Daniel Pocock’s DebConf Talk: Debian at the Core of Modern Communications Networks

Posted in Debian, Videos at 10:59 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Summary: The DebConf13 talk of Daniel Pocock, whose expulsion from Debian has been covered here lately

Getting Censored by Debian and Mozilla for Talking About Human Rights

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 9:04 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

The CFP deadline for the next UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is this Friday, 3 May

When a Debian Developer attended the forum last year, he met a range of representatives from industry, government and NGOs but despite the fact there were a number of sessions on technical topics like Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain (is there anywhere you can go without encountering Blockchain these days?), he was the only person with a free software background who was present.


This year, there is a focus on the Government responsibility to protect human rights. This is a very broad topic: for example, do Governments have a responsibility to protect democracy and what could Government do to counter the threats from Facebook?

Some of the sessions were captured on UN Web TV. You can find a Debian intervention in the Safeguarding Human Rights Defenders session which was, ironically, taking place at exactly the same time that another Debian Developer, Norbert Preining, was being sanctioned and censored without due process or any other regard to human rights.

Listening to the statements of the Iranian dissident during that session about the way his country runs smear campaigns against dissidents who have gone abroad, volunteers couldn’t help relating them to the defamatory rumours being circulated to undermine the former FSFE fellowship representative as elections were being abolished.

Earlier this year, a developer wrote a popular blog about human rights in Free Software, motivated in part by those events. It was almost immediately censored by Planet Debian:

Censoring Human Rights in Debian

and here in Planet Mozilla:

Censoring Human Rights in Mozilla

No explanation has ever been given by either organization. If you can see how the blog can be improved, please share it with the debian-project mailing list.

Links 11/9/2020: PCs Refurbished With GNU/Linux, Releases of Deepin 20 and Diffoscope 160

Posted in News Roundup at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • “It Just Works”: An Interview with Dexai Robotics

      The simulators wind up using a lot of computational power, which is one of the reasons why we use System76. Portability is another. I really like the fact that I can run the full software stack on a laptop that I can always have with me. Previously, we had desktops sitting around in a lab environment, and people were often having to sign into them and borrow them. We needed a solution for new hires to have a computer they can rely on at all times.

      A co-worker mentioned that she bought a machine from you guys back in 2019. After she recommended it, I did a little bit of digging online for the best Linux laptops available, and you all were named a fair amount in those searches—so I ordered one. I was pleasantly surprised with how it just worked right out of the box. I wasn’t fiddling with drivers, I wasn’t dealing with bootloader problems and figuring out how to get a working desktop environment up; I just opened it up and installed a bunch of software and I was ready to go.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Students step in to refurbish computers as school needs rise

        A middle school IT club has found a way to use their skills to revamp old computers at a time when distance learning has made such technology indispensable.

        Penguin Corps is a Linux club at the charter school Aspen Academy in Savage. Linux clubs provide a space for students to learn how to install and use open-source software. The students are using that knowledge to refurbish old computers for their classmates.

        With the school opting for hybrid learning, the need for computers skyrocketed.

        “These kids very enthusiastically caught the open-source bug and took on the challenge of wanting to help their fellow students,” said Stu Keroff, a social studies teacher who directs the club.

      • How to Speed Up Your Old Mac and Give It a New Life [Ed: Suggests GNU/Linux further down this article]

        If you use a Mac for macOS, switching to Linux probably isn’t very appealing. If you want to resurrect an old machine or find a new use for it, though, Linux is a great choice.

        Unfortunately, picking a Linux flavor can be difficult. Ubuntu is the go-to for many because it has a huge library of pre-built software binaries. It’s also a good choice for a Mac as it usually works “out of box.” You also won’t have to scour the web for ages looking for sound or network drivers.

        If your Mac is really old, though, you’ll probably want a lighter-weight distro. Options like Lubuntu, Linux Mint, or Puppy Linux focus exclusively on performance. With these, you might have to put in a little more effort to get everything working. Afterward, though, you’ll have a very responsive machine with little overhead.

        The Elementary OS Linux distribution on a laptop.

        Finally, there’s the Elementary OS. This Linux distro goes out of its way to deliver a Mac-like aesthetic. It’s got a dock, an “App Store,” parental controls, and even macOS-like keyboard shortcuts that will get you up to speed in no time.

        You can install all of these Linux distros on a USB stick and try them all before you commit.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Josh Bressers: Episode 213 – Security Signals: What are you telling the world

        Josh and Kurt talk about how your actions can tell the world if you actually take security seriously. We frame the discussion in the context of Slack paying a very low bug bounty and discover some ways we can look at Slack and decide if they do indeed take our security very seriously.

      • Josh Bressers: Episode 212 – Grab Bag: The Security We Deserve Edition

        Josh and Kurt talk about Chromium sending traffic to root DNS servers. Telemetry watching what we do. Cryptocurrency scams and a few other random topics. Also pandas.

      • Picture Perfect | Self-Hosted 27

        Some big news for Jupiter Broadcasting and a picture perfect app-pick with Lychee. Chris politely suggests Alex reconsider his Syncthing doubts.

        Plus some power monitoring updates, and more from the community.

      • Notion Is A Tiling and Tabbing Window Manager

        Notion is a tiling, tabbed window manager for the X11. It is a static window manager as opposed to a dynamic window manager, and it is configurable using Lua. If you are one of those i3 users that love that window manager because of its tabbing layout, then you may want to try out notion.

      • LHS Episode #366: The Weekender LVI

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux is still the standard [Ed: Mac Asay from Amazon (employer pays the publisher) deletes GNU from the face of the Earth in dishonest revisionism, i.e. the usual]

        As important as that hierarchy has been, as well as the various communication media (like LKML) used to stitch development teams together, something more was needed to help tackle the incredible growth in the Linux kernel’s code. That something is Git.

      • Kernel Bisecting Has Never Been Faster Than With AMD EPYC + AMD Threadripper

        While Zen 3 is just around the corner, current-generation Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC processors continue to impress particularly for build boxes and tasks like bisecting the Linux kernel’s massive codebase.

        Traditionally bisecting every performance regression I come across at Phoronix whether it be in compilers, the Linux kernel, or other code-bases has been prohibitively time consuming (and in turn cooling/power expensive) especially when operating on thin margins as is from the depressed state of the web ad industry, etc, but the incredible speed of the latest EPYC and Threadripper processors — and having many systems with them around — has been working wonders for massive time savings and tracking down such issues.

      • Why TensorFlow Lite Has Been Running Slower On Recent Linux Kernels

        The Linux 5.0 to 5.9 kernel benchmarking posted this week showed TensorFlow Lite running slower since the Linux 5.5 kernel… On top of looking at the new Linux 5.9 regressions, I also spent some time bisecting and figuring out what happened for TensorFlow Lite last year that has at least for the system under test caused it to run slower for all the kernel releases this year as shown in the aforelinked article.

        So with the speedy AMD EPYC box and knowing the regression happened between Linux 5.4 and 5.5, it was on to bisecting the TensorFlow Lite performance drop. TensorFlow Lite is the open-source deep learning framework for on-device inference. TensorFlow Lite is an optimized version of TensorFlow catering to mobile and edge devices. This testing is focused on TensorFlow Lite with not yet evaluating the full TensorFlow performance or other deep learning workloads across the tested kernel versions with regards to this regression.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 20.3 Picks Up New Capabilities To Help With Display Presentation Jitter, Stuttering

          Being merged today to Mesa 20.3-devel were some improvements aiming to help with display presentation jitter and hopefully avoid stuttering in the frame-rate.

          Adam Jackson of Red Hat has been working on supporting GLX_EXT_swap_control/GLX_EXT_swap_control_tear for Mesa’s GLX implementation and on the Vulkan side support for VK_PRESENT_MODE_FIFO_RELAXED_KHR.

        • Mesa Refactors Disk Cache – Working Towards Windows Support

          Mesa 20.3 feature development continues progressing nicely.

          Timothy Arceri who works extensively on Mesa under his employment by Valve has been refactoring Mesa’s disk cache. This revised disk cache that is now merged allows experimenting with different cache layouts for performance reasons. But in the process he also prepped support for Mesa’s disk cache to support Microsoft Windows.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA 24-Way GPU Comparison With Many OpenCL, CUDA Workloads

        As part of re-testing all hardware prior to major GPU/driver launches, here is a look at the latest NVIDIA OpenCL/CUDA performance on Linux — complementing the recent Blender 2.90 benchmarks and the latest NVIDIA vs. AMD Linux gaming performance. In still waiting to find out when we will get any NVIDIA Ampere hardware for Linux testing, I have been having some benchmarking fun and extended this to a 24-way graphics card comparison back to Maxwell in looking at not only the raw GPU compute performance but also the performance-per-Watt / power consumption and GPU thermal values.

        From the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 through GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and TITAN RTX, twenty-four Maxwell / Pascal / Turing graphics cards were tested for this fresh comparison in getting the current numbers when testing using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with the latest driver (NVIDIA 450.66). But in still waiting to find out if/when there will be any Ampere hardware for Linux testing, I went back further than usual in some of the graphics cards for testing given the extra time in providing this reference article today. Sadly another NVIDIA launch where Linux doesn’t appear to have much (or any?) emphasis.

    • Applications

      • Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 160 released

        The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 160. This version includes the following changes:

        * Check that pgpdump is actually installed before attempting to run it.
          Thanks to Gianfranco Costamagna (locutusofborg). (Closes: #969753)
        * Add some documentation for the EXTERNAL_TOOLS dictionary.
        * Ensure we check FALLBACK_FILE_EXTENSION_SUFFIX, otherwise we run pgpdump
          against all files that are recognised by file(1) as "data".

      • Cryptonose – Cryptocurrency trading tool

        A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Typically it does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is also typically not issued by a central authority. Instead, there’s decentralized control.

        Cryptocurrencies have not only had an impact on the world’s expectations surrounding money. They’ve also continued to evolve since the first Bitcoin block was mined back in 2009. Since then, thousands of unique cryptocurrencies have appeared.

