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08.30.20

[Meme] Microsoft Loves (Patents Inside) Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 10:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A torpedo submarine: Embrace, Extend, 'Settle'

Summary: “Microsoft Loves Linux”… with more software patent traps inside it (submarine patents, too)

Where Do All the Censored Developers Go?

Posted in Debian, Europe, Free/Libre Software at 10:26 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship

Being censored by an organization that claims to be promoting Free as in Speech is no small feat. It raises an interesting question: where do conscientious volunteers go from here?

The answer has been right under our noses all along: the Uncensored Speakers Toastmasters Club in Dublin.

Uncensored Speakers meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month at The Central Hotel (Open Street Map).

Most Toastmasters groups have some community guidelines against overtly political or religious speeches or use of profane language. Uncensored Speakers claims to be different: a speaker may well choose to say what they really think about Brexit, choosing from some of the most colourful words that the English language has brought us.

Tonight’s meeting is an exception: there will be a Table Topics and Humorous Speech contest. What would a free software developer know about communications and censorship?

Is the journey to Software Freedom bogged down in Censorship?

Let’s look at how the Free Software censorship scandal has evolved.

In 2017 the Fellowship elected an independent candidate as their representative to the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

FSFE had just banked that huge €150,000 bequest. In fact, €50k had been withheld by the lawyer pending confirmation that FSFE doesn’t lose their charitable status while the other €100k had reached the bank account. FSFE decided to appoint all their staff as voting members of the association, remove the elections from the constitution, put the €100k in reserve to underwrite future obligations to staff and then, with their future benefits guaranteed, the two most senior staff, the President, Matthias Kirschner and the Executive Director, Jonas Oberg, went on extended periods of paternity leave.

As the last man standing in this democracy gone bad, it was the Fellowship representative’s duty to question all that, so he did:

With well over half of the funds now coming from the corporate sector and the two most senior staff enjoying lengthy periods of paternity leave in 2018, people are also asking whether it is reasonable for volunteers to contribute their time and personal funds at all. There are many organizations in the free software world who we can contribute to and FSFE e.V. should not take us for granted.

While he was still serving in his role as Fellowship representative, Kirschner smugly deleted his blog from Planet FSFE and began censoring every email he sent through FSFE’s mailing lists. The voters weren’t told that their representative was being impeded in this manner, it is the sinister menace of censorship at its worst.

Censors even deleted the question from the mailing list archive, replacing it with:

This e-mail contained information published in error and is no longer available.

Our last democratically elected representative resigned under duress and in total disgust at what FSFE has become.

fsfellowship image

Later that year, he was at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva. All of FSFE’s biggest sponsors were there. In a session on Safeguarding Human Rights Defenders (video), an Iranian dissident talks about the methods his country uses to silence critics. After explaining the way those resident in Iran can be locked up on the whim of the security services (like the Debian assassinations attempted under the radar at Christmas), he goes on to explain the way psychological techniques like blackmail and character assassination are systematically used to silence critics who left the country. The same abusive methods are evident in some of the emails leaked from various free software communities recently. Chilling.

At the very same moment that this volunteer was listening to that dissident’s testimony, Debian’s censors, who operate under the pretense of “Anti-Harassment”, were removing the blog of Norbert Preining:

fsfellowship image

Motivated by his experience in the forum and the sheer brutality of what Chris Lamb‘s hit squad did at Christmas, on 7 January 2019, he wrote a blog about the rights of members in free software communities, linking them back to human rights principles. He dared to ask the question:

why do we put the rights of users on a pinnacle like this but do so little to document and protect the rights of members and contributors?

Within hours, the former community representative’s blog had been removed from Planet Mozilla and Planet Debian.

Mozilla’s Manifesto states

We are committed to an internet that promotes civil discourse, human dignity, and individual expression.

Here is the log entry from rogue Mozilla employee Mike Hoye violating that principle when he censored the blog. Hoye refuses to explain his conduct:

fsfellowship image

The motivations of Joerg Jaspert in Debian are easier to deduce: he wanted to eliminate a competitive independent candidate from competing in the Debian Project Leader election, where Jaspert was running himself. A censored blog post about human rights is par for the course in a democracy:

fsfellowship image

Debian’s Social Contract tells us:

We will not hide problems

but somehow the problems that blog post discussed were more uncomfortable for some oligarchs than violating the organization’s basic principles.

The same principle took a further battering when the same observant volunteer asked about the secret $300,000 donation Google made to Debian. Questions about that money were censored too, just as MIT executives hid controversial donations from Jeffrey Epstein knowing that some elements of the community would feel uncomfortable about the source of funds.

Back to the core question of that forbidden blog: free software organizations aggressively promoting the rights of users while actively undermining the rights of the people who develop the code or volunteer. Molly de Blanc, former FSF employee and newly elected president of the OSI answered his question with this hand-drawn slide in her talk at FrOSCon. She talks about how the volunteers need to be pushed to release code under the terms she prefers:

fsfellowship image

The step from encouraging people to use ethical software to pushing people to create it is an awkward one, as it is no longer ethical at all.

de Blanc’s comical drawings have an eery resemblance to the gangster-like behavior of the Debian account managers pushing a volunteer under a bus at Christmas (and another example) but it also gives a glimpse into the mindset of the toxic people who are spoiling free software. With enforcers like de Blanc keen to promote pushing, they don’t want anybody to get in the way so the question about rights in that blog had to be censored.

de Blanc’s rise to power without ever writing any code has been controversial. Most developers have no respect for those who attack her using sexist and misogynist language yet that does not mean she is entitled to hide from the serious questions about her conflicts of interest. If she isn’t willing to be accountable then she should stop claiming to be a leader:

I am a leader in free software. As evidence for this claim, I like to point out that I once finagled an invitation to the Google OSCON luminaries dinner, and was once invited to a Facebook party for open source luminaries.

Leadership, or opportunism aroused in the passionate embrace of corporate influence?

A report releasing damning evidence of de Blanc’s conflicts of interest immediately prior to her nomination to OSI was censored by Fedora Planet and Ubuntu Planet.

When the former Fellowship representative posted a message of support for Richard Stallman on the FSF’s LibrePlanet list recently, it was also censored. Since he exposed the censorship in a blog post this week, various people have tried to retrospectively make up reasons for censoring the message. For the record, FSF never gave a reason why the message was censored and the reasons being speculated don’t agree with each other. Reasons made up after-the-fact lack credibility. It is simply character assassination, not unlike that described by an Iranian dissident at the UN forum not so long ago.

The lynching of Dr Stallman is also a powerful form of censorship. By deliberately misquoting his words, they make everybody else afraid to speak at all as anything they say or do could be twisted and misquoted against them in a trial-by-email. As another volunteer and Debian Developer commented during the Debian Christmas lynchings:

I wrote a bit longer post but looks like I kind of self censored it and this is not making me happy either.

Now what we see is the anti-RMS mafia snooping through the history of every RMS supporter, picking them off one-by-one with dodgy excuses to prevent them saying anything at all through FSF mailing lists. People are using BCC and simulated List-Id headers as a workaround.

The fact that organizations are so vigorously snuffing out these questions about member’s rights and governance standards only proves they were the right questions to ask. Rather than talking about returning RMS to his role at FSF, maybe it would be better to try and build a healthier organization that has member’s rights built into it from the ground up.

In the meantime, all of us can step up to continue the great work RMS has done over many years giving talks like this about software freedom. If you don’t have prior speaking experience or if you want to boost your skills, you could start with a visit to your local Toastmasters group.

