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09.17.20

The Quandary of ‘Ethical’ Sponsors and One’s Ability to Criticise Them (Otherwise It’s a Potential Bribe in Exchange for Censorship of Critics)

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, FSF, Google at 11:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: When Free software advocacy groups are indebted to companies that greatly harm people’s freedom (including privacy) we have to ask ourselves questions regarding morality and ethics because money isn’t inherently evil, it depends who or where it comes from (on what implicit conditions)

THE term “Sponsors” (or “Patrons”) is supposed to sound inherently different from “Bosses” or even “Masters” (apparently the latter is now a politically-sensitive and potentially offensive term that must never be used, except in the context of slavery). Aren’t those just euphemisms?

“Is Google money reconcilable in a Free software advocacy group?”Over the past month or so we’ve published dozens of articles on this subject alone, at times taking note of FSFE sponsors and FSF sponsors. Google used to be a top FSF sponsor for a number of years and Google is still by far the biggest sponsor of the FSFE.

Is Google money reconcilable in a Free software advocacy group? Here is what the founder of the FSF, Richard Stallman, told me 6 years ago:


These were the FSF’s sponsors the year I conducted the above interview:

FSF patrons 2014

So, it’s not hard to see that Stallman was willing to criticise his top sponsor. Or at least his organisation’s top source of funding (for that year, previous years, and the following couple of years).

German EuroBased on some research, it was only in 2017 that Google stopped sponsoring the FSF (completely), either because the FSF rejected the money or Google chose not to give any. So it doesn’t seem likely that the turnaround moment was something Stallman said or did; contrast this with the FSFE and notice which years had asterisks in them (Google was always the top sponsor since 2013, inclusive, to the point of accounting for the lion’s share of revenues):

2012:

FSFE and Google 2012

2013:

FSFE and Google 2013

2014:

FSFE and Google 2014

2015:

FSFE and Google 2015

2016:

FSFE and Google 2016

2017:

FSFE and Google 2017

2018:

FSFE and Google 2018

2019:

FSFE and Google 2019

Present:

fFSFE and Google

Google’s money goes notoriously far, even privacy advocates like the EFF.

Debian (through SPI) was, especially in recent years, picking up cheques not only from Google (very big cheques) but also from Microsoft, for 4 consecutive years in fact. Does that mean that a certain Code of Conduct can be misused to punish Google and Microsoft critics? It’s definitely not impossible or implausible. Some people receive a salary out of that money. They don’t wish to put that money at risk. From what we can gather, the expulsion (first demotion) of Daniel Pocock was at least indirectly a result of what he said and did at the FSFE (candidly speaking to his constituents) and his criticism of Google, which he had previously worked with for years (under the GSoC umbrella). If we allow companies like these to ‘donate’ (it’s not a charity, they want something in return) about 0.0001% (millionth) of their annual revenue to institutions where that money is about 20% of the total revenue (several people’s salaries), how are we to prevent the likes of the FSF and FSFE from becoming a Linux Foundation-like failure (betraying or neglecting their own goals in pursuit of financial self-justification/gratification)?

People won’t donate for long or even provide moral support if they feel like the Linux Foundation is a GitHub/Microsoft outsourcer and the FSFE is like a Google lobby/front group looking for individuals to add/lend money towards this group’s objectives. This raises serious legitimate questions about morality of sponsorships in general, especially from those so large that they diminish the impact of individual contributors, rendering them more or less disposable.

When Attempting to Run for Debian Project Leader (DPL), Only to Realise the Process is Rigged (and Censored) to Protect Past Leaders

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, Google at 9:16 pm by Guest Editorial Team

[Editorial note: What we’re seeing in Debian right now is very similar to the EPO under Benoît Battistelli; in order to cover up abuses the leadership race is being rigged in favour of ‘favourable’, ‘safe’ candidates like António Campinos, who would not investigate past leaders for potential abuses because they’re indebted to them]

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

This is the question nobody is allowed to ask:

Imagine you are DPL. In January, an experienced and respected volunteer writes:

You can use my name temporarily while looking for other people to help you in this role… However, I can’t officially commit to help with the duties of an administrator right now.

and in July, he follows up:

Due to unforeseen and extraordinary personal circumstances that I don’t wish to discuss…

The volunteer visits your city every month for work and asks if he can meet you in person. Do you:

    • Use the volunteer to tie up all GSoC and DebConf loose ends over another 2 months
    • Wait until you bank the $17,200 from Google
    • Ignore the volunteer’s public resignation
    • Send a complaint to Debian Account Managers
    • Send emails to other organizations denouncing the volunteer
    • Receive and brag about another big cheque from Google
    • When the volunteer works up the courage to challenge you publicly on debian-project, lie and deny what you wrote
    • Prompt people to stalk the volunteer at events?
  1. Or do you accept the suggested meeting, do the right thing and try to find a low key solution?

Ballot


DPL elections 2020: nomination censored (reprinted with permission from Debian Community News)

Many people wondered what all the fuss has been about banning and censoring people from Debian in recent years. The answer? Dirty politics. Nominations for Debian Project Leader were announced on Saturday, 7 March and the next day, outgoing leader Sam Hartman attacked another would-be candidate with false accusations of trolling.

The candidate has chosen to share his platform publicly. Do you think this would make Debian a more friendly place for everybody?


Subject: nomination and platform

Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2020

From: a volunteer

To: debian-vote@lists.debian.org

Dear Fellow Developers,

I’m running for DPL again this year. This is my nomination.

I have a clear platform and I can deliver what I promise.

In August 2018, while dealing with a number of extraordinary situations in my life outside Debian, I politely informed people that I was resigning from the GSoC team. I had planned to take a rest. It was completely appropriate at that time. From Debian’s point of view, there was nothing more to it than that.

A few weeks later, as I departed on my vacation in September 2018, a vacation I really needed at that time, I received some emails from certain people in Debian. To quote Sam Hartman, it felt like a “Campaign of Harassment”.

Linus Torvalds took a widely publicized vacation, nobody attacked him for that. Why can’t Debian Developers take a vacation too?

My policy therefore is that if you vote for me as DPL, I will end the experiments started by previous DPLs. Then I will immediately try to have my vacation again. While I’m on vacation, you won’t hear from me. Its a new experiment:

How does the project survive when the DPL goes walkabout?

I may well head off to the outback for some indeterminate period of time, free from any concerns about Coronavirus and DebConf’s foray into middle east politics.

While I’m on holiday, I’ll prepare a constitutional change that protects the rights of all Debian Developers to have holidays without interruptions. Any decisions made while a Developer is on vacation, at Christmas, in hospital or otherwise unavailable will be null and void. This is retrospective from the beginning of the project, therefore any previous communications sent while Developers were on vacation, at Christmas or late on a Sunday night are also null and void. I feel that is good for every Developer and the project as a whole.

That is my platform and I’m confident that it can be delivered.


Debian, Chris Lamb and a Campaign of Harassment-by-Proxy (reprinted with permission from Debian Community News)

One of the law suits to define the age of social media is Herrick v. Grindr LLC. Herrick’s ex-boyfriend has created fake profiles impersonating Herrick, inviting arbitrary strangers to visit Herrick at his workplace. The case has been escalated all the way to the US Supreme Court. It is an example of harassment-by-proxy.

In a recent email, the Debian Project Leader made a rather confused report about a campaign of harassment. It is confusing because officials in the Debian aristocracy have used the project’s resources to pretend they are victims. It is otherwise known as victim-offender reversal.

The simple fact of the matter is that a volunteer resigned from a post in August 2018 and cited extraordinary personal circumstances in a private email to the former leader, Chris Lamb.

Nobody from the project made any attempt to communicate with this volunteer for a month. Then, just as the volunteer was departing on vacation, Enrico Zini, one of the Debian Account Managers, sent an insulting email alleging the volunteer wasn’t a real developer. This intrusion on a developer’s vacation is a pretty grave example of harassment. People have complained about trolls on Debian’s mailing list but none of them have stooped so low as sabotaging a volunteer’s vacation.

At the same moment, the former DPL, Lamb, was sending out messages to denounce the volunteer. He conscripted an Albanian to relay those messages into other parts of the free software community.

As a consequence of those messages, initiated by Lamb, the volunteer is constantly being confronted with questions about his family and personal life. People asking the questions don’t know enough about the case to know they are intruding on somebody’s private life. They have been used by Lamb, Zini et al. to cause extreme discomfort to another volunteer. This is a campaign of harassment-by-proxy, orchestrated by Lamb, much like the harassment described in Herrick v. Grindr LLC.

Rogue elements of the Debian aristocracy, using proxies, have stalked him at free software events. Over a period of 15 months, they have sought to burn and desecrate every area where the volunteer contributes to free software.

Some people are asking who is harassing who. Yet the facts are clear: the volunteer resigned from his role in August 2018, the first abusive messages were unilaterally sent by project officials towards the volunteer some weeks after that. Lamb and Zini lit this fire.

This persistent campaign of harassment, the leader and office holders using Debian’s otherwise good reputation to suck other people into insulting a volunteer, is about as bad as it can get. It is scary to contemplate where it will end.

[Meme] Linux Foundation Does Not Represent Linux Users

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 8:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Biden-dumb Bernie-smart: We support the community; Only one person in your board is coding

Summary: With only one truly technical person inside the Linux Foundation Board (it got a lot worse in 2020) it seems safe to call it 95%+ corporate gerrymandering with no signs of improving any time soon; it’s all about letting hostile corporations change Linux rather than allowing Linux to change the world

Drew DeVault on Linux Foundation

Linux Foundation board meeting

Somebody Needs to Talk About Free Software Politics

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, OSI at 8:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TV discussion

Summary: The world of Free software is full of politics; it’s impossible to be completely apolitical in it and just like “office politics” or “corporate politics” a lot boils down to deception, manipulation, exchange of favours (sometimes bribes) and we must talk about those things if we’re ever going to seriously tackle abuse

THE debate about so-called ‘Free Software Politics’ will be central to our upcoming articles, which will include videos and old material of relevance. Our goal is to better understand the roots and the verifiable facts, seeing that corporate media is full of marketing and revisionism. To the largest corporations that still exist and dominate the market history is a bit of an enemy, a liability, something to be distorted and buried. This is certainly true when it comes to IBM — a subject that we explored in the summer’s months. We wrote nearly 100 articles about IBM alone this past summer.

“It’s safe to say that very few sites bother covering so-called ‘Free Software Politics’. We’re proud to be one of those few sites.”Recently, in light of leaks of Debian-Private, we wrote a great deal about Debian ‘politics’; we also republished many articles about conflicts and disputes. Those served to highlight some of the hidden dangers of Codes of Conduct and anti-harassment teams; by means of selective enforcement and scapegoating they can help guard rich sponsors from critics and accountability. Some of those sponsors include Google and Microsoft. It should be noted that Google funneled a lot of money into both the FSF and FSFE (more into the latter in recent years, but the former had Google as its top sponsor for several consecutive years).

It’s often stated, perhaps correctly, that politicians are corrupt because they’re bribed by companies and therefore when/if they take office they work to pay back those “sponsors” of theirs (with their bribery campaign contributions).

TV moderatorLet’s be honest with ourselves; the Free software world has similar issues and we’re actually a lot cheaper to bribe buy than most things because Free software coders aren’t high earners and people in charge of institutions such as OSI can become beggars. The OSI’s co-founder now asks for donations. “From $50 a month I can buy my long-suffering wife a nice dinner and afford an occasional trip to the shooting range,” he wrote some hours ago. They sometimes say RMS (Stallman) is a bad spokesperson, as if Mr. “Open Source” ESR is any better; he’s a lot worse as he openly supports militias and vigilantes. He’s of course entitled to his political views, but he deserves condemnation or mockery/ridicule for many of these views (which themselves do not constitute an offence).

It’s safe to say that very few sites bother covering so-called ‘Free Software Politics’. We’re proud to be one of those few sites. That might not make us many friends/allies, but if our foes are the people and organisations which we criticise, then at least we know we’re effective.

2020 Elections: No, It’s Not About Russia

Posted in Deception at 7:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2 days ago: [Meme] Leaks Aren’t Our Enemy; They Help Expose an Inherently Corrupt and Unethical System

RMS on Green Party
He used to say people should support Bernie Sanders or the Green Party, but now he accepts so-called ‘strategic voting’

Summary: The Biden/Trump false dichotomy (perpetuating the two-party system monopoly/duopoly) borrows from Russophobic tactics and fact-free shaming

WE now know, based on leaks, that the two-party system keeps failing most Americans. It’s by design. Important issues aren’t even up for debate (like taxing the super-rich, who call themselves “job creators” and “philanthropists” to excuse themselves). War keeps on coming. It is intensifying (“Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes”).

“Can we learn to respect people’s political choices (and votes) and not paint everyone who isn’t voting Biden as a Trump supporter, even a person who chooses to vote left (Green) and deposits a ballot in the ballot box based on one’s belief and true political orientation rather than antagonism of another party?”Recently, in our main IRC channel, someone blasted Richard Stallman (RMS) for supporting the Green Party. As the above screenshot shows, it’s not entirely true. The latest press release from the Green Party says Hawkins to Hold News Conference Friday, Sept. 18 on Wall Street to Call for Stock Transfer Tax (that’s later today).

