s validity. This behavior smacks of “unclean hands” or at least sharp practices, and a court in applying equitable principles should avoid permitting the assignor from involving the power of the Court to support this seeming inequity. Here, the District Court found that Inventor (and assignor) Truckai was intimately involved inter alia as founder, President, and CEO of Minerva in bringing the accused EAS product to market. The Supreme Court has addressed (and, according to the opinion, “carved out some exceptions to”) the doctrine in Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. v. Formica Insulation Co., 266 U.S. 342 (1924), and Scott Paper Co. v. Marcalus Manufacturing Co., 326 U.S. 249 (1945).

        [...]

        Judge Stoll’s additional views concerned exclusively the assignor estoppel issue. The Judge characterized the legal circumstances in this case as being “peculiar” and the Court’s decision as being mandated by precedent. The Judge identifies as one reason for her judicial displeasure for this outcome to be the Court’s decision in Arista that an assignor was not estopped from petitioning for inter partes review. On the other hand, assignors remain barred from pursuing litigation against patents they have assigned to others (and later get into litigation against their assignee). The paradox for the Judge is that “[o]ur precedent . . . presents an odd situation where an assignor can circumvent the doctrine of assignor estoppel by attacking the validity of a patent claim in the Patent Office, but cannot do the same in district court.” This dichotomy, which the Judge believes to be “odd and seemingly illogical”) prompts her here to suggest that the Court sit en banc to “clarify” this aspect of the patent law.

      • How Many People Will Patent Monopolies Kill This Pandemic?

        No one wants to die, but hey, who wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice their life to protect someone’s patent monopoly? That is a question that is implicitly raised in this New York Times piece on the race to develop an effective vaccine against the coronavirus. Near the beginning the piece tells readers:

      • Will Pharmaceutical Giants Use Patents to Limit Access to COVID Drugs?
      • Software Patents

        • The Patent Office Is “Adjusting” to a Supreme Court Ruling by Ignoring It

          In 2014, the Supreme Court decided the landmark Alice v. CLS Bank case. The Court held generic computers, performing generic computer functions, can’t make something eligible for patent protection. That shouldn’t be controversial, but it took Alice to make this important limitation on patent-eligibility crystal clear.

          Last year, the Patent Office decided to work around that decision, so that the door to bogus software patents could swing open once again. The office issued new guidance telling its examiners how to avoid applying Alice. In response to that proposal, more than 1,500 of you told the Patent Office to re-consider its guidance to make sure that granted patents are limited to those that are eligible for protection under Alice. Unfortunately, the Patent Office wouldn’t do it. The office and its director, Andre Iancu, refused to adapt its guidance to match the law, even when so many members of the public demanded it.

        • Startup Risks Clash With Apple, Google Over Virus-App Royalties

          A Utah-based startup says it has exclusive business rights to the use of smartphones and other electronic devices for tracing people who have come into contact with a person with Covid-19, setting up a potential patent-infringement battle with some of the biggest technology companies.

          Blyncsy, Inc., which describes itself as a “movement and data intelligence” company headquartered in Salt Lake City, holds the business method patent for “tracking proximity relationships and uses thereof” by identifying the movements of people with a contagious disease, Chief Executive Officer Mark Pittman said.

          Blyncsy (pronounced BLINK-see) won the patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in February 2019. It recently launched a website for other companies to request licensing of its contact tracing methods. No company has received a license, yet plenty are offering contact-tracing apps, Pittman said.

          But the company faces a serious uphill battle if it tries to protect the patent, practitioners say. Tech giants like Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc., the parent of Google, which both offer contact tracing tools via mobile phone apps, aggressively seek to get patents canceled through the USPTO and are even more relentless in court. The type of patent Pittman has could be vulnerable under a 2015 Supreme Court ruling that limited the types of software that can be patented.

          [...]

          Tracking someone who has come in contact with another person with an infectious disease “can be done with pencil and paper, which is a key issue,” said Jonathan Stroud, chief intellectual property counsel for Unified Patents, a defensive group that challenges patents it believes could be used to unfairly target industries like the tech or auto fields.