FSF Censorship of Richard Stallman Supporters

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 5:54 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock

A recent blog looks at how to work around censorship in mailing lists, especially the Free Software Foundation. After all, the Free Software Foundation tells us that they use the word Free as in Speech, rather than Free as in Beer.

Here is an example of an email censored by the FSF. There is no obvious way this email violates the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines or any other Code of Conduct.

Subject: Re: Nominate RMS for FSF award...
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2019 00:07:30 +0200
From: Daniel Pocock <daniel@pocock.pro>
Reply-To: libreplanet-discuss@libreplanet.org
To: libreplanet-discuss@libreplanet.org


Personally, I feel this may not quite be correct although it is interesting.

By nominating him for the FSF award, you are saying that you need the
judges to confirm his status.  You don't need that at all.

RMS doesn't need to be nominated for or voted for to be considered a
winner of this award.  He is the founder of the organization, it was his
idea from the outset and that means he was the winner anyway before
there was an award.

Nonetheless, there are things that can be done to approximate the idea:

At a major event, perhaps LibrePlanet, ensure there is a significant
section of the program dedicated to thanking RMS for his FSF work,
bigger than the award ceremony because RMS is bigger than that.

Arrange for other organizations to recognize him for his service in
different ways, whether it is with awards, honorary titles or something
similar.

Why do the FSF staff censor an email like this supporting the founder of their organization and the founder of the Free Software movement?

Has the FSF become another Fake Community?

Since raising the issue of censorship in FSF, I received a number of emails from people who feel their own communications have been censored. It looks like censorship is being used for multiple reasons:

  • To censor communications about the online lynching of Richard Stallman and hide the voices supporting him
  • To hide the questions about former FSF employee Molly de Blanc and the allegations that a undisclosed romantic affair with the leader of Debian was a serious conflict of interest when Debian endorsed her for the OSI board presidency.
  • To hide questions about donations from Google that coincide with infighting in other organizations ($300,000 to Debian before the Debian Christmas lynchings, €75,000 to FSFE when they abolished community representatives). How much does FSF receive from Google, can they promote Freedom without answering that question?

In another recent donation scandal, MIT Media Lab staff systematically hid donations from convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, knowing that some other staff and donors would be outraged. Likewise, Free Software organizations know that some of their volunteers are uncomfortable with Google’s donations and influence. Just as certain MIT staff hid the funds from Epstein, Free software organizations are hiding the donations from Google. Censorship is one of the tools they use to achieve this deception.

The Linux Foundation is Not Even Using Linux to Prepare and Publish the Linux Kernel History Report

Posted in Kernel at 5:32 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Recent: Linux Foundation Newsletter is Microsoft Windows and Proprietary IIS

Linux Foundation report
A totally unneeded scandal (headsup from Twitter)

Linux Foundation report meta
A closer look

Summary: The “something” Foundation (something they make money from, without even using it, supporting it, let alone understanding it) is outsourcing almost everything to Microsoft (GitHub, proprietary software). It’s just constantly milking the trademark of Linus Torvalds to make a lot of money and now it uses Apple and proprietary software to prepare a report about Linux (maybe Linux Foundation is the wrong name for it).

Links 30/8/2020: Fedora on ThinkPads, Wine-Staging 5.16, DebConf20 Finishes

Posted in News Roundup at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • You Can Now Buy Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 Laptop with Fedora Linux

        Fedora Project’s leader Matthew Miller announced today on Twitter that the first (of many to come) laptop from Lenovo with Fedora Linux pre-installed is now available for sale, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8.

        About four months ago, Lenovo shocked the Linux community by announcing that they FINALLY plan to offer Linux laptops, choosing the Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Linux as default operating system.

        The first Lenovo laptops to ship with Linux are supposed to be the ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad X1 Gen8.

      • Lenovo Starts Offering Up Fedora Linux Pre-Loaded Systems From Their Web Store

        As a follow up from the news earlier this summer of Lenovo planning to certify their ThinkPad and ThinkStation lines for Linux from Ubuntu and Red Hat while also offering distribution choices like Fedora, that work is proceeding with Lenovo now offering up their first system from their web store that comes pre-loaded with Fedora.

        The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 is available with Fedora preloaded while still offering up options from Core i5 through Core i7 10th Gen CPUs, 8GB / 16GB of RAM, a variety of display options (including 14-inch 4K), etc.

      • Lenovo Launches Fedora-Powered X1 Carbon With Linux In The Spotlight

        Lenovo began teasing its new Linux initiative several months ago (refresh your memory here and here). Just in time to meet its “Summer 2020” promise, the first wave of Fedora-powered ThinkPads are now up for sale on Lenovo’s webshop. But it’s not merely this expected launch that has me excited; it’s how refreshingly visible they’re making the Linux option.

      • Lenovo begins rollout of Fedora Linux on their laptops, Ubuntu systems due soon

        After being announced by the Fedora Linux team back in April, the rollout of Fedora across Lenovo laptops appears to have begun along with a sale.

        The first model appearing with Fedora as an option is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8. Not only has it rolled out with Fedora, it’s right there on the store and you can’t miss it as it shows up first, as it’s also the cheapest option for this model available right now.

    • Google

      • [Coreboot] [GSoC] Address Sanitizer, Part 3

        Hello again! The third and final phase of GSoC is coming to an end and I’m glad that I made it this far. In this blog post, I’d like to outline the work done in the last two weeks.

      • GSoC 2020: Report-2: Fuzzing the NetBSD Network Stack in a Rumpkernel Environment

        This report was written by Nisarg S. Joshi as part of Google Summer of Code 2020.

        The objective of this project is to fuzz the various protocols and layers of the network stack of NetBSD using rumpkernel. This project is being carried out as a part of GSoC 2020. This blog post is regarding the project, the concepts and tools involved, the objectives and the current progress and next steps.

      • GSoC’20 final report & Project Documentation

        OverviewThe idea was about The UI testing framework in LibreOffice. The UITesting Framework is based on introspection code in c++ interacting with a testing framework in python through a simple UNO interface. To identify objects we use the ids that we introduced for loading dialogs from UI files. We were having unsupported items list in LibreOffice UITesting Framework. So The project mainly goals is to Extend the ability of the existing UI testing framework to support the unsupported items that exist now. So the work done on this list to decrease number of items in it.

      • [KDE] GSoC’20 progress : Phase III

        And just like that, the third evaluations for Google Summer of Code are upon us. It seems just like yesterday when I began my work on this project and now the final phase is about to be over. Sort of unbelievable.

      • GSoC 2020 @ Pitivi: Work Product

        My GSoC 2020 internship project was improving the usability of Pitivi’s Render dialog. Below is a detailed summary of the work done during the last three months.

      • Google Is Still Striving To Upstream Incremental FS In Linux

        After originally publishing the Incremental FS patches back in May of 2019, Google’s Android kernel team is still working to upstream this virtual file-system into the mainline Linux kernel and at this week’s Linux Plumbers Conference was working to drum up support for it.

        The Incremental File-System back when it was first proposed was advertised as a special-purpose virtual file-system to allow the execution of a program while its binary and resource files are still being lazily downloaded from the Internet or other medium.

