Losing the Battle for Rights/Justice, Freedom/Liberty, and Emancipation Potential

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not even free speech is honoured any longer (because it might ‘offend’ abusive corporations and rich sponsors with limitless avarice)

Tribunal de Justi'ca Building

Summary: We’re losing our most basic rights amid transition to “digital”; too little is being done to push back against this worrisome trend, which necessarily means reduction in both our freedom and our fundamental human rights

THE name “Techrights” was chosen more than a decade ago (thanks, Tracy). As I recall it, RMS initially opposed it, thinking that it was missing the point of freedom, focusing instead on rights. The term “rights” typically alludes to law (something enforceable), which in turn can be connected to a system of justice. Tribunals apply law (in principle at least). The concept of freedom is broad and the word can be misused to mean deregulation (corporations taking people’s freedom away) or even bombing countries in the name of “liberating” them from alleged tyrants. Emancipation is an act of turning the oppressed into lesser oppressed or “free”, sometimes offering some “rights” in the process (to guard against future oppression).

“We have far too few rights protecting us from robotics and programmatic nihilism (the principles of human rights in relation to machines are grossly underdeveloped).”The semantics don’t matter as much as the underlying concept/s. It’s hard to find anyone who disagrees about technology becoming as harmful as it is beneficial (one frequently-explored aspect is the impact on people’s privacy, however narrow a focal point). We have far too few rights protecting us from robotics and programmatic nihilism (the principles of human rights in relation to machines are grossly underdeveloped). The media keeps using or misusing buzzwords like “hey hi” (AI) and “clown computing” (outsourcing of our data and computation to surveillance giants, usually overseas). So it’s not really helping. The media is a tool of oppression (big publishers, in the pockets of those very same surveillance giants). The word “smart” is nowadays being used to lure people into dumb practices (or shame those who refuse to play along). Hours ago I saw a puff piece promoting a wall clock which is actually an Amazon bug (listening device) and about 10 days ago I became aware of the most notorious former NSA chief joining the board of Amazon. This is the same guy who started PRISM with Microsoft almost a decade ago.

Computing won’t be improved thanks to the ‘goodwill’ of corporations, masters of openwashing and greenwashing (we have the Linux Foundation to ‘thank’ for that). The popular struggle must come from below, it will never come from above. All we can expect “from above” are orders and crushing boots. People who wrongly assume that a corporations-led OSI or corporations-funded FSF/FSFE will save us (EFF as well for that matter, albeit EFF never cared about software freedom) haven’t been paying attention to the corrupting influence of money — including Google and Microsoft money — inside key institutions. They gag critics (self-censorship and expulsions) while assuring us that they’re all becoming “open” (whilst in fact pushing lots of proprietary software) and dropping laughable soundbites like “Open Source has won” (they mean to say it was taken over, not adopted).

Times may seem depressing at some level; on the one hand, Free software (including GNU and Linux) is everywhere, but on the other hand, this isn’t how many of us envisioned it. Having a wall clock running Linux only to record us and send the recordings to Amazon (with NSA inside its Board of Directors) isn’t freedom; it’s pure, vulgar tyranny. Several years ago we already warned about the threat of Linux becoming a “cheap” (cost-free) option for some of the very worst elements of technology. Nothing in the GPL prevents that (free-as-in-deregulation), so people need to prevent that by rejecting such things and calling out the culprits. Not enough people are doing it. In an interview published less than 24 hours ago, RMS spoke about it to RT. Funnily enough, that RT interview with RMS (made public yesterday morning) asks him the very same questions we was planning to ask him next. It’s like RT ‘stole’ questions we was planning to ask RMS (questions that he answered very well). We’re joking of course. Nobody ‘stole’ anything. Whether or not he does an interview with us as well may depend on what he perceives to be the outcome, knowing that some fussy petitioners are still scheming from inside GNU to oust him. Many of them work for IBM and most of them (at least two thirds of the whole lot) develop on Microsoft servers (GitHub) — a practice long condemned and discouraged by RMS.

We’re up against powerful and well-funded forces. They’re subversive. They shoot messengers. Days ago one of these petitioners (Garrett) entered our IRC channels, obviously digging for 'dirt' on us.

Response to Eric Raymond (ESR) on “Last Phase of the Desktop Wars”

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Vista 10, Windows at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Liberty matters; to Microsoft it's all about control/coercion

Statue of Liberty

Summary: Eric Raymond (ESR) talks about Microsoft’s “embrace”; but there are many misunderstandings and misconceptions in his blog post, as we’ll explain patiently, based on known facts

THE co-founder of the OSI (an anti-Free software organisation), ESR, has just published Last phase of the desktop wars?

“ESR is thick-skinned, so he can certainly take the criticism.”The article is full of some strange slant/take on positivism; as if we should be happy about Microsoft, or as if Microsoft is “embracing” this thing called ‘Linux’ (GNU) with good intentions. I found myself shaking my head a lot (side to side, not top to bottom) while reading it; there are many factual errors there, which makes it hard to read without face-palming a bit. “ESR forgot to take the pink glasses off,” MinceR said in IRC and XRevan86 “stopped reading at the mention of MS Edge being ported,” he has just said. We’ve decided to respond. Of course chromium-browser already supported GNU/Linux since the very beginning, so the ‘port’ from Microsoft is a joke. It’s a PR stunt from which we have nothing to gain (GNU/Linux users won’t touch it); Microsoft used it to bombard the media with proprietary software (spyware) marketing on the same day Firefox 81 was released; guess what media paid attention to (vapourware, not an actual release of an actual FOSS browser). But we’ll get to that in a moment…

ESR is thick-skinned, so he can certainly take the criticism. Constructive hopefully…

I spoke to him before (online) and he’s responsive, albeit abrasive at times. We won’t remark on his professional or his political views (he tried to ‘cancel’ RMS more than 2 decades ago and nowadays he promotes militia nonsense); we’ll focus 100% on the substance (or lack of it). Reply in full, in-line, just like the Halloween Documents that he published with editorial interpretations. A lot of the reply below is based on an IRC debate, which is still ongoing.

Without further ado (and quite frankly with respect):

The two most intriguing developments in the recent evolution of the Microsoft Windows operating system are Windows System for Linux (WSL) and the porting of their Microsoft Edge browser to Ubuntu.

As noted above (prematurely perhaps, as that part was particularly off-putting), the core of this browser has long supported GNU/Linux (not just “Ubuntu”) and mostly because of Google and code that it had repurposed; that had nothing to do with Microsoft, which merely ‘borrowed’ other people’s work, initially removing GNU/Linux support (similar to what Microsoft did to Skype).

Regarding “Windows System for Linux” [sic], it’s a deliberate misnomer. There’s no Linux in WSL. WSL2 does have Linux, but hardly anyone uses that. It has been a devastating failure for Microsoft (their Project Manager got really stressed when we spoke about it and presented evidence) and last night we finally saw reports about Microsoft ‘fixing’ it after breaking it almost a fortnight ago. Only a crazy fool would do any serious work on WSL/WSL2.

These Microsoft ‘toys’ are widely seen as experimental laughing stocks among actual users of GNU/Linux. They’d never touch that stuff; at best, they’d run virtual machines with GNU/Linux in them (using something like VirtualBox). WSL/2 is like 2 decades behind (Cygwin).

ESR calls these “intriguing developments” (Microsoft giving up on MSIE and Edge, redoing the whole thing using someone else’s product, just like with WSL/2). The word “intriguing” can be (mis)interpreted in all sorts of ways; if by “intriguing” he meant something negative, then fine. But let’s press on with the next paragraph:

For those of you not keeping up, WSL allows unmodified Linux binaries to run under Windows 10. No emulation, no shim layer, they just load and go.

Wow. Welcome back, 2001. Cygwin. Sort of…

I experimented with Cygwin when I was still a teenager.

Microsoft… bringing you the distant past… today.

Aside from that, today’s PCs come with so much RAM that one can just run these “unmodified Linux binaries” in a virtual machine (with no noticeable performance toll).

Microsoft developers are now landing features in the Linux kernel to improve WSL.

Read as: Microsoft is taking control of the competition. It even bribed the Linux Foundation several times to keep it off-guard. It hired some kernel hackers to make sure it has key positions in development and inside the Technical Advisory Board of the Linux Foundation.

Some accomplishment, eh?

And that points in a fascinating technical direction. To understand why, we need to notice how Microsoft’s revenue stream has changed since the launch of its cloud service in 2010.

He then goes along with a likely bogus narrative. Many companies do “clown computing” these days; few are actually profitable (AWS is, as the network effect helps, along with brand recognition and lock-in). Many shut down for financial reasons. I’d know; I’ve seen that at my nighttime work (datacentre and service/product closures, forcing migration/relocation with little prior notice).

Ten years later, Azure makes Microsoft most of its money.

Stop right there!

This is what Microsoft claims. While refusing to disclose underlying figures. Microsoft whistleblowers say it operates at a loss and likely constitutes fraud (defrauding the shareholders and more).

So the same ESR who published the Halloween Documents suddenly believes what Microsoft is saying? Come on, Eric, turn back on your critical skills and assess counter-arguments with corresponding evidence.

The Windows monopoly has become a sideshow, with sales of conventional desktop PCs (the only market it dominates) declining. Accordingly, the return on investment of spending on Windows development is falling. As PC volume sales continue to fall off , it’s inevitably going to stop being a profit center and turn into a drag on the business.

Ariadne responded to this in IRC, saying that “the thought that PC sales are declining is a fallacy…”

She said “people are still using PCs…”

“Remind him of Minecraft Bedrock,” XRevan86 noted.

“I’m starting to suspect Teams is an experiment in which they’re trying to find out how long can they delay messages before people give up on Teams,” MinceR added.

Microsoft’s products and services are still rather shoddy.

Ariadne then noted that “NT is a problem though [as] writing drivers and subsystems for NT is a huge pain in the ass. It is possible that NT could be replaced down the road with a Linux kernel. That much I would believe. But POSIX? Yeah right :) [...] if you are going to make developers transition to new APIs, you would get them to transition to whatever the present state of the art is, not POSIX… I guess what I’m saying is that we could see a windows OS based on Linux kernel, in the same way that android is based on Linux kernel, but otherwise unrelated to UNIX environment… the shortcomings of NT are becoming more and more visible.”

“If something like that would occur,” XRevan86 responded, “it would definitely happen in such a way it wouldn’t make anyone happier than Microsoft.”

