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10.05.20

[Meme] Interplay Between Linux ‘Advocacy’ and Microsoft-Leaning Propaganda

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tech 'news' on Linux

ITWire quote

Summary: If Windows “is Linux”, then ZDNet “is news”

The Ascent of GNU/Linux in China Might Not Mean Much for Software Freedom

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 6:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

China Town Mexico

Summary: We need to acknowledge that just because a huge number of people may be migrating to “Linux” (or GNU/Linux in some form or another) doesn’t mean that the cause has been fully fulfilled; it won’t be enough to liberate these people from repressive digital tyranny

SOME hours ago in this detailed new page about Xiaomi the author wrote a section about “GNU GPL violations,” stating that (and it’s hardly a new issue, not limited to Xiaomi either):

Smartphone manufacturers that release Android phones need to adhere to the GNU General Public License. This is a bit complicated, but the basic gist is that, since Android is an open-source system, companies like Xiaomi need to provide to the public the source code kernel of every device it manufactures.

Over its history, Xiaomi has had a tough time with this. In many cases, its public posting of kernels would be delayed, and in some cases, it simply didn’t post anything. For various reasons, repercussions for this inaction didn’t fall too hard on the company.

The GPL obligations (copyleft licences at large) do matter, unless all that we care about is “market share”…

“Over a decade ago it was reported that the Chinese government strictly limited the range of distros permitted for use in public terminals, presumably because back doors were required (inside GNU/Linux).”But perhaps more important than this fixation on size there’s the aspect which pertains to software freedom. The above article shows a large number of different devices whose net effect on privacy is really horrendous. In some cases, spying by peer (or surveillance by nearby people) is encouraged and spun as a hip thing with social merits. This has long been an issue with many Android-powered devices; sure, Android became more dominant (or widespread/ubiquitous) than Windows, but just because it has Linux in it — not to mention that the base system itself (AOSP) is liberally licensed — doesn’t mean that people are emancipated from oppressive software and titans who control that software for their own financial ends. In China, perhaps more so than in the United States, the industry works closely with the government and is often an extension of it. In some parts of China people are forced to carry around malware that spies on them (through so-called ‘phones’) and it doesn’t matter much if the underlying operating system is Android or something else.

Studytrip to ChinaMany headlines have appeared in the past year about China’s longterm plans to abandon Windows in favour of GNU/Linux. Prior to that we heard much of the same about Russia and South Korea. We’ve seen no evidence of this policy or those sorts of plans changing. Microsoft is really losing control of the market. It fights back, sure, partly by attempting to “wrest control of Linux” like it attempted to “wrest control of Java” (we’ll publish Bill Gates deposition tapes about it tomorrow, in part 6).

There’s no easy solution to all this. It’s a longstanding conundrum. When the GNU Project started 37 years ago it was envisioned or foreseen that widespread use of GNU (and later the GPLvX) would liberate people. It did accomplish that to a certain degree, but even Bruce Perens (a defector in a sense) recently acknowledged that people’s rights are being tramped on. Even using this supposedly user-respecting code. There are no restrictions on how it is used, who by etc.

China is going to become a good example of widespread and large-scale deployments of Linux where the presence of GPL, GNU and all sorts of projects like OpenStack fail to bring freedom to the people of China. Over a decade ago it was reported that the Chinese government strictly limited the range of distros permitted for use in public terminals, presumably because back doors were required (inside GNU/Linux).

Links 5/10/2020: Sparky 4.13, U-Boot 2020.10, GIMP 2.10.22 and Vulkan 1.2.156

Posted in News Roundup at 3:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • TUXEDO Aura 15 Linux Laptop is Powered by AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Processor

        There are few Linux laptops on the market and usually higher-end ones, so some people may decide to buy a Windows or FreeDOS laptop and install Ubuntu or another Linux distribution themselves. In theory, this is supposed to work, but when installed Ubuntu 18.04 on an Acer Ryzen 7 laptop a couple of years ago, it took me several hours of work to get this working despite it being pre-loaded with Linpus Linux operating system.

        So more choice is always welcome, and TUXEDO Computers has now added a mid-range Linux laptop to their offerings with TUXEDO Aura 15 powered by a 15W AMD Ryzen 7 4700U octa-core processor and shipping with Ubuntu 20.04, openSUSE 15.2, or TUXEDO_OS 20.04 based on Ubuntu plus Budgie Desktop.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.9-rc8 Is Out With PCIe IDs for AMDs Upcoming Sienna Cichlid GPUs

        The previous Linux 5.9 release candidate, Linux 5.9-rc7, would just crash the i915 driver for Intel graphics as soon as X or Wayland or anything else graphical was started. That has been fixed in Linux 5.9-rc8. We tested it on two machines with Intel CPUs using integrated Intel graphics and they appear to work just fine. Linux 5.9-rc8 will still hang after 5-10 minutes without booting with either the intel_idle.max_cstate=1 kernel parameter or the ahci.mobile_lpm_policy=1 kernel parameter or both on many, mostly laptop, Intel machines using Intel graphics. That’s not new to Linux 5.9, that’s been a problem since Linux 5.0 was released ages ago.

      • U-Boot v2020.10 released
        Hey all,
        
        It is release day and here is the v2020.10 release.  With this release
        we have a number of "please migrate to DM" warnings that are now 1 year
        past their warning date, and well past 1 year of those warnings being
        printed.  It's getting up there on my TODO list to see if removing
        features or boards in these cases is easier.
        
        In terms of a changelog, 
        git log --merges v2020.10-rc5..v2020.10
        or
        git log --merges v2020.07..v2020.10
        
        The merge window is once again open and I plan to tag -rc1 on Monday,
        October 26th, bi-weekly -rcs thereafter and final release on January
        11th, 2021.
        
        I am merging the next branch to master shortly and will send a separate
        email when that is done.
        
        
      • Intel Continues Bringing Up DMA-BUF Support For RDMA

        Presumably with Xe-HP in mind, Intel engineers continue working on adding DMA-BUF support to the Linux kernel’s RDMA code.

      • Opportunistic Memory Reclaim Support Proposal Updated For The Linux Kernel

        Canonical kernel engineer Andrea Righi has sent out an updated patch series implementing opportunistic memory reclaim support as a way of forcing the kernel to attempt to reclaim system memory.

        Opportunistic memory reclaim provides a user-space interface to trigger an artificial memory pressure condition for the kernel to force it to reclaim memory. By artificially triggering a memory reclaim event before the system RAM is actually under pressure is being done in hopes of keeping the system more responsive.

      • Arm Contributions to Xen Based Safety Systems

        Arm, a member of the Xen project, has made valuable contributions to the Xen Project through the years. In this talk, Bertrand Marquis, Principal Software Engineer, Arm Ltd, highlights some of these contributions and outlines what’s to come.
        Bertrand starts with the Autonomy reference stack, a Yocto based collection of layers providing a way to create a Xen based virtualized autonomous system. He also explains PCI passthrough support on Arm and also talks through several future contributions including 1:1 mapping and static mapping.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA delays launch of GeForce RTX 3070 until end of October

          It seems NVIDIA don’t want a repeat of what happened with the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 as they’ve delayed the launch of the GeForce RTX 3070.

          When both the 3080 and 3090 launched they sold out within only a few minutes, and pretty much every store went down at some point due to the demand. This was obviously frustrating for anyone wanting to get a card, since a lot of bots appear to have grabbed them. NVIDIA themselves offered an apology on what happened in the case of the 3080 launch noting that the demand was simply unprecedented and that they saw ” 4 times the unique visitors to our website, 10 times the peak web requests per second, and more than 15 times the out clicks to partner pages” when compared to previous launches.

        • NVIDIA Online GTC 2020 Kicks Off Today But No Open-Source Linux Announcement Expected

          NVIDIA’s online GTC 2020 event kicks off today with a ton of announcements coming across the wire but not one many Linux users have been clamoring to hear more about.

          In addition to announcing the $59 NVIDIA Jetson Nano 2GB, this morning has also seen the announcements for the Ampere RTX A6000 and A40 graphics cards, Jarvis and Merlin in open beta, more Arm ecosystem support, EGX edge AI platform, and more

        • Radeon Software for Linux 20.40 Released With RX 5300 Series Support

          AMD released an updated Radeon Software for Linux packaged driver at the end of September that went seemingly unnoticed. Only today when seeing “20.40″ firmware binaries hitting the linux-firmware.git tree was I even aware of this updated packaged AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver focused on enterprise distributions.

    • Benchmarks

      • Easier CPU/GPU Comparisons On OpenBenchmarking.org, Other New Features

        With the new OpenBenchmarking.org that’s been out in public form since last month and being developed as part of the soon-to-be-released Phoronix Test Suite 10.0, here is the latest feature now enabled in making it much easier for quickly carrying out high-level processor (CPU) and graphics card (GPU) component comparisons along with other improvements.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp Launches October 2020 on PC, Linux, and Mac

        Developer Beautiful Glitch have announced a release date window for competitive monster dating-sim Monster Prom 2: Monster Camp.

        The sequel will be coming to Windows PC, Linux, and Mac (via Steam) during October. The game’s official Twitter account also stated “Just to be clear: it’s coming out on PC first. Consoles may happen later.” The original Monster Prom later came to Nintendo Switch.

      • Choice-driven horror adventure novel Scarlet Hollow funded in a single day on Kickstarter

        After releasing the entire first episode free, Black Tabby Games now have Scarlet Hollow live on Kickstarter and it appears they’re onto quite a success.

        Scarlet Hollow is a choice-driven horror adventure game and visual novel brought to life by critically acclaimed graphic novelist Abby Howard who is known for The Last Halloween, The Crossroads at Midnight, Junior Scientist Power Hour and more. Linux is a clearly confirmed platform for support.

      • Perception puzzler Superliminal comes to Steam in November, along with Linux support

        After seeing success on the Epic Games Store, and then consoles it’s now confirmed to be launching on Steam on November 5 along with Linux support.

        What is it? Superliminal is a single-player first-person puzzle game that uses perception as a mechanic. You play as someone who wakes up in a surprisingly lucid dream. As you complete puzzles to get to the next exit, certain patterns and truths become more apparent. It sounds like a genuinely brilliant idea, that involves plenty of thinking outside the box. What you see, is what you get.

      • Farmer Supreme offers a very different and super adorable take on the casual sim

        Do you have what it takes to become Farmer Supreme? This isn’t another Stardew Valley, as Farmer Supreme offers up a genuinely unique looking take on the casual farming sim.

        In a world where monsters, villains and heroes are the norm, heroes rise and kingdoms fall with children dreaming of becoming a hero. Not Maximus Abico or “Lil’ Max”, an orphan who has decided to find the last known survivor of a long line of great farmers to feed hungry townsfolk and perhaps become the last Farmer Supreme.

      • Protect the dungeon in the biggest update to Legend of Keepers yet

        In preparation for the full launch planned for next year, the rogue-lite dungeon manager Legend of Keepers gets a massive upgrade with plenty of new content.

        Legend of Keepers is a tactical dungeon management game where you play as the bad guys. You’re the Boss of the Dungeons Defending Department and you’re in charge of protecting the company’s treasures against pesky heroes! Plan your defences by placing traps and monsters across various rooms and in between battles deal with all the team management issues.

      • Check out the demo for Bonfire Peaks, a beautiful upcoming voxel-art puzzle game

        Coming to Linux sometime in 2021, Bonfire Peaks looks absolutely gorgeous. Set in a world with seriously lush chunky voxels, it’s going to be good.

        Bonfire Peaks is the latest puzzle game designed by Corey Martin, developer of Pipe Push Paradise & Hiding Spot, with art by Mari Khaleghi and Zach Soares. They also recently announced that Draknek & Friends, the publisher and developer of A Monster’s Expedition and Cosmic Express will be publishing it as their first external title

      • Crusader Kings III is quite a joy to learn, even if you’re not particularly smart

        Crusader Kings III has been out for little over a month now and it’s probably one of the most successful release from Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studios.

        Ushering in a new era of grand strategy, Crusader Kings III much like the game before and other Paradox titles have a crazy amount of depth to them. To newer players, Paradox strategy games can often feel ridiculously overwhelming. For me personally, the only other Paradox title I’ve ever gotten into was Stellaris – because it nicely eased you in.

        For Crusader Kings III it seems like Paradox have learned many great lessons on how to handle newer players since Stellaris. Crusader Kings III is still a massive game, and our contributor BTRE went into some detail as a veteran of their games in a previous review. I, however, am something of a dummy. An idiot you might say when it comes to these big complicated world-spanning grand strategy games. So what’s it like for a true beginner?

      • Girl Genius – Adventures In Castle Heterodyne gets fully funded

        After what seemed like a crowdfunding campaign that might struggle, Girl Genius – Adventures In Castle Heterodyne was comfortably funded passed the initial goal.

        Coming from Rain Games creators of Teslagrad, World To The West and the soon to release Mesmer, Girl Genius – Adventures In Castle Heterodyne is their upcoming character-driven action-adventure metroidvania. You play as the main protagonist in the Girl Genius series, Agatha Heterodyne.

      • Nonsense Soccer is a pretty hilarious upcoming ‘platformer-soccer-hybrid’ with a demo up

        Nonsense Soccer turns the game of Soccer (well, Football if you’re not an American) into a pretty great competitive local multiplayer experience.

        A nice simple idea that puts up to 4 people into a side-view platformer arena, with each side jumping around trying to kick the ball into the goal. That’s Football alright, and testing it out it’s a huge amount of fun and certainly does get quite chaotic quickly.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Tracker 3.0: What’s New?

          It was only a single line in the release notes. There weren’t any new graphics to show in the video. We leave cool UIs to others.

          So what do we have to show, after a year of focused effort and a series of disruptive change to Tracker and GNOME?

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • 20 Years of The FreeBSD Foundation: Interview With Deb Goodkin, Executive Director

          Besides Linux distributions, FreeBSD is one such Unix-like operating system, which is free and open source. It is one of the oldest and most popular operating systems descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).

          It is still actively maintained and used on desktops, servers, and embedded devices. As the FreeBSD Foundation recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, we spoke with Deb Goodkin, executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation, about the FreeBSD project.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat extends collaboration with NVIDIA to optimize infrastructures across the hybrid cloud

          As an increasing number of applications and related complexity put unprecedented demands on computing infrastructures, our customers are realizing that the future of computing needs to be more heterogeneous in nature; a single technology, no matter how innovative, cannot address all the requirements of modern, let alone future computing.

          Keeping a large number of systems running smoothly is a hard problem, and special devices are often required to help run well-balanced and optimized data center infrastructure. These devices, called data processing units (DPUs), employ an easily programmable multi-core CPU, a state-of-the-art network interface and a powerful set of networking, storage and security accelerators that can be programmed to perform multiple software-defined, hardware-accelerated functions.

        • Red Hat Envisions Linux Operating System As More Than ‘Just A Commodity’

          The problem with Windows, Mac OS X, the various distributions of Linux, Android on mobile and all other computer Operating Systems (OS)s, is that users – and indeed technical professionals – all too often think of them as nothing more than an engine.

          Like the engine in your car, motorbike, electric scooter, boat or personal jet (delete personal mode of transport as appropriate), you care enough about it to know that it’s there, you’re happy that it runs with a purr, you’re prepared to put oil in it and get it serviced for maintenance and updates when needed… and you have a basic understanding of the fact that you’re not supposed to over-rev it and put it under undue stress and pressure.

          But as much as those factors offer some love for our operating system engines, the vast majority of users will simply consider the OS to be a commodity i.e. just a piece of infrastructure that has to be there, but not an entity that might influence the way we work or behave with our machines.

        • Windows x64 Binaries Can Now Run On POWER9 Under Linux With Hangover

          Windows x86 binaries can now run on POWER9 hardware under Linux with Wine thanks to Hangover.