      • Android AOSP Can Boot Off Mainline Linux 5.9 With Just One Patch
      • Backup and restore your Chromebook’s Linux setup

        If you’ve been exploring Linux apps on Chrome OS with us, it’s high time we covered how to save your current setup so you can restore it in a pinch. Full Linux distros have various tools available to run backups and store them locally or off site depending on your personal preference. Chrome OS, however, has a built in tool for this task and you can keep you backup right on you Chromebook or better yet, put it on Google Drive so it’s safe. This is very handy if you run into a situation where you need to power wash your device or heaven forbid have a system crash that requires a full recovery.

      • Brave takes brave stand against Google’s plan to turn websites into ad-blocker-thwarting Web Bundles

        A proposed Google web specification threatens to turn websites into inscrutable digital blobs that resist content blocking and code scrutiny, according to Peter Snyder, senior privacy researcher at Brave Software.

        On Tuesday, Snyder published a memo warning that Web Bundles threaten user agency and web code observability. He raised this issue back in February, noting that Web Bundles would prevent ad blockers from blocking unwanted subresources. He said at the time he was trying to work with the spec’s authors to address concerns but evidently not much progress has been made.

        His company makes the Brave web browser, which is based on Google’s open-source Chromium project though implements privacy protections, by addition or omission, not available in Google’s commercial incarnation of Chromium, known as Chrome.

      • Kubernetes moves to end ‘permanent beta’ for some APIs

        The Kubernetes project has decided the time has come to stop existing in a state of permanent beta.

        The decision, included in the Changelog for version 1.19 of the container-wrangling code and explained in a blog post, reflects the fact that Kubernetes offers plenty of REST APIs and they can evolve … or not.

        The project’s new rules mean that when a new feature’s API reaches beta, a nine-month countdown commences. Within that timeframe, the beta must either reach general availability (which deprecates the beta) or start anew (which deprecates the previous beta).

        “The motivation here seems pretty clear: get features stable,” wrote Kubernetes contributor Tim Bannister of The Scale Factory. “Guaranteeing that beta features will be deprecated adds a pretty big incentive so that people who want the feature continue their effort until the code, documentation and tests are ready for this feature to graduate to stable, backed by several Kubernetes’ releases of evidence in real-world use.”

    • Applications

      • 9 Best Free Console-Based Diff Tools

        File comparison compares the contents of computer files, finding their common contents and their differences. The result of the comparison is often known as a diff.

        diff is also the name of a famous console based file comparison utility that outputs the differences between two files. The diff utility was developed in the early 1970s on the Unix operating system.

        Typically, diff is used to show the changes between two versions of the same file. Modern implementations also support binary files.

      • 6cord Is An Almost Perfect Terminal Discord Client

        As you know I love messing with terminal apps and I use discord very frequently so what not try to find a 3rd party discord client that manages to be a competent replacement, I’ve tried out Cordless which is also pretty good but it’s got a bit of a funky interface, 6cord however does basically everything I could want it to do.

      • htop-3.0.0 released

        We’ve just released htop-3.0.0 with over two years worth of bug fixes and features. Enjoy!

      • Write with your colleagues using this amazing open-source collaborative writing tool: Etherpad

        Etherpad is a free open-source web-based real-time collaborative document editor. It’s a combination of a text editor with a real-time interactive editing option.

        Some may say, it’s an open-source alternative for Google Docs, Zoho Docs, or Microsoft Office (Web). However, it’s not. It adds a real-time video and voice chat as well as a live comment section.

        It’s also self-hosted which means it can be installed for servers to work as a collaborative editing platform for teams.

        Etherpad also supports importing and exporting to many popular document formats: ODF (Open Document Format), Microsoft Word “.doc” format, text file, PDF and HTML. It also provides its own format “Etherpad”.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine compatibility layer sees a 5.16 development release

        Released just before the weekend began, the Wine team have put out the 5.16 development release as they continue chasing Windows compatibility.

        Need to know what Wine is? It’s the constantly improving compatibility layer that allows the running of Windows-only applications and games on Linux and other operating systems. It’s one of the driving forces behind Steam Play Proton. Helping you to get whatever you need done on Linux, or perhaps so you don’t have to give up that favourite game.

        [...]

        If you want help managing different installs of Wine, you can try Lutris.

      • Wine-Staging 5.16 Begins Adding Patches For Microsoft Flight Simulator

        Building off Friday’s release of Wine 5.16 as the newest snapshot for running Windows games/applications on Linux and other platforms, Wine-Staging 5.16 is now available as the latest release for this more bleeding-edge version of Wine.

        Wine-Staging 5.16 comes with just over 650 patches atop the upstream Wine code-base of various features still being vetted and further testing before upstreaming. With Wine-Staging 5.16 come a few new patches, including some DLLs needed by Microsoft’s 2020 release of Flight Simulator. Though at this point the new Microsoft Flight Simulator isn’t all rounded out for Wine / Steam Play (Proton) but at least movement is happening and soon this new flight simulator release will hopefully be flying on Linux.

    • Games

      • Check out the latest Spacebase Startopia footage, coming to Linux PC in October

        Spacebase Startopia is getting closer and during Gamescom 2020, some new footage surfaced giving us a better look at what to expect from it.

        The what – Spacebase Startopia is a fresh take on the classic and much loved Startopia from Mucky Foot Productions, which originally released in 2001. They say it will offer up a mixture of a building sim with city-building and base-management mixed in with some RTS-styled skirmishes. It’s due for release on October 23 from Realmforge Studios (Dungeons 3) and Kalypso Media.

      • Space Crew has new footage and it’s releasing on October 15

        Space Crew takes the idea of the popular Bomber Crew from developer Runner Duck and sends everyone into space. During Gamescom 2020, it gained not only a new trailer but a release date too.

        Acting as a sequel to Bomber Crew, it will be your responsibility to help stop all of humankind being wiped off the intergalactic stage by the mysterious extraterrestrial threat known as the Phasmids. If you missed it, we at GOL spoke to the developer earlier this month who confirmed Linux support.

      • GONNER2 looks brilliantly weird – check out 9 minutes of new footage

        GONNER2, the sequel to IGF winning game GoNNER will bring some messy, colourful and weird platformer action to Linux PC later this year. If you missed it, we already have it confirmed for Linux support back in June.

        An action-platformer with roguelike elements that will keep you on your toes, with the sequel bringing in a lot more of everything it possibly can. A game they say is “for the curious, the brave and the tad bit whimsical” as you will “awaken your inner kid as you get into a sweet flow, flying through levels, shooting everything that moves and pulling off ludicrous, acrobatic destruction”.

      • Techium Eclipse is a sweet free game about defending a tiny planet

        Meteors! Meteors are coming! Thankfully, you have the powers of a god in Techium Eclipse, so you can just grab the planet and swing it around to ensure they don’t hit any cities.

        It’s a surprising bit of fun, as it becomes quite challenging when you get through a couple waves. Having to keep an eye on multiple meteors coming down, as you’re trying desperately to spin this little planet and protect everyone. Lovely simple controls too, allowing you to either spin the planet or move the camera around with mouse or gamepad. Games need not be complicated. The idea is to eventually build a space port for people to leave this planet that’s under siege.

      • Hyper Team Recon is an adorable upcoming 3D platformer with shapeshifters

        Coming to Linux PC sometime in 2022, Hyper Team Recon from Nathan Burton and Top Hat Studios is a seriously charming upcoming 3D platformer that follows a bunch of shapeshifting aliens.

        “Three energetic aliens, Ember, Penny and Lite, are tasked by their commander to travel to Earth in order to learn more about the lifeforms inhabiting the planet, using their species unique morphing abilities to disguise themselves as girls in order to keep a low profile, but after the trio get split up and stranded on Earth after their ship crashes, they will each have to traverse through a variety of levels and locations full of platforming, puzzles and combat!”

