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SUEPO Protests Against Management of the European Patent Office Brought Back Discussions About Corruption

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 1:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video credit: SUEPO

Summary: The atmosphere at the second-largest institution in Europe has long been toxic; now it is becoming a lot more visible again and comments highlight the reasons for the cover-up (gross misuse of billions of euros)

LAST week was a very busy week that culminated in televised protest against António Campinos, whose policies have been no better than Battistelli‘s. No calm will be restored by such liars. They fool nobody!

“Well done to SUEPO; the protests (two of them in two sites and two weeks apart) got some people talking again about these issues.”Thanks to SUEPO, both in Munich and in Dutch territories (where Mr. Prunier had been made a scapegoat before Campinos came), it’s now perfectly clear to EPO management that the protests are back. The Campinos Delusion didn’t last long. Are delegates (Administrative Council) paying attention? Or are they too busy counting the money they’ve received from the EPO’s coffers, where staff is being gradually robbed while ‘reassured’ by the European Patent Office (EPO)’s Mercer ‘study’ — conducted by a Donald Trump associate with notorious reputation for various real reasons other than the Trump connection?

“Nowadays fake news are not only to be seen in politics, just look over the Atlantic, but one can see them creeping up in an international organisation, but here one wonders to the benefit of whom. The new financial study is just a big fake!”

So said “A friend of the EPO” during the weekend, in this new comment which we’ve annotated with a digital marker below.

It is sad to see the EPO be run into the wall under the “guidance” of pseudo-managers who consider the EPO as the playground of their desire for power by which they try to hide their disgraceful inability.

Nowadays fake news are not only to be seen in politics, just look over the Atlantic, but one can see them creeping up in an international organisation, but here one wonders to the benefit of whom. The new financial study is just a big fake!

By his latest actions, and by keeping in place the most disgraceful minions as well as the staff policy introduced by his predecessor, the actual president has abundantly shown that he has no interest whatsoever in social peace, and he is only there to continue the deconstruction of the EPO started by his predecessor.

It would be interesting to see the contract signed by the past two presidents in order to see how much money they can expect when behaving like an elephant in a porcelain shop.

The next comment spoke of a “conspiracy between those Members and the President can deliver a delightful flow of real money, out of the EPO and into the coffers of the AC Members. In a national organisation there would be a level of legal supervision, transparency, the Rule of Law.”

This is a very major scandal and possibly fraud. Are European officials paying attention? No, instead they're blocking EPO staff. Stay classy, Elżbieta Bieńkowska…

We’ve heard some positive feedback (even from EPO insiders) about our recent coverage of EPO affairs. We receive feedback not only from insiders; stakeholders (attorneys, applicants etc.) are also impacted and they’re not happy. See what goes on with Mrs. AstraZeneca (oh, sorry, I mean Dr. AstraZeneca) over at IP Kat comments. She was being clobbered for UPC spin/lies, connected to the likes of CIPA. Team UPC is, as usual, unable to even argue for its position (defending lies).

A patent attorney, who typically comments in IP Kat, said that s/he has “been watching the EPO for more than 40 years” (a clue about age/seniority level) and the comment as a whole contains some astounding parts, highlighted below. “MaxDrei” said:

As our Friend of the EPO recommends, follow the money. We would if we could but we can’t. And why’s that? Because the former President has helped the members of the Administrative Council of the EPO to see how a conspiracy between those Members and the President can deliver a delightful flow of real money, out of the EPO and into the coffers of the AC Members. In a national organisation there would be a level of legal supervision, transparency, the Rule of Law. But in an international organisation there are no such controls.

https://www.programmableweb.com/news/google-cardboard-now-open-source/brief/2019/11/07If the organisation in question operates in the world of sport, there is public interest. So then there are investigative journalists, whistle-blowers, and lurid headlines in newspapers. No such things worry EPO President and his enablers on the AC though. Not enough public interest to make them even mildly nervous.

Even the users of the EPO couldn’t care less. That’s because they are big corporations (who have more important matters on their minds) and their faithful servants the patent attorneys. They, more than anybody, know who butters their parsnips: their clients, not the taxpayer or the EPO. So they remain knowingly complicit in a swindle, an outrage against transparency, employee rights and the Rule of Law.

The outcome of all this? The AC Members, the President, and those within the EPO who serve them continue to be blithely insouciant.

Like Joni Mitchell warned us: You only know what you’ve got when it’s gone. It’s the things that change so slowly (like the climate) that are hardest to see disappearing. I’ve been watching the EPO for more than 40 years. Until recently, it was something to be admired. But under its immediate past President, it lost a lot. Many had high hopes that the coming into office of the current President could arrest the downward path. What is it that explains his failure? Is he powerless against the AC? Is he too blind to see? Or is he yet another with his snout in the money trough, using his term of office to line his own pockets?

In the past, the UK Member on the AC might have helped the cause. But can you expect that these days, under Prime Minister Johnson.

An election is a month away; need we remind readers that this man’s brother (yes, nepotism) quit his UPC-centric role twice in a couple of years?

The next comment reaffirms suspicions of EPO misconduct; is the EPO defrauding the European public?

Corruption is like cancer cells if you look for it, you will find some. At EPO follow the money fine but how?

As you know with a yearly budget of two billion euros and no genuine checks and balances the EPO is immune to corruption. Surely to increase independency, Battistelli managed to have the administrative council selecting one of his former employees at INPI Paris as one of the three “external auditors” see http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/epo-people.pdf

This «independent» auditor is still active today. Imagine one sec that a whistleblower reports where to look to find malpractice, what do you think would happen?

For instance, technically it is possible today for ex-top managers having left the EPO to cash EPO funds via consultancy companies created – not under their name obviously. To determine if this is the case, you need a truly independent structure allowed to check everywhere in details (the German did such check years ago with the Deutsche Bahn and guess what, they found corruption).

Another interesting study case: the two married principal directors recruited by Battistelli and who under Campinos are running the EPO recently benefited from a change of title. (Wrongly?) informed top managers report in the corridors that this would have been done to allow a discreet increase of their far too low principal directors’ salaries and bring them at the level of what is foreseen for vice presidents.

With Battistelli’s reforms, transparency and safeguards were removed to allow for discretionary decisions by and for those in charge. Before the reforms, a title was linked to a precise grade and the salary scale for this position clearly defined. Now it’s Christmas all year long with for the happy-few double-steps, functional allowances, bonus you name it. This can be of course a naughty rumour but concretely how to ascertain this is not the case?

Battistelli brought to the EPO the absolute worst of french unhealthy practices and unfortunately, Campinos seems happy with it, as are Germany and the Netherlands as host states, as well as all member states which collect millions of euros of EPO money each year.

Techrights is cited in there, but it’s a SUEPO document.

Well done to SUEPO; the protests (two of them in two sites and two weeks apart) got some people talking again about these issues. As we showed last week (on Thursday morning and afternoon), the EPO’s management went out of its way to create ‘noise’ and distraction in the media. It was only partly successful. IAM repeated its EPO lies yesterday; yes, on a Sunday! It’s that so-called ‘study’ (“SMEs”) and not a word was said about EPO protests! Nothing!!

Here’s what IAM wrote yesterday:

Study released by the European Patent Office sheds light on the growing sophistication of smaller businesses seeking protection for their inventions.

And that’s it! Typical IAM, the copy-paste machine of the EPO. “Follow the money…”

Links 11/11/2019: Linux 5.4 RC7, HandBrake 1.3.0 and Analysis of XFCE

Posted in News Roundup at 1:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • No Disney+ on Linux

      With the new version 4.10.1582.1 of the Widevine DRM plugin package for Chromium that I uploaded today (chromium-widevine-plugin) I really hoped that this would fix the playback error on Linux of the new Disney+ streaming service.

      As you may know, Disney is preparing for the official launch of its movie streaming service this week tuesday, 12 November. But we in the Netherlands could enjoy a free test period of two months before the go-live and so I watched several episodes of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series and the Captain Marvel movie, casting from my phone at first but now via an official app on my smart TV. The bad performance of the app and frequent freezes of the video streams have largely been taken care of and fixed during the test period. If you are a fan of the Disney and Fox movie portfolio or enjoy the Marvel and Star Wars movies, then I guess this new platform is for you. It’s still rather limited in scope of course.

      Worse in my opinion is the fact that Disney did the Linux community a disservice. The streaming of video does not work – on any browser. The web site works fine, you can browse and explore, but video playback is not possible and an annoying “Error 83” appears instead.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Obsidian joins Red Hat Forums in South Africa to highlight the power of open source

          Leading open source technology and services provider Obsidian Systems has confirmed its participation as a silver sponsor of the EMEA Red Hat Forum 2019. This will be held at Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town on November 19 and at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg on two days later.

          The Red Hat Forum is an opportunity for business leaders to deep dive into the opportunities represented by technology and technology trends including open source cloud computing, platforms, virtualisation, middleware, storage and system management.

          “We endorse the central theme of the Red Hat Forum which is that in as far as establishing a firm technical foundation for your business, the thinking and rationale around strategy should be flexibility, achieving scale, expansion and clever control,” said Muggie van Staden, Managing Director of Obsidian Systems.

          “Interoperability, adjustability and elasticity – these are the hallmarks of a market that is fast maturing and ready to benefit from hybrid cloud, from Linux and containers, and positioning the business to build using open source infrastructure.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Reiser4 File-System Is Still Ticking In 2019 – Now Updated For Linux 5.3 Compatibility

        Edward Shishkin continues near single-handedly maintaining the out-of-tree Reiser4 code that at this point still has no apparent trajectory towards mainline. The former Namesys developer previously indicated it’s unlikely to see Reiser4 merged unless there is a company backing it to get it through the review process for merging into mainline. While Reiser4 was quite promising for its early time, it’s only getting more difficult with Reiser4 effectively stagnating for years now while SUSE/openSUSE continues backing Btrfs, Ubuntu increasingly investing in ZFS support, Red Hat developing Stratis, XFS continuing to be advanced by Red Hat and others as well, Google continuing to invest in the likes of EXT4/F2FS, and there also being Bcachefs and other open-source storage solutions that are more promising than Reiser4 in 2019. Nevertheless, the out-of-tree kernel patches continue to be updated.

      • Linux 5.4-rc7
        Another week, another rc. Nothing looks all that scary, but we
        definitely do have more changes than I would wish for.
        In terms of pure lines of code, we have the new 'vboxsf' staging
        driver, but ignoring that (and you should) everything looks normal.
        Except we've got closer to 300 non-merge commits, and I really wish we
        didn't have that many.
        It's all over the place - about 55% is drivers (and that's ignoring
        the vboxsf thing), the rest is networking, misc filesystem fixes
        (octfs2, btrfs, ceph), arch updates (x86, arm64), tooling fixes, and
        some core kernel and vm fixes.
        Nothing looks _bad_, but there is too much of it.
        So I'm leaning towards an rc8 being likely next weekend due to that,
        but I won't make a final decision yet. We'll see.
        Last time around, v5.3-rc7 was even bigger. We did do an rc8 for that
        one (although there were other reasons for that rc8).
        We'll see how this week goes and how I feel about it next Sunday.
        Maybe I'll feel like there's no reason to do an rc8 at that point.
        But it would be lovely if you all went out and kicked the tires and
        tested it all out..
      • Linux 5.4-rc7 Kernel Released With VirtualBox Shared Folder Driver In Place

        Notable for Linux 5.4-rc7 is VirtualBox Guest Shared Folder Support coming as a late addition with the “vboxsf” kernel driver making it into the staging area of the kernel. While the merge window for Linux 5.4 has long passed, this new driver is allowed as it doesn’t risk regressing any existing support. Also in Linux 5.4-rc7 is a “critical” scheduler fix among other bug/regression fixes.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Virtual KMS Driver To Work On Virtual Refresh Rate Support (FreeSync)

          Over the past year and a half the VKMS Linux DRM driver has come together as the “virtual kernel mode-setting” implementation for headless systems and other environments not backed by a physical display. Interestingly being tacked on their TODO list now is VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) support. Separately, the prominent VKMS developer is now employed by AMD.

