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08.20.19

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Has the Full Support of Techrights

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 9:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Our support for the FSF is strong enough that we want to occasionally suggest improvements; there are growing frictions designed to isolate the FSF and cause self-restraint/censorship

A publication from the Free Media Alliance, “Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic,” is being published here this week (with support and encouragement from its author). The thoughts expressed therein and the analysis offered in that series isn’t Techrights‘ although parts of these concerns are shared. For instance, we’ve long argued that the FSF is failing to keep up with growing, deepening and emergent threats. On many of these issues the FSF — and RMS personally — has been entirely silent. It means that the stance on those issues is a mystery, subjected only to guesswork and speculations.

“…we’ve long argued that the FSF is failing to keep up with growing, deepening and emergent threats.”A little over a decade ago, just before Peter Brown left the FSF (this video of his was possibly his last) I contacted him regarding an opening in the campaigns ‘department’. He said that the job was available only to people who were US/Boston-based. I had no intentions of leaving England. But the point is, my support for the FSF goes a long way back. I’ve long supported the FSF and I can say that RMS trusts me (we’ve met several times over the years and we exchange thoughts over E-mail). We agree on a lot of things and I cannot recall us ever feuding (in person or online).

The Free Media Alliance’s publication will be complete by week’s end. It’s important to emphasise that the views expressed there are its own (and the author’s). To me, with rare exceptions, the FSF is the same organisation that I supported a decade ago when Brown made this video. I want the organisation to succeed and thus any criticism is hopefully constructive rather than degrading. Contrariwise, the Linux Foundation seems to be actively hostile towards Software Freedom, as this recent video of Jim Zemlin shows. The FSF won’t even touch that subject.

Why We Support Phoronix (Whereas Some Others Do Not)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Kernel at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael LarabelProbably the most important one-man operation other than Jonathan Corbet’s LWN (which is assisted by other writers of Eklektix, Inc.)

Image credit: Intel

Summary: Some people try to characterise Michael Larabel as the ‘bad boy’ of Linux even though Michael is probably the hardest working Linux journalist out there

THE SITE Techrights is almost 13 now. Tux Machines is the same age as Phoronix (about 15 years) and not many GNU/Linux sites have lasted that long. Don’t take them for granted. Much like in the early days of our site (the Boycott Novell days*), demonisation is abundant and prevalent (incitement against or slandering of the messenger/s). We know who’s behind it as sometimes it becomes very visible.

In recent months we responded to so-called ‘journalists’ (of corporate media) who constantly paint Linus Torvalds as a rude ‘bad boy’, a naughty uncontrollable middle-aged man who needs to be tamed if not removed. Techrights too has suffered such treatment over the years. We wrote about the types who do this kind of thing as recently as earlier today. They only seek to destroy things and squash voices. They want to take away voices of people whom they don’t agree with. They don’t want to actually argue, logically; they just pursue muzzling of the other side.

“Phoronix is a good site. Google News started syndicating some months ago.”Michael Larabel is almost being ‘mobbed’ by some news sites. Reddit editors dubbed it “blogspam” and for a long period of time — possibly years — blacklisted the whole domain (banning links to it; I was shocked when I first found that out!). LXer won’t link to it since an old accusation of “sexism” (some post urging people — mostly male — to subscribe, however tactless it may have been at the time).

In our view, treating a site like Phoronix (or a person like Michael) as a ‘nuisance’ is offensive to the very notion of supporting GNU/Linux and journalism around that domain. Some people want that site mentally or technically blacklisted. And for what? It’s ridiculous! That site does good, technical journalism in this day and age when it’s becoming so rare. Pundits and marketing dunces shower us with shallow if not ridiculous articles about “cloud”, “DevOps”, “smart” things and so on. That’s not journalism. These people are laughing stocks to a technical audience. They rarely know what they’re talking about; they mostly repeat mindless buzzwords which they heard other pundits ‘name-drop’ (possibly composed by PR departments of large companies and passed off as ‘prepared’ articles to obedient media).

“Hard-working, around-the-clock writers, coders and profilers (benchmarking) are very rare and if we lost Phoronix it would be a colossal problem not only for Linux.”Phoronix is, in my experience, usually quite credible. I’ve followed the site closely since its beginning and I’ve linked to Phoronix sites perhaps 20,000+ times. I spoke to Michael, who at times gave useful pointers to us (news of interest to us).

Phoronix is a good site. Google News started syndicating it some months ago. If people don’t appreciate it enough, then this one too we might lose. It would be tragic as almost nobody else covers graphics and kernel news at the same level of depth (except perhaps LWN and sometimes — until recently — Linux Journal).

I’ve had some complaints about the occasional sensationalism that gets exploited by truly hostile press (hostile towards Linux) to attack GNU/Linux, as happened earlier this month (half a dozen articles used Phoronix to then attack GNU/Linux as a whole, using shallow headlines and no understanding of the intricacies).

“Support the sites that still support GNU/Linux. Do not take anything for granted.”Hard-working, around-the-clock writers, coders and profilers (benchmarking) are very rare and if we lost Phoronix it would be a colossal problem not only for Linux.

Seeing that they added malicious surveillance to all their pages (Michael told me it’s the publisher’s idea or “came from above”, the “boss”), and bearing in mind they rely on subscriptions — like Liam Dawe relies on funding through Patreon to run Gaming on Linux — it’s almost forgivable and tolerable. It’s still avoidable if one disables JavaScript — truly a plague on today's bloated Web where ‘surveillance capitalism’ emerged as the prime business model.

We still can’t believe we’ve lost some of the most important GNU/Linux sites this year, leaving a news vacuum that’s difficult to fill. Let’s make sure there aren’t more high-profile casualties on the way. Support the sites that still support GNU/Linux. Do not take anything for granted.
_____
* Only hours ago SUSE was promoting Microsoft, a day after the head of OpenSUSE had stepped down and weeks after the CEO of SUSE was replaced by a proprietary software hack from SAP.

Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A publication from the Free Media Alliance

Overview

Unhappy feet

Summary: “AI is already used to help kill people. We should be cautious, and know that the best rules we come up with (like no doing magic outside the school grounds) won’t be followed all the time.”

ARTIFICIAL Intelligence (AI) enhances automation; one way to think of AI is “A lot more computing — both good and bad.” For art? Great. For surveillance? Sometimes bad. Apply it to everything — people will. And it will be a great multiplier of things; of all computing tasks, more or less.

Not all at once. And this is not to hype it, but to describe the effect it will have — as a multiplier:

Another way to think of AI is “enhanced computing.” Because in many ways, it is fundamentally “just computer processing.” Anything a computer does is “just computing.” But with AI, this becomes something more; the scope of what can be touched with computing becomes richer — for good and for bad.

Computing is very flexible, by design. We can actually say something about AI while being this vague — it is essentially like computer processing, except that it can do a little more, it can do more with more modest requirements — it may take a while — but with home computing equipment you can suddenly do things that you would expect of companies like Pixar.

Certainly not at the resolution for a (feature-length) film like Pixar makes. They will still use large computing farms to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time, at least for now.

AI can possibly seem to violate Moore’s law, but it won’t violate the laws of physics. If we are doing 1/3 of what our CPUs can do, then AI will make it so we can do the other 2/3 as well. And we can be really amazed at the results.

“Because in many ways, it is fundamentally “just computer processing.” Anything a computer does is “just computing.” But with AI, this becomes something more; the scope of what can be touched with computing becomes richer — for good and for bad.”Also with “enhanced computing”, things that once seemed incredibly difficult to program are now at least possible. Not necessarily “easy,” but what once would take a team of 25-50 people (at least) can now be done sometimes with a team of 3. That’s not a general rule, just that some things that once took many people can now be done with few, and faster than when it took more people.

Wizard-like stuff that once took a team can now be done by individuals. So the term “enhanced computing” is both telling and probably accurate.

If you want, you can say that what computers could do already 10, 20 years ago is almost like magic. We know better, but it still feels a little bit like magic.

If you think of Harry Potter — Ollivander said of Harry’s nemesis: “He too did great things. Terrible, yes — but great.” It wasn’t a compliment, it was an accurate measure. Of course for a young boy who just learned he was a wizard, it’s creepy enough.

AI will do great things. Some of them will be terrible — but great. And hopefully more of them will be Harry-like than Voldemort-like.

But really, it will be both. AI is already used to help kill people. We should be cautious, and know that the best rules we come up with (like no doing magic outside the school grounds) won’t be followed all the time.

No “Ministry of Artificial Intelligence” is going to be free of corruption or poor decisions — nor would it be enough to stop all bad things that are done with or without approval. Either way, AI is here.

Perhaps the biggest difference between AI and human thought is the superficiality and bias. Humans have that sometimes, in very stupid ways, but we are more flexible. AI can magnify our stupidity — think of the old adage about “knowing just enough to be dangerous.” That’s AI, and its potential to try to make computers do what we think we want — and getting far worse versions on average.

That’s going to be very common; even humans have done this now and again throughout history. AI will lead us to a greater capacity for such mistakes. Just as AI can solve things that would take 100 people to solve, it can make mistakes that would take 1000 people to create.

“Wizard-like stuff that once took a team can now be done by individuals.”At least with laws, there’s a judge and jury as long as it’s not artificial. We are certainly building corporations that have more power than a judge and jury do. But AI could do that too.

Politically, AI lends itself to many things, but may lend itself best (or at least most easily) to fascism. Or that could be post hoc — it’s corporations and governments that are the most interested in it, so this could be describing what it lends itself to most easily by extrapolating it from the product of governments and corporations working on it. Still — what we are developing now is like that.

People are trying to think of whether AI will be more good or more bad, and this is no argument for a neutral stance. If you look at all that computers have done both for our lives, and also to our lives, computing that is suddenly enhanced in ways that at least seem to go beyond the reach of Moore’s law is exciting, but also justifiably scary.

What AI does is pattern recognition, and it can also impose patterns. This is said broadly because that’s the broadness of the application — you can find patterns similar to the way a person would, you can impose patterns similar to the way an artist would. Computers can do that without AI, but not at the same level as a person.

Today, we are designing software that can do those things faster and more tirelessly than people — with similar (or sometimes superior) skill. Manipulating video, audio, tactile environments — targeting, surveillance — these are being expanded and developed all the time, not just in the future. AI may have future applications in sabotaging Free software.

Strips is a framework for creating project plans with AI. If given the outline of a project and a desired outcome, AI can be used to drive the project towards success.

“If you look at all that computers have done both for our lives, and also to our lives, computing that is suddenly enhanced in ways that at least seem to go beyond the reach of Moore’s law is exciting, but also justifiably scary.”If given the “desired” outcome of making a project untenable or fail, plans could be created (with or without Strips, it is just an example of a real AI planning framework and may have no direct relevance to this argument) to undermine or disrupt the viability of a business, organisation or Free software effort.

Computers have already been used for years to simulate and project outcomes of real-life processes — the FSF has never done this, but it shouldn’t surprise us if software monopolies do run such simulated campaigns.

There is an opportunity to do more testing of whether certain plans will help or hinder future efforts, with the very big warning that the previously mentioned examples of bias are still likely relevant, and engineering circular arguments that reinforce or negate the merits of a plan of action is not only possible, but could be difficult to avoid.

“Computing has always had good points and bad points — it is very arguably not neutral, but it is nuanced.”A positive of AI and AI-based planning could be to streamline and automate the creation of GNU/Linux distributions. This is about how the distro is put together, and may prove more relevant to building distros than say, package management.

The more that is done to reduce the work of building a distro, the more freedom the user will ultimately have. None of this is intended to paint AI as solely a threat, or solely a benefit. Computing has always had good points and bad points — it is very arguably not neutral, but it is nuanced. The future is interesting, and not everything is hype.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)

Links 20/8/2019: DragonFlyBSD Developing DSynth

Posted in News Roundup at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Buy a Linux laptop: Star Labs laptops review

        Fortunately, after the increased use of Linux in the technical environment, some companies have begun to design and manufacture special computers that are compatible with the Linux system.

        [...]

        In summary, the Star Labs laptops can handle most tasks that you require as a Linux user, and is a highly rated Linux laptop. Fast, efficent and easy to set up, with some cons that can be ignored, but they should devotes some attention to its in the future versions as it gives us more choices “freedom” as Linux users.

      • Installing five flavours of Linux on my new laptop: One month on, here’s what I’ve learned

        It’s been a month since I wrote about getting a new HP Pavilion 14 laptop and loading Linux on it. My experience with it so far has been extremely good – it has done exactly what I wanted, I haven’t had any trouble with it, I have used it, traveled with it, updated all of the various Linux distributions I loaded on it, and even added another distribution to it.

        First, I broke one of my own basic rules – never travel with only a new and untested laptop. I left for a three-week-plus vacation in the US the day after my previous posting. I used the laptop pretty much every day during the trip. and never had a problem of any kind. It was fast and reliable, suspend/resume on closing/opening the lid worked perfectly. Battery life is extremely good – I’ve never actually managed to run the batteries completely out, but I can certainly say that they are good for 6-8 hours depending on your use.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • HPC workloads in containers: Comparison of container run-times

          Recently, I worked on an interesting project to evaluate different container run-times for high-performance computing (HPC) clusters. HPC clusters are what we once knew as supercomputers. Today, instead of giant mainframes, they are hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of massively parallel systems. Since performance is critical, virtualization with tools like virtual machines or Docker containers was not realistic. The overhead was too much compared to bare metal.

        • A project manager’s guide to Ansible

          For project managers, it’s important to know that deploying Ansible will improve the effectiveness of a company’s IT. Employees will spend less time trying to troubleshoot their own configuration, deployment, and provisioning. Ansible is designed to be a straightforward, reliable way to automate a network’s IT tasks.

          Further, development teams can use the Ansible Tower to track applications from development to production. Ansible Tower includes everything from role-based access to graphical inventory management and enables teams to remain on the same page even with complex tasks.

          Ansible has a number of fantastic use cases and provides substantial productivity gains for both internal teams and the IT infrastructure as a whole. It’s free, easy to use, and robust. By automating IT with Ansible, project managers will find that their teams can work more effectively without the burden of having to manage their own IT—and that IT works more smoothly overall.

        • DevNation Live: Plumbing Kubernetes builds | Deploy with Tekton

          DevNation Live tech talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions and code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn about Tekton, a Kubernetes-native way of defining and running CI/CD, from Kamesh Sampath, Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat.

          The session explores the characteristics of Tekton, which is cloud-native, decoupled, and declarative. This demo-filled session will show how to combine various building blocks of Tekton to build and deploy (Tasks and Pipelines) a Kubernetes application.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Test and Code: 84: CircuitPython – Scott Shawcroft

        The combination of Python’s ease of use and Adafruit’s super cool hardware and a focus on a successful beginner experience makes learning to write code that controls hardware super fun.

        In this episode, Scott Shawcroft, the project lead, talks about the past, present, and future of CircuitPython, and discusses the focus on the beginner.

        We also discuss contributing to the project, testing CircuitPython, and many of the cool projects and hardware boards that can use CircuitPython, and Blinka, a library to allow you to use “CircuitPython APIs for non-CircuitPython versions of Python such as CPython on Linux and MicroPython,” including Raspberry Pi.

      • GNU World Order 13×34
      • Absurd Abstractions | Coder Radio 371

        It’s a Coder Radio special all about abstraction. What it is, why we need it, and what to do when it leaks.

        Plus your feedback, Mike’s next language challenge, and a functional ruby pick.

      • KDE Apps 19.08, KNOPPIX, System76, Slackware, Huawei, EndeavourOS, Dreamcast | This Week in Linux 79

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, KDE announced their latest big release of their Application Suite with dozens of new app updates. We got some Distro news to talk about with KNOPPIX, Slackware, EndeavourOS and Neptune Linux. System76 announced some really cool news with their new Graphical Firmware Manager tool.

    • Kernel Space

      • Chromebooks Switching Over To The BFQ I/O Scheduler

        On Chromebooks when moving to the latest Chrome OS that switches over to a Linux 4.19 based kernel, BFQ has become the default I/O scheduler.