I agreed with MinceR when he said: “maybe they don’t care anymore, they’re just looking to do damage [...] they’ll just tell gkh [Greg K-H] to declare a stable ABI and if it stops Linux development, they don’t care…”

“Free kernel,” as XRevan86 called it, “completely useless to everyone else.”

“I suspect that is the plan anyway,” Ariadne responded.

XRevan86 recalled the “extend/extinguish” going months back: “It was funny hearing about the DirectX 12 shim for WSL as “Microsoft ported DX12 to Linux, they care!” [...] If Microsoft will port their calculator to GNU/Linux, everyone will lose it. Albeit that’s very unlikely.”

oiaohm said “it’s more interesting [to talk about] the DX12 userspace libraries from Windows being brought on top of Linux [as] there has been some talk [regarding whether] Microsoft is pondering DX12 work on the Linux DRI layer. (Mind you this could be evil profit)”

More on that in a moment (or in raw IRC logs, to be published tomorrow).

“Anyway,” XRevan86 concluded, “I think we can all agree MS Edge coming to GNU/Linux is not the Sign of Microsoft moving Windows to Linux.”

Ariadne responded with “absolutely not [as] even if Windows were to use a Linux kernel in future, they would still use their own APIs just like Android…”

“MS Edge has been available on Android all this time,” XRevan86 said.

“DX12 coming it Linux would not surprise me,” oiaohm said. “Of course it most likely will come with you have to pay fee to Microsoft.”

“That would make them less appealing than FOSS,” XRevan86 replied. “Probably not a fee. Not at first anyway.”

More in IRC logs. Let’s move to the next on to the next paragraph.

Looked at from the point of view of cold-blooded profit maximization, this means continuing Windows development is a thing Microsoft would prefer not to be doing. Instead, they’d do better putting more capital investment into Azure – which is widely rumored to be running more Linux instances than Windows these days.

At a loss. Say former insiders. There’s even a formal complaint filed with the SEC.

We’ll soon be able to publish some Microsoft leaks.

Our third ingredient is Proton. Proton is the emulation layer that allows Windows games distributed on Steam to run over Linux. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting close. I myself use it to play World of Warships on the Great Beast.

Nothing new. WINE has long been able to make this DRM mess run (more or less), not that it’s a favourable thing for GNU/Linux or software freedom.

The thing about games is that they are the most demanding possible stress test for a Windows emulation layer, much more so than business software. We may already be at the point where Proton-like technology is entirely good enough to run Windows business software over Linux. If not, we will be soon.

Computers get more powerful over time and old computers are discarded. The performance aspects don’t matter today (like emulation layers’ penalties or compatibility layer in WINE’s case) like they did 10 or 15 years ago. The translation toll is lessened relative to other parts of the rendering pipeline. Also, graphics cards with their drivers for Linux are rapidly improving (workloads on GPUs) and they offload all that stuff onto proprietary silicon chips. Not an ‘OS thing’…

So, you’re a Microsoft corporate strategist. What’s the profit-maximizing path forward given all these factors?

Patent blackmail. An hour ago MinceR recalled that “manufacturers already bundle a ton of Microsoft crap with their android devices…”

I told him that this is “as part of patent settlements,” recalling that as recently as last year Microsoft still sued a large OEM/manufacturer (Foxconn) over patents in relation to ChromeOS and Android (Linux). “Microsoft blackmails them into bundling,” I reminded him, “because they’re still a bunch of gangsters and if you say this, you’re racist, as Ballmer is out…”

He agreed.

How many billions of dollars per year does Microsoft make by blackmailing companies using ridiculous software patents, or settling with them by means of Microsoft bundling (and/or other business favours)?

It’s this: Microsoft Windows becomes a Proton-like emulation layer over a Linux kernel, with the layer getting thinner over time as more of the support lands in the mainline kernel sources. The economic motive is that Microsoft sheds an ever-larger fraction of its development costs as less and less has to be done in-house.

The simple reality is, Windows is becoming obsolete as more people now use Android (than Windows). But that does not mean that WSL/2 somehow becomes a basis for Windows itself. It’s just a failed experiment. Nobody uses WSL2. Almost nobody (about 150,000 people worldwide last we checked). Remember that WSL is not Linux and it doesn’t even have Linux in it. It’s Windows.

If you think this is fantasy, think again. The best evidence that it’s already the plan is that Microsoft has already ported Edge to run under Linux. There is only one way that makes any sense, and that is as a trial run for freeing the rest of the Windows utility suite from depending on any emulation layer.

Once again he goes back to this Microsoft “ported Edge to run under Linux…”

No, Edge was thrown out (except as a brand) and Microsoft took a codebase that already supported GNU/Linux.

Not much done there. ESR perpetuates Microsoft propaganda here. Or PR ploys/stunts.

“If you think this is fantasy, think again,” ESR said. XRevan86 responded with: “*thinks* nope, still pure fantasy…”

Similar to the one SJVN was spreading in the Microsoft propaganda site, ZDNet.

“What the hay is he smoking,” XRevan86 added.

MinceR thinks “he failed to recognize what happened to Linux, which is extra weird because I thought he’d at least notice the CoC issue…”

“So now Microsoft will have two consumer-oriented projects for GNU/Linux: Edge and Skype (client), both are based on Google’s cross-platform code,” XRevan86 said. “Big flipping deal.”

“You missed Teams,” oiaohm wrote. XRevan86 agreed and MinceR said it “doesn’t work properly anywhere…” (they’re mostly rebranding and pretending to ‘add’ GNU/Linux support — for the illusion of ‘growth’ or ‘market share’).

So, the end state this all points at is: New Windows is mostly a Linux kernel, there’s an old-Windows emulation over it, but Edge and the rest of the Windows user-land utilities don’t use the emulation. The emulation layer is there for games and other legacy third-party software.

Pure nonsense. WSL/2 isn’t at the core of Windows. It’s just some toy added on the side — a ‘side dish’ like Cygwin.

Economic pressure will be on Microsoft to deprecate the emulation layer. Partly because it’s entirely a cost center. Partly because they want to reduce the complexity cost of running Azure. Every increment of Windows/Linux convergence helps with that – reduces administration and the expected volume of support traffic.

Azure is a failure. We need to stop helping Microsoft’s propaganda. They keep googlebombing “Linux”, so perhaps some people are led to absorb lies. Even people who should know better.

Eventually, Microsoft announces upcoming end-of-life on the Windows emulation. The OS itself , and its userland tools, has for some time already been Linux underneath a carefully preserved old-Windows UI. Third-party software providers stop shipping Windows binaries in favor of ELF binaries with a pure Linux API…

No, they can just target proper GNU/Linux instead. Many already do.

…and Linux finally wins the desktop wars, not by displacing Windows but by co-opting it. Perhaps this is always how it had to be.

You got it the other way around, ESR. Who is co-opting who?

Ariadne said, “I do believe Microsoft are shopping for a new kernel [...] that much seems plausible [as] you have to keep in mind that Linux provides, even for Microsoft, lower capex and opex [...] than redesigning NT to scale properly to these hundreds of cores systems being sold today…”

Just because Microsoft can take advantage of the Linux kernel doesn’t mean that GNU/Linux somehow ‘wins’; unless we’re led to think that the Free software movement boils down to some kernel made in 1991 (8 years after the GNU Project) and running Office/Skype on Windows is “winning”…

Links 25/9/2020: Calibre 5.0, Fedora 33 Beta Days Away, Snap Setback

Posted in News Roundup at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lenovo ThinkPad and ThinkStation PCs now available with Ubuntu

        Lenovo’s introduction of Ubuntu as an OS in their systems started back in June. Initially “only accessible to enterprises via a customised bid”, Lenovo is about to add 13 ThinkStation and ThinkPad P Series workstations and 14 ThinkPad T, X, X1 and L series laptops with 20.04 LTS (L series with 18.04 LTS) version of Ubuntu to Lenovo’s website.

        Igor Bergman, vice president of PCSD software and cloud at Lenovo, stated that Lenovo plans to enable smarter technology “for all”. Thanks to the device certification back in June, Linux is now easier to install in Lenovo devices, offering to the Linux community the “premium experience” that Lenovo is known for in a simpler way. This is why Lenovo took the “next step to offer Linux-ready devices right out of the box”.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #369: The Weekender LVII

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

      • Directing Traefik | Self-Hosted 28

        We get fancy with Traefik labels, and gush over some new Home Assistant features while saving our data from inevitable future failure.

      • TikTok and App Censorship

        Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Kyle Rankin and Petros Koutoupis about TikTok and who controls your phone.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel DG1 Sound Support Coming For Linux 5.10

        Intel continues bringing up the DG1 discrete graphics card under Linux with continued refinements set to hit for Linux 5.10.

        Besides all of the Intel (i915) DRM kernel graphics driver improvements coming for Linux 5.10 some of which explicitly benefit Gen12/Xe and the DG1 discrete graphics card, the sound subsystem updates for this next kernel cycle are bringing up the audio support.

    • Applications

      • Musiko – cross-platform music player

        I spend most of the past few months listening to music. My favorite pastime is to see an eclectic range of bands, solo artists, and orchestras live. It’s such a life-changing and exhilarating experience. It’s one thing to be sitting at home listening to a CD or watching music videos on TV or on YouTube, but being in the audience, packed out in a stadium or music hall, takes it to another level. But it’s an expensive pastime, and still on hold given the current coronavirus pandemic. These days, I’m listening to music from my CD collection which I’ve encoded to FLAC, a lossless audio format.

        Linux is endowed with a plethora of open source music players. And I’ve reviewed the vast majority. But I seem to keep finding interesting music players. Musiko is the latest I’ve stumbled across.

        Musiko is a free to use, open source and cross platform music player. It supports a good range of audio formats including both lossy and lossless formats. Musiko uses JavaScript, Electron, VueJS, the music-metadata module and a few others.


        Musiko definitely doesn’t get our recommendation. It’s really slow at loading in a fairly small music folder, it’s poorly designed, and offers only a fairly limited set of features.

        If it was the only music player available for Linux, it would be bearable to use. But there’s so many vastly better open source music players available. Our recommended GUI music player is Tauon Music Box. And if you prefer console based software, musikcube gets our seal of approval.

        But it’s really huge memory footprint consigns Musiko to the bin. With a subset of my music folder loaded, the program uses 1.8GB of RAM (as reported by ps_mem). That’s truly ridiculous. Just look how this memory footprint compares with Byte and other music players.