      • You could play Chess but why not play 5D Chess With Multiverse Time Travel

        Why play old, stale and normal Chess when you can fry your brain good with some 5D Chess With Multiverse Time Travel.

        Originally released July 22, 2020, it joins a very long list of Linux ports done by Ethan Lee, who also created FNA. I thought I was bad at chess, 5D Chess With Multiverse Time Travel showed me that pretty clearly. A very impressive idea though, one where you can checkmate someone as bad as me in multiple timelines.

      • What are you playing this weekend? We’re Linux distro-hopping

        Time to brew a cup of your favourite and chat in the comments, let’s see what GOL readers have been enjoying on their Linux boxes recently.

        This week we saw Children of Morta gain official Linux support and wow—what absolutely stunning artwork it has. I’m constantly finding myself just appreciating the detail that went into it. Children of Morta could quite easily be my biggest surprise of this year. Not only that, the introduction with the narration is simply incredible.

      • Steam Client Has a Major Update with Lots of Linux/Vulkan Improvements

        Valve released today a new major update to their Steam Client for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms, adding a whole bunch of new features and improvements for a better gaming experience.

        It’s been about two months since the last stable Steam Client release, which didn’t brought any major changes for Linux users. The new version, however, is packed with improvements for Linux gamers.

        For starters, Valve has fixed a regression that caused invalid rendering on NVIDIA configurations with on-screen keyboard and the transparent visual selection for SteamOS overlays and reduced the Vulkan shader processing memory usage with the open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver (RADV).

      • Dota Underlords gets a big reset, new heroes and a mode without Underlords

        After announcing earlier this month that updates to Dota Underlords had slowed due to the COVID19 pandemic, as well as their team helping other Valve projects, they have returned to Underlords now.

        This update brings in a new ‘Classic Mode’ available for casual online battles and private, which does away with the Underlords and brings back all the Creep waves. What they say is for nostalgia, on the earlier versions of Underlords. Quite a nice addition actually, hopefully they will add Ranked play for it too.

      • Emulation tests: Can the Asus ROG Phone 3 handle these difficult retro games?

        The Asus ROG Phone 3 is already one of the best-reviewed phones of the year here at Android Authority. Not only is it a great gaming phone, but it’s just a great phone in general. However, one thing we haven’t touched on yet is how it does with emulating console games, so here we’ll be covering some Asus ROG Phone 3 emulation tests.

        The ROG Phone 3 is a specs beast and the first smartphone on the market with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus. As such, there’s no point in testing out Super Nintendo or even PlayStation emulation. The ROG Phone 3 can handle anything from a fifth-generation console or earlier without breaking a sweat.

        [...]

        The developer of DamonPS2 refuses to release their version of the code, which violates the GNU General Public License. You might not care about this behind-the-scenes drama, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it for this article.

      • Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 in 2020

        Gaming laptops come in many forms and in many variations when it comes to the power they pack. You can get one for $2000 or as low as $500, and of course the quality of the graphics and how well games will run will be largely dictated by that price.

      • Super Tux Kart Is An Open Source Mario Kart Racing Alternative That’s Peguin Powered

        First off, what is Super Tux Kart? According to the project’s webpage, it is an “3D open-source arcade racer with a variety characters, tracks, and modes to play.” In the early 2000s, a project called TuxKart
        floated around for Linux (if you want to see this lovely Word-webpage, you can do so here). Once the project tapered off around 2004, it was picked up again in 2006 by Joerg Henrichs, now with the moniker of “Super Tux Kart.” Over time, updates continued to be added as the team for Super Tux Kart grew. New maps, stories, and a whole game engine got added to this once small project. The game now features a whole host of open-source project mascots, such as the mascots for Linux, Blender, and GIMP. In 2019, online multiplayer was added, which brings us up to speed for Super Tux Kart’s latest update.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.20 Now Warns About Hard Disk, SSD Failure

          The development looks promising as KDE Plasma 5.20 adds more super cool features such as warning about your hard disk or SSD failure, etc as the team prepares for the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.20 release.

        • KDE Plasma 5.20 Will Alert You If Your Disk Is Failing

          KDE’s Plasma 5.20 desktop picked up a number of new features this week.

          Most exciting to some is that Plasma 5.20 will begin monitoring S.M.A.R.T. data in an attempt to detect if your HDD/SSD is failing. This feature stems from a decade old feature request for propagating the SMART information through KDE. Finally with Plasma 5.20 that is happening with the new Plasma Disks code.

          Also landing this week for KDE to end out August includes:

          - Improved appearance of GTK applications with the Breeze GTK theme.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Adwait Rawat: Drag n Drop

          After the translation debacle in my previous post, I started working on the back-end that will be used by later UI (I’ll be talking about one place where this back-end is used in this post) in a manner such that, when translations start functioning, they can easily be implemented by addition of a few lines of code. This back-end work involves methods that will be used to add or remove firmware, checking whether the firmware being added is acceptable/supported etc.

        • GSoC final project report

          Hello again ! This is my GSoC final project report blog, so this is going to be a very simple and straightforward post without pictures(..but just one !) and jokes ! It will give you all the information about what work we did during GSoC and point you towards code and documentation produced during the project.

          [...]

          The work I did was performed on the work branch which is obtained from my fork of GNOME/nautilus : master. A pull request was opened from my work branch to the GSoC-Staging-Branch maintained by GNOME/nautilus. After code-review and testing by my mentor Antonio, the code was merged into the staging branch. Later on when the main project goal was achieved the staging branch was rebased appropriatly and merged into GNOME/nautilus : master.The GSoC-Staging-Branch was updated weekly, with Merge Requests which represented the goals for the particular week.

        • Mariana Pícolo: GSoC Ending

          During this last month, I’ve been working to improve the code I’ve already written and to cover the last details for this feature in order to work like previewed in the mockups.

        • Vivek R: GSoC 2020: Pitivi: Work Product

          This post is a summary of the work that has been completed during the GSoC 2020 period for my project, Object Tracking. The project consisted of implementing an Object Tracking UI in Pitivi and the associated tracking functionality in GStreamer.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • The AI Factory: A New Kind of Digital Operating Model [Ed: IBM Emeritus who brought Linux to IBM (with GNU) promotes "Hey Hi" hype]

          “Whether you’re leading a digital start-up or working to revamp a traditional enterprise, it’s essential to understand the revolutionary impact AI has on operations, strategy, and competition,” wrote Harvard professors Marco Iansiti and Karim Lakhani in “Competing in the Age of AI”, a recently published article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Earlier this year, they also published a book of the same title, which expands on the ideas in the article and illustrates them with a number of concrete use cases.

          The age of AI is being ushered by the emergence of a new kind of digital firm. Rather than just relying on traditional business processes operated by its workers, these firms are leveraging software and data-driven algorithms to eliminate traditional constraints and transform the rules of competition. Managers and engineers are responsible for the design of the new AI-based operational systems, but the system then runs the operations pretty much on its own.

          “At the core of the new firm is a decision factory – what we call the AI factory,” note the authors. “[T]he AI factory treats decision-making as a science. Analytics systematically convert internal and external data into predictions, insights, and choices, which in turn guide and automate operational workflows… As digital networks and algorithms are woven into the fabric of firms, industries begin to function differently and the lines between them blur.”

