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Links 13/11/2019: Docker Enterprise Bought, WordPress 5.3, Qt 5.12.6 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Mirantis acquires Docker Enterprise

        Docker, the technology, is famous. It kick-started the container revolution. Docker, the company, is famous for failing to profit on its technology. Now, in a move indicating that Docker CEO Rob Bearden wasn’t able to obtain badly needed capital, Mirantis, a prominent OpenStack and Kubernetes cloud company, has acquired Docker Enterprise product line, developers, and business.

        The deal is effective immediately. Mirantis CEO and co-founder Adrian Ionel, said in an e-mail interview, “We are not disclosing the terms of the deal. The deal closes Wednesday [Nov. 12, 2019] morning.”

      • IBM

        • Kubernetes: 3 ways to get started

          Why has Kubernetes developed a reputation as a powerful tool? As Red Hat technology evangelist Gordon Haff has noted, “Kubernetes continues to gain steam in enterprises, and for good reason: It tames the complexity that arises as you begin to use containers at scale. It automates and orchestrates Linux container operations, eliminating many manual tasks involved in deploying and scaling containerized applications.”

          It’s also known for its learning curve: You can get a cluster up and running in a sandbox with relative ease, but running Kubernetes in production isn’t actually child’s play.

          That means that getting started with Kubernetes can feel daunting for individuals and teams new to it. This shouldn’t be crippling, though. Everyone starts somewhere.


          Ram Middela, practice lead at NetEnrich, notes that Minikube gives you a chance to test-drive many of Kubernetes features in a single VM on a local machine.

          “You can explore most of the actual Kubernetes features from a developer perspective and learn about its features so that you can write your application deployment files and then run them on Minikube,” Middela says.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • mintCast 321.5 – Wololo

        In our Innards section, we decide when it’s the right time to suggest switching to Linux.

      • 2019-11-12 | Linux Headlines

        Python’s package manager looks forward to some much-needed love, PeerTube and Termshark both have major releases, and Mozilla joins forces to push WebAssembly outside the browser.

      • Distro Disco | LINUX Unplugged 327

        Get to know our Linux Users Group a little better and learn why they love their Linux distros of choice, and the one thing they’d change to make them perfect.

      • Episode 87 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, Pine64 announces the pre-orders for the PinePhone are coming this week! AMD Announces Latest Threadripper & Ryzen 9 CPUs. We’ve got the results from the openSUSE Name Change vote. In Distro News, Ubuntu pledges support for Raspberry Pis, elementary OS Adds Flatpak Support, and we got new releases from KaOS and Chrome OS. Microsoft confirms that their Edge browser is coming to Linux. Linus Torvalds was interviewed recently where he declared he is ‘Not a Programmer Anymore’, we’ll take a closer look at that. In Linux Gaming News, Steam releases beta support for Containers in Steam for Linux. Google Reveals Stadia Launch Games and further info on the service. We also got some really interesting news from Valve where they might launch their own Stadia competitor called “Steam Cloud Gaming”. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #153
    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3.11

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.3.11 kernel.

        All users of the 5.3 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.3.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.3.y

        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 4.19.84
      • Linux 4.14.154
      • Linux 4.9.201
      • Linux 4.4.201
    • Benchmarks

      • The Gaming Performance Impact From The Intel JCC Erratum Microcode Update

        This morning I provided a lengthy look at the performance impact of Intel’s JCC Erratum around the CPU microcode update issued for Skylake through Cascade Lake for mitigating potentially unpredictable behavior when jump instructions cross cache lines. Of the many benchmarks shared this morning in that overview, there wasn’t time for any gaming tests prior to publishing. Now with more time passed, here is an initial look at how the Linux gaming performance is impacted by the newly-released Intel CPU microcode for this Jump Conditional Code issue.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Bridge Constructor Portal – Portal Proficiency DLC out now

        Bridges, Portals, Turrets, Laser Beams and plenty more await in the Bridge Constructor Portal – Portal Proficiency DLC.

        In the first expansion to Bridge Constructor Portal, it offers up another 30 levels where you attempt to safely get your test subjects to the exit. It can get a little complicated though, as it’s not just bridge building this time as you’re also placing multiple sets of portals.

      • Commandos 2 – HD Remaster now releasing next Spring for Linux

        Kalypso Media and developers Yippee! Entertainment have announced that the Commandos 2 – HD Remaster, which will support Linux, is now going to be releasing in 2020.

        Originally due sometime towards the end of the year, Kalypso Media emailed out today a change in the planning. It’s releasing for Windows first in January 2020, with all other versions to follow in Spring 2020. No reason was given for the delay to Linux, Mac and Consoles however they were very clear in their press email to us that Linux is supported still.

      • Cyberpunk side-scrolling stealth shooter Contract Work arrives on Linux this month

        Iterative Games say they’ve combined elements inspired by Contra and Metal Gear Solid to create a cyberpunk side-scroller shooter with stealth elements with Contract Work.

        Funded on Kickstarter way back in 2013, Contract Work is the creation of Kee-Won Hong, the sole developer of Iterative Games. What they’re attempting to do with Contract Work is take some elements of classic retro shooters like Megaman and Contra, add in some character development and mix in a cyberpunk world like you might find in Akira or Ghost in the Shell. What they’ve ended up with here is a mix of so many things.

      • Play as a fusion powered killer android in a tech demo of LAZR, an upcoming Clothformer

        Platformers are out, Clothformers are in. Well, that’s what the developer of LAZR wants you to believe with an impressive tech demo release of their in-development title.

        Stop right there, what’s a Clothformer? Well, it’s a pretty much an action platformer with added “realistic cloth simulations with full destruction” which developer Garrick Campsey thinks makes LAZR unique. Is it though? Well, going by the tech demo I’ve played through I was certainly very impressed with it.

      • Shovel Knight: King of Cards and Shovel Knight Showdown releasing December 10

        After a delay to both, Yacht Club Games have now announced that both Shovel Knight: King of Cards and Shovel Knight Showdown will release with Linux support on December 10.

        Shovel Knight is a very popular side-scrolling platform inspired by the art-style and gameplay from the 8-bit era. It’s a fantastic game and over time it has expanded quite a lot thanks to multiple free expansions. Shovel Knight: King of Cards is the next big expansion, and it’s actually the final campaign in the Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove saga.

      • Small and challenging space game Pulstario where you rescue souls in the void is coming to Linux

        Quick news tip to start your Wednesday morning, as the developer of Pulstario has confirmed their game is coming to Linux.

        Developed by Fred Wood, who previously made the quite popular platformers LOVE and kuso, Pulstario has you pilot a shop through a void to collect lost souls. Quite a short game too, Wood said it should only take around 30 minutes to finish the main game. However, it will have multiple modes and secret levels to find.

      • Super Indie Karts adds back the Battle Mania mode with the latest update

        The retro kart racing game Super Indie Karts has finally added the Battle Mania mode back into the game after being removed backed in 2017 with a previous update.

        Battle Mania has 9 arenas to race around and battle each with 3 different styles including Super Arenas, Ultra Arenas and Cage Arenas. Included modes are: Egg Crackers – protect your 3 eggs, Shroom Hunters – find the Shrooms first and Jewel Grabbers – collect the most jewels.

        With it now back, the developer said they will be making further updates to expand it with some “Indie themed modes and arenas too”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Frameworks 5.64.0 released with several new improvements

          Yesterday, KDE announced the release of KDE Frameworks 5.64.0. The October 2019 monthly release includes many changes and bug fixes.

          KDE Frameworks is 80 add-on libraries for coding applications with Qt, the free, open-source widget toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces and cross-platform apps that work on various platforms, such as Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux platforms.

          The planned KDE Frameworks 5.64.0 release is part of a monthly release series designed to quickly and predictably make improvements available to developers.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian Family

        • Debian reconsiders init-system diversity

          The immediate motivation for a reconsideration would appear to be the proposed addition of elogind, a standalone fork of the systemd-logind daemon, to Debian. Elogind would provide support for systemd’s D-Bus-based login mechanism — needed to support small projects like the GNOME desktop — without the need for systemd itself. The addition of elogind has been controversial; it is a difficult package to integrate for a number of reasons. Much of the discussion has evidently been carried out away from the mailing lists, but some context on the problem can be found in this bug report. In short: merging elogind appears to be complex enough that it would be hard to justify in the absence of a strong commitment to the support of non-systemd init systems. It seems possible that this commitment no longer exists across the distribution as a whole; the purpose of a general resolution would be to determine whether that is the case or not.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Outs Major Linux Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu OSes

          As announced the other day, Canonical was quick to respond to the latest security vulnerabilities affecting Intel CPU microarchitectures, so they now published Linux kernel updates to mitigate them. These are CVE-2019-11135, CVE-2018-12207, CVE-2019-0154, and CVE-2019-0155, which could allow local attackers to either expose sensitive information or possibly elevate privileges or cause a denial of service.

          On top of these security issues affecting Intel CPUs, the new Linux kernel security updates also address three vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-15791, CVE-2019-15792, and CVE-2019-15793) discovered by Google Project Zero’s Jann Horn in the shiftfs implementation, which could allow a local attacker to either execute arbitrary code, cause a denial of service (system crash), or bypass DAC permissions.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • What you need to know about burnout in open source communities

        Earlier this year, I was burned out. Coincidentally, at the time, I was also researching the subject of burnout. It’s taken some time for me to take what I researched and experienced and put it into words.

        Recently, the International Classification of Diseases classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon. It defines burnout as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.3 “Kirk”

          5.3 expands and refines the block editor with more intuitive interactions and improved accessibility. New features in the editor increase design freedoms, provide additional layout options and style variations to allow designers more control over the look of a site.

          This release also introduces the Twenty Twenty theme giving the user more design flexibility and integration with the block editor. Creating beautiful web pages and advanced layouts has never been easier.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Big believer in government open source? Help with an open task on code.gov

          Want to collaborate on government open source code projects? Don’t forget about code.gov.

          Technologists who want to support the various missions of the federal government need not take on a full-time role to contribute. The General Services Administration‘s lead for code.gov, Karen Trebon, gave a shoutout to the site’s “open tasks” tab during a panel at the Red Hat Government Summit on Tuesday.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 5.12.6 Released

          m happy to Announce we have released Qt 5.12.6 today.

          The Qt 5.12 LTS is in ‘strict’ phase, so it will receive only the selected important bug and security fixes. This sixth patch release for Qt 5.12 LTS series contains more than 50 bug fixes including fixes for CVE-2019-16168 , CVE-2019-14973 , CVE-2019-17546 and CVE-2019-13720. Please check other most important changes from Qt 5.12.6 Changes Files.

          Qt 5.12.6 is now available via the maintenance tool of the online installer. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal or from qt.io Download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users in the Qt Account portal and at the qt.io Download page for open-source users. You can also try out the Commercial evaluation option from the qt.io Download page.

        • How to drive customer experience with agile principles

          Customer experience has never been more important. People can find out just about anything with a few clicks or a voice search on their phones. They can research products, services, and companies. They can do business with organizations all over the world. They can buy with a swipe and have things shipped right to their home within a day.

        • When your data doesn’t fit in memory: the basic techniques

          You need a solution that’s simple and easy: processing your data on a single computer, with minimal setup, and as much as possible using the same libraries you’re already using. And much of the time you can actually do that, using a set of techniques that are sometimes called “out-of-core computation”.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Canonical Announces Ubuntu Updates to Mitigate Latest Intel Vulnerabilities

        Following on the footsteps of Red Hat, Canonical also announced today that it has prepared updates for all of its supported Ubuntu Linux releases to mitigate the latest Intel CPU security vulnerabilities.

        As we reported earlier, Intel announced today that several new security vulnerabilities are affecting various of its Intel CPU microarchitectures, as well as associated GPUs. These vulnerabilities are known as TSX Asynchronous Abort (CVE-2019-11135), Intel Processor Machine Check Error (CVE-2018-12207), and Intel i915 graphics hardware vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-0155, CVE-2019-0154).

        The first security vulnerability, TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA), is related to the previously announced MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) vulnerabilities. However, Canonical’s Alex Murray explains that it only affects Intel processors that support the Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX). As such, the existing MDS mitigations will also mitigate TAA.

      • Linux vs. Zombieland v2: The security battle continues

        Here’s the bad news: We’re going to keep seeing fundamental Intel CPU security holes popping open until every last one of the current generations of these chips is in landfills. Zombieland v2 is only the latest of a line of problems, which go back to Meltdown and Spectre. The “good” news is for now Intel and the operating system companies are staying ahead of hackers. Here’s what Linux and Red Hat are doing about the latest nastiness.

      • Equifax Data Breach Update: Backsliding

        After Equifax’s calamitous 2017 data breach, its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the private attorneys representing victims appears to offer two potential remedies to all 147 million American consumers affected: free credit monitoring, or if individuals already had free credit monitoring, an up to $125 cash payment. The FTC directed consumers affected by the breach to a third-party website where they could quickly and easily file their claim.

        At the time, EFF tepidly commented on the settlements’ efforts to compensate consumers. But we also noted that the $125 payments would come from a $31 million fund, meaning that if all 147 million victims chose the payment, each person’s payment would be reduced on a pro rata basis to as little as 21 cents each.

      • The Way America Votes Is Broken. In One Rural County, a Nonprofit Showed a Way Forward.

        Choctaw County’s election centers opened at 7 a.m. last Tuesday, and voters were greeted by poll workers who’d just set up brand-new voting machines.

        “If you need any help, just holler,” poll worker Albert Friddle told a voter as he walked her through the new system.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Walls in the Head: “Ostalgia” and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later

        Walls have always served a dual purpose: they keep people in, and others out. The mentality of the wall is one of imprisonment and exclusion. Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we see such infrastructure, both symbolically and in actuality, potent.

      • The Wall and General Pyrrhus

        Media jubilation reaches a climax on November 9th, thirty years after the bumbling, perhaps even misunderstood decision to open the gate for all East Germans to stream through, hasten to the nearest West Berlin bank for their “welcome present“ of 100 prized West German marks, and taste the joys of the western free market system. Within less than a year they would end the experiment known as the German Democratic Republic to join, and fully enjoy, the wealthy, healthy, prosperous united Germany, with its freedom of the press, speech, travel and consumer bliss.

      • Europe Poll Supports Killer Robots Ban

        Almost three in every four people responding to a new poll in 10 European countries want their governments to work for an international treaty prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems, Human Rights Watch said today. At the conclusion of a diplomatic meeting scheduled for November 13-15, 2019, states will determine the next steps for addressing the threats posed by such weapons, which, once activated, would select and attack targets without human intervention.

      • Hazing was supposed to be dead in the Russian military. Now, a soldier who shot eight fellow servicemembers is bringing the issue back into the spotlight.