        Of these, Bitcoin remains the most popular. Some economists, including several Nobel laureates, have characterized it as a speculative bubble. But Bitcoin could be on the verge of adoption by professional investors which would send its price higher.

      • CPU Power Manager – Control And Manage CPU Frequency In Linux

        There are tools, like TLP, Laptop Mode Tools and powertop, helps reduce power consumption and improves overall Laptop battery life on Linux. Another way to reduce power consumption is to limit the frequency of your CPU. While this is something that has always been doable, it generally requires complicated terminal commands, making it inconvenient for the noobs. But fortunately, there’s a gnome extension that helps you easily set and manage your CPU’s frequency – CPU Power Manager. CPU Power Manager uses the intel_pstate frequency scaling driver (supported by almost every Intel CPU) to control and manage CPU frequency in your GNOME desktop.

        Another reason to use this extension is to reduce heating in your system. There are many systems out there which can get uncomfortably hot in normal usage. Limiting your CPU’s frequency could reduce heating. It will also decrease the wear and tear on your CPU and other components.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Humble extends their End of Summer Sale, here’s some of the best Linux games

        Humble Store is doing an encore for their End of Summer Sale, which will now run until September 14 so you can get big discounts on lots of games.

        Time to pick up something for the weekend perhaps?

      • Shell Shuffle looks like a super sweet matching game from The Caribbean Sail dev

        After finishing with The Caribbean Sail their dark 8-bit adventure about sailing the world in the 1700′s, Victorian Clambake has announced their next game with Shell Shuffle.

        Shell Shuffle looks like a chilled out match-5 puzzle game, about filling a jar full of shells. It probably doesn’t need much more of an explanation than that. You move lines, match up shells and they get removed from the board and place into the jar. You can play it alone in multiple single-player modes or in a competitive multiplayer mode that will require some quick thinking to beat your opponent.

      • Single-player dino survival horror ‘Goner’ is a success on Kickstarter, coming to Linux PC

        Goner, what could end up being a very interesting survival game for Linux PC has managed to run a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. 682 backers pledged €30,703 to help bring Goner to life and it’s a campaign that clearly listed Linux as a release platform in the FAQ.

      • Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York out now for Linux PC

        Draw Distance has released their latest stylish visual novel with Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York, acting as a stand-alone expansion and a companion piece to our previous title, Coteries of New York.

        What’s really striking with Shadows of New York (and Coteries before it) is the artwork, it’s absolutely brilliant. Rich details and overall just a fantastic style. They are probably some of the absolute best looking visual novels around. It’s good to see more like it too, opening up a rich genre to more people just like Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Heart of the Forest will hopefully too.

      • Colmen’s Quest is a very promising Early Access fantasy turn-based RPG

        In the mood for a new adventure? Colmen’s Quest looks very promising. A fantasy pixel-art turn-based RPG that’s refreshingly not a roguelike.

        We have enough random generation and permanent death everywhere, some of us want games that allow us to progress through properly and save / quit whenever we want. Colmen’s Quest offers that up. Unfinished, Early Access and yet still has hours of content already. Inspired in parts by classics like Diablo but also more modern turn-based stuff like Stoneshard. Colmen’s Quest is a turn-based fantasy RPG. You play as Colmen, an aspiring monster hunter, who is on a quest to unveil a dark threat that haunts the village of Valkirk. You will explore Valkirk and its villagers, descend dusky dungeons, fight monsters and eventually collect a bunch of loot and treasures.

      • Deleveled is a clever platformer with no jump button where you use bouncing momentum

        Platformers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are about hacking and slashing, some are about precision and some like Deleveled take almost everything away from you. Note: key provided by the publisher.

        It’s a puzzle platformer, one with a simple aim but it’s been perfected. All you have to do is reach the exit. Simple enough? Except, there’s no jump button and there’s plenty of platforms around both high and low. Oh, you’re also controlling more than one thing at a time. You have two little squares, above and below, which you need to use falling momentum from one to bounce up the other. It’s actually quite brilliant, inspired by Newton’s third law of motion. Simple and very effective.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma adventures – Traipsing through the KDE forest

          Thus we end up here, and I’m … torn. Building reputation and trust takes time, months, years. Destroying is so utterly easy. Now, no need for drama, we’re not there yet. Plasma is a fantastic desktop environment. But shooting oneself in the foot and eroding user confidence shouldn’t be on anyone’s agenda, especially since Linux still hasn’t established itself as a dominant force in the desktop space. Even then, mistakes can be super-costly, with eternal repercussions. Internet Explorer 6 anyone?

          It comes down to the biggest issue in the Linux world since day one. Not a user-centric product. Some parts, yes, but largely, it’s just self-sustaining enthusiasm. But what Linux needs is boredom – testing and yet more testing, endless pages of QA and validation and automated scripts that test everything, and never allow a single bug into the userspace. 1% coding and 99% testing. Today, it’s the opposite. So it’s no surprise when there’s a rush and pressure and new releases, you end up with bugginess where stability is expected, sadness where happiness is needed.

          What worries is me is that Plasma has been largely steady in the past several years, innovating, growing, becoming better, and … it’s running out of steam. We’ve seen this a thousand times before, and it’s ever more depressing. I hope this isn’t a beginning of some horrible downward spiral, but truly just a small set of temporary issues that will quickly go away. Because I don’t think I have the desire and energy for another round of false hopes. I’ve already given up on the whole the year of the Linux thing. I just want a stable, fun platform to do my computer thingies. Thus endeth this part in the Plasma adventure.

          And if you’re wondering, this above be a hint and a teaser – 5.19 test coming soon!

        • What we can learn from Plasma telemetry

          Since Plasma 5.18, about 7 months ago, Plasma has shipped with a telemetry system. Opt in (i.e off by default) it requires users to go to choose if (and how much) data to send to us.
          No private or identifying information is sent, and everything is stored inline with our privacy policy.

          Currently we have hit just shy of 100,000 updates!

          We have started off requesting very little information. Versions, GPU info and some basic screen information. However the library powering this is extremely powerful and capable of so much more that we can try and build on in the future to try and identify weak areas and areas we need to invest time and effort and also to identify features or platforms that maybe are under utilised and can be dropped.

        • Akademy 2020 – Wedneday BoF Wrap-up

          Wedneday continued the Akademy 2020 BoFs, meetings, group sessions and hacking. There is a wrap-up session at the end of the day so that what happened in the different rooms can be shared with everyone including those not present.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Bastien Nocera: power-profiles-daemon: new project announcement

          Despite what this might look like, I don’t actually enjoy starting new projects: it’s a lot easier to clean up some build warnings, or add a CI, than it is to start from an empty directory.

          But sometimes needs must, and I’ve just released version 0.1 of such a project. Below you’ll find an excerpt from the README, which should answer most of the questions. Please read the README directly in the repository if you’re getting to this blog post more than a couple of days after it was first published.

          Feel free to file new issues in the tracker if you have ideas on possible power-saving or performance enhancements. Currently the only supported “Performance” mode supported will interact with Intel CPUs with P-State support. More hardware support is planned.

          TLDR; this setting in the GNOME 3.40 development branch soon, Fedora packages are done, API docs available:

        • GNOME’s New Power-Profiles-Daemon Sees “v0.1″ Release

          As work that should come together during the GNOME 3.40 cycle, the power-profiles-daemon project has just tagged its “v0.1″ inaugural release as part of the work on better power management handling / power profiles easily configurable from the GNOME desktop.

        • Avoid “Tag: v-3.38.0-fixed-brown-paper-bag”

          Over the past couple of (gasp!) decades, I’ve had my fair share of release blunders: forgetting to clean the tree before making a tarball by hand, forgetting to update the NEWS file, forgetting to push after creating the tarball locally, forgetting to update the appdata file (causing problems on Flathub)…

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • NuTyX 11.6 Linux Distro Released With Support For Flatpak Packages

          NuTyX is a French Linux distribution (with multi-language support) built from “Linux From Scratch” and “Beyond Linux From Scratch” project featuring its own custom package manager called “cards”.

          Continuing the development, NuTyX founder Tnut has announced a new NuTyX 11.6 release that supersedes the previous version 11.5 released in May 2020. So, let’s take a look at the new features and enhancements in NuTyX 11.6.

        • Deepin 20 Officially Released with New Look and Feel, Dual-Kernel Installation

          Built on top of the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10.5 “Buster” release, Deepin 20 introduces a fresh new look for a more user-friendly Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE). Almost every little aspect of the interfaces was refreshed, including but not limited to the icons, animation effects, multitask view, as well as windows and dialogs, which now have unique rounded corners.

          The Deepin Desktop Environment now supports both light and dark themes, and comes with all the settings you need to fully customize it, including color temperature settings, transparency adjustment, as well as power and battery settings.

        • Deepin 20 Now Available For The Download

          Deepin 20 is now available for download. With support for dual kernels – Kernel 5.4 and Kernel 5.7, you can see a lot of improvements in Deepin 20.

      • BSD

        • HardenedBSD August 2020 Status Report and Call for Donations

          As part of this status report, I’m issuing a formal call for donations. I’m aiming for $4,000.00 USD for a newer self-hosted Gitea server. I hope to purchase the new server before the end of 2020.

          Last year, I migrated us away from GitHub as the source-of-truth for HardenedBSD’s source code and ports tree. The server hosting the source is a rather ancient one (a > 10yo Dell R410) with insufficient CPU and RAM. I’m formally calling for donations to go towards a newer server to host our code.

          I wanted to self-host our source for a couple reasons: [...]

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/37

          Based on my gut feeling, I’d claim week 37 was a bit quieter than other weeks. But that might be due to the fact that I had some day off in the middle of the week, where I only did a check-in round, but not actually pushing on the Stagings. Some of you might have seen that Richard Brown has been helping out on this front, which can just be another reason for things to look more relaxed for me. But let’s look at the 6 snapshots (0904, 0905, 0906, 0907, 0908, and 0909) we released during this week.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Ankur Sinha: How do you Fedora?