      • New in calibre 5.0

        Welcome back, calibre users. It has been a year since calibre 4.0. The two headline features are Highlighting support in the calibre E-book viewer and that calibre has now moved to Python 3.

        There has been a lot of work on the calibre E-book viewer. It now supports Highlighting. The highlights can be colors, underlines, strikethrough, etc. and have added notes. All highlights can be both stored in EPUB files for easy sharing and centrally in the calibre library for easy browsing. Additionally, the E-book viewer now supports both vertical and right-to-left text.

        calibre has moved to using Python 3. This is because Python 2 was end-of-lifed this year. This should be completely transparent to calibre users, the only caveat being that some third party calibre plugins have not yet been ported to Python 3 and therefore will not work in calibre 5. For status on the various plugin ports, see here. This effort involved porting half-a-million lines of Python code and tens-of-thousands of lines of extension code to Python 3. This would not have been possible without the help of Eli Schwartz and Flaviu Tamas.

      • 5 Best free software for disk imaging or cloning hard drives

        Clonezilla, the best disk imaging and cloning software that is not only free but opensource as well. However, it is a Linux (Debian or Ubuntu) based software thus you cannot install on Windows to use it like any other software listed in this list. Nevertheless, the best thing is its capability of booting as a LIVE Linux which makes it a bare metal Hard disk cloning platform. Thus, it doesn’t matter you are using Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, VMWare ESX, and Chrome OS/Chromium OS or any other operating system. The user can simply boot the PC or Laptop using Clonezilla and this will clone the whole disk drive of the system without modifying internal files or folder.


        R-Tools is the company that proving different solutions related to storage and recovery; the R-Linux or Windows is a free recovery utility that is available for both Windows and Linux operating systems. If your goal is a data recovery and Imaging of disk partitions then R-Linux is the free one to go for. However, unlike Windows which has multiple solutions available above, the availability of this software for Linux gives it an upper hand. Thus, those are using open source distros and looking for some recovery solution that can be used without issuing commands, they should try out R-Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • After a new auto-battler? King of the Board is one to keep an eye on

        After Dota 2 Auto Chess made the auto-battle chess-like system popular, a few more have popped up and the latest is King of the Board from developer StandArts.

        It seems they’re going with a similar competitive theme like Valve did with Dota Underlords, having multiple players battling together online to be the last one standing. It’s not entirely clear on how exactly they plan to be unique, although the trailer did show some sort of skill tree you can pump a lot of points into as you play through the battles.


        We spoke with StandArts over email, who confirmed King of the Board will be supporting Linux.

      • SkateBIRD gets a demo for Tokyo Game Show 2020 try it now

        Megan Fox of Glass Bottom Games announced that SkateBIRD has a demo up again, to celebrate being included in the Tokyo Game Show 2020 and you can play until September 28.

        SkateBIRD is a game that doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s skateboarding, with birds. Funded on Kickstarter in July 2019 with thanks to 2,526 backers giving the team $67,220 it’s not actually due to release until later in 2021, so this small slice gives a quick look at what to expect from it.

        What’s different to the original demo? According to Fox, quite a lot behind the scenes. It’s the same map but they’ve given it all new skating physics, “We iterated on momentum, top speed, pushing behavior, and grind friction. It’s also a new iteration of the camera. Goal was to address prior feedback and see how folks felt about it now.” and they also improved the balancing behaviour and lots of other little things.

      • SteamTinkerLaunch is a huge all in one Linux wrapper tool for gaming

        You all love to tinker right? SteamTinkerLaunch is an open source project to bundle together tons of available extra options for running your Steam games.

        It’s a wrapper which allows you to customize game launching so it can get your games to hook in with other tools like MangoHud, GameMode, vkBasalt, ReplaySorcery, automatically run a growing list of tweaks needed for specific games, it has support for Steam Play (including Proton and other Steam Play tools) and the list goes on for a while.

      • Don’t Starve Together gets a new animated short, plus a Wigfrid character refresh

        Klei continue going through all the characters in Don’t Starve Together to bring them up to date with all the new content and game mechanics with a fresh upgrade out now.

      • Check out the open source 2D level editor ‘LEd’ from the former lead on Dead Cells

        Additionally, they have an open ticket tagged as “help wanted” to sort a proper Linux build out so if you know Haxe it might be a fun project for you to help with.

      • Stellaris: Necroids Species Pack announced, huge Paradox sale going on

        Paradox are set to return to my favourite grand strategy game, with the announcement of a brand new DLC coming to Stellaris with the Stellaris: Necroids Species Pack.

        Right now Paradox are keeping all the details close and more will be revealed later. From what they said Stellaris players “will learn that death is not the end, but rather the beginning of their intergalactic journey as new changes reincarnate playthroughs of Stellaris for long time players, as well as bringing new undeath to established playtypes. To live amongst the Necroids, embracing death is not only encouraged, it’s required!”.


        Paradox also mentioned how they wanted their ships to look a little sinister, along with their portraits too, since the big theme here is death. While not undead or decaying, they wanted to give a pretty dark theme and they say that they’ve managed to make “something really great” with more details in future developer diaries.

      • Challenging turn-based RPG ‘Stoneshard’ has a huge overhaul update out, price rising

        Ink Stains Games have released a major upgrade to the challenging turn-based RPG Stoneshard, one they’ve been working on for some time now and it’s quite the overhaul.

      • The next addition to the Civilization VI New Frontier Pass is out with Byzantine and Gaul

        Sid Meier’s Civilization VI has another expansion out now for the New Frontier Pass with the Byzantium & Gaul Pack available now.

        This is part of their ongoing process hopping between new DLC and afree upgrades, with this available now to anyone who owns the New Frontier Pass or you can buy it directly. If you do own the New Frontier Pass instead of picking up each newer DLC, they’re throwing in the exclusive Teddy Roosevelt and Catherine De Medici Persona Packs.

      • Zink OpenGL-Over-Vulkan With Unigine Heaven Seeing Improved Performance

        Following word last week that the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan layer was seeing 50~100% performance gains, more details are now available.

        This Mesa OpenGL software implementation over Vulkan has been seeing more performance optimizations by developer Mike Blumenkrantz following his remarkable work on getting OpenGL 4.6 up and running. He’s been making a number of optimizations recently while last week’s note of a “50~100%” improvement was certainly enticing albeit left wondering if it was just up to some OpenGL micro-benchmarks.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KaOS 2020.09 Released: A Lean and Independent KDE Linux Distribution

          Following the monthly development cycle, KaOS team has finally released a new Stable ISO, KaOS 2020.09. Superseding the previous v2020.07, the latest version 2020.09 comes with major software package updates, KDE Applications 20.08, and Linux 5.7.

          For those who don’t know, KaOS is an independent rolling Linux distribution built from scratch. It mainly focusses on one desktop environment (KDE), one toolkit (QT), and one architecture (x86_64).

    • Distributions

      • 7 Amazing Linux Distributions For Kids

        Linux is a very powerful operating system and that is one of the reasons why it powers a lot of servers on the Internet. Though there have been concerns about its user-friendliness which has brought about the debate of how it will overtake Mac OSX and Windows on desktop computers, I think users need to accept Linux as it is to realize its real power.

        Today, Linux powers a lot of machines out there, from mobile phones to tablets, laptops, workstations, servers, supercomputers, cars, air traffic control systems, refrigerators, and many more. With all this and more yet to come in the near future, as I had already stated at the beginning, Linux is the operating system for future computing.

        Because the future belongs to the kids of today, then introducing them to technologies that will change the future is the way to go. Therefore they have to be introduced at an early stage to start learning computer technologies and Linux as a special case.

        One thing common to children is curiosity and early learning can help instill a character of exploration in them when the learning environment is designed to suit them.

        Having looked at some quick reasons why kids should learn Linux, let us now go through a list of exciting Linux distributions that you can introduce your kids to so that they can start using and learning Linux.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/39

          During this week we have released ‘only’ three Snapshot (0919, 0922 and 0923). But some of you might have noticed that we are finally sending the ‘build fail notification mails’ again, helping you be more laid back, not having to look at your packages all the time, as the bot does that for you. Unfortunately, due to some OBS issue, this feature was broken for a little while.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Now available: Fedora on Lenovo laptops!

          We’ve been teasing this for a while, but today it’s finally true—Fedora Workstation is now available preinstalled on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 laptops. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is available today for direct consumer purchase from Lenovo’s online store. The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 and ThinkPad P53 will be available next week via the “Contact Us” icon on Lenovo.com. What’s more, the successor models are in the works for pre-load and online ordering as well!

        • Fedora 33 Beta To Be Released Next Week

          After missing the preferred target date of 15 September and the secondary beta target date of this week, Fedora 33 Beta is now on track to ship next week.

          Fedora 33 is ready to make its beta debut next week for increasing the testing of this half-year update to the Red Hat sponsored distribution.

          Ben Cotton announced on Thursday that it’s a “GO” for releasing Fedora 33 Beta next week with the current images in good shape and no blocker bugs pending.

        • [Test-Announce] Fedora 33 Beta is GO
        • Renovating payment services with microservices, cloud-native integration, and artificial intelligence

          Red Hat sees three fundamental areas of modernization that financial institutions should focus on in order to modernize their payment service and benefit from the same technologies that upstart new entrants to the payments industry already have: microservices, cloud-native integration, and intelligent process automation.

        • Modernize telco business support systems for 5G with Red Hat
        • What are containers and why do you need them?

          The best analogy for understanding containers is a shipping container. That’s why the majority of all container articles and blog posts show a photo of a shipping container. We’re sure you’ve seen the transport of those big steel shipping containers. (We’ve also seen some people use them to build houses and swimming pools.) The shipping industry standardized on a consistent size container. Now, the same container can move from a ship to a train to a truck without unloading the cargo. The container contents do not matter.

          Just like a shipping container, a software container is a standardized package of software. Everything needed for the software to run is inside the container. The software code, runtime, system tools, system libraries, and settings are all inside a single container.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What To Do After Installing Linux Mint 20 LTS Ulyana

          Ulyana brings friendliness to computer users continuing Mint’s tradition. This traditional article is for you who purchased a new preloaded Mint computer or simply install it by yourself. This contains tips and tricks including some apps recommendation for new comers plus a nostalgic remembrance for long timers. Okay, now let’s enjoy this elegant operating system!

        • Alan Pope (Canonical/Snap): Stepping Down Gracefully

          The Snap Store has been designed to enable upstream developers and enthusiastic community contributors to publish snaps. As with most Linux packaging solutions, the wider community are often responsible for starting and maintaining software packages. This is a double-edged sword, especially for humans with limited life spans and other shiny things to steal their attention.