        BFQ has been maturing nicely and as of late there’s been an uptick in interest around this I/O scheduler with some also calling for it to be used by default in distributions. Google has decided BFQ is attractive enough to enable by default for Chromebooks to provide better responsiveness.

      • Graphics Stack

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Lands Renoir APU Support In Time For Mesa 19.2

          Just hours ahead of the Mesa 19.2 feature freeze and days after the RadeonSI OpenGL driver added Renoir support, the RADV Vulkan driver has picked up support for this next-gen Zen 2 + Vega APU.

          The support comes down to just eight lines of new code for this new APU rumored to be launching in 2020. While it was hoped that this would be the first APU built on the Zen 2 CPU microarchitecture and with Navi graphics, the open-source Linux driver code drops have all pointed it to be more of a Raven/Vega refresh on the graphics side.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Underworld Ascendant’s Linux port has now been released

        Get ready to dungeon crawl! After many delays, the sequel to the classic Ultima Underworld games has finally seen a Linux release.

      • Event Horizon (Tower of Time) show off the first gameplay from their next RPG Dark Envoy

        Ah Gamescom has arrived, which means tons of games will be shown off over the next week. Event Horizon (Tower of Time dev) are getting in on the action, to show off footage from their brand new RPG called Dark Envoy.

        For those who missed the previous article, it is already confirmed to be coming to Linux. To save you a click, when asked they said “We spent a considerable effort to make Tower of Time run well on Linux – so now, being more experienced with it, we also plan to release on Linux at the same time as PC launch.”.

      • Going where no Steam Play has gone before with Elite Dangerous

        What’s the one game keeping you a dual booter? Maybe it’s PUBG, or Rainbow Six: Siege? Maybe it used to be Overwatch? For me, that game was Elite Dangerous, and one year on from Proton’s release, I have a story to tell.

        There’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” about Elite Dangerous that I’ve never been able to put my finger on. It’s a game set in a scientifically modelled, full-scale replica of the whole Milky Way galaxy, and as with that setting, the game is truly vast, remarkably cold, and frequently incomprehensible. Yet, when playing Elite, I get the same feeling as when looking up at the stars on a dark and moonless night — my hungry soul is fed. Or it could just be space madness. Regardless, it’s a feeling that I like to dip into every once in a while, immerse myself in, and try not to drown.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.34 Works Out Refined XWayland Support For X11 Apps Run Under Sudo

          GNOME 3.34 continues to look like an incredibly great release in the performance department as well as for Wayland users.

          Earlier this summer, support was added to GNOME’s Mutter to generate an Xauth file and passing it to XWayland when starting. The focus of that Red Hat contribution was for allowing X.Org/X11 applications to be run under XWayland as sudo. Up to this point when using sudo with an X11 app on Wayland, it hasn’t worked out but this addition for GNOME 3.34 corrects that behavior.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Flock to Fedora ’19

          I had a wonderful opportunity to go to Fedora’s annual contributor summit, Flock to Fedora in Budapest, Hungary. This is me penning down my takeaway from a week full of learning!

          [...]

          Apart from the talks, the conference outshone when it came to meeting mind-blowing developers. I got to know the most about Fedora and Red Hat through those interactions and it was a really pleasant experience. It was also super amazing to finally meet all the people I had been interacting with over the course of the internship in real life.

          My advice for any future Flock attendee would be to always make time to talk to people at Flock. Even I have a hard time interacting but the people are extremely nice and you get to learn a lot through those small interactions and end up making friends for a life time.

          Definitely taking back a tonne of memories, loads of pictures, and plethora of learning from this one week of experience.

        • Paul W. Frields: Flock 2019 in Budapest, Hungary.

          Last week I attended the Flock 2019 conference in Budapest, like many Fedora community members. There was a good mix of paid and volunteer community members at the event. That was nice to see, because I often worry about the overall aging of the community.

          Many people I know in Fedora have been with the project a long time. Over time, people’s lives change. Their jobs, family, or other circumstances move them in different directions. Sometimes this means they have less time for volunteer work, and they might not be active in a community like Fedora. So being able to refresh my view of who’s around and interested in an event like Flock was helpful.

          Also, at last year’s Flock in Dresden, after the first night of the conference, something I ate got the better of me — or I might have picked up a norovirus. I was out of commission for most of the remaining time, confined to my room to ride out whatever was ailing my gut. (It wasn’t pretty.) So I was glad this year also to be perfectly well, and able to attend the whole event. That was despite trying this terrible, terrible libation called ArchieMite, provided by my buddy Dennis Gilmore…

          [...]

          I also attended several sessions on Modularity. One of them was Merlin Mathesius’ presentation on tools for building modules. Merlin is on my team at Red Hat and I happened to know he hadn’t done a lot of public speaking. But you wouldn’t have guessed from his talk! It was well organized and logically presented. He gave a nice overview of how maintainers can use the available tools to build modules for community use.

          The Modularity group also held a discussion to hear about friction points with modularity. Much of the feedback lined up well with other inputs the group has received. We could solve some with better documentation and awareness. In some cases the tools could benefit from ease of use enhancements. In others, people were unaware of the difficult design decisions or choices that had to be made to produce a workable system. Fortunately there are some fixes on the way for tooling like the replacement for the so-called “Ursa Major” in Fedora. It allows normal packages to build against capabilities provided by modules.

      • Debian Family

        • salsa.debian.org: Postmortem of failed Docker registry move

          The Salsa admin team provides the following report about the failed migration of the Docker container registry. The Docker container registry stores Docker images, which are for example used in the Salsa CI toolset. This migration would have moved all data off to Google Cloud Storage (GCS) and would have lowered the used file system space on Debian systems significantly.

          [...]

          On 2019-08-06 the migration process was started. The migration itself went fine, although it took a bit longer than anticipated. However, as not all parts of the migration had been properly tested, a test of the garbage collection triggered a bug in the software.

          On 2019-08-10 the Salsa admins started to see problems with garbage collection. The job running it timed out after one hour. Within this timeframe it not even managed to collect information about all used layers to see what it can cleanup. A source code analysis showed that this design flaw can’t be fixed.

          On 2019-08-13 the change was rolled back to storing data on the file system.

        • Raphaël Hertzog: Promoting Debian LTS with stickers, flyers and a video

          With the agreement of the Debian LTS contributors funded by Freexian, earlier this year I decided to spend some Freexian money on marketing: we sponsored DebConf 19 as a bronze sponsor and we prepared some stickers and flyers to give out during the event.

          The stickers only promote the Debian LTS project with the semi-official logo we have been using and a link to the wiki page. You can see them on the back of a laptop in the picture below.

        • Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, July 2019

          Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

        • Jaskaran Singh: GSoC Final Report

          The Debian Patch Porting System aims to systematize and partially automate the security patch porting process.

          In this Google Summer of Code (2019), I wrote a webcrawler to extract security patches for a given security vulnerability identifier. This webcrawler or patch-finder serves as the first step of the Debian Patch Porting System.

          The Patch-finder should recognize numerous vulnerability identifiers. These identifiers can be security advisories (DSA, GLSA, RHSA), vulnerability identifiers (OVAL, CVE), etc. So far, it can identify CVE, DSA (Debian Security Advisory), GLSA (Gentoo Linux Security Advisory) and RHSA (Red Hat Security Advisory).

          Each vulnerability identifier has a list of entrypoint URLs associated with it. These URLs are used to initiate the patch finding.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon Released. Here’s What’s New

          Linux Mint releases latest version 19.2 with Cinnamon flavor.

          The popular Linux Mint project announced release of 19.2 version with Cinnamon, XFCE and MATE desktop environment flavors. Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS package base, Linux Mint is supported 2023 with security updates. This makes it ideal for new users who are migrating to Linux from Windows for the first time along with experienced users.

          Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Cinnamon edition features Cinnamon 4.2 version with Linux Kernel 4.15. This release brings new features, improvements as well as overall system experience for the general users. Here’s what’s new in Linux Mint Cinnamon edition.

          [...]

          The System reports utility is overhauled with a new look. A new page was added to show the system information and make it easy for users to copy it into the forums or upload it to a pastebin website.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The cloud isn’t killing open source software

        The most common reason given for software vendors making these changes is “foul play” by cloud vendors. The argument is that cloud vendors unfairly offer open source software “as a service,” capturing large portions of the revenue, while the original software vendor continues to carry most of the development costs. Market rumors claim Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes more revenue from MySQL than Oracle, which owns the product.

        So, who is claiming foul play is destroying the open source ecosystem? Typically, the loudest voices are venture-funded open source software companies. These companies require a very high growth rate to justify their hefty valuation, so it makes sense that they would prefer not to worry about additional competition.

      • Funding

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn Groovy

          Apache Groovy is a powerful, optionally typed and dynamic language, with static-typing and static compilation capabilities, for the Java platform aimed at improving developer productivity thanks to a concise, familiar and easy to learn syntax.

          It integrates seamlessly with any Java program, and immediately delivers to your application powerful features, including scripting capabilities, Domain-Specific Language authoring, runtime and compile-time meta-programming and functional programming.

          It’s both a static and dynamic language with features similar to those of Python, Ruby, Perl, and Smalltalk. It can be used as both a programming language and a scripting language for the Java Platform.

        • Top 9 Django Concepts – Part 2 : 5 Mins

          I will be covering 3 Django concepts, for those who had missed the first part of the 3 part series, you can head down to the Top 9 Django Concepts – Part 1

          The first concept is essential Django commands that you will be using when developing in Django.

          The second is the concept of using either a front-end like Vue, React or Angular web framework or using Django existing template system to build UI.

        • Get Current Date & Time in Python

          In this article, you will learn the datetime module supplies classes for manipulating dates and times in both simple and complex ways.

        • RcppQuantuccia 0.0.3

          RcppQuantuccia brings the Quantuccia header-only subset / variant of QuantLib to R. At the current stage, it mostly offers date and calendaring functions.

          This release was triggered by some work CRAN is doing on updating C++ standards for code in the repository. Notably, under C++11 some constructs such ptr_fun, bind1st, bind2nd, … are now deprecated, and CRAN prefers the code base to not issue such warnings (as e.g. now seen under clang++-9). So we updated the corresponding code in a good dozen or so places to the (more current and compliant) code from QuantLib itself.

        • The infrastructure is code: A story of COBOL and Go

          But what about today? With the decline of mainframes and the rise of newer and more innovative languages designed for the web and cloud, where does COBOL sit?

          As last week’s episode of Command Line Heroes mentioned, in the late 1990s, Perl (as well as JavaScript and C++) was outpacing COBOL. And, as Perl’s creator, Larry Wall stated then: “COBOL is no big deal these days since demand for COBOL seems to be trailing off, for some strange reason.”

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Marek’s Take: Why open source communities are critical to operators

          Open source locks down standards in code and makes sure it is interoperable, Rice said. “That’s why it’s symbiotic. Standards are options but they come together because they are built on one another.”

          And, similar to standards bodies, where delegates work side-by-side with competitors to develop global specifications, the same occurs in open source groups.

  • Leftovers

    • QAnon is the conspiracy theory that won’t die: Here’s what they believe, and why they’re wrong

      If you follow the squeaks and squawks of far-right conspiracy theorists, you have almost certainly encountered QAnon believers — individuals who follow the oft-debunked predictions of an anonymous man who calls himself “Q” and claims to know the sinister truth about how the world works.

    • A brief introduction to learning agility

      While “learning agility” is not a new term, it’s one that organizations clearly still need help taking into account. Even in open organizations, we tend to overlook this element by focusing too rigidly on a candidate’s degree history or current role when we should be taking a more holistic view of the individual.

      One crucial element of adaptability is learning agility. It is the capacity for adapting to situations and applying knowledge from prior experience—even when you don’t know what to do. In short, it’s a willingness to learn from all your experiences and then apply that knowledge to tackle new challenges in new situations.

      Every experience we encounter in life can teach us something if we pay attention to it. All of these experiences are educational and useful in organizational life. In fact, as Colin Willis notes in his recent article on informal learning, 70%‒80% of all job-related knowledge isn’t learned in formal training programs. And yet we’re conditioned to think that only what you were paid to do in a formal role or the degree you once earned speaks solely to your potential value or fit for a particular role.

    • Science

      • Politics tops science under Trump

        When the news is bad, punish the messenger, as in today’s United States it’s increasingly the case that politics tops science.

        This, according to a top scientist formerly working at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), is what’s happening to government employees involved in climate change research under the administration of President Trump.

        Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist who has worked for more than 20 years at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), recently resigned his post, saying department officials had not only questioned the results of a peer-reviewed research paper he was involved in on the adverse impact of climate change – they had also attempted to minimise its coverage in the media.

        “You get the sense that things have changed, that this (the ARS) is not a place for you to be exploring things that don’t agree with someone’s political views”, Ziska tells the Politico website.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Hacker Summer Camp 2019: CTFs for Fun & Profit

        Okay, I’m back from Summer Camp and have caught up (slightly) on life. I had the privilege of giving a talk at BSidesLV entitled “CTFs for Fun and Profit: Playing Games to Build Your Skills.” I wanted to post a quick link to my slides and talk about the IoT CTF I had the chance to play.

        I played in the IoT Village CTF at DEF CON, which was interesting because it uses real-world devices with real-world vulnerabilities instead of the typical made-up challenges in a CTF. On the other hand, I’m a little disappointed that it seems pretty similar (maybe even the same) year-to-year, not providing much variety or new learning experiences if you’ve played before.

      • Nexus Repository Now Supports APT

        Beginning with version 3.17, Nexus Repository Manager supports APT (Advanced Package Tool) repositories. APT is a set of tools used to search, install, and manage packages on Debian, Ubuntu, and similar Linux distributions. With this new release, you can now host your own local APT repos. Developers benefit from no longer having to rely on connecting externally to a public repository every time an often-used package is needed.

        In the case of Debian-based Docker containers, the ability to locally cache Debian packages from public repositories can save copious amounts of time when rebuilding your containers. This can do wonders especially for containers built frequently in a CI pipeline and for the more traditional use-case of provisioning virtual machines.

      • Ransomware attack has hit 20 government agencies in Texas [iophk: Windows TCO]

        This week the state of Texas has joined the list of targets. According to Texas’s Department of Information Resources (DIR), more than 20 local government entities have been impacted by a ‘coordinated ransomware attack.’ DIR states that “the Texas Military Department, and the Texas A&M University System’s Cyberresponse and Security Operations Center teams are deploying resources to the most critically impacted jurisdictions.”

        No disclosure has beeen made regarding how much of a payment is being requested, though given recent attacks on other states the amount is likely to be eye-watering. Also absent is any information on which ‘local government entities’ have been affected.

      • Web server security – Part 8: Basic log file analysis

        Tools like lnav (“The Log File Navigator”) allow quicker analysis of log files. Instead of manually searching for attack-like behavior, you can use SQL queries, load and combine multiple files at once, and switch between different views.

        However, keep in mind that not only tools but also underlying processes and organization are important. You must know where log files are stored, how they are created and how long information is available. This requires a basic security concept. Understand the structure of your log files, and use customization of logging rules if available.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • US tests medium-range cruise missile in the wake of INF treaty exit

        The Pentagon said on Monday that it had tested a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile with a range of more than 500 km (310 miles), the first such test since the US pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

      • Violence in Afghanistan last year was worse than in Syria

        Facing less pressure from NATO, the Taliban are overwhelming the Afghan army, spreading to cities such as Kunduz from their stronghold in the south. A majority of Afghans now live in areas controlled or contested by the Taliban, according to the Long War Journal, a website that tracks the conflict. Gallup, which has polled Afghans since 2008, finds that record numbers fear for their liberty and safety.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Memo to mainstream journalists: Can the phony outrage; Bernie is right about bias

        It happens because of groupthink. It happens because top editors and producers know — without being told — which issues and sources are off limits. No orders need be given, for example, for rank-and-file journalists to understand that the business of the corporate boss or top advertisers is off-limits, short of criminal indictments.

