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09.24.20

Links 24/9/2020: KaOS 2020.09, Arch Conf 2020 Coming, IBM Z Day 2020 Ends

Posted in News Roundup at 12:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • How to Contribute to the Fight Against COVID-19 With Your Linux System

      Want to contribute to the research on coronavirus? You don’t necessarily have to be a scientist for this. You may contribute with part of your computer’s computing power thanks to Rosetta@home project.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Raspberry Pi 4 as Desktop Computer: Is It Really Viable?

        There’s little doubt that the Raspberry Pi 4 is significantly more powerful than its predecessors. Its based on the faster ARM Cortex-A72 microarchitecture and has four cores pegged at marginally-higher clock speeds. The graphics subsystem is significantly beefed up as well, running at twice the maximum stock clocks as the outgoing model. Everything about it makes it a viable desktop replacement. But is it really good enough to replace your trusty old desktop? I spent three weeks with the 8GB version of the Pi 4 to answer that million-dollar question.

      • Lenovo to roll out Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS across nearly 30 ThinkPads, ThinkStations

        The Linux desktop may never be as popular as the Windows desktop, but more top-tier computer OEMs are now offering a broad assortment of Linux desktops. In the latest move, Lenovo, currently the top PC vendor in the world according to Gartner, will roll Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS out across 30 of Lenovo’s ThinkPads and ThinkStations.

        Wowser!

        While Lenovo started certifying most of its laptop and PC line on the top Linux distributions since June 2020, this is a much bigger step. Now, instead of simply acknowledging its equipment will be guaranteed to run Linux, Lenovo’s selling Ubuntu Linux-powered hardware to ordinary Joe and Jane users.

      • Lenovo Expands Linux-Ready Computer Line

        As the next step in its Linux expansion program, Lenovo on Wednesday announced the launch of Linux-ready ThinkPad and ThinkStation PCs pre-installed with Canonical’s popular Ubuntu technology.

        The company also now brings Linux certification to its ThinkPad and ThinkStation Workstation portfolio, along with easing deployment for developers and data scientists. Lenovo is moving to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from both Ubuntu and Red Hat. This includes every model and configuration.

      • Lenovo is Bringing Linux to ThinkPad, ThinkStation

        In a surprising development, Lenovo announced today that it will offer Ubuntu Linux preinstalled on ThinkPad laptops and ThinkStation desktop PCs.

        “Lenovo’s vision of enabling smarter technology for all really does mean ‘for all’,” said Lenovo vice president Igor Bergman said. “Our goal is to remove the complexity and provide the Linux community with the premium experience that our customers know us for. This is why we have taken this next step to offer Linux-ready devices right out of the box.”

        Lenovo announced that it was bringing Linux to its workstation products in June, but this expansion brings the open-source platform to the firm’s mainstream business PCs. That said, Lenovo is targeting developers with this support, not traditional business users.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 875

        ubiquiti woes, 3d printers, new or fix

      • The Dishonest Criticisms Against Tiling Window Managers

        I’ve noticed that anytime I do a video about window managers, especially tiling window managers, that I get a lot of comments about how people shouldn’t waste their time with window managers and that it isn’t worth the effort involved. I think those arguments are dishonest and I want to address them.

      • Destination Linux 192: Super Productivity Interview & Big Updates On Nvidia Buying ARM

        This week the DL Triforce brings to an Interview with the developer of Super Productivity, a To-Do App for Linux. There’s a lot of new updates in the Nvidia Acquisition of ARM and how RISC-V might come into play. We’re also going to ask some Community Feedback including a question about why we wouldnt use BSD if Linux wasn’t available. The we discuss Xfce’s upcoming 4.16 release. In the Gaming section this week we get you prepped for a spooky Halloween and we talk about the new DLN Xonotic Server. Later in the show we’ll give you our popular tips/tricks and software picks. Plus so much more, coming up right now on Destination Linux.

      • FLOSS Weekly 597: Declaration of Digital Autonomy – User Freedom, Consent & Rights

        What are the rights users have when using technology built by big tech? Doc Searls and Dan Lynch talk with Molly De Blanc and Karen Sandler, and discuss their Declaration of Digital Autonomy. The declaration was created to build awareness and ideally change people’s rights and freedoms when it comes to technology. They talk about what needs to change to make technology serve the individual and not the companies who intend to monetize its use. Individuals don’t understand the contract they have with their technology and that is why this declaration is so important. De Blanc and Sandler invite listeners to email their ideas to thoughts@techautonomy.org to continue this conversation on digital autonomy.

      • Developer Unfriendly | Coder Radio 380
    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.8.11
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.8.11 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 5.4.67
      • Linux 4.19.147
      • Linux 4.14.199
      • Linux 4.9.237
      • Linux 4.4.237
      • Modernizing the tasklet API

        Tasklets offer a deferred-execution method in the Linux kernel; they have been available since the 2.3 development series. They allow interrupt handlers to schedule further work to be executed as soon as possible after the handler itself. The tasklet API has its shortcomings, but it has stayed in place while other deferred-execution methods, including workqueues, have been introduced. Recently, Kees Cook posted a security-inspired patch set (also including work from Romain Perier) to improve the tasklet API. This change is uncontroversial, but it provoked a discussion that might lead to the removal of the tasklet API in the (not so distant) future.

        The need for tasklets and other deferred execution mechanisms comes from the way the kernel handles interrupts. An interrupt is (usually) caused by some hardware event; when it happens, the execution of the current task is suspended and the interrupt handler takes the CPU. Before the introduction of threaded interrupts, the interrupt handler had to perform the minimum necessary operations (like accessing the hardware registers to silence the interrupt) and then call an appropriate deferred-work mechanism to take care of just about everything else that needed to be done. Threaded interrupts, yet another import from the realtime preemption work, move the handler to a kernel thread that is scheduled in the usual way; this feature was merged for the 2.6.30 kernel, by which time tasklets were well established.

        An interrupt handler will schedule a tasklet when there is some work to be done at a later time. The kernel then runs the tasklet when possible, typically when the interrupt handler finishes, or the task returns to the user space. The tasklet callback runs in atomic context, inside a software interrupt, meaning that it cannot sleep or access user-space data, so not all work can be done in a tasklet handler. Also, the kernel only allows one instance of any given tasklet to be running at any given time; multiple different tasklet callbacks can run in parallel. Those limitations of tasklets are not present in more recent deferred work mechanisms like workqueues. But still, the current kernel contains more than a hundred users of tasklets.

        Cook’s patch set changes the parameter type for the tasklet’s callback. In current kernels, they take an unsigned long value that is specified when the tasklet is initialized. This is different from other kernel mechanisms with callbacks; the preferred way in current kernels is to use a pointer to a type-specific structure. The change Cook proposes goes in that direction by passing the tasklet context (struct tasklet_struct) to the callback. The goal behind this work is to avoid a number of problems, including a need to cast from the unsigned int to a different type (without proper type checking) in the callback. The change allows the removal of the (now) redundant data field from the tasklet structure. Finally, this change mitigates the possible buffer overflow attacks that could overwrite the callback pointer and the data field. This is likely one of the primary objectives, as the work was first posted (in 2019) on the kernel-hardening mailing list.

      • Android kernel notes from LPC 2020

        Todd Kjos started things off by introducing the Android Generic Kernel Image (GKI) effort, which is aimed at reducing Android’s kernel-fragmentation problem in general. It is the next step for the Android Common Kernel, which is based on the mainline long-term support (LTS) releases with a number of patches added on top. These patches vary from Android-specific, out-of-tree features to fixes cherry-picked from mainline releases. The end result is that the Android Common Kernel diverges somewhat from the LTS releases on which it is based.

        From there, things get worse. Vendors pick up this kernel and apply their own changes — often significant, core-kernel changes — to create a vendor kernel. The original-equipment manufacturers begin with that kernel when creating a device based on the vendor’s chips, but then add changes of their own to create the OEM kernel that is shipped with a device to the consumer. The end result of all this patching is that every device has its own kernel, meaning that there are thousands of different “Android” kernels in use.

        There are a lot of costs to this arrangement, Kjos said. Fragmentation makes it harder to ensure that all devices are running current kernels — or even that they get security updates. New platform releases require a new kernel, which raises the cost of upgrading an existing device to a new Android version. Fixes applied by vendors and OEMs often do not make it back into the mainline, making things worse for everybody.

        The Android developers would like to fix this fragmentation problem; the path toward that goal involves providing a single generic kernel in binary form (the GKI) that all devices would use. Any vendor-specific or device-specific code that is not in the mainline kernel will need to be shipped in the form of kernel modules to be loaded into the GKI. That means that Android is explicitly encouraging vendor modules, Kjos said; the result is a cleaner kernel without the sorts of core-kernel modifications that ship on many devices now.

        This policy has already resulted in more vendors actively working to upstream their code. That code often does not take the form that mainline developers would like to see; some of it is just patches exporting symbols. That has created some tension in the development community, he said.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Will It Blend

          For the past few days, I’ve been trying to fix a troublesome bug. Specifically, the Unigine Heaven benchmark wasn’t drawing most textures in color, and this was hampering my ability to make further claims about zink being the fastest graphics driver in the history of software since it’s not very impressive to be posting side-by-side screenshots that look like garbage even if the FPS counter in the corner is higher.

          [...]

          The Magic Of Dual Blending

          It turns out that the Heaven benchmark is buggy and expects the D3D semantics for dual blending, which is why mesa knows this and informs drivers that they need to enable workarounds if they have the need.

          [...]

          In short, D3D expects to blend two outputs based on their locations, but in Vulkan and OpenGL, the blending is based on index. So here, I’ve just changed the location of gl_FragData[1] to match gl_FragData[0] and then incremented the index, because Fragment outputs identified with an Index of zero are directed to the first input of the blending unit associated with the corresponding Location. Outputs identified with an Index of one are directed to the second input of the corresponding blending unit.

        • New Linux kernel update may have tipped AMD’s hand by leaking Big Navi specs

          Nvidia may have all the headlines with the GeForce RTX 3090 making the rounds in benchmarks, but AMD might swoop in to steal the show next month. Thanks to a sharp-eyed Reddit user, we may have gotten a sneak peek at AMD’s act.

          Reddit user u/stblr dug through a recent version of Radeon Open Compute (ROCm), version 3.8, includes firmware for AMD’s upcoming GPUs, codenamed Sienna Cichlid and Navy Flounder. Sienna Cichlid is also known as Navi 21 (or Big Navi), and Navy Flounder denotes either Navi 22 or 23.

          The code in the update confirms that Sienna Cichlid (Big Navi) will have 80 CUs and a 256-bit memory bus, while Navy Flounder will have 40 CUs and a 192-bit memory bus.

        • Disman Continues Taking Shape As Display Management Library For X11/Wayland

          Disman is the display management library forked from LibKScreen as part of KWinFT. Last week at XDC2020 an update was provided on this Qt/C++ library for display management.

          KDE developer Roman Gilg presented on Disman at the 2020 X.Org Developers’ Conference along with KDisplay as a GUI front-end interfacing with this library. Disman is capable of properly configuring multiple displays and working across different X11 windowing systems as well as compositors. Under Wayland, Disman supports the likes of wlr_output_management_unstable_v1, kwinft_output_management_unstable_v1, KDE’s output management protocol, and D-Bus interfaces around it. This allows Disman to work seamlessly on X11 with RandR and under Wayland by the likes of KDE’s KWin, the KWinFT fork, and also WLROOTS-based compositors.

        • NVIDIA CUDA 11.1 Released With RTX 30 Series Support, Better Compatibility Across Versions

          NVIDIA has released version 11.1 of their CUDA toolkit that now supports the GeForce RTX 30 “Ampere” series graphics cards.

          CUDA 11.0 released back in July brought initial Ampere GPU support while CUDA 11.1 today formally supports the Ampere consumer GPUs in the RTX 30 series. Once we receive samples of the new GPUs we’ll be putting the new CUDA release through its paces under Linux with the RTX 3070/3080/3090 series.

          [...]