          If a community contributor decides to move on from maintaining software packaging, has too many other things on their plate, or life just gets in the way, it’s not necessarily a problem. Users are appreciative that someone packaged up their favourite application, but can get upset quickly if that software is no longer updated. Snap publishers who are overwhelmed or busy doing other things have some options here.


          When the maintainer of a snap has decided to focus on other things, we can handle that too. Where possible, we recommend snap publishers transition their applications to another individual or organisation rather than let them become outdated. Ideally snaps should be published in the Snap Store by the upstream project. So the first port of call would be to offer to transition the snap upstream. Sometimes this isn’t possible if the developers are unable to take on the additional workload themselves, however small that might be.

          Alternatively we recommend seeking out another enthusiastic, trustworthy community member to take on the mantle of maintaining the snap package. Often just starting a conversation on the upstream issue tracker, or in their real-time chat of choice will yield good results. Someone keen may even be found within the wider community of the upstream project.

          If that fails, a further option would be to find someone within the snapcraft community. There are a group of dedicated snapcraft enthusiasts who love the challenge of maintaining new snaps, and taking on existing ones if necessary. They can be found in the snapcraft forums. Start a new thread, looking for a new maintainer, and typically one can be found.

          Once a new maintainer is found, the transition from one publisher to another can be actioned via the forums. Start a thread in the store-requests category indicating who the snap(s) are moving from, and who to. The store admins team can do the necessary validation checks behind the scenes, and move the snap(s) to their new home. It’s then up to the new maintainer to hook up whatever build or CI system is needed to seamlessly continue publishing of the snap.

          Note that when a snap is transferred, by default the previous maintainer is kept as a collaborator on the snap. They can continue to be involved but without being named as the publisher, or they can be removed as a collaborator, and no longer maintain the snap.

          So the take away from this is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to offload maintainership of snaps to others, don’t panic. We can help, and our community can too.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • OSI’s Joshua Simmons on the State of Open Source

        OSI’s Joshua Simmons examines the current state of open source in this presentation from the recent State of the Source Summit.
        In his keynote presentation at the recent State of the Source Summit, Joshua Simmons, President at Open Source Initiative, provided a thoughtful look at the state of open source today, acknowledging strengths and shared history and examining challenges with an eye toward conscious, collaborative improvement.

        Open source has gone “from fringe to mainstream,” Simmons said, and the ecosystem has understandably undergone many changes. In this moment, he said, open source is being tested, with questions being raised about the sustainability of projects, the health and safety communities, fair treatment of maintainers, and open source’s overall ability to weather attempts at redefinition.

        In the talk, Simmons explored various open source narratives, discussed OSI’s role, and described the organization’s

      • Cyphon: An Open-source Incident Tracking Management System for the Enterprise

        Enterprise and often government are required to handle dozens of incident reporting sources at once, which is not resources or cost-effective at all.

        Some companies are still using emails, ticket systems, CRMs, or messaging systems for incident reports.

        To resolve this issue, they need a centralized incident tracking management system and here comes Cyphon.

        Cyphon is an open-source incident management and response platform. It helps the enterprise to track incident from different sources, prioritize them and automate the response system for them.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.5a1

            Tor Browser 10.1a1 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

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

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2020 w39 – worklog – A new era

            So the Mozilla Webcompat team is entering a new era. Mike Taylor (by the time this will be published) was the manager of the webcompat team at Mozilla since August 2015. He decided to leave. Monday, September 21 was his last day. We had to file an issue about this.

            The new interim manager is… well… myself.

            So last week and this week will be a lot about: * have a better understanding of the tasks and meetings that Mike was attending. * trying to readjust schedules and understanding how to get a bit of sleep with a distributed organization which has most of its meeting toward friendly European and American time zones. Basically, all meetings are outside the reasonable working timeframe (8:00 to 17:00 Japan Time). * trying to figure out how to switch from peer to manager with the other persons in the webcompat team. I want to remove any sources of stress.

          • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: September 2020 Edition
      • CMS

        • 10 Open Source Static Site Generators to Create Fast and Resource-Friendly Websites

          Technically, a static website means the webpages are not generated on the server dynamically. The HTML, CSS, JavaScript lie on the server in the version the end user receives it. The raw source code files are already prebuilt, the source code doesn’t change with the next server request.

          It’s FOSS is a dynamic website which depends on several databases and the web pages are generated and served when there’s a request from your browser. Majority of the web is powered by dynamic sites where you interact with the websites and there are plenty of content that often change.

          Static websites give you a few benefits like faster loading times, less server resource requirements, and better security (debatable?).

          Traditionally, static websites are more suitable for creating small websites with only a few pages and where the content doesn’t change too often.

          This, however, is changing thanks to static website generator tools and you can use them to create blogs as well.

          I have compiled a list of open source static site generators that can help you build a beautiful website.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Richard Stallman: You can get arrested without a reason

            The last few months have put data protection back in the spotlight. During a crisis of this kind, do we have to choose between safety and privacy? We talked about this with Richard Stallman, digital privacy activist and the founder of the Free Software Movement.

      • Programming/Development

        • Code your first algorithm in Scratch

          With more kids learning from home this year, it’s important to engage them with unique learning opportunities. The classroom looks very different than it did before, and it’s going to continue to evolve. So should the lessons we teach.

          In the first article in this series, I shared how my students taught me to code. Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring how educators and parents can harness the power of coding to teach kids a wide variety of skills.

          “But I don’t know anything about coding!” you may be shouting at your computer. That’s one of the beauties of open source code: everyone is a learner, and everyone is a teacher. Whether you’re new to coding or you’ve been doing it all your life, part of the process is making mistakes. It’s all about problem-solving and learning how to find information. The greatest tool an educator has in a coding classroom is the phrase, “I don’t know; let’s find out together!”

        • 5 questions to ask yourself when writing project documentation

          Before getting down to the actual writing part of documenting another one of your open source projects, and even before interviewing the experts, it’s a good idea to answer some high-level questions about your new document.


          Or, what company is behind the document? What brand identity does it want to convey to its audience? The answer to this question will significantly influence your writing style. The company may also have its own style guide or at least a formal mission statement, in which case, you should start there.

          If the company is just starting out, you may ask the questions above to the document’s owner. As the writer, it’s important to integrate the voice and persona you create for the company with your own worldview and beliefs. This will make your writing sound more natural and less like company jargon.

        • 33 Excellent Free Books to Learn all about R

          The R language is the de facto standard among statisticians for the development of statistical software, and is widely used for statistical software development and data analysis. R is a modern dialect of S, one of several statistical programming languages designed at Bell Laboratories.

          R is much more than a programming language. It’s an interactive suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation, and graphical display. R offers a wide variety of statistical (linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, …) and graphical techniques, and is highly extensible. The ability to download and install R packages is a key factor which makes R an excellent language to learn. What else makes R awesome? Here’s a taster.

        • Perl/Raku

          • [Perl] while loops that have an index

            Perl got this syntax that allow to use a while loop without having to explicitly increment an index by doing an i++. It is made possible by the each function.

          • OO linked lists in Perl

            After many days, trying to implement linked lists by nested hash (link to Rosetta Code) (link to my code) or Struct::Dumb, I get how to write the (singly) linked list in object-oriented style by Perl. One with bless, another one with Moose. Keep the learning record here.

        • Python

          • Find all the prime numbers less than ‘n’ in O(n) Time complexity

            Our task is to find all the prime numbers that are less than n in Linear Time.

            We use Sieve of Eratosthenes to find the prime numbers till n.
            But the time complexity is O(N log (log N)).
            Here our desired time complexity is O(N). Hence a modified version of the Sieve of Eratosthenes is to be used.

          • PyPy 7.3.2 triple release: python 2.7, 3.6, and 3.7

            The interpreters are based on much the same codebase, thus the multiple release. This is a micro release, all APIs are compatible with the 7.3.0 (Dec 2019) and 7.3.1 (April 2020) releases, but read on to find out what is new.

            Conda Forge now supports PyPy as a python interpreter. The support is quite complete for linux and macOS. This is the result of a lot of hard work and good will on the part of the Conda Forge team. A big shout out to them for taking this on.

            Development of PyPy has transitioning to https://foss.heptapod.net/pypy/pypy. This move was covered more extensively in this blog post. We have seen an increase in the number of drive-by contributors who are able to use gitlab + mercurial to create merge requests.

            The CFFI backend has been updated to version 1.14.2. We recommend using CFFI rather than c-extensions to interact with C, and using cppyy for performant wrapping of C++ code for Python.

  • Leftovers

    • Farmer Dave Scher – Speak Of Love
    • The Tragedy of Stephen F. Cohen and the Bolshevik Revolution

      Dying on September 18, 2020 at 81 from lung cancer, the esteemed Russia historian and public intellectual Stephen F. Cohen left behind a world quite unlike that which he aspired to create. In rereading his early book Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888-1938, it is impossible not to be heartbroken by the Shakespearean tragedy reaped from his efforts.

    • Wikipedia is getting a new look for the first time in 10 years. Here’s why.

      Recently, we deployed the first of many changes to a set of early adopter projects: Basque Wikipedia, Farsi Wikipedia, French Wikipedia, Hebrew Wikipedia, French Wiktionary, and Portuguese Wikiversity. Users with accounts on other projects can also view these changes by selecting the latest version of the Vector skin within their user preferences.

    • Telegram Messenger Went Down in Eastern Europe for Nearly an Hour! Users Flood Twitter With Funny Memes & Reactions Before App Service Gets Restored
    • Education

      • The Nigerian university that defies Boko Haram

        The University of Maiduguri has stayed open at the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency. A new book gives voice to the Nigerian academics who faced off with the radical Islamists who reject Western education as sinful.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Foreign Hackers Cripple Texas County’s Email System, Raising Election Security Concerns

          Last week, voters and election administrators who emailed Leanne Jackson, the clerk of rural Hamilton County in central Texas, received bureaucratic-looking replies. “Re: official precinct results,” one subject line read. The text supplied passwords for an attached file.

          But Jackson didn’t send the messages. Instead, they came from Sri Lankan and Congolese email addresses, and they cleverly hid malicious software inside a Microsoft Word attachment. By the time Jackson learned about the forgery, it was too late. Hackers continued to fire off look-alike replies. Jackson’s three-person office, already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, ground to a near standstill.

