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08.20.20

BSD (for Tiny Core Users)

Posted in BSD, GNU/Linux at 11:38 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

A lifeboat

Summary: “You wouldn’t call a lifeboat a “step backwards” if knew you needed one. Stay on the ship, if you prefer it.”

You can still use this introduction, even if you don’t use Tiny Core. I am using Tiny Core lately, because it is one of the better distros for avoiding systemd.

As I’ve said in the book that was just run here, GNU/Linux is dead. I still use it, I can certainly understand if you do, I would ideally like the GNU Project to be salvaged. Its mission is very important.

“Very recently, I was told that BSD is a step backward for freedom. I do not agree. We have a setback, this is true — but nobody is going to salvage or save the Linux kernel.”On the subject of copyleft, this article is more about kernels than licenses. I have defended the value of copyleft on many occasions, as well as HyperbolaBSD.

Very recently, I was told that BSD is a step backward for freedom. I do not agree. We have a setback, this is true — but nobody is going to salvage or save the Linux kernel. Torvalds won’t. GKH certainly won’t, he’s part of the problem. The Linux Foundation won’t, IBM won’t, Alex Oliva won’t. But before you blame Alex Oliva, I don’t think anybody will save it — that’s what I mean when I say GNU/Linux is dead.

What about Hurd? You go ahead. Maybe this will be a renaissance for the Hurd kernel. I never talk about that, because I seriously doubt it. But it’s a cool kernel, the lead developer is a backstabber and personally, there’s no interest in Hurd here. People will continue developing it of course, just like they keep working on ReactOS.

“RMS said that if it isn’t actively maintained, the FSF can’t endorse it.”The difference between a “step backward” and a “setback” is the starting point. If not for setbacks that have already happened, BSD (in general) would be a step backward in some way, from where we WERE 5 years ago. Until this week, “5 years ago” was also the last time I tried BSD. I’ve spent 5 years looking at our odds of salvaging or forking Linux. I don’t think they exist, but maybe they do.

BSD may be a step backward from where we were, but they’re not (IMO) a step backward from where we are. Ultimately I think BSD is all we’ve got for the future of the GNU Project. I’m far from alone in this — in many ways I’m behind on this.

I personally talked to rms about the options for a Free-as-in-freedom version of BSD a year or two ago. I asked if he knew of any such option — he did not. It was then that I found LibreBSD — but it’s based on GitHub, and receives few updates. It frequently looks abandoned.

“Eventually Hyperbola — the only FSF-approved distro to take modern threats to software freedom seriously — would switch to BSD. To me this alone speaks volumes.”RMS said that if it isn’t actively maintained, the FSF can’t endorse it. Eventually Hyperbola — the only FSF-approved distro to take modern threats to software freedom seriously — would switch to BSD. To me this alone speaks volumes. It isn’t the basis for my argument, though it makes me feel we are on the right track. The Hyperbola team is serious about your freedom. Trisquel gives you systemd, and Trisquel fans / users quote lies from systemd’s own creator to justify its inclusion.

As was said on another Free software blog, most of the people who hate systemd do not use free kernels or fully-free distros. But they are crapping on those who used free kernels and/or fully-free distros until systemd showed up. They’re not giving you the whole picture.

A number of those people (myself included) have retreated to options that give users more control over adding and removing components, but which sadly lack fully-free kernels.

“Alpine is not fully-free, Tiny Core is not fully-free, but Trisquel is Free In License Only.”This isn’t because fully-free kernels are no longer important — it’s because lots of things are important, and a distro with a fully-free kernel that is controlled by Microsoft (GitHub) and IBM is still controlled by Microsoft and IBM — and that’s NOT free. We’ve made this point a thousand times, but people ignore it. On our side of the argument are fully-free FSF-approved distro devs like Denis Roio (DYNE:bolic) and Hyperbola.

You guys should listen up.

Alpine is not fully-free, Tiny Core is not fully-free, but Trisquel is Free In License Only.

Meanwhile, the Linux kernel is getting things like DRM and corporate sabotage, not to mention it’s the battleground for a fight against copyleft — using copyleft.

Given the concerns about Copyleft being used by corporations against freedom (this shouldn’t be considered impossible, when the point of Copyleft was the exact opposite — using a monopoly against itself — so you’re going to argue that it’s impossible to use something that uses a monopoly against itself — AGAINST ITSELF? This is basic recursion, you should know better…)

“Meanwhile, the Linux kernel is getting things like DRM and corporate sabotage, not to mention it’s the battleground for a fight against copyleft — using copyleft.”I’m not against copyleft, but CopyleftConf being co-opted should make us think about why this is happening. In my opinion, we should have a Free Software taskforce to watchdog and comment on the future of copyleft as a solution — and/or threat. I have no horse in that race — I’ve defended copyleft as a political solution, but if it fails and becomes a problem, I would simply not use it then.

If we can continue the trend of using copyleft as a working solution as the GNU Project has in the past, we probably should. But it may take some effort.

My interest in BSD is the same interest that GNU had in Linux — we need a kernel. I realise that BSD has its own permissively-licensed tools, but the first version of BSD I ever used was GNU/KfreeBSD — a hybrid solution if anything, with the GNU userland.

Maybe instead of bending over for Debian, someone should have done more to defend things like GNU/KfreeBSD instead of defending a weapon like systemd used against it and everything like it. It’s too late now, but go ahead.

You’ll never be free again with the Linux kernel, so what are YOU going to use?

“…linux-libre isn’t (and won’t be) a fork, so a fully-free linux kernel that will become less and less free over time isn’t a solution as far as I’m concerned.”Again, I have no problem with temporary solutions like Alpine and Tiny Core. I asked rms and Alex Oliva for a libre kernel for Tiny Core on numerous occasions. I know it doesn’t work that way — but it would have helped, they could have listened. Oliva used to (as far as I could tell) promote linux-libre by creating it for certain distros, he really should have added Tiny Core to the list. It’s not like Arch was fully free, but there was still a linux-libre for it. (I’ve used Parabola before. Also ConnochaetOS).

But linux-libre isn’t (and won’t be) a fork, so a fully-free linux kernel that will become less and less free over time isn’t a solution as far as I’m concerned. It’s just a holdover. Feel free! But I’m looking for solutions.

I routinely promote Hyperbola as an ideal, but my first GNU/Linux distro wasn’t fully free, however it WAS a huge step forward from Windows.

“When people see you say no, even once, you may inspire them to follow your example. To give help consistently, you can make this refusal a firm practice, but refusing occasionally is still help.”Richard Stallman

“I could just sit here and fiddle with Tiny Core, but the reason I’m running Tiny Core is to say “no” to systemd and GitHub, as much as possible.”Is it better to be fully-free? OF COURSE it is. I didn’t switch to Debian until they had removed the non-free software from their kernel. That was a giant leap forward. I barely ever used non-free wifi either (I barely ever use wifi at all for that matter). The person who told me BSD is a step backwards, neither uses a fully-free/FSF-approved distro, plus he sometimes uses non-free wifi. I mean, this is ridiculous — I was (and lean towards being) more of a free software purist than he is now.

I am STILL advocating we say “no” to all of this non-free stuff.

The difference is, I know where we are right now — and BSD is likely a step forward from where we are, not from where we were. If you have a time machine, great — get in and enjoy GNU/Linux. Maybe from somewhere in the past, you can fix its future (according to some authors, you’ll only create an alternative timeline. But hey, it’s a timeline where free software sucks less than in this one. Enjoy!)

I’m using BSD to get closer to HyperbolaBSD. I could just sit here and fiddle with Tiny Core, but the reason I’m running Tiny Core is to say “no” to systemd and GitHub, as much as possible. I’d love to say no to MUCH MUCH more — that’s going to take time and effort. And more people realising what HyperbolaBSD already has.

I thought about Fury and Nomad (these are other BSD flavours), but both are developed on GitHub. I just stopped using a GNU/Linux distro for that, I’m not interested.

I’m interested in OpenBSD, because that’s what LibreBSD and (I think) Hyperbola are based on, but I downloaded it a while ago and haven’t managed to get it installed yet. I’m also interested in NetBSD. DragonflyBSD is 64-bit only, I’m not interested in that (This is also why I haven’t tried PCLinuxOS).

I was avoiding FreeBSD for various reasons, above all their ridiculous Code of Conduct. They switched to a slightly less ridiculous one recently — okay, so it’s not my first choice. But Tom is in love with some aspects of it, so I’ll compromise a little and try it if it installs more easily than OpenBSD (which I’ve retained the same amount of interest in.)

Bingo!

So at freebsd.org you’ll find docs plus an FAQ

So far, I’m leaning on the EXTENSIVE FAQ, mostly.

Under “Get FreeBSD” I find numerous options fo the i386 platform — Installer Images (nope) and Virtual Machine Images (yes!)

I will explain why I made this choice in a moment.

So I click back and then forward, to 11.4-RELEASE — click on the raw.xz and download about .24 GB, which I then copy to my Tiny Core server. I figure its specs are most likely to work on the first try. I have trouble booting this thing from anything except CD or DVD, I don’t want to spend the media (the easiest to find media here is also the crappiest) and I don’t want to swap drives out today.

So I boot Tiny Core to ram, no extensions — copy the raw.xz to ram and write it to the drive (again, this is from ram) using unxz -c FreeBSD-11.4-RELEASE-i386.raw.xz | dd of=/dev/sda … if I’d followed some relevant instructions I would have paid attention to details like sector size.

I read basically zero instructions, and simply worked out my own way to install this — with a single command, once the file was on the system in ram. I know this image is for VM users, it’s exactly what I was looking for and doing it this way converted my server partition scheme from DOS to GPT. Which is not quite what I’d hoped for, but is pretty cool if you think about it.

I rebooted and hoped for the best — and it’s running FreeBSD.

Fewer things worked immediately than I wanted, but more things worked than I expected — the USB keyboard works, the screen works, it actually boots!

Because I’ve used BSD a little, plus I’ve never been interested in Linux developers’ attempts to deprecate things for whatever hipster douchebag garbage Lennart and Co. are pushing, it wasn’t all unfamiliar. As with Tiny Core, ifconfig still works. It’s friendly and simple, I like it. I didn’t have to look up how to check if there was a DHCP lease.

Based on my experience I tried Single-user mode first. I don’t think Multi-user worked yet; I don’t know if I got the DHCP lease in Single-user mode or not — I know Multi-user does.

The eth0 interface (I know, systemd has its own BS) is sk0 on FreeBSD. You won’t need to, but if you want to run the DHCP client for some reason it’s “dhclient sk0″.

I didn’t get it working until today, but to mount /dev/sdb2 on /mnt/usb with an ext2 partition it’s mount -t ext2fs /dev/da0s2 /mnt/usb.

Single-user mounts / as read-only, to fix this “mount -o rw /” works. I used addser to create a user-privileged user, passwd to set the root password. I bet bsgconfig (very nice setup tool) would have let me do this as well, but I didn’t find it until later.

Once you have a password or user account, you can login to it from Multi-user mode. It’s a menu option when you first start up. From there (as root) I mounted a usb with an ext2 partition — it should also work with ext3 (you still use -t ext2fs) but I haven’t tried it. EXT3 Journaling is not supported.

Multi-user mounts / as rw (“soft-updates” — up to 30 seconds before a write syncs) and the sync command is available, but I don’t know if it works the same as in GNU/Linux.