          CUDA 11.1 also brings a new PTX compiler static library, version 7.1 of the Parallel Thread Execution (PTX) ISA, support for Fedora 32 and Debian 10.3, new unified programming models, hardware-accelerated sparse texture support, multi-threaded launch to different CUDA streams, improvements to CUDA Graphs, and various other enhancements. GCC 10.0 and Clang 10.0 are also now supported as host compilers.

    • Applications

      • 9 Best Free and Open Source Linux Hex Editors

        A hex editor is a special type of editor that can open any type of file and display its contents, byte by byte. The “hex” in “hex editor” is short for hexadecimal, which is a base-16 number system. This type of editor lets you view and edit binary files. A binary file is a file that contains data in machine-readable form (as opposed to a text file which can be read by a human).

        Since a hex editor is used to edit binary files, they are sometimes known as a binary editor or a binary file editor. If you edit a file with a hex editor, you are said to hex edit the file, and the process of using a hex editor is called hex editing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Arch Conf 2020 confirmed for October, has a talk on the SteamOS-like GamerOS

        Want to learn more about Arch Linux? In October they’ve confirmed Arch Conf 2020 is happening and there’s going to be plenty of interesting talks. All of which will be online of course, especially with COVID19 still raging on.

        The dates set for it are between October 10-11 and the talks will be quite varied starting with a talk about the past, present and future of Arch Linux as the first which starts on October 10, 10:00am UTC.

      • Free and open source sprite editor ‘Pixelorama’ gets a massive upgrade

        If you’re working with sprites and pixel-art, you need to pay attention to Pixelorama as this free and open source program is coming on nicely and another massive upgrade is out now.

        As an editor for artists, the 0.8 release that went up on September 23 has made it that step closer to an all-in-one solution for all your sprite needs. There’s now a lot of different built in tools you can use, different pixel modes, animation support and much more.

      • Hearts of Iron IV: Battle for the Bosporus announced for release in October

        Hearts of Iron IV takes aim at the Turkish Straits with the Hearts of Iron IV: Battle for the Bosporus country pack that’s coming on October 15.

        As one of Paradox’s best-selling and most loved titles, there appears to be no end in sight for continuing to expand the experience with plenty of new events and decision paths. This new DLC will let you take control of the destinies of Bulgaria, Greece or Turkey through years of uncertainty and conflict.

      • StoryArcana is an upcoming open-world wizard school RPG

        Become like the wizard you always wanted to be in StoryArcana, an upcoming wizard school RPG that looks like it could be a huge amount of fun.

        It’s not another roguelike experience full of random generation. Instead, StoryArcana has a focus on mystery solving, exploration, puzzles and a combat system based around intricate spellcasting. Mixing together a week of learning new spells and exploring your academy to find a secret or two, with running around a big city on the weekends to pick up new quests and perhaps a fancy new broom to fly on.

        [...]

        We spoke with the developer of email recently, and they confirmed StoryArcana will be “readily available to play on Linux the same day it launches on Windows and Mac OS”. They’re building it with the pretty amazing Construct game engine, so everything is built with web-tech.

      • Be a ruthless 80s salesman and close those deals in Dirty Land

        Dirty Land puts you in the shoes of Frank Marsh, a newly hired salesman for Pure Sky Properties, a real estate office where coffee is for closers and the status quo is hawking swamp land to unsuspecting buyers for a tidy profit. Inspired by classic 80s and 90s sales movies like Glengarry Glen Ross.

        Currently in development by Canadian crew Naturally Intelligent, the same developer behind the quirky title Patchman vs. Red Circles. Dirty Land will see if you prefer to scrape by honestly, or throw ethics out the window and make some quick cash.

      • Amnesia: The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs Now Open Source

        Frictional Games has officially announced that two of its terrifying games, Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, are now available as open-source titles. You can procure the source code for both titles, which includes all editor codes as well. Interested parties can check out GPL v3 for the entirety of the code today. It should be a field day for modders to make these titles even scarier than they already are.

        [...]

        Knowing what kind of creative things folks make when it comes to the modding community, this was a very cool first step for making some seriously twisted horror games. The Amnesia games are already about as close to nightmares as you can get. They’re actually about “immersion, discovery, and living through a nightmare,” according to the official Steam page. If you haven’t given them a try just yet, you’ll definitely want to do so.

      • Amnesia: The Dark Descent Goes Open Source

        Developer Frictional Games has announced that the source code for Amnesia: The Dark Descent is now going open source. The source code for the beloved survival horror game can now be found on Github right here. In addition to the game’s code, Frictional Games has also released the sequel, A Machine for Pigs, as well. The decision was made in honor of the game’s 10th anniversary. Despite the release of the source code, the title will still be offered for sale through various online retailers. Frictional Games will retain all ownership of the game and its assets, and modders must adhere to the GPL3 license. In a press release, Frictional Games creative director Thomas Grip discussed the decision.

      • Amnesia: The Dark Descent and A Machine For Pigs out now as open source

        Frictional Games has announced Amnesia: The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs are is now available as open source.

        The code released contains all the game code for both Amnesia: The Dark Descent and A Machine For Pigs. It also contains all editor codes.

        The full source code for Amnesia: The Dark Descent is available under GPL v3 today.

        “Modding has been a huge part of Amnesia,” explains Thomas Grip, creative director at Frictional Games. “For instance, over the years The Dark Descent has accumulated over a thousand mods and addons on ModDB.

      • Art of Rally on Linux | Ubuntu 20.04 | Native

        Art of Rally running natively through Linux.

      • art of rally strips down the furious sport into a serene top-down experience

        From the creator of Absolute Drift comes art of rally, a top-down racing game that heavy on style and it has great gameplay to back it up too.

        Here’s the thing: i don’t drive. Not in real life and any attempt at doing so seriously in games always comes with massive amount of hilarious failure. I’m terrible at DiRT Rally, I’m equally as crap at the F1 series, back when GRID Autosport came to Linux a lot of my time was spent on my roof and…you get the idea. They’re all actually a little brutal for people like me – which is why I’ve come to appreciate the calmer side of it all thanks to the magnificent art of rally.

      • A Linux update may have let slip AMD Big Navi’s mammoth core specs

        The summer of leaks continues, this time with the attention turning to AMD’s next-gen GPUs based on the RDNA 2 architecture, which we’ll find out more about on October 28. An enterprising redditor (via Tom’s Hardware) was digging around the Radeon Open Compute (ROCm) code and discovered what appears to be a specification list for two of AMD’s next generation GPUs.

      • Proton: More Games to Play

        Proton is amazing, and it’s easy to lose sight of all that it can do. Here’s a few videos I picked up recently to showcase some of the latest tested games running on Linux via Proton/Steamplay, as captured in video.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma adventures – 5.19.4 tried and tested

          I like the momentum in the Plasma space. The last three years have been phenomenal, and there does not seem to be any fatigue, which typically affects most software projects after a while. Given that Plasma has been chugging on for a looong time now, this is rather impressive. What worries me, though, is that each new version brings in more fragility, more bugs. And this brings me back to the fundamental issue with the Linux desktop. It’s simply not robust enough to be a day-to-day system for most people.

          My mind simply cannot reconcile with breakages and compatibility issues. They feel like the easy way out of difficult situations with legacy models and usage patterns. Instead of creating a smooth transition to whatever the new thing is, what most projects seem to be doing is – break stuff. Why should plasma 5.19 be any less stable than say 5.18 or 5.15 or whatever. All in all, there’s decent progress in Plasma, most notably the visuals and the responsiveness of the desktop, but these seem to come at the cost of good ole stability. Hopefully, future versions of Plasma will be able to give us both. That said, despite my grumbling, if you’re after a solid desktop, Plasma is still the indubitable winner. Version 5.20 test coming soon!

        • KaOS 2020.09

          KaOS is pleased to announce the availability of the September release of a new stable ISO.

          With almost 60 % percent of the packages updated since the last ISO and the last release being over two months old, a new ISO is more than due. News for KDE Applications 20.08 included Dolphin adding thumbnails for 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) files, you can also see previews of files and folders on encrypted file systems such as Plasma Vaults now remembers and restores the location you were viewing, as well as the open tabs, and split views you had open when you last closed it.Yakuake now lets you configure all the keyboard shortcuts that come from Konsole and there is a new system tray item that shows you when Yakuake is running. Elisa now lets you display all genres, artists, or albums in the sidebar, below other items.

          As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.74.0, Plasma 5.19.5 and KDE Applications 20.08.1. All built on Qt 5.15.1.

        • KDDockWidgets 1.0 has been released

          KDDockWidgets is an advanced docking system for Qt, with features that are not available in QDockWidget. See our first blog post, for a quick introduction and the motivation for a new docking framework.

          We’ve come a long way since the initial announcement of KDDockWidgets. The 1.0 release represents the culmination of one year of using the library in production for five different huge projects — one year of incorporating real feedback in the form of new features, bug fixes, or simply making the framework more customizable.

    • Distributions

      • What To Do After Installing deepin 20 GNU/Linux 20

        Everything is fun with Deepin Twenty. If you are new to deepin, this article helps you to do things with your new computer in deepin ways. Check it out!

        Tuxmath and Friends: do you know that deepin brings complete set of educational applications? Starting for kids and kindergarten ages, we see Tuxmath – Tuxpaint – TuxTyping available. For middle school upwards, we see KAlgebra – KAlzium – Marble available. For universities and researchers, we see Scilab – GNU R – LaTeX available. get them all from App Store.

        Ethercalc and Friends: if you’re teacher here is Ethercalc you can use as simple online students presence form. It is a spreadsheet just like LibreOffice Calc or Microsoft Excel but accessible online. You can make one freely at Disroot. Similarly, you can also use Etherpad the word processor you can access freely at Disroot as well. If you need free and reliable video calls, I shared my experiences in I Teach With Jitsi last month you can learn from. Quickly access Jitsi for free at the official site.

      • 10 Linux Distributions and Their Targeted Users

        As a free and open-source operating system, Linux has spawned several distributions over time, spreading its wings to encompass a large community of users. From desktop/home users to Enterprise environments, Linux has ensured that each category has something to be happy about.

        [...]

        Debian is renowned for being a mother to popular Linux distributions such as Deepin, Ubuntu, and Mint which have provided solid performance, stability, and unparalleled user experience. The latest stable release is Debian 10.5, an update of Debian 10 colloquially known as Debian Buster.

        Note that Debian 10.5 does not constitute a new version of Debian Buster and is only an update of Buster with the latest updates and added software applications. Also included are security fixes that address pre-existing security issues. If you have your Buster system, there’s no need to discard it. Simply perform a system upgrade using the APT package manager.

        The Debian project provides over 59,000 software packages and supports a wide range of PCs with each release encompassing a broader array of system architectures. It strives to strike a balance between cutting edge technology and stability. Debian provides 3 salient development branches: Stable, Testing, and Unstable.

        The stable version, as the name suggests is rock-solid, enjoys full security support but unfortunately, does not ship with the very latest software applications. Nevertheless, It is ideal for production servers owing to its stability and reliability and also makes the cut for relatively conservative desktop users who don’t really mind having the very latest software packages. Debian Stable is what you would usually install on your system.

        Debian Testing is a rolling release and provides the latest software versions that are yet to be accepted into the stable release. It is a development phase of the next stable Debian release. It’s usually fraught with instability issues and might easily break. Also, it doesn’t get its security patches in a timely fashion. The latest Debian Testing release is Bullseye.

        The unstable distro is the active development phase of Debian. It is an experimental distro and acts as a perfect platform for developers who are actively making contributions to the code until it transitions to the ‘Testing’ stage.

        Overall, Debian is used by millions of users owing to its package-rich repository and the stability it provides especially in production environments.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Linux Lite 5.2 RC1 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Lite 5.2 RC1.

        • Linux Lite 5.2 RC1

          Today we are looking at Linux Lite 5.2 RC1. It is based on Ubuntu 20.04 (will be supported until April 2025), Linux Kernel 5.4, XFCE 4.14, and uses about 800MB of ram when idling. Enjoy and it looks beautiful!