          He said the concept of identifying who’s been in contact with a contagious person goes back to 1854, when British doctor John Snow tracked an outbreak of cholera to a local water pump.

        • Longhorn HD patent challenged as likely invalid

          On May 7, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 7,260,846, owned and asserted by Longhorn HD LLC, an NPE. The ’846 patent is directed to cybersecurity techniques including detecting malicious network behavior and was previously owned by Intellectual Ventures, a well-known NPE. It has been asserted against Fortinet and Juniper Networks; it is currently being asserted against Check Point.

    • Copyrights

      • MPA and Amazon Ask Github to Suspend Kodi Add-On Developer’s Account

        The MPA, MPA-Canada, and Amazon have filed a request with Github requesting that a Kodi add-on developer’s account be deleted from the platform. Citing a copyright case and a permanent injunction handed down by Canada’s Federal Court, the content companies claim that the account is still being used to infringe their rights. Github has left the account intact, however.

      • Google ‘Showcases’ YTS and YIFY Movie Releases in Search Results

        People who search for Disney or Netflix films using Google will see a reel of posters from movies produced or distributed by these entertainment giants. This helps users to discover new content quickly. Interestingly, this also works for some pirate sites. Searching for ‘Movies YTS,’ for example, shows a list of films that are available on the torrent site.

      • Global recorded music industry revenues topped $20bn last year – but streaming growth slowed

        The IFPI hasn’t today delivered a specific paid streaming revenue figure to media, but we can figure it out: the org’s data shows that 42% of the $20.2bn industry total last year came from paid subscriptions – equating to circa $8.48bn.

        Using this figure ($8.48bn), we can ascertain that the average paid music streaming subscriber globally in 2019 (341m) paid $24.87 a year, or $2.07 per month, for their account.

        The industry’s global paid streaming revenue haul was up 24.1% year-on-year, says IFPI – suggesting that it grew from approximately $6.83bn in 2018 to $8.48bn in 2019.

        We can therefore use this number to estimate that the average music streaming subscriber in 2018 ($6.83bn / 255m subs) was paying $26.78 a year, or $2.23 per month.

      • Roku Streaming Hours Surged 80% in April, Hits Nearly 40 Million Accounts in Q1

        The company said it ended Q1 with 39.8 million active accounts, a net increase of about 2.9 million from the prior quarter (when it added a record 4.6 million accounts) and up 37% year over year. Streaming hours in Q1 totaled 13.2 billion, a 49% year-over-year increase — a smaller year-to-year increase than the 68% jump Roku reported in Q4 and a sequential decline from 16.3 billion hours for the last three months of 2019.

        Roku posted revenue $320.8 million — up 55% year over year, and higher than analyst consensus estimates of $306.7 million — and a net loss of $54.6 million (45 cents per share), in line with expectations. Shares of Roku were down over 9% in after-hours trading, as investors reacted to the company’s expectation that the pace of ad revenue growth would be impacted through the rest of the year. [...]

Microsoft Propagandist Turns “Years” Into More Than Ten Years to Belittle a Massive Migration to GNU/Linux in China

Posted in Asia, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Misquoting as an art form to humiliate one’s perceived ‘enemies’

Softpedia in 2020; Softpedia's credibility in 2021

Summary: Classic propaganda model in action; “Linux” news is actually Microsoft news and when whole nations move to GNU/Linux you demoralise or mock them

THE news about “Linux” this week is bombarded by Microsoft spam. This isn’t even unusual. It’s a form of Googlebombing and Google News is full of Microsoft in the “Linux” section, thanks to the likes of ZDNet. They hardly even pretend to be news sites anymore. Since when is one bounty among so many bounties major “news”? Since Microsoft pays the publishers to say so? Even mainstream (general) media covered it yesterday. It never covers anything about GNU/Linux, not even an LTS release of Ubuntu or China’s decision to adopt GNU/Linux.

“They hardly even pretend to be news sites anymore.”But there’s something even more sinister going on this morning.

The original article is entitled “China’s homegrown operating system could take years to rival Windows” and it was published not too long ago. The Web page is absolutely horrific; it’s a program, not a Web page, so here’s a screenshot.