        • Windows XP Source Code Reportedly Leaked, Posted to 4chan
        • Windows XP source code leaked online, on 4chan, out of all places
        • [Attacker] Accessed Network of U.S. Agency and Downloaded Data

          An unnamed U.S. federal agency was hit with a cyber-attack after a [attacker] used valid access credentials, authorities said on Thursday.

          While many details of the hack weren’t revealed, federal authorities did divulge that the [attacker] was able to browse directories, copy at least one file and exfiltrate data, according to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA.

          The [attacker] implanted malware that evaded the agency’s protection system and was able to gain access to the network by using valid access credentials for multiple users’ Microsoft 365 accounts and domain administrator accounts, according to authorities.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (rails), openSUSE (chromium, jasper, ovmf, roundcubemail, samba, and singularity), Oracle (firefox), SUSE (bcm43xx-firmware, firefox, libqt5-qtbase, qemu, and tiff), and Ubuntu (aptdaemon, atftp, awl, packagekit, and spip).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Corona-fied: Employers Spying on Remote Workers in Their Homes

              The future of work is here, ushered in by a global pandemic. But is it turning employment into a Worker’s Paradise of working at home? Or more of a Big Brother panopticon?

            • FBI Tracks Down Cop Car Firebomber Using Info The FBI Claims Is Way Less Useful Than An Encryption Backdoor

              For all of the DOJ and FBI’s protestations that Apple (and others) just aren’t doing enough to help out the federal government, the company actually provides a lot of assistance. No, Apple won’t break encryption or build backdoors, but we live in a golden age of surveillance — one so golden it’s putting the surveillers at risk.

            • Amazon’s new Echo Show 10 moves to look at you

              Instead of being fixed in one position, as with every prior Echo Show model, the new Echo Show 10’s display is perched on a motorized base that swivels around automatically whenever you interact with the device. By using a blend of computer vision technology and echolocation (pun not intended), the Echo Show 10 can determine where you are in a room and swivel itself around to face you so you can always get a good view of the screen.

            • Ring’s latest security camera is a drone that flies around inside your house

              The Always Home Cam is fully autonomous, but owners can tell it what path it can take and where it can go. When you first get the device, you build a map of your home for it to follow, which allows you to ask it for specific viewpoints such as the kitchen or bedroom. The drone can be commanded to fly on demand or programmed to fly when a disturbance is detected by a linked Ring Alarm system.

              The charging dock blocks the camera’s view, and the camera only records when it is in flight. Ring says the drone makes an audible noise when flying so it is obvious when footage is being recorded.

            • Amazon announces a Ring camera for your car and Ring drone for your home

              If you have a Ring camera, you know how easy it is to set up zones and alerts so you can keep an eye on the foyer, or say, your kids’ rooms. But static cameras have inherent blind spots. The Ring Always Home Cam is Amazon’s very futuristic solution to that age-old problem. Essentially a mini autonomous drone that patrols your home when you’re away, the Always Home Cam integrates with the Ring Alarm to “automatically fly a set path to see what’s happening.”

            • Sweden considers open source software for its digital currency proof of concept

              The BIS working paper compares digital currency initiatives by the central banks of China, Sweden, and Canada. Describing the Swedish e-Krona project, “preference will be given to solutions built on open source code,” the paper says. BIS refers to a study by senior advisers working for the Riksbank, published in June.

              The bankers outline their ideas for the e-Krona, which is intended as a complement to cash. They bank prefers an ‘open architecture’ (see 2018 report on the Riksbank’s e-krona project) but the researchers in June seem to be still undecided on the choice between proprietary or open source technology, listing weaknesses for both. (In the case of proprietary software: IT vendor lock-in, and for open source: the risk of the community being abandoned or the build-up of dependence on open source consultants.)

            • How We Built a Real-time PrivacyInspector

              Blacklight works by visiting each website with a headless browser, running custom software built by The Markup. This software monitors which scripts on that website are potentially surveilling the user by performing seven different tests, each investigating a specific, known method of surveillance.

            • I Scanned the Websites I Visit with Blacklight, and It’s Horrifying. Now What?

              The Markup recently launched Blacklight, a free, instant privacy-inspection tool. Enter any website, and it reveals how you may be tracked when you visit the site, names the companies receiving your data, and explains what the trackers are doing—some of them watch your every mouse move and record your every keystroke. Trust us, it’s more than you’re expecting, raising the question: What can you do about it?

              One option is to ensure your web browser is protecting your privacy. In this guide, we’ll walk through some of the different techniques used to track people across the web and detail what each of the major browsers does, or doesn’t do, to circumvent it.

              We’ll also add some tips at the end about ways you can slightly alter your behavior to protect yourself.

            • Facebook says it won’t pull out of EU after all but says something has to change

              Clegg said Facebook will not be leaving the EU, giving the reason that the company wants to keep serving its customers along with small and medium-sized businesses. Without explicitly mentioning the billions of dollars that Facebook makes in advertising revenue in the European market, he talked about the large number of jobs Facebook helps create in the EU. He added that during hard times the company was essential in Europe’s economic recovery. He also talked about the problem at hand: data transfers.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • This Vanishing Moment and Our Vanishing Future

        John Hersey, Hiroshima, and the end of world.

      • Will Michele Flournoy Be the Angel of Death for the American Empire?

        If the Democrats manage to push Joe Biden over the finish line in November’s election, he will find himself presiding over a decadent, declining empire. He will either continue the policies that have led the American empire to decadence and decline, or seize the moment to move our nation into a new phase: a transition to a peaceful and sustainable post-imperial future.

      • U.S. War Crimes in Yemen: It’s Time to Stop Looking the Other Way

        The longstanding involvement of the United States in the conflict in Yemen is facing renewed scrutiny. On September 16, State Department officials testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about whether the State Department misled Congress — and the American people — by circumventing controls designed to limit arms sales and ensure congressional oversight.

      • Court marshals seize Alexey Navalny’s Moscow apartment

        Court marshals have seized the apartment opposition figure Alexey Navalny owns in Moscow.

      • 75 percent of Russians don’t want their kids to become bloggers

        When discussing opposition figure Alexey Navalny, the Russian political establishment does its best to adhere to two principles: try never to refer to him by name and always describe him as a “blogger,” not a politician or even an activist. A new survey by the state-owned Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) helps explain why the Kremlin is so eager for the public to see Navalny as a blogger: 75 percent of respondents said they object to their own children and grandchildren becoming bloggers. Most of these people say they don’t consider such work to be a serious or particularly useful profession.

      • War Zone America? Perspectives on a Riven Nation from a Worried Military Spouse

        When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid’s shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

      • We Are Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Have Ever Been

        Whether you’re reading this with your morning coffee, just after lunch, or on the late shift in the wee small hours of the morning, it’s 100 seconds to midnight. That’s just over a minute and a half. And that should be completely unnerving. It’s the closest to that witching hour we’ve ever been.

      • Waiting for Antifa

        Donald Trump has called armed, right-wing militias, like the fascist Oath Keepers “great patriots.” Attorney General Bill Barr has concurred, directing his wrath instead at Black Lives Matter protesters whom he has called “anarchists, agitators, and criminals.” Both have claimed that dangerous, Antifa militants are surreptitiously fanning out across the country — though travelling together and uniformly dressed in black.

      • Justice, Finally, for a War Crime in El Salvador

        When the decision dropped this month, it came through the small screen but with a huge impact.

      • QAnon’s Inexorable Spread Beyond the U.S.

        Indeed, QAnon is on its way to becoming the most dangerous cult in the world – the first ideology to come from the digital realm and to emerge from an online niche into real life, aided by Donald Trump-supporters and right-wing demagogues. The “Q” cult is fueled by one or several anonymous users who regularly post to the web and who claim to have access to top-secret U.S. government documents – a claim that is more than questionable.

      • Charlie Hebdo: French magazine’s head of HR ‘forced out of home’

        Speaking to Le Point magazine, Ms Bret said: “I had 10 minutes to do my business and leave my home, 10 minutes to give up part of my existence… I won’t be coming home.”

        She added that the threats started again with the start of the trial and the republication of the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed earlier this month.

        “Since the start of the trial and with the republication of the cartoons, we have received all kinds of horrors, including threats from al-Qaeda and calls to finish the work of the [gunmen from the 2015 attack],” she said.

      • Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses US election

        President Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to clearly guarantee a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the upcoming US election in November to Joe Biden.

      • ‘The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell’: Protests Erupt Nationwide After No Officers Charged for Killing Breonna Taylor

        “Today’s charging decision is the manifestation of what the millions of people who have taken to the streets to protest police violence already know: Modern policing and our criminal legal system are rotten to the core.”

      • “Two Systems of Justice”: Jacob Blake’s Father on Son’s Case, Breonna Taylor & Black Lives Matter

        As outrage mounts over the grand jury ruling in the police killing of Breonna Taylor, we look at the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where an investigation is in its final stages. The case sparked renewed national protests in August after viral video showed Kenosha police shooting the Black father in the back seven times, paralyzing him. We speak with Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr. He says police shootings and killings of Black people reveal there are “two systems of justice” in the United States, and asks, “Why are our children scared to death of people that are supposed to protect and serve them?”

      • An Indictment of the System: Protests Erupt as Cops Cleared for Killing Breonna Taylor in Her Home

        We go to Louisville, where protests erupted after police officers who shot Breonna Taylor in her own home were not charged for her death. A grand jury indicted a third officer for “wanton endangerment” for shooting into an adjacent apartment during the fatal raid that killed Breonna Taylor in March. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in cities across the country demanding justice for Taylor and defunding of police departments. “The lack of indictments in the grand jury process is an indictment on the system itself,” says Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League. “They have created a completely separate grand jury system for police officers.”

      • Protests Erupt as Cops Escape Charges for Killing Breonna Taylor in Her Home

        We go to Louisville, where protests erupted after police officers who shot Breonna Taylor in her own home were not charged for her death. A grand jury indicted a third officer for “wanton endangerment” for shooting into an adjacent apartment during the fatal raid that killed Breonna Taylor in March. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in cities across the country demanding justice for Taylor and defunding of police departments. “The lack of indictments in the grand jury process is an indictment on the system itself,” says Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League. “They have created a completely separate grand jury system for police officers.”