        No memo is needed to achieve the narrowness of perspective — selecting all the usual experts from all the usual think tanks to say all the usual things. Think Tom Friedman. Or Barry McCaffrey. Or Neera Tanden. Or any of the elite club members who’ve been proven to be absurdly wrong time and again about national or global affairs.

      • Climate misinformation may be thriving on YouTube, a social scientist warns

        While Facebook and Twitter get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to concerns about fake news, Joachim Allgaier of RWTH Aachen University in Germany says YouTube is equally, if not more insidious, given its huge popularity. Allgaier, who focuses on how science is communicated online, initially researched science-themed music videos on the site. He found several on Darwin’s theory of evolution, one song about the periodic table by the band They Might Be Giants and a parody by an Alzheimer’s research team contorting the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” to sing about being “caught in a bad project.”

    • Environment

      • Italy’s fishermen battle the scourge of plastic in the Mediterranean

        Italy’s fishermen often catch as much plastic as fish in their nets. Until recently it was illegal for them to bring the plastic to shore. But a recent change in law means it can now be brought back to port to be recycled.

      • This country gave all its rivers their own legal rights

        But even among the countries that have embraced the rights of nature, Bangladesh now stands out as having done something unprecedented. “What’s unique about Bangladesh is that they declared all rivers to have this status,” said Ben Price, the national director for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), a nonprofit public interest law firm that helps people facing threats to their local environment. By contrast, other countries have granted rights only to individual bodies of water.

      • A Fungus Could Wipe Out the Banana Forever

        On August 8 the Colombian Agricultural Institute announced that it had confirmed that the fungus—a strain of Fusarium oxysporum called Tropical Race 4 (TR4)—had been found in plantations in the north of the country. The country declared a national state of emergency, destroying crops and quarantining plantations in an attempt to avert the spread of the fungus.

        But Latin America has been in this situation before. Until the 1950s, the most commonly exported banana variety was the Gros Michel, which was almost totally wiped out by a different strain of the Fusarium fungus. The modern export banana—the Cavendish—took Gros Michel’s place because it was resistant to that early Fusarium strain. Now 99 percent of all exported bananas are Cavendish—with almost all of them grown in Latin America.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?

        The Joe Rogan Experience has been the No. 2 most-downloaded podcast on iTunes for two years running. Rogan’s second Netflix comedy special, Strange Times, dropped last year. His interview last fall with Elon Musk has been viewed more than 24 million times on YouTube, and his YouTube channel, PowerfulJRE, has 6 million subscribers. An indifferently received episode will tend to get somewhere around 1 million views. So many people in the content business right now are trying, and failing, to get the attention of these men, and yet somehow Joe Rogan has managed to recruit a following the size of Florida.

      • I’m Still Sorry I Listened To Susan Sarandon During The 2016 Election

        There aren’t any matters that are currently more pressing than grappling with the fact that I listened to what actress Susan Sarandon had to say during the 2016 presidential election and did not vote for Hillary Clinton.

        You may see a presidential administration that is going above and beyond to criminalize immigration. There are more migrants in camps or detention centers than ever before, but when I see the crying faces of children without their parents, I don’t think of Donald Trump. All I can think of is Louise and how she and Thelma drove their car off a cliff and that cliff was Donald Trump.

        Just as Janet Weiss was seduced by the allure of the sex god, Rocky Horror, Sarandon was entranced by the political revolution promised by Bernie Sanders. Under the spell of the Berns, she became convinced that Clinton was dangerous and would start a war if elected. She also suggested that Trump’s election would lead to an explosive revolt, but that did not happen because Robert Mueller would never have approved and we needed his approval to have Mueller Time.

        Sarandon was an obnoxious Bernie Bro. Her influence on the American population may not have been enough to convince Democratic voters to nominate Sanders over Clinton. However, when she trashed Clinton, that is when America finally came through for the star with Bette Davis eyes.

      • The malware election: Returning to paper ballots only way to prevent [cracking]

        That did not prevent them from completely dominating the machines. They accessed USB, compact flash and ethernet ports that were glaringly unprotected, and then proceeded to play video games and run pink cat graphics across the screens of ballot-marking devices and voter registration database systems.

        This may seem like fun and games, but the ability to access the core controls of these voting machines illustrates that malware could easily be planted on them. That malware can change vote totals, or prevent thousands of people from voting. In one system we timed, it took exactly five seconds to connect the voting machine to a device that could inject malware through a port that was easy to access and only a few inches from where voters scan their ballots.

        Once malware is on a voting machine, it can travel from that voting machine, to a central tabulating system, and then back out to all the other voting machines in a jurisdiction during the course of normal election procedures. Thus, a five second exploit, by one lone voter, in one precinct can infect and change the results in an entire county. Because of the way the Electoral College works, changing the results of a few counties in a few states could change the outcome of a presidential election.

      • Twitter ran paid ads from China’s state news media criticizing the Hong Kong protests

        The sponsored posts described the protests as violent and destructive and portrayed Hong Kong citizens as in favor of ending them.

        People in Hong Kong have been protesting the Chinese government for 11 weeks. Organizers say as many as 1.7 million people joined a peaceful rally on Sunday.

      • China Attacks Hong Kong Protesters With Fake Social Posts

        Twitter announced Monday it had removed over 900 accounts it believes were established by the Chinese government, which were “deliberately and specifically” attempting to sow political discord and undermine “the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground.” The accounts were part of a much larger network of around 200,000 accounts Twitter took down before they were “substantially active” on the service.

      • Orderly marchers increase the pressure on Hong Kong’s government

        The organisers were the loose association of pro-democracy parties and NGOs responsible for bringing about enormous rallies in June and July. They had applied to lead participants along a two-and-a-half mile stretch of downtown Hong Kong, past the government offices. Police objected in advance, approving only a static assembly at Victoria Park. In the end a march proceeded anyway. It could hardly have done otherwise: rivers of people were flowing into the park and out of it. The organisers claimed that 1.7m people attended at least some portion of the protest. Police said the crowd present inside the park numbered 128,000 at its peak.

      • Influence Operations Kill Chain

        Influence operations are elusive to define. The Rand Corp.’s definition is as good as any: “the collection of tactical information about an adversary as well as the dissemination of propaganda in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent.” Basically, we know it when we see it, from bots controlled by the Russian Internet Research Agency to Saudi attempts to plant fake stories and manipulate political debate. These operations have been run by Iran against the United States, Russia against Ukraine, China against Taiwan, and probably lots more besides.

      • Saudis Paid $90 Million to Sudan’s Ex-Leader, Officer Says in al-Bashir Trial

        A senior police officer testified that Mr. al-Bashir, who was ousted in April after months of street protests, had admitted to receiving part of the money from envoys sent by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

      • Twitter promotes Chinese-made ads against Hong Kong protesters: Report

        The social media giant has not commented on the matter, but other platforms such as social bookmarking site Pinboard have officially accused Twitter of supporting China. Pinboard stated on its official @Pinboard Twitter account that Twitter is “taking money from Chinese propaganda outfits and running promoted ads against top Hong Kong protest hashtags.”

        Twitter is now faced with a dilemma and it might need to take a political position – it will either keep running these ads in favor of China, or lose the sliver of a reputation it has as a free platform. It will be ironic if it continues to promote these ads since the social media platform is actually banned in China and has been replaced by the state-run Sina Weibo.

      • Uganda, Zambia Deny Huawei Helped Spy on Political Opponents

        In Uganda, WSJ reported that Huawei technicians helped Ugandan authorities use spyware to monitor pop star turned opposition icon Bobi Wine.

        Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, became a lawmaker in 2017 and is preparing to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in Uganda’s 2021 presidential election.

        According to The Wall Street Journal, Huawei’s assistance enabled Ugandan authorities to disrupt Wine’s plans for concerts they feared would turn into political rallies.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Former Siri chief is leaving Apple to join Microsoft’s AI division

        Stasior’s departure seems less an indictment of the current state of Siri and more a reflection of the reality of AI at Apple. Last year, the iPhone maker poached John Giannandrea from Google, where he was a former head of search and AI. That’s reshaped the way Apple works on AI.

      • Trump administration calls for permanent restoration of bulk phone communications surveillance

        In a declassified letter to Congressional leaders, the outgoing Director of National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats called for the “permanent reauthorization of the provisions of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 that are currently set to expire in December.” The top Trump administration intelligence official wrote that among these provisions are the National Security Agency’s (NSA) officially suspended bulk collection of “telephone records from US telecommunications providers.”

      • I Shared My Phone Number. I Learned I Shouldn’t Have.

        In fact, your phone number may have now become an even stronger identifier than your full name. I recently found this out firsthand when I asked Fyde, a mobile security firm in Palo Alto, Calif., to use my digits to demonstrate the potential risks of sharing a phone number.

        Emre Tezisci, a security researcher at Fyde with a background in telecommunications, took on the task with gusto. He and I had never met or talked. He quickly plugged my cellphone number into a public records directory. Soon, he had a full dossier on me — including my name and birth date, my address, the property taxes I pay and the names of members of my family.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Local parliament torched amid protests in Indonesia’s Papua

        An insurgency has simmered in Papua since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region, a former Dutch colony. In recent years, some Papua students, including some who study in other provinces, have become vocal in calling for self-determination for the province.

        Residents of West Papua are ethnically similar to those in Papua.

      • You have a better chance of achieving “the American dream” in Canada than in America

        Raj Chetty, called “the most influential economist alive,” and Ezra Klein discuss the state of social mobility in the United States today.

      • Jay-Z Isn’t a Sellout, He’s a Capitalist

        The truth is actually much more banal. None of this is about social justice. It’s not about, as Shawn Carter put it, “helping millions and millions of people.” This partnership is happening because Shawn Carter is a billionaire who wants to be an NFL owner, and erasing Colin Kaepernick is the price of admission. Now Shawn Carter gets to multiply his fortune, and the NFL believes they will no longer be branded as racist, or have to schedule skim-milk Super Bowl halftime shows headlined by Maroon 5.

        Jay-Z is a boss. Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid are workers. It is the interest of workers in the NFL to unite and say that blackballing people for their political beliefs is never going to be OK. It is in the interest of workers to stand up for their colleague. It is in Shawn Carter’s interest to stand up for himself. It’s not “millions and millions” who are going to be helped. It’s one person. It’s Jay-Z’s ultimate hustle—a hustle he told us, over 20 years ago, we were never to knock.

      • [Old] The Darkest Town In America

        She works full time for the cause these days, giving lectures, lobbying policymakers and meeting with people like me. “Creatures, great and small, are negatively affected,” she told me, citing reading she had done about the issue. “Humans are dramatically affected by night lighting.” Ever vigilant, she has a blue-light-blocking screen on her cellphone. Going dark is also more fiscally responsible, she said — excess lighting wastes billions of dollars worth of energy each year. And the mystical element motivates her advocacy too. “The emotional, spiritual connection with the universe,” Harder said. “If it’s gone, what else do we have? We just have our Earth-borne environment. I think it also could cut off our feeling of curiosity. It’s hard to measure these things, but psychically, I think they’re quite dramatic.”

      • The Trump Admin Just Took A Huge Leap Forward In Defunding Planned Parenthood

        The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) set a deadline for August 19th for program grantees to submit a written plan for complying with the new rule, the first step in implementation. Many providers have chosen to instead withdraw from the program rather than comply with the rule.

    • Monopolies

      • How to delete your Uber Eats account on a phone or computer

        The tricky thing about deleting your Uber Eats account is that you have to delete your primary Uber account as well. You can restore the account within 30 days and not lose your past credits and ride history, but after this 30-day deactivation period, the account is deleted permanently.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • New Hampshire court to patent troll: it’s not libel when someone calls you a “patent troll”

          New Hampshire’s Supreme Court has ruled that calling someone a “patent troll” is not defamatory because “patent troll” is a statement of opinion and can neither be factually proved nor disproved.

          The case was brought by Automated Transactions Limited, who claims a broad patent on machines that dispense cash (ATL founder David Barcelou invented some unsuccessful gaming machines in the 1990s and received several patents they say cover the normal operations of ATMs and other common machines). ATL has made millions demanding patent license fees.

      • Trademarks

        • THE Ohio State University Applies For THE Stupidest Trademark In THE World

          We’ve talked ongoing about how ridiculous and aggressive many universities are becoming on trademark matters. Now colleges and universities do many, many annoying things, but their tendency towards trademark bullying certainly ranks up there near the top of the list. Not as high, of course, as Ohio State’s neverending insistence that everyone call it “THE Ohio State University.” The school likes to point out that the “the” (sigh) is actually part of the school’s legal name, when the reality is that the school is simply being haughty and pedantic.

          Well, now these two worlds are colliding in what might just be the dumbest trademark application I’ve ever seen. You’ll never guess what single word OSU wants to trademark.

      • Copyrights

        • YouTube sues alleged copyright troll over extortion of multiple YouTubers

          YouTube is going after an alleged copyright troll using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) provisions, alleging that Christopher Brady used false copyright strikes to extort YouTube creators, harming the company in the process. Now, YouTube is suing Brady, using the DMCA’s provisions against fraudulent takedown claims, seeking compensatory damages and an injunction against future fraudulent claims.

        • Court Denies Default Judgment Against ‘Cheating’ Fortnite Kid, In Spite of Mom’s ‘Defense’

          Two years ago, Epic Games decided to take several Fortnite cheaters to court, accusing them of copyright infringement.

          Several of these lawsuits have been settled but there is one that proved to be somewhat of a challenge.

          One of the alleged cheaters turned out to be a minor who’s also accused of demonstrating, advertising and distributing the cheat via his YouTube channel. The game publisher wasn’t aware of this when it filed the lawsuit, but the kid’s mother let the company know in clear terms.

Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A publication from the Free Media Alliance

Overview

Narcissism

Summary: “Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important.”

This is focused mostly on Cluster B personality disorders and their effects, and mostly on Narcissistic personality disorder, but most of all on its presence online.

It is intended as practical advice and not the result of a formal study of online behaviour. Such a formal study could help, if not compromised by a preferred outcome such as looking for an excuse to further regulate the Internet. Some formal studies are compromised by their sponsors.

People throw around a lot of ad hominem in online debates. A common example is accusing Stallman of being autistic. Stallman has said himself that he could be on the autism spectrum, and there’s nothing wrong with that — it is typically brought up to imply he is incapable of making decisions that fall in line with the real world.

“Some formal studies are compromised by their sponsors.”It’s a circular argument; if your goal is to change the world, you’re not going to be talking about things that begin by ceding that the world will not change. Some changes are more realistic than others, but the FSF has met most of its goals, except for the largest. Nothing written here is really about the FSF failing to meet their goals, only abandoning goals partially and not adopting ones that could be necessary. In terms of meeting goals, the FSF has a great track record.

Being clinically diagnosed as a narcissist is also irrelevant. If someone is diagnosed as having NPD and they are not lying and trolling and trying to destroy Free software, then the matter of NPD doesn’t need to be discussed. But when there are many people who are lying and trolling and trying to destroy Free software, then it is still useful to talk about NPD. If more people understood it, a better handle of online communication could probably be obtained by most people. This is highly relevant to the Free software community.

Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important. Some narcissists are very intelligent people, but the word “clever” would apply more universally, and narcissism is more about control and dominance than intelligence. Not everyone who is a jerk is a Narcissist, but some of the worst jerks could well be.

“Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important.”Not all trolls are narcissists either — a lot of trolling is just a harmless prank that never gets out of hand. At first it is difficult to say whether the trolling is harmful or not, and if it puts you on alert that’s alright, but it could be nothing.

Misunderstandings happen all the time. As many misunderstandings are harmless (and they really are, they’re worth resolving whenever possible) a narcissist will try to make everything seem like a misunderstanding. Don’t let this sour you on trying to resolve honest disputes.

The worst trolls are the better-known, evil awful person, who tries to suck the soul out of you one jerk-move at a time.