      • Debian Family

        • DebConf20 online closes
        • Bits from Debian: DebConf20 online closes

          On Saturday 29 August 2020, the annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference came to a close.

          DebConf20 has been held online for the first time, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease pandemic.

          All of the sessions have been streamed, with a variety of ways of participating: via IRC messaging, online collaborative text documents, and video conferencing meeting rooms.

          With more than 850 attendees from 80 different countries and a total of over 100 event talks, discussion sessions, Birds of a Feather (BoF) gatherings and other activities, DebConf20 was a large success.

          When it became clear that DebConf20 was going to be an online-only event, the DebConf video team spent much time over the next months to adapt, improve, and in some cases write from scratch, technology that would be required to make an online DebConf possible. After lessons learned from the MiniDebConfOnline in late May, some adjustments were made, and then eventually we came up with a setup involving Jitsi, OBS, Voctomix, SReview, nginx, Etherpad, and a newly written web-based frontend for voctomix as the various elements of the stack.

          All components of the video infrastructure are free software, and the whole setup is configured through their public ansible repository.

        • Andrew Cater: Just coming to the end of Debconf 20 2020 – and a preview.

          One more talk from Jon “maddog” Hall and then the closing wrap up. This has been a blast: I’ve enjoyed it a lot and it’s made me more enthusiastic than I have been for a long time.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) Enters Feature Freeze, Beta Expected on October 1st

          Steve Langasek announced that the Ubuntu 20.10 release has entered Feature Freeze this week, more specifically as of August 27th, 2020. This is actually the most important milestone so far in the development cycle of Ubuntu 20.10 and it means that no new features will be implemented until the final release.

          Dubbed “Groovy Gorilla,” Ubuntu 20.10 has been in development since April 2020, shortly after the release of the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system. The Feature Freeze stage will be followed by an optional Ubuntu Testing Week that kicks off next week on September 3rd for those who want to help with the testing.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Secure Your Online Accounts With 2FA And Open Source

        Two-Factor Authentication or Multiple Factor Authentication, is the process of using two or more ways of proving identity to online services rather than just using the password alone (password = 1 factor, password + mobile code = 2 factors… And so on). It is a security measure designed to prevent attackers from gaining access to online accounts even if the accounts’ passwords fall to their hands.

        Most mainstream online services do support two-factor authentication today, though not all of them. Such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and basically all banking and critical services online support it too.

        [...]

        FreeOTP is a %100 free and open source mobile authentication application published under the Apache 2.0 license. Developed by the famous enterprise open source software maker Red Hat; Making it a far way more trusted than any solution coming from companies like Google.

        The program, just like any other authenticator app, allows you to scan a QR code when you activate two-factor authentication on websites, and then it starts to automatically generate security codes each 30 seconds. When you want to login to your 2FA-secured account, you just have to enter the code currently shown on the app.

      • The power of open source during a pandemic

        When a novel coronavirus made headlines earlier this year, the world wasn’t ready. In a short period of time, we all witnessed the consequences of having a global, interconnected economy unprepared for effective global collaboration. Indeed, this pandemic shed light on the under-preparedness of a truly global economy in a hyper-connected world. We didn’t pay attention to the fact that a health issue in China could have an impact on both the real estate market in North Carolina and a shoe factory in Italy. Facing a pandemic, especially one that forced such extreme social distancing, required drastic shifts—both technological and social.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird Email Client Now Ships with OpenPGP Support Enabled by Default

            It took a few releases, but the free, open-source and cross-platform Thunderbird email client, news and chat client is now shipping with OpenPGP support enabled by default in the latest release.

            Just a few days after releasing the Thunderbird 78.2.0 update, which brought lots of improvements to the OpenPGP implementation that lets users send encrypted emails, here’s come another small, yet important update.

            Thunderbird 78.2.1 has been released today and it finally enables the OpenPGP feature by default. That’s amazing news for privacy and security fans enthusiasts using the open-source email client as they won’t have to go to all the trouble of enabling OpenPGP in the latest Thunderbird 78 series.

      • Programming/Development

        • Registration Opens For 2020 Virtual LLVM Developers’ Meeting

          Like most conferences this year, the annual LLVM Developers’ Meeting has become an online-only affair.

          The annual LLVM conference normally hosted in Silicon Valley is now taking place entirely online. This virtual event is taking place from 6 to 8 October.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Russ Allbery: PGP::Sign 1.02

            This is another test-only release of my module for manipulating PGP signatures in Perl. I’m trying to get the CPAN testing failures down to a dull roar. This iteration fixes some testing issues with systems that have only GnuPG v1 and tries to handle systems whose gpg is GnuPG v2 but is older than 2.1.12 and therefore doesn’t have the –pinentry-mode flag that GnuPG uses to suppress password prompting.

            I handled the latter by skipping the tests if the gpg on the user’s PATH was too old. I’m not certain this is the best approach, although it makes the CPAN automated testing more useful for me, since the module will not work without special configuration on those systems. On the other hand, if someone is installing it to point to some other GnuPG binary on the system at runtime, failing the installation because their system gpg is too old seems wrong, and the test failure doesn’t indicate a bug in the module.

            Essentially, I’m missing richer test metadata in the Perl ecosystem. I want to be able to declare a dependency on a non-Perl system binary, but of course Perl has no mechanism to do that.

          • How and What to do in Programming (CY’s Take on PWC#075 Task 2)
          • Week #075: Coins Sum & Largest Rectangle Histogram
        • Python

          • Talk Python to Me: #279 Modern Python Developer’s Toolkit

            Python is quick and easy to learn. And yet, there is a massive gap between knowing the common aspects of the language (loops, variables, functions, and so on) and how to write a well-factored application using modern tools and libraries. That’s where learning Python is a never-ending journey.

            Sebastian Witowski is here to give us his take on a modern Python developer’s toolkit. There are a bunch of great tips in store for us.

          • How to Make Column Index in Pandas Dataframe – with Examples

            In this short Pandas tutorial, you will learn how to make column index in a dataframe. Standarly, when creating a dataframe, whether from a dictionary, or by reading a file (e.g., reading a CSV file, opening an Excel file) an index column is created. For this reason, we need to either set the specific column we want to be index when creating the file or, simply, making one of the columns index later (e.g., after we’ve read a CSV file). Namely, if we want a specific column to be the index in our dataframe.

          • Friendly-traceback is now in beta
          • Wheezy Projects Update

            All libraries related wheezy.web and wheezy.template have been recently migrated from bitbucket to github.

          • PyPy is on Open Collective

            PyPy is now a member of Open Collective, a fiscal host. We have been thinking about switching to this organization for a couple of years; we like it for various reasons, like the budget transparency and the lightweight touch. We can now officially announce our membership!

            With this, we are now again free to use PyPy for all financial issues, like receiving funds professionally, paying parts of sprint budgets as we like, and so on. We will shortly be reintroducing buttons that link to Open Collective from the PyPy web site.

            Although the old donation buttons were removed last year, we believe that there are still a few people that send regularly money to the SFC, the not-for-profit charity we were affiliated with. If you do, please stop doing it now (and, if you like to do so, please set up an equivalent donation to PyPy on Open Collective).

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 12
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 7 Blog Post
          • First steps with neural networks and NumPy

            At school in my 11th grade, I worked on speaker dependent single word speech recognition as my scientific project. This “just” used non-linear time adaption, aka. dynamic programming, to match speech patterns to previously recorded patterns.

