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07.18.20

Links 19/7/2020: Debian “Stretch” 9.13, KaOS Linux 2020.07, Git 2.28.0 RC1

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

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Weekly News #178

        Oracle’s Patch Reduces Boot Times By Almost Half

        https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Oracle-Faster-Linux-Boot-PADATA

        Inkscape 1.0 Released, Finally

        https://inkscape.org/news/2020/05/04/introducing-inkscape-10/

        Ubuntu Studio 20.10 To Ship With Plasma

        https://ubuntustudio.org/2020/05/progress-on-plasma/

        Ubuntu 20.04 Certifies the Pi

        https://ubuntu.com/blog/ubuntu-20-04-lts-is-certified-for-the-raspberry-pi

        Audacity Released 2.4, Withdrew It, Then Released It Again

        https://www.audacityteam.org/audacity-2-4-0-released/

        https://www.audacityteam.org/audacity-2-4-1-released/

        Kid3 Goes from Hosted to Official KDE Application

        https://kde.org/announcements/releases/2020-05-apps-update/

        Patent Dispute with Gnome Settled

        https://www.gnome.org/news/2020/05/patent-case-against-gnome-resolved/

        Raspbian Changed to Raspberry Pi OS

        https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/8gb-raspberry-pi-4-on-sale-now-at-75/

        Linux Kernel 5.7 Released

        http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/2005.3/09342.html

        Pop! OS 20.04 LTS Out

        https://blog.system76.com/post/616861064165031936/whats-new-with-popos-2004-lts

        Clonezilla Live 2.6.6 Out

        https://sourceforge.net/p/clonezilla/news/2020/05/stable-clonezilla-live-266-15-released/

        KaOS 2020.05 Out

        https://kaosx.us/news/2020/kaos05/

        Tails 4.6 Out

        https://tails.boum.org/news/version_4.6/index.en.html

        Kali Linux 2020.2 Out

        https://www.kali.org/news/kali-linux-2020-2-release/

        Endless OS 3.8.1 Out

        https://community.endlessos.com/t/release-endless-os-3-8-1/13010

        BlackArch 2020.06.01 Out

        https://9to5linux.com/latest-blackarch-linux-iso-adds-more-than-150-new-hacking-tools-linux-5-6

        KDE Plasma 5.18.5 LTS Out

        https://kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.18.4-5.18.5-changelog

        Gnome 3.36.2 Out

        https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gnome-announce-list/2020-May/msg00002.html

        LibreOffice 6.4.4 Out

        https://blog.documentfoundation.org/blog/2020/05/21/libreoffice-644/

        LibreOffice 7.0 Alpha 1 Out

        https://qa.blog.documentfoundation.org/2020/05/12/libreoffice-7-0-alpha1-is-ready-for-testing/

        Virtualbox 6.1.8 Out

        https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Changelog-6.1#v8

        Transmission 3.0 Out

        https://github.com/transmission/transmission/releases/tag/3.00

        Ardour 6.0 Released

        https://ardour.org/news/6.0.html

        Pixelorama 0.7 Out

        https://www.orama-interactive.com/post/pixelorama-v0-7-is-out

        Credits:
        Ubuntu “Complete” sound: Canonical

    • Kernel Space

      • My Linux Kernel Didn’t Support My Bluetooth Adapter, So I Patched It

        bought a cheap Bluetooth 5.0 adapter from a local market (What a mistake!), and it was too cheap to the level that it didn’t have a vendor name on it. Probably one of these poor-quality adapters that are being sold everywhere.

        Sadly, it didn’t work on my Linux distribution (Kernels 5.5, 5.6, 5.7..). Bluetooth was always turned off and I couldn’t turn it on, and the adapter was classified as unknown by the kernel. And this was an issue because I don’t want to buy another Bluetooth adapter and spend more time searching on this problem.

        Luckily, Linux is quite helpful in this regard. What I did was simply that I searched for the problem online, found a patch, applied it on the latest kernel’s source code, built the new kernel and installed it. That’s it.

        And then, the Bluetooth adapter worked like charm.

        This is a very simple tutorial that will guide you on how to fix your hardware issues with Linux using a real life scenario, which is the unknown Bluetooth adapter in our case. This is to help you get a general idea on how the kernel patching process works, and how you can possibly do the same thing to fix your non-compatible hardware issues with Linux, shall you face any in the future.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.13 development release is up, here’s the highlights

        The Wine team have produced another development release of the Windows compatibility layer with Wine 5.13 going up on July 17.

        What is Wine, apart from a tasty liquid that you should drink responsibly? A quick reminder for the newer Linux user: it’s a compatibility layer that allows the running of Windows-only applications and games on Linux and other operating systems. It’s one of the driving forces behind Steam Play Proton.

    • Games

      • Electronic Arts Updating ‘Madden NFL 21′ Following Washington NFL Team Controversy

        The statement continued, “The first changes will be available to our EA Access players and will include audio/commentary updates; motion graphics and presentation updates; stadium art, environments, crowd gear and signage updates; and uniform updates. Players may continue to see some outdated Washington references in other areas of the game at launch, but we are committed to removing all of those from the game in additional title updates coming shortly after launch. Players who purchase a physical disc will need to connect online to receive the Washington team changes, as the game is now in the final stages of preparation before shipping.”

      • The Ultimate Linux Gaming Guide
      • Gyroscope tool JoyShockMapper comes to Linux, Valve adds ‘Flick stick’ to Steam Input

        Own a gamepad / controller that has a built in gyroscope? Using it for first-person shooters might be about to get better for you with JoyShockMapper and Steam Input for Steam users.

        What’s all this then? Well, JoyShockMapper is an open source project (MIT license) from developer Jibb Smart available on GitHub that gives you new ways to use controllers like the PlayStation DualShock 4, Nintendo Switch JoyCons, and Nintendo Switch Pro Controller because of the gyro inside. It can give you much finer aiming than just using the right stick by itself and it sounds awesome.

      • Albion Online turns 3 with a big celebration and major update in August

        Sandbox Interactive are celebrating their MMO, Albion Online, turning three years old and it seems they’re going from strength to strength with a lot more planned.

        Launching on July 17 back in 2017, Sandbox Interactive put Albion Online up as a pay to play MMO with a focus on PvP battling and it came with same-day Linux support. Later in 2018 it launched on Steam and then eventually went free to play in April 2019.

      • Techland delays Dying Light – Hellraid until August 13

        Dying Light – Hellraid, the upcoming DLC that sends you into dark dungeons to face off against skeletons and all sorts has been delayed.

        Techland were originally developing Hellraid as a standalone game, a first-person co-op slasher where you’re in a world being invaded by the forces of Hell. In 2015, they officially put the game on hold and continued working through Dying Light and then announcing Dying Light 2 in 2018. Not to get rid of all of it, a DLC inspired by it with Dying Light – Hellraid was announced back in June 2020.

      • Worms Armageddon gets a 21 year update, should work better with Wine and Proton

        The classic Team17 game Worms Armageddon, originally released in 1999 and to this day remains very popular recently turned 21 and a big anniversary update is out – it’s even nice news for Linux gamers.

        While it’s an older title that never got official Linux support, it seems someone has still been paying attention. Thanks to members of the community who continue working on the game, with approval from Team17, the massive 3.8 update released recently. This huge update even includes some adjustments to make it work better with the Wine and Proton compatibility layers.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce infrastructure in 2020

        We tested differents solutions (mainly Gitea and GitLab), and we opted for the famous Gitlab, already used by multiples open source projects. In the core team we were several to use it at work, so we were in a familiar environment.

        For months, a gitlab was running on one of our Gandi instance, to do tests and prepare the transition.

        But it was so much work that we never started the real migration. Then came the Covid-19 lockdown. No friends, no bars, lot of free time, so why not spent it on Xfce ?

        With Simon (ochosi) and Andre (andreldm), we started to use our own gitlab by opening issues, creating todo, doing merge requests etc related to the migration.
        The 1st of May, we finally did the migration to GitLab ! Woot !

        Jason (j4yav), working for Gitlab inc, joined us and proposed to help us for the Gitlab CI/CD setup. At the same time, we got a new (sponsored !) VM from FossHost ! Perfect timing, we can now run a dedicated gitlab-runner instance, and we started to use gitlab-ci !

        As of July 2020, almost all Xfce components (core, apps, panel plugins) run make distcheck on every merge requests and push to master, thanks to our xfce-build docker container.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Get New Stuff fixes and more

          Do you like more features, fewer bugs, and a better UI? I do. So as I look over this week’s update, I smile. In particular, some much-needed fixes for the Get New [thing] system have landed, and more are on the way. We realize this is a pain point and we’re working on it.

          In Plasma, we’ve been actually using Bugzilla’s priority feature to prioritize bugfixes, beginning with recent regressions. Every day I triage all new bugs and mark any recent regressions accordingly, then try to try to track down people who can fix things, or do it myself if I’m able to. Hopefully over time we’ll have fewer regressions, and the ones that do slip through will get fixed faster.

        • KDE Developers Beating The Summer Heat By Fixing Up Recent Regressions

          This week KDE developers have seen a lot of bug and regression fixes materialize for Plasma and other components.

          KDE developer Nate Graham is out with his usual weekly development summary for the happenings on this open-source desktop environment. Among the changes for the past week include:

          - Recent regressions in KDE Plasma 5.19 being fixed up.

          - Many fixes for Get New [Thing].

        • Contributing via GitLab Merge Requests

          KDE switched over to a self-hosted GitLab instance this year: invent.kde.org. Many thanks again to our system administrators and all other contributors to this large effort!

          This means, e.g. Kate, KTextEditor and KSyntaxHighlighting are now using the GitLab workflow for all contributions. Whereas there are still some old review requests and tasks on phabricator.kde.org, all new contributions should arrive as merge requests on invent.kde.org.

          [...]

          I think the current setup is really superior to what we had before. For example, Kate already has now 79 merge requested accepted. It was never easier to contribute than now.

          I apologize that sometimes the review speed for merge requests is still lacking, I hope this improves with more people taking care in the development process. But I reelly encourage people that can code to help us out by contributing fixes + features!

        • Python Qt5 – Create a simple web browser.

          This python package named PyQtWebEngine, see the official webpage for more infos:
          The team development comes with this intro:
          PyQtWebEngine is a set of Python bindings for The Qt Company’s Qt WebEngine framework. The framework provides the ability to embed web content in applications and is based on the Chrome browser. The bindings sit on top of PyQt5 and are implemented as three separate modules corresponding to the different libraries that make up the framework.

        • Book your BoF for Akademy 2020 now!

          BoF sessions are an integral part of Akademy, it’s the “let’s discuss and plan how to make things happen” oriented part after the more “this is what we’ve done” oriented part of the talks.

    • Distributions

      • Linux Weekly Roundup: Applications, Distros, and News – July 18, 2020

        Here’s a summary for you before you head over to weekend. Happenings across Linux world, application updates and news.

      • MX Linux

        • MX Linux: The Ugly Duckling

          Three days ago, I decided to test a Linux distro that has become very popular in DistroWatch, MX Linux.