        On October 25, Ramil Shamsutdinov killed eight of his fellow soldiers. The shooting took place on a secret military base in Russia’s Zabaikalsky region that specializes in nuclear equipment operations. Both Shamsutdinov’s father and the soldier himself, who was serving Russia’s mandatory military term and was not a professional servicemember, said the motive behind the mass murder was hazing at the hands of Shamsutdinov’s fellow soldiers and officers. The Defense Ministry has categorically denied that claim. Meduza summarized what journalists have learned so far about the mass shooting and hazing in the contemporary Russian army.

      • Fidel, Three Years Later

        Fidel Castro, dead three years this month, resisted US power in a way that could be learned from. I don’t mean the Revolution. It began earlier. Castro insisted on that. Thus, the old flag and anthem were retained. The country was not renamed.

      • South Sudan Has 100 More Days to Transition to New Government

        Leaders and stakeholders of war-torn South Sudan have agreed to an additional 100 days to form a transitional government. Originally, the leaders of the peace process had a deadline of November 12.  

      • Philippine Vice President Could Score a ‘Drug War’ Win

        No one was surprised when Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo said recently that the country’s “war on drugs,” in which police have admitted to killing more than 5,500 people, was “not working.” What came as a surprise was Duterte’s reaction.

      • De Facto Martial Law in the Philippines

        In 2010, I was a summer intern for the largest, progressive human rights organization in the Philippines, Karapatan: Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights. As a non-Filipino, I never imagined that I would become so involved in the Filipino cause. Faced, however, with the dire human rights situation as well as the fervor of the people’s movement – I realized that I not only supported the cause, but that I wanted to dedicate my life to the Philippine struggle. Suffice it to say, that summer changed my life.

      • How Iran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over Iraq

        Iraqi security and pro-Iranian paramilitary forces are shooting into crowds of protesters in a bid to drive them from the centre of Baghdad and end six weeks of demonstrations that have challenged the political system to an extent not seen since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

      • ‘She turned into a monster’ The St. Petersburg historian who murdered and dismembered his former student has his first day in court

        On November 9, police in St. Petersburg removed 63-year-old historian Oleg Sokolov from the Moyka River. He was found alive and carrying a backpack that contained two severed, apparently women’s hands. The body parts, it turns out, belonged to a Anastasia Eshchenko, a 24-year-old former student who lived with Sokolov as his fiancée. The St. Petersburg State University senior lecturer has confessed to murdering her, and on November 11 a court jailed him for two months, as investigators prepare their case against him. Meduza attended the first day of his trial.

      • Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage

        To withdraw, or not to withdraw? That is the question Donald Trump, in his own inimitable way, has answered both ways.

      • Supreme Court Lets Sandy Hook Shooting Lawsuit Go Forward

        The Supreme Court said Tuesday that a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people.

      • Latest Israeli Assault on Gaza Continuation of ‘Torture and Torment of Palestinians,’ Says Jewish Voice for Peace

        “The illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel imprisons every aspect of life for Palestinians in Gaza, and the inhumane restrictions on food, electricity, and healthcare are all forms of violence, carried out daily for the past 11 years by Israel.”

      • Israel Targets Islamic Jihad Leader, Sending Message to Iran

        Israel on Tuesday targeted two senior commanders from the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, killing one in the Gaza Strip and missing the second in Syria as it stepped up its battle against Iran and its proxies across the region.

      • Horrifying Emails Reveal Stephen Miller’s White Nationalism

        Trump White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, as The Washington Post reported in August, “rarely puts anything in writing, eschewing email in favor of phone calls.” Despite making extensive anti-immigration comments in high school, and being, as the Guardian pointed out in 2017, “the architect of the first travel ban,” there has been little written evidence of Miller’s white nationalist views, aside from college newspaper columns and emails to reporters while an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions. Until now.

      • Top Trump Aide Stephen Miller’s Affinity for White Nationalism Revealed in Leaked Emails

        “What Stephen Miller sent [in these] emails has become policy at the Trump administration,” says former editor for the far-right Breitbart news outlet.

      • Dreamers and Allies Rise Above Trump’s Latest ‘False, Divisive’ Attack as Supreme Court Hears Pivotal DACA Case

        “It is patently false that DACA recipients are ‘hardened criminals.’ Trump is just a frothing-at-the-mouth racist.”

      • South Korea Deports Two From North to Likely Abuse

        The South Korean government deported two North Korean fishermen on November 7, 2019 to face murder charges in North Korea, where they face likely torture.

      • Sweden’s 100 explosions this year: What’s going on?

        When three explosions took place in one night across different parts of Stockholm last month, it came as a shock to residents. There had been blasts in other city suburbs, but never on their doorstep.

        Swedish police are dealing with unprecedented levels of attacks, targeting city centre locations too. The bomb squad was called to deal with 97 explosions in the first nine months of this year.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • ‘Putin’s chef’ no longer owns catering company that was the largest business officially held in his name

        St. Petersburg businessman Evgeny Prigozhin is known for many things, from his reported control of a troll factory in the city to his alleged ties with the Wagner private military company (PMC). However, the largest enterprise Prigozhin officially owned was Concord. The restaurant and catering enterprise is recognized in the Russian public sphere as a frequent winner of government contracts and the subject of a recent dysentery scandal in Moscow schools. As of November 11, however, Russia’s federal registry of corporations and organizations lists a company called The Development Corporation, not Prigozhin, as the singular owner of Concord. RBC first reported on the change, while Current Time claimed that Concord’s ownership had actually been split between The Development Corporation and Prigozhin.

      • The company owned by Arkady Rotenberg that built Russia’s Crimean Bridge says it didn’t make a profit on the project

        Arkady Rotenberg’s “Mostotrest” construction company will likely earn no profits for building the bridge that connects Russia to Crimea, company head Vladimir Vlasov told Forbes magazine. Vlasov says “Stroygazmontazh” — another company Rotenberg owned until recently — will also net zero profit for its role in building the Crimean Bridge. “It will be good if [...] Stroygazmontazh stays out of the red,” he explained.

      • Esau, Shanghala forced to resign

        FISHERIES minister Bernhard Esau and justice minister Sacky Shanghala resigned from their government positions on Wednesday.
        Their resignations comes after The Namibian and other international media exposed how the two and Investec Namibia’s managing director, James Hatuikulipi, were alleged kingpins in a fishing scheme that generated kickbacks of at least N$150 million over four years.

        Documents show that their fishing schemes could involve as much as N$2,5 billion.

        The Namibian understands that president Hage Geingob told his inner circle earlier this month that Esau and Shanghala should “do the right thing and resign”.

    • Environment

      • Why SpaceX’s plan to put 25,000 satellites in orbit is bad news for astronomers [iophk: space junk]

        The private, Elon Musk–founded company launched one of its reusable rockets from Cape Canaveral on Monday with 60 satellites onboard, as part of the Starlink constellation, which will collectively provide satellite internet around the world, among other uses. The launch was the second payload of a satellite constellation that will eventually be made up of tens of thousands of orbiting transmitters, if all goes as planned. However, despite the mission being disguised by a humanitarian cause, this week’s launch brings forth ongoing worries many in the space science field have about the footprint of so many satellites, like reflected sunlight.

      • Greenpeace Report Offers Vision of ‘Smart Supermarkets’ and a Future Free of Single-Use Plastics

        “This report should serve as a model for retailers to follow, and shows that it is possible to end our throwaway culture for the sake of our oceans, waterways, and communities.”

      • Microplastics found in oysters, clams on Oregon coast, study finds

        Tiny threads of plastics are showing up in Pacific oysters and razor clams along the Oregon coast—and the yoga pants, fleece jackets, and sweat-wicking clothing that Pacific Northwesterners love to wear are a source of that pollution, according to a new Portland State University study.

      • Microplastics “washing right out into the ocean,” marine biologists say

        “These fibers are coming off fishing rope but a lot of them are coming off our own clothes. So as you’re washing your clothes, they’re washing down the drain,” Branden said. “They’re too small to get caught at the waste water treatment plant and they’re washing right out into the ocean.”

      • Baby Fish Nurseries Are Riddled With ‘Prey-Sized’ Plastic, Alarming Study Finds

        The study, led by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, found that larval fish nurseries off the coast of Hawaii are hotbeds of plastic pollution, with trash pieces outnumbering actual fish seven to one. As a result, baby fish looking for a bite are sometimes chowing down on tiny flecks of “prey-sized” plastic instead.

      • In Borneo, healthy people equals healthy forests

        At first, Webb was simply angry. But when she talked to people, she discovered that in many cases they have no choice. If a child or other family gets sick, they told her, logging is one of the only ways to get cash to pay for medical care.

        “At another national park where we recently just started working, one woman told me, ‘If anyone ever tells you that they have not logged to pay for health care, they are lying to you,’” Webb says. “Because there is no other way to get that much money and one medical emergency can cost an entire year’s income.”

      • How the U.S. betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster

        Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 67 nuclear bombs on, in and above the Marshall Islands — vaporizing whole islands, carving craters into its shallow lagoons and exiling hundreds of people from their homes.

        U.S. authorities later cleaned up contaminated soil on Enewetak Atoll, where the United States not only detonated the bulk of its weapons tests but, as The Times has learned, also conducted a dozen biological weapons tests and dumped 130 tons of soil from an irradiated Nevada testing site. It then deposited the atoll’s most lethal debris and soil into the dome.

        Now the concrete coffin, which locals call “the Tomb,” is at risk of collapsing from rising seas and other effects of climate change. Tides are creeping up its sides, advancing higher every year as distant glaciers melt and ocean waters rise.

      • How to Make ‘Farm-to-closet’ Clothing a Reality
      • Cuba’s urban farming shows way to avoid hunger

        Urban farming, Cuban-style, is being hailed as an example of how to feed ourselves when climate change threatens serious food shortages.

      • 350 Action Endorses Three ‘Progressive Climate Champions’ in 2020 House Races Against Establishment Democrats

        Jamaal Bowman, Jessica Cisneros, and Alex Morse will provide “the climate leadership required to address the crisis and take us into the climate decade,” the national organization said.

      • Experts Warn This Industry-Backed Attack on Science at EPA Would Be Among ‘Most Damaging’ of All Trump-Era Policies

        “Let’s call this what it is: an excuse to abandon clean air, clean water, and chemical safety rules.”

      • Energy

        • Koch Industries Ramps Up Lobbying Against Clean Car Policies

          Mandatory disclosure forms reveal that lobbying by Koch Industries is up by almost 20 percent compared to this time last year. According to the forms, Koch lobbying expenditures through the third quarter total $9.1 million, compared to $7.7 million through the third quarter of 2018. This increase comes after Democrats took control of the House, as the Green New Deal entered the political discourse, and while a number of clean transportation policies were considered by lawmakers. 

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘That’s Ridiculous,’ Says Billionaire After Sanders Campaign Returns Her $470 Donation

        “What’s ridiculous is billionaires existing,” responded grassroots group People for Bernie.

      • Serve With Honor, Honor Those Who Serve; or Support Trump?

        Starting as Armistice Day, celebrated for the first time November 11, 1919–the first anniversary of the end of World War I in 1918—what we now call Veterans Day is the observance of thanks to those who have served military duty. It acknowledges the living and the dead for honorably representing the country during peacetime and war. This year it is imperative that people understand that honor and the name Donald Trump cannot fit in the same sentence. His dishonor to the service and sacrifice of American service members in Syria and to our Kurdish allies is the epitome of disgraceful.

      • Lula Free, Bolsonaro in Rage

        Last Friday, November 8, 2019, former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva walked out of a prison in Curitiba and was greeted by throngs of supporters, many of whom had camped out since he was sent to jail more than two years ago.

      • Lula is Free: Can Socialism Be Restored?

        Just before 5 p.m. on Friday the 8th of November, Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva walked out of his prison in Curitiba, Brazil. Lula went to prison in April last year on a 12-year sentence. Five-hundred and eighty days of prison are now over, as the Federal Supreme Court ruled that inmates who have not yet exhausted their appeals should not be held in prison.

      • Israel is Silencing the Last Voices Trying to Stop Abuses Against Palestinians

        It has been a week of appalling abuses committed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank – little different from the other 2,670 weeks endured by Palestinians since the occupation began in 1967.

      • Bolivia and Venezuela: Two Countries, But Same Hybrid War

        A coup took place in Bolivia on November 10. The fact that the president of the country, Evo Morales, resigned does not contradict the fact that a coup has taken place. Morales was forced by the military to resign. The perpetrators of the Hybrid War were envisioning this same scenario for Venezuela but failed while they succeed in Bolivia. What made the difference?

      • Trump Applauds Bolivia’s Military Coup As US Establishment Media Blame Morales For Turmoil

        President Donald Trump celebrated a military coup in Bolivia that forced President Evo Morales, who recently won a fourth term, to resign on November 10. “After nearly 14 years and his recent attempt to override the Bolivian constitution and the will of the people, Morales’ departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard…”

      • Bolivia: Prioritize Rights in Wake of Morales Resignation

        The Organization of American States (OAS) members meeting about the situation in Bolivia on November 12, 2019, should send a strong message to Bolivian authorities to ensure full respect for people’s basic human rights.

      • In Statement That ‘Reads Like a Chilling Warning of More Coups to Come,’ Trump Celebrates Military Coup in Bolivia

        “The Trump administration has cast aside the pretext of calling for new elections. Now it’s praising Evo Morales’ resignation at the barrel of a gun.”

      • After Morales Ousted in Coup, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia

        Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was overthrown in a military coup on November 10. He is now in Mexico. Before he left office, Morales had been involved in a long project to bring economic and social democracy to his long-exploited country.

      • Democrats’ Slogans
      • Explainer: No, House Democrats Aren’t Violating Trump’s Rights

        “If the facts are your side,” famed attorney and former law professor Alan Dershowitz instructed his students, “pound the facts into the table. If the law is on your side, pound the law into the table. If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table.”

      • The Perfectly Legal Ways Foreign Powers Subvert US Democracy

        Foreign influence in America is the topic du jour. From the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s request that a foreign power investigate a political opponent to the indictment of associates of his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, for illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. elections, the nation has been transfixed by news of illegal foreign influence…

      • Trump’s Crime Against Humanity

        There is a different and better case to be made for the impeachment of President Trump than what we have seen so far.

      • Giuliani Was Close to a Podcast Deal With the News Outlet That Spread His Ukraine Conspiracies

        After John Solomon ran columns in The Hill that touched off a disinformation campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the publication had discussions with Rudy Giuliani about a business venture.

        As ProPublica revealed last month, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas had helped arrange an interview Solomon conducted with a Ukrainian prosecutor who claimed the Obama administration interfered with anti-corruption cases involving high-profile people, including Biden’s son Hunter. Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, trumpeted Solomon’s work on cable news. The Hill articles are now a central component of the Trump impeachment investigation.