          The Wine Hangover project was initially started for running Windows x86_64 programs on 64-bit ARM. While Wine itself supports AArch64 and other architectures, it isn’t focused on emulating support across architectures — that’s where Hangover comes in.

        • Exploring Podman RESTful API using Python and Bash

          You may have heard that Podman V2 has a new RESTful API. This document demonstrates the API using code examples in Python and shell commands. Additional notes are included in the code comments. The provided code was written to be clear vs. production quality.

        • Risks with Machine Translation- Trust but verify

          Machine translation (MT) quality has significantly improved since I first started working in the multi-lingual world, but the raw output can still be problematic. If you neglect to build in human verification and rely solely on the software, results can be embarrassing and at times, costly.

          At IBM Developer, we offer content in five languages: Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Latin American Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese. Our language teams that manage translation quality reside within the primary language geography. Teams are steeped in current vernacular, including which technical terms should remain in English.

        • How Red Hat continues to shape the future of software-defined hardware-accelerated datacenter

          It shouldn’t be a surprise that as we demand more complex applications at both a business and consumer level, that we’re also, in effect, demanding more computational power. In a number of cases, these applications are driven by data and artificial intelligence (AI) in some way, either at the user level or on the backend. These workloads require AI models to analyze and parse the huge amounts of data necessary for these apps to actually do their job…which leads to a need for even more processing power. As organizations use technology to differentiate their businesses they are inevitably becoming more software-defined. For the IT industry, this means that we must be even more creative when it comes to developing and supporting emerging hardware to address these challenges.

          But given the scale of the computing challenges today and emerging for tomorrow, it’s unlikely that one singular processor or hardware solution is the answer to our voracious appetite for computational power. Instead, we need to pair technologies together to work in concert to meet these needs, even if they disrupt our view of what “traditional architecture” may be in the datacenter. One of these blended technologies is data processing units (DPUs), which can impact nearly every level of the IT landscape, from single systems to multi-region cloud deployments.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 4.13

          There is an update of Sparky oldstable 4.13 code name “Tyche” out there. It is based on the Debian oldstable “Stretch”.

          Changes:
          • system upgrade from Debian oldstable “Stretch” repos as of October 2, 2020
          • Calamares doesn’t refresh package list to avoid breaking installation if Debian or Sparky repo is off
          • Sparky repos changed from ‘oldstable’ to named ‘tyche’; make sure you use right Sparky repositories
          • Linux kernel upgraded up to 4.9.228-1
          • Firefox 78.3.0esr
          • Thunderbird 68.12.0
          • LibreOffice 4.3.3

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Groovy Gorilla Beta Available

          Canonical has released the first beta version of the upcoming 20.10 (Non-LTS) release, named Groovy Gorilla. The support window for Short Term Releases (STR) is only 9 months. After that 9 months expires, users of STR releases will receive no updates. So keep that in mind, when installing these non Long Term Release versions of Ubuntu.

          That being said, if you want the latest-greatest version of Ubuntu, the STR releases are a good choice.

          The features and improvements to be found in Ubuntu 20.10 include the newest GNOME release (3.38). With GNOME 3.38 you’ll enjoy the ability to manually arrange icons in the Applications grid, folder support has been added to the grid, scale-aware application grid sizing, a new Restart option in the System menu, Wi-Fi sharing QR codes, a much-improved sound recorder and screenshot app, and new parental controls have been added to the Settings app. For more information on the GNOME 3.38 release, check out the official release notes.

        • NVIDIA’s Ariel Kit Explains How NVIDIA BlueField DPUs Are Redefining Data Center Services

          NVIDIA is redefining the data center around the concept of data processing units (DPUs): powerful network cards running Ubuntu out of the box that combine hardware and software to deliver new classes of cloud architectures – in the data center and at the edge.

        • Canonical expands collaboration with NVIDIA to bring AI to the edge

          Canonical has been working closely with NVIDIA for many years to fuel innovation and support open source software with the power of accelerated processing. That already allowed us to jointly deliver GPU acceleration into Linux, OpenStack and container workloads on traditional datacenter servers.

          We continued working together, with Ubuntu forming the base operating system for NVIDIA DGX systems, including the latest NVIDIA DGX A100 system. Today we are announcing the support of a new class of acceleration at the edge, on the NVIDIA EGX Edge AI platform, powered with Ubuntu.

        • First Look: Ubuntu 20.10 Wallpaper Revealed – But is it Groovy Enough?

          When the Ubuntu 20.10 beta arrived last week it did so without a new background image. This had some (well, me) worrying that the upcoming release wouldn’t ship with a new wallpaper at all.

          But no fear: the Groovy Gorilla is now here.

          Ubuntu devs are gearing up to release the Groovy Gorilla to a global audience, having put in a gallant six-months of groundwork so far. But every great Ubuntu release needs a great wallpaper to go alongside it.

        • Automatic Theme Installation for Snap Apps is Shaping Up Nicely [Video]

          But that method relies on the theme you’re using being in the common themes Snap bundle (which for older, niche, or brand new themes is unlikely).

          Earlier this year we touched on the (growing) availability of GTK themes as Snap apps. That effort improves the “Snap theming” situation greatly: you install a GTK theme, install the relevant theme Snap, and …then you run a copy/paste a series of complex (and unmemorable) commands to get the theme to take effect on your Snap apps.

          But things are improving.

          Canonical’s Marcus Tomlinson shares an update on automatic theme installation for snaps. He says that “…whenever you install and apply a new theme to your desktop, a background service will check if its associated theme snap is installed, and, if not, ask if you’d like to install it.”

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Jetson Nano 2GB dev kit to launch for $59

        Nvidia unveiled a $59 “Nano 2GB Developer Kit” for makers and students with a Jetson Nano limited to 2GB RAM. The kit lacks the M.2, PoE, and DP of the $99 kit and has fewer USB ports.

        In March of last year, Nvidia reached out to the maker community by launching a hacker-friendly, $99 dev kit for its new Linux-driven, AI-focused Jetson Nano module. Now it has introduced a $59 Jetson Nano 2GB Developer Kit designed for students, educators, and hobbyists.” The kit is supported with free online training and AI-certification programs.

        The Nano 2GB Developer Kit uses a new configuration of the Jetson Nano with 2GB LPDDR4 RAM — half that found on the standard Nano used on the original kit. The Nano modules used on both kits lack the 16GB of eMMC found on the commercial version and instead supply a microSD slot.

      • NVIDIA Unveils $59 USD Raspberry Pi Competitor With Jetson Nano 2GB

        Last year NVIDIA announced the Jetson Nano at $99 USD as their lowest-priced ARM SBC board to date focused on inference, robotics, and other GPU-accelerated tasks in a small, low-power form factor. The Jetson Nano at $99 USD is already significantly cheaper than the other numerous Jetson boards over the past several years while now today they are introducing a $59 board.

      • 7-slot Raspberry Pi CM3 cluster board returns in limited run

        Turing Pi has launched preorders for its last batch of $189 “Turing Pi” cluster boards, which integrate 7x GbE-switched Raspberry Pi CM3 modules for private cloud applications, each with its own 40-pin GPIO.

        Our July 2019 report on the Turing Pi Clusterboard was one of our more popular posts of the year so we thought you might also be interested in this update: After being sold out for some time, Turing Pi has launched its last 1,000-unit run of Turing Pi boards, which cluster seven Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) modules.

      • How to Develop for ARM on a Budget

        Developing a full computer cluster in one’s bedroom may seem like an exotic or complicated thing to do. However, with the wonderfully versatile Raspberry Pi platform any interested tinkerer can now easily play with building such as clusters themselves, and on a reasonable budget! While any developer can start some nodes on AWS or Azure at the click of a button, developing your own physical cluster has a satisfaction all its own, and allows one to learn things you never would otherwise. At the end of this cookbook, you will have a small, but fairly fast and stable arm64-based Kubernetes cluster, paired with GitLab to use as a build and deployment platform, so the cluster can be used for something real.

        While Raspberry Pis are simple and cheap, they are real computers running a real OS, making them an ideal tinkering platform. One of the major differences with other ‘real’ computers is the CPU architecture, but this may soon change as well. Intel and x86 have dominated the server and desktop markets for many years, but there are some major moves happening hinting that this landscape is about to shift. Amazon AWS released their 2nd generation arm-based 64-bit CPU instance type, Canonical releases Ubuntu 20 with support for arm 64-bit, and Apple announced ARM based Apple silicon for their upcoming Mac computers. Raspberry Pis offer probably the cheapest and easiest way to gain some real experience with ARM64 right now!

        The moves around ARM ignited my interest in doing something interesting with a couple Raspberry Pis I had lying around. While doing so, I did encounter some issues while trying to make everything work, which I’ve tried to document in this story. I used six Raspberry Pis to form a Kubernetes development cluster, which I integrated into a workflow developing web applications. It will fulfill an important part of my personal development pipeline where I test the apps I make, before these are shipped into production. I will touch various subjects and tools which are put together to make this work. It’s quite involved, so there’s no deep-dive on the architecture or software used. You can use this as a cookbook to replicate the set-up I made. Some steps are abbreviated, and I presume basic knowledge of using Ubuntu Server with the command-line, shell usage, and editing files.

        [...]

        I’ve decided to go with the Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB of memory, because it has the required power to run the ‘regular’ k8s version of Kubernetes maintained by CNCF and Google. While the ‘lightweight’ version k3s may work as well, with more memory to spare and thus workable on Pis with 2GB memory or less, I opt for the regular version to stick as close as possible to a production-grade cluster.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • FeatherS2 Board Brings ESP32-S2 to Adafruit Feather Form Factor

          We’ve covered a fair number of development boards following Adafruit Feather form factor in the last year or so with products such as QuickFeather Cortex-M4 + FPGA board, OrangeCrab (Lattice FPGA), nRF9160 Feather providing LTE IoT & GPS connectivity, and other boards.

          But here’s yet another Adafruit Feather themed board that has just launched: FeatherS2. The tiny board is equipped with the latest Espressif Systems ESP32-S2 WiFi SoC, 16 MB SPI Flash, 8 MB PSRAM, several I/O, and a USB-C port for power and programming.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • PeaZip 7.4.2

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

      • Nextcloud Hub 20 Now Available

        Nextcloud has announced the immediate availability of Nextcloud Hub 20 at the Nextcloud Conference in Berlin.

        The new release introduces users to a dashboard with an overview of the day, integrating information from across Nextcloud as well as third party social media, productivity and collaboration platforms.

      • Nextcloud 20: One private cloud to rule them all

        I’ve long recommended Nextcloud as a wonderful open-source, private Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud. I run it myself both on a server in my office and on my TMDHosting remote server. Over time, though, Nextcloud has been adding more features. These include built-in video-conferencing and group meeting services. Nextcloud Talk and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) version of the LibreOffice office suite, Collabora. Now, with Nextcloud 20, other third-party services such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Jira, GitHub, Twitter, and dozens of others are being integrated.

        [...]

        It adds on to its existing strengths by using an open application programming interface (API), the Open Collaboration Services (OCS). This is a long, established API. Started as part of KDE’s open desktop standardization effort in 2009, OCS now handles basic file functionality like file access, sharing, versioning, and commenting. It also covers communications, calendaring, and task management.

        Nextcloud is using it to bridge the gap between its own Talk chat service with other communications services, besides the ones mentioned earlier, such as Matrix, IRC, XMPP, and many others. More IM services, such as HipChat and Telegram, are in the works.

      • PlayerCTL: The Best MPRIS Media Player Control Out There!
      • Librsvg is accepting interns for Outreachy’s December 2020 round

        Outreachy’s December 2020 / March 2021 round is available only for students in the Southern hemisphere. People in the Northern hemisphere can wait until the 2021 mid-year round.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Addons Blog: New add-on badges

            A few weeks ago, we announced the pilot of a new Promoted Add-ons program. This new program aims to expand the number of add-ons we can review and verify as compliant with our add-on policies in exchange for a fee from participating developers.

            We have recently finished selecting the participants for the pilot, which will run until the end of November 2020. When these extensions successfully complete the review process, they will receive a new badge on their listing page on addons.mozilla.org (AMO) and in the Firefox Add-ons Manager (about:addons).

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Community Member Monday: Adolfo Jayme Barrientos

          I live and work in Mexico. I grew up in a home where we didn’t have video games or a computer, but it was filled with books; I developed a liking for reading, typography, typesetting and book design.

          I was mesmerised when I got my first computer: reading also gave me an edge for learning languages, and when it came to choosing a university major, I went straight to linguistics. I work as an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher with 12 to 15-year-old pupils.

          I started translating software eleven years ago, and started doing it professionally some five years ago, to finance my university tuition. I am now trilingual, and continue reading books in various Romance languages whenever I have free time.

      • FSF

        • Free Software Foundation Turns 35

          The Free Software Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Boston, MA, USA, was founded by honorary doctor Richard Stallman on October 4th, 1985 – two years after he publicly announced that his intention to create a free Unix-like operating system called GNU. Richard Stallman was president of the Free Software Foundation from it’s creation until he was forced to resign in August 2019.

          [...]

          Large corporate interests would much rather fund and back organizations that don’t stand for such ideals. This is why the Linux Foundation has 1000+ corporate members ranging from primarily software companies like Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft to financial companies like BlackRock and Tencent holdings and a budget close to a hundred million USD per year while the FSF has a much smaller budget close to one million dollars per year. It is also why groups like the “Open Source Initiative” has a long list of corporate sponsors who happen to be mostly the same multi-national corporations who fund the Linux Foundation: Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft are happily funding the “Open Source Initiative” yet they wouldn’t go near the Free Software Foundation with a 10-foot pole.

        • GNU Projects

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Python 3.9: Cool New Features for You to Try

            Python 3.9 is here! Volunteers from all over the world have been working on improvements to Python for the past year. While beta versions have been available for some time, the first official version of Python 3.9 was released on October 5, 2020.

            Every release of Python includes new, improved, and deprecated features, and Python 3.9 is no different. The documentation gives a complete list of the changes. Below, you’ll take an in-depth look at the coolest features that the latest version of Python brings to the table.

          • Test and Code: 133: Major League Hacking – Jonathan Gottfried

            Hackathons have been spreading around the world; many at university campuses. Major League Hacking, MLH, has been encouraging and helping hackathons.

            Hacking can be thought of as tinkering. Taking things apart and putting them back together as an interesting experience. There’s always been some of this as part of software culture.

            The people at Major League Hacking have taken this to a whole new level, bringing together Tech creators who enjoy playing around with and crating new technology, on campuses, and now in virtual spaces, all over the world.

          • Python Anywhere: A Tale of Two Deployments

            It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of remote work, it was the age of pyjamas, it was the epoch of bread baking, it was the epoch of pineapple pizza, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness… This is a short but exciting story about two system updates. Spoiler alert: no one has been guillotined.

          • Tryton News: Release 1.2.0 of python-sql

            We are proud to announce the release of the version 1.2.0 of python-sql.

            python-sql is a library to write SQL queries in a pythonic way. It is mainly developed for Tryton but it has no external dependencies and is agnostic to any framework or SQL database.

          • How to Create an AWS Lambda Layer For Any Python Dependency
          • Serving Static Files in Python With Django, AWS S3 and WhiteNoise

            Websites generally need additional files such as images, CSS, and JavaScript files that are necessary to render complete web pages in a browser. In small projects, we can work our way around by providing absolute paths to our resources or by writing inline CSS and JavaScript functions in the HTML files. This is not only against the best coding practices but it also gets tricky when we are handling bigger projects, especially with multiple applications.

          • PyCharm: Early Access PyCharm Podcast — Episode 3: The One where Kirill talks about Version Control

            Welcome to Early Access PyCharm, a brand-new podcast that goes behind the scenes of how the PyCharm IDE is made and all the thinking that goes into it. In the upcoming episodes, you will hear from the people who work daily to make you more productive and your code even better.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Vulkan 1.2.156 Released With Device Memory Report Extension

        Vulkan 1.2.156 was released this morning and while it’s a small revision to the API documentation it does come with a new extension.