We generally don’t endorse politicians; too many of them are liars, either before or during service in the highest office. We don’t wish to be held retroactively accountable for endorsing liars.

Politics: Two-party system -- RMS is tired of itIn most modern democracies people can choose a party of their liking, with or without a ranked voting system, and parties later form coalitions. The two-party system is something that RMS complained about even when Obama was in charge. He told me about it in our interviews, noting that both parties (“D” and “R” in the US) gradually shift to the right and today’s Democratic Party is a lot like whatever GOP used to be (decades ago).

Can we learn to respect people’s political choices (and votes) and not paint everyone who isn’t voting Biden as a Trump supporter, even a person who chooses to vote left (Green) and deposits a ballot in the ballot box based on one’s belief and true political orientation rather than antagonism of another party? If we cannot do this, we’re perpetuating the two-party system monopoly/duopoly in the name of “lesser evilism”.

The person in IRC (we won’t name him, but it’s in IRC logs) went further and tried to paint the Green Party as some sort of Putin/Russian plot, insinuating that RMS is somehow a Putin-leaning Trump supporter or something. This isn’t a healthy political discourse and there’s something inherently racist/nationalist about it. Instead of insulting people, calling them “Russian” or “fascists” or “Trump supporters” (even people who strongly dislike Trump) maybe work to make the Democratic Party more people-centric than Wall Street-centric.

Nepotism and Conflicts of Interest in Free Software

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, Google, OSI at 6:48 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

AS the Mollamby affair has emerged, some people have rushed to defend the privacy of Chris Lamb and Molly de Blanc (Mollamby) or dismissed it as mere innuendo without understanding the ethical issues.

What is the difference between innuendo and public interest? Evidence.

Privacy is a valid consideration, but it is not the only one. We delayed publishing our own commentary about the subject while weighing the privacy implications against the ethical issues.

Let’s consider some of the evidence backing up the facts about Mollamby. Parts of the evidence have been redacted for the privacy of third parties but the material presented here accurately reflects the situation.

This is the opening comment sent by a student applying for GSoC in 2018 (Fact 2):

Date: 14 March 2018

I am [redacted/student name], ... from [redacted/country].
I’m [redacted/relationship] of [redacted/full name]

The student clearly identified a conflict of interest, giving the name of the other party and the type of relationship. The other party had also sent a similar email:

Date: 12 March 2018

... there are some students who might be interested
in [redacted/project]. Even my [redacted/relationship] has been ....

As they were honest and transparent from the outset, there is no question over their integrity and no need to discuss their identities.

This is the statement one volunteer made when agreeing to be a GSoC admin in 2018:

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: Google Summer of Code 2018
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2018 08:41:49 +0100
From: Daniel Pocock <daniel@pocock.pro>
To: mollydb <deblanc@riseup.net>

On 22/01/18 02:25, mollydb wrote:
> I mmissed this on the application before! We need 2-5 administrators for
> the application. Who else wants to be one?
> 

You can use my name temporarily while looking for other people to help
you in this role.

... [redacted/name of other community] ...

However, I can't officially commit to help with the duties of an
administrator right now.

Regards,

Daniel

No volunteer is under any obligation to provide details of their personal life. This statement alone looks like it was made honestly and in good faith, that is what teamwork is all about.

A selection meeting was scheduled for 16 April 2018 and Pocock was the volunteer who reminded people about somebody having a conflict of interest (Fact 3). He was not a party to this conflict of interest. de Blanc both acknowledged and agreed with the way it was handled (Fact 6):

<pocock> yes, but [redacted] is not involved in the
  selection process because one candidate is [redacted]
<pocock> that could be one reason we are waiting
   until the last minute to confirm the selections
[redacted/other mentor acknowledgement]
<mollydb> nice responsibile decision making :)
<mollydb> thanks for being so consciencious

People had been reminded about it in a number of emails at each stage of the selection process, it wasn’t sprung on people at the last minute. de Blanc had simply left the GSoC emails to other team members:

Date: 12 July 2018
From: Molly de Blanc <deblanc@riseup.net>

As an additional note, I generally check my email once a week. For
anything immediate, -please- ping me on IRC as I'll be responsive there
(and can know to dive into my email).

When alerts were sent about the conflict of interest in March and April, other team members were unaware that de Blanc wasn’t reading them.

Technically, it was a special case that was not strictly covered by Google’s official rules. Given the huge effort volunteers make interacting with students, nobody had made the extra effort to seek Google clarification.

Now let’s look at the complaint that Stephanie Taylor from Google sent to Debian on 13 July 2018 (yes, that was Friday the 13th):

Subject: Concerns around Debian GSoC students and conflict of interest
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2018 08:23:36 +0200
From: Stephanie Taylor <sttaylor@google.com>
To: [redacted/private gmail addresses of all Debian GSoC admins]

Hello Debian Org Admins,

It has come to our attention that [redacted/position in Debian],
[redacted/full name], is the [redacted/relationship] of [redacted/name], ...

This is incredibly disturbing as the Debian folks have been valued
members of the GSoC community for many years and this threatens the
integrity of the program.

Taylor is complaining about conflicts of interest in Debian, this confirms Fact 7.

Who would investigate Taylor’s complaint? Chris Lamb and Molly de Blanc. Mollamby.

Subject: Re: Concerns around Debian GSoC students and conflict of interest
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2018 14:49:50 +0200
From: Molly de Blanc
To: Daniel Pocock

Just as a quick heads up, I'll be talking with the DPL later today to
get on the same page -- I know he also contacted Stephanie off-channel.

If you'd like to ping me on IRC, I can try to be online and accessible
(today turned into quite a busy day for me) at a time that works for you.

Cheers,
Molly

Notice that de Blanc does not mention her conflict of interest (romantic relationship with the DPL, Chris Lamb) in that email. Lamb never mentioned it either. Neither of them recused themselves (Fact 8). Pocock was travelling that weekend and couldn’t make time to join a hastily organized meeting. As boyfriend and girlfriend, Lamb and de Blanc, Mollamby, had a meeting without the rest of the Debian GSoC admin team. When the boyfriend is also the leader of the project and when the girlfriend’s conduct is in question, is it any surprise that another volunteer is blamed and the girlfriend takes over the team?

That email is the smoking gun: two people at the very top of the free software ecosystem (Debian and OSI) using a volunteer as a scapegoat for a communication breakdown that one of them had been party to.

This farce is further compounded by the fact the original complaint was about conflicts of interest.

Mollamby hid their own conflict of interest while investigating a conflict of interest.

Is this a new style of disruptive leadership? Or is it simply good old fashioned cronyism?

Even this hidden conflict of interest may not be enough to justify discussing the relationship publicly. However, they have meted out severe punishments on numerous other volunteers. de Blanc even went to FOSDEM and gave a talk boasting about demoting somebody and putting volunteers behind bars. If these people want to take on leadership positions and preach about harming other volunteers they also need to accept that their own conduct will come under public scrutiny. It is clearly not possible to talk about the way they both concealed and benefitted from a conflict of interest without also making their relationship a public matter. In this situation, the ethical transgressions heavily outweigh the concerns about their privacy.

What’s more, Pocock announced his resignation from the Debian GSoC team in August 2018, if people had not behaved immaturely after that, it is unlikely any of these facts would be under public scrutiny right now.

In a non-apology email sent by the new DPL Sam Hartman, Debian confirms there were conflicts of interest and that Debian is completely unprepared for these situations:

I regret that we didn’t have better tools for dealing with conflict
of interest and hope we will develop those tools going forward.

...

The conflict of interest issue had no easy answer... There was not a
clear conflict of interest policy.  Sometimes in situations like that
you don’t have good options.

The GNOME community have also done an excellent job of reducing this complicated situation into a concise query to their own leadership. From the GNOME Foundation mailing list:

Nobody appears to be asking about Molly.

People are asking about you (Neil McGovern).  You and Lamb
both come from this Debian Cambridge grouping.
You are the Executive Director.

How long did you know that your new hire
was also your friend Lamby's girlfriend?

Please respond transparently, we would all like
to see this cleaned up so there will be
no discomfort or embarrassment at GUADEC.

It is interesting to see that a student applying to GSoC appears to be demonstrating more integrity than the leader of the Debian Project and the OSI board president combined.

OSI Board at Microsoft

Conflict of interest? OSI board meeting, Spring 2018, Microsoft, San Francisco

Links 17/9/2020: Qt Creator 4.13.1, Linux 5.8.10 and Mesa 20.1.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Slimbook Essential Linux laptops unveiled from €499

        Slimbook has launched a new clinic laptop powered by 10th generation Intel Core processors with prices starting from €499. The latest Slimbook Essential 14 ships with Intel Ice Lake processors, while the Slimbook Essential 15 sports Intel Come Lake-U processors.

        The new Slimbook Essential 14 and Slimbook Essential 15 laptops are available with Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processor options and feature dual SODIMM slots for up to 32GB RAM together with a M.2 drive for PCIe NVMe SSD.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Clipmenu: Look No Further For A Simple Clipboard Manager

        I’ve noticed that a lot of X applications like to clear the clipboard when they close which can be quite annoying when I’m trying to get work done so why not skip all of that and just keep a list of everything you’ve copied, that’s what you get with Clipmenu and instead of building a new interface it hooks into existing programs like Dmenu and Rofi so you can easily integrate it into your system.

      • HP and Lenovo support Linux, elementary OS on the Pinebook Pro, and a new Oxygen theme – Linux News

        Here are your Linux, Open Source and Privacy news for the first half of september 2020! This time, we’ve got tons of new hardware supporting Linux, elementary OS on the pinebook pro, and the revival of the Oxygen KDE theme.

      • Ubuntu Podcast S13E26 – The evil eye

        This week we’ve been playing with arcade boards and finishing DIY in the kitchen. We discuss if old technology is more fun than new technology, bring you a command line love and go over all your wonderful feedback.

      • BSD Now #368: Changing OS roles

        Modernizing the OpenBSD Console, OS roles have changed, FreeBSD Cluster with Pacemaker and Corosync, Wine in a 32-bit sandbox on 64-bit NetBSD, Find package which provides a file in OpenBSD, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Microsoft submits new patches series to Linux kernel developers [Ed: Pushing their proprietary software for 'Linux']
      • Linux 5.8.10
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.8.10 kernel.
        
        All users of the 5.8 kernel series must upgrade.
        
        The updated 5.8.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.8.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        
        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...
        
        thanks,
        
        greg k-h
      • Linux 5.4.66
      • Linux 4.19.146
      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.1.8
          Hi all,
          
          I'd like to announce Mesa 20.1.8, the eighth bugfix release for the 20.1 branch.
          
          The next bugfix release is planned for 2 weeks from now, on 2020-09-30.
          
          Cheers,
          Eric
          
        • Mesa 20.1.8 Released While Waiting For Mesa 20.2

          Mesa 20.2 (or 20.2-RC5) didn’t debut last week as intended, but for the interim the Mesa 20.1.x release cycle brought 20.1.8 on Wednesday and now it’s been extended to having at least a ninth point release to allow more time until not only Mesa 20.2.0 to ship but Mesa 20.2.1 alignment.

        • Ray-Tracing Support For AMDGPU LLVM Back-End Lands For RDNA 2

          AMD previously confirmed it would be supporting real-time ray-tracing with their next-generation GPUs while now one month out from the Radeon RX 6000 series debut are the first signs of the open-source driver work around GPU ray-tracing.

          One day after spotting the patches for AV1 video decode with VCN 3.0, the latest open-source Radeon driver work to point out is the fundamentals around their ray-tracing introduction.

        • NVIDIA 455.23.04 Linux Beta Released With GeForce RTX 3080/3090 Support

          NVIDIA has once again managed to provide launch-day Linux driver support for their next-generation graphics processors. Today the NVIDIA 455.23.04 beta driver is shipping for Linux support with the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 “Ampere” graphics cards.

        • RADV’s “ACO” Shader Backend Still Pursuing RadeonSI, Early Work On RDNA 2

          Valve developer Timur Kristóf who has been spending the past year working on the AMD Compiler “ACO” back-end for the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver “RADV” as well as beginning to port this shader compiler back-end to RadeonSI Gallium3D. This alternative to the AMDGPU LLVM back-end has made incredible progress over the past year — enough so that it’s been the default for Mesa’s RADV driver. During XDC2020 Day 2, Timur provided an update on ACO.

        • Cache Creator Tool Proposed For AMDVLK Vulkan Driver

          Google engineer Steven Perron has laid out their proposal for an XGL cache creator tool for AMD’s official Vulkan Linux driver, AMDVLK.

          As part of their work on relocatable shaders and supporting the offline compilation of Vulkan/SPIR-V shaders, they are working on “xgl_cache_creator” as a tool to take precompiled shaders and construct a file that can be redistributed and passed as the initial data into the Vulkan pipeline cache.

        • Arm Is Now Backing Panfrost Gallium3D As Open-Source Mali Graphics Driver

          Most information presented during the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference doesn’t tend to be very surprising or ushering in breaking news, but during today’s XDC2020 it was subtly dropped that Arm Holdings appears to now be backing the open-source Panfrost Gallium3D driver.