          Megatotoro started using it as soon as it came along, carrying the legacy of the extinct, but amazing Mepis Linux combined with the speed and versatility of AntiX. Although, back then, this distro was but a faint bleep in the DistroWatch radar, today it has the top 1 spot in the chart, way above Mint and Ubuntu, once rulers of Linux popularity.

          What prompted me to try it was an experiment with OBS Studio, which required me to use a 64 bit distro that worked with .deb packages. I have always used .rpg distros: Mageia, OpenMandriva, PCLinuxOS, and Fedora. Well, I have Elive 3, but it is 32 bits, so it did not work for me.

        • MX Linux 19.2 KDE Edition Gets Closer to Release, Second Beta Now Ready for Testing

          Almost two weeks after announcing the upcoming KDE Edition of the MX Linux 19.2 distribution and the first beta milestone, the team now released a second beta version for public testing, addressing various issues reported by testers.

          In the MX Linux 19.2 KDE Edition beta 2, the team enabled Linux kernel sandboxing by default, implemented a first version of the dedicated MX Look-and-Feel theme for this edition, which comes with default panel layout, and updated NetworkManager to allow all users to connect.

          The second beta also resolves a D-Bus message issue during login, adds various library files that were missing from the first beta, and makes apt and dpkg operations that look for a Debian frontend to default to the KDE mode rather then looking for the GNOME/GTK version.

      • New Releases

        • KaOS 2020.07

          It is with great pleasure to present to you the July release of a new stable ISO.

          You will find Plasma 5.19 on this ISO. Highlights of 5.19 include incorporation of a consistent design and header area for system tray applets as well as notifications, refreshed look of the media playback applet in the System Tray, System monitor widgets have all been rewritten from scratch and Sticky notes get several usability improvements and if you use Wayland, you will also appreciate the new option that lets you configure the mouse and touchpad scroll speed. Frameworks is at 5.72.0, Plasma at 5.19.3, and KDE Applications at 20.04.3. All built on Qt 5.15.0.

          For the installer Calamares, KaOS has started a move to using as many QML modules as possible. For the Welcome screen that means any text or needed info can now be shown as a qml file within the Calamares window, no need for pop-ups or external applications. The keyboard module is also rewritten in QML, which now gives a much clearer overview of possible keyboard models, languages and variants.

          A few new firmwares/modules have been added to the repositories, this include sof-firmware (needed for newer sound-cards, will move to linux-firmware soon according to upstream reports) and two new rtl wifi modules (rtl8723de & rtl8821ce). New applications added include Photoflare, the musicplayer VVave (the successor of Babe) and Kdiff3.

          Updates to the base of this distribution include Cfitiso 3.480, Poppler 0.90.1, Pciutils 3.7.0, Git 2.27.0, Libacp 2.39, Pam 1.4.0. Other rebuilds were needed for ICU 66.1, Boost 1.72.0, Krb5 1.18, Glib2 2.64.3 based stack, Guile 2.2.6, Mesa 20.1.3, NetworkManager 1.26.0, Perl 5.30.3, Linux 5.7.8 and Qt 5.15.0.

          The Midna theme used for KaOS has been redone for 2020, biggest change there is the move from QtCurve to Kvantum for the application style. Implemented is a custom Midna Kvantum theme, following the same style as used in Croeso and the Welcome application.

        • KaOS Linux 2020.07 Released with KDE Plasma 5.19, Linux Kernel 5.7

          Arch Linux inspired KaOS Linux 2020.07 distribution has been released today as July 2020’s stable ISO packed with all the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software updates.

          The new release comes two months after KaOS Linux 2020.05 to offer those who want to install this Arch Linux inspired operating system on their personal computers without having to download hundreds of updates from the software repositories.

          Included in the KaOS Linux 2020.07 release, there’s the latest KDE Plasma 5.19.3 desktop environment, KDE Applications 20.04.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.72.0 software suites compiled against the Qt 5.15 application framework, and Linux kernel 5.7.8.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Progressing On Rolling Release Version, Moving Away From i686 Repository

          For those looking for another rolling-release Linux distribution to try and one whose roots trace back to the legendary Mandrake Linux, OpenMandriva has been working to establish its own rolling-release spin for those preferring the latest software packages as opposed to their conventional releases. Additionally, OpenMandriva is nearing the end of its i686 repository offering while continuing to work with Wine and 32-bit games.

          OpenMandriva has for a while been working to move away from 32-bit packages similar to the other modern Linux distributions out there. OpenMandriva users though have still had to enable the i686 repository if needing select packages, notably for games / Wine use-cases.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian “Stretch” 9.13 release preparations ongoing

          Just checking in. Debian “Jessie” == oldoldstable == Debian 8 was the previous Debian Long Term Support release. Debian LTS seeks to provide support for Debian releases for five years. LTS support for Jessie ended on 30th June 2020.

          A limited subset of Jessie will now move to ELTS – Extended Long Term Support and another two years projected support.

          Neither LTS nor ELTS are supported any longer by the main Debian folks: instead, they are supported on a commercial basis by a group of Debian volunteers and companies, coordinated by a company led by Raphael Hertzog.

        • Updated Debian 9: 9.13 released

          The Debian project is pleased to announce the thirteenth (and final) update of its oldstable distribution Debian 9 (codename “stretch”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

          After this point release, Debian’s Security and Release Teams will no longer be producing updates for Debian 9. Users wishing to continue to receive security support should upgrade to Debian 10, or see https://wiki.debian.org/LTS for details about the subset of architectures and packages covered by the Long Term Support project.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “stretch” media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

          New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

          Upgrading an existing installation to this revision can be achieved by pointing the package management system at one of Debian’s many HTTP mirrors. A comprehensive list of mirrors is available at…

        • Debian 9.13 Released As The End To Stretch

          Debian 9.13 is now available as the last planned update for the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series.

          Debian 9.13 is the last of the Debian 9 releases with the security and release teams planning no further updates. Users are encouraged to move to Debian 10. Debian 9.13 ends the run with a variety of security fixes and resolving a few “serious problems.”

          Among those changes with Debian 9.13 are a new release of ClamAV to fix security issues, a heap buffer overflow fix for the CUPS print server, a denial of service issue fix for D-Bus, a security fix for the File-Roller, downgrading of the Intel Skylake microcode file to workaround hangs on boot with some CPUs, a heap overflow fix for the libvncserver, updated NVIDIA drivers for security issues, and other fixes both for general bugs and security problems.

        • Debian Stretch 9.13 release – blog post 2 – testing of basic .iso images ongoing as at 202007181655
        • Debian GNU/Linux 9.13 Released as the Last in the “Stretch” Series
        • Debian issues final update for old stable distribution Stretch

          The Debian GNU/Linux community Linux distribution has just completed the 13th and final update of its old stable distribution Stretch. The point release only adds some corrections for security issues along with a few fixes for serious problems.

          The current version of Debian is known as Buster and is version 10. All Debian releases are named after characters in the Pixar film Toy Story.

          Debian spokeswoman Laura Arjona Reina said in a statement that after this release, Debian’s Security and Release Teams would no longer offer updates for Debian 9.

          Users who wanted to continue to receive security support should upgrade to Debian 10, or see this site for details about the subset of architectures and packages covered by the long-term support project, she said.

        • Andrew Cater: Debian Stretch 9.13 release – blog post 2 – testing of basic .iso images ongoing as at 20200718165
        • Andrew Cater: Debian Stretch release 9.13 – testing of images now complete 202007181950 or so
        • Andrew Cater: Debian Stretch 9.13 release – blog post 2 – testing of basic .iso images ongoing as at 202007181655
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Free software for your PC [Ed: Mostly free/libre here]

        DURING the Movement Control Order (MCO), many people relied on their home computer to get work done.

        Imagine how troublesome it’d be if your home computer crashes. Well, it happened to me recently with my desktop computer.

        I also have a laptop computer which I could use to do work but the screen size is small. It’s okay for typing articles but not so great when it comes to editing pictures or videos.

        So, to be fully productive, I needed to get my desktop computer working again.

        A hardware diagnostic found that there was nothing wrong with the computer itself. The operating system somehow got corrupted.

        After trying to reset the computer while keeping the programmes intact didn’t work, I had no choice but to do a complete reformat of my hard drive. That means all the programmes would be wiped out.

        Fortunately, I still had all the installation files for most of the software that I used on my computer but for a few of them I didn’t have the installation files anymore. So, I had to either repurchase them again or look for free alternatives.

        I soon discovered that it’s actually possible to fully set up your desktop computer with just free software if you wanted to. Here are some of the best free software you can install to improve your productivity.

      • Create Music with LMMS music production suite

        LMMS was first introduced to the world as Linux MultiMedia Studio. Today, this digital audio workstation application program is available in 20 different languages, enabling musicians around the world to use this cross-platform tool to make music. What makes it unique is that it is a completely free, open-source, community-driven project, released under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2). So, despite the many music-making software products available online, LMMS is worth a download.

      • nomacs 3.16

        nomacs is licensed under the GNU General Public License v3 and available for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, Mac, and OS/2.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Dzmitry Malyshau: wgpu API tracing infrastructure

            wgpu is a native WebGPU implementation in Rust, developed by gfx-rs community with help of Mozilla.

            [...]

            First, it was Warden test framework in gfx-rs. It defined serializable types for all of gfx-rs commands, and also allowed describing different scenes, test-cases, and expectations. All the data was hand-written in RON format, which by the time was quite young, and not used anywhere seriously. The ability to test gfx-rs without code was very exciting to us, and in general it worked out OK. In the end, we haven’t written too many tests, mostly because we aggressively tested with Vulkan CTS (over gfx-portability) instead, which was enormous. The separation of scenes and workloads also ended up with a few gotchas and a less-than-elegant implementation. It was also a bit awkward to write the implicit synchronization code in Warden for grabbing back the results, or re-initializing the state between tests.

            [...]

            First problem was the incoming flow of bugs reported by users of wgpu-rs, users of Python API, users of Gecko, on different platforms, with closed source code, and so on. Reproducing these issues and debugging them was quite challenging. We figured that wgpu was the place where all the roads met, and we needed to serialize everything that reaches that intersection, to be replayed independently, on a different machine. We defined a serialization format that we’d save all the incoming commands into at device timeline. We introduced a standalone “player” tool to replay the traces, which once again were stored as RON files.

            With this in, all we needed from a bug reporter was a zipped API trace attached to an issue, and a git revision of the code they used. WebGPU is truly a portable GPU API, so the captures are easy to replay on a different machine. This is very unlike low-level traces, such as Vulkan traces, or Metal GPU captures – replaying them mostly did not work (your hardware has different limits, different memory types, features, etc). And there was nothing to do if it failed, unlike with our API traces, where you could just look at RON itself and nudge it to work. All in all, working with bugs became joyful, but we didn’t stop there.

          • Will 2020 Be The Year Of Rust In The Linux Kernel?’

            An intriguing exchange happened on the Linux Kernel Mailing List after a post by Nick Desaulniers, a Google software engineer working on compiling the Linux Kernel with Clang (and LLVM).