          The VKMS code got into shape originally back in 2018 when Rodrigo Siqueira was a student participating in Google Summer of Code. Since this past August, however, he began working for AMD in Toronto as a software engineer on their new display technologies, new ASIC/hardware bring-up, and other driver work focused on the display side. He is though still working on the open-source VKMS effort albeit not as much as previously and doesn’t appear to be doing so in an official capacity for AMD.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 vs. Clear Linux Performance On The Dell Ice Lake Laptop

        Last month I posted benchmarks looking at the Windows 10 vs. Linux OpenGL and Vulkan graphics performance for the Ice Lake “Gen11″ graphics. But for those wondering about the CPU/system performance between Windows and Linux for the Core i7-1065G7 with the Dell XPS 7390, here are those benchmarks as we compare the latest Windows 10 to Ubuntu 19.10 and Intel’s own Clear Linux platform.

    • Applications

      • HandBrake 1.3.0 Released with UI Tweaks, Discord Presets + More

        A new version of HandBrake, the free open source media convertor utility, has been released.

        HandBrake is a powerful tool you can use to convert one video format in to another, with broad support for modern and widely used video codecs.

        HandBrake 1.3.0 includes a crop of improvements to its video transcoding features, including new presets, and intros support for AMD VCE encoding on sported hardware).

      • HandBrake 1.3.0

        HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. Handbrake can process most common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection.


        This release includes a redesigned queue interface, new presets for the PS4 Pro and Discord, support for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs (without copy protection), AV1 decoding, WebM container support, many new and updated translations, and much more.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Tencent Wants to Make Games for the U.S. With Nintendo, DJ Says

        Tencent Holdings Ltd is looking to make more of its partnership with Nintendo Co. to create video games for the U.S. market, Dow Jones reported.

      • Steam for Linux client adds support for Linux namespaces

        The Steam client for Linux now supports using namespaces (a.k.a containers) to run game titles.

      • Steam For Linux Beta Adds Experimental Namespaces/Containers Support

        Longtime Linux game developer Timothee Besset has outlined the support introduced by Valve this week in their latest Steam Linux client beta for supporting Linux namespaces / containers. This experimental functionality may in the end provide better support for 32-bit compatibility as more Linux distributions focus solely on x86_64 packages, reducing some of the fragmentation/library conflicts between some Linux distributions and Steam, and other headaches currently plaguing the Steam Linux space.

      • Steam for Linux can now run games in a special container

        In the latest Steam Beta Client for Linux, Valve have added a new way to run Linux games through a special container.

        This is something that was being hinted, as we noticed when the new Steam Library was rolled out (noted at the bottom) you could briefly install the Steam Linux Runtime from the Tools menu before it was hidden again. Now we know why!

        It’s a new experimental feature, allowing you to better isolate games from the host system as detailed in a post on Steam from developer Timothee Besset. As the post from Besset states, it can help Valve support older titles on newer distributions, allow developers to test directly against it reducing QA time, other runtimes can be added using newer compilers and libraries, allow you to isolate your Home folder and a whole lot more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Analyzing XFCE keyboard shortcuts

        Hello one more time! Last week I analyzed GNOME keyboard shortcuts because I’m in an endeavor to analyze keyboard shortcuts in most major DEs just so that I can provide insight into what the best defaults would be for KDE Plasma.

        I must say, this one brings me memories since XFCE was my second Desktop Environment, and it also rendered quite some nice insight since a significant basis for comparisons has already been established—my blog should target primarily Plasma users, after all, and GNOME, a keyboard-enabling environment, was already verified.

        With that said, let’s start our analysis of XFCE keyboard shortcuts.


        For testing XFCE, I installed full xubuntu-desktop on my work machine which includes Kubuntu 19.04 (with backports).

        I also used a Xubuntu 19.10 live USB on both my home and work machines. Oh, how I missed that squeaky mascot placeholding the interactive area of whisker menu!

        I checked MX Linux, Sparky Linux, Arco Linux, EndeavourOS and Void musl XFCE on VMs for comparison. Generally speaking, Xubuntu, MX Linux and Arco Linux had very different keyboard shortcuts, and I must say beforehand: the distro which comes closest to that seems to be Void, which does not even include a panel by default (similarly to Openbox) and does not seem to change anything about XFCE keyboard shortcuts, whereas the most complete experience was Xubuntu. As it has the most polish and is arguably the most popular one, I’ll talk first about Xubuntu and comment on the others using it as parameter.

        For sources, since XFCE themselves do not provide lists with keyboard shortcuts, I initially used this random but minimally comprehensive page to acquire the typical modifier combos so that I could experiment; however, afterwards I would learn that XFCE, unlike Plasma and GNOME, stores its keyboard shortcuts in a single file, which made my life easier. It is stored in /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml, and it is the default configuration for XFCE; distros however instead prepare a user config file stored in ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-keyboard-shortcuts.xml, even if no significant changes were made.

        I must mention two things: first, it would be useful for readers to pay particular attention to when I mention “XFCE” and when I mention “Xubuntu”, as those are not used interchangeably. In addition, reading of my previous post on workspace dimensions should make things more clear for those who never read my blog or this series before.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Using Heaptrack and Hotspot

          Some weeks ago at the Open Source Summit & Embedded Linux Conference there was also a talk by David about using heaptrack and hotspot. Since these tools are extremely valuable, I thought I’d blog to make these tools a bit more visible in the KDE community.

    • Distributions

      • Fedora Family

        • Review: Fedora 31 Workstation

          Fedora 31, like all recent Fedora releases, has a wide selection installation media available, each focused on some different function or desktop environment. The Fedora website treats the Workstation edition, which is the desktop version featuring the GNOME desktop, and the Server edition as the main downloads. Below Workstation and Server are three emerging Fedora versions: Fedora CoreOS, “an automatically updating, minimal, container-focused operating system”; Fedora Silverblue, “an immutable desktop operating system aimed at good support for container-focused workflows”; and Fedora IoT, which is designed to “[provide] a trusted open source platform as a strong foundation for IoT ecosystems”. Tucked down closer to the bottom of the page are the options to download Fedora Spins, which are installation media with different default desktop environments, and Fedora Labs, which provide a preselected set of packages designed around a specific task. For the purposes of this review, I mostly look at Fedora 31 Workstation, but also take a brief look at Fedora Silverblue to see how that project is progressing.


          Fedora 31 is another in a long line of recent Fedora releases that are slightly more polished and updated than the previous version. Fedora 31 brings in updated packages and some nice polish, but it is a very boring release for anyone looking to try something different. However, users looking for a combination of mature, polished GNOME desktop should be very happy with what Fedora 31 Workstation offers. There are a few minor issues, but those should be fixed shortly. If you are looking for a distribution that fits nicely between mature and bleeding edge, Fedora 31 Workstation is an excellent choice. If you want to try something very different, Fedora Silverblue is also an excellent choice, but be aware that is does take more effort to get the system to a usable state.

      • Debian Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The future of innovation is collaboration — Tech Leaders Summit keynote 2019

        The culmination of innovation over the last 50 years has been the invention of internet — Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s creation. However, in its nascent stage, connectivity hindered the convergence of the internet with tech. Brock pointed to smart tablets and fridges — these are nothing new and existed in the 1990s, but were unable to scale because of a lack of connectivity.

        What was the game changer? According to Brock, it was the arrival of the smartphone, specifically Apple’s iPhone in 2007. “You have to give credit where credit is due,” she said. The arrival of the smartphone was the beginning of interactive and converged devices. Since 2007 and the emergence of the smartphone, the number of applications and connected interactions has skyrocketed, and data has become the new oil. Where has all this taken place? For the most part, in the cloud; which is now “largely outsourced,” explained Brock, moving onto the next part of her keynote.

        Innovation in the cloud has stemmed from open source. “Red Hat,” explained Brock, “went hammer and tong against Canonical, but both collaborated on Open Stack [the open source software platform.

        “It created an environment where competitors could sit at the table together, something I call, coopetition.”

        But, there was another factor stifling this innovation in the cloud… software patents.

      • The challenge of making money through open source software [Ed: Overlooking the point that proprietary software can also be extremely difficult to profit from. What proportion of 'secret code' programs actually make money? Very tiny.]
      • Waves Releases WavesFX, a New Open Source Crypto Wallet for Desktop

        Waves is an open blockchain platform and toolset development for Web 3.0 applications and decentralized solutions. The platform has recently introduced WavesFX, its new wallet product, according to CryptoNinjas.

      • Binance CEO: New Open-Source Wallet Solution Will “Reshape the Landscape” of Custodial Services

        Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, is known for making big strides in the cryptocurrency industry, and he seems to have a lot of faith in their new solution available to wallet providers and custodians. In fact, CZ states that the open-sourced option is “far superior” to the multi-sig security presently offered by many custodians, and he believes that its introduction will reshape the entire industry.

      • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® SINGA™ as a Top-Level Project

        The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today Apache® SINGA™ as a Top-Level Project (TLP).

        Apache SINGA is an Open Source distributed, scalable machine learning library. The project was originally developed in 2014 at the National University of Singapore, and was submitted to the Apache Incubator in March 2015.

      • Chinese companies fuelling OpenStack adoption in APAC

        Led by Chinese tech giants such as Tencent and China Mobile, the Asia-Pacific region will account for a third of the global OpenStack market by 2023

      • OpenStack Foundation and China Electronics Standardization Institute Create Partnership to Advance OpenStack in China

        Today at the Open Infrastructure Summit in Shanghai, representatives from the OpenStack Foundation (OSF) and China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) announced a strategic partnership to implement new technology, assessment and certification for OpenStack software in China. The collaboration highlights the validation of OpenStack as the open source infrastructure cloud standard in China partnered with the OSF’s commitment to the growing OpenStack community in China, a region expecting significant growth in a global market valued at 53.9 billion yuan ($7.7 billion USD) in 2023.

      • Capitalize on the advantages of open source software in IT

        Another advantage of open source software is always a major business factor: cost. Open source tools are inherently free to use, which means businesses can reallocate their budget to hire better talent to use and support the tools. For instance, Git is a completely free open source IT tool that developers commonly use for software version control.

        In addition, open source tools offer enterprises the ability to further customize software to meet their specific needs.

      • NearForm clocks in with hackable open source JavaScript AI smartwatch

        The Irish county town of Kilkenny is known for its medieval buildings and castle, its rich history of brewing, its distinctive black marble and as the home of White House architect James Hoban.

        In more recent times, Kilkenny has become known as the home of the NodeConf EU conference, a coming together of Node.js specialists who all gravitate towards this open source cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment that executes JavaScript code outside of a browser.

        This year’s event saw NearForm Research and Espruino surprise delegates by giving out something better than plain old lanyards and name tags — the two companies came together to offer an arguably rather more exciting Machine Learning (ML)-driven smartwatch to act as attendee’s conference badges.

        Bangle.js is said to be the first open source JavaScript (JS) smartwatch to be powered by Machine Learning via Google’s TensorFlow Lite. It is hoped to be a step towards the mainstream adoption of JS and ML in low cost consumer electronics.

      • Deezer Releases AI Tool That Quickly Isolates Vocal Tracks
      • Deezer releases open-source AI tool that splits vocals from finished tracks
      • Journalism

        • What is Datashare? FAQs about our document analysis software

          Datashare is free, open-source software built by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that helps users better analyze information, in all its forms.