The reset and clear commands work. You will find you have sh instead of bash — it is more minimal. The userland differs a bit from FreeBSD to OpenBSD to GNU — ls is in all of them, while BSD is closer to POSIX-only; GNU extends options.

In theory, bsdconfig lets you install more packages. I haven’t managed yet. I think it’s OpenBSD that lets you run Linux (ELF) binaries, but only 32-bit ones — I don’t know if FreeBSD does (let alone without installing extra things). I’d really like to have GNU Wget back.

Running bsdconfig, I saw an option to install PyPy. I’d love to. The clock is set now (old server, dead battery) so maybe it will install now. I recommend reading the FAQ at least. I’m on part 8.

I’m amused and pleased that uname -a works. I guess it’s from Unix (maybe that’s the “u” in “uname”) but I know Unix is what gave us things like ls and sed, it’s these commands I’m not sure whether they’re Linux-specific (most “Linux” commands are GNU commands or originally Unix commands, of course) that I find most interesting at the moment.

I want to learn BSD, so I will be more ready to use HyperbolaBSD when I get it running. So instead of just talking about BSD as an option for the future of Free software, I can actually have greater familiarity with the topic.

This is research. But if you think this is a step backwards — particularly one I’m making, rather than trying to move forward after a setback — that’s your opinion. You’re welcome to it. I’m still trying to be more free. Guess what? We don’t have the options we used to have.

GNU/Linux isn’t a real option anymore. But go ahead; some of us who do care a great deal about freedom are looking into other options, with very good reason. Some of us talk about GNU/BSD now; but GNU/BSD isn’t going to happen without a kernel. Or without BSD.

I said more than a year ago that we needed lifeboats. That’s what this is, you know. BSD is (now, thanks to Microsoft, GitHub and IBM) a lifeboat for the GNU Project, while the FSF supports Microsoft, GitHub and systemd. You wouldn’t call a lifeboat a “step backwards” if knew you needed one. Stay on the ship, if you prefer it. The rest of us hope to rebuild, but at least will try.

Some of the points of this article may prove due to misunderstanding what was said. That’s okay, no harm done — but I don’t think running FreeBSD right now is frivolous or silly, or I wouldn’t do it.

Long Live rms, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

“The University of Costumed Heroes” by the Free Software Foundation is an Example of Effective Free Software Advocacy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 10:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

'Hero vs Villain Masks: Today many people are switching to free software for purely practical reasons.'--Richard Stallman

Summary: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has a new president, a new board member, and it seems to be getting back to normalcy with over 200 new members and multimedia-rich campaigns

“We invite activists, hackers,” the FSF wrote yesterday, as well as “law professionals, artists, students, developers, young people, policymakers, tinkerers, newcomers to free software, and anyone looking for technology that aligns with their ideals, to submit a proposal for a session at LibrePlanet. Session proposals can focus on software development, copyleft, community, or other related issues…”

“LibrePlanet uses Free software exclusively, having perhaps ‘pioneered’ a Free software-only tele-presence event the last time around.”Together with what was dubbed a Free Software Federation (introduction here), the FSF will hopefully do well and promote the ideals of Free/libre software. LibrePlanet uses Free software exclusively, having perhaps ‘pioneered’ a Free software-only tele-presence event the last time around. As we noted earlier this month, their latest campaign pushes for expansion of this trend ( The University of Costumed Heroes: A video from the FSF and The FSF’s approach to using online videos for advocacy). We reproduce below their latest video campaign, once more…

OSI’s Chief Steps Down, Canonical Advertises Windows Again, and Red Hat Gives Award to Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OSI, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Windows at 9:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OSI salaries
The only one in OSI who takes a salary, apparently (latest tax form here [PDF]), has left; as the ‘sellout’ or handover to monopolists accelerates so does the corporate revenue the OSI nowadays depends on (that money grew tenfold in a decade, just like at the Linux Foundation)

Ubuntu on Windows
The Official Ubuntu Blog is again boosting Microsoft’s attack on GNU/Linux, along with ZDNet and Phoronix. Again and again this happens as if Canonical is not pro-Linux and instead pro-dud. Why are they bothering with articles on WSL2 when very few people use it and it is an attack on GNU/Linux?

Red Hat's Microsoft award
This new blog post from Red Hat shows they’ve come to depend on and suck up to Microsoft [1, 2]

Summary: Patrick Masson leaves OSI, Canonical promotes Windows in its Ubuntu blog, and Red Hat continues to act like it refuses to even compete with Microsoft

THINGS deteriorate further. This is entryism.

The OSI GM has resigned (not fired, based on the wordings [1,2]) and one starts wondering whether the whole thing collapsing is a desirable end. There’s nobody even to replace him, except interim (typically suggestive of an unexpected power vacuum with little planning or foresight). Given the funding sources of the OSI, where money buys power, the next GM will likely be a very corporate person like the OSI’s President, Josh Simmons. He comes from the company that so viciously attacked RMS and suggested that the FSF should oust all who support RMS, thereby creating an unprecedented power vacuum and witch-hunt. Remember that both of the OSI’s co-founders are no longer there; one resigned in protest at the start of the year and Simmons et al banned the other. Maybe that partly led to Masson’s exit. It does not say why he left. Monopolists are always happy to exploit power vacuums, created as they intended so they can infiltrate everything. Microsoft initially infiltrated the OSI — with its shoddy licences — because of Mac Asay inside the Board (he’s still a Microsoft apologist and he tried working for Microsoft). Groklaw protested strongly against this.

“Assimilation tactics only need apathy and silence to prove effective. The further they progress, the harder it becomes to undo them.”So what does “Open Source” even stand for now? Monopolies? WSL? Windows? GitHub? Yes, it’s proprietary.

Putting this together with yesterday’s blog posts from the official Red Hat and Ubuntu blogs (screenshots at the top), at least we have a rough idea what we’re dealing with here…

Assimilation tactics only need apathy and silence to prove effective. The further they progress, the harder it becomes to undo them.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Deb Nicholson to Join Open Source Initiative as Interim General Manager

    Deb Nicholson has been serving as our Director of Community Operations for just over two years and is now leaving to Conservancy to take on the role of Interim General Manager at the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Although Deb will no longer be on our staff, she’ll remain part of the Conservancy community, most formally as a volunteer on our Evaluation Committee that reviews applications from potential new member projects.

    In the two years since she became the Director of Community Operations, Deb has helped Conservancy welcome six new member projects, put on two Copyleft Confs, run two fundraising seasons and contributed over 50 posts to our blog.

  2. Announcing OSI’s New Interim General Manager

    The Open Source Initiative is bringing in Deb Nicholson as its new Interim General Manager. Nicholson will be supporting the organization through a period of growth and introspection over the upcoming year as stakeholders continue building on the non-profit’s past successes. She will be overseeing day-to-day operations, including marketing, staffing and infrastructure, as well as supporting board and volunteer activities.

    OSI’s President, Josh Simmons elaborates, “We’re thrilled to welcome Deb as an Interim General Manager at OSI. Her credentials are top notch, and she’s well respected within the free and open source software communities… I couldn’t ask for a better partner as OSI works through its second major transformation! Deb’s roots in the software freedom community and at Conservancy bode well for our movements as we strive to present a more unified front to advance our shared goals.”

    We would also like to take this moment to thank Patrick Masson for seven years of service as OSI’s General Manager and Director. He leaves behind a powerful legacy as OSI’s first full-time employee. Masson will be continuing his work as an outside consultant to support this transition as well as supporting FLOSS Desktops For Kids. We wish him all the best, both inside and outside, the open source community.

Links 20/8/2020: Mesa 20.1.6 Release, Nextcloud Desktop Client 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • More delays and motivation issues

        It’s fair to say that my motivation for keeping up with linux kernel development has been flagging for some time now and the current world situation is not helping. Hearing the news extol the virtues of linux-5.8 being the “biggest release ever” does not particularly aid my situation.

        [...]

        As time goes on and more and more features get added to the scheduler that have nothing to do with ordinary desktop and mobile platform usage, at some stage distributions will be tempted to become dependent on one or more of those features and if I don’t develop MuQSS much further to incorporate my own version of those features, it will become redundant. Given the completely different scheduler architecture of MuQSS versus CFS means I can’t simply just port over the code most of the time; I have to write my own complete feature equivalent version and these are far from trivial. The accounting code is completely different, most of the CGROUP features aren’t even implemented, and deadline scheduling is not available at all for example. If more of these appear in the future and eventually become showstoppers, then unless some miracle happens to make me find the motivation to work on them, it will be the death of it.

      • MuQSS/CK’s Con Kolivas Becoming Concerned Over The Increasing Size Of The Linux Kernel

        Longtime independent Linux kernel developer Con Kolivas known for his work previously on the BFS scheduler and now the MuQSS scheduler as well as his out-of-tree “-ck” patch set is becoming increasingly concerned over the growing size of the kernel code-base and that ultimately could put an end to his work with a focus on greater desktop interactivity/performance.

        Kolivas stopped contributing to the mainline Linux kernel a decade ago but has continued maintaining the “-ck” patch-set for each new kernel release as well as working on the likes of the Brain Fuck Scheduler and Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler. Generally he’s been quite punctual in re-basing the work for new kernel releases aside from when the retired anaesthesiologist took a break earlier this year to design equipment for the COVID-19 battle. But now his latest battle is the increasing size of the Linux kernel that often brings core infrastructure changes as opposed to just new drivers.

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: LPC 2020 Schedule Finalized, CfP closed

        We are very pleased to announce that our final schedule is public!

      • Graphics Stack

        • [Mesa-announce] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 20.1.6
          Hi everyone,
          
          I'd like to announce Mesa 20.1.6, the sixth bugfix release for the 20.1 branch.
          
          The next bugfix release is planned for 2 weeks from now, on 2020-09-02.
          
          Cheers,
          Eric
          
        • Mesa 20.1.6 Released with World War Z Fixes, More RADV Vulkan Improvements

          The bi-weekly release cycle of the latest Mesa 20.1 open source graphics stack for the Linux desktop continues with Mesa 20.1.6, the latest stable Vulkan/OpenGL graphics drivers update.

          As with all point releases, Mesa 20.1.6 is here to add yet another layer of bug fixes in an attempt to further improve the overall performance, stability and reliability of the included graphics drivers for AMD Radeon and Intel graphics.

          Once again, it looks like the Mesa development team concentrated their efforts to improve the RADV Vulkan driver for AMD Radeon graphics cards. For example, Mesa 20.1.6 improves support for the World War Z third-person shooter in the RADV driver by overriding the uniform buffer offset alignment.

        • Mesa 20.1.6 Released With Several Radeon Vulkan Driver Fixes

          While the feature rich Mesa 20.2 should be christened as stable within the next couple of weeks, Mesa 20.1.6 is out today as for what is now the newest bi-weekly stable point release for this collection of open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers.

          Even though Mesa 20.1.x is getting late in the series, a number of fixes continue to land. This time around for Mesa 20.1.6 there are a number of fixes for the Radeon Vulkan driver “RADV”, including a fix for handling World War Z under Wine / Steam Play. That fix for World War Z not only consisted of RADV changes itself but also DriConf handling update to support the selection of the workaround based upon the Vulkan “applicationName” field. That infrastructure may help in adapting other game-specific Vulkan workarounds moving forward.