          • ‘Will 2020 Be The 12 months Of Rust In The Linux Kernel?’
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.0 RC2 Released For This Vulkan-Supported Open-Source Office Suite

          Ahead of the official release expected in early August, the second release candidate of LibreOffice 7.0 is now available for testing.

          This comes just shy of two weeks since LibreOffice 7.0 RC1. That prior release candidate ultimately led to much controversy with the upstream, open-source builds sporting “Personal Edition” labeling. RC2 retains the Personal Edition branding but following community feedback all indications are that it will be changed for LibreOffice 7.0 as they re-evaluate their marketing plans.

        • 20 Years of the FOSS Office Suite

          Twenty years ago, on July 19, 2000, Sun Microsystems announced at O’Reilly Open Source Convention in Monterey, California, the release of the source code of its StarOffice Suite to the open source community. Thus began the history of the community that helped grow the OpenOffice project for nearly ten years, until the announcement of the acquisition of Sun by Oracle.

          In September 2010, the same community created The Document Foundation – an organization promised by Sun’s press release, which was always postponed for some reason – to drive the LibreOffice project forward, and continue the story of the best open source office suite while remaining true to the original copyleft license.

          Today, we are celebrating 20 years of activity, while preparing for the announcement of LibreOffice 7.0, which will be the first to support Open Document Format 1.3. The passion that we continue to put into all the things we do, including discussions about the future of LibreOffice, is a testament to a daily commitment that has never waned in the last 20 years, and will remain unchanged in the next 20.

          HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY, FOSS OFFICE SUITE !!!

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • The best Photoshop alternatives for Chromebooks

            The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is the most full-featured Photoshop alternative available on Chromebooks. However, it’s still lacking some of Photoshop’s more popular features, and it’s a Linux app. Setting up Linux requires a few extra steps, and not all Chromebooks are powerful enough to run GIMP well. First, find the Linux beta toggle in your Chrome OS settings (just search for it). You can install GIMP with the following commands.

          • Software Defined Radio Academy Goes Virtual

            There are some older videos on the channel, too, including some GNU Radio material. We hear some of the upcoming videos will have some new GNU Radio content, too, including some on the GNU Radio implementation for Android.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Asus Zenfone 7 and 7 Pro allegedly on their way, sporting the SD865 and SD865+, respectively

            In a new potential twist, the Taiwanese company might not only be working on a single Zenfone 7 model, but at least a couple. Hints of a potential Pro variant were discovered while dissecting the kernel source code of a mysterious Asus device, bearing the Asus ZF moniker. Asus is one of the more diligent manufacturers when it comes to releasing its kernel sources, as mandated by GPL. Two different sets of core clock values were discovered in the files in question, listing speeds of 2.84 GHz and 3.09 GHz.

      • Programming/Development

        • Git v2.28.0-rc1
          A release candidate Git v2.28.0-rc1 is now available for testing
          at the usual places.  It is comprised of 295 non-merge commits
          since v2.27.0, contributed by 43 people, 10 of which are new faces.
          
          The tarballs are found at:
          
          https://www.kernel.org/pub/software/scm/git/testing/
          
          The following public repositories all have a copy of the
          'v2.28.0-rc1' tag and the 'master' branch that the tag points at:
          
            url = https://kernel.googlesource.com/pub/scm/git/git
            url = git://repo.or.cz/alt-git.git
            url = https://github.com/gitster/git
          
          New contributors whose contributions weren't in v2.27.0 are as follows.
          Welcome to the Git development community!
          
            Andrew Ng, Chris Torek, Don Goodman-Wilson, Jiuyang Xie, Luc
            Van Oostenryck, Marco Trevisan (Treviño), Miroslav Koškár,
            Rafael Aquini, Srinidhi Kaushik, and Trygve Aaberge.
          
          Returning contributors who helped this release are as follows.
          Thanks for your continued support.
          
            Abhishek Kumar, Ben Keene, brian m. carlson, Carlo Marcelo Arenas
            Belón, Christian Couder, Denton Liu, Derrick Stolee, Đoàn
            Trần Công Danh, Elijah Newren, Emily Shaffer, Eric Sunshine,
            Han-Wen Nienhuys, Jacob Keller, Jeff King, Johannes Schindelin,
            John Lin, Jonathan Nieder, Jonathan Tan, Josh Steadmon, Junio C
            Hamano, Laurent Arnoud, Martin Ågren, Matheus Tavares, Paolo
            Bonzini, Patrick Steinhardt, Ramsay Jones, Randall S. Becker,
            René Scharfe, Shourya Shukla, SZEDER Gábor, Taylor Blau,
            Ville Skyttä, and Xin Li.
          
        • Git 2.28-rc1 Released – Continues The Transition Towards SHA256 Plus Moving Off “Master”

          Git 2.28-rc1 was released on Friday in stepping towards the next feature release for this widely-used, distributed revision control system.

          Git 2.28 has continued work on their plans to ultimately transition from SHA1 to SHA256 for hashes. To better secure Git repositories against possible SHA1 collisions, Git 2.28 continues making the necessary preparations towards using SHA256. Git 2.28 doesn’t put the effort over the finish line but just another step forward in the big task — including with this release working on some of the handling around its CVS/SVN interface.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl Mentoring

            In the Perl Programmers Facebook group we have kicked off a Perl Mentoring program. Already more than a dozen experienced Perl people have offered their services to anyone looking to learn more about Perl. It’s very convenient that mechanics of volunteering and looking for a mentor are handled by Facebook’s mentoring functions. Here’s a few thoughts on how to build on that.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 69: Strobogrammatic Numbers and 0/1 Strings
        • Python

          • Seafoam 2.4.5 Released

            It’s time for a new update to Seafoam, the website theme currently in use here (on my Blog) and by my wider site.

            In reviewing my blog, I realized it’s been many versions and a couple of years since I did a post about a Seafoam release. In the background, I’ve continued to make small improvements. I also use the project for private, personal projects, so some of the improvements are centered on those. What drove this particular release was that something has happened that broke my fonts. Previously, they were hosted directly on Google Fonts, but they seem to have stopped loading, so with this release they are “internal” to the theme.

            As well, minchin.releaser has made putting out a release very simple, to the point where a blog post about the release in question can be the hardest part of the whole process (and so they often just never happen…). You’ll notice in the changelog below it’s not uncommon to see multiple releases the same day.

          • Why tests fail only during pre-commit ?

            Recently I ran across (what I thought was) a strange behaviour.

            I use pre-commit for all my git commits, and one of the step is to ensure that all the unit tests pass.

            I also have a make target to run just the unit tests.

          • Python Bytes Episode #190: You will now be notified if the Python zipper is broken
          • Talk Python to Me Episode #273: CoCalc: A fully colloborative notebook development environment

            Everyone in the Python space is familiar with Notebooks these days. One of the original notebook environments was SageMath. Created by William Stein, and collaborators, it began as an open-source, Python-based, computational environment focused on mathematicians.

            It has since grown into a full-blown company and has become a proper collaborative environment for things like Jupyter notebooks, Linux-backed Bash shells, and much more. Think Google Docs but across all these facets of development in your browser.

            We welcome back William Stein to give us an update on his journey from professor to entrepreneur building CoCalc along the way.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #7
          • Json Python

            Json is a very popular data format and is widely used for data exchange. JSON is human readable format. It is very easy to parse Json data in Python. In Python, we can read the Json data either from a file or from an API. In this post, I will go over some of the most common commands to read, parse, structure and write Json data.

            [...]

            Let us build a sample Json data. In the below example, I have constructed a Json data. Json is all about keys and values. In our json example below, we have two main keys – ‘state’ and ‘citites’. Values can be one or multiple values. For multiple values, we can mention values in square brackets. In python terms values inside square brackets is called list.

            One important thing to notice here is that, in the below example all the keys and values are in double quotes. You can’t have single quotes. We can mix and match strings and numbers though.

          • Zero-with-Dot (Oleg Żero): Polynomial Regression – which python package to use?

            Polynomial regression is one of the most fundamental concepts used in data analysis and prediction. Not only can any (infinitely differentiable) function be expressed as a polynomial through Taylor series at least within a certain interval, it is also one of the first problems that a beginner in machine-learning is confronted with. It is used across various disciplines such as financial analysis, signal processing, medical statistics, and more.

          • Emacs Configuration for Python/JavaScript, Terraform and blogging

            I have been an Emacs user for a long time. There is no specific reason why I started using Emacs: it was available in the RedHat 6.0 distribution that I found in a magazine in 1999, and with which I started my journey in the open source world. It was mentioned in some Linux guide I read at the time, so it became my editor.

            I’m not into flame wars, in particular about editors. If I don’t like a software/operating system/language/whatever, I just don’t use it, and at the same time I’m not scared to test alternatives, even though I’m not actively looking to replace tools that work. Admittedly, at the time I didn’t properly configure my Emacs for years, in particular because the C language support was very good out of the box, and that was what I needed, so when I started programming in Python not everything was optimal.

            One day a new colleague showed me Sublime Text and PyCharm. I don’t like IDEs that much, they are too integrated, so the PyCharm wasn’t very attractive, but Sublime Text is a very good editor, it’s fast and has a lot of features (multiple cursors blew my mind when I first discovered them) and so it became my editor of choice for some years. In time, however I started growing increasingly dissatisfied with it, and with some alternatives that I tested like Atom. The main reason is that modern editor rely too much on the mouse: many people are happy with this, in particular because they use trackpads, but I honestly can’t get use to them, and I simply don’t want to take my hands off the keyboards while I code because I want to change tab, reorganise the screen, open a file, and so on.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 011 – Python, Advanced Data Structures
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 4 Blog Post
          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxxvi) stackoverflow python report
  • Leftovers

    • Roaming Charges: The Meaning of BB King in the Age of BLM

      In the summer of 1998, Alexander Cockburn and I spent a few days in North Richmond, California, a battered industrial city just outside of Berkeley. We had just published our book Whiteout on the CIA and drug trafficking and had been invited to speak at a black church about the horrific toll of the drug war on urban America. North Richmond was the Antietam of this senseless slaughter, its neighborhoods ravaged by gang shootings and police killings, most of them fueled by the crack trade abetted by US intelligence agencies to help fund their covert wars in Central America. At the time, North Richmond was staggering under the highest murder rate in California, more than 50 killings per hundred thousand residents. We spent the afternoon helping local organizers and grieving families place over 200 black crosses at sites where drug killings had occurred during the past few years.

    • What it was like learning programming in the early 1970s
    • Angel Olsen and Hand Habits “Walls”
    • In Lockdown With Edward Hopper’s Prophetic Paintings

      When I lived in Chicago, I often went to the Art Institute to admire the paintings of Edward Hopper, especially Nighthawks. Later on, I would do the same thing in New York, at the Whitney; both galleries have excellent Hopper collections. I remembered those visits when, in full lockdown, social media were flooded with images of this painter’s work. I asked myself: why is it Hopper, precisely, who is speaking to us from such close quarters during this period?