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Freetube 0.7.3 added to repository

          FreeTube is a YouTube client built around using YouTube more privately. You can enjoy your favorite content and creators without your habits being tracked. All of your user data is stored locally and never sent or published to the internet. Being powered by the Invidious API, FreeTube has become one of the best methods to watch YouTube privately on the desktop.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Tumbleweed Gets New KDE Frameworks, systemd

          KDE Frameworks 5.74.0 and systemd 246.4 became available in openSUSE Tumbleweed after two respective snapshots were released this week.

          Hypervisor Xen, libstorage-ng, which is a C++ library used by YaST, and text editor vim were also some of the packages update this week in Tumbleweed.

          The most recent snapshot released is 20200919. KDE Frameworks 5.74.0 was released earlier this month and its packages made it into this snapshot. KConfig introduced a method to query the KConfigSkeletonItem default value. KContacts now checks the length of the full name of an email address before trimming it with an address parser. KDE’s lightweight UI framework for mobile and convergent applications, Kirigami, made OverlaySheet of headers and footers use appropriate background colors, updated the app template and introduced a ToolBarLayout native object. Several other 5.74.0 Framework packages were update like Plasma Framework, KTestEditor and KIO. Bluetooth protocol bluez 5.55 fixed several handling issues related to the Audio/Video Remote Control Profile and the Generic Attribute Profile. A reverted Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures patch that was recommended by upstream in cpio 2.13 was once again added. GObject wrapper libgusb 0.3.5 fixed version scripts to be more portable. Documentation was fixed and translations were made for Finnish, Hindi and Russian in the 4.3.42 libstorage-ng update. YaST2 4.3.27 made a change to hide the heading of the dialog when no title is defined or the title is set to an empty string. Xen’s minor updated reverted a previous libexec change for a qemu compatibility wrapper; the path used exists in domU.xml files in the emulator field. The snapshot is trending stable at a 99 rating, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Conf 2020 schedule

          On the 10th and 11th of October there is going to be an online edition of Arch Conf. The conference is going to have presentations from the Arch team along with community submitted presentations and lightning talks.

          We are proud to announce the first revision of the schedule!

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Still not dead: The mainframe hangs on, sustained by Linux and hybrid cloud

          The mainframe has been declared “dead”, “morphed” and “transformed” so many times over the years sometimes it’s sometimes hard to believe the Big Iron still has an identity in the enterprise world.

          But clearly it does and in a major way, too.

          Take recent news as an example: According to IBM, 75% of the top 20 global banks are running the newest z15 mainframe, and the IBM Systems Group reported a 68% gain in Q2 IBM Z revenue year-over-year.

          At the heart of its current vitality is Linux—primarily in the form of Big Iron-based Red Hat OpenShift—and a variety of software such as IBM Cloud Paks and open source applications. The Linux-mainframe marriage is celebrating 20 years this month, and while the incongruous mashup—certainly at the beginning anyway—has been a boon for the mainframe, by most accounts it still has plenty of good years ahead of it.

        • Fedora 34 Aims To Further Enhance Security But Will Lose Runtime Disabling Of SELinux

          Currently on Fedora the Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) functionality that’s there by default can be disabled at run-time via the /etc/selinux/config but moving forward with Fedora 34 they are looking at removing that support and focusing just on disabling via selinux=0 at the kernel boot time in order to provide greater security.

          At present on Fedora, those wanting to forego the security safeguards can either pass selinux=0 as the kernel command line option to disable the support at boot time or by disabling it within the /etc/selinux/config file that in turn disables the support at run-time.

        • Getting started with the Red Hat Insights policies capability

          Many customers I talk to have gotten a lot of value out of Red Hat Insights, which allows Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) customers to proactively identify and remediate risks in their RHEL environments. These risks can include items related to security and compliance, performance, availability, and stability.

          However, one common request I’ve heard is that customers would like a way to add their own internal checks that are specific to their environment into Insights.

          This type of functionality is now available with the Policies capability in Red Hat Insights, which allows customers to define their own policies which are evaluated when Insights data is uploaded from RHEL hosts. If any of the policies are evaluated to match, an email or webhook action can be triggered.

        • IBM Z Day 2020: A record-shattering event!

          Thank you, one and all, for making IBM Z Day 2020 such a huge success!

        • Red Hat, Samsung Join Hands To Deliver 5G Networking Solution

          Red Hat has teamed up with Samsung to deliver an open source networking solution built on Red Hat OpenShift. The solution will integrate with Samsung’s key networking applications and is aimed at helping service providers make 5G a reality across use cases.

          [...]

          Containerized network functions (CNFs) and virtualized network functions (VNFs) provide a path to transformation for modern telcos. As such, Samsung has achieved Red Hat’s vendor validated VNF Certification and plans to have full CNF Certification.

        • InSync strengthens network automation platform with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Certification

          InSync Information Technologies Ltd., is an ambitious Sri Lankan startup working on networks and network automation solutions. What is unique about InSync, is its play within the network automations space. In less than three years InSync gained momentum for its network automations product – ‘InSync Automation Engine’ being deployed locally to cater network automation requirements.

          Network automation is a widely sought-after technology especially amongst businesses that have a large volume of network operations such as communication service providers. Although it is an emerging field, it has been practiced within the tech industry for a while.

      • Debian Family

        • Key signing in the pandemic era

          The pandemic has changed many things in our communities, even though distance has always played a big role in free software development. Annual in-person gatherings for conferences and the like are generally paused at the moment, but even after travel and congregating become reasonable again, face-to-face meetings may be less frequent. There are both positives and negatives to that outcome, of course, but some rethinking will be in order if that comes to pass. The process of key signing is something that may need to change as well; the Debian project, which uses signed keys, has been discussing the subject.

          In early August, Enrico Zini posted a note to the debian-project mailing list about people who are trying to get involved in Debian, but who are lacking the necessary credentials in the form of an OpenPGP key signed by other Debian project members. The requirements for becoming a Debian Maintainer (DM) or Debian Developer (DD) both involve keys with signatures from existing DDs; two signatures for becoming a DD or one for becoming a DM. Those are not the only steps toward becoming formal members of Debian, but they are ones that may be hampering those who are trying to do so right now.

          DDs and DMs use their keys to sign packages that are being uploaded to the Debian repository, so the project needs to have some assurance that the keys are valid and are controlled by someone that is not trying to undermine the project or its users. In addition, votes in Debian (for project leaders and general resolutions) are made using the keys. They are a fundamental part of the Debian infrastructure.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • A ‘Connected’ Bank – The power of data and analytics

          The next 10 years will redefine banking. What will differentiate top banks from their competitors? Data and derived insights.

          Banks across the globe have been immersed in their digital agenda and with customers adopting digital banking channels aggressively, banks are collecting massive volumes of data on how customers are interacting at various touch points. Apart from the health of balance sheets, what will differentiate top banks from the competition is how effectively these data assets will be used to make banking simpler and improve their products and services. The challenge for large global banks so far has been to capitalise on huge volumes of data that their siloed business units hold and are often constrained by manual processes, data duplication and legacy systems.

          The use cases for data and analytics in banking are endless. Massive data assets will mean that banks can more accurately gauge the risk of offering a loan to a customer. Banks are using data analytics to improve efficiency and increase productivity. Banks will be able to use their data to train machine learning (ML) algorithms that can automate many of their processes. Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions have the potential to transform how banks deal with regulatory compliance issues, financial fraud and cybercrime. Banks will have to get better at using customer data for greater personalisation, enabling them to offer products and services tailored to individual consumers in real time. Today, banks have only just scratched the surface of data analytics.

          [...]

          For data analytics initiatives, banks now have the option of leveraging the best of open source technologies. Open source databases such as PostgreSQL, MongoDB and Apache Cassandra can deliver insights and handle any new source of data. With data models flexible enough for rich modern data, a distributed architecture built for cloud scale, and a robust ecosystem of tools, open source data platforms can help banks break free from data silos and enable them to scale their innovation.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Is Open Source a Religion?

        Is open source a religion? There is a persistent myth that free/open source software (F/OSS) supporters think of F/OSS as a religion. SUSE is the largest open source software company, so that would make us, what, a church with the cutest mascot?

        Of course this is wrong and F/OSS is not a religion, though the idea of working in a hushed cathedral-like atmosphere with pretty stained glass and organ music is appealing. (Visit St. John’s Cathedral in Spokane, Washington, USA to see a real genuine full-sized pipe organ. When it hits the low notes it rattles your bones from the inside.) If I really want stained glass and my own cathedral I can have those for just because, so let us move on to what F/OSS is really about, and what the value is for everyone who touches it, like customers, vendors, learners, hobbyists, governments– you might be surprised at the reach of F/OSS and its affect on the lives of pretty much everyone.

      • 6 Best Free and Open Source Linux Anti-Spam Tools

        Email is one of the primary communication channels among users. The Radicati Group is an organization which publishes quantitative and qualitative research on business and consumer usage for email, instant messaging, social networking, wireless email, and unified communications. Their research estimates that the total worldwide emails in 2020 is 306 billion.

        The cost of spam is frightening, estimated to be approximately $50 billion each year. The tide of the daily spam is a continual thorn in the side for both providers and users. Spam is a waste of valuable network bandwidth, disk space and takes up users’ valuable time to declutter their mailboxes. Many spam messages contain URLs to a dubious website or websites, peddling fake pharmaceutical products, replicas, enhancers, or gambling. Alternatively, the URLs may be phishing attacks, for example taking an unwitting victim to a site which seeks to steal private information such as bank account login data.

      • Manage knowledge with BlueSpice, an open source alternative to Confluence

        Knowledge management is a key to success in modern enterprises—but it is not exactly easy to achieve. Keeping track of all relevant details across all employees is a huge challenge, especially in agile environments, which most companies say they are.

        Most companies resort to buying wiki-like solutions, such as Confluence from Atlassian, which exposes them to the lock-in effect of proprietary software. But many would do well to consider BlueSpice, an open source alternative to Atlassian Confluence that has a noble ancestry: it’s based on Wikipedia’s MediaWiki.

      • Daniel Stenberg: Reducing mallocs for fun

        Everyone needs something fun to do in their spare time. And digging deep into curl internals is mighty fun!

        One of the things I do in curl every now and then is to run a few typical command lines and count how much memory is allocated and how many memory allocation calls that are made. This is good project hygiene and is a basic check that we didn’t accidentally slip in a malloc/free sequence in the transfer path or something.

        We have extensive memory checks for leaks etc in the test suite so I’m not worried about that. Those things we detect and fix immediately, even when the leaks occur in error paths – thanks to our fancy “torture tests” that do error injections.

        The amount of memory needed or number of mallocs used is more of a boiling frog problem. We add one now, then another months later and a third the following year. Each added malloc call is motivated within the scope of that particular change. But taken all together, does the pattern of memory use make sense? Can we make it better?

      • Daniel Stenberg: a Google grant for libcurl work

        Earlier this year I was the recipient of a monetary Google patch grant with the expressed purpose of improving security in libcurl.

        This was an upfront payout under this Google program describing itself as “an experimental program that rewards proactive security improvements to select open-source projects”.

        I accepted this grant for the curl project and I intend to keep working fiercely on securing curl. I recognize the importance of curl security as curl remains one of the most widely used software components in the world, and even one that is doing network data transfers which typically is a risky business. curl is responsible for a measurable share of all Internet transfers done over the Internet an average day. My job is to make sure those transfers are done as safe and secure as possible. It isn’t my only responsibility of course, as I have other tasks to attend to as well, but still.

      • Web Browsers

        • What happened to BitTorrent’s Project Maelstrom web browser?

          In April 2015, BitTorrent Inc. announced the public beta of Project Maelstrom; its new experimental peer-to-peer web browser. The browser reimagined the web using the company’s name sake file-sharing protocol. Websites would be distributed equally by its visitors instead of being hosted by an expensive central webserver. The company published a beta and some blog posts, but then never mentioned Project Maelstrom again. What happened to it?