      • Mulvaney Won’t Sue Over Impeachment, Declines to Cooperate

        White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday that he no longer plans to sue over the House impeachment proceedings and will instead follow President Donald Trump’s directions and decline to cooperate.

      • Sanford Suspends GOP Presidential Primary Challenge to Trump

        Mark Sanford dropped his challenge to President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, saying the focus on impeachment has made it difficult for his campaign to gain traction.

      • Donald Trump Jr. Is Actually Laughing

        It is the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration. Don Jr. joins his father for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, and Don Sr. lays a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. An Army bugler plays taps. “In that moment,” Don recalls in his new book, “Triggered,” he thought of “all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed,” including giving up bits of the family business.

      • Europe is ‘terrified’ ISIS fighters will go free if repatriated

        Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Saturday that Turkey would send captured ISIS members back to their home countries, and he complained about European inaction on the matter.

      • A Taliban escapee, an English baby – and the dramatic story that followed

        For the mullahs, the sin of teaching English was compounded by teaching boys and girls under the same roof. They bullied Shams – and his family – but he was undeterred.

      • Socked Into the Puppet-Hole on Wikipedia

        How a lowly WIRED columnist got caught up in a secret war at one of the world’s biggest websites.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • John Oliver Takes On SLAPP Suits And Anti-SLAPP Laws With A Grand Musical Number

        Ever since coal boss Bob Murray threatened and then sued John Oliver and HBO over their story mocking his supposed concern for coal miners, I’ve been publicly (and possibly privately*) bugging Oliver and his team at HBO to do an episode specifically about SLAPP lawsuits and anti-SLAPP laws. And I’m happy to say that they listened! This past Sunday, Oliver’s big story was all about SLAPP suits and anti-SLAPP laws, and focused again on Bob Murray, who finally dropped his case against Oliver and HBO earlier this year. It is well worth watching all the way up until the end…

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • FBI Asks Congress To Permanently Reauthorize The Phone Record Collection The NSA Voluntarily Shut Down

        Earlier this year, the NSA — after a few months of hedging — finally mothballed its phone record collection program. The modified phone metadata collection had posed problems for the NSA since its remodeling with the enactment of the USA Freedom Act, which forced the NSA to ask telcos for specific records, rather than just demanding they hand over everything on a rolling 90-day basis.

      • Russian ‘business patriotism’ group wants government registration for all Internet users

        The “Avanti” Entrepreneurs Association for the Development of Business Patriotism is asking Russia’s Parliament to introduce mandatory government registration for Internet access.

      • What Reporters Should Look For in Latest Facebook Document Leak

        NBC’s latest release of 7,000 pages of leaked internal Facebook documents has revealed how Facebook treated user data as leverage with external developers and spun anti-competitive moves as privacy improvements. As members of the press and civil society continue to inspect this massive volume of information in the documents, here are the most important things to look for from an antitrust and competition policy perspective.

        The first thing to look for is communications that help illustrate Facebook’s internal thinking about the market it operates in, its position, and the threats it faces. For any antitrust investigations around Facebook, one of the most relevant questions is how the company’s market itself is legally categorized and defined. Often companies facing scrutiny will argue that the market they operate in is enormous and diverse, with various competitors at all levels.

      • Federal Court: Suspicionless Border Searches Violate Journalists And Travelers’ Constitutional Right To Privacy

        A federal court declared that suspicionless border search policies employed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) violate the Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

        The United States District Court in Massachusetts also ruled that seizures of electronic devices, without “reasonable suspicion,” violate the Fourth Amendment.

      • Federal Court Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers’ Phones and Laptops Unconstitutional

        In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled today that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.“This ruling significantly advances Fourth Amendment protections for millions of international travelers who enter the United States every year,” said Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “By putting an end to the government’s ability to conduct suspicionless fishing expeditions, the court reaffirms that the border is not a lawless place and that we don’t lose our privacy rights when we travel.”“This is a great day for travelers who now can cross the international border without fear that the government will, in the absence of any suspicion, ransack the extraordinarily sensitive information we all carry in our electronic devices,” said Sophia Cope, EFF Senior Staff Attorney.The district court order puts an end to Customs and Border Control (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asserted authority to search and seize travelers’ devices for purposes far afield from the enforcement of immigration and customs laws. Border officers must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of illegal contraband before they can search a traveler’s device. The number of electronic device searches at U.S. ports of entry has increased significantly. Last year, CBP conducted more than 33,000 searches, almost four times the number from just three years prior.

      • Privacy Rights Group Demands Answers From Trump Administration on ‘Coercive’ DNA Testing at Border Crossings

        The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says the use of DNA testing “to establish family relationships in the refugee context…can have serious implications for the right to privacy and family unity.”

      • ‘Enormous Victory’: US Judge Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers’ Electronic Devices Unconstitutional

        “The court reaffirms that the border is not a lawless place and that we don’t lose our privacy rights when we travel.”

      • Court: Warrantless Searches of Phones Violate Fourth Amendment

        A federal court in Boston has ruled that warrantless U.S. government searches of the phones and laptops of international travelers at airports and other U.S. ports of entry violate the Fourth Amendment.

      • Copyright Professors Back ISP Charter to Avoid Dangerous Piracy Liability Precedent

        A group of 23 law professors are warning that a recent recommendation from a Colorado magistrate judge opens the door to unprecedented piracy liability risks. In addition to threatening Charter and other Internet providers, customers could be faced with privacy-invasive monitoring and permanent disconnections.

      • About the Apple Card

        I care about transparency and fairness. It’s why I was deeply annoyed to be told by AppleCard representatives, “It’s just the algorithm,” and “It’s just your credit score.” I have had credit in the US far longer than David. I have never had a single late payment. I do not have any debts. David and I share all financial accounts, and my very good credit score is higher than David’s. I had a career and was successful prior to meeting David, and while I am now a mother of three children — a “homemaker” is what I am forced to call myself on tax returns — I am still a millionaire who contributes greatly to my household and pays off credit in full each month. But AppleCard representatives did not want to hear any of this. I was given no explanation. No way to make my case.

      • Apple owns every mistake Goldman Sachs makes with its card

        Of course, you wouldn’t expect Goldman Sachs to apologize, because that could be used against it in the upcoming lawsuit. You also wouldn’t expect Goldman Sachs to apologize because it’s Goldman Effing Sachs, one of the architects of the housing crisis a decade ago that had to pay a $5 billion settlement and admit to a series of facts about how it misled investors.

        You know, the company that Apple partnered with to launch the Apple Card.

      • Google secretly swallowed health data of ‘tens of millions’ of Americans

        This data, which Google is said to be using to design new health-care focused software underpinned by its AI technology, was collected from “tens of millions” of US citizens across 21 states without patients or doctors having first been informed. As many as 150 Google staffers had access to the data, according to the report.

        Since the WSJ published its damning report, Google confirmed that it’s partnered with Ascension and moved quickly to quash privacy confirms, stating the deal is compliant with HIPAA, the federal law regulating the security and privacy of certain medical information.

      • The problem with Google’s health care ambitions is that no one knows where they end

        The problem is not the reporting; it’s that Google’s own ambitions in health care have no clear limits, which is something that Project Nightingale illustrates.

        At its core, this is a data deal. Google is centralizing patient information for Ascension, a nonprofit health care provider with thousands of facilities in 23 states. With the help of its cloud tools and G Suite, Google is collating Ascension patient data, including medication history, lab tests, and biographical information. This should improve treatment. In return, Google learns how to build its own medical tools, which it hopes to sell far and wide. As a creepy little extra spin, neither Google nor Ascension informed patients that their information was being used in this way — but this is completely legal, as Wired explains.

        Where things get murky is asking: what will Google do next? What does it do with this data, and what are its long-term ambitions with Ascension? According to the stories and press releases from yesterday, Google is doing the following: [...]

      • Why Facebook Passed on Buying the Predecessor to TikTok

        Facebook Inc. held talks over several months in 2016 to determine whether to buy Musical.ly, a rival app that would eventually evolve into global teen video sensation TikTok.

        Facebook ultimately walked away out of concern about the app’s young user base and Chinese ownership, according to a person familiar with the matter. But its interest back then may be pertinent to current government inquiries into Facebook’s history of pursuing and buying out competitors. Discussions started three years ago when Kevin Systrom, then chief executive officer of photo-sharing platform Instagram, visited Shanghai on an unrelated trip and met with Musical.ly’s founders, the person said. ByteDance Inc. — now the world’s largest startup — ended up acquiring the service for $800 million.

      • EFF Sues DHS to Obtain Information About the Agency’s Use of Rapid DNA Testing on Migrant Families at the Border

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today to obtain information that will shine a light on the agency’s use of Rapid DNA technology on migrant families at the border to verify biological parent-child relationships.In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) complaint filed today in federal court in San Francisco, EFF asked a judge to require DHS to disclose information about the agency’s deployment of Rapid DNA systems, including the number of individuals whose DNA has been collected, the accuracy of DNA matches, and the exact gene processing used to identify parent-child relationships. The lawsuit also seeks training materials, consent forms and privacy statements given to families, and locations of DHS’s Rapid DNA pilot programs.According to media reports, DHS, and its component Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), began a pilot program in May to conduct Rapid DNA testing on adults and children presenting themselves at the U.S. border. The purpose of the testing was to find individuals who were not related through a biological parent-child relationship and prosecute them for fraud. The pilot program then grew, with testing at seven locations at the U.S.-Mexico border. In June, DHS indicated that Rapid DNA testing is now part of the agency’s policy.DNA contains an extensive amount of sensitive personal information beyond mere identifying information and has the potential to reveal intensely private details about a person’s life. Rapid DNA is an automated system that produces DNA profiles in less than two hours from cheek swabs analyzed by a desktop machine. Rapid DNA testing has been criticized for failing to meet standards used by accredited DNA laboratories, with a Swedish report showing incorrect profiles and problems or errors in 36 percent of tests run on one particular Rapid DNA system.“Congress has never authorized ICE to conduct Rapid DNA testing on migrant families at the border, yet DHS has deployed this privacy-invasive technology without explaining how accurate the testing is, whether families can challenge the results, or how the program may be expanded in the future,” said EFF Staff Attorney Saira Hussain.One the most troubling aspects of the program is the government’s claim that the DNA testing is “voluntary.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • India Is Stifling Kashmir Journalists And Twitter Is Helping Get The Job Done

        India has expressed an interest in being considered a top-tier totalitarian state. Not content to let nearby nations claim all the glory in the “Terrible Places to Live” race, India has been stepping up its censorship and its domestic surveillance, presumably in hopes of being the next country to claim a coveted UN blacklist spot.

      • Wisconsin County Briefly Considers (Then Drops) Resolution To Threaten Journalists With Prosecution For Not Reprinting Entirety Of Gov’t Report

        It’s kind of stunning how frequently we see elected officials proposing things that are so blatantly unconstitutional that you wonder how they were proposed in the first place. Take, for example, a situation in southwest Wisconsin. Last week it was reported that the Lafayette County’s board would be considering a hilariously overbroad resolution that threatened to prosecute journalists if they did not report on the local “Review Board of the Water Quality Study.” The proposed resolution did not mince words, noting that it was put in place because of worries about “slander”:

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Causing ‘Profound’ Trauma, Trump Administration Detained Record-Breaking 70,000 Children in 2019

        “Does the U.S. provide mental health services for separated families who ask to be deported in order to reunite?”

      • A Refrain of ‘Drop the Charges’ Rises as Scott Warren Faces Retrial for Giving Aid to Migrants in Need

        “No one should die while attempting to migrate, and no one deserves to be punished for working to prevent those deaths.”

      • Ensuring All Get Aid During Humanitarian Crises

        Can you imagine living in a refugee camp and having to crawl to the latrine because it’s not accessible for you? Sadly, this is the reality for many people with disabilities and older people in countries experiencing conflict or natural disasters around the world.

      • For The Simple Cause Of Justice

        Chanting “Liberté Ou la Mort!” and bearing muskets, pitchforks and cane knives, over 500 black people marched 26 miles through former plantations in Louisiana this weekend to recreate this country’s largest but long-overlooked slave uprising.

      • Nigerian State Pushes to Keep Pregnant Girls in School

        Ekiti State in southwest Nigeria has adopted a policy to ban the expulsion of girls from schools during and after pregnancy, an important step in ending the longstanding discriminatory practice.

      • UAE: Political Detainees Languish Behind Bars

        The United Arab Emirates is hosting its second World Tolerance Summit as several activists are serving lengthy prison sentences following unfair trials, Human Rights Watch said today. The two-day conference on November 13 and 14, 2019 in Dubai under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE prime minister and the Dubai ruler, is part of UAE efforts to present itself as the “global capital of tolerance.”

      • The Sad Death of James Le Mesurier

        We should never forget that all human deaths are tragedies. No human is perfect and none is completely evil. Even the most wretched, snivelling excuse of a human being you can possibly imagine – say Ian Austin – has known a mother’s love. Le Mesurier leaves a wife and children who will be mourning. We should not forget that.

      • Girls as Young as 12 Were Strip-Searched in Australia

        From mid-2016 to mid-2019 in New South Wales, a state of 7.5 million people, 122 girls under the age of 18 were strip-searched in places outside police stations. Among them were two 12-year-olds and eight 13-year-olds. Searches of boys were not included in the data.

      • Treaties Between the United States and Indigenous Nations, Explained

        Treaties, and the U.S. government’s history of unilaterally breaching them, have had a profound effect on Native people. To be blunt, we were lied to. Treaties were used as a ruse to coax tribes out of defending their territory and to steal Native lands and resources.

        The U.S. made hundreds of treaties with Native nations. The list is exhaustive. I am Dakota and Lakota from the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), so I will focus on treaties that my people have signed with the government and how that has affected us.

      • Life Under Islamic State: Child Slaves

        As Islamic State militants lost their territorial holdings in Iraq and Syria, VOA chronicled the events through the words of the victims, in a 12-part series called “Life Under Islamic State.”

        Now, three years later, we bring you voices of victims who were silenced until recently. Officials estimate nearly 3,000 Yazidi people remain missing after being captured and enslaved by IS.

      • Border officials can’t have ‘boundless’ access to search devices, court rules

        The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that the searches were unconstitutionally invasive. Those searches have been widespread under the Trump administration, with border officials searching devices 15,000 times in the first half of 2017 alone.

        The court said in its ruling today that government interests are “paramount” at the border, but that “even border searches are not boundless.” Electronic searches of gadgets still must meet the reasonable suspicion standard — otherwise, they violate the privacy interests of travelers. (The plaintiffs had asked for the court to find that a warrant was required.)