        • Radeon’s AMDVLK Driver Does Support FreeSync/VRR But The Option Isn’t Widely Known

          There is a common misconception that the official AMD Radeon open-source Vulkan driver “AMDVLK” doesn’t support FreeSync / Variable Rate Refresh, but that is actually inaccurate as the support was merged earlier this year albeit never announced or made it into the release notes.

          Going on for years have been bug reports and feature requests pertaining to FreeSync / VRR / Adaptive-Sync being missing / not supported by AMDVLK as the official open-source Radeon Vulkan driver for Linux.

        • Xfb And Barriers

          In the course of working on some code to introduce more granular resource-based pipeline barriers for synchronization, I rediscovered some parts of the xfb implementation we have that use barriers, and this got me thinking about our barrier usage in general for buffer resources.

        • Melissa Wen: If a warning remains, the job is not finished.

          In the past few weeks, I have been combing two issues on vkms: development of writeback support and alpha blending. I try to keep activities in parallel so that one can recover me from any tiredness from the other :P

          Alpha blending is a TODO[1] of the VKMS that possibly could solve the warning[2] triggered in the cursor-alpha-transparent testcase. And, you know, if you still have a warning, you still have work.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux vs. Windows Performance Will Be All The More Interesting With Intel’s Hybrid x86 Architecture

        With Intel’s Lakefield and the future Alder Lake with their hybrid x86 architecture mixing of “little” and “big” cores, operating system optimizations become all the more important and thus will be interesting to see how the battle is between Windows and Linux.

        At last week’s Intel Architecture Day there was one slide in particular calling out to the “OS optimizations” with hybrid architectures. In that context it was for Lakefield and the mentioned OS optimizations were on Windows.

      • The New OpenBenchmarking.org Now In Alpha For Better Hardware & Benchmark Discovery

        As alluded to previously, a major overhaul of OpenBenchmarking.org has been in the works for a number of months now including a completely brand new analytics engine as part of the Phoronix Test Suite 10.0 development with its release due out later this year. With the new OpenBenchmarking.org now in good enough shape at least for the internal infrastructure, this new version is being opened up to the public today while over the weeks ahead more features will continue to be flipped on.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 10.0 Milestone 1 Released For Open-Source Benchmarking

        The first development release of the forthcoming Phoronix Test Suite 10.0-Finnsnes is now available for evaluation for this open-source, cross-platform, fully-automated benchmarking software framework.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • ROBLOX is a MUD: The history of MUDs, virtual worlds & MMORPGs

        It’s like if the whole MUD explosion — all the DikuMUDs, TinyMUDs, MUCKs, MUSHs, MOOs, etc — was all happening inside a single platform, and you could freely jump between worlds with your friends, or create your own.

        This is what 150 million monthly active users are playing, most of them children. Roblox is a MUD for the TikTok generation.

      • The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe delayed into 2021

        The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe has been delayed again into 2021. Sadly we’ve got a while to wait for more amusing endings to the first-person exploration game.

        Wait, what? The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe is an upcoming expansion to the original game with more content, more endings, more whimsical adventures of the two best friends Stanley and The Narrator. It’s a continuation of the collaboration between Davey Wreden and William Pugh, who were the creators of the original Stanley Parable. William’s studio Crows Crows Crows will be designing, developing and publishing.

      • Stylized top-down rally racer ‘art of rally’ gets a flashy new trailer

        Coming at some point later this year is art of rally, a top-down rally experience from Funselektor Labs and they have a brand new trailer up.

        Unlike other racing sims, it’s not meant to be ultra-realistic. While it does have a pretty great handling model, which was overhauled from their previous game Absolute Drift, the focus here is more on fun. That goes hand in hand with the view point, being top-down means you get a good look at what’s ahead so all types of players from beginners to experts at driving games can get in and get going.

      • Quantum mechanics-based puzzle game The Long Gate launches in September

        Coming from the mind of indie dev David Shaw, The Long Gate looks like an incredibly promising puzzle game that touches on unique quantum-based puzzles. These puzzles definitely have my curiosity, as Shaw worked directly with an actual actual quantum-computing company: D-Wave on them.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The Best Linux Distributions for KDE Plasma 5

          Apart from GNOME, KDE Plasma is one of the powerful and dominant desktop environments that boasts a stunning appearance with polished icons and an amazing look-and-feel. KDE Plasma has evolved and is more crisp and elegant as ever.

          This review takes a deep dive into some of the Best Linux distros that can support KDE Plasma 5.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2020.3 Released With Better HiDPI Support, New Shell & More

          Kali Linux is the best penetration testing distribution with hundreds of tools for testing different devices and services. In Kali Linux 2020.3 update, the team has made several important changes to Kali that make it much better.

          Kali Linux is a free and open-source penetration testing Linux distribution built by Offensive Security. The distribution can be installed on various devices including smartphones and Raspberry PI.

        • Kali Linux WPA and WPA2 Attacks

          Wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, is a type of technology employed to provide connectivity to a computer network without a cable or hardwired connection. Wi-Fi works within the 2.4 Ghz to 5 Ghz range and should not interfere with cellphones, broadcast radio, television, or handheld radios. Wi-Fi functions by transmitting data over radio waves between a client device and a device called a router. A router can transmit data to systems internally, or externally to the Internet. Wi-Fi is neither more nor less secure than a traditional hard-wired network but is instead a completely different interface. The most important thing to remember is that Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was released in 1997 and is easy to break into. WEP can be broken in minutes or less. Your modern devices will not work with the WEP network and most routers no longer support it. The updated WEP can also be broken into through hacking methods.

        • Windows 10 WSL2 Can Now Run Kali Linux With Full Native Graphical User Interface Win-KeX Available On Microsoft Store
        • Run Kali Linux XFCE

          This article will provide you complete information about XFCE and how to run XFCE in Kali Linux. XFCE is an older project of 1966. Oliver Fourdan, the creator of XFCE, launched XFCE for the first time. His idea was to produce a new version of Linux to run on the desktop environment. XFCE was originally an acronym for X to form a common environment. The OS was based on a project at the time called X forms, which ended up being some of the original downfalls of the early adoption of XSCE because X forms have a license similar to the WPS office. It is not entirely free and open-source, but it is free to use on a personal computer. When XFCE was first included inside Debian and Red Hat, it was rejected. Because it was based on X form, this caused a bit of a problem for the developer. Oliver Fourdan decided to go back in 1999 with version 3 of XFCE, which finally started to take off. XFCE version 4 is the most recent version released. XFCE allows you to use all the functions available on the desktop environment. This is one of its best features.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD Foundation Celebrates 20 Years of Promoting and Supporting FreeBSD Project

          This year the FreeBSD Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary. To commemorate those years of dedication to open source, we are going to take a look at the history of FreeBSD and what exactly the FreeBSD Foundation does. Join me, won’t you?

          Unix first appeared when God delivered the source code to the chosen people after they had fled Egypt. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly how that happened (but I’m sure a few greybeards think that is how it happened.).

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora/Oracle

        • Oracle Linux 7 U9 Beta Bringing Updated Drivers, Wayland Tech Preview
        • Announcing the release of Oracle Linux 7 Update 9 Beta

          Oracle is pleased to announce the availability of the Oracle Linux 7 Update 9 Beta Release for the 64-bit Intel and AMD (x86_64) and 64-bit Arm (aarch64) platforms. Oracle Linux 7 Update 9 Beta is an update release that includes bug fixes, security fixes, and enhancements. The beta release allows Oracle partners and customers to test these capabilities before Oracle Linux 7 Update 9 becomes generally available. It is 100% application binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Update 9 Beta. Updates include…

        • Richard W.M. Jones: nbdkit now ported to Windows

          This week I ported nbdkit, our high performance plugin-based Network Block Device server, to Windows. Currently it’s not upstream but you can download the Windows branch from here.

        • IBM unveils its first seven-nanometre chip for next-generation hybrid cloud computing
        • Red Hat honors APAC partners for driving customer success with open source solutions

          Red Hat’s partner ecosystem plays an important role in enabling customer success and solving industry problems. As key players in digital transformation, Red Hat partners help organizations and businesses navigate the ever-changing IT landscape through open source solutions.

          The Red Hat Asia Pacific Partner Awards 2020 recognize commercial and public sector partners for their continued efforts to develop innovative solutions using Red Hat technologies to meet customers needs and improve business outcomes. This year’s partner award winners have not only acted as catalysts for customer success, but have been important multipliers of enterprise open source by adopting Red Hat solutions, from emerging technologies to hybrid cloud infrastructure. In today’s evolving marketplace, it is more important than ever to work openly and collaboratively to generate meaningful results for organizations throughout their cloud journey.

          Selected based on their commitment to innovation, dedication to driving change with open source, and demonstration of collaborative and transparent working ecosystems, we are pleased to announce this year’s Red Hat Asia Pacific Partner Award winners:

        • What we’ve learned using OpenShift Container Platform in a hybrid cloud environment for Red Hat IT

          As a principal engineer in Red Hat IT focused on container platforms, I know the benefits of using Red Hat OpenShift firsthand and the value it gives to our organization. Since our OpenShift services were first deployed in August 2016, we have seen many key improvements, such as shorter cycle time from code to production, higher density of applications, and better standardization of application architectures.

          While these successes were important, we knew we had to face our next frontier. Other business drivers were pushing us to deploy OpenShift across a hybrid cloud environment. These factors included improved multi-site resiliency, the ability to support burst resources on public cloud, avoiding vendor lock-in, and being able to use the most cost-effective infrastructure possible. In addition, with OpenShift being the abstraction layer for public and private cloud, we also needed to offer our application teams an OpenShift interface to the entire hybrid cloud environment so that they could meet the evolving business requirements for their applications.

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.3.22RC1 and 7.4.10RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.10RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32 or remi-php74-test repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux 7-8.

        • Fedora 33: What’s Coming In The Next Stable Release?

          Fedora is a Red Hat-sponsored community project that develops a bleeding-edge Linux-based operating system. Fedora 32 is the current stable version released on April 28, 2020.

          Continuing the development cycle, the community is already working towards the release of the next stable Fedora 33. Hence, in this article, I’ll list down all the new changes that are confirmed to be available in Fedora 33.

        • Fedora IoT To Be Promoted To An Official Edition With Fedora 33

          For the past few years there has been a Fedora spin for the “Internet of Things” while with Fedora 33 this autumn the Fedora IoT version is being promoted to an official edition.

          As outlined earlier this month, Fedora IoT Edition has matured well and sought promotion this Fedora 33 cycle to become an official spin. Fedora IoT relies upon RPM-OSTree for offering atomic updates, focuses on container-based workloads, and other changes that differentiate it from other Fedora spins while catering for IoT use-cases from industrial gateways to smart city devices.

        • Never too young to start messaging, never too old to play!

          Messaging is vital to how enterprises work because it underpins many essential tasks that a business has to deal with, such as employee records, customer transactions, or banking. Without messaging, it would be nearly impossible to do these simple tasks safely and securely.

          In spite of messaging being so fundamental to the world of computing, it receives little coverage in the classroom, even at the university level. As a result, messaging can seem unfamiliar and inaccessible.

          Ever wished messaging software could be easy to use? In the IBM MQ Developer Experience team, we challenged ourselves to make MQ simple enough to use that our team lead’s nine-and-a-half-year-old could write an MQ program. To make this possible, we wrote an extension for Scratch that uses the IBM MQ REST API to send messages. What we ended up with was a great tool to help people to easily understand messaging in general and IBM MQ in particular.