          Project Maelstrom was launched four years after Opera had launched Opera Unite (Project Alien). Unite gave everyone their own web server built right into its web browser. It enabled anyone to host a website, share photos, and do all sorts of web things like music streaming directly from their own computer. Unite failed to account for people wanting to shut their computers — now servers — off at the end of the day, however.

          BitTorrent’s Project Maelstrom sought to fix this limitation by making everyone who visited a website help contribute to its distribution! As long as someone else was hosting a copy of it, you could shut down your computer for the night without taking your website offline with it.

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 81 Released with New Theme, Media Control via Keyboard

            Mozilla Firefox 81.0 was released a day ago with new features and security fixes.

            [...]

            The latest packages will be made into security & updates repositories for all current Ubuntu releases in a few days.

          • How to spot (and do something) about real fake news

            Think you can spot fake news when you see it? You might be surprised even the most digitally savvy folks can (at times) be fooled into believing a headline or resharing a photo that looks real, but is actually not.

          • Launching the European AI Fund

            Right now, we’re in the early stages of the next phase of computing: AI. First we had the desktop. Then the internet. And smartphones. Increasingly, we’re living in a world where computing is built around vast troves of data and the algorithms that parse them. They power everything from the social platforms and smart speakers we use everyday, to the digital machinery of our governments and economies.

            In parallel, we’re entering a new phase of how we think about, deploy, and regulate technology. Will the AI era be defined by individual privacy and transparency into how these systems work? Or, will the worst parts of our current internet ecosystem — invasive data collection, monopoly, opaque systems — continue to be the norm?

            A year ago, a group of funders came together at Mozilla’s Berlin office to talk about just this: how we, as a collective, could help shape the direction of AI in Europe. We agreed on the importance of a landscape where European public interest and civil society organisations — and not just big tech companies — have a real say in shaping policy and technology. The next phase of computing needs input from a diversity of actors that represent society as a whole.

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 357
          • Contributors to Firefox 81 (and 80, whoops)

            Errata: In our release notes for Firefox 80, we forgot to mention all the developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 10 of whom were brand new volunteers! We’re grateful for their efforts, and apologize for not giving them the recognition they’re due on time.

          • Mike Taylor: Seven Platform Updates from the Golden Era of Computing

            Back in the Golden Era of Computing (which is what the industry has collectively agreed to call the years 2016 and 2017) I was giving semi-regular updates at the Mozilla Weekly Meeting.

            Now this was also back when Potch was the Weekly Project All Hands Meeting module owner. If that sounds like a scary amount of power to entrust to that guy, well, that’s because it was.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 80

            We now show three recommended articles when saving a webpage to Pocket.

          • Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla’s top exec pay going up 400%

            One of the most popular and most intuitive ways to evaluate an NGO is to judge how much of their spending is on their programme of works (or “mission”) and how much is on other things, like administration and fundraising. If you give money to a charity for feeding people in the third world you hope that most of the money you give them goes on food – and not, for example, on company cars for head office staff.

            Mozilla looks bad when considered in this light. Fully 30% of all expenditure goes on administration. Charity Navigator, an organisation that measures NGO effectiveness, would give them zero out of ten on the relevant metric. For context, to achieve 5/10 on that measure Mozilla admin would need to be under 25% of spending and, for 10/10, under 15%.

          • This is a pretty dire assessment of Mozilla

            Back to Mozilla — in my humble but correct opinion, Mozilla should be doing two things and two things only:

            1. Building THE reference implementation web browser, and

            2. Being a jugular-snapping attack dog on standards committees.

            3. There is no 3.

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 81 on POWER

            Firefox 81 is released. In addition to new themes of dubious colour coordination, media controls now move to keyboards and supported headsets, the built-in JavaScript PDF viewer now supports forms (if we ever get a JIT going this will work a lot better), and there are relatively few developer-relevant changes.

            This release heralds the first official change in our standard POWER9 .mozconfig since Fx67. Link-time optimization continues to work well (and in 81 the LTO-enhanced build I’m using now benches about 6% faster than standard -O3 -mcpu=power9), so I’m now making it a standard part of my regular builds with a minor tweak we have to make due to bug 1644409. Build time still about doubles on this dual-8 Talos II and it peaks out at almost 84% of its 64GB RAM during LTO, but the result is worth it.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Collabora Online Development Edition 6.4 Office Suite Gets a Fresh Look, Many Improvements

          Coming three months after version 4.2, CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition) 6.4 is a major release that adds many great features, including a new, modern look with the NotebookBar, which not only saves sp`ace, but it also makes the interface easier to use and intuitive, especially for those familiar with the MS Office suite.

          The NotebookBar is set as default in this release and looks great with all core components, including Writer, Calc, and Impress. However, if users want to switch back to the classic interface, which won’t go away anytime soon, they can do that very easily by selecting ‘classic’ for the user_interface key in the loolwsd.xml file.

        • Michael Meeks: 2020-09-24 Thursday

          Thrilled to see the CODE 6.4 release – a vast amount of hard work from the team. Really good to see the bits I helped Dennis do around the Canvas re-write for split-panes, and the move away from leaflet and towards purer canvas rendering there pushed out; tons more to do there, but a great cleanup. Now for more tweaking, profiling, iteration.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • OpenPGP in Rust: the Sequoia project

            In 2018, three former GnuPG developers began work on Sequoia, a new implementation of OpenPGP in Rust. OpenPGP is an open standard for data encryption, often used for secure email; GnuPG is an implementation of that standard. The GPLv2-licensed Sequoia is heading toward version 1.0, with a handful of issues remaining to be addressed. The project’s founders believe that there is much to be desired in GnuPG, which is the de facto standard implementation of OpenPGP today. They hope to fix this with a reimplementation of the specification using a language with features that will help protect users from common types of memory bugs.

            While GnuPG is the most popular OpenPGP implementation — especially for Linux — there are others, including OpenKeychain, OpenPGP.js, and RNP. OpenPGP has been criticized for years (such as this blog post from 2014, and another from 2019); the Sequoia project is working to build modern OpenPGP tooling that addresses many of those complaints. Sequoia has already been adopted by several other projects, including keys.openpgp.org, OpenPGP CA, koverto, Pijul, and KIPA.

            Sequoia was started by Neal H. Walfield, Justus Winter, and Kai Michaelis; each worked on GnuPG for about two years. In a 2018 presentation [YouTube] (slides [PDF]) Walfield discussed their motivations for the new project. In his opinion, GnuPG is “hard to modify” — mostly due to its organic growth over the decades. Walfield pointed out the tight coupling between components in GnuPG and the lack of unit testing as specific problem areas. As an example, he noted that the GnuPG command-line tool and the corresponding application libraries do not have the same abilities; there are things that can only be done using the command-line tool.

          • BPF in GCC

            The BPF virtual machine is being used ever more widely in the kernel, but it has not been a target for GCC until recently. BPF is currently generated using the LLVM compiler suite. Jose E. Marchesi gave a pair of presentations as part of the GNU Tools track at the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC) that provided attendees with a look at the BPF for GCC project, which started around a year ago. It has made some significant progress, but there is, of course, more to do.

            There are three phases envisioned for the project. The first is to add the BPF target to the GNU toolchain. Next up is to ensure that the generated programs pass the kernel’s verifier, so that they can be loaded into the kernel. That will also require effort to keep it working, Marchesi said, because the BPF world moves extremely fast. The last phase is to provide additional tools for BPF developers, beyond just a compiler and assembler, such as debuggers and simulators.

          • GNU Parallel 20200922 (‘Ginsburg’) released

            GNU Parallel 20200922 (‘Ginsburg’) has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/parallel/

      • Programming/Development

        • News from PHP: releases, features, and syntax

          The PHP project has recently released three new versions; two in the PHP 7 series (7.3.22 and 7.4.10) and PHP 8.0beta3. Both PHP 7 releases were for bug fixes, addressing approximately 20 issues which can be seen in the release notes for 7.4.10 and 7.3.22. The most notable of these fixes addressed a language-wide memory leak when using compound assignments, and crash fixes when xml_parser_free() and array_merge_recursive() are called.

          While the project continues to provide bug-fix releases for PHP 7, development on PHP 8.0 is steaming ahead. The community has succeeded thus far in keeping with its release schedule; it is still on-target for general availability of PHP 8.0 on November 26. One noteworthy recent decision by the project was to drop support for OpenSSL version 1.0.1.

          Originally, PHP 8.0beta3 was to be the last beta release before entering into the release-candidate (RC) phase, when implementation details regarding APIs and behavior should stop changing. That plan changed, however, at the request of Nikita Popov. In the request to release manager Sara Golemon, Popov said more time was needed, suggesting eliminating the final RC5 release in exchange for an extra beta release…

        • How to use C++ String Literal

          The computer keyboard has characters printed on them. When you press a key, you see the character on the screen. Note: space is also a character. A string literal is a sequence of characters. This article explains how to use C++ string literals. You should know about C++ arrays and pointers to understand this article.

        • Goneovim: Turning Vim Into Emacs One Step At A Time

          I’ve seen a few people recommending a GUI for vim and I had never really given one a shot so I decided to take up one of your suggestions and do so. Today we’re looking at an application known as Goneovim which as the name implies is written in go, it has some neat features but is it worth running a GUI for, I’ll let you see.

        • What if data was code?

          Code? Data? Data? Code?

        • Perl/Raku

          • I Write comment to Perl7 is a fork of values

            I think the current Perl 7 plan is very heavy for the resources available to the Perl community.

            Perl 7 will succeed if many people welcome it and everyone supports it.

            However, I think the remaining users of Perl will remain because of the stability of that Perl.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 79: Count Set Bits and Trapped Rain Water

            These are some answers to the Week 79 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (September 27, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

        • Python

          • Strptime Python

            Strptime python is used to convert string to datetime object.

          • Book review – Effective Python, by Brett Slatkin (and a free chapter for download)

            Those among you who have already learned some Python or may even have used it in some projects will certainly have heard the expression “Pythonic Code”, which conveys a general and somewhat wide meaning of “clean code and good software development practices in the context of Python”. With Effective Python, the author presents you with nothing less than 90 practical examples on how to adopt a pythonic developer mindset and how to write better Python code.

          • Application and Request Contexts in Flask

            The first blog post provides examples of how to the Application and Request contexts work, including how the current_app, request, test_client, and test_request_context can be used to effectively used to avoid pitfalls with these contexts.

            The second blog post provides a series of diagrams illustrating how the Application and Request contexts are processed when a request is handled in Flask. This post also dives into how LocalStack objects work, which are the objects used for the Application Context Stack and the Request Context Stack.

          • Python Community Interview With David Amos

            I discovered programming by accident when I came across the source code for the Gorillas game on my parents’ IBM 386 PS/2 computer. I guess I was about seven or eight years old. I found something called a .BAS file that opened up a program called QBasic and had all sorts of strange-looking text in it. I was instantly intrigued!

            There was a note at the top of the file that explained how to adjust the game speed. I changed the value and ran the game. The effect was instantly noticeable. It was a thrilling experience.

            I was obsessed with learning to program in QBasic. I made my own text adventure games. I even made a few animations using simple geometric shapes. It was tons of fun!

            QBasic was a fantastic language for an eight-year-old kid to learn. It was challenging enough to keep me interested but easy enough to get quick results, which is really important for a child.

            When I was around ten years old, I tried to teach myself C++. The ideas were too complex, and results came too slowly. After a few months of struggling, I stopped. But the idea of programming computers remained attractive to me—enough so that I took a web technology class in high school and learned the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

            In college, I decided to major in mathematics, but I needed a minor. I chose computer science because I thought having some experience with programming would make it easier to complete the degree requirements.

            I learned about data structures with C++. I took an object-oriented programming class with Java. I studied operating systems and parallel computing with C. My programming horizons expanded vastly, and I found the whole subject pleasing both practically and intellectually.

          • PyCharm 2020.3 EAP – Starts now!

            The Early Access Program for our next major release, PyCharm 2020.3, is now open! If you are always looking forward to the next ‘big thing’ we encourage you to join the program and share your thoughts on the latest PyCharm improvements!

            [...]