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook Pay is a new payment system for WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook

        Facebook is launching a new payments system today, appropriately named Facebook Pay. It will be available across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and it’s designed to facilitate payments across Facebook’s popular social networks and apps. You’ll be able to use Facebook Pay to send money to friends, shop for goods, or even donate to fundraisers. The service will be separate from Facebook’s new Calibra wallet and the Libra network, and it’s “built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships,” according to the company.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Alice Doesn’t Block Good Patents, It Protects the Public By Requiring Real Invention

          Leaders of the Senate IP Subcommittee have been working, for nearly a year now, on producing some kind of legislation to weaken Section 101 of the Patent Act. Their proposal would throw out all the case law based on Section 101, including the Alice decision, which has been especially critical for keeping bogus software patents out of the system.

          They held three days of hearings on the Senate floor in June, but still haven’t presented a bill detailing the changes they want to make.  As we’ve explained before, weakening Section 101’s protections would be a disaster for innovation, and encourage patent trolls to squeeze money from small businesses.

      • Trademarks

        • The Color Magenta, Or How T-Mobile Thinks It Owns A General Color

          You might think that throwing a word like “magenta” into the Techdirt search engine wouldn’t get you any results. But you would be wrong about that and you’d be wrong entirely because of T-Mobile and its parent company Deutsche Telekom. See, Telekom has trademark rights in several countries for a very specific shade of magenta. And with those trademarks, Telekom rather enjoys threatening other businesses that dare to use anything that remotely looks like magenta in their trade dress, whether the color in question is actually magenta or not, and regardless of whether the other company is even a competitor or not.

      • Copyrights

Rebranding Malware and Spyware as ‘Linux’ to Dilute the Brand (and the News)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No, Nappa, it's a trap! I know, it's just more Microsoft proprietary software marketed as 'for Linux'

Summary: Signal-to-noise ratio continues to be reduced, as a lot of “Linux” news has nothing to do with GNU/Linux or even with Free software

Understanding Thierry Breton: In the Beginning…

Posted in Europe, Finance at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Understanding Thierry Breton

  • You are here ☞ Part 1: In the Beginning…
  • Part 2: “Mister Cash” Arrives at France Télécom
  • Part 3: Toxic Management Goes on Trial in France
  • Part 4: Moral Responsibility for “a Capitalism That Kills”?
  • Part 5: Chirac’s Entrepreneurial “Joker”
  • Part 6: The “Cost-Killer” Tries to Tame the National Debt
  • Part 7: “Rhodiagate” and the Vivendi Universal Affair
  • Part 8: Insider-Trading Scandal at EADS
  • Part 9: Noël Forgeard and His “Golden Parachute”
  • Part 10: What Thierry Did Next…
  • Part 11: Atos Healthcare – “The Ugly Face of Business”
  • Part 12: Thierry and the $100 Billion Man
  • Part 13: Socialising With the Elite
  • Part 14: More Influential Friends in High Places

Further parts pending review and research

Bretton's profile

Summary: Career roundup of Thierry Breton, possibly the next EU Commissioner

IN the course of a high-profile career which has spanned the worlds of business and politics since the 1990s, Thierry Breton has grown accustomed to rubbing shoulders with the great and good of the French elite.

But it wasn’t always plain sailing for the curly-haired computer whiz-kid who was born in Paris in 1955.

“He’s more of a second-rank “non-commissioned officer”, a hands-on “man of action” and ruthless “cost-killer” who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and who gets called in by the generals to act as a hatchet-man when there’s a job to be done.”Unlike his political patrons from UMP circles, Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepin and, more recently, Emmanuel Macron, Breton is not a graduate of the illustrious Ecole Nationale d’Administration and so he does not belong to the uppermost echelons of the French administrative and political elite.

He’s more of a second-rank “non-commissioned officer”, a hands-on “man of action” and ruthless “cost-killer” who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and who gets called in by the generals to act as a hatchet-man when there’s a job to be done.

Bretton in white coat
A hands-on “man of action” and ruthless “costkiller” who gets called in to act as a hatchet-man when there’s a job to be done.

To appreciate Breton’s career, it is helpful to bear in mind that France’s economic and political leadership are closely intertwined under an economic policy called “dirigisme”, in which technocratic elites from government, finance and industry, all products of the grandes écoles, move with ease between the public and private sectors and confer closely amongst each other to “optimise economic conditions” – mostly for their own benefit as you might have guessed.

“Breton’s career got off to an inauspicious start when he failed his entrance exams to the grandes écoles, France’s elite institutions of higher education.”Breton is probably best understood as a state-sponsored entrepreneurial poster-boy whose renommé has been carefully built up and inflated to mythical proportions by the political establishment.

This iconic figure is wheeled out at regular intervals as part of a public spectacle designed to maintain the carefully cultivated façade of a meritocratic land of “Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité” which masks the ugly truth of the rule by stealth of a patrician plutocratic elite.

Bretton, LEF
The Land of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity where some animals are more equal than others.

Breton’s career got off to an inauspicious start when he failed his entrance exams to the grandes écoles, France’s elite institutions of higher education.

Bretton when young
Young Thierry failed to make the grade for the elite grandes écoles.

Instead he had to make do with attending the far less prestigious École Supérieure d’Électricité for engineering in Paris from where he went on to teach mathematics and information technology at the Lycée Francais, a French high school in New York City, from 1979 to 1981.

“Instead he had to make do with attending the far less prestigious École Supérieure d’Électricité for engineering in Paris from where he went on to teach mathematics and information technology at the Lycée Francais, a French high school in New York City, from 1979 to 1981.”His first foray into the business world came in 1981, when he became chairman and CEO of Forma Systèmes, a systems-analysis and software-engineering concern, where he remained until 1986.

He then took a position as a consultant to the French Ministry of Education and Research and from 1986 to 1990 he occupied himself designing the Futuroscope open-air science and technology theme park in Poitiers under the patronage of the prominent Gaullist politician René Monory.

In 1990 Breton became the CEO of CGI Group, a service-development company. He stayed at CGI until 1993, when he got his first big break as the French government hired him to become deputy director of the Bull Group, the troubled French computer manufacturer.

Breton’s restructuring brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy and it allowed the young executive to claim his first successful corporate recovery.

“After taking over at Thomson, he closed low-performing factories in Germany and the U.S., moving production to Latin America and Eastern Europe, and he slashed U.S. management ranks by 20 percent.”In 1997 Breton was named chairman and CEO of France’s Thomson Multimedia, a government-owned consumer-electronics company that sold televisions and VCRs under the Thomson, Kenwood, and RCA names and which was tottering on the verge of collapse.

A year before his appointment, Thomson had been in such a shambles that France’s prime minister had failed in his efforts to unload the company on the South Korean Daewoo for a single franc.

Breton was an aggressive CEO and he quickly gained a name as a ruthless “cost-killer” who was not afraid to face down objections to his plans.

After taking over at Thomson, he closed low-performing factories in Germany and the U.S., moving production to Latin America and Eastern Europe, and he slashed U.S. management ranks by 20 percent.

He used share offerings to generate case and also diversified the company’s businesses, bringing Thomson into interactive television, electronic publishing, and the Internet, as well as the higher-margin business of digital film-editing services.

“Some industry analysts believed that Breton received too much credit for the Thomson turnaround, saying the company’s recovery had more to do with agreements made before Breton came on board.”By 1999 Thomson was turning a $230 million profit on sales of $6.5 billion. By the time Breton left in 2002, revenues had increased by more than 80 percent and Thomson was outperforming Sony, Matsushita, and Philips, its major consumer-electronics competitors.

Some industry analysts believed that Breton received too much credit for the Thomson turnaround, saying the company’s recovery had more to do with agreements made before Breton came on board.

For instance, when Thomson bought RCA from General Electric in 1988, the French company agreed to let General Electric keep RCA’s patents for 10 years as part of the purchase agreement. Thomson started to reap significant revenues from these patents from 1999 onwards. By 2001, patents and licensing earnings were generating € 398.8 million for the company.

Breton dismissed his critics by insisting that the Thomson’s recovery was due to his reorganisation plans and that it had been under way well before the RCA patent revenues started coming in.

Others criticized Breton for the problems the computer-maker Bull Group ran into during the early 2000s, suggesting that the troubles stemmed from Breton’s earlier tenure at the helm of that company.

But whatever the truth may be, Breton had succeeded in cementing his reputation in the public eye as France’s “turnaround king”.

By 2002 Breton’s reputation as France’s “turnaround king” was firmly established.

And so it came as no surprise when the French government decided to call on his services once again in 2002, this time to rescue the ailing France Télécom. We will take a look at this important milestone in his career in part 2.

Startpage Has Been Delisted, But it Ought to be Blacklisted

Posted in Deception, Search at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Startpage hypocrisy

Summary: Startpage has just warned its fans (I am a former fan) of what Startpage itself covertly became months back

YOU CAN’T make this stuff up!

More irony?

Startpage tweeted: “What does the internet know about you? Companies are amassing your data — like food orders and Airbnb messages — and selling the analysis to clients. Here’s how to get a copy of what they have on you. cc: @nytimes @kashhill https://nytimes.com/2019/11/04/business/secret-consumer-score-access.html”

Does Startpage try hard to distract from what it did? This is at least the second time in a week!

“I wonder how people can find out what information Startpage’s new owner/investor System1 has on them,” one reader of ours joked, noting that “Startpage is now officially de-listed by http://privacytools.io,” as explained in this blog post by an admin:

We reached out to System1 CEO Ian Weingarten for an explanation. We received a very general response that did not address key questions.

Seemingly prompted by our ongoing concerns, Startpage released a public letter addressed to us from their CEO, and hosted a Q&A on their Subreddit to try and explain the situation. While some of our questions were answered, we noted that the company seemed to be evasive, essentially restating information from a previously published blog post or posting the same response to different questions. People had to really dig to get answers and puzzle all information together, instead of getting a clearly explained and comprehensive answer from the start. Requests for clarification to some important questions went ignored.

Because of the conflicting business model and the unusual way the company reacted, claiming to be fully transparent but being evasive at the same time, we have no choice but to de-list Startpage from our recommendations until it is fully transparent about its new ownership and data processing.

From what we’ve been able to gather, one should assume the worst; their reluctance to clarify means that they prefer uncertainty and confusion over reality itself. Moreover, they’ve already admitted who put the finger in the pie. It’s System1, laughably disguised as ‘Privacy One Group’ and connected to banks.

Facepalm Bear: We sold to a surveillance company because we value your privacy


Links 12/11/2019: Plasma 5.17.3, More Intel Defects, Bytecode Alliance

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • GitHub report surprises, serverless hotness, and more industry trends

          Now, let’s discuss how developers can use Quarkus to bring Java into serverless, a place where previously, it was unable to go. Quarkus introduces a comprehensive and seamless approach to generating an operating system specific (aka native) executable from your Java code, as you do with languages like Go and C/C++. Environments such as event-driven and serverless, where you need to start a service to react to an event, require a low time-to-first-response, and traditional Java stacks simply cannot provide this. Knative enables developers to run cloud-native applications as serverless containers in seconds and the containers will go down to zero on demand.

          In addition to compiling Java to Knative, Quarkus aims to improve developer productivity. Quarkus works out of the box with popular Java standards, frameworks and libraries like Eclipse MicroProfile, Apache Kafka, RESTEasy, Hibernate, Spring, and many more. Developers familiar with these will feel at home with Quarkus, which should streamline code for the majority of common use cases while providing the flexibility to cover others that come up.

        • When Quarkus Meets Knative Serverless Workloads

          Daniel Oh is a principal technical product marketing manager at Red Hat and works CNCF ambassador as well. He’s well recognized in cloud-native application development, senior DevOps practices in many open source projects and international conferences.

        • Making things Go: Command Line Heroes draws infrastructure

          Most of our episodes feature languages that have clear arcs. “The Infrastructure Effect” was different. By all accounts, COBOL is a language heading the way of Latin. There are only a few specialists who are proficient COBOL coders. But it’s still vital to many long-lasting institutions that affect millions: the banking industry, the IRS, and manufacturing. And the world of tech infrastructure is moving on—to Go. Where does that leave COBOL in the next few years? And how do you tease all of that in an image?

          We had to decide what visual themes could we use to depict each language—and then, how to combine them into a single, coherent frame. COBOL and Go have a similar function, so we wanted to make sure each language had clear, distinct imagery. We decided to rely on some of their real-world applications: the bank and subways for COBOL, and the cloud-based applications for Go.

        • Using the Red Hat OpenShift tuned Operator for Elasticsearch

          I recently assisted a client to deploy Elastic Cloud on Kubernetes (ECK) on Red Hat OpenShift 4.x. They had run into an issue where Elasticsearch would throw an error similar to:

          Max virtual memory areas vm.max_map_count [65530] likely too low, increase to at least [262144]
          According to the official documentation, Elasticsearch uses a mmapfs directory by default to store its indices. The default operating system limits on mmap counts are likely to be too low, which may result in out of memory exceptions. Usually, administrators would just increase the limits by running:

          sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144
          However, OpenShift uses Red Hat CoreOS for its worker nodes and, because it is an automatically updating, minimal operating system for running containerized workloads, you shouldn’t manually log on to worker nodes and make changes. This approach is unscalable and results in a worker node becoming tainted. Instead, OpenShift provides an elegant and scalable method to achieve the same via its Node Tuning Operator.

        • bcc-tools brings dynamic kernel tracing to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1

          In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1, Red Hat ships a set of fully supported on x86_64 dynamic kernel tracing tools, called bcc-tools, that make use of a kernel technology called extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF). With these tools, you can quickly gain insight into certain aspects of system performance that would have previously required more time and effort from the system and operator.

          The eBPF technology allows dynamic kernel tracing without requiring kernel modules (like systemtap) or rebooting of the kernel (as with debug kernels). eBPF accomplishes this while maintaining minimal overhead for each trace point, making these tools an ideal way to instrument running kernels in production.

        • What open communities teach us about empowering customers

          When it comes to digital transformation, businesses seem to be on the right track improving their customers’ experiences through the use of technologies. Today, so much digital transformation literature describes the benefits of “delivering new value to customers” or “delivering value to customers in new ways.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 8 great podcasts for open source enthusiasts

        Where I live, almost everything is a 20- or 30-minute drive from my home, and I’m always looking for ways to use my car time productively. One way is by listening to podcasts on topics that interest me, so as an open source enthusiast, I subscribe to a variety of open source-related podcasts.

        Here are eight Linux and open source podcasts that I Iook forward to every week.

      • LHS Episode #310: DMR Deep Dive

        Welcome to Episode 310 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts take an in-depth look at the world of Digital Mobile Radio, otherwise known as DMR. It’s a topic that could take volumes or multiple episodes but the idea here is to give you enough information to understand the basics of the technology, acquire appropriate hardware and get on the air using digital FM. We hope that has been accomplished. Thank you for listening.