Softpedia deception

How on Earth did that innocuous headline become this, from the very same person who spent many years repeatedly attacking Munich’s use of GNU/Linux? He calls himself “Microsoft Editor” (job title) yet he totally controls, no less than 100% (!), the “Linux” section of Softpedia. This is what happened to the above article:

All the 'hot' items this morning are Microsoft propaganda

There are only two “hot” items, with sticky putting them at the top of the page. Is this what people are led to think “Linux” news is? A Microsoft bounty that paints Linux as a security threat and something about China never leaving Windows?

Check the original article, which is cited as Softpedia’s sole source. The developer is being misquoted, or his words distorted, quite likely by intention, knowing the author's long-proven bias.

I asked the previous editor of the “Linux” section of Softpedia what he thinks about this shift. He used to say he loved Softpedia, where he wrote for many years. But months ago he vanished from it and suddenly reappeared in another site. We’ve just assessed Softpedia using a browser with no ad blocking and JavaScript blocking. Each page in the site now contains spyware and each article is full of ads, from top to middle to bottom…

I asked the previous editor, “why did you leave Softpedia (the backstory)? The Linux section there is used to promote anti-Linux propaganda now… (popa-ganda)” (reference to the new author’s name).

If we receive a response, we shall update this story. We’ve just checked again, but no reply yet.

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 07, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:41 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

GitHub is All About Control (by Microsoft, Not by Developers)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remember that GitHub is not Git and it’s proprietary software lock-in at the server side

'Gates may be gone, but the walls and bars of proprietary software he helped create remain, for now. Dismantling them is up to us.' -Richard Stallman; Oh look, 'free' hosting...

Summary: There’s no such thing as “free” drugs; GitHub is just looking for more users — like drug users for Microsoft to perpetually control mentally and physically

“What we are trying to do is use our server control to do new protocols and lock out Sun and Oracle specifically”

Bill Gates

Microsoft GNU-Hub (Part 3: Methodology)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Article by figosdev

GNUHub

Summary: “Having gone to all this trouble, I can absolutely tell you: “Most of them only use github for a mirror” is completely untrue!”

IN part 1 and part 2 we showed the dangers of outsourcing development to a Microsoft platform. Today, figosdev explains the methods. There will be at least a couple more parts after this one. This is a very important if not critical subject and it is completely overlooked by the media, which is too busy promoting GitHub as if it’s a champion of “Open Source” (Wired has just done that again) when it is in fact proprietary software controlled by a company that attacks Software Freedom in a lot of ways. Another new article perpetuates the myth that Microsoft contributes the most to “Open Source”, based on Microsoft’s very own site, which is proprietary software by the way. Facts don’t seem to matter these days (the leading “Linux” story this week is about a Microsoft bounty, associating “Linux” with security issues; was a $100,000 bounty granted to the press to amplify Microsoft in the context of “Linux”?).

Without further ado, figosdev:


I didn’t start the DeleteGithub meme, though when I found out about the upcoming purchase I quickly worked to migrate — within about a week.

I had already been locked out of my first GitHub account (which an associate had created for me, and I lost the password to both the account and the associated email) and created a new GitHub repo, which I deleted after migrating.

Obarun also worked very quickly to migrate from GitHub, which I know because I was following the distro at the time.

“When this started, I was hoping to avoid visiting GitHub as much as possible, getting information from other sources. I now use various sources, including GitHub itself.”After the first few weeks of Microsoft owning GitHub, I didn’t pay very much attention to it at all. #DeleteGithub was created without me.

All the while, I’ve expected more comments like this one, which Part 2 received:

“Perhaps you should actually research where projects host their code a bit more and you would find that most of them only use github for a mirror.

As a case in point check this link and you will see that the canonical source for perl is not github.”

First of all, this comment is ABSOLUTELY wrong. Most of them do NOT only use GitHub for a mirror. I know, because I check that quite often. In fact most of this article was already written the other day to assist a colleague, and I’ve addressed the issue of mirrors several times already. But I suppose now it will be better to share that information here.