            If you’re on Ubuntu 16.04 or later, you can use snap to get PyCharm EAP and stay up to date. You can find the installation instructions on our website.

          • Extracting two SDF data items with chemfp’s text toolkit

            This is part of a series of essays about working with SD files at the record and simple text level. In yesterday’s essay I showed several examples of using chemfp’s text toolkit API to process records from an SD file. In some cases, reading the entire record is too much work so in this essay I’ll show some examples of extracting just two pieces of information (a title and a single SDF data item value, or two data item values) from the records.

            [...]

            In yesterday’s essay I noticed that most records in the ChEBI SDF distribution ChEBI_complete.sdf.gz contain a SMILES data item. (112,938 out of 113,902 to be precise.)

            Let’s extract those to make a SMILES files! (We could of course use a chemistry toolkit to parse the connection table into a molecule then generate a SMILES, but that’s not the point of this essay.)

          • Talk Python to Me: #283 Web scraping, the 2020 edition

            Web scraping is pulling the HTML of a website down and parsing useful data out of it. The use-cases for this type of functionality are endless. Have a bunch of data on governmental sites that are only listed online in HTML without a download? There’s an API for that! Do you want to keep abreast of what your competitors are featuring on their site? There’s an API for that. Need alerts for changes on a website, for example enrollment is now open at your college and you want to be first to get in and avoid the 8am Monday morning course slot? There’s an API for that.

            That API is screen scraping and Attila Tóth from ScrapingHub is here to tell us all about it.

          • Sebastian Witowski: Sorting Lists

            There are at least two common ways to sort lists in Python:

            - With sorted function that returns a new list
            - With list.sort method that modifies list in place

            Which one is faster? Let’s find out!

  • Leftovers

    • The Concept of the Weed
    • The Job of A Prophet
    • Burning Torches in The Hood
    • Wikipedia is getting its first desktop redesign in 10 years

      Wikimedia Foundation, the site’s parent company, announced in a blog post that the changes will happen “incrementally over a long period of time,” allowing users to test the new features before they officially roll out, but that it plans to redesign the entire look of the desktop version of Wikipedia by the end of 2021. It didn’t say whether the mobile version would receive the same redesign.

    • Reading/Web/Desktop Improvements

      It has been 10 years since the current default Wikimedia skin (Vector) was deployed. Over the last decade, the interface has been enriched with extensions, gadgets and user scripts. Most of these were not coordinated visually or cross-wiki. At the same time, web design, as well as the expectations of readers and editors, have evolved. We think it’s time to take some of these ideas and bring them to the default experience of all users, on all wikis, in an organized, consistent way. Over the next couple of years, the readers web team will be researching and building out improvements to the desktop experience based on research and existing tools.

      Our goals are to make Wikimedia wikis more welcoming and to increase the utility amongst readers and maintain utility for existing editors. We will measure the increase of trust and positive sentiment towards our sites, and the utility of our sites (the usage of common actions such as search and language switching).

      Initially, on most wikis, only logged-in users will be able to opt-in individually. On selected wikis, our changes will be deployed for all by default, and logged-in users will be able to opt-out. We are hoping to increase the set of early adopter wikis gradually, until our improvements are default on all wikis in 2021.

    • Education

      • Teaching During a Pandemic

        As the summer wore on, the Covid-19 pandemic marched on and on and on. I wondered how I could help with the education of one of my grandchildren. When a curriculum and content text arrived in the mail, I began drawing up a plan for our first lesson together. Since my grandchild will visit over the next week, we will begin a dry run of in-person lessons, which will then shift to online sessions. It’s my plan to do a comprehensive program during the year, and I haven’t been far off of the mark in planning to help because New York City schools announced a second postponement of in-person classes to be supplemented by online instruction. I noted my observations on these pages (“Online Education in a Time of Grave Danger,” CounterPunch, May 2020) about what I witnessed in June of the last school year regarding the online instruction that my grandchild received and it was not a pretty picture. I hope for improvement with the latter. I noted the difficulty some kids around the country encountered because of issues with access to the Internet, etc.

      • Online Charter Schools Are Not a Solution to Education in a Pandemic

        “Instead of going to school every morning, what if school could come to you?” an ad asks enticingly, promising students “online personalized learning” tailored to their specific needs. It’s one of hundreds of active Facebook ads run by K12 Inc., the largest for-profit virtual charter school provider in the United States. As public schools rose to the challenge of educating students online during the pandemic, corporations like K12 Inc., whose stock price has been climbing since mid-March, were licking their chops at the prospect of moving kids online permanently. Though virtual charter schools perform dismally academically and are plagued by scandal, the goal is for them to replace traditional brick-and-mortar public schools in an effort to privatize education. While this would harm students, it would most egregiously damage Black and Latino children, who’ve already been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, due to structural inequities such as lack of access to computers and internet service, as well as inconsistent health care and crowded housing.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Rejecting Scientific Evidence of Harm to Children’s Brains, Trump EPA OKs Continued Use of Chlorpyrifos

        The neurotoxin—which EPA scientists wanted to ban during the Obama administration—has been shown to damage children’s brains and to harm farmworkers and animals. 

      • Colleges Reopening Fueled 3,000 COVID Cases a Day, Researchers Say

        Reopening colleges drove a coronavirus surge of about 3,000 new cases a day in the United States, according to a draft study released Tuesday.

      • Anthony Fauci Slams Sen. Rand Paul: You Are Not Listening

        Anthony Fauci, who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force team, rebuked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) during Senate testimony on Wednesday regarding the coronavirus pandemic after the lawmaker “misconstrued” facts about COVID and the response to it from officials in New York.

      • Why Are Students Paying for Their Schools’ Losses?

        In mid-March, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the University of North Carolina system to shutter its campuses, the network of 16 public universities across the state moved to make up for the students’ sudden loss, providing them a prorated refund for their housing and dining plans, which had become effectively useless after the campus closure.

      • No Más Bebés: ICE Hysterectomy Scandal Recalls 1970s LA, When a Hospital Sterilized Chicana Patients

        As immigration authorities say they have stopped sending women to a Georgia gynecologist accused of sterilizing female prisoners without their consent, we continue our look at United States’ disturbing history of forced sterilization with the producer and historian behind the 2016 documentary called “No Más Bebés,” which tells the story of how a whistleblower doctor spoke out about a large number of tubal ligations performed on mostly Latinx patients at the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center some 46 years ago. “Quite often they did not understand the terminology. They did not, in some cases, understand the language,” says Virginia Espino. “They didn’t quite know what was happening to them.” She notes, “It feels like definitely the Georgia case is mirroring what had taken place in Los Angeles. You had people not fully understanding the procedures that were being performed on them.”

      • WATCH: Medicare for All Town Hall With Sanders and Jayapal to Focus on Ending Gruesome For-Profit Health System

        “How can you watch 12,000,000 people lose healthcare in a pandemic and not think our system needs to fundamentally change?”

      • Tricky data ‘Sputnik V’ developers respond to Western critics, but the debate might overlook the vaccine’s biggest problem

        The developers of “Sputnik V,” Russia’s first vaccine against the coronavirus, have finally responded to a note of concern signed by dozens of scientists who highlighted statistical anomalies in the phase I/II data researchers at the Gamaleya Center published earlier this month. The vaccine’s developers shared their answers in the same authoritative peer-reviewed medical journal where they published their trial data: The Lancet. In the new text, “Safety and Efficacy of the Russian COVID-19 Vaccine: More Information Needed,” Denis Logunov (the deputy research director who leads the group responsible for Sputnik V) and his co-authors explain that the “repeated patterns” in the data flagged by Western colleagues are either the result of coincidences in a very small number of volunteers or in fact not repetitions at all. Meduza compared both sides’ arguments and asked an independent expert to comment on the dispute.

      • Trump’s Vaccine Czar Refuses to Give Up Stock in Drug Company Involved in His Government Role

        The former pharmaceutical executive tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the administration’s race to a COVID-19 vaccine is refusing to give up investments that stand to benefit from his work — at least during his lifetime.

        The executive, Moncef Slaoui, is the top scientist on Operation Warp Speed, the administration’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine in record time. Federal law requires government officials to disclose their personal finances and divest any holdings relating to their work, but Slaoui said he wouldn’t take the job under those conditions. So the administration said it’s treating him as a contractor. Contractors aren’t bound by the same ethics rules but also aren’t supposed to wield as much authority as full employees.

      • ‘Fox Lied, 200,000 Died’: Video Mash-up Chronicles Cable Network Downplaying Covid-19 Dangers as Pandemic Soared

        “Fox is complicit in spreading misinformation and lies about the virus itself and the recommended guidelines to fight it from public health experts and scientists,” noted Rob Savillo of Media Matters for America. 

      • Why Ann Arbor officials decided to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms, plants

        “After a lot of research, aided by a personal friend who is a psychology researcher, I have formed an opinion which I hope is based in logic,” Ackerman said as he joined colleagues Monday night, Sept. 21, in voting unanimously in favor of decriminalizing entheogenic plants and fungi in Ann Arbor.

        That includes ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms and other plant-based compounds with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law, though not synthetic compounds like LSD.

        The council’s resolution declares it’s the city’s lowest law enforcement priority to investigate and arrest anyone for entheogenic plants and fungi, and it states non-addictive psychedelics can help address drug addiction problems, trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, grief and other conditions.

      • If we realised the true cost of homelessness, we’d fix it overnight

        His bills were so legendary the policemen worked out, based on his health care alone, it would have been cheaper to house him in a hotel with his own private nurse. When not drunk, Murray was a charming, smart, talented chef. By the time he died of intestinal bleeding, they calculated the cost of Murray’s homelessness over a decade was US$1 million.

        Those two Nevada policemen did something that is rarely done anywhere—they calculated (OK, roughly) the cost to the taxpayer of one man’s homelessness. And, in doing so, they showed, as Gladwell pointed out:

        “The kind of money it would take to solve the homeless problem could well be less than the kind of money it took to ignore it.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Todoist Takes on Trello with New Kanban Board Feature

          Todoist now has a Kanban board feature similar to that made popular by Trello.

          Kanban boards are an effective project management tool designed to make it easier to organise tasks within projects and get an overview of overall project status. While Kanban boards aren’t super fancy they are, for some, super useful.

          “A more visual way to organize your projects. Drag tasks between sections, visualize your progress, and simplify your teamwork,” Todoist say of the feature.

        • SoftMaker FreeOffice: A cross-platform Office suite that’s fully compatible to MS Office

          Most Linux users are well-acquainted with LibreOffice – many distributions have it pre-installed. Fewer know its powerful alternative: FreeOffice is a full-fledged office solution with full support for Microsoft Office file formats. It consists of a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation program. True to its name, FreeOffice is fully free and available for Linux in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

          FreeOffice is far from a LibreOffice clone. The software is being developed by a German software company with a history going all the way back to 1987. Due to its background, FreeOffice has far more in common with Microsoft Office than with LibreOffice.

        • Cutting corners on cybersecurity can leave costly holes [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Such attacks can paralyse an organisation as it weighs up concerns over prolonged business interruption, reputational damage and data protection responsibilities against the financial impact and the ethical implications of capitulating to the demands. The decision to pay or not to pay is very much the question – especially when university budgets are so tight.

          The advice of the NCSC, as well as Jisc, is very clear: do not pay! A range of reasons are cited, but the prime one is the inability of institutions to be sure that the [attacker] will undo the damage and not exploit the data breach at a later date. Those who pay up justify doing so on the grounds of business criticality and expediency. They also rely on the “honour among thieves” paradigm that [attackers] will stick to their word so that victims of future attacks will also feel confident in paying up.

        • As critics call for deplatforming, defunding, and prosecution over Leila Khaled discussion, San Francisco State University president gets it right

          Yesterday, Zoom refused to allow the university to use its service for the discussion — a cancellation praised by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who said there was no “need to hear both sides.” It is not yet clear whether the organizers of the event will switch to another channel of communication.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Vibrant Networking, Edge Open Source Development On Full Display at Open Networking & Edge Summit
              • Vibrant Networking, Edge Open Source Development On Full Display at Open Networking & Edge Summit

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today marked significant progress in the open networking and edge spaces. In advance of the Open Networking and Edge Summit happening September 28-30, Linux Foundation umbrella projects LF Edge and LF Networking demonstrate recent achievements highlighting trends that set the stage for next-generation technology.