      • Brunch with Brent: A Chat with Jill Bryant Ryniker | Jupiter Extras 31

        Brent sits down with Jill Bryant Ryniker, long time linux aficionado, for a connective conversation exploring her deep involvement in linux and open source, from community to professional animation and more.

        Jill wears many complimentary hats, a few of which include: co-host of Linux Weekly Daily Wednesday. regular community guest on Linux Unplugged, Linux Chicks LA co-organizer, professional animator and teacher, …and more! Grab a seat and join us..

      • Automate Your Server Security With GrapheneX

        The internet is rife with bots and bad actors trying to compromise your servers. To counteract these threats it is necessary to diligently harden your systems to improve server security. Unfortunately, the hardening process can be complex or confusing. In this week’s episode 18 year old Orhun Parmaksiz shares the story of how he and his friends created the GrapheneX framework to simplify the process of securing and maintaining your servers using the power and flexibility of Python. If you run your own software then this is definitely worth a listen.


        The internet is rife with bots and bad actors trying to compromise your servers. To counteract these threats it is necessary to diligently harden your systems to improve server security. Unfortunately, the hardening process can be complex or confusing. In this week’s episode 18 year old Orhun Parmaksiz shares the story of how he and his friends created the GrapheneX framework to simplify the process of securing and maintaining your servers using the power and flexibility of Python. If you run your own software then this is definitely worth a listen.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel Gets Mitigations For TSX Aync Abort Plus Another New Issue: iITLB Multihit

        The Linux kernel has just received its mitigation work for the newly-announced TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA) variant of ZombieLoad plus revealing mitigations for another Intel CPU issue… So today in addition to the JCC Erratum and ZombieLoad TAA the latest is iITLB Multihit (NX) – No eXcuses.

        The mainline Linux kernel received mitigations for ZombieLoad TAA that work in conjunction with newly-published Intel microcode. The mitigations also now expose /sys/devices/system/cpu/vulnerabilities/tsx_async_abort for reporting the mitigation status plus a new tsx_async_abort kernel parameter. With the TAA mitigation, the system will clear CPU buffers on ring transitions.

      • LinuxBoot Continues Maturing – Now Able To Boot Windows

        LinuxBoot is approaching two years of age as the effort led by Facebook and others for replacing some elements of the system firmware with the Linux kernel.

        Chris Koch of Google presented at last month’s Platform Security Summit 2019 on the initiative. The Platform Security Summit 2019 took place at the start of October at Microsoft’s facilities in Redmond. LinuxBoot in recent months has been able to begin booting Windows 10, which is related to the recent reports on kexec’ing Windows from Linux. But not only is Windows booting but VMware and Xen are also now working in a LinuxBoot environment.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarks Of JCC Erratum: A New Intel CPU Bug With Performance Implications On Skylake Through Cascade Lake

        Intel is today making public the Jump Conditional Code (JCC) erratum. This is a bug involving the CPU’s Decoded ICache where on Skylake and derived CPUs where unpredictable behavior could happen when jump instructions cross cache lines. Unfortunately addressing this error in software comes with a performance penalty but ultimately Intel engineers are working to offset that through a toolchain update. Here are the exclusive benchmarks out today of the JCC erratum performance impact as well as when trying to recover that performance through the updated GNU Assembler.

        The microcode update prevents jump instructions from being cached in the Decoded Icache when those instructions cross a 32-byte boundary or where they end on a 32-bit boundary. Due to that change there will be more misses from the Decoded ICache and switches back to the legacy decode pipeline — resulting in a new performance penalty. The Decoded ICache / Decoded Streaming Buffer has been around since Sandy Bridge but only Skylake and newer is affected by this erratum. Cascade Lake is affected by this erratum but Ice Lake and future iterations appears unaffected. The erratum notice officially lists Amber Lake, Cascade Lake, Coffee Lake, Comet Lake, Kaby Lake, Skylake, and Whiskey Lake as affected generations for the JCC bug.

    • Applications

      • Growing the Linux app Ecosystem at LAS 2019

        The third Linux Application Summit (LAS) kicks off this week in Barcelona, Spain. Formerly organised under the GNOME project, known as Libre Application Summit, the new LAS is a joint effort between the KDE and GNOME projects. The aim of the conference is to encourage the growth of a vibrant Linux application ecosystem. Canonical are proud sponsors of LAS 2019, and are sending along a team to represent Ubuntu and Snapcraft.

        The volunteers on the organising committee each have a long history in the Linux application community. They’ve all worked on platforms and infrastructure to enable new software development for Linux. I took some time to chat with some of the team, and what LAS means for them.

        Aleix Pol, representing KDE, has worked on Linux applications for a while, and is hopeful for increased collaboration between application developers and platform maintainers. Aleix told me; “While we [GNOME and KDE] are sizeable organisations, we have massive tasks at hand. We need to create an environment where people can come and create their solutions for all of us.”

        This applies both for application developers and those who work primarily on the platforms themselves. He continued; “With GNOME, we share pieces of software, we share users and we even share some of our dreams. Meeting, talking and collaborating can only be beneficial”. Aleix also highlighted the benefits of meeting in person at events like LAS, “There’s a very different kinds of visitor. The ones who have been around will be putting faces to nicknames and having these discussions that IRC and mailing lists can’t sustain”.

      • “Wireshark For The Terminal” Termshark 2.0 Adds Stream Reassembly, Piped Input And Dark Mode

        Termshark, a Wireshark-like terminal interface for TShark written in Go, was updated to version 2.0.0. This release includes support for dark mode, piped input, and stream reassembly, as well as performance optimizations that make the tool faster and more responsive.

      • Proprietary

        • OnlyOffice, the Open Source Office Suite Apis Now Available on Flathub

          Big fan of productivity software? If so, you may be interested to know that the OnlyOffice Desktop Editors are now available on Flathub.

          Yes, Flathub, aka the de facto app store for Flatpak, the cross-distro containerised app distribution method.

        • ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors Now Available To Install On Linux From Flathub

          ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, a free and open source office suite that offers text, spreadsheet and presentation editors for the Linux, Windows and macOS desktops, is now available on Flathub for easy installation (and update) on Linux distributions that support Flatpak.

          Flathub is an app store and build service for Linux that distributes applications as Flatpak packages, which allows them to run on almost any Linux distribution.

          ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors allows creating, viewing and editing text documents, spreadsheets and presentations with support for most popular formats like .docx, .odt, .xlsx., .ods, .pptx, .csv and .odp. Its website claims it has the “highest compatibility with Microsoft Office formats”.

        • How to get Microsoft core fonts on Linux

          Linux is an open-source operating system. As a result, it is missing some critical components that users of proprietary operating systems enjoy. One big thing that all Linux operating systems miss out on is proprietary fonts.

          The most used proprietary fonts out there today are the Microsoft Core Fonts. They’re used in many apps, development, and even graphics design projects. In this guide, we’ll go over how to set them up on Linux.

          Note: not using Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, or OpenSUSE? Download the generic font package here and install the fonts by hand.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Epic Games acquires Quixel with its enormous library of 3D and 2D assets

        Epic Games have reached down the back of the sofa and pulled up enough loose change to acquire Quixel.

        For those not familiar, Quixel are responsible for some seriously high quality 3D and 2D assets and their pretty well-known for their “Megascans”. These super-high quality assets are used in plenty of AAA games, films and more. Some of what they’ve made is truly impressive too and Quixel have well over ten thousand assets people can use with a huge assortment of items.

        Since they’re now owned by Epic, their library of assets are being made completely free to Unreal Engine users. Ten of these high-res packs have already been made free on the Unreal Engine Marketplace, with more coming in future. However, they’re not stopping developers using them elsewhere and for those who are, the subscription prices have been lowered and the resolution cap was removed.

      • Gravity Ace, a gorgeous retro 2D twin-stick shooter that looks like Thrust on some serious steroids

        Thrust is that you? Gravity Ace, a new pixel-art twin-stick shooter in development by John Watson is looking quite incredible and it’s coming to Linux.

        Being made in the FOSS game engine Godot Engine, it’s actually inspired by both the classics Thrust and Gravitar. Obviously graphically a huge amount better since they’re pretty old, Gravity Ace certainly looks like it will get quite intense and you can even try it out right now.

      • How To: Fix American Truck Simulator not displaying on Linux with the latest update

        It seems the latest update of American Truck Simulator has come with a few issues, like the Linux version playing audio but seemingly displaying nothing. Here’s a fix for you.

        Curiously, it grabs your cursor and plays audio as if it’s working. However, when you ALT+TAB (at least on the KDE desktop), it will then show a very tiny window so it seems something is wrong with how they’re initially detecting screens since the latest update.

      • How to Play PSP Games in Linux with PPSSPP

        PPSSPP is one of the easiest to use PSP emulators. Theoretically, you can run it, select a game file, and almost immediately you’ll see most of PlayStation Portable’s titles run on your screen without a hitch.

        Learn how you can install PPSSPP in Linux and customize how it works. If you have a powerful computer, you can also implement upgrades that can dramatically improve how all games are presented and perform in PPSSPP.

      • We Happy Few for Linux and Mac being refunded, to get an “unofficial” beta

        After a long road, the waiting on We Happy Few for both Linux and Mac is about to come to an end. Not the happiest of endings either.

        Originally funded on Kickstarter back in 2015 for $334,754 CA, Linux and Mac support was then announced for We Happy Few after the campaign had started. In 2017, it was announced that Compulsion Games teamed up with Gearbox Publishing to complete it.

      • Tremendous looking 2D action game Helvetii confirmed to be coming to Linux

        After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the supremely stylish 2D action game Helvetii has now been confirmed to be launching with Linux support next year.

        While their crowdfunding campaign didn’t initially confirm Linux support, after it finished they announced that after evaluating it they’ve decided to do it and they “had actually quite a lot of demand” for it too. They said supporting Linux is “actually little work on our end (and we do have the ability to test it), we thought that we might as well do it”.

      • Wx3 Labs looking into Linux support for Starcom: Nexus

        Starcom: Nexus from Wx3 Labs is a striking looking open-world space action adventure and they’ve been looking into getting it running on Linux.

        In a post on Steam, one of the team noted they’re using Unity making it possible but “some testing and fixes are expected”. They went over attempting to test with a live Linux USB stick which has enabled them to see it running, and they mentioned to reply to post if you have the game and want to test the Linux version.

      • Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 21

        Prepare for a fistful of news, as the Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 21 has arrived to go over some recent interesting topics to allow you to keep up with all the news.

        For those just joining, this is a quick take roundup on recent Linux gaming news. Meant for those who struggle to keep up or just want a little Linux gaming news on the go. Audio-only files and feed links below the video.

      • Interrogation: You will be deceived to arrive on Linux on December 5

        Critique Gaming and Mixtvision have announced that their immersive noir-styled psychological detective-thiller with conversational puzzles, Interrogation: You will be deceived, is going to release on December 5.

        Previously covered here on GamingOnLinux back in August, after it caught my eye with the incredible rotoscoped almost-monochrome art. You are tasked with saving the city from a terrorist plot by interrogating suspects as the clock ticks down. To do so, you have to mix between interrogations and managing your team’s reputation with time running out.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • digiKam Image Organizer 6.4.0 Released with 14 New Plugins

          The free and open-source digiKam image organizer and tag editor released version 6.4.0 a few days ago with extended DPlugins interface.

        • Kdenlive 19.08.3 is out

          The last minor release of the 19.08 series is out with a fair amount of usability fixes while preparations are underway for the next major version. The highlights include an audio mixer, improved effects UI and some performance optimizations. Grab the nightly AppImage builds, give it a spin and report any issues.

        • Plasma 5.17.3

          Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.17.3. Plasma 5.17 was released in October 2019 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

          This release adds a fortnight’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include…

        • KDE Plasma 5.17.3 Desktop Environment Released with More Than 40 Bug Fixes
        • Here’s KDE Plasma Mobile Running on the PinePhone Open Source Linux Smartphone

          KDE developer Bhushan Shah posted today on Twitter a photo of his PinePhone open source Linux-powered smartphone from PINE64 running the latest KDE Plasma Mobile, which is mostly an open-source user interface designed for small screens, like those on phones and tablets.

          KDE Plasma Mobile is currently available from various Linux OS makers, including KDE neon, Debian GNU/Linux, and postmarketOS. Of all three, KDE neon is the recommended choice for installing a Linux-based operating system on a supported devices to run the latest KDE Plasma Mobile user interface.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.64 Released

          Sunday marked the release of KDE Frameworks 5.64 as the latest monthly update to this collection of libraries complementing Qt5.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.64.0

          November 10, 2019. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.64.0.

          KDE Frameworks are over 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks web page.

          This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • How many openSUSE fans want a name change? The answer is 42…and it’s not enough

          openSUSE fans can rest easy that their lovingly curated swag remains relevant, after the community behind the Linux distribution voted against a proposal to change the project’s name.

          Community leaders had turned to the people – or at least interested members of the openSUSE community – following debate on whether the project should reconstitute itself as a new legal entity, such as a community.

          This had unsurprisingly led to discussion over the openSUSE name and trademarks – SUSE and the SUSE logo are trademarks of SUSE LLC, the commercial company that champions the project and its open source operating system.

          So, a straightforward proposal was put to the community: Do we change the project name?

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora status updates: October 2019

          The Fedora Silverblue team was not able to get the necessary changes into Fedora 31 to support having Flatpak pre-installed. They are looking at the possibility of re-spinning the Silverblue ISO to incorporate the changes. But they did update the Fedora 31 Flatpak runtime. The team updated the Flatpak’ed GNOME applications to GNOME 3.34 and built them against the Fedora 31 runtime.

        • Upgrade Fedora 30 to Fedora 31
        • Fedora Women’s Day (FWD) 2019
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS- Expected Release Date & More

          Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS: As we are closing to the end of 2019, eyes go to the next releases from Canonical in 2020. A lot is going to happen for Ubuntu users in 2020 and it is going to start with the release of Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS, the next update for the Bionic Beaver before the final Ubuntu 18.04.5 LTS on August 2020. From Release Schedules of Canonical, it is been noted that the LTS(Long Term Support) versions get updated releases every six months once and hence after the release on Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS that happened on August 2018, we can expect Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS on the first week of February 2020.

        • Volla Phone Promises to Support Ubuntu Touch, Gets Kickstarter Campaign

          Founded by Dr. Jörg Wurzer, an experienced entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in research and development in user experience, machine learning, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and product management, Volla Phone promises to be a privacy-focused mobile phone powered by a free and open source operating system.