        Vulkan 1.2.156 adds one new extension and then has a fix for referring to memory import/export using the term payload rather than “the same underlying memory.” The new extension is VK_EXT_device_memory_report.

  • Leftovers

    • What Goes Around
    • Health/Nutrition

      • Reports Emerge Showing Trump “Knowingly Exposed” Those Around Him to COVID

        Journalists and public health experts on Saturday raised questions over the mixed messages coming out of the White House and President Donald Trump’s medical team after Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, told reporters Trump was “72 hours into the diagnosis” of Covid-19.

      • Trump’s Biggest Advantage in Fighting Off Covid: His Wealth

        Trump has a number of risk factors that increase the chance of mortality with the disease. But the president’s wealth may be the best medicine he has.

      • A New Nonviolent Medicaid Army Is on the March

        Led by the poor and dispossessed, this movement is bringing the demand for healthcare rights to corporate profiteers, state houses, prisons, and police stations.

        Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko is a lifelong Pennsylvanian who believes in the power and potential of everyday people.

      • Investors Extracted Millions From Hospital Chain Struggling to Serve Patients

        In the decade since Leonard Green & Partners, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles, bought control of a hospital company named Prospect Medical Holdings for $205 million, the owners have done handsomely.

      • As Covid-Positive GOP Politicians Enjoy Healthcare They ‘Would Deny Others,’ Coronavirus Pandemic Again Makes Case for Medicare for All

        “The moral of the story is, he lied to you for months and encouraged you to live recklessly during a pandemic, and when it got to him he received every top tier treatment and medication to ensure his survival while your friends and family died alone.”

      • Why We’re on a Long Road to COVID-19 Immunity Even With Vaccines

        As the pandemic continues to spread throughout the world, many countries seem to have given up the fight against COVID-19 and are now waiting for a vaccine to protect against the virus. With cases exceeding 32 million, and more than a million dead, the world economy has taken a bigger hit than at any other time since the end of the Great Depression of 1929-39.

      • AMPFest: Antivaxxers team up with QAnon and COVID-19 cranks

        If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has made crystal clear, it’s that the antivaccine movement is at its heart driven by a conspiracy theory—multiple conspiracy theories, actually. The primary conspiracy theory behind the antivaccine movement is that “they” (“they” being the CDC, big pharma, the government, the medical profession) “know” that vaccines cause autism, autoimmune diseases, and all the other conditions and diseases attributed to vaccines by antivaxxers but that “they” are keeping the data and evidence showing the links between vaccines and these conditions from you. Most antivaccine conspiracy theories are variants of this kind of conspiracy theory, which I like to call the “central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement“. The two main examples are the Simpsonwood conspiracy theory popularized by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in 2005, which claimed that the CDC “knew” that the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that was used in several childhood vaccines until 2001 was the cause of “autism” but massaged the data to make the link go away, and the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory popularized by Del Bigtree and Andrew Wakefield in their conspiracy movie disguised as a documentary VAXXED in 2016, which claimed that the CDC “knew” that the MMR vaccine causes autism in African-American boys but massaged the data—you guessed it!—to make the link go away. Which brings us to something called AMPFest

      • Bodies on the Line

        In the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the crisis of work and of care—of production and social reproduction—to new extremes. This summer, unemployment reached record levels. Essential workers were called on not only to tend to the sick, but to deliver groceries, collect trash, and drive buses—to perform tasks that have always been hard and undervalued, but now entail a health risk every time you clock on. Capitalist society depends on this essential work—carried out by nursing assistants, transportation workers, and caretakers—and its dangers are distributed unevenly, across divisions of race, class, and gender. For decades, socialist feminists have brought these realities to our attention; the pandemic has made their insights undeniable. For many, whether they are nurses in hospitals or parents trying to work full time while also educating children or caring for dependents, the labor of maintaining and sustaining life—paid and unpaid, public and private—is becoming too much to bear.

        The pandemic has also confirmed and deepened the powers of digital technology companies. Google, Apple, and Salesforce are building contact-tracing software. Palantir is pivoting to the pandemic, winning contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States and national health services across Europe. Zoom enables the professional classes to work from home, and to see friends and family. Netflix and Hulu and Twitch provide entertainment. Care.com helps parents and children look for babysitters and home health aides. Google for Education lets (some) school age children keep learning (sort of). Uber and Lyft are available for those who want or need to avoid public transit; Instacart allows them to avoid stores. Amazon has hired hundreds of thousands of additional workers to deliver everything from textbooks to toilet paper, while continuing to sell much of the computing power that makes the system run. (Nearly half of the world’s public cloud runs on Amazon Web Services; Jeff Bezos has added $85 billion to his personal wealth since January.) The most powerful entities of our era are these platforms: more than just monopolistic corporations, they provide key social infrastructure and have become involved in vast rearrangements of our everyday lives.

      • Essential and Untrusted

        The pandemic has exacerbated an existing child care crisis. Platforms like Care.com are growing, while exposing care workers to new forms of surveillance and discrimination.

        [...]

        The ACLU and other critics have noted the limited effectiveness of temperature screening, while warning about the invasiveness of this practice. The use of thermal cameras, like other technologies of virus detection, is an example of the increasingly intimate surveillance of our bodies in public life. But these technologies don’t only measure body temperature; like background checks, they also shape our ideas about who is risky, and who is trustworthy. For many, the pressure to hand over personal information in order to prove compliance to employers will feel familiar.

        For the past three years, I’ve been studying domestic labor platforms—websites and apps like Care.com and Sittercity—which have come to play an important role in the ways care workers and families find one another. These platforms are not considered as newsworthy as companies like Uber and Lyft, and they are usually excluded from policy research and systematic data collection about the online gig economy. But they are immensely popular: Care.com hosts more than 11 million worker profiles in the United States alone.

        Since 2017, researcher Alexandra Mateescu and I have conducted more than forty interviews with nannies, babysitters, and home-care workers who had used these apps to find work. We met them through many of the same avenues where they look for jobs, including nanny agencies, Craigslist, email lists, and Facebook groups. We learned about how these platforms push workers to share ever more about themselves. Features like background checks, profile pictures, and guidance about how to conduct social media searches allow clients to peer into the lives of prospective hires.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Over 1 Million Enrollments For Intro To Linux on edX

                The Linux Foundation has announced that its Introduction to Linux training course, currently in its sixth edition on edX, has had over one million enrollments. This course was the first on edX from the Linux Foundation and now there are many more.

        • Security

          • Reproducible Builds in September 2020

            Welcome to the September 2020 report from the Reproducible Builds project. In our monthly reports, we attempt to summarise the things that we have been up to over the past month, but if you are interested in contributing to the project, please visit our main website.

            [...]

            In August’s report, we announced that Jennifer Helsby (redshiftzero) launched a new reproduciblewheels.com website to address the lack of reproducibility of Python ‘wheels’. This month, Kushal Das posted a brief follow-up to provide an update on reproducible sources as well.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libvirt, snmptt, squid3, and xen), Fedora (chromium, libproxy, mumble, samba, and xawtv), openSUSE (bcm43xx-firmware, dpdk, grafana, nodejs12, python-pip, xen, and zabbix), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (cockpit-ovirt, imgbased, redhat-release-virtualization-host, redhat-virtualization-host and qemu-kvm-rhev), and SUSE (perl-DBI).

          • Operation Fortify: A US Ransomware Plan

            To be clear, it’s not that I think this is a good idea. There are many challenges with it. I simply think it’s the best option we have.

            It activates Americans. It puts them in play against a serious threat. And it simultaneously functions as an infrastructure enhancement project—kind of like Roads and Bridges—and a national training program that addresses the cybersecurity skills gap.

          • Ransomware Groups Add a Third Threat Vector: DDoS

            Some groups play the sympathy card, and apologize for asking for the ransom. Others pretend their threats are “findings” that are part of a bug bounty program, which gives the company the out of paying security researchers instead of hackers.

            Whatever the tactic, the problem is that the attackers are evolving a lot faster than defender defenses. And we should expect that gap to continue and even widen in the coming months and years.

          • Culture, Vulnerabilities and Budget: Why Devs and AppSec Disagree [Ed: TheNewStack is connected to Ponemon, which is not a positive thing]

            The Ponemon Institute conducted two surveys sponsored by ZeroNorth in May and June of 2020, one of 581 application security (AppSec) professionals and another of 549 application developers. Three-quarters of the AppSec respondents believe there is a cultural divide between them and developers, while only 49% of developers feel the same way towards the AppSec function. The difference in opinion is not because of DevSecOps has taken hold among developers — adoption is almost the same among both respondent categories.

            [...]

            As compared to AppSec professionals, developers are significantly less (39% vs 60%), to believe application security risk at their organization has increased. At the core of the matter, AppSec professionals think the development team is difficult to work with because they push code with known vulnerabilities, with many also complaining that developers accept flaws if they believe an app will be a big seller. Whether or not developers are actually pushing a lot of serious vulnerabilities up for debate, but their self-perception is incredibly different from that of their AppSec peers — only 27% of developers say code is frequently being published with known vulnerabilities, compared to the 57% of application security specialists that estimate likewise.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Crypto-mining worm adds Linux password stealing capability [Ed: This totally and likely intentionally neglects to say that it's a problem on already-compromised machines]

              The TeamTNT cybercrime group has recently updated its crypto-mining worm with password-stealing capabilities and with an additional network scanner to make it easier to spread to other vulnerable devices.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Tens of Millions in PPP Loans Went to Corporate Polluters After Companies Were Fined $52 Million, Analysis Shows

        “Our federal government should not be essentially giving back portions of the penalties they’ve paid, but that’s exactly what the Trump administration is doing through the PPP.”

      • Ominous Economic Signs: Long-Term Employment and People Leaving the Work Force

        The September employment report showed a sharp slowing in the rate of job growth, with the economy adding 661,000 jobs, less than half of its August rate. The unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.9 percent, but most of this was due to people leaving the labor force. The employment to population ratio (EPOP) only rose by 0.1 percentage point. At 56.6 percent, it is still 4.4 percentage points below its year-ago level.

      • Debt Collectors Have Made a Fortune This Year. Now They’re Coming for More.

        Earlier this year, the pandemic swept across the country, killing 100,000 Americans by the spring, shuttering businesses and schools, and forcing people into their homes. It was a great time to be a debt collector.

        In August, Encore Capital, the largest debt buyer in the country, announced that it had doubled its previous record for earnings in a quarter. It primarily had the CARES Act to thank: The bill delivered hundreds of billions of dollars worth of stimulus checks and bulked-up unemployment benefits to Americans, while easing pressures on them by halting foreclosures, evictions and student loan payments. There was no ban on collections of old credit card bills, Encore’s specialty.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Donald Trump Makes the Swamp Bigger

        Donald Trump brought a whole new world of corruption to Washington.

      • How to Avoid Banana Republic Elections

        “However this election turns out, a bipartisan effort should be mounted to make voting more efficient and secure.”

      • Episode 110 – Election 2020: Covering The Media with Professor Melissa Camacho – Along The Line Podcast

        On today’s episode, Nicholas Baham II (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo, and Nolan Higdon host San Francisco State University’s Melissa Camacho.

      • Trump and the Lost Country

        Where, oh where, is the United States of America — global leader, creator of democracy, hope of humankind? It certainly wasn’t up there on the debate stage last night.

      • An Election Letter to White Male Boomers
      • How Do You Cover an Administration That Has Lost Touch With Reality?

        This column is almost always critical of journalists and spotlights the many mistakes, malfeasances, and misunderstandings that characterize so much of our political coverage. But today I just want to offer my condolences. We have had presidential administrations run by criminals before. It would be fair to call certain past presidents con men. (See my new book, Lying in State, for details.) This administration is all that and more, but there’s a new problem: Donald Trump’s White House, the party it represents, and its most prominent supporters in the media are untethered from reality. How do you cover one of the two major parties—the one that controls the Oval Office, the Senate, and increasingly the courts—and the most popular (and most profitable) cable station in America when their arguments consist almost entirely of dangerous lunacy?

      • Beyond Obama and Bernie
      • Fractal Politics 2.1
      • ‘Middle-Class Joe’ Doesn’t Understand the Middle Class

        Despite his (alleged) nickname, “Middle-Class Joe” Biden doesn’t seem to understand the middle class. It’s become customary for Democratic presidential candidates to vow not to raise taxes on this particular group of voters. Hillary Clinton repeatedly made that pledge in 2015 and ’16—a tactic Barack Obama also used in 2008. It’s a commitment that sounds nice on the campaign trail, but it hamstrings policy-making. And now Biden, as the 2020 Democratic nominee, has made that bad promise even worse.

      • Trump Unmasked

        “I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight,” Donald Trump said Thursday night. A day later he was airlifted to Walter Reed Hospital, down with (reportedly) mild symptoms of COVID-19—so “mild” that he’s now going to stay “several” days instead of “a few” as initially reported.

      • Trump’s Covid: Empathy for the World’s Least Empathetic Person?

        Joe Biden is praying for him. Kamala Harris sends him heartfelt wishes. President Obama reminds us we’re all in this together and we want to make sure everyone is healthy.

      • Abolition Is Not Merely a Demand, But a Long-Term Struggle

        Recently, I received this text from a longtime comrade: “You’re not gonna believe this but the governor is on TV saying they are going to shut down all the juvenile prisons in Illinois.”

      • Trump Needs Accomplices at Every Level of Government to Pull Off a Coup

        For months, Donald Trump has been mounting a preemptive strike against the democratic election process. He signals his intent to manipulate — indeed, steal — the presidential election in the event that Joe Biden wins. With no evidence to support him, Trump repeats the mantra “voter fraud” to lay the groundwork for political, legal and extra-legal challenges to a Biden victory. In an unprecedented move, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power as he orders right-wing militias armed with assault weapons to “stand back and stand by.”

      • Regression as a National Theme

        Going Backwards

      • Amy Coney Barrett Would Ensure an Anti-Worker Supreme Court
      • Heels Not Heils: Hijacking the Proud Boys and MAGA Narrative Amidst Ruinous Reality
      • Fascism, American-Style

        The United States is facing its most dangerous domestic crossroads since the Civil War. Donald Trump has told the nation that he would not necessarily abide by the results of the November election, that violence could not be ruled out in the wake of the election, and that a Joe Biden victory would be fraudulent.  At last week’s tumultuous debate, Trump threatened to challenge a possible defeat in next month’s election in the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives, or even in the street.  Attorney General William Barr ominously stated that he would follow the results of the election if the results were “clear.”

      • Trump and Covid

        It had to happen.

      • The Last Empire (Hopefully)

        Is Trump really positive for covid? Did Melania say “fuck Christmas”? Did Brad Parscale win the Florida Man crown this year? Will the Proud Boys stand by?  Is my ballot in the creek? These are the Days of Our Lives (cue the Werther’s original, loose perfumed powder atmosphere of a 70’s era grandparent living room). Our government has the plot and timing of a very poorly written soap opera.

      • Why is Trump Not Facing Impeachment Over COVID-19?

        President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania have both tested positive for the coronavirus in what is perhaps the most shocking “October surprise” in the history of presidential races. If he recovers with only mild symptoms, he will undoubtedly make the case that he was right all along in downplaying the virus. If he suffers, he will gain sympathy from the public at large. Even in contracting the virus himself, he is likely to use it for his political gain. But none of this should obscure the fact that Trump’s negligence on the coronavirus ought to be the greatest stain on his presidency—and that’s saying a lot considering the lengthy list of his cruel deeds, lies, and many potential conflicts of interest and crimes.