        • Microsoft Has A Large Presence At This Year’s X.Org Conference [Ed: Microsoft is now interjecting Windows and DirectX into conferences about Linux]

          Years ago if saying Microsoft would have multiple developers presenting at the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference (XDC) as well as being a sponsor, you’d probably raise some laughs. But this year for XDC2020 Gdansk (albeit virtual due to COVID-19), Microsoft engineers gave not just one talk but three on the opening day.

          [...]

          Jesse Natalie and Steve Pronovost both of Microsoft kicked off XDC2020 by talking about the WSL graphics architecture in a pre-recorded, well-edited video presentation. That was followed by Pronovost talking about X11/Wayland application support under WSL and then the third and final Microsoft talk of the day was Jesse talking about their Mesa Direct3D 12 mapping layers for getting OpenCL/OpenGL over D3D12.

    • Applications

      • Delightful Free and Open Source ASCII Art Tools

        ASCII art is a graphic design technique that relies primarily on computers for presentation and consists of pictures put together from characters defined by the ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) standard. These characters are letters, numbers and special characters such as # / and \. ASCII art is as much a constituent element of the internet as emoticons, cats, or acronyms such as ROTFL and LOL.

        ASCII art was invented, in large part, because early printers lacked graphics ability. Characters were used to replace graphic marks. Dot matrix printers designed for bulk printing often used ASCII art to print large banners, to help distinguish different print jobs from different users. ASCII art was also used in early e-mail when images could not be embedded.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Blasphemous confirmed to release for Linux on September 21

        The Game Kitchen and Team17 today confirmed that Blasphemous will finally launch official Linux support on Monday, September 21 after the original 2019 release.

        “Play as The Penitent One – a sole survivor of the massacre of the ‘Silent Sorrow’. Trapped in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, it’s down to you to free the world from this terrible fate and reach the origin of your anguish.”

      • Command & Conquered Remastered adds a beacon system, local replays, and more

        The Command & Conquer Remastered Collection has just seen its third major update go live. With this patch, the modernised version of the classic strategy game series is getting a few welcome modern features and expanded tools for modders and map-makers.

        One of the banner updates added in the latest patch is a much-requested pre-match info screen. Now, when you’re loading into a multiplayer or skirmish game, you’ll see the minimap, your starting position, and the other players who will be playing. The idea is to give players a better sense of orientation when they begin a match, and start planning their opening strategy as they’re loading games.

      • Maintenance release: Godot 3.2.3

        Godot contributors are proud to release Godot 3.2.3 as a maintenance update to the stable 3.2 branch. The main development focus for this version was to fix regressions reported against the fairly big 3.2.2 release from June, but in the process many other bugfixes for older issues have been merged.

      • Games 3.38

        I wanted to start this blog post with “It’s that time of year again”, but looks like Michael beat me to it. So, let’s take a look at some of the changes in GNOME Games 3.38…

        The library Games uses to implement Libretro frontend, retro-gtk, has been overhauled this cycle. I’ve already covered the major changes in previous blog post, but to recap…

      • Valve developer shows off Gamescope for Linux at XDC 2020

        As we highlighted in our initial XDC 2020 article, one of the presentations this year was from a Valve developer who is working on Gamescope.

        Gamescope, something we revealed before across two articles (#1, #2), was started by Valve dev Pierre-Loup Griffais, who is one of the most prominent Linux people at Valve after joining them in 2012. Griffais has also been heavily involved in Valve’s various external open source contracting, with this like ACO for Mesa and more.

        Created as an evolution of steamcompmgr, the original SteamOS session compositing window manager but it’s come a long way since then. Being a rewrite to be based on Wayland (and XWayland for what doesn’t work with Wayland directly) rather than GLX, giving them much more direct control over everything with Vulkan. From the talk, Griffais mentioned how they began with using wlroots (a modular Wayland compositor library), from there they hacked away at it and merged it with a bunch of what was in steamcompmgr.

      • Free first-person shooter-strategy ‘Unvanquished’ is now properly open source

        After a long period of silence, it seems a lot was going on behind the scenes for Unvanquished and it’s now properly open source all the way through.

        Originally forked off from another game, Tremulous, which has a lot in common with the Natural Selection game. Two opposing sides of Aliens vs Humans that mixes first-person action with a little strategy with some building. Unvanquished was an effort to continue Tremulous with more modern features and it appears to be close to a new release.

        In a long round-up blog post, a lot of effort has been put into splitting up assets and tools needed for Unvanquished into their own respositories, making it easier to track down and properly sort out licensing. Lots didn’t have a license, or one that was problematic for the project. Now though? They’re announcing that Unvanquished is now “fully open source again, from engine to game code, from models to textures”.

      • Unity 2020.2 game engine gets a Beta release

        Unity Technologies just recently released a brand new build of the Unity game engine, with a focus on performance, stability and workflow improvements.

        The Unity 2020.2 release is now in Beta, which follows their pattern of having two ‘TECH’ releases followed by Unity 2020 LTS which is due for March 2021. The TECH release are for enthusiasts who need the latest stuff, with the LTS builds aimed at everyone else. The full 2020.2 release should be later this year.

      • Get an early look at NO PLAN B, an upcoming tactical strategy planning game

        NO PLAN B from the developer of Gladiabots looks like it will be quite fun, blending ideas from the likes of Door Kickers and Frozen Synapse.

        The idea is that using a specially made timeline system, you plan out every member of your squad on where they go and what they do. You do this across a full 3D mission map, and watch as it all unfolds. If it didn’t go to plan, you can go back and try again. NO PLAN B will also be open to plenty of community-created content with a map generation system, a level editor along with tools to adjust every part of the mission down to every detail.

        Across three new videos, the developer showed how the work in progress system will work. From planning, to execution and then a needed adjustment of the plan.

      • Mindustry, one of the best open source games around has a huge upgrade in testing

        Mindustry, a game that mixes in Factorio with Tower Defence and then goes wild from there is a fantastic example of how good a free and open source game can be. So good in fact, I wrote an article about my love of it and spoke in a video about it on Linux For Everyone.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Creator 4.13.1 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.13.1 !

          In this release we fixed various smaller issues, and also updated Clazy to its 1.7 branch, which fixes analyzing files and projects with Clazy on macOS.

          The opensource version is available on the Qt download page under “Qt Creator”, and you find commercially licensed packages on the Qt Account Portal. Qt Creator 4.13.1 is also available as an update in the online installer. Please post issues in our bug tracker. You can also find us on IRC on #qt-creator on chat.freenode.net, and on the Qt Creator mailing list.

        • Plasma 5.20 Beta

          Plasma 5.20 is going to be one absolutely massive release! More features, more fixes for longstanding bugs, more improvements to the user interface! Read on for details…

          Read on to discover all the new features and improvements of Plasma 5.20…

        • KDE Plasma 5.20 Beta Released With Better Wayland Support
        • KDE Plasma 5.20 Desktop Enters Beta, Final Release Expected on October 13

          KDE Plasma 5.20 is packed with countless of enhancements. There are improvements everywhere, starting with a new look and feel consisting of an icon-only Task Manager that comes with lots of changes, a slightly thicker default panel, redesigned OSDs for brightness and volume, improvements to the Digital Clock applet, and a new default shortcut for moving and resizing windows (Meta+drag).

          After several months of development, during which the KDE development team managed to add numerous new features and improvements, the forthcoming KDE Plasma 5.20 desktop environment is now available for public beta testing if you’re a bleeding-edge user wanting to get an early taste of the changes.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME drops 3.x versioning to shift to GNOME 40 for next release

          Over the past couple of decades, when the GTK library that GNOME was built upon released a new major version — moving from 1.x versions to 2.x, for instance — it arrived with a new major release of the GNOME desktop that greatly changed the user interface.

          As with many major redesigns, it was accompanied by an amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

          With the GTK team working away on GTK 4, the GNOME team was in no mood to “rewrite the world”, according to an announcement from the GNOME release team penned by Emmanuele Bassi.

        • GNOME 40 Aims To Have A Better Extensions Experience

          Following Wednesday’s release of GNOME 3.38 was the surprising news of GNOME 40 being the next version as well as a new initiative to improve GNOME extensions.

          GNOME developer Sri Ramkrishna has provided more context over the “GNOME Extensions Rebooted” initiative. The aim of this project is to reduce the churn and breakage around GNOME Shell extensions following new releases.

          Among their intentions with this initiative is to improve the documentation around GNOME Shell extensions, a continuous integration pipeline / virtual machine for helping extension writers test their extensions, providing break testing via the GNOME Gitlab CI, and a forum for developers to communicate over changes relating to extensions.

        • Geary Email Client Now Supports Plugins, Improves Server Compatibility

          Geary 3.38.0 is a major new release that carries a crop of new features, makes some welcome bug fixes, and boost overall server compatibility.

          The headline feature? That’ll be the addition of plugin support. New Geary plugins allow users to add additional functionality to the client. A handful of plugins are included in this release…

        • GNOME’s new versioning scheme

          The GNOME Project has announced a change to its version-numbering scheme; the next release will be “GNOME 40″. “After nearly 10 years of 3.x releases, the minor version number is getting unwieldy. It is also exceedingly clear that we’re not going to bump the major version because of technological changes in the core platform, like we did for GNOME 2 and 3, and then piling on a major UX change on top of that. Radical technological and design changes are too disruptive for maintainers, users, and developers; we have become pretty good at iterating design and technologies, to the point that the current GNOME platform, UI, and UX are fairly different from what was released with GNOME 3.0, while still following the same design tenets.”

    • Distributions

      • Deepin 20 is still the most beautiful Linux desktop on the market

        I’ll confess that I love a good-looking desktop–I’ve been that way since I first discovered AfterStep, back in 2000. Not only was it beautiful, it was insanely customizable. At one point, I had my AfterStep desktop tricked out such that nearly every single element used a certain level of transparency. It was cool, and it blew the minds of anyone who dared lay eyes on it.

        The Deepin desktop never fails to elicit the same kind of reactions. With every iteration, Deepin improves on what was already the most gorgeous Linux desktop of all time.

        However… (I really hate to type that word sometimes).

      • BSD

        • [Old] Upgrading OpenBSD with Ansible

          Initially, my playbook did the upgrade as usual (i.e., it fetched the sets in bsd.rd). During this process, of course, my machine is not performing its function as a router. My Internet access is not super great, so fetching the sets takes awhile. I got frustrated while I was testing it and looked into lessening the amount of time spent inside bsd.rd.

          To speed up the process, I wrote a basic shell script to fetch the sets before rebooting into bsd.rd. It enabled me to remove some tasks I had to do in order to get working Internet access in bsd.rd. (This is specific to my case).

      • Gentoo Family

        • Console-bound systemd services, the right way

          Let’s say that you need to run on your system some sort server software which instead of daemonising, has a command console permanently attached to standard input. Let us also say that said console is the only way for the administrator to interact with the service, including requesting its orderly shutdown – whoever has written it has not implemented any sort of signal handling so sending SIGTERM to the service process causes it to simply drop dead, potentially losing data in the process. And finally, let us say that the server in question is proprietary software so it isn’t really possible for you to fix any of the above in the source code (yes, I am talking about a specific piece of software – which by the way is very much alive and kicking as of late 2020). What do you do?

          According to the collective wisdom of World Wide Web, the answer to this question is “use a terminal multiplexer like tmux or screen“, or at the very least a stripped-down variant of same such as dtach. OK, that sort of works – what if you want to run it as a proper system-managed service under e.g. OpenRC? The answer of the Stack Exchange crowd: have your init script invoke the terminal multiplexer. Oooooookay, how about under systemd, which actually prefers services it manages not to daemonise by itself? Nope, still “use a terminal multiplexer”.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Conference organizers announce schedule and platform registration

          Organizers of the online openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference are pleased to announce that the schedule for the conference is published.

          All times on the schedule are published in Coordinated Universal Time. The conference will take place from live Oct. 15 to Oct. 17 using the oslo.gonogo.live platform.

          There are more than 100 talks scheduled, covering the openSUSE and LibreOffice projects. There are talks about open-source projects, cloud and container technologies, embedded devices, community development, translations, marketing, documentation, Future Technologies, Quality Assurance and more.

        • SUSE Addresses “ZeroLogon” Vulnerability

          On September 11, Secura research published a new software vulnerability called “ZeroLogon”, which exploits a protocol weakness in the SMB Netlogon protocol. This vulnerability may affect users of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server running Samba servers in older or non-standard configurations. Attackers could use it to bypass access control to the domain controller.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 108

          In our previous post we reported we were working in some mid-term goals in the areas of AutoYaST and storage management. This time we have more news to share about both, together with some other small YaST improvements.

        • Johann Els on running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on SAP
        • Tumbleweed Snapshots bring updated Inkscape, Node.js, KDE Applications

          Four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were released since the last article.

          KDE’s Applications 20.08.1, Node.js, iproute2 and inkscape were updated in the snapshots throughout the week.

          The 20200915 snapshot is trending stable at a rating of 97, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer. Many YaST packages were updated in this snapshot. The 4.3.19 yast2-network package forces a read of the current virtualization network configuration in case it’s not present. The Chinese pinyin character input package libpinyin updated to 2.4.91, which improved auto correction.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Between Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and deepin 20 Releases

          Finally deepin 20 released in September this year following Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Both are Free Libre Open Source Software computer operating systems. However, as we know Ubuntu brings many nice features, we celebrate with deepin the brand new look and move towards freedom. This article summarizes both beautiful OSes for everyone. Enjoy!