                [...]

                “We are thrilled to announce a number of milestones across our networking and edge projects, which will be on virtual display at ONES next week,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IOT, at the Linux Foundation. “Indicative of what’s coming next, our communities are laying the groundwork for markets like cloud native, 5G, and edge to explode in terms of open deployments.”

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by openSUSE (libetpan, libqt4, lilypond, otrs, and perl-DBI), Red Hat (kernel-rt), Slackware (seamonkey), SUSE (grafana, libmspack, openldap2, ovmf, pdns, rubygem-actionpack-5_1, and samba), and Ubuntu (debian-lan-config, ldm, libdbi-perl, and netty-3.9).

          • Balancing Linux security with usability

            Building an operating system is a difficult balance, and a Linux distribution is no different. You need to consider the out-of-the-box functionality that most people are going to want, and accessibility for a wide swath of administrators’ skillsets. If you make your distro very secure, but a newbie sysadmin can’t figure out how to work with it…well, they’re going to find an easier distribution to go learn on, and now you’ve lost that admin to another distribution. So it’s really no surprise that, right after install time, most Linux distributions need a little bit of tweaking to lock them down. This has gotten better over the years, as the installers themselves have gotten easier to use and more feature-rich. You can craft a pretty custom system right from the GUI installer. A base Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) system, for example, if you’ve chosen the base package set, is actually pretty light on unnecessary services and packages.

            There was a time when that was not true. Can you imagine passwords being hashed, but available in /etc/password for any user to read? Or all system management being carried out over Telnet? SSH wasn’t even on, by default. Host-based firewall? Completely optional. So, 20 years ago, locking down a newly installed Linux system meant a laundry list of tasks. Luckily, as computing has matured, so has the default install of just about any operating system.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • How Police Fund Surveillance Technology is Part of the Problem

              Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local level are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on surveillance technology in order to track, locate, watch, and listen to people in the United States, often targeting dissidents, immigrants, and people of color. EFF has written tirelessly about the harm surveillance causes communities and its effect is well documented. What is less talked about, but no less disturbing, are the myriad ways agencies fund the hoarding of these technologies. 

              In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice reported on the irresponsible and unregulated use and deployment of police surveillance measures in the town of Calexico, California. One of the most notable examples of the frivolous spending culture includes spending roughly $100,000 in seized assets on surveillance equipment (such as James Bond-style spy glasses) to dig up dirt on city council members and complaint-filing citizens with the aim of blackmail and extortion. Another example: a report from the Government Accountability Office showed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers used money intended to buy food and medical equipment for detainees to instead buy tactical gear and equipment. 

            • German Ministry of the Interior plans EU declaration against encryption

              Since 2016, the Council and Commission of the European Union have been working on ways to decrypt digital content. After setting up a department at Europol, the Internet companies are now being urged to cooperate more. They are to provide police and secret services with decrypted data on request.

            • Web sites shared over 100 trillion pieces of our personal data last year: time to stop real-time bidding’s blatant disregard of privacy

              Last week Privacy News Online wrote about developments in the long-running battle between the privacy campaigner Max Schrems and Facebook. One of the key issues there is the failure by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) to act on the initial complaint made by Schrems seven years ago. That matters, because under EU law, Ireland is effectively the data protection agency for the whole of the European Union. Like Facebook, Google too has its European headquarters in Dublin. That means complaints against the company must also be dealt with by Ireland’s DPC. As this blog reported two years ago, just such a complaint was submitted to both the UK and Irish data protection authorities, regarding the use of real-time bidding systems (RTB) by Google. The problem of RTB, and how it goes against core requirements of the EU’s GDPR legislation, was first discussed here three years ago, with updates noting the serious implication for privacy. The UK’s Information Commission Office published the preliminary results of its investigation into RTB (since paused because of Covid-19) last year, and they didn’t look good for Google. The Irish DPC has been very slow to take action. As a result, one of the people involved in the initial complaint, Johnny Ryan, has released new evidence of how serious the problem is:

            • Facebook faces lawsuit for spying on Instagram users with camera

              Facebook is facing a lawsuit which alleges that the Instagram app spied on users through their cameras. Earlier this year, an update to iOS which included privacy warnings when an app does things like open the camera or access the clipboard called out the Instagram app accessing the camera unexpectedly while the app was open. The lawsuit alleges that Facebook violated wiretapping laws, two-party consent laws, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Facebook has just recently been served with another lawsuit for gathering facial biometrics data without consent. Facebook’s continuing privacy woes contrast with Mark Zuckerberg’s admission that: The future is private.” The lawsuit alleges:

            • Why I Like TikTok So Much

              Bottom line, you should try to find a way to check it out—safely—based on your risk tolerance.

              There really is a there there.

            • TikTok Asks Judge to Stop Trump Ban

              The motion for a preliminary injunction was filed Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after a suit came on Friday. (A similar case brought in California was concurrently dropped). The injunction bid comes as TikTok owner ByteDance faces a Sunday deadline to finalize an agreement with Oracle and Walmart that will allow it to keep operating in the United States. Separately, Chinese media outlets are reporting that its government might not sign off on the Oracle deal.

            • Mark in the Middle

              Between May and August, The Verge obtained 16 audio recordings and dozens of internal posts and screenshots from meetings and groups at Facebook from employees. The recordings include the company’s weekly Q&As, “FYI Live” sessions in which top executives discussed a civil rights audit and preview the summer’s congressional antitrust hearing, and talks by top executives highlighting the work their teams are doing.

            • Triggered

              Somebody pointed me to a research article about how many app developers fail to comply with the GDPR and data requests in general.

              The sender suggested that I could use it in marketing for Nextcloud.

              I appreciate such help, obviously, and often such articles are interesting. This one – I read it for a while but honestly, while I think it is good this is researched and attention is paid for it, I neither find the results very surprising NOR that horrible.

              What, a privacy advocate NOT deeply upset at bad privacy practices?

              Sir, yes, sir. You see, while the letter of the law is important, I think that intentions also are extremely important. Let me explain.

              Not all GDPR violations are made equal

              If you or your small business develops an app or runs a website to sell a product and you simply and honestly try to do a decent job while being a decent person, the GDPR is a big burden. Yes, the GDPR is good, giving people important rights. But if you run a mailing list on your local pottery sales website, with no intention other than to inform your prospective customers and followers of what you’re up to, it can be a burden to have people send you GDPR takedown and ‘delete me’ requests instead of just having them, you know – unsubscribe via the link under your newsletter!

              [...]

              Privacy violation as a business

              You see, there are businesses who don’t violate privacy of people by accident. Or even because it is convenient. There are businesses who do it as their core business model. You know who I’m talking about – Facebook, Google. To a lesser but still serious degree – Microsoft and yes, even Apple, though you can argue they are perhaps in the “side hustle” rather than “it’s their primary revenue stream” category.

              For these organizations, gathering your private data is their life blood. They exploit it in many ways – some sell it, which is in my opinion definitely among the most egregious ‘options’. Others, like Google and Facebook, hoard but also aggressively protect your data – they don’t want to leak it too much, they want to monetize it themselves! Of course, in the process of that, they often leak it anyway – think Cambridge Analytica – that was in no way an incident, hundreds of apps get your private data via Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others. But by and large, they want to keep that data to themselves so they can use it to offer services – targeted ads. Which in turn, of course, get abused sometimes too.

            • Illinois residents can apply for up to $400 in Facebook privacy settlement
    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • USPS Regrets Its Transparency, Asks FOIA Requester To Remove 1,200 Pages It Forgot To Withhold

        The government has fucked up and it thinks citizens are obligated to help it unfuck itself. We’re not. Too bad.

      • The Time Has Come to End the PACER Paywall

        In a nation ruled by law, access to public court records is essential to democratic accountability. Thanks to the Internet and other technological innovations, that access should be broader and easier than ever. The PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system could and should play a crucial role in fulfilling that need. Instead, it operates as an economic barrier, imposing fees for searching, viewing, and downloading federal court records, making it expensive for researchers, journalists, and the public to monitor and report on court activity. It’s past time for the wall to come down.

        The bipartisan Open Courts Act of 2020 aims to do just that. The bill would provide public access to federal court records and improve the federal court’s online record system, eliminating PACER’s paywall in the process. This week, EFF and a coalition of civil liberties organizations, transparency groups, retired judges, and law libraries, have joined together to push Congress and the U.S. Federal Courts to eliminate the paywall and expand access to these vital documents. In a letter (pdf) addressed to the Director of the Administrative Office of United States Courts, which manages PACER, the coalition calls on the AO not to oppose this important legislation.

      • Former QAnon Followers Explain What Drew Them In — And Got Them Out

        Benscoter agrees that fact-checking is essentially useless. As difficult as it may be, she urges, those with loved ones deep into QAnon must refrain. “To try to make rational arguments is not going to work because they’re not going to think rationally,” she says. “You can throw rocks in it and try to make cracks,” for instance, by asking the other person to consider the possibility that Q may not be who they claim to be. But arguing with a person who is not operating according to logic or reason “just makes them stand firmer,” she says.

        Instead, she advises people to try to appeal to their loved ones’ “higher selves.” “People who get involved in extremist mentality are usually really good people who care deeply about wanting to use their life for something bigger than themselves,” she says. She urges loved ones of QAnon believers to approach the conversation by saying something like, “I know the reason you care so much about this is because you’re a good person and I know you want to do right, but just consider the possibility that you are being lied to,” or, “It would be a shame if you put all this good sincere energy in something that turns out to be a lie.” “If they don’t immediately argue back fervently, if they stop for a moment, that would be a sign of a crack” in their belief system, she says. It may take a long time for such cracks to emerge, but without them believers can’t do the difficult work of setting off on the process of self-rediscovery and recovery from the false delusion of Q.

      • Decoding a Homeland Security Leak

        As the presidential election draws near, so does the fear of political violence—and not just among progressives. A concerned law enforcement source provided The Nation with the following Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment, which deems white supremacists the principal threat to safe elections in 2020.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • What If Preventing Collapse Isn’t Profitable?

        The real downside of the green-profit narrative has been that it created the assumption in many people’s minds that the solution to climate change and other environmental dilemmas is technical, and that policy makers and industrialists will implement it for us, so that the way we live doesn’t need to change in any fundamental way. That’s never been true.

      • Metaphors From Housing Court
      • Fed Program Meant to Help Workers Amid Pandemic Prioritized Wall Street Investors Instead: Analysis

        “The primary beneficiaries of the program have been corporate executives and investors, not workers.”

      • The Perils of Creativity and Capitalism in ‘Tesla’

        At the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, 100 years after the Lumière brothers presented the first celluloid motion picture, director Michael Almereyda interviewed a crop of independent filmmakers about their thoughts on the future of movies. Were they optimistic or pessimistic? It’s a question broad enough to elicit many different answers, from pointed to digressive. Almereyda and his collaborator Amy Hobby recorded the responses on a plastic Fisher-Price PixelVision camcorder, eliciting an unspoken formal tension between cinema’s past and its technologically democratized future.

      • Yandex agrees to buy Tinkoff Bank to corner Russia’s ‘FinTech’ market

        The Russian tech giant Yandex has tentatively agreed to buy 100 percent of Tinkoff Bank for $5.4 billion, the bank’s parent company, TCS Group, announced on September 22 on the London Stock Exchange. Immediately following the deal’s news, shares in Yandex on Nasdaq spiked 4.3 percent from $59.20 to $61.70. 