          Ankur is a Computational Neuroscientist and has just started his first post-doctoral fellowship at University College London and a FLOSS enthusiast trying to spread the message of FOSS and evidence based science. Ankur started using Linux a decade ago, when he was introduced to Linux in a LUG doing an install fest during his undergraduate degree.

          Ankur found about Fedora after a distro hopping phase in 2008, and since then he has been a fedora user. His first memory of the Fedora community is an IRC workshop on packaging fonts that the Fedora India community had organised back in 2008. Talking to and meeting other community members has been one of the most exciting parts of the Fedora community for him. “I found this great bunch of people to hang out and geek out with! It was so much fun, and extremely educational both in terms of technical knowledge and the social/philosophical side of FOSS and life in general.”

        • The amazing new observability features of Open vSwitch

          People working in the telco space with DPDK accelerated Open vSwitch have probably seen questions about packet drops a number of times and with multiple customers. Is it OVS-DPDK, or is it the VNF? Why is it happening, and where? What happened, and more importantly, what can we do about it? In this post we’ll look at troubleshooting and answering some of these questions.

        • Test your Red Hat OpenStack Platform skills before you certify

          Today’s organizations are looking to accelerate application and service delivery and innovate faster to differentiate their businesses while empowering IT teams to support digital initiatives. Extending compute and storage power to the edge is key for organizations looking to act on data faster and scale infrastructure while also providing higher-quality experiences for latency-sensitive applications.

          By placing IT resources in edge sites using Red Hat OpenStack Platform distributed compute nodes, organizations – specifically in the telco space – may offer a better quality of experience to customers through faster application processing. Additionally, the smaller OpenStack footprint can create a lower cost solution with consistent operations. In order to support the shift towards edge computing and open compute solutions, Red Hat Certification has developed the Preliminary Exam in Red Hat OpenStack Administration (PE110).

        • Red Hat Academy launches user platform for improved learning experience

          In order to better serve our Red Hat Academy educational institutions around the world, the Red Hat Academy team has launched an enhanced learning environment on Sept. 1, 2020. With a new interface and improved user experience, students and instructors will be able to more easily navigate their courses, access supplemental learning materials, track course progress, and interact and engage with one another more effectively.

          The Red Hat Academy program partners with academic institutions to offer education programs on Red Hat technologies to help students reach their academic and career potential. Red Hat Academy’s curriculum involves hands-on instruction across platform, middleware, and cloud technologies built with input from Red Hat development, support, and field consulting teams.

        • Stop unauthorized applications with RHEL 8′s File Access Policy Daemon

          Application allowlisting is the practice of specifying an index of approved applications or executable files that are permitted to run on a system by a specific user. This is often used on a multi-user system or some kind of a shared hosting server, where multiple users exist and they have to be given limited permissions, so that they can only run approved applications on the shared system.

          Note: A lot of external documentation uses the term “whitelist” in the place of allowlist and “blacklist” in the place of denylist. Red Hat is trying to be more inclusive by eradicating problematic language.

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and many other distributions have SELinux available, which can be used to effectively block applications which are not explicitly allow listed, and commercial products are also available. However technologies like SELinux are designed to control application behaviour but do not know which applications are trusted. Therefore SELinux is complementary to other technologies because they handle different aspects of system security.

      • Debian Family

        • Petter Reinholdtsen: Buster update of Norwegian Bokmål edition of Debian Administrator’s Handbook almost done

          Thanks to the good work of several volunteers, the updated edition of the Norwegian translation for “The Debian Administrator’s Handbook” is now almost completed. After many months of proof reading, I consider the proof reading complete enough for us to move to the next step, and have asked for the print version to be prepared and sent of to the print on demand service lulu.com. While it is still not to late if you find any incorrect translations on the hosted Weblate service, but it will be soon. :) You can check out the Buster edition on the web until the print edition is ready.

        • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: Hire me!

          I’m not looking for anything long term (I’m hoping to teach Economics again next Winter), but for the next few months, my calendar is wide open.

          For the last 6 years, I worked as Linux system administrator, mostly using a LAMP stack in conjunction with Puppet, Shell and Python. Although I’m most comfortable with Puppet, I also have decent experience with Ansible, thanks to my work in the DebConf Videoteam.

        • Broccoli Sync Conversation

          A number of days ago (I know, I’m an awful human who failed to post this for over a week), myself, Lars, Mark, and Vince discussed Dropbox’s article about Broccoli Sync. It wasn’t quite what we’d expected but it was an interesting discussion of compression and streamed data.

          Vince observed that it was interesting in that it was a way to move storage compression cost to the client edge. This makes sense because decompression (to verify the uploaded content) is cheaper than compression; and also since CPU and bandwidth are expensive, spending the client CPU to reduce bandwidth is worthwhile.

          Lars talked about how even in situations where everyone has gigabit data connectivity with no limit on total transit, bandwidth/time is a concern, so it makes sense.

          We liked how they determined the right compresison level to use available bandwidth (i.e. not be CPU throttled) but also gain the most compression possible. Their diagram showing relative compression sizes for level 1 vs. 3 vs. 5 suggests that the gain for putting the effort in for 5 rather than 1. It’s interesting in that diagram that ‘documents’ don’t compress well but then again it is notable that such documents are likely DEFLATE’d zip files. Basically if the data is already compressed then there’s little hope Brotli will gain much.

        • DPL: Debian project has plenty of money but not enough developers

          Debian Project Leader (DPL) Jonathan Carter has described the key problems in the Debian community as not a lack of funds, but rather a shortage of volunteer developers.

          The project is tiny in comparison to the many thousands of organisations that depend on it. Ubuntu is based on Debian, as are other well-known distributions including Devuan, Kali, Knoppix, LMDE, Raspberry Pi OS (formerly called Raspbian), SteamOS and Tails.

          There are other distros based on Ubuntu, not only the official variants like Kubuntu and MATE, but also those from third parties like Linux Mint, Linspire and Zorin. Debian itself is also widely used for running server applications, whether on-premises or in public cloud. It is also completely free. No surprise then to find Google and AWS among the platinum sponsors of the recent DebConf20 gathering. Debian is supported by a non-profit US organisation called SPI (Software in the Public Interest).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Future of Ubuntu Community

          Mark and/or Canonical are taking community needs seriously and are putting money towards necessary improvements. There were people employed before to do this, and as those roles got diluted (eg. towards snap community), more people are being hired to make up for that. I just don’t see how you infer “replace his role in governance and alter the way governance functions” from this.

        • Mark Shuttleworth Comments Following Ubuntu Community Friction, Uncertainty

          For the past number of weeks there have been discussions ongoing about the “loss of leadership” within the Ubuntu community and as part of that the Ubuntu Community Team and Ubuntu Community Council having faded away in recent years. Following a lot of comments on the Ubuntu Discourse, Mark Shuttleworth has chimed in with his thoughts and work moving forward.

          Within this thread have been views from community participants of Ubuntu interacting great with the community and not so much. Some have pointed to Ubuntu’s declining membership, the abandoned Community Council, lack of clear community governance, and Mark Shuttleworth appearing less involved these days from the community window. Some just attribute these shifts just to Ubuntu now being quite mature compared to its early days.

        • Unav 3 is here!

          A simple, easy & beautiful GPS Navigator for Ubuntu Touch!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How open source legal teams can get to yes

        As I shared in the first part of this two-part series, I am an open source lawyer for Red Hat. One important part of my job is to provide information to other companies, including their in-house counsel, about how Red Hat builds enterprise-class products with a completely open source development model and to answer their questions about open source licensing in general. After hearing about Red Hat’s success, these conversations often turn to discussions about how their organization can evolve to be more open source-aware and capable, and lawyers at these meetings regularly ask how they can modify their practices to be more skilled in providing open source counsel to their employees. In these two articles, I’ll share what I normally tell in-house counsel on these topics.

      • Why the future of IoT depends on open source

        Most people are familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to smart objects in a connected network, as this diagram shows.

        A “smart” object has a sense of its environment, and it makes decisions (locally or together with peers and a cloud server), then puts those decisions into action.

        To be smart, the object must have a brain to carry intelligence. So far, the way to do this is to embed a computer in the object. For example, you can put a Cortex-M CPU with Bluetooth 5.1 in a chip smaller than 2x2mm and embed it into almost anything. This tiny device is more powerful than my first desktop PC.

      • [Old] Huawei Launches New Distributed Operating System, HarmonyOS

        The success of HarmonyOS will depend on a dynamic ecosystem of apps and developers. To encourage broader adoption, Huawei will release HarmonyOS as an open-source platform, worldwide. Huawei will also establish an open-source foundation and an open-source community to support more in-depth collaboration with developers.

      • [Old] Harmony OS: what you need to know about Huawei’s new operating system

        The announcement was clearly a thinly-veiled response to political events over the last year, but the message is clear – if Huawei has to ditch Android, down the line, it can.

      • HarmonyOS coming to smartphones next year: Huawei

        Why it matters: This is the first time the embattled Chinese company confirmed that its HarmonyOS, known in Chinese as HongmengOS, will run on mobile devices. The new OS is a sign that Huawei is inching towards independence from American technology for its smartphone ecosystem.

      • Huawei Revs Up Android Substitute as U.S. Curbs Hit Phone Sales

        Speaking at the Huawei Developer Conference in Dongguan, consumer group chief Richard Yu said that Huawei will have beta versions of HarmonyOS 2.0 available for smart TVs, watches and car infotainment systems from today, to be followed by smartphones in December.

      • Huawei announces HarmonyOS 2.0 w/ debut on smartphones in 2021

        During their annual developer’s conference, Huawei has now confirmed that the much-touted HarmonyOS 2.0 could come to smartphones as early as 2021.

        While HarmonyOS initially launched as a distributed system for the likes of smartwatches, TVs and IoT devices, HarmonyOS 2.0 development has clearly accelerated rapidly as Huawei has faced (and is still under) severe sanctions and lacks important access to US-developed software systems and hardware since mid-2019.

      • China’s Huawei to Launch HarmonyOS, Its Rival to Google Android, on Smartphones Next Year

        In August, the U.S. expanded earlier restrictions aimed at preventing Huawei from obtaining semiconductors without a special license. Analysts have said that Huawei’s smartphone business would disappear entirely if it could not source chipsets.