    • Chris Lamb: The comedy is over

      The effect of installing this extension was immediate. I caught my eyes darting to where the numbers had been and realised I had been subconsciously looking for the input — and perhaps even the outright validation — of the masses. To be sure, these numbers can be relevant and sometimes useful, but they do implicitly involve delegating part of your responsibility of thinking for yourself to the vox populi, or the Greek chorus of the 21st century.

      Like many of you reading this, I am sure I told myself that the number of ‘likes’ has no bearing on whether I should agree with something, but hiding the numbers reveals much of this might have been a convenient fiction; as an entire century of discoveries in behavioural economics has demonstrated, all the pleasingly-satisfying arguments for rational free-market economics stand no chance against our inherent buggy mammalian brains.

      [...]

      Without the number of ‘retweets’, the lazy prompts to remind you exactly when, how and for how much to respond are removed, and replaced with the same stilted silences of those edited scenes from Friends. At times, the existential loneliness of Garfield Minus Garfield creeps in too, and there is more than enough of the dysfunctional, validation-seeking and parasocial ‘conversations’ of The Big Bang Theory. Most of all, the whole exercise permits a certain level of detached, critical analysis, allowing one to observe that the platforms often feel like a pre-written script with your ‘friends’ cast as actors, all perpetuated on the heady fumes of rows INSERT-ed into a database on the other side of the world.

      I’m not quite sure how this will affect my usage of the platforms, and any time spent away from these sites may mean fewer online connections at a time when we all need them the most. But as the Karal Marling, professor at the University of Minnesota wrote about artificial audiences: “Let me be the laugh track.”

    • Science

      • False Hope: A BBC documentary throws a light on cancer quackery

        I’ve been writing nearly exclusively about COVID-19 and the coronavirus pandemic since March, mainly because it is the source of so much potentially deadly misinformation, bad science, pseudoscience, and attempts at science twisted by ideology that it basically overwhelms everything else. However, every so often, I need a break and a return to topics that I used to write about on a much more regular basis. As Jesus said about the poor, the coronavirus disinformation campaign will be with us always, at least until the pandemic ends, which looks to be no time soon. One of the recurring topics of this blog going all the way back to the very beginning. It comes in the form of a BBC Three documentary by journalist Layla Wright, False Hope? Alternative Cancer Cures. Unfortunately, because geofencing, I can only see snippets on the BBC website. There are also news articles about it:

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • AMD Zen 2 laptop

        AMD Zen 2 laptops are a thing, and they’re blazingly fast.

        I just bought the HP Envy x360 which has a 6 core AMD Ryzen 5 4500U. Measuring some real world compiles it’s comfortably two and half times faster than my year old Intel-based Thinkpad T480s (which has 4 cores but 8 threads, and cost at least twice as much).

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Twitter Says Several Employees Were Manipulated By [Cr]ackers

          The [cr]ackers were able to reset passwords for 45 users, while eight had their data, including private messages, downloaded entirely, Twitter said in a blog post late Friday. While the [attack] targeted high-profile users such as Barack Obama and Warren Buffett, Twitter later clarified that data wasn’t downloaded from any verified accounts, without providing identities.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • High-End Lightworks Video Editor Finally Says Why They Didn’t Go Open-Source Yet

              Way back in 2010 it was announced that Lightworks would be going open-source as this high-end, non-linear and cross-platform video editor solution. This video editing system has been used by many films over the years from The Wolf of Wall Street to Bruce Almighty to Moulin Rouge to Pulp Fiction as well as many other movies and television shows while also being approachable enough that it’s used by less advanced video editing enthusiasts. Lightworks going open-source would be a big win, but ten years after their failed plans were announced they finally have shed some light on why such move away from being a proprietary application never materialized.

              Over the years the hopes of their open-source plans faded with no reported progress on the matter, topics inquiring about it were frequently locked in their communication channels, etc. We’ve been left wondering whatever happened to Lightworks as open-source while the closed-source video editor continues advancing, including for its Linux support.

            • Transparency for EditShare’s plans for Lightworks (re: Open source)

              We have always envisaged Lightworks becoming Open Source, however, when we delved deeper and deeper into the code base of Lightworks it became evident that it was not viable to make the solution Open Source at that point in time, especially with all the other work that was required.

              We have spent numerous years cleaning up the code base to bring it right up to modern day standards and this of course takes a very long time. We still hope to announce something in the future but I cannot give you an estimate of when that might be at this stage.

        • Security

          • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 152 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 152.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • U.S. TikTok Hysteria Teeters Toward The Idiotic

              Last Friday, the internet exploded with the news that Amazon was banning its employees from installing TikTok, the hugely popular social media app by Chinese company ByteDance. An entire day’s news cycle was dedicated to Amazon’s decision, with an ocean of press reports implying that the Chinese social networking platform was a privacy nightmare directly tethered to the Chinese government. The story came on the heels of months of allegations by the Trump administration that the app was doing things so vile and atrocious that the only solution was to ban the popular app from the United States entirely.

            • Tor’s Bug Smash Fund: Progress Since January 2020

              At the beginning of August 2019, we asked you to help us build our very first Bug Smash Fund. This fund will ensure that the Tor Project has a healthy reserve earmarked for maintenance work and smashing the bugs necessary to keep Tor Browser, the Tor network, and the many tools that rely on Tor strong, safe, and running smoothly. Together we raised $86,081.

              We want to share a final update on the work the 2019 Bug Smash Fund made possible.

            • After This Week’s Hack, It Is Past Time for Twitter to End-to-End Encrypt Direct Messages

              Earlier this week, chaos reigned supreme on Twitter as high-profile public figures—from Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos to President Barack Obama—started tweeting links to the same bitcoin scam.

              Twitter’s public statement and reporting from Motherboard suggest attackers gained access to an internal admin tool at the company, and used it to take over these accounts. Twitter says that approximately 130 accounts were targeted. According to Reuters, the attackers offered accounts for sale right before the bitcoin scam attack.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ACT NOW in the Philippines: We Need You to Stand Against the #JunkTerrorLaw

        The country is already a deeply dangerous place to be an environmental activist. Help repeal this dangerous law now.

      • Withdrawing Troops From Afghanistan and Germany Is Still a Good Idea

        Anyone entertaining serious hopes for significant reordering of the American economy, of our race relations, of energy production and transportation, eventually realizes that all of this will require a simultaneous demilitarization of both our economy and our role in the world.

      • US-Backed Saudi Bombing in Yemen Continues as COVID-19 Spreads

        As the coronavirus spreads in Yemen, where the population already devastated by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis faces growing hunger and aid shortages, the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition continues to drop bombs in the country. We speak to Yemeni scholar Shireen Al-Adeimi, who calls the ongoing crisis “Trump’s war.” “We’re seeing death rates that are just astronomical,” Al-Adeimi says. “The war continues, the bombing continues, the blockade is still enforced.”

      • Vulgar Militarism: Expanding the Australian War Memorial

        It was a decision both rash and indulgent. In November 2018, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, after being nudged incessantly by then Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson, committed to a redevelopment project intended to double the exhibition space in Campbell. The amount for the project would be just shy of a half-billion dollars and would be, Nelson claimed with eye-brow raising plausibility, an exercise of therapy for veterans and their families “coming to terms with what they’ve done for us and the impact [war] has had on them.”

      • Legislation in Congress Would Require Flying Flag With Pentagon on It

        A bill in Congress with bipartisan support would require post offices and various government buildings to fly from September 11th to September 30th every year a flag that looks like this:

      • Domestic violence surge: Here’s how Russia’s authorities responded to rising domestic abuse during the coronavirus lockdown

        During the coronavirus lockdown, countries around the world recorded increases in domestic violence — and Russia was no exception. To document the domestic violence situation in the country during quarantine, a group of seven nonprofit organizations began tracking what was going on, the measures being taken, and the response from government agencies. Meduza summarizes the findings of their joint report, compiled by lawyers Olga Karacehva and Svetlana Gromova from the rights organization “Zona Prava.”

      • Making America Feared Again: The Trump Administration Considers Resuming Nuclear Weapons Testing

        There is no military necessity for nuclear test resumption.

      • The East-Bound Wind Causes a Storm in the West: Iran-China Sign Long-Term Trade Agreement

        A few months after the publication of his remarkable book, Adam Smith in Beijing, I had an illuminating conversation with Giovanni Arrighi about the significance of China in world history. The late sociologist was interested in knowing more about the subject of my scholarship–modern Iran and the Iranian revolution. When he saw my puzzled face, he told me that he believes that all this apprehension in the west about Iran, is actually rooted in apprehension about China. Arrighi thought that if there were any “mainstream” of world history, it ought to be located in the story of China, the only civilization that has shaped the world as a hegemon over many millennia with the exception of the last 250 years. The rise of the West, according to him is an aberration and China will define the future of the world history. For China to play that role, it needs sources of energy to feed its expanding economy and a firm foothold in the world trade network. And there is Iran with its vast sources of oil and natural gas, located in a key strategic position guarding the flow of oil from the strait of Hormuz and offering open access to the Indian Ocean trade routes. I do not subscribe to the view that the U.S. position on Iran can be reduced to a reflection of the American political establishment’s attitude toward China. But there indeed are signs that Iran’s east-bound realignment toward China is making possible a major transformation in the world political and economic order.

      • Liberal Zionism Begins to Make the Journey Towards a One-State Solution

        Peter Beinart, a bellwether for American Jews, has provoked a storm by renouncing the two-state solution and urging equality for all.

      • “The Bleeding Wound:” Osama bin Laden Won (Twice)

        It’s July 2020 and I’m about to turn 76, which, as far as I’m concerned, officially makes me an old man. So put up with my aging, wandering brain here, since (I swear) I wasn’t going to start this piece with Donald J. Trump, no matter his latest wild claims or bizarre statements, increasingly white nationalist and pro-Confederate positions (right down to the saving of the rebel stars and bars), not to speak of the Covid-19 slaughter of Americans he’s helped facilitate. But then I read about his demand for a “National Garden of American Heroes,” described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live” and, honestly, though this piece is officially about something else, I just can’t help myself. I had to start there.

      • Donald Trump Is Living Proof of Osama bin Laden’s Success

        It’s July 2020 and I’m about to turn 76, which, as far as I’m concerned, officially makes me an old man. So put up with my aging, wandering brain here, since (I swear) I wasn’t going to start this piece with Donald J. Trump, no matter his latest wild claims or bizarre statements, increasingly white nationalist and pro-Confederate positions (right down to the saving of the rebel Stars and Bars), not to speak of the Covid-19 slaughter of Americans he’s helped facilitate. But then I read about his demand for a “National Garden of American Heroes,” described as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live” and, honestly, though this piece is officially about something else, I just can’t help myself. I had to start there.

      • “This Is Trump’s War”: U.S.-Backed Saudi Bombing in Yemen Continues as Coronavirus Spreads

        As the coronavirus spreads in Yemen, where the population already devastated by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis faces growing hunger and aid shortages, the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition continues to drop bombs in the country. We speak to Yemeni scholar Shireen Al-Adeimi, who calls the ongoing crisis “Trump’s war.” “We’re seeing death rates that are just astronomical,” Al-Adeimi says. “The war continues, the bombing continues, the blockade is still enforced.”