      • A Collective Art Project to Support Your Local Post Office

        Postcards for Democracy is a collective art project to support the 225-year-old United States Postal Service and the right to vote. In light of the threat to our beloved (yet neglected) Postal Service—at a time that could jeopardize our democracy— the two of us have joined forces for this artful demonstration. The aim of this campaign is to encourage as many people as possible to support the USPS (at this critical time), our right to vote, and democracy as a whole via the power of art. We’re asking you to buy USPS stamps, make your own postcard, and mail it to 8760 W Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069. The postcards will then become part of a collective art piece presented in both a physical gallery and a virtual space—art directed by the two of us. To join this collective art demonstration, go to postartfordemocracy.com or #postcardsfordemocracy.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • California Cities Voting On Ridiculous Resolution Asking Congress For Section 230 Reform… Because Of Violence At Protests?

        I attended an Internet Archive event (virtually, of course) yesterday, and afterwards one of the attendees alerted me to yet another nefarious attack on Section 230 based on out-and-out lies. Apparently the League of California Cities has been going around getting various California cities to vote on a completely misleading and bogus motion pushing for Congress to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. It was apparently put up first by the city of Cerritos, which is part of Los Angeles County (almost surprised it wasn’t started in Hollywood, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the impetus behind it was Hollywood people…). Basically, cities are voting on whether or not the League of California Cities should officially call on Congress to amend Section 230 in drastic ways… all because of some violence at recent protests about police brutality. The process, apparently, is that one city (in this case Cerritos) makes the proposal, and gets a bunch of other cities to first sign on, and then various other cities take a vote as to whether it becomes official League policy (after which they’d send a letter to Congress, which Congress would probably ignore).

      • Busting Still More Myths About Section 230, For You And The FCC

        The biggest challenge we face in advocating for Section 230 is how misunderstood it is. Instead of getting to argue about its merits, we usually have to spend our time disabusing people of their mistaken impressions about what the statute does and how. If people don’t get that part right then we’ll never be able to have a meaningful conversation about the appropriate role it should have in tech policy.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Twitter Freezes Accounts Trying To Fact Check Misinformation (2020)

        Summary: President Trump appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and made some comments that were considered by many experts to be misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. One quote that particularly stood out was: “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease. They don’t have a problem. They just don’t have a problem.” This is false. While it has been shown that children are less likely to get seriously ill or die from the disease, that is very different from being “immune.”

      • Trump Still Hates The 1st Amendment: Meeting With State Attorneys General To Tell Them To Investigate Internet Companies For Bias

        It never, ever ends. President Trump is continuing his war on Section 230 and the right for the open internet to exist. The latest is that he’s meeting with various state Attorneys General to encourage them to bring investigations against internet websites over “anti-conservative bias” despite the fact that no one has shown any actual evidence of anti-conservative bias beyond assholes, trolls, and literal Nazis upset that they got banned.

      • New legislation will not eliminate student no-platforming

        One measure apparently under consideration is the extension of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to specifically oblige students’ unions – in addition to universities themselves – to “take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the establishment and for visiting speakers”.

      • Trump administration proposes punishing sites for ‘censoring lawful speech’ or hosting illegal content

        The new rules are a concrete application of ideas the Justice Department floated months ago. They cover two orthogonal goals for Section 230 reform: pushing web platforms to more aggressively remove harmful (and sometimes illegal) content like harassment and child sexual abuse material and discouraging them from removing content from conservative and far-right users, including misinformation and hate speech. In a letter to Congress, the Justice Department said it aimed to stop platforms from “censoring lawful speech and promoting certain ideas over others” while also making sure they can’t “escape liability even when they knew their services were being used for criminal activity.”

        In practice, the new bill would erode protections for letting websites and apps remove content they deemed generally “objectionable.” It would protect sites from lawsuits over their moderation decisions only if they could show an “objectively reasonable belief” that the content was lewd, excessively violent, promoted terrorism and violent extremism, promoted self-harm, or was unlawful. Many of these decisions would still be covered under the First Amendment, but removing Section 230 protections could drag out legal battles over allegations of social media censorship.

      • How To Nuke Your Reputation: The Nikola Edition

        This isn’t so much in vogue as it was in the past, but it still remains true that one’s reputation is a scarce resource that can be frittered away easily. And, on these pages at least, it is often equal parts perplexing and funny to watch some folks in the tech space torpedo their own reputations for various reasons. The more shrewd don’t always seem to care about this sort of thing, which is how you get the MPAA pirating clips from Google to make its videos, or a law school taking a critic to court only to have the court declare said critic’s critique was totally true. Good times.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Day 12: September 23, 2020 #AssangeCase

        Today Dr. Quinton Deeley, National Health Service psychiatrist who specializes in autism, ADHD, & other mental health issues, took the stand to discuss Julian Assange’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Deeley interviewed Assange several times over a period of several months, and he spoke to Assange’s partner, mother, and friends to corroborate his findings and prepare a report. Dr. Deeley also agreed with what Dr. Kopelman testified to yesterday, that Assange would be a “high risk” of suicide if he were ordered to be extradited.

      • Doctor Diagnosed Julian Assange With Asperger’s Syndrome

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, while detained in the Belmarsh high-security prison in London. This likely increases Assange’s risk of suicide if confined in restrictive prison conditions in the United States, according to a psychiatrist who testified at his extradition trial.Dr. Quinton Deeley, who works for the National Health Service (NHS), conducted an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) test on Assange and produced a report. He interviewed Assange for six hours in July.Assange told Deeley he feared he would be held in isolation in a U.S. prison. He was afraid of the fresh indictment. He was also concerned about the fate of Joshua Schulte, who was held in harsh confinement conditions prior to his trial for allegedly disclosing the “Vault 7” materials to WikiLeaks. (Schulte’s case resulted in a mistrial in March.)The U.S. Justice Department charged Assange with 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 U.S. government. It targets common practices in newsgathering, which is why the case is widely opposed by press freedom organizations throughout the world.

        In the cases of Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon, the U.S. government was blocked from extraditing them because the United Kingdom High Court of Justice (Love) and the British Home Secretary (McKinnon) recognized their Asperger’s syndrome would result in degrading or inhuman treatment that violated human rights.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 15

        When Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, the US Government burgled the office of his psychiatrist to look for medical evidence to discredit him. Julian Assange has been obliged to submit himself, while in a mentally and physically weakened state and in conditions of the harshest incarceration, to examination by psychiatrists appointed by the US government. He has found the experience intrusive and traumatising. It is a burglary of the mind.

      • Police arrest journalist outside IHC

        Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah took notice of the incident and summoned high-ranking officials of the capital police and ordered Kiyani’s immediate release. The reporter was released soon after and Superintendent of Police Sarfaraz Virk said that no weapons had been recovered from Kiyani, adding that a private TV channel had reported “fake news”.

        Speaking to reporters after his release, Kiyani said that he was falsely accused of bearing weapons. He added that he was detained by police for over an hour, during which he was “tortured” and “harassed”.

      • FSB investigator rejects petition from jailed journalist Ivan Safronov

        A Federal Security Service (FSB) investigator has rejected a petition from jailed journalist Ivan Safronov, who had requested clarification on the nature of the treason charges against him. FSB Investigator Alexander Chaban refused to grant the request on the grounds that he “misunderstood the petition,” Safronov’s lawyer Ivan Pavlov told MBX Media. 

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • When Truth Exposes the Unspeakable

        I photographed this billboard on September 19, 2020 in Portland, Oregon.  Three days prior to this, Portland, Oregon had  the worst air quality in the world, as a result of raging killer Climate Fires throughout the  state. President Donald Trump believes thatGlobal Warming is a hoax. Millions of Americans are directly influenced by his opinions.

      • ‘Nobody Gets Left Behind’

        We have stepped into the gap of the state, because the state would kill us. There is no benevolent daddy! Although Benevolent Daddy would be an excellent drag name.

      • Why the Fascists Don’t Want Us to Grieve

        Welcome to “Movement Memos,” a Truthout podcast about things you should know if you want to change the world. I’m your host, Kelly Hayes.

      • Albuquerque Police, Mayor Ignore CDC Advice, Aggressively Police Unsheltered People During Pandemic

        Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and Albuquerque’s Department of Family and Community Services (FCS) engage in a pattern and practice of harassing, criminalizing, and displacing unsheltered people living on city streets, parks, or private property, according to sources on the street, a review of 32 criminal complaints filed with the courts in early 2020, and survey data collected by a group of unaffiliated advocates for the homeless.

      • Why LeBron James Scares the Racist Right

        LeBron James matters in a way that few athletes have ever mattered in the history of sports. This is because he manages to combine the rarest of elements: He is arguably the best to ever play his sport, he gives a damn about social issues, and his media reach is unlike any athlete before him.

      • Citing ‘Abysmal Record on Human Rights,’ Amnesty Makes Rare Demand to Halt Wolf’s Nomination as DHS Chief

        Wolf appeared before a Senate panel after a federal judge ruled last week he is likely unlawfully serving as the department’s acting secretary.

      • How Criminal Cops Often Avoid Jail

        When New Jersey lawmakers sought advice about police accountability, one of the power players they turned to was Sean Lavin, a police union leader.

        Lavin testified before state senators at a July hearing, where he questioned whether civilians are qualified to serve on police oversight boards, and suggested that chokeholds might sometimes be warranted. He also argued against releasing the names of officers who have been disciplined.

      • What Happens to New Jersey Officers Charged With Official Misconduct? We Gathered the Cases to Find Out.

        As police accountability draws increased public attention around the country, we asked the question: What happens to police officers whose misconduct leads to criminal charges?

        New Jersey law calls for a mandatory minimum jail sentence when officers are convicted of official misconduct, the criminal charge for public corruption. Guidelines written by the state attorney general’s office go further, saying public officials shouldn’t get light plea deals in these cases.

      • ‘This is a farce’ Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya responds to Lukashenko’s inauguration

        Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya) has released a video message responding to Alexander Lukashenko’s secret inauguration as president of Belarus. In the message, she calls herself the only elected leader of the Belarusian people. The video was published by Tikhanovskaya spokespeople on their official Telegram channel, “Pul Pervoi.”

      • Belarusians take to the streets in protest following Lukashenko’s ‘secret’ inauguration

        On Wednesday, September 23, cities across Belarus saw mass demonstrations opposing the secret inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko. At around 7:00 p.m. local time, people started taking to the streets in Minsk, Brest, Vitebsk, Grodno, Soligorsk, and other cities. According to Interfax’s estimates, approximately five to seven thousand people were protesting throughout Minsk.

      • Girl killed for honour in Darra, three relatives held

        A girl was killed by relatives over her wish to marry on her own choice in Jawaki Banda area of Darra Adamkhel tribal subdivision on Tuesday.

      • Uber has literally gotten away with murder, part 2.

        1. The Uber executives who put this software on the public roadways need to be in jail. They disabled safety features because they made testing harder. They disabled safety features because they made the ride rougher.

      • Tea

        I can’t get away from it. Felted-up reenactors shoving a great fake crate of it into the Harbor and jeering. After the tour group leaves, they fish it back out and towel it off, unbutton their waistcoats to smoke. At the nearby counter-service place, there are two jars next to the register, and dropping bills into one or the other is how we affirm our commitments—why should we ever pay decently, unless it occurs in this fever of rivalry that passes for fun? What are our choices and might I suggest LESS IS MORE against MORE IS MORE? Or IT COULD HAPPEN ANY TIME against IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME? Or how about THIS VIOLENCE FOREVER UNDOES A PERSON against THAT CONTENTION CAN ONLY BE ROOTED IN THE RETROGRADE VIEW THAT A WOMAN IS EITHER INTACT OR SHE’S NOT? I always thought I’d made peace with THIS PLANET, and yet here I am shoving all my cash in the jar marked ANYPLACE ELSE. There isn’t enough money in the world.

      • Apocryphal

        You made me crude because you were afraid and too easily in awe—

        but I also loved that about you, the sincerity of your love, the centrality

      • ‘Shameful Reality Stops Today’: Indigenous Rights Advocates Applaud Passage of Bills to End Epidemic of Missing and Murdered Native Women

        “This legislation passing means I won’t have to have those whispered conversations with my daughters about how the government turns its back on our Native women,” one advocate said.