          At its heart, the Volla Phone device will use Nemo Mobile, an OS based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) promising increased security and privacy features, as well as simplicity for the everyday user. For developers, Volla Phone also promises to support an alternative, free, and open-source operation system like Ubuntu Touch.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 open source plugins for Flutter apps

        Flutter is the newest addition to Google’s programming cadre. Following the success of Android, Kotlin, and Golang, Flutter was created as a cross-platform application development language. It is primarily based on the Dart programming construct and is considered to be the next big programming paradigm because its code can run as a mobile app, a web app, and even a desktop app without any major changes. Supposedly it will support Google’s upcoming Fuschia operating system.

        Flutter plugins are simple dependencies that extend the language’s capabilities. This list of the top five open source Flutter plugins includes both user interface (UI)-related and function-related plugins.

      • Events

        • GStreamer Conference 2019
        • GStreamer Conference 2019 Videos Now Available Online

          Taking place at the end of October during the Linux Foundation events in Lyon, France was the GStreamer Conference to align with the annual developer festivities.

          GStreamer Conference 2019 was once again livestreamed by the fantastic folks at Ubicast.tv with their great quality video/audio recordings of the conference now for many years.

        • Event report: Google Summer of Code presentation in Ankara, Turkey

          The Google Summer of Code – aka GSoC – is a global programme focused on bringing more student developers into free and open source software development. In 2019, LibreOffice was once again a participating project, and we describe the results here.

        • Qt World Summit 2019

          We also had a dedicated table for our mobile effort where we showcased our KDE apps for Android and of course Plasma Mobile. The latter of which we had running on a good ol’ Nexus 5X and more importantly the Librem 5 Dev Kit by Purism. Unfortunately, the Pinephone developer kits we were hoping to show as well weren’t shipped in time for the event. Anyway, if you’re interested in learning more about what’s going on with Plasma Mobile go check out our new weekly blog series!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • CSS in librsvg is now in Rust, courtesy of Mozilla Servo

            Summary: after an epic amount of refactoring, librsvg now does all CSS parsing and matching in Rust, without using libcroco. In addition, the CSS engine comes from Mozilla Servo, so it should be able to handle much more complex CSS than librsvg ever could before.

          • Librsvg Continues Rust Conquest, Pulls In CSS Parsing Code From Mozilla Servo

            For about three years now GNOME’s SVG rendering library has been transitioning to Rust. This library, librsvg, now makes further use of Rust around its CSS parsing code and Mozilla’s Servo is doing some of that heavy lifting.

            Librsvg is employing the CSS engine from Mozilla’s Servo engine in order to be written in Rust while also having the benefit of being able to handle more complex CSS code than the previous implementation.

          • Mozilla partners with Intel, Red Hat and Fastly to take WebAssembly beyond the browser

            Mozilla, Intel, Red Hat and Fastly today announced the launch of the Bytecode Alliance, a new open-source group that focuses on “creating new software foundations, building on standards such as WebAssembly and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI).”

            Mozilla has long championed WebAssembly, the open standard that allows browsers to execute compiled programs in the browser. This allows developers to write their applications in languages like C, C++ and Rust and have those programs execute at native speed, all without having to rely on JavaScript, which would take much longer to parse and execute, especially on mobile devices.

            Today, support for WebAssembly is part of all the major browser engines. Companies like Figma and Autodesk have experimented with it or are using it in production. I do not get the sense that mass adoption of the technology is near, though, and the barrier to entry is high for most developers. Indeed, today’s announcement probably marks the first time I’ve heard about WebAssemly this year.

          • Announcing the Bytecode Alliance: Building a secure by default, composable future for WebAssembly

            Today we announce the formation of the Bytecode Alliance, a new industry partnership coming together to forge WebAssembly’s outside-the-browser future by collaborating on implementing standards and proposing new ones. Our founding members are Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat, and we’re looking forward to welcoming many more.

          • New Bytecode Alliance Brings the Security, Ubiquity, and Interoperability of the Web to the World of Pervasive Computing

            The Bytecode Alliance is a newly-formed open source community dedicated to creating new software foundations, building on standards such as WebAssembly and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI). Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat are founding members.

            The Bytecode Alliance will, through the joint efforts of its contributing members, deliver a state-of-the-art runtime environment and associated language toolchains, where security, efficiency, and modularity can all coexist across the widest possible range of devices and architectures. Technologies contributed and collaboratively evolved through the Alliance leverage established innovation in compilers, runtimes, and tooling, and focus on fine-grained sandboxing, capabilities-based security, modularity, and standards such as WebAssembly and WASI.

          • Mozilla + Intel + Red Hat Form The Bytecode Alliance To Run WebAssembly Everywhere

            Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat have announced the Bytecode Alliance as a new initiative built around WebAssembly and focused on providing a secure-by-default bytecode that can run from web browsers to desktops to IoT/embedded platforms.

            “Together, we’re putting in solid, secure foundations that can make it safe to use untrusted code, no matter where you’re running it—whether on the cloud, natively on someone’s desktop, or even on a tiny IoT device,” announced Mozilla.

          • Extensions in Firefox 71

            Firefox 71 is a light release in terms of extension changes. I’d like to tell you about a few interesting improvements nevertheless.

            Thanks to Nils Maier, there have been various improvements to the downloads API, specifically in handling download failures. In addition to previously reported failures, the browser.downloads.download API will now report an error in case of various 4xx error codes. Similarly, HTTP 204 (No Content) and HTTP 205 (Reset Content) are now treated as bad content errors. This makes the API more compatible with Chrome and gives developers a way to handle these errors in their code. With the new allowHttpErrors parameter, extensions may also ignore some http errors when downloading. This will allow them to download the contents of server error pages.

          • Mozilla plays role in Kenya’s adoption of crucial data protection law

            The Kenyan Data Protection and Privacy Act 2019, was signed into law last week. This GDPR-like law is the first data protection law in Kenyan history, and marks a major step forward in the protection of Kenyans’ privacy. Mozilla applauds the Government of Kenya, the National Assembly, and all stakeholders who took part in the making of this historic law. It is indeed a huge milestone that sees Kenya become the latest addition to the list of countries with data protection related laws in place; providing much-needed safeguards to its citizens in the digital era.

            Strong data protection laws are critical in ensuring that user rights are protected; that companies and governments are compelled to appropriately handle the data that they are entrusted with. As part of its policy work in Africa, Mozilla has been at the forefront in advocating for the new law since 2018. The latest development is most welcome, as Mozilla continues to champion the 5 policy hot-spots that are key to Africa’s digital transformation.

          • Tracking Diaries with Tiffany LaTrice Williams

            In Tracking Diaries, we invited people from all walks of life to share how they spent a day online while using Firefox’s privacy protections to keep count of the trackers that tried to follow them.

            Whenever you’re online, a multitude of third parties attempt to record what you’re doing, largely without your knowledge or consent. Creepy! That’s why Firefox has turned the tables, letting you block and see the trackers. Read on to find out how many trackers tried to trail Tiffany LaTrice Williams throughout his day, and how she felt about it.

      • Linux Foundation

        • See you at KubeCon!

          It’s that time of year again! We’re getting ready to head on out to San Diego for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA. For me, KubeCon always makes for an exciting and jam-packed week.

        • Amazon Web Services, Genesys, Salesforce Form New Open Data Model

          To accelerate digital transformation, organizations in every industry are modernizing their on-premises technologies by adopting cloud-native applications. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), global spend on cloud computing will grow from $147 billion in 2019 to $418 billion by 2024. Almost half of that investment will be tied to technologies that help companies deliver personalized customer experiences.

          One major challenge of this shift to cloud computing is that applications are typically created with their own data models, forcing developers to build, test, and manage custom code that’s necessary to map and translate data across different systems. The process is inefficient, delays innovation, and ultimately can result in a broken customer experience.

        • The Linux Kernel Mentorship program was a life changing experience

          Operating systems, computer architectures and compilers have always fascinated me. I like to go in depth to understand the important software components we depend on! My life changed when engineers from IBM LTC (Linux Technology Center) came to my college to teach us the Linux Kernel internals. When I heard about the Linux Kernel Mentorship program, I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of it to further fuel my passion for Linux.

          One of the project in the lists of projects available to work during the Linux Kernel Mentorship program was on “Predictive Memory Reclamation”. I really wanted the opportunity to work on the core kernel, and I began working with my mentor Khalid Aziz immediately during the application period where he gave me a task regarding the identification of anonymous memory regions for a process. I learned a lot in the application period by reading various blogs, textbooks and commit logs.

          During my mentorship period, I worked to develop a predictive memory reclamation algorithm in the Linux Kernel. The aim of the project was to reduce the amount of time the Linux kernel spends in reclaiming memory to satisfy processes requests for memory when there is memory pressure, i.e not enough to satisfy the memory allocation of a process. We implemented a predictive algorithm that can forecast memory pressure and proactively reclaim memory to ensure there is enough available for processes.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Huobi’s ‘Regulator-Friendly’ Blockchain Goes Open Source

          Huobi Chain, the regulator-facing public blockchain of exchange Huobi Group, is now open source and publicly available to all developers on GitHub, the firm said Tuesday.

          Nervos, a blockchain development startup, is providing part of the technical infrastructure for the project.

          The firms are developing pluggable components for the network that could enable regulators to supervise contract deployments, asset holdings and transfers, as well as the enforcement of anti money laundering regulations, Bo Wang, a Nervos researcher, told CoinDesk.

          The components will also allow financial institutions, such as banks and regulatory agencies, to freeze assets and accounts in case of emergencies via sidechains, according to Wang.

        • Is Open Source Broken?

          The movement to develop software applications and all manner of IT services through the open source model is fundamentally rooted in the notion of community contribution, but things have shifted.

        • Managing all your enterprise’s APIs with new management gateways for review
      • BSD

        • HEADS UP: ntpd changing [in OpenBSD]

          Probably after 6.7 we’ll delete the warning. Maybe for 6.8 we’ll remove -s and -S from getopt, and starting with those options will fail.


        • GNU Guix: Spreading the news

          Developers keep adding crazy features, fixing bugs, and generally improving things. But how good is it if users aren’t aware of these new things? As an example, since June, our build farm has been offering lzip-compressed binaries, which results in better performance when installing software. But to take advantage of that, users need to be aware of its existence, and they need to upgrade their Guix daemon. Likewise, how do we get people to learn about the new guix deploy command that’s now available at their fingertips, about security issues that were fixed, about important infrastructure changes, new options added to existing commands, and so forth?

          Our (frustrating!) experience has been that release notes, blog posts, and mailing list announcements aren’t quite enough to get the word out. There’s always people who’ll miss important info and realize when it’s already late, sometimes too late. Hence this simple idea: wouldn’t it be nice if important information would reach users right in their terminal?


          Since it was applied a bit more than a month ago, we’ve already put the news mechanism to good use on quite a few occasions: giving users instructions on how to deal with locales after the last glibc upgrade, giving them upgrade info for CVE-2019-18192, telling them about new command-line options, and more.

          In parallel, given that reading the mailing lists is akin to “drinking from a fire hose” as they say, Christopher Baines has been thinking about how to provide regular development updates to interested users and developers. Chris announced last week a prototype of a “Guix Weekly News” web site that would aggregate information about package updates automatically extracted from the Guix Data Service, along with manually written updates. It would seem that this service could readily grab info from channel news as well.

        • Hang out with the FSF staff in Seattle, November 15

          We are hosting this get-together to show our appreciation for your support of the FSF’s work and to provide an opportunity to meet other FSF members and supporters in the area. We’ll give updates on what the FSF is currently working on and we are curious to hear your thoughts, as well as answer any questions you may have.

      • Programming/Development

        • Thinking Recursively in Python

          In this course, you’ll learn about recursion. Recursion is a powerful tool you can use to solve a problem that can be broken down into smaller variations of itself. You can create very complex recursive algorithms with only a few lines of code.

        • How to encode categorical features with scikit-learn (video)

          In order to include categorical features in your Machine Learning model, you have to encode them numerically using “dummy” or “one-hot” encoding. But how do you do this correctly using scikit-learn?

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #394 (Nov. 12, 2019)
        • Plumbing Kubernetes CI/CD with Tekton

          Our first DevNation Live regional event was held in Bengaluru, India in July. This free technology event focused on open source innovations, with sessions presented by elite Red Hat technologists.

          In this session, Kamesh Sampath introduces Tekton, which is the Kubernetes-native way of defining and running CI/CD. Sampath explores the characteristics of Tekton—cloud-native, decoupled, and declarative—and shows how to combine various building blocks of Tekton to build and deploy a cloud-native application.

        • Coverage 5.0 beta 1

          I want to finish coverage.py 5.0. It has some big changes, so I need people to try it and tell me if it’s ready. Please install coverage.py 5.0 beta 1 and try it in your environment.

          I especially want to hear from you if you tried the earlier alphas of 5.0. There have been some changes in the SQLite database that were needed to make measurement efficient enough for large test suites, but that hinder ad-hoc querying.

        • How to get current date and time in Python?

          In this article, you will learn to get today’s date and current date and time in Python. We will also format the date and time in different formats using strftime() method.

          There are a number of ways you can take to get the current date. We will use the date class of the datetime module to accomplish this task.

        • RcppAnnoy 0.0.14

          A new minor release of RcppAnnoy is now on CRAN, following the previous 0.0.13 release in September.

          RcppAnnoy is the Rcpp-based R integration of the nifty Annoy library by Erik Bernhardsson. Annoy is a small and lightweight C++ template header library for very fast approximate nearest neighbours—originally developed to drive the famous Spotify music discovery algorithm.

          This release once again allows compilation on older compilers. The 0.0.13 release in September brought very efficient 512-bit AVX instruction to accelerate computations. However, this could not be compiled on older machines so we caught up once more with upstream to update to conditional code which will fall back to either 128-bit AVX or no AVX, ensuring buildability “everywhere”.

        • The Royal Mint eyes fresh IT talent to power digital drive

          The Royal Mint has been manufacturing coins for 1,100 years, originally from the Tower of London and, since 1967, from its current site in South Wales. Today, it is the world’s largest export mint, printing 3.3 billion coins and blanks a year, and now is looking to expand its digital reach to serve retail customers online.

        • Google plans to give slow websites a new badge of shame in Chrome

          A new badge could appear in the future that’s designed to highlight sites that are “authored in a way that makes them slow generally.” Google will look at historical load latencies to figure out which sites are guilty of slow load times and flag them, and the Chrome team is also exploring identifying sites that will load slowly based on device hardware or network connectivity.

        • Moving towards a faster web

          In the future, Chrome may identify sites that typically load fast or slow for users with clear badging. This may take a number of forms and we plan to experiment with different options, to determine which provides the most value to our users.