      • Irving Howe: A Socialist Life

        Walking on Manhattan’s Upper West Side one chilly day in the 1980s—it was not long after a suggestion came from within the Reagan administration that ketchup replace vegetables in school lunches to save money—Irving Howe made a remark to me that captured a great deal about his own political journey: “I know how to debate with these guys about politics and economics, but how do you argue with social meanness?”

        Howe, whose centennial we commemorate this year and who was Dissent’s founding spirit, could have easily launched into a dissection of capitalism. His political awakening began in the 1930s and 1940s as a teenaged Marxist. A half century later his aversions hadn’t much changed, but his ways of understanding had. Instead of an “analysis,” he expressed simple moral outrage. If his intellectual evolution has meaning for today’s left, and certainly it does, it is to be found in his struggle to transcend sectarian mindsets while remaining principled.

        Two factors were particularly important in his case. One was an ability to speak frankly about things that had gone wrong on the left. The other was how literature shaped his sensibilities. When this “liberal socialist” used the word “critical,” it was not just against foes but to trouble his own deepest beliefs. Egalitarian humanism was at their core. However, the experiences of the twentieth century, particularly the damage inflicted on the very idea of socialism by Communist parties, taught him the need for modifiers. The word liberal implied not just individual freedoms but the importance of “self” and securing spaces for an individual’s life. Engaging literature fostered the self.

      • Living Constitutions

        While constitutions are often conceived as elite projects, the Indian example illustrates that founding texts can have unexpected meanings for popular politics.

        [...]

        Last December, mass demonstrations erupted across India in response to new legislation that granted a fast track to citizenship for a number of religious groups but excluded Muslims. A violent crackdown followed. Protesters turned to the country’s seventy-year-old Constitution for a moral language to critique both the anti-Muslim legislation and the state’s repression of dissent. Life-size cutouts of its chief drafter, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, and other members of the Constituent Assembly accompanied marchers on the streets. Mass readings of the Constitution’s preamble were staged in different languages. Live artwork, poetry, and songs disseminated this appeal to the Constitution beyond the gatherings on Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.

        The TikToking of India’s Constitution is a remarkable thing. Constitutions are rarely understood as mandates for protest. Often closing a revolutionary period, they organize, distribute, and stabilize the exercise of political power. They give institutional form to the routine practices of politics. And as mechanisms designed to settle political arrangements, they are removed from—if not antagonistic to—popular mobilization.

        This gap between constitutionalism and popular politics should be even greater in India. Though the 1950 Constitution marked the culmination of national independence, the Constituent Assembly did not emerge from a revolution; its authority was based in frameworks created during British rule. Members were elected under the limited franchise of the colonial era. Although the Constitution made universal adult suffrage the cornerstone of postcolonial citizenship, the document itself was an elite project. Ambedkar recognized this problem when he told the Assembly, “Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realize that our people have yet to learn it.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • How a Police State Starts

        On Saturday a small, socially distanced vigil of 18 people for Julian Assange at Piccadilly Circus was broken up by twice that number of police and one elderly man arrested and taken into custody. The little group of activists have been holding the vigil every week. I had just arrived to thank them and was astonished to see eight police vans and this utterly unnecessary police action. There could not be a clearer example of “Covid legislation” being used to crack down on unrelated, entirely peaceful political dissent.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Today Marks the Start of a Truly Terrifying Supreme Court Term

        With the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, our nation, so badly shaken during these past months, has been rattled to its very core. Her passing has already jolted the 2020 elections—and it will have far-lasting effects on the makeup and, potentially, the very structure of the Supreme Court, reshaping the legal terrain for a generation of American life.

      • Ginsburg Institute for Justice Needed for Our Depleted Democracy

        Jean Monnet – a founder of the European Union once said: “Nothing is possible without men, but nothing is lasting without institutions.”

      • What’s at stake in the US election for refugees and asylum?

        In less than four years in office, the administration of President Donald Trump has largely dismantled the US asylum system and refugee resettlement programme. If elected on 3 November, Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger, has said he will take a starkly different approach, vowing to “reassert America’s commitment to asylum seekers and refugees”.

        A significant departure from the Trump era, Biden’s proposals represent a return to the traditional US political consensus that the country should offer humanitarian protections to people fleeing persecution, according to policy experts. If Biden wins the election and takes office in January, however, rebuilding the asylum system and refugee resettlement programme will require significant attention and will likely be more politically complicated than advocates might hope.

        “It is going to take a lot of work to even get things to where they were on January 19, 2017 (the day before Trump took office),” Sunil Varghese, policy director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), a legal support and advocacy organisation, told The New Humanitarian. “That itself is going to take a lot of time and effort, and it’s not going to be as easy as just rescinding a few things and it will happen.”

      • Mr In-Between

        Working on Dissent has been both a great pleasure and a ceaseless responsibility. It is time to let others have all the fun and carry most of the burden.

        A little more than thirty years ago, I received one of Irving Howe’s famous little postcards. “Shouldn’t you be writing for us?” was all he said—and all he needed to say. I had been reading the magazine since the late 1960s, arguing with as many of the pieces as I agreed with. But I still tore through every issue as soon as it arrived in the mail. To my mind, no publication on the American left was so intelligent, so well-written, and so endlessly provocative. I still think that’s true today.

        But after this issue, my name will appear next to Irving’s on the masthead where the editors emeriti are listed. A dozen years after Michael Walzer asked me to join him as co-editor, I am leaving that task to the wise and talented Timothy Shenk and Natasha Lewis in partnership with the similarly adept Nick Serpe, Mark Levinson, Flynn Murray, and Lyra Walsh Fuchs. Working on Dissent has been both a great pleasure and a ceaseless responsibility. It is time to let others have all the fun and carry most of the burden.

      • Inside Story: How we broke the Ebola sexual abuse scandal

        Early last year during a trip to the Ebola outbreak zones in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we were tipped off that aid workers might be sexually abusing and exploiting women.

        “Oh, they love our ladies,” reporter Robert Flummerfelt was told in March 2019 at a bar in Butembo, one of two hubs for workers trying to contain the virus in Congo’s northeast. “They arrive in military convoys to take the sick for treatment, and they are always taking the women.”

        Even though the practice seemed well known, we were warned few women would talk. “The victims of this are carrying a secret that they will bring to their graves,” one man said.
        We set out to find the women.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • “Same Claim” and Post-Judgment Infringement

          When I first wrote about this case, I explained my view that the Federal Circuit issued “a really poor decision” in the way that it recklessly expanded-out the scope of claim preclusion without consideration of the impact. The case was decided just after Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. v. Marcel Fashions Group, Inc., 140 S. Ct. 1589 (2020). In that case, the court clamped-down on expansion of issue or claim preclusion beyond their traditional bounds.

          [...]

          Petition. Note here that the Federal Circuit decision does not cite to the Kessler Decision, but instead appears to shift its approach to capturing the post-judgment actions as captured by claim preclusion. That shift makes sense when considering the Lucky Brand warning against non-uniform preclusion principles.

        • PTAB Denies Broad Motion No. 3 to De-designate Claims as Not Corresponding to Count No. 1

          n the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decision on motions issued September 10th in Interference No. 106,115 (see “PTAB Decides Parties’ Motions in CRISPR Interference”) between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) and Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”), the Board denied Broad’s Motion No. 3 to De-designate Claims as Not Corresponding to Count No. 1.

          [...]

          On the merits, the Decision states that the standard it has applied is whether each involved claim in Broad’s patents-in-interference would have been anticipated or rendered obvious by the subject matter of Count 1. The Board notes that “[m]any of Broad’s supporting reasons are similar to those put forth in Motion 2,” setting forth examples. The Board being specific in its language interprets some of Broad’s arguments to be limited to its claims wherein reciting “fused” or “chimeric” RNA species should be construed to recite single RNA molecule CRISPR species. The Board expressly rejects Broad’s assertion that “all but 43 of Broad’s 387 involved claims” should be designated as not corresponding to Count 1 on this rationale, which the Decision states is based on Broad’s argument (rejected by the Board in its denial of Broad Motion No. 2) involving the claim term “guide RNA.”

        • Keeping up with French patent litigation: Half-year case law review 2020

          Finding it difficult to keep up with an ever-changing world in the midst of a health, environmental, social and political crisis, while keeping up with patent law? Do not worry, the IPKat is doing a series of half-yearly “catch-ups” of the main European patent law jurisdictions before we all start a new “school year”. In this post, the French Kat’s friends Raphaëlle Dequiré-Portier, Julie Pailhès, Luca Chevallier and Camille d’Angerville at Gide Loyrette Nouel in Paris report on the first half of this year’s patent cases in France. Over to Raphaëlle, Julie, Luca and Camille…

          [...]

          The well-known Dutch group (yes, we’re referring to Philips here) is the owner of a standard essential patent (SEP) portfolio related to UMTS (3G) and LTE (4G) standards, declared as such with the ETSI. Following the failure of licensing agreement negotiations between the two parties, Philips sued TCL for patent infringement before the High Court of Justice of England and Wales in 2018. To cut the ground from under Philips’ feet, TCL initiated proceedings in France in early 2020 before the Paris Court of First Instance (Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris) suing not only Philips but also the France based ETSI.

          Long story short, TCL claimed that Philips refused to negotiate licenses on FRAND conditions and therefore did not comply with the commitments made in the context of its membership to the ETSI. It requested the Court to impose such licences on Philips and to enjoin the ETSI to contribute to this outcome.

      • Copyrights

        • Google vs Oracle tech dominance battle heads to US Supreme Court
        • This week at the Supreme Court

          Oral Argument set for October 7, 2020 in Google v. Oracle.

          (1) Whether copyright protection extends to software code and the organizational structure of a programming language; and
          (2) Whether, as the jury found, the petitioner’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.
          What is the role of the Jury in deciding fair use? (Raised by the Court)
          What is the role of patents in the protection of a software code? (Raised by Crouch)

        • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Website Linked to Pirate Site Offering Mulan

          The official website of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort surprised visitors this weekend with an unexpected ‘bonus’. In addition to promoting the luxurious location, it also contained a link to a well-known pirate movie site, illegally streaming Disney’s Mulan among hundreds of other movies.

        • ACE TV, Firestick Plusman Repo, and Other Domains Seized By ACE / MPA

          The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment has taken over domains previously connected to Firestick Plusman. In addition to ‘seizing’ the popular FSPMKodi.com repository, the group has also commandeered domains belonging to ACE TV. But the latest grabs don’t stop there.

        • EU Allows Accused ‘Pirate’ Sites to Rebut Copyright Holder Claims

          The European Commission is working on its 2020 piracy watch list, which will provide an overview of notorious markets located outside of the EU. The annual report is largely based on input from copyright holders but the Commission is actively approaching accused pirate sites to rebut these claims before publication.

Links 5/10/2020: FSF at 35 and Linux 5.9 Reaches RC8 (Last RC)

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux lovers are dreaming when they say Windows will lose desktop war

        As longtime tech reporter Robert Cringely, who knows the company through and through, told me in 2004: “Microsoft is about money, not innovation. They aren’t opposed to innovation and like to be seen as innovators, but what really matters to them as a company is the money. Think of it that way and a lot of what they do starts to make sense.

        “When I give speeches (and why haven’t I been asked to speak lately in Oz?) I like to pull out a US$S20 note and point out that there is something about that note that bothers [Microsoft co-founder] Bill Gates – that it is in my pocket. Microsoft really does want all the money and I’m not sure they won’t get it.”

        Following in Raymond’s footsteps, ZDNet’s Steven Vaughan-Nichols, who has been writing about Linux and open source for a long time, claimed that Raymond was “on to something”.

        It is an indication that there is little cold, hard reasoning employed when people who have been in the business of open-source advocacy start making predictions.

        Would the development of Windows, the way Raymond has outlined — migrating the Windows interface to run on the Linux kernel — remove the major headache that Windows causes Microsoft: malware? The short answer is no.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 374

        An introduction to the **mariadb** database and the **mysql** command.

      • LBRY & Odysee Are Finally Becoming True YouTube Alternatives

        LBRY has changed massively since I last did a video on the service so I thought it was time to do a bit more shilling especially since Odysee was released recently which is the all new interface for LBRY which provides a bit nicer and more user friendly experience, do we finally have a really competitor to YouTube, I think we’re getting really close.

      • Talk Python to Me: #284 Modern and fast APIs with FastAPI

        As Python 3 has eclipsed the old constrains of Python 2 and web frameworks that adopted them, we have seen a big jump in new frameworks appearing on the scene taking full advantage of things like type hints, async and await, and more.

        No framework has done this more successfully than FastAPI recently. That’s why we are here with the creator of FastAPI, Sebastián Ramírez to dive into this exciting new Python web framework.

      • Linux Action News 157

        Quite a bit from Google this week, with new products and notable changes coming for developers and users.

      • “Hey, DT. Does Emacs Violate Unix Philosophy?” (And Other Questions)

        In this lengthy rant video, I address a few questions and comments that I’ve been receiving from viewers. I discuss what phone I use, whether Emacs violates the Unix Philosophy, why I type “clear” in my terminal, what I use to shave my “bald” head, why I am not “bald”, and how I deal with professional burnout.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Failed OUYA Game Console Seeing Work For Mainline Linux Kernel Support

        It’s been eight years already since the launch of the OUYA game console built atop Android and initially driven up by hype as a new low-cost gaming platform only to turn out to be a commercial failure. Razer bought out OUYA’s software assets in 2015 and last year finally shutdown all of the console services. But if you still have the OUYA hardware it soon may start running off the mainline Linux kernel.

      • Intel Meteor Lake Architecture Added to Linux Kernel

        Intel’s Meteor Lake architecture will be the successor to Tiger Lake (11th Gen) and Alder Lake (12th Gen) CPUs set to come next year, roadmaps say it will be Intel’s first architecture on a 7nm process using future Ocean Cove CPU cores with Gracemount CPU cores. If you’re confused about that, Intel’s developing a hybrid strategy starting with its 12th Gen CPUs that involves using two different sets of CPU cores for better efficiency, smaller more efficient cores for low-powered workloads, and standard high-performance cores for more power-hungry applications.

        So far we have no indicators of what Meteor Lake performance will be like, but given Intel’s 10nm SuperFIN will be succeeded by its new 7nm process, I think it would be appropriate to believe Meteor Lake will be noticeably quicker vs Intel’s future 11th and 12th Gen CPUs.

      • Linux 5.9-rc8
        So things have been pretty calm, and rc8 is fairly small. I'm still
        waiting for a networking pull with some fixes, so it's not like I
        could have made a final 5.9 release even if I had wanted to, but there
        was nothing scary going on this past week, and it all feels ready for
        a final 5.9 next weekend.
        
        In fact, a lot of the emails I'm seeing are about the next merge
        window, and I already have one pull request ready to go, which is all
        good. That's how it's all supposed to work.
        
        Anyway, the changes in rc8 are mostly driver fixlets, with some AMD
        GPU header file updates being a fairly noticeable part of the patch.
        That's not some scary big change - it' just the usual register
        definition update (and much smaller than the wholesale big ones we've
        had).
        
        Outside of the driver stuff, we do have a few filesystem fixes (btrfs
        and nfs), and a couple of core fixes (tiny fallout from the VM
        changes, but also a pipe splice race fixlet for stable and a couple of
        epoll fixes). And slime other small noise (small arch and DT fixes).
        Quite a small diffstat overall - which it obviously should be this
        late in the release.
        
        One final push for testing this week,
        
                        Linus
        
        
      • Linux 5.9-rc8 Released To Provide An Extra Week Of Testing

        While normally the Linux kernel sees its stable releases after about seven weeks worth of release candidates, today Linux 5.9-rc8 was issued in allowing an extra week of testing.

        Following that page lock unfairness performance regression and other issues this cycle as well as more changes than usual late in the cycle, as expected Linus Torvalds today issued Linux 5.9-rc8 rather than going straight to Linux 5.9 stable. In turn this means the Linux 5.9 official release will happen next weekend on 11 October.