        • Cockpit 226 and Cockpit Podman 22

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 226 and Cockpit Podman version 22.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 10 Best Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Programs I Found in 2020

        As 2020 comes to a close, it is time to bring you the best 10 Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) programs I have come across during this year.

        Some of these programs may not be new in that they weren’t released for the first time in 2020, but they are new to me and I have found them helpful.

      • Alex Oliva: phantom breakin

        A few days ago, we got a backup Internet service at home. I connected both the DSL and the cable modem to the same laptop, configured the routes with weights according to the bandwidth expected from each of them, configured Tor exit node to use only the address where it has not given me headaches, adjusted some scripts to detect port shuffling at reboots, and watched as it worked just as I expected.

        Well, almost. The new service also assigned an IPv6 address to the interface connected to it. The old service was supposed to support IPv6, but somehow it would never be assigned. Turns out that, with the new service in place, the old one also started assigning IPv6 to its interface.

        I didn’t used to monitor the old interface very much. I used to have only SSH and Tor ports open, and the new service did not even offer incoming connections (thanks OpenVPN and Tor’s Onion Services for independently enabling me to get in from the outside), but did IPv6 change it?

        Though tcpdump is my friend, two ports and all of the noise from Tor and from regular family use makes it all a little more interesting to monitor. Nothing jumped at me for several days.

        The other day, my primary laptop seems to have overheated and died. Next day, after I failed to bring it back with parts from another dead sibling, I got its disk and RAM onto another old backup laptop to go online, and then another similar old laptop that plays the role of home gateway spontaneously restarted. Maybe a power fluke and a bad battery, but… Weird…

      • 9 open source leaders I enjoy following on Twitter

        Community is the cornerstone of what makes open source work so well, in part because innovation thrives on diversity of thought. I am always looking for inquisitive people who share clever ideas and question technology’s status quo. Here are nine people in my feed who inspire my love for learning.

      • KeePassXC Password Manager Gets Better Xfce Support, Improved Password Generator

        KeePassXC 2.6.1 is the first point release in the latest stable KeePassXC 2.6 series, which was released last month, and introduces several new features, such as support for the Xfce screensaver, a new command for retrieving the current TOTP (Time-based One-time Password) value, as well as a new option for auto-typing only the username or password on websites.

        For Linux systems, KeePassXC 2.6.1 also introduces OARS (Open Age Ratings Service) metadata that can be used by GNOME Software and KDE’s Discover package managers, as well as web frontends like Flathub. Also, the man pages have been improved with useful links and a copyright section.

      • Nextcloud Desktop Client 3.0 Released

        New features in this Nextcloud release include end-to-end encryption and a new user interface, which provides deeper integration of Nextcloud Hub on the desktop and lets desktop users more easily access Talk and other apps on the Nextcloud server.

        The new end-to-end encryption feature minimizes the need for user interaction or extra work, according to the announcement, and key sharing is handled seamlessly by the server for intuitive syncing. The encryption feature is also supported in the latest releases of Nextcloud’s Android and iOS Files clients.

      • Terrascan open source software helps developers build secure cloud infrastructure

        Accurics unveiled a major upgrade to Terrascan, the open source static code analyzer that enables developers to build secure infrastructure as code (IaC).

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • FSFE: EU should reconsider the notion of “intellectual property”

            In order to contribute to the European Commission public consultation regarding the update of the “Intellectual Property (IP)” regulatory system, the FSFE has published a first feedback. Based on its world-wide experience with Free Software, the FSFE calls for a more inclusive and decentralized regulatory system that allows sustainable knowledge sharing and intangible wealth.

            The European Commission has launched an evaluation on the update of the European “intellectual property” regulatory system. In order to contribute to a fair and inclusive assessment, the FSFE took a stand against the expansion of copyrights, patents and trade secrets. We understand that expanding their scope of protection does not necessarily lead to innovation, competition and progress. Instead, increasing patentable or copyrightable matter could rather have the effect of stagnating sustainable innovation by limiting access and improvements to know-how, raising unfairness, and leading to stronger monopolies.

            The FSFE urges the Commission to question the outdated notion that expanding monopolies over knowledge means more progress, consider whether EU companies will really benefit under these regulatory tools, and question the existing trend to expand state granted monopolies on software.

      • Programming/Development

        • Build Medical Imaging Apps with These 10 Open-source Frameworks and Toolkits

          Medical imaging applications are a necessity in research and clinical practice. However, unlike years ago there are medical imaging specific frameworks that ease the development of medical imaging applications.

        • Programming language Kotlin 1.4 is out: This is how it’s improved quality and performance [Ed: ZDNet is still measuring programming languages based on Microsoft alone, or based on who outsourced to proprietary software vendor lock-in (GitHub)]

          Kotlin has become one of the fastest-growing languages on GitHub and now ranks as one of the top five most-loved languages by developers who use Stack Overflow, while ranking 19th on RedMonk’s list of most popular languages.

        • Learn the basics of programming with C

          In 1972, Dennis Ritchie was at Bell Labs, where a few years earlier, he and his fellow team members invented Unix. After creating an enduring OS (still in use today), he needed a good way to program those Unix computers so that they could perform new tasks. It seems strange now, but at the time, there were relatively few programming languages; Fortran, Lisp, Algol, and B were popular but insufficient for what the Bell Labs researchers wanted to do.

        • Perl/Raku

          • TPF Survey: Marketing and Branding

            As announced on TPF news the Marketing committee of TPF have been running a survey “to learn your responses to the ideas about branding, naming and the perceptions of the values concerning the Perl Foundation itself.”

        • Python

          • Launchpad News: Login regression for users with non-ASCII names

            On 2020-08-13, we deployed an update that caused users whose full names contain non-ASCII characters (which is of course very common) to be unable to log into Launchpad. We heard about this serious regression from users on 2020-08-17, and rolled out a fix on 2020-08-18. We’re sorry about this; it doesn’t meet the standards of both inclusion and quality that we set for ourselves. This post aims to explain what happened, technical details of why it happened, and the steps we’ve taken to avoid it happening again.

            Launchpad still runs on Python 2. This is a problem, and we’ve been gradually chipping away at it for the last couple of years. With about three-quarters of a million lines of Python code in the main tree and over 200 dependencies, it’s a big job – but we’re well underway!

            [...]

            python-openid2 uses its openid.urinorm module to normalise parts of the response, decoding and re-encoding it to make sure comparisons work as expected; this is built on top of the URL handling code in Python’s standard library. Now, unlike Python 3, Python 2’s urlencode has undocumented restrictions on values in the query argument: if the doseq argument is False (the default), then it converts values using str(v), while if it’s True then it converts Unicode values using v.encode(“ASCII”, “replace”) (potentially losing information!). In this case, doseq is False, and the input given to it is always text (unicode on Python 2): this works fine if the input is within the ASCII subset, but if it’s not…

          • Real Python: Data Version Control With Python and DVC

            Machine learning and data science come with a set of problems that are different from what you’ll find in traditional software engineering. Version control systems help developers manage changes to source code. But data version control, managing changes to models and datasets, isn’t so well established.

            It’s not easy to keep track of all the data you use for experiments and the models you produce. Accurately reproducing experiments that you or others have done is a challenge. Many teams are actively developing tools and frameworks to solve these problems.

          • Announcement: Django Views -The Right Way

            I announced this a few days back on Twitter, this is just a quick additional blog post to announce Django Views – The Right Way. It’s an opinionated guide to writing views in Django that I’ve been working on for a few months.

          • Python⇒Speed: A deep dive into the official Docker image for Python
          • Ned Batchelder: Do a pile of work
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 11 Check-in
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Week 12: return completed_project
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 11
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 10
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Blog Post #6
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 12 blog!

            This is the final week of the GSoC 2020 Coding Period. It has been a great journey so far and more importantly, I got to learn a lot.

        • Rust

          • C++ still rules the Chromium roost though Rust has caught our eye, say browser devs

            Google’s Chromium Project has acknowledged its growing interest in adding more Rust code to the mostly C++ Chromium codebase.

            Rust is an open-source systems-oriented programming language championed by Mozilla that’s known for its memory safety, a characteristic of particular interest to developers interested in browser security.

            The Chromium team makes clear that C++ is “the ruler” and that its current interest is having Rust code make calls into existing C++ rather than the other way around. But its recognition of Rust as a subordinate language suggests that Google devs want Rust to play a more prominent role in the Chromium court.

            “Chrome engineers are experimenting with Rust,” the techies declared in documentation this month about Rust and C++ interoperability. “For the foreseeable future, C++ is the reigning monarch in our codebase, and any use of Rust will need to fit in with C++ — not the other way around. This seems to present some C++/Rust interoperability challenges which nobody else has faced.”

          • Learning Rust: The Compiler is your Friend

            The Rust programming language doesn’t just aim to be practical, it also aims to be useful for the people working with it. Not only does this improve productivity, it also helps learning the language! One of the features I want to pick out: the borrow checker of the Rust compiler. This feature helps to avoid a great number of memory related bugs by enforcing correct memory allocation and use of pointers. At the same time, it also seems to be the source for a lot of frustration. This is reflected in in a phrase we often see: “fighting the compiler”.

          • This Week in Rust 352
  • Leftovers

    • Curse of knowledge

      The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs when an individual, communicating with other individuals, unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand.

    • Education

      • In an Era of Pandemic and Protest, STEM Education Can’t Pretend to Be Apolitical

        Across the U.S., the push to reopen schools is predicated on troubling beliefs about schools and families. Time at home is assumed to result in “learning loss” because our institutions measure learning and achievement by standardized test scores, and do not consider students’ families as a source of education. Besides chasing test score gains, the driving goal for reopening schools is facilitating parents’ return to work — regardless of the health consequences for all involved.

      • 5 Obstacles to Overcome When Learning to Code

        We know that learning to code is difficult and as a beginner, you face a lot of challenges. But if you learn to overcome these barriers, you get a lot of good benefits to it. You become a more independent coder, you make progress faster, you enjoy learning experience much more and in the future, you don’t give up easily on coding whenever you’re stuck. In this blog, we will talk about some obstacles which most of the learners face, and we will discuss some tips to overcome with it…

      • Michigan State And Notre Dame Suspend In-Person Learning Over COVID-19 Concerns

        Many campus resources will remain available even as classes shift online. Research labs, core facilities and libraries will be open to graduate students, faculty and staff. The school’s testing center and quarantine and isolation facilities will be operational. And varsity sports teams can continue to gather for approved activities, as long as athletes and staff are subject to routine surveillance testing.

      • UNC-Chapel Hill’s student newspaper editorial calls out university leadership on in-person classes after Covid-19 outbreak

        UNC was forced to cancel in-person classes and switch to remote learning after at least 130 students tested positive for Covid-19 in the first week of classes. As of Monday morning, 954 students were tested, 177 students were put in isolation and another 349 in quarantine.

      • Editorial: We all saw this coming

        The administration continues to prove they have no shame, and the bar for basic decency keeps getting lower.

        They chose to ignore the Orange County Health Department, which recommended that the University restrict on-campus housing to at-risk students and implement online-only instruction for the first five weeks of the semester. They chose to ignore the guidance of the CDC, which placed the University’s housing plan in the “highest-risk” category.