        “The development of HarmonyOS and HMS is fascinating. Nevertheless, this development will need hardware to deliver to the consumers. Thus, the biggest challenge is still coming from the chips supply disruption,” said Will Wong, an analyst with consultancy IDC.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The age of activism: Protect your digital security and know your rights

            No matter where you have been getting your news these past few months, the rise of citizen protest and civil disobedience has captured headlines, top stories and trending topics. The protests following George Floyd’s death are the broadest in U.S. history, having taken place in all 50 of the United States and in dozens of other countries. While this recent surge doesn’t mark the beginning of protest, it also won’t mark the end. And anyone who is called to activism — by organizing or participating — should take some basic steps to protect their digital privacy and security.

          • Weaving Safety into the Fabric of Open Source

            At Mozilla, with over 400 staff in community-facing roles, and thousands of volunteer contributors across multiple projects: we believe that everyone deserves the right to work, contribute and convene with knowledge that their safety and well-being are at the forefront of how we operate and communicate as an organization.

            In my 2017 research into the state of diversity and inclusion in open source, including qualitative interviews with over 90 community members, and a survey of over 204 open source projects, we found that while a majority of projects had adopted a code of conduct, nearly half (47%) of community members did not trust (or doubted) its enforcement. That number jumped to 67% for those in underrepresented groups.

            For mission driven organizations like Mozilla, and others building open source into their product development workflows, I found a lack of cross-organizational strategy for enforcement. A strategy that considers the intertwined nature of open source, where staff and contributors regularly work together as teammates and colleagues.

            It was clear, that the success of enforcement was dependent on the organizational capacity to respond as a whole, and not as sole responsibility of community managers. This blog post describes our journey to get there.

          • Firefox UX: Content Strategy in Action on Firefox for Android

            Firefox recently launched launched a completely overhauled Android experience.

            When I joined the mobile team six months ago as its first embedded content strategist, I quickly saw the opportunity to improve our process by codifying standards. This would help us avoid reinventing solutions so we could move faster and ultimately develop a more cohesive product for end users. Here are a few approaches I took to integrate systems thinking into our UX process.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • 2020-09-08 Tuesday

          Interested to read Bjoern’s take on Project vs. Product – it seems obvious to me that TDF has somehow adopted “build a valuable product brand” as a goal somewhere along the way, alongside being a FOSS project – which can sometimes be counter-productive.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • A Message to Open-source Anonymous Users: It’s time to give something back (Feedback)

            One day ago, I was part of a rich discussion about open-source with a team of open-source veterans of GNU Health. I ask how many active installs does the project have?

            The answer was similar to the same one we get from a popular enterprise project management solution ]project-open[‘s founder “Frank Bergmann” The answer is:

            “There is no clear insights or data about how many companies use the project”.

            Many open-source users consider the solution is free. Free like in free beer, with no obligations or responsibilities.

            That may be right in some cases, but ethically it’s not. The developers need to know how well their solution is doing, and the end-user is required to give something back, not money but useful feedback and insights.

            In some countries I have been to, I noticed many companies, healthcare facilities are using enterprise open-source solutions.

            These open-source solutions include electronic medical records (EMR), electronic health records (EHR), HIS (Hospital Information Systems), Laboratory management systems, ERPs, CRMs, etc.

      • Programming/Development

        • Development hosts and targets in Qt 6.0

          There are significant updates in Qt 6 that also impact the underlying way in which the development host OS and target OS are supported. The most significant changes affecting development hosts and targets include how Qt integrates to the graphics system (Blog: Technical vision for Qt 6), the C++ minimum version update from C++ 11 to C++ 17, and the transition from QMake to CMake. We have also taken the opportunity to clean up and reorganize quite a few OS-specific bits (Blog: Qt 6.0 feature freeze).

          Qt 6.0 will be supported on development hosts familiar for Qt 5 releases; Windows, Linux, and macOS. For RedHat Linux users, the biggest change is the move of RedHat to CentOS in CI. For developers using Windows, only 64bit Windows 10 is now supported as a host. Additionally, there are minor updates with the latest host operating system versions (with new versions being added and older versions being dropped.)

        • Qt 6.0 Development Host/Target Changes Announced

          The Qt Company announced their planned development hosts for Qt 6.0 around continuous integration and the platforms they intend to support for Qt 6.0, some that are no longer set to be supported, and other targets they plan to support later on in future Qt 6.x releases.

          The host operating systems for Qt 6.0 they plan to utilize for continuous integration and testing are Windows 10 2004, macOS 10.15, Ubuntu 20.04, CentOS 8.1, SLES 15, and openSUSE 15.1. Those operating systems will see all of The Qt Company’s CI and verification focus.

        • Intel oneAPI DPC++ Compiler 2020-09 Released

          The latest Intel oneAPI software release is a new monthly update to their LLVM-based oneAPI Data Parallel C++ (DPC++) compiler.

          Intel’s oneAPI DPC++ Compiler 2020-09 release now defaults to the SYCL 2020 standard, USM address spaces are now enabled by default for FPGAs, a dead argument elimination optimization has been added, support for union types as kernel parameters, and other SYCL compiler improvements.

        • Adam Young: Extract Function Refactoring using inline functions.

          The Extract Function refactoring is the starting point for much of my code clean up. Once a “Main” function gets sufficiently complicated, I pull pieces of it out into their own functions, often with an eye to making them methods of the involved classes.

          While working with some rust code, I encountered an opportunity to execute this refactoring on some logging code. Here’s how I executed it.

        • Poll: What do you think of the save icon?

          Ok, I have just been doing some writing – something I do a lot of – and for some strange reason, I actually paid attention to the icon that stands for “Save.” It is – what?? – a diskette!! Why? How long has it been since diskettes were actually used? And how would the young people coming into computing even know what a diskette is?

        • Perl/Raku

          • Web Scraping with Zydeco

            So I like to keep local copies of my blogs.perl.org blog posts as Atom entries, but noticed yesterday that I had a few gaps in my collection. The Atom feeds offered by blogs.perl.org only have the most recent articles though, so I decided to write a quick script to scrape the posts. Luckily, I managed to get a table containing the URLs for each post I needed, so I didn’t need to bother with following links to find the pages; I just needed to grab the content from them.

            I thought some people might find the code interesting especially for its use of lazy attributes. This is one of those “it only needs to be used once, so making the code maintainable isn’t important” kinds of projects, do bear that in mind. I’ve cleaned up the whitespace and added comments for this blog post, but other than that, it’s just a quickly hacked together script.

        • Python

          • What are the Python Random Functions?

            Python provide multiple functions to generate random numbers. Most of these functions are available under the Python random module. You can use these functions for generating random numbers in your Python scripts.

          • PyTorch-Ignite: training and evaluating neural networks flexibly and transparently

            This post is a general introduction of PyTorch-Ignite. It intends to give a brief but illustrative overview of what PyTorch-Ignite can offer for Deep Learning enthusiasts, professionals and researchers. Following the same philosophy as PyTorch, PyTorch-Ignite aims to keep it simple, flexible and extensible but performant and scalable.
            Throughout this tutorial, we will introduce the basic concepts of PyTorch-Ignite with the training and evaluation of a MNIST classifier as a beginner application case. We also assume that the reader is familiar with PyTorch.

          • Python Testing Framework

            Testing can be a pain. It is painful to write test cases. Without it, doing manual testing sucks the life out of you. This makes it worst when you had to remember every single command and steps that could take hours to do it.

            I know the importance of delivery when you are on a time crunch & death march to get it done. But… if your spending tons of effort to test your deployment. You are sabotaging yourself as these could be automated. Which frees up your time to make changes to your code to make it better, faster and maintainable for your future self or teammates who will be maintaining it.

          • [Older] Python Regular Expressions with Examples

            A regular expression (often abbreviated to “regex”) is a technique, and a textual pattern, which defines how one wants to search or modify a given string. Regular expressions are commonly used in Bash shell scripts and in Python code, as well as in various other programming languages.

          • TDD in Python with pytest – Part 2

            This is the second post in the series “TDD in Python with pytest” where I develop a simple project following a strict TDD methodology. The posts come from my book Clean Architectures in Python and have been reviewed to get rid of some bad naming choices of the version published in the book.

          • Guide to String Interning in Python

            One of the first things you encounter while learning the basics of programming is the concept of strings. Similar to various programming languages, Python strings are arrays of bytes representing Unicode characters – an array or sequence of characters. Python, unlike many programming languages, doesn’t have a distinct character datatype, and characters are considered strings of length 1.

            You can define a string using single or double quotation marks, for example, a = “Hello World” or a = ‘Hello World’. To access a specific element of a string, you would use square brackets ([]) with the index of the character you wish to access (indexing starts at 0). Calling a[0], for example, would return H.

          • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #26: 5 Years Podcasting Python with Michael Kennedy: Growth, GIL, Async, and More

            Why is Python pulling in so many new programmers? Maybe some of that growth is from Python being a full-spectrum language. This week on the show we have Michael Kennedy, the host of the podcast “Talk Python to Me”. Michael reflects on five years of podcasting about Python, and many of the changes he has seen in the Python landscape.

          • SecureDrop package build breakage due to setuptools

            A few days ago, setuptools 50.0.0 release caused breakage to many projects. SecureDrop package builds was also broken. We use dh-virtualenv tool to build the packages. Initially, we tried to use the experimental build system from dh-virtualenv. We could specify the version of the setuptools to be installed in the virtualenv while creating it.

            This approach worked for Xenial builds. As we are working to have proper builds on Focal (still work in progress), that was broken due to the above-mentioned change.

            So, we again tried to use Python’s venv module itself to create the virtual environment and use the wheels from the /usr/share/python-wheels directory to build the virtual environment. Which works very nicely on Xenial, but on Focal the default setuptools version is 44.0.0, which also failed to install the dependencies.

        • Java

          • Quarkus and Jakarta EE: Together, or not?