Most people probably still think of narcissism as just an inflated sense of self. That definition may have validity but is not too good, when every idealist is trying to find some way to save the world. Oh, you don’t want to use software that doesn’t include source code? Boom, you’re a narcissist. Beyond just trying to do “big things,” a narcissist may:

1. pretend to care about you or other people

2. misquote you and speak for you and gaslight you

“The worst trolls are the better-known, evil awful person, who tries to suck the soul out of you one jerk-move at a time.”3. use smear tactics and try to intimidate you, even as a response for anything they dislike about you at all

4. constantly accuse you of things they are doing themselves — then say they were “just kidding, lighten up”

5. play a hero, pretend to care, but have actions that never match their words

6. play people and groups against each other, often over incredibly insignificant faults

7. routinely miss the point of what you’re saying and demand you consider their points (exclusively) — all conversations with narcissists are one-sided

8. have consistently different standards for what they will tolerate vs.
what they will dump on you

Narcissists do not respond (initially, later on, after repeated attempts, or under any circumstances whatsoever) to logic or honesty with logic or honesty. They only ever double down with fallacy and lies.

Although people say “don’t feed the troll,” what they don’t tell you is that the thing you’re feeding them is your happiness and well-being.

This is not just about trolls — Narcissism explains most of the ills that society has. People think that narcissism is rare, but it is not as rare as many assume and we are creating more of them with a society that is perfect for narcissists.

“People think that narcissism is rare, but it is not as rare as many assume and we are creating more of them with a society that is perfect for narcissists.”Selfies are not so bad. Prior to camera-phones, they were known as self-portraits, and some of those are amazing. The real problem with Narcissism is just how many people out there are lying by default, how good they are at lying, and how great they are at weaseling out of any effort to pin them for it. You aren’t just wasting your time going after narcissists — you’re wasting your life.

When feminists talk about “Patriarchy” they are describing male narcissism and narcissistic success. When MGTOWs talk about women, they are describing female narcissism.

Any gender domination in society is a cultural habit reinforced by differences in physical strength. It’s not because “men are just like that.” But narcissists of all genders are “just like that.”

Though they may not always appear to act in groups, narcissists do swarm together. If there’s one nearby that you can discern, there are often others lurking around. They feed off your emotions and off the imaginary things they attribute to your feelings — whether good or bad.

But narcissism helps explain a lot of things — from non-profits that care more about a fancy, decked-out top office floor than the cause in their mission statement, to the cloying but empty promises in any major political party, to one-sided friendships that seem to always go nowhere (or go crazy) no matter how you work to nurture them from your side, to arguments that start out frustrating and become surreal over time and iteration.

“Though they may not always appear to act in groups, narcissists do swarm together.”The only protection from trolls is to starve them, and trolls are constantly trying to make good people look like trolls. No matter how many anti-bullying campaigns you run, how many people you ban, how many misguided zero-tolerance policies you write, trolls will thrive if there’s food around.

That will continue to happen until the day when everyone educates themselves better about clinical narcissism — and gives up the argument that a particular troll has it.

If you go too far, and take down everyone who displays one or two narcissistic traits, you will also stop their victims.

You want three things for a victim of narcissistic abuse: You want to give them an opportunity to heal, You want to give them room to speak that the narcissist tried to troll them out of — and you definitely, definitely want them to fully understand why it is self-destructive to try to go after the troll either directly or publicly.

Turnabout is not fair play — not just because of karma or some perfect morality — but because chasing after the troll is just another opportunity for the victim to be abused further.

“That will continue to happen until the day when everyone educates themselves better about clinical narcissism — and gives up the argument that a particular troll has it.”Many people think this is just about protecting emotionally fragile people’s feelings — or creating a “perfect” code of conduct, or that this is just an opportunity to squash more free speech.

Unfortunately, it can be all those things — even if those things won’t work. That’s a very substantial reason why a global understanding of narcissism would result in a better world, better environments and communication online and offline, less perceived need for zero-tolerance policy and censorship and controlled speech, and greater harmony and success.

If you critically examine the news and advertising, we are constantly being played against each other as a society. Corporations do this because it makes us “better consumers” by their definition of “better.” (Malleable.) So don’t think for a moment that trolls are just some obnoxious kids on an internet forum.

Trolls create and sustain monopolies, they use marketing to psychologically manipulate the public, and they create a society in which we cannot work together to do anything meaningful against them. Understand that power, and you can learn to feed it less.

“By no means was all of this said just to sum it up as “use GNU,” but yes — a free operating system would help substantially because it starves corporations that are bent on controlling not just your computing via their software and social media platforms and ridiculous “Smart” devices — but your entire life, via your computing.”Will using a fully free operating system help? By no means was all of this said just to sum it up as “use GNU,” but yes — a free operating system would help substantially because it starves corporations that are bent on controlling not just your computing via their software and social media platforms and ridiculous “Smart” devices — but your entire life, via your computing.

Using Free software, unlike using “Open Source” is a political and ethical act. Using Free software promotes freedom (and choice as well) and it teaches that sometimes, “the shiny” is actually just poison.

That said, there is a lot more to freedom than just software. So many things run on digital platforms now, that the relevance of Free software to other (more conventionally thought of) freedoms is understated. This is not just about Free software — it is about free society and a better mankind.

Above all, it is most certainly not a call for more censorship — but instead, an idea that may help people realise why more censorship is not needed, and wouldn’t help much anyway.

When you increase the number of tools and features for controlling people and groups, narcissists tend to find better uses for those tools than the rest of us. This is true whether you’re talking about technology or politics.

“So many things run on digital platforms now, that the relevance of Free software to other (more conventionally thought of) freedoms is understated.”Narcissism is not just male or female, left or right, rich or poor, eastern or western. It is a fundamental evil that has plagued humanity for millennia. But between overpopulation, extremely scientific marketing and global communication, it is very likely that the problem is worse than ever in history.

A thorough understanding of the problem is the best first step towards ideal solutions; while a misunderstanding, uncorrected, is a small step towards chaos. The Internet is full of misunderstandings, and this is one it really can’t afford. If you are tired of being trolled, or have friends that are tired of the same, a good understanding of narcissism is the best medicine you could have. It won’t help you fix the narcissists, but properly applied it will save you a boatload of trouble.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)

Breaking the Law Has Become the Norm at the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The banality of corruption and illegality

EPO delivery

Summary: The European Patent Office’s ongoing practice of destroying critics/whistleblowers and crushing unions, judges, examiners etc. — as well as threats and bribery of the media — ultimately mean a perpetual state of lawlessness that, if it prevails, will let patent trolls raid the European economy and stall innovation

ANY time we mention Team Campinos/Battistelli lawlessness come to mind; these people are not virtually but practically above the law. Nobody can stop them; they can do anything they want.

“…these people are not virtually but practically above the law.”A year after Battistelli left we don’t really expect him to be held accountable for the corruption. People are sort of expected to forget or forgive. But why? The European Patent Office (EPO) is detached from the EU when it suits the EPO’s managers, e.g. when they commit crimes and don’t want to be held accountable by European institutions. Yesterday, however, they were happy to associate with the EU in Twitter, referring to a sort or endorsement from the EU’s “IPR Helpdesk”.

“There’s a certain sense of rot at the EPO; during the month of August it was almost never mentioned in the media.”The EPO’s attacks on the law may have been ignored or overlooked by EU officials, but what about courts in Germany? Well, the FCC certainly can see the attack on judges, among many other things. SUEPO, the EPO’s staff union, was taking note as recently as yesterday of the likely permanent demise of the UPC (and anything like it) under the section “Other press articles published related to Work/Labour – UPC – Unitary Patent – ILOAT etc.” (further down).

There’s a certain sense of rot at the EPO; during the month of August it was almost never mentioned in the media. IP Kat‘s Riana Harvey just mentioned it in passing yesterday:

The European Patent Law blog examines case T-721/16, heard in the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office, which suggested that it was not necessary to reproduce examples, but for the courts to examine the description of the combination of claimed characteristics.

We mentioned this decision before. This is in French.

We don’t suppose they’ll get around to tackling issues such as patent scope or quality; they refuse to even touch the 'Haar question'.

“What we’re seeing here is the collapse of patent certainty in Europe…”As we noted earlier this month, patent trolls flock to Europe, looking to exploit the demise of patent quality. We know what law firms are eager to represent these trolls. One such firm has just pushed to Lexology its so-called ‘advice’ (from Patrick Heckeler in this case). “The European Patent Office considered tracking SWAP derivatives transaction positions non-technical,” wrote these boosters of software patents in Europe, Bardehle Pagenberg. It’s even worse when it comes to European courts, where software patents have almost no chance of survival. What we’re seeing here is the collapse of patent certainty in Europe; too many fake patents or Invalid Patents (IPs) are being granted by the EPO. Campinos did absolutely nothing about this; he even made things worse.

08.19.19

Links 20/8/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.6, Kdenlive 19.08

Posted in News Roundup at 11:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • System76 announce their own graphical Firmware Manager

        System76, the company known for their Linux hardware and the Pop!_OS Linux distribution recently announced their new Firmware Manager.

        Supporting their own Pop!_OS as well as other Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu, their firmware tooling is aimed at easing the update process for users. Developed due to a “lack of options for graphical frontends to firmware management services”, since previous tools for LVFS (Linux Vendor Firmware Service) relied on GNOME Software or KDE Discover “which is not viable for Linux distributions which have their own application centers, or frontends to package managers”.

        They’ve created a GTK application for other distributions to use, as well as widget library with it integrated into GNOME Settings. They do say that the core of the framework is “toolkit-agnostic”, enabling frontends to be written in any toolkit. System76 said their new Firmware Manager project supports updating from both LVFS and system76-firmware, along with being compatible with Wayland.

      • System76 Unveils Graphical Firmware Updater for All Debian-Based Linux Distros

        American computer manufacturer System76 announced a new, cross-platform graphical utility that promises to make checking and updating your computer’s firmware a lot more easier.

        The Firmware Manager project is System76′s latest toy for the company’s in-house built, Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distribution, but also compatible with any Debian-based GNU/Linux distro out there. Backed by the fwupd and system76-firmware CLI tools, the Firmware Manager utility will integrate into the GNOME Settings panel for easier firmware updating.

        “One of the issues we faced with firmware management on Linux was the lack of options for graphical frontends to firmware management services like fwupd and system76-firmware,” said System76.

      • System76 Still Aiming To Be The Apple Of The Linux Space With Software & Hardware

        System76 continues doing much more work on software these days as well as expanding their own hardware manufacturing capabilities. This is much more than they did a decade or even several years ago when they were just selling PCs/laptops pre-loaded with Ubuntu. As summed up by System76 founder and CEO, Carl Richell, their end game is much more Apple-esque.

        Following their announcement on Saturday of their new System76 Firmware Manager project, Carl tweeted, “This work continues our transition from a hardware company shipping a distro to a hardware company providing an integrated, holistic hardware and OS product. Still a lot of work ahead of us but manufacturing, open firmware, and Pop!_OS are pulling together.”

      • Google brings Linux app support to some older Chromebooks (including Chromebook Pixel 2015)

        Chrome OS started out as a browser-based operating system that could run web apps only. Eventually Google added support for Android apps, and then for Linux apps, making Chromebooks more useful as general-purpose laptops.

        But while most new Chromebooks feature out-of-the-box support for Android and Linux apps, many older models do not… and it looked like they never would.

        It turns out that may not be true after all: 9to5Google reports that Google seems to be testing an update that would bring Linux app support to the 2015 Chromebook Pixel, along with a number of other models released that year.

      • 2015 Pixel and eight other Chromebooks land Linux apps

        At the center of “kernelnext” is the iconic Pixel Chromebook 2015. Although nearing its end of life, Google’s second iteration Chromebook is still a powerful device with a timeless design. It is fitting that users of the $1000+ Pixel should get a little bit of love from developers and the addition of Linux apps should be a reason to rejoice. A recent report from Kyle Bradshaw reveals that some users are starting to see the “kernelnext” update on their devices which has allowed them to enable the experimental flag that activates Crostini.

      • Your Older Chromebook, Chromebox, Or Chromebase Will Run Linux Soon

        The ability to use Linux on a Chromebook is going to be the norm from this year forward but now at least eight much older devices are gaining that capability too. Code changes associated with the change were first spotted under the ‘KernelNext’ project codename earlier this year. But that change is now rolling out to no fewer than eight devices.

        Among Chrome OS gadgets receiving the update are three Chromebox PCs, one Chromebase all-in-one, and four Chromebooks. The first and likely biggest of those updates is already shipping now for Google’s Pixel Chromebook. Acer’s C670 Chromebook 11 and Chromebook 15 — codenamed Paine and Yuna — as well as Dell’s Chromebook 13 7310 and Toshiba’s Chromebook 2 — codenamed Lulu and Gandof will see the update soon too.

        For alternative Chrome OS hardware, Acer’s Chromebox CXI2, the ASUS Chromebox CN62, and the Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox — Rikku, Guadu, and Tidus — are included in the list. Finally, Acer’s Chromebase 24 — codenamed Buddy — rounds out the list.

    • Server

      • Replicating Particle Collisions at CERN with Kubeflow

        This is where Kubeflow comes in. They started by training their 3DGAN on an on-prem OpenStack cluster with 4 GPUs. To verify that they were not introducing overhead by using Kubeflow, they ran training first with native containers, then on Kubernetes, and finally on Kubeflow using the MPI operator. They then moved to an Exoscale cluster with 32 GPUs and ran the same experiments, recording only negligible performance overhead. This was enough to convince them that they had discovered a flexible, versatile means of deploying their models to a wide variety of physical environments.

        Beyond the portability that they gained from Kubeflow, they were especially pleased with how straightforward it was to run their code. As part of the infrastructure team, Ricardo plugged Sofia’s existing Docker image into Kubeflow’s MPI operator. Ricardo gave Sofia all the credit for building a scalable model, whereas Sofia credited Ricardo for scaling her team’s model. Thanks to components like the MPI operator, Sofia’s team can focus on building better models and Ricardo can empower other physicists to scale their own models.

      • Issue #2019.08.19 – Kubeflow at CERN

        Replicating Particle Collisions at CERN with Kubeflow – this post is interesting for a number of reasons. First, it shows how Kubeflow delivers on the promise of portability and why that matters to CERN. Second, it reiterates that using Kubeflow adds negligible performance overhead as compared to other methods for training. Finally, the post shows another example of how images and deep learning can replace more computationally expensive methods for modelling real-word behaviour. This is the future, today.

      • IBM

        • A POWER’ful Announcement Is Expected Tomorrow Changing The Open-Source Landscape

          For those interested in IBM’s POWER architecture and/or open-source hardware prospects, an industry-shaking announcement is expected to happen Tuesday morning.

          Taking place Tuesday and Wednesday in sunny San Diego is the OpenPOWER Summit focused on the open-source POWER ecosystem. There will be keynotes tomorrow from IBM, Microsemi, Raptor Computing Systems, and the OpenPOWER Foundation. Beyond the usual fluff and what not at most industry events / keynotes, there is going to be a very exciting announcement made tomorrow morning in kicking off this event.

        • PHP version 7.2.22RC1 and 7.3.9RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests (for x86_64 only), and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.3.9RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 30 or remi-php73-test repository for Fedora 28-29 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 7.2.22RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 28-29 or remi-php72-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • Self-Serviced, End-to-End Encryption for Kubernetes Applications, Part 2: a Practical Example

          In part one of this series, we saw three approaches to fully automate the provisioning of certificates and create end-to-end encryption. Based on feedback from the community suggesting the post was a bit too theoretical and not immediately actionable, this article will illustrate a practical example. You can see a recording of the demo here.

        • The Tiger that interned at Red Hat

          From the start, Tiger just had the right idea about looking for a college. Instead of reading US World News’ rankings, basing his decisions on sports teams, or even aiming for the Ivy Leagues, Tiger set out to make his college search a data driven effort. He asked himself, first, where he wanted to work. For him, that was an almost typical answer for an aspiring young technology student: Google, Facebook, Red Hat and other big name tech firms.