        Even faculty — though many of them continued to teach classes in-person — saw it coming.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Dissenting Delegates Send a Medicare for All Message to Joe Biden

        On the second night of a Democratic National Convention where party leaders have gone out of their way to foster an image of unity, Democrats nominated Joe Biden for the presidency and then he moderated a discussion about expanding access to health care.

      • Dying Medicare for All Activist Urges Biden to Adopt Universal Health Care

        As the Democratic Party formally selected Joe Biden as its nominee for president at the virtual Democratic National Convention, one of those who joined in the call to elect him was activist Ady Barkan, who is paralyzed and unable to speak due to terminal ALS. Barkan is a leading advocate of Medicare for All and has publicly challenged Biden, who does not support Medicare for All. “We live in the richest country in history. And yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right. Everyone living in America should get the healthcare they need, regardless of their employment status or ability to pay,” Barkan said, using computer assistance.

      • Ady Barkan, Medicare for All Activist Dying from ALS, Urges Biden to Adopt Universal Healthcare

        As the Democratic Party formally selected Joe Biden as its nominee for president at the virtual Democratic National Convention, one of those who joined in the call to elect him was activist Ady Barkan, who is paralyzed and unable to speak due to terminal ALS. Barkan is a leading advocate of Medicare for All and has publicly challenged Biden, who does not support Medicare for All. “We live in the richest country in history. And yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right. Everyone living in America should get the healthcare they need, regardless of their employment status or ability to pay,” Barkan said, using computer assistance.

      • Lack of Leadership Worsened the Pandemic, Not Young People

        Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, politicians from both parties are scapegoating youth—just as they’ve done before with crime and drugs.

      • With Louisiana Lagging in Testing Capacity, Top State Election Official Proposes Positive Covid-19 Test as Prerequisite for Voting by Mail

        “Many of the state’s 2.89 million registered voters will be forced to make an unconscionable choice between voting and maintaining their health and safety,” said the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

      • Women and Girls Should Not Pay the Bill of the Pandemic

        Several developing countries, terrified about increasing their spending, are opting for continuing with devastating fiscal austerity measures. This is a mistake we cannot afford. Tax avoidance champions must pay their fair share.

      • Cries the antivaxxer: “Vegans, don’t take a COVID-19 vaccine because it uses horseshoe crab blood!”

        When I was trying to decide what to write about today, the obvious choice was the new nonsense that popped up a couple of days ago, namely the pivot of Donald Trump’s sycophants, toadies, and lackeys from pushing the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine (a drug for which the randomized clinical trials being published over the last couple of months have been uniformly negative) to treat COVID-19 to pushing oleandrin, a potentially toxic extract from oleander, by MyPillow.com founder and CEO Mike Lindell and—surprise! surprise!—former neurosurgeon and Presidential candidate and now Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, whose propensity for quackery and pandering to antivaccine pseudoscience I’ve documented before. (Carson is a perfect example of why intelligent people are not necessarily skeptics and most physicians are not scientists.) Why? Because apparently there is a preprint (i.e., not peer-reviewed science) concluding that oleander extract can kill SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells. (Never mind that there are no animal or human data.) However, I was too slow, as Steve Novella and Skeptical Raptor are all over this, and even Anderson Cooper gained many props for slicing and dicing Lindell as a “snake oil salesman” and for having a serious conflict of interest (Lindell is on the board of directors of the company that makes the extract) live on CNN, leaving little left for me. True, that’s never stopped me before (and I might still come back to this topic), but I tend to like to take on topics no one else notices, which brings me to antivaxxers and horseshoe crabs.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Jack Daniel’s Hit with Ransomware, Decade of Data Stolen

          Brown-Forman is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. Its most famous brand name is Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, though the company also distributes Woodford, Old Forester, Collingwood, Glenglassaugh, and Glendronach whiskey and scotch; Herradura, El Jimador, and Pepe Lopez tequila; Finlandia Vodka; and Sonoma-Cutrer wines.

          The ransomware attackers allegedly copied 1TB of the company’s data. Their plan is to sell the most important information to the highest bidder and leak the rest.

        • Cruise operator Carnival hit by ransomware

          The cruise line giant did not identify who was responsible for the ransomware attack. In search of payouts to keep business humming, ransomware gangs have targeted companies in just about every sector.

        • Microsoft Put Off Fixing Zero Day for 2 Years

          In fact, CVE-2020-1464 was first spotted in attacks used in the wild back in August 2018. And several researchers informed Microsoft about the weakness over the past 18 months.

        • The Case of the Top Secret iPod

          At the time, the latest iPod was the fifth-generation iPod, better known as the “iPod with video.” It was relatively easy to pop open the case and close it again without leaving obvious marks, unlike the iPod nano models that became popular shortly after. Plus, the fifth-generation iPod had a 60 GB disk, so there was plenty of room to have lots of songs and still record extra data. And it was the last iPod for which Apple didn’t digitally sign the operating system.

          iPod with videoThat was important because it made the fifth-generation iPod somewhat hackable. Hobbyists enjoyed getting Linux to run on iPods, which was hard to do without the special knowledge and tools Apple possessed. We on the iPod engineering team were impressed. But Apple corporate didn’t like it. Starting with the iPod nano, the operating system was signed with a digital signature to block the Linux hackers (and others). The boot ROM checked the digital signature before loading the operating system; if it didn’t match, it wouldn’t boot.

        • Ongoing Campaign Uses [Javascript] Smuggling for Malware Delivery

          “In this specific attack, we observed the JavaScript blob technique being used to smuggle malicious files via the browser to the user’s endpoint. Constructing content on the client browser like this evades network security solutions such as sandboxes and proxies,” Menlo Security explains.

          [...]

          For the attack to be successful, however, the victim needs to open the ZIP file and execute the .msi file inside it. Once opened, the file fetches from a remote location another ZIP file that has a .jpg extension, and which contains the malicious payload, Menlo Security reveals.

        • Example of Word Document Delivering Qakbot

          Then the macro execution is triggered when the document is opened: [...]

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Facebook to take board seat at Linux Foundation after signing as Platinum member

                Facebook has upgraded its Linux Foundation membership and by doing so will assume a seat on the organisation’s board.

                Facebook’s open-source group has been a long-time member of the Foundation, but has now decided a top-tier platinum membership is its best option. Doing so sees it join the likes of Google, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, and Intel.

                The social media giant contributes to several well-known open-source projects, including the React JavaScript library, the Open Compute Project, and the cGroup2 container software project.

                As part of its membership, the company’s head of open source, Kathy Kam, will have a seat on the Foundation’s board.

                In a blog post announcing the membership, the Linux Foundation commended a number of Facebook projects that “leverage open source to unlock the potential of open innovation”. This includes Facebook Connectivity, which, together with the open-source Telecom Infra Project Foundation, aims to bring fast, reliable internet to remote areas of the world.

                Facebook is the lead contributor to Presto, GraphQL, Osquery, and ONNX, as well as the creator of the PyTorch machine learning library, which is used to create AI in computer vision, natural language processing, and other disciplines.

              • How Open Source Is Transforming The Energy Industry
              • My first real experience with Open Source

                I just graduated from my internship at Linux Foundation’s Community Bridge program, and I’d like to share my experience and explain why you should also consider applying if you are new to open source or the cloud-native world.
                I already had some experience with cloud-native projects, I’ve been using cloud-native tools at my workplace for a couple of years. It is thanks to them that I got my first full-time job as an Infrastructure Analyst and later on as a Cloud Architect. And if you are reading this blog post, I assume that you have at least some knowledge about what CNCF does and you do know some of its projects, like Kubernetes and Prometheus, i.e.
                Even though I had the desire to contribute to open source projects, I was always super cautious and had a false feeling that these projects are super complex and I’m not qualified enough to help. As you will read later, this is far from being true, you can always contribute in some way!

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (ansible, libmetalink, roundcubemail, rubygem-kramdown, sqlite, and swtpm), Slackware (curl), SUSE (python and python3), and Ubuntu (qemu).

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

            • Break-Ins May Have Been Easy for BlueLeaks Hacker

              Two of the files are a type of malware known as “web shells”: malicious files that, when placed on a server, provide an online entry point through which a hacker can download and upload files or issue commands of their choosing. These backdoors appear with BlueLeaks material obtained from the website of the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which is basically Arizona’s fusion center for the drug war. One is called “ntdaddy.aspx” and the other is “blug.aspx.” Their presence has implications for all the affected sites, which were operated by the same company and appear to have run the same software.

              Two other files appear to have aided the exfiltration of documents from the servers. The Arizona HIDTA files included a copy of a program for securely transferring files across the internet, which could have been used to move files onto a computer controlled by the hacker. Files for another site, ICEFISHX, Minnesota’s police fusion center, included a copy of a program for compressing files, which would make it much faster for the hacker to upload hundreds of gigabytes of data to their own computer.

            • Lucifer cryptomining DDoS malware now targets Linux systems [Ed: This is "scanning for and infecting Linux systems" that are already vulnerable and compromised; it's not a Linux problem per se]

              A hybrid DDoS botnet known for turning vulnerable Windows devices into Monero cryptomining bots is now also scanning for and infecting Linux systems.

            • US urges Linux users to secure kernels from new Russian malware threat
            • Drovorub “Taking systems to the wood chipper” – What you need to know

              The name Drovorub comes from a variety of artifacts discovered in Drovorub files, Drovo translates to “firewood” or “wood”, while Rub translates to “to fell, or “to chop.” Together, they translate to “woodcutter” or “to split wood.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Clear Channel to start tracking consumers with billboards in Europe

              Clear Channel, a international traditional advertising company known for its billboards, will be bringing its Radar tracking program to Europe following some tweaks to the program to bring it into compliance with the GDPR. Radar is a program that gives advertisers access to anonymized phone location data of those that pass by billboards with their ads on them and represents the pinnacle of outdoor ad tracking. An advertiser would then be able to retarget people based on if they’ve seen a particular billboard. This program has already been active in the United States for four years.

            • California Must Recognize That Privacy is Vital to Public Health Efforts

              Californians have a constitutional right to privacy. There is no more important time to protect that right to privacy than during a crisis, such as the current pandemic. That is why EFF, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of California, Media Alliance, Oakland Privacy, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and Consumer Reports have called on the state’s political leaders to ensure that any program that asks Californians to share contact tracing information have strong privacy guardrails.

              Being upfront and honest about what information contact tracing programs collect, how that information is used, and acting from the start to protect against abuses of that information can protect Californians at a vulnerable time. It can also increase trust in public health programs. The evidence is mounting that people don’t trust—and therefore do not wish to participate in—programs that have not respected privacy from the start. Our groups call on Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and all members of the California Assembly and Senate to recognize that privacy protections are necessary to public health efforts.

            • Zoom will arrive on Amazon, Facebook, and Google smart displays this year

              Zoom, the video conferencing app of the COVID era, is about to land on Amazon, Facebook, and Google smart displays.

              In a press release, Zoom announced it will make its initial debut on Facebook Portal displays next month, while Zoom integrations for Amazon Echo Show devices and Google Assistant-enabled displays, including the Nest Hub Max, are due this fall.

            • Facebook is making Oculus’s worst feature unavoidable

              Yesterday, Facebook infuriated the VR world, announcing plans to require a Facebook login for future VR headsets. The decision broke an early promise from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and was almost universally reviled online, with critics raising concerns about intrusive data collection, targeted advertising, and being forced to use a service they hated. On the Oculus subreddit, some users posted bitter memes about Farmville and data harvesting, while others swapped recommendations for other headsets. One posted a cartoon of Oculus as a sinking ship.