      • NLG Responds to Grand Jury Proceedings in the Murder of Breonna Taylor

        The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns the outcome of Kentucky’s grand jury proceedings and renews its calls for justice for Breonna Taylor. On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home by police officers executing a no-knock search warrant. The officers were acting outside of the scope of the warrant, which required them to knock and announce their presence at Taylor’s apartment, and with a wanton disrespect for human life which ultimately led to her death. Protests erupted in Kentucky—and around the world—over the summer in response to Taylor’s death, as well as in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, and state and local law enforcement have reacted with extreme force and brutality, arresting over 500 activists in Kentucky since June. On September 23, 2020, a grand jury investigation of the police killing led to the indictment of only one officer involved in the no-knock raid on three counts of wanton endangerment—in other words, not for Breonna Taylor’s death. There were no charges issued for the other two officers.

        The results of the grand jury proceedings over the killing of Breonna Taylor highlight the historically unjust and uneven criminal legal system that protects the interests of white supremacy, continuing the oppression of Black and Brown lives. The NLG renews calls for an end to the racist criminal legal system, abolition of incarceration, and accountability and reparations for the countless victims of police violence. As the grand jury proceedings in the murder of Breonna Taylor show, the criminal legal system will not resolve the injustices done to Black people by its own volition. Justice will remain elusive until the police are defunded, prisons closed, and resources are reallocated to Black and Brown communities in the form of the social services, education, and economic support needed to reverse centuries of racist exploitation and oppression. It is imperative that we dismantle white supremacy and settler-colonialism in all its manifestations.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Global Warming Burps, Bubbles, Simmers and Sours On

        The Northern Hemisphere saw a record high temperature increase, to +1.38°C above the global average temperature during 1881-1920, during this COVID-19 pandemic summer of 2020. [1]

      • These Races Will Shape What the US Elections Mean for Climate Progress

        What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters’ choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.

      • Rewrite That List of Debate Topics, Chris Wallace. And Put the Climate Crisis at No. 1.

        Our planet is in serious, irrevocable trouble. There’s no bigger issue.

      • These Agribusiness Groups With Ties to Climate Denial are Trying to Influence the US-UK Trade Deal

        The ongoing US-UK trade talks have been seen by some lobby groups as an opportunity to strip back environmental and food safety regulations to allow them to sell products – pesticides, hormone-fed meat, genetically modified crops (GMOs), and chemicals – that have been previously banned under EU law. The groups represent industries worth billions of dollars, and are supported by some of the world’s largest polluters. 

      • These Races Will Shape What the US Elections Mean for Climate Progress

        This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

      • Youth Action Gives Me Hope Amid Climate Crisis and Trump’s Totalitarian Threat

        The sun peeked over the rim of the trees here in my little corner of New Hampshire last week like a dusky gold coin, no shine, no glare, easy enough to look straight at. My daughter in the back seat rolled down her window and said, “Daddy, it smells like the beach!” when the air hit her face. The sky stayed eggshell white all day long though the forecast had called for straight blue, and my lungs — always a martyr to the allergens of the season — felt slightly heavier than usual.

      • Climate Change Deniers Are Embracing QAnon to Gain Followers

        Online, QAnon supporters have helped spread misinformation about climate change, including a recent claim that wildfires in the western United States were caused by antifa activists, View said. The notion that disasters like wildfires or the pandemic must have been planned is characteristic of QAnon adherents, he said.

        “People say that QAnon is a conspiracy theory. That undersells it. It’s not like believing there are UFOs in Area 51 or that Bigfoot lives in Oregon,” View said. “This is an all-encompassing worldview, and it’s an extremist belief that you are a digital soldier fighting evil, and that by posting and meme-ing, you can revolutionarily change the world.”

        Currently, two in 10 Americans, including four in 10 Republicans, say that QAnon is a “somewhat good” or “very good” thing for the country, according to Pew Research. Some 81 current or former congressional candidates have in some way promoted QAnon, according to Media Matters.

      • Trump Appoints Pair of Climate Science Deniers to NOAA While Climate-Fueled Fires and Storms Rage

        As the Washington Post first reported this week, President Trump is naming Ryan Maue to the role of chief scientist at NOAA, a position that will help enforce its scientific integrity process. Maue is a meteorologist who has downplayed the degree and impacts of global warming, particularly ties between extreme weather events and human-caused climate change, and he has a past connection with the Cato Institute.

      • Climate Hustle 2: Showcasing a Thinning Roster of Climate Science Deniers

        In the five months since, climate-fueled wildfires have torched the Western U.S., the World Meteorological Organization ran out of hurricane names in the overheated Atlantic, the Arctic ice cap contracted to a nearly unprecedented minimum, and polar scientists announced that Greenland’s ice sheet has melted “past the point of no return.” 

      • Will We Be Able to Reverse Trump’s Climate Damage?

        What Joe Biden would need to do starting from Day One to correct the course of US climate policy.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘Five-Alarm Fire’: As Trump Plots ‘Flat-Out Coup,’ Voters Urged to Deliver Biden Landslide to Avoid Chaos

        “The president is openly and explicitly considering a coup to hold onto power. Make no mistake: Autocracy is at our doorstep.”

      • When Is a Meeting Not a Meeting and a Lawmaker Not a Lawmaker? When It’s Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago.

        Around Chicago, it’s safe to say that the City Council hasn’t always been viewed as a model of legislative independence.

        By law, of course, the council is the city’s legislative branch, responsible for passing ordinances and providing oversight of city operations. But the council has long been characterized as a rubber stamp for powerful mayors. Even aldermen have noted — and in some cases boasted — that they saw their primary responsibilities as delivering services in their wards, leaving much of the legislative process in the hands of the executive branch.

      • Averaging Two Per Day Since Being Sworn In, Trump Has Racked Up 3,403 Conflicts of Interests Since Taking Office

        “It is a gross abuse of public trust, and with each conflict, he becomes more complicit in the destruction of the ethical norms that form the cornerstone of a working democracy.”

      • Before Limiting Ballot Drop Boxes to One Per County, Top Ohio Election Officials Secretly Consulted Promoter of Debunked Voting Fraud Fears

        On July 15, a civil rights group formed by Black union workers called on the Ohio secretary of state to make voting amid the pandemic easier and safer. It advocated placing multiple secure ballot drop boxes in counties across the state.

        When a deputy to Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose received the A. Philip Randolph Institute’s press release, he responded quickly — but not to the group. Instead, according to records obtained by ProPublica, the deputy contacted the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, a leading advocate for the discredited argument that American elections are tainted by widespread voting fraud.

      • Where Are the Christian Faith Leaders?

        In taped interviews with Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, President Donald Trump repeatedly said the coronavirus “ ‘is deadly stuff,’” but “knowingly played down” the pandemic “because, ‘I don’t want to create a panic.’” So he kept reassuring Americans with statements like, “We have it very much under control in this country.” All the while people were dying, never mind panicking. Aware that the coronavirus “was life-threatening and vastly more serious than the seasonal flu ” he “dismiss[ed] concerns about the lethality of the virus,” publicly saying, “ ‘It’s a little like the regular flu that we have shots for . . . and we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.’”

      • Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils: a Vicious Circle

        The presidential election is once again upon us, and, once again, I am wondering if I should sit on the sidelines. I have never casted a vote for a president even though I became a US citizen a long time ago. This is not just because I am lazy. That, I might be. But laziness has not prevented me from doing a lot of things in life that I dread, such as going to the proctologist. So, what is it that prevents me from voting for a president? Is voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden worse than having a colonoscopy?

      • Justice Department Releases Its Dangerous & Unconstitutional Plan To Revise Section 230

        Every day it’s something new. The latest is that the Justice Department has come out with its official proposal to revise Section 230. As you may recall, back in February, the DOJ held some hearings about Section 230, followed by announcing some vague and contradictory guidelines for reform in early March.

      • ‘I have absolutely no clue’ Head of rural settlement in Russia’s Kostroma Region loses election to the dummy candidate he selected

        During the local elections earlier this month, Marina Udgodskaya was elected head of the Povalikhino Rural Settlement, a tiny locality found in Russia’s Kostroma Region. Previously, she worked as a cleaner for the very same government administration that she’s now expected to lead.

      • Trump Lied to Heartland Workers

        Trump is bragging about his jobs record in the Midwest. So why didn’t he lift a finger when 14,000 GM workers were laid off?

      • ‘Disgraceful’: Despite Mass Suffering, GOP Senators Prepare to Leave Town Without Approving Covid Relief

        “Trump and his Senate allies have found time to fast-track their SCOTUS plans while Americans are continuing to suffer without a new relief package.”

      • RBG and America’s Priestly Class

        The history of most ancient civilizations is one of caste and the ritualized enforcement of hierarchy. Subjects of these societies were conditioned to venerate a priestly class. Those ordained and ceremonially clad minsters of temple law who were untouchable figures endowed with enormous power over the day to day lives of ordinary people. Their primary role was protecting the interests of the ruling class through the dispensing of restrictions or rights on the laboring classes.

      • If Trump Fills RBG’s Seat, the Court’s Legitimacy Will Be in Crisis

        We cannot afford a Supreme Court that has abandoned its constitutional duties to cement right-wing minority rule.

      • Defeating a Demagogue: A Reminder from History

        It may be small comfort as we watch Donald Trump try to cheat and bully his way to a second term, but a recent study of his demagogic predecessor, Senator Joseph McCarthy, offers one. In Louis Menand’s review of the book by Larry Tye, appropriately titled Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, Menand points up elements of McCarthy’s behavior that describes Trump’s as well: the constant lying, the disdain for opponents, the “lazy, ignorant, and unprepared” approach to politics, the bombast and conspiracy mongering.

      • Trump Won’t Commit to Honor Election Results If He Loses

        While speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power, should he lose the presidential election in November.

      • Squad and Rep. Speier Unveil Resolution Urging Action to Mitigate Violence Against Female Politicians

        Noting that she gets “constant death threats,” Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said “such hate and risk should not be the inherent cost of any woman participating in politics.”

      • Face Off
      • Election 2020: The Coming Chaos

        Nonviolent resistance to Trump means more than just defeating him and jettisoning him from the presidency; somehow it also means reaching his supporters and transcending the civil war they’re ready to wage.

      • Ilhan Omar Pushes Back Against the Desperate Racist Politics of Trump’s ‘Cult-Like’ Rallies

        Donald Trump’s attacks on Ilhan Omar are coming with greater frequency and greater vitriol as the 2020 election approaches. Last week, he devoted a substantial portion of a rally in Minnesota to vilifying the Democrat representative from the Twin Cities. He followed up this week with a racist rant in Pennsylvania.