            23 years later, both the science and the computing power have advanced by leaps and bounds – these days, the go-to solution for such problems are artificial neural networks (called “NN” henceforth), and the “hello world” of that is to recognize handwritten digits. Doing that was my goal.

            All the code and notes are in a git repository, and the commits correspond to the various steps that I did.

            Admittedly I didn’t manage all of it just on Friday, but it stretched over much of the (fortunately rainy) weekend as well – but it was really worth it!

          • Traitlets – an introduction & use in Jupyter configuration management

            You have probably seen Traitlets in applications, you likely even use it. The package has nearly 5 million downloads on conda-forge alone.

          • Python Requests Package
          • Python Numpy Array To List
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In – 12

            Last week I was working on finishing up the HTTPNegotiateDownloadHandler. Presently the download handler uses ALPN or NPN (whichever is available) to negotiate a protocol (presently one of HTTP/1.1 or HTTP/2) from the remote server and issues the requests on the respective download handler. Presently, all requests made via proxy are directly issued using the HTTP11DownloadHandler.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘What you’re doing is impossible!’ How Dilya Abdulaeva, a plus-size aerial hoop acrobat, smashed stereotypes in Russia’s circus industry and became a star abroad

      “I’m a toy, a defective toy — there wasn’t enough fabric left when they made me,” 27-year-old Dilya Abdulaeva said to herself. At five feet and three inches (160 cm) tall, she was about to fly into a circus ring on a lyra, or aerial hoop, and hold her own weight of 310 pounds (140 kg) more than 13 feet (4 m) above the ground. Then, she would ride the lyra up to the top of the arena, floating 36 feet (11 m) high. Only a few days earlier, the circus producer had decided that Dilya, whose usual job was to care for the troupe’s trained cats and other performing animals, was going to appear in the ring as “something big” that would “shock” the audience. The crew didn’t even have time to sew a costume for her, so Dilya stepped out of the wings in black sweatpants, a yellow sweater, a mask, and a red wig.

    • The Short Life and Long Afterlife of Fred Hampton

      The events described here happened during my lifetime, but to many, they’re “history.” Fred’s life, and the principles he lived by, still have much to teach us today.

    • The Trust & Safety Professional Association: Advancing The Trust And Safety Profession Through A Shared Community Of Practice

      For decades, trust and safety professionals in content moderation, fraud and risk, and safety — have faced enormous challenges, often under intense scrutiny. In recent years, it’s become even more clear that the role of trust and safety professionals are both critically important and difficult. In 2020 alone, we’ve seen an increasing need for this growing class of professionals to combat a myriad of online abuse related to systemic racism, police violence, and COVID-19 — such as hate speech, misinformation, price gouging, and phishing — while keeping a safe space for connecting people with vital, authoritative information, and with each other.

    • A Kenosha Militia Facebook Event Asking Attendees To Bring Weapons Was Reported 455 Times. Moderators Said It Didn’t Violate Any Rules.
    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Resist the urge to argue about app store security

            Recently Miguel de Icaza wrote a blog post arguing that closed computing platforms where a major US corporation decides what software users are allowed to install are a good thing. This has, naturally, caused people to become either confused, disappointed or angry. Presumably many people are writing responses and angry comments. I almost started one writing one pointing out all the issues I found in the post.

            Doing that would probably create a fairly popular blog post with followups. It might even get to the reddits and hackernewses and generate tons of comments where people would duke it out on issues on user choice vs the safety provided by a curated walled garden. There would be hundreds, if not thousands, of snarky tweets that make their poster feel superior for a while but are ultimately not productive.

          • Steve Greenland (stevegr) & Debian: a Dead Man Uploading?

            We went looking for details. Was he expelled, was it political? Was it based on falsified evidence, the way Debian Account Manager Enrico Zini falsified harassment claims against Jacob Appelbaum?

            In fact, Steve Greenland died of cancer in July 2009. He was still on the Debian keyring up to 2020 because the Debian Account Managers (DAMs) were too busy playing politics. They were making up false evidence to remove political opponents but it never occurred to them that Greenland’s computers, with his PGP keys, would have been acquired by relatives or even sold on eBay.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Cashierless stores are popping up at gas stations, stadiums and even Dunkin’

              Mastercard on Friday said it’s joining the effort to create more of these kinds of cashierless stores, unveiling a platform it calls Shop Anywhere. It teamed up with retail tech company Accel Robotics to create a handful of new test concepts that let customers check into a store, grab what they want and walk out.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Democrats need a plan to stop Donald Trump from stealing the election

        The third big question is: what to do at the moment when, if Biden wins, Trump claims victory and refuses to begin the transition? What would a mass, peaceful protest movement against the theft of an election look like? What would its grassroots tactics be? What would be its demands?

        The labour and progressive movements of the US should be asking these questions now, and urgently. Asking them on the morning of 4 November will be too late.

      • The conflict in Mozambique is getting worse

        But Cabo Delgado is no longer forgettable. A smouldering Islamist insurgency has set the province ablaze. There were almost as many attacks by the jihadists in the first half of 2020 as in all of 2019, which was bloodier than 2018, the first full year of the conflict. More than 1,500 people have been killed. At least 210,000 have had to leave their homes.

        On August 5th the insurgents launched their latest assault on Mocímboa da Praia, a strategic port (and site of their first attack, in October 2017). They killed more than 50 soldiers in a single ambush and sank a small naval ship with a rocket-propelled grenade. On August 11th they took the port. The sophistication of the attack has raised concerns in Maputo and other capitals that the insurgency will spread to other parts of the country and perhaps beyond.

      • The American Way of War, a Required Reading List

        The two books I tell people to read to understand not just the United States’ war in Vietnam, but also its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the current world war the US has created and sustained that stretches from western Africa to Pakistan, are David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest and Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie. Both men were New York Times reporters, with extensive experience in Vietnam, and both men reported not only critically on the war, but adversarially, something that any observer of major American media of the last twenty years will note is often missing in US media coverage of the current wars in the Muslim world.* What few examples we have in corporate media these last two decades of critical and adversarial reporting on the wars is fickle and frail when compared to the strength, integrity and depth of reporting and writing produced by Halberstam and Sheehan. Read these two books about the lies, the self-deceptions, the careerism, the group-think, the chauvinism, and the greed of the American Empire and its officers, and you will understand not just the American war in Vietnam, but the wars of this century, wars that continue to devastate and destroy so many.**

      • Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang!

        One of the most shocking things I learned talking with a Los Angeles Police Officer I became friends with while working as a reporter on my first job in L.A. was that LAPD cops were trained to “empty your revolver” whenever you fired at a person.

      • The Israel-UAE Deal Isn’t About Peace at All

        The U.S.-brokered pact makes no pretense of peace for Palestinians. Instead, it sharpens a regional coalition against Iran.

      • Small Towns Don’t Need Military Helicopters

        A little-known federal program dumps military equipment on local police forces. We need to end it.

      • Small Towns Don’t Need Military Helicopters

        In Kenosha, Wisconsin, police shot Jacob Blake up to seven times in the back in front of his children. When demonstrators protested the shooting, they were greeted by officers in riot gear  and, according to one report, at least one military vehicle.

      • Tired of Police Shootings? Cut Military Spending

        It goes without saying, but the police have certainly claimed the nation’s attention as of late. The national protests have quelled in some cities, but rage in others. Protests against police brutality have only brought more police brutality—instances of “excessive force,” like utilizing pepper spray and batons at a protestors’ violin vigil, shooting an unarmed civilian eight times while she was sleeping, or assaulting the eldery. The feds have even deployed the national guard and implemented harsh curfews. Where did this all come from? Recent escalations and increased militarization of policing are a direct consequence of our investment in military spending overseas.