      • How COVID-19 has created a crisis on the Venezuela-Colombia border

        A humanitarian crisis has been brewing for the past six months on the Venezuela-Colombia border, where COVID-19 lockdown measures have had a devastating effect on Indigenous and migrant communities strained by the influx of tens of thousands of Venezuelan returnees.
        Some five million Venezuelans fled into the wider region as their country’s economy and health system collapsed from 2015 onwards. But the coronavirus has frozen economies across Latin America and reversed this exodus, leaving Colombian border communities reeling from chronic shortages of medical attention and food, as well as increased violence.
        La Guajira, an arid Indigenous region in northeastern Colombia, is grappling with a medical system near collapse, while the aid response in Cúcuta, the only open border crossing to Venezuela, is strained by long waits at official immigration points, even as violence spikes along the informal migration and smuggling routes controlled by armed criminals.

      • Righteous Rage

        That is the politest thing I can say at the moment. It will get worse from here.

      • Hawkins says Supreme Court nomination should wait until after the election

        Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for President, said that while the nomination of the new Supreme Court Justice should wait until the next presidential term, it was also important to reign in the powers of the court, which he described as “an unaccountable, unelected super-legislative council of lifers.”

        Hawkins challenged Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats to finally stand up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and use the minority’s parliamentary powers to delay the nomination. “The Democrats always shy away from the real fights in Congress, like we saw with their delay on impeachment and continuing unwillingness to challenge Attorney General Barr. Joe Biden shepherded through Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Democrats allowed McConnell to roll them on the Merrick Garland nomination in 2016 without obstructing the Majority Leader with parliamentary maneuvers. They’re all bark but no bite,” he added.

      • Warning: GOP Can Appoint a Supreme Court Justice in Time to Confirm Trump’s Second Term

        This is truly an existential reckoning.

      • NLG Statement on the Death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

        The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) joins people across the country and throughout the world in mourning the death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Our commitment to human rights is one Justice Ginsberg’s attempted to uphold throughout her lifetime of service, and we vehemently oppose any attempts to exploit her death as an opportunity to further oppression and suffering of people of this country. As such, we also insist that the naming and confirmation of her replacement not take place until after the Presidential election in November.

        From co-founding in 1970 the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the country to focus exclusively on women’s rights, to co-authoring the first law school casebook on sex discrimination, Justice Ginsberg was committed to furthering the legally recognized rights of women in the U.S. In 1972, Justice Ginsburg founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU, later becoming the project’s general counsel overseeing the its participation in more than 300 gender discrimination cases in a single year.

      • First Came the Hurricane, Then Came the Campaign of Terror

        The island of Abaco, viewed from above, looks like a drowned sandbar, hardly terrestrial at all. It’s one of the northernmost islands of the Bahamian archipelago, which sits atop a wide limestone platform just a few dozen feet under the sea. From space, its pure white sands and fluorescent waters glow like an emerald necklace, visually striking against the muted browns and greens of the rest of the planet. Viewed from the oval window of my flight, slicing through a cloudless sky, the waters shimmered in dazzling shades of lapis lazuli.

      • Supreme Court: Playing for Time vs. Advise and Consent

        “The American people,” US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in 2016, “should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” McConnell took that position in response to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

      • Chaos Galore

        The pre-October surprise death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg worsened the divisive political nightmare of a nation struggling to cope with successive disasters while under minority rule by a president who can’t govern.

      • There Is Only One Way Out of This Crisis: Expand the Court

        As feared, Donald Trump should have enough votes from hypocritical Republican senators to push through his Supreme Court nominee, in violation of the rule against confirming people in a presidential election year that Mitch McConnell invented to block Merrick Garland’s nomination in 2016.

      • Ginsburg’s Death and Trump’s Emerging Legal Coup D’Etat

        On Friday, Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg, died. Mitch McConnell are Donald Trump now moving rapidly to replace with a 3rd right wing nominee to the SCOTUS. Democrats mount feeble and futile defense, saying McConnell should not proceed with nomination based on McConnell’s own argument back in Feb. 2016 used to thwart the nomination of Obama’s Garland candidate; McConnell in reply expediting the nomination and promises Trump decision before Nov. 3 election.

      • ‘Powerful Moment’: State Supreme Court Ruling Will Likely Make Maine First in US History to Use Ranked-Choice in Presidential Election

        “This ruling is the latest victory for voters who want more consensus, more choice, and a greater voice,” one advocate said.

      • ‘Absolute Hogwash’: Romney Blasted for Backing SCOTUS Vote as Progressives Vow Fight to the End

        “Fury—our political system needs your fury right now,” said Indivisible co-founder Ezra Levin of the senator’s announcement.

      • The Politics of Portland’s Protests

        Portland entered the 100th straight day of protests connected to the Black Lives Matter movement this month, and finally Portland’s mayor joined hands with the governor to solve the crisis. Not by taking action to address the widely-shared grievances against law enforcement, but to deliver a movement deathblow aimed at protestors.

      • Death of a Supreme Court Justice Famed for Consensus-Building Is Used to Sow Divisions

        Republican leaders show once more that they care only about power, not about the law or legitimacy.

      • Russ Feingold on Why We Need to Talk About Expanding the Supreme Court

        Russ Feingold has thought longer and harder than most Americans about the US Senate’s handling of Supreme Court nominations, and he knows something has got to change. As the former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, and as the current president of the American Constitution Society, he has fought to maintain the deliberative process by which the Senate is supposed to provide advice and consent in a finely balanced system of checks and balances.

      • Anger and Confusion After Facebook Suspends Environmental and Indigenous Groups’ Accounts Ahead of Pipeline Protest

        “Facebook is actively suppressing those who oppose fascism and the colonial capitalists,” said one First Nations activist.

      • RCMP investigating after far-right groups disrupt anti-racism rally in Alberta
      • ‘No more Morias’: New EU migration policy met with scepticism

        Border processing centres for asylum seekers, more cooperation with third countries, an increased focus on repatriation, mandatory responsibility-sharing between EU member states, and an end to the Dublin regulation: the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, today released its long awaited New Pact on Migration and Asylum.
        In the months before its launch, civil society groups urged the Commission to use the New Pact as an opportunity to change course from policies they say have trapped people in dangerous situations in Libya, seen European states turn their backs on rescuing people at sea, created a humanitarian crisis on the Greek islands, led to human rights violations at the EU’s borders, and criminalised volunteers.
        The EU’s 27 member states have struggled to settle on a common approach to migration and asylum since 2015, when over one million people – mostly Syrian refugees – crossed the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. States have been divided over how to share responsibility for asylum seekers – the vast majority arriving in Greece, Italy, and Spain – but have largely agreed on partnering with third countries to make it more difficult for people to reach the EU’s borders.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Hold On, eBooks Cost HOW Much? The Inconvenient Truth About Library eCollections

        And the conclusion I’ve come to for both questions is: I think most publishers hate libraries.

        I wish I were kidding.

        When libraries and publishers entered the ebook landscape, they went with a model they knew and understood: they licensed library ebooks with a one copy/one user. While some other models have come out since then (such as cost-per-circ, where the library pays every time someone checks a book out, which you see with services like Hoopla) one copy/one user remains the most common way ebooks are sold for lending. However many licenses a library buys is how many people can read a book at a time.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Forum Selling and Judge Shopping—How Two Texas Districts Compete For NPE Cases

          Judge Gilstrap of the infamously NPE-friendly Eastern District of Texas used to handle one out of every four patent cases in the entire United States. The Eastern District as a whole handled more than 40% of all patent cases nationally, despite only having about 1% of the nation’s population.

          After the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in TC Heartland, which reined in rampant forum-shopping, that number dropped significantly. Judges in the Eastern District have certainly done their best to hold onto cases, however. Even after TC Heartland, the Eastern District continues to see approximately 10% of all patent litigation.

          But patent plaintiffs, especially NPEs, didn’t have to go very far to find their next home. Enter the Western District of Texas. After Judge Albright took the bench in 2018, he immediately set out to attract patent cases to his court, with tremendous success. In fact, one in five patent filings this year is estimated to wind up in the Western District of Texas, and according to a new paper, more than 85% of those cases were filed by NPEs.

        • Tormasi v. Western Digital Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Last month, the Federal Circuit affirmed an Order by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, finding that Appellant Walter A. Tormasi lacked the capacity to sue under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(b). Mr. Tormasi had filed suit against Appellee Western Digital Corp., asserting that Western Digital had infringed claims 41 and 61-63 of U.S. Patent No. 7,324,301. Mr. Tormasi is an inmate in the New Jersey State Prison, which has a “no-business” rule prohibiting inmates from commencing or operating a business without prior approval from the Administrator…

        • Electricity storage technologies increase by 14% annually – Study reveals [Ed: The Latest Greenwashing Campaign by the EPO is Just ‘Chinese Propaganda’]
        • EPO-IEA study: Rapid rise in battery innovation playing key role in clean energy transition

          Improving the capacity to store electricity is playing a key role in the transition to clean energy technologies. Between 2005 and 2018, patenting activity in batteries and other electricity storage technologies grew at an average annual rate of 14% worldwide, four times faster than the average of all technology fields, according to a joint study published today by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

      • Copyrights

        • Rightsholders Ask Europe for Broad “Know Your Customer” Checks to Deter Piracy

          In a letter sent to the European Commission, a large group of anti-piracy organizations and copyright holders calls for stricter online identity checks. As part of Europe’s planned Digital Services Act, online services such as hosting companies, domain registrars, and advertisers, should be required to perform “know your customer” checks. This can help to combat all sorts of illegal activity including online piracy.

        • Company Owning ‘Evel Knievel’ Rights Sues Disney Over ‘Toy Story 4′ Amalgam Parody Character

          Evel Knievel, it seems, is as litigious in death as he was in life. The famed motorcycle stuntman found his way into our pages previously, having mistaken common modern parlance for defamation and for once suing AOL of all companies because its search engine could be used to get to a Kanye West video. And, while Knievel passed away in 2007, the lawsuits keep coming.

        • Copyright history and the unappreciated legacy of the licensing acts

          Before there was the Statute of Anne (1709 or 1710, choose your calendar), there was a series of so-called licensing acts, dating from the 16th century and running until 1695, which regulated (censored?) printing and publishing in England in the interests of the Crown and the religious authorities. Law school curricula on copyright address the licensing acts briefly, if at all. On the whole, only academic types really pay any attention to them, mainly over the extent to which they created a hermetically sealed system of regulation and control. Otherwise, who cares?

          Well, this Kat, for one. True, the licensing acts were replaced by a totally different scheme, the Statute of Anne, which shaped the modern copyright system. But ironically, the licensing acts, or more precisely, the short-term lapse of this regulatory regime between 1679-1685, helped create the circumstances that fostered restrictive religious policies in England for more than one hundred years and led to the rise of the first genuine political parties, the Whigs (may they rest in peace) and the Tories (yes, the same Tory party). It even contributed to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the end of the House of Stuart.

          [...]

          Charles II was, generally speaking, skeptical of the plot, but Parliament pressed forward with investigations and indictments. Outside, there was wide-spread anti-Catholic hysteria. Appreciate the irony here—it was the king who was far from wholly embracing the plot (presumably against himself), while it was Parliament who pushed ahead with the accusations.

          Against this background, the Popish Plot witnessed a series of trials, which ran their course by 1681. Reputations were lost, even worse, lives were lost (over 20 Catholics, many of high rank, were put to death). Oates, for his part, was convicted of perjury, but only in 1685, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. But “life” did not mean “life”, because in 1689, a year after the Glorious Revolution, William of Orange and Mary granted Oates a pardon and a yearly pension of £260, which was later raised to £300 annually.

          Amidst this turmoil, the Licensing of the Press Act lapsed in 1679, meaning that the London Gazette longer had a monopoly on the news. With this lapsing, there was the sudden rise of multiple formats of published contents for commercial benefit. At the public level, it enabled a broad, energetic, and sometimes scurrilous public conversation in print in connection with the Popish Plot. With no restrictions on the publication by virtue of the Licensing of the Press Act, the only remedy were actions, post-publication, for libel.

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