    • Benchmarks

      • Easier CPU/GPU Comparisons On OpenBenchmarking.org, Other New Features

        With the new OpenBenchmarking.org that’s been out in public form since last month and being developed as part of the soon-to-be-released Phoronix Test Suite 10.0, here is the latest feature now enabled in making it much easier for quickly carrying out high-level processor (CPU) and graphics card (GPU) component comparisons along with other improvements.

    • Applications

      • Folder Comparison and Synchronization App FreeFileSync 11.2 Released

        FreeFileSync 11.2, folder comparison and synchronization software to create and manage backup copies of all your important files, was released a few days ago.

      • KeenWrite: An Open Source Text Editor for Data Scientists and Mathematicians

        There are several open-source Markdown editors available for Linux but KeenWrite is a bit interesting with the string interpolation and R markdown support.

        Not just limited to that, it also supports real-time preview and a bunch of other features particularly helpful for academics in mathematics, statistics and other related fields.

      • HP Linux Imaging and Printing Drivers Now Support Linux Mint 20 and openSUSE Leap 15.2

        HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.20.9 release is here three and a half months after HLPIP 3.20.6 to add support for several recently released GNU/Linux distributions, including Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana”, Debian GNU/Linux 10.4 “Buster”, as well as openSUSE Leap 15.2.

        The new HP Linux Imaging and Printing release also addresses a vulnerability that may have affected the scanning functionality, and reverts recent plugin changes made in the models.dat file to improve compatibility for older HP printer and scanner models.

      • 7 Best Free and Open Source Linux Disk Encryption Tools

        The importance of security should never be underestimated. The consequences of losing data can be disastrous for any organization. For example, the loss of a single unencrypted laptop may have huge repercussions. This could include breaching data protection legislation with the risk of a significant fine, a loss in the confidence of an organization, as well as the risk that sensitive data may fall into the hands of a competitor or third party with malicious intent.

        Of course, whenever information is accessible, there is the risk of its loss. A misdirected fax or a misdelivered letter can lead to sensitive information being disclosed in error. But the severity and ramifications of that risk is exacerbated when the data is stored on a computer. Modern computer hard disks have the capacity to store a gargantuan amount of data. A single hard disk may hold personal details of hundreds of thousands or even millions of individuals. In the event that the data is not encrypted, the loss of the hard disk may represent an organization’s worst nightmare. The actual cost of replacing the hard disk of the machine pales into insignificance compared to the loss of the confidential information and customer security.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Is okular-devel mailing list the correct way to reach the Okular developers? If not what do we use?

          After my recent failure of gaining traction to get people to join a potential Okular Virtual Sprint i wondered, is the okular-devel mailing list representative of the current okular contributors?

          Looking at the sheer number of subscribers one would think that probably. There’s currently 128 people subscribed to the okular-devel mailing list, and we definitely don’t have that many contributors, so it would seem the mailing list is a good place to reach all the contributors, but let’s look at the actual numbers.

          Okular git repo has had 46 people contributing code[*] in the last year.

    • Distributions

      • A distributed packaging workflow

        Think about IPFS as a giant conveyor belt: the upstream developer puts two files there to begin with, the tarball and a GPG signature.

        Another volunteer does a license analysis on the tarball and publishes their findings. Maybe they use the DEP-5 file format from Debian. Their findings are published as a separate object in IPFS with a distinct CID.

        The critical insight here is that in Ford Motor Company’s assembly line, each worker would focus on a single area, for example, the wheels. In this IPFS-based assembly line approach, a contributor doesn’t focus on a single package, they are empowered to do a single task for any package.

        Another example that is relevant across platforms is the development of patches for a package. In some cases a single patch is useful across many distributions. These patch files can also be published as objects in IPFS to facilitate sharing.

      • Mabox Linux 20.10 Released: A Manjaro Spin With Lightweight Openbox WM

        Mabox Linux creator Daniel Napora has announced a new version Mabox Linux 20.10 “Eithné,” which comes with a long-term Linux kernel 5.4, language translation, and many other improvements.

        For those who don’t know, Mabox is a Manjaro Linux-based operating system inspired by CrunchBang Linux. It features the light and fast Openbox window manager.

      • Linux Weekly Roundup #98

        Hello and welcome to the 98th edition of our Linux Roundup! We truly hope that you are doing very well?

        We had a very exciting week in the world of Linux Releases with Fedora 33 Beta, Ubuntu 20.10 Beta, and Sparky Linux 4.13. Enjoy!

      • Reviews

        • Review: deepin 20

          deepin is a distribution which does a lot of things differently from other, more mainstream projects, but in my opinion it is doing a lot of things well. deepin runs on the popular Debian base, which is a common choice, but the interface, tools, and options layered on top of the Debian core are unusual.

          The custom deepin installer, for example, is very streamlined and easy to use, especially if we want to take over the entire disk for the operating system. The Deepin desktop is, in a word, beautiful. A lot of care appears to have gone into making Deepin look attractive and consistent. I like that custom deepin applications can alternate seamlessly between using the system theme, a light theme, or a dark theme, independent of other applications. Despite putting effort into looking nice and offering some eye candy, Deepin runs faster and smoother now than it has in the past.

          The distribution ships with some common, popular tools, though it augments these with its own programs. Most of the deepin applications, such as Draw, the audio player, and video player appear to be designed with simplicity in mind. The interfaces are streamlined, generally with large icons that are easy to find. Most of the time this approach of doing a few things well as opposed to offering many options in one program appeals to me.

          There were some issues with package management during my trail. These all appear to be rooted in the missing “Release” file on one of the repository servers. It will probably be corrected soon. Apart from this issue, which mostly just blocked updates, I really liked App Store. Its interface and performance were otherwise solid.

          deepin strikes me as being a good, general purpose desktop operating system. It is easy to install, looks nice, has a friendly settings panel, and the App Store is easy to navigate. I also appreciate that the Deepin desktop allows us to switch between a more attractive visual layout and a more efficient layout for better performance. The ease of switching between themes and managing notifications also feels pleasantly flexible.

          All in all, despite a few minor issues, deepin provided a pleasant experience for me. The custom applications and Deepin desktop mean some things work a bit differently than on other popular distributions/desktop combinations. However, I found I liked deepin’s approach to most things. The desktop was attractive, faster than it was in the past, and worked well with my hardware.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • I’m a POWER user

          The IBM POWER processor architecture is now over 30 years old. Although it arrived in February 1990 with a closed source operating system and closed source applications on top, it gradually embraced open source. I became a POWER user soon after it launched and an open source user and contributor just two years later.

          This article provides a subjective history of POWER and open source from the viewpoint of an open source developer, outlines a few trends and conclusions, and previews what the future will bring. It is based on my talk at the annual OpenPOWER North America Summit, in which I aimed to show the importance of desktop/workstation-class hardware available to developers. In this article, I will cover a few additional topics, including cloud resources available to POWER developers, as well as a glimpse into the products and technologies under development.

          [...]

          I became aware of open source in 1994 when I started university back in Hungary. I first became a FreeBSD user and, within a few months, I was running the faculty’s first Linux server and the university’s first web server. In 1996, I became a SUSE Linux tester and contributor. Around this time, I helped one of my university friends boot Linux on the PowerPC (PPC) accelerator card in his Amiga. We cross-compiled the PPC kernel on my x86 Linux server.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.10 New Features Review and How to Upgrade

          The wait is finally over (almost) for all you Ubuntu fans out there. The latest version of Ubuntu, 20.10 codenamed “Groovy Gorilla,” is currently available in the beta version. I have tested out the distro myself, and it is stable enough to take out for a spin.

          However, as the case with any beta releases, I won’t recommend it to regular users who plan to use it on their main PC for serious work. For that, you need to be patient and hold your breath for a little longer. The final release is scheduled for 22nd Oct 2020.

        • Lubuntu 20.10 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Lubuntu 20.10 Beta.

        • Lubuntu 20.10 Beta

          Today we are looking at Lubuntu 20.10 Beta. It comes fully packed with LXQt 0.15, Linux Kernel 5.8, and uses about 400-500MB of ram when idling. It is fast, stable, and should be another great Lubuntu release! Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Budgie 20.10 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu Budgie 20.10 Beta.

        • Ubuntu Budgie 20.10 Beta

          Today we are looking at Ubuntu Budgie 20.10 Beta. It comes fully packed with Gnome 3.38, Linux Kernel 5.8, and uses about 1.3GB ram when idling. It is fast, stable, and should be another great release! Enjoy!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • One Week After

            Still a lot of communications to establish again in this new role and understand who does what in the organization. It’s interesting to see that in every organizations and companies I have worked, the hierarchy organization chart is not necessary helpful to understand how the products chart is organized. The communication workflow is happening in between people at many different levels. These connections are fluid and like a garden, they need a perpetual cleaning and nurturing. Slowly rebuilding some of the communications channels for webcompat.

          • Mozilla Privacy Blog: Open Letter to South Korea’s ICT Minister, Mr. Ki-Young Choe: Ensure the TBA amendments don’t harm the open internet in South Korea

            This week, as a global champion for net neutrality, Mozilla wrote to South Korea’s ICT Minister, Mr. Ki-Young Choe, to urge him to reconsider the Telecommunications Business Act (TBA) amendments. We believe they violate the principles of net neutrality and would make the South Korean internet a less open space.

            In our view, forcing websites (content providers) to pay network usage fees will damage the Korean economy, harm local content providers, increase consumer costs, reduce quality of service, and make it harder for global services to reach South Koreans. While we recognise the need for stable network infrastructure, these amendments are the wrong way to achieve that goal and will lead to South Korea to be a less competitive economy on the global stage.

          • Cameron Kaiser: TenFourFox FPR28b1 available (and a sordid tale of more Google screwery)

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 28 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). The two most noticeable changes in this release are the triumphant return of the user-exposed “Enable JavaScript” toggle (now moved to the Tools menu), as submitted by Raphaël, and further improvements to Reader View that make it current with Firefox 82. Because the new toggle menu item requires a new locale string that can’t be built from existing ones, a langpack update will also be shipped parallel with this version.

          • Cameron Kaiser: TenFourFox FPR28b1 available (and a sordid tale of more Google screwery)

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 28 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). The two most noticeable changes in this release are the triumphant return of the user-exposed “Enable JavaScript” toggle (now moved to the Tools menu), as submitted by Raphaël, and further improvements to Reader View that make it current with Firefox 82. Because the new toggle menu item requires a new locale string that can’t be built from existing ones, a langpack update will also be shipped parallel with this version.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • PostgreSQL 13 advances popular open source database

          The open source PostgreSQL database project is continuing to improve performance in its latest release as well provide users with enhanced monitoring capabilities.

          The PostgreSQL 13 release became generally available on Sept. 24 and is the first major update of the popular open source database since the PostgreSQL 12 release that debuted in Oct. 2019. With PostgreSQL 13, a series of administrative optimizations help database administrators to improve operations.

          The new release also includes features that provide performance gains over previous releases.

          PostgreSQL itself is growing in popularity and many third-party database management vendors, including public cloud providers, offer PostgreSQL-compatible interfaces.

          Hybrid and public cloud adoption by larger enterprises should drive even more for PostgreSQL adoption, said Carl Olofson, research vice president at IDC.

          “PostgreSQL 13 improvements seem to be mainly about efficiency, which can be huge because resource waste is a key source of poor database performance,” he said. “The wide range of improvements points to the benefit of developing technology in an open source manner.”

      • FSF

        • FSF at 35 — join us in celebrating the incredible community

          Today, on October 4th, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) celebrates its thirty-fifth year of fighting for software freedom. Our work will not be finished until every computer user is able to do all of their digital tasks in complete freedom — whether that’s on a desktop, laptop, or the computer in your pocket. The fight for free software continues, and we wouldn’t be here without you.

          To celebrate, we have a full week of announcements and surprises planned starting today, and we will end in an online anniversary event featuring both live and prerecorded segments this Friday, October 9th, from 12:00 EDT (16:00 UTC) until 17:00 EDT (21:00 UTC). We’d love for you to join in celebration of this amazing community by submitting a short (two-minute) video sharing your favorite memory about free software or the FSF, and a wish for the future of software freedom. We’ll be collecting the videos all week and airing a selection during the birthday event on October 9th. Please follow the instructions linked below on how to successfully (and freely!) submit the video via FTP.

        • The FSF’s 35th anniversary event

          Our work will not be finished until every computer user is able to do all of their digital tasks in complete freedom — whether that’s on a desktop, laptop, or the computer in your pocket. The fight for free software continues, and we wouldn’t be here without you.

          To celebrate, we have a full week of announcements and surprises planned.

          [...]

          The event will be livestreamed through the fsf.org Web site, and the link will be posted here as soon as the livepage is available.

          Join the conversation, and ask questions to the speakers through IRC on Freenode at #fsf.

        • The Free Software program Basis Desires You To Have a good time Its 35th Anniversary

          “At this time, on October 4th, the Free Software program Basis (FSF) celebrates its thirty-fifth 12 months of combating for software program freedom,” proclaims a weblog submit at FSF.org:
          Our work is not going to be completed till each laptop person is ready to do all of their digital duties in full freedom — whether or not that is on a desktop, laptop computer, or the pc in your pocket. The combat without spending a dime software program continues, and we would not be right here with out you.

          To rejoice, now we have a full week of bulletins and surprises deliberate beginning at the moment, and we’ll finish in a web based anniversary occasion that includes each dwell and prerecorded segments this Friday, October ninth, from 12:00 EDT (16:00 UTC) till 17:00 EDT (21:00 UTC). We might love so that you can take part celebration of this superb group by submitting a brief (two-minute) video sharing your favourite reminiscence about free software program or the FSF, and a want for the way forward for software program freedom. We’ll be gathering the movies all week and airing a variety through the birthday occasion on October ninth…

          If you’ll be able to, please make a donation of $35 or extra to assist preserve the combat for person freedom going one other 35 years, we’ll ship you a commemorative pin… We’re one other 12 months older, however that does not imply we’re slowing down our efforts to convey software program freedom to customers across the globe. Keep tuned for extra info on how we plan to ring within the FSF’s subsequent 12 months, and the very important position every one in every of us performs in making certain free software program’s success for the long run. We hope that you can participate in our festivities this week!

          The announcement suggests 10 other ways to rejoice, which embrace:

          Strive a completely free distribution of GNU/Linux, which will be run “dwell” with out making any everlasting modifications to your laptop’s arduous drive. Take an hour to comply with our Electronic mail Self-Protection Information, and learn to decide out of bulk surveillance . Obtain and experiment with one of many oldest elements of the GNU working system, the GNU Emacs textual content editor. Strive the tutorial by launching the editor and typing Ctrl-h + t (C-h t), or see if you can also make it via a number of the video games included with Emacs, reminiscent of Alt-x (M-x) dunnet or M-x tetris. Make the dedication to switch one nonfree program that you simply use with one which respects your freedom, reminiscent of utilizing LibreOffice as a substitute of Microsoft Workplace. Petition the directors of your favourite Website to free the proprietary JavaScript lurking on their web page that many customers run and obtain with out ever realizing it.

        • Free Software Foundation Celebrates Its 35th Birthday

          The Free Software Foundation on Sunday marked thirty five years since its founding by Richard Stallman.

          It was on 4 October 1985 that Stallman founded the FSF as a non-profit to further the free software movement.