A Free software license means anybody can create a mirror; that also means that the existence of a mirror means nothing whatsoever. It was suggested once that I consider making mirrors their own category — I do my utmost to ignore them entirely, because they’re a meaningless metric that would only be a waste of time to count. They signify nothing; maybe you could argue they imply that someone cares enough about the project to mirror it. That’s still not very interesting to me.

“While more people read articles, I was less interested in reporting and (am still) more interested in doing the research, so other people have a good idea of how much of this stuff is being developed and gradually coming to rely on GitHub.”When this started, I was looking to find alternatives to certain applications that remained on GitHub, as a sort of boycott / protest / public awareness campaign. After about 20 minutes of looking stuff up, I was shocked at some of the examples I found. I figured that some new applications here and there were on GitHub, no big deal. We’ve got lots of alternatives.

The first thing I was wrong about (GLADLY) was OpenBSD. When I started, this was a more casual endeavour. It was just a sort of poke around out of curiosity. Wikipedia was a primary source of information, and having done more to verify and audit listings since then, I can say that it’s pretty good in practice, even as more than a starting point. But I wasn’t paying enough attention to mirrors at first.

If you go to the GitHub page for OpenBSD it says right at the top:

“Public git conversion mirror of OpenBSD’s official cvs www repository”

That’s plenty clear. When this started, I was hoping to avoid visiting GitHub as much as possible, getting information from other sources. I now use various sources, including GitHub itself.

I thought the first effort was best suited to a wiki, vs. an article. While more people read articles, I was less interested in reporting and (am still) more interested in doing the research, so other people have a good idea of how much of this stuff is being developed and gradually coming to rely on GitHub.

The takeover of Free software has indeed been very slow, planned in the late 90s as a defense of monopolies, brought into public awareness by Eric S. Raymond, and for some time the plans were hosted on the Open Source Initiative website. The GNU website still mirrors these plans, and GitHub looks a lot like them:

“The takeover of Free software has indeed been very slow, planned in the late 90s as a defense of monopolies, brought into public awareness by Eric S. Raymond, and for some time the plans were hosted on the Open Source Initiative website.”“One ‘blue sky’ avenue that should be investigated is if there is any way to turn Linux into an opportunity for Microsoft.” https://www.gnu.org/software/fsfe/projects/ms-vs-eu/halloween2.html

This quote is more than 20 years old, and there are countless others from the same group of documents that read a lot like “old news” from 2010 to the present. So my first concern is that GitHub not be used to help Microsoft take “ownership” (aka control of) Free software. That control can be taken gradually with or without non-GitHub mirrors, though non-GitHub mirrors would probably help.

For the person says “Perhaps you should actually research where projects host their code a bit more”, here is a glimpse into what I actually do, written just 2 days ago and not planned for the article:

“It starts simple — because at first this was all I did. I don’t do every part of this process for every single package. I sort of follow my nose, going deeper when I feel it’s important. The end result is that nothing is undeniable proof, but across the board you get a good fine-resolution picture with some occasional faulty pixels. I like to think this process would at least be more accurate than turning machine learning on it.”

“So first, I go to the project’s Wikipedia page. If it doesn’t have one, it’s probably not important enough to be on delete_github in the first place. But if Wikipedia lists GitHub as the repo, it’s probably on GitHub.”

“I went further and started counting all the apps in F-droid. About 4 out of 5 (out of several thousand) are based on GitHub.”This was how it started, and for certain I could have paid more attention to details, but I was only dipping my toes in. I am very happy that I was wrong about OpenBSD, and eventually did an audit of the hundred or so projects I’d listed, finding that at least FOUR of those hundred or so were actually mirrors. I happily listed the items that were cleared: FFmpeg, OpenBSD, QEMU, Kali (GNU/) Linux

Apache Server was cleared much later. ASF was infiltrated by Microsoft, and they are using GitHub for some things, but Apache Server was taken off the list because it is in fact a mirror. Slitaz was also taken off the list — not because it was an error, but because they moved off GitHub again.

I went further and started counting all the apps in F-droid. About 4 out of 5 (out of several thousand) are based on GitHub. Did I check the thousands of apps? Of course not. For a ballpark figure, I checked how many listed GitHub as the source or website for the app. If they say it’s GitHub, that’s good enough for a ballpark figure. But I didn’t stop there.