      • DOJ Argues Advocacy Groups Can’t Sue Over Executive Order Targeting Social Media Sites

        The Trump administration says the groups, including Rock the Vote, haven’t been injured yet (and may never be) because the government is still just studying internet policy and hasn’t taken any “concrete” action.

      • The Election That Could Break America

        All of which is to say that there is no version of the Interregnum in which Trump congratulates Biden on his victory. He has told us so. “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election,” Trump said at the Republican National Convention on August 24. Unless he wins a bona fide victory in the Electoral College, Trump’s refusal to concede—his mere denial of defeat—will have cascading effects.

      • Philippines: Facebook Removes China-based Fake Accounts

        Social media giant Facebook said it has taken down more than 150 fake accounts that originated in China over interfering in Philippine politics, including those that promote Beijing’s interests in the South China Sea and that back President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter as his successor in 2022.

      • Bad news: Right-wing trolls are ubiquitous. Good news: They can be tamed.

        After several years of dealing with trolls on social media, I’ve discovered most are motivated by the same desire that drives us all: the genuine need to connect and belong. Satisfy that and they’ll miraculously transform into decent people who just want to talk politics.

        Through trial and error, I’ve gradually developed a system for managing obnoxious behavior that charms all but the worst of the worst. With this method, I’ve converted erstwhile trolls to friends; extremists to moderates; and adversaries to allies. Best of all, I’ve made trolling rare in my politically-diverse and highly public social media communities.

      • The Media Is Missing the Republicans’ Supreme Court Power Grab—Again

        The mainstream media, however, does not seem to understand that. Its inability to cover the political fallout from the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a modicum of accuracy borders on bad faith. Here’s New York Times pollster Nate Cohn Columbusing the idea that maybe Senate Republicans are just acting in their political self-interest. Here’s a Politico headline saying “McConnell fends off accusations of hypocrisy”—which is like writing “Iceberg fends off Titanic.” And while the media is doing a better job of juxtaposing Senator Lindsey Graham’s past statements—insisting that he would not confirm a justice in the last year of a presidential term—with his current stance, I’ve seen him called “defiant” when all he’s really saying is that he’s a liar whose word is worthless.

      • Crowd Boos, Chants “Vote Him Out” After Trump Appears at Ginsburg Memorial

        President Trump was booed by a crowd gathered at the Supreme Court building on Thursday while paying respects to late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

      • ‘Vote Him Out! Vote Him Out!’: Angry Chant Erupts as Trump Visits Ginsburg Casket Outside Supreme Court

        Mourners also shouted “honor her wish”—a reference to the dying justice’s desire for her vacant Supreme Court seat to be filled by the next president. 

      • Warning US Democracy Under Threat ‘Like Never Before,’ Sanders Outlines Plan to Stop Trump’s Authoritarian Takeover

        “This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy—and democracy must win.”

      • Virginia Rodino To Fill Press Secretary Position Held By Late Kevin Zeese

        Rodino has a background in public relations and is co-chair of the Maryland Green Party. In 2004, Rodino served as Deputy Press Secretary to the Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo presidential campaign while Zeese was the campaign’s Press Secretary and Spokesperson. Rodino has held several positions including in academia and as communications specialist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

        “I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of my friend Kevin Zeese,” said Rodino, “I am pleased to join Howie and Angela’s team. This is a continuation of my decades long work to build a party for the people.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Need For A Robust Critical Community In Content Policy

        Over this series of policy posts, I’m exploring the evolution of internet regulation from my perspective as an advocate for constructive reform. It is my goal in these posts to unpack the movement towards regulatory change and to offer some creative ideas that may help to catalyze further substantive discussion. In that vein, this post focuses on the need for “critical community” in content policy — a loose network of civil society organizations, industry professionals, and policymakers with subject matter expertise and independence to opine on the policies and practices of platforms that serve as intermediaries for user communications and content online. And to feed and vitalize that community, we need better and more consistent transparency into those policies and practices, particularly intentional harm mitigation efforts.

      • Redefining Anti-Semitism on Facebook

        The objective is to force Facebook to alter its hate speech definition so that its own “detection algorithm” will characterize any criticism of Israel as hate speech and automatically remove the pertinent content from the platform.

      • Advocates Demand Facebook #StopCensoringPalestine After Platform Blocks Livestream Featuring Palestinian Rights Defenders

        “When it comes to speech advocating for Palestinians. Facebook swiftly censors and removes content, often with no explanation.” 

      • Facebook Tightens Internal Rules Surrounding Employee Debates

        The policy will prohibit using profile images with political content. The company will also create dedicated groups on its internal employee network for people to talk about important social issues, a spokeswoman said, a move to keep heated debates from spilling out into the more public spaces where employees talk about work. The company uses a business version of the Facebook social network, called Workplace, to conduct most of its internal affairs and communication.

      • Lahore court sentences Christian man to death over blasphemous texts

        Pervaiz claims his supervisor, who had been trying to convert him to Islam, had accused him of blasphemy after he quit his factory job.

        Human rights groups say blasphemy laws are often misused to persecute minorities or even against Muslims to settle personal rivalries. Such accusations can end up in lynchings or street vigilantism.

      • A Cat On Stage Leads To Banning A Play In Tehran

        The six-episode play, “Love in Days of Corona [virus],” starring Mahtab Nasirpour, Sima Tirandaz, and Behnoosh Tabataba’ei, was staged at the Bagh (Graden) Cafe in the Roudaki Complex. After just three nights, the show was blocked from continuing due to censorship issues.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The US is Using the Guardian to Justify Jailing Assange for Life. Why is the Paper So Silent?

        Julian Assange is not on trial simply for his liberty and his life. He is fighting for the right of every journalist to do hard-hitting investigative journalism without fear of arrest and extradition to the United States. Assange faces 175 years in a US super-max prison on the basis of claims by Donald Trump’s administration that his exposure of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan amounts to “espionage”.

      • Assange on Trial: Suicide, Hallucinations and Psychological Torture
      • ‘Essentially Dead’: Doctor Who Visited Assange In Ecuador Embassy Testifies At Extradition Trial

        Dr. Sondra Crosby, who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Belmarsh prison and in the Ecuador embassy in London, testified during his extradition trial.She is one of the only witnesses to provide statements to the court based on her observations of his mental condition while he was in the embassy.An American doctor (who Crosby did not name) organized an “academic evaluation of the effects of living in the embassy,” and in October 2017, she visited Assange for the first time. Crosby also visited Assange twice in Belmarsh in October 2019 and January 2020.Based upon his mental and physical health, Crosby said Assange is at “high risk of completing suicide if he were to be extradited” to the United States.She said Assange suffers from osteoporosis. He would face severe risks to his physical health—in addition to his mental health—if detained or incarcerated in a U.S. facility, given the abysmal state of health care in jails and prisons.According to Crosby, Assange has concealed the “full extent of his depression and suicide plans” when meeting with prison doctors and mental health specialists. He was worried if he revealed his plans or the “extent of his suicidal ideations” that he “may be put under more surveillance” or face further isolation.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.

      • Day 13: September 24, 2020 #AssangeCase

        At the very end of today’s proceedings, the defense read aloud an important and consequential witness statement from John Young, host of cryptome.org.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 16

        On Wednesday the trap sprang shut, as Judge Baraitser insisted the witnesses must finish next week, and that no time would be permitted for preparation of closing arguments, which must be heard the immediate following Monday. This brought the closest the defence have come to a protest, with the defence pointing out they have still not addressed the new superseding indictment, and that the judge refused their request for an adjournment before witness hearings started, to give them time to do so.

      • Chen Qiushi: Chinese journalist missing since February ‘under state supervision’

        A human rights lawyer, who requested anonymity, told the South China Morning Post that Mr Chen had been moved to Qingdao where his parents live and where he is registered.

        “Qiushi, who is together with his parents, is under strict supervision by the authorities,” the lawyer said.

        “Since the authorities have decided not to prosecute him, it is actually not lawful to continue to keep him in close surveillance.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Opposite of Fascism Is Joy; Without It, No Revolution!

        Only Myth Can Replace Myth

      • What Me Worry? Watching From Planet Europa

        Good weather in Hamburg

      • ‘Make Him A Suspect:’ Documents Show Rochester PD’s Response To Officers’ Killing Of An Unarmed Black Man

        Before the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin touched off protests across the nation, the Rochester (NY) Police Department was dealing with a potential tinderbox of its own. Unfortunately for Daniel Prude — the mentally ill man restrained to death by officers — no bystanders recorded the incident as it unfolded. Instead, documents released to Prude’s family show the Rochester PD worked with the city to keep this damning information hidden for as long as possible.

      • Claudia Rankine Wants Us to Talk

        Claudia Rankine’s latest unsettling of American racial discourse is Just Us: An American Conversation, a book of reflections on her encounters with whiteness as it manifests in friends, therapists, students, and passersby. Rankine, who teaches poetry at Yale and is also a playwright, most recently of The White Card, has been interested for decades in the language we use to build our identities. Just Us is a close reading of the way we talk, write, and think about race. It is thoroughly considered, never complacent, and often puzzling. We talked over the phone about the protests this summer, the responsibilities of individuals, and the use of conversation at all.

      • France street harassment: Strasbourg woman attacked ‘for wearing skirt’

        The student, identified only as Elisabeth, 22, said she was punched in the face “by three individuals who complained about me wearing a skirt”.

        The government has denounced the “very serious” incident as unacceptable.

      • Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for equality — media must make clear Trump’s pick will do the opposite

        A lot has been written about Ginsburg’s legacy, and much of it has been wonderful, but the who’s-up-who’s-down coverage about her succession is pushing aside necessary context about what is at stake if she’s replaced by someone with essentially opposing views.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • FCC Keeps Using Bogus Data To Claim It’s Closing The ‘Digital Divide’

        We’ve noted repeatedly that despite a lot of breathless pearl clutching from U.S. leaders and regulators about the “digital divide,” the United States doesn’t actually know where broadband is (or isn’t) available. Historically the FCC has simply trusted major ISPs — with a vested interest in downplaying coverage and competition gaps to maintain their domination — to tell the truth.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Webinar Materials – The 5G Submarine and FRAND Patent Landscape

          During this webinar, we discussed the 5G patent landscape and ETSI declarations. Our discussions revolved around the interesting observations of the 5G landscape and highlighted why declarations are important to SEP licensing. We covered the latest development on FRAND jurisprudence and the ramifications of declared and undeclared patents.