        • GNU Projects

          • GIMP Starts Offering Nightly GIMP 3.0 Pre-Release Builds, But Only For Windows

            The GNU Image Manipulation community is rapidly moving forward to a big 3.0 release, using GTK+3, with a lot of development going on behind the scenes. It may not appear that way since the 2.10.x branch releases have been slow incremental releases with a few big and small features added for years now. Big things have been happening and the GIMP community is highlighting that by offering nightly snapshot builds of the upcoming GIMP 3.0 release. There’s currently only nightly packages Windows users. Nightly Flatpak releases for GNU/Linux users are planned.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Dual licensing GPL for fame and profit

            Thus I think I come in squarely on the side of open-source companies dual-licensing GPL on their product[s]. A model that already exists and often enough has great success (see MariaDB and Aerospike).

            It’s a nice compromise for moving towards a more open world, without having to live in Stallman’s utopia. It’s an amazingly pragmatic solution and anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a fan of those.

      • Programming/Development

        • The 50 Best Programming Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2020

          Programming languages are the building blocks of all software applications. They form the basic set of instructions that allow computers to quickly and efficiently process large and complex information groups. These languages enable humans to communicate with computers. Learning programming may not be easy for everyone, but with proper help, it can be straightforward.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • PyDev of the Week: Frank Valcarcel

            This week we welcome Frank Valcarcel (@fmdfrank) as our PyDev of the Week! He is the cofounder of Cuttlesoft.

            [...]

            I’m a Florida native but I live in Denver, CO now after relocating my company’s HQ here about 4 years ago. We came from Tallahassee, FL where I went to school at Florida State University and started our company out of community accelerator called Domi Station.

            I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I don’t get to enjoy hobbies too often, but when I have time I enjoy reading, biking, fishing, hiking, and photography.

            I also have a penchant for travel but the pandemic has made returning to that an uncertainty.

            [...]

            I like Flask a lot and even wrote some packages for it, but I’ve gravitated back to Django now that the business engages with more enterprise-level projects.

            I love Jupyter! It’s my go-to prototyping tool these days.

            spaCy and Prodigy are two impressive tools for NLP and AI development from the team at Explosion.

          • Code more, debug less with virtual environments in Python

            If you’ve ever shared a neat computer trick, a complex application, or something in between with a friend, then you’ve probably uttered the phrase, “Well, it works on my computer.” No matter how advanced computers become, there seem to be recurrent problems related to the differences in what any two machines have configured or installed. There are ongoing attempts to solve this, and for Python developers, one of the best ways to prevent it is to use virtual environments.

          • Django Stripe Subscriptions

            In both cases, you can either use Stripe Checkout (which is a Stripe-hosted checkout page) or Stripe Elements (which are a set of custom UI components used to build payment forms). Use Stripe Checkout if you don’t mind redirecting your users to a Stripe-hosted page and want Stripe to handle most of the payment process for you (e.g., customer and payment intent creation, etc.), otherwise use Stripe Elements.

            The fixed-price approach is much easier to set up, but you don’t have full control over the billing cycles and payments. By using this approach Stripe will automatically start charging your customers every billing cycle after a successful checkout.

          • Laurent Luce: Python deque implementation

            Python deque is a double-ended queue. You can append to both ends and pop from both ends. The complexity of those operations amortizes to constant time.

            We are going to look at the Python 3 internal implementation of deques. It uses a linked list of blocks of 64 pointers to objects. This reduces memory overhead since there are fewer previous and next links.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Never forget: All of this was his own damn fault

        The entirely self-inflicted nature of this tragedy is one of its central elements, as is the way Trump’s incredible irresponsibility and arrogance was mimicked by his supporters, significantly exacerbating the pandemic. It’s a hugely important element of what’s going on here.

      • How to Protect Yourself from the Aerosol Spread of Covid-19

        The group was organized by chemist Jose-Luis Jimenez, who has been studying aerosols for 20 years. You may remember Jimenez from his excellent piece in Time magazine, where he used the analogy of smoke to explain aerosol transmission. Here’s a snippet from the FAQ, highlighting something I’ve been concerned about lately: people wearing face shields instead of masks and employees in stores not wearing masks behind plexiglass shields: [...]

      • Economist Richard Wolff: Capitalism is the reason COVID-19 is ravaging America

        These arguments, and many others like them, are central to Dr. Richard D. Wolff’s new book, “The Sickness is the System: When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself.” In a series of well-researched essays outlined with impeccable logic, the professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst analyzes the events of the last seven months — what one might deem the “COVID-19 era” — and explains how the horrors of 2020 are primarily caused by the social, political and economic status quo. His book tackles a number of issues, including how the economy crashed not because of a virus but because capitalism is incapable of coping with epidemics, how America’s healthcare system is corrupt, and how income inequality caused immense suffering long before the pandemic and is propped up by economic myths.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Why Is Linux More Secure? [5 Amazing Security Features That Linux Has And Windows Doesn't]

            Linux is always a top choice for the commercial sector. Not only because it is an open operating software, but it also sports up multiple other features which are definitely missing in some major operating systems. Both Windows and Linux are user-friendly in nature, but whenever we compare the latter with anything else, security always comes up as a big factor to consider.

            Linux is developed with simple codes. However, it likely accepts more information in terms of security. today, more and more devices are running on this platform because of the amazing features that this operating system comes with. it is ideal to have one with yourself.

          • Tripwire Patch Priority Index for September 2020

            Up first on the patch priority list this month is a very high priority vulnerability, which is called “Zerologon” and identified by CVE-2020-1472. It is an elevation of privilege vulnerability that exists due to a flaw in a cryptographic authentication mechanism used by the Netlogon Remote Protocol (MS-NRPC). During the August patch Tuesday patch release, Microsoft released patches for affected operating systems. Note that the recently released Metasploit module targets the Windows operating system. However, various versions of Samba, i.e. within the open source ecosystem, could be vulnerable to this attack (refer to the bugzilla link below) and open source proof-of-concepts are available via Github. Linux vendors such as Fedora, SuSe, and Ubuntu have released advisories and patches for their versions of Samba.

          • We Didn’t Encrypt Your Password, We Hashed It. Here’s What That Means:

            You’ve possibly just found out you’re in a data breach. The organisation involved may have contacted you and advised your password was exposed but fortunately, they encrypted it. But you should change it anyway. Huh? Isn’t the whole point of encryption that it protects data when exposed to unintended parties? Ah, yes, but it wasn’t encrypted it was hashed and therein lies a key difference: [...]

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Kazakhs studying in UK forced to reveal passwords

              Students say their academic activities are being closely monitored by the authoritarian state, forcing them to censor criticism of the regime in papers and research.

            • Facebook services integration comes with trade-offs

              As I hinted in the introduction, there is some historical context to this. The idea has been in the works for a few years now. The progress on this has also been chronicled well by Steven Levy in his book, Facebook: The Inside Story. It is an excellent read, but if you do not have the time, here is a short summary.

              Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, promising the founders of both companies the freedom to build out the platforms the way they wanted. The arrangement worked fine for a few years, but then Facebook began to rein them in. Here is an excerpt from Levy’s book that explains how Zuckerberg thought about this:

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The United Nations: Erdogan’s Favorite Platform for Trolling the World

        Rather than represent a genuine desire to fix the United Nations, where authoritarian regimes have secured clout over the last decade to shield themselves from international scrutiny, Erdogan offers a classic example of a strongman bent on exploiting intergovernmental organizations.

        The Turkish president’s disregard for UN conventions, resolutions and sanctions is well documented. For example, a 376-page report the UN Panel of Experts on Libya issued in December 2019 found that Turkey, among others, violated a 2011 embargo by delivering arms and fighters to the war-torn North African country. The panel stated that the transfers to Libya were “repeated and sometimes blatant, with scant regard paid to compliance with the sanctions measures.”

      • As QAnon grew, Facebook and Twitter missed years of warning signs about the conspiracy theory’s violent nature

        But it would be years before Facebook and Twitter would make major moves to curb QAnon’s presence on their platforms, despite serious cases of online harassment and offline violence that followed, and moves by other social media companies to limit the spread of QAnon’s lurid and false allegations of pedophilia and other crimes.

    • Environment

      • Sir David Attenborough Takes Questions From British Tykes In This Phenomenal Viral Video

        Attenborough broke a new kind of record earlier this week, when he joined Instagram and found himself with one million followers in just four hours and forty-four minutes. (His count currently is at five million.)

        His newest project, the more-autobiographical-than-usual David Attenborough: A Life on This Planet, debuts on Netflix this Sunday.

      • Taiwan urged to take climate action to avoid industry woes

        Five lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) joined Deputy Director Hsu Huang-hsiung (許晃雄) of Academia Sinica’s Research Center for Environmental Changes in holding a press conference on the urgent need to adopt measures against extreme weather events, wrote CNA.

        The four initiatives they proposed include pushing for the 2050 zero-emission objective, setting out a Taiwanese Green Deal modeled on the European Green Deal, drafting a Climate Change Act based on the existing Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, and increasing public participation in climate policies.

      • Energy

        • Investing in new energy infrastructure: Green light for EU grants worth nearly €1 billion

          EU member states have agreed on a Commission proposal to invest €998 million in key European energy infrastructure projects under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). Financial aid will be provided for works and studies on ten projects, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal; 84% of the funding goes to electricity or smart grid projects. The largest amount goes to the Baltic Synchronization Project (€720 million), to better integrate the electricity markets of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

          Meeting with the Lithuanian president and the prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Poland to celebrate the funding to the Baltic Synchronization Project, President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) said: “Today is a very important day for Europe. It is a landmark moment in ending the isolation of the Baltic energy market. This project is good for connecting Europe, good for our energy security, and it is good for the European Green Deal.”

          Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said: “These ten projects will contribute to a more modern, secure and smart energy infrastructure system, which is crucial for delivering the European Green Deal and meeting our ambitious 2030 climate targets. Yesterday’s decision marks a decisive step in the Baltic Synchronisation process in particular, a project of European strategic interest. These investments will help sustain the EU’s economic recovery and create jobs.”

    • Finance

      • Improved capital markets can support Portugal’s COVID-19 recovery

        Despite the strong economic performance and sustained reform momentum over the past few years, Portugal entered the COVID-19 crisis with undersized capital markets. These markets must now be mobilised to support a resilient, dynamic and sustainable recovery, according to a new OECD report.

      • Highlighting the impact of brands in an increasingly digitalization-driven world economy

        The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the European Brand Institute (EBI), held the 16th Brand Global Summit at the Vienna International Centre and online. The Summit brought together leading branding experts and government representatives, and showcased success stories of Branding for Sustainability – a theme that raises awareness of brands’ impact on business performance, upgrading and sustainable development.

        [...]

        Gerhard Hrebicek, President of the EBI, underlined the fact that “brands are the most valuable intangible assets that, unfortunately, remain the least understood”.

        UNIDO has pioneered branding as a tool for sustainable and inclusive industrial development. Since launching the service module, “Branding for competitiveness and sustainable growth (B4C)”, the approach has generated a number of success stories across the globe and industries. Examples of corporate-, destination-, city- and region- branding initiatives showd the value of (umbrella) branding initiatives for improving product quality, leading to more competitiveness, sales and contributing to sustainable development.

        Investment in brands show superior returns and short payback times, as UNIDO’s project beneficiaries showcased. UNIDO’s branding initiatives have had a large impact on Armenia’s textile sector, Cuba’s agribusiness development, Namibia’s sustainable bush harvesting, Morocco and Tunisia’s food-processing, and Tajikistan’s carpet industries, leading to an increase in tax income, exports and job creation.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • User safety or censorship? Turkey targets social media platforms

        New regulations came into effect on October 1 in Turkey stipulating that social media providers with over a million Turkish daily users must open offices or appoint a legal representative in the country. If companies do not comply with the new rules, they face major fines.

        The rules, which were pushed through Parliament by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threaten major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, among others.

      • Joe Rogan Responds to Talk of Spotify Censoring His Podcast

        Popular podcaster Joe Rogan and his relationship with the streaming platform Spotify have made headlines in recent weeks, and he addressed some of the controversies during his recent podcast with comedian Tim Dillon. Rogan and Dillon spoke during episode No. 1544 of the Joe Rogan Experience about Spotify employees potentially wanting to censor and edit his podcast.

        Spotify has the exclusive licensing rights to the Joe Rogan Experience, and according to reports from media outlets, some employees have threatened to strike if they do not receive editorial control over Rogan’s podcast, taking issue with some of the subjects Rogan speaks about as well as what he says.

        However, according to the podcaster and UFC commentator, Spotify has not spoken to him about censoring his show or about any internal company dialogue about the situation.

      • Biden-Harris campaign demands increased censorship by Facebook before 2020 election

        In the three-page letter from campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon, addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the Biden-Harris camp states that the social media platform is “the nation’s foremost propagator of disinformation about the voting process,” and demands that posts from the Trump campaign be removed.

      • Hoping for Trump to die from COVID? Twitter won’t allow it

        Twitter has categorically said that it will proactively remove tweets by those who wish for US President Donald Trump’s death on the platform and will put their accounts into a “read only” mode for violating its policies.

      • Belarus News Media Are Testing Decentralized Tech to Resist Censorship

        The nation’s government, led by President Alexander Lukashenko, whose election was mired in controversy and has not been recognized by the European Union, announced Friday it was canceling the press accreditations for all foreign journalists immediately. The move comes as Belarus continues blocking its citizens from accessing local media websites, including the Belarusian branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, in the wake of a massive, three-day internet outage and weeks of protests over the Aug. 8 election.

        Now, some media outlets are fighting back. To make their mobile apps more resilient, some Belarusian news organizations are using NewNode, a decentralized file-sharing service by the California-based startup Clostra, which basically runs on the same principle as torrents. This means users store bits of content on their devices, sharing them with others in a peer-to-peer fashion.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Gabbard gains GOP supporters for her push for U.S. to drop charges against Assange, Snowden

        Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, has gained support from Republican colleagues in calling for the U.S. government to abandon its criminal cases against Julian Assange and Edward J. Snowden.

        Along with Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, she introduced a resolution Friday urging the U.S. to drop all charges and efforts to extradite Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Pope Says Free Market, ‘Trickle-Down’ Policies Fail Society

        The pope took direct aim at trickle-down economics, the theory favored by conservatives that tax breaks and other incentives for big business and the wealthy eventually will benefit the rest of society through investment and job creation.

        “There were those who would have had us believe that freedom of the market was sufficient to keep everything secure (after the pandemic hit),” he wrote.

        Francis denounced “this dogma of neo-liberal faith” that resorts to “the magic theories of ‘spillover’ or ‘trickle’ … as the only solution to societal problems”. A good economic policy, he said, “makes it possible for jobs to be created and not cut.”

      • Campuses Are Getting Uglier And Uglier

        That sounds benign. What they’re all doing now, or at least so many of these higher “learning” institutions is indoctrinating students in being racist. It’s just a new group to hate these days, which makes it no less ugly.

        Look at this — “original sin”-seeking document sneakily damning students (between the lines) for what they have no control over: the skin color they are born with: [...]

      • Maldives: UN rights experts denounce detention of judges as ‘direct attack’ on Supreme Court

        “It is clear that the rule of law in the Maldives is now under siege,” said the experts in a news release issued Monday by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

        “We call on the Government to refrain from any threats or interference that may hamper the court’s independence as the supreme guardian of the country’s constitution and legislation,” they added.

        In the release, José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, the current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Diego García-Sayán, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and magistrates, also stressed that judicial independence, enshrined in the national constitution and in international human rights treaties, had to be guaranteed by the State.

        Mr. García-Sayán also raised concern over the timing of the arrests, five days after the Supreme Court had ordered the release and retrial of nine opposition leaders, including former President Mohamed Nasheed.

        Following the arrest of Chief Justice H.E. Abdulla Saeed and Ali Hameed Mohamed – shortly after the Government declared a state of emergency – the three remaining Supreme Court judges overturned the order to free the nine leaders.

    • Monopolies

      • Sunday Surprises [Ed: We can all see that IP Kat is still doing puff pieces and ads for corrupt EPO; Anastasiia Kyrylenko wasn’t there when IP Kat writers actively exposed EPO corruption (how their tune has changed!)]