          It is deepin 20 the brand new luxurious operating system. Since long, deepin is the most polished GNU/Linux distro. It is a good news for computer users today as now deepin comes with redesigned DDE user interface and more freedom by switching away from Chrome and WPS into Mozilla Firefox and LibreOffice. deepin OS is a China based operating system developed by Wuhan Deepin Technology which is a member of The Linux Foundation.

        • Web App Manager – Convert Any Website into an App

          Alongside many bug fixes that were recently backported to Linux Mint 19.3, Linux Mint 20, and LMDE 4, the Linux Mint community updated their Warpinator app to improve network connectivity and the preservation of file permissions. They also announced a new tool spawned from working together with Peppermint OS, Web App Manager.

          WebApp Manager is a utility app created from the collaboration between Linux Mint and Peppermint based on Peppermint’s ICE – an app with which users can turn their favorite apps into standalone web apps and it was first released as early as 2010!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Update devices remotely with open source tools

        The ability to access, connect, and manage multiple devices remotely through a single account is important. Going a step further, being able to completely update devices remotely is another way for sysadmins to reduce effort and minimize headaches.

        UpdateHub is an open source solution that allows you to do complete device updates, including firmware and bootloaders, remotely. Its goal is to make it easier to do device updates and reduce rework and risk, whether you’re updating thousands of devices or managing small deployments. UpdateHub handles all aspects of over-the-air (OTA) updates, including package integrity and authenticity, while you take care of your other work.

      • Increasing Lab Efficiency with an Open Source LIMS

        Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is a software-based laboratory and information management system that provides streamlined workflow automation and management. This type of software is typically used in analytical laboratories such as R&D labs, in-process testing labs and quality assurance labs.

        A LIMS seeks to embrace the way you work, offering single sample, batch samples and manual or automated methods, producing reports for internal or external customer use. Management of resources is an important characteristic of planning work allocation against availability and for auto analysers around calibration and maintenance schedules.

      • Pros and cons of using open source software in your business

        Open source software (OSS) refers to computer software which is released and distributed with its source code open for modification by other users. The source code is released under a license where the copyright holder has granted the rights to use, study, change or distribute the software for any purpose.

        Often developed in a collaborative, public manner, many developers are able to add, change and manipulate the source code to suit their needs.

        Software licensed as open source allows commercial companies to run, modify and share the underlying software code. Open source licenses are legal contracts between the creator and user.

        Although often available to access free of charge, open source licenses sometimes have restrictions applied. Restrictions may mean a user must preserve the name of the original author within the code, or there may be limitations on the way they are allowed to redistribute the software.

        [...]

        Free software has nothing to do with price, rather it is about freedom of use. Free software respects the freedom and community of users, giving the right to run, copy, distribute, change or improve the software. Campaigners for software freedom, Gnu.org, use the analogy “think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

        Free software allows users to control the program and what it can do for them. If users don’t have control of a program, this is referred to as “nonfree” or “proprietary”.

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Update on Firefox Send and Firefox Notes

            As Mozilla tightens and refines its product focus in 2020, today we are announcing the end of life for two legacy services that grew out of the Firefox Test Pilot program: Firefox Send and Firefox Notes. Both services are being decommissioned and will no longer be a part of our product family. Details and timelines are discussed below.

            Firefox Send was a promising tool for encrypted file sharing. Send garnered good reach, a loyal audience, and real signs of value throughout its life. Unfortunately, some abusive users were beginning to use Send to ship malware and conduct spear phishing attacks. This summer we took Firefox Send offline to address this challenge.

            In the intervening period, as we weighed the cost of our overall portfolio and strategic focus, we made the decision not to relaunch the service. Because the service is already offline, no major changes in status are expected. You can read more here.

          • Mozilla files comments with the European Commission on safeguarding democracy in the digital age

            As in many parts of the world, EU lawmakers are eager to get greater insight into the ways in which digital technologies and online discourse can serve to both enhance and create friction in democratic processes. In context of its recent ‘Democracy Action Plan’ (EDAP), we’ve just filed comments with the European Commission, with the aim of informing thoughtful and effective EU policy responses to key issues surrounding democracy and digital technologies.

          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Download Statistics Update

            In June, we announced that we were making changes to add-on usage statistics on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Now, we’re making a similar change to add-on download statistics. These statistics are aggregated from the AMO server logs, do not contain any personally identifiable information, and are only available to add-ons developers via the Developer Hub.

            Just like with usage stats, the new download stats will be less expensive to process and will be based on Firefox telemetry data. As users can opt out of telemetry reporting, the new download numbers will be generally lower than those reported from the server logs. Additionally, the download numbers are based on new telemetry introduced in Firefox 80, so they will be lower at first and increase as users update their Firefox. As before, we will only count downloads originating from AMO.

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0a7

            Tor Browser 10.0a7 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

          • Updates on Tor Project’s Board

            We would like to share some updates regarding the Tor Project’s Board. Last year Megan Price stepped down as she took a second maternity leave. And in the Spring of this year, Shari Steele asked to step down from the Board for personal reasons. Both Megan and Shari provided great contributions for the Board that Tor will always be thankful for. We are grateful to have them as supporters and friends of Tor.

            But to move forward we decided to invite two new members. We are happy to say both have accepted our invitation and joined the Board.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • How the Internet Archive is Ensuring Permanent Access to Open Access Journal Articles

            Researchers found that 176 open access journals have already vanished from their publishers’ website over the past two decades, according to a recent preprint article by Mikael Laakso, Lisa Matthias, and Najko Jahn. These periodicals were from all regions of the world and represented all major disciplines — sciences, humanities and social sciences. There are over 14,000 open access journals indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals and the paper suggests another 900 of those are inactive and at risk of disappearing. The pre-print has struck a nerve, receiving news coverage in Nature and Science.

      • Programming/Development

        • OpenBSD::Unveil(3p) added to -current

          Andrew Fresh (afresh1@) has committed OpenBSD::Unveil(3p), a Perl interface to unveil(2): [...]

        • Python

          • The mmap() copy-on-write trick: reducing memory usage of array copies

            Let’s say you have an array, and you need to make some copies and modify those copies. Usually, memory usage scales with the number of copies: if your original array was 1GB of RAM, each copy will take 1GB of RAM. And that can add up.

            But often, you’re just changing a small part of the array. Ideally, the memory cost would only be the parts of the copies that you changed.

          • Pip Install Specific Version of a Python Package: 2 Steps

            In this Python tutorial, you will learn how to use pip install a specific version of a package. The outline of the post (as also can be seen in the ToC) is as follows. First, you will get a brief introduction with examples on when you might need to install an older version of a package. Second, you will get the general syntax for how to carry out this task. After that, you will get two steps to installing specific versions of Python packages with pip. In this section, you will also learn how to work with a virtual environment. In the next section, we will look at how to specify the version of multiple Python packages by creating a .txt file.

          • Angular 10 and Django 3 Image Files Upload with FormData

            Throughout this tutorial, we’ll see how we can implement file and image upload in Django 3, Django REST Framework and Angular 10 with a step by step example.

            Our application will expose an /upload REST API endpoint that accepts POST requests which contain the image file posted with a multipart/form-data content type via FormData.

            For the frontend, we’ll be using Angular 10 to create a simple interface that allows the user to select a file or image and upload it to the server via a POST request using HttpClient and FormData.

          • Multiple Image Files Upload with Django 3, Angular 10 and FormData

            In the previous tutorial we have seen how to implement image file uploading in Django 3 and Angular 10. In this tutorial, we’ll see how to implement multiple file uploading with FormData and HttpClient.

          • Python: Check if File or Directory is Empty

            Python has a set of built-in library objects and functions to help us with this task. In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to check if a file or directory is empty in Python.

          • For Loop vs. List Comprehension

            Many simple “for loops” in Python can be replaced with list comprehensions. You can often hear that list comprehension is “more Pythonic” (almost as if there was a scale for comparing how Pythonic something is, compared to something else 😉). In this article, I will compare their performance and discuss when a list comprehension is a good idea, and when it’s not.

          • Python 3.9.0rc2 is now available for testing

            Python 3.9.0 is almost ready. This release, 3.9.0rc2, is the last planned preview before the final release of Python 3.9.0 on 2020-10-05.

          • PyCharm 2020.2.2

            PyCharm 2020.2.2 is out now with important fixes to improve your usability and productivity. Update from within PyCharm (Help | Check for Updates), using the JetBrains Toolbox, or by downloading the new version from our website.

          • TDD in Python with pytest – Part 4

            This is the fourth 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.

            [...]

            As we saw in the previous post the relationship between the component that we are testing and other components of the system can be complex. Sometimes idempotency and isolation are not easy to achieve, and testing outgoing commands requires to check the parameters sent to the external component, which is not trivial.
            The main difficulty comes from the fact that your code is actually using the external system. When you run it in production the external system will provide the data that your code needs and the whole process can work as intended. During testing, however, you don’t want to be bound to the external system, for the reasons explained in the previous post, but at the same time you need it to make your code work.
            So, you face a complex issue. On the one hand your code is connected to the external system (be it hardcoded or chosen programmatically), but on the other hand you want it to run without the external system being active (or even present).
            This problem can be solved with the use of mocks. A mock, in the testing jargon, is an object that simulates the behaviour of another (more complex) object. Wherever your code connects to an external system, during testing you can replace the latter with a mock, pretending the external system is there and properly checking that your component behaves like intended.

          • The Zen of Python: As Related by Masters

            The Zen of Python saw light for the first time in 1999. It’s one of the many aspects that adds to the awesomeness of Python. It’s a set of expressions that corners the spirit of the language. It was enounced by Tim Peters, a reputable software engineer, master Pythonista and Python’s ‘most prolific and tenacious core developer’ in the words of none other than Guido [18]. This article bases itself mostly on the saying of core devs and highly reputable members. It makes a great gift to all those interested in the history of the sysadmin script which took the world by (pleasent) surprise.

  • Leftovers

    • Caution Ahead
    • It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
    • EA To Rebrand Its Origin Platform As It Bows Out Of The PC Gaming Platform Wars

      It has been a long and largely fruitless road for Origin, EA’s PC gaming client that it had planned on building into a rival of Valve’s Steam. What was originally supposed to have been the chief antagonist to Steam in the ongoing PC gaming platform wars instead is best described as a failure to launch. Released in 2011, Origin began life as it lived in total: the walled garden for most EA games. Critics appeared almost immediately, stemming from odious requirements to relinquish personal information, the use of DRM, and security flaws. Couple that with a game library that was relatively stilted compared with Steam, by design mind you, and it’s not difficult to understand why the adoption numbers for the game client just never took off.

    • Yoga Teachers Take On QAnon

      “They’re using the same music we might use in meditation classes,” Ms. Corn said. “It does things to the body, it makes you more available and open.”

      Ms. Corn said that she had lost some followers after her anti-QAnon post, but gained others who were grateful that she spoke out. And she said she worried that the conspiracy theory might still be gaining steam among wellness fans.

      “I’m afraid that well-meaning folks who don’t understand the complexity of this misinformation will be seduced” by QAnon, she said. “They’re rolling out the yoga mat right now, and it scares me.”

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Smoke and Mirrors in a World of Pain

        The wild fires of Western United States are smoking out a huge portion of the country. And the Covid-19 pandemic, under Trump’s criminal abdication of responsibility, has turned our nation’s public health into a deadly hall of mirrors where state-level and federal-level policies reflect each other back and forth in an infinite regression of distorted images leading to stalemate.

      • Defense Contractors Don’t Need Another Covid Bailout

        The inadequate response of both the federal and state governments to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the United States, creating what could only be called a national security crisis. More than 190,000 Americans are dead, approximately half of them people of color. Yelp data show that more than 132,000 businesses have already closed and census data suggest that, thanks to lost wages, nearly 17 percent of Americans with children can’t afford to feed them enough food.

      • Pandemic in the Plants. The Meat Plants, That Is

        What we face here is not just standard corporate minginess but an evil mentality that reduces workers to inferior, disposable beings.

      • Trump Insists He “Up-Played” COVID Despite His Stated Strategy of Downplaying It

        President Trump, appearing at a town hall event in Philadelphia hosted by ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday, sought to rewrite history by insisting he never downplayed the risks of COVID-19, despite the existence of audio recordings in which he explicitly told journalist Bob Woodward that downplaying the virus was his preferred strategy.

      • “He’s Describing a Massacre”: Trump Touts Herd Immunity Approach to Covid That Experts Warn Would Kill Millions

        “‘Herd immunity’ without a vaccine is deadly,” said one epidemiologist. “Trump’s idiocy on science is killing us.”

      • Trump Touts Herd Immunity Approach That Experts Warn Would Kill Millions

        Insisting during a town hall Tuesday night that Covid-19 will simply disappear on its own — echoing a baseless claim he also made in February, March, April, May, June, July, and August — President Donald Trump touted a so-called “herd immunity” approach to the pandemic that public health experts warn would lead to hundreds of millions of new coronavirus infections and millions of additional deaths.