          Datashare allows you to index, search, star, tag, filter and analyze the key content in your own documents – whatever the format (text, spreadsheets, pdf, slides, emails, etc). Datashare will automatically highlight and extract the names of people, locations and organizations in your documents, as well as email addresses.


          Datashare won’t give you access to any of ICIJ’s leaks or data, of course. But it will help you search through your own documents.

          Datashare has been developed by ICIJ’s tech team under an open-source license. Anyone can read the code, use it and suggest contributions.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Hacktoberfest 2019

            I’ve been marking student submissions in my open source course this weekend, and with only a half-dozen more to do, the procrastinator in me decided a blog post was in order.

            Once again I’ve asked my students to participate in Hacktoberfest. I wrote about the experience last year, and wanted to give an update on how it went this time.

            I layer a few extra requirements on the students, some of them to deal with things I’ve learned in the past. For one, I ask them to set some personal goals for the month, and look at each pull request as a chance to progress toward achieving these goals. The students are quite different from one another, which I want to celebrate, and this lets them go in different directions, and move at different paces.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Linux Foundation bans person for Tone Policing.

          On November 6th, The Linux Foundation made a public statement that it had banned an individual from one of their upcoming events (KubeCon) — the banning was based on that individuals public tweets (including a picture with a red “Make America Great Again” hat) and statements, unrelated to KubeCon, that were determined to violate the Linux Foundation Events Code of Conduct.

          This action by the Linux Foundation promptly drew both praise and criticism.

          Regardless of the personal opinions of any one of us, this moment provides an interesting opportunity to observe, and evaluate, the efficacy of this sort of Code of Conduct, along with the process and methods used to enforce it. Due to the unusually public nature of how all of this transpired, it also allows us to see how individuals (and groups) can impact the outcome — and be personally impacted in return.

          With that in mind, as we walk through the events, this writer will endeavor to keep personal opinions at bay… focusing purely on the known facts, with as much input from those involved as possible.

      • CMS

        • Here’s why Indians are joining open-source social network Mastodon in large numbers

          Mastodon is a “free and open-source project” that is Indian cyberspace’s latest obsession. The network, named after an extinct elephant-like mammal (reflected in its logo), was launched almost two years ago.


          Mastodon is clean and clutter-free, and the social network has gained immense popularity in the country over the past 24-36 hours. Local search interest has spiked significantly November 6 onward, according to Google Trends.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • BSD


        • GNU Health HMIS 3.6 released !

          I am very proud to announce the release of the GNU Health 3.6 series !
          This version is the result of many developments and integration of ideas from the community.
          We are now 11 years old. We should all be very proud because not only we have built the best Libre Health and Hospital Information System, but we have created a strong, committed and friendly international community around it.

        • GNS@ICANN66

          The ICANN Annual General Meeting is concluded. We were invited to join a panel discussion on Emerging Internet Identifier Technologies in order to share our ideas and work on the GNU Name System (GNS). You can find the presentation on GNS in our video section. The handshake.org project, which proposes a decentralized, blockchain-based governance of the root zone (as opposed to governance by ICANN), joined us on the panel. The full video including questions and answers can be found here.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • What does open government mean for digital transformation?

          Openness is a critical tenet for democracy. It enables transparency, which enables accountability, which in turn drives better public outcomes and ideally a useful check and balance on power. But openness is also a critical tenet for modern public sectors if they are to be capable of responsiveness and resilience in the face of dramatic and rapid change, and to best ensure evidence-driven policy, programs, and service delivery. As part of this Public Sector Pia Review, I wanted to talk about open government as it applies to digital transformation of the public sector, beyond the usual (but important!) scope of transparency and freedom of information.

          I do recommend you also check out the Open Government Partnership (including Australia’s participation and the community around it), the great work of Open Australia over many years, and the Digital 9 (a collection of governments committed to open digital government), all three of which sit in the interesting intersection of open and digital government. I also encourage you to look closely at how Taiwan is dramatically raising the bar for open inclusive government in a digital world. There are also a lot of initiatives around the non-digital specific world of open government, including the Accountability Roundtable, Transparency International Australia, and many more. I also encourage you to read some of the great case studies that explore the intersection of digital and open government in this report on ‘Upgrading Democracy’ by the Centre for Policy Development from 2009.

        • Open Data

          • (the struggle) Towards an open source policy

            Public availability and tracability of results from publically-funded work is a topic that gets more and more attention from funding agencies and scientific policy makers. However, most policies focus on data as the output of research. In this contribution, we focus on research software and we introduce the ASTRON Open Source Policy. Apart from the license used (Apache 2.0), the policy is written as a manual that explains how to license software, when to assign a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and defines that all code should be put in an ASTRON managed repository. The policy has been made publically available, a DOI has been assigned to it and it has been put in a repository to stimulate the ADASS community to start a conversation on how to make our code publically accessible and citable.

          • Philadelphia to dissolve Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

            ODDT’s Open Data team has joined OIT’s centralised data team under Chief Geographic Information/Data Officer, Henry Garie. Content strategists, user experience designers and visual designers are moving to OIT at the end of the year. ODDT developers will also join OIT’s software engineering team, led by the Director of Software Engineering, Dan Lopez.

            ODDT service designers and design researchers will spin off into the Service Design Studio, led by Dragoman. The Studio will work on City-wide process-improvement efforts.

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Google Open-Sources Cardboard To Keep ‘No-Frills’ VR Widely Available
          • Gigantic FPGA In A Game Boy Form Factor, 2019 Supercon Badge Is A Hardware Siren Song

            Look upon this conference badge and kiss your free time goodbye. The 2019 Hackaday Superconference badge is an ECP5 FPGA running a RISC-V core in a Game Boy form factor complete with cartridge slot that is more open than anything we’ve ever seen before: multiple open-source CPU designs were embedded in an open system, developed using the cutting-edge in open-source FPGA tools, and running (naturally) open-source software on top. It’s a 3,000-in-one activity kit for hardware people, software people, and everyone in between.

            The brainchild of Jeroen Domburg (aka Sprite_TM), this design has been in the works since the beginning of this year. For more than 500 people headed to Supercon next week, this is a source of both geeky entertainment and learning for three action-packed days and well beyond. Let’s take a look at what’s on the badge, what you need to know to hack it, and how the design serves as a powerful development tool long after the badge hacking ceremonies have wrapped up.

          • CHIPS Alliance announces technical milestones, three new workgroups including Chisel and the 3rd Chisel Community Conference

            CHIPS Alliance, the leading consortium advancing common, open hardware for interfaces, processors and systems, today announced the creation of Interconnects, Rocket and Chisel workgroups. In addition, a November verification workshop in Munich and a Chisel conference in January will be held giving engineers an opportunity to learn about open source development efforts in CHIPS Alliance. Lastly, the CHIPS Alliance toolchain and cores workgroups have made contributions to open source development tools.

            CHIPS Alliance is the project hosted by the Linux Foundation to foster a collaborative environment to accelerate the creation and deployment of open SoCs, peripherals and software tools for use in mobile, computing, consumer electronics, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The CHIPS Alliance project develops high-quality open source Register Transfer Level (RTL) code and software development tools relevant to the design of open source CPUs, RISC-V-based SoCs, and complex peripherals for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and custom silicon.

          • Elk Audio OS goes open source with a Raspberry Pi development kit

            Elk Audio OS is an audio operating system from Elk (formerly MIND Music Labs) that can run plug-ins on hardware instruments and audio devices in realtime with low latency. The company has now made the system open source and has released a development kit for Raspberry Pi. This could be a good solution for hosting some of those CPU heavy software instruments and effects at an affordable price.

            You can get your hands on the Elk Audio SDK and Development Kit for Raspberry Pi today through the Elk Audio website, but the company is working on a beta version of the OS to be released in the upcoming weeks. The Raspberry Pi Development Kit includes a custom Elk Pi Audio Hat, which Elk say is “one of the most advanced pro Audio Hats in the markets with down to 1ms latency”.

          • BCN3D Releases Open Source Files for Sigma R19 and Sigmax R19 Printers
          • Xaxxon’s OpenLIDAR sensor is tiny, inexpensive and open source

            Xaxxon’s OpenLIDAR Sensor is a rotational laser scanner with open software and hardware, intended for use with autonomous mobile robots and simultaneous-location-and-mapping (SLAM) applications.

            Xaxxon Technologies is a Vancouver-based developer and manufacturer of open source robotic devices. Its most recent offering is a standalone, OpenLIDAR sensor for robotic developers, educators and hobbyists. It consists of a Garmin Lidar-Litev3 sensor that is wired through a rotational slip ring, with stepper motor drive, two 3D-printed frame parts, and an Arduino compatible printed circuit board (PCB). The resulting offering weighs 180 grams and has a maximum range up to 40m, a sample rate up to 750Hz, a resolution of 1 to approximately 2.5cm and a scanning speed up to 250 RPM.

          • Traffic Updates On The Seven Seas: Open Source Chart Plotter Using A Raspberry Pi

            Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a GPS tracking system that uses transponders to transmit a ship’s position data to other ships or receiver stations in an area. This is used for collision avoidance and by authorities (and hobbyists) to keep an eye on shipping traffic, and allow for stricken vessels to be found easily. [James]’ DIY chart plotter overlays the received AIS data over marine charts on a nice big display. A Raspberry Pi 3B+, AIS Receiver Hat, USB GPS dongle and a makes up the core of the system. The entire setup cost about $350. The Pi runs OpenCPN, an open source chart plotter and navigation software package that [John] says is rivals most commercial software. As most Pi users will know the SD card is often a weak link, so it’s probably worth having a backup SD card with all the software already installed just in case it fails during a voyage.

            We’ve seen AIS receiver stations built using the RTL-SDR, as well as a number of projects around the AIS equivalent in aviation, ADS-B. Check out [John]’s video after the break.

          • The Open Source Smart Home

            [Tijmen Schep] sends in his project, Candle Smart Home, which is an exhibit of 12 smart home devices which are designed around the concepts of ownership, open source, and privacy.

            The central controller runs on a Raspberry Pi which is running Mozilla’s new smart home operating system. Each individual device is Arduino based, and when you click through on the site you get a well designed graphic explaining how to build each device.

          • Supercon Keynote: Dr. Megan Wachs On RISC-V

            The RISC-V isn’t a particular chip, but rather it’s a design for how a CPU works, and a standard for the lowest-level language that the machine speaks. In contrast to proprietary CPUs, RISC-V CPUs from disparate vendors can all use the same software tools, unifying and opening their development. Moreover, open hardware implementations for the silicon itself mean that new players can enter the space more easily, bring their unique ideas to life faster, and we’ll all benefit. We can all work together.

            It’s no coincidence that this year’s Supercon badge has two RISC-V cores running in its FPGA fabric. When we went shopping around for an open CPU core design, we had a few complete RISC-V systems to pick from, full compiler and development toolchains to write code for them, and of course, implementations in Verilog ready to flash into the FPGA. The rich, open ecosystem around RISC-V made it a no-brainer for us, just as it does for companies making neural-network peripherals or even commodity microcontrollers. You’ll be seeing a lot more RISC-V systems in the near future, on your workbench and in your pocket.

            We’re tremendously excited to hear more about the project from the inside, and absolutely looking forward to Megan’s keynote speech!

      • Programming/Development

        • Keith Packard: Picolibc Hello World Example

          It’s hard to get started building applications for embedded RISC-V and ARM systems.

        • Fedora 31 : another FASM tutorial with Linux.

          Today I wrote another tutorial about FASM and assembly language on my website.
          Because I used the Fedora distro I add my tutorial here.
          If you want to learn assembly programming for Windows O.S. or Linux with the Intel C.P.U. then you need the FASM tool and this manual.
          Today I will show you how to create a file using my Fedora 31 Linux distro and FASM tool.