I used GitHub data to figure out which of those thousands of apps were the most popular, and then went through that list and hand-picked the most familiar apps. I don’t use Android much, though I’ve always used F-droid when I need Android apps. I haven’t done much to verify the F-droid list, and nobody has complained.

Tom pointed me to a couple of LISP library collections, and just to find out if the 70-80% figure came up again, I checked all of those — and came up with a similar ratio. I’m happy to say that since then, this 4:5 ratio doesn’t come up all the time.

“Even if it is partly developed on GitHub, I consider this a problem. It means something is happening that Microsoft controls, that Microsoft has them hostage with.”I keep looking for large data sets to play with, having the data for all packages in the Tiny Core repo (I’ve also figured out how to recursively parse dependencies in the package information for Debian and Trisquel) but these are not sets that I’m always checking and verifying by hand. The purpose is to figure out what to look at next, and that’s how I found myself examining the GNU project itself — carefully.

Most, not all of the things I’ve checked on, have an initial phase and sometimes a deeper check involved. I’ve tended to document what I know, and it’s usually pretty obvious from context (from the description) when the level of detail is superficial. A statistic without examples? It’s just a cursory check. Examples and explanations? I spent more time. As I said 2 days ago:

This has yielded very few false positives, but Apache httpd is still a mirror. Mirrors don’t count, not to me at least, because per the license, Microsoft is allowed to mirror every Free software package that exists… A GitHub mirror really means that the “real repo” is somewhere else, that’s what we want. We are looking at people using GitHub for development:

* Bug tracking
* Pull requests (even worse than bug tracking)
* “Official repo” (not mirror)

In order from least to worst, those are the things we are looking for. Even if it is partly developed on GitHub, I consider this a problem. It means something is happening that Microsoft controls, that Microsoft has them hostage with. [People actually say things like] “We can’t lose our bug tracker! There’s so much valuable data there!” Michele says Git is distributed so it’s a non-issue. “But Gitea is migrating anyway” that’s good news then. But I think [that's been said] for a year or two, so take it with a grain of salt until there’s more evidence.

“For Tiny Core, as I mentioned previously, I downloaded not only every package (looking for package data which isn’t in the package) but every .info file, when I figured out that’s where packages dependencies were listed.”Anyway, the most important criteria is:

* Wikipedia or better yet the project’s own homepage links to GitHub
* It’s not a mirror

At some point I started checking project websites too. Seems obvious, but you have to realise that when this thing started I was being very casual. Just poking around, not being serious about it.

For Tiny Core, as I mentioned previously, I downloaded not only every package (looking for package data which isn’t in the package) but every .info file, when I figured out that’s where packages dependencies were listed.

Dependency lists, whether we are talking about Tiny Core or Debian, typically only cover immediate deps — not deps of deps or deps of deps of deps. So I literally write a recursive routine to turn the dep data for Tiny Core into a FULL list of packages that require each item. It takes 45 minutes or more (to write and work the bugs out) though after it’s done you kick yourself for the time wasted doing it manually. I probably spent 2 hours trying to do a fraction of the work that way.

“Behold, every official GNU project. Once again, I started doing this manually. Spent at least 10 hours doing that, got 1/4 the way up the list, from Xnee up to Metahtml. The article itself took 45 minutes or so.”Now I can say “which packages pull in glib2″ and get a full list.

I can do that FOR EACH PACKAGE then run wc -l on each list, getting a count of how many packages need each thing — like how many need glib, how many need libffi, etc., run the list through sort -n and you know which deps are the most needed. Libffi is right at the top. In fact Roy tells me people were complaining about libffi a day or two prior to this discovery, but I pulled the fact right from the data I had cached. So now it’s telling me things other people won’t — aka verifying things other people know.

All well and good, so I know the usual suspects when I download Trisquel. But I get bored with Trisquel (fig spent about a week processing all the source code so its easier to search) and started looking at GNU.