            In this article, I answer a question that I have seen asked on various forums: Will Quarkus be compatible with Jakarta EE? To understand our answer to that question, it is helpful to know the history of Quarkus and what we’re trying to achieve with it. So, please indulge me while I lay that groundwork.

            A short history of Quarkus and Java EE

            When Emmanuel Bernard, Jason Greene, Bob McWhirter, and I first discussed kicking off the ThornFly.x proof of concept, which would later become Quarkus, we had conversations about where Java EE (now Jakarta EE) would eventually fit. I think we all agreed that we already had the best open source implementation of Java EE in the form of WildFly and Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP). Creating yet another addition to this space seemed confusing at best. At worst, we feared that it would split our engineering and open source community efforts.

            Unfortunately, we had another reason to resist making Quarkus compatible with Java EE: Despite the best and often Herculean efforts of Red Hat engineers, our communities, and other vendors, Java EE was seen as slow-moving, monolithic, and not a good option for new developers—especially anyone looking at building microservices and targeting greenfield efforts.

            Some of this perception was inflated by negative press from detractors, but there was also truth to it, based on the use cases that Java EE was developed for over two decades ago.


            Most developers know that Java EE has moved to the Eclipse Foundation and is now rebranded as Jakarta EE. The new mission for enterprise Java under Eclipse is to drive cloud-native, mission-critical applications. Can’t we fold that into Quarkus?

            Well, let’s not get carried away. So far, Jakarta EE 8 is technically equivalent to Java EE 8. And Jakarta EE 9, which is being released later this year, is focused on package-name changes from javax to jakarta. What becomes of Jakarta EE 10, and how well (or if) Jakarta and MicroProfile play together will be determined.

            As with any open source effort, many factors must come together for an optimal outcome. At the least, Jakarta EE has to offer a much quicker release cadence for updates and innovation. Jakarta EE also must distinguish itself from the negative perceptions associated with Java EE. To do well, it should appear so different from Java EE that there is, in fact, an immediate new problem.

            Java EE’s success is based on prioritizing backward compatibility and slow-moving changes. That priority has allowed operations teams to confidently deploy mission-critical applications that would not require changes for months or years at a time. While Jakarta EE might be able to both fulfill its new mission and address the past use cases, it won’t be an easy juggling act. It’s not likely to materialize overnight.

  • Leftovers

    • Addison Cain Really Doesn’t Want You Watching This Video About Her Attempts To Silence Another Wolf Kink Erotica Author

      Way back in the previous century of May, we wrote about a truly bizarre (but, not actually uncommon) story of someone abusing the DMCA to get a competitor’s book disappeared. There was a lot of background, but the short version is that an author, who goes by the name Addison Cain (a pen name) and wrote a wolf-kink erotica book in the so-called “Omegaverse” realm (which is, apparently, a genre of writing involving wolf erotica and some tropes about the space), used the DMCA to get a competitor’s book using similar tropes taken down. As we noted in our original article, both parties involved did some bad stuff. Cain was clearly abusing the DMCA to take down non-infringing works, while the person she was seeking to silence, going by the name Zoey Ellis (also a pen name) not only filed a (perfectly fine) DMCA 512(f) lawsuit in response, but also a highly questionable defamation lawsuit.

    • Signaling virtuous victimhood as indicators of Dark Triad personalities

      We investigate the consequences and predictors of emitting signals of victimhood and virtue. In our first three studies, we show that the virtuous victim signal can facilitate nonreciprocal resource transfer from others to the signaler. Next, we develop and validate a victim signaling scale that we combine with an established measure of virtue signaling to operationalize the virtuous victim construct. We show that individuals with Dark Triad traits-Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy-more frequently signal virtuous victimhood, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables that are commonly associated with victimization in Western societies. [...]

    • Education

      • Trump Demands Schools Reopen in Person or Get Defunded

        One day after revelations that he had viewed coronavirus as a “deadly” disease as early as February, President Trump demanded schools still engaged in virtual learning to return to in-person instruction.

      • ‘Where Are the Tests?’ US Schools Reopen Amid Worrying Lack of Covid-19 Resources for Students, Educators

        “Sending kids back to school without adequate testing available for them or their younger family members is a recipe for disaster.”

      • Liberal Arts Colleges Need an Overhaul or They Won’t Survive

        It’s been a rough year for higher education. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen schools experimenting with remote-only learning and bumpy in-person reopenings, leaving students, faculty, and staff stressed, dissatisfied, and worried about their futures. A new book by two longtime professors suggests that the best solution is a total overhaul. Written during this year’s chaos, The Post-Pandemic Liberal Arts College: A Manifesto for Reinvention outlines the numerous deep-seated problems inside small liberal arts colleges (SLACs) and proposes a massive overhaul of these institutions. [...]

    • Hardware

      • Huawei will lose chips from Samsung and SK Hynix to the US veto.

        At the beginning of this week we learned for the first time of the intentions of Richard Yu, Huawei’s CEO, to create a first version of its HarmonyOS operating system for mobile phones. However, as we already noted, Google’s software vetoes were not the only problems that the Trump administration was subjecting the company to. During this past May, the US Department of Commerce stated that it will be illegal for semiconductor manufacturers using US technologies or products sell their products to Huawei or its affiliates, such as HiSilicon, without a license.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Hospitals and Nursing Homes Are Failing to Separate COVID Patients

        Nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center were on edge as early as March when patients with COVID-19 began to show up in areas of the hospital that were not set aside to care for them.

      • Trump Names Anti-Abortion Senators to List of Potential Supreme Court Nominees

        President Trump on Wednesday released a list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy, which included three current far right U.S. senators.

      • Six Deadly Months Late, Bob Woodward Warns Us Trump Is Lying About COVID

        “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu,” Trump tweeted on March 9 regarding the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic. “It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

      • ‘Appalling Betrayal’: New Report Details Dozens of Trump Rollbacks Perpetrated Under Cover of Covid-19

        “Nearly 200,000 Americans are dead and more than 6 million have been infected with Covid-19 because of the administration’s disastrous response, but Trump’s top priority is showering giant corporations with deregulatory special favors,” says Matt Kent of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. 

      • We Must Take The Vaccine Industry Into Public Ownership To Ensure Its Products Are Available To All

        Only by taking the vaccine industry into full public ownership, with small “d” democratic controls in place, can we provide an internationalized response to this and future pandemics that properly recognizes vaccines as a global public good.

      • The Evidence is Clear: The US Public Wants Science-Based Policies for COVID-19

        Trump’s response to the coronavirus is not what that the US public desires. They want the government to shut down its fatal nonsense. 

      • Russia’s coronavirus vaccine developers respond to open letter from concerned researchers

        The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, “Sputnik V,” has sent the scientific journal The Lancet detailed answers to the questions raised following its publication of an article about Russia’s vaccine trials, health minister’s aide Alexey Kuznetsov told Interfax, without revealing any details. 

      • ‘One of Many Reasons Why Single Payer Matters’: For-Profit Insurers Hitting People With ‘Illegal’ Bills for Covid Tests

        “In Canada or the U.K., there are no cracks of this sort: billing the patient like this is simply not allowed,” said Dr. Adam Gaffney, president of Physicians for a National Health Program.

      • “Democratic Public Health”: Big Pharma Relies on Developing World While Limiting Access to Treatment

        We look at the history of clinical vaccine trials and exploitation of vulnerable people in the U.S. and India, which recently surpassed Brazil as the country with the second most infections worldwide. Kaushik Sunder Rajan, an anthropologist at the University of Chicago, says there is a documented history of “ethical lapses” and lack of accountability in vaccine studies in India. “The critical issue here is not whether vaccines are good or bad, but … even more, I would suggest what is at stake is a democratic public health,” he notes.

      • Trump Administration Orders U.S. Diplomats to Curtail Contact With WHO

        The contradictory currents in U.S. policy underscore the challenges facing the Trump administration as it grapples with the fallout of a pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans: It wants to punish the WHO for what it claims is an unwillingness to hold China accountable for failing to act swiftly to contain the coronavirus. But it still relies on the U.N. agency to confront a broad range of deadly diseases that could spread across U.S. borders if not properly tackled abroad.

      • Trump Lied, Americans Died

        President Donald Trump at a rally on September 3, 2020, in Latrobe, Pa. (Jeff Swensen / Getty Images)

        Like presidents before him, Donald Trump says, “My first duty as President is to protect the American people.”

      • Trump Lied, 190,000 – A 9/11 Attack Every Day For 2 Months – Died
      • COVID Vaccine Trials Seek Black & Latinx Participants, But History of Medical Apartheid Sows Mistrust

        As President Trump pushes to release a coronavirus vaccine before the November election, a National Institutes of Health report details how the process could be slowed by a lack of participation in vaccine studies by African American and Latinx people, many of whom mistrust the U.S. healthcare system due the history of racist medical exploitation. “The written history of medicine, the canon, has been carefully curated to elide the experience of African Americans,” says medical ethicist Harriet Washington, author of “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.”

      • What are the innovation challenges to scaling vaccine manufacturing?

        Many worries dog the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. Is the FDA going to bow to political pressure and possibly approve a vaccine prematurely? How much will a vaccine be rewarded by governments and how will it be allocated to patients? How will distribution work, when the world faces potential supply-chain shortages ranging from glass vials to low-temperature freezers to manage the challenging cold chain? Will enough people take the vaccine to reach herd immunity? Can the government overcome the understandable skepticism of many Black Americans toward a vaccine produced by a medical system with a long history of systemic racism?

        Alongside these concerns is another substantial challenge: how are firms going to make hundreds of millions—eventually billions—of doses quickly and effectively? As one of us (NP) recently discussed in work with Professors Arti Rai and Timo Minssen, vaccine manufacturing is hard, and the world needs it to happen fast. How should innovation policy scholars and policymakers think about this issue?

      • Moria refugee camp under quarantine after coronavirus case

        Authorities in Greece have placed the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos under quarantine after the confirmation of the first coronavirus infection in the notoriously overcrowded facility.

        The Ministry of Migration and Asylum said in a statement on Wednesday that a Somali refugee, 40, had tested positive and was being treated at a hospital in Mytilene, the main town of the island.