          Badging is intended to identify when sites are authored in a way that makes them slow generally, looking at historical load latencies. Further along, we may expand this to include identifying when a page is likely to be slow for a user based on their device and network conditions.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • The Maturing of QUIC

          QUIC continues to evolve through a collaborative and iterative process at the IETF — of adding features, implementing them, evaluating them, reworking or discarding them because they don’t stand up to continued scrutiny, and refining them. And in doing so, QUIC has matured in more ways than we imagined, yielding a protocol that is remarkably different and substantially better than it was in the beginning. So, keeping your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, let us take you on this journey of how QUIC has gone from an early experiment to a standard poised to modernize the [Internet].

  • Leftovers

    • Risks with renting your home PC to FluidStack for “up to $50/month”

      FluidStack is a service that wants to rent your PC and internet connection and pays “up to 50 USD per month”. This may be an especially tempting offer if you’re short on cash and want to make some no-effort passive income. However, you may want to reconsider FluidStack’s offer if you spend a little more time reading the fine print.

      Last week, I discussed how the company behind the network-attached storage (NAS) appliance Cubbit plans to operate a datacenter from your home. Cubbit is a relatively expensive piece of hardware and I called them out for wanting to use the hardware you bought to make even more money from you and your internet connection. FluidStack’s promise of “up to $50 per month” compensation sure puts Cubbit’s business plan in perspective.

      FluidStack requires that your PC is powered on and idle at least 12 hours a day, and that it’s connected to a residential internet service provider (ISP). If you’ve got more PCs then they’ll only pay you per unique residential IP address. As I discussed in the article on Cubbit, it’s your residential IP address that holds the true value to these companies.

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Fedora (community-mysql, crun, java-latest-openjdk, and mupdf), openSUSE (libssh2_org), and SUSE (go1.12, libseccomp, and tar).

      • New ZombieLoad Side-Channel Attack Variant: TSX Asynchronous Abort

        In addition to the JCC erratum being made public today and that performance-shifting Intel microcode update affecting Skylake through Cascade Lake, researchers also announced a new ZombieLoad side-channel attack variant dubbed “TSX Asynchronous Abort” or TAA for short.

        ZombieLoad / MDS (Microarchitectural Data Sampling) was announced back in May by researchers while today Cyberus Technology has announced a new variant focused on Intel processors with TSX (Transactional Synchronization Extensions). TSX Asynchronous Abort is a new ZombieLoad variant that was actually discovered back as part of Cyberus’ originally discoveries but faced an extended embargo.

      • SUSE addresses Transactional Asynchronous Abort and Machine Check Error on Page Size Changes issues

        Today Intel and security researchers published a number of security
        issues covering various Intel hardware and software components.
        Intel has published an overview of those issues in a blog article.
        SUSE is providing updates to mitigate two new Intel CPU issues out of the above list.

      • Red Hat Responds to ZombieLoad v2 Security Vulnerabilities Affecting Intel CPUs

        Red Hat informes Softpedia today on a series of three new security vulnerabilities affecting the Intel CPU microarchitecture, but which have been already patched in the Linux kernel.

        The three new security vulnerabilities are CVE-2018-12207 (Machine Check Error on Page Size Change), CVE-2019-11135 (TSX Asynchronous Abort), as well as CVE-2019-0155 and CVE-2019-0154 (i915 graphics driver-related vulnerabilities). These are marked by Red Hat Security team as having an important and moderate security impact, which could allow attacker to gain read access to sensitive data, and which affects all supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.

      • Ubuntu updates to mitigate latest Intel hardware vulnerabilities

        Today, Intel announced a group of new vulnerabilities affecting various Intel CPUs and associated GPUs, known as TSX Asynchronous Abort (CVE-2019-11135), Intel® Processor Machine Check Error (CVE-2018-12207), and two Intel i915 graphics hardware vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-0155, CVE-2019-0154).

        TSX Asynchronous Abort (TAA) is related to the previously announced MDS vulnerabilities but only affects Intel processors that support Intel® Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX). Due to the similarity between this issue and MDS, the mitigations for MDS are sufficient to also mitigate TAA. As such, processors which were previously affected by MDS and which have the MDS microarchitectural buffer clearing mitigations employed are not affected by TAA. For newer processors which were not affected by MDS, but which support Intel® TSX, TAA is mitigated in Ubuntu by a combination of an updated Linux kernel and Intel microcode packages which disable Intel® TSX. Where TSX is required, this can be re-enabled via a kernel command-line option (tsx=on) and in this case, the kernel will automatically employ microarchitectural buffer clearing mechanisms as used for MDS to mitigate TAA.

        Intel® Processor Machine Check Error (MCEPSC, also called iTLB multihit) is a vulnerability specific to virtualisation, where a virtual machine can cause a denial of service (system hang) to the host processor when hugepages are employed. This is mitigated in Ubuntu with an updated Linux kernel.

      • This week’s hardware vulnerabilities

        A set of patches has just been pushed into the mainline repository (and stable updates) for yet another set of hardware vulnerabilities. “TSX async abort” (or TAA) exposes information through the usual side channels by way of internal buffers used with the transactional memory (TSX) instructions. Mitigation is done by disabling TSX or by clearing the relevant buffers when switching between kernel and user mode. Given that this is not the first problem with TSX, disabling it entirely is recommended; a microcode update may be needed to do so, though. This commit contains documentation on this vulnerability and its mitigation.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Reclaiming Armistice Day

        Today, as many narratives swirl around veterans and the military, I am reminded how much work is still needed to “unlearn” the toxic narratives that have been ingrained into our subconscious as a society.  Engrained messages and societal norms that we must unlearn tell us that a man must behave a certain way to be considered masculine, women must be quiet to be considered

      • How the Syrian Democratic Forces Were Suddenly Transformed into “Kurdish Forces”

        That wars end very differently to our own expectations – or our plans – was established long ago. That “we” won the Second World War did not mean the Americans would win the Vietnam war, or that France would vanquish its enemies in Algeria. Yet the moment we decide who the good guys are, and who the evil monsters whom we must destroy, we relapse again into our old mistakes.

      • In the Looming Shadow of Civil War
      • A Doubtful Proposition

        “Whether nuclear weapons are actually illegal under international or domestic law (a doubtful proposition) is not relevant or an appropriate issue to litigate in this case,” so ruled Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, late on Friday October 18.

      • A Veterans Day Worth Celebrating

        Once upon a time, a U.S. president told his people they were fighting “a war to end all wars.” Only a handful of centenarians could possibly remember the false pretexts used to sell the “Great War” to the populace and how that same president imposed draconian “peace” conditions that made the even bloodier second World War all but inevitable. A self-proclaimed progressive, President Woodrow Wilson not only ditched his anti-war credentials but suppressed free speech, the free press under the Espionage Act and civil liberties more generally. Peaceful war opposition became a crime, and many activists were jailed. Sound familiar?

      • Cadet Bone Spurs Tells the People He Rips Off, Trash Talks, Exploits and Blocks They Are Why the Nation Thrives In Freedom, and It Does Not Go Well

        So the guy whose slimy daddy got him five free passes from our imperial wars, whose party has blocked 56 veterans’ bills, who’s stolen millions from vets’ charities, trash-talked Gold Star families, blocked 500,000 VoteVets members, tried to ban disabled vets from selling their sad wares near his gold palace and once evicted a vet with a therapy dog was just booed and shunned

      • Most Iraq and Afghanistan Vets now Regret the Mission

        “Trump’s Opposition to ‘Endless Wars’ Appeals to Those Who Fought Them” read the headline above a front-page story by Jennifer Steinhauer in the New York Times November 1. The percentage of vets deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan who disapprove of US intervention there has almost doubled since 2011! Key excerpts follow.

      • Gambia Brings Genocide Case Against Myanmar

        The Gambia’s case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for violating the Genocide Convention, filed on November 11, 2019, will bring the first judicial scrutiny of Myanmar’s campaign of murder, rape, arson, and other atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, 10 nongovernmental organizations said.

      • Helping Students Keep Their Humanity by Not Signing Up for War

        On this Veterans Day, 2019, for the United States, making war is less about amassing human air, land and sea forces to attack “the enemy” as it is increasingly about amassing technological superiority in which machines replace humans enabling politicians and corporate bosses to pursue their goals without the pesky problem of waves of homeward-bound body bags and caskets.

      • And the Armies That Remained Suffer’d: Veterans, Moral Injury and Suicide

        I was very pleased to see the New York Times editorial on November 1, 2019, Suicide Has Been Deadlier than Combat for the Military. As a combat veteran myself and someone who has struggled with suicidality since the Iraq war I am grateful for such public attention to the issue of veteran suicides, particularly as I know many who have been lost to it.

      • ‘Highly Disturbing’ Pentagon Document Shows US Military Surveilling Groups Protesting Family Separation

        “Cataloging individuals protesting government policy creates serious risk of abuse, and even without misconduct, monitoring protesters is likely to chill the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

      • Bigotry and Ideology in India and Kashmir: the Legacy of the Babri Masjid Mosque

        With the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973, (which authorizes an executive magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than four people in any area), in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, mainland India gets a small smattering of what Kashmir has been facing since August 5.

      • One Step Closer to Justice for Murdered Thai Activist

        A Thai court has approved arrest warrants for Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn and three other forestry officials in connection with the abduction and murder of the prominent ethnic Karen human rights defender Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, known widely as “Billy,” in April 2014.

      • Turkey’s Other Weapon Against the Kurds: Water

        “This dam is a weapon against the lowlands,” said Ulrich Eichelmann, a German ecologist and conservationist and head of the Austrian NGO RiverWatch, over the phone from Vienna. “It was planned and is now being built in a way they can hold back the whole Tigris for a long time. If you see water as a weapon, dams are the new cannons. Iraq has the oil, Turkey has the water, and sometimes, it’s much better to have the water.”

      • Three performers stabbed on stage during play in Saudi capital

        A Yemeni man stabbed three performers during a live play in the Saudi capital Monday, police said, in the first such attack since the ultra-conservative kingdom began easing decades-old restrictions on entertainment.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Caught in the net: The FishRot Files

        TWO Namibian ministers and a managing director of a multinational investment company have been named in a fishing scheme that allegedly paid N$150 million kickbacks.

        Wikileaks documents pinpointed fisheries minister Benhard Esau, justice minister Sacky Shanghala and businessman James Hatuikulipi as masterminds of a Namibian fishing licence donated to the Angolan government but ended up benefiting a few individuals.

      • Fishrot Files – Part 1

        Today WikiLeaks publishes over 30,000 documents (the first of two batches) it has obtained from a whistleblower within SAMHERJI, a multinational fishing company based in Iceland. They appear to expose corrupt schemes by the company in Namibia to gain access to rich fishing grounds off the African country’s shores.

        The documents are dated from 2010 to 2016, the period during which the company gained its foothold in Namibia. SAMHERJI has now become the biggest single recipient of fishing quotas in the country. The documents (which include e-mails, internal reports, spreadsheets, presentations and photos) expose how the company paid senior Namibian officials and politicians millions of dollars in order to ensure growing and continued access to the country’s resources.

        It also exposes that lofty promises by SAMHERJI, to build infrastructure in the country and create jobs, were never fulfilled. On the contrary, the company used its international corporate structure to transfer proceeds from the operations straight out of the country. This appears to have been done through intermediaries it controls in Cyprus and in the tax-haven of Mauritius.

        Today’s released files also demonstrate how these same tools were used to transfer funds to a hidden account which was set up by SAMHERJI in Dubai for the apparent purposes of transferring kick-backs to the corrupt entities in Namibia.

        SAMEHRJI currently has operations in Iceland, Germany, Poland, U.K., the Faroe Islands, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal as well as Namibia. The company has been fast growing in the last two decades and has a turnover over 700 Million USD.

      • An Icelandic fishing company bribed officials in Namibia and used Norway’s largest bank to transfer 70 million dollars to a tax haven

        Iceland’s biggest fishing company, Samherji, transfered more than 70 million dollars through a shell company in the tax haven Marshall Islands from 2011 to 2018. Samherji transferred the money through bank accounts in Norway´s largest bank DNB NOR. The bank’s largest shareholder is the Norwegian state, which holds a 34 percent stake in the bank.

        The money consisted partly of proceeds from Samherji´s questionable and possibly unlawful operations in Namibia where the company bribes officials to get secure access to fishing quotas. The company in the Marshall Islands was used to pay salaries to the crews of Samherjis factory trawlers . These trawlers fished horse mackerel in Mauritania, Morocco and Namibia.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • ‘Strong Majority’ of Hearst Magazines Staffers Vote to Form One of the Media Industry’s Biggest Unions

        “This is how people who craft content ensure that their voices are heard and their workplace needs are met.”

      • Corporate Mammon: Amazon and the Seattle Council Elections

        An enduring US political tradition was in evidence in Seattle recently. Amazon had decided that the city council elections would be too important to leave alone. Seattle was their city after all. The aim of the company was much in keeping with the manor lord who prosecutes keen poachers: fund pro-business candidates sympathetic to its cause and defeat such Amazon critics as Kshama Sawant in their home town.

      • The Billionaire Class Won’t Go Quietly

        The extremely rich Americans who are now frantically trying to figure out how to intervene in the Democratic presidential campaign make me wonder how different they are from the animated character who loved frolicking in money and kissing dollar bills while counting them. If Uncle Scrooge existed as a billionaire in human form today, it’s easy to picture him aligned with fellow plutocrats against the “threat” of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

      • Why Billionaires Don’t Really Like Capitalism

        Capitalism doesn’t work well with monopolies, insider-trading, political payoffs, fraud, and large amounts of inherited wealth. Billionaires who don’t like Sanders’s and Warren’s wealth tax should at least support reforms that end these anti-capitalist advantages.

      • Class War Violence: Centralia 1919

        The Centralia American Legion and the leading businessmen of that city had more than a parade in mind when they gathered on November 11, 1919, to celebrate Armistice Day. Apparently believing that the spectacle of political violence would enhance the patriotic experience, they concocted a plan to raid the Centralia IWW Hall. IWW halls were of great practical and symbolic importance to workers. As Wobbly activist and historian Ralph Chaplin explains, the halls were loved by workers, but despised by employers. These “churches of the movement,” as public historian Robert Weyeneth called them, represented the closest thing to a home for many wandering IWW members.

      • The Dubious Case of Washing Machines and Student Performance

        On its face, it seems insane, but we are living in the most insane of times! The mayor of Providence, Rhode Island has been thwarted in his effort to install washing machines in local public schools. The mayor read that a school district in another state had installed washing machines in its schools and that it had encouraged some students to attend classes because the machines had eliminated the stigma of wearing dirty clothes to school. Dirty clothes, or insufficient clothing, in a society of such unparalleled wealth is difficult to comprehend, unless readers take into account the massive level of income inequality in the contemporary US.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Foreigners visiting China are increasingly stumped by its cashless society

        Technically, it’s illegal for Chinese merchants to refuse payment in cash, but this rule is hardly ever enforced, and China has been sprinting to a cashless society that requires mobile devices — not credit-cards — to effect payments, even to street hawkers.