        • Shell scripts – What can you change

          In most, if not all, shells, you have a script that starts your shell. Learn how to change it and you can have your own environment in the terminal. These settings most obvious use is changing the looks and the prompt you are shown when the shell starts. On a more functional note, you can set aliases, environment variables and daemons that change your prompt depending on the directory you are in. If you use the command line rarely and only with a few odd commands, you might not be interested. However, you will loose out on the power of the command line. With a little bit of scripting skills, you can enhance your experience and make many tasks much easier. Above all, you can become faster with some administrative tasks. The graphical choice is usual for a very special case, as soon as you know scripting, you can do exactly what you want. It is also more fun than most people think to have written any code, even just a few lines and you get it to do what you intended.

        • Scheduling tasks Using Python

          Some tasks in our life are really time taking and we get bored doing those tasks repeatedly. In order to avoid those boring tasks we automate those tasks in our system. Python has many automation modules which can be used to automate our stuff. Below we will discuss the importance of automation and how to automate our stuff using python. We will also discuss some automation modules in python which help to automate our stuff. Then we will see some use cases of automation using python. At the end we will see how we can schedule our python script to run automatically at start up.

        • Open software platform GitLab considers suspending hires in China and Russia

          San Francisco-based GitLab, an open platform for developing and collaborating on coding, is looking at suspending new hiring for sensitive positions in China and Russia because of customer feedback in the “current geopolitical climate.”

          In a post published on GitLab’s website, one of the company’s executives said the venture wanted to enable a “job family country block” for team members who have access to customer data and singled out two countries involved in the decision – China and Russia. The post also says current team members should be prevented from moving to these two countries.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Titan

          Data is becoming more important than ever, and developers are beginning to realize they need better ways to harness and work with data. The problem, however, is that data isn’t handled the same way development is and therefore it can become a time-consuming and complex process.

          “The rise of git, docker, and DevOps has created a new world where developers can easily build, test, and deploy right from their laptop. Despite these advances, developers still struggle to manage structured data with the same speed and simplicity. Techniques like SQL scripts, database dumps, and plain text exports still leave a lot of work for developers,” the Delphix Titan team wrote on a website.

          To address this, Delphix open sourced Titan earlier this year. Titan is an open-source project that enables developers to treat data like code.

        • Using Open Source for Better DevOps Outcomes

          Many insurers have jumped on the DevOps bandwagon in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their systems and systems implementations. Very few insurers, however, spend much time thinking about the open source software community as a way to improve their DevOps approach–and the skills of their developers–and in that regard they’re missing a golden opportunity. In fact, insurers often restrict their developers from updating or contributing to open source libraries because they don’t realize the potential benefits available to them by participating more actively in the open source community.

        • Survey Surfaces Uneven Approaches to DevSecOps

          A survey of 57 cybersecurity professionals conducted by ZeroNorth, a provider of a platform for orchestrating vulnerability scanning tools, highlights the extent of the DevSecOps challenge. The survey finds 63% of respondents said their organization currently employs six or more scanning tools. The most widely employed are network scanning (53%) and vulnerability scanning (51%). However, a quarter (25%) don’t know if their organization is using interactive application security testing (IAST), while 19% don’t know if they are using software composition analysis (SCA) tools.

  • Leftovers

    • 82-year-old British cyclist completes 1 million miles

      Mantle has been building up miles since 1952 and has kept detailed, handwritten logs of his time on the saddle, recording not only the total mileage, but also the names of towns he rides through and even the cafes where he stops during his rides.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Critical Remote Code Execution Flaw Found in Open Source rConfig Utility

        The network configuration management utility has two unpatched critical remote code execution vulnerabilities.

        Two bugs in the network configuration utility rConfig have been identified, both allowing remote code execution on affected systems. Worse, one is rated critical and allows for a user to attack a system remotely – sans authentication.

        RConfig is a free open-source configuration management utility used by over 7,000 network engineers to take snapshots of over 7 million network devices, according the project’s website.

        The vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-16663, CVE-2019-16662) are both tied to rConfig version 3.9.2. The more serious of the two vulnerabilities (CVE-2019-16662) allows an attacker to execute system commands on affected devices via GET requests, which can lead to command instructions.

      • Scammers are exploiting an unpatched Firefox bug to send users into a panic

        The exploit spotted by Segura is a common subclass of browser lock attacks. This subclass relies on authentication popups. Earlier this year, Mozilla shipped a comprehensive fix for these types of attacks some 12 years after being reported. Chrome and other browsers have also been vulnerable to this variety of attacks.

        Segura said he’s aware of a separate Firefox browser lock bug that remains unfixed two years after it was reported. Although it was actively exploited in the past, Segura said, he hasn’t seen any recent attacks targeting the flaw.

        For many people, it’s not clear what to do when a browser becomes unresponsive while displaying a scary or threatening message. The most important thing to do is to remain calm and not make any sudden response. Force quitting the browser can be helpful, but as Segura has found, that fix is far from ideal since the offending site can reload once the browser is restarted. Whatever else people may do, they should never call the phone number displayed.

      • How can using open source frameworks hook students in STEM?

        The U.S. Department of Labor predicts a shortage of 1.8 million cybersecurity professionals by next year, and educators will play a critical role in meeting this challenge for years to come.

        From our vantage point as instructors working at the intersection of education and technology, we believe we’ll meet our goals if we take an open approach to educating tomorrow’s cybersecurity experts. And we mean “open” in terms of both software and mindset.

        Here at Murray State University in Kentucky, we’ve done just that for the last decade.

        Being recently recognized by the NSA as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyberdefense (CAE-CD), we’re using open principles gleaned from open source software communities to empower students to train themselves in the use of tools to resolve problems. In so doing, we prepare students not simply for cybersecurity jobs, but for careers that involve continuous learning — which is critical given the current pace of technological, societal and business change.

      • County unveils new election machines

        The machine is “not a bad one,” said Coastsider Brent Turner, secretary of the California Association of Voting Officials, a nonprofit whose mission is to develop new voting systems that utilize open-source software.

        But Turner said he objects to the system “because it is not open-source — the public has no oversight regarding the software code.”

        Some reports suggest closed-source voting system vendors like DVS use vulnerable software, have outdated equipment, and provide faulty voting machines.

        “So, we don’t know if the final tabulation is correct or not,” said Turner. “There’s no way to subpoena that code.”

        Irizarry said the new DVS machines address this problem.

        “This system leaves a paper-audit trail and a digital one,” said Irizarry. “We will know every step of the way who touched that ballot, what scanner scanned it, what vote center processed it, and how it was adjudicated.”

        However, multiple reports suggest these new machines still have vulnerabilities: They auto-fill the parts of any ballot that are left blank, and they do not allow voters to verify that the information in the printed barcode matches their voting choices.

        Support for open-source voting has gained traction over the years. In a letter sent to the country’s three largest voting system vendors, including DVS, four U.S. senators noted the potential for open-source voting systems to overcome technical vulnerabilities in existing voting machines.

        Government agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are currently funding research and development of an open-source voting system. Microsoft, in an effort to make elections more secure and transparent, recently released ElectionGuard, an open-source voting platform for handling voting data.

        The security of open-source voting systems, however, depends on its users.

        According to a 2018 report by a San Francisco civil grand jury, since the source code in an open-source project is available for anybody to inspect, it becomes easier to find vulnerabilities and potentially exploit them. However, the larger the number of people inspecting and maintaining the source code, the more secure the system will be. A 2016 report by the University of Pennsylvania concluded the same.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • NRA Turmoil Creates Rift Among Some Big Donors

        Joe Olson was once such a passionate supporter of the National Rifle Association that he pledged to bequeath several million dollars from his estate to the gun organization upon his death.

    • Environment

      • Climate ‘Is the Election Priority’ for the UK

        The real issue facing the United Kingdom in next month’s general election is not whether to choose Brexit, to stay in the European Union or leave it, a prominent lawyer says, because the climate “is the election priority” for the UK.

      • Energy

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Spammers Abuse Medium.com to Spread ‘Pirate’ Scams

          Scammers are using the online publishing platform Medium to spread links to supposedly pirated movies and TV-shows. The issue plagues many platforms, but as one of the world’s most visited websites, Medium is an ideal tool to lure prospective pirates into signing up for dubious subscriptions.

        • ACE Hits Two More Pirate Streaming Sites, Seizes More Openload Domains

          Global anti-piracy coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment is continuing its drive to purge pirate sites from the Internet. In addition to the dramatic taking down of Openload last week and a related domain seizure run, another two streaming services have succumbed to the Alliance’s wishes by closing down their operations and handing their domains to the MPA.


Links 10/11/2019: digiKam 6.4.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha and OpenZFS Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 12:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • EXT4 File-System Picking Up New Direct I/O Read Implementation

        Among other EXT4 file-system changes en route for the upcoming Linux 5.5 kernel is a new direct I/O read implementation.

        EXT4 has ready a new direct I/O read that makes use of the kernel’s iomap infrastructure. This new IOmap-based direct I/O read replaces the existing direct I/O read code within this file-system driver.

      • HMEM Device Driver Coming For Linux 5.5

        Intel’s HMEM DAX driver is being added to Linux 5.5 for use-cases like their Optane DC Persistent Memory.

        With devices like Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory and others coming to market that offer different tiers of performance compared to conventional system memory, the HMEM driver is used for interfacing with EFI/ACPI platform firmware for reading these different memory ranges and their performance classes to handle these different memory pools appropriately.

      • Linux Sees Fix For “Critical” Scheduler Bug Introduced A Few Months Ago

        Intel’s Peter Zijlstra sent out a patch series with what he describes as a critical scheduler fix along with a set of optimizations/improvements stemming from the change amount to seven patches in total.

        The main fix is for addressing a race condition from a previously unexplored dependency within the kernel’s scheduler code in the pick_next_task() function. The race condition was introduced in the upstream kernel back in early August. The full severity of the impact wasn’t disclosed in the patch series but were tipped off to the patch-set as being important.

      • Thunderbolt 3 Software Connection Manager Support Coming In Linux 5.5 For Apple Hardware

        The Thunderbolt changes have been merged to char-misc ahead of the upcoming Linux 5.5 merge window.

        The principal Thunderbolt changes for this next version of the Linux kernel is introducing software connection manager support for Thunderbolt 3 hardware — initially just Apple systems. Up to now the Thunderbolt 3 controllers on Apple systems have just relied upon the firmware connection manager but now Linux’s in-kernel connection manager can be used in place of the firmware implementation. The Thunderbolt connection manager is responsible for creating PCIe tunnels and other operations when Thunderbolt devices are connected.

      • AMD

        • AMD Volleys Another Batch Of Graphics Driver Changes For Linux 5.5

          While the Linux 5.4 cycle is quickly winding down and with DRM-Next’s cut-off crossing, AMD has sent in a last minute batch of changes it’s targeting for the upcoming Linux 5.5 merge window.

          AMD in prior weeks submitted a lot of new GPU driver code for Linux 5.5. Friday’s pull request is primarily fixes but one notable addition is enabling dynamic power gating for GCN with Raven Ridge APUs.

        • Radeon Software For Linux Updated With Radeon RX 5500 Series Support

          Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 has been the driver release branch since July for the AMD Linux packaged driver stack. That 19.30 driver was introduced with the AMD Radeon RX 5700 “Navi” support while now a slightly updated stack was released.

          Released on Friday was the AMDGPU-PRO 19.30-934563 driver stack as the newest revision to the Radeon Software for Linux 19.30 driver.

        • Benchmarks Of 10 Higher-End Intel/AMD CPUs On Ubuntu 19.10

          With Ubuntu 19.10 bringing some CPU/system performance changes compared to earlier Ubuntu releases as a result of compiler/toolchain upgrades, the newer kernel, and more, here is a quick weekend look at how the Ubuntu 19.10 performance compares across ten different AMD Ryzen and Intel Core systems.