      • The Trump Administration Is on a Capital Punishment Killing Spree

        Last summer, Attorney General William Barr ordered federal prisons to resume executions. Earlier this week, the Department of Justice carried through on Barr’s order, executing the first federal prisoner in 17 years. Then, it executed another. There are now 60 people on federal death row, and I don’t know how many of them Donald Trump and Bill Barr will try to have killed before they hopefully lose power over life and death on January 20, 2021. Barr has already ordered the Bureau of Prisons to schedule two more executions.

      • How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President

        Something like the following scenario is not just possible but increasingly probable because it is clear Trump will do anything to avoid the moniker he hates more than any other: “loser.”

        Trump actually tweeted on June 22: “Rigged 2020 election: millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries, and others. It will be the scandal of our times!” With this, Trump has begun to lay the groundwork for the step-by-step process by which he holds on to the presidency after he has clearly lost the election: [...]

      • Secret Federal Police Deployed by Trump Snatch Protesters Off Portland Streets

        Oregon’s Democratic governor and other state lawmakers are demanding that President Donald Trump immediately remove all federal law enforcement officials from the streets of Portland after alarming video footage posted online late Thursday showed unidentified officers dressed in combat fatigues arresting Black Lives Matter protesters without explanation and throwing them into unmarked vehicles.

      • Trump Condemned for Authoritarian ‘Abuse of Power’ as Secret Federal Police Snatch Protesters Off Portland Streets

        “Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable.”

      • “They’re kidnapping people”: “Trump’s secret police” snatch Portland protesters into unmarked vans

        Officers from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and Custom and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit have been deployed to protect federal property in Portland amid ongoing protests since July 14, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. But the officials have also detained protesters who are not near federal property, the outlet reported, and it is unclear if all of the detained individuals were involved in alleged criminal activity.

      • Federal Officers Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab People In Portland, Protesters Say

        Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least Tuesday. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation about why they are being arrested, and driving off.

        The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets as federal officials and President Trump have said they plan to quell nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks.

      • Protesters in Portland, Oregon, clash with police, federal officers during chaotic night

        Democratic members of Oregon’s congressional delegation said Friday they will demand a federal investigation into the deployment of federal officers in Portland, where local leaders say their presence outside federal buildings has inflamed tensions during nightly protests and led to violent confrontations in recent weeks.

        The lawmakers want the inspectors general of the departments of Homeland Security and Justice to review the “unrequested presence and violent actions” of “paramilitary forces with no identification indicating who they are or who they work for.”

        A spokesman for Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said she remains concerned about allegations that federal officers under the direction of President Donald Trump may be arresting people in violation of their constitutional rights. Her office has asked the Department of Homeland Security to stand down its officers, spokesman Charles Boyle said, but “federal law enforcement agencies are not communicating with us about their activities.”

        “Governor Brown has called for Trump’s federal officers to leave Portland and stay off our streets,” the statement said.

      • The Border Patrol Was Responsible for an Arrest in Portland

        A former senior DHS intelligence officer explained that while other federal agencies are required to wear identifiers when conducting arrests—NCIS agents have to wear both marked jackets and hats during arrests, for example—that is not the case with the DHS. “The fact is, they don’t have to do anything in marked vehicles,” he said. “Such operations happen all the time and at the discretion of supervisors.”

        “If it gives them a tactical advantage, they will find a way to justify it,” a current DHS official told The Nation.

        But just because the practice is legal, that doesn’t mean it works in law enforcement’s favor. “It’s good for public image to have visible police presence as a deterrent,” the former intelligence officer said.

      • Trump Unleashes His Secret Police in Portland

        On the face of it, what these federal officers are doing is illegal and unconstitutional. It’s possible that they are acting under the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, signed by Barack Obama, which legalized the detention of Americans suspected of being terrorists. If so, then the War on Terrorism has truly come home.

        The Trump administration used unidentified federal officers to patrol Washington, D.C., in early June when the scale of the protests forced Trump to go into the White House bunker. Those officers turned out to be guards from the US Bureau of Prisons who had been repurposed as ad hoc praetorian guards.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Democrats chide Facebook over climate disinformation

        A group of Democratic senators is expressing concerns over reports that Facebook is exempting climate change misinformation from fact-checking.

        Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tom Carper (Del.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) wrote to CEO Mark Zuckerberg after E&E News reported that the company may consider climate information scientists have called misleading “opinion” and make it free from fact-checking.

        “Allowing the spread of climate disinformation on Facebook is wholly inconsistent with your company’s June 2020 claims that it is ‘committed to fighting the spread of false news on Facebook and Instagram’ — and represents another unfortunate example of Facebook’s refusal to fully combat the deliberate spread of misinformation,” the lawmakers wrote this week.

    • Environment

      • South Korea backtracks on green promise

        For South Korea, it seems, climate care is a case of going green at home – and doing the opposite overseas.

      • Videos show massive flooding in Chongqing, upstream of Three Gorges Dam

        As the vaunted Three Gorges Dam fails to live up to its purported purpose of “flood control,” Chongqing, which sits at the headwaters of the dam on the Yangtze River, began experiencing torrential rain and severe flooding on Wednesday (July 15) and Thursday. This is the second time the city has seen devastating floods in less than a month, with the Chongqing Municipal Hydrological Monitoring Station issuing its first red alert flood warning in 80 years for the Qijiang River on June 22.

      • Amazon soya and beef exports ‘linked to deforestation’

        Researchers used freely available maps and data to identify the specific farms and ranches clearing forests to produce soya and beef destined for Europe.

        b They found 2% of properties were responsible for 62% of illegal deforestation.

      • Gimlet Media to Launch Climate Change Podcast

        In each episode, Blumberg and Johnson will talk to people making strides in the climate fight with a focus on how to build a better future.

        “We want this to be a podcast about the environment that people actually want to listen to, and don’t just feel like they should listen to,” Blumberg said. “It’s action-oriented, driven by journalism, but doesn’t take itself too seriously and makes lots of jokes along the way.”

        In addition to Blumberg and Johnson, the show will feature Kendra Pierre-Louis, a former New York Times climate reporter, and Rachel Waldholz, a radio reporter and podcast producer focused on climate change.

      • COVID-19, the Climate Crisis, and Our Urgent Duty to Rebuild This Country

        As the U.S. government strives to put the economy back on its feet, it won’t be able to return to business as usual, and it should not try.

      • The Sky Is Falling – Yes – No

        The sky is falling is one of the more disturbing thoughts in society today, as to whether climate change is on a fast track collision course with doomsday amidst a collapsing society.

      • Energy

        • Bankers and Investors Finding Fracking Industry’s Underlying Models Prove Overly Optimistic

          When it comes to his $10 billion investment in Occidental Petroleum, Buffett will need to take that one to heart now that other investors have sued Occidental for the merger financed in part by Buffet’s stake, alleging that the amount of debt required for Occidental to merge with Anadarko left the company “precariously exposed” if oil prices went lower. They cited the billions that Buffett invested in the deal as compounding this risk. 

        • Court Rules Bayou Bridge Pipeline ‘Trampled’ Rights of Louisiana Landowners

          “This is a victory not only for us but for all landowners,” said Theda Larson Wright, one of the three Louisiana landowners who sued Bayou Bridge Pipeline Company (BBP) in September 2018. “All over the country, pipeline companies have destroyed people’s land, often without even attempting to get permission, and dared the landowners to speak up. Well, we did. I hope this victory will encourage many others to as well.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Why “Periodic Devastation” May be Necessary for the Health of Forest Ecosystems

          I am again reading about a Forest Service plan for logging/thinning based on the idea that wildfires “destroy” the forest. Whether the agency is discussing the Blue Mountains in Oregon, the Custer Gallatin NF, and Helena/Lewis and Clark National Forests in Montana or the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming, they all recommend extensive logging to preclude or prevent what they call “destructive” high severity fires.

        • Recent Developments in Ecuador: Rights of Nature

          The Constitutional Court selects cases to develop the “content” of the legal rights of nature.

        • Of Toddlers, Wolves, and Public Lands Ranchers

          As I sit here thinking about wolves, my child is now peacefully sleeping in his room. I know he will awake tomorrow and much of his toddler fury will have subsided, creating a time for us to interact with each other positively. I can’t help but think of the parallels between some bad-acting livestock producers, grazing on public lands across the West, and my raging pre-bedtime toddler. The evening meltdown ritual is full of entitlement, irrational beliefs, and a lot of whining. It is now in these precious hours of silence that I understand why these tantrums are so familiar. I hear the same chorus from stock growers all week while working on carnivore coexistence.

    • Finance

      • Adolph Reed Jr. And The Essence Of Class Essentialism: In Which We Essentially Examine This With Class

        The broad American Left is nearly rent with a debate of class essentialism that has led to some rather heated, tempestuous exchanges over the past month. Political scientist Drs. Adolph Reed, Jr. and literary critic Walter Benn Micheals feature as major thinkers in the debate, though other, younger thinkers, like Drs. Cedric Johnson and Touré Reed (Adolph’s son), also find themselves in the mix.

      • Now is the Time for Free College

        After graduating from college last year, Hayat Rahmeto moved back in with her parents and planned to work two jobs to save money for law school. Then the pandemic hit. She lost one job, with Delta Airlines, and the prospects for finding another were bleak.

      • Unemployment in Russia hits eight year high

        According to preliminary reports from Russia’s Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat), the country’s number of unemployed people reached 4.6 million in June 2020.

      • Homeless in Portland, Oregon

        Day after day after day, the homeless are  removed from the dinner table.

      • A New Eco-Economic Paradigm

        “We have it in our power to begin the world over again,” Thomas Paine wrote in 1776. Unfortunately, we also have it in our power to kill the planet. Which one will we choose?

      • Warnings Grow: “We are in a Massive Economic Downturn”

        This week, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard gave a speech via webcast to the National Association for Business Economics. She warned, effectively, that the rosy spin coming out of the Trump administration needed to be weighed against the reality on the ground. Brainard raised the caution that credit downgrades on bonds and corporate defaults are occurring at “a faster pace than in the initial months of the Global Financial Crisis.” Brainard explained as follows:

      • Why Government Mostly Helps People Who Need It the Least…Even During a Crisis

        In January 2020, the NASDAQ stock market’s index stood just under 10,000. In the March crash, it fell to 7,000. As of July 10, 2020, it hit 10,600. The U.S. government’s economic policies produced a “recovery” for the rich who own the vast bulk of stocks. Their holdings are worth more now than before COVID-19 hit us. The other major benchmarks for securities, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard and Poor 500, show similarly dramatic, slightly smaller recoveries.

      • Economic Crisis and the Question of Capitalism

        On the precipice of what will likely be the worst economic crisis in modern history, the question not being asked is: why capitalism? To date, temporary government payments— tilted largely toward the rich, have sustained some parts of the pre-pandemic economy through a state of suspended animation that ended in fits and starts with reopening. With the pandemic still in full force, what won’t be coming back, at least not in time to prevent unemployment from becoming politically destabilizing, will be the consumption-tainment economy that filled what in earlier epochs constituted social life.