I start here http://savannah.gnu.org/search/?Search=Search&words=*&type_of_search=soft&exact=0&max_rows=500&type=1#options

“It’s a mix of manually checking websites, manually checking Wikipedia, manually and programmatically checking package data and even setting up a dedicated machine to spend several days processing the tens of gigs of source code to Trisquel.”Behold, every official GNU project. Once again, I started doing this manually. Spent at least 10 hours doing that, got 1/4 the way up the list, from Xnee up to Metahtml. The article itself took 45 minutes or so.

For the GNU stuff, I finally had the “server” search all the code for things like bffi, perl, .pl, .py, ython, ithub, png, flex. This is all [output to] a single text file, and it shows the path/name of the file (project name/path/actual file/ line of text found) so if I grep this file for example, “gperf” i get stuff like this:

89/gcc-9.3.0/libsanitizer/sanitizer_common/sanitizer_procmaps_mac.cc:// Google Perftools, https://github.com/gperftools/gperftools.
108/global-6.6.4/reconf.sh:prog=’autoconf automake bison flex gperf libtool m4 perl’^I# required programs
123/gperf-3.1/ChangeLog: when the -n option is used. Previously, it didn’t
123/gperf-3.1/ChangeLog: I’m too busy to fix it , right now. The problem
123/gperf-3.1/ChangeLog: they weren’t being entered into the hash table .
123/gperf-3.1/ChangeLog: * Added the -D option that handles keyword sets that
123/gperf-3.1/ChangeLog: * Modified Key_List::print_hash_function so that it

“I told bash to make a numbered folder for each project, that way I can cd 123/ TAB TAB instead of spelling out the project folder name and so I can iterate/grep using seq instead of folder names. That’s a convenience, so if I’m babbling its not important.”

“I hand-checked each one more than once for mirrors, and there is no way to do 100% of this programmatically. Not every project follows the same rules.”“I look for png files, perl, python, libffi, glib. I write it down. Then I tally it up later.”

“That’s how I do it. All in all, there’s logic but I try to do whats logical / convenient / efficient. And other than that I just play it by ear.”

TL,DR; It’s a mix of manually checking websites, manually checking Wikipedia, manually and programmatically checking package data and even setting up a dedicated machine to spend several days processing the tens of gigs of source code to Trisquel.

Sometimes I get into the includes in the C code and note that include libpng is in an #ifdef. I’m not really a C coder but at least I get the concept of “you can configure this to compile with optional dependencies.”

But even when I wasn’t trying, the first hundred or so entries were mostly accurate. I hand-checked each one more than once for mirrors, and there is no way to do 100% of this programmatically. Not every project follows the same rules.

And the data changes, too. But someone had asked me about Perl specifically: “I took a quick look at the perl site. They do not cite GitHub…”

“They’re developing Perl 6 on GitHub, so it fits the methodology.”That’s not entirely true. So I told them what I knew so far:

“Some [of the most important] things I check over and over and over. Perl is one. Let’s do it again, it’s useful exercise…”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perl nothing.

Let’s take a detour towards “Perl 6″: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raku_(programming_language)

https://raku.org/

“Language Design”

“Either way, Perl 6 is absolutely, for the intent and purpose of this study, being developed on GitHub.”“Specification – Official Raku language specification test suite” https://github.com/Raku/roast

[Roy is likely to turn these into links. It's very possible the link he creates will not match the exact link from the website -- the url will be the same, the text will be the same, but the actual overlap of text and underlined link may vary. In the original writing, I kept the text and urls separate.]

* Issues 78
* Pull requests 25

“Raku is GitHub.”

See what I did there? They’re developing Perl 6 on GitHub, so it fits the methodology.

You may not agree with this methodology, for various reasons. You might have a good reason — or you could be a shill or marketing person. You could just be an ordinary fanboy. BUT, you might also have a point! Either way, Perl 6 is absolutely, for the intent and purpose of this study, being developed on GitHub.

By all means, I expect other people to make a case for/against considering it “captured or controlled by Microsoft.” My concern is Early Warning. You may have a “better” criteria to offer that you consider more useful.