          This is a reference look at the Intel/AMD performance on ten different higher-end desktop/workstation systems with a variety of workloads on Ubuntu 19.10 given the package upgrades found in this recent Linux distribution release.

        • Rodrigo Siqueira: Status Update and XDC 2019, October 2019

          It has been a while since my last post, but there is a simple reason for that: on August 5th, I had to move from Brazil to Canada. Why did I move? Thanks to Harry Wentland recommendation, I got an interview for a software engineering position at AMD (Markham), and I got hired to work on the display team. From now on, I suppose that I’ll be around the DRM subsystem for a long time :). Even though I’m now employed by AMD this post reflect my personal thoughts only and should not be construed to represent AMD in any way.


          I was not working in VKMS due to my change of country; however, now I am reworking part of the IGT test related to writeback, and as soon as I finish it, I will try to upstream it again. I hope that I can also have the VKMS writeback merged into the drm-misc-next by the end of this month. Finally, I merged the prime supported implemented by Oleg Vasilev (huge thanks!).

    • Applications

      • The 10 Best Disk Analyzer Tools for Linux System in 2019

        If you are here in search of a disk analyzer software, then I am sure that you already know about it. But for those who don’t know yet, it is generally a computer program or tool which you can use for analyzing the storage space of an electro-mechanical drive. Here the term “analyze” stands for different purposes like exploring documents, cleaning up space, or even optimizing the disk when needed. Disk analyzers are very important tools to save and optimize disk usage on your Linux system.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • X-Plane 11.40 is Final

        X-Plane 11.40 is now final! You will be prompted to update to X-Plane 11.40 when you start X-Plane; Steam users will receive the update automatically via Steam. Here’s what’s next in the pipeline:
        We are working on a bug-fix update (11.41) to catch one or two bugs that didn’t make the RC, as well as the inevitable bug that will be reported after go final. I expect to cut an 11.41 release candidate some time next week, and it should be a pretty quick release.
        In the meantime, we are pushing hard to get Vulkan/Metal ready so that we can do an X-Plane 11.50 beta. We may start private testing of Vulkan and Metal before 11.41 is done, depending on what gets fixed first.

      • Longtime Linux-Friendly X-Plane Flight Simulator Sees v11.40 Released

        Besides X-Plane being one of the most realistic PC-based flight simulators, this flight simulator from Laminar Research has long supported Linux. Out this weekend is X-Plane 11.40 as the latest update and the last major release before they roll-out their long-awaited Vulkan graphics API support.

        X-Plane has long been using an OpenGL-based render while with the next major release, X-Plane 11.50, is where they will finally ship their big renderer rework where Apple’s Metal API is used on macOS and Vulkan for other platforms.

      • Testing 4 Raspberry Pi Gaming Platforms

        I’ve been looking to update my home media center recently and decided to survey the landscape of Raspberry Pi gaming/media platforms. This video compares the four best ones I’ve been able to find which are: RetroPie, Recalbox, Lakka, and Steamlink.

      • Unique first-person shooter Shotgun Farmers adds an amusing Horde Mode

        In Shotgun Farmers when you shoot and miss, your bullets sink into the ground and grow new guns. It’s a brilliant idea and it just got a huge update.

        With this big update, it introduces a co-op Horde Mode for you and a few others to face off against 50 waves of increasingly difficult zombie farmers and infected animals on a brand new map. That’s in addition to the existing team deathmatch, free for all, capture the pig, tournament and other game modes.

      • Korean survival horror The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters enters Early Access with Linux support

        Devespresso Games and Headup continue their great Linux support, with a same-day released of The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters.

        After launching their story-driven roguelike Vambrace: Cold Soul earlier this year, Devespresso went back to their scarier roots with a sequel to their debut title The Coma: Cutting Class which was given a revamp and Linux support with The Coma: Recut back in 2017. This latest game in the series takes you back to Sehwa High, with a new protagonist and a very angry psychotic killer out to get you.

      • Comedy adventure game 3 Minutes to Midnight funded and coming to Linux

        Scarecrow Studio have raised enough funding to have a successful Kickstarter campaign for 3 Minutes to Midnight, a comedy adventure game due out next year.

        They seem to be pulling out all the stops on this one. Fully voiced, high quality art with locations having both night and day with different things going on, a huge script, tons of people to meet and speak to, two playable characters, multiple solutions to different puzzles plus lots of accessibility features you would expect out of a properly modern point and click adventure.

      • Ghost Grab 3000 is a very satisfying arcade game where you chain ghosts together

        Ghost Grab 3000 just recently released after a delay due to the Halloween sales and it’s a huge amount of fun.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • digiKam 6.4.0 is released

          We received a lot of excellent user feedback after publishing the 4th digiKam 6 release in September 2019. We are now proud to briefly announce the new digiKam 6.4.0, a maintenance version which consolidates this feedback and acts as an important phase of this 3-year-old project.

          With 6.1.0, digiKam project has introduced the new DPlugins interface to customize and extend the application. This powerful interface, available in digiKam and Showfoto, already manage all Generic tools to import/export items or edit metadata, Image Editor re-touch tools (colors editing, Transforms, Decorate, Effects, etc.), Batch Queue Manager tools to process many files at once.

          With 6.2.0 and 6.3.0, we increase the plugins list ready for production, to finaly provide more than 120 native tools. With this new release, 14 new plugins have been introduced again and available in digiKam and Showfoto…

        • [KDE] 119.12 releases branches created

          The branch naming has changed to try to accommodate for the stopping of the “KDE Applications” brand, it’s now called release/19.12

          Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the 19.12 releases to them

        • [KDE] Apps Update for November

          The big release this month has been LabPlot 2.7. LabPlot is fast becoming one of KDE’s highest profile apps. It is an application for interactive graphing and analysis of scientific data. LabPlot provides an easy way to create, manage and edit plots. It allows you to produce plots based on data from a spreadsheet or on data imported from external files. Plots can be exported to several pixmap and vector graphic formats.

          In this release we made the user experience while working with LabPlot easier and more fun. Entering and working with data in spreadsheets is slicker and when reading live data from file sources you can now use a relative path to find a live data source. This allows you to, for example, copy the folder containing the project file together with the data file or files across different folders on your computer without losing the connection to the file or files. In the Project Explorer you can now move top-level objects to different folders via drag & drop.

        • Fail! No Linux App Summit for me.

          I was going to attend the Linux App Summit, and even going to speak, about Krita and what happens to a an open source project when it starts growing a lot. And what that would mean for the Linux desktop ecosystem and so on. But that’s not going to happen.

          There was really bad flooding in the south of France, which damaged the TGV track between Montpellier and Barcelona. When we went home after the 2018 Libre Graphics Meeting, we took the train from Barcelona to Paris, and noticed how close the water was.

          Well, I guess it was too close. And this is relevant, because I had planned to come to Barcelona by train. It’s a relatively easy one-day trip if everything is well, and gives ten hours of undisturbed coding time, too. Besides, I have kind of promised myself that I’m not going to force myself to take planes anymore. Flying terrifies me. So I didn’t consider flying from Amsterdam for a moment — I was only afraid that other people would try to force me to fly.

        • This week in KDE: 5.17 and beyond

          We’re mid-cycle in Plasma 5.17 and still working hard to fix bugs and regressions, while planning for Plasma 5.18, our next LTS release! There’s also been continued work on our apps.

        • KDE Packs Away New Screensaver Setting, Other Changes For First Full Week Of November

          Some of the fixes / changes over the past week include:

          - Dolphin can now show condensed dates.

          - The clock on the lock-screen can now be hidden until the password prompt appears, so it’s a “100% faithful representation of an old-school screensaver.”

          - Konsole tabs now visually indicate activity (again).

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha available for testing

          The first OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 release cycle milestone is available for download and testing.

          Testing is a critical step during development as all bug fixing will take place during this lapse of time. Therefore we exhort all OpenMandriva users to test our system and report any issue you may find at our forum or at our bug tracking system.

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha Released With Toolchain Upgrade, Clang-ed Kernel Option

          The first alpha release of the forthcoming OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is now available for testing with this Clang-built Linux distribution that originates back to the days of Mandrake.

          With OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 the compiler toolchain is being upgraded against LLVM Clang 9.0 and Glibc 2.30 along with a wealth of other package updates. OpenMandriva for a while now has been built with the LLVM Clang compiler rather than the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). With OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 there is now the option of having a Linux kernel image build also composed via Clang rather than GCC.

      • Debian Family

        • Python dataclasses and typing

          I’m going to preach the wonders of Python dataclasses, but for reasons of interested to those who have already gone down the delightful rabbit-hole of typed Python. So let me start with a quick plug for mypy if you haven’t heard about it.

          (Warning: this is going to be a bit long.)

        • Hideki Yamane: fontforge package update

          I’ve uploaded fontforge package into experimental. It needs huge changes in debian packaging.

        • Utkarsh Gupta: Debian Activities for October 2019

          Here’s my (first) monthly update about the activities I’ve done in Debian this October.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What’s New in Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

          Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine has been released announced officially by canonical, this release introduces numerous new features, updated apps and components, and much more.

          Ubuntu 19.10 release includes embedded Nvidia proprietary drivers in the ISO image to improve the performance, smoothness, and frame rates in games and experimental ZFS file system for root, which is implemented in the installer.

          as well as all the latest Open Source software, including GNOME 3.34 as default desktop environment with new light and dark variants of the Yaru theme, the ability to run Xwayland apps as root/sudo , LibreOffice 6.3 office suite, Mozilla Firefox 69 web browser, and many others.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Musikcube is a terminal music player for Windows, macOS and Linux

        Musikcube is a cross platform terminal based music player, music management application and a music server; it is open source and available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and as an Android app that acts as a client which connects to the desktop server.

        Despite being a terminal based program, musikcube is very user friendly. And like most, it is heavily keyboard focused. Fortunately, the command bar at the bottom of the screen displays the keyboard shortcuts that you can use in the current view. The mouse is mostly used for selecting options.

      • Google’s trusted hardware initiative is open source, pixel-precise postal codes, and more open source news

        In this edition of our open source news roundup, we take a look at Google’s trusted hardware initiative, Australia’s open source notification service, pixel-precise postal codes, and more!

      • NUS team’s AI system first from South-east Asia to enter ranks of world’s top open-source software
      • NUS team’s AI system first from South-east Asia to enter ranks of world’s top open-source software

        An artificial intelligence (AI) engine built by a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has become the first software tool from South-east Asia to be ranked in the top 300 projects by the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the largest open-source software community in the world.

        The software, called Apache Singa, joined the ranks of other Apache Top-Level Projects in October.

        It is a platform for deep learning, the branch of AI that attempts to most closely approach the workings of a human brain. This means the software can learn on its own and does not need to be fed all the answers by a human.

      • PulseAudio Adds GStreamer-Powered RTP Implementation

        As an alternative to PulseAudio’s existing RTP implementation, a new GStreamer-based Real-Time Transport Protocol has been introduced.

        PulseAudio already had its own RTP implementation but now a new GStreamer-based implementation has been added that is better than their own. By making use of the GStreamer code, PulseAudio’s RTP support can now support more advanced features like RTCP, non-PCM audio, and opening up the door to synchronized playback.

      • Rav1e 0.1 Marks This Rust-Written AV1 Encoder’s First Official Release

        Rav1e has been in development for more than one year now as the “safest and fastest AV1 encoder” thanks to being written in Rust while now their first official release is available.

        There have been weekly snapshots that have brought interesting features recently like SSSE3 support and AArch64 NEON along with SSE4.1 support and other x86 optimizations while now they feel this AV1 open-source encoder is mature enough for the first official release. This rav1e 0.1 release was made on Friday during the Video Developer Days 2019 event in Tokyo.