      • Political Officials Undermine CDC Scientists’ COVID-19 Studies

        These actions by HHS erode the public’s trust in science to get us through this pandemic, presenting a threat to people’s health and safety.

      • Big Ten Football Players as ‘Guinea Pigs’? Critics Raise Concern Over Promises to Study Covid-19 Impacts

        “University leadership needs to reflect on what they’re asking of students. The mere fact they promise to study the infected indicates that they don’t know enough about the disease to protect the students.”

      • ‘A Vaccine Can Be a Public Good’

        Janine Jackson interviewed Public Citizen’s Peter Maybarduk about Covid-19 vaccines and treatments for the September 11, 2020 episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • CDC Director: Face Mask “More Guaranteed to Protect” Against COVID Than Vaccine

        The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocated for continued mask-wearing at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, stating that facial coverings could be more effective at preventing the spread of coronavirus than even a vaccine may be when one eventually becomes available.

      • CDC director says masks more guaranteed to work than a vaccine

        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said Wednesday that wearing a mask is more guaranteed to protect someone from the coronavirus than taking a vaccine.

        Redfield, speaking at a Senate hearing, emphasized the importance of wearing masks, noting that an eventual vaccine is not expected to work in 100 percent of people, and might only work in, say, 70 percent. But a mask is guaranteed to offer at least some protection for all wearers, he added, though it is far from total protection.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 149 released

            We have been busy baking another large update for you which is full of oozy goodness. It includes an updated toolchain based on GCC 10 and glibc 2.32 and we have added a lot of tuning which makes IPFire 33% faster on some systems.

            IPFire is based on glibc 2.32, the standard library for all C programs, and GCC 10.2, the GNU Compiler Collection. Both bring various bug fixes and improvements.

            The most notable change is that we have decided to remove a mitigation Spectre 2 which caused that user space programs in IPFire were running about 50% slower due to using a microcode feature which is called “retpoline”. Those “return trampolines” disable the branch prediction engine in out-of-order processors which was considered to help with mitigating leaking any information from any unaccessible kernel space.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (dotnet3.1, kernel, mbedtls, and python35), Mageia (libraw), openSUSE (mumble), SUSE (libsolv, libzypp, and perl-DBI), and Ubuntu (libdbi-perl, libphp-phpmailer, mcabber, ncmpc, openssl, openssl1.0, qemu, samba, storebackup, and util-linux).

          • Russell Coker: Dell BIOS Updates

            I have just updated the BIOS on a Dell PowerEdge T110 II. The process isn’t too difficult, Google for the machine name and BIOS, download a shell script encoded firmware image and GPG signature, then run the script on the system in question.

            One problem is that the Dell GPG key isn’t signed by anyone. How hard would it be to get a few well connected people in the Linux community to sign the key used for signing Linux scripts for updating the BIOS? I would be surprised if Dell doesn’t employ a few people who are well connected in the Linux community, they should just ask all employees to sign such GPG keys! Failing that there are plenty of other options. I’d be happy to sign the Dell key if contacted by someone who can prove that they are a responsible person in Dell. If I could phone Dell corporate and ask for the engineering department and then have someone tell me the GPG fingerprint I’ll sign the key and that problem will be partially solved (my key is well connected but you need more than one signature).

          • An inside look at CVE-2020-10713, a.k.a. the GRUB2 “BootHole”

            As GRUB2 upstream maintainers, Oracle developers took the lead on both the disclosure coordination and the technical solutions. In their role as community maintainers for GRUB2, Daniel and Alexsandr were notified of the security vulnerability and immediately began analyzing the impact of these vulnerabilities, coordinating the cross-vendor industry response, and ensuring that this vulnerability would be fixed swiftly. In the end, this coordination effort would entail around 100 individuals from 18 companies.

            CVE-2020-10713, the “BootHole” vulnerability, affects systems using UEFI Secure Boot signed operating systems and has a CVSS Base Score of 8.2.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Josh Hawley Isn’t ‘Helping’ When It Comes To TikTok

              It’s the dumb saga that only seems to get dumber. Earlier this week, we noted that Trump’s dumb and arguably unconstitutional order banning TikTok had resulted in (surprise) Trump friend and Oracle boss Larry Ellison nabbing a cozy little partnership for his fledgling cloud hosting business. Granted the deal itself does absolutely nothing outside of providing Oracle a major client. It’s more cronyism and heist than serious adult policy, yet countless outlets still somehow framed the entire thing as somehow meaningful, ethical, and based in good faith (it’s none of those things).

            • Court Refuses To Block Trump Exec Order On TikTok As Requested By TikTok Employee After DOJ Says He Can Still Get Paid

              There have been a variety of lawsuits filed regarding Trump’s silly Executive Order regarding TikTok, but one interesting one involves an employee of TikTok, Patrick Ryan, who filed suit on his own behalf to try to block the Executive Order from going into effect. A key part of Ryan’s argument is that since the executive order bans transactions, it would mean his own salary from TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, might be blocked by the US government.

            • The TikTok Oracle Grift: Insiders Admit They Went Hunting For A Tech Company The President Liked

              Earlier this week we wrote about the absolute grift involved in the TikTok / Oracle deal. Contrary to the framing that this was Oracle “buying” TikTok to satisfy the President’s unconstitutional demand that the Chinese company ByteDance sell TikTok to an American company, the story showed that this was just a hosting deal for Oracle’s cloud service, which is way down the list of top cloud providers.

            • AT&T to offer ad supported phone plans where you give up privacy for $5 to $10

              AT&T is planning to offer ad-supported phone plans within a year, according to an exclusive interview that AT&T CEO John Stankey had with Reuters. For those that are keeping track of anti-privacy moves from AT&T, this action is particularly stanky. Stankey told Reuters:

            • When you browse Instagram and find former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s passport number

              Eventually I found a blog post explaining that yes, pictures of boarding passes can indeed be used for Crimes. The part you wanna be looking at for all your criming needs is the barcode, because it’s got the “Booking Reference” (e.g. H8JA2A) in it.

              Why do you want the booking reference? It’s one of the two things you need to log in to the airline website to manage your flight.

              The second one is your… last name. I was really hoping the second one would be like a password or something. But, no, it’s the booking reference the airline emails you and prints on your boarding pass. And it also lets you log in to the airline website?

              That sounds suspiciously like a password to me, but like I’m still fine to pretend it’s not if you are.

            • Data leak reveals 799 Finns on Chinese watch list

              Data leaked from Shenzhen city-based technology firm Zhenhua Data revealed a database that originally contained the personal information of 2.4 million influential persons, private citizens and institutions in the west.

              The data dump was first passed on to US professor Christopher Balding, who in turn handed it over to Australian cyber security firm Internet 2.0 for analysis.

            • China’s ‘hybrid war’: Beijing’s mass surveillance of Australia and the world for secrets and scandal

              Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs.

              It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours.

              While much of the information has been “scraped” from open-source material, some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles.

            • Oracle Would Get Access to TikTok Code in Proposed Deal

              The terms of the agreement seem to fall short of meeting those national security concerns expressed by administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to people familiar with the matter. Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and other members of the administration have been talking directly with Oracle executives, one person said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump and the Troops

        My father enlisted in the Army to fight in World War II. He was 19 or 20 years old, and he wanted to defeat the Nazis. He was one of a million other young Americans to sign up that year.

      • The Spoils of War: Sexual Entitlement

        The lack of accountability of criminal behavior is a grotesque stain on human behavior and history. Many who follow history, either as scholars or informed individuals, know that until the second half of the 20th century, history was written by the victors and about the celebrated victorious, those anointed by the few and the very wealthy and often at the expense of truth and justice. History was mostly written at the expense of ordinary women and men.

      • Mexico’s Women Demand Justice on Gender Violence

        As dusk settled across Mexico City’s historic center, a middle-aged woman standing on the second-story balcony of a graffiti-covered stone building clutched a microphone in one hand and raised a pack of papers with the other. “To hell with your institutions!” she yelled through a white mask covering her mouth and nose, her husky voice cracking from the force of her cry. She tore the papers—government forms she’d been instructed to fill out to push along her sister’s and niece’s missing persons cases, a never-ending bureaucratic nightmare she’d been engulfed in for years, she said—and tossed the shredded pieces like confetti to a roaring crowd of some 200 women dressed in black, packed on the street below. In a falsetto betraying their youth, they chanted, “You are not alone.” They pumped their fists in the air. The ones in balaclavas raised sticks and hammers.

      • How the United States Could End the War in Yemen

        It’s in our power to stop the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

      • Trump Confession He Was Ready to Assassinate Assad Condemned as ‘Disgusting Display’ of ‘Imperial Hubris’

        “If he had indeed murdered Assad, then the Middle East, and the fate of U.S. soldiers in the region, would have exploded into even more violence and chaos,” said one anti-war advocate.

      • Belarusian opposition leader offers Lukashenko safety assurances if he ‘steps down like a decent person’

        Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) has given no indication that he plans to relinquish the Belarusian presidency, but Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya) tried this week to incentivize his exit by publicly ensuring his safety if he steps down peacefully. 

      • But help came How the Russian state media rescued Belarusian broadcasters from political pluralism

        Last month, after workers at state television and radio broadcasters in Belarus started walking off the job in protest as the police brutally dispersed opposition demonstrations, a handful of independent journalists and activists reported that whole brigades of “strikebreakers” from Russia arrived to replace these employees. President Alexander Lukashenko himself fueled these rumors by repeatedly thanking Russian journalists for their help and support. There is in fact a large group of reporters from Russia’s state and pro-Kremlin media (primarily from Russia Today) now in Belarus. Russian workers are unlikely to replace the Belarusian staff now on strike, but their assistance to the local state broadcasters is nevertheless observable in the dramatically changed rhetoric now coming from Minsk. Together with the Belarusian projects Reform.by and iSANS, Meduza investigative editor Alexey Kovalev analyzes the Belarusian media’s aggressive turn and asks who facilitated it. 

      • Lukashenko says he’d like very much for Putin to tell him more about ‘new Russian armaments’ available to Belarus

        Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko insists that his country is strong, but he also informed Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu (who visited Minsk on Wednesday) that he recently asked Vladimir Putin about new armaments that could “bolster” Minsk’s alliance with Moscow. “I told him that we’d have a look at what needs strengthening and where in terms of the Union State,” reports the state news agency BelTA:

      • Belarusian opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova charged with threatening national security

        The Belarusian Investigative Committee has announced that opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova (Maryia Kalesnikava) has been charged with calling for actions that threaten the national security of Belarus. 

      • For Rohingya refugees, patchwork justice leaves crimes unpunished

        Abdulrahman spent months searching for justice after his young daughter was assaulted. But it’s frustratingly elusive in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps – city-sized settlements with no formal criminal justice system.
        He wants punishment for the man his family accuses of sexually assaulting their daughter in early 2018. Like them, the man is a Rohingya refugee living in the same camp in southern Bangladesh.
        “We don’t get any solutions,” said Abdulrahman*, drawing an exhausted sigh as his daughter played in the dirt outside their bamboo-and-tarpaulin home. “We sit in the house, waiting and seeing nothing happen.”
        Nearly one million Rohingya live in Bangladesh’s packed Rohingya camps, forced to flee their homes in Myanmar’s neighbouring Rakhine State by successive military crackdowns, including the violent purge of more than 700,000 people in 2017.

      • UN staff in Uganda accused of sexual abuse and exploitation

        The United Nations has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse and the exploitation of vulnerable women by members of its staff in Uganda’s drought-stricken northeastern Karamoja region.
        The inquiry by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services, which began early this month, follows allegations by a whistleblower of sexual abuse and exploitation by a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) staffer against a “female victim” – and a more general pattern of serious sexual misconduct by other UN staff working in what is Uganda’s poorest region.
        The allegations centre on the World Food Programme compound in the town of Moroto, and involve UN staff demanding sex from local women in exchange for food, and the hiring of sex workers who are brought onto the UN base, several UN personnel in Moroto told The New Humanitarian, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • WATCH: Journalist Daniel Dale Rattles Off Must-See Fact-Check of Trump ‘Fire Hose of Lying’

        “There was just so much lying,” said Dale. “I have hours of fact-checking tonight to do because there is even more than this.”

      • Trump shares manipulated video of Biden, replacing ‘Despacito’ with N.W.A’s anti-police anthem

        On his first visit to Florida as a presidential nominee on Tuesday, Joe Biden whipped out his cellphone to play “Despacito,” as a tribute to its singer, Luis Fonsi, who introduced the former vice president at the event. The moment exploded on social media, inspiring jokes, memes and a surprise resurgence of the 2017 single onto Twitter’s trending topics.

        Early on Wednesday morning, President Trump joined the fray — but in the video he tweeted, it wasn’t “Despacito” playing from Biden’s phone. It was N.W.A’s notorious 1988 single “F— tha Police.”

        “What is this all about?” Trump asked over the manipulated video.

      • Trump Tweeted a Doctored Video Clip of Biden Jamming to “F*ck tha Police”

        Twitter has labeled the tweet boosted by the president as “manipulated media,” an apt alliteration for Trump’s habit of boosting bogus news. The president’s penchant for obscuring, warping, or outright ignoring the truth was on display once again. It’s not the first time Twitter has applied this label to something that ended up on Trump’s Twitter feed.