“Puppy Linux, to cite a different example, is developed all over the place.”The whole idea of this project is to get the conversation going. But I’ve gone to great lengths to provide useful data overall, and I do try harder when there is a key project like Perl involved. It continues:

“Back to perl.org:”

“Contribute”

https://www.perl.org/contribute.html

“Contribute to Perl Core”

http://dev.perl.org/perl5/

“Perl” (these things are quoted as headings to look for, if they’re listed more than once there’s a reason)

“Perl”
“Production-ready, under active development”

This part says:

“Some people have expressed an interest in getting Puppy away from GitHub.”“Perl 5.30.2 is the current stable version of Perl. Perl is actively maintained and developed (git repository) by a large group of dedicated volunteers.”

That links to this url:

https://github.com/Perl/perl5

So we go to that url, and it says:

* Issues 1,865
* Pull requests 33

Whatever the “Canonical url” is, what matters to me and what I’m actually looking for is that

* The official website tells people to go to GitHub.
* The GitHub repo is being used for Issues and Pull requests

If there aren’t Issues and Pull requests, I make the decision based on other factors.

If the README.md says “please don’t use this for issues or pull requests” then that certainly counts for something.

Puppy Linux, to cite a different example, is developed all over the place. Packages are strewn across countless hobbyists websites. There are too many derivatives to even count — literally hundreds of fan-based ISOs exist online that people have made over the years. Several active derivatives exist — Many are based on Woof-CE, which is developed on GitHub. Some are not.

“Folks, canonical urls don’t tell the whole story. Whether Microsoft has you in its clutches ultimately comes down to details and down to the reality of the project.”Some people have expressed an interest in getting Puppy away from GitHub. Puppy, DSL (a predecessor to Tiny Core) and Xubuntu were the three distros that helped me finally delete my last copy of Windows more than 10 years ago, and I learned as much about GNU/Linux from Puppy as the others.

But the Woof team has made it clear they are unlikely to migrate. The work they’ve done that keeps them “locked in” to GitHub isn’t as easy to “fork” as the codebase, and this is by design.

Folks, canonical urls don’t tell the whole story. Whether Microsoft has you in its clutches ultimately comes down to details and down to the reality of the project.

We can debate that, but the purpose of what I’m doing is to find the projects to worry about, so something can be done. By all means, help me get some of the items off the list. But you probably won’t find anybody who has gone to more effort than I have, unless it’s Roy. And Roy is interested. And I’ve heard from fewer critics than people who are interested as well.

“Having gone to all this trouble, I can absolutely tell you: “Most of them only use github for a mirror” is completely untrue!”If you have are a fan, user or developer of a vital project like Perl, I am certainly interested in (and continually looking for) criteria that would allow it to be taken off this list. The whole point of putting it on the list is the hope of getting it back off the list again.

And if you missed them, here are some disclaimers that I’ve already made:

“I don’t always trust Debian dependencies, but they’re certainly illustrative” (part 1)

“If there are obvious mistakes or less obvious misconceptions I’m presenting when I talk about some of the details, I hope you’ll mention it in the comments. I’m sure there will be a few differences of opinion as well.” (part 1)

“Python is worth watching for, but only proves to be a GitHub hostage sometimes.” (part 1)

“This isn’t just about where the code is, but where the development takes place and who controls access.” (part 2)

“This isn’t to admonish the author for not following a rule that doesn’t exist, but to highlight the more-than-hypothetical threat that the GNU project faces” (part 2)

“But do, if you’re interested, please help get these projects off this endangered species list.”At each new chapter of this research, I tend not to rely exclusively on previous research. Certainly I learn more as I do this, but I lean towards using each new focus as an opportunity to redundantly check things I’ve checked already — that’s how I discovered that Slitaz had moved. So at each pivot, I often get fresh data to confirm or update previous data.

Having gone to all this trouble, I can absolutely tell you: “Most of them only use github for a mirror” is completely untrue!

But do, if you’re interested, please help get these projects off this endangered species list. I’m generally quite interested in the evidence that other people can bring to the table, a good deal of the feedback received has proven useful. I still consider Perl to be endangered, and I think the criteria are relevant.

Long live rms, and happy hacking.

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