        Media reports said he was in good health.

        Public health authorities were trying to trace the people he had contacted, while the camp would be sealed until September 15, with only “security personnel” granted access after temperature tests.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • EFF Tells California Supreme Court Not to Require ExamSoft for Bar Exam

          This week, EFF sent a letter (pdf link) to the Supreme Court of California objecting to the required use of the proctoring tool ExamSoft for the October 2020 California Bar Exam. Test takers should not be forced to give their biometric data to ExamSoft, the letter says, which can use it for marketing purposes, share it with third parties, or hand it over to law enforcement, without the ability to opt out and delete this information. This remote proctoring solution forces Bar applicants to surrender the privacy and security of their personal biometric information, violating the California Consumer Privacy Act. EFF asked the California Bar to devise an alternative option for the five-thousand or so expected test takers next month. 

          ExamSoft is a popular proctoring or assessment software product that purports to allow remote testing while determining whether a student is cheating. To do so, it uses various privacy-invasive technical monitoring techniques, such as, comparing test takers’ images using facial recognition, tracking eye movement, recording patterns of keystrokes, and recording video and audio of students’ surroundings as they take the test. The type of data ExamSoft collects includes “facial recognition and biometric data of each individual test taker for an extended period of time, including a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry”). Additionally, ExamSoft has access to the device’s webcam, including audio and video access, and screen, for the duration of the exam. 

        • Google to open new data centre in Hamina next year, workforce rises to 400

          The Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) of Southern Finland has green-lighted the environmental permit and operating license for the installation. The company says the new centre will be up and running next year. At the moment it is carrying out installation and testing work at the site.

          Google plans to hire some 40–50 new employees, bringing the workforce to around 400.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

        • Security

          • New Vulnerability, BLURtooth, Attacks Bluetooth Devices

            It seems nothing is safe from technology attacks these days. Attackers will find a way to attack any device or service that it is able to. A recent vulnerability, BLURtooth, attacks the component used for setting up authentication keys when pairing Bluetooth-capable devices. Yes, even that is something you need to worry about not being safe.

          • Security Researchers Detail New “BlindSide” Speculative Execution Attack

            Security researchers from Amsterdam have publicly detailed “BlindSide” as a new speculative execution attack vector for both Intel and AMD processors.

            BlindSide is self-described as being able to “mount BROP-style attacks in the speculative execution domain to repeatedly probe and derandomize the kernel address space, craft arbitrary memory read gadgets, and enable reliable exploitation. This works even in face of strong randomization schemes, e.g., the recent FGKASLR or fine-grained schemes based on execute-only memory, and state-of-the-art mitigations against Spectre and other transient execution attacks.”

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (python-pip), Fedora (kernel, libX11, and xen), openSUSE (go1.14), Oracle (libcroco, php:7.3, and postgresql:10), Red Hat (chromium-browser and httpd:2.4), and SUSE (gimp, golang-github-prometheus-prometheus, kernel, libxml2, pdsh, slurm_20_02, slurm, slurm_18_08, and tomcat).

          • Josh Bressers: We take security seriously, VERY SRSLY!

            Every company tells you they take security seriously. Some even take it very seriously. But do they? I started to think about this because of a recent Slack bug. I think there are a lot of interesting things we can look at to decide if a company is taking security seriously or if the company thinks security is just a PR problem. I’m going to call the behavior we want to look at “security signals”.

            On August 28, 2020 a remote code execution (RCE) bug was made public from the Slack bug bounty program. This bug really got me thinking about how a company or project signals their security maturity to the world. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know Slack has become one of the most popular communication platforms of the modern era, one would assume Slack has some of the best security around. It turns out the security signals from Slack are pretty bad.

            Let’s first focus on the Slack public bug bounty. Having a bug bounty is often a good sign that you consider security important. In the case of Slack however it’s a signal against. Their bounties are comically low.

          • Cyber security is next frontier for open source

            Cyber security is the next frontier for the open source development model that will improve security visibility and bring different security silos together, according to an IBM Security expert.

            Speaking at the recent IBM Security Virtual Summit 2020 in ASEAN, Justin Youngblood, vice-president for IBM Security, said like most IT environments, the security landscape in many organisations is often dotted with security tools that protect a plethora of workloads on the cloud and in the datacentre.

            As a result, security teams have been overwhelmed in trying to put together disconnected tools that generate a lot of data but without insights, leaving organisations with little resources left to adequately protect themselves against cyber attacks.

            “As an industry, we have to reimagine security,” Youngblood said. “We need a different approach than the one that got us here. We must improve security visibility, we must respond faster to the growing threat landscape, we must embed security into and keep up with the pace of business transformation.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘Every City Council Should Follow Suit’: Portland, Oregon Becomes First US City to Ban Corporate Use of Facial Recognition Surveillance

              “An enormous victory for the global movement to ban facial recognition and end racist surveillance.”

            • Former NSA Chief Keith Alexander—Who Lied About Mass Surveillance—Joins Amazon’s Board

              The former Army general is “personally responsible for the unlawful mass surveillance programs that caused a global scandal,” says NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

            • Spain’s New Who Defends Your Data Report Shows Robust Privacy Policies But Crucial Gaps to Fill

              ETICAS Foundation’s second ¿Quien Defiende Tus Datos? (Who Defends Your Data?) report on data privacy practices in Spain shows how Spain’s leading Internet and mobile app providers are making progress in being clear about how users’ personal data is being protected. Providers are disclosing what information is being collected, how long it’s being kept, and who it’s shared with. Compared to Eticas’ first report on Spain in 2018, there was significant improvement in the number of companies informing users about how long they store data as well as notifying users about privacy policy changes.

              The report evaluating policies at 13 Spanish Internet companies also indicates that a handful are taking seriously their obligations under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union’s data privacy law that sets tough standards for protecting customers’ private information and gives users more information about and control over their private data. The law went into effect in December 2018.

            • Workplace Surveillance in Times of Corona

              With numbers of COVID-19 infections soaring again in the United States and around the world, we have to learn how to manage its long-term ramifications for our economies. As people adjust to minimizing the risk of infections in everyday settings, one critical context is work. Even though millions have shifted to working from home during the past months, remote work is not possible for every industry. While the pandemic has had a critical disruptive effect on work and employment virtually everywhere in the world, it has not affected everyone in the same ways. The International Labor Organization notes that the current crisis significantly affects women, workers in precarious situations who lack access to health care or limited social security benefits, and informal workers, who work jobs that are not taxed or registered by the government. In Latin America, 60% of workers are considered informal, with 58% of informal workers living in economic vulnerability on 13 U.S. dollars or less per day or in poverty on less than 5.5 U.S. dollars per day. Many have no choice but to work outside the home. This can involve putting their health and livelihoods on the line, especially in countries with insufficient public health care or unemployment programs.

              As businesses strive to re-open, and many workers depend on them doing so, many employers are looking at experimental technologies to navigate the risk of infections among their workforce. Over the past months, dozens of new apps, wearables, and other technologies have sought to help mitigate the risks of COVID at work, not counting the many examples of pre-existing workplace technologies already in use for different purposes. Some technologies seek to trace the proximity of one person with another to estimate whether they are less than approximately six feet (or two meters) apart for a sufficient time. This data can be used to notify workers of potential exposures to COVID. Decentralized Bluetooth proximity is the most promising approach for technology-assisted exposure notification that minimizes privacy risks. But while some employers aim for that goal, others are using apps that track workers’ individualized phone location data with GPS. GPS is extremely sensitive, especially when it collects worker movements outside the workplace, and is insufficiently granular to identify when two co-workers were close enough together to transmit the virus. 

            • Department of Justice Argues TikTok Employee Can’t Stop Trump’s ByteDance Ban

              In a response filed Thursday, DOJ lawyers argue that Ryan can’t prove he’d be irreparably harmed by the order because his concern over lost income is speculative until Ross issues further guidance on Sept. 20 and loss of money isn’t enough harm to justify a temporary restraining order. The DOJ also claims Ryan — who, along with TikTok, has alleged the ban is merely part of Trump’s anti-China reelection rhetoric — isn’t taking the national security threat seriously enough.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Guys, get out How British spin-doctors and Boris Berezovsky tried to help Alexander Lukashenko win over the West

        About a decade ago, after a temporary falling out with Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko tried to pivot the country to the West. In this endeavor, he had help from a British PR firm that managed publicity for major clients, including multinational corporations and entire nations. A “rich benefactor who had key interests in Belarus” footed the bill. The campaign was a complete failure: the consultants left empty-handed and Lukashenko became an international pariah once again. Two of the three main characters in this story have since passed away and others prefer to forget it altogether. Nevertheless, after speaking to several people who witnessed the PR campaign and obtaining access to previously unpublished evidence, Meduza investigative editor Alexey Kovalev managed to reconstruct the timeline of Lukashenko’s failed attempt to win over the West.

      • Maria Kolesnikova demands criminal investigation against Belarusian KGB over abduction and violent threats

        Lyudmila Kazak, the lawyer representing Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova (Maryia Kalesnikava), has sent a statement to the Belarusian Investigative Committee on her behalf, demanding the launch of a criminal case against officers from the Belarusian KGB (the national intelligence service) and the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK).

      • Germany hands data on Navalny’s poisoning over to the OPCW

        Germany has handed over the laboratory test results of the samples taken from Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

      • CODEPINK Responds to Trump Troop Withdrawal: Bring ALL US Troops Home from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria

        We welcome the Trump administration announcement that US troops in Iraq will be reduced from 5,200 to 3,000. Anytime US troops are brought home from ill-conceived overseas adventures is a step in the right direction. But the American people want AN END to these endless wars, not a reduction. The same goes for the Iraqi Parliament, which voted for a complete withdrawal of all US troops from their country following Trump’s January killing of Iran’s elite Quds Force commander, General Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy of Iraq’s militia Hashd al-Shaabi—a reckless and illegal action that almost brought us into a war with Iran.

      • Standing up To Trump . . . and Biden

        The public action needs to demand that militarism and endless wars stop, no matter who is president.