            • Facebook Wins Preliminary Approval for Biometric Privacy Accord

              Facebook Inc. won preliminary approval from a judge for a $650 million settlement to resolve claims by users that the company illegally gathered biometric data through a photo-tagging tool.

            • Palantir Moves Headquarters to Denver From Silicon Valley

              The decision to move the headquarters comes as Palantir is expected to soon enter the public markets. The company plans to list shares directly in late September, Bloomberg previously reported. Venture investors last valued the company in 2015 at $20 billion, with the value fluctuating since then on the secondary markets.

            • Mandatory Socialization: Facebook Accounts To be Required for Oculus Headsets

              Originally an acquisition for Facebook, the Oculus Rift and underlying Oculus software ecosystem were initially developed by the then-independent Oculus VR group. After acquiring the company for $2 Billion back in 2014, Facebook has for the last several years largely treated Oculus as a stand-alone entity, selling products under the Oculus brand and leaving Facebook integration an optional feature – a feature co-founder Palmer Luckey even guaranteed during the 2014 acquisition.

              None the less, Oculus’s days as a stand-alone ecosystem are now coming to a close, as Facebook has laid out their plans to transition Oculus users over to Facebook accounts, and the significant social media repercussions that entails.

              According to Facebook, winding-down Oculus accounts will be a two-part process for the company. Starting in October, all new accounts will need to be Facebook accounts – or more specifically, users will need a Facebook account to log into the Oculus ecosystem. Meanwhile current stand-alone Oculus account holders will be grandfathered in for a time on their existing devices, however any future unreleased devices, even when paired with an existing Oculus account, will still require a Facebook login.

            • Secret Service Bought Phone Location Data from Apps, Contract Confirms

              In March, tech publication Protocol reported that multiple government agencies signed millions of dollars worth of deals with Babel Street after the company launched its Locate X product. Multiple sources told the site that Locate X tracks the location of devices anonymously, using data harvested by popular apps installed on peoples’ phones.

              Protocol found public records showed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) purchased Locate X. One former Babel Street employee told the publication that the Secret Service used the technology. Now, the document obtained by Motherboard corroborates that finding.

            • Schrems Files 101 Complaints Targeting US-EU Data Transfers

              None of Your Business, the privacy NGO established by EPIC Advisory Board member Max Schrems, has filed complaints in all 30 EU and EEA member states against 101 European companies that still forward data about each visitor to Google and Facebook. [...]

            • Max Schrems files 101 complaints across 30 European countries to turbocharge GDPR’s impact – and he’s not the only one

              The complaints are against Google, Facebook, and major Web sites in European countries that use Google Analytics or Facebook Connect to track visitors to their sites. These systems send data about EU citizens to Google and Facebook, which then forward data to the US, thus contravening the GDPR in the light of last month’s CJEU ruling.

              As this blog pointed out back then, there is another important element of the CJEU judgment. The data protection authorities in EU countries now have a “duty to act”. That is, it is not optional whether they pursue companies that are violating the GDPR: the court says they must. That’s a crucial change from the present situation, where the authorities in some countries have decided to let things carry on despite evident GDPR infringements. In his latest legal action, Schrems has said that he will be putting pressure not just on companies, but also directly on the national data protection authorities that fail to act: “We will gradually take steps against controllers and processors that violate the GDPR and against authorities that do not enforce the Court’s ruling, like the Irish [Data Protection Commission] that stays dormant.”

            • QAnon functions “like a video game” to “hook” converts — and some include former Navy SEALs: reports

              Argentino told The Beast, “The violence we’ve seen has been by people without acumen and physical training. Where it could get scary is with people who do have training.”

            • Facebook purges 790 QAnon groups as the fringe conspiracy movement keeps growing

              The removals coincide with a new, broader moderation policy detailed in a blog post published today regarding how Facebook handles borderline violent content, with a specific focus on QAnon and “US-based militia organizations.” Now, the social network says it will be purposefully disabling these groups’ ability to organize on Facebook, but not banning the topics they organize around outright as they often do not call directly for real-world violence.

            • Facebook Removes Hundreds of QAnon Pro-Trump Groups and Pages

              Facebook said it removed hundreds of Facebook Pages, groups and Instagram accounts tied to conspiracy-theorist cult QAnon as well as those of “offline anarchist groups” including those that identify with the Antifa movement.

              The social giant said that it is restricting such groups’ ability to organize on its platforms, saying it will allow users to post content that “supports these movements and groups” — but only as long as they do not otherwise violate Facebook content policies. As part of the crackdown, Facebook also blocked hashtags associated with QAnon as well as those connected to Antifa and other violent groups.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • What next for Mali?

        An inept, out-of-touch government led by a southern elite has done little to stop escalating jihadist violence—and even less to deal with its root causes. In the first half of 2020 more than 1,800 people were killed in fights involving jihadists and ethnic militias, almost as many as were killed in 2019 (see map). The presence of Western forces, 15,000 UN peacekeepers and an EU-led training mission has not stopped the bloodshed. Malian efforts to arm local militias have made matters worse.

      • Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny in hospital after poisoning, spokesman says

        Navalny is said to be unconscious and was placed on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. According to Yarmysh, he must have consumed something from the tea he drank this morning.

      • Trump on QAnon conspiracy theory: ‘Is that supposed to be a bad thing?’

        While QAnon has been seen as a fringe movement for years, researchers and experts say it has emerged in recent months as a sort of centralized hub for utterly false conspiracy and alternative health communities. The group has been linked to several violent, criminal incidents, including a train hijacking, kidnappings, a police chase and a murder.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Paulding County School District Now Trying To Duck FOIA Requests

        You will recall the brief clusterfuck that occurred earlier this month in Georgia’s Paulding County. The school district there, which opened back up for in-person classes while making wearing a mask completely optional, also decided to suspend two students who took and posted pictures of crowded hallways filled with maskless students. While the district dressed these suspensions up as consequences for using a smartphone on school grounds, the school’s administration gave the game away by informing all students that they would be disciplined for any criticism by students on social media in general. That, as we pointed out, is a blatant First Amendment violation.

      • AOC Slammed NBC News for Misconstruing Her DNC Speech Nominating Bernie Sanders

        NBC News had originally posted a (since-deleted) tweet highlighting that Ocasio-Cortez didn’t endorse Biden in “one of the shortest speeches of the DNC” and quoted her seconding the nomination of Sanders. The network has since issued clarifications, writing that they should’ve included more detail on the nomination process and that the Sanders nomination was a procedural move and AOC has already endorsed Biden. But Ocasio-Cortez blasted them for the original angle.

    • Environment

      • During the Conventions, the Media Needs to Be Treating Climate Like the Emergency It Is

        This story is being co-published by The Guardian, The Nation, and Columbia Journalism Review as part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 400 news outlets committed to transforming news coverage of the defining story of our time.

      • Trump Dropped Into Iowa — and Didn’t Even Try to Understand the Devastation

        Amid the rubble of uprooted trees and fallen power lines, my teenage son set up his climate strike protest last Friday for the 79th consecutive week, holding up a wobbly handmade sign: “Wake up, Iowa. Climate action plan now.”

      • DNC Drops Support for Ending Fossil Fuel Handouts From Platform

        Environmentalists reacted with outrage late Tuesday to news that the Democratic National Committee this week quietly removed from the final party platform an amendment calling for an end to federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, a longstanding demand of climate activists that both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris supported during the primary.

      • Greenland Succumbs

        Since the turn of the new century, every aspect of climate change has gone ballistic, up, up, and away, not looking back, leaving the 20th century fairly harmless, but only on a relative basis, especially as compared to the rip-snorting 21st century. It’s a whole new ballgame, starting with this new century.

      • Greta Thunberg and Fellow Activists Decry ‘Political Inaction’ on Climate Crisis After Two Years of School Strikes

        “We still have the future in our own hands. But time is rapidly slipping through our fingers.”

      • Net Zero: How we stop causing climate change

        Net Zero: How we stop causing climate change. A new book makes it sound almost easy. Well, it’s not impossible.

      • San Francisco blanketed in smoke as California fires rage

        Thousands of people were under orders to evacuate in regions surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area Wednesday as nearly 40 wildfires blazed across the state amid a blistering heat wave now in its second week. Smoke blanketed the city of San Francisco.

      • Michigan to pay $600M to victims of Flint water crisis

        Thousands of residents have sued the state. Former Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and retired Judge Pamela Harwood of the Wayne County Circuit Court have mediated the ongoing battle over the crisis. Under the final settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, anyone who lived in Flint would be eligible for a payout. The state is expected to begin paying out the settlement beginning next spring, according to the Times.

      • Energy

        • New Jersey Should Sue Fossil Fuel Companies Over Climate Costs, Panel Says

          A month after a New Jersey senate committee passed a resolution calling on the state to take this kind of legal action, New Jersey’s Monmouth University hosted a virtual panel discussion on Wednesday, August 19 titled “Accountability for Climate Change Harms in New Jersey: Scientific, Legal and Policy Perspectives.” The discussion was intended to outline the case for New Jersey to file a climate accountability lawsuit ahead of the full state senate voting on the resolution, which could come later this month.

        • Environmental Groups Sue Trump Admin to Stop LNG Trains

          “It would only take 22 tank cars to hold the equivalent energy of the Hiroshima bomb,” Jordan Luebkemann, an Earthjustice attorney, said in a statement. “It’s unbelievably reckless to discard the critical, long-standing safety measures we have in place to protect the public from this dangerous cargo.

        • Oil rig workers defenseless in face of pirate attacks: ‘We fear for our lives’

          He told Milenio that when the navy showed up during an oil rig attack two years ago, pirates shot at the marines, precipitating a gunfight between the two parties. The shootout caused “a lot of tension” among the workers on the oil rig, Gómez said, because an errant bullet “could cause a huge explosion.”

        • Joe Biden recommits to ending fossil fuel subsidies after platform confusion

          Fossil fuel subsidies cost the US between $20 to $649 billion each year, according to different estimates. Ending those subsidies has become a key proposal among progressive and establishment Democrats as the climate crisis looms, as a budget-saving way of fighting climate change. The Trump administration has remained focused on financially supporting the oil and gas industries.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • A Moment of Reckoning for Greed on the Gridiron

        This hasn’t been a great week for America’s college football coaches. The prospect of losing the entire 2020 college football season to the coronavirus has a ton of them fuming.

      • Pandemic Panhandling

        One story of surviving as an artist in the USA, from the collapse of the music industry to the housing crisis to the pandemic.

      • Enforcing Eviction

        When James Shelby, a Black St. Louis native who goes by the name Qadhafi, finally took off the shoes he had been wearing since he walked out of prison, his feet were bleeding. It was August of 2019, and he’d been walking from bus stop to bus stop for five days, through Kansas City’s summer rainstorms and muggy heat, trying to find a place to sleep without drawing the attention of the police or anyone else who might send him back to jail. He was 58 years old, and after over two decades of incarceration he was homeless—a condition he was beginning to think his arrest record might keep him in forever.

      • Postal Union Leaders Warn Removal of Mail Sorting Machines and Other DeJoy Damage May Be Difficult to Reverse

        “Everybody is fundamentally watching the beginning of the dismantling of the Postal Service,” one veteran postal worker said. 