      • No One Figured Out Who ‘Deep Throat’ Was … Except For Romcom Director Nora Ephron

        According to Nora Ephron, the screenwriter who created Meg Ryan’s career and married Bernstein shortly after the publication of All the President’s Men, she figured out the identity of Deep Throat immediately from her husband’s notes. He never confirmed it to her, but that didn’t stop her from telling everyone she could over the next few decades, from her children to entire rooms full of hundreds of people. In 1999, a full six years before former FBI agent Mark Felt revealed himself as Deep Throat, a teenager who went to day camp with one of the couple’s sons told reporters that Jacob Bernstein told him Deep Throat was Felt all the way back in 1988.

    • Environment

      • “Colonizing the Atmosphere”: How Rich, Western Nations Drive the Climate Crisis

        New analysis finds the Global North is responsible for 92% of all excess global carbon dioxide emissions, while the Global South bears the brunt of the devastation.

      • Cheaper air quality sensors arrived just in time for the climate catastrophe

        “The power is not in one individual monitoring their house, but in the individual contributing his data, and another individual, and the municipality, and a scientist,” says Núria Castell, a senior scientist who studies new pollution monitoring technologies at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU). “We put all this data together and then then we have something,” she says. The resulting high-resolution air quality maps can actually lead to better urban planning and cleaner air when it comes to pollution from fires, industry, or other sources.

      • Taiwan’s Hualien experiencing alarming coral bleaching

        Conservationists in Taiwan have confirmed there has been intense coral bleaching in the waters off the east coast of Hualien.

        Shitiping (石梯坪), with its coastal terraces in the Fengbin Township of Hualien, has experienced an unprecedented threat to its underwater reef ecosystems. Heat stress and overtourism are being blamed for the coral deaths, reported CNA.

      • Taiwan to feel impact of China’s pollution this week

        On Monday (Sept. 7), the Central Weather Bureau’s Air Quality Monitoring Network issued red pollution alerts for air that is unhealthy for the general public at 49 stations in 15 counties and cities across western Taiwan. Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration that day pointed out that the hourly ozone concentration level in Shanghai had reached between 130 ppb and 140 ppb and that the megacity’s air pollution had reached Taiwan.

      • Death threats, intimidation not a deterrence to scientist’s mission to save Indonesia forests

        This was just one of the many incidents where the 55-year-old Indonesian scientist received intimidation and even death threats for testifying in environmental cases, particularly those related to forest and land fire, forest encroachment and illegal logging.

        “Because in environmental cases, the key is in the expert witness,” he told CNA.

        Indonesia is no stranger to forest and land fires which authorities blame on culprits who purposely set fires to clear land. Most of the time, these fires are worsened by dry weather.

      • It’s Not Just the West. These Places Are Also on Fire.

        “We don’t have a fire problem; we have many fire problems,” said Stephen J. Pyne, an emeritus professor at Arizona State University who studies wildfires and their history. “One, obviously, is a deep one. It has to do with fossil fuels and climate.”

        Here’s a look at some of the worst recent blazes and how humans played a role in them.

      • Melting Arctic needs new name to match reality

        Change in the far north is happening so fast that soon the melting Arctic won’t be arctic any more.

      • The True Facts About the Oregon Fires, With a Video Proving It

        Okay, this flood of forest BS is pissing me off. Hear me: The national reporters helicoptering in have not got this right. NPR, Reveal tonight, etc., even the fine Pro Publica.

      • Energy

        • New Fossil Fuel Projects Meet Indigenous Resistance in New Mexico

          The spicy pungency of sagebrush filled the air in Greater Chaco, New Mexico, in late July this summer as I watched towering, rain-laden clouds gather across the endless horizon — a reminder that the midsummer monsoon season would soon turn the dirt roads that snake across the Navajo Nation reservation into quagmires.

        • The US Oil and Gas Industry’s Methane Problem Is Catching up With It

          But improved technologies, particularly from satellites, have allowed the world to increasingly fact-check industry numbers, shining a light on the true climate impact of natural gas, which is primarily methane. These days, methane emissions have become an industry black eye, to the point that major players are now clamoring for regulations after the Trump administration recently finalized the rollback of Obama-era rules meant to reduce methane leaks from oil and gas.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • ‘Ecological Disaster on Massive Scale’: Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Migratory Birds in Southwest Linked to Wildfires, Climate Crisis

          “The fact that we’re finding hundreds of these birds dying, just kind of falling out of the sky is extremely alarming.”

        • Nature and the Meaning of Truth

          Carlos Fonseca’s newest novel Natural History is more than a story I wish I had written. It is a story I wish I had lived. A fantastic and even phantasmal tale of a quest, a work of art masquerading as a scam, and a contemplation on human lives, the novel is an incisive discussion about the nature and meaning of truth. It is also about the 1960s and their aftermath, the literal and figurative existence of fire, and love faded and otherwise. Reminiscent of Roberto Bolano’s novels in tone and approach, Natural History is a dream that is real and reality that is a dream.

        • ‘Internationalism or Extinction’? Global Coalition Invites Progressives Worldwide to Attend Inaugural Summit

          “The Progressive International is convening this emergency summit… to map our current crisis, to reclaim our shared future, and to strengthen our planetary front to do so.”

        • How Many Plant Species Have Gone Extinct in North America?
        • California’s Desert Fauna Will Never Recover

          In Greener Than You Think—a 1947 novel by left-wing science fiction writer Ward Moore—a mad woman scientist in Los Angeles, one Josephine Francis, recruits a down-and-out salesman named Albert Weemer, described as having “all the instincts of a roach,” to help promote her discovery: a compound called “Metamorphizer” that enhances the growth of grasses and allows them to thrive on barren and rocky soils. She dreams of permanently ending world hunger through a massive expansion of the range of wheat and other grains. Weemer, a scientific ignoramus, thinks only of making a quick buck peddling the stuff door to door as a lawn treatment. Desperately needing cash to continue her research, Francis reluctantly agrees, and Weemer heads out to the yellowed lawns of tired bungalow neighborhoods.

    • Finance

      • ‘Just… Tax the Rich’ to Avoid Austerity, Patriotic Millionaires Tells NY Gov. Cuomo After Mayor de Blasio Cuts City Spending

        “The people of New York have sacrificed enough during this pandemic—it’s depraved to ask them to sacrifice even more to close our state’s budget gap while wealthy New Yorkers are richer now than they’ve ever been.”

      • A Movement for Housing Justice Is Camped Out on Philly Streets

        On the morning of September 9, close to 200 people gathered at the intersection of 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia and clustered between a group of police officers and city liaisons and a multicolored sprawl of dozens of camping tents. It was supposed to be eviction day for the James Talib-Dean Encampment for Permanent Equal Housing, or Camp JTD, a site for the homeless and for protest, and these encampment residents, activists, organizers, and supporters were not going to let that happen.

      • Why Don’t They Call You a Genius? You Don’t Have a Billion Dollars

        If you have a lot of money, one potent strain within American political folklore avows, you must have a lot of smarts. Or, as the classic putdown puts it, “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?”

      • The Stories We Tell About Class

        In one story commonly told by the United States, homeownership promises the good life. A white picket fence, sure, but also a washing machine, health insurance, family dinners, and a retirement account. In her new book, Having and Being Had, Eula Biss scrutinizes the persistence of this promise by reflecting on her affluence. “When I could pass as permanent,” she writes, “I bought a house.” But permanence, she quickly learns, has its own set of insecurities, alienations, and self-delusions. Much like homeownership, the stories we tell about money keep America bound to capitalism.

      • How Were 46 Million People Trapped by Student Debt? The History of an Unfulfilled Promise

        The democratic principle of tuition-free education in our country pre-dates the founding of the United States. The first public primary education was offered in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, and its legislature created Harvard College the following year to make education available to all qualified students. Even before the Constitution was ratified, the Confederation Congress enacted the Land Ordinance of 1785, which required newly established townships in territories ceded by the British to devote a section of land for a public school. It also passed the Northwest Ordinances, which set out the guidelines for how the territories could become states. Among those guidelines was a requirement to establish public universities and a stipulation that “the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” After the nation declared independence, Thomas Jefferson argued for a formal education system funded through government taxation.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • No One is “Mentally Fit” to be President

        “Most voters in six 2020 swing states,” an early September CNBC/Change Research poll finds, “do not consider either President Donald Trump or Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden mentally fit to be president.”

      • ‘Everyone in America Should Be Outraged’: McConnell Quietly Rams Through More Lifetime Trump Judges While Blocking Covid Relief

        “It’s outrageous that McConnell continues to prioritize the Trump court takeover amid the pandemic. Enough.”

      • Watching Religion Die

        Religion is fading more quickly in the United States than in any other nation, according to a forthcoming research book.

      • Troubled Times at The Intercept

        On September 13, the New York Times ran a 2,900-word article on the biggest fuck-up in U.S. leftist media in a long time, perhaps ever.

      • Journalists Need to Be Clear About a Clear Threat to Democracy

        US elections have been stolen before, and it’s important to make sure another election isn’t stolen again.

      • Which Way, Germany?

        I’ll never forget the day my father’s ancient jalopy got stuck boarding the New York-Jersey City ferry; two wheels on the dock, two on the boat, the motor stalled, my father frantic, my mother scolding, cars behind us honking, and me, just 6, looking at the swirling waters below. Two muscular ferrymen finally pushed us back on land.

      • As Trump Sows Chaos, Sanders and Schumer Call on McConnell to Hold Public Hearings, Help Restore Confidence in Election Integrity

        “We believe this issue is above partisan politics,” the senators wrote to the GOP Senate Majority Leader. 

      • Trump’s Strategy to Upend the Election Is Being Implemented in Plain Sight

        There is a lot of talk in this tempestuous political moment about what will happen after the November 3 election, especially if the results are close and Donald Trump attempts to claim an illegitimate “victory.” But what could turn out to be the most concerted effort to overturn the will of the people is taking place before most ballots are cast.

      • Biden Republicans Are a Political Illusion

        In late August, Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff under President Barack Obama as well as onetime mayor of Chicago, declared, “This will be the year of the Biden Republican.” Emanuel was describing the hope that the Democratic Party would convert enough hardcore partisans to fundamentally realign American politics. Just as Reagan Democrats helped the Republicans dominate American politics in the 1980s, so Biden Republicans could help usher in a new era. To that end, much of the Democratic National Convention was tailored to please Republicans more than Democrats, with plenty of speeches by past and present Republicans like Colin Powell, Michael Bloomberg, John Kasich, and Cindy McCain. Progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were marginalized. This stood in contrast to the Republican convention, which was aimed not at outreach but at bolstering the party’s Trumpist identity, with all the adult children of the president speaking.

      • Scientific American Breaks With 175-Year Precedent to Endorse Biden

        Scientific American has endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time in the widely respected magazine’s 175-year history. The editorial board members broke with tradition on Tuesday, writing in an editorial that they are “compelled” to endorse Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — and urge readers to vote out President Trump.

      • “Let Me Finish My Question” — English Professor Reprimands Trump at Town Hall

        President Trump was confronted by a voter claiming to be “on the fence” about the elections over a question regarding protections for Americans with preexisting health conditions. The incident took place at a town hall event hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday evening.

      • How to Do More Than Panic About Voter Suppression

        Trump’s attacks on Black protesters and Black people are inextricably bound to the arguments he will make to try to invalidate the election. In this episode, Truthout’s Kelly Hayes talks with voting rights activist Anoa Changa about how you can defend voting rights in the homestretch of the presidential race.

      • ‘Why Is He Trying So Hard to Keep It a Secret?’ Postal Service Sued Over Refusal to Release DeJoy Calendar

        “The public is entitled to see how he’s spending his time and who has been influencing his decisions.”

      • US Postal Service Sued Over Refusal to Release DeJoy’s Calendar

        Government watchdog group American Oversight filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday over its refusal to turn over Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s calendar in response to a Freedom of Information request, stonewalling that the nonpartisan organization said could indicate the USPS chief has something to hide.

      • Love, family, and fear She married the son of Russia’s future, now former, attorney general. Now Marina Chaika is fighting for a divorce and access to her children.

        In late July, Artyom Chaika and his wife Marina were divorced at Moscow’s Presnensky District Court. Artyom is challenging the marriage’s dissolution, however, and an appellate court will hear the matter on September 17. The son of Russia’s former attorney general, Yuri Chaika (now presidential envoy to the North Caucasus District), Artyom is also suing for full custody of their youngest daughter. Marina says he has tried to intimidate her, threatening to take away her children. He even confiscated her identification documents, including her passport, apparently to prevent her from fleeing Russia. Meduza special correspondent Svetlana Reiter spoke with Marina about her marriage and divorce.

      • Is Mike Pompeo Preparing an October Surprise?

        Less than six weeks before the crucial November elections, the United States may be in a new war. The timing could not be more convenient. 

      • Corporate Crime at the New York Times and Washington Post

        How much would it cost to put that item on the agenda?