          [...]

          Tiger’s real name is Passawit Kaovilai, and he’s now entering his third year at NC State. He said that many people in his native Thailand have nicknames, and that his translates well into any language, and is understood immediately. He was also born in the year of the tiger, so the name is a natural fit.

          Here at Red Hat, Tiger has taken on the duties of a technical marketing intern. That means he’s been diving into Red Hat OpenShift 4 to help create documentation and learning tools for users in the field. That also means contributing to open source projects, and getting his handle out there on GitHub, however modestly.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Icelake Thunderbolt Support Still Being Squared Away For Linux – Hopefully For 5.4

        Intel Icelake laptops will soon be hitting store shelves and a vast majority of the Linux support has been squared away for many months. Unfortunately one bit still not mainlined is the Thunderbolt support.

        Back in July we wrote about the Icelake Thunderbolt support still not merged yet while Icelake’s Gen11 graphics and other new processor features have all been squared away for several kernel releases in ensuring good launch-day support. With Icelake, the Thunderbolt functionality has moved onto the SoC itself (sans the Thunderbolt power delivery) and that’s taken additional time for getting the Linux kernel support in order.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 19.2′s Feature Freeze / Release Candidate Process Beginning Tomorrow

          Mesa 19.2 was supposed to be branched marking its feature freeze two weeks ago on 6 August along with the issuing of the first release candidate. That milestone has yet to be crossed but should happen tomorrow.

          Mesa 19.2 development dragged on for the extra two weeks to allow some extra features to land. Those extra features were metrics/counters support for Intel Iris Gallium3D, CCS_E modifier support, and slice/sub-slice hashing optimizations for Intel — a big performance win. Now that those blockers have landed, the release process is expected to get underway on Tuesday.

        • Display Stream Compression (DSC) for AMD Navi
          This patchset enables Display Stream Compression (DSC) on DP 
          connectors on Navi ASICs, both SST and DSC.
          
          8k60 and 4k144 support requires ODM combine, an AMD internal
          feature that may be a bit buggy right now.
          
          Patches 1 through 5 enable DSC for SST. Most of the work was
          already done in the Navi promotion patches; this just hooks
          it up to the atomic interface. The first two reverts are of temporary
          changes to block off DSC. The third is of a commit that was
          accidentally promoted twice. The fourth and last revert fixes a 
          potential issue with ODM combine.
          
          Patches 6 and 7 are fixes for bugs that would be exposed by 
          MST DSC. One fix is with the MST code and the other in the DSC code.
          
          Patches 8, 9, and 10 are small DRM changes required for DSC MST:
          FEC, a new bit in the standard; some export definitions; and
          a previously uninitialized variable.
          
          Patches 11 through 14 are the DSC MST policy itself. This includes
          the code for detecting and validating DSC capabilities, enabling
          DSC over a link, computing the fair DSC configurations for
          multiple DSC displays, and adding to atomic state crtcs that might 
          need reprogramming due to DSC.
          
        • AMD Posts Navi Display Stream Compression Support For Linux

          One of the kernel-side features not yet in place for AMD’s newest Navi graphics processors on Linux has been Display Stream Compression support but that is being squared away with a new patch series.

          Fourteen patches posted today adding more than six hundred lines of code to the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver enable Display Stream Compression support for DisplayPort connectors on Navi GPUs. VESA’s Display Stream Compression is for low-latency lossless compression performance for power-savings and higher resolution/refresh-rates based on bandwidth and enabling the likes of DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (MST) technology.

    • Benchmarks

      • POWER9 & ARM Performance Against Intel Xeon Cascadelake + AMD EPYC Rome

        For those wondering how ARM and IBM POWER hardware stack up against AMD’s new EPYC “Rome” processors and that of Intel’s existing Xeon “Cascade Lake” processors, here is a round of tests from the POWER9 Talos II, Ampere eMAG, and Cavium ThunderX in looking at the cross-architecture Linux CPU performance currently in the server space.

        Our AMD EPYC Rome benchmarks this month have been focused on the performance compared to earlier AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon processors, but given the broader architecture support on Linux and there also being significant interest in the likes of IBM POWER / OpenPOWER thanks to more open-source designs when paired with motherboards from Raptor Computing Systems, here are some initial numbers for ARM and POWER9 performance against the new x86_64 server CPUs.

    • Applications

      • Pause Music When Locking The Screen And Resume On Unlock For Spotify, Rhythmbox, Others

        When you lock your computer screen (without suspending the system), most desktop audio players continue playback in the background, sometimes not emitting any sound ¹. Due to this you may unintentionally skip parts of podcasts or songs in a playlist, etc.

        Enter pause-on-lock, a Bash script that pauses your music player when you lock the screen and resumes playback once the screen is unlocked.

        pause-on-lock works on Unity, GNOME, Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments, and by default it supports Spotify and Rhythmbox. With the help of playerctl (a command line controller for controlling media players that support the MPRIS D-Bus interface), this script can extend its supported music players to many others, including Audacious, VLC, Cmus, and others.

      • Easy Way to Screen Mirroring Android on Ubuntu!

        Screen Mirroring is one of the features found on smartphones, one of which is on Android. This feature serves to display the smartphone to a computer. This is very useful for example when used for demo applications that you make, or maybe for other things related to smartphones.

        In Ubuntu, we can do screen mirroring with applications available on Android, for example is AirDroid which can be used for screen mirroring through a browser. But I feel less optimal when using this instant method.

        Because there is a lag between activity on the smartphone and on the monitor screen on the computer, and the results are less than optimal. What might be the cause because it is opened through a browser and uses wi-fi? (Personal question).

        I am looking for another application for screen mirroring on Ubuntu, and one of the very good applications is Scrcpy. This application can be used for screen mirroring without a root device.

      • OBS Studio 24.0 Will Let You Pause While Recording, Other New Options

        For those using OBS Studio for cross-platform live-streaming and screen recording needs, OBS Studio 24.0 is on the way but out first is their release candidate to vet the new features coming into this big update.

      • Storage

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Don’t Starve Together has a big free update adding in boats and a strange island

        Klei Entertainment have given the gift of new features to their co-op survival game Don’t Starve Together, with the Turn of Tides update now available.

        Taking a little inspiration from the Shipwrecked DLC available for the single-player version Don’t Starve, this new free update enables you to build a boat to carry you and other survivors across the sea. Turn of Tides is the first part of a larger update chain they’re calling Return of Them, so I’m excited to see what else is going to come to DST.

      • Cthulhu Saves the World has an unofficial Linux port available

        In response to an announcement to a sequel to Cthulhu Saves the World, Ethan Lee AKA flibitijibibo has made a unofficial port for the original and a few other previously Windows-only games. As a quick reminder FNA is a reimplementation of the proprietary XNA API created by Micrsosoft and quite a few games were made with that technology. We’ve gotten several ports thanks to FNA over the years though Ethan himself has mostly moved on to other projects like working on FAudio and Steam Play.

      • EVERSPACE 2 announced, with more of a focus on exploration and it will release for Linux

        EVERSPACE is probably one of my absolute favourite space shooters from the last few years, so I’m extremely excited to see EVERSPACE 2 be announced and confirmed for Linux.

        For the Linux confirmation, I reached out on Twitter where the developer replied with “#Linux support scheduled for full release in 2021!”.

      • Google reveal more games with the latest Stadia Connect, including Cyberpunk 2077

        Today, Google went back to YouTube to show off an impressive list of games coming to their Stadia game streaming service, which we already know is powered by Debian Linux and Vulkan.

        As a reminder, Google said not to see Stadia as if it was the “Netflix of games”, as it’s clearly not. Stadia Base requires you to buy all your games as normal, with Stadia Pro ($9.99 monthly) giving you a trickle of free games to access on top of 4K and surround sound support.

      • The situation with Blood: Fresh Supply getting a Linux version is looking a little unclear

        Blood: Fresh Supply is the revamp of the classic 90′s first-person shooter Blood, released by Nightdive Studios in May this year.

        In the most recent update on Steam, the team mentioned “For future issues, we will have to recommend contacting Atari about them.”. Their wording is interesting, which seems to indicate that Nightdive will not be making any further additions to Blood: Fresh Supply. Presumably then, this would mean the Linux version they previously confirmed back in May will not be happening either.

      • Spacebase Startopia is the next title from Realmforge and Kalypso Media, coming to Linux

        Set Phasers to fun sci-fi fans, as Realmforge (Dungeons 3) and Kalypso Media just announced Spacebase Startopia and it’s confirmed to be supporting Linux.

        From the press release sent over by Kalypso Media, they confirmed it’s “an all-new take on the 2001 cult classic” Startopia from Mucky Foot Productions.

      • wsPublish, an open source Steam Workshop Interop Library released

        How about a little open source news to get your Monday flowing? Game porter Ethan Lee recently announced the release of wsPublish, an open source Steam Workshop Interop Library with a little history.

      • Incredibly stylish twin-stick shooter Devader is launching next month

        With some really wild enemy designs and action that just don’t stop, Devader is a damn fun game and it’s releasing officially next month.

      • Planetary Annihilation: TITANS still seeing updates, Mesa issues on Linux being looked into

        Celebrating one year since Planetary Annihilation Inc took over development of Planetary Annihilation: TITANS from Uber Entertainment, the team have given an update.

        The post goes over what they’ve been able to achieve and it is quite impressive. Before Planetary Annihilation Inc appeared, it did seem like the game was left on life support so they’ve given it a big boost. A fair amount of Planetary Annihilation: TITANS was getting old, so their first point of action was to upgrade the underlying tech to be more modern. Along with that they also upgraded the AI, put a fair amount of effort into their servers to improve performance, gave it more multi-threading and so on.

      • Based on the classic FPS Warsow, the new Warfork is now live in Early Access

        Fast-paced arena shooter Warsow has been forked, updated under the name of Warfork and it’s now in Early Access on Steam.

        If you’re curious why they forked it and put it on Steam, according to the team behind Warfork the owner of Warsow is apparently opposed to a Steam release (see the additional notes below on that). Not just that, but until recently Warsow saw very little in the way of updates and seemed a bit dead overall. In addition, the developers of Warfork are planning lots of work to make Warfork more easily adjusted with mods.

      • Open-world vehicle-based survival game Project 5: Sightseer has been officially released

        Set on a huge procedurally generated world, Project 5: Sightseer from the developer of Windward is a sandbox open-world survival game where you pilot various vehicles.

        Instead of running around as person like in other survival sims, Project 5: Sightseer is more about technology. Starting you off in a rather crap land vehicle, you eventually build up an outpost and research much better transportation including those that enable you to fly vast distances easily.

      • GOG are celebrating their Community Wishlist feature with a big sale

        The DRM-free store GOG are currently doing a bit of patting themselves on the back with a sale celebrating their Community Wishlist feature.

        Allowing gamers to suggest, discuss and vote on games they want to see come to GOG it’s a pretty fun feature for a curated store to have. GOG say they have completed “over 2 million wishes” and they have “no plans on slowing down” with it. They of course can’t fulfil every wish, but it’s a good way for them to see what classics people want revived.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Four more years! Four more years! Svelte Linux desktop Xfce gets first big update since 2015

        In contrast to the frenetic pace of updates now typical in the software industry, the team behind Xfce, a lightweight desktop for Linux, have released version 4.14 nearly four-and-a-half years since the last stable release, 4.12.

        Xfce aims to be fast, consume minimal resources and embody the UNIX philosophy of modularity. Its features include a window manager, a desktop manager, a file manager and an application finder.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kdenlive 19.08 released

          After a well deserved summer break, the Kdenlive community is happy to announce the first major release after the code refactoring. This version comes with a big amount of fixes and nifty new features which will lay the groundwork for the 3 point editing system planned for this cycle. The Project Bin received improvements to the icon view mode and new features were added like the ability to seek while hovering over clips with the mouse cursor and now it is possible to add a whole folder hierarchy. On the usability front the a menu option was added to reset the Kdenlive config file and now you can search for effects from all tabs instead of only the selected tab. Head to our download page for AppImage and Windows packages.

        • Interview with Chayse Goodall

          Hi, my name is Chayse Goodall. I am 14 years old. I just draw for fun!

          [...]

          I normally draw the sketch first in a dark red color. Then I draw the plain body in a light green. I sketch the clothes, hair, and accessories on in a neon color.

          I just use the pen for coloring and shading.

        • KMyMoney 5.0.6 released

          The KMyMoney development team today announces the immediate availability of version 5.0.6 of its open source Personal Finance Manager.

          Another maintenance release is ready: KMyMoney 5.0.6 comes with some important bugfixes. As usual, problems have been reported by our users and the development team fixed some of them in the meantime. The result of this effort is the brand new KMyMoney 5.0.6 release.

          Despite even more testing we understand that some bugs may have slipped past our best efforts. If you find one of them, please forgive us, and be sure to report it, either to the mailing list or on bugs.kde.org.

        • Kontact and Google Integration Issues

          Lately there were some issues with the Google integration in Kontact which caused that it is no longer possible to add new Google Calendar or Gmail account in Kontact because the log in process will fail. This is due to an oversight on our side which lead to Google blocking Kontact as it did not comply with Google’s policies. We are working on resolving the situation, but it will take a little bit.

          Existing users should not be affected by this – if you already had Google Calendar or Gmail set up in Kontact, the sync should continue to work. It is only new accounts that cannot be created.

          In case of Gmail the problem can mostly be worked around when setting up the IMAP account in KMail by selecting PLAIN authentication1 method in the Advanced tab and using your email and password. You may need to enable Less Secure Applications in your Google account settings in order to be able to log in with regular email address and password.

    • Distributions

      • Changing the Chair of the openSUSE Board [Ed: Reposted in OpenSUSE's site now]

        Gerald has been a regular source of advice & support during my tenure as Chairperson. In particular, I will always remember my first visit to FOSDEM as openSUSE Chair.
        Turning up more smartly dressed than usual, I was surprised to find Gerald, a senior Director at SUSE, diving in to help at the incredibly busy openSUSE booth, and doing so dressed in quite possibly the oldest and most well-loved openSUSE T-shirt I’ve ever seen.
        When booth visitors came with questions about SUSE-specific stuff, I think he took some glee in being able to point them in my direction while teasingly saying “Richard is the corporate guy here, I’m just representing the community..”

        Knowing full well he will continue being so community minded, while finally giving me the opportunity to tease him in return, it is with a similar glee I now hand over the reigns to Gerald.

        As much as I’m going to miss things about being chairperson of this awesome community, I’m confident and excited to see how openSUSE evolves from here.

      • A new chair for the openSUSE board

        Richard Brown has announced that he is stepping down as the chair of the openSUSE board.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • 10 Linux distros: From different to dangerous

          One of the great benefits of Linux is the ability to roll your own. Throughout the years, individuals, organizations, and even nation states have done just that. In this gallery, we’re going to showcase some of those distros. Be careful, though. You may not want to load these, or if you do, put them in isolated VMs. We’re not kidding when we say they could be dangerous.

        • Endeavour OS 2019.08.17 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Endeavour OS 2019.08.17.

      • Fedora Family

        • Approved: Fedora 31 To Drop i686 Everything/Modular Repositories

          The month-old proposal for the upcoming Fedora 31 Linux distribution release to stop with their i686 repositories for Everything and Modules was voted on today by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee.

          The FESCo group gave their formal approval today for permitting these i686 repositories to be removed beginning with Fedora 31. This also goes in-step with Fedora 31 having already decided to stop with their i686 kernel builds.

        • Living my best 4 days: Flock to Fedora 2019

          Months of waiting came to an end and finally, it was time to meet people with whom I have been working for the last 4 months, being on the other side of the screen. Things seemed different when our last Wednesday conference call ended with “Meet you soon” instead of a “Good Day”. The excitement of attending Flock to Fedora, was not only because the virtual interaction is turning to the real meeting but also, it was my first ever International trip. With approaching the 6th of August, the fear of travelling solo was getting on the peak, and at one moment I started questioning if all the trouble I underwent during last month was even worth it. But the time I met Shraddha(another intern working on the same project)at Bangalore airport, we happened to click so much at our first conversation that it was certain that at least my journey will not be me, and my headphones all the time.