      • American bloodlands: In a deeply polarized nation, mass violence is not far away

        Once people start being sacrificed for the cause, it takes little for demagogues of the radical left and the radical right to insist that self-preservation necessitates violence and is a prerequisite for victory.

        Violence is a narcotic. It fills the emotional void. It imparts a feeling of godlike omnipotence to the powerless. It instills feelings of comradeship and belonging to the alienated. It gives to social outcasts, crippled by humiliation and rejection, a sense of meaning and higher purpose. It obliterates the despair that once defined their lives and replaces it with feelings of ecstatic self-importance and self-adulation, a state of being outside the self. The world suddenly becomes a Manichaean battleground between them and us, the forces of dark and the forces of light.

      • Trump Bragged About ‘Saving’ Saudi Crown Prince’s ‘Ass’ After Khashoggi Murder

        Trump’s refusal to hold bin Salman accountable has had major consequences for the region. A majority of lawmakers have voted to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military efforts in Yemen — a war that has perpetuated a horrific humanitarian crisis in the region. In 2019, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate passed legislation to block or limit U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. The votes came after the Trump administration used an emergency declaration to ink a deal that would sell $8.1 billion in armaments to the three countries without Congress’ approval.

        But the bills to limit arms sales never became law. Trump blocked them with a veto that lawmakers were unable to override.

      • Reject Militarism on the Anniversary of 9/11

        Nineteen years after more than 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, there remains a bipartisan commitment to fight an endless “war on terrorism,” instigate regime change coups, increase military spending, enhance US nuclear weapons, deport undocumented residents, curtail civil liberties, and militarize the police.

        The September 11, 2001 attacks on the US have obscured “The Other 9/11,” the US attack on Chilean democracy in the US-backed coup on September 11, 1973. The two 9/11s are connected by what the CIA calls “blowback.” The CIA first used the term in describing the unintended negative consequences of the US and UK sponsored coup against the democratically-elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953. The September 11, 2001 attacks were blowback from decades of US intervention in the Middle East. That doesn’t justify the terrorism, but it does explain it. If we want peace and security for our nation, we should respect the peace and security of other nations.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Lawmakers, Progressive Coalition Unveil Framework to Create ‘Thriving’ Fair and Green Economy in Pandemic Recovery

        “We have an opportunity to not just recover from these interlocking crises, but to thrive by creating millions of good-paying, union, clean, green jobs while building a more just, healthy, and stable economy that leaves no one behind.”

      • Listen Quick, There’s a Fire

        Our planet, the only home we humans currently know, is quite literally on fire—and, even as I write this, my home and family is in the very frightening middle of it.

      • ‘Mandatory for Anyone With an Ounce of Awareness’: Climate Coalition Calls on New York State to Divest From Fossil Fuels

        “We believe we must speak up in the face of the planetary emergency precipitated by the climate crisis.”

      • We Must Tell the Truth About California Fires — This Is Climate Change

        The skies of the Bay Area and Northern California turned a dark orange as 90 major fires burn in the western United States, from San Diego to the Canadian border. At least seven people have died as a result of the fires, which have already burned 2.5 million acres in California alone. Despite heavy coverage in the mainstream media, however, few outlets are highlighting the link between the blazes and the accelerating climate crisis. “The fact is that TV news is completely abdicating its responsibility when it comes to telling the truth of what the West is dealing with right now,” says Leah Stokes, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a researcher on climate and energy policy. “This is climate change. It’s not rocket science. And when will the media start calling it that?”

      • Faced With Rising Seas and Other Consequences of Climate Crisis, Low-Lying Delaware Sues 31 Fossil Fuel Companies

        The state attorney general’s move came just a day after Charleston, South Carolina became the first southern U.S. city to file a climate liability lawsuit.

      • ‘Green New Deal or the Blood Red Apocalypse. Your Choice’: Dems Urged to Embrace Bold Climate Action as West Burns

        “This cannot become our new normal.”

      • Stark New Visualizations Show How Climate Change Is Fueling Worsening Western Wildfires

        “We’re seeing more wildfires, more acres burned, and longer, more intense fire seasons,” says the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

      • The American West Is Burning But Trump Hasn’t Mentioned Historic Wildfires in ‘Any Way, Shape, or Form’ for Nearly 3 Weeks

        “President Trump’s silence and complete disregard for the millions of people at risk is horrifying,” said one climate advocate.

      • What Megablazes Tell Us About the Fiery Future of Climate Change

        The Carr fire is already one of the most destructive in California history; and the history books are being rewritten. Of the 12 worst fires in the state, seven have now burned since 2015. “We are seeing more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen,” Jonathan Cox, Cal Fire regional Battalion Chief told reporters.Wildfire is a deadly leading indicator of our warming world — and it’s changing the livability of summertime in the west. A separate California blaze has forced the evacuation of Yosemite National Park, and killed eight, including a pair of firefighters. The Rolling Stone feature below was originally published in our September 24, 2015 issue, but it is terribly more timely than ever.

      • “This Is Climate Change”: West Coast Fires Scorch Millions of Acres & Blot Out the Sun

        The skies of the Bay Area and Northern California turned a dark orange as 90 major fires burn in the western United States, from San Diego to the Canadian border. At least seven people have died as a result of the fires, which have already burned 2.5 million acres in California alone. Despite heavy coverage in the mainstream media, however, few outlets are highlighting the link between the blazes and the accelerating climate crisis. “The fact is that TV news is completely abdicating its responsibility when it comes to telling the truth of what the West is dealing with right now,” says Leah Stokes, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a researcher on climate and energy policy. “This is climate change. It’s not rocket science. And when will the media start calling it that?”

      • Wildfire north of Sacramento is largest in California history — and it may not be done growing

        The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, on Thursday put the August Complex Fire in Mendocino National Forest atop its list of the largest wildfires in the state. Six of the 20 largest fires have taken place this year.

      • Energy

        • Clean Electricity Plan Would Free US Economy of Carbon Dependence in 15 Years

          A detailed new engineering study reveals that, if the U.S. converted all its fossil-fueled technologies to clean electric power (mainly solar and wind) in the next 15 years, it would create 25 million new jobs over the next three to five years at its peak. This total would eventually taper off to 5 million permanent new jobs (over and above existing energy-sector jobs).

        • Rick Perry’s Ukrainian Dream

          Rick Perry came to Washington looking for a deal, and less than two months into his tenure as energy secretary, he found a hot prospect. It was April 19, 2017, and Perry, the former Texas governor, failed presidential candidate and contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” was sitting in his office on Independence Avenue with two influential Ukrainians. “He said, ‘Look, I’m a new guy, I’m a deal-maker, I’m a Texan,’” recalls one of them, Yuriy Vitrenko, then Ukraine’s chief energy negotiator. “We’re ready to do deals,” he remembers Perry saying.

          The deals they discussed that day became central to Ukraine’s complex relationship with the Trump administration, a relationship that culminated in December with the House vote to impeach President Donald Trump. Perry was a leading figure in the impeachment inquiry last fall. He was among the officials, known as the “three amigos,” who ran a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine on Trump’s behalf. Their aim, according to the findings of the impeachment inquiry in the House, was to embarrass Trump’s main political rival, Joe Biden.

        • Delaware Just Sued 30 Fossil Fuel Companies and the American Petroleum Institute Over Climate ‘Denial and Disinformation’

          Like other U.S. states and municipalities suing the fossil fuel industry, Delaware says that the industry knew half a century ago about the likely climate impacts resulting from the use of its products, but instead of warning the public or changing their business model, the fossil fuel companies engaged in campaigns to attack climate science and downplay the risks of burning coal, oil, and gas in order to stave off policy responses.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Could A Narrow Reform Of Section 230 Enable Platform Interoperability?

        Perhaps the most de rigeur issue in tech policy in 2020 is antitrust. The European Union made market power a significant component of its Digital Services Act consultation, and the United Kingdom released a massive final report detailing competition challenges in digital advertising, search, and social media. In the U.S., the House of Representatives held an historic (virtual) hearing with the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (Alphabet) on the same panel. As soon as the end of this month the Department of Justice is expected to file a “case of the century” scale antitrust lawsuit against Google. One competition policy issue that I’ve written about extensively is interoperability, and, while we’ve already seen significant proposals to promote interoperability, notably the 2019 ACCESS Act, I want to throw another idea into the hopper: I think Congress should consider amending Section 230 of the Communications Act to condition its immunity for large online intermediaries on the provision of an open, raw feed for independent downstream presentation.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Detecting Sarcasm Is Not Easy (2018)

        Summary: Content moderation becomes even more difficult when you realize that there may be additional meaning to words or phrases beyond their most literal translation. One very clear example of that is the use of sarcasm, in which a word or phrase is used either in the opposite of its literal translation or as a greatly exaggerated way to express humor.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Assange’s Third Day at the Old Bailey: Bias, Politics and Wars on Journalism

        The third day of extradition proceedings against Julian Assange at the Old Bailey resumed on the point of politics. Assange as a figure of political beliefs; Assange as a target of the Trump administration precisely for having them. The man sketching the portrait was Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Actual Facts Undercut Media’s Narrative That Law Enforcement Task Force Broke Up A Multi-State Sex Trafficking Operation

        If sex trafficking was actual traffic, people would rarely complain about congestion. It’s not that it doesn’t happen. It’s that it doesn’t happen with the frequency claimed by government officials in order to do things like dismantle Section 230 immunity or pursue baseless prosecutions against online ad services.

      • Prison Reforms Can Actually Increase Size and Scope of Incarceration

        Brian Sonenstein and Kim Wilson welcome back Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law to discuss their new book, Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms, on the Beyond Prisons podcast.

      • Is Trump a Murderer?

        The Woodward tapes provide the evidence: the president committed political genocide.

      • UN human rights experts condemn China’s new national security law for Hong Kong

        Human rights experts from the United Nations have published a 14-page letter which was sent to China in which they lay out their concerns that China is violating international human rights agreements with their new law. The letter was written by UN special rapporteur, Fionnuala Ni Aolain, along with six other UN experts. Since the passing of the law, China has made well over a dozen arrests under the new national security law and sent a chilling effect throughout the region as formerly protected speech and actions now becomes a potential ticket to a Chinese concentration camp.