      • Undercover for Center E One woman’s story of being recruited by investigators from Russia’s secretive Anti-Extremism Center

        A recent story from the Russian legal news outlet “Mediazona” dives into the case of a woman living in the far-eastern city of Chita, who was charged with justifying terrorism because of a social media post. The woman claims that after searching her home, investigators from the regional Anti-Extremism Center (Center E) offered to help her get a lighter sentence: all she had to do in return was infiltrate the Chita branch of “Union SSR” — a trade union organization that denies the collapse of the Soviet Union and doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of the Russian Federation. “Meduza” summarizes this ongoing story, which, in the words of “Mediazona” editor-in-chief Sergey Smirnov, offers an inside look at the work of Russia’s secretive Center E.

      • The Anti-Racist Feminist and the Corporate CEO

        In 2016, the former corporate leader and TV show host Donald Trump became US president. In the night that his victory was announced, previous Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader David Duke described the event as one of the most exciting nights of my life. A year later, the FBI revealed that hate crimes increased for a second consecutive year, with attacks targeting Muslim and Jewish people as well as the LGBTQ community.

      • Conspiracy Panic

        The most consequential false conspiracy theory of the last twenty years in the United States centered on fabricated accusations raised against the Iraqi state in 2002-3. These claimed that Iraq maintained secret stores of “weapons of mass destruction” and intended to use them against the West, perhaps imminently. Most versions also insinuated the Saddam regime was involved in some vague manner in perpetrating the 9/11 attacks together with its sworn enemies, the jihadi movements then doing business as al-Qaeda. That is what the vice-president running the regime, Cheney, repeatedly said. His president, Bush, just repeated the magic words 9/11-Saddam-9/11-Saddam-9/11 for months, until it was taken to be true by enough people to allow a smooth start to the carnage. The claims were actively fabricated by officials and agents at several agencies of the U.S., UK and other national security states, by various client groups and allied journalists, and by freelance assholes looking to get a piece of the action. The fabricators knew they were lying, and they knew that they lied so as to sell a planned, unprovoked war of aggression to the American, UK, and other western publics. The resulting war destroyed a nation, led to more than a million deaths, and accelerated the establishment of an archipelago of torture centers under U.S. control.

      • Not worth it Russia asks the EU nine questions about Navalny’s poisoning, arguing that he’s too unpopular to warrant assassination and, hey, maybe his own colleagues are responsible

        Russia’s Permanent Mission to the European Union has urged EU officials and members of the European Parliament to “look into” nine supposed “inconsistencies” regarding the “incident which occurred with a Russian political activist and blogger Alexey Navalny,” who European experts say was poisoned with a Novichok-class nerve agent while traveling in Siberia on August 20. Acknowledging that its staff members are not toxicology experts, Russia’s EU Permanent Mission says Navalny’s sudden illness precipitated “a rapidly growing information campaign in the EU, both in official circles and the media.” Russia’s questions come in advance of a debate planned in the European Parliament about the attack against Navalny. Many of the questions from Russia’s EU Permanent Mission parrot talking points and conspiracy theories that have spread for weeks in the pro-Kremlin media and blogosphere. 

      • ‘In Russia, it’s either Putin or Navalny’ ‘New People’ party leader Alexey Nechayev on the recent elections, building coalitions, and changing the system from the inside

        Alexey Nechayev, the founder of the beauty and apparel company Faberlic, is the leader of “New People” — a newly established political party, which managed to win seats in four regional parliaments during the September 2020 elections. New People has now become the most successful political projects among the number of new parties that emerged simultaneously about a year ago, all of which are rumored to have the Kremlin’s support. In conversation with “Meduza” special correspondent Andrey Pertsev, Alexey Nechayev talks about the recent elections, the potential for building coalitions, and his stance on cooperating with the authorities (the following is a summary of their conversation — the full Q&A is available in Russian here).

      • Will a Biden Foreign Policy Make a Difference for the World?

        The “left” rationalization for collaborating with the neoliberal wing of the democrat party is premised on the argument that a win for the national Democrat candidate translates into better possible policy outcomes for the “people” and nation. More importantly though, they assert, Trump’s defeat will alter the rightist trajectory of U.S. politics away from what they refer to as Trump’s neofascist inclinations.

      • Peace Plans That Have Nothing to Do With Peace

        They have much more to do with U.S. arms and the threat of war with Iran. 

      • Trump’s “Peace” Deals Will Worsen Oppression in Middle East, Legal Scholar Says

        As the Trump administration celebrates deals establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, we speak with Palestinian American legal scholar Noura Erakat, who says Trump’s “peace” agreements are a sham. “This is not about advancing any kind of meaningful, enduring peace, but instead about entrenching a geopolitical alliance that would otherwise increase oppression for people of the Middle East,” says Erakat, assistant professor at Rutgers University and author of Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine.

      • Noura Erakat: Trump’s Bahrain-UAE-Israel Deal Won’t Advance Palestinian Peace & Will Up Repression

        As the Trump administration celebrates deals establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, we speak with Palestinian American legal scholar Noura Erakat, who says Trump’s “peace” agreements are a sham. “This is not about advancing any kind of meaningful, enduring peace, but instead about entrenching a geopolitical alliance that would otherwise increase oppression for people of the Middle East,” says Erakat, assistant professor at Rutgers University and author of “Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine.”

      • ProPublica’s Pandemic Guide to Making Sure Your Vote Counts

        If you’re anxious about running into problems exercising your right to vote this election, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, nearly half of registered voters expect casting their ballots will be difficult, a 34-point increase since the 2018 midterms. Like almost every aspect of our lives during the pandemic, voting may look a bit different than usual. But with a little planning, you should be able to vote either masked and socially distanced at the polls, or by mail without issue.

        Experts say that with proper COVID-19 precautions, the risk of voting in person is similar to shopping at a grocery store. However, election experts also anticipate record turnout, fewer polling locations and a higher-than-ever number of people choosing to vote by mail, so it’s important to plan ahead.

      • “I Have Blood On My Hands”: A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation

        The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them.

      • Barbados decides to dump the queen

        Many former British colonies have contemplated the republican idea, only to discover that it is hard to execute. Barbados dithered for nearly a quarter century. A constitutional commission proposed in 1998 that the country become a republic. Successive governments promised referendums to confirm public support for the idea, but never held one. Ms Mottley does not think she needs a referendum to get her republic, and is not constitutionally required to hold one.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Repeal Section 230 to Fix Facebook

        Many people are worried that Facebook is playing the same role in the 2020 election that it did in the 2016 election, acting as a conduit for massive amounts of false and misleading information. They hope that Mark Zuckerberg will rise to the task and act to limit the spread of false and hateful stories.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Twitter Removes Account For Pointing Users To Leaked Documents Obtained By A Hacking Collective (June 2020)

        Summary: Late in June 2020, a leak-focused group known as “Distributed Denial of Secrets” (a.k.a., “DDoSecrets”) published a large collection of law enforcement documents apparently obtained by the hacking collective Anonymous.

      • What the *, Nintendo? This in-game censorship is * terrible.

        While many are staying at home and escaping into virtual worlds, it’s natural to discuss what’s going on in the physical world. But Nintendo is shutting down those conversations with its latest Switch system update (Sep. 14, 2020) by adding new terms like COVID, coronavirus and ACAB to its censorship list for usernames, in-game messages, and search terms for in-game custom designs (but not the designs themselves).

      • EFF Joins Coalition Urging Senators to Reject the EARN IT Act

        Recently, EFF joined the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and 26 other organizations to send a letter to the Senate opposing the EARN IT Act (S. 3398), asking that the Senate oppose fast tracking the bill, and to vote NO on passage of the bill.

        As we have written many times before, if passed, the EARN IT Act would threaten free expression, harm innovation, and jeopardize important security protocols. We were pleased to join with other organizations that share our concerns about this harmful bill.

      • Facebook axes political ad saying trans athletes will ‘destroy girls sports’

        The ad features a male runner easily winning a race against female competitors, in an apparent swipe at transgender inclusion policies, while decrying the support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., for the Equality Act, which the ad says would “destroy girls sports.”

      • Protect children without spying on citizens! Patrick Breyer warns against EU proposal on filtering of all private online communications

        The EU Commission is proposing to screen and monitor all private electronic communications without suspicion in order to search for possible child pornographic content. Today it presented draft legislation to this effect. International providers of e-mail and messenger services are to be permitted to search the content of all private messages for child and youth pornography as well as for the “luring” of minors in order to report this to authorities and non-governmental organizations worldwide. Not only searches for known pictures and videos are to be legalised, but also error-prone “artificial intelligence”, for example to automatically search text messages for “luring” of minors. If an algorithm reports a suspected message, message content and customer data could be automatically forwarded to law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations worldwide without human examination. Regardless of the outcome of the case, the persons concerned should never know that their private communications were disclosed.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Day 7: September 16, 2020 #AssangeCase

        American journalist John Goetz, who has worked in Germany for the last 30 years, testified today about his experiences as a media partner on WikiLeaks’ releases in 2010. Working for Der Spiegel, Goetz had already been reporting on Iraq and Afghanistan when he joined the partnership to report the Afghan War Diaries, the Iraq War Logs, and the State Department cables.

      • Daniel Ellsberg Tells UK Court That US Seeks Both ‘Revenge’ Against Julian Assange and to ‘Crush’ Future Whistleblowers

        The Pentagon Papers leaker previously called Assange’s prosecution the most “significant attack on freedom of the press” since his 1971 case. 

      • Good Ellsberg, Bad Assange: At Extradition Trial, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Dismantles False Narrative

        Opponents of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange often hold up Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as an example of someone who was responsible for a good leak. They insist WikiLeaks is not like the Pentagon Papers because supposedly Assange was reckless with sensitive documents.On the seventh day of an extradition trial against Assange, Ellsberg dismantled this false narrative and outlined for a British magistrate court why Assange would not receive a fair trial in the United States.Assange is accused of 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime that, as alleged in the indictment, is written like an Espionage Act offense.

        The charges criminalize the act of merely receiving classified information, as well as the publication of state secrets from the United States government. It targets common practices in news gathering, which is why the case is widely opposed by press freedom organizations throughout the world.James Lewis, a prosecutor from the Crown Prosecution Service who represents the U.S. government, told Ellsberg, “When you published the Pentagon Papers, you were very careful in what you provided to the media.”The lead prosecutor highlighted the fact that Ellsberg withheld four volumes of the Pentagon Papers that he did not want published because they may have impacted diplomatic efforts to end the Vietnam War. However, Ellsberg’s decision to withhold those volumes had nothing to do with protecting the names of U.S. intelligence sources.As Ellsberg described for the court, the 4,000 pages of documents he disclosed to the media contained thousands of names of Americans, Vietnamese, and North Vietnamese. There was even a clandestine CIA officer, who was named.Nowhere in the Pentagon Papers was an “adequate justification for the killing that we were doing,” Ellsberg said. “I was afraid if I redacted or withheld anything at all it would be inferred I left out” the good reasons why the U.S. was pursuing the Vietnam War.Ellsberg was concerned about revealing the name of a clandestine CIA officer, though he mentioned the individual was well-known in South Vietnam. Had he published the name of the officer today, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act could have easily been used to prosecute him. But he left it in the documents so no one could make inferences about redacted sections that may undermine what he exposed.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 10

        The gloves were off on Tuesday as the US Government explicitly argued that all journalists are liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act (1917) for publishing classified information, citing the Rosen case. Counsel for the US government also argued that the famous Pentagon Papers supreme court judgement on the New York Times only referred to pre-publication injunction and specifically did not preclude prosecution under the Espionage Act. The US Government even surmised in court that such an Espionage Act prosecution of the New York Times may have been successful.

      • Assange on Trial: Supermax Prisons and Special Administrative Measures
      • Belarusian authorities continue to arrest, obstruct journalists covering protests

        Since yesterday, authorities have ordered the detention of at least two journalists, raided a journalist’s home, and fined two freelance reporters, all of whom covered protests calling for the resignation of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, according to news reports and Andrei Bastunets, the head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, a local trade group, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘We Are Civilization’s Anchor. We Are the Compass for Humanity and Conscience.’

        Philadelphia—Philadelphia has always been my home. “Born and raised” is what we say.

      • What Does It Mean to Act White?
      • Lawmakers Demand Probe into ‘Horrifying’ Allegations of Neglect, Mass Hysterectomies at ICE Detention Center

        “These allegations are part of a larger pattern of reproductive injustices conducted by ICE officials.”

      • Here Are the 50 ‘Most Egregious’ Ways Trump Has Attacked Workers While Falsely Claiming to Be Their Champion

        “The administration has systematically promoted the interests of corporate executives and shareholders over those of working people and failed to protect workers’ safety, wages, and rights.”

      • Jails Are Designed to Keep Inmates Hidden

        In New York, a city famous for its historic bridges, one in lower Manhattan escapes notice: a “Bridge of Sighs” at the Manhattan Detention Complex.

      • ‘Tyrannical and Un-American’: ACLU Rebukes Barr for Urging Sedition Charges Against Protesters

        “Treating protest as a form of sedition won’t hold up in court,” said the ACLU. “But that is clearly not the point here.” 

      • Russian nationalist ‘Tesak’ found dead in prison cell after apparent suicide

        The Russian nationalist Maxim Martsinkevich, better known by his nickname “Tesak” (Hatchet), was found dead today in his prison cell in Chelyabinsk. A source at the facility told the news agency TASS that Martsinkevich killed himself. The prison’s spokespeople later confirmed to journalists at URA.ru that Martsinkevich was alone in his cell before he died. Both prison officials and state investigators are now reviewing the incident.