          Since I reached Budapest a day before when everyone arrived, I got a handful of time discovering places, getting to know their culture and try on things we never tried before. The excitement of being at such a beautiful place did not make me realise that I was sleep-deprived, I had a jet lag of 4 hours and I was hungry. I spent the entire day roaming the streets, enjoying a breath of fresh air and exploring the city and ways of commute as well.

          Next day we shifted to the hotel that was booked for us and where the conference will be held. The ambience of the whole place was really nice and we met other fellow attendees at the conference.

        • rpminspect Presentation at Flock 2019

          Flock in Budapest was a great event. There were a lot of talks I wanted to attend, but could not make it to all of them. I did give one talk on my project called rpminspect.

          rpminspect is a project I started as a replacement for an internal Red Hat tool. I am working on integrating it in to the build workflow for Fedora but also allow package maintainers to use it locally as a build linter of sorts. Here is a link to the presentation I gave. I think there is video, but I am not sure where those are.

        • rpminspect-0.3 released

          Released rpminspect-0.3 today with bugs reported and fixed during Flock Budapest 2019.

        • Kevin Fenzi: Flock 2019

          Flock time is upon is! This time in lovely Budapest. As always when flock is in europe, it’s a long flight for me, but otherwise travel was uneventfull: Drive 2 hours to PDX, then PDX to AMS, then a short layover for coffee and stoupwaffles and then AMS to BUD, and finally a taxi ride to the hotel.

          The hotel is quite lovely. It’s right next to the danube river and has a nice view. The AC is working nicely too (it’s quite hot outside here right now). After getting into the hotel yesterday and a quick dinner at a very nice place down the road, I managed to sleep for 10+ hours.

      • Debian Family

        • KNOPPIX Live GNU/Linux System Is Now Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          A new release of the KNOPPIX Live GNU/Linux system has been released and it’s based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series and the Linux 5.2 kernel.

          KNOPPIX 8.6 is now available based on the software repositories of the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, but also packing some elements from the Debian Uunstable (Sid) repos. It’s powered by the latest Linux 5.2 kernel series and X.Org Server 7.7 display server to support newer graphics cards and computer hardware.

        • Tails 4.0 Anonymous Linux OS Enters Beta Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          Tails 4.0 recently entered beta testing and it’s the first release to be based on the just released Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, which means that all the pre-installed packages have been updated to newer versions to support the latest hardware components, especially recent Nvidia and ATI/AMD graphics cards, as well as Mac computers.

          Tails 4.0 also promises support for Thunderbolt 3 devices, which is now integrated into the latest GNOME 3 desktop environment, with which the upcoming major Tails release will ship by default. Users who own a Thunderbolt device are urged to test the implementation by navigating to Choose Devices > Thunderbolt from the GNOME Settings utility.

        • Knoppix 8.6 first wide public release to abandon systemd

          Version 8.6 of the popular Debian-derived Linux distribution Knoppix was released on Sunday, rebasing the distribution on Debian 10 (Buster)—released on July 9—with select packages from Debian’s testing and unstable branches to enable support for newer graphics hardware. Knoppix is among the first Linux distributions that can be run live from a DVD, and continues to enjoy a great deal of popularity among Linux enthusiasts.

          Knoppix 8.6 is notable for being the first publicly-released version of the distribution to abandon systemd, an init system built by Red Hat’s Lennart Poettering intended to replace sysvinit. While adoption of systemd was the subject of considerable controversy and criticism, it is the mainstream default, used by Knoppix’s upstream Debian, as well as other Debian forks such as Ubuntu and Mint; RHEL, CentOS, and Fedora; openSUSE and SLES, as well as Mageia, and by default in Arch.

          Complaints about systemd primarily focus on feature creep, as the project does not conform to the “do one thing and do it well” philosophy of Unix systems in general. Other aspects, such as its use of binary logs (as opposed to human-readable, text logs) have likewise drawn criticism.

          The first version of Knoppix to remove systemd is 8.5; though this version was distributed exclusively with copies of Linux Magazine Germany earlier this year, it was not made generally available for download. Knoppix creator Klaus Knopper wrote briefly about the decision to remove systemd in that edition (translated from German, links added for context):

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Latest KDE Security Vulnerabilities Are Patched in Ubuntu and Debian, Update Now

          couple of weeks ago, the KDE community fixed a security vulnerability discovered by Dominik Penner in the KConfig component, the configuration settings framework of the KDE Plasma desktop environment, which could allow an attacker to execute malicious code through a specially crafted .desktop file included in an archive that was opened in the file manager.

          “Dominik Penner discovered that KConfig supported a feature to define shell command execution in .desktop files. If a user is provided with a malformed .desktop file (e.g. if it’s embedded into a downloaded archive and it gets opened in a file browser) arbitrary commands could get executed. This update removes this feature,” reads the Debian security advisory.

        • Ubuntu MATE 18.04.3 LTS Released for GPD Pocket, Ubuntu MATE 19.04 for GPD WIN 2

          Released earlier this month, Ubuntu MATE 18.04.3 LTS is the third instalment in the long-term supported Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series, shipping with updated kernel and graphics stacks from the more recent Ubuntu MATE 19.04 (Disco Dingo) operating system, including Linux 5.0.

          While until now users were able to download Ubuntu MATE 18.04.3 LTS for 64-bit and 32-bit computers, starting today the operating system is also available to download for SOFTWIN’s GPD Pocket and GPD Pocket 2 gaming computers, as well as for the Topjoy Falcon mini laptop.

        • Design and Web team summary – 16 August 2019

          This iteration was the Web & design team’s first iteration of the second half of our roadmap cycle, after returning from the mid-cycle roadmap sprint in Toronto 2 weeks ago.

          Priorities have moved around a bit since before the cycle, and we made a good start on the new priorities for the next 3 months.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 592

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 592 for the week of August 11 – 17, 2019. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • WebAssembly for speed and code reuse

            Imagine translating a non-web application, written in a high-level language, into a binary module ready for the web. This translation could be done without any change whatsoever to the non-web application’s source code. A browser can download the newly translated module efficiently and execute the module in the sandbox. The executing web module can interact seamlessly with other web technologies—with JavaScript (JS) in particular. Welcome to WebAssembly.

            As befits a language with assembly in the name, WebAssembly is low-level. But this low-level character encourages optimization: the just-in-time (JIT) compiler of the browser’s virtual machine can translate portable WebAssembly code into fast, platform-specific machine code. A WebAssembly module thereby becomes an executable suited for compute-bound tasks such as number crunching.

            Which high-level languages compile into WebAssembly? The list is growing, but the original candidates were C, C++, and Rust. Let’s call these three the systems languages, as they are meant for systems programming and high-performance applications programming. The systems languages share two features that suit them for compilation into WebAssembly. The next section gets into the details, which sets up full code examples (in C and TypeScript) together with samples from WebAssembly’s own text format language.

          • Mozilla GFX: moz://gfx newsletter #47

            Hi there! Time for another mozilla graphics newsletter. In the comments section of the previous newsletter, Michael asked about the relation between WebRender and WebGL, I’ll try give a short answer here.

            Both WebRender and WebGL need access to the GPU to do their work. At the moment both of them use the OpenGL API, either directly or through ANGLE which emulates OpenGL on top of D3D11. They, however, each work with their own OpenGL context. Frames produced with WebGL are sent to WebRender as texture handles. WebRender, at the API level, has a single entry point for images, video frames, canvases, in short for every grid of pixels in some flavor of RGB format, be them CPU-side buffers or already in GPU memory as is normally the case for WebGL. In order to share textures between separate OpenGL contexts we rely on platform-specific APIs such as EGLImage and DXGI.

            Beyond that there isn’t any fancy interaction between WebGL and WebRender. The latter sees the former as a image producer just like 2D canvases, video decoders and plain static images.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Qt Visual Studio Tools 2.4 RC Released

          The Visual Studio Project System is widely used as the build system of choice for C++ projects in VS. Under the hood, MSBuild provides the project file format and build framework. The Qt VS Tools make use of the extensibility of MSBuild to provide design-time and build-time integration of Qt in VS projects — toward the end of the post we have a closer look at how that integration works and what changed in the new release.

          Up to this point, the Qt VS Tools extension managed its own project settings in an isolated manner. This approach prevented the integration of Qt in Visual Studio to fully benefit from the features of VS projects and MSBuild. Significantly, it was not possible to have Qt settings vary according to the build configuration (e.g. having a different list of selected Qt modules for different configurations), including Qt itself: only one version/build of Qt could be selected and would apply to all configurations, a significant drawback in the case of multi-platform projects.

          Another important limitation that users of the Qt VS Tools have reported is the lack of support for importing Qt-related settings from shared property sheet files. This feature allows settings in VS projects to be shared within a team or organization, thus providing a single source for that information. Up to now, this was not possible to do with settings managed by the Qt VS Tools.

      • BSD

        • NetBSD Sees Its First Wayland Application Running

          Wayland support is inching ahead on NetBSD for this secure, modern next-generation successor to running an X.Org Server.

          NetBSD has seen a lot of interesting developments this year on the desktop front from DRM graphics driver improvements to better Wine support and now the first Wayland bits are proving successful on this BSD operating system.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Easiest Data Cleaning Method using Python & Pandas

          In this post we are going to learn how to do simplify our data preprocessing work using the Python package Pyjanitor.

        • Weekly Python Exercise A3 (beginner objects) is open

          If you’ve been programming in Python for any length of time, then you’ve undoubtedly heard that “everything is an object.”

          But what does that mean? And who cares? And what effect does that have on you as a developer — or on Python, as a language?

          Indeed, how can (and should) you take advantage of Python’s object-oriented facilities to make your code more readable, maintainable, standard, and (dare I say it) Pythonic?

        • Get started with Eclipse Che 7 and Quarkus: An overview

          In this short video tutorial, hosted by Doug Tidwell, we’ll take a look at the new Eclipse Che 7 interface along with Quarkus, the revolutionary new technology that can make Java applications very small and very fast.

          In the course of this demo, we’ll show how to set up a running workspace and run a simple app. To get started, we’ll also be using Minikube version 1.2.0 and Helm version 2.14.1, both of which you’ll need to have installed. For Che 7, we’re using the chectl tool; note that we’re using the July 30 build of chectl version 0.0.2. Finally, we assume you have wget installed as part of your operating system.

        • CMake: the Case when the Project’s Quality is Unforgivable

          CMake is a cross-platform system for automating project builds. This system is much older than the PVS-Studio static code analyzer, but no one has tried to apply the analyzer on its code and review the errors. As it turned out, there are a lot of them. The CMake audience is huge. New projects start on it and old ones are ported. I shudder to think of how many developers could have had any given error.

        • Technical vision for Qt for Python

          Exposing a huge framework such as Qt to another language is not an easy task and this was the main reason for the slow porting from the old PySide version in Qt 4 to Qt 5.
          Many developers hours were spent in adapting to new Qt 5 APIs, and more importantly, the binding generator tool such that everything can be handled properly.

          Now with Qt 6 things will be different, because the development of Qt for Python is progressing side-by-side to the C++ and QML stories in Qt 6. Hopefully, there will be a lot fewer surprises this time around. In fact, this effect can be seen with current 5.x releases, PySide2 is available almost at the same time as the Qt release, having in some cases a few days delays.

          Since the official release in Qt 5.12.0, the downloads of Qt for Python has been increasing day-by-day, which translates on the community adopting and enjoying the project.

        • Qt 6 Will Bring Improvements To The Toolkit’s Python Support

          Adding to the interesting objectives for Qt 6 are further enhancements to “Qt for Python” for enhancing the programming language’s support for this tool-kit.

          It was just last year with Qt 5.11 that PySide2 became official as Qt for Python to provide proper bindings for Python to the Qt tool-kit. With Qt for Python continuing to see increased adoption, more improvements to Qt for Python are planned.

        • The Document Foundation/LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Sanjog Sigdel

          I’m currently a Graduate Student pursuing my MTech. in IT degree here in Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal. Besides that, I am also a part-time instructor in a private college near the University: NIST College Banepa.

          I love knowing how new technologies work and also love exploring new places. Unitil now I have traveled almost 30 districts of Nepal via trekking, project monitoring and tours. I’ve been using Linux-based operating systems (mainly Ubuntu) since 2012. And I am also a FOSS activist/volunteer. I teach my students to use open source software and most of them are using Linux, LibreOffice, and Python programming in the Nano text editor :-)

        • Debugging Python Applications with the PDB Module

          In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to use Python’s PDB module for debugging Python applications. Debugging refers to the process of removing software and hardware errors from a software application. PDB stands for “Python Debugger”, and is a built-in interactive source code debugger with a wide range of features, like pausing a program, viewing variable values at specific instances, changing those values, etc.

          In this article, we will be covering the most commonly used functionalities of the PDB module.

        • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Paul Ganssle

          This week we welcome Paul Ganssle (@pganssle) as our PyDev of the Week. Paul is the maintainer of the dateutil package and also a maintainer of the setuptools project. You can catch up with Paul on his website or check out some of his talks. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Paul better!

        • Image Process Plugin 1.2.0 for Pelican Released

          Image Process is a plugin for Pelican, a static site generator written in Python.

          Image Process let you automate the processing of images based on their class attribute. Use this plugin to minimize the overall page weight and to save you a trip to Gimp or Photoshop each time you include an image in your post.

          Image Process is used by this blog’s theme to resize the source images so they are the correct size for thumbnails on the main index page and the larger size they are displayed at on top of the articles.

        • Top 7 Compelling Reasons to Hire Ukrainian Developers

          Many people consider offshore development. They seek quality for a lower cost and look where to hire developers. Customers search online, read reviews, or ask for referrals to find the software development team that best fits their goals. Ukraine has become one of the top locations where customers across Europe, Asia, and North America go for developers to build their products from scratch.

        • How to Find and Hire a Python/Django Development Company

          Even though there are about 22 million developers in the world (according to a Nexten.io study), good Python/Django developers aren’t easy to find and can be quite expensive. But there are many job marketplaces for software development companies and individual Python developers. Where you can find profiles of software development companies and their projects, reviews and ratings from current and former clients.

        • The Titler Revamp: QML Producer in the making

          At the beginning of this month, I started testing out the new producer as I had a good, rough structure for the producer code, and was only facing a few minor problems. Initially, I was unclear about how exactly the producer is going to be used by the titler so I took a small step back and spent some time figuring out how kdenlivetitle worked, which is the producer in use.

          Initially, I faced integration problems (which are the ones you’d normally expect) when I tried to make use of the QmlRenderer library for rendering and loading QML templates – and most of them were resolved by a simple refactoring of the QmlRenderer library source code. To give an example, the producer traditionally stores the QML template in global variables which is taken as a character pointer argument (which is, again, traditional C) The QmlRenderer lib takes a QUrl as its parameters for loading the Qml file, so to solve this problem all I had to do was to overload the loadQml() method with one which could accommodate the producer’s needs – which worked perfectly fine. As a consequence, I also had to compartmentalise (further) the rendering process so now we have 3 methods which go sequentially when we want to render something using the library ( initialiseRenderParams( ) -> prepareRenderer( ) -> renderQml( ) )

          [...]

          The problem was resolved (thank you JB) finally and it was not due to OpenGL but it was simply because I hadn’t created an QApplication for the producer (which is necessary for qt producers). The whole month’s been a steep curve, definitely not easy, but, I enjoyed it!

          Right now, I have a producer which is, now, almost complete and with a little more tweaking, will be put to use, hopefully. I’m still facing a few minor issues which I hope to resolve soon and get a working producer. Once we get that, I can start work on the Kdenlive side. Let’s hope for the best!