        This has lots of implications for privacy, surveillance, taxation, and fairness, but in the short term, the biggest impact is on visitors to China, who are increasingly unable to buy anything because they lack Chinese payment apps like Wechat, and even when they install them, the apps’ support for non-Chinese bank accounts and credit cards is spotty-to-nonexistent.

      • Study: Social Media a Double-Edged Sword for Female Politicians

        A recently published study by a Washington think tank indicates that women in public office — or those seeking it, whether in the United States or abroad — are increasingly bypassing traditional media, relying instead on social media to bolster their image and broadcast their message in a more nuanced and unfiltered way.

        According to Wilson Center Global Fellow Lucina Di Meco, who authored the study for the organization’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, social media enables female leaders to connect directly with constituents and allows them to be “authentic, to really go beyond very scripted images that we had seen in the past, to really try and show a little bit more of themselves.”

        Based on 88 interviews with female leaders from 33 countries, Di Meco’s research indicates that, despite a highly toxic media environment, female candidates often have been able to use both Twitter and Facebook to support their political ambitions by creating a robust network of online support.

      • Microsoft to follow landmark California privacy law nationwide [iophk: not as magnanimous as it may try to look. what was the alternative otherwise, two editions of each program and service?]

        Microsoft on Monday announced that it intends to follow California’s landmark online privacy law nationwide when it goes into effect next year, a move that comes as federal efforts to draw up the country’s first comprehensive privacy law have stalled.

      • Microsoft vows to ‘honor’ California’s sweeping privacy law across entire US

        In a Monday blog post, Julie Brill, Microsoft’s chief privacy officer, said that the company will extend the main principles of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) across the US just as it did with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year. The law goes into effect in California on January 1st, 2020.

        CCPA, which was approved in June 2018, is one of the fiercest and most sweeping data privacy regulations in the US. It’s somewhat similar to GDPR. Under CCPA, companies must disclose to users what personal data of theirs is being collected, whether it is sold and to whom, and allow users to opt out of any sales. Users must also have access to their data and be able to request that a company delete it.

      • ‘When Will Someone Go to Jail?’: New Report Shows Google Secretly Storing Health Data of Millions of Americans

        According to The Wall Street Journal, neither patients nor doctors have been notified of the data collection and storage.

      • Google reveals ‘Project Nightingale’ after being accused of secretly gathering personal health records

        The Wall Street Journal’s Rob Copeland wrote that the data amassed in the program includes “lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, complete with patient names and dates of birth,” and that as many as 150 Google employees may have had access to the data.

        The New York Times corroborated much of the report later in the day, writing that “dozens of Google employees” may have access to sensitive patient data, and that there are concerns that some Google employees may have downloaded some of that data.

      • Google Is Slurping Up Health Data—and It Looks Totally Legal

        On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported details on Project Nightingale, Google’s under-the-radar partnership with Ascension, the nation’s second-largest health system. The project, which reportedly began last year, includes sharing the personal health data of tens of millions of unsuspecting patients. The bulk of the work is being done under Google’s Cloud division, which has been developing AI-based services for medical providers.

      • How Blockchains Can Cause Severe Privacy Issues

        Blockchains are a very important part of IoT. With ledgers and activities being stored across hundreds of thousands of devices, it may become the main way we store critical information in the future.

        There is one element of blockchains that goes relatively unnoticed. How long does data stored on a blockchain remain there? If many copies of a blockchain are spread across devices, and data isn’t deleted between them, does this mean we’re entering a future of permanent information?

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Uber CEO Under Fire for Downplaying Saudi Kingdom’s Murder of Khashoggi as a ‘Mistake’

        “Not only is he running cover for the Saudi government by saying the pre-planned murder of a Washington Post writer was a ‘mistake,’ he compares the murder of a human being to Uber making a tech glitch.”

      • Uber CEO on Saudi murder of journalist: “We’ve made mistakes too”

        Primack challenged his comparison of a political assassination, as described in a CIA report, to the presumptively accidental killing of a pedestrian by a self-driving car.

      • Uber CEO: Time to Forgive the Saudis for Murdering That Journalist

        Here, Primack attempted to explain why an analogy between someone being killed by a faulty self-driving car and someone being dismembered via bone saw maybe wasn’t entirely apt. “The CIA didn’t suggest that they made a mistake and that it was an oversight, like with self-driving that was basically a bad censor, correct? The CIA suggested the Crown Prince had a role in ordering the assassination. It’s a different thing. You guys didn’t intentionally run somebody over.”

      • Tech’s transportation companies keep bending the knee to Saudi Arabia

        The conference, colloquially known as Davos in the Desert, was taking place at the same Ritz-Carlton that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman used as a prison in late 2017 during his massive power grab. The conference also became a political flashpoint last year, as a number of companies and executives backed out from participating following Khashoggi’s initial disappearance and assumed murder at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

        None of this stopped those three executives, though.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Is There Anything the Media Won’t Blame on Millennials?

        In recent times, media have taken a great interest in highlighting and even generating intergenerational fighting. One example is the focus on the “OK boomer” meme, a witty two-word comeback gaining popularity on the internet. “OK boomer” is a pithy, cutting retort millennials (those born between 1981–96) and Generation Z (those “Zoomers” born even later than 1996) give to those born during the baby boom (1946–64). The digital equivalent of an eye roll, it conveys that the speaker considers the person being addressed to be obtuse, stubborn and out of date.

      • The Worm in the Apple

        The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      • “They Want to Be Treated Like Men and Women, Not as a Subhuman”

        As a community organizer with the criminal justice advocacy organization Silicon Valley De-Bug, Jose Valle helps incarcerated people and their families navigate the justice system. This includes both people in county jails, designed to briefly hold inmates awaiting trial or serving short terms, and in prisons that house people convicted of felonies and sentenced to years behind bars. In recent years, Valle has been hearing a surprising refrain from people being held in California’s Santa Clara County jails.

        “All the time we hear these guys telling us, ‘I can’t wait to go to prison,’” he said at a recent event held by ProPublica, The Sacramento Bee and the Stanford Criminal Justice Center at Stanford Law School. “I don’t think that’s what realignment was about.”

      • The Secret of Cuba’s Success: International Solidarity

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You’ve Gotta Go When You’ve Gotta Go

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO Management Has Gotta Go

Summary: How most staff of the European Patent Office (EPO) feels these days

Teaser: Thierry Breton and His Disquieting Past

Posted in Europe at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previously: EPO and EU: People Behind the Faces

Thierry Breton caricature
Political caricature showing Leonardo da Vinci designing the perfectly balanced EU Commissioner who bears an unmistakable resemblance to Thierry Breton

Summary: “The company attracted notoriety and loathing in the UK for its role in assessing disability benefit eligibility.”

Techrights recently took note of a tweet from Benjamin “ZooBab” Henrion criticising the nomination of Thierry Breton by Emmanuel Macron as a candidate for the position of EU Commissioner in charge of industrial policy:

“Many readers will not be au fait with the minutiae of French politics, so it seems like a good opportunity have a closer look at Thierry Breton and what the implications of his appointment as EU Commissioner might be.”“Thierry Breton nomination is bad news for software freedom, ex-CEO of Technicolor/Thomson who was collecting royalties over MP3. Plus he seems to be in the Battistelli/EPO sphere…”

“ZooBab” is on the ball with this one but – whether he realises it or not – he has only touched on the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Many readers will not be au fait with the minutiae of French politics, so it seems like a good opportunity have a closer look at Thierry Breton and what the implications of his appointment as EU Commissioner might be.

“He still has to face a hearing by members of the EU Parliament before any appointment is approved.”Before going any further it should be emphasised that the proposed appointment is not yet a done deal. As things stand at the time of writing, Breton has only been nominated as the preferred candidate of the French government.

He still has to face a hearing by members of the EU Parliament before any appointment is approved.

There is already speculation that Breton’s candidacy may become a cropper in the same way that Macron’s initial candidate Sylvie Goulard was rejected by the EU Parliament on “ethical grounds” after facing awkward questions about her employment of a European parliamentary assistant on national political duties and her lucrative salary from a US-based think-tank while she sat as an MEP.

“Some time later this month Breton is expected to face a “grilling” by EU parliamentarians in connection with various controversies related to his business activities, in particular his role as CEO of the dubious French multinational Atos, an “IT services” conglomerate.”The EU parliamentary jury is still out in Breton’s case but there is growing disquiet about a candidate who has been described as “brilliant, very smart” with “a lot of ideas” but also “a man of utmost arrogance” whose ego has “harmed him a lot in his career”.

Some time later this month Breton is expected to face a “grilling” by EU parliamentarians in connection with various controversies related to his business activities, in particular his role as CEO of the dubious French multinational Atos, an “IT services” conglomerate.

UK readers might recall that Atos was one of the main corporate recipients of government largesse in the area of public service “outsourcing” which reached its peak during the ConDem government of “Captain” Cameron and “Corporal” Clegg.

The company attracted notoriety and loathing in the UK for its role in assessing disability benefit eligibility.

Thierry Breton crimes

So, ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat-belts and watch this space as we commence our exploration of the high-octane career of the French whizz-kid entrepreneur-politician and wannabe EU Commissioner Thierry Breton…

EPO and EU: People Behind the Faces

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When they say EPO breaks the law. So they alter the lighting.

Summary: It’s no secret that the EPO breaks the law and European officials have taken no concrete steps to intervene; to make matters worse, potentially new EPO allies may soon be put in charge of the EU Commission

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has been run mostly by French people in recent years. Battistelli is the best (or worst) known example and his successor António Campinos is also French (born there, studied there, mother is French, has French nationality). Last year we made this image just to make a point:

French EPO

Some of Techrights’ upcoming posts may seem political in nature, but this is not deliberate; it’s the only way to explain particularly obscene (for lack of a better term) aspects of EPO corruption. France needs to arrest more than just Battistelli and ‘Sarko’. It is a national embarrassment and if not properly tackled it will tarnish the national brand and harm France’s status in the EU. This point was explained already by French politicians, who had themselves been worried and repeatedly warned about it.

“One part (number 17) will look at Breton’s connections to Battistelli and the EPO.”
A new series about Thierry Breton is about to kick off. “We have been busy working on a new series,” told us the authors, who in our experience have a sterling record. “It’s about Macron’s latest nomination for EU Commissioner, Thierry Breton.”

Readers would be well aware (if they paid attention) that we are pro-EU. This series is not an attack on the EU.

“This is a subject with a lot of mileage and the material which we have gathered has been spread out over a total of 18 parts,” the authors clarified.

We are going to start later today with a teaser and the first 14 parts are good to go. We’ll set the pace of publication according to current events. Sometimes particular issues or facts arise in response to something we publish. We’ll try to take these into account. We’ll listen rather than just preach with our ears shut. “There is still some work needed on the last four parts,” the authors said. “One part (number 17) will look at Breton’s connections to Battistelli and the EPO.”

“A lot of readers in the “Anglosphere” may not be familiar with Thierry Breton although they have probably heard something about Atos where he was CEO from 2008 onwards.”
We mentioned these before, but only in passing and only in social control media. This needed exploring and fact-checking.

“We realise that this is a “political” rather than a “technical” subject,” the authors said, “but it might be of interest to Techrights readers judging by Benjamin Henrion’s comment here.

“A lot of readers in the “Anglosphere” may not be familiar with Thierry Breton although they have probably heard something about Atos where he was CEO from 2008 onwards. This recent article helps to explain why the Breton nomination is so controversial.”

From the article:

After seeing his first pick for Commissioner rejected by the European Parliament due to concerns of conflict of interests, French President Macron seems to have doubled down with a potentially even more controversial nomination: Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos.

If approved, this would likely be the first time that a CEO was chosen to join the College of Commissioners, a move more reminiscent of the Trump administration than the EU civil service. There is a striking and massive overlap between the interests of the company Breton headed and the remit of the Internal Market portfolio Macron has negotiated for him, including industrial policy, defence, tech and space. This overlap creates a maze of potential conflicts of interest that would be very difficult to solve.


Atos has also been one of the main recipients of EU funding from the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (EU-LISA), to build what have been called “virtual walls”. These are IT systems that control, monitor and survey people at the EU’s external borders. According to the Transnational Institute, these programmes use “stringent controls following generalised threat assessments based on biometrics and features, not in the least skin colour”. Moreover such border control systems can also be seen as trial runs for a possible later deployment in the general population.

An internet monitoring system dubbed ‘Eagle’, which was developed by Atos’ subsidary, Bull, is even now the focus of an investigation by the Paris Prosecutor’s office. The system was sold to various repressive regimes including the Khadaffi regime in Libya, Ben Ali’s Tunisia and the Moroccan secret service, allowing them to monitor citizens and journalists. Breton was a board member of Bull.

If Breton is approved by the European Parliament he would now become responsible for steering EU policy in these areas. The mission letter assigned to Commissioner-designate Breton would put him in charge of investing in technologies like “blockchain, high-performance computing, algorithms, and data-sharing and data-usage tools”; “defining standards for 5G networks”; coordinating an “European approach on artificial intelligence and on the new Digital Services Act”; and, finally, building a real single market for cybersecurity”.


This would not be Breton’s first spin through the revolving door between private and public, between regulated and regulator. He had already previously been plucked from France Telecom (now Orange) in 2005 to become France’s Finance Minister. He stayed in this role for two years. Directly after leaving he took a job at the Rothschild Bank as a senior advisor and within one year he was appointed CEO of Atos.

Breton is a typical member of the French economic and political elites: 35% of the CEOs of companies listed in the Paris Stock Exchange (CAC40) come from the two top universities, which typically train most of the country’s senior politicians and high officials (the Ecole Nationale d’Administration, where Macron studied, and – the Polytechnique, from which Breton graduated), and the Board members of publicly listed French companies have the highest rate of simultaneous mandates in boardrooms among European countries.

There’s lots more in that article. It’s rather fascinating, but we’ve taken particular interest in his past when it comes to patents.

“Because Breton is being lined up by Macron for a key position on the EU Commission,” the authors of our series wrote, “the issue is a “live” one where there is still time to contact MEPs to ask questions/raise objections about his nomination.”

“If the Breton nomination gets approved by the EU Parliament, then that would give Macron and his clique two key levers of EU policy (the ECB and the Commissioner responsible for industrial policy).”
There are also familiar faces that are connected to Battistelli.

“It is worth noting that an old “buddy” of Breton’s, namely Christine Lagarde, has already been parachuted in as head of the European Central Bank by Macron,” the authors noted.

“If the Breton nomination gets approved by the EU Parliament, then that would give Macron and his clique two key levers of EU policy (the ECB and the Commissioner responsible for industrial policy).”

This series takes a great deal of work and preparation. If errors are found along the way, they will be corrected. As always, readers’ input is more than welcome.

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