      • What the Post Office Needs to Survive a Pandemic Election

        This fall’s elections are the latest chapter in the slow-motion collapse of the U.S. Postal Service, one of America’s most venerated institutions. As November approaches, members of Congress and state election officials have grown increasingly concerned that the USPS will fail at a critical moment: a closely contested vote that will involve a record number of people casting a ballot by mail.

        That worry was fueled by President Donald Trump’s unfounded allegation that voting by mail leads to massive fraud and by reports from Postal Service employees that key equipment was being removed and overtime was being slashed. The newly appointed postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, responded to what he termed “areas of concern” by announcing that he would approve overtime “as needed” and delay the removal of mail sorting machines until after the election. But the problems at the Postal Service go well beyond those issues and predate DeJoy. Earlier this month, the USPS warned state election officials that it might not be able to meet deadlines for delivering ballots for the November elections.

      • Return to Sender: Amid National Outcry, Trump’s Postmaster General Drops Plans to Gut USPS — For Now

        After massive public outcry against cuts to mail service ahead of November’s election, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has announced he will suspend changes to the U.S. Postal Service until after the election, when a record number of voters are expected to cast ballots by mail. President Trump has admitted he’s working to undermine the USPS in order to make it harder to vote by mail in November. We speak with Lisa Graves, executive director of the policy research group True North Research, who says Louis DeJoy is “the most partisan person, in 100 years at least, to head the Postal Service” and warns that U.S. democracy is at stake. “We need to really hold this Postal Service accountable.”

      • How to Hide a Fortune During a Pandemic

        The Planning Tools of the Wealth Dynasty Protection Racket

      • World Bank’s Rating Obsession Will Negate Debt Justice

        The international financial system’s reliance upon credit ratings – usually based on dubious premises – needs urgent rethinking. The Covid-19 pandemic is just one of the catastrophes leaving many low-income countries – and soon middle-income countries – unable to service foreign debts. Yet, the World Bank and IMF continue squeezing poor countries on behalf of commercial lenders, failing to provide the debt cancellations desperately needed.

      • The Simple Fix For Corporate Income Tax: Tax Stock Returns

        It is time for a major and simple overhaul of the corporate income tax system. The main problem with the current system is that it is focused on the wrong target. Instead of taxing corporate profits, we should be taxing stock returns. Before explaining how this alternative would work, it is worth going through some recent history.

      • On Capital Punishment

        There’s no ambiguity in the term: capital punishment is killing, carried out by an entity commonly, but not exclusively, judicially empowered.  It refers only to the killing of persons, of course.  Doesn’t it?

      • The Terrorizing Simultaneity of Bounty

        The word “bounty” has been used in association with the supposed United States of America to describe the resources used for and the possibility of acquiring monetary wealth, but recent rumors have been a reminder that the word also has another connotation/meaning which is equally applicable. It is a payment of reward for the capture/elimination of people who are seen as wayward and as a threat. This simultaneity of bounty has no borders. It is largely maintained through the militarized economics of global and spacial infiltration in the service of private power and it is used as a means of entrapment against the great majority of its servants.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • AOC Slams NBC News for “Malicious and Misleading” Tweet About Her DNC Appearance

        Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) criticized NBC News on Wednesday morning in response to the network’s misleading tweet regarding a nomination statement she had made at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) the night before.

      • AOC Was the Highlight of DNC’s Night Two Despite Speaking Just 97 Seconds

        For the second night in a row, the Democratic National Zoom Meeting was a galloping montage of videos that used its time to good effect. After another hiccup-free evening of content that entirely sidelined the network talking heads for two hours — an unanticipated boon — it is hard to imagine the party going back to the old way of doing conventions in four years.

      • Milwaukee Has a Lot to Teach Joe Biden and the Democrats

        Milwaukee, Wisc.—Representative Gwen Moore kicked off the Democratic National Convention’s primetime presentation Monday night with a rousing celebration of her hometown that spoke to its history and its hopes. “Oh, I sure wish you all were here in the city of Milwaukee, which takes its name from the languages of the First Peoples, interpreted as ‘good land’ and ‘gathering place by the waters,’” she declared. “This is a city where blood was shed for labor rights, where a fugitive slave was freed from prison, where women’s right to vote was first ratified.”

      • Will There Ever be Elections Again in Bolivia?

        On November 10, 2019, President Evo Morales Ayma of Bolivia announced his resignation from the presidency. Morales had been elected in 2014 to a third presidential term, which should have lasted until January 2020. In November 2019, protests around his fourth electoral victory in October led to the police and the military asking Morales to step down; by every description of the term, this was a coup d’état. Two days later, Morales went into exile in Mexico.

      • Ahead of Key House Vote, Polling Shows Bipartisan Majority of Americans Want More Funding for USPS

        “We must do everything we can to ensure that the post office is fully funded. It’s good policy and strongly supported by the public.”

      • House Democrats Unveil Bill to Restore Mail Service to ‘Pre-DeJoy Levels’ and Require USPS to Treat All Ballots as First Class

        “Every single member of the House should vote in favor of our legislation,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee.

      • Former DHS Official: Trump Wasn’t Joking About Trading Puerto Rico for Greenland

        In the summer of 2019, the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had “joked in a meeting” with staffers about the possibility of trading Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, for Greenland, a territory of Denmark.

      • Defecting From Trump’s GOP

        Rick Wilson has worked to elect Republicans for thirty years, but he will “no longer use those skills to serve the party I once loved. That party is gone.” He has not become a Democrat, but he is adamantly anti-Trump. His book, Running Against the Devil; A Plot to Save America From Trump and Democratsfrom Themselves, is a rant against President Donald Trump as the worst president in history. The explosion of Black Lives Matter demonstrations in all fifty states this past month indicates that he is not alone in that opinion.

      • Elizabeth Warren Is Prepared to Prosecute Trump in 2020, and 2021

        Elizabeth Warren is on a mission, and she will not fail.

      • Minsk as a Rival of Geneva? No! No! and No!

        Editors’ Note: This  article was written in February 2015, where appeared on Daniel Warner’s blog in a Geneva newspaper . The government of Belarus sent a formal complaint about its contents to the government of Switzerland, which was transmitted to me. Given the demonstrations in Belarus today, we thought it might be worthy of republication. 

      • Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya calls on European leaders not to recognize election results in Belarus

        Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya) has released a new address to the European Council. The English-language video was uploaded to the Youtube channel “Country for Life.”In the video, Tikhanovskaya urges European leaders not to recognize the results of the contested presidential elections in Belarus.  

      • ‘Belarusians must solve their problems themselves’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov finally comments on the crisis in Belarus

        Belarus has witnessed sustained opposition protests since August 9, when state officials declared a landslide re-election victory for long-time incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka). The united opposition, led by presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya), says the election was rigged and refuses to recognize the results of the vote. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin was among the first world leaders to congratulate Lukashenko on his alleged win. Here’s what Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press on August 19 about the crisis still unfolding in Belarus.

      • ‘People have stopped believing their TV sets’ Television workers on strike in Belarus explain why they’ve now had enough of censorship and propaganda

        Protests and walkouts continue across Belarus in the wake of contested presidential election results. Staff at Belarus’ state-owned TV stations are striking, too. They protest at studios and newsrooms, demanding unbiased coverage of opposition demonstrations and the ensuing violence inflicted by law enforcement. Some seasoned journalists have already resigned. Meduza spoke with the striking workers about their demands and about censorship on the Belarusian airwaves. 

      • Belarus: Another Win for Non-Violence?

        We are still a very long way from the Promised Land, but the balance of forces has changed, perhaps permanently.

      • Preparing for my Trial

        The Crown Office is objecting to the appearance of, and trying to block from court, ALL of my witnesses and ALL of our proposed evidence for my defence at my trial for Contempt of Court. Today I have to complete the first draft of my own witness statement. We understand the Lord Advocate may object to the hearing of my own evidence also.

      • Norway expels Russian diplomat in connection with spy allegations

        Norway’s Foreign Ministry has announced the expulsion of a Russian diplomat working in the embassy’s trade department, reports the government broadcaster NRK, citing a ministry spokesperson. The ministry didn’t specify the name of the Russian diplomat in question.

      • 90 House Democrats Demand USPS Board of Governors Immediately Remove DeJoy Over Postal Service Sabotage

        “DeJoy’s ‘suspension’ of policies does not reverse his destructive actions to the USPS or change his countless conflicts of interest.”

      • Not All Criticism of Kamala Harris Is Created Equal

        After the twists and turns of a drawn-out process, on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, the Biden campaign chose Kamala Harris to be his vice presidential running mate, which will make her the first Black woman and South Asian–American person to appear on a major political party’s presidential ticket.

      • Legal Loopholes Leave the U.S. Vulnerable to Election Interference

        In addition to cyberattacks and disinformation, these governments and their proxies have exploited legal loopholes to funnel money through straw donors, nonprofits, shell companies, and in-kind campaign contributions to buy influence in at least 33 countries, researchers found.

        These interference efforts have escalated dramatically over the past decade, with almost 80 percent of the cases documented in the report taking place since 2016.

      • Polls Favor Biden: Is It Different This Time?

        It’s starting to build: Media are buzzing that the Democratic Party’s likely nominee for president, Joe Biden, has a polling edge against President Donald Trump. And a big one at that.

      • International aid can help Lebanon rid itself of its ruling junta

        The blast that flattened a large section of Beirut just over two weeks ago ripped apart the lives and property of countless people. It also created a pivotal moment for the international aid system: Donors and agencies can choose to be complicit in a power structure that supports the ruling junta, or they can take a principled stance that helps us rid ourselves of our corrupt leaders and rebuild the better Lebanon we all know can exist.

        Since the end of the civil war in 1990, foreign donors and aid agencies have proven a key pillar of financial sustainability for successive Lebanese governments. Yet in the wake of the 4 August explosion at the Beirut port, calls by the Lebanese people for these groups to cease funding for their government have grown to a crescendo, as they take to the streets and protest corruption.

      • The Democrats aren’t the party of inclusion — they’re just the party of delusion

        I have to laugh when I hear Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats say they are the party of inclusion. In fact, they are the party of delusion.

      • Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon arrested on charges of defrauding donors in fundraising scheme
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Ricky Byrdsong And The Cost Of Speech

        On July 2nd,1999, Ricky Byrdsong was out for a jog near his home in Skokie, Illinois, with two of his young children, Sabrina and Ricky Jr. The family outing would end in tragedy. His children watched helplessly as their father was gunned down. He was the victim of a Neo-Nazi on a murderous rampage targeting Jewish, Asian and Black communities. Ten other people were left wounded. Won-Joon Yoon, a 26 year-old graduate student at the University of Indiana, would also be killed.

      • Court Says First Amendment Protects Ex-Wife’s Right To Publicly Discuss Her Ex-Husband On Her Personal Blog

        What appears to be a very combative divorce between two very combative people in Marin County, California has reached the point of criminal charges. Not justifiable criminal charges, but criminal charges all the same.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Amazon’s Attempt To Remove ‘Sock Puppet’ Reviews Results In The Deletion Of Legitimate Reviews (November 2012)

        Summary: As is the case on any site where consumer products are sold, there’s always the chance review scores will be artificially inflated by bogus reviews using fake accounts, often described as “sock puppets.”