        • How to Make a Discord Bot in Python

          In a world where video games are so important to so many people, communication and community around games are vital. Discord offers both of those and more in one well-designed package. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a Discord bot in Python so that you can make the most of this fantastic platform.

        • Security, UX, and Sustainability For The Python Package Index

          PyPI is a core component of the Python ecosystem that most developer’s have interacted with as either a producer or a consumer. But have you ever thought deeply about how it is implemented, who designs those interactions, and how it is secured? In this episode Nicole Harris and William Woodruff discuss their recent work to add new security capabilities and improve the overall accessibility and user experience. It is a worthwhile exercise to consider how much effort goes into making sure that we don’t have to think much about this piece of infrastructure that we all rely on.

        • Moving Conda Environments

          Conda is known as a package manager for Python and R packages produced by Anaconda, Inc. and conda-forge, the open-source community for conda Python packages. In addition to managing packages, Conda is also an environment manager. If you’re new to Python, environments create an isolated environment to manage dependencies in a project. Because the Python ecosystem of packages is both wide and deep, part of Conda’s job is to install packages that don’t conflict with each other.

          Once you have your project environment set up and your code written and tested, you may want to move it to another machine. For example, you would want to move a web application to server with a public address or copy a set of tools you frequently use to a USB drive. You might want to take a snapshot of your project environment as a backup.

        • Moving Code with Refactoring in Wing Pro

          In this issue of Wing Tips we explain how to quickly move functions, methods, classes, and other symbols around in Python code, using Wing Pro’s Move Symbol refactoring operation.

          This operation takes care of updating all the points of reference for the symbol that is being moved. For example, if a function is moved from one module to another then Wing will update all the points of call for that function to import the module it has been moved into and invoke the function from there.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel and openssl), Debian (ffmpeg, golang-1.11, imagemagick, kde4libs, openldap, and python3.4), Fedora (gradle, hostapd, kdelibs3, and mgetty), Gentoo (adobe-flash, hostapd, mariadb, patch, thunderbird, and vlc), Mageia (elfutils, mariadb, mythtv, postgresql, and redis), openSUSE (chromium, kernel, LibreOffice, and zypper, libzypp and libsolv), Oracle (ghostscript), Red Hat (rh-php71-php), SUSE (bzip2, evince, firefox, glib2, glibc, java-1_8_0-openjdk, polkit, postgresql10, python3, and squid), and Ubuntu (firefox).

      • IPFire 2.23 – Core Update 135 is ready for testing

        after a little break with many things to fight, we are back with a brand new Core Update which is packed with various bug fixes and cleanup of a lot of code.

      • Wladimir Palant: Kaspersky in the Middle – what could possibly go wrong?

        Roughly a decade ago I read an article that asked antivirus vendors to stop intercepting encrypted HTTPS connections, this practice actively hurting security and privacy. As you can certainly imagine, antivirus vendors agreed with the sensible argument and today no reasonable antivirus product would even consider intercepting HTTPS traffic. Just kidding… Of course they kept going, and so two years ago a study was published detailing the security issues introduced by interception of HTTPS connections. Google and Mozilla once again urged antivirus vendors to stop. Surely this time it worked?

        Of course not. So when I decided to look into Kaspersky Internet Security in December last year, I found it breaking up HTTPS connections so that it would get between the server and your browser in order to “protect” you. Expecting some deeply technical details about HTTPS protocol misimplementations now? Don’t worry, I don’t know enough myself to inspect Kaspersky software on this level. The vulnerabilities I found were far more mundane.

      • KNOB attack: Is my Bluetooth device insecure?

        A recent attack against Bluetooth, called KNOB, has been making waves last week. In essence, it allows an attacker to downgrade the security of a Bluetooth so much that it’s possible for the attacker to break the encryption key and spy on all the traffic. The attack is so devastating that some have described it as the “stop using bluetooth” flaw.

        This is my attempt at answering my own lingering questions about “can I still use Bluetooth now?” Disclaimer: I’m not an expert in Bluetooth at all, and just base this analysis on my own (limited) knowledge of the protocol, and some articles (including the paper) I read on the topic.

      • Dear sysadmins: Patch Webmin now – zero-day exploit emerges for potential hijack hole in server control panel

        The bug appears to have been revealed on Saturday, August 10, by Özkan Mustafa Akkuş at DEF CON and to have been made available as an exploit in a module for the Metasploit framework. The Webmin maintainers didn’t hear about it until Saturday, August 17, when they noticed people discussing the issue on Twitter and Reddit. The CVE was created Thursday, August 15.

        Webmin has about 215,000 installations, according to a Shodan search (account required), and about 13,000 instances of the particularly vulnerable version 1.890.

        [...]

        According to Cooper, the malicious code was introduced into Webmin and Usermin through the project’s build infrastructure. “We’re still investigating how and when, but the exploitable code has never existed in our GitHub repositories, so we’ve rebuilt from git source on new infrastructure,” he said.

        In an email to The Register, Cooper said the malicious code – which appeared in the Sourceforge repo but not the GitHub repo – was introduced to Webmin on local package build infrastructure before it reached Sourceforge.

      • Backdoor found in Webmin, a popular web-based utility for managing Unix servers [Ed: No, it is not a backdoor and it's not there by design]
    • Defence/Aggression

      • On Gun Violence, ‘We Need the Federal Government to Take Bold Steps’ – CounterSpin interview with Ernest Coverson on guns & human rights

        When Walmart responded to the early August mass murder by a white supremacist by announcing they’d stopped selling certain video games, and the National Rifle Association responded to that and a subsequent mass shooting by likening those seeking gun regulations to mass murderers, as likewise seeking to “take away our God-given rights”—well, it’s a hard thing to measure, but you almost felt you could hear vast numbers of Americans saying, “You have got to be kidding.”

        Public conversation seems to have advanced to the point where it’s understood that the reason the United States has so many incidents of gun violence is because the United States has so many guns. The crisis is neither natural nor necessary, and not so much a matter of a lack of public appetite for regulation, as of a political system in which that public interest does not translate into policy or law. If the US gun nightmare is the result of choices, work like that of our next guest is aimed at helping us make the choices to escape it. Ernest Coverson is End Gun Violence campaign manager at Amnesty International USA. He joins us now by phone. Welcome to CounterSpin, Ernest Coverson

    • Environment

      • Intelligence Thieves: How Toxic Pollutants Are Robbing Communities of Color

        Environmental racism has been well documented for decades — beginning with the work of sociologist Robert Bullard in Houston in the 1970s to a recent study in March on pollution burdens.

        But as Washington writes in her new book A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and the Assault on the American Mind, the fallout from environmental toxicity isn’t just physical. Lead, arsenic, mercury, PCBs, phthalates, DDT and even some pathogens can all rob people of their mental acuity and lower their intelligence, disrupting their livelihoods and thwarting their potential.

        Washington, a former research fellow in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School and senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University, is also the author of Infectious Madness and Medical Apartheid, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award.

        We spoke to Washington about why the dangers to mental capacity from environmental pollution are so often overlooked, why communities of color bear the brunt and what can be done about it.

      • Unique climate change has no natural cause

        European and US scientists have cleared up a point that has been nagging away at climate science for decades: not only is the planet warming faster than at any time in the last 2,000 years, but this unique climate change really does have neither a historic precedent nor a natural cause.

        Other historic changes – the so-called Medieval Warm Period and then the “Little Ice Age” that marked the 17th to the 19th centuries – were not global. The only period in which the world’s climate has changed, everywhere and at the same time, is right now.

        And other shifts in the past, marked by advancing Alpine glaciers and sustained droughts in Africa, could be pinned down to a flurry of violent volcanic activity.

      • Energy

        • Documents Show Koch Network’s ‘Structure of Social Change’ in Action

          Back in 1996, the president of the Charles Koch Foundation laid out a blueprint for the Koch network’s goals of social transformation — a three-tiered integrated strategy to roll back government regulations, promote free market principles, and, in doing so, to protect the industries that turned the Koch brothers into billionaires.

          More than three decades later, that blueprint is still being followed in a broad-scale effort to serve the Kochs’ free-market libertarian ideology, to prop up the oil and gas industries that pad their fortunes, and to forestall any political action on climate change that they believe would threaten their bottom line.

        • Did North Dakota Regulators Hide an Oil and Gas Industry Spill Larger Than Exxon Valdez?

          In July 2015 workers at the Garden Creek I Gas Processing Plant, in Watford City, North Dakota, noticed a leak in a pipeline and reported a spill to the North Dakota Department of Health that remains officially listed as 10 gallons, the size of two bottled water delivery jugs.

          But a whistle-blower has revealed to DeSmog the incident is actually on par with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, which released roughly 11 million gallons of thick crude.

    • Finance

      • Does International Travel Cause Economic Growth? Evidence from China’s Deregulation on Foreigners’ Traveling

        International travel is a key channel of international knowledge diffusion and has been hypothesized to shape large cross-country differences in productivity and income. However, causal evidence, especially evidence from developing countries, supporting this hypothesis remains scarce. This paper exploits a novel natural experiment, China’s Opening-to-Foreigner-County (OFC) policy, to examine the effect of deregulating foreigners’ traveling restrictions on regional economic outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that deregulating foreigners’ traveling restrictions leads to a 7.9% additional increase of per capita industrial output for the OFCs in 1985-1991. The positive effects are larger in counties with more foreign equipment and greater industrial human capital. Additionally, the OFCs record more patent applications. The OFC policy’s effect were not triggered by export and FDI entry. We highlight the role of person-based international knowledge diffusion in the economic catch-up of technology recipient countries.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Electoral Commission Obstructionism on Indyref2 is Just a Foretaste

        The Electoral Commission has sought to apply the handbrake to the gathering momentum for a new Independence referendum, by a submission to the Scottish Parliament which is a model of bureaucratic obstructionism. This is simply a foretaste of the attitude of the “neutral” and “independent” organs of the United Kingdom state, such as the BBC and Electoral Commission, in the coming struggle for Independence, in which the British state will be using all possible levers to defend its own existence.

        It should not be forgotten that it is the Electoral Commission which insists that the postal ballots be mixed with the ordinary ballots before counting, so there can be no record of any discrepancy between the postal ballot result and ordinary ballots. If the ordinary ballot was 60% yes and 40% no, but the postal ballot was 90% no and 10% yes, this information is deliberately and systematically destroyed by the counting method insisted on by the Electoral Commission. I have for years been attempting to get a coherent official justification for this deliberate destruction of obviously vital information in guarding against fraud, and have never received one. So I openly proclaim I do not start here from a position of trust in the Electoral Commission.

        The Guardian is reporting triumphantly that the Electoral Commission’s submission to the Scottish Parliament on the legislation for Indyref2 throws a 2020 date into doubt and requires at least a nine month lead period for the referendum. This is (for once) a broadly accurate report from the Guardian.

      • Twitter And Facebook Removing Chinese Disinfo Campaigns Shows That, Contrary To Popular Opinion, They Do Moderate Against Disinfo

        Leaving aside the ridiculous and ignorant suggestions from some that no internet platforms should moderate anything, many, many people seem to believe (incorrectly) that the various internet companies refuse to moderate anything because it goes against their bottom lines. We’ve heard this from a number of politicians — especially among those seeking to change Section 230, arguing (again, incorrectly) that because of Section 230 there’s somehow no incentive to moderate content on their platforms.

        This is wrong on multiple levels. There is tremendous business, political, moral, and social pressure to moderate content on these platforms. When they get it wrong, they get criticized. They can lose users. And (importantly) they can lose advertisers, partners, customers and investors. There is demand for “healthy” platforms, and it’s Section 230 that allows them to experiment and moderate accordingly. That’s why it’s notable to me that both Twitter and Facebook announced the removal of what appears to be a coordinated attempt to abuse both platforms to push disinformation against protesters in Hong Kong.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Latest ‘Google Whistleblower’ To Prove Anti-Conservative Bias Doesn’t Prove Anything And Appears To Be Bigoted Conspiracy Theorist

        So, we had just pointed out that the “fired ex-Googler whistleblower” whom everyone was pointing to last week as “proof” of “anti-conservative bias” at Google, didn’t look so good when you got to see the details (which included statements that certainly read to be pretty supportive of white nationalists, rather than support for, say, the free market and lower taxes). You’d think that peddlers continuing to push this theory with the next person would take more time in the vetting process. But… of course, if it’s Project Veritas we’re talking about, it appears the only vetting they like to do is “can we spin this the way we want so that idiot suckers will buy it?” And that’s what’s happened.

        [...]

        One of the leaked documents also isn’t new and is completely misrepresented. Project Veritas had already posted it back in June and totally misrepresented it then. They claim it shows “election interference” regarding Ireland’s election in which abortion rights were up for referendum. Project Veritas — because they have to misrepresent basically everything — claimed it proved that YouTube was trying to influence the election by suppressing searches on phrases like “abortion is murdering.” What they leave out in all the hype and bluster, is that the document also contains many, many phrases on the other side of the debate, including “repeal the 8th,” “pro choice,” “woman’s right to choose” and more. In other words, the document is not YouTube putting its finger on the scales, but, just as the company explained at the time, an attempt to have the top results on YouTube be focused on more authoritative neutral content providers, rather than those pushing one side or the other. That’s… kinda reasonable? And also the very thing that “conservatives” keep demanding of the company — to be “neutral.”

        Indeed, so much of these documents seem to be evidence of Google trying to figure out how to deal with liars, trolls, and propagandists peddling nonsense. And PV turns that into “proof” of anti-conservative bias. Sorry, dudes. Unless you’re admitting that “conservative” only means liars, trolls and propagandists peddling nonsense…

        Amusingly, among the documents, which were released the very same day a laughably bad complaint was filed against YouTube for discriminating against LGBTQ+ folks, was a document about how YouTube was trying to improve its machine learning algorithms to better handle such content.

      • Beto O’Rourke Joins The Silly Parade Of Confused Politicians Looking To Destroy Section 230

        Earlier this year it was revealed that Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow when he was a kid. To lots of folks in the tech world, this was a big deal. cDc was the original “hacking group.” And while it doesn’t sound like o’Rourke actually did that much hacking while in cDc, at the very least, it suggested that he was tech savvy and might actually understand the internet. Apparently not. On Friday, Beto revealed his plan to deal with gun violence — and apparently, that plan is to take away Section 230 protections from large internet companies.

        [...]

        Finally, any non-government person can certainly express their opinion that platforms shouldn’t host sites like 8chan or Stormfront, but both of those host mostly 1st Amendment protected content, and thus a Presidential campaign really should not be saying that, because as President you literally cannot have a policy that silences 1st Amendment protected speech. That’s how the 1st Amendment works.

        And, arguably, it’s not that difficult to trace a pretty direct lineage from Cult of the Dead Cow to 8chan — and, if anyone, Beto should know that.

        “Require large social media platforms to create systems designed to remove hateful activities on their sites.” Are there any “large” social media platforms that don’t already ban hateful activities in their terms and have systems designed to remove that content? The answer is no. This is a pointless, meaningless policy demanding something that’s already been done.

      • NC Appeals Court Withdraws Its Horrendous, Free Speech-Damaging Opinion On Retaliatory Arrests

        Late last week, the North Carolina State Court of Appeals released an astounding decision. Ignoring a number of precedential rulings finding otherwise, the court decided it was okay for state law enforcement officers to engage in retaliatory arrests, so long as they could find something to charge a citizen with.

        In this case, a car carrying a passenger who flipped the bird to a trooper engaged in a traffic stop was pulled over for… um… “disturbing the peace.” Apparently, all hell was on the verge of breaking loose due to the enthusiastic bird-flipping in the direction of the officer. By the time the stop was over, the passenger was arrested for obstructing an officer. This was because the passenger refused to ID himself, which isn’t actually a crime in North Carolina.

        The court looked at this retaliatory traffic stop and eventual arrest and said, yeah, I guess it’s “reasonable” to assume a drive-by birding is a criminal act in the making, even if the supposed initiating factor (the finger) was protected expression.