      • We Gawk at Nonsense Political Theater While the Real Enemies Go Unnoticed

        Donald Trump speeches. Celebrity tweets. Corporate news repetition. Chaos. Vapidity. Manufactured dissent. Graphic fighting sports.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Belarus cracks down on journalists covering protests against president

        Two Moscow-based Associated Press journalists who were covering the recent protests in Belarus were deported to Russia on Saturday. In addition, the AP’s Belarusian journalists were told by the government that their press credentials had been revoked.

      • Belarus: Crackdown on Political Activists, Journalists

        Police in Belarus have arbitrarily arrested journalists, bloggers, and political activists ahead of the August 9, 2020 presidential election and pressed charges against two potential candidates, Human Rights Watch said today.

        The arrests raise concerns about interference with and violations of rights to freedom of expression, particularly media freedom and political speech, and freedom of assembly. Many of the arrests seemed timed to keep those detained locked away until at least after the elections.

      • Belarus strips press credentials for foreign journalists

        Belarus has revoked the press credentials of numerous foreign journalists ahead of expected protests over the results of the country’s presidential election held earlier this month.

        The journalists were from a variety of international news outlets, including The Associated Press, Reuters, French wire service Agence France-Presse (AFP), the BBC and Radio Liberty.

      • Belarus revokes accreditations of journalists covering protests for foreign media

        A Reuters spokesperson said in a statement that Reuters journalists had been stripped of their accreditation, adding “We are not aware of any acts by our Belarus journalists that might warrant loss of accreditation.”

        “We hope the authorities will reinstate their credentials to ensure our journalists can continue to deliver independent, unbiased news in the public interest,” the spokesperson said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Mark Zuckerberg Admits Facebook ‘Operational Mistake’ in Failing to Pull Wisconsin Militia Group

        In the town hall with employees, Zuckerberg said the team that enforces Facebook’s policy against dangerous organizations “is trained to look for symbolism and innuendo” and that the “contractors and reviewers who the initial complaints [about the Kenosha Guard] were funneled to didn’t pick this up. On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team responsible for dangerous organizations recognized that this violated the policies and we took it down.”

      • Zuckerberg says Facebook Erred in Not Removing Militia Post

        Facebook is now taking down posts that praise the shooting or shooter, Zuckerberg said. Yet a report Thursday by The Guardian newspaper found examples of support and even fundraising messages still being shared on Facebook and its photo-sharing service, Instagram.

      • U.S. Cable Broadband Monopolies Close In On 70% Broadband Market Share

        The U.S. telecom industry’s monopolization problem shows no sign of slowing down.

      • KOL295 | Bitcoin Fixes This #7: Intellectual Property and Bitcoin

        Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 295. This is my appearance on Jimmy Song’s podcast Bitcoin Fixes This (ep. 7). Bitcoin Fixes This #7: Intellectual Property Stephan Kinsella is a patent attorney, Austrian economist and author of Against Intellectual Property. We talk about IP law’s monarchist origins and how it’s a tool for monopoly. Stephan also tells us about how information is not the same thing as physical property and how IP and Bitcoin both suffer from labor theories of value.

      • Patents

        • UK patent exams update: Final version of FAQs released

          Following on from the updates to the FAQs earlier this week, the Patent Examination Board (PEB) have now released a final version of the FAQs. Candidates have 1 day left to change their elected exam location (deadline 31 August 2020). This is also the deadline for specifying your Designated Contact if taking the exam at work. The latest information can be read here.

          In a welcome improvement to communications, exam updates are now being distributed via the CIPA mailing list.

        • Patent case: Association for Accessible Medicines v. Becerra, USA

          Declarations from generic drug makers alleged only possible future injury from implementation of the 2019 law that created a presumption that so-called “pay for delay” settlement agreements are anticompetitive.

          A trade association for the generic pharmaceutical industry failed to demonstrate standing to challenge a California law that created a presumption that “reverse payment” settlement agreements regarding patent infringement claims between brand-name and generic pharmaceutical companies were anticompetitive and unlawful. None of the declarations submitted by trade association members alleged an intention to engage in such a settlement. Nor did they establish that they incurred economic injury due to complying with the law, such as by foregoing pay for delay settlements or litigating patent-infringement suits to judgment. Rather, the members alleged that they “likely would expect to be forced to litigate every pending patent-infringement lawsuit to judgment,” or that they “likely will stay [their] hand on many products and simply stay off the market until the relevant patents all expire.” These declarations alleged only “possible future injury” and failed to establish a substantial risk of harm (Association for Accessible Medicines v. Becerra, July 24, 2020, per curiam).

      • Copyrights

        • Keep Your Filthy Hands Off of Leonard Cohen

          “Trump and his posse of sycophants and enablers think that everything belongs to them.”

        • Need a Pirate Bay Proxy? DuckDuckGo Best Option, Says Google

          Under pressure from rightsholders, Google makes pirate sites harder to find in search results. As a result, pirates are increasingly advising each other to use DuckDuckGo instead. Surprisingly, in response to a very popular ‘pirate’ search term, Google appears to agree its rival is the best option.

        • More Torrent Sites Ban YTS Releases and Become a Target

          Last week, 1337x.to decided to ban YTS releases when it became apparent that information from the site’s database was being used in lawsuits against file-sharers. Over the past few days, more torrent sites followed this example which, strangely enough, has made them a target as well.

Google, Money and Censorship in Free Software Communities

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Google at 10:02 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

T

On 30 June 2019, a Debian Developer sent the email below to the debian-project mailing list.

It never appeared.

Alexander Wirt (formorer) has tried to justify censoring the mailing list in various ways. Wirt has multiple roles, as both Debian mailing list admin and also one of Debian’s GSoC administrators and mentors. Google money pays for interns to do work for him. It appears he has a massive conflict of interest when using the former role to censor posts about Google, which relates to the latter role and its benefits.

Wirt has also made public threats to censor other discussions, for example, the DebConf Israel debate. In that case he has wrongly accused people of antisemitism, leaving people afraid to speak up again. The challenges of holding a successful event in that particular region require a far more mature approach, not a monoculture.

Why are these donations and conflicts of interest hidden from the free software community who rely on, interact with and contribute to Debian in so many ways? Why doesn’t Debian provide a level playing field, why does money from Google get this veil of secrecy?

Is it just coincidence that a number of Google employees who spoke up about harassment are forced to resign and simultaneously, Debian Developers who spoke up about abusive leadership are obstructed from competing in elections? Are these symptoms of corporate influence?

Is it coincidence that the three free software communities censoring a recent blog about human rights from their Planet sites (FSFE, Debian and Mozilla, evidence of censorship) are also the communities where Google money is a disproportionate part of the budget?

Could the reason for secrecy about certain types of donation be motivated by the knowledge that unpleasant parts of the donor’s culture also come along for the ride?

The email the cabal didn’t want you to see

Subject: Re: Realizing Good Ideas with Debian Money
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2019 23:24:06 +0200
From: a volunteer
To: debian-project@lists.debian.org, debian-devel@lists.debian.org



On 29/05/2019 13:49, Sam Hartman wrote:
> 
> [moving a discussion from -devel to -project where it belongs]
> 
>>>>>> "Mo" == Mo Zhou <lumin@debian.org> writes:
> 
>     Mo> Hi,
>     Mo> On 2019-05-29 08:38, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
>     >> Use the $300,000 on our bank accounts?
> 
> So, there were two $300k donations in the last year.
> One of these was earmarked for a DSA equipment upgrade.