      • Not A Good Look: Facebook’s Public Policy Director In India Files A Criminal Complaint Against A Journalist For A Social Media Post

        In today’s insanity, Facebook’s top lobbyist in India, Ankhi Das, has filed a criminal complaint against journalist Awesh Tiwari. Tiwari put up a post on Facebook over the weekend criticizing Das, citing a giant Wall Street Journal article that is focused on how Facebook’s rules against hate speech have run into challenges regarding India’s ruling BJP party. Basically, the article said that Facebook was not enforcing its hate speech rules when BJP leaders violated the rules (not unlike similar stories regarding Facebook relaxing the rules for Trump supporters in the US).

      • Facebook linked to free speech crackdown in India after lobbyist files charges

        A Facebook policy executive out of the company’s India offices has filed a criminal complaint against a journalist, Awesh Tiwari, alleging his critical post he published on the social network constitutes sexual harassment, criminal intimidation, and defamation. Yet the complaint produces no evidence Tiwari engaged in such conduct, according to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and many press advocates are seeing it as an attempt to intimidate journalism critical of the ruling regime.

      • Facebook India executive files criminal complaint against journalist

        It cites a comment made by a Facebook user on August 16 in response to a post by Tiwari, and alleges that it constituted a threat. The commenter was responding to a post Tiwari published earlier that day citing the Wall Street Journal article and criticizing Das for her and Facebook’s alleged inaction in controlling hate speech by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party against religious minorities. CPJ reviewed a screenshot of the comment, which has been removed.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • In Rare Testimony, Female Pakistani Journalists Describe Social Media Attacks to Lawmakers

        In rare testimony Tuesday, two dozen female Pakistani journalists complained that they have encountered “coordinated” vicious social media campaigns to harass, discredit and intimidate them for their work.

        The highly emotional testimonies before a parliamentary committee on human rights brought some of the journalists from various Pakistani media outlets close to tears as they talked about the gender-specific harassment and threats they face online.

        Some of them alleged that Twitter accounts affiliated with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party and right-wing elements in the society were behind the “organized” attacks.

      • 911 call transcript shows the results of Tucker Carlson’s threats to reporters

        But it seems that didn’t matter to Carlson. He openly threatened the reporters working on the story.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Uber CEO on the fight in California: ‘We can’t go out and hire 50,000 people overnight’

        Last week, California Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman ordered Uber and Lyft to comply with AB5, the state law that makes it more difficult for companies to use independent contractors. In his ruling, Schulman dismissed Uber’s argument that it was a technology platform and that drivers were not core to its business. “To state the obvious, drivers are central, not tangential, to Uber and Lyft’s entire ride-hailing business,” Schulman wrote.

        But the companies claim they would need to shut down operations in California completely in order to retool their businesses to comply with the law.

      • Google Warns Australians That The Government’s Plan To Tax Google To Give Money To Newspapers Will Harm Search & YouTube

        Earlier this year we noted that the Australian government was setting up a you’re-too-successful tax on Google and Facebook which it planned to hand over to media organizations. We should perhaps call it the “Welfare for Rupert Murdoch” tax, because that’s what it is. Murdoch, of course, owns a huge share of media operations in Australia and has been demanding handouts from Google for years (showing that his claimed belief in the free market was always hogwash).

      • If Oracle Buys TikTok, Would It Suddenly Change Its Tune On Section 230?

        Late Monday, it came out that Oracle is one of the potential American acquirers of TikTok from the Chinese company ByteDance, after President Trump ordered Bytedance sell TikTok out of spite. Microsoft has been the most talked about potential purchaser, though there were also rumors of a potential bid by Twitter.

      • Copyrights

        • Area 51 Mystery Solved: Pirate IPTV Service Was Shut Down By ACE & MPA

          Pirate IPTV service Area 51 disappeared offline late June with a message that its operators had decided to move on to other things. We can now reveal that the service was shut down by the Hollywood and Netflix-powered MPA and the global anti-piracy coalition Alliance For Creativity and Entertainment.

        • GitHub Takes Down Pirate Streaming App ‘King Club’ Following MPA Complaint

          GitHub has removed the website and APK of the pirate streaming app King Club X. The action was taken in response to a takedown request sent by the MPA acting on behalf of Netflix and several major Hollywood studios. According to the notice, the app is predominantly used as a pirate tool which blatantly infringes countless copyrights.

        • Why cOAlition S’ Rights Retention Strategy Protects Researchers

          Under a traditional publishing model, researchers who want to publish their articles in a journal typically need to assign or exclusively license their copyright in the article to the journal publisher. Basically, they hand over their rights to the publisher in exchange for the opportunity to be published in the publisher’s journal. While this model may have worked several decades ago, it is currently unsuitable to the ways in which academic research is funded, conducted, and disseminated. It unjustifiably raises legal, technical, and financial barriers around knowledge and perpetuates unbalanced power relationships among the various players in academia and beyond, from researchers and research institutions to publishers, libraries, and the general public. 

        • Indiana Cities File Doomed Lawsuit Against Disney, Netflix, Demand 5% of Gross Revenues

          A coalition of cities has filed a desperate, and likely doomed, lawsuit (pdf) against streaming providers like Netflix and Disney. In it, the cities proclaim that they are somehow owed 5 percent of gross annual revenue. Why? Apparently they believe that because these streaming services travel over telecom networks that utilize the public right of way, they’re somehow owed a cut:

2,445 IBM Employees Openly Condemned IBM for Enabling Racist and Intolerant Regimes

Posted in IBM at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reproduced from coworker.org

Modi and IBM

Summary: It’s time to recall what IBM employees have themselves said (or signed on) in light of the manner in which IBM was making money

NOW that IBM is running an organic PR campaign to paint/rebrand itself as tolerant (borderline AstroTurfing with secret mails to people with blogs) we must remind ourselves not just of IBM's distant past but also recent past, which IBM employees are themselves condemning (their management is under fire, with some signatures only months old):

We are disappointed that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s open letter to President-elect Donald Trump does not affirm IBMers’ core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct. For our mutual aid and protection, we call on IBM to expand diversity recruitment programs, and we assert our right to refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties. We call on IBM to demonstrate commitment to our Business Conduct Guidelines and to prevent perceived influence peddling through Trump affiliated businesses. Lastly, in the present context of insecurity and unpredictability, we call on IBM to return to our traditions of high worker retention and morale by making retirement plans equitable once again.

We invite all current IBMers, former IBMers, and community supporters to sign our statement.

Why is this important?

Dear Ginni Rometty:

In response to your open letter to Mr. Trump [1], we are disappointed that you did not reaffirm the core values which differentiate both IBM as a company and us collectively as IBMers.

While we understand your willingness to engage in constructive dialogue with the president-elect, we believe our shared culture and values remain not only constant, but also central to our transformation underpinned by cloud and cognitive initiatives. As you know, more than 400,000 IBMers around the world work in environments where diversity—including diversity of thought—is the norm. IBM values this because our diversity helps create innovation that enhances every aspect of our business.

Your internal memo to employees, advocating diversity and the open exchange of ideas, echoes IBM President Tom Watson’s Policy Letter #4 [2]. Watson’s letter reaffirmed IBM’s moral leadership by refusing to discriminate on the basis of race, resisting the prevailing attitudes of governors in the southern United States. In this instance, Watson sacrificed short-term business interests in order to be on the right side of history, something IBM takes pride in today.

IBM’s leadership in this domain is more essential than ever. If we cannot boldly and openly affirm our commitment to diversity, then who are we? The right thing to do for IBM workers and our stakeholders—which includes every person on the planet touched by our technology—is to emphasize this in writing to public officials. Yet writing is not enough. We have a moral and business imperative to uphold the pillars of a free society by declining any projects which undermine liberty, such as surveillance tools threatening freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. The kinds of moral decisions you and our senior executives make in the next four years will define our corporate character for our next century. This will be your legacy.

Taking a conservative approach has grave implications. Our own founder’s experience and the rest of history teach us that accommodating those who unleash forces of aggressive nationalism, bigotry, racism, fear, and exclusion inevitably yields devastating outcomes for millions of innocents.

IBMers are members of a global family without borders. Hostile rhetoric towards immigrants, Muslims, Latinos, LGBT people, and others impinge on our core values of tolerance, diversity, and open exchange of ideas that are essential for innovation and our ability to recruit top talent. In this present context of insecurity and unpredictability, we also share deep concerns about recent reductions in benefits programs. This has consequences on the morale, retention, and well-being of long-term IBMers, especially those affected by our company’s transformation.

For our mutual aid and protection, we petition you to do what is right for IBMers, our business, and society, on the basis of equitable treatment and fairness:

(1) Respect our right to refuse participation in any U.S. contracts that violate constitutional and civil liberties.
(2) Expand our diversity recruitment programs specifically targeting women, people of color, and LGBT people with the goal of doubling recruitment of these groups in 2017 and steadily increasing the share of these groups as a proportion of new hiring in subsequent years.
(3) Prohibit perceived influence-peddling of elected officials by restricting IBM and its employees from using any Trump owned or Trump branded properties for business purposes, in accordance with the IBM Business Conduct Guidelines.
(4) Treat established workers with dignity by restoring the 2015 Individual Separation Allowance Plan that provided severance based on years of employment instead of the current one-month severance plan for all employees, regardless of time served.
(5) Make IBM retirement plan contributions equitable by restoring company 401k match contributions to regular pay cycles instead of a one-time, year-end contribution that is contingent on being employed as of December 15 of the calendar year, which is not fair to employees who are laid off before that date.

As IBMers, we strive to be engaged citizens of the world; innovating how we think and work; collaborating across cultures, time zones, and borders; and, in doing so, we make a positive impact locally and globally.

While our differences shape who we are as individual IBMers, our shared corporate culture and values remain central to our success. We petition you to affirm this identity, and we thank you in advance for your leadership and courage in the years ahead.

Respectfully,

Your fellow IBMers, past and present

[1] https://www.ibm.com/blogs/policy/ibm-ceo-ginni-romettys-letter-u-s-president-elect/
[2]

The new CEO is not much better; it’s more of the same, but a different ethnicity. What’s known as “identity politics” means that one swaps substance with something like heritage (Biden choosing Harris as his running mate is a recent example of it).

Six Years of EPO Scandals

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

THE day was not set
The staff was upset
It’s Battistelli you bet
Accountability he met

The media rushed
Mostly hearsay had gushed
Under the carpet it brushed
More money to be hushed

The Kat was all fat
Not the EPO‘s pet
The smell of the rat
Truth it could get

Battistelli was fuming
Reputation needs grooming
The bribes began booming
“Defamation” he was assuming

Out went the lawyers
And firewall layers
Disciplinary actions
Gave Battistelli erections

On went the cover
The media didn’t bother
Campinos is the orange brother
Exploiting the name of his father

Then came the COVID, the plague, and mass layoff
Not just lousy patents but also a President Madoff

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:44 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Turn Away From Microsoft Money (Influence for Sale)

Posted in Microsoft at 2:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Demoted Ballmer, Linux Foundation

Blender and Microsoft

Summary: Microsoft continues to buy its way into various foundations and institutions that are supposed to protect software freedom (in exchange they often end up outsourcing everything to Microsoft/GitHub and doing WSL/DirectX/C#/.NET sub-projects)

“This membership level is for organisations who want the option to monitor in more detail what will get funded with their contributions. They will get direct access to the Blender team for strategical discussions. Roadmaps and priorities will be aligned with your requirements as good as possible.” –Discussion here

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