      • Stuffed
      • Vanessa Guillén Family Wants Fort Hood Shut Down Over Its Rape Culture Cover-Up

        The family of U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén, a Houston native whose murder has sparked a national outcry over the military’s handling of sexual harassment and assault, say last week’s leadership shakeup at Fort Hood, in which the base’s top general was demoted, isn’t good enough. The family and their lawyer are set to release the final draft of a forthcoming bill in Guillén’s name as soon as today.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • T-Mobile Merger Approval Violated Every Last One Of the DOJ’s Updated ‘Antitrust Principles’

        Earlier this month, the Department of Justice issued a new, “modernized” merger remedies manual that’s supposed to dictate agency behavior as it ponders approving, denying, or applying conditions to major U.S mergers. Superficially, many of the changes outlined in the document make perfect sense. For example, the new breakdown dictates that any merger remedies (including blocking deals outright) should do most of the things you’d expect, such as preserving competition:

      • FCC Formally Kills Rules That Would Have Brought Competition To The Cable Box

        In early 2016, the cable industry quietly launched one of the most misleading and successful lobbying efforts in the industry’s history. The target? A plan concocted by the former FCC that would have let customers watch cable TV lineups on third-party hardware. Given the industry makes $21 billion annually in rental fees thanks to its cable box hardware monopoly, the industry got right to work with an absolute wave of disinformation, claiming that the FCC’s plan would put consumer data at risk, result in a “piracy apocalypse,” and was somehow even racist (it wasn’t).

      • No Policies on Real Issues and Harmful Policies on Non-Issues: How the Government Bungled the Internet Regulation File

        Instead, it is turning to the harmful policies noted above that raise consumer costs (digital sales taxes), regulate online Cancon with mandated spending requirements (even though the industry has record production led by Netflix), dispense with any pretense of maintaining net neutrality, lead to blocked sharing of news articles (mandated licence for social media sites merely for linking to news content), and result in services avoiding the Canadian market (market interference in payments from services such as Spotify). Much of this will be overseen by the newly empowered CRTC, leading to lengthy hearings that primarily benefit lawyers. After having badly mishandled Canadian digital policy, the government now seems content to take a pass on the important issues and leave the controversial non-issues to the regulator and the courts.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Friday Fantasies

          The 3rd “Advanced training on AI and IP”, offered by the University of Strasbourg, will be held online on October 1 to 3, 2020. Registration is open until September 30.

          On October 16, UIC John Marshall Law School is organizing its International IP Practice Seminar. The event, co-organised with WIPO, will cover key developments in international IP law, post-COVID aspects of IP, strategies for PCT filings.

          The EPO will hold online a virtual advanced course on the PCT at the EPO, in four separate sessions, from October 6 to October 27, 2020. Registration is free and it you can register at any time throughout the first three sessions. The final registration deadline is October 22, 2020.

          The EPO is also organizing an online All Matters event series, with three sessions dedicated to various aspects of patent registration. The Search Matters session for patent search professionals is scheduled for October 14-16. The Opposition Matters session for professional representatives is scheduled for October 21-22. The Examination Matters session for professional representatives is scheduled for November 9-11.

        • CBM Sunsetting

          Is anyone working hard on a Covered-Business-Method (CBM) Review petition? The program is ending soon. I believe the last day to file your petition is September 15, 2020.

        • Preparatory Committee: The Unitary Patent system can be functional in a near future [Ed: Bristows once again writes anonymously in Kluwer Patent Blog to push laughable illusions of UPC "progress". This is what some label "fake news"...]

          The Unitary Patent system can start in the near future. That is one of the conclusions of a meeting held yesterday by the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court.

          According to a press release, on the agenda were “issues triggered by the recent events in Germany and the United Kingdom. The Committee took note of the good progress being made in Germany with regard to the legislation needed for the German ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement and the Protocol on Provisional Application.


          Some observers think the German ratification procedure may be completed as soon as this year. Interesting, in this respect, is a report of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, elaborating on the redistribution of the competence of the London branch of the central division of the UPCA. According to the report, the Preparatory Committee “confirmed the willingness of the participating States to ensure the entry into force of the UPC as soon as the ratification process is completed, and hopefully already in early 2021.

        • UPC Preparatory Committee meets and German bill progresses [Ed: Isn't it amazing that on 11th of September, for the first time in 2 months, Bristows still pretends that UPC makes "progress"? It's dead. But... progress.]

          The Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) met yesterday to discuss ways forward now, as reported here, the UK has withdrawn from the UPC Agreement. The Committee has published here a short report of the meeting.


          It should be noted that even if Germany is finally able to ratify the UPC Agreement and PPA, two more countries must consent to the PPA to allow the provisional application phase of the UPC to start, during which final preparations, such as recruitment of judges, can take place.

      • Trademarks

        • AB InBev And Patagonia Trademark Dispute Will Proceed To Trial

          A little over a year ago, we discussed a lawsuit brought by Patagonia, famed West Coast clothier for all things outdoor lifestyle, against AB/InBev, famed macro-brewer. At issue was AB/InBev’s decision to sell a Patagonia-branded beer line at pop up stores at ski resorts, the exact place where Patagonia clothing is quite popular. Within those stores, AB/InBev also sold Patagonia-branded clothing. Coupled with the beer maker’s decision to do absolutely nothing with its “Patagonia” trademark for six years, you can see why Patagonia sought to invalidate AB/InBev’s trademark. It’s also understandable that the court ruled against AB/InBev’s attempt to have the suit tossed last summer, with the absurd claim that the Patagonia brand for clothing isn’t actually well-known at all. In the meantime, Patagonia asserted in filings that AB/InBev actually defrauded the USPTO when it got its trademark in the first place.

      • Copyrights

        • Archivists Want Broader DMCA Exemption for ‘Abandoned’ Online Games

          Several organizations have asked the Copyright Office to renew the exemption to the DMCA’s DRM circumvention restrictions. This allows abandoned online games to be preserved for future generations. In addition, the Software Preservation Network and the Library Copyright Alliance ask for an expansion, to allow these games to be made available more broadly.

Calling ‘Snaps’ and ‘Flatpaks’ What They Really Are: Ramps for Proprietary Software Inside GNU/Linux (the ‘App’ Mindset)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do we want GNU/Linux distros to become another Android with centralised (monopolised) ‘stores’ as opposed to repositories of Free/libre software everyone can modify and redistribute freely? Do we want “Steam” (DRM) for software?

Summary: Canonical’s gravitation towards the whole ‘store’ mindset (and Red Hat’s equivalent of that) seems to have raised concerns among and amidst developers of the Linux Mint project; they try hard to prevent users from adopting Canonical’s ‘store’ and there’s an explanation (above) of why that’s the case

THE RPM/DEB ‘wars’ can be found way back… going back to the 1990s. Debian-Private, which we started publishing a fortnight ago, is full of that. Many threads contain arguments over Red Hat’s ambition versus Debian’s. Now we have new kinds of packaging wars, with the Debian-based Ubuntu pushing ‘Snap’ (snapd) and Red Hat/Fedora pushing ‘Flatpak’ (used to require systemd). They’re hostile towards one another — since launch in fact! — and there are reasons to be suspicious of both.

“…the problem that Canonical is trying to solve is perhaps a business model problem rather than a technical problem.”The above interview (like the video) was published earlier this week and the latter speaks of ‘Snaps’ being snubbed by Linux Mint. There are reasons for that shunning. Alluding to Flatpak at one point, there’s that similar discussion about new ‘standards’ for packaging. Flatpak’s back end isn’t as proprietary… but now it’s IBM-led and there’s a close connection to Microsoft through GitHub. Probably not something worth running as root…

SolitudeThe more interesting part of this interview deals with why Mint developers went as far as making it very difficult to adopt ‘Snaps’. It also explains the purpose of Mint’s Debian-based fallback, which obviously uses apt/apt-get/aptitude/dpkg/deb etc. and does not depend on companies like Canonical.

The last minute of this video is perhaps the most interesting. It’s about Mint developers going out of their way to prevent or at least make it rather hard to install ‘Snaps’, many of which are proprietary software. It’s rightly noted that no distribution stands in the way of installing proprietary software to the extent Mint developers stand in the way of ‘Snaps’, but perhaps they correctly view this as Canonical’s power grab, emulating Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Over the years I’ve experimented (a number of times on a number of machines) with ‘Snaps’ and I never found it particularly reliable; it wasn’t clear to me what the selling point was (other than, perhaps on the misguided side, domination of the server-side stack/software by one company).

‘Snaps’ are managed by proprietary software at the server (not client) side and they sometimes are, themselves, proprietary software as well. That in its own right ought to be a little alarming; the problem that Canonical is trying to solve is perhaps a business model problem rather than a technical problem. Even more than a decade ago Canonical came under fire for selling proprietary software as a business model (or reselling it on behalf of other companies). If those companies insist that this is necessary for “world domination” or whatever, then it means they disregard software freedom (in the same way Google does) and actually mean something like “financial sustainability” (for themselves). Attaining that so-called “world domination” (lots of proprietary ‘apps’ and whatnot) wouldn’t be unprecedented. Google has already done that with Android, whose overall market share exceeds Windows’. If we lose sight of software freedom and instead focus only on “market share”, then all we do is add another brand (like “Apple” or “Mac”) to the mix while failing to address paradigm changes or real threats. Almost nobody out there can argue that Android being widespread has been good for software freedom; sure, many people not have Linux on their small computers, but those computers mostly spy on them and let them access proprietary stuff managed closely (and often censored) by one company. Success should be measured in terms of principles (like software freedom) rather than “market share”, which can be seductive/alluring when one is accustomed to being a niche player for years if not decades. This whole immorality has already infected a number of key organisations, including the Linux Foundation, which is nowadays openly shilling for and outsourcing to Microsoft (GitHub and IIS) because its sole goal is to maximise revenue, not to help Linux.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 10, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:27 am by Needs Sunlight



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