      • Where Have All the Demos Gone? Cappies Killed ‘Em, One By One

        There we were, two months in, lost at home, ball-and-chained to a virus, but finally, because we’re a nation of ‘rugged individualists,’ coming around to the Moment’s epiphany, the teaching point of our collective illness; going, ‘My, how the world will have changed during The Time of Plague™,’ and our mask fashions all changed up, too, going from medical model muffs to Zoomlander statements. Really getting into the swing of it. We were philosophical, long-suffering; now seemed a good time to get a grip and tweak our exceptional democracy; come together, be as one. Just two months in and we were an interconnected ad hoc Continental Congress, full of wisdom and new ideas.

      • Diane Yentel on Eviction Crisis, Lisa Graves on USPS Under Attack
      • Philadelphia Delays Unhoused Encampment Eviction as CDC Says “Let Them Remain” & Stop COVID Spread

        As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says unhoused people living in encampments should be allowed to remain where they are to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we go to Philadelphia, where the mayor has postponed the eviction of an encampment planned for this morning. “The Philadelphia Housing Authority has about 5,000 vacant properties,” notes Sterling Johnson, an organizer with Black and Brown Workers Cooperative, who joins us from the camp. “We want to use them to create a community land trust. What they want to do is auction them off to private developers.” The move comes as many cities have continued to criminalize their unhoused communities despite the recommendations of public health officials.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Dealing With Misinformation During A Pandemic (2020)

        This series of case studies is published in partnership with the Trust & Safety Foundation to examine the difficult choices and tradeoffs involved in content moderation. Learn more »

      • We Can’t Cancel Class

        Lately, I have faced many rejections and I wondered if it was time to cancel myself to save others the time and trouble. However I could think of no other place more interested in trouble and no place that I would even have interest in writing to, and seeing I would write no matter what, even if I shared it with no one, I decided it wouldn’t do much harm to send it to Counterpunch too. Provoked I was by the recent debate over cancel culture, particularly in regards to the pragmatic anti-essentialist Adolph Reed. Reed was likely canceled in part because of his race but he knows that the expectations of black men in our society are woven into a materialist history. The need to create sincere relationships with people who are different than us has never been greater.

      • Second Circuit Wrecks All Sorts Of First Amendment Protections To Keep Lawsuit Against Joy Reid Alive

        The Second Circuit just issued an ugly decision in a defamation lawsuit against Joy Reid. It not only revived the case against her, but it greased the skids for many more defamation cases to be brought in federal court, including plenty even less meritorious.

      • The Real ‘Cancel Culture’ In Australia Started 232 Years Ago

        Conservatives are quick to cry ‘cancel culture’ whenever they’re called out on bad behaviour. But in reality, it’s just history repeating, writes Dean Frenkel.

      • China tries to push U.S. tech companies around in Hong Kong. Here’s how to push back.

        That’s why it’s concerning that last month a new Trump appointee temporarily froze funding and abruptly tried to fire the Open Technology Fund’s leadership and the heads of four news media organizations, including Radio Free Asia, under his purview — a move that threatens to limit the independence of the fund and the outlets. The Open Technology Fund, on whose board one of us has sat since it spun off from Radio Free Asia, has filed suit to challenge the action.

        Signal is not the Open Technology Fund’s only success story. Today, two-thirds of the world’s mobile devices use Open Technology Fund-supported technology. Its innovations range from FreeWeChat (which provides an open repository of messages that Chinese censors have blocked) to a cutting-edge virtual private network. It has also created a global platform for tailoring internet freedom products to local conditions and nurtured technologies used by nearly 2 billion people in China, Iran, Russia, Cuba and other repressive states.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Friend of jailed journalist Ivan Safronov denies working for Czech intelligence

        Martin Larysh, a friend of jailed former journalist Ivan Safronov who a TASS source named as a “career officer” in Czech intelligence, has denied working for the intelligence services.

      • ‘Mediazona’ journalist injured by police faces administrative charges

        David Frenkel, a St. Petersburg correspondent for the legal news outlet Mediazona, was summoned to the Interior Ministry on Friday, July 17, to receive an administrative protocol for “non-compliance with the lawful demands of a police officer.” The alleged disobedience took place at a polling station during a widely-publicized encounter that saw Frenkel injured by police. 

      • Commons motion asks MPs to oppose extradition of Julian Assange

        MPs have tabled a Commons’ motion opposing the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This is yet another sign of cross parliamentary support. The Early Day Motion has been tabled by Richard Burgon, the former Shadow Justice Secretary, and is supported by Labour’s Diane Abbott, the former Shadow Home Secretary, Caroline Lucas from the Green Party, Liz Saville Roberts of Plaid Cymru, Kenny MacAskill from the SNP, and Gavin Robertson from the DUP.. The motion notes the anti-extradition stances taken by the ‘National Union of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders’ and ‘affirms its commitment to press freedom and public-interest journalism’. Other signatories include former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Claude Webbe, Clive Lewis and Bell Reberio-Addy. ‘This is a welcome sign of cross-party parliamentary support’ said WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell, ‘we urge every MP who cares about press freedom to add their name to this EDM. It’s an important way for MPs to register their concerns about this landmark civil liberties case’. The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign is urging its supporters to write to MPs urging them to support the EDM No. 719. The EDM can be found here: Julian Assange, press freedom and public-interest journalism.  Background The remaining three weeks of the Julian Assange extradition hearing is due to start on 7 September 2020 at the Old Bailey and is anticipated to last for three weeks.Julian Assange is charged by the Trump government with publishing the Afghan and Iraq War Logs for which he could face 175 years in jail.  Julian Assange’s lawyers have experienced a considerable difficulty communicating with their client. Speaking at a recent hearing, Edward Fitzgerald QC, said ‘We’ve had great difficulties in getting into Belmarsh to take instructions from Mr Assange and to discuss the evidence with him.’ Mr Fitzgerald continued: ‘We simply cannot get in as we require to see Mr Assange and to take his instruction.’ The UN working group on arbitrary detention issued a statement saying that “the right of Mr. Assange to personal liberty should be restored”. Massimo Moratti of Amnesty International has publicly stated on their website that, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.” Human Rights Watch published an article saying, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.” The NUJ has stated “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.

      • US, VOA Denounce Iran’s 8-Year Prison Term for VOA Persian TV Host’s Brother

        Iran’s sentencing of the brother of a VOA Persian TV host to eight years in prison as part of its practice of intimidating relatives of exiled Iranian journalists whose reporting it dislikes has drawn denunciations from the Trump administration and VOA managers.

      • NBC turns to ads to fund its streaming wars

        Ad-supported video is already the main model in Asia. Disney’s Hotstar has more than 300m monthly users in India. In China services owned by tech giants—Baidu’s iQiyi, Alibaba’s Youku and Tencent Video—all carry ads, and have around half a billion users each. As the cost of content rises, American firms’ interest is growing. Comcast bought Xumo, a free streamer, earlier this year and is in the process of buying Vudu, another ad-supported service, from Walmart. ViacomCBS and Fox Corporation have also acquired ad-carrying streamers. AT&T plans an ad-supported tier of HBO Max next year. And Amazon may one day use detailed data on its online shoppers to run targeted ads on its Prime Video service. American viewers, spoilt for choice about what to watch, will increasingly be able to choose if and how they pay for it.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Antifa Punks and Boogaloo Bois: A Tale of Two Scapegoats

        It was the kind of story that always seems to fly just beneath the radar. You probably missed it. I nearly did. Somewhere between the Pride parades and the Fourth of July, while the country was busy hyperventilating over the latest Coronavirus spike and I was busy scrubbing the glitter and gunpowder from my crack, a memo from Attorney General and Melvin Purvis impersonator William Barr was published by those fine parasites at the Washington Post. In this memo, Barr directed the Justice Department to form a task force devoted to combating the vague scourge of “Anti-Government Extremists.” The task force was to be led by a junta of state attorneys and would gather information on individuals and organizations deemed to be a threat by the same Attorney General who brought us Ruby Ridge.

      • Trading Cops for Social Workers Isn’t the Solution to Police Violence

        The U.S. today appears to be approaching a tipping point in dismantling its historical oppression of Black people — specifically, the overt and racialized state-sanctioned violence perpetuated by carceral systems including the police. Decades of abolitionist and Black liberation movement efforts have brought us to this moment in which defunding police departments is not only happening, but also serving as a call to ask why we have police at all. From Frederick Douglass to Critical Resistance, abolition has always been about more than just ridding our society of slavery and carceral systems. Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore and Mariame Kaba have taught many of us that prison-industrial complex abolition is not only about eliminating imprisonment, policing and surveillance, but about transforming our society, building different responses to harm, reinvesting and redistributing resources, and prefiguring the world we want to live in. A common question of abolitionist work is: What will be done about “crime” in a world with less or no police (and by extension less or no jails, prisons and surveillance)?

      • After Trump Deploys Secret Police in Portland, ‘Imagine What Happens If He Gets Four More Years’

        “They want to see what they can get away with before launching into other parts of the country.”

      • 120 Rights Groups Demand ICE Immediately ‘Release All Detained Families Together’

        “Parents must be released with their children to preserve family unity, as family separation is not in the best interests of the child.”

      • The U.S. Struggle for Justice for Palestine Begins a New Chapter

        2020 has indisputably been a chaotic year. From the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent disruption of daily life, to the killing of George Floyd and the passionate resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement that followed, to the looming general election: there has been plenty occupying the minds and newsfeeds of Americans. But in between all the headline-grabbing stories, another movement has been gaining traction: the effort to end the United States’ enablement of Israeli apartheid and finally bring peace and justice to the Palestinian people.

      • Hundreds of construction workers strike at ‘Gazprom’ skyscraper in St. Petersburg

        Construction workers at the site of the Lakhta Center skyscraper in St. Petersburg have gone on strike demanding payment of wage arrears. According to 47news.ru, at least 500 people have joined the strike; most of them are migrant workers from Central Asia.

      • Thoughts on Bayard Rustin Nostalgia

        A Dustin Guastella article on Nonsite dated July 9th generated controversy because it opposed defunding the cops. Like Bernie Sanders, another opponent of defunding, Guastella proposed reforms that would satisfy everybody since they would lead to less crime. If there were massive increases in federal social spending, there would be more jobs and hence less desperation leading to crime. Such “class-based” measures might have made it possible for George Floyd to avoid being killed as Cedric Johnson argued in Jacobin: “His alleged use of counterfeit money reflects the criminally inadequate provision of income support.”

      • Dark Army of Enablers

        We are a culture rift with hypocrisy. We like to say that power comes from The People but in both corporate and governmental sectors power asserts and maintains itself through enablers, apologists, henchman, hired guns, attack dogs, spin doctors, Think Tank apologists, and loyal bloviators.