        The dissenting opinion was the only reasonable thing about the decision. It pointed out one person’s obscene gesture was highly unlikely to result in disturbed peace and that the traffic stop was nothing more than a fishing expedition to find something to charge the bird-flipping passenger with.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • As The NSA Declares Phone Record Program Dead, Trump Administration Asks For A Permanent Reauthorization

        The NSA decided to abandon its phone data collection earlier this year, stating that it was having all sorts of technical issues collecting only the stuff it was asking for. In the good old days prior to the enactment of the USA Freedom Act, the NSA simply asked for everything. “Reasonable articulable suspicion” now guides the record collection — something that appears to be too tricky for the NSA to wrap its collective collection powers around.

        It’s not all the NSA’s fault. The telcos now hold the records and only hand over what’s asked for when the NSA approaches them. Easier said than done, apparently, as over-collection continues and the NSA seems unable to prevent collecting records it’s not actually trying to correct.

        But it’s also the NSA’s fault because it’s had plenty of time to get used to the new rules and develop better practices/software to sort through collected data. Of course, the NSA has also hinted the program is of limited usefulness and has seemed willing to give it up for years now, especially if the token sacrifice saves other, far more intrusive programs from the Congressional chopping block.

        Is it really shut down, though? That’s been a tough question to answer. The NSA did recommend the program be shut down and claims it’s just gathering dust at the moment, but there’s been nothing definitive delivered to its oversight. Until now. Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times that there’s finally official confirmation of the program’s (possibly temporary) demise. Exiting Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ unclassified letter makes it clear the NSA has shut down the program indefinitely.

      • EFF Calls on California to End Vendor-Driven ALPR Training

        A single surveillance vendor has garnered a monopoly on training law enforcement in California on the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs)—a mass surveillance technology used to track the movements of drivers. After examining the course materials, EFF is now calling on the state body that oversees police standards to revoke the training certification.

        In a letter to the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) sent today, EFF raises a variety of concerns related to factual accuracy of its ALPR training on legal matters. Additionally, we are concerned about the apparent conflict of interest and threat to civil liberties that occurs when a sales-driven company also provides instruction on “best practices” to police.

        ALPRs are camera systems that capture license plates and character-recognition software to document the travel patterns of vehicles. The cameras are often attached to fixed locations, such as streetlights and overpasses, and to police cars, which collect data while patrolling neighborhoods. This data is uploaded to a central database that investigators can use to analyze a driver’s travel patterns, identify visitors to particular destinations, predict individuals’ locations, and track targeted vehicles in real-time. ALPR is a mass surveillance technology in the sense that the systems collect information on every driver—regardless of whether the vehicles have a nexus to a criminal investigation.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ by Jimi Hendrix

        It was fifty years ago that Jimi Hendrix performed the United States national anthem during a Monday morning for tens of thousands of people at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

        Hendrix was the last act to take the stage. He had top-billing and was supposed to take the stage Sunday evening. Technical and weather delays led to the only morning performance he ever did for an audience. By the time he was introduced, many of the attendees had left to return home.

        The national anthem was part of a medley of songs. In the set, Hendrix smoothly segues into the “Star Spangled Banner” after completing “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” As his guitar distorts and wails the last notes, he launches into “Purple Haze.”

        In fact, Hendrix performed the U.S. national anthem before, but his rendition had never achieved such a glorious sonic impact.

        As journalist Barnard Collier recalled for PBS’ “Woodstock” documentary, “Into my head stabbed this sound. It sounded exactly like rockets, missiles, and bombs bursting in air. I’d never heard anything like that in my life.”

    • Monopolies

      • Canada Announces Reforms to Reduce Prices on Patented Drugs

        The Canadian government has announced amendments to its regulations concerning patented drugs that it says will make medicines more affordable. According to Health Canada, these changes will save Canadians $13.2 billion (US $9.97 billion) over the next decade.

        Under the Patent Act, enacted in Canada in 1987, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) can take action against patent holders who charge what the board determines to be an excessive price. Factors that PMPRB takes into consideration include the price for which a drug is sold, the prices of other drugs in the same class are sold, the price charged in other countries, and changes in the consumer price index (CPI).

        Drugs are assessed for their therapeutic benefit relative to existing products, and depending on the outcome of that assessment, are given a ceiling price based on the median price of the same drug in United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Sweden. The ceiling price can then grow in keeping with the CPI.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Lawyers say Federal Circuit’s USPTO request may affect trials

          The Federal Circuit has asked USPTO director Andrei Iancu to explain what deference should be afforded to a panel that determines whether patent disputes are precedential – a move which, lawyers say, could affect future disputes

          Lawyers say the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s request for the USPTO director to explain what deference should be afforded to an office panel could affect how future trials are interpreted…

        • After Filing Statutory Disclaimer, Constitution Bars Court from Finding Claims Invalid

          Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC v. Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC, CV147869MASLHG, 2018 WL 9364037 (D.N.J. Apr. 25, 2018). The remaining claims that had been rejected by the PTAB were revived by the Federal Circuit in a Feb 2019 decision — ordering the PTAB to consider allowing amendments to the claims. Sanofi Mature IP v. Mylan Laboratories Ltd., 757 Fed. Appx. 988 (Fed. Cir. 2019)(unpublished).

          On appeal, the Federal Circuit has vacated this decision — holding that “disclaimer of the disclaimed claims mooted any controversy.” Rather, once the claims were disclaimed the invalidity relief became “both speculative and immaterial to its possible future defenses, and Defendants thus failed to demonstrate an Article III case or controversy.”

          Fresenius pointed to the fact that Sanofi is now in the process of amending its claims before the PTAB — and could potentially recaputure some aspect of those claims. In addition, Fresenius argued that the decision could provide the company with issue preclusion armor in the future. On appeal, the Federal Circuit found these potential harms too speculative and insufficient to be considered.

          The decision here is somewhat surprising to me because we’re talking about a Constitutional question. Would the constitution allow a judgment on these claims — especially taking into account the ongoing litigation, the potential for recapture, and the notion that a patent covers a single invention (even if re-stated in number of claims). The Federal Circuit did not cite the Supreme Court’s recent, Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 568 U.S. 85 (2013). In that case, Nike sued Already for trademark infringement (Air Force 1) and Already counterclaimed that the mark was invalid. Prior to judgment, Nike dismissed its side of the lawsuit and also issued a broadly worded “covenant not to sue” Already.

        • The Vaccine Race in the 21st Century

          In a world in which infectious diseases are spreading increasingly faster, the development of new human vaccines remains a priority in biopharmaceutical innovation. Legal scholars have addressed different aspects of vaccine regulation and administration, but less attention has been paid to the role of laws governing innovation during the stages of research and development (R&D) of vaccines.

          This Article explores the race to develop new vaccines from its beginnings through the early 21st century, with a particular focus on the progressively pervasive role of intellectual property in governing vaccine innovation. It describes the insufficiencies of current innovation regimes in promoting socially desirable levels of vaccine R&D, particularly in the case of emerging pathogens, a phenomenon that is at odds with public health needs.

          Moreover, the Article identifies transactional inefficiencies affecting the licensure of vaccine technology. In order to address this problem, the Article argues for adoption of a technology-specific solution, and proposes a narrowly construed “take-and-pay” regime based on liability rules, enabling access to vaccine technology by follow-on innovators.

        • Apple challenges RED over RAW patent legitimacy
      • Trademarks

        • Double Standards: An Empirical Study of Patent and Trademark Discipline

          Our legal system is built on the foundation that lawyers have a number of coexisting and sometimes conflicting duties — to their clients, to others who might be affected by their practice, and to the effective and equitable administration of justice. While most lawyers fulfill these duties ethically, invariably some fail to live up to these expectations. For this reason, all states have created disciplinary authorities to regulate and sanction lawyer misconduct. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is one of the few agencies to have developed its own disciplinary system for policing the conduct of trademark attorneys and patent practitioners, owing to the critical role that these professionals play in the provision of intellectual property rights.

          With fraudulent and suspicious activity before the USPTO on the rise, the question arises of how the USPTO is leveraging its disciplinary authority to ensure that it continues to fulfill its mission. It is this question that this Article begins to answer, filling a critical gap in the scholarly literature and providing a blueprint for how to conduct such research for other disciplinary authorities in the future. Through innovative empirical methods marshalling data over 16 years from disciplinary authorities throughout the country, this Article shows that the USPTO is not only failing to discipline bad actors with regularity, but also not focusing its attention on the types of misconduct that threaten to undercut the provision of intellectual property rights that are in the public interest. It then provides a series of recommendations so that the USPTO can align its disciplinary work in accordance with its vital regulatory role.

      • Copyrights

        • A Cycle of Renewal, Broken: How Big Tech and Big Media Abuse Copyright Law to Slay Competition

          In 1950, a television salesman named Robert Tarlton put together a consortium of TV merchants in the town of Lansford, Pennsylvania to erect an antenna tall enough to pull down signals from Philadelphia, about 90 miles to the southeast. The antenna connected to a web of cables that the consortium strung up and down the streets of Lansford, bringing big-city TV to their customers — and making TV ownership for Lansfordites far more attractive. Though hobbyists had been jury-rigging their own “community antenna television” networks since 1948, no one had ever tried to go into business with such an operation. The first commercial cable TV company was born.

          The rise of cable over the following years kicked off decades of political controversy over whether the cable operators should be allowed to stay in business, seeing as they were retransmitting broadcast signals without payment or permission and collecting money for the service. Broadcasters took a dim view of people using their signals without permission, which is a little rich, given that the broadcasting industry itself owed its existence to the ability to play sound recordings over the air without permission or payment.

          The FCC brokered a series of compromises in the years that followed, coming up with complex rules governing which signals a cable operator could retransmit, which ones they must retransmit, and how much all this would cost. The end result was a second way to get TV, one that made peace with—and grew alongside—broadcasters, eventually coming to dominate how we get cable TV in our homes.

          By 1976, cable and broadcasters joined forces to fight a new technology: home video recorders, starting with Sony’s Betamax recorders. In the eyes of the cable operators, broadcasters, and movie studios, these were as illegitimate as the playing of records over the air had been, or as retransmitting those broadcasts over cable had been. Lawsuits over the VCR continued for the next eight years. In 1984, the Supreme Court finally weighed in, legalizing the VCR, and finding that new technologies were not illegal under copyright law if they were “capable of substantial noninfringing uses.”

        • Moviepass Changed User Passwords So They Couldn’t Use The Flopping Service

          Originally, the Moviepass business model seemed like a semi-sensible idea, though we were quick to wonder if it would ever actually make a profit. Under the model, users paid $30 (eventually $10) a month in exchange for unlimited movie tickets at participating theaters, provided they signed up for a full year of service. There were of course caveats: you could only buy a ticket per day, and could only buy one ticket per movie. It also prohibited users from viewing 3D, IMAX, or XD films. Still, the proposal was widely heralded by some as a savior for the traditional, brick and mortar, sticky floor movie industry.

          While it looked like the effort was going well, that appears to have been a ruse. A four month investigation by Business Insider (warning possible paywall) is well worth a read, documenting how the effort was bleeding money due to many of the issues Mike asked questions about back in 2012. The outfit went to great lengths to mislead investors that the effort was going well when it was really losing millions of dollars after blowing a fortune on trying to build technology that could easily and quickly geo-match users with theaters in their neighborhoods.

          A 2017 price drop to $10 per month resulted in all kinds of breezy press coverage, but all but ensured the project would never make money

Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A publication from the Free Media Alliance

Overview

  • Part 1: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Introduction
  • Part 2: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free as in Speech
  • You are here ☞ Part 3: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education
  • Part 4: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community
  • Part 5: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing
  • Part 6: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: There is More Than One Iceberg Ahead
  • Part 7: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Distro-libre and feature-schema
  • Part 8: Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: A Free (as in Freedom) Library, and Federation of Advocates

A school bus

Summary: “If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages.”

In the decade that the FSF was founded, computer education was not yet based on applications. By the 1990s, education was moving towards application training, which meant two things: computer training became a lot more superficial, and it better served the market for proprietary software.

Computers are multi-purpose machines, and applications focus on specific tasks. This means that if your education shifts from teaching about computing to training to use applications, you also move from teaching something multi-purpose to teaching something application-specific.

This is fine of course, if all you intend to do with the computer is use those specific applications.

“Computers are multi-purpose machines, and applications focus on specific tasks. This means that if your education shifts from teaching about computing to training to use applications, you also move from teaching something multi-purpose to teaching something application-specific.”This point should bother every Free software advocate. We are trying to give people control of their multi-purpose machines back, and they aren’t even taught what they can do with that control.

The essence of computing is not applications, but code. Although it is reasonable to assume that most people will not become skilled application developers, the fundamental understanding of computing is still missing for anyone that hasn’t learned how to code.

Coding in one language to some degree teaches much of what someone would have to learn to code in other languages. When Silicon Valley initiates their teach-everyone-to-code schemes, they are gambling with the compromise that was made to education in the 1990s.

If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages. To a small degree, they get back a part of their understanding of what power they really have.

“If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages.”Nonetheless, education is still focused on teaching a lot of proprietary software. If Free software advocates make it a goal, there is no reason we can’t create “Free software coding schools” (they will be cheaper if they’re virtual. Consider something less like DeVry and more like Khan Academy, for starters) and stand up to the non-free-laden schooling that teaches people to compromise their freedom long before they’re halfway through university.

We have such classes online — we don’t have our own schools, and one should be built. If someone can build PeerTube, we can make Free Software Academy and send all of our friends there.

Silicon Valley is doing this, and we should be doing this for Free software.

If we do not reach at least high-school-level students with an education in Free software, then we have squandered an opportunity to teach about freedom at an optimal stage.

If the idea is to reach people as early as possible, then a practical language that is easy-to-learn as possible should be considered.

A single implementation is probably not the answer. It’s a nice goal, but if we had a team of 20 people to work on such a thing we could split them up into 3 or 4 teams to come up with 3 or 4 different solutions.

“If the idea is to reach people as early as possible, then a practical language that is easy-to-learn as possible should be considered.”Then we could go to each member and ask them which solution they thought was best, and second-best (this means they must vote on at least one solution that is not their own) and ask them to explain their choices. Perhaps the team could then work on the top two choices.

It would be ideal for developers to try teaming up with educators (or vice versa) to develop teaching environments that are closer to what educators really need. This is a great opportunity for volunteers. Teaching this sort of computing to educators would also be a great idea.

Of course the FSF isn’t likely to do this. It only has so much money and so many volunteers, and it is not making good use of its volunteers– if the FSF were making good use of its volunteers, it could do this. Instead the volunteers are focused on promoting the organisation and its message, much more than they are invited to help develop solutions.

The FSF should be training people to become coders, or trying to encourage people to create an organisation for that purpose and then supporting that organisation (with money or at least advice and promotion) but they are not. What the FSF cannot do, someone else ought to. Of course this chapter would not be here if we were not inviting all Free software advocates to help with this.

“But along with Free software, Free Culture, Free Hardware and OER (or better yet, “LER” for “Libre Educational Resources”) society and Free software alike would benefit deeply from an organisation dedicated to Free software (coding) and free culture in education.”This is a specific area where additional Free software organisations would be useful — whether the unincorporated, no-dues no-budget volunteer-only sort, or the more traditional 501c-type organisations (or both.)

But along with Free software, Free Culture, Free Hardware and OER (or better yet, “LER” for “Libre Educational Resources”) society and Free software alike would benefit deeply from an organisation dedicated to Free software (coding) and free culture in education.

Lightweight applications for education are also recommended, because even if your school has plenty of money, countless others don’t. As long as we are creating our own software, we should be standing against Wirth’s law.
Simple languages aimed at teaching these basics:

1. Variables	 2. Input	 3. Output
4. Basic math	 5. Loops	 6. Conditionals	7. Functions

can make it easier to learn the fundamentals of coding and help transition those interested to more complex languages. Earlier languages can be more forgiving of syntax errors if there are fewer places to get the syntax wrong. Simplifying some of the interfaces needed to build distros and applications would also help immensely.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)

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