      • The value of open source in next generation networks

        Where is the value of open source in next generation networks, where are the locations that open source can be leveraged to deliver functional value in 5G and MEC networks, and what are the main deployment challenges that CSPs need to consider? Doing open source well is challenging, so what have CSPs learned from early deployments? Beyond technological changes to the network, the service provider internal culture also plays a crucial role for successful implementation of open source.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Cancel culture taints The Linux Foundation, developer publicly disinvited from event over political opinions

          If you were asked to name two things that make Linux different from any closed-source, proprietary solution out in the world today, those two surely would have to be: for one, Linux has won – as the internet’s and therefore, the world’s tech infrastructure, used by operating systems based on this free and open-source kernel.

          And, two – however carefully the custodians of the Linux kernel, the Linux Foundation – that has some of the biggest tech companies among its platinum sponsors, anything from Google, Microsoft, Huawei, to Cisco and IMB – might work to “moderate” the Linux development space – it’s still a system by and large developed by free people expressing their thoughts and opinions freely.

          There are, from time to time, controversies and soul-searching issues, but thankfully, they always take place not in some obscure conference room or secret internal communication channel. Free and open source is not only used, but also developed, and discussed, out in the open, for anyone to see.

          However, should that hold true even when real-world politics wade in, and when the issue concerns the organization’s own code of conduct? That’s an exceedingly interesting dilemma for anyone invested in the Linux ecosystem, and one now posed by programmer Robert Martin, one of the Agile Manifesto authors, who published a letter on his blog addressed to Linux Foundation’s figurehead Jim Zemlin, and other high-ranking representatives of the organization.

          In it, Martin asks why the Foundation decided to act on a tweet denouncing KubeCon – a conference dedicated to a leading open-source containers system – for allowing programmer Charles Max Wood (@cmaxw) to participate. The complaint had not to do with Wood’s professional history, but with his political persuasion.


          Could this possibly be enough to exclude a software engineer from an industry event? According to the Linux Foundation, the answer is yes. A tweet confirming this mentions such things as “code of conduct” and “safe spaces.”

        • Propaganda & Other Lies We Tell

          Following Mr. Dowden’s lead — many other leaders, who were mainly white male leaders in the space, publicly disavowed John and also endorsed that he had violated every single Code of Conduct in the tech space and that consequences were necessary.
          And yet, Chuck very specifically only uses her name in a false narrative that paints her as an aggressor leading an angry mob of other black women he references (not by name) that attacked his friend Aimee and unfairly destroyed his friend John. When you’ve only focused on the black women in a negative way, in a situation which was mainly highly visible because of white men, you are being discriminatory. This entire narrative Chuck has created is inherently racist.
          Racism is a huge part of our tech community. No, it isn’t always the blatant obvious kind of racism like we saw in John’s facebook post about indigenous folks. It isn’t always like my father whose first question when I told him I was pregnant was “it better not come out black”.
          Racism is engrained in our society. It’s the ways we show up for a white woman being verbally abused, but not nearly with as much vigor or conviction for the black women. And it’s not just because we notice the white woman and want to stand up for her, it’s also the algorithms we write. Tech is not neutral, and neither are we. What we see because of our brains and what we see because of our computer algorithms are intrinsically intertwined.


          In this video, Chuck states once again that he was attacked, that Aimee was attacked, and that John was attacked. He also states after watching John’s video, where John specifically states that he’s sick of “SJW mobs,” that John reveals that his fatal character flaw is that he gets angry.
          Chuck states in this video that he was acting with his moral compass in defending John, and that nothing John said was racist or sexist. I responded specifically to that in this tweet. He mentions that if someone comes to him with information that can convince him that he is wrong, he will change his stance, because his morals would no longer be in alignment with his actions. After I tweeted exact quotes from John that were racist and sexist, Chuck blocked me. I find it difficult to believe that Chuck is willing to see that he has been wrongly defending someone who has done zero work to be the redeemable person that he wants him to be.
          16 minutes in, and Chuck uses black people who support him as props. It’s not necessary. Some black folks supporting you and disbelieving you’ve done anything wrong does not cancel out the black people who feel silenced, dismissed, and a part of a false narrative you’re creating and inserting yourself into.
          After this, Chuck posted that he got travel to go to KubeCon sponsored. This made many attendees feel very uncomfortable. Kevin Stewart was among those who spoke up about their discomfort.


          Specific people also specifically contacted KubeCon about feeling that Chuck had violated their code of conduct in his actions. The Linux Foundation consumed all of the tweets regarding the entirety of the situation, and watched all four of Chuck’s videos and determined that they agreed he had violated to the code of conduct. That tweet is here.


          As you can see by all of the collected content, it was not one tweet. It was not one statement. It was not one innocent question.
          While yes, there was mention of the inappropriate MAGA hat post, along with his responses to his followers that shared they were upset about his post, it’s not related to Linux Foundation’s decision.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • ScyllaDB set to improve NoSQL database performance

          Database performance is one of the reasons some large organizations choose the open source ScyllaDB database platform. The startup database vendor introduced new features to accelerate performance and optimize the open source database platform.

          While ScyllaDB develops its own technology, one of its primary use cases is as a drop-in replacement for the open source Apache Cassandra NoSQL database, which is used in large scale data deployments.


          Philip Zimich, senior director of development and engineering at Comcast, said his group went from having about 1,000 Cassandra servers to only 78 ScyllaDB servers, while improving overall availability and performance.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • When Legacy Justifies Errors

          What StarBasic did was auto-closing the expression in the end when compiling. It would only complain if the result of such auto-closing would be ill-formed; sometimes (as in the example above), the result would be syntactically correct – but not necessarily semantically correct: the example above compiled with StarBasic did not what author expected (a text with first character capitalized, and the rest of the text in lowercase), but returned text in all caps instead. For some similar cases, such errors could be not easy to find in the absence of compiler check, especially in a large project.

          This has been reported to LibreOffice bug tracker as tdf#80731 back in 2014; and it was addressed in 5.4 development cycle, with the fix backported into 5.3.1. A nice and correct fix, isn’t it?

          Well, not actually. It turned out, that over the years, the amount of existing and actually used legacy code having the error has become so big, that it was unrealistic to make sure that all of it is checked and fixed. Of course, some errors were found in the code bundled with LibreOffice itself – and naturally, it was fixed. Some third-party extensions – quite a number of them – also happened to have it; and all authors who could be contacted, had released updated releases with the mistake corrected; thank you! But it wasn’t possible to test any extension out there; and besides publicly available and supported extensions, there were also unsupported (but still used, and useful) ones; and private ones (used by those who developed/paid for their development); and also uncountable macros outside of any extensions, and all of them having the error, that happily worked before, suddenly stopped working for their users … so after some time, the fix was reverted both from 5.3.3, and from still developing 5.4 (tdf#106529). By the way, I was enjoying reading “AltSearch extension put a bugfix release 1.4.2 to work around this bug” there, as if pointing to syntax error was actually a LibreOffice’s bug, not a mistake in the extension’s code.

        • Four more videos from the auditorium at LibreOffice Conference 2019

          We’ve uploaded some more videos from our recent LibreOffice Conference 2019 in Almeria, Spain! First up, “Databases in LibreOffice” with Tamás Bunth…

        • The best LibreOffice Extensions. Remove Duplicates Fast

          There are many good extensions for LibreOffice. You can find it all on site https://extensions.libreoffice.org/. I want to tell you about the best from it.
          So, there is an enhancement 85976 about adding of Remove Duplicates feature to LibreOffice Calc. That is really useful function and LibreOffice Calc isn’t having it now.
          However, there is Remove Duplicates Fast extension that adds need feature to Calc. It’s a fork of another extension Remove Duplicates.

      • CMS

        • A cure for unfair competition in open source

          In many ways, open source has won. Most people know that open source provides better quality software, at a lower cost, without vendor lock-in. But despite open source being widely adopted and more than 30 years old, scaling and sustaining open source projects remain challenging.

          Not a week goes by that I don’t get asked a question about open source sustainability. How do you get others to contribute? How do you get funding for open source work? But also, how do you protect against others monetizing your open source work without contributing back? And what do you think of MongoDB, Cockroach Labs, or Elastic changing their license away from open source?

          This article (in five parts) talks about how we can make it easier to scale and sustain open source projects, open source companies, and open source ecosystems.

        • How takers hurt makers in open source

          In part 1 of this article, I introduced the concept of open source Makers and Takers, and explained why it is important to find new ways to scale and sustain open source communities. Here in part 2, I’ll dive into why Takers hurt Makers, as well as how the “prisoner’s dilemma” affects the behavior of takers.

          To be financially successful, many Makers mix open source contributions with commercial offerings. Their commercial offerings usually take the form of proprietary or closed source IP, which may include a combination of premium features and hosted services that offer performance, scalability, availability, productivity, and security assurances. This is known as the open core business model. Some Makers offer professional services, including maintenance and support assurances.

          When Makers start to grow and demonstrate financial success, the open source project that they are associated with begins to attract Takers. Takers will usually enter the ecosystem with a commercial offering comparable to the Makers’ but without making a similar investment in open source contribution. Because Takers don’t contribute back meaningfully to the open source project that they take from, they can focus disproportionately on their own commercial growth.

        • 3 suggestions for stronger open source projects

          If, like most economic theorists, you believe that organizations act in their own self-interest, we should appeal to that self-interest and better explain the benefits of contributing to open source.

          Despite the fact that hundreds of articles have been written about the benefits of contributing to open source—highlighting speed of innovation, recruiting advantages, market credibility, and more—many organizations still miss these larger points.
          It’s important to keep sharing open source success stories. One thing that we have not done enough is appeal to organizations’ fairness principles.

          While a lot of economic theories correctly assume that most organizations are self-interested, I believe some organizations are also driven by fairness considerations.

          Despite the term Takers having a negative connotation, it does not assume malice. For many organizations, it is not apparent if an open source project needs help with maintenance, or how one’s actions, or inactions, might negatively affect an open source project.

          As mentioned, Acquia is a heavy user of Varnish Cache. But as Acquia’s chief technology officer, I don’t know if Varnish needs maintenance help, or how our lack of contribution negatively affects Makers in the Varnish community.

      • Education

        • How universities are using open source to attract students

          The publication also says that “the open source hardware movement is roughly 15 years behind its software counterpart,” but it appears to be catching up quickly. Given their mandate to “attract students that are excited about technical freedom and open source,” many universities have started a new front in the battle for educational supremacy.

          Unlike conventional warfare, this is a battle that benefits the public. The more universities share using the open source paradigm, the faster technology moves forward with all of its concomitant benefits. The resources available through opensource.mtu.edu include…

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • BSD

        • OpenZFS Developer Summit 2019 Videos + Slides For The Latest On Open-Source ZFS

          Taking place 4 and 5 November in San Francisco was the OpenZFS Developer Summit. This two-day open-source ZFS developer summit made possible by Intel, Delphix, Datto, and OSNexus had a lot of interesting presentations from the state of ZFS TRIM/Discard to debugging topics.

          It was at this event where the plans for OpenZFS 2.0 in 2020 were brought up as well as OpenZFS 3.0 in 2021 with possible macOS support. The trajectory of open-source ZFS seems to be as promising as ever, at least for the past decade since the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle and the subsequent shift of upstream. OpenZFS/ZFSOnLinux is as featureful as ever, ZFS on Linux continues seeing increasing adoption (including the root desktop install option with Ubuntu 19.10), FreeBSD is shifting to the newer ZoL code, and more.