        • Claim Construction by PTAB in CRISPR Interference Decision

          Broad argued this portion of the specification referenced some (but not all) aspects of the invention to encompass single RNA guide RNA species. Broad also argued that “used interchangeably” does not mean that the listed terms are themselves the same molecules. CVC disputed these characterizations, arguing that “the specification specifically states that the terms ‘guide RNA,’ ‘chimeric RNA,’ ‘chimeric guide RNA,’ and ‘single guide RNA’ all ‘refer to the polynucleotide sequence comprising the guide sequence, the tracr sequence and the tracr mate sequence.’” And CVC further argued that “this portion of the specification defines “guide RNA” as a singular polynucleotide sequence comprising a guide sequence, a tracr sequence, and a tracr mate sequence and corresponding to the fused crRNA and the tracrRNA.”

          These arguments were persuasive to the Board, which stated that “this paragraph of the Broad specification indicates that ‘chimeric RNA,’ ‘chimeric guide RNA,’ ‘single guide RNA,’ as well as ‘guide RNA’ include these three components.”

        • If Patents Are So Important To Innovation, Why Do Innovative Companies Keep Opening Up Their Patents Rather Than Enforcing Them?

          To hear many politicians (and, tragically, many academics) tell the story, patents and patent policy are keys to innovation. Indeed, many studies trying to measure innovation use the number of patents as a proxy. For years, we’ve argued that there is little evidence that patents are in any way correlated with innovation. Indeed, in practice, we often see patents get in the way of innovation, rather than being a sign of innovation. If anything, an influx of patents seems to indicate a decline in innovation, because as the saying goes, smart companies innovate, while failed companies litigate. Litigating patents tends to happen when a more established company no longer is able to compete by innovation, and has to bring in the courts to block and stop more nimble competitors.

        • Software Patents

          • Acacia patent determined to be likely invalid

            On September 24, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 8,948,684, owned and asserted by Targeted Radio LLC, an Acacia Research Corporation affiliate and well-known NPE. The ’684 patent is generally directed to the insertion of advertising or other content into an Internet radio stream based on the user’s location. This patent was asserted against Pandora Media but the case was terminated on July 8, 2020.

      • Trademarks

        • Woof: Jack Daniels Takes Fight Over Doggy Chew Toy To The Supreme Court

          Back in April, we wrote about a trademark dispute between Jack Daniels and VIP Products LLC. At issue was a doggy chew toy made as clear parody of the Jack Daniels bottle, with the branding changed to “Bad Spaniels”, along with other parody references. While Jack Daniels had initially won in court when VIP sought declaratory judgement that its use was non-infringing, upon appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th District, that decision was reversed. Key to that ruling was the court’s assessment that, due to the parody nature of the product, it was an “expressive work”, and the lower court ought to therefore have applied the Rogers test, and vacated an injunction the lower court had applied.

      • Copyrights

        • An Anti-Digital Agenda: Forget the Digital Policy Reboot, the Government Just Hit Delete Instead

          While it could be worse (copyright is not mentioned despite Guilbeault telling a publisher town hall earlier this week that he hoped to introduce copyright reform within months), the government’s anti-digital agenda is fraught with risk and unsupported by industry data. It is likely to increase costs for Canadian consumers, undermine the competitiveness of the Canadian broadcast sector, hurt net neutrality, threaten trade sanctions, and perversely leave U.S. companies as the guardians of Canadian content.

        • Operation Evil Web: Police Target 58 Sites, IT Experts & 1,000 IPTV Subscribers

          Police in Italy are reporting a large operation against a network involved in IPTV. The Guardia di Finanza says that 58 sites and 18 Telegram channels have been blocked while four IT experts with familiar nicknames have been referred for prosecution along with 1,000 subscribers of pirate IPTV services.

        • Six Projects Get Funding from the Creative Commons Copyright Platform Activities Fund

          The CC Copyright Platform is an active space for copyright advocates and experts to coordinate copyright law and policy-related activities. This year, CC launched an Activities Fund to support copyright-related activities by Platform members. The Fund made available a total of US$20,000 to platform members, who were invited to propose activities in the field of copyright that advance our shared CC mission and in alignment with the goals and principles of the CC Copyright Platform. 

        • Movie Companies Sue YTS Users Who Ignored Settlement Demands

          Several movie companies have filed a new lawsuit targeting three users of the popular torrent site YTS. The alleged pirates were identified based on data that was previously provided by the site’s operator. The three were initially approached for an out-of-court settlement but, according to the rightsholders, they failed to respond.

Faking ‘Progress’ to Distract From True Justice or From a Full, Meaningful Reform

Posted in Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Days ago: We Let Them Get Away With Murder, But They Make up for It by Banning Words

Yanis Varoufakis explains corporations- and oligarchs-led ‘progress’, which sometimes boils down to mere slogans and symbolism, not substantial and meaningful reform/s. We’ve set aside parts that are less crucial to focus on what he says about symbolic change versus real change (like the cull of allegedly 'offensive' words whilst ignoring Microsoft's work with ICE and endless bombing campaigns that kill many civilians, usually "people of colour").

Summary: Activism for truly meaningful change doesn’t stop at superficialities and cosmetic changes (which merely give a false sense/impression of accomplishment, resulting in inaction); we need to regularly consider how to dismantle injustice, not based on the criteria set by oligarchs-owned media, rallying gullible mobs to appease only big egos

TIMES are increasingly tough and very much rough (as they have been for about half a year in most places). Coronavirus is eating away, devouring the economy. Many people unemployed or barely employed, children stranded at home shortly after schools reopen (where lock-downs are being reinstated — that’s more countries over time). Discontent is everywhere, sometimes resulting in riots and manifesting domestic violence.

“Where was the mass media (corporate/mainstream media) when trillions of dollars were passed mostly to rich shareholders of companies (rather than those in dire need of money)?”There are societal, economic and structural issues. With more and more people at risk of losing the roof over their head or quite literally starving (some families are going hungry already) the threshold for tolerating the status quo is reached and exceeded. There’s no sign of an imminent solution to all (or any) of this. A lot of people demand change, ranging from better access to health/food… to nutty ideas like “herd immunity” (whose advocates barely understand what it involves). Of course the virus (COVID-19 and maybe — seeing that it’s a moving target — some time soon COVID-20 or -21 etc. because it keeps mutating) won’t stop attacking, even attacking the same people over and over again, until they’re dead or until there’s mass vaccination (or until the virus is eradicated by quarantine, but it seems too late for that).

A sculptureSocial justice is fine. Public health is very important. Good conduct is necessary. But at the moment we’re seeing all sorts of misguided ‘movements’, whose underlying goals and motives overlook the much greater problems or misinterpret (distort, misframe, oversimplify) existing problems. Some years ago at Penn, Richard Stallman was confronted by an animal rights activist (video here) and he explained to her that there were many problems in the world and he needed to focus on particular ones he was better equipped to tackle (as a software developer). Activism is very important, but one’s goal should depend on one’s capacity and area of knowledge. It is totally understandable. Environmental preservation, for instance, is often led by biologists, veterinarians, nutritionists (looking to prevent mass extinction of species at risk) and so on. We support them financially, knowing that they understand how to accomplish their goals. To give another example, race struggle or the fight for racial equality is typically fought by the victims. When people who are themselves privileged and entitled lead this battle it understandably lead to suspicion. Can a white millionaire from Connecticut speak ‘on behalf’ of black people? Can a spoiled brat from Washington, who never in his entire lifetime experienced being anything less than super-rich (since birth), speak ‘for’ the starving children of Africa?

“If one convinces oneself that changing names of things is a high-priority goal, one aims very, very low.”As an activist myself (since my late teenage years), I more or less understand the need to focus on areas more familiar/comfortable to myself. Otherwise, there’s risk that the wrong solutions will be sought, based on the wrong assumptions and a deep misunderstanding of root causes.

Over the past few years we’ve seen more and more hypocrites, exploited/leveraged as ‘useful idiots’ by corporations and oligarchs (also propped up by their media apparatuses), looking for “social justice” by misguided methods, including trolling and dethroning powerful people whom they perceive to be the root of all evil. In practice, what they mostly accomplish is a sort of “chilling effect” (censorious society) by ‘making an example’ of high-profile people. Are we better off for this? Are hungry families better fed now? Are opportunities opening up for misfortunate people on the verge of homelessness? Have race tensions been reduced or increased (suspicion among races is rarely helped by combative elements)?

Holding handsWhere was the mass media (corporate/mainstream media) when trillions of dollars were passed mostly to rich shareholders of companies (rather than those in dire need of money)? Or as soon as social security programs/safety nets were cut or completely gutted (when needed the most)? Why doesn’t the media write about civilian casualties of war each and every day? Because they’re not wealthy people and therefore they’re unworthy of sympathy and aren’t of general interest? Empathetic media would pay more attention to the grief of common people all around the world, not the ‘pains’ of a break-up experienced in Beverly Hill (probably by some Hollywood celebrity whose job is choreographed fiction).

“Microsoft keeps telling us that it “loves Linux”, so we’re asked to assume the “war is over” (stop resisting!) and “Open Source has won” (in practice, taken over).”Campaigning for justice necessitates constant or at least periodic assessment (introspection perhaps) of one’s goals and means. If one convinces oneself that changing names of things is a high-priority goal, one aims very, very low. That helps appease those who gain the most from the status quo. There don’t want to see any major change, so they’ll settle on small and symbolic compromises. We’re led to think that we’re accomplishing so much while in practice we accomplish so little. In the realm of technology, for instance, we’re meant to think that having the option to share data between Facebook and Google is “progress” and having “secure” Clown Computing (where the host can still access all the data or deny access to it) is a “win” for privacy. Microsoft keeps telling us that it “loves Linux”, so we’re asked to assume the “war is over” (stop resisting!) and “Open Source has won” (in practice, taken over).

Iraq war protestPeople who still (in 2020) think that co-existence with mass surveillance companies (an extension of regimes) is a step forward clearly underestimate the problem we’re in. This week, for example, PIA published Web sites shared over 100 trillion pieces of our personal data last year” (they do this to manipulate people, not to better serve them). If we refuse to take these issues seriously and instead celebrate a change of name (default Git branch), then congratulations! We’ve been collectively fooled and we’re doomed to lose all meaningful battles.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 24, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:42 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



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Richard Stallman: New Interview About Privacy (Published This Morning)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Interview at 1:58 am by Guest Editorial Team

Summary: “The last few months have put data protection back in the spotlight. During a crisis of this kind, do we have to choose between safety and privacy? We talked about this with Richard Stallman, digital privacy activist and the founder of the Free Software Movement,” RT says

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