        On November 20th, the EPO is having an online conference on the Boards of Appeal and key decisions of 2020, including a session on AI and computer implemented inventions, and another on the Enlarged Board of Appeal Opinion in G3/19 [also covered by The IPKat here]. The full programme is available here, and registration is open until November 5th.

        [...]

        The Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale (ALAI) published its Second Opinion on certain aspects of Art. 17 of the DSM Directive. This Second Opinion addresses the proposals, advanced with regards to the German implementation of Art. 17 in the so-called German Discussion Draft, issued by the German Ministry of Justice and for Consumer Protection.

        The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the state of intellectual property protection and enforcement in third countries. The information gathered will help the European Commission to prioritize its efforts in the external action, according to the so called “Priority countries” list (not to be confused with the US Special 301 Report!). Any interested stakeholders may fill out a lengthy questionnaire by November 16.

      • Patents

        • EPO and IEA team up to shed light on trends in sustainable energy technologies
        • Generics on virtual EPO oppositions: ‘force patentees to join’

          Fresenius Kabi, Gedeon Richter, Insud and three others suggest patentees are refusing to attend virtual oppositions to unfairly stall critical invalidations

        • Justice Kennedy’s eBay v. MercExchange concurrence and Judge Kuehnen’s take on German patent reform proposal: striking transatlantic parallels

          Despite having the word “patents” in its name, this blog has recently talked more about the antitrust injunction Epic Games is seeking against Apple in the Northern District of California, but today I wish to discuss patent injunctions again.

          Injunctive relief is the most bitterly-fought part of the patent reform package the German government will soon present to the patent litigation hotspot’s legislature. Those advocating reform are much happier than last time, but resistance from those opposing any reform is stiffer than ever.

          [...]

          There still would be fundamental differences between eBay and that particular interpretation of the proposed German patent injunction statute, the most important one being that Judge Kuehnen believes a defendant should not be entitled to a proportionality defense on top of a FRAND-based antitrust defense. I disagree, but Judge Kuehnen’s take on FRAND is far more balanced than that of the Munich I Regional Court and at least one of the two patent litigation divisions of the Mannheim Regional Court: Judge Kuehnen initially analyzes whether the standard-essential patent (SEP) holder’s offer was FRAND-compliant before potentially turning to the implementer’s counteroffer; he expects a rather comprehensive disclosure of comparable license agreements; and he doesn’t deprive component makers of their right to an exhaustive SEP license on FRAND terms.

        • FR – LUFTHANSA V. THALES AVIONICS

          Traditionally, before the Paris first instance court (tribunal judiciaire), the validity and infringement of a patent and, more rarely, the compensation for damages are addressed, pleaded and judged together. However, sometimes, the particular context of a dispute leads the judge in charge of case preparation to dissociate these issues, in order to rule on them one after the other.

          The case pending before the Paris first instance court between Lufthansa Technik (“Lufthansa”) and Thales Avionics, Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems and Panasonic Avionics (“Thales Avionics et.al”) is a recent example of a sequenced procedure, i.e. a procedure arranged in several stages in the interest of the proper administration of justice.

        • European Patent Office clears the way for the launch of Forceris

          Initial results from producers using Forceris have been extremely encouraging, creating strong demand and frustration in many markets, who were blocked from purchasing the product by Bayer’s aggressive legal actions.

        • Can AI be an inventor? Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon?

          The English High Court has upheld a UK IPO ruling that an AI machine cannot be an inventor under UK patent law. As AI continues to change the world around us, will this position remain?

          Earlier this month the UK IPO put out a call for views to help it understand the implications AI might have for IP policy. In a bid to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the AI and data revolution, the IPO set out a list of questions about the intersection of AI and IP and has invited input and insight into how best to make sure the UK’s IP environment is adapted to accommodate and encourage growth in transformational new technology sectors.

          With the IPO’s AI public outreach still hot off the press, the English High Court this week published its decision relating to one of the key questions in the field of patent law circulated for debate by the IPO – namely, whether AI can be a patent inventor. Marcus Smith J ruled that an AI machine called DABUS “is not, and cannot be, an inventor within the meaning of the 1977 [Patents] Act, simply because DABUS is not a person”.

        • This week in IP: generics rebuke patentees, FTC seeks appeal, WIPO chief starts work

          The coronavirus has upended patent challenge proceedings everywhere, forcing courts and intellectual property offices to prioritise physical safety and rely heavily on video conferencing. The EPO is no exception, but generics drug companies say the office’s new rules are being abused.

          The EPO Opposition Division, unlike the office’s Boards of Appeal (BoA), has stopped in-person proceedings until December 31, but allowed oral arguments to be made by video conference. Both parties have to consent to a video conference, however, and numerous patentees have refused.

          Six generic drugs companies, including Insud Pharma, Accord, Fresenius Kabi, Zentiva and Gedeon Richter, tell Managing IP that this system has caused them problems because patentees often choose to delay, and often seemingly in an effort to stall the invalidation of their patents.

          Several argue that patentees should be forced to attend to avoid delaying the release of cheaper drugs.

        • “Reexamining your ISA Selection in view of the 2020 PCT Yearly Review”

          When filing a PCT application, an election must be made of an international search authority (ISA).

        • High Court Holds That AI Machines Cannot Be Inventors, Further Paving Way For Legislative Phase Of The DABUS Saga [Ed: Patent litigation firms are desperate for as many patents as are possible to grant because this creates a legal mess, necessitating lawyers and massive legal costs]

          On September 21, 2020, the High Court of England and Wales dismissed an appeal and upheld the decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) that a machine cannot be regarded as an inventor under the UK Patents Act 1977.

          The Device Autonomously Bootstrapping Uniform Sensibility (“DABUS”) is a “Creativity Machine” that uses neural networks to generate new inventions. DABUS was created by Dr. Stephen Thaler who applied for two patents in 2018 naming DABUS as the inventor.

          In a decision issued by the UKIPO on December 4, 2019, UKIPO Hearing Officer Huw Jones rejected Dr. Thaler’s application for failing to validly name an inventor. Jones held that naming a machine as the inventor would not satisfy the requirements of the Patents Act 1977 because an inventor must be a natural person. The UKIPO also stated that it does not have the authority to provide a different interpretation of the Patents Act 1977.

        • BioWorld MedTech Patent Highlights: Week 39
        • Open for business: the Supreme Court decision in Unwired Planet & Conversant [Ed: When Carpmaels & Ransford LLP's Andy Roberts and David Wilson (litigation profiteers) say "Open for business" they mean "open to patent trolling" (against actual businesses)]

          In Unwired Planet v Huawei, Unwired Planet alleged infringement of the UK designations of six European patents by Huawei, Google and Samsung. Proceedings in the UK began in March 2014, with parallel proceedings also initiated in Germany and China. Over the course of three technical trials in 2015 and 2016, Birss J held that two of the patents in issue were both valid and essential. Shortly thereafter, Unwired Planet settled with Samsung and Google, with Unwired Planet granting a licence to its portfolio to Samsung. In a trial to determine the remedies appropriate for the infringement of Unwired Planet’s patents by the remaining defendant, Huawei, the judge concluded that a FRAND undertaking (required by standards setting organisations (SSOs) to be given by a SEP owner when declaring patents to be essential to a standard, to grant licences to such patents to implementers of the protected invention on so-called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms), could be enforced by an English court and that an implementer that refused to take a FRAND licence could be subjected to an injunction to prevent infringement of a valid and infringed UK patent.

          Furthermore, the judge held that such a FRAND licence in the circumstances could only be a worldwide licence and not, as Huawei contended, a licence limited to the UK, and that it would not be discriminatory if the fair and reasonable royalty rate determined by the court for a licence between Huawei and Unwired Planet were to be higher than the rate offered by Unwired Planet to Samsung. Finally, the judge held that Unwired Planet had not breached article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) by abusing its dominant position, following the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in Huawei v ZTE.

          Concluding, the judge granted an injunction in favour of Unwired Planet. However, the judge granted the injunction on the condition that it would fall away if Huawei were to enter into a FRAND licence with Unwired Planet (a “FRAND injunction”), and stayed enforcement of the injunction pending appeal. The Court of Appeal, in October 2018, upheld the judge’s decision and dismissed Huawei’s appeal entirely, disagreeing with the judge on only a single issue: in the Court of Appeal’s view, circumstances could allow for both a local/national and global licence being considered FRAND, in which case it would be for the SEP owner to elect which of the two it preferred.

        • EC nod for Mylan merger with Upjohn; Copaxone patent win

          Netherlands-incorporated generic major Mylan and US pharma giant Pfizer today announced that the companies…

        • Photocure announces new Cevira patent in Europe

          Cevira is a photodynamic drug-device combination product under development for non-surgical treatment of high-grade cervical dysplasia. In July 2019, Photocure announced that it had entered into a License Agreement providing Asieris Meditech Co., Ltd (Asieris) with a world-wide license to develop and commercialize Cevira for the treatment of HPV induced cervical precancerous lesions. In July 2020, Asieris received China NMPA’s approval to start a global Phase III clinical trial for APL-1702 (Cevira).

          The EP 2983780 patent covering the commercial Cevira device in Europe, will expire 09 April 2034.

        • Should the legal definition of “inventor” encompass an AI machine? The position following “DABUS”

          The recent judgment of the High Court of England and Wales in the DABUS case ([2020] EWHC 2412 (Pat)) has made one thing abundantly clear. For now at least, an AI machine cannot be construed as an inventor within the meaning of the Patents Act 1977. However, this arguably raises more questions than it answers. Is it time, in light of the increased advent of AI in technological development, that this position is reviewed?

          The context of the High Court’s judgment is that it upholds the decision of the UK IPO, which ruled that the applicant, Dr Stephen Taylor, could not legitimately register his AI creation, DABUS, as the inventor for the purposes of two patents. Mr Justice Marcus Smith rejected Dr Taylor’s arguments on the grounds that the Act, in its definition of inventor, clearly envisages that an inventor must be a natural person – which DABUS is not. Interestingly, while Mr Justice Marcus Smith made this definitive ruling, he stressed “that nothing in this analysis should be taken to suggest that DABUS is not itself capable of an inventive concept” and also emphasised that whether the owner/controller of an inventive AI machine could be said to be the inventor is still an open question (Dr Thaler expressly declined to advance that submission on the basis that he would “illegitimately be taking credit for an invention that was not his”, and also that he considered it bad in law). This eludes to the overarching question as to whether, as a matter of policy, the law’s perspective on AI machines as inventors ought to be reconsidered.

        • UK patent applications cannot name AI inventors

          Existing patent legislation would need to be amended to enable companies to name artificial intelligence (AI) systems as ‘inventors’ on UK patent applications and own such patent rights, experts in intellectual property (IP) law have said.

          Mark Marfé and Krishna Kakkaiyadi of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, were commenting after the High Court in London rejected Dr. Stephen Thaler’s patent applications for inventions that he claims were derived from an AI machine called ‘DABUS’. Earlier this year, Thaler lost a similar appeal before the European Patent Office (EPO). Thaler is pursuing the argument, across several jurisdictions, that the owner of AI systems should be the default owner of patents for inventions derived from those systems, and that it should be possible to name those AI systems as inventors on patent applications.

          Hearing an appeal by Thaler against a decision late last year by a senior official at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), Mr Justice Marcus Smith ruled that the Patents Act 1977 provides that a person making a patent application must be a ‘person’ with legal personality, whether a human or corporation, and that a patent can only be granted to such a ‘person’ with legal personality. Since the inventor is by default the person entitled to the patent rights, it follows that existing legislation requires the ‘inventor’ to be a person with legal personality. Patent rights are property rights, and a machine is incapable in law of holding and transferring patent rights since it lacks the legal personality necessary to assign the rights to property or even hold those rights in the first place, the judge said.

      • Trademarks

        • Trademark case: Tiffany and Company v. Costco Wholesale Corp., USA

          The federal district court in Manhattan erred in concluding as a matter of law that Costco’s use of the word “Tiffany” to describe diamond engagement rings amounted to willful trademark infringement and counterfeiting, warranting compensatory and punitive damages exceeding $21 million, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City has ruled. The district court had a duty on summary judgment to credit evidence presented by Costco regarding its liability for trademark infringement and counterfeiting and, relatedly, its entitlement to present its fair use defense to a jury. As to liability, Costco raised triable issues of fact as to three likelihood of confusion factors—whether Costco’s customers were actually confused, whether Costco adopted Tiffany’s mark in bad faith, and whether the relevant population of consumers was sufficiently sophisticated to avoid confusion. A jury also reasonably could find that Costco used the term “Tiffany” descriptively on its point-of-sale signs, based on Costco’s evidence that “Tiffany” has a descriptive meaning independent of Tiffany’s brand. The district court’s judgment was vacated and the case remanded for trial (Tiffany and Company v. Costco Wholesale Corp., August 17, 2020, Livingston, D.).

        • Lionel Messi scores his surname trade mark – the CJEU’s own goal?

          On 17 September the CJEU handed down a long-awaited judgment on a matter that thrilled sports fans and the IP community (C-449/18P, C-474/18P, available in French and Spanish). Footballer Lionel Messi Cuccittini is allowed to register his surname as a trademark for a sportswear brand after a nine-year legal battle. The trade mark is a figurative sign in particular for clothing, footwear and gymnastics and sports articles:

          [...]

          This is in line with the 2010 judgment regarding BARBARA BECKER (see C 51/09P, para. 37). In that case, the German actress and model Barbara Becker, former wife of the tennis player Boris Becker, succeeded in defeating the opposition of the proprietor of the earlier trade mark BECKER to the registration of her trade mark “BARBARA BECKER”.

          When speaking about “reputation” or “notoriety”, the CJEU did not mean the concept referred to in the Art. 8(5) EUTMR. The appreciation of the likelihood of confusion depends on numerous elements, and in particular, on the recognition of the trade mark on the market the association which can be made with the used or registered sign, and the degree of similarity between the trade mark and the sign and between the goods or services identified. The likelihood of confusion (LOC) test does not include factors that depend on the applicant itself (C-171/06 P, para. 31). Notoriety of a super-famous person may indeed change over time and it is inherently associated with the applicant’s personal status. In Messi’s trade mark attempts, the EUIPO had said that the likelihood of confusion could not be neutralized by the fact that Lionel Messi was a reputed football player (applications nos. 2765183 and further).

        • Around the IP Blogs

          The CJEU handed down a long-awaited judgment on a matter that thrilled sports fans and the IP community! Footballer Lionel Messi Cuccittini is allowed to register his surname as a trademark for a sportswear brand after a nine-year legal battle. Kluwer Trademark Blog reported on the trade mark.

        • Opinion: Fred Perry’s troubles reveal how vulnerable brands are

          As a Fred Perry fan, I was disappointed to see that the fashion brand has been defeated – for now, at least – by a detestable US far-right group called the Proud Boys.

        • Brands reveal how to integrate trademark strategies in M&A

          Ferrero, Ziff Davis and two law firms discuss how buyers can integrate target companies’ trademark strategies with their own

      • Copyrights

        • [Old] How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain

          For this reason, Disney has done everything in its power to make sure it retains the copyright on Mickey — even if that means changing federal statutes. Every time Mickey’s copyright is about to expire, Disney spends millions lobbying Congress for extensions, and trading campaign contributions for legislative support. With crushing legal force, they’ve squelched anyone who attempts to disagree with them.

          In the age of the Internet, where vast swaths of creative material are freely available, the central question raised by Mickey Mouse’s copyright ordeal is especially pertinent: Which is more important, a robust public domain, or the well-being of private interests?