        • OpenZFS 2.0 Out In 2020 With Unified Linux/FreeBSD Support, OpenZFS 3.0 With macOS

          Taking place this past week in San Francisco was the annual OpenZFS Developer Summit. As usual, Matthew Ahrens as the co-founder of Sun ZFS and current OpenZFS contributor at Delphix talked about the state of the open-source ZFS efforts in his keynote.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: Rcpp 1.0.3: More Spit and Polish

          The third maintenance release 1.0.3 of Rcpp, following up on the 10th anniversary and the 1.0.0. release both pretty much exactly one year ago, arrived on CRAN yesterday. This deserves a special shoutout to Uwe Ligges who was even more proactive and helpful than usual. Rcpp is a somewhat complex package with many reverse dependencies, and both the initial check tickles one (grandfathered) NOTE, and the reverse dependencies typically invoke a few false positives too. And in both cases did he move the process along before I even got around to replying to the auto-generated emails. So just a few hours passed between my upload, and the Thanks, on its way to CRAN email—truly excellent work of the CRAN team. Windows and macOS binaries are presumably being built now. The corresponding Debian package was also uploaded as a source package, and binaries have since been built.

        • Clang precompiled headers and improving C++ compile times, take #2

          It’s been almost half a year since I mentioned how precompiled headers do (not) improve C++ compile times. Quite a long time, filled with doing other things, life, occassionally working on getting my patch production-ready and, last but definitely not least, abandoning that patch and starting from scratch again.
          It turns out, the problems I mentioned last time had already been more or less solved in Clang. But only for C++ modules, not for precompiled headers. *sigh* I had really mixed feelings when I finally realized that. First of all, not knowing Clang internals that well, it took me quite a long time to get to this point figuring it all out, probably longer than it could have. Second, I’ve been using C++ modules when building Clang itself and while it’s usable, I don’t consider it ready (for example, sometimes it actually makes the build slower), not to mention that it’s non-trivial to setup, not standardized yet and other compilers (AFAIK) do not yet support C++ modules. And finally, WTH has nobody else yet noticed and done the work for precompiled headers too? After all the trouble with finding out how the relevant Clang parts work, the necessary patches mostly border on being trivial. Which, on the other hand, is at least the good news.

        • Mutable objects vs Python functions.

          We know every thing in python is an object and can be classed into mutable and immutable, where mutable object are object whose state can change after construction while the latter are object whose state cannot be change after construction.

        • Managing Class Attributes In Python

          Hello guys, in this blog post we are going to dig down into some python programming trick , or do i say features we can leverage on as python developers, we all know every thing in python is an object, class is an object , instance is an object , function is an object etc.

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccii) stackoverflow python report
        • Google throws new version of Dart at the desktop, will be hoping it sticks with app devs

          Google software engineers have delivered Dart 2.6, an update to the open source programming language that provides the ability to create self-contained, native executables for the major desktop operating systems.

          That capability comes from an extension to the Dart compiler set called dart2native, which makes it possible to turn Dart files into self-contained executables holding ahead-of-time (AOT) compiled machine code. In other words, these executables will run on machines that don’t have the Dart SDK installed.

          “With dart2native, you can create tools for the command line on macOS, Windows, or Linux using Dart,” said Michael Thomsen, a Google product manager, in a blog post.

        • Open-source software giants Tor and Python establish first New York City offices on NYU Tandon campus

          The New York University Tandon School of Engineering announced today that pioneering open-source software nonprofits the Tor Project and Python Software Foundation (PSF) are the newest tenants at 370 Jay Street, a recently renovated addition to the University’s engineering and applied sciences programs in Downtown Brooklyn. NYU Tandon is donating work space to both organizations for their first offices in New York City.

          “We are proud to welcome staffers and contributors from two organizations whose work symbolizes some of the most important virtues of scientific discovery and development — access, collaboration, and community,” said NYU Tandon Dean Jelena Kovačević. “Both the Tor Project and Python Software Foundation are stewards of open-source technologies that have profoundly changed the digital landscape, and giving their researchers a home on our campus supports their work and encourages ongoing collaborations with our students and faculty.”

        • Maesh launches as a new lightweight and open source service mesh

          Created specifically to alleviate these challenges, Maesh is a brand-new open source service mesh designed to deliver the advantages of a service mesh while eliminating the complexity inherent to similar infrastructure layers. Maesh is designed to install easily and can be put into use within minutes. It’s built with a lightweight simplicity that lets developers connect, secure, and monitor traffic within their microservices-based application environments, without the need to overcome a daunting learning curve and steep overheads.

        • GitLab mulls suspension of new hires in China, Russia amid geopolitics
        • uarray: Attempting to move the ecosystem forward

          There comes a time in every project where most technological hurdles have been surpassed, and its adoption is a social problem. I believe uarray and unumpy had reached such a state, a month ago.

          I then proceeded, along with Ralf Gommers and Peter Bell to write NumPy Enhancement Proposal 31 or NEP-31. This generated a lot of excellent feedback on the structure and the nuances of the proposal, which you can read both on the pull request and on the mailing list discussion, which led to a lot of restructuring in the contents and the structure of the NEP, but very little in the actual proposal. I take full responsibility for this: I have a bad tendency to assume everyone knows what I’m thinking. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this: It’s a known psychological phenomenon.

          Of course, social problems can take a long time to resolve one way or another, regardless of the proponents. And I consider this a good thing: it’s better not to be stuck with an API decision that may bite you a few years down the line, especially with a project with API compatibility guarantees and number of dependents as NumPy.

        • PyGotham 2019′s ASL and Live Captioning Playbook

          At PyGotham 2019 we provided live captioning and, for the first time, we offered American Sign Language interpretation and did targeted outreach to groups of Deaf programmers. As a result, we had a half-dozen Deaf attendees, and they reported they were able to fully participate in the conference in a way they hadn’t experienced before. I led our effort to provide ASL and captioning; I hope this recap can serve as a playbook for other conferences.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Open source tool predicts which security vulnerabilities are most likely to be exploited [Ed: When the source is visible at least you know what you are dealing with]

        With thousands of vulnerabilities being discovered and filed every year, one of the greatest challenges security teams face is knowing which threats to deal with first. And untimely responses can result in irreversible security incidents.

        A new open source utility released by Kenna Security last week aims to help security teams decide which vulnerabilities will cause a greater threat to their organization and need urgent attention.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • World Exclusive: Post Testimony Interview with Randy Credico

        Following his appearance as the main witness for the prosecution against former Trump aide Roger Stone, my good friend Randy Credico has had the entire American mainstream media chasing him for an interview. He has however decided to give only this single interview to me, which is put out here and which is free for everybody to use, with acknowledgement.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • How Big Corporations Spy on Their Workers to Keep Their Wages Down

        Google’s computers are spying on its workers.Anytime a Google employee uses an online calendar to schedule a meeting involving more than 100 co-workers, management gets an alert—a great way for the anti-union corporation to sniff out union organizing efforts.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders Draw Largest Iowa Crowd of Democratic Primary So Far with Call for ‘Solidarity’ Over Unity

        “We need to stitch this movement together, bit by bit, stitch by stitch… That’s how we’re going to win it all.”

      • The Neoliberal Assault on Warren’s Plan to Pay for Medicare for All

        Both Sanders and Warren have come up with viable plans for funding Medicare for all. The neoliberal establishment and the conservatives have been going after Sanders’ approach by raising the specter of-middle class tax increases.

      • Impeachment Must Be More Than Impeachment

        If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?If an avalanche felled the tree, does it make sense to focus only on the fallen tree and to ignore the broader and more terrifying cataclysm that caused it?

      • Our Point Remains: PBS Should Broadcast Impeachment Hearings in Primetime

        Okay, let’s be clear. The ad we took in this past Friday’s edition of The New York Times and an accompanying essay asked that PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, do the right thing for the American people, the people PBS was created to serve.

      • Can Bloomberg Buy the Election for $12 Billion? If So, He Can Write the Check Today

        Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire who bought himself a mayoralty, now has his sights set on higher office. He became mayor of New York City in 2001, after outspending his opponent five to one from his personal bank account. Could the same arithmetic apply to the presidential race?

      • Jeff Bezos reportedly called Michael Bloomberg and asked him if he would run for president earlier this year

        According to Recode, the former NYC mayor said he was not considering entering the presidential race at that time.

      • The Billionaires Are Getting Nervous

        When Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, the top marginal tax rate on personal income was 70 percent, tax rates on capital gains and corporate income were significantly higher than at present, and the estate tax was a much more formidable levy. None of that dissuaded Mr. Gates from pouring himself into his business, nor discouraged his investors from pouring in their money.

        Yet he is now the latest affluent American to warn that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan for much higher taxes on the rich would be bad not just for the wealthy but for the rest of America, too.

      • Elections & Propaganda in Mauritius

        I recall rumours about the so-called “Macarena” VHS that contributed to the fall of the Labour Party in 2000. I don’t know whether the VHS existed or not but it’s mere mention was enough to get people murmur.

        During the 2014 General Elections, the “Viré Mam” video clip made people not just laugh but also changed a lot minds in favour of the then Lepep Alliance. The video clip was made from short edits from various political meetings featuring P. R. Bérenger, Leader of the MMM Party and Dr. N. C. Ramgoolam, Leader of the Labour Party, who back then formed the PTR/MMM alliance. The video was edited in such a way that it appeared both party leaders were slurring at each other in a synchronous manner and the groovy background music only made it funnier.

        This year, two days after the General Elections, one which many thought to be a tough battle among three major political parties in Mauritius, a friend sent me a video clip of Dr. N.C. Ramgoolam speaking at a political meeting. The clip appears to have been carefully edited to give the impression that the Labour Party leader is saying that Hindus living in the rural area adore money and that when they’re dying, a bank note needs to put in a “katori” (i.e copper, brass or stainless steel cup) of water and the same given to drink to the dying person for the soul to be able to leave the body. This propaganda video worked. A day before the elections and on the election day I heard about the circulation of this “Katori” clip that is supposedly offending Hindus.


        The Labour Party for the past few weeks appeared to have led a successful campaign on the Internet through Google, YouTube and Facebook ads. Most of them were messages of Dr. N.C. Ramgoolam while some of the ads were interesting facts explaining about the economy, national debt and our gross domestic product.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Those People We Tried to Cancel? They’re All Hanging Out Together

        Katie Herzog was a largely unknown freelance journalist living in Seattle. Then she published an article in The Stranger about trans people who halt or reverse transitions. Two days later she started getting hate mail.

        “It is, by far, the most-read thing I’ve ever written,” Ms. Herzog said. It also made her “wildly reviled.” Seattle residents burned stacks of The Stranger and posted stickers calling Ms. Herzog a transphobe.

        Ms. Herzog lost “dozens” of friends over the article, she said. She soon felt unwelcome at lesbian bars. She began to hesitate to give strangers her name. She felt like a “pariah” in her hometown, she said, and eventually moved out of Seattle to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

        Her main social contacts now are her live-in girlfriend and a small group of older female friends. “I’m not invited to brunch anymore,” Ms. Herzog said.
        The term for people who have been thrust out of social or professional circles in this way — either online or in the real world or sometimes both — is “canceled.”

        This week, even Barack Obama spoke about online denunciation, personal purity and being “politically woke,” saying, “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • DNS-over-HTTPS will eventually roll out in all major browsers, despite ISP opposition

        All six major browser vendors have plans to support DNS-over-HTTPS (or DoH), a protocol that encrypts DNS traffic and helps improve a user’s privacy on the web.

        The DoH protocol has been one of the year’s hot topics. It’s a protocol that, when deployed inside a browser, it allows the browser to hide DNS requests and responses inside regular-looking HTTPS traffic.