When you write that it was earmarked for a DSA equipment upgrade, do you
mean that was a condition imposed by the donor or it was the intention
of those on the Debian side of the transaction?  I don't see an issue
either way but the comment is ambiguous as it stands.

Debian announced[1] a $300k donation from Handshake foundation.

I couldn't find any public disclosure about other large donations and
the source of the other $300k.

In Bits from the DPL (December 2018), former Debian Project Leader (DPL)
Chris Lamb opaquely refers[2] to a discussion with Cat Allman about a
"significant donation".  Although there is a link to Google later in
Lamb's email, Lamb fails to disclose the following facts:

- Cat Allman is a Google employee (some people would already know that,
others wouldn't)

- the size of the donation

- any conditions attached to the donation

- private emails from Chris Lamb indicated he felt some pressure,
influence or threat from Google shortly before accepting their money

The Debian Social Contract[3] states that Debian does not hide our
problems.  Corporate influence is one of the most serious problems most
people can imagine, why has nothing been disclosed?

Therefore, please tell us,

1. who did the other $300k come from?
2. if it was not Google, then what is the significant donation from Cat
Allman / Google referred[2] to in Bits from the DPL (December 2018)?
3. if it was from Google, why was that hidden?
4. please disclose all conditions, pressure and influence relating to
any of these donations and any other payments received

Regards,

Daniel


1. https://www.debian.org/News/2019/20190329
2. https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2018/12/msg00006.html
3. https://www.debian.org/social_contract

Censorship on the Google Summer of Code Mentor’s mailing list

Google also operates a mailing list for mentors in Google Summer of Code. It looks a lot like any other free software community mailing list except for one thing: censorship.

Look through the “Received” headers of messages on the mailing list and you can find examples of messages that were delayed for some hours waiting for approval. It is not clear how many messages were silently censored, never appearing at all.

Recent attempts to discuss the issue on Google’s own mailing list produced an unsurprising result: more censorship.

However, a number of people have since contacted community representatives privately about their negative experiences with Google Summer of Code. Here is one of the messages that Google didn’t want other mentors to see, sent by one of the former Debian GSoC admins:

Subject: [GSoC Mentors] discussions about GSoC interns/students medical status
Date: Sat, 6 Jul 2019 10:56:31 +0200
From: a volunteer
To: Google Summer of Code Mentors List <google-summer-of-code-mentors-list@googlegroups.com>


Hi all,

Just a few months ago, I wrote a blog lamenting the way some mentors
have disclosed details of their interns' medical situations on mailing
lists like this one.  I asked[1] the question: "Regardless of what
support the student received, would Google allow their own employees'
medical histories to be debated by 1,000 random strangers like this?"

Yet it has happened again.  If only my blog hadn't been censored.

If our interns have trusted us with this sensitive information,
especially when it concerns something that may lead to discrimination or
embarrassment, like mental health, then it highlights the enormous trust
and respect they have for us.

Many of us are great at what we do as engineers, in many cases we are
the experts on our subject area in the free software community.  But we
are not doctors.

If an intern goes to work at Google's nearby office in Zurich, then they
are automatically protected by income protection insurance (UVG, KTG and
BVG, available from all major Swiss insurers).  If the intern sends a
doctor's note to the line manager, the manager doesn't have to spend one
second contemplating its legitimacy.  They certainly don't put details
on a public email list.  They simply forward it to HR and the insurance
company steps in to cover the intern's salary.

The cost?  Approximately 1.5% of the payroll.

Listening to what is said in these discussions, many mentors are
obviously uncomfortable with the fact that "failing" an intern means
they will not even be paid for hours worked prior to a genuine accident
or illness.  For 1.5% of the program budget, why doesn't Google simply
take that burden off the mentors and give the interns peace of mind?

On numerous occasions Stephanie Taylor has tried to gloss over this
injustice with her rhetoric about how we have to punish people to make
them try harder next year.  Many of our interns are from developing
countries where they already suffer injustice and discrimination.  You
would have to be pretty heartless to leave these people without pay.
Could that be why Googlespeak clings to words like "fail" and "student"
instead of "not pay" and "employee"?

Many students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including women, have told
me they don't apply at all because of the uncertainty about doing work
that might never be paid.  This is an even bigger tragedy than the time
mentors lose on these situations.

Regards,

Daniel


1.

https://danielpocock.com/google-influence-free-open-source-software-community-threats-sanctions-bullying/

--
Former Debian GSoC administrator

https://danielpocock.com

[Meme] Sponsorships Without Proper Disclosure (More Like Bribes That Help Gag Critics)

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WHO TALKED ABOUT OUR GAFAM SPONSORS? WHO? I WANT TO KNOW!

Summary: ‘Surveillance capitalism’ money is still a liability to one’s reputation in the Free software world (the spying apparatus is always looking for something in return)

Can Volunteers Sue Debian?

Posted in Debian at 6:33 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

There was a recent discussion on debian-project about lawsuits involving Debian. Pierre-Elliott Bécue has written:

But Debian having no legal existence, it can’t file

Personally, we don’t want to encourage anybody to make an un-necessary lawsuit but it also concerns us that false information has been presented about this issue. The false information is problematic because claimants may be deterred from pursuing legitimate claims but more importantly, because volunteers may not realize they are at risk of being sued.

If a non-profit organization is incorporated, most lawsuits have to be sent to the office of the organization. The managers and employees can’t be named in most lawsuits. The person making a claim is claiming against the assets of the organization but they probably can’t claim against the homes and other private assets of managers and employees.

As people noted in the discussion on debian-project, Debian is not incorporated. This means that none of the volunteers have the protection described above.

Some people may feel they are participating in Debian for their job and they are protected by their employer. This is not always true. Many people use their private email addresses in Debian, even when making contributions for their employer. This, in itself, may make them targets for personal lawsuits. Some large companies may choose to indemnify their employees, in other words, even if a claimant finds a way to make a personal lawsuit against a volunteer, the employer could voluntarily pay the legal defence fees. What about contributors who work for small companies? What if a person decides to change jobs during a long-running lawsuit, will the old employer continue to pay their legal bills? What if the volunteer changes jobs and then a few months later, somebody else starts a lawsuit about something the volunteer did during their last job? Will either the past or present employer want to pay the employee’s defence costs? It just sounds messy.

These are very important questions both for volunteers and also for all employers who choose to have staff contributing to free software projects like Debian.

It may be far easier to incorporate the Debian organization. Incorporation would give volunteers more certainty about their protections, it would give employers more certainty that their employees won’t get sucked into a legal nightmare and it would also give all members more protection and rights. When managers of an organization want to benefit from the buffer against personal liability, they also have to ensure the organization is accountable to the members and they can no longer indulge in abusive expulsions and shamings. Oddly enough, that is one of the reasons cabal members often resist the idea of incorporating.

The project currently hosts a lot of information about shamings and character assassination. Who is legally liable for that? Is it only the person who wrote each email, or can the DPL and volunteers who run the mail servers, BTS and other facilities be sued too? People who use the good name of Debian to shame volunteers should have nowhere to hide.

Anybody choosing to nominate in the upcoming Debian Project Leader elections may want to think carefully about whether their personal assets will be at risk. If the organization doesn’t want some candidates to be deterred from nominating, it might be a good idea to prioritize the issue.

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