      • Running the World, Since 1776

        Lately, there doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by without another viral video of some white American going ballistic in public. Even before an outright racist was put in the Oval Office, in the age of social media we have been allowed to see countless moments of racist intimidation and threats that, although common, were most often hidden from public view. But the latest spate of outbursts seems to be related to mask wearing in stores and other public spaces to stem the spread of Covid-19. One incident involved a man in a Costco store in Florida who screamed at an elderly woman who asked him to wear a mask. The man yelled: “I feel threatened! Back off! Threaten me again!” as he stepped toward the woman in a threatening manner. This moment of unhinged rage would be like every other if it were not one other glaring characteristic about the man. He was wearing a t-shirt that read: “Running the world since 1776.”

      • DOJ Says Massachusetts Drug Unit Routinely Engaged In And Lied About Excessive Force Deployment

        The Trump Administration has all but abandoned its duty to hold the nation’s law enforcement agencies accountable for wrongdoing. When Trump took office, he immediately declared his administration would “end” the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere.” Being pro-accountability means being “anti-police,” apparently. Trump’s DOJ immediately took action to comply with the new boss, focusing on eliminating the department’s Community Oriented Policing Services office and severely curtailing its investigations of law enforcement agencies.

      • ‘Let Us Pray for a Speedy Recovery’: Ginsburg’s Liver Cancer Latest Health Scare for Liberal Justice

        “I swear every time I see a ‘Breaking News’ about RBG’s health, I get an unpleasant sinking in my stomach.”

      • Behind the #MeToo Headlines with JoAnn Wypijewski

        The wise, compassionate and refreshingly sex-positive JoAnn Wypijewski has come out with a remarkable new book with a very long name, What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About #MeToo: Essays on Sex, Authority and the Mess of Life (Verso). The title’s luxurious length underlines how important it is sometimes to discuss things fully, and how, when we talk or write in soundbites, we might well miss the illuminating truths of life’s real messiness.

      • On the Separation of Church and State

        Once again, the Supreme Court showed its undemocratic and misogynist colors. It came down against women, encouraging employers not to pay for birth control services. The Supreme Court is obviously catering to the fashionable superstitions of religious preachers who resent the struggle of women for dignity and equality. The judges are also woefully ignorant the planet has too many people. Unchecked population growth has detrimental effects on human beings and life in the natural world.

      • Class Disparities and Child Abuse in Ireland 2020

        The newly formed government of the Twenty-Six County state in Ireland has been in existence less than a month but is already mired in several controversies; the usual circuses thrown up by capitalist society with governments lurching from each to the next without any alteration to the status quo.

      • Internal Investigation Shows The Houston PD’s Narcotics Units Was An Unsupervised Mess

        The Houston PD decided to take a look at itself after a botched drug raid ended with two people killed by officers. The raid was predicated on pure bullshit. Officer Gerald Goines turned two Houston residents into dangerous drug traffickers by using a nonexistent confidential informant, drugs Goines had stashed in his squad car, and a narrative unsupported by any actual facts. Claims of heroin trafficking by a violent drug dealer were undercut by the raid itself, which turned up no heroin or the gun the (fake) informant claimed he saw.

      • Beautiful Hagia Sophia: Between the Sacred and the Profane; Turkey Is Condemned, While Israel Gets a Pass

        On 10 July, 2020, one of Turkey’s highest courts ruled in favor of reconverting the Hagia Sophia Museum to a mosque. Within an hour of the ruling, Turkish President Erdogan decreed that the 1,583 year old iconic UNESCO World Heritage cultural monument would revert to a mosque and be “open to Muslim worship.”

      • The GOP’s “Southern Strategy” Shows How White Supremacy Fuels Class Exploitation

        Starting in the early 1970s, the Republican Party began to draw voters away from the Democrats by appealing to racism and racial anxiety in the electorate; Republicans called it their “Southern Strategy.” By 2000, with the presidency of George W. Bush, the Republican Party (and the U.S.) had been taken over by people who celebrate and emulate the Old South plantation system of social control — a rigid hierarchy featuring dominance of whites over people of color, of men over women, of humans over the natural world, and of violence and militarism over relationship-building and negotiation, with rich white men asserting unquestioned authority. Republicans then drove moderates out of the party.

      • ‘There’s a Shocking Lack of Accountability for Sheriffs’
      • Ruslan Gafarov quits ‘Sberbank’ following sexual harassment and abuse allegations

        Former Open Russia employee and Sberbank social media manager Ruslan Gafarov has quit his job following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and rape. Gafarov announced his resignation on Twitter.

      • Why the Hell Is the Supreme Court Allowing a New Poll Tax to Disenfranchise Florida Voters?

        Members of the US Supreme Court need to familiarize themselves with the Constitution of the United States. That document’s 24th Amendment, which was ratified by the states in 1964, eliminated economic barriers to voting by abolishing the poll taxes that had been used to disenfranchise Black Americans. When he witnessed the certification of the 24th Amendment on February 4, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared, “There can now be no one too poor to vote. There is no longer a tax on his rights. The only enemy to voting that we face today is indifference.”

        Yet on July 16, 2020, the nation’s highest court failed to upend a lower court move that is preventing otherwise eligible citizens with felony records from registering to vote if they cannot afford to pay off old court fees and fines. The Supreme Court’s indifference to voting rights and to the Constitution has the potential to warp election results in a presidential election year where Florida is a critical battleground state because, as the Tampa Bay Times noted, it could “keep hundreds of thousands of poor felons from joining the voter rolls ahead of this year’s elections.”

      • Felony charges dropped against 87 Breonna Taylor protesters arrested on Kentucky AG’s yard

        The felony charge alarmed the ACLU of Kentucky.

        Corey Shapiro, legal director of the group, said Tuesday that he thought Louisville police were using the measure in an attempt to muzzle the protests.

        “This action is an overblown, outrageous and inappropriate reaction to a community that is rightfully upset with its government’s delay in holding the police accountable,” Shapiro said by email. “The only purpose these charges seem to serve is to potentially chill the free speech rights of the protesters.”

      • Mississippi Freedom Summer—20 Years Later

        John Lewis was one of the early leaders of the civil rights movement, and especially active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He is today a member of the City Council of Atlanta, Georgia.
        The America of 20 years ago experienced one of the most moving and exciting times in our nation’s history. It was a period of hope but also of pain and suffering, of crisis and confrontation.
        The sit-ins, freedom rides, and the civil rights movement in Birmingham where Police Commissioner Bull Connor met peaceful demonstrations with fire hoses and snarling police dogs, and the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi had created a moral and political climate demanding meaningful legislative action.
        In the fall of 1963, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) conducted a mock election in Mississippi to dramatize the fact that there were only about 22,000 black people registered out of a black voting-age population of more than 450,000. Over a two-day period, almost 200,000 black citizens throughout the state gathered in churches, community centers, barber and beauty shops to cast their votes for Aaron Henry, a leader of the NAACP in the state, “for governor,” and the Reverend Edwin King, a white chaplain at Tougaloo, a predominantly black college, “for lieutenant-governor.” This mock election did point out the fact that if black people could vote, they would. Some whites had argued that blacks in Mississippi didn’t want to participate in the democratic process.
        At times, all conceivable means were used to keep blacks from registering to vote. After the mock election, we began to recruit students, teachers, lawyers, doctors, ministers and others to come to Mississippi and spend the summer working in the Freedom Schools. People were taught how to pass the so-called literacy tests, how to read and write, in order to register to vote.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The American Federal Definition of Broadband Is Both Useless and Harmful

        Definitions matter. Especially when those definitions come from the federal government. In the case of “broadband,” the definition set by the federal government creates our standard of Internet living. Depressingly, the American government’s definition means ISPs get away with offering very poor levels of “broadband.”

        The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the agency responsible for defining broadband. The metric they set forms the basis of determining whether the government can say that a household has access to broadband Internet.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

[Meme/Humour] EPO Wants Only Obedient and Mindless Workers

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: It Wasn’t Judges With Weapons in Their Office, It Was Benoît Battistelli Who Brought Firearms to the European Patent Office (EPO) | Benoît Battistelli Refuses to Talk to the Media About Bringing Firearms to the EPO

Hotline Stalin: 'Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don`t let our people have guns. Why should we let them have ideas?' -Joseph Stalin

Summary: Thoughts and scrutiny have become impermissible at the European Patent Office (EPO) under the appalling leadership of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos

Team UPC and Other UPC Boosters Twist the Facts, Deliberately Lie and Rely on De Facto ‘Moles’ in Powerful Roles/Seats

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don’t think they’ve given up just yet!

Alan Johnson on Alan Johnson
“Alan Johnson. Retired – former partner at Bristows.” (According to his LinkedIn profile)

Summary: The lies spread by Team UPC (individuals looking to gain from a litigation epidemic) have done these individuals no favours; not only did they lie to the public for many years but they also continue to lie — more shamelessly than ever before — while seeking to embellish what they told us (and their clients) to profit in the short run

THE demise of justice in Europe is oftentimes obvious and increasingly evident. And no, it’s not limited to some Balkan countries and autocrats like Orbán. As we see in the European Patent Office (EPO), it’s happening at the very center of Munich/Bavaria and there’s a Mediterranean element to it as well (e.g. Team Campinos/Battistelli). Nobody can blame this on one particular country or a part of Europe. The German government has been largely complicit, as was the Commission and other Brussels ‘elites’. We also noted yesterday that judges relocated from Munich to Haar aren’t enjoying any real independence. The thugs based in the Office pressure them to allow software patents in Europe, serving to highlight the lack of improvement. There’s no real separation of powers, there’s just… power.

“Accordingly — and perhaps even expectedly — censorship of dissenting comments increased and comments became more dismissive of the propaganda”Around midday on Saturday someone anonymous (likely just Bristows veiled over at Kluwer again) posted yet more UPC promotion, amplifying pure fiction, as one might expect (‘London can delay plan B for a UP system without the UK’). Well, the signal is, as usual, in the comments. The introductory paragraph states:

Full support for the Unified Patent Court Agreement, complete rejection, long lists with points of concern. The German government has published the reactions to its consultation on the new draft ratification bill for the UPCA.

Input was encouraged from patent maximalists; for anybody else (who actually knows what’s going on) it wasn’t simple to submit input. There was an attempt to change that. But let’s face it, most people aren’t aware of what’s going on and Team UPC is eager to exploit this. The above post from Kluwer is just one of many pieces of misinformation.

“We wish Team UPC good luck discrediting itself.”We’ve been writing about UP/UPC/UPCA for well over a decade (even before it was known by those names/acronyms). It was rather clear all along who was driving this agenda and why. The lies aren’t a new thing, but after Brexit, then the constitutional complaint and finally the ruling from the FCC we’ve been seeing a sharp increase in the severity/extremity of these lies. Accordingly — and perhaps even expectedly — censorship of dissenting comments increased and comments became more dismissive of the propaganda. Team UPC was starting to expose its true self — a bunch of dishonest, manipulative, selfish and greedy bunch which doesn’t care about the law and is eager to break the law, along with constitutions all across Europe.