        • [Old] The Mouse That Ate The Public Domain: Disney, The Copyright Term Extension Act, And eldred V. Ashcroft

          Unless you earn your living as an intellectual [sic] property [sic] lawyer, you probably don’t know that the Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Eldred v. Ashcroft, a case that will test the limits of Congress’s power to extend the term of copyrights. But while copyright may not seem inherently compelling to non-specialists, the issues at stake in Eldred are vitally important to anyone who watches movies, listens to music, or reads books.

          If that includes you, read on.

Bill Gates Deposition: Rocking Like a Pigeon While Lying to Interrogators

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Microsoft at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Figure/chart below (on the right) published a month and a half ago; you too might/would be stressed if people like investigative journalists and Twitter users kept asking why you were so close to Jeffrey Epstein — a fact that you’re unable to deny

Bill Gates stress levelSummary: An immensely guilty and intensely stressed Bill Gates is confronted/interviewed by people who grill him about competition crimes he committed; people need to see the tapes to understand just how far he’d go to lie, mislead, obfuscate, or turn aggressive on interrogators (because it’s easier than answering simple questions honestly)

BILL GATES knows these tapes and remembers the deposition very well. Maybe not clearly enough to recall the questions, but it likely traumatised him a little. People don’t forget such things. For years he fought hard to ensure it’ll never happen again, so he created a fake ‘charity’ and hired lots of lobbyists (more than any other company, even oil giants). In the first part, second part, third part, and fourth part we saw an increasingly erratic man. Then, last night's publication of some transcripts showed the lying, the evasive answers/evasion tactics, the false denials etc. It didn’t go well, did it? It’s hard to lie when you’re being presented with hard evidence refuting the lies… and right there on the spot.

“It’s hard to lie when you’re being presented with hard evidence refuting the lies… and right there on the spot.”Our interrogation (for lack of a better word) of this historic record won’t end with the dozen parts (tapes). “In regards to IBM,” an associate of ours recalled, “remember that the only reason Bill got a the MS-DOS monopoly was that IBM was being punished as a result of anti-trust violations. [See “IBM Signs A Deal With The Devil”] It had to choose either hardware or software and chose hardware. Bill’s mom set them up with Tim Paterson’s QDOS, giving Bill an instant monopoly. [See the recent article “How Bill Gates’ mother influenced the success of Microsoft” or an older article from The Register, aptly entitled “Bill Gates, Harry Evans and the smearing of a computer legend” because they still try to distort history and smear past opponents who cannot defend themselves because they’re dead.] Anti-trust had real teeth back then. It was little Bush that put an end to curbing monopoly abuse. Microsoft was about to get broken up. Also, in the 1980s, if you wanted to get anyone in IT hopping mad and cussing, all you had to do was mention IBM. Bill inherited all of their dirty tricks before refining them further and making new ones. One of the more frustrating ones was when IBM sales went two steps over your head to the boss’ boss. The worst part about that was often enough to be profitable the boss’ boss sided with IBM and the sale was closed at the expense of the employee(s) underneath. IIRC, the removal of anti-trust enforcement also affects Oracle. Larry Ellison bought InnoDB (the back-end) as a test [1, 2] after that to test the waters. When he found that he could do what he wanted with impunity, he did. Bill’s antics fucked the industry badly and by extension the rest of the business world since it all runs on ICT now.”

Without further ado, here’s the Bill Gates deposition, part 5:


We expect that part 6 will be ready some time tomorrow morning.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 04, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:15 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

The Industry is a Religion, and What That Costs

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 12:53 am by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

An elevator sign

“Linux infestations are being uncovered in many of our large accounts as part of the escalation engagements.”

Microsoft Confidential

Summary: Guest poster figosdev examines the ramifications of the industry operating like a religion rather than a science

Techrights has writers (and guest writers) across a variety of viewpoints — including atheists, theists and agnostics like myself. Which isn’t technically important, except that none of those viewpoints are being excluded or discouraged in this article. I more or less don’t care what system you do or don’t believe in, only what it means to you as a person. You generally can’t tell (it isn’t safe to assume, though many try) what one individual really thinks by what system they are part of. In that regard at least, it’s unimportant.

Religious StatuarySome people, including myself (at age 4, though not more recently) figure if you get rid of religion, people will magically become more logical. I think at this point we have enough atheists to sample from, and my non-scientifically-reached observation is that if people can’t blame their worst ideas on God or whoever else, they will find another excuse. So that argument doesn’t really sway me.

In that regard, I defend the right and whatever reason you have for your personal beliefs. You’re entitled to those, and I might even appreciate them on some level. But even if I agree with you (at least hypothetically) one thing I won’t agree with is theocracy — because I don’t agree with personal beliefs being imposed on others. Shared? Sure. Imposed? Required? Nope. When it’s clearly a free speech issue, I’m more sympathetic.

At some point we come, of necessity, to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the reason he is spoken of. A (The?) school board in Kansas was trying to cater to religious groups that wanted to impose their curriculum on schools, so that “equal time” would be given to utterly non-scientific matters in science classes.

“What actually happens with abstinence training (in regions where it is used instead of sex education) is that people are ill-prepared, teen pregnancy rates rise, and the opposite of what it claims to accomplish is achieved in practice.”I don’t have a problem with religious schools existing, but I don’t think religions can rightfully dictate what is taught in public science classes either. I mean, I have no problem with a school that teaches those things, but churches dictating what science is to the public (even in a non-religious setting like a public school) is a very old problem. We’ve never really benefited from interference from churches on this sort of thing, in fact people have died for nothing over the arrogance of religious leaders. In some ways that’s putting it mildly.

If it’s difficult to understand how I can say that and defend religion, it seems simple enough to me. Religion has its place even in an allegedly enlightened society, but its rightful place is not theocracy. Freedom of religion may not impose on public requirements and thus rule, because once it does then the goal of all in favour of liberty is to make it optional (or elective) again. And I feel exactly the same about this regardless of what religion we are talking about, but I would note that most people who argue for “equal time” are really not concerned with any representation of views other than their own, so it’s a dishonest request. Otherwise, as has already been said — there should be equal time also for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.

But this is supposed to be a point about technology and education, and the costs of religion imposing itself where it should certainly not be welcomed — as a state requirement. The costs of doing so — and I consider loss of liberty as a great cost in itself, but on a more immediately “practical” note the example that I think of is the teaching of “abstinence” as an alternative to sex education.

“As science and maths gave the tools to make knowledge more formal, the work of philosophers presumably became more formal as well.”The effects of abstinence training, if it were effective, would be that fewer people got pregnant before they were married and ready to have a family. That’s the idea, that’s the best justification for teaching abstinence in schools. After all, if you believe some of the religious criticisms of sex education, it encourages people to have sex before marriage, and this is something horrible we should put a stop to. Hence, abstinence training — let the religious groups handle this, they know best.

What actually happens with abstinence training (in regions where it is used instead of sex education) is that people are ill-prepared, teen pregnancy rates rise, and the opposite of what it claims to accomplish is achieved in practice. In other words: it doesn’t work. Compare it to regions where sex education (and in particular, “safe sex”) are taught, and there is a lower teen pregnancy rate corresponding with better education. At least that’s what I know, I mean by itself this is a correlation, not an actual proof. I couldn’t tell you what those rates even are. But they do make perfect sense. One fact that is absolute undisputed is that none of those teen pregnancies were immaculately conceived.

In the history of human culture, you have — there is plenty of overlap and I don’t want to leave anybody out here — the thinkers of the world and of history can probably be sorted into mathematicians, philosophers, scientists and religious figures.

“Of the pseudo-religious, public relation firms often try to cast their political opponents as fanatics, extremists and nuts.”“Scientists” were not a thing until relatively recently, similar to the way that the First World War wasn’t the “First World War” until there was a second one. This is probably not the fault of the scientists, as the world was obviously content enough with mere philosophers and mathematicians for longer than many of us would think reasonable. But eventually science became a thing, and there are quite a few other things we wouldn’t have likely managed otherwise — like a good number of advantages in technology and medicine for example.

I guess that means we should include “healers” and artists or lump them in with philosophers, but it’s not so easy to do taxonomy without science. I consider religion to be “proto-philosophy”, which probably isn’t a popular idea with my friends who are atheists, but Darwin happened because of his interest in God — or he was forced to say so as some sort of defence, but I don’t know that he was. And if enough people read this, I expect to hear a rebuttal regarding alchemists, but I doubt it will drastically change any key point made in this article.

“Don’t make fun of yourself and religion at the same time, or Open Source will imply you’re really a closeted cult leader.”As science and maths gave the tools to make knowledge more formal, the work of philosophers presumably became more formal as well. Now we had systems of logic to rest our reasoning and theorising on, and religion became a category for “everything else”. I know for some scientists, this divorce was something they were never party to, and for them the two get along just fine. For me this is relatively true, so long as religious groups do not impose authority over education or secular law.

Of the pseudo-religious, public relation firms often try to cast their political opponents as fanatics, extremists and nuts. Eric S. Raymond suggested 20 years ago, that Open Source would be criticised in a similar fashion. And ever since, Open Source has (along with Raymond himself) used comparisons and innuendo around religious fanaticism to try to discredit Richard Stallman — despite the fact that Stallman himself is an atheist, albeit one who openly mocks religion (Flying Spaghetti style, one might argue) with a “halo” on his head and in the character of “Saint IGNUcius.” Don’t make fun of yourself and religion at the same time, or Open Source will imply you’re really a closeted cult leader. Whatever works, right?

But though many people paint him as an authoritarian, the people most threatened by Stallman’s message (which OSI was created supposedly to protect corporations from hearing and taking the wrong way) were in fact, people who act as intermediaries (authorities) standing between the user and their own computer. The struggle for Free Software has very easy metaphorical, thematic and historical ties to the liberation created by the printing press, which the Church tried to violently stifle because it was a threat to an authoritarian monopoly. (Of course heavy copyright proponents in general have also acted like the Medieval Church in this regard).

“But though many people paint him as an authoritarian, the people most threatened by Stallman’s message (which OSI was created supposedly to protect corporations from hearing and taking the wrong way) were in fact, people who act as intermediaries (authorities) standing between the user and their own computer.”The technology industry may not bring you religion, but they certainly bring you a way of life which puts them in power over society — in this way of life, you confess your sins to Twitter, who pores over them with algorithms and submits them to higher authorities, and the unwashed masses get together in crowds to condemn each other in acts of utter hypocrisy. Your smallest sins (every word you utter, these days) will be scrutinised for the merest hint of impropriety, while those at the top commit heinous acts against all humanity. But it also watches you with cameras and makes broad, sweeping notions about the way people walk, or how long they spend on a certain page of a book and so on and so on. It’s not a basis for liberation of any sort.

A reminder, just so we are still on the same page about this, that I really don’t judge you for belonging to such a religion. I am not religious, but I am not as strictly atheist as those who insist that religion (and not humanity itself) is this great impediment to progress — I think of it as more of an excuse than a cause for problems.

“Technology companies have gotten so used to telling people what they can and can’t do — when they can and can’t turn their computer off, what apps they can and can’t install.”Of course a great excuse is its own problem, though the way that many career atheists obsess over it is (in my opinion) not very scientific of them. I wish we had less biased studies about this. But it’s easier for people who are disenchanted with an idea to simply point fingers in the most obvious direction. Easier, but not as scientific; it pays a great deal of heed to the trappings of science, but then so did geocentrism.

I don’t judge you for belonging to such a religion, but I will judge those who abuse their authority. And you may or may not belong to such a religion, and if you do I will generally appreciate the difference between a person who subscribes to a concept and a leadership that is corrupted by power. In fact it’s the same with Open Source — I think Open Source is inherently corrupt, but not everyone who is swayed by it is swayed for terrible reasons. Blame the corruption at the top, where the lies come from — because they have made themselves authorities over the others and have betrayed that (misplaced) trust.

But it might (even in my own opinion) be a system with beliefs that I have no real problem with. So why would I blame you merely for sharing those? We need to avoid implementing thoughtcrime if we want a society that can speak of “liberty” in any meaningful or practical sense. On that note I’ll gladly defend your right to your beliefs, I may or may not defend what else you use them to justify. I’m not writing you that sort of blank cheque, I don’t even know your credit rating.

“Apple’s app store (it’s generic despite their worst efforts, you really don’t have to capitalise it) is like a bunch of aunties telling you who you can and can’t sleep with.”Nobody said that liberty is easy. We have all these centuries of people enjoying the feeling that they have right to tell everybody else what to do. People get used to that sort of idea, it even starts to appeal to the general public, who will never benefit from it — but they think they might. So more and more people begin to act out and defend such absurdities. And I’m hardly the first to say this, when even their own holy book says “there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.” I couldn’t tell you if this line was intended to mock corrupt authority — but we can hope.

Technology companies have gotten so used to telling people what they can and can’t do — when they can and can’t turn their computer off, what apps they can and can’t install. Apple’s app store (it’s generic despite their worst efforts, you really don’t have to capitalise it) is like a bunch of aunties telling you who you can and can’t sleep with. And some people will benefit from that, but would you sign that authority away to Apple if they literally told you who you can and can’t sleep with?

The Church did that for a very long time, regarding various groups of people they didn’t think should be (allowed) together. I don’t trust their history on this sort of thing — nor do I trust Apple’s. Nor do I agree that they should have that sort of authority (or ownership) of your device after purchase. Maybe I’m old-fashioned that way, but the way that Apple and Microsoft (and sometimes, but not as often Google) assert ownership or control over things you bought from them — it seems more clearly authoritarian than benevolent or wise, let alone justifiable.

Then we come back to abstinence and the cost that inspired this article in the first place — new Android apps that are dangerous to install, which look like regular and harmless applications — I mean, how many times has someone you know installed a program that said straight off: “WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T INSTALL THIS! THIS IS ACTUALLY MALWARE!” Of course it looks like a regular and harmless application! Why else would any normal person (but for research purposes) install such a thing?

“As I said several times in this article, my complaint is corrupt authoritarians exploiting your personal beliefs as a false premise for their own authority.”As with sex education, instead of properly teaching people about computing and how to make responsible decisions for themselves, we always teach them to rely (primarily, if not almost exclusively) on companies with at best a conflict of interest, and on authoritarian measures like app stores which make unlimited promises but (pretty much as a law of the universe) deliver a limited benefit.

We teach them not to install things that aren’t in the app store, and then the rates of malware problems go up, while education and understanding drop lower. So basically we get similar results in the tech world that we get from terrible ideas like abstinence training and religious groups imposing authority over secular laws and institutions. And why wouldn’t we? The approach that the tech companies take to solving problems is “put us in complete charge of your life and hope for the best!” One man ruleth over another to his own hurt.

But when I said all that stuff about your right to your beliefs, was that just rhetoric to make a point about technology? No, I feel very strongly about your rights in that regard. As I said several times in this article, my complaint is corrupt authoritarians exploiting your personal beliefs as a false premise for their own authority. Your beliefs are personal — their corruption and exploitation of your personal beliefs are the part I take issue with.

“…I note the way that the tech companies maintain their crusade against basic human rights along the same rhetorical lines: insisting that anyone who opposes them is a dirty hippie, a hypocrite and extremist, or worse!”And just as religious leaders will paint challenges to their authority as evil heathen trying to judge, corrupt and condemn you personally, so you will rise to their defence on their behalf — I note the way that the tech companies maintain their crusade against basic human rights along the same rhetorical lines: insisting that anyone who opposes them is a dirty hippie, a hypocrite and extremist, or worse! I mean, isn’t that convenient? Not to mention familiar; gone (was) the Latin Mass that required an in-house translator to access the scriptures, but what of DRM and binary distribution without the available source code? It’s the same old game of pay homage to the gatekeepers of human knowledge, in a different technological era.

There are other parallels to be made here, though I’m sure someone else will manage to do so.

Whether you are religious or not, or use a silly overpriced phone or not — don’t let people insist they can live your life for you and do it better. They’re typically trying to sell you something, and it certainly isn’t freedom. But this is also of note: it doesn’t work!

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