      • Automated Sensitive Data Leak Detection

        Let’s start by understanding Data and Behavior — What the Application Knows and What It Can Do.
        In all programming paradigms there are two primary components: the data (what an application knows) and behavior (what the application can do with that data, such as create, read, update, delete, transform, etc.). Object oriented programming says that combining data and behavior in a single location (called an “object”) makes it easier to understand how a program works. Functional programming says that data and behavior are distinctively different and should be kept separate for clarity.

        we model communication with the outside world via interfaces. An interface is an abstraction that describes a device that is used to exchange data with a communication partner. Interfaces may be network connections, files or other programs reachable via IPC/RPC mechanisms. In this regard an interface is similar to the UNIX concept of a file. We assume that each interface is represented as an object in the code, for example, a file-descriptor variable or a variable representing an input/output stream. We refer to this variable as the interface descriptor (analogous to the UNIX file descriptor).

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • Feilin v. Baidu: Beijing Internet Court tackles protection of AI/software-generated work and holds that copyright only vests in works by human authors

          Whether an AI-generated work can be protected by copyright is currently one of the most heatedly discussed issues almost everywhere in the world. Although the discussion in academia and practice is prevalent, to the best knowledge of this InternKat, there are still very few cases decided by courts on this matter as of today.

          Just a few months ago, the Beijing Internet Court in China issued its decision (here in Chinese) in Feilin v Baidu, ruling on whether a (partly) AI-generated work could be protected by copyright.

          This post only discusses the part of the judgment devoted to the issue of copyright protection, though there were also other issues addressed therein.


          The Beijing Internet Court held that the disputed report had not been generated by the ‘visualisation’ function of the software because of the difference between the software-generated and the disputed content. Besides, the disputed report was created by the plaintiff’s team and sufficiently original. Thus, the disputed report was found to be a work protected by copyright under Chinese law.

        • RIAA Delists YouTube Rippers From Google Using Rare Anti-Circumvention Notices

          The homepages of five major YouTube-ripping platforms have been delisted from Google search in response to relatively rare notices citing the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. The complaints, which are reported by Google as being sent by the RIAA, target FLVTO, 2Conv, Y2Mate, and Yout.

        • Cox and Music Companies Battle Over Piracy Evidence Ahead of Trial

          Last year, several major music companies sued Internet provider Cox Communications for failing to take proper action against pirating subscribers. The case will soon head to trial where Cox plans to present evidence showing that its anti-piracy measures were effective. However, the music labels want to exclude the evidence, describing it as a confusing mess of misleading calculations.

Video: Dutch Media on EPO Protest

Posted in Europe, Patents, Videos at 5:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The new video added by SUEPO on Saturday in order to show Dutch media coverage of last week’s protest in The Hague

Credit: SUEPO

Politics in the Workplace Are Not Paradoxical and Outside the Workplace They Are Free Speech

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

You don’t want to end up in an empty company, do you?

Empty company

Summary: The safest space is one in which no other human (or creature) exists, but in reality we must make compromises and accept that not everyone will agree with us 100% of the time (so we must learn to live with that)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) — the topic I’ve covered the most in my thirties — is both a technical and a political thing. Those two things absolutely cannot be separated. As the famous saying from Richard Stallman goes: “Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

“…I also rely on the sort of tolerance that’s about tolerating dissenting speech; that is — after all — a major component if not reason for free speech.”I myself am quite vocal about politics, even publicly. I’ve touched many facets and issues in over 700,000 tweets and it’s likely that just about anyone out there will find something that he or she finds “offensive” (to him or her). I know that. I am well aware. But I also rely on the sort of tolerance that’s about tolerating dissenting speech; that is — after all — a major component if not reason for free speech.

The reason the EPO — inherently a technical institution that assesses scientific advancements (unlike a trademark office/authority) — is run by politicians like António Campinos (and Battistelli before him) is that certain powerful people — including law firms or lawyers-politicians — seek to advance goals that aren’t scientific. This is very common in a lot of corporations that become more like ideological cults, driven partly by greed (profit motive) and partly by personal objectives of founders/heads. Call it an ‘ego trip’. This is hardly a new issue and only hours ago I stumbled upon this article, “Jeff Bezos reportedly called Michael Bloomberg and asked him if he would run for president earlier this year”

“This is very common in a lot of corporations that become more like ideological cults, driven partly by greed (profit motive) and partly by personal objectives of founders/heads.”Amazon has a lot of employees, some of whom have strong feelings about politics. Should all those who don’t agree with Mr. Bezos be fired? Probably not.

But let’s take this argument further; should employees (i.e. most people out there in the world above the age of 20 and below 65) be actively discouraged from expressing political views, even outside the workplace? The cost, or the societal risk, of discouraging public participation in political processes is that society can get a lot worse and political leadership a lot more oppressive. History shows that those in positions of power love leveraging all means available to them to silence their critics.

“History shows that those in positions of power love leveraging all means available to them to silence their critics.”I’d rather live in a world and share my office with a society that has a few ‘assholes’; if that’s the price I have to pay for being allowed to express myself as well, then it is a price I am willing to pay. In my personal experience, it’s not political opinions that poison the workplace but sociopathic individuals whose bad behaviour is emboldened by greed rather than dogma. These people are the most “toxic” things out there and they turn “safe spaces” into very unhealthy ones (literally unhealthy). Not because of politics; because of purely commercial ambitions. A former Microsoft employee recently wrote about it.

Thick Skin Makes Strong Communities

Posted in Humour at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What offends you more? Companies that commit crimes (which sometimes kill people) or political views you disagree with outside the workplace?

Summary: Learning to coexist with people who don’t agree on everything is a strength and successful societies encourage that (the alternative is blind conformity on all matters)

Training (Proprietary Software) Versus Teaching (Free Software)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Humour at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

My teacher says I need to learn computers. They make you memorise user interfaces, to learn computers you need code.

Summary: Education necessitates software freedom — a fact that companies like Adobe, Apple and Microsoft try hard to distract from

The Linux Foundation Brought as Keynote Speakers People Vastly Worse Than Those Whom It Now ‘Cancels’ for Purely Political Reasons

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 1:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Selective outrage, especially when that suits one’s political agenda

SJVN on Dan Lyons

Summary: A lot of people are very upset about the Linux Foundation’s alleged ‘witch-hunt’ and even press coverage has caught up with the outrage; but our position is that it distracts from vastly bigger Linux Foundation scandals

THE Jim Zemlin-led PAC has been under heavy fire for about four days. People didn’t seem to mind all the very major scandals of 'Jim the Great' (at selling out); but suddenly they found an ‘epic’ scandal (far less of a scandal than things we’ve covered throughout the year).

“This whole “Cancel Culture” thing has been mentioned a lot in relation to Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman. It’s a mixture of sanctions and public shaming.”I’ve had to think twice or thrice before writing about this for two main reasons: 1) any attempt to criticise the Linux Foundation (in this particular context) can be spun as ‘supporting’ Donald Trump and 2) we don’t know the full story/facts because it’s lost in a trail of ‘social control media’ noise and apparent witch-hunts, maybe bi-directional (accusations of racism have flown in both directions). Let’s be clear about something: This post is not political. My views on Donald Trump and those stupid “MAGA” hats are well documented online (a matter of public record). I’ve sort of decided to patiently wait until a journalist (or several) sorts out the chronology and underlying facts that can be derived from this ‘social control media’ mess (we try not to rely on "tweets" as "sources" as they often turn out to be false or 'semi-truths' due to concision or one-person bias emitted emotionally, in a hurry).

We think that this new article (published a few hours ago) highlights the key points, unless the author is intentionally dishonest and we have no reasons to doubt her motivations. Included in the article are key photos and screenshots as well. Here’s some context (who’s who):

If you were asked to name two things that make Linux different from any closed-source, proprietary solution out in the world today, those two surely would have to be: for one, Linux has won – as the internet’s and therefore, the world’s tech infrastructure, used by operating systems based on this free and open-source kernel.

And, two – however carefully the custodians of the Linux kernel, the Linux Foundation – that has some of the biggest tech companies among its platinum sponsors, anything from Google, Microsoft, Huawei, to Cisco and IMB – might work to “moderate” the Linux development space – it’s still a system by and large developed by free people expressing their thoughts and opinions freely.

There are, from time to time, controversies and soul-searching issues, but thankfully, they always take place not in some obscure conference room or secret internal communication channel. Free and open source is not only used, but also developed, and discussed, out in the open, for anyone to see.

However, should that hold true even when real-world politics wade in, and when the issue concerns the organization’s own code of conduct? That’s an exceedingly interesting dilemma for anyone invested in the Linux ecosystem, and one now posed by programmer Robert Martin, one of the Agile Manifesto authors, who published a letter on his blog addressed to Linux Foundation’s figurehead Jim Zemlin, and other high-ranking representatives of the organization.

In it, Martin asks why the Foundation decided to act on a tweet denouncing KubeCon – a conference dedicated to a leading open-source containers system – for allowing programmer Charles Max Wood (@cmaxw) to participate. The complaint had not to do with Wood’s professional history, but with his political persuasion.


Could this possibly be enough to exclude a software engineer from an industry event? According to the Linux Foundation, the answer is yes. A tweet confirming this mentions such things as “code of conduct” and “safe spaces.”

This whole “Cancel Culture” thing has been mentioned a lot in relation to Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman. It’s a mixture of sanctions and public shaming. The Foundation did both because it tweeted about it. Was that tweet necessary? Is the Foundation a ‘speech tribunal’ now? Who made the judgment? Do appeal rights exist? That mere tweet took a minute to type, but it’s not so innocent or harmless. It can be very ruinous. A lot of people are upset about this. But the Foundation is rogue for a lot of reasons more important than the above. It’s a shame that media does not explore those reasons as much as we have.

There’s another lesser-explored issue with the above incident. Jim Zemlin/Foundation invited anti-Linux provocateurs like Dan Lyons, who supported SCO‘s libel against Linux. It invited him to give a keynote speech. Understandably, at the time, this caused some controversy if not uproar. Why would the Foundation reward anti-Linux people if this foundation uses “Linux” as its name? SJVN was among the ‘targets’ of Lyons; He told me (as I recall it) that Zemlin had apologised to him, but only when it was too late (Lyons giving his talk, distorting his record; here’s a piece from Linux.com, akin to “Microsoft loves Linux”).

“Thought-policing is a dangerous concept for a lot of reasons. It’s often not necessary either.”There were non-political reasons — possibly even technical — to shun Lyons.

There’s another profound issue with what the Foundation did. Neutrality is likely more important unless someone’s physical (not emotional) wellbeing is at risk. Thought-policing is a dangerous concept for a lot of reasons. It’s often not necessary either. The Foundation’s staff did not have to get involve in any of this feud; they could let accusations and public shaming (consequences for one’s speech) go on in the ‘noise machine’ which is ‘social control media’ without having to get involved or be ‘blackmailed’ into getting involved. And if they honestly cared about “safe spaces”, they wouldn’t have become a Microsoft 'proxy' (considering what Microsoft does with ICE, Pentagon and so on). To some people a “safe space” means literally a safe space, e.g. hospital where you don’t get bombed.

“Dear Linux Foundation,” I wrote to them some hours ago, “what other ‘wrong’ political opinions would the Foundation ban people for? Views on Kashmir? Palestine? Crimea? China? Hong Kong? Taiwan? What next? Who decides? A slippery slope. Will the Linux Foundation ban people for wearing a MODI hat like it does MAGA hats?”

“People who are upset at the Foundation for what it did some days ago ought to explore the much bigger scandals. There’s no lack of them.”Kashmir politics are also very divisive after all. Remember that Microsoft propagandists wanted Stallman 'cancelled' for not liking Netanyahu/Likkud policies in Israel. Do they want to forbid political speech altogether? Even if such speech or such views are expressed well outside the context or platforms of technical projects?

This “Cancel Culture” scandal (Stallman used this term) is just the edge of a much, much bigger iceberg. People who are upset at the Foundation for what it did some days ago ought to explore the much bigger scandals. There’s no lack of them. By the way, the Foundation continues to violate the terms of service of Twitter; it's selling "tweets".

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