Alan Johnson at BristowsWe wish Team UPC good luck discrediting itself. Right now, in the ‘pandemic summer’ of 2020, anyone who’s still cheering for the UPC while claiming it to be imminent will pay for it dearly in future credibility/reputation. From what we can gather, Bristows lost quite a few people over it (they’re either eerily silent or have left the firm).

Free Software is Good for the Planet

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Computerclub Ubuntuparty
Computerclub Ubuntuparty (very old photograph, liberally licensed)

Summary: Many activists of freedom and of Free software seem to be neglecting an obvious advantage if not ‘selling point’ of Free software; there’s both a pragmatic and ethical angle to it

ABOUT a year ago we did a series about a recycler that Microsoft had sent to prison (because he recycled computers and put Windows on them). Crazy, isn’t it? But that actually happened [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft actively fought the Right to Repair, too.

“Back in the days of Windows Vista the FSF did a campaign to that effect, warning that Vista would render many perfectly fine PCs obsolete (not meeting even minimal requirements of Vista, which had incredibly steep demands).”When your business model is ‘selling’ (actually renting) things over and over again recycling becomes a threat to your source of income.

Back in the days of Windows Vista the FSF did a campaign to that effect, warning that Vista would render many perfectly fine PCs obsolete (not meeting even minimal requirements of Vista, which had incredibly steep demands). Well, the FSF may no longer be doing activism that “disparages” Windows or Microsoft (a really foolish strategy change in our humble assessment, but so was their stance on RMS).

“It’s one among many reasons why proprietary software is inherently unethical and damaging to life.”Free software is very versatile. Don’t have what it takes to run the latest KDE Plasma? Then use Trinity as a desktop, instead. It’s like KDE3, going over a decade back. Don’t like KDE? Try Openbox. Don’t like the interface? Well, there are many other options out there. Up until 2020 I never had a computer with more than 2 gigabytes of RAM. Up until 2008 I hadn’t used a computer with more than 512 megabytes of RAM. My home PC had just 256 MB, my laptop had 32 MB , and my machine at work had a stunning total of 512. And that coped OK with KDE3.

Proprietary software is trash and it is good at generating, needlessly at times, a lot of literal trash. Those who try to turn this trash into perfectly fine PCs for poor people are being hunted down by Microsoft and then sentenced to prison. That tells us one profound difference between Free software and proprietary software. It’s one among many reasons why proprietary software is inherently unethical and damaging to life.

Free Software Will Stay Alive Until Microsoft Cuts Its Own Cord

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like it did CodePlex and countless other initiatives (Microsoft nowadays bribes projects and communities to defect and to keep the momentum of GitHub — at an exceptionally high price!)

No signal

Summary: Unless we put every piece of Free software in Microsoft’s own nest (all the eggs in Microsoft’s basket so to speak) we’ll always have fallbacks for the moment Microsoft pulls the plug on GitHub; at the moment Microsoft pumps a lot of money (losses) into GitHub to keep it running and it is even bribing projects to defect to GitHub (to maintain a false perception of momentum)

THE sites that are controlled by Microsoft are dying rapidly. As for GitHub, it’s losing a lot of money (operations and bribes — both subjects we covered here before). Microsoft worries that GitHub will be another CodePlex — a deserted place to be shut down along with everything and everyone in it.

“Microsoft worries that GitHub will be another CodePlex — a deserted place to be shut down along with everything and everyone in it.”Don’t believe us? Check Microsoft's own financial figures, which it shyly discloses between rounds of layoffs or waves of redundancies. GitHub isn’t doing well; a lot of the staff fled and we heard that projects too are reluctant to stay or to join (they apparently saw a decrease after the takeover, based in rumours we’ve heard). The accounts deleted by GitHub users? Microsoft keeps them to maintain the perception of size or 'health'.

While it’s true that parts of GNU are being outsourced to GitHub and Red Hat is foolish enough to still do the same, we’re also seeing more projects that set up their own instances, sometimes using GitLab (CE), and insist on using those instances alone. KDE and GNOME are among those; the FSF is apparently using GitLab as a ‘template’ for its new (or upcoming) own/self-hosted platform, augmenting — if not replacing perhaps — the SourceForge-derived one.

Microsoft has already admitted and spoke candidly, even on the public record, why it bought GitHub. It’s like a hostile takeover plan. Sadly, a lot of people are still in denial about it.

“Do not drown with Microsoft; let Microsoft drown on its own.”The way we see it, Microsoft is in a freefall while defrauding its shareholders; COVID-19 has led to four rounds of layoffs in just 1.5 months. Free software will win at the end (even on desktops/laptops), but let’s ensure Microsoft does not control it in any way. Delete GitHub, make the takeover another ‘write-off’ (like Nokia), and let’s get back to our communities that we trust and cherish.

Future generations will hear about this thing once known as “micro-soft”?

“Micro-what,” they’ll respond.

Exactly!

IBM has managed to survive about a century already (the exception, not the norm). In the process it even propped up Microsoft (because Bill Gates’ mother, a well-connected scion, demanded it). It’s not clear if Microsoft can live on to reach its 50th anniversary. When it goes under — as every company eventually does — let’s be sure we won’t lose ticket trackers etc. Don’t fall into the GitHub trap. Do not drown with Microsoft; let Microsoft drown on its own. Ask Mixer users how they feel this month. Or SoapBox users, Windows Mobile Users, Zune users, people with DRM-laden ‘books’ and many others before them. Microsoft is constantly abandoning platforms. It’s just what Microsoft does.

Speech is Violence, Hence Banning Speech Will End Violence

Posted in Law at 9:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sarcastic post

Hotline bling (Richtofen version): Germany banned depiction of Nazis, but there are still nazis

Summary: How to destroy online communities, one little step at a time

FREE speech is the freedom to punch
If you don’t agree, here’s a hunch

The wisdom of the crowd is the freedom to censor
By limiting speech things will get better

A long time ago we figured things out
We finally realised what free speech is all about

It’s about nazis and genocide and promotion of hate
For “responsible moderation” we simply could not wait

So we censored the nazis
Then the white supremacists
Then the racists
The sexist
The homophobic
The transphobic
And anything with pubic
We also banned nipples (except guys’; those are OK!)

The Internet is now clean
At our great accomplishment we proudly glean

No more racism
No more communities
Corporations control everything
Ain’t that just lovely!

Introduction to Techrights IRC

Posted in Site News at 9:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC channels

Summary: A sort of belated primer regarding our IRC channels; these remain our main collaboration tool for real-time interactions (since 2008)

Techrights IRC channels go back more than 12 years (hence the channels with "boycottnovell" still in them; it’s a legacy feature or artifact). There are 4 channels and one of them is mostly used to retain local copies of Social Control Media posts; historically this was done for about a dozen regulars of ours, using Identi.ca (and later Twitter) APIs; when Twitter shut down these APIs 2 years ago we resorted to Pleroma/Fediverse (a bot called “viera” was developed for us, for this very purpose), so the number of people echoed was significantly reduced. Many are, sadly enough, not on Fediverse (and not because they’re too busy blogging).

“Nowadays the main channel has in it between 60 to 70 people (plus bots) constantly lurking. Some people do not lurk in IRC but instead read the logs to keep abreast (happenings behind the scenes).”In a sense, going back to these Identi.ca roots (Fediverse is only partly compatible with what was once known as StatusNet) is a gain for freedom and for Free software, even if the paradigm itself — namely Social Control Media — is deeply flawed.

Nowadays the main channel has in it between 60 to 70 people (plus bots) constantly lurking. Some people do not lurk in IRC but instead read the logs to keep abreast (happenings behind the scenes). Sometimes E-mail provides a sort of ‘feedback loop’ between log lurkers and IRC lurkers (they can communicate with one another days apart). We facilitate those kinds of discussions.

While we don’t need to talk about who’s who (some people prefer their pseudonyms and their privacy; they’re reasonably technical and privacy-conscious), there’s something to be said about the IRC logs.

Logging

It all started in 2008. Keith from Slated.org helped set up the main and first channel. The channels were logged on multiple machines and logs published on a daily basis since the early days (my workstation in Manchester University used to be the fallback machine, sitting there in the shared office with XChat in the background). Some time around 2011 — or maybe a year later — the logs were published less regularly because the workflow was labour-intensive and sometimes I was physically away. Mark, who is based in Canada, has a server sitting on the channels logging it for us in case the connection goes offline here in the UK. Logging is nowadays also being done in the US. So three different countries do the logging, which improves robustness (avoiding data loss/textual lapses) by redundancy. Netsplits and Freenode downtime incidents — however rare these may be — can be compensated for (by having logs from both sides of the ‘split’). We improved these mechanisms over the years. Not even prolonged power outages would lead to data loss.

“Netsplits and Freenode downtime incidents — however rare these may be — can be compensated for (by having logs from both sides of the ‘split’).”Last summer or in early autumn (we published some logs retroactively) we worked to address that lack of automation and resumed publishing logs every day at roughly the same time. The logs are typically generated, manually, some time after midnight and then uploaded. Supervised by a person, the process is less error-prone. Two people check the process.

Redaction

There are two levels of redaction. One pertains to pre-pasting of material onto channels and another is done, albeit very rarely, after something is said publicly (in IRC, but not in logs). This can be due to a privacy issue, a pasting malfunction, or a request (it’s rare but it happens). We don’t just publish everything irresponsibly. We carefully check that nothing illegal, for example, is being done or promoted. Considering the fact we’re censorship-free, the channels are still surprisingly civil and most of the time they’re professional enough. Profanities aren’t being censored; we detest censorship. Profanity is part of human nature and deletion won’t change that nature.

How to Join Us

The channels can be accessed using a Web browser or using an IRC client. The main channel is #techrights at irc.freenode.org (the less important channels are #boycottnovell, #techbytes and #boycottnovell-social; there’s also #tuxmachines, but that’s a different site).

“It probably shouldn’t be too shocking that many of the IRC discussion lead to topics and angles covered here on a daily basis (in wiki and blog form).”We’re always attentive and there’s always somebody ready to reply, provided one waits long enough because people are “away from keyboard” (afk) a lot of the time. Sometimes people drop by, say a few words, then disappear after about a minute, not giving even an opportunity to respond. 4 of my screens show me 4 IRC channels in tandem, but rather than or instead relying on alerts/notifications I depend on motion (screen changes) to detect activity because it is a lot less distracting.

It probably shouldn’t be too shocking that many of the IRC discussion lead to topics and angles covered here on a daily basis (in wiki and blog form). The community generally grew over time and we’re proud to say no censorship or “CoC” was needed; it would only harm the general atmosphere. We’re an unmoderated forum. We’re also transparent enough that the concept of “techrightsGate” or “techrightsLeaks” is ludicrous at best; it would not reveal anything that’s not already publicly accessible to all.

[Humour/Meme] EPO Needs Management That Understands and Pursues Science, Not Litigation

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last week: Missing From EPO Management: Actual Scientists

Star Trek LA Law: Litigation/Science

Summary: Management of the European Patent Office (EPO) has lost sight — perhaps by intention — of its original purpose, mistaking the EPO for an institution whose purpose is to create as many litigation jobs as possible

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