      • Sorry to bother you: A Russian nationalist is found dead in prison along with a note, but his lawyers and family doubt suicide

        The Russian nationalist Maxim Martsinkevich, better known by his nickname “Tesak” (Hatchet), was found dead today in his prison cell in Chelyabinsk. “On Wednesday morning, an inmate born in 1984 was found without signs of life in a cell in the Chelyabinsk Region’s Federal Penitentiary Service Main Directorate Detention Center. A team of doctors attempted resuscitation measures but failed to restore the inmate’s life,” spokespeople for the Federal Penitentiary Service announced, confirming that an internal review is already underway. State investigators are also conducting a preliminary inquiry.

      • Mychal Denzel Smith on Breonna Taylor, Defunding Police, Systemic Racism & His Trump-Era Depression

        Journalist and author Mychal Denzel Smith joins us for a wide-ranging discussion on the uprising against racist police, the upcoming presidential election and why he says a Biden win won’t cure his Trump-era depression, and his new book, “Stakes Is High: Life after the American Dream.” Denzel Smith questions whether arresting and charging the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor, a core demand of many protests in the wake of her death, represents justice, despite the historic settlement between Louisville and her family. “The only way to prevent another instance of the situation that took Breonna Taylor’s life is to defund, dismantle police departments across the nation,” Smith says. He argues defeating Donald Trump in November will not solve systemic racism, inequality or the climate crisis. “What Joe Biden has offered thus far is not a transformative enough agenda to be able to face those issues.”

      • Continue to Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor’s Family Wants Cops Arrested After Historic $12M Settlement

        The city of Louisville, Kentucky, will pay a historic $12 million settlement to the family of Breonna Taylor, more than six months after police shot and killed the 26-year-old Black emergency room technician in her own apartment and Taylor became a household name as part of the nationwide uprising in defense of Black lives. It is one of the largest payouts ever for a police killing of a Black person in the U.S. The city will also institute major reforms to the police department responsible for Taylor’s death. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the settlement at a press conference, where he was joined by members of Taylor’s family. We air excerpts from the remarkable press conference.

      • Forced Sterilization Is Nothing New to Criminalized People in the US

        The United States has long used citizenship status and perceived criminality as a means to determine whether individuals deserve basic human rights. This week’s egregious allegations of mass hysterectomies at an immigrant jail in Georgia are consistent with the long U.S. tradition of state-sanctioned eugenics, medical abuse and forced sterilizations against those whose humanity the state does not recognize or value.

      • ‘This Fight Is Not Over’: Activists Help ICE Detainee Avoid Deportation Following Alleged Sterilization Procedure at Georgia Facility

        Pauline Binam, a Cameroonian who has lived in the U.S. since the age of two, was detained at an ICE facility where her fallopian tubes were removed, allegedly without her consent.

      • Belarus: Systematic Beatings, Torture of Protesters

        Human Rights Watch interviewed 27 former detainees, 21 men and 6 women, nearly all of whom said they were arrested between August 8 and 12. Some were arrested as they took part in demonstrations that they described as peaceful; others were grabbed off the streets or from their cars. Many shared medical documents and photographs of injuries. At least five still had bruises and/or wore casts at the time of the interview. Human Rights Watch also spoke with 14 people with knowledge of the arrests and abuse, most between August 20 and 29, in Minsk, Hrodna, and Homiel, including witnesses to arrests, healthcare workers, and detainees’ relatives. Human Rights Watch also examined 67 video recordings and written accounts by former detainees and their relatives, either from public sources or shared directly with researchers.

        On the basis of Human Rights Watch’s findings, much of the physical abuse by riot police and other law enforcement agents constitutes torture, as do the detention conditions that interviewees described.

        From August 9 to 13, police arrested nearly 7,000 people amid an unprecedented wave of popular and largely peaceful protests. They alleged widespread election irregularities that led to the contested re-election of the incumbent, Aleksander Lukashenka, who has been in power since 1994.

      • ‘Mass hysterectomies’ at ICE happened on Trump’s watch. But they’re America’s problem.

        From 2006 to 2010, physicians working for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation performed tubal ligations on 148 women after they gave birth while incarcerated, as reported by Reveal. From 1997 to 2010, these forced sterilization procedures were paid for by California taxpayers, to the tune of $147,460. According to Reveal, advocates and other inmates allege at least some of these surgeries were coerced. The number of people coerced or forced into sterilizations in California prisons and mental institutions is most likely much higher, however, due to the prevalence of the practice in the 20th century.

      • EU police forces plan new information system

        European police authorities have numerous applications for communication and information exchange. Member States are now developing another platform for large-scale police operations and terrorist attacks. The European domestic secret services have a similar system.

      • Police in Austria use facial recognition for demonstrations

        The comparison of police photographs in Austria and Germany was provided by the Cognitech company from Dresden. In both countries the technology was used in investigations after political assemblies. In future, the EU wants to make facial image searches possible in all member states.

      • Don’t blame refugees for the Moria fires, blame EU policy

        No matter how the fires started, it’s no accident that it took less than two days for Moria, the largest refugee camp in Europe, to almost completely burn down last week.
        Over five troubled years, the Moria Reception and Identification Centre on the Greek island of Lesvos had sprawled into a dense slum of highly flammable makeshift structures because of EU externalisation policies confining asylum seekers at Europe’s periphery, and because of consistent neglect of its infrastructure.
        Even before Moria had finished burning – or the cause of the fires had been officially established – Greek officials had blamed camp residents and called for perpetrators to be deported. Less than a week later, five former inhabitants were arrested on arson charges.

    • Monopolies

      • Instagram Freeze Organizers Say Campaign Isn’t About Bottom Line, But “A Grassroots Movement”

        Kim Kardashian, Kerry Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Ruffalo and Dwyane Wade are part of the campaign organized by a coalition of civil rights groups that want Instagram owner Facebook to curb racism, misinformation and hate speech on its platforms.

      • Patents

        • Patent Agent Privilege: Another Case Recognizes its Limited Scope

          In Luv N’ Care, Ltd. v. Williams Intellectual Prop., Civil Action No. 18-mc-00212-WJM-KLM, 6-7 (D. Colo. Jun. 12, 2019) (here) the court addressed a claim of privilege over communications between client and a patent agent. The case is a reminder that, while the privilege exists, its scope is limited.

          [...]

          Thus, the court reasoned, “communications which are not ‘reasonably necessary and incident to the preparation and prosecution’ of patent proceedings before the USPTO are not protected by the patent-agent privilege. For example, communications with a patent agent who is offering an opinion on the validity of another party’s patent in contemplation of litigation or for the sale or purchase of a patent, or on infringement, are not reasonably necessary and incident to the preparation and prosecution of patent applications, and thus are not protected by the privilege.” Id.

          In my experience, the limitations on “practice before the Office” that often get overlooked include: (1) non-infringement or validity opinions — as the court recognized — but also (2) assignments. Another limitation is that a state court may not follow the Federal Circuit’s lead and the Luv N’ Care court even suggested that regional circuit law, not Federal Circuit law, would control.

        • Software Patents

          • $2,000 for prior art on inventor-owned patent, Kaufman ’981

            On September 16, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 7,885,981. The patent is owned by Michael Philip Kaufman, an NPE. The ’981 patent generally relates to generating a user interface (UI) for a relational database, where the UI display includes various display modes.

            The ‘981 patent has been asserted in district court against companies such as Microsoft and Salesforce.

            In addition, the ’981 patent has been subject two prior IPR proceedings. IPR2017-01141 was denied because the combination did not appear to disclose the “scanning” limitation or storing/using the scanned data. IPR2017-01142 was denied because the Petitioner tried to break the priority chain, but the PTAB did not agree, so they did not reach the merits of those references.

      • Trademarks

        • CJEU confirms no likelihood of confusion between MASSI and MESSI

          Today, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) upheld a 2018 decision by the General Court (GC), in which it held that there is no likelihood of confusion between the word mark MASSI and a figurative sign containing the word MESSI. The latter sign was filed by Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini, better known as just Messi, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.

          The GC’s decision can be found here [only available in French and Spanish; English press release here]. The CJEU’s decision was not yet available at the time of writing, but the press release can be found here. It is expected later today and will then be available here.

          The decision is important because it confirms the special status of the conceptual comparison in the likelihood of confusion test: even if signs have a high degree of visual and aural similarity, strong conceptual dissimilarity may suffice to prevent a finding of likelihood of confusion. Just a few months ago, the CJEU restricted such a finding to “exceptional cases” in C-328/18 P Black Label by Equivalenza [par. 75, Katpost here]. Today’s decision is a prime example of such an exceptional case.

        • A Valentino by any other name

          A recent opposition case, Valentino S.p.A. v. Matsuda & Co., heard by the IP Adjudicator David Llewelyn, reaffirmed the uncertainties in seeking to assert trademark rights when using a common personal name for your brand.

          [...]

          The opponent, an Italian high end fashion company, owns numerous trade mark registrations in Singapore for “VALENTINO” or its variants. The applicant appears to be a Japanese fashion company offering their wares for sale under the “Valentino Rudy” brand.

          This is not the first time that the opponent has opposed the applicant’s mark in Singapore. In 2012, the opponent unsuccessfully opposed the applicant’s Trade Mark No. T0623268D, for the same mark in Class 3 (the 2012 Case).

        • [Guest post] Release of the new top level domain “.gay”: LGBTQ empowerment or undue exploitation?

          Portland-based (USA) company Top Level Design developed the TLD “.GAY” to connect and celebrate LGBTQ communities and, according to the company’s policy for this TLD, to create a gay-friendly internet space banning harassment, hate speech and anti-LGBTQ contents that might appear within the “.gay” LTD webpages. The TLD is available for purchase at USD 41.62 per year with an additional USD 41.62 fee for a further one-year renewal (see here). The company stated that it will donate the 20% from the registration revenues to GLAAD and CenterLink. The beneficiaries might change after one year but, in the first LTD release, Top Level Design was able to donate USD 34,400 (see here).

          In the vast sea of available LTDs, it seems that those that represent and are used for social purposes are provided and organised by non-profit organisations. For example, the “.org” LTD is made available by the Virginia-based Public Interest Registry which, like Top Level Design, collaborates with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Similarly, the “.eu” LTD is disciplined by Article 9 of Regulation (Eu) 2019/517, which requires that “the Registry shall be a not-for-profit organisation”. Although it pledged to devote 20% of its revenues to organisations militating for the LGBTQ community rights, Top Level Design remains a for-profit company.

      • Copyrights

        • Piratebay.org Sold for $50,000 at Auction, ThePiratebay.com Up Next

          Several Pirate Bay-related domains become available again this month after their owner failed to renew the registration. Yesterday, Piratebay.org was sold in a Dropcatch auction for $50,000 and ThePiratebay.com will follow soon. Both domains were previously registered to the official Pirate Bay site.

        • Police Send Warning Letters to Pirate IPTV Customers Citing Fraud Act

          Following the arrest of a 24-year-old man in the UK late June, police used his pirate IPTV service to display a warning message to subscribers. To further press home the message that viewing pirate streams is illegal, police are now serving thousands of GE Hosting’s subscribers with cease-and-desist notices, referencing theoretical prosecutions under the Fraud Act.

        • Alleged Operators of Epic Stream IPTV Face List of Piracy Charges in Canada

          Nova Scotia RCMP has charged two people in connection with Operation Hotwire, a federal investigation into illegal IPTV supply. The husband and wife team face a laundry list of charges that could result in a five year prison sentence, a CAD$1m fine, or both. The service in question hasn’t been named but TorrentFreak understands that it operated under the Epic Stream branding.

        • Copyright Companies Want Memes That Are Legal In The EU Blocked Because They Now Admit Upload Filters Are ‘Practically Unworkable’

          The passage of the EU Copyright Directive last year represented one of the most disgraceful examples of successful lobbying and lying by the publishing, music, and film industries. In order to convince MEPs to vote for the highly controversial legislation, copyright companies and their political allies insisted repeatedly that the upload filters needed to implement Article 17 (originally Article 13) were optional, and that user rights would of course be respected online. But as Techdirt and many others warned at the time, this was untrue, as even the law’s supporters admitted once it had been passed. Now that the EU member states are starting to implement the Directive, it is clear that there is no alternative to upload filters, and that freedom of speech will therefore be massively harmed by the new law. France has even gone so far as ignore the requirement for the few user protections that the Copyright Directive graciously provides.

Codes of Contradiction

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 8:03 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

FFree software organizations are making more and more noise about their Codes of Conduct these days.

Do we really understand what they are about?

Debian has become a case in point.

The Debian Project Leader and sidekicks have spent almost two years sending private emails disparaging a volunteer. These emails are examples of what normal people call harassment. Every one of them violates the Code of Conduct.

They argue that it is permissible to write these things in private emails because it is not a public medium that might be found in a search engine.

It is permissible for leaders to write nasty things about volunteers but it is not permissible for volunteers to write things about the leaders.

Can you have a Code of Conduct that is only used when convenient for oppressing somebody? Or is that a